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

40 PAGES

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2010

SAFAR 19, 1431 AH

Phil the groundhog ‘sees’ six more weeks of winter

Gaza militants say beach attack avenges killing

150 FILS

‘Avatar’, ‘Hurt Locker’ lead Oscar nominations

German speeds up Empire State Building in vertical race

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Iran slams US missile deployment in Gulf Ahmadinejad: West wants weak Mideast • US fails to hit missile mimicking Iran strike TEHRAN: Iran said yesterday that the strengthening of US missile defense systems in Gulf Arab countries is aimed at sowing regional divisions and that Tehran’s neighbors should not be drawn into believing the country poses a threat. US military officials said over the weekend that the systems - involving upgrad-

Saad Al-Barrak is seen in this undated handout image.

Barrak quits as Zain chief KUWAIT: Zain Group CEO Dr Saad Al-Barrak has resigned, Kuwait Times sources revealed late yesterday. The sources added that a different management team with a “new vision” will be appointed soon. Barrak joined the Kuwait telecoms giant, formerly MTC, in 2002.

Deployment ups tensions in Gulf DUBAI: US deployment of anti-missile defences off Iran’s coast and in a number of its Gulf Arab neighbours is certain to fuel tensions in a strategic region that supplies a third of the world’s oil, analysts say. “This will make Iran more nervous,” said Mustafa Alani, head of security research at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre. To counter a perceived threat from a controversial Iranian nuclear program and Tehran’s advancing missile capabilities,

Washington has said it is deploying anti-missile weapons systems in the region. The move is unlikely to please Iran, which has already warned its Arab neighbours in the Gulf not to take part in US moves against the Islamic republic. But Tehran is likely to take comfort from the announcement in Washington that the US military failed on Sunday to shoot down a ballistic missile in a test Continued on Page 14

Mousavi: Iranian revolution failed 9 more rioters to be hanged TEHRAN: Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi yesterday issued his harshest criticism yet of Iran’s regime, saying the 1979 Islamic revolution had failed as the “roots of tyranny and dictatorship” still exist. The sharply-worded interview posted on his website Kaleme.org came as a top Iranian judiciary official was reported as saying another nine anti-government protesters would be executed “soon”. Ex-premier Mousavi, once rated as a key pillar of the Islamic revolution, said in the interview that present day

ed Patriot missiles on land and more US Navy ships capable of destroying missiles in flight - is intended to counter a potential Iranian missile strike. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met yesterday with the crown prince of Qatar, one of four Arab nations were the US has based

Patriot missile systems, and told him the West was seeking to divide them. “Westerners do not want friendly relations between countries in the region. Their life is dependent on rifts and insecurity,” the president told the visiting crown prince, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. “The enemies intend to extend the fire of

war in the entire region to solve their own political and economic problems,” state TV quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in their meeting. Ahmadinejad said Iran and Qatar should build closer links and develop a common understanding of what he called plots by enemies. The pre-

Nod to capital market law, development plan Independent regulator to oversee bourse • 4-year plan to see KD 30bn spending By B Izzak KUWAIT: In a day of positive output, the National Assembly yesterday passed two key economic reform legislations - setting up a capital market authority to regulate the stock market and the four-year economic development plan which stipulates spending around KD 30 billion on major projects. Fifty-three votes were in favour of the development plan while three opposed it. The plan calls for intensifying capital spending on a large number of mega projects that have been stalled for many years. The plan, which runs from the next fiscal year starting April 1 until the 2013/2014 fiscal year, envisages the construction of a number of key projects like the Silk City in Subbiya, a container harbour in Boubyan Island, and a 25-km-long causeway from Kuwait City to Subbiya. It also calls for boosting the production capacity of oil - the country’s lifeline - which provides for 94 percent of Kuwait’s total revenues, and for Continued on Page 14

in the news Kuwait inflation eases DUBAI: Kuwait’s consumer prices rose 5.2 percent on an annual basis in April 2009, slowing slightly from 5.7 percent in the previous month, data showed yesterday. On the month, inflation in the world’s fourth largest oil exporter stood at 0.1 in April, down from 0.7 percent in the previous month, according to data published on the Central Bank of Kuwait website. The consumer price index which includes services and goods stood at 135.7 basis points.

Riyadh won’t ban dairy exports RIYADH: The Saudi government will not implement a recommendation by an advisory council to ban dairy exports, the kingdom’s agriculture minister said in an interview yesterday. The advisory Shura Council approved a recommendation on Monday to ban exports of dairy products as part of the desert kingdom’s efforts to save water. “The government’s policy is to reduce the production of crops that use a lot of water. Dairy products do not use a lot of water. They use barley to feed cattle and barley is imported,” Fahad Balghunaim told Reuters. “This is why we do not plan to implement the Shura Council’s recommendation to ban dairy exports,” he added.

KUWAIT: Deputy Premier for Economic Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Fahd Al-Sabah (right) talks to Prime Minister HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah during an Assembly session yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Riyadh wants Taleban to expel Laden Mir Hossein Mousavi Iran showed the “attitude of a historic tyrant regime everywhere”. Continued on Page 14

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said during a visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday that it will not get involved in peacemaking in Afghanistan unless the Taleban stops providing shelter and severs all ties with Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda movement. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is visiting Saudi Arabia hoping for a active

Saudi role in his plan to persuade Taleban militants to switch sides. He will meet with Saudi officials today after performing the pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah. Saudi Arabia has a unique relationship with Taleban since it was one of the few countries to recognize the regime before it was ousted in 2001 and has acted as an

intermediary before. The Saudi conditions for participating in the talks with Taleban, especially expelling former Saudi citizen bin Laden, are not new, but Riyadh is making them clear amid a new international push to work with the Afghan militants. Saudi officials say they need a Taleban commitment to renounce its contacts

unnamed official of the government’s Human Rights Commission, which was originally asked by the mother to help in getting the marriage annulled, told Arab News they too were surprised by the mother and daughter dropping the case. The influential daughter of King Abdullah, Princess Adela bint Abdullah, expressed concern over the girl’s marriage. “I, personally, and many specialists in social and education fields, share the opinion” that it is in violation of children’s rights, AlRiyadh newspaper reported. “A child has the right to live her childhood and not be forced to get married. Even an adult would not accept that,” she said. According to reports, the girl’s father, who is separated from her mother, arranged her marriage to the Continued on Page 14

with extremists before engaging the group. “So long as the Taleban doesn’t stop providing shelter for terrorists and bin Laden and end their contacts with them, I don’t think the negotiations will be positive or even able to achieve anything,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Continued on Page 14

UAE court fines Arabiya DUBAI: A Dubai appeals court has upheld a verdict ordering Saudi-owned television channel Al Arabiya to pay 100,000 dirhams ($27,230) in compensation to a Saudi prince for failing to air an interview with him. The court said the Dubai-based channel had failed to adhere to a media code of ethics and damaged “the social status” of Prince Saif Al-Islam bin Saud bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud when it advertised but did not broadcast the interview. Prince Saif AlIslam, a novelist some of whose work is banned in Saudi Arabia, claimed the incident had “inflicted emotional, moral and social damage” to him as “an academic and a royal”. Al Arabiya said the interview, filmed in 2008 for the channel’s flagship current affairs program “Ida’at”, was pulled because it was “not up to standard”.

Houthis agree not to attack Saudi Arabia

Saudi girl ends bid to divorce octogenarian RIYADH: A 12-year-old Saudi girl unexpectedly gave up her petition for divorce from an 80-year-old man her father forced her to marry in exchange for a dowry, Saudi media reported yesterday. Despite support from human rights lawyers and child welfare advocates, the girl and her mother, who originally sought the divorce, withdrew the case Monday in a court in Buraidah, in Al-Qasim province, newspapers said. The girl told the court that her marriage to the man was done with her agreement, according to Okaz newspaper. “I agree to the marriage. I have no objection. This is in filial respect to my father and obedience to his wish,” she said. Saleh Al-Dabibi, a lawyer supplied by a charity group to help the girl, said her mother did not inform him of the change of heart, Okaz said. An

dominantly Sunni Arab Middle East and Gulf nations in particular - have been wary of the growing influence of Shiite Iran, especially because of international suspicions that its nuclear program has a military dimension. Iran insists its nuclear work only has peaceful aims like Continued on Page 14

ABU DHABI: A man holds the rope of a camel during the Mazayin Dhafra Camel Festival on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi yesterday. The festival, which includes participants from around the Gulf region, includes a camel beauty contest, a display of UAE handcrafts and other activities aimed at promoting the country’s folklore. — AFP

SANAA: Yemeni Shiite rebels pledged yesterday not to attack neighbouring Saudi Arabia, a key condition laid down by the Sanaa government to end its nearly-six-month military campaign against them. “As long as no one attacks us, we would not target any party,” the office of rebel leader Abdul Malak Al-Houthi said in a statement posted on the rebels’ website. It said the rebels, known also as Houthis, had already made this position clear last week when they announced a “withdrawal from Saudi territory and ending the war”. The issue of captured Saudis would not be a “hurdle”, it said, adding that “if there is a willingness to have peace, this issue can be solved through an exchange of prisoners.” The rebels would have to return six missing Saudi soldiers if they wanted hostilities to

end, Saudi Assistant Minister of Defence Prince Khaled bin Sultan said at the time. Prince Khaled told state media yesterday the body of one missing soldier had been found. The rebel leader offered on Saturday to accept the government’s five-point truce terms, as long as the government halts military attacks. But the government rejected the offer, pointing to a sixth condition stipulating a Houthi pledge not to attack Saudi Arabia. The demand was apparently added after the northern rebels started to lock horns with Riyadh in early November. “We have offered all that we can to stop the bloodshed ... The party that is playing with words, finding excuses and setting up more hurdles in order to keep the war raging should be held responsible,” yesterday’s statement said. — Agencies


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NATIONAL

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

NA congratulates Amir on fourth anniversary KUWAIT: The National Assembly yesterday congratulated His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on the fourth anniversary of assuming the rule in the Arab Gulf state. Addressing fellow lawmakers during an ordinary session, Speaker Jassem AlKhorafi said, “On my behalf and yours, I am pleased to send to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah the sincerest congratulations and best wishes on the fourth anniversary of assuming rule (in

the country).” Al-Khorafi said that this anniversary is dear to the hearts of all Kuwaitis and reflect their love to their leader. Al-Khorafi congratulated the Amir and the Kuwaiti people on the safe return of Head of the National Guards, Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah from his treatment abroad. He expressed happiness over the start of the National and Liberation days celebrations to be observed on February 25 and 26.

For his part, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmad AlSabah congratulated H.H. the Amir on these occasions. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister of State for Development Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah yesterday commended the parliamentary approval of the state development plan. “It is a fresh step towards planning and development in the State of Kuwait,” Sheikh Ahmad, who also doubles as

Minister of State for Housing Affairs, said following a parliamentary session on the plan. He thanked the Kuwaiti National Assembly (parliament) for passing, only yesterday, a couple of crucial draft laws; one bearing on a new capital market authority and the other pertinent to the state development drive. He also hailed the Supreme Council for Planning, which is the highest body for major development projects in the country,

for its cooperative efforts for notching up this achievement. Earlier in the day, the assembly gave the thumbs up to the country’s state development plan for 2010-2014. Lawmakers yesterday agreed to a public prosecutor’s request to revoke impunity of member of parliament Dr. Faisal Al-Mislim over a criminal offense case. Twenty five members out of 45 present have voted with, while 18 rejected and two abstained. The parliament also agreed on a

request by the public prosecutor to lift immunity of MP Dr. Dhaifallah Bouramya on a press offense case, with 25 out of 45 members present voted with, 19 members against and one member abstained. The parliament in the meantime rejected the request by the public prosecutor to lift impunity of member of parliament Khalid Al Sultan over a press offense case. Out of 44 members present, 22 members voted against the lifting, and 21 with while one member abstained. — KUNA

Int’l medical experts on call in February KUWAIT: Several international medical experts are visiting Kuwait during February and will be offering consultations in various fields at hospitals throughout the country, said a senior Ministry of Health (MoH) official yesterday. Dr. Faisal Al-Dousari, the director of the health ministry’s Public Relations and Information Department, said that a visiting expert will be offering specialist consultations at Zain Hospital’s Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department from February 619, while American and German dermatological consultants will be providing consultations at the Assad AlHamad Dermatology Clinic until February 5. Meanwhile, visiting French and American

in the news KAC warning KUWAIT: CEO of the Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC), Hamad Al-Falah, warned of the “poor conditions” the corporation is suffering from and that it could cause an accident. He made these statements in a letter he sent to the Communications Minister, Mohammad Al-Busairi, and indicated that the KAC is unable to commit to their responsibilities. He added that due to the deterioration of its fleet and maintenance operations a large number of aircrafts haven’t been improved since 1991, reported Al-Qabas. Al-Falah stressed the importance of making the Cabinet aware of the deterioration of the KAC’s fleet “in order to avoid great damage to the corporation’s property and for the safety of passengers”. Al-Falah criticized the delay of privatizing KAC. He said that the company is suffering from a lack of financial liquidity which has made it unable to commit to its operative and administrative duties. He added that the corporation is suffering from the financial burden of over employment and regressed productivity.

consultant oncologists will be providing expert advice on cancer treatment at the Sheikha Badriya Chemotherapy Center between February 15 and 18, reported Al-Jarida. Meanwhile, a British medical expert will be offering consultancy services at Ibn Sina Hospital between February 13 and 19, while an American specialist will be providing the same services between February 28 and March 5. At Al-Rai Orthopedic Hospital, a British specialist will be offering consultancy services until February 5, while other foreign experts will be available to provide specialist advice there up till March 5.

Egyptian cellist, Korean pianist to perform KUWAIT: Kuwait Chamber Philharmonia will hold a special international concert on Feb 13, featuring Egyptian cellist Hassan Moataz El Molla and South Korean pianist Sonja Park. The program of the concert, which will be held at the Hashemi II Ballroom of the Radisson Blu Hotel, includes famous music from Handel, Beethoven, Schostakovitsch, and the Egyptian composer G. Abdel Rahim. El Molla is one of the renowned Arabic soloist cellists. Born in Cairo in 1980, he began studying music at the Cairo Conservatory at the age of nine. After winning several local awards and attaining the special appreciation of the Patron at the Mstislav Roztrpovitch International Competition, El Molla joined the Youth Orchestra in West Devan and Mediterranean See Orchestra. He later joined the Cairo Symphony Orchestra as a principal player, and has played as a soloist in Germany, France, Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Syria, Lebanon or Morocco. As for Park, she has appeared in concert halls worldwide, and last year she made her Russian debut at the prestigious Andrey Sakharov International Art Festival. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait is expected to experience a bountiful truffles season owing to this year’s generous winter. According to weather forecasts, more rainfall and thunderstorms may occur. Desert dwellers consider truffles a delicacy and believe that thunderstorms are an indication of a good truffle season. Relatively large quantities of truffles have begun to appear in the local market. The price of a kilogram of truffles can touch KD 50 depending on the quality, demand and scarcity of this delicacy. — Photos by KUNA

Fourth anniversary of Amir’s reign celebrated in Sofia SOFIA: Kuwait’s Ambassador to Bulgaria Faisal Al-Adwani said yesterday that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah’s major accomplishments had left a major impression at the regional and international levels. Marking the fourth anniversary of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad’s ascension to the throne as the 15th Amir of the State of Kuwait, Al-Adwani said: “We are very proud of the accomplishments of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, especially his initiative to transform Kuwait

into a regional financial center which influences the economic policies of the region and worldwide.” Moreover, said the ambassador, His Highness the Amir has encouraged the government and the parliament to approve social and developmental plans, with his contributions considered a landmark in the regional and Arab nations. His Highness the Amir seeks to develop Kuwait’s infrastructure to enable it to become a financial center in the region, said Ambassador Al-Adwani, with HH the Amir

playing a strong and influential personal role in supporting and implementing the programs, plans, and projects of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which became clear during the 30th GCC summit conference in Kuwait last December. The ambassador praised HH Sheikh Sabah’s efforts to unite the Arab nations and mend fences among the Arab leaders, applauding HH the Amir’s efforts for Arab reconciliation on the sidelines of the Arab Economic Summit held in Kuwait in January last year. Such initiatives yielded great out-

comes such as supporting HH Sheikh Sabah’s proposal to establish a fund to finance small and medium-sized business enterprises in the Arab world, and the adoption of ambitious plans proposed by His Highness for the advancement of economic, financial and social Arab countries in the region. HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah is gifted with wisdom and sophistication when it comes to foreign policy due to his long diplomatic experience, the Ambassador said, adding that HH the Amir has also helped to resolve regional and international problems

and differences and supported humanitarian aid to Third World countries and poor nations, with his generosity leaving a mark on the hearts of many people around the world. Ambassador Al-Adwani congratulated HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad on the occasion of the anniversary of his ascension to the throne, which coincided with the celebration of Kuwait independence and liberation days, wishing prosperity for Kuwait and its people under HH the Amir’s wise leadership. — KUNA

Al-Humoud ‘ready to face consequences’ Restricting media freedoms KUWAIT: Education Minister Dr. Moudhi Al-Humoud has declared that she is ready to face any political interpellation as long as it is carried out through the correct democratic means. Speaking about the grilling rumored to be presented shortly by MP Dr. Salwa Al-Jassar, the minister said, “Whoever accepts a job in the political field should be prepared and ready to handle the consequences.” Dr. Al-Humoud was responding to journalists’ questions following her patronage of the inauguration ceremony for the 63rd annual boy scouts’ camp, currently being held in Kabad with participants from three Arab nations taking part.

Al-Humoud also spoke about the continuing controversy over the lack of monitoring of private tutors in the country, saying that the Ministry of Education (MoE) has already established a strategy to deal with this issue, reported Al-Qabas. The MoE’s new plan will be phased in gradually, she explained, in coordination with the interior ministry. During her visit to the scout camp, the education minister also emphasized the importance of meeting all the requirements outlined by the camp organizers, including the provision of running water and maintenance for several of the facilities there. She also indicated that the activities during this year’s event will focus on encouraging

patriotism and cooperation among scouts. Meanwhile, the former head of the dissolved Fahaheel Sports Club’s management board has condemned the action taken against that and other clubs by the Public Authority for Youth and Sports (PAYS), as well as slamming the Fatwa and Legislation Authority for its part in these actions. Walid Al-Fulaij said that the Fatwa and Legislation Authority had set itself up as an enemy of the Fahaheel Sports Club after taking action to stop the implementation of a ruling from the Court of Cassation overruling the PAYS’ order to dissolve the Fahaheel and Shaab Sports Clubs’ management boards. AlFulaij also accused the parliamentary youth and sports committee of “interfering,” alleging that it had put pressure on the cabinet to prevent any attempts to return the members of the

“legally elected” dissolved management boards to their former positions. Meanwhile, Bassam AlBassam, the Assistant Secretary of the Qadisiya Sports Club, suggested that the MPs who had rejected overruling the PAYS’ decision were “practicing dictatorship under the claim of seeking democracy,” reported Al-Watan. Al-Bassam urged the MPs to study the reasons behind the court’s ruling, which he said are the illegitimacy of the Kuwait Football Association’s transitional committee and the fact that the PAYS had not provided any reasons for its dissolution order. The Secretary of the Yarmouk Sports Club Ahmad Al-Jarkie agreed with Al-Fulaij and Al-Bassam, accusing the MPs of seeking to further their personal interests rather than the interests of the country’s sporting bodies.

‘a setback’ in democracy KUWAIT: Columnists, media personnel and political activists agreed on the seriousness of the government’s proposal to restrict freedoms on the media and press. They described the proposal as “a setback to the democratic process”. These opinions were shared during a seminar at the Dar Marafi to discuss the proposed amendments on the audio-visual law. All those in attendance agreed that the government’s proposed amendments would do nothing to address the current societal turbulence, reported Al-Qabas. Editor-in-chief of AlRaya daily, Saud Al-Subaiei, urged MPs to protect the freedoms of the media and press, “which helped them reach their positions in the Parliament.” He reiterated the importance of fighting against sectarianism and pointed out that division in society did not come

from the media but originated from individuals in pursuit of financial gain and national wealth. While he confessed that there are some negative aspects to Kuwaiti journalism he said there were several individuals working in the best interest of the country. Journalist Sami Al-Nasf stressed the importance of protecting press freedom, which he described as the backbone of democracy. He claimed that the suggested restrictions were made for personal reasons and that the problem with Kuwait’s press lies in the lack of professionalism. Activist Mousa Marafi said that journalism only reflects what takes place in society and should not be blamed for these current social problems. He said that restrictions are not the proper response to the current state of chaos and blamed the Cabinet and the Parliament for the current dilemma.

MOT forgery gang KUWAIT: The arrest of an Afghani truck driver for using a forged MOT certificate led to the capture of a four-man gang who had used forged MOT Testing Department seals to create 700 counterfeit certificates. On being arrested, the Afghani truck driver told police that he had obtained the forged certificate from an Indian man in exchange for money. The Indian man was arrested shortly afterwards, leading police to two of his accomplices, who are also Indian, reported Al-Watan. They in turn told officers that they had been working with a Syrian ringleader, who ran the forgery operation from his home. On raiding the ringleader’s home, police found sixteen forged rubber stamps, which he admitted had been used to forge around 700 MOT documents in exchange for payments ranging between KD 20 and KD 100. All the suspects were taken into custody and an investigation is underway to trace all the forged documents. Checkpoint removal KUWAIT: MP Saadoun AlOtaibi called on the interior minister to remove a checkpoint set at the entrance of the Sabah Al-Salem residential complex to detect fugitives of financial cases. The MP explained that the majority of the complex’s residents are divorced and widowed Kuwaiti women who have to suffer through long inspection procedures on a daily basis. He added that this practice violates their privacy, reported Al-Qabas. Al-Otaibi explained that his request should not be considered a demand for less security, and mentioned that police patrols should be increased and set up across the street, especially during night hours. He said his request is a response to the several complaints he received from concerned residents.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) recently concluded its 22nd training course for intermediate school children on environmental issues. — KUNA


NATIONAL

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

3 New disability rights law

Govt bodies slammed for non-cooperation By Rawan Khalid KUWAIT: A senior Official representing the parents of disabled Kuwaitis has strongly criticized a number of government bodies for not cooperating in granting the disabled the benefits to which they are entitled under international law. “Our proposals to ensure proper and decent living conditions for disabled Kuwaitis have been ignored by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor and other government establishments,” said Rehab Boresli, the chairperson of the Kuwaiti Society for Guardians of the Disabled, in an exclusive interview with the Kuwait Times.

KUWAIT: Bahrain’s Information Minister, Sheikha Mai Bint Mohamed Al-Khalifa is seen off at Kuwait Airport by the Director of the Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamia, Sheikha Hessa Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah following a short state visit to Kuwait. — KUNA

kuwait digest

Govt should go after bigger fish

“N

o one knows precisely how most government organizations are being run,” wrote Thaar Al-Rashidi in his column yesterday in Al-Anba. “If the creator of bureaucracy were to come alive and enter one of our government sectors he would leave with a case of Alzheimer’s,” he continued In his column, Al-Rashidi said that there are administrative violations that can be allowed and some that are impossible to accept. “How can an administration

insist on deducting the salary of a staff member who was late by four minutes and turn a blind eye to ministry theft that amounts to millions of dinars?” he asked. He gave the example of the Ministry of Health where it was announced that government employees took more than 1.3 million medical leaves in one year. “How brave of the government to follow up on the medical leaves of 32,000 employees which cost the government KD 20 million but ignore the one order

change in a government project that costs government funds the same amount,” he continued. “‘No one can say anything to that one VIP contractor but they can follow up those several patients who were sick, or pretended to be sick. I don’t encourage talking sick leave, but if the government wants justice let it start its application on the big sharks. If they are unable to then they should close their eyes to those 32,000 smaller fish,” he concluded.

Iraqis urged Labor law to be enforced in 6 months All co-operative society KUWAIT: The labor law gov- Mohammad Al-Kandari made to return erning the private sector will the announcement. Speaking board of directors can coordibe enforced in six months fol- to reporters at the opening nate with the union about Kuwaitis’ lowing an officials publication ceremony of a home ware prices and communicate with appears in the official exhibition, he said that the the Ministry of Commerce possessions that pricing committee would con- about any company that gazette . KUWAIT: The Iraqi foreign ministry has urged Iraqi citizens in possession of any documents or property stolen from Kuwaitis during the 1990 invasion to hand them in order for them to be returned to their rightful owners. The minister made the appeal on the front page of Al-Sabah, the Iraqi government’s daily newspaper, indicating that the stolen items would be returned to their rightful owners as per the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) resolution. Iraq has repeatedly asked the five permanent members of the UNSC to lift the ‘Chapter 7’ article of the UN’s charter from the country. International sanctions have been placed on Iraq since 1990 under ‘Chapter 7’ as a result of the then-regime’s invasion of Kuwait. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari had handed the ambassadors of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia to Kuwait letters to be sent to their respective governments asking for their support in order to push the Security Council to issue a new regulation revoking the ‘Chapter 7’ penalties against the country. The UNSC had obliged Iraq to pay five percent of its oil revenues to a compensation fund administered by the UN, which has so far received $52 billion of the $386 billion demanded in compensation, with $39 billion of the funds collected to date being allocated to Kuwait.

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs

tinue to function at co-operative unions, reported Al-Anba.

unjustly raises its prices, he said.

in the news Changeable weather KUWAIT: Rain is likely to return to Kuwait again today, while the recent changeable weather is expected to last for a couple of weeks, according to local meteorologist Issa Ramadan. While local temperatures have risen over the past few days from their low levels last week, they are expected to fall again over the weekend, warned Ramadan, with the country set to remain cold next week. The fluctuating springtime temperatures are also leading to changeable weather patterns, the meteorologist said. Expat salaries hiked KUWAIT: The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has approved a pay hike for expatriate engineers who are contracted with the Kuwait Municipality. Their salaries will be incremented by KD 250. The Municipality was informed of this measure in a letter referred from the Head of the CSC, Abdul-Aziz Al-Ziben, Al-Qabas. He said that the decision goes into effect starting next month and that similar steps may be applied to other professions in future. Vatican Ambassador KUWAIT: At Seif Palace on Sunday, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad AlSabah received the Vatican’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Munjed Al-Hashem, on the occasion of the ambassador’s ending his tenure. The meeting was attended by the head of HH the Crown

Prince’s Diwan Sheikh Mubarak Al-Faisal AlSabah. Later, the Crown Prince received Jumana Al-Tubeikh, who presented the CP with a copy of his latest work, entitled, ‘Letters in Red Pen.’ HH the Crown Prince also met with the General Supervisor and Editorial Manager of the Arabic edition of Al-Ahram daily, Amin Mohammad Amin. Informatics competition KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah will sponsor the Second Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Award on Wednesday, an official said. The Director General of Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) Dr. Ali AlShamlan pointed out that the purpose is the same as that was first stated upon while initiating the contest. Through both encouragement and recognition, the prize aims to enrich and boost electronic content locally on sound scientific and knowledge basis to further Kuwait’s position on the regional and international front. He pointed out that this award is a Kuwaiti version of international awards in this field, indicating registration starts tomorrow and lasts till April through the official website. As for categories, he listed e-government, e-entertainment, e-health, e-commerce, e-culture, e-learning, and electronic and digital content. Al-Shamlan said eligible entries are websites, internet systems, intra-net systems, software, multimedia, and interactive multimedia productions and products.

The parliamentary committee on disabled persons on Monday reached an agreement with the government on the second reading of the disabilities act, deciding to submit its report to the National Assembly for further discussion and voting during a session today. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) said earlier that the new disability rights bill is essentially a draft law, meaning that its source is the National Assembly. Therefore, said a ministry spokesperson, the government must give its official approval. The government has already welcomed the bill in principle, although it expressed a number of reservations over it. The MSAL official said that the government’s reservations were not aimed at opposing the law or standing against the disabled, but rather wished to see the legislation made watertight with any obstacles removed so that it could be applied quickly and practically, particularly concerning the provision of financial assistance. Boresli

the disabled. “The Ministry of Education should prepare teachers and students to teach them how to deal with the disabled at schools,” she added. Jassem Al-Bader, a member of both the Kuwaiti Society for Guardians of the Disabled and the Kuwaiti Society for Down’s Syndrome, said, “I am very happy that the National Assembly is discussing the disability legislation issue, and that the MPs called us personally and told us about the new law for disabled people, and also that they called the Special Association for Disabled and met with them and listened to their demands. The law should inspire the parents of disabled people to treat them well, because some parents neglect their disabled children and steal all the money given for them.” Al-Bader concluded, “My demand is to establish a special athletics club for disabled people, because through sport disabled people will become more mentally developed.”

Eight injured in road accidents around Kuwait By Hanan Al Saadoun KUWAIT: Two men, a 33-yearold Kuwaiti and a 56-year-old bedoon (stateless) resident, were taken to Farwaniya Hospital after suffering head and back injuries in a car crash on Kabad Road. In a separate incident, a 35year-old Bangladeshi man sustained heavy bruising and complained of back pain after being hit by a car near the Shuwaikh vegetable market. He was taken to Sabah Hospital. In another accident, a 50year-old Sri Lankan woman was rushed to Farwaniya Hospital after suffering a heart attack when she was hit by a car on Mohammad Bin Al-Qassim Road near the Sixth Ring Road. Meanwhile, three Kuwaiti citizens in their twenties were taken to Jahra Hospital after complaining of back pain following an accident on Salmi Road in which their vehicle overturned. In a separate incident, a 35year-old Kuwaiti man suffered a dislocated shoulder and cuts to his head in a car accident on Fahaheel Road. He was taken to the local hospital. Convulsions A 17-year-old girl was taken to Qurain specialist medical center when she suffered convulsions which led to breathing difficulties, later being transferred to Adan Hospital.

KUWAIT: The Army Chief of Joint Staffs, Lieut. General Ahmed Al-Khaled Al-Sabah with Batch 14 (specialist officers of university graduates) and Batch 37 (working officers). — KUNA

Kuwait police officer assaulted KUWAIT: A police officer was assaulted physically and verbally by a Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) national on a street in Sabah Al-Salem. The incident occurred after the officer pulled the man over for driving unusually and discovered that he had no identification on him at the time. While arresting him the man resisted and pushed the officer away before physically assaulting him with a knife. The man escaped and authorities are still searching for him. Traffic tickets Police stationed a checkpoint on Ghazali street and issued 250 citations. The citations regarded violations concerned with safety measures on the road. Bomb deactivated A citizen found a land mine in the animal farm area of Al-Kabad. Bomb squads responded to the man’s emergency call and discovered that the explosive was a cluster bomb from the 1990 Iraq invasion. The bomb was successfully deactivated.

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Consul General to Frankfurt, Ambassador Yousif Abdul Samad honors the Head of Kuwait Health Office, Dr. Abdullah Al-Wettaib on the conclusion of his tenure. — KUNA

said, “The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor attended a meeting on the disabled only once, as did the Public Authority For Social Security. Both bodies made some remarks on the disability bill, but these remarks were ignored too.” “If the existing law for disabled people actually worked, I think we would be better than all the other countries,” Boresli added. The society chairperson explained that some new points had been included in the new disability rights bill, including an item on the education services provided to the disabled in Kuwait and another on the law regarding the sports facilities provided to the disabled. She said that she hopes that Ministry of Education (MoE) representatives would also attend meetings for disabled to find out more about how best to provide education to the disabled, saying that while the MSAL is not there to provide education to the disabled, the MoE should be providing them with education. She stressed that a special curriculum should be introduced for

Woman saved A citizen saved his neighbor’s daughter when his quick response to her screams drove away two masked men. The incident took place in an apartment building in Saad Al-Abdullah when the two men stormed into an apartment

where the Arab woman was and threatened to rape her at knifepoint. The woman’s screams for help prompted her neighbor to rush to her. The police responded to the emergency and are searching for the suspects. Body found The body of an Asian man was found outside of a building in Al-Hasawi. Police responded to the emergency after receiving a call regarding a man who was found unconscious. An autopsy was ordered for the body to determine the time and cause of death. Drug possession Jahra police arrested two Asian drug dealers in possession of 110 illegal drug pills. The arrests occurred after the two men were pulled over while driving on a main road in Jahra. The men were placed under arrest and taken to the General Department for Drug Control. Arab mugged An Arab man was mugged in Jahra by three men impersonating police officers. The men took his wallet, which contained KD 260, and cell phone. He informed local police and a case was opened to investigate the matter further. Jahra kidnapper A kidnapper who abducted a 13-yearold girl from outside of her family’s

home in Jahra returned her after she continued screaming. The girl returned unharmed and described the incident to her family. The family immediately went to the Jahra police station and informed officials about the incident. A case was opened and investigations are underway in pursuit of the kidnapper. Bootleggers held Police arrested four Asian men on charges of possessing and selling alcohol. The arrest occurred when a taxi driver was found with four liquor bottles in Farwaniya. After interrogation he confessed to buying the drinks from three other Asians who make alcohol at their residence in Khaitan. The three bootleggers were also placed under arrest and all of them were referred to the General Department for Drugs Control. Bedoon injured A 21-year-old bedoon man was injured when he was struck by a car during a fight between a group of youngsters in Al-Sulaibiya. The brawlers stopped the fight and attempted to escape arrest when police and paramedics responded to the emergency. The injured man was taken to Farwaniya Hospital and police arrested five of the brawlers. Police are still searching for the driver of the vehicle who hit the man and managed to escape.


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NBK hosts seminar

2008 Finance Act explained to non-UK domiciles, Kuwaitis By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: A seminar entitled ‘UK Tax Rules and Planning’ clarified some aspects on the UK tax law and the effect of UK 2008 Finance Act on non-UK domiciles (a person who is not a permanent resident of the UK). It was held on Monday

Public Relations team with renowned Kuwaiti actor Abdulhussain Abdulredha at the seminar.

NBK’s Chief Executive Officer Isam Al Sager at the seminar.

Order to withdraw baby milk KUWAIT: The Kuwait Municipality has ordered the withdrawal of the ‘Hero Baby’ brand of baby milk formula from co-operative societies. Traces of the potentially fatal ‘entro bacter sakazakii’ bacteria were found in these

products, announced Head of the Imported Food Department, Khalid AlZahmoul. This decision was based on similar moves made by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, which have banned the sale of this prod-

uct in their markets, reported Al-Watan. Officers from the Municipality were referred to warehouses in order to ensure that the distribution process is halted. This is in addition to taking samples to be tested for traces of bacteria.

Robert Blower suggested that to avoid becoming a UK tax resident and therefore paying obligatory taxes, UK visitors should not spend more than 80-90 days per tax year in the UK. Being a UK resident, one will be subjected to UK income tax and the capital gains tax. In addition, income and gains obtained from abroad will be subjected to UK taxes as well. Blower suggested that residents be aware of the UK rules, and as much as possible keep record of the days (stay) in the UK. “Every midnight, your stay in the UK is counted as one day based on new rules,” Blower said. Comparing the old rules to the new (Finance Act), he said that old rules usually ignore the arrival and departure days as counting days (of their stay) in the UK. But the new rules, according to Blower, include the arrival date, but ignore the days of departure. For example, an individual who arrives in the UK on December 1, 2008 and leaves on December 3, 2008, will be accounted for as having spent two days in the UK, unlike the old rule is counted as one day. He also advised non-residents to preserve the record or evidence of their entry to the UK such as travel tickets, boarding passes, diaries that may show the date of arrival/departure, stamps on passports or even e-tickets. “These will be needed if the

evening at the Sheraton Hotel in Kuwait City. The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) hosted the seminar. Participants in the seminar were mostly non-UK domicile NBK clients and regular visitors to the UK. Robert Blower and Piers Master from Charles and Russell Firm, a UK based law firm, conducted the seminar and explained laws that were beneficial to visitors or non-permanent residents.

The speakers at the seminar tax authorities investigate your circumstances,” he pointed out. Blower also stressed that medical exceptions will not be considered. “There are some considerations, like circumstances beyond your control. Example, if you meet with an accident, or if you fall ill and your circumstances require you to stay for additional days in the UK, those are beyond your con-

trol and the authorities will look into that. If you come to the UK for medical purposes and the doctor asks you to stay in the UK for additional month, that will be considered an exception. You’ll not be exempted because you are visiting the UK to receive medical treatment,” he mentioned. Piers Masters offered valuable tips to those plan-

ning to become UK residents. “Take professional advice in the tax year before arriving. If you plan to arrive on January 1, 2012, start your tax planning on April 5, 2011,” he said. On buying properties, he advised Kuwaitis to bring funds to the UK before becoming a UK resident. Transit exemption, according to Master, applies

only to international travelers who intend to spend a midnight in the UK. It does not cover individuals who attend social gatherings or meetings. In conclusion, the duo advised UK visitors (non-domicile) to always seek professional guidance and be aware of the UK rules and regulations. The seminar was graced by NBK’s Chief Executive Isam Sager.

kuwait digest

Chamber of Commerce became the target

‘I

t seems like whenever a problem ends in the country another one emerges with a new state of urgency,’ wrote Rashid Al-Radaan in his column yesterday in Al-Watan. He added that it looks as though the problems are premeditated and brought to the surface at convenient times. It looks like the attention has shifted toward the economic sector and that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry are to become the next target, he pointed

out. “The Chamber has always been a haven for businessmen and tradesmen and is the only fortress that has still to be attacked,” he wrote. Al-Radaan wrote that while it is true that the Chamber of Commerce was established before the constitution, it is important that the facility be protected by the law. While it is true that violations have been committed by workers there it does

not justify the attacks currently directed at it, he continued. “This proves that there are hidden agendas behind these attacks and that they were made as part of a plan to target every part of the country,” he asserted in his article. “What further confirms this is the fact that the Chamber has been targeted amongst all other corrupt facilities, as though it is the cause of all the country’s problems!” he concluded.

KUWAIT: The voluntary work group (Hematna L-Deertna), a division of the Kuwaiti Social Work Department, on Monday held a billiard contest for the disabled as part of its efforts to help them integrate into wider society. The head of the voluntary group Ibrahim Al-Mashouti said that the tournament, held on Monday evening, was the first such event to be organized in the country for this segment of the Kuwaiti society. He expressed the group’s delight in the presence at the event of the group’s honorary chairperson Sheikha Intisar Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah and another of its keen supporters, Sheikha Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, calling on national grassroots and welfare societies to support such activities.

KU, KISR publications attract visitors CAIRO: Publications issued by Kuwait University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) have attracted attention from a large number of visitors at the 42nd Cairo International Book Fair, said Kuwaiti participants in the event yesterday. Speaking to KUNA on the sidelines of the book fair, Sami Al-Wuhaibi, the Director of Kuwait University’s Council

of Scientific Research, said that the university is displaying a large number of magazines and books in various fields to highlight its scientific output. KU offers a civilized and academic service to readers, enabling them to access the latest works of intellectuals of different nationalities, he explained KISR researcher Abdulaziz

Al-Khatib said that a number of Egyptian and other Arab academics and researchers have acquired books on Kuwait history during visits to the fair. KISR is taking part for the 15th year running in the major annual Egyptian literary event, which was inaugurated by President Hosni Mubarak. The participants in the book fair are offering over one

million titles in various fields, Al-Khatib added. Kuwait is represented at the book fair by Kuwait University, KISR, the Ministry of Information, the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL), the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, and a number of other bodies and publishers. — KUNA


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Editors-in-chief tackle press issues in media forum

Kuwaiti journalism faces ‘economic problems’ By Ahmad Saeid KUWAIT: The biggest problem facing the Kuwaiti press is not freedom, but economic difficulties, according to the Editor-in-Chief of a leading local Walid Al-Nisf, the Editorin-Chief of Al-Qabas said that the influence of advertising on the Kuwaiti press is “extremely huge.” “The financial crisis and the internet are pressing heavily on the press all over the world. The advertising income of the Kuwaiti press in the year 2009 plunged by 25-35 percent, and big enterprises enjoy major influence on the finance pages. We have much less freedom in the finance pages than we have in the political ones,” he said. Al-Nisf added that the arrival of a ‘new wave’ of newspapers had positively affected the veteran local dailies. “The new newspapers got us to rethink the ways in which we present the news, and come up with new designs to compete with the newcomers,” he explained. The prominent local media figure asserted that Al-Qabas always tries to avoid using any sectarian language. “For example,” he said, “Today Islamist MP Hayef AlMutairi, submitted 100 questions to Shiite minister Fadhil Safar, and we are not going to carry this news tomorrow, because it seems like it has sectarian motivations.” Muhammad Al-Rumaihi, the Editor-in-Chief of Awan, said that the word ‘freedom’ is the most repeated word in the constitution, but emphasized that with freedom comes responsibility. He argued that there is a lack of professionalism in the Kuwaiti press. “The failure to distinguish between news, opinion and rumor is a common mistake in the local media. The society loves ‘hot

Call for answers on selective mosque licensing

KUWAIT: The Charge d’Affaires of the Union of Myanmar hosted a reception at Marina Hotel on Sunday evening to celebrate the 62nd Anniversary of his country’s independence. High officials and diplomats attended the function. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

kuwait digest

The legislative process ‘W henever issues continue to persist, opinions are voiced out and calls are made to pass legislations to solve them. For example, when crimes escalate, people suggest that a law be enforced to stop them from increasing,’ said Rashid Al-Radaan in AlWatan. Likewise, when insults are publicly made on TV and threatens national unity, people call for a legislation to be passed to address mediarelated offenses. In addition, whenever statements are made in the press about MPs being attacked or criticized, calls emerge for the press law to be amended and impose more stringent penalties. However, looking at all these and similar cases, all these moves come as a reaction to an action that has already taken place. This has

created an urgent need for it to be addressed. This is where the main problem lies. As legislations should not be based on certain pressures or based on a certain circumstance, it needs to be thoroughly scrutinized based on true comprehension of the situation. The writer feels that this step was necessary so that inept legislations that eventually fail to put an end to a problem are not devised. MPs had previously intended to impose amendments on the Audio-Visual Law, and had achieved the Cabinet’s approval, only to be met with a strong objection from journalists and media personnel, noted Al-Radaan. Some MPs changed their minds and announced their support for freedom over restrictions, despite the fact that they had previously asked for amending the audio-visual law on several occasions.

KUWAIT: MP Mohammed Hayef has submitted a number of parliamentary questions to the Minister of Public Works and Municipality Affairs Dr. Fadhil Safar, questioning the minister’s approval of licenses to build a number of mosques, primarily Sunni ones, while rejecting applications to build other, Shiite ones. Hayef requested information on the criteria used by the ministry to furnish licenses to those wishing to build mosques, reported Al-Watan. If no such list of criteria exists, he said, he would like to be provided with the reasons behind the ministry’s decisions in this regard. The MP provided several examples of Kuwaiti citizens being denied licenses for building mosques, saying that these citizens had been told that their applications would violate health and safety measures; despite this, he said, other very similar applications had been licensed. Hayef also accused the ministry of committing a number of other violations, claiming that certain employees without the necessary skills, qualifications or experience had been promoted to managerial posts, and asking for an explanation of the basis on which such promotions are made.

Indian foreign minister visiting Kuwait NEW DELHI: India’s External Affairs Minister Somanhalli Mallaiah Krishna is scheduled to arrive in Kuwait today on a two-day official visit at the invitation of Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. India’s External Affairs Ministry announced the minister’s visit in a press release issued yesterday, revealing that Krishna will be accompanied by a number of senior officials and media persons. During the visit, Krishna is expected to hold substantive discussions on areas of mutual interest with his

SM Krishna counterpart and the Kuwaiti leadership. “India and Kuwait enjoy traditionally close and friendly relations, based on historical links that have deepened and diversified over time.

Geographic proximity, ancient trade ties, and cultural affinities, continue to sustain and nurture our long-standing friendship,” said the press release. Kuwait is an important trading partner for India, with Indo-Kuwaiti trade reaching $8.4 billion in 20072008 and estimated to total around $10.5 billion for the 2008-2009 period. Indian companies are active in the petroleum and power sectors, and Kuwait is an important partner in India’s quest for energy security, added the release. “The presence of a large concentration of Indian nationals in Kuwait is another vital aspect of our bilateral ties. According to rough esti-

mates, there are nearly 600,000 Indians working in Kuwait in different capacities,” it noted. Visits and cultural exchanges between the two nations are regular occurrences, with HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah’s visit to India in June 2006 being a landmark event that imparted a strong momentum to bilateral ties between the two sides, it remarked. The statement added that the then-Indian VicePresident Hamid Ansari’s visit to Kuwait on April 6-8, 2009 built upon and further reinforced this friendship between India and Kuwait, to their mutual benefit. — KUNA

newspaper. This remark came during a seminar held at the Arab Media Forum’s headquarters in Yarmouk on Monday evening. The seminar hosted the editors-in-chief of three Kuwaiti newspapers, Al-Qabas, AlSeyassah, and Awan, to speak about the difficulties facing the local press.

KUWAIT: (From left to right) Muhammad Al-Rumaihy, Mathi Al-Khamis, Waleed Al-Nisf, Ahmad AlJarallah, Salem Al-Wawan and Dr.Yaseen Al-Yaseen. — Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh blood’ and scandals. People over-badmouth each other, and there is a tendency in society to accept criticism when it’s aimed at others, but not when its addressed to oneself,” he said. Democracy means the ability to respectfully disagree with one another, Al-Rumaihi

asserted, but there is a misunderstanding in Kuwait of the way people interact within democracy. “Each group has its own principles and red lines, but only a few people respect the principles of other groups. I’d even say there is a struggle of interests involved in Kuwaiti

society,” he said. The Editor-in-Chief of AlSeyassah, Ahmad Al-Jarallah, said that the local media could not have caused any harm if the government wasn’t so ‘weak.” “The political scene in the country changes based on a single article published in a local newspaper. For example,

when one daily published a report stating that there were ‘disco-style’ cafes in Salmiya, the next day, the government announced it would close all the cafes in the country after a certain hour. If it were a strong government, that article wouldn’t have had such impact,” he concluded.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Construction of dam in Falougha

$18 million Kuwaiti loan to Lebanon BEIRUT: Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) announced here yesterday that it will provide a $18 million loan to Lebanon to finance the construction of a water dam and tank in Falougha area in Mount Lebanon. An agreement on the loan will be signed soon, said KFAED’s representative Dr Mohammad Sadeqi on the sidelines of a tour organized by the fund for outstanding Kuwaiti students. The tank will have a capacity of one million cubic meters of water and will cover the water needs of 35 towns in Mount Lebanon, he pointed out. The project, which will be ready soon, has a high economic feasibility, he stressed.

British Council plans online photo contest KUWAIT: The British Council is calling on amateur and professional photographers in the Middle East to capture what the region’s cultural heritage means to them-its past, present and future-by submitting entries to its ‘My Father’s House’ online photography competition before March 31. In a press release yesterday, the British Council said that winning entries would be displayed later this year online and at an exhibition at the British Council in London. “This exhibition will provide a collective representation of how people living in the Middle East today view their cultural heritage, as a way to help build

awareness and understanding about the region in the UK. Winners will also receive top of the range digital cameras provided by Olympus UK as prizes, “ it said. According to the press release, this free online photography competition (www.britishcouncil.org/myfathershouse) forms part of the British Council’s major regional arts project: ‘My Father’s House: the architecture of cultural heritage’. The competition is open to anyone over the age of 13 years who is resident in the Middle East countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen. Entrants can

submit up to three photographs which express their response, one for each of the following three themes: Past - A Place in Time; Present - A Sense of Home; and Future - Nostalgia for the Future. Entries to the online photography competition will be split into two age categories: 13-24 years and 25 years and above. The judges will look for photographs that make a positive impact on them by the way they portray the emotion of their subject. Entries should be submitted online before March 31. The British Council’s Regional Projects Manager Creativity, Hannah Henderson, said, “People and the way

they interact with their environment shape a culture. All of us who live in the region therefore play a role in the evolving cultural heritage of the Middle East. “Our online photography competition is a fantastic opportunity for everyone in the region-amateur and professional photographers alike-to reflect on what the world immediately around us actually means to us and to then share that view with a much wider audience. It is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and understanding about the breadth and diversity of the rich cultural heritage of this very dynamic part of the world and help to dispel myths about the Middle East in the UK.” —KUNA

A group of students, taking part in the tour, had visited Al-Qaisamani project and hailed the Kuwaiti projects aiming to serve Lebanon’s people and economic development. KFAED signed 16 agreements providing loans to Lebanon. The loans, with a total value of $550 million, were used to fund projects involving infrastructure development like the construction of hospitals, water and electricity projects, and roads in Lebanon. In addition, Kuwaiti provided a $300 million grant to Lebanon in 2006 to help in reconstruction. Meanwhile, outstanding Kuwaiti students, taking part in a trip organized by KFAED, visited landmarks and Kuwaiti projects in AlIsmailiya governorate in Egypt. The students were accompanied by a number of Egyptian officials who briefed them on projects funded by KFAED. The students met with AlIsmailiya’s Education Undersecretary Muhammad Merie before visiting the Suez Canal and the educational buildings project. Merie said in a press statement that Kuwaiti contributions to the governorate, which has a population of one million, had a great effect on education here. It also strengthened the relations between the Kuwaiti and Egyptian people, he added. He noted that Al-Ismailiya was among the first governorates in Egypt to implement the decentralization system, in addition to providing distance education. Meanwhile,

Shareef Zaki director of the educational buildings project, which is funded by KFAED, said that the Kuwaiti support solved many educational problems here. The project consists of five schools with 85 classes for students from kindergarten to high school, he noted. The project began after the 1992 earthquake that hit Egypt and demolished many educational facilities, he added. Zaki praised the Kuwaiti support and emphasized that Kuwaiti-Egyptian relations were strong. On the trip, Kuwaiti student Bader AlShimmeri said that it was beneficial and involved many visits and activities. He said the group was briefed on the educational project in addition to the project of deepening the Suez Canal which were funded by KFAD. The two projects improved the educational and economic situations in AlIsmiliya, he added. Kuwaiti student Abdumohsen AlJuwainan said that the tour was a special opportunity to visit the governorate’s historic sites. He said he got information on the October 1973 war in which Kuwaiti military forces took part and the Arab side defeated Israel. The program organized by KFAED will conclude on Feb 7. As part of the program, 12 male outstanding students visited Egypt, while 12 female outstanding students visited Lebanon. —KUNA

Top priority to protection of Kuwait environment

ABU DHABI: Kuwaiti Minister of Health Dr Hilal Al-Sayer and other ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council member states pose for a group photograph. —KUNA

Health ministers meet in Abu Dhabi ABU DHABI: Kuwaiti Minister of Health Dr Hilal Al-Sayer affirmed yesterday significance of cooperation among member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council in the health field. Dr Al-Sayer, in a statement coinciding with start of the 68th session of the GCC Health Ministers Council, themed “electronic services in health,” expressed satisfaction “at the achievements that had been made at the level of coordination among the council member states in the health arena, in line with directions of the political leaders.”

Continuous contacts among the senior health officials in the GCC states have been fruitful, the minister said, expressing hope that the session would be crowned with resolutions that would lead to more accomplishments in the health services of the GCC countries. For his part, Information Systems Department Director of the Kuwaiti Health Ministry Salah Baqir said in a statement on sidelines of the conference that the Kuwaiti delegation would brief the conferees about contents of a booklet about the information

technology programs used by the health ministry. He also indicated at efforts aimed at setting up a joint GCC information center for the health sector. Shedding light on the Kuwaiti Health Ministry’s accomplishments in the electronic technology realm, he said the ministry had adopted the e-file system for primary health care, and planned to upgrade electronic services in various sectors, such as registration of births, deaths and paper work for medical treatment abroad. —KUNA

in the news ‘Layali February’ activities KUWAIT: The Ice Skating Rink is preparing to host activities as part of the ‘Layali February’ (February Nights) festivities that are held during the Hala February festival every year. The Head of the Parks and Jassem Ice Rink Department at Al-Shumais the Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC), Jassem AlShumais, announced that the organizing committee would hold various festivities at the main hall including religious seminars, poetry sessions and musical concerts. These festivities will be held throughout the month of February ahead of the upcoming national holidays. Al-Shumais indicated that all efforts have been directed towards ensuring the success of the events. On the other hand, Al-Shumais indicated that visitors can still enjoy skating at the other hall. It will remain open during February each day from 8:30 am until 2:00 pm. Tuesdays will be restricted for female visitors, in addition to training courses will also be held for four times a week. Al-Shumais expressed hope that they would enjoy their time at the Ice Rink, promising visitors that various activities will be held throughout the year.

Anti-drugs fight KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Minister of Interior Lieutenant General (Retd.) Sheikh Jaber Khalid Al-Sabah yesterday received the head of the General Department of Drug Control (GDDC), Brigadier Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah, and several other prominent figures involved in anti-drugs activities. During the meeting, Brigadier Sheikh Ahmad presented the minister with two recently published reports, ‘The GDDC: Between the Truth and Ambition,’ and ‘Drugs in the State of Kuwait: Reasons, Prevention and Treatment,’ written by Assistant GDDC Director Brigadier Saleh Al-Ghanim and Dr. Ayed Al-Humaidan. The interior minister said that the leaders of Kuwait’s security apparatus appreciate and support all the resourceful work carried out in the fight against drugs, emphasizing the importance of conducting research and studies to provide support to the security services in combating this menace.He commended the GDDC’s efforts and achievements to date and urged them to expend further efforts to protect Kuwaiti society from the dangers of drugs and eradicate this destructive social evil.

Green Island celebrations KUWAIT: The Green Island, one of the facilities of the Touristic Enterprises Company, (TEC) will host a festival to celebrate the Egyptian national football team’s latest victory at the African Cup of Nassir Nations. It is Egypt’s Al-Fodari victory for the third time in a row and the seventh in the tournaments’ history. This announcement was made by the supervisor of the Green Island and Head of the TEC’s Beach front Department, Nassir Al-Fodari. He said that the event comes as part of the company’s policy to participate in special occasions. The official added that this festival will take place on Friday, February 5, 2010. Several traditional activities that highlight Egyptian culture will be held. In addition, Al-Fodari noted that activities that feature Kuwaiti and other Arab traditions will be staged. Visitors will also be invited to take part in competitions and several prizes will be distributed. He further wished that all visitors would enjoy their time at the Green Island.

Kuwaiti firms join Khartoum fair

KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti government stressed environment issues are of high priority and added taking measures against factories compromising both environment and public health requires legislation, in its address to parliament yesterday. First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Head of the Supreme Council for the Environment Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah expressed this position after delay of discussion on the environment situation in Ali Sabah Al-Salem area to ascertain the government’s position on the matter. The official pointed out the government shall consider all remarks and recommendations raised by MPs, adding effort must be exerted to speed along implementation of the environment laws. Meanwhile, Environment Public Authority (EPA) Chairman Dr. Salah AlModhi said there is coordination of effort between the EPA and the Public Authority for Industry (PAI) concerning a decision on relocation of plants, in effect since 2006. According to article 10 of the EPA law, a recommendation was made to suspend operation of 12 out of 37 factories in Al-Shuaiba Industrial Area and to relocate several others in Western Shuaiba. The official gave a presentation and screened a review of the measures taken by the EPA since assigned the task of considering pollution in southern areas. A number of MPs protested against the recommendation of relocation, saying this simply moves pollutants to a different area. Instead, some MPs demand a government stance and decision, while others point out the few-days suspension of operation is not enough of a deterrent, stressing closures should be complete or at least for long periods of time. —KUNA

SANTO DOMINGO: The first Kuwaiti aid flight carrying 50 tons of tents in the Dominican Republic yesterday. —Photos by KUNA

Dominican aid chief hails Kuwaiti support to Haiti SANTO DOMINGO: The Dominican Republic’s aid coordinator on Monday expressed gratitude to Kuwait for its support to the victims of Haiti’s earthquake. He explained that the Kuwaiti aid flight and other aid planes had been asked to land in the Dominican Republic because the area suitable for landing in Haiti itself is limited and already crowded with planes carrying aid. He stressed that the members of the International Federation of Red Cross and

Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have been coordinating closely to deliver the aid to the quake victims and called for more aid to be provided to the people of Haiti, adding that the most important needs were tents, medicine, and water. Jassem Qambar, the head of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society’s (KRCS) delegation, expressed gratitude to the Dominican Republic for receiving the Kuwaiti aid to Haiti. The first Kuwaiti aid flight

carried 50 tons of tents, he pointed out, adding that the aid was initially scheduled to be delivered to the IFRC who were set to distribute it to the people of Haiti yesterday. Qambar noted that another Kuwaiti plane laden with 50 tons of tents and medicine was expected to reach Haiti this coming Friday. The quake that hit Haiti on Jan 11 killed around 200,000 people, injuring many more and devastating the already poverty-stricken nation. —KUNA


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

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After Goldstone, Israel sharpens ‘PR weapon’ Israel fears ‘Goldstone effect’, pariah status HERZLIYA: For Israelis, debates at the United Nations over the Goldstone report and its allegations of war crimes in Gaza go far beyond dry legal argument-their government sees it as a battle for the nation’s very survival. A keynote national security conference this week made clear Israel is con-

ASHKELON: Israeli policemen, riding on horses, patrol along the beach in the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon, near the Gaza border yesterday. — AP

Israel closes beaches after explosives wash ashore JERUSALEM: Israeli police cordoned off beaches along a 25-mile area north of the Gaza Strip yesterday after two barrels carrying explosive devices washed up on Israeli shores. Palestinian militants claimed responsibility for the failed attack, which came amid heightened tensions over the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai last month. While Israel has not commented on the killing, Gaza’s Hamas rulers and their Iranian patrons have blamed the Jewish state. Israeli police said the two barrels, each containing 22 pounds of explosives, washed up on Israel’s shores late Monday, first in the port city of Ashkelon and several hours later in Ashdod to the north. A bomb squad defused one barrel, while the explosives in the second blew up while a robot was inspecting them. There were no injuries. “The attack was an intended terrorist attack that failed,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. “Police assessed the security situation throughout last night and continue to keep the beaches closed.” Then yesterday, a rocket from Gaza exploded in an open field in southern Israel, causing no injuries or damage. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Maritime authorities warned sailors and fishermen to be alert to possible dangers in the waters, surfers were ordered out of the water and the public was told to keep away. In Ashdod, a massive crane-like robot crawled along the beach, prodding suspicious objects. “The beach is closed, boats are patrolling the waters, there are no people around, helicopters are in the air looking for more explosive barrels,” restaurant owner Lee Voldberg told Army Radio from Ashdod. Meir Chakmon, a police spokesman in Ashkelon, said authorities resumed the search at the crack of dawn. “At this stage nothing else has been found. We are continuing the search. We think there is a possibility that new explosive devices will surface,” he said. “We don’t know how many are in the sea.” Three militant factions in Gaza took responsibility for the attack, saying in a joint statement that they sent a total of eight explosives to Ashkelon on Friday and detonated them by remote control. Hamas was not among the factions to sign the statement, though one of the groups, the Popular Resistance Committees, has close ties with the Islamic

militant group. Hamas has been careful to maintain an informal cease-fire since Israel ended a brutal military offensive in Gaza a year ago. At the same time, the group is furious over the mysterious death of one of its commanders in a Dubai hotel last month. Yesterday, Iran also accused Israel, calling the assassination “yet another example of statesponsored Israeli terrorism.” Israel officials have said the commander, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, was involved in smuggling rockets from Iran to Gaza. The heightened tensions have complicated prisoner-swap negotiations between the two sides. But Ayman Taha, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said the talks - through German and Egyptian mediators - would continue. “We say that the present circumstances are not appropriate to continue negotiations for a prisoner swap deal, but we don’t say that the negotiations have ceased completely,” Taha said. The two sides have been trying to reach a deal to trade Israeli Sgt Gilad Schalit for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners Israel holds. Schalit was captured by Hamas-linked militants in June 2006. — AP

China to write off 80 percent of Iraq debt BAGHDAD: Iraq said yesterday that China has agreed to write off 80 percent of Iraq’s debt, a move that could further push Chinese business interests in the war-battered nation as Baghdad seeks international investments to fund reconstruction. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein-era debt to China stands at $8.5 billion, the Finance Ministry said in a statement posted on its website. A major portion of the Saddam regime’s foreign debt has already been canceled by key creditor nations. The Finance Ministry said the promise came after a meeting between China’s ambassador in Baghdad and Iraq’s Finance Minister Bayan Jabr. The statement, dated Jan 31, quoted Jabr as saying the write-off “will enhance economic cooperation between the two friendly countries.” Jabr called on the Chinese government to send a delegation to sign the final deal in Baghdad. The deal comes as the state-run China National Petroleum Corp. has secured two lucrative oil deals that reflects China’s drive to seek new energy sources for its growing

economy. The two countries’ trade volume reach a total of $3.8 billion during the first nine months of last year - a 78 percent increase from the same period the previous year, the statement said. The first Chineseled oil deal was in 2008 to develop the 1 billion-barrel al-Ahdab oil field in central Iraq. The $3 billion pact was the first made by the new Iraqi government after the 2003 US-led invasion, which China, which had strong ties with Saddam’s regime, had opposed. The second deal was made during Iraq’s first postwar bidding round in June. CNPC and partner BP PLC won the rights to develop Iraq’s biggest oil field, the 17.8 billion-barrel Rumaila field in Basra. The agreement was formally signed late last year. In December 2008, the Paris Club of creditor nations concluded an agreement to cancel 80 percent of the $125 billion in Saddam-era debts to the 19-nation group. The Paris Club describes itself as an informal group of creditors, that includes most European powers, Japan and the United States. China is not a member. — AP

Basra to ban beggars to prevent attacks BASRA: Iraq’s southern oil hub of Basra will ban beggars from streets and other public places to help prevent attacks in the lead up to a parliamentary election in March, a security official said yesterday. Like most of Iraq, security has improved greatly in Basra, which was controlled by Shiite militiamen until US and Iraqi military offensives in 2008, but some fear an outbreak of attacks before the vote on March 7. “The decision will be implemented within days to include all streets and public places and will require the arrest of beggars, who will be released for a fine,” Ali Ghanim Al-Maliki, head of the security committee at the provincial council, said. “This decision is based on fears and real information from security operatives about the possibility of (militants) using some beggars or disguising themselves as beggars to conduct attacks that target officials or

candidates for the election.” Iraq is trying to cement security gains made over the last two years, ramp up oil production to fill government coffers and boost development after more than 6-1/2 years of war preceded by years of sanctions and underinvestment. Attacks by suspected Sunni Islamist insurgents continue and are expected to increase ahead of the vote while political infighting among Shiite factions in the south could also lead to more bloodshed. Most of the world’s third largest oil reserves are in the south near Basra, and the predominantly Shi’ite city is considered an important barometer of voter sentiment in Iraq. Despite sitting on top of Iraq’s largest oil reservoirs, Basra remains a decrepit city. Beggars crowd many intersections demanding money from drivers. Women hold out babies seeking alms. Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s Shiite-led gov-

ernment is likely to run on the improved security and a raft of crude deals signed with oil majors that could turn Iraq into a top three global hydrocarbons producer, from 11th currently. But the security situation in Iraq remains tenuous. Coordinated bombings of government buildings and hotels over the last six months have killed hundreds of people. On Monday, a suicide bomber killed at least 41 Shiite pilgrims when she blew herself up at a tent serving food to Iraqis on an arduous religious trek. Maliki’s competitors are likely to point to the attacks to criticize his leadership and to highlight slow progress in other fields, such as the electricity sector. His main rival is the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), led by a powerful Shi’ite political movement, though both his slate and the INA have projected themselves as nationalists and include other sects and groups. — Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month spoke of a “Goldstone effect”-action by international courts that might crimp Israel’s military superiority-and ranked it alongside Iran’s nuclear program and the rocket arsenals of Palestinian and Lebanese guerrillas among three main threats facing Israel. “People are questioning whether we should exist,” Eyal Arad, a marketing guru and former government adviser, told the annual Herzliya Conference. “We’re ... becoming the South Africa of the 21st century. What we need is a global political campaign.” Serving officials assured audiences in seminars entitled “Winning the Battle of the Narrative” that work was in hand to win hearts and minds abroad. Indeed, one revealed the previous government

briefed PR advisers on a Gaza war three months before the December 2008 offensive that left 1,400 Palestinians dead. Israel refused to cooperate with judge Richard Goldstone, the UN investigator who faced accusations of anti-Semitism from fellow Jews for saying Israeli troops may have committed war crimes. But under threat of referral to an international court, it has published measures it took against some soldiers. Domestic critics say it will take concrete new policies toward Palestinians, not PR, to ease international criticism of Israel. That is a view naturally shared by Palestinians. But there was a consensus in the Herzliya seminars, a high point of the Israeli political and diplomatic calendar, that better explanation of existing policies

sidering arming itself with a battery of weapons for a propaganda war against Palestinians and their supporters, who many Israelis fear want to turn the Jewish state into an international pariah reminiscent of apartheid South Africa.

and of the threats Israel faces could ease diplomatic pressure coming from abroad. One Israeli ambassador said the crucial risk was that European governments would limit support for Israel if opinion among their own voters swung further against the Jewish state. REBRANDING, INTERNATIONAL AID Proposals aired at Herzliya for improving Israel’s image abroad ranged from increasing spending sharply on its embassies through grass-roots diplomacy in the form of citizens engaged in Internet social networking to full-scale “rebranding”. Former diplomat and advertising man David Admon, writing in the leftish Haaretz newspaper, demanded a “Ministry of Hasbara” to coordinate Israel’s message-hasbara, Hebrew for explaining —

has long been a common term for Israeli public diplomacy. Like Netanyahu, Admon highlighted international media cover of an army hospital sent to Haiti’s earthquake zone last month, saying it had helped Israel show a positive face to the world. Many speakers at Herzliya saw a campaign by Palestinians and their supporters, notably Iran, to “delegitimise” Israel and to undermine support from Western powers by questioning its right to exist, as an alternative to attempts to defeat it by force. “Their aim is to turn us into a pariah state,” consultant Gidi Grinstein, who advises the government, told the conference. BRITISH EXAMPLE Many Israelis see an unholy alliance of radical Islam, traditional European Christian antiSemitism and secular liberal

support for Palestinians as putting them in grave jeopardy. Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to London, saw a risk that “demonization” of Israel among a “liberal left” establishment in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, notably in the media and academia, could push hitherto supportive European governments into opposition to Israel in order to satisfy public opinion. Speaking of a gap between leaders and voters over Israel, Prosor said: “If that gap closes, it will close against us.” Britain, Israeli advocates say, plays a special role as home to major international media, a large Muslim minority and many foreign students. The British government, Prosor said, had shown growing signs it was taking heed of anti-Israel public opinion. — Reuters


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INTERNATIONAL

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tajiks despair as Soviet-style election looms DUSHANBE: Umida Abdurakhmonova, a Tajik woman selling herbs in a small tumbledown market, looks puzzled when asked about a parliamentary election due in less than a month in her impoverished Central Asian homeland. “What election? I’ve absolutely no idea,” said the 30-year-old as she rearranged springs of parsley on her stall. “Of course I won’t (vote),” she added with a shrug. “My vote will not change anything.” Abdurakhmonova’s view echoes a wider sense of political stagnation in Tajikistan where, as for decades of Soviet rule, stage-managed votes are

expected to bring no real change. Largely devoid of natural resources and perched in a remote corner of Central Asia, Tajikistan is the poorest nation in the former Soviet Union and has featured little in global affairs. It has never held a vote judged democratic by Western monitors. Yet the West will be watching this vote closely since Tajikistan shares a long strategic border with Afghanistan and lies on a new supply route for NATO forces fighting the Taleban. Spurred by a deepening economic crisis, discontent has been on the rise-a fresh worry for Western nations counting on stability in

Indifference rife amid poor election track record Central Asia as a key element in their fight against the spread of Talebaninspired militancy. Fresh violence in Afghanistan, where a record numbers of civilians and foreign troops were killed in 2009, has renewed interest in a country that also lies on one of the main drug trafficking routes from Afghanistan to Europe. In the Feb 28 election, President Imomali Rakhmon’s allies look certain to win most seats in the lower house of parliament. There has been virtually no campaigning and only a handful of

election posters adorn the streets of the capital, Dushanbe, a city where bleak Soviet architecture contrasts starkly with neighborhoods of mudbrick huts and donkey carts. The opposition Islamic Revival party holds only two seats in the 63seat chamber. The presidential People’s Democratic Party and progovernment Communists control the rest. Western rights groups accuse Rakhmon, elected in 1994, of clamping down on dissent and restricting basic freedoms. The political scene has changed little in recent years,

with Rakhmon tightening his grip on power and drug-related corruption seeping further through Tajikistan’s rickety $5 billion economy. UNREST So far there have been no outright signs of unrest in the mountainous Muslim nation of seven million, where public criticism of Rakhmon’s policies is not allowed. As in Soviet times, people tend to keep their views to themselves. “Of course I will not vote. No one goes to vote and then the next day we see in the newspapers that the turnout was 90

percent,” said Said, a street vendor, who asked not to use his surname for fear of state reprisals. “They don’t care about ordinary people.” Owing to their long, porous border, Tajikistan is a safe haven for Afghan drug lords, making it a hot spot for heroin-related crime and lawlessness. The Tajik government reported several armed clashes with armed gangs near the Afghan frontier last year and says its southern neighbor is the key source of extremist threats and blamed the latest violence on the Taleban. Rakhmon, who led pro-Russian forces in a devastating 1992-1997 civil war against an alliance of Islamists and liberal

democrats, is worried again. He has sought closer ties with Iran, with which Tajiks share the Persian language, as well as China and traditional ally Russia, which is home to millions of Tajik migrant workers. The global economic crisis has hit the nation hard since 2007, eating sharply into its key revenues from aluminum exports and transfers from migrant Tajik laborers. “The Tajik people both in and outside Tajikistan have already shown their unity,” Rakhmon’s office quoted the veteran leader as saying in a statement on Monday. “We must cement this unity in the run-up to and during the election.” — Reuters

‘Blair lied over Iraq’ Former UK minister Short blasts ex-PM LONDON: Former minister Clare Short accused Tony Blair of lying over the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and said she believed the government’s chief lawyer at the time had misled the cabinet over its legality. Short, a long-time Blair

critic who was then International Development Secretary, disputed evidence the former prime minster gave last week to an inquiry into the war, saying he had sidelined the cabinet and kept ministers in the dark.

LONDON: Britain’s former International Development Secretary Clare Short, escorted by security, leaves after giving testimony at a hearing of the Iraq Inquiry, at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center yesterday. — AP

Spain disappointed over Obama summit no-show MADRID: A senior Spanish official expressed disappointment yesterday that President Barack Obama will not be attending an EU-US summit in Spain and hope that the meeting can be rescheduled. “I think the US administration is and must be aware of what Europe is. It is an economic power and top flight political player in the world in which we live,” said Jose Antonio Alonso, who is the governing Socialist party’s spokesman in Parliament and close to Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Spain currently holds the European Union’s rotating

presidency and was to host the meeting in May in Madrid. On Monday morning, the government’s top official for European affairs, Diego Lopez Garrido, said the government presumed that Obama would attend the summit. Such meetings have been held yearly since the 1990s, usually alternating between Europe and the United States. Obama attended one last year in Prague. But the US State Department said later Monday that Obama would not in fact attend the meeting in Madrid because the summit does not fit into his travel schedule for this year and that

he had never committed to coming. An official in Zapatero’s office downplayed what media in Spain widely interpreted as a slight to Zapatero and even to Europe in general. The official said Spain understood that Obama has a packed domestic agenda. But the official seemed to leave open the possibility that the summit might be downgraded or even called off, saying it is up to the Spanish presidency and the EU in Brussels to decide when and with what format it might be held now that Obama is not coming in May. Alonso said,

“We hope and desire that the meeting between the US administration and the European Union can be held at some point.” Zapatero will see Obama on Thursday in Washington as a guest at an event called the National Prayer Breakfast. In Brussels, the European Commission called Obama’s nonattendance an issue of conflicting agendas. “First and foremost it is an issue for the Spanish presidency” to handle, spokesman Michael Mann said. “We will work with the United States to work for a mutually agreeable date for the summit.” — AP

UK Brown’s plan to reform voting system draws scorn LONDON: Prime Minister Gordon Brown launched an electoral reform plan yesterday that he said would reinvigorate democracy, but critics called it a gimmick by a leader heading for defeat at the ballot box. In what was billed as a major speech on constitutional reform just weeks before an election Labour is expected to lose, he announced plans for a referendum on whether to change the way MPs are elected. Brown made it clear any such change would take place after the looming election. The plan was to introduce legislation that would require a referendum to be held by October 2011. He drew a link with a huge scandal last year over dubious expense claims made by MPs from all parties, saying reform was necessary to restore voters’ confidence in the political system. “The parliamentary expenses scandal scarred our democracy, battered the reputation of our parliament ... So the urgent imperative for politicians on all sides is to do everything we can to connect with the people,” he said. His speech drew a scathing response from the Conservatives, who are expected to win the upcoming election that must be held by June. Labor have been in power since 1997. “He (Brown) will say anything to cling to power,” said Conservative

Chairman Eric Pickles. The critics’ argument is that Brown is trying to woo the Liberal Democrats, who have long campaigned for electoral reform. Should Labor do better than expected in the upcoming poll but not win an outright majority, an alliance with the Liberal Democrats is one possible scenario. But the LibDems, who say the current voting system has an in-built bias towards the two main parties and keeps them perennially out of power, dismissed Brown’s proposal. “This is a deathbed conversion to electoral reform from a party facing an historic defeat,” senior Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne told BBC radio. Brown’s proposal is to ditch the current first-past-the-post voting system, under which the candidate who wins most votes in a given constituency becomes the local MP even if he or she received less than 50 percent of the total of votes cast. Brown said he would push for an alternative system in which voters would be asked to list candidates by order of preference. If no one gets 50 percent, then the bottom candidate gets eliminated and the second choices listed on ballots cast for that person get added to the totals obtained by the others. The process is repeated until one of them hits 50 percent. — Reuters

LONDON: Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown gestures as he answers a question after delivering a speech on political reform, at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, (RSA) yesterday. — AFP

Discussions were limited and there had been a “block on communications”, said Short, who voted in favor of the 2003 invasion but quit the government shortly afterwards because Blair had “conned” her about the UN having a lead role. Last Friday, Blair made a robust defense of his decision to go to war, saying Saddam Hussein had posed a threat to the world and had to be disarmed or removed. He also told the inquiry there had been “substantive discussion” with senior ministers in the cabinet. But Short said she had been excluded from talks and that Blair had not wanted Iraq discussed in the cabinet because he was afraid of leaks to the media. “There was secretiveness and deception on top of that,” she told the Chilcot inquiry which is examining Britain’s role in the war and its aftermath. “Normal communications were being closed down.” She accused Blair of being “frantic” to support the United States and said claims the French would have vetoed any second UN resolution authorizing military action had been untrue. “In my view that was a lie, a deliberate lie,” she said. She added that current prime minister Gordon Brown, the then Chancellor, had been marginalized and that Blair was obsessed with his legacy. Brown himself will give evidence later this month or at the start of March and commentators warn the inquiry could damage the Labor party, which is trailing in the polls, before an election due by June. GOLDSMITH MISLED CABINET Short accused former Attorney General Peter Goldsmith of not telling the cabinet of his doubts about the legality of war, nor that senior Foreign Office lawyers believed it would be illegal without a second UN resolution. Goldsmith has said he too initially doubted the war’s legality and only concluded it would be lawful without such a resolution a week before the invasion, and just days before the cabinet were briefed. “I think he misled the cabinet, he certainly misled me, but people let it through,” Short said. She told the inquiry she believed Goldsmith had been pressured by Blair, something he denies, because of his sudden change of heart but had no direct evidence to back this up. Short told the inquiry she had seen intelligence which showed there was no imminent threat from Saddam, and she was damning of the planning for the aftermath of the invasion. “There was no reason why it had to be as quick as it was,” she said. “It was all done on a wing and a prayer. “We could have gone more slowly and carefully and not had a totally destabilized and angry Iraq into which came Al-Qaeda which wasn’t there before and that would have been safer for the world.” Short quit the Labor Party parliamentary group in 2006 to become an independent, saying Blair had engaged in deceit over the Iraq War. — Reuters

PARIS: Air France Concorde flight 4590 takes off with fire trailing from its engine on the left wing from Charles de Gaulle airport in this July 25, 2000 file photo. — AP

Concorde crash trial begins PONTOISE: US airline Continental and five individuals went on trial yesterday for the crash of the Concorde nearly a decade ago that left 113 dead and ended supersonic travel. A French criminal court will examine conflicting explanations of why the Air France jet smashed into a hotel in a ball of fire just after take-off from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on July 25, 2000. Continental and two of its employees are accused of the manslaughter of 109 people on the New York-bound plane-most of them German tourists-and four hotel workers on the ground. A former French civil aviation official and two former Concorde engineers face the same charge in the trial that is expected to last four months. The court will decide whether to side with investigators and technical experts who say the crash was caused by a strip of metal that fell off a Continental jet which took off shortly before the Air France Concorde. It will also ask whether the French official and engineers failed to correct faults on the iconic jet favored by the rich and famous for their transAtlantic trips. “I am here to prove that Continental Airlines is not responsible,” the airline’s lawyer Olivier Metzner said as he arrived at the courtroom in Pontoise, west of Paris. “There is an attempt to protect the Concorde and the image that it projected of France,” he said. Continental faces a maximum fine of 375,000 euros (525,000 dollars) if found guilty. The individuals face up to five years in jail and a fine of up to 75,000 euros. The presiding judge began the proceedings by reading out the names of all 109 people onboard the doomed flight and the four people who died on the ground. Most of the families of the people who died in the 2000 crash agreed not to take legal action in exchange for compensation from Air France, the EADS aerospace firm, Continental and Goodyear tyre maker. So the trial will be more about Continental and Air France-which is not accused of wrongdoing and is a civil plaintiff in the case-seeking to defend their reputations. A French accident inquiry concluded in December 2004 that the disaster was partly caused by a strip of metal that fell on the runway

from a Continental DC-10 plane that took off just before the supersonic jet. The Concorde, carrying mainly German passengers heading for a Caribbean cruise ship in New York, ran over the super-hard titanium strip, it said. The strip shredded one tyre, causing a blow-out and sent debris flying into an engine and a fuel tank and set it on fire, according to investigators. Continental is charged over a failure to properly maintain its aircraft. Two of its US employees: John Taylor, a mechanic who allegedly fitted the non-standard strip, and airline chief of maintenance Stanley Ford are also charged. Henri Perrier, director of the first Concorde program at Aerospatiale, now part of the EADS group, from 1978 to 1994, and Jacques Herubel, Concorde’s chief engineer from 1993 to 1995, are accused of ignoring warning signs from a string of incidents on Concorde planes. The Concorde made its maiden commercial flight in 1976. Only 20 were made, six for development and the remaining 14 for flying mainly transAtlantic routes at speeds of up to 1,350 miles an hour. Air France and British Airways grounded their Concordes for 15 months after the crash and, after a brief resumption, finally ended the supersonic commercial service in 2003. During their 27 years of service, the jets suffered dozens of tyre blowouts or wheel damage that in several cases pierced the fuel tanks. Claude Frantzen, director of technical services at the French civil aviation authority DGAC from 1970 to 1994, is accused of overlooking a fault on Concorde’s distinctive delta-shaped wings, which held its fuel tanks. Roland Rappaport, a lawyer for the family of the Concorde pilot Christian Marty, said that “the accident should have been avoided.” “Concorde’s weaknesses had been known about for more than 20 years,” he said. But Air France lawyer Fernand Garnault rejected claims that the plane had design faults. “There was no particular technical weakness in the Concorde,” he told reporters before the trial began, rejecting the theory that the plane caught fire before hitting the metal strip. — AFP

China new foreign policy takes shape - in Moldova BARONCEA: Small, poor nations without significant mineral deposits are unlikely candidates for investment by the world’s third-largest economy. Yet China is taking a growing interest in Moldova, a former Soviet state that is poorer than many countries in Africa. Here, horsedrawn carts loaded with hay trundle on battered roads alongside top-end Mercedes and Lexus cars, and villagers get water from daily trips to wells. China last July signed a memorandum of understanding to lend Moldova $1 billion-equal to a tenth of the east European country’s gross domestic product, and easily the biggest loan it will have received from anywhere. Asked why, experts have to stop and think. “It is true that Chinese exporters are looking to diversify their export base,” said Duncan InnesKer, Beijing-based China analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). “I would imagine that they would go to the much more traditional places because Moldova really doesn’t have the infrastructure. “It doesn’t have, well, very much of anything,” he added with a laugh. Economic crisis has pummeled Moldova, which depends on money earned abroad for about one-third of its gross domestic productthe third-highest ratio globally. Moldovan workers sent home about a third less cash last year than in 2008, according to the National Bank. People like Mariana Liulceac are feeling the impact: in better days, she got enough money from her husband’s work as a builder in Russia to send her son to a $1,200-a-year boarding school for children with learning difficulties. For the past six months, her husband hasn’t been

paid. Her son quit school. Living in a two-room house with three children, no kitchen, bathroom or running water, Liulceac now depends on a British charity. So Moldova needs the money. How dim its prospects are is summarized in the CIA Handbook: “Likely to have a modest recovery in 2010, but remains vulnerable to political uncertainty, weak administrative capacity, vested bureaucratic interests, higher fuel prices, poor agricultural weather, and the skepticism of foreign investors as well as the presence of an illegal separatist regime in Moldova’s Transdniestria region.” SKILLS What, besides diversifying some of its $2.4 trillion foreign exchange reserves, is China after? Travel around Moldova and you see and hear some possible targets. Although the only official language is Moldovan, most people can speak Russian and thousands travel to the country’s former Soviet master to work. Agriculture makes up a fifth of Moldova’s economy, yet with the legacy of a Soviet-era education system, Moldova’s literacy level is a fraction higher than in the United States. The capital Chisinau is full of Internet cafes, and Moldova sits comfortably in the top half of 134 countries ranked for information technology potential by the World Economic Forum. Funds from the promised loan, still being negotiated after it was agreed with a previous government, will go towards construction and infrastructure projects. Part is intended to create high-tech industries, Moldova’s current government says. — Reuters


INTERNATIONAL

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

9

US general, Marine fired Defense Secretary withholds funds over F-35 problems

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama (center) makes a statement in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington on the budget he submitted to Congress. —AP

Obama seeks $10.7 bn for ‘frontline states’ Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq on target WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama’s 2011 budget unveiled Monday seeks $10.7 billion in development funds to stabilize “frontline states” such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Officials said the figure, a 7.5 percent increase over the request for fiscal year 2010, includes nearly five billion dollars for Afghanistan, nearly 3.2 billion “This assistance helps take insurgents off the battlefield in Afghanistan,” said Lew, the deputy secretary of state for management and resources. The aid also “helps confront the conditions that give rise to violent extremism, and helps build more stable and prosperous partners to advance our common security and economic interests,” Lew said. The funds are designed to improve governance and rebuild the war-torn countries. Lew said the “war-related spending” for the three countries is part of a requested 52.8-billion-dollar budget for the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) for 2011, which begins in September. The funds for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq represent an increase of 3.6 bil-

lion dollars, or 7.5 percent, over 2010, Lew added. “Funding that is not war-related grows by 1.3 billion, which is 2.7 percent above 2010 total spending,” Lew said. In the latter category, the budget calls for 8.5 billion dollars to treat and prevent AIDS and the HIV virus that causes it, boost health programs for mothers and children, and step up efforts to fight malaria and other diseases. It also calls for 1.2 billion dollars to boost agriculture development and nutrition programs worldwide as part of a long-term plan to end poverty and reduce malnutrition for millions of children under five years old by 2015. And it calls for 1.4 billion dollars to help developing nations cope with climate change and use US clean energy technologies to

dollars for Pakistan and more than 2.5 billion dollars for Iraq. “Development assistance... is a strategic, economic and moral imperative, as central to advancing American interests and solving global problems as diplomacy and defense,” the State Department’s Jacob Lew told reporters.

develop their economies. It would also set aside billions of dollars for international peacekeeping forces, military aid to countries like Egypt, Israel and Jordan, and programs to check the spread of nuclear weapons, terrorism and drug trafficking. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget figures did not to match exactly those of the State Department, where officials attributed discrepancies to whether or not 2010 supplemental requests were included. Officials in Lew’s office said the requests for 2011 show significant increases from the original requests in 2010. And in Pakistan’s case, the 2011 budget seeks 3.158 billion dollars-which is both larger than the 1.5 billion dollar request for 2010 and the 1.882 billion dol-

Spasm of bloodletting leaves 46 dead in Mexico CIUDAD JUAREZ: A spasm of bloodletting by drug gangs claimed at least 46 lives over a long weekend in Mexico, including at least 16 young people gunned down at a high school party, officials said. The grim trail of death began early Sunday in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital, when gunmen drove up to the house in several cars, first shooting at people gathered outside, then chasing and cornering some of the partygoers who jumped over a fence frantically running for their lives. Most of the 16 or more victims were youths, according to José Reyes, mayor of the city of 1.3 million inhabitants just across the border from El Paso, Texas. Enrique Torres, a military spokesman, said the gunmen had apparently been looking for someone who was not even at the party, which was to celebrate a birthday and a local soccer team championship. Not finding the individual, they shot indiscriminately at the crowd. “Everybody started running and was eventually cornered in the yard. Some in tried to flee by jumping the fence, but were killed behind houses,” said a student who escaped the attack. Almost at the same time but in Torreon, in the northern state of Coahuila, 10 people were killed when gunmen rolled up in a trio of Hummers and opened fire on a crowd inside a bar. Federal police

confronted suspected members of Mexico’s “Los Zetas” drug cartel in two successive shootouts late Monday that left seven traffickers and one policeman dead in Torreon. One of the shootings broke out for about 45 minutes in front of a shopping mall, as panicked customers were kept locked in the mall for security reasons.. Earlier, gunmen opened fire in Ciudad Juarez at a bar, killing five people and injuring six others, police said. Among the victims was a woman and a state intelligence agent. Meanwhile a clash between two organized crime groups in Madgalena, Sonora state, left seven people dead. The Juarez cartel led by Vicente Carrillo and the Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin ‘Chapo’ Guzman are battling for control in Chihuahua state, trying to mark their territory, authorities say, with no regard for human life. The war waged by rival drug cartels in Mexico has already left more than 15,000 people dead since December 2006 despite a nationwide clampdown on the scourge of violence with the deployment of 50,000 troops and thousands of police. January was the most violent month of President Felipe Calderon’s presidency, according to the Milenio daily, which put the death toll at 904, with 17,789 drug-related crimes. —AFP

US shifts military focus to militants, hi-tech weapons WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has shifted its strategy to focus on the threat of Islamist militants and the spread of hi-tech missiles, warning that US military power faced new limits and constraints. In a long-term strategy document, the Defense Department tossed out a doctrine entrenched for decades that the American military should be prepared to fight two wars at the same time against conventional armies. Instead, the military must prepare for a range of threats in an “uncertain security landscape” where extremists or “non-state actors” are gaining access to missile technology and trying to secure weapons of mass destruction, the

Quadrennial Defense Review said. New weaponry, new tactics and new enemies had overtaken “the familiar contingencies that dominated US planning after the Cold War,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters. “The department’s leadership now recognizes that we must prepare for a much broader range of security challenges on the horizon,” said Gates as he presented the strategy review and the 2011 defense budget. The review described a world where US warships, planes and satellites will face unprecedented threats from a range of missiles, with Washington’s global network of regional air bases, ports and command centers increasingly

at risk. As missiles and other weaponry become more accessible, “US forces deployed forward will no longer enjoy the relative sanctuary that they have had in conflicts since the end of the Cold War,” the report said. As a result, the US military would need to bolster defenses at key bases against possible attack and take other measures to counter the new “anti-access” threats, it said. As examples, the review cited how Lebanon’s Shiite militia Hezbollah had acquired unmanned aircraft and portable air defense systems, while Iran had built up a ballistic missile arsenal and a fleet of small attack vessels to “swarm” US and allied navy ships. —AFP

lars of both the original and the pending supplemental requests. The figure for both years includes the annual 1.5 billion dollars in non-military aid for Pakistan over the next five years, which was approved by the US Congress late last year,

officials said. They said the additional amounts for the next fiscal year cover items like the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, which the Pentagon previously funded to train and equip Pakistani security forces. —AFP

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Robert Gates has sacked the general in charge of the F-35 fighter jet program and said he would withhold funds from Lockheed Martin over a series of cost overruns and delays. “The progress and performance of the F-35 over the past two years has not been what it should,” said Gates, adding, “a number of key goals and benchmarks were not met.” The Pentagon will withhold 614 million dollars in performance fees from lead contractor Lockheed Martin, he said. Gates said he took the decision because “the taxpayer should not have to bear the entire burden of getting the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) program back on track.” The move was taken with the agreement of Lockheed Martin, he told a news conference to present the Pentagon’s defense budget. Gates said his department also bore blame for the “troubling performance record” of the Joint Strike Fighter and fired the Marine officer in charge of the program, Major General David Heinz, who was named last year. He said a higher-ranking, three-star general would take over the post, reflecting the importance of the F-35 project. Gates has not hesitated to sack a number of top officers and officials during his tenure as defense secretary since 2006. He said the move was part of his effort to set a tone that “when things go wrong, people will be held accountable.” Both Gates and President Barack Obama have repeatedly warned that they will not tolerate the kind of delays and cost overruns that have plagued weapons programs in the past. Much is riding on the stealth aircraft, which Gates has held up as the future of US fighter jets after having pushed through an end to the costly F-22 Raptor, despite opposition from some lawmakers. Gates has por-

trayed the F-35 as a more affordable, more flexible aircraft but flight tests have been repeatedly pushed back and an internal Pentagon review found sky-rocketing costs. The administration’s 2011 defense budget unveiled Monday calls for “robust funding” of the Joint Strike Fighter, and Gates said nearly 11 billion dollars would go to buying 43 planes. The military plans to buy more than 2,400 of the aircraft over the next 25 years, with each branch of the armed services getting a tailored version of the jet. Eight other countries are also supporting the program, led by Britain which has invested two billion dollars in the F-35’s development. But officials have acknowledged that persistent technical problems could lead some governments to back off buying large numbers of planes. Despite mushrooming costs, the F-35 program had been “restructured” and the aircraft was on track “to become the backbone of US air superiority for the next generation,” Gates said. The program faced no “insurmountable” technological or other problems, he said. Gates also warned that he would recommend that Obama veto any attempt by Congress to fund an alternate engine for the F-35 as well for additional C-17 transport planes. Any benefits to building an alternate engine for the F-35 would be “offset by excess costs, complexity, and associated risks,” he said. As for the C-17 aircraft, he said studies had shown that “the Air Force already has more of these aircraft than it needs.” He said he was aware of political pressure in Congress to fund the C-17 and the second engine for the F-35, but he added: “Let me be very clear: I will strongly recommend that the president veto any legislation that sustains the unnecessary continuation of these two programs.” —AFP


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INTERNATIONAL

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Violence erupts in N Korea as hunger woes mount SEOUL: Angry North Koreans have attacked security agents as hunger woes mount following a crackdown on free-market trade, according to reports yesterday by groups in Seoul with contacts in the communist state. Social unrest and riots have flared since a shock currency revaluation by Pyongyang last November worsened shortages of food and other goods for an increasingly desperate population, they said. “Traders and residents have lost their property due to the redenomination,” Daily

NK, an online newspaper hostile to the reclusive regime in the North, quoted one source in North Korea as saying. “Therefore, people are taking revenge on agents, since they feel so desperate that regardless of their actions, they will die,” the source in North Hamkyung province said. “As a result, social unrest is becoming more serious.” In one violent incident, Daily NK said “a number of people” assaulted a group of security agents on patrol on Monday in markets in Pyongsung, South Pyongan

province. It gave no details of any casualties. The paper, citing a group of defectors, said a fight had also broken out recently between residents and security agents monitoring the crackdown in Hyesan in Yanggang province. As the fight turned nasty, it said, one resident snatched a gun from an agent and fired at random-leaving one security official in critical condition. The North told its citizens on November 30 to swap old banknotes for new at a rate of 100 to one. But it capped the amount which could be exchanged,

reportedly wiping out some people’s savings and causing widespread anger. The revaluation was widely seen as an attempt by the regime to reassert control over the economy and clamp down on growing freemarket activities in the country of about 24 million people. But the move has reportedly fuelled inflation and created chaos in North Korean shops and markets, with some people forced to barter goods to survive. North Korea has suffered severe food shortages since a famine in the 1990s killed

hundreds of thousands of people. The United Nations tightened sanctions last year in response to the North’s nuclear test and missile launches. JoongAng Daily newspaper quoted South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Won SeiHoon as telling lawmakers last week the currency change had caused riots. “The move late last year led to riots in some places,” Won was quoted as telling the lawmakers in a closed session. “But the North Korean government appears to have them now under control.”

The NIS declined to confirm Won’s comments. Yonhap news agency, quoting traders near the Chinese border with North Korea, said the number of people dying of hunger is rising. That view was echoed in a newsletter by Good Friends, an aid group with contacts in the North. It said residents, including war veterans aged in their 70s or 80s, protested last month outside a city hall in Danchon, North Hamkyong province and that authorities rushed to release 1,000 tons of rice to placate them. — AFP

Beijing takes swipe at US over Tibet, Taiwan China threatens diplomatic reprisals BEIJING: China warned President Barack Obama yesterday not to meet the Dalai Lama and threatened diplomatic reprisals over US arms sales to Taiwan, opening a new front in an escalating feud between the world’s top powers. Beijing’s tough rhetoric piled pressure on a crucial relationship already severely strained over Google’s threat to halt oper-

ations in China, which sparked a row over Internet freedom, and a host of trade and currency disputes. China and the United States are working together on several pressing international disputes, including fraught negotiations aiming to curb the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran. But Beijing hinted yesterday that it may no longer be willing to play by US rules on such key foreign policy issues, and blamed Washington for any negative consequences. “China-US relations, in important international and regional issues, will inevitably be influenced (by the Taiwan deal) and the responsibility completely lies with the United States,” foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said. Ma also called on US companies selling arms to Taiwancorporate giants like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon-to back away from the arms deal, after earlier warning that Beijing could impose sanctions. China is now the largest holder of US government debt, and some analysts have suggested that its economic clout has emboldened leaders of the world’s most populous nation to take on Washington in a more forceful way. The sanctions SINGAPORE: Visitors take a closer look at the static display of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet at the threat was indeed a new step by which has always Singapore Airshow 2010 in Singapore yesterday. The United States has urged China not to slap sanc- Beijing, strongly opposed US arms sales tions on US companies selling arms to Taiwan, as the firms tried to stay out of President Barack to Taiwan and also cut off miliObama’s biggest row yet with Beijing. — AFP tary and security contacts with Washington in retaliation for the deal. Washington last week approved a package of Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters and other military hardware totaling 6.4 billion dollars for Taiwan, which China views as part of its territory awaiting reunification. On Tibet, Beijing reiterated its long-standing opposition to Charges have been brought against hun- ous occasions but that no corruption was BEIJING: A former top justice official in any meeting between Obama southwestern China went on trial yesterday dreds of people, including 87 government involved and much of it was for “birthday and and the Dalai Lama, who is accused of mafia links, rape and accepting officials, since the crackdown was launched New Year” greetings. accused by China of fomenting The Communist Party has railed against bribes in the latest lurid case stemming from in June, the People’s Daily has said, with separatist dissent in his a major crackdown on organized crime. Wen more than 3,300 people detained. At least graft for years, seeking to counter public Himalayan homeland. Such a Qiang, former director of the justice depart- seven people have been reported executed anger over regular reports of larcenous offimeeting would “seriously ment in Chongqing, is the highest-ranking or sentenced to death in the trials, which cials and stories of excess and debauchery undermine the political foundaofficial to appear in the dock in a string of have shocked the public by exposing the among party leaders. President Hu Jintao tion of Sino-US relations,” Zhu prosecutions over corruption and mafia impunity enjoyed by mafia kingpins as they himself has repeatedly warned that graft Weiqun, executive vice ministerrorized Chongqing and lived debauched threatens to undermine the party’s legitimacrime in the vast city. ter of the Communist Party cy. The crackdown is widely seen as a bid by Wen, 54, who was also once a top police lifestyles. body that handles contact with Wen is being tried along with his wife and Bo Xilai-who was appointed party secretary official in Chongqing, has been charged with the Dalai Lama, told a news accepting more than two million dollars in three top police officials in proceedings that of Chongqing in 2007 and is considered one conference. “If the US leader bribes, protecting mafia rings and four are expected to last five days, said a state- of the party’s most popular and charismatic chooses to meet with the Dalai counts of rape, according to a court state- ment by the No 5 Intermediate People’s figures-to move up in the national hierarchy. Lama at this time, it will cerBo, a former commerce minister and son ment. State press reports have alleged that Court in Chongqing. Wen, along with his tainly threaten trust and coopWen, 55, raped a string of women including wife Zhou Xiaoya, is accused of accepting 15 of revolutionary elder Bo Yibo, is believed to eration between China and the B-list film and music starlets. Such lurid million yuan (2.2 million dollars) in bribes in be angling for a spot on the nine-member United States,” Zhu said. details, along with widespread speculation a case that has come to symbolize China’s Politburo Standing Committee, the top “We oppose any attempt by the crackdown was linked to political maneu- struggle against rampant corruption and national leadership, said China politics anaforeign forces to interfere in vering at the apex of the ruling Communist growing organized crime. The Southern lyst Willy Lam. “Bo Xilai is making a lastChina’s internal affairs using Party, have gripped the nation since trials Metropolitan Daily said Wen admitted to the ditch bid to get into the Politburo Standing the Dalai Lama as an excuse,” court he took money from others on numer- Committee in 2012. — AP began late last year. he added. Zhu’s comments followed another round of talks between Chinese officials and envoys of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader-the ninth since SEOUL: North and South Korea Analysts say pressure is 2002 and the first in more than have been secretly trying to set mounting on the North to end a year-which Beijing said had up a summit by mid-year, news its year-long boycott of the sixyielded no progress. The Dalai reports said yesterday, but the way nuclear talks, where it can Lama is due to visit Washington South insisted the destitute win aid to prop up its broken later this month on a trip to the North would not be offered any economy by reducing the threat United States but no meeting payment as an enticement. it poses to North Asia, which with Obama has been South Korean President Lee makes up one-sixth of the globannounced. Myung-bak has said he wants a al economy. Lee has been critiThe Obama administration firm commitment from cal of the two previous summits Pyongyang to rejoin six-party where the North won pledges backs a one-China policy, but disarmament talks and scrap its for billions of dollars of aid from also is bound by law to provide nuclear arms program before the South, while Seoul received self-ruled Taiwan with weapons agreeing to what would be only little in return as the North built for defensive purposes, and the third summit between the up its conventional military backs dialogue between the states still technically at war. forces, missile arsenal and Dalai Lama’s envoys and A senior US State nuclear plans. Beijing. Obama avoided a meetDepartment official arrives in If Lee lands a summit on his ing with the Buddhist monk in Seoul yesterday for discussions terms, it could show he was the run-up to his maiden visit to aimed at prodding the North right in ending the South’s China in November, presumably back to nuclear talks after the nearly decade-long policy of so as not to offend Beijing, but a mercurial state last week raised giving unconditional aid to the top aide said the Nobel Peace tensions by firing artillery North and instead linking handPrize winners would meet at an towards a disputed sea border outs to progress Pyongyang “appropriate time”. A with the South. “The leaders of makes on ending its atomic spokesman for Tibet’s governthe South and North must meet ambitions. This in turn could ment-in-exile, Thubten only on the premise that there help support his conservative SEOUL: South Korea President Lee Myung-bak Samphel, said “the role of the won’t be any payoff for agreeing ruling Grand National Party in (left) bangs the gavel to preside over a cabinet United States is to facilitate a to hold the summit,” Lee’s local elections this June and the meeting at the presidential house in Seoul, yesjust and honest dialogue spokesman quoted him as say- group’s candidate to succeed between the Dalai Lama’s ing at a cabinet meeting. “We’ll Lee as president when his sin- terday. Lee ruled out giving North Korean leader never back down from this prin- gle, five-year terms expires in Kim Jong Il a reward for staging any future sumenvoys and the government of ciple.” early 2013. — Reuters mit with Seoul. — AP China”. — AFP

Top China justice official in dock over mob links

Seoul rules out ‘payoff’ for summit with North

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is greeted by his supporters as he arrives at a courthouse in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. — AP

Anwar to subpoena PM in sodomy case Trial poses challenge for govt regardless of verdict KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday he would subpoena the country’s premier in a bid to escape what he says are politically motivated charges of sodomy that could see him jailed for 20 years. Speaking outside a packed courtroom and cheered on by supporters shouting “justice for Malaysia, justice for Anwar” the 62-year-old former deputy premier said Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, had met his accuser and interfered with the trial, something a spokesman for Najib denied. “They consider me a major threat. I am not a threat to Najib, I am just an alternative,” Anwar told cheering supporters after the end of the first day of a trial attended by foreign embassy staff monitoring the case. A call by Anwar’s lawyers that the case be halted pending an appeal for the charge to be struck out were dismissed by the judge who said the case would continue today afternoon. Earlier, Anwar, accompanied by two of his daughters and his wife, told reporters the prosecution was down to “the machinations of a dirty, corrupt few”. The government insists it was not involved in the decision to take the case to trial. “The PM and his wife have nothing to do with it,” a government spokesman said in response to Anwar’s comments. The trial represents a huge challenge for Najib who took office in April last year to try to revive a government that has ruled Malaysia for 52 years but which has lost seven out of nine by-elections since it stumbled to record losses in national and state elections in 2008. Najib also faces a big challenge to defuse a religious row that has damaged the government’s image and needs to win back foreign investment that fled Malaysia at a faster rate than almost any other emerging market economy in 2009. “Najib’s reform agenda is going to face difficulties however the trial goes,” said Ooi Kee Beng, a fellow at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. “If Anwar is set free, Najib will be seen as weak and unable to handle his enemy. If Anwar gets locked up, Malaysia suffers internationally and the judiciary will be seen as corrupt at a time when Malaysia needs foreign direct investment and investor confidence,” he said.

INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE AT COURT Inside the court, diplomats from the United States, European Union, Australia, Japan and Britain observed the proceedings and 70 people squashed onto benches in the public gallery, including Nik Aziz, spiritual adviser to Anwar’s Islamic political allies, wearing a white turban and black robe. Anwar’s previous convictions for sodomy and corruption followed his dismissal as deputy prime minister in 1998, and most international observers said at the time the trials were not conducted fairly, an accusation that haunts the current hearing. At most, 250 people gathered yesterday to support Anwar. That was a far cry from the tens of thousands that thronged his rallies in 1998 and political analysts said there was little chance of major street protests, although they said Malaysia’s courts could be judged harshly. Ordinary Malaysians appeared to have little time for the prosecution at a time when the country is struggling to recover from the global economic downturn. “I think the government should spend more time on the economy and pulling up our standard of living rather than focusing on putting this man into jail,” said Mohammad Ariffin Samsudin, a sales executive waiting for a relative outside the court complex. “It’s a waste of time,” he said. 20 YEARS IN JAIL? If found guilty of the charge of sodomizing a young male aide in a country where all homosexual acts are criminal, Anwar, one of Asia’s best known politicians, could face 20 years in jail. His last conviction for sodomy, later overturned, saw him sentenced to nine years in prison. Any sentence would effectively end his political challenge to Najib and the National Front coalition and remove a major thorn in the government’s side ahead of elections that must be held by 2013 at the latest. Anwar called for a strong turnout for his first day in court on his Twitter account, while his accuser Saiful Bukhari Azlan also said on Twitter he would be in court. Outside the court, pamphlets supporting Saiful were scattered on the road, denouncing Anwar for not taking an oath on the Koran that he had not committed sodomy and for using appeals to frustrate the courts. — Reuters

US investigating missile test failure in the Pacific WASHINGTON: The US military failed to shoot down a ballistic missile in a test resembling an Iranian or North Korean strike after a radar malfunctioned, a spokesman said on Monday. The test was carried out on Sunday at a US Army site at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands but the target missile was not intercepted as planned, said Rick Lehner, spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency. The ground-based interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force base in California and performed “normally,” but the sea-based X-band radar “did not perform as expected” in the test, the MDA said in a statement. Officials had launched an investigation into the test and it would take “several weeks before they have an initial report,” Lehner said. The target missile in the test represents “the type of technology that a country such as North Korea or Iran might be able to develop in the future that would threaten the United States,” he said. The test came as the Pentagon released a report that warned Iran and North Korea continue to pursue long-range ballistic missiles and described both countries’ intermediate and shorter-range missiles as “regional threats” to

US forces, allies and partners. The Ballistic Missile Defense Review Report also voiced concern over Syria’s mobile, shortrange missile arsenal that can reach much of Israel, parts of Iraq, Jordan and Turkey. Sunday’s test follows reports that the US military was speeding up deployment of defenses against potential Iranian missile attacks in the Gulf to heed off any possible retaliation. The move involved moving ships off the Iranian coast and anti-missile systems in at least four Arab countries-Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait-the New York Times reported, citing administration and military officials. In another development, South Korea and Japan, which historically have had uneasy ties, are considering their first three-way military exercises with the United States, a senior US officer said yesterday. South Korea is participating for the first time in the annual Cobra Gold exercises, the largest USled war games in the Pacific that are taking place across Thailand until February 11. Lieutenant General Benjamin Mixon, commander of the US Army in the Pacific, expected the drills to open the way for South Korea to take part in further exercises. — Agencies


INTERNATIONAL

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

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US troop surge focuses attention on roadside bombs CAMP HERO: Explosive ordnance disposal troop commander Lt Caroline Pollock squats by a culvert on a dusty training ground and looks at what appears to be a pile of harmless junk. A plastic jug. Some metal casing. Wiring. All the makings of deadly roadside bombs. Such bombs, which the military calls improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, have long been the most feared insurgent weapon. Combating the threat has taken on new urgency as the surge of 37,000 new US and NATO troops means more targets for the bombs. “The IED fight is like a chess game, in which only one side plays by the rules,” said Canadian Maj Chris Cotton, commanding officer of the Task Force Kandahar counter-improvised explosive device squadron. “We are very diligent about studying each event. But that is what the bad guys are doing, too.” Cotton said IED experts are getting better at finding the explosives before they go off, but added it is a constantly evolving battle that exacts a high toll. As coalition forces add more armor on their vehicles, for example,

the Taleban have increased the size of their explosives. “Casualties to IEDs significantly outnumber casualties to any other threat,” Cotton said. “They are efficient, cheap, and omnipresent. IEDs are obviously the enemy’s weapon of choice right now.” Pollack said some of the improvised explosives consist of material that costs as little as $50. There were more than 7,000 IED incidents in 2009 - including explosions, the discovery and defusing of the bombs or civilians turning them in - compared to just 81 in 2003, according to US intelligence figures. An Associated Press count, based on daily reports from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, found that 129 of the US fatalities in 2009 - or more than 40 percent - were caused by IEDs. About three-quarters of all American deaths and injuries in Afghanistan are believed to have been a result of improvised explosives. Cotton said the homemade bombs are hidden along roadsides or near buildings and detonated by remote control or triggered when troops

KANDAHAR: Maj Chris Cotton from Judique Cape Breton, Nova Scotia of the Canadian Counter Improvised Explosive Device Squadron (CIED), is seen behind a rocket device set up for training purposes at Camp Hero. — AP

Rights of Tamil suspects ‘violated’ COLOMBO: Sri Lanka should end the indefinite detention of some of the 11,000 people held in its custody for suspected links with the Tamil Tiger rebels, a leading rights group said yesterday. A report by New-York based Human Rights Watch said the government should identify which detainees with suspected rebel links present a genuine threat and release the rest. Sri Lanka’s human rights minister said he had not seen the report, and would respond to it later. The suspects were detained during and after the Sri Lankan military’s final offensive against the Tamil rebels, which ended with the rebel group’s defeat in May and brought to a close decades of civil war. “The government has denied detainees the right to be informed of specific reasons for their arrest, to challenge the lawfulness of the detention before an independent judicial authority, and to have access to legal counsel and family members,” the group said. At the end of the war more than a quarter million Tamils were placed into government-run camps to be screened for rebel ties as their home villages were cleared of mines. Some 100,000 civilians still live in those camps. Those with suspected Tiger ties are held in separate facilities the government calls “rehabilitation centers.” The group also said it was concerned because a

lack of information about the fate of detainees raised the possibility that some may have been tortured or mistreated or may have “disappeared.” Meanwhile, another rights group called on the government to end what it called a crackdown on opposition supporters, political activists and journalists that began after last month’s presidential election. Amnesty International said Monday that journalists have disappeared, been arrested or threatened with death and opposition supporters harassed since the Jan 26 election. President Mahinda Rajapaksa beat his former army chief, Sarath Fonseka, in a landslide victory. Both men are considered war heroes after ending the country’s civil war. “Victory against the Tamil Tigers followed by an historic election should have ended political repression in Sri Lanka, but instead we have seen a serious clampdown on freedom of expression,” said Madhu Malhotra, Amnesty’s Asia-Pacific deputy director. The group said it has received a list of 56 journalists who face serious threats, including some working for staterun media institutions. Meanwhile, an umbrella of five Sri Lankan media rights organizations wrote to Rajapaksa yesterday seeking a halt to harassment of the media, warning that such acts could taint his election victory. — AP

Kashmir rocked by protest SRINAGAR: Police fired warning shots and lobbed tear gas yesterday to disperse hundreds of rock-throwing protesters angered by the death of a teenage boy hit by a police tear gas shell in Indian Kashmir, an official said. At least two paramilitary bunkers were damaged in the clashes in Srinagar, the main city in Indian Kashmir, but there were no immediate reports of injuries, a police officer said on condition of anonymity in keeping with department policy. On Sunday, 14-year-old Wamiq Farooq was struck on the head by a tear gas shell fired by police just after a protest against Indian rule ended. Police later said the officer who fired the tear gas had been suspended for “a callous and irresponsible action.” Shops, businesses and government offices were closed and public buses stayed off the roads across Kashmir yesterday during a strike by the region’s main separatist alliance. Protests and clashes also were reported in four other major towns in Kashmir as hundreds of peo-

ple took to streets to denounce the teenager’s killing. Thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers were on patrol and manning road checkpoints. Hemant Lohia, a top police officer, said troops have been ordered to “exercise maximum restraint” and police fired live ammunition only to “scare away” the protesters. He did not give further details. On Monday, hundreds of protesters clashed with government forces in Srinagar. Police and paramilitary soldiers again used tear gas to quell those protests, and at least 17 protesters and eight soldiers were injured, police said. Kashmir, which is predominantly Muslim, is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety. Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the Himalayan region, where more than a dozen rebel groups have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with neighboring Pakistan since 1989. More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the uprising and the subsequent Indian crackdown.— AP

cross simple pressure plates. “If only one strikes coalition forces, they have been successful,” Cotton said. “It demonstrates to the world that the Taleban is still in the fight.” Four Canadian solders and one journalist, Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang, 34, were on their way home late in December when they were killed in a roadside bomb blast outside Kandahar. Their deaths came just one week after Lt Andrew Nuttall, 30, was killed during a foot patrol outside the Afghan village of Nakhoney. The Taleban were slower than Iraqi insurgents to adopt IEDs, but they are now the coalition’s biggest threat. In the “training lane” at this base in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province, civilian instructors teach Afghan infantry soldiers in what to look out for. They are alerted to twists in roads, which force vehicles to slow down, making them easier to target. Something as innocuous as a rag on a wall or a pile of rocks can be used as a locator. Cotton said that turning around the fight against IEDs will require a

significant boost in the training and capabilities of the Afghan security forces. There is, for example, no police bomb squad in nearby Kandahar city, Afghanistan’s secondlargest and one of its most volatile. Afghan police have been known to simply shoot at an IED once it has been located. “At some point, we are going to be pulling out,” he said. “But they are going to remain. They know much better than we do where to find them.” Pollock, 27, of Calgary, Alberta, said the Taleban are making more of an effort to reduce civilian deaths from IEDs because they are concerned that the population will turn against them. The toll on civilians remains high, however. In the last four months of 2009, 117 were killed by the devices, either deliberately or inadvertently, including 30 who died when a bus ran over an IED in September. “Gradually they are going to have to take more responsibility,” she said of the Afghan soldiers. “We are giving them exposure. We try to cover the most up-to-date threat.” — AP

Lankan leader gets extra year in power Army officers allied to rival candidate purged COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s supreme court yesterday ruled President Mahinda Rajapaksa can begin his new term in November, giving him an extra year in power after he called polls two years before his first term was to expire. Rajapaksa last week won a new six-year term in a landslide victory, correctly gambling that his popularity after leading Sri Lanka to victory in a 25-year war with the Tamil Tiger separatists in May would carry him. “The Supreme Court says the new term begins on Nov 19 this year,” an official in the president’s office said on condition of anonymity. A senior presidential ally, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the date. The court’s decision, following a request by Rajapaksa, cements his firm hold on the reins of the Indian Ocean island nation until 2016, despite opposition vows of street protests on Wednesday over what it says was a stolen election. Sri Lanka’s booming stock market appeared to shrug off the political developments, rising further into record territory with a half-point gain yesterday to hit 3,709.13 after reaching an all-time high of 3,735.86 during trading. “The market will hardly react to this kind of political news. At the moment, investors need to see policymakers focusing on the economy, rather than elections and politics,” said Channa Amaratunge, director at Colombo’s CT Capital. ARMY OFFICERS PURGED The president’s latest victory came as the government removed 14 military officers it said had offered political support to General Sarath Fonseka,

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s photograph is seen pasted on a supporter’s forehead, in Colombo. — AP the former army commander who was Rajapaksa’s opposition rival in a bitterly personal race. Fourteen officers, including five major-generals and five brigadiers, have been made to retire with full benefits, the Director of the Media Centre for National Security, Lakshman Hulugalle, said yesterday. One brigadier was arrested, he said. “Retention of such officers who have violated military discipline and the code of ethics by actively participating in political work during their tenure is

considered a direct threat to the national security,” he said. The political veteran Rajapaksa won a bruising electoral duel with an 18-point margin over Fonseka, who stood victorious with the president in May but fell out with him, quit the army and entered the race as a common opposition candidate. Since the day after the Jan 26 poll, the government has said it was investigating a suspected coup and assassination plot involving former army officials it said were allied to

Fonseka. Troops surrounded the Colombo hotel where Fonseka stayed after the poll, which the government said was to observe army deserters with him it suspected of hatching the coup plot. Ten were arrested, and another 15 former military officials were arrested at Fonseka’s office on Saturday after police commandoes raided it. Simultaneously, the military said it had transferred 40 officers, most seen as Fonseka loyalists. The general denies wrong-

doing and accuses the government of indirectly trying to have him assassinated by cutting his security detail. He survived a 2006 Tamil Tiger suicide bombing, and says he is still a target. By calling an early vote, Rajapaksa gambled with two years of his first term, due to expire in November 2011. The supreme court in 1999 took a year away from his immediate predecessor, after she called an early vote and took her oath right after winning.— Reuters

Taleban: Terrorist or not? Not always easy to say SRINAGAR: An injured Indian policeman lies on the ground during clashes with Kashmiri protesters in downtown Srinagar yesterday, against the death of Wamiq Farooq. — AFP

India declares indigenous combat aircraft ‘a success’ The country’s frontline combat plane by 2020 BANGALORE: India’s defense minister announced yesterday that a much-delayed project to build an indigenous supersonic combat aircraft was a success. The jets are intended to become the country’s frontline combat plane by 2020. AK Antony told reporters the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) - billed by India as the world’s smallest warjet-would be cleared for limited flights by the end of 2010. “Today I can declare that at last the LCA is going to be a reality,” Antony said in the southern city of Bangalore where the locally built plane had been on the design board since 1983 when the multi-billion dollar project began. The minister said the aircraft, powered by engines supplied by US-based General Electrics, would be ready for

full induction into the military by 2012. “All the doubting Thomases have proved to be wrong,” Antony said, referring to skeptics who doubted that the combat jet would ever take off. Antony said the Indian Air Force had already placed an initial order for 20 of the jets. Although the first LCA prototype rolled out in 1995, the project hit an air pocket three years later when the United States and other Western governments slapped a slew of sanctions on India in retaliation for its 1998 nuclear tests. The LCA won the nickname “last chance aircraft” because of the delays. India’s first attempt in the 1950s to make an indigenous fighter plane failed after it built a limited number of ground attack planes that fell far short of military specifications. — AFP

WASHINGTON: Once considered so entwined that they were twin targets of a US invasion, Al-Qaeda and elements of Afghanistan’s Taleban are now being surgically separated, one careful stitch at a time. The move by the United Nations last week to remove five Taleban members from its official sanctions list reflects a growing belief by US and international officials that some leaders of the Afghan Taleban no longer are tightly linked to the Al-Qaeda network they sheltered before the terror attacks on the United States on Sept 11, 2001. The decision anchors an Obama administration policy shift that would transform the Afghanistan war from a broad international conflict into an internal political struggle largely handled by the Afghans. Key to that change would be an effort to negotiate with and buy out midlevel Taleban figures willing to renounce violence and abandon their fight. In paring back some of the Taleban’s connections to Al-Qaeda, however, the move risks running up against the American public’s ingrained perception that the Afghan Taleban remains a national enemy, and there is no ideological daylight between the two groups. A few other Taleban figures have been dropped from the target list in recent years, but the latest round signals a more comprehensive approach. Any large-scale tinkering with the UN target list would have a tangible impact on American counterterror moves: The United

States typically has a strong behind-thescenes role in UN decisions and the UN list is often used by the United States to identify its own targets for diplomatic and economic punishments. US officials are quick to say the decoupling is limited and proceeding carefully. Some Taleban leaders, they say, may never come off the list - such as Mullah Mohammed Omar or the leaders of the Haqqani network, which directs the fight against US forces in eastern Afghanistan from the Waziristan tribal region in Pakistan. Even Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has endorsed the reconciliation plan as essential to success in the Afghanistan war, warns of the complexities involved in separating the two militant groups. Gates ticked off “a syndicate of terrorist groups” on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, including Al-Qaeda, Afghan and Pakistan Taleban and a number of Pakistani groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba. “So you can’t say one’s good and one’s not good,” he said recently. “They’re all insidious, and safe havens for all of them need to be eliminated.” The UN Security Council first imposed sanctions against the Taleban in November 1999 for refusing to send Osama bin Laden to stand trial on terrorism charges in connection with two 1998 US Embassy bombings in Africa. Those sanctions - a travel ban, arms embargo and assets freeze - later were extended to AlQaeda, and in January 2001, the UN assembled its first target list of 10 Al-Qaeda leaders

and 74 top Taleban officials. The list has grown to 268 Al-Qaeda and 137 Taleban figures and is largely replicated in a similar list used by the US State and Treasury departments to pinpoint terror targets. The UN decision, approved by all 15 members of the Security Council, came last week after Russia dropped an objection. The driving concern of those opposing the move focuses on what would happen if the Taleban were allowed to regain any power in Afghanistan. Opponents fear that Al-Qaeda, including its leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, who are believed hiding along the Pakistan border, would be welcomed back. Richard Barrett, the head of a U.N. group that monitors the threat posed by Al-Qaeda and the Taleban and among those who back the decision to start removing Taleban leaders from the list, said that “in areas that have been under Taleban control for some time, there aren’t Al-Qaeda there.” Other terrorism analysts are more cautious, warning that it will be difficult to determine who is no longer a threat, and that removing names may undercut the credibility of the list. “The lines are blurred between the tribal affiliations of the Taleban on both sides of the border and Al-Qaeda,” said Juan Zarate, a top counterterror official in the Bush administration who is now senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It becomes a very difficult chess game and you

need astute Afghans to help guide this. You don’t want to make a deal with the wrong set of actors; you don’t want to make a deal with the devil,” he said. US officials see a similar move as a key turning point in the Iraq conflict, says a senior Obama administration official who requested anonymity to discuss the rationale behind the strategy. US forces teamed up with former Sunni insurgents to fight against Al-Qaeda and began an effort to absorb them into national security and other civilian jobs. That effort was largely accepted by the American public, but it is less certain there would be equal appeal for rehabilitating Taleban leaders long portrayed as brutal enemies. Rick Nelson, a counterterrorism expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the American public is more likely to embrace the move because it is backed by US military commanders. “I think we need to give the American people more credit,” he said. “They know Al-Qaeda actually attacked the United States, while I think they view the Taleban as a more regional group focused on taking over Afghanistan. I think there is a pretty clear line between AlQaeda and the Taleban.” Removing the names of former Taleban leaders from the sanctions list would provide them with significant benefits. The sanctions bar their travel to other countries and freeze their financial assets, making it impossible for them to conduct business overseas. — AP


OPINION

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issues

Gloom over divisive Australia CO2 laws By David Fogarty and Rob Taylor

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eviled by conservatives and rejected by swing voting senators, Australia’s plan for the world’s most comprehensive emissions scheme appears dead in 2010, hurting investment plans for businesses wanting carbon clarity. Investors and carbon traders say they face another year of uncertainty after political opponents last year twice blocked the laws in the Senate. A disappointing outcome from the Copenhagen climate talks and a stalled climate bill in the US Senate have further dampened hopes of a breakthrough this year, they say. On Tuesday, the Australian government, facing re-election this year, will re-introduce its amended package of carbon trading laws into the upper house for a third go at passage. “Everybody in this country knows that there isn’t a costfree way to tackle climate change,” said Climate Change Minister Penny Wong on Monday, ahead of last ditch negotiations with Green senators aimed at keeping the scheme alive. But with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s government seven seats short in the hostile Senate and opponents showing no sign of a New Year change of heart, the prospects seem bleak. “It’s not looking great for carbon coming in,” said Connell Burke, head of Australian power trading at Westpac, adding electricity contract futures for the second half of next year were only pricing in a 10 to 20 percent chance of a carbon price. The uncertainty creates a lot of issues for electricity trading and in general for businesses wanting to do planning, Burke said. “Business is grinding to a standstill and everyone is spending their time lobbying,” he said. A resurgent opposition led by pugnacious new leader Tony Abbott has an election year message that threatens Rudd’s stratospheric popularity, calling the emissions laws “a great big new tax on everything, masquerading as an environment policy”. The Greens, who say the government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is too soft, last month announced a scheme based on a two-year carbon price of around A$20 a tonne from July this year to try to get the ball rolling. The government has made emissions trading a central plank of its pledge to fight climate change, which scientists say threatens to cause more intense droughts and bushfires and declining rainfall in parts of Australia. But the scheme, which aims

to put a price on every tonne of planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from 1,000 of the nation’s top polluters, has proved deeply divisive, despite several revisions last year to ease the costs to business. “There is no prospect the CPRS will pass in its current form. None at all. It’s gone,” Greens adviser Tim Hollo told Reuters. Some analysts say Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is now more focused on trying to notch up wins on tax reform and a A$43 billion national broadband network ahead of an election around November. “Rudd is going to bring it back to parliament purely for political reasons,” said political analyst Norman Abjorensen, adding Rudd and Wong had lost interest in genuine negotiations on the laws. Polls show the majority of Australians want action on climate change and Rudd is seen by some as having fought the good fight on global warming last year. His government has repeatedly called Abbott’s team “climate change sceptics” and attacked the opposition for forcing change to climate policies. “Rudd has probably already drawn the political point that makes a fairly sharp distinction between where his government is coming from on climate change and where the opposition is,” said Abjorensen, from the Australian National University. Much hinges on the viability of an alternative plan being put together by Abbott, which will focus on tree planting and soil carbon capture and storage initiatives, but which promises no new taxes. “If he can come up with an alternative policy that is credible then he might be able to garner some support for his position to oppose the CPRS,” said Rupert Posner, Australia director for The Climate Group thinktank. The uncertainty, though, is weighing heavily on business investment plans, particularly big emitters such as power stations that need to be able to price electricity contracts. Coal is used to generate about 80 percent of Australia’s power and the country is the world’s top coal exporter. Origin Energy, a leading power provider, told shareholders late last year the firm backed the CPRS and that business needed regulatory certainty to invest at scale. “We missed a lot of chances in 2009 and we have fewer chances this year. It’s a loss of momentum internationally as well,” said a senior emissions trader who asked not to be named because of political sensitivities surrounding carbon pricing in Australia. —Reuters

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Libya delays key job for Gaddafi reformist son By Tom Pfeiffer

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ibya’s powerful old guard appears to be holding up the appointment of Muammar Gaddafi’s western-leaning son to a top government role, leaving prospects for reform in the north African country as murky as ever. Libya has emerged from years of diplomatic isolation and begun to cooperate with the West on security and migration. Companies like BP and Exxon Mobil re spending billions of dollars to tap Africa’s biggest proven oil reserves.But establishment conservatives remain deeply suspicious of foreign interference and hopes have dimmed that the end of sanctions would mean greater political openness, deeper trade ties and a transparent business environment. Reform advocates found a reason for optimism in October when Gaddafi named his son Saif Al-Islam, who negotiated Libya’s exit from sanctions, to be head of the Social Popular Leadership. The grouping of business, union and political leaders was established in the 1980s to give a voice to tribal interests that underpin his father’s system of grass-roots government. The Leadership is viewed as less tainted by corruption than other areas of government and the appointment would have made Islam the country’s second-most powerful figure. But Islam has not taken up his new functions and the issue did not come up for discussion last month at the General People’s Congress, Libya’s top consultative body. A high ranking Libyan official told newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity that Saif Al-Islam was not about to assume an official government role and was sticking to a decision made in 2008 to retire from public life. Experts say Islam may be just biding his time. “We believe that the Leader is still determined that Saif Al-Islam will become Coordinator of Social People’s Leadership and that Saif will begin to manage the day-to-day running of

domestic affairs,” said Charles Gurdon, a Libya expert at London-based consultancy Menas Associates. Libya analysts say Islam wants power and needs to build support among ordinary Libyans to sideline the old guard and win over senior figures like Foreign Minister Musa Kusa and former intelligence head Abdullah Senusi. Islam’s supporters say he will enter government when Libyans gain more political freedom and transparent state institutions. “I think Saif is genuinely interested in building popular support and sees these appeals to democratization and reform as a way to do so,” said Geoff Porter, an analyst at Eurasia Group. Saif Al-Islam suffered a blow last month when two newspapers owned by Al Ghad, a media company that he helped establish, suspended publication. The papers had published articles alleging official corruption, but media industry sources told Reuters the papers were closed because the company failed to pay its printing bill for many months. The titles are still publishing online. The government already took control of Al Ghad’s TV channel Al Libia last year and analysts said the group’s troubles were damaging Islam’s image as a manager and decision maker. “Outside observers often fail to realise that organisations and companies related to Saif (al-Islam) have shown quite a dismal performance, often worse than the public sector in terms of management, honesty and lack of professionalism,” said Tripoli-based political analyst and professor Mustafa Fetouri. The end of sanctions allowed goods to flood into Libya and inflation is gnawing at incomes, focusing frustration at the government’s apparent failure to improve living standards. Growing oil income still pays for generous subsidies and government salaries. Gaddafi has watered down the centralized economy and state-run markets that once offered only bare necessities now sell many appliances and household goods.

But ordinary Libyans complain of bad schools and utilities, archaic banks and elephantine bureaucracy. Many say that fortune in Libya favours the well-connected, who speed around Tripoli in luxury SUVs and

whose fat wallets have enticed a host of luxury retailers to open stores there. Islam has spent years cultivating an image as a reformer with the influence to challenge corrupt apparatchiks, make government more transparent

and strengthen the judiciary so it can stand up to powerful interests. Libya watchers say he is clearly being groomed to succeed his father but conservatives will throw obstacles in his way. — Reuters

What Americans think about Muslims By Dalia Mogahed

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he American people and their openness to Muslim communities will in many ways determine the success of President Barack Obama’s global engagement initiative, which he launched on his inauguration day a year ago by calling for a “new way forward” with Muslims. Change will depend in large part on how Americans think, and it is therefore crucial to understand American perceptions of Muslims and Islam. How much do Americans know about Islam and Muslims? What characteristics define Muslims in most Americans’ minds? And perhaps most important, what factors make prejudice or tolerance more likely? A new study released last week by the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies sheds light on these questions and many more. The following is what we discovered when we interviewed a thousand representative Americans on their perceptions of several faith communities, with in-depth analysis of their perceptions of Muslims and Islam. Americans are more likely to admit harboring prejudice toward Muslims than any other faith community that Gallup studied. Forty-three percent of Americans admit to having at least some prejudice toward Muslims. This is more than twice the number that expresses some prejudice toward Jews, Buddhists or Christians. We also discovered that being prejudiced toward Jews makes a person more likely to express prejudice toward Muslims, more so than any other factor studied. Of all the variables we looked at, from age to education to perceptions, the factor most strongly associated with anti-Muslim prejudice is not level of education, whether or not one knows a Muslim, or even one’s opinion of Islam - it is anti-Jewish prejudice. These results suggest that anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiment are related phenomena, and that organizations fighting these social ills must work more closely together, since they appear to be fighting for a common goal. Frequent religious service attendance makes Americans half as likely to express extreme prejudice toward Muslims. For example, frequent church attendance makes someone less, not more, likely to express prejudice toward Muslims. The survey also revealed that prejudice, or the lack thereof, is more strongly associated with one’s opinion of Islam than with whether or not someone personally knows a Muslim. If someone does not

know a Muslim personally, it does make them more likely to express extreme prejudice toward the group. But perhaps surprisingly, knowing a Muslim does not increase the likelihood of a person expressing no prejudice. What these results suggest is that knowing a Muslim may help soften extreme prejudice, but it is not enough to eliminate it. Our survey results also tell us that American perceptions of what Muslims think are sometimes significantly different from what Muslims really do think. Roughly eight in 10 Americans (81 percent) believe that most Muslims do not value gender equality. However, according to Gallup research in Muslimmajority societies around the world, the majority of Muslims, including 85 percent of Saudi Arabians and 89 percent of Iranians, do believe that men and women should have equal legal rights. Despite what may seem like negative results, the polls indicate that Americans’ views of Muslims and Islam have generally improved over the past two years. Moreover, roughly seven out of 10 Americans also say that greater interaction between the West and Muslim communities is more of a benefit than a threat. The majority of Egyptians, Saudis and Indonesians share this view. In fact, overall, Muslim approval of the United States and its leadership is on the rise. Ultimately, this study demonstrates that perceptions are not permanent, which is promising. But the public needs to be educated about Muslim beliefs. For example, Americans who believe that most Muslims support equal rights between men and women are twice as likely to express no prejudice toward them - indicating that we require a greater awareness of the fact that most Muslims worldwide support gender equality. We also know from the results of the study that prejudice is not isolated to one group, creating an opportunity for greater interfaith partnership to help address this issue. The majority of both Americans and the world’s Muslims want engagement over isolation, a process which starts on home - through greater understanding of our own perceptions. NOTE: Dalia Mogahed is the executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and co-author with John Esposito of “Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.” She also serves on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships – CGNews

Leaner Nigerian rebel group still threat to oil firms By Randy Fabi

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igeria’s main militant group, revitalized by growing frustration over the government’s lack of leadership, has the manpower, weaponry and local support to disrupt much of the Niger Delta’s onshore oil operations. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on Saturday ended a three-month old ceasefire and threatened to unleash “an all-out assault” on Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry. Security sources said the industry was taking the threat “very seriously” and believed MEND could attack a vulnerable pipeline, flow station or other oil facility if the government did not quickly show willingness to negotiate. “Definitely something will happen. We had expected MEND to attack over the weekend,” a security source said. “They know the places to attack where they can’t get caught ... getting the credibility they need to push their political agenda,” the source said. An oil pipeline was sabotaged on Sunday, forcing Royal Dutch Shell to shut three pumping stations in the Niger Delta. But a MEND spokesman said its fighters were not “directly responsible” and security sources believed oil thieves were behind the incident. Attacks by MEND on Nigeria’s oil sector in the past few years have prevented the OPEC member from producing much above two-

File photo taken Sept 17, 2008 shows fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) as they prepare for an operation against the Nigerian army in Niger Delta. – AFP thirds of its capacity, costing it about $1 billion a month in lost revenues. MEND, a loose coalition of militant groups, was severely weakened by the departure of many key field commanders that accepted President Umaru Yar’Adua’s amnesty offer last year. But the group said it has since replenished its ranks. “MEND has replaced every single commander. Those that have taken over were affiliated with MEND in the past but

are not known by their predecessors for security reasons,” the group said in an email to Reuters. “A two pronged approach of attacks and dialogue will form the new way to go.” Some former militants have also indicated they may soon rejoin the fight after the government failed to follow through on its promises of giving them training and jobs. “We are in support of MEND. We are going back to the creeks,” said General Monday, who

commanded 175 militants in Bayelsa state before taking the amnesty. “The federal government is playing games with us so before the end of the week you will hear things, you will see things - all the oil companies will fold up,” he said. Under Yar’Adua’s amnesty program, Abuja promised to provide a monthly stipend, education and job opportunities to the thousands of ex-rebels that surrendered their arms. But the program has stalled since the president left Nigeria for medical treatment at a hospital in Saudi Arabia more than two months ago. Yar’Adua has refused to hand over executive powers to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, sparking questions over the legality of government decisions in the president’s absence. “The government is losing its window of opportunity to solve the Niger Delta problem,” a security source said. Some community leaders are hoping MEND will give peace talks one last chance before resorting to violence again. “They should not act or they could lose sympathy internationally. They should allow the government to respond and address the areas of their concerns,” said Jonjon Oyeinfe, a leading activist and expresident of the Ijaw Youth Council ethnic rights group. The amnesty has been successful in providing a relative calm in the Niger Delta, allowing oil companies to repair

and resume operations at some facilities. Most of the amnesty’s success stems from the participation of former top MEND leaders Government Tompolo, Ateke Tom and Farah Dagogo, who each commanded hundreds of fighters before surrendering their weapons last year. The new MEND leaders are unlikely to have as many followers or command the same respect in the Niger Delta as their predecessors, limiting the group’s operational capacity. But even with fewer fighters, MEND is still capable of attacking pipelines and oil facilities that have little to no security, potentially forcing the shutdown of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day. “The nature of an insurgency is that you don’t need a large force to strike your targets,” said Dapo Oyewole, chairman for the Centre for African Policy and Peace Strategy. “In the Niger Delta, it is extremely easy to attack a pipeline. Nigeria is incapable of guarding the whole area.” Shell-operated Forcados, EA and Bonny Light oil facilities have been favourite militant targets in the past because of their onshore locations. Agip’s Brass River and Chevron’s Escravos pipelines have also been attacked. Offshore oilfields, like Shell’s Bonga and ExxonMobil’s Erha, are much more secure but MEND has attacked them at least once in the past two years. — Reuters


ANALYSIS

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

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For Obama on China, no more Mr Nice Guy? By Shaun Tandon

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fter a year of wooing China, President Barack Obama is showing a new side by brazenly defying the rising Asian power - while hoping that the rift will be temporary. The Obama administration on Friday signed off on a $6.4 billion arms package for Taiwan. China, which claims the island, had repeatedly warned against the sale and retaliated by vowing to punish US companies. Obama could butt heads with Beijing again in the coming weeks if he meets the Dalai Lama. The two nations also have a number of trade rows including Google’s threat to leave China over hacking of activists’ email accounts. Officials and experts doubted that Obama was seeking to antagonize China. Rather, they said he had long planned to sell arms to Taiwan and meet the Dalai Lama but wanted first to develop a good rapport with Beijing. Douglas H Paal, a former top US policymaker on China and envoy to Taiwan, said Obama had waited for the right time and saw a window after Beijing balked in mid-January at backing tougher sanctions against Iran. “It became clear that Beijing was not going

US President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington Monday. – AP to play on Iran and therefore there was nothing to hold up the arms sales anymore,” said Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Obama opened his administration pledging to expand cooperation between the world’s largest developed and developing nations, eying cooperation on issues from climate change to

reviving the global economy to North Korea. But Obama came back on the defensive after a trip in November to China which made no visible goodwill gestures to him, not freeing any dissidents or even broadcasting nationally his one public forum. A month earlier, Obama had avoided meeting the Dalai Lama when he was in Washington so as not to sour the presi-

dent’s trip. China accuses the Dalai Lama of separatism, although the monk says he is seeking greater rights for Tibet under Chinese rule. The White House indicated last year that Obama would meet the Dalai Lama at a later date. The Dalai Lama is due in the United States this month, starting with a public lecture on Feb 21 in Los Angeles. Walter Lohman, director of the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, said it would be impossible politically for Obama to avoid the Tibetan leader again. “It’s the Chinese who are the real outliers here. They’re the only people in the world who have a negative impression of the Dalai Lama,” Lohman said. “The real problem here was giving an impression to the Chinese that there was some possibility that the US was going to listen to them on the Dalai Lama,” he said, criticizing Obama for being “excessively deferential” to China. China was largely positive about previous president George W Bush. During his eight-year presidency, China’s exports and investments in the United States soared; China now holds

more than 800 billion dollars of the ballooning US debt. While questioning the amount of leverage China has, Lohman said: “I think they know the perception is out there that they have this leverage and are the new boss in town, and so they’re playing off that.” But Nina Hachigian, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, dismissed suggestions that Obama had been weak on China, saying the new administration had set out a path to work together on common interests. “While it was not a reason for it, I do think the arms package should quell the ridiculous judgments that Obama was being too deferential to China,” she said. “I do think they’ve been successful, even though there is still a lot of distrust, in reassuring that we welcome a rising China and we don’t want to contain China,” she said. She said that the United States and China were in a “Bermuda triangle stage” of relations with Taiwan, Tibet and trade issues. “That’s going to mean rough sailing in the relationship for a while, but the fact is we’re in this together,” she said. “It’s in neither side’s interest for it to get derailed, so after a certain period it will get back on track.” — AFP

Despite setbacks, Obama’s aims unchanged F By Walter R Mears

or a president in political trouble, the State of the Union address seems the ideal launch site to get past it and get going. But that seldom has worked as planned. Now President Barack Obama is trying to make a go of his “we don’t quit” campaign for change. To do it, he’ll have to deliver action that will help get the US beyond its winter of discontent, and that is going to be increasingly difficult against almost lockstep Republican opposition that is sure to harden as the November congressional elections approach. Against that prospect, Obama had a blunt message for Republicans: “Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it is not leadership.” Sometimes, presidents slumping in the public opinion polls or set back by election losses have tilted their agendas toward their critics. Obama acknowledged his political setbacks and said some were deserved. But he didn’t rewrite his programs on jobs, reform of the financial system, energy, or even the health care overhaul that became one of those political problems. “As temperatures cool ... take another look,” he said, challenging Republicans to come up with something better. Obama did not yield his aims, he restated them, demanding action in the Senate, where the special election loss of a Democratic seat gave Republicans the vote they need to block bills by procedural maneuvers. “To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority for decades, and the people expect us to solve some problems, not run for the hills,” he said. Obama is in a unique position. He’s still a new president, one year in with at least three to come. In 1975, Gerald R Ford, even newer to the White House, faced inflation, recession, unemployment and an unpopular war. “I must say to you, the State of the Union is not good,” Ford said in his reversal of a standard State of the Union line. He asked for cooperation from Democrats who had just won

off-year elections. Instead, it was a time of confrontation and eventually a record crop of vetoes. For other presidents, the effort to counter congressional election defeats came later into their terms, as it did for President Bill Clinton after the Republicans swept his Democrats out of control and took over the House and Senate. Or George W Bush, when Democrats won back control of Congress on his watch in 2006. Or Ronald Reagan, when Republicans lost 26 House seats in 1982. Obama’s problems are obvious heading toward elections in which Republicans almost certainly will make significant gains; historically, the president’s party loses congressional seats in midterm voting. The public mood is sour, with anger on the right and dissatisfaction on the left. It is reminiscent of the attitudes that led Jimmy Carter to diagnose a “crisis of confidence” in 1979 in what became known as the malaise speech. For Obama, the political disaster warnings went up after only one election, the upset Republican victory in Massachusetts for a Senate seat that had been Democratic since 1952. It certainly was a signal of voter anger, but Democrats still have an 18-vote Senate majority. When presidents have seen their party voted out of congressional control, the State of the Union tendency has been to bend toward the winners, as Clinton did in 1995, promising to shrink government, cut taxes and overhaul welfare. He dropped health care, the failed centerpiece issue that had been his political undoing. He rambled on for 81 minutes and proposed what he called a New Covenant, an illdefined policy blend meant to appeal to both sides. Republicans were not interested in covenants; they were relishing their new power. So the Clinton effort foundered, and it seemed he would, too, until the Republicans overreached and blocked the budget and the administration shut down the government in 1995 for lack of funds. The Republicans got the blame and Clinton got his

revival. Beginning the campaign that won him a second term in 1996, he played to the center, declaring in his State of the Union speech that “the era of big government is over.” After Republican setbacks in the

1982 House elections, Ronald Reagan went to Congress with a message that echoes now: “The problems we inherited were far worse than ... expected; the recession was deeper ... than predicted.” Just as Obama said the

swelling deficits Republicans are denouncing now began with eight years of Republican rule in the White House, worsened by the financial meltdown and recession he inherited. “We took office amid a crisis,” he said. — AP

Plenty to hate in Obama budget By Andy Sullivan

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President Barack Obama’s budget proposals seem to have given every lawmaker in Congress a little something to hate. After a first year of epic battles over healthcare, climate change and the economy, Obama has handed Congress another thorny battle with an uncertain fate. Although Obama submits the budget to Congress, actual decisions about how the government raises and spends money are made on Capitol Hill in a process of horse trading that can last most of a year. “I only hope the debate can be more focused on policy than politics,” said Representative Charlie Rangel, a Democrat like Obama who chairs the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Good luck with that. Republicans, feeling a wind at their backs ahead of elections in November that could seriously alter the makeup of the two Democratic-led houses of Congress, are trashing the proposal. None voted for last year’s proposal and they are unlikely to support this year’s effort. “I don’t see, given the level of spending, the level of debt, the level of taxation, that this will receive much Republican support,” said Representative Dave Camp, the top Republican on Ways and Means. Obama’s fellow liberals also took issue with his plans, some assailing his proposal to freeze many government domestic programs for three years. The toughest questions in Congress may center on how Democrats resolve their differences. With unemployment hovering around 10 percent, lawmakers of all stripes are certain to challenge cuts that might lead to layoffs back home, such as Obama’s plans to cancel a NASA space program to send astronauts back to the moon. “You could say: ‘Houston, we have a problem here,’” said Dan McLaughlin, a spokesman for Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, whose state of Florida, like Texas, is home to space program jobs. There are incentives for cooperation. Democrats are desperate to show voters they are taking steps to reduce unemployment. They also face a growing voter backlash over the aggressive spending measures they have taken to boost the economy. Obama’s budget aims to address both concerns, laying out additional spending and tax incentives

to boost hiring, while setting in place a spending freeze on many programs to demonstrate fiscal responsibility. Approving a budget blueprint that contains these goals could help Democrats hold onto their jobs in November and portray Republicans as obstructionists unwilling to compromise for the good of the country, said budget expert and former congressional staffer Stan Collender. “It looks to me that the budget was put together to put Republicans on the defensive,” Collender said, pointing to tax cuts and deficitreduction efforts contained in the plan. Democrats disagree also. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that the Defense Department should not be exempt from spending cuts, while the No. 2 House Democrat, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, told Reuters last week he opposed subjecting national security to a freeze. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, who oversees spending, said he would stay within the overall levels in Obama’s proposal but might cut defense to minimize cuts in domestic programs. The Obama administration projects the spending freeze will save $250 billion over the coming decade, not nearly enough to get budget deficits down to a level that economists view as sustainable. Other proposed savings, such as cuts to certain weapons programs, were rejected by Congress last year. Democrats hope that two other approaches can show voters that they are responsible stewards of tax money. One would set up a bipartisan White House commission to figure out ways to bring down deficits in the long term. But the “bipartisan” part may be in doubt as key Republicans say the commission would give Democrats the political cover to sign off on tax increases. Will they participate? “I’d have to see how it’s structured, but I doubt it,” Senator Judd Gregg, the top Republican on the Budget Committee, told Reuters in a phone interview. The other approach, known as “paygo,” would require new spending programs to be offset elsewhere in the budget, to avoid adding further to the deficit. The House is expected to approve it this week and send it on to Obama to sign into law, after the Senate passed it last week. Voters will elect all 435 members in the House of Representatives and more than a third of the 100 Senate members in November. — Reuters

Turkish military no longer calls shots By Selcan Hacaoglu

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ith a crash of cymbals from a navy band, the Turkish military this week sent off a frigate to a counter-piracy mission off Somalia - far from the rough seas shaking the armed forces at home. In contrast to the praise it’s winning in missions overseas, the military’s image in Turkey has been badly shaken over allegations of secret plots to overthrow the Islamic-rooted government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It has all raised a once unthinkable question: Do the generals no longer call the shots in a nation that has been accustomed to viewing the army as the pillar of the secular state? Certainly, the elite military class known as “Pashas” - a title of respect harking back to Ottoman times - are no longer untouchables, with several jailed over alleged coup attempts to overthrow the elected government. In something of a revolution for Turkey, Erdogan has dramatically curtailed the power of the military to meet demands by the European Union to put the military under civilian rule and signaled further tough steps to rein in the generals. The military has ousted four governments since 1960, proof to many here that it has

In this Oct 15, 2008 file photo, flanked by top army commanders, Turkish chief of the military Gen Ilker Basbug speaks in Balikesir, Turkey. – AP been the real power in the country since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk set up a rigidly secular republic from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. But ordinary Turks have tired of the constant threat of military-led upheavals and they have warmed to the businessfriendly, pragmatic and mildly Islamist direction in which Erdogan has been leading the country for the past seven years. Erdogan has strongly bol-

stered democratic institutions as part of Turkey’s EU bid, weakening the role of the military. “Whoever thinks there is no law in this country, assumes that he can do as he desires and can justify his unlawful actions by various disguises, he should know that those times are over now,” Erdogan warned last week. “We do not want the people of this country to live under the shadow of oligarchy ever again, we want the nation to

decide on the path their country treads.” Ironically, the decline of the army’s clout in Turkey comes as it raises its profile on the world stage. In December, Turkey - NATO’s only Muslim member - took over the command of the alliance’s peacekeeping operation in Kabul, Afghanistan, a transfer steeped in symbolism. Turkey has also contributed to peacekeeping missions in Somalia, Lebanon, and

Kosovo. Erdogan indicated on Sunday that an internal military regulation that was held up as constituting grounds for past army takeovers, could be amended. The regulation stipulates that the army has the duty of “watching over and protecting the Turkish Republic”. “If there is consensus, it could be changed,” Erdogan said in an interview on the state television. The government last week also said it would scrap another regulation that puts the entire police force under military commanders at times of martial law in another move to diminish the army’s powers. In an effort to downplay tensions, however, Erdogan said he was collaborating with the military chief to clamp down on allegations of coup plots. “Our cooperation is continuing in a positive way,” he said. Erdogan’s remarks came a few days after the chief of the military, Gen Ilker Basbug angrily pounded on a podium with his fist and denied what he called “heartless” allegations that his subordinates could be plotting to blow up a mosque to trigger chaos and eventually a coup. The outburst followed revelations of a series of recent alleged military coup plots, the discovery of secret weapons caches and of wiretapping that

have dealt a massive blow to the military’s credibility with the public. Prosecutors so far have charged more than 400 people. Although soldiers comprise only one-tenth of the suspects - who include academics, journalists and politicians - they are accused of being the main instigators. Basbug insisted that the era of coups is over. “Of course there were some incidents in Turkey. But we, as the Turkish Armed Forces, say that these incidents are history as of today,” Basbug said last week. “We believe that (the military) also received its share of lessons drawn from that period.” Still, the military continues to cling onto old privileges. The Constitutional Court recently annulled a law that allowed the prosecution of military officers by civilian courts instead of military courts for crimes such as attempting to overthrow regimes. Some civilian courts insisted that such crimes should be handled by them. “The military is under the interrogation of its own personal record, which is democratically tainted due to its history of coups and ultimatums,” Fatih Cekirge recently wrote in his column in daily Hurriyet. “Until these claims are examined by the civil courts, public conscience will not be relieved.” — AP

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HK ‘referendum’ sets China on edge By Polly Hui

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ith five pieces of paper, democrats in Hong Kong have addressed a defiant challenge to China’s one-party communist leadership and its consuming devotion to political stability. By resigning in a bid to promote a populist “referendum” for universal suffrage, the five democratic lawmakers are playing for bigger stakes than just reform in southern China’s autonomous financial citadel. “The Chinese Communist Party regards itself as the ultimate decision maker for its people,” said Ma Ngok, a political scientist at Chinese University of Hong Kong. “It will never accept the idea of allowing a small group of people on its territory making decisions for themselves. The referendum plan is almost like a separatist movement to them,” he said. Beyond a limited exercise at village-level democracy, China has never permitted a political opening to match its three decades of economic reform. The 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown made Beijing’s priorities clear. Political stability and “social harmony” take pride of place, and dissidents are routinely locked up. In late December, writer Liu Xiaobo was jailed for 11 years after coauthoring “Charter 08”, a manifesto for political change. The pro-democrats do not have to fear Liu’s fate in Hong Kong, which under its 1997 transfer from British rule enjoys a separate legal system and freedoms of speech and protest. But the freewheeling territory’s legislature remains heavily skewed in favour of proBeijing business interests, and the democrats are stepping up their campaign for one person, one vote as early as 2012. When the five lawmakers tendered their resignations last week, bidding to turn the resulting by-elections into a referendum for democracy, Civic Party leader Audrey Eu said there was “no reason to fear the people’s will”. “We are

going to do it by five pieces of paper, by five resignation letters,” she said. But political observers say Beijing has much to fear from the symbolism of a fully fledged democracy campaign taking root on a part of its soil. “Hong Kong has always been looked upon as the best model for those who want to push for democracy in mainland China,” said Johnny Lau, a veteran commentator on China affairs. “We should never underestimate the implications of the city’s democratic movement on other parts of China,” he said. “Civic groups have already emerged in China. However, their actions have not yet been able to effect changes because wealth is still concentrated in the pockets of top bureaucrats.” Pro-Beijing parties are vowing to boycott the forthcoming by-elections, and China’s cabinet has condemned the democrats’ campaign as a “blatant challenge” to the city’s constitutional set-up under mainland rule. There are other signs that people in Hong Kong are chafing at Beijing’s stewardship. Last month, more than 1,000 protesters blocked officials from leaving the Legislative Council and rallied outside the residence of Chief Executive Donald Tsang against an 8.6billion-dollar Hong KongGuangzhou railway link. Protesters said the legislature’s approval of the highspeed project, a mainland priority that was rammed through by the pro-Beijing business elites, trampled over popular objections. On New Year’s Day, thousands took to the streets to call for universal suffrage and for Liu Xiaobo’s release. City University political scientist James Sung said he expected more intervention from China, albeit indirectly through pressure on Tsang’s Hong Kong administration and the proBeijing parties. “Beijing is definitely worried about the ‘referendum’. It will take an increasingly closer watch of the city’s political development and will continue to intervene,” he said. — AFP

Strikers head home eyeing World Cup By Pedro Fonseca

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onaldo, Adriano, Fred and now Robinho, Brazil’s four strikers at the 2006 World Cup, have returned home looking to revive their careers and earn a place at this year’s finals in South Africa. Ronaldo, still far from his best physical shape, is practically out of Brazil coach Dunga’s plans, whereas his former attack partner Adriano is set to secure a berth at the World Cup after recovering his form to help Flamengo win the 2009 Brazilian championship. Maybe inspired by Adriano’s success, Robinho chose to take a drop in his millionaire’s salary at Manchester City to earn less at Santos during a six-month loan - looking to be a part of Dunga’s squad. Despite being in the starting line-up for the better part of the South American qualifiers and Brazil’s victory in the Confederations Cup last year, Robinho’s place in the team has been questioned since he moved from Real Madrid to City for British record transfer fee of 32.5 million pounds ($51.77 million) in 2008. In England, he has not managed to impress. “When Robinho left Santos, he was ready to become one of the best players in the world. Why he didn’t succeed, I don’t know,” said former Brazil goalkeeper Emerson Leao, who gave Robinho his Santos debut at 18 in 2002. “Now Robinho arrives here with an enormous responsibility. First, the pressure of the media, not forgetting he has to give a return to those who contributed financially to bring him back and, mainly because he’s a reference for all the youngsters emerging today in the Santos team,” Leao told the Sportv channel. “I think Robinho’s return is a watershed in his career. Either he gets back to the times of his

brilliance or he really creates a problem for himself.” Expectations for the return of yet another big name international to the domestic game were huge. Ronaldo began the fashion of these returns at the beginning of 2009. The threetimes FIFA Player of the Year, while recovering from surgery on a knee injury he suffered at AC Milan, signed a surprising deal with Corinthians after snubbing Flamengo. Corinthians then won the Paulista (Sao Paulo state) championship and the Copa Brasil in the first half of the year but his coveted return to the national team did not happen. Former Olympique Lyon striker Fred followed, joining Fluminense. After a long spell recovering from injury, he led on an astonishing run of 11 matches unbeaten to escape relegation and is now waiting for a new chance from Dunga. The most successful return was Adriano’s to Flamengo after saying in April that he was putting his career on hold due to his unhappiness at Inter Milan. He was the Brazilian championship’s top scorer and he did find a place back in the Brazil side. Robinho will not even have time to play in the Brazilian championship which starts in May but goes into recess for the June 11-July 11 World Cup and ends in December. However, returning to the club he helped win the national title twice is a chance for Robinho to enchant fans again with his dribbling and bursts of pace that caught Pele’s attention when he was barely 14. “It’s a victory for Brazil because Robinho will be able to play the football that all Brazilians want to see from Robinho, something difficult with the rotation policy of (City coach Roberto) Mancini,” Santos president Luis Alvaro Ribeiro said on announcing the loan deal. — Reuters


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Phil the groundhog ‘sees’ six more weeks of winter P U N X S U TAW N E Y, Pennsylvania: An American groundhog delivered his annual weather prediction yesterday, declaring that there will be six more weeks of winter af ter seeing his shadow. Dubbed “Punxsutawney Phil,” the rodent made his forecast in front of about 12,000 people who came from as far as Chile and the Netherlands to see the 124-year-old tradition in 8 degrees Celsius temperatures. Phil was lif ted from his cage in a stump at dawn to the cheers of the waiting crowd, many of whom were dressed in groundhog hats and other paraphernalia. Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Inner Circle organizers - and reputedly the only person in the world who can speak “groundhogese” declared that Phil had “seen his shadow” as he has about 90 percent of the time. For groundhog lovers who were unwilling to spend a night in the cold organizers of the event for the first time this year sent the text of the prognostication to people’s cell phones. If Phil does not see his shadow when he emerges from his burrow, which is actually a box set into a tree stump near the western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney, spring is said to be just around the corner. But a high-profile rival delivered a different prediction yesterday with local media reporting that New York City’s “Staten Island Chuck”

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania: Punxsutawney Phil is held by Ben Hughes after emerging from his burrow on Gobblers Knob to see his shadow and forecast six more weeks of winter weather yesterday. – AP did not see his shadow. Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had criticized the event for traumatizing the groundhog and said Phil should be replaced with a robotic rodent. Organizers dismissed the idea as “ridiculous”. The tradition of the groundhog, a rodent related to the marmot, is said to have arrived in the United States with early German immi-

grants who settled in western Pennsylvania. The event was made famous by the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray. John Martin, 63, a retired engineer, said he drove 560 km from his home in Sardinia, Ohio, to witness the event for the fifth time in 10 years. Martin, who came to Punxsutawney on his own, said it was hard to explain to his friends and neighbors

why he should drive so far to attend the ceremony in the dark and cold. “They think I’m crazy,” he said. Priscilla McMannes, a 40-year-old warehouse worker, drove five hours from her home in Stanton, Virginia to come to attend the event for the first time. “We saw it on TV and we watched the movie, and we wanted to see what all the fuss was about,” she said.— Reuters

Saudi girl ends bid to divorce octogenarian Continued from Page 1 80-year-old last September in exchange for a dowry payment of 85,000 riyals ($22,667). The case caused an uproar after Al-Riyadh newspaper first reported it in early January, saying the marriage had been consummated and quoting the girl as pleading to the journalist to “save me”. Her mother, who is unidentified in local reports, petitioned the court to annul the marriage and

charged that the girl had been raped. The case was to be heard Monday, but reports said the mother dropped the complaint ahead of the hearing. Saudi Arabia has no law against child mar riage, and clerics and religious judges justif y the practice based on Islamic and Saudi tradition. But human rights officials have been pushing for a law that would set a minimum marriage age of 16 or higher. In January, senior cleric Sheikh Abdullah Al-Manie told

Okaz that Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) marriage to a nine-year-old girl some 14 centuries ago cannot be used to justify child marriages today. Manie, a member of the Council of Senior Ulema (scholars), said that circumstances are different today from when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married young Aisha. Aisha’s marriage “cannot be equated with child marriages today because the conditions and circumstances are not the same,” he said. — AFP

Riyadh wants Taleban to expel Laden Continued from Page 1 Saud Al-Faisal said in London last week. “They must tell us that they gave this up, and prove it of course,” he said, according to the privately owned Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that an official mediation request is needed. His views were reiterated yesterday by a Foreign Ministry official who said that bin Laden would have to be expelled from Taleban-controlled lands and the group must clearly declare its new position. Bin Laden is a member of a wealthy Saudi family but fell out with the government in the early 1990s over the presence of US troops there. He has repeatedly condemned the ruling family and was stripped of his citizenship in 1994. Saudi Arabia hosted members of the Afghan government and Taleban over a meal during the holy month of Ramadan in 2008 at the request of Karzai. But the talks didn’t get very far. Saudi analyst Anwar Eshki said informal Saudi contacts with Taleban members have been made in recent months to gauge the group’s mood.

“Saudi Arabia will not get involved unless the two sides ask for it, unless there is a desire for dialogue,” said Eshki, the head of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah. In London, Karzai stressed he plans to reconcile with Taleban leaders as much as they are willing, but he made clear his offer of reconciliation did not extend to anyone in Al-Qaeda, saying there was no room in Afghanistan for terrorists. Karzai has said previously he is willing to talk to Taleban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar and welcome back any militants who are willing to recognize the Afghan constitution. However, the Taleban has always set the withdrawal of international troops as a precondition for any negotiations. Karzai called that unrealistic, saying the NATO coalition should be expected to stay until they achieve their goal of removing Al-Qaeda and other terrorist threats. At the conference, Saudi Arabia pledged an addition $150 million in aid to the war-ravaged country. Karzai has said he is looking forward to a key Saudi role, not only in reconstruction, but a broader role for

peace-building and talks with Taleban. His spokesman Waheed Omar told Asharq AlAwsat yesterday that Karzai is expected to officially asked Saudi Arabia for mediation. He added that Afghans highly value the kingdom, which is viewed as the center of the Islamic world, and its leaders as the only ones able to convince Taleban leaders to discuss peace. Saudi Arabia is wary of getting involved in Afghanistan again, following its role in funding the anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s and later the movement that became the Taleban. The Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat Tariq Alhomayed cautioned Saudi officials against “entanglement” in Afghan affairs, saying the last time it got involved, the kingdom ended up being blamed alone for rising militancy there after the Sept 11 attacks. “Our fear is that history will repeat itself, albeit with different events,” he wrote yesterday. “The question that must be asked today is: What is required from Saudi Arabia today; the rescue of Afghanistan, to save US face, or will Saudi Arabia becoming entangled in Afghanistan once again?” — AP

Deployment ups tensions in Gulf Continued from Page 1 resembling an Iranian or North Korean strike. Yesterday, Tehran slammed the US plans, insisting Iran poses no danger to its Arab neighbours which had more to fear from Washington’s interference in the region. “American officials do not realise that they are the problems in the region. The more equipment you bring in, the more it worries the countries where they are deployed,” parliament speaker Ali Larijani said. “Has Iran ever committed any aggression against any neighbours or the region?” he asked. The US administration is reportedly placing specialised ships with missile-targeting capabilities off Iran’s coast, and anti-missile systems in at least four Gulf states - Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia has long had the Patriot missile defence system, while the UAE placed an order in 2008. Bahrain is also home to the US Navy Fifth fleet, Qatar hosts the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and Kuwait has a large US military base. “Iranians will interpret this as an opening shot in the intensification of US military agenda,” said Professor Anoush

Ehteshami, Iran and Gulf expert at Durham University in Britain. “Tehran will see this as America putting indirect pressure on Iran by extending the security umbrella over Iran’s neighbours,” he told AFP by telephone. The US administration has not publicly spoken about the reasons for the deployment. But the New York Times quoted a senior administration official as saying that the moves were meant to deter Iran, and to reassure Israel, which is Tehran’s regional arch-foe. “Our first goal is to deter the Iranians,” the unidentified official told the newspaper on Saturday. “A second is to reassure the Arab states, so they don’t feel they have to go nuclear themselves. But there is certainly an element of calming the Israelis as well,” he was quoted as saying. The US moves follow the failure of UN-led nuclear talks in Vienna between Iran and six major powers. Last month at the talks, Iran refused to forego its uranium enrichment, leaving itself open to international sanctions. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful, but there are suspicions in the West that it may also be working on a covert nuclear bomb. On Sunday, a radar malfunction was

blamed for the failure of a US military test to intercept a ballistic missile resembling an Iranian or North Korean strike. Washington is seeking to win over its allies to slap a fourth set of UN sanctions on Iran that would target Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, which it believes controls the military aspect of Tehran’s nuclear program. Alani said Washington is aiming to contain Iran’s threat, if it were to act militarily, by limiting its missile capabilities. “The only strategic asset for Iran is the Shahab (ballistic) missile system. The Americans have decided now to take this advantage out, through paralysing it with an anti-missile system in the region,” he said. General David Petraeus, head of CENTCOM which oversees US military operations stretching from the Gulf to Central Asia, said the accelerated deployment of missile systems included eight Patriot missile batteries, “two in each of four countries“. The United States was also keeping Aegis guided missile cruisers, equipped with advanced radar and anti-missile systems that can intercept medium-range missiles, on patrol in the Gulf at all times, according to Petraeus. — AFP

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mousavi: Iranian revolution failed Continued from Page 1 “Dictatorship in the name of religion is the worst kind. The most evident manifestation of a continued tyrannical attitude is the abuse of parliament and judiciary. We have completely lost hope in the judiciary,” he said. Mousavi added that he no longer believed, as he once did, “that the revolution had removed all those structures which could lead to totalitarianism and dictatorship”. “Stifling the media, filling the prisons and brutally killing people who peacefully demand their rights in the streets indicate the roots of tyranny and dictatorship remain from the monarchist era... I don’t believe that the revolution achieved its goals,” he said. Mousavi, who has spearheaded the anti-government protests since the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June, made the remarks as Iran marks the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution. Celebrations marking the 1979 return from exile of hardline cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini began on Monday and will climax on February 11, the anniversary of the fall of shah who had ruled Iran for nearly four decades. The violent protests against Ahmadinejad have triggered one of the worst crises since the foundation of the Islamic republic, rocked the pillars of the regime and divided the nation’s clergy. Dozens of people have been killed in the protests, hundreds wounded and several others put on trial by the authorities, accused of plotting to overthrow the government. Fars news agency reported that Iran’s deputy judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi said yesterday that nine people arrested during anti-government protests would “soon” be executed for what he said was

their bid to topple the Islamic regime. Iran hanged two people on Thursday on similar charges. Their executions were condemned internationally and branded by opposition leaders as an effort to scare protesters and keep them off the streets during the traditional Feb 11 rally marking the anniversary of the revolution. Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, Iran’s other main opposition leader, have called for a large turnout of their supporters on that day, prompting the security forces to warn of a massive crackdown should the occasion be used to stage anti-government protests. Eight people were killed, among them Mousavi’s nephew, and about 1,000 were arrested in the last antigovernment demonstration on Dec 27 during the Shiite mourning festival of Ashoura. The two opposition leaders maintain that Ahmadinejad’s re-election was “fraudulent” and Karroubi has even alleged that several protesters detained in the immediate aftermath of the June election were raped in jails. But on Jan 25 Karroubi’s son Hossein told AFP that his father now recognised Ahmadinejad as “the head of government” as his re-election was endorsed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran’s prominent hardline cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati had during Friday prayers in Tehran last week praised the judiciary for Thursday’s hangings, saying “there is no room for clemency but it is time for severity”. Jannati is a key backer of Ahmadinejad and heads the powerful electoral watchdog the Guardians Council, whose handling of the election has also been at the centre of the opposition’s protest. Mousavi, who ran against Ahmadinejad and charged the election was massively rigged, condemned the

two executions and yesterday took a swipe at Janati. “People have realised that some may be sent to their death as a result of petty deals and without respecting the law so that a heartless Friday prayer speaker... cheers the judiciary,” Mousavi said in the interview. “He (Janati) is unaware of the effective power of innocent blood and does not know that the blood of martyrs destroyed the shah’s regime,” he said. “The ‘green movement’ will not abandon its peaceful fight ... until people’s rights are preserved,” Mousavi told the Kaleme website. “Peaceful protests are Iranians’ right.” His comments may encourage supporters to take to the streets on Feb 11, when Iran marks the anniversary of the 1979 revolution with state-organised rallies. If so, clashes are expected. But Mousavi urged restraint from security forces whose commanders have vowed a punishing response if opposition supporters take to the streets on Feb 11. A display of opposition numbers on the most hallowed day in the Iranian political calendar would mark a stinging symbolic challenge to the clerical leadership. “Applying kindness is my advice to the police and Basij,” Mousavi said, referring to a pro-government militia. He said his supporters are not hostile to security forces and are only seeking reforms. State radio reported that Khamenei had new criticism for some opposition figures, though he did not name them. “I believe some of the recent bitter events have been sustained due to the big negligence of some individuals. In the political arena, negligence and unintentional acts can sometimes have the same result as treason,” Khamenei was quoted as telling a group of Tehran University professors. — Agencies

Nod to capital market law, development plan Continued from Page 1 modernising existing oil installations and facilities. The plan also calls for starting work on a number of new cities and boosting spending on infrastructure projects particularly in the health and education sectors and many others. The cabinet late Sunday approved the allocation of KD 4.78 billion for capital spending in the first year of the plan from April 1 this year to March 31, 2011. Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Fahd Al-Sabah said that another KD 2.5 billion will be spent by the private sector to raise total capital spending in the first year to above KD 7 billion. The government plans to set up five public shareholding companies in the first year, including a company for power generation, another for new cities and a third for health insurance. Sheikh Ahmad said that the initial spending projection of KD 37 billion has been scaled down to KD 30 billion, adding that the figure is just an estimate and could be changed in accordance with the requirement of the plan. MP Adel Al-Saraawi, one of the three MPs who voted against the plan, said he opposed it because article four of the law gives total authority to the government to change the plan and accordingly, there is no firm obligation on the government

to implement the plan. The four-year plan, the first in the country in around 25 years, is aimed at transforming Kuwait into a regional trade and financial hub as per the call of HH the Amir. The Assembly also passed in the second and final round the Capital Market Law which calls for setting up a Capital Market Authority that will regulate the Kuwait Stock Exchange. The law, passed by 48 votes and opposed by one, calls for setting up an independent five-member committee that will supervise the stock market, ensures total transparency and prevents insider trading and other illegal practices. The law also calls for setting up a special tribunal for cases related to the stock market and stipulates jail terms and hefty fines for violators. It stipulates transforming the bourse into a private shareholding company in which at least 50 percent of the shares will be sold to citizens. MP Mohammad Al-Mutair, who voted against the law, warned in a statement of the domination of merchants on the economy, particularly the stock market because the bourse will be privatized. He said that it will be extremely difficult to supervise the bourse if the merchants control its company. OPEC member Kuwait, home to the second-largest Arab stock market, is the

only Gulf state which does not have a dedicated authority to supervise its bourse, which has been plagued with irregularities in prices and disclosure. Like other bourses in the Gulf Arab region, Kuwait’s market says it is trying to crack down on abuses that for years helped deter foreign investment in its shares, although it has relatively little power to act. Little corporate data has to be released and some companies leak market-moving news or even release their results first in the local press, late at night or over the weekend, to the dismay of investors. Kuwaiti newspapers often carry unsourced reports, accurate or false, but officials rarely respond to requests for confirmation. In other business, the government vowed to apply a strict environmental policy in order to control emissions and pollution levels. The assurance came during a brief debate on factories in the southern region. The assembly also agreed to lift the immunity of MPs Faisal Al-Mislem and Dhaifallah Buramia and rejected a similar move for MP Khaled Al-Sultan. Mislem’s immunity was lifted in order to face trial in a case related to the issue of allegations that the prime minister issued cheques to former MPs. Buramia will be tried for a press offense.

Iran slams US missile deployment in Gulf Continued from Page 1 energy production, but the US and its allies in Europe are considering new sanctions to pressure Iran to make concessions meant to ease their concerns. Iran’s missile program has also generated worries. Iran has missiles with ranges of more than 2,000 km that are capable of hitting Israel and US bases in the region, as well as parts of southeastern and eastern Europe. The US Patriot missile systems, which originally were deployed in the region to shoot down aircraft have now been upgraded to hit missiles in flight. In a January speech, Gen David Petraeus, the US Central Command chief who is responsible for military operations across the Middle East, said the US now has eight Patriot missile batteries stationed in the Gulf region - two each in four countries. He did not name the countries. A military official said over the weekend, however, that the countries are Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because some aspects of the defensive strategy are classified. In another speech, Petraeus said Aegis ballistic missile cruisers are now in the Gulf at all times. Iran’s parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, warned nations in the region not to be “deceived by US anti-Iran policies” and talk of a growing Iranian threat. “When in the past 31 years has Iran attacked any of its neighboring states or any other countries in the region?” Larijani said, referring to the length of time that the country’s Islamic leadership has been in power. Emphasizing the point, he noted that the 1980-88 war with Iraq was in defense against an attack launched by Saddam Hussein. Larijani said the strengthening of the missile defense system would only bring more trouble for US forces. “Regional countries should know that this puppet show by the US, while claiming to create security in the region, is nothing except a new political ploy to increase the (American) military presence at the

expense of others,” Larijani said in a parliament session. “American officials do not realise that they are the problems in the region. The more equipment you bring in, the more it worries the countries where they are deployed,” he added. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters that Iran believes the US missile systems to be “ineffective”, though he did not elaborate. “We regard these (US) measures as a conspiracy and a ploy by foreign countries to create a sense of Iran phobia,” he told state television. Mehmanparast attacked Washington for insinuating that Iran should be feared in the region. “Because they have lost their presence in Iran, they feel they have no foothold and in order to justify their presence (in the region) they make such an insinuation,” he added. “We have friendly ties with all the countries of the region and we are of the opinion that regional security can be realised through these countries’ ... cooperation,” Mehmanparast said. “The more our country’s capability is augmented towards its own defence and that of the countries of the region the more improved regional security will be,” he said. At his weekly news conference, Mehmanparast also denied claims by Thailand that a planeload of North Korean weapons seized there in December was headed to Iran. “There is no link between the aircraft and our country,” Mehmanparast said. He said Iran had no need to import such arms due to its own weapons production, which includes rockets, tanks, jet fighters, light submarines and missiles. Thailand said Monday that the aircraft, which was seized on a refueling stop, was heading to Iran, though it did not know the ultimate destination of the 35 tons of weaponry. The shipment, which violated UN sanctions against North Korea, reportedly included light battlefield arms such as grenades - hardly the ones Iran’s sophisticated military would need. From the start there has been speculation that the weapons were to be shipped on to some of the radical Middle Eastern

groups supported by Tehran. The plane’s chief pilot, among five crewmen detained in Thailand, maintains that the aircraft was headed for Kiev, Ukraine. Meanwhile, a US attempt to shoot down a ballistic missile mimicking an attack from Iran failed after a malfunction in a radar built by Raytheon Co, the Defense Department said. In the exercise on Sunday, both the target missile, fired from Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands, and the interceptor, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, performed normally, the Missile Defense Agency said. “However, the Sea-Based X-band radar did not perform as expected,” the agency said on its website. Officials will investigate the cause of the failure to intercept, it said. The SBX radar is a major component of the ground-based midcourse defense, the sole U.S. bulwark against long-range missiles that could be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads. It was the first time the United States had tested its long-range defense against a simulated Iranian attack. Previous drills have imitated a flight path from North Korea, another country in a standoff with the international community over its nuclear program. Raytheon and Boeing Co, which manages the core ground-based midcourse defense, declined to comment on the test failure. Harris Corp, which provides systems engineering for the SBX radar, said its technology was not involved. David Altwegg, the Missile Defense Agency’s executive director, said the layered, multibillion-dollar missile defense continued to be dogged by insufficient attention to detail by the Pentagon’s top contractors. But he said it was too early to assess blame for the miss. “We have problems with all our primes,” Altwegg told a Pentagon budget briefing. He said it would probably take months to pin down exactly what went wrong. “Across the enterprise ... quality is a disappointment,” he said. Other major missiledefense contractors include Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp and Orbital Sciences Corp. — Agencies


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Woods absence would ‘diminish’ Ryder Cup DUBAI: A Ryder Cup without world number one Tiger Woods is a diminished event, European captain Colin Montgomerie said yesterday. Woods, who is taking an indefinite break from golf, has been in hiding since admitting in December he had cheated on his wife. “I do think it will be diminished if he doesn’t play (at the Ryder Cup in October) but at the same time that’s up to him and America,” said Montgomerie ahead of this week’s Dubai Desert Classic. “Any event he enters is a bigger

and better event because of him and I hope he does play.” Woods also missed the 2008 edition of the biennial team event as he was recuperating from knee surgery. Montgomerie was speaking on the same day it was announced that Emirates would be the official airline of the Ryder Cup match between the US holders and Europe in Wales. The 46-year-old Briton also spoke of world number two Phil Mickelson’s controversial use of a 20-year-old PingEye 2 wedge with square grooves at

last week’s San Diego Open. “It’s for the authorities to get together and decide that this is really not the way to go,” said Montgomerie. “He has found a loophole in the laws and he’s using it but ... it’s not really what we’re looking for.” As of Jan. 1, new rules relating to club-face grooves were implemented at the top level after research found modern configurations could allow players to generate almost as much spin with irons from the rough as from the fairway.

All clubs, with the exception of drivers and putters, have been affected by the change which limits groove volume and groove-edge sharpness, effectively replacing U-grooves with V-grooves. The Ping-Eye 2 wedge used by Mickelson and a handful of other players, although containing square grooves, is deemed legal because of a lawsuit won by its manufacturer over the USGA in 1990. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is scheduled to discuss the grooves dispute with players later in the build-up to this week’s

Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles. Montgomerie also turned his attention to the recent return to form of Ryder Cup stalwart Robert Karlsson and likely rookie Martin Kaymer. Swede Karlsson won an individual tournament for the first time in 16 months when he lifted the Qatar Masters trophy on Sunday while German Kaymer triumphed at the Abu Dhabi Championship two weeks ago. “(He is a) good match-player Robert Karlsson, good golfer and nice guy too, and I am delighted he won in Qatar and

of course delighted about Martin Kaymer,” said Montgomerie. “Both have come back from injury ... for Paul Casey also to contend last week after injury as well ... it’s all looking very strong for the team.” Meanwhile, the Myanmar Open will return to this season’s Asian Tour schedule in April following a four-year absence, officials said yesterday. The tournament will take place from April 811 at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club and offer a total purse of $300,000. “As a player-led organization the

Asian Tour will continue to grow the game across the region,” Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han, himself from Myanmar, said. Myanmar’s most recognizable player Zaw Moe said the tournament would help boost the standard of golf in the country. “It’s always special to play in front of your home fans,” said the 1997 Singapore Open champion. “I’m looking forward to it and I will be ready to give my best.” Australian Scott Strange won the last Myanmar Open in 2005. — Reuters

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Monday. Boston 99, Washington 88; Milwaukee 97, Miami 81; Memphis 95, La Lakers 93; Phoenix 109, New Orleans 100; Denver 112, Sacramento 109 (OT); Utah 104, Dallas 92; Portland 98, Charlotte 79. (OT = Overtime) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF GA PTS New Jersey 35 17 2 146 122 72 Pittsburgh 35 21 1 180 161 71 Philadelphia 28 23 3 163 149 59 NY Rangers 25 24 7 143 154 57 NY Islanders 23 25 8 143 172 54 Northeast Division Buffalo 32 15 7 153 132 71 Ottawa 31 21 4 157 157 66 Montreal 25 25 6 143 152 56 Boston 23 21 9 130 136 55 Toronto 17 28 11 149 197 45 Southeast Division Washington 37 12 6 214 149 80 Florida 24 23 9 149 161 57 Atlanta 24 22 8 165 174 56 Tampa Bay 22 21 11 138 162 55 Carolina 19 29 7 147 180 45 Western Conference Central Division Chicago 37 14 4 180 129 78 Nashville 30 21 3 151 152 63 Detroit 26 19 10 142 147 62 St. Louis 24 22 9 143 153 57 Columbus 22 26 9 149 188 53 Northwest Division Vancouver 34 18 2 178 132 70 Colorado 30 18 6 156 143 66 Calgary 27 21 8 143 145 62 Minnesota 27 24 4 153 163 58 Edmonton 17 31 6 141 186 40 Pacific Division San Jose 36 10 9 187 134 81 Phoenix 33 18 5 154 145 71 Los Angeles 33 19 3 166 151 69 Dallas 24 20 11 157 177 59 Anaheim 26 23 7 155 172 59 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

PITTSBURGH: Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (center) tries to squeeze between Buffalo Sabres’ Henrik Tallinder (left) of Sweden, and Tyler Myers (right) in the first period of an NHL hockey game. Crosby scored three goals as the Penguins beat the Sabres 5-4. —AP

Penguins get past Sabres PITTSBURGH: Sidney Crosby scored three goals in slightly more than eight minutes of the second period as the Pittsburgh Penguins held on to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 in the NHL on Monday. Crosby tied San Jose’s Patrick Marleau for the NHL goals lead with 37. Crosby’s hat trick was his third of the season and fifth of his career, and the Penguins pressed unsuccessfully to try to get him a fourth goal in the final period. Jordan Staal and rookie Mark

Letestu also scored for the Penguins against US Olympic goalie Ryan Miller. After protecting a two-goal lead for much of the period, the Penguins were holding on at the end. Jason Pominville scored on a power play with 3 minutes remaining. Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek scored 48 seconds apart to give Buffalo the lead against Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, a member of Canada’s Olympic team. Tim Kennedy made it 3-1.

Ducks 3, Panthers 0 At Sunrise, Florida, Jonas Hiller made 33 saves to earn his second shutout of the season as Anaheim beat Florida. Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry each scored for the Ducks, who wrapped up a six-game road trip and snapped Florida’s five-game winning streak at home. Hiller’s other shutout this season came on Nov. 5 in a 4-0 Anaheim win over the Nashville Predators. Florida’s Tomas

Vokoun stopped 22 shots. Hiller was perfect in his first game since signing a four-year contract extension on Saturday, that will keep Switzerland’s Olympic goalie off the free-agent market this summer. Flyers 3, Flames 0 At Calgary, Alberta, Mike Richards scored twice and Ray Emery made 18 saves for his third shutout of the season as Philadelphia defeated new-look

Calgary. Richards broke a scoreless tie at 10:15 of the second off a series of lucky bounces. Simon Gagne knocked the puck out of the air and off Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. It bounced right to Richards, who ripped a high shot past Miikka Kiprusoff. Richards added his 22nd of the season on a power play at 17:44. All four players acquired by the Flames in Sunday’s blockbuster trade with Toronto that sent defenseman Dion Phaneuf, for-

Saints to give Manning ‘remember me’ shots DAVIE: When New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams urged his players to give Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning some ‘remember me’ shots in Sunday’s Super Bowl he must have expected a response. While the media have responded predictably, giving plenty of attention to the comments, Manning himself was not rising to the bait on Monday. “I don’t have (a response). I didn’t hear it. I guess I have been playing long enough that I don’t have any reaction to a comment like that,” he told reporters. In a radio interview Williams remarked that given Manning released the ball so early, the Saints had to “do a good job finding ways to get to him, and when we do get to him, we’re going to have to make sure he gets a couple ‘remember me’ shots when we get there.” Saints defensive end Will Smith believes there is nothing wrong in what his coordinator urged. “I think it got misinterpreted. Gregg has never once told us to go out and hurt any quarterback, especially Peyton,” Smith

said. “You’ve got to go out and if you can get a sack and hit him, that’s part of the game. Nobody ever talks about how hard people hit the running backs and the receivers. “It’s just part of the game. You have to go out there and play. Never go out and intentionally try to hurt somebody. Go out and play the game the way everybody else plays it.” Saints safety Darren Sharper agreed. “The thing about ‘remember me shots’... I don’t know if you think it means the quarterback or whoever is not going to get back up, he can still get back up, but it’s ‘remember me’ because he is going to remember he just got his bell rung,” Sharper said. “You can always get those types of shots on whoever is playing the game once they step between the white lines. The quarterback can always get hit. It’s just how they get hit.” Sharper said Williams’ comments had not caused surprise in the Saints locker room and that, in any case, all the coordinator was talking about was the need to get physical. “He was saying that we’re

ward Fredrik Sjostrom, and minor league defenseman Keith Aulie to the Maple Leafs were in Calgary’s lineup. Oilers 4, Hurricanes 2 At Edmonton, Alberta, Marc Pouliot and JF Jacques had a goal and an assist each as Edmonton ended a 13-game losing streak by beating Carolina. Gilbert Brule and Sam Gagner also scored for the Oilers, who went 0-11-2 in their previous 13

games. Edmonton was one loss shy of tying the franchise-worst winless streak of 14 games set in 1993. The Oilers have just two wins in 22 games and are five points behind of Carolina and Toronto for last place in the NHL. Edmonton hadn’t won since beating Toronto at home on Dec. 30. Andrew Alberts and Jussi Jokinen scored for the Hurricanes, who had won four in a row and five of six before Monday. —AP

Hopkins, Jones book long-delayed rematch NEW YORK: Seventeen years after losing their first fight, Bernard Hopkins is to finally get his chance for revenge on fellow American Roy Jones Jr in April. The non-title fight, at an as yet unspecified weight, will take place in Las Vegas on April 3, promoters said on Monday. Hopkins (50-5-1, 32 knockouts) and Jones (54-6, 40 knockouts) have not met since a May 22, 1993 IBF middleweight title bout in Washington, where Jones claimed a unanimous decision. “A rematch with Roy has been in the back of my mind for a long time and it’s finally going to happen,”

long-time middleweight champion Hopkins, 45, who successfully moved up to light-heavyweight in his 40s, said in a statement. A rematch had long be spoken of but after Jones suffered a first round knock-out defeat by Australian Danny Green in December there were fears it would not take place. Jones, 41, who has held world titles in four divisions from middleweight to heavyweight, was confident of repeating his victory over Hopkins. “Now I can finally terminate the Executioner (Hopkins’ nickname) once and for all,” said Jones, who has lost five of his last 10 bouts. —Reuters

Bad boy Asashoryu faces probe into ‘booze-rage’

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning going to play physical and any chance we get to hit the quarterback, we’re going to maximize that opportunity,” he added. “We think, come later in the game, even though Peyton Manning is probably the best fourth-

quarter quarterback in the league, that it could change how they play.” However, the Saints safety knows how tough a task his team faces to disrupt Manning. “He’s been around so long and played in so many

big games. He is very mentally tough and has seen it all,” Sharper said. “He prepares harder than anyone prepares in this league. He is tough and has been a starter in every game he has had a chance to start. —Reuters

TOKYO: Troubled sumo grand champion Asashoryu faces a potentially careerthreatening probe into allegations of a drunken scuffle in Tokyo last month. Newly elected Japan Sumo Association (JSA) executive board member Takanohana yesterday ordered an investigation following reports Asashoryu had allegedly broken a man’s nose. “It is important we get to the truth,” former ‘yokozuna’ grand champion Takanohana told Japanese reporters. “The JSA needs to know exactly what happened. “We need to launch a proper investigation. A sumo wrestler should not

feel the wind at his back but walk tall and with his head held high.” The head of Asashoryu’s sumo gym told Japanese media at the weekend the Mongolian had been too drunk to remember the alleged incident outside a nightclub in the early hours of Jan 16. The 29-year-old won his 25th Emperor’s Cup a week later but sumo officials have taken a dim view of his latest alleged breach of discipline. Senior JSA figures have said Asashoryu will face punishment if the allegations were proven and Japanese media have speculated that he could even face the sack.

Asashoryu has frequently been in hot water during an explosive career, for everything from pulling an opponent’s hair to starting a soapy bathroom brawl during a post-bout soak. In 2007, Asashoryu was banned after being caught playing soccer in Mongolia, having forged a doctor’s note for an apparent back injury. His suspension triggered a bout of clinical depression, leading Asashoryu to seek solace at a luxury spa resort in his native country. The JSA has set up a committee to look into the incident and plans to reach a decision by tomorrow. —Reuters


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Force India appoint Di Resta as reserve driver LONDON: Dario Franchitti’s 23-year-old cousin Paul di Resta will be Force India’s test and reserve driver this season, the Formula One team announced yesterday. Force India said in a statement Di Resta would attend all the races and, with testing banned during the season, was expected to take part in some Friday practice sessions at grand prix weekends. “I see this move as taking me one step closer to achieving my dream of racing in F1 but I know I have a lot to learn in terms of the car and the tracks right now,” said Di Resta, whose cousin is champion of the US

IndyCar series and a former Indy 500 winner. “I think this program is a perfect way to prepare fully and be ready to go if and when the chance of a race seat comes. I hope this will be the start of a long-term future with Force India.” Meanwhile, Formula One teams and decision makers have agreed changes to the points system and tyre rules for this season as well as a ban on controversial ‘double diffusers’ from 2011. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement yesterday that the new points system will see the top 10

rewarded in a 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 sequence to encourage what it called “the race to win”. The FIA had said in December that the points would be allocated 25-20-15-10-8-6-53-2-1 to reward race winners and encourage overtaking. The Formula One Commission, which groups the teams and major stakeholders, agreed the amendments to the sporting and technical regulations at a meeting on Monday. The measures will be submitted to the World Motor Sport Council for final approval within 48 hours, although that can usually be taken for granted.

The tyre rules will be modified so that those drivers reaching the third and final phase of qualifying will have to start the race on the same set of tyres with which their grid time was set. That will introduce another strategic element to races. “The number of dry weather tyres sets allocated per team has been reduced from 14 to 11,” the FIA added. “In addition, to encourage teams to run during the Friday practice sessions, one set has to be returned before the start of the second practice session, and two sets before the start of the third practice session.”

For 2011, the ‘double diffusers’ that pitched last season into controversy from the opening race when some teams such as eventual champions Brawn turned up with a radical interpretation, will be banned. The permitted height of the main diffuser was also reduced from 175mm to 125mm. The so-called ‘split level’ or ‘double-decker’ diffuser used by Brawn, Toyota and Williams was a radical re-working of a device that improves downforce by channeling the flow of air smoothly under the car. The other teams then had to rush to copy it after losing appeals against it.

Teams unveiling their 2010 cars have been coy about their rear diffusers, sparking fears that a fresh row could erupt when the season starts on March 14 in Bahrain. “This is the first car in which we have had a clean sheet of paper to really exploit the interpretation that was developed last year for a design of floors,” McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe said at his team’s car launch last week. “You will see we have produced a fairly extreme incarnation of that but we won’t be alone in that. We believe you will see some pretty extreme solutions on our competitors’ cars as well.” — Reuters

Massa clocks fastest at F1 testing, Hamilton third

SPAIN: Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil drives during a testing session at the Ricardo Tormo race track in Cheste, just outside Valencia yesterday. — AP

Tait to the rescue for England again BAGSHOT: Martin Johnson announced the most exciting backline of his tenure as England manager on yesterday as he looks to start the Six Nations with a bang against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday (1700 GMT). Johnson has recalled the mercurial Mathew Tait alongside fit-again Riki Flutey in a new-look centre partnership with Delon Armitage restored to fullback after he, like Flutey, missed the November internationals. Danny Care is restored at scrumhalf ahead of Paul Hodgson and with number eight James Haskell and prop David Wilson recalled, the team shows six changes from that well beaten 19-6 by New Zealand just over two months ago. The selection marks something of a change of emphasis for Johnson, who said he and his coaching team had been too prescriptive in previous matches and needed to give his backs more freedom. Tait has 32 caps but only 15 as a starter as successive England coaches have picked and discarded him. The Sale centre, who made a memorable debut against Wales as a teenager five years ago when he was twice spectacularly dumped on his back by Gavin Henson, has featured at wing and fullback since during an in-andout career. His eye for a break and silky running was seen at its best in the 2007 World Cup final when he set up Mark Cueto for the try that was ruled out by the video referee. Saturday, his 24th birthday, will represent only his second start since that Springbok defeat in Paris. Flutey’s return should help Tait and fans will hope it also helps Jonny Wilkinson sharpen up his distribution. Armitage, one of England’s stand-out performers in the last Six Nations, is another welcome return at fullback, where England struggled in November. “It’s good to have those guys back,” Johnson told reporters at England’s training base. “Delon

SURREY: England rugby union player Mark Cueto (left) receives a pass from team-mate Ugo Monye (right) during a training session at Pennyhill Park Hotel. — AFP has matured into a genuine international rugby player now while Riki is fantastic on his feet and an extra pair of eyes for the 10. “It’s great to have Mat in there with Riki too.” Johnson overlooked Tait in November, opting instead for Danny Hipkiss, but said he had always been part of his plans. “We wanted some continuity in the last Six Nations and Mat was shifting around positions a bit but we were always thinking about using his talents on the field. “We were maybe a bit prescriptive in the autumn and there were reasons for that with new guys coming through. “But Mat is a guy we trust to go and play, he’s a massive talent, an instinctive player. “Everyone talks about his attack but

he defends very well and has a great kicking game as well.” Injury ruled out Courtney Lawes and his place on the bench is taken by Louis Deacon, while uncapped prop Dan Cole is also named among the replacements. England, seeking to avoid a fourth successive defeat against Wales, face a stiff task in the scrum where their trio of Tim Payne, Dylan Hartley and David Wilson, with just 33 caps between them, will have to be at their best to handle Wales’s all-British Lions front row of Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones. Wales have delayed the naming of their team until after yesterday’s appeal by fullback Lee Byrne against his suspension. — Reuters

VALENCIA: Felipe Massa continued to show no effects from the life-threatening injuries sustained last year as the Ferrari driver led Formula One testing yesterday. Massa clocked a best lap of 1 minute, 11.722 seconds around Valencia’s Cheste circuit to lead Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi by just over three-tenths of a second after the morning session. Lewis Hamilton’s first spin in his new McLaren left him third best with a lap of 1:12.508. Nico Rosberg of Mercedes GP and Williams driver Rubens Barrichello were next, with Renault’s Robert Kubica and Sebastien Buemi of Toro Rosso completing the field. Massa was fastest in the season’s first session on Monday, which marked the Brazilian’s first drive since a freak crash at Hungary in July. Meanwhile, Rubens Barrichello has an immediate reply when asked what advice he could give to Nico Rosberg, team mate at Mercedes to the returning Michael Schumacher. “Get out of there,” he joked after the first day of the season’s opening test in Valencia. “That’s the only thing I can tell him. “Knowing what I know, and seeing how fast Michael went today, it is going to be a tough job. I wish him all the best because I think he is a talented boy who can be world champion.” The Brazilian, who spent six bruising years as Schumacher’s Ferrari team mate before switching to Honda and then challenging Jenson Button for the Formula One title last season at Brawn, is starting over again with Rosberg’s old team Williams. Barrichello does not expect the young German to listen to him, indeed he would be shocked if he did, but was clear about Schumacher’s intentions after the seventimes world champion showed his speed was still there despite three years in retirement. The 41-year-old was quicker than 24-year-old Rosberg, who has yet to win a race, and ended the day as the third fastest driver-even if testing times can be very misleading due to wildly fluctuating fuel loads. “Can he be a contender for the title? Yes, absolutely,” Barrichello told Reuters at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit. “If the car is good, yes.” The Brazilian’s first afternoon with Williams, the last team his late friend and mentor Ayrton Senna drove for as well as the one that took compatriot Nelson Piquet senior to his third title, was more troublesome. “The times were not great but we did have a problem with balance, trying to understand it a little bit,” he said. “I don’t think we were competitive at all in relation to first place, we were just out of the top six, but I think from the problems I was having in terms of balance I could be quite happy.” Barrichello started last season on a high, with the Brawn quick “out of the box” in the team’s first test. The Williams did not feel quick by comparison but it was early days and he was delighted to be reunited with technical director Sam Michael, an old friend from Jordan in the 1990s. “They are very good to work with, they have this mentality of fighters, to work really hard on things. I am hopeful of what I can achieve with the team,” he said. “It was always a dream to drive for Williams, but I didn’t sign because it was a dream, I signed because I had reasons to, because I believe that they could be good. So I just hope that the dreams come true.” Barrichello won two races last year and he revealed that he had also been approached by McLaren before they eventually opted to sign Button as Lewis Hamilton’s team mate. “They called me a couple of times in November at the Brazilian race, to see if I was available,” he said. “If they called me, I’m sure they called him (Button) at the same time. I’m sure they were questioning as soon as (Kimi) Raikkonen dropped out of the case ... and I’m sure they went on to ask more people, not just us.” Barrichello had already committed to Williams by then, having told Brawn in the middle of the year that he wanted a quick decision on his future and failing to get it. Now 37, he started last year as the oldest driver but goes into 2010 with two more senior rivals-Schumacher and Sauber’s returning Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa, who will be 39 this month. —Reuters

FRANCE: France’s rugby national team head centre Mathieu Bastareaud answers journalists questions during the preparation for the Six Nations match against Scotland. — AFP

Paterson back as Scots ring changes for France EDINBURGH: Scotland’s record points scorer Chris Paterson returns to the starting line-up for Sunday’s Six Nations opener against France at Murrayfield. Paterson, arguably the most reliable goal-kicker in world rugby, is one of six changes from Scotland’s last Test, a November defeat by Argentina, in the line-up announced on Tuesday by head coach Andy Robinson. Paterson, who will start at fullback following the injury-enforced withdrawal of Rory Lamont, will be winning a record 99th cap in a match in which France, the tournament favourites, will be expected to put their hosts under pressure for long periods. “Chris brings a lot of experience with him and a counter-attacking ability that will be important for us on Saturday,” Robinson acknowledged. Also returning to the Scots XV are Glasgow centres Max Evans and Graeme Morrison, Gloucester loose-head prop Alasdair Dickinson and the Glasgow flankers Kelly Brown and John Barclay. Brown comes in for Gloucester flanker Alasdair Strokosch, who misses out through injury while Barclay replaces Alan MacDonald, who drops to the bench, as do Worcester centre Alex Grove and Edinburgh prop Allan Jacobson. There is no place in the matchday 22 for Edinburgh centre Ben Cairns, who made his debut in the 9-6 defeat by Argentina, but promising 20-year-old Glasgow forward Richie Gray has made it to the bench. Former England coach Robinson was upbeat about Scotland’s prospects of making an impression on this year’s tournament in the wake of a memorable 98 win over Australia in November.

Kuwaiti sharpshooters in high morale ahead of tournament KUWAIT: Kuwaiti sharpshooters are determined to outdo themselves at the international sharpshooting championship due in the country in the middle of this month, the national champion Abdullah Al-Taraqi said yesterday. Al-Taraqi in a statement said he and his fellow top shooters would demonstrate the best of their skills at the championship for the major sports event would be sponsored by His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Good scores made by the Kuwaiti sharpshooters at international and regional tournaments in the past were the result of the great support by the political leaders for the game, Al-Taraqi added.

Concern of His Highness the Amir and HH the Crown Prince constitutes an incentive for the shooters to excel in such contests, he added, praising Sheikh Nawaf for playing a major role in organizing the international sports event on the national soil. Meanwhile, the member of the steering committee of the championship, Colonel Abdel Rahman Al-Haqqan, said sponsorship of the tournament would be an honor for the athletes particularly those who serve in the police. The organizing commission has held a series of meetings with the sub-committees to distribute missions among staff and complete all preparations for the event, Col AlHaqqan said.

Elaborating, he said that a deal has been worked out with a leading specialized company to organize the inauguration and conclusion ceremonies of the tournament, due to be held on the Olympic Sabah Al-Ahmad Stadium for Shooting, with participation of shooters from 35 countries. He also said the International Police Federation would hold a general assembly on sidelines of the tournament, on the 16th of this month, to elect a successor to the retiring chairman, Lieutenant General Abdel Hamid Al-Hajji, of Kuwait. Chairman of the Kuwait Sharp Shooting Federation Sheikh Ahmad AlNawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah is the sole nominee for the post, he said. — KUNA

Shooter Abdullah Al-Taraqi

“There has been improved competition for places since the autumn Tests and selection has been based both on achievements within the autumn matches and on current form,” he said. “France have a fantastic squad. The fact they defeated New Zealand in Dunedin last June illustrates that they can win and win well away from home. “We are excited about the start of the championship but we know that we have not won our first game in the competition since 2006, so all our focus is on making a winning start against France on Sunday.” Robinson said he had gone for players in form, which helps to explain why Celtic League leaders Glasgow provide more than half the team. “We looked at the balance of the side and some of the tactics we’ll use going into the game,” Robinson said. “Young Dickinson playing at loosehead is getting his first (Scotland) start of the season. “I’ve been pleased with the way that he’s come back and played for Gloucester - good ball carrier. I’m looking forward to seeing how he delivers in the game. “Also, Kelly Brown has played well since the autumn when he didn’t get selected and he was frustrated about that. “He’s gone back to Glasgow and, after a number of man-of-thematch performances, has worked his way back into the team.” Scotland go into the tournament without two battle-hardened former captains. Scrum-half Mike Blair is hoping to return later in the tournament following an ankle injury but big-hitting forward Jason White is out for the season with a broken leg. Scrum-half Chris Cusiter captains the side in Blair’s absence. — AFP


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

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Riesch keeping close tabs on champion Vonn PARIS: An impressive nine World Cup wins so far means the 2010 season could already be classed as ‘stellar’ for American ski champion Lindsey Vonn, two months before the final races. Vonn will travel to Vancouver for the Winter Olympics next week knowing the alpine world will be waiting, and many hoping, that she fulfils her potential and wins a first Olympic gold. Going on her form, it could be a formality-although main rival and friend Maria Riesch of Germany would beg to differ. Vonn’s nine victories, including five straight in the downhill, have kept her firmly ahead of Riesch in the overall World Cup standings.

After a key weekend of skiing in the Swiss resort of Saint Moritz, the last World Cup races until the series resumes in March after the Olympics, both, however, emerged winners. Riesch, with four downhill podiums in the first five races, finally ended Vonn’s unbeaten streak in the blue riband event, leaving her US rival in fifth place. Vonn had finished third in Friday’s super-combined won by Swedish ace Anja Paerson, while Sunday’s superG victory secured her the World Cup crystal globe for the discipline. Riesch’s victory has boosted her confidence ahead of a downhill duel with Vonn in Whistler. “I’ve been doing well in downhills

this season and just needed to get a win under my belt,” said Riesch, the slalom world champion who is classed as an all-rounder. “It’s crucial for the World Cup, but also for my confidence. A win just before the Olympics is good for the morale.” To Vonn, it signified more a threat to the World Cup crown she has won the past two seasons. “For her to come back and have the win today was really cool, I’m happy for her,” Vonn said of the German, whose family regularly hosts the American every festive season. Last year the German holidayed with Vonn and her friends in Mexico. “Obviously Maria is going to be a really tough competitor till the end,

so I have to keep skiing well otherwise I’m not going to be a happy camper at the end of the season.” The next day Vonn promptly bounced back, her victory in the super-G leaving Riesch 11th at nearly a second behind. Vonn is not lacking in confidence, but with the stakes much higher in Vancouver-where she will only have one chance to get it right in each race-the win provided a huge confidence boost. “I’m happy. It was a really solid result, especially after the disappointment of (the downhill) yesterday and I think I bounced back pretty strong,” she added. “I just stayed positive, I didn’t give up and I fought hard, I skied aggressively, that’s exactly what I

wanted to do - not only for today, but also for my confidence going into Vancouver.” After a few days relaxing at home in Vail, Colorado, Vonn will head to Vancouver in a quest for a first Olympic medal. In 2006 injury in a downhill training run hampered her ambitions in Turin. And she will do so happily in possession of the super-G title she only fully secured on the last race of last season. “It’s a big weight off my shoulders to know I’ve already secured the super-G title, last year it was really stressful waiting all the way up to last race,” she added. “This season’s been going extremely well. I always try to

improve myself, last year I had nine wins and this year I have nine and there’s a few races to go. “I’m definitely doing good things and I’m very happy about it.” Meanwhile, Switzerland’s Olympic leaders hope their team can win 12 medals at the Vancouver Winter Games, but their ultimate ambition is to claim downhill gold. “Gold. Alpine. Downhill,” Swiss chef de mission Gian Gilli told The Associated Press yesterday. “That is the classic in Switzerland. If you win a medal there, that is huge,” Gilli said of the skiing-obsessed nation, which last tasted success in the downhill 22 years ago. Switzerland has two clear contenders for the men’s race scheduled

Feb. 13 with Carlo Janka and Didier Cuche each winning two of the six World Cup races this season. Both played down their prospects Tuesday when collecting their official Olympic team uniforms. “My goal is one medal in one discipline. I don’t know where and it doesn’t matter,” Janka said. Cuche said he lowered his expectations after breaking his right thumb last Friday racing at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. “It will be nice to make a medal, if it’s gold or another color it doesn’t matter,” said the 35-year-old World Cup downhill leader, who will wear a special casing to protect his hand. A thick bandage covers Cuche’s right hand after he had a titanium plate inserted Saturday. —Agencies

SA ready for tough India challenge NAGPUR: Graeme Smith’s South Africa opened their tour of India yesterday with a practice match ahead of their bid to dislodge the hosts as the number one Test nation. The tourists took on the Indian board president’s XI in a two-day match in Nagpur before the first Test begins at the new Vidarbha Cricket Association ground on the outskirts of the city on Saturday. The two-Test series-the second match will be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata from February 14 — could be one of the most important the Proteas have played in recent years. The second-ranked South Africa need a 2-0 series win to displace India from the top. A 1-0 result in favour of the tourists will leave both teams level on 123 rating points. South Africa were rattled last week by the resignation of long-time coach Mickey Arthur over what he said were differences with Cricket South Africa on the future course of action. The entire selection committee, headed by former Test all-rounder Mike Procter, was also sacked following a 1-1 series draw to England at home. National high performance coach Corrie van Zyl has taken over from Arthur for the Indian tour, which includes three one-day internationals after the Tests. Skipper Smith was, however, confident the team would recover from the recent setbacks and perform well in India. “It’s been an emotional week and not many teams go to India and win,” Smith was quoted as saying in Johannesburg prior to the team’s departure over the weekend. “The players who have been part of the setup for a while have dealt with a few difficult things in recent years and handled them very well. “I expect them to be as professional as normal, and I’m looking to them for responsibility and guidance for the youth.” The 15-man squad includes right-hand batsman Alviro Petersen, 29, and left-arm fast bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe, 25, both of whom have yet to play Test cricket. Tsotsobe is part of a five-man pace attack led by Dale Steyn, but there is no place for former spearhead Makhaya Ntini. Tour match scores: President’s XI 318 (Abhishek Nayar 100, Shikhar Dhawan 70; Morne Morkel 3-24, Wayne Parnell 3-66). South Africa 44-0 (Graeme Smith 30 not out, Ashwell Prince 13 not out). —AFP

Gael Monfils in action at the SA Tennis Open

Top seed Monfils advances in SA JOHANNESBURG: Top seed Gael Monfils of France dispatched Slovakia’s Dominik Hrbaty 6-2, 6-2 yesterday to advance into the second round of the SA Tennis Open. “I feel real good — physically the shots were there and so was the head,” said Monfils, who is ranked No. 12 in the world. “I was a bit worried about the altitude, playing so high above sea level, and I tightened my racket strings but it wasn’t a problem. “This is fast tennis because the ball travels faster at altitude. You come up to the net more. It’s fun.” Third seed

Feliciano Lopez of Spain needed three sets to beat Monaco’s Benjamin Balleret but two of the other leading seeds fell yesterday. Fourth seed Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to Dustin Brown of Jamaica and India’s Somdev Devvarman upset sixth seed Xavier Malisse of Belgium 6-4, 6-2. Lopez sealed a hard-fought 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3 victory to set up a second-round match with Slovakia’s Blaz Kavcic, who eliminated France’s Thierry Ascione on Monday. “It was a really hot day and I found it difficult to keep up the intensity,” Lopez said.

“After 45 minutes I was really feeling tired, and three double-faults and a few loose shots cost me the second-set tiebreaker. Still, I fought back in the third set when I served well and looking back it was a good win.” Josselin Ouanna beat Israel’s Harel Levy 7-6 (4), 6-2, and David Guez went down 6-4, 6-3 to South African wildcard Raven Klaasen. Seventh seed Yen-Hsun of Taipei beat Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-2. Meanwhile, Argentines Juan Monaco and Juan Ignacio Chela each beat their Chilean opponents to advance to the second round of the Movistar Open on

Monday. Monaco, seeded No. 2, defeated Nicolas Massu 6-3, 6-4 on the red clay court surface, while Chela won 7-5, 6-2 over Jorge Aguilar. The only upset Monday saw No. 8 Potito Starace of Italy lose to Australian Peter Luczak 7-6 (3), 6-4. “This is my first tournament of the year and it’s going well, and I don’t feel any pressure,” Monaco said. In other first-round matches, Alberto Martin of Spain defeated Marcos Daniel of Brazil, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, while Spaniard Marcel Granollers advanced after Martin Vasallo-Arguello of Argentina retired hurt

at the start of the third set with the scores at 3-6, 6-4, 0-0. Defending champion and top seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile is attempting to win this event for a fifth time. Gonzalez will face Oscar Hernandez of Spain in the first round. The tournament has been moved this year to Santiago from its venue of recent years at the seaside resort of Vina del Mar. Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, David Marrero, Joao Souza and Juan-Martin Aranguren were added to the main draw after winning their qualifying matches Monday. —AP

Gibson to take over as West Indies coach

NAGPUR: South African captain Graeme Smith bats during the first day of the two-day warm up match against Board President XI at Nagpur yesterday.— AFP

Pakistan worried after pitch attack LAHORE: Pakistani officials yesterday expressed concern that Australian authorities did not do enough to protect Pakistan cricketers, after a team member was attacked by a fan in Perth. The spectator jumped onto the field and wrested Pakistan’s Khalid Latif to the ground during the fifth and final one-day match in Perth on Sunday. The fan, named as 37-year-old David Fraser, was charged with assault and has been summoned to appear in court later this month. “We are really concerned over the issue,” Pakistan’s Sports Minister Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani said in remarks broadcast on local television stations. “I think the CA (Cricket Australia) should put a kind of barrier or restriction to stop people entering the ground and this incident has raised the importance of such steps.” Pakistan Cricket Board chief operating officer Wasim Bari said Cricket Australia and the

International Cricket Council (ICC) were dealing with the situation, with the ICC requesting a report on the incident. “We were concerned about our player’s safety and Cricket Australia have unconditionally apologised to us because players’ safety is top of every country’s agenda,” he told AFP. “Latif was initially jolted by the incident but is now well,” said Bari, a former Pakistan captain. “CA has told us that the offender will be dealt under the law of the land and they will keep us informed about the progress.” Pakistan lost the Tests 3-0 and one-dayers 5-0 on the tour, which finished on Sunday, prompting the chief selector to hand in his resignation and the PCB to vow to redress major failings after their crushing defeat. Sunday’s game was also marred by Pakistan’s star all-rounder Shahid Afridi’s two-match ban for biting the ball. — AFP

BRIDGETOWN: Former England bowling coach Ottis Gibson will take over as head coach of the West Indies in time for the home series against Zimbabwe later this month, a cricket official said here. “Ottis will begin his appointment from the start of the home series against Zimbabwe,” Ernest Hilaire, chief executive of the West Indies Cricket Board, told CBC Radio in an interview yesterday. Hilaire added that interim coach David Williams would remain in charge for the one-day tour of Australia before being appointed Gibson’s assistant for the home series that starts with a Twenty20 international in Trinidad on February 28. “I think we need to take Ottis’s appointment in stride. He will be the head coach of the WICB, and not just head coach of the senior team,” Hilaire said. “He will have responsibility for coaching right across all of our representative cricket teams. “This will give him an opportunity to stamp a particular style of coaching, a West Indies way, across all the teams. “This is really important because by the time our players reach the senior team, they should be the finished article, and they really ought to be focusing mainly on their strategy, tactics, how they win games, and being able to execute.” Hilaire added that Gibson’s appointment “has to be a longterm project. This is not a short-term project. We are not asking Ottis to turn around the West Indies fortunes and make them a winning team overnight. There has to be a gradual chain of development.” Former allrounder Gibson represented West Indies in two Tests and 15 one-day internationals,

and enjoyed a long first-class career in the Caribbean, South Africa and England. He was named England’s bowling coach in 2007, gaining experience Hilaire said had marked him out as the best candidate for the Windies job. “We hope that with him responsible for all coaching, he can start outlining to the coaches of all our teams the kind of players and approaches he wants from the players to ensure there is a clear career pathway as they move from the junior ranks to the senior team,” Hilaire said. “He is a new era coach, and someone who has been exposed to all of the technologies and new approaches to coaching. “We are hoping that he will bring to this task an understanding of West Indies cricket. He will have all requisite knowledge and skills.” Hugh Morris, managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, poured lavish praise on the outgoing Gibson. “We are extremely grateful to Ottis for his hard work as England fast bowling coach,” Morris said. “Since becoming the full-time England fast bowling coach in 2007 he has contributed so much to the success of the team and was an integral part of the Ashes-winning backroom staff last summer.” England coach Andy Flower added: “Ottis has been a valuable member of my management team and we will all be sorry to see him leave. “However we recognise that being offered the chance to be head coach of your country was an offer that would be hard for Ottis to resist. We wish him well in the future.”— AFP

Ottis Gibson


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

VANCOUVER: A giant set of Olympic Rings are seen at Vancouver, British Columbia, harbor as the city lights make a colorful backdrop. The green rings reflect the environmental nature of the Vancouver Olympic Games, which begin on Feb. 12. —AP

Vancouver in two minds about Winter Games VANCOUVER: Vancouver, host of this month’s Winter Olympics, prides itself on being one of the world’s most liveable cities but residents seem unsure at times whether they really want the world on their doorstep. Though the Olympic buzz is building up for the Feb 12 start of the Games, surveys have shown that doubts about the wisdom of hosting the Olympics have been higher in Vancouver, on Canada’s Pacific coast, than in the rest of the country. The Games have been at the centre of sometimes bitter political debates over issues such as free speech and spending public money on entertainment rather than social needs. “Vancouver has a tendency to be passionate on both sides of any

issue... That’s just the nature of Vancouver and probably has as much to do with the make-up of our culture and city as anything,” said Arthur Griffiths, one of a group of businessmen who first proposed hosting the 2010 Games. Vancouver and its suburbs have the venues for ice hockey, curling, skating, freestyle and snowboard events, along with the opening and closing ceremonies. Alpine and Nordic skiing events, as well as bobsleigh, luge and skeleton, will be in the resort town of Whistler, some 125 km away. Archaeologists say people have lived in the area since 500 BC but Vancouver itself is a relatively young city. It was incorporated in 1886 as the western end of the Canadian

Pacific Railway and remains a key seaport link with Asia. Some 2.1 million people live in the metropolitan Vancouver area, making it the third most populous urban area in Canada and the largest community to host a Winter Games. Much of the population growth has come in the last 30 years as Vancouver has won acclaim in international surveys as one of the world’s most liveable cities. The beauty of the natural surroundings, with both ocean and mountains, is part of the reason. Less than an hour’s drive from the sea-level city centre puts you in mountains where skiers who stray beyond boundaries can get lost in the rugged wilderness, and occasionally die before they are found. Vancouver was the birthplace of

Greenpeace and Olympic organizers say their pledge to keep the Games environmentally sustainable reflects the city’s green ethos. The city is a somewhat ironic choice to host an event that celebrates sports competition on ice and snow. Its winter weather is milder than the rest of Canada so it usually gets rain rather than snow, and lots of it. The prospect of rain is a reason that this will be the first Winter Olympics to hold its opening and closing ceremonies indoors. “We do live in a rainforest but there are three ski areas visible from downtown. Warm, wet winters do happen herethat’s why we made sure Whistler was involved,” Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson said when asked if Vancouver lacked the snowy image

normally associated with a Winter Olympics. The mild weather has caused some difficulties for final preparations for the Games, melting snow in Cypress Bowl which will host snowboard and freestyle races. The temperate climate also contributes to one of the city’s biggest problems-homelessness. It is easier to survive outside on the streets of Vancouver in the winter than in most Canadian cities, where the cold is deadly. Homelessness, drug abuse and other social problems are most glaring in the Downtown Eastside neighborhood, which is located only a few blocks from venues and facilities hosting thousands of international reporters. Local critics blame the event for

adding to the homeless problem by increasing real estate prices, although researchers say the data is inconclusive. “Gentrification may have happened anyway but has definitely been speeded up by the Games,” said Chris Shaw of the Olympic Resistance Network, which is planning to stage protests during the Games. Vancouver is also sometimes called “Van Amsterdam”, a reference to the role illegal marijuana plays in the community. The pro-legalization BC Marijuana Party has a downtown store, and a 2006 study put the annual value of the marijuana crop in the province of British Columbia at C$7 billion. Much of the potent “BC Bud” is exported to the United States. Games supporters say the Olympics will be

good for Vancouverites, and Vancouver will be enjoyable for both visitors and the millions of people who watch the event on television. “I think people will appreciate what our city will show physically, but the warmth of Vancouverites and Canadians people will take away as a great memory if they have never been here before,” Griffiths said. Griffiths said Canadians’ opinion of the Games might well depend on something beyond the organizers’ control: whether the men’s hockey team win the gold medal on the final day. Hockey has near-religious status in Canada, which failed to win gold in any sport in its previous two home Olympics-the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary. —Reuters

Dream comes true for blind skier McKeever

Andre Lange in action in this file photo.

Lange eyes golden finale to his career LONDON: German veteran Andre Lange will park up his bobsleigh for good when the lights go out on the Whistler Sliding Centre later this month and few would bet against him walking off with a pocketful of gold. The 36-year-old soldier will start as favorite to become the first man to win three consecutive Olympic titles in the four-man bobsleigh and to repeat his rare Turin double by also topping the podium in the twoman competition. Whatever the future holds for Lange before he moves on to more sedate pursuits he will go down as one of the all-time greats of the daredevil sport that combines raw power with laser-like precision and nerves of steel. Apart from the unforgiving, icy walls of the 1,400-metre funnel of glistening ice that will welcome the fearless crews, Lange, nicknamed The Cannibal, will also face fierce competition, not least from the United States and hosts Canada. The US have not won gold in the four-man bob since 1948 but with Steve Holcomb and his so-called Night Train they have high hopes of finally ending that long wait. Holcomb is world champion and backed that up this season by winning the World Cup with Justin Olsen, Steve Mesler and Curt Tomasevicz. Lyndon Rush will shoulder Canadian men’s hopes hav-

ing recently won his first World Cup race in the two-man in St Moritz where they shared gold with Lange and Kevin Kuske. The two-woman bobsleigh looks equally intriguing with world champions Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke attempting to become the first British crew to win Olympic gold since Robin Dixon and Antony Nash won the two-man in 1964. It has not been the easiest of build-ups for the duo with mixed results followed by Minichiello having to return to England for eye surgery over Christmas after suffering loss of vision at a World Cup event in Italy in December. Then last month Cooke’s rear was pictured all over the internet after her suit split during the launch of a run in St Moritz. While that was laughed off as another unexpected hazard of such a high-octane sport, Minichiello’s eye condition, diagnosed as retinitis, was far more serious. “I was scared and feared my Olympic Games were over,” the Sheffield teacher said. “Even worse, could have been looking at losing much of my sight in that eye forever.” Favorite for gold will be Germany’s reigning champion Sandra Kiriasis, with regular partner Christin Senkel, while Shauna Rohbock, silver medal winner in Turin, will carry American hopes and Kaillie Humphries will enjoy Canadian home support. —Reuters

LOS ANGELES: Legally blind since his late teenage years, Canada’s Brian McKeever will achieve a long-cherished dream and a place in the record books when he represents his country at this month’s Vancouver Olympics. The popular cross-country skier from Canmore, Alberta, will become the first athlete to compete in both a Winter Olympics and a Paralympics and he fervently hopes to inspire as many people as he can, whether they are disabled or able-bodied. McKeever has already inspired his Canadian team mates, many of whom view him as an able-bodied skier blessed with extraordinary talent. “Brian is a standout athlete and he’s a standout person,” 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sara Renner told Reuters in a telephone interview. “He’s a really hard worker and he never ever talks about his disability. “As a team mate, I don’t even notice it because he accepts nothing but his very best. Nothing holds him back. He is a real inspiration to all of us in overcoming weaknesses and being optimistic and positive. He’s just an incredible athlete.” Cross country all-rounder Devon Kershaw knows McKeever very well after training with the 30-year-old countless times. “You almost forget for a second that he can only see 10 percent of what I can see,” Kershaw said. “You see him in the evening trying to read something and his face is right up

against it. You know the struggle that he has gone through to get to where he is. He is such an inspiration to us all.” McKeever, who suffers from Stargardt’s disease, booked his place on the Canadian team for Vancouver by winning an ablebodied 50km race in Canmore in January. That victory ranks as one of his proudest moments. “That was a big one for me,” McKeever said by telephone. “It marked a lot of different firsts-maybe the most notable one being that it was actually my first win at that level as a senior in Canada. “I’ve had some good races in the juniors but it took me 10 years to get my first win in the senior ranks, so I am pretty proud of that. “It was four years of preparation for that one particular eventgearing my training towards going long distances and having a really big focus on it. And then to have it all come together on the day which is often the most difficult thing.” McKeever, who has only 10 percent vision which is limited to peripheral, will return to British Columbia for the Paralympics in March. He has already won seven medals at previous Paralympic Games, alongside his older brother Robin who acts as his guide. At the Olympics, however, he will have to race alone. “I will miss Robin for sure but I also have a great team that I am a part of and they will be able to fill

that role as well,” McKeever said. “Most of my races are mass start events and I will be able to follow other people in those events. So there will be lots of guides, you just have to be aware that they are not racing with you, they are trying to beat you.” McKeever’s favorite event is the 50km classical but he would also like to compete in the 30km pursuit at Whistler Olympic Park. He feels no extra pressure, though, to perform well at the Games simply because he is poised to complete a unique Winter Olympics-Paralympics double. “Other people will make that an issue,” he said. “It will be media-driven and public-driven on whether or not this is supposed to be significant. “What’s significant for me is that I have achieved a goal that I set out a long time ago and that all the steps leading up to it were followed. I hope that inspires other people with disabilities to get involved and active in sports. “Maybe it can even inspire the able-bodied public, make them think: if a blind guy can do it, then there’s no excuses to getting out there and getting on a pair of skis.” Asked to describe what he could and could not see, McKeever replied: “My vision is very similar to something like flash bulb eye, where you’ve been exposed to a very bright light and you’ve got that lingering flash bulb blindness right after. —Reuters

Bjorndalen looms large again MELBOURNE: As it did four years ago, Norwegian Ole Einar Bjorndalen’s shadow will loom large over the biathlon at the Vancouver Olympic Games. Bjorndalen entered the 2006 Turin Olympics having won all four golds at Salt Lake City in 2002. By the end of the Turin Games, which were blighted by bizarre events that followed high-profile doping raids on the Austrian team’s accommodation, he had lost all four, instead finishing with two silvers and a bronze. Those results, however, may have been a temporary aberration. Bjorndalen has won six individual gold medals at the three world championships since 2006, was twice overall World Cup champion and is again prominent on this season’s World Cup circuit. The 36-year-old and his compatriot Emil

Hegle Svendsen have won seven of the eight World Cup races they have entered, and they skipped the last event in Italy to fine-tune their preparations ahead of the competition at Whistler Olympic Park. Germany’s Michael Greis, who upstaged Bjorndalen in Turin by claiming three golds, has struggled to rediscover that form this season and the 33-yearold soldier is down the standings in all disciplines. France’s pursuit champion Vincent Defrasne has also struggled, though he has predicted that the course in Whistler may not be a factor, something that may play into his hands. Bjorndalen wins most of his races courtesy of a relentless pace in an effort to negate any shooting penalties he accrues, though he was out-skied by Defrasne in Turin. —Reuters

Carlo Janka in the hunt for gold.

Swiss bank on Janka for gold PARIS: Carlo Janka burst into the limelight with perfect Swiss timing to provide his resurgent nation with an exciting leader in their hunt for plenty of men’s Alpine skiing gold at the Vancouver Olympics. The showcase winter sport’s new sensation has all it takes to rule the Whistler slopes but realizes that one-day races are always a gamble and World Cup success is no guarantee of victory when the Games come around. An all-rounder with superb skills who is happy to let his skiing do the talking, the reserved but resolute Janka showed his class by claiming three wins in as many days on the Birds of Prey course in December at Beaver Creek, Colorado. As if to remind himself that nothing can be taken for granted in an unpredictable sport, the 23-year-old Janka then skied out of all three events in Val d’Isere before bouncing back on home snow last month to win the classic Wengen downhill. “He has so much talent, he is young, he is one of the best skiers I’ve ever seen,” Liechtenstein’s 38-year-old Marco Buechel, who came third in Wengen, said that day in a glowing tribute to Janka. “He brings the whole package. He has everything it takes to win.” Switzerland, for years in the shadow of Alpine rivals Austria, had also hoped to rely on seasoned warrior Didier Cuche who tamed Kitzbuehel’s awe-inspiring Streif course twice to complete a super-G and downhill double last month. The 35-year-old world super-G champion broke his thumb in a crash in Slovenia last Friday, and medical checks afterwards showed he also had slight knee injuries, but he said he still hoped to challenge for medals in Vancouver. Austria still have pride, as they showed by claiming all three Val d’Isere events, and can boast the ultimate Games expert in World Cup leader Benjamin Raich, the Olympic slalom and giant slalom champion. A safe bet

for the technical events, with Reinfried Herbst and newcomer Marcel Hirscher also in medal shape, Austria might struggle, however, in the speed events, having not won a single men’s downhill this season. Like Raich, Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal has a reputation for rising to the occasion and showed just that by winning super-combined gold at last year’s world championships in Val d’Isere. The towering all-rounder has recovered from many setbacks, including a crash that put his career in jeopardy, and will certainly be a threat. Those with a taste for risk might want to place a Canadian dollar on Bode Miller, the rebellious American who has won everything but an Olympic gold medal in his turbulent career and once stirred controversy by saying he did not really care. Miller, back with the official US team after a season in the wilderness, proved he could still be a winner by posting his first victory for nearly two years in a World Cup super-combined in Wengen in December. If the 32-yearold daredevil remains his inconsistent self, the home fans might prefer to put money on their own men. Their best chance, after world downhill champion John Kucera ruled himself out by breaking his leg in a high-speed fall, will be Manuel Osborne-Paradis, the winner of the demanding Val Gardena downhill this season. Like Janka and the rest, Osborne-Paradis must not forget that the form books are often thrown out the window in Olympic skiing and the Vancouver festival, beginning with the men’s downhill on Feb. 13 and ending with the men’s slalom on Feb. 27, should be no exception. Nobody saw Frenchman Antoine Deneriaz, the now retired Olympic downhill champion, coming at the Turin Games four years ago. An upset of similar proportions in the blue-riband race would be a fun way to start. —Reuters


SPORTS

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

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Keane move concludes recession-hit transfer window LONDON: Robbie Keane was at the centre of another transfer deadline day of drama as the Ireland captain completed a late loan move from Tottenham to Celtic. A year after returning to Spurs from Liverpool, Keane, who had fallen behind Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe in the White Hart Lane pecking order, moved north in search of first-team football with the decision made easier for him by Tottenham’s decision to sign Eidur Gudjohnsen, a similar style of player, on loan from Monaco, earlier this week. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp admitted: “Robbie wants to play and I have Crouch, Defoe and (Roman) Pavlyuchenko and I signed

Gudjohnsen so it will be difficult to guarantee him a starting place and he has to be playing regularly so I have decided to let him go on loan until the end of the season.” Spurs also released Alan Hutton on loan with the Scotland defender joining Sunderland until the end of the season. The biggest deal of the day was Manchester City’s signing of Adam Johnson from Middlesbrough on a four-and-a-half-year deal, although the reported transfer fee of six million pounds (9.5 million dollars) underlined how the recession and high debt levels have taken their toll on spending at England’s leading clubs. Business advisory firm Deloitte

put total spending in this transfer window at 30 million pounds, the lowest total since the mid-season window system was introduced in January 2003 and a huge fall when compared with the 170 million pounds that was spent last year. Deloitte partner Dan Jones said it was not just the economic climate that had caused the reduction in spending. “Managers, club owners and directors have become increasingly skeptical of the near-term impact a January acquisition can have,” Jones said. “Therefore, it is unsurprising to see a lack of high value activity, with those clubs that are active preferring loan deals. “The absence of new club

owners and the tightening of club finances and credit availability have helped to accelerate that trend and dampen down the market.” City’s acquisition of Johnson came just days after Robinho, who cost them 32.5 million pounds in 2008, was offloaded to Santos. “We are delighted that Adam has chosen to come here,” City’s manager, Roberto Mancini, said. “He is a very good player with fantastic potential, and as a club we are always keen to sign British talent.” At the other end of the Premier League’s financial spectrum, cashstrapped Portsmouth were given a welcome boost after the bottom of the table side agreed to sell goal-

keeper Asmir Begovic to top-flight rivals Stoke City for 3.25 million pounds on a four-year deal. South Africa’s Benni McCarthy completed his long anticipated move to relegation threatened West Ham from Premier League rivals Blackburn Rovers, where he will be joined by loan signings Ilan and Mido. Former Tottenham forward Mido arrived on loan from Middlesbrough after cutting short a loan spell with Egyptian side Zamalek while Ilan has been signed on loan from French club St Etienne. Wigan signed teenage forward Victor Moses from Crystal Palace for a reported fee of 2.5 million pounds. Moses signed a threeand-a-half year contract following a

sale triggered by Palace’s move into administration last week. The move is the latest chapter in what has been an extraordinary life story for 19-year-old Moses, who came to England as an 11-year-old asylum seeker following the murder of his father, a Christian minister, and mother, during an outbreak of sectarian violence in his home city of Kaduna, northern Nigeria. Bolivia striker Marcelo Moreno joined Wigan on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk. Fulham had a busy day of transfer activity with manager Roy Hodgson making several signings. Italy Under-21 striker Stefano Okaka joined on loan from Roma until the end of the season as Diomansy

Kamara departed to Celtic on a similar deal. Fulham also signed England defender Nicky Shorey on loan from Premier League rivals Aston Villa and German utility player Christopher Buchtmann who joined from Liverpool on an 18-month contract. Long after the transfer window had closed, it was still unclear whether struggling Sunderland had succeeded in a bid to sign Manchester City’s Zimbabwean striker Benjani Mwaruwari on loan before the deadline. “We wait to find out but I hope we are granted the player, who would be a huge boost to us,” said Sunderland boss Steve Bruce. — AFP

Beckham will make World Cup squad, says Ferguson

Reinforced Spurs set for Leeds test

LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur’s Croatian player Luka Modric in action during the English Premier League football match in this file photo.—AP

Sunderland freefall goes on Sunderland 0

Stoke 0 SUNDERLAND: Sunderland failed to halt their slide towards the relegation quagmire after Stoke claimed a deserved point in an uninspiring goalless stalemate here on Monday. The draw means Steve Bruce’s side, who started the season in such promising fashion they were being tipped as contenders for Europe, have now won only once in their last 14 league matches and they are just four points above the bottom three. Stoke had the better of the chances, with former Sunderland player Dean Whitehead enjoying a couple of good chances, although the hosts could justifiably claim they had been denied a second-half penalty following an apparent handball by Robert Huth. Sunderland manager Steve Bruce was admirably blunt on his assessment of the match - entertainment wise that is. “It was an abysmal game to be honest,” said the 49-year-old. “You want three points to end the run we have been enjoying but while we were nervous and edgy at least the commitment and resilience, which has been lacking, was there. “This might be the springboard we need.”

Whitehead had the best chance of a lacklustre opening period with less than three minutes on the clock. The forward did well to get clear of the home side’s back line but his tame shot was comfortably smothered by Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon. Kenwyne Jones forced Thomas Sorensen into his first save of the evening in the 10th minute but the Trinidad and Tobago forward could not generate enough power in his shot after Michael Turner had headed down Andy Reid’s free-kick invitingly. Steed Malbranque was narrowly off target and it required a smart clearance from Ryan Shawcross to prevent Darren Bent from opening the scoring. Bent then created an opening for Malbranque with a cute dummy but the Frenchman’s shot did not seriously test Sorensen. Whitehead was fortunate that referee Howard Webb appeared to be in a lenient mood, dispensing only a booking

after the Stoke player kicked out at Lee Cattermole following a robust challenge from Sunderland’s midfield enforcer. Sunderland had just about edged the first half on points, but Stoke should have taken the lead after generating two good chances in quick succession in the opening minutes of the second half. Mamady Sidibe almost converted following a chipped Glenn Whelan free-kick, then Whitehead attempted to drill home the loose ball only for John Mensah to deflect it over the crossbar. Sunderland had a strong penalty appeal turned down just after the hour mark when Huth appeared to stop Bent’s lofted pass with his arm. But Stoke might easily have emerged with all three points after Ricardo Fuller was sent clear with nine minutes left. The striker had only Gordon to beat but the Scots stopper stood firm to deny him, ensuring a result which was probably just about right. — AFP

Todayʼs matches on TV (local timings) English Premier League Fulham v Portsmouth ......................................... 23:00 ShowSports 1 FA Cup Leeds v Tottenham ............................................. 22:45 Al Jazeera Sport +3

LONDON: Sunderland’s Darren Bent (left) vies with Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross (right) during an English FA Premier League football match at the Stadium of Light.— AFP

LEEDS: Harry Redknapp has been given a timely boost as he attempts to steer Tottenham through a successful FA Cup campaign while maintaining their challenge for a top four finish in the Premier League. The Spurs manager has made no attempt to disguise the fact that a place in next season’s Champions League is his first priority. And whilst he is well aware of the benefits of a successful Cup run, the last thing Redknapp wanted was for his side’s fourth round tie to go to a replay following the 22 draw with Leeds at White Hart Lane. Since that game, Redknapp has bolstered his squad by signing centre-back Younes Kaboul from Portsmouth and Icelandic international Eidur Gudjohnsen, on loan from Monaco. The new faces provide more options ahead of the return meeting with League One promotion hopefuls Leeds, with a fifth round visit to face Bolton the reward for the victors. Redknapp has also seen two of his fringe players press their claims for more match action with left back Gareth Bale and David Bentley impressing after being drafted back into the side in recent weeks. Bentley’s return in particular has been surprising given the criticism leveled at the player by his manager, who had grown frustrated at what he perceived as a lack of effort in training from the one-time England international. Bale, meanwhile, has been impressive, standing in as cover for the injured Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Both players are expected to start against Leeds. “I’m so pleased for Gareth - he has stepped in there and been fantastic,” said Redknapp. “His defensive side of his game is stronger and he has learned that. He’s looking like the player we all thought he was when he was a kid. “I’ve also been pleased with David. He’s played two games last week after being out of the picture. He’s here and he’s got lots of ability.” Former Chelsea striker Gudjohnsen’s return to England has been anything but smooth with West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola criticising his former Stamford Bridge team-mate for pulling out of a move to Upton Park despite undergoing a medical. Redknapp will take a late decision on whether to field the forward against Leeds, but the Iceland international is eager to start his Spurs career after misfiring at both Barcelona and Monaco. “It’s great to be back in England, just to be back in the dressing room, the atmosphere, the sense of humor, it’s good,” said the 31-year-old. “I’m very grateful and looking forward to this opportunity to play for Tottenham. “Waking up on a matchday it seems the whole world is looking at the Premier League and I miss that. I’m really looking forward to it. “So far it’s a very big season for Spurs and I bring more depth to the squad and another option for the manager to use on a matchday. “The team should be looking at this fourth place and really going for it and to do that and still be in the FA Cup you are going to need a squad to get to the finish line. I hope to be part of that.” Leeds’s form dipped following their third round victory over Manchester United but they returned to winning ways last weekend and manager Simon Grayson believes the 2-0 victory over Colchester marked a return to form. “It will be a different type of game today and Tottenham won’t play as direct as Colchester did,” said Grayson. “We know that Tottenham are a footballing team who pass the ball around. But we have nothing to lose. I think our confidence and belief has never waned despite not winning in the last few weeks. “We are still the underdogs but we will go into it to give it a good show and whatever happens, happens.” — AFP

Manchester City’s Italian manager Roberto Mancini

Mancini keen to make a fresh start ROME: New AC Milan loan signing Mancini said he hopes the move will help resurrect his career after making the short trip from neighbors Inter Milan. The Brazilian was a highly-sought addition to coach Jose Mourinho’s attacking options when he arrived from AS Roma 18 months ago but after a poor start to life in the blue and black half of Milan, he suffered from Mourinho abandoning his favoured 4-3-3 formation. The former Chelsea boss had bought wingers Mancini and Ricardo Quaresma to play either side of Sweden forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he took over at Inter but neither signing impressed and Mourinho soon switched to a 4-4-2. That left both wingers - neither known for his work rate nor his propensity to track back - largely out in the cold and Mancini has featured in just seven matches this season, totaling less than four hours of playing time. And he blames Mourinho for that. “I’ve wasted the last six months. I was ready to leave in the summer but then Mourinho called me and said he had

faith in me,” he said. “I would like to wipe out the last year. Now I’m turning over a new leaf and starting a new adventure. “I’m looking for redemption, to win, to find the serenity that I lost a year ago. “I will do what’s possible and what’s impossible to return to the top.” The 29-year-old also suggested that Milan’s style of play would be more suited to him than Inter’s was. “Milan play more football, better football. Inter are a strong team but Milan are at the same level, just with different characteristics,” he added.It will take something special from Mancini to prove that to be the case however. Milan and Inter have already played twice in Serie A this season, with Inter winning 4-0 the first time and then triumphing 2-0 just over a week ago despite playing with a numerical disadvantage for more than an hour and finishing the game with nine men. They also sit second in the league but eight points behind champions Inter. — AFP

MANCHESTER: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has backed David Beckham to make England’s World Cup squad, but still insists he has no regrets over selling the midfielder seven years ago. Ferguson is preparing to meet up with his former player when United take on AC Milan in their Champions League second round clash and the Scot expects Beckham’s second spell at the San Siro to result in him securing a place in Fabio Capello’s plans for South Africa. “I think I told him myself last year when I saw him before our game against Inter that he should be thinking about getting back to Europe if he wanted to go to the World Cup,” Ferguson told Inside United magazine. “And it looks like he might just get his wish now. He had a good spell with Milan last time, so it made sense to me to see him back there again.” With Beckham still thriving as he approaches his 35th birthday, Ferguson was asked if he regretted selling him when he was in his prime. “No regrets. We move on,” was the response. United travel to Milan for the first leg of their tie on February 16 and the second leg, three weeks later, will represent Beckham’s first return to Old Trafford since he left for Real Madrid after falling out with Ferguson in 2003. — AFP


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Grizzlies edge Lakers

MEMPHIS: Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (right) drives to the basket against Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph (left) during the first half of the NBA basketball game.— AP

NBA results/standings NBA results and standings on Monday: Boston 99, Washington 88; Milwaukee 97, Miami 81; Memphis 95, LA Lakers 93; Phoenix 109, New Orleans 100; Denver 112, Sacramento 109 (OT); Utah 104, Dallas 92; Portland 98, Charlotte 79. (OT = Overtime) Western Conference Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Northwest Division Denver 33 15 .688 W L PCT GB Utah 29 18 .617 3.5 Boston 30 16 .652 Portland 29 21 .580 5 Toronto 26 22 .542 5 Oklahoma City 26 21 .553 6.5 NY Knicks 18 29 .383 12.5 Minnesota 11 38 .224 22.5 Philadelphia 16 31 .340 14.5 Pacific Division New Jersey 4 42 .087 26 LA Lakers 37 12 .755 Central Division Phoenix 29 21 .580 8.5 Cleveland 38 11 .776 Chicago 23 22 .511 13 LA Clippers 20 27 .426 16 Milwaukee 21 25 .457 15.5 Sacramento 16 31 .340 20 Indiana 16 32 .333 21.5 Golden State 13 33 .283 22.5 Detroit 15 31 .326 21.5 Southwest Division Southeast Division Dallas 30 18 .625 Orlando 32 16 .667 San Antonio 27 19 .587 2 Atlanta 30 16 .652 1 Memphis 26 21 .553 3.5 Charlotte 24 23 .511 7.5 New Orleans 26 22 .542 4 Miami 24 24 .500 8 Houston 25 22 .532 4.5 Washington 16 31 .340 15.5

MEMPHIS: Kobe Bryant had 44 points to pass Jerry West for the top spot on the Lakers’ career scoring list in Los Angeles’ 95-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. Rudy Gay led Memphis with 25 points, including a key 3-pointer with 29.5 seconds left and Zach Randolph got 22 points and 17 rebounds. Ron Artest’s 3-point attempt from the right side bounced high off the rim as the horn sounded, ending the Lakers’ four-game winning streak. Bryant passed West’s mark on a breakaway dunk in the third quarter. Bryant made 16 of 28 shots, including 4 of 7 outside the arc. Artest added 18 points, and Pau Gasol had 10 points. Lester Hudson had 13 points for Memphis, and Marc Gasol finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Jazz 104, Mavericks 92 At Salt Lake City, Deron Williams had 18 points and 15 assists to help Utah extend its longest winning streak of the season to six games. The Jazz held Dallas scoreless for more than three minutes during an 11-2 run that put Utah in control in the fourth quarter. Paul Millsap had 25 points for the Jazz, who had seven offensive rebounds in the final quarter while outscoring the Mavs 27-16 to clinch the three-game season series. Andrei Kirilenko added 13 points. Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 28 points, but had just two in the fourth. The Mavericks have lost three straight for the first time this season and their lead over Utah for third place in the Western Conference is down to a half-game. Jason Terry had 19 points and eight assists and Jason Kidd added 11 points and nine assists for Dallas. Nuggets 112, Kings 109 At Denver, Arron Afflalo hit a baseline jump shot with 18.4 seconds left in overtime as Denver rallied from a 17-point deficit in the third quarter to beat Sacramento. Kenyon Martin had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Chauncey Billups had 23 points for the Nuggets. The Nuggets, playing a fifth straight game without All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony (ankle), also got 15 points from Ty Lawson and 14 points from Nene. Afflalo had six of his 12 points in the extra period. Spencer Hawes had 23 points and Kevin Martin had 22 for Sacramento, which lost for the third time in four OT games. The Kings lost their 10th

road game in a row. Suns 109, Hornets 100 At New Orleans, Amare Stoudemire scored 25 points and Grant Hill hit two late key baskets to help Phoenix get the win. The Hornets played their second straight game without All-Star Chris Paul, who is out indefinitely with a left knee injury that coach Jeff Bower said could require surgery. Channing Frye added 20 points for Phoenix. Robin Lopez had 18 points and Steve Nash finished with 18 points and 12 assists. Marcus Thornton led New Orleans with 25 points. Darren Collison, Paul’s replacement at point guard, had 16 points and 14 assists. Bucks 97, Heat 81 At Miami, Andrew Bogut had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Carlos Delfino finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds as Milwaukee beat Miami for the second time in three nights. Charlie Bell and Hakim Warrick each scored 12 for the Bucks, who outscored Miami 54-27 over the final 19 1/2 minutes of the first half. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 23 points, including single-handedly scoring the first 11 of the game. Michael Beasley scored 16 and Udonis Haslem finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for Miami, which has lost four of its past five. Celtics 99, Wizards 88 At Washington, Kevin Garnett’s 19 points led six Celtics in double figures as Boston limited Washington to 2-for-18 shooting in the fourth quarter. Boston ended a three-game skid and prevented Washington from compiling its first three-game winning streak since April 2008. Boston outscored Washington 2510 in the final quarter, even though Paul Pierce sat out the period after hurting his left foot. Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 12 assists for Boston. Caron Butler led Washington with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Pierce said he thinks he has a mild sprain and will have it Xrayed. T’ Blazers 98, Bobcats 79 At Postland, Oregon, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 17 points, and Nicolas Batum and Jerryd Bayless had 15 points each as Portland beat Charlotte. Portland had six players score in double figures. Rudy Fernandez scored 11 points, while Martell Webster and Dante Cunningham had 10. — AP

NEW YORK: Defending champion Thomas Dold of Germany crosses the finish line on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building yesterday to win the men’s division of the 33rd Annual Empire State Building run.— AFP

Athletes tackle 86 flights at NY Empire StateRun-Up NEW YORK: It took Germany’s Thomas Dold 10 minutes and 16 seconds yesterday to earn his record-tying fifth consecutive win in the Empire State Building Run-Up, a punishing 86-flight scamper to the top of New York’s tallest building. Grimacing as he lunged across the finish line on the 86th floor observation deck, the 25-year-old from Stuttgart beat fellow German Matthias Jahn up the 1,576 steps by 40 seconds. “I’m so tired ... It was quite hard,” Dold said. He is the third person to win the race five times. His only loss was a photo finish in his 2005 debut. Melissa Moon, 40, of Wellington, New Zealand, placed first among the women in 13 minutes, 13 seconds. She finished panting, but smiling. “Oh, look at that view!” she said at the top. It was her first win in the event. Moon said the key to victory in stair climbing is “your ability to tolerate pain.” The unorthodox race has been run 33 times since 1978. Competitors start in the lobby, where they take just a few strides before squeezing through a doorway and into a stairwell for the long climb. Passing can be difficult. The stairs are only wide enough for two people. Contestants also have to deal with an ear-popping altitude change of 1,050 feet (320 meters). Kacie Fischer, 24, of Pismo Beach, California, reached the top, in 20th place among the women, collapsed in a heap and had to be carried inside. “I blacked out,” she said later. “I just got so dizzy, going around and around and around on the stairs.

My legs gave out at floor 50, and then I ran another 36 floors.” Some 162 men and 76 women entered this year. The event draws stair-climbing specialists from around the globe. —AP

Bolt set for New York Diamond League meet PARIS: Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt will race the 100 metres in the June 12 meet at New York, the fifth leg of the Diamond League, event organisers announced yesterday. The 23-year-old phenomenon will return to the track at the Icahn stadium where he set his first 100m world record of 9.72sec in May 2008. “The track was lit up by lightning but despite the storm, the supporters stayed seated to watch the 100m. So I know they enjoyed my speed,” recalled Bolt, nicknamed ‘Lightning Bolt’. The rest of Bolt’s 2010 programme remains undecided, although it is practically certain that he will miss the Commonwealth Games, set to take place in New Delhi in October. By contrast, he is expected to compete in the majority of the 14 events that make up the new Diamond League programme. The Diamond League begins in Doha on May 14 and will replace the Golden League, which grouped together the six most high-profile meets of the summer season. — AP


Ford buoyant as 2010 kicks off

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Volvo Cars ME awards S40 R-Design to winner of campaign

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Toyota global expansion not to blame for recall

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

www.kuwaittimes.net

Recovery hopes buoy world markets LONDON: World stock markets mostly rose yesterday as investor sentiment was supported for the second day running by stronger than anticipated manufacturing surveys. The euro, meanwhile, rose slightly as fears of a Greek debt default eased. In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 22.80 points, or 0.4 percent, at 5,677.28 while France’s CAC-40 rose 30.87 points, or 0.8 percent, to 3,792.88. Britain’s FTSE 100 index British shares underperformed its peers in Europe, rising only 9.14 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,256.55, largely because shares in heavyweight oil company BP PLC fell over 4 percent after it reported lower than anticipated fourth quarter earnings. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 5.89 points, or 0.1 percent, at 10,191.42 soon after the open while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1.13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,090.32. Investors appear to be in a more optimistic frame of mind in the wake of encouraging manufacturing surveys from around the world Monday and ahead of a raft of economic news over the second half of the week, culminating Friday with the US nonfarm payrolls report for January. Three consecutive increases in weekly jobless claims data have stoked worries about the report, which often sets the stock market tone for a week or two. Australia’s central bank surprised markets by keeping its main interest rate unchanged at 3.75 percent — it was widely

expected to raise them for the fourth time in a row to 4 percent. Its failure to do sent the Australian dollar plunging 1 percent against the dollar as investors priced in lower returns. While noting that the impact of its previous three hikes was “limited,” the Reserve Bank of Australia cited tight credit conditions, a reduction in the policy stimulus in China, the rising Australian dollar and rising sovereign credit risks around the world for its decision. Worries about public finances has been particularly evident in Europe over the last few weeks, as the new Greek government tries to reassure bond market investors that it can get a grip on the country’s public finances. Today, the European Commission is due to pronounce on the Greek deficit reduction plan and all indications are that it will give the Greek government the thumbs-up, subject to some further spending cuts. Those expectation have helped Greek bond yields drop and the spread between Greek and German yields narrow for the third day running - clear signs that investors are getting less twitchy about holding on to Greek debt. The euro steadied somewhat, rising another 0.2 percent to $1.3951 _ at one stage on Monday, the euro had dropped to a six and a half month low of $1.3854. “Without doubt EMU faces further significant hurdles this year in view of the budget problems of Greece, Spain and Portugal but for now the market is coming to terms with the notion that the system will be

Manufacturing data boosts investor sentiment, euro soars

OHIO: Valentine Hershey’s kisses are shown in Moreland Hills, Ohio on Monday. Hershey Co, the nation’s second-biggest candy maker, said yesterday that its fourth-quarter profit climbed on price increases and lower charges as it continued to push its brands to cost-conscious consumers and gain market share. — AP maintained intact and that the higher yields of these countries may thus offer good value,” said Jane Foley, research director at Forex.com. On Thursday, investors will focus in on European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet when

he delivers his monthly press conference following the expected decision to keep European rates unchanged at 1 percent. Earlier in Asia, Shanghai’s index ended 0.2 percent lower amid speculation of more government initiatives

to clamp down on bank lending, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.7 percent. Markets in Taiwan and Singapore also lost ground. Among Asia’s best performing markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average jumped 166.07, or 1.6 percent, to 10,371.09.

Hong Kong’s market closed up 0.1 percent in volatile trade. Oil prices rose back above $75 a barrel with benchmark crude for March delivery up 73 cents at $75.16 a barrel. The contract rose $1.54 to settle at $74.43 on Monday. — AP

OPEC may not alter output in March LONDON: OPEC oil ministers are unlikely to change output policy at their March meeting if the oil price remains around its current level of $75 a barrel, the group’s secretary general yesterday. The comments follow similar remarks from OPEC member Qatar last week and suggest the producer group expects to remain cautious, balancing signs of economic recovery with ample oil supply and higher than average inventories. “If things stay as they are with the price at this level, I think ministers will be reluctant to do anything,” OPEC’s Abdullah Al-Badri told a group of reporters at a briefing at Chatham House. Oil prices were trading close to $75 yesterday, near the centre of the $70-$80 range that many in OPEC, including top exporter Saudi Arabia, say is acceptable for oil producers, consumers and industry investors. Last year in the aftermath of the economic crisis, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was content with much lower prices. Badri yesterday gave a higher top end to his favoured level for the market. “From $70-$85/90, I think this range is really acceptable at this time,” he said. “I don’t think any price below $70 will permit any investment.” Asked a similar question in December, Badri told reporters that $75-$85 was a comfortable price for oil. OPEC, whose 12 members pump more than a third of the world’s oil, meets to review policy in Vienna on March 17. Oil prices, while at “reluctantly acceptable” levels, are being held up not by fundamentals of supply and demand, but by outside factors such as the weak dollar and speculation, Badri said. He expects oil inventories to probably rise in the first and second quarters. Stocks are currently equal to 59 days of demand in the industrialized world, an above-average level. “The first half of this year is going to be very difficult. We have plenty of oil in the market and stocks are very high,” Badri said in a Reuters Insider television interview. “I think prices will stay as they are now. It will go down maybe to $70 and maybe by the end of the second quarter will go up.” Badri did not spell out the scale of the expected inventory rise, but an OPEC document seen by Reuters last month said that stocks could rise by 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in the second quarter. In late 2008, OPEC cut supply by 4.2 million bpd, about 5 percent of world demand, in response to lower consumption and prices. — Reuters


BUSINESS

22

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jazeera Airways soars to 6th place in Lebanon Airlines operates twice-daily direct flights from Beirut to Kuwait

Larry Prein, Managing Director, Ford Middle East

Ford buoyant as 2010 kicks off Company sees further growth thanks to network expansion DUBAI: Ford has quite a few reasons to smile lately, with the company posting an outstanding full year net income of $2.7 billion. Ford, the only one of the Big Three US automakers that did not opt for a government bailout last year, posted an improvement of $17.5 billion from 2008, or 86 cents per share, driven in part by favorable net pricing, structural cost reductions, net gains on debt reduction actions and strong Ford Credit results. This marks Ford’s first full year of positive net income since 2005 and a $17.5 billion improvement over 2008, and the company expects to be profitable for full year 2010 on a pre-tax basis excluding special items, for North America, total Automotive and total company, with positive Automotive operating-related cash flow. Ford also scored a historic doubleheader during the recent North American International Motorshow after sweeping both North American Car and Truck of the Year titles for the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Transit Connect. This was followed by the launch of its innovative MyFord new in-vehicle connectivity, where yet again, Ford set the benchmark in human machine interface technologies. And Ford Middle East is no stranger to this positive start, as it kicks off 2010 in full swing, having outperformed the industry in most of the major regional markets and consequently gained market share in 2009, thanks to a positive performance from the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands. Full year vehicle sales from the three brands outperformed the regional industry average by more

than 10 per cent. The regional average was estimated to have dropped by 17 per cent, according to Ford Middle East’s new managing director, Larry Prein. “We saw an impressive growth in market share last year, despite the challenging market conditions, thanks to a healthy combination of strong new products and our tremendously dedicated and customer-driven dealer network,” said Prein, who recently took the helm of Ford Motor Company’s Middle Eastern operations, replacing Waldo Galan. Prein comes from a similar position running Ford’s Caribbean and Central America business across 24 countries. He

brings extensive international experience, having held senior positions in Mazda Japan based in Hiroshima, Ford Asia Pacific Operations, Ford of Australia, as well as in the United States at Jaguar Cars, Lincoln Mercury and Ford Divisions. “These achievements further confirm that our ONE Ford plan is working, delivering industry-leading products and technologies,” he added. “Our product offering is the best we have ever had across our showrooms, with almost every model being a segment leader. Today, Ford is not only offering some of the highest quality standards across the industry, but also

Dubai’s Emirates sees no funding issues, solid ’09 DUBAI: Dubai government-owned Emirates airline, the largest customer for the Airbus superjumbo, said yesterday funding its aircraft purchases was not a problem and it would post solid results for 2009. The Arab world’s largest airline, which has $55 billion of orders with Airbus and Boeing, said on Monday it expected to take delivery of 11 aircraft in 2010 as it presses ahead with expansion into Europe. “Financing aircraft is not a problem,” Gary Chapman, president Emirates Group Services and Dnata, told reporters in Dubai. “We are getting very attractive financing opportunities with the credit export agencies that guarantee the debt and the margin we achieve on that makes it very competitive.” Emirates, one of Dubai’s prize assets, in December raised $1.13 billion from Citibank, backed by a guarantee from the European Export Credit Agencies, and a second loan from Doric Asset to finance six aircraft. Dubai has ring-fenced key assets from the $22 billion debt restructuring of state-linked Dubai World, including Emirates, as fears mount the debt problems are not limited to the troubled conglomerate. The group is sitting on a “considerable” cash balance, Chapman said. “Dubai World has not directly impacted us.” Emirates has about $3.1 billion of debt outstanding, according to Reuters data. The airline has a $500 million bond maturing in May 2011. “We will look at the right opportunity at how to refinance that,” Chapman said, without elaborating. —Reuters

leading the pack with the number of trend-setting innovations. Our customers are not only investing in high quality, dependable products, with outstanding technologies, but they’re also getting the best value for money. And what better way to give their approval than voting by their wallets?” he continued. During the course of the year, Ford’s sales kept their energetic momentum quarter over quarter, having registered nearly 15 per cent growth in Q2 over Q1, and an additional 10 per cent growth in Q3 over Q2, while keeping the momentum in the final quarter. And the outlook for 2010 remains positive according to Prein, thanks to planned network expansions in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, combined with strong product offerings. Ford’s product drive remains on track for 2010 with at least five new products making their way into the region, hot off the heels of the hightech 2010 Taurus, and the mighty off-roader F-150 SVT Raptor and its new desert conquering 400hp 6.2L engine. The new 2011 Mustang leads these new launches with its new powertrains: the awesome 5.0L V8 with its 400+ net hp and the more economical 3.7L V6 with its 305 net hp output. “This year represents an important milestone for Ford in the Middle East thanks to the key initiatives we are working on with our dealers. We offer some of the best vehicle ownership experiences, sales thru service. We have a strong dealer network totally committed to growing the Ford customer base and worldclass products that clearly set the tone for what to expect from the brand in the near future,” he concluded.

LEBANON: Kuwait based, regional carrier Jazeera Airways, is officially now the sixth largest carrier operating to and from Lebanon, according to the latest flight and passenger figures for 2009 released by Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut. Having been in operation for just four years, Jazeera surpassed a number of regional and international low fare and legacy airlines - including Turkish Airways, Etihad Airways and Egypt Air - in terms of the total number of aircraft and total number of passengers flown in and out of the country. Jazeera took its place among the top 10 carriers in the region, along with airline giants Middle East Airlines, Emirates and Air France. “Following encouraging results for November, we are thrilled to have become the sixth largest airline operating to and from Lebanon. Having only been in operation for four years, it is exciting to be among the top 10 airlines in Lebanon and it is a true testament to Jazeera’s hard work. We will continue to expand and improve on our offering in the future to provide the best value for money services for all our Guests,” commented Stefan Pichler, CEO, Jazeera Airways. Having soared to number six in Lebanon, the success of the airline comes just over a year after it launched its dedicated Jazeera sales shop in the Lebanese capital. Jazeera Airways operates twice-daily direct flights from Beirut to Kuwait, offering morning and afternoon flights at 10.50 and 18.45 with connections to destinations across the Jazeera Airways network. “During 2009, we reached a number of milestones, including an improved network, the launch of our Business Class service and the opening of several new sales shops. These recent figures demonstrate the success of our operations in Lebanon, which we will strive to continue and improve on during 2010 to ensure best in class services for Guests travelling around the region,” added Pichler. To book flights to any of Jazeera’s 21 exciting destinations, visit: www.jazeeraairways.com Jazeera Airways currently operates a fleet of 11 Airbus A320s. Each aircraft is fitted with the airline’s signature leather seating, while the Jazeera Business Class cabin offers business travellers a little extra convenience including easy booking, special check-in counters, 40 kilograms baggage allowance, access to airport lounges and exclusive in-flight service and entertainment. The airline flies to destinations in the Middle East, North Africa and Iran.

Amer Najem, BKME Area Manager with the winner Abdulameer Saleh Abbas Hassan.

BKME announces lucky weekly winners KUWAIT: BKME has announced the results of the weekly draw of its MyHassad savings scheme. Six lucky customers won with Mohammad Azim Lajbar Khan winning the Grand Weekly prize worth KD 20,000. The following MyHassad customers won cash prizes of KD 1000 each: Yousif Jassim Ali Al Mai, Abab Farhan Salem Gareib AlAzmi, Ibrahim Khalil Al-Tamimi, Muhannad Mohd Abdullah Abdulhasan, Abdulameer Saleh Abbas Hassan. The biggest-ever MyHassad savings scheme features 6000 prizes worth KD 10 million in total. The scheme’s new structure gives eligible customers the opportunity

to win KD 1 million in each of the two quarterly prize draws, offering a single ‘Grand Salary for Life’ prize of KD 4000 a month for the next 250 months. Other ‘Salary for Life’ prizes include quarterly KD 500,000 prizes (KD 2,000 paid out every month) and KD 250,000 prizes (KD 1,000 paid out every month). With a total of three winners announces each quarter, all prizes convert to a stable source of monthly income for the winner over next 250 months. Apart from the quarterly prizes, one Grand Weekly prize of KD 20,000 and five weekly cash prizes of KD 1,000 each will be given away every week. Customers with

KD 1000 and above invested in the MyHassad scheme are eligible to win KD 500,000 in each of the four loyalty draws held over the scheme period. The concept behind the savings scheme is giving customers the opportunity to win a “salary for life”. BKME’s objective has been to create a lifetime change for the winners and allow them to invest their winnings in things that will make a lasting difference to the well being of their families. For more information on the MyHassad savings account, its prize structure and eligibility criteria, customers may visit any BKME branch or call bkme Hayakom 1802000.

Gulf Business Machines

Platinum sponsor for InfoBiz Kuwait KUWAIT: Gulf Business Machines (GBM), the region’s leading IT solutions provider, announced that it is supporting the ongoing InfoBiz Kuwait exhibition as a Platinum sponsor. This year’s event, which is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammed Al Ahmed Al Sabah, the Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, focuses on e-government with the theme “Toward the union of GCC eGovernments.” InfoBiz Kuwait is the country’s leading exhibition for IT business solutions and is being attended by a number of high profile companies in addition to GBM. Participants will exhibit the latest technologies and solutions with an emphasis on

networking and security, office technology and supplies, and IT solutions. GBM will highlight its knowledge and expertise in egovernment and will display a range of solutions at its stand and will also showcase its successful partnership with Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry. These solutions enable the simplification of online e-government applications including automated submission of documents and applications, payment gateways and simplified access to government information.

“We have noticed a significant amount of interest in egovernment solutions as governments in the region seek to streamline their processes, while making services more accessible to their stakeholders,” said Wolfgang Schwarzwimmer, Country General Manager for Khorafi Business Machines -GBM’s Kuwait division. “The importance of e-government is reflected in the theme of this year’s InfoBiz Kuwait and in light of our expertise in the area it was only natural that we supported the event as a sponsor. Our ultimate goal is to demonstrate how governments can create an IT environment which is agile, responsive and secure.”

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

.2820000 .4560000 .3960000 .2680000 .2660000 .2510000 .0045000 .0020000 .0779230 .7591820 .4020000 .0750000 .7442460 .0045000 .0500000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2870500 .4578800 .3984380 .2706710 .2683670 .0535150 .0389200 .2535370 .0369520 .2035310 .0031810 .0062400 .0025180 .0033970 .0042050 .0781920 .7617920 .4059670 .0765860 .7459580 .0062400

.2930000 .4670000 .4050000 .2780000 .2770000 .2610000 .0075000 .0035000 .0787060 .7668120 .4180000 .0790000 .7517260 .0072000 .0580000 .2891500 .4611140 .4012520 .2725880 .2702680 .0538940 .0391960 .2553280 .0372130 .2049720 .0032040 .0062840 .0025360 .0034210 .0042350 .0786900 .7666500 .4088430 .0770740 .7507150 .0062840

US Dollar Sterling pounds Swiss Francs Saudi Riyals

TRANSFER CHEQUES RATES .2891500 .4611140 .2725880 .0770740

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 288.350 Euro 404.000 Sterling Pound 465.700 Canadian dollar 273.320 Turkish lire 192.700 Swiss Franc 275.930 Australian dollar 254.500 US Dollar Buying 286.000 ASIAN COUNTRIES Japanese Yen 3.240 Indian Rupees 6.251 Pakistani Rupees 3.407 Srilankan Rupees 2.513 Nepali Rupees 3.909 Singapore Dollar 206.000 Hongkong Dollar 37.160 Bangladesh Taka 4.171 Philippine Peso 6.174 Thai Baht 8.745 Irani Riyal - Transfer 0.301 Irani Riyal - Cash 0.292 ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 55.500 Egyptian Pound 52.780 Yemen Riyal 1.386 Tunisian Dinar 213.430 Jordanian Dinar 407.400

Lebanese Lira Syrian Lier Morocco Dirham Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

194.830 6.327 36.134 GCC COUNTRIES 76.934 79.261 749.500 766.200 78.570 GOLD 205.000 101.000 52.000

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd 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 Sri Lankan Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Japanese Yen Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees

Selling Rate 288.200 272.205 464.760 408.055 180.480 706.390 764.245 78.450 79.094 76.886 406.687 52.720 6.225 3.390 2.510 4.180 6.165 3.200 8.725 5.555 3.960

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) 288.150 3.400 6.240 2.520 4.175 6.230 78.495 76.960 766.200 52.695 466.400 0.0000306 1.550 409.400 5.750 406.800 278.300

Al Mulla Exchange Currency US Dollar Euro Pound Sterling Canadian Dollar Japanese Yen Indian Rupee Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupee Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso Pakistan Rupee Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Saudi Riyal

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 287.900 403.800 462.200 273.000 3.192 6.230 52.695 2.510 4.164 6.205 3.400 766.200 78.300 76.750


BUSINESS

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

23

Qatar most confident in region, Egypt least

Small business confidence in Middle East high, says report

Toyota announces fix for US accelerator-pedal recall Toyota announced a fix on defected accelerator pedals that have been connected to 19 deaths over the past decade as part of the company’s latest vehicle recall. On Jan 21, Toyota recalled 2.3 million cars and light trucks in its Toyota division after learning that a defective part could cause accelerator pedals to stick, resulting in unintentional acceleration. Affected models include: 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 20092010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia. Toyota’s Web site said no Lexus or Scion vehicles, brands owned by the company, are affected by the current recall, but in a separate incident, the company is also recalling 5.4 million vehicles in its Toyota and Lexus divisions because it has been reported that floor mats have trapped the accelerator pedal. According to a statement from the company, the solution to the current 2.3 million recall, “involves reinforcing the pedal assembly in a manner that eliminates the excess friction that has caused the pedals to stick.” “A steel reinforcement bar will be installed into the assembly that will reduce the surface tension between the friction shoe and the adjoining surface. With this reinforcement in place, the excess friction that can cause the pedal to stick is eliminated.” The new parts will also be used in the production of new vehicles, which has been suspended since Jan. 26 on affected models. Toyota said the parts to reinforce the pedals are already being shipped to dealerships across the country and dealer training to install the new parts is under way. Jerry Leiss, general manager of Minot Chrysler

Toyota Center, got a call Monday morning from Toyota executives detailing the current situation and the proposed remedy. “We’ve had concerns from people because of the media blowing it out of proportion. There’s been like 22 cases out of how many cars? Twenty-two is still too many, but it’s really an isolated thing,” he said. “Toyota is taking the right stance on this issue. They stopped making (the affected models) to address safety, which is the biggest concern for us.” Leiss said he expects to begin receiving the new parts by Friday and will begin installing them the same day. In the meantime, all of the techs are undergoing training to install the new parts, he said, and the affected cars are safe to drive. “We have a list of nine very concerned people that we will take care of right away, but we will also go by model line and contact people by e-mail or mail to set up an appointment,” he said. “We hope to have the pedals with the parts to show them how it works or we may show a DVD and have refreshments for them. We want to make this a positive experience for them and show them that safety is of the utmost concern.” For the eight Toyota dealerships located throughout the state, the suspension of sales for the affected models and the potential overtime costs to fix the problem is a major concern for owners, said Robert Lamp, president of the North Dakota Auto Dealers Association. “It’s a difficult situation in an already tough market. North Dakota has been good, but we’re certainly not hitting any home runs and this certainly doesn’t help.”

Dubai developer ETA to focus on India projects DUBAI: Dubai-based developer ETA Star Property will launch the first phase of a project worth $250 million, in India in 2010, as it increases its focus there and weathers the financial downturn in its home market. The real estate development arm of conglomerate ETA Ascon Star, will launch an integrated township project near Chennai in the third quarter, as it looks to tap strong demand for property in the country, its executive director Abid Junaid told Reuters yesterday. “When it comes to property development itself, we are looking at India more aggressively and we believe there is potential,” he said. “They are able to weather the storm much more resiliently than other economies have been able to do. There is a demand for the middleincome housing in India. There are plenty of home loans available and the interest rates are regulated by the government, and the economy is growing,” Junaid added. The first phase of the project, one of three or four phases, is worth $250 million. He declined to give a total value for the project, which will take five years to complete. The project will be funded by local banks and preselling of its property, he said. The township will be in addition to similar smaller projects in Bangalore this year, he said, declining to give

further details. India’s property sector has weathered the downturn better than Dubai’s, with property prices in main cities such as Mumbai and New Delhi up 30 percent from last year’s lows, having fallen some 50 percent from their peaks in 2007. Prices in Dubai’s once-booming real estate sector were down 42 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, Colliers International said in a report last month. Prices are set to fall a further 10 percent in 2010 and will recovery only in 2012, a Reuters poll showed in January. ETA Star will hand over four projects in Dubai worth more than 2 billion dirhams ($544.5 million) to customers in 2010, but will not launch new projects, Junaid said. “Our focus is to deliver projects which are under construction which have been launched earlier on.” The firm has developed close to five to six million square feet of its landbank in the United Arab Emirates over the last two years and has another five to six million square feet to develop, he said. It has two plots of land in Abu Dhabi which it may look to develop in 2011 if the property market improves, he said, adding that the firm has the potential to develop 100 million square feet of landbank in India. — Reuters

DUBAI: Business confidence among the Middle East’s small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) is high according to a survey conducted in Q409 by TNS for HSBC. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the Middle East were included in the survey. Across the region, a growing proportion of small businesses are optimistic for their prospects in 2010 signaling increasing capital France is just below neutral at 94. “Confidence levels appear to be back to But emerging markets in Asia, the pre-financial crisis levels. The Middle Middle East, Latin America and Eastern East outlook correlates strongly to the Europe are significantly more optimistic global emerging market outlook, and as a than the developed markets of the US, major international trading hub, the Canada, the UK and France, with an region is well-placed for future growth.” Emerging markets are significantly average index of 121 versus 106. The semi-annual HSBC Small more confident than developed markets Business Confidence Monitor gauges Outlook on local economic growth 47 per the six-month outlook of SMEs on local cent of the region’s SMEs expect local economic growth, capital investment GDP growth to increase over the next plans and recruitment. This was the six months. 36 per cent expect the pace first time that Middle East countries to remain the same, and only 17 per cent were included in the list of 20 markets, expect growth to slow. Capital expenditure capturing the views of more than 6,000 The Middle East region is the second SMEs in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North America and Latin America - the most confident region, after India when largest international survey of its kind. it comes to investing in their own busiThe results were used to calculate an nesses in 1H10. 47 per cent are planning index ranging from 0 to 200 where 200 to increase their capital expenditures, 41 represents the highest confidence level, per cent say they will maintain current 0 represents the lowest, and 100, neu- levels and only 11 per cent are planning tral. The survey was conducted in reductions. Recruitment sentiment in the Middle October and November 2009 by research East is strongest globally. 36 cent of the agency TNS. Nicholas Levitt, Regional Head of region’s SMEs say they will increase Business Banking HSBC said: staff in the next six months and 58 per

investment and recruitment. Qatar business confidence was the highest at 159 points followed by Saudi Arabia at 125 points and Egypt at 110 points. Globally, the SME indices tracked by HSBC in most countries and territories hold a positive outlook, with the Middle East at 125, Latin America at 118, the US and Canada at 107 and the UK at 101. cent saying they will keep staff levels national markets as SMEs seek to diversify their risk beyond domestic markets. the same. Top international business locations Recruitment is generally stable for the region are Greater China, Southacross the 20 markets in the survey. East Asia and Europe. More SMEs Doing international business is not The HSBC Small Business Confidence Monitor also asked SMEs without its challenges. Among regional about the extent of their cross-border SMEs that are already international and trade and other international business, those that are not, the top barriers cited such as overseas operations. Across all were unstable financial conditions, such markets, 3 in 10 SMEs surveyed say as fluctuating exchange rates and interthey have some level of cross-border est rates, costs of essential services trade or international business. In Qatar, such as shipping, logistics and storage as the number is nearly 7 in 10. In Qatar 69 well as government regulations. percent of SMEs surveyed were Nicholas Levitt, added: “There is a involved in international business, in rebalancing of the world economy, and Saudi Arabia it was 27 per cent and in emerging markets are becoming more and more important as a driver of Egypt 33 per cent. When SMEs were asked if they plan growth. Small businesses are at the to engage in international business in heart of this growth, driving local job the next two years, 72 per cent of Qatar creation, investment and productivity. SMEs planned to grow their internation- And as they grow and develop and look al business. In Egypt it was 28 per cent to world markets for new opportunities, HSBC are uniquely placed, with its and in Saudi Arabia 19 percent. Top reasons for doing business inter- international connectively and its onnationally are the sales and revenue the-ground expertise, to help small busiopportunities as well as access to inter- ness unlock its global potential.”

GFH press statement MANAMA: In reference to a recent news article, GFH would like to confirm that it is having discussions with West LB (the syndicate manager) in London in relation to the terms of its syndicated facility. GFH further confirms that it will immediately announce the results of such discussions in line with the disclosure requirements of the Central Bank of Bahrain and Bahrain Stock Exchange. The total amount of the facilities, the terms of which are under discussion, amount to $300 million due on February 10, 2010.

Bahrain’s GFH in debt talks ZURICH/MANAMA: Gulf Finance House (GFH) scrambled yesterday to renegotiate a $300 million loan due next week as credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s slapped it with its third downgrade in 10 weeks. GFH said yesterday that it had met German bank WestLB, a lead arranger for the loan maturing Feb. 10, to discuss terms. But sources familiar with the bank said it had also approached private investors in recent days to raise loans, pledging real estate and other assets as collateral, in case negotiations fail. S&P lowered its ratings on GFH by several notches to CC/C from B+ saying the Islamic investment company’s liquidity position was “under immediate and severe stress”. It said its outlook for the bank was negative “because it faces challenges to meet debt repayments coming due in the very near term”. S&P also downgraded the bank in late November and mid-January. Bahrain’s bourse suspended GFH’s shares as it awaited more information from the firm, while on the Kuwaiti bourse, where trade continued, its shares fell 4.7 percent. “This is a negative surprise for both us and creditors, given expectations that the company would use

proceeds from recent capital raising and asset sales to repay the upcoming loan,” said Karthik Sankaran, an analyst at Merrill Lynch. GFH raised $300 million in fresh capital in a rights issue in October and placed a $100 million convertible murabaha, an Islamic financing instrument, with Deutsche Bank AG in November. Like other Bahraini off-shore investment houses, GFH has been badly hit by the end to the real estate boom in the region, led by the bubble bursting in Dubai late in 2008. Bahrain’s off-shore investment houses depend on arranging financing for real estate projects and private equity deals. Kuwaiti investment houses were the region’s first victims of the global financial crisis, defaulting on some of their debt late in 2008, but elsewhere the full impact has only slowly emerged in a region with little corporate transparency. Most recently, indebted stateowned conglomerate Dubai World has worried banks in the region as it seeks to reschedule some $22 billion in debt. GFH’s acting Chief Executive Ted Pretty, who took over in December after the surprise resignation of Ahmed Fahour, downplayed concerns about the $300 million loan. — Reuters

(Left to right): Roula Beiruty and Alaa Zaky

Volvo Cars ME awards S40 R-Design to winner of the seatbelt campaign DUBAI: Volvo Cars Middle East has awarded a Volvo S40 R-Design to Alaa Zaky (pictured), whose name was chosen randomly from approximately 20,000 entries. The draw was part of Volvo’s Seatbelt Campaign, conducted in celebration of the 50th anniversary of three-point seatbelt which was invented by Volvo in 1959. Volvo Cars Middle East collaborated with Massimo Dutti - the highly sophisticated fashion brand - in the UAE and Kuwait to celebrate in style and communicate the importance of wearing the seatbelt. “I’m very happy to have won this car and would like to thank Volvo Cars ME for this great prize,” said Alaa Zaky. “This is the first time I have ever won anything and hope that this will be a new beginning for better luck,” continued

Zaky. “We at Volvo Cars Middle East would like to congratulate Mr Zaky on winning the Volvo S40 R-Design,” said Roula Beiruty, Marketing Manager for Volvo Cars Middle East. “We would like to thank all those people who participated in the campaign for their continuous support,” continued Beiruty. The three-point belt has played a central role for occupant protection in all Volvo cars since its introduction in 1959. Created by Nils Bohlin, Volvo’s chief safety engineer, the three point seat belt became standard in 1969 in all cars. Shoppers were given the chance to win a Volvo car by making a purchase of US$136 from participating Massimo Dutti stores in the UAE and Kuwait until 15th December 2009.

Saudi Arabia to buy up to 850,000 bbls of gasoline

X-Cite, Safat Home team up for Hala February carnival at Safat Alghanim KUWAIT: Safat Home and X-Cite by Alghanim Electronics announced on Feb 1 the start of the Safat Carnival in collaboration with Hala February. Both companies promise their customers this Feb to be an exciting month and invite them to enjoy the week of festivity at Safat Alghanim with a unique

and exhilarating shopping experience. The Safat Home and X-Cite Electronics event is a week-long success, packed with excitement and entertainment for the whole family. From prizes to offers, shows to music, performances to the clincher of the Hala February draw, the carnival had it

all. The Hala February carnival is showing an amazing success, as the event was packed with excited customers, zealous families, and curious spectators alike. In addition to celebrating the infamous month of February, X-Cite Electronics and Safat Home are both

celebrating the re-launch of their stores at Safat Alghanim.The new look and feel of the stores delivers a modern, dynamic and convenient shopping experience. “The carnival was held in celebration of our valued customers; it was our way of portraying to them that they are our top priority,” explained

Marketing Manager of X-Cite Electronics Hilal Farhat. Safat Home Marketing Manager Louise Usher added, “We are thrilled with the astounding success of the Hala February carnival, and look forward to further serve our customers in the future.”

DUBAI/SINGAPORE: Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, was expected to purchase up to 28,333 barrels per day (bpd) of gasoline for delivery in February, more than for January, traders said yesterday. The kingdom had purchased 8,333 bpd of gasoline in January after having halted exports in December, traders said. The rising imports were linked to anticipated demand from the central part of the country and seasonal maintenance at a jointventure refinery on the Red Sea coast at Yanbu. “It is a combination of reasons, we have demand expected to re-emerge after the winter, and you also have some upcoming turnarounds,” a Middle East based trader said. Saudi Aramco and ExxonMobil will shut their joint-venture refinery in Yanbu for scheduled maintenance for about 45 days from mid-March, traders said. The turnaround, which takes place every eight years with a partial shutdown occurring every four years, was expected to start from March 15 to April 30. The Samref plant exports mainly gasoline, gas oil and some fuel oil, traders said. The 400,000 bpd crude oil facility can export up to 2 million barrels of gasoline monthly, trading and shipping sources said. Saudi was also expected to

consider again the option of exporting some gasoline supply to the international market. “The international market is improving...maybe we could see some sales, but it would really depend on how the local demand picture looks,” a trader said. “They could start doing something on a very ad hoc basis after Samref comes off turnaround.” Gasoline demand in the United States has received a boost especially with refining capacity in the Northeastern United States having been cut by about 20 percent due to plant closures and maintenance. Traders said if there was an opportunity, gasoline produced in the kingdom could make its way west. “It could work if the economics makes sense, yes, it’s something you can keep an eye out for,” a trader said. Domestic gasoline production in Saudi Arabia gradually expanded in the second-half of last year with the start-up of the Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical (PetroRabigh) complex. The joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical started partial operations at the end of 2008. The intergrated facility can produce up to 60,000 bpd of high-octane gasoline. — Reuters


24

BUSINESS GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT

MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS

Kuwait equities lackluster KUWAIT: The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) index, along with major indicators and Global General Index ended yesterday’s session relatively unchanged as investors react to the government on planning to inject $16.60bn to boost the economy. GGI added 0.84 points (+0.46 percent) during yesterday’s session to reach 182.46 points. Furthermore, the KSE Price Index increased by a mere 1.20 points (+0.02 percent) yesterday closed at 7,016.10 points. Market capitalization was up KD137.35mn yesterday to reach KD29.80bn. Market Breadth During yesterday’s session, 122 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards advancers as 49 equities gained versus 35 that retreated. A total of 122 stocks remained unchanged during the trading session. Daily trading activity Trading activities ended on a positive note as volume of shares traded on the exchange increased by 26.98 percent to reach 409.34mn shares. Additionally, value of shares traded increased by 13.41 percent to stand at KD57.80mn. The Services Sector was the volume leader for the day, accounting for 31.17 percent of total shares traded. The Banking Sector was the value leader, accounting for 27.82 percent of total market value. Gulf Finance House saw 48.32mn shares changing hands, making it the volume leader. In terms of value traded, National Bank of Kuwait took the top spot with a total traded of KD12.14mn. In terms of top gainers, Real Estate Asset Management Company was the top gainer for second day in a row, adding 7.69 percent and closed at KD0.140. On the other hand, Kuwait China Investment Company shed 6.67 percent and closed at KD0.112, making it the biggest loser. Sector wise Regarding Global’s sectoral indices they ended on a mixed note with Global Banking Index being the

biggest gainer. The index ended the day up 1.33 percent backed by Boubyan Bank being the biggest gainer in the sector with a 6.41 percent gain and closed at KD0.415. Also noteworthy are heavyweights National Bank of Kuwait and Commercial Bank of Kuwait which ended the day up 1.82 percent and 2.17 percent, respectively. Global Services Index was the second biggest gainer today, up 0.35 percent. Heavyweight Zain contributed to the index’s gain by ending the day with a 1.12 percent increase in value and close at KD0.900. In terms of decliners, Global NonKuwaiti Index took the top spot with a 1.13 percent decline. Gulf Finance House and Gulf Cement Company, the biggest decliners in the sector, ended the day down 4.65 percent and 4.35 percent, respectively.

Global’s special indices witnessed similar performance to market sectors by ending on a mixed note. Global Islamic Index was the top gainer with a 1.08 percent gain backed by Boubyan Bank. Global High Yield Index was the top decliner, down 0.30 percent. Kuwait Projects Company (Holding) contributed to the index’s decliner by ending the day down 1.05 percent and closed at KD0.470. Oil news The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $71.02 a barrel on Monday 1/2/2010, compared with $71.01 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) announced today the new prices for the liquefied petroleum gas (Propane and Butane) for the month of February. In a press release, KPC

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

said that the new price of Propane gas will be sold at a cost of $735 per metric ton compared to last December’s price of $720 per metric ton. Global financial crises, by nature, are result of an accumulation of factors over time and require reform if they are to be overcome, Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) Governor Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah told an economic magazine. On corporate mergers, Sheikh Salem noted the current state of affairs sometimes makes this a requirement rather than option, for investment companies in particular. Bahrain Kuwait Insurance board recommends 22 percent cash dividend, 7.1 percent bonus share distribution for FY2009. Independent Petroleum Group board recommends 30 percent cash dividend for FY2009.

Egypt hits 3-month high; banks lift UAE markets DUBAI: Egypt’s index hit a three-month high yesterday and banks lifted the Dubai and Abu Dhabi benchmarks as most Middle East markets advanced, with a turnaround in oil prices and global stocks boosting sentiment. Orascom Telecom rose 5.2 percent on more interest from small investors since its share dilution this week, helping lift the index to its highest close since Oct 29. “Orascom Telecom is creating a surge in the market,” said Teymour el-Derini from Naeem Brokerage. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was the UAE’s standout performer, rising 7.6 percent and taking its gains to 40 percent since plunging to a 7-1/2 year intraday low last week. The lender had reported a $327 million quarterly loss, but investors are now reacting positively to its attempt to clean up its balance sheet and follows similar moves by Saudi lenders. “In the past, ADCB’s management strategy was very aggressive and it had a lot international exposure,” said Germaine Benyamin, an analyst at HC brokerage in Dubai. “But the bank has booked huge provisions during the last quarter, instead of spreading them out over the course of the following year, which will benefit the bank in the long run.” ADCB’s surge helped Abu Dhabi’s index rise 1 percent to a two-week high in its fifth straight gain. Dubai’s index rose 1.5 percent, as Emirates NBD jumped 4.6 percent, after closing at a life-low on Sunday on concerns about its exposure to indebted Dubai firms. “UAE banks are taking huge provisions and the expectations are for Emirates NBD to do the same, which is weighing on the stock,” said Benyamin. “The bank’s balance sheet is overstretched, but if it does the same as ADCB to show it will be more conservative in the future, then this could be positive for the stock.” Regional markets may be in better shape than last month, but most analysts forecast the trend to remain sideways, with insufficient volumes to spark a more sustained rebound.

“I don’t see more liquidity coming back into the market - the main reason the market is at a standstill is because of a lack of liquidity”, said Ahmed Hamdi of Prime Emirates. Strong US manufacturing data has boosted hopes for a global economic recovery, pushing US markets higher overnight. Oil is also stable, rising 0.9 percent to $75.08 at 1339 GMT, trimming losses from a 12.4-percent, 23-day decline. Oil’s rise helped Saudi Basic Industries Corp add 0.9 percent, with the index advancing for a second day in three. “Saudi has outperformed global and emerging markets,” said a Riyadh-based analyst who asked not be identified. National Bank of Kuwait added 1.8 percent, climbing for a second day since the lender reported a four-fold rise in quarterly profit, but the index was flat. “There’s nothing going on - the market is dead, apart from a little activity in the small caps by retail investors,” said a Kuwait-based trader who asked not to be identified. “All my big boys are net sellers today, with some trying to buy back the bluechips back at lower levels, but my desk is strewn with pink tickets and there are only a few blue ones.” TUESDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS DUBAI The index rose 1.5 percent to 1,648 points. ABU DHABI The benchmark climbed 1 percent to 2,691 points. EGYPT The index rose 1.8 percent to 6,927 points. SAUDI ARABIA The measure 0.2 percent to 6,256 points. OMAN The index fell 0.5 percent to 6,483 points. KUWAIT The index edged up 0.02 percent to 7,016 points. QATAR The measure rose 0.5 percent to 6,642 points. Industries Qatar gained 1 percent. BAHRAIN The index slipped 0.1 percent to 1,484 points. —Reuters


BUSINESS

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

25

Australia CB skips a hike, in huge surprise SYDNEY: Australia’s central bank kept rates steady at 3.75 percent yesterday, confounding expectations of a hike and hammering the local currency as investors slashed estimates for how high rates might go this year. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) surprised almost everyone by saying it wanted to judge the impact of its past three moves before lifting the cash rate further. It had already raised rates by 75 basis points since October, putting it far ahead of most developed nations in removing exceptional stimulus.

Yet, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens also emphasized that, should the domestic economy continue to improve as expected, then further hikes would likely be needed over time. “This is a pause, not a stop,” said Peter Jolly, head of research at National Australia Bank. “It’s just that they paused earlier than most thought.” “I don’t think they have radically changed their view,” he added. “We still think they need to lift rates again and we see rates at 4.75 percent by the year end.” The market was badly caught

out, however, having almost fully priced in a hike to 4.0 percent at Tuesday’s policy meeting. As a result, the Australian dollar sank over a cent to $0.8800 and February interbank futures surged 0.17 points to 96.25. Investors also doubted whether the RBA would move in March either, with futures pricing in around 35 percent chance of a rise to 4.0 percent. Expectations for the next 12 months were pared back to show around 80 basis points of tightening, compared to 105 basis points before yesterday’s announcement.

“It implies that the RBA feels it has done enough for the time being,” said Stephen Roberts, a senior economist at Nomura. “You’d think there would be a pause for a few months before lifting to 4 percent by mid-year. It’s going to be a slow process getting the cash rate higher.” The RBA’s caution was warmly welcomed by the Labor government which faces a tough election fight later this year. “Families will welcome this decision and businesses will welcome this decision,” Treasurer Wayne Swan told parlia-

ment. Mortgage rates are a sensitive topic in Australia, where home ownership is a national obsession. Analysts suspected recent events offshore may have added to the case for a pause. In a brief policy statement, RBA chief Stevens noted China had begun to rein back stimulus in its economy, global credit conditions were difficult and worries had grown over debt levels in some countries. “So maybe a little bit more of international concern stayed their hand and they want to see how that evolves,” said Joshua Williamson,

an economist at Citi. “But there is a risk given the underlying strength of the (domestic) economy that this was a missed opportunity and they’re going to have to potentially go a little harder in the second half of the year if they don’t make this up in the next few months.” Indeed, the RBA stated the economy had proved stronger than expected with unemployment peaking much lower than feared, resource investment strong and house prices up sharply. Yet it also noted that lending rates in the econ-

omy had risen faster than the cash rate as banks sought to cover increased funding costs caused by the global credit crisis. It has estimated this effect meant effective rates across the economy were more than 100 basis points above the cash rate, far higher than before the credit squeeze. This means that neutral rates, ones that neither stimulates nor retards economic growth, are lower than in the past. As governor Stevens often says when quizzed on where neutral is: “We’ll know when we get there.” —Reuters

Automaker scrambles to reassure customers

Toyota global expansion not to blame for recall SYDNEY: A man and woman walk past the Reserve Bank of Australia in Sydney yesterday. Australia’s central bank left interest rates on hold at 3.75 percent, surprising analysts by ending a sequence of three consecutive rises, but hinted at further hikes to come. —AFP

Boeing sees aircraft order book shrinking SINGAPORE: US aerospace giant Boeing Co said yesterday it expects new orders for commercial aircraft this year to fall short of deliveries and no increase in demand until 2012. Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, repeatedly declined to elaborate on any impact on Boeing sales to China arising from the escalating row over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. “It’s government-to-government and I’m just not going to speculate,” he told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow. Chinese airlines have ordered hundreds of aircraft from Boeing, including its latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner, to be delivered over the next few years. Boeing unit McDonnell Douglas builds the Harpoon Telemetry missiles that are part of the package of sales to Taiwan. China has threatened to punish the firms involved. Boeing expects to deliver 460 to 465 aircraft in 2010 against 481 last year, a large number of which would be from the short-haul 737 series, Tinseth said. A drop in global passenger demand led Boeing and rival Airbus to face their worst annual order tally last year in at least 15 years as struggling airlines cancelled or deferred deliveries of almost as many planes as they were buying. “Clearly the business and environment has affected our production but this substantial backlog helped us maintain a relatively robust rate during this downturn,” Tinseth said. “Generally we see 2010 as the year of economic recovery and 2011 a year where airlines recover to profitability and as a result of that (we see) an increase in demand for airplanes in 2012.” He also said the company expects to see fewer deferrals and cancellations in 2010, compared to

2009 when Boeing had about 270 airplane orders being deferred and around 120 cancelled. Tinseth reaffirmed that Boeing plans to deliver the first of its repeatedly delayed 787 Dreamliners to All Nippon Airways in the fourth quarter of 2010. He said the plane’s fly test program was on track. On the bankruptcy of Japan Airlines (JAL), Tinseth said Boeing has not received any cancellations of the 70-odd Boeings JAL has on order. JAL, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month as part of state-led restructuring plans to retire all of its 37 Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets and all 16 McDonnell Douglas MD-90 planes and buy smaller aircraft to take their place. Tinseth said Boeing was looking to fit more efficient engines on the 737 family but would take its time before deciding on the engine providers. He said Boeing was committed to continuously improving the efficiency of the 737 range that analysts say needs a substantial re-design to achieve large fuel efficiency gains, such as fitting new engines and designing a new airframe. “We’re looking at all of the available engines in the marketplace. Re-engining the airplane is an option. We have time to make that decision and we’re going take our time to make sure it’s the best decision.” Boeing has sold over 5,000 next-generation 737 models since production began 12 years ago, of which about 3,000 have been delivered. The first 737s were built in the late 1960s. Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 family models are the workhorses used on many short-haul routes. “There’s no question that we will replace the airplane at some time. Our customers have asked for some very significant improvements,” he said, pointing to calls for short-haul aircraft that are 15 to 20 percent more fuel efficient and cheaper to maintain. —Reuters

NAGOYA, Japan: Toyota Motor scrambled to reassure customers yes- whether its quality control has weakened in the process-a suggestion terday that it has not sacrificed its legendary safety to be world num- the group denies. “I do not think that the expansion of the production ber one as its recalls spread to the Middle East, Africa and Latin overseas has affected the quality,” Toyota vice president Shinichi America. The company has actively expanded overseas over the past Sasaki told a news conference, at which he issued a fresh apology by decade to meet brisk demand for its cars, prompting critics to question the company for the massive recall. “We have full trust in engineering and quality,” added Sasaki, the first Toyota executive to talk publicly in Japan about the recalls since they spread around the world last week. Toyota said yesterday that it would recall about 180,000 vehicles in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America that were imported from the United States with sticking accelerator pedals. On Monday the company said it had started shipping parts to US dealers to repair the millions of vehicles recalled due to the problem pedal. A “spacer” will be added to the pedal mechanism in order to increase the tension in a spring and reduce the risk of the pedal staying down. The Japanese giant said it would resume production of the eight affected models on February 8 at factories in North America and resume sales after dealers have fixed the vehicles on their lots. Toyota shares jumped 4.5 percent to 3,605 yen, recovering some of their recent heavy losses, as investors welcomed news that the company had found a remedy. The automaker pulled up to TOKYO: Driving seats and pedals are displayed of Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor’s sedan Camry at the 1.8 million vehicles in Europe company’s showroom in Tokyo yesterday but Japanese model of the Camry has not been recalled. —AFP on Friday, the latest in a series of recalls that has affected almost eight million Toyota cars worldwide-roughly equivalent to its entire 2009 global sales. Along with the sticking TOKYO: As Toyota moved to limit the dam- customers, shareholders and suppliers, he Philippines. pedals, the group is recalling Other top managers in Japan have also age done by a massive global safety recall, its said. almost 5.3 million US vehicles “Then the problem no longer becomes shied away from the spotlight, leaving the public relations strategy was under scrutiny to replace floor mats that could head of Toyota’s US sales arm to launch a amid fears the brand’s image could have suf- one about brand image but reputation.” trap accelerator pedals. But Toyota CEO and president Akio publicity drive Monday to try to reassure fered irreparable harm. The Japanese giant, The company is still unsure its reputation for quality tarnished by prob- Toyoda kept a low profile last week as the customers. what the financial impact of the “I want to sincerely apologize to Toyota lems with faulty accelerator pedals, is facing company, founded by his grandfather more recalls will be for the automakincreasing criticism that it has mismanaged than 70 years ago, faced the fallout from the owners,” Toyota Motor USA Jim Lentz said er, Sasaki said. “The cost is recall of millions of vehicles around the in a video released on YouTube. “Toyota has the episode. going to be high but we needed Toyota’s handling of the recall, experts world. When Toyoda was eventually tracked always prided itself on building high quality, to do this,” he said. “Before we say, illustrates a cultural divide in crisis man- down by a Japanese television crew at the durable cars that customers can depend on worry about the impact, we agement, and the difficulties faced by Davos economic forum, he briefly apologized, and I know that we have let you down.” should worry about the cusToyota was planning a press conference Japanese firms in adjusting to globalization saying the group was “extremely sorry to tomers and the dealers.” at its headquarters in central Japan yesterday and the accompanying need to speak to cus- have made customers feel uneasy.” Toyota, which overtook In contrast, following Ford’s 2000 recall of on the recall but the CEO himself was not tomers worldwide. General Motors in 2008 as the “When a company faces problems, the faulty Firestone/Bridgestone tyres, the US scheduled to appear, sending one of his vice top-selling automaker, has most reassuring message comes from the automaker’s then chief executive Jacques presidents instead. been hit by a series of safety While Japanese corporate leaders are CEO,” said Kunio Inoue, an adjunct professor Nasser appeared in prime-time television issues that have dented its famous for making public apologies, bowof management at Toyo University and a advertisements to reassure customers. coveted reputation as a proSince the recall went global last week, ing low in front of a phalanx of cameras, director of the Japan Society for Corporate ducer of safe and reliable vehiCommunication Studies. “If communication only one statement had been issued by they often wait until the end of a crisis to cles. is mismanaged, that can increase worries Toyota’s headquarters-a press release relat- appear, in contrast to their Western Toyota president Akio among Toyota’s stakeholders,” including ing to a tree-planting project in the counterparts. —AFP Toyoda, the grandson of the company’s founder, has kept a low profile since the recall went global last week, and he did not appear at Tuesday’s news conference. NEW DELHI: India’s central Malik, economist at Australia’s noted. ly to drop, and probably quite When he was eventually bank has shifted gear from the Macquarie Securities. “Inflation India’s economy expanded by sharply,” said HSBC economist tracked down by a Japanese ultra-loose monetary policy used has become more important, but 7.9 percent in the fiscal second Robert Prior-Wandesforde. television crew at the Davos to help the economy rebound but the Reserve Bank of India has not quarter with car and mobile However, analysts predict that as economic forum over the it will go slow in hiking interest taken its eyes off growth dynam- phone sales booming and the food inflation comes down, nonweekend, he briefly apolorates to ensure growth stays on ics.” share market on a roll. But food inflation will begin emerging track, analysts say. Late last Analysts say India’s central growth has been driven mainly as a bigger problem as global gized, saying the group was week at a policy meeting, the bank is trying to achieve a deli- by government stimulus, tax commodity prices rise and “extremely sorry to have made central bank left borrowing rates cate balance of curbing inflation- breaks and cheap interest rates demand improves on the back of customers feel uneasy”. at record lows to support contin- which has accelerated in the past that have provided vital juice for a recovering economy. The Japanese giant is facing ued expansion of Asia’s third- few months to 7.31 percent-while the economy during the worst They expect that to prompt criticism that it failed to comlargest economy. not choking growth. global financial crisis since the the central bank to slowly raise municate adequately with cusBut in a bid to keep a lid on Even though central bank 1930s. benchmark interest rates with tomers. It took more than a resurgent inflation, the bank governor Duvvuri Subbarao foreAlso, while India’s cost-of-liv- the first hikes expected around week for the company to outtook a key first step towards cast strong economic expansion ing has risen steeply recently, April. After half a dozen rate cuts line a repair program after the exiting from the aggressively in his policy statement, he said the central bank says interest since October 2008, the repo-the recall was first announced. expansionary stance that it he did not want to remove mone- rate hikes cannot cure the prob- rate at which the bank lends to “We gave priority to properly adopted to help India’s economy tary stimulus too fast because the lem in this instance. commercial banks-stands at 4.75 issuing a warning, even at risk ride out the global slump. It recovery is yet fully to take hold. Food inflation, driven by crop percent, while the reverse repo, of causing confusion,” said moved to siphon off excess liq- And it is not only Indian policy- shortages, is running at 17.4 per- the rate at which it borrows from Sasaki. “I apologize from the uidity from the financial system makers who are performing such cent and accounts for 80 percent banks, is 3.25 percent. by raising the cash reserve ratio- a juggling act as they wait for the of overall inflation, economists “We’re seeing the beginning management for the delay and the percentage amount commer- economy to show clear signs of say. The weakest monsoon in of monetary tightening” in India, I hope you understand the situcial banks must keep on deposit- healing, the bank said. nearly four decades has hit agri- said Vaibhav Agrawal, research ation.” by 75 basis points to 5.75 perWorldwide there is “uncer- cultural output but the central vice-president at Angel Broking. The company said that in cent. tainty about the pace and shape of bank expects food costs to “But the rate hike process will be rare cases, the accelerator “The central bank has global recovery” and whether it decline as new winter crops are gradual over a period of two pedal mechanism could become embarked on a handle-with-care “will unravel” if stimulus is with- harvested. years and will be unlikely to stifle worn and harder to depress, or monetary exit,” said Rajeev drawn prematurely, its report After March, “inflation is like- demand,” he added. —Reuters get stuck in a partially depressed position. —AFP

Toyota draws flak over recall strategy

India shifts monetary gears as economy rebounds

SINGAPORE: Visitors look at a Boeing aircraft display at the Singapore Airshow 2010 in Singapore yesterday. The US aerospace industry is out in full force at the Singapore Airshow which opened in a bid to win more business in Asia, seen as the fastest-growing aviation market. —AFP

Big banks’ risky trading must be curbed: Volcker WASHINGTON: White House adviser Paul Volcker will urge Congress to curb the risks taken by large banks to help prevent them from being treated as “too big to fail,” according to testimony obtained by Reuters. Detailing a recent proposal known as “the Volcker rule,” the former Federal Reserve Chairman will tell lawmakers that commer-

cial banks’ proprietary and speculative activities should not be protected by the government. He will also urge international consensus on “appropriate” actions to restrict commercial banks’ activities. Volcker-an adviser to President Barack Obama whose star has risen in recent weekswill appear before the Senate

Banking Committee today to defend the administration’s latest proposal to rein in the banks. In January, Obama proposed limiting commercial banks’ ability to engage in proprietary trading, to end their ties to hedge funds and private equity funds and to restrict the future growth of large banks beyond a new market share cap. —Reuters


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BUSINESS

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

China faces risks from bank lending surge: OECD BEIJING: Surging bank lending could threaten the stability of financial institutions in fast-growing China, the OECD said yesterday in a report that urged more market reforms to help reduce such risks. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in its first China survey for five years that while Beijing’s policies had helped shield the country from the world slowdown, excess government controls were a problem. It recommended China loosen its grip on the value of the yuan and further accelerate other marketbased economic reforms, including allowing greater foreign access to its financial markets.

The report identified the recent surge in new lending as a key problem facing the nation’s economy and financial system. “While Chinese banks have so far weathered the global slowdown well, the acceleration in new lending since early 2009 raises the risk of a renewed surge in non-performing loans (NPLs) in the years ahead,” the report said. The lending binge has emerged as a key concern for China’s economic policymakers, with Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, saying last month the government would rein in credit. His comments come after the

central bank moved to hike the minimum amount of money that banks must keep in reserve and took other steps analysts said were meant to curb lending amid fears of bad loans, asset bubbles and overheating. Chinese state media also has reported major banks were verbally ordered by authorities to cut new lending, although Liu denied such a move. Some analysts have said they expect Beijing to go even further by raising interest rates, but most have said such a move is unlikely before mid-2010, as it could fuel inflation. “We welcome measures recently taken by authorities to deal with inflationary pressures, but we think

this will have to be carefully monitored,” OECD Chief Economist and Deputy Secretary General Pier Carlo Padoan told reporters. “Inflation risks are coming up in a way that is a source of concern.” The OECD report said recent “sharp increases in land prices” stemmed partly from excess liquidity and it warned financial institutions could be stuck with bad loans if property prices fell. Property prices in Chinese cities have soared, rising in December at the fastest pace in 17 months, according to official figures. Senior OECD economist Richard Herd said wage increases had outpaced the spike in housing costs nationwide,

but noted the huge rises in Beijing, Shanghai and southern China. He said it was important to avoid a spread in high property prices while also keeping the housing market going, noting: “The key is an increase in the supply of land.” The price surge accelerated after Beijing responded last year to the world economic woes with tax breaks, easy bank loans, lower down payment requirements and by calling on banks to pump up lending to keep the economy growing. As a result, new loans nearly doubled in 2009 from the previous year to 9.59 trillion yuan ($1.4 trillion), according to government data. The Paris-based OECD called bad

loans “perhaps the most significant near-term risk” to Chinese financial institutions. It advised lifting ceilings on foreign investment in banks to “put pressure on these institutions to upgrade their governance, management and technical capabilities, and would facilitate their international expansion.” It also advised China’s leaders to move more quickly toward freeing up the yuan. The Chinese currency’s valueeffectively pegged to the US dollar since mid-2008 — has been a bone of contention between Beijing and its Western trading partners, who say it is kept low to boost exports.

The OECD said allowing the yuan to trade more freely would bring stability by allowing its value to adjust “to offset macro shocks.” “More rapid capital account liberalization would bring tangible benefits and could be achieved without serious risk to financial or macroeconomic stability,” it said. However, China has resisted such calls, with Premier Wen Jiabao saying in December it would not yield to outside pressure to allow the yuan to appreciate. The OECD groups 30 industrialized economies and is a centre for studying macroeconomic and social trends and advising governments on policy. —AFP

EU to tightly monitor Athens’ performance

Greece pledges to follow fiscal plan ‘to the letter’

ATHENS: Greek Premier George Papandreou attends the Economist Conference in Athens yesterday. The European Union and the European Central Bank should create a crisis mechanism akin to the US Federal Reserve to help debt-hit member-states such as Greece, Nobel lauriat economist Joseph Stiglitz said. —AFP

Singapore Airlines returns to profit SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines yesterday announced its return to profitability after a rare losing streak for one of the world’s most successful airlines. SIA, a bellwether company whose earnings are closely monitored by the travel, financial and aerospace sectors, said it earned 404 million Singapore dollars ($286 million) in its third quarter ending December as demand for air travel picked up. This reversed a loss of $307 million in the first

quarter and $159 million in the second, SIA said in a statement coinciding with the first day of the Singapore Airshow, a regional industry trade fair. Revenue came in at $3.418 billion, up nearly 11 percent from the second quarter. Group expenditure fell 5.2 percent from the preceding quarter. “Passenger loadings in January and bookings in hand indicate that the recovery in the third quarter is likely to continue in the final quarter of the current finan-

cial year,” the airline said. “The improvement in yields is also holding up. Although air cargo shows similar improvement, it is more tentative because of the excess of freighter capacity and the unidirectional nature of cargo flows.” It added a note of caution: “The business outlook for the group in 2010 is encouraging but it must be acknowledged that uncertainties linger over the global economy.” Before the announcement, SIA shares closed at

HONG KONG: This file photo shows a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 making its final approach at Hong Kong’s international airport. Singapore Airlines (SIA) said yesterday it returned to profit in the financial third quarter following losses in the two preceding quarters.—AFP

13.66 Singapore dollars, down 20 cents, or 1.44 percent, from the previous day. The Straits Times Index fell 15.30 points, or 0.56 percent, to 2,720.87. For the nine months to December, SIA said its net loss was $62 million, sharply narrowing from a $466 million loss recorded in the first half. The increase in jet fuel prices led to a $34 million rise in fuel costs before hedging, but hedging losses were lower by $146 million, the carrier said. SIA posted its first quarterly loss in six years during the June quarter as the global economic slump and the swine flu outbreak battered travel and cargo demand. Singapore is a regional aviation hub between Europe and the Pacific. Randy Tinseth, vice president for marketing at US aircraft maker Boeing, said airlines were expected to ride on the global economic recovery but would need to keep costs down because the rebound was likely to be “slow and uneven.” “We think that the AsiaPacific region will definitely lead in the recovery we see in aviation,” Tinseth said on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow. “Long term, this is the biggest potential market in terms of demand of any region in the world.” Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association, said Monday the region had overtaken North America as the world’s largest air travel market with 647 million passengers in 2009. —AFP

ATHENS: Greece will follow its fiscal rescue plan “to the letter”, Prime Minister George Papandreou promised yesterday in response to European Union plans to tightly monitor Athens’ performance and possibly demand more cutbacks. Worries that Greece won’t be able to pay back its growing debts have shaken the European Union and the shared euro currency. The European Commission said Monday it will demand tougher measures such as new taxes and cutbacks in public sector wages and spending if Greece doesn’t make progress in getting the deficit under control. “We are determined to implement the stability and development program to the letter — in a stable and insistent way,” Papandreou told a financial conference in Athens. “For the first time, our country must do so much in so little time. But for the first time, we are so determined.” Papandreou’s new Socialist government is aiming to bring Greece’s ballooning deficit down from an estimated 12.7 percent of gross domestic product last year to 2 percent by 2013. However, he has resisted pressure from the EU to impose the sort of drastic spending cuts taken by fellow euro-zone member Ireland that include civil service pay cuts. That is because lower wages would hurt consumer spending, crimping economic growth in the future. “Over the next three years, Greece will correct its mistakes,” Papandreou said. “But without efforts to support economic growth, the fiscal adjustment will not be sustainable.” Greece’s Socialists sharply revised the deficit upward after ousting the conservative in general elections last October. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, told the Associated Press that the EU should reward Greek efforts to come clean. “The reaction to punish this government because of mistakes by the previous government makes absolutely no sense. It seems very foolish,” he said. Stiglitz said small countries in particular needed support. “I think there needs to be a greater effort within Europe to create to the kind of solidarity that would enable Europe to address the kinds of macro instability crises that we are now experiencing,” said Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University. “Any small country within Europe can’t do it on its own. This really has to be done by a commitment in Europe in an overall economic framework.” Stiglitz was also critical about the tougher cutbacks taken in Ireland. “The kinds of policies that Ireland pursued - pouring money into banks and not getting back the appropriate amount of money - ... and cross-the-board wage cuts in the public sector have not succeeded in improving significantly its economy or even market perceptions.” —AP

BEIJING: Chinese workers remove advertisements portraying revolutionary workers at a central business district in Beijing. China declared last month it has rebounded from the global crisis after fourth quarter growth jumped to 10.7 percent. —AP

Reinsurer Munich Re issues profit warning FRANKFURT: The world’s biggest reinsurer, Munich Re, said yesterday that net profit soared 62 percent last year but warned it would probably not do as well in 2010. “I would be very surprised if we can repeat such gains this year,” finance director Joerg Schneider told a telephone news conference,

owing to increased competition and falling global demand for reinsurance coverage. He forecast a net profit of some two billion euros ($2.78 billion) for the group’s current year but also cautioned that that was “far from sure,” following which the group’s stock fell in Frankfurt. For 2009, Munich Re post-

MUNICH: Joerg Schneider, CFO of the Munich Re assurance company, is seen during an interview with The Associated Press at his office in Munich, southern Germany. —AP

ed a net profit of 2.56 billion euros, up from 1.58 billion euros in 2008, and said it would raise its dividend by 4.5 percent to 5.75 euros. “The reinsurance business profited from exceptionally low claims costs for natural catastrophes,” a statement said, while Munich Re also benefitted from the integration of previous acquisitions and higher rates as a result of the global financial crisis. This year has begun with renegotiations of re-insurance contracts which Munich Re acknowledged were “more difficult than in the previous year” since competition has increased as insurance groups pull out of the crisis. The volume of renewed business has fallen by 6.7 percent to around 7.4 billion euros because “Munich Re resolutely adhered to its profitoriented underwriting policy and was prepared to forgo business if necessary,” it said. Shares in the group slipped 0.55 percent to 108.75 euros in midday Frankfurt trading, while the DAX index on which they are listed was 0.71 percent higher overall. Schneider said he did not rule out the purchase of additional Munich Re shares by US investor Warren Buffett, who has holdings in several reinsurance companies. Buffett was not considered a rival, Schneider added, and his Munich Re investment “is not at all hostile.” As of January 22, the US billionaire controlled 5.22 percent of the shares in Munich Re. —AFP

German sales post biggest drop since euro launch FRANKFURT: German retail sales fell by 1.8 percent last year, final figures released yesterday by the national statistics service showed, the biggest decline since euro notes and coins were introduced in 2002. While the figure was better than an earlier estimate of a 2.0 percent drop, it suggested that Europe’s biggest economy “will most likely have expanded only slightly” in the last three months of 2009, Commerzbank analyst Simon Junker said. Consumption has nonetheless resisted better than expected as Germany’s economy suffered its worst post-war recession, with activity contracting by 5.0 percent overall last year. Sales picked up by a provisional 0.8 percent in December compared with November, slightly below analyst forecasts for 0.9 percent compiled by Dow Jones Newswires. “Apparently, German consumers did not let the financial crisis ruin their Christmas shopping,” ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski said. “Still, private consumption seems to be caught

in a zig-zag pattern without getting to a real upward trend,” he noted. German retailers faced a tough climate in 2009 as spending dwindled amid fears about growing unemployment. The Arcandor group shut down its Quelle mailorder division and several Karstadt department stores, rival Hertie closed down and Woolworths also shut many German outlets. Auto sales-which are not included in the retail data-were boosted by a state car scrapping premium that expired in September, and sales have dropped since then by 7.4 percent. Higher unemployment this year is expected to curb a recovery in consumption, while tax breaks and possible salary increases could nonetheless provide households with some financial underpinnings. The German retailers federation HDE forecast yesterday that nominal sales would slip by 0.5 percent this year. Particularly cold and wintry weather last month might has already caused many people to stay at home rather than head for the high street. —AFP


TECHNOLOGY

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

27

Use of Twitter, Facebook rises among gang members LOS ANGELES: When a gang member was released from jail soon after his arrest for selling methamphetamine, friends and associates assumed he had cut a deal with authorities and become a police informant. They sent a warning on Twitter that went like this: We have a snitch in our midst. Unbeknownst to them, that tweet and the traffic it generated were being closely followed by investigators, who had been tracking the San Francisco Bay Area gang for months. Officials sat back and watched as others joined the conversation and left behind incriminating information. Law enforcement officials say gangs are making greater use of Twitter and Facebook, where they

sometimes post information that helps agents identify gang associates and learn more about their organizations. “You find out about people you never would have known about before,” said Dean Johnston with the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, which helps police investigate gangs. “You build this little tree of people.” In the case involving the suspected informant, tweets alerted investigators to three other gang members who were ultimately arrested on drug charges. Tech-savvy gangsters have long been at home in chatrooms and on Web sites like MySpace, but they appear to be gravitating toward Twitter and Facebook, where they can make threats, boast about crimes,

Gangsters make threats, boast about crimes online share intelligence on rivals and network with people across the country. “We are seeing a lot more of it,” Johnston said. “They will even go out and brag about doing shootings.” In another California case involving a different gang, much of the information gathered by investigators came from members’ Facebook accounts. Authorities expect to make arrests in the coming months. “Once you get into a Facebook group, it’s relatively easy,” Johnston said. “You have a rolling commentary.” And gang members sometimes turn the tables, asking contacts across their extended networks for

help identifying undercover police officers. It’s hard to know exactly how many gang members are turning to Twitter and Facebook. Many police agencies are reluctant to discuss the phenomenon for fear of revealing their investigative techniques. Capt. Walt Myer, director of the Riverside County regional gang task force, said gang activity often “mirrors general society. When any kind of new technology comes along, they are going to use it.” Representatives from Twitter and Facebook say they regularly cooperate with police and supply information on account holders when presented with a search

warrant. Neither company would discuss specifics. Gang use of Twitter and Facebook still lags behind use of the much-older MySpace, which remains gang members’ online venue of choice. The Crips, Bloods, Florencia 13, MS-13 and other gangs have long used MySpace to display potentially incriminating photos and videos of people holding guns and making hand gestures. They also post messages about rivals. Last week, officials in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, announced the arrest of 50 people in a crackdown of a Latino gang they say was engaged in drug

sales and hate crimes against black residents. Prosecutors say some of the evidence was pulled from MySpace and YouTube, including rap videos taunting police with violent messages. While some members are wising up to the police attention such postings can bring, gang information remains publicly viewable online. Dozens of Facebook accounts are dedicated to the deadly MS-13 gang, with followers from around the globe. At one site, a video displays pictures of dead members of the rival 18th Street gang, and some users have left disrespectful comments. The toughest part about tracking someone on Twitter is finding the alias or screen name they are posting under. And many tweets are nonsensical or

pointless, so cutting through the clutter can be difficult. “It’s tricky,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy David Anguiano. “If you find out what they go by, you are good to go.” Anguiano tracks the online activity of graffiti vandals - the so-called tagging crews that sometimes morph into gangs. They post tweets saying they are heading out to spray paint and sometimes post links to photographs of their work. Often, they cannot resist bragging about their handiwork, and the electronic trail they leave is frequently used as evidence. “They talk about it too much,” Anguiano said. “You want the fame so you’ve got to go out there and talk about it. That’s when your mouth gets you in trouble.” — AP

Univision starts YouTube channel

SAN FRANCISCO: In this 2010 file photo, the iPad is shown after it was unveiled at the Moscone Center. — AP

Apple’s iPad e-books could confuse readers NEW YORK: Even as Apple’s iPad will likely energize electronic reading, the new device is undermining a painstakingly constructed effort by the publishing industry to make it possible to move e-books between different electronic readers. The slim, 1.5-pound (0.7kilogram) “tablet” computer unveiled last week will be linked to Apple Inc’s first ebook store when it goes on sale in a few months. The books, however, will not be compatible with Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle or with the major alternative ebook system. Apple’s creation of a third choice is likely to further frustrate and confuse consumers if they accumulate ebooks for one device, then try to go back to read them later on a different one. The effect could be akin to having to buy a new set of CDs every time you get a new stereo system. It could also keep people from buying new e-readers as better models come out if they aren’t compatible with the books they already have. This could cool consumers’ enthusiasm for e-books, the way sales of digital music downloads were hampered by a variety of copy-protection schemes. “There are going to be some potentially painful lessons” for consumers when they try to move e-books they already own to new devices, said Nick Bogaty, senior manager of digital publishing business development at Adobe Systems Inc, which provides the major alternative e-book system. Before the iPad’s debut, there have been two main camps in the e-book industry. The e-books that Amazon sells work only on the Kindle and on Amazon’s software, which can be loaded for free on PCs and some smart phones. Everyone else, including Sony Corp, Barnes & Noble Inc and public libraries, have gathered around Adobe’s system. Adobe doesn’t sell books itself, but provides software to booksellers and libraries so they can sell and lend books that can be opened on multiple devices. Like the Kindle store, the Adobe system uses a copy-protection system that prevents buyers from reselling the books or distributing them online. Apple would not com-

ment about the plans for its bookstore, but Adobe said its system isn’t being used by Apple. Apple already has its own copy-protection system for iTunes and can easily extend that to e-books. “I don’t see Apple feeling like they need to come in as ‘the collaborator.’ That’s not their style,” Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey said. Apple has said it would embrace the EPUB format for its ebooks. Although that’s the format adopted by the Adobe camp that alone does not ensure compatibility because Apple would be using its own copy-protection scheme on top of it. Apple is thus set to create a third technology camp in the e-book industry. Consumers who start buying e-books and want to go back to their books after a few years would have to make sure they have a compatible device, or at least compatible software. That can be pretty complicated. Even if Apple uses its own copy-protection system, it doesn’t preclude books using the Kindle or the Adobe scheme from being read on the iPad or an iPhone as long as Apple continues to allow outside parties to develop ereading software for the Apple devices. The user would just have to remember which book goes with which software. However, it’s unlikely that books bought from Apple’s store would work on non-Apple devices, except for PCs running iTunes. So far, no media industry has managed to unite on one copy-protection system for downloads. Music retailers, including Apple, used a variety of schemes before ultimately ditching copy protection entirely as customers found the limitations to be a big hassle. Music from iTunes couldn’t be moved to a digital media player linked to Microsoft’s store, and so forth. Movies and television shows are still sold and rented with multiple copy-protection systems, though, so you can’t move an iTunes video to a Microsoft Zune player. Forrester’s McQuivey believes the division into several e-book camps will persist for years, but may eventually narrow to just two alternatives, one of them being Amazon’s. He doesn’t believe copy protection will ever go away

for e-books. It died for music largely because CDs were never copy-protected, he noted, so consumers opted to buy them and convert them to digital files instead of buying downloads. Printed books, though they carry no copy protection, are difficult to convert to a digital format in the home. As the market leader, Amazon has the scale to hold out with its own system, McQuivey said. Analysts estimate it has sold 3 million Kindles, and Amazon says it now sells six Kindle books for every 10 printed copies of books that are available in both formats. All the same, the publishing industry has high hopes for the iPad, which unlike the Kindle and most other ereaders, will have a color screen that can show video. Carolyn Reidy, the CEO of Simon & Schuster, said the iPad seems like a “terrific device,” citing the clear screen and the ability to turn pages by touching a finger to the screen, as opposed to pushing a button, as the Kindle requires. She said the fact that Apple already has 125 million customer credit card numbers through its iTunes store could add millions of potential book customers when the iPad goes on sale in two months, starting at $499. Any disappointment because of confusion over copy protection could be offset, at least in the short term, by the excitement and publicity caused by trendsetter Apple’s entry into the ebook market. The addition of Apple to the e-book market also will likely have an effect on ongoing pricing disputes in the industry. Amazon.com said Sunday it will give in to publishing giant Macmillan and agree to sell electronic versions of its books even at prices it considers too high. The retailer had pulled Macmillan books Saturday, including e-books for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, in a disagreement over the publisher’s new pricing model for e-books. Amazon wants to tamp down prices as it faces more competitors. But Macmillan and other publishers have criticized Amazon for charging just $9.99 for best-selling e-books on its Kindle ereader, a price publishers say is too low and could hurt sales of higher-priced hardcovers. — AP

WASHINGTON: Top US Spanish-language television network Univision has launched its own channel on YouTube, featuring short clips and full shows. “This launch is a very important milestone for our Company, as it represents the first time that Univision programming is being made available anywhere on the Web beyond Univision.com in both short- and long-form format,” Kevin Conroy, president of Univision Interactive Media, Inc, said in a statement “The new Univision channel on YouTube extends our reach, enables us to bring Univision’s quality programming to a broader audience, and reinforces our position as the leading Spanish-language video provider for US Hispanics.” Hispanics make up the fastest-growing segment of US minorities, accounting for nearly one in six residents — 46.9 million people-according to the US Census Bureau. Kraft Foods will serve as the exclusive launch sponsor of the online channel, which features programming from Univision Interactive’s three major networks-Univision, TeleFutura and Galavision. “We are excited to be offering current, high-caliber video programming from Univision to our US audience,” said Chris Maxcy, director of content partnerships at YouTube. “The Spanish-speaking American audience is a rapidly growing demographic in the online world. Being able to provide some of the best, premium Spanish-language shows to our users is a big win for both YouTube and Univision.” Among the featured shows are Univision’s morning program “Despierta America” (Wake Up America), news magazine “Primer Impacto” (First Impact), weekly drama series “Mujeres Asesinas” (Killer Women) and talk show “Don Francisco Presenta” (Don Francisco Presents). The YouTube channel also includes clips from TeleFutura’s entertainment show “Escandalo TV” (ShowBiz TV) and Galavision’s home decorating series “Decorando Contigo” (Decorating with You). It will also include weekly show recaps with some of the best moments from top Univision shows, including “Noticiero Univision” (Univision Network News) and entertainment magazine “El Gordo y La Flaca” (The Scoop and the Skinny). — AFP

LONDON: The image on screen as it will be seen by a security officer shows a demonstration by a security guard at Heathrow Airport Terminal 4, displaying the new body scanner which will be used in all terminals at Heathrow. The dark area seen in the small of the back in this image shows a replica handgun which the security guard carried for the purposes of the demonstration.— AP

BEIJING: In this 2010 file photo, workers clean and repair broken part of a marble tablet bearing Google’s logo in front of Google China’s headquarters building. — AP

Many Chinese unfazed at possible Google exit ‘Baidu does the same things as Google’ BEIJING: A world without Google? They can imagine it just fine in China. After all, it’s not like losing “World of Warcraft.” The online giant’s threat to pull out of China over censorship has drawn little reaction among the country’s 384 million Internet users. No flood of complaints to China’s consumer rights agency, like the tens of thousands received in one day when the online fantasy game “World of Warcraft” was yanked last year because of a bureaucratic turf battle. Nor has there been the type of fury that saw 32,000 indignant gamers participate in an online chat session on the “World of Warcraft.” “If Google leaves China, we’ll lose one search engine. But we still have other choices,” said 28-year-old Deng Zhiluo, who works in marketing in Beijing. He said while Google’s search results are more “international,” most of what he wants can be found on Chinese competitor Baidu. “For locals, Baidu is enough.” The indifference of many Chinese points to a telling challenge for Google in the world’s most populous Internet market. The Chinese Internet world is youthful, with people under 30 making up 61.5 percent of the online population, and Google’s cause isn’t generating popular support among China’s wired teens and 20-somethings. “It’s like in the US saying, ‘You can’t use Yahoo search anymore’,” said TR Harrington, CEO of Shanghaibased Darwin Marketing, which specializes in China’s search engines. “What would people say? ‘So what? I’ll use Google more, and I’ll try Bing and I might try a few other ones ... I don’t care.”’ Google threatened three weeks ago to shut down its Chinese search engine, Google.cn, citing cyber attacks emanating from China plus attempts to snoop on dissidents. Some Chinese admire the Mountain View, Calif-based company’s stand and its “don’t be evil” image: A few dozen laid flowers outside Google’s Beijing headquarters, and a few hundred joined a “Don’t Go Google” Web site before it was shut down for

China’s online travel market booms BEIJING: China’s online tourism market is booming as an increasingly wealthy middle class travels for pleasure and the use of credit cards and the Internet soars, analysts say. As millions of people pack their bags for Lunar New Year holidays, the busiest travel period of the year, many will have booked their trips home online, according to Chinese Internet research and consulting firm iResearch. Revenue from online flight, hotel and package tour bookings will hit 4.75 billion yuan (695.8 million dollars) in 2010, up 27 percent from last year, iResearch says, with that figure due to balloon to 9.01 billion yuan by 2013. “People’s lifestyle attitudes have changed and their spending ability has improved and people now view holidays as part of a healthy lifestyle,” the firm said in its latest report on the fast-growing sector. China’s travel industry generated 1.3 trillion yuan in revenue in 2009, up nine percent from 2008, state media reported earlier this month,

citing figures from the National Tourism Administration. While a separate figure on overall bookings revenue was not available, China Market Research Group senior analyst Ben Cavender estimated online bookings accounted for 8-10 percent of the market. “More and more consumers are turning to the Internet to book trips,” Cavender told AFP, adding he expects online bookings to make up 15-16 percent of the total within two years. “Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with the concept of online purchases... and the use of credit cards has exploded over the last few years,” Cavender said. China has at least 384 million Internet users, according to official figures, more than any other country in the world and the number of credit cards issued has ballooned. As the nation’s 1.3 billion people become wealthierurban and rural per capita income each rose more than eight percent in 2009 — more

and more Chinese are taking holidays. In 2009, the number of domestic tourist trips rose 11 percent to 1.9 billion from a year earlier, state media reported, citing tourism bureau figures, indicating some people went on more than one holiday during the year. The number of overseas tourist trips increased 3.6 percent to 47.5 million compared with 2008, according to the report. This year is expected to be even better for the domestic tourism market with the World Expo in Shanghai expected to draw at least 70 million visitors, most of them Chinese, said Royal Bank of Scotland analyst Wendy Huang. “Travel consumption per capita should increase over the next three years, said the Hong Kong-based Huang. “I think 2010 will be an especially good year for the travel industry because you have the Shanghai Expo and it should benefit travel demand in China.” — AFP

unknown reasons. The trouble Google is having generating support among Chinese underscores how successfully the communist government controls information. While authorities have set up an extensive network of Internet filters, blockades and monitoring - dubbed the “Great Firewall of China” that’s only part of the picture. China’s permissible Internet universe is flooded with choice, with 3.2 million registered Web sites offering politically acceptable news coverage and loads of diversions from shopping to music downloads. The generation of Chinese currently in their teens and 20s are known for their love of consumerism and disdain for politics. Most aren’t interested in scaling the “Great Firewall” by using proxy servers or other technical subterfuges, according to Kaiser Kuo, a Beijing-based technology analyst. Their favorite online activities: listening to music, chatting with friends and playing video games. For many sites blocked by the government - including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter - there are readily available, governmentapproved Chinese substitutes: Youku and Tudou for videos, Kaixinwang and Renren for social networking. Sina.com, the largest Internet portal, runs a Twitter-like microblogging site. “Baidu does the same things as Google,” said 30-year-old IT salesman Zheng Hongyi. “And if it leaves there will be more companies coming up to fill this need.” Beijing may be interested in seeking an accommodation. Google is an innovator whose presence could spur innovation by Chinese competitors. Blocking Google sites could encourage more Chinese to seek ways of getting around Internet controls. That’s what happened last year when two government agencies prohibited Chinese sites from offering “World of Warcraft” while they battled over the right to regulate the lucrative online game. Local stores started selling access cards that allowed Chinese fans to play the game on Taiwanese servers. — AFP

1,400 Twitter users talk democracy in US contest WASHINGTON: More than 1,400 Twitter users around the world took part in a USgovernment sponsored contest to define democracy and the most popular “tweet” was from a Chinese user, the State Department said Monday. The two-week “Democracy is...” contest on the micro-blogging platform attracted submissions in eight languages from over 30 countries, the State Department said in a statement. It said the “tweet” that was “re-tweeted,” or forwarded, the most by Twitter users, was submitted by a Twitter user going by the handle “@zuola” from China. “Democracy is a set of game rules that, in their gradual process towards perfection, independent individuals and organizations in a civil society seek to maximize their interests by using transparent and nonviolent means,” read the message from @zuola, which presumably stuck to the 140-charac-

ter Twitter limit in Chinese. The State Department said the “Democracy is...” contest and another, the Democracy Video Challenge, in which users were encouraged to make videos about democracy, had “expanded the international conversation on democracy.” “Both contests engage with and amplify the views of young people around the world by using new media to break down cultural and geographic borders and involve younger audiences in a transparent and candid discussion about an issue of global importance,” the State Department said. It did not say whether the Chinese Twitter user @zuola had been named the official winner of the “Democracy is...” contest. In announcing the contest, the State Department said the contestant whose message received the “greatest number of unique re-tweets” would receive a Flip video HD camcorder. — AFP


HEALTH & SCIENCE

28

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Heart disease ‘will kill 400,000 Americans this year 200,000 deaths could be averted by healthier living LONDON: Decades of progress in the United States on cutting cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking are being stalled by rising obesity rates, and heart disease will kill around 400,000 Americans this year, experts said on Monday. A study by British scientists found that around half of those deaths could be averted if people ate healthier food and quit smoking, and experts warned there was no room for complacency when it came to heart health risks. Simon Capewell of the University of Liverpool said recent weight trends were “alarming”, with 1.5 billion

adults worldwide expected to be overweight by 2015. “Although (heart disease) death rates have been falling in the United States for four decades, they are now leveling off in young men and women,” he wrote in a study in the World Health Organization’s weekly journal. “Recent declines in total blood cholesterol have been modest, blood pressure is now rising among women and obesity and diabetes are rising steeply in both sexes.” The researchers calculated the number of deaths based on lifestyle trends, taking the year 2000

as a base. They found that almost 200,000 lives could be saved if certain heart risk factors were cut, even modestly, in particular, Capewell said, “If people ate healthier food and stopped smoking”. Two-thirds of US adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese-a condition that increases their risk for diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. US health officials last week introduced first lady Michelle Obama as their latest weapon in a fresh campaign against the increasingly-costly weight burden.

But Shanthi Mendis, an expert on chronic disease prevention at the Geneva-based WHO, noted that the United States was not alone in facing an obesity epidemic, and said lifestyle choices now directly affected the health of many of the world’s people. “Worldwide, nearly one billion adults are overweight and, if no action is taken, this figure will surpass 1.5 billion by 2015,” she said in the study. “By avoiding tobacco, eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity, people can dramatically reduce their risk of developing heart disease, stroke or diabetes.” — Reuters

Hormone drugs for prostate cancer may raise heart attack risk WASHINGTON: Prostate cancer treatments that cut off the supply of male hormone raise cholesterol, worsen blood sugar and make men fatter and thus likely raise the risk of heart attack, too, doctors said Monday. An advisory published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation recommends that doctors keep a close eye on men they treat with so-called androgen deprivation therapy and help them avoid trading cancer for heart disease. The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Urological Association and American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology joined forces to write the advisory. “Based on current data, it was appropriate to conclude that there may be a relationship between androgen deprivation therapy in patients with prostate cancer and future cardiovascular risk,” Dr Glenn Levine of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who chaired the group of experts, said in a statement. The doctors said studies need to be set up to determine just what the risk is to men. Heart disease is the No 1 cause of death in the United States and other developed countries, but cancer is the second leading cause of death and prostate cancer is the No 2 cancer killer of men, after lung cancer. The group said prostate cancer patients with known heart disease should always be encouraged to adopt healthy lifestyle changes and receive any needed drugs such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, blood pressure pills, blood thinners including aspirin and diabetes drugs. Prostate cancer, which kills 254,000 men a year globally, is usually treated with surgery or radiation but advanced cases may require chemotherapy or hormone therapy-so-called chemical castration to stop hormones that can fuel tumor growth. — Reuters

CHICAGO: Smokers who wore nicotine patches for six months instead of the recommended two were more likely to quit smoking and had an easier time recovering from an occasional slip, US researchers said on Monday. But the effect appeared to last only as long as the treatment, suggesting that smokers may need longer-term or even chronic treatment to stay smoke-free. “This suggests that we may need to reconsider our guidelines about the length of treatment and consider, at least for some smokers, longerterm therapy,” said Caryn Lerman of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, whose study appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Lerman said the team did the study because of the growing recognition that nicotine dependence is a condition characterized by many relapses. To test this, she and colleagues set up a clinical trial of 568 people who smoked 10 or more cigarettes per day for at least the past year. About half were given GlaxoSmithKline’s Nicoderm CQ patch for eight weeks, followed by a dummy patch. The other half were on the patch for a full six months. Neither the patients nor the doctors knew who was getting the active patch. At the end of 24 weeks, smokers who were on extended patch treatment the whole time were twice as likely to have quit smoking as those who got a dummy patch after two months. “We found that extending the duration of therapy to 24 weeks was significantly more effective in helping smokers quit compared to the standard duration of eight weeks,” Lerman said.

How long?

CALCUTTA, India: A lioness rests inside her cage at Alipore zoo yesterday. — AP

Infections in womb leads to asthma in kids: Study WASHINGTON: US researchers have linked mothers’ infection during pregnancy to asthma, the most common chronic disease among American children, in their offspring. A 16year study following nearly 400,000 births in California found that when mothers had an inflammation known as chorioamnionitis and if a baby was born pre-term, that child was more likely to develop asthma by age 8. Such inflammation of the placenta or amniotic fluid can result from a number of bacterial infections of the vagina, including E coli and group B streptococci. Chorioamnionitis complicates 8 percent of pregnancies, according to the study published on Monday in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Dr Darious Getahun of the West Los Angeles Medical Center, who led the study, said doctors had assumed that being born pre-term was the reason children developed asthma later in life. The study showed that chorioamnionitis is a factor in asthma independent of pre-term birth, Getahun said in a telephone interview.

Nicotine patch must be worn for longer time

Getahun said the findings point out the importance of prenatal care. “Women sometimes tend to underestimate the importance of prenatal care and miss opportunities for finding this type of problem before it occurs,” he said. In 2006, nearly 10 million US children were diagnosed with asthma and 6.8 million had an asthmatic episode, making it the most common chronic childhood disease, according the US Department of Health and Human Services. The researchers used electronic health records to follow 397,852 single births from 1991 to 2007 at Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Southern California. Blacks are about 25 percent more likely to have asthma than whites and this infection could explain much of the difference, the researchers said. If a mother had the infection and if her baby was born pre-term, the risk of asthma was 98 percent higher for black children, 70 percent higher for Hispanic children and 66 percent higher for whites, the researchers found. — Reuters

Tea gets hip as trade turns over a new leaf SINGAPORE: Who wants a cup of tea? It’s not just Britons, old ladies and laborers enjoying a cuppa any more, with the world’s most consumed drink after water getting a make-over and attracting younger, more discerning fans. If teatime conjures up images of women in hats nibbling on scones, chances are you’ve not stepped into any of the hundreds of modern tea rooms and tea bars becoming as ubiquitous as the brew they offer. These gourmet establishments can be found from the United States to Australia, often stocking hundreds of blends of tea, with British department store Selfridges even reportedly offering an aphrodisiac tea called Love Potion ahead of Valentine’s Day. “The days of tea appreciation are over, now it’s all about chilling out with a tea cocktail,” said Jutta Waldeck, a tea expert who has been in the industry for over a decade and does consulting work for Singaporebased lifestyle brand Naturalis. “We need to keep innovating tea so that it remains relevant to the lifestyles of the younger generation.”

Naturalis, which sources its teas from all over the world and then blends then in Germany, creates custom blends for hotels and spas, advises on tea lounges as well as lifestyle events that revolve around tea. They are also offering a tea bar concept where people can customize their blend for an array of loose leaf tea and flavorings. TWG Tea, a Singapore-based gourmet brand available in Britain, the United States, the Middle East and Asia, set up its first dedicated tea lounge more than two years ago. The brand recently signed up with Singapore Airlines to offer blends onboard, as well as creating “couture” teas that match the fashion trends of the season. Tea is believed to date back to 2,737 BC, when the second emperor of China discovered the drink after tea leaves blew into his hot water. The world has since been drinking it in various forms, from the green teas favored in many parts of northern Asia to the milky, spicy, sugary or herbal infused concoctions traditionally imbibed in the Middle

East, India and Southeast Asia. Asia has traditionally favored tea over coffee, and it would seem the drink has little to lose from its caffeinated competitor, with even global coffee chains such as Starbucks and The Coffee Bean and Tea leaf offering various tea blends such as lattes, chais and even iced versions. Tea has also gained popularity in recent years due to a heightened awareness of its health benefits, with study after study praising it for helping to ward off diseases. According to the United Kingdom Tea Council, an independent body set up to promote tea drinking, tea can help to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease while its high levels of antioxidants are also beneficial. One of the latest studies, which emerged at the First International Congress on Abdominal Obesity, claimed tea could help slim the waistline. A recent Japanese study also found that elderly people who drink several cups of green tea a day are less likely to suffer from depression. — Reuters

However, after a year, there were no differences in the main measures of smoking in the extended patch or conventional patch groups. But the researchers did notice that people who had been on the patch longer were more likely (29.1 percent vs 21.3 percent) to have reported no periods of smoking lasting more than 7 days in a row-during the entire year. The team said the results were comparable to those seen with drugs such as Glaxo’s Zyban and Pfizer Inc’s Chantix, drugs that have strong safety warnings on their labeling because that can cause depression, hostility and other behavioral changes. Lerman said the patch, by comparison, is safe and it may be more convenient because it can be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription. The team is now studying just how long smokers might need to stay on the patch to overcome their smoking dependence, or whether they might fare better taking more than one treatment at a time. The extended six-month patch therapy in the study cost $2,482, about the same as other drug-related cessation aids, Lerman said. But just 8.6 percent of health insurance companies fully pay for nicotine patches, and only 33 states pay for Medicaid patients to use the patch. Smoking costs the US economy more than $193 billion each year in health care costs and lost productivity, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Whatever healthcare reform that may occur, it will be important for smoking cessation medications be covered, and possibly to be covered for a longer duration than just the acute treatment period,” Lerman said. Cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, emphysema and other diseases. It is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing an estimated 443,000 people each according to year, according to the CDC. — Reuters

Fish oil pills may prevent schizophrenia

WASHINGTON: Giant panda Tai Shan eats bamboo in his enclosure on February 1, 2010 at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. The National Zoo has announced that beloved panda Tai Shan will be sent to China tomorrow. Tai Shan, once dubbed “butterstick” for his tiny size, was born there in 2005 to Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, themselves gifts from China. A stipulation of the gift is that all cubs must be sent to China. — AFP

CHICAGO: Fish oil pills may be able to save some young people with signs of mental illness from descending into schizophrenia, according to a preliminary but first-of-its-kind study conducted in Austria. The study of just 81 patients comes from leaders in the field of youth mental health and adds to evidence suggesting severe mental illness might be prevented with the right intervention. Though it sounds incredibly simple, fish oil fits one hypothesis for what causes schizophrenia, a possible difference in how the body handles fatty acids. “If it works, it will be an absolutely tremendous development,” said Dr Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, who wasn’t involved in the new study. More research is needed to see if the results are accurate, he said. The researchers are beginning a larger international study in eight cities with hopes of replicating their findings, which appear in February’s Archives of General Psychiatry, released Monday. Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that strikes adolescents and young adults. About 2.4 million Americans have the disorder, which is treated with antipsychotic medication. Since the 1990s, researchers have wondered if the disease could be stopped in its earliest stages, before it fully overpowers a person’s grip on reality. Studies have tried antipsychotics in select young people, but troubling side effects pose ethical questions and results have been

mixed. For the new study, researchers identified 81 people, ages 13 to 25, with warning signs of psychosis. The signs include sleeping dramatically more or less than usual, growing suspicious of others, believing someone is putting thoughts in their head or thinking they have magical powers. The young people in the study sought professional help and most were referred by psychiatrists at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Researchers randomly assigned 41 of the patients to take four fish oil pills a day for three months. The daily dose of 1,200 milligrams was about what many people take to get the protective benefits of fish oil for the heart and costs less than 40 cents a day. The rest of the patients received dummy pills. After one year of monitoring, 2 of 41 patients in the fish oil group, or about 5 percent, had become psychotic, or completely out of touch with reality. In the placebo group, 11 of 40 became psychotic, about 28 percent. Four people would need to take fish oil to prevent one transition to a psychotic disorder during a year, according to the researchers. No one knows what causes schizophrenia but one hypothesis says people with the disease don’t process fatty acids correctly, leading to damaged brain cells. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil could help brain cells to repair and stabilize, the researchers speculate. Some prior studies on omega-3 supplements in people with full-blown schizophrenia have shown benefits.

“Schizophrenia is among the most mysterious and costliest diseases in terms of human suffering, so anything that gives some hope to avoid this is great,” said lead author Dr G Paul Amminger, formerly in Vienna and now at the Orygen Youth Health Research Center at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Side effects of antipsychotics, including sexual dysfunction and weight gain, are troubling to young people, Amminger said. Fish oil, recommended for heart health, is more acceptable to patients with warning symptoms. Scientists in the field greeted the findings with cautious excitement. “The results are very impressive and very striking and really represent a step forward potentially for patients and their families,” said Dr Neil Richtand, a schizophrenia researcher at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dr Janet Wozniak of Harvard Medical School said the findings, while preliminary, might reasonably cause psychiatrists to recommend fish oil to some patients because there are known benefits and little risk. Wozniak advised consumers to look for high quality nutritional supplements. Most fish oil capsules are free from contaminants and test highly for quality, said William Obermeyer of ConsumerLab.com, which tests supplements for manufacturers and publishes ratings for subscribers. The research was funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute, a nonprofit in Chevy Chase, Maryland, that supports research on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. — AP


WHATʼS ON IN KUWAIT

30

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

ESF students experience geography, enviornment

Announcements

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)

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

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 www.kenyaembkuwait.com & www.magicalkenya.com. Official timings are 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Sundays through Thursdays.

April 16 Friends of Kannur holds drama competition: Friends of Kannur Expatriates Association (FOKE) is arranging a drama competition for their forthcoming fifth anniversary celebration. Competition will be held on April 16th at Daiya Auditorium. Applications are invited from all art lovers in Kuwait to participate in this drama competition. Drama should be in Malayalam language and should be less than 40 minutes duration. All those who wish to participate in this competition are requested to submit their application along with a copy of their script before February 15th 2010. For further details you may contact 65071434, 99860832.

EMBASSY OF GREECE

ear 8 students from The English School Fahaheel, Kuwait recently headed on an educational field trip to the seaside to complement their Geography curriculum studies and enlighten them on environmental issues. ESF runs an extensive recycling campaign for many years now. Students were appalled by the damage being done to the environment by the litter thrown on the beach. ESF has a firm belief that these field trips stimulate the students’ minds and enrich their learning.

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Awami League Kuwait holds prayer session n 28th January 2010 in the Rajdhani hotel Kuwait City Bangladesh Awami league Kuwait Branch organized a prayer session on the implementation of long awaited historical verdict of Bangabandhu murder case. Bangahandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman the country’s national father who was killed on August 1975 along with all of his family members excepts Sheikh Hasnia & Sheikh Rehana by some highly ambitious derailed military officers leaded by Khondokar Mustaq Ahmed who seized the power and declared himself as president and imposed the so called indemnity bill completely undemocratically which indicates that in future no judiciary action will be taken by any authority. Later late president general Ziaur Rahman passed that bill in the parliament and adopted in the constitution in order to keep the event out of touch from the law enforcement agencies so that those who were engaged in that brutal killing mission will not have to face the court and be punished. Because of his connectivity and an unseen rule were developed behind the seen the general kept his mouth shut to deactivate the indemnity bill and establish himself as innocence. But the history and nature flows on its won way. In 1996 BAL won the general election and formed the government and started to take the necessary measures of Bangabandhu murder case within the countries regular law & order system. After a long years of court session on 19 January 2010 the hon-

Embassy information

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

orable high court appealed division announced the historic verdict of death sentence by hang to all those 12 convicted. At last on 27th of January 2010 five of them were hanged to death and Bengalees paid homage to their beloved father of nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The function was presided over by the acting president of the organization Fayez Kamal and conducted by the general Secretary devoted Awami Leader Habibur

Rahman Habib. Shamsul Haq the general secretary of Sheehashebok League recited the verses from the holy Quran followed by one minute silence in honor to great martyrs of 197 1 independence war. Chief advisor Moyezuddin Ahmed Muaz, advisors Emadul Haq Khan, Rabiul Alam Rabi. Abdul Khaleque Chawdhury, Senior vice President M. Jaforuziaman Rabi. Presidium member Momin Chawdhurv, Jalaluddin Khan Babul, Shafiqul Alam Shah,

Abdur Rashid Bulu were among the guest of honor. A vast gathering occurred by the leaders from Awami family such as Jubo League, Shechashebok League, Shainik League, Sramik League. Muktizuddha Shangahoti parishad, Awami foundation, Jatio Party. Jalalahad Shamitee. Shamol Sylhet, Comilla Shainitee and a number of dignitaries, business personnel, Journalists and well known social and veteran organizational personnel. Mawlana Shafiqur

Rahman offered the dua for prosperity of Bangladesh and every success of present government headed by Sheikh Hasnia followed by the conclusive address by the president. He urge to all Mujib Shena to keep unity in terms of make the hand of Hasina mighty so that she can fulfill the dream of Jatir Pita and people of Bangladesh can get taste of Sonar Bangla. Later TOBARAK (Sweet) was distributed to audience.

Martyr President Ziaur Rahman celebrated

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.

s a part of central committee program regarding the 74th birthday celebration of Bangladesh martyr President Ziaur Rahaman, Kuwati B.N.P. and it’s co-organizations are celebrating the auspicious day in befitting manner as well. B.N.P. Hasabiya, Kuwait branch has observed the 74th birthday of the declarer of independence of Bangladesh , and the founding Chairman of Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Dal (B.N.P.) celebration amid discussion meeting and prayer

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mahfil that was held at Mahinoor hotel in Hasabiya, Kuwait. Mustak Ahmed the convener of B.N.P. Hasabiya branch presided over the event. The program began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran that followed the special prayer for the eternal peace for the founding chairman of B.N.P. and Martyr President Ziaur Rahman as well as for the ongoing prosperity oft the people of Bangladesh. The program was presented by Mr. Saiful Islam member secretary

of B.N.P. Hasabiya branch. The chief speaker Kamrul Hasan Bablu executive member of B.N.P. and the President of Seschsasebak dal Kuwait chapter highlighted, in his important speech, the life sketch and achievements of Martyr President Ziaur Rahaman. Special guests respectively City B.N.P. President and vice President of Seschsasebak dal Abul Bashar, President of Hawalli province B.N.P. and general secretary of Seschsasebak dat

Abdul Kader Mullah, B.N.P. General Secretary Mr. Engineer M.A. Sayeed, General Secretary of Hawalli province B.N.P. Abdul Latif, President of Farwaniya Province B.N.P. Anwar Hosen Mridha, Senior vice president of City B.N.P. Kabir Hossain, Organizing Secretary of Farwaniya B.N.P. Moazzam Hosen master, Member of Hasabiya B.N.P. Mr.Shahjalal kanan, Anwar Hosen, Haji Nasir Uddin, Hannan Shah, Al Mamun and others addressed the audience.

Send to What’s On upcoming events, birthdays or celebrations by email: local@kuwaittimes.net Fax: 24835619 / 20


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

31

WHATʼS ON IN KUWAIT

FAIPS celebrates children’s book week

book is like a garden carried in the pocket,” but getting kids to crack open books is often no walk in the park! Fahaheel Al-Watanieh Indian Private School, found a simple solution to the quandary, by celebrating Children’s Book Week, to enable young children discover how much fun reading can be! The Children’s Book Week entailed a week

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long programme of activities from the 11th to the 14th of January 2010, for classes 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The teachers prepared for the celebration of “reading for pleasure” to encourage children to see reading as an exciting and fun filled activity that would not only improve their communication skills and vocabulary, but would also enhance their overall school per-

formance. Plenty of fun filled and exciting activities were planned, such as a “Book -It Quiz”, on some of the most popular children’s books of their age level, to encourage children to enhance their knowledge, a “Book Exchange Day”, to widen their view of the world around them and to make new friends. “Share

a Story Competition”, to narrate an interesting story of their choice, in order to improve their story comprehension skills as well as narrative skills and a “Character Costume Day”, to come dressed up as their favourite story book character, and immerse themselves in the thoughts and feelings of fictional characters.

The highlights of the Book Week were the lucky draw contest and some exciting prizes and certificates for the winners! The children got fully involved and enjoyed these activities with a lot of enthusiasm. The FAIPS Children’s Book Week certainly proved to be a great way for young children, to develop a lifelong love for the world of reading.

Farewell at Carmel School

a memento and a title from the Principal, Sr. he Changing Seasons was the theme of the Maria Lytta and Vice-Principal, Sr. Serena. Class XII Farewell at Carmel School, The much awaited event for the day, the crownKuwait. As the students of the outgoing ing of Master and batch were escorted Miss Carmel was into the auditorium, next, and after a gruthe band played a ‘Spring passes and one remembers innocence eling competition welcome march. conducted by Mrs. The program began Summer passes and one remembers radiance Marinha and Mrs. with a prayer drama Autumn passes and one remembers assurance Vidya, Rahul Gomes which brought out Winter passes and one remembers perseverance’ was declared Master the message that Carmel 2010 and true worship lies in Rekha Zachariah, carrying out one’s Miss Carmel 2010. Ashik Thomas and Judith duties to the best of his abilities. This was folBhasker emerged the Runners-up. lowed by a PowerPoint presentation where the On behalf of the staff, Koshy Abraham gave changing seasons were linked to one’s life and a touching message bidding adieu to the stuhow one has to find beauty in each season of dents. The XIth graders took them through a their lives. The Principal, Sr. Maria Lytta then nostalgic journey of their days spent at Carmel addressed the students, emphasizing Solomon’s by yet another PowerPoint presentation, which words, brought ‘a smile to their face and a tear in the “To everything there is a season, a time for eye’. Finally, representatives from Class XII every purpose under heaven” and fondly thanked the Management, the teachers and the wished them farewell, encouraging them to Class XI students for this memorable experiwork hard in life. Against a backdrop artisticalence at Carmel. They were then led to a lunch ly depicting the four seasons, a series of exubuffet. Carmel School wishes its outgoing stuberant dances and songs performed by students of Class XI followed, to the delight of the outgo- dents of Class 2009-’10, life’s very best in all its ing batch. Every student was invited to receive changing seasons.

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Egypt’s win celebrated EFA cafe & Restaurant recently celebrated the Egyptian National Soccer Team’s winning of the African Cup of Nations for the seventh time in history and the third time in a row. Cafe visitors were keen on watching the final match together where they enjoyed the favorite atmosphere they had enjoyed ever

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since the championship started. In celebration of the victory, The Cafe administration prepared a special ceremonial cake with the Egyptian flag on top while other Egyptian flags filled each and every corner of the cafe and restaurant. Commenting on the ceremony, one of the owners; Osama Al-

Zaid, stressed that the UEFA Cafe was so keen on interacting with its visitors and providing the best atmosphere for sport and soccer lovers. He also promised a surprise for customers who plan to watch the coming match between Kuwait and Oman in addition to continuing the presents and surprises presented to visitors follow-

ing the European league matches and various soccer activities. On his part, the strategic partner and owner of Soccer Co. for Sports Needs, Bader Dashti said that his company provided tickets for various matches and that the tickets would be available through the cafe.


INFORMATION

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Tuesday, February 3, 2010 FIRE BRIGADE Operation Room 777 Al-Madena 22418714 Al-Shohada始a 22545171 Al-Shuwaikh 24810598 Al-Nuzha 22545171 Sabhan 24742838 Al-Helaly 22434853 Al-Fayhaa 22545051 Al-Farwaniya 24711433 Al-Sulaibikhat 24316983 Al-Fahaheel 23927002 Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh 24316983 Ahmadi 23980088 Al-Mangaf 23711183 Al-Shuaiba 23262845 Al-Jahra 25610011 Al-Salmiya 25616368

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Zahra Qabazard Sohail Qamar Snaa Maaroof Pradip Gujare Zacharias Mathew

25710444 22621099 25713514 23713100 24334282

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

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

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

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

25655535 Dentists:

Dr Anil Thomas

3729596/3729581

Dr. Shamah Al-Matar

22641071/2

Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed

22562226

Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer

22561444

Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan

22619557

Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash

22525888

Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan

25653755

Dr. Bader Al-Ansari

25620111

Neurologists:

Internist, Chest & Heart: DR.Mohammes Akkad 24555050 Ext 210 Dr. Mohammad Zubaid MB, ChB, FRCPC, PACC Assistant Professor Of Medicine Head, Division of Cardiology Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital Tel: 25339667 Dr. Farida Al-Habib MD, PH.D, FACC Consultant Cardiologist Tel: 2611555-2622555 Inaya German Medical Center Te: 2575077 Fax: 25723123

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

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

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

25345875

Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman

22636464

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

22633135

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

25658888

Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr

25329924

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

33

ACCOMMODATION Spacious room with attached bath available for an executive bachelor/ spinster in Hawally close to Tunis street. Centrally located. Contact: 97563283/ 66705749. (C 20276) 3-2-2010 Sharing accommodation available near Amiri hospital Sharq, couple or working ladies or bachelor. Contact: 55941621. (C 20274) 2-2-2010 One self contained room, suitable for single person, preferably Goans. Rent KD 60. Contact: 25627593. 1-2-2010 One room to let in a three bedroom flat in Khaitan on the airport avenue. Suitable for a Westerner ,a young couple or a single male high flying executive. Call 97850290 Sharing accommodation available for decent Indian bachelor at Salmiya near Edee store, rent KD 60. Contact: 99838117, 25635450. (C 20264) Furnished single room accommodation available in a 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom flat for Muslim working lady in Farwaniya. Contact: 67056991. (C 20265) 31-1-2010 Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya. Only for Keralite couples and ladies bachelors. Contact: 97134824. (C 20258) Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya with Malayali family, for decent bachelor or couples. Contact: 66332875. (C 20262) Sharing accommodation available in a C-A/C flat near Jabriya Indian school for decent family or working ladies, Jabriya, area 10. Contact: 99606946. (C 20257) 30-1-2010 Separate room available in Hawally Tunis street, Near Al Ghanim in 2 bedroom/bathroom C-A/C new flat with separate bathroom & balcony with family. Contact: 99380453. (C 20252) Furnished single room accommodation available in a flat for executive Muslim bachelor in Abbassiya, near Hi Dine supermarket. Contact: 99702105. (C 20254)

FOR SALE 2005 model Mitsubishi Pajero, color white, interior color beige, 300cc, 100,008 km, very good condition. Price KD 2,850. Tel: 99526902. (C 20278) 3-2-2010 KIA Opris 2005 model, sunroof, censor alloy ring CD player inside beige, outside color blue, full option, 74,000 mileage. KD 2,800. Tel: 66013800. (C 20272 2-1-2010 Pentium 4, Intel, 40GB HDD, 256 MB RAM, CD ROM, 56K modem, sound card, speakers, 17� CRT monitor, ready for internet, KD 35. PIII, Intel, 20 GB HDD, 128 MB RAM with 15� monitor, KD 15. Contact: 66244192. (C 20269) Internet card - Fast Telco for sale, original price KD 55, required price KD 10. Contact: 66451465. (C 20270) 1-2-2010 Toyota Camry, 1997 in excellent condition, registered until Jan 2011. Price KD 1,200 for interested buyers only. Call: 67056666. 1992 model Cressida Gl, excellent condition, price KD 600. Tel: 99687598. Seat Toledo, model 2003,

MATRIMONIAL Groom wanted for RC girl, 23, 5.4, from Ernakulam, MBA (HR & MKT), working as Assistant HR Manager in a reputed MNC, seeking alliance from Roman Catholic family, professionally qualified persons. Chavara matrimonial ID: er15509. Contact: mail2bnj@gmail.com (C 20263) 1-2-2010

CHANGE OF NAME I, Manija Elizabeth Mathaikutty, holder of Indian Passport A-8183425, hereby change my name to Manija Elizabeth Vinod. (C 20277) I, Abbas Hajji Ali Shahab Shahida wife of Abbas Hajji Ali Shahab, born on 2nd September 1966, holding Indian Passport Number F8462504, shall henceforth be known as Shahida Abbas Hajji Ali Shahab Shahida. (C 20271) 1-2-2010

TRANSPORT Transport available 24 hours for hospitals, schools. We have bus coasters model 2004. For any more details please contact: 99589409. (C 20275) 2-2-2010

LOST Policy No. 630001571 Habib Ur Rehman Awan, Policy No. 630001523 Amanat Ali, Policy No. 633002284 Amar, have been lost. Anyone finding within one month report to State Life Kuwait. Phone: 22452208. (C 20273) 2-2-2010

SITUATION WANTED An experienced Engineering Manager with a vast experience in the Middle East in the fields of Fire Protection, Safety, Project management, sales and maintenance seeks suitable placement. Contact email: apslgbl@gmail.com (C 20266) An MBA post graduate in finance with an experience of three years in Kuwait with a transferable visa, seeking suitable placement in the field of financial accounts. Please contact: 23982669. (C 20267) 3-2-2010

Flight Schedule Arrival Flights on Wednesday 03/02/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 0263 Beirut Gulf Air 211 Bahrain Kuwait 544 Cairo Ethiopian 620 Addis Ababa Turkish A/L 1172 Istanbul D.H.L. 370 Bahrain Fmirates 853 Dubai Etihad 0305 Abu Dhabi Qatari 0138 Doha Air France 6782 Paris Jazeera 0503 Luxor Jazeera 0527 Alexandria Kuwait 416 Jakarta/Kuala Lumpur Jazeera 0529 Assiut Jazeera 0481 Sabiha British 0157 London Kuwait 412 Manila/Bangkok Falcon 201 Bahrain Kuwait 204 Lahore Jazeera 0161 Dubai Kuwait 302 Mumbai Kuwait 332 Trivandrum Kuwait 676 Dubai Emirates 855 Dubai Arabia 0121 Sharjah Qatari 0132 Doha Syrian Arab A/L 343 Damascus Etihad 0301 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 0691 Shiraz Bahrain Air 213 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 1121 Bahrain Iran Air 605 Isfahan Jazeera 0447 Doha Jazeera 0165 Dubai Jazeera 0425 Bahrain Jazeera 0113 Abu Dhabi Wataniya Airways 1021 Dubai Kuwait 382 Delhi Egypt Air 610 Cairo Lufthansa Cargo 8292 Frankfurt Kuwait 572 Dubai Syrian Arab A/L 341 Damascus Wataniya Airways 2301 Damascus Jazeera 0525 Alexandria Jazeera 0257 Beirut Almasria Universal 204 Assiut Wataniya Airways 2001 Cairo Saudi Arabian A/L 500 Jeddah Kuwait 562 Amman Kuwait 744 Dammam Jazeera 0457 Damascus Qatari 0134 Doha Kuwait 284 Dhaka Kuwait 1552 Damascus Kuwait 546 Alexandria Royal Jordanian 800 Amman Jazeera 0173 Dubai Mihin Lanka 403 Colombo/Dubai Emirates 857 Dubai Gulf Air 215 Bahrain Etihad 0303 Abu Dhabi Saudi Arabian A/L 510 Riyadh Jazeera 0493 Jeddah Jazeera 0239 Amman Arabia 0125 Sharjah Jazeera 0217 Isfahan Jazeera 0367 Deirezzor Thai 519 Bangkok Wataniya Airways 2101 Beirut Sri Lankan 227 Colombo/Dubai United A/L 982 Washington DC Dulles Wataniya Airways 2003 Cairo D.H.L. 473 Baghdad Wataniya Airways 1025 Dubai

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

Kuwait Kuwait Global Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Singapore A/L Kuwait Kuwait Oman Air Egypt Air Jazeera Wataniya Airways Jazeera Indian Gulf Air Middle East Qatari Emirates K.L.M. Kuwait Wataniya Airways Saudi Arabian A/L Kuwait Jazeera Jazeera Global Jazeera Jazeera India Express Lufthansa Wataniya Airways Wataniya Airways Pakistan

542 674 093 166 786 614 774 104 552 458 618 512 0647 618 0459 2103 0343 993 217 402 0136 859 0443 502 1129 6521 1554 0449 0429 091 0117 0185 389 636 2201 1029 205

Cairo Dubai Kandahar/Muscat Paris/Rome Jeddah Bahrain Riyadh London Damascus Singapore/Abu Dhabi Doha Tehran Muscat Alexandria Damascus Beirut Sanaa/Bahrain Chennai/Mumbai Bahrain Beirut Doha Dubai Amsterdam Beirut Bahrain Jeddah/Medinah Damascus Doha Bahrain Baghdad Abu Dhabi Dubai Kozhikode/Mangalore Frankfurt Amman Dubai Lahore/Peshawar

Departure Flights on Wednesday 03/02/2010 Airlines Flt Route Tunis Air 328 Dubai/Tunis Jazeera 0528 Assiut Pakistan 240 Sialkot United A/L 981 Washington DC Dulles Indian 576 Goa/Chennai Lufthansa 637 Frankfurt Ethiopian 620 Bahrain/Addis Ababa Kuwait 283 Dhaka D.H.L. 371 Bahrain Turkish A/L 1173 Istanbul Kuwait 381 Delhi Emirates 854 Dubai Etihad 0306 Abu Dhabi Qatari 0139 Doha Air France 6782 Dubai/Hong Kong Jazeera 0524 Alexandria Wataniya Airways 1020 Dubai Jazeera 0164 Dubai Wataniya Airways 2000 Cairo Jazeera 0112 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 0446 Doha Gulf Air 212 Bahrain Jazeera 0690 Shiraz Wataniya Airways 1120 Bahrain Jazeera 0422 Bahrain Global 094 Muscat/Kandahar Wataniya Airways 2300 Damascus Kuwait 545 Alexandria Jazeera 0256 Beirut British 0156 London Kuwait 671 Dubai Kuwait 561 Amman Jazeera 0456 Damascus Kuwait 101 London/New York Arabia 0122 Sharjah Emirates 856 Dubai

18:50 18:55 19:00 19:00 19:10 19:20 19:30 19:35 19:40 19:45 20:00 20:05 20:20 20:35 20:40 20:55 20:55 21:00 21:05 21:20 21:35 21:40 21:55 22:00 22:00 22:05 22:05 22:10 22:15 22:20 22:25 22:40 23:15 23:30 23:40 23:45 23:55 Time 00:01 00:05 00:35 00:40 00:50 01:20 02:30 02:55 03:15 03:15 03:30 03:50 04:10 05:00 06:10 07:00 07:00 07:00 07:30 07:35 07:40 07:45 07:50 07:50 07:55 08:00 08:10 08:30 08:35 08:55 09:00 09:15 09:25 09:35 09:35 09:40

FOR AIRPORT INFORMATION 161

Qatari Kuwait Syrian Arab All Etihad Wataniya Airways Gulf Air Kuwait Iran Air Jazeera Kuwait Jazeera Kuwait Wataniya Airways Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Kuwait Egypt Air Kuwait Wataniya Airways Kuwait Syrian Arab A/L Jazeera Lufthansa Cargo Wataniya Airways Almasria Universal Jazeera Kuwait Saudi Arabian A/L Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Royal Jordanian Qatari Kuwait Kuwait Mihin Lanka Gulf Air Etihad Emirates Arabia Jazeera Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Wataniya Airways Jazeera Global Jazeera Jazeera Thai Sri Lankan Wataniya Airways Wataniya Airways Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Oman Air Egypt Air Singapore A/L Gulf Air D.H.L. Kuwait Kuwait Middle East Jazeera Falcon Qatari Kuwait Emirates K.L.M. Jazeera Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Jazeera Kuwait

0133 1551 344 0302 2002 214 165 604 0342 743 0172 541 2100 0492 0366 0238 785 611 551 1024 673 342 0216 8292 2102 205 0458 511 501 773 501 613 801 0135 617 1553 404 216 0304 858 0126 0262 511 0184 2200 0116 092 044$ 0428 520 228 1128 1028 361 343 351 0648 619 457 218 171 801 675 403 0188 102 0137 301 860 0443 0480 3503 0526 0502 411

Doha Damascus Damascus Abu Dhabi Cairo Bahrain Rome/Paris Isfahan Bahrain/Sanaa Dammam Dubai Cairo Beirut Jeddah Deirezzor Amman Jeddah Cairo Damascus Dubai Dubai Damascus Isfahan Sharjah Beirut Alexandria Damascus Tehran Jeddah Riyadh Beirut Bahrain Amman Doha Doha Damascus Dubai/Colombo Bahrain Abu Dhabi Dubai Sharjah Beirut Riyadh Dubai Amman Abu Dhabi Baghdad Doha Bahrain Bangkok Dubai/Colombo Bahrain Dubai Colombo Chennai Cochin Muscat Alexandria Abu Dhabi/Singapore Bahrain Bahrain Cairo Dubai Beirut Dubai Bahrain Doha Mumbai Dubai Bahrain/Amsterdam Sabiha Jeddah Alexandria Luxor Bangkok/Manila

10:00 10:00 10:05 10:20 11:30 11:40 11:45 11:50 11:50 11:55 12:00 12:00 12:05 12:15 12:20 12:25 13:40 13:55 14:20 14:25 14:30 14:30 14:35 14:50 15:10 15:15 15:30 15:35 15:45 16:10 16:10 16:20 16:25 16:30 16:35 16:40 17:40 17:55 18:00 18:10 18:20 18:25 18:30 18:35 18:40 18:40 18:50 18:50 19:00 19:05 19:15 19:15 19:30 20:20 20:50 20:55 21:20 21:35 21:45 21:55 22:00 22:00 22:10 22:20 22:30 22:30 22:35 22:45 22:50 22:55 23:00 23:20 23:25 23:50 23:55


SPECTRUM

34 CROSSWORD 889

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Calvin Aries (March 21-April 19) Your enthusiasm is high

and your creative mind is strong—ready to be applied to the work of the day. This is a good day for making decisions, carrying out plans and communicating to others just where you stand. Others have good ideas too. If you stick to the main subjects and do not become distracted by trivialities, you should do quite well with anything that involves selling or trading. You are realistic about your abilities and expectations for success—others learn from your actions. The practical use of your time will most certainly pay off in big ways— bringing good times. You effectively communicate with both friends and colleagues this evening—perhaps a dinner or some social gathering is in the plans for this evening. Taurus (April 20-May 20) It seems that on some days

everyone you know can be difficult. Stick to routine tasks. Better yet, do those things that will require deep concentration. You take a serious attitude to just about all aspects of your life. You might as well be involved in matters that require your close attention. Goal setting is important and can create a good focus into where you want your future to move. This is an excellent time to get many things accomplished. You could be prone to confusion by another person later today—careful! On the positive side, it is a good day to just reflect. Do not put off tomorrow what you can do today, for then you can truly relax when it comes time to being with friends. Both work and relaxation are good places for you today.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. Of southern Europe. 4. A federally chartered savings bank. 7. Altered from an originally straight condition. 11. Large brownish-green New Zealand parrot. 12. (informal) Of the highest quality. 13. The capital of Western Samoa. 14. American prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship three times (born in 1942). 15. A slight amount or degree of difference. 16. Noisy talk. 17. Capital and largest city of Iraq. 20. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 21. Of or relating to or involving an area. 24. A short sleeveless outer tunic emblazoned with a coat of arms. 28. Counting the number of white and red blood cells and the number of platelets in 1 cubic millimeter of blood. 30. Of or relating to the stomach and intestines. 31. A French abbot. 32. A hemoprotein composed of globin and heme that gives red blood cells their characteristic color. 34. A federal agency established to regulate the release of new foods and health-related products. 35. The cardinal number that is the sum of four and one. 38. A Tibetan or Mongolian priest of Lamaism. 42. Australian shrubs and small trees with evergreen usually spiny leaves and dense clusters of showy flowers. 45. A tight-fitting headdress. 46. A strong emotion. 47. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 49. A master's degree in fine arts. 50. The 26th letter of the Roman alphabet. 51. In bed. 52. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Your confidence is high. Others are encouraged and will follow your lead. Your eagerness is strong—perfect for getting some exercise or chopping that cord of wood. Just make sure that any new projects are short-term. Practical concerns take precedence over relationships just now. This is a time of much enthusiasm, perfect for starting something or taking care of business—very physical too. You may have an urge to push for changes in the work place—perhaps new equipment or some new advertisement ideas. You enjoy exercising with a friend this afternoon. You also may enjoy some form of art project or art show. Animals need attention this evening. You may find yourself taking care of someone else’s animal for a while.

Non Sequitur

Cancer (June 21-July 22) You should enjoy great success and attention through your profession today. Being in the spotlight is common to you now. This is a good time to see where your talents can best be utilized. You are very seldom fooled and may find yourself useful in many detective or problem-solving scenarios, especially when it comes to finding the truth in a matter. Spending time with a close friend or relative and confiding in them could prove beneficial later today. Everything around home looks good to you this afternoon; conquering the world can be left for another time. In your present mood, entertaining friends in your home would be especially enjoyable. If you are unattached, one of the quests could possibly become very important in your life. Leo (July 23-August 22) This is a time when many projects are realized; particularly large and profitable projects that come to your attention. Business dealings may be most fruitful now and if you are in business for yourself . . . you will have people talking over all the new things you are doing. This is a good time to evaluate your standing at work or in your profession. Independence seems more attractive than discipline just now and whenever you can work alone for the rest of this week, you should do so—achievement will be fast. It is a time for original thinking. Perhaps some real wheeling and dealing! You have an easygoing manner to friends and family. Relations with members of the opposite sex are strengthened as well. Enjoy and appreciate your ties to others.

Zits

Virgo (August 23-September 22) This should be one of those desirable days when you feel good and so does everyone else. You feel nothing but warmth, generosity and affection toward everybody around you and they in turn, reflect it back to you. Your benevolence extends to strangers as well; everyone you attract will be in a good mood. You have an increased passion for work or play at this time. Mental stimulation from others is important now. Whatever you are working on today should have positive results. Take care not to expect praise right away. Your sensitivity to others is strong. The desire for intimacy and love with a partner is great. The expression of affection is most satisfying to you. This evening is an excellent time for social activities. Be sure to bring your camera.

DOWN 1. Jordan's port. 2. Big-eyed scad. 3. United States baseball player. 4. Bringing death. 5. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 6. A piece of furniture that provides a place to sleep. 7. Common Indian weaverbird. 8. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 9. Pleasant or pleasing or agreeable in nature or appearance. 10. The basic unit of money in Bangladesh. 18. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 19. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 22. A highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series). 23. A sharp hand gesture (resembling a blow). 25. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 26. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali metal group. 27. A Mid-Atlantic state. 29. Stopped up. 33. Any of numerous hairy-bodied insects including social and solitary species. 36. Swift timid long-eared mammal larger than a rabbit having a divided upper lip and long hind legs. 37. A small cake leavened with yeast. 38. Someone who is morally reprehensible. 39. The highest level or degree attainable. 40. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 41. South American armadillo with three bands of bony plates. 43. Goddess of criminal rashness and its punishment. 44. Someone who is morally reprehensible. 48. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Today you may think you are positively inspired! Thoughts and ideas may be running through your head a mile a minute. A notebook or tape recorder could come in handy. Leave any serious planning or heavy concentration for another time, or tomorrow you may have to go back and recheck what you have done today. You will find yourself agreeable for changes in the work place or at home. Personal matters and relationships may give you reason to create some time away from your work a short while. Perhaps the noon meal with a family member or friends would be helpful. This afternoon your inspiration just keeps ticking! You relate well to others and you are able to gain a great deal of progress in some sort of group meeting this evening.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Some fancy footwork

happens this morning as you meet the demands of a tight schedule. This is a productive time to be with others and to work together. You may be in high demand for a particular job. Your management and directional abilities are in high focus. It is easy to find a successful end to some project. You may find a promotion is in progress. In your personal dealings with financial matters, always check your sources and know the presenter’s history. Create a plan in your mind first. A cultural group that you belong to may call for you to have a bit of patience. Some years are better than others and this year may take more planning and preparing time to develop your ideas. Love relationships are excellent at this time. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) There are opportunities for financial growth now. You should find positive results from your moneymaking efforts. There could be opportunities to invest with others in the movie industry or in some new fuel company. This work place is a busy place and you enjoy every moment. You are sharp and on your toes and quick to see where your knowledge is needed. You will want to be patient with an irritated co-worker today. This afternoon is good for enjoying friends or loved ones. You can demonstrate great understanding and sensitivity to the needs of others and you are in a good position to communicate instructions or guidance. Perhaps you will be passing information along on how to buy a house, or a car or some other important purchase.

Yesterday’s Solution

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Your

yester

Yesterday’s Solution

to

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

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

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

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

Word Sleuth Solution

sensitivity is heightened—you may uncover some truth to a co-worker’s tendency to be a bit rude with customers. This person is extremely smart and you may be able to help create a softer more publicly acceptable employee. You know just what to say and the right steps to take with this issue. Your mental faculties are enlivened, making you easily receptive to most thoughts that invade your mind. It is best to rely on facts rather than feelings just now, particularly when an expensive mistake might be the outcome. You are very serene this afternoon and there may be a tendency to daydream and indulge in escapism, especially in art or cinema. If channeled properly, this daydreaming can be constructive. You might enjoy a class in creative writing. Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This is not a good time to make any concrete decisions about a relationship or business deal. However, your creativity is exalted at this time and may bring personal or career gains. There may be a collision of powerful energies in your life. You may express yourself in unpredictable ways. The decisions and actions of today will have long lasting effects. You face tremendous responsibilities in relationships with loved ones and are apt to have difficulty expressing wants and desires openly to companions. You should try to loosen up and enjoy your companions. There is an opportunity to join a group and have fun with people that have similar likes as you. This could mean music, stamp collecting, reading or any other sort of group. Pisces (February 19-March 20) You should experience all the benefits of this most powerful planet. Your enthusiasm is high and your creative mind is original and ready to apply to the work at hand. If you give your best effort now, considerable success will follow; you may unconsciously help a close friend through your efforts. Your communicative abilities are good. This is an excellent time to sway others to your thinking—perhaps through speeches or clever arguments. Do not turn down party invitations today. If none arrive, send out a few invites for your own party—it could be a blast! Charisma rides high! Loved ones rouse amorous feelings. Watch the budget—your expansiveness could be disastrous if you are shopping. Companionship with others is most rewarding.


TV PROGRAMS

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

35

Orbit listings / Show listings AMERICA PLUS 00:00 Doctor Who 01:00 Life on Mars 02:00 Knight Rider 03:00 Dawsons Creek 04:00 Life on Mars 05:00 Inside the actors Studio 06:00 Heroes 07:00 Doctor Who 08:00 Inside the Actors Studio 09:00 Flash Forward 10:00 Knight Rider 11:00 Dawsons Creek 12:00 Heroes 13:00 Inside the actors Studio 14:00 Knight Rider 15:00 Life on Mars 16:00 Inside the Actors Studio 17:00 Flash Forward 18:00 Doctor Who 19:00 Heroes 20:00 Lie to Me 21:00 Law & Order 22:00 One Tree Hill 23:00 Rescue Me ANIMAL PLANET 00:50 Animal Cops Phoenix 01:45 Surviving Sharks 02:40 Untamed & Uncut 03:35 K9 Cops 04:30 Animal Cops Houston 05:25 Animal Cops Phoenix 06:20 Lemur Street 06:45 Monkey Business 07:10 Aussie Animal Rescue 07:35 Dolphin Days 08:00 Wildlife SOS 08:25 Pet Rescue 08:50 Animal Precinct 09:45 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 10:40 Aussie Animal Rescue 11:05 Animal Cops Phoenix 11:55 The Jeff Corwin Experience 12:50 Wildlife SOS 13:15 Pet Rescue 13:45 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 14:40 Surviving Sharks 15:35 Lemur Street 16:00 Monkey Business 16:30 Pet Rescue 16:55 Dolphin Days 17:25 Wildlife SOS 17:50 Aussie Animal Rescue 18:20 Animal Cops Miami 19:15 Planet Earth 20:10 Shark Shrinks 21:10 Animal Cops Phoenix 22:05 Untamed & Uncut 23:00 Planet Earth 23:55 Animal Cops Miami BBC ENTERTAINMENT 01:25 Coast 02:25 Ancient Rome 03:15 The Whistleblowers 04:05 Judge John Deed 05:35 Coast 06:35 Bargain Hunt 07:20 Balamory 07:40 Tweenies 08:00 Fimbles 08:20 Teletubbies 08:45 Yoho Ahoy 08:50 Tommy Zoom 09:00 Balamory 09:20 Tweenies 09:40 Fimbles 10:00 Teletubbies 10:25 Yoho Ahoy 10:30 Bargain Hunt 11:15 Coast 12:15 Ancient Rome 13:15 The Weakest Link 14:00 Eastenders 14:30 Doctors 15:00 Bargain Hunt 15:45 Cash In The Attic 16:15 2 Point 4 Children 16:45 Blackadder the Third 17:15 The Weakest Link 18:00 Doctors 18:30 Eastenders 19:00 The Whistleblowers 20:00 Antiques Roadshow 21:00 The Weakest Link 21:45 Doctors 22:15 Eastenders 22:45 Goldplated 23:45 Casualty BBC LIFESTYLE 00:05 The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook 00:30 Masterchef Goes Large 01:20 Cash In The Attic Usa 01:45 Hidden Potential 02:10 Living In The Sun 03:00 New British Kitchen 04:00 Boys’ Weekend 04:30 The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook 05:00 Masterchef Goes Large 05:20 Cash In The Attic Usa 05:45 Hidden Potential 06:10 Living In The Sun 07:00 10 Years Younger 08:10 Antiques Roadshow 09:00 Cash In The Attic Usa 09:25 Hidden Potential 09:45 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 11:30 Living In The Sun 12:20 Antiques Roadshow 13:10 10 Years Younger 14:00 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 15:40 Daily Cooks Challenge 16:30 Cash In The Attic Usa 16:50 Hidden Potential 17:10 Antiques Roadshow 18:00 10 Years Younger 18:50 Living In The Sun 19:40 Daily Cooks Challenge 20:40 Masterchef Goes Large 21:05 Come Dine With Me 22:00 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 22:50 The Clothes Show 23:40 Boys’ Weekend BBC WORLD 00:00 Bbc World News - U 00:30 Hardtalk - U 01:00 Business Edition With Tanya Beckett - U 01:45 Sport Today - U 02:00 Bbc World News - U 02:30 Asia Business Report - U 02:45 Asia Today - U 03:00 Bbc World News America - U

04:00 Bbc World News - U 04:30 Asia Business Report - U 04:45 Asia Today - 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 08:45 Bbc World News - U 09:00 Bbc World News - U 09:30 World Business Report - U 09:45 Bbc World News - U 10:00 Bbc World News - U 10:30 World Business Report - U 10:45 Sport Today - U 11:00 Bbc World News - U 11:30 World Business Report - U 11:45 Sport Today - U 12:00 Bbc World News - U 12:30 Hardtalk - U 13:00 Bbc World News - U 14:30 World Business Report - U 14:45 Sport Today - U 15:00 Gmt With George Alagiah - U 16:00 Impact Asia With Mishal Husain - U 17:30 World Business Report - U 17:45 Sport Today - U 18:00 Bbc World News - U 18:30 Hardtalk - U 19:00 The Hub With Nik Gowing - U 20:30 World Business Report - U 20:45 Sport Today - U 21:00 Bbc World News - U 21:30 World Business Report - U 21:45 Sport Today - U 22:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi - U 23:30 World Business Report - U 23:45 Sport Today - U BLOOMBERG 00:00 Street Smart with Massar and Matt Miller

Carol

10:35 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:25 12:50 13:15 13:40 14:05 14:30 14:55 15:20 15:45 16:10 16:35 17:00 17:20 17:45 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:30 20:00 20:20 20:45 21:10 21:35 22:00 22:25 22:50 23:15 23:40

Johnny Bravo Dastardly And Muttley The Flintstones The Jetsons Looney Tunes King Arthur’s Disasters Top Cat Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo Help! It’s the Hair Bear Bunch Mike, Lu & Og Time Squad Sheep In The Big City The Scooby Doo Show Hong Kong Phooey Popeye Classics Tom & Jerry Top Cat Wacky Races Dastardly And Muttley The Scooby Doo Show Johnny Bravo Dexter’s Laboratory Popeye The Perils of Penelope Pitstop King Arthur’s Disasters The Jetsons The Flintstones Looney Tunes Tom & Jerry The Scooby Doo Show Hong Kong Phooey Tex Avery

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

CINEMA CITY 01:30 Sunset Park - PG 03:15 Losing Isaiah - PG 05:00 Ripley’s Game - PG 15 07:00 There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble - PG 15 09:00 Quand J’etais Chanteur - PG 15 11:00 Bopha! - PG 15 13:00 Cocoon - PG 15 15:00 Hard Ball - PG 15 17:00 Night Falls On Manhattan - 18 19:00 De-Lovely - PG 15 21:00 Unfaithful - 18 23:15 A Thousand Acres - PG 15 CNN INTERNATIONAL 00:00 Connect the World 01:00 BackStory 01:30 World Sport 02:00 The Situation Room 03:00 World Report 04:00 World Business Today 04:30 World Sport 05:00 World Report 06:00 Anderson Cooper 360 07:00 World Report 07:30 Inside Africa 08:00 World Report 08:30 BackStory 09:00 World Report 10:30 World Sport 11:00 World Report 11:30 World Business Today 12:00 World Report 12:30 Inside the Middle East 13:00 Larry King 14:00 World Report 14:30 World Sport 15:00 World Report 16:00 Amanpour 16:30 Talk Asia 17:00 World Business Today 18:00 International Desk 19:00 The Brief 19:30 World Sport 20:00 Prism 20:30 Inside the Middle East 21:00 International Desk 22:00 Quest Means Business 23:00 Amanpour 23:30 World One DISCOVERY HD 00:40 Ultimate Survival 01:30 Mythbusters 02:20 Mega World 03:10 Futurecar 04:00 American Chopper 04:55 How Stuff’s Made 05:25 Risk Takers 06:15 Into The Unknown With Josh Bernstein 07:10 Smash Lab 08:00 Sunrise Earth International 08:50 Fantastic Festivals Of The World 09:40 Mythbusters 10:30 How It’s Made 10:55 How Stuff’s Made 11:20 Deadliest Catch 12:10 GT Racer 13:00 Globeriders 13:50 Risk Takers 14:40 Mythbusters 15:30 How It’s Made 15:55 How Stuff’s Made 16:20 Smash Lab 17:10 Fantastic Festivals Of The World 18:00 GT Racer 18:50 Street Customs 19:40 American Chopper 20:30 Globeriders 21:20 Alaska’s Great Race 22:10 Deadliest Catch 23:00 GT Racer 23:50 Street Customs

The Flying Scotsman on Show Movies 01:00 Charlie Rose 02:00 Morning Call 04:00 The Trade 05:00 The Trade 06:00 The Bloomberg Edge 07:00 Asia Confidential with Bernie Lo 09:00 Start-Up 10:30 Countdown 12:00 Briefing 13:00 FirstUp with Scarlet Fu 14:00 Inside Track with Deidre Bolton and Erik Schatzker 15:00 Inside Track with Deidre Bolton and Erik Schatzker 16:00 In the Loop with Betty Liu 18:00 InBusiness with Margaret Brennan 19:00 InBusiness with Margaret Brennan and Francine Lacqua 20:00 Bloomberg News 21:00 Bloomberg News 22:00 Charlie Rose 23:00 Street Smart with Carol Massar and Matt Miller BOOMERANG 00:00 Top Cat 00:25 Wacky Races 00:50 Dexter’s Laboratory 01:15 Johnny Bravo 01:40 Dastardly And Muttley 02:05 King Arthur’s Disasters 02:30 Popeye 02:55 Scooby Doo Where Are You! 03:20 Help! It’s the Hair Bear Bunch 03:45 Mike, Lu & Og 04:10 Time Squad 04:35 Sheep In The Big City 05:00 The Perils of Penelope Pitstop 05:25 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo 05:50 Johnny Bravo 06:15 Dexter’s Laboratory 06:40 Popeye 07:05 The Jetsons 07:30 The Flintstones 08:00 Looney Tunes 08:25 Tom & Jerry 08:55 Popeye Classics 09:20 The Perils of Penelope Pitstop 09:45 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo 10:10 Dexter’s Laboratory

05:55 Best Ed 06:20 Samurai Jack 06:45 Cramp Twins 07:10 Eliot Kid 07:35 The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack 08:00 My Spy Family 08:25 Chowder 08:50 Best Ed 09:15 Chop Socky Chooks 09:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 10:05 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 10:30 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 10:55 Eliot Kid 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 Total Drama Action 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

DISCOVERY CHANNEL 00:00 Untamed & Uncut 01:00 Miami Ink 02:00 Street Customs 2008 02:55 American Chopper 03:50 Chop Shop 04:45 Mythbusters 05:40 How Stuff Works 06:05 Ultimate Survival 07:00 Extreme Engineering 07:55 Chop Shop 08:50 Street Customs 2008 09:45 How Do They Do It? 10:10 Mythbusters 11:05 Ultimate Survival 12:00 Destroyed in Seconds 12:30 Destroyed in Seconds 12:55 How Do They Do It? 13:25 How Stuff Works 13:50 Fifth Gear 14:15 American Chopper 15:10 Miami Ink 16:05 Mythbusters 17:00 Ultimate Survival 18:00 Destroyed in Seconds 19:00 Street Customs Berlin 20:00 How Do They Do It? 20:30 How Stuff Works 21:00 Smash Lab 22:00 Time Warp 23:00 Mythbusters DISCOVERY ID 00:40 Dr G: Medical Examiner 01:30 Fbi Files 02:20 A Haunting 03:10 Deadly Women 04:05 Undercover 05:00 Forensic Detectives 05:55 Real Emergency Calls 06:20 Dr G: Medical Examiner 07:10 Ghosthunters 07:35 Ghosthunters 08:00 Forensic Detectives 08:50 Fbi Files 09:40 Fugitive Strike Force 10:30 The Prosecutors 11:20 Forensic Detectives 12:10 Fbi Files 13:00 Solved 13:50 Real Emergency Calls 14:40 Royal Inquest 15:30 Forensic Detectives 16:20 Fbi Files 17:10 Fugitive Strike Force 18:00 The Prosecutors 18:50 Forensic Detectives 19:40 Fbi Files 20:30 Solved 21:20 Real Emergency Calls 22:10 Royal Inquest 23:00 Murder Shift

23:50 Serial Killers

20:00 Alice Upside Down - PG 22:00 Scooby-Doo Meets The Boo Brothers - FAM

DISCOVERY SCIENCE 00:40 Mega World 01:30 Download: The True Story of the Internet 02:20 Eco-Tech 03:10 Discovery Project Earth 04:00 Beyond Tomorrow 04:50 Ten Ways 05:45 How Stuff’s Made 06:10 Green Wheels 06:40 One Step Beyond 07:10 Download: The True Story of the Internet 08:00 Scrappy Races 09:00 Ten Ways 10:00 Sci-Trek 10:55 How Stuff’s Made 11:20 Stunt Junkies 11:50 Download: The True Story of the Internet 12:45 Green Wheels 13:10 One Step Beyond 13:40 Ten Ways 14:35 Sci-Trek 15:30 Engineered 16:25 How Stuff’s Made 16:55 Scrappy Races 17:50 Brainiac 18:45 Mega World 19:40 How It’s Made 20:30 Fantastic Food Factories 21:20 How It’s Made 22:10 Mythbusters 23:00 How It’s Made 23:50 Fantastic Food Factories DISNEY CHANNEL 00:00 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 00:20 Handy Manny 00:45 Special Agent Oso 01:10 IMAGINATION MOVERS 01:35 Lazytown 02:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 02:25 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 02:45 Handy Manny 03:10 Special Agent Oso 03:35 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 04:00 Fairly Odd Parents 04:25 Hannah Montana 04:45 I Got A Rocket 05:10 Wizards Of Waverly Place 05:35 Phineas & Ferb 06:00 Higglytown Heroes 06:10 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 06:35 Handy Manny 07:00 Special Agent Oso 07:20 IMAGINATION MOVERS 07:45 Lazytown 08:10 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 08:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:00 Handy Manny 09:25 Special Agent Oso 09:45 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 10:10 Fairly Odd Parents 10:35 Hannah Montana 11:00 I Got A Rocket 11:25 Wizards Of Waverly Place 11:45 Phineas & Ferb 12:10 Suite Life On Deck 12:35 Replacements 12:55 American Dragon 13:20 Kim Possible 13:40 Famous Five 14:05 Fairly Odd Parents 14:30 Phineas & Ferb 14:55 Replacements 15:15 I Got A Rocket 15:40 Wizards Of Waverly Place 16:00 Hannah Montana 16:25 Sonny With A Chance 16:45 Fairly Odd Parents 17:10 Phineas & Ferb 17:35 Suite Life On Deck 18:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 18:25 Hannah Montana 18:45 The Replacements 19:00 Jonas 19:25 Suite Life On Deck 19:50 Sonny With A Chance 20:15 Hannah Montana 20:40 Wizards Of Waverly Place 21:05 The Suite Life of Zack & Cody 21:50 The Replacements 22:00 American Dragon 22:25 Kim Possible 22:50 Famous Five 23:15 Fairly Odd Parents 23:35 Phineas & Ferb E! ENTERTAINMENT 00:15 Streets Of Hollywood 00:40 E!es 01:30 Extreme Hollywood 02:20 Sexiest 03:15 25 Most Memorable Swimsuit Moments 05:05 Dr 90210 06:00 THS 07:45 Style Star 08:35 E! News 09:00 The Daily 10 09:25 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 10:15 THS 12:00 E! News 12:25 The Daily 10 12:50 Fashion Police 13:40 Cheating Death 15:25 Behind The Scenes 16:15 E!es 17:10 Fashion Police 18:00 E! News 18:25 The Daily 10 18:50 Streets Of Hollywood 19:15 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 19:40 E!es 20:30 E!es 21:20 Perfect Catch 22:10 E! News 22:35 The Daily 10 23:00 Dr 90210 23:50 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties MGM 01:30 Foxes 03:15 Crooked Hearts 05:05 Bar Girls 06:40 Hot Under The Collar 08:05 Nobody’s Perfect 09:35 Napoleon 10:55 Just Between Friends 12:45 Little Dorrit Part 1 15:35 Little Dorrit Part 2 18:35 The Happy Hooker 20:10 The Field 22:00 Topkapi

SHOW SPORTS 1 01:00 Premier League 03:00 Brazilian League Highlights 03:30 Barclays Premier League Review 05:00 Premier League 07:00 Portugol 07:30 Brazilian League Highlights 08:00 Premier League 10:00 Portuguese Liga 12:00 Goals Goals Goals 12:30 Portugol 13:00 Futbrasil 13:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 14:00 Premier League 16:00 Futbol Mundial 16:30 Goals Goals Goals 17:00 Premier League 21:00 Goals Goals Goals 21:30 Barclays Premier League Review 23:00 Premier League Classics SHOW SPORTS 2 01:00 Futbol Mundial 01:30 Super League 03:30 Goals on Monday 05:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 05:30 Premier League Classics 06:00 World Sport 06:30 Futbol Mundial 07:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 07:30 Portuguese Liga 09:30 Goals on Monday 11:00 Weber Cup Bowling 12:00 Super League 14:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 15:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 16:00 World of Golf 16:30 Futbol Mundial 17:00 Weber Cup Bowling 18:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 19:00 World Hockey 19:30 European Tour Weekly 20:00 Pairs World of Golf 20:30 Premier League Classics 21:30 Premier League World 22:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 23:00 Super League

Charlie Wilson’s War on Super Movies NAT GEO WILD HD 00:00 Hippos: Africa’s River Beast 01:00 Hunter Hunted 02:00 Guardians Of Nature 03:00 Insect Wars 04:00 Hunter Hunted 05:00 Guardians Of Nature 06:00 Hippos: Africa’s River Beast 07:00 Hunter Hunted 08:00 Guardians Of Nature 09:00 Insect Wars 10:00 Hunter Hunted 11:00 Guardians Of Nature 12:00 Animal Extractors 13:00 Guardians Of Nature 14:00 Cheetah Blood Brothers 15:00 Dangerous Encounters 16:00 Killer Dragons 17:00 World’s Deadliest Animals 18:00 Cheetah Blood Brothers 19:00 Dangerous Encounters 20:00 Killer Dragons 21:00 World’s Deadliest Animals 22:00 Animal Extractors 23:00 Guardians Of Nature ORBIT NEWS 1 00:00 ABC Now Bell/ Good Money LIVE 00:30 ABC NOW N&W / Now you Know / ESPN 01:00 ABC NOW Top Line / Inside the Newsroom 01:30 ABC NOW Daily Download & Now You Know 02:00 ABC Nightline 02:30 ABC World News Live 03:00 NBC Nightly News Live 03:30 ABC World News (Tue) 04:00 NBC Today Show 07:00 NBC Nightly News (Tue) 07:30 ABC Nightline Live 08:00 ABC World News (Tue) 08:30 NBC Nightly News (Tue) 09:00 Newshour with Jim Lehrer 10:00 ABC Nightline 10:30 NBC Nightly News (Tue) 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 PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer 23:00 MSNBC Countdown w/K. Olbermann ORBIT NEWS 2 00:00 MSNBC Live The Dylan Ratigan Show 01:00 MSNBC Live Hardball 02:00 MSNBC News Live The Ed Show 03:00 MSNBC (As Live) Hardball 04:00 MSNBC Live Countdown w/K. Olbermann 05:00 MSNBC Live The Rachel Maddow Show 06:00 MSNBC (as live) Countdown w/K. Olbermann 07:00 MSNBC (As Live) The Rachel Maddow Show 08:00 MSNBC (As Live) Hardball 09:00 MSNBC (as live) Countdown w/K. Olbermann 10:00 MSNBC (As Live) The Rachel Maddow Show 11:00 MSNBC (As Live) The Ed Show 12:00 MSNBC (as live) Countdown w/K. Olbermann 13:00 MSNBC First Look (Live) 13:30 MSNBC Way Too Early w/W. Geist (Live) 14:00 MSNBC (taped) Hardball 15:00 MSNBC (taped) The Ed Show 16:00 MSNBC (taped) Countdown w/K. Olbermann 17:00 MSNBC Live The Daily Rundown 18:00 MSNBC Live 19:00 MSNBC Live 20:00 MSNBC (taped) Hardball 21:00 MSNBC (taped) Countdown w/K. Olbermann 22:00 MSNBC (taped) The Rachel

Maddow Show 23:00 MSNBC Live PLAYHOUSE DISNEY 08:00 Special Agent Oso 08:25 Handy Manny 08:50 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:15 Imagination Movers 09:40 Chuggington 09:55 Chuggington 10:10 Handy Manny 10:30 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 10:50 Special Agent Oso 11:15 Imagination Movers 11:40 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 12:05 Chuggington 12:15 Special Agent Oso 12:55 Handy Manny 13:05 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 13:30 Little Einsteins 13:50 Handy Manny 14:10 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 14:30 Little Einsteins 14:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 15:20 Jo Jo’s Circus 15:45 Jo Jo’s Circus 16:10 Higglytown Heroes 16:35 Higglytown Heroes 17:00 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 17:25 Chuggington 17:35 Handy Manny 18:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 18:25 Special Agent Oso 18:50 Chuggington 19:00 Chuggington 19:10 Imagination Movers 19:35 Handy Manny 20:00 Special Agent Oso 20:15 Little Einsteins 20:40 Handy Manny 20:50 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 21:00 End Of Programming

SHOW SPORTS 3 00:30 Goals Goals Goals 01:00 Portugol 01:30 Weber Cup Bowling 02:30 PGA European Tour 07:00 Snooker Welsh Open 10:00 Futbol Mundial 10:30 World Sport 11:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 12:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 13:00 Portuguese Liga 15:00 Futbol Mundial 15:30 Super League 17:30 Futbol Mundial 18:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 19:00 World of Golf 19:30 Snooker Welsh Open 22:30 Premier League World 23:00 Scottish Premier League

SHOW MOVIES 00:00 Clean Break - 18 02:00 Deceit - 18 04:00 The Clan - PG 15 06:00 Uncross The Stars - PG 08:00 Bolt - FAM 10:00 The Nanny Diaries - PG 15 11:45 The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian - PG 14:15 The Flying Scotsman - PG 15 16:00 Bolt - FAM 18:00 The Bucket List - PG 15 20:00 Evan Almighty - PG 22:00 Taken - 18 SHOW MOVIES ACTION 01:00 Pulse 2 - 18 03:00 Species: The Awakening - 18 05:00 The Vanishing - R 07:00 Somebody Help Me - PG 15 09:00 Termination Point - PG 15 11:00 Walking Tall 3: Lone Justice PG 15 13:00 Underground - PG 15 15:00 Termination Point - PG 15 17:00 Twins Effect 2 - PG 15 19:00 Shadow Puppets - 18 21:00 Deadgirl - 18 23:00 Wild Things - 18 SHOW MOVIES COMEDY 00:15 Committed - PG 15 02:00 Lymelife - PG 04:00 Slap Shots 3 - PG 15 06:00 More Of Me - PG 15 08:00 Get Smart’s Bruce And Lloyd Out Of Control - PG 15 10:00 Mchale’s Navy - PG 12:00 The Jerk Theory - PG 15 14:00 Kung Pow! Enter The Fist PG 15 16:00 Committed - PG 15 18:00 Man About Town - 18 20:00 Dead Man On Campus - 18 22:00 Easy - 18 SHOW MOVIES KIDS 00:00 Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters FAM 02:00 The Flash - PG 04:00 Olsen Twins: Holiday In The Sun - FAM 06:00 Rugrats The Movie - FAM 08:00 Cinderella - FAM 10:00 Olsen Twins: Holiday In The Sun - FAM 12:00 Scooby-Doo Meets The Boo Brothers - FAM 14:00 The Flash - PG 16:00 Space Chimps - PG 18:00 Clockstoppers - FAM

SHOW SPORTS 4 00:00 UFC 109 Countdown 01:00 WWE Vintage Collection 02:00 NCAA Basketball 04:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter 07:00 WWE Vintage Collection 08:00 LG Action Sport 09:00 British Triathlon 09:30 NCAA Basketball 11:00 Bushido 12:00 WWE Vintage Collection 13:00 FIA GT 15:00 British Triathlon 15:30 FIM World Cup 16:00 NCAA Basketball 20:00 UFC 109 Countdown 21:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter SUPER MOVIES 01:00 Charlie Wilson’s War - 18 03:00 White Lightnin - PG 15 05:00 Eavesdrop - PG 07:00 Greetings From The Shore PG 09:00 Northern Lights - PG 11:00 Familiar Strangers - PG 13:00 Eagle Eye - PG 15 15:00 The Memory Keeper’s Daughter - PG 15 17:00 Northern Lights - PG 19:00 Spiderwick Chronicles - PG 21:00 Rocknrolla - 18 23:00 Made Of Honor - PG 15 TCM 00:30 02:00 05:00 06:30 08:00 09:35 11:15 13:05 14:45 16:30 17:55 19:35 21:05 23:00

Ron Howard: 50 Years In Film Mutiny on the Bounty Boys’ Town My Favorite Year Angels with Dirty Faces Echoes of a Summer Desert Bloom Hearts of the West Butterfield 8 The Honeymoon Machine Easter Parade My Favorite Year An American in Paris The Passage

THE HISTORY CHANNEL 00:40 Battlefield Detectives 01:30 Lost Worlds 02:20 Cities Of The Underworld 03:10 Deep Sea Detectives 04:00 B-25 Down: Hunt for a Hero 04:55 Human Weapon 05:50 Battle Stations 06:40 Battlefield Detectives 07:30 Lost Worlds 08:20 Cities Of The Underworld 09:10 Deep Sea Detectives 10:00 B-25 Down: Hunt for a Hero 10:55 Human Weapon 11:50 Battle Stations 12:40 Battlefield Detectives

Star Listings (UAE Timings) Star Movies 21:30 Nuclear Hurricane 23:00 Swimfan 00:25 Sandlot: Heading Home 02:00 Alien (Director’s Cut) 03:55 At First Sight 06:00 Nuclear Hurricane 07:30 Sandlot: Heading Home 09:05 Alien (Director’s Cut) 11:00 At First Sight 13:05 Stolen Life: Caught On Tape 14:35 Custody 16:00 Supernova 17:30 Happy Texas 19:10 Shining Through STAR 20:00 20:55 21:00 21:30 22:00 23:00 23:30 00:00 00:30

World 7th Heaven CHARLIE’S ANGELS According To Jim Friends Beauty and the Geek Whose Line Is It Anyway? According To Jim Friends Everybody Loves Raymond

01:00 01:55 02:00 02:55 03:00 03:55 04:00 05:00 06:00 06:55 07:00 07:55 08:00 08:55 09:00 10:00 11:00 11:30 12:00 13:00 14:00 14:30 15:00 16:00 17:00 17:30

Murder She Wrote V.I.P. SHARK WHO’S THE BOSS? 90210 CHARLIE’S ANGELS Ugly Betty Lipstick Jungle Murder She Wrote V.I.P. 7th Heaven Who’s The Boss? SHARK Charlie’s Angels Beauty and the Geek American Idol Friends Everybody Loves Raymond American Idol Glee 30 Rock 30 Rock Two And Half American Idol Friends Everybody Loves Raymond

18:00 18:55 19:00 19:55

Beauty and the Geek V.I.P. David Letterm Dilbert

Granada TV 20:30 Strange But True? (Series 4) 21:00 Neighbourhoods From Hell 22:00 Emmerdale 22:30 Coronation Street 23:00 Neighbourhoods From Hell 00:00 Parkinson (Series 6) 01:00 60 Minute Makeover (Series 3) 02:00 Romance Wednesday: Cold Feet (Series 3) (Double Bill) 04:00 Vroom Vroom (Series 2) 05:00 Emmerdale 05:30 Coronation Street 06:00 Parkinson (Series 6) 07:00 60 Minute Makeover (Series 3) 08:00 Romance Wednesday: Cold Feet (Series 3) (Double Bill) 10:00 Vroom Vroom (Series 2) 11:00 Emmerdale 11:30 Coronation Street 12:00 Parkinson (Series 6)

13:00 Coach Trip (Series 1) 14:00 Romance Wednesday: Cold Feet (Series 3) (Double Bill) 16:00 Emmerdale 16:30 Coronation Street 17:00 Parkinson (Series 6) 18:00 Coach Trip (Series 1) 19:00 Romance Wednesday: Cold Feet (Series 3) (Double Bill) 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] Countdown 06:00 Double Shot 07:00 Backtracks 08:00 Loop 09:00 [V] Plug 09:30 Double Shot 10:00 Backtracks

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

[V] Tunes [V] Plug The Playlist Loop Parental Control Double Bill [V] Tunes Backtracks [V] Tunes [V] Plug The Playlist Loop Parental Control Double Bill [V] Tunes

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

13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 22:00

Hannity On the Record with Greta Van Susteren Glenn Beck with Glenn Beck Fox Report Special Report with Bret Baier The O’Reilly Factor FOX & Friends First Live FOX & Friends Live America’s Newsroom

National Geographic Channel 20:00 Megastructures -USS Virginia 21:00 Adventure Wanted -Bullriding S1-2 22:00 The Border -Desert Breakdown 23:00 Theme Week -Spider Deadly Love 00:00 Seconds From Disaster -Crash of the Concorde 1 01:00 About Asia -Zhang Ziyi’s Oman 01:30 About Asia -Zhang Ziyi’s Inner Mongolia 02:00 Carrier -All Hands S1-1 03:00 Bavaria’s Alpine Kingdom 04:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy -Borneo 4 05:00 About Asia -Zhang Ziyi’s Oman 05:30 About Asia -Zhang Ziyi’s Inner Mongolia 06:00 Light At The Edge Of The World -Sacred Geography


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SPECTRUM

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Johnny Depp creates new ohnny Depp’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ has been written around a “completely new” storyline. The 46year-old actor - who stars alongside Anne Hathaway and Mia Wasikowska in the upcoming Tim Burton film - has revealed the 3-D reinterpretation of the Lewis Carroll book will contain plenty of new twists, plots and visuals and is not solely based on the original story. He said: “It doesn’t look like any ‘Alice in Wonderland’ that’s ever been before. It’s a completely new story - it’s Alice returning back to Wonderland.” Movie producer Suzanne Todd is convinced movie buffs will be thrilled with how they have modernized the classic storylines, taken from the ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ novels. She said: “We took the combination of this classic story and new technology and pushed it into something like nothing you’ve ever seen before.” Anne was impressed with the complexity of the film, and detailed illustration of the stars, the animated characters and their settings. She said in a video interview with Radar Online: “You’re seeing so many different wild characters and great locations come together.” Ken Ralston, senior visual effects supervisor, added: “We’re just trying to put you straight in the middle of this strange world and take you on this journey.” ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was filmed using live action and motion capture techniques, and will be released in 3-D on March 5.

ady Gaga “cried” because she was so overwhelmed at singing with Sir Elton John. The 23-year-old singer was so happy the pair got to perform a spectacularly extravagant duet - seated either side of a giant piano which sprouted hands at the Grammy Awards on Sunday she was forced to make an emergency visit to her make-up artist shortly before she was due on stage. She said: “I’m just so happy, I can’t say enough and Elton was so amazing and the performance was really truly magical. I had been fantasizing about this performance piece for a while and we got to do it... and I’m just really truly floored. “I

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Lady Gaga cries for Elton

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ruined all of my make-up right before the show. Crying... I was just so happy.” The ‘Bad Romance’ hitmaker picked up two awards at the event - Best Electronic/Dance Album for ‘The Fame’ and Best Electronica/Dance Song for ‘Poker Face’ - and dedicated her wins to her legion of fans. She told ‘Access Hollywood’: “This is not an award for me, it’s for my fans. And I love my fans so much. And I wanted them to know that they should believe in themselves. “And I wanted to be everything that they hoped I would be tonight, and that’s what we got to do.”

Jay-Z believes in Beyonce

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and husband Jay-Z admits he never felt so proud of her. He said: “I’m a fan, you know, I’m a big fan.” The hip-hop star also spoke about how he believes Usher is in line to fill Michael Jackson’s “huge shoes” as the new ‘King of Pop’. Referring to the performance of ‘Earth Song’ in tribute to Michael at the ceremony, Jay-Z told Access Hollywood: “I thought the Michael Jackson tribute was fantastic and I thought Usher was doing a magnificent job. I think he’s one of the guys that’s in line to fill those huge shoes. “I don’t wanna put that pressure on him, but I think he’s one of the guy’s that’s in line to do that.” The tribute - which featured Celine Dion, Usher, Jennifer Hudson and Smokey Robinson among others - was accompanied by a 3D mini-film which was created by Michael as part of his planned ‘This Is It’ London residency.

he couple - who have been dating for around two years - are set to tie the knot after Dax proposed over the festive period. Kristen’s representative said: “They got engaged over the holidays.” The 29-yearold actress debuted her stunning ring as she presented an award at last night’s Grammys. Kristen - who worked with Dax, 35, on romantic comedy ‘When in Rome’ - recently revealed her love life takes priority over her career. She said: “I think your significant other should be way more important than

Bell and T Shepard get engaged

McGregor and Carrey get knighted in France

ay-Z expects wife Beyonce Knowles to win music awards - because she’s so “magnificent”. The ‘99 Problems’ rapper - whose spouse took home a record-breaking six gongs at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night- is always confident the ‘Halo’ singer will win whenever

she is nominated. He said: “It’s almost got to a point where you just, you know, you’re almost numb to it because she’s so magnificent every single time.” Beyonce, 28, also performed at the ceremony covering Alanis Morissette’s ‘You Oughta Know’, as well as singing her own song ‘If I Were A Boy’,

rd is happ o f d n Sa y Frankie Sandford Madison Megan Fox Sammy Brady Katy Perry Jessica-Jane Clement Emma Watson Helen Flanagan Cheryl Cole Alice Goodwin Tulisa Contostavlos Abbey Clancy Emily O’ Hara Rihanna Bar Refaeli Kelly Hall India Reynolds Kelly Andrews Kate Middleton Imogen Thomas

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

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ink thought she was going to “fall on her nude butt” during her Grammys performance. The 30-year-old singer - who performed ‘Glitter in the Air’ at the awards show on Sunday in a skin-colored, sparkly catsuit loved putting on the dramatic aerial acrobatics display, but feared she was going to end up lying naked in a heap on the floor. Speaking after her routine, she said: “When I do it on tour, I don’t have lights above me. There were lights above me, so it almost went into a strobe thing, and I actually did get a little turned around. “I thought... I was going to fall on my nude butt. But I worked it out.” Meanwhile, Pink confirmed she and husband Carey Hart - who rekindled their romance last year after temporarily splitting - are happier than ever now their relationship is back on track. She said: “We never really got divorced. We really hate paperwork. Everything is really wonderful. It’s full circle.”

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Jude Law, George Clooney, Vanessa Paradis, Clint Eastwood and Roger Moore. Carrey and McGregor - neither of whom are French nationals - are no strangers to kissing each other. In their latest film, ‘I Love you Philip Morris’, Canadian actor Carrey plays an imprisoned con man who falls in love with his cellmate, Philip Morris, played by Scottish star McGregor. The film has proved controversial in the US as it features an explicit gay sex scene between the two male characters.

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ZOO Magazine’s 100 Hottest Bodies poll top 20

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rankie Sandford is “flattered” to have the ‘Hottest Body In The World’. The Saturdays singer - who is dating McFly bassist Dougie Poynter - beat off competition from ‘Transformers’ actress Megan Fox to top the 100 Hottest Bodies poll, which was voted for by over 3,000 readers of British men’s magazine Zoo. Frankie said: “Wow, to win the ‘Hottest Body In The World’ award is truly amazing. Thank you, I am truly flattered and would like to thank ZOO, and more importantly all the readers who voted. I really appreciate it!” Tom Etherington, editor of ZOO magazine, said: “Frankie is quickly becoming our reader’s favorite member of The Saturdays. Partly because she’s the owner of a dangerously hot body, and partly because she’s so proud of it she has been showing it off at every opportunity. All hail Queen Frankie!” Joining Frankie and Megan in the top five were glamour model Sammy Brady and ‘I Kissed A Girl’ singer Katie Perry. ‘Doghouse’ star Jessica-Jane Clement, ‘Harry Potter’ actress Emma Watson and Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole all featured in the top ten.

wan McGregor and Jim Carrey have been knighted in France. The two actors celebrated with a mock kiss as they received the country’s National Order of Arts and Letters in Paris. The award - created by the French government in May 1957 was given in recognition of the actors’ contributions to the film industry. As the pair were presented with their honors, French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand told them: “I love you, Jim Carrey! I love you, Ewan McGregor!” Other actors to have been made knights of the Order of Arts and Letters include

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Pink’s nude performance

your work, personally. I love working. But I don’t know that I’d say I’m a workaholic because I also love maxin’ and relaxin’.” She also gave her top relationship tip - communication. She added: “I’ve learned the necessity for healthy communication. How important it is to talk about your deepest, darkest fears and feelings. Your partner should hear your most embarrassing insecurities, because once you say them out loud, you’ve created a safe zone. “And a snuggle party can fix anything - it’s true.”

Russell Brand wants a ‘naked’ wedding he British comic star and Katy Perry - who he got engaged to last month - are set to start planning their nuptials soon but revealed he is keen on having the unusual dress code. He joked: “We are going to do the wedding naked! All the families will be naked! “We’re still deciding what to do. There’s no juicy details yet.” The 34-year-old funnyman has been dreaming of his wedding, but his nocturnal visions of his big day have been growing increasingly bizarre. He said: “All my dream weddings don’t make sense. The vicar will start melting. The people in the front row will turn into people from my school. And then everyone will only say the word ‘potato’.” Despite his night visions, Russell can’t wait for Katy, 25, to become his wife. He added to People magazine: “I’m getting married to a beautiful woman. I’m enjoying my work. What could be better? Nothing!” — BangShowbiz

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SPECTRUM

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

37

Lifestyle

Doctor casts new light on cat that predicts death hen doctors and staff realized that a cat living in a US nursing home could sense when someone was going to die, the feline, Oscar, was portrayed as a furry grim reaper or four-legged angel of death. But Dr David Dosa, who broke the news of Oscar’s abilities in a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007, said he never intended to make Oscar sound creepy or his arrival at a bedside to be viewed negatively. Dosa said he hopes his newly released book, “Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat” will put the cat in a more favorable light as well as providing a book to help people whose loved ones are terminally ill. “After the New England Journal

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article you got the feeling that if Oscar is in your bed then you are dead, but you did not really see what is going on for these family members,” said Dosa, an assistant professor of medicine at Brown University. “I wanted to write a book that would go beyond Oscar’s peculiarities, to tell why he is important to family members and caregivers who have been with him at the end of a life.” Dosa said Oscar’s story is fascinating on many levels. Oscar was adopted as a kitten from an animal shelter to be raised as a therapy cat at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, which cares for people with severe dementia and in the final stages of various illnesses.

In this July 23, 2007 file photo, Oscar, a hospice cat with an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, walks past an activity room at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. —AP

Sixth sense? When Oscar was about six months old the staff noticed that he would curl up to sleep with patients who were about to die. So far he has accurately predicted about 50 deaths. Dosa recounts one instance when staff were convinced of the imminent death of one patient but Oscar refused to sit with that person, choosing instead to be on the bed of another patient down the hallway. Oscar proved to be right. The person he sat with died first, taking staff on the ward by surprise. Dosa said there is no scientific evidence to explain Oscar’s abilities, but he thinks the cat might be responding to a pheromone or smell that humans simply don’t recognize. Dosa said his main interest was

not to delve further into Oscar’s abilities but to use Oscar as a vehicle to tell about terminal illness, which is his main area of work. “There is a lot to tell about what Oscar does, but there is a lot to tell on the human level of what family members go through at the end of life when they are dealing with a loved one in a nursing home or with advanced dementia,” he said. “Perhaps the book is a little more approachable because there is a cat in it. We really know so little about nursing homes, and this tries to get rid of this myth that they are horrid factories where people go to die.” Dosa said the story of Oscar, who is now nearly five years old, initially had sparked a bit more interest in families wanting to

send their loved ones to Steere House. Oscar has even been thanked by families in obituaries for providing some comfort in the final hours of life. But he said Oscar remains unchanged by the attention, spending most of his days staring out of a window, although he has become a bit friendlier. “The first time I met Oscar he bit me. We have warmed over the years. We have moved into a better place,” said Dosa. “I don’t think Oscar is that unique, but he is in a unique environment. Animals are remarkable in their ability to see things we don’t, be it the dog that sniffs out cancer or the fish that predicts earthquakes. Animals know when they are needed.” —Reuters

Hot Helmets

Hindi TV queen touches nerve with African women wept round the Senegalese capital in a gleaming white Hummer, visiting Hindi star Pallavi Kulkarni has been mobbed by adoring African fans of her headstrong “Vaidehi” female lead in the cult Indian TV romance. In a five-day visit ending on Monday, Kulkarni was pursued relentlessly by barefoot girl fans and greeted by crowds of screaming local women bearing “Vaidehi” effigies and wearing Indian saris instead of their traditional African attire. “I’ve never seen so much love in people before,” Kulkarni told Reuters after a live appearance on the local 2STV channel where her show goes out on Saturday and Sunday evenings. “In India people love you for your show, sometimes they mob you, but it’s not as crazy as this!” Kulkarni, flanked by her husband, mother and security guards, said in an interview. At times the “Vaidehi”-mania eclipsed even the local passion for soccer’s African Nations Cup. Hundreds of admirers tried to storm the VIP waiting room of Dakar’s international airport when Kulkarni flew in last week. While popular Indian culture and “Bollywood” films have long been big in West Africa, it is the theme of female empowerment that gives “Vaidehi” its special appeal in a region where violence against women is a largely hidden problem. “I think that people relate to the problem of domestic abuse which is shown in the programme,” said Kulkarni, accompanied by her husband and mother throughout the visit. “I want to come back and try to do something, as much as I can, for the women of Senegal who probably need help. We have a long way to go but I’m going to keep coming back here.”

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Women’s homes Recent statistics show that as many as one woman in four has suffered domestic assault in Senegal. But such cases rarely come out in public because of a culture of silence and the failure of authorities to take a consistently firm approach. While many scenes from “Vaidehi” are unabashedly romantic, in one hard-hitting episode her stepsister was abandoned by her husband after telling him she had been raped. “The series shows what happens to women, what they go through in their own homes,” Amina Diene, an 18-year-old student, said in the crowd at one of Kulkarni’s street events. “Vaidehi has revealed this image and the idea that women are not objects. Women are precious and need to be preserved.” Those messages appear to remain intact despite crossing from India into mostly Muslim Senegal and being dubbed from Hindi into French. Fans say the cultural similarities between Indian and African culture, and in particular a strong emphasis on family, means they still resonate. “We have the same beliefs, we dress in a similar way, we are both very spiritual countries and that is what we see in the series,” said songwriter Solomon Mbaye. But the phenomenon leaves some in Senegal cold. Commentator Modou Mamoune Faye in Le Soleil newspaper complained that the Senegalese had lavished more time and attention on the Kulkarni visit than on the plight of Haiti’s earthquake victims. “Indian ‘Made in Bollywood’ series only owe their success in Senegal and elsewhere in Africa to the poor quality of our own national television offerings,” he sniffed. —Reuters

Sequin and fur helmets by Dareece Saca of Ice Couture.

A sequin and fur helmet by Dareece Saca of Ice Couture.

A bug helmet cover at Karyn Climans’ Tail Wags Helmet Covers booth.

Four women battle to bring Dead Sea Scrolls back to life T he only four people in the world allowed to touch the 2000-yearold Dead Sea Scrolls are battling a resilient enemy: sticky tape. Their weapons: tweezers, tiny brushes and infinite patience. “I don’t consider it as work, I consider it as a blessing,” says Tanya Treiger as she runs a scalpel-like instrument around the contours of a small piece of parchment with slow, deliberate and sparing movements. Treiger is one of four women, all immigrants from the former Soviet Union, in charge of the conservation and restoration of the famed scrolls found half a century ago on the shores of the Dead Sea. Their job is to ensure the manuscripts on show are exhibited in ideal conditions and to restore the tens of

thousands of fragments that suffered not only from the ravages of time but also from past conservation efforts. Day after day for the past 18 years, they have painstakingly removed adhesive tape that was used decades ago to join matching fragments. “Scotch tape was just invented and at the time it sounded like a good solution,” says Pnino Shor, who heads the Department of Artefacts Treatment and Conservation at the Israeli Antiquities Authority. “But in the 1960s it became clear it was a disaster,” she says. “Residues of tape penetrated the parchment and caused its disintegration.” The conservators, working at a small IAA lab at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum, will need at least another 18 years to complete the job of restoring the frag-

Tanya Treiger holds a manuscript at a conservation laboratory in Jerusalem on January 27, 2010. —AFP

ments, says Shor. “What they’re doing is really a firstaid treatment,” she says pointing to one of the women dabbing tiny amounts of organic solvent to remove tape residue and adhesive that has penetrated the parchment. “If we’re lucky, it comes back to life and the writing becomes clearer.” Once the fragments are treated, they are arranged on acid-free cardboard, and stored in protective boxes. Those prepared for exhibition, are placed in polyester netting pockets enclosed between polycarbonate plates. The fragments are considered one of the world’s most important archaeological finds, and make up about 900 documents of major religious and historical significance. Discovered between 1947 and 1956 in the Qumran caves above the Dead Sea, the precious parchments and papyrus include religious texts written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, and the oldest known surviving Old Testament. The oldest of the documents dates to the third century BC and the most recent to about 70 AD, when Roman troops destroyed the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem. “They were all written in a crucial period of history of western civilization when Judaism and Christianity were crystallizing into the religions we know today,” says Shor. “The scrolls teach us of our common origins.” The artefacts are housed at the Israel Museum, where the larger pieces are shown at the dimly-lit Shrine of the Book on a rotation basis to minimize damage from exposure. —AFP

This photo shows Karyn Climans owner of Tail Wags Helmet Covers from Toronto showing a dog helmet cover as she wears her princess helmet cover at her booth at the SIA Snow Show in Denver on. —AP photos

Four formative artists partake in art exhibition KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Formative Arts Society Monday kicked off a joint exhibition that grouped four Kuwaiti artists at the society headquarters in Hawally. The art gallery displayed more than 46 paintings for the four artists who applied the concept of contemporary and classic styles using oil-based colors. The artists, Ahmad Muqeem, Alaa’ Al-Hadad, Abdullah Al-Otaibi and L ayla Al-Hashem spoke highly of the society’s contribution towards encouraging Kuwaiti painters and artists in various domains. Muqeem, who began to sharpen his drawing talent since childhood, says that he began with taking art courses at Kuwait University through which he was able to take part in several expos that were organized by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, as well as the Qurain Cultural Festival. The young Kuwaiti artist hailed the society’s role in attracting artists, saying that it has assisted him through a number of workshops to grasp the contemporary art concepts. He pointed out that he had

Kuwait: Artists participating in the exhibition. —Photos by KUNA drawn over 50 painting during the workshops which he had attended at the society. For her part, Al-Hadad said that she owes her parents for developing and cheering her talent in drawing. She added that she gained her drawing skills by lear ning from highly experienced Kuwaiti artists

and through her participation in a number of workshops that were organized by the society. Meanwhile, Al-Otaibi said that he has 10 paintings at the exhibition and added that workshops strongly contribute in developing artists’ talents in the formative art domain.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fashion

Shanghai women revisit ‘In the Mood for Love’ ang Weiyu observes her students, all in their 50s, as they gracefully glide around the room to a syrupy soundtrack in their qipaos, the figurehugging dresses made famous in 1920s Shanghai. The impeccably coiffed Wang, wearing a bright green frock with hand-stitched fuchsia flowers and dangling earrings, says when she saw actress Maggie Cheung wearing the qipao in the 2000 film “In the Mood for Love”, she was inspired. In 2007, she opened a salon dedicated to preserving the tradition of the qipao, also known as the cheongsam. After her efforts were showcased on television, qipao fans flocked to join her group and others around the city. “The qipao has 300 years of history,” Wang told AFP. “It’s one of the most distinctive symbols of Shanghainese culture.” “My mother wore these dresses every day,” she added. The qipao-a long, wide garment that was de rigueur during the Qing Dynasty court-got a new lease on life in the 1920s, when Shanghai’s fashion mavens reclaimed it as their own, but with a more alluring body-skimming cut. Worn by actresses and intellectuals in the “Pearl of the Orient”, the dress became a symbol of the modern Chinese woman, the ultimate in femininity and refinement. Today, 370 Shanghai women aged 22 to 70 — teachers, lawyers, accountants, retirees-come to Wang’s salon several times a week to don the slim silk qipao, with its high collar and even higher slit up the side, and dance. “It’s more than a dress-this is about culture and tradition,” says the 62-year-old Wang, a former Japanese teacher. She says her students learn not only how to dance in the dress, but about “etiquette-how to sit, walk, behave and choose the right accessories to go with the dress”. At one session at the dance studio where Wang meets her students, dozens of women-each in a qipao of a different shade-practice a dance to a lilting melody, using brightly colored parasols, fans and red lanterns as props. The group has been invited to perform at charity balls and official receptions, travelling as far as Taiwan to show off their skills. All of the women, most of them older and “well-educated”, according to Wang, have stayed rather slim-a necessity to pull off the unforgiving qipao. One says she lost 10 kilos (22 pounds) since she started her qipao training. “Women in this age group could not wear colored dresses when they were 20, at the time when they were at their most beautiful,” Wang said, referring to the austere rules-and the bleak fashion-of the Cultural Revolution. “They did not know how to wear these dresses!” All that has changed now. “When I wear a qipao, I feel very beautiful. It puts me in a good mood,” said 47year-old Wei Jiali, sporting a vibrant blue dress with golden stitching. Zhou Fengying, in a pink frock with floral motifs, says she would not have dared to wear a qipao in her youth, but now enjoys sporting one when she goes to the tea house with her old friends. “You need different coloured dresses for different occasions,” said the 53-yearold accountant, who gave a detailed rundown of how to wear the qipao-which can cost up to 5,000 yuan (730 dollars) and how not to wear it. “If you’re going to a concert, you don’t want to be too flashy you want to be classy, so you’d need a dress in a darker color, with golden embroidery,” she said. “If you’re going to a tea house, wear a rather low-key dress in yellow or grey, perhaps with bamboo patterns,” she added. Zhou’s final piece of advice? “If you’re going to a wedding, the qipao cannot be too bright or too extravagant-you don’t want to upstage the bride! That would be too embarrassing!” —AFP

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Women wearing the qipao, a traditional Chinese dress, as they perform a dance with umbrellas. —AFP photos

Sumaira Saeed

Ali Raza Naseer

In this image taken on Monday night, Feb 1, 2010 Pakistan models display a creation presented at a fashion show in Karachi, Pakistan.

Mahwish Mehri

Sadaf Rameez

Pakistan Fashion Week

This picture taken on January 20, 2010 shows women wearing the qipao, a traditional Chinese dress, posing at the qipao club in Shanghai.

A Pakistani model presents a creation by Yasmeen Arif on the second day of Karachi Fashion Week in Karachi.— AP/ AFP photos


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

SPECTRUM

39

Fashion UK fashion retailer New Look launches $1billion IPO ritish budget fashion chain New Look launched its longawaited initial public offering (IPO) yesterday, hoping to take advantage of a tentative recovery in new issues and banish the ghosts of the last big UK retail IPO. New Look said it planned to raise 650 million pounds ($1 billion) to cut its debts and free it up to invest in opening new stores in Britain and abroad, as well as expanding in menswear and children’s wear and on the Internet. Chief Executive Carl McPhail told Reuters he was cautious about the consumer outlook, but was confident New Look’s track record of growing in the recession would stand it in good stead. IPO markets are showing signs of picking up across the world as the economic recovery gains hold and private equity firms look to exit investments held over many years. But investors are wary, with many of last year’s big European IPO still trading below water. New Look in particular faces a challenge to overcome the disillusion created by the IPO of British department stores group Debenhams, which was floated by private equity owners in 2006 laden with debt and saw its shares plunge over the following 2-1/2 years. “No interest whatsoever in this IPO,” said one head of UK equities at a large fund firm on condition of anonymity. “Fantastic company, but coming in at totally the wrong price for the debt structure. “Why on earth would you want to invest in a company at a valuation that they are proposing to sell at when it is still left with vast amounts of debt, when you can go into the quoted market and buy companies like Next and Home Retail that have no debt, proven management that you know and trust and valuations that are much cheaper,” he said. McPhail said New Look, taken private in 2004 for 699 million pounds by founder Tom Singh and private equity firms Permira and Apax, was very different from Debenhams. The group’s net debt would fall to 450 million pounds following the IPO and its strong cash generation meant it would continue to cut its borrowing, he said in a telephone interview. New Look’s owners had also invested about 450 million pounds in doubling the size of the firm and would retain large stakes. Any sale of shares by existing investors would be limited to an overallotment option to sell about a further 10 percent of stock, he said, adding the group hoped to list by mid March.

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Private equity New Look, which trades from over 1,000 stores in mainly Britain and also France, Belgium and other overseas markets, reported a 5.9 percent rise in sales at UK shops open at least a year in the 14 weeks to Jan 2, outperforming rivals such as Marks & Spencer and Next. “We’re absolutely in that sweet spot (for growth),” McPhail said, pointing out that while the UK clothing market had achieved a compound annual growth rate of 1.5 percent between 2003 and 2008, that figure was 5.4 percent for the budget segment of the market and 11 percent for New Look. He declined to comment on New Look’s potential market value. A source close to the matter told Reuters on Sunday it was likely to be 1.7 billion to 2.0 billion pounds. Analysts have been looking to New Look as a test case for a potential string of British retail IPOs, with fashion company SuperGroup and grocer Ocado also considering flotation. But a pick-up in investment appetite from private equity firms has given owners of retail businesses an alternative exit. Last week, private equity firm KKR agreed to buy pet goods retailer Pets at Home for what one source close to the matter was a higherthan-expected 955 million pounds. Budget fashion chain Matalan and sofa retailer DFS are also in talks over possible private equity bids, sources close to the matter have told Reuters. Such sources said previously that New Look was also considering possible private equity bids. “There isn’t a dual process as far as we’re concerned. We’re working towards an IPO and that’s the decision the board has made,” McPhail said, though he added that the group would consider offers if they were high enough. Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Cazenove are joint sponsors and joint book runners of the share sale, while L azard is joint sponsor. Barclays, Lloyds, and RBS Hoare Govett are co-lead managers, while Investec and Singer are co-managers. —Reuters

Lebanese fashion designer Tony Ward walks down the catwalk at the end of the presentation of his springsummer 2010 high fashion collection unveiled in Rome, Monday.

Bundchen says giving birth didn’t hurt he Brazilian supermodel - who welcomed son Benjamin, her first child with husband Tom Brady, into the world in December - insists the labor didn’t hurt because she was so excited about meeting her baby. She told Brazilian TV station Fantasticoshe: “It didn’t hurt in the slightest. The whole time my mind was focused in each contraction on the thought, ‘My baby is closer to coming out.’ “It wasn’t like, ‘This is so painful.’ So I transformed that intense feeling into a hope of seeing him.” Gisele - who is also stepmother to Tom’s twoyear-old son John - fell intensely in love with Benjamin as soon as he was born. She said: “It’s wonderful. Never in my life I thought I could love like this. You hear people talking about it, but you don’t know until it happens to you. I couldn’t be happier.” Gisele, 29, also revealed she is breastfeeding her son, and while it’s very tiring, she is enjoying every moment of it. She told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper: “In these first months, the baby breastfeeds twice in two hours or three times in three hours. It is really tiring, but it’s such a special moment that I am enjoying to the maximum. I have dedicated my days completely to him.” —Bang Showbiz

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Models wear creations as part of Tony Ward’s spring-summer 2010 high fashion collection unveiled in Rome, Monday. —AP

Models display wedding dress creations by Italian fashion designer Marella Ferrera for her Spring-Summer 2010 high fashion collection unveiled in Rome, Sunday. —AP photos


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‘Avatar’, ‘The Hurt Locker’ top Oscar nominations cience-fiction epic “Avatar” and gritty Iraq war drama “The Hurt Locker” will battle for supremacy at the Oscars after topping the nominations with nine nods each here yesterday. James Cameron’s “Avatar”the most expensive movie ever made and the highest grossing film of all time-picked up a slew of nominations including best picture and best director. The low budget “The Hurt Locker” earned nine nominations including a nod for director Kathryn Bigelow-Cameron’s exwife-as well as best picture, best actor and best original screenplay. yesterday’s nominations were released in a dawn announcement at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills attended by Hollywood star Anne Hathaway. Bigelow is only the fourth woman ever to be nominated for directing and the first since Sofia Coppola received a nod for “Lost in Translation” in 2003. No woman director has ever won the Oscars top prize. However “The Hurt Locker,” a tense thriller about a US army bomb disposal squad operating in Iraq, has emerged as the favorite to land the Oscars top best picture prize when the 82nd Academy Awards are presented on March 7. Bigelow’s film has already won a slew of awards this year which are regarded as reliable indicators of likely Oscars success. This year’s best picture race was expanded to 10 films by the Academy in a move analysts have said was intended to boost television ratings for the awards show. Vying for the best picture race alongside “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker” are Quentin Tarantino’s bloody World War II revenge film “Inglourious Basterds,” which weighed in with eight nominations. It was followed by the independent “Precious,” about the struggles of an illiterate abused teenager, which scored six nominations, including best picture and best director. Other films in the best picture race include “District 9,” South African director Neill Blomkamp’s dazzling science-fiction film about aliens stranded in a Johannesburg township, and “Up,” Pixar’s charming animated film about a crotchety widower who ties balloons to his house and floats to South America. It is the only second time in Oscars history that an animated film has made it into the best picture race following Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” in 1992. Other best picture nominees included British drama “An Education,” recession-era dramedy “Up In the Air”, Joel and Ethan Coen’s “A Serious Man,” and the Sandra Bullock film “The Blind Side.” There were few major surprises in the acting nominations, where Jeff Bridges and Bullock are widely tipped to win the best actor and actress honors after dominating this year’s awards circuit. Bridges was nominated for his performance as a washed-up country singer in “Crazy Heart.” Other nominees included George Clooney for “Up In the Air,” Colin Firth for “A Single Man,” Morgan Freeman for “Invictus,” and Jeremy Renner for “The Hurt Locker.” Bullock’s rivals for best actress include veteran Meryl Streep picking up her record 16th nomination for “Julie and Julia.” Other nominees included Britain’s Helen Mirren for “The Last Station,” Gabby Sidibe for “Precious” and Carey Mulligan for “An Education.” In the best supporting actress category, Mo’Nique is expected to prevail for her powerful performance as an abusive parent in “Precious.” She faces competition from last year’s winner Penelope Cruz, nominated again for “Nine,” and Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart.” Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick round out the nominees for their performances in “Up In the Air.” As expected, Christoph Waltz is nominated in the best supporting actor category for “Inglourious Basterds,” along with Matt Damon for “Invictus,” Woody Harrelson for “The Messenger,” Christopher Plummer for “The Last Station,” and Stanley Tucci for “The Lovely Bones.” In the race for best foreign language film, Germany’s “The White Ribbon” was nominated along with France’s “Un Prophete” and Israel’s “Ajami.” South America was well represented, with Peru’s “The Milk of Sorrow,” and Argentina’s “El Secreto de Sus Ojos.” —AFP

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A scene from, “Avatar.” The film is nominated for an Oscar for best picture.

In this image, Jeremy Renner is shown in a scene from, “The Hurt Locker.” The film is nominated for an Oscar for best picture.

In this image, Gabourey Sidibe is shown in a scene from ‘Precious.’ The film is nominated for an Oscar for best picture.

In this image, animated characters Russell (left) and Carl Fredricksen are shown in a scene from the film, ‘Up’. The film is nominated for an Oscar for best picture.

Actress Anne Hathaway and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announce the nominees for the Best Picture during the 82nd Academy Awards nominations held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences yesterday in Beverly Hills, California. —AFP photos

Hathaway and Sherak announce the nominees for the best performance by an actor in a leading role. Clockwise from bottom (left): Jeff Bridges for ‘Crazy Heart;’ George Clooney for ‘Up in the Air;’ Colin Firth for ‘A Single Man;’ Morgan Freeman for ‘Invictus;’ and Jeremy Renner for ‘The Hurt Locker.’

John joins ʻNext Fallʼ Bʼway producing team roadway’s latest trendcelebrity producers. Elton John says he and his partner, David Furnish, have joined the producing team of “Next Fall,” a Broadway-bound play by Geoffrey Nauffts. “After fulfilling experiences bringing new musicals to the stage, it was seeing this inspiring and timely new work that attracted us to take on our first play,” Elton and Furnish said Monday. “Next Fall” concerns the

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contentious relationship between two gay men and questions of faith and religion. It opens March 11 after a successful run last year offBroadway. Among the recent high-profile producers of Broadway shows are rap superstar Jay-Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. All three are involved in “Fela!” Elton wrote the music for two of Broadway’s current hit musicals, “Billy Elliot” and “The Lion King.”—AP

In this Jan 27, 2010 file photo, Elton John, left, and David Furnish attend the premiere of ‘Nowhere Boy’ during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. —AP

Hathaway and Sherak announce the nominees for the best performance by an actress in a leading role. Clockwise from bottom (left): Sandra Bullock for ‘The Blind Side;’ Helen Mirren for ‘The Last Station;’ Carey Mulligan for ‘An Education;’ Gabby Sidibe for ‘Precious;’ and Meryl Streep for ‘Julie & Julia’.

Stars gather to cover ʻWe Are the Worldʼ for Haiti he charity anthem “We Are the World” has been given a hip-hip, pop twist by 80 artists who have re-recorded the 1980s hit in the same Hollywood studio where the original was cut 25 years ago. Pink, Natalie Cole, Kanye West, Jennifer Hudson, Celine Dion, Brian Wilson and others stood shoulder to shoulder Monday night on risers at Henson Recording studios, singing in hopes of aiding Haiti. “This one, the enthusiasm, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Lionel Richie, who wrote the original “We Are the World” with Michael Jackson, and oversaw the redux version with music mogul Quincy Jones, 76. Jones, who produced the 1985 anthem, announced last week that he planned to redo the song to benefit recovery efforts after the devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti Jan. 12. The song, officially titled “We Are the World — 25 for Haiti,” will premiere this month during coverage of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on NBC, according to a release from promoter AEG Live. On Monday, stars converged on the recording studio’s Studio A in the afternoon and stayed several hours. Richie and Jones worked with a select number of soloists, including Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger, later into the

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In this photo provided by WATW, singers Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, Usher, Katharine McPhee, will.i.am, Toni Braxton, Barbra Streisand, LL Cool J, Harry Connick Jr, Wyclef Jean, Vince Vaughn, Jeff Bridges, Natalie Cole and others perform at the ‘We Are The World 25 Years for Haiti’ recording session . —AP night. At one point during a break, the musicians broke out into an a cappella version of the pop classic “Lean on Me,” a moment jump-started by singer Melanie Fiona leaning on another artist because her feet were tired. Gesturing

and shifting her headphones from ear to ear, Barbra Streisand recorded her solo over and over again, stopping only to correct her pitch. Later, a who’s who of rappers, including Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J and Wyclef Jean, recorded an interlude writ-

ten by Black Eyed Peas frontman and producer will.i.am. Rapper Lil Wayne said he was blessed to record the tune but was surprised when told he would do Bob Dylan’s part from the original. “I don’t know how to sing,” he admitted, with a smile. Asked how the earthquake had affected him, he said he had Haitian friends in Miami who lost relatives in the disaster. The original “We Are the World” thundered up the charts when it was released in March 1985. An unprecedented number of top pop musicians gathered at A&M the night of Jan 28, 1985, following the American Music Awards, to record the tune. The song featured 45 American superstars, including Jackson, Richie, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen and Cyndi Lauper. The record raised more than $30 million that year for USA for Africa, a nonprofit the singers founded to fund hunger relief in Africa. None of the original performers returned for Monday because none were asked, said Randy Phillips, chief executive of tour promoter of AEG Live and also Richie’s manager. “This is about a new generation mixed with an old generation,” Phillips said. Proceeds from the song initially are to go to the newly formed charity We Are the World Foundation LLC, then be distributed to Haiti. —AP


3 Feb