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SUNDAY, MARCH 14, 2010


Myanmar refugees face grim future in Bangladesh

Suicide attack in northwest Pakistan kills 13 PAGE 11

NO: 14667

Drogba double puts Chelsea back on top

Aussies break German wall to win World Cup




US scrambles to save peace talks Clinton berates Netanyahu over ‘insult’

DOHA: Qatar’s Minister of Environment Abdallah bin Mubarak Al-Maadhadi (center), the head of the UN wildlife trade organisation Willem Wijnsteker (right) and Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Program chair the opening session of the triennial meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) yesterday. — AFP

Tuna, tuskers, tigers top wildlife meeting CITES wants ban on bluefin DOHA: The only UN body with the power to ban trade in endangered animals and plants began a triennial meeting in Doha yesterday with Atlantic bluefin tuna, African elephants and polar bears on the docket. Besides the proposal to stop crossborder commerce in bluefin fiercely contested by sushiloving Japan - the 1975 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will also vote on less stringent protection for several types of shark and

their lookalikes. Up to 73 million of the open-water predators are killed every year for their fins, a prestige food eaten mainly in China and Chinese communities around the world. Nearly 150 of the 175 member states are attending the 13-day conference, the first to be held in the Middle East, organisers said. Boosting the CITES budget at less than five million dollars the smallest of the major UN conventions - is the first item on the agenda. Continued on Page 14

JERUSALEM: Israel’s relationship with the United States, a defining feature of the troubled Middle East, was under severe strain as diplomats scrambled yesterday to save newborn US-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians. A senior US official predicted “a dicey period here in the next couple days to a couple of weeks” as Palestinians demanded the reversal of a new Israeli settlement plan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, which includes pro-settler parties, reacts to unusually blunt criticism from Washington. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Israel’s behaviour “insulting” af ter it approved 1,600 new homes last week at a settlement in the Jerusalem area on the very day Vice President Joe Biden was there to set a seal on relaunched negotiations. Biden told Reuters on Friday he believed Netanyahu was sincere in seeking a deal to give the Palestinians a state and that the premier understood that Israel had “no alternative”. Though Clinton stressed that Washington’s ties with the Jewish state were “durable and strong”, she had told Netanyahu in a telephone call on Friday that he must act to repair the relationship and show his commitment to an alliance which, she reminded him, was key to Israel’s security in a hostile region. While accepting that Netanyahu was taken by surprise by the settlement housing approval granted on Tuesday by his interior ministry, which is run Continued on Page 14

QALANDIYA: An Israeli soldier scuffles with a Palestinian woman during clashes after a demonstration at this checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem yesterday. — AP

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan: Twenty-seven people were killed and more than 50 wounded when a series of explosions hit the centre of Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar after nightfall yesterday, a hospital official said. Officials said the biggest attack was aimed at the prison in the city, possibly an attempt to repeat a brazen jailbreak there two years ago. The city is at the centre of the Taleban’s heartland and the next major target for NATO forces this year. Abdul Qayyum Pukhla, head of Kandahar’s main hospital, said the 27 dead and 52 wounded included both police and civilians. The first

UN worried by Israel, Lebanon war of words 2 peacekeepers killed in road accident UNITED NATIONS: A recent wave of bellicose rhetoric between Israel and Lebanon has fueled fears the two hostile neighbors could be headed for another conflict, the UN special coordinator for Lebanon said on Friday. Exchanges of threats between Israel and neighboring Lebanon “have generated concerns of a renewed confrontation,” Michael Williams told reporters after briefing the 15-

nation Security Council on compliance with resolution 1701, which called for an end to Israel’s war against Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. “This rhetoric and brinkmanship contravenes the very spirit of 1701 and is utterly unhelpful,” he said. “I have called, and still call, on all relevant parties to desist from inflammatory statements.” Continued on Page 14

Investment Dar files for legal protection KUWAIT: Investment Dar, the troubled Kuwaiti firm that owns half of luxury British carmaker Aston Martin, said yesterday it has filed for legal protection under Kuwait’s financial stability law. “Investment Dar announces today that it has started a process of legal protection under the terms of Kuwait’s Financial Stability Law,” a company statement said. The company, which has debts of over three billion dollars, said the move aims at pushing through a debt restructuring plan that is backed by more than 80 percent of creditors but is opposed by a minority. If the request is accepted by authorities, it will halt all legal actions against Kuwait’s top Islamic investment firm. Dar will be the first company to resort to the financial stabiltiy law since it was enacted about a year ago with the aim of helping Kuwaiti banks and investment firms against the fallouts of the global financial crisis. Dar said the move came following a series of meetings with the banks and investors coordinating committee in Kuwait, Dubai and London. The restructuring plan envisages a full repayment

by Investment Dar of its financial arrangements to all of its banks and investors, the statement said. It stressed that it will not seek financial support from the government by coming under the stability law, but wants a legal framework to implement the restructuring plan. In September, the company reached a standstill agreement with its creditors to suspend claims, but some creditors insisted on seeking legal recourse to reclaim debts. In the same month, Kuwait’s Central Bank appointed a temporary administrator to oversee business at Investment Dar, which has already defaulted on its debt. The company’s shares have been suspended from trading on the Kuwait Stock Exchange since last April 1 for failure to report 2008 financial results. Like many Kuwaiti investment firms, Investment Dar, which in March 2007 bought 50 percent of Aston Martin, has been hit hard by the global economic downturn. In December, Kuwait’s top investment firm, Global Investment House, struck a a deal with creditors to restructure loans worth over $1.7 billion. — AFP

US woman held in Ireland terror probe

Kandahar blasts kill 27

WAZZANI, Lebanon: Lebanese soldiers (foreground) are seen on alert after two Israeli armored vehicles (background) cross the barbed wires, still on Israeli land, as UN peacekeepers deploy to monitor the situation in this southern border town yesterday. — AP

150 FILS

explosion was near the police chief’s compound and the second near the residence of President Hamid Karzai’s half-brother Ahmad Wali Karzai, who is the head of Kandahar’s provincial council, a Reuters witness said. Ahmad Wali Karzai, who was in the capital Kabul, said the biggest explosion was a suicide strike at Kandahar’s prison, where he believed insurgents were trying to release prisoners. “The main target was the prison. The prison is very well guarded,” he told Reuters. “We don’t know about the casualties. It was a very big explosion. It was a huge explosion.” Continued on Page 14

DENVER: A Colorado woman has been detained in Ireland in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate a Swedish cartoonist whose sketch offended many Muslims, a US official said yesterday. Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 31, was among seven people arrested in Ireland this week as authorities investigate an alleged plot to kill cartoonist Lars Vilks over a 2007 sketch of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The drawing provoked terror group Al-Qaeda in Iraq to offer a $100,000 bounty for his slaying. The US official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity. After the arrests, US authorities unsealed terror charges against Colleen LaRose, 46, of Pennsylvania. She allegedly went by the name “Jihad Jane” to recruit others online to kill the cartoonist. It’s not clear whether Paulin-Ramirez might face terror charges. Her mother Christina Mott, of Leadville, Colorado, told AP that she learned of her daugh-

ter’s arrest in the case from the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. Denver FBI officials said Friday they couldn’t confirm that the FBI had contacted Mott about the case. Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, said the agency was aware of the arrests in Ireland but had no comment on the identities of those taken into custody. “Our investigation continues,” he said. Mott said that Paulin-Ramirez told her family after she left in September that she went to Ireland with her 6-year-old son and married an Algerian whom she met online. Before abruptly leaving Colorado, Paulin-Ramirez had been a straight-A nursing student, her mother said. Earlier this week, Irish authorities announced the arrest of seven Muslims in the alleged plot, only identifying them as three Algerians, a Libyan, a Palestinian, a Croatian and an American woman married to one of the Algerians. Continued on Page 14

US says thimerosal didn’t cause autism WASHINGTON: The vaccine additive thimerosal is not to blame for autism, a special federal court ruled Friday in a long-running battle by parents convinced there is a connection. While expressing sympathy for the parents involved in the emotionally charged cases, the court concluded they had failed to show a connection between the mercurycontaining preservative and autism. “Such families must cope every day with tremendous challenges in caring for their autistic children, and all are deserving of sympathy and admiration,” special master George Hastings Jr wrote. But, he added, Congress designed the victim compensation program only for families whose injuries or deaths

can be shown to be linked to a vaccine and that has not been done in this case. The ruling came in the so-called vaccine court, a special branch of the US Court of Federal Claims established to handle claims of injury from vaccines. It can be appealed in federal court. The parents presented expert witnesses who argued mercury can have a variety of effects on the brain, but the ruling said none of them offered opinions on the cause of autism in the three specific cases argued. They testified that mercury can affect a number of biological processes, including abnormal metabolism in children. Special master Denise K Vowell noted that in order to succeed in Continued on Page 14

RIO DE JANEIRO: A bear cools off from the intense summer heat with a frozen watermelon in the Rio city zoo Friday. —AP



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cabinet comfortable with ‘grilling’ situation

MPs hail extension of bedoon military servicemen’s term KUWAIT: Several MPs praised the decision made by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense to extend the service term of bedoon (stateless) servicemen in the military. Most of whom, had previously expressed concern for terminating them from service. MP Shuwaib AlMuwaizry said that this step proves Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah’s commitment to monitor all the military recruits in the Kuwaiti Army. They commended the great expertise and efforts that the servicemen In other news, as the interpellation motion against the Information Minister approaches, the Cabinet seems more comfortable regarding Sheikh Ahmad AlAbdullah Al-Sabah’s situation. The number of supporters for a potential NoConfidence motion against Al-Abdullah seems to have dropped to just 19 MPs at this time. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad AlSabah, the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, has assured that AlAbdullah is ready to face the grilling motion and has the ability to fend off its clauses. On a separate issue, the controversy surrounding comments made by the Interior Minister regarding corruption in the General Department of Investigations at the National Assembly’s most recent meeting has

continued. The Head of the committee, Dr Husain Al-Huraiti, asserted that the phrase “the Investigations Department is corrupt.” It was never used by the minister after reviewing the meeting’s minutes. The claim, however, was criticized by committee member MP Khalid Al-Tahous. He indicated that the Minister, Sheikh Jaber Al-Khalid AlSabah, still implied that the department was corrupt by saying “investigators have abused their immunity and have committed violations in the department.” Also, two MPs have proposed that a bill be drafted on the custody and care for orphans. This draft law, which was presented by MPs Dr Rola Dashti and Dr Salwa Al-Jassar, spells out the duties that the Ministry of Social Affairs need

have displayed. On this regard, MP Musallam Al-Barrak said that “this decision was made at the right time, and reflects the ministry’s ongoing support to all parts of their military units for placing efforts towards serving the country.” He further acknowledged the efforts of the bedoon servicemen in the army. Other MPs who lauded the minister’s humanitarian step include Askar Al-Enizy, Dr Maasouma Al-Mubarak, and Saadoun Hammad Al-Otaibi. to fulfill, including establishing orphanages, while providing orphans with basic needs. It also sets regulations for adoption, according to which, the ministry will not be allowed to take care of an adopted orphan, reported Al-Qabas. In other Parliament-related developments, MPs Khalaf Al-Dumaitheer and Askar Al-Enizy demanded that the Minister of Cabinet Affairs give explanations for the decision to stop extending labor support for workers of the Kuwait Aviation Services Company (KASCO). MP Mubarak Al-Waalan urged HH the Prime Minister to “end the suffering of citizens married to bedoon women, who struggle to have birth certificates registered for their children.” In addition, MP Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabae posed a series of questions to the Minister of Health

regarding the mechanism of dispensing medication at polyclinics. MP Dr Yousuf Al-Zalzalah warned the Minister of Electricity and Water against violations that take place, with regard to the nuclear power project, which he described “could turn into the biggest theft in this era.” Furthermore, MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan reiterated his demands to sack the director of marketing and sales department of the Kuwait Airways Corporation over a court order that was released. In another development, MP Falah Al-Sawagh revealed that the Development and Reform Committee will ask that a special session be allocated to discuss and pass the teachers’ protection law, and categorize the teaching profession under the ‘hard labor’ category.

Airport officials scandal story ‘baseless’ CAIRO: Kuwaiti pavilion at the Cairo International Fair.

Kuwait takes part in CIF CAIRO: Kuwait is taking part in the 43rd Cairo International Fair (CIF) which kicked off over the weekend, as the Kuwaiti Ministry of Commerce has set up a distinguished pavilion to showcase industrial products of 21 companies. The Kuwaiti participation in CIF reflected an increasing awareness of the event’s significance, especially at an econom-

ic level, Ambassador to Egypt Dr Rashid Al-Hamad said after inaugurating the pavilion. He noted that items displayed illustrated noticeable development of Kuwaiti products, which upgraded in terms of quantity and quality. Pavilion director Mohammad Al-Muzayen said that Kuwait was always keen to participate in Arab and international fairs,

especially CIF, and this is why it made sure to have its 360square-meter pavilion located at the front side of the fair ground. The pavilion showcases various industrial products such as soap, garments, food and chemical products. Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohammad Rachid inaugurated the fair.— KUNA

New report on dual citizenship KUWAIT: Official government sources have said that the process of withdrawing Kuwaiti citizenship from those with dual nationalities has begun, reported Al-Shahed. The sources explained that the Cabinet has asked the Ministry of Interior to prepare a report for the high committee regarding withdrawing citizenship from those given Kuwaiti citizenship while having citizenship of other countries. It was also explained that if citizenship was given as an Amiri decree, and not as a result of an unlawful act, then the citizenship legally be able to be revoked.

KUWAIT: New developments have emerged regarding the case of two officials at the Kuwait International Airport who were accused of violating a ban on taking leave during the busy holiday weekend. The pair, a male and a female, were also accused of being in possession of contraband, reported Al-Watan. New developments have revealed that the whole story was fabricated, and that the two officials went on their official leaves with full permission. An error took place simply because the officer at the passport stand forgot to register their travel documents. The official report of investigators further confirmed that the two officers were not found in possession of any contraband. It was determined that the two were not in any violation because leave bans do not apply to airport officials, according to the law. The female officer was not even investigated because there were no charges pressed against her. It was determined that all of her travel procedures were completely legal. Apparently, the rumors were spread by officers working under the female officer as a spiteful act against her commitment to enforce the law within the department. Approximately 15 disciplinary orders were issued against her subordinating officers, among which was a failure to perform the official military salute to their female, higher ranked official.

KUWAIT: A group of security personnel who completed a training course in Qatar recently.

PIC attains top safety certificate KUWAIT: The Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) announced on Friday an unprecedented achievement in the oil sector, after being awarded the OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety certificate that covers all its factories and facilities. PIC Chairperson and Managing Director, Maha Mulla Hussein, said that the OHSAS 18001 was an international management system that allowed institutions to control risks related to occupational safety and health, as well as general improvement of performance. She explained that this system was the result of intense efforts of the world’s leading

standardization institutions and specialists, adding that the main motive behind it was placing international standards that guaranteed a way to assess occupational health and safety performance operating in different sectors. Hussein said that ‘Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance’ closely inspected PIC’s operations to determine its worthiness of the OHSAS 18001 certificate, and looked through all of the company’s fertilizer factories, its main office, and Boubyan Club. Lloyd’s completed its work in February and recommended granting PIC the certificate, and also commended the Kuwaiti company for its full

cooperation, noting that PIC offered all necessary training and awareness programs for its employees. The chairperson affirmed that PIC was committed to all health, safety and environmental standards. “The health of our employees and their safety is our responsibility, and we are exerting all efforts in this area while continuing to expand locally and internationally,” she said. She went on to say that health and safety were one of the top priorities of PIC, and that the company was also in search for optimum applications in the fields of health, safety and environmental mat-

ters. PIC’s Deputy Managing Director for Fertilizers, Jihad Al-Hajji, on his part said that the company always sought to implement international occupational health and safety standards, adding that obtaining this certificate attested to these efforts. Meanwhile, PIC’s Director of Safety, Health and Environment Mijbil Al-Shimmiri said that a team had been formed to make sure that the certification criteria were fulfilled. “Implementing the system helps us evaluate the work environment and to make sure that all necessary safety precautions are in place,” he explained. — KUNA

Kuwait campaign against swine flu ‘a big success’ CAIRO: Kuwaiti Minister of Health Dr Hilal Musaed AlSayer asserted here over the weekend that his country succeeded in implementing the plan for fighting the swine flu through forming a supreme committee with representatives from all concerned ministries. Al-Sayer made this remark in a press statement at the conclusion of the 34th session of the council of the Arab health ministers in which he led the Kuwaiti delegation here at the Arab League headquarters. He also said that the state of Kuwait has provided its citizens with all necessary drugs, noting that the ministry of health devised a plan for fighting H1N1 virus, better known as the swine flu. On the meetings of the Arab ministers of health, Al-Sayer said that the ministers discussed a number of the joint Arab action issues in the field of health, adding that they also approved the final account report of the Arab fund for health development. — KUNA

Sunday, March 14, 2010


3 Struggle to continue: Dashti

Opponents of women freedom under fire By Hussain Al-Qatari KUWAIT: Parliament member Rola Dashti rebuked opponents of women’s freedom, and declared that the struggle will always continue until women are granted all their civil rights. “I thank all the members of the women’s soccer team, and I thank their parents for supporting their daughters’ aspirations and dreams,” she said. Dashti was speaking during a panel discussion that took place over the weekend at the Women’s Cultural and Social Society. The MP insisted that the score of the soccer match does not matter. “What matters is their contribution, and we will support them all the way,” she said. Dashti noted that many of the greatest teams began their journey in sports with losses, but what matters is their persistence and their dedication to their passion.

KUWAIT: As people enjoy the spring season at this time of the year, mother nature has also joined in with their enjoyment. The country has been blessed with scenic splendor that has turned this year’s spring season into one of the most bountiful ones in recent years. The pleasantly warm weather, has made it possible for Nuer and other Kuwait natural flowers to bloom. Swarms of butterflies perch among the country’s gardens and streets, a sight that is rarely spotted in Kuwait.— Photos by Joseph Shagra

connect the dots

‘Tripping’ on freedom of speech By Meshary Alruwaih


bout a year ago, I wrote an article expressing my satisfaction with the decision of the British authorities to deny Wilders, the producer of the documentary ‘Fitna’ entry to the UK. Just few days ago, however, he managed to overturn the ban and got access to the UK where he screened his movie at the House of Lords, and even had a discussion afterwards where he repeated his demands that the Quran should be outlawed. Wilders called this episode of spreading hate towards Islam “a victory for freedom of speech.” To be honest, I was angered by this piece of news, which was followed by another regarding the sexual abuse practiced at a number of churches across Europe including the Vatican. For a second, I thought “I’m going to write ten articles about this...if they call us terrorists then I will call them child abusers...and more.” But then, I remembered the following verse from the Quran: “Revile not those unto whom they pray beside Allah lest they wrongfully revile Allah through ignorance. Thus unto every nation have We made their deed seem fair. Then unto their Lord is their return, and He will tell them what they used to do” (chapter 6: 108). So I refrained. But this is me, I’m a Muslim who has been introduced to the ethics of freedom of speech since I was a child. I know the difference between freedom of speech and freedom

of rudeness! The movie Fitna, the Danish cartoons, and the likes are not about freedom of speech. They are about loss of ethics of speech. Who said that issues like violence, women rights, democracy cannot be debated between Muslims and others. Be as critical as one can be, but not in a disrespectful, silly, stupid or cheap manner. Freedom of speech does not teach you the difference between being critical and being disrespectful, but ethics do. In other words, freedom of speech is a necessary but insufficient tool of communication used by cultures. What we need is ethics that give freedom of speech the needed decency and respect that allows members of two different cultures to set and negotiate a common, normative ground based on areas that overlap values and respect for differences. In this light, ethics of freedom of speech is more fundamental than other issues that need to be discussed between the Islamic world and the West: Violence, human rights, and democracy. Speech, in itself, is the medium where all of these issues are debated. In other words, if we are to talk about these issues, and I think we should, then we first have to agree on the ethics of interaction, the ethics of communications, the ethics of speech. I understand that the Muslim world and the West, both have their own traditions and standards for freedom of speech. Yet, that does not preclude the two sides from agreeing on a certain level of politeness, decency, respect and seriousness of engagement. The problem is that some in the West assume the

superiority of their standards of freedom of speech and try to impose them when communicating with others without a second concern as to how uncomfortable these standards might make the ‘other.’ For example when it comes to religion, here in the Islamic world, we do have ‘red lines.’ These are not necessarily imposed by a religious establishment, as they call them in the West, or political authority. These are voluntarily set in the hearts and minds of individuals, when it comes to religion, we voluntarily accept our red lines, we adore our red lines, we are even in love with our red lines, not because we are not critical thinkers or rational beings. Remember, those red lines do not constrain thought. They ensure decency of expressions and elegance of words not only towards one’s own religion but also towards those of others; those red lines do not only apply to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), but also to Jesus, and Moses, and to any other religious figure that is valued in any society that we happen to be engaged with culturally and intellectually. Remember the verse! Muslims are not after a ‘victory for freedom of speech,’ that is easy, just take two pills of ecstasy before midnight, and by 2:00 am you are the ultimate hero of freedom of speech. Muslims are after ethics of freedom of speech, something that you cannot pursue unless you are morally and culturally sober. Otherwise, you are free to spend the next hundred years calling me a terrorist and I’m free to spend the next two hundred years calling you a child abuser!

Commenting on the harsh attacks of Islamist MPs and figures on the participation of women in sports, Dashti said that the team did not break any rules or laws, and that Kuwaiti women’s participation in sports is not something that is new to the society; women have been participating in sports since the 1950s. “We will always be there for your defense,” she promised, urging young girls and women to keep fighting and to not give up. Dashti said that women’s struggle to earn their political rights took decades to finally pay off, and warned against giving up. MP Maasouma Mubarak, echoing similar sentiments, said that each blow that the Kuwaiti woman receives should make her fight back harder. “We are always asked a question by those who don’t believe that we should be in Parliament. The question they pose is, ‘What have you done so far? You have not participated in bettering the situation; you have failed.’ They say this knowing that we are going through crisis one after the other in the Parliament. Between interpellations, parliamentary queries and more interpellations, MPs barely have time to discuss anything productive,” she noted. In women’s struggle to earn their rights, Mubarak says, they were accused of being morally wrong, corrupt, degenerate, but fighting the fight is what led them to gain their political rights in the end. She urged the Kuwaiti

MP Rola Dashti women not to let others control their destinies. “We have brains and we can think; we are capable of making choices, and we are mature enough to take responsibility for our actions. We don’t need to be told what to do by others,” insisted Mubarak. She told the audience that Kuwait needs the efforts of each and every one of its people, and urged people to be positive and hope for the best. Talking about the situation of women in society, political

activist Dr Ebtehal Al-Khateeb said that what is happening today is an attack on women because they are women. “Women are being objectified, treated as second-class citizens. When they talk about segregation and co-education and the negative impact they have on society, they always use phrases like ‘This will produce children born out of wedlock, it will make our girls become indecent dancers.’ But the blame is never put on men,” she said. Al-Khateeb noted that

women are brainwashed to believe that being in public is shameful. During the previous elections, many women were against female candidates because they are taught to believe that women are incapable of being in any leading position. This extremism is leading to more destruction in society, and pitting people against each other. “Our submission to their wishes is our loss. They say that they want to protect women, that they care so much for women and want women to be put on a pedestal, but what they want to do is render women useless, immobile, like the myth of Pygmalion,” said the English literature professor. Speaking on behalf of the women’s soccer team, member Shahad Al-Enizi said that women’s sports have existed in Kuwait during the 1950’s, and the attack on women playing sports is very discouraging. “Our country has a lot of capabilities, but the government bodies do not care about our role in sports,” she said. Asking for the support of the people of Kuwait, Al-Enizi said that other teams who are now considered difficult competition, have begun from zero and made it to the top. “We are determined to bring life back into women’s sports. We just need you to give us your help and support,” she concluded. The discussion concluded with an awards ceremony to honor the women’s soccer team.

Gulf states celebrate Nursing Day RIYADH: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states celebrated yesterday the Gulf Nursing Day under the theme ‘Gulf Nursing: Care, Uniqueness and Giving.’ Celebrating the day came in implementation of a recommendation issued at the 71st Meeting of the Executive Committee, said Director General of the Executive Office of the GCC Health Ministerial Council Dr. Tawfiq Khouja in a press release. Nursing is a major part of medical serv-

ices, as it carries both behavioral and humane aspects to it, as well as inclusive knowledge and experience required to deal with those in need of healthcare, Khouja noted. He added that out of such significance, nursing institutes were established in Gulf countries during the second half of the 20th century, starting with Saudi Arabia in 1958, Bahrain in 1959, Kuwait in 1960, Qatar in 1969, Oman in 1970 and finally the United

Arab Emirates in 1973. Dr. Khouja commended efforts by the technical nursing committee, shooting off the executive council, in holding eight seminars in this regard, with the ninth to take place in January 2011 in Muscat, Oman. He also pointed out that the committee had convened 25 times and issued a number guide books and glossaries on nursing, as well as allocating prizes for best male and female nurse. —KUNA



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fire breaks out in Khaitan, Amgarah

Egyptian technician injured in Rumaithiya accident KUWAIT: An Egyptian air-conditioning technician was taken to the hospital with a possible neck fracture. The injury occurred after the man fell off the roof of the Rumaithiya co-op while working on an air-conditioner. In another incident, an Egyptian was seriously injured when a man armed with a knife

KUWAIT: A firefighter evacuates a child from the burning apartment in Khaitan.

local spotlight

The power of Google By Muna Al-Fuzai can’t think of using anything but Google when it comes to searching for information on the internet, even when other search engines exist. Google is a great way to obtain data from anywhere and at any time in the world. Information at fingertips is what Google offers to users, regardless of whether they are businessmen, students or human rights activists. For years, this multinational giant has been developing its services to match top criteria and international standards. Its accessible all over the world, especially in places like China. Recently, Google had lodged complaint with the US Congress regarding disputes that arose over providing services in China, which possibly stemmed from alleged attempts to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. It’s a hit that didn’t prove fatal. I guess that’s what led Google to focus on adding more features to their infrastructure and architecture that enhanced Google users’ security. Also, they repeatedly advise users to use reputed anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on their computers, to


install patches for their operating systems and update their web browsers. This is to avoid possible attacks that may occur at any time. Google had made a press statement voicing concern about the status of freedom of speech in China. Google China was launched in 2006 on the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and an open Internet would outweigh their discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. However, attacks on Google’s website simply limit free speech on the web! Google has been reviewing the feasibility of its business operations in China. This means that Google may have to shut down, and potentially our offices in China. Unfortunately, there is increasing demand in Asia for information. While people want to see how the world views and thinks about them, their lifestyles etc, some governments believe that censorship of information sites and closing some of them would help control people’s attitudes and ignore their need to suppress freedom! So, freedom of speech on the internet is what the issue is all about. I wonder if shutting down a successful business venture by Google will end people’s quest for information. We live during a different era. Overpowering people’s thoughts is no longer possible thanks to global phenomenon like Google.

Special fire alarm, fighting systems for skyscrapers By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The Kuwait Fire Services Directorate (KFSD) is eager to protect skyscrapers from fires, said Brig Yousef AlAnsari. It will celebrate the Eighth Firemen Festival due to be held on March 25. This year, the event will be held under the motto ‘Your Protection is Ours’ under the patronage of the Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Roudhan Al-Roudhan. Speaking during a special press conference to announce preparations for the festival, KFSD’s Deputy Director, Brigadier Yousef Al-Ansari stressed that KFSD was keen on protecting skyscrapers from fires, and that, all newly built ones should match the fire and safety conditions regularized by KFSD in order to prevent the occurrence of fires and their spread. Furthermore, Al-Ansari added that building owners would not be able to issue a license or start operating the building unless it matches with the standard fire and safety conditions. Installation of automatic smoke detectors and fire alarm systems, special automated fire fighting systems and

KUWAIT: Brig Yousef Al-Ansari addressing the press conference. sprinklers that immediately douse the flames until firemen arrive, easy accessibility to emergency exits, special lifts to be used by firemen and special firefighting equipment are some of the other conditions that need to be met. In addition, Al-Ansari highlighted that it was ineffective to use helicopters in putting out skyscraper fires as the air generated by the chopper propellers would fuel the fire, especially in the absence of adequate ventilation windows in most of these buildings. “However, choppers can be used by fire chiefs to monitor the fire fighting operation from the sky, and give instructions to change plans according to situations,” he remarked.

Speaking about fire precautions to be taken in residential areas, Al-Ansari said that in addition to the special conditions set by the Municipality, special awareness programs are usually organized at schools, NGOs, Co-ops, Shopping malls and other bodies. “Parents should share the responsibility of looking after their children, monitoring them and instructing them on the safety precautions they need to observe in order to avoid fires.” In a surprising statement, Al-Ansari said that preparations to enroll female firefighters into the service were almost complete, and that once some legal formalities are taken, KFSD would announce and commence special training courses.

Fires A fire occurred in an apartment on the fourth floor a seven-floor building in Khaitan. Police and rescue teams responded to the emergency and found smoke throughout the building. All the tenants were evacuated in order to avoid smoke inhalation while firefighters extinguished the flames. Five residents and two firefighters were taken to Farwaniya Hospital for smoke inhalation and dehydration. Another fire occurred in the Amgarah scrap yard. Police sources noted that the yard on fire included both metal and rubber scrap items and that the fire also consumed five scrap vehicles parked nearby. The sources added that electricity technicians were contacted in order to disconnect power from some of the high voltage power lines before firefighters could attempt to put out the fire because live electrical lines had fallen into the blaze. The fire was extinguished and no casualties were reported in the fire. Gang arrested Ahmadi police arrested a five man gang consisting of three Pakistanis, one Afghan and one Somali. The gang specialized in stealing cars, dismantling them and then reselling the cars as scrap and spare parts. Investigations revealed that the men were responsible for as many as 25 thefts. The Afghan, who worked at the Amghara scrap yard, provided a facility for selling the stolen cars, a majority of which were American. The Afghan, the first to be caught, confessed to the crimes and gave up the whereabouts of the rest of his gang. Relationship trouble A Kuwaiti woman smashed her boyfriend’s vehicle repeatedly, and attempted to run over him after learning that he had abandoned her for another woman. The incident took place in Taimaa, when the woman headed to her ex-boyfriend’s place of residence after finding out that the ex-boyfriend had not been responding to her phone calls because he had ended their relationship and had begun dating another woman. In a fit of rage, she rammed into his car that was parked outside with her vehicle, and even attempted to hit him when he stepped outside, reported Al-Watan. The man managed to place an emergency call to police. A police patrol vehicle was immediately dispatched, but the woman had already fled the scene.

UN memorial UNITED NATIONS: Kuwait is among a number of member states that have contributed thousands of dollars for the erection, at a place of prominence at UN Headquarters, of a permanent memorial in acknowledgement of the tragedy and in consideration of the legacy of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

NBK supports Abdullah Al-Salem, Mansouriya Co-op KUWAIT: The National Bank of Kuwait(NBK) has recently made a financial contribution to support the activities carried out by the Abdullah Al-Salem and Mansouriya Co-op Society. The gesture was made as part of its commitment to support cooperative work at all other social aspects of the country. The contribution was handed over on behalf of the NBK by the bank’s Assistant Manager, Khadija Anbar, and the Director of the NBK’s Abdullah Al-Salem and Mansouriya Co-op Society branch, Sara Al-Miteb, to Acting General Manager of the Abdullah Al-Salem and Mansouriya Co-op Society, Mohammad Tawfiqi, and Treasurer, Yousuf Al-Tawari. Anbar conveyed the bank’s commitment towards improving their social and national contributions for the development of society. Tawfiqi also expressed gratitude towards this initiative.

robbed the bakery he was working in late one night in Jahra. The thief had two accomplices with him, waiting outside of the store in a car without a license plate. The thief attacked the Egyptian and stole KD 500 from the cash register. A case was filed and police are investigating the situation further.

KUWAIT: The accident in Rumaithiya in which an Egyptian was injured yesterday. — Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

EPA warns of serious environmental threat KUWAIT: A layer of harmful substances fourcentimeter thick currently covers the seafloor of Kuwaiti shores, reported AlWatan. The substance includes traces of sulfur, ammonia, phosphate and bacteria, and is the result of the continuous pumping of approximately 280 million gallons of sewage water into the sea daily. The sewage, emitting from the damaged Mishref sewage plant, threatens to cause a severe environmental disaster. Environmental Public Authority (EPA) tests indicate that the concentration of sulfur has reached 10,000 parts per million (ppm).

The danger of the substance lies in the fact that a concentration of sulfur can cause a chemical reaction and result in a deadly hydrogen sulfide gas. The concentration of ammonia has also reached 10 thousand ppm, while the concentration of phosphate has reached five thousand ppm. The concentration of bacteria has reached 14 thousand cells after having been recorded at about 200 cells in September. Statistics have also indicated that the oxygen level has reduced significantly. It is believed that the summer season, with higher temperatures and humidity, will experience

a mass death of fish. The Ministry of Public Works continues to dump sewage into the sea as the only means of dealing with the problem until the Mishref sewage plant is fixed. It is expected that the dumping will continue for several more months until the plant is back in service, furthering the chance of an environmental disaster to marine life. The EPA also warned about another environmental problem occurring on the beaches of the Free Zone. The Jamal Abdul-Nassir Street’s sewer is dumping sewage and oil waste from the industrial zone into the sea.

Candlelight hosts exhibition By Nawara Fattahova

Col Mohammad Al-Saber

Traffic week highlights cooperation KUWAIT: The Joint Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Traffic Week highlights solidarity and cooperation among member states in the domain, said Spokesman of the Ministry of Interior Col Mohammad Al-Saber yesterday. Al-Saber, who also serves as the Director of the MoI’s Security Media Department, said in a statement that he hoped that GCC Traffic Week 2010 would attain its objectives in reducing accidents, adding that Kuwait was proud to host the event scheduled to kick off today. This year’s slogan “Beware the Faults of Others” pinpoints the main cause of road accidents, he said, and noted that MoI’s Traffic Department was willing to participate in this event and come up with solutions and unified traffic strategies to counter the phenomenon that was agonizing both individuals and societies. Al-Saber called for participation from all society members, and noted to the great role that families, schools and the media played in promoting values of patriotism and responsibility. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Candlelight Spa hosted their first ever Beauty and Wellness Exhibition yesterday at the Marina Hotel. The event, titled ‘Spread the Passion’ was sponsored by the Kuwait Times and The exhibition included a series of events and special discounts for Candlelight members. Each event also supported a charita-

ble organization. Visitors were able to enjoy special price offers on the products and services offered by participants in the exhibition. Participants included; Beauty Bar, Miss Genic Salon, Fruits and Passion, Candlelight Spa, Platinum Health Club, Beesline, Al Muzayen Beauty Academy, Zone International and Virginia Dental Center. Visitors also benefitted from

special offers on membership to Candlelight Spa. A portion of the proceeds from new Candlelight memberships went to the Ghalia campaign, an event hosted by the Kuwait Nephrology Association whose goal is to increase awareness of kidney disease. For more information about the ‘Spread the Passion’ campaign, please visit:

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Times booth at the exhibition.

Sabah Al-Ahmad housing units not to be relocated

KUWAIT: Anbar and Al-Miteb hand over the check to Tawfiqi

KUWAIT: The Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) recently has withdrawn a previously-issued decision to relocate a number of housing units located in Sabah Al-Ahmad area, away from two sewage pipelines. The decision was made following studies conducted on the location. The relocation process was unnecessary “since the sewage pipelines themselves, buried 3.5 meters underground, and fortified with concrete could still have their routes detoured a few meters away from residential units,” experts said.

KUWAIT: One of the visitors trying a beauty product. — Photos by Joseph Shagra


Sunday, March 14, 2010

5 Al-Hashash praised for contribution

UN body tries to harness potential of youngsters UNITED NATIONS: Sergei Kambalov, executive coordinator of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) said late Friday that he was impressed with the work of Engineer Manar Al-Hashash of Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, and expressed hope that thanks to people like her, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

KUWAIT: The world’s largest flying banner was recently released in Kuwait. The flag could soon be featured in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Largest Kuwaiti flag raised KUWAIT: Marina World Company and Fiesta Kuwait Company, provider of events and celebration services, raised the largest Kuwaiti flag and the largest flag to be flown by helium balloons in the world over the weekend. The flag that measured 5,594 square meters and weighed more than 4.2 tons in total was flown above the Marina Crescent area. Three hundred tailors worked for three consecutive days, a record time, to sow a 700 kg Kuwaiti flag. 120 balloons, each measuring up to three meters in width, were then attached to the flag with 1,200 meters long ropes. The balloons, which contained helium reaching 2,000 cubic meters, were then released into the sky, lifting with it the largest flag that has ever been flown. The flag will be kept elevated for two days to become the largest national flag ever raised above Kuwaiti skies and the largest flag raised by helium balloons in the world. It will be visibly viewed at the Marina Crescent sea front. Adel Bou Shebel, spokesperson of Marina World, a United Real Estate Company project, said: “We wanted to share enjoyable moments with citizens and residents while expressing our pride for Kuwait, and we’ve done it by putting together the world’s largest flag to be flown by balloons. The event is a great opportunity for the entire community to come together and be a part of history. We would like to thank our partner Fiesta Kuwait and our sponsor Wataniya Telecom for their continuous support and for their contribution in one of the country’s breathtaking moments.” Fiesta Kuwait Company general manager, Ashraf Makarem, said: “This event is a new way to offer visitors, whether they were children or adults, great moments they can remember long after. We

The Second Strategy Planning Meeting is a follow up to the meeting held in Sharm El-Sheikh last November during the Internet Governance Forum hosted in Egypt, and attended by a number of the UN GAID e-leaders. Kambalov said the GAID Secretariat looks forward to Al-Hashash’s participation and “valuable input to the meetings, given her multi dimension experience, both internationally and locally in projects” that enables ICT for development and uses ICT to empower society in Kuwait, specially with “Kuwait e-Award” project of which she is Secretary-General. He explained that the purpose of the Second Strategy Planning Meeting is to try to bring the energy of young people all over the world, five this time, to help in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “This is what the organization is working on and this is our paramount objective for this year.” He recalled that there will be a summit next September to evaluate the progress achieved so far in achieving the development goals by the year 2015. He noted that there is a “huge potential that young people all over the world can bring to this global effort and we need to harness this potential.” The meeting is going to address “the

will be achieved by the target date of 2015. “I am very impressed. She asked a lot of questions and challenges and I need to do my homework now to be able to respond to these questions and challenges by Monday. So it is a very difficult task for me,” Kambalov said on the first day of the Second Strategy Planning Meeting of the GAID Youth eLeaders Committee which began its week-long session here on Friday.

ways how we want to cooperate with young agents of progress in countries all over the world. Their opinion, input, insight, new solutions that they bring are very important,” he said. “Sometimes you need something that you never thought about and this is what young people are good for,” he noted, adding that “we very much hope that their energy and their creativity will help us.” The meeting will include high level meetings with UN GAID officials to help finalize the 2010 Strategy Plan, and to have the consensus on the strategic objectives. Then the plan will be presented to the UN GAID Steering Committee for discussion and eventually submitted for approval at the end of the meeting. Asked what the contribution of an expert from Kuwait means to him, Kambalov said that “we are very much interested in working with governments and peoples of the region. We believe the potential of the region is not utilized to the appropriate extent.” He added that he has been trying personally to build contacts with governments and organizations in the region and “I am very encouraged that there are very energetic knowledgeable people in youth organizations in these countries, in particular in Kuwait who are willing to work with us so that together we can move towards

achieving the MDGs.” He indicated that he is “very open to this education from young leaders. I personally believe that our organization can benefit a lot from our continued cooperation.” Asked if he is hopeful the MDGs will be achieved by the 2015 deadline, he said, “I am hopeful that we are going to be able to make significant tangible progress for people on the ground.” He argued that what is important is not the miracle figures that are to be reported. What matters, rather, is the “tangible improvement of peoples’ lives, with dignity, peace and prosperity.” He noted that “we still have five years and I am a big believer in ICT as a tool for development and we will do our best to foster and boost development so that we can report in five years that yes we are able to do what we plan to do in 2015.” On the impact of the global economic crisis on GAID, Kambalov said that “of course it has affected everybody. It certainly damped the people’s hopes and expectations because they don’t want to get back to where they started from.” However, he added, “crises come and go and we remain very determined to achieve tangible progress in development and the MDGs are a great structure for our work towards this goal.” — KUNA

Kuwaiti charitable projects in Egypt AL-SHARQIYAH: Kuwait’s Ambassador to Egypt Dr Rasheed Al-Hamad inaugurated here on Thursday two charitable projects established by the Kuwaiti office of charitable projects in Egypt. The projects are Abdullah Mohammad Al-Bahar Mosque, which cost about $124,000 and Moodhi Saud Al-Zabin Mosque, which cost around $164,000. Al-Hamad said that the inauguration of the projects were executed in cooperation with protocols signed by Egypt and Kuwait and as part of the Gulf state’s humanitarian role in the region. It also reflects the intimacy between people of

were looking forward to launching the flag and marking this day. We thank our partner Marina World, Perals industry and Oxygen Kuwait, for mak-

ing this event a successful one and we look forward for similar innovative events in the future.” The launch was originally

scheduled on February 24, 2010 during the official national celebrations. It has been postponed due to sandy weathers taking place at the time.

Sudanese approval for Al-Hamad university KHARTOUM: The Sudanese cabinet has approved the launching of Abdullatif AlHamad technological university in the northern city of Marwa. The university was named after Director General and Board Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) in appreciation for his contributions to vital projects, Sudanese Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General Abdulbaset Saleh Sabdarat told reporters here. “AFESD, led by Al-Hamad, made outstanding contributions to the implementation of gigantic development projects in Sudan such as Marwa Dam; this is why Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir decided in August, 2009, to name the planned university after Al-Hamad,” the minister noted. In last March, Al-Bashir granted AlHamad the Order of the Republic, of the first rank on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of the Mawra hydroelectri-

cal station. Al-Hamad was also granted an honorary doctorate in economics from Khartoum University in recognition of his efforts in the country’s socio-economic development. Al-Hamad has been Director General and Board Chairman of AFESD since 1985. He also doubles as member of the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank which helps the world’s poorest countries, member of the United Nations University’s (UNU’s) Institute of Advanced Studies in Tokyo, and member of the advisory council of the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK). Al-Hamad is former Kuwaiti minister of finance and planning and ex-director general of Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED). Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur, Sudanese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ali Ahmad Karti on Friday hailed the State of Kuwait’s unconditional support for Sudan, besides development of investment and

Police save teenager KUWAIT: A 13-year-old female citizen was pushed into the elevator of a building in Farwaniya by a 30-year-old Gulf Cooperative Council citizen who then tried to rape her. An Asian man, who works at a nearby dry cleaning shop, tried to use the elevator but was pushed out by the kidnapper, reported Al-Watan. The kidnapper then decided to take the girl to the roof and continue his assault. Police received an emergency call from the top storey residents of the building who could hear her screams. As they arrived the kidnapper released the girl and tried to escape. Police found the man hiding between water tankers and arrested him after a brief struggle. He was taken to a local police station and referred to the Public Prosecutor.

commercial sectors in the African country. Minister Karti said in a statement here to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) on the sidelines of the second consultative conference of the Sudanese ambassadors in the Asian countries that “Kuwaiti leadership and people were and still are the closest friends of Sudan,” expressing his gratitude to the state of Kuwait for its humanitarian support in Sudan. He added that Kuwait has big investment projects in his country, especially in the telecommunications firms and in the fields of energy and air transport, expecting Kuwaiti investments to grow in the coming two years. Malaysia hosts today the second consultative conference of the Sudanese ambassadors in the Asian countries with the aim of boosting the political and economic relations between Sudan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) following the Sundanese government’s adoption of the east-oriented policy. — KUNA

the two countries, he said. Kuwait is keen on investing in charitable and governmental projects around the world, especially in Egypt, he pointed out. He praised the efforts of the Kuwaiti office of charitable projects, which is a subsidiary of Kuwait’s Zakat House. The director of the office Ismail AlKandiri said that other Kuwaiti projects will be inaugurated soon in other Egyptian governorates. Such projects boost the Kuwaiti-Egyptian relations, he emphasized. Meanwhile, Zakat House’s Deputy Director for Social Services Khalid AlHusaini said that the two new projects

were among many Kuwaiti charitable projects in Egypt. Since its establishment some 20 years ago, the office executed about 2,000 projects including mosques, religious institutions, orphanages, hospitals, and schools, he said. The projects are executed in cooperation with the Egyptian Awqaf Ministry, he noted. The inauguration of the two projects was attended by Egypt’s Awqaf Undersecretary Mohammad Mustafa Hamza and Deputy Governor of AlSharqiyah Major General Ahmad Fouzi. —KUNA



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Doha to host meeting on CITES agreements KUWAIT: The Qatari capital of Doha is to host from March 13 to 25 the 15th meeting of the member states of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, aka (CITES), with the participation of 2000 high-profile figures from 175 countries including Kuwait. Director General of Kuwait’s Environment Public Authority (EPA) Dr. Salah Al-Mudhi said in a press statement that the authority will lead the Kuwaiti delegation to the meeting with the participation of 11 Kuwaiti bodies. Al-Mudhi also said that Kuwait played a pioneering role in concluding the CITES agreement as one of the significant international environmental agreements.

A group photo featuring the Turkish Ambassador to Kuwait, NBK CEO Ibraheem Dabdoub, NBK Deputy CEO Sheikha Al-Bahar, NBK Investment CEO Salah AlFulaij, Head of the Turkish delegation and the ISPAT Alpaslan Korkmaz, and members of the delegation.

(From right) NBK Investment CEO, Salah Al-Fulaij, NBK’s Banking Group of Companies Mazin Al-Nahidh, NBK executive director Essam Al-Saqr, the Turkish Ambassador to Kuwait Mehmet Hilmi Dedeoglu and NBK’s Treasury Group Manager George Rishani.

Turkish Ambassador welcomes economic delegation KUWAIT: The Turkish Ambassador to Kuwait, Mehmet Hilmi Dedeoglu held a reception for the Turkish commercial and economic delegation that is currently visiting Kuwait after receiving an invitation from the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK). The event was attended by various diplomats and NBK senior officials, who talked about the latest developments that plagued the region’s economy. The Ambassador praised the role played by the NBK in supporting the cooperative relations shared between Turkey and Kuwait. The NBK held a seminar in cooperation with the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT) that discussed the investment opportunities available in Turkey. The seminar focused on several points, including the level and importance of cooperation shared between Kuwait and Turkey, which while currently still is in its preliminary stages, possesses high potential for

He went on to say that Kuwait is one of the first states which signed this agreement on April 9, 1973, pointing out the agreement took effect on July 1, 1975. This agreement aims at organizing and monitoring the international trade in some selected kinds of animals and plants in order not to die out and it allows states to export such kinds at a regulated and sustainable level in what not damages survival of the species, he added. Concerning the CITES conference, he said that it is going to mull more than 40 proposals, besides taking new measures for sustainable protection and management of blue fins tuna fish and a wide range of sharks, reptiles, insects and plants. —KUNA

in the news Power connection transactions KUWAIT: The Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) will adopt procedures to reduce the documentation process involved to obtain a power connection, announced Head of the Power Extension Department. “Applications seeking power connection will be discussed within three days, after the end of the checking process,” said Imad Al-Obaid. He added that citizens will not be required to check with the department, but can carry out their transactions through MEW-certified electricians. Furthermore, Al-Obaid urged citizens to abide by construction regulations set by the Kuwait Municipality. This is in order to avoid delay in obtaining a power connection which is taken as a punitive measure in case violations occur.

Female firefighters

NBK CEO Ibraheem Dabdoub with the Turkish Ambassador. development. Kuwaiti investors had a chance to view the investment environment in Turkey, and interact with the ISPAT that is directly affiliated with the Turkish Prime Minister. Also, the seminar focused on the importance of the future economic developments that are to take place in

Turkey, in light of the expected progress made on that regard. The Turkish economy serves as the main gate to European markets. The third issue that the seminar focused on was the NBK’s role in the local market, and their contribution to the country’s projected five-year plan of development.

Al-Bahar is pictured here with Korkmaz and a businessman.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Fire Services Directorate (KFSD)’s Deputy Director for Firefighting Brig Yousef Al-Ansari announced a project to enlist Kuwaiti women as firefighters will be implemented soon. He pointed out that the first course for female firefighters will be held soon. Further, Al-Ansari stressed that the KFSD will get help from highly qualified trainers, possibly of both genders, to train female firefighters in a special training course, reported Annahar. In addition, AlAnsari announced that the Eighth Fireman Festival will be held on March 25 under the patronage of the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Roudhan AlRoudhan entitled ‘Protecting You is Protecting Us.’ On another concern, Al-Ansari said that new safety conditions had been set for high buildings and towers, including using reliable firefighting and alarm systems to prevent the break out of a before obtaining a license.

Sunday, March 14, 2010



Abbas lashes out at Iran Tehran ‘blocking’ Fatah-Hamas reconciliation

TUNIS: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has lashed out at Iran, blaming Tehran for being behind the latest failure to reconcile his secular Fatah movement with its Islamist rival Hamas. “Iran doesn’t want Hamas to sign the Cairo reconciliation document,” Abbas said during a

Iraq PM picks up steam in bid to retain his post BAGHDAD: Iraqi premier Nuri Al-Maliki’s bid to retain his job gained steam yesterday, as early results crucially put him ahead in Baghdad, while rival blocs began jostling over the formation of a government. Though the preliminary figures represent less than one-third of all votes cast, they have put Maliki firmly in pole position in the race for the top job, with only ex-premier Iyad Allawi having emerged as a potential rival. The results from Iraq’s second parliamentary election since Saddam Hussein’s ouster seven years ago, which sparked widespread sectarian bloodshed, come less than six months ahead of a dramatic US military downsizing which will see all American combat troops leave the country by the end of August. Analysts said, however, that Maliki could be blocked in his bid to hold onto office even if his State of Law Alliance was the biggest single party in parliament, as other groups could maneuver to form a government without him. With 18 percent of ballots counted in Baghdad, Maliki’s State of Law Alliance was comfortably ahead with around 150,000 votes, followed by the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), a coalition led by Shiite religious parties, with 108,000. Allawi’s secular Iraqiya bloc was third on 105,000. Baghdad and its seven million residents account for 70 parliamentary seats, or more than one-fifth of the 325-member Council of Representatives, making it a crucial win for any would-be government. News of Maliki’s lead in Baghdad came shortly after a senior member of his coalition said State of Law had formed a committee to begin negotiating with rival blocs to hammer out a government. “The committee met with representatives of four political entities that made progress in the elections,” Abbas Al-Bayati, a candidate for the coalition said, but he declined to say with which blocs the talks were held. But Baghdad University pro-

fessor Hamid Fadhel said that even if Maliki’s group emerged as the biggest party in parliament, other groups could still shut him out and manage to form a government. “There exists a desire to form an alliance between the INA and the Kurds, possibly also with Allawi,” he said. “They have all refused a long time to really see Maliki as the prime minister.” Underscoring Fadhel’s analysis, Allawi and Iraq’s Sunni Vice-President Tareq Al-Hashemi were due to arrive in Arbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, yesterday to meet with regional president Massud Barzani. Barzani’s office said he and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, himself a Kurd, also met with Shiite VicePresident Adel Abdel Mahdi, an INA candidate, on Friday. Iraq’s proportional representation electoral system makes it unlikely that any single grouping will clinch the 163 seats necessary to form a government on its own. Preliminary results from the March 7 polls released since Thursday have put Maliki’s coalition in the lead in the predominantly Shiite southern provinces of Najaf, Babil, Karbala and Muthanna. Iraqiya was ahead in the mostly Sunni provinces of Diyala and Salaheddin, while the INA was in pole position in Shiite Maysan. The Kurdistania alliance, made up of Barzani and Talabani’s long-dominant blocs, was leading in Arbil province. Complete results are expected on March 18 and the final ones-after any appeals are dealt with-will likely come at the end of the month. Iraqiya has alleged “flagrant fraud” took place during the election, but those complaints were described as “exaggerated” by State of Law. An IHEC official has said the claims of fraud were either politically motivated or fuelled by a misunderstanding of the counting procedures, but said they would nevertheless be investigated. — AFP

Major issues in Mideast peace US Middle East envoy George Mitchell returns to the region next week to try to salvage indirect peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians have said the process may be thwarted unless Israel cancels a plan announced this week to build 1,600 settler homes near Jerusalem. Here are major issues on the table: TWO-STATE SOLUTION The Obama administration is pushing for an agreement that would create a state for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip alongside Israel, the so-called two-state solution at the core of US efforts for an Israeli-Palestinian peace. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said a Palestinian state must be demilitarized so as not to threaten Israel. The Palestinians do not object to this demand, but say it should be discussed in negotiations with Israel. ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS Ahead of a final peace agreement that would determine the status of settlements Israel has built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - land it captured in the 1967 Middle East war Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for a total freeze of their expansion in line with a commitment Israel made under a 2003 US-backed “road map” for peace. Among other things, the “road map” also committed the Palestinian Authority “to move against those planning or executing attacks on Israelis”. Western powers say Abbas has improved Israel’s security, but Israel says

it is not enough. Netanyahu announced in November a 10month halt to new housing starts in West Bank settlements. He did not apply the measure to East Jerusalem, also captured from Jordan in 1967. Palestinians say all settlements should be evacuated, and along with the World Court and major powers, consider them illegal. Netanyahu has pledged to keep several major settlement blocs in any peace deal. Previous Israeli governments have said they could compensate by giving Palestinians land elsewhere. JERUSALEM Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City and its sites sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians, to be the capital of the state they aim to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Netanyahu has said Jerusalem would remain Israel’s “indivisible and eternal” capital. Israel’s claim to Jerusalem is not recognized internationally. REFUGEES Palestinians have long demanded that refugees who fled or were forced to leave in the war of Israel’s creation in 1948 should be allowed to return, along with millions of their descendants. Yet Palestinian negotiators have signaled they would accept “a just and agreed-upon” solution for refugees as laid out in a UN resolution that mentions compensation for those who settle elsewhere. Israel says any resettlement of Palestinian refugees must occur outside of its borders. — Reuters

Abbas said that while Hamas’ leaders had initially indicated their approval of the document, they later began putting forth excuses to refuse to sign. The Fatah leader said his goal was to “pull our people out from Iranian tutelage”. Hamas routed Fatah from the Gaza Strip in 2007 after deadly fighting, a year after winning Palestinian legislative elections. New legislative elections were due to have been held early this year, but they have since been postponed indefinitely as Hamas refuses to allow any vote in Gaza without a unity agreement with Abbas’s Fatah movement. EU mulls sanctions The European Union will unilaterally impose new sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear program if there is no consensus at the UN, Finland’s foreign minister said yesterday. “I think we’ll be able to convince China and Russia and I’m confident that we’ll get something at the UN Security Council,” Alexander Stubb said on the sidelines of a meeting of his peers in Finland. “Failing (this) there would mean unilateral EU sanctions, we would do it unilaterally within the European Union,” he said, adding: “There is consensus enough.” Western governments, particularly the United States and France, are seeking further sanctions on Tehran in the hope of stopping the Islamic republic’s nuclear drive, which they suspect may be aimed at acquiring atomic weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes. Of the five permanent Security Council members, currently only China opposes new measures against Iran. The 15-strong UN Security Council has five permanent veto-wielding members: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. Adoption of a resolution requires at least nine votes from the council and no veto from the permanent members. But Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who is also attending the same meeting in Finland, said Anakara opposed new sanctions.— Agencies

meeting in the Tunisian capital. Fatah and Hamas struggled for months to reach a unity deal under Egyptian mediation, but the efforts collapsed late last year when Hamas refused to agree to a proposal that was signed by Fatah.

TUNIS: Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (right) confers with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, at the presidential palace in Tunis. — AP

Lula in landmark Middle East tour Brazil to bring a fresh perspective to peace process BRASILIA: President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva seeks to bring a fresh perspective to the peace process in a visit next week to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan that also aims to boost Brazil’s growing global clout. The peace effort requires “someone with neutrality to speak the truth to the Israelis, to tell the truth to Palestinians, Iranians, Syrians, and whoever wants to hear the truth,” the Brazilian leader said in an interview released ahead of his departure. Lula argued the United Nations should also play a more prominent role in the region as “a great articulator” of peace in an interview with the Israeli newspapers Haaretz and The Marker and the BrazilArab News Agency (ANBA). But he said the UN’s role is limited because “the Security Council does not represent 21st century geopolitics,” according to a transcript released here. Lula’s trip, the first to the region by a Brazilian head of state, comes days after Israel’s controversial decision on new settlements in east Jerusalem and as the newly minted Security Council non-permanent member seeks a voice in efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Israel announced its approval this week for the construction of 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers in Arab east Jerusalem, threatening US hopes of reviving stalled peace talks. Brazil has also stepped into other regional issues with a growing confidence in past months, clashing with both the United States and Germany over their drive to impose more sanctions on Iran over its suspect nuclear program. Tomorrow, Lula meets in Jerusalem with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and opposition leader Tzipi Livni, the former foreign minister. The next day Lula crosses over to the West Bank for meetings with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and prime minister Salam Fayad. In a symbolic move expressing solidarity with Palestinians, Lula will stay the night in Bethlehem and on Wednesday visit the seat of the beleaguered government in Ramallah. He will then leave for Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II to discuss Brazil’s boosted role in the Mideast peace negotiations. Toward the end of 2009 the Brazilian leader began to play a larger role in Middle East affairs as the South American country

seeks to boost its international profile to match its growing economic clout. In November, Lula made a blunt demand for Tel Aviv to freeze expansion of West Bank settlements. “The borders of the future Palestinian state should be preserved, and freedom of movement needs to be guaranteed in the occupied territories,” he said after meeting for two hours with Abbas. Brazil’s foreign ministry also expressed “deep concern” that Israel intends to build new homes on land Palestinians want as part of the capital of their future state. Lula has also made clear he considers Iranian participation key to peace efforts. He visited Tehran in May last year and in turn welcomed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brazil in November. Earlier this month, Lula said it is “not prudent to push Iran into a corner. It is prudent to make it so that Iran continues to negotiate.” Israel’s announcement Tuesday to expand settlements infuriated Palestinians, who consider the new homes to be a major hurdle to a peace accord. The return to construction sparked swift condemnation from key Israeli ally the United States and a number of other countries including Britain, Russia and China. — AFP



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Church apologizes, vows action on abuse VATICAN CITY: The head of Germany’s Catholic Church has apologized to victims of child abuse by priests and met Pope Benedict who encouraged him to press ahead with tough new measures. Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of the German Bishops’ Conference, said his church would investigate numerous allegations of abuse in Catholic institutions, as well as counseling victims and taking measures to prevent abuse in the future. But, amid calls within the Roman Catholic faith for a discussion of celibacy, Zollitsch strongly denied it was to blame, echoing comments made earlier in day by the pope himself. “The German bishops are dismayed by what has happened and the acts of violence against children,” Zollitsch said after a 45minute private audience with the pope. “A few weeks ago I asked forgiveness from the victims, something which I must repeat today in Rome.” Zollitsch said he had briefed Benedict about the situation in Germany, where more than 100 reports have emerged of abuse at Catholic institutions, including one linked to

the prestigious Regensburg choir run by the pope’s brother from 1964 to 1994. “With great shock, keen interest and deep sadness, the Holy Father took note of what I had to say,” Zollitsch told a news conference, adding they had not discussed Regensburg choir or Rev. Georg Ratzinger, who has admitted to slapping boys. In a fresh development in Germany, the pope’s former diocese in Bavaria said he was involved in a decision in 1980 to move a priest there who was suspected of child abuse. The pontiff-then Joseph Ratzinger-jointly agreed to the priest undergoing therapy at a rectory in the diocese of Munich and Freising, where he was archbishop from 1977 to 1981. However, rather than sending the priest for therapy as had been agreed, the diocese’s then general vicar, Gerhard Gruber, assigned him to a Munich parish without restrictions. Gruber took full responsibility for the decision. Zollitsch said he informed the pope of the German Church’s plans for tackling the crisis, including the appointment of a special

VATICAN CITY: Archbishop Robert Zollitsch leaves after a press conference following an audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. —AP

Regional elections to humble Sarkozy French left riding high PARIS: The French left is riding high into regional elections today likely to end in a setback for President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservatives, blamed by many voters for failing to protect their jobs amid economic downturn.

France’s struggle to integrate its millions of Muslims has also come to the fore in the campaign for 1,880 seats on regional governments in mainland France and in overseas regions from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean.

PARIS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers his speech during the opening session of the international conference on major forest areas in this photo. —AP

Serbia detains 9 for Kosovo war crimes BELGRADE: Serbian investigators detained nine former paramilitaries in an investigation of war crimes during the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo, a sign of government resolve to deal with Serbia’s wartime past as the country aims for EU membership, a official said yesterday. Prosecuting atrocities committed by Serbs in the 1990s during a series of wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, Serbia’s former southern province, is a major precondition for Belgrade to speed up its bid to join the European Union. “Nine men were taken for questioning over the killing of 41 of Kosovo Albanian civilians in Kosovo’s village of Cuska on May 14 1999,” said Bruno Vekaric, a spokesman for Serbia’s office of the war crimes prosecutor. “Another two remain at large.” Vekaric said the suspects had served as members of a paramilitary unit known as The Jackals that fought alongside Serbian security forces in Kosovo during the 1998-1999 war there. “We are also investigating the role of a total of 41 people, paramilitaries, reservists from the so-called territorial defense forces and reserve police troops during the Kosovo war and some of them are in other countries,” Vekaric said. Thousands died during the Kosovo war and hundreds of thousands fled their homes. The conflict ended with the 1999 NATO bombing which forced Serbia to end its crackdown on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians. Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 2008. Several top Serbian officials, police and military commanders, including former President Slobodan Milosevic, have been tried for atrocities in Kosovo before the United Nations war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands. Last year Serbia formally applied for full membership in the EU. It also secured the unblocking of an interim trade deal as well as visafree travel within the 27-nation bloc. Vekaric said prosecutors intend to use new legal provisions that allow confiscation of property illegally gained by convicted war criminals in the indictments for Cuska killings. “This was not only a vicious and cowardly slaughter of unarmed people but also an outright robbery. We want to seize every last bit they took,” he said. To secure the ratification of the pre-EU membership Stabilization and Association Agreement, Serbia must arrest Ratko Mladic, a Bosnian Serb ex-general sought by the UN war crimes court for genocide over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. The Netherlands, whose UN peacekeepers were deployed in and around Srebrenica during the killings but had no heavy weapons nor the mandate to intervene, wants to see Mladic captured before Serbia enjoys the trade benefits of the accord. —Reuters

representative on abuse, and Benedict had encouraged the “decisive and courageous” adoption of the measures. The archbishop said the German measures were separate from a rulebook being prepared by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which oversees Catholic doctrine. With the German Church still collecting information about the total number of abuse cases, Zollitsch also said it was premature to talk about compensation for victims.

Pope, archbishop staunchly defend celibacy

No wish to ‘Americanize’ Somali conflict: US official WASHINGTON: A top US official has denied reports of a boost in US military aid to Somalia’s transitional federal government (TFG), and said there was no intention to “Americanize” the conflict in the horn of Africa. “We have provided limited military support to the TFG... (but) the US does not plan, does not direct, and does not coordinate the military operations of the TFG,” said Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. He insisted that The New York Times inaccurately reported last week that US special operations forces could help the Somali government dislodge Al-Qaedalinked insurgents Shebab from Mogadishu. “We are not providing nor paying for military advisors for the TFG. There is no desire to Americanize the conflict in Somalia,” Carson said. Asked to comment on the Somali government’s reconciliation strategy, he said the TFG should “broaden its base as much as possible, to bring in as much clan as possible.” In Washington’s view, he added, “any moderate Islamists who are seeking peace, are denouncing el Shebab and want to be part of

a peace process should in fact be considered for inclusion in the TFG government.” Mogadishu and other parts of central and southern Somalia under insurgent control have been bracing for a major offensive by the government and the African Union peacekeeping mission, known as AMISOM. The head of the US Africa Command, General William Ward, told a Senate hearing Tuesday that he supported the TFG’s effort to retake Mogadishu and bring stability to their nation. US President Barack Obama’s administration has stepped up support for the TFG, sending it weapons since last year to help fend off the Shebab. Many Americans remain haunted by the last US intervention in Somalia which began as a relief operation to avert famine in the early 1990s. In October 1993, forces loyal to warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid killed 18 US soldiers, dragging some of their bodies through the streets. More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes across Somalia since the start of the year amid “relentless and indiscriminate” fighting, the UN refugee agency said Friday. — AFP

The opposition Socialists won control of 20 of the 22 regions on mainland France in the last election, in 2004. Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party had hoped to win some of those back in this election, but polls suggest the Socialist-led left will win the overwhelming majority of regions. Socialist leader Martine Aubry, whose party long has suffered from division and lack of a new vision, even said she hoped for a “grand slam” leftist domination of all the regions. “There is a willingness to sanction the government that isn’t doing enough, the minimum to help its citizens during a crisis that is really tragic for a lot of people,” said Charles Comman, a 32-year-old Paris voter. Since Sarkozy’s supporters are showing little interest in the campaign, those voters who do cast ballots are likely to do so to express discontent with a president who pledged when he was elected to turn the country into an economic powerhouse. The fallout from France’s worst recession since World War II is still pinching industries from car-making to hotels. Joblessness is at its highest level in a decade, over 10 percent. Workers in a number of factories have locked up managers to protest layoffs in recent months, and scattered strikes hit the country this week, from day cares to doctors’ offices. Today’s first round of voting will only give a partial picture of what the regional leadership will look like, ahead of the decisive March 21 runoff. Today, polls predict that candidates from Sarkozy’s UMP and the Socialist Party will come in with about 29 percent of the vote each, followed by those from Europe Ecologie, a green-minded party whose popularity has grown amid concern over global warming. In the runoff, however, the Socialists and Europe Ecologie and smaller leftist parties are expected to join forces in some regions to give the left the majority. “Victory ... is at our fingertips,” Europe Ecologie leader Cecile Duflot said at a campaign rally. The far right National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen, now running in what may be his last election, had played that kingmaker role in past elections. Polls predict his party will come in fourth overall. Sarkozy is not on the ballot but is likely to emerge the big loser in this vote. Sarkozy appealed to his conservative base in an interview with Le Figaro Magazine released Thursday, pledging to install more surveillance cameras nationwide and to not raise taxes. Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who has taken a more prominent role in the campaign, raised the issue of national identity at a rally Thursday. He said a law forbidding the full-face Islamic veil would be submitted in the spring. The government launched nationwide debates on what it means to be French in November just as the election campaign was getting into full swing, and it raised questions about how France is integrating its several million-strong Muslim population, western Europe’s largest. For most voters, campaign issues are local. — AP

‘SEXUAL VIOLENCE’ The German lay movement, We Are Church, criticized the meeting for not spelling out concrete measures to be taken. “Instead of apologizing to the victims from far-off Rome, Archbishop Zollitsch should go soon to meet victims, listen to them and seek ways and rituals of reconciliation with them,” it said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that Pope Benedict did not offer any words of sympathy for the victims or seek reconciliation with them.” It said the Vatican should “recognize sexual violence as a worldwide structural problem

of the Catholic Church that increasingly obscures the message of Jesus.” As allegations multiplied in Austria and the Netherlands, the Vatican expressed alarm about the gravity of the crisis this week. Child abuse scandals in Ireland and the United States wreaked havoc on the Church’s reputation and finances, with the US Church paying some $2 billion in settlements. The latest scandal is especially delicate for German-born Benedict, Munich’s bishop from 1977 to 1981. With public opinion in Germany boiling as more cases of abuse emerge, the vice president of the Bundestag lower house, Wolfgang Thierse, called for him to apologize on behalf of those responsible. Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, a close ally of the pope, has called for the Church to discuss taboo issues such as celibacy, priestly training and changed social attitudes to sex. But Benedict on Friday praised celibacy as “the sign of full devotion ... an expression of giving oneself to God and to others”, making clear that there was no prospect of change. —Reuters

in the news 14 killed in Madagascar

Moscow policeman shot dead

ANTANANARIVO: At least 14 people were killed and nearly 38,000 left homeless when tropical storm Hubert smashed into Madagascar this week, authorities said yesterday. “So far we have counted 14 dead, two missing and 37,891 homeless on the east coast,” of the Indian Ocean island, the press service of the national emergencies office BNGRC said. Hubert caused torrential rain all week on Madagascar, which only finally stopped on Friday morning. “Our main problem now is evacuating victims,” a spokesman for the BNGRC said, adding that 50 tons of rice had been sent to each of the six districts worst affected. Hubert was the first cyclone to cause serious damage on the island in the current cyclone season, which began in November and ends in April. Last year 24 people were killed in the passage of two cyclones. In January and February 2008 cyclones Fame and Ivan killed 97 people.

MOSCOW: Russian investigators say a policeman has been shot dead and his colleague wounded after they pulled over a car and one of the three men inside opened fire. A statement posted yesterday on the Investigative Committee’s website describes the suspects as appearing to be from Russia’s southern North Caucasus region. The statement says the officers, members of a rapid-reaction force, stopped a black BMW that had no license plate in western Moscow early yesterday. One of the three inside produced a gun, shooting one officer dead and critically injuring the other with shots to the head and stomach. Russian news agencies say the suspects remain at large. Such clashes are regular events in the North Caucasus regions of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, but relatively rare in Moscow.

Nuke drill mistaken for attack LONDON: Panicked residents of a southern England village barricaded themselves inside their homes and prepared for disaster after mistaking a training exercise for a nuclear accident. Emergency services were inundated with 999 calls - the British equivalent of 911 - as inhabitants of Portland, in the southern England county of Dorset, worried they were under attack, or that a nuclear submarine in a nearby port had malfunctioned. Dorset County Council said yesterday the incident happened Wednesday, as local officials rehearsed their emergency plan, which included delivering emergency leaflets to local homes. The local authority insists it warned local people in advance about the drill. Portland Port often harbors Royal Navy nuclear powered submarines.

4 militants slain in Dagestan MOSCOW: Russian security forces yesterday killed four militants in a special operation in Russia’s troubled southern region of Dagestan, officials said. “Four militants who showed armed resistance were liquidated” in the clash in the Khasavurtovsky region of Dagestan, an official with the local branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB) told the Interfax news agency. The official said that three of the dead had already been identified as known members of a local militant group planning attacks. The militants had been surrounded in a private house and opened fire when they were asked to surrender, the reports said. Dagestan and other regions of the Russian northern Caucasus have been the scene of regular deadly clashes in recent months between Islamist militants and security forces amid an escalating insurgency.

‘Hung Parliament’ possible as Britain elections tighten LONDON: The latest buzz word in the clubby world of British politics is “hung Parliament.” It doesn’t mean the current Parliament would be hanged, although some voters in these troubled economic times might relish that idea. It means an election so close that no party receives more than half the seats in the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament. It’s commonplace in most parliamentary democracies, but hasn’t happened here for more than three decades and the very idea has sent financiallybattered Britain into a tizzy, causing the pound to tumble. Prime Minister Gordon Brown must call a vote by June 3, with an early May date deemed likely. The widespread assumption that Conservative Party leader David Cameron would win an outright majority in the new Parliament has evaporated. “It’s just about 50-50 that we’ll have a hung Parliament,” said Bob Worcester, founder of the Ipsos MORI polling firm, which will be conducting Election Day exit polls for British news stations. Voters seem tired of Brown and the Labor Party apparatus after 13 years in power, but it is not clear if they have really warmed up to Cameron in sufficient numbers to give him full control of Parliament. If Cameron falls short, is Britain headed for its own hanging chad moment? In the contested US election of 2000, the electoral college rules were clear, but the state of Florida’s vote-counting mecha-

nism was subject to all kinds of hiccups. Britain suffers from the opposite problem: the voting process is smooth but constitutional arrangements are fuzzy. The prospect of a hung Parliament might have insiders reaching for their copy of the British constitution - only there isn’t one. This proud, time-tested democracy relies instead on a series of precedents and accepted conventions that comprise its own complex unwritten charter. No one knows exactly how a hung Parliament would play out. An election in which no party gets an absolute majority raises a number of possibilities: There may be political horsetrading leading to a coalition government, a rarity in Britain; a weak minority government chronically unable to muster policy support; or a second election, as was the case in 1974, another year in which Britain was going through an economic crisis. The uncertainty has rattled the financial markets. Traders would prefer to see stability and predictability in a country coping with frightening levels of debt. The postelection period would also raise the profile of Queen Elizabeth II, who is head of state but in reality prohibited from having a direct political role. As monarch she would have to grant one of the party leaders permission to form a new government, and she would also have to OK a second election if needed. Her advisers want to make sure she isn’t dragged by events into a partisan role. — AP

LONDON: Britain’s Parliament buildings, The Palace of Westminster is seen from Westminster Bridge in London. The latest buzz word in the clubby world of British politics is “hung Parliament.” It doesn’t mean the current Parliament would be hanged, although some voters in these troubled economic times might relish that idea. — AP


Sunday, March 14, 2010


‘Red Shirts’ descend on Thai capital amid tension BANGKOK: Thousands of supporters of deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra gathered near ministry buildings in Bankgkok yesterday to rally against the government, sporting their signature red shirts. Police said about 12,000 Red Shirts had arrived at a stage rigged up near a Bangkok bridge, while some 50,000 protesters had passed through military checkpoints set up at entry points to the capital throughout the day. “The official number at (the) bridge now is 12,000, but 50,000 protesters and 7,000 vehicles have gone through the checkpoints,” said a police spokesman, Major General Prawut Thavornsiri. Thai authorities have used a tough security law to deploy a 50,000-strong security force, including soldiers, to patrol the streets and search protesters, fearing some could incite trouble ahead of today’s main rally. The Red Shirts travelled mostly by pick-up

BANGKOK: Supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra cheer to speech from their leader during an anti-government rally in Bangkok yesterday. — AP

North Korea to rejoin nuclear talks in April SEOUL: North Korea plans to head back to the bargaining table early next month for talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program, a news report said yesterday. The North, believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for at least a half-dozen bombs, quit international disarmament-for-aid negotiations and conducted a second nuclear test last year, drawing tightened UN sanctions. The North has said it will only return to the talks, which involve the US, South Korea, China, Russia and Japan - after the sanctions are lifted and it holds peace talks with the United States on formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War. The US and South Korea have responded that the North must first return to the negotiating table and make progress on denuclearization. An unidentified North Korean official in Beijing said Pyongyang will return to the six-way talks in early April and “present its idea to move forward denuclearization,” South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported yesterday. The official said his country will see how the US will react to the North’s plan, noting that the next move will be up to Washington. A North Korean diplomat in Beijing who was contacted by The Associated Press said he had not heard of such plans. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media. A senior South Korean official

involved in the nuclear talks also said he did not have information on the North’s reported plan, saying he could not predict when the talks would resume. He asked not to be identified, citing the issue’s sensitivity. The nuclear talks were last held in Beijing in December 2008. Separately, former UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei called for constructive dialogue and engagement to end North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. “The issue involves North Korea’s insecurity and need for economic development, and in order for headway to be made, the world should address both these issues,” ElBaradei said in a news conference in Seoul on Friday, according to Yonhap news agency. The negotiations to get Pyongyang back to the talks are occurring amid reports of a possible succession movement in North Korea. North Korea plans to distribute portraits of leader Kim Jong Il’s youngest son, Kim Jong Un, Yonhap said, citing a Japan-based North Korean human rights group. Lee Young-hwa, head of group RENK, said he got information that North Korea prepared Jong Un’s portraits to make sure they can be hung in factories and homes along with those of father Kim Jong Il and his late grandfather, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung. The 68year-old Kim has not publicly named any of his three sons to succeed him, but is said to favor Jong Un, believed to be in his mid-20s. — AP

they were being used without clearance from Yemeni authorities. Such equipment “should not serve to provoke trouble and amplify events in such a way as to harm public order, as has been the case with AlJazeera,” a ministry spokesman said. But Saeed Thabet, deputy head of the Yemeni journalists’ union, insisted at the Sanaa gathering that the move was “illegal,” appealing for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to intervene and have it reversed. Other speakers charged that the government was trying to cover up its heavyhanded methods in the south, where unrest has been fired up by a secessionist campaign and charges of economic neglect. “The authorities are trying to kill the witnesses... of a crime because the chan-

BEIJING: After an announced slowdown in official defense spending, China’s President Hu Jintao has told military commanders that defense modernization remains a priority but must integrate with economic development, state media said. China held the rise in its military budget to 7.5 percent in 2010 compared to spending in 2009, ending a succession of double-digit rises in spending on the People’s Liberation Army, an official said last week. In 2009, PLA spending rose by 14.9 percent. “The military must conscientiously obey and serve the broader picture of the tasks of the Party and country,” Hu told a meeting on Friday of military commanders and PLA representatives attending the nation’s annual parliament session, which ends today. China “must more conscientiously integrate national defense and military development into the system of national economic and social development,” said Hu. While foreign experts say the official numbers understate China’s real military outlays, the slowdown prompted oblique grumbling from one retired PLA major general and comment from an air force commander that spending will be constrained. “It will be quite tight,” Li Xuezhong, a PLA air vice marshall said

nels Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera are the best witnesses of their actions in Yemen,” said an opposition Islamist MP, Fuad Dahana. On Thursday, three activists were killed and five wounded as protests in southern towns sparked clashes with police, amid sympathy rallies in the north against an official crackdown, opposition sources said. Pro-independence protests have multiplied in the south in the face of already impoverished Yemen’s worsening economic problems. South Yemen was independent from 1967 until it united with the north in 1990. An attempt to break away again in 1994 sparked a short-lived civil war that ended when the south was overrun by northern troops.— AFP

Ruptured dam unleash torrents almost 2 meters high than 600 emergency workers have reached Kyzyl-Agash to help clear the debris and that police have been posted at the entrance to the village to prevent looting. Emergency Services Minister Vladimir Bozhko is leading an operation to assess the scale of the damage. An onsite commission is assisting in organizing funerals and providing replacement documents for the surviving flood victims. By Friday evening, emergency workers had erected tents for 1,000 people near Kyzyl-Agash. Around 700 people have been evacuated to temporary accommodation in the regional capital, Taldykorgan, and a further 300 have been taken to the nearby village of Sagabien. Prime Minister Karim Masimov traveled Friday

evening to Taldykorgan to personally supervise rescue efforts. “We need to have understanding for the situation of the victims - they have suddenly been left without homes, money and documents,” Masimov said in a government statement. He said many of the victims were ethnic Kazakhs who returned from neighboring countries to resettle in their historic homeland after Kazakhstan gained independence amid the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Nazarbayev said yesterday that people left homeless could again be resettled as part of the government program aimed at attracting the ethnic Kazakh diaspora. In another part of the Almaty region, heavy rain and thawing snow Thursday evening eroded a levee in the village of Zhylbulak, flooding

ters. The protest is set to be the biggest since the Red Shirts rioted in Bangkok in April last year, leaving two dead and scores injured. The Red Shirts mainly represent Thailand’s rural poor, who benefited from Thaksin’s populist policies and say Abhisit’s government is elitist, military-backed and has ignored their democratic rights. Thaksin, by contrast, is loathed by the rival royalist “Yellow Shirts” backed by Bangkok’s establishment, who accuse him of corruption and of disloyalty to the revered royal family. Thirty-five countries have issued travel warnings for Thailand because of the protests, according to the country’s tourism authority. Analysts say the number of Red Shirts who actually rally today will be key to deciding whether they have any chance of pushing out the government before Thailand’s next elections, due in December 2011. — AFP

Beijing slowdown in defense spending

Kazakhstan flooding death toll rises to 35 ALMATY: The death toll from a massive flood that devastated a village in southern Kazakhstan has soared to 35, the country’s president said yesterday. A privately owned dam at a reservoir in the eastern Almaty region neighboring China ruptured Thursday evening, unleashing torrents almost 2 meters high and completely destroying Kyzyl-Agash, a village of 3,000 people. President Nursultan Nazarbayev said at a government meeting that the owner of the dam could face prosecution for failing to take adequate safety measures in preparation for the spring floods. Nazarbayev also criticized the Emergency Services Ministry for failing to properly check on the safety of water supply facilities across the former Soviet Central Asian nation. Authorities said more

Abhisit, who has cancelled a weekend trip to Australia because of the rally. The government has lowered its estimate of expected turnout at today’s rally to 70,000, but the Red Shirts say the figure will be nearer 600,000. The protests come two weeks after Thailand’s top court confiscated 1.4 billion dollars of Thaksin’s assets, and are the latest chapter in a political crisis that has beset Thailand since Thaksin was toppled in a 2006 coup. Thaksin, who has been living mostly in Dubai to escape a two-year jail term for corruption at home, has been encouraging his supporters using text messages and his Twitter page. “Thank you for your dedication.... I want to give my support to the people in the north,” he told his followers on Twitter yesterday, before announcing that he was about to fly from Dubai to Europe to see his two daugh-

China’s Hu urges military to obey national priorities

Oppn wants Yemen info minister grilled SANAA: An opposition MP said yesterday he will seek to have the information minister grilled in parliament over measures to block live coverage on Arab satellite television of the deadly unrest in south Yemen. Information Minister Hassan AlLawzi should be “questioned on the reasons for the seizure of the transmission equipment of Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya,” Abdul Razek Al-Hajari told a meeting in Sanaa. Hundreds of journalists, parliamentarians and representatives of civil society groups turned out for the gathering in Sanaa to show solidarity with the channels. The ministry said the transmission gear of the two Arab satellite news channels was confiscated on Thursday because

truck and car, playing loud music and waving red flags and heart-shaped clappers in jubilant spirits. “Tomorrow we will declare our demands to the government, that it must step down and dissolve the house,” Red Shirt Jatuporn Prompan said at the rally site. “If our demands are not met then we will step up our campaign tomorrow but I can reassure everyone that it will be peaceful.” The government has enacted the strict Internal Security Act to monitor the rally, allowing authorities to set up checkpoints, impose curfews and limit movement. Current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who has refused to bow to protesters’ demands, spoke to reporters after meeting ministers and top brass at a military barracks yesterday. “We should not be complacent because there are some groups of people still wanting to create violence and cause confrontations,” said

140 homes and affecting 820 people. No casualties have been reported from the site. Southern Kazakhstan was affected by unusually intense snowfalls this winter and fastrising temperatures are causing major flooding and mudslides across the region. Transportation has been severely hampered over recent days after major railroads and highway bridges across the country were washed away by the heavy rains. Officials have made a concerted effort to respond rapidly to the flooding, marking a strong contrast with the lackluster reaction to a devastating fire in Taldykorgan in September that claimed 38 lives. Hundreds of homes are destroyed annually by destructive floods in Kazakhstan during heavy rains and as snow begins to thaw in the early spring. — AP

BEIJING: Chinese military band members walk into their positions to get ready to play Chinese National Anthem for the opening session of the annual National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. — AP last week on the sidelines of the annual meeting of parliament, speaking of the defense budget. In comments published in the official Liberation Army Daily yesterday, President Hu appeared to both reassure PLA officers and remind them that their loyalty to the ruling Communist Party

and its priorities is paramount. As such, Hu’s meeting with the PLA, reported prominently across the country’s statecontrolled media, appeared to be a public show that the military accepts the government’s priorities. Hu said protecting national security and sovereignty remain top concerns, and called for better “coor-

dinated economic and national defense development.” Accompanying pictures showed him dressed in military greens marking his status as Chairman of the Central Military Commission, which commands the PLA. His published comments made no mention of the PLA budget. Hu’s comments come after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last week, in a bid to narrow the wealth gap that economists blame for dampening domestic consumption, announced increases of 8.8 percent on social spending and 12.8 percent on rural outlays this year, higher than the 7.5 percent increase for the military. The Party-run parliament must still formally approve that budget, but it is unlikely to introduce any changes. China’s military is firmly controlled by the ruling Communist Party, which Hu also leads, and it unheard of for officers to publicly criticize Party policy. Before the parliament session, however, some PLA officers openly called for an increase in military spending that would send a defiant signal to Washington after the Obama administration went ahead with plans to sell $6.4 billion of arms to Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing says is its territory. — Reuters



Sunday, March 14, 2010

2 months after Haiti quake, housing still elusive PORT-AU-PRINCE: Trash and sewage are piling up at the squalid tent camps that hundreds of thousands have called home since Haiti’s devastating earthquake and with torrential rains expected any day, authorities are not even close to providing the shelters they promised. Two months since the Jan. 12 quake, the government has yet to relocate a single person, despite a pledge that people would be moving into resettlement areas by early February. Aid groups say they’re ready to build but don’t have the land. Government officials insist they are making progress on finding sites in closed-door negotiations with private landowners. But time is running out for 600,000 people living under tarps, tents or simply bed sheets as the rainy season has the makings of a second major crisis. Heavy rains typically start around April 1 and there already have been deadly floods to the west of the earthquake zone. “It really is desperate,” said Alex Wynter, a spokesman in Haiti for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “It’s got the makings of a major disaster.” People in the crowded camps - mazes of rough shelters where the air is thick with flies, mosquitoes and the stench of overflowing pit latrines - say they can’t wait much longer for better conditions. “I need the government to move me somewhere,” said Jean-Claude Saintil, 55, who lives in the front yard of a Roman Catholic high school with his wife and six children. Daphne Gerlaine, 21, said her family has received no food aid and she fears for her newborn. She lives under a blue tarp distributed by the Red Cross at a sprawling camp for 47,000 homeless set up on a former airfield. “Some days we just don’t eat,” she said. Aid organizations have plans to build at least 140,000 shelters - but only plans. Three model homes - two simple wood-frame structures with corrugated roofs and another with a steel frame - have been put on display by the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies near the airport, but have not

PORT-AU-PRINCE: A skull and human bones are seen amid the rubble of a collapsed building in Port-au-Prince. — AP been built anywhere else. The group says it’s ready to start construction immediately, but has nowhere to build. Another group, Danish People’s Aid, has put up four simple wooden houses in the hard-hit Carrefour area, where it hopes to build 500 more. Gregg McDonald, who is in charge of shelter in the international relief effort, said large-scale construction can begin as soon as land agreements are in place.

Several of Haiti’s most powerful landowners met Thursday with Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive at the government’s temporary headquarters, but declined to give details of what was discussed. Bellerive said moving people from camps to safer areas is the government’s priority, but gave no timeframe. “I can understand the frustration of the people on the streets. I can understand the frustration of the

people waiting for better conditions,” he said. “We are trying with very scarce resources to relocate those people.” “People are talking as if it’s two years of this situation. Two months is a very short time for what we just suffered in Haiti,” he said. In an interview last month, Bellerive said the government was prepared to seize private property to build camps and would compensate landowners - difficult given the government’s

limited funds. It will cost $86 million to build the relocation sites and another $40 million to secure rights to the land, said the government’s chief adviser on relocation, Gerard-Emile “Aby” Brun. Haiti doesn’t have the money and will have to turn to an international community wary of providing funding directly to a government long associated with corruption. On Friday, Venezuela pledged $100 million in aid for Haiti to be used for housing and agriculture, as well as repairing hospitals and schools. Land has been a flashpoint throughout Haiti’s history and contributed to the slave revolution that led to its 1804 independence from France. Large tracts of land, including former sugar plantations are in the hands of a few elite families. Much of the rest is divided into small plots for farming. “Very few people own sizable domains of land that can be used for (relocation camps) ... Otherwise we would have found land already,” Brun said. Since the quake, thousands of people have been living on private property and will have to be relocated. Many will not want to move. On Friday, about 700 Haitians dressed in white marched to Port-au-Prince’s downtown in memory of the dead and called on the government to relocate the homeless soon. “The message is for the government to take its responsibility, remove the people from the streets and help the people to continue with a decent life,” said Thomas Esau, 29. Bellerive and aid groups stress that land is not the only urgent need. Once the camps are open, residents will require jobs, sanitation and access to services. They are likely to remain in the camps for years, eventually establishing neighborhoods and building multistory dwellings. In the meantime, the rainy season looms. It’s almost impossible the camps will be in place in time, Wynter said. “Those of us who are inclined to do so are praying, literally, that the rainy season is light,” he said. — AP

New system to focus on college

Obama prepares US education overhaul ATLANTA: The Obama administration unveiled its plan yesterday to radically change his predecessor’s No Child Left Behind education law in hopes of replacing an accountability system that in the last decade has tagged more than a third of US schools as failing and created a hodgepodge of sometimes weak academic standards among states. The changes would dismantle the 2002 law championed by President George W Bush, moving away from punishing schools that don’t meet benchmarks and instead focusing on rewarding schools for progress, particularly with poor and minority students. The blueprint calls for states to adopt standards that ensure students are ready for college or a career rather than grade-level proficiency - the focus of the current law. “Unless we take action - unless we step up - there are countless children who will never realize their full talent and potential,” Obama said during his weekly video address yesterday. “I don’t accept that future for them. And I don’t accept that future for the United States of America.” The blueprint also would allow states to use subjects other than reading and mathematics as part of their measurements for meeting federal goals, pleasing many education groups that have said the No Child Left Behind law encouraged teachers not to focus on history, art, science, social studies and other important subjects. And, for the first time in the law’s 45-year history, the White House is proposing a $4 billion increase in federal education spending, most of which would go to increase the competition among states for grant money and move away from formula-based funding. The blueprint goes before the House Education and Labor Committee on Wednesday as Obama pushes Congress to

CHEVY CHASE, Maryland: US President Barack Obama walks out of the Jane E Lawton Community Recreation Center yesterday after Obama and the first lady attended their daughter Sasha’s basketball game. – AP reauthorize the education law this year, a time-consuming task that some observers say will be difficult. Committee Chairman George Miller, a Democrat from California, praised Obama’s plan. “This blueprint lays the right markers to help us reset the bar for our students and the nation,” Miller said in a prepared statement. Education Secretary Arne Duncan briefed a handful of governors, lawmakers and education groups on the plan Friday, including Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, a

Republican. “The governor is very supportive of the direction the secretary is going,” said Perdue’s spokesman Chris Schrimpf. A few other highlights from the blueprint: • By 2020, all students graduating from high school would need to be ready for college or a career. That’s a shift away from the current law, which calls for all students to be performing at grade level in reading and math by 2014.

• Give more rewards - money and flexibility - to high-poverty schools that are seeing big gains in student achievement and use them as a model for other schools in low-income neighborhoods that struggle with performance. • Punish the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools using aggressive measures, such as having the state take over federal funding for poor students, replacing the principal and half the teaching staff or closing the school altogether. • Duncan has said the name No Child Left Behind will be dropped because it is associated with a harsh law that punishes schools for not reaching benchmarks even if they’ve made big gains. He said the administration will work with Congress to come up with a new name. Amy Wilkins, a vice president with The Education Trust in Washington, DC, called the blueprint a “culture shift”. “One of the things America has not been clear about is what K-12 (kindergarten through 12th grade) is supposed to do,” Wilkins said. “In this, we’re saying K-12 is supposed to prepare kids for college and meaningful careers.” The nation’s first federal education law - the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - was passed in 1965 as part of President Lyndon B Johnson’s war on poverty. The law has been reauthorized several times since, most recently in 2001 under President George W Bush. The latest version was criticized by educators for focusing too much on testing and not enough on learning. Daniel Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, said he is glad to see No Child Left Behind go away. “We’re delighted over that,” he said. “We have not been a fan of No Child Left Behind.” — AP

8 die as gunmen burst into party CULICAN: Gunmen burst into a party in western Mexico and killed eight youths and left another person wounded, officials said yesterday. It was the second such attack in two days. On Thursday, gunmen in the border city of Ciudad Juarez shot dead six young men and a woman at a wake, and seriously wounded a 10-year-old girl. Friday’s massacre occurred in the Pacific coast township of Navolato, near the Sinaloa state capital of Culiacan. Sinaloa prosecutors’ spokesman Martin Gastelum said he did not have details on the identity of the victims, but confirmed that there were eight dead and at least one wounded. Local media reported that the attackers arrived in a convoy of vehicles and opened fire with assault rifles - tactics favored by Mexico’s drug gangs. The motive was not immediately clear. But the state is home to some of Mexico’s most powerful cartels, and gunmen have taken to staging mass attacks on gatherings they believe might

be attended by rival gang members. The death toll in Thursday’s Ciudad Juarez shootings rose to six on Friday after a woman died of wounds suffered in the attack on the wake, which was being held at a private home for a young man shot to death in his car earlier in the week. In January, gunmen killed 16 people, many of them teenagers, who had gathered for a party in Ciudad Juarez. Also Friday, marines raided a medical center in the border state of Nuevo Leon that authorities believe was used to treat wounded drug cartel gunmen. Seven people were arrested, including medical personnel and three men with bullet wounds apparently suffered in a shootout with federal police earlier in the week. And in the nearby city of Monterrey, marines arrested the city’s chief business inspector for allegedly working with the Zetas drug gang and shaking down nightclubs for protection money. — AP

PELLUHUE: An aerial view of earthquake damaged houses in Pelluhue, Chile. — AP

Chile faces huge recovery cost, but can it go solo? SANTIAGO: Chile may need to spend twice as much as Haiti to recover from its devastating quake and tsunami, but it doesn’t have the same desperate need for international aid or generous loans. Thanks to surplus stashed away in better times, Chile will be able to finance much of its own reconstruction from last month’s disaster. On Friday, President Sebastian Pinera said the country will draw on foreign credit “with moderation.” In his first presidential press conference, Pinera said the reconstruction effort would last years and cost “close to $30 billion” - more than double economists’ damage estimates of around $14 billion for Haiti’s Jan. 12 quake. And while both countries are still coping with the wrenching human cost of the disasters, Chile is on far sounder footing when it comes to addressing material losses. “I haven’t seen a country in such a favorable position to address a natural disaster in a long time,” said Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, the World Bank’s director for the Andean region, in an interview with The Associated Press. “They are in fabulous standing with us and have a tremendous capacity to respond.” The Chilean government saved $11 billion of surplus revenue from copper exports in good years. In addition, the private sector is expected to recover more than $3.5 billion in insured damages. The country can also count on strong domestic financial markets before it needs to turn to foreign loans and when it does reach out to international creditors, Chile can attract low interest rates with its sterling fiscal record and minimal debt. “Right now Chile isn’t drawing at all on international relief funds,” University of Chile economist Joseph Ramos said. “If they want to go directly to international financial markets, the debt would be another drop in the bucket.” Pinera

has made clear that reconstruction will not be easy, calling for “tremendous austerity” in government spending. He said Friday that his government will rework the existing 2010 budget with executive orders and new laws. But his administration still intends to follow through on a campaign promise, made during last year’s economic downturn, to deliver a “March bonus” of nearly $80 to more than 4 million struggling Chileans. New Economy Minister Juan Andres Fontaine is sticking by another campaign vow: 1 million new jobs and an average growth rate of 6 percent during Pinera’s four-year term. In comments Friday, Fontaine predicted growth of 4.5 percent to 5 percent this year, before picking up for the rest of the term.The government projections reflect the unflinching confidence among the team of business elite that the billionaire entrepreneur brought with him to the presidential palace. Pinera is Chile’s first right-wing president since the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet ended in 1990. And while he has often referenced the transition from dictatorship to democracy, he called on Chileans in his inaugural address to embark on a “second transition” to take the country into the upper echelons of developed nations. Those aspirations were bolstered in January when Chile signed an agreement to be the first South American member in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - a group of 30 high-income countries regarded as economically developed. National pride took a hit last month with the magnitude-8.8 earthquake and tsunami that killed at least 497 people, destroyed or heavily damaged at least 500,000 homes and broke apart highways and hospitals. But experts maintain that Chile is prepared to pick up and move ahead. — AP

Kissinger in Seoul hospital

MONTERREY, Mexico: Mexican Navy Marines escort an injured man after he was detained at a clinic during an operation on the outskirts of this northern city Friday. According to local media, the Navy detained six men and a woman at the clinic, where they were recovering from wounds allegedly suffered during a gun battle against federal forces at a highway a day earlier. – AP

SEOUL: Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was admitted to hospital in the South Korean capital Seoul yesterday with what an official called a minor stomach problem. Kissinger, 86, came to Seoul Wednesday to speak at a security forum and met President Lee Myung-Bak on Friday. He was admitted to Severance Hospital in the north of the city after complaining about stomach pain, Yonhap news agency reported. “As of now, former secretary Kissinger is admitted and receiving treatment. His condition is improving and he is not in serious condition,” a hospital official told Yonhap on condition of anonymity. Kissinger may be able to be discharged in a day, the official was quoted as saying. US embassy spokesman Aaron Tarver told AFP he understood Kissinger was admitted to the hospital with stomach flu and is recovering. Kissinger was secretary of state during the Nixon and Ford administrations. He had originally been due to leave Seoul yesterday. — AFP

Henry Kissinger


Sunday, March 14, 2010


Myanmar refugees face grim future in Bangladesh KUTUPALONG: Dildar Begum has no country, no job, no food and is fast running out of hope. Her husband is imprisoned in a Bangladeshi jail while she lives in a slum with her five children, reduced to begging for rice from her impoverished neighbors. Her family is starving, she said. “I can’t live this way. It’s better if my kids and I die suddenly,” the 25-year-old woman said. Begum is one of the hundreds of thousands of members of the Rohingya ethnic group who have fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution in neighboring Myanmar - only to find themselves languishing in filthy slums or open-air camps where food and water are scarce and medical care nonexistent. As Muslims, they were unwanted in Buddhist Myanmar. As foreigners, they are unwanted in Muslim Bangladesh. In recent months, Bangladesh has cracked down on the group, arresting and repatriating many and stepping up security along the porous border to prevent more from arriving. At the same time, the government discouraged aid groups from giving most of those here food, fearing it would attract a huge new influx of refugees, a government official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. International rights groups have decried their fate and Bangladesh’s refusal to grant the vast majority of them refugee status, which would give them access to nearby camps where they could receive a full aid package of food, shelter and education provided by international agencies. Without that aid, the Rohingya face widespread starvation, activists said. “A grave humanitarian crisis is looming,” Chris Lewa of the Rohingya advocacy group The Arakan Project said last month. Bangladesh has also been accused of carrying out arbitrary arrests of the Rohingya and forcing many back into Myanmar. In Kutupalong, 185 miles south of the capital, Dhaka, the undocumented Rohingya live in a squalid shantytown, where malnourished, barefoot children defecate outside. With no right to work, many survive by bribing forestry officials to turn the other way as they illegally cut down trees to sell as firewood, men in the village said. “The forest is being destroyed by them,” said A.F.M. Fazle Rabbi, a government official in

KUTUPALONG: Refugee Abul Baset carries water to his makeshift hut at an unregistered refugee camp outside the official camp for registered Mayanmarese refugees at Kutupalong. (Inset) Refugees look out of an unregistered refugees camp. —AP charge of the area. “I am sure over next few years, you will find no trees here.” The 800,000 strong Rohingya are believed to have descended from seventh century Arab settlers whose state along what is now the Bangladesh-Myanmar border was con-

quered by the Burmese in 1784. The Myanmar junta refuses to recognize them as citizens, and the group faces extortion, land confiscation, forced evictions, and restricted access to medical care and food, according to Human Rights Watch.

Tamil party threatens Gandhi-style campaign COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party yesterday vowed to launch a Gandhi-style civil disobedience campaign to press a long-standing demand for regional autonomy for their ethnic minority. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in its manifesto for April parliamentary elections renewed its demand for extensive regional autonomy-after Tamil Tiger rebels who fought in their name were crushed last year. “If the Sri Lankan state continues its present style of governance without due regard to the rights of the Tamil-speaking peoples, the TNA will launch a peaceful, non-violent campaign of civil disobedience on the Gandhian model,” the party said. The TNA was a puppet of the Tamil Tiger rebels who were crushed by security forces in May last year after 37 years of fighting. The United Nations has said up to 100,000 people were killed in the conflict. Yesterday the alliance said it would lobby neighboring India and the

international community to ensure the island’s Tamil community - 12.5 percent of the population-gets a greater say in the administration. The Tigers agreed to a federal state in December 2002 but Norwegian-brokered talks collapsed in 2006 leading to more fighting that eventually resulted in the Tigers’ annihilation last year. The TNA leadership has repeatedly distanced itself from hardliners who demanded outright independence for Tamils in the mainly Sinhalese country of 20 million people. “Power sharing arrangements must be established... based on a federal structure in a manner also acceptable to the Tamil-speaking Muslim people,” the TNA said in its latest manifesto. The TNA, a coalition of moderate Tamil parties, has 22 seats in the outgoing parliament, but the various elements have split following the crushing of the Tigers, weakening their bargaining position.— AFP

New UN mission chief in Kabul after a tough year KABUL: A new United Nations mission chief arrived in Kabul yesterday to take up his post after a difficult year that saw the mission divided over election fraud and forced to cut back staff after a deadly attack. ItalianSwedish diplomat Staffan De Mistura, who has previously held the same role in Iraq, promised to help improve the lives of ordinary Afghans while respecting the sovereignty of their government. “The Afghan people have suffered a lot and have endured a lot of difficult times. They deserve international support, but they deserve above all a better future. And the UN will do its part,” he told reporters at Kabul’s airport after his arrival. “I am totally aware of the fact that the Afghan people are very proud people, very attached to their own sovereignty and independence, and I will be working along those lines,” he said. “Whatever the UN will be doing-and we will be doing what we can in order to assist both the stability and the socio-economic improvement of the Afghan people-it will be done remembering that it should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and in total respect of their own sovereignty.” The UN mission in Kabul suffered last year from a public quarrel between its outgoing head, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, and his American deputy, Peter Galbraith, who accused Eide of trying to cover up massive fraud in the vote that ultimately saw President

Hamid Karzai re-elected. Eide denied trying to cover up fraud and Galbraith was fired. In the end, a five-member watchdog that included three members appointed by Eide threw out nearly a third of votes cast for Karzai, forcing a second-round run-off which was cancelled when Karzai’s opponent withdrew. Days before the second round was cancelled, militants stormed a UN guest house in Kabul, killing five UN staff. The mission evacuated hundreds of staff members and sharply cut back its presence in Kabul. Political pressure is not likely to let up this year, with a parliamentary election now due in May. Karzai is insisting that he be allowed to name the members of the elections watchdog, although his spokesman

Waheed Omer said yesterday he might include two foreigners as a minority on the five-member panel. Donor countries, which Afghanistan relies on strongly, say they would like to see reforms to the election process before they agree to pay for the vote to be held. The UN could also see its role in Afghanistan slip further as Washington sends hundreds of additional civilians to manage its own aid projects under President Barack Obama’s escalation strategy announced last year. The mostly-American NATO-led military force in Afghanistan, now numbering 120,000 and expanding to nearly 150,000 this year, named a new civilian chief last month to coordinate civilian efforts among countries with troops on the ground. —Reuters

KABUL: Staffan De Mistura, the new Special Representative of the United Nations for Afghanistan, talks to the media in Kabul Airport yesterday. — AFP

Thousands have fled to Malaysia and Thailand, which depend on migrant labor, or braved the sea to go as far as the Middle East for work. Last year, the Thai navy intercepted boats carrying 1,000 Rohingya, detained and beat them and then forced them back to sea in

vessels with no engines and little food or water, according to reports from human rights groups. On Friday, Malaysian authorities said they picked up 93 Rohingya who said they had been at sea for 30 days in a crowded wooden boat after apparently being chased out

of Thai waters. “They said they were sailing aimlessly in the hope of finding a country that will accept them,” said Zainuddin Mohamad Suki, an officer with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. The passengers were likely to

be sent to a detention center, he said. Most of the refugees, however, have fled on foot and by boat over the border to the nearby Cox’s Bazar area in Bangladesh, where 28,000 are registered as refugees and restricted to official camps in Kutupalong and Naya Para. The Kutupalong refugee camp is well-equipped with medical facilities, a computer learning center, volleyball courts and generators. However, at least 200,000 other Rohingya here have not been given refugee status by Bangladesh and live under constant threat of being arrested or sent back home. Some work as day laborers or rickshaw pullers at Cox’s Bazar. Authorities fear that if they grant full rights to everyone, it will encourage even more Rohingya to come to Bangladesh, which is already overwhelmed with its own impoverished and malnourished population. “We are a poor country, we cannot afford this for long,” said Gias Uddin Ahmed, the chief administrator of the district. Begum and her family fled with about 2,500 others seven months ago amid unrelenting attacks by their Buddhist neighbors, who eventually took their land in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine state. They left at night and bribed Bangladeshi border guards to let them enter and travel to the shantytown near the refugee camp in Kutupalong. Her husband, 35-yearold Jamir Hossain, found work as a day laborer in the shantytowns that have sprung up near the Kutupalong camp, but police arrested him last month in a roundup of undocumented Rohingya. With no money, Begum begs for rice from nearby villages to feed her four sons and a daughter. “It’s now afternoon, but I haven’t been able to give any food to my kids,” she said. M Sakhawat Hossain, the police chief in Cox’s Bazar, said Bangladeshi villagers have accused the Rohingya of a wave of robberies across the coastal region and pressured the government to take action. In the ensuing crackdown, 136 undocumented Rohingya were in custody on charges of illegally entering Bangladesh or engaging in criminal activities, he said. “What we did is for maintaining law and order over reported crimes,” he said. “Should not we do that?” — AP

Suicide bomber kills 13 in Pakistan’s Swat New wave of violence marks renewed militant push MINGORA: A Taleban suicide bomber targeting security forces killed at least 13 attack on the military killed at least 45 people in the eastern city of Lahore. “Our people yesterday, Pakistani police said, part of a renewed push against the state men carried out these attacks and more strikes will continue all over the country after one of the biggest security crackdowns in years. The assault near a security because the entire Pakistan has become a colony of the United States,” Taleban checkpost in Swat Valley, which also wounded 35 people, came a day after a suicide spokesman Tariq Azam told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location. raise fresh questions about stabilQazi Ghulam Farooq, Mingora ity in nuclear-armed Pakistan. city police chief, said the suicide Washington may also worry bomber in the latest attack was on Pakistan will further focus on a rickshaw. Two soldiers, three fighting homegrown Taleban, policemen and five civilians were instead of hunting Afghan milikilled. “I saw a burning vehicle ... tants who cross the border to at least five people, including attack US troops in Afghanistan, some women, who burned to the White House’s main priority death,” a witness said. The road to as it tries to stabilize the country Mingora’s main courthouse was before a US troop pullout in 2011. blocked by concrete slabs, sand The blast in Mingora was the bags and barbed wire. The blast sixth this week in Pakistan, and left two rickshaws twisted and a will add to pressure on President car burning. Windows were shatAsif Ali Zardari during a critical tered in nearby buildings in period. The economy is sluggish Mingora, Swat Valley’s main and foreign investors have been town. scared away by violence. The military launched a major offensive against the Pakistani The unpopular Zardari also Taleban in Swat in April last year, faces calls to hand over his major largely clearing Islamist fighters powers-such as the right to disout after months of clashes. solve parliament and choose the Militants have gone on the offenarmy chief-to Prime Minister sive again after a recent lull in vioYusuf Raza Gilani. Unlike Zardari, lence, challenging government Gilani has not antagonized assertions that an assault in the Pakistan’s powerful military and militant stronghold of South SAIDU SHARIF: Pakistani security personnel carry an injured army soldier Waziristan had dealt a major blow from the blast site after a suicide attack in Saidu Sharif, on the outskirts of he may have the best chance of stabilizing Pakistan. Amid the to Pakistan’s Al-Qaeda-backed political turmoil, the attack yesTaleban. The Pakistani Taleban Mingora yesterday. — AFP have attacked many targets, ness saw a convoy of at least 10 have often melted away after country,” said defense analyst terday is likely to re-focus attenincluding a volleyball match and vehicles near Rawalpindi with offensives and then struck back Mehmood Shah. Highlighting the tion on security in Swat, a former army headquarters in the town of between four and six soldiers in after government offensives on alarm in Pakistan, one front-page tourist valley 120 km northwest of Rawalpindi, close to the capital, each. There was also a heavy their strongholds. “In Swat and newspaper headline read: Islamabad, Last month, a suspectIslamabad. ed suicide bomber killed six peosecurity presence at intersec- other parts of tribal areas, they “Lahore Under Terror Siege”. ‘TERROR SIEGE’ The latest wave of violence is ple in an attack on security forces tions. Police said the measures have been defeated comprehenYesterday, security was tight- were taken as a precaution after sively. But there are what you call likely to worry the United States in a market in Mingora, police ened in the area. A Reuters wit- the Lahore carnage. The Taleban individual groups all over the in several ways. For one, it will said. — Agencies

Karzai to allow foreign election monitors KABUL: Afghanistan’s president has agreed to reverse an earlier decision and allow two foreigners on a commission that will monitor upcoming parliamentary elections, his spokesman said yesterday. President Hamid Karzai’s move comes amid pressure to avoid a repeat of last year’s fraud-tainted presidential vote. Last month, Karzai signed a decree allowing him to appoint all five members of the Electoral Complaints Commission in consultation with parliamentary leaders and the head of the Supreme Court. The body previously had three UN appointees. The decree was criticized as a bid to control the body ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for September. After last year’s presidential vote,

the complaints commission ruled there had been widespread ballot stuffing and stripped Karzai of nearly one-third of his votes, forcing a potential runoff. Karzai was later declared the victor when his remaining challenger dropped out of the race. Holding credible elections is considered key to establishing the legitimacy of the Afghan government, a main component of the new NATO strategy in the fight against Taleban insurgents who have gained ground since a US-led invasion in 2001 toppled their hard-line Islamist regime. Government corruption is often cited as a major reason why many Afghans have turned to the Taleban. Yesterday, Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar told reporters the president is now willing to accept some foreigners

on the election watchdog body because the country is in a “transitional phase” to democracy. “The Afghan government has shown its readiness to accept two nonAfghans on the Electoral Complaints Commission and this has been announced to the United Nations,” Omar said. However, he said the monitoring body, which is separate from the elections commission that administers the polls - would still be controlled by Afghans, who would hold a majority vote. It was not immediately clear whether Karzai or the UN would appoint the foreign commission members. The head of the advocacy group Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan, Jandad Spinghar, said the

nationalities of the monitoring commission matter less than how independently the watchdog works in the next elections. “It’s good news ... but there are still concerns,” Spinghar said. “If there is no legal guarantee for the independence of the ECC, there will be problems.” UN spokeswoman Susan Manuel in Kabul could not confirm the world body had received Karzai’s offer but said former UN chief of mission Kai Eide had discussed the adjustments to the complaints commission with the president before he left “to ensure the elections will be as credible as possible.” The new United Nations chief of mission, Staffan de Mistura, arrived in Kabul yesterday. “We’re sure he will be taking this up with the president in the near future,” Manuel said.— AP



Sunday, March 14, 2010


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Goodbye US, Hello China? Think again By Bernd Debusmann


or the growing number of Americans who see China heading for inevitable global dominance, nudging aside the United States, a brief walk down memory lane helps put longterm predictions into perspective. Not so long ago, Japan was seen as the next (economic) number 1. American executives studied the 14 management principles of The Toyota Way, developed by the automobile manufacturer that grew into the world’s biggest car maker and is now recalling millions of defective vehicles. Between the mid-1980s and early 1990s, books with titles such as Trading Places How We Are Giving Our Future to Japan and How to Reclaim It (by Clyde Prestowitz) were required reading in Washington. Learned panelists expounded on the wondrous efficiency of “Japan Inc”. A glut of “Amazing Japan” books, Chicago Tribune writer Ronald Yates noted in 1987, hammered home the same theme: Japanese technology is superior, Japanese management is better, Japanese products are unrivaled, Japanese people work harder, Japanese are smarter, Japan is No. 1. Skip over the two decades of economic stagnation of Japan Inc that soon followed the hype and fast forward to the present. The book which best reflects today’s American worries is entitled When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of the New Global Order, by British author Martin Jacques. His forecast is part of a growing library of essays, analyses and books on the 21st century belonging to China. If history is any guide, there’s a better than even chance that the “goodbye America, hello China” school of thought will prove as embarrassingly wrong as the 1980s assessment of the relative strengths of Japan and the United States. Long-term predictions tend to be more often wrong than right and the decline of the US is a topic of seasonal regularity. In February, a poll by the Washington Post and ABC, asked whether the 21st century would be more American or more Chinese. In terms of overall influence on world affairs, 43 percent opted for Chinese and 38 percent for American. In a Pew poll a few months earlier, 44 percent saw China as the world’s leading economic power and just 27 percent named the United States. That was a remarkable reversal of opinion from early 2008, when 41 percent told Pew pollsters they thought the US was the world’s top economic power and 30 percent named China. That shift probably says more about the

sour mood of Americans very slowly emerging from a painful recession than about facts. China the world’s leading economic power? Its economy is less than a third of that of the US. Its GDP per head is one fourteenth of the US, roughly half that of Kazakhstan, according to the World Bank. About a quarter of the world’s economic output is produced by the United States, whose population is less than a fourth of China’s 1.3 billion. So there’s a very long way to catch up for a country beset by a variety of Third World problems, from lack of paved roads in many rural areas to water pollution so severe that 700 million people have to drink contaminated water every day, according to the World Bank. China enthusiasts made much of statistics early in the year that the country had overtaken Germany as the world’s largest exporter in 2009. Along with many of the figures cited to show China’s relentless long march to superpowerdom, it gives an incomplete picture. A large proportion of those exports, three quarters by some accounts, are products assembled for international companies from imported components, not the fruit of brilliant Chinese innovation. Similar to the maquiladora assembly plants on the Mexican side of the USMexico border, such factories provide jobs but don’t do much for the economic well-being of the average citizen. And the fast economic growth of the past (eight percent plus, year after year) that has so impressed many American analysts is bound to run into a giant obstacle for which there is no solution in sight. Nicholas Eberstadt, a Harvard demographer, has long warned that China is facing a surge of citizens aged over 60 for which the Communist-run system is not prepared. By 2050, according to estimates by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), China will have more than 438 million people over 60 and 100 million over 80. It is an unusual phenomenon, a country growing old before it grows rich, and it has consequences that go beyond retirement policy. China’s rapid ageing, a consequence of the government’s one-child policy, “threatens to impose a rising burden on the young, slow economic and living standard growth and become a socially destabilizing force,” said a CSIS report last year. Without a solution to that problem, “it is difficult to envision a prosperous, long-term future for China.” So, here’s a word of advice for Americans fretting about their country’s standing in relation to China: Relax! — Reuters

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United fans blue despite green and gold campaign By Mitch Phillips


anchester United fans are confused, upset, depressed and angry about the American owners of the club yet, despite the ‘green and gold campaign’, the overwhelming feeling is one of impotency. The campaign - in the colours of the Premier League club’s forerunners Newton Heath - is certainly eye-catching. It reached a new level when David Beckham donned a green and gold scarf as he left the pitch after United beat his visiting AC Milan team 4-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday. Whether it will have any influence on the Glazer family, the Americans who have repeatedly said they have no intention of selling the English champions, appears highly unlikely. Other tactics, such as a mass late arrival for matches and non-renewal of season tickets, are similar pea-shooter efforts against armour-plated owners who the fans claim have made season ticket prices so high that the waiting list has shrunk. The result is that the followers of the best-supported club in England, and arguably the world, are left without much hope. A drowning man will clutch at any straw but are the so-called ‘Red Knights’ the answer? A loose affiliation of about 40 rich men with an interest in running United, but with probably as many varying views on how best to do so, appears a recipe for more confusion. “If you’ve come here looking for answers, or expect me to tell you what to do, then I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place,” read a long, sometimes emotional, editorial in the club’s independent fanzine “Red News” last week. Desperate to escape the Glazers but wary of jumping into bed with a new set of suited financiers, the 23-year-old magazine’s editorial line was one of confused fear - “Who are these people,

what are their plans, is it a pipe dream? “What makes us so sure they would create this Utopian United many Reds seek and not exploit any desperation we have to get rid of the Glazers just to create an alternative ownership model that is not ideal, just not as bad?” The letters page of Red News, local papers and the radio phone-ins are dominated by the subject of the Glazers, the debt and what, if anything, the ordinary fan can do. “If I give up my season ticket, the most important thing in my life, and nothing changes I’d feel betrayed and devastated,” wrote one fan. “I’ve supported United for 40 years through thick and thin, why should I punish myself because of something these absent Americans have done?”, wrote another. On the streets of Manchester, among United fans at least, the seemingly unanimous view is that nobody understands how one of the world’s richest clubs can almost overnight become more than £700 million ($1.06 billion) in debt. Even if the Glazers decided to sell the club a lot of fans are not quite sure who or what should replace them. “The whole thing should never have been allowed to happen,” said newspaper vendor and ‘lifelong fan’ Stan Rooney - no relation to the club’s prolific striker Wayne. “They’re killing this club and nobody in the Premier League or the FA or UEFA cares.” It was not so long ago that United fans were queuing up to complain about their Plc owners, before the Glazer takeover. Prior to that former chairman Martin Edwards was being criticised for the way he ran the club and his blocked attempt to sell it to Rupert Murdoch’s Sky organisation. For many non-United soccer fans the uproar sounds rather hollow. “United have been courting financiers for years,” said Birmingham City fan Brian O’Leary. “They’ve set themselves up as the so-called ‘world’s richest club’

and they think they have a divine right to the biggest slice of TV money. “But

I don’t remember their fans showing too much concern when small clubs up

and down the country were going into administration.” — Reuters

Perez project under scrutiny By Iain Rogers


eal Madrid’s shock early exit from the Champions League has raised uncomfortable questions about the unprecedented spending spree launched by president Florentino Perez on his return to the club last year. The Spanish construction magnate spent close to a quarter of a billion euros ($339 million) to lure players including Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka to the Bernabeu, part of a bid to end Real’s five-year Champions League drought and cement their position as the world’s richest club by revenue. Real’s dream of winning a 10th European title at their own stadium in May was shattered on Wednesday by French side Olympique Lyon, a club with just over a quarter of the annual income earned by the La Liga giants. The latest setback, leaving the domestic league as their only chance of silverware this season, posed a serious threat to Perez’s strategy to boost income from marketing and merchandise, in which winning titles was a crucial element, analysts said. “Champions League success is key because it helps raise the club’s international profile,” Antonio Martin, director of the Masters program in Sports Management at the IE Business School in Madrid, told Reuters. “Although Real’s brand remains very strong, this year could have been an historic one for them if they had played the final at their own stadium.” Martin said Real’s failure to progress beyond the last 16 of Europe’s elite club competition for a sixth consecutive season would squeeze income in numerous ways. The club would miss out on revenue from the competition itself of around Ä20 million and would earn less from audiovisual rights, marketing, ticketing and products and services linked to matches such as catering. “More than the financial aspects, it will cause dissatisfaction among the fans and in the squad,” he added. “These concepts don’t have a direct economic value but they can have an impact, for example in supporters deciding not to consume some of the Real Madrid ‘products’”. Perez, who turned 63 on Monday, returned unopposed to the Real presidency in June and his splurge on players

recalled his purchase of “galacticos” David Beckham, Brazilian striker Ronaldo, Figo and Zinedine Zidane during his first term. Last summer, he spent a record Ä94 million on Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo and another Ä67 million on Brazilian playmaker Kaka, adding to the club’s debts of around Ä680 million at the end of the 2008/09 season. He argues that investment in high-profile players will pay for itself over time and is banking on a major boost to revenues from sponsorship and audiovisual rights, sales of licensed merchandise and gate receipts. Real retained top spot in the Deloitte Money League for a fifth straight year in the 2010 ranking, with income last season of Ä401.4 million, ahead of European champions Barcelona with Ä366 million and Manchester United with Ä327 million. However, their elimination from the Champions League threatens to knock them off the top spot and arch rivals Barcelona or United could overtake them, according to Jose Maria Gay, a professor of economics and expert on soccer finances at the University of Barcelona. “It will limit their revenue-earning ability because a club like Real Madrid grows according to their international standing and not by winning the Spanish league,” Gay told Reuters. “A club that wins the Champions League can negotiate better conditions in their commercial contracts, they can earn more from matchday revenue and their brand. “Real Madrid will miss out on this extra income. If a club is not a winner their options for boosting revenue are limited.” Gay said there was even a danger the club could post a loss as their operating costs of 390 million euros last season would have increased this term, inflated by higher player salaries and amortisation of transfer payments. “If income does not increase their profit-and-loss account will deteriorate,” he said, adding that the club could be forced to sell assets to make up the shortfall. Instead of spending huge sums to bring in top players, a better strategy might be to devote more resources and effort to bringing players through the youth academy, with whom fans could identify more easily, Gay said. “The cost of a squad made up of players coming up through the club is always much lower than bringing in high-profile signings, who, let’s not pretend, are like mercenaries. “It’s the patriots who win the wars, not the mercenaries.” — Reuters

Gulf wary of both Iran nukes and sanctions G By Paul Handley

ulf states are worried about Iran going nuclear, but equally fret about a dangerous confrontation that could arise from more sanctions and military threats against Tehran, analysts say. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates was in the Gulf Wednesday and Thursday seeking support for a new round of UN sanctions to press Tehran to halt its drive to acquire nuclear weapons capability. Gates told Saudi King Abdullah, Crown Prince and Defence Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, and other top security officials that Iran had “largely rebuffed” US overtures for a conciliatory dialogue, and that Washington was now focused on ramping up pressure on Tehran, according to a US defence official. Gates was only the latest of several high level US visitors, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who have pounded the path to Riyadh to sell Saudi leaders on more pressure on Tehran. But Saudis and other Gulf states remain dubious about

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates meets Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz at the Janadriyah farm in Riyadh on March 10, 2010. – AFP whether heightened economic sanctions would be supported by enough countries to be effective, and whether they would have the right impact on Tehran. “We have a shared interest in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power,” said Mustafa Alani, research director at the Gulf Research Centre, a Dubai

think-tank. However, he said, “We don’t recognise economic sanctions as going to change the Iranians’ mind. If there are sanctions, it will accelerate their nuclear program.” Gulf states’ support is crucial, both to put real economic pressure on Iran - through trade and financial measures - and to

ensure no disruption to global energy needs by a possible cutoff of Iranian oil exports. With their internationally crucial oil production facilities lining the western banks of the Gulf, along with other vulnerable infrastructure like power and water stations, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states are also most vulnerable

to any outbreak of hostilities. “They don’t want to confront (Iran) because they are on the frontline,” said Shahram Chubin, a nuclear policy specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International peace in Washington. The Saudis have avoided getting on board publicly with Washington’s sanctions drive, though they have made efforts. In recent Riyadh talks they have sought to persuade leaders of India and China, major customers for both Iranian and Saudi oil, to help put pressure on Tehran. According to an unconfirmed Washington Post report, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud AlFaisal travelled to Beijing early this month to discuss the issue. “We think that China can pressure the Iranians more and more for a solution,” said Alani. Saudis have also repeatedly said they have a spare oil production capacity of four million barrels a day - more than 40 percent above current output - that could replace interrupted Iranian oil exports. Other Gulf states, notably the United Arab Emirates, are also reported to have promised to up oil production if the markets need it.

Saudis support but still distrust the US approach, thinking it will simply provoke Tehran, said Chubin. “I think they are sceptical about US ability to marshall adequate support for sanctions,” he said. But, he added, “They want it both ways, they don’t want to be identified with US policy.” The Gulf states will go along if they think Washington is truly committed, he added. “Dubai and the others will do it if the US convinces them it is serious,” he said. US credibility on the issue took a blow in the past week when the New York Times reported that Washington has awarded more than $107 billion in payments to foreign and US companies doing business in Iran despite existing US sanctions. The Gulf states have offered few of their own ideas publicly except to pursue negotiations. Cryptically, during Clinton’s visit to Riyadh on Feb 15, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud AlFaisal criticised sanctions as too slow. “Sanctions are a long-term solution,” Saud said. “We see the issue in the shorter term because we are closer to the threat ... We need an immediate resolution.”— AFP


Sunday, March 14, 2010


Lula raises concern with Iran embrace By Stuart Grudgings


razilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose charm and everyman style have made him a hit on the world stage, is risking trouble at home and abroad with a puzzling embrace of Iran just as world opinion hardens over its nuclear program. Lula, a former union leader who was jailed by Brazil’s military rulers in the 1970s, has refused to criticize Iran’s human rights record and welcomed Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brazil with hugs and smiles late last year. In May, he plans to visit Tehran to boost trade ties even as support builds in the United Nations for a fresh round of sanctions. US patience with Lula was stretched further last week when he spurned visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s attempt to persuade Brazil to vote for new sanctions, warning against pushing Iran “into a corner”. The against-the-grain approach on Iran has come as a surprise to many who have grown to see Lula as the likeable face of Brazil’s economic and diplomatic rise in recent years. The Miami Herald in an editorial last week called Lula’s Iran policy “dangerously obtuse and unworthy of a country that aspires to be considered an equal among the world’s leaders”. Neither is Brazil’s stance viewed kindly by Israel - where Lula will visit this week to push Middle East peace -

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks at the Presidente Getulio Vargas refinery in Araucaria, Brazil in this June 20, 2006 file photo. – MCT which sees Iran’s nuclear plans as a mortal threat. It is also opening up internal divisions ahead of elections to choose a successor to Lula in October as the opposition criticizes his government’s warm ties with Iran, which Western powers fear is set on developing nuclear weapons despite Tehran’s denials.

“There’s definite political risk here for the Brazilians,” said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas in Washington and a former state department official. “Obviously, they’ve chosen to do something else, but at what cost? I think this will increasingly become an issue in the presidential election.”

Analysts say that Lula’s government, which holds a rotating seat on the UN Security Council, views itself as an important brake on any repeat of the rush to a consensus based on unclear evidence that led to war against Iraq in 2003. Its role as a developing world leader in trade and other fora and experience as a nuclear rebel also makes it wary of big-power pressure and gives it empathy for Iran, said Matias Spektor, a Brazilian scholar and visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. Brazil’s military dictatorship forged ahead with its own nuclear power capability in the 1970s despite US objections. Iran has pointed to Brazil to show that it could also have nuclear power without developing weapons, a ban that is written into Brazil’s constitution. “Brazil is talking from the perspective of its own history. It was at the receiving end of an awful lot of pressure on nuclear (issues),” Spektor said. “One Brazilian official told me that when we look at Iran, we don’t see Iran, we see Brazil.” Security Council diplomats expect Brazil to abstain or vote against fresh sanctions, along with fellow non-permanent members Lebanon and Turkey and permanent member China. “We will not simply bow down to the evolving consensus if we do not agree,” Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said at a news conference with Clinton last week. Lula, who says he opposes any

move by Iran to get nuclear weapons, also appears to hope that Brazil’s softer approach could help to broker a deal solving the nuclear impasse. It could be a crowning moment for the popular Lula in his last year as president, but many are skeptical he could succeed where others far more experienced in Middle East diplomacy have failed. “The Europeans have tried this double-track approach with Iran for years and that’s got exactly nowhere,” Farnsworth said. While Brazil’s engagement with Iran is unlikely to seriously strain relations with the United States, it could raise questions over Brazil’s readiness to be considered for the permanent UN Security Council seat that it covets. Some analysts view Brazil’s decision to defend Iran and present itself as an alternative Middle East peace broker as a move toward a more activist, high-profile world role. But its policy could be seen as based on weakness as much as strength. Brazil has largely been quiet in Security Council debates on Iran and has not presented an alternative solution to the long-brewing crisis. “It doesn’t seem to me we are seeing a positive, activist agenda. On the contrary, I think Brazil is acting defensively,” Spektor said. “Even if Brazil is an emerging power, it is a relatively small, weak country still. It’s not a major player in security issues; it’s still learning how to do it.” — Reuters

Settlement row seen endangering peace talks A By Lachlan Carmichael

spat over settlements in east Jerusalem has exposed a deterioration in US-Israeli ties which threatens to scupper Washingtonbacked indirect Middle East peace talks, say analysts. Vice President Joe Biden delivered a rare rebuke to the staunchest US ally in the region after Israel announced on Tuesday that it would build 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers in mainly Arab east Jerusalem. The announcement coincided with a visit by Biden to the disputed holy city and was seen by some analysts as a slap to a US administration that had just persuaded Palestinians to return to peace talks despite their anger over a US decision to drop calls a halt to all settlement building in disputed areas. Biden, the highest ranking US official to visit Israel since President Barack Obama came to office in Jan 2009, quickly issued a strong statement condemning the new construction. After a day of diplomatic tension, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday apologized for the timing of the announcement and said no new construction would get underway for “several years”. Biden welcomed the clarification as “significant” since it would give negotiators time to tackle the delicate issue, but maintained his criticism of new Israeli settlement activity. Palestinian leaders, though, remained furious and it was unclear if they would maintain their earlier agreement to join indirect, US-mediated talks with the Israelis. “Obama did not want nor need a fight with Israel right now. He had other priorities,” said Aaron David Miller, a Middle East

peace negotiator in past Republican and Democratic administrations. “This is a huge problem for the Obama administration. Their options are very bad,” Miller told AFP. “If they escalate this situation by continuing a war of words or by trying to impose some kind of accountability ... they will lose the proximity (indirect) talks which they’ve worked so hard to begin,” said Miller, now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. By accountability, he was alluding to the denial of US aid to Israel or some other measure. The other option for Obama is to “live to fight another day and save his pressure and his firmness for an issue like borders (of a future Palestinian state), which is going to come up during the proximity talks,” he said. Daniel Kurtzer, a former US ambassador to Egypt and Israel, said there was unhappiness among some Israelis that Obama had found time to visit three Muslim countries - Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - but not yet Israel. “He should find a way to get there soon. It’s not going to make up for the year of all this griping, but still it will put this issue somewhat behind us,” Kurtzer said. Haim Malka, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said the settlement announcement was “more about Israeli coalition politics than diplomacy” because the ultra-Orthodox Shas party controls the interior ministry. The ministry was “essentially firing a shot across Netanyahu’s bow” not to negotiate over Jerusalem, a Shas party plank, he said. “If Netanyahu is at all serious about talks with the Palestinian Authority, this will be just the beginning of his coalition woes,” Malka

warned. “Meanwhile, the Israeli bilateral relationship with the United States has just become much more difficult.” Kurtzer predicted the row would in the long run amount to a “small bump in the road” in advancing the very mod-

est indirect talks. If and when the indirect talks get underway, US officials will have to apply “some really deft diplomacy” to make progress, especially since the Arab League has given the talks only

four months to produce results, he said. Shortly after he spoke, the Arab League said there should be no talks, direct or indirect, unless Israel halts plans to build the settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem. — AFP

US hamstrung on settlements By Steven R Hurst


year ago, US President Barack Obama boldly, unequivocally demanded that Israel stop building settlements on the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Today he’s left with little choice but to swallow a stinging and very public rebuke from America’s closest Mideast ally. Why? Too much is at stake. The administration has invested too much time, credibility and political capital to throw up its hands and walk away from its hard-fought efforts to get Israel and the Palestinians back to peace talks. An open fight with Israel is the last thing Obama needs in the midst of domestic political turmoil that has snarled signature efforts like health care reform. But the White House has signaled deep anger and probably won’t forgive or forget Israel’s boorish behavior. Vice President Joe Biden had gone to Israel and the Palestinian territories to reassure the Jewish state of unstinting American support and to praise Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for agreeing to resume peace talks. Biden’s was the highest-level visit to Israel since Obama took office - a fence-mending journey after a very difficult year in US-Israeli relations. The vice president was virtually in mid-blandishment when the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled the rug from beneath him. It announced plans to build 1,600 new homes in an east Jerusalem neighborhood. After then showing up very late for dinner with Netanyahu, Biden issued a statement condemning the new Israeli move and declaring that it undermined trust just as US-brokered talks were about to resume after a 14-month hiatus. The Obama administration decided to use the word condemn - the strongest kind of diplomatic language - after a

90-minute debate among the Biden party in Israel, the National Security Council and the State Department. A day later, State Department spokesman P J Crowley expressed bafflement at the Israeli action. “It would be unusual for an Israeli government to take this kind of action while the vice president is standing next to the prime minister. We are talking to the government and trying to understand what happened and why,” he said. Given Israel’s powerful rebuke during a visit by the vice president, the question arises: Why did Obama choose the policy he did from the outset of his term in office? Through a year of ragged relations, the Obama administration had moved from stark demands that Israeli end all settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, to praise for the Netanyahu government for agreeing to a temporary suspension of settlement activity - except in east Jerusalem. In moving from one point to the next, Obama became just the latest American president to crash against the impenetrable stone walls, the unbending positions that have time and again blocked Mideast peacemaking. The goal Obama set out to reach was not only a formal, lasting peace after decades of war and antagonism, but the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. To get there, Israel and the Palestinians had to overcome deep disputes over who controlled what territory - understandable in a tiny piece of real estate where nearly every turn in a road marks a place sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. But the knottiest problem remains Jerusalem. The Palestinians demand that the West Bank along with Gaza constitute their state, with east Jerusalem as capital. The Israelis have shown no flexibility on Jerusalem and have not since they annexed the eastern part of the holy city at the end of the 1967 war. — AP

Pakistan Taleban may be down, but not out P By Zeeshan Haider

akistan’s unprecedented crackdown on its homegrown Taleban may have weakened the militants but the insurgency is still a threat to the unpopular US-backed government. The stakes are high and nucleararmed Pakistan is being pulled in several directions. Washington wants the Pakistani military to hunt down Afghan Taleban groups crossing over the border to attack US troops in Afghanistan. But Pakistan is already stretched against its own militants, who have a history of bouncing back and have started to carry out suicide bombings again after a relatively quiet period. “It seems to me that this is a tactical retreat and the structure and the militant network still exists,” said Khadim Hussain, a researcher with the private Arayana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy. “There is a relative lull in militant attacks but there is a question mark about how long this lull will last.” The battle is draining Pakistan’s sluggish economy, already battered by chronic power cuts and starved of foreign investment. Pakistani officials are boasting of major successes, despite the fact militants have demonstrated they will attack all kinds of targets - from a volleyball game to the headquarters of the powerful military - to destablise the state. “We have shaken them, they are running helter-skelter. They are on the run,” said Fiaz Toru, a top home ministry official in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), home to most militants. Granted, Taleban bases were destroyed in a major offensive in South Waziristan on the Afghan border and the military said it had cleared insurgents out of Bajaur, another Taleban

sanctuary. But officials acknowledge the Taleban often melt away during offensives, sometimes returning to areas taken over by the state. They fled the assault in South Waziristan, for instance, and regrouped in other ethnic Pashtun tribal areas such as North Waziristan. It’s a familiar pattern. The army launched an offensive a year ago to clear Taleban fighters out of Swat Valley, from where the militants had

pushed out towards the capital, Islamabad. Luckily for Pakistan’s military, the public started backing the state in the battle. This was because they were angered by the Taleban’s austere version of Islamic rule involving public executions and whippings for those deemed immoral. But the Swat crackdown also raised concerns that militants would simply flee to Mansehra district, just to the east. Suspected Islamist militants

stormed an office of a US-based, Christian aid agency near Mansehra on Wednesday, killing six Pakistani aid workers after singling them out and then bombing the building. Deep down, Pakistani officials may not be as confident as their boasts suggest, even in Peshawar, a key city on the road to Afghanistan where security has been tightened and security checkpoints abound. “We have made Peshawar comparatively peaceful but our main

A Pakistani woman mourns a death of a family member in a suicide bombing in Lahore on Friday. – AP

concern is now that they may be running sleeper cells in southern and eastern districts of the province,” said a senior security official involved in the anti-Taleban crackdown. More than 700 civilians were killed in attacks in NWFP in 2009, most of them in its capital Peshawar, eroding confidence in the country’s security forces. On Thursday, a roadside bomb killed another four people in the city. A new push by the Taleban, which staged a twin suicide bombing that killed 45 people in eastern Lahore city on Friday, would renew pressure on weak President Asif Ali Zardari, who can’t afford new political crises. Such a push may not be possible for now. It is widely believed that Pakistan Taleban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone aircraft missile strike in January, a big blow to the Taleban. Nevertheless, analysts say the Taleban are capable of producing one leader after another. Mehsud’s predecessor was also killed in a drone attack. Despite ongoing security challenges, Washington expects Pakistan also to go after Afghan Taleban groups who cross the border to attack US forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan has arrested the Afghan Taleban number two, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, earning praise from the Americans. But an all-out siege against all Afghan militant groups would open new fronts and likely cost more Pakistani lives. Hundreds of police and army troops have died in the fight against the Pakistani Taleban in the past year. “We can’t afford to do things in a hurry. We have to move at our own pace. While we are consolidating our gains in South Waziristan and Swat we can’t afford to go to North Waziristan right away,” said a senior security official. — Reuters


No Brazil oil reform until after election By Raymond Colitt


eforms governing how Brazil taps vast new oil riches could be delayed by opponents in the Senate, prolonging uncertainty in the energy sector and undermining the force of a major government campaign promise. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had hoped to get the four reform bills through Congress by June, giving his chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, extra ammunition in her bid to succeed him as the ruling Workers’ Party candidate. But a lengthy seven-month passage through the lower house of Congress is likely to be followed by an even tougher struggle in the Senate, where the government has a narrow majority and the opposition has pledged to block attempts to fast-track the bills. The opposition presides over key committees in the Senate, allowing it to delay voting and possibly amend the bills, which create a legal framework to develop the new oil fields that could make Brazil one of the world’s top 10 oil exporters. “It’ll be tougher for the government than it was in the (lower) chamber,” said Andre Pereira Cesar, legislative expert at the CAC political consultancy in Brasilia. Analysts, who say the delays have caused shares in stateowned oil company Petrobras to lag an otherwise rising stock market, still expect the bills to emerge relatively intact from a heated Senate debate by yearend, before a possible opposition government could take over in January. Delay into January could put the reform package in the hands of the opposition if Sao Paulo state Governor Jose Serra beats Rousseff in the election, which polls show he has a fair chance of doing. The proposal made up of four reform bills would give the government more control over the massive reserves, capitalize Petrobras, make it sole operator with a minimum stake in each field, and create a fund to invest oil revenues mostly in education and health. The two main opposition parties favor more private sector participation in the economy and are wary that a

larger government hand will hamper investment and efficiency in the oil industry. Developing the reserves that sit below a thick layer of salt and rock deep under the ocean floor will cost roughly $400 billion and the lack of a legislative framework would undermine future Petrobras and government revenue. At current oil prices, the estimated new reserves are worth $4.1 trillion and would generate tens of billions of reals in government revenue each year to finance social and economic programs. Lula, who calls the estimated 50 billion barrels of offshore oil a “gift from God,” and Rousseff have billed the proposals as a ticket to sustainable economic growth and social equality that could give Brazil developed country status. In an attempt to speed up voting, the government will put the four bills on a fast-track, which requires simultaneous debate in all necessary committees and a plenary vote within 45 days. The opposition balked at the move, saying it required more time for debate, and promised to obstruct voting. “If there’s a fast-track, we’ll obstruct,” said Arthur Virgilio, leader of the opposition PSDB party in the Senate. That makes approval difficult before the government’s target date of early June, when attention switches to the soccer World Cup, party conventions and subsequent campaigning for the Oct 3 elections. “Approval by June is highly unlikely,” said Rafael Cortez, a political analyst with Tendencias consultancy in Sao Paulo. But both Cortez and Cesar gave a 60 percent chance of the bills being approved by the end of 2010. As in the lower house, the Senate is expected to maintain the fundamentals of the proposal and focus on changing aspects of the bills that most directly affect the pocketbooks of voters in an election year. The lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, changed the distribution of royalties between states, allowed workers to use special funds to buy Petrobras shares, and expanded the use of the oil fund to finance pension pay increases.— Reuters

Nigeria competitive despite oil reforms By Joe Brock


ontroversial plans to overhaul Nigeria’s oil and gas sector will leave the OPEC member no less attractive to new investors than peers, but will not immediately resolve problems of funding, security and corruption. The long-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has met with opposition from some international oil companies (IOCs) working in Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry, which claim the reforms will cost billions of dollars in investment. The PIB intends to impose royalties and raise taxes on profitable deep offshore projects, a plan unpopular with IOCs, but experts say it is funding and security issues, not levies, which are preventing Nigeria’s energy sector from thriving. “The real obstacles to this reform and for Nigeria are not in the formal fiscal terms, which have been generous compared to the other OPEC members,” said Antony Goldman, a Nigeria expert and head of London-based PM Consulting. “The main obstacles have been funding the joint ventures and the frustration working with partners unable to provide funding for projects going forward. The second issue is security and thirdly corruption,” Goldman said. The PIB proposes to raise the government take of IOCs earnings in deep offshore projects which are already producing to an average of 72 percent from around 45 percent now. The government’s share on new onshore field developments would be lowered as Nigeria looks to attract fresh investment to access untapped oil and gas reserves. “What we’d tried to do is to balance terms and conditions more to internationally competitive rates,” said Pedro van Meurs, chief government advisor on the PIB. “If you listen to some IOCs, they were complaining about deepwater, not the onshore and shallow water

terms. They are very happy with the shallow water and onshore terms.” The PIB’s proposed new offshore terms would put Nigeria’s charges on a par with rivals Angola, Brazil and Indonesia. But previously generous terms, agreed in the 1990s when deepwater Nigeria was still very much a frontier investment, were viewed by IOCs as compensation for secondary costs incurred because of security and corruption problems elsewhere. The PIB will partly address funding by creating six incorporated joint ventures (IJVs), which would be able to raise funds on international capital markets rather than relying on government to jointly fund them as is currently the case. The creation of IJVs was originally met with optimism by IOCs but analysts have warned that it may not be possible to eradicate government intervention which has slowed development in the past. “The problem of entrenched interests and state interference will not go away with the restructuring,” said Holly Pattenden, Head of Oil and Gas at Business Monitor International. “A clearer institutional framework should have long-term benefits for efficiency but the immediate effect of NNPC restructuring is likely to be confusion over policymaking and delays in project approvals.” The government says concerns raised over perceived interference in the process of oil licensing rounds and development contracts will be met by removing confidentiality. The PIB proposes that all texts of licenses, contracts and revenue payments to government will be publicly available. Reforms also plan to give local firms greater involvement in Nigeria’s energy industry to help build on security successes achieved in the Niger Delta, after a government amnesty last year saw thousands of gunmen lay down their weapons. — Reuters



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kandahar blasts kill 27 Continued from Page 1 Taleban insurgents stormed the prison on the outskirts of the city in 2008, freeing around 1,000 prisoners, including 400 Taleban fighters. Two of the other blasts took place near the provincial council building, including one about 200 m from his home, and another struck near the police chief’s headquarters, Ahmad Wali Karzai said. He said the other blasts appeared to be diversions designed to draw police away from the main attack on the prison. There were at least three explosions in the city, and Western troops were assisting at the request of Afghan authorities,

said Major Macen Waoczak, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. Police at the scene of the first blast were shooting, a Reuters witness said. Windows in nearby buildings were shattered. A police source in Kabul said four suicide bombers had attacked Kandahar and had also fired rockets into the prison. Afghan police and Afghan special forces were deployed, and there had been an exchange of gunfire, the police source said. Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second city, has been the scene of numerous Taleban attacks. U.S.-led forces plan to launch an operation this year to take back the city and surrounding areas, which have

increasingly been under the insurgents’ control. Kandahar was the spiritual homeland of the Taleban when the strict Islamists ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s, and the US and NATO commander, General Stanley McChrystal, considers it the main geographical target of the Taleban leadership. It is also the home town of the Karzai family. The bulk of 30,000 additional combat forces ordered to Afghanistan by US President Barack Obama at the end of last year are expected to be deployed in Kandahar as part of the major operation over the next few months. Thousands of Canadian troops also patrol the city. — Reuters

US says thimerosal didn’t cause autism Continued from Page 1

LAMU, Kenya: Dhow operators compete in the finals of a dhow sailing competition along the Lamu Island’s seafront waters yesterday during the climax of the annual Mawlid festivals to mark the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). More than thirty thousand Muslims from East and Central Africa and also the Comoros islands attended the annual fete in Lamu Island. — AP

Yemeni minister under fire for TV gear seizure SANAA: An opposition MP said yesterday he will seek to have the information minister grilled in parliament over measures to block live coverage on Arab satellite television of the deadly unrest in south Yemen. Information Minister Hassan Al-Lawzi should be “questioned on the reasons for the seizure of the transmission equipment of Al-Jazeera and AlArabiya,” Abdul Razek Al-Hajari told a meeting in Sanaa. Hundreds of journalists, parliamentarians and representatives of civil society groups turned out for the gathering in Sanaa to show solidarity with the channels. A source in Yemen’s ruling party warned however that the authorities could shut down Al-Jazeera, accusing the network of a lack of objectivity in its coverage of the unrest, the official Saba news agency reported. “We regret that Al-Jazeera has recently started to be partial and abuse its profession targeting Yemen’s unity and reporting false reports... on the situation in the south,” the source was quoted as saying.

The source said Al-Jazeera was also broadcasting “archive photos”, stressing that such action could lead “to igniting the situation in Yemen and losing the credibility of the panArab channel”. “We urge the TV office in Yemen to reconsider their programs and adhere to objectivity when reporting in Yemen,” the source said. “If the office continues its misleading, Yemen will close it,” Saba reported. The information ministry said the transmission gear of the Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya satellite news channels was confiscated on Thursday because they were being used without clearance from Yemeni authorities. Such equipment “should not serve to provoke trouble and amplify events in such a way as to harm public order, as has been the case with Al-Jazeera,” a ministry spokesman said. But Saeed Thabet, deputy head of the Yemeni journalists’ union, insisted at the Sanaa gathering that the move was “illegal”, appealing for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to

intervene and have it reversed. Other speakers charged that the government was trying to cover up its heavy-handed methods in the south, where unrest has been fired up by a secessionist campaign and charges of economic neglect. “The authorities are trying to kill the witnesses... of a crime because the channels Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera are the best witnesses of their actions in Yemen,” said an opposition Islamist MP, Fouad Dahana. On Thursday, three activists were killed and five wounded as protests in southern towns sparked clashes with police, amid sympathy rallies in the north against an official crackdown, opposition sources said. Pro-independence protests have multiplied in the south in the face of already impoverished Yemen’s worsening economic problems. South Yemen was independent from 1967 until it united with the north in 1990. An attempt to break away again in 1994 sparked a short-lived civil war that ended when the south was overrun by northern troops.— AFP

US woman held in Ireland terror probe Continued from Page 1 They were arrested Tuesday, hours before US authorities unveiled a terror indictment against LaRose. Yesterday, Irish police said that three of those arrested had been released without charges, while three other men and an American woman remain in custody. Irish police refused to confirm whether Paulin-Ramirez is the woman in custody, and have declined to release the identities of any of those arrested. The Wall Street Journal, quoting anonymous sources familiar with the case, first reported on its website that Paulin-Ramirez was being held in the alleged plot. Christine Mott said she’s concerned for the welfare of her grandson, who has been placed in the custody of Ireland’s foster care system. “This is about my baby,” Christine Mott said. “We need some help to get this baby back. I’m concerned about my daughter but I’m concerned about our baby boy because

he shouldn’t be caught in the middle of this.” The Motts said Paulin-Ramirez announced to her family last spring that she was converting to Islam and began wearing headscarves, and later a hijab. “It came out of left field,” Christine Mott said. “I knew she was talking to these people online... What caused her to turn her back on her country, on her family and become this person? I don’t know how or why. All I know is she was in contact with this Jihad Jane. “The only thing I could think of is that they brainwashed her.” Irish police say LaRose visited Ireland in September and spent about two weeks with the Algerian-American couple and other suspects. Investigators believe she began communicating last year with the Irish-based suspects in member-only Internet chat rooms. Her stepfather, George Mott, said the FBI seized a desktop computer in late September but did not tell the family what they found.

Christine Mott said her daughter was getting 4.0 grades as she studied to become a nurse practitioner and was working a $30,000 job at Eagle Valley Medical Clinic in nearby Edwards. The Motts said Paulin-Ramirez began to withdraw and argue with her parents about her religion in the months after announcing her conversion. Vilks has received extra security in Sweden since January, when he received two telephone death threats from a Swedish-speaking Somali man. Those threats followed the Jan 1 attempted attack on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose 2005 cartoon of Muhammad (PBUH) infuriated Muslims worldwide. Three Swedish newspapers reprinted Vilks’ provocative drawing this week, citing its news value and the need to defend freedom of expression. On Thursday, the Swedish Muslim Federation, which has 60,000 members, denounced both the threats to kill Vilks and the newspapers’ reprinting of his work. — AP

Tuna, tuskers, tigers top wildlife meeting Continued from Page 1 “In the absence of necessary funding, CITES will not be able to fully exploit its great potential,” Secretary General Willem Wijnstekers said in an opening statement. “We seriously risk to let down not only the many animals and plant species to which we attach such great importance, but the developing world in its str uggle to conser ve wildlife.” Wijnsteker said Atlantic bluefin tuna is in crisis and clearly meets the criteria for a total ban on international trade. “The secretariat believes the species (Thunnus thynnus) meets the criteria for Appendix I” of the CITES, Wijnsteker said. He said this conclusion “has been confir med by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the scientific committee of the ICCAT,” the intergovernmental fishery group that manages tuna stocks in the Atlantic and adjacent seas. For Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Program, “there is no question that bluefin tuna is in crisis”. But “CITES is not theatre for a conservation battle, but a platform for reasonable choices,” he told journalists at a news conference. Until now, the forum was best known for measures on restricting commerce in charismatic species, including big cats, great apes and elephants. But for the first time a marine species -bluefin tuna - takes centre stage. Despite selfimposed quotas, high-tech fisheries have drained tuna stocks in the Mediterranean and Western Atlantic by as much as 80 percent since 1970. Backed by the European Union and the United States, Monaco is leading a move to list the $100,000-a-head fish on

CITES’ Appendix I, which bans international trade. “Taking on commercially valuable marine species - trade worth billions of dollars - is a big step for CITES,” said Sue Lieberman, policy director for the Pew Environment Group in Washington. A proposal by Tanzania and Zambia would reopen trade in ivory, currently under a nineyear moratorium that started in 2008. Most other African nations oppose the move, backing a competing measure that would extend the ban by another decade. Polar bears are also being considered for the top level of protection. Attended by environmentalists, animal rights advocates, big business and governments, CITES seeks a sustainable balance between protection and commercial exploitation. Terrestrial flora and fauna have fallen victim to shrinking habitats, hunting and over-harvesting. Many ocean species have simply been eaten to the brink of viability. The 42 proposals on the table must receive a two-thirds majority of those nations present to be adopted, and are then enforced by laws passed in member nations. “We have nearly 34,000 species placed under our protection. You need scientific studies, legislation, enforcement, training for customs police, capacity building,” said Juan Carlos Vasquez of CITES in pleading for a 16percent budget boost. Animals and plants are listed on three levels according to the degree of protection they need. APPENDIX I covers about 530 animals - including tigers, great apes, snow leopards and sea turtles - and more than 300 plants. The vast majority of species covered are in APPENDIX II, which permits

carefully regulated trade. Pink and red coral, har vested mainly in the Mediterranean for jewellery, is again up for this status after failing to gain it in 2007. Several hundred APPENDIX III species are protected by national laws. Separately, the forum will consider a resolution to condemn tiger farming, practised only in China. But whether to list bluefin on CITES’ Appendix I has emerged as perhaps the most contentious decision facing the meeting. Japan is fiercely opposed to the measure, and is sure to mount a vigorous campaign to block the two-thirds vote needed for the top tier of protection. Some 80 percent of Atlantic bluefin, worth billions of dollars, is exported to Japan where it is mostly served raw as sushi and sashimi. Wijnsteker said that the fate of the gleaming, fatty fish would be debated in Doha on Thursday. “If no solution can be found or voted on, we will form a working group to solve this issue between all countries interested in taking part,” he said. The result could be put to a vote the following week, he added. Both the United States and the European Union support a trade ban on the open-water predator, whose stocks have plummeted by 80 percent in the Mediterranean and two-thirds in the western Atlantic. The European Union, however, has called for delaying implementation until a November meeting of ICCAT. This would allow Mediterranean fisheries, led by France, Italy and Spain, to go forward with the 2010 catch, which opens in May. Japan has said that it does not believe the species is threatened with extinction, and that it will ignore the ban if it is voted into place. — AFP

their action, the parents would have to show “the exquisitely small amounts of mercury” that reach the brain from vaccines can produce devastating effects that far larger amounts ... from other sources do not. The ruling said the parents were arguing that the effects from mercury in vaccines differ from mercury’s known effects on the brain. Vowell concluded that the parents had failed to establish that their child’s condition was caused or aggravated by mercury from vaccines. Friday’s decision that autism is not caused by thimerosal alone follows a parallel ruling in 2009 that autism is not caused by the combination of vaccines with thimerosal and other vaccines. The cases had been divided into three theories about a vaccine-autism relationship for the court to consider. The 2009 ruling rejected a theory that thimerasol can cause autism when combined with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. After that, a theory that certain vaccines alone cause autism was dropped. Friday’s decision covers the last of the three theories, that thimerosal-containing vaccines alone can cause autism. The ruling doesn’t necessarily mean an end to the dispute, however, with appeals to other courts available. The new ruling was welcomed by Dr Paul Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who

said the autism theory had “already had its day in science court and failed to hold up.” But the controversy has cast a pall over vaccines, causing some parents to avoid them, he noted, “it’s very hard to unscare people after you have scared them”. On the other side of the issue, a group backing the parents’ theory charged that the vaccine court was more interested in government policy than protecting children. “The deck is stacked against families in vaccine court. Government attorneys defend a government program, using government-funded science, before government judges,” Rebecca Estepp, of the Coalition for Vaccine Safety said in a statement. SafeMinds, another group supporting the parents, expressed disappointment at the new ruling. “The denial of reasonable compensation to families was based on inadequate vaccine safety science and poorly designed and highly controversial epidemiology,” the group said. The advocacy group Autism Speaks said “the proven benefits of vaccinating a child to protect them against serious diseases far outweigh the hypothesized risk that vaccinations might cause autism. Thus, we strongly encourage parents to vaccinate their children to protect them from serious childhood diseases.” However, while research has found no overall connection between autism and vaccines, the group said it would back research to determine if some individuals might be at

increased risk because of genetic or medical conditions. Meanwhile, in reaction to the concerns of parents, thimerosal has been removed from most vaccines in the United States. In Friday’s action the court ruled in three different cases, each concluding that the preservative has no connection to autism. The trio of rulings can offer reassurance to parents scared about vaccinating their babies because of a small but vocal anti-vaccine movement. Some vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, are on the rise. The US Court of Claims is different from many other courts: The families involved didn’t have to prove the inoculations definitely caused the complex neurological disorder, just that they probably did. More than 5,500 claims have been filed by families seeking compensation through the government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, and the rulings dealt with test cases to settle which if any claims had merit. Autism is best known for impairing a child’s ability to communicate and interact. Recent data suggest a 10-fold increase in autism rates over the past decade, although it’s unclear how much of the surge reflects better diagnosis. Worry about a vaccine link first arose in 1998 when a British physician, Dr Andrew Wakefield, published a medical journal article linking a particular type of autism and bowel disease to the measles vaccine. The study was later discredited. — AP

UN worried by Israel, Lebanon war of words Continued from Page 1 Williams said that Israeli and Lebanese officials have told him privately that they remain committed to peace. Lebanese and Syrian officials have been accusing Israel of pushing for a new war in the Middle East against the backdrop of an Iranian nuclear program that Israel considers a threat to its very survival. Iran rejects Israeli and Western allegations that its nuclear program is a covert plan to acquire an atomic weapons capability. The oil-producing nation says its nuclear ambitions are limited to the peaceful generation of electricity. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this year that Israel was not planning any imminent attack on Lebanon, from where Hezbollah launched some 4,000 rockets at it during a 34-day war in 2006. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, was recently quoted by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper as saying that Hezbollah now has some 45,000 missiles and rockets in Lebanon, higher than previous estimates. “We don’t need this conflict but if it is imposed upon us, we will not run after every individual terrorist but

we will take... the Lebanese government and the Lebanese infrastructure as part of the equation facing us,” he was quoted as saying. The leader of the Lebanese militant guerrilla group Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said last month that his Shiite organization would hit Israel’s Ben Gurion airport if the Jewish state once again attack Beirut’s international airport in any future war. Hezbollah, a Shiite Islamist group backed by Syria and Iran, is in Lebanon’s government. Lebanese authorities have also complained about Israeli espionage in Lebanon and have arrested dozens of people on suspicion of spying for Israel. The 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah broke out after the group captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid. Some 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, were killed and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, died. Williams said that although situation along the “blue line” - the UN-monitored border between Israel and Lebanon - remained calm, there were continued apparent violations of resolution 1701 by Israelis and Lebanese.

He said Israel was guilty of regular intrusions into Lebanese airspace and needed to stop them. “These violations raise tensions and may trigger an incident that I remain convinced the parties do not want,” he said. Lebanon, Williams said, needed to look into its side’s violations of a UN arms embargo. Israeli and other Western officials say Hezbollah continues to receive illegal arms shipments from Syria and Iran. Separately, the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon said two peacekeepers traveling in an armored vehicle were killed in a road accident in south Lebanon. Col Diego Fulco, a spokesman for the force known as UNIFIL, sais the troops were driving in the area of Rashaya Al-Fukhar yesterday when their vehicle went off the road. Three other peacekeepers were injured. He said no other vehicles were involved but gave no other details. Fulco did not reveal the nationalities of the victims. Lebanon’s state-run news agency, however, said they were French. The circumstances of the accident were being investigated. The peacekeeping mission has about 12,100 military personnel from 30 countries. — Agencies

US scrambles to save peace talks Continued from Page 1 by the pro-settler religious Shas party, Clinton said the prime minister was still responsible for it. Her spokesman said she told him it was a “deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship ... and had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process”. There was no reaction from Israeli officialdom during the Jewish sabbath but in Washington, the Anti-Defamation League, which lobbies for Israel with US lawmakers, called Clinton’s remarks on the diplomatic debacle a “gross overreaction”. “We are shocked and stunned at the administration’s tone and public dressing down of Israel,” the ADL’s Abraham Foxman said. “We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States. One can only wonder how far the US is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians.” Obama is seeking better US relations with the Arab world, which backs the Palestinians, as he seeks to bolster alliances in the oil-producing hub, notably against Iran as it develops nuclear technology and against Islamist enemies like Al-Qaeda. Breaking the stalemate on a Palestinian state after 20 years of talking might help challenge Arab perceptions that Washington is in thrall to Israel, some analysts believe, although Israel’s strong support in Congress tends to limit US pressure on it. Aides to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was waiting to meet US President Barack Obama’s peace envoy George Mitchell when he returns to the region in the coming days before deciding whether to maintain his week-old commitment to starting “proximity talks” with Netanyahu via US mediators. Mitchell and the Obama Administration have spent their first year in office pressing the Palestinians to end a suspension of talks dating from Israel’s offensive in December 2008 against Abbas’s domestic rivals, the Islamist

Hamas movement, in Gaza. Though unhappy with a partial, 10-month settlement freeze in November, Abbas came under even heavier US pressure to return to the table. A week ago, he agreed to four months of indirect talks, aided by endorsement from the Arab League which offered him some political cover from criticisms by Hamas hardliners. Now, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, said: “President Abbas told the Americans it was going to be very difficult to embark on talks without a cancellation of the Israeli decision to build 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem and a commitment not to initiate any settlement activities in the future.” A senior US official indicated that Washington may focus on playing down the significance of the past week’s approval for future housebuilding - “this was a year away at minimum”, he said and voicing understanding for Netanyahu’s difficulties. The official described the premier’s position as “perilous” due to his coalition dependence on pro-settler groups. But he also said Washington expected Netanyahu to avoid a repeat of disputes over settlements: “The Israelis know the only way to stay on the positive side of the ledger - internationally and with us - is to not have them recurring.” Even the scope of possible talks is still in doubt, however, and few see any rapid prospect of a solution to the conflict. Israel has so far balked at Palestinian demands that the indirect phase include talks on “final status issues”, including borders, refugees and sharing the city of Jerusalem. Washington wants the talks to cover issues of “consequence” but has yet to spell out publicly what that would entail. The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia - also condemned the settlement plan and said it would assess the situation at a scheduled meeting in Moscow next week. Meanwhile, several dozen Palestinian women scuffled with Israeli troops on the outskirts of Jerusalem yesterday amid

rising religious and political tensions in the disputed city. The confrontation erupted at the Qalandiya crossing between the West Bank and Jerusalem. The women chanted “Jerusalem is Arab, our eternal capital”, briefly planted a Palestinian flag on one of the crossing’s metal gates and tried to push through it. Israeli troops scuffled with the women and dispersed them with tear gas. At one point, a firebomb hit a military jeep and soldiers rushed to extinguish the fire. As the women withdrew, Palestinian teens threw stones at soldiers who closed the crossing to traffic. The Israeli military said four protesters were detained but no one was hurt. Yesterday’s protest came at a time of growing friction in Jerusalem. The Palestinians want to establish a capital in the eastern sector of the city, captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Mideast War. Israel’s hardline leader Netanyahu, refuses to consider partition, insisting he will never relinquish control over any part of Jerusalem. Jerusalem also has seen several protests in recent weeks against Israel’s decision to include two West Bank shrines on a list of national heritage sites. The move’s practical implications are not clear, but the Palestinians see it as a provocation. Five Palestinians were injured later yesterday in clashes with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, Palestinian medics said. Residents of a village near Nablus said they tried to prevent settlers from bathing in a water cistern they depend on for agriculture. Palestinian villagers then hurled rocks at soldiers who tried to maintain order between the sides. The soldiers responded with tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets, injuring the Palestinian, the medics said. On Friday, Israel sealed the West Bank for at least two days, in an attempt to prevent more protests. Even when a closure is not in effect, most West Bank Palestinians are barred by Israel from entering Jerusalem. The Qalandiya crossing is one of the main gateways for Palestinians who obtain special entry permits to the city. — Agencies



Sunday, March 14, 2010

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Friday: New Jersey 3, Pittsburgh 1; Tampa Bay 3, Washington 2; Minnesota 3, Buffalo 2; NY Rangers 5, Atlanta 2; Los Angeles 2, Dallas 1 (SO); Nashville 1, Anaheim 0. (SO denotes shootout win). Wastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF GA PTS Pittsburgh 40 23 5 215 196 85 New Jersey 40 23 3 178 158 83 Philadelphia 35 27 4 199 180 74 NY Rangers 30 29 9 178 187 69 NY Islanders 26 32 9 172 211 61 Northeast Division Buffalo 36 21 9 181 167 81 Ottawa 37 26 5 185 192 79 Montreal 34 29 6 188 192 74 Boston 30 24 12 165 169 72 Toronto 22 33 12 176 226 56 Southeast Division Washington 45 14 9 266 192 99 Tampa Bay 28 27 12 181 207 68 Atlanta 28 29 10 198 218 66 Florida 27 29 10 171 191 64 Carolina 28 31 8 189 207 64 Western Conference Central Division Chicago 44 17 5 220 163 93 Nashville 37 26 5 190 196 79 Detroit 32 23 12 182 183 76 St Louis 31 26 9 179 183 71 Columbus 27 30 11 177 218 65 Northw est Division Vancouver 41 23 3 220 174 85 Colorado 38 23 6 199 176 82 Calgary 34 24 9 172 167 77 Minnesota 32 29 6 184 195 70 Edmonton 21 39 7 167 230 49 Pacific Division San Jose 43 14 9 220 165 95 Phoenix 40 22 5 180 167 85 Los Angeles 40 22 5 204 179 85 Dallas 29 25 13 188 213 71 Anaheim 30 29 8 185 207 68 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

GLENDALE: Scott Niedermayer No.27 of the Anaheim Ducks battles for a loose puck during the third period of the NHL game. — AFP

Devils close in on Penguins NEWARK: The New Jersey Devils beat the NHL Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins for a fifth straight time, winning 31 on Friday in a clash of the top two teams in the Atlantic Division. Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists to snap out of a scoring slump as the Devils pulled within two points of the Penguins for the divisional lead with 17 games to play. New Jersey also tied Montreal’s NHL record for consecutive seasons with 40 or more victories, with 13. Montreal won 40 or

more games in 13 straight seasons from 1971 to 1983 — before overtime and shootouts were introduced to settle tied games. Andy Greene and Patrik Elias also scored goals for New Jersey. Sidney Crosby scored the sole goal for Pittsburgh.

Defenseman Matt Walker scored a goal and created another a few minutes later when his shot deflected in off Vincent Lecavalier. Brandon Bochenski also scored for the Lightning. Tomas Fleischmann and Brooks Laich had power-play goals for Washington.

Lightning 3, Capitals 2 In Washington, struggling Tampa Bay prevented NHL-leading Washington becoming the first team to reach 100 points this season.

Kings 2, Stars 1 In Dallas, Jarret Stoll scored in the sixth round of a shootout to give Los Angeles its fifth victory in five games against Dallas this season.

After the first 11 shooters failed to score, Stoll beat Marty Turco with a wrist shot. Fredrik Modin had a power-play goal for the Kings. Brenden Morrow scored for Dallas. Wild 3, Sabres 2 In Buffalo, New York, Minnesota ended a run of four defeats by edging Buffalo. Josh Harding made 43 saves, and Andrew Ebbett, Guillaume Latendresse and Andrew Brunette scored for the Wild. Thomas Vanek scored twice for Buffalo, which lost its first game in four.

Predators 1, Ducks 0 In Anaheim, California, Nashville bounced back from a humbling loss to down Anaheim and move two points ahead of eighth-placed Calgary in the Western Conference. Pekka Rinne made 31 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, and Shea Weber had a power-play goal for Nashville, which gave up six goals in the third period against San Jose the previous day. Rinne, who signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract extension on Feb. 24, earned his 11th career shutout in his 100th NHL game. The Ducks have lost five straight.

Rangers 5, Thrashers 2 In Atlanta, Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik gave New York the lead with goals 41 seconds apart in the first period and New York went on to beat Atlanta. The Rangers ended a four-game losing streak, and pushed Atlanta’s losing streak to five. Prospal had two goals and an assist, Gaborik had a goal and two assists, and Michael Del Zotto and Ryan Callahan also scored for New York. Clarke MacArthur and Ron Hainsey scored for Atlanta.—AP

Woods ambulance crew cited domestic violence

Els takes control as Allenby records ace

MIAMI: The ambulance crew that took golfer Tiger Woods from the scene of his fateful car crash last year did not let his wife ride with him because they said the incident was a case of domestic violence, according to Florida police records cited by a local newspaper Friday. The new information from Florida Highway Patrol records, quoted by the Orlando Sentinel, once again raised the possibility of domestic violence on Nov. 27 between Woods and his wife Elin Nordegren, although Woods has repeatedly denied this. The bizarre early morning accident, in which Woods hit a hedge, fire hydrant and tree while leaving his luxury mansion, triggered revelations of repeated affairs by the world’s No. 1 golfer, who bowed out of the game. Last month, in his first public appearance since his spectacular fall from grace which rocked his multimillion-dollar sponsors, Woods apologized to family and fans for cheating on his wife, and said he was undergoing therapy. But he denied there had been any physical violence between him and his wife. “Elin never hit me that night or any other night,” he said. “There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever.” The Orlando Sentinel said new Florida Highway Patrol records, released following a Dec. 16 public records request by the newspaper, showed that when Nordegren tried to ride in the ambulance to the hospital with her hurt husband after the crash, the crew would not let her, saying this was a case of domestic violence. The records said Nordegren told officers that after the crash, she used a golf club to break

MIAMI: South African Ernie Els held a onestroke lead at the WGC-CA Championship after a six-under 66 in Friday’s rain-affected second round. Els, who has not won a tournament in two years, delivered a confident display that augurs well ahead of next month’ US Masters. The three-times major winner’s 10-under par performance so far is impressive given his poor display at the Honda Classic where he finished tied for 67th. “These have been two really good days for me especially when you look at where I was last week,” he told reporters. “I worked really hard, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and really tried to find something. “I did find something so I’m sticking with that. I putted quite nicely and managed my game quite well.” A relaxed-looking Els said he felt confident he can make an impact this year. “For some reason I feel really good mentally. I feel a little bit more fresh than I have been. I’m up for it a little bit more this year. “My putting is coming around, my short game too and so I’ve got a lot more hope than I have had maybe in the last couple of years. I feel I can have a good one this year.” Australian Robert Allenby, who started on the back nine, recorded a hole in one at the par-three 13th and an eagle on the first but was in second place on nine-under 135 after another disappointing finish. He bogeyed his last four holes on Thursday while on Friday he closed with bogeys on two of this final three holes. Allenby struck his ace with a five wood — the same club he used for his last hole-in-one at the World Match Play Championship in Spain last year. The poor weather has resulted in poor crowds and Allenby said few witnessed his feat. “The four people who were out there were pretty happy,” he joked. “It landed perfect, about 15 feet short of the hole and then sort of checked up and rolled up into the hole.” Overnight leader Charl Schwartzel eagled the par-five first before he slipped back into a share of third place on seven-under after a double-bogey seven at the 12th. Schwartzel and American Bill Haas (66) were three shots behind Els while Dane Soren Hansen (69) and Irishman Padraig Harrington (68) were a further stroke adrift. Last year’s champion Phil Mickelson, who was one of 18 players that had to wait more than two hours to finish the round after lightning and heavy rain suspended play, was six shots off the lead following his steady 69 on Friday. — Reuters

the rear windows of her husband’s black SUV, and helped him out. An officer at the scene saw Woods’ lower lip was cut, the police records said. The officer asked Nordegren “if he had been drinking and she stated no, that he had taken his medication earlier, but did not provide a time. The medication was Vicodin,” the police report said. She went back into the house and came back with two small bottles of the pain medicine, the records said. The Orlando Sentinel repeated earlier police reports that the Florida Highway Patrol had asked the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office to subpoena Woods’ hospital blood test records, but an assistant state attorney rejected the request on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence. Several days after the crash, the Florida Highway Patrol ticketed Woods for careless driving and he paid a small fine. At his carefully scripted appearance last month, a somber Woods said he planned to return to golf “one day”, but didn’t know when. “I don’t rule out that it will be this year.” There has been intense media speculation that the 34-year-old American, whose dominance on the golf course put him in the pantheon of all-time sporting greats since he turned professional in 1996, could make a return at events in Florida later this month, or at the U.S. Masters in Augusta, Georgia, at the beginning of April. The Masters is the blockbuster golf event for sponsors and worldwide television audiences. Woods’ absence from events at which he usually competes generally drives down television ratings by 50 percent. — Reuters

DORAL: Ernie Els of South Africa tees off on the 14th hole during round two of the 2010 WGC-CA Championship at the TPC Blue Monster at Doral. — AFP

Karrie leads Australian Open MELBOURNE: Karrie Webb shot a 3-underpar 70 to take a one-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round of the Women’s Australian Open at Commonwealth Golf Club. Webb three-round total of 6-under 213 put her ahead of second-round leader Giulia Sergas of Italy, who would have shared the lead but bogeyed the last after hitting into a greenside bunker and finished with a 75. Defending champion and first-round leader Laura Davies of England had a 71 and was in third, two strokes behind. Webb also won the Australian Masters last

week, breaking the Royal Pines course record with a 61 in the final round to win the event for the seventh time. Katherine Hull of Australia was in fourth, three strokes behind compatriot Webb, after a 72. Yani Tseng of Taiwan (72) and Yang Soo-jin of South Korea (75) were tied for fifth, four behind. “It was really solid today, no bogeys,” said Webb. “I hung tough when I needed to and made a couple of good pars coming in. “It’s the first time in a while I’ve played four weeks in a row, so I hope I’ve got one good round left in me.” She was asked about

the possibility of shooting another final-round 61. “I hope so, I still hope I have a special round tomorrow so I can hold that trophy. I’d like to see the wind up like it is today to add to the challenge.” Both Davies and Hull had birdie putts lip out on 18. But Davies chipped in from off the green once and holed a bunker shot. “This course wears me out,” Davies said. “I haven’t hit it particularly well off the tee, but it’s tiring. But close to the lead is where you want to be.”—AP



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Swann and Broad put Bangladesh in trouble

CHITTAGONG: England’s Matt Prior ( right) and Ian Bell (center) celebrate the dismissal of Bangladesh’s captain Shakib Al Hasan (left) on the second day of their first Test cricket match. —AP

Scoreboard Scoreboard at the close of the second day of the first test between Bangladesh and England at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday.

England first innings (overnight 374-3) A. Cook c & b Mahmudullah 173 M. Carberry lbw b Mahmudullah 30 J. Trott c Rahim b Rubel 39 K. Pietersen b Razzak 99 P. Collingwood c Iqbal b Razzak 145 I. Bell c Hossain b Shakib 84 M. Prior not out 0 Extras (b-6 lb-9 w-3 n-11) 29 Total (for 6 wickets) 599 Fall of wickets: 1-72 2-149 3-319 4-412 5-596 6-599 To bat: S. Broad, T. Bresnan, G. Swann, S. Finn. Bowling: Shahadat 17-2-73-0, Rubel 19-0-96-1, Shakib 34.3-4-133-1, Naeem 12-1-43-0, Mahmudullah 23-1-78-2, Razzak 31-1-157-2, Aftab 1-0-2-0, Tamim 1-0-2-0

Bangladesh first innings T. Iqbal not out 81 I. Kayes c Prior b Broad 4 Z. Siddique c and b Broad 7 A. Ahmed c Bell b Swann 1 Mahmudullah c Collingwood b Swann 51 S. Hasan b Swann 1 S. Hossain not out 0 Extras (lb-7 w-1 n-1) 9 Total (for 5 wickets) 154 Fall of wickets: 1-13 2-27 3-51 4-145 5-149 To bat: M. Rahim, N. Islam, A. Razzak, Rubel Hossain Bowling: Broad 10-1-30-2, Bresnan 10-1-47-0, Swann 14-5-40-3, Finn 5-1-30-0

BIRMONGHAM: Wang Yihan of China plays a shot during her semi final match against Wang Xin of China in The All England Open Badminton Championships. —AFP

Chong Wei in All England final BIRMINGHAM: World number one and top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia reached the All England final for the second year in succession yesterday with an impressive 21-17 21-14 victory over Denmark’s Peter Gade. He will meet either sixth seed Bao Chunlai of China or unseeded Japanese Kenichi Tago in today’s final. Chong Wei lost last year’s final to world and Olympic champion Lin Dan but the Chinese suffered a surprise defeat in in Friday’s quarter-finals and the way looks much clearer for Chong Wei to lift his first All England crown. The Malaysian traded blows equally with

Gade for the first part of the opening set but then stretched into a 17-11 lead which proved too much for the Dane. In the second, Chong Wei took control from 15-13 onwards and the result was rarely in doubt. Heavy cross-court smashing and neat work round the net combined to confound Gade. The 33-year-old, who won the title back in 1999, had come through a tough three-setter against ex-Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat on Friday night and Chong Wei was a bridge too far. —Reuters

NZ unbeaten at Louis Vuitton Trophy AUCKLAND: Team New Zealand defeated the FrenchGerman team All4One yesterday to remain unbeaten through four races at the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta for America’s Cup teams. Britain’s TeamOrigin beat Aleph of France, Azzurra of Italy defeated Sweden’s Artemis and Italy’s Mascalzone Latino beat Russia’s Synergy to also pick up points from yesterday’s match races. With its 26-second win over All4One, Team New Zealand leads the eight-team first round-robin with 4 points from Azzurra with three. All4One, TeamOrigin, Artemis and Mascalzone Latino have two points while Aleph and Synergy have no points. TeamOrigin beat Aleph by 2 minutes, 11 sec-

onds after the French team was penalized and docked a point for its part in a pre-start collision. TeamOrigin’s bow struck Aleph’s stern and umpires judged the French yacht at fault under Rule 16 for not keeping clear. “We thought both boats were on port at the time and we were the right of way boat (leeward) so we were very surprised by the penalty, but we have to accept it,” Aleph tactician Mathieu Richard said. Azzurra beat Artemis, skippered by American Paul Cayard and helmed by compatriot Terry Hutchinson, when the Swedish team was forced to retire with a broken spinnaker pole. “We got up to the top mark, the guys did nice work in the pre-start and on the first leg,” Hutchinson said. “The pole went up, the jam-

mer for the topping lift slipped and down the pole came into the water.” Team New Zealand passed All4One at the top of the first beat and led around all marks to post a slim but convincing win. Mascalzone took the lead after an aggressive pre-start and led Synergy at all marks to post its second win. Competitors are using two identical 75-foot America’s Cup-class boats supplied by Team New Zealand. The teams and class of boat have been shut out of competing for the America’s Cup while BMW Oracle and Alinghi fought in the courts for 2-1/2 years over the rules, dates and venue for the America’s Cup. BMW Oracle of the United States beat Alinghi of Switzerland in two races in Spain last month. —AP

CHITTAGONG: Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann shared five wickets to put England in complete command on the second day of the first Test against Bangladesh yesterday. At the close Bangladesh, replying to England’s 599 for six declared, were struggling at 154 for five with only opener Tamin Iqbal standing firm. Tamim was unbeaten on 81 after Paul Collingwood had collected his 10th test century to lift England to a huge first-innings total. Facing an uphill task to avoid the follow-on, Bangladesh suffered an early setback when fast bowler Broad dismissed opener Imrul Kayes (4) and Junaid Siddique (7) with shortpitched deliveries before Swann continued his remarkable record of capturing a wicket in his opening over. Swann had Aftab Ahmed (1) caught by Ian Bell at legslip to give the off-spinner a wicket with his fifth ball after the tea break and reduce Bangladesh to 51 for three. Tamim then shared a 94run partnership with Mahmudullah (51) to repair the damage before Swann struck again. Mahmudullah, who had raced to his fifty off 54 balls with seven cleanly struck boundaries and a six, attempted a sweep shot but managed only to glove the ball to Collingwood at slip. Skipper Shakib Al Hasan survived some anxious moments before he was bowled by Swann for one attempting to drive. Swann could have added another wicket but nightwatchman Shahadat Hossain was given the benefit of the doubt by the third umpire when England appealed for a catch at silly point. Collingwood, 32 not out overnight, punished the innocuous Bangladesh bowling with 145 from 188 balls. He completed his century with a single off Shahadat and Ian Bell, his partner in the 184-run fifth wicket stand, drove the next ball to the cover boundary to bring up his fifty. “This is a special century for me,” Collingwood told reporters. “It is test cricket and to get 10 centuries, it is something I thought I’d never achieve when I first started the game,” “I’ve not had a hundred for a little while, so I wanted to make sure I got there and it was a special one for me. I’m not going to rank it as the best or the worst or even the easiest, I think that is a little bit unfair,” he said. “I don’t want anything to be taken away from our performance and the way we’ve approached the game,” he said. Collingwood, who hit 10 fours and four sixes, had one let-off when Shakib dropped a return catch when the batsman was on 119. Wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim fumbled a chance off Bell when he was on 64 off Razzak and he was again dropped by Rubel Hossain off Shakib. Rubel made amends for his mistake with the next ball to catch Bell for 84 and Alastair Cook declared the innings immediately. Earlier, Cook fell short of a double century when offspinner Mahmudullah had him caught and bowled for 173. Cook, resuming on 158 not out, eased past his previous test-best score of 160 but an attempted pull caught the leading edge and Mahmudullah took a simple catch. Cook struck 16 fours and two sixes in his 283-ball knock. Bangladesh all-rounder Mahmudullah refused to give up hope. “We have got some depth in our batting. Still Mushfiqur (Rahim) and Naeem (Islam) are to come. Tamim is still there. If we are able to bat properly we can achieve a good total,” he said. “In New Zealand a couple of weeks ago there was a situation like this and made a very good recovery.” —Reuters

GERMANY: (From left to right) Overall women World Cup winners second placed Germany’s Maria Riesch, winner US Lindsey Vonn, and third placed Sweden’s Anja Paerson pose in the finish area after the women’s Alpine skiing World Cup slalom finals. —AFP

Riesch adds slalom Cup to Olympic gold GERMANY: Double Olympic gold medallist Maria Riesch added another title to her growing collection when she won the slalom World Cup in her home town yesterday. A third-place finish in the final race of the season was enough for the 25-yearold German to win the crystal globe by a mere three points from Austria’s Kathrin Zettel, who finished second. Austrian Marlies Schild won the race by an impressive one minute 20 seconds, her third World Cup victory of a season in which she has returned to the circuit after sustaining a badly fractured leg in a pre-season crash in 2008. Riesch, who took the title for the second year in a row, won the combined and slalom gold medals at last month’s Vancouver Olympics and was second behind Lindsey Vonn in the overall

World Cup. Last year, she also won the slalom at the world championships. “I was certainly more nervous than at the Olympics because I didn’t feel the same level of energy and the same aggressiveness in me as I did in Canada,” said Riesch, who was racing for the fourth time in four days. “It has been a long season and I was really tired,” added Riesch, winner of Wednesday’s downhill. “I didn’t have the juice as I did in February but I’m really proud to get my second podium in four days, this consistency is extraordinary. “I told myself that even if I didn’t win today, I’ve had a perfect season. The conditions were really tough and demanding.” Schild, the silver medallist in Vancouver, notched her 23rd win in a

World Cup race, 21 of which have been in slalom, to finish third in the slalom standings. “This is exactly the way I wanted to finish the season with another win, especially on this difficult course,” said the 28-year-old, who needed surgery four times on her leg and missed the entire 2008-09 season. “To do well on a course which was so icy and so steep, to excel in these conditions, was a big boost in my comeback season. “I did much more than I expected with three wins and an Olympic silver medal,” added the former all-rounder, who now concentrates on slalom to reduce the risk of another injury. “This is what I needed to get ready for next year. I’m ecstatic to have done so well in these conditions.” —Reuters

GERMANY: Overall winner Austria’s Herbst Reinfried competes in the men’s Alpine skiing World Cup Slalom finals in Garmisch Partenkirchen. —AFP

Herbst ends Austria’s drought GERMANY: Reinfried Herbst won the World Cup slalom title yesterday to give Austria’s men some consolation after a disappointing season. Herbst’s ninth place in the final race of the season was enough to clinch the crown, edging out Frenchman Julien Lizeroux by a slender 22 points. Switzerland’s Silvan Zurbriggen finished third in the overall standings. Lizeroux led the race at one stage, which would have given him the title, but even-

tually finished fourth after his time was bettered by the later skiers. Germany’s Felix Neureuther won the race, his second victory of the season and career, with Manfred Pranger of Austria second and Andre Myhrer of Sweden third. The outcome was a relief for Austria, who failed to win a men’s downhill this season for the first time since 199192 and came away from the Vancouver Winter Olympics without a men’s Alpine ski-

ing medal. “It’s amazing to win and it was very important to win this for Austria and for our coaches,” 31-year-old Herbst told Reuters. “I’m happy to have won the title although it was one of my worst performances this season. “I was very tired and my legs were shaking on the way down. I was a nervous wreck waiting at the finish line but it all came right in the end.” Neureuther’s race win also provided a promising end to the season and

relieved some of the pressure on the 25-year-old who has expressed frustration in the past at the high demands put on him because of his family connections. His father, Christian, won six World Cup races and his mother Rosi Mittermaier, a former World Cup champion, won two gold medals at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. “I felt very well today,” he said. “The season didn’t go the way I wanted to, but this is a dream ending.” —Reuters

Sunday, March 14, 2010



Lakers down Suns, Bucks silence Jazz INDIAN WELLS: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot to Nadia Petrova, of Russia during their match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament.—AP

Baltacha upsets Li as Dulko sees off Henin INDIAN WELLS: British qualifier Elena Baltacha “fought her heart out” to record the biggest win of her career when she upset seventh seed Li Na of China at the Indian Wells WTA tournament on Friday. Former world number one Justine Henin was also a shock loser, beaten 6-2 1-6 6-4 by Argentina’s Gisela Dulko. The 26-year-old Baltacha came from 5-1 down in the third set tiebreaker and saved two match points against the Australian Open semi-finalist before sealing a 7-6 2-6 7-6 victory in a contest that lasted two hours and 50 minutes. It was her first success against a top-10 player, Li is ranked 10th in the world, and earned Baltacha a place in the third round against wildcard Alicia Molik of Australia. “It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Baltacha, who won two qualifiers to reach the first round, told reporters. “By the end of the match, I felt a little bit I was getting tired. At 5-1 (in the third set tiebreaker) I went into the zone and I felt really strong. I just fought my heart out.” Ranked 65th in the world, Baltacha broke into the top 100 for the first time last September and believes she has learned quickly by competing against the game’s best. “As I’ve played the big players this year, I’ve managed to gain quite a lot out of every single match and just build my game from that,” she said. In another upset, Dulko, who had lost to Henin here in straight sets in 2006 in their only previous meeting, broke the 2004 champion three times in an error-strewn final set before wrapping up the win in just under two hours.

Serving at 40-0, the 31st-seeded Argentine chased down a delicate drop shot by the Belgian before hitting a sharply angled crosscourt forehand winner to end the match. The 25-year-old from Buenos Aires, who will play fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the next round, then sank to her knees in disbelief as the fans watching on the stadium court applauded. “It feels great,” Dulko said in a courtside interview. “I am so excited, so happy. She (Henin) is an unbelievable champion and to beat her on this court is very special. “I was really emotional out there. I couldn’t believe at the beginning I actually won the match.” Henin, a dangerous wildcard entry, had been competing in her first tournament since losing to American Serena Williams in the Australian Open final in late January. “It was a tough day today and I’ve never really been into the good rhythm,” the Belgian said. “It proves that I have a lot of things to work on, and that’s what I’m going to do in the next few days and few weeks.” Henin, a seven-times grand slam champion, had reached successive finals since returning to the circuit this year after quitting the game in 2008. In other second-round matches, fourth-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-4 4-6 6-0 and 10th-seeded Maria Sharapova also had to work hard before winning 4-6 7-5 6-2 against fellow Russian Vera Dushevina. Second seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark battled past American Vania King 5-7 6-2 6-4 after clawing her way back from 4-1 down in the third set.—Reuters

PHOENIX: Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry was ejected and had to be restrained by his assistants as the Suns were beaten 102-96 by the Los Angeles Lakers in Friday’s NBA action. Gentry was ejected by referee Mike Callahan after arguing that Pau Gasol should have been called for a flagrant foul on Lou Amundson’s drive to the basket with 5:06 to play. Kobe Bryant had 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists — along with seven turnovers — for Los Angeles while Andrew Bynum added 18. Amare Stoudemire had 29 points and 16 rebounds for the Suns, playing for the first time in six days.

Bucks 95, Jazz 87 In Milwaukee, the hosts knocked off yet another NBA championship contender, beating Utah. John Salmons had 24 points and Brandon Jennings added 23 for the Bucks, who have won 11 of their past 12 — including victories over Cleveland and Boston in the past week. Carlos Boozer had 26 points and 14 rebounds for Utah, but was ejected after a pair of technical fouls for arguing a no-call on what he thought was a foul with 13 seconds left.

Nuggets 102, Hornets 95 In New Orleans, Denver won its fifth straight, overcoming New Orleans. Carmelo Anthony had 32 points and 12 rebounds and Chauncey Billups scored 21 points for Denver, which finished with a flourish to break open a game that was tied with 6:05 to go. David West scored 30 points for New Orleans.

Cavaliers 100, 76ers 95

Federer targets record fourth title INDIAN WELLS: Back to full fitness after suffering from a lung infection last month, Roger Federer said on Friday he is ready to challenge for a record fourth title at the Indian Wells ATP tournament. The Swiss master has not competed since clinching his 16th grand slam singles crown at the Australian Open in late January but he has always felt extremely comfortable at the California desert venue. “I enjoy coming back here,” Federer told reporters while preparing for his opening match at the imposing, state-of-the-art Indian Wells Tennis Garden. “That’s why I have not missed it in a very long time. “I’ve also been very successful here. I like the surface and it can really play in my favour. I’ve had some amazing matches here ... and I always feel very good walking out on center court. “The dimensions are great and the crowd also adds to it,” said Federer, who posted a hat-trick of titles here from 2004. “So it would be very nice to win it for the fourth time. “I was disappointed losing last year, losing in the semis, because I think I had a good enough game to

win the tournament.” Federer lost to Britain’s Andy Murray in last year’s semi-finals but he outclassed the same opponent 6-3 6-4 7-6 in the Australian Open final in January, the second time he has beaten the Scot in straight sets to win a grand slam. “I hope I can continue some sort of good form from the way I was playing in Australia,” Federer, 28, said. “There was never a guarantee and I’ve had a long break now, but in practice I’ve been feeling okay. “But I definitely need matches to really be able to judge my game.” Federer withdrew from last month’s Dubai tennis championships because of the lung infection but he has fully recovered. “A few days ago I think I definitely felt like, you know what? I’m back to my normal self,” the world number one said. “Yesterday I practised for four hours, so this is when I knew: ‘Okay, no problem’. “I’m ready to go, so now I can slow it down, enjoy tonight, and then hopefully start with a good match today.” Federer will launch his bid for a fourth title at Indian Wells against either Romania’s Victor Hanescu or Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in the second round.—Reuters

In Philadelphia, LeBron James had 23 points, 10 assists and six rebounds in his return as Cleveland downed Philadelphia. James was in the starting lineup after missing the previous two with an injured right ankle, and the league’s leading scorer had his 26th double-double. Mo Williams added 21 points for the Cavaliers (51-15), who have the league’s best record. Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 30 points.

Heat 108, Bulls 95 In Miami, the hosts added to the woes of injury-stricken Chicago. Jermaine O’Neal scored a season-high 25 points and Quentin Richardson added 23 for Miami, which extended its season-best home winning streak to five games and passed Toronto for the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference. James Johnson and Jannero Pargo each scored 20 for Chicago, which lost its seventh straight and played without its injured top three scorers: Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah.

Celtics 122, Pacers 103

CANBERRA: South Africa’s Sharks player Adrian Jacobs gets caught by ACT Brumbies’ Christian Lealiffano (left) and George Smith (right) during their Super 14 rugby match.—AP

Brumbies scrape past Sharks SYDNEY: Loosehead prop Ben Alexander scored two close-range tries to help the ACT Brumbies secure a 24-22 victory over South Africa’s Sharks in a tense Super 14 match in Canberra yesterday. The Sharks, one of the teams expected to make the semi-finals before the competition began, have now lost all five of their matches this season. “That’s hard to lose like this. We’ve had five games now and lost four like this,” Sharks captain John Smit said in a televised interview. “We did enough to win the game but gave away too many easy penalties in their 22 when we had them on the rack and let them get out of the danger zone.” Neither side was able to stamp any authority on the first half with England international Andy Goode’s 40th minute penalty giving the visitors a 1613 lead at the break. Goode had given the Sharks a 6-0 lead with two penalties before Matt Giteau drew the Brumbies level with two of his own. Alexander then scored a

32nd minute try, which Giteau converted, after a sustained buildup. Ruan Pienaar struck back immediately when the Sharks had a series of drives through the forwards, the scrumhalf exploiting the Brumbies defence fanning away from the ruck to run 25 metres untouched. Goode converted to tie the score then slotted a penalty to give the South African side a slim lead at the half. After the break, Alexander repeated his tryscoring effort of the first half by driving over from close to the line following sustained Brumbies pressure to give his side the lead, though Giteau missed the conversion. Goode and Giteau then traded two penalties each to set up a tense final 10 minutes with the Brumbies leading 24-22 and the Sharks dominating possession and territory but unable to snatch a late victory. “I don’t think it was a very good game, we will take the win but we need to start improving and playing some good footy,” Brumbies captain Stephen Hoiles said. “We have got a fair bit of improvement in us.”—Reuters

In Boston, Paul Pierce scored 20 points to lead Boston over Indiana. Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 11 assists while reserves Nate Robinson and Glen Davis scored 15 points for Boston, which played its third game in four nights. Roy Hibbert scored 23 for the Pacers, who have won just once in their past six games.

T’Blazers 110, Kings 94 In Sacramento, California, Brandon Roy scored 28 points as Portland beat Sacramento for its third straight victory. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 18 points, Andre Miller had 15 and Nicolas Batum added 11 for Portland, which never let the lead dip close to single digits in an uninspired fourth quarter by both teams. Carl Landry had 18 points for the Kings, who committed 20 turnovers.

Bobcats 106, Clippers 98 In Charlotte, North Carolina, Carolina held off a fourth-quarter rally to beat struggling Los Angeles. Stephen Jackson scored 24 points and Boris Diaw added 16 for the Bobcats, who won their fifth straight as they chase the first playoff berth in franchise history. Baron Davis scored 24 points

MILWAUKEE: Utah Jazz’s Carlos Boozer (left) and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Andrew Bogut (right) fight for position in the second half of an NBA basketball game. The Bucks won 95-87.—AP for the Clippers, who have lost eight of their past nine games.

NBA results/standings

Grizzlies 119, Knicks 112 In Memphis, Tennessee, Zach Randolph had 24 points and 11 rebounds as Memphis held on to beat New York. The Knicks trailed by as many as 29 in the third quarter, but pulled within five in the final minute. O.J. Mayo scored 22 points for the Grizzlies. New York’s Bill Walker had 21 points, including 12 during the fourth-quarter rally.

NBA results and standings on Friday. Charlotte 106, LA Clippers 98; Cleveland 100, Philadelphia 95; Boston 122, Indiana 103; Miami 108, Chicago 95; Detroit 101, Washington 87; Memphis 119, NY Knicks 112; San Antonio 103, Minnesota 85; Denver 102, New Orleans 95; Oklahoma City 104, New Jersey 102; Milwaukee 95, Utah 87; La Lakers 102, Phoenix 96; Portland 110, Sacramento 94.

Boston Toronto Philadelphia NY Knicks New Jersey

Spurs 103, T’wolves 85 In Minneapolis, Richard Jefferson had 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists in his first start in seven games to help San Antonio beat hapless Minnesota. George Hill had 19 points and eight assists for the Spurs, who have won six of their past seven games. Wayne Ellington scored 17 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost 14 of 15.

Thunder 104, Nets 102 In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 32 points, his franchise-record 36th 30-point game this season, as Oklahoma City edged NBA-worst New Jersey. Durant made two clinching free throws after Devin Harris missed with 24

Cleveland Milwaukee Chicago Detroit Indiana Orlando Atlanta Charlotte Miami Washington

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT 41 23 .641 32 31 .508 23 42 .354 22 43 .338 7 58 .108 Central Division 51 15 35 29 31 34 23 42 21 44

GB 8.5 18.5 19.5 34.5

Western Conference Northwest Division Denver 44 21 Utah 42 23 Oklahoma City 40 24 Portland 40 28 Minnesota 14 52

.773 .547 .477 .354 .323

15 19.5 27.5 29.5

LA Lakers Phoenix LA Clippers Sacramento Golden State

Southeast Division 46 20 .697 41 23 .641 33 31 .516 34 32 .515 21 42 .333

4 12 12 23.5

Dallas San Antonio Memphis Houston New Orleans

seconds left. The All-Star passed Spencer Haywood’s mark from the 1972-1973 season. Russell Westbrook hit two more free throws with 6.3 seconds left, but Oklahoma City nearly gave the game away with late turnovers. Jeff Green scored 20 of his season-high 27 points in the first half.

.677 .646 .625 .588 .212

2 3.5 5.5 30.5

.727 .606 .379 .333 .266

8 23 26 30

Southwest Division 45 21 .682 38 25 .603 35 31 .530 32 31 .508 32 34 .485

5.5 10 11.5 13

Pacific Division 48 18 40 26 25 41 22 44 17 47

Pistons 101, Wizards 87 In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Will Bynum had a career-best 20 assists as Detroit beat Washington in a matchup of two of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams. Jonas Jerebko scored 18 points for Detroit to help inflict the Wizards’ sixth

straight defeat. Bynum became the first Piston to record 20 assists since Isiah Thomas in 1985, and just the third player to reach the mark in the NBA this season, joining Steve Nash (twice) and Darren Collison. Andray Blatche led the Wizards with 23 points.—AP

Gulf Bank top KBC League KUWAIT: Gulf Bank defeated the Commercial Bank 3-0 in the eighth week of the Kuwait Banks Club Football League, while the Kuwait International Bank beat the Kuwait Industrial Bank also 3-0 in a postponed match according to a press release. In other matches, the National Bank of Kuwait defeated Bank of Kuwait and Middle East 5-1, AlAhli Bank triumphed over Kuwait Finance House 2-1, Burgan Bank clinched victory over International Bank 2-1, and the Boubyan Bank blanked Industrial Bank 6-0. With these results, the Gulf Bank leads the overall standings with 22 points, followed by the Kuwait Industrial Bank with 16 points, the National Bank of Kuwait with 15 points. The Burgan Bank came in 4th place with 13 points, followed by Al-Ahli Bank with 13 points as well but with goal difference, and the Boubyan Bank with 12 points. The final four spots went respectively to the Kuwait Finance House with 11 points, the Kuwait Industrial Bank with 10, Commercial Bank with 3 points, and finally the Bank of Kuwait and Middle East.

KUWAIT: Gulf Bank team

KUWAIT: International Bank team



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Aussies break German wall to win World Cup NEW DELHI: Power-packed Australia proved third time lucky as they won the men’s field hockey World Cup after a 24-year hiatus with a 2-1 win over defending champions Germany yesterday. Luke Doerner scored the winning penalty corner 11 minutes from the end after Edward Ockenden had put the Kookaburras ahead in the sixth minute and Moritz Furste drew level for Germany in the 48th. Doerner’s eighth goal in the tournament made him the joint leading scorer with another penalty corner specialist Taeke Taekema of the Netherlands. Australia, whose previous World Cup title came way back in 1986, had lost the last two finals against Germany in 2002 and 2006. The Germans, hoping to become the first team in history to bag a hat-trick of titles to add to the Beijing Olympic gold medal two years ago, were outpaced by the speedy Australians. Kookaburras’ legendary coach Ric Charlesworth watched the final from the stands behind the goal, rather than on the bench, just as he had done in the semi-final against the Netherlands. Charlesworth, who was part of Australia’s Cup winning squad in 1986, achieved the distinction of winning the World Cup both as a player and coach. “I am too noisy and too excited on the bench, so I preferred to be calm in the stands,” said Charlesworth. “There was nothing superstitious about it. “I am very, very pleased. We played a good game with a lot of control and authority. Scoring that early goal was very helpful. “I am pleased to win both as player and captain. In 1986, the scoreline was the same, but the opponents (England) were different. “The next goal now is the London Olympics.” German

NEW DELHI: Australian hockey players pose with the trophy after winning the World Cup 2010 Final match against Germany at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium. Australia defeated Germany 2-1. —AFP captain Max Muller said the penalty corners proved decisive. “We too got one in the end, but could not score,” he said. “We are a young side and maybe got overawed by the occasion. “Today we are disappointed, but when we think of it tomor-

row morning, we will be pleased we reached the final.” The Netherlands, meanwhile, gave veteran goalkeeper Guus Vogels a retirement present by winning the bronze medal with a 4-3 win over England earlier on Saturday. In a thrilling play-off for the

third and fourth place positions, Rogier Hofman scored the winning goal three minutes before the final whistle after the Dutch fought back from 1-3 at halftime. Vogels, who turns 35 later this month, was named the Dutch captain instead of Teun

de Nooijer for the bronze medal match, his last international game after earning 260 caps for his country. Vogels was part of the Netherlands’ Olympic gold medal-winning teams in 1996 and 2000. “We wanted to win this one for Guus and I am

proud the way we played today,” said de Nooijer. “It was incredible the way we came back in the match. “Guus has been a great ambassador for Dutch hockey and has enjoyed a glorious career. We will celebrate by throwing a dinner

for him here.” European champions England, hoping for a podium finish for the first time since winning the silver medal in 1986, were swept aside in the second half by a determined Dutch side. “It is absolutely devastat-

ing,” said England captain Barry Middleton. “All the hard work we have done in the tournament has come to nothing because we failed to win a medal. “We just did not do the little things well in the match. It was our worst game in the tournament.” —AFP

Dixon clocks fastest in first IndyCar practice in Brazil

BAHRAIN: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany passes the VIP tower during the qualifying for the Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit. —AP

Vettel outguns Schumacher for Bahrain GP pole position MANAMA: Germany’s Sebastian Vettel put returning compatriot Michael Schumacher in the shade yesterday with pole position for Red Bull at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. Schumacher, the seven times champion returning at the age of 41 after a three-year absence, qualified seventh for Mercedes. Britain’s world champion Jenson Button will be alongside the former Ferrari ace in eighth place after just sneaking his McLaren into the final phase of qualifying. Ferrari’s Brazilian Felipe Massa, returning for his first race since his serious head injury last July, qualified second with new Spanish team mate and double world champion Fernando Alonso one place behind. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, the fourth world champion on the starting grid, starts fourth.

Vettel, who came into Formula One with the nickname ‘Baby Schumi’ the year after Schumacher retired in 2006, finished overall runnerup last season while his Renault-powered team won the last three races of 2009. “It’s a big surprise,” said the 22-year-old, who had mechanical problems in practice on Friday. “In winter testing, no one really knew where everyone was. Of course it was clear that four teams were pretty strong.” “Tomorrow is going to be a long race, the first of 19, and it’s not going to be a sprint. It will be an endurance event.” He congratulated Massa, a double winner in Bahrain in the past, for his strong comeback from life-threatening injuries sustained in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix last year. “Big respect for what he has achieved,” he said. “First race,

he’s back and bang, bang, bang. It’s good to have him back.” Massa returned the compliment with a grin: “It’s just fantastic to hear that. I want to be in your place but I’m happy for you,” he replied. Germany’s Nico Rosberg qualified fifth, ahead of team mate Schumacher, with Vettel’s Australian team mate Mark Webber sixth. Towards the back, Virgin Racing were the best of the new teams with Germany’s Timo Glock qualifying 19th. Lotus pair Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen were 20th and 21st while Hispania (HRT) filled the back row. Indian Karun Chandhok finally made his debut for Hispania, after missing all three practice sessions, and qualified last alongside Brazilian team mate Bruno Senna, the nephew of the late triple champion Ayrton. —Reuters

SAO PAULO: New Zealander Scott Dixon was fastest in the first practice session for the IndyCar season-opener on the streets of South America’s biggest city yesterday. Dixon clocked 1 minute, 31.7707 seconds for the Target Chip Ganassi team at the 2.6mile (4.2-kilometer), 11-turn Anhembi temporary street circuit. Penske’s Ryan Briscoe finished .2024 seconds behind, followed by Andretti Autosport’s Tony Kanaan, who was .2046 slower in front of his home crowd. Defending series champion Dario Franchitti of Scotland was 17th with a lap of 1:33.8456. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was eighth with a time of 1:32.9402, and American Danica Patrick had only the 22nd-fastest time among the 24 drivers with 1:34.7795. The inaugural Sao Paulo Indy 300 opens the 17race IndyCar Series schedule in 2010. There were only a few incidents in the practice session which officially opened the newly built track in the city of nearly 12 million people. Brazilian rookie Mario Romancini crashed exiting a turn and had severe damage to the rear end of his car, and Franchitti ran off the track but was able to avoid any contact. Venezuela’s Milka Duno hit the wall after her car suddenly veered to the right in the middle of the front straightaway, prompting an early end to the session. “There is really no grip

out there, the track is still very dirty,” Romancini said. Franchitti also complained of the track conditions, especially because of the lack of grip on the main straightaway and because it was too bumpy. “We knew it was going to be bumpy,” he said. “But this is kind of crazy.” Kanaan said some of the bumps were actually making the track unsafe and asked officials to see if they could make some adjustment if possible. The street circuit is one of the highlights of the season, with cars going through stadium-like Sambadrome, which is home to traditional carnival parades every year. The track also has the series’ longest ever straight, which is just short of a mile (1.6 kilometers). Organizers had to set up the track in only about three months following the announcement that the IndyCar Series would be coming to Brazil for the first time since the CART series raced in the Latin American country from 1996-2000. Another practice session was taking place later yesterday, ahead of the qualifying session for today’s 75-lap race. The IndyCar Series is trying to carry momentum from a thrilling season in 2009, when the points lead changed hands a record 15 times throughout the season, and three drivers reached the final race with chances to clinch the title. Franchitti secured the trophy by winning the finale in Miami on fuel strategy, finishing just ahead of Dixon and Briscoe in the standings. —AP

SAO PAULO: Japanese IndyCar driver Takuma Sato (right) of KV Racing, leads during the first practice for the Sao Paulo Indy 300 at the Sambodrome, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. —AFP

DOHA: Australia’s Mitchell Watt lands in the sand during the men’s long jump final at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships at the Aspire Dome in the Qatari capital Doha. —AFP

Chambers storms to world 60m crown, US dominates DOHA: Britain’s Dwain Chambers stormed to the world indoor 60m crown yesterday as six defending champions retained titles and the United States dominated the medals board. Chambers, who has served a two-year ban for using a banned steroid, blasted to victory in the season lead of 6.48sec ahead of American Michael Rodgers and Antigua’s Daniel Bailey. “It was not an easy competition from beginning to end,” said Chambers, who tried his arm unsuccessfully at both American football and rugby league when he was serving his doping ban. “I was a little bit slower out of the blocks and that is why I was not so relaxed as expected. “I am not used to having two so challenging guys around me. It was the longest six-and-a-half seconds of my life.” Of the defending champions on show, six retained their titles. In men’s events, American duo Bryan Clay (heptathlon) and Christian Cantwell (shot put) and Ethiopian Deresse Mekkonen (1500m) all claimed victories. Mekkonen’s compatriot Meseret Defar won a record fourth consecutive world indoor 3000m title in an impressive showing, while American Lolo Jones (60m hurdles) and Croatian Blanka Vlasic (high jump) also easily retained their titles. Cuban Yargeris Savigne suffered an upset in the triple jump, however, losing her title to Kazakh Olga Rypakova. The US team dominated the medals table with four golds, two silvers and two bronzes, but there were a number of performances that stood out at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. Briton Jessica Ennis dominated the women’s pentathlon, racking up a total of 4937 points over

the one-day five-discipline event. “It is very special to win and break the championship record,” she said of her new mark, three points ahead of that set by Sweden’s Carolina Kluft. “I had a great year in 2009 so everyone was expecting me to win. “It feels great to beat the three medallists from Beijing and I know the world record is within reach.” Another athlete who had an improbable shot at setting a new world record was Australian Steve Hooker in the men’s pole vault. The reigning Olympic and world outdoor champion cleared a championship record of 6.01m to win gold but then had three brave attempts at 6.16m in a bid to break Ukrainian Sergey Bubka’s 17-yearold mark of 6.15m. “I think I can continue and can come in the future to break the world record,” Hooker said. “If I am in a competition when I am fresh without the massive qualification process, then the world record is possible.” In front of vociferous, flag-waving bands of Ethiopian fans inside the Aspire dome, Defar kept up the proud tradition of her country’s middle-distance runners by winning a slow race with a lethal final kick. “I’m very happy with this race and my fourth gold medal,” she said. “It was an easy victory for me because the pace was slow. “I changed my tactics. I was thinking about a fast race but then I saw it would be better to wait with the final kick. That worked well.” Defar, often overshadowed by much-vaunted compatriot Tiruensh Dibaba, sat back until there were just two laps to go and killed off competition from Kenyan silver medallist Vivian Cheruiyot with a burst no one could match. —AFP


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Soccer results/standings Birmingham 2 (Jerome 26, Gardner 52) Everton 2 (Anichebe 19, Yakubu 22); Bolton 4 (Elmander 10, Davies 48-pen, Muamba 53, Taylor 69) Wigan 0; Burnley 1 (Thompson 73) Wolves 2 (Jarvis 26, Carlisle 47-og); Chelsea 4 (Alex 16, Drogba 56, 90 Malouda 77) West Ham 1 (Parker 30); Stoke 0 Aston Villa 0; Tottenham 3 (Defoe 45, Pavlyuchenko 55, 85) Blackburn 1 (Samba 80), Hull 1 (Bullard 28-pen) Arsenal 2 (Arshavin 14, Bendtner 90). Playing today Man Utd v Fulham Sunderland v Man City Playing tomorrow Liverpool v Portsmouth English Football League results Championship Barnsley 0 Crystal Palace 0; Coventry 1 Plymouth 1; Doncaster 2 Derby 1; Ipswich 1 Scunthorpe 0; Leicester 1 Cardiff 0; Middlesbrough 2 Newcastle 2; Preston 3 Nottingham Forest 2; Reading 2 Bristol City 0; Sheffield Utd 1 QPR 1; Swansea 0 Sheffield Wednesday 0; Watford 0 Peterborough 1; West Brom 3 Blackpool 2. Division One Brentford 3 Milton Keynes Dons 3; Brighton 0 Swindon 1; Bristol Rovers 0 Tranmere 0; Carlisle 2 Colchester 1; Huddersfield 1 Norwich 3; Leyton Orient 2 Walsall 0; Millwall 4 Charlton 0; Oldham 2 Wycombe 2; Southampton 1 Leeds 0; Southend 0 Exeter 0; Stockport 0 Gillingham 0; Yeovil 4 Hartlepool 0. Division Two Barnet 1 Accrington 2; Bradford 2 Aldershot 1; Burton 5 Cheltenham 6; Chesterfield 0 Port Vale 5; Dagenham and Redbridge 0 Rotherham 1; Macclesfield 2 Bury 0; Morecambe 1 Grimsby 1; Northampton 2 Darlington 0; Shrewsbury 0 Rochdale 1; Torquay 1 Crewe 1. Playing tomorrow Notts County v Bournemouth Scottish Premier League results Falkirk 1 (Twaddle 27) St Johnstone 2 (Craig 45-pen, Deuchar 84); Hamilton 1 (F.Paixao 90) St Mirren 0; Motherwell 3 (Reynolds 2, Sutton 13, O’Brien 68) Hearts 1 (Templeton 69). Scottish Football League results First Division

Bendtner keeps Arsenal title bid alive Airdrie 1 Ayr 1; Dunfermline 3 Queen of the South 1; Inverness CT 1 Morton 0. Second Division Brechin 0 Arbroath 2; Clyde 1 Cowdenbeath 2; East Fife 3 Peterhead 0; Stenhousemuir 1 Dumbarton 0; Stirling 0 Alloa 3. Third Division Albion 1 Montrose 0; Elgin City 0 Livingston 1; Forfar 1 Annan Athletic 5; Queen’s Park 2 East Stirling 0; Stranraer 3 Berwick 1. Scottish Cup results Quarter-finals Dundee 1 (Forsyth 73) Raith 2 (Simmons 3, Ellis 10); Hibernian 2 (Nish 7, Riordan 19) Ross County 2 (Murray 16-og, Gardyne 79); Kilmarnock 0 Celtic 3 (Keane 64, 81, 82). Playing today Rangers v Dundee Utd German league results Borussia M’gladbach 0 VfL Wolfsburg 4 (Misimovic 41, Dzeko 49-pen, 80, Gentner 58); VfL Bochum 1 (Holtby 53) Borussia Dortmund 4 (Maltritz 19-og, Zidan 27, Barrios 74, 77); Mainz 05 1 (Schuerrle 57) Cologne 0; Hanover 96 2 (Andreasen 14, Pinto 57) Eintracht Frankfurt 1 (Altintop 45+2); Hertha Berlin 1 (Gekas 36) Nuremberg 2 (Bunjaku 61, Charisteas 90+2). Late kick-off Bayern Munich v Freiburg Playing today Hoffenheim v Werder Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen v Hamburg Friday Schalke 04 2 (Goncalves 46, Kuranyi 55) VfB Stuttgart 1 (Tasci 50) Spanish league results Getafe 3 (Parejo 32, Miku 80, Manu del Moral 85-pen) Real Mallorca 0 Playing later Sporting Gijon v Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla v Deportivo La Coruna. Playing today Villarreal v Xerez, Tenerife v Espanyol, Racing Santander v Real Zaragoza, Almeria v Malaga, Barcelona v Valencia (1800 GMT), Valladolid v Real Madrid Playing tomorrow Atletico Madrid v Osasuna

English Football League tables English Football League tables after yesterday’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals points): Chelsea 29 20 4 5 69 27 64 Celtic 28 16 6 6 53 Arsenal 30 20 4 6 71 33 64 Dundee Utd 28 13 9 6 41 Man Utd 29 20 3 6 67 24 63 Motherwell 30 12 12 6 38 Tottenham 29 15 7 7 53 28 52 Hibernian 28 13 8 7 40 Man City 27 13 10 4 52 35 49 Hearts 29 10 7 12 27 Liverpool 29 14 6 9 45 29 48 St Johnstone 26 8 7 11 41 Aston Villa 27 12 10 5 37 21 46 Aberdeen 27 7 9 11 25 Birmingham 29 12 8 9 30 31 44 Kilmarnock 29 6 8 15 22 Everton 29 11 9 9 46 42 42 Hamilton 28 6 8 14 20 Fulham 28 10 8 10 32 29 38 St Mirren 29 5 9 15 25 Stoke 29 8 12 9 28 33 36 Falkirk 28 4 8 16 23 Blackburn 29 9 7 13 31 48 34 Scottish Football League tables Bolton 30 8 8 14 36 54 32 First Division Sunderland 28 7 9 12 36 44 30 Dundee 25 13 9 3 36 Wigan 29 7 7 15 27 57 28 Inverness CT 26 12 9 5 45 West Ham 29 6 9 14 37 49 27 Ross County 24 12 6 6 35 Wolverhampton 29 7 6 16 23 47 27 Dunfermline 26 11 7 8 39 Burnley 30 6 6 18 31 63 24 Queen of the South 24 11 6 7 38 Hull 29 5 9 15 27 61 24 Partick 27 11 5 11 38 Portsmouth 28 5 4 19 24 47 19 Raith 22 8 5 9 22 Championship Ayr 24 5 8 11 20 Newcastle 35 21 10 4 66 26 73 Morton 24 7 0 17 25 West Brom 36 20 9 7 71 40 69 Airdrie Utd 24 2 7 15 21 Nottingham Forest 36 18 10 8 51 30 64 Second Division Swansea 36 15 15 6 31 23 60 Alloa 26 14 6 6 35 Leicester 35 15 12 8 43 33 57 Cowdenbeath 25 13 6 6 43 Cardiff 35 15 7 13 57 44 52 Brechin 24 11 7 6 34 Blackpool 36 13 11 12 53 44 50 Stirling 23 10 8 5 38 Coventry 36 13 11 12 41 47 50 Stenhousemuir 27 8 11 8 31 Sheffield Utd 36 13 10 13 49 49 49 Dumbarton 25 9 4 12 34 Middlesbrough 36 13 9 14 47 40 48 Peterhead 25 9 4 12 29 Doncaster 36 12 12 12 47 44 48 East Fife 26 7 9 10 35 Preston 36 12 11 13 45 52 47 Arbroath 26 7 6 13 28 Barnsley 35 13 7 15 44 54 46 Clyde 23 4 5 14 19 Bristol City 36 10 15 11 40 51 45 Third Division QPR 35 11 11 13 49 53 44 Livingston 25 18 3 4 48 Reading 34 12 8 14 46 50 44 East Stirling 26 15 2 9 33 Ipswich 36 9 17 10 40 46 44 Forfar 25 11 7 7 39 Derby 36 12 6 18 43 54 42 Berwick 26 11 4 11 37 Watford 34 10 9 15 44 51 39 Queens Park 27 11 4 12 34 Crystal Palace 35 12 12 11 36 37 38 Albion 23 8 9 6 22 Sheffield Wednesday 36 10 8 18 38 56 38 Annan Athletic 25 8 8 9 31 Scunthorpe 35 10 8 17 41 62 38 Stranraer 22 7 5 10 28 Plymouth 35 8 7 20 34 51 31 Elgin 24 5 7 12 32 Peterborough 36 7 9 20 38 57 30 Montrose 25 2 7 16 18 Note: Crystal Palace deducted 10 points for entering German League table administration Schalke 04 26 16 6 4 42 Division One Bayern Munich 25 15 8 2 51 Norwich 36 24 6 6 76 37 78 Bayer Leverkusen 25 13 11 1 52 Leeds 36 20 11 5 62 30 71 Borussia Dortmund 26 13 6 7 43 Charlton 36 18 12 6 61 42 66 Hamburg 25 11 10 4 44 Millwall 36 18 11 7 56 35 65 Werder Bremen 25 10 9 6 50 Colchester 35 18 9 8 52 36 63 Mainz 05 26 10 8 8 29 Swindon 35 17 12 6 55 44 63 VfL Wolfsburg 26 10 7 9 49 Huddersfield 36 16 10 10 61 45 58 VfB Stuttgart 26 9 8 9 37 Milton Keynes Dons 36 17 5 14 53 51 56 Eintracht Frankfurt 26 9 8 9 33 Bristol Rovers 35 16 4 15 46 49 52 Hoffenheim 25 9 5 11 34 Southampton 34 15 12 7 61 35 47 Borussia M’gladbach 26 8 6 12 34 Yeovil 36 11 11 14 46 48 44 Cologne 26 6 9 11 22 Carlisle 36 11 11 14 48 52 44 VfL Bochum 26 6 9 11 27 Walsall 35 11 11 13 43 47 44 Nuremberg 26 6 6 14 24 Leyton Orient 36 10 11 15 44 51 41 Hanover 96 26 6 5 15 29 Brentford 32 9 13 10 36 36 40 Freiburg 25 5 5 15 23 Hartlepool 35 10 8 17 44 55 38 Hertha Berlin 26 3 6 17 22 Gillingham 36 9 11 16 35 46 38 Brighton 35 9 11 15 40 Oldham 34 9 10 15 29 Tranmere 35 10 7 18 31 Exeter 35 7 12 16 35 Southend 35 8 9 18 36 Wycombe 36 6 12 18 38 Stockport 35 5 9 21 31 Note: Southampton deducted 10 points for administration Division Two Rochdale 35 22 6 7 71 Bournemouth 35 19 6 10 42 Bury 36 17 10 9 43 Notts County 32 17 9 6 66 Chesterfield 36 19 3 14 48 Rotherham 34 17 8 9 47 Northampton 36 15 10 11 54 Shrewsbury 36 15 10 11 47 Port Vale 36 13 13 10 48 Aldershot 35 14 9 12 52 Dagenham 35 14 9 12 46 Accrington Stanley 33 15 5 13 48 Morecambe 35 12 13 10 55 Burton Albion 35 14 7 14 57 Crewe 36 13 8 15 57 Bradford 35 12 10 13 46 Macclesfield 35 8 15 12 38 Barnet 35 9 11 15 36 Hereford 35 10 8 17 38 Lincoln City 35 10 8 17 31 Torquay 36 8 13 15 46 Cheltenham 35 7 13 15 40 Grimsby 36 4 16 16 30 Darlington 33 4 4 25 21 Scottish Premier League table Rangers 28 20 7 1 64

52 38 41 37 56 37 50 33 52 33 63 30 66 24 entering

31 34 40 25 45 38 45 41 37 46 43 49 50 56 57 51 45 46 55 49 49 55 53 67

72 63 61 60 60 59 55 55 52 51 51 50 49 49 47 46 39 38 38 38 37 34 28 16

16 67


against, 29 35 32 31 33 46 34 38 38 40 47

54 48 48 47 37 31 30 26 26 24 20

22 28 28 31 26 32 27 36 45 44

48 45 42 40 39 38 29 23 21 13

24 27 21 32 27 42 39 39 40 35

48 45 40 38 35 31 31 30 27 17

18 30 33 38 38 19 28 34 42 42

57 47 40 37 37 33 32 26 22 13

20 21 23 33 26 31 32 46 35 38 30 46 33 46 43 48 47 47

54 53 50 45 43 39 38 37 35 35 32 30 27 27 24 23 20 15

Todayʼs matches on TV (local timings) English Premier League

Man United v Fulam....................16:30 ShowSports 1 ShowSport 2 Sunderland v Man City................19:00 ShowSports 1 ShowSports 2 Italian League Juventus v Siena........................17:00 Al Jazeera Sport +1 Livorno v AS Roma....................17:00 Al Jazeera Sport +7 Udinese v Palermo ...................17:00 Al Jazeera Sport +5 AC Milan v Chievo.....................22:45 Al Jazeera Sport +1 Spanish League Racing v Zaragoza ....................19:00 Al Jazeera Sport +5 Almeria v Malaga......................19:00 Al Jazeera Sport +7 Barcelona v Valencia..................21:00 Al Jazeera Sport +2 Valladolid v Real .......................23:00 Al Jazeera Sport +2 Al Jazeera Sport +3

Arsenal 2

Hull 1 HULL: Nicklas Bendtner claimed a dramatic stoppage-time winner to push Arsenal level with Premier League leaders Chelsea thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 victory at struggling Hull yesterday. Arsene Wenger’s men looked like they would have to settle for a point against 10-man City, until Bendtner pounced when goalkeeper Boaz Myhill could only parry a shot from Denilson. Relegation-threatened Hull were up against it from the moment their skipper George Boateng earned a fully-merited second yellow card in first-half injury time. But Phil Brown’s side almost held out until Bendtner, who along with Andrey Arshavin had been guilty of wasting a string of presentable second-half chances, sealed a fifth consecutive league victory to leave the hosts in deep trouble at the bottom. Chelsea’s resounding 4-1 victory over West Ham earlier in the day ensured that it would take a fivegoal winning margin for Arsenal to usurp their rivals at the top ahead of Manchester United taking on Fulham at Old Trafford today. Having been forced to separate the warring Jimmy Bullard and Nick Barmby earlier this week, Brown continued the theme by handing the former his first home start since a three-month injury lay-off, while the latter had to settle for a place on the bench. Arsenal enjoyed the majoriy of possession early on and territorial advantage when they made that dominance pay after 14 minutes. A neat three-man build-up found Bendtner on the edge of the Hull box. The Dane’s square pass to Arshavin found him confronted by Bernard Mendy and Boateng, but with the help of a kind bounce, the Russian wormed his way into a shooting chance, which he duly dispatched with an exquisite angled finish, fashioned with the outside of his right boot from 15 yards. Hull striker Jozy Altidore’s turn and shot from the edge of the area trundled harmlessly wide. Bullard’s speculative effort from a partially cleared corner succeeded only in disturbing Arsenal’s travelling supporters behind Manuel Almunia’s goal, but the returning midfielder was afforded a rather less difficult way to find the net from the penalty spot shortly before the half hour. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink appeared marginally offside as he set off in pursuit of Dean Marney’s hopeful punt into the Arsenal area. The Dutchman took a touch with his head before he was unceremoniously bundled over by Sol Campbell. Referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot, although he declined to issue what many felt would be the subsequent red card to the Arsenal defender. Bullard needed no second invitation to find the top corner from 12 yards despite Almunia guessing the right way. There was precious little time for the hosts to celebrate as Boateng, who had earlier been booked for a petulant confrontation with Bendtner, failed to make it to the interval after earning a second caution with an ugly knee-high challenge on Bacary Sagna. Hull’s defeat means they stretched their unwanted run to one win in 15 games. —AFP

Getafe outclass Mallorca 3-0 MADRID: Champions League hopefuls Real Mallorca crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Getafe yesterday, missing out on the chance to go fourth in the La Liga table. Spain Under-21 international striker Daniel Parejo headed Getafe in front before two goals in the final ten minutes put the game to bed. Getafe had gone close through Pedro Leon on the half hour mark and Mallorca didn’t heed the warning conceding two minutes later as Jaime Gavilan’s cross was headed in by former Real Madrid man Parejo. The 20-year-old Parejo produced a perfectly-weighted pass for Getafe’s second 10 minutes from time as substitute Miku, only on the pitch two minutes, slotted home. It got worse for Mallorca five minutes later when Jose Nunes was sent off for a handball on the goal-line and Manu del Moral converted the penalty to complete the scoring. Mallorca stay fifth, now level on points with Sevilla, while Getafe are six points off the top six. Athletic Bilbao can move go level on points with Mallorca and Sevilla with victory at Sporting Gijon later on Saturday and coach Joaquin Caparros said Bilbao were not there to make up the numbers. “From now on we have options to fight to get into the Champions League as there are three points in it and that is something no-one can deny,” said Caparros.—AFP

LONDON: Arsenal’s Denilson (right) fights for the ball with Hull’s Craig Fagan during their English Premier League soccer match The KC Stadium.—AP

Keane treble puts Celtic into semis GLASGOW: Robbie Keane scored a hat-trick as Celtic progressed to the Scottish Cup semifinals with a 3-0 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park yesterday. The on-loan Spurs striker’s second-half treble takes him to eight since he joined the Hoops and banishes the memories of his losing debut at the same venue in February. Kilmarnock had threatened to produce a shock as Allan Russell hit the crossbar and post before Keane struck in the 63rd minute when he latched on to a Edson Braafheid long ball. The goal knocked the fight out of Killie and the Irishman struck twice in two minutes near the end to seal the win. “The first-half was not good enough and I think the shape of the team had to change,” Celtic manager Tony Mowbray said. “I thought we started the second-half brightly and in the end the extra bit of quality we possess won the match.” Jimmy Calderwood was left to rue missed chances. “I feel we dominated the first-half and had a great chance through Russell but did not take it,” said the Kilmarnock boss. “After Keane’s goal we had to go for it and got caught with a couple of counter attacks.” Keeper Artur

Boruc was a surprise omission from the Celtic squad with fellow Pole Lukasz Zaluska taking his place in goal while Scott Brown returned for Georgios Samaras. It was the returning Celtic captain who carved out the first chance after five minutes when he unleashed a drive from the edge of the box which fizzled past Cammy Bell’s post. Killie came close minutes later when Allan Russell smashed his shot off the bar with Zaluska beaten. Braafheid’s free-kick from 20 yards nearly had Bell beaten after it took a wicked deflection but the keeper was alert enough to change direction and produce a save. There was more than a hint of off-side when Marc Crosas picked out Keane in the box but Bell made a superb point-blank save from the Irishman’s shot. Bryson was causing Celtic all sorts of problems and had his half-volley blocked before he just failed to connect with Liam Kelly’s high pass as he bore down on Zaluska. Killie had to be alert to twice deny McGeady at the start of the second-half. Keane picked his international teammate out in the box and he fired a volley past Bell that Frazer Wright headed off the line.

Minutes later Bell produced a superb onehanded save to tip the Irish international’s snap-shot from ten yards out. Bryson earned Kilmarnock a free-kick 20 yards out but Mehdi Taouil curled it over before Russell missed a golden chance to give the home side the lead when his miss-hit shot from six yards hit the post. They were to rue that spurned chance when Keane gave Celtic the lead in the 63rd minute. The Killie defence was caught napping by a long ball over the top from Braafheid and the Irishman took a touch to control it and then roll it past Bell from six yards. The on-loan Spurs man had his second in the 80th minute. Substitute Georgios Samaras chased down a lost cause and gave it to fellow sub MarcAntoine Fortune who rolled the ball across the six-yard box to Keane where he had the simple task of tapping in. A minute later the same pair combined for his hat-trick in a flowing counter-attack. Fortune picked out Keane and he arrowed a crisp shot beyond Bell for his treble. Celtic will be joined by Raith Rovers in the semi-finals for the first time in nearly 50 years after they defeated Dundee 2-1 at Dens Park.—AFP

Drogba fires Chelsea back to the top of EPL Chelsea 4

West Ham 1

LONDON: Tottenham’s Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar (left) vies with Blackburn’s French defender Pascal Chimbonda during the English Premier League football match. —AFP

Spurs on course for Champions League Tottenham 3

Blackburn 1 LONDON: Roman Pavlyuchenko kept Tottenham on course for the Champions League as his double-strike clinched a 3-1 win against Blackburn yesterday. After a miserable first half of the season, Pavlyuchenko has been in superb form of late and the Russia striker took his goal tally to eight in his last six games to ensure Harry Redknapp’s side consolidated fourth place in the Premier League. When he recently used a Russian media interview to accuse Redknapp of treating him as a joke, Pavlyuchenko looked to be angling for a move, but he has found a rich vein of form and was too hot for Rovers to handle at White Hart Lane.

Jermain Defoe put Tottenham ahead in the first half and Pavlyuchenko struck soon after the interval, then netted again in the closing stages to ease the hosts’ nerves following Christopher Samba’s goal for Blackburn. Tottenham are now three points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester City, who travel to Sunderland today. Redknapp believes the result gives Tottenham a great chance of landing a place in Europe’s elite club competition. “People have always got doubts about everything, all I’ve said is we have got a chance. It’s not impossible, we have had a great year,” he said. “It was a terrific result, I felt it was going to be a difficult day. Blackburn started the game well, they came out on the front foot. This was a big three points for us. “I wouldn’t have been disappointed to come in at 0-0 at half-time so the goal was the icing on the cake.” Defoe was back in the starting line-up after dropping to the bench for

last week’s FA Cup draw at Fulham, with Peter Crouch making way for the England striker. Redknapp’s team made the early running with Benoit Assou-Ekotto crossing for Pavlyuchenko to stab his shot into the ground and over. Pavlyuchenko also fired wide from Gareth Bale’s cross, but Blackburn felt they could have had a penalty when midfielder David Dunn was sent sprawling in the area by Vedran Corluka but referee Howard Webb waved away their appeals. Blackburn suffered a blow in the 25th minute when former Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson had to limp off after suffering a leg injury, with Jason Brown coming off the bench as his replacement. Brown was at the centre of the action immediately as Assou-Ekotto’s early cross from the left angled towards the bottom corner and the Welsh keeper managed to claw it away. He made an even better

stop to deny Defoe after Luka Modric’s pass split open the Rovers defence. But Defoe wasn’t to be denied and he opened the scoring in first half stoppage time. Niko Kranjcar’s corner was flicked on by Corluka and Defoe, unmarked at the far post, was able to tap in his 23rd goal of the season. Blackburn’s chances of getting back in the game were killed off within a matter of minutes early in the second half. Rovers striker Nikola Kalinic mis-controlled when he had sight of goal and Spurs took full advantage as Pavlyuchenko struck in the 55th minute. Modric made a driving run and picked out Defoe, who laid off a pass to Pavlyuchenko and the Russian’s finish trickled under Brown’s weak attempted save. Modric could have added another when Sebastien Bassong carried the ball out of defence and found his teammate but the Croatian dragged his shot wide. —AFP

Bolton 4

Wigan 0

Bolton ease relegation fears BOLTON: Bolton’s hopes of retaining their Premier League status received a huge boost yesterday as they humiliated fellow relegation candidates Wigan 4-0. Goals by Swedish international Johan Elmander, Kevin Davies, Fabrice Muamba and Matthew Taylor - three of them in the second-half - saw Bolton rebound from last Tuesday’s 4-0 defeat by Sunderland and move to 32 points, eight clear of third from bottom Burnley. Defeat for Wigan - their first loss to Bolton in five matches - saw them brought down to earth after last Monday’s 1-0 win over Liverpool and they are now just four points better off than Burnley. Elmander struck in the 10th minute with a sweetlyhit shot from inside the area after being set up by strike partner Davies - which gave Wigan ‘keeper Chris Kirkland no chance. Wigan pressed forward in search of the equaliser throughout the first-half with Austrian defender Paul Scharner going close with a snapshot which Jussi Jaaskelainen saved while Emerson Boyce should have done better with a free header but sent it over the post from Charles N’Zogbia’s cross. Jaaskelainen was in fine form between the posts, which was just as well as Wigan were dominant, and made a good save from the impressive N’Zogbia three minutes before half-time. —AFP

LONDON: Aston Villa’s John Carew (centre right) battles Stoke City’s Mamady Sidibe (centre left) and Rory Delap (far right) for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match. —AP

Stoke dents Villa’s Euro challenge Stoke 0

Aston Villa 0 STOKE: Aston Villa’s bid to land a Champions League place suffered a blow as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Stoke yesterday. Martin O’Neill’s team are six points behind fourth placed Tottenham after a dour battle at the Britannia Stadium which featured few clear chances for either side. Villa have two games in hand on their rivals for the final Champions League spot but their failure to take all three points from Stoke has

kept them in seventh place. After a lacklustre opening from Villa, the visitors finally showed signs of finding some momentum as James Collins’ glancing header flew wide of the far post from Stewart Downing’s cross. It was midway through the first half before Villa tested Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen when Stiliyan Petrov’s low drive from outside the penalty area was pushed away by the Dane. James Milner drove a shot over the crossbar af ter Downing threaded a pass into the penalty area. Downing came closest in the first half when his powerful shot deflected off John Carew and into the side-netting with Sorensen unable to get across in time.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis sent on strikers Ricardo Fuller and Dave Kitson in the second half in a bid to spark his side into life. Fuller had an immediate impact as he surged away from three Villa defenders and into the penalty area, but his shot didn’t match the quality of the run and Brad Friedel saved easily. The lack of quality was highlighted by Downing who seemed surprised when Stephen Warnock’s left-wing cross reached him at the far post and his first touch bounced away. Fuller’s crossshot from the left had Brad Friedel at full-stretch to tip it away from the run of Glen Whelan as Stoke upped the tempo in the last quarter of the match. —AFP

LONDON: Didier Drogba fired Chelsea back to the top of the Premier League with two second-half goals in a 4-1 win over struggling West Ham. Alex set Carlo Ancelotti’s side on their way with a 16th minute header and while Scott Parker levelled for West Ham in the 30th minute, the home side sealed the points through second half goals from Drogba and Florent Malouda. Last weekend’s FA Cup victory over Stoke City had silenced talk of a growing crisis at Stamford Bridge that followed successive defeats to Inter Milan and Manchester City. Yet while Chelsea were securing their place in the semi-finals of the competition, they relinquished their standing at the head of the table to Manchester United, who took advantage of the Blues’ break from league duties. This then was Chelsea’s chance to reclaim the position they have occupied for most of the season although their preparations were hampered by an injury to stand-in keeper Hilario. The Portuguese was drafted in for a rare run in the side after Petr Cech was injured against Inter but pulled his groin against Stoke, paving the way for Ross Turnbull to make his first league appareance for the club since his summer move from Middlesbrough. Recent form suggested that Turnbull would get little chance to stake his claim for more regular action with West Ham hitting a new low with last weekend’s home defeat to Bolton. That left Gianfranco Zola’s side on the fringe of the bottom three and the manager admitted before this game they needed ten points from their last ten games to have a chance of staying up. Having failed to win away from home since the opening day of the season, the odds were stacked against the Hammers making a dent in that target at Stamford Bridge. But they should have taken early control of the game in the 13th minute when Ilan, the Brazilian striker signed from St Etienne in January, had a glorious chance to put the visitors ahead. Jonathan Spector’s perseverance won possession from Paulo Ferreira on the Chelsea by-line and allowed Mido to pull the ball back towards Ilan who was unmarked ten yards from goal yet somehow managed to blast the ball over the bar. West Ham were never going to get many chances and it quickly became clear that Ilan’s miss could prove costly when his fellow Brazilian Alex put Chelsea ahead three minutes later. A half cleared corner was returned to Florent Malouda whose floated cross picked out the unmarked Alex and the centre back directed a powerful header beyond Hammers keeper Rob Green. Backed by that early strike, Chelsea began to dominate and should have put the game out of the visitors’ reach long before half time. They were guilty, however, of over elaborating and failed to convert their territorial advantage into meaningful chances. That meant West Ham were always within touching distance and Zola’s side levelled in spectacular style when Parker latched onto a loose ball 30 yards out and sent a dipping volley beyond Turnbull to equalise. The Hammers finished the first half with much more confidence but that quickly faded after the break when Drogba headed home in the 56th minute from Malouda’s cross. —AFP

LONDON: Chelsea’s Frank Lampard (left) and West Ham United’s Valon Behrami (right) battle for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match at Stamford Bridge. —AP

Gardner denies Everton victory at St Andrews Birmingham 2

Everton 2 BIRMINGHAM: Birmingham rallied from two goals down to claim a deser ved point from Everton in an entertaining encounter at St Andrews. Craig Gardner sealed the fightback with his first goal for Birmingham following his Januar y move from Aston Villa, preser ving his new employers’ six-month unbeaten record at home. Everton, who had been knocked out of the FA Cup by Birmingham at Goodison Park this season, looked on track for revenge when Victor Anichebe and Ayegbeni Yakubu fired them

into an early lead. But Bir mingham’s current resilience was evident as Cameron Jerome’s third goal in the last two games gave them hope and set the stage for Gardner. Birmingham would have been behind even sooner but for a fine save from Joe Hart which kept out Steven Pienaar’s curling effort. But two minutes later, Anichebe took a pass from Phil Neville and turned past Liam Ridgewell before beating Hart with a powerful 15yard drive. Yakubu added a second three minutes later, heading home a Pienaar cross at the back post. Bir mingham responded quickly with Jerome getting the faintest of touches to deflect Keith Fahey’s cross from the lef t past Tim Howard.

Hart once again demonstrated why many people feel he should be England’s number one when he pushed away a Pienaar free-kick in first-half stoppage time. And Everton might have killed the contest early in the second half, when the referee waved away what looked like a good claim for a penalty after a Pienaar freekick struck Roger Johnson’s arm. Instead it was Birmingham who equalised. Jerome won the ball in the air and his flick fell kindly for Gardner, who drilled a low lef t-footed drive past Howard into the corner of the net. The pace of the game relented a little after that and neither side seriously threatened to produce a decisive goal. —AFP

LONDON: Burnley’s Steven Thompson (right) celebrates scoring as Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Jody Craddock (left) stands dejected during the English Premier League soccer match. —AP

Wolves grab initiative in relegation dogfight Burnley 1

Wolves 2 BURNLEY: Wolves gave their chances of survival in the Premier League a huge shot in the arm with a 2-1 win at relegation rivals Burnley at Turf Moor yesterday. Burnley had only themselves to blame for a defeat that leaves them in the relegation zone, three points adrift of safety. A misjudged back header by Tyrone Mears gifted Matt Jarvis the chance to give

Wolves the lead midway through the opening period and the advantage was doubled by a Clarke Carlisle own goal. A 73rd-minute header from substitute Steven Thompson ensured a tense finale to the match but Wolves held on for the three points and left Burnley boss Brian Laws to endure the jeers of the angry home supporters. It had all started so much more positively for Burnley, with Chris Eagles and Graham Alexander both on target early on, although they also suffered a scare when Brian Jensen raced out of his box and brought down Kevin Doyle. Referee Steve Bennett judged it was not a clear

goalscoring opportunity and Jensen was allowed to stay on the pitch. Wolves however went ahead when Mears’s misjudged attempt to find Jensen allowed Jarvis to nip in and round the Danish goalkeeper to open the scoring. Burnley came close to equalising in the 44th minute when Mears knocked the ball down in the box for David Nugent, who swung a shot from eight yards which bounced down then up against the bar. But within two minutes of the restart, Adlene Guedioura’s shot from the right deflected into the net off Carlisle to leave Wolves two goals clear. —AFP

New Infiniti G37 Coupe Convertible unveiled in Kuwait

China plans to bid on US high-speed rail projects



US Congress tries to limit special spending projects


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Euro-zone FMs mull Greek aid, no sums Germany unaware of Greek bailout

MUMBAI: Indian workers assemble a Maxximo mini-truck at the newly-inaugurated Mahindra and Mahindra India plant at Chakan some 160kms (100 miles) south-east of Mumbai yesterday. The new plant, spread across 700 acres will manufacture Mahindra’s range of products from the 0.75 ton Maxximo to the 49 ton Mahindra Navistar truck. — AFP

Qatar minister sees no OPEC output change KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia: OPEC is not expected to make any fundamental change in output at its next meeting, Qatar’s oil minister was quoted yesterday as saying by Al-Hayat newspaper. Separately, the Saudi newspaper alRiyadh quoted an unnamed senior OPEC official as saying the producers group is expected to maintain its production ceiling unchanged at the meeting. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets in

Iran to spend $6.8bn in gas sector in 2010 TEHRAN: Iran will spend $6.8 billion on development projects in the gas sector this year, a senior energy official said yesterday. Javad Oji, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Co, said on oil ministry website SHANA that the money would be spent on Iran’s ninth trans-national gas pipeline, further work on a second gas pipeline to neighboring Turkmenistan, and expansion plans for the Ilam, Jam and Parsian refineries. The new Iranian year begins on March 21. Analysts say Iran, one of the world’s biggest energy producers, needs funds to help modernize and expand its oil and gas sector. International sanctions over its nuclear energy program have hurt its economy and made Western companies wary of investing. Washington and its allies fear Tehran seeks nuclear weapons, Iran says it is enriching uranium for electricity only. Iran is also vulnerable to future sanctions that could target its gasoline imports since it does have enough refining capacity to meet domestic needs. Oji said Iran’s gas exports over the past year were 6.8 billion cubic metres, an increase of 2 billion cubic metres on the previous year. Turkey is the biggest recipient of Iranian gas. Oji said compared to gas imports from Turkmenistan of 5.9 billion cubic metres in the year ending March 20, making Iran a net gas exporter. — Reuters

Vienna on March 17 to review its oil supply policy. It has left its output targets unchanged since December 2008 when it agreed to cut 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd) but compliance has waned to 53 percent. OPEC officials have said they do not expect a change in targets while prices have traded broadly within their desired range of $70 to $80 per barrel since the last meeting in December. “I do not see any fundamental change in

output during this meeting. I think the decision would be to extend OPEC’s current decision, and a decision on close monitoring of the oil market would be taken,” Qatar’s Abdullah Al-Attiyah was quoted as saying by Saudi-owned Al-Hayat. “It is true that global inventories are high but oil prices are fluctuating in such a way that ... does not allow taking a new decision at this stage,” he said. US crude fell more than 1 percent toward $81 a barrel on Friday. — Reuters

Obama identifies 3 possible Fed picks WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama is giving “strong consideration” to naming three officials to fill vacancies at the Federal Reserve board, the White House said Friday as he moves to revamp the central bank.

Janet Yellen San Francisco regional central bank chief Janet Yellen, a policy dove, is a “leading contender” to becoming number two at the board, under Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. Obama also gave strong billing to Pete Diamond, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economist, and lawyer Sarah Bloom Raskin, a commissioner of financial regulation in the state of Maryland, in his bid to fill the two other vacancies, Gibbs said. Gibbs spoke to reporters when asked to confirm media reports that Obama wants to nominate Yellen to succeed current vice chairman Donald Kohn, who intends to retire when his four-year term expires in June. He indicated that if Yellen were the president’s

choice, she could be nominated before Kohn’s term expired. He would not give a timetable for the other two nominees. All three nominations require Senate confirmation. “We are hoping to fill the vacancy of the vice chair in time for the end of the current term, which is June, and I would say Sarah Raskin and Peter Diamond are also under strong consideration for additional vacancies,” Gibbs said. Obama renominated Bernanke to a second four-year term last year and he was confirmed by the Senate in January after a divisive debate. Apart from backing Bernanke’s reappointment, Obama tapped former Georgetown University law professor Daniel Tarullo to fill a vacancy on the board, just after becoming president in January 2009. By filling another three vacancies, Obama will have determined five of the seven places on the Fed’s board of governors, which is responsible for implementing monetary policy as well as serving on the Federal Open Market Committee, which sets US interest rates. Yellen, 63, is seen by analysts as having strongly backed Bernanke’s policy of virtually zero interest rates to boost growth and reduce high unemployment and a massive expansion of the central bank’s balance sheet to fight the deep economic downturn. “Looking for an ally to paper over the administration’s gaping fiscal holes, it is not surprising that President Obama made this selection,” said Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital, citing the ballooning budget deficit crisis facing Obama. “Yellen has consistently downplayed the dangers of inflation and has made statements that indicate she views the Fed as an extension of the Labor Department, rather than a guardian of our currency,” Schiff said. She was chair of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1997 to 1999 under then-president Bill Clinton and is regarded as among the more dovish policy makers of the Fed’s 12 regional bank presidents. Her husband, George Akerlof, is a Nobel Prize-winning economist. Top officials, including US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, were still talking to Yellen about the position, a senior administration official told The New York Times. Diamond, 69, has taught at MIT since 1966 and is linked to the Obama administration. He wrote a book on social security with Peter Orszag, who is head of the White House office of management and budget. —AFP

BRUSSELS: Euro-zone finance ministers are likely to agree today on the principles and parameters of financial help to Greece, if it is required, but leave out any sums until Athens asks for them, an EU source said. “I think we should be able to agree on principles of a euro area facility for coordinated assistance. The European Commission and the Eurogroup task force would have the mandate to finalize the work,” the senior EU source, with knowledge of the preparations, told Reuters. “It would be the principles and parameters of a facility or mechanism, which then could be activated if needed and requested.” British newspaper the Guardian reported its sources as saying the aid to be made available by the bailout could reach 25 billion euros. Greece’s borrowing needs for the whole of 2010 total 53.2 billion euros. But the source said no numbers were likely at this stage. “There is no agreed figure. You would have a framework mechanism and you would have blank spaces for the numbers because there has been no request (from Greece) yet,” the source said. Finance ministers from the 16 countries using the euro, the Eurogroup, meet today in Brussels to discuss the Greek debt crisis and the country’s progress in introducing austerity measures necessary to regain the confidence of markets. Greece has announced steps to reduce its budget deficit this year to 8.7 percent of GDP from 12.7 percent in 2009, triggering street protests and strikes but also reducing market concern over whether the country would be able to service its debt. The source said that among the instruments considered to help Greece were both bilateral loans and loan guarantees. “The preparations have been

done under the Eurogroup by member states and the Commission. The Commission has done much of the technical work,” the source said. “The aim of the exercise so far has been to do the technical preparations, so that the political decision could be possible today. Germany holds the key at the moment.” Polls show that public opinion in Europe’s biggest economy Germany is strongly opposed to their country bailing out Greece, which has for years provided unreliable statistics about the true size of its deficit and debt, breaking EU budget rules. Meanwhile, Germany’s Finance Ministry said yesterday it was not aware of any agreement by euro-zone members to bail out heavily indebted Greece. The statements followed a report by Britain’s Guardian newspaper that a multi-billion euro bailout for Greece had been agreed as part of a package to support the euro. The paper quoted a senior European Commission official as saying the 16 euro zone members had agreed on “coordinated bilateral contributions” in the form of loans or loan guarantees if Athens was unable to refinance its debts and called on the EU for help. Asked whether a deal had been concluded on financial support for Greece, European Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said: “The Commission stands ready to act if necessary. Technical work is ongoing and has not yet been concluded. All the rest is speculation.” A German ministry spokesman said he could not believe the newspaper report was correct. “We are not aware that this is being planned,” he said, adding that Greece had not requested any aid. “Greece is implementing its (savings) program and we expect that it will manage it alone.” — Reuters



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Banking sector leads KSE fall amid profit-booking KUWAIT: The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) saw some profit bookings last week as equities achieved reasonably high prices, bringing the market index to lower levels. However, some gains of March are still maintained. This weekly drop was mainly attributed to the negative performance of the Kuwaiti banking sector which took the market index down with it after being the biggest loser for the week. Whereas some positive economic indicators helped limiting the index loss towards the end of the week. As measured by Global’s weighted General Index, the Kuwaiti market closed the week shedding 0.40 percent at 208.23 point. The index gains for the year reached 11.81 percent on a yearto-day basis. On the other hand, Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE), price index was up by 22.40 points (0.30 percent) and closed at 7,457.90 points. The market capitalization reached KD34.04bn. Market breadth was skewed towards decliners as out of 173 shares traded this week, 79 shares retreated against 62 advancing. Trading activity was higher this week compared to the previous three trading sessions. Total traded volume reached 2.66bn shares changing hands with a total traded value reaching KD404.43mn. High volume was seen on the Investment sector, accounting for 37.04 percent of the total traded volume with 983.68mn shares traded. Also the Investment sector took the lead of the value list, with a total traded value of KD112.62mn, accounting for 27.85 percent of total traded market value. International Financial Advisors caused the high figures of the sector as it topped both volume and value lists with 401.52mn shares changing hands, accounting for 15.12 percent of the total traded volume in the market at a total value reaching KD44.33mn. The scrip ended the week down by 1.82 percent at KD0.108. Being a major mover of the market this week, Global Banking index was the biggest loser, shedding 2.94 percent of its value after six of the Kuwaiti banks ended the week at lower notes. The two biggest banks were traded ex-dividend this week after National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) approved in its AGM a distribution of 40 percent cash dividend and 10 percent bonus shares while Kuwait Finance House (KFH) approved 25 percent cash dividend and 8 percent bonus shares. NBK’s share price ended the week down by 1.69 percent biggest loser in the sector, shedding 7.79 percent from its share price. Global Industrial Index was the second biggest loser as it dropped by 0.58 percent. However, a notable gain in the share price of Kuwait Metal Pipe Industries & Oil Services of 17.65 percent helped limiting the sectors’ loss. The scrip made it to the biggest gainers list this week. On the other hand, the services sector was the biggest gainer for the week with Global Services Index closing up by 1.73 percent. Zain the biggest Kuwaiti listed company in terms of market capitalization, gained 3 percent this week recording its highest share price since October 25, 2009. In the same sector, Mubarrad Transport Company was the biggest gainer, added 13.13 percent to its share price. The company made it to the biggest gainer list. Global Food Index came second, adding 1.71 percent to its value with the biggest food company, Kuwait Foodstuff Company (American) being a sole gainer in the sector, adding 2.50 percent to its share price. Global Investment Index followed, adding 1.03 percent by the end of the week. AlSalam Group Holding Company topped the gainers list for the week, adding 17.86 percent to its share price. On the opposite side, Gulfinvest International topped the losers list, shedding 21.43 percent of its share value. Global’s special indices were all down for the week. Global Large Cap (Top 10) Index dropped by 0.98 percent while Small Cap (Low 10) index closed down by 1.25 percent. Global Islamic Sharia Index also shed 1.49 percent of its value. Macroeconomic news Annual inflation in Kuwait slowed to 3.74 per-

The net profit for the full year ending in December 2008 reached KD1.56mn with an EPS of 7.8fils. For the nine months ending in September 30, 2009 the net profit reached KD0.05mn with an EPS of 0.3fils. With the listing of Manafae, the total number of listed companies under the regular market will be 208.


cent in July 2009 from 4.2 percent in the previous month, official data showed. Kuwait’s consumer price index stood at 136 points at the end of July compared with 131.1 a year earlier, Kuwait’s statistics office data showed. A Reuters poll on January showed analysts forecasting Kuwait’s inflation at 4.3 percent for the full year of 2009, down from 10.6 percent in 2008. BMI’s Q110 Kuwait Retail Report predicts that the country’s retail sales will grow from $41.59bn in 2009 to $59.27bn by 2014. Key factors behind the forecast growth in Kuwait’s retail sales are a favorable long-term economic outlook, a sophisticated consumer base and high levels of disposable income. Kuwait’s nominal GDP was $113.38bn in 2009, with 2009’s decline of 2.4% expected to translate into growth of 2.0% in 2010 as the economy slowly begins to recover. Average annual GDP growth of 2.0% is now predicted by BMI between 2009 and 2014. With the population rising from its 3.2mn in 2009 to reach 3.5mn by the end of the forecast period, GDP per capita is predicted to rise by more than 53% by 2014, reaching $53,950. Oil related news The price of Kuwait crude oil dropped by $0.49 on Tuesday, March 9 compared to the day before reaching $76.33 per barrel. However, it remained $2.32 higher compared with previous Tuesday, March 2, said Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). The oil prices are in a state of recovery in general despite slight drops now and then amid indications the global economy is improving, which means improved demand, for oil. Global oil demand will rise more quickly than expected in 2010, OPEC said this week, increasing the need for crude from the 12-member group which meets to set policy next week. OPEC joins the US government’s forecaster in raising oil demand estimates this week. Still, OPEC’s outlook remains conservative and it is widely expected to leave output policy steady when it meets on March 17. Demand will rise by 880,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2010 to average 85.24mn bpd, OPEC said in a

monthly report. The growth rate is up 70,000 bpd from the previous forecast. On the same issue a member of Kuwait’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) said the OPEC will keep output steady when it meets next week because the oil price is where the group wants it. Imad Al-Atiqi said that Oil prices were around the “desired range” of $70 to $80 a barrel. Prices could rise further in 2010, he added. Kuwait has cut the April official selling price (OSP) for its crude oil sales to Asian buyers to $1.85 below the average of Oman/Dubai quotes, down 65 cents from March, traders said. That is within the range of expectations in a Reuters survey. Kuwait’s crude price formula is loosely linked to that of Saudi Arabia’s Arab Medium grade, which Saudi Aramco trimmed by 65 cents last week to a $1.60 discount to the Oman/Dubai quotes. Kuwait has notified at least two customers in Asia that it will keep curbs on term crude oil supplies in April-June steady from January-March, sources at the term buyers said. Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) told the term buyers that they would continue to receive 5 percent below contracted volumes in the second quarter of 2010, the sources said. The percentage amount of the curbs has been unchanged since February 2009 and the continuation of Kuwait’s supply reduction for the second quarter was widely expected by traders. KPC also said it would keep restrictions on its operational tolerance policy by not allowing customers the ability to load up to 5 percent above contracted supplies on cargoes. The ban has been in place since late December 2008. A key technical committee has delayed a decision on reviving a stalled $15bn project to build a 615,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery in Kuwait. An un-sourced report said that the technical committee of the Supreme Petroleum Council, the country’s highest oil policy body, asked for an updated feasibility study of the project before it makes a decision. OPEC member Kuwait scrapped plans in March last year to build the country’s fourth refinery in Al-Zour because of

opposition from several lawmakers who questioned the tender process. The refinery would provide fuel supplies, most of which are now imported, to domestic power plants. The refinery would eventually replace the older 200,000 bpd refinery at Shuiba and produce low sulfur fuel oil. Other local news Kuwait Energy Company has found oil in a field in Egypt, the company said this week. A new well produced oil at an initial rate of 280 barrels per day, the company said in a statement. Kuwait Energy holds a 75 percent stake in the field. The discovery was in Burg El-Arab field in Egypt’s western desert, it said. Kuwait Energy has projects in Oman, Yemen, Egypt, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Pakistan and Cambodia. It plans to go public by the end of 2010. Global Investment House (Global) announced that it has received the “Most Innovative Deal” award by Euromoney for the Islamic tranche of its debt restructuring, which was signed on December 10, 2009 with a group of 53 banks. Global became the first company in the region to conclude a $1.7bn multi-currency and a multitranche (Islamic, conventional and bilateral) debt restructuring. The award was received at the Euromoney Islamic Finance Awards ceremony, held on February 23, 2010 in London. The award was in recognition for Global’s professionalism and transparency in dealing with the banks during the restructuring process, and for the innovative structure of the deal which has enhanced the stability of Global’s financial platform. Newly-listed fir ms Manafae Investment Company will be listed on Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) on March 16 under the Investment sector. The company, established in October 2005, is a Kuwaiti shareholding company with a total paid-up capital of KD20mn. The company’s business activities are compliant with the Islamic Sharia standards and all of its activities and operations are supervised by its Sharia board.

Kuwait Stock Exchange Kuwait’s Investment Dar said this week that it was considering along with creditors’ to use a $5.2bn state rescue facility under “The financial stability law”. The Islamic investment firm said in a statement that the government’s aid package would set the legal framework for its restructuring process, amid the dissent of some creditors and investors that have opposed its restructuring plan. “Dar would not seek financial support in making its repayments, but a legal framework to implement its well supported plan,” it said. In December, the firm said it had reached an agreement with its creditors and investors on a five-year debt restructuring plan. It had said that over 80 percent of its creditors and investors had accepted its proposed plan. Moreover, Investment Dar refused to pay Lebanon’s Blom Bank $10.7mn, saying that their original deal did not comply with Islamic law, in a move that could pressure the Islamic finance industry. Dar’s charter prohibits it from entering into non-Islamic transactions. According to a legal brief circulated this week and highlights of the week Kuwait has invited bids to provide technical, legal and financial advisory services for its planned metro project, MEED magazine has reported. The scheme involves the construction of a 171-kilometer-long network with four lines running across Kuwait. A total of 45 consultants expressed an interest in the $1.7bn project in November last year. The deadline for bids is 20 April. But Dar, in a legal move experts say will get much attention, argued that the deal -which was approved by its sharia board - ultimately did not comply with sharia law and was therefore void. A judge upheld that while Dar should repay the principal sum, it had an arguable defense regarding the extra profit. Aref Energy Holding Company said it sold 95 percent of its stake in a gas joint venture in Texas, making about $60mn profit. In 2007, Aref set up DeWitt Tract Company, a fully-owned unit with a 50 percent share in a 20-year oil and gas drilling and production concession in 75,000 acres in DeWitt County, Texas. The total amount of the deal is $117.5mn excluding taxes, while the returns of the deal are expected to be realized for Aref Energy in the first quarter of the current year. Aref added that it would keep a five percent stake in the project. Kuwait Finance House (KFH) said that the bank would continue to expand in international markets including the United States, Canada and China, adding that overseas markets contributed 43 percent of the lender’s earnings. In December, KFH said it signed a $242mn real estate deal in Chicago, after saying in August it was tying up with US apartment building owner UDR Inc to buy high income property worth up to $450 in the United States. KFH’s Asian subsidiary said in February it was considering regional acquisitions and business alliances to boost its size as it eyes huge untapped markets such as China and Japan. Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) said that it plans to launch a savings and pensions company in Bahrain with a capital of $25mn, which it said would be the first of its kind in the Middle East. KIPCO plans to sell pension products worth up to $500mn in the first five years of operation of its pensions firm, a KIPCO official said. KIPCO said it had signed an initial agreement with the world’s largest reinsurers Munich Re to provide the new company with technical services and training, a statement said. The firm will be operational within three months.

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

.2840000 .4290000 .389000 .2650000 .2780000 .2610000 .0045000 .0020000 .0781400 .7612940 .4020000 .0750000 .7463160 .0045000 .0500000

.2940000 .4390000 .3970000 .2740000 .2860000 .2680000 .0075000 .0035000 .0789250 .7689450 .4180000 .0790000 .7538170 .0072000 .0580000

US Dollar/KD GB Pound/KD Euro Swiss francs Canadian dollars Danish Kroner Swedish Kroner Australian dlr Hong Kong dlr Singapore dlr Japanese yen Indian Rs/KD Sri Lanka rupee Pakistan rupee Bangladesh taka UAE dirhams Bahraini dinars Jordanian dinar Saudi Riyal/KD Omani riyals Philippine Peso

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2879500 .4311550 .3915660 .2678050 .2804850 .0526210 .0403570 .2636160 .0371060 .2058910 .0031990 .0063630 .0025310 .0034170 .0042190 .0784360 .7641760 .4072380 .0768250 .7482930 .0063280

.2900500 .4341990 .3943310 .2697020 .2824710 .0529930 .0406430 .2654780 .0373680 .2073490 .0032220 .0064080 .0025490 .0034420 .0042480 .0789360 .7690480 .4101220 .0773150 .7530640 .0063730

US Dollar Sterling pounds Swiss Francs Saudi Riyals

TRANSFER CHEQUES RATES .2900500 .4341990 .2697020 .0773150

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees

3.232 6.357 3.434

Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal - Transfer Irani Riyal - Cash

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

2.539 3.989 207.940 37.310 4.175 6.335 8.866 0.301 0.292 GCC COUNTRIES

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

77.174 79.510 751.800 768.600 78.820 ARAB COUNTRIES

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

56.250 52.861 1.344 211.130 408.640 194.130 6.319 36.070

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 289.250 Euro 394.540 Sterling Pound 434.310 Canadian dollar 283.020 Turkish lire 188.800 Swiss Franc 270.000 Australian dollar 264.530 US Dollar Buying 287.000 GOLD 20 Gram 219.000 10 Gram 114.000 5 Gram 59.000

SELL CASH 268.500 769.050 4.410 287.600 567.900 15.800 54.500 167.800 56.600 402.200 37.940


408.770 0.194 89.470 4.000 205.500 751.030 3.450 6.330 79.550 77.210 209.010 41.670 2.533 441.800 275.600 9.050 78.910 289.200

GOLD 10 Tola

Rate for Transfer Selling Rate

209.000 52.862 400.700 37.790

52.725 6.260 3.405 2.520 4.180 6.270 3.240

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 Nepali rupee Yemeni Riyal Jordanian Dinars Syrian Pounds Euro Candaian Dollars

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 441.800 289.200

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

SELL DRAFT 267.000 769.050 4.175 286.100

Egyptian Pound Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Sri Lankan Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Japanese Yen

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 289.250 3.430 6.370 2.540 4.175 6.370 78.815 77.295 768.500 52.795 438.300 0.0000314 3.930 1.550 410.600 5.750 398.800 289.000


Sterling Pound US Dollar

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

6.610 0.035 0.297 0.261 3.290 410.510 0.195 89.470 47.800 4.260 207.000 2.183 50.500 751.210 3.540 6.510 79.980 77.210 209.010 41.670 2.778 443.800 41.700 277.100 6.400 9.230 217.900 78.910 289.600 1.380

US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Cyprus Pound Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar

289.050 278.515 443.415 400.625 268.420 708.480 766.505 78.675 79.305 77.110 407.980

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 *Rates are subject to change

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 289.000 400.550 441.600 286.000 3.220 6.360 52.828 2.534 4.173 6.322 3.448 769.000 78.680 77.190


Sunday, March 14, 2010


Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al-Babtain Co launches Infiniti’s sheer seductress

New Infiniti G37 Coupe Convertible unveiled in Kuwait KUWAIT: It has been long awaited, first premiering in the USA, then in Dubai and now making an appearance in Kuwait, Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al-Babtain Co, home of the Infiniti brand in Kuwait, unveiled the latest expression of its “Inspired Performance,” the all-new 2010 Infiniti G37 CC in the Kuwait. The much-awaited car is has been scheduled to reach the GCC and now presents itself as the first convertible in the Infiniti lineup. The first-ever Infiniti G Convertible builds upon the performance legacy of the Infiniti G line, with the liberation only a convertible with the top down can provide. Long anticipated, The Infiniti G37 Convertible has been designed from the outset with one goal in mind: to excite the senses. The stunning silhouette is perfectly proportioned, looking just as beautiful with the three-piece folding hard-top up or down, while the performance promised by the potent 3.7-litre V6 engine is guaranteed to delight. The G37 Convertible comes equipped with a standard 3.7-liter signature VQ-series V6 with VVEL (for Variable Valve Event and Lift) rated at 328 horsepower. The engine is backed by a standard electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission with magnesium paddle shifters and downshift rev-matching technology which delivers fast, smooth and satisfying downshifts for the enthusiastic driver. Seductive Styling Inside and Out The G37 Convertible maintains a coupe-like silhouette with the top up through use of a special three-piece ‘clamshell’ retractable hardtop, which allows for both a stylish shorter rear overhang and a low trunk lid. Compared to G37 Coupe, the G37 Convertible utilizes all-new body panels from the A-pillar back, along with a 1.1-inch wider overall width, wider rear track and modified rear suspension. Along with its stunning G37 Coupe-like proportions, the G37 Convertible offers signature Infiniti styling cues such as flowing front fender curves, a wave-style aluminum hood, expressive front fascia with double-arch grille and L-shaped HighIntensity Discharge (HID) bi-functional xenon headlights. In the rear, the taillights are unique to the G37 Convertible, incorporating an inner “circle of light” for

KUWAIT: Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al-Babtain Co unveils the all-new 2010 Infiniti G37 CC in Kuwait. added style. The chrome rear trunk finisher incorporates both an integrated high-mount stoplight and the small camera for the standard Rear View Monitor system. The automatic top opening/closing sequence takes approximately 25 seconds from start to finish. The open/close switch is located on the center console, just behind the transmission shifter lever. The G37 Convertible’s interior design combines sophistication, craftsmanship and thoughtfulness with unique, available systems created to enhance the open-air driving experience. The driver-oriented cockpit features has a high quality appearance with an Infiniti signature instrument panel design with Infiniti electroluminescent instrumentation with white illumination color scheme, integrated multi-function information drive computer display and signature Infiniti analog clock. The double hand-stitched leathercovered steering wheel is designed for maximum comfort and usability, with standard wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. The G37 Convertible will be offered in eight exterior colors with a choice of black or beige leather seating complimented by polished wood trim accents. For customers with even sportier tastes, red leather seating matched with red wood accents can be specially ordered.

KUWAIT: Officials and visitors examine the interior of the all-new 2010 Infiniti G37 after the launch. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Officials of Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al-Babtain Co and Infiniti pose for a photo. Climate-Controlled front seats with 8-way power driver/8-way front passenger adjustment are standard. A power ‘walk-in’ device with seat position memory provides easy access to the 2nd row seats (the front seats move forward automatically at the touch of a button to allow passengers into the rear seats). A rear wind deflector helps reduce wind turbulence when the top is down. The 2010 G37 Convertible’s long list of comfort and convenience fea-

tures includes standard Infiniti Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition and an Adaptive Dual Zone Climate Control System air conditioning system that adjusts to provide optimal comfort with the top up or down. The audio system is a 13-speaker Infiniti Bose Open Air Sound system with AudioPilot 2.0 technology that automatically optimizes EQ settings for open/closed top positions. The system’s special Bose Front seat

Personal Speakers, mounted in the front seat head restraints, enable superior front audio quality regardless of the top position. A USB connection port for iPod and other compatible devices is included and a standard Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System is also fitted. Liberating Dynamic Performance Like the G37 Coupe and G37 Sedan, the G37 Convertible’s outstanding dynamic performance credentials start with a combination of its

advanced FM platform and awardwinning V6 engine. The G37 Convertible comes equipped with a standard 3.7-liter V6 engine with VVEL (for Variable Valve Event and Lift), rated at 328 horsepower at 7000rpm and 37.0kg-m of torque at 5,200rpm. The VVEL system combines hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable valve lift on the intake side, helping to improve not only performance and response but also emissions and fuel efficiency (over a non-VVEL system). The engine is mated to an electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission with manual mode, downshift rev matching, Drive Sport (DS) mode and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) that allows for quicker shifts in sporty driving situations and solid magnesium paddle shifters. The G37 Convertible’s responsive handling and ride performance is provided by its advanced FM (Front Midship) platform design, which optimizes front/rear weight balance and creates a rigid, stable foundation for the 4-wheel independent suspension. The front suspension is an independent double-wishbone design, with a single pivot lower wishbone and a long upper link. The multi-link rear suspension separates the shock absorbers and springs, locating the shock absorber in line with the wheel center. These designs help minimize

alignment changes and reduce suspension friction for nimble handling and smooth riding characteristics. Responsive steering is provided by a vehicle-speed-sensing system, with sport-tuned steering. Also standard on the G37 Convertible is Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with cancel switch and Traction Control System (TCS). Braking performance is provided by 4-wheel vented 14 inch front and 13.8 inch rear discs with 4-channel, 4sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. 10-spoke 19-inch x 8.5-inch cast aluminum-alloy wheels are standard fitted with high performance tires (P225/45R19 W-rated front and P245/40R19 W-rated at the rear). An Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt and occupant classification sensor is standard, along with door-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for driver and front-seat passenger protection, front-seat mounted sideimpact supplemental air bags and front seat Active Head Restraints. The rear seat includes fixed head restraints with rear Pop-up Roll Bars. The G37 Convertible also features reinforced front side members, front pillars and body sills. With the top up, the G37 Convertible delivers a useable 293 liters of trunk capacity.

HP helps customers prepare for advances in mission-critical computing DUBAI: HP announced that HP Integrity customers will gain the advantages of Intel’s latest quad-core processor, enabling them to enhance business results and maximize their technology infrastructure investments for the future. The Intel Itanium 9300 processor, formerly known as Tukwila, brings significantly increased performance along with a range of new reliability, scalability and virtualization features. By incorporating this processor into the next generation of HP Integrity servers, HP is positioned to deliver innovations in resiliency, flexibility and automation through a Converged Infrastructure. Combined with the advanced virtualization, business continuity and automation capabilities of the HP-UX 11i operating environment, the features of the new processor will allow customers to quickly address changing mission-critical demands to drive business growth. HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world’s largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve customer problems. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at Intel and Itanium are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

Investment Dar files for legal protection under Kuwait’s Financial Stability Law KUWAIT: Investment Dar announced that it has started a process of legal protection under the terms of Kuwait’s Financial Stability Law (FSL). Following a series of meetings with its Coordinating Committee, banks and investors in Kuwait, Dubai and London informing them of the company’s intention to file for legal protection under the terms of the FSL, Investment Dar has submitted an application to Kuwait’s Special Circuit Court of Appeal for a court-assisted process of implementation of the restructuring plan which has received the support of the majority of its banks and investors. Although the terms of the proposed restructuring plan has been approved by more than 80% of Investment Dar’s banks and investors, a small minority of investors have continued to resist supporting the plan, which, if implemented, envisages a full repayment by Investment Dar of its financial arrangements to all of its banks and investors. It is expected by Investment Dar and the Coordinating Committee that entry into the FSL will provide a legal mechanism that will allow the agreed restructuring to be implemented, with a stay of all litigation and executions from dissenting investors which could otherwise affect the implementation process. Entry into the FSL, which was unanimously supported by the Investment Dar’s Board, will not affect the legal or operational status of the Company, and it will continue operating as an investment business with a portfolio of value-generating assets across different sectors and markets. Investment Dar is not seeking financial support in making its repayments under the terms of the FSL from the government, but

AMMAN: Officials and delegates attending the IAB pose for a photograpgh.

Major developments, strategies discussed

NBK holds 3rd IAB meeting in Jordan AMMAN: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) recently held its third annual International Advisory Board (IAB) meeting in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. As usual, the meeting was chaired by former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom John Major. John and the board members were granted an audience with King Abdullah and Queen Rania who had been briefed on the agenda for the meeting and their discussion also touched upon the forthcoming challenges posed by the financial crisis as well as Jordan’s pending megaprojects which will address issues of sustainable development and boosting economic performance. Deputy Chairman of the NBK Board of Directors, Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer said that the meeting had not only shed light on the latest major global developments in the political, economic and security spheres but had provided immense insight for NBK’s future strategy in general with particular recommendations on foreign expansion, governance and decision-taking policies. In addition to John Major, the IAB brings together a selection of the most renowned and influential world figures and experts in the fields of business, economy, politics, strategic and academic studies from the Middle East, USA, Britain, India and South East Asia. The NBK International Advisory Board sets a precedent for Banks and Financial institutions in the Middle East.

AMMAN: Former British Prime Minister John Major chairs the third International Advisory Board meeting of the NBK in Jordan.

Qatar CPI falls 5.7% y/y in Jan DUBAI: Qatar’s deflation hit 5.65 percent year-on-year in January on a continued decline in rents, extending the series of consumer price falls, the Gulf country’s statistics authority said yesterday. The global financial crisis slashed consumer prices across the Gulf Arab region last year from 2008 record peaks, with some oil producing countries such as Qatar and the

United Arab Emirates booking deflation in 2009. Consumer prices in Qatar, the world’s largest natural gas exporter, fell 4.9 percent last year, marking its first full-year of deflation since 1993, after price growth peaked at record 15.2 percent in 2008. On the month, the consumer price index edged down 0.24 percent, after a decrease of 0.23 percent

in December, falling for the eight month in a row, the data showed. Consumer prices in the cash-rich state are expected to rise this year helped by food prices, but inflation should stay at low single-digit levels although Qatar’s economy should largely outperform the fellow Gulf Arab oil producers. The rents and energy item, which accounts for 32 percent of the basket, fell 1.4 per-

cent in January from the previous month, after a 0.5 percent fall in December, the data showed. Transport prices, the second largest component, rose 0.3 percent month-on-month, down from a 1.3 percent increase in December, while food prices remained unchanged. Qatar is expected to show inflation of 3.5 percent this year, a Reuters poll showed. —Reuters



Sunday, March 14, 2010

KSE market displays stability amid fluctuations KUWAIT: For the second week in a row, Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) managed to display a stable performance, as it ended last week’s trades with a slight increase after recording daily fluctuations caused by selling pressures on one hand and purchase activities on the other. Profit taking transaction dominated the course of trading in some of the week’s sessions, following registered increases since the beginning of the year, especially during the month of February. Nevertheless, traders’ selective buying activities played a prominent role in lessening the impact of profit reaping, despite the speculative nature of some of these transactions. On the other hand, annual general meetings for a number of listed companies were held during the past week, in which proposed annual profits distribution were approved. At the same time, anticipation is mounting for listed companies’ annual results that have not been announced yet, with around three weeks remaining of the disclosure period for companies with fiscal years ending on the 31st of December. So far, 37% of companies listed in the regular market have announced their results for the year 2009, with total net profits amounting to KD 509.92 million, 24.21% lower than the same companies’ results in the year 2008. By the end of the week, the price index closed at 7,457.9 points, up by 0.30% from the week before closing, whereas the weighted index registered a 0.14% weekly gain after closing at 434.14 points. On the other hand, average of daily turnover witnessed a 12% decline to reach KD 80.89 million, whereas trading

BAYAN INVESTMENT WEEKLY MARKET REPORT Note: Averages are weighed to companies’ market capitalization. Sectors’ indices Four of KSE’s sectors ended last week in the green zone, three recorded declines, whereas the Insurance sector’s index closed with no change from the week before. Last week’s highest gainer was the Investment sector, achieving 1.31% growth rate as its index closed at 5,837.3 points. Whereas, in the second place, the Real Estate sector’s index closed at 2,825.7 points recording 1.19% increase. The Food sector came in third as its index achieved 0.51% growth, ending the week at 4,814.2 points. On the other hand, the Banks sector headed the losers list as its index declined by 0.44% to end the week’s activity at 9,100.4 points. The Industry sector was second on the losers’ list, which index declined by 0.34%, closing at 6,041.2 points, followed by the NonKuwaiti companies sector, as its index closed at 7,483.1 points at a loss of 0.32%.

volume average amounted to 531.11 million shares, at an increase of 6% compared to previous week’s levels. 2009 results 76 companies announced their results for the year 2009 with total net profits amounting to KD 509.92 million, 24.21%

lower than the same companies’ results for the year 2008, which amounted to KD 672.83 million. And as per 2009 announced results, the Services sector came in first in terms of average earnings per share (EPS) for its listed companies, which amounted to 100.39 fils. The Food sector was second

with an average EPS of 85.42 fils, followed by the Non-Kuwaiti companies sector in the third place with 80.92 fils, whereas the market’s overall average EPS is 57.44 fils. On the other hand, and according to the announced results and last Thursday’s closing prices, KSE average P/E ratio is currently at 14.88.

Sectors’ activity The Investment sector dominated total trade volume during last week with 983.68 million shares changing hands, representing 37.04% of the total market trading volume. The Real Estate sector was second in terms trading volume as the sector’s traded shares were 27.51% of last week’s total trading volume, with a total of 730.51 million shares. On the other hand, the

Investment sector’s stocks where the highest traded in terms of value; with a turnover of KD 112.62 million or 27.85% of last week’s total market trading value. The Services sector took the second place as the sector’s last week turnover of KD 104.82 million represented 25.92% of the total market trading value. Market capitalization KSE total market capitalization grew by 0.11% during last week to reach KD 32.82 billion, as five of KSE’s sectors recorded an increase in their respective market capitalization, whereas the other three recorded declines. The Services sector headed the growing sectors as its total market capitalization reached KD 9.28 billion, increasing by 1.71%. The Food sector was the second in terms of recorded growth with 1.70% increase after the total value of its listed companies reached KD 813.77 million. The third place was for the Investment sector, which total market capitalization reached KD 3.32 billion by the end of the week, recording an increase of 1.02%. The Insurance sector was the least growing with 0.03% recorded growth after its market capitalization amounted to KD 319.72 million. On the other hand, the Banks sector headed the decliners list as its total market capitalization decreased by 1.35% to reach, by the end of the week, around KD 11 billion. The Industry sector was second on this list, which market value of its listed companies declined by 0.55%, reaching KD 2.96 billion, followed by the Non-Kuwaiti companies sector, as its market capitalization amounted to KD 3.10 billion at a 0.48% decrease.

Sunday, March 14, 2010



Crude prices return to top of range

Kuwait likely to see KD7bn budget surplus in FY09/10 KUWAIT: In its latest economic brief on the oil market and budget developments, NBK noted that, after falling sharply in the second half of J anuary, crude oil prices have since recovered most of their lost ground. The price of Kuw ait Export Crude (KEC) rose from a low of $67.9 per barrel (pb) in early February to $75.0 pb at the start of March, closer to the 15-month high of $80.3 recorded in mid-J anuary. The rebound w as partly momentum driven, w ith traders unw illing to push crude prices too far

SHANGHAI: Workers carry bricks from demolished old houses at a construction site of a new apartment buildings in Shanghai. China’s top parliamentary adviser said yesterday that keeping the economy stable and steady must remain the governmentís biggest priority this year. — AP

China steelmakers want govt in ore talks: Report Mills eye help from Beijing to aid in annual talks SHANGHAI/BEIJING: A number of major Chinese steelmakers have asked Premier Wen Jiabao to direct the government to tackle iron ore price negotiations, the official China Securities Journal said yesterday. The vice president of the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) and the heads of more than 10 mills wrote the joint letter to Wen on March 11, asking him to take up the issue of rising iron ore import prices at a national level, the paper reported, quoting what it described as authoritative sources. The companies included Baosteel, Wuhan Iron & Steel, Anshan Iron & Steel and Hebei Iron & Steel, it said. China’s steel sector, which produced almost half the world’s steel in 2009, faces a huge increase in iron ore costs this year. China’s own iron ore output cannot meet domestic producers’ needs so they depend on imports. The mills have long used a system of negotiating annual benchmark prices with the top global iron ore suppliers Vale, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. But last year China failed to clinch an agreement after CISA, which was leading the negotiations, demanded a cut of 40-50 percent. Chinese mills used an interim price cut of 33 percent instead, based on deals done in Japan and South Korea. This year, spot market prices for iron ore have soared above $130 per ton, double the 2009-2010 contract price, spurred by strong demand from Chinese steelmakers and global strength in commodities markets.

CISA had begun the year hoping for a price rise of about 20 percent, but Chinese executives have said that is now unrealistic and they are pessimistic about doing a deal. CISA’s secretary general told Reuters in an interview last September that he expected iron ore oversupply in 2010. The chairman of Hebei Iron & Steel said on Thursday that many mills were now abandoning the traditional annual contracts that run from April 1 in favor of deals starting on January 1, and he saw the old system changing this year. Vale, the top miner, has proposed quarterly pricing to some Japanese mills this year, a source with knowledge of the talks said on Friday. It has already told some Chinese mills it plans to drop the benchmark, an analyst said. All three big miners have now put annual pricing talks with China on hold, Dow Jones newswires quoted an unnamed steel industry executive as saying on Friday. By ditching annual pricing deals, the miners may be banking on a global economic recovery pushing up demand for steel this year, which could keep spot prices of iron ore on the rise. China’s own steel production hit a record 1.80 million tons per day in February, weakening the mills’ case in price negotiations. But some analysts have warned of large stockpiles of steel products in China, which could soften the impact of a demand recovery. China also has 71 million tons of iron ore stocked up at its ports, more than a month’s worth of imports. — Reuters

WUHAN, China: A worker checks a CRH high-speed train at a maintenance base in Wuhan, in central China’s Hubei province. China plans to bid for contracts to build US high-speed train lines and is stepping up exports of rail technology to Europe and Latin America. — AP

China plans to bid on US high-speed rail projects BEIJING: China plans to bid for contracts to build US high-speed train lines and is stepping up exports of rail technology to Europe and Latin America, a government official said yesterday. China has built 4,000 miles of high-speed rail for its own train system and President Barack Obama issued a pledge in November with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, to cooperate in developing the technology. “We are organizing relevant companies to participate in bidding for US high-speed railways,” Wang Zhiguo, a deputy railways minister, told a news conference. Wang gave no details of where China’s railway builders might seek contracts, but systems are planned in California, Florida and Illinois. He said state-owned Chinese companies already are building high-speed lines in Turkey and Venezuela. Beijing plans to construct a 16,000-mile highspeed rail network by 2020 in a 2 trillion yuan ($300 billion) project it hopes will spur economic and technology development. A new line linking the central city of Wuhan with Guangzhou near Hong Kong on China’s southern coast is billed as the world’s fastest at 237 miles per hour. China produces high-speed trains using French, German and Japanese technology. Its manufacturers have

developed a homegrown version but have yet to produce a commercial model. Chinese rail authorities have signed cooperation memos with California and Russia and state companies plan to bid on a line in Brazil linking Rio de Janeiro with Sao Paulo, Wang said. He said Saudi Arabia and Poland also have expressed interest. The White House announced $8 billion in grants in January for rail projects including the high-speed systems in California, Florida and Illinois. “China is willing to share its mature and advanced technology with other countries to promote development of the world’s high-speed railways,” Wang said. So far, China’s government has completed 2,295 miles of rail lines with top speeds of up to 220 mph and 1,795 miles with speeds up to 155 mph, according to Wang. Another 6,000 miles of lines are under construction, he said. Once the network is completed, it will cut travel time from Beijing to Hong Kong from 24 hours to 10. Some critics say high-speed train fares are too high for average Chinese and question whether the lines can recover their construction costs. Wang said high-speed trains already have higher occupancy rates than regular trains, though he gave no details. — AP

Global benchmark crudes enjoyed a similarly sizeable rally in the second half of February. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) returned to above the $80 pb mark in early March, shrugging off USD strength and news of above-consensus rises in US crude inventories. Brent meanwhile, trod a more volatile path before ending February at $76.1 pb, up 9% from its recent low. As has been the case in recent months, the discount of spot versus futures prices which had been as large as $30 pb a year ago for contracts set to expire at the end of 2012 - has continued to narrow. Some analysts believe that spot prices may soon revert to being worth more than near-dated futures contracts over coming months a traditional sign that supply and demand fundamentals are tightening. It also suggests that - in the view of futures market participants at least - the current price of oil is broadly sustainable over the medium-term. Recent trends have largely supported the notion of fairly robust recovery for global oil demand in 2010. One factor has been the protracted spell of cold weather in the northern hemisphere, which has boosted demand for heating fuel. The Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES) made a third successive monthly revision to its demand outlook, leaving incremental oil demand in 2010 at 1.3 million barrels per day (mbpd, or 1.7%), up from 1.2 mbpd a month earlier. They continue to emphasize, however, the scope for year-on-year changes to decelerate through 2010, as the extreme weakness of early 2009 falls out of the annual comparison. Similarly, the International Energy Agency (IEA) increased its already bullish forecast from 1.4 mbpd (1.7%) to 1.6 mbpd (1.8%). The latter relies on upbeat assessments for world growth from the International Monetary Fund. Even this, it says, factors in an ‘oil-less’ recovery in output from within the OECD, partly the result of rising competition from cheap spot natural gas this year. According to figures published by OPEC, crude output of the OPEC-11 (i.e. excluding Iraq) recorded its tenth consecutive monthly increase in January, rising by 148,000 bpd to stand at 26.799 mbpd. Production has now risen by nearly 1.1 mbpd from its low in March 2009. Moreover, the pace of increase stepped up in January, with the monthly rise the largest since May. Although Nigerian output fell by a sizeable 124,000 bpd, this was more than offset by increases of 133,000 bpd and 105,000 bpd in Angola and Venezuela, respectively. If it were to remain at this level throughout the year, OPEC-11 crude output would end up 572,000 bpd higher than in 2009. In addition, the organization expects production of Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) by its members to rise by 0.5 mbpd (10%). Interestingly, this huge ‘shadow’ increase in OPEC oil supplies could take place without any formal change in its official production quotas. While there appears to be considerable support for oil prices near current levels, the prospect of significant supply growth this year still leaves scope for the market to weaken later on. Even if OPEC leaves its crude output unchanged at current levels, growth in OPEC NGLs and an anticipated 0.3 mbpd increase in non-OPEC supplies would see total oil supplies rise by around 1.3 mbpd in 2010 - more or less the same as the increase in global oil demand forecast by the CGES. However, with demand only rising from its weak 2009 base, stock cover would remain high and provide an impetus for prices to fall back around the middle of the year. In this scenario, the price of KEC falls steadily in the second half of 2010, reaching around $60 pb in 1Q11. NBK noticed that additional

below their recent $70-80 pb range. Higher prices may also have reflected heightened tension over the outlook for key currencies and government bonds - generated chiefly by fears of Greece’s recent debt w oes w hich encouraged a flight to ‘real’ assets, including crude oil. Other analysts cited support for crude from the imminent arrival of the spring driving season in the US, as gasoline companies build inventories and sw itch to more expensive, cleaner burning fuels.


supplies of non-OPEC oil could push prices even lower, however. Significant projects in Brazil, the US, Canada, Ghana and Australia are all due to come on stream this year. If these can contribute an extra 0.2 mbpd in 2010 - taking growth in nonOPEC production to 0.5 mbpd the drop in crude prices expected in 2H10 could be larger. In this case, the price of KEC could fall to $64 pb in 3Q10 and be in the $50-55 range by the start of 2011. Note, however, that prompt action by OPEC to withdraw some of its supplies from the market could alleviate this downward pressure. More bullish analysts, on the

other hand, see benchmark crude prices as set to make a sustained break into the $80-90 pb range from the $70-80 pb range seen in recent months. For them, 2010 marks a ‘transition’ year that sees demand recover before global supply shortages begin to bite again in 2011. Under this scenario, with demand expanding by the 1.6 mbpd forecast by the IEA, the price of KEC rises steadily throughout the year, reaching $83 pb by 1Q11. With the 2009/10 fiscal year drawing to a close, the price of KEC looks set to average around $69 pb, down 13% on a year ago but still almost double

CityCenter contractor to file suit: MGM Mirage LOS ANGELES: The primary general contractor for the $8.5 billion CityCenter project on the Las Vegas Strip plans to sue the project’s owners for $492 million. Casino operator MGM Mirage which owns the multi-tower site in a 50-50 partnership with Dubai World, disclosed the threatened mechanics’ lien in a filing to US regulators on Friday. A spokeswoman for Perini Building, the Tutor Perini Corp unit which was the primary general contractor at CityCenter, said the company did not want to comment on the filing. MGM, based in Las Vegas, said the actual lien may be filed within 15 days of the notice. A mechanics lien is a lien against buildings or other structures allowed by some states to contractors, laborers and suppliers of materials used in their construction or repair. “CityCenter believes that its actual obligation to the general contractor is substantially less than the amount claimed and that it is also entitled to significant offsets against the claimed amount,” MGM said in its filing. The company intends to pursue all of its rights and remedies, including arbitration. Meanwhile, the CityCenter joint venture has obtained a six-month amendment to its $1.8 billion credit facility that would allow for additional construction liens. Because the general contractor may be able to file liens on CityCenter for more than what CityCenter’s “fully drawn” credit facility allowed, CityCenter obtained an amendment to the credit facility that allows for additional construction liens in an amount more than sufficient to cover the threatened liens, according to the filing. MGM also said it believes it has significant claims against the contractor in connection with construction defects at CityCenter’s Harmon Hotel tower. The Harmon, one of the site’s six major components, was designed as a 49story condominium hotel, but the height was halved after it was discovered that reinforcing bar had been improperly installed on some floors. CityCenter, with its flagship Aria casino-hotel, opened in December in something of a victory for highly-leveraged MGM, which had come close to defaulting on its debt as the recession pummeled gambling demand. Shares of MGM, which closed at $11.80 on the New York Stock Exchange, were down a fraction at $11.73 in after hours trading. — Reuters

the $35 pb assumed by the government in its budget. Another large fiscal surplus looks essentially guaranteed. If, as we expect, public expenditures come in at 5-10% below the budget plans, the surplus should be between KD6.2 and 7.1 billion before allocating 10% of revenues to the Reserve Fund for Future Generations (RFFG). This would be the second or third largest in Kuwait’s history and equate to around 20% of 2009 GDP. In FY2010/11, the average crude prices outlined in the scenarios above - at between $61 and $80 pb - leave open a wide range of possibilities. Revenues

would turn out between 20% lower and 11% higher than our projections for the current year. Meanwhile, according to the government’s preliminary budget, public spending is set to rise by 33% above FY09/10 budget, partly as a result of outlays on the 4-year KD31 billion development plan. This plan will provide a large and timely boost to the economy. The government estimates a deficit of KD6.4 billion in FY2010/11 (before RFFG allocations). This is based upon a conservative assumption for the price of KEC, at $43 pb. Based upon our own scenarios, the budget could still register a sizable surplus.

Shanghai GM recalls 2,000 imported Captivas: Govt SHANGHAI: Shanghai GM, a venture between General Motors Corp and China’s SAIC Motor Corp, is recalling 2,065 Chevrolet Captivas imported from South Korea, China’s quality supervision agency said. The sports utility vehicles, made by GM Daewoo Automotive and Technology before the end of 2007, risked steering malfunctions, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIC) said in a statement on its website. Shanghai GM is contacting the owners of the Captivas to repair the vehicles, although the company has not yet received any cus-

tomer complaints about defects, the agency said. A string of recalls worldwide by top auto maker Toyota Motor Corp covering more than 8.5 million vehicles has put the spotlight on quality issues in the industry. Toyota’s China woes have been relatively limited so far, with the company recalling close to 76,000 RAV4 vehicles there due to faulty accelerators. Shanghai GM sold 58,182 cars in February, up 66 percent from a year earlier, as government incentives continued to stimulate auto sales in China, now the world’s biggest auto market. — Reuters

SANTA ANA, California: Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announces the filing of a civil lawsuit against Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., during a news conference Friday at the Orange County District Attorney Office in Santa Ana. — AP

Orange County prosecutor sues Toyota over defects SANTA ANA, California: Prosecutors in Orange County, California have filed a lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp, accusing the automaker of knowingly selling hundreds of thousands of vehicles with acceleration defects. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said at a news conference Friday that his office has the right to bring consumer protective action on behalf of Orange County residents. “We need to make sure that when Toyota says ‘Oh, what a feeling’ and ‘Moving forward’ that they are talking about great cars,” Rackauckas said, referring to the company’s slogans. Toyota spokesman Mike Michels said he had no comment because the company hasn’t been served with the lawsuit. Orange County’s lawsuit accuses Toyota of using deceptive business practices to become the

world’s top automaker. The suit seeks civil penalties of $2,500 per violation under the Unfair Business Practices Act, along with the recovery of attorney fees and investigative costs. “We demand to know: Did Toyota, in their relentless pursuit to become the No. 1 carmaker in the United States, put profits over people?” Rackauckas asked. The district attorney’s office hired a private law firm with expertise in consumer safety liability cases to help with the case. Toyota has recalled more than 6 million vehicles in the United States because of acceleration problems in multiple models and braking issues in the Prius hybrid. Regulators have linked 52 deaths to crashes allegedly caused by accelerator problems. At least 89 class-action lawsuits have been filed against the Japanese automaker, which could cost the company $3 billion or more. — AP



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Data, Fed to test if market rally has legs NEW YORK: Investors will try to tack another leg on to the year-long US stock rally, looking to this week’s economic data and statement from the central bank for evidence the recovery is still on track. After tumbling during the fourth-quarter earnings season, the S&P 500 has climbed back to its mid-January levels, racking up a 17-month high earlier this week. However, the index’s hold on the key 1,150 is tentative and it closed just below it on Friday, setting up a potential tug of war between the bulls and the bears. “If we get a big spike on the way up and it doesn’t hold on the way down, it’ll be negative for the market,” said Joseph Benanti, managing director of sales and trade at Rosenblatt Securities in New York. “I’d like to see some consolidation at these levels to where people start to feel comfortable that the numbers are right, the earnings are in line with expectations and we can continue to build over the rest of the year.” Benanti said a push above 1,150 could lift the S&P 500 to 1,175 or 1,200. The main event of the week will be the Federal Reserve’s assessment of the economy at the end of its interest rate-setting meeting on Tuesday. The Fed is expected to hold benchmark rates near zero and reiterate its pledge to keep them low for an “extended period.” Investors will be alert for a change in language that could signal when the Fed will begin

to tighten its monetary policy, particularly after it raised the discount rate last month. Key economic reports on tap include regional manufacturing for March, leading economic indicators for February, housing starts for February, the Producer Price Index and the Consumer Price Index, both for February, and weekly initial jobless claims. Market watchers will also have their eyes on Washington, where Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd is expected to unveil his bill on an overhaul of financial regulation. Bipartisan Senate talks over reform collapsed last week and any further signs of gridlock could buoy stocks. IN THE BANK Financial stocks could have momentum in their favor after being among the sector’s leaders this week, giving a sense of deja vu as the market celebrated its rebound from the 12-and-ahalf-year closing low last March 9. At the time, the rally was sparked by optimistic comments from Citigroup and Bank of America. This week, the shares of companies such as Citigroup and American International Group were lifted by a similar shift in sentiment as investors bet the battered companies were on the road to recovery. Short covering, as well as the potential setback for financial regulation, also bolstered the banking group. The S&P financial index was up for the fourth


week in a row, gaining 2.1 percent. For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.6 percent, while the S&P 500

climbed 1 percent and Nasdaq Composite Index up 1.8 percent. But investors said the to recovery is still a long

the shot road one,

and leadership could begin to shift out of the sector again. And while political limbo can boost stocks in the short term, longterm uncertainty can become a

negative. “This broad-based increase, especially in the more speculative areas, might have problems continuing, though obviously in

the short term, the momentum is there,” said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc in Toledo, Ohio. Benanti said investors could begin to shift into technology instead after the sector lagged at the start of the year. Tech shares are expected to benefit from a recovering economy as consumers and businesses spend more. BUMPY RIDE Wall Street could see more volatility than it has of late with four types of March futures and options contracts set to expire or settle at the end of this week, an event known as “quadruple witching.” The quarterly event tends to attract high volume as investors adjust or exercise their derivative positions. “Usually expiration weeks are positive but with the market up at new highs, it’s hard to tell which way this one will pan out,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont. “But it appears, at least so far, that this market wants to go higher.” While it will be mostly quiet on the earnings front, FedEx Corp is expected to report third-quarter results on Thursday. The package delivery giant is considered a bellwether of economic activity. On the economic front, investors will take in two separate regional data reports with the Empire State manufacturing index on Monday and the Philadelphia Fed survey on

Thursday. The Empire State index for March is expected to rise to 21.45 from 24.91 the month before, while the Philly Fed index is expected to climb to 18 in March from 17.6 the previous month, according to Reuters data. On Tuesday, housing starts for February are expected to dip to an annual rate of 570,000 units from 591,000 the month before. The same day, February import prices are expected to dip 0.2 percent, compared with a gain of 1.4 percent in January. Wednesday’s Producer Price Index for February is expected to see a month-over-month dip of 0.2 percent, compared with a 1.4 percent gain the month before. Core PPI, excluding volatile food and energy prices, is forecast to rise 0.1 percent in February, following a 0.3 percent gain the previous month. On Thursday, the Consumer Price Index for February is forecast to gain 0.1 percent, compared with an increase of 0.2 percent in January. Core CPI, which omits volatile food and energy prices, is forecast to rise 1.4 percent in February, following a 1.6 percent gain in January. Providing a snapshot of the labor market, Thursday’s initial claims for jobless benefits are expected to fall to 455,000 last week from 462,000 the week before. Also on Thursday, leading economic indicators for February are expected to rise 0.1 percent, less than the 0.3 percent gain the month before. — Reuters

New budget discipline ahead of snap polls

US Congress tries to limit special spending projects WASHINGTON: Congressional leaders have launched a fresh bid to crack down on lawmakers’ special spending deals known as “earmarks” in an effort to show new budget discipline ahead of upcoming mid-term elections. The use of earmarks, a practice in which

lawmakers can direct funds in a bill to specific projects in their home states, have long been decried by budget watchdogs and by President Barack Obama as wasteful, but little has been done to stem the practice.

WASHINGTON: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on fiscal 2011 budget for the Treasury Department. —AP

Dollar falls against euro amid rumors of Greek aid plan NEW YORK: The dollar fell against the euro Friday as investors shrugged off a stronger-than-expected US retail sales report and mulled rumors of a European plan to help debt-stricken Greece. The euro was changing hands at 1.3761 dollars around 2200 GMT, up from 1.3678 dollars late in New York on Thursday. The dollar held steady against the Japanese currency, trading at 90.52 yen from 90.48 yen Thursday. “Based upon the price action in the financial markets on Friday, the US retail sales report failed to impress traders and investors,” said Kathy Lien at Global Forex Trading. Retail and food service sales increased 0.3 percent in February despite severe winter storms, Commerce Department data showed, instead of falling 0.2 percent as expected by most analysts. “There was no ambiguity in the strength of the consumer spending report yet equities and bonds ended the day virtually unchanged,” Lien said. The dollar rose initially following

the report but gave back its gains as equities failed to follow through, she added. The euro, meanwhile, benefited from strong economic data and speculation that Europe is mustering support for ailing euro-zone member Greece. Factory output in the 16-nation euro-zone rose 1.7 percent in January from December and were up 1.4 percent from a year ago, official data showed. Detailed options for concrete European-level financial support to help Greece out of its debt crisis will be presented to euro-zone finance ministers meeting next week, sources said. The European source said that officials have in fact “left no stone unturned” in examining available options, essentially confirming a report in French daily Le Monde on Friday. According to the newspaper, a deal could be agreed in principle on Monday, with two plans of action on the table. One involves a series of loans by European Union countries,

coordinated by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm. In the other plan, the Commission would borrow money on the markets and extend loans to Greece that would be guaranteed by EU states. Elsewhere on Friday, markets reacted to remarks by Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama who called for “firm steps” against the yen’s recent rise, which is hurting Japan’s exporters. Hatoyama told a parliamentary session that the yen had risen despite “the fact that Japan’s economy and industries aren’t necessarily strong.” “I think we need to take firm steps against such yen strength,” he said, adding that there is a need to “politically cooperate on the world stage.” The move seemed to be an aboutface from his position in January that the government should not in principle discuss currency movements. In late New York trading, the dollar fell to 1.0581 Swiss francs from 1.0682 late Thursday. The pound rose to 1.5189 dollars from 1.5058. — AFP

The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense identified 9,499 earmarkswhich are often slipped into various bills by individual lawmakers with no debateamounted to $15.9 billion in the current fiscal 2010 budget. Although this is a drop in the bucket in a federal budget of $3.5 trillion, the move to curb the so-called “pork barrel” spending has been gaining momentum, with the public viewing the practice as unsavory if not corrupt. Some of the earmarks seen as wasteful have included $165,000 for maple syrup research in Vermont, $150,000 for a Polynesian travel agency in Hawaii and $500,000 for the National Wild Turkey Federation in Nebraska. House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey announced in the past week that the panel “will not approve requests for earmarks that are directed to for-profit entities,” aiming to avert a public outcry over cozy relationships between lawmakers and corporate contributors. Obey said that if this rule had been in effect last year, it would have resulted in 1,000 fewer earmarks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed this move as “good stewardship of taxpayer dollars.” Republicans, the minority party trying to make new gains in November mid-term elections, are also taking aim at earmarks. “For millions of Americans, the earmark process in Congress has become a symbol of a broken Washington,” House Republican leader John Boehner said after his party in the House of Representatives adopted a unilateral moratorium on all earmarks. Boehner said the action was “an important step toward showing the American people we’re serious about reform.” But he added that “the more difficult battle lies ahead, and that’s stopping the spending spree in Washington that is saddling our children and grandchildren with trillions of dollars in debt.” In the Senate, Republican John McCain renewed his call from his failed 2008 presidential bid to clamp down on special project spending for lawmakers. “We must act now to ensure that the erosion we see today in the public’s confidence in Congress does not become a complete collapse of faith in our institutions,” he said. “We can and we must end the practice of earmarking.” Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Daniel Inouye said he wanted more transparency-but not an end to all earmarks. Inouye said his panel had already taken steps “to ensure unprecedented levels of transparency and reform in the earmarking process,” and that “I understand the reasons why the House might feel it is necessary to adjust its practices in light of previous problems in that body.” But he said a better approach may be to limit earmark spending without banning it entirely. “In limiting earmarks to less than one percent of discretionary spending, we ensure that the excesses of the past will not be repeated,” he said in a statement. — AFP

LISBON: Socialist members of parliament stand up to vote as the Portuguese parliament approves the minority government’s state budget proposal Friday in Lisbon. Portugal’s parliament approved the Socialist governmentís state budget proposal Friday, endorsing measures to reduce a debt load that has unsettled financial markets. —AP

Investors await Fed meeting with tempo NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks are set to build on nearly year-and-a-half highs as they face next week’s key economic reports and the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting. “We are in the process of testing our highs from midJanuary on the S&P 500,” said Gina Martin of Wells Fargo Securities. “The fears for sovereign credit risk and a possible step further in China relative to tighter (banking) reserve requirements have dissipated for now,” she said. “We are back to focusing on much better economic growth numbers.” The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose a modest 0.55 percent over the week to close at 10,624.69. The technology-rich Nasdaq composite gained 1.77 percent to 2,367.66. And the broad-market Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 0.99 percent to 1,149.99. While the blue-chip Dow remained below its January peaks, the other two major indices surged. The Nasdaq on Thursday hit its highest level since late August 2008 and the S&P 500 reached an October 2008 high. The week was marked by indecision in the absence of major economic indicators to provide direction. “I look at the way the market has performed in the absence of real catalyst, it’s constructive,” Craig Peckham of the Jefferies brokerage said at the end of a week light on market moving economic data. Peckham said the quiet week could have been a “wonderful opportunity” to take profits, and the fact that the market gained “should be taken as a pretty good positive.”—AFP

WASHINGTON: US Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Banking Committee. Gensler criticized Wall Street’s stance on proposed new oversight for the shadowy $600 trillion derivatives market — AP

Rates trade in tight range on uneven economic data NEW YORK: Interest rates were mixed in the bond market Friday after uneven economic reports gave investors conflicting signals. Long-term Treasury prices rebounded after sliding Thursday. The rise in prices pushed yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note that matures in February 2020 fell to 3.70 percent in late trading from 3.73 percent late Thursday. Its price rose 8/32 to 99 11/32. The 10-year yield is tied to interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans. A drop in consumer confidence pushed up demand for safe havens. The preliminary Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for March slipped to 72.5 from 73.6 in late February. Investors were concerned that consumers less confident wouldn’t be as likely to spend. At the same time, the Commerce Department said business inventories were flat in January. Analysts were looking for an increase as a sign that businesses were restocking store shelves to meet greater demand. There were bright spots. The Commerce Department also said that retail sales rose 0.3 percent last month. Traders had been expecting a drop in part because of heavy snow storms. Prices for long-dated Treasurys fell a day after a Treasury Department auction of $13 billion in 30-year bonds attracted robust demand and pushed up prices.—AP


Sunday, March 14, 2010


Settlers, torpedoes and assassins are highlights of March’s PC games HAMBURG: Computer gamers are likely to respond to March’s new products in one of two ways: either with a “Finally!” or a yawn and a “This again?” That’s because most of March’s new games are sequels to existing franchises. The Settlers, for example, will put out its seventh instalment. Other continuing series include Assassin’s Creed II, Silent Hunter 5 and Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. Of course, there are some new games out there, including Prison Break: The Conspiracy. However, it is based on a television series. Settlers has a long history. The

first generation debuted in 1993 for the Amiga, the brainchild of Volker Wertich. A PC version soon followed. The basic principle was and remains to build up a functioning city for a group of digital settlers. Success - ie creating a city with a working economy - depends on making sure that there are enough raw materials to keep everything from the bakery to the smithy in full production to meet the community’s needs. Building up a military is also important, if not central. That has been the guiding principle for sequel after sequel since. Sometimes the focus was more on settling new territories. Other times

- not necessarily to the delight of hardcore fans - it became more of a real-time strategy game. Settlers 7 is expected to let players focus on their individual style. People who prefer to trade and settle should be able to get along fine without a military, and vice versa. Publisher Ubisoft says the game should be available from March 25 for about 50 euros (68 dollars). One new PC title has already made the rounds of gaming consoles. It’s only been a quarter of a year since Assassin’s Creed II was released for the XBox and other gaming machines, but now it’s time for the PC version. The new version

the computer helper

Buying a Windows 7 computer WASHINGTON: Now that Windows 7 is widely viewed as a worthwhile upgrade, many are looking at buying a new computer that will take advantage of Microsoft’s new operating system. What you look for in a new machine, though, should depend in part on what your primary tasks will be. Read on for some answers. Q: I’m interested in buying a new desktop to run Windows 7. I’ll be using it to edit photographs, video, and for doing general chores. What components should I focus on? A: Photography and video editing are two of the more demanding tasks that people use their computers for these days, so a beefier machine will be in order. First of all, you might want to consider installing the 64-bit version of Windows 7. It’s good to know which version you intend to install before you buy a machine because that knowledge will help you determine how much memory (RAM) you might want. The 32-bit version of Windows 7 can access up to 4 GB of memory. Today, though - especially when editing multiple large photographs while running several other applications - more than 4 GB of RAM are helpful, and only the 64bit version of Windows 7 will allow that. There’s really no machine made today that is “too powerful” for photo and video editing, so you should start by looking at higher-end systems. An Intel Core i5 or i7-based machine would be preferable to a Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad. The latter two processors are on the way out, The i5 and i7 processors eliminate a significant bottleneck of older chip designs - namely the socalled “front side bus,” a pathway between the processor and other components in the PC. The chips also can automatically “overclock” themselves, meaning they can deliver more performance when required. Intel’s i7 chips are more powerful than i5 chips. For memory, consider 4 GB a minimum, but make sure you get a machine that will not only accept more - many these days do - but also one that will not require you to replace the existing RAM in order to fit more in. The best idea is to get the maximum amount of RAM you can afford: six to eight GB is not too much. You’ll want a powerful graphics card, since with photo editing, you’ll likely need at least the capability of running a large monitor and pushing around a lot of pixels on it. Look for a machine outfitted with an nVIDIA or ATI-based card with 512 MB to 1 GB of DDR3 or DDR5 RAM. If your budget allows, consider getting a solid state drive (SSD) as your operating system and application storage drive, and add a lower-cost but higher capacity traditional hard drive for file storage. Today, an 80 - 120 GB SSD will cost about 300 dollars, which is a lot for a single component, but an SSD can provide the most significant boost in performance in today’s computing environment. That’s because hard drives have long been the primary bottleneck in PCs, and SSDs are the solution. Finally, don’t forget the monitor. For photo editing, of course, a large monitor can be not only pleasing to look at, but also improve your productivity, as you’ll have to do less scrolling to see images or groups of images. A 24-inch monitor should be your minimum, while a larger

monitor won’t hurt. Q: I need to buy my daughter a Windows 7 notebook for college. What should I be looking for? A: The computing needs of college students can be fairly demanding, depending upon their course of study, so you should be looking at a mid-range notebook computer with a preference toward portability and durability. Processor speed is probably the least of your concerns. Any mid-range notebook sold today will be sufficiently fast for your daughter. Other features - weight, screen size, and features - are likely to be more important: get her input. Look for units that integrate a webcam and microphone so that she can take advantage of any tasks that requires them - such as placing free video calls to you via Skype! Screen size will be a big determinant of how heavy the unit is: 14-inch LCDs provide comfortable viewing while helping to keep the size and weight of the unit manageable. 15-inch screens start to make the notebook a bit unwieldy. Larger screens are nice, but only if the notebook won’t be carried around much. Durability is perhaps the most important consideration - and one that’s frequently overlooked. Consider “business class” notebook computers in addition to those geared toward home users. Business notebooks are built to withstand more abuse than other models, and these days they’re priced on a par with other types of notebook. Dell’s Latitude series and HP’s Elitebook and ProBook models are examples of business class computers. Finally, don’t forget the warranty. Threeyear, no-fault, full- coverage warranties or insurance that covers damage, malfunction, or theft make the most sense for students. Q: I need a small notebook to take on business trips. I will use it primarily for email. Will Windows 7 run on netbooks? A: Any new or recent netbook with at least 1 GB of RAM will run Windows 7, although performance will likely not be thrilling. Many netbooks still come with an option to use either Windows XP or Linux as an operating system. However, it’s probably a mistake today to focus entirely on the netbook arena if running Windows 7 is a primary consideration. There’s a new class of notebooks that sits in-between netbooks and traditional notebooks. These “netbook plus” models are a touch bigger and heavier than netbooks but - with 12 or 13-inch screens rather than 10-inch screens provide a much more comfortable viewing experience, not to mention more computing horsepower for real-world tasks. All of the major notebook vendors are now offering these models, which attempt to recoup some of the ground lost to netbooks in recent years. — dpa

Building your own computer MUNICH: Buy a standard off-the-shelf computer and you’re probably making compromises. It’s rare to find a pre-configured system that meets your needs to a tee. The simplest way to make sure that every piece of technology in a new desktop PC fits your requirements is to build it yourself. You don’t have to be a nerd to manage the task anymore, either. The key thing is to enter into the planning stage by ensuring that the individual pieces - the components - are compatible with one another. The key components of any PC are the case, power supply, motherboard and processor (including fans and heat conductive paste), memory, graphics cards, optical drive, and hard drive. “Once you have these components, you can create a PC system that would suffice for most users,” says Christian Kissinger from German electronics specialists Conrad Elektronik. Each one of the components listed above is available in hundreds of variants. Deciding which one should grace the inside of your new creation is largely a matter of determining what kind of tasks the computer will be performing. A computer being used just for email messages and surfing the net doesn’t require the horsepower under the hood that a gaming PC needs, for example. Evaluating the individual components is thus a relatively important part of the process, says Josef Reitberger from the computer magazine Chip, but it can also be fun. He suggests checking the top products lists in well-known magazines. Reitberger feels the challenge of physically constructing the PC itself is often overblown. “Good cases are constructed so that amateur tinkerers just have to tighten a few screws,” he notes. And those even usually come included with delivery. The process is a key part of the PC.

If you’ve already decided on a specific model, then the next step is finding a suitable motherboard. Once that step is finished, the RAM can be picked to fit the motherboard. It’s important to ensure that the RAM type - such as DDR3 - actually fits the slots on the board. If you’re not certain, ask a specialist before making the purchase or make sure that the seller has a good exchange policy. Hard drives and optical drives are pretty much interchangeable nowadays, Kissinger explains. “All current motherboards can handle devices with a SATA port, as well as old IDE drives,” says Kissinger. In terms of capacity, it’s usually better to spend the extra few dollars. The price differences tend to be minimal, Reitberger says. “But extra quick drives don’t bring major noticeable benefits.” When it comes to new graphics cards, it’s recommended that the model have a fast PCI Express port. The rule of thumb: the more you game, the better the graphics card has to be, especially if 3D games are likely to be installed. An optical drive is simple to add in: Blu-ray drives cost at least 70 dollars. DVD burners are cheaper. Technical author Rudolf Glos recommends sticking to brand-name products, especially when selecting motherboards. Brand name makers tend to keep up on driver updates for their products as the years go on. One more component required for a homemade computer: the operating system. “Pre-configured PCs come with Windows - for self-built models the operating system naturally costs extra,” Reitberger says. Consumers willing to do without Windows can save money by installing one of the many free Linux variants. Windows 7 Home Premium costs around 80 dollars, by contrast. — dpa

comes with a new hero: Ezio Auditore de Firenze. Firenze spends a lot of time at the centre of Renaissance Italy’s trading capitals, making friends with legends like Leonardo da Vinci - at least when he’s not busy ending the lives of other virtual characters in the game. The new version of the assassin’s saga, also from Ubisoft, is expected to hit stores on March 4, for about 50 euros. Command & Conquer is a familiar standby for any fan of real-time strategy games, having premiered in the mid-90s. But only hardcore fans have been able to keep up with its convoluted history.

Basically, Command & Conquer split into three parallel series: Tiberian, Red Alert and Generals. Thus, Electronic Arts is now publishing Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. Gone is the standard phase of the game where players have to gather resources to build up their army. Instead, players can operate a new vehicle, a Crawler, which can be used for troop recruitment. The game was also designed primarily for online battling. It is expected to be available in mid-March, most likely for about 50 euros. Prison Break: The Conspiracy, from publisher Deep Silver, also

contains another action-adventure. Based on the popular television series - the show’s writers worked on the game - players take over the role of agent Tom Paxton. In prison, Paxton is charged with finding out why Michael Scofield, the main character, robbed a bank. Members of the show’s cast have lent their voices to the game. The game is supposed to hit shelves at the end of March. No price has been named yet. When it comes to PC simulators, the recent trend has been toward games that let the player pretend to farm or drive a bus, the ultimate in goofing off without getting too

immersed or drawn into a complex storyline. But a new game like Silent Hunter 5 shows just how deeply fans can immerse themselves into a wellmade simulator. Released by Ubisoft, the game focuses on submarines. Players take on the role of a captain in the middle of a war who must lead his crew and safely steer his torpedo-laden vessel to its goal without getting sunk itself. Here, at least, when players exclaim “again!” it might be a good thing, as they make yet another attempt at success, at which point they’ll be able to triumphantly shout “finally!” — dpa

Poor online manners can have consequences in everyday life

It pays to be nice on the ‘Internet’ HAMBURG: Millions of people communicate each day on the internet: they write messages on networks, forums, and blogs, answer email messages and post greetings. Yet some of them don’t give a thought to politeness in the process. There’s a definite downside to rudeness online, howNetiquette tends to be more of a set of suggestions than obligations, however, says Besim Karadeniz from the information portal That may be one reason that netiquette is seldom discussed much any more - even though internet communication in the age of social networks and SMS services is more important than ever. Even if they don’t know the ins-andouts of netiquette, users of Facebook and similar sites should still use common sense and not make boors of themselves, Karadeniz says. One reason is because the networks themselves have codes of conduct, in many cases including bans on bullying or mocking behaviour. Discrimination and racist statements are also taboo. Slander and other potentially illegal behaviour tends to be more rare, Karadeniz believes. A bigger source of irritation is irony or sarcasm. Even if you don’t intend those biting comments to do real damage, they hit harder than most people realise - and no amount of smileys can patch up the hurt. When several such posts bump into each other head to head, things can quickly degenerate into a “flame war.” “First think, then post,” says Patrick Schenk from the Hamburgbased Trendbuero company, “particularly because the virtual circle of acquaintances and the flood of information is growing all the time.” The more online communication grows, the more casual we become in

ever: poor online manners can have consequences on the job and in everyday life. The term “Netiquette” emerged early in the history of the internet as a catch-all phrase to describe a set of rules that govern manners online.

SAN FRANCISCO: In this June 8, 2009 file photo, Apple interim CEO and Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook smiles before the start of the the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. — AP

using it, experts note. That makes it crucial to keep things in check, even for things that aren’t insulting in the slightest. That includes taking the time to spellcheck and use proper expressions, and to avoid writing long, drawnout texts that only overwhelm the reader, says Axel Schmiegelow from the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW). “When you compose a message, you should be clear about who will have access to that text,” the social media experts say. If an email message is mistakenly sent out to a large distribution list, there’s no way of retrieving it. And sometimes a little error can turn into a life-changing catastrophe, like the two female colleagues who were chatting about their love lives over email messages and with one wrong click forwarded it out into the big wide world. Another part of civil discussion is using links to reference sources through links and respecting copyright. The latter needn’t stop anyone from publishing brief excerpts from copyrighted texts. The use of entire texts is illegal, though. “Netiquette has a different form for every user,” Karadeniz says. Twitter’s operators give a relatively free hand to what may be sent out. The platform is growing constantly and the guidelines of interaction are changing constantly, too. “The rules of behaviour come from the network structure itself,” Schenck says, “not from outside.” — dpa

Chinese companies plan tablet PCs amid Apple IPad Hype BEIJING: Several Chinese companies have jumped on the tablet PC bandwagon as buyers await the sale of Apple’s iPad, possibly presaging wide imitation of the Apple device in China. Apple hasn’t said if it will sell the iPad in China, but some local companies there have already started selling or planning rival tablet computers with Windows 7, the first version of the Microsoft OS to offer a core multitouch control option suited for such devices. Other Chinese vendors are taking orders for the iPad, planning to buy the device outside of China and informally take it back into the country before reselling it. The iPhone was similarly sold on the gray market in China long before its official release there late last year, and at least 1 million iPhones being used in China were not bought from official distributor China Unicom, according to analyst estimates. One local company working on its own tablet is Teso, a device maker based in Shenzhen, the southern city known as the home of Chinese knock-off and imitation electronics, locally called “bandit” devices. The company plans to start shipping a 10.1-inch tablet with a multitouch touchscreen and an Intel Atom processor this month, a company employee surnamed Wu said via instant

message, where his status message billed the product as an “imitation iPad tablet.” The Teso device will cost around US$280 outside of China and about $330 inside the country, Wu said by phone. The tablet will weigh less than 0.9

kilograms (2 pounds) and allow users to surf the Internet with a 3G mobile connection. Hanvon Technology, a Chinese maker of e-readers and other devices, plans to start shipping two tablet computers next month. Both will have 10-

inch screens, Windows 7 and a price between 4,999 yuan and 5,999 yuan (US$730 to $877), a company marketing employee said. Their CPUs will come from Intel’s Atom and Celeron lines. Another Chinese company,

Shenzhen Great Loong Brother Industrial, already sells a tablet computer that looks similar to the iPad. The company has said it wouldn’t rule out suing Apple over the similar design, even though, as the blog iPadInsider has noted, the company once described its product as an imitation Apple device on a part of its Web site that has since become inaccessible. Lenovo is China’s top PC maker and a global brand, but it also stepped into the tablet arena early this year by announcing its IdeaPad U1, a laptop with a touchscreen that can be detached and used as a tablet computer. Many Chinese device makers appear to be waiting to see how the iPad actually sells, but if it performs well then a wave of imitation is certain, said Kevin Wang, an analyst at iSuppli. “Bandit” mobile phones and netbooks, widely sold at electronics bazaars in China, have appeared both as blatant counterfeits of well-known products like the iPhone and merely as generic-looking devices from unknown brands. But their defining trait has been a low price, often at the cost of quality. The likely problem for imitation tablet PCs in China will be a lack of wide-ranging applications like the pool available for Apple’s iPad, Wang said. — IDG



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Scientists find ‘mother’ of all skin cells LONDON: Scientists have found the “mother”, or origin, of all skin cells and say their discovery could dramatically improve skin treatments for victims of serious wounds and burns. Hans Clevers and a team of Dutch and Swedish researchers conducted a study in mice and found that the stem cell that gives produces all the different cells of the skin actually lives in hair follicles. The findings, which they say will translate for human use, mean it may be possible to harness these stem cells to help with wound repair or skin trans-

plants for burns victims, they said in a study in the Science journal on Thursday. “This is the mother of all the stem cells in the skinit makes all the other stem cells,” Clevers, of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Utrecht, told Reuters in a telephone interview. “The same stem cells exist in humans, we can see them, and the promise is that these cells are probably going to be much better than anything we have had to date at making new skin.” The skin has three different populations of cells-

hair follicles, moisturising sebaceous glands, and the tissue in between, known as the interfollicular epidermis. Stem cells are original cells, or drivers, from which all human cells develop. Scientists had previously thought that stem cells in each of these three skin populations were capable of producing their own cell type, but until now, a “mother” stem cell which produces all three types had not been found. Clevers’ team found that a group of stem cells that live in hair follicles and which have high levels of a gene called Lgr6 are the original epidermal

stem cells. In tests on mice with wounds, they found that Lrg6 cells around the wound drove new skin growth and repaired the skin. Scientists are already able to grow new skin in laboratories using tissue from existing skin cells from patients who have been badly burned, but the new skin is often brittle, dry and does not have hair-making it look unusual. Clevers said the advantage offered by the “mother” stem cell finding would be that they could grow skin from its original basis-allowing it to be “real new skin” with moisture from sebaceous glands

and the ability to grow hair. He said researchers now need to learn how to isolate the Lrg6 cells from human skin. That could take 2 to 3 years. “We are learning how to grow the mouse cells in culture. Once we know how to do this and can isolate the human variant, we should be able to grow human cells as well,” he said. “Since there is a lot of experience already with growing and transplanting skin for burn wound patients, it should be relatively easy to incorporate the new stem cells ... and conduct trials in patients.” — Reuters

Heart attacks are more common in winter

Hearts may swoon when stocks do, study suggests ATLANTA: Stock market slides may hurt more than your savings. New research suggests they might prompt heart attacks. Duke University researchers found a link betw een how a key stock index performed and how many heart attacks w ere treated at their North Carolina hospital shortly after the recession began in December 2007 through J uly 2009, w hen signs of

recovery emerged. The trend w eakened after they did a second analysis taking into account seasons of the year. Some research suggests heart attacks are more common in w inter, meaning the initial finding could have been a statistical fluke. How ever, leading scientists unconnected w ith the w ork said they found it plausible and w orth further research in a nationw ide study.

US health care imbroglio delays Obama Pacific trip WASHINGTON: The fierce and fateful battle over health care reform has forced President Barack Obama to delay his departure on a trip to Indonesia and Australia by three days, to March 21. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs made the announcement on his Twitter feed Friday, a day after saying the trip would not be postponed, reflecting the fast-shifting debate on an issue testing the president’s political credibility. Gibbs also said Obama’s wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha would no longer join the president on a poignant journey to Indonesia, where he lived as a boy for four years with his mother. “The president will delay leaving for Indonesia and Australiawill now leave today-the first lady and the girls will not be on the trip,” Gibbs wrote. In his daily briefing, Gibbs was repeatedly pressed on whether the president’s threatened effort to pass health care reform could further delay the visit to Asia but he refused to budge. “The president is going on a trip on the 21st,” Gibbs said repeatedly. The trip now figures to be an even faster sprint through Indonesia and Australia than previously scheduled, though the White House says it must go on as both nations are vital to Obama’s bid to revive US Asia-Pacific policy. Obama has billed himself as America’s first “Pacific president” and his journey had been timed to coincide with his daughters’ school’s spring break to allow the president to take his family. The fact he must leave his wife and daughters at home may take the gloss off the trip for Obama and disappoint his hosts. Gibbs however said even in Obama’s original itinerary, there had never been plans for the pres-

ident to visit his old school or the house where he lived when he was in Jakarta as a boy between 1967 and 1971. But making the journey-with or without his family-was paramount, the White House stressed. “The United States has been absent from the Asia Pacific region. We can’t lead in this region of the world without strong bilateral relationships with Indonesia and Australia,” Gibbs said. The president is also due to stop in the Pacific island of Guam, an unincorporated US territory, on the way to Asia, to see American troops. Reacting to the announcement, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd showed understanding. “The president is welcome in Australia at any time. He knows that, the United States government knows that,” Rudd said. “If this visit is delayed by several days, if it’s brought about by the necessities of the health reform process in the United States, I really understand that.” The White House had been pressing the House of Representatives to hold a key vote on Obama’s flagship health care reforms before his original departure date of March 18, but it became clear that that deadline was unrealistic. The delay will also likely fan fresh doubts about the capacity of Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives to put together a majority of votes for the embattled effort to overhaul America’s mostly private health care system. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she was “exhilarated” about the legislation’s prospects, but she stopped short of saying she had the 216 votes needed for passage. She said House floor votes on the measure were

expected by the end of next week, but she remained uncommitted to any precise timetable. Obama has spent over a year trying to cajole Congress into passing the kind of sweeping health care reform that has eluded Democratic presidents for decades. In recent days, he has escalated the fight, staking his own political credibility and authority on passing the bid to expand access to health care for millions of Americans and to cut costs and rein in insurance giants. In a delicate piece of political choreography, Obama wants the House of Representatives to pass a Senate health care bill, then for

both chambers to endorse a package of “fixes” to harmonize the final legislation. Obama, who lived in Jakarta with his late mother Ann Dunham in the 1960s, said last year in Singapore that he was looking forward to visiting his old haunts in Indonesia. Obama is hugely popular in Indonesia, but earlier on Friday several dozen Muslim students protested in front of the US embassy in Jakarta against his visit to the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. “Just like Bush, he is a war president and an enemy of Islam,” protest coordinator Fikri Ahmad Irhamul told AFP. — AFP

“I do think there’s merit to their first-round conclusion,” said Dr. James McClurken of Temple University in Philadelphia. He is chairman of the American College of Cardiology’s annual conference, where the study results were released yesterday. Dr. Janet Wright, vice president of quality and science for the cardiology college, agreed. “This is an intriguing study and yet another example of how stress can affect a person’s heart health,” she said. “It is important to be aware that personal stressors — in this case an economic one — can be a trigger for cardiac events.” Earlier studies have found higher rates of heart problems after World Cup soccer matches, earthquakes, Hurricane Katrina and other stressful events. Mona Fiuzat, a doctor of pharmacy and researcher at Duke, had the idea for the new study. She tallied all patients who had a heart attack among those coming to the hospital for a test to detect heart disease. There were 965 heart attacks during the study period. She then researched economic indices and how to best measure financial changes over time. “This is not as clear as say Sept. 11,” a specific date, she said. The health effects of bad financial news may emerge over weeks rather than on a single day, so she averaged heart attacks over three months, taking into account a period before and after each one, and compared these with the Nasdaq composite index. “We felt the Nasdaq was most appropriate for the mainstream because it reflects small businesses” and therefore would have the most impact on the general public, Fiuzat said. As stock market values decreased, the incidence of heart attacks rose; the reverse also was true, she found. The trend did not hold up when adjusted for seasons of the year, but the study’s small size, at a single hospital, does not give enough information to answer the question, some researchers said. McClurken also questioned how much impact winter in a place like North Carolina would have on heart attack rates. “Do they really have that much harsh seasonality in that area?” he said. This winter, yes, but not usually, he said. — AP

Dr Hernan Raul Pinto

The Spanish and the Syrian Ambassadors

Dr Fouad Nicola, Dr Ayman Elwan and Joan Carles Font

First symposium of advanced therapies in skin rejuvenation KUWAIT: With the co-operation of the Ambassador of the kingdom of Spain Weldon Trading Company and Mesoestetic, in collaboration with Kuwait Society of Dermatologists concluded its “ 1st Symposium of Advanced Therapies in Skin Rejuvenation “which was held at the Kuwait Crowne Plaza Hotel on the 11th and 12th of March with the participation of Dr. Hernan Raul Pinto and Dr Clara Seres Roig and was attended by more than 300 Kuwaiti doctors. The conference witnessed the discussion of several cosmetic treatment subjects and the latest treatment methods like the professional treatments which are personal packs for specific medical treatments in a topic and non invasive application, Depigmenttion, acne, and anti aging are some of the aesthetic indications, and “Peels” which is the newest concept for the proper management of specific new generation of acids in acne, rejuvenation, and depigmentation treatments, and also the most advance

lines of “COSMECEUTICALS” for the improvement of a medical procedure as an effective home maintenance treatment. The discussions also spoke about the “MESOTHERAPY - TMT SYSTEM” which is the newest and non invasive phenomenon combining electrophoresis and electro oration for the delivery of specific ingredients produced in the Spanish pharmaceutical laboratory of “MESOESTETIC” company, , and the “PHOTOGEN SYSTEM” which is the newest generation of radiofrequency medical devices for tightening the skin. Combination with specific ingredients delivered by the equipment together with the benefits of the phototherapy for facial and body treatments, and it discussed the latest equipments used in advanced treatments like the “ SMART PL” which is the new generation of fractioned Pulsed light device that contains 3 different wave lengths with specific filters for the effective hair removal, rejuvenation and acne treatments with no side effects or pain.

US orders new warning of limited Plavix effectiveness

MOGADISHU: A Somali woman lies beside her malnourished child at southern Mogadishu’s Banadir Maternity and Children hospital, Somalia, yesterday. Medics at the hospital say there is shortage of medicines, as rising numbers of children contract acute watery diarrhea in Mogadishu. — AP

WASHINGTON: US health officials Friday ordered the makers of the Plavix anti-blood clotting agent to add a boxed warning to its packets saying the drug may be less effective in preventing heart attacks in people who cannot metabolize it properly. The new boxed warning ordered by the Food and Drug Administration is a further step up from just mentioning the drawback on the label which has been required since May 2009. “We want to highlight this warning to make sure health care professionals use the best information possible to treat their patients,” said Mary Ross Southworth, analyst in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The FDA said an estimated two to 14 percent

of the US population are poor metabolizers, who have reduced functioning of the CYP2C19 liver enzyme that converts Plavix to its active form. “As a result, Plavix may be less effective in altering platelet activity in those people,” the FDA said. “These ‘poor metabolizers’ may not receive the full benefit of Plavix treatment and may remain at risk for heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death.” The FDA said consumers can be tested to determine if they are poor metabolizers. Plavix, one of the world’s top selling drugs, is marketed jointly by US-based Bristol-Myers Squibb and France’s Sanofi. It reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by keeping blood platelets from sticking together to cause clots. — AFP


WHATʼS ON IN KUWAIT Birthday Greetings

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Embassy information

Spring Carnival at TES

EMBASSY OF UKRAINE The Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Kuwait informs that it has started updating the information about Ukrainian citizens, who live and work in Kuwait. In this connection, we are asking you to refer to the Embassy and update your file in consular register in order not to be excluded from it. Please note, that the last day of updating your data is 20th of March, 2010. For additional information please call: 25318507 ext.106 or visit the embassy of Ukraine in the State of Kuwait (address: Hawalli, Jabriya, bl.10, str.6, house 5). The consular section of the Embassy open every day from 09:30 till 14:30 except Friday and Saturday.

appy birthday to Asishmon! May God Bless you. Best wishes come from Philips (daddy), Swapna (mummy) & Ashwinmon.


EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India has further revamped and improved its Legal Advice Clinic at the Indian Workers Welfare Center, and made the free service available to Indian nationals on all five working days, i.e. from Sunday to Thursday every week. Kuwaiti lawyers would be available at the Legal Advice Clinic daily from Monday to Thursday, while Indian lawyers would be available on Sundays. Following are the free welfare services provided at the Indian Workers Welfare Center located at the Embassy of India: [i] 24x7 Helpline for Domestic Workers: Accessible by toll free telephone no. 25674163 from anywhere in Kuwait, it provides information and advice exclusively to Indian domestic sector workers (Visa No. 20) as regards their grievances, immigration and other matters. [ii] Help Desk: It offers guidance to Indian nationals on routine immigration, employment, legal, and other issues (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iii) Labour Complaints Desk: It registers labor complaints and provides grievance redressal service to Indian workers (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iv) Shelters: For female and male domestic workers in distress; (v) Legal Advice Clinic: Provides free legal advice to Indian nationals (Embassy premises; Kuwaiti lawyers 3 PM to 5 PM, Monday to Thursday; Indian lawyers 2 PM to 4 PM on Sunday); and (vi) Attestation of Work Contracts: Private sector worker (Visa No. 18) contracts are accepted at the Embassy; 9 AM to 1 PM; Sunday to Thursday; Domestic sector worker (Visa No. 20) contracts are accepted at Kuwait Union of Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO), Hawally, Al-Othman Street, Kurd Roundabout, Al-Abraj Complex, Office No 9, Mezzanine Floor; 9 AM to 9 PM, Saturday to Thursday; 5 PM to 9 PM on Friday.


ongratulations to Warda and Fadhi on their engagement last week. Greetings come from parents, family and friends.


Announcements Tomorrow:

Kuwaiti diwaniya Tour Guided Tour 6-9 pm: Join us on this first-time tour to an elite Kuwaiti diwaniya after visiting the organization which plans for the complete application of Islamic Law in the State of Kuwait, known as “The Supreme Consultative Committee on the implementation of the provisions of Muslim sharia law.” On March 15. Seating is limited. For reservations contact AWARE by Tel: 2-5335280 or visit us online at

Arabic course The AWARE Center is glad to announce that the Spring 1 Arabic course will begin on March 14th, 2010 until April 22nd, 2010 (Introductory Arabic begins on March 14th till April 15th, 2010). The AWARE Center offers Arabic classes on a regular basis from Introductory Arabic to level 4. AWARE Arabic classes are designed with the Expat in mind. Our Arabic Language courses offer a relaxed approach to communicating in basic Arabic for those who wish to learn Arabic for travel, for better understanding the Culture of the Arabs, for conducting business or for simply feeling more involved while residing in Kuwait. Whether you are a teacher, a traveler, or work in the private business sector, AWARE Arabic courses introduce Arabic language basics that will offer you a start into the skills that will better prepare you for speaking, reading and writing Arabic. For more information, call 25335260/80, ext 105 or e-mail: or log onto:”

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

he Parents Association of The English School (TES) in Salmiya held its ever popular Spring Carnival on Saturday, yesterday. It was a great day out for young and old as families enjoyed wonderful variety of sideshow games, children’s entertainment, raffles, great shopping and delicious food! Always a favourite at the carnival, the Football tournament got mums


and dads involved in healthy competition, children were delighted by clowns and magicians and kept active on the bouncy castles and the climbing wall. The Parents Association wants to thank the generous sponsors who helped make the day a huge success including Fit4Fun, Ikea, Office Depot, Fantasy World, Movenpick, Sahara,

Nando’s, Hair and Nails, Edo, Flower Zone, Atheen Establishment and Palladio Design. A big thank you also to the parents and children who contributed financially, but also to those who contributed their time and energy to make such an event possible. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

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.

Nandamuri Fans Association honors scientist uchivari Palli Youth Association, Kamma Seva Sangam and Gulf Wide Nandamuri Fans Association felicitated young scientist Dr Nettem Krishnaiah (Chinni) last Friday. Dr Krishnaiah recently visited Kuwait to participate


in the International Chemistry Conference. On this occasion, Kuchivari Palli Youth Association, Kamma Seva Sangam and Gulf Wide Nandamuri Fans Association organized a meeting in Tirupati Hotel, Farwania. Kuwait TDP leaders Daruri Balaram

Naidu, Mulakala Subbarayudu Naidu, Kuchivari Palli Association Convener Potturi Partha Saradhi Naidu, Kamma Seva Samiti President B Ramesh Naidu, Gulf Wide Nandamuri Fans Association representatives Vegi Venkatesh appreciated Dr Krishnaiah.

Gulf Wide Nandamuri Fans Association President Darla Srinivasa Achari, Reddimaasi Venkata Subbaiah, Nataraj, A Ramesh Naidu, A Srinivaas, Daggupati Srinu, Oleti Divakar Naidu, Laxmipati Naidu, Pidikiti Srinivas Chodary, T Ratnam Naidu, Polineni

SanthaRam Naidu, Medamalli Srinu, Malepati Suresh Babu Naidu, Porapu Babu Naidu, Nanda, Madineni Vengaiah Chowdary, M Chandra, B Penchal Naidu, Nelluru Prasad, Gundlapalli Sudhakar, Potturi Rja Naidu and Daruru Kishore participated in this event.


Sunday, March 14, 2010


Seminar on reducing pollution nder auspices of the school director, Al-Adan High School for Girls, of Mubarak Al-Kabeer Educational Area, recently hosted and organized a seminar on ‘Reducing Pollution Using Alternative Energy in The Middle East’. The seminar was delivered by KNPC’s Public Relations and Communications manager, Ghadeer Al-Saqabi in addition to Jassim Al-Genae, who both expressed pride in being invited by the school administration to take part in this event and talk about the role of alternative sources of energy in protecting the environment.


KES holds annual sports day

Condoleezza Rice speaks at NBK event today ational Bank of Kuwait (NBK) will host former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice today, as the guest of honor and keynote speaker at the bank’s annual international symposium. In keeping with NBK’s tradition of hosting prominent speakers, the event will afford the Bank’s VIP clients and senior public and academic figures a rare opportunity to hear America’s former chief diplomat’s views on the outlook for Iran and Iraq and the strategic, economic and political implications for the Middle East region. Condoleezza Rice is currently a Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.


Eid-e-Miladunnabi observed

hittagong Samity, Kuwait organized a Milad Mahfeel to marking the birth and death anniversary of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) on Wednesday 24th February with religious favour and solemnity. The program was presided over by Mahfuzur Rahman Mahfuz (acting president of the Samity) and conducted by Mohammed Jahangir (secretary of the Miladunnabi Organising Committee). Maulana Abu Baker Siddique highlighted the significant of the day in his briefing. Mafizur Rahman (vice president), Azizuddin Minto (acting secretary), Shamsul Haq (asst. general secretary), Illias Chy (organizing secretary), Haroon Ar Rashid (office secretary) were the speakers. Shafiqur Rahman, Haji Lukman, Mohd Alam, MA Mannan Emon, Touhidul Alam Chy, Omar Farouq Nahid, Jashim Uddin, Scum Raza, Mozammel Haq with all of the member of Chittagong Samity co-operated until the programmed ended. After Milad Tabruk (known as Chittagonian Mezban) was distributed, Over 1,200 participants with the leaders of Bengali community attended the programme.


n Tuesday, 9th March Kuwait English School held its annual Sports Day for its senior students. This took place at the Kazma Sports club in Kuwait City. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day, the perfect conditions for having a lot of fun as well as trying to break a few school records. The event was attended by Mrs Janet Carew who is shown presenting the sports trophy to the captains of the winning team, Ahmadi House.




Sunday, March 14, 2010

Orbit / Showtime Listings

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

ER In Plain Sight Inside the Actors Studio Murdoch Mysteries In Plain Sight The Closer Damages ER Glee Saving Grace Inside the Actors Studio Murdoch Mysteries Damages The Closer Inside the Actors Studio In Plain Sight Glee Saving Grace ER Damages Criminal Minds Cold Case Supernatural Nip/Tuck

00:50 I’m Alive 01:45 Night 02:10 Night 02:40 Untamed And Uncut 03:35 Untamed And Uncut 04:30 Animal Cops Philadelphia 05:25 I’m Alive 06:20 Animal Cops Houston 07:10 Rspca: On The Frontline 07:35 Dolphin Days 08:00 Lemur Street 08:25 Pet Rescue 08:50 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 09:15 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 09:45 Animal Cops Houston 10:40 Aussie Animal Rescue 11:05 The Jeff Corwin Experience 11:55 Miami Animal Police 12:50 Rspca: On The Frontline 13:15 Going Ape 13:45 Animal Precinct 14:40 Ultimate Killers 15:05 Ultimate Killers 15:35 Wildlife SOS 16:00 Wildlife SOS 16:30 Deep Into The Wild With Nick Baker 16:55 Deep Into The Wild With Nick Baker 17:25 New Breed Vets With Steve Irwin 18:20 Journey Of Life 19:15 Surviving Sharks 20:10 Living With The Wolfman 20:40 Living With The Wolfman 21:10 Austin Stevens Adventures 22:05 Untamed And Uncut 23:00 Untamed And Uncut 23:55 Animal Cops Philadelphia

00:05 Broken News 00:35 Jack Dee: Live At The Apollo 01:20 The League Of Gentlemen 01:50 The League Of Gentlemen 02:20 Extras 02:50 Green Green Grass 03:20 The Alan Clark Diaries 03:50 Broken News 04:20 Jack Dee: Live At The Apollo 05:05 The League Of Gentlemen 05:35 The League Of Gentlemen 06:05 Extras 06:35 Garden Rivals 07:20 Balamory 07:40 Fimbles 08:00 The Roly Mo Show 08:15 Tikkabilla 08:45 Yoho Ahoy 08:50 Little Robots 09:00 Balamory 09:20 Fimbles 09:40 The Roly Mo Show 09:55 Tikkabilla 10:25 Yoho Ahoy 10:30 Little Robots 10:40 Balamory 11:00 Tommy Zoom 11:10 Garden Rivals 11:35 Garden Rivals 12:00 Doctors 14:30 Mission Africa 15:00 Mission Africa 15:30 The Life Of Mammals 16:20 Child Of Our Time 2006 17:20 Doctor Who 18:15 The Weakest Link 19:00 Casualty 19:50 Casualty 20:40 Mission Africa 21:10 Mission Africa 21:40 The Life Of Mammals 22:40 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries

00:10 00:45 01:10 01:35 02:05 02:35 03:20 04:05 05:00 05:25 05:50 06:20 06:50 07:30 08:00 08:50

Dimension 15:30 Phineas & Ferb 16:00 Kid vs Kat 16:30 K9 ADVENTURES 17:00 Suite Life On Deck 17:30 Zeke & Luther 18:00 Pokemon DP: Battle Dimension 18:30 Power Rangers Jungle Fury 19:00 Aaron Stone 19:30 Kid vs Kat 20:00 NEXT X U.S SHORTS 20:10 Phineas & Ferb 20:40 The Suite Life of Zack & Cody 21:05 Kid vs Kat 21:30 American Dragon 22:00 Phineas & Ferb 22:25 Aaron Stone 22:50 Power Rangers Jungle Fury 23:15 New SpiderMan

Come Dine With Me Cash In The Attic Usa Cash In The Attic Usa Saturday Kitchen Saturday Kitchen Living In The Sun Coleen’s Real Women 10 Years Younger Cash In The Attic Usa Cash In The Attic Usa Saturday Kitchen Saturday Kitchen Living In The Sun Cash In The Attic Usa Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow

The Kingdom on Show Movies 09:45 10:15 10:45 11:30 12:20 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:45 15:30 16:20 17:05 17:50 18:15 18:40 19:05 19:30 19:55 20:45 21:10 21:35 22:00 22:25 23:10

Saturday Kitchen Saturday Kitchen Coleen’s Real Women 10 Years Younger The Clothes Show Saturday Kitchen Saturday Kitchen Living In The Sun Coleen’s Real Women 10 Years Younger The Clothes Show Bargain Hunt Come Dine With Me Come Dine With Me Come Dine With Me Come Dine With Me Come Dine With Me Big Chef Takes On Little Chef The Naked Chef The Naked Chef The Naked Chef The Naked Chef Living In The Sun Coleen’s Real Women

01:00 03:00 05:00 PG15 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 16:30 19:00 21:00 23:00

Sunset Park-PG It Might Get Loud-PG15 Dialogue Avec Mon Jardinier-

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

World’s Heaviest Man My Shocking Story Breaking Point Brainiac Smash Lab How Do They Do It? River Monsters: Killer Catfish Mythbusters Fifth Gear Fifth Gear Street Customs 2008 Wreck Rescue Wreck Rescue How Do They Do It? Destroyed In Seconds Destroyed In Seconds River Monsters: Killer Catfish Overhaulin’ Overhaulin’ Overhaulin’ Overhaulin’ Overhaulin’ Overhaulin’ How Do They Do It? Brainiac Smash Lab Breaking Point Mythbusters Storm Chasers Ross Kemp On Gangs

00:40 01:30 02:20 03:10 04:00 04:50 05:45 06:10 06:40 07:10 08:00 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:55 11:50 12:45

Dragon Hunters-PG Last Orders-PG Bopha!-PG15 Moll Flanders-PG15 Cj7-PG Les Miserables-PG15 Losing Isaiah-PG15 Looking For Richard-PG15 Run Papa Run-PG15

Nextworld Nyc: Inside Out Race To Mars Science Of Beauty Nextworld Nyc: Inside Out Weird Connections Weird Connections Patent Bending Ipod Revolution Thunder Races Sci-Fi Science Sci-Fi Science Nextworld Mega World Mega World Mega World

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

Mega World Mega World Mega World How Stuff’s Made Science Of Beauty Discovery Project Earth Engineered How It’s Made How It’s Made What’s That About? Space Pioneer Nyc: Inside Out The Colony The Colony

00:00 Suite Life On Deck 00:20 Kim Possible 00:45 Phineas & Ferb 01:10 Fairly Odd Parents 01:35 Replacements 02:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 02:25 Little Einsteins 02:45 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 03:10 Handy Manny 03:35 Lazytown 04:00 Sonny With A Chance 04:25 Hannah Montana 04:50 Hannah Montana 05:15 Wizards Of Waverly Place New Episodes 05:40 Wizards Of Waverly Place New Episodes 06:00 Little Einsteins 06:25 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 06:45 Handy Manny 07:10 Lazytown 07:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 08:00 Fairly Odd Parents 08:25 Sonny With A Chance 08:50 Hannah Montana 09:15 Hannah Montana 09:40 Wizards Of Waverly Place New Episodes 10:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place New Episodes 10:30 Tarzan Ii 12:00 Hannah Montana 12:25 Jonas 12:50 Replacements 13:15 Fairly Odd Parents 13:40 Sonny With A Chance 14:00 Suite Life On Deck 14:25 Kim Possible 14:50 Phineas & Ferb 15:15 Fairly Odd Parents 15:35 Replacements 16:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 16:25 Hannah Montana 16:45 Fairly Odd Parents 17:00 Sonny With A Chance 17:25 Hannah Montana 17:50 Hannah Montana 18:10 Wizards Of Waverly Place New Episodes 18:35 Wizards Of Waverly Place New Episodes 19:00 A Modern Twain Story: The Prince & The Pau 20:35 Hannah Montana 21:00 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody

07:00 X MEN 07:25 New SpiderMan 07:50 Incredible Hulk 08:15 American Dragon 08:40 Pokemon DP: Battle Dimension 09:05 Kid vs Kat 09:30 Phineas & Ferb 10:00 K9 ADVENTURES 10:30 Zeke & Luther 11:00 The Suite Life of Zack & Cody 11:30 Iron Man: Armoured Adventures 12:00 Suite Life On Deck 12:30 Power Rangers Jungle Fury 13:00 DADNAPPED (DUBBED CEMA) 14:30 Aaron Stone 15:00 Pokemon DP: Battle

00:40 E!es 01:30 Ths 02:20 Sexiest 03:15 Ths 05:05 Dr 90210 06:00 Ths 07:45 25 Most Stylish 08:35 E! News 09:25 Ths 10:40 E!es 11:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 11:30 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 12:00 E! News 12:50 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami 13:15 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami 13:40 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:50 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:40 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 17:10 Behind The Scenes 17:35 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 18:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 18:50 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 19:15 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 20:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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

Psychic Witness Crime Scene Psychics Crime Scene Psychics A Haunting A Haunting Psychic Witness Crime Scene Psychics Crime Scene Psychics Crime Scene Psychics Fbi Files Ghosthunters Ghosthunters Forensic Detectives Fbi Files Csu Forensic Detectives Forensic Detectives Fbi Files Impossible Heists Extreme Forensics Diagnosis: Unknown Forensic Detectives Fbi Files Csu Forensic Detectives Forensic Detectives

01:20 Cuba 03:20 Favour, The Watch, And The Very Big Fish 04:45 Keaton’s Cop 06:20 Hotel Oklahoma 08:00 Clifford 09:30 Joey 11:05 Queen Of Hearts 12:55 Mr. Accident 14:25 Marie: A True Story 16:15 The Pride And The Passion 18:25 Hennessy 20:10 Alice’s Restaurant 22:00 Cotton Comes to Harlem

00:00 How I met you mother 00:30 Gary Unmarried 01:00 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 01:30 The Colbert Report 02:00 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon 03:00 Bored to Death 03:30 Flight of the Conchords 04:00 The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson 05:00 How I met you mother 05:30 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon 06:30 Tyler Perry’s House of Payne 07:00 Home Improvement 07:30 Three sisters 08:00 Coach 08:30 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 09:00 The Colbert Report 09:30 George Lopez 10:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 10:30 Frasier 11:00 Seinfeld 11:30 The Bernie Mac show 12:00 Best of Saturday Night Live 13:00 Gary Unmarried 13:30 Tyler Perry’s House of Payne 14:00 Home Improvement 14:30 Malcolm in the Middle 15:00 Coach

15:30 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Drew Carey 17:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 17:30 Frasier 18:00 Eight Simple Rules 18:30 Til’ Death 19:00 Better Off Ted 19:30 Will and Grace 20:00 Best of Late night with Jimmy Fallon 21:00 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live 23:30 Life & Times of Tim

00:00 The Martha Stewart Show 01:00 Downsize Me S2 02:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 03:00 The Monique Show 04:00 Chef’s table 04:30 Fresh 05:00 GMA Weekend (repeat) 06:00 Moms Get Real / Now you know / Amplified 07:00 GMA Health 07:30 What’s the Buzz 08:00 The Martha Stewart Show 09:00 Never Trust A Skinny Cook 09:30 Fresh 10:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live! 11:00 The View 12:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 13:00 The Martha Stewart Show 14:00 Parenting 14:30 Job Club 15:00 GMA Weekend Live 16:00 Ahead of The Curve 16:30 Amplified 17:00 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 18:00 Downsize Me S2 19:00 Moms Get Real / Now you know / Amplified 20:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 21:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live! 22:00 The Tonight show with Jay Leno

00:00 The Hunting Party-PG15 02:00 Wendy And Lucy-PG15 04:00 Vantage Point-PG15 06:00 Two Weeks-PG 08:00 The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian-PG 10:30 The Caller-U 12:00 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins-PG15 14:00 Moondance Alexander-FAM 15:30 The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian-PG 18:00 Shoot The Hero-PG15 20:00 The Kingdom-18

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Scorpion-18 Child’s Play-18 Taken By Force-PG15 Twin Daggers-PG15 Death Warrant-PG15 Fire From Below-PG15 Rock Monster-PG15 Death Warrant-PG15 Urban Assault-18 House Of Fallen-PG15 Palermo Hollywood-18 Clear Lake, WI-18

00:00 Corky Romano-R 02:00 Rat Race-PG15 04:00 First Sunday-PG15 06:00 Sixteen Candles-PG15 08:00 Together Again For The First Time-PG15 10:00 Slap Shots 3-PG15 12:00 Christmas At The Riviera-PG 14:00 The Jerk Theory-PG15 16:00 Corky Romano-R 18:00 National Lampoon’s Ratko-18 20:00 Mr. Troop Mom-PG 22:00 American Pie 2-18

00:50 Kung Fu Panda-PG 02:30 Pokemon 3 The Movie-FAM 04:10 The Jungle Book II-FAM 06:00 Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm-PG 08:00 Cinderella-FAM 10:00 Pokemon 3 The Movie-FAM 12:00 Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs Wakko’s Wish-PG 14:00 Kung Fu Panda-PG 16:00 Wall-E-FAM 18:00 Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who!-FAM 20:00 House Arrest-FAM 22:00 Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs Wakko’s Wish-PG 23:30 Cinderella-FAM

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 04:30 05:00 05:30 06:00 06:30 07:00 08:00 08:30

Psych Psych Janice Dickinson Smallville In Treatment In Treatment Fraisier My Name is Earl Emmerdale Coronation Street Sons of Anarchy Frasier My Name is Earl

09:00 10:00 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30

Smallville (TBA) In Treatment In Treatment Emmerdale Coronation Street Frasier My Name is Earl Psych Psych Sons of Anarchy Smallville Emmerdale Coronation Street

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 15:30 16:00 16:30 18:30 19:00 21:00 23:00

Premier League Premier League Premier League Premier League Premier League Premier League Premier League Premier League Classics Futbol Mundial Live Toshiba Super Sunday Live Premier League Live Toshiba Super Sunday Live Premier League Barclays Premier League Live Portuguese Liga

01:00 03:00 05:00 05:30 06:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 09:30 11:30 12:00 14:00 16:00 16:30 18:30 19:00 21:00 23:00

Premier League Premier League Mobil 1 ICC Cricket World Live NRL Premiership ICC Cricket World Futbol Mundial World Sport Live Super 14 Premier League World Premier League Premier League Live Toshiba Super Sunday Live Premier League Live Toshiba Super Sunday Live Premier League Premier League FIH Hockey World Cup

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 11:30 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00

Angelo Welsh Cup Angelo Welsh Cup Premier League Live NRL Premiership NRL Premiership ICC Cricket World Mobil 1 Super 14 FIH Hockey World Cup FIH Hockey World Cup NRL Premiership Super 14 Super League

00:00 02:15 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 16:30 18:30 20:30 23:00

Live NCAA Basketball WWE NXT Bushido WWE Bottomline WWE SmackDown WWE Vintage Collection NCAA Basketball NCAA Basketball WWE SmackDown WWE Vintage Collection WWE Bottomline FIM World Cup NCAA Basketball NCAA Basketball Live NCAA Basketball UFC - The Ultimate Fighter

03:10 Desperate Crossing 04:00 Life After People 05:50 Ancient Discoveries 3 06:40 Battles B.C. 07:30 Mummy Forensics 08:20 Cities Of The Underworld 09:10 Desperate Crossing 10:00 Life After People 11:50 Ancient Discoveries 3 12:40 Battles B.C. 13:30 Mummy Forensics 14:20 Cities Of The Underworld 15:10 Desperate Crossing 16:00 Life After People 17:50 Ancient Discoveries 3 18:40 Battles B.C. 19:30 Mummy Forensics 20:20 Cities Of The Underworld 21:10 Desperate Crossing 22:00 Rudolf Hess: The Man Who Died Twice 22:55 Dead Men’s Secrets 23:50 Life After People

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 06:30 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 22:00 23:00 23:30

01:04 01:45 02:00 02:45 08:04 08:45 13:04 15:00 15:24 16:04 16:35 17:00 18:00 18:45 20:04 20:45

Dr 90210 Clean House My Celebrity Home How Do I Look? Split Ends Dr 90210 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane Area How Do I Look? Style Star Style Her Famous Clean House My Celebrity Home Ruby Ruby Giuliana And Bill Giuliana And Bill Dallas Divas And Daughters Dallas Divas And Daughters Clean House Clean House Clean House Clean House Clean House Clean House Clean House How Do I Look? Giuliana And Bill Giuliana And Bill

Sound System Playlist Urban Hit Playlist Africa Playlist Urban Hit 30 Code Compilation Playlist New Playlist Focus Urban Hit Playlist French Only Playlist

00:00 Globe Trekker 01:00 Julian And Camilla’s World Odyssey 02:00 Chef Abroad 02:30 Chef Abroad 03:00 Planet Food 04:00 Essential 04:30 Travel Today

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

Distant Shores Distant Shores Distant Shores Distant Shores Angry Planet Photoxplorers Globe Trekker Swiss Railway Journeys Down The Line Intrepid Journeys Intrepid Journeys Globe Trekker Planet Food Chef Abroad Feast India Floyd On Africa Essential Globe Trekker Globe Trekker Distant Shores Wild At Heart Angry Planet Photoxplorers Australia’s Great Wildlife Isles Intrepid Journeys Globe Trekker

00:00 Simon Conwell’s All Time Top 50 Pt4 01:00 Saturday Night Fever 03:00 Vh1 Music 07:00 Chill Out 09:00 Smooth Wake Up 11:00 Vh1 Music 13:00 Vh1 Pop Chart 14:00 Top 10 Summer Clips 15:00 Cover Power 16:00 All The Hits Weekend Weekend 19:00 Music For The Masses 20:00 Vh1 Music 21:00 Vh1 Viewer’s Jukebox Love Request 22:00 Vh1 Viewer’s Jukebox Love Request 23:00 Top 10 Summer Clips

NAT GEO ADVENTURE 00:30 Meet The Natives 01:30 Meet The Natives 02:30 Meet The Natives 03:30 The Music Nomad 04:00 Food Lovers Guide To The Planet 04:30 Food School 05:00 Pressure Cook 05:30 Excellent Adventure 06:30 Meet The Natives 07:30 Meet The Natives 08:30 Meet The Natives 09:30 The Music Nomad 10:00 Finding Genghis 10:30 Lonely Planet 11:30 Bondi Rescue 12:00 Bondi Rescue 12:30 Cruise Ship Diaries 13:30 Jailed Abroad 14:30 Jailed Abroad 15:30 Cycling Home With Rob Lilwall 16:00 Finding Genghis 16:30 Lonely Planet 17:30 Bondi Rescue 18:00 Bondi Rescue 18:30 Cruise Ship Diaries 19:30 Jailed Abroad 20:30 Jailed Abroad 21:30 Cycling Home With Rob Lilwall 22:00 Finding Genghis 22:30 Lonely Planet 23:30 Bondi Rescue

01:00 Drug Wars-PG15 03:00 The El Escorial ConspiracyPG15 05:00 The Christmas Clause-PG 07:00 Martian Child-PG 09:00 The Children Of Huang ShiPG15 11:00 Christmas In Wonderland-PG 13:00 Taking Chance-PG15 15:00 Meet Dave-PG 17:00 The X-Files: I Want To Believe-PG15 19:00 American Violet-PG15 21:00 Bran Nue Dae-PG15 23:00 Fired Up!-18

00:55 02:20 05:00 05:30 07:30 08:00 09:40 11:30 13:05 15:05 16:45 18:45 20:35

Ron Howard: 50 Years In Film Raintree County The Screening Room Coma The Screening Room Adam’s Rib Meet Me In St. Louis I’ll Take Sweden 2010 Hannibal Brooks Mandela Kidnapped The Dirty Dozen

00:40 Battles B.C. 01:30 Mummy Forensics 02:20 Cities Of The Underworld

Meet Dave on Super Movies

Star Listings (UAE Timings) STAR Movies 21:15 Home Alone 2: Lost In New York 23:15 Hard Ride To Hell 00:45 I’m Reed Fish 02:20 Stanley & Iris 04:00 Home Alone 2: Lost In New York 06:00 Hard Ride To Hell 07:30 I’m Reed Fish 09:05 Stanley & Iris 10:45 Moulin Rouge 12:50 Driving Lessons 14:25 Yeti 15:50 Super Capers: The Origins Of Ed And The Missing Bullion 17:30 The Guardian 19:50 The Thin Red Line STAR World 20:00 Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? 21:00 American Idol 23:00 American Idol 00:00 American Idol 02:00 American Idol 03:00 [V] Tunes 04:00 Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? 05:00 [V] Tunes 06:00 7th Heaven 07:00 The Goode Family 07:30 The King Of Queens

08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:50 15:00 15:50 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:30

According To Jim According To Jim 7th Heaven Grey’s Anatomy Kyle XY [V] Tunes The King Of Queens The Bold And The Beautiful 7th Heaven Different Strokes Grey’s Anatomy Married With Children [V] Tunes Stone Undercover Scrubs The King Of Queens According To Jim According To Jim

Granada TV 21:00 Fat Club 21:30 City Cabs (Series 1) 22:00 Total Emergency 23:00 Come Dine With Me (Primetime Series 1) 00:00 The Colour Of Money 01:00 Stars In Their Eyes (Series 12) 02:00 Prime Drama: White Collar Blue 04:00 Come Dine With Me (Primetime

Series 1) 05:00 ...And Proud 06:00 Coronation Street (WEEKEND OMNIBUS) 07:30 Shampoo 08:00 For One Night Only 09:00 New Homes From Hell 10:00 Confessions Of 10:30 House of Horrors (Series 1) 11:00 Come Dine With Me (Primetime Series 1) 12:00 Who Dares Wins (Series 1) 13:00 I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! (Series 7) 14:00 Parkinson (Series 7) 15:00 I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! (Series 7) 15:30 Astounding Celebrities 16:00 Come Dine With Me (Primetime Series 1) 17:00 Who Dares Wins (Series 1) 18:00 I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! (Series 7) 19:00 Parkinson (Series 7) Channel [V] 22:00 [V] Plug 00:30 Double Shot 01:00 Loop

02:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 09:00 11:30 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00

[V] Tunes Backtracks [V] Special [V] Countdown The Playlist Double Shot [V] Special The List Keys To The VIP Double Bill Parental Control Double Bill Backtracks [V] Tunes [V] Plug The Playlist Loop [V] Special

Fox News 20:00 FORBES on FOX 20:30 Cashin’ In 21:00 America’s News HQ Host host Brian Wilson 22:00 America’s News HQ Hosts Kelly Wright and Jamie Colby 23:00 The Journal Editorial Report 23:30 Fox News Watch 00:00 Glenn Beck with Glenn Beck 01:00 America’s News HQ hosts Gregg Jarrett and Julie Banderas

03:00 America’s News HQ hosts Rick Folbaum and Juliet Huddy 04:00 FOX Report Saturday host Julie Banderas 05:00 Huckabee with Mike Huckabee 06:00 Geraldo At Large with Geraldo Rivera 08:00 The Journal Editorial Report 08:30 Fox News Watch 09:00 FOX Report Saturday 10:00 Geraldo At Large with Geraldo Rivera 11:00 Huckabee with Mike Huckabee 12:00 FOX Report Saturday host Julie Banderas 13:00 Geraldo At Large with Geraldo Rivera 15:00 The Journal Editorial Report 15:30 Fox News Watch 16:00 FOX and Friends Sunday 17:00 FOX and Friends Sunday 18:00 FOX and Friends Sunday 19:00 America’s News HQ National Geographic Channel 20:00 Megastructures -Super Sub 21:00 Helicopter Wars -Taliban Gambit 22:00 Mega Factories -Lamborghini 23:00 History’s Secrets -The Unabomber S2 3 00:00 Long Way Down -Gentlemen,Start Your Engines 1

01:00 World’s Toughest Fixes -Mass Transit 02:00 Mega Factories -Lamborghini 03:00 Nat Geo Junior -Monkey Thieves : Taxi Raid 4 03:30 Nat Geo Junior -Hayden Turner’s Wildlife Chall : Crabs 6 04:00 Food Lovers Guide To The Planet Farm To Fork 04:30 Food Lovers Guide To The Planet Taste Of Tasmania 05:00 Monster Fish -Mongolian Terror Trout 06:00 Built For The Kill -Packs 07:00 Cruise Ship Diaries -Inspectors On Board 2 08:00 Food Lovers Guide To The Planet Ancient Traditions 08:30 Food Lovers Guide To The Planet Oaxaca Style 09:00 Lizard Kings 10:00 Monster Fish -Mongolian Terror Trout 11:00 By Any Means -Indonesia To Australia 6 12:00 Animals In Danger 30min -HUTAN : PROBOSCIS MONKEYS 2 12:30 Hidden Worlds -Antelope Of The Kings 13:00 Theme Week -Inside: The Super Carrier 14:00 Theme Week -Inside : Air Force One 15:00 Theme Week -Inside : Marine One

Sunday, March 14, 2010


ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya near German Clinic, with Keralite family 2 bed 2 bathroom CAC flat. Please contact: 66877073. (C 20442) One room in 3 bedroom CAC flat with 2 baths, fully furnished with complete household facilities in Ashbiliya Opp Farwaniya. Contact 99714430. (C 20448) Accommodation available for non-smoking couples/ working ladies/executive bachelors in a 2 bedroom CAC flat in Abbassiya near Integrated School. Contact: 97199124. (C 20446) Sharing accommodation availale for bachelors with Keralite family, near Classic typing center, Abbassiya. Call: 66829585. (C 20447) 14-3-2010 Sharing accommodation available for a family in a new building with two rooms and two toilets behind United Indian School, Abbassiya from April 1st onwards.

Please contact: 66772421, 66552412. (C 20431) Sharing accommodation available for Indian working ladies, couple, family, in a 2 bedrooms, CA/C flat in Maidan Hawally opp 4th Ring Road. Call: 99325130, 25649970. (C 20435) Abraq Khaitan, single room available for executive bachelor/lady. Opp Kuwait clinic beside the main road, new building. Contact: 97523316/24745162 from 1st April. (C 20411) One furnished room with separate bath in a new building flat for a family/working ladies/bachelors with another family in Abbassiya close to Paradise hotel from April first. Contact: 99698501, 66558927, 66720897. (C 20433) 11-3-2010 Sharing accommodation available in studio room with Mangalorean Catholic bachelor close to Khaitan cinema Garnatha. Contact: 66036893. (C 20416)

available for 1 Catholic bachelor at Abbassiya near Unique store no 2 from 1st April 2010. Contact: 66110593 or 24313908. (C 20430) An Indian lady (Kerala) looking for an Indian lady for sharing in a fully furnished central AC flat having Internet, telephone & dish facility, rent KD 35, Amman Street, near Apollo hospital Salmiya. Contact: 97919485. (C 20429) Sharing accommodation available for couples or working ladies or single bachelor with Keralite family, from April 1st 2010 at Abbassiya near Neethi store (fully furnished room with mini split A/C). Contact: 66944127. (C 20420)

Sharing accommodation

Sharing accommodation available for a small family in a 2 bedroom, hall & kitchen central A/C flat near Emirates hotel Abu Halifa with Keralite Christian family. Contact: 97612421. (C 20427)

FOR SALE Mitsubishi Pajero 2006 V6, golden color, option, DVD, alloy wheels, run 87,000 km, price KD 3,500. Contact: 99881982. (C 20450) Dell desktop PC in box, HD 80, DVD RW Intel Pentium with 2CPU 1.8 GHz, 19 inch LCD, RAM 1MB, original XP, Price KD 75. Call: 65099674. (C 20443) Contents of fully furnished two bedroom central A/C flat for immediate sale at rea-

sonable price in city. Contact: 66651954, 22414365, 22415701. (C 20441) Pentium 4, Intel, 3 GHz, 1GB DDR RAM, 60 GB HDD, DVD combo, 56k modem, sound card, USB speakers, 17� CRT monitor, ready for internet, KD 55. P4, Intel, 40 GB HDD, 256 MB RAM with 17� CRT monitor, KD 35. Contact: 66244192. (C 20449) 14-3-2010 Hummer H2, 2003, brown, very good condition. Price KD 5,900. Tel: 97487676. (C 20440) 13-3-2010 Furnished double bedroom flat in Jleeb near Integrated Indian School with or without household goods rent KD 135 (including water and electricity). Contact: 99763183.

(C 20438) 12-3-2010 Mitsubishi Magna 2002 model, excellent condition, owner leaving Kuwait. Contact: 99928863, 55824279. (C 20434) Household items for immediate sale, with or without flat, close to Carmel school and in front of bus stop. (Bedroom set, dining table with 6 chairs, sofa set, refrigerator & ACs). Contact: 55863074. (C 20436)

11-3-2010 Toyota Corolla 1.6, white color, 2009 model, very low mileage, excellent condition, wanted price 3,750 KD. Contact 66050484 (interested person call only). (C 20428)

BABY SITTING Baby sitting available near Carmel School, Khaitan, with motherly care, and flexible timing. Contact: 66434840, 66436458, 55283525. (C 20422) 8-3-2010

MATRIMONIAL Proposals invited for Orthodox girl, MBA (Fin), 27/160, working as business development executive in a reputed firm in Kuwait. Contact: (C 20432) Keralite Jacobite boy, 28/172, B.Com working as Junior Accountant, invites proposals from parents of

girls working in Kuwait. Contact email: (C 20437) 11-3-2010 SITUATION VACANT

Required English speaking maid for a family living in Mangaf. Preferably Indian. If interested, please contact 60055305 or 23741548. 11-3-2010

SITUATION WANTED Indian female (MBA in HR), 10 years experience in HR/administration, specializing in recruitments, PMS, MIS reports & overall Admin functions. Proficient in MS Office. Good communication skills. Contact: 66634322. (C 20439) 12-3-2010

No: 14667

Flight Schedule Arrival Flights on Sunday 14/03/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 0263 Beirut KLM 0447 Amsterdam/Bahrain Wataniya Airways 1129 Bahrain Gulf Air 211 Bahrain Ethiopian 620 Addis Ababa Turkish A/L 1172 Istanbul DHL 370 Bahrain Emirates 853 Dubai Etihad 0305 Abu Dhabi Qatari 0138 Doha Jazeera 0637 Aleppo Falcon 201 Dubai Jazeera 0503 Luxor Jazeera 0527 Alexandria Jazeera 0529 Assiut British 0157 London Kuwait 412 Manila/Bangkok Kuwait 352 Cochin Kuwait 206 Islamabad Kuwait 382 Delhi Kuwait 302 Mumbai Kuwait 676 Dubai Kuwait 284 Dhaka Kuwait 362 Colombo Emirates 855 Dubai Arabia 0121 Sharjah Qatari 0132 Doha Etihad 0301 Abu Dhabi Kuwait 344 Chennai Wataniya Airways 1121 Bahrain Gulf Air 213 Bahrain Jazeera 0447 Doha Jazeera 0165 Dubai Jazeera 0425 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 1021 Dubai Middle East 404 Beirut Airquarius 061 Baghdad/Basrah Iran Aseman 6521 Lamerd Egypt Air 610 Cairo Jazeera 0171 Dubai Wataniya Airways 2301 Damascus Nas Air 745 Jeddah Jazeera 0525 Alexandria Jazeera 0257 Beirut Wataniya Airways 2001 Cairo Saudi Arabian A/L 500 Jeddah Kuwait 552 Damascus Jazeera 0457 Damascus

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

Qatari Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Royal Jordanian Emirates Kuwait Gulf Air Etihad Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Jazeera Arabia Jazeera Wataniya Airways Srilankan United A/L Wataniya Airways DHL Wataniya Airways Kuwait Kuwait Jazeera Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Indian Kuwait Jet A/L Oman Air Jazeera Wataniya Airways Gulf Air Middle East Qatari Emirates KLM Wataniya Airways Jazeera Jazeera Global Jazeera Tunis Air Pakistan Lufthansa Wataniya Airways Wataniya Airways

0134 548 546 678 800 857 118 215 0303 510 0493 0239 0125 0367 2101 227 982 2003 473 1025 502 542 0177 618 674 786 614 744 774 575 104 572 0647 0459 2103 217 402 0136 859 0445 1129 0449 0429 081 0185 327 239 636 2201 1029

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

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

Departure Flights on Sunday 14/03/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 0528 Assiut India Express 390 Mangalore/Kozhikode United A/L 981 Washington DC Dulles Indian 982 Ahmedabad/Hyderabad/Chennai Pakistan 206 Peshawar/Lahore Bangladesh 044 Dhaka Lufthansa 637 Frankfurt KLM 0447 Amsterdam Ethiopian 620 Bahrain/Addis Ababa Turkish A/L 1173 Istanbul DHL 371 Bahrain Emirates 854 Dubai Etihad 0306 Abu Dhabi Qatari 0139 Doha Jazeera 0164 Dubai Wataniya Airways 1020 Dubai Jazeera 0524 Alexandria Wataniya Airways 2000 Cairo Jazeera 0446 Doha Gulf Air 212 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 1120 Bahrain Jazeera 0422 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 2300 Damascus Kuwait 545 Alexandria Jazeera 0256 Beirut Kuwait 677 Abu Dhabi/Muscat British 0156 London Kuwait 551 Damascus Kuwait 547 Luxor Jazeera 0456 Damascus Jazeera 0170 Dubai Arabia 0122 Sharjah Emirates 856 Dubai Qatari 0133 Doha Etihad 0302 Abu Dhabi Wataniya Airways 2002 Cairo Gulf Air 214 Bahrain Kuwait 165 Rome/Paris Kuwait 541 Cairo Wataniya Airways 2100 Beirut Jazeera 0492 Jeddah Jazeera 0366 Deirezzor Jazeera 0238 Amman Kuwait 103 London Middle East 405 Beirut Kuwait 501 Beirut


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

Airquarius Iran Aseman Kuwait Egypt Air Wataniya Airways Kuwait Nas Air Jazeera Jazeera Kuwait Saudi Arabian A/L Kuwait Kuwait Royal Jordanian Qatari Kuwait Gulf Air Etihad Emirates Arabia Jazeera Saudi Arabian A/L Kuwait Jazeera Wataniya Airways Jazeera Global Jazeera Wataniya Airways Srilankan Wataniya Airways Kuwait Kuwait Jet A/W Oman Air Gulf Air DHL Middle East Falcon Kuwait Kuwait Qatari Kuwait Emirates KLM Jazeera Jazeera Kuwait

060 6522 785 611 1024 673 746 0176 0458 617 501 773 613 801 0135 743 216 0304 858 0126 0262 511 543 0184 2200 0448 082 0428 1128 228 1028 283 331 571 0648 218 171 403 102 381 203 0137 301 860 0445 0526 0502 411

Basrah/Baghdad Lamerd Jeddah Cairo Dubai Dubai Jeddah Dubai Damascus Doha Jeddah Riyadh Bahrain Amman Doha Dammam Bahrain Abu Dhabi Dubai Sharjah Beirut Riyadh Cairo Dubai Amman Doha Baghdad Bahrain Bahrain Dubai/Colombo Dubai Dhaka Trivandrum Mumbai Muscat Bahrain Bahrain Beirut Bahrain Delhi Lahore Doha Mumbai Dubai Bahrain/Amsterdam Alexandria Luxor Bangkok/Manila

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



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Calvin Aries (March 21-April 19) Your confidence is

working for you today. It may, however, be healthy to spend some time away from loved ones in order to focus your thoughts this morning. This is the type of morning to get outside and ride a horse, walk, bicycle or just enjoy a bit of music through your battery powered radio or perhaps a digital or compact disk player. You may also want to get a special gift for someone’s birthday. A few chores this afternoon will place you back in your home where communication is easy and interaction is upbeat and positive. You have some understanding about the process of life and matters of practicality. This evening will bring about some fun times; perhaps that birthday party for a friend or relative. Taurus (April 20-May 20) An intuitive push to be

powerful and in control—pulling the strings—may lead to a greater interest or experience in healing and investing and in the great mysteries of life and death. You could decide to end a relationship after feeling left out for much too long. A friend or business associate will give you some new ideas on money-making opportunities. Family ties mean more to you now. A family member respects your privacy. This is not a good time to dive into group activities as there are too many things on your mind. Music, art or any other form of creativity may be enjoyed today. Try to take any spiritual or mystical studies with a grain of salt. There is a similar thread running through the different religions that you have studied-take a look.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. Type genus of the family Myacidae. 4. South American armadillo with three bands of bony plates. 8. (usually followed by `to' or `for') On the point of or strongly disposed. 11. The fatty flesh of eel. 12. An informal term for a father. 13. The United Nations agency concerned with the interests of labor. 14. An narrative telling the adventures of a hero or a family. 16. Experiencing or showing sorrow or unhappiness. 17. The compass point that is one point east (clockwise) of due north. 18. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 19. A metric unit of length equal to one hundredth of a meter. 21. The residue that remains when something is burned. 24. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 27. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 28. A unit of dry measure used in Egypt. 29. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 32. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 35. A flat-bottomed volcanic crater that was formed by an explosion. 38. A sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue separating or binding together muscles and organs etc. 41. A white linen liturgical vestment with sleeves. 45. A deep orange-red variety of chalcedony. 46. Extremely pleasing. 47. Leaf or strip from a leaf of the talipot palm used in India for writing paper. 48. A United Nations agency created to assist developing nations by loans guaranteed by member governments. 49. A unit of surface area equal to 100 square meters. 50. An associate degree in applied science. 51. Largest known toad species. 52. Diabetes caused by a relative or absolute deficiency of insulin and characterized by polyuria. DOWN 1. Flat tableland with steep edges. 2. Not only so, but. 3. Primitive chlorophyll-containing mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms lacking true stems and roots and leaves. 4. A public promotion of some product or service. 5. An archaic name for Easter or Passover. 6. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 7. A unit of absorbed ionizing radiation equal to 100 ergs per gram of irradiated material. 8. In the Arabian Nights a hero who tells of the fantastic adventures he had in his voyages. 9. A river in central Europe that arises in northwestern Czechoslovakia and flows northward through Germany to empty into the North Sea. 10. Having a toe or toes of a specified kind. 15. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 20. An association of people to promote the welfare of senior citizens. 22. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 23. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 25. A rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element. 26. An associate degree in nursing. 30. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 31. Being one hundred more than three hundred. 33. (Babylonian) God of fire. 34. A genus of Ploceidae. 36. (botany) Of or relating to the axil. 37. A French abbot. 39. The largest continent with 60% of the earth's population. 40. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 42. A long thin fluffy scarf of feathers or fur. 43. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 44. Any of several small ungulate mammals of Africa and Asia with rodent-like incisors and feet with hooflike toes.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You may be experiencing confusion over your financial affairs. Use this time to take stock of your accounts and debts so that you will know exactly where you stand and how to proceed with the work that is needed to take care of your finances. Be careful of misplaced affections this afternoon. The romantic dreamier side of you is in full blossom. You have an inclination to engage in new projects or invest your emotions in a person that may be a little off the mark from where you want to go with your romantic life. Make a concentrated effort to get back on track in your search for a sweetheart. Your siblings or peers come to you for comfort and advice; be patient, you make more of a positive difference in other people’s lives than you think.

Non Sequitur

Cancer (June 21-July 22) A friend may take you aside today to ask you to join him or her in a bit of travel. This could be a fun time. Consider packing a sketch book or camera in your backpack and let yourself go! Children play a part in this afternoon’s fun and you may find yourself involved in some silly craft—perhaps some funny hats. Your creative side is showing and if a problem needs solving, you come up with a creative solution in no time. You have been saddled with a great deal of responsibilities that were not all of your creation. You have proven yourself wise and giving and although most of this day is truly yours, you always have a special friend or loved one at the forefront of your mind. You are home early enough to pamper this loved one tonight. Leo (July 23-August 22) Your mind takes a contemplative turn today and the needs and desires of others take precedence over your own. It is a good time to sit down with a loved one, or friend and discuss what each of you need from the relationship that is growing. Reality is the key, making this day favorable for both you and your friend or loved one. Making your mark on the world has special significance for you. Achievement, ambition and authority are the things that take on importance. Organizing and administering to people and projects will become central to your lifestyle. This could mean a change of job or a jump to volunteer in some cause. Any time you spend in meditation will create insights you would not have otherwise enjoyed. Consider this a routine.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) Playing with young people and family will build a good connection between relations. Changing your plans to accommodate others may be the order of the day. You may be able to bring a group together with words or ideas. Movies, books and all forms of escape prove very enjoyable. There is a chance to understand those around you although confusion about someone else’s motives may motivate you into taking control in some decision making. There are good feelings and a sense of support and harmony available that make this a good time. Creative pastimes are soothing to you—do not ignore that avenue of release when tensions mount. Romance is favored this evening. A new partner or a renewal of a remembered love is present. Libra (September 23-October 22) Be wise in the way that you share your money. Always put aside the necessary sum that will take you into that good feeling of security and paying bills. After you have saved enough to live on for three months, you could then begin to invest, as well as share your income that is above and beyond this total. Any tax or inheritance problems should be placed in the hands of a competent lawyer or accountant. If you feel you can afford one, you might be happiest if you acquired a full-time professional money manager. Your relationships, especially with women, will be more harmonious now. Your health is excellent all month but find time to relax—the strain of stress can tell a different story at month’s end. Enjoy planning some future travel.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Today you may take

into consideration some of the changes you will want to make in the landscape around your place this spring. Herbs might be fun to grow and herbs growing throughout the garden or in special places around the landscape may call to the butterflies and hummingbirds. A little research today may find you making out a list and drawing up a plan. If your household has other occupants, you might find some space for a favored vegetable that can be grown. You may see a healing today from a past quarrel. Before becoming involved with getting your words heard, hear your lovers words first; your needs will be realized. A romantic phase that is now beginning is thrilling. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) A garage sale may be the activity today. Your springcleaning may have brought forth some monetary possibilities. Don’t be too surprised when unexpected friends drop over this afternoon. This may be the boost you need to lift your spirits. You may feel that you are in touch and in harmony with others; the lines of communication are open. Lovers, children and other people or things dear to your heart are emphasized now. Being appreciated and admired for your gifts and talents is a powerful need. This can be an expansive, creative and even romantic phase; a time you will look back on with pride and fondness. You can demonstrate great understanding and sensitivity to the needs of others. Think about updating your picture album.

Yesterday’s Solution

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) A


Yesterday’s Solution


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

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

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

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

Word Sleuth Solution

dreamy manner or appearance, plus the ability to enchant others, finds this a time when mysticism seems to really be living in you. Children and leadership roles that express your creativity can bring you great satisfaction. Work that involves occult studies and psychology could be just what you have been searching to study. You might enjoy a book club or some other group that enjoys the same studies you enjoy. There are always fun things to learn and new people to discover. You are in a good position to communicate concerning groups and society in general. You may enjoy entertaining and cooking for a spur of the moment gathering this afternoon. There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from small gatherings. Aquarius (January 20- February 18) A moneymaking activity with friends may prove to be quite successful. Put your mind to work and take care of any details; mental discipline should come easily. Problems and obstacles that have given you trouble before will find easy explanation under your keen examination. Do not worry too much about what others think of your abilities—this is a great time to get much accomplished. Money and love makes you feel more secure today. It is easy to become the center of attraction as you are filled with a great deal of magnetism. Finding ways in which you can be helpful to your family would be most appreciated today. The afternoon can be enjoyed with family and friends. Doing most anything together whether it is work or play, has rewards. Pisces (February 19-March 20) You have lots of enthusiasm to accomplish your goals. Possessions, investments and real-estate are highlighted now. Getting rid of the things that no longer serve a purpose could be of use to others, in turn, bringing you monetary rewards. Your investment in a home or property could bring a high price for you today; if you are trying to sell. The new and unexpected may figure in your living situation or surroundings soon. An insight about your support system, your mother, or other females may be important. You could discover a student or a young person that opens up to you. This can be a far-reaching, creative and even romantic phase—a time you will look back on with pride and fondness. A love relationship can flourish this evening.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

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

Ministry of Interior website:

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


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital

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

24874330/9 CLINICS













Abdullah Salim




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally












New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb














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


PHARMACY Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

PHONE 23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638


Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554


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

25622444 25752222 25321171 25739999 25757700 25732223 25732223

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

22434064 22435865 22544200 22547133 22515277 22616662 25714406 22530801

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari Dr. Abdel Quttainah

22617700 25625030/60

Family Doctor: Dr Divya Damodar 23729596/23729581

Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr.

Zahra Qabazard Sohail Qamar Snaa Maaroof Pradip Gujare Zacharias Mathew

25710444 22621099 25713514 23713100 24334282

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

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

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

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

25655535 Dentists:

Dr Anil Thomas


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed


Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


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he supermodel - who has two children, Presley, 10, and eight-year-old Kaia, with husband Rande Gerber - is keen to show Kaia how important it is to have a balanced diet and not to feel guilty about indulging in the odd treat. Talking about her diet, Cindy said: “For breakfast, I’ll eat oatmeal and blueberries and enjoy a salad with chicken or shrimp for lunch. At dinner, I’ll serve up fish and vegetables. “But I do have a little chocolate mixed in between meals from time to time. I have a daughter, so I eat

consciously because I want her to see me eat healthy and not think that she can’t have dessert ever. I think it’s a bad example for her.” The 44-year-old beauty says she tries to be good the majority of the time and believes undergoing regular exercise helps maintain her svelte figure. She told “I try to be 80 percent good, 80 percent of the time. We all know when we’re blowing it, but as long as you don’t do that all the time...” “We live in Malibu, so there’s a lot of great hiking there. I work out with a trainer three times a week.”

Reese Witherspoon’s boyfriend desperate to marry her


he actress is believed to have been dating Hollywood agent Jim Toth since February, but rather than take things slowly Jim, 39 is ready to propose. An ex-girlfriend of Jim’s told America’s InTouch Weekly magazine: “He is not looking to casually date, he’s looking to get more serious. He’s a nice guy, but he can be needy and is definitely looking to settle down. He lost his father about a year ago and that made him want to get married.” However, Reese is happy

with their current situation and has no plans to tie the knot in the near future. The 33-year-old screen beauty split from actor Jake Gyllenhaal in December and was previously married to Ryan Phillippe - with whom she has two children Ava, ten, and six-year-old Deacon - and doesn’t want to fully commit again until she is 100 per cent sure the relationship will last. A source said: “Reese got married too young the first time, and she never wants to go through another divorce again. She wants to take things very slowly.”

Megan Fox doesn’t want attention


The ‘Transformers’ beauty - who is regarded as one of the world’s sexiest women says she can’t don “interesting” outfits when she goes out because she doesn’t want people to recognize her. She said: “If you wear anything interesting, you become instantly noticeable. I have this gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana white trench coat for winter, but I can’t wear it without drawing attention to myself. And I try to hide. I want to be unseen.” Although she is a huge fan of singer Rihanna’s flamboyant look, Megan, 23, says she’s could never go out dressed like that. She said: “It would be nice to be like Rihanna and go to Burger King in sixinch heels and a mini-dress. It’s

admirable. But I don’t have the motivation. “I have lots of casual clothes and one side of my wardrobe is oddly grown up: pencil skirts and Prada turtlenecks for when, once in a while, I feel like going in that direction.”

Robert Pattinson bullied at school


he ‘Twilight’ heartthrob’s teen years were made tough because the people he studied with tormented him over his thespian ambitions, but he admits his attitude may have contributed to his unpopularity. Pattinson - who was a pupil at The Harrodian School in west London - said: “I got beaten up by a lot of people when I was younger. I was a bit of an idiot, but I always thought the assaults were unprovoked. It was after I first started acting and I liked to behave like an actor, or how I thought an actor was supposed to be, and that apparently provoked a lot of people into hitting me.” Although the 23-year-old star avoided violence at school, he enjoyed getting physical for his role in new movie ‘Remember Me’, in which he plays Tyler Hawkins a rebellious young man living in New York city and trying to cope with the suicide of his brother. He added in an interview with “I related to Tyler in that I wish I could have done things like he

did when I had the opportunity. There is something quite satisfying about being a little bit more reckless and even fighting. It’s quite cathartic to just sort of randomly start hitting someone. It was fun kind of, letting all your rage go on the set. We had this big scene where I punch out some guys.”



he comedian insists that people should work hard for their money and he wouldn’t want to make anyone’s life easier by bequeathing them his cash, so would rather donate to charitable organizations which care for living creatures. He said: “I don’t want to leave my money to people. People should work hard. I’ve worked hard for my money. At the moment I’m sat in the garden where I’ve buried it and I’ve got a gun.” The ‘Invention of Lying’ star also blasted people who go hunting, admitting he would like to “smack” them in the face. Asked what he would do if he was Prime Minister of Britain, he told Absolute

Radio DJ Christian O’Connell: “I suppose the serious answer would be stopping animal cruelty. Particularly those inbred people who still go hunting when they are not meant to, I’d like to smack them in the mouth.” Ricky had called the radio station in a bid to win £20,000 for his favorite animal charities as part of their ‘Who’s Calling Christian’ contest. He joked: “I’ve saved the animals and got a free plug.” The competition encourages listeners to get a celebrity to ring in for the chance to win £10,000 for themselves and the star’s favorite charity. If the winning star rings in of their own accord, they get the whole £20,000 to be donated to a charity of their choice.

Matt Damon plays second fiddle


Jennifer Aniston ready to launch perfume he ‘Bounty Hunter’ actress has been working on her signature scent for the past 20 months but is yet to find a name for it, although Aniston is said to be a favorite. A source told America’s OK! magazine: “She has yet to get 100 per cent behind any name but the one she favors is Aniston. “It’s all about capturing the idea of romance and freedom at any age, but it’s hard to do that in just one word.” However, her choice of name didn’t impress the advertising executives behind the

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ricky Gervais plans to leave his assets to animals


perfume, while another moniker, Echo, was also rejected. As soon as a name is decided, a glamorous advertising campaign will accompany the release of the fragrance. The source added: “Jen wants to unleash some really glamorous commercials on TV.” Jennifer will become the latest in a long line of celebrities to have their own smell. Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss and Sarah Jessica Parker all have a signature fragrance as do Britney Spears and Beyonce Knowles. — BangShowbiz

att Damon thinks he is only offered roles Brad Pitt turns down. The ‘Green Zone’ actor who appeared alongside Brad and George Clooney in the ‘Ocean’s’ series of movies - insists his success comes from “piggybacking” his co-stars and doesn’t believe directors ever want to choose him first. He said: “I think the roles go to Brad first...which is fine. “Ask anybody on the street which actors starred in the ‘Ocean’s’ movies, and they’ll tell you it was George and Brad. I’m ‘support’ in ‘Ocean’s’. As I was in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ - Tom Hanks carried that movie. You could accuse me of piggybacking on other people’s brilliance more than anything.” The ‘Bourne Identity’ star also dreams of starring in a comedy, but believes they are the hardest films to pull off successfully. He explained: “I’d love to end up in a movie like The Hangover, but I think it’s just really hard to make a

good comedy. To sustain a whole movie? That’s really, really tough to do, and that’s why there are so few great comedies. I mean, there are good comedies made every year, but they definitely have not come my way.”


Sunday, March 14, 2010


Talk about a sweet 15th The quinceanera tradition is celebrated by Mexicans and other Latinos, an echo of other coming-of-age events such as debutante balls and bar mitzvahs. One of the rituals involves a girl walking in with a doll, which is taken away as a sign that she is no longer a child. dith Paniagua had a tiara, golden gown and bling fitting a princess. What she needed was a prince, and she took no chances on her quinceanera, the traditional 15th birthday bash for Hispanic girls. Her prince came custom-ordered, a professional dancer who looked like a Backstreet Boy in a tux. He and Edith waltzed as her classmates shrieked with delight. The theme of the evening was “Beauty and the Beast.” Over time, the quinceanera has become more and more extravagant, with some now topping $40,000. Among the latest flourishes that might seem especially over-the-top is the use of a professional choreographer, who makes it all look like a Broadway play or MTV video, posted to Youtube within minutes of the finale. The parties, and the angst over paying for them, illustrate how the Latino community is enjoying a boom in spending power even while it deals with stubborn, unmet needs. Because of those challenges, some community leaders have declared it foolish to pay so much for one night, especially for families struggling to make ends meet. Patricia Paniagua, Edith’s mother, says it is a little more complicated. Her family wrestled with how to pay for the $12,000 party, which drew 260 guests to a Darien, Illinois, banquet hall. But Paniagua said the event had an even larger significance as a milestone of how far the family has come in 15 years, from surviving on a factory job to owning a landscaping business in the suburbs. “This is the party we wanted, because we have a lot to celebrate,” she said. The quinceanera tradition is celebrated by Mexicans and other Latinos, an echo of other coming-of-age events such as debutante balls and bar mitzvahs. One of the rituals involves a girl walking in with a doll, which is taken away as a sign that she is no longer a child. The girls are joined by a court of


young men, usually relatives or classmates, although their dances are with Dad. Other relatives sponsor specific elements of the event, such as the cake. But just as teens now enjoy smart phones and other pricey gadgets unimaginable for their parents, Hispanic girls in Chicago have access to a network of florists, photographers, limousines and the like, which have popped up to cater to this growing market. It reflects a nationwide Hispanic buying power that has nearly doubled since 2000 and now is about $1 trillion. The MTV Tr3s channel even has a reality show called “Quiero Mis Quinces.” A recent episode featured Valeria, a “jet-setting Mexicana” who had a parade in her honor. Choreographer Angel Novoa of Addison, who organized Edith’s party, said girls face an unspoken competition with their friends’ events. Edith admitted that she liked having the choreography “to take it to the next level.” Novoa’s dancers slid across the dance floor with cardboard cutouts of the “Beauty and the Beast” characters. Later, they lifted Edith in the air while a techno version of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” thumped in the background. When the dances were over, parents swarmed Edith’s mom, Patricia, to get the dance team’s contact information. “My friends were like, ‘Oh wow, that was the most beautiful waltz I’ve ever seen,’” Edith said. Even as the dollars flow in the Hispanic community, however, young people are facing uphill challenges. For example, the dropout rate among Hispanics in Illinois is a stubborn problem, twice that of the overall population. With those gaps in mind, Josephine Gomez, director of UNO Veterans Memorial High School on the Southwest Side, is trying to encourage the predominantly Hispanic parents to use their resources more wisely. “Everyone keeps up with the Joneses,” Gomez said. “It’s the human condition that ‘bigger is

Edith Paniagua (foreground) performs with professional dancers at her quinceanera in suburban Darien, Illinois.— MCT

better.’ They just need someone to say that it’s OK not to go so big. You might think that it’s ‘only’ $5,000, but that can be used to save for college.” After commiserating with a mother who was worried that she couldn’t afford a lavish party, Gomez suggested a compromise: Set aside about $6,000 to send her daughter on a two-week student exchange to England instead, which actually ended up being cheaper. The mother, Silvia Jimenez, said her husband, who works as an air-conditioning technician, had been worried that he couldn’t afford the gala his

daughter might have expected. Now they look back on their decision as the right one. “The quinceanera is a beautiful tradition from our countries,” she said, “but sometimes it’s better to take a different path.” The pressure can be harsh on parents hit by the recent economic downturn. Dulcidia Blanco’s husband had been out of work for about 8 months, so long that they decided to have only a small quinceanera dinner this month for their daughter, Joceline. Renting a banquet hall would have broken their budget, Blanco said.

Edith Paniagua (right) rehearses for her quinceanera with one of several choreographed routines featuring professional dancers. — MCT

Blanco, of Cicero, said she felt guilty because the family had watched more successful families fete their daughters with big-ticket events. After hearing of their plight, Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Catholic Mission agreed to donate a dress and other items enough for a small party. “I have always told my daughter that when we have something, she has something. When we don’t, what can we do?” Blanco said. “The truth is that I felt very, very bad. For a girl, the dream is a quinceanera that will be unforgettable.” Elba Diaz Patzelt, co-founder of el Balance Quinceanera Choreography & Services, said she sometimes has to talk parents and children down after they dream of big-ticket events. Even the recession isn’t enough to scale down some of their ambitions. “They want to show that they’re still OK, even though they’re not. Sometimes, they want to forget that things aren’t going well in other parts of their lives,” she said. “It’s unfortunate, but these are the little things that people have to hold on to.” For Patricia Paniagua, the quinceanera isn’t a frivolous expense but a symbol of making it in America. Growing up in central Mexico, her parents couldn’t afford to give her the big party. They were corn farmers and she is one of eight girls. If they gave one a party, they’d all have to get one. As it happens, daughter Edith was born in the same year that Patricia and her husband, Jose, began pursuing a dream. After his factory shift, they would mow a half-dozen lawns for extra money. Those half-dozen clients multiplied to the point that they made landscaping a full-time business. They moved from Cicero to Downers Grove six years ago. “We worked hard to give her this,” Patricia said. “She is a girl who is well-behaved, respectful. She has earned it.” The way the family sees it, they’ve all earned it. — MCT

Seeking headhunting Gay couples find surrogate mothers in India F roots in tribal Taiwan


ith his thick central Chinese accent, Chen Tangsan could easily be mistaken for any other resident of Henan province, but he is in fact a descendant of Taiwanese headhunters-and proud of it. More than 350 years after a distant ancestor left Taiwan and settled deep in China’s interior, Chen returned to the island, seeking his roots in the verdant hills which aboriginal tribes still consider their own. “I’ve finally found my ancestral home,” the

The photo shows Chen Tangsan (right), a descendant of Taiwan’s Tsou tribe now living in China’s Henan province, hugging a tribesman at Alishan in southern Taiwan during a reunion ceremony. — AFP

43-year-old told AFP after his first trip to the Tsou tribe near Taiwan’s iconic Alishan mountain. An ancient ceremony filled with symbolism greeted Chen at Alishan. Chen’s quest coincides with a wider longing among Taiwan’s half million aborigines, divided into 14 officially recognized tribes, to know more about their cultural identity. But as the aborigines, a suppressed minority for centuries, gain greater confidence and pride in their her-

itage, the younger generations are gradually losing touch with where they came from. “A multiplicity of cultures is crucial to Taiwan,” said Pasuya, a well-known writer who, like many other members of the Tsou tribe, uses only one name. “But if we don’t do something, the language and culture of the aborigines will soon vanish.” It is not clear when the aborigines first inhabited Taiwan and where they came from, but anthropologists and linguists suggest their remote forefathers moved to the island around 5,000 years ago. They are Austronesians, people who in prehistoric times sailed to the furthest corners of the Pacific and settled down as far away as Easter Island, but apart from that details are scarce. “It’s a pity no written records were left to narrate the history of our ancestors,” said Pasuya, who has written a book about aboriginal literature. The aborigines only entered into the written record in the 16th century, when Han Chinese started crossing the Taiwan Straits, farming the island’s fertile western plains. The Han immigration wave pushed most aborigines, feared for their headhunting practices, into Taiwan’s mountainous centre, but a few went in the other direction. One of them was Chen’s ancestor. Chen does not know his ancestor’s name, but the rough outlines of his biography have seeped down through the generations as family lore.—AFP

or gay US businessman Brad Fister, experiencing the joy of fatherhood meant flying half way around the world to India where he first held his baby daughter, born to a woman who had signed away any right to her child. Commercial surrogacy is a booming industry in India, and in recent years the ranks of childless foreign couples have been swelled by gay partners looking for a low-cost, legally-friendly path to parenthood. In the United States, laws governing adoption and surrogacy vary from state to state, while in India the service is legal, loosely regulated and-so far at leastnon-discriminatory on grounds of sexual orientation. For Fister and his partner Michael Griebe, a crucial attraction is that surrogate mothers in India are generally willing to renounce any legal claim to the child. “We decided to have a baby a year and a half ago but the problem in the United States is mothers often do not relinquish the rights to the child,” Fister told AFP before leaving the southern city of Hyderabad with his baby daughter last month. “It was all so simple here and if we

decide to have another we would return,” he said. A DNA match had secured a US passport for the child, who was born with Fister’s sperm using in vitro fertilization (IVF). Fister and Griebe used a Chicago-based agency, Surrogacy Abroad, which specializes in finding surrogate mothers in India and has a growing number of gay couples on its client roster. Benhur Samson, who runs the agency, said he was currently processing a dozen couples, “including several gay partners.” “I will be in India very soon with two or three parties, including a gay couple from Britain and a Hong Kong-based British single woman,” Samson told AFP by telephone. Surrogacy Abroad bills each couple around 20,000 dollars, including medical charges and the payment for the surrogate who receives around 8,000 dollars. An initial miscarriage meant Fister and Griebe spent 40,000 dollars, but that is still far cheaper than in the United States, where multiple attempts can leave couples with bills of more than 100,000 dollars. India IVF clinics claim a high

In this photograph, US citizen Brad Fister, 29, cradles his 23-day-old daughter Ashton in Hyderabad. — AFP

success rate as doctors are allowed to implant five embryos into the uterus at one time. In many other countries, such as Britain, only two implants are allowed. According to the Indian Surrogacy Law Centre, a legal firm based in the southern Indian city of Chennai, opportunities for gay couples to find surrogate mothers overseas have grown substantially. “South Africa is now advertising access to such surrogacy, but India has the highest volume because procedures here are simple and more affordable than other countries,” said G R Hari, a partner in the legal firm. “Proven success in surrogacy is inspiring more and more to come to India, where institutions like us help them to overcome legal hurdles they often face back home,” Hari said. At first glance, India might seem like an unlikely pioneer of gay surrogacy. Despite rapid economic and social change it remains a largely conservative country and only decriminalized consensual sex between homosexuals last year. Traditional taboos mean that the openly gay community remains small relative to the size of the population. Critics warn that the lack of effective legislation governing surrogacy-whether for gay or heterosexual couples-encourages “rent-awomb” exploitation of young, poor Indian women. “Where will all this end? Surrogate farming in poorer countries has implications of human trafficking,” said John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council. The council is particularly concerned that foreign gay couples figure increasingly on the client lists of Indian IVF clinics. “The church is clear that marriage and parenthood are sacraments and they are valid only for those in natural union which is husband and wife,” Dayal said.—AFP

A man demonstrates a “didgeridoo” at an Aboriginal art stall at the Rocks Weekend Market in Sydney’s historic Rocks precinct yesterday. The Rocks is known as the birthplace of European Australia and the nearby Farmer’s market stalls display original fashion, jewelry, home-wares and artwork as well as cheeses, bread and gourmet condiments. — AFP



he luxury furniture Michael Jackson commissioned before his death will go under the hammer in June in Las Vegas along with other personal items from the King of Pop, Julien’s Auctions announced Friday. The 22 pieces of furniture Jackson ordered from Italy’s Colombostile Artisans to fill the home where he was to live during his “This is It” London concert series will be featured in the June 25 “Music Icons” auction at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Before the event, the furniture and a recreation of Jackson’s home in Kent, England will be exhibited at Newbridge Silverware’s Museum of Style Icon’s, in Ireland, from March 16 to May 30, Julien’s said in a statement. The exhibit will then be shown in Las Vegas from June 14-25. “Michael’s fans and the public will experience how the entertainer’s home would have looked like with his custom designed” furniture,


This photo shows a parcel gilt nine seat sofa in three pieces of carved solid wood with red velvet button tufted upholstery.

the auction house said. The collection includes several armchairs upholstered in mother of pearl or platinum-gold leaf (estimated at 18,500 dollars) and two with gold doubleheaded eagle embroidery (60,000 dollars). It also includes a 17th century style gilt ebonized wood writing desk with mother of pearl inlay (120,000 dollars) and a Baroque red velvet and gilt sofa with stone inlay (150,000 dollars). The auction will also feature more than 200 items from Jackson’s life and career, including a signed “Beat It” jacket (estimated at 8,00012,000 dollars), Jackson’s white Swarovski Crystal Glove (30,000 dollars) and signed “Bad” Lyrics (2,000-4,000 dollars). From other music icons, the auction includes a lock of Elvis Presley’s hair (8,000 dollars), a Fender guitar used onstage by Jimi Hendrix (150,000-200,000 dollars), and Britney Spears stage costumes. — AFP

A whimsical bergere upholstered in button tufted sea foam green silk and encrusted in seashells, with silver leaf front legs.

French conductor wants to bring Western music to China ichel Plasson has led some of the world’s greatest orchestras, from Berlin to Paris to London, but he has come east to take on a new challenge as the first foreign principal conductor in China. Many international maestros have made guest appearances with the nation’s top ensembles, but Plasson, 76, is now the leader of the China National Symphony Orchestra-a relatively new group, founded in 1956. In an interview ahead

Michel Plasson


of his CNSO debut today, a program that includes works by Beethoven and Franck, the Frenchman says he hopes he can use his new post to deepen the Chinese people’s appreciation of Western classical music. “The world of Western music is still a bit outside their realm of experience,” said Plasson, who led the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse for 35 years until 2003. “They don’t really have a lot of experience with Western

German Lena Meyer-Landrut performs after winning the competition to represent Germany at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest on March 12, 2010 in the western German city of Cologne. This year’s Eurovision Song Contest will take place on May 29, 2010 in Oslo. — AFP

symphonic music. They’ve played some, but not very much, of the standard repertoire.” Plasson says he is rejuvenated, not discouraged, by this relative lack of experience among his new flock of musicians. “I’m going to have to learn how to get them to express what is inside them, get them to be attracted to the music, to revel in the beauty and mystery of it all,” said the grey-haired, bespectacled conductor. “Everything here seems different to metheir thought process, their technique, their musicality. There is a long way to go in all respects, but there are certain basic qualities upon which I can build,” he said. “The musicians are very open, although some of them are a bit shy, and I’ll need to work on that. They are surprised, hungry to learn about Western music.” This is not Plasson’s first experience in China-he has been invited several times, the last in April 2008 when he led the CNSO at two concerts. His current contract is for 10 concerts over the course of 2010, with the possibility of an extension. When asked about the orchestra’s repertoire for the season, Plasson-known primarily for his interpretations of the work of France’s great composers-says the choice was not easy. “Bach, Beethoven-that is a language that everyone can understand, I’m not sure why, perhaps because of the sheer genius of the composers,” he said. “But it’s exciting to communicate with the musicians, and the audience, in a language that is not as well known-a code that needs to be broken. French music should be played moreit’s difficult, and demands a high skill level.” Today, Plasson is offering a combination of the known- Beethoven’s Symphony No 7 — and the unknown-Cesar Franck’s Symphony in D Minor, which he calls a “romantic, very accessible” piece of music. —AFP

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A parcel gilt, ebonized wood writing desk with mother of pearl and precious wood inlay, and French gold bathed brass elements, finished with an antiqued patina finish.

This undated photo released by Colombostile shows a hand carved, gilt wood, three seat sofa topped with crown, upholstered in red velvet with metallic thread crown over double headed eagle embroidery. — AP photos

Blind Chicago street musician undeterred by guitar’s theft ome 40 feet below Dearborn Street, somewhere near Washington Street, Juan Hernandez had just finished his day’s work along Chicago’s Blue Line platform, the stage where he picks, strums and sings for commuters. Hernandez, who is legally blind, began to pack up as he always does - by touch. He put his guitar in its case and rested it against a pillar. Then he felt his way along the dark cables that connect his guitar and amplifier to gather them up. He figures he had turned away from his guitar for just a few seconds that afternoon. But when he reached back, he felt nothing there. Hernandez, assuming he had knocked it over, felt around the back of his amplifier and walked around it, hoping he’d feel the guitar. Again, nothing. Someone had taken off with Hernandez’s guitar. And this wasn’t the first time. Some of the thousands of people who pass by this blind, smiling musician have decided that he is an easy mark. The same guitar - worth about $400, Chicago police said - was first stolen in 2008 but was quickly recovered by investigators. Earlier in 2008, a thief made off with the coins and bills tossed by commuters into a milk crate that Hernandez keeps in front of him. He didn’t even bother to report it to


After one of his guitars was stolen, blind street musician Juan Hernandez, 31, of Chicago, Illinois, has soldiered on as one of about 200 licensed street performers allowed to play at three downtown locations. — MCT police when his cell phone and iPod were quietly lifted from a zippered pouch in the guitar case. Hernandez is one of about 200 licensed street performers allowed to play at

three downtown locations on platforms they share with crowds of commuters, CTA officials said. He was born with glaucoma, and his vision has been dimming his entire life. Today he can discern shadows and can tell when a light is turned on. Hernandez has loved music since he was 12 and learned to play a piano his father gave him. But he never figured he would be making a living singing Spanish ballads and old favorites in the subway. He graduated from Wright College in 2001 after studying computer programs for the blind and sought work without success. “Nobody was taking my resume,” said Hernandez, who is married and lives in a tidy home in Chicago with his wife and his parents. “No phone calls came my way.” His family suggested that he try to make money playing music on the street - an idea that made him uncomfortable at first. As a commuter, he had often listened to street musicians, and he’d “cheer them on,” he said. But he was skittish about

joining them. “I was afraid somebody I knew would see me down there,” he said. Eventually, Hernandez gave in, applied for a $10 license and found a spot along the Blue Line. For six years, he has been playing three or four days a week, earning up to $50 a day to supplement the money he earned playing at restaurants and in bands. But life can be a challenge in the subterranean world Hernandez shares with pickpockets and thieves. In 2009, there were 487 reported robberies and 1,616 thefts along the CTA’s rail and bus lines, police said. Hernandez’s guitar was first stolen from his Blue Line workplace in November 2008, but Chicago police quickly tracked it to a pawnshop after witnesses led them to a suspect who had hocked it. That time, Hernandez recognized his guitar by the nicks and marks it has acquired over the years. “You know it,” he said. In the latest theft, police have very little to go on. There is a vague account from anoth-

er street musician who saw a man walking through the crowds carrying a guitar case in the minutes af ter Hernandez’s guitar was stolen. Hernandez has been told that CTA security cameras caught something. But so far, no video has been turned over to police. CTA officials said they are still investigating. Recently, Hernandez returned to his subway spot with a backup guitar and chains looping his equipment together to make it harder to steal. But he still displayed a wide smile and an unbowed commitment to his music. “I’ve been robbed before, so this is nothing new,” he said. Meanwhile, Hernandez, 31, has been practicing with a band and hoping one of the restaurants will call with a gig. Despite the theft of his guitar, his passion for music - and for his CTA platform remained unaffected as he belted out Spanish songs and favorites like “Let It Be” last week. “I’m the luckiest man on Earth,” Hernandez said as he entertained commuters. “I do

what I love ... Not all could stand where I am standing and do what I do.” Still, Hernandez’s vulnerability is not lost on commuters who pass him with curious looks. “God bless him,” said Rachel Rosalez, 49, who was on the subway with her husband. “He’s got a lot of - what do you call that? But he’s got a lot of it. Faith?” Hernandez doesn’t plan on playing in the subway forever. He has an idea to maybe open a small newspaper shop one day. And he is pursuing his band work. But being down there to per for m for people - and earn some cash is working out just fine for now, he said. His smile is nearly constant when he talks about his work, and he can’t seem to stop strumming, even when he’s in the middle of a conversation. “I’m not embarrassed anymore,” he said of his streetmusician status. Music “is something you carry in your blood. You just put your heart and soul (in it) and maybe people will like it.” — MCT


Sunday, March 14, 2010


(From left to right) Choreographer Robin Antin, singers, Leona Lewis, Melanie Brown, Matt Goss and Natasha Bedingfield arrive at the grand opening of Goss’s new show, “Matt Goss Live from Caesars Palace” March 12, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. —AP

Dolly Parton speaks at the grand opening of Dolly Parton’s Trinkets & Treasures store in Nashville, Tenn on Friday, March 12, 2010. — AP

Hand-made ‘films’ a Vietnam man’s passion or half a century, Vietnamese artist Nguyen Van Long has been drawing “films” on paper and other media that he proudly screens, for one viewer at a time, with his own sound effects. “My film is handmade... that is the valuable thing. My film is not modern,” Long, 63, says in an interview at the oneroom wooden house where he has lived his whole life. For 17 years, until illness forced him to take a break early last year, Long was a fixture at the city zoo in Hanoi, entertaining both children and adults. There were no plush seats and no wide screen. There was not even any electricity, just Long in the open air with his collection of “films” for viewing by an audience of one. “I have 250 films. I produced 50, and the 200 others I bought,” he says. At a cost starting at about 20 cents, his shows are a lot cheaper than going to modern commercial cinemas, which in Hanoi are still scarce. Long pulls out a plastic bag that holds the ingredients of his latest production. A set of flip cards, each about the size of a business card, holds crayon pictures. His bag also contains the comic book “Thanh Giong” which tells the story of a Vietnamese saint and


provides the film’s storyline. Each part of the two-part production consists of 200 well-drawn and colorful small pictures that create a cartoon effect when rapidly flipped. Like his other hand-made films, it is viewed through a simple box with a hole cut in it. The 200 bought films are screened through a slightly more sophisticated device, an old American-made viewer, also for an audience of one. Long says he spends about three days making each of his films, which are adaptations of animal stories or fairy tales. He says the hardest part is not the drawingwhich he taught himself-but accurately summarizing the story for the script. Long’s version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, for example, had to be encapsulated in 13 “sentencepoems” that he recites to the viewer. Long’s voice provides the sound effects: an insect, a pig, a horse, a train, or a gentle, high-pitched folk song from southern Vietnam. Sound is delivered through cardboard cups over a string that links Long’s mouth with the viewer’s ear. “I am creative,” the softlyspoken man says, bundled up in a sweater, a cap and a scarf that belonged to his late father. Long says other people in Vietnam may have tried to emulate his craft, but

This photo shows Nguyen Van Long talking during an interview at his home in Hanoi. — AFP Photos


‘Paris’ turns drama stars into stealthy, deadly spies I

n the space of just a few weeks, we have movies starring Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson and John Travolta. It is like the early ‘90s all over again. Nostalgia is on Travolta’s mind, too. In “From Paris with Love,” he plays a violent but chatty CIA agent who, while bullets fly, likes to engage in dialogue that recalls “Pulp Fiction” as if written by action film

hacks. It is a kind of return to Paris for Travolta, who memorably gave his travelogue of the French capital in “Pulp Fiction.” “From Paris with Love” references that, too, with a wink-wink meal of a Royale with cheese. The Tarantino comparison (not to mention the title’s James Bond allusion) only

serves to make “From Paris with Love” appear all the more slight. The film is directed by Pierre Morel, who helmed another spy thriller, the surprising 2008 hit “Taken.” Both were written (this one by Robert Mark Kamen) from a story idea by the French action filmmaker Luc Besson. Like that film, which starred Liam Neeson, “Paris” turns drama stars into stealthy, deadly spies. Alongside Travolta (Charlie Wax), Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays James Reese, an aide to the US ambassador to France (Richard Durden). Reese also is a low-level secret agent for the CIA. He aspires to higher levels of intrigue and gets his shot when he is teamed with the veteran Wax. The two embark on a manic rampage of destruction, racking up double-digit bodies within minutes, in a desperate race to prevent terrorists from blowing up ungrateful politicians. The not-sosubtle suggestion is that those who underestimate the terrorist threat or worry too much about protocol risk big trouble. The ceiling for a movie like this is, at best, Guy Ritchie or John Woo territory - which is to say, quite low indeed. But the biggest thing standing in the way of “From Paris with Love” achieving even that standard is the laughable casting. The Irish actor Rhys Meyers (“The Tudors,” “Match Point”) likely has some fans somewhere, but his pasty, hollowcheeked look has always seemed more model than actor. But even his defenders would acknowledge he is not quite action movie material. That need not be an impediment; the fish-out-ofwater is a standby of many a thriller. But in “From Paris With Love,” his character, though inexperienced, quickly adapts to the carnage. (He does blink for one pseudo-poetic moment of reflection in front of a mirror.) Reese, it turns out, is a tough, too. Contrary to his manicured appearance, he boasts that he is from a hard New York neighborhood. One foresees South Bronx crowds cackling in the theaters. Having more fun is Travolta. With a shaved head, a thick goatee, an earring and a leather coat with an upturned collar draped by a scarf, he resembles a biker from Soho. He throws himself fully into the film, but it never feels like anything more than action movie dress-up. “From Paris with Love,” a Lionsgate release, is rated R for bloody violence throughout, drug content, pervasive language and brief sexuality. Running time: 95 minutes. One star out of four. — AP

their films were simpler and had no script. They also lacked his commitment. “They did not devote their lives to it,” he says. Long traces his technique to a “cinema box” he saw French people using during the last days of the colonial era in the early 1950s. “I think I imitated them,” he said. “I found it very strange and amazing what they could do.”Long furthered his study by visiting film labs and watching real movies shown outdoors. “I did not have money to go in. I had to climb the fence... and I tried to understand the theory of making films.” But the film-maker confesses he has not been to a real cinema for a long time. He says he began showing rented films to the public in 1965. Long had an official job, as head of the local commune’s information department, but 20 years ago he decided he could better support his family by more earnestly pursuing his passion. At first he looked for an audience in front of schools but then shifted to the zoo. His family and others, including local authorities, tried to discourage him. “I did not harm anyone,” Long says. “I endured rain and sun. Sometimes I became hungry, but it was a lot of fun.” Some days, he earned nothing. “But I brought rice to eat and

water to drink, so I thought it’s like a picnic... and I got exercise from riding the bicycle. That’s enough.” On other days, he regularly earned more than 100,000 dong (now five dollars), a reasonable sum in a country whose annual per capita income is about 1,000 dollars. “I’ve thought about when I die, who will take over this business,” he says, reluctant to entrust his precious creations to anyone

outside the family, even though some have expressed interest. Long says his daughter, a clothes merchant, and his soldier son, are probably too busy with their own careers to preserve his legacy, and he has considered giving his collection to a museum. How much longer the show can go on is unclear. “My health is not very good now. If I’m healthy, I will keep going.” — AFP

Nguyen Van Long displays his illustrations.

Haim’s name on illegal prescription T he name of the late actor Corey Haim was found on a fraudulent prescription for a powerful painkiller that authorities said Friday was obtained through a major drug ring. California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office said records of the prescription in the name of the former teen heartthrob were found during an investigation of the ring that illegally obtained prescription pads and used the stolen identities of doctors to fill them out. “Corey Haim’s death is yet another tragedy linked to the growing problem of prescription drug abuse,” Brown said in a written statement. “This problem is increasingly linked to criminal organizations, like the illegal and massive prescription drug ring under investigation.” Los Angeles County coroner’s officials, howev-

er, said they have not yet determined what killed the 38-year-old Haim on Wednesday. State law enforcement authorities said they were investigating the drug ring and how the name of Haim, who battled addiction for years, appeared on the prescription. Javier Salaiz, an investigator with the state attorney general’s office, said authorities have not yet confirmed that Haim actually filled the prescription or if someone was using his name to acquire the prescription. However, a person familiar with the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing said Haim may have been doctor shopping. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said four prescription drug bottles bearing the actor’s name were found in the apartment where he collapsed, but all those

drugs had been provided by a doctor who had been treating the actor. The coroner’s office has declined to state what medications were discovered, but said no illegal drugs were found. Winter said no determination had been made about Haim’s cause of death, and toxicology tests would not be available for at least a month. He said he had not been contacted by the attorney general’s office. “It surprises me that Jerry Brown would come out and give a cause of death,” he said. Brown said later in an interview that he didn’t know what killed Haim. The illegal prescription was for the powerful painkiller OxyContin, he said. “This is a growing and dangerous problem,” Brown said. Christine Gasparac, a spokeswoman for Brown, said the prescription was found through the

state’s computer database that tracks prescriptions that are filled. Investigators believe the ring either sells the pads on the street to addicts or to people who then fill out the forms and obtain the drugs for illegal distribution. Doctors whose names are on the form usually aren’t aware that their identity is being used illegally. So far, authorities have uncovered up to 5,000 fraudulent prescriptions linked to the fraud ring in Southern California. Haim’s agent, Mark Heaslip, said his client’s medications were prescribed by an addiction specialist who was working with the actor. He said he thinks, based on what Haim’s mother has told him, the actor may have had an adverse reaction to the medication because he was ill. “I don’t think Corey overdosed, not at all,” Heaslip said. —AP

Disney to shut Zemeckis-run studio o further cut costs at its movie studio, The Walt Disney Co said Friday that it will shut a San Francisco-area facility used to capture the performance of Jim Carrey for his digitally animated character, Scrooge, in ´A Christmas Carol.ª The closure of the facility in Marin County, north of San Francisco, will be completed by January and result in the loss of 450 jobs. The facility was built by ImageMovers Digital, a company co-founded by ´A Christmas Carolª director Robert Zemeckis and partially owned by Disney. Motion-capture technology in that facility was used to make the movie; Carrey wore sensors as he acted out scenes, and the data were used to recreate his character on the screen. Before it closes, the complex will continue to be used by Zemeckis and his team to complete production of ´Mars Needs Moms!,ª a 3-D movie set for


This film publicity image released by Disney, Ebenezer Scrooge, voiced by Jim Carrey, is shown in a scene from “A Christmas Carol.” — AP release in March 2011. ´Given todayís economic realities, we need to find alternative ways to bring creative content to audiences and IMD no longer fits into our business model,ª Walt Disney

Studios president Alan Bergman said. In a statement, Zemeckis said he was proud of the ImageMovers team and the work it accomplished. Disney said it hoped to come to a new long-term

production deal with Zemeckis and his ImageMovers partners, Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey, including one for a future project called ´Yellow Submarine.ª Disneyís studio has been paring costs and decreasing its movie slate, most recently putting a halt to ´20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,ª ´Wedding Bannedª and ´Wild Hogs 2.ª The cuts have occurred since Rich Ross, formerly the head of Disney Channels Worldwide, took over the studio in October following the abrupt resignation of Dick Cook and more than a year of disappointing results. Disney is also looking for a buyer of its Miramax Films division, which it bought from the Weinstein brothers in 1993. It shut down Miramax offices in January, and Disney CEO Bob Iger said last month that new investment in the unit would be limited to releasing its six remaining films through 2011. — AP

lvis had entered the building. Not Elvis Presley himself, mind you. That would be impossible because, of course, the king died almost 33 years ago, on his throne. Any reports to the contrary are the stuff of conspiracy theory or urban legend. It was several of Elvis’ personal effects that visited Chicago’s Tribune Tower recently, perhaps drawn here by the fact that this place, too, was once run by a man named “the Colonel.” There was a suede shoe, size 11, not obviously stepped on, and not blue, but black.


“Common misconception: Elvis never had blue suede shoes,” said Kevin Kern, the Graceland publicist who is shepherding the artifacts on a media tour. There was a cape, spangled with beads and baubles, from what is known as the “King of Spades jumpsuit.” Worn, it would have made Presley look like the superhero of Mardi Gras, the count of costume jewelry. Any network with an ounce of taste would have refused to shoot him from the waist up. Of course, there was a “TCB” ring, with an 11 1/ 2-carat diamond over the “T” and sized to make Super Bowl rings look demure. A big part of the business Presley had to take care of, it seems, was getting things emblazoned with his slogan. The clothing was touring as part of a promotional effort by Graceland, Presley’s Memphis estate - a tourist attraction to some and near-religious shrine to others, with 600,000 visitors a year. The garments come from a new exhibit called “Elvis Presley: Fashion Icon.” It celebrates Presley’s personal style, which evolved to the point where he looked always ready to jump over things on a motorcycle. The man did not dress for the folks in the front row. The exhibit includes 200 items, including some 50 shirts, the same custom suit in each of three colors (green, blue and brownish red), scarves, cologne (Canoe and Brut), a comb and even a couple of guns. “We’ve done the jumpsuits, but we’ve never done an exhibit before which gives the visitor the experience of opening up Elvis Presley’s personal closet,” Kern said. Along with the clothing and accessories, also on hand in Chicago were Presley’s gradeschool Crayola crayons - “Elvis” written in red on the box - and a seventh grade report card suggesting that science would not be his calling. Those items are from a 75th-anniversary exhibit that started in January, “From Tupelo to Memphis,” tracing his life from birth, Jan 8, 1935, to the recording of “That’s All Right” at Sun

Elvis Presley’s seventh grade report card is seen.

Studios in July 1954 - “his time as a normal human being,” said Kern. Cirque du Soleil debuted a new show, “Viva Elvis,” in Las Vegas last month. And Graceland material is on loan to the Newseum in Washington, DC, for an exhibit starting March19 called “Elvis! His Groundbreaking, Hip-Shaking, Newsmaking Story.” Graceland’s challenge is to remain fresh, to persuade new folks to visit and people who’ve been there once to stop by again. But making new exhibits (“Fashion Icon” replaces “Private Presley,” about his military life) is also part of a broader effort to keep Presley in the public eye. Most prominent in that effort was the release in January, to coincide with what would have been his 75th birthday, of “Elvis 75,” a collection of top singles from Sony Legacy, which owns the recordings (Lisa Marie Presley controls Graceland and the estate). It is different from 2002’s “30 #1 Hits” mostly in that the new CD has five fewer songs. There are, at Amazon’s Elvis Presley Store, no fewer than 784 albums available, the operational definition of market dilution. Presley has sold120 million albums, more than anybody except the Beatles and Garth Brooks, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, but his top-selling record, “Elvis’ Christmas Album,” doesn’t crack the Top100. And Presley’s best music is an era too old to sound at least semi-contemporary on the radio, the way the Beatles or the Rolling Stones do. The arrangements are too spare, the songwriting a touch sim-

Jewelry, including this ring with Elvis’ TCB slogan is pictured.

pler than what modern audiences are used to. The Beatles’ “1” sold about twice as many copies this decade (10 million) as Presley’s similarly conceived “30 #1 Hits.” It’s hard, too, to imagine that there can be anything left to uncover musically, though Sony will be re-releasing old records throughout the year in hopes that one might catch fire. Still, he remains one heck of a brand: Presley last year was No 4 on Forbes’ list of the top-earning dead celebrities, a tally that doesn’t even include record sales. Attendance at Graceland has remained solid, said Kern - up a little last year over the year before - and roughly half the visitors are 40 and under, most from within a day’s drive. The attraction, which thinks of itself as historic home first, museum second, is active on Twitter: @gracelandnews. Taking the artifacts on a month-long tour to Graceland’s primary feeder cities is a nice new touch. There is, no denying, a mild thrill to being within hem-ofgarment distance of the things Presley actually wore and used. And although the tour will cover 19 cities throughout March, don’t look for it on the road. Instead of hitting the highways Elvisstyle, in a big, old Cadillac from the singer’s collection, Kern and an archivist were tooling around in a rented Ford Explorer. That’s how people with valuable items to transport take care of business. — MCT

Danielle Forbes displays a cape worn by Elvis Presley that is part of the memorabilia going on tour around the United States as part of a commemoration of his 75th birthday. — MCT photos

14 Mar 2010  

First English Daily in Arabian Gulf

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