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Moscow metro blasts kill 38 Two female suicide bombers carry out attacks • Putin vows to ‘destroy’ terrorists • Amir condemns carnage in the news

No exception for dual Kuwaiti-US nationals

Kuwait records $29bn surplus KUWAIT: Kuwait posted a preliminary budget surplus of $28.9 billion in the first 11 months of the fiscal year despite projecting a deficit, the finance ministry said yesterday. The ministry said that revenues until the end of February reached $55.5 billion, around twice as much as it had projected for the whole 2009-2010 fiscal year which ends on March 31. Oil revenues contributed 94.7 percent of total income. Oil income to the end of February reached $52.5 billion, or more than twice the $24.1 billion projected by the budget for the whole year. Kuwait had projected a shortfall of $14 billion in the current year after calculating oil income at a conservative price of $35 a barrel, with the actual price more than twice as high. The state’s spending during the 11 month period was $26.6 billion, just 63.4 percent of projected expenditure for the whole year of $42.1 billion, the ministry figures showed.

KUWAIT: Interior Minister Lt Gen Sheikh Jaber Khaled AlSabah (retd) said yesterday the government is determined to activate article 11 of the constitution to withdraw the Kuwaiti nationality from any person with dual nationalities, even if it is an American one. “The law will be applied on everybody without exception. Any person with two nationalities will be immediately stripped off the Kuwaiti nationality,” he told reporters after attending a ceremony to hand over certificates to graduating officers at the Police Officers Club. “The door is open for any person with dual nationalities to, in a way not violating the law or the constitution, to hand over his other nationality and keep his Kuwaiti nationality,” he added. Sheikh Jaber also said a batch of sons of Kuwaiti women would be naturalized soon. The ministry of interior is carefully studying all naturalization files in order to prevent “any mistakes that can take place in this important and sensitive file,” he said, adding that the interior minister has the final say as to who should be naturalized and who should not. On another note, Sheikh Jaber said the ministry was allocating 200 seats for every batch in the policy academy with more than 2,000 applicants. Sheikh Jaber, in his address to the fresh graduates, encouraged them to exert efforts to serve the people in a purely just manner. — KUNA

Zain, Bharti to ink Africa deal KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Zain telecom and India’s top mobile firm Bharti Airtel are expected to sign a $10.7 billion deal for the sale of Zain’s African assets today, unnamed informed sources said. The sources said the signing ceremony “will take place on Tuesday at the headquarters of Zain Africa,” in Amsterdam. Zain entered the African telecom market in 2005 by acquiring the operations of the Dutch Celtel firm for around $3.5 billion. Zain’s chairman Asaad Al-Banwan and CEO Nabil bin Salamah were due to leave Kuwait for Amsterdam later yesterday to sign the deal, Al-Watan said. The sale of the African assets does not include Zain’s operation in Sudan or its investment in Morocco. The value of the deal includes $1.7 billion of debt that the Indian telecom giant will assume. Bharti is due to pay $8.3 billion on signature of the deal, while the remaining $700 million will be paid a year later.

Kuwait eyes solar energy KUWAIT: Kuwait plans to apply solar energy at its government facilities, including ministries and various state installations, in a bid to curb high power consumption which leads to frequent power cuts during summer. “The Cabinet has approved a proposal by the Ministry of Electricity and Water to apply the latest in solar energy technology at state buildings,” Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan told reporters after a weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday. The minister pointed out that the Cabinet agreed on forming a committee to implement solar energy applications at its facilities. “The committee will be headed by Minister of Electricity and Water Dr Bader Al-Shuraian, and its membership will include representatives from six ministries with posts not less than assistant undersecretary,” he added.

Barrak calls for firing KAC chief By B Izzak

MOSCOW: In this image made from television, blast victims lie in a subway train hit by a explosion at Lubyanka station yesterday shortly after the blast. (Inset) Commuters injured by a bomb blast at the Park Kultury station wait for medical care just outside the station shortly after the explosion. — AP

Caucasus nightmare returns to haunt capital MOSCOW: Two female suicide bombers killed at least 38 people on packed Moscow metro trains yesterday, stirring fears of a broader campaign in Russia’s heartland by Islamists from the North Caucasus. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who cemented his power in 1999 by launching a war to crush Chechen separatism, broke off a trip to Siberia, declaring “terrorists will be destroyed”. Witnesses described panic at two central Moscow stations after the blasts, with morning commuters falling over each other in dense smoke and dust as they tried to escape

the worst attack on the Russian capital in six years. Sixty-four others were injured, many gravely, and officials said the death toll could rise. Russia’s top security official said the bombs were filled with bolts and iron rods. No group immediately claimed responsibility, but Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Alexander Bortnikov said those responsible had links to the North Caucasus, a heavily Muslim region plagued by insurgency whose leaders have threatened to attack cities and energy pipelines

Rio four handed ‘harsh’ jail terms

17 given death over lynching DUBAI: Seventeen Indians have been sentenced to death for killing a Pakistani man in a turf dispute between rival bootleg liquor gangs in the United Arab Emirates last year, newspaper reports said yesterday. The 17 were accused of being the leaders of a mob of up to 50 people involved in the attack in which the Pakistani man was beaten to death with metal bars, the reports said. The justice ministry, in a statement issued later yesterday, said the death sentences were handed down by a lower court and were subject to appeal. Another three people suffered injuries during the incident which took place in the coastal city state of Sharjah, one of the UAE’s seven emirates, in Jan 2009. The dispute was between rival gangs vying to sell illegal liquor to labourers in the Al-Sajaa area of Sharjah, The National reported. The sentences marked the highest number of death penalties handed down at one time in the emirate, the daily cited court officials as saying. Death sentences are usually commuted to life in prison in Sharjah and the rest of the Gulf Arab country.

Comic sells for $1.5m NEW YORK: The record price for a comic book, already broken twice this year, has fallen again. A copy of the 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1 sold yesterday for $1.5 million on the auction website The issue features Superman’s debut and is widely considered the Holy Grail of comic books. The same issue sold in February for $1 million. That number was quickly bested when a 1939 comic book featuring Batman’s debut sold for $1 million and change. The issue that sold yesterday was bought from a private collector and then sold by Stephen Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo, the co-owners of

elsewhere in Russia. “A crime that is terrible in its consequences and heinous in its manner has been committed,” Putin told emergency officials in a video call. “I am confident that law enforcement bodies will spare no effort to track down and punish the criminals. Terrorists will be destroyed.” The Kremlin had declared victory in its battle with Chechen separatists who fought two wars with Moscow. But violence has intensified over the past year in the neighbouring republics of Continued on Page 14

KUWAIT: Outspoken opposition MP Musallam Al-Barrak yesterday launched a scathing attack on the chairman of Kuwait Air ways Corporation (KAC) Hamad Al-Falah and called on the communications minister to sack him. The latest round of criticism by Barrak came as Falah reportedly protested in a letter to Communications Minister Mohammad AlBusairi about the composition of an investigation committee the minister formed last month to probe the affairs of KAC. Barrak said that Falah has protested the inclusion of Ali

Al-Jenahi as a member of the investigation committee on the grounds that Jenahi was once a member of the internal auditing team and he will not be neutral in his investigation. Bar rak defended Jenahi, saying he is well-qualified to investigate the KAC’s affairs and allegations of violations that have been committed as the KAC is preparing for privatization. Barrak called on Busairi to reject the KAC chairman’s protest and to dismiss him from his post, holding him responsible for a series of alleged financial and administrative violations, that Falah has denied. Continued on Page 14

LUXOR, Egypt: A picture released yesterday shows a newly-discovered red granite false door unearthed in front of the Karnak Temple. — AFP

Door to afterlife dug up in Egypt CAIRO: Archaeologists have unearthed a 3,500-year-old door to the afterlife from the tomb of a high-ranking Egyptian official near Karnak temple in Luxor, the Egyptian antiquities authority said yesterday . These recessed niches found in nearly all ancient Egyptian tombs were meant to take the spirits of the dead

to and from the afterworld. The nearly 1.75 m-tall slab of pink granite was covered with religious texts. The door came from the tomb of User, the chief minister of Queen Hatshepsut, a powerful, long ruling 15th century BC queen from the New Kingdom with a famous Continued on Page 14

SHANGHAI: China jailed an Australian executive with mining giant Rio Tinto for 10 years and handed stiff terms to three of his colleagues yesterday for stealing trade secrets and pocketing millions in bribes. The climax to the trial in Shanghai - which stoked foreign investors’ anxiety about the rule of law in China - provoked protests from Australia, which said the prison term for Stern Hu was “very tough” and “harsh”. But the AngloAustralian mining firm, a prime supplier of the raw materials that China needs to sustain its economic boom, announced it was firing the convicted quartet and said it wanted to maintain good relations with Beijing. Hu and the three Chinese staff were convicted of taking more than $13 million in kickbacks from Chinese steel firms during tense 2009 iron ore talks, which the court said they had helped ruin, and of stealing trade secrets. Hu, head of Rio Tinto’s Shanghai office, was sentenced to seven years for bribery and five more on the industrial espionage charge - but the court reduced the combined sentence to 10 years. His colleagues Wang Yong, Ge Minqiang and Liu Caikui were given jail terms of 14, eight and seven years

respectively. The actions of the defendants “severely damaged the competitiveness of China’s steel companies” and “isolated” China during last year’s iron ore price talks, leading to their collapse, presiding judge Liu Xin told the court. “They took advantage of their favourable position in the iron ore trade and teased out information by dangling the promise of profits,” the judge said. “The four have confessed criminal information that prosecutors did not know,” he said, flanked by two other judges. At last week’s three-day trial, the court reportedly heard evidence that millions of yuan in bribes from small Chinese steel mills were stuffed into bags and boxes for the accused. The presiding judge said the bribes took other forms too - Ge took a watch worth more than $19,000. He said assets worth a combined 6.3 million yuan ($920,000) were confiscated from the men. But foreign critics said the four were made to pay the price as China grows increasingly assertive in defending its economic interests and ensuring access to materials it needs to fuel its dramatic economic growth. Continued on Page 14

DUBAI: Emirati men walk opposite a foreign woman in this Gulf emirate on March 23, 2010. — AFP

Expats bring gain, but challenges too DUBAI: With tolerance wearing thin for behaviour considered inappropriate, more and more Emiratis are denouncing the “offensive” customs of the very foreigners who are contributing to their country’s success. The United Arab Emirates, Dubai in particular, has undergone breakneck development in recent decades, attracting foreign money and foreign visitors - in their billions and millions respectively. But such progress also has its price. “We have become a minority. Our traditions are threatened and Arabic is no longer a first language,” says Ibtisam Al-Ketbi, a sociology profes-

sor at the United Arab Emirates University. “We are surrounded by foreigners, and live in constant fear for our children because of the spread of drugs and a rise in crime rates,” she adds, echoing a sentiment felt by many “nationals,” as they are commonly called. The recent case of a British couple sentenced to a month in prison after an Emirati mother complained that they were kissing in a Dubai restaurant highlights a growing unease among a traditionally conservative local population. The two 20somethings were also accused of Continued on Page 14



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Information minister’s interpellation

Cabinet dismisses MPs’ claims of offering concession to lawmakers KUWAIT: The cabinet has dismissed as “false” the statements by some MPs who reportedly claimed the government offered concessions to some lawmakers to win support for Minister of Information Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah Al-Sabah in his interpellation. Statements by some MPs that were cited by He said that the cabinet “condemns and rejects” all claims by MPs, and affirmed commitment to constitution and law as well as sound democratic practice. The cabinet, chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, congratulated Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah AlSabah, who is also Minister of Oil, for the vote of confidence after the grilling, said Al-Roudhan. His Highness the prime minister, he added, commended the democratic atmosphere during the interpellation session. Meanwhile, Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah briefed the cabinet about outcome of Jordanian Prime

Illegal dual citizenship mislead public

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah returned home yesterday after attending the 22nd Arab summit in Sirte, Libya. The Amir was received at the Kuwait airport by HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser AlSabah, ministers, sheikhs and other dignitaries. — Photos by KUNA

Kuwait hails resolutions of Arab Summit in Libya SIRTE, Libya: Kuwait yesterday termed as important resolutions of the Arab Summit, which concluded in the Libyan city of Sirte Sunday, foremost the backing of Jerusalem. One of the important resolutions is holding an international conference over Jerusalem before year’s end, Kuwait’s Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah said after the summit. He said the two-day summit reasserted the support of the struggle of the Palestinian people to liberating their occupied lands. Sheikh Mohammad said the summit affirmed need of commitment to halting normalization of relations with Israel. “This affirms the position of Kuwait regarding the normalization with Israel. No normalization before withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Arab territories, and achieving just and comprehensive peace,” said the Kuwaiti top diplomat. The Arab leaders, he said, decided to resort to the International Court of Justice and the UN Security Council (UNSC) to stop the Israeli attacks against Al-Aqsa mosque and occupied Jerusalem. The leaders, said Sheikh Mohammad, approved formation of a five-member committee mandated with the development of the common action and the Arab League. The committee consists of Libya, Qatar,

Egypt, Iraq and Yemen. Proposals over the development of the Arab League will be sent to the Arab countries to seek their views, then a summit will be held to discuss the improvement of the Arab League Charter, he said. Sheikh Mohammad commented on Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari’s meeting with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah. He said Zebari thanked the State of Kuwait for helping Iraq return to the Arab fold. Zebari also thanked Sheikh Sabah for supporting Iraq to host the next summit. The Amir of Kuwait, said Sheikh Mohammad, informed the Arab leaders that statements were not enough and there should be action on the ground to preserve the identity of Jerusalem. The Amir, he added, asked for extending urgent assistance to Jerusalem to countering the Israeli judaization policies. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti journalists praised the participation of their country’s representatives at the 22nd Arab summit that concluded in Libya on Sunday. Secretary of Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA) Faisal Al-Qinai said that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah was keen on improving relations among Arab countries. Sheikh Sabah was always keen on attending summits to contribute in supporting Arab caus-

es. He stressed the significance of the initiative that was launched by His Highness during the Arab Economic Summit that was held in Kuwait in 2009. Al-Qinai said that the summit’s outcome regarding Jerusalem was not new, adding that the issue was complicated because of the Israeli inflexibility. The Palestinian rift is meanwhile a major obstacle hindering reaching a solution. It was unfortunate that economic, social, and cultural issues, as well as issues of freedoms and democracy were not discussed at the summit. For his part, Deputy Editorin-Chief of Al-Anbaa newspaper Adnan Al-Rashid said that Kuwait was the “voice of wisdom” at Arab summits. His Highness the Amir highlighted the importance of taking practical steps to execute projects of the private sector and small and medium businesses through making the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development responsible of legal and organizational issues related to the execution of the initiative, he said. His Highness also stressed that the international community was not reacting to the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and Islamic holy sites with responsibility, he added. Al-Rashid pointed out that the proposal of establishing a league for Arab countries’ neighbors was wise, stressing that the clear stances on joint interests was needed. He also praised the Arab decision regarding supporting Jerusalem and highlighted that the Palestinians must unite to strongly represent and serve the cause. Arab conflicts cannot be solved in a summit, but require continuous effort on the ground, he concluded. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Several MPs, current and former, as well as political activists effected by the dual citizenship controversy are attempting to mislead the public, reported Al-Watan. They have issued statements claiming that the government is adopting double standards by targeting citizens with Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) nationalities while ignoring those with US, British and other foreign nationalities. According to a source within the government, the authorities are strictly pursuing those with GCC and Kuwaiti nationalities. Unlike those with dual Gulf nationalities, those with US and British nationalities are given citizenship at birth. Those with GCC nationalities adopted the additional Kuwaiti nationality for the sole purpose of benefiting from the privileges the citizenship provides and may have used false data in their naturalization procedures. Throughout the years, state services have detected that dual citizens have conflicting information on their Kuwaiti and other GCC passports. Some of these individuals use their false identities to carry out crimes or to escape from identification and prosecution when traveling between countries.

Envoy lauds Bahraini cooperation MANAMA: The Kuwaiti Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain Sheikh Azzam Mubarak Al-Sabah yesterday expressed his gratitude for the cooperation and support of the Bahraini Premier Prince Khalifa bin Salman AlKhalifa regarding the accreditation and authentication of Kuwaiti students’ certificates from educational institutions here. The ambassador said that the premier had showed commendable enthusiasm for the swift resolution of this issue in the best interest of the students concerned through his directives. Sheikh Azzam pointed out the leadership in both countries is eager to ensure further improvements in the quality of GCC citizens’ education and qualification of GCC citizens, and is facilitating all their efforts in this regard. “Our students should and will be protected from abuse and misleading information on the part of private educational institutions,” the ambassador emphasized, adding that students will not suffer due to the changes and reforms affecting these establishments.—KUNA

Minister Samir Al-Rifae’s recent visit to Kuwait, and his talks with the Kuwaiti officials on ways of further boosting bilateral relations. The cabinet also took note of a message by King Abdullah of Jordan to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah on methods to strengthen solidarity at the Arab and Islamic fronts. The cabinet members took note of messages the Amir received from Presidents of Sudan and Benin, and Prime Minister of Eritrea. It also took note of a message by South African VicePresident to the Prime Minister. Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah also briefed the cabinet about the recent

some media organization are “untrue, and it is baseless that the government offered all kinds of concessions to some MPs regarding the interpellation against the Minister of Information,” Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Roudhan said in a statement after the cabinet meeting late Sunday. visit of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov which dealt with the development of bilateral collaboration. The cabinet welcomed the upcoming visit of Prime Minister of Djibouti Mohamed Dileita Dileita. The executives welcomed the return of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to Egypt following his surgery in Germany. The cabinet also strongly condemned failed attempts by terrorists against oil and security facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Kuwaiti government “strongly condemns the deviated group’s acts that violated all religious merits and humanitarian principles,” Al-Roudhan said in the statement. He said Kuwait was firmly rejecting all forms of terrorism and ready

to contribute to any efforts to eliminate them. The cabinet members, said AlRoudhan, followed the successful efforts of the Saudi security authorities, which foiled terrorist attacks and arrested a number of extremist terrorists who wanted to attack oil and security facilities in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia announced last week the arrest of more than 100 Saudis and expatriates linked to Al-Qaeda organization. Saudi Interior Ministry said the security forces arrested 47 Saudis and 51 expatriates possessing weapons, ammunition, computers, communications devices, pre-paid mobile chip cards, cash and documents. —KUNA

GUST holds book, information fair By Rawan Khalid KUWAIT: The A M Al-Refai Library held its sixth GUST Annual Book and Information Fair yesterday in the presence of many publishers and students. Representatives from major publishing companies like (Pearson, Cengage, McGraw-Hill, Oxford, Wiley, Harvard University Press, Elsevier, MIT) American Embassy, Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait, Center for Child Evaluation and Teaching, and online database providers (Arabian Advanced Systems, Edutech, Euromonitor International, TechKnowledge, IIN) showcased their publications and online resources in a variety of subject areas. In addition to the opportunity to review textbooks and online catalogs, the faculty attended special sessions given by representatives of Pearson (Learning Outcome Management systems), EuroMonitor International and McGraw-Hill (recent developments in English Languages Teaching, Business, Economics and Maths). Dr Robert Cook, Vice President for Academic Affairs, mentioned the importance of such an event for all faculties who are always searching for the best teaching material available for their courses. He also thanked all the publishers for their participation in the fair and for their continuing cooperation with the faculty in the common goal of enhancing our students’ learning. Shobhita Kohli, Library Director at GUST said, “This fair is conducted every year, every year the faculty looks forward to seeing the latest in publishing companies so that they have an idea about what’s going on. It is because now at the time of technology, we have based this on tech-

KUWAIT: Dr Abd Al-Rahman Al-Muhilan Chairman of Board and Trustees in GUST (middle), and Dr. Robert Cook Vice President for Academic Affairs (right) cutting the ribbon to inaugurate the book fair. —Photos by Joseph Shagra

nology, to implement technology to our faculty as well as students. So, that’s why we have such an event and the faculty looks forward to such

events.” “We have new unique things because of which more publishers should come forward. We use their text books. That’s why we call them every

year, and that’s why all universities have a book fair. We started the book fair in Kuwait and it’s the sixth now,” Shobhita added.

GCC currency in 15 years KUWAIT: A British economist believes that establishing an economic and monitory authority for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will take at least 15 years. At the same time, forming a currency union between these countries would prove meaningless if these countries do not make the effort to reinforce political unity, and relinquish some political authority, he argued. The Head of the Currency

Markets Department in London and Oxford, David Marshal, further proposed for forming a committee containing 12 members, half of who would be governors of central banks of each GCC nations. The others would be outsiders, who will pave the way for launching the unified GCC currency. They noted, at the same time, the importance of benefiting from the experience of the European Union, report-

ed Al-Watan. Furthermore, Marshal said that a unified GCC currency should not be pegged to the US dollar, but would rather exercise more general power than other current currencies in GCC countries. He further called these currencies’ exchange rate when compared to the dollar should be raised between five percent and 10 percent. This is due to the surpluses that these countries have gar-

nered. He added that oil prices should be valued against a basket of currencies instead of the dollar. He expects this to happen during the upcoming 20 years. The unified GCC currency would remain a main currency in this basket. Marshal further said that a unified currency will provide GCC and Arab countries with more respect on the international scene.

Journalism training course launched KUWAIT: The Dar Al-Qabas Press, Printing and Publishing Company on Sunday launched its first journalism training course, which is taking place at the Kuwait Journalists’ Association (KJA) headquarters. The course concludes tomorrow (Wednesday 31). During the course, a total of 150 trainee journalists are receiving instruction in practical and theoretical journalism skills and improving their media skills in the face of rapid technological developments within journalism, amongst other things. In his inaugural speech at the launch ceremony, Walid Al-Nisf, the Editor-inChief of local daily Al-Qabas, admitted that Kuwait suffers from a lack of training,

hampering the development of highly qualified journalists. The senior media figure also talked about the threat that print media face from the burgeoning popularity of online media. Al-Nisf stressed that this conflict had still not reached a point where one media format had become a real threat to the other, adding that the print media are still safe. He added, however, that the popularity of online media have added to the increasing financial pressures on the printed press, resulting not only in declining readership figures but also in falling advertising revenue compared to those for online media, whose expenses are considerably lower. He further stated that another factor putting pressure on print media in recent times has been the global eco-

nomic crisis. Al-Nisf also condemned any imposition of amendments to Kuwait’s audio-visual media which he said would mean stricter restrictions on print media, warning that any such move would ultimately lead to local newspapers going bankrupt due to their inability to meet both their expenses and regular heavy fines. The prominent media figure also expressed concern at the spread of sectarianism in Kuwait, saying that this is supported by feeding social instability and calling for a more calm and responsible media to minimize this threat. Al-Nisf added, however, that tolerance of dissenting opinions had increased significantly in Kuwait compared to neighboring nations.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Recognition of invaluable services

Pakistani president honors head of Marafi Foundation By Javiad Ahmed and Mohammad Omer KUWAIT: Prominent Pakistani expatriate Abdul Ilah Marafi, the head of the Marafi Foundation, has returned to Kuwait after being presented with the Tamga-I-Imtiaz award by Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari in recognition of the invaluable services he and the foundation have rendered to Pakistan. Speaking to the Kuwait Times following his return yesterday,

KUWAIT: Under the auspices of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah and in the presence of Health Minister Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer, the new Abdullah Al-Abdulhadi Medical Center was yesterday opened in Yarmuk. In his inaugural speech, Dr. Al-Sayer noted that the center, which was built in memory of the late Abdullah Yousif Al-Abdulhadi using a bequest left by him for this purpose, includes many specialist clinics, dentists, family medicine clinics, a lab and a large auditorium. He added that the facility is also fully equipped with the latest technology. The opening ceremony was also attended by the donor’s son MP Naji Al-Abdulhadi, along with other family members, dignitaries and media representatives. — Photos by KUNA

local spotlight

Rules of safety at work By Muna Al-Fuzai


re rules of safety and occupational health being supervised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor? What happens if the employer fails to comply to these precautionary measures and the worker’s life is in danger of illness or harm? Who takes the responsibility? I thought about this one day while looking at a municipality vehicle pass me by with two men in the back in yellow suites. They were obviously dirty, which is normal for the nature of their work. I then thought about those men who work the same job all over Kuwait; those who collect trash and waste who are exposed to all kinds of germs but don’t wear a mask and hardly use gloves. The new labor law has a chapter dedicated to the rules of safety and occupational health. It says that when necessary, each employer

must provide his workers with safety tools and explain why and how they are to be used. They must also explain why the safety tools are important. Municipal workers deal with all kind of dirt and germs. They even manage the waste that is taken from the hospitals. Supervision should be offered by employers continuously and they should be encouraged by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. There should also be penalties levied against those who ignore the rules of safety. So, what should happen to those workers who fall sick because they are exposed to too much pollution and dirt. They should be offered medical checkups in order to protect them and those they might infect. Personally, I think that those municipal workers should have their eyes and skin routinely checked. The safety of workers should be a priority and regulations should not just exist on paper.

in the news Salmiya police station to reopen KUWAIT: Shamiya police station is set to reopen next Monday following major renovation work, with interior minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Khalid AlSabah inaugurating the newly refurbished building. The renovation work was carried out as part of the Ministry of Interior’s (MoI) efforts to develop the security services’ performance and reinforce social security generally. “The minister’s attendance and patronage of this event conveys the immense commitment on the part of the ministry’s senior officials on consolidating stability and security across the country,” said Colonel Col Al-Sabr Mohammed Al-Sabr, the ministry’s official spokesman and head of its media department. “The inauguration of the new police stations is a tangible expression of the commitment of police departments to serve the community.” Col. Al-Sabr further revealed that several other projects are set to be announced shortly as part of the structural projects included in the comprehensive plan for developing the security services’ performance. Expat doctors’ salaries increased KUWAIT: The Kuwait Medical Association (KMA) has prepared a medical reform study with a panel of experts, which was referred to the Minister of Health, Dr Hilal Al-Sayer. The Deputy Head of the KMA, Dr Ahmad Al-Fadhli, said that the reform policies carried out by the KMA was done in coordination with those adopted by the ministry. They added that the minister has committed to avoid centralization, further acknowledging the effort made toward developing the health sector. Furthermore, Al-Fadhli noted that the Ministry’s budget stands at an estimated KD 1.2 billion, which will not suffice to carry out projects that are aimed at improving medical services. It requires that the private sector be involved as a partner in this project, reported Al-Watan. Al-Fadhli further indicated that through the KMA’s efforts, salaries of expatriate doctors have been raised starting February 1st. This ranges between KD 600 to KD 800. He asserted that such procedures will help establish stability in the number of health care professionals. KAC switches to Heathrow Terminal 4 KUWAIT: Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) announced yesterday that it will be basing its Heathrow Airport operations at the airport’s Terminal 4 instead of Terminal 3 starting from April 14. Izzat Al-Aryan, KAC’s Assistant Director of Land Services for Passengers and Shipping Affairs, explained that the change comes in response to instructions from British authorities. Terminal 4 has highly developed facilities and provides highstandard services, he added, providing two parking areas and a new luggage-handling system. The British authorities have provided seven counters for KAC in Area D, as well as two counters for sales at Terminal 4, he pointed out. — KUNA

Marafi said that he did not set out to win an award since the work done with the foundation is a daily award, providing mental satisfaction which he said is enough for all those involved. Since 1986, he revealed, he has visited Pakistan 14 times, twice coming uncomfortably close to death during his journey. He revealed that in 1987 while returning back, the air traffic between Sikardu and Islamabad was suspended due to bad weather, leading him to decide after a three-day wait to travel by bus instead. “Our caravan of 18 people was travelling between the river and the mountain,” he recalled. “We faced landslides at least 20 times and came very near to death.” In 2007, meanwhile, “a boulder rolled down the mountain onto the back of the truck in front of our vehicle. We escaped death by only a second!” On an entirely different danger, sectarianism, Marafi said that he can see no appreciable difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims. “We are all Muslims,” he emphasized,” adding that the worst enemies are poverty and drugs. He revealed that he is a member of the international organization, ‘Religions for Peace,’ whose meetings of members from around the world he has attended.

Marafi first described his meeting with President Zardari. “The president thanked me and praised the work done by the Marafi Foundation in Pakistan. I told him that this is our duty since Pakistan is our home; we shall continue to support the Pakistani people since we are brothers and there is no need to thank brothers. He was very happy to meet me. The Pakistani government has often admired the work done by the Marafi Foundation.”

Abdul Ilah Marafie, chairman Marafie foundation, receiving the award. On the subject of the Marafi Foundation in Pakistan itself, he explained that in the 1980s the Marafi family had met with a religious teacher from Baltistan (a remote area of northern Pakistan), Sheikh Mohammad Hassan. Impressed with his piety and honesty, the Marafis went on to recruit many workers, both skilled and unskilled, from the Baltistan region. Members of the Marafi family visited Baltistan in 1986, donating funds for healthcare, education and various other

Kuwaiti official praises Offshore Arabia expo DUBAI: A senior Kuwaiti oil official yesterday praised the ‘Offshore Arabia’ Conference and Exhibition 2010, saying that the event is a great success for the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). Speaking after the inauguration of the annual conference, held under the patronage of the UAE’s Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, KOC’s Deputy Board Chairman and Managing Director for Planning and Gas Mohamed Hussein praised KOC’s impressive participation in the major gathering taking place in the UAE. “The success of the conference and exhibition is a success for KOC. This event is useful to the company,” he said. Stressing the importance of the event, he said that it focuses on offshore environment issues, and provides the participants with an opportunity to share experiences and views on oil-related issues. The event is also focusing on future visions for oil and gas and technology related to oil, gas and the environment, he added. Hussein revealed that KOC will be presenting a working paper during the gathering on the future outlook for oil and gas in Kuwait and the wider Gulf region. The title of the 2010 ‘Offshore Arabia’ event is ‘World Partnership for Energy and Environment - Change and Challenges.’ The event is sponsored by OPEC, Gulf oil companies, UNESCO, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and several other regional and international organizations. — KUNA

projects, going on to establish the Marafi Foundation, headquartered in Karachi, in 1987. The 41-bed Marafi Hospital was established in Mehdiabad in 1991, with provision for X-rays, ultrasound scans and ECGs, as well as an excellent laboratory. Since 2000, teams of medical specialists from Lahore have held three annual consultancy camps at the Mehdiabad Hospital and the Abdullah Hospital in Sikardu to provide specialist treatment for patients and identify serious cases

requiring advanced treatment and surgery in Lahore, with the Marafi Foundation providing a small nursing home in Lahore for those patients needing to travel there for treatment. Patients who cannot afford to travel to Lahore for treatment are provided with grants to meet the costs of travel and medical treatment. The foundation has also created a center for pre and post-natal care and child health in Baltistan. In consultation with the Pakistani government’s health

department and the communities, the foundation has also established 31 dispensaries, three of which are currently under construction, while a further 14 are planned for the near future. Once built, these dispensaries are handed over to the health department or local NGOs, although the foundation continues to support them through grants for purchase of medicines or any other requirements. The Marafi Foundation has also focused its attention on education, constructing 52 elementary schools where 98 teachers provide education to 3,085 pupils, as well as creating a further 237 primary schools, where 468 teachers teach a total of 25,027 pupils. In order to provide the best quality education to the children of Baltistan, the foundation established a hostel for students, and has also extended funding and assistance to students from the area to study elsewhere in Pakistan, helping them with money for accommodation and fees. As if all this were not enough, the foundation also provides funds and scholarships for students who cannot afford the expenses of higher education, as well as having provided five community centers and libraries for the use of local communities in Baltistan.

kuwait digest

Responsibility of Al-Abdullah’s errors


n his column with AlQabas yesterday, Abdullatif Al-Duaij wrote on how MP Saleh Al-Mullah contradicted himself while supporting the no-confidence motion against the Minister of Information Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah. ‘What Al-Mullah doesn’t realize,’ he began ‘is that the minister had fallen into a trap set for him by those who grilled him. After criticizing him for failing to shut down certain TV stations and media outlets, these same MPs contradicted themselves by bashing him for the

proposed amendments. It’s not clear what Al-Mullah intensions are; whether he wants the minister to tighten media regulations or make them more lose. How did the minister become guilty when he proposed the amendments, while at the same time be undeserving of confidence for giving room for too much freedom?’ he continued. Al-Duaij pointed out that the Minister of Information, and all the other ministers, do not address matters of freedom unless they consult the Islamist MPs first. ‘Al-

Mullah should realize that those who proposed abrupt restrictions of the media are none other than the same people he is already allied with,’ he added. He wrote that with the completion of Al-Abdullah’s interpellation saga, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Roudhan Al-Roudhan has indicated that the Cabinet will restudy the audio-visual law. ‘After Al-Abdullah’s amendments were not passed it remains to be seen what the fate of this major restudying process will look like,’ he concluded.



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two Syrians killed in King Fahd Road accident KUWAIT: An accident on King Fahad Road claimed the lives of two Syrians. An Egyptian and a citizen were slightly injured in the accident, reported Al-Watan. The accident occurred when the two Syrians stopped their vehicle on the side of the road to fix a flat tire and were struck by the Egyptian. After the initial accident, the Kuwaiti woman Narcotics dealer held An Iranian man was arrested in Adan for being in possession of drugs, reported AlWatan. The man was arrested after a search of his car revealed three envelopes of heroin and 15 illegal drug pills. He was taken to the proper authorities after he was arrested.

KUWAIT: The meeting of the heads of the GCC anti-drugs bodies in progress yesterday. — Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

Anti-drugs chiefs meet in Kuwait By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The 24th meeting of the heads of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) anti-drugs bodies began here yesterday, with the delegates discussing various topics related to combating drugs. In his inaugural speech at the start of the three-day event, the council’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General of Security Affairs, Col. Ahmad Buhindi, touched on the role played by the GCC nations’ interior ministers in supporting the security role of their states, especially concerning combating the menace of drugs. Buhindi asserted that the ministers’ role is a pioneering one, which is tangible for all those who monitor drugs issues, underlining the significance of this meeting which will see wide-ranging discussion of issues, as well as a review of the anti-drugs chiefs’ standpoints. Another speaker at the inaugural event, Acting Deputy of Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior

Drug overdose Three Kuwaiti men brought a citizen to Jahra Hospital claiming that they found his dead body in a nearby area. However, a medical examination revealed that the man was still breathing but suffering from a drug overdose. He was provided with proper medical attention and the police arrested the three men who brought him to the hospital for questioning. Body found Police responded to an emergency call regarding the found body of a 22-year-old citizen in Qayrawan, reported Al-Watan. Investigators determined that the man had been dead for 48 hours. Upon informing the next of kin, the family explained that the man suffered from a disability and had gone missing a few days ago. A charge of neglect

was filed against the family for failing to inform police of the man’s disappearance. Grave diggers Three youngsters were arrested in the Sabhan cemetery for trying to dig into a grave, reported Al-Rai. After receiving an emergency call from the cemetery’s janitor, police reported to the scene. They apprehended three men found digging up the grave of their own mother. When questioned, they explained that they were attempting to remove tools of sorcery that were buried with their mother and causing them to be cursed. They were taken to the proper authorities and a case was filed against them. Domestic dispute A Kuwaiti man intentionally crashed into his ex-wife’s car with his vehicle in Jahra, reported Al-Rai. He also threatened to kill her if she refused to relinquish her custody of their children. Instead, the woman headed to the area’s police station and informed police about the incident. Authorities summoned the ex-husband for questioning.

KFSD holds meeting with insurance officials By Hanan Al-Saadoun

Lieutenant General Ghazi AlOmar said that combating illegal narcotics is a concern that preoccupies all nations, adding that the GCC states are targeted by the

traffickers of such toxic products, who try to promote their use to young people. The GCC states’ fight against illegal drugs has been developed to catch up with the

other nations around the world countries, with security and raising public awareness always closely associated with combating addiction.

KUWAIT: A meeting was held at the Kuwait Fire Services Directorate(KFSD) that included representatives from the Commerce Ministry and Insurance Companies’ Union. The KFSD Director General Maj Gen Jassim Al-Mansouri chaired the meeting. He said that the aim behind holding the meeting was to link the licenses of various facilities with an insurance policy. This will limit the occurrence of errors that may lead to accidents on a daily basis. Al-Mansouri said this step aims at limiting losses and fire insurance on all facilities. Safety precau-

crashed into the Egyptian’s car. Meanwhile, a police patrol car was damaged when it was struck by a sports car running a red light, reported Al-Rai. While the driver did flee the scene of the accident, investigators were able to determine that the driver was a citizen. Police are searching for the driver.

tions and procedures approved by the preventive sector of the KFSD. He said that insurance companies will be responsible for inspecting violations and fighting causative agents that expose the insured facility to danger in the event of a fire break out. He said that the system would help prevent disputes from taking place between insurance companies and owners. This system will make the owner responsible for protecting his facility by ensuring that the necessary safety procedures are provided. Insurance companies will be responsible for conducting necessary inspections, which guarantee that they do not pay huge amounts in compensation money.

Suicide attempt A female student from an intermediate school in Qurain who attempted to kill herself by jumping from a high location was taken to Adan Hospital, reported Al-Annahar. The report indicated that the Ministry of Education attempted to cover up the incident so that it would not be heavily publicized. An attempted suicide case was filed against the student. Farm theft A citizen informed police that several of his electrical appliances were stolen from his farm in Abdally, reported Al-Jareedah. He accused the two janitors of a nearby farm of carrying out the theft. A case was opened, and the suspects were summoned for questioning. US soldiers hurt An accident on the Sixth Ring Road near Sulaibya left six US soldiers injured, reported Al-Seyassah. It was reported that a female soldier was seriously injured in the accident. Ambulances and US military vehicles brought the soldiers to a medical facility on the US military base in Abdaly.

in the news Stabbed Saudi saved KUWAIT: Two men came to the rescue of a Saudi expat who was stabbed several times while waiting at traffic light on Sunday. The man was on his way home when two men got out of their car and began beating him. They then stabbed him several times before escaping. When another car pulled up next to him and saw his condition, they took him to Jahra Hospital in their vehicle. Once there, he was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit and was found to be under the influence of drugs. It was also discovered that the man was recently released from prison where he was serving time for a drug related charge. Police are investigating the matter further and the man was charged for being under the influence of drugs. Money laundering case KUWAIT: The Public Prosecution Service is set to refer the case of the Kuwaiti woman charged alongside a disgraced former Bahraini minister in connection with involvement in a controversial money laundering case involving a cheque for six million Euros to the Public Funds and Commercial Affairs Prosecution Service. A prosecution service official said that the woman will be charged with being a party to the money-laundering activities, reported Al-Jarida. The official also revealed that the prosecution service is to obtain a copy of the transcript of the Bahraini detectivesí interview with former minister Mansour Bin Rajab in exchange for a copy of the transcript of the interview with the accused Kuwaiti woman. The

prosecution service is awaiting reports from the Central Bank of Kuwait and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry regarding the Kuwaiti woman’s company, which is licensed under her brother’s name. Bill for regulating nurseries KUWAIT: The director of the woman and children department in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Iqbal Al-Rumaideen, said a proposed law on private nurseries has been approved by the National Assembly’s social and health committee. In a press statement, she said that there is no law regulating the work of private nurseries, reported Al-Jarida. She added that executive rules were prepared based on ministerial law number 73 for 1994, which explains the condition for opening nurseries. She said that the law will effectively monitor private nurseries. Ahmadi gas leak KUWAIT: Ahmadi residents, especially those living in north Ahmadi, face the fear of an environmental catastrophe due to a gas leak from an unknown source, reported Al-Shahed. Official sources said that authorities formed a committee to determine the reasons and source of the leakage. Meanwhile, the leak caused a girl in the area to become sick and she was sent abroad for treatment immediately to avoid causing fear amongst residents. While authorities have cut a gas supply line to the area, residents still feel that the gas leak has gotten out of hand. Some have begun lobbying the matter to officials in the National Assembly.

KUWAIT: The quick response of the Shuwaikh and Shuhada fire brigades prevented a blaze that broke out in a Shuwaikh carpentry workshop yesterday from spreading to adjacent workshops and a warehouse. —- Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

KES holds concert to raise funds for Haiti By Hussain Al-Qatari KUWAIT: The Kuwait English School (KES) in cooperation with the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) held Sunday evening a concert for Haiti at the GUST auditorium. The event, which took place at 7 o’clock in the evening

included a number of classical pieces as well as original compositions by Kuwait English School (KES) staff. The pieces performed by the school orchestra included Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 2 Number 3, Richard Strauss’ ‘On The Beautiful Blue Danube’, Chopin’s ‘Black Keys Etude’ and a number of

other original pieces composed by the KES band. Over a number of years, the school band has performed concerts to raise funds for a number of charities, including the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, the Kuwait Association for the Care of Children in Hospital (KAACH), the Grand

Ormond Street Hospital, and Save the Children. Booths were designated for donating money to buy wheelchairs for the Haiti earthquake victims at humble prices. The school also provided a number of other means for donors: Online donations through the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), as

well as donation boxes at the school. The event was attended by social dignitaries, diplomats, parents and students as well as individuals enthusiastic about classical music. The school management thanked the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) for their generous support in organizing the event.

MPs demand investigation into disabled assault claims KUWAIT: A number of MPs have expressed outrage at the alleged abuse of residents in Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) facilities for the disabled, with one describing such attacks as “unforgiveable crimes.” The MPs expressed their anger after claims by Ayed AlShemmari, the head of the Kuwait Society for People with Special Needs, that there had been regular incidents of physical and sexual abuse against disabled citizens at MSAL facilities. MP Shuhaib Al-Muwaizri has submitted a number of parliamentary questions to the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Dr. Mohammed Al-

Afasi over the allegations, asking about the validity of the claims and stressing that “such crimes cannot go unpunished.” Another MP Mekhled AlAzmi said that he and a number of other parliamentarians will demand the creation of a parliamentary investigative committee to look into the claims and ensure that any and all necessary legal action was taken against the perpetrators. A MSAL spokesperson played down Al-Shemmari’s allegations, saying, “We have repeatedly asked Al-Shemmari to reveal whatever information he has so that we can take the proper legal action, but he

refuses to do so.” The ministry official described AlShemmari’s statement as “propaganda oriented.” The MSAL spokesperson also revealed that His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah has contacted Dr. AlAfasi to enquire about AlShemmari’s allegations, with the minister flatly denying that there isn’t any validity to the claims and pointing out that the Kuwait Society for People with Special Needs is not a legally accredited organization. The minister has also reportedly instructed Undersecretary Mohammad Al-Kandari to take the necessary legal action against Al-Shemmari.

Indian cuisine festival KUWAIT: The Kuwait Towers, one of the facilities of the Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC), will hold an Indian cuisine festival during the period between April 1 to 7. This comes as part of international hotels’ programs of cooperation. The TEC’s Deputy Member for the Touristic

Affairs, Meshary Al-Sanousi, said that an invitation was sent out to three world-famous Indian cooks, in order to supervise their activities. In addition, Indian folk music bands have been recruited to perform during the event. This will lend a traditional atmosphere to Indian culture.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010



Municipality gets ready to celebrate 80th anniversary By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: As part of the Kuwait Municipality’s 80th anniversary to celebrate its establishment, the Municipality will hold a ceremony on April 5, 2010 at the Public Institution for Social Security’s Celebrations Hall. Corruption has receded considerably over the years, Dr Fadhel Safar, the Minister of Public The Municipality has been working on various projects. “We have received approval to start working on the Asima development project, the Industrial Shuwaikh area project, and many other projects that are waiting for the bid to be set on a company. We will also open the envelop with proposals for the cleaning project,” added Safar. The Kuwait Municipality

was founded on April 13, 1930. Since its establishment, it was an independent body with a special law regulating it. It was first located in a small store, and in 1933, it shifted to a bigger location in Al Saffat Yard, the present location, which was then renovated. Eighty years have passed since the Municipality was founded. “The establishment

Works and Minister for Municipal Affairs noted. “If we compare the data provided by the Transparency Society between the year 2008 and 2009, we can notice that the numbers are optimistic and signifies that corruption has decreased. There are some problems and we will solve it with the help of employees,” he said during a press conference held yesterday to highlight some facts and information on this celebration.

of the Municipality is a sign of the Kuwaiti nation’s willpower. They established it at the time when the economic condition was poor in the early 1930s. There are certain challenges and problems, so our work will be successful with Kuwaitis’ strong will,” said Ahmad AlManfouhi, Head of the Organizing Committee. During this ceremony, 52

Several development projects postponed in past few months KUWAIT: A new batch of police officers and specialized officers graduated yesterday. The passing out parade was inspected by the Interior Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled Al-Sabah. — Photos by KUNA

in the news Al-Sour TV returning KUWAIT: Political activist and former parliamentary candidate Mohammed AlJuwaihel has denied that his Al-Sour satellite TV channel was taken off the air by the Ministry of Information, insisting that he had suspended broadcasts himself in order to reorganize the program schedule. AlSour TV will be broadcasting again within the next few days, Al-Juwaihel insisted, adding that he is also introducing another two satellite channels, one with the same ‘Al-Sour’ name which will focus on the Popular Bloc’s policies and work. The controversial political activist said that the content of his TV channels is not subject to Kuwaiti laws since they are broadcast from outside Kuwait and he has contracted a European satellite firm to transmit them, while Nilesat will be broadcasting Al-Sour. On the making of the programs, he said that this is done in Kuwait, with the help of local production companies. Suspicious diplomas investigated KUWAIT: The Ministry of Education investigated the validity of several academic certificates belonging to Kuwaiti students by sending them to the Public Prosecutor, reported Al-Watan. The suspected cases, which were said not to exceed ten, were found to contain incorrect data and did not have the approval of the universities’ admissions departments. Charges are expected to be pressed against the students as well as the departments that accepted their certificates. The major-

ity of the certificates determined to be invalid belonged to students who graduated from universities in India. One student however was found to have an invalid certificate from a Lebanese university. Bedoon passports KUWAIT: The general department for citizenship and passports recently summoned about 500 bedoons for whom article 17 passports had been issued. The passports allowed bedoons to travel abroad for medical treatment, reported Al-Rai. An official source with the department told Al-Rai that the concerned bedoons were summoned in order to withdraw the passports that had been issued over a year ago without being used by the holders. The source added that the holders will be asked to justify why they have not yet traveled for medical treatment. NBK best regional bank KUWAIT: ‘Global Finance,’ a world renowned magazine, named the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) the best bank on the nascent level and in the Middle East. In a press release, Ibrahim Dabdoub said that NBK’s achievement stands out, especially because of the lingering effect of the global financial crisis regionally and all over the world. NBK’s firm financial position, sound orientation and policies targeting local, regional and global expansion, is proof of its firmness and immunity against crises, he stressed.Earlier this year, the NBK posted a net profit of KD 265.2 million.

KUWAIT: The Head of the Technical Committee of Traffic Awareness Competition (Traffic Signs and Laws) Khaled Al-Hassan, supervises the testing process ahead of the main event organized by the Kuwait Scientific Club for High School students.

KUWAIT: While the Minister of Development Affairs, Sheikh Ahmad AlFahad, continues to market the Cabinet’s development plan it can be noticed that for the past few months several projects have been postponed for a variety of reasons. One only has to look through the headlines of previous newspapers to see how several of these projects have failed to get started, reported Al-Qabas. For example, some tenders were postponed after it was revealed that plans for the project were incomplete. In other cases, complications emerged regarding standards and conditions before a tender could be awarded. Other tenders were postponed after they received no offers because they were placed for certain agendas. Others projects were delayed after a lack of coor-

dination between several directorates caused them to reject its continuation. Some tenders were postponed for failing to attract bids due to the fact they contained very complicated details while other tenders were delayed simply because routine operations failed to finish on time. In other instances, tenders were postponed when the committees formed to study their details suspended the project because no one was willing to take responsibility for it in case the project failed. These and several other tenders were delayed because of technicalities, poor planning, and the influence of political struggles. In some cases though, tenders were put on hold or even cancelled without an explanation.

Aging electrical network means more problems, blackouts KUWAIT: Kuwait’s electricity network is still suffering from several serious problems, including an aging infrastructure and uneven distribution leading to regular power overloads, according to experts. These problems have led to several incidents in recent years, with a number of fires breaking out in main power stations and substations, while the power cuts expected to hit the country in summer are related to production levels

and infrastructural weaknesses. Of the country’s 28,000 substations, only 7,000 have been brought up to acceptable standards, with the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) unable to carry out the same repairs and upgrades on the others due to time pressures, reported AlWatan. The main source of the overload problem is the rapid increase in the number of residential buildings,

particularly high-rise tower blocks, said one specialist, adding that while the number of fires this year is expected to be lower than previous years, the number of power cuts is not expected to change. The problem of overloaded systems could also be exacerbated this summer by Ramadan beginning in mid-August, meaning a possible major increase in the power load compared to previous years during the same period.

Efforts to revive ‘Bloc of Blocs’ KUWAIT: In the aftermath of the no-confidence motion against the Minister of Information, MPs are rearranging their stances in preparation of a period in which several interpellations are expected to be forwarded. MPs hope to improve the way in which the Parliament deals with Cabinet members who fail to commit to the obligations of their position, such as with the development plan, reported Al-Qabas. This approach is expected to be supported by a majority of MPs. Some of them have expressed a sincere

desire to revive the ‘Bloc of Blocs;’ a bloc that would contain members from the Development and Reform, Popular Action and National Action Blocs as well as several independent MPs with no ties to the Cabinet.The clear coordination of MPs who supported the information minister’s no-confidence motion, may pave the way for the cooperation of MPs interested in passing laws. Potentially, it would also allow the Parliament to better monitor the ministries’ commitment to their obligations, as well as put pressure on the Cabinet.

personalities will be honored. “Many people participated in improving and developing the Municipality and have garnered great achievements. So, we will honor 52 leaders who have occupied different positions in the Municipality. On behalf of those who are already dead, their relatives will receive honors on behalf of them,” Al-Manfouhi further

said. The ceremony will be held under the patronage of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. In addition, there will be another activity held during this occasion. The Municipality will hold an awareness week in some schools, so that the new generation is made aware of the importance of cleaning.



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

British Council takes lead role

Climate experts display projects in Bahrain KUWAIT: The British Council Climate Champions from Kuwait will showcase their ambitious projects to combat climate change in their local community during a regional workshop today in Bahrain. In a press release issued yesterday, the British Council said that this showcasing event marks the end of the first year of the Climate Champions program in the Middle East. It brings together the region’s 25 Champions from Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, UAE and Libya with regional partners and environmental experts, such as Wael Hmaidan, the chief executive officer of Indyact-a regional lobby group.

India praises Kuwait’s support NEW DELHI: An Indian minister praised yesterday Kuwait’s support to poor communities in India. During his meeting with Kuwait’s Ambassador in India Sami AlSulaiman, India’s Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Salman Khursheed said Indian officials appreciated the efforts of the Kuwaiti government. He stressed the importance of charitable work in strengthening the Kuwaiti-Indian ties, Al-Sulaiman said. The ambassador said

that the minister briefed him on the plans of the Indian government to combat poverty and illiteracy and to develop rural communities. He said the minister called the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to contribute in development projects in India. Al-Sulaiman said he informed the minister that Kuwait was willing to support development projects, especially in rural areas. He said that Kuwait Fund for Arab

Economic Development (KFAED) provided to India eight loans with a total value of more than $85 million. He pointed out that the Kuwaiti government and private sectors were planning to invest in the fields of energy, construction, and infrastructure in India. He noted that Kuwaiti charitable societies established cultural and religious centers, learning institutions, health centers, and hospitals in Indian towns. —- KUNA

Kuwait environment authority signs KUNA signs cooperation contract to build research boat KUWAIT: The Environment Public Authority (EPA) signed here yesterday a contract with a local firm to build a boat for research studies and environmental survey. EPA Director General Salah Al-Medhi signed on behalf of the authority, while the Chairman of the Research Consultancy Company Abdulrahman Al-Naibari was present for the firm. EPA Deputy Director General Ali Haidar told the Kuwait News Agency following the signing of the contract that the authority is seeking to improve its research and training capabilities, to cope with the latest developments in the field of marine environment.

The 30-meter-long boat houses laboratories, and sample storing rooms, and has special machines and nets to draw fish from the sea for research purposes, besides special technology to link it with satellites, Haidar said. He added that researchers sailed for 10 days on the board of this boat, without needing to return to shore, thanks to the hi-tech equipment in the vessel. Students and researchers would be allowed to use the boat for one whole day, to conduct studies, Haidar said. The boat will not only help researchers, but also physicians and geologists on its board, he noted. — KUNA

VIVA sponsors Firemen Day festival KUWAIT: A day-long event that celebrated firefighters’ bravery took place on March 26 at the Marina Mall in the presence of the Hawally Governor Lt Gen Abdullah Al-Fares, the Fire Fighting Department General Manager, Gen Jassem AlMansouri, and some of the distinguished firemen along with their families. Gen Al-Mansouri launched the festival by lighting a symbolic flame. A documentary highlighting

the firemen’s hard work, dedication and sacrifice in the line of duty followed. Hind Al-Nahedh, VIVA’s Public Relations and Communication Manager said, “The event was a wonderful day for the special men that give and expect nothing in return.” “The word VIVA means life, and there is no life without a community. It is for this reason that VIVA believes in the importance of not only being part of the

community, but also give back whenever possible. VIVA does so by being an energetic and motivational force in Kuwait and enrich the lives of all our customers whenever we can,” AlNahedh added. The day also included sporting events, and educational fire safety and awareness activities. Young school children showed their appreciation for the firemen, and translated their feelings into beautiful drawings.

agreement with NNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) signed a draft media cooperation agreement with Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) on exchanging news and expertise in the domain. Board Chairman and Director General of KUNA Sheikh Mubarak Al-Duaij AlSabah signed the draft on the behalf of KUNA while Director of NNA Laura Suleiman signed it on the behalf of the Lebanese side. The draft of which dictates developing cooperation between the two sides throughout the use of advanced telecommunication technology, facilitating providing correspondents in both countries with help needed in covering stories, exchanging publications issued. The draft effective upon signing for a year also touched on exchanging expertise and visits between officials of both agencies. NNA was established back in 1961 and is considered an official reference for Lebanon’s news with correspondences covering stories all around the country. It provides nationals with free online service that are accessible worldwide. Meanwhile, NNA’s director visited KUNA’s technical departments, along with the Training and Development Department and was briefed on hi-tech used. Visiting NNA Director Laura Suleiman said the bilateral agreement with KUNA would contribute to delineating future visions for integration in all domains. Speaking following the signing ceremony, she said the cooperative deal mainly aims to share media and technological experience so that both agencies could live up to the ambitions and hopes of their countries’ people for closer links and bonds based on mutual respect and confidence. She said she was happy to be in Kuwait, which all Lebanese people cherish thanks to people-to-people friendly good ties. The NNA chief thanked His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah and the government and people of Kuwait for their constant support to Lebanon. — KUNA

Omani census 2010 MUSCAT: A delegation from the Kuwaiti census department is in Oman to observe all the measures and procedures taken for the Omani 2010 census. The Kuwaiti delegation, headed by Abdullah Sahr, met yesterday with members of the Omani census team and discussed procedures to be con-

ducted. Sahr said that the visit would also aim at benefiting from the Omani experience in conducting the national census. The GCC states did not yet uncover when the total GCC census would be conducted but officials agreed that such attempt will be carried out before the end of this year. — KUNA

“The two-day event held in Bahrain gives the Middle East Climate Champions the opportunity to celebrate the success of their projects, the opportunity to share progress and experience, increase their knowledge about climate change and to network with young people from the region,” the British Council said. These 25 Champions from the Middle East are part of the British Council’s expanding global network of International Climate Champions. They join more than 1,300 other International Climate Champions (aged 14-35 years) from 60 countries worldwide who are working to raise awareness of climate change, limit its impact and reduce the carbon footprint.

During the event the Champions will present their projects to each other. These wide-ranging initiatives include projects to help to stop the profusion of plastic bag waste in Libya, developing the concept of planting trees and date palms in UAE and Qatar, recycling schemes and raising public awareness in Kuwait and Libya, car pooling initiatives in Qatar and innovative approaches to replace incandescent light bulbs at mosques with luminescent paint in UAE. “They show how Climate Champions are leading by example to develop sustainable solutions to combat climate change with a focus on local initiatives which are already making a positive impact in their community

and beyond,” it added. Since the Middle East Climate Champions were selected in June 2009 the British Council has helped them to develop and implement the projects within their local communities. This included a workshop in project management and leadership in June 2009 and a communications workshop to mark Arab Environment Day in October 2009. The program’s strengths include the International Climate Champions network which gives Champions around the globe the opportunity to share and develop their ideas with each other through a networking site and other discussion forums and opportunities to influence leaders. Two of the

Middle East’s Climate Champions, including Ahmed Al-Mogahwi from Kuwait, were selected to represent the region at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in last December. Sally Ward, Regional Climate Change Manager at the British Council Middle East, said, “The Champions have done a fantastic job. It is wonderful to see their commitment and enthusiasm. This is where change begins - young people are the catalyst and will carry the issue down to the next generation. It is critical that change begins here and that the messages about how to manage our resources sustainably get spread from community to community.” — KUNA

in the news Consumer protection KUWAIT: MP Nadji AlAbdulhadi has submitted a number of parliamentary questions to the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor over the measures taken by the ministry to implement consumer protection laws. Al-Abdulhadi asked the minister about the effects of its consumer protection procedures on maintaining price stability, requesting a list of the items with variable prices as a result of these procedures. The MP also requested a list of the financial and administrative violations discovered by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor’s (MSAL) inspectors at local Co-ops, along with the details of the Co-ops in question, as well as asking for information on what steps had been taken to penalize these. He also requested information on which Co-ops’ management boards had been dissolved and for what reasons. Birth certificates KUWAIT: MP Mubarak Al-Khurainij has submitted a parliamentary question to health minister Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer about recent reports that the Ministry of Health (MoH) refused to issue birth certificates for the children of Kuwaiti fathers and Bedoon (stateless) mothers. The ministry reportedly based this decision on a refusal to register the mothers’ nationality as ‘Bedoon,’ reported AlQabas. The MP requested information on the legal reasons behind the ministry’s decision to refrain from using the term ‘Bedoon’ in reference to a mother’s nationality on birth certificates. Cultural cooperation KUWAIT: The Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud AlBabtain Prize for Poetic Creativity is to study joint cultural and academic projects with France, General Secretary of the foundation Abdulziz Al-Sraye’ said yesterday. A delegation from the French Foreign Ministry visited the foundation lately to take note of the cultural movement in the country and to discuss the cultural and academic projects between the two countries, Al-Srayae’ said. The French delegation was briefed with the foundations’ activities with highlight on its previous and future programs on dialogue between civilizations and mutual understanding between people and religions, Sraye’ said. Al-Babtian foundation has organized held its 10th course at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris in 2006.

KUWAIT: Some of the participants of the championship. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

Civil servants compete By Abdullah Al-Qattan KUWAIT: Organizers of the Championship League Cup for Ministries, Institutions and Government Bodies held their second race on Sunday afternoon. This allowed civil servants such as staff from the Ministry of Interior, General Directorate of Civil Defense and the Public Authority for Youth and Sports (PAYS) to participate in the 10-kilometer relay race. Dr. Moussa Al-Kuraibani, the chairman of the athletic games’ technical committee, said that the first relay race was a five-kilometer event for non-professional athletes

wishing to participate in the Championship League, adding that they hope to arrange another set of races to include professional athletes. Dr. Al-Kuraibani explained that the aim of separating the two categories of participants was to motivate everyone to take part in this event without having to compete with a profootballer or other professional athlete. He added that the organizers of the league have sent requests to workers in all governmental sectors to participate in this event and hope to see staff from more sectors taking part in the future, so they can try to fit a sports routine into employees’ daily

lives. Dr. Al-Kuraibani revealed that the series of championships include various sports, including football, basketball and volleyball among others, helping participants to benefit from the variety on offer by taking part in the sport they enjoy. At the conclusion of the event, Dr. Al-Kuraibani thanked the PAYS’ Director General Faisal Al-Jazzaf and its Deputy Director General Humoud Flaiteh, along with all the other civil service officials who helped to organize this event, as well as expressing gratitude to all the participants for taking part.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010



6 Iraqi election winners face ban on Baath links Prominent Iraq politicians fail to win seats BAGHDAD: Six candidates who won parliamentary seats at Iraq’s elections face losing them just days after results were announced, the body charged with barring Saddam Hussein loyalists said yesterday. At least one of the six is a member of former prime minister Iyad Allawi’s secular Iraqiya bloc, which came first in the March 7 poll. The six were among a group of more than 50 names initially put forward as parliamentary hopefuls earlier this month to replace candidates previously barred by the Justice and Accountability Committee (JAC).

RISHON LETZION: Israeli soldiers react during the funeral of Israeli army Staff Sergeant Ilan Sviatkovsky at the military cemetery in Rishon Letzion, central Israel. Sviatkovsky was killed in a gunbattle with Palestinian militants in Gaza last Friday. —AP

Obama ‘boosting’ Arab hardliners JERUSALEM: The Obama administration’s pressure on Israel to curb settlement activity will bolster Palestinian hardliners and hinder peace efforts, a senior Israeli cabinet minister said yesterday. Tensions with Washington flared three weeks ago, and have simmered unresolved since, over the announcement of an Israeli blueprint for 1,600 more homes for Jews in areas of the occupied West Bank that Israel annexed to East Jerusalem. The Palestinians, who want statehood in the West Bank and Gaza with a capital in East Jerusalem, backed out of planned US-mediated peace talks with Israel, demanding the new project be scrapped. Benny Begin, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner cabinet, described Washington’s scrutiny on Jerusalem as departing from previous US administrations’ view that the city’s status should be resolved in peace negotiations. “It’s bothersome, and certainly worrying,” Begin told Israel Radio. “This change will definitely bring about the opposite to the declared objective. It will bring about a hardening in the policy of the Arabs and of the Palestinian Authority.” This month’s diplomatic deadlock has seen a spike in Israeli-Palestinian violence in the West Bank, as well as in the Gaza Strip, whose Islamist Hamas rulers spurn the Jewish state and deride Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s peace strategy. Hoping to salvage negotiations, the United States has been seeking unspecified goodwill gestures from Israel toward the Palestinians. A senior Israeli official said these included “assurances” regarding East Jerusalem, where Netanyahu has refused to stop building. Israel regards the entire city as its eternal

Abbas wanted Hamas ‘toppled’ in Gaza war JERUSALEM: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel to topple Hamas in the Gaza war last year, then turned around and blamed Israel for war crimes. Lieberman said that raised questions over Abbas’s fitness as a leader with whom Israel could make peace. “Over the past year, I witnessed (Abbas) at his best. In Operation Cast Lead, (he) called us personally, applied pressure and demanded that we topple Hamas and remove it from power,” he told Israel’s Maariv daily. “A month after the operation ended, he filed a complaint against us with the International Court of Justice at The Hague for war crimes. Is that a partner?” An aide to Abbas vehemently denied the allegation, accusing the rightleaning Israeli government of trying to deepen the deadlock over US-sponsored efforts to revive negotiations. “This is not true. It is a continuation of the (Israeli) campaign of defamation ... to create an atmosphere that would destroy any chance of salvaging the peace process,” Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdainah said. Israel launched its three-week Gaza offensive on Dec 27, 2008 with the stated aim of stopping rocket attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian factions. Such attacks have tapered off since, though there has been sporadic cross-border violence. The war’s Palestinian toll 1,400 dead, mostly non-combatants, while Israel lost 10 troops and three civilians - drew fierce censure abroad and stalled negotiations between Abbas and then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a centrist. —Reuters

and indivisible capital, a claim not recognised internationally. BARAK BREAKS WITH BEGIN US President Barack Obama gave Netanyahu an unusually frosty reception at White House talks last week, denying him the traditional photo opportunity or joint statement. Begin’s misgivings about the Obama administration have been echoed by others in the seven-member inner cabinet, which guides policy and is dominated by right-wingers including the premier. Begin, son of the late right-wing Prime Minister Menachem Begin, is on record as opposing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, which Israel captured along with Gaza in a 1967 war and peppered with Jewish settlements. Israel quit Gaza in 2005 but vows to keep West Bank settlement blocs under any accord. Defence Minister Ehud Barak, the lone left-winger in the inner cabinet, has taken a different tack on the US spat. “The US administration is looking for an answer to the question of whether Israel is energetically and seriously going along with it toward broad understandings in the diplomatic process,” he told reporters on Sunday. “In other words, direct talks on core questions,” he said. “This is the question bothering the US administration more than the concrete requests ... that are still being discussed in the contacts between us.” Netanyahu has offered the Palestinians direct negotiations without preconditions. But, to Abbas’s chagrin, he has made clear that Israel would only accept a Palestinian state shorn of some sovereign powers and which recognised Israel as a Jewish state. —Reuters

“On March 3, the election commission presented 54 names to replace those who had been banned” by the JAC for their alleged links to Saddam’s Baath Party, said the body’s executive director Ali Al-Lami “We informed the commission that 52 of those people fell under the committee’s responsibility and six of them won a seat in parliament. We have evidence and documents showing their affiliations and political responsibilities within the Baath.” Lami himself ran for parliament as part of the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), a coalition led by Shiite religious parties. His involvement in the vote and the JAC drew criticism from opponents who questioned his impartiality. The list of 52 names compiled by the JAC, details of which Lami declined to divulge, now goes before a three-member judicial committee which will decide whether or not members of the group will be barred. Lami said banned candidates could not be replaced by their party, and added any votes cast for those would-be lawmakers would be annulled, which would have a major impact on an

already close election. One of the six successful candidates was Hamdi Naji, a Sunni Arab candidate for Iraqiya in Diyala who is currently being held by security forces on allegations of terrorism. Iraqiya finished first in the nationwide poll with 91 seats, two more than the State of Law Alliance of caretaker Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki. The INA won 70 seats. In January, the JAC barred about 500 candidates from the polls on account of their alleged links to Saddam’s banned Baath Party. The row over the bans dominated the election campaign, raising questions about the JAC’s legal status, the judiciary’s independence, the electoral commission’s credibility and the ultimate fairness of the vote. The process also heightened political tensions in a country which was engulfed by deadly sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007, and came as the US is set to withdraw half of its troops by the end of August. The ‘untouchables’ Several prominent Iraqi politicians - long considered untouchable - failed to win seats in the country’s March 7 election, according to lists published

yesterday, reflecting voter dissatisfaction with the country’s political class. Their failure comes as weeks of haggling to form a new government lie ahead, possibly opening the way for renewed violence and instability as the US is preparing to withdraw all its troops from the country. The list of candidates who made it into the 325-member parliament were surprising for the absence of several household names of the faction-ridden politics of the past few years. Those who didn’t make the cut included the powerful Ali AlLami of the Shiite religious bloc, who led a government vetting panel that banned about 450 candidates, mostly Sunnis, from running in the elections for alleged ties to Saddam Hussein’s old party. Defense Minister AbdulQadir Al-Obeidi and national security adviser Mouwaffaq alRubaie were also not re-elected. Neither was veteran Sunni politician Adnan Pachachi, an elderly statesman from a prominent Baghdad family. Pachachi, in his 80s, had been rarely attending parliament sessions. For the first time, Iraqis had the chance to vote for individual

candidates, instead of just political parties, on an open ballot sheet, allowing them to choose or vote out - certain individuals. The result was that many of the movers and shakers in the halls of government and parliament found that they didn’t have any support among the voters. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, whose election list didn’t receive the most seats, rebuked the United Nations for not backing his demand for a recount. The demand is part of alMaliki’s campaign to challenge election results showing him a close second to his chief rival, the secular Ayad Allawi, who received backing from both Sunnis and Shiites. In remarks to the private AlSumariya TV late Sunday, AlMaliki criticized the UN mission in Iraq, which had said that the voting was transparent and fair, with no widespread fraud. He reprimanded UN envoy Ad Melkert for not pushing the electoral commission to approve the recount request for what alMaliki’s bloc has contended were irregularities and vote rigging. The commission, an independent body appointed by par-

liament, rejected the demand as unnecessary. “The UN should have further encouraged the commission to carry out a recount,” he said. A public information officer for UN in Iraq, Randa Jamal, said yesterday that the UN only advises Iraq institutions “at the invitation of the government on an impartial basis” while the electoral commission has “sole decision-making power.” Neither Allawi’s Iraqiya, with 91 seats, nor al-Maliki’s State of Law with 89, have an outright majority, but Allawi should be entitled to the first shot at forging a ruling coalition. In a legal push, Al-Maliki extracted a Supreme Court decision just before the election results were released on Friday allowing for alliances formed after the elections to form the next government. There has also been a push to have 50 candidates, mostly from Allawi’s list, disqualified over alleged ties to Saddam Hussein’s regime. Al-Maliki has also opened negotiations with both Iraq’s Kurdish Alliance and the Shiite religious bloc, two major groups whose votes he will need for any future government. — Agencies

Israel to focus on key Iran’s nuclear targets JERUSALEM: Should Israel attack Iranian nuclear facilities, it would probably carry out precision strikes while making every effort not to hit the oil sector or other civilian sites. Past Israeli operations, such as the 1981 bombing of Iraq’s Osirak atomic reactor and a similar sortie against Syria in 2007, suggest a strategy of one-off pinpoint raids, due both to military limitations and a desire to avoid wider war. A simulation at the Brookings Institution in Washington last December theorised that Israel, intent on halting what the West suspects is Tehran’s covert quest for atomic arms, would launch a sneak attack against half a dozen nuclear facilities in Iran. Israel might then argue the mission “had created a terrific opportunity for the West to pressure Iran, weaken it, and possibly even undermine the regime,” Brookings expert Kenneth Pollack wrote in a summary of the wargame, though he saw little

chance of the Obama administration looking kindly on this tack. Israel’s advanced F-15 and F16 warplanes have the range to bomb western Iran and strike further inland with air-to-air refuelling and using stealth technology to pass through the air space of intermediate hostile Arab nations. Israel could also launch Jericho

ballistic missiles with conventional warheads, according to a 2009 report by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Israel’s three German-built Dolphin submarines are believed to be capable of carrying conventional and nucleartipped cruise missiles. They would have to transit through

Egypt’s Suez Canal - as one did last year - to reach the Gulf. Special forces might be deployed to spot targets and possibly launch sabotage attacks. Israel has also been developing “cyber warfare” capabilities and could use this together with other activities by Mossad secret service agents on the ground, security sources say.

Israel would not want to risk drawing in Iranian allies like Hezbollah, Hamas or Syria. Israel also does not want to damage ties with neutral Arab powers or the United States. And finally - speaking in favour of a short, sharp assault - its conventional forces are designed for brief border wars, not prolonged action.-—Reuters



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Turkey makes case against sanctions on Iran ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday he did not favour imposing economic sanctions to pressure Iran into showing that it has no covert nuclear weapons programme. Erdogan discussed different approaches with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to international efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but made clear Turkey’s reluctance to back the use of sanctions. “We are of the view that sanctions is not a healthy path and... that the best route is diplomacy,” he said at a joint news conference with Merkel. Turkey is a non-permanent member of the UN

Security Council and Erdogan said it had not yet reached a firm decision on how it would vote on a US-backed sanctions resolution. Merkel urged NATO ally Ankara to be ready to support the imposition of sanctions through the United Nations unless Iran shows transparency to assure the international community that it has no ambitions for nuclear weapons. “We would happy if Turkey votes in April on the Iran issue together with the United States and the European Union,” she said. Turkey, frustrated by the slow progress of its EU membership negotiations, doubts the effectiveness of sanc-

tions and its trade would inevitably suffer if sanctions were imposed on its fellow Muslim neighbour. “Turkey shares a 380 km border with Iran and it is an

region that possessed nuclear weapons. The Jewish state is widely assumed to have the bomb but has not declared itself a nuclear-weapons state. “We are

not feel directly threatened by either country. “If the world trusts us, we would fine a middle path with Iran. I hope that we will reach a result if we

Ankara presses US to stop ‘genocide’ resolution important partner, especially in energy. When appraising our relations we shouldn’t ignore this,” Erdogan said. He also raised doubts about the results of three earlier rounds of milder sanctions against Iran. In an apparently veiled reference to Israel, the Turkish leader referred to another country in the

against nuclear weapons in our region. But is there another country in our region that has nuclear weapons? Yes, there is. And have they been subjected to sanctions? No,” Erdogan said. Turkey is worried about the potential for a nuclear arms race in the region between Iran and Israel, though it does

continue to work,” Erdogan said. Despite good relations with Tehran, Erdogan’s own attempts to persuade the Iranian leadership to make moves needed to allay international concerns have so far come to naught. Meanwhile, Turkey has urged the United States to block a bill branding the

World War I massacres of Armenians as genocide, saying this was “critical” to their relationship, the foreign ministry said yesterday. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu pressed his US counterpart Hillary Clinton in a telephone call Sunday to stop the resolution from advancing to a full vote at the House of Representatives, a ministry spokesman said. Davutoglu said that blocking the resolution would be “of critical importance to eliminate the negative impact it has had” on Turkish-US ties and on peace efforts between Turkey and Armenia, spokesman Burak Ozugergin said. The

US House’s Foreign Affairs Committee approved the resolution by a tiny margin in early March, prompting an infuriated Ankara to recall its ambassador from Washington. The non-binding text calls on President Barack Obama to ensure that US foreign policy reflects an understanding of the “genocide” and to label the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as such in his annual statement on the issue. Clinton has urged the committee not to hold the vote for fear it might harm ties with Turkey, which is a prominent Muslim ally, and Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. —Agencies

Nigeria ‘Taleban’ threatens to widen its terror activities Gaddafi suggests Nigeria split along ethnic lines KANO: Nigeria’s self-styled Taleban militant Islamist sect, whose short-lived uprising was brutally put down by the security forces last year, has threatened to widen its activities beyond the borders. “Islam doesn’t recognise

international boundaries, we will carry out our operations anywhere in the world if we can have the chance,” said Musa Tanko, spokesman of the Boko Haram sect, in a rare interview given to AFP on Sunday.

ROME: A man walks out of a polling box after casting his vote in downtown Rome. —AFP

Low turnout mars Italian vote ROME: Large numbers of Italians fed up with bickering politicians shunned regional elections on Sunday and yesterday, threatening a poor result for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. With more than 41 million people eligible to vote for the governors of 13 of Italy’s 20 regions, as well as the heads of four provinces and nearly 500 town halls, the ballot was seen as a gauge of support for Berlusconi two years into his third term. The media tycoon campaigned exhaustively, urging supporters to avoid the low turnout of this month’s French regional elections which proved damaging for President Nicolas Sarkozy. But partial data from about 4,500 polling booths released just after voting ended yesterday put turnout at 64.7 percent, down about 8 percent from the last regional vote in 2005. “We are all a bit disgusted. I don’t have much of an opinion, but it’s clear they talked little about content and a lot about political infighting, which hasn’t pleased anyone,” said Rome voter Armando Rizzo. Daniele Capezzone, spokesman for Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party (PDL), expressed concern about what he described as “mass abstention” in the vote. Pollsters said voters were unhappy with the

failure of politicians to address their biggest worry-the threat of job losses-during a campaign focused on party infighting and a graft scandal involving a senior official close to Berlusconi. After a turbulent 2009 for Berlusconi marked by a divorce, prostitution scandals and legal battles to keep him out of court on corruption charges, he is now being investigated for allegedly trying to shut down TV talk shows critical of him. If Berlusconi’s party fares badly in the vote he may be tempted to spend his way back to favour. But his Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti enjoys the support of the Northern League, whose expected gains could underpin his role as guardian of a strict line on spending that has stopped Italy’s fiscal position deteriorating as badly as its neighbours in the crisis. PEOPLE ‘FED UP’ WITH POLITICS Pollsters say mass abstentions are likely to harm the government more than the centre-left opposition, which was defeated by Berlusconi in the 2008 national election. Asked why he believed turnout was so low, another Rome voter, Marco Stella, told Reuters: “It’s clear that people are fed up

with all these political games.” Pollsters expect the centre-right to keep control of the Lombardy and Veneto regions in the industrial north and win Calabria and possibly Campania in the poorer south. The centre left should hold on to at least five regions, four of them in its traditional central heartland-Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria and Marche-and Basilicata in the south. Four other regions, including Piedmont and the Lazio region which includes Rome, are too close to call. Berlusconi’s party suffered a serious setback by missing a deadline for registering its list of candidates for Rome, handicapping its contender for governor of Lazio, Renata Polverini, against former European Commissioner Emma Bonino. Besides the low turnout, the 73-year-old prime minister also faced strong competition for votes in the industrial north from his coalition partner, the anti-immigrant Northern League. Polls point to the League winning in Veneto, neck-and-neck with the centre left in Piedmont and performing so well in Lombardy that League leader Umberto Bossi talked openly this week about one day replacing the PDL’s current mayor of Milan. — Reuters

Serbia to debate Srebrenica apology BELGRADE: Serbia will reopen one of the most painful chapters in its recent past this week when parliament starts debating whether to apologise for the killing of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995. The debate comes after Serbia firmly set its sights on joining the European Union and will highlight Belgrade’s efforts to come to terms with the horrors carried out in the name of Serbs during the 1990s wars-which many in Serbia still deny. “The Srebrenica resolution is necessary to discuss in parliament because with this Serbia wants to demonstrate our desire to move to regional reconciliation and demonstrate good neighbourly relations among the countries in the region,” Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic told Reuters last week. The draft resolution expresses sympathy for victims and apologises for not doing enough to prevent the massacre, carried out by Bosnian Serbs and Serbian paramilitaries, although it does not call the killings genocide. It will be debated today and voting could be the same day. The text also urges other former Yugoslav countries to pass resolutions condemning crimes against Serbs. A few months before the end of the war that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia, Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Gen. Ratko Mladic killed about 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys from the town of Srebrenica,

which had been besieged and overrun. The EU has made the capture and extradition of Mladic to the United Nations war crimes tribunal a condition for progress in Belgrade’s accession bid. Many people believe he is hiding in Serbia. In 2009, a European Parliament resolution condemned the Srebrenica massacre as genocide and called on the region to commemorate its July anniversary. The Serbian text, likely to pass as it is backed by the ruling

coalition, is important to some investors as well as the EU. “There are a good number of investors who won’t care one way or the other, but for some investors this resolution may well be a signal that the worst is clearly over and Serbia is willing to move on,” said Daniel Serwer, who was a US special envoy to Bosnia in 1995. LITTLE COMFORT A Serbian apology would be little comfort for Bosnian Muslims

like Ilijas Pilav, a Sarajevo surgeon who survived the July 1995 attack by escaping through the woods. Along with thousands of other Muslim men and boys, he had trekked for six days and nights through wilderness before reaching safety. “This was an experience that no words can describe,” he said. “It has left deep traces on the rest of my life and no amount of time and no political declaration can ease those memories.” —Reuters

BELGRADE: A Serbian traveler holds her passport while waiting at a check-in counter at Belgrade’s airport. Serbs are taking advantage of a new regime, which means they can visit countries in the EU’s Schengen zone without a visa. —AFP

“The United States is the number one target for its oppression and aggression against Muslim nations particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan and its blind support to Israel in its killings of our Palestinian brethren,” Tanko said, adjusting his starched bottle green kaftan. Thousands of Boko Haram Islamic sect militia launched an armed insurrection in July 2009 from their enclave in the northern city of Maiduguri and several other cities in the region in a doomed bid to establish an Islamic state. “We will launch fiercer attacks than Iraqi or Afghan Mujahedeen (Islamic fighters) against our enemies throughout the world, particularly the US, if the chance avails itself within the confines of what Islam prescribes but for now our attention is focused on Nigeria which is our starting point,” Tanko said, as he placed a black file folder on his lap. Slim, dark, chin-bearded and soft-spoken, Tanko, 30, betrayed no emotion as he spoke under a defoliated tree, intermittently wiping sweat off his glistening forehead with a white handkerchief, while his four colleagues nodded in approval between pauses. The group draws its inspiration from the Afghan Taleban and sees Taleban spiritual leader Mullah Umar and the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, as its champions, Tanko said. “We see Mullah Umar and Osama bin Laden as the true champions of Islam who are fighting Allah’s enemies and our allegiance and support go to them although we don’t have any contact with them yet,” Tanko said. Tanko said the group was not daunted by the police’s extra-judicial killings of its members by security forces during the July rebellion. Nigerian police and troops crushed the uprising after a fourday street battle that claimed more than 800 lives, mostly of sect members. The killings, he said, “have made us more determined and committed in our struggle. We are undeterred,” Tanko said in the local Hausa dialect. Former Yugoslavia In another development, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has suggested that Nigeria be broken up into several states along ethnic lines like the former Yugoslavia, in comments likely to worsen a diplomatic spat with Africa’s most populous nation. Nigeria recalled its ambassador from Tripoli earlier this month when Gaddafi proposed that Nigeria split into two countries formed from the Muslim north and mainly Christian south. His comment followed violent clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs that killed hundreds of people around the central Nigerian city of Jos and prompted Nigeria’s government to question whether Libya might be sponsoring the violence. Nigeria said Gaddafi’s comments were insensitive and irresponsible and “diminished his status and credibility”. Responding to the Nigerian government, Gaddafi repeated the idea of dismantling the country, but this time suggested not two but several independent states for its multiple ethnic groups. “The partition into Christian and Muslim states will not resolve Nigeria’s problems because there are other peoples claiming independence despite the religion issue,” official news agency JANA cited Gaddafi as saying. He compared Nigeria to the former Yugoslavia, which collapsed after the end of the Soviet Union and split into several independent states, sparking conflicts in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and then Kosovo.— Agencies

HOLLOKO: Hungarian girls dressed in traditional costume give painted eggs to local boys after they try to pour water them in the main street of local village Holloko, about 100 kms north-east from Hungarian capital Budapest during a presentation of traditional Easter celebrations in this region. Holloko, a World Heritage listed village, will celebrate Easter this weekend with traditional ‘watering of the girls’ a fertility ritual rooted in Hungarian tribes of pre-Christian past, going as far back as the second century after Christ. —AFP

Far-right gains could put Hungary reforms at risk Roma problem key to emerging radicalism OZD: The scenario is classic. Hungary’s economy is in crisis, its large Roma minority is an easy scapegoat, and a far-right party blaming “Gypsy crooks” and “welfare spongers” is set to be the big winner. If opinion polls are right, the nationalist Jobbik party has a chance of becoming the second biggest party in parliament after an election on April 11 and 25, denying the centre-right favourites Fidesz a possible twothirds majority. “With its extreme populist rhetoric, Jobbik could put the next government’s policy moves under pressure,” said political analyst Andras Giro-Szasz. “Jobbik can limit the popular mandate of the next government.” The Roma make up between 5 and 7 percent of Hungary’s population and vilifying them has proved Jobbik’s most successful tactic as an economic slump of more than 6 percent last year has left more than one in 10 Hungarians unemployed. Its biggest gains will be in places such as Ozd in Hungary’s poor northeast, a steel town fallen on hard times, where it looks set to defeat the Socialists who have held the seat for 16 years. UNEMPLOYMENT HAS GROWN Unemployment has been above 20 percent in Ozd for years, and one-third of the population is Roma. Jobbik (Movement For a Better Hungary) nearly beat Fidesz there in the 2009 European Parliament election, and its popularity has only grown since. “Many of us are sick of the way Gypsies think of welfare as a way of life,” said Andras Kemacs, a 27-year-old mechanic in Ozd. “Jobbik impresses me with its openness about that.” Jobbik has also capitalised on popular resentment towards the political elite, including Fidesz, which it calls corrupt. It has demonised the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, which insisted on painful spending cuts as a condition of bailing out Hungary’s public finances. And it is media savvy, using the Internet so effectively that its appeal among young people, including college students, surpasses that of any other party except Fidesz. Polls show national support for Jobbik

nearing 20 percent among all decided voters. That puts it neck-and-neck with the ruling Socialists, while Fidesz has about 60 percent of the projected vote. Those gains, splitting the right-wing vote as well as stealing votes from the left, have eroded Fidesz’s chances of winning the two-thirds majority that would be a platform for the broad reforms that economists say Hungary needs. Hungary has struggled for years to streamline its bloated government sector and trim public expenditure. The spending cuts have brought the budget deficit under control, but most public sector structural reform has lagged behind. The key reform requiring a two-thirds majority is a rationalisation of Hungary’s 3,200 local governments, which run hospitals and schools and are major drag on the state budget. Fidesz could also attempt a reform of notoriously corrupt party financing. DECAY AND DESPAIR In Ozd, the problems besetting Hungary, and especially its Roma, are painfully evident. The collapse of communism after 1989 led to the closure of Ozd’s steel plant, the town’s number one employer, throwing 14,000 people out of work. Unskilled Roma were laid off first; most have not worked in the 20 years since. Decay and despair in nearby villages drove thousands more to Ozd. Today, one-third of the 39,000 residents are Roma, says Lajos Berki, leader of the Gypsy Community Council. “About 1,000 of us have more or less regular work,” Berki said. “The rest live on welfare. There are problems, there is no denying that. A few thousand Gypsies have caused real problems.” The Roma shantytown on the outskirts of Ozd, known as Hetes, bustles with activity, but not paid work. Boys play soccer in the dirt outside the dilapidated homes, while adults chop illegally collected firewood or mill about idly. “I’m not fixated on welfare,” said Gyula Budai, standing near the only working tap that 500 Roma share. “Take it away, give us work, then you’ll see who wants to work and who doesn’t.”— Reuters

Pirates hijack ship off port of Aden Vessels from Iran, Seychelles also captured NAIROBI: Pirates seized a roll-on roll-off ship named MV Iceberg 1 with 24 crew members off the port of Aden yesterday, a maritime monitoring agency said. It was the third ship reported to have been seized by pirates in the waters off east Africa since Saturday. “The owners reported to NATO that pirates boarded the ro-ro vessel MV Iceberg 1 today just 10 miles outside Aden Port in the Gulf of Aden,” said the Kenyan-based Ecoterra. “The vessel with her 24 member crew is now commandeered towards the Somali coast.” Ecoterra gave no more information on the hijacked vessel. Somali buccaneers are highly active off the coast of Somalia, increasing the range of their attacks, acquiring millions of dollars in ransoms and defying a flotilla of foreign warships that is trying to monitor the region’s sea lanes. Somali pirates also seized a Seychelles fishing boat and its six crew 60 miles off the coast of the archipelago’s main island, a pirate source and the boat owner’s sister said. “We’ve been informed by the (Seychelles)

authorities ... that Somalis have captured the boat. When they were captured they were about 60 miles off the island of Mahe,” said Kerry Mathieu, sister of the owner of the fishing boat Galate. “We had six crew on board, all Seychellois. We’ve had no contact with the crew since they were hijacked,” she said. The Seychelles coastguard’s acting chief, Major George Adeline, said it had a vessel monitoring the hijacked boat, now 200 miles off the archipelago’s capital Mahe. A pirate source said two ships were hijacked at the weekend. “We hijacked two boats on Saturday night and Sunday in the Indian Ocean,” pirate Hussein told Reuters. “One is an Iranian tourist boat with 21 crew, and the other is a Seychelles boat with six crew.” There was no independent confirmation that the Iranian boat had been seized. Sea gangs have plagued the busy shipping lanes off Somalia for years. As well as holding some ships for ransom, pirates also hijack vessels to use as ‘motherships’ which ferry the gunmen and their speedboats far out to sea. — Reuters

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pentagon tells Karzai to rein in corruption US may send more trainers to fill gap left by NATO SHANNON: US President Barack Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan is doomed to fail if Afghan President Hamid Karzai does not help rein in corruption and improve governance in the battleground city of Kandahar, the senior US military officer said yesterday. Admiral Mike Mullen’s warning about Kandahar increased pressure on Karzai and raised the stakes for what he cast as a make-or-break campaign that will determine whether the US-led counterinsurgency can succeed in reversing Taleban momentum. Speaking to reporters as he flew to Kabul for talks, Mullen, who is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said it was up to Karzai to decide whether to seek reconciliation with insurgent groups like Hezb-iIslami, one of three factions fighting against foreign troops in Afghanistan. Mullen played down their chances until the war shifts more decisively in Washington’s favor. “There’s a lot of activity. But I don’t see it as determinative, decisive activity at this point,” Mullen said. “I think it is premature. There’s no one that I’ve spoken to, at least on the American side, or actually, on the coalition side, that doesn’t think we need to proceed from a position of strength... In my judgment, we’re not there yet.” Obama pressed the corruption issue when he visited Afghanistan on Sunday, underlining U.S. concerns that Karzai has not done enough. “We will be unable to succeed in Kandahar if we cannot eliminate a vast majority of corruption there and set up a legitimate governance structure,” Mullen said. “If we can’t do that there, then we will not be able to succeed. We can succeed militarily, but it’s not going to work. That’s just a fact.” A particular concern for Pentagon war planners is Karzai’s reluctance to curtail the role of his half-brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, who heads Kandahar’s provincial council and is considered

one of the most powerful figures in the south. Ahmad Wali Karzai has long been under scrutiny because of reports linking him to Afghanistan’s heroin and opium trade, charges he denies. He also has reported CIA ties-something the US spy agency has neither confirmed nor denied. Mullen said Kandahar was Afghanistan’s “center of gravity” and the key to reversing the Taleban’s momentum this year, Obama’s goal when he ordered the deployment of 30,000 more troops to lay the ground for a gradual withdrawal from mid-2011. SECURITY AND GOVERNANCE Mullen said Karzai must address questions about corruption and governance in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city. Asked if Ahmad Wali Karzai should be sidelined, Mullen said: “I think that’s something that President Karzai’s going to have to figure out... addressing the corruption and governance issues in Kandahar. It’s not for us to figure out.” President Karzai has long been dogged by accusations that members of his family are involved in drugs, but he says he has seen no evidence of wrongdoing by his brother. General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, envisions a gradual campaign in Kandahar, known as the birthplace of the Taleban, aimed at delivering security and governance, as opposed to one big military assault. McChrystal has told reporters that troops will be at full force for Kandahar operations by the early summer. “The only way to succeed is to win back the confidence and support of the population,” he told French daily Le Monde in an interview published on yesterday. “We have to show that we’re working to protect and respect the population, that we’re not trying to impose our values.” — Reuters

5 killed in shootouts Mexicans march against violence MONTERREY: Five people were killed in a shootout with soldiers near Monterrey, officials said, shortly after thousands held a protest march in the northern Mexican city against the growing drug-related violence in their region. “The death toll directly reported to us was of five people dead, three of whom were men who opened fire against the military, and two were women presumably accompanying the same men,” Nuevo Leon state security chief Luis Carlos Trevino said. He said troops in Monterrey on Sunday were tipped off to the presence of gunmen in a hotel in nearby Santa Catarina. When they got there, Trevino added, the

troops were met with a hail of gunfire. The shootout occurred shortly after some 8,000 people demonstrated peacefully in downtown Monterrey against the alarming violence in the city of two million and surroundings. Trevino said gang warfare in the area this past week between the Golfo drug cartel and its former hit squad, the Zetas-mostly made up of former soldiers-left almost 50 people dead. More than 15,000 have died in suspected drug violence in the past three years in Mexico despite the deployment of some 50,000 soldiers across the country. — AFP



FBI hunts Xtian militia ADRIAN: A Christian militia group was a target of at least one of a series of weekend raids the FBI conducted in the states of Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, a Michigan militia leader says. The FBI said that it had conducted raids in those Midwestern states, resulting in at least three arrests. Federal warrants were sealed, but a federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said some of those arrested face gun charges and officials are pursuing other suspects. Some of the suspects are expected in court today. It wasn’t clear what prompted the raids, but Michael Lackomar, a spokesman for the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, said one of his team leaders got a frantic phone call Saturday evening from members of Hutaree, a Christian militia group. They said their property in southeast Michigan was being raided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Lackomar said. “They said they were under attack by the ATF and wanted a place to hide,” he said. “My team leader said, ‘No thanks.”’ FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold confirmed the FBI had been working in two southeast Michigan counties near the Ohio state line but wouldn’t say whether the raids were con-

Three netted in Midwest raid

MICHIGAN: Michigan State Police guard a home (center rear) on Tomer Street in Clayton, Mich after an FBI raid of a home of a suspected militia leader. — AP nected to Hutaree. FBI spokesman Scott Wilson in Cleveland said agents arrested two people Saturday after raids in two Ohio towns. A third arrest made in northeast Illinois on Sunday stemmed from a raid Saturday just over the border in northwest Indiana, both part of an ongoing investigation led by the FBI in Michigan, according to a statement from agents in Illinois. Lackomar said his group wasn’t affiliated with Hutaree but that a handful of that group’s

members twice attended training sessions with the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia that focused on survival training and shooting practice. On its website, Hutaree quotes several Bible passages and states: “We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an AntiChrist. ... Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment.” The group didn’t return an e-mail sent by The Associated Press and phone numbers for the group’s leader-

ship were not immediately available. Law enforcement swarmed a rural, wooded property Saturday evening near Adrian, about 70 miles southwest of Detroit. Two ramshackle trailers sat side-byside on the property, the door to one slightly ajar late Sunday as if it had been forced open. Phyllis Brugger, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years, said some people who lived there were known as having ties to militia. They would shoot guns and often wore cam-

ouflage, according to Brugger and her daughter, Heidi Wood. “Everybody knew they were militia,” Brugger said. “You don’t mess with them.” In Hammond, Indiana, 18-year-old George Ponce, who works at a pizzeria next door to a home that was raided, said he and a few co-workers stepped outside for a break Saturday night and saw a swarm of law enforcement. “I heard a yell, ‘Get back inside!’ and saw a squad member pointing a rifle at us,” Ponce said. — AP

Surprise, secrecy: Anatomy of Obama’s Afghanistan trip KABUL: Any trip by a US president requires careful planning, but sneaking him into Afghanistan- a country in the midst of an eight-year war with Islamic militants-is a special case. Under the cover of darkness, President Barack Obama made his first visit to Kabul on Sunday since taking office nearly 15 months ago, finally putting his foot in a nation that, at least in the foreign policy arena, has the potential to define his presidency. For security reasons, the trip was cloaked in secrecy. He arrived at night and left while it was still dark. Reporters were barred from telling anyone where they were going on Saturday evening as they made their way to Andrews Air Force Base, where the presidential aircraft is housed. Upon arrival, staff and members of the media were bussed to the hangar where a gleam-

ing Air Force One awaited. Normally the aircraft is positioned outside for the president’s arrival. But that night it stayed under cover, taxiing out in darkness once Obama was on board to avoid alerting uninvolved military members at the base of its departure. Obama himself snuck into Andrews. After leaving the White House on Friday afternoon with the “cover” of spending the weekend at Camp David, the presidential retreat, he flew from there by helicopter to the base on Saturday night to make the secret trip. The president, a Democrat, had been expected to come to Kabul for some time since his inauguration in January 2009. White House officials said weather and logistical reasons thwarted previous attempts to make the trip. Then, just over a week ago, they found a window. Obama canceled his visit to

Indonesia and Australia so he could stay in Washington while the House of Representatives voted on, and ultimately approved, his signature domestic policy priority, healthcare reform. That created time-not to mention political space-to visit the country that will, by the end of this year, host nearly 100,000 US troops, a majority of whom will have come to Afghanistan under Obama’s watch. NIGHT FLIGHT The more than 12-hour flight to Afghanistan passed quickly. Most people slept for the first part of the trip. Imagine wearing sweatshirts and jeans in what would be considered business class roominess on one of the most famous planes in the world to snooze in your seat. White House national security staff briefed reporters in a conference room. Window shades remained closed throughout the

flight. Around 7:30 p.m. local time, Air Force One landed at Bagram airfield, smoothly and without incident, in darkness. Obama exited the aircraft, shook hands with the waiting greeters, and proceeded to a helicopter to fly to President Hamid Karzai’s palace in the city. The 14 reporters accompanying the president and some staff flew on a separate military helicopter, sweeping over Kabul with wind blowing through the open back end. A gunner stood at the window, scanning the dark landscape during flight. After landing, the reporters waited for word from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that they could announce to the world that Obama was in Afghanistan. The journalists got their cell phones and blackberries back on the president’s plane after surrendering them beforehand at Andrews. — Reuters



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

‘Monster parents’ plague Japan’s schools TOKYO: Breakfast for parents at day-care centres, laundry and nail-clipping done at school, a pick-up service by teachers-these are some of the requests from Japan’s socalled “monster parents”. The increasingly outrageous demands have driven teachers’ stress levels to record heights and led the Tokyo city government to publish a handbook on tips to cope with them. More than 60,000 teachers and other workers at Tokyo’s public schools will get a copy by the end of this month in a 10-million-yen (110,000-dollar) project. “There are so many,” a Tokyo teacher said as she recalled complaints her elementary school has received. “A mother rings us at 7:30 am and keeps nagging for two hours... One morning she was saying ‘Why did you make my child speak before other children? My child doesn’t like to make a speech...’,” said the teacher. “They are

looking at their children alone and demand teachers attach special importance to them,” she said, asking for anonymity. Education critic Naoki Ogi, who has conducted a survey on “monster parents”-as they have been dubbed by the media-said that behind the problem was the introduction in the early 2000s of commercial principles in education. Many municipalities now let parents choose which school their children attend rather than allocating one depending on the district they live in-making schools compete to woo students. In a nation with one of the world’s lowest birthrates, the consequence was that “education has become a merchandise,” Ogi said. “Customers are ‘god’ at department stores with buyers having absolute superiority over sellers-and (in schools) parents are the buyers.” Even the royal family came under scrutiny this month after

the palace announced the crown princess’s only child had skipped school after suffering from anxiety due to “raucous” boys. “Is Princess Masako a monster mother?” a magazine headline asked, amid a controversy over whether it was excessive to disclose a school problem through a palace spokesman. Ogi collected more than 700 examples of monster parents through educators and parents across the nation. His survey found that one teacher was asked to visit a pupil’s home every morning to pick the child up. Another teacher was urged to check weather forecasts and instruct children if they needed to carry umbrellas the next day. Schools had faced demands that they wash children’s gym outfits, clip their nails-or redo a yearbook because a particular child was not in many photos. One mother argued that her child broke

a school window because the stone he used should not have been where he found it. She demanded compensation for the wages she missed through taking time off work to visit the school over the issue. Ogi also said he had talked to an elementary school teacher who was asked by a mother to bring lunch for her child on an excursion day. The teacher did because she was afraid the child would not be able to join the excursion otherwise-an example of monstrous parents using their own children as “hostages” to make teachers do what they want, Ogi said. Government data show the number of teachers absent from school due to mental stress has more than tripled over the past decade, accounting for 63 percent of teachers on sick leave. And more than 26,000 teachers and other school workers in Tokyo have insured themselves against

lawsuits, up from only 1,300 a decade ago. Some stressed-out teachers have killed themselves. A veteran caregiver set herself on fire at a nursery in 2002 after receiving persistent complaints for four months from the parents of a boy who had scratches after scrambling for a book with other children. She left a suicide note on her desk, according to her bereaved family’s lawyer, Toru Yamazaki. “I’m sorry. Please let me be forgiven. I couldn’t keep my pride in these four months,” the 10-page note read. The Tokyo handbook says the initial response by a school to a complaint is important to prevent it from escalating, noting that “an appropriate apology” should show sympathy without necessarily accepting the complaint’s validity. An example would be to say: “I’m sorry for causing worries. I’ll talk to you again after investigating what happened”, rather

than “I’m sorry for causing trouble, for our insufficiencies.” Shinichi Sekine, a complaint management advisor who oversaw the production of the handbook, said it would “help teachers act appropriately if they have examples of incidents and their possible solutions in mind beforehand.” Toyama City in central Japan made a case-study brochure for day-care workers listing past issues, ranging from a request for breakfast for parents to a mother’s complaint that her short son was placed next to a tall boy in a class photograph. Educators suggest some “monster parents” lead isolated lives, having nobody in the neighbourhood to consult on child-rearing. The Toyama City booklet says receiving complaints could be “an opportunity” to rescue troubled parents who are seeking an outlet for their built-up stress. “Complaints can be a distress signal,” it says. —AFP

No sounds of life in sunken warship Anguished families weep as hope fades BAENGNYEONG ISLAND: Divers reached a sunken South Korean warship yesterday but heard no sounds of life from within the hull, dimming hopes that some of the 46 missing crewmen may have survived. “Our

navy divers knocked on the stern with hammers in the afternoon, but so far there is no response from the inside,” said defence ministry spokesman Won Tae-Jae.

BAENGNYEONG ISLAND: South Korean Navy’s ship salvage unit members return to South Korean Navy’s Landing Ship Tank transport vessel Seonginbong after their search for survivors from a sunken navy ship yesterday. — AP

North Korea warns South on psychological warfare SEOUL: North Korea warned the US and South Korea yesterday of deadly consequences for engaging in “psychological warfare” by allowing journalists into the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas. The stern statement was the first from North Korea’s military since a South Korean naval ship sank in the tense waters near the Koreas’ maritime border under unclear circumstances. It made no mention of the ship, submerged off the South Korean island of Baengnyeong as the mission to rescue 46 missing seamen continued. The area, just south of the disputed sea border, has been the site of three bloody skirmishes between the foes. However, South Korean and US officials say nothing suggests North Korean involvement in Saturday’s sinking. The exact cause of the explosion that tore a hole into the Cheonan and split it apart may

not be clear until the ship is salvaged after the rescue operation, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Yesterday, a spokesman for the Korean People’s Army accused South Korea of engaging in “psychological warfare” inside the DMZ, saying that allowing journalists into the zone violates the armistice agreement signed to stop the three-year Korean War in 1953. The two Koreas remain in a state of war because they have never signed a formal peace treaty. Hundreds of thousands of troops on both sides guard the 2.5-mile-wide DMZ. Security is tight and special permission is required to enter. Journalists and foreign tourists are allowed to visit the truce village of Panmunjom. South Korea’s Defense Ministry, however, has allowed some media organizations to enter the DMZ this year, the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. “If the US and the South Korean authorities persist in their

wrong acts to misuse the DMZ for the interKorean confrontation despite our warnings, these will entail unpredictable incidents including the loss of human lives in this area for which the US side will be wholly to blame,” North Korea’s military warned in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. North Korea routinely issues such warnings to South Korea and the US, which has 28,500 troops in the country. On Friday morning, the military warned of “unprecedented nuclear strikes” if the foes sought to destabilize the communist nation. The threats have been more frequent since the US and South Korea embarked on routine joint military drills taking place in March and April. North Korea cites the US troops’ presence on South Korean soil as a reason for building up its nuclear weapons program. — AP

Drought expands in China despite rain BEIJING: Rainfall in southern China provided little respite for millions of residents suffering from the worst drought in a century, a local official said yesterday. The army, meanwhile, began delivering water to some of the worst-affected areas. Teams of workers in China’s southern province of Yunnan, which received as much as 1.5 inches of water in some areas over the weekend, continued to dig and drill for wells to ease water shortage needs, according to a director at the Yunnan Land Resources Bureau, who would give only his surname Ma. “It has been the worst drought in 100 years, so it will take a lot more than a few rainstorms to ease it,” said Ma. “It has severely dried up our land.” In neighboring Guangxi, which is also seeing its worst drought in a century, two more cities, Liuzhou and Laibin, were added to the list of areas affected by the drought as water levels dropped by as much as 90 percent in some areas, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. About 61 million people have been affected by the drought and 12 million acres left barren since last year in Guizhou,

Yunnan, Sichuan, Chongqing and Guangxi, Xinhua said. China’s huge land mass means droughts can occur in one region while other parts of the country experience severe storms that can cause floods. “There has only been

enough rain to plant certain crops like corn, but not enough to grow rice or provide adequate drinking water,” Ma said. Authorities plan to fire 520 cloud-seeding shells in the drought-hit areas to create artificial precipitation, according

to Xinhua. It did not say when that would happen. China has experimented for decades with cloud seeding to induce rainfall. International scientists say there has never been proof that such methods produce results.— AP

LIUPANSHUI CITY: Children climb a mountain carrying bottles of water on their way home at Guoditang village in Liupanshui city, in southwest China’s drought-hit Guizhou province. — AP

A mystery explosion tore the 1,200-tonne corvette in half in the Yellow Sea Friday night near the tense disputed border with North Korea, in one of the country’s worst sea disasters. Seoul officials say there is no evidence so far Pyongyang attacked the Cheonan. However, Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young said a drifting North Korean mine dating back to the 1950-53 war might have caused the blast, or the North might have intentionally sent a mine floating towards the ship. High waves, poor visibility and strong currents thwarted efforts over the weekend to dive on the separate sections of the 88-metre ship. Divers reached both sections yesterday and knocked on the hull but defence officials said no answering sounds were heard. Rescuers said most of the missing crew members would have been in the stern section. There had been speculation some may have survived in air pockets in watertight compartments. A total of 58 crewmen were saved soon after the ship went down in near-freezing waters off Baengnyeong island near the disputed border, scene of deadly naval clashes in 1999 and 2002 and of a firefight last November. No-one has been rescued since then despite a major air and sea search. Fourteen navy craft and six coastguard ships backed up by aircraft were involved yesterday, plus a 3,200-tonne US salvage ship with 15 divers. Anguished family members, some weeping, demanded a faster rescue operation during a briefing at a navy command in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul. “We are running out of time,” said a despairing woman in her 40s. Another woman collapsed during the briefing and was taken to hospital. There was a brief scuffle when soldiers stopped angry relatives from breaking into an office. President Lee Myung-Bak has called four emergency security meetings since the sinking but cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the cause. “Do not give up hope that there could be survivors,” he told searchers earlier yesterday in a statement. “Look into the causes of the incident thoroughly and leave no single piece of doubt behind.” Theories about the cause range from an explosion inside the corvette, which was reportedly carrying torpedoes, depth charges, missiles and other weaponry; a drifting mine possibly dating back to the war; or a torpedo attack from the North. US and South Korean military officials say no unusual movements have been detected by the North, which has made no mention of the incident. Defence Minister Kim told parliament’s defence committee there were no signs of a torpedo attack before the explosion, citing accounts of rescued sailors who were operating the ship’s radar. “It is possible that a North Korean sea mine could have drifted into our area,” he said. The North brought in about 4,000 mines from the Soviet Union during the war and placed about 3,000 of them in the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan (East Sea), he said. — AFP

OKINAWA: Photo shows US helicopters and planes parked at Futenma US Marine Base in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture. —AFP

Okinawa at the centre of US-Japan dispute TOKYO: US-Japan relations have been rattled by a row over an American military base since a centre-left government took power in Tokyo more than six months ago, ending a half-century of conservative reign. The dispute centres on the controversial US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station on the southern island of Okinawa, where locals have long complained of the heavy US military presence that started with the end of World War II. The air operations of Futenma, located in the urban area of Ginowan, had been due to be transferred to Nago on the coast by 2014 under a pact struck in 2006, when conservative governments were in power in Washington and Tokyo. Under the deal, which was a decade in the making, about 8,000 Marines and their dependants were also to be transferred to the US territory of Guam, and the land area of several US military facilities would be returned to Japan. However, the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his left-leaning allies launched a review of the deal and said the unpopular base may have to be moved off Okinawa or even outside Japan altogether. The idea has been welcomed in Okinawa, where anger has long simmered over aircraft noise and pollution from US bases, the risk of accidents, and crimes committed by US troops, especially the 1995 gang-rape of a schoolgirl. Local opponents also say that building the replacement base at Nago near the US Camp Schwab, including new V-shaped offshore runways, would destroy a fragile marine habitat, home to corals and the rare sea mammal the dugong. The administration of US President

Barack Obama has repeatedly urged Tokyo to stick with the original agreement, arguing that its bases on Okinawa are key to ensuring Japan’s security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Hatoyama, who has voiced admiration for Obama but also pledged a more assertive Japanese foreign policy, has been criticised for letting the dispute fester for months and has set himself an end-of-May deadline to resolve it. The presence of US military bases in Japan dates from the end of World War II, when US forces under General Douglas McArthur occupied the country. The shattered country remained under US occupation until 1952, when it regained its independence under a war-renouncing constitution, and now its former enemy and occupier is Japan’s key security ally. Many US bases in Japan have stirred anger among local residents, among them also the Marine Corps Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi prefecture and Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, the hub for the US air force in East Asia. Okinawawhich saw some of the bloodiest battles of WWII, and which was not returned to Japan until 1972 has been the biggest flashpoint because it has by far the heaviest US military presence in Japan. The island hosts more than half of the 47,000 US forces in Japan. Of the 85 US military facilities in the country, 33 are on Okinawa or tiny neighbouring islands. In terms of Japanese land provided to US forces, 74 percent is on Okinawa. Futenma has been a particular focus of complaints, in part because it sits in the middle of a densely populated area where residents have to live with the noise of military aircraft take-offs and landings. — AFP

Amnesty blasts Beijing in death penalty report LONDON: Amnesty International called on China yesterday to say publicly how many people it executes each year, as the rights group published an annual report on the use of the death penalty worldwide. More people are put to death in China than in the rest of world altogether, and estimates based on the publicly available statistics “grossly under-represent” the actual numbers, said the report. The true figure is likely to be “in the thousands,” said the London-based human rights group, which also highlighted executions in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United States. “The Chinese authorities claim that fewer executions are taking place. If this is true, why won’t they tell the world how many people the state put to death?” said Claudio Cordone, Amnesty’s interim secretary general. “The death penalty is cruel and degrading, and an affront to human dignity ...No-one who is sentenced to death in China receives a fair trial in accordance with international human rights standards,” he added. The report said that at least 714 people were executed in 18 countries in 2009, while at least 2,001 people were sentenced to death in 56 states. Besides China, the countries that executed the most people last year were Iran (at least 388); Iraq (at least 120); Saudi Arabia (at least 69); and the United States (52). “The past year saw capital punishment applied extensively to send political messages, to silence opponents or to promote political agendas in China, Iran and Sudan,” Amnesty said. It said Iran executed 112 people in the eight weeks between President Mahmoud

Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in June and his inauguration in August. Burundi and Togo abolished the death penalty for all crimes, taking to 95 the number of countries to have done this by the end of 2009. Nine further countries have abolished it for ordinary crimes. Some 35 countries retain the death penalty but are considered abolitionist in practice as they have not executed anyone in the past 10 years. That leaves 58 countries that retain the sentence for ordinary crimes. Methods used included beheading, electrocution, hanging, lethal injection, shooting and stoning. “Secrecy surrounds the use of the death penalty in countries such as China, Belarus, Iran, Mongolia, North Korea and Vietnam. Such secrecy is indefensible,” the report said. “If capital punishment is a legitimate act of government as these nations claim, there is no reason for its use to be hidden from the public and international scrutiny.” The majority of the world’s executions took place in Asia, the Middle East and north Africa, the 41page report said. In Asia, there were no executions in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Mongolia and Pakistan last year, the first execution-free year in those countries in recent times, it said. Thailand conducted its first two executions since 2003. And for the first time since Amnesty began keeping records, there were no executions in Europe in 2009 - though Belarus killed two people in March this year, it said. The report accused Iran and Saudi Arabia of violating international law by executing people at least seven people between them for crimes commited whilst they were aged under 18.— AFP

Tuesday, March 30, 2010



Afghan end-game: India gets that sinking feeling India ‘looking for room to manoeuvre’

HYDERABAD: An Indian police officer approaches a bloodied man injured by pelting stones lying unconscious at the scene of clashes between two communities in the Sha Ali Banda area of the old city of Hyderabad yesterday. — AFP

Hindu-Muslim clashes injure scores in India HYDERABAD: Authorities fired tear gas and warning shots and swung batons yesterday to disperse crowds of angry Hindus and Muslims who attacked each other with stones and clubs in southern India, where more than 75 people have been injured. Communal rioting broke out Saturday in Hyderabad, capital of southern Andhra Pradesh state, and about 1,600 paramilitary soldiers and police have been deployed to calm the situation, AK Khan, city police commissioner, told reporters. Hyderabad has a population of 8 million, nearly 40 percent Muslims. The last major Hindu-Muslim rioting in Hyderabad took place in 1990, killing 200 people. The city had been mostly peaceful since then. Trouble started after Muslims hoisted green flags as part of celebrations of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday a month ago but never removed them. Clashes erupted Saturday between the two communities after Hindus attempted to replace the green flags with saffron ones to celebrate a Hindu festival.

Violence continued Sunday with dozens of vehicles torched and half a dozen mosques and temples damaged, Khan said. More than 75 people have been injured since Saturday, he said. Hostilities persisted yesterday despite police banning the assembly of more than five people in one place and closing markets and schools for the day, he said. Police fired warning shots into the air to control crowds and imposed an indefinite curfew in parts of India’s key information technology hub - a base for Google, Microsoft, and IBM. Eighty-six people from both communities have been arrested. Hindus make up more than 80 percent of India’s population, and Muslims comprise nearly 14 percent. Tensions remain between Hindus and Muslims since the bloody partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan after gaining independence from Britain in 1947. In India’s Gujarat state, Hindu mobs rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods, towns and villages between February-April 2002, leaving about 1,000 people dead. — AP

Pakistan constitution reform plan drags on Pakistan’s plans to strip President Asif Ali Zardari of his sweeping powers hit a roadblock this month after opposition leader Nawaz Sharif raised objections to some elements of a constitution reform package. Here’s how the future political landscape of the nuclear-armed ally of the United States might look if the reforms are passed by parliament. WHAT ARE THE REFORMS? A parliamentary committee consisting of members from political parties has prepared a reform package proposing changes to about 100 clauses of the constitution, ranging from presidential powers to provincial autonomy to the renaming of the North West Frontier Province. Many of these clauses were introduced in the constitution by Pakistan’s past military rulers to maintain their grip on power. Pakistan’s two major political parties led by Zardari and Sharif had vowed during the campaign for the 2008 elections to purge the constitution of the changes, particularly the president’s vast powers. WHAT POWERS WILL THE PRESIDENT LOSE? The clipping of the president’s powers will effectively turn Zardari into a figurehead. The most important powers to be taken from Zardari are his authority to dissolve the National Assembly, parliament’s lower house. He will also lose the authority to appoint the heads of the army, navy and air force. The proposed constitutional changes will also restrict the president’s role in the appointment of judges, the chief election commissioner and the naming of a caretaker government before calling general elections. The reforms also reduce Zardari’s power to impose emergency rule in the country. The changes also call for the lifting of a bar on becoming prime minister for a third time. This might allow Zardari’s top rival and two-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to return to the corridors of powers after general elections due by 2013. WHAT HAPPENS TO ZARDARI? After being reduced to a ceremonial head of state, Zardari’s strength will lie with his ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Zardari became head of the PPP after a suicide bombing killed his wife and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007. Though Zardari lacks his wife’s charisma and has been dogged by accusations of corruption, the PPP has remained largely intact. It stood by him during the several political crises he faced since becoming president in September 2008. Whether Zardari can retain his grip on the party

with the loss of his powers remains to be seen. WHO GAINS? Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani will emerge as the powerful head of government as most of Zardari’s powers transfer to him. Gilani had been staunchly loyal to Bhutto, though he did at times defy her during his stint as speaker of the National Assembly in the 1990s. Though there has been media speculation of differences between Zardari and Gilani, the soft-spoken prime minister has remained loyal to his leader and strongly defended him during a recent row between Zardari and judiciary over the appointment of judges. Look for Gilani’s role to come under increased scrutiny after the major powers of the presidency pass to him. WHERE ARE DIFFERENCES? While the committee has reached a consensus on the powers of the president, prime minister and the parliament, there are differences between Sharif’s party, which is second biggest party in the parliament, and rest of the parties over renaming the mainly ethnic Pashtun North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the method of judicial appointments. While Pashtun nationalists want a new name highlighting the dominant ethnicity of the province, Sharif’s party fears such a move may dent its support among non-Pashtun ethnic groups there. Sharif, who spearheaded a popular campaign for the restoration of judges sacked by former military President Pervez Musharraf and who forced Zardari into reinstating Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and his fellow judges last year, also raised objections over the method of appointing judges to the superior court. He wants the chief justice to have more say than the government in the appointment of judges. WHAT ABOUT THE MILITARY? Although the army has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 61 history of independence, the chances of another military coup are negligible. Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani has vowed to keep the military out of politics. However, analysts say the army is expected to retain its dominant role in political affairs, just as it did when it played a behind the scenes role last year to end a confrontation between Zardari and Sharif over the restoration of judges. The army would also maintain its influence in other key spheres such as Afghan policy, the fight against Islamist militants and relations with old rival India, analysts say. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: Disquiet is growing in India that Pakistan is gaining the upper hand in a “proxy war” in Afghanistan as the two juggle for influence in an endgame that risks a political vacuum if the US-led war winds down. Escalating distrust over Afghanistan may threaten tentative India-Pakistan peace talks and herald more militant attacks on Indian soil, experts say. There are also signs it is all gnawing at New Delhi’s once strengthening ties with the United States. Last week’s high level strategic dialogue between Pakistan’s military and US politicians in Washington, praise for Pakistan’s crackdown on Taleban commanders and promises of swifter US aid have added to India’s sense of playing second fiddle. Underlying this is a perception that Western powers need Pakistan more than India to broker any deal with the Taleban if there is any US troops withdrawal, creating a potential flashpoint in relations between the emerging Asian economic power and the West. “There is a sense in India that Pakistan is increasingly cocky,” said Indian former secretary Lalit Mansingh. “Pakistan has a lot more self-confidence they will have a major role in Afghanistan, and America will be dependent on them to deliver. New Delhi saw a militant attack on a Kabul guest house that killed six Indians in February as a signal of increased Pakistan assertiveness. It was the third major attack against Indian interests in two years. Islamabad denies Pakistanbased militants were involved. In a sign of what is often labelled a proxy war between the two over Afghanistan, Pakistan media has

KABUL: Afghan women are seen at a cemetery in Kabul. — AP accused India of being behind the killing of some Pakistani workers in Kandahar in March. Pakistan’s officials have long accused India over covertly helping Baluch separatists and claims several new Indian consulates in Afghanistan are spy centres. “India has to be marginalised. India has no role in Afghanistan,” said former Pakistan foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmed Khan. “Americans ... also have recognised that Pakistan’s role in any future Afghan settlement is crucial. SECURING THE CROSS ROADS Both India and Pakistan have for decades sought to secure influence in this Central Asian geopolitical crossroads and President Barack Obama’s public, if vague, time-table to start to withdraw military forces has added to an urgency to gain lever-

age. With the Taleban in power during the 1990s, India lost sway in Afghanistan. Under Afghan President Hamid Karzai, India used economic clout, some $1.3 billion in aid, to up it presence with new consulates and the construction of power lines and highways. For New Delhi, it helped guarantee Afghanistan would not become a harbour of militants who could cross over to Kashmir. But the London conference on Afghanistan in January was a turning point for many in India. It ushered in the idea that Europe and the United States could accept getting certain Taleban commanders involved in a deal to bring stability to Afghanistan. “There is a genuine sense of disappointment - even disbelief that the US perspective on reconciling the Taleban evolved all too abruptly, contrary to what Delhi was given to understand,” said M

K Bhadrakumar, a former Indian diplomat who has worked in Islamabad and Kabul. While a significant number of other Afghanistan watchers say the euphoria over London was overdone, and question especially whether Washington significantly softened its position on reconciliation with the Taeiban, Bhadrakumar’s view is common in India. Karzai also hinted he was now focused more on Pakistan. “India is a close friend of Afghanistan but Pakistan is a brother of Afghanistan. Pakistan is a twin brother,” Karzai said after meeting Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in March. It wasn’t always like this. After the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the United States pressurised Islamabad to rein in militants. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was feted in Washington months after Hillary Clinton visited New

Delhi in 2009. Now many Indians criticised what they saw as a tepid response by Washington to what they saw as a clear Pakistani link to the attack on the Kabul guest house. “It is unfortunate that the Obama administration has forgotten its fine rhetoric about strengthening the forces of democracy in Pakistan,” said Bhadrakumar. “The US has reverted to good old-fashioned geopolitics. The US current AfPak approach has begun casting shadows on US-India ties.” It may not all go Pakistan’s way. “Islamabad believes that this stepped-up cooperation will enable it to win long-term concessions from the US, which would give Pakistan a geopolitical balance against India,” Eurasia analyst Maria Kuusisto wrote in a report. “The US is likely to adopt a highly cautious approach to these Pakistani requests.” MANOEUVRE Indian officials believe that while Islamabad is winning the PR war, India has room for manoeuvre-and the Indian Express reported yesterday that New Delhi may be willing to reach out to some Taleban elements to counter Pakistan. “Of course Pakistan is better at shouting from the rooftops,” said one Indian senior government official. “But we are not on the defensive. They will not get what they want. But tension with Washington has surfaced, with India mulling legal action to force the United States to grant it access to David Headley, who admitted in a US court this month that he scouted targets for the Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people.— Reuters

US, India seal key part of nuke deal

HELMAND: Tribal leaders listen to US Marine Brian Christmas (right), commander of 3rd Battalion as they gather in the desert for a meeting in Sistani, Helmand province. The meeting or ‘shura’ took place between US Marines and some twenty Afghan tribal leaders from the restive area between Sistani and Marjah. — AFP

US troops training for both combat and conversation FORT CARSON: Two young American soldiers in combat gear sit at a small table in a concrete block building, politely but insistently questioning a 66year-old Afghan actor playing the role of a village elder. Outside, in the thick red mud of a remote Fort Carson valley, other soldiers crouch in defensive positions, peering into their rifle sights in the cold morning. But inside, the soldiers are learning to negotiate, rather than shoot, trying to coax information from the Afghan elder about bomb-makers in a nearby village. The soldiers are among about 4,000 members of Fort Carson’s 1st Brigade Combat Team and supporting units who will deploy to Afghanistan this summer. They’re practicing counterinsurgency tactics, cultivating trust and cooperation with the Afghan people at the same time they wage war on the insurgents. The Army’s top commanders and planners say that strategy is the key to success in Afghanistan. “Understanding the culture, and the impact of your actions on the cultures, is so essential to mission success that you won’t succeed without it,” Gen George W Casey, the Army chief of staff, said during a visit to Fort Carson this month. The strategy, detailed in a 2006 Army manual, is a dramatic change in US counterinsurgency doctrine, shifting the focus from the enemy to the population, said Conrad Crane, director of the Army Military History Institute at the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. “If you work with the people, the people are going to give you the intelligence you need for the next operation,” said Crane, the lead author of the new doctrine. “It’s a revolutionary type of intelligence.” The success of the approach will be measured by how much support and information the soldiers get, he said. “Are they telling you where the explosives are, are they telling you where the bad guys are?” The strategy is getting its first major test in Afghanistan in Helmand province, where 10,000 US, NATO and Afghan troops pushed the Taleban out of the town of Marjah in February. The allies are now trying to win over the townspeople with good governance, public services and aid. Making it work in the long run will be tough, said

Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, a counterterrorism expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The basic level of cultural knowledge and language skills the soldiers are getting might not be enough to navigate through Afghanistan’s intricate web of ethnic and tribal groups, he said. But any level of skills will help, Nelson said, noting, “There didn’t used to be any cultural training.” At Fort Carson, several hundred soldiers from the 1st Brigade are being schooled in the details of Afghan religion, history, geography and tribal structure and taking lessons in Dari, one of Afghanistan’s languages. They’ll learn between 600 and 1,500 Dari words, including basic greetings, requests for IDs and friendly questions like “How are you doing” and “How is your family,” said Mowafiq Al-Anazi, an associate dean at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. “We see language and culture very inextricably intertwined,” said Army Col Sue Ann Sandusky, commandant at the institute. “You’re learning a language in order to be able to commucate and understand communication, and to do that you have to be able to place the words and language in the cultural context.” The soldiers still train for combat, too. After meeting with the village elder in the Fort Carson exercise, the platoon was ambushed a few miles away by other soldiers playing the role of Taleban fighters. In a chaotic gunbattle waged with blanks, the shouting and cursing platoon overcame the attackers and summoned a Black Hawk helicopter to evacuate a soldier with a makebelieve wound. The next day, another platoon attacked targets in a live-fire exercise, unleashing an ear-splitting barrage with automatic rifles, machine guns and antitank weapons and calling in Apache helicopters to blast the target with missiles and cannons. Veterans and relative newcomers in the 1st Brigade say both combat training and cultural training will help when they get to Afghanistan. “If you get the people on your side, the enemy will go away,” said Command Sgt Maj Martin Kelley, a 24-year Army veteran who has served three deployments to Iraq as well as previous stints in Bosnia and Kuwait. — AP

WASHINGTON: The United States and India have reached an agreement on reprocessing nuclear material, clearing a major hurdle in putting into practice a landmark atomic energy pact, officials said yesterday. The agreement, reached after months of painstaking negotiations, would allow India to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from the United States for civilian energy purposes. “Completion of these arrangements will facilitate participation by US firms in India’s rapidly expanding civil nuclear energy sector,” the State Department said in a statement. The United States and India signed their nuclear agreement in 2008, a signature part of the deepening relationship between the world’s two largest democracies. India had been in the nuclear wilderness for decades due to its nuclear weapons program and refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But US companies have yet to benefit from the 2008 agreement because of lingering technicalities needed to operationalize the deal. While the processing deal clears the last major hurdle between the two nations, the United States also wants India to sort out several additional issues, including limiting the liability of companies in the case of an accident. — AFP

Court keeps curbs on Pakistan nuke scientist LAHORE: A Pakistani court yesterday rejected a petition by disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan challenging restrictions on his movements, a government lawyer said. The father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, Khan was at the centre of the world’s biggest nuclear proliferation scandal in 2004 when he confessed to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Last year, the government relaxed restrictions on the nuclear scientist after five years of house arrest following revelations about his role in the nuclear smuggling. He was still barred him from talking to the media and required to travel with security guards. “The court maintained the original order (on restrictions on Khan’s movement),” said Attorney General Anwar Masoor. Khan had filed a petition challenging the government’s stand that the restrictions had been placed for his own safety. Khan was earlier also required to give 24 hours’ notice to authorities before leaving his home. In a small concession, the Lahore High Court yesterday reduced the reporting requirement to 30 minutes but kept the restrictions on talking to the media about nuclear proliferation or the Pakistani weapons programme. Khan’s lawyer, Ali Zafar, said his client would be a “free

man” as long as he informed the government about his movement. In a related ruling, the court rejected a government petition filed earlier this month seeking to open an investigation on charges that Khan tried to sell nuclear secrets and equipment to Iraq and Iran in the 1990s. “The judge said it’s up the government,” said Soofi Amar Bilal, another government lawyer “If they want to do it, it’s an executive decision.” The petition by the Pakistan government for court permission to investigate Khan came days before strategic talks between the United States and Pakistan last week, where Islamabad asked for a civilian nuclear deal similar to the one between India and Washington. Islamabad has faced calls in the past to fully crack down on the nuclear smuggling network. Pakistani authorities deny any connection to Khan’s smuggling ring but have never let foreign investigators question him. There is widespread belief in Pakistan that Khan was the scapegoat for an international conspiracy against the country’s nuclear programme. Pakistan, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, conducted several nuclear tests in 1998 but is thought to have had the capability to produce bombs from as early as 1986. — Reuters



Tuesday, March 30, 2010


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Tremonti hailed for doing nothing By Gavin Jones


f Italy has so far avoided the drastic public finance deterioration, ratings downgrades and sharply rising bond yields of many of its neighbours, the merit lies firmly with Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti. Tremonti’s standing has risen more for what he hasn’t done than what he has: the 62-year-old former tax lawyer has resisted pressure to cut taxes or present any major economic stimulus of the kind adopted by most of his European peers. In many ways he is an unlikely champion of fiscal virtue and his past record meant many economists winced when he took over in 2008 from the highly respected former central banker Tommaso PadoaSchioppa after the centreright’s resounding election win. Yet he has undergone such a remarkable transformation in markets’ consideration that any hint he could lose his post is now probably the highest of Italy’s political risks. “Tremonti was right to insist that Italy, with its huge stock of debt, couldn’t afford the kind of sweeping stimulus measures we saw in places like Spain and Britain,” said Raj Badiani of IHS Global Insight. “Italy needs to deflect any contagion from what is happening in Greece and to a lesser extent Portugal and it’s crucial for its credibility that Tremonti stays where he is.” While Greece’s public debt, at an estimated 113.4 percent of gross domestic product last year, was marginally below Italy’s 115.8 percent, the Greek annual budget deficit, at 12.7 percent, was more than double Italy’s 5.3 percent. Tremonti has staunchly rejected cabinet calls for expansionary policies and markets will hope he can hold the line if the results of regional elections on Sunday and Monday tempt Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to raise spending. “We haven’t been immobile on the things that could be done, we have been immovable on the things that couldn’t be done,” Tremonti told parliament this month. “If we had chosen to raise the deficit and debt we would have had more crisis, not less.” Tremonti, who is close to and defended by the proautonomy Northern League party, does not appear in any immediate danger. However he has many enemies in the centre-right bloc and was briefly ousted by coalition infighting in 2004, during Berlusconi’s previ-

ous administration. There have been recent reports of frictions with Berlusconi himself as Tremonti has appeared to be manoeuvring as a possible successor to the 73year-old media tycoon. Tremonti was widely criticised for inertia as the global financial crisis unfolded from the summer of 2008 and his partners around the euro zone unveiled grandiose stimulus programs aimed at avoiding recession. Tremonti bucked the trend by maintaining a virtually neutral budget stance while adopting some minor but headline grabbing measures to help firms and poor families which hardly weighed on the public purse. The euro zone’s third largest economy went through its deepest postwar recession, but so did virtually the whole of the 16 nation currency bloc. And Italy, unlike Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Britain and others, did not let its budget deficit sky-rocket by four- or five-fold. Italy’s deficit nearly doubled in 2009 as a proportion of gross domestic product, but that deterioration was due almost entirely to the record 5 percent contraction in GDP rather than a rise in discretionary spending or tax cuts. Tremonti’s stock began to rise as his cautious, “do-nothing” stance received plaudits from the International Monetary Fund, ratings agencies and market economists. As economy minister between 2001 and 2006 he was far from a model of fiscal rigour as he oversaw high deficits and was frowned on for his securitisation operations and tax amnesties. Tremonti, who lacks an economic background and speaks little English, has never been a big-hitter in European decision making and Italian proposals for him to replace Jean-Claude Juncker this year as president of euro zone finance ministers were brusquely dismissed by most policymakers. Often lampooned domestically for a bookish manner, a speech defect and a habit of peppering his language with Latin, Tremonti has nonetheless come to be seen as the anchor of Italy’s financial stability. “Tremonti doesn’t speak English, he never says anything at meetings and no-one listens to him when he does speak,” one European insider told Reuters on condition he not be named. Yet the same official acknowledged Tremonti had performed a “miracle” by keeping at bay Italian cabinet colleagues clamouring for an increase in spending. — Reuters

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Iran strike would test resilient Israeli markets By Douglas Hamilton


strike by Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities could trigger war with unforeseen consequences, testing the remarkable resilience displayed by Israeli markets during previous conflicts. Israel’s hightech economy was unfazed by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the 2006 war with Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah militia and last winter’s war on Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip. “As long as we’re looking at something short term ... that does not impact the economy as a whole from the long-term perspective, I think the markets factor it in and are already looking at the day after,” said Jonathan Katz, macro-economic strategist at HSBC Tel Aviv. The uncertainties are huge. A clash with Iran, which sponsors Arab and Palestinian forces north and south of Israel, might be limited in duration or set off violence lasting years. The long Palestinian Intifada (uprising) of 20002005, when Israel was attacked by Palestinian suicide bombers and many died on both sides, had a “crushing” impact on growth, says Katz. Unemployment in Israel rose to double-digits and the ratings agencies put Israel’s debt on negative watch. The picture over the past three years was far brighter. Israel’s $203 billion economy grew by 4.4 percent in the last quarter of 2009 its fastest in nearly 2 years. Israel forecasts 3.5 percent overall growth in 2010 - a rate analysts say is partly as a result of the Intifada dying out. The calm has also benefited Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, where growth is estimated at 7-8 percent a year. Katz says financiers aware of the Iran risk constantly ask him: “How long might it last? How far might it spread? It’s really a tough call to make,” he says. “If it’s a short-term conflict, let’s say up to a month ... and the outcome is positive

for Israel, if we can postpone the nuclear threat from Iran, then I think what we’ll have at the end of the day, probably, is the markets moving higher”. Investors looking at recent conflicts find some reassurance. The last time Israel was hit by long-range missiles was in the Gulf War of 1991, when a US-led coalition acted after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. There was an overt, six-month military build-up ahead of the six-week conflict. Gas-masks were distributed in Israel and the agitation precipitated a Tel Aviv market sell-off. But Israel kept out of the war and although its cities were targeted by 39 Iraqi Scud missiles, Saddam had no mass-destruction warheads and only one Israeli was killed. Markets rapidly recovered. In 2003, investors held on as US forces toppled Saddam Hussein, removing his government in five weeks, ultimately at a huge cost to Iraq itself and to Washington’s coffers. The TA-25 climbed from 340 to 384, the shekel from 4.747 to 4.52 against the dollar on the day then President George W Bush declared “Mission Accomplished”. With Lebanon and Gaza, the shekel was barely affected. The bills for both, in infrastructure and environmental damage, were heavy some $3.5 billion for Israel in 2006 and $5.0 billion for Lebanon. Gaza rebuilding will cost at least $2 billion. The bill for Israel’s offensive is about $1.5 billion. The Lebanon war brought a 34-day shutdown of industry in the north, depressing GDP by 0.9 percent. The Gaza war hit farming in the south, but never seriously threatened industry. There was no significant flight of capital from Israel and no shekel currency collapse during either conflict. Three life science companies were bought up for about $1 billion total in the two months after the Gaza war ended. Israel’s innovative technology and

bioscience sectors are a magnet for global companies such as Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Google, Applied Materials, HP, Deutsche Telekom and Samsung. Corporations investing in Israel know “it’s the Middle East”, says Katz. “No one is bolting for the door.”

Nevertheless, the political and security unpredictability around Israel does drive up the cost of doing business there, as well as its own credit rating and borrowing costs. “One of the reasons Israel is rated where it is, in the middle of the A category, is geopolitical

risk,” says Richard Fox, head of Middle East and Africa Sovereign Ratings at Fitch. “It’s a fact that volatility has costs on the fiscal side. The problem with Iran is that it is uncharted territory. There are lots of scenarios you can envisage.” — Reuters

Women feel safer in ‘pink taxis’ By Cam McGrath


leets of “pink” taxis, driven by women, are cruising the streets of Middle East cities, providing a safe and comfortable ride for women wary of getting into taxis driven by men. “Many times I had problems with (male) drivers acting indecently,” said Noha Mohammed, a veiled Egyptian housewife. “When I told my husband, he refused to let me take taxis, but he wasn’t always available to drive me places, and so I stayed home. When I heard that there were taxis with women drivers, I was excited.” Iran rolled out its first women-only taxis in late 2006. The United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait and Egypt have also added such services. Proponents say these services improve the mobility of women in conservative Middle East societies and reduce the risk of sexual harassment. But critics warn they may reinforce the segregation of women and undermine hard-won advances in gender equality. Nawal Yaghi Fakhri, owner of Banet Taxi, said she launched her women-only taxi service in Beirut in March 2009 as a safe and convenient alternative to regular taxis. The company’s 10 signature hot-pink Peugeots serve women traveling alone or with their family. “Women take more care in driving than men,” Fakhri told dpa. “And our female clients may feel more comfortable for other reasons.” Those other reasons may include fear of sexual harassment and rape, amid a large number of reported cases involve taxis and public transport. Police have advised women to avoid traveling unaccompanied, especially at night. Some Middle East countries have also designated sections on buses and trains exclusively for female passengers. Nihad Abu Al-Komsan, head of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR), says that while more needs to be done to protect women from sexual harassment and assault, women-only transportation is a “naive solution” to a com-

plex problem. “These services represent a setback to movements for the equality of men and women,” she said. “They isolate women from society without addressing the (root causes of) problems such as sexual harassment ... and they reduce women’s participation in public life.” Some argue, however, that women-only transportation services respect cultural values while enabling women to participate more freely and independently. “This is a traditional Arab country and it is not easy for ladies to take a regular taxi,” said Mohamed Hassan, an agent at Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA), which supervises the city’s women-only taxi dispatch service. “The pink taxis make it easier for ladies to go to work or activities, and this helps them (integrate with) society.” City Cab, which runs a fleet of metered taxis in Cairo, launched its women-only service last month in response to high customer demand. “More than 60 per cent of our clients are women asking for female drivers,” said Imad AlDin Abdel-Rahman, the company’s assistant manager. “We have eight female drivers now and will hire more soon.” City Cab’s “pink” taxis are glossy yellow, like the rest of its fleet. Abdel-Rahman hopes Cairo’s governor will reconsider the firm’s request to paint the cars a distinguishing shade of lavender. “The color causes confusion,” he said. “The service is just for women. Of course if a woman comes with her husband we cannot refuse.” Al-Azhar, the highest authority in Sunni Islam, has endorsed the concept of women-driven taxis, provided they serve only female clientele. In a fatwa it urged authorities to pass legislation to ensure the safety of women who work in this field. Most pink services in the region provide safety training for their female drivers and some operate only during daylight hours. While the restricted hours are intended to protect the drivers, it means the service is not available when needed most. “Most problems happen at night,” said Dina Adil, an Egyptian university student. “(Male) taxi drivers eye you up in the rear-view mirror and make lewd comments or sexual advances. — dpa

Attacks lay bare Putin failure in Caucasus By Anna Smolchenko


ttacks yesterday in the heart of Moscow exposed strongman Vladimir Putin’s failure after a decade of effort to resolve separatist violence entrenched in Russia’s North Caucasus, analysts said. As a result, the relatively progressive agenda of Putin’s protege and successor in the Kremlin, President Dmitry Medvedev, may be pushed to the back burner as the leadership refocuses on the Caucasus, they said. “This is a failure of Putin’s policies in the North Caucasus,” said Alexander Golts, an independent security analyst. “Any act of terror is a failure of the special services. And the special services are the Kremlin’s beloved child.” One of the two suicide bomb attacks Monday occurred under the nose of Russia’s FSB security service, successor to the Soviet KGB once led by Putin that has been key in countering militants in Chechnya and elsewhere. The blasts that killed 37 during morning rush hour in central Moscow came after the Kremlin with much fanfare ended its decade-long military crackdown in Chechnya last

In this image made from television, blast victims lie in a subway train hit by an explosion at Moscow’s Lubyanka station yesterday shortly after the blast. – AP April, claiming stability had returned to the volatile region. Since then however attacks on federal personnel in Chechnya and neighbouring Dagestan and Ingushetia have

only intensified and Medvedev in November said instability in the region remains Russia’s single biggest problem. By abolishing the anti-terror operation, the Kremlin essentially handed

Chechnya’s youthful leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a controversial figure detested by rights activists, carte blanche to run the republic as he deems fit. In January, Medvedev

appointed a new envoy, Alexander Khloponin, tasking him with economic development of the region where abject poverty and chronic unemployment provide fertile recruiting ground for militants. Many say the situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon and some complain that the FSB is more interested in keeping a lid on political dissent than on the daily grind of tracking down militants and preventing attacks. Keeping dissidents in check “is less dangerous work,” Golts said sarcastically. Putin rose to power in 1999 on famous pledges to “wipe out them out in the outhouse” and, in a similar comment after yesterday’s attacks, said: “The terrorists will be destroyed.” Aides said Putin was rushing back to Moscow from a visit to Siberia, an indication of the seriousness with which he viewed yesterday’s attacks. Medvedev, whose two years in office have centred so far on promoting a few liberal reforms, has also recently ramped up his rhetoric against militants in the North Caucasus. “This is a challenge for the country’s political leadership,” acknowledged Mikhail Grishankov, first deputy chairman of the State

Duma security committee with the rank of FSB colonel. Gleb Pavlovsky, another political analyst known for his close links to the Kremlin, said Monday’s suicide attacks would divert its attention from its current drive to modernise Russian society and forece it to adopt a more muscular stance. “This will reduce attention to the modernization. The current political agenda will become somewhat militarised,” Pavlovsky told AFP. “Public opinion will change and this is exactly what the terrorists are after.” The most important issue for the security services in the days ahead will be to see whether the bombings herald a wider terror campaign like that which led up to the Beslan hostage crisis in 2004, Pavlovsky said. But will the bombings be a major blow to the image of the country’s ruling tandem, leading people to take to the streets or pressure authorities into changing their Caucasus policies? Not in Russia, say analysts, where society remains highly apolitical. “The public logic is simple,” said Golts. “‘I survived, my family survived,’ they will cross themselves and go on.” — AFP


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Iraqi PM takes risks by challenging vote By Hamza Hendawi


he challenge by Iraq’s Shiite prime minister to election results that showed him coming in a close second to his chief rival Sunni-backed Ayad Allawi - is a risky tactic. If Nouri al-Maliki succeeds in his attempt to block the secular Shiite Allawi from forming a coalition government, it would leave the minority Sunni Arabs seething. That could undermine the credibility of Iraq’s nascent democracy and unleash a new bout of sectarian violence just as the US is preparing to pull all its troops out of the country. Final results of the March 7 election released Friday showed Allawi’s Iraqiya coalition winning 91 parliamentary seats thanks to heavy support by Sunnis and Al-Maliki’s Shiite-led bloc with 89. Neither won an outright majority in the 325-seat parliament but Allawi is entitled to the first shot at forging a ruling coalition. Al-Maliki, who has led a government dominated by religious Shiites for the past four years, quickly demanded a hand recount of all ballots and adamantly refused to accept the results, even though international observers said the vote was fair and transparent. “The prime minister must accept the election results and leave his office peacefully,” said Mishaan Al-Siaidi, a senior Iraqiya candidate. “His rejection of the election results is a rejection of the votes cast by Iraqis and his maneuvering is a maneuver around the will of Iraqis.” Allawi said Saturday he was worried about the growing sectarian rhetoric in Iraq since the election. And in a sign that the tensions may already

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki speaks to the press in Baghdad on March 26, 2010. – AP be spilling over into sectarian violence, several bombs exploded Sunday near a house linked to a prominent Sunni figure who ran for election as part of Allawi’s coalition. Five people were killed but the politician survived the bombings in the town of Qaim in western Iraq. Allawi’s victory at the head of a group supported by both Sunnis and Shiites suggested millions of Iraqis are looking for a change from the politics that have been dominated by the two major Islamic sects. It also showed many are suspicious of Iranian influence. Allawi was widely seen as closer

to the region’s Arab governments than to neighboring Shiite Iran. Al-Maliki followed his challenge of the results by seeking court rulings and other maneuvers aimed at securing a second term for himself and maintaining the political dominance of religious Shiite parties. However, those moves could put Iraq at risk of plunging back into the bloodbaths of 2006 and 2007, when thousands of Shiites and Sunnis lost their lives in tit-for-tat attacks. Most importantly, Al-Maliki is now believed to be seeking a merger with the other major Shiite-led bloc - the Iraqi National Alliance with 70 seats -

to form the nucleus of a potential coalition government. It is a move that appears designed to perpetuate sectarian politics with the Shiites continuing to dominate the political landscape and the Sunnis left powerless or with token representation. The INA is dominated by hardline Shiites with close links to Iran. Foremost among them are supporters of Muqtada Al-Sadr, a fiery antiAmerican cleric whose Mahdi Army militia is blamed for much of the sectarian killings in 2006 and 2007. The alliance between the two major Shiite blocs would be potentially explosive, replicating the makeup of AlMaliki’s government and that of his predecessor, the Shiite Ibrahim AlJaafari. Both men oversaw Iraq during its worst violence since the 2003 USled invasion. Iraqi analyst Kadhum AlMuqdadi said such a partnership would disappoint Iraqis who wanted to see change through Allawi. “It will mean four more years of the same faces, same political situation and same approach,” he said. Al-Maliki also appears to be trying to change the rules of the game in his favor. According to the constitution, the president asks the bloc with the most seats in parliament to form a government. But before the final results were announced, Al-Maliki asked the Supreme Court to define what the largest bloc means. The ruling, made public the day final results were released, allows a coalition formed after the election through negotiations with other blocs to qualify as the largest bloc. That would appear to give AlMaliki room to nudge out Allawi and is widely seen in Iraq as biased in favor of

Al-Maliki. The prime minister also said he would demand that several Iraqiya candidates elected to parliament be disqualified for their suspected ties to Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime, another move that raised the sectarian tensions. Hundreds of candidates, many of them Sunni and including senior Iraqiya politicians, had already been barred by a Shiite-led committee from running because of their alleged links to Saddam’s regime. The move angered the Sunnis who saw it as an attempt to undermine their election prospects. Iraq’s Sunni militants have in the past responded to their community’s perceived marginalization by stepping up attacks against Iraqi and US forces as well as Shiite civilians. With the Americans now busy planning the withdrawal of all combat forces by late summer and the remainder of the current 95,000 troops by the end of 2011, there will be no buffer between the two sides. Ahmad Chalabi, a senior Shiite politician who has been mentioned as a possible compromise candidate for prime minister, predicted Sunday that the two main Shiite blocs would eventually agree on forming a government, though they have deep differences. “They were together for a long time in opposition and they were together in government,” Chalabi told AP in an interview. “It’s a winning combination.” He said Al-Maliki would not necessarily be the prime minister if the merger went ahead. “I don’t think he will jeopardize the entire alliance for personal ambitions.” Such a deal would significantly eat into Allawi’s room for maneuver to form the government.—AP

Allawi has uphill road to turn Iraq win into power By Jim Loney


raq’s election winner Iyad Allawi, the leader of a successful crosssectarian coalition that wooed Shiites and Sunnis, also wants to court Arab neighbours and reach out to Iran. It is far from certain he will get that chance. The secularist Allawi’s looseknit Iraqiya alliance won Iraq’s March 7 parliamentary election by a whisker. The result is widely interpreted to mean Iraqis are weary of religious politics and ready to embrace a government that can supply electricity and jobs. The British-trained physician who wants to return to the prime minister’s office he held in a 2004-5 transitional government won the popular vote and got two seats more than Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in the new parliament. He said on Saturday that the path to a new government ran through Iraqiya. But officials with Maliki’s State of Law bloc and a fellow Shiite coalition, the Iraqi National Alliance, say they are talking about a merger that would make anti-American Shiite Moqtada Al-Sadr, whose Mehdi Army fought fiercely against US troops, a power player in Iraq’s new political landscape. “The government will not form (from other than) State of Law and INA because the kingmaker now is Moqtada Al-Sadr,” Iraqi political analyst Ibrahim Al-Sumaidaie said. “Moqtada will not stand in front of the Shiites and Iran and tell them ‘I got you a mainly Sunni government with Baathist links.’” An erstwhile member of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party who spent decades in exile from Saddam’s Iraq, Allawi says he survived an assassination attempt by Baathist agents in 1987. But lingering doubts about his alle-

giances were fuelled by his election union with perceived Baathist sympathisers, including prominent Sunni politician Saleh Al-Mutlaq. Mutlaq was barred from running due to alleged Baathist ties. Allawi has said he is open to alliances with anyone. Iraqiya is talking with INA and its major component, the Sadrists, as well as the Kurds. He also said in a television interview on Saturday he is talking to some members of Maliki’s party, Dawa. “Shiite parties have raised objections to some of the characters in the Iraqiya list who they say are loyal to the Baath Party,” Baghdad university professor Haider Hameed said. “Kurds also have objections and disagreements ... and competing parties disagree with their approach and thinking, and consider a coalition deal with Iraqiya is an impossible task.” Maliki himself has indicated he would not give up his post without a fight, possibly in court. State of Law has lots of potential partners. A union with Allawi appears unlikely but Maliki may try to pick off parts of his rival’s coalition. “We intend to form a coalition sufficient to form the next government and we have other big options in this realm that we are satisfied with,” he said, “But if some blocs belonging to the Iraqiya list want to join us, we welcome them.” There’s no guarantee Allawi will even get first crack at forming a government. Under a court ruling issued last week, that could go to the bloc with the largest number of seats not from the election, but after parliament is seated. That means any coalition that can persuade another bloc to join it when parliament convenes can count the former rival’s numbers in its total, an opportunity for Maliki to make up his two-seat election deficit. Despite the formidable task ahead - bringing Kurds,

Sunnis and fellow Shiites together under his banner - Allawi has the benefit of being able to claim a mandate from war-weary Iraqis. And those who abhor outside interference in their nation’s affairs may view him as a moderate alternative to Maliki and his possible

allies, who are all tied to Iran, a neighbour perceived as meddlesome, with memories of an eight-year war still fresh. “Should Allawi succeed in his bid to form a government, Iraq’s relations with Iran would shift to a more ‘correct’ posture, with Allawi offering coopera-

tion, but warning Tehran against interference,” said Wayne White, a scholar at the Middle East Institute. Iran has more influence in Iraq than even the United States, which has 96,000 troops here, according to some analysts. — Reuters

Next Obama test is Afghanistan By Steven R Hurst


resh from a bruising victory on health care and a nuclear arms deal with Russia, President Barack Obama turned to a third campaign promise - victory and an honorable exit from Afghanistan. That could prove tougher than any challenge overcome so far, and the president appears to know it. Seldom does a US leader devote more than 24 hours flying to and from a war zone to spend only 6 hours on the ground. But the stakes are enormous. Since taking office, Obama has nearly tripled the number of US forces committed to Afghanistan, which hasn’t known peace in at least three decades. After eight years of war, the US military says it now is blunting advances by Taleban militants, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai still has little power outside Kabul, the capital, and his government is riddled with corruption. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, key lieutenants and foot soldiers still hide across the mountainous border in Pakistan even though US drone strikes have killed dozens of the terrorist group responsible for the Sept 11 attacks on the United States. Al-Qaeda enjoyed sanctuary from Taleban militants who ruled Afghanistan, before they were driven out in the US-led invasion at the end of 2001. Obama campaigned on a pledge to focus on the Afghan war, which he said - unlike the fight in Iraq - was critical to American security and being overlooked and poorly resourced by the Bush administration. Despite the highly charged partisan atmosphere, where no Republican voted for the health care legislation in either house of Congress, the president enjoys broad Republican support for his intensification of the Afghan war. There appears, as well, growing support among the public for Obama’s Afghan policy. The latest Associated Press-GfK poll at the beginning of March found that 57 percent of

those surveyed approved his handling of the war compared with 49 percent two months earlier. The Obama-Karzai meeting lasted about 30 minutes, and Obama told the Afghan leader he saw some progress since they last talked in video conference two weeks ago. They discussed good governance, merit-based appointments of Afghan officials and corruption. The administration has routinely chastised Karzai for failing to make progress on those issues. National security adviser James Jones said after the meetings that Karzai “needs to be seized with how important that is.” The long journey, Jones said, was “something that simply has to be done. We have to have the strategic rapport with President Karzai and his Cabinet to understand how we are going to succeed this year in reversing the momentum of the Taleban.” Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar, however, said reports that Obama was in Kabul to order a recalcitrant Karzai to get his government in line were inaccurate. “This was an extremely friendly discussion,” Omar said. “It was a discussion between partners.” He said Obama pledged not to abandon Afghanistan. “President Obama assured President Karzai and the Afghan people of America’s long-term commitment to Afghanistan,” Omar said. Obama’s surprise visit underscores the political stakes for him. As he dispatched the most recent installment of his 30,000-troop increase to Afghanistan, the president pledged to begin withdrawing US forces in July 2011, when his campaign for a second term would be well under way. That will be a difficult pledge to keep if Karzai doesn’t intensify a corruption purge. Karzai pledged after the fraud-marred August election to mop up the stain of corruption by making officials declare assets and giving the country’s anti-corruption watchdog more power.— AP

Better Pak-US ties underpinned by Afghan aims By Zeeshan Haider and Robert Birsel


uoyant US-Pakistani relations are being underpinned by converging interests over Afghanistan but strains could emerge if Pakistan’s expectations for US help are not met and it feels it is being used. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were all smiles after their recent highlevel talks in Washington aimed at reversing tempestuous ties between the allies. The talks covered issues from security to energy and water projects, and while little in the way of new US help emerged, a heady tone was set, largely because of some common Afghan aims, analysts said. “There is this over-arching convergence, we’re on the same track, the same page,” said Ayaz Amir, a political analyst and opposition party member of parliament. Pakistan sees the United States as desperate to get out of Afghanistan and sooner or later bound to have to enter some sort of peace deal with the Taleban. Pakistan, battling its homegrown Taleban, is also looking for a negotiated Afghan settlement and wants to oversee any peace process to ensure a friendly government in

Supporters of US-detained Pakistani woman Aafia Siddiqui shout anti-US judiciary slogans during a protest in Karachi on Sunday. – AFP Kabul and to minimise the influence of old rival India. Not only is Pakistan the main conduit for US military supplies to Afghanistan, its sway over the Taleban could be key in nudging their old allies to talk. The announcement last month of the arrest of a senior Taleban commander, Mullah

Abdul Ghani Baradar, in a joint operation with US agents in the city of Karachi, has illustrated the crucial role Pakistan can play. “Pakistan feels it is key to the entire situation, that without the role which the Pakistani army is playing, the whole American military presence in Afghanistan is undermined,”

Amir said. Many Pakistanis believe that the United States has used Pakistan as a tool to promote its interests and left the country in the lurch once those interests were served. Bitter memories of the United States walking away from Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 and

leaving the country in chaos are still raw in Pakistan. The United States has stressed long-term commitment, underscored by a $7.5 billion aid package. As well as aid for its investment-starved economy, nuclear-armed Pakistan wants civilian nuclear cooperation with the United States and is pushing for the same kind of deal that India negotiated. But the United States is reluctant to discuss such cooperation. Pakistan also wants the United States to press India to resume a peace process suspended after Pakistan-based militants attacked the Indian city of Mumbai in Nov 2008. While Pakistan realises US involvement in the dispute over the Kashmir region is unlikely because of Indian objections, Pakistan hopes US pressure will bring India to talk on other disputes including the sharing of cross-border river waters. Ties between Pakistan and the United States should develop as long as both sides feel they are getting what they want, said analyst and former government minister Shafqat Mahmood. “The relationship is likely to grow but the devil is in the detail,” Mahmood said, referring to upcoming talks at which US aid plans help will be fleshed out. “I would only call it a good

beginning.” While U.S. attention is focused on Afghanistan, it is also worried about militants in Pakistan and will want to see action. In particular, the United States wants Pakistan to rein in the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Pakistan-based faction responsible for the Mumbai attacks. The LeT, one of the largest and bestfunded militant groups in South Asia, was nurtured by Pakistan’s main Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency to fight India in Kashmir. There’s suspicion the powerful Pakistani military, which sets security and regional policy, still sees the militants as “strategic assets” in the event of war with India. “Pakistan will have to make up its mind, that it can’t use jihadi groups as proxies anymore,” said security analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi. Pakistanis are looking anxiously at the July 2011 deadline set by US President Barack Obama for US forces to start pulling out of Afghanistan, fearing that will result in waning interest in them. “There is this underlying unease that after all we are doing, after all the key role vis a vis Afghanistan, that the Americans are really not giving enough and we’ll again be left high and dry,” said Amir. — Reuters


Kenya mediation success fails test By Jean-Marc Mojon


n March 2008, Kenya’s reconciled foes were trumpeting ambitious reforms and the international community was basking in the glory of a rare African crisis-resolution success. Two years later, the euphoria has long been extinguished. “It looks less perfect now,” said activist Mwalimu Mati, referring to the February 28 power-sharing deal signed by election rivals Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga that ended a cycle of deadly violence and tarnished the country’s image. “Something had to be done to end the conflict but perhaps it could have been better thought through,” said Mati, who heads the Mars Kenya Group political watchdog. Kenyans’ faith in their rulers is at its lowest, the pledged reforms are nowhere to be seen and many argue that, as the government doubled in size to accommodate feuding parties, so did corruption. Former UN chief Kofi Annan, the chief mediator two years ago, and the Western powers that helped him broker the accord are constantly reminding Kenya of its pledges and sounding alarm bells over impunity and resurgent tribalism. On at least his fifth visit to Kenya since the signing, Annan on Friday again spoke of “concerns and frustrations”. “The international community and the mediation team believed in this agreement more than the Kenyans did,” argued Tom Wolf, a Kenya-based governance consultant and pollster. The incumbent President Kibaki was behind then opposition leader Odinga in opinion polls but surged past his rival in the final stages of a delayed and confused vote-counting process. The internationally-backed commission probing the ballot claimed it could not determine a victor, Annan urged Kenyans not to dwell on the past and some Western diplomats admitted that knowing who won was the last of their concerns. The feuding camps “were forced into marriage without opening the pandora’s box of the election’s real outcome,” Wolf said. A US government-paid exit poll by the International Republican Institute gave Odinga the edge

but was kept secret and a Gallup poll nine months later showed that only 25 percent of Kenyans thought Kibaki had won. As a result, the basis of the power-sharing deal was perceived as being quite different by either side. What was touted at the time as a 50-50 deal Prime Minister Odinga himself now bemoans as a raw deal, with Kibaki’s people holding the interior, justice, finance and foreign affairs portfolios. The dysfunctions of the coalition have been plain to observe since, culminating in Odinga sacking two ministers implicated in graft scandals last month only to see his move vetoed by Kibaki. Wolf argued that the colossal reform wishlist the West slapped on the newly-formed coalition would be “overwhelming for any government, however unified and well-intentioned”. “It was as if Western diplomats were trying to prove they were still relevant. The crisis made them look incompetent because they didn’t predict it,” he said. One of them admitted to shortcomings and also highlighted an undesired sideeffect. “Given other instances in Africa since Kenya, I think we need to look at the message we sent,” said the diplomat on condition of anonymity, referring to political unrest in Zimbabwe and Madagascar. “I think many authoritarian regimes could see the scenario as rather attractive: you want to stay in power so you rig the election, raise the spectre of ethnic violence and wait for a panicked international community to broker a powersharing deal,” the diplomat argued. Despite its poor performance over the past two years, the prospect of the coalition’s collapse following recent skirmishes is met with fear that ethnic strife could be re-ignited. But Mati argued that while they may not manage to agree on substance, Kenya’s foes were happy to keep the shell as it is. “The truth is that Kibaki won’t end it because it would end his presidency, Odinga won’t end it because it’s as prime minister he gets attention and the ministers won’t end it because they have ministries to run and loot,” he said. “It’s almost a perfect conspiracy against the Kenyan people.” — AFP

Al-Qaeda weakness becomes advantage By Michel Moutot


tung by a US-Pakistani crackdown and dwindling manpower, Al-Qaeda is not staging stunning 9/11-style attacks but claiming responsibility for stray strikes on mainly Western targets, analysts say. Although this is a sign of weakness, the new policy shows an ability to adapt which may pose a new danger, they warn. Washington has stepped up drone raids in Pakistan against Islamist militants, who are also facing the heat of a Pakistani military offensive. In the past year US President Barack Obama has put Pakistan at the centre of his fight against Al-Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden’s network is now too busy struggling to survive to organise coordinated attacks in his campaign for a global jihad, or holy war. “Although they are protected by some elements in the Pakistani services, they have a real problem with manpower and means,” said Alain Chouet, the former head of the security wing of France’s external intelligence agency DGSE. “They don’t have enough men, adequate means of communication ... and whenever there is an attack, never mind where, who or when, there are two or three jokers from Pakistan who claim responsibility without any possibility of anyone establishing a clear link,” he said. Although he failed to down a US airliner on Christmas Eve, failed Nigerian suicide bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutalab was hailed as a “hero” by Bin Laden who said his action carried a message. This was that “America should not dream of

security until we enjoy it as a reality in Palestine,” he added. And Palestinian-born major Nidal Hasan, who massacred 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, in November last year, is held up as an example by the Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups for others to follow. French researcher JeanPierre Filiu, whose books include “The Nine Lives of AlQaeda”, said the group was claiming responsibility for attacks staged by individuals “to magnify its toll of victims and its nuisance value”. He said regardless of the extent of the individual’s links to the jihadist movement, there was a tendency to interpret the strike as evidence of a growing “global menace”. Chouet said by systematically claiming responsibility, the group was able to “maintain a certain importance, keep some generous donors and continue to exercise a certain influence while waiting for better times.” The media and Western officials, ready to label any attack linked to radical Islamists as an Al-Qaeda act, were actually helping the group, the two experts said. Isolated operatives were now making the task of intelligence agencies tougher, Filiu said. “It’s when they make contact with an organisation, make trips or establish communication that they can be spotted,” he said. “The real nightmare is the lone wolf because there is nothing to alert.” US director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has cited the Fort Hood massacre as an example of the damage an individual or a small group can inflict if they had the will and the access. — AFP



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Egypt’s neglect of Sinai Sarkozy chides US on bedouins spurs smuggling economy, dominance

Egypt fought a war with Israel to regain control of Sinai, but nearly 40 years later Cairo has an uneasy relationship with the people of the region it suspects is a haven for smuggling and militancy. The feeling of distant unease is mutual. The bedouin, who mostly scratch a living from small plots of poor quality land, grumble about state neglect and say they never reap the jobs or income from the thriving tourist resorts lining Sinai’s coast. Some in the region separated from rump Egypt by the strategic Suez Canal have turned for cash to smuggling goods, weapons and migrants across Sinai’s border with Israel and the blockaded Palestinian enclave of Gaza. Others are turning to militant Islamist ideologies to show their anger with a state some see as almost a foreign power. Authorities blamed a series of bombings several years ago at Red Sea tourist resorts on bedouin with Islamist beliefs. Scattered among the rows of simple sand-coloured houses that seep into the desert surrounding Sheikh Zowayed, in northern Sinai, are a handful of grand villas that tower above them, painted in red and gold and with incongruous Pagoda-style roofs. Bedouin say they are built from the proceeds of smuggling. “It is more than 30 years, and we still have no water or agriculture. There are no jobs and no projects for the youth. We have nothing,” said Mahmoud Sawarka, whose brother heads the Sawarka tribe, one of the biggest bedouin tribes in North Sinai. “That is why many reverted to smuggling to provide a living for themselves and their families.” The government has toughened security in the region to try to stop people from using tunnels to supply Gaza or sneak migrants into Israel. But analysts say such steps are unlikely to halt the smuggling as long as Bedouin feel sidelined and see development focus on tourism, which delivers 11.3 percent of

Egypt’s GDP and one in eight jobs, rather basic amenities in their communities. “Egyptian bureaucracy has looked at Sinai as a border area with only one concern: to increase security measures there. It does not see Sinai as part of Egypt,” said Nabil Abdel Fatah, from the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies. Relations between Bedouin and the Egyptian authorities have long been strained, but tension rose after police detained thousands of young men from Sinai after a series of Sinai resort bombings from 2004 to 2006. Most were freed without charge, but resentment simmers on. Dozens of bedouin women protested at a security office in February demanding the release of relatives they said were still being held. Others protested in January, accusing the government of neglect after flash floods damaged their homes. Roughly 600,000 bedouin from 12 main tribes live in Sinai. In conversation, they express their loyalty to Egypt but then speak of the country as if it were foreign power governing their territory, lost to Israel in 1967 but won back by Egypt after a 1979 peace treaty that followed a 1973 war. “We waited for the Egyptian government for 15 years and when Egypt won the war and regained Sinai, we told ourselves: welcome to the Egyptian government,” said one bedouin who described himself as a “partner” in a tunnel to Gaza. “But what a shame the government dealt with us with the worst kind of treatment,” he said sitting outside his new threestorey villa, letting a handful of sand slip through his fingers to symbolise the state’s indifference. Smuggling is not the only concern. The authorities accused those rounded up after the Sinai bombings of links to militant groups and some bedouin elders say those behind the 2006 bombings had adopted jihadist ideolo-

gies. “There is a deep invasion of the radical Islamist ideology in Sinai, especially after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, with the spread of the jihad ideology and the strong appearance of the Al-Qaeda militant group,” Abdel Fatah said. He said its impact could spread the longer the government turns to a blind eye to the complaints of the bedouin. “Leaving Sinai with many unsolved social problems, no development and in an almost complete political vacuum has only led to increase the problems the government is now suffering.” But he acknowledges it is “still not a big threat”, and other analysts say the Bedouins’ own social structures and character mitigate against a spread of militant thinking. “Bedouin openness and a commitment to their tribal values, that will always come before anything else, will stand against them following a strict Islamist ideology,” Adel Soliman, head of International Centre for Future and Strategic Studies, said. Mohamed El-Kiki, secretary-general of North Sinai governorate, the government’s representatives in the region, denies smuggling or militant Islamist beliefs are on the rise. “Those people are a minority implanted in the area with the aim to insult the reputation of Egypt and the region in general,” he told Reuters. He said the authorities were not neglecting Sinai, although he said investment for the people would not necessarily be fast. “The government and some Egyptian businessmen are working on some developmental and educational projects in Sinai, but they will not be done soon,” Kiki said. Such a statement may not be enough to stem the anger. “There is absolutely no work for citizens in Sinai. And when you have children, what do you do? The government keeps us on the margin,” said bedouin elder Aish Tarabin, head of the Tarabin tribe. — Reuters

Expats bring gain, but challenges too Continued from Page 1 consuming alcohol, a fact they acknowledged, but said in their defence that they had only kissed on the cheek. Now they have had their passports confiscated and have to wait as their case makes its way through the appeals procedure. They should find out in April whether their conviction has been upheld or they are free to leave. It is understandable that many people in the UAE feel they are being swamped. Before the 1968 oil boom, nationals made up some 62 percent of the federation’s population, but now account for just 16.5 percent of an estimated population of six million, officials say. In Dubai, the disparities are even greater. Emiratis make up only around five percent of the two million residents, estimates Chris Davidson, author of a book called “Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success”. “Many nationals now contend that they feel unwelcome in certain parts of the city and often complain that restaurant and hotel managers discriminate against national dress,” writes Davidson. In Dubai, Emiratis entrench themselves in neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the city in order not to have to mingle more than necessary with foreigners, whose customs differ widely from their own. “We are practically living in reservations, and if this abnormal growth

continues at the current rate, in 20 years’ time we’ll end up like the American Indians,” Ketbi says. “We were undergoing natural development until the property boom came along in the past 10 years, and in the attempt to encourage foreign investment, the city became open to everything, including alcohol and prostitution.” On radio talk shows, Emiratis often complain of seeing scantily clad foreigners in public parks and shopping malls, and express concern about how easy it is to buy alcohol. Special permits are required for restaurants and clubs to serve alcohol, and individuals need a permit from the government. But alcohol is still available in almost all hotels and in many restaurants. Foreigners are required to be modestly dressed, but in reality this provision is neither observed nor enforced either. Nightclubs in Dubai can compare to those in major cities around the world, alcohol flows freely at sporting events and restrictions on women’s clothing are almost non-existent. The police do sometimes intervene, however, as they did in the case of a British couple arrested in 2008 accused of having sex on a public beach - a story that made headlines across the globe. Expat Michelle Palmer and tourist Vince Acors were each given a three-month suspended sentence, fined and ordered to be deported. The Britons

denied having sex in public and public indecency, but admitted to being under the influence of alcohol when they were caught on Dubai’s Jumeirah public beach. Their case drew unwanted attention to what has been a fine balancing act of preserving tradition while also allowing in outside influences that can quickly come into open conflict with an ancient and proud culture. “Emiratis are starting to lose much of their identity, and the presence of so many expats leads to unacceptable behaviour that does not conform to our traditions,” says Emirati writer and academic Abdel Khalek Abdullah. “What arouses UAE concern is the massive influx of foreigners due to very rapid economic growth. If officials do not take bold steps, the social costs of this frantic economic development will be much greater than any economic benefits.” Abdullah thinks that “the government must review its development strategy and reduce the proportion of its ambitious growth,” which may have slowed in Dubai today but is still rampant in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi. According to author Davidson, the worldwide economic crisis has caused anger over foreigners’ customs and behaviour to be more widely expressed. “The resentment nationals feel about foreigners is becoming more public,” he believes. “Two or three years ago, no one really cared.” — AFP

French leader urges new world finance rules NEW YORK: France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy called yesterday for US economic reforms, and in comments echoing FrancoAmerican spats of the past, said Washington cannot “run the world” alone. The French leader used a visit to New York, where he met with students at Columbia University, to deliver what he called “home truths” to his hosts. Sarkozy, accompanied by his wife Carla Bruni, a former supermodel, was in New York a day before meeting President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington yesterday. With his popularity diving at home and his party reeling from defeat in regional elections, the US visit is seen as a chance for Sarkozy to regain momentum. Sarkozy has generally worked hard to rebuild ties with Washington, but his comments to Columbia students recalled a more prickly past. Saying “there is no single country in the 21st century that can run the world alone,” he urged the United States to join Europe in “inventing the rules for the economy of tomorrow.” Reiterating traditional European skepticism of US economic free markets, he said: “We need the great American people to understand that the absence of rules kills liberty.” “The world economic regulations cannot go on as they are. We can’t accept a capitalist system without rules any more,” he added. Lack of rules, he said, “will be the death of capitalism.” Sarkozy said he would discuss with Obama ways to stabilize commodities markets and to define “a new international monetary order”. “The dollar is not the only currency in the world,” he said. While he was careful to lavish praise on Obama, he appeared to have a less upbeat view of ordinary US citizens, pleading with them “not to lag behind” behind their Democratic president on financial regulations, defense and the environment. Even his congratulations for Obama’s hard-fought victory in pushing healthcare reform through a divided Congress came laced with criticism. “Welcome to the club of coun-

NEW YORK: French President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks at the World Leaders Forum at Columbia University yesterday. — AP tries that does not dump its sick people,” Sarkozy said. “But if you want me to be sincere, seen from Europe, when we see the US debate on healthcare reform, we find it hard to believe.” France, he noted, had “resolved” the healthcare problem half a century ago. Meanwhile, Sarkozy urged worldwide support for Russia following the deaths of 38 people in two suicide bombings in the Moscow metro. The French president said the attacks were no different to the terrorist attacks of Sept

11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people, most of them in New York. “Do you think there’s a fundamental difference between the lunatics who blew up innocent victims in the Moscow metro and the insane people who flew planes into the Twin Towers of New York?” he asked. “When New York was attacked, all the world’s democracies were attacked. And when Moscow is attacked, we are all attacked,” Sarkozy said. The direct comparison between 9/11 and Monday’s rush hour suicide bombings in

Moscow was unusual for a Western leader. The West has regularly condemned bombings and other terrorist attacks in Russia, many of them carried out by militants linked to Chechen rebels. However, Western capitals have also been deeply critical of Russia’s anti-insurgency campaigns in Chechnya and other areas of the mostly Muslim North Caucasus over the last 15 years, in which tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and thousands have disappeared or been tortured. — AFP

Rio four handed ‘harsh’ jail terms Moscow metro blasts kill 38 Continued from Page 1 Dagestan and Ingushetia, where Islamist militancy overlaps with clan rivalries, criminal gangs and widespread poverty. HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah sent a cable to Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev yesterday expressing condolences. Sheikh Sabah stressed Kuwait’s condemnation of all kinds of terror acts that kill and injure innocent victims and compromise stability and peace in this and other friendly nations. HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah sent similar cables. The chief of the FSB, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, said: “Body parts belonging to two female suicide bombers were found ... and according to initial data, these persons are linked to the North Caucasus.” Yesterday’s metro attacks are likely to turn the North Caucasus into a major political issue. Critics said the attacks demonstrated the failure of Kremlin policy in Chechnya, where human rights groups accuse Russian forces of brutality. “They are simply beasts,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said of the bombers after laying a bouquet of red roses on the platform of one of the metro stations. “We will find and destroy them all.” The first blast tore through a metro train just before 8 am as it stood at the Lubyanka station, close to the headquarters of the FSB. It killed at least 23 people. A second blast, less than 40 minutes later in a train waiting at the Park Kultury metro station, opposite Gorky Park, killed 12 more people, emergencies ministry officials said. Another three people died in hospital. Reuters photographers saw body bags being brought out of both stations. Some of the wounded were airlifted to hospitals in helicopters and central Moscow was brought to a standstill as police closed off major roads. “It was very scary. I saw a dead body,” said Valentin Popov, a 19-yearold student travelling on a train to the Park Kultury station, told Reuters.

“Everyone was screaming. There was a stampede at the doors. I saw one woman holding a child and pleading with people to let her through, but it was impossible.” US President Barack Obama condemned the bombings as did European Union leaders. “The American people stand united with the people of Russia in opposition to violent extremism and heinous terrorist attacks that demonstrate such disregard for human life, and we condemn these outrageous acts,” Obama said. The Russian rouble fell sharply on the bombings, but later regained ground, with traders arguing the bombs were unlikely to undermine the strength of the currency. “The Russian stock market is more than stable, the rouble is stable,” said Anatoly Darakov, head of Russian equity trading at Citi in Moscow. “It’s not the first blast in Moscow.” Eye witnesses spoke of panic after the blasts, which ripped through stations just a few kilometres from the Kremlin. “I was in the middle of the train when somewhere in the first or second carriage there was a loud blast. I felt the vibrations reverberate through my body,” an unidentified man who was on a train at Park Kultury told RIA news agency. Surveillance camera footage posted on the Internet showed several motionless bodies lying on the floor or slumped against the wall in Lubyanka station lobby and emergency workers crouched over victims, trying to treat them. Alexandra Antonova, an editor for the RIANovosti news agency, said she was on a train which had just pulled out of Lubyanka when the blast went off. “The loud boom stuffed up my ears. But the train didn’t stop. Nobody had time to understand what had happened,” Antonova said. The current death toll makes it the worst attack on Moscow since Feb 2004, when a suicide bombing killed at least 39 people and wounded more than 100 on a metro train. Chechen rebels were blamed for that attack. Rebel leader Doku Umarov, fighting for an Islamic emirate embracing the whole region, vowed last month to take the war to Russian cities. “Blood will no longer be limited to our (Caucasus) cities and towns. The war is coming to their cities,” the Chechen rebel leader said in an

Continued from Page 1 interview on an Islamist website. Jonathan Eyal, of London’s Royal United Services Institute, saw a personal challenge to Putin, who remains the chief power in the land. “This is a direct affront to Vladimir Putin, whose entire rise to power was built on his pledge to crush the enemies of Russia ... It’s an affront to his muscular image,” Eyal said. The Chechen rebellion began in the 1990s as a largely ethnic nationalist movement, fired by a sense of injustice over the 1940s transportation of Chechens to Central Asia, with enormous loss of life, by dictator Josef Stalin. Largely since the second war, Russian officials say, Islamic militants from outside Russia have joined the campaign, lending it a new intensity. Dozens of contributors to three websites affiliated with Al-Qaeda wrote comments in praise of Monday’s attacks. One site opened a special page to “receive congratulations” for the Chechen rebels who “started the dark tunnel attacks in the apostate countries,” and all wished for God to accept the two sisters as martyrs. “Don’t forget Russia’s crimes of genocide in the Caucasus and Chechnya,” said one writer. “The battle has been shifted to the heart of Moscow,” another wrote. New York’s transit system beefed up security as a precaution following the Moscow bombings. A spokesman for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Kevin Ortiz, said the agency has a “heightened security presence,” but declined further comment. The agency is in charge of New York City buses and subways, as well as suburban trains, and bridges and tunnels. In London and Madrid, two other cities that have suffered transit system terror attacks, officials said there were no immediate plans to tighten security. At 4 pm, the two Moscow subway stations reopened and dozens boarded the waiting trains. “It’s really terrifying,” said Vasily Vlastinin, 16. “It’s become dangerous to ride the metro, but I’ll keep taking the metro. You have to get to school, to college, to work somehow.” Both stations had been scrubbed clean. Holes left by shrapnel in the granite were the only reminder of the day’s tragic bombings. — Agencies

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith protested over Hu’s bribery sentence and said there were “serious unanswered questions” about the trial’s industrial spying portion, from which Australian diplomats were shut out. While insisting the ruling would not affect Australia’s ties with China, its top trading partner, Smith told reporters: “On any measure this was a very tough sentence. I feel very much for Stern Hu and his family. Whilst we do not condone bribery in any way I think the sentence, on any measure, is harsh.” Judge Liu described the sentences as “light”. The four appeared before the court in civilian rather than prison clothing, with Hu wearing a dark blue windbreaker. His

normally dyed-black hair was white and he showed no reaction as the judge delivered his sentence. The Rio employees were arrested last July during the contentious iron ore contract talks between top mining companies and the steel industry in China, the world’s largest consumer of the raw material. Before the global financial crisis, small private steel companies in China were locked out of buying iron ore from Rio because the mining giant prioritised large state-run steel companies. When the crisis hit in Sept 2008, demand for iron ore plummeted and the smaller players paid bribes “to squeeze into the club and join the buyers”, Hu’s lawyer Jin Chunqing said. The judges ruled the four had stolen trade secrets including the minutes of a China

Iron and Steel Association meeting and information on output cuts by Chinese steel giant Shougang. The court named Sinochem International, Shougang and wealthy steel tycoon Du Shuanghua as among those who had paid bribes. Rio moved quickly to fire the four upon their conviction, with iron ore chief executive Sam Walsh describing their behaviour as “deplorable”. Rio chief executive Tom Albanese said he was “determined” not to allow the case to “prevent Rio Tinto from continuing to build its important relationship with China”. Lawyers for Liu and Wang said their clients were likely to appeal. The defence team for Hu - who was fined 500,000 yuan by the court - said they needed to discuss the verdict with their client. — AFP

Door to afterlife dug up in Egypt Continued from Page 1 mortuary temple near Luxor in southern Egypt. User held the position of vizier for 20 years, also acquiring the titles of prince and mayor of the city, according to the inscriptions. He may have inherited his position from his father. Viziers in ancient Egypt were

powerful officials tasked with the day-today running of the kingdom’s complex bureaucracy. As a testament to his importance, User had his own tomb on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor, where royal kings and queens were also buried. A chapel dedicated to him has also been discovered further south in the hills near

Aswan. The stone itself was long way from its tomb and had apparently been removed from the grave and then incorporated into the wall of a Roman-era building, more than a thousand years later. False doors were placed in the west walls of tombs and faced offering tables where food and drink were left for the spirit of the deceased. – AP

Barrak calls for firing KAC chief Continued from Page 1 Busairi told the National Assembly last month that he formed a five-member investigation committee to launch a probe into the affairs of KAC, which is expected to be transformed into a private company within one year. The committee was formed as the Assembly’s budgets committee refused to approve the closing financial statements for the previous four fiscal years for KAC, which indicate that the state-owned carrier has posted accumulated losses of between KD 150200 million. In another development, the financial and economic affairs committee yesterday delayed a decision on the projects and financial allocations for the first of the four-year development plan.

Rapporteur of the committee MP Abdulrahman Al-Anjari said that the panel decided to meet with Deputy Premier and Housing and Development Minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahd Al-Sabah before making its decision. Out of around KD 30 billion in spending allocated for the next four years, the government has allocated around KD 4.7 billion for the first year starting April 1. A further KD 2.5 billion will be raised by the private sector, according to the plan. Also, the head of the educational committee MP Salwa Al-Jassar said yesterday that Education Minister Modhi AlHumoud told the committee that all ministry officials suspected of leaking part of the questions of the higher secondary examination have been referred to the public prosecution. The minister also

said that the decision was taken after forming an investigation committee which probed the matter, Jassar added. Meanwhile, MPs Dhaifallah Buramia and Adel Al-Saraawi issued contradictory statements about the employment of bedoons, or stateless Arabs, whose mothers are Kuwaiti, as teachers in the ministry of education. Buramia warned the education minister against appointing expatriates in positions that can be filled by bedoons and called on the minister to stop “playing with the feelings of these bedoons and their mothers”. On his part, Saraawi warned the ministry against employing such bedoons, saying that such action is a clear violation of the country’s laws and regulations because bedoons are considered to be illegal residents in the eyes of the law.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Sunday: Calgary 5, Washington 3; Pittsburgh 5, Toronto 4 (SO); St. Louis 2, Edmonton 1; Philadelphia 5, New Jersey 1; Columbus 4, Chicago 2; San Jose 4, Colorado 3. (So indicates shootout win) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF GA PTS Pittsburgh 44 25 7 237 217 95 New Jersey 44 26 5 203 183 93 Philadelphia 38 32 6 221 210 82 NY Rangers 33 32 10 197 203 76 NY Islanders 31 34 10 196 232 72 Northeast Division Buffalo 41 23 10 212 187 92 Ottawa 41 30 5 205 216 87 Montreal 37 31 8 204 208 82 Boston 34 28 12 188 186 80 Toronto 28 35 13 202 250 69 Southeast Division Washington 49 15 11 292 214 109 Atlanta 33 30 12 223 236 78 Tampa Bay 30 33 12 197 237 72 Florida 30 33 11 193 217 71 Carolina 31 35 9 206 235 71 Western Conference Central Division Chicago 46 21 7 241 191 99 Nashville 43 27 6 211 210 92 Detroit 39 23 13 207 197 91 St. Louis 36 30 9 203 205 81 Columbus 31 32 13 205 244 75 Northw est Division Vancouver 45 26 4 244 195 94 Colorado 41 27 7 225 207 89 Calgary 38 29 9 194 193 85 Minnesota 36 33 6 205 224 78 Edmonton 24 44 7 190 255 55 Pacific Division San Jose 47 19 10 247 198 104 Phoenix 47 23 6 210 187 100 Los Angeles 42 26 6 216 199 90 Dallas 33 28 14 215 235 80 Anaheim 35 31 8 208 226 78 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

SAN JOSE: Kevin Porter No. 32 of the Colorado Avalanche scores a goal against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion.— AFP

Flames bring down Capitals WASHINGTON: The desperate Calgary Flames posted one of their most impressive victories of the season, scoring four goals in the first period of a 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday. The Flames temporarily delayed the Capitals’ bid to secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Washington secured that, anyway, later in the day when New Jersey lost at Philadelphia. Calgary, ninth in the Western Conference, salvaged a three-game road trip that began with two losses. Ales Kotalik, Ian White, Jay Bouwmeester, Niklas Hagman and Rene Bourque scored for the

Flames. Miikka Kiprusoff made 31 saves. Alex Ovechkin got his 46th goal for Washington and added an assist to reach the 100-point mark for the fourth time in a season in his five-year NHL career. Penguins 5, Leafs 4 At Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby scored twice and teammate Pascal Dupuis added shootout tallies as the Penguins rallied to beat Toronto. The home team trailed 4-3 until Matt Cooke deflected defenseman Brooks Orpik’s slap shot from the right point with 3:48 remaining in regulation. Orpik had his

first three-point game by also assisting on Crosby’s NHL-leading 46th and 47th goals. Tyler Kennedy also scored as the Penguins moved ahead of New Jersey for the Atlantic Division lead and the likely No. 2 seeding in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Flyers 5, Devils 1 At Philadelphia, Brian Boucher stopped 32 shots as slumping Philadelphia broke out with a rout of New Jersey. Matt Carle, Ville Leino, Kimmo Timonen, Lukas Krajicek and Simon Gagne scored for Philadelphia, which beat the Devils for the fifth time in six meetings this season.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored the lone goal for New Jersey, which dropped two points behind Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Division. Martin Brodeur allowed four goals on 19 shots. The Flyers had dropped five straight and seven of eight, putting their seemingly secure playoff chances in jeopardy. Philadelphia scored more than three goals for the first time in 15 games. Philadelphia jumped from eighth in the Eastern Conference to sixth. Blue Jackets 4, Blackhawks 2 At Chicago, Jakub Voracek had two goals

and an assist, while Steve Mason made 33 saves to lead Columbus over the hosts. Andrew Murray and Mike Commodore also scored for Columbus, which beat Central Division-leading Chicago for the second time in four days. Blues 2, Oilers 1 At St. Louis, Keith Tkachuk scored the winning goal on his 38th birthday, and the Blues maintained slim playoff hopes with a victory over Edmonton. Tkachuk’s 13th goal of the season was his first in 15 games and broke a 1-1 deadlock 7:36 into the third period.

Sharks 4, Avalanche 3 At San Jose, Devin Setoguchi had two goals as the Sharks won despite the absence injured leading scorer Joe Thornton. Thornton, tops on the team with 66 assists and 85 points, sat out Sunday after being knocked out in the second period of Saturday’s win over Vancouver. Thornton had played in 398 consecutive games. San Jose has a four-point lead over Phoenix in the race for the Pacific Division title. Colorado, the eighth-place team in the West, leads Calgary by four points at the postseason cutoff line. —AP

Dos Anjos hopes to strike a blow for MMA’s image

MELBOURNE: Renault Formula One driver Vitaly Petrov of Russia spins off the track during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. —AP

Australia GP thrills to silence F1 doubters MELBOURNE: The Australian Grand Prix delivered enough thrills and spills to quieten demands for more rule changes to Formula One, revving up a championship that seemed stuck in first gear at Bahrain’s dull seasonopener. While nature played a part, dousing Albert Park’s tight and bumpy street circuit with rain minutes before the start, hardfought racing and brilliant strategy decided the outcome. With Bahrain’s race turning into a procession and largely decided at qualifying, some critics had called for a second mandatory pitstop or less durable tyre compounds to add spice and unpredictability. “I’m glad that we haven’t really jumped to too many conclusions or ideas because I think this race was a great race,” said McLaren’s Jenson Button, whose early decision to change to slicks on the still-greasy track proved a masterstroke. “Overtaking cars on the circuit and watching on the screen with a lot of action going on is great.” Formula One officials had hoped the ban on refuelling might bring drama to the latter stage of races, with drivers on worn tyres forced to hold off those catching up on fresher ones. Those hopes seemed to come to fruition

MELBOURNE: Red Bull Formula One driver Mark Webber of Australia pulls into pit lane during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. — AP in a breathless climax in Melbourne, as a clutch of cars caught Renault driver Robert Kubica and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa in a lastditch skirmish for podium places. Whether the visual feast can continue in Malaysia this weekend, however, will be of major interest to F1 officials.

Overtaking, virtually unseen at Sakhir in round one, remains no less difficult and another lifeless procession at Sepang will inevitably re-open the debate. “(With the new rules) you’ve got a much smaller front tyre so mechanically you have less grip,” world champion Button added.

“So when you lose the downforce by following other cars you have less grip, so I think (overtaking) is more difficult this year.” Button’s 12-second victory elevated him to third in the championship behind leader Fernando Alonso, and lifted McLaren to second in the constructors standings 16 points behind Ferrari. However, the result should not be construed as a watershed, Button cautioned, the McLaren car still lagging its main rivals for pace. “Now we’ve just got to look at improving the car, because (pace) in qualifying is something we’re lacking a little bit,” he said. “It’s an area we desperately need to work on. “So when you can get good points finishes like (in Melbourne), it really does mean a lot to you when you don’t have a car you think is quick enough really to win races every weekend.” With Red Bull’s pace in qualifying the envy of their rivals, German driver Sebastian Vettel’s second reliability failure in two races is particularly galling. After being robbed of a podium finish in Bahrain due to a spark plug problem, a wheel malfunction put the 22-year-old into the gravel in Melbourne.— Reuters

SINGAPORE: Like gladiators battling in the blood and roar of the Colosseum, Rafael dos Anjos believes mixed martial arts (MMA) makes compulsive viewing because it taps into the human survival instinct. Brazilian dos Anjos, who will fight Terry Etim in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s April 10 event in Abu Dhabi, told Reuters in an interview that MMA’s rapid global growth could see it become the biggest sport in the world within a few years. The 25-year-old is putting the finishing touches to his training at the Evolve MMA Academy in Singapore, where world champions in Brazilian jiujitsu, Muay Thai and boxing are intent on turning him into an unbeatable human weapon. “Fighting is something that every human being can understand,” dos Anjos said. “Other sports are very country or region specific, but fighting is global-and it has been since the beginning of time. “The cavemen fought for leadership and food. The Roman gladiators fought for honour and glory. Fighting is genetically wired in every human being because it is the survival instinct.” Dos Anjos won his spot in the lucrative UFC after stringing together a nine-fight winning run in smaller organisations, inflicting defeat on Japanese and fellow Brazilian opponents with a variety of vicious locks and chokes. In search of a 10th consecutive win, dos Anjos made his much-heralded UFC debut against Jeremy Stephens in a fight still remembered as having one of the most stunning knockouts in MMA history. Dos Anjos, however, was the one knocked out. “I was sad for about three days after the Stephens fight,” he recalled. “And then it was business as usual for me. In the fight game, you have to take the good with the bad and not let it get to your head.” A loss to Tyson Griffin in his second UFC fight prompted speculation he would be cut from the organisa-

tion, but two impressive wins over Rob Emerson and Kyle Bradley have thrust him back into the spotlight. Beating Etim in Abu Dhabi would confirm him as a genuine contender and edge him closer to some of the leading names in the lightweight division such as BJ Penn and Shinya Aoki. Dos Anjos, all tattoos and toughness with the misshapen, mangled ears of a fighter, has no doubts his decision to finish his preparations in Singapore will pay dividends. He goes to work on an unfortunate heavy bag, making it grunt and yelp and jerk backwards with a flurry of elbows, punches and cruel kicks. In the cage, sparring partner Leandro “Brodinho” Issa blocked, braced, ducked and dodged as a barrage of blows rained down. The air whistles from his lungs as dos Anjos spikes him to the mat with a mighty takedown. Slipping seamlessly from submission to submission, dos Anjos rehearses the end game, how he will force Etim’s surrender. “I’ve been training so that this fight doesn’t go to the third round,” he said. “We’ll probably fight standing up but I’m hoping to bring the fight to the ground so I can use jiujitsu, which is my strength.” Dos Anjos smiled as he spoke of his contentment with life as a fighter. The risk of serious injury did not seem to weigh heavily on his shoulders. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t dangerous. But I am a highly trained, professional athlete. So no, I don’t really think about the dangers of the sport,” he said. The financial security of his contract had allowed him to focus fully on fighting. “A while ago I had to separate my life, I couldn’t really train, I had to do other jobs,” he added. “Now I can dedicate myself to fighting 100 percent, which I love. Now I do what I like and I wake up happy everyday to go to work, but it’s not really work because I have so much fun doing it.”— Reuters



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Randhawa eyes SAIL Open on favorite hunting ground NEW DELHI: Indian stalwart Jyoti Randhawa hopes a return to one of his favourite hunting grounds will lead him to victory at the SAIL Open which tees off today. Randhawa, Asia’s number one in 2002, has won four Asian Tour titles at the venerable Delhi Golf Club and is confident of adding more silverware here this week. Among the other top players tipped to sparkle include defending champion

Chapchai Nirat of Thailand, Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing, Australian Marcus Both and Indian rising star Gaganjeet Bhullar. Such is the depth of the field that Randhawa is one of 28 Asian Tour winners featuring at the venerable golf club and he hopes to put his knowledge of the course to good use. “I have played this golf course many times. I know how to play it and that certainly helps. I would say it will give me an advan-

tage over the others,” said Randhawa ahead of the unusual Tuesday start, which was requested by organisers. Having successfully defended his Hero Honda Indian Open crown in 2007 on the same course, Randhawa believes that astute course management will be key to victory this week. “This is a unique golf course that you won’t find anywhere around the world,” he said. “It is very penalizing if you don’t hit the

fairway. The fairways are wide but you’ve got to plan your shots carefully. You can’t just take out your driver and hit it everywhere. It is going to be interesting.” Big-hitting Chapchai, who set a new world 72-hole scoring record of 32-under-par 256 enroute to victory last year albeit on a different course, is upbeat about his defence. “It will be down to irons and three woods this week. It will be very tough for golfers but I’m confident of my chances,” said the

three-time Asian Tour winner. “My season started slowly earlier in the year but my form has improved. “I tried to make some swing changes after my victory at the SAIL Open last year but I couldn’t get use to it. My swing is feeling more comfortable now and I’m confident of doing well,” he added. Bhullar, 21, got his year off to a flying start when he won the season-opening Asian Tour International in Bangkok and he hopes

to follow in the footsteps of Randhawa, whom he rates as one of India’s golfing legends. “This golf course is very prestigious for all Indian golfers and it gives us the opportunity to do well,” he said. “It won’t be easy especially with Jyoti in the field. He is a legend in India and has won here many times. But I’m in good shape and my form is up there, so I’m looking forward to this week.”— AFP

Els faces tricky finish after Bay Hill storm

BAY HILL: Ernie Els of South Africa turns away from sand spray after hitting from the bunker on the 13th fairway during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament. — AP

Seo wins Kia Classic CARLSBAD: South Korea’s Hee Kyung Seo won the inaugural Kia Classic for her first LPGA Tour title Sunday, closing with a 2-under 70 for a six-stroke victory in a final round marked by Michelle Wie’s latest rules gaffe. Seo received one of the three sponsor’s exemptions to get into the tournament, her sixth on the LPGA Tour. The 23-year-old Seo, an 11-time winner on the Korean women’s tour, now has the option to become an LPGA Tour member this or next season. After opening with a 70 at La Costa, Seo had rounds of 67, 69 and 70 for a 12-under 276 total. South Koreans swept the top four spots, with Inbee Park (65) finishing second

at 6 under, and Jiyai Shin (70) and Jee Young Lee (70) sharing third at 5 under. Seo said she’ll probably finish the season on the Korean tour and think about joining the LPGA Tour in the offseason. Regardless, she’s in the field for the season’s first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship next week in Rancho Mirage, based on her spot on the KLPGA money list last year. Wie was penalized two strokes for grounding her club in a hazard after hitting out of the water near the 11th green, giving her a double-bogey 7. She was notified of the penalty by LPGA Tour rules official Doug Brecht a few holes later. At the time, she was five strokes behind Seo. Wie ended up

with a 72 to tie for fifth at 4 under. “It just doesn’t seem right,” Wie told Brecht on the course. After her round, Wie went to a TV truck to review video with officials. “They interpreted it differently than what I felt,” Wie said. “I knew I did ground the club. At the same time I knew that I felt off-balance. I closed my eyes and hit the shot and grounded my club so I wouldn’t fall into the water while wearing a white skirt. “I accept it,” she added, speaking with reporters a few feet off the 18th green just as Seo was about to receive her trophy. “I accept the fact that it was a penalty stroke if you ground a club. But the fact is I felt like I was off balance. That’s why I grounded the club. That’s a rule so there’s nothing I can do about it.” Wie has run up against golf’s rule book a number of times. In her first pro tournament, the 2005 Samsung World Championship, she took a penalty drop for an unplayable lie during her third round. At the end of the tournament, officials ruled she made her drop at the wrong place, should have taken a two-shot penalty and disqualified her for signing an incorrect card. “It’s always the kind of thing like, ‘Oh, it always happens to me,”‘ Wie said Sunday, “but it’s Murphy’s Law, I guess.” Asked about Wie’s troubles, Seo said: “No, I didn’t care about that.” —AP

ORLANDO: Leader Ernie Els faces a tricky four-hole finish to the weather-hit Arnold Palmer Invitational when play resumes on Monday after he dropped three strokes just before a storm hit Bay Hill on Sunday. “I’ll be thinking about it all night. It won’t be a very peaceful night I don’t think but I am going to come out and get it done somehow,” Els told reporters. The South African has a twoshot lead over Kevin Na and was on the 15th hole when the storms moved in and officials called the players off the course. Play was abandoned for the day around three hours later at 1730 local time and the tournament was scheduled to resume late yesterday. Els, looking for his second straight win on the PGA Tour, was perfectly poised for a comfortable victory after moving five shots clear after a birdie at the 12th but on the next hole he went from fairway bunker to water and doubled bogeyed the par-four 13th. “I was maybe too aggressive on my drive. I wanted to get it close to the green and I got the bunker, I had a good lie but the bunkers are a little softer than we are used to and I caught a little too much sand,” said Els. He found sand again on the par-three 14th and had to two-putt for another bogey after Na closed in with birdies on the 11th and 12th. “Not a very nice way to go into a bit of a break. But I’ve got a twoshot lead. I started the day with a one-shot lead and I have two now. “Obviously, I am not totally at ease with myself right now, I’m a little angry or disappointed but there is still work to be done and I’ve got to get it done,” he added. Organisers had brought tee times forward and sent out the players in groups of three rather than pairs in a bid to finish the tournament before the storm arrived-but the thunder and lightning came an hour earlier than hoped. Americans Chris Couch and Ben Curtis, who were in the final group with Els, had been on the South African’s tail at the start but Couch bogeyed the 11th and 13th and Curtis had bogeys at eight and nine. The pair were joined on eight under by Els’s compatriot Retief Goosen while Italian Edoardo Molinari and American Kevin Streelman were a further shot back. World number three Phil Mickelson had another disappointing day after he triple-bogeyed the third hole, taking two penalties for balls hit into the water. The lefthander was five over for the round to finish two over for the tournament. — Reuters

Oosthuizen, Choi earn Masters spot

CARLSBAD: Hee Kyung Seo of South Korea holds the trophy after the final round of the Kia Classic presented by J Golf at La Costa Resort and Spa. — AFP

ORLANDO: Louis Oosthuizen and K.J. Choi were among five players to move into the top 50 in the world rankings and earn a spot in the Masters, which could have its largest field in 44 years. Oosthuizen, the 27-year-old South African who lost a 54-hole lead a week ago in Morocco, won his first European Tour event Sunday at the Andalucia Open in Spain. He earned enough points to move into the top 50. Choi closed with a 1-over 73 and was tied for 17th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational when the final round was suspended by weather. Choi, who moved up to No. 48 with his runner-up finish a week ago at Innisbrook, will stay in the top 50. Augusta National takes the top 50 players in the world ranking to be published Monday. The only other way to qualify now is for someone not already eligible to

win the Houston Open next week. The other three players to qualify for the Masters through the world ranking are Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, Alvaro Quiros of Spain and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand. The invitations will not be official until the Arnold Palmer Invitational ends. With the addition of five players, the field is expected to be at least 98 players. That does not include two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal, whose manager said last week he was suffering from rheumatism and would not play this year. It would be the largest field since 103 players competed in the 1966 Masters. Of the four majors, the Masters has the smallest field. Only three times since it began in 1934 has the field topped 100 players, with the largest coming in 1962 when 109 players competed. — AP

Fred Couples in action at the Cap Cana Championship

Couples pulls away for Champions Tour win CAP CANA: Fred Couples won his third straight Champions Tour start, closing with a course-record 10under 62 on Sunday for a two-stroke victory over Corey Pavin in the Cap Cana Championship. The 50-year-old Couples, the first player in Champions Tour history to win three of his first four tournaments, had a 21-under 195 total on the Jack Nicklaus-designed Punta Espada course. Couples is the eighth Champions Tour player to win three straight starts, leaving him one behind the tour record set by Chi Chi Rodriguez in 1987. “It was an unbelievable day,” said Couples, who made five consecutive birdies from the second hole. “The first six or seven holes, there was an eagle, birdies and putts going in from everywhere.” Pavin shot a 66 and finished second at 197, losing the lead after his second shot hit a greenside sprinkler head and bounced 60 yards over the 14th green. Russ Cochran (67) finished in third at 202, a stroke ahead of Nick Price, Bernhard Langer and Tom Pernice. When Couples joined the Champions Tour this year, most predicted success befitting a 15-time PGA Tour winner and Masters champion. Judging from his first four events, those expectations

were right. Couples earned $240,000 here and raised his yearly winnings to $931,000 in four events — leading the money list by a margin of $431,000. Couples began the day two strokes behind Pavin and one behind Nick Price. Pavin lost the lead for good after the 14th hole. “I did a lot of things that were very good out there today,” said Pavin, who made an eagle with a chip-in at the par-5 sixth hole to tie for the lead, five birdies and one bogey, “and one bad break does not make a tournament, but it doesn’t help any.” Couples, Price and Pavin lit up a defenseless course for the third day in a row. In the opening nine holes, they made 11 birdies and an eagle. Couples ran off five more birdies in a row from the 1115 and maintained a one-shot lead over Pavin when both birdied the par-5 15th. Of his birdies, only one came from outside 30 feet and eight came from inside 15 or less. A final birdie at the par-4 17th, coupled with three Pavin pars to end the round, signaled a two-stroke victory for Couples. “I had a great stretch of golf in 1992,” said Couples, who won three tournaments, including the Masters, in a two month period then. “But I must say that these four weeks on the Champions Tour I’m not missing many shots.” Couples plays next week at the Shell Houston Open and then the Masters the following week. — AP

Contador suffers rare upset PORTO VECCHIO: Twice Tour de France champion Alberto Contador missed out on an opportunity to intimidate bitter rival and former team mate Lance Armstrong when he suffered a rare upset at the Criterium International. The Spaniard cracked during the final ascent in Saturday’s hilly opening stage, citing allergy problems, and although Armstrong still finished far behind, he was not impressed. “I was not going to compete with him,” said the American, who was a member of the Astana team last season with Contador. “I know that, he knows that, you know that. There is no mystery there, no surprise. Asked if they were in speaking terms, Armstrong laughed: “Hmmm, I don’t know.” Despite his frosty relationship with Contador, the seven-times Tour champion looked relaxed as he soaked up the sun at the Porto Vecchio bay after Sunday’s final time trial. But after finishing 47th overall in the two-day race, Armstrong knew he was way off his peak form three months before the start of the Tour de France in Rotterdam on July 3. Contador, who started the competition saying he had no message for Armstrong, made up for Saturday’s mishap by taking second place in the final time trial, 17 seconds ahead of Armstrong. “Seventeen seconds was enough but we should not give too much importance to that,” Contador told Reuters. He had expected to deliver more on Saturday. “Just before it was time for him to attack he felt his legs were not responding,” Astana team manager Yvon Sanquer told Reuters. “He could not breathe well, he had an allergy problem so he preferred to let go.” Armstrong was unsympathetic and felt Contador’s gamble to compete in the two-day Corsica race-

BAY HILL: Ernie Els of South Africa turns away from sand spray after hitting from the bunker on the 13th fairway during the final round of the Arnold Palmer which also featured the Americaninstead of his usual stop at the Tour of Catalunya failed to pay off. “If it was a provocation (against me), then it backfired. If it was a simple schedule change because this race suited him better then that was his prerogative,” said Armstrong. “I expected him to be super yesterday,” the 38-year-old added, declining to elaborate on Contador’s allergy problem. “I don’t know the problem, but it did not work out.”

The next showdown between Armstrong and Contador is likely to be at the Tour unless they both opt to compete at the one-week races in June. “There are two options there, the Dauphine and the Tour of Switzerland, so it might be that there’s not another confrontation before July,” said Armstrong, who finished more than five minutes behind Contador in last year’s Tour. “The drama is good... but what matters is what starts in Rotterdam.” — Reuters


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


NBA results/standings NBA results and standings on Sunday. Cleveland 97, Sacramento 90; Milwaukee 108, Memphis 103 (OT); Atlanta 94, Indiana 84; Chicago 110, Detroit 103; Miami 97, Toronto 94; Orlando 103, Denver 97; Phoenix 111, Minnesota 105; Portland 92, Oklahoma City 87; San Antonio 94, Boston 73; Golden State 121, LA Clippers 103. (OT indicates overtime win) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Boston 47 26 .644 Toronto 35 37 .486 11.5 NY Knicks 26 46 .361 20.5 Philadelphia 26 47 .356 21 New Jersey 9 64 .123 38 Central Division Cleveland 58 16 .784 Milwaukee 40 32 .556 17 Chicago 35 38 .479 22.5 Indiana 27 47 .365 31 Detroit 23 50 .315 34.5 Southeast Division Orlando 52 22 .703 Atlanta 47 26 .644 4.5 Miami 40 34 .541 12 Charlotte 38 34 .528 13 Washington 21 51 .292 30 Western Conference Northwest Division Denver 48 26 .649 Utah 48 26 .649 Oklahoma City 44 28 .611 3 Portland 45 29 .608 3 Minnesota 14 60 .189 34 Pacific Division LA Lakers 54 19 .740 Phoenix 47 26 .644 7 LA Clippers 27 46 .370 27 Sacramento 24 50 .324 30.5 Golden State 21 52 .288 33 Southwest Division Dallas 48 25 .658 San Antonio 44 28 .611 3.5 Memphis 38 35 .521 10 Houston 36 36 .500 11.5 New Orleans 34 40 .459 14.5

LOS ANGELES: Golden State Warriors guard CJ Watson (left) reaches in on Los Angeles Clippers guard Rasual Butler during the first half of their NBA basketball game. —AP

Magic pound Nuggets, Spurs see off Celtics ORLANDO: JJ Redick had 23 points and career highs of eight assists and seven rebounds in place of an injured Vince Carter as he helped the Orlando Magic beat the Denver Nuggets 103-97 on Sunday night. Redick played a career-high 46 minutes after Carter injured his right big toe. The Magic also got a big boost with 19 points from reserve Ryan Anderson for their 13th win in the last 15 games. Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and eight rebounds, and Chauncey Billups finished with 18 points for the struggling Nuggets, who have lost four of their past five games. Spurs 94, Celtics 73 At Boston, Manu Ginobili scored 28 points, and Richard Jefferson had 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead San Antonio over the Celtics. Tim Duncan had eight points and nine rebounds, and DeJuan Blair added seven points and 11 boards for the Spurs, who have won 12 of 16 to move into a three-way share of sixth place with Portland and

Oklahoma City in the Western Conference. Paul Pierce scored 18 points, and Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Boston. It was the Celtics’ lowest point total of the season, their worst home loss of the year and their third loss by 20 or more since Feb. 25. T Blazers 92, Thunder 87 At Oklahoma City, Andre Miller scored 26 points, Brandon Roy added 20 as Portland won to move into a share of sixth place with the Thunder in the Western Conference. The Blazers have won 11 of their last 13 games to strengthen their position in the West playoff race and can clinch a spot in the postseason with three wins in the last eight games.Durant finished with 29 points for Oklahoma City, which was coming off an impressive blowout win against the West-leading Los Angeles Lakers only two nights earlier. Cavaliers 97, Kings 90 At Cleveland, LeBron James scored 23 of

his 34 points in the second half and Antawn Jamison added 26 as the Cavs welcomed back center Zydrunas Ilgauskas with a victory over Sacramento. With Cleveland leading by four, James made a crucial 3-pointer with 2:02 left and then had a rebound and steal to help seal it. Cleveland went 10-0 against the Pacific Division this season. Beno Udrih had his first career tripledouble (18 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds) for the Kings, who because of injuries dressed only eight players and then lost forward Dominic McGuire in the first quarter with a foot injury.

with a sore back. Zach Randolph led Memphis with 31 points and 15 rebounds. Hawks 94, Pacers 84 At Atlanta, Josh Smith had 21 points and 13 rebounds as the Hawks ended Indiana’s five-game winning streak while increasing their own winning run at home to eight games. Troy Murphy scored 21 for Indiana, which was trying to win six straight games for the first time since 2005. Danny Granger, who was coming off a career-high 44 points in a home win Friday over Utah, finished with 18. He had averaged 31.9 over the previous seven games.

Bucks 108, Grizzlies 103 At Milwaukee, John Salmons scored 10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Bucks rallied to avoid a third straight loss. Rookie Brandon Jennings added 29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and Andrew Bogut had 18 points and 11 rebounds in his return after missing a game

Heat 97, Raptors 94 At Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 32 points as the Heat rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat Toronto. Miami outscored Toronto 19-7 in the final 6:12, taking the lead for good at 91-89 on Carlos Arroyo’s jumper with 59 seconds remaining. Arroyo converted eight free throws in the final 22 seconds and Udonis Haslem

scored 11 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter for the Heat, in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Bulls 110, Pistons 103 At Auburn Hills, Flip Murray scored 23 points while Derrick Rose added 19 points and nine assists as Chicago beat hapless Detroit. The Pistons have lost eight straight and 15 of 17. The victory gave the Bulls their first season sweep of Detroit since the Michael Jordan-led team that won 72 games in 1995-96. They have now beaten the Pistons seven straight times. Brad Miller added 17 points for Chicago, while Hakim Warrick scored 14 off the bench. Richard Hamilton led all scorers with 29 points, while Rodney Stuckey overcame a twisted ankle to add 20. Suns 111, T’wolves 105 At Minneapolis, Amare Stoudemire had 30 points and 17 rebounds, helping Phoenix hold off Minnesota, which matched a club record with its 16th loss in a row. Kevin

Love had 23 points and a career-high 22 rebounds, and Al Jefferson put up 19 points and 16 rebounds, leading the Timberwolves on a startling second-half comeback after falling behind by 25 points in the second quarter. Steve Nash finished with 14 points and 11 assists for the Suns, who have won a season-high seven straight games and 21 of their last 26. Warriors 121, Clippers 103 At Los Angeles, Reggie Williams scored 25 points in his second NBA start as the Golden State Warriors beat the Clippers, putting Don Nelson within three victories of overtaking Lenny Wilkens as the coach with the most regular season wins in NBA history. The Warriors have nine chances left on the schedule to keep Nelson from having to wait an entire summer before breaking Wilkens’ record of 1,332 victories. Rasual Butler scored 21 points and Eric Gordon added 20 for the Clippers, who have lost 11 of their last 13. —AP

Michigan State, Duke advance

KEY BISCAYNE: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball to David Nalbandian of Argentina during the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament. —AP

Nadal survives Nalbandian scare MIAMI: Rafa Nadal kept alive his chances of ending his 11 month title drought by taming tenacious Argentine David Nalbandian 6-7 6-2 6-2 in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open on Sunday. The fourth-seeded Nadal, who won his last title at the Rome Masters in May 2009, was harassed by Nalbandian for almost 2-1/2 hours before he finally secured his second win in four meetings against the South American. “I had two very important losses to him before so it didn’t surprise me how he played,” Nadal said. “He’s a tough opponent for everyone.” Nadal was troubled throughout the first set by the 161st-ranked wildcard, who is on a comeback trail after undergoing hip surgery 10 months ago. “I’m very happy to see him back after important surgery,”

Nadal said. “When he’s playing at his best level he makes you feel like you are nothing in the middle of the court.” The two baseliners traded breaks in the set before wowing the crowd with their breathtaking shot making in the tiebreak. After missing a set point at 8-7, Nadal blinked first and allowed Nalbandian to secure the set after an intensely fought final point. Nadal picked up the pace for the final two sets and frustrated his opponent by unleashing some of the brutal shots that helped him to win six grand slam titles. “I was a little bit unlucky in the first set,” Nadal said. “I feel good physically and I think he was a little bit tired at the end.” Women’s second seed Caroline Wozniacki, who was sick with a virus, outlasted Maria Kirilenko of

Russia 1-6 6-1 6-4. At 4-1 in the first set, Wozniacki felt dizzy and sought treatment with her blood pressure, pulse and heart rate monitored and her body was rubbed down with ice. The treatment appeared to have worked and Wozniacki appeared revived in the second set and won all but the second game. The third set was another struggle before Kirilenko double faulted at 30-40 in the ninth game to put Wozniacki in position to close out the match in the next game. “Even though I didn’t feel 100 percent, I still went out there and fought,” Wozniacki said. “The third set I started to feel better.” Men’s sixth seed Andy Roddick, who had to wait until after Nadal and Wozniacki had completed their victories, then wasted little time in demolishing Ukraine’s Sergiy

Stakhovsky 6-2 6-1 in 55 minutes. “It’s rare that you kind of walk off thinking everything kind of went the way that you wanted it to,” Roddick said. US Open champion Kim Clijsters faced little resistance from Shahar Peer as she walloped the Israeli 6-0 6-1. The 14th seed never faced a break point and led 6-0 3-0 before Peer held serve for the only time in the match. “I had the feeling out there where your brain and your arm is kind of connecting,” said Clijsters, explaining her focused play. “It’s a nice feeling to have.” Ninth-seed Samantha Stosur of Australia defeated Virginie Razzano of France 4-6 7-5 6-1 while 11th seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia defeated Italy’s Sara Errani 6-2 6-3 and Justine Henin took a 6-4 6-4 win over Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia. —Reuters

HOUSTON: Michigan State’s Raymar Morgan made a free throw with two seconds remaining to give his team a 70-69 victory over Tennessee on Sunday to join Duke in the national collegiate basketball tournament’s Final Four. Durrell Summers scored 21 points and Morgan added 13 and 10 rebounds to lead the fifth-seeded Michigan State Spartans to a showdown with Butler in Indianapolis on April 3. The Spartans were beaten by North Carolina in the national championship game last year and have made six Final Four appearances in the past 12 years. “I’m proud of these guys,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told reporters. “I can’t tell you what these guys have been through. I’m proud to represent Michigan State.” Tennessee had tied the game with 12 seconds left, but on the Spartans’ next possession Morgan took a pass inside and drew a foul to set up the winning free throw. Tennessee, who were led by Wayne Chism’s 13 points, made one final hopeful heave from half court but it fell short. The Duke Blue Devils advanced to their 11th Final Four appearance under coach Mike Krzyzewski with a 7871 win over Baylor in Houston. Duke, the only remaining top seed in the tournament, had trailed Baylor by three points with six minutes remaining before guards Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer combined for 17 points in the last five minutes in a 20-7 run. Smith finished with 29 points and Scheyer 20 points. LaceDarius Dunn led Baylor with 22 points while Ekpe Udoh had 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five blocks. Duke will now

HOUSTON: Duke’s Andre Dawkins (left) reacts in front of Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh after Duke defeated Baylor 78-71 in an NCAA South Regional college basketball championship game. —AP meet West Virginia in Indianapolis on April 3. “We’re ecstatic,” Krzyzewski said after Duke made it back to the Final Four for the first time since 2004. “I

thought our offensive rebounding kept us in it and was the key to getting some separation in the last four minutes. “This was a great basketball game.” —Reuters



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ailing Bayern braced for in-form United

MUNICH: Bayern Munich’s Martin Demichelis (back) and teammate Franck Ribery (front) warm up during the final training session ahead of the Champions League quarter final match against Manchester United. — AP

Blanc tells Bordeaux to forget League Cup failure PARIS: Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc has told his players to shrug off the disappointment of their League Cup final defeat and focus on today’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Lyon. Holders Bordeaux were defeated 31 by Marseille in Saturday’s final in Paris and have also seen a nine-point lead in the French first division whittled down to goal difference by Montpellier. Defeat in a physical match to Marseille was far from ideal preparation for their trip to domestic rivals Lyon and Blanc says the reigning French champions must get the loss out of their system as quickly as possible. “We’re lucky in a way because we have an important match on Tuesday in the quarter-finals of the Champions League,” said Blanc, whose side have not reached this stage of Europe’s top club tournament since 1988. “We’ll have to bounce back quickly, get over this disappointment and throw ourselves into this important match. “If we had a week to prepare, we’d be able to assess everything. Even though it’s always better to win before a match like this, we haven’t got the time. We have to get our heads in the right place.” Blanc made his priorities clear during Saturday’s final by withdrawing playmaker Yoann Gourcuff and striker

Marouane Chamakh with 20 minutes still to play and the score 2-0. “We had planned certain things, but not necessarily in that way,” admitted Blanc, who guided Les Girondins to the league title last season. “I’d said it was the paradox of the final. We had to prepare for it while preparing for the next match at the same time. “I had several options open to me. I chose one. We’ll find out on Tuesday if I was right or not.” Bordeaux skipper Alou Diarra misses Tuesday’s match at the Stade Gerland through suspension, while centre-back Marc Planus remains sidelined with a knee ligament injury. Lyon, who eliminated Real Madrid in the previous round, geared up for the visit of Bordeaux with a 2-0 win over bottom club Grenoble on Saturday. It was a welcome fillip for Claude Puel’s side, after a damaging 2-1 defeat to Marseille in the league the previous weekend and an unedifying spat with Bordeaux over the scheduling of the match with Grenoble, which was originally due to take place on Friday. “It’s always better to win the match before the Champions League,” said Puel. “Even though we want to prepare ourselves well psychologically, your head can always be turned towards Tuesday’s match. “It’s for that reason that we had to deal with Saturday’s match well.”

Lyon, seven-time French champions from 2002 to 2008, will be competing in their fourth Champions League quarter-final but have never progressed to the last four. They are unbeaten at home in the competition this season, though, and Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic anticipates a tight first leg. “It’s particularly important not to concede any goals,” said the 19-yearold. “We know what happens to us when we don’t concede. It gives us confidence.” A late Chamakh header gave Bordeaux a 1-0 victory when the sides last met in the league in December and Pjanic concedes that his side are gunning for revenge. “The game was very competitive and very even,” he recalled. “We would have deserved a draw. We want to get a kind of revenge against them but we have to remember that they are two very different matches.” Full-back Francois Clerc will not feature for Lyon despite having resumed training following surgery on a knee problem, but centre-back JeanAlain Boumsong could make the bench after overcoming a calf injury. The second leg in Bordeaux takes place on April 7, with the winners of the quarter-final between Bayern Munich and Manchester United awaiting the victors in the last four. — AFP

MUNICH: Manchester United travel to Bayern Munich for todayís Champions League quarter-final first leg in buoyant mood after six straight wins, with the Germans smarting after back-to-back losses. Bayern coach Louis van Gaal admitted Saturdayís 2-1 home defeat by Stuttgart had hurt his side, who lost their place at the top of the Bundesliga to Schalke, having also lost 2-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt the week before. While Bayern needed an away goal, and a good dose of luck, to squeeze past Fiorentina in the last 16, United had no such problems as they thumped AC Milan 7-2 on aggregate. To make matters worse, Munich are waiting on the fitness of influential winger Arjen Robben after the Dutchman, who has scored 14 goals this season, strained a calf muscle on Saturday. ìIt might not be too bad, but itíll be difficult for him to be fit in time for the Manchester United game,î said van Gaal after the Stuttgart game. ìWeíre hoping he makes it.î Robben came on for the second half, but finished the game limping heavily. ìLosing him for such an important game would be a bitter blow,î admitted Bayernís Germany defender Philipp Lahm. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson identified Arjen Robben and French winger Franck Ribery as the Bavarian sideís key dangermen. ìRobben and Ribery are the ones who have been carrying the banner for Bayern,î Ferguson told British newspaper The People. ìThey have been behind in games so many times and one of those two has always rescued them, so they are obviously the players to watch. ìRibery is a fine player and I like him a lot. Iím not sure heís up with Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney, but heís a good player. As for Robben, heís one that got away. ìWe were close to signing him when he was at PSV Eindhoven, but Chelsea had that arrangement and some sort of operation with PSV because they put Alex there for a couple of years.î United have no such injury worries, having rested striker Wayne Rooney and centre-back Rio Ferdinand for the 4-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday that put the three-time European champions back on top of the Premier League. Rivals Chelsea had taken over top spot with a 7-1 thrashing of Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge and the west London outfit travel to Old Trafford next week for what is being billed as a title decider. While United face a tough run, they are riding a wave of confidence with six wins from their last six games. ìIt was an emphatic win in the circumstances, with Chelsea winning earlier in the day,î Ferguson said after seeing striker Dimitar Berbatov score twice. The Bulgaria international was standing in for Rooney, but both the former Everton man and his England colleague Ferdinand will feature in Munich. The English champions will be at full strength as Ryan Giggs has made a successful comeback from a month-long lay-off, playing a part in two of Unitedís goals at Bolton. ìRyan has so much experience of these types of situations. Itís great to have him back,î said midfielder Darren Fletcher. Meanwhile, Bayern look set to welcome back Germany international Mario Gomez after he returned from three weeks out with a ruptured calf muscle in training on Sunday. He is likely to begin on the bench against United, but may be an option for the starting eleven. ìIím ready,î said Gomez, after staying out for extra shooting practice. The 24-year-old last played for Bayern in the Champions League fixture away to Fiorentina on March 9. Tuesdayís match re-unites the teams that contested the 1999 Champions League final, in which United prevailed 2-1 thanks to two injury-time goals to record their only win over Bayern in Europeís premier club competition. — AFP

Matches on TV (local timings) UEFA Champions League Lyon v Bordeaux ........................ 21:45 Al Jazeera Sport +4

FRANCE: Lyon’s Michel Bastos celebrates after he scored a goal against Grenoble In this file photo. — AP

Bayern v Man United ................ 21:45 Al Jazeera Sport +5

LONDON: Arsenal’s Francesc Fabregas (right) speaks with match official Howard Webb in this file photo. — AP

Arsenal-Barca clash pits Fabregas against Messi LONDON: The plot will be about reunions and revenge when Barcelona starts the next step toward its Champions League defense at Arsenal in the quarterfinals tomorrow. The first leg will pit Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas against the club that nurtured him as well as former Barcelona youth team friend Lionel Messi, while Thierry Henry should finally come up against the Gunners three years after departing. Henry was in the Arsenal side that lost to Barcelona in the 2006 final _ a 2-1 defeat which manager Arsene Wenger still harbors grievances about because goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was sent off. “This time I’m sure it will be different,” Wenger said. “It’s very frustrating for a manager not to win the title, but on the night we turned up with a decent performance and that’s all you can do.” This week also sees a rerun of the 1999 final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich. The all-French clash between Lyon and Bordeaux and Inter Milan’s meeting with CSKA Moscow complete the quarterfinal lineup. But the spotlight will be on north London, where Arsenal and Barcelona should produce an attack-oriented match. Arsenal will have much to fear from Messi if the Argentinian

reproduces the recent devastating form that has helped Barcelona — in coach Pep Guardiola’s words — “steamroller” opponents. “Leo is very special,” said Henry, whose side will be without injured midfielder Andres Iniesta. “What Leo can do is difficult to find in any other player. The other day I had my head in my hands because I did not know how he does such things. I’ve received a load of messages all asking me if Leo is human. At times I ask myself that.” Messi missed the 2006 final through injury, denying him a chance to play against his former junior teammate Fabregas, who had been lured from the Barcelona youth team three years earlier at 16. “As much as it’s important not to speak too much about the individual players of Barcelona, it’s important we don’t put too much pressure on Fabregas ... and expect him to make the difference,” Wenger said. “It will unfair and not realistic.” While Barcelona enters the match on five straight wins and only being kept off top spot in Spain by Real Madrid on goal difference, Arsenal’s Premier League title hopes were rocked Saturday by a draw at Birmingham that kept the Gunners third. — AP

Inter seek salvation against CSKA MILAN: Inter Milan face the rare prospect of using tomorrow’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg against CSKA Moscow to boost their flagging domestic confidence rather than the other way round. The Italian champions were imperious in eliminating Chelsea in the last 16 with a 1-0 win in London but their recent Serie A form has been poor by comparison. Their lead at the top has been cut from nine points in mid-February to just a point following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at title rivals AS Roma, where Inter hit the woodwork three times but looked much more nervous than usual. It was all very different in the last three years when Inter were powering ahead in Italy while really struggling to impose themselves in Europe. “Playing every three days isn’t easy but our desire to win is stronger than the tiredness,” Inter’s leading scorer Diego Milito said ahead of the San Siro clash. “Every match is hard and we mustn’t underestimate anyone. We just have to think about ourselves.” Inter, who have not reached the semi-finals since 2003 and have an unbeaten home record this term, have Brazilian centre back Lucio and compatriot midfielder Thiago Motta suspended. Left back Davide Santon is injured while fellow teenage striker Mario Balotelli has been left in the cold for the last month after another falling out with coach Jose Mourinho. CSKA have no worries about tiredness in their first European Cup quarter-final in 17 years with the Russian league in its early stages. They should be at full strength with Chile winger Mark Gonzalez looking to shake off the muscle spasms which forced him to miss Friday’s league win at Anzhi Makhachkala. CSKA earned a hard-fought victory with goals from Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda and Czech striker Tomas Necid to move into a share of first place after three games of the season. Full back Vasily Berezutsky was hoping the Italians would underestimate his side, who shocked many pundits by eliminating Spain’s Sevilla in the previous round. “Inter were probably very happy after being drawn to face us,” the Russian international told Moscow media. “I think they were already dreaming of a place in the semi-finals. That should suit us

ROME: Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho, of Portugal, gestures in this file photo. — AP just fine. Sevilla also looked very confident prior to our matches but where are they now?” Berezutsky also had a few words for Inter coach Mourinho, who travelled to Moscow last weekend to watch CSKA in action against city rivals Dynamo. “We were told that Mourinho was in the stands so we tried to conceal our strengths on purpose,” he said, referring to a drab 0-0 draw. Probable teams: Inter Milan: 12-Julio Cesar; 13-Maicon, 2Ivan Cordoba, 25-Walter Samuel, 26-Cristian Chivu; 4-Javier Zanetti, 19-Esteban Cambiasso, 5-Dejan Stankovic; 10-Wesley Sneijder; 9Samuel Eto’o, 22-Diego Milito CSKA Moscow: 35-Igor Akinfeyev; 24Vasily Berezutsky, 4-Sergei Ignashevich, 6Alexei Berezutsky, 42-Georgy Shchennikov; 2Deividas Semberas, 22-Yevgeny Aldonin, 18Keisuke Honda, 13-Mark Gonzalez, 17-Milos Krasic; 89-Tomas Necid. — Reuters

Tuesday, March 30, 2010



Corinthians edge Sao Paulo

BUENOS AIRES: Chacarita’s Emanuel Centurion (right) fights for the ball with Boca Juniors’ Cristian Chavez during an Argentine soccer league match.—AP

Independiente held by Colon BUENOS AIRES: Three players were sent off as nine-man Independiente held on for a 1-1 draw at Colon to open a three-point lead in Argentina’s Clausura championship on Sunday. Independiente, who have 24 points after 11 matches, went ahead with a shot from 40 metres by Lionel Nunez in the ninth minute. Colon’s veteran striker Esteban Fuertes equalised with a header in the 20th as Independiente goalkeeper Adrian Gabbarini conceded his first goal in six matches. Independiente centre back Leonel Galeano was sent off after half an hour for bringing down an opponent on the edge of the box, leading to a defensive reshuffle by coach Americo Gallego with striker Nunez coming off. Colon’s Marcelo Goux was dismissed a minute after halftime and Independiente captain Dario Gandin left his team with nine men in the 73rd when he was shown the red card after a second booking for pulling back an opponent by his shirt. Second-placed Godoy Cruz were beaten 2-1 by Estudiantes, who are third a point further back, on Friday. Boca Juniors, three days after the joy of beating arch-rivals River Plate 2-0, were stunned 4-1 by Chacarita Juniors. Chacarita gave debutant coach Mauro Navas a perfect start after he replaced Fernando Gamboa, who was sacked last weekend following four defeats in a row. They recovered from a first half deficit after Matias Gimenez scored for Boca from Juan Roman Riquelme’s fine through ball into the middle of the box. Striker Facundo Parra scored twice, equalising two minutes into the second half and making it 31 in the 81st when he deftly beat the offside trap

to race through and steer the ball past keeper Javier Garcia. In between, Parra had a 56th-minute penalty saved by Garcia only for Nicolas Ramirez to head in the rebound. Boca’s Ezequiel Munoz was sent off for the foul that led to the penalty. The icing on the cake for Chacarita, playing with ever increasing confidence against a listless Boca, came in the 87th minute with substitute Sebastian Sciorilli’s superb lob from the edge of the box over Garcia and into the top far corner. Sciorilli’s joy was tempered by a booking for taking off his shirt to celebrate that led to a red card in stoppage time for tripping an opponent. Boca striker Martin Palermo did not disguise his annoyance at being substituted 20 minutes from time by coach Abel Alves, whose respite from criticism with the win over River has quickly dissipated. “Why are you taking me off if we’re losing?” an angry Palermo was quoted as saying to Alves by the sports daily Ole on its website ( Boca, who had not lost to Chacarita for 10 years, have gone 11 away matches without winning and are the team with most goals conceded in the championship, 22 in 11 matches. They are two from bottom with 11 points. Title holders Banfield came from behind to beat Gimnasia 3-2 in La Plata on Saturday with two goals from striker Ruben Ramirez and a 73rdminute winner by Uruguay’s Sebastian Fernandez. Racing Club recovered from two successive defeats to beat Newell’s Old Boys 1-0 at home, while Rosario Central coach Ariel Cuffaro Russo resigned after Friday’s 2-0 defeat at home by Huracan.—Reuters

Montpellier crushed by Lille PARIS: Montpellier wasted the chance to move top of Ligue 1 when they were thrashed 4-1 at Lille on Sunday. Surprise packages Montpellier, back in the top flight this season after a long spell in the second division, stayed second on 56 points from 30 games, level with Girondins Bordeaux who have a better goal difference and two games in hand. Bordeaux were not in league action this weekend because they played the League Cup final on Saturday, losing 3-1 to Olympique Marseille at Stade de France. Auxerre, in third position, will go top if they win at Monaco late yesterday. Ivory Coast forward Gervinho collected a fine

through ball from Belgium winger Eden Hazard to put Lille ahead on 17 minutes but the visitors levelled when forward Souleymane Camara fired into the top corner from 20 metres early in the second half. Midfielder Yohan Cabaye put Lille back in front from a penalty after he was fouled on 54 minutes and forward Pierre-Alain Frau made it 3-1 from a perfect Hazard pass. Substitute forward Larsen Toure wrapped it up with an angled shot from inside the box 10 minutes from time. Northerners Lille, whose title chances were hit by a poor start to the season, climbed to fourth, two points off the pace, and have 56 goals, more than any other Ligue 1 team this season.—Reuters

Puebla defeat America MEXICO CITY: Herculez Gomez fired a free kick through the hands of Mexico international goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to help Puebla to a 2-1 win over America on Sunday, ending the club’s five-match winless streak and increasing its chances of advancing in the Mexican Clausura championship. Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz put Puebla ahead in the 55th and Gomez doubled the lead with a powerful free kick in the 77th. Ochoa, who started for Mexico in World Cup qualifiers, made a similar mistake two weeks ago in an international friendly match against North Korea. Daniel Marquez scored in the 79th for America, who are struggling with just two points in their last three matches. Puebla now has 12 competition points and retains a slim chance of reaching the playoffs from Group 2. Monterrey leads with 27 points, followed by Morelia (20) and America (18). Earlier in Mexico City, the Pumas wasted several scoring chances and were held to a scoreless draw by lowly San Luis. The Pumas had four wins in their last five matches, but were unable to convert pressure into goals against the Gladiators, who have just two wins this season. In other weekend results, it was: Estudiantes 2, Cruz Azul 1; Jaguares 1, Monterrey 1; Queretaro 2, Atlas 1; Atlante 3, Cd. Juarez 0; Tigres 0, Toluca 1; Pachuca 1, Morelia 0; Chivas 6, Santos 2.—AP

MEXICO: Pumas’ Luis Fuentes (right) fights for the ball with San Luis’ Cesar Gonzalez at a Mexican soccer league game.—AP

SAO PAULO: Defending champion Corinthians got the benefit of Sao Paulo’s injury-time own goal for a thrilling 4-3 win Sunday, keeping alive its chances of advancing to the semifinals of the state championship. In the Rio de Janeiro tournament, strikers Adriano and Vagner Love scored in Flamengo’s 2-1 win over America, while Vasco beat Fluminense 3-0. Corinthians led 2-0 and 3-1 before allowing Sao Paulo to come back at Pacaembu stadium, but clinched the victory with an own goal by Sao Paulo defender Alex Silva two minutes into stoppage time. The goal came after former Boca Juniors midfielder Yarley dribbled past two defenders on the left edge of the box and sent a powerful cross toward Silva, who headed the ball into his own net while trying to clear it. Midfielder Elias opened the scoring for Corinthians in the 18th minute with a shot from the top of the area after a set up from striker Ronaldo, and playmaker Danilo added to the lead in the 34th with a well-placed right-footer from inside the box. Defender Jean put Sao Paulo on the board in the 43rd with a shot from near the penalty spot before veteran left back Roberto Carlos made it 3-1 in the 53rd with a booming, low free kick that fooled Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni. Midfielder Rodrigo Souto pulled Sao Paulo closer in the 75th with a goal from close range after Corinthians goalkeeper Rafael Santos failed to hold on to a free kick. And Souto netted again with a header in the 83rd after another mistake by Santos, who misplayed a cross from former AS Roma right back Cicinho. Both teams played a man down from the 38th after Corinthians striker Dentinho and Sao Paulo forward Washington got into a scuffle following a heated ball dispute and were sent off. The win moved Corinthians to fifth place in the 20-team competition with 29 points from 17 matches, while Sao Paulo dropped to fourth with 30 points. Gremio Prudente beat Portuguesa 2-1 in Sao Paulo to jump to third with 31 points. The top four will advance to the semifinal stage, which begins next month. Leader Santos, which already has secured a semifinal spot with 41 points, routed Monte Azul 5-0 at Vila Belmiro stadium with midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso scoring twice. Santos, which has scored 70 goals in 21 matches this season, played without striker Robinho because of a thigh injury. Santo Andre, which also has clinched a semifinal berth, remains second with 36 points despite a 3-2 loss at Mogi Mirim. On Saturday, 2008 champion Palmeiras - 10th in the standings - drew Mirassol 1-1 at home to virtually end its hopes of reaching the semifinals. The result extended Palmeiras’ winless streak in the tournament to three matches. Palmeiras president Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo, a renowned economist who worked for the Brazilian government in the late 1980s, said Saturday that he has been receiving death threats in the mail, with envelopes containing bullets. In Rio de Janeiro, Vasco scored three second-half goals to beat rival Fluminense 3-0 and improve its chances of reaching the semifinals of the Rio Cup, the second stage of the Rio state title. Defender Thiago Martinelli opened the scoring for Vasco at Maracana stadium in the 59th, substitute striker Dodo doubled the lead in the 84th and right back Fagner finished off in the 90th. Fluminense played a man down from the 79th after midfielder Leandro Euzebio received his second yellow card for a hard foul on Dodo. Vasco moved to second place in Group B with 12 points from seven matches, one point behind Botafogo. Fluminense, which played without injured striker Fred, is second in Group A with 16 points, three behind Flamengo, which beat America 21 at Engenhao stadium. Vagner Love scored a 65thminute winner for Flamengo after midfielder Jones had put America ahead in the fifth and Adriano equalized with a penalty kick in the 24th. America, which has Romario overseeing the team’s football operations, played a man down from the 62nd after midfielder Jones was red carded for a hard foul. America also had defender Gerson sent off in the 84th. The top two teams from each group will reach the Rio Cup semifinals after next Sunday’s final round. Botafogo, the defending Guanabara Cup champion, will play at Boavista on Monday. The Guanabara Cup champion faces the Rio Cup winner for the overall state title.—AP

Flamengo striker Adriano in action.

Eriksson to coach Ivory Coast ABIDJAN: Former England manager SvenGoran Eriksson has been appointed Ivory Coast coach for this year’s World Cup finals, the Ivory Coast Federation (FIF) said in a statement on its website ( on Sunday. The FIF said it had considered a few candidates since Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic was sacked in February after failing to lead the team to the African Nations Cup semi-finals. “The executive committee analysed the profile of several candidates before choosing Sven-Goran Eriksson,” FIF said (

“His mission will be to guide our team during the World Cup and to make sure it fares honourably, which will be difficult in a competition featuring the world’s best 32 sides.” No details were given about the terms of Eriksson’s contract. The Ivory Coast, one of four African World Cup qualifiers to change coaches in the last nine months, have been drawn in Group G at the tournament in South Africa along with Brazil, Portugal and North Korea. The 62-year-old Eriksson managed clubs in his native Sweden, Portugal and Italy,

including AS Roma, Sampdoria and Lazio, before coaching the England national team from 2001-2006. Under Eriksson, England were knocked out at the quarter-final stage in three successive major tournaments, the 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. He joined Premier League Manchester City in 2007 and had an unsuccessful spell in charge of Mexico from 2008-09. Eriksson was appointed director of football at English League Two (fourth division) club Notts County last year but stepped down in February.—Reuters

Hammers players rally around Zola LONDON: Egypt striker Mido has encouraged beleaguered West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola to stay in his job by insisting that the entire squad have faith in his ability to guide the club to Premier League survival. Six consecutive league defeats have left the Hammers teetering on the edge of the relegation zone and Zola has taken a short break in his native Sardinia to ponder whether he should carry on in his first managerial job. Only goal difference is keeping Zola’s squad out of the bottom three and the side below them, Hull, who appear to have been revitalised by the installation of Iain Dowie as manager, have a game in hand. Mido believes the quality in West Ham’s squad will ensure they are okay. “Everyone is working so hard for the manager,” said the striker. “We’re behind that man. He is a top manager, in my opinion, and we’re all behind him. “I think we have a very good chance of staying up. If you look in the dressing room and you see the faces in there, you don’t see a team that is going to get relegated. “By experience, by names and by people who want to work hard for this club, I don’t think this team is going down.” Anyone who watched Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Stoke could dispute Mido’s optimistic outlook however, and West Ham’s prospects of survival are not helped by a testing sequence of matches between now and the end of the season. A trip to Everton this weekend is followed by fixtures against Sunderland, Liverpool, Wigan, Fulham and Manchester City, who could be playing for a Champions League place on the final day of the campaign. Mido added: “Everton are a very good team, but we’re definitely going to go there to get at least a point. We’re going to work hard. It didn’t work for us on Saturday, but I hope that it will work for us next week.” Zola’s position has been undermined by public criticism from West Ham’s co-chairman David Sullivan, although the oustpoken executive has insisted that the manager’s job is not on the line. Some sceptics have suggested Sullivan has been trying to engineer a resignation from the manager that would ensure the club did not have to pay up the remainder of Zola’s contract in the event of him leaving. Asked after Saturday’s game if he would consider resigning, Zola acknowledged that he was thinking about it. “I have to find out what the problem is. If the problem is me then why not? The players are trying hard for us. The bottom line is to see whether I can help them or not. “I have no agendas other than doing a good job for this club so I will consider whether I am doing a good job. “We are not performing as well as we should and I take responsibility for that.” West Ham’s problems on the pitch are being played out against a background of severe financial difficulties which would mean relegation would have calamitous consequences for the east London club.—AFP

LISBON: Porto’s Gianildo Vieira Hulk (center) from Brazil, celebrates with teammates after scoring his team second goal during their Portuguese league soccer match with Belenenses. —AP

Porto win over Belenenses LISBON: Hulk returned from a three-month suspension to score a goal and set up another in FC Porto’s 3-0 win over last-place Belenenses on Sunday. The Brazilian forward scored from a well-taken left-foot shot in the 51st minute to make it 2-0 after Rolando had opened the scoring in the 41st. Hulk’s cross in the 83rd minute was met by Radamel Falcao, who scored his 18th league goal. Porto is demanding compensation from Portuguese football authorities after Hulk’s suspension for his part in a December post-match brawl was reduced to three games after he had already sat out 17 matches. The victory allowed four-time

defending champion Porto to move within five points of second place — and the last Champions League qualifying place from Portugal. Benfica is moving closer to its first title in five years following Saturday’s 1-0 win over secondplace Braga which gave it a sixpoint cushion with six games to play. Sporting slipped 23 points behind Benfica in fourth following Friday’s 3-2 defeat to Maritimo. In Sunday’s other games, it was: Leixoes 1, Naval 0; Rio Ave 1, Olhanense 5; Setubal 2, Nacional 1; and Leiria 2, Pacos Ferreira 1. Guimaraes beat Academica 1-0 on Saturday and Maritimo was a 3-2 winner over Sporting on Friday. —AP

Bolt to compete in Paris Diamond League meet PARIS: Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt will compete at the Paris meet of the IAAF Diamond League on July 16, organisers said yesterday. Bolt, the world and Olympic champion in the 100 and 200m - in both of which he is also world record holder (9.58 and 19.19sec respectively), will take part in the 100m. The Jamaican won the event when he appeared at last year’s Golden League meeting at the Stade de France, clocking 9.79sec despite cold and rainy conditions. “His potential remains an enigma; nobody knows what he’s capable of,” said Paris meet organiser Laurent Boquillet. “He is in a class of his own, but his pres-

ence should electrify the rest of the race. We may see other athletes benefit from the high pace to record some very good times.” Bolt will be up against team-mate and former world record holder Asafa Powell (9.77 in 2005, 9.74 in 2007). The Paris meet is the ninth of the 14-leg Diamond League, launched by the IAAF this season to replace the Golden League series of six meetings in a bid to enhance the worldwide appeal of athletics by going outside Europe for the first time. The Qatari capital of Doha will be the location for the first event on May 14 with the series concluding in Brussels on August 27.

Meanwhile, newly crowned world indoor 60m champion Veronica Campbell Brown is the latest marquee athlete reportedly hesitating over the Commonwealth Games in India in October. In a report carried in the Jamaica Observer, the sprinter’s agent Claude Bryan said she was leaning against competing, although the decision wasn’t final. “Well currently, I don’t think it will be a go,” Bryan was quoted as saying. “We haven’t sat down and made a final decision, but given the time of the year that it is, I just can’t see it happening with the World Championships coming up next year.” Campbell Brown, a two-time Olympic

200m champion who was also 100m world champion in 2007, won the silver medal in the 200m and gold in the 4x100m relay at the 2006 Commonwealth Games held in Melbourne. Campbell Brown ran a personal best 7.00sec to win the world indoor title in Doha earlier this month. A number of Jamaican athletes, including triple world record-holder Usain Bolt and former men’s 100m world record-holder Asafa Powell, have indicated they may not make the trip to India in October. Meanwhile, Kenya’s dominating performance at the world cross country championships in Poland grabbed the headlines in

all yesterday’s daily newspapers in a country where political intrigue and scandals have been the order of the day. “Kenya is the world champion again,” wrote the Daily Nation, in its front page headline with two pictures of a triumphant Joseph Ebuya, who won Kenya’s first men’s senior 12km title in 11 years and a barefoot compatriot Faith Kipyegon, setting the pace running in the women’s junior race. “Even as politicians bickered back home, heroes such as gold medallist Joseph Ebuya were bringing glory to their country,” the mass-selling daily wrote in its accompanying caption. All the dailies also reported how Kenyan

President Mwai Kibaki, breaking away from his official engagement, announced Sunday’s race results to a big crowd of enthusiastic Kenyans at a golf tournament in Nairobi. Apart from reclaiming the men’s senior title, Kenyan athletes made a clean sweep of all the medals for the first time in the championship which is set to switch to a two-yearly competition from 2012. The Daily Nation, in its editorial, called for the handsome rewarding of the athletes as a motivation to do well at future events, including the African athletics championships which will held in Kenya in July.—AFP

Tevez hat-trick puts City on Europe track Manchester City climb to fifth place Man City 3

Wigan 0

MANCHESTER: Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez (right) celebrates with teammate Emmanuel Adebayor after scoring his third goal against Wigan during their English Premier League football match at the City of Manchester Stadium yesterday. — AP

EPL results/standings Manchester City 3 (Carlos Tevez 72,75,84) Wigan Athletic 0 Played on Sunday Liverpool 3 (Fernando Torres 3,60, Glen Johnson 32) Sunderland 0; Burnley 0 Blackburn Rovers 1 (David Dunn 20-pen)

English Premier League table after yesterday’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Man Utd 32 23 3 6 76 25 Chelsea 32 22 5 5 82 29 Arsenal 32 21 5 6 74 34 Tottenham 31 17 7 7 57 29 Man City 31 15 11 5 58 39 Liverpool 32 16 6 10 53 32 Aston Villa 31 13 12 6 43 32 Everton 32 13 10 9 50 42 Birmingham 32 12 9 11 33 37 Blackburn 32 11 8 13 35 50 Stoke 31 9 12 10 30 35

72 71 68 58

56 54 51 49 45 41 39

Fulham 31 Sunderland 32 W’hampton 32 Bolton 32 Wigan 32 West Ham 32 Hull 31 Burnley 32 Portsmouth 32 Note: Portsmouth administration

10 8 13 8 11 13 8 8 16 8 8 16 8 7 16 6 9 17 6 9 16 6 6 20 6 4 22 deducted 9

33 36 38 41 50 35 28 50 32 36 60 32 29 62 31 38 55 27 31 64 27 31 65 24 28 60 13 points for entering

Nigeria exit in CHAN shocker LAGOS: Nigeria were the biggest casualty as fellow favourites Cameroon and DR Congo qualified for the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) to be hosted by Sudan next year. For the second time running in the competition designed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to expose players from the local leagues of the continent, Nigeria failed to qualify for the tournament proper after they were upset 2-0 on aggregate by Niger. Niger won the first leg 2-0 in Niamey before they held the Nigerian home-based Eagles to a goalless draw at a packed Sani Abacha Stadium in the northern city of Kano on Sunday to book their ticket to their first-ever full international competition finals. Nigeria paraded a much-changed team from the first encounter in Niger in a bid to win by a convincing margin on Sunday, but Niger goalkeeper Lousseni Doumbia Issah pulled off several heroics including saving a 36th minute penalty taken by Chibuzor Okonkwo as the visitors defended till the last minute. Nigeria failed to qualify for the inaugural tournament in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, last year when they were eliminated by perennial rivals Ghana. However, Cameroon, DR Congo and Ghana lived up to their billing by booking their places in next year’s tournament. Cameroon, who failed to reach last year’s competition, were the first team besides hosts Sudan to qualify for the 2011 edition after a comfortable 3-0 win over Congo in Yaounde. The first leg ended 1-1 before Cameroon took command in the second half of the return fixture with goals from Eyenga Anicet, Julian and Edgar Momasso Saly to ensure qualification. Congo will now play Gabon in May for a chance to qualify for the tournament proper after defending champions DR Congo defeated Gabon 3-2 on aggregate at the weekend. Ghana, who reached last year’s championship game against DR Congo, are also through to Sudan 2011 courtesy of a 1-0 win in Accra.

The teams played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg, before Bismark Idan netted the match winner for Ghana in the second leg match. South Africa will now tackle Zambia in the next round of the qualifiers after they defeated Botswana 2-1 in Johannesburg with a brace from Bloemfontein Celtic striker Moses Spandeel. Tony Odur grabbed a hat-trick as Uganda trounced Burundi 4-0 in Kampala for a 5-1 aggregate victory. “It was a difficult game but I’m happy with the display. People shouldn’t expect miracles but if we continue playing well, we have a chance,” said Uganda coach, Bobby Williamson. Tanzania recorded an even more convincing 6-0 victory over the Ocean Stars of Somalia in Dar-esSalaam in a one-off tie after war-torn Somalia could not host a second leg fixture. The Cranes will now battle Rwanda for a spot in Sudan. The fairy tale run of Seychelles continued after they were held to a 1-1 draw in Windhoek by better fancied hosts Namibia. The islanders won the first game by a lone strike before they took the lead in the return leg through Don Anacouza. Namibia drew level a minute later and even though they had Rachim Padayachy sent off seven minutes from the end, Seychelles held on to advance to the next stage of the qualifying tournament, where they face Zimbabwe. Malawi were punished for a defensive blunder by hosts Mozambique, who won 1-0 in front of a packed June 25 Stadium in Nampula, but they stay alive in the championship after they won the first leg 3-0 at home. Togo fell 2-1 to last year’s tournament hosts Ivory Coast in Lome. It was a first leg qualifier with the return leg slated for April 11 in Abidjan. Angola, Mali, Senegal and Zimbabwe were the other teams who this past weekend progressed in the CHAN qualifying tournament, while matches involving Morocco and Tunisia as well as Libya and Algeria have been rescheduled till next month.—AFP

MANCHESTER: Carlos Tevez scored a hat-trick as Manchester City moved up to fifth in the Premier League table with a 3-0 victory over 10-man Wigan at Eastlands yesterday. The visitors matched City until they had Gary Caldwell sent off 10 minutes after the restart. And then Tevez rolled in three goals in just under a quarter of an hour to take his tally to 25 for the season and 21 in 19 appearances. City are now two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who still have to travel to Eastlands but it was not a comfortable evening for Roberto Mancini’s side. But Wigan began strongly and started particularly well defensively, with Titus Bramble pulling off a fine block from Emmanuel Adebayor after Tevez’s cross. But City carved them open thanks to Maynor Figueroa’s slip, which allowed Shaun Wright-Phillips to break into the box and cross. Tevez’s volley was blocked at full stretch by Wigan’s goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic, filling in for the ill Chris Kirkland. Wigan were finding it easy to contain the hosts and threatened themselves when Hugo Rodallega broke quickly and pulled back for Paul Scharner, whose shot flew wide from just outside the area. Rodallega also went close after he was picked out by a cross-field pass from Mario Melchiot. The Columbian striker cut in from the left and hit a shot that was pushed wide by goalkeeper Shay Given. Tevez almost broke the deadlock after skipping past a weak challenge from Melchiot and clipping a looping shot that landed just the wrong side of the post. Scharner was first to react when a free kick from Wigan’s Marcelo Moreno hit the wall but the Austrian’s low drive was tipped wide by Given. Moreno also scooped a shot over the bar as Wigan broke quickly through Rodallega. Mohamed Diame set up another counter-attack for the visitors, sending Rodallega into space but Scharner shot well over the bar. Craig Bellamy replaced WrightPhillips at the break and immediately made a difference. And as the hosts played with greater intensity, Adebayor had the ball in the net after Stojkovic could only fumble from Tevez’s powerful shot. Rodallega should have opened the scoring eight minutes after the restart. City failed to deal with Caldwell’s long, straight clearance, with the ball hitting the back of Pablo Zabaleta’s head, but Rodallega dragged wide. Ten minutes into the second period, Wigan saw Caldwell sent off for a challenge on Tevez. Still though it was Wigan pressing, with Moreno curling a shot narrowly wide and Rodallega just failing to get a touch to Maynor Figueroa’s cross. Finally City were able to exploit the extra space, with Patrick Vieira hooking over the top for Tevez, whose shot was deflected wide by Bramble. Vieira himself had a low strike held by Stojkovic as City increased the pressure. But they finally made the breakthrough thanks to poor goalkeeping from Stojkovic. Vieira clipped the ball over the top and the Serb rushed out but failed to make any challenge and Tevez rolled the ball into the net. — AFP

SOWETO: Fans parade with different national flags and play vuvuzela stadium horns at Soccer City Stadium in Soweto, the venue of the opening match and the last match of the FIFA World Cup to be held in South Africa from June 11 to July 11.—AFP

Yankees best paid team — report LONDON: The New York Yankees, who won their 27th World Series last year, are the best paid team in global sport, according to a report to be published on Friday. The report, which calculates salaries in pounds sterling, said the average annual pay of a player with the Yankees was 4,674,644 pounds ($6.99m) a year, or 89,897 pounds a week. European soccer teams Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea respectively are the next highest paid teams followed by six

National Basketball Association sides, according to the report from the website. The salaries are for first-team players and do not include their commercial deals. The figures for the Yankees are based on the 2009 season, the soccer clubs from 2008 and the six NBA teams from 2008-9. Nick Harris, the website editor and the author of the report, told Reuters the Yankees’ total salary bill had exceeded the Major League Baseball ceiling.

He said the strong showing by the NBA sides was due to their small playing rosters relative to their total salary package. “There will be only 12 to 13 individuals on an NBA roster,” he said. “A National Football League team will have 60 players who will all see first team action. “The findings will come as a surprise to anyone who thinks the Premier League is the best paid division in world sport, because it’s far from it,” Harris added.—Reuters

Pakistan’s record holder Yousuf quits over ban KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain and world record holder batsman Mohammad Yousuf yesterday announced he was to quit international cricket in protest against an indefinite ban. Yousuf was banned earlier this month in a crackdown on players by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) following a disastrous tour of Australia. Pakistan lost all three Tests, five one-days and a Twenty20 match. The dismal performance resulted in bans and fines on seven leading players-Yousuf was captain for most of the games. “I received a letter from the PCB that my staying in the team is harmful for the team, so I announce my retirement from international cricket,” he said in Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi. “I thank the fans around the world, all the senior players and family members for supporting me throughout my 12-year career,” said an emotional Yousuf, 35, dressed in a religious white cap and traditional dress. “I always played for my country and if my playing is harmful for the team then I don’t want to play,” he told the news conference, fielding a barrage of questions at the Karachi Press Club. The son of a poor family, Yousuf rose through the ranks of cricket to reach dizzying heights of success. He played 88 Tests, nine as captain and scored 7,431 runs at an average of 53.07, including 24 centuries. He also scored 9,624 runs in 282 one-day internationals. Yousuf was third behind Javed Miandad (8,832 in 124) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (8,829 in 119) in all time run-getters for Pakistan in Tests and second behind Inzamam (11,701 in 375 matches) in one-day cricket. But his greatest achievement was 1,788 Test runs in 2006 with nine hundreds-the world record for most runs scored and hundreds in a calendar year, beating Viv Richards’ 1976 record of 1,710 for the West Indies.

KARACHI: Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Yousuf speaks during a press conference. Yousuf has retired from international cricket in response to the Pakistan Cricket Board’s decision to ban him for an indefinite period.—AP He also won International Cricket Council Test player of the year in 2007. Asked if he could rescind his decision, Yousuf said: “at the moment my playing in the team is harmful so I am quitting”. “If I get time, I would love to play first class cricket and private leagues,” he later added, admitting that his performance in Australia had not been up to scratch. “I accept that as a senior batsman I didn’t perform up to expectations, but I still believe that I have cricket left in me,” said Yousuf, who made his debut against South Africa at Durban in 1998. In 2005, he converted from Roman Catholicism to Islam and started preaching in his spare time. “I am thankful to almighty Allah for blessing me with talent and I am very happy that I helped Pakistan win lots of matches,” said Yousuf, who defected to

rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) after he was dropped from the team in 2007. On persuasion from the PCB, Yousuf changed his mind only to rejoin the ICL in November 2008 and was subsequently banned from playing for Pakistan. Early last year, a stay order from a Pakistani court paved his way back into the team. He then accepted the captaincy after regular captain Younus Khan withdrew from the twin tours of New Zealand and Australia. The PCB banned Yousuf and Khan on March 10 indefinitely due to “infighting”, after an investigation into the disastrous Australian tour. “I never had any fight with Younus, we both supplemented each other on the tour of Australia so there was no reason for fighting,” said Yousuf. “I can still appeal against the ban, but only if my (religious) elders approve.”—AFP

Global Finance names NBK ‘Best Emerging Market Bank in ME


Emirates NBD launches Islamic Money Market Fund


Toyota says global sales jump 13% in February


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Visa introduces financial literacy program in Kuwait Educational video game combines sports, fun and finances By Velina Nacheva KUWAIT: Kuwait has become the seventh country in the world where Visa, a leading payment solutions provider, launched its new MyMoneySkills website featuring a free FIFA World Cup branded educational video game designed to help strengthen knowledge of personal finance. The announcement of the launch of the website ( was made at a press conference held in Marriott Courtyard Hotel yesterday. Is the financial literacy program in sync with VISA’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy to combine sports, education and financial literacy? In response, Ihab Ayoub, Visa’s General Manager for KSA, Kuwait, Oman and Yemen says: The plan for us is to bring forth financial literacy and inject some fun in it. Because it is a FIFA year and the World Cup is coming up in June, Visa has adopted the concept to combine these adding more life and fun to the financial turf, he observed. Since the financial world tends to be more dry, sports and soccer in particular add interactivity and fun. We believe young people will love it because they would love MyMoneySkills because they love the game itself, hAyoub said stressing that this would make them go to the questions and “gain more knowledge” and what options they have in terms of financing. Moreover, as part of Visa’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, Visa has a decade-long commitment to financial literacy. Visa’s dedicated Financial Literacy website in the Middle East is a core part of the company’s global commitment to reach 20 million people worldwide with Financial Literacy

KUWAIT: Ihab Ayoub, Visa’s General Manager for KSA, Kuwait, Oman and Yemen (right) and Lama Kabbani, Corporate Communications Manager for Visa in the Middle East (left) during the press conference held in Marriott Courtyard yesterday. —Photo by Joseph Shagra information by May 2013, a press release said. Providing fundamental personal finance information in both Arabic and English on topics such as learning how to plan a budget, preparing for the future, using a credit card wisely and spending responsibly, MyMoneySkills and Financial Football form an engaging platform for young people, families and schools to improve their Financial Literacy skills. The Middle East is the fourth region in which Visa has rolled out the game, following Brazil, the U.S. and Mexico.

The game has already been introduced in Jordan and Lebanon. “We have already received a lot of positive feedback from the markets we have launched it,” Ayoub said. He further stressed that what makes the program popular is the excitement of the game and the fact that now are difficult times caused by the financial crisis. People are more interested in budgeting and in understanding their finances better,” he added. In the coming months, Financial Football will be introduced in an additional 20 coun-

tries in the lead up 2010 FIFA World Cup, including Canada, China, Japan, Russia and South Africa. The next destination for a launch after Kuwait is Saudi Arabia. Addressing the press conference, Ayoub said: “Kuwait’s youthful population, combined with relatively high electronic payment acceptance levels, makes Visa’s Financial Literacy tools particularly relevant and important to the country.” Taking the point further he stressed that and Financial Football will become

the cornerstone of Visa’s Middle East Financial Literacy effort. “The Middle East is a priority for Visa, which is why this is one of the first regions where we are launching Financial Football. In these challenging economic times, ensuring that people have the skills they need to manage their money successfully has never been more important,” he said. Harnessing the popularity of football in the Middle East and worldwide, Visa has created the FIFA World Cup- themed Financial Football, a free, educational video game that tests

players’ knowledge of financial management skills as they advance down field and try to score goals, a press release said. On her part, Lama Kabbani, Corporate Communications Manager for Visa in the Middle East, said: “Visa is very pleased to launch its Financial Literacy tools in Kuwait and allow more people to benefit from the advantages of improving their money management skills. Families, students, working professionals and teachers can all benefit from the tools provided by and the fast paced football action on” In a press release, VISA said that a recent Visa survey of GCC educational professionals revealed that 95 percent of respondents expressed their wish to see Financial Literacy taught in schools, with 73 percent of teachers polled admitting that schools do not currently teach basic money skills as part of the curriculum. Reflecting on the results, Kabbani said: “This response from teachers indicates a gap in young people’s education at the moment.” She further added that is a great educational resource for teachers as it makes learning about Financial Literacy, which can often be seen as a dull or daunting subject, fun. “We hope teachers will take advantage of the tools on and the Financial Football game and use them in their classrooms to encourage their students to learn life changing money management skills,” she said. Kuwait Banking Association will be supporting Visa’s financial literacy campaign in Kuwait. For more information on the program you can visit and

Gatehouse Bank seeks to enhance ties in Kuwait By Velina Nacheva KUWAIT: The Kuwait-owned and UK-based Gatehouse Bank, which has a reach in Europe, Asian and GCC markets, eyes the Gulf as a region with potential. Our investment base is GCC, says Angelena Lee, Head of Corporate Communications at Gatehouse Bank - a fully Sharia-compliant wholesale investment bank and a subsidiary of Kuwait-based ‘The Securities House.’ Lee was talking to reporters at a press gathering in Kuwait City yesterday. During her visit to Kuwait, she says, she aims to start building relationships with journalists. In her words, Gatehouse will be engaging with many investors here in Kuwait and has plans to hold events with investors in attendance. Taking the point further, she stressed that the Gulf in particular, has always been of interest to them. Gatehouse is building a strategy of key pri-

ority markets, Kuwait being one of them. “We will be much more active here... it is more of a priority here than it is in terms of other markets. Sharia-compliant financing is much more easily adopted here. It is second nature to a lot of the investors and it is something that they want,” she says. Lee was quick to point out that Gatehouse Bank “has a good solid understanding of Sharia” in addition to a wide understanding of the conventional market because of the organization’s financial expertise in London. “Our skill base is drawn from financial professionals who are world trained and have solid experience in banking and finance in London,” she said. Many of the investors who have taken interest in the organization’s products are from Kuwait and Gatehouse has already established strong links with them. “We addressed the Kuwaiti market because we already have strong relationships here and we just want to build on that,” Lee said. There is a also pool of people in the GCC markets

that we are interested in as well, she said. What makes Gatehouse Bank standout compared to other regional players is starting from the fundamentals. “It is people (in Gatehouse) themselves who are experts and have the training. They are fully-qualified in the areas of finance,” she said. She further stressed that Gatehouse Bank offers an international expertise into the region. Asked about Gatehouse eyeing regions like South-East Asia and the Gulf for expansion, Lee asserts, “We replicate what investors want. One of the things that came out of the crisis is that investors don’t want to pool their assets into one area, one region, one geographic market and one type of investment either,” she said. Dwelling on the subject she says that the investment should have a long-term growth and a balance risk. “In order to do that you need to diversify; to diversify also means to explore other markets,” she said highlighting this as the reason for South East

Asia’s growing importance to Gatehouse. Gatehouse bank provides Shariah-compliant wholesale investment banking services in six areas: Capital Markets and Syndicated Financing, Institutional Wealth Management, Real Estate, Placement, Sharia Advisory Services and Treasury Products. At the moment, Lee says, Gatehouse is focusing a lot on the organization’s property side because of the strong opportunities the bank can offer with UK-based assets. She further explained that currently, there are a few key properties that Gatehouse Bank is looking to provide to Gulf investors as long-term opportunities. Because the market has been volatile, at the moment everyone is trying to find an opportunity where they can invest without getting caught up in the volatility of the market, she stated. On hand for the occasion was Samah Al-Nughaimish, Assistant Vice President Public Relations and Marketing, Global Securities House, which is part of ‘The Securities House.

US consumer spending up, sign of decent recovery WASHINGTON: US consumers spent modestly last month, a sign that the economic recovery is proceeding at a decent — but not spectacular — pace. The Commerce Department reported yesterday that consumers boosted their spending by 0.3 percent in February. That was a tad slower than the 0.4 percent increase registered in January and marked the smallest increase since September. Still, the increase in spending was considered a respectable showing, especially given the snowstorms that slammed the East Coast and kept some people away from the malls. It marked the fifth straight month that consumer spending rose. Americans’ incomes, however, didn’t budge. Incomes were flat in February, following a solid 0.3 percent gain in January. It marked the weakest showing since July, when incomes actually shrank. Income growth is the fuel for future spending. February’s flatline reading suggests shoppers will be cautious in the months ahead. Spending growth in February matched economists’ expectations. The reading on income was a bit weaker than forecast. Both the spending and income figures in yesterday’s report point to a modest economic recovery. That cheered Wall Street investors. The Dow Jones industri-

al average gained 40 points in morning trading. Many analysts predict the economy slowed in the first three months of this year after logging a big growth spurt at the end of 2009. The economy will expand at only a 2.5 percent to 3 percent pace in the first quarter of this year, analysts predict. That’s roughly half the 5.6 percent pace seen in the final quarter of last year. In normal times, growth in the 3 percent range would be considered respectable. But the nation is emerging from the worst recession since the 1930s. Sizzling growth in the 5 percent range would be needed for an entire year to drive down the unemployment rate, now 9.7 percent, by just 1 percentage point. Unlike past recoveries, where consumer spending led the way, this one is hinging more on the spending of businesses and foreigners. High unemployment, sluggish wage gains, hard-to-get credit and record-high home foreclosures are all expected to prevent consumers from going on a spending spree — one of the main reasons why the pace of the recovery will be more subdued than in the past. With spending outpacing income growth, Americans’ savings dipped in February. — AP

MOUNTAIN VIEW: Consumers wait for the opening of Costco in Mountain View, California. Consumers spent modestly last month, a sign that the economic recovery is proceeding at a decent-but not spectacular-pace.—AP

DEARBORN: Assorted country’s flags fly outside Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. The United Auto Workers union said yesterday it is hoping to raise at least $1.3 billion for its retiree health care trust fund by selling all of its 362 million warrants for Ford Motor Co stock.— AP

UAW trust to sell all Ford stock warrants DETROIT: The United Auto Workers union is hoping to raise at least $1.3 billion for its retiree health care trust fund by selling all of its 362 million warrants for Ford Motor Co stock. The trust will auction the warrants, which were issued in December 2009 as part of contract talks with the union, starting at 8 am today, Ford said yesterday in a statement. The automaker and union agreed to the trust to help Ford remove retiree health care costs from its books. The trust began paying health care costs for thousands of retirees and their spouses on Jan. 1, and the company said it is saving Ford roughly $500 million per year. The trust set a minimum price for each warrant at $3.50. Each warrant gives the holder the right to buy a Ford share at $9.20. The combined $12.70 that a buyer would pay for both the warrant and a share of Ford stock is 8 percent below Ford’s closing stock price on Friday of $13.86 a share. Ford shares fell 19 cents to $13.67 in morning trading yesterday. Shelly Lombard, credit analyst at the New York bond research firm GimmeCredit, said the UAW trust is wise to sell the warrants now, since Ford’s stock has been on the rise. “The economy’s improving and Toyota’s on the ropes, so the sense is that things will only go up from here,” she said. “But having said that, it just makes perfect financial sense to take some money off the table. You never know what the market’s going to do.” Ford also said yesterday it will pay $3 billion to a revolving credit line that is due in 2013. The credit line will have a $3.7 billion balance after the payment, which will be made April 6. Ford continues to be saddled with high debt. After the $3 billion payment, the company will still owe about $32 billion overall. Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth said in January that the company has “an uncompetitive balance sheet” and will work on cutting debt this year, but he wouldn’t say what steps it will take. The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker mortgaged all its assets in 2006 and 2007 to secure a $23.4 billion credit line to cover its restructuring costs and losses. The money enabled Ford to avoid taking government aid and entering bankruptcy protection like its crosstown rivals, General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC. In January the company posted a $2.7 billion annual profit for 2009 and said it expects to stay in the black in 2010. It was the automaker’s first annual profit in four years. — AP

Shell to boost Iraq Majnoon oil output YAS ISLAND, Abu Dhabi: Iraq’s Majnoon oilfield is targeting production of 175,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2012, a senior Royal Dutch Shell yesterday executive said yesterday. Iraq’s largest field is currently pumping at 45,000 boe/d, Shell’s Mounir Bouaziz, Vice-President New Business LNG for the Middle East and North Africa, told an industry event. Shell and Malaysia’s Petronas signed a final contract earlier this year to develop the Majnoon oilfield, one of the world’s biggest. “We have already started work at Majnoon...we have already taken over operations,” Bouaziz told Reuters on the sidelines. “The effective (start) date was on March 1.” The eventual production target for the field is 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). Shell and Petronas won the rights in an auction held in Baghdad in December for the field in southern Iraq, estimated to hold 12.6 billion barrels of oil. The 20-year development contract is one of several deals that Iraq has sealed to try to catapult the country to third place from 11th in the league of oil producing nations. GAS Shell has not yet reached a final agreement on a natural gas venture around the southern oil hub of Basra, Bouaziz said. Earlier this month Iraq’s oil minister Hussain Al-Sharistani said the OPEC member had extended a memorandum of understanding with Shell on the venture, but a

final deal would be left to the new government. Iraq has been working to finalize a multi-billion-dollar joint venture between its South Gas Company, Shell and Mitsubishi, that would capture huge amounts of gas now being wasted and use it in the domestic market or for exports. Bouaziz said that delays in capturing the flared gas was costing Iraq about $50 a second. Iraq is losing 1 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of gas through flaring, mostly from the south, Bouaziz said. “What they are flaring now is sufficient to produce power generation for a country like Jordan, twice,” Bouaziz said. “People are getting an average of two hours of electricity a day, there are plans to add power generation but that needs fuel...gas is the natural solution.” Bouaziz said that the basic infrastructure was already in place to start capturing the gas being burned. “But the task to really get it to work, to improve it, to upgrade it and increase the capacity is huge because of a legacy of many, many years of lack of maintenance and underdevelopment,” he said. Bouaziz said Iraq could start exporting gas “very very quickly”. Bouaziz said the construction of Shell’s Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in Qatar is expected to be completed by the end of 2010, with a ramp up in production expected to start in 2011. “This will take 12 months,” he said. — Reuters



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Global Finance names NBK ‘Best Emerging Market Bank in ME’

NBK Group CEO Ibrahim Shukri Dabdoub

KUWAIT: The leading US- based Global Finance has selected the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) as the Best Emerging Market Bank in the Middle East for 2010. Global finance stated that the remarkable and consistent growth achieved by NBK is a clear testament to the Bank’s continued strength in the face of adversity as well as NBK’s capacity to maintain its leading franchise, consistent profitability, strong asset quality, conservative risk profile and strong capitalization NBK also boasts the largest local and overseas branch network encompassing 175 branches, subsidiaries and representative offices located in the main international and regional financial centers. Commenting on the occasion, NBK Group CEO, Ibrahim Shukri Dabdoub said that it was deeply gratifying for NBK to be selected as the Best Emerging Market Bank in the Middle East for 2010. Dabdoub added that win-

ning such a prestigious ranking, despite the global financial crisis and its ramifications on both regional and international levels, provides further acknowledgment of the Bank’s financial solid position and the soundness of its policies and expansion strategies. “Winning this distinctive ranking also emphasizes the uniqueness of the services and products we offer to our clients and provides a clear indication of NBK’s high professional standards that have won the admiration and recognition of the leading international media and financial institutions”, Dabdoub concluded. NBK was ranked by Global Finance as 38th in the list of the World’s 50 Safest Banks in 2009 in addition to being selected amongst the World’s Best Banks for the same year. Despite the adverse conditions in the global financial system, NBK has also reported net profits of $925 million (KD 265.2 million) for 2009.

Union Properties in talks with investors for discounts DUBAI: Dubai’s Union Properties is negotiating for a discount with at least five investors on outstanding payments for a delayed project, and is in talks with others, an executive told a television channel yesterday. “We met with some investors along with the law firm which represents them and we reached that a friendly settlement is the desired way,” the firm’s general manager Khalid Al-Jarwan told al Arabiya television, declining to give further details, but adding it was not considered a legal case. More than 30 investors filed a breach of contract case against the developer for the nondelivery of homes on its Index Tower project, which is under construction in the Dubai Financial Centre, a local daily Emirates Business reported earlier yesterday. Jarwan said 99 percent of the tower’s structure had been finished and that the project would be handed over in August this year. The project should have been completed two years ago, the suit claims, according to the newspaper.

“The respondents’ continuing failure to deliver the units and the failure of the respondent to issue SPA (sale and purchase agreement) in a timely manner is a breach of its contractual obligations,” according to documents seen by the newspaper. Earlier yesterday, Union Properties’ chairman Khalid bin Kalban told Reuters he was unaware of the legal case. “There are complaints of course but management is dealing directly with them,” he said. Earlier in March, the firm said it received “negotiable” offers for its Ritz Carlton hotel in Dubai, which the debt-laden firm is hoping to sell for about 1.5 billion dirhams ($408.5 million). The developer has 6.5 billion dirhams ($1.77 billion) of outstanding debt, of which 2.8 billion had been rescheduled for payment to 2011 from 2009, with the remainder maturing in the long term. The firm’s shares closed 3.8 percent lower at at 0.5 dirhams a share in earlier trading yesterday, underperforming Dubai’s index which slipped 2.5 percent. — Reuters

FEB commemorates floating of MENAdrill’s first jack-up rig MANAMA: First Energy Bank’s (FEB) inaugural project in 2008 was the launch of MENAdrill Investment Company (MENAdrill), a Cayman Islands entity specialised in the offshore drilling industry. FEB, along with the other shareholders of MENAdrill, is today celebrating the floating of its first “Friede & Goldman Super M2” jackup rig which represents a major construction milestone. The rig is now in its final stage of construction and will shortly be ready for testing and commissioning with delivery scheduled for September 30, 2010. In September 2008, two construction contracts were signed with Maritime Industrial Services Co Ltd Inc (MIS) Sharjah, UAE to construct the two Super M2 jackup rigs based on a new design developed by Friede & Goldman, one of the oldest and most experienced US drilling rig design firms. The two rigs, named MENAdrill Hercules I & II, are currently under construction and on schedule, and will be ready for operations worldwide including operations in the Arabian Gulf, the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia this year. They will be able to operate in

water depths of up to 300 feet with a drilling depth capability of between 20,000 to 30,000 feet. Additionally, in December of 2009, FEB in its capacity as project sponsor and developer signed a Management Agreement with Hercules Offshore Arabia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hercules Offshore Inc. a leading provider of offshore contract drilling, liftboat and inland barge services with extensive operations throughout the world. Headquartered in Houston, USA, Hercules has a solid track record of operations in the Middle East, West Africa and the Far East. Approved and licensed as a drilling contractor by all of the world’s leading oil and gas exploration companies, Hercules operates a fleet of jackup rigs across three continents and is the fourth largest in the world and the largest in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. They have a current fleet of 30 jackup rigs operating in various parts of the world including two of them being deployed on long term contracts with Saudi Aramco. “MENAdrill, which closed its books at the end of last year, was launched directly before the global financial crisis came to a head.

Like many industry sectors, it underwent restructuring to ensure its viability in the new global environment. We are very proud of how efficient and effective that restructuring was, and the fruits of those initial labours by the MENAdrill team can be seen with the MENAdrill Hercules I, and the MENAdrill Hercules II, which is set to follow later on this year,” said Mr. Esam Janahi Chairman of First Energy Bank. Commenting on the floating ceremony of the first of the new MENAdrill rigs, Kevin Hudson, MIS Managing Director said, “This milestone is significant both to MENAdrill and to MIS. Having delivered three offshore jack-up drilling rigs to our clients over the past year, we are pleased to be progressing with the construction work on MENAdrill’s first jackup rig. With this, we also look forward to building on the strong relationship with First Energy Bank and its partners.” John Rynd, Chief Executive Officer and President of Hercules Offshore said, “We are pleased to offer our congratulations to the MENAdrill team on the accomplishment of the floating and naming of the MENAdrill

Hercules I. Achieving this milestone on schedule after one of the most challenging years the industry and the financial markets have experienced in a generation is a testament to the dedication, skill and patience of the entire MENAdrill and MIS project teams. We are proud of our relationship with MENAdrill and we are pleased to have the opportunity to market and operate these new and highly capable rigs.” Vahan Zanoyan, CEO of First Energy Bank concluded by saying, “In our industry, finding the right partners and forming the right partnerships is essential to our growth and development. It therefore made absolute sense to partner with both Hercules and MIS, as they have proven themselves time and again to be solid performers committed to helping develop and grow the offshore drilling industry, which has typically lagged behind onshore drilling throughout the region. The two new MENAdrill rigs will help meet the rising demand, and need, for solutions to tap the region’s more difficult to reach oil and gas fields, most of which have yet to be fully explored..”

Oman Air in sync with govt’s Omanization goals Oman Air is surging ahead with its HR initiatives to recruit more suitable Omani candidates. Oman Air ranks as one of the topmost companies that is driven by a determined Omanisation program. Sultan Qaboos bin Said has always underlined the growing need for the collective efforts to boost Omanisation, saying he would personally follow up the implementation of the recommendations of the National Manpower Employment Forum. In one of the speeches, His Majesty said that from the moment of dawning of renaissance, Oman has taken determined steps to open the doors to development and progress in the different spheres of modern life while creating equal opportunities for all the citizens of this country without exception, thereby enabling them to achieve their aspirations and ambitions and see their hopes

translated into realities. Commenting on the company’s Omanisation policy, Sheikh Ahmed Al Nabhani, Chief Officer Support Services says: “His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said’s directives are our guiding beacon in this regard. The Board of Directors at Oman Air has drawn ambitious plans to recruit more Omanis this year as we move ahead with our expansion plans. 2010 has started off well with the Omanisation measures put in place. As part of recruiting and honing the skills of our Omani employees, we would be Omanising completely the grades 3 and 4 of our organization structure and design the necessary training courses in English language skills to the drivers, porters, and traffic assistants. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the first group of 22

Traffic Assistants who are now in their final stages of job training ready to join their new jobs. We will also be having on board soon, 15 pilots, 12 engineering staff, 13 ramp handlers, and 22-cabin crew. This is apart from a further group of 15 pilots, 20 Traffic Assistants, and 20-cabin crew that will be joining Oman Air as well. “ The many motivational measures and programs that are put in place also act as an incentive to the Omani cadres working at different levels in the Company. Currently many senior posts in Oman Air are handled by efficient and proficient Omani cadres who have been serving the company tirelessly. The current percentage of Omanisation at Oman Air at 62.5% is expected to go up further as more eligible Omani candidates have been shortlisted for employment with Oman Air.

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 .4270000 .384000 .2680000 .2780000 .2580000 .0045000 .0020000 .0782350 .7622180 .4020000 .0750000 .7472220 .0045000 .0500000

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

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2882000 .4294390 .3865460 .2705280 .2805500 .0519420 .0397010 .2602310 .0371240 .2052470 .0031150 .0064040 .0025330 .0034610 .0042220 .0785040 .7648380 .4075910 .0768920 .7489420 .0063680

US Dollar Sterling pounds Swiss Francs Saudi Riyals

TRANSFER CHEQUES RATES .2903000 .4324720 .2724440 .0773820

.2940000 .4370000 .3920000 .2770000 .2870000 .2660000 .0075000 .0035000 .0790210 .7698780 .4180000 .0790000 .7547320 .0072000 .0580000

286.220 188.400 275.900 261.700 287.500 ASIAN COUNTRIES

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

3.183 6.387 3.458 2.532 3.995 206.800 37.231 4.180 6.361 8.953 0.301 0.292 GCC COUNTRIES

.2903000 .4324720 .3892750 .2724440 .2825370 .0523090 .0399820 .2623700 .0373870 .2067010 .0031370 .0064490 .0025510 .0034860 .0042520 .0790050 .7697150 .4104770 .0773820 .7537160 .0064130

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

77.280 79.620 752.830 769.630 78.920 ARAB COUNTRIES

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

55.750 52.660 1.320 207.630 409.210 194.400 6.356 35.410 GOLD

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

215.000 110.000 57.000

Bahrain Exchange Company

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

Canadian dollar Turkish lire Swiss Franc Australian dollar US Dollar Buying

289.650 392.910 435.920

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

SELL CASH 265.800 769.710 4.400 286.000 568.400 15.800 52.900 167.800 55.210 392.800

SELL DRAFT 264.300 769.710 4.178 284.500

207.700 52.643 391.300

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

37.990 6.630 0.035 0.298 0.260 3.230 410.860 0.195 89.150 47.600 4.270 208.200 2.183 49.000 751.860 3.520 6.560 80.050 77.280 207.710 41.490 2.743 436.100 40.900 275.800 6.400 9.300 217.900 78.980 289.900 1.380

37.840 6.390

409.130 0.194 89.150 3.010 206.700

274.300 9.120 78.980 289.400


Sterling Pound US Dollar

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Rate per 1000 (Tran)

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 434.100 289.400

289.550 3.460 6.400 2.545 4.190 6.395 78.895 77.380 769.300 52.625 436.800 0.00003195 3.980 1.550 411.100 5.750 394.200 289.200

Al Mulla Exchange Currency

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Cyprus Pound Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees

2.525 4.180 6.344 3.195 8.917 6.301 3.969

Currency 751.000 3.400 6.355 79.020 77.280 207.710 41.490 2.534 434.100

GOLD 10 Tola

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

288.800 287.900 440.640 396.645 272.235 707.865 764.420 78.610 79.305 76.980 407.535 52.629 6.356 3.428

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 289.200 392.900 435.900 284.300 3.200 6.427 52.650 2.532 4.180 6.375 3.455 769.600 78.875 77.150


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Emirates NBD launches Emirates Islamic Money Market Fund DUBAI: Emirates NBD, the largest banking group in the Middle East in terms of assets, announced yesterday the launch of Emirates Islamic Money Market Fund (the “Fund”), a daily dealing Sharia-compliant open ended fund domiciled in Jersey. The Fund aims to achieve higher profit return than comparative Shariacompliant bank deposits, predominantly from a diversified portfolio of Sharia-compliant money market instruments. “The Fund is one of the first of its kind globally and will look to access the growing range of Islamic cash or near cash investments. It will also seek to benefit from the yield pick-up in USD-pegged currencies and the current cost of funding for corporates and banks,” said Deon Vernooy Head - Asset Management, Emirates NBD. “As Islamic investment draws increasing interest from large financial institutions worldwide, Emirates NBD continues to stay ahead of the curve by developing and managing innovative and sophisticated investment vehicles that adhere to the highest standards of Sharia-compliance,” he continued. The Fund provides investors diversification from traditional equity and real estate investments and can form part of an investor’s portfolio irrespective of their investment horizon. Further, the Fund can also be used as a parking facility during periods of surplus liquidity. The Fund will acquire a diversified portfolio, including but not limited to, Islamic deposits, murabaha, sukuk and international trade contracts. Assets will be diversified across a range of durations and liquidity terms in order to optimise potential for higher profit, without unduly increasing volatility or hampering daily liquidity. Investors may invest at a discounted upfront fee during a special two

week offer period, which will start towards the end of this month. The Fund will be managed by Emirates NBD Asset Management, the same team that managed the award winning “Emirates Sukuk Fund No.1 Limited” and also won the “MENA Asset Manager of the Year 2009.” Emirates NBD Asset Management is a fully-owned subsidiary of Emirates NBD Bank and is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

S&P says it could lower credit rating of Britain LONDON: Britain’s credit rating could be lowered if the new government fails to come up with convincing plans to cut public debt after elections this year, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said yesterday. The agency affirmed Britainís top-grade AAA rating but said the country remained on ‘negative outlook,’ meaning its creditworthiness could be revised downwards—a move that would cause a major shockwave in the global economy. ‘The outlook on the United Kingdom remains negative based on our view that... the UKís net

Awarded two contracts worth $227m in Abu Dhabi

Dubai builder Arabtec wins $143 million Qatar project DUBAI: Dubai’s Arabtec said yesterday its Qatar subsidiary won a 524 million dirham ($142.7 million) contract as the builder continues to expand abroad to weather a downturn in its home market. Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance Co awarded the contract, which will last 26

Deon Vernooy, Head of Emirates NBD Asset Management

general government debt burden may approach a level incompatible with a ‘AAA’ rating,’ the ratings agency said in a statement. ‘We expect to review the longterm rating and outlook again once medium-term fiscal policy becomes clearer following the 2010 parliamentary elections,’the statement said, referring to the general election expected on May 6. ‘The rating could be lowered it we conclude that the incoming government’s fiscal strategy is unlikely to put the UK debt burden on a secure downward trajectory over the medium term,’ it

added. S&P forecast that general government debt will rise to 77 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 and approach 100 percent by 2014 — far higher than official forecasts—because of weak growth and a huge deficit. The government forecasts debt to peak at 89.2 percent of GDP in 2013-2014. The ratings agency also said that the budget announced last week did not make any clearer how the government planned to deal with the debt in the medium-term, adding that there was ‘substantial uncertaintyî over policy. — AFP

months, to build The World Trade Centre project in Doha’s West Bay neighborhood, the United Arab Emirates’ largest contractor by market value said in a statement on Dubai’s bourse website. Arabtec’s unit is currently working on Al Waab City, a 1.2 million square meter mixed-

use project in Doha, it said. The builder said earlier yesterday that another subsidiary had also won two construction projects in Abu Dhabi worth a total of 835 million dirhams ($227.3 million). Arabtec’s $1.7 billion merger with Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments will be completed

in April and may pave the way for a revival of projects in Abu Dhabi and help expansion in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, Arabtec’s chief financial officer told Reuters earlier this month. Al Mal Capital upgraded the firm to “outperform”, saying trade creditors, including con-

tractors such as Arabtec, stand to benefit the most after Dubai announced it would recapitalise its Dubai World conglomerate. Arabtec’s shares closed 1.5 percent lower earlier yesterday, outperforming Dubai’s bourse which fell 2.5 percent. — Reuters

BITS, Pilani-Dubai’s Interface 2010 celebrates winning industry partnerships As part of their 10th anniversary celebrations, BITS, PilaniDubai (BPD) recently hosted a networking event for leading business enterprises associated with BPD. The event, christened Interface 2010 Celebrating Industrial Partnerships, Honouring Practice School (PS) Partners, was held at the Institute’s campus in Dubai International Academic City. Interface 2010 was organized to celebrate their longstanding partnerships with over 360 blue-chip firms which offer internships to the Institute’s graduates and recruit them. The illustrious list of partnering companies has increased steadily over the years - from just seven in 2001 to a whopping 361 in 2010. The event was attended by CEOs and Managing Directors of organisations of such repute as Siemens, FedEx, L&T, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), Cluttons, Steinweg Sharaf, ETA Ascon, Microsol, Procal, Det Norske Veritas and Al Futtaim Engineering. These industry captains were appreciative of the calibre of BPD graduates and their potential talent which could contribute to their workforce, said S Ramanathan, Area

US Treasury says it will begin selling Citi shares NEW YORK: The Treasury Department said yesterday it will begin selling the stake it owns in Citigroup Inc, which could result in a profit of more than $8 billion. The government received 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup in exchange for $25 billion it gave the bank during the 2008 credit crisis. It said it will sell the shares over the course of this year, depending on market conditions. Like any investor, the government will likely hold on to its shares if prices fall steeply. However, Citi shares have steadily been rising with the broader market in recent months, which means the Treasury Department stands to pocket a hefty profit. Citi shares rose 8 cents to $4.39 in early trading yesterday. The government would make about $8.8 billion in profit on its stake in Citigroup if it sells the stock for $4.39 a share. The Treasury Department received its stock for a price of $3.25 a share last year. Citi was one of the hardest hit banks during the credit crisis and recession. It received a total of $45 billion in bailout money. Citi repaid the other $20 billion it owed the Treasury in December. When Citigroup agreed to repay the $20 billion in loans it still owed the Treasury Department, the pair also agreed the Treasury would sell the common stock it owned in the New York bank throughout 2010. The Treasury owns about 27 percent of Citigroup’s outstanding stock, based on the number of shares that were outstanding on Jan 31. Even after it sells its stake in Citigroup, the Treasury Department will still hold warrants to purchase future shares in the bank. The Treasury said Morgan Stanley will handle the sale of the shares. — AP


Manager-UAE, Kuwait and Oman, Det Norske Veritas (DNV): “The PS Students in DNV contributed to process excellence by reducing waste and variation. Their contribution is well recognized and the company has benefited through their PS Program.” Partnerships like these have helped more than 900 students since 2001. All of them have successfully completed internships and, in many cases even

found placements at their chosen firms. Mudit Goel, Chief Executive, L&T Electrical & Automation FZE, had similar appreciation for the students: “We are pretty happy with BPD students, whom we have recruiting for Practice School for the last two years. The quality of students is very good, they are very confident and they actively participate in the project execution activities and

group discussions. We are also looking at recruiting management trainees from BPD as we see significant potential in them to go up to management level pretty fast and to become better leaders of tomorrow.” Interface 2010, which was organised by the Department of Practice School, Career Counselling and Placements at BPD, also received plaudits as students have been involved in several prestigious projects

such as the Dubai Metro, Burj Khalifa, Jebel Ali Airport, Dubai Mall, Meydan and Uptown Mirdif. According to Ravi Kashyap, General Manager, SteinwegSharaf FZCO, the company had a very pleasant association with students of BPD who did the PS Program. “We value and cherish their contribution. We are proud to have helped in their development. We complement the college team on their efforts in creating such an esteemed institution in the region.” BITS Pilani is the only institution in India which has an industrial internship programme of 7 1/2 months within the curriculum - the same has been replicated in Dubai with the support received from the industry. “We would like to thank companies in Dubai for their unstinted support and encouragement. We also offer consultancy services to conduct collaborative research. We are adept in providing technical and managerial know-how, besides executive training,” said Prof Dr M Ramachandran, Director, BITS, Pilani-Dubai. BITS Pilani-Dubai also announced PhD programmes and offered Masters programmes in engineering and management for working professionals during the event.

Saudi Civil Aviation Authority, SITA tie up to improve baggage handling

Citigroup Center is seen in New York. The Treasury Department said yesterday it will begin selling the stake it owns in Citigroup Inc, which could result in a profit of more than $8 billion. — AP

S Korean firms bid for Yanbu refinery Aramco-Conoco happy with the bids KHOBAR: South Korean companies have submitted the most competitive bids for the construction of three big units for the Yanbu refinery state oil giant Saudi Aramco is building with US ConocoPhillips. industry sources said yesterday. SK Engineering and Construction Co offered the lowest proposal for a crude unit package. Daelim Industrial Co’s bid was the lowest for a gasoline unit and GS Engineering and Construction for a hydrocracker, sources said. The 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) Yanbu crude refinery is among new plants Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, plans to build as it looks to boost domestic refining by more than 1.7 million bpd from the current level of around 2.1 million bpd. The bidding process was stopped due to uncertainties in global financial markets. Cost estimates for the Yanbu refinery on the Red Sea coast doubled in 2008 to $12 billion from an initial $6 billion when the project was announced in 2006. “I believe yes, this is the latest information, South Korean companies bid the lowest but things may change, it is still not official...Yanbu is the first project this year...In that regard, all bidders were aggressive,” said one source. Sources declined to disclose the

value of their proposals as the process of evaluating the bids continued. “People are desperate, prices were very low,” said a second source. Aramco and Conoco were happy with the outcome of bids and are unlikely to hold a second round of negotiations with companies competing for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages of the refinery, sources said. Although Aramco and Conoco have not yet officially announced the outcome of bids, sources expected both companies to make an announcement by the end of the month or mid-April. An award is seen in May. Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas is likely to have submitted the lowest proposal for a cocker unit package, Egypt’s Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries (ENPPI) bid the lowest for a tank farm package. Indian Punj Lloyd is likely to be the frontrunner for an offsites and pipelines package, sources said. Aramco is also building a refinery of the same size with France’s Total. Bidding for that refinery had also been delayed sending contractors to the drawing board to revise bids and chop the construction costs to $9.6 billion from a highest estimate of $12 billion. — Reuters

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s international airports simplified passenger check-in and boarding and improved baggage handling with SITA’s state-of-the-art departure control, passenger check-in and baggage reconciliation services. General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia has more civil airports than any other country in the Middle East. The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) manages all 26 airports across the Kingdom. GACA’s mission is to build, manage, provide and develop all major equipment and infrastructure both for the civil airports and the country’s air navigation systems, based on the latest international systems and standards. The organization is also responsible for developing and applying procedures that guarantee the safety and security of the country’s air transportation systems, controlling operations and maintenance standards, encouraging investment opportunities and developing new revenues at Saudi Arabia’s airports. Since the late 1970s, Saudi Arabia has achieved both unprecedented growth and giant leaps in quality in the fields of civil aviation and general industry. This has generated major developments in the country’s passenger, air cargo and air navigation and control systems. The business challenge In 2006, GACA was facing a number of challenges in managing its international airports. This included improving and simplifying the passenger experience, reducing airport queues and tightening flight security. GACA was looking for flexible and proven IT systems that would enable it to integrate and automate operations at the country’s airports in a cost-effective manner - providing benefits for both airlines and passengers. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always aspired to achieve an excellent quality of life for its citizens,” said Mohammed Ali Alhaddad, Director Business Development & Properties - KAIA, GACA. “The aviation sector is an important focal point for us because it generates important benefits for the country as a whole.” After investigating three potential solution providers, GACA chose SITA. “SITA proposed a well-balanced solution that satisfied our technical aspirations, IATA’s regulations and recommendations and our financial expectations,” said Mohammed Ali Alhaddad, Director Business Development & Properties - KAIA, GACA. . “SITA’s worldwide experience, its local presence and its large international market share in our regions of interest were also important factors in our decision.” “The way SITA handled this contract from the very beginning was based on a genuine partnership.” SITA’s solution Since 2007, SITA has helped drive busi-

ness transformation at all of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s international airports - King Abdul-Aziz, Jeddah; King Khaled, Riyadh; King Fahd, Dammam; and Prince Mohamad, Medina - through a five-year, US$ 16.8 million IT solution focused on departure control systems, passenger check-in and baggage management. This includes SITA’s state-of-the-art airport IT systems such as AirportConnect Open for check-in, Maestro DCS (Departure Control System) Local, and BagManager for automated passenger and bag reconciliation. SITA’s AirportConnect Open serves as an IT airport platform that enables airlines operating from all four Saudi international airports to have their own proprietary applications running on CUTE (common-use terminal equipment). The most popular airline checkin and boarding system in use today, AirportConnect Open helps reduce pressure on airport space and provides airlines with greater flexibility in how they operate within the airport environment - particularly in meeting seasonal traffic demands, such as Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. SITA’s MaestroDCS (Departure Control System) Local is a fully automated check-in, boarding control and weight and balance system for aircraft departure control. Designed for airlines, airports, ground handlers and charter companies, MaestroDCS Local provides low-cost, easy-to-use check-in and departure control for the Saudi airports. Finally, SITA’s BagManager, the industry’s leading baggage reconciliation system (BRS), provides Saudi international airports with tighter security, improved customer service, and better baggage control by tracking and

recording the location of every bag within an airport and across multiple airports. It also ensures that passengers and their baggage travel together. This enables the four Saudi airports to meet the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) security recommendations. “Our five-year agreement with SITA has transformed the international airport environment here in Saudi Arabia through the smart deployment of IT that automates and streamlines the check-in process in order to avoid delays. Security is enhanced by ensuring passenger and bag reconciliation at all times,” said Abdullah Ruhaimy, President, GACA. Business results Using the new solution, Saudi international airports have streamlined and improved the passenger travel experience, reduced waiting times and improved security. The solution has also benefitted the airlines serving Saudi Arabia’s international airports. “All the airlines using the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s airports now experience a number of direct benefits including the use of their own departure control systems and improved standards governing their baggage operations,” said Hani El-Assaad, SITA Regional Vice-President, Middle East & Turkey. “Keeping the airports’ CUTE and BRS systems constantly updated makes airline operations smoother and facilitates faster traffic handling. As a result, all passengers using the Saudi airports enjoy a more relaxing experience,” said Mohammed Ali Alhaddad, Director Business Development & Properties — KAIA, GACA.



KSE stocks stage smart rally

Dubai stock rally stalls, banks lead Saudi lower MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE), Global General Index (GGI) and major indicators ended yesterday’s trading session in the green backed by gains witnessed in a majority of the markets sectors. Furthermore, the KSE Price Index ended yesterday’s session with the highest level since October 22, 2009. GGI added 1.03 points (+0.49 percent) during the session to reach 212.19 points. In addition, the KSE Price Index increased by 55.10 points (+0.74 percent) and closed at 7,523.80 points. Market capitalization was up KD168.94mn yesterday to reach KD34.81bn. Market breadth During the session, 144 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards gainers as 69 equities advanced versus 40 that retreated. A total of 101 stocks remained unchanged during yesterday’s trading session. Daily trading activity Trading activities ended on a positive note yesterday as volume of shares traded on the exchange increased by 41.29 percent to reach 455.06mn shares. In addition, value of shares traded gained by 3.73 percent to stand at KD78.68mn. The Investment Sector was the volume leader, accounting for 33.58 percent of total traded volume. While the Services Sector was the value leader, with 36.40 percent of total market value. Gulf Finance House saw 47.84mn shares changing hands, making it the volume leader. Zain was the value leader, with a total traded value of KD7.91mn. Top gainers and biggest decliners in terms of top gainers, Kuwait Bahrain

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

International Exchange was the top gainer for the day, adding 9.80 percent and closed at KD0.280. On the other hand, Al-Dar National Real Estate Company shed 7.69 percent to close at KD0.030, making it the biggest decliner in the market. Regarding Global’s sectoral indices, they mainly ended the day on a positive note with Global Non-Kuwaiti Index being the top gainer. The index ended the day with a gain of 1.62 percent backed by Ahli United Bank, the top gainer in the sector, ending the day with a 5.62 percent increase in value to close at KD0.188. In addition, Gulf

Finance House posted a 4.17 percent gain, making it the second biggest gain in the market and thus a contributing factor in the index’ gain. Global Services Index posted a 1 percent increase yesterday making it the second biggest gainer in the market. Heavyweights Agility and Zain aided the sector by ending the day with gains of 1.72 percent and 1.45 percent, respectively. On the other hand, Global Banking Index was the top decliner in the market. The index ended the trading session with a drop of 0.30 percent backed by heavyweights National Bank of Kuwait and

Kuwait Finance House which ended the day down 1.64 percent and 1.69 percent, respectively. Regarding Global’s special indices, they all ended in the green with Global Small Cap Index being the top gainer yesterday. The index posted a 1.29 percent increase backed by Equipment Holding Company ending the day up 6.67 percent and closed at KD0.79. Oil news The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $76.80 a barrel on Friday, compared with $77.03 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations.

Market news Kuwait’s Gulf Bank yesterday said it has received the central bank’s approval to buy back up to 10 percent of its issued shares. The six-month buyback period ends October 14, 2010, the lender said in a statement on the Kuwait bourse website. Kuwait Gazette reported the establishment of a new business consultancy company at a capital of KD1mn.” Ain AlMal” is a closed share-holding company with 10mn shares at 100 fils each. It is to provide Sharia-compliant consultancy services to Islamic and conventional banks and companies on investment, administrative, and economic aspects.

DUBAI: Dubai’s index fell 2.5 percent yesterday as investors booked profits after a report said Dubai Holding is considering restructuring $20 billion in debt, while banking stocks led Saudi Arabia lower. Other markets were mixed with a late rally in Zain helping Kuwait close higher while Qatar’s index fell as real estate stocks dropped. Abu Dhabi’s index rose 0.1 percent as banking stocks rose. Dubai Holding, the investment conglomerate owned by the emirate’s ruler, is considering restructuring up to $20 billion in debt, the Financial Times reported yesterday, in what would be another blow to the indebted emirate. “It’s definitely not over yet. The negative news from Dubai Holding is dampening investor sentiment. Yesterday’s buyers are today’s sellers,” said Vyas Jayabhanu, head of investments at Al Dhafra Financial Broker. Dubai’s index fell 2.5 percent to 1,833 points. It had gained 6.3 percent to a 14-week high in the two trading days after the government said it would spend up to $9.5 billion to restructure its debt-laden Dubai World conglomerate. Saudi Arabia’s index fell for a second straight session, led by lender Samba Financial Group which fell 4.1 percent to touch a

four-week low. Other banking stocks also fell as the market tested a key resistance level. The index dropped 0.4 percent to 6,770 points. “The market is facing strong resistance at 6,800 levels and the weak buying bids are forcing trader to booking profit at this levels,” says Mohammed Ishaq Ali, a fund manager at Al Rajhi Capital. “The selling pressure dragged down banking sector, whereas petrochemical sectors recovered losses, reacting to a jump in oil prices today at the back of weaker dollar and subsequent increase in demand for fuel.” In Kuwait, Zain shares rebounded from Sunday’s fall to rise 1.5 percent after Reuters reported that the telecom operator was likely to sign an agreement for its $9 billion asset sale to India’s Bharti Airtel today. The index rose 0.7 percent to 7,524 points. “Market makers are trying to push Zain stock higher before they finalize a deal with Bharti. I think they would want to push it to 1.5 dinars,” said Naser AlNafisi, general manager for Al Joman Center for Economic Consultancy in Kuwait. Doha’s index fell for the first session in three as Qatar Gas Transport Co (Nakilat) dropped 2.2 percent.

Property stocks also declined, with Barwa Real Estate Co falling 1.5 percent and Qatar Real Estate Co dropping 1.4 percent. The benchmark fell 0.3 percent to 7,440 points. Banking stocks weighed on Oman’s index. The index slipped 0.3 percent to 6,795 points. Egypt’s main index inched up 0.1 percent, bolstered by gains by Ezz Steel and Orascom Construction Industries (OCI). HIGHLIGHTS DUBAI The index fell 2.5 percent to 1,833 points. ABU DHABI The benchmark climbed 0.08 percent to 2,932 points. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 0.4 percent to 6,770 points. KUWAIT The measure rose 0.7 percent to 7,524 points. QATAR The index fell 0.3 percent to 7,440 points. EGYPT The index climbed 0.1 percent to 6,855 points. OMAN The benchmark fell 0.3 percent to 6,795 points. BAHRAIN The index rose 1 percent to 1,525 points. — Reuters


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Greece gets little market bounce from EU deal ATHENS/LONDON: Debt-stricken Greece returned to capital markets yesterday for the first time since euro-zone leaders agreed to give it a financial safety net, but the foggy rescue plan did little to reduce its borrowing costs. The country’s Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) mandated five banks for a 7-year benchmark bond issue-the first market test after the 16-nation single currency area last week decided to establish a European-IMF support mechanism as a last resort. The bond is expected to raise 5 billion euros and one of the banks handling the deal said the order book has reached that level but was still open. The bond looked set to be priced at around 6.0 percent if market conditions remain stable-more than

IMF chief says not clear Greece will need help twice the yield paid by Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, on 7-year paper. Analysts said it was in line with what Greece paid on a longer 10-year bond on Mar. 11, while euro zone partners were still wrangling publicly over whether to help Athens at all. However, the rate might have been still higher if euro zone leaders had failed to reach any decision last week. “The deal did tighten spreads by a few basis points so there is a quantifiable impact. But in terms of attracting investors I think it will have helped enormously, as it removed a major piece of uncertainty,” said Peter Chatwell, a bond analyst at Credit Agricole in London.

Greece needs to refinance some 23 billion euros in maturing debt by the end of May, some of which may be met from reserves. The premium investors charge on holding Greek rather than German 10year bonds rose to 311 bps from 304 after the launch. The head of the International Monetary Fund, which has been virtually silent since it was assigned a subordinate role in any rescue, said on Monday there was no immediate sign that Greece would need outside help. “I hope that the EU strategy for Greece works,” Dominique Strauss-Kahn said on a visit to Poland. “We are ready to help Greece as with

any of our members but it is not obvious today that help will be absolutely necessary.” Under a compromise brokered by euro co-founders Germany and France last Thursday, Greece would qualify for assistance only if it were unable to borrow on the markets and it would take a unanimous euro zone decision to trigger a rescue. Euro zone states would provide the majority, some said two-thirds, of any help in coordinated bilateral loans, on strict conditions proposed by the European Commission and the European Central Bank, while the IMF would provide the rest.

However, many key details remain to be worked out, including the cost of emergency loans, what role the IMF would play and what would happen to its normal conditionality. The conspicuous silence from Washington since the Europeans agreed to seek its involvement has prompted speculation that the IMF either does not know what role it is supposed to play or is unhappy at being expected to provide funds but not set policy. Greek officials have said that if Athens has to borrow its total requirement of 53 billion euros this year at current market rates, it would cost at least an extra 500 million euros a year in debt service charges. That would make it even harder for the government to achieve a promised 4 percentage point cut in the budget deficit to 8.7 percent

of gross domestic product this year and get the shortfall below the EU limit of 3 percent by the end of 2012. “Beyond 2010 our economists are concerned that Greece remains on a sustainable debt trajectory,” said Ciaran O’Hagan, bond strategist at Societe Generale in Paris. “Debt service costs will continue to rise unless yields decline significantly. At the very least this suggests that the current target to reduce the deficit to 3 percent in three years is unrealistic. So we’ll face today’s concerns next year and the year after,” he added. The Economist magazine calculated Greece would not reach the deficit target until 2014, by which time its debt to GDP ratio would have topped 150 percent, compared to 110 percent in 2009. — Reuters

Fallout from recalls to continue: Analysts

Toyota says global sales jump 13% in February TOKYO: Crisis-hit Toyota said yesterday global sales rose 13 percent year-on-year in February, but analysts warned that the fallout from recent mass safety recalls would continue to hang over the car giant. The

ANHUI: An investor talks at a private securities company in Huaibei city, in central China’s Anhui province, yesterday. Chinese shares hit a nine-week high yesterday, led by blue chips on the introduction of long-awaited stock index futures. — AP

Credit Suisse to open first branch in India MUMBAI: Swiss bank Credit Suisse said yesterday it had received preliminary approval from the Indian central bank to set up a branch in the South Asian country, the bank said. The new branch, to be based in financial centre Mumbai, will be able to accept deposits and provide loans to clients, complementing Credit Suisse’s existing non-bank financial company in India, it said. The Zurich-based bank runs investment banking, wealth management, a brokerage firm and mutual fund operations in India, serving wealthy individuals and companies. “India is a key strategic growth market for the bank globally,” Kai Nargolwala, chief executive of Credit Suisse Asia Pacific, said in a statement. “This is a key pillar of our Asia Pacific strategy of developing our on-shore presence in major markets throughout the region.” In recent years, the Indian central bank has

allowed a host of foreign banks including Swiss bank UBS, South Africa’s FirstRand Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and ANZ to start operations. Also, under a bilateral agreement between India and Singapore, India’s central bank has granted eight branch licenses to DBS bank. Foreign banks had been keen to set up operations in India but kept plans on hold due to the global financial crisis. India’s leading banks, including the State Bank of India and ICICI Bank have also been expanding abroad, setting up branches in southeast Asia, the Middle East, South Africa, Europe and the United States in recent years. “India and the Reserve Bank of India are open to allowing more foreign banks into the country if reciprocity is maintained,” said Rupa Rege Nitsure, chief economist with state-run Bank of Baroda. — AFP

The group’s global production in the same period jumped 69.2 percent to 734,631 units, of which 655,180 were for Toyota in an 82.7 percent jump for the brand. Analysts said the figures were unsurprising given the auto industry’s troubles a year earlier as the economic downturn eroded demand, and a low basis of comparison offset Toyota’s reduced output in response to a global recall. “The robust figures were largely due to a rebound from its sizeable slump a year earlier. There was no surprise. The figures were within expectations,” said Mamoru Kato, auto analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Centre. “It is too early to be optimistic about the fate of Toyota.” One of Japan’s most famed companies, Toyota has been battered by both the global economic downturn and by its massive safety woes over faulty accelerator and brake systems. In recent months, the world’s largest automaker has been forced to recall more than eight million vehicles worldwide mostly due to problems with sudden acceleration, which have been blamed for 58 deaths in the United States. Domestic sales continue to rise however, surging 32.1 percent year-on-year to 210,767

units, with sales in the Toyota brand alone up 49.9 percent. The figures were largely boosted by the success of the Prius hybrid model, the bestselling car in Japan for the ninth consecutive month, according to statistics released earlier by a professional body. Vehicle exports from Japan more than doubled to 161,533 units, Toyota said in a statement. However, “the negative impact of its mass recall is being felt in developed countries except Japan,” said Kato. “The prospect for Toyota’s business activities is still uncertain.” The increases came even as the company suspended some production lines at five North American plants for five days in early February following the decision to halt sales of eight models due to accelerator pedal problems. Toyota decided to suspend other production operations in the US and Europe in March and April, and in Japan from the spring of this year. It said last week that it aims to finalise a plan to streamline output operations in Japan by summer. In Tokyo trade, Toyota Motor shares closed 0.53 percent lower at 3,740 yen yesterday. “The impact of the recalls will emerge gradually,” Mizuno

Toyota group, which includes brands Daihatsu and Hino trucks, sold 613,845 vehicles worldwide last month, up from 543,435 a year earlier, a spokesman said.

TOKYO: Toyota Motor Corp Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada (left) and Mazda Motor Corp Vice President Masaharu Yamaki shake hands during their joint press conference in Tokyo yesterday. — AP Credit Authority analyst Tatsuya Mizuno told Dow Jones Newswires. Earlier this month, the automaker said sales in the United States fell 8.7 percent year-on-year in February to 100,027 units. The company last week faced its first US courtroom challenge as lawyers pressed for angry car owners to be

allowed to bring a multi-billiondollar suit against the Japanese firm. It also announced a North American “quality task force” as it struggles to repair its reputation, that will answer to Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the company’s founder. Other Japanese auto giants also reported yesterday

strong year-on-year increases in production and sales in February as demand continued to pick up. Japan’s second biggest automaker Honda said production worldwide increased 49.3 percent to 284,711 units while Mazda production surged 73.7 percent to 100,126. Nissan saw worldwide sales gain 21.7 percent year-on-year. — AFP

Jordan economy accelerates, grows 2.9% yr/yr in Q4 AMMAN: Jordan’s economy accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2009, growing 2.9 percent from a year earlier as the impact of the global economic downturn eased, data showed yesterday. Gross domestic product in the third quarter rose 2.1 percent from a year earlier. The economy expanded 2.8 percent in 2009 as a whole, the statistics department said, slowing from 7.8 percent growth in 2008 and its worst performance since an economic crisis in 1989 when the country was forced to seek help from the International Monetary Fund.

The government had originally forecast growth of 3.8 percent last year. Finance Minister Mohammad Abu Hammour told Reuters this month that the government was maintaining its forecast of around 4 percent growth in 2010 on the back of stronger capital inflows and private investment. That will still be below average annual growth of 6-7 percent in recent years. While Jordan’s economy has weathered the global economic downturn better than most Western economies, domestic demand, exports, tourism and remittances from abroad have all been hit. The aid-dependent kingdom has close

Danske sees 2010 Irish loan losses below 2009 KATHMANDU: A Nepali woman tends to a vegetable dye vat with yarn for carpets at a workshop in Kathmandu. Carpets remain one of the main exports of the Himalayan nation where agriculture and remittances are the mainstay of the economy. — AFP

HC cuts Egyptian equity market to neutral CAIRO: HC Research downgraded its rating on the Egyptian equity market to “neutral” from “overweight” citing macro headwinds and an expected asset allocation shift by investors to dollar-denominated assets and strong global governments. “The domestic economy has yet to see return of key external growth drivers, which, combined with inflationary pressures and government imbalances, will hold the equity market back,” the brokerage said. Foreign direct investment (FDI), a main driver of domestic growth, has been slow to recover and is

not likely to return to pre-crisis levels until 2011. Other key indicators such as Suez canal revenue, exports and remittances are also yet to show signs of sustainable recovery, it said. Because of the decline in government revenue and increased spending, which is expected to continue during 2009-10, the budget deficit is expected to rise to 9 percent of GDP in 2009-10 from 6.7 percent in 2008-09, HC said. “This means that it will become more difficult to support the domestic economy further.” The Central Bank of Egypt

(CBE) cutting interest rates to historic lows, and expected currency weakness will generate higher inflation that the CBE will need to anchor to maintain credibility. “Once the central bank raises interest rates, due to rising inflation and not a return to robust economic growth, the equity market will react very negatively,” HC said. The brokerage highlighted Talaat Moustafa Group, National Societe Generale Bank’s, Citadel Capital, Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals, Ezz Steel and Al Ezz Dekheila Steel as focus stocks. — Reuters

COPENHAGEN: Danske Bank expects loan losses at its troubled Irish and Baltic units to shrink this year and plans for slow organic growth in Estonia and Ireland once the economies recover, a top executive said. Unlike its Nordic peers, Danske-whose main markets are Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland-also operates in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is also exposed to the Baltic countries, though less than Swedish rivals Swedbank and SEB. Thomas Borgen, head of Danske’s operations outside Denmark, said the near-term focus in Ireland was to finish a savings program at its National Irish Bank (NIB), and said Danske has no plans to join in merger activity there in the next few years. “Our ambition is to grow when the time is right ... That is when we’ve restructured our current operation and when the economy is ready,” he said in an interview. “We think that will be somewhere in 2011 or 2012.” Danske is closing 25 of its 58 branches of NIB, a small player in Ireland. In 2009, 5 billion crowns out of Danske’s total 26 billion crowns worth of loan impairment charges stemmed from NIB, some 80 percent of which related to a diving property market. Borgen predicted the Irish property market would remain “challenging” in 2010. “In Dublin we have probably seen the bottom. If you go outside Dublin it could still fall,” he said. The Irish government has created a “bad loan” bank, NAMA, and is about to launch another bailout program for struggling banks. Borgen expressed cautious optimism NAMA

would benefit the banking sector and the wider economy. “It is probably the right thing that the government is doing ... Let’s see now in practice how it will work. Sitting on the outside, not being part of it, we think it’s a good thing. But time will show.” He said NIB was refocusing towards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the mass affluent retail market, steering away from traditional high street banking and real estate. Looking forward to 2012, he said: “We can slowly and surely build a nice bank in Ireland, not focusing on real estate but on SMEs.” Borgen said the market environment remained “very challenging” in Ireland while he was “comfortable” with how the economy was developing in Northern Ireland. Danske’s Northern Irish unit Northern Bank booked 1.4 billion Danish crowns ($252.9 million) in loan losses last year. Referring to 2010 in Ireland and Northern Ireland, he said: “We will have lower impairment charges than in 2009, but still at the higher level ... We cannot rule out certain bumps but we hope and think it is going to be a falling trend.” He said the property market would account for roughly the same share of impairments as in 2009. He said the group’s aim was to grow slowly in Northern Ireland too. Danske’s business in the Baltic region, where Latvia has been hit especially hard in the global crisis, could swing into the black in 2012, Borgen said. “If you ask me: ‘can we make a profit after loan losses in one year, can we do that in 2012?’ Yes. Do I say we will? Not necessarily, but we could.” — Reuters

business and economic ties to Gulf Arab governments which have been hard hit by a drop in oil prices last year, their main source of state revenue. Oil prices have since surged, which is positive for Jordan. However, analysts say that although Jordan’s economy should see a pick-up in growth this year, uncertainties remain due to a continuing decline in direct foreign investment and foreign aid and weak domestic demand. GDP rose to 9.606 billion dinars ($13.5 billion) in 2009 against 9.349 billion dinars in 2008. — Reuters

Turkish lira seen slipping slightly in next 12 months LONDON/ISTANBUL: A strengthening recovery in Turkey from last year’s steep recession and tame inflation will see the lira depreciate only modestly against the dollar over the next 12 months, a Reuters poll showed yesterday. Turkey’s economy underperformed its big emerging market peers last year with an estimated 5.5 percent fall in output, hurt by a big fall in demand in key European export markets. The lira stabilized in 2009 around the 1.50 mark against the dollar after losing a quarter of its value in 2008. It has slipped slightly this year to its current level around 1.53, dented by uncertainty about constitutional reform and political wrangling. Analysts expect this trend of mild depreciation to continue over the next 12 months as a stuttering recovery in Western Europe slightly offsets an improving domestic economy, according to median forecasts from the poll of 27 forex strategists. “Although the lira has been lagging behind its peers recently, this is mainly due to political factors that will hopefully subside,” said Yarkin Cebeci at JP

Morgan Chase in Istanbul, who expects the lira to strengthen. Turkey’s ruling AK Party hopes to send a constitutional reform package to parliament today, which critics say is aimed at consolidating the party’s power ahead of elections next year. “In the medium to long run, a positive technical picture along with the strength in fundamentals will support the currency,” said Cebeci. The poll showed the Turkish economy expanding 4.1 percent this year-modest compared to the high single-digit rates seen for much of the last decade after Turkey’s 2001 economic crisis. Similar growth of 4.2 percent is expected in 2011. Forecasts by quarter showed growth slowing through 2010 from an estimated 8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter, before picking up again in 2011. “If we look at forward-looking factors such as capacity utilisation, if we look at domestic demand and unemployment, these indicators are suggesting that the domestic recovery is still pretty shallow,” said Manik Narain, economist at Standard Chartered in London. — Reuters



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Putin circles Russia in search of elusive growth MOSCOW: Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin runs the country from a plane and his journeys have a clear pattern: he strives to win back the economic growth Russia lost last year. Russia was hit harder by the global crisis than any other major emerging economy, its gross domestic product shrinking by 7.9 percent in 2009 compared with growth in China, India and Brazil, the other major emerging economies in the BRIC group. Putin, rated as the world’s third most powerful person by Forbes magazine, promised to double Russia’s GDP within a decade when he first won power as the country’s president in 2000. The crisis has left him barely halfway to that goal.

Now leading the nation as its prime minister after completing the maximum two terms as president, Putin often plays a far more visible role than President Dmitry Medvedev in telling Russia’s business leaders what they are expected to contribute to the economy. “I’m asking you for a third time, when are you going to sign this contract, do you not hear me?” Putin lashed out at deputy chief of gas monopoly Gazprom Alexander Ananenkov, an elderly man wearing a hearing aid, at a meeting last December. The deal was for Gazprom to buy Russian vessels and Ananenkov wanted to sign only a letter of intent instead of a firm contract. The meeting, held in the Pacific

port of Vladivostok, focused on the shipbuilding industry, one of the sectors identified by Putin as growth drivers. The sector, which suffered a post-Soviet collapse, grew by 68 percent last year. Russia’s pre-crisis growth model was based on a rising oil price and cheap foreign loans. Putin’s new stick and carrot growth recipe includes state financial aid, deals mediation, regulatory changes and outright orders. Jim O’Neill, a Goldman Sachs economist who invented the term “BRIC”, says Putin’s policy may pay off “if it is genuine and not just hype”. Russia is one of Goldman Sachs’ favourite trades this year. “Everyone assumes that Russia will always be status quo but as with any supply side policies, desire cre-

ates the reality,” O’Neill told Reuters. “So it is just a matter of people getting correctly focused on the key issues, and one of the key issues is to create an environment to encourage and help non-energy based ventures”. Russian industrialists, nostalgic about Soviet industrial might, say that monetarist policies in place since the collapse of the Soviet Union ignored industrial development and turned Russia into a petro-state. Since becoming Prime Minister in May 2008, Putin has turned his attention to sectors where he sees potential for growth such as nuclear power, defence and auto sectors, plane-making, petrochemicals, shipbuilding, utilities and agriculture. The new industrial policy should

lead to the emergence of competitive Russian-made products such as the Sukhoi Superjet 100 medium-range passenger plane or a fifth generation fighter invisible to radar like the US F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. Another of Putin’s projects is the diversification of Russia’s energy export supply routes which, apart from their geopolitical role, will also swell the investment plans of state monopolies such as Gazprom and Transneft. The multi-billion projects serve as growth drivers as they translate into orders of pipes, turbines and other equipment. “I was recently at a (Russian) electrical transformers factory. A remarkable enterprise, new, very beautiful, modern. So why are you importing 70 percent of all transform-

ers?” Putin asked the head of the Federal Grid Company, Oleg Budargin. Most of Putin’s foreign visits are related either to energy diplomacy or the lobbying of deals on behalf of Russian defence or nuclear power firms. During his March visit to India, Putin signed deals worth $10 billion including to build up to 16 nuclear reactors, saying Russia wants to control a quarter of the global nuclear power market. Putin is also keen to support construction which achieved double-digit growth during the oil boom years and where asset price bubbles had formed before the crisis hit. “We need to heat up this sector a little bit, although I am not talking

about overheating,” Putin said of the construction industry, where he plans to introduce a governmentbacked mortgage scheme with subsidised interest rates for home buyers. Growth sectors receive lavish funding from state-controlled banks whose chief executives accompany Putin on his trips. A risk for the growth revival is a new oil-fuelled rouble rally, which undermines local industries’ competitiveness. Still, Putin has repeatedly resisted re-imposing capital controls to solve this problem, which should bring benefits in the long-term for the investment climate. “They’ve had a good start to the year. I’m impressed,” Goldman’s O’Neill said. — Reuters

State could take majority stakes

Ireland poised for fresh bank bailout, shares fall DUBLIN: Shares in Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks fell more than 10 percent yesterday as the government prepared to take control a much bigger chunk of the financial sector than initially planned. The government is this week moving the first loans into a 54-billion euro “bad bank” scheme and today it will announce how much capital the banks will need to make up for resulting write downs. Local media reports said the state could increase its stake in Allied Irish

Banks to 70 percent compared with its current holding of 25 percent via preference shares, after the transfers to the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), the bad bank. Shares in Allied Irish Banks were down 17.3 percent by 1047 GMT at 1.4 euros, having fallen as low as 1.32 euros, and Bank of Ireland dropped 6 percent. In Bank of Ireland, in which the government also has a 25 percent indirect stake plus 16 percent in ordinary equity, Finance

Minister Brian Lenihan could take a 40percent ordinary stake, according to a report in the Irish Times newspaper. Lenihan has said he could not comment on market speculation ahead of the official announcements. “We expect the Irish government to be the largest single equity investor in each institution, absent an unexpectedly strong economic recovery or material private-market sourced equity capital,” Royal Bank of Canada said in a note.

The two top banks have said they would try to raise capital privately first but authorities may impose tight deadlines for replenishing their capital which would require fresh bailouts. Anglo Irish Bank, which was fully nationalized last year, has said it would need up to 9 billion euros of additional state funds. Building societies EBS and Irish Nationwide, also participants in NAMA, have also already requested state capital. —Reuters

Ericsson wins major China deals

RAWALPINDI: A Pakistani walks up a ladder in front of a mural advertisement for a gas station in Rawalpindi yesterday. The United States pledged to work to improve market access for Pakistani goods including through special economic zones, as the two nations sought to turn the page on years of distrust.—AFP

Greece support bolsters euro; US equities firm LONDON/NEW YORK: Expectations that European Union efforts will ease Greece’s sovereign debt crisis lifted the euro yesterday and cleared a path for gains in global equities. The European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund last week moved to create a safety net for Greece, seeking to persuade markets that the country’s bonds and those of other peripheral euro zone economies would not default. The euro, which has been battered by the crisis, rose about a quarter percent against the dollar to $1.3446. It also gained against the Swiss franc, Swedish crown, Japanese yen and British pound. “The EU agreement on Greece instilled some confidence, and we are seeing a degree of a relief rally although a modest one,” said Lee Hardman, economist at Bank of TokyoMitsubishi UFJ. “Greek yields are still elevated, and Greece is not out of the woods yet by any stretch of the imagination.” Greece remained in focus with the sale of seven-year debt seen as a barometer of demand for the country’s debt. The Greek bond was set to raise 5 billion euros, a source at one of the banks charged with selling the debt said, but could price at around 6 percent, more than twice the yield that Germany pays on its debt. Benchmark euro zone government bond prices declined, with the yield on 10-year Bunds falling about 0.03 percentage point to 3.12 percent. Greece yields rose 0.1 percentage point to 6.32 percent. US government debt prices declined slightly as improvements in the US economy and brightening prospects for Greece lessened the appeal of Treasuries as a haven from

risk. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields rose 0.01 percentage point to 3.86 percent. The removal of immediate worries about Greece allowed global stock markets to focus elsewhere. In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 31.59 points, or 0.29 percent, to 10,881.95. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 4.42 points, or 0.38 percent, to 1,171.01 and the Nasdaq Composite Index increased 10.13 points, or 0.42 percent, to 2,405.26.

European shares turned negative as banks reversed gains and oil majors slipped, offsetting strength in miners as metals prices supported those shares. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares dropped 0.1 percent to 1.076.20. Gains in the US and among emerging markets lifted MSCI’s all-country world index 0.4 percent. Earlier, Japan’s Nikkei average dipped 0.1 percent on Monday, backing off an 18-month high hit last week.— Reuters

TOKYO: A Bic Camera sales clerk speaks in front of energy-saving air conditioners that can earn “eco-points” at the Japanese electronics retail chain in Tokyo. Japan’s retail sales jumped for the second straight month in February, offering a sign the country’s economic recovery is broadening to households. —AP

STOCKHOLM: Swedish telecom giant Ericsson said yesterday it had won contracts to provide equipment to two of China’s largest operators, China Mobile and China Unicom, to the tune of $1.8 billion (1.3 billion euros). “With a potential customer base of 1.3 billion, telecom operators are now taking steps to further expand and boost China’s communication infrastructure and related services,” Ericsson said in a statement, adding that it had signed “2G/3G frame agreements with China Mobile and China Unicom. The Swedish company said it had won a one-billion-dollar contract with China’s top operator China Mobile to this year provide it with equipment to “dramatically boost the capacity of the network and evolve it into an IP network.” Ericsson had also agreed to provide China Unicom with a faster 3G network, and to supply IP routers, fiber access and other technologies worth $800 million, also by the end of this year. “A steadily rising number of the Chinese population is going mobile.... Today, 99 percent of the population has mobile coverage, thanks to operators’ recent network expansion to rural areas,” Ericsson said. In 2009, China counted 747 million mobile subscriptions, an increase of 106 million from a year earlier, Ericsson said, adding that “there is no sign of the market cooling down.” “We are confident that we will do an even better job in supplying the latest technology and best-in-class services in time to support Chinese operators in fulfilling the demand of this tremendous market growth,” Mats Olsson, who heads up Ericsson’s Greater China division, said in the statement. The contracts announced yesterday follow on the heals of Ericsson’s similar equipment deals with the same operators last July worth $1.7 billion. Following the announcement, Ericsson saw its share price jump 1.8 percent on the Stockholm stock exchange, which as a whole was up 0.5 percent. — AFP

HONG KONG: Shulin Su, Chairman of Sinopec listens to a question at the company’s 2009 annual results announcement in Hong Kong yesterday. Shares in Sinopec rose after the Chinese refiner said net profit more than doubled in 2009 on stronger demand and higher refined oil prices in the domestic market.—AFP

Hong Kong proposes new market transparency laws HONG KONG: Hong Kong announced plans yesterday to start imposing penalties, including fines of up to one million US dollars, on listed firms that fail to disclose price-sensitive information. But the proposal fell short of calls to make a breach of the rules a criminal offence. The Asian financial hub is keen to avoid a repeat of the Citic Pacific scandal, when the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate revealed in 2008 that it faced a 18.6 billion Hong Kong dollar ($2.40 billion) loss from rogue currency bets. The company said it kept the information secret for weeks in order to unwind the trades, a revelation that sparked a police investigation, drew public outrage and forced regulators to review how companies on the Hong Kong stock market disclosed information. The government recommended a range of civil actions against companies and directors who breach the laws, including a fine of up to 8 million Hong Kong dollars. Chan Ka-keung, the city’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, said the proposed regime would create a “disclosure culture” in the market and strengthen Hong Kong’s reputation. “It would help demonstrate to the market our commitment to enhancing market transparency and quality, thereby enhancing Hong Kong’s position as an international financial centre and the premier capital formation centre in the region.” However, shareholder activist David Webb, who is also a former non-executive director of Hong Kong Stock Exchange, said the sanctions were not strong enough. “It represents a further watering down of the original proposals in 2003,” he said, referring to when the government began to consult the financial sector about an overall revamp of the city’s

listing rules. Webb also criticized the proposal for exempting listed companies receiving liquidity support from the government or central bank from the disclosure requirements. “I don’t see why that should be the case. It would be misleading to members of the public, who think they are investing in a solvent bank when it is in fact receiving government aid.” Phillip Khan, vice-chairman of the Alliance for Lehman Brothers’ Victims, a group consisting of tens of thousands of Hong Kong investors who bought structured products backed by the failed US bank, said the proposal was “unacceptable.” “Without criminal sanctions, there won’t be a socalled disclosure culture. The listed companies or bank staff will always think that they can cover up their misdeeds and get away with it,” he said. Under the proposal, the Securities and Futures Commission, the city’s financial watchdog, would be given the power to investigate any suspected breach. The Market Misconduct Tribunal, which currently deals with insider dealing cases, would have its jurisdiction extended to cover breaches of the proposed laws. Apart from fines, the director or officer in breach of the laws could be disqualified from office and deprived of access to market facilities for up to five years. Hong Kong’s disclosure practice is currently regulated by non-statutory listing rules administrated by the stock exchange, which does not have any investigatory power. Citic Pacific was bailed out by its parent company Citic Group, a state-run Chinese firm, and sparked a police investigation and the resignation of chairman Larry Yung in April last year. — AFP

Ghana inflation seen at 10% by year end: CB LILONGWE: Ghana’s target of bringing inflation down to 10 percent by the end of the year is achievable, deputy central bank governor Millison Narh said yesterday, signalling more interest rate cuts. “Our target is for 10 percent by year-end. It is achievable,” Narh told Reuters on the sidelines of an economic conference in the Malawi capital, Lilongwe. The West African nation is a net fuel-importer, making its economy highly susceptible to shifts in world oil prices, although if crude stayed around $85 a barrel-it is now just below $80 — there were no worries, he said. “Going forwards we expect to ease monetary policy in order to speed up the development process,” he said. Ghana has been under pressure to bring inflation down from 20 percent in 2009, but cut its prime interest rate by a surprise 200 basis points to 16.0 percent in February.

In the same month, annual inflation fell for its eight consecutive month to 14.23 percent, its lowest level in almost two years. Ghana is due to start pumping oil in the final months of this year, generating an average $800 million in revenues for state coffers from next year, according Finance Ministry projections seen as relatively modest. Narh said the Bank of Ghana was being “a bit cautious” in assessing the impact of the oil windfall, but said policies in the pipeline, such as an oil reserve fund, should off-set the risk of “Dutch disease”-often typified as currency appreciation and galloping inflation. “We are putting forth mechanisms to avoid what we call the Dutch disease by managing our policies in such a way that we’ll be able to maintain our exchange rate at a reasonable level to encourage exports,” he

said. Even at its peak, the oil revenues will only be a fraction of government spending, which this year is due to rise by 40 percent to 12.1 billion cedis ($8.6 billion) and push the deficit to 7.5 percent of national output. The Finance Ministry has calculated that if hydrocarbon revenues from the off-shore Jubilee field were distributed evenly, every citizen would receive $20 next year, rising to $75 in 2017. Buoyed by oil and cocoa-it is the world’s biggest producer after Ivory Coast-the economy is forecast to grow as much as 15 percent next year. The International Monetary Fund believes that if spent wisely, oil revenues could help Ghana join middle-income countries such as Cameroon within 10 years, requiring a doubling of its per capita annual income to $1,000. — Reuters


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


GlobalPost charts online future amid newspaper woes WASHINGTON: As US newspapers struggle for a business model for the digital age, the founders of a free online news site which recently celebrated its first birthday are optimistic about its future. “It’s been an extraordinary year for us, far beyond any reasonable expectations I could have had,” said Philip Balboni, president and chief executive of, which launched in January 2009. While Boston-based GlobalPost has yet to turn a profit, Balboni is heartened by how quickly the operation has been able to establish itself as a destination for international news. “Internet time is faster than other time but the speed with which we were able to

establish our brand and scale an audience was remarkable,” said the veteran television executive who founded the New England Cable News network. “It’s somewhat amazing to me that from a standing start, with no site, no brand, no awareness, no nothing, we’ve arrived at this point,” he told AFP. GlobalPost attracted more than 750,000 unique visitors to its website last month and is on track to surpass 800,000 in March. “We’ve set a goal for 2010 of going over the million mark,” Balboni said. GlobalPost employs 70 correspondents in 50 countries, including veterans of The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other major news organizations

paying them a monthly retainer and shares in the company. While 70 percent of GlobalPost’s traffic was from North America last year, Balboni said the site “had visits from 232 countries and territories, literally every single place on Earth with the exception of North Korea.” “For any media company the most important ultimate objective is to establish a brand that consumers see as credible and attractive and that begins to build an audience that you can then monetize,” he said. As for making money, the GlobalPost president and CEO said the site is counting on three revenue streams: advertising, syndication of GlobalPost content to newspa-

pers and other outlets and a paid membership service. GlobalPost’s revenue last year was “not a million dollars but it was many hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Balboni said. “It was consequential revenue even though it was not what we’d hoped for.” “You have to remember we sailed right into the global economic recession and also into the worst media economy probably in modern history,” he noted. “I was very pleased we did as well as we did given the overall circumstances.” Balboni said 70 percent of GlobalPost’s 2009 earnings came from advertising with the remaining 30 percent from syndication and the membership service called

“Passport” which offers premium content for a 50-dollar annual fee. “We ended the year with about 500 (Passport) members, which was less than we’d hoped for but we really weren’t surprised,” Balboni said. Next month, GlobalPost plans to become one of the first US news outlets to experiment with the services of Journalism Online, a company founded last year to help news organizations make money on the Web. “We will relaunch our membership strategy in April using their technology,” Balboni said. “What this will allow us to do is to target the most loyal and frequent users of GlobalPost and deliver a message to them

asking them to join Passport and to support our journalism. “We’re hoping that this will allow for a much more rapid expansion of membership,” he said. “We’ll also be bringing our pricing down to create a level of membership that will be even more affordable for more people. “We need and hope to be in the tens of thousands of members.” While a number of US newspapers are contemplating charging readers for full access to their websites, Balboni said that is not the route GlobalPost will be taking. “We’re not going to put up a pay wall,” he said. “We want to continue to be a free site.” — AFP

America raises concern with Australian Internet filter plan CANBERRA: The United States has raised concerns with Australia about the impact of a proposed Internet filter that would place restrictions on Web content, an official said yesterday. The concerns of Australia’s most important security ally further undermine plans that would make Australia one of the strictest Internet regulators among the world’s democracies. “Our main message of course is that we remain committed to advancing the free flow of information which we view as vital to economic prosperity and preserving open societies globally,” a US State Department spokesman Michael Tran told The Associated Press by telephone from Washington. Tran declined to say when or at what level the US State Department raised its concerns with Australia and declined to detail those concerns. “We don’t discuss the details of specific diplomatic exchanges, but I can say that in the context of that ongoing relationship, we have raised our concerns on this matter with Australian officials,” he added. Internet giants Google and Yahoo have condemned the proposal as a heavy-handed measure that could restrict access to legal information. The plan needs the support of Parliament to become law later this year. Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says the filter would block access to sites that include child pornography, sexual violence and detailed instructions in crime or drug use. The list of banned sites could be constantly updated based on public complaints. If adopted into law, the screening system would make Australia one of the strictest Internet regulators among the world’s democracies. Conroy declined to comment on the US concerns. “The Australian and U.S. governments liaise regularly on a broad range of issues. It would be inappropriate to discuss the details of these consultations,” said his spokeswoman, Suzie Brady. Some critics of Australia’s filter have said it puts the nation in the same censorship league as China. — AP

Sweden raises Internet censorship issue with China STOCKHOLM: Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt says he has stressed the merits of uncensored Internet access in a meeting with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. Reinfeldt says they discussed human rights, democracy and the freedom of expression “and I especially emphasized ... the significance of the Internet in that context.” Last week Google stopped censoring the Internet for China by shifting its search engine off the mainland. The Chinese government can still censor Web pages it deems sensitive with its own filters. Reinfeldt declined to say how Xi responded to his remarks yesterday and the Chinese vice president didn’t take questions from reporters. Xi was visiting Sweden to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Swedish-Chinese diplomatic relations. —AP

BEIJING: A shopper browses a display near a book called “Planet Google” in a book shop in Beijing yesterday. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a major speech on Internet freedom two months ago, called on US technology firms not to support online censorship. Amid a host of trade disputes with China, however, Google’s decision last week to halt censorship there met with only a fairly muted response from the State Department — and virtual silence from other US technology giants. — AFP

Apple pushes back shipping of iPad tablet pre-orders NEW YORK: Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet computer hits US shelves on Saturday, but fans who want the new touch-screen gadget shipped directly to them must wait a week. The company began taking preorders for the iPad on March 12, promising to get the device to eager buyers by its store launch date of April 3rd. Customers who placed pre-orders by March 27 will receive the device by that date, where Saturday delivery is available, but Apple said Sunday that new pre-orders won’t be shipped out until April 12. The Cupertino,

California, company declined to give a reason for the shipping delay, but said would-be customers can still pre-order the iPad for in-store pickup on April 3, or purchase the device in stores that day. The iPads going on sale will connect to Wi-Fi networks only and cost $499, $599 or $699, depending on the data storage capacity. Versions that also can connect to “3G” cellular networks are expected to go on sale in late April for $629, $729 or $829. International releases also are planned for later in April. —AP

KHAN YOUNIS: In this photo taken March 12, 2010, a Palestinian girl looks through a Telescope during a lecture delivered by Palestinian astrophysicist Suleiman Baraka, not seen, in a school in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip. The eldest of 14 children of a butcher, Baraka rose from humble beginnings in violence-wracked Gaza to become an astrophysicist, space weather expert and researcher for NASA, the US space agency. Now he is back home with a new mission to teach kids to look up from their blockaded, beaten-down surroundings and into the limitless beauty of the universe. — AP

Hope and a telescope enthrall Gaza stargazers KHAN YOUNIS: Suleiman Baraka’s journey could be measured in light years: the eldest of 14 children of a butcher, he rose from humble beginnings in violence-wracked Gaza to become an astrophysicist, space weather expert and researcher for NASA, the US space agency. Now, at 45, he is back home with a new mission: to teach kids to look up from their blockaded, beaten-down surroundings and into the limitless beauty of the universe. He has procured the first known telescope in Gaza, a donation from the International Astronomical Union, and plans to introduce astronomy in Gaza’s three universities. He also dreams of building an observatory and a geomagnetic research station. It seems very ambitious for a territory that has been under lockdown by Israel and Egypt for nearly four years, but Baraka is stubbornly optimistic. In a region torn by political and religious conflict, he looks at what people have in common, not what sets them apart. “There is a beautiful universe for

everybody _ no borders, no fences, no wall,” he said in an interview. Baraka kept his faith even after he lost his 11year-old son, Ibrahim, during Israel’s war on Hamas more than a year ago. Baraka was at Virginia Tech at the time, two months into a yearlong research grant from NASA and the National Science Foundation, while his wife and four children stayed behind in his hometown of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. On Dec. 29, 2008, an Israeli warplane bombed the Baraka family home. Ibrahim was hospitalized in Egypt, his skull broken. Baraka flew to Egypt from the United States, praying. He cried at his son’s bedside. Ibrahim never regained consciousness and died a week after the bombing — one of about 1,400 Palestinians killed in a three-week offensive aimed at ending years of rocket fire from Gaza on Israeli towns. Baraka was barred from entering Gaza while the war was going on, and missed his son’s funeral. With nowhere else to go, he flew back to the United States to complete his research year.

In October he returned to Gaza with a new mission, to get children excited about space and to honor his son’s memory. On the evening of March 12 he held his first “star party.” Wearing a NASA cap, he set up the telescope in the courtyard of his son’s school in

square-kilometer (140-square-mile) strip is one of the world’s most densely populated areas with 1.5 million people, sealed by fences, walls and the Israeli navy. Contact with the outside world is sporadic. Baraka invited a retired NASA astronaut, Jeffrey Hoffman, and

Limitless beauty of the universe Khan Younis and attracted three dozen pupils, mostly boys but also a few girls in head scarves, and some parents and teachers. A few adults demanded to know whether space science was compatible with Islam. Baraka won their trust by quoting from the Quran. Then the children stepped up to the telescope. “This is something beautiful,” said Abdullah Majaideh, 14, after gazing heavenward. “I never expected to look into the telescope and see the outside world.” Baraka said he was moved to tears. Experiencing the vastness of space is a rare treat for Gazans who face barriers wherever they turn. The 360-

the head of International Astronomical Union, Bob Williams, to Gaza, but because of the uncertainties of entering the territory they limited their January visit to the West Bank, the other Palestinian territory. Baraka’s fascination with space began in middle school. He said he grew up in a family that treasured learning, even though his parents had little formal education. All but two of his siblings went to college. After studying physics he went into politics, spent two years in an Israeli prison for belonging to a then-outlawed organization, the mainstream Fatah, and later held Palestinian government positions. But after peace efforts col-

lapsed in 2000, he returned to academia. He earned his master’s in physics from Gaza’s Islamic University, a doctorate from the Paris Institute of Astrophysics and, following a brief return to Gaza, was hired by Virginia Tech on a yearlong grant. Baraka, his wife and three surviving children now live in a sparsely furnished apartment piled high with books, across the street from their flattened home. He said he is not sure why the house was hit. His relatives had left the building for safety but Ibrahim and his grandmother were near the house when the bomb struck, he said. He tries to pursue his research but misses the daily exchanges with his peers and faces frequent blockaderelated power outages. Baraka said his greatest satisfaction would be to inspire young people, including the university students in an astronomy class he hopes to teach next fall. “I will show them the way,” he said, “as I have been shown the way before.” — AP

SAN FRANCISCO: In the file photo made Jan. 27, 2010, the iPad is shown after it was unveiled at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet computer hits US shelves on April 3, 2010, but fans who want the new touch-screen gadget shipped directly to them must wait a week. —AP



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Scientists stumped as bee population declines further WASHINGTON: The decline in the US bee population, first observed in 2006, is continuing, a phenomenon that still baffles researchers and beekeepers. Data from the US Department of Agriculture show a 29 percent drop in beehives in 2009, following a 36 percent decline in 2008 and a 32 percent fall in 2007. This affects not only honey production but around 15 billion dollars worth of crops that depend on bees for pollination. Scientists call the phenomenon “colony collapse disorder” that has led to

the disappearance of millions of adult bees and beehives and occurred elsewhere in the world including in Europe. Researchers have looked at viruses, parasites, insecticides, malnutrition and other environmental factors but have been unable to pinpoint a specific cause for the population decline. The rough winter in many parts of the United States will likely accentuate the problem, says Jeff Pettis, lead researcher at Department of Agriculture’s Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

Winter figures will be published in April. But preliminary estimates already indicate losses of 30 to 50 percent, said David Mendes, president of the American Beekeeping Federation. “There are a lot of beekeepers who are in trouble” he said. “Under normal condition you have 10 percent winter losses.. this year there are 30, 40 to 50 percent losses.” He said the phenomenon probably results from a combination of factors but that the increased use of pesticides appears to be a major cause.

“I don’t put my bees in Florida because the last couple of years there has been tremendous increase in pesticide use in the orange crop to fight a disease,” he said. “It’s a bacterium and the only way to control this disease is to use pesticide... a few years ago they did not use any pesticide at all.” He said that pesticide use “has changed dramatically” and has made beekeeping “more challenging.” Research conducted in 23 US states and Canada and published in the Public Library of Science journal found 121 dif-

ferent pesticides in 887 samples of bees, wax, pollen and other elements of hives, lending credence to the notion of pesticides as a key problem. Pettis said the finding of pesticide residue is “troubling.” “It might not be the only factor but it’s a contributing factor,” he said. The best thing to help bees, he said its “to try to limit habitat destruction,” leaving more natural areas in agriculture and in cities such so honey bees can have “a diverse natural environment.” Ironically, he said the problem stems

from expansion of agriculture to feed the world. But in destroying bee populations, that can hurt crop production. “The world population growth is in a sense the reason for pollinators’ decline,” he said. “Because we need to produce more and more food to feed the world and we grow crops in larger fields. A growing world means growing more food and to do that we need pollinators. And the fact that the world is continuing to grow is the driving force behind the habitat destruction.” — AFP

Product comes at the right time

Stevia shaking up sweetener market WASHINGTON: A sweetener derived from the South American herb stevia is taking the global marketplace by storm, promising a zero-calorie product that also has the appeal of being natural. The global market for stevia sweeteners has already hit $500 million following US regulatory approval and could reach $10 Since then, stevia-based sweeteners have been adopted by big food and beverage giants such as PepsiCo, CocaCola, Nestle, Danone, Unilever and others, and are on its way to becoming a household name. “Reb-A suppliers report huge growth in a market that is set to explode,” Mintel said in a recent report. “Reb-A and stevia is projected to penetrate 20 to 25 percent of the global sugar and sweetener market, which is currently still growing.” Others say the product comes at the right time with concerns growing in the United States and elsewhere about obesity linked to sugary soft drinks and other products. “In an era with serious political and social and health ramifications of sugar and highfructose corn syrup, stevia’s new ‘natural’ label will give it a prime spot as the holy grail of sweeteners,” says food policy consultant and blogger Naomi Starkman. The Reb-A extract from stevia is an estimated 300 times sweeter than sugar, which means it is generally mixed with other ingredients for bulk and to ensure proper sweetening dosing. It is being used in zero-calorie drinks or foods or reduced calorie items such as Coca-Cola’s Tropicana unit’s Trop50, which replaces sugar with a stevia extract called PureVia, produced by Malaysian-based PureCircle Limited. “There is no other solution in the marketplace that can do what stevia can do,” said Jason Hecker, group marketing director for PureCircle. “It has a low glycemic index, so it can be

billion in a few years, according to market research firm Mintel. Stevia, which originated in Paraguay but has been used for decades in Japan and other Asian nations, got a major boost when the US Food and Drug Administration cleared the use of a stevia extract called rebaudioside A (Reb-A) in December 2008.

CAACUPE: A stevia plant, known as ‘sweet herb’, or ‘ka´a he´e’ in the native Guarani language, is seen on a plantation in Caacupe, 50 kms east of Asuncion, Paraguay in this October 23, 2009 file photo. — AFP used by diabetics and in diet products... and the product is natural.” The largest producer of stevia leaf is China, which has long supplied extracts widely used for sweeteners in Japan, where stevia has been used

since the 1970s. PureCircle buys the leaf from small farmers in various locations around the world, and operates its own farms in Paraguay and Kenya. “Stevia is a wonderful sustainability story, it does help small independent farm-

ers,” Hecker said. Another major stevia producer is US-based Cargill, which gets supplies through Canada’s GLG Life Tech and markets the Truvia brand of Reb-A called rebiana used in Coca-Cola’s Sprite Green,

Odwalla drinks and other products including most recently, a yogurt mix from Breyer’s. “Consumers are more interested than ever in knowing where their food comes from and how it is made, continuing to ask for better-tasting, low-calorie, natural products. Truvia brand is answering that demand,” said Zanna McFerson, a Cargill assistant vice president. Most European Union countries still prohibit stevia, with the exception of France, which last year authorized a two-year trial period for certain stevia extracts. Stevia producers hope for a favorable ruling this year from EU safety officials, and note that it is approved in many countries including Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland. Yet stevia still has skeptics as well. Some claim it was hastily approved in the waning days of the administration of president George W. Bush as a favor to soft drink companies, after being banned for many years. “It’s hard to know whether stevia is safe or not, as research is minimal,” says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, who argues that it may be a stretch to call stevia products “natural”. “We can debate whether a chemical sweetener isolated from stevia leaves is really ‘natural’ but here’s another problem: stevia doesn’t taste like sugar,” she said. “Companies have to fuss with it to cover up its ‘off’ taste. And they must do so without detracting from the perceived benefits of its natural status.” — AFP

Scientists seek dark matter in ‘Big Bang’ project GENEVA: Scientists at the CERN research centre will begin trying today to make particles collide at ultrahigh power and close to the speed of light to create mini-versions of the “Big Bang” that gave birth to the universe. “We are opening the door to New Physics, to a new period of discovery in the history of humankind,” said Rolf-Dieter Heuer, director-general of CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. Today, particle beams will start circulating in opposite directions around the 27-km (16.8 mile) oval tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider, the LHC, at an energy of 3.5 Tera- 3.5 billion billion-electron volts, or TeV. When particles smash into each other, each collision will create an explosion that will enable thousands of scientists linked to the project around the world to track and analyse just what happened a nano-fraction of time after the real Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago. The scientists hope their giant experiment will throw light on key mysteries of the cosmos like the origin of the stars and planets and what is dark matter. Over the years, especially from 2013 when beam energy is raised to 7 TeV and an impact power of 14 TeV, the underground LHC is set to see many billions of collisions providing vast amounts of data about the primordial blast and what came after. But it may well be hours or even days before the first collisions happen in the world’s biggest scientific experiment. NEEDLES ACROSS THE ATLANTIC “Just lining the beams up is a challenge in itself; it’s a bit like firing needles across the Atlantic and getting them to hit head-on half way,” said Steve Myers, CERN’s director for accelerators and technology. The vast amount of information the collisions will produce will have to be processed, with findings checked and rechecked, which means it could be months or even years before CERN can firmly announce discoveries. Physicists are focusing on identifying the Higgs bosonthe particle named after Scottish professor Peter Higgs, who over 3 decades ago suggested something like it made possible the conversion of the matter created by the Big Bang into mass. Earlier bids have failed to find the boson-whose presence would have turned the blast’s gaseous debris into galaxies and their stars

and planets and made possible the eventual emergence of life on Earth and perhaps elsewhere in the cosmos. CERN scientists also hope to find concrete evidence of the dark, or invisible, matter that is believed to make up some 25 percent of the universe, of which only 5 percent of the total reflects light and can therefore be seen. They also hope that, further down the road in the 20 years

of the projected life of the LHC, real proof of the existence of dark energy, which accounts for the remaining 70 percent of the stuff of the cosmos, will emerge. But it could also tap into science fiction, and the predictions of many cosmologists, about the existence of other, parallel, universes, of further dimensions beyond the five known to exist, and about what was before the Big Bang. — Reuters

ZWIJNDRECHT: A girl is getting a vaccine against cervical cancer in Zwijndrecht, yesterday. The vaccinations are given to girls who turned 12. The vaccinations make 70 percent of all cases of the cervical cancer harmless. — AFP

GENEVA: Japanese Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director General Health Security and Environment of the World Health Organization (WHO), and Special Advisor on Pandemic Influenza of WHO, speaks during a briefing on the general H1N1 pandemic situation and upcoming events during a new press conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday. — AP

WHO sets up independent review of swine flu response GENEVA: The World Health Organisation said yesterday it would go ahead next month with an independent review of the response to the swine flu pandemic, after criticism of its role in declaring a global alert. The international response will be scrutinised by a committee of 29 independent health experts and scientists which is being formed by the UN health agency, Special Advisor on Pandemic Influenza Keiji Fukuda said. “The first meeting will be on 12 to 14 April,” he told journalists, promising an “in depth and broad” review into “the preparedness and the response to the current influenza pandemic.” “The bottom line for doing this is to identify what we have to do to get better,” he added. Fukuda acknowledged that with hindsight a better response would have involved “less confusion”. It would be up to the experts to determine what issues to deal with and who to question, with their final report due in time for the annual assembly of the WHO’s 193 member states in May 2011, Fukuda added. In January WHO officials had responded to growing criticism of its guidance by promising an independent review, but only when the pandemic

was regarded as over. Fukuda stressed yesterday that A(H1N1) influenza was continuing in parts of Southeast Asia, West and central Africa, while there were reports of renewed cases in Central and South America. A British newspaper reported that a Council of Europe probe scrutinising the WHO’s response believed that the health agency had “gambled away” public confidence by overstating the dangers of A(H1N1) flu. “This decline in confidence could be risky in the future,” The Guardian’s online edition Sunday quoted a draft report by Paul Flynn, vice-chair of the Council’s health committee, as saying. Flynn reportedly warned that it could undermine the response to a future pandemic, prompting people to shun advice on vaccination and potentially put their own health and lives at risk. The WHO declared a global pandemic in June 2009, weeks after putting the world on an emergency footing over the sudden discovery and swift spread of the then unknown new swine flu virus in April 2009 in Mexico and the United States. The flu now reaches into 213 countries and overseas territories, having left more than 16,900 people dead, according to the agency’s data. — AFP

Antisoma, Novartis lung cancer drug fails in study LONDON: British cancer specialist Antisoma suffered a body blow yesterday as a lung cancer drug being developed with Novartis failed in a late-stage trial, sending its shares plunging 70 percent. Chief Executive Glyn Edwards told Reuters Antisoma was now unlikely to get any money from ASA404, which had been the company’s biggest drug hope. An interim analysis concluded that continuing with the study would be futile, as there was little or no prospect of demonstrating a survival benefit in patients with previously untreated non-small cell lung cancer. “Novartis will undoubtedly do a full commercial appraisal based on this new evidence,” Edwards said in an interview. “We have to say it’s quite unlikely that we will get any future cash flows from this programme, although we weren’t expecting anything in the short term.” Novartis had been planning to file ASA404 for approval next year. The Swiss drugmaker said it was now evaluating the overall clinical programme for ASA404 in both lung cancer and other indications. Antisoma shares nosedived in early trade, losing as much as 72 percent to hit an all-time low of 9 pence. They were trading at 10.5 pence by 1050 GMT, valuing the company at around 60 million pounds ($90 million),

down from 200 million on Friday. Andy Smith, a biotechnology fund manager at AXA Framlington, said the failure highlighted shortfalls in earlier testing, noting Phase III studies represented a higher bar because they included more diverse and often sicker patients. Novartis bought the global rights to ASA404 three years ago, after the drug was previously rejected by rival Roche. It had been touted as the first in a new class of anticancer drugs designed to disrupt the flow of blood to tumours, working in a different way to Roche’s established medicine Avastin, which also starves tumour cells of blood. ASA404 was one of two key products from Antisoma in final Phase III trials, the other being leukaemia treatment AS1413, which Edwards said would remain the focus of investment, alongside another leukaemia drug in Phase II called AS1411. “Those are the two priority programmes. We will make cost savings elsewhere, but we have enough cash to get comfortably beyond the Phase III results for 1413 (in late 2010 or early 2011) and Phase II results for 1411 (in early 2011),” he said. Antisoma had unaudited cash and short-term investments of 45.1 million pounds ($67.41 million) at the end of

February 2010, which Edwards said was enough to fund it through 2011, provided it made savings. Cutbacks could include job losses, he added. Antisoma would also be “much more pragmatic” about striking fresh licensing deals to bring in cash from its unpartnered programmes, including AS1413. “All our remaining programmes are not partnered at this point, so we have plenty of time to talk to people,” Edwards said. “We’re not considering any equity fundraising.” The failure of the socalled ATTRACT-1 study was particularly disappointing given the encouraging Phase II data reported in the same setting, he said. Samir Devani of Nomura Code, who reduced his rating for Antisoma to “neutral” from “buy”, said ASA404 had represented approximately 80 percent of his risk-adjusted net present value for the company. He now values the stock at 12 pence a share. Novartis shares were down 1 percent, only slightly underperforming the European sector, reflecting the relatively small role of ASA404 in its large drug pipeline. “Novartis has a very robust pipeline in oncology and we will continue to drive research and development in oncology and we have plenty of other compounds in the pipeline,” said Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff. — Reuters



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Graduation congratulations

Embassy information 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. 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. EMBASSY OF INDIA

Congratulations to Roland Malvar, Aiyman Medhat Moh.Khattab and Tareq Moh Al Fadli for their graduation on March 25, 2010. Best wishes and good luck for the next school year.

Reunion reception held for Kuwaiti students

FAIPS’ plethora of creative activities

he Embassy of Japan in the State of Kuwait held a reunion reception for the Kuwaiti students who studied or are currently studying in Japan on March 23, 2010 at the residence of HE Mr Masatoshi MUTO, Ambassador of Japan to the State of Kuwait, and many Kuwaiti students were pleased with their reunion. The reception was attended by Kuwaitis that had studied in Japan, professors in Kuwait University, representatives from Center for Community Service and Continuing Education, Japanese language course students in KU, as well as members of Japanese community here. Reception started with a welcome speech by H.E Ambassador MUTO in which he pointed out that the year 2011 will witness the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kuwait and Japan, therefore the Japanese Embassy is planning to hold a number of cultural events and activities to celebrate this occasion. He expressed his wish to deepen mutual understanding between the two countries through cultural exchange and scholarship programs. A Kuwaiti student who is currently studying in Japan said that it’s great to experience new things in Japan and hoped that ex-Kuwaiti students would further bring Kuwait and Japan closer together. During the reception, students in the Japanese language course in KU performed a very enthusiastic play in Japanese. Guests enjoyed the gathering and refreshments laid on for this occasion. The Japanese Government Scholarship program for the coming year is scheduled to be announced soon in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education. Two types of scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate students are open to Kuwaiti citizens every year.


tudents of classes 1, 2 and 3 at Fahaheel Al Watanieh Indian Private School enthusiastically participated in a plethora of exciting creative activities that triggered their sense of imagination, thinking, creativity and social skills! A Music Competition was held to enable students develop their ability to understand other cultures and perspectives and to broaden their appreciation of the world around them. The encouragement given by teachers, proved to be a great source of joy and pleasure that filled their hearts with passion and happiness, they would carry into the rest of their education as well. Students learnt the importance of connecting not only with themselves, but also with others, through the world of music! A Character Costume Day was held for students to come dressed up as their favourite storybook


characters, and immerse themselves in the thoughts and feelings of fictional characters! In order to encourage the spirit of doing something new and exciting, students celebrated “A Salad a Day” competition to understand the merits of eating a healthy and nutritious diet. This activity gave children an ideal opportunity to familiarise themselves with a variety of salad ingredients. Their attractive display of a rainbow of colourful salads made of fruits and vegetables cut in a variety of shapes and sizes, received a lot of appreciation!!The activity encouraged healthy eating habits and a good understanding about nutrition! Students participated in the “Best out of Waste”, competition to appreciate the fact, that all that is considered waste is not actually waste, and that waste material could also be utilised and presented

in a creative way! The activity proved to be a satisfying medium of creative expression for all children, and taught them to utilize their time and intellect in a constructive way, by learning to make the best use of simple wasted material. A fun trip to Sabahiya Park was organised as an extra- curricular activity, where students enjoyed a variety of thrilling and scintillating amusement rides and all sorts of games. Children had a delightful time in the company of their friends and teachers and returned safely back to school, after an exciting and pleasurable trip! These creative activities proved to be a great way of helping children develop the confidence to perform well and successfully meet the challenges of new situations, and most importantly, inspired them to be creative thinkers in all walks of life!


The Embassy of India has further revamped and improved its Legal Advice Clinic at the Indian Workers Welfare Center, and made the free service available to Indian nationals on all five working days, i.e. from Sunday to Thursday every week. Kuwaiti lawyers would be available at the Legal Advice Clinic daily from Monday to Thursday, while Indian lawyers would be available on Sundays. Following are the free welfare services provided at the Indian Workers Welfare Center located at the Embassy of India: [i] 24x7 Helpline for Domestic Workers: Accessible by toll free telephone no. 25674163 from anywhere in Kuwait, it provides information and advice exclusively to Indian domestic sector workers (Visa No. 20) as regards their grievances, immigration and other matters. [ii] Help Desk: It offers guidance to Indian nationals on routine immigration, employment, legal, and other issues (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iii) Labour Complaints Desk: It registers labor complaints and provides grievance redressal service to Indian workers (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iv) Shelters: For female and male domestic workers in distress; (v) Legal Advice Clinic: Provides free legal advice to Indian nationals (Embassy premises; Kuwaiti lawyers 3 PM to 5 PM, Monday to Thursday; Indian lawyers 2 PM to 4 PM on Sunday); and (vi) Attestation of Work Contracts: Private sector worker (Visa No. 18) contracts are accepted at the Embassy; 9 AM to 1 PM; Sunday to Thursday; Domestic sector worker (Visa No. 20) contracts are accepted at Kuwait Union of Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO), Hawally, Al-Othman Street, Kurd Roundabout, Al-Abraj Complex, Office No 9, Mezzanine Floor; 9 AM to 9 PM, Saturday to Thursday; 5 PM to 9 PM on Friday. EMBASSY OF PHILIPPINES The Embassy of the Philippines wishes to inform the Filipino community in the State of Kuwait, that the recent supreme court decision to extend the registration of voter’s applies only in local registration in the Philippines under Republic Act no. 8189 and does not apply to overseas voters which is governed by Republic Act no. 9189, hence it has no impact on the plans and preparations on the conduct of overseas absentee voting. The overseas absentee voting for presidential elections will start on 10 April 2010 and will continue uninterrupted until 10 May 2010 daily at the Philippine Embassy. Registered overseas absentee voters are advised to schedule their days off in advance to avoid complications in their schedules. Qualified voters are encouraged to get out and vote. EMBASSY OF ITALY

Stress management in modern day life

handicrafts expo he Palestinian Cultural Center, in coordination with the Women’s Cultural Society invite you to an exhibition of traditional Palestinian handmade embroidery including dresses, jackets, cushions, and ceramics in a variety of colors and sizes. The exhibition is open till Thursday April 1 from 10 - 1:30 pm and 4:30 - 8:30 pm at Women’s Cultural Social Society, Khaldiya, Block 2, Al-Quroba Street. For information, call 24843397 or 99376608.

The Embassy of Italy informs the public that it will be closed for festivities on the following days of April: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 25th and that the Consular/Visa section will remain closed, for technical reasons, also on 1st & 6th of April 2010.


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

Bangladesh Awami League celebrates 90th birthday of Father of Nation angladesh Awami League Kuwait chapter celebrated 90th Birthday of Father of the Nation of Bangladesh. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The celebration took place on 17th March 2010 at Ekushe Hotel in Fahaheel. The event was Brilliantly presented Burhan Uddin Faruq GS Bangladesh Awami League Kuwait Branch and it was presided over by Engineer Abdur Rob The president of Bangladesh Awami League Kuwait Branch. Syed Ali Rezu Advisor of Bangladesh Awami League Kuwait, Vice President Chunnu Babu, Mohammed Lak Miha


GS Awarni Seschsasebak League Kuwait, Vice president, Bahar Uddin, Hasan Ali GS Joy Bangla Cultural Group Kuwait, Sayed Omar Faruq, Nasir Uddin, were the speaker’s at the event. A large number of cheerful regional leaders of the Awami League had cut the birthday cake. The attendees had hole heartedly prayer for the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahrnan. In the beginning of celebration verses holy Quran was recited and one minutes silence was observed in honor of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

s a part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations in the service of its customers and well-wishers, City International Exchange Company, the Premier Exchange Company in Kuwait, is arranging a talk on “stress management in modern life” by Dr K P Misra, MD, DSc., FR, CP, an eminent cardiologist and one of the founding fathers of Apollo hospitals group in India and a scholar who had already taught more than 100,000 medical students and doctors world-wide. The venue is Indian Community School (senior girls school) Auditorium, Salmiya, on 01-042010, at 18:30hrs. All are welcome.


Announcement Today KPFA celebration: Kuwait Pakistan Friendship Association (KPFA) will celebrate jointly the National Days of Kuwait and Pakistan on Tuesday 30th March 2010 at Grand Banquet Hall, Souk Watiya - Kuwait city @ 7:30 pm. Invitation is open to only valid KPFA members and in case those who have not renewed their membership, kindly do so immediately. Contact Saqib Aftab - 99697625 or Khalid Amin - 99005703.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010



Al-Foudari celebrates son’s graduation Al-Foudari recently held a dinner party at Al-Hajri Hall in Abdullah Al-Salem to celebrate the graduation of his son, Lt. Badr Al-Foudari, from the Ali Sabah Al-Salem military academy. The event was attended by several friends and family members who were invited to the ceremony. Nassir

Lt Badr Al-Foudari with his father; Nassir.

Lt Al-Foudari posing with his grandfathers.

A family photo of Lt Al-Foudari, his father and grandfathers.

Lt Al-Foudari in a group photo with his friends.

British Academy of International Arts presents Around the World in 80 Days

BSK holds Road Safety Week

he British Academy of International Arts is pleased to announce it will be performing ‘Around the World in 80 days’ from 23 to 24 April in the Shakespeare Theatre at the British School of Kuwait. Around the World in 80 Days follows English gentleman Phyllis Fogg (Surya Butterworth, Cassio in Othello, the Moor of Venice) and his bumbling servant Pass partout (Hassan Rawas and Yousef Al Nasser, Peter in the Railway Children) as they endeavor to complete a trip around the world in eighty days. Directed by Principal Alison Shan Price and Head of Dance Michelle Henly, Around the World in 80 Days contains a host of colorful characters and a variety of memorable songs that will entertain and amuse audiences of all ages. There will be four production of the performance as follows: Friday 23 April: 14:00 (Matinee) & 18:00 (Evening)


uring Road Safety Week the students and teachers at The British School of Kuwait learned all about how to keep themselves, and others, safe on the roads. As we all know, road safety is a big issue in Kuwait and around the world and there are many ways we can avoid getting into serious trouble on the roads. Firstly, the children were taught how to cross a road safely. Easy! I hear you say, but then why


do so many people get knocked over? At BSK, the school nurse, Helen Smith, taught the students the Road Safety Code. From Reception to Year 5, the students were shown how to Stop! Look! Listen! and Think! before they started to cross the road. They discussed one of the most important ways to keep safe when travelling in a car - WEAR A SEAT BELT! As one child said, ìI didnít always put my seat belt on, especially if we

werenít going far, but now I know what could happen, Iíll always wear one and tell my mum and dad to wear theirs too!î The slogan ìClunk, Click, every trip!î became the BSK chant of the week. They were also shown how to look at the road from the driverís perspective. As they concentrated on manoeuvering their mini Porsches around the track at the BSK Campus, they were not always aware of other students walking in

front of themÖÖÖor crossing behind them. Food for thought for students of such a young age, who will become the drivers of tomorrow. Nearly 1,000 students at BSK spent the week watching road safety adverts, learning the Highway Code and becoming more aware of the dangers that they face every day. Knowledge is power and knowing how to keep safe is a step in the right direction for these students.

BMC observes 39th Bangladeshi Independence, National day

Saturday 24 April: 14:00 (Matinee) & 18:00 (Evening) The British Academy of International Arts is aware of the disasters suffered by the world at the beginning of this year. All proceeds raised by this production will go towards aiding Haiti and Chile rebuild and recover. Tickets cost KD 5 for all ages and are now available from the British Academy of International Arts Office (Salwa, Area 1, Street 1, opposite the British School of Kuwait) and the British Institute of Vocational Training (Salmiya, Area 3, Street 5, House 3.) Both offices are open from 09:00- 17:00 on weekdays. The British Academy of International Art is also open on Saturdays from 08:0016:00. As tickets are in high demand, book early to avoid disappointment. For more information or if you would like to reserve tickets, please contact us on

German week in Kuwait tarting from yesterday, the German Embassy in Kuwait together with the German National Tourist Board and supported by BMW, Lufthansa and Dean and Deluca organizes a German week in Kuwait. Events are open to the press (photo-op). For further information, please contact Mrs Zeina Nseir at Tel. 22520827 Ext. 34.


Bangladesh Military Contingent to Kuwait (BMC) observed the 39th independence and national day of Bangladesh here in Kuwait with profound solemnity and festivity on 26th March 2010. The day began with offering prayer to the Almighty for the martyred souls. To mark the momentous occasion BMC arranged cake cutting ceremony and a grand lunch.

His Excellency Sayed Shahed Reza, the Ambassador of Bangladesh to Kuwait and the visiting Chief Whip of Bangladesh National Parliament Md Abdus Shahid, MP were present in the programme. On 26 March at 13:30 hours, a lunch was hosted by Commander and Chief Liaison Officer, Bangladesh Military Contingent to Kuwait, Colonel Mushfiqur Rahman, ndc.

BSK students visit Japanese Embassy in Kuwait s a step to promote mutual understanding between Japan and other countries, the Japanese Embassy invited 23 students from the British School of Kuwait to enjoy cultural activities at the Embassy of Japan. The event was organized by the Japanese Embassy and in cooperation with BSK. The activities started with a welcome speech by the Japanese DCM, Yukihiro Nikaido, who welcomed the students, and hoped they will learn more about Japan and the Japanese people so they feel Japan is closer to them. He was also impressed by the students’ information about the Japanese animation such as Naruto, Pokemon and Doraemon, as well as video games like Nintendo and Play Station 3. He appreciated the students’ knowledge about Japan. The students enjoyed ORIGAMI (paper folding) and learnt how to make the Samurai helmet by using newspapers sheets. They were surprised with how they could make many designs with only one sheet of paper without using other material such as glue or tapes. A memorial


photo was taken for the students while they were wearing the helmets they had made. DVD with basic information about Japan, the Japanese language and the Japanese people was played. The DVD included information about nature and the sightseeing places, as well as the industrial cities in Japan. It also showed the lifestyle of Japanese kids, as well as the culture of the Japanese food. At the end, it showed the international contributions of Japan to other countries. A short quiz about Japan was made and the winners received simple Japanese souvenirs. The students enjoyed the origami lesson, eating Sushi. They also memorized new Japanese words such as Arigato (thank you), while some expressed their admiration of the Japanese nature, and said they will recommend their parents to visit Japan. The Japanese Embassy is planning to hold such activity once a month, and would like to invite both international and public schools students. Kindly contact the Japanese Embassy if you are interested.

Today 12:30 - Opening of the German Tourism Roadshow in the presence of the German Ambassador to Kuwait, Dr Michael Worbs, JW Marriott Hotel. 6 pm - Opening of the German Week at Dean and Deluca by the German Ambassador to Kuwait, Dr Michael Worbs, and the Director of the German National Tourism Office Dubai, Ms Antje Roeding. Venue: Dean and Deluca, Avenues Mall.



Tuesday, March 30, 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

13:40 15 Remarkable Celebrity Body Bouncebacks 15:25 Behind The Scenes 16:15 Ths 17:10 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 18:00 E! News 18:25 The Daily 10 18:50 Streets Of Hollywood 19:15 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 19:40 E!es 20:30 E! Investigates 21:20 Kendra 22:10 E! News 22:35 The Daily 10 23:00 Dr 90210 23:50 Wildest Tv Show Moments

ER The Unusuals Life Murdoch Mysteries The Unusuals Supernatural Demons ER Big Love Saving Grace Life Murdoch Mysteries Demons Supernatural Life The Unusuals Big Love Saving Grace ER Demons Dollhouse Flash Forward Burn Notice The Tudors

00:45 Animal Cops Phoenix 01:40 Untamed And Uncut 02:35 I’m Alive 03:30 Animal Cops Phoenix 04:25 Miami Animal Police 05:20 Going Ape 05:45 Planet Wild 06:10 E-Vets: The Interns 06:35 Aussie Animal Rescue 07:00 Wildlife SOS 07:25 Pet Rescue 07:50 Return Of The Prime Predators 08:45 Corwin’s Quest Specials 09:40 Beverly Hills Groomer 10:05 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 10:30 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 10:55 Going Ape 11:20 Planet Wild 11:50 Miami Animal Police 12:45 E-Vets: The Interns 13:10 Pet Rescue 13:40 Animal Cops Phoenix 14:35 Wildlife SOS 15:00 Aussie Animal Rescue 15:30 Return Of The Prime Predators 16:25 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 16:50 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 17:20 Beverly Hills Groomer 17:45 Deep Into The Wild With Nick Baker 18:15 Cell Dogs 19:10 Shark Therapy 20:10 Animal Cops Phoenix 21:05 Untamed And Uncut 22:00 Cell Dogs 22:55 Animal Cops Phoenix 23:50 Shark Therapy

00:35 Holby City 01:25 Egypt 02:15 The Miracles Of Jesus 03:05 Holby City 03:55 Holby City 04:50 Doctors 05:25 Egypt 06:30 Bargain Hunt 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 Bargain Hunt 11:25 The Ship 12:15 The Miracles Of Jesus 13:15 The Weakest Link 14:00 Eastenders 14:30 Doctors 15:00 Bargain Hunt 15:45 Cash In The Attic 16:15 Red Dwarf 16:45 Red Dwarf 17:15 The Weakest Link 18:00 Doctors 18:30 Eastenders 19:00 Holby City 20:00 Holby City 21:00 The Weakest Link 21:45 Doctors 22:15 Eastenders 22:45 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries 23:45 After Thomas

00:20 Cash In The Attic Usa 00:45 Hidden Potential 01:15 Antiques Roadshow 02:00 Antiques Roadshow 02:30 Masterchef Goes Large 03:00 Coleen’s Real Women 03:45 Cash In The Attic Usa 04:15 Cash In The Attic Usa 04:45 Hidden Potential 05:15 Living In The Sun 06:00 Coleen’s Real Women 07:10 Antiques Roadshow 08:00 Cash In The Attic Usa 08:25 Hidden Potential 08:45 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes

Urban Assault on Show Movies Action 09:30 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 10:30 Living In The Sun 11:20 Antiques Roadshow 12:10 Coleen’s Real Women 13:00 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 13:50 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 14:40 Daily Cooks Challenge 15:30 Cash In The Attic Usa 15:50 Hidden Potential 16:15 Cash In The Attic Usa 17:00 Coleen’s Real Women 17:50 Antiques Roadshow 18:45 Daily Cooks Challenge 19:40 Masterchef Goes Large 20:10 Big Chef Takes On Little Chef 21:00 Bargain Hunt 21:45 10 Years Younger 22:45 Sweet Baby James 23:05 Sweet Baby James 23:30 Rhodes Across India

01:00 Big Night-PG15 03:00 The Apostle-PG15 06:00 The Firm-PG15 09:00 Last Orders-PG 11:00 Napoleon Part 4-PG 13:00 Quand J’etais Chanteur-PG15 15:00 Millions-PG15 17:00 Cocoon-PG15 19:00 Girl With A Pearl EarringPG15 21:00 Charlotte Gray-PG15 23:00 Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert-18

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

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

Rampage! Miami Ink Street Customs 2008 Twist The Throttle Ultimate Biker Challenge Ultimate Biker Challenge Mythbusters How Stuff’s Made Dirty Jobs Man Made Marvels China Ultimate Biker Challenge Ultimate Biker Challenge Street Customs 2008 How Do They Do It? Mythbusters Ultimate Survival Twist The Throttle How Do They Do It? How Stuff’s Made American Chopper Miami Ink Mythbusters Dirty Jobs Verminators Street Customs 2008 Destroyed In Seconds How Do They Do It? How Stuff’s Made Street Customs Berlin Mega Engineering Extreme Explosions

Nextworld Nyc: Inside Out Mega Builders Beyond Tomorrow Science Of Star Wars Cool Stuff And How It Works Green Wheels One Step Beyond Nextworld Junkyard Wars Sci-Fi Saved My Life Nyc: Inside Out Cool Stuff And How It Works Stunt Junkies Nextworld Green Wheels One Step Beyond

12:40 Sci-Fi Saved My Life 13:35 Nyc: Inside Out 14:30 Download: The True Story Of The Internet 15:25 Cool Stuff And How It Works 15:55 Junkyard Wars 16:50 Brainiac 17:45 The Greatest Ever 18:40 Ecopolis 19:30 Green Wheels 20:20 How It’s Made 21:10 Mythbusters 22:00 Ecopolis 22:50 Green Wheels 23:40 The Greatest Ever

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

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

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

Streets Of Hollywood Ths Investigates 25 Most Stylish Sexiest Ths Investigates Dr 90210 Cheating Death Style Star E! News The Daily 10 Perfect Catch Ths E! News The Daily 10 Wildest Tv Show Moments

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

Fbi Files A Haunting Forensic Justice Dr G: Medical Examiner Forensic Detectives Black Museum Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghosthunters Ghosthunters Forensic Detectives Fbi Files Extreme Forensics Diagnosis: Unknown Forensic Detectives Fbi Files Guilty Or Innocent? Diagnosis: Unknown Fugitive Strike Force Forensic Detectives Fbi Files Extreme Forensics Diagnosis: Unknown Forensic Detectives Fbi Files Guilty Or Innocent? Diagnosis: Unknown Fugitive Strike Force Deadly Women Undercover Dr G: Medical Examiner

01:05 The Chocolate War 02:50 Married To It 04:40 The Happy Hooker 06:15 The Curse Of Inferno 07:40 Man in the Moon 09:20 The Hillside Strangler 11:00 I Could Go on Singing 12:40 Clifford 14:10 Master Of The World 15:50 Arena 17:25 Access Code 18:55 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum 20:30 Teen Wolf 22:00 The Favorite 23:45 Livin’ Large

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

Word Travels Pressure Cook Pressure Cook Cruise Ship Diaries Bondi Rescue - Bali Destination Extreme Surfer’s Journal Treks In A Wild World Madventures Chasing Time Word Travels Word Travels Pressure Cook Pressure Cook Cruise Ship Diaries Bondi Rescue - Bali Destination Extreme Surfer’s Journal Treks In A Wild World Madventures Chasing Time Don’t Tell My Mother... Lonely Planet Lonely Planet Bondi Rescue Destination Extreme Surfer’s Journal Treks In A Wild World Madventures Chasing Time Don’t Tell My Mother... Lonely Planet Lonely Planet Bondi Rescue Destination Extreme Surfer’s Journal Treks In A Wild World Madventures Chasing Time Don’t Tell My Mother...

00:00 Billable Hours 00:30 The Office 01:00 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 01:30 The Colbert Report 02:00 Best of Late night with Jimmy Fallon 03:00 Monday night Stand Up 04:30 South park 05:00 Billable Hours 05:30 Best of Late night with Jimmy Fallon 06:30 Tyler Perry’s House of Payne 07:00 The Nannyt 07:30 Malcolm in the Middle 08:00 Yes dear 08:30 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 09:00 The Colbert Report

09:30 Drew Carey 10:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 10:30 Frasier 11:00 Just Shoot me 11:30 Eight Simple Rules 12:00 Best of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson 13:00 The Office 13:30 Tyler Perry’s House of Payne 14:00 The Nannyt 14:30 Malcolm in the Middle 15:00 Yes dear 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 Just Shoot me 19:00 Scrubs 19:30 The Office 20:00 Best of Late night with Jimmy Fallon 21:00 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Reno 911 22:30 Weeds 23:00 The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

00:00 The Martha Stewart Show 01:00 10 Years younger S3 01:30 Turn Back Your Body Clock 02:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 03:00 Moms Get Real / Now you know / Amplified 04:00 Never Trust A Skinny Cook 04:30 Fresh 05:00 GMA (repeat) 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 Downsize Me S2 12:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 13:00 The Martha Stewart Show 14:00 GMA Live 16:00 GMA Health 16:30 What’s the Buzz 17:00 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 18:00 Turn Back Your Body Clock 18:30 10 Years younger S3 19:00 The View 20:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 21:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live! 22:00 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 23:00 The Monique Show

00:45 02:30 04:15 PG15 05:45 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:30 22:00

01:00 PG15 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Deceit-18 He Was A Quiet Man-PG15 All She Wants For ChristmasBrideshead Revisited-PG15 Bolt-FAM Moondance Alexander-FAM Vantage Point-PG15 Nights In Rodanthe-PG15 Bolt-FAM Barbarossa-PG15 Rush Hour 3-PG15 Beyond A Reasonable Doubt-U

Walking Tall 3: Lone JusticeMonster Ark-18 Enough-PG15 Road Of No Return-PG15 The Last Winter-PG15 Twin Daggers-PG15 Urban Assault-18 The Last Winter-PG15 Room 6-PG15 April Fool’s Day-18 Blood Brothers-PG15 Feast 3-18

00:00 Rat Race-PG15 02:00 Sixteen Candles-PG15 04:00 Be Kind Rewind-PG15 06:00 The Utopian Society-PG15 08:00 Twins-PG 10:00 Orange County-PG15 12:00 More Of Me-PG15 14:00 The Mighty Ducks-FAM 16:00 Rat Race-PG15 18:00 Futurama: Bender’s Big ScorePG15 20:00 Martha Meet Frank, Daniel And Lawrence-PG15 22:00 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story-18

02:00 Never Ending Story 2: The Next Chapter-FAM 04:00 Flintstones: I Yabba Dabba Do!-FAM 06:00 Hey Arnold! The Movie-PG 08:00 Mucha Lucha! Return Of El Malefico-FAM 10:00 Flintstones: I Yabba Dabba Do!-FAM 12:00 Dragonlance-PG 14:00 Never Ending Story 2: The Next Chapter-FAM 16:00 Yogi’s Great Escape-PG 18:00 House Arrest-FAM 20:00 Leave It To Beaver-PG 22:00 Dragonlance-PG

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

Ugly Betty Desperate Housewives Sex and the City Sex and the City Smallville Law & Order Frasier Coach Emmerdale Coronation Street “24” Frasier Coach Smallville (TBA) Law & Order Emmerdale Coronation Street Frasier Coach Ugly Betty Desperate Housewives “24” Smallville Emmerdale Coronation Street C.S.I: NY C.S.I: NY Law & Order “24” Sex and the City

00:00 Premier League Classics 00:30 Barclays Premier League 02:30 Barclays Premier League Review 04:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 04:30 Premier League Classics 05:00 Premier League 07:00 Barclays Premier League Review 08:30 Premier League 12:30 Barclays Premier League Review 14:00 Premier League 16:00 Premier League Classics 17:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 17:30 Premier League World 18:00 Premier League 20:00 Portugol 20:30 Fut Brasil 21:00 Premier League Classics 21:30 Premier League World 22:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 22:30 Goals Goals Goals 23:00 Premier League

00:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 00:30 Mobil 1 01:00 ICC Cricket World 01:30 European PGA Tour Highlights 02:30 Goals On Monday 04:00 Super League 06:00 Premier League World 06:30 ICC Cricket World 07:00 Goals On Monday 08:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 09:00 Super 14 11:00 Weber Cup Bowling 12:00 World Hocky 12:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 13:00 ICC Cricket World 13:30 Futbol Mundial 14:00 Goals On Monday 15:30 Super League 17:00 European PGA Tour

01:00 The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas-PG15 03:00 Genghis Khan-PG15 05:00 Mama I Want To Sing-PG 07:00 Dan In Real Life-PG15 09:00 Against The Current-PG15 11:00 Northern Lights-PG 13:00 Broken Lines-PG15 15:00 All Roads Lead Home-PG 17:00 Against The Current-PG15 19:00 Kit Kittredge: An American Girl-PG 21:00 Heart Of Fear-PG15

00:45 Get Carter 02:40 Anchors Aweigh 05:00 Mutiny On The Bounty 08:00 Where Were You When The Lights Went Out? 09:30 Hearts Of The West 11:10 The Honeymoon Machine 12:35 Echoes Of A Summer 14:15 Forbidden Planet 15:50 Please Don’t Eat The Daisies 17:40 Little Women 19:40 Elvis: That’s The Way It Is 21:15 Skyjacked 23:00 The Collector

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

Battle 360 Deep Sea Detectives Warriors Modern Marvels Deep Sea Salvage Ax Men Battle Stations Battle 360 Deep Sea Detectives Warriors Modern Marvels Deep Sea Salvage Ax Men Battle Stations Battle 360 Deep Sea Detectives Warriors Modern Marvels Deep Sea Salvage Ax Men Battle Stations Battle 360 Deep Sea Detectives Warriors Modern Marvels

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

Peter Perfect Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane The Dish How Do I Look? Split Ends Dr 90210 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane Area How Do I Look? Style Star Style Her Famous My Celebrity Home Style Star Dress My Nest Peter Perfect Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Ruby Giuliana And Bill Clean House Clean House Comes Clean Dress My Nest What I Hate About Me Split Ends

17:00 17:30 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 21:00 21:30 22:00 23:00

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

01:04 01:45 02:00 02:45 05:04 05:18 08:04 08:45 13:04 13:50 16:04 17:00 18:00 18:45 20:04 20:45 21:00

RNB Playlist Urban Hit Playlist Guest Star Playlist New Playlist Urban Hit Playlist Hit US Playlist Urban Hit Playlist Latina Playlist Focus

00:00 01:00 01:30 02:00 03:00 03:30 04:00 04:30 05:00 06:00 Years 06:30 Years 07:00 07:30 08:00 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 13:00 14:00 14:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:30 20:00 21:00

Globe Trekker Angry Planet The Thirsty Traveler Planet Food Floyd Uncorked Travel Today Essential Chef Abroad Globe Trekker Great Scenic Railways - 175 Great Scenic Railways - 175 The Thirsty Traveler Angry Planet Globe Trekker Travel Today Dream Destinations Distant Shores Distant Shores Chef Abroad Entrada Planet Food Globe Trekker Chef Abroad The Thirsty Traveler Sophie Grigson In The Souk Entrada Planet Food Globe Trekker Essential Hollywood And Vines Chef Abroad The Thirsty Traveler Globe Trekker Floyd On Africa

00:00 Music For The Masses 01:00 Mtv Live Snow Patrol At Oxegen 01:30 Mtv Live Razorlight At Oxegen 02:00 Vh1 Rocks 02:30 Smells Like The 90s 03:00 Greatest Hits 04:00 Vh1 Music 07:00 Chill Out 09:00 Vh1 Hits 11:00 Vh1 Music 13:00 Aerobic 14:00 Top 10  celine Dion 15:00 Music For The Masses 16:00 Vh1 Pop Chart 17:00 Vh1 Music 19:00 Music For The Masses 20:00 Vh1 Music

00:00 ICC Cricket World 00:30 World Sport 01:00 NRL Premiership 03:00 Scottish Premier League 05:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 06:00 Mobil 1 06:30 Futbol Mundial 07:00 NRL Premiership 09:00 Premier League World 09:30 Goals On Monday 11:00 SPL Highlights 11:30 Aussie Rules AFL 14:00 Super League 15:30 Scottish Premier League 17:30 World Hockey 18:00 NRL Premiership 20:00 Super League 22:00 Futbol Mundial 22:30 Barclays Premier League Highlights 23:30 PGA European Tour Highlights

00:00 01:00 03:00 04:00 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 16:00 18:00 19:00 21:00

UFC - The Ultimate Fighter UFC - The Ultimate Fighter Bushido UFC Vera vs. Jones WWE NXT FIM World Cup UAE National Race Day British Triathlon Series WW NXT NCAA Basketball Red Bull X-Fighters British Triathlon Series V8 Supercars LG Action Sport NCAA Basketball UFC 111

Against The Current on Super Movies

Star Listings (UAE Timings) STAR Movies 20:55 The Merry Gentleman 22:35 I’m Reed Fish 00:10 Moulin Rouge 02:20 Overboard 04:10 The Merry Gentleman 05:50 I’m Reed Fish 07:25 Moulin Rouge 09:35 Overboard 11:25 The Transporter 13:00 Horton 14:30 Bubble Boy 15:55 Four Weddings And A Funeral 17:30 Wrong Turn 2: Dead End 19:00 Finding Amanda STAR World 20:00 October Road 20:50 Married With Children 21:00 Reaper 21:50 Different Strokes 22:00 Stone Undercover 22:50 Married With Children 23:00 Criminal Minds 23:50 Married With Children 00:00 Reaper 00:50 Different Strokes 01:00 Stone Undercover

01:50 02:00 03:00 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 09:00 09:50 10:00 10:50 11:00 11:50 12:00 12:50 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:50 15:00 15:50 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:30

Married With Children October Road [V] Tunes 7th Heaven Scrubs The King Of Queens According To Jim Criminal Minds Married With Children Grey’s Anatomy Different Strokes October Road Married With Children Reaper Married With Children The King Of Queens The Bold And The Beautiful 7th Heaven Different Strokes Grey’s Anatomy Married With Children [V] Tunes Criminal Minds Scrubs The King Of Queens According To Jim According To Jim

Granada TV 20:30 Shampoo 21:00 Young, Posh And Loaded 21:30 The Sunshine Girls 22:00 Emmerdale 22:30 Coronation Street 23:00 Young, Posh And Loaded 23:30 The Sunshine Girls 00:00 The Paul O’Grady Show 01:00 Trinny And Susannah Undress (Series 2) 02:00 Mystery Tuesday: Time Of Your Life (Double Bill) 04:00 Cosmetic Surgery From Hell 05:00 Emmerdale 05:30 Coronation Street 06:00 The Paul O’Grady Show 07:00 Trinny And Susannah Undress (Series 2) 08:00 Mystery Tuesday: Time Of Your Life (Double Bill) 10:00 Flights From Hell 11:00 Emmerdale 11:30 Coronation Street 12:00 The Paul O’Grady Show 13:00 The Crunch 14:00 Mystery Tuesday: Time Of Your Life (Double Bill) 16:00 Emmerdale 16:30 Coronation Street

17:00 The Paul O’Grady Show 18:00 The Crunch 19:00 Mystery Tuesday: Time Of Your Life (Double Bill) Channel [V] 21:30 Campus Top 10 Ep 4 22:30 [V] Zabardast Hits 22:40 Fresh [V] Deo 22:50 Music 23:00 [V] Zabardast Hits 23:50 Lola Tips from the Top Ep 33 00:00 Latenight [V] 03:50 Fresh [V] Deo 04:00 Latenight [V] 06:00 [V] Zabardast Hits 06:50 Fresh [V] Deo 07:00 [V] Mindblasting Mornings 09:00 [V] Mindblasting Mornings 11:00 [V] Zabardast Hits 12:00 [V] Double Shot 12:50 Lola One Question Ep 33 13:00 Campus Top 10 Ep 4 13:50 Music 14:00 [V] Zabardast Hits 14:40 Fresh [V] Deo 14:50 Music 15:00 Love Net Ep 01

15:30 15:50 16:00 16:40 16:50 17:00 17:50 18:00 18:40 18:50 19:00 19:30 19:50 20:00 20:50 21:00

Deadly Dus Ep 02 Music [V] Zabardast Hits Fresh [V] Deo Campus Blog Ep 46 [V] Nach Le Bollywood Busters Ep 11 [V] Zabardast Hits Fresh [V] Deo Music Deadly Dus Ep 03 Bollywood Nonsensex Ep 07 Lola Who’s Smarter Ep 33 [V] Zabardast Hits Bollywood Busters Ep 11 [V] Zabardast Hits

Fox News 20:00 Happening Now 22:00 The Live Desk 00:00 Studio B with Shepard Smith Live 01:00 Your World with Neil Cavuto 02:00 Glenn Beck with Glenn Beck 03:00 Special Report with Bret Baier 04:00 The FOX Report with Shepard Smith 05:00 The O’Reilly Factor 06:00 Hannity 07:00 On the Record with Greta Van Susteren

08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 18:00

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

National Geographic Channel 20:00 Superhuman : Strongman 21:00 Mega Factories -Tanks 22:00 Naked Science -Bullets S2-9 23:00 Theme Week 30m -Is It Real? : Ghosts 1 23:30 Theme Week 30m -Is It Real? : Crop Circles 2 00:00 Air Crash Investigation -Slammed To The Ground S5 01:00 ABOUT ASIA -NAT GEO FRONTLINE DIARIES : Honor Killings 3 02:00 Situation Critical -Russian Sub Rescue 03:00 Animal Extractors -Triple Trash Bears S15 04:00 Monster Fish -Giant Stingray 05:00 ABOUT ASIA -NAT GEO FRONTLINE DIARIES : Honor Killings 3

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available for Indian working ladies or couples in a double bedroom flat in near Khaitan police station roundabout with all facilities. Call: 99480468. (C 2066) 30-3-2010 Sharing accommodation available for a Christian bachelor at Abbassiya near Neethi store from 1st April. Rent KD 25. Contact: 66063182. (C 2065) Sharing available for one or two Indian bachelors in a furnished big mulhaq room at Abrak Khaitan close to bus stop and Jamiya (kitchen and bathroom attached). Rent KD 95. Call: 66036893. (C 2059) Sharing accommodation in Abbassiya for working ladies or couple. Contact: 97501647. (C 2060) Salmiya furnished accommodation available for a single executive bachelor in a window air conditioned flat to share with a small family, hailing from Kerala, next to Salmiya church, behind Woodlands restaurant (from 1 April 2010). Contact:

99754537 or 25657681. (C 2063) 29-3-2010 Sharing accommodation available for working ladies, couple, or small family, next to new Al Mulla Exchange building Abbassiya with Keralite family in 2 bedroom 2 bathroom CA/C flat. Contact: 66877073. (C 2054)

FOR SALE Pajero model 98, grey color, price KD 1250. Contact: 67613250. (C 2064) 29-3-2010 Pentium 4, Intel, 40 GB HDD, 256 MB RAM, CD ROM, 56K modem, sound card, speakers, 17” CRT monitor, ready for internet, KD 30. P4, Intel, 3 GHz, 80GB, 512 MB, DVD combo with 17” CRT monitor, KD 45. Contact: 66244192. (C 2061) Laptop Dell & IBM Centrino with basic specifications in excellent condition, for details call: 99322585. (C 2062) 28-3-2010 Mitsubishi L300 van, model 2009, very low mileage, very good condition, install-

ment remaining 137 KD x 24 months, owner needs cash 500 KD. Contact: 22465365/66019580. 27-3-2010

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. Please contact: 66634322. (C 2049) 29-3-2010 Indian male pharmacy graduate passed license exam MOH, seeking immediate placement in companies or pharmacies or hospitals. Please call 66076805, 66038171. (C 2058) 28-3-2010 MBA finance, B.Com, 6+ years of experience, seeks suitable employment. Contact: 99919274, 99175928. (C 2053) Available experienced, decent Srilankan girl (31 years) for household/ babysitting (full/part-time) with American/ European/ Indian family only (not bachelors) in Mangaf/

Fahaheel/Abu Halifa. Call: 99292581, 66870113. (C 20499) Available experienced, decent, Srilankan lady (39 years) for household/babysitting (full/part-time) with American/European/Indian family only (not bachelors) in Mangaf/Fahaheel/Abu Halifa. Call: 55714865. (C 20500) 27-3-2010


Full time Filipino live-in maid required for a European family with 2 children. Must speak good English, previous experience with young children and references required. Please contact: 65887206. (C 2067) 30-3-2010

MISCELLANEOUS Required diesel generator 40 KVA, 45 KVA or 60 KVA, used or new ones US, UK, or Japan made. Please contact: 97424362, 99165971, 23719684, email: (C 2055) 28-3-2010

Flight Schedule Arrival Flights on Tuesday 30/03/2010 Airlines Flt Route Royal Jordanian 802 Amman Wataniya Airways 188 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 306 Cairo Kuwait 544 Cairo Turkish A/L 772 Istanbul Gulf Air 211 Bahrain Ethiopian 620 Addis Ababa DHL 370 Bahrain Emirates 853 Dubai Etihad 305 Abu Dhabi Qatari 138 Doha Air France 6782 Paris Jazeera 503 Luxor Jazeera 637 Aleppo Jazeera 527 Alexandria Jazeera 529 Assiut Kuwait 412 Manila/Bangkok British 157 London Kuwait 416 Jakarta/Kuala Lumpur Jazeera 481 Sabiha Falcon 201 Bahrain Kuwait 206 Islamabad Kuwait 382 Delhi Kuwait 302 Mumbai Kuwait 332 Trivandrum Kuwait 284 Dhaka Emirates 855 Dubai Air Arabia 121 Sharjah Fly Dubai 053 Dubai Iran Air 605 Isfahan Qatari 132 Doha Etihad 301 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 425 Bahrain Iran Air 619 Lar Gulf Air 213 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 182 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 102 Dubai Jazeera 165 Dubai Jazeera 447 Doha Jazeera 113 Abu Dhabi Airquarius 061 Baghdad/Basrah Egypt Air 610 Cairo Kuwait 672 Dubai Wataniya Airways 432 Damascus Royal Jordanian 800 Amman United Airlines 982 Washington DC Dulles Kuwait 512 Tehran Jazeera 257 Beirut Wataniya Airways 422 Amman Kuwait 562 Amman Saudi Arabian A/L 500 Jeddah

Time 00:05 00:30 00:50 00:50 01:15 01:35 01:45 02:15 02:25 02:55 03:25 03:25 05:15 05:45 06:05 06:10 06:15 06:30 06:35 06:40 07:00 07:05 07:20 07:50 07:55 08:10 08:25 08:40 08:50 08:55 09:00 09:25 10:25 10:40 10:45 10:45 11:05 11:05 11:10 11:20 12:00 12:55 13:10 13:35 13.35 13:35 13:40 14:10 14:10 14:20 14:30

Kuwait Syrian Arab A/L Qatari Kuwait Mihin Lanka Etihad Emirates Wataniya Airways Gulf Air Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Arabia Jazeera Sri Lankan Kuwait Wataniya Airways Kuwait Wataniya Airways Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Jazeera Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Singapore A/L Kuwait Fly Dubai Indian Oman Air Middle East Wataniya Airways Egypt Air KLM Wataniya Airways Jazeera DHL Gulf Air Emirates Qatari Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Lufthansa Jazeera India Express Wataniya Airways Jazeera Pakistan

744 341 134 548 403 303 857 402 215 510 493 239 367 125 343 227 104 304 166 106 542 502 785 618 177 674 614 774 458 552 061 993 647 402 612 618 0443 404 459 372 217 869 136 429 449 117 636 185 389 108 263 205

Dammam Damascus Doha Alexandria Colombo/Dubai Abu Dhabi Dubai Beirut Bahrain Riyadh Jeddah Amman Deirezzor Sharjah Sanaa/Bahrain Colombo/Dubai London Cairo Paris/Rome Dubai Cairo Beirut Jeddah Doha Dubai Dubai Bahrain Riyadh Singapore/Abu Dhabi Damascus Dubai Chennai/Mumbai Muscat Beirut Istanbul Alexandria Amsterdam Beirut Damascus Bahrain Bahrain Dubai Doha Bahrain Doha Abu Dhabi Frankfurt Dubai Kozhikode/Mangalore Dubai Beirut Lahore/Peshawar

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

Departure Flights on Tuesday 30/03/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 528 Assiut Tunis Air 328 Dubai/Tunis Indian 576 Goa/Chennai Pakistan 240 Sialkot Lufthansa 637 Frankfurt Turkish A/L 773 Istanbul Ethiopian 620 Bahrain/Addis Ababa DHL 371 Bahrain Emirates 854 Dubai Etihad 306 Abu Dhabi Qatari 139 Doha Air France 6782 Dubai/Hong Kong Wataniya Airways 101 Dubai Royal Jordanian 803 Amman Jazeera 164 Dubai Jazeera 112 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 422 Bahrain Jazeera 446 Doha Gulf Air 212 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 181 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 431 Damascus British 156 London Jazeera 256 Beirut Kuwait 545 Alexandria Kuwait 671 Dubai Jazeera 342 Bahrain/Sanaa Wataniya Airways 421 Amman Kuwait 511 Tehran Kuwait 561 Amman Arabia 122 Sharjah Kuwait 101 London/New York Fly Dubai 054 Dubai Emirates 856 Dubai Iran Air 604 Isfahan Qatari 133 Doha Etihad 302 Abu Dhabi Gulf Air 214 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 401 Beirut Iran Air 618 Lar Kuwait 165 Rome/Paris Wataniya Airways 303 Cairo Kuwait 743 Dammam Kuwait 541 Cairo Wataniya Airways 611 Istanbul Jazeera 492 Jeddah Jazeera 366 Deirezzor Jazeera 238 Amman Kuwait 501 Beirut Kuwait 786 Jeddah Airquarius 060 Basrah/Baghdad Egypt Air 611 Cairo


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

Kuwait Wataniya Airways Royal Jordanian Jazeera Wataniya Airways Kuwait Kuwait Saudi Arabian A/L Syrian Arab A/L Jazeera Kuwait Qatari Kuwait Etihad Mihin Lanka Wataniya Airways Gulf Air Emirates Jazeera Arabia Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Sri Lankan Wataniya Airways Kuwait Kuwait Singapore Airlines Fly Dubai Kuwait Kuwait Oman Air Middle East Wataniya Airways Egypt Air KLM Gulf Air DHL Kuwait Kuwait Emirates Falcon Kuwait Qatari Kuwait Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera United A/L Kuwait

551 105 801 176 403 673 617 501 342 458 773 135 613 304 404 305 216 858 262 126 511 116 448 184 428 228 107 283 361 457 062 343 351 648 403 187 619 0443 218 373 801 675 860 102 381 137 301 480 526 502 981 411

Damascus Dubai Amman Dubai Beirut Dubai Doha Jeddah Damascus Damascus Riyadh Doha Bahrain Abu Dhabi Dubai/Colombo Cairo Bahrain Dubai Beirut Sharjah Riyadh Abu Dhabi Doha Dubai Bahrain Dubai/Colombo Dubai Dhaka Colombo Abu Dhabi/Singapore Dubai Chennai Cochin Muscat Beirut Bahrain Alexandria Bahrain/Amsterdam Bahrain Bahrain Cairo Dubai Dubai Bahrain Delhi Doha Mumbai Sabiha Alexandria Luxor Washington DC Dulles Bangkok/Manila

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



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Calvin Aries (March 21-April 19) Allow your creative side to blossom by categorizing your activities. The more you increase this creative side, the easier you will find problem solving situations end. You have an exciting time ahead of you now as you discover ways in which to increase your sense of abundance and personal prosperity. Quick answers, great wit and a surplus of insights and solutions are at hand from which you can choose. This is a good time to write and communicate with real originality. Inventions and breakthroughs are possible. A domestic challenge can be ended later today and will free you for a more enjoyable home life. Your tact is improving. In learning more about your real self, you learn more about humanity. Enjoy some creative activity this evening. Taurus (April 20-May 20) Understanding and clarity are easy to come by just now. Any confusing issues can be cleared away. Your activity level is high and your expressiveness works in your favor. You can make your goals materialize through the sheer determination of your will. Reward yourself for progress rather than punish yourself for any imperfections. Choose an activity that you consider fun this afternoon-soothing like going to an amusement park, bicycling, skating, etc. You may be sought after for your advice and counsel regarding some very personal and emotional issues. You will be helpful to others. Communicating in clear, precise messages is important to you and you do it well. Your timing should be perfect. You have a positive attitude about life.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. A syndrome that occurs in many women from 2 to 14 days before the onset of menstruation. 4. Law intended to eradicate organized crime by establishing strong sanctions and forfeiture provisions. 8. 100 pyas equal 1 kyat. 11. Of or relating to or characteristic of Thailand of its people. 12. Common Indian weaverbird. 13. The basic unit of money in Albania. 14. Title for the former hereditary monarch of Iran. 15. The rate at which energy is drawn from a source that produces a flow of electricity in a circuit. 16. Consisting of or made of wood of the oak tree. 17. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 10 liters. 20. A rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element. 21. Extremely pleasing. 24. Rare (usually fatal) brain disease (usually in middle age) caused by an unidentified slow virus. 26. Small European freshwater fish with a slender bluish-green body. 28. By bad luck. 31. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 32. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 35. Offering fun and gaiety. 39. A colorless and odorless inert gas. 40. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 41. The capital and chief port of Qatar. 44. Relating to or characteristic of or occurring on land. 46. An international organization of European countries formed after World War II to reduce trade barriers and increase cooperation among its members. 48. A light touch or stroke. 49. (law) A comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual seeks a legal remedy. 50. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 51. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 52. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. DOWN 1. An anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as guilt about surviving or reliving the trauma in dreams or numbness and lack of involvement with reality or recurrent thoughts and images. 2. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Missouri river valley in NE Nebraska. 3. The granite-like rocks that form the outermost layer of the earth's crust. 4. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali metal group. 5. The United Nations agency concerned with atomic energy. 6. Any of various plants of the genus Cymbidium having narrow leaves and a long drooping cluster of numerous showy and variously colored boat-shaped flowers. 7. An awkward stupid person. 8. The noise of a rounded object dropping into a liquid without a splash adv. 9. Not only so, but. 10. A town and port in northwestern Israel in the eastern Mediterranean. 18. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 19. Tropical starchy tuberous root. 22. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 23. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 25. 35th President of the United States. 27. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 29. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 30. Counting the number of white and red blood cells and the number of platelets in 1 cubic millimeter of blood. 33. East Indian tart yellow berrylike fruit. 34. A unit of dry measure used in Egypt. 36. In bed. 37. An amino acid that is found in the central nervous system. 38. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 39. Cut off from a whole. 42. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 43. 10 grams. 45. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 47. Being one hundred more than three hundred.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Your mind is ready to attend to any situation that may occur today. Schedule more than enough time to get to and from your destination. Do everything you can to eliminate the unnecessary items on your to-do list so that you are not under such a tight time schedule. If you cannot adjust your work hours, so that you are not driving at stressful times, get a book on tape or some incentive recording and listen while you drive. If you are ready to grab those books and head for the nearest university, now is the time. If this is something you feel you need to do in order to widen your scope of knowledge, start making your plans. You could find out about applying for the May or June class. Your loved one shows you attention this evening.

Non Sequitur

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Sometimes people may cut you off from speaking or make it difficult for you to express yourself. You could find that you lack some ability to move or communicate with others. A business class could be considered but get some good advice from the university or junior college before you sign up for the class; an acting class may be all you need. Your ideas may need special tweaking. Most of the time, you reign as the most obvious one to go to when someone needs help with creative things. Today, you may want to do some meditation on your goals and gain a focus for you. There is also an interest in some spiritual development. This time can be the beginning phase of sublime spiritual development, to be sure. Tonight is perfect for soft and lovely things. Leo (July 23-August 22) Others value you for your unique qualities. There are new ways to view people and new ways of understanding the things that are occurring in your life now—behind the illusions. Co-workers enjoy teaming up with you because you listen and are helpful. You can take command of your life now and proceed with full speed ahead in any area you wish. In the work place there is an opportunity to take a chance on a long shot—nothing ventured, nothing gained. This could be anything from inviting a new friend to lunch or asking for a raise. This afternoon you can enjoy some much deserved down time. Be consistent in your message to young people this evening. This will help them to know what to expect from you and you will gain respect.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) This is your lucky day! Schedule that conference; give that party and plan for the future. Whatever you do today, your ability to make things run smoothly should produce excellent results. Teamwork and understanding are your best guarantee for peaceful negotiations at work and at home. Some idea running around in your head has an opportunity to actually be verbalized and perhaps viewed by others. You will be pleased at the response from higher ups regarding your ideas. There is not only financial growth now, but also increased intimacy in your personal relationships. You will want to be showing your gratitude and appreciation for others who share your life. Young people have your attention this evening. Libra (September 23-October 22) Some unique and wonderful ideas are passed around among your peers and associates. Listen carefully—don’t intimidate an innocent bystander. The financial aspects of a business deal lacks clarity—go back to the drawing board. You are particularly witty and can be wonderful company for someone after work. You enjoy relaxing with your friends. A surprise gift will come to you today from an admirer. Study the gift box and you will know the sender. This evening is an excellent time for rest and relaxation. Close relationships are more positive and confirming of one another; encouraging. You may be feeling more like sharing some time with your lover or with close friends this evening; perhaps a party or event is in the making for this weekend.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Eliminate the elements in your life that slow you and keep you from accomplishing your goals. You are to be congratulated for your ability to rise above difficult situations so use these talents in your everyday situation. Communal activities that take place now should be well-attended and successful. The need for emotional security is accented now, though you should not pressure a partner into doing things just to please you. Your creativity is strong; as usual. With your love of antiques, you could take a class in refinishing furniture. This or any creative hobby will help you to get a better focus on your emotional progress and will most certainly balance any frustrating energies. Perhaps a friend will join you in this class.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Someone unexpected may test your ability to remain calm. This is a great opportunity to check out your patience. You may not appreciate their very different perspective but everyone has the right to an opinion. With patience you will have your turn to be expressive. Your own confidence is good and you accept other people’s differences. Teaching through example may have you teaching the importance of looking for the good in all things—negative situations will dissipate. Other people tend to be lucky for you today. You may be able to enjoy and value your own life situation today or feel especially kind toward a friend or loved one. Someone may compliment you on your belongings. Harmony with loved ones makes this a happy time.

Yesterday’s Solution


Yesterday’s Solution


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

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Word Sleuth Solution

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Avoid burnout by scheduling time out for a little exercise each day, even if it means a couple of walks up and down stairs. Make it a point to tell only one joke or give one positive insight today; for your own enjoyment! You will help lighten the atmosphere and create a balance in your life for a good emotional health. You face tremendous responsibilities in your relationships with loved ones this afternoon and may find it difficult to express your own wants and desires. You should try to loosen up and enjoy your companions without being afraid to voice your true feelings. You are compassionate and giving to all around you. Your devotion and selflessness will reap unexpected rewards. Being appreciated and admired is a powerful need.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Today is a great time to be with others and to work together. You may be sought after as just the person for a particular job. You may enjoy showing off your management skills today. You draw emotional nourishment and a sense of security from ideals, friends and social involvement. A personal and close friend will be asking your advice regarding a love relationship. You will be able to be understanding and handle this sensitive material. One of the special things about you that interest your lover is your willingness to be surprised, adventurous and unconventional in your life. You want your lover to be your best friend. A take home dinner and a movie might be an enjoyable thing to do this evening . . . or perhaps you will cook dinner. Pisces (February 19-March 20) You could find it difficult to be appreciative of others. This also may not be the best time to shop, choose colors, etc. The quality of your patience may be a bit thin. There is a yearning for the stimulation of new ideas and ideals now. Since you will not have yet reached your long-term goals this year, it might be fun to create some short-term goals. You look forward to planning family outings to encourage bonding and fun memories. Camping, to learn some survival techniques or as a pathway to a new hobby. Although this may not be a good time to become involved in extracurricular activities, it is a good time to discuss the idea of the family volunteering in some activity that will benefit many-perhaps a shelter.


Tuesday, March 30, 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

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


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

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25622444 25752222 25321171 25739999 25757700 25732223 25732223

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

22434064 22435865 22544200 22547133 22515277 22616662 25714406 22530801

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari Dr. Abdel Quttainah

22617700 25625030/60

Family Doctor: Dr Divya Damodar 23729596/23729581

Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr.

Zahra Qabazard Sohail Qamar Snaa Maaroof Pradip Gujare Zacharias Mathew

25710444 22621099 25713514 23713100 24334282

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

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

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

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

25655535 Dentists:

Dr Anil Thomas


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed


Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari



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

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

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

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


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


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


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


Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr


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

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

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Drew Barrymore

feels like a boy he actress - who made her directorial debut in the new movie ‘Whip It’, a story about a teenager who is pushed into beauty pageants by her mother before becoming a roller derby player - doesn’t like being girly and often feels quite “androgynous”. She said: “I’m like a 13 or 14-year-old boy who loves fun music and hot chicks and sport, and I like empowerment and women who are capable and humorous. I think I am extremely androgynous. I love comedy and jokes.


I am always the person who is fighting in marketing meetings, ‘Please don’t forget the boys, remember them too.’ “Whenever people get too girly, I am, like, ‘No, no.’ I just appreciate women and whenever I fall in love with their minds and their talents, that is really what gets me hot.” The 35-year-old star also claims her life is easier now she is older because nothing overwhelms her. She told The Sunday Times Culture magazine: “I think you start to feel

more secure. You feel so overwhelmed in your 20s, and you sit around going, ‘Oh my god!’ “You find yourself talking to friends about work and your life, and you wonder if it is all going to be OK - ‘Is this going to work out, what is going to happen?’ Now, I don’t feel as if I know it’s going to be OK, but I don’t feel it is going to kill me. I’ve got a good perspective on life now. It’s like, ‘We are going to get through this.’ “

Shakira body therapy hakira has therapy to deal with her body issues. The sexy singer - who wore a revealing nude-effect leotard in her ‘She Wolf’ music video - has poor self-esteem regarding her figure and she started going to see a therapist in 2001 to overcome her negative feelings. She said: “It helped me so much with every aspect of my life, from body image to relationships. My therapist told me why I behaved in certain ways and not to feel so pressured. It’s incredibly liberating to spend an hour talking to someone and not caring about what you sound like. It’s about understanding myself. Sometimes I’ll speak to my therapist for an hour a day. It’s become part of my routine.” The Colombian-born beauty says therapy helps her on the inside, but it takes a lot of hard work at


elly Osbourne hates people who pick their teeth. The TV star can’t stand people with poor personal hygiene, and admits she had a torturous taxi ride with a driver with bad habits. She tweeted: “In a taxi and the driver keeps licking and sucking his teeth and it’s making me SICK and putting me in the worst mood.” The 25year-old blonde who mainly lives in Los Angeles is currently in London and admits it’s great to be back in her native country. Kelly - who was born in London, but travelled around as a child on tour with her rocker father Ozzy Osbourne and mother Sharon, who worked as Ozzy’s manager revealed in other twitter posts: “I am having the best time in London I really don’t want to go back to LA next week! “I’m so happy to be back. even with the bad weather. there is no place like home!!!! (sic)”

Osbourne has teeth trouble


Bullock back at pre-marital home

andra Bullock has moved back to her pre-marital home. The Oscar-winning actress - who has been left devastated by allegations husband Jesse James cheated on her with at least four othe r women - left the house she shared with her spouse of almost five years earlier this month and is now hiding out at the Hollywood Hills property she purchase d in 2001. A


friend said: “She is here.” Since retu rning to the property, Sandra has been inundated with visitors who want to show her their support. A neighbor said: “There has been a lot of activity at the house. “There have been a few cars going in and out of her gate and people going in there in the last few days. There has been more activity here in the last wee k than in the last year. It’s usually very quiet here .” Sandra, 45, bought the property for around $1.48 million and although she moved in with Jesse in nearby Sunset Beach, she kept the house. A source told “She loves the hous e. That’s why she never sold it. It’s a pretty big prop erty and it’s private.” Until last week, Sandra had been in her hometown of Austin, Texas, where she was being comforted by friends and family. Frie nds don’t think her marriage to Jesse - who allegedly had flings with tattoo model Michelle ‘Bombshell’ McG ee, stripper Melissa Smith, photographer Brigitte Daguerre and an unnamed mistress who is represen ted by highpowered lawyer Gloria Allred - will now be able to survive. One pal said: “She’s beyond upset... and she has every right to be. She was on top of the world with her Oscar victory and now this. It’s such a difficult thing to deal with. How can their marriage survive this?”

lizabeth Hurley claims women like her because she’s had her heart broken. The actress-and-model who is now married to businessman Arun Nayar - believes she has a lot of female fans because they feel sympathetic after hearing about her previous relationship woes. Elizabeth - whose previous partners include Hugh Grant who was caught with a prostitute when they were together, and Steve Bing who called for a paternity test for their son Damien - said: “Most well known women, if they are glamour pusses, have a male audience. I’ve always had a much, much bigger female fan base than male. It probably seems like I’ve had so many knocks, as well as good luck, that it means women are friendly to me.” The 44-yearold British star - who now runs a 400-acre farm in the UK with her husband and has brought out a range of health snacks - also admits she is often difficult to work with because she thrives best under pressure. She told The Sunday Times Style magazine: “I’m probably not the best person to have shrinking violets around me. We all have to work extremely hard. It’s hopeless if someone can’t take it. I thrive under pressure and am less good if it’s calm. I don’t like serene atmospheres and go demented if I’m in a spa for too long where everyone whispers.” Despite this, Elizabeth says Arun manages to put up with her because he is successful in his own right. She said: “Arun is astonishingly good-natured and would be the last man on earth to feel overshadowed by me. He’s thoroughly comfortable in his own skin and I don’t think he’d swap places with anyone.”


Hurley’’ss H bbrrookkeennhheeaarrtt

the gym to give her the figure, which is the envy of women all over the world. She told Fabulous magazine: “All through my 20s I spent more time worrying about what I didn’t have than thinking about what I did have. I wished I was taller, had longer legs, slimmer hips, a smaller bottom, even straighter hair. I’m just like all women - we’re born to criticize ourselves. “I’ve worked my butt off to look like this. I’ve achieved the body I have now through hard work and careful eating. I’ve worked out every day, either running, doing gym work or dancing. Nowadays, the 33-year-old pop star looks at just her body shape, and not the bathroom scales. She said: “I haven’t been on the scales for a year but I know I’ve made my body leaner, trimming my hips and bottom.”

Minogue fronts cancer campaign

rity camface of a breast cancer cha ylie Minogue is the new sed with gno dia s wa pop star - who paign. The 41-year-old y 2005 Ma in r tou rld wo l’ gir ow the disease during her ‘Sh ed pholaim acc by for the pictures taken Fashion poses in just a silk sheet new the of nch lau o, for the tographer Mario Testin Breakthrough (FTBC) campaign for r nce Ca ast Bre s get cially creatTar spe of ge ran a see l paign wil Marks and Breast Cancer. The cam ing lud h street stories, inc s over the ed clothing sold in hig tion lec col er ign des in ine and lie said: Ky Spencer and Topshop, onl , rity cha of her work for the Fashion for next six weeks. Speaking gn pai cam r’s yea s part of thi rts to effo ir “It means so much to be the t por wholeheartedly sup Breast ugh Targets Breast Cancer. I hro akt Bre by n ake rk undert raise funds for the vital wo mastectomy to singer needed a partial n alia str Au e Th .” cer Can received eight n the and ago rs or five yea remove a malignant tum finally being ore bef y and radiotherapy months of chemotherap viously spopre has She 6. 200 cancer in life forevgiven the all clear from her d nge ially fatal illness cha mal state, ken about how the potent nor a to k bac go er t you nev er. She said: “I learned tha new normal state. I have to accept a d with the instead you have to create other sides, take the goo its and hs mp triu attitudes. e my life for its itiv pos world of illness and ture perbad. “I experienced a ma re mo a me g kin ma uted to These experiences contrib ir backing to the campaign include e the son.” Other stars to giv iffer. supermodel Claudia Sch and ller Mi nna actress Sie


Damon ?s bad breath att Damon has bad breath, according to Sarah Silverman. The American comedienne - who famously created a video entitled ‘I’m F***ing Matt Damon’ for her TV host boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel in 2008 - joked the actor’s breath was not the freshest she’d ever smelt, while honoring him with an award on Saturday night . Sarah claimed she’d given Matt “his first really big break” in the video, which was aired on US TV before becoming an instant YouTube hit, and added: “The worst thing I could say is, you know, Matt Damon is, like, a perfectionist. And his breath is like, Jesus! And his hair plugs are really obvious. Besides that, there’s, like, nothing.” The 39-year-old actor - who was honored in Beverly Hills with the 24th American Cinematheque Award - was continually ridiculed all night by several of his celebrity friends. Actress Charlize Theron joked the Hollywood heartthrob was to blame for one of Will Smith’s box office


flops. She said: “In 2000, Matt and I starred in ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’ along with Will Smith, the only Will Smith movie that didn’t make, like, a million dollars. I reunited with Will in ‘Hancock’, which did great. So I guess it’s you, Matt.” Referring to his 1997 Oscar win with Ben Affleck for Best Original Screenplay for ‘Good Will Hunting’, she added: “That’s not the only thing Matt and I have in common. We’re both Academy Awards winners. Of course, I won mine in a real category and Matt’s was just for typing up Ben Affleck’s thoughts.” George Clooney also starred in a strange video shown during the celebrations at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, which featured him making a speech while undergoing a mock proctology exam. Afterwards, Matt said: “That was particularly enjoyable - and strange!” The tribute for the star will be shown on US TV network ABC next month. — BangShowbiz


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Music & Movies

‘80s stars Hall & Oates back in spotlight hen Greg Kurstin, half of esoteric Los Angeles pop duo the Bird and the Bee, speaks of Hall & Oates, it’s in a reverent tone usually reserved for devout believers meeting a major religious figure. “‘One on One’ is the perfect song with the perfect production,” he says with unblinking earnestness. “I strive for that level of greatness every day.” On March 23, Kurstin and bandmate Inara George released their homage to the pair, “Interpreting the Masters Volume I: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates,” on Blue Note. It’s the latest example of the unlikely popculture resurgence for the fourth-bestselling duo of all time (13 million albums shipped, according to the Recording Industry Association of America). In the past two years, Hall & Oates’ music, which peaked chart-wise during the first term of the Reagan White House, has been featured in everything from taste making films like “(500) Days of Summer” to taste-questionable outlets like QVC. The driving force behind the resurgence is twofold: the giddiness of 30-something nostalgic like George and Kurstin, and the willingness of Daryl


Hall, 63, and John Oates, 61, to connect with these fans in the free-flowing backand-forth of today’s media world. Jonathan Wolfson has been the band’s publicist for five years; he took over as their manager in 2009. He remembers being a teenager in New York, sitting in the nosebleed seats and thrilling to Hall & Oates performing “Maneater” live. Now, Hall & Oates are his sole clients, and he navigates opportunities for exposure for the act from a two-story, peachcolored strip mall in the west San Fernando Valley. “Daryl and John allowed me to push on their behalf,” he says. “A lot of the bands get in the way of themselves. I feel like I work with them-obviously, I work for them-but I feel like I work with them.” Not press darlings Oates, for one, is appreciative of how the duo’s music is branching out into everything from film to online animation; it stands as a comeuppance to those who once questioned the relevance of their music. “We were not in the cool club with the rock press,” he says. “But in the end, it’s the songs that stand the test of time-

they’ve been covered, sampled, and there’s a generation of creative people who grew up with our music.” This younger generation of fan appreciates the commercial artistry of their techno-savvy blue-eyed soul and takes kitschy pleasure in the decadent, shoulder-padded extravagance of the surrounding era. This gives Wolfson a large playing field to hype the band: It can perform on the hipper-than-thou “Daily Show” even as middlebrow TV chef Rachael Ray pushes for their entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “When I started doing press for them, it was the same cliched rock critics saying, ‘Well, you didn’t play CBGB’s in ‘78 ...’ It was kind of bulls-t actually,” Wolfson says. “I hate to be an ageist, but when I started going to people who were contemporaries, it was a way different conversation than it was with the Robert Hilburns of the world, who basically called them the Thompson Twins and said, ‘I’ll never write about these guys.’ It’s one of those things-if they don’t let you in the party, you create your own. And the party got bigger and bigger and bigger.”

Ever since the single “Sara Smile” was certified gold by the RIAA in 1976, Hall & Oates have always been just on the wrong side of cool with the rock establishment. Despite seven platinum albums-three of which went double-platinum: 1982’s “H2O,” 1983’s “Rock ‘n Soul, Part 1” and 1984’s “Big Bam Boom”-the Philadelphia duo has never won a Grammy Award. (“Always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” Hall muses; the pair was nominated this year for best performance by a duo or group with vocals for a version of “Sara Smile” on “Live at the Troubadour.”) Pop fans have long embraced Hall & Oates-leading to six No 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 — but critics derided their music as “yacht rock,” slick ‘80s smarm designed to lure radio programmers across a variety of genres. Boosts from web, stern With the resurgence of Hall & Oates among hipsters, that attitude has changed, and in a very public manner. “They were hated, they really were,” Wolfson says. “But the Internet has really been their friend. The fact that the

Internet has no gatekeepers and bloggers can write whatever they want-if something’s good, people respond.” Sales have been on the increase: In 2009, they sold 177,000 albums, up from 161,000 in 2008. In that same time period, digital song downloads were up 19 percent to 547,000. The recent Hall & Oates revival seemingly started with the harmonic convergence of Howard Stern and a series of Google Alerts. In November 2007, Hall appeared on Stern’s show on Sirius Satellite Radio to promote his Web-only series, “Live From Daryl’s House.” It’s a monthly performance program where Hall and a visiting musician jam in his farmhouse in New York state, playing Hall & Oates standards and songs by the accompanying artist. But as usual on Stern, things got weird. The recap on summed it up as such: “Daryl then opened up about his Lyme disease and the debilitating effect it has had on his life, adding that we should ‘kill all the f’ing deer. They’re like giant rats’ ... Howard told Daryl that he might have him cut some public service announcements about the ‘f’ing deer,’ but Daryl

insisted that he’d rather just be given a machine gun. Daryl then treated the crew to a live performance of ‘Sara Smile.”“ With a later mention that he and Oates have had sex in the same room-not with each other but apparently close enough to notice that Oates was a “German shepherd in a chihuahua’s pants”-Hall & Oates earned something that largely eluded them during their heyday: street cred. “I’ve booked everyone from Yanni to Suge Knight onto Howard Stern, and this was the craziest interview,” Wolfson says. “That really generated a lot of hits (for “Live From Daryl’s House”). It was a good way to break it out.” Around that same time, Wolfson noticed something every time he opened his e-mail: Google Alerts detailing how various bands were paying tribute to Hall & Oates. In 2007, Gym Class Heroes named its summer trek the Daryl Hall for President Tour 2007. Brandon Flowers of the Killers said “Rich Girl” was a perfect pop song. Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie wrote an exegesis of his 10 favorite Hall & Oates songs on Pitchfork. —Reuters

illboard CD reviews ARTIST: DAVID BYRNE & FATBOY SLIM ALBUM: HERE LIES LOVE art art project, part all-star indie gathering, “Here Lies Love” is David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s unusual collaborative song cycle about the life of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines. With a lineup of guests including Florence & the Machine’s Florence Welch, Tori Amos, Steve Earle and Santigold, the 22-track tribute features a diverse mix of thoughtful ballads and discoinfluenced dance numbers. Cyndi Lauper’s giddy vocals on “Eleven Days” and Roisin Murphy’s horn-driven “Don’t You Agree?” offer the most lasting thrills on the album. And winning duets include Candie Payne and St. Vincent on the breezy “Every Drop of Rain” and Byrne’s emotional collaboration with My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden on “Seven Years.” At times, “Here Lies Love” wobbles as a concept album, and listeners unfamiliar with Marcos’ story may not initially understand the lyrical conceits. But it contains enough solid material to justify repeated listens.


Actress Jennifer Aniston, right, and actor Gerard Butler, left, pose during a photo call for the movie ‘The Bounty Hunter’, German title ‘Der Kautions-Cop’, in Berlin, yesterday. —AP

ARTIST: MADLIB ALBUM: MADLIB MEDICINE SHOW NO 3: BEAT KONDUCTA IN AFRICA eteran rapper Madlib’s newest album, “Madlib Medicine Show No 3: Beat Konducta in Africa,” is the artist’s latest instrumental opus in a series of 12 albums dubbed “The Madlib Medicine Show.” In this episode, Madlib restricts himself to sampling African vinyl sounds from the early ‘70s-and in compliance with orthodox hip-hop doctrine, each sample is buried in sacred obscurity. But the diversity of “Beat Konducta in Africa” borders on overwhelming, with about 78 minutes of African funk, rock, soul and Afrobeat. On “Red, Black and Green Showcase,” injections of half-second hip-hop vocals play over a regal, echoing horn loop. “Jungle Sounds Pt 2” makes use of an electric guitar, while “African Map Watch” is more disco-flavored. “Blackfire” begins with an interlude championing Nigerian musicians for prohibiting “the musical masturbation of the Western World” from curtailing their creativity. The album is a collage of African sounds and rhythms that avoids coherence, and its greatest strength lies in its authenticity.


ARTIST: ALBERTA CROSS ALBUM: BROKEN SIDE OF TIME ritish transplant Alberta Cross’ full-length debut, “Broken Side of Time,” is a step forward in cementing the Brooklyn-based band’s place in American blues-rock. Taking cues from the folk and alternative music scenes of the ‘90s, with undertones of American roots and a British blues infusion, singer Petter Ericson Stakee’s expressiveness lends a spectral quality to the group’s brooding altrock sound. With the quivering emotion of Neil Young in the strangled tenor of Jim James, Stakee laments on “Song Three Blues,” “I just wanna live is that a cry.” A fuming reinvention of Alberta Cross’ folky roots (as heard on its 2007 EP “The Thief & the Heartbreaker”), “ATX” features slide guitar over heavy instrumentation. And the title track’s wistful chorus breaks from distorted chaos, as if manifesting from the eye of a storm. Tempering heavier blues-alternative influences with a softer folk-rock feel, “Broken Side of Time” leaves an unmistakable mark.


ARTIST: LOVE IS ALL ALBUM: TWO THOUSAND AND TEN INJURIES f Quentin Tarantino ever sets a movie in Scandinavia (“Kill Bjorn?” “Reservoir Huskies?”), then Sweden’s Love Is All should be a shoo-in for the soundtrack. The band’s third album, “Two Thousand and Ten Injuries,” combines garage rock rawness with cute indie smarts in a manner not heard since the all-female Japanese rockers’s tore up a “Kill Bill” restaurant scene. Every song comes and goes in less than three and a half minutes (and most in a lot less) as the band makes up in ramshackle charm what it lacks in glossy production. The song “Kungen” has a gloriously sunny ‘60s “ba-ba-ba” chorus over a new wave riff, “False Pretense” is a punky reggae party featuring some gloriously unruly vocals from frontwoman Josephine Olausson, and “Never Now” throws some Blondie-esque pop sass into the indier-than-thou mix. This should be more than enough to recapture the blog buzz that followed the group’s 2006 debut, “Nine Times That Same Song.”—Reuters


Alba to join judges on ‘Project Runway’ essica Alba is bringing her celebrity fashion sense to “Project Runway.” Lifetime spokeswoman Kannie Yu LaPack says Alba will serve as a guest judge on Thursday’s episode of


the popular clothing-design competition show. The 28-year-old actress will help judge a challenge in which the remaining six contestants must create an outfit for an “opin-

ionated celebrity,” who they will later discover is show host Heidi Klum. Other guest judges this season have included Nicole Richie, Molly Sims and Lauren Hutton. —AP

Pippi Longstocking author’s life becomes film Mills in court battle with former employee former employee of Paul McCartney’s ex-wife Heather Mills is suing her for sex discrimination. Sara Trumble wants compensation after allegedly being unfairly dismissed from her job as a nanny after she became pregnant. Mills’ split from the former Beatle in 2006 was followed by a messy divorce in which she won 24 million pounds-some of it intended to pay for a nanny for their daughter, Beatrice. Mills was criticized in the divorce judgment, which called her “less than candid.” The lawyer for 25-year-old Trumble, Nick Fairweather, argues that the judgment should be introduced as evidence of Mills’ dishonesty. Mills’ lawyer argues that would prejudice the trial. The hearing was adjourned Monday while a judge considered Fairweather’s request. —AP


wo German production companies are preparing to make the first featurelength film about the life of Sweden’s most popular children’s book author, Pippi Longstocking creator Astrid Lindgren, her daughter told AFP. German production companies Ogglies Film Production and TV 60 Film are planning to make the film about Lindgren’s early years, up until her breakthrough with Pippi Longstocking in 1946, Karin Nyman said. “They were the first film producers to contact me wanting to make a film about my mother’s life, and I immediately said yes to working with them,” she said. Lindgren, who died in 2002, is famous for creating such characters as Emil of Maple Hill, Madicken, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, and especially Pippi. Her books about “the strongest girl in the world”, an impish, cheeky nine-year-old who wears fire-red pigtails braided so tight they stick straight out and who lives with her horse and her monkey, Mr. Nilsson, have been translated into 95 languages. The planned two-part television film about her life will however focus on the difficult years before she rose to fame, with the main focus likely to be on her unplanned pregnancy at the age of


Astrid Lindgren 18. Lindgren, who had been working as a reporter for a local newspaper in the southern Swedish town of Vimmerby when she got pregnant with her married chief editor, often talked about how becoming a single mother early in life had affected her as a person and as a writer. Nyman said she would be involved in the first part of the film-making process as a consultant, and that she was in the process of reading and commenting on manuscript drafts written by acclaimed German script writer Benedickt Roeskau. “It is actually kind of nice that Germans rather than Swedes are making the film, because that way the story will be a bit more distanced. —AFP

Cop drama ‘Conscience’ favors loud, gruesome action n a front-runner for the title of loudest film of the year so far, “Fire of Conscience” tackles the heady subject of police corruption at street and institutional levels on the surface, but is really just an old-school cops and robbers shoot-’em-up most notable for a pair of highly inventive deaths. Director Dante Lam throws in everything but the kitchen sink in a story that somehow works in South Asian arms dealers, a Mainland bomber and drug-dealing cop killers. Any real thought about the nature of duty and the law is swept aside for action, action, and more action-which is average for Lam but still superior to most. Lam is making a case for himself as the Michael Mann of Hong Kong with his second high-octane, noisy bit of law enforcement pornography in as many years. “Fire of Conscience,” which screened recently at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, should attract the same distributors and specialty festivals that 2009’s “Sniper” did, but it lacks the earlier film’s sense of retro fun. Stars Leon Lai and Richie Jen could generate interest in theatrical release in Asia, but the film’s prospects beyond that are limited. Man (a hirsute Lai) is a gardenvariety detective with a dead wife and a penchant for brutalizing suspects. While looking into the murder of a prostitute, he hooks up with former narcotics investigator Kee (Jen), who needs his help finding a petty thug who stole a cell phone from his partner- right before he got pulverized by a car. Once he finds the thug it becomes apparent that Kee has his own suspect-relations problems, and may not be the force’s poster boy everyone thinks he is. Meanwhile, Man’s partner Cheung-on becomes a suspect in the prostitute’s death and eventually drags Man into a conspiracy to cover


up the fact that he saw the woman the night she died. Somehow this all points to a crew of thieves and a Chinese bomb specialist- whose wife is being held hostage-with designs on pulling off an evidence-van heist in the middle of the day in crowded, downtown Hong Kong. That’s the tip of the narrative iceberg, and everything else strains credibility; hard as it may be to believe, the convoluted story does clarify itself

by the final reel. But Lam and writer Jack Ng heap more misfortune on the leads than is probably necessary and draw attention away from “Fire’s” strongest elements, which are the gunplay and Jen as the heavy. Jen is quickly becoming Hong Kong’s go-to guy for ambiguous heroes, after breaking into the industry as a romantic comedy lead. While far from nuanced, Jen manages to infuse Kee with some of the shadiness of the film’s visuals. “Fire of Conscience” is technically strong (and did we mention loud?) and its saturated, garishly hued images add a certain gritty finish that gives the unsavory story a suitably skeevy tone.—Reuters



Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Wills Fashion Week

Models present creations by Indian design label Littleshilpa at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2010 in New Delhi, India, yesterday. —AP

Models present creations by Indian designer Nida Mahmood

Indian couture Asia-bound, but eyeing West emand for Indian couture has surged in the Middle East and East Asia in the last five years but the West remains out of bounds due to lack of exposure, designers and buyers said at India’s largest fashion event. Most Indian designers focus on a burgeoning market at home, where a rapidly growing middle class is consuming high fashion like never before, but a significant number are expanding abroad. “Buyers from Japan, Arab countries are growing by leaps and bounds,” designer Kavita Bhartia told Reuters at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, where 130 designers are vying for the attention of 150 domestic and international buyers.

China Fashion Week


Bhartia, whose skirts and tunics are major sellers in the Middle East and warmer regions such Ibiza, said foreign clients look for something unusual but modern, and Indian designers can address all these issues. Vineet Bahl, whose overseas clients account for 90 percent of his sales, agrees. “Four years ago, you had to hunt them (buyers) down, but now they hunt you down.” High fashion in India, which emerged after the country’s liberalization in the early 90s, is still comparatively small accounting for barely 0.3 percent of the international industry’s net worth, according to a 2008 estimate by industry body the Associated Chambers of

Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). The ASSOCHAM report said the industry was expected to touch 7.5 billion rupees ($166 million) by 2012 from the 2008 estimated level of less than 2.9 billion rupees ($64 million). The majority foreign buyers of Indian couture are from Dubai and Riyadh, drawn to India’s elaborate embroideries and handmade prints. “It’s amazing, the numbers speak for themselves. We’ve gone from just one (Indian) designer to 10 in just 4-5 years as the sales are very good,” said Wasim Al Sadat from Harvey Nichols, Riyadh, was looking to buy kaftans, tunics and long skirts at the event.

Children walk on the catwalk displaying creations by Foshan Children during China Fashion Week in Beijing. —AP

Cultural affinity Nirupama Singh, a fashion trend analyst, says Indian designers were strong in the Middle East because the two regions shared a cultural affinity. “The embroideries, embellishment...a Westerner might look at it as too over-the-top, but it appeals to eastern sensibility. Also, the amount of skin they reveal and the don’t need a perfect body, which increases the number of clients you can cater to,” Singh said. Interest is also growing in East Asia, which usually shuns ethnic Indian designs, said Song Haldeman from Hong Kong, who was looking for high-end designs with an Indian touch. “The novelty and embroidery... and also the textile here is

very well done, this is what we are looking for,” she said. Haldeman, who represents Aux Laines Ecossaises in Paris and Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong, feels there are some interesting Indian designers to be followed, and they need more exposure as most big international buyers focus on the major fashion events in Paris and London. Veteran designers such as Manish Arora, Kavita Bhartia, Vineet Bahl and the duo of Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna already enjoy a buzz in Japan. But the Western market is still virgin territory, with only a few designers such as Manish Arora and Ritu Beri, who see their designs as more global than traditional, making their presence felt in the Paris Fashion Week. European buy-

ers at the India fashion week, who were looking to buy mostly young and contemporary designs with geometric prints, said awareness of Indian fashion was still in the nascent stage. “There is not much of a buzz yet (on Indian designers), except for Manish Arora,” said a buyer from Paris who did not want to be named. Also, several international buyers are not even aware of the Indian fashion week. Designer Charu Parashar, whose foreign clientele makes up for 40 percent of her sales, said Indian designers needed to make “a big hoopla” out of the fashion industry so that Western nations “finally realize how big Indian fashion is”. —Reuters


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Fashion Fashion photographer Peter Gowland dies at 93 Models display creations during the ESCADA 2010 spring/summer collection to commemorate the opening of the German fashion brand shop at the Mituskoshi department Store in Tokyo yesterday. —AFP photos

Peter Gowland eter Gowland, an innovative fashion photographer who invented elite cameras and equipment that he used to shoot pinups and magazine covers for six decades, has died at 93. Gowland’s wife of 68 years, Alice, tells the Los Angeles Times in a Sunday story that Gowland died March 17 at his Los Angeles home of complications from hip surgery. Gowland shot more than 1,000 magazine covers, mostly glamour shots of female models but also portraits of celebrities like Rock Hudson and Robert Wagner. Magazines he took photos for included Rolling Stone and Playboy. Gowland also invented the twin-lens Gowlandflex camera, which used 4-by-5 inch film for high-quality pictures and has since been used by photographers like Annie Leibovitz. —AP


Shoes shine: Dr Martens celebrates 50th birthday hat do British 1980s groups Madness and the Cure have in common with current teen heart-throb actor Robert Pattinson, Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama? Believe it or not, Dr Martens’ boots and shoes. And as the footwear firm turns 50, it is looking back on a remarkable transformation from tiny German company making orthopedic boots to British fashion icon, whose shoes are worn by trendy artists and world leaders alike. The key turning point came in 1959, when two German


medics sought to market a shoe with an air-cushion sole, developed by one of themKlaus Maertens-to help him convalesce after a skiing accident. “The magic moment happened when, through an advert in a British professional magazine, the Griggs family-working boots makers-met the German doctors Maertens and Funck,” said Martin Roach, who has written a history of the firm. “At that time it was an orthopedic boot sold 80 percent to German women over the age of 40. They felt there was a bigger market but they needed a partner, hence the ad,” said Roach, author of “Dr Martens, the story of an icon”.

Dr Martens boots and shoes are pictured in the Dr Martens factory in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, in central England, on March 18, 2010. —AFP

sub-culture. But not the Doc Martens. It stayed with the skinheads, the punks, the mods, the grunges and so on,” said Roach. Their status as a style icon remains to this day, he says: “The Doc Martens’ DNA is the same as youth fashion so it will never go away.” Romona adds: “They appeal to everybody-whether a postman, a schoolboy, a nurse or a judge.” Michael is a doctor, buying his first pair. “I do a lot of walking in my work and I often wear through shoes, probably about every year. I

Models present creations by Marisfrolg Summer/Spring 2010 Collection during China Fashion Week in Beijing. The bi-annual fashion event highlights the latest designs by domestic and international designers.—AFP

just wanted a pair that wouldn’t wear out on me and that would last a very long time, and the DMs do,” he said. German 40-something Sabina Muller adds: “I had my first Doc Martens when I was a 16-year-old girl and they are still all right ... I love them.” More than 100 million pairs of Dr Martens have been sold since that first pair was unveiled 50 years ago-although there are now some 250 different models, from golden to fuscia, flowered to custom patterned. But, in a sign of the times, almost all of them have been made in Asia since 2002: only about 50 leave the factory in Wollaston every day, including the vintage 1460 model, made by 10 or so workers on old machines. The shop in Camden has also become an icon for the Doc Martens’ faithful internationally. “It’s a very famous destination, we get customers from all over the world,” said Romona. “They want to come here to see where it all started. They come from father to son... especially from Europe. Their fathers will have bought their first DM boots in this store in the 70s and 80s. “I am personally very proud to be the grandson of the guy who first sold them.” —AFP

China Fashion Week

On April 1, 1960 the first pair of Dr Martens-the name was anglicized, for ease of pronunciation-was produced by

the Griggs factory in the village of Wollaston in central England. Eight eyelets, ox blood red with distinctive yellow stitching, the new design was dubbed “1460” after the date of its creation. And rather than hobbling middle-aged Germans, the target market for the new boot was aimed squarely at working-class Britons seeking a more comfortable and cheaper alternative to other footwear firms’ rigid-soled leather offerings. “My grandfather was the first one to sell Dr. Martens in the world. We’ve sold the brand for the longest,” said Nick Romona, owner of the British Boot Company in the trendy north London borough of Camden. “It was a good, strong, comfortable, affordable work wear for the average working men in Britain... for a lot of (those) that picked up on them, like the punks and the skinheads, they were a good pair of solid, decent boots.” Within a few years the “1460” became an essential accessory for musicians wanting to play up their workingclass links, including The Who’s Pete Townshend, who was followed by dozens of other stars. “Usually when a new subculture appears, it gets rid of the symbols of the previous

Oud maker labors in secret on Baghdad rooftop n a tiny workshop on the roof of his home in a Baghdad slum, Farhan Hassan works in secret, lovingly carving wood and tightening strings to make ouds, a traditional musical instrument whose muted sounds are dear to Arabs. Only close family and friends know what he is doing, because the militiamen in his neighborhood frown on such frivolities. The oud’s angst-filled tunes define Iraq’s music, the way the Tigris and Euphrates rivers define its landscape. But nowadays few in the country play or make the oud, a pear-shaped, deep-voiced cousin of the lute. Hundreds of artists fled Iraq during the violence in recent years, and continued instability and the power of religious hardliners give them little desire to return. So Hassan’s ouds have come to symbolize a lost Iraq, or maybe the country it could become one day. What they don’t speak of is today’s Iraq. “My country has no flowers, love or beauty,” said Hassan, “I want to leave Iraq and go some place where I can have a normal life.” A gentle, soft-spoken man with unkempt hair and several front teeth missing, Hassan ships his ouds to buyers abroad-Iraqi musicians who fled Iraq over the years to escape the oppression of Saddam Hussein or the violence that followed Saddam’s overthrow in 2003. Among these are childhood friend


Rahim al-Haj, a Grammy-nominated oud player and composer now living in the United States. Al-Haj urges Hassan to mail as many ouds as possible to be sold on his behalf. Al-Haj tours the United States, playing his three Hassan ouds in concerts to benefit Iraqi children. Al-Haj himself was separated from his first oud when a customs officer on the IraqJordan border crossing insisted that he could not take it outside the country without a permit. He had a choice to make back then on a cloudy January day in 1991. “I chose my freedom at the end, but I was sick for a long time afterward because of the loss of my oud,” he said. He tried to go home to Iraq in 2004, but instead went back to the United States, horrified. “I felt that the pain was far too great for me to handle,” al-Haj said from his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “I discovered that my father died in 1997 while I was still in Syria. My mother died a month after I left.” Now Hassan is also hoping to leave Iraq. Like many of the estimated 2.5 million Shiites who live in Sadr City, he has to cope with some of the city’s worst living conditions. Militiamen have closed music stores, prohibited the mixing of the sexes, banned wedding parties, imposed the Islamic hijab on women and murdered homosexuals-all while making a living as hired guns.

In this photo taken March 1, 2010, Farhan Hassan makes an oud at his workshop Baghdad, Iraq. —AP During the dark days of militia rule up until two years ago, Hassan took his ouds and anything else in his workshop that would give away his profession to a brother’s home in a safer Baghdad neighborhood. The militiamen came to the house twice in 2005, he

recalled — “in the middle of the night and wearing masks like highway robbers” — but left empty-handed. “I could have gone out on the streets carrying an RPG or a machine-gun and people would either take no notice or commend me

on my courage,” he mused. “But I would have probably been killed if I had gone out with an oud in my hand,” he said with a laugh tinged with bitterness. Even now, the sign on a leaf-shaped piece of wood - “Farhan Hassan oud workshop” — is covered with cloth of a fading floral design. On the wall is a ballerina’s fading picture that Hassan ripped out of a German magazine he found when he was a teenager, along with an image of a young Charlie Chaplin and of Michelangelo’s Pieta, a sculpture of a grief-stricken Virgin Mary with Jesus sprawled dead Jesus on her lap. There also is a copy of a famous Iraqi painting of female gypsy dancers, and magazine pictures of two of Iraq’s most renowned oud musicians, the late brothers Mounir and Gameel Bashir. Hassan was born to a poor family that migrated to Baghdad from Iraq’s impoverished south in the 1950s. Two of his brothers disappeared in the early 1980s. For years, the family suspected they had been executed for their communist party membership, but confirmation of their death came only from records uncovered after the U.S.-led invasion that removed Saddam. “Fayadh gave me my first oud,” said Hassan, his eyes welling up as he spoke of the older of his two siblings. “He encouraged me to play music.” The overthrow of Saddam delivered Iraq’s majority Shiites from years of oppres-

sion, but Hassan says the empowerment of his community did nothing to alleviate the pain over his lost siblings. “Fayadh was like a father to me,” he recalled, seated on the floor of a living room whose bare walls are adorned by an image of Imam Hussein, a seventh-century saint whose martyrdom in battle cemented the Shiite-Sunni divide. With Iraq’s best-known oud players gone abroad, little market remains for the instrument in Iraq. Consider the plight of Ali alabdaly, an oud maker whose workshop is in Baghdad’s old quarter. “I have not sold a single oud in three months, so I work part-time as an electrician and an upholsterer,” he said. “I have a wife, a boy and two girls to feed. If the oud industry is to prosper again, there must be security again,” he said, as he carved his name on a piece of wood that is going on the front of a new oud. Hassan meticulously carves his ouds, devoting a month or longer to each one. Most are sent abroad and sell for $500 to $1,000 each. “Farhan is one of the best oud makers in Iraq,” said al-Haj. “But he has a problem. It takes him a long time before he can bring himself to part with the ouds. He falls in love with them.” In the meantime, Hassan is begging for help to leave Iraq. “Please tell Rahim that I want to leave,” he said. “Ask him to find out for me if I can study abroad.” —AP

Palestinian Cultural Exhibition launched at the WCSS By Hussain Al-Qatari KUWAIT: Palestinian art and heritage lovers flocked to the Kuwait Women Cultural Social Society (KWCSS) in Khaldiya as the Palestinian Culture Exhibition, a joint effort between the Palestinian Culture Center and the WCSS, opened its doors yesterday morning to receive visitors. Despite the turbulence that the Palestinian people continue to go through, the exhibition, inaugurated by the Head of the WCSS Shaikah Al-Nisf, had an optimistic spirit. Faten Abu Ghazaleh, Head of the Palestinian Culture Center, said that it is crucial to show support to the people of Palestine and to celebrate the culture’s beauty today. Adorned with colorful pottery, handmade cross-stitch pieces, books and posters about Palestine and the Palestinian heritage in Arabic and English, the exhibition captivated the essence of the art crafted by Palestinians in the refugees and the diaspora. Despite the violent Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people in the occupied territory, the Palestinian Culture Center (PCC) founded originally in Kuwait before the 1990 invasion, still provides women in the occupied territory with financial aid, food and health care.

The Palestinian Culture Center (PCC) is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve the rich heritage and culture of Palestine, help empower women and their families in the Palestinian refugee camps become eco-

A volunteer at the Palestinian Cultural Exhibition displays a collection of painterd pottery.

Mannequins dressed in traditional Palestinian clothing.

AYANA voted world’s no.1 spa by Conde Nast traveler readers pa Aquatonic, Les Thermes de Saint Malo Spa in Bali (Indonesia) was awarded the best spa in the world by Conde Nast Traveler readers. Spa Aquatonic is a unique international spa located at the Crowne Plaza Hotel which combines 2 great names in the field of Spa treatments and beauty. Spa Aquatonic holds within its premises Les Thermes de Saint Malo spa and Franck Provost beauty salon. Thermes Marins Bali Spa has been awarded the World’s no 1 Spa at the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Spa Awards 2010, in the latest accolade bestowed upon AYANA Resort and Spa -Bali. AYANA’s Director of Spa and Business Development (Japan) said “It’s a great honor to win Conde Nast’s highest award in this prestigious survey of international travelers. The spa industry worldwide has undergone significant change in recent years as modern travelers seek the type of holiday where they can completely re-balance and revive their senses, to ease the stress of their increasingly hectic lives. This award recognizes our position as a world leader in both Thalassotherapy and traditional Indonesian reme-

ions, table runners, cards, belts, purses, bookmarks, handmade ceramics from Hebron, books, posters, cards, and keychains. Other products included in the exhibition are kaffiyehs and DVDs about the history and heritage of


tion for better body functions and profile. Spa Aquatonic from Thermes De Saint Malo takes you on a journey of relaxation and comfort through massages at the hands of experienced therapists, designed to renovate body and soul. It also includes Sauna, Jacuzzis, and face and body exfoliation to take care of your face and body. Spa Aquatonic invites you to try Les Thermes de Saint Malo treatments; the worlds best!

Exhibition goers look through the merchandise at one of the booths.

A volunteer at the Palestinian Culture Exhibition stands by a traditional Palestinian dress. nomically independent, and sustain needy Palestinians in their homeland and across the world. After the recent Israeli attacks on Palestinian people, the Palestinian Culture Center (PCC) raised the income of the women who make the embroideries and artwork, about 500 or so. The event featured numerous hand-made products by women living in refugee camps. They include traditional cross-stitch embroidery of dresses, linens, shawls, cush-

Palestine. On the periphery of the event, a traditional food sale is organized featuring a number of foods such as thyme, sumac, baked traditional goods and dishes. What renders Palestinian embroidery unique is the use of needle and silk thread, which is a manifestation of the Palestinian identity as it has evolved over the ages. An age old art, all Palestinian ladies, young and old would, spend hours embroidering their trousseau,

A framed map of Palestine and its neighboring countries.

A collection of colored pottery showcased at the Palestinian Culture Exhibition. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

SLEYSLA hosts exhibition at Beit Louthan By Rawan Khalid

dies, and nothing gives us more pleasure than sharing the benefits of our wellbeing philosophy with our guests.” Spa Aquatonic offers you an exotic leisure experience with special water massage treatments and exercises for all parts of the body. These treatments concentrate on relaxing stretched muscles, giving a total feeling of wellbeing. Other exercises include water running and water relaxing which help in balancing the body, thereby reactivating the blood circula-

dresses, shawls and cushions. Palestinian art is known for its use of geometric shapes, and depicting images from the immediate surroundings. The dresses are famous for their flowery designs and bold natural colors of indigo and red. Symbols of the ubiquitous Cypress trees surrounding the orange groves, roses, jasmine and the famous olive tree and typical motifs in Palestinian dresses. The exhibition is a four-day event taking place from 10 am to 1:30 pm, and then again from 4:30 to 8:30 pm.

KUWAIT: Yesterday at Beit Louthan, SLEYSLA hosted a handicraft exhibition with the suppor t of National Commercial Bank (NCB) and the Al-Waleed Bin Talal Foundation. “Our SLEYSLA exhibition star ted seven years ago,” said Princess Fahda Bin Soud Bin Abdulaziz in an exclusive interview with Kuwait Times. “The center helps prevent poverty and unemployment and encourages the purchase of local products,” the chairwoman of Al-Faislya Welfare Society added. “The SLEYSLA center helps to improve the economic condition of young Saudi ladies with limited education with dressmaking, embroidery and other moder nized Saudi handicrafts.” She explained that the SLEYSLA center provides training courses in sewing, manual embroidery, design and several other manual crafts such as ceramics, coloring, textiles and drawing on skins. “It’s an attempt to link the products of past generations to current and future ones by purchasing palm

leaves from old ladies and using them in a new modern method,” she added. She said that the goal of the exhibition is to “contribute to limiting poverty and unemployment, encouraging the purchase of local

from families with limited incomes and with special needs by organizing and participating in national and international exhibitions. We market the center’s products and provide chances to deaf and mute girls to contribute

Handicrafts are exhibited at the event. products made by Saudi hands, restoring the Saudi tradition of developing raw materials using local designs and reproducing them in artistic modern forms. We also hope to improve the economic status of young women

to the production of the crafts in order to help them feel like effective members of society,” she said. The exhibition was hosted under the patronage of Sheikha Fariha Al-Ahmed AlJaber Al-Sabah.

30th Mar  

First English Daily in Arabian Gulf

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