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THURSDAY, MAY 27, 2010


NO: 14741

150 FILS

Kuwait leader in fields of Arab media, culture, arts

Space shuttle Atlantis lands for final time

Sony develops roll-up video screen

Real sack Pellegrini, poised to appoint Mourinho





conspiracy theories

BlackBerrys and diwaniyas By Badrya Darwish


Kuwait privatizes new power plants Assembly also approves KD 7.72bn development spending, new labour towns By B Izzak

echnology: Accept or do not accept it. Technology has advanced with the speed of light in the last 10 years. Everybody in the world is using technology. Kuwait is part of this globe. Internet, mobile phones, BlackBerrys and now the iPad. Technology saved a lot of things for the human beings. It killed the post office definitely. Though we still need sometimes to give hard copies. Telex and fax are extinct. They are like talking about dinosaurs in a modern age. Advanced technology is beautiful in every way but it has its snags. Snags not for the people, but maybe for governments that are worried about security and who have security phobias. Technology has minuses and pluses. I think the pluses outnumber the minuses. So, we have to close an eye about the minuses. And we have to live with it, I am sorry. We need to accept the facts. So, talking about stopping the BlackBerry messenger service is nonsense. First, the reasons are far from convincing. Second, I am sorry to disappoint you but it sounds technically impossible. To my poor knowledge, BlackBerry is controlled by one server which is definitely hosted in the US. You cannot hack it and no Ministry of Interior or Communication is allowed to fiddle with that. I think the only people who have access are the CIA and the company who owns it. So, keep monitoring YouTube and bloggers online. Block whatever doesn’t suit you. Why Kuwait today wants to fight the BlackBerry messenger service? Why do we always swim against the current? In which way is it harming them? Look at the many reasons I heard they justified for a ban. One of them is that people are using it to spread rumors which could harm national security. But rumors could be spread by other 10 million ways. For instance, diwaniyas are the best breeding place for rumors. So, go ahead and ban diwaniyas. You will make many wives happy. Excuse me, if people want to spread rumors there are a million other methods than the BlackBerry. Actually, it is the Middle East mentality. They want to be in control of everything people do. Do they think that worried BlackBerry users are communicating secret parliament news? And what security do we have? Do we have nuclear reactors here in Kuwait to worry that someone will leak the news to Mossad and they will come and blow them up or assassinate the scientists? I am sorry guys, but the whole Gulf area is controlled by the US and we have nothing to worry about. Let’s just relax and enjoy camping and have the Blackberry in our pockets to chat with our friends all over the globe. Let’s concentrate on rising prices in the co-ops. That is better for the nation. By the way, it is not a rumor that prices are soaring. Enjoy your Blackberry while you can!

KUWAIT: The National Assembly yesterday passed three key laws on power plants, building 10 labour towns for single expatriates and spending in the first of the four-year development plan, but delayed a decision on a women’s rights bills until next month. The Assembly passed in the second reading a law stipulating the establishment of public shareholding compa-

nies to build power and water desalination plants, the first private ownership in the heavily-subsidized sector. According to the law, supported by 37 MPs and opposed by three, 50 percent of the shares of the companies will be sold to Kuwaitis in an initial public offering (IPO), while a maximum of 24 percent will be held by the government and its institutions. The remaining 26 percent stake will be sold at an auction

to Kuwaiti firms listed on the bourse or to foreign companies after they get the permission of the Cabinet to participate. Under the law, the companies will sell their power and water production to the government in accordance with contracts for 40 years. Also, at least 70 percent of the companies’ staff must be Kuwaiti. After passing the law, Minister of Electricity and Water Bader Al-Shuraian said that the ministry will not be

Iraq scraps airline amid Kuwait row Baghdad moves to dodge claims • Kuwait vows to pursue debt BAGHDAD: Baghdad said yesterday it will close down state-owned Iraqi Airways in the face of a decades-old financial dispute with Kuwait that prompted the seizure of an aircraft last month. Kuwait said the move was expected and vowed to pursue “officials in Iraqi Airways or the Iraqi government concerning this debt”. The sudden move comes a day after the airline announced it was dropping its services to Sweden and Britain over the row with Kuwait, but it was not immediately clear if a new company would be formed to take its place. Iraqi Transport Minister Amer Abdul-Jabbar said the cabinet had decided on Tuesday to dissolve the company, but that the process could take three years. “Iraqi Airways will not stop in its work, and its employees will continue working,” he told Reuters. “We have the idea of establishing other private companies - there are three being established,” AbdulJabbar said. “We are considering establishing a publicprivate partnership, and ... another governmental company.” Continued on Page 14

able to operate the proposed Al-Zour power plant which was planned to produce 2,000 megawatts. He said that under the law, the ministry can operate smaller 500 megawatts plants in case of urgent need. All five existing power and water desalination plants in Kuwait are owned and run by the ministry of electricity and water, which sells electricity and water at a heavily subsidised rate. Continued on Page 14

Death upheld for Jahra ‘arson’ wife KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti appeals court yesterday confirmed a death sentence against a woman convicted of setting fire to the wedding tent in Jahra as her husband took a second wife, killing 57 women and children, her lawyer said. “We still believe it’s a harsh sentence. We will challenge the verdict at the supreme court,” Zaid Al-Khabbaz told AFP by telephone after the ruling was announced. The lower court sentenced Nasra Yussef Mohammed Al-Enezi, 23, in March after convicting her of “premeditated murder and starting a fire with the intent to kill”. Enezi had denied the charge and her defence lawyers

KUWAIT: Zaid AlKhabbaz, the defense lawyer of Nasra AlEnezi, talks to journalists at the appeals court yesterday. — AP said her indictment contained no material evidence to convict her. Continued on Page 14

Lax oversight makes Gulf bourses alluring Cartels stir up day traders

BASRA: Passengers arrive on one of the first internal Iraqi Airways commercial flights to Basra International Airport in this June 4, 2005 file photo. — AP

DUBAI: When Kuwait investors received anonymous text messages in the dead of night urging them to buy shares in telecoms operator Zain, they did something not many people in developed markets do. They paid attention. Their demand helped the company’s stock soar 23 percent in five February trading days, before the firm announced it would sell African assets in a $9 billion deal. It’s just one example of the risks an investor expects in any “frontier” market, but particularly the Middle East.

“Kuwait has some well recognised companies, but it has a number of challenges in terms of Western perceptions,” said Daniel Broby, chief investment officer at Londonbased Silk Invest. “One is that locals are selective with their information and favour friends and family.” Kuwait may be the trickiest market. Last July, Kuwait financier Khalid AlBraikan committed suicide after being sued for fraud by the US regulator, alleging he was importing shady practices into the United States. Continued on Page 14

Iran, Russia clash in worst row for years Ahmadinejad urges US to accept nuke deal

DAMASCUS: People walk past a poster of Syrian President Bashar Assad with writing in Arabic that reads “We love you” on May 15, 2010. — AP

Reforms change Syria economy, not politics DAMASCUS: After delivering a lecture on the increasing role of private banks in Syria, economist Mohammed Ayman Al-Maydani got an uncomfortable request from members of the audience to elaborate on a brief reference he made to corruption in the country’s private and public sectors. “If I answer this question I may not get to spend the night at home,” he

quipped, alluding to the possibility he could be arrested. There was nervous laughter from the room. The tense moment at the Damascus lecture earlier this month underscored how much and how little has changed in Syria under President Bashar Assad in recent years. The Syrian leader has slowly moved to lift Continued on Page 14

TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched a stinging attack on Russia yesterday over its stance on Tehran’s atomic drive, accusing it of “siding with those who have been our enemy for 30 years”. Ahmadinejad’s comments in a televised speech, during which he also urged both Russia and the United States to back a controversial nuclear fuel deal, drew a swift rebuke from Moscow, which angrily denounced his “political demagoguery”. “The Tehran declaration (on a fuel swap) is the best opportunity. We took an important step and said something very important. There are no excuses left,” Ahmadinejad said in the speech addressed to US and Russian leaders. Moscow, like Washington, has reacted coolly to the nuclear fuel deal aimed at defusing the standoff that was brokered by Brazil and Turkey earlier this month, a stance that has clearly disappointed Tehran. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev cautiously welcomed the deal but also expressed concern that it might fail to allay the main fear of the international community about Tehran’s uranium enrichment operations. And despite strong energy and defence ties with Iran, Russia has backed a new sanctions drive at the UN Security

Council, which has issued repeated ultimatums for Iran to freeze enrichment. Delivering an extraordinary broadside against a country that has traditionally been seen as enjoying the closest political ties to Tehran of any major world power, Ahmadinejad singled out Medvedev for censure. “Today it has become very difficult to explain Mr Medvedev’s behaviour to our people. Iranians do not understand whether they are our neighbour and friend standing by our side or are after other things,” he said in the speech delivered in the southeastern city of Kerman. “We hope Russian officials will pay attention, make amends and not let Iranians put them in the line of their historic enemies,” Ahmadinejad said. “If I were in the Russian President’s shoes I would be more cautious in commenting and decision making about issues pertaining to the great and strong nation of Iran.” His attack left Moscow bristling. “Any unpredictability, political extremism, lack of transparency or inconsistency in decision-making ... is unacceptable for Russia”, top Kremlin foreign policy advisor Sergei Prikhodko said in a statement released by state news agencies. “No one has ever managed to retain their Continued on Page 14

MANAMA: A woman passes US Navy sailors holding ceremonial shovels yesterday in preparation for a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday. — AP

US Bahrain base to double in size MANAMA, Bahrain: Construction began yesterday on doubling the size of the US Navy base in Bahrain, with digging beginning on a 70-acre site leased from the Bahraini government. The four-phase, $580 million project

will massively increase the military capabilities of the US 5th Fleet based there, according to US officials. “The 60-year long relationship the US Navy has had with Bahrain has benefited the Continued on Page 14



Thursday, May 27, 2010

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, National Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi and other dignitaries attending the function yesterday.

Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Informatics Award presented

Kuwait leader in fields of Arab media culture, arts KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah yesterday attended the ceremony held to present the prizes to the winners of the 2009 Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Award. His Highness the Amir, who also sponsored the awards ceremony

arrived at Sheikha Salwa Hall at the Marina Hotel at 10:30 a.m., where he was received by the head of the award’s board of trustees, Sheikha Aida Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah, along with members of the organizing committee.

The ceremony was also attended by Their Highnesses the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf AlAhmad Al-Sabah and the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, as well as the National Assembly Speaker Jassem Mohammad AlKhorafi, and a number of senior government officials and dignitaries. Following the national anthem and a recital of some verses from the Holy Quran, Sheikha Aida gave a speech in which she said that digitization had brought the world together and that it was therefore crucially important to prepare a strong social, political, and economic foundation to develop work in this sphere and human production. Investment in the field of “digital human” is one of the best forms of speculation, she stressed, further emphasizing that voluntary work strengthens national unity. After Sheikha Aida’s speech, a brief documentary about the award itself was shown. This was followed by an address by the Chief Executive Officer of the Arab Satellite Communication Organization (Arabsat) Khalid Bin Ahmad Balkhair, who revealed that Kuwait is the second largest shareholder in Arabsat and was one of the organization’s founders more than 34 years ago, remaining a permanent member of the organization’s management board. Kuwait is a leader in the fields of Arab media, culture, arts, and the support of economic and social development in Arab and Islamic countries, he pointed out, voicing gratitude to the award’s organizers and board for honoring the organization. After this, the award’s director Khalil Abdullah Abul thanked HH the Amir for sponsoring and attending the ceremony, also expressing gratitude to the award’s founder, the Chief of the National Guard His Highness Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah. In addition, Abul thanked all the bodies, societies, and volunteers that cooperated with the award. Following Abul’s address, HH the Amir presented an award to Arabsat and to the competition winners, which included Kuwaiti and Arab individuals and corporations. HH the Amir was also honored at the ceremony. — KUNA

Two-hourly leaves for Four pupils MoC disabled staff vandalize KUWAIT: Disabled staff members employed with the Ministry of Communication (MoC) are now entitled to take paid two-hourly leaves every day. The facility is part of the new regulations formulated upon the instructions issued by Minister Dr Mohammad Al-Baseeri to assist the work performed by disabled citizens employed by the ministry. Furthermore, the new

regulation also covers parents who have disabled children. They will also be entitled to take a two-hour paid leave in accordance with the Ministry’s Undersecretary Assistant for Planning and Administration Dr Waleed Al-Najjar, reported Al-Watan. The new decision will be placed into effect as soon as it is submitted to the Administrative Affairs Department during the beginning of next week.

school wall

KUWAIT: Jahra police recently arrested four young vandals who broke into a Saad AlAbdalli school late at night, vandalizing a wall there with graffiti which threatened specific teachers at the school with unspecified retribution if they failed to give all the pupils good marks in their final exams. The youngsters, all pupils at the school in question, were spotted climbing the school fence by officers patrolling the area late at night, after orders were issued to intensify the police presence locally following a spate of burglaries there. The officers radioed their superiors to report the suspicious activity and were ordered to arrest the youths, catching them red-handed as they spray-painted the threatening graffiti, reported AlWatan. All were taken into custody.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


NATIONAL Telecom networks contact ministry

BlackBerry ban proposal facing stiff opposition By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Indian Ambassador Ajai Malhotra inaugurating the LuluHypermarket’s Mango Mania 2010 festival at the hypermarket’s premises in Al-Rai. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Lulu welcomes summer with Mango Mania KUWAIT: Following a formal inauguration by Indian Ambassador Ajai Malhotra, Lulu Hypermarket’s Mango Mania 2010 festival got off to a lip-smacking start at the hypermarket’s premises in Al-Rai. Mango Mania 2010 celebrates over 100 varieties of mangoes from various countries including India, Brazil, Kenya, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Yemen. Some of the varieties presented include the delicious and exotic Alphonso and Totapuri mangoes from India, Tommy Atkin from Brazil, Apple Mango from Kenya and Sensation from Yemen among others. For the fourth consecutive year Lulu hypermarket is holding its exclusive Mango Mania festival; heralding the arrival of summer with mouth-watering mangoes and mango delicacies. Besides a wide array of dishes, several hot foods including specialties like mango and chicken kebabs will be available at Mango Mania. Due to its rich content of essential vitamins, dietary minerals and antioxidants, Mango is often qualified as a ‘super-fruit’. During Mango Mania, special scrumptious cakes, pastries and tarts made exclusively by Lulu Hypermarket will be sold in the confectionery section. Lulu

Hypermarket’s Mango Mania food festival, which has now become a highly anticipated annual event, will continue unabated for 10 days and is expected to draw an enthusiastic response from the tens of thousands of

local spotlight

Arab democracy By Muna Al-Fuzai o we need democracy in the Arab world? What is it about democracy that we can’t figure out? I personally have lots of thoughts as to why parts of the Arab world have become developed enough to obtain democracy, as practiced in the west, while other parts won’t even get close to it 100 years from now. It’s like we have been programmed since birth to accept the code of life and adjust our current and future lives accordingly. It’s as though we are expected to accept the existence of good or bad and even the existence of laws. That is why, in the Arab world, you see laws in Arab countries that were issued 20 or 30 years ago and have remained untouched, as if it were part of a holy book! The reason for that is because the lead man, or the power behind those laws, still exists and benefits from it! The problem with democracy in the Arab world is that to many it is associated with freedom, humanity and majority rule. A value that we, even the normal people, barely know what to do with. For example, a quick look at the current situation in Iraq since the fall of Saddam implies that the powers in Iraq are not fully in control of the gift of democracy. For 30 years Iraq would not dare to think about democracy unless it pleased the ruling power. Don’t we have enough laws to regulate our life? Why then are we all so eager for a democracy like the one we see and hear about in the west?! That is the general idea many educated Arabs think about when comparing their life in their native countries and the countries where they either studied or lived. This is a dilemma for many of the educated but there is no way to end such confusion. For example, look at how laws in many Arab countries were issued many years ago. It was like a rope around people’s necks. Even customs can be obligatory to people’s lives and their choices. That is the same way people think about democracy. Does it offer a better life, income or future for themselves and their country? In many cases democracy is used to justify killing. Those with democracy in the Arab world may want to use it as a tool to carry on with their own wishes. In many cases some would use weapons to prove their points. They misunderstand what they want to use democracy for and what they will do with it! That is why democracy is a hard goal to achieve in the Arab world. Democracy requires the continuous update and upgrade of laws. It requires a call to change the ideas and attitudes of everything that is an obstacle to progress.


KU students attack security guards KUWAIT: Two Kuwait University students attacked and injured security staff there after being refused permission to bring their vehicle into the university grounds without the relevant permit, reportedly using metal rods to beat the security guards. Other

students disembarking from a bus nearby apparently joined their colleagues in attacking the outnumbered security personnel before other security staff came to their coworkers’ assistance, reported Al-Qabas with most of the attackers fleeing as a result.

Mango lovers in the country. “We have always tried to bring the best of the world for our loyal shoppers and this is yet another initiative in that direction,” said a management representative.

KUWAIT: Local BlackBerry users and Kuwait’s big three telecommunication networks are pleading with the Ministry of Interior to drop a rumored proposal to block the BlackBerry message service, known as BBM, in Kuwait. Reports have circulated that the ministry intends to cut off

BBM services in the near future, with the MoI allegedly citing difficulties reported by the Ministry of Communications in controlling this service. According to unconfirmed news reports, the MoI has claimed that the BBM service is being used to spread lies and rumors that pose a clear threat to state security. Reports suggest that the ban could be implemented within the next few days.

“I hope they won’t do that and I call upon the ministries [of communication and interior] not to ban the BlackBerry service;, we are using it appropriately, just like the regular Internet at home or in the office,” one Filipino BlackBerry user told the Kuwait Times. BlackBerry allows its users to access online services from anywhere, letting them chat via Yahoo Messenger, Facebook and Twitter anytime and from any location. “It’s nothing but a portable Internet; if they ban BlackBerry, they are blocking the Internet technology in our hands,” another user, a Filipino nurse, commented. A spokesman for one of Kuwait’s major telecommunications companies, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that any block on BlackBerry services could be implemented only “temporarily.” “How can you block a service over which nobody has jurisdiction except them [the BlackBerry Company]? Maybe we can block all the BlackBerries currently in the country but when they [users] buy another item of similar technology outside the country and bring it into Kuwait, can they monitor and block those again? We cannot stop the technology from evolving; BlackBerry is here to stay,” he said. A spokesperson for another telecommunication firm who also wished to remain anonymous, said, “Banning BBM could hurt not just the user but the country in general. I think it’s not about BlackBerry, it’s about the Internet. The problem

The official said that the telecommunication company already deals directly with the Ministry of Communications and has received no reports of any proposed ban. “We’d expect that if there were talks about blocking the BlackBerry, then they would have informed us beforehand,” he told the Kuwait Times, adding that if the MoC were to decide to ban the BlackBerry service in Kuwait the telecommunications firm would comply with the order. A Kuwaiti BlackBerry user in his mid-twenties noted that any move to block use of this technology would directly contradict the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Kuwaiti constitution. “If they are going to ban BlackBerry they are directly assaulting our rights to our

in Kuwait is that they cannot block the Internet here; if you do, you’re hurting the country and its people.” He added that blocking Internet services would be acting against the will of the people, who he suggested would not allow any such ban. A high-ranking official from one of Kuwait’s big three telecommunication players questioned the legitimacy of the source of the reports about the BlackBerry ban. “If the source of the information is not a respectable newspaper then I would probably suggest that it could be lies or maybe they just want to sell their newspapers,” he cautioned. “I don’t believe their reports. I don’t think the Ministry of Interior is considering such a plan anyway.”

basic freedom and it’s against our constitution.” According to press reports, the BlackBerry company said it is impossible to monitor the services presented through its handsets, especially the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). Customer service official at BlackBerry, Britain told Kuwaiti daily Al-Jarida that monitoring the chat program would be impossible, adding that following conversations conducted via the BBM service is not possible. She said that, in order to safeguard users’ privacy, the BlackBerry company does not maintain records of personal conversations conducted via its systems, adding that the issue monitoring of internet sites is carried out by external services and can be organized through internet companies.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

‘Kuwait-Azerbaijan share common Islamic heritage’

By Shahin Abdullayev Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Kuwait


t was 92 years ago, on May 28, 1918 Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the first democratic republic of the East, was proclaimed after the collapse of the Russian Empire. The republic existed during the most turbulent, unstable and complicated period of local history in the 20th century between May 28, 1918 and April 28, 1920. However, despite the unfavorable historical background, Azerbaijan Republic of 1918-1920 became the first parliamentary republic in the east, and in its brief existence managed to take a number of important steps in the process of nation-building. The Declaration of Independence has declared Azerbaijan Parliamentary Democratic Republic committed to the principles of rule of law, multi-party system, good neighborly relations and equal rights of all nationalities living in Azerbaijan back in 1918. Even then, 92 years ago, women in Azerbaijan had been granted the full right of suffrage. I am proud to mention that granting political and election rights to women in Azerbaijan preceded many western European countries and the United States. Regrettably, the first Republic lasted just two years, until April 28, 1920. With the Bolshevik occupation, Azerbaijan entered into 70 years of Soviet rule, until 1991, when it regained its independence after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Following the renewal of independence, Azerbaijan rapidly returned to the international milieu. Azerbaijan

was admitted to the United Nations on March 2, 1992 and started to enhance its bilateral and multilateral cooperation. However, the same internal and external problems, which had caused the collapse of the first republic in 1920, were on the way of new Republic of Azerbaijan as well. Separatist activities of Armenian illegal armed and terrorist groups started in late 80s, turned into the large scale undeclared war of Armenia against Azerbaijan after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In May-June 1993, under the circumstances of unleashed war by Armenia, deep economic crisis caused by the break-up of the Soviet economic system, external pressures and internal difficulties the whole existence of the country was at stake. During this critical time in its history Azerbaijani people made an appeal to Heydar Aliyev to come to power and to bring the country out of this crisis. Heydar Aliyev’s visionary leadership brought Azerbaijan from the uncertainties and hardships of the early 1990s into a prosperous future. Under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev, a ceasefire agreement was signed with Armenia in 1994 whose aggressive policy and occupation of Azerbaijani territories have been strongly deplored and its unconditional withdrawal from Azerbaijani territories have been demanded by the United Nations Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884. In the internal development, the new Constitution was adopted by nationwide referendum, rule of law and protection of human rights were reinforced, fall in economy was gradually overcome and stable economic growth was achieved. In the field of foreign policy, proactive foreign policy was launched. Azerbaijan signed Partnership for Peace Agreement with NATO in 1994 and started to build closer ties with the European Union, in addition to its membership to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Today, in cooperation with NATO and EU, it has mounted to qualitatively new level and is pursued within Individual Partnership Program of NATO and ‘Eastern Partnership’ initiative of EU. At the result of steadfast democratic

reforms Azerbaijan was admitted to Council of Europe. Azerbaijan, historically being part of the Islamic world and sharing the progressive heritage and spiritual values of the Islamic civilization, started to reestablish its historical ties with the Islamic-Arabic world and became member of the Organization of Islamic Conference in December 1991. The national energy strategy developed and implemented under the leadership of national leader Heydar Aliyev played a vital role in national revival and progress. The ‘Contract of the Century’ was signed on September 20,1994 on development of Caspian Sea based oil resources of Azerbaijan with international companies. For the first time, the Caspian Sea was opened to the international cooperation. Over $20 billion has been invested under the contract, which has also bolstered the development of the non-oil sector. Since 1994, 26 Joint Development and Production Sharing Agreements have been executed in Azerbaijan’s oil industry with foreign companies. The second historic event has been building of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Today, the Baku-TbilisiCeyhan, the Baku-Supsa and the BakuNovorossiysk oil pipelines are delivering Azerbaijani oil to world markets in diversified way. In 1996 a contract on the Shah Deniz gas field was signed. As a result of the Shah Deniz development, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline and two additional gas pipelines were built. Based on the vision and legacy of Heydar Aliyev, today Azerbaijan, under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev being a dynamically developing country with its diversified oil and gas pipelines plays an important role in Europe’s energy security. In the meantime, beyond energy Azerbaijan occupies a key role in all regional issues in the south Caucasus and wider Caspian Sea basin and shares its prosperity with the countries of the region through the set of partnership and cooperation mechanisms. As a country located at the crossroads of the West and East and benefiting of being a part of both the Islamic world and Europe, Azerbaijan actively contributes to promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue based on mutual

respect and understanding and looks forward to continuing its efforts to this end. In 1994, Azerbaijan was a poor country. Azerbaijan’s currency reserves were at a zero level, while today it exceeds $22 billion. During recent five years, the economy of Azerbaijan increased at 2.6 times, as well as the budget expenditures grew by more than 10 times, while the level of poverty decreased from 49 percent down to 13 percent and about 800,000 jobs were created in Azerbaijan, overwhelmingly in the non-oil sector. The year 2009 entered history books as the crisis year but Azerbaijan’s economy grew by almost 10 percent as it was mentioned by President Ilham Aliyev. In parallel to oil and gas sectors, development of non-oil sector, including transport infrastructure is considered a priority of national development strategy. Being transformed into the transit country with its modern transport infrastructure, Azerbaijan continues to play a central role of bridging East-West and North-South transport corridors. In the field of ICT, Azerbaijan has significantly advanced in the development of modern means of communication and pursued strategic goal is to enhance the stance of Azerbaijan as a regional ICT hub. Recently, the World Economic Forum, an authoritative world organization, has awarded Azerbaijan the first place in the CIS space for development of the information-communication technology. Azerbaijan is also a pioneering country in development and wider application of potential renewable energy sources in the wider Caspian Sea basin. As a result of steadfast economic reforms and undertaken measures to further improve the business climate and providing additional incentives for business community, the World Bank has ranked Azerbaijan as the ‘Top reformer’ in its Doing Business 2009 report. In the global assessment of the ease of doing business, Azerbaijan has been moved up from the 97th to the 33rd position. Once being a net consumer of security and donor assistance, today Azerbaijan is a contributing country to the international peace support operations and humanitarian efforts.

Azerbaijan demonstrates full support and undertakes ceaseless efforts for eradication of poverty and promotion sustained economic growth, sustainable development and global prosperity for all, paying particular attention to addressing the special needs and vulnerabilities of developing the least developed countries as well as those recovering from natural disasters. In the early ‘90s, very few believed in Azerbaijan’s survival as a sovereign state. This is due to Armenian aggression and internal political-economic instabilities. However, Azerbaijan because of its success story has overcome all skepticism and has proved that its independence and successful development is ‘eternal and irreversible’ as was said by Heydar Aliyev, national leader of Azerbaijan. On the occasion of Republic Day of Azerbaijan, I take immense pleasure in congratulating all fellow citizens who live and stay in Kuwait. I would also like to express my most heartfelt gratitude to all our esteemed Kuwaiti friends for their good wishes, great hospitality and for contributing to the good bilateral relations between our brotherly countries. I avail myself of this opportunity to express my best wishes for the continued good health and prosperity of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah, the Prime Minister. I would like to stress that though hardships manifested in the form of occupation and aggression by neighboring countries in the early 90s, both Azerbaijan and Kuwait based on the shared Islamic civilization and strong will of their people have managed to establish rewarding cooperation that is consolidated through unwavering mutual political support, high-level visits, economic relations and consistent interaction of individuals. Given the determination and resources on both sides, there is every reason to expect that these ties will expand further and that the relationship between Azerbaijan and Kuwait will become closer.

Several citations issued

Traffic campaigns in Hawally, Ahmadi KUWAIT: Hawally traffic patrols launched a major campaign as instructed by the assistant undersecretary for traffic affairs, Major General Mahmoud Al-Dousary, with the Ministry of Interior. The campaign was a response to the complaints against motorists who park in handicapped spots. Also during the campaign, 140 cars with tinted windows were cited by traffic patrols. Meanwhile, Ahmadi traffic patrols launched a major campaign against roaming taxis, illegal handicap parking and food delivery motorcycles. A large number of roaming taxi drivers were found without a proper license, with expired licenses or without a license at all. Several cars parked in handicapped spots were issued citations while home delivery motorcycle drivers without a proper license were arrested.

Missing girl found

He was taken to Adan Hospital.

Jleeb Al-Shouyukh detectives arrested a girl who had been reported absent by her parents three months ago. The girl was referred to the proper authorities for questioning.

Car accidents A 30-year-old Egyptian was injured in the head during a car accident near the Avenues Mall. He was taken to a nearby hospital. Meanwhile, a 15-year-old citizen dislocated his shoulder, an 18-year-old citizen fractured his right arm and a 48-year-old Indian received cuts on his arms during a car accident on Sixth Ring Road. They were taken to Jahra Hospital. In an unrelated incident, a 24-year-old citizen was killed during a car accident on Wafra Road. Also, a 35-year-old Sri Lankan suffered internal bleeding in his head after a car accident in the Adan area. He was brought to Adan Hospital. Meanwhile, a 42-year-old citizen sustained a broken right leg during a car accident. He was rushed to Adan Hospital. In an unrelated incident, a 13-year-old bedoon was hit by a car near a private school in Kheitan. The youth suffered a broken right hand and was brought to Farwaniya Hospital.

Fights A 30-year-old Egyptian received head wounds during a fight in a factory in Sabhan.

Deaths Foul play is suspected in the death of a 47-year-old Egyptian whose body was found in Wafra. In an unrelated incident, Foul play is suspected in the death of a 22-year-old Indian who was found dead in Maidan Hawally.

Drug overdose A Kuwaiti youth was found dead as a result of a drug overdose. Authorities are investigating the incident.

Girl injured An 11-year-old Syrian girl suffered a broken pelvis and bruised head when a foreign object struck her while she was at school. She was brought to Mubarak Hospital.

Food poisoning A 26-year-old citizen suffered from food poisoning. She was transferred from one of Mubarak Al-Kabeer’s polyclinics to Adan Hospital.

Abuse An Iranian expat issued a complaint with the Jleeb Al-Shouyukh police station against two customs inspectors for beating him.

Vice crime A Pakistani woman accused a Pakistani man of encouraging her to commit crimes of vice.

Moroccan minister leaves Kuwait KUWAIT: Moroccan Interior Minister Taieb Cherkaoui left Kuwait yesterday after a three-day official visit to the country. Cherkaoui said that he was honored to meet His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah, saying that he had handed him a written letter from Moroccan King Mohammad VI. The visit was upon an invitation by Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, stated Cherkaoui, noting that his meetings with Kuwaiti officials focused on bolstering bilateral relations on all levels especially the Interior level. Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled, on his part, lauded the success of Cherkaoui’s visit to the country, saying that it further bolster relations. Cherkaoui was seen off by Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled as well as a number of Kuwait and Moroccan officials. Cherkaoui visited earlier on a number of departments in the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry and was briefed on the duties and history of these departments. —- KUNA

Al-Kharafi center focuses on disabled children By Rawan Khalid KUWAIT: Play therapy and the latest techniques used in sensory rooms were the topics of discussion at a lecture organized as part of the AlKharafi Activity Kids Center’s second annual exhibition held yesterday. It was entitled ‘Working Together to Improve Your Selection.’ More than 35 educational sectors that deal with special needs attended the lecture. Tim Taylor, a designer and manufacturer of sensory environment equipment in England was the key note speaker. He will also deliver lecture today on how sensory rooms and the latest in technology can be used for treatment. Aysha Al-Salem, Manager of Al-Kharafi Activity Kids Center said, “This center has been set up to prepare a good environment for the disabled children in Kuwait all year around, also for Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis, with all their disabilities.” “The center always tries to offer its best services to the disabled. After dealing with parents, we have learnt that they face the problem of lack of opportunities for disabled children. Few schools are suitable for their needs,” Aysha added. Aysha also stated, “For that reason, we collected all the companies that offer services in this field. Information about all schools are available under one roof. This is in order to give parents the chance to meet these firms and private schools, and to choose where to place the disables children.” “Also, there are more than 35 participants. I would like to express thanks to all participants and special thanks to sponsors MAC for travel and tourism, Hazem and Brothers company,” Aysha concluded.

Aysha Al-Salem

Tim Taylor —Photos by Joseph Shagra

Dear traveler:

Your passport is an extremely important document. Ensure that you keep it safe from theft or loss. With compliments from the Ministry of Interior’s security media department


Thursday, May 27, 2010

5 Man abducts own children

Citizen dies of drug overdose in Doha

kuwait digest

Allowances for home makers By Mubarak Al-Duwailah


support the women’s civil and social rights draft law that has been put forward by MPs. It contains a clause that entitles non-working housewives to a nominal monthly pay if they meet certain conditions. Achieving familial stability is undoubtedly an essential goal. Furthermore, a family’s self-sufficiency, from a financial standpoint, significantly contributes toward achieving stability. Moreover, a stay-at-home mother can fully commit to her role in raising children and other home duties. Many may disagree, arguing that forc-

ing women to stay at home is a backward practice. It also deprives society of the productivity achieved by women in the labor market. However, these claims are unwarranted, based on the conditions that were formulated as part of the law. The proposed article pertinent to the payment of monthly allowances to stay-at-home women only applies to married women who have at least two children. Most women these days are active members of the labor force on completion of academic studies. However, after getting married and having two children, the situation will be very difficult for her. This is in order to take care of children

and manage responsibilities. In addition, the woman is expected to remain fully committed to work demands. Therefore, supporting her to devote full time is considered to be a part of married life. Moreover, encouraging more women to stay at home will open up more job opportunities for young men. They are mainly responsible for looking into financial matters. They can now take up several professions in the labor market that are filled in by female employees. The strangest part is the stance adopted by female MPs! They rejected the proposal when they should be championing the cause of women’s rights. — Arrouiah

KFAS honors five Kuwaiti inventors, awards patents KUWAIT: The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) yesterday said it had recently honored five Kuwaiti inventors, three of whom had also won prizes at a scientific inventions exhibition in Geneva, and added two of them were also awarded patents and their inventions are now registered globally. Head of KFAS Ali Al-Shamlan said this comes to encourage Kuwaitis to whet their talents and bring pride and recognition to their homeland. He said this is the second batch of patents awarded to Kuwaiti inventors this year through KFAS coordination. The first batch was patents awarded to nine inventors. The three winners at the Geneva exhibition this time around were Fahad Mohammad AlHuwayshel, Abdelaziz Khalaf Al-Erayer and Saud Shnar Al-Mutairi. The two awarded patents were Nuhad Jawad Bahbahani and Abdullah Ahmad AlEydan. The overall number of patents issued last year was 12, which is an unprecedented record for Kuwait, and all patents are registered with leading specialized offices in the US and elsewhere, the official stressed. The care extended by the sponsor and Chairman of KFAS His Highness the Amir Sheikh

Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah plays a great role in success stories and fruitful efforts by Kuwaiti researchers and inventors, he noted. Years of encouraging scientific awareness, actual scientific know-how, and of offering training and sponsorship programs for Kuwaiti youth are now coming to fruition, Al-Shamlan remarked. The KFAS board also recently approved a new program on prototype support and the concerned committee is considering application procedures and forms. Al-Shamlan also announced the foundation of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Center for Care for the Talented, and noted this was through initiative of His Highness the Amir. Stressing registration of inventions and issuing patents is a complex and sometimes costly process, the official urged Kuwaitis with ideas and designs to come forward and benefit from KFAS support and expertise in this area. The Kuwaiti inventors on their part expressed gratitude for the support lent to them throughout the process of registration and attending of specialized events. The issue of patent is extremely important for them, they said, as it is the means to protect their intellectual property rights. —KUNA

KUWAIT: A number of senior staff at the Ministry of Interior’s general department for training recently received service medals from the department’s director, Brigadier General Khalid Al-Janahi, at an event that was also attended by his assistant, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Amer Al-Ajmi, and other ministry officials. The medals were awarded to the officials by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in commemoration of their distinguished performance of their duties at the department.

Nouriya appointed advisor KUWAIT: Deputy Premier for Economic Affairs and State Minister for Development Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah appointed yesterday Nouriya Al-Saddani as Advisor for Civil Society Affairs. Nouriya said that Sheikh Ahmad placed great emphasis on civil societies and the vital role that they played, and expressed her appreciation for being appointed in this position. She added that civil societies focused on the social fabric of the Kuwaiti society, and said that it was important to support them in order to achieve the aspirations of the Kuwaiti people.

Nouriya said that she would spare no effort in using her expertise for the empowerment of women, so that they may be able to perform their national and social responsibilities and attain their full social and human rights. The newly-appointed advisor won the State’s Appreciation Award in 2005, and also was honored with elite female figures at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Al-Saddani was Assistant Secretary General of the Arab Women’s Union in 2970, and Director General of the Arab Family Organization in 1978. She was the first head of a Kuwaiti women’s union to be established in the country, back in the 1970s. —KUNA

KUWAIT: A 40-year-old citizen was found dead in his emergency and pronounced the man dead after a medical room as a result of a drug overdose in his family’s home in examination. His family members denied knowing about Doha, reported Al-Watan. Paramedics responded to the his drug habit. wanted for a money laundering case filed over a previous dispute. After the man Fatalities A 47-year-old citizen died in his home in against him three years ago. He was received medical attention at a nearby hosQurain as a result of a heart attack, reported referred to the Mubarak Al-Kabeer police pital he was instructed to report to the Al-Watan. Paramedics responded to the station. Meanwhile, a Lebanese man wanted police station for questioning. Once there, emergency after being informed that the for a KD 250,000 related case was arrested he changed his story and explained that he man fell unconscious in his home. Soon after in Hawally, reported Al-Watan. The arrest was struck by a stray bullet fired from a they arrived however, they pronounced the was made after the man was forced to stop wedding site. A case was opened and police man dead. Meanwhile, police found the his car at a checkpoint in Salmiya and police are investigating the incident. decomposing body of a 43-year-old discovered that he had no valid residency. Officer releases suspect Bangladeshi man near a street in Adailiya, An inspection into his identification A back up police officer was held for reported Al-Watan. Crime scene investiga- revealed his criminal history. He was questioning after helping a suspect escape tors examined the scene before referring referred to the proper authorities. custody, reported Al-Rai. The incident the body to a coroner to determine the exact occurred in Jahra where a man was arrested Abduction cause of death. A citizen filed a case against her Saudi for causing an accident while driving under husband at a Jahra police station and the influence. However, the official assigned Road mishap A 33-year-old Kuwaiti woman suffered accused him of abducting their children, to bring the suspect to authorities allowed several injuries after she jumped out of a reported Al-Watan. She explained that she the suspect to take off in his friend’s car. moving vehicle at the Al-Bida roundabout, discovered that he had fled with them to his Upon hearing of the incident, head of the reported Al-Watan. Paramedics treated her native country after requesting to spend Saad Al-Abdullah police station ordered that with first aid onsite and brought her to time with them. She further informed offi- the man be held for an investigation into his Mubarak Hospital. An investigation was cials that the two were separated for some reckless act. launched to determine the motive behind time and that she and her children were Debauchery staying at her family’s home. Police her actions. An Asian woman filed a case against her launched an investigation into the case. neighbor at the Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh police Fugitives nabbed station, accusing him of offering her money Bullet injury A driver who tried to escape from police A citizen broke his left arm after he was to have a sexual relationship with him, on the King Fahad Highway was eventually pulled over and arrested, reported Al- struck with a bullet from a shotgun fired by reported Al-Rai. Police gathered informaWatan. He was arrested after an inspection a friend of his in Ferdous, reported Al-Rai. tion about the suspect and will summon him into his identification revealed that he was The incident was the result of an argument for questioning.

‘Privatization saves country’s economy’ KUWAIT: A number of lawmakers recently voiced their support for the Privatization Bill which they perceive as a ‘quantum leap’ for Kuwait’s future. They said that the criticism leveled against the law targets only a few of the articles that need to be amended. Speaking at a seminar held by the Kuwait Future Gathering (KFG), participants

explained that the Cabinet has adopted privatization within a legal framework. The bill has organized procedures to reinforce transparency, reported Al-Watan. Furthermore, MPs indicated that the main goal which the privatization law seeks to achieve is to render better services to citizens.

The government was unable to commit to its duties owing to the high expenses involved (salaries), as well as the spread of corruption at some of its facilities. The MPs who took part in the seminar included Head of the Legislative Committee, Husain Al-Huraiti, MP Abdurrahman AlAnjari, and MP Naji Al-Abdulhadi.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kuwait holds exhibition in Paris

Charity work deep-rooted in Kuwaiti community PARIS: Head of Kuwait Volunteer Work Center Sheikha Amthal AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah inaugurated an exhibition showcasing Kuwaiti charitable and volunteer work and bodies in Paris. Sheikha Amthal accompanied a host of representatives of French charities and the Kuwaiti Ambassador Ali Al-Saeed for a tour of the exhibition, which

PARIS: Sheikha Amthal visiting the stalls in Paris yesterday.

Shisha smoking increasing KUWAIT: A senior Ministry of Health (MoH) official has warned against the increasing incidence of smoking among young people in Kuwait, especially the popularity of shisha (water pipe) smoking among this group. Speaking at an event held to mark World No Tobacco Day, which falls on May 31, the UN's annual global anti-smoking day, Dr. Abdulaziz AlFarhoud said that smoking has become "a serious disease that harms this society," with increasing numbers of young men and women in Kuwait drawn to smoking cigarettes, as well as going to

cafés to smoke shisha. At the event, organized by the Hawally Health Directorate, Dr. Al-Farhoud praised the several initiatives which the directorate had implemented in spreading awareness of the health problems stemming from smoking shisha. He also warned against the negative examples provided by the media concerning smoking, reported Al-Watan. The Hawally Health Directorate is set to hold an open day at Salmiya's City Center shopping mall today to spread awareness of the dangers of smoking.

On the forum, Sheikha Amthal noted the objective was to share expertise and reflect on one another's experience and enrich volunteer and charity work. She expressed gratitude to His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad Al-Ahmad AlSabah for sponsoring the event which offers Kuwaitis a great opportunity to learn from the experience of large well-established charitable bodies in France. She also pointed out the good organization and the level of cooperation on the part of the Kuwaiti participants, which would guarantee success of the exhibition, and remarked the level of focus and devotion shown by the participants is testimony to their genuine concern and their honesty. Kuwaiti students were among the crowds throughout the exhibition area and were presenting audiences and visitors with pamphlets, photos, and mementos depicting Kuwaiti volunteer and charity work as well as giving presentations and responding to questions and observations about items on display. Sheikha Amthal is due to meet with the French parliament's environment and sustainable development committee later today, as well as take part in a symposium this afternoon on the role of media in supporting volunteer action. The forum is to wrap with a ceremony in which an address by His Highness the Prime Minister is to be read, a review is made of what has been dis-

kicked off Tuesday night as part of a Kuwaiti-French forum on volunteer work. The official said the exhibition covers aspects of work and efforts specifically by the Volunteer Work Center and Kuwait Red Crescent Society and sheds light on Kuwaitis' initiatives across the globe. It also shows the effort put in by Kuwaiti students.

PARIS: Head of Kuwait Volunteer Work Center Sheikha Amthal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and other officials at the exhibition. cussed, and the Kuwaiti Embassy is also to honor some of the participants. Earlier, Sehikha Amthal said voluntary action was deep-rooted in the Kuwaiti community. Addressing a two-day forum about voluntary action in Kuwait and France, held under patronage of His Highness the Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad AlAhmad Al-Sabah, Sheikha Amthal said volunteering in Kuwait was like "blood in veins of people of Kuwait, and the Kuwaiti community is used to volunteering and cooperation among each other."

She said "Islam was calling for voluntary action, helping the poor and those in need and supporting the oppressed." Sheikha Amthal, citing historic voluntary actions, said the rich and poor, men and women built the Wall of Kuwait before discovery of oil. The State of Kuwait, she added, had since 1960s allocated one-third of its income to helping and developing countries around the world regardless of political affiliation nor gender, citing Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRSC) and other organizations that help the needy in African countries

through the construction of hospitals, schools and mosques. Sheikha Amthal said the Kuwait Voluntary Action Center was a non-profit organization and all of its staff work for free, as stated in the Amiri Decree that established the center, whose budget depends on donations. She said the Center has 18 teams, which help the disabled, protect marine environment and build natural reserves. The center's volunteers helped extinguish the fires of oil wells that were torched by the retreating forces of the defunct Iraqi regime, cleaned beaches from

dead fish and helped collect donations for victims of the tsunami. She said the Center has around 500 volunteers and was running many projects like Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Natural Reserve. Chairman of KRCS Barjas Al-Barjas, addressing the forum, said Kuwait played a major role offering humanitarian aid to countries around the world. Since its foundation in 1966, KRCS established itself as a key organization providing humanitarian aid to people suffering from wars and natural disasters, he said. — KUNA

Effective treatment for oral, brain cancers KUWAIT: A study, conducted by Hussein Makki Juma Specialized Surgery Center, showed that intensive combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy proved to be effective in treating head and neck cancers. A double dose of radiation beside chemical treatment produced positive results and minimized the risks of setbacks in contrast to traditional treatment, according to the study. Dr. Khaled Al-Saleh, chief of the Center's Head and Neck Unit, said the study, backed by Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS), traced the results of the

treatment for six years. "The intensive treatment resulted in remarkable improvement curing the late stages of oral and brain cancers," Dr. AlSaleh said. "The side effects of the treatment are almost the same as those in the former methods," he affirmed, noting that 50 patients benefitted from the study. Dr Al-Saleh, on behalf of the research team, expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Health and KFAS for their assistance to the study and Center's researchers.

Gulf Bank wins GCC excellence awards DUBAI: The Gulf Bank won the award of best employment body for the year 2010, during the annual party of GCC Human Resources (HR) Excellence Awards, held here last night on the sidelines of the 5th Middle East Human Resources Conference. The General Manager of Human Resources Department in Gulf Bank Surour Al-Samerai said that the bank launched a number of initiatives to encourage further education and training for its employees. This award comes due to the efforts exerted by the bank in improving its strategies in pro-

fessional development, and the bank is committed to offer its costumers the best banking services, Al-Samerai confirmed. Gulf Bank is nominated for a number of awards, namely: The best executive director of human resources for the year 2010, and the best initiative of employing local nationals, and the best company in managing human resources. The annual party of GCC Human Resources (HR) Excellence Awards is held on annual basis, honoring the best institutions in the governmental and private sector, in the field of human resources. — KUNA

The study is scheduled to be presented to the international conference to be organized by the American Cancer Society in Chicago in June. Oral cancers such as nasal cavity, pharynx, palate, larynx, throat, tonsils, salivary glands, tongue, and lips; and brain cancers represent 3-6 percent of the total number of cancers, with more than 40,000 new cases being registered worldwide annually. Men are more liable to the diseases than women particularly the smokers and alcoholics. — KUNA

Thursday, May 27, 2010



Sirens sound inIsrael Emergency crews, soldiers practice to deal with multiple casualties JERUSALEM: Sirens sounded across Israel yesterday morning as part of a massive air raid drill aimed at practicing the civilian response to large-scale rocket attacks. Emergency crews and soldiers have been practicing all week

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi mother holds up an image of her son allegedly meeting with Shiite Muslim firebrand cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, the head of the Mahdi Army, during a gathering organized by the Sadr Movement in Baghdad yesterday. —AFP

Iraq PM details ‘several’ assassination attempts BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki claimed in remarks released yesterday that he had escaped several assassination attempts, including one where insurgents tried to shoot down his plane. “There have been several attempts,” Maliki told London-based Arabic newspaper AlHayat, according to a transcript of the interview released by his office. One of the alleged attempts “was targeting a plane I was flying in while returning from Mosul (northern Iraq) to Baghdad in 2009, but it failed,” he said. “A missile was fired against the plane, but thermal decoys diverted it,” he added. “There have been several attempts like this but they have all failed,” Maliki said. He also warned of a return to sectarian violence as Iraq languishes without a new government, more than two months after

elections in which no group has yet assembled a parliamentary majority. “If we build the state in the wrong way, which does not meet the conditions for a (democratic) political process and sharing (of power) in the administration, a return to violence is possible,” he said. He added: “If we retreat, terrorist organizations, militias and gangs will all have chances to regroup.” The premier also voiced confidence in the schedule of withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, due to be completed by the end of 2010. All American combat troops are set to leave Iraq by the end of August. Asked if he had any doubts over the withdrawal, Maliki replied: “Absolutely not. Iraq has developed its military and intelligence capacities, and has built up a great deal of experience.”—AFP

In the central Israeli city of Rehovot, teachers marched a line of small children toward a shelter in a community center, but next door, the neighborhood bomb shelter remained locked, and none of the residents tried to follow government instructions to run for the bombproof facilities. Residents of nearby cities told reporters they already experienced running for cover during real rocket attacks, so they did not feel the need to practice. Rockets pummeled large parts of Israel during the 2006 summer war with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and last year’s winter war with Gaza militants. Hezbollah rockets hit the northern third of Israel, causing considerable damage in the port city of Haifa and elsewhere. Rockets fired by Gaza militants exploded in southern and central Israel, hitting cities including Ashkelon on the Mediterranean coast and Beersheba in the Negev desert. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest cities, were not hit in either war. Gaza militants and Hezbollah, along with Syria, still have large numbers of rockets. Another threat comes from Iran, which has missiles that can hit Israel and has a nuclear program that Israel charges is designed to produce nuclear weapons. Iran insists the program is peaceful. Israeli leaders have said the large-scale drill is not linked to specific threats. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the operation was planned long ago and is defensive in nature, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave similar assurances on Tuesday. Lebanon and Syria issued statements at the beginning of the exercise warning Israel not to attack. Yesterday, the Lebanese army conducted maneuvers of its own near the Israeli border, Lebanese security officials said. They said reinforcements were sent to the border area to raise the level of alert and monitor the Israeli drill. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations. —AP

how to deal with multiple casualties from rocket explosions. Some Israelis rushed to air raid shelters in yesterday’s public part of the four-day drill, but others ignored the wailing sirens.

SAKHNIN: Israeli Arab rescue officers treat a girl acting as wounded during a nationwide drill simulating widespread rocket attacks in the northern Israeli town of Sakhnin yesterday. —AP

Egypt convicts officials over fatal rockslide CAIRO: The deputy governor of Cairo and seven others were sentenced to jail yesterday by an Egyptian court over a 2008 rockslide that killed more than 100 people in a shantytown. Critics said the authorities had focused blame mostly on lower level officials for the disaster that triggered complaints from Egyptians who said the government was failing to protect the poor. One in five Egyptians lives on less than $1 a day. “The court has ruled in favor of punishing Mahmoud Yassin, deputy governor of Cairo, with five years of hard labor ... on charges of manslaughter and unintentional damage,” Judge Khaled Mahgoub said in his ruling. Yassin, who was not present at the hearing, can appeal the verdict after paying bail

worth 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($880). The seven municipal officials received three years in prison in connection with the rockslide in September 2008, when huge boulders crushed ramshackle dwellings in Duwaiqa, a poor area on the eastern outskirts of Cairo. At the time, local residents estimated there were up to 600 bodies that were never recovered. Some Cairo neighborhoods have a population density of 100,000 people per square mile, packed into informal settlements without basic services. The defense team plans on appealing against the ruling, lawyers Samir El Dably and Magdy Rashad said. “Sentences of five and three years are very light and do not indicate a genuine desire to

curb negligence and corruption in Egypt,” said Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor at Cairo University and frequent critic of the government. Rights groups said the state had done too little to move the poor from precarious places such as Duwaiqa. Nafaa said the verdict appeared aimed at deflecting public anger but had placed blame mainly on lower ranking officials and “would not result in any deep change or in improvement of service provision”. Egypt’s economy has grown strongly in the past decade, expanding at 7 percent a year before the financial crisis, but the poor complain that benefits are not trickling down. Rural Egyptians flock to Cairo for jobs, many settling in shantytowns. — Reuters



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Two Ethiopia opposition members killed, rerun calls ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopian police shot dead two opposition members in the sensitive Oromia region after an election the ruling party won by a landslide, an opposition party and the government said yesterday. The electoral board said on Tuesday the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and allied parties had won 534 seats out of 536 declared, giving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi most seats in the 547-member parliament. The shootings occurred over a two-day period, the opposition said. “One was shot on Sunday and one was shot yesterday,” Merera Gudina, leader of the opposition

Oromo People’s Congress (OPC) told Reuters. “The government is trying to prevent protests by massively repressing the people.” Government head of information, Bereket Simon, said one man was shot after trying to storm an office where ballots were being counted and the other was shot a day later by a policeman whom he had beaten during the same incident. “It is unfortunate that the men were killed,” Bereket told Reuters. “But these are isolated incidents. It is nothing to do with any instruction from above.” He said there was a warrant for the policeman’s

arrest. An eight-party opposition coalition called Medrek, which includes the OPC, called yesterday for a rerun of the election and said it would not be deterred by the ruling party’s desire to have a single-party state. “In spite of all the sacrifices paid, both by the nation and by the respective parties, this election simply does not pass the test so we are calling for a rerun of the whole election in the presence of independent election administrators and observers,” said Beyene Petros, the chairman of Medrek. “This election-let me take that word back, this activity that took place on May 23,

we don’t consider it a genuine election but rather a drama acted by the EPRDF,” he told a news conference in the capital Addis Ababa. Medrek has won only one seat in parliament so far. The country’s second biggest opposition party, the All Ethiopian Unity Organization, also rejected the result of the elections and called yesterday for a rerun. A European Union observer mission said the election was marred by the EPRDF’s use of state resources for campaigning, putting the opposition at a disadvantage ahead of the vote, but this did not mean the count itself was invalid. The United States

said Ethiopia’s election failed to meet international standards and called for stronger democratic institutions in the country, a key U.S. ally in Africa. Western diplomats are watching closely to see how the opposition will react after many of its senior leaders lost their seats in the parliamentary victory for Meles, who is looking to foreign investors to help accelerate development. At the last election, an opposition coalition cried foul after the EPRDF and its allies won 327 seats. Riots erupted in the capital on two separate occasions. Security forces killed 193 protesters and seven policemen died.

Oromia is home to the Oroma, Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group with 27 million out of 80 million people. The area produces most of the coffee in Africa’s biggest grower, along with oil seeds, sesame and livestock, which are major exports. Oromo had been seen by analysts as an opposition stronghold but the EPRDF won all 178 of the region’s parliamentary seats. Oromo politicians said the government was cracking down on them ahead of the poll. Both the government and the opposition said members were murdered in Oromia by the other side in the four weeks leading up to the May 23 poll. —Reuters

Beshir set for new term as cracks still threaten Sudan International war-crimes indictment hanging over Sudanese prez KHARTOUM: Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir is to be sworn in for a new term today, ahead of a vote on southern independence and with an international war-crimes indictment hanging over him. Beshir’s latest mandate in his

NICOSIA: Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias reacts as he arrives at a UN compound before meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, unseen, and UN Envoy Alexander Downer, unseen, in the UN buffer zone of the divided capital of Nicosia, Cyprus yesterday. —AP

Cyprus peace talks resume after two-month pause NICOSIA: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Cyprus’ rival leaders yesterday not to let slow-moving reunification talks fall apart, warning that time is working against them. Ban made the appeal as the island’s Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and the newly elected president of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots Dervis Eroglu resumed peace talks after a two-month pause. “A settlement is within your grasp and this opportunity must be seized, as time is not on your side,” Ban said in a statement read out by his special Cyprus envoy Alexander Downer. “Achieving an agreement will require vision, statesmanship and courage. Your communities want and expect a settlement.” Although the talks have no set deadline, Ban said he believes the two leaders can reach a peace deal “in the coming months.” Yesterday’s meeting at a UN compound inside the buffer zone separating the Greek Cypriot south from the Turkish Cypriot north was the first between Christofias and Eroglu , a hardliner , who beat the moderate incumbent Mehmet Ali Talat in an April 18 poll. Cyprus was ethnically split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared an independent republic in 1983, but only Turkey recognizes it and maintains 35,000 troops there.

Eroglu’s election win raised fears that his longstanding advocacy for separate Turkish Cypriot sovereignty , instead of a partnership in a federation envisioned by leftists Talat and Christofias in 19 months of talks ,would derail the open-ended process. Failure would, in turn, further endanger Turkey’s troubled bid for European Union membership and hobble closer EU-NATO cooperation. Given the stakes, Ban moved to allay those fears, saying he was “encouraged” that both leaders agreed not to backtrack and restart talks from where they left off. The UN chief also hailed the “strong progress” the two sides made on power sharing and governance before the talks’ suspension in an apparent tip to Christofias who has been under criticism over his handling of the negotiations. Downer said the leaders yesterday moved onto the key issue of homes and property lost during the 1974 war. The two sides remain far apart on the issue , Greek Cypriots want the original owners to have first say on what will happen to the property, while Turkish Cypriots prefer an arrangement based on financial compensation or a property swap. Other sticking points include granting military intervention rights to Turkey and mainland Turks who have settled in the north. —AP

UK govt reveals size of its nuclear stockpile LONDON: Britain’s foreign secretary offered the first complete accounting of the country’s nuclear arsenal yesterday, revealing that it has 225 warheads. The announcement, made without fanfare in the House of Commons, follows the Obama adminstration’s disclosure this month that the United States has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and “several thousand” more retired warheads awaiting the junk pile, the first description of the secretive arsenal born in the Cold War and now shrinking rapidly. “We believe that the time is now right to be more open about the weapons we hold,” Foreign Secretary William Hague said. “We judge that this will assist in

building a climate of trust between nuclear and nonnuclear weapons states and contribute therefore to future efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons worldwide.” Britain had earlier revealed that it had 160 operational warheads, but Hague’s comments that the country has 225 warheads overall was the first time the size of the total stockpile was revealed. Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt told a briefing for UN reporters that Hague sent him to New York, where intense negotiations on a final document for the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty review conference are taking place, to emphasize the importance of the announcement in the House of Commons.

“We are very conscious that everything relating to nonproliferation depends on confidence, the confidence between those who are parties to the treaty, those who are nuclear weapon states and those who are not.” The new government is also conscious that over the last decade the treaty had come under pressure with no outcome from a review conference in 2005. “We wanted to make an immediate and positive contribution to that process,” Burt said. For that reason, Burt said that Hague announced “two particularly strong confidencebuilding measures” , the maximum number of warheads in Britain’s stockpile and review its policy on the use of weapons.—AP

EU-US talks on privacy may take up to 2 years BRUSSELS: Negotiations for trans-Atlantic privacy protection agreement could take two years and limit governments’ access to personal data while forcing them to delete inaccurate information, an EU official said yesterday. The European Union’s justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, has asked EU governments to back a negotiating mandate for a deal setting out how the bloc’s 27 countries and the United States must protect the privacy of individuals in any law enforcement case. “We want, once and for all, to have a basic fixing of the general values which are common between the United States and Europe,” Reding said, adding that “one to two years will be necessary” to complete such a deal. “These discussions are not going to be easy because the systems on the two sides are so different.” Reding said that, in the talks, she would

insist any private data be used for legitimate purposes to fight crime and terrorism, and that anyone mentioned in such cases have the right of legal redress, as well as the right to have one’s personal data corrected or erased if it is found to be inaccurate. After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Reding said, the EU has felt that American anti-terrorism officials have asked “for very much in terms of personal data” on Europeans. Reding is holding talks this week with US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and meeting next week with US Attorney General Eric Holder in Brussels. Until the umbrella privacy agreement takes effect, the EU must reach deals with Washington on airline passenger rights and privacy in financial transfers. EU lawmakers in February vetoed a deal on the latter, saying it did not offer proper privacy guarantees.—AP

“The biggest challenge Sudan faces in the next five years-I would even say in the coming months-is whether it will head toward unity or slide into division,” said Abdel Moneim Suleiman, an opposition activist. Beshir will oversee the run-up to a referendum on the independence of the south which is scheduled for January 2011. The vote was promised as part of a peace deal between the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the Khartoum government that ended Africa’s longest-running war in 2005. Salva Kiir, who heads the SPLM, was sworn in as the first elected president of the autonomous region of south Sudan on Friday. In a speech celebrating his disputed re-election victory last month, Beshir vowed to campaign for unity against the ambitions of southerners. And on Monday, newly elected parliament speaker Ibrahim Ahmed alTaher focused on the referendum in his inaugural speech. “The assembly’s first task is to call upon southerners to preserve the unity of Sudan because that is what serves their interests,” said Taher, a member of Beshir’s National Congress Party, which controls parliament. “Separation will only bring division and war,” he added. Taher said parliament “will also have to resolve the conflict in Darfur. “Weapons and murder have not provided an answer to the demands of the people and it is up to the representatives of the people to complete the path to peace,” he said. But there are few signs that Beshir, who won the first multiparty vote since he seized power in a 1989 coup, plans to cooperate with his opponents, further undermining hope for unity. Just last week Sudanese authorities arrested Islamist opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi, once Beshir’s mentor but now one of his fiercest critics. Like many observers, critics say a vote backing southern independence is now largely inevitable. “I do not think that the Sudanese of the north will stop feasting on oil,” a resource largely found in the south, Suleiman said. “But I also think that the southerners will not give up their demand for self-governance,” he added. The heads of state of only four countries have confirmed their attendance at Beshir’s inauguration today, namely the presidents of Eritrea, Djibouti and Chad, and newly re-elected Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Diplomats from Japan, Spain and the European Union will also be present at the celebration. But international human rights organizations and one of the main Darfuri rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement, have called for a boycott of the ceremony, few details of which have yet emerged. “The presence of international representatives will be an offence to the victims of Darfur,” JEM spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam told AFP by phone from London. In March 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Beshir for alleged war crimes in Darfur. But Beshir continues to reject the jurisdiction of the ICC, the world’s only independent permanent court with authority to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Darfur, an arid region the size of France, has been gripped by civil war since 2003 when minority rebels rose up against the Arab-dominated government, complaining of marginalization. The war has left 300,000 people dead and displaced around 2.7 million, according to the United Nations. Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.—AFP

21-year rule is considered crucial for the future of Africa’s largest country, where former southern rebels are seeking to secede and with deadly violence continuing to plague the western Darfur region.

KHARTOUM: Sudanese President Omar Al-Beshir (L) reviews an honor guard with his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki at Khartoum airport yesterday. —AFP

French anger at Israel as Netanyahu visits PARIS: Boycott calls, street protests, criticism from Jewish intellectuals-French opposition to Israeli policy is growing as Paris prepares to welcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At first sight, Netanyahu’s visit today represents a victory, as he will mark Israel’s entry into the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, the Parisbased club of the world’s richest democracies. As usual, the visit will be accompanied by street protests from various leftist proPalestinian groups that have long opposed Israeli policy. But this time, his delegation might detect something else at work, as anger over Israeli state policy spreads beyond the extremes of left and right into the mainstream and even into French Jewish opinion. Israel’s friends in France now fear that frustration at Netanyahu’s intransigence over Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank will translate into opposition to the existence of the state itself. An online petition dubbed the “European Jewish Call for Reason” or “JCall” has gathered more than 6,000 signatures, including prominent Jewish figures such as philosophers Bernard-Henri

Levy and Alain Finkielkraut. “Israel faces existential threats,” the group warns, criticizing the Netanyahu government’s “pursuit of settlements in the West Bank and in the Arab districts of East Jerusalem.” “These policies are morally and politically wrong and feed the unacceptable delegitimisation process that Israel currently faces abroad,” it says. Mainstream Jewish representative groups in France have distanced themselves from the petition-even if some of their members have signed-but agree that radical opposition to Israel is gathering recruits. “Anti-Israeli criticism in France has spread beyond the far left, because extreme left thinking has a strong influence on society as a whole,” said Gilles William Goldnadel, chairman of the France-Israel Association. For Goldnadel, this influence promotes “the delegitimisation of the state of Israel, notably by means of protests and boycott calls.” Calls for protests and boycotts against Israel are common in France. Today’s visit will see street rallies, and already this week a pressure group has launched a lawsuit against a French cosmetics chain it accuses of selling Israeli products produced on occupied Palestinian land.

A pressure group, Generation Palestine, is to stage a protest and a concert in Paris on the eve of Netanyahu’s visit, accusing Israel of pursuing a policy of “Jewification” in Jerusalem. But if protests were limited to radical leftist and Muslim groups, they would be easier for Israel’s supporters to dismiss. Increasingly, formerly pro-Israeli supporters have begun weighing in, especially since the return to power last year of Netanyahu and a coalition led by his rightwing Likud party. “Jewish intellectuals are uncomfortable with the criticism and feel obliged to distance themselves from the Israeli government,” Goldnadel said, adding that he personally saw no change in Israeli policy since the vote. The JCall petition has been criticized in some quarters as a betrayal of Israel by European Jews playing into the hands of its enemies, but its organizers insist they still have the state’s best interests at heart. “And it’s because we continue to have confidence in it that we are calling it out in this way,” wrote Paris lawyers and JCall signatories Michel Zaoui and Patrick Klugman in Today’s edition of Le Monde.—AFP

LONDON: Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (L) talks with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (R) during a meeting at 11 Downing Street in London yesterday. —AFP

Thursday, May 27, 2010



Hunted alleged drug lord remains on the run

Jamaica violence flares on, death toll nears 50 KINGSTON: Gunfire resounded in parts of Jamaica's capital Kingston yesterday as security forces fought armed supporters of a fugitive alleged drug lord in a fourth day of violence that has killed nearly 50 people. Soldiers and police were still hunting Christopher "Dudus" Coke, 42, a notorious suspected

LIMA: Lori Berenson, left, from New York, is escorted by police officers as she arrives for an audience at a courthouse in Lima Tuesday. —AP

Peru judge paroles NY woman who aided rebels LIMA: A judge granted parole Tuesday to Lori Berenson, the 40-year-old New York activist who has spent 15 years in Peruvian prisons on a conviction of aiding leftist rebels. Judge Jessica Leon granted a request by Berenson, who gave birth a year ago, for conditional release at a hearing at the Lima prison where the American has been held since January 2009. She said, however, that Berenson cannot leave Peru until her sentence for terrorist collaboration ends in November 2015. Berenson nodded assent but did not speak when asked by the judge if she accepted the decision. Bespectacled and wearing earrings, with her braided brown hair hanging over an embroidered sweater, Berenson looked serene during the one-hour hearing. "I'm happy with the sentence because justice was done," said her lawyer, Anibal Apari, who is also father of Berenson's child, Salvador. Apari said Berenson, whom he met in prison and married in 2003, would be freed within 24 hours. Their child has been living with his mother in prison since his birth last May. Apari is a former member of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA, the now defunct leftist band of which Berenson was convicted of helping. Berenson's father Mark, a former Baruch College statistics professor, was overjoyed at the news. "I let out a shout that I think my daughter heard in Peru." "I'm feeling great, I had three glasses of wine, this is an incredible, incredible feeling," he told The Associated Press in New York. "It solely will be topped only when I see my daughter and grandson in freedom." The judge's decision, read by a clerk, said Berenson had "completed re-education, rehabilitation and re-socialization" and demonstrated "positive behavior." "I'm very glad that the judge saw all the evidence and agreed that Lori earned and deserved the parole," Mark Berenson added in a telephone interview. "It shows that justice and democracy in Peru can work." Berenson had for many years denied any wrongdoing, maintaining she was a political prisoner and not a terrorist. But her defense team said in papers submitted to the judge that she "recognized she committed errors in involving herself in activites of the MRTA." She said in her parole request that she planned to work as a translator if released. In Washington, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said he had no comment when asked if

Berenson faces any charges in the United States once released. In an e-mail sent to supporters on Tuesday, Berenson's parents said their daughter would be raising Salvador as a single mother. "Anibal and Lori are legally separated but remain friends and both share concerns for Salvador's proper upbringing," they wrote. They said their grandson "will certainly enjoy the opportunity to run around outside the confines of the prison. He is learning both English and Spanish but babbles continuously in 'unknown tongue."' Photos of the Berensons with their grandson are posted along with the message on the couple's website. Their daughter had dropped out of the Massachussets Institute of Technology in 1989 to pursue a passion for social justice. After a time in Central America, she worked as private secretary to El Salvador's top rebel commander during peace negotiations there, she traveled to Peru in 1994. Berenson was arrested in 1995 and initially accused of being a leader of the MRTA, which bombed banks and kidnapped and killed civilians but was nowhere near as violent as the betterknown Shining Path insurgency. It is blamed for, at most, 200 killings. Police claimed she helped coordinate Tupac Amaru activities and obtained weapons for the group. She was convicted of treason by a military court in 1996. But after an intense campaign by her parents, both of whom took early retirement to dedicate themselves fulltime to their daughter, and other supporters, she was retried in a civilian court in 2000. It convicted Berenson of the lesser crime and reduced her sentence to 20 years. The US State Department had pushed hard for the civilian trial, saying Berenson was denied due process by the military tribunal. Her case soured relations between the administration of US President Bill Clinton and that of former Peruvian strongman Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori stepped down in disgrace in 2000 before Berenson's retrial, and is now in state custody on convictions for crimes including murder, kidnapping and corruption. Berenson's spent much of her captivity , especially the years before her retrial , in harsh mountain prisons. She was transferred to Lima in January 2009 from a prison in the northern province of Cajamarca after being diagnosed with a herniated disc that was aggravated by her pregnancy.—AP

Mexico arrest Cancun mayor on drug charges CANCUN: Mexican federal police have arrested the mayor of the resort city of Cancun on drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime charges, the latest blow to 2010 state and local elections already marred by violence and allegations of drug cartel involvement. Gregorio Sanchez, who took a leave of absence from the Cancun mayoral post to run for governor of the Caribbean coastal state of Quintana Roo, was taken into custody Tuesday at Cancun's international airport after arriving on a flight from Mexico City. The federal Attorney General's Office said Sanchez is suspected of offering information and protection to the Zetas drug gang and the Beltran Leyva cartel, which are active in Quintana Roo. Officials said they could not immediately recall another case in which a gubernatorial candidate had been arrested on drug charges. "This takes us all by surprise, it is unprecedented," said current Quintana Roo Gov. Felix Gonzalez Cantu. Ricardo Najera, a spokesman for the federal Attorney General's Office, said the charges allege Sanchez played a role in fomenting or aiding drug trafficking, engaging in organized crime and making transactions with illicitly obtained funds. Sanchez's website carried an article in which the candidate for the leftist Democratic Revolution Party and two smaller parties said he was being persecuted for political reasons. The site quoted Sanchez as saying he had been threatened. "Resign from the race, or we are going to put you in jail or kill you," Sanchez said in describing one of the threats. A Twitter account linked to the site vowed to continue Sanchez's campaign and asked people to protest his arrest and vote for him. Observers have voiced fears that Mexico's drug cartels could seek to infiltrate politics and control the July 4 local elections in 10 states by supporting candidates who cooperate with organized crime and killing or intimidating those who don't On May 13, gunmen killed Jose Guajardo Varela, a candidate for mayor of Valle Hermosa, a town in the border state of Tamaulipas which has been ravaged by drug gang violence. The leader of Guajardo Varela's conservative National Action Party said the candidate had received threats

telling him to quit the race. And in December, the newspaper Reforma published a photograph of Jesus Vizcarra, a candidate for governor of the northern state of Sinaloa, attending a party many years ago with a man identified as Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, the No. 2 leader of the powerful Sinaloa cartel. However, until now, no candidate has been firmly linked to drug cartels. Sanchez, a populist who pledged to bring services to the impoverished majority of residents who live on the outskirts of the glittering resort, took on the established and entrenched political machine of the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party. The political fight in the state has been bitter, soldiers discovered two apartments fitted out with equipment for telephone eavesdropping that local media said may be linked to political espionage. But drug cartels have long been active in the state, as well. In 2009, prosecutors arrested Cancun's police chief, Francisco Velasco, to investigate whether he protected the Zetas drug gang. Velasco already was detained for questioning in the killing of retired Brig. Gen. Mauro Enrique Tello, whose bullet-riddled body was found in a car in early 2009, shortly after the Cancun city government hired him as a security consultant to combat local corruption and asked him to set up the elite force. Quintana Roo state, where Cancun is located, has seen its share of officials detained for allegedly aiding drug cartels, including a former governor who was arrested in May 2001 just after he left office and was later sentenced to 36 years for money laundering and helping a drug cartel smuggle narcotics. Former Quintana Roo governor Mario Villanueva was extradited to the United States this month to face an indictment accusing him of conspiring to import hundreds of tons of cocaine and launder millions of dollars in bribe payments through Lehman Brothers in New York and other financial institutions. Bundles of cocaine sometimes wash ashore in the region because smugglers drop drugs from boats or small planes for gangs to retrieve and move into the United States. —AP

Soldiers and police patrolled in armored vehicles and SUVs. Most of the dead were young men, suspected to be gang member supporters of Coke, who were killed when heavily armed security forces on Monday stormed the Tivoli Gardens slum that US prosecutors say served as a "garrison" of his supporters. Bursts of gunfire could be heard coming yesterday from the Waltham Park neighborhood, north of Tivoli Gardens, and from Rockfort on the road to Kingston's international airport. Jamaican Political Ombudsman Herro Blair said he had made a tally of 44 civilians killed in Tivoli Gardens after he was sent there by Prime Minister Bruce Golding on an inspection mission on Tuesday, along with Public Defender Earl Witter. "We know now for sure that there are 35 civilian bodies in the morgue, and when we were leaving last night there were another nine to be picked up," said Blair, who is an evangelical bishop. Witter said he was concerned about the disparity between the high number of civilians killed in the Tivoli Gardens assault and the low number of firearms seized by soldiers and police-only four, including an AK-47 automatic rifle. "The security forces have their own explanation. If they don't find it particularly curious, I certainly do," he said. Police said the increased number of dead civilians brought the overall death toll from four days of clashes in parts of Kingston to 49, from a previous 31. At least three members of the security forces have been killed in the street gunfights. Many locals supported the crackdown. "This country has been taken over by criminals and we had 1,800 murders last year. Tivoli Gardens is one of the worst places in Jamaica and it is time that something is done about that community. It is like a kingdom within an island," said one resident, Jennifer Baker. Golding, who declared a state of emergency on Sunday in two Kingston parishes after suspected supporters of Coke attacked police stations with firebombs and gunfire, has proposed tougher anti-crime laws, including anti-gang provisions. The prime minister rejected as "offensive" some US and UK media reports that linked him to the alleged drug lord Coke, the government Jamaican Information Service (JIS) said. Coke is a supporter of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party and wields influence in the volatile inner city constituency that Golding represents. US prosecutors have described Coke as the leader of the "Shower Posse," which murdered hundreds of people by showering them with bullets during 1980s cocaine wars. Information Minister Daryl Vaz said the search continued for Coke. Golding has said the limited state of emergency would remain in force for one month. Police were investigating the recent killings of up to 19 other people in Spanish Town, 14 miles (22 km) west of Kingston to see if they were linked to the Coke extradition crisis. The government, declaring that the country is "under siege" from criminal gangs, has vowed a tough response against crime, which has in the past damaged Jamaica's reputation as a popular vacation destination for US and European tourists. Jamaica has one of the world's highest per capita murder rates. The unrest, which also disrupted flights in and out of Kingston airport, prompted the US State Department to warn Americans against traveling to the city and surrounding areas. Some business leaders have complained of a sharp hit to tourism. But officials said the violence had had no impact so far on the island's bauxite, sugar and banana production. The United States requested Coke's extradition in August last year but Jamaica initially refused, alleging that evidence against him had been gathered through illegal wiretaps. — Reuters

Jamaican drug don whose extradition is being sought by the United States on charges of cocaine trafficking and gun-running. Streets in the scruffy capital of the Caribbean tourist island were virtually deserted, with very little traffic and most schools and many businesses staying closed.

KINGSTON: Police take cover during operations in Kingston, Jamaica Tuesday. Jamaican police said at least 26 civilians and four members of the security forces have died as police and soldiers battle defenders of a powerful Jamaican gang leader sought by the United States. —AP

Small plane crashes near Toronto, 2 killed MONTREAL: A small plane crashed onto the roof of an office building near Toronto Monday, killing the pilot and his passenger, police said. The single-engine Cirrus SR-20 crashed in Markham,

Ontario following an explosion, according to witness reports in Canadian media. The police declined to elaborate on what damage was done to the building.

The 14 employees of a toy company Thinkway Toys, were able to be evacuated, and two were injured, local media said. Authorities were investigating the cause of the crash.—AFP



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thai Parliament angrily debates protest response Thousands join Buddhist monks in mass prayer BANGKOK: Thailand’s Parliament angrily debated the government’s handling of protests and violence and the ongoing curfew yesterday, as thousands of citizens joined Buddhist monks in a mass prayer for peace. Opposition lawmakers kept Parliament from focusing on next year’s budget as they hurled insults and accusations at the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, calling him insincere and questioning his decision to put the capital and other areas under a nighttime curfew.

YALA: Members of the bomb squad inspect a damaged car showroom after a bomb exploded that was set allegedly by Muslim militants in Yala province yesterday. Two bomb attacks in Thailand’s insurgency-plagued south killed two people and wounded another 41, including five in a critical condition, police said. —AFP

US senator Webb to return to Myanmar YANGON: A US senator who secured the release last year of an American jailed for swimming to the home of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will return to Myanmar for talks with the junta, his office said yesterday. Democratic lawmaker Jim Webb, a strong supporter of engaging Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, also plans to visit South Korea and Thailand during his May 29-June 6 trip to Asia. The visit “comes at a time of great unrest in the region following the North Korean torpedo attack on a South Korean vessel, violent protests in Thailand and provocations from the Burmese regime,” his office said in

a statement. Webb became the first US official to meet the Myanmar junta’s reclusive leader Than Shwe last August, when he won the release of American John Yettaw, an eccentric Vietnam War veteran who was sentenced to seven years’ hard labour. Yettaw, who suffers from epilepsy and diabetes, said he had intruded on Suu Kyi’s house on a “mission from God” to warn about a vision that she would be assassinated, but his actions landed her with another 18 months’ house arrest. Webb met Suu Kyi during his last trip and urged the country’s military rulers to free the detained opposition leader. His office did

not say whether the Virginia senator-who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs-had requested another meeting with Suu Kyi during his upcoming trip. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) was forcibly dissolved after refusing to meet a May 6 deadline to reregister as a political party-a move that would have forced it to expel its own leader. Suu Kyi has been in jail or under house arrest for most of the past 20 years. The NLD won 1990 elections by a landslide but was prevented by the junta from taking power. —AFP

North Korea threatens to ban cross-border traffic SEOUL: North Korea threatened yesterday to block cross-border traffic and blow up any South Korean loudspeakers blasting propaganda northward as tensions soared over the sinking of a South Korean warship. The dramatic deterioration in relations came as US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Seoul at the end of a three-nation Asian tour that was dominated by the March 26 sinking blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack. “This was an unacceptable provocation by North Korea, and the international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond,” Clinton told reporters after talks with South Korean leaders. A team of international investigators concluded last week that a torpedo from a North Korean submarine tore apart the 1,200-ton Cheonan off the west coast, killing 46 South Korean sailors. South Korea began taking punitive steps Tuesday against the North including slashing trade, resuming propaganda warfare and barring the North’s cargo ships. Those were seen as among the strongest it could implement short of military action. The US has said evidence of the North’s culpability is overwhelming and has backed the South’s measures, but key North Korea ally China has said it is still weighing evidence about the sinking and has done little but urge calm on all sides. “I believe that the Chinese understand the seriousness of this issue and are willing to listen to the concerns expressed by both South Korea and the United States,” said Clinton, who visited China before coming to Seoul. “We expect to be working with China as we move forward in fashioning a response.” The North flatly denies it caused the sinking and has warned that retaliation would lead to war. On Tuesday, North Korea announced it was cutting relations with South Korea, starting “all-out counterattacks” against the South’s psychological warfare operations and

barring South Korean ships and airliners from passing through its territory. Yesterday, the North cut off some cross-border communication links and expelled eight South Korean government officials from a joint industrial park in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said. The North’s military also issued a statement warning it would “totally ban” the passage of South Korean personnel and vehicles to an inter-Korean zone in the western coastal area, apparently referring to Kaesong, if South Korea does not stop its psychological warfare. It did not mention another border crossing on the eastern side of the peninsula, which remained open. It said it would shoot at and “blow up” any loudspeakers South Korea installs at the border. Seoul dismantled such devices six years ago amid warming ties, but resumed radio broadcasts Monday into the North and said loudspeakers would be reinstalled within weeks. In Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, army generals vowed to retaliate against South Korea. “We will never tolerate the slightest provocations of our enemies, and will answer to that with all-out war,” Maj. Gen. Pak Chan Su, a Korean War veteran, said, according to footage from APTN in Pyongyang. “This is the firm standpoint of our People’s Army.” Ordinary citizens also criticized the South. “The South Korean puppet authorities are raving like a mad man, linking the sinking of the Cheonan with us but the truth will be revealed,” said Ri Gyong Dok, a Pyongyang resident. “We value inter-Korean relations, but the puppet authorities challenging and scheming for a war, this cannot be tolerated.” Despite the rhetoric, North Korea still allowed South Korean workers to cross the border to enter the Kaesong complex yesterday, according to the Unification Ministry. Kaesong is the last remaining major inter-Korean reconciliation project. It pro-

vides badly needed hard currency for Kim Jong Il’s government and is valued in the South as a source of engagement with the isolated communist country. Both sides have refrained from calling for its closure in their recent statements. South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung accused North Korea of taking “menacing” measures and said the South would “deal with these North Korean threats unwaveringly and sternly.” South Korea’s military said yesterday there were no signs of unusual activity by North Korean troops. South Korea wants to bring North Korea before the UN.

Security Council over the sinking, and has US support. The North and South technically remain at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty. The US and South Korea are planning two major military exercises off the Korean peninsula in a display of force intended to deter future aggression by North Korea, the White House said. The US has 28,500 troops in South Korea. Also yesterday, more than 3,000 South Korean veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars and their family members rallied in Seoul, burning an effigy of Kim Jong Il and chanting anti-North Korea slogans. —AP

PANMUNJOM: A North Korean soldier looks through binoculars from the north side at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone separating two Koreas yesterday. —AFP

“The curfew has caused many problems for many people. Many people make their living at night. But now these businesses have to lose their incomes because of this,” said Surapong Tovichakchaikul, an opposition member from Chiang Mai, a northern city where support is strong for the Red Shirt protesters who led the demonstrations in Bangkok. The curfew in the capital and 23 provinces is to remain in effect through Friday. “Up until now, almost 100 people have died. Can you continue reading the budget and balance sheets like that? Do you have any feelings?” Surapong said. The opposition has threatened to seek impeachment or censure of Abhisit and his top ministers, and debate over those moves is expected to take place next week. On Tuesday, Thai authorities issued an arrest warrant for ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on charges of terrorism, alleging he was a key force behind the deadly street protests. Thaksin, who lives in selfimposed exile but is widely supported among the Red Shirts, responded that the government should be ashamed of itself for its handling of the crisis that ended with a military crackdown last week. At least 88 people died in the crackdown and protestrelated violence over two months. Thaksin’s lawyers yesterday requested the arrest warrant be revoked, and the court that issued it is considering the request. The charges underscore the emotional rift between those who support Thaksin, mostly the rural poor and urban underclass-and the conservative establishment and many in the middle class who agreed with the 2006 military coup that ousted him. The protesters who were bidding to bring down the Oxford-educated Abhisit accuse him of being elitist and coming to power through back-room deals and military meddling. Thaksin fled abroad ahead of a corruption conviction. Previous attempts to extradite him have failed. At dawn yesterday, thousands of residents prayed for peace at sites across Bangkok where people were killed and highrise buildings torched in the worst political violence in the country’s modern history. The chants of 1,000 Buddhist monks mingled with the prayers of Muslim imams, Christian priests and the Hindu faithful at 10 areas, including the charred hulk of one of Asia’s largest shopping malls. “We are reciting a very powerful prayer to summon the Lord to help our country. Things are quiet now, but there is fear still within us because none of us know what can happen in the future,” said Sumitr Khorana, a Hindu community leader, reflecting a general anxiety that Thailand’s turmoil is far from over. In a sign that another dispute continues to be a flash point, two bombs hidden in motorcycles exploded yesterday in a Muslim area of Thailand’s south, killing two people and wounding 51, police said. A separate shooting left one more person dead. Police said the motorcycles were parked outside a Mazda car showroom in the province of Yala. The first explosion shattered showroom windows and damaged the exterior of the building. Ten minutes later, another bomb went off as police officers were fencing off the crime scene. Police and soldiers were among the injured, officials said. They did not have further details. Muslim insurgents have previously targeted government workers in their separatist war in the region. More than 4,000 people have been killed since fighting erupted in 2004. — AP

SHANGHAI: A staff member of the South Korean pavilion waits by escalators at the site of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai yesterday. China said it was still assessing the findings of a multinational team of investigators who blamed North Korea for sinking a South Korean warship, as Premier Wen Jiabao prepared a trip to Seoul. — AFP

Baby lives after stroller hit by train in Australia MELBOURNE: A 15-monthold boy escaped with just a few cuts and bruises yesterday after a train struck his stroller, which rolled onto the tracks when his grandmother looked away for just a moment. The dramatic escape came just seven months after another baby in the southern city of Melbourne survived a train striking his stroller, which also had rolled onto the tracks. Security camera footage of the latest incident shows the stroller rolling over the edge of the platform just as the train pulls into the station. The stroller is pushed a short distance down the tracks before the train comes to a halt in front of horrified people.

“It’s absolutely amazing that this child isn’t more injured than what he is, given the circumstances of the accident,” paramedic Kate Jessop told reporters. “It would appear, amazingly, that it’s nothing more than a couple of grazes and a big fright. ... I was assuming the worst as well and had those awful pictures in my head of a child underneath the train.” The baby and his 3-year-old brother were being cared for by their grandmother. She told officials she saw the stroller on the platform, looked away for a moment, and turned back to see it on the track, Jessop said. Officials have not released the names of the children or grandmother.

“I’m all right, I’m just concerned about the child of course, and it’s my main concern,” the grandmother told reporters. “I just want to make sure he’s all right.” The boy was in stable condition at Royal Children’s Hospital. He suffered some minor facial bruising and grazes to his head, but otherwise appeared fine, Jessop said. In October, a 6-month-old baby survived after his stroller rolled onto the tracks when his mother let go for an instant. Security footage showed the stroller plunging off a station platform as the commuter train pulled in, and his mother’s desperate lunge to grab it. The baby only suffered a bump on the head. —AP

Philippine Muslim rebels remove rogue commander MANILA: The Philippines’ largest Muslim guerrilla group has removed a commander the government blames for an escalation of violence in 2008, saying they wanted to revive momentum in peace talks under a new administration. A workable and sustained resolution of the conflict would remove a longterm investment risk in the Philippines, and potentially could attract investment to offshore oil and gas reserves and untapped mines on the southern island. Ustadz Ameril Ombra Kato, radical commander of the 105th base of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), has been replaced by one of his more-moderate subordinates, Zacaria Goma, pending an inquiry, MILF chief peace negotiator Mohaqher Iqbal said. “Kato is no longer connected with our military arm,” Iqbal told Reuters, saying the foreigntrained Islamic cleric has been given a job in the rebel group’s Da’wah religious department. “It’s part of our reorganisation to build more confidence and give a fresh start to peace negotiations under the next government. We only want to show how serious we are in pursuing peace.” Senator Benigno Aquino III is expected to be declared the next President by Congress in coming weeks. Unofficial tallies of votes show he has a large lead over his nearest rival. The MILF has also replaced the head of its ceasefire panel and the spokesman for its military arm, Iqbal said. “At the strategic level, Kato’s dismissal augurs well for the peace

process because this could indicate the moderates are now taking the upper hand in the power struggle within the MILF,” an army intelligence officer on Mindanao island, where the MILF is based, told Reuters. Since 1997 there have been off-and-on negotiations between the government and Muslim rebels to end a conflict that has run more than 40 years, killing 120,000 people and displacing 2 million in the south of the mainly Roman Catholic country. Moderate leaders of the 11,000-strong MILF have dropped demands for an independent Islamic state but want more than just an autonomous government, including a greater share of revenues generated by strategic resources such as oil, gas and metals. In August 2008, a deal to create a Muslim ancestral homeland with wide political and economic powers was blocked by the Supreme Court after some politicians challenged the agreement. The aborted deal led to an escalation in fighting, and nearly 750,000 people were displaced by almost a year of hostilities. The government has filed cases in Mindanao courts saying Kato and two other commanders were behind the violence. A renewed truce took effect last year and formal talks resumed this year with the intention of reaching an interim agreement before the end of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s term on June 30, but a deal has not yet been reached. The two sides will return to Kuala Lumpur this month to try to reach an interim deal before Arroyo steps down. — Reuters

China’s Wen to meet with Myanmar junta leaders BEIJING: Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will meet with leaders of Myanmar’s junta to discuss energy cooperation and aid to the southeast Asian nation during a visit next week, a top diplomat said yesterday. During the June 2-3 visit, Wen will hold talks with reclusive junta chief General Than Shwe, Prime Minister Thein Sein and other top officials, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun told reporters. “The two countries will sign a number of cooperation documents covering economy, trade, finance, energy, science and technology,” Zhang said, without offering specifics. Last

year, bilateral trade between the neighbors reached 2.91 billion dollars, up 10.7 percent year-on-year, as progress was made in joint projects involving energy, transportation and power supply, Zhang said. China is the isolated state’s sole major ally on the diplomatic stage and one of its key trading partners. Energy-hungry China is an eager buyer of Myanmar’s sizeable natural gas reserves and has in the past tried to shield its ruling junta from international sanctions imposed over its poor human rights record. “We will offer help to Myanmar, to help it grow its

economy and improve the well-being of its people,” Zhang said. “We will offer assistance as our ability permits to the national development of Myanmar, particularly in those areas that will benefit the general public, such as transport and education.” Wen’s visit to Myanmar will be the final stop of a fournation tour that will take him to South Korea, Japan and Mongolia starting tomorrow. In April, Wen postponed a trip to Myanmar, Brunei and Indonesia due to a huge earthquake in northwestern China that killed more than 2,000 people. —AFP


Thursday, May 27, 2010


Red Cross defends first aid courses for Taleban GENEVA: The international Red Cross said yesterday it would continue giving first aid training and kits to Taleban fighters in Afghanistan, despite a media report on the practice that has drawn angry e-mails from around the world and criticism from an Afghan official. The International Committee of the Red Cross trained “over 70 members of the armed opposition” in

first aid last month, along with more than 100 Afghan police and civilians, including taxi drivers. The courses started in 2006 and the neutral group will continue as long as they are needed, said Red Cross spokesman Christian Cardon. “It’s the core of the ICRC’s mandate to make sure that people are cured whether they are from one side or the other side,” he

told The Associated Press. Journey to Afghanistan’s few functioning hospitals often are arduous or near impossible, meaning even basic first aid can help save lives, said Cardon. He added that the three-day courses also were an opportunity to show participants the need to abide by the Geneva Conventions that govern the conduct of war.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper on Tuesday quoted an unidentified official in Kandahar’s local government as criticizing the first aid training, saying the Taleban did “not deserve to be treated like humans.” Cardon said the Red Cross also received angry e-mails from people around the world in response to the article. But he insisted that in Afghanistan most officials well under-

stand and accept the group’s 151-year history of treating all war wounded regardless of their background or affiliation. Cardon cited as another example the Red Cross orthopedic hospital in Kabul where amputees are fitted with artificial limbs. “We never ask the people who come about their background,” he said. “This is the way we work everywhere in Afghanistan

and all over the world.” Identical first aid courses have been held in Gaza with members of Hamas and other Palestinian groups, said Cardon. Nevertheless, “if we get complaints from local authorities we will go and meet them to clarify that it’s the way we have always worked and always will work,” he said. “We are quite confident that it (the report) will not affect our operations.” — AP

Car bomb hits outside NATO base in Kandahar Attack follows Taleban announcement of spring offensive

AHMEDABAD: An injured Indian Muslim is guided towards a vehicle by policemen in Ahmedabad yesterday, after being attacked. Incidents of communal violence have flared up in some areas of the city after a cremation ceremony of a man who was allegedly injured on May 25, in an act of violence when a Hindu wedding party passed in front of a mosque.—AFP

Bangladesh seizes 4 militant suspects DHAKA: Police have arrested four suspected Islamic militants and seized bomb-making materials in a raid in the Bangladeshi capital, the national police chief said yesterday. The suspects were arrested late Monday from a four-story apartment building in Dhaka’s southern Dhania district where they were living as tenants, police chief Noor Mohammad said. A woman believed to be the wife of one of the men also was detained, he said. Police seized explosives, bomb-making materials and firearms from the men, he said. Police believe the men are top-ranking leaders of the banned, radical Islamic group Jumatul

Mujahideen Bangladesh. Mohammad did not provide further details. Jumatul Mujahideen Bangladesh seeks to establish Islamic law in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. It was blamed for countrywide bombings that killed at least 26 people and wounded dozens in 2005. Six high-ranking members of the group, including its leader Shaikh Abdur Rahman and his deputy Siddiqul Islam, were hanged in 2007 for killing two judges in a separate 2005 bomb attack in the southern town of Jhalakathi. During their trial, the defendants said they targeted the courts because they are run by secular laws.—AP

Sri Lankan FM wants broader ties with US WASHINGTON: Sri Lanka’s foreign minister on Tuesday urged the United States to focus on more than claims of human rights abuse during a recently ended quarter-century civil war. Gamini Peiris bristled at activists’ claims of government war crimes and called for a deeper relationship with the United States, including expanded business ties and cooperation on climate change and military issues. “We are not in any way resentful of the focus on human rights,” Peiris told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. “We are making the point that the relationship should not be one dimensional. There are many other things that Sri Lanka and the United States can do together.” Rights groups say the military shelled hospitals, and the Tamil Tiger rebels used civilians as human shields, during the fighting that ended last year leaving between 80,000 and 100,000 people dead. A US State Department report has accused both sides of possible war crimes. Critics also have a long list of complaints about the Sri Lankan government’s actions after the end of the war. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is accused of attempting to monopolize power, allowing minori-

ty Tamils to languish in government camps and intimidating journalists. The country’s former army chief, Gen. Sarath Fonseka, was arrested after he unsuccessfully challenged Rajapaksa’s presidency. He now faces a court-martial for allegedly planning his political career while still in uniform and breaching regulations in purchasing military hardware. Fonseka’s supporters say Rajapaksa is punishing Fonseka for daring to challenge him. Peiris acknowledged that “winning the peace is as daunting a task as winning the war.” But he said that Sri Lanka should be given credit for making sweeping changes to the country’s wartime emergency law, allowing more freedoms and setting up a reconciliation commission. Activists counter that an independent, international body should look into abuse accusations during the civil war. Peiris called on the United States to “recognize the magnitude, the enormity of the changes that have taken place on the island in a relatively brief time span.” Sri Lanka has been under emergency rule for most of the past 30 years. Tamil rebels fought since 1983 for an independent homeland after decades of anger about governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority.—AP

New British FM to visit Pakistan LONDON: British Foreign Secretary William Hague will visit Pakistan “in the next few weeks” he said yesterday, pledging to work more closely with Islamabad on Afghanistan and other issues. Prime Minister David Cameron’s new coalition government would pursue a “broad strategy of engagement” with Islamabad focusing on security, education and the strengthening of democratic institutions,” he added. “I intend to visit Pakistan in the next few weeks because of its close connection with the issues that we’ve been discussing in Afghanistan,” Hague told the House of Commons during a debate on foreign affairs. “We will explore with Pakistan ways to strengthen our bilateral relationship, building on so many shared goals and longstanding ties between Britain and Pakistan,” Hague said. When he visited Washington earlier this month-his first trip after being appointed foreign

secretary-Hague said he had agreed with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to work together in relation to Pakistan. “It is crucial that the United States and Britain work extremely closely to coordinate our efforts in Pakistan given the colossal American resources that are deployed in Pakistan and the enormous British expertise that exists,” he said. The foreign secretary visited Afghanistan at the weekend with Defense Secretary Liam Fox, who called for the 9,000 British troops deployed there to come home as soon as possible. Hague said yesterday that Afghanistan was his “top foreign policy priority” and the objective was to “help Afghans reach the point where they can look after their own security without presenting a danger to the rest of the world”. “The sooner they are able to do this, the sooner our troops... who make such sacrifices would be able to come home,” he added.—AFP

KANDAHAR: A car bomb exploded yesterday outside a small NATO weeks, following a Taleban announcement of a spring offensive military base in southern Afghanistan’s largest city, wounding two against alliance and Afghan forces, their response to the Obama Afghans and destroying several cars, police said. It was the latest in administration’s vow to squeeze the militants out of Kandahar a string of bold attacks on high-profile NATO targets in the past two province strongholds. The blast occurred around 11:30 am in a parking lot used by Afghans visiting Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar city, said Gen Shafiq Fazli, the police commander for southern Afghanistan. The base houses a few hundred Canadian soldiers, along with American military police and US and Canadian government employees working on development projects. Fazli said no one was killed. A police officer said at least one security guard and one Afghan who works at the base were wounded. The officer gave only one name, Khalid. Yesterday’s blast destroyed 11 cars that were parked in the lot, along with about 50 motorcycles and more than a dozen bicycles, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The bomb was placed in a Toyota Corolla in the lot, it said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. People reached by phone inside Camp Nathan Smith said they had been ordered into bunkers but that the area appeared quiet since the explosion. They spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the attack had not been released. KANDAHAR: A Canadian soldier with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) The string of attacks began stands at the scene of a car bomb explosion in Kandahar, Afghanistan yesterday. —AP on May 18, when a Taleban suicide bomber attacked a to storm Kandahar Air Field, battling hundreds of insur- Jangulbagh, the provincial He said the attackers were NATO convoy in the capital, NATO’s main base in the gents for four days, officials police chief. “There are many Taleban militants, including killing 18 people including six south. Kandahar Air Field is said. At least seven militants fewer police than attackers but Pakistani Taleban under the NATO service members , five of Maulana about 20 kilometers outside of and one police officer have we have the locals helping us,” leadership Americans and a Canadian. the city, while Camp Nathan died so far in the fighting in Jangulbagh said, explaining Fazlullah, nicknamed the The next day, dozens of Smith is in downtown Nuristan’s Barg-e-Matal dis- that villagers have grabbed “Radio Mullah” for his hardTaleban militants attacked the trict, the Interior Ministry said their guns and joined the line anti-Western broadcasts Kandahar. main US military base, police in the fight. He said on a militant radio station in Also yesterday, a British in statement. Bagram Air Field, killing an The insurgents attacked police have asked for rein- northwestern Pakistan. soldier was killed in a firefight American contractor in fightHe led Pakistan Taleban in Helmand province of south- the district government build- forcements, but none has ing that lasted more than forces in their takeover of the ern Afghanistan, the British ing on Sunday and a small arrived yet. eight hours. Nuristan Gov. Jamaludin Sway Valley until the Pakistan police force has been trying to Ministry of Defense said. Then on Saturday, insurIn eastern Nuristan keep them at bay since then, Badar said they also have military routed them last gents firing rockets, mortars province, police have been said Gen. Mohammad Qasim asked NATO forces for help. year.—AP and automatic weapons tried

Govt slams Air India strikers after crash NEW DELHI: India’s aviation minister yesterday condemned as “irresponsible” striking Air India staff, whose walk-out led to flight cancellations and travel disruption just days after a fatal crash. Praful Patel said the 15,000 striking staff must stand behind the ailing airline, which faced an uncertain future even before a plane from its low-cost subsidiary crashed on Saturday near the city of Mangalore killing 158 people. “The entire Air India family should have been one in solidarity and tried its best, not only to help the families of the victims but also to have resurrected the brand of Air India and tried its best to redeem the damage to the airline,” Patel said in a statement. “Irresponsible sections of the employees have resorted to such illegal action without any notice,” he said. Air India said 76 flights, including 14 on international routes, were cancelled yesterday because of the strike, which was prompted by an alleged management “gag” on staff talking to the media after the crash. Nearly 50 flights were cancelled on Tuesday-the first day of the strike-with services to and from Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata the worst affected. Talks between union representatives of the striking ground crew and engineers with Air India management to end the stand-off were due to take place in New Delhi yesterday. “The strike continues. It’s definitely across the country.

We are not going to buckle under pressure,” Vivek Rao, from the Air Corporation Employees Union, told AFP before Patel spoke. “We are asking for the gag order to be removed.” Air India issued a statement denying the “gag”, saying the media had misinterpreted their demand

that staff not speak to the press about the crash for the sake of the company’s “image and revenues”. The flag carrier is trying to recover heavy losses and improve its market share of the domestic aviation sector, which has been eroded by the growth in private airlines in recent

years. It declared a 55.5 billion rupee (1.16 million dollar) net loss for the financial year to March 2009 and is expected to report a 54-billion rupee loss for the 12 months to March 2010, according to government figures. Last September, Air India pilots staged a five-day strike

against wage cuts, leading to the cancellation of 250 flights. Patel said Air India management should respond “adequately and firmly” to the strike, which he said had been politicized and eroded sympathy among the travelling public. “Air India is free to take decisive and strong action,” he said.— AFP

MUMBAI: A banner carrying a condolence message is displayed at the Air India headquarters in Mumbai yesterday. An Air India Express passenger plane crashed in flames after overshooting the runway in the southern city of Mangalore, killing most of the 166 people on board. —AFP



Thursday, May 27, 2010


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As oil slick spreads, so does frustration By Tom Raum


il spill frustration is rampant. The White House is being pounded for not acting more aggressively in the month-old oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The administration is hitting back, mostly at BP. Louisiana is threatening to take matters into its own hands. The truth is, the government has little direct experience at either the national or state level at stopping deepwater oil leaks - and few realistic options. With the oil flowing and spreading at a furious rate, President Barack Obama has accused BP of having a "breakdown of responsibility." He named a special independent commission to review what happened. But the administration seems to want to have it both ways - insisting it's in charge while also insisting that BP do the heavy lifting. The White House is arguing that government officials aren't just watching from the sidelines but also acknowledging there's just so much the government can do directly. "They are 5,000 feet down. BP or the private sector alone have the means to deal with that problem down there. It's not government equipment that is going to be used to do that," Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen told a White House briefing on Monday. "They are the responsible party. But we have the authority to direct them," he added. There are political risks both ways. If the federal government took control somehow, it would own the problem and any failure would belong to Obama. But the flip side is that Obama could suffer politically if his administration is seen as falling short of staying on top of the problem or not working hard to find a solution. In the past, the government has turned to oil industry experts to deal with oil disasters. It famously recruited legendary oil well fighters Paul N "Red" Adair and Edward "Coots" Matthews to help in the first Iraq war. Retreating Iraqi troops deliberately spilled 1,749 million liters of oil into the Arabian Gulf and set more than 700 oilfield fires. After the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, Congress dictated in the 1990 Oil Pollution Act that oil companies be responsible for dealing with major accidents - including paying for all cleanup - with oversight by federal agencies. That has pretty much been the model ever since. And the administration insists that's exactly what it is doing although clearly not everyone agrees. Anger grows as the slick spreads and washes ashore into environmentally sensitive marshes and waterways. Nerves are frayed and blame-pointing is in full swing. The administration says it is losing patience with BP PLC's efforts. "If we find they're not doing what they're supposed to be doing, we'll push them out of the way appropriately," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters outside BP's headquarters in Houston on

Sunday. Just what did Salazar mean by "push them out of the way?" Officials have struggled since in explaining. "That's more of a metaphor," the Coast Guard's Allen said on Monday. "'Push BP out of the way' would raise the question — replace them with what?" Allen, responsible for oversight of the spill response, said he's frustrated too, along with other Americans. Salazar and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano led a Senate delegation to the region on Monday. "We are going to stay on this and stay on BP until this gets done and it gets done the right way," Napolitano said after flying over the affected area. Louisiana Gov Bobby Jindal, a Republican, has taken swipes at both BP and other oil companies involved in the disaster and the federal government. Jindal said he was going to call out members of the Louisiana National Guard to join state wildlife and fisheries agents to supplement a federal response he called inadequate. In particular, Jindal assailed the US Army Corps of Engineers for failing to sign off on a plan to build a chain of protective sand barriers - or berms - off the coast to help block the oil. "We are not waiting for them. We are going to build it" ourselves, Jindal said. US officials say the Corps is nearing a final decision. The spill began April 20 after the Deepwater Horizon rig owned by deepwater driller Transocean and leased by BP exploded, killing 11 workers. Millions of gallons of oil have spewed from the blown well. Doug Suttles, chief operating officer at BP PLC, made the round of network news shows on Monday with the same message: "We are doing everything we can, everything I know." He said the energy giant, formerly known as British Petroleum, understands and shares everyone's frustration. But history isn't encouraging when it comes to underwater ruptures. The last major spill in the Gulf was in June 1979, when an offshore drilling rig in Mexican waters - the Ixtoc I blew up, releasing 530 million liters of oil. The well was owned by Mexico's state oil company, known as Pemex. It took Pemex and a series of US contractors nearly nine months to cap the well, and a great deal of the oil contaminated Mexican and US waters. If patience is necessary, it isn't a particularly forthcoming quality in these tense times. Even as strong an Obama ally as Democratic consultant James Carville has been taking shots at the administration. A Louisiana native, Carville told CNN the administration was "risking everything by this 'go along with BP' strategy. ... If you let BP handle it ... it's not going to go away. It is a disaster of the first magnitude and they've got to go to Plan B." But so far, there was no Plan B on the table short of waiting until August when two relief wells are expected to reach the oil deep under the ocean floor. — AP

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Turkey's Iran standoff role irks allies By Selcan Hacaoglu


urkey's attempts to mediate Iran's nuclear standoff with the West have evolved into an aggressive effort to forestall new UN sanctions. The assertive campaign is placing Turkey in opposition to longtime allies Israel and the United States. It also raises the question of whether NATO's only Muslim member is becoming less of a bridge between East and West than a powerful international advocate for its neighbors in the Middle East. Turkey and Brazil reached a deal in Tehran a week ago under which Iran would ship much of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey, but it failed to ease concerns in the West that Tehran will continue to enrich uranium to higher levels with the aim of building a nuclear weapon. The US introduced a resolution last week calling for a series of economic and trade restrictions after winning support from China and Russia. That prompted Turkey, a temporary member of the Security Council, to send letters to 26 countries, speaking against sanctions and seeking support for the envisaged swap deal. "Turkey wants to prevent the escalation of tensions with Iran to avoid suffering from it economically," said Nihat Ali Ozcan of the Economic Policy Research Institute in Ankara. "It is also seeking to raise its profile in the Muslim world

but its loyalty is at risk in the eyes of the West." The Obama administration says it appreciates Ankara's efforts and its ability to be an effective interlocutor with Tehran. But officials say they were unhappy with the timing of the deal and Ankara's claim that it met US and UN Security Council demands. The administration's swift response a day later announcing that Security Council powers had reached a deal on new sanctions was intended as a message to Turkey and Brazil as much as to Iran. While Turkey has been eager to portray its mediation as a sign of its growing power on the world stage, its diplomacy could not persuade Security Council members, including China and Russia, to hold off on sanctions against Iran. For Israel, the nuclear swap deal comes at a time when diplomatic relations with Turkey are at a historic low. While Israeli foreign ministry officials declined comment on just how the swap deal would affect Israeli-Turkish diplomatic relations beyond admitting that "it is a factor", government ministers have been direct in their assessment that the deal is a bad one. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking Tuesday before Israel's parliament, described the nuclear swap deal between Brazil, Turkey, and Iran as "a transparent Iranian trick meant to distract world public opinion from sanctions by the Security Council against Iran. We know

this is an empty proposal because Iran keeps in its hands enough uranium to make nuclear weapons, it continues to enrich uranium in its possession to a high percentage, and it reserves the right, according to its proposal, to take back the kilograms of uranium it transferred to Turkey at any time." The Turkish government's involvement comes as another bitter twist in a relationship that has soured in the last 18 months over such events as Israel's offensive in Gaza and deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon's diplomatic snubbing of Turkey's ambassador during a meeting in January of this year. According to Alon Liel, a former Israeli ambassador to Turkey, the relationship between Israel and Turkey has reached such a low point that Turkey's involvement in the Iranian swap deal is unlikely to affect the diplomatic relationship between the two countries - because it can't get any worse. "The crisis is so severe that I don't think this agreement will change anything," he said. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party came to power in 2002 in a landslide victory and, despite the country's traditional alliance with the West, has expanded relations with Muslim countries, lifting entry visas with Syria and Libya, while criticizing its ally and friend Israel for what it says is excessive use of power against Palestinians - and earning respect in

the broader Muslim world. Israel had long supplied and upgraded Turkey's military equipment while Turkey allowed Israeli pilots to train over the larger Turkish airspace. Erdogan walked off the stage last year after berating Israel's President Shimon Peres at an international gathering in Davos, Switzerland, over the war in Gaza. He quickly became a hero in the Muslim world with protesters chanting his name in street demonstrations. That applause was meaningful for a nation whose ancestors held the seat of the Caliphate, the spiritual leader of world's Muslims, for four centuries during the Ottoman Empire. The government also hosted shunned Hamas political leaders and mediated between Israel and Syria, which demands the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Golan Heights as a condition for peace. It has sent soldiers to Afghanistan and Lebanon but placed them under strict orders not to fight with fellow Muslims. Despite all the rhetoric, Turkey is far from a break with the West. It has vast interests intricately woven into NATO and the European Union. Turkey has a customs union agreement with its top trading partner, Europe, and wants to become part of the EU. But there is no doubt that the tone in Turkey's foreign policy is changing. Although the United States has been its chief ally since the Cold

War, Turkey opposed the US invasion of Iraq through Turkish soil, triggering tensions with Washington. Until the late 1990s, Turkish relations with Iran were tense, with its secular, westernized government accusing Tehran of trying to export its radical Islamic regime to this predominantly Muslim but secular country. Today, Turkey wants to build deeper trade ties with Iran. "Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, is hoping that Erdogan would confront the West on his behalf," said Meir Javedanfar, an Israel-based Middle East analyst and co-author of "The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and The State of Iran." Turkey's enthusiasm for European Union membership has eroded in the face of European skepticism about admitting a large Muslim country. And it resents pressure from the West to reckon with the uglier aspects of its past, by making peace with Armenians and acknowledge that mass killings of Armenians at the turn of the century were genocide - a claim strongly denied by Turkey. Some other thorny EU demands are granting more rights to minority Kurds and withdrawing Turkish troops from Cyprus, which was divided into Turkish and Greek sectors after Turkish troops invaded it in the wake of coup seeking to unite the island with Greece in 1974. — AP

20 years after unity, Yemen struggles for survival By Raissa Kasolowsky


emen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh this week marked 20 years ruling a united Yemen, but has little to celebrate in a country buckling under the pressure of separatist, sectarian and Al-Qaeda violence. Pro-unity billboards lining the streets of the capital Sanaa - "Strength in unity and unity in strength!" - serve as a soft warning to Yemenis not to challenge the state, whose government has strong Western backing and a history of quashing dissent. But they also underline challenges the government faces including struggles with northern Shiite rebels, southern secessionists and Al-Qaeda, any of which could spiral to threaten the state's survival. All that is exacerbated by a foundering economy. "There are the challenges to Yemen that we spend all of our time talking about-the south, Al-Qaeda or the war in Saada - but there is also a failing economy, resources depletion, population growth, unemployment," said Christopher Boucek, an expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "These are what will overwhelm the state. It won't be terrorism or the traditional security challenges." The cash-strapped Yemeni government is almost powerless to meet the needs and demands of most of its people in a heavily armed society that is growing increasingly discontent and sometimes takes its struggles to the street. One in three of Yemen's 23 million people suffer chronic hunger,

Women walk past a minivan decorated with a picture of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on May 22, 2010 as Yemen marks the 20th anniversary of the unification of north and south Yemen. – AFP according to UN aid agencies, and skyhigh unemployment - more than half of 15- to 24-year-olds are out of work means few people can help themselves. The ranks of the poor include nearly 270,000 people displaced by northern fighting, most of whom have not returned to their homes despite a February truce to end a war that raged since 2004. Refugees from war-torn Somalia add yet more strain. "This regime is focused on its sur-

vival, there is no doubt about that," a Western diplomat in Sanaa said. Violence between government forces and separatists in the south is nearing its worst level since a 1994 civil war, and a crackdown on a resurgent AlQaeda, whose regional wing has its base in the country, has been only partly successful. North and South Yemen united in 1990 under Saleh, who took power in the former North Yemen in 1978. Many

in the south, home to most Yemeni oil facilities, feel northerners have commandeered their resources and are denying them their identity and political rights. Sanaa often resorts to military means to quash dissent, but the government has recently appeared ready to do whatever it takes, including talking to opponents in the south, if it means it will stay in power. After all, a divided Yemen would not necessarily dissolve into two -South and North but more likely into a number of entities, which could lead to more violence among southern factions and potentially a destabilising civil war. "For Saleh, the unity of Yemen is non-negotiable and defending it is top priority. The president would divert all resources necessary to prevent secession," said Nicole Stracke at the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai. In an anniversary speech on Friday, Saleh appeared to want to appease his opponents, announcing an amnesty for nearly 300 imprisoned Houthis, southern separatists and journalists, and saying he wanted to open Yemen's political process to all. Though Yemen's opposition largely welcomed the move, albeit with some scepticism, southern media played a different tune. "The issue of the south must be recognised and dealt with for what it is in reality, not how the government wants to market it to the outside world," a journalist wrote on a southern opposition website in response to Saleh's speech. Saleh's powerful foreign allies have no interest in seeing Yemen break up,

especially as Al-Qaeda wing tries to make its comeback from the Arabian Peninsula state, where powerful tribes hold much sway. "The international community is clearly in favour of having a unified Yemen," said Theodore Karasik, of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. "Splitting up again would be too shocking for the country and the region." Both the United States and Britain support Yemeni unity. Saudi Arabia, which in the 1994 war backed the south, now backs Saleh's Sanaa-based government. International alarm over instability in Yemen peaked in December when Al-Qaeda claimed an attempted bombing of a US-bound plane. "Countries splitting in half makes everyone nervous ... it would just create an even more chaotic, decentralised environment in southern Arabia, and that's just something that nobody sees any benefit in," said Eurasia Group's David Bender. "In terms of there being any support for the south, I don't know where that would come from. There would be overwhelming support to the north in order to prevent a southern secession." With next to no hope of drumming up international backing for its cause, Yemen's southern separatist movement is also far too divided and poor to pose a serious threat to the government. Yemenis have supported unity as a natural reflex, seeing it as vital for the country's future. "We need unity," said Mohammed, a textiles and coffee trader from Sanaa. "If we don't have unity, we will not have security." — Reuters


Thursday, May 27, 2010


South Africa's troubled Zuma faces new battles By Peroshni Govender


he not-so-private life of President Jacob Zuma, a war in South Africa's ruling party and policy vagueness are raising questions over his leadership a year into office and stirring a barely hidden succession battle. While the World Cup may prove a welcome distraction next month, politicking could undermine economic policy stability and make it even harder to address the growing grievances of restive black townships 16 years after the end of apartheid. There is no suggestion yet that Zuma will not serve out his full term until 2013, but his chances of a second have certainly diminished just over two years away from the leadership contest in the ruling African National Congress (ANC). The battle within the ruling alliance involves the Communist Party and labour federation COSATU, which supported Zuma for the presidency but are disappointed at his failure to change economic policies to give greater benefit to the poor. Although Zuma has appointed left-wingers to cabinet, overall policy is little different from under his pro-business predecessor, Thabo Mbeki - a fact not lost on markets. The rand weakened after Zuma became ANC leader in 2007, with investors fearing a radical policy shift, but the currency strengthened after he

South African President Jacob Zuma addresses the media during a press conference held with his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika (unseen) at the presidential headquarters on Tuesday in Algiers. – AFP took office until the eurozone crisis drove money from riskier assets globally. Although there was no big policy change, investors are still unsure how Zuma can meet promises of better lives for the poor given very modest growth since South Africa emerged from its first recession in 17 years in the third quarter of last year. "Investors would rather see a much deeper reform of the expenditure and reprioritising, combined with greater competi-

tiveness reform, but a path of tax hikes and greater spending may well be the least worst option," said Peter Attard Montalto, emerging market economist at Nomura International. It is the affable Zuma's private life, however, that has most shaken those nearest the president. In January, he defended his fifth marriage as normal for a practicing Zulu polygamist but then had to deal with revelations he had a 20th child out of

wedlock with a friend's daughter. Zuma's camp was caught unawares as South Africans of all races criticised his actions. It also undermined the government's safe sex campaign to tackle one of the world's highest HIV/AIDS rates. "He is not good for the ANC's image. Many in the party realise that they have backed the wrong horse," said one senior ANC official, a former ardent supporter who said he was now becoming frustrated with the presiden-

t's lack of direction. The party that liberated South Africa from decades of white minority rule elects a new leader in 2012, and Communist Party chief Blade Nzimande now higher education minister and COSATU head Zwelinzima Vavi appear to be lining up for a bid. Other candidates for the ANC leadership - and by implication the next South African president - could include Tokyo Sexwale, a billionaire businessman who is now housing minister in Zuma's cabinet. With the most money, Sexwale is in the best position to put up a formidable campaign but he lacks the crucial support from the ANC's left leaning allies. "Zuma is likely to try and fight for another term and may well be forced to give up more in terms of policy to the left in order to do so," Attard Montalto said. Zuma can no longer count on the unconditional support of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, recently critical of Zuma and fined by the party this month after inflammatory and racially tinged comments. He leads a bloc of 600,000 card carrying members who are often seen as kingmakers in party elections. But despite having a bad year, political analysts said Zuma's support base among the millions of poor and the ANC's top brass should not be underestimated. "He will go through for a second term," said Mohau Pheko of consulting company

Four Rivers. "The party is so divided now that he has become the only uniting force. Backing another candidate could only further destabilise the ANC." Whatever the outcome of the tussle for control, it can only divert attention from the economic policy challenges. A quarter of South Africans are unemployed, the gap between rich and poor is one of the world's widest. Last year, over one million jobs were lost in mining and manufacturing. More job cuts are forecast for 2010. The month-long World Cup, which starts on June 11, will provide only a limited boost. Visitor estimates have been cut from 450,000 to 300,000, due to the global financial crisis. Projections are for an immediate 13 billion rand ($1.65 billion) cash injection into the local economy, and much larger long-terms gains from improved infrastructure, but many South Africans wonder whether the 40 billion rand cost was worth it. Almost daily demonstrations in shanty towns to demand better homes, schools and clinics highlight the disaffection. "When I look at the new stadiums, it makes me angry," said Buhle Ndima, 28, an unemployed mother-of-two from Soweto, a Johannesburg township. "Why couldn't the government build houses for us instead of fancy stadiums for foreigners?" — Reuters

Germany prepares for worst in eurozone crisis By Paul Carrel


ermany's push for an orderly insolvency process for indebted euro zone states suggests Berlin is assuming the worst: that one of its peers - most likely Greece - will default on its debt repayments. But by pressing for a process to deal with a potential default, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her finance minister are showing they want to hold the euro zone together rather than eject deficit sinners. Merkel, in the same speech in which she said "the euro is in danger", called last week for the euro zone to develop "a process for an orderly state insolvency". Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble - a veteran from former chancellor Helmut Kohl's era and passionate defender of the euro zone - has also embraced the orderly insolvency idea publicly. Their comments show they believe Europe's $1 trillion safety net for the euro zone's members is a stop-gap measure that will need supplementing with an overhaul of its fiscal architecture to uphold the currency area's integrity in the long-term. "Greece, in my view, will eventually default, and so Germany and France will have to find a way to let Athens default without bringing down the banking system," said Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of respected German weekly Die Zeit. "Orderly insolvency is not supposed to kick out Greece, but to keep it in," he added. The term 'orderly insolvency' picks up on an idea pitched earlier this year by Deutsche Bank chief economist Thomas Mayer, who raised the idea of 'orderly default' in a proposal he coauthored to create a European Monetary Fund (EMF). Schaeuble borrowed Mayer's EMF idea and is now pushing the insolvency

concept as well. Stark though the term may sound, Schaeuble appears to be preparing a way to manage a potentially bankrupt euro zone state within the currency bloc rather than seeking to eject it. Mayer said his focus in calling for a European Monetary Fund had been on managing the restructuring of overindebted euro zone countries to safeguard against systemic effects, rather than them quitting the currency club. Countries' contributions to an EMF would be linked to their deficit and debt levels, under his proposal, with countries that breach the European Union's fiscal rules paying in more. Merkel has embraced the concept, telling parliament last week that with a process for orderly insolvency of euro zone countries "... we would create an important incentive for euro zone member states to keep their budgets in order". It would be good to set up an EMF soon, Mayer said, to supplement the euro zone safety net and a Greek aid package. "As long as we don't have a plan B, namely a plan for how to handle countries that are insolvent and not just suffering from a liquidity problem, the markets will doubt whether the policy approach is complete, whether it is convincing," Mayer told Reuters. Highlighting the economic challenges facing other euro zone states, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday Spain must make far-reaching reforms if it is to make its economy competitive again and prop up a fragile recovery. Italy on Tuesday joined Greece, Spain and Portugal in enacting programs to slash budget deficits, trying to prevent contagion spreading from the Greek debt crisis. To avoid any financial market trouble coming its way, France has also unveiled plans to

ensure that tackling its ballooning deficit is enshrined in the French constitution, bringing France closer to Germany's approach on state deficits. "The performance of the French economy is somewhere between those of Germany and of the countries currently faced with doubts about fiscal sustainability," said Niels Thygesen, professor of economics at the University of Copenhagen. "Hence, more budgetary rigor, possibly boosted by anchoring it in the constitution, must be seen as a strategy to devise better protection against being lumped with the crisis-prone economies," he added. Germany has gained some traction

with its push for tighter euro zone fiscal measures, with EU finance ministers on Friday backing a German call for tougher sanctions in future against states that flout the bloc's budget rules. Changes to the EU treaty may be needed to set up an EMF and Merkel believes these are unavoidable if the bloc wants to learn from the Greek debt crisis. But such changes may be hard to bring about. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily that Germany's aim to modify the EU treaty is "naive" because it could prompt other member states to pro-

pose other changes. British Prime Minister David Cameron said in Berlin last week that Britain "wouldn't agree to any arrangements or treaty that drew us further into supporting the euro area", stressing that this would require unanimous support of all 27 EU member states - "including the UK, which of course has a veto". "The hurdle in all talk of rebuilding fiscal discipline in the euro area is that at some point you will need a new treaty," said Deutsche Bank economist Gilles Moec. "You have to renegotiate it with all 27 members of the EU and ... there were quite clear words from David Cameron last week." — Reuters

Again, Obama seeks China's help By Barry Schweid


ith the two Koreas nose to nose, the Obama administration again is looking to China for diplomatic help to avert a military confrontation, dramatizing the United States' increasing reliance on an Asian nation that is gaining increasing international heft. Even as the Obama administration maneuvers for a UN sanctions resolution with China's support against Iran, the US is turning to China to restrain North Korea in a serious flare-up over the sinking of a South Korean ship. China, under intense US lobbying, already has agreed to sanctions to try to keep Iran from making nuclear weapons. It remains to be seen how far China will go, however, in striking at the Iranian economy. Preliminary talks are under way in New York. So now, coming down the tracks, is a fierce dispute between South Korea and North Korea over the sinking in March of a South Korean warship in which 46 sailors died. The Obama administration is trying to persuade the international community to condemn the attack and even seeking sanctions against North Korea. There also is a hint of stronger action in the air. The White House said President Barack Obama had directed military commanders to work with South Korea "to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression." And the Pentagon said joint US-South Korean exercises

would take place in the near future. But so far, despite appeals for backing in Beijing from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, China took a boilerplate stand. Chinese State Counselor Dai Bigguo said: "Relevant parties should calmly and appropriately handle the issue and avoid escalation of the situation." China habitually is cautious about lending its support to international causes, and then acts strictly according to what it perceives as its interests. Prominent among those interests is stability in the region. For instance, China benefits from massive oil shipments from Iran and is naturally reluctant to act against its supplier. But should Iran acquire nuclear weapons, the Mideast and Arabian Gulf could become inflamed and oil traffic might be interrupted. China would not be spared from the suffering. China is North Korea's neighbor, rare friend and longtime ally. If anyone could sway North Korea, China might. China has worked alongside the United States, Japan, South Korea and Russia to try to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program in exchange for economic concessions. Now Clinton is trying to coax China into taking a more active role in restraining North Korea in the warship flare-up and in deterring an attack on the South. She has appealed to what she sees as China's best interests. "No one," she said, "is more concerned about peace and stability in this region than the Chinese." — AP

Budget will meet targets, hurt Berlusconi By Gavin Jones


taly's austerity package approved on Tuesday contains real cuts and will probably lower the budget deficit as targeted but may also accelerate the recent decline in popularity of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Italy's need for fiscal adjustment is less urgent than that of Greece, Spain and Portugal and its measures are accordingly less draconian, but they should still protect its sovereign debt against market volatility, at least in the short term. Analysts would have preferred to see more structural steps such as legislation to raise the average retirement age, currently around 61, and measures to increase Italy's notoriously low economic growth potential. However, unlike many Italian budgets of the past, most of the main measures, such as the public sector staff and salary cuts and the reduced funding for local government, can be expected to produce the savings targeted. "The combination of these austerity measures with even a mediocre improvement in

growth should be enough to bring the deficit below 3 percent of GDP by 2012," said

Deutsche Bank economist Gilles Moec. The package hits public

employees, in particular, by blocking salary rises for three years while replacing only one

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi arrives with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov (unseen) prior to their meeting May 21, 2010 at Palazzo Chigi in Rome. – AFP

in five of those who leave. Workers who had earned the right to retire are forced to work an extra six months and public services will be hurt by deep cuts in the funding of city and regional governments. No details were released after the cabinet meeting, but the main features of the budget had already been announced. From an economic point of view, the reliance on spending cuts rather than taxes hikes or amnesties is to be welcomed. The tax burden is already at record levels above 43 percent of GDP and public spending, at 52.5 percent, has also has been rising steadily and is notoriously inefficient. But while economists might applaud - at least quietly - millions of Italians will not, with a probable backlash for Berlusconi and perhaps also for government stability. Even as Italy went through its worst post-war recession, the 73 year-old media tycoon's approval ratings remained stubbornly high, seemingly invulnerable to economic woes and scandals over his private life. However, his popularity has recently fallen sharply as the

extent of the looming cuts became clear. The most recent poll, by the ISPO agency on Monday, showed only 35 percent thought the government had performed well, down from 50 percent a year ago. After keeping an uncharacteristically low profile during the budget's preparation, the prime minister must now try to convince Italians yet again that the future is rosy, even as their salaries and frontline services are cut. Berlusconi, who owns Italy's three main commercial television channels and controls state broadcaster RAI, is famous for his communication skills. But the task may still be beyond him, with unpredictable consequences for stability. The centre-right coalition is already creaking. Berlusconi is at loggerheads with right-wing leader Gianfranco Fini, cofounder of his People of Freedom party, and the proautonomy Northern League suspect he will not keep his pledge to devolve fiscal powers to the regions. These tensions will only increase if Berlusconi's popularity goes into free fall, increasing the risk of a government collapse. — Reuters


Malaysia subsidy cuts hobbled by politics By Razak Ahmad and Royce Cheah


alaysia's government is unlikely to start unwinding its costly subsidy regime this year ahead of key state polls and risks losing further credibility with investors if a decision is deferred. A cabinet meeting yesterday is to discuss subsidies, which have more than doubled from 2006 and chew up 15.3 percent of federal government spending, according to official data. Officials have told Reuters any cuts are likely to be phased in over five years. With the National Front government that has ruled Malaysia for 52 years still reeling from record election losses in 2008 and a string of by-election defeats, there is a risk it will flinch on cuts, perhaps until it has a new electoral mandate. Prime Minister Najib Razak has pledged to reform subsidies and restructure the Malaysian economy, although he has announced few firm details. "Any increase will become a major political issue so I expect a very gradual hike spread out over a few years," said political analyst Shaharuddin Badaruddin. "Even if Najib chooses to begin fuel price hikes this year before the Sarawak (state) elections, it will be very minimal." Malaysia posted its biggest budget deficit in more than 20 years at 7 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 as a result of the global economic slowdown as well as subsidy spending on petrol and food which has more than doubled since 2006. Based on a gradual reduction in subsidies that could see petrol prices hiked by an initial 15 cents a litre hike for the 1.80 ringgit a litre RON95 blend, followed by semi-annual price rises of 10 cents a litre, Bank Islam economist, Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajuddin said inflation would peak at 3.8 percent in 2011. "If all the subsidy cuts are made however, I don't rule out the possibility of inflation growth for 2011 hitting not far from 5 percent," he said. The prospect of those kind of price hikes would be hard for voters to swallow, especially in Sarawak state which provides 29

of the government's 137 MPs. Sarawak and Sabah states on Borneo island provided a bulwark against the 2008 political tsunami that saw the opposition win over a third of parliament seats and rule five of Malaysia's 13 states, an unprecedented showing. "If Najib can hold off any sharp increases in the prices of goods and services, then it would be to his advantage to hold off major subsidy cuts until after the next general election," said Ibrahim Suffian, director at pollster the Merdeka Center. But Ibrahim added that a long-drawn out reduction in the pace of subsidy reform poses its own risks due to the possibility of discontent festering toward the ruling coalition in the event of a sudden surge in global oil prices or inflation. Barclays Capital forecasts that US crude oil will average $85 a barrel this year, $97 in 2011, $106 in 2012 and $137 in the long term. In June 2008, annual inflation accelerated to a record 8.5 percent after the government implemented its biggest one-time petrol price hike of 40 percent as oil prices surged beyond $140 per barrel. Fuel takes up the biggest chunk of Malaysia's subsidy spending at 47.8 percent of the 20.9 billion ringgit for this year and is the most politically sensitive. Najib's predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who led the government to a record win at the 2004 general election, raised fuel prices four times with RON-97 gasoline prices (then the benchmark) rising 90 percent from May 2005 to June 2008. Despite mitigating measures such as cuts in vehicle road taxes, Abdullah's approval ratings dipped, leading to the historic poll losses in 2008. Even though Abdullah cut prices a total of seven times, the damage was already done and he was forced from office in April last year to be replaced by Najib, who has consistently sounded a reformist economic agenda. While Malaysia dithered, in 2005, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hiked petrol prices by 125 percent in one go to stem the country's huge subsidy bill and although it retains some element of subsidies plans to curb them. — Reuters

Tainted Rudd: Labor mulling new leader By Sid Astbury, dpa


ustralians are beginning to think the unthinkable: Kevin Rudd could be the first prime minister in 80 years to be voted out after just one term in government. The Labor leader, last year trumpeted as the most popular prime minister since opinion polling started, is now unloved enough that some sniff a push to replace him with his deputy, Julia Gillard. Half the respondents to a poll published this week thought Rudd should continue in the top job, but one-third reckoned his coolly competent education minister should be given a go at improving Labor's fortunes in time for the parliamentary election later this year. The poll dip is deep enough to oblige Laborites to swear allegiance to Rudd, who led them to their victory at the Nov 2007 parliamentary election. "I'm absolutely happy and have no questions about fronting up to my voters on the basis of our record and our leader, Kevin Rudd, and saying this is why you should vote Labor," Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner said when discounting a change. Gillard, who would become just the first female prime minister in the world's sixth oldest democracy, has also felt the need to declare that Rudd will be striker at the election expected in November. This week's poll showing a further lurch in Rudd's standing follows one last week that revealed Labor neck-and-neck with the Liberal-led conservative coalition it replaced in 2007. Despite the polling, Liberal leader Tony Abbott said he was "very, very confident" of entering the election campaign as the underdog - and has every reason for that confidence. Abbott is the third Liberal leader in less than three years and disenchantment with Rudd is also favouring the Greens. "However good a job Abbott is doing as Opposition leader since he took over the position late

last year, the team around him doesn't look nearly ready for government," said author and political commentator Peter van Onselen. The party is divided on climate change, which Abbott himself famously called "absolute crap." And, after three bruising leadership contests, the Liberal frontbench is short on talent. Abbott could not take much comfort from a transfer to Gillard, Labor's best parliamentary performer and a gifted communicator. The Liberals are trying to paint her as co-author of Labor's fall from grace. "Both of them are in effect equally a part of it," Abbott said. "Sure, a lot of people think that Julia Gillard is a more effective advocate, but it's the same dodgy policies." Rudd was riding high until December's Copenhagen conference on climate change ended in failure. He termed global warming the "greatest moral challenge of our time" but was punished when he shrank from that challenge after the Copenhagen collapse. By dumping plans for a national emissions trading scheme, Rudd was called craven, gutless and a leader who either had no courage or no convictions. Tom Switzer, editor of the Spectator Australia, said "it's difficult to identify anything (he) seems genuinely to believe, other than his own political success" and that Rudd has "no sense of philosophical identity, conviction and inner core." The condemnation is translating into poll free-fall. "Brand Rudd is looking tarnished and Gillard has that Teflon coat," the Sun Herald newspaper editorialized. "It is a blow to Rudd that before he faces his first election as leader, 34 per cent of voters including 30 per cent of Labor supporters - want a switch to Gillard." Labor heavyweights deny a move against Rudd, but analysts expect hints that a reelected Rudd would make way for Gillard midway through his second term. — dpa



Space shuttle Atlantis back after final voyage CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida: The shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth yesterday from the final space flight of its 25-year career, marking the beginning of a bittersweet end for NASA’s storied space shuttle program. Shuttle commander Ken Ham touched the spacecraft down at 8:48 am (1248 GMT), completing a flawless landing on the runway at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. As it descended toward Earth, Atlantis glided over the south Pacific, Panama and the western tip of Cuba before reaching Florida and the space center, and was “rock solid on the final approach,” center director Robert Cabana said. Space officials had words of high praise for Ham’s handling of the space vehicle. “That looked pretty sweet,” said Charlie Hobaugh, who as NASA’s “capsule communicator” is generally the only person who interacts directly with a shuttle crew during a spaceflight. Yesterday’s landing caps the 25-year career of one of NASA’s iconic spacecrafts. Two more shuttle flights are currently scheduled including one by Discovery in September and one for Endeavour in November. Then, the three orbiters are set to be retired after three decades of service with the US refocusing its space program. Officials from NASA, however, have not

ruled an additional mission for Atlantis to fly once more. Atlantis will be in a backup role during the Endeavour mission, and could also make an additional space flight if the White House and Congress agree on this, noted Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator. NASA officials celebrating the end of the Atlantis mission also lamented the approaching end to the shuttle program. “I think we were all struck by the fact that it might be the last landing of Atlantis,” said launch director Mike Leinbach. “We have doing the launching and landing for 30 years... so there is not just a technical fascination... there is an emotional tie to it,” he added. “But the budget is what it is and the next mission will dictate the architecture of that vehicle whatever might be, I just hope it comes quickly.” The shuttle uncoupled from the orbiting International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday after delivering 12 tonnes of supplies and equipment. The ISS, a joint project involving 16 countries, has cost around $100 billion, mostly funded by the United States. The six-member shuttle crew unloaded a crucial communications antenna, power storage batteries and a radiator during their rendezvous with the orbiting space station. The biggest single item was the five-tonne Rassvet research module, or MRM-1, which

will provide additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. The Rassvet - “Dawn” in Russian - was permanently attached to the bottom of the space station’s Zarya module. It carries important hardware on its exterior including a radiator, airlock and a European robotic arm. Atlantis astronauts completed three spacewalks during the mission. During the final one on Friday, they plugged a new ammonia jumper cable into the station, transferred a grapple fixture from the shuttle to the station and reconfigured some tools. Atlantis logged some five million miles on the mission, its 32nd. Officials said that as of yesterday, it had logged a total of 120 million miles during its quarter-century long career. US President Barack Obama has opted not to fund a successor program, which would have sent humans back to the moon, and instead opted to encourage development of private spacecraft. He also laid out plans to send astronauts into Mars orbit within the next three decades. Once the shuttle program ends, the United States will rely on Russian Soyuz rockets to carry its astronauts to the space station until a commercial US launcher can be developed. That is scheduled for 2015. — AFP

But the hazards are similar across the region. Wealthy local investors in traditional white dishdasha robes and sandals congregate in stock exchange pits, chatting with friends and calling in bids on the back of the latest rumors. It’s a challenge to profit in markets largely populated by excitable small-time day traders, where stock moves can seem totally random and company news can come first not by official announcement, but in a nod from friends and family. For those who have the guts and the resource to venture in and do their own research, however, some argue that Gulf markets may have potential to offer foreign investors returns that are uncorrelated to global stocks. Looking beyond the shock of Dubai’s debt crisis, investors in the world’s top oil exporting region see some of the most compelling stories globally, especially in Saudi Arabia and Qatar whose benchmark indexes surged early in the year. A May sell-off has wiped out these gains, with Qatar now down 4.5 percent year-to-date and Saudi Arabia down 5.9 percent, but both have outperformed a near-13 percent decline in the MSCI emerging markets index. The region’s young population, flush with cash from this century’s oil price boom, gives much of it an enticing demographic and economic outlook: Qatar’s economy is forecast to grow by more than 18 percent in 2010 according to an April estimate from the International Monetary Fund (IMF); Saudi Arabia has embarked on a $400 billion infrastructure spending program as it seeks to diversify from energy. Universities, science and technology parks and supermarket chains are among the projects attracting foreign investors to an investment story that, while it may be underpinned by oil, runs from infrastructure to finance and consumer goods. “Gulf markets do not command a valuation premium because the transparency is not great,” said Ghadir Abu LeilCooper, Head of EMEA Equities at Baring Asset Management. “We believe that in the next decade, because of these demographics and the infrastructure spend, these markets should open up and there should be better corporate transparency.” After trading at a discount to the developed world since late 2008, the MSCI Arabian markets index trailing p-e ratio of just over 20 times at end-April was a nose ahead of developed markets. Where the global crisis has brought equity markets crashing down in unison, some analysts believe Middle East stocks could return to a historic trend that is - at least to a degree - decoupled from world and emerging markets. For this to happen, oil prices would have to arrest a recent sharp slide. The strong link between Gulf equities and oil, itself closely tied to the world economy, means Middle East

stocks are to an extent driven by global fundamentals. Haissam Arabi, chief executive and fund manager at Gulfmena Alternative Investments in Dubai, argues that today’s investment environment is similar to that of early last decade. Then developed economies slashed interest rates to stimulate growth in the wake of the dot-com crash, and Saudi stocks surged as oil prices rallied. “Bank deposit rates were at 0.5 percent, so investors chased dividend yields,” Arabi said. “Nothing has changed, it’s just that the magnitude of this crisis was higher and more prolonged - it’s the same boom-bubble-burst scenario. “We are correlated to major news on global markets - at any point there will be a correlation, but it’s the magnitude of correlation that matters.” US crude oil is expected to average $81.06 a barrel in 2010, according to a Reuters poll in April: oil is trading at around $68 now. Growing demand in emerging economies, especially China, are prime drivers. “Qatar leaves China in its dust,” said Daniel Tubbs, co-manager on Blackrock’s emerging market fund, which handles in excess of $2 billion in emerging markets and whose investments include Qatar and Saudi stocks. “Qatar has been growing extremely rapidly. Although it may not sustain that rate forever, we think it is a lot more sustainable than a lot of other markets in the Middle East.” The population of Qatar, already the world’s richest per capita thanks to its exports of liquefied natural gas, is expected to nearly double to 3 million by 2022. Saudi Arabia’s economy is forecast by the IMF to expand 3.7 percent this year, while more than a third of its 29 million people are under 15 and its population is growing by nearly 2 percent a year. “From our point of view, it’s an underdeveloped consumer story,” said Baring’s Leil-Cooper. “With high oil prices, there is enough cash to carry on with infrastructure investment to support the population growth.” Whatever happens with oil prices, the ride can get hairy. “Liquidity for us is always a concern,” said Blackrock’s Tubbs. “We only invest in a company if we deem it is liquid enough that we can get in - and more importantly get out - within the space of a week. We typically only look at companies if they trade more than $5 million a day.” To illustrate: the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange reported average daily turnover of 279.9 million dirhams ($76.20 million) in 2009, while the Dubai Financial Market saw 694 million dirhams of trading daily, with about 130 stocks listed on the markets combined. Like other investors in frontier markets, Tubbs says investing in the region involves a lot of work on due diligence and old-fashioned tyre-kicking. Then there’s the challenge of keeping a cool head. In opaque markets where corporate governance is lacking, greed and

Kuwait has seen a sharp rise in power consumption over the past few years, but due to a lack of new projects to meet rising demand the state is now bracing itself for power cuts in the peak summer months when temperatures typically soar to around 50 degrees Celsius. Kuwait currently has a power production capacity of around 11,000 megawatts. Last September, the state signed a $2.7 billion deal with General Electric and South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries to build its first new power plant in two decades. The gas-fired plant at Subbiya, north of Kuwait City, will have 2,000 megawatts of generation capacity when it is fully operational in mid-2012. Prime Minister HH Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said in September that Kuwait aims to double its power generation capacity to more than 20,000 megawatts over the next five years.

The state’s planned spending on power projects until 2015 is estimated at $27 billion. The OPEC member, which operates a cradle-to-grave welfare policy for Kuwaiti nationals, sells power at highly subsidised rates to its 1.1 million citizens and 2.35 million foreign residents. The Assembly also overwhelmingly passed a law calling to set up public shareholding companies to build 10 towns for single expatriate labour to keep them away from populated areas inhabited by families. MPs also passed a law to determine spending in the first of the four-year development plan in accordance with budget projections for the current fiscal year. The law stipulates that capital spending in the current fiscal year which began in April will be KD 7.72 billion, of which KD 5 billion to be contributed by the government and the rest by the private sector. The sum will be spent on 885 projects of different sizes and in various sectors, with oil projects accounting for

Continued from Page 1 authority through political demagoguery,” Prikhodko added. He rubbished the suggestion by Ahmadinejad that Russia was adopting a pro-American stance in the nuclear crisis. “Our position is Russian, it reflects the interests of all the peoples of Russia and thus it is neither pro-American nor pro-Iranian.” Russian news agencies said Prikhodko’s remarks were a comment on Ahmadinejad’s speech, in which the Iranian president also said the nuclear fuel deal provided an “historic opportunity” to his American counterpart. President Barack Obama “should bear in mind that if

he does not use this opportunity, Iranians are unlikely to give him a new chance,” Ahmadinejad said. “There are people in the world and in America who insist on pitting Mr Obama against Iranians and push him to the point of no return and force him to do something which will forever block the path of friendship with Iranians,” he said. Iran and the United States have not had diplomatic relations for three decades. Western governments have been dismissive of the nuclear fuel deal, arguing that the international community needs to keep up the pressure on Tehran to heed UN Security Council demands over its nuclear program. Iran is already under

three sets of UN sanctions over its refusal to suspend the sensitive process, which lies at the centre of Western fears that the programme is cover for a drive for a nuclear weapon. Iran denies any such ambition, insisting that the program is for power generation and medical purposes only. On Monday, Iran formally notified the International Atomic Energy Agency of its agreement to the nuclear fuel swap deal, under which it would ship some low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for higher grade fuel for a Tehran research reactor. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Iran’s letter to the UN watchdog had “a number of deficiencies.” — Agencies

US Bahrain base to double in size Continued from Page 1 US, Bahrain, and the entire region. Today’s ceremony is a demonstration of America’s commitment to a common shared future,” US Ambassador to Bahrain, Adam Ereli, said during the ground breaking ceremony at Mina Salman port. “The United States would not be dedicating this kind of resources if we did not have full confidence in Bahrain as an ally and a partner. Not only will this project contribute to the safety and security of our two nations and the entire region, but it also represents a significant US invest-

Continued from Page 1 fear reign supreme and the herd mentality is prevalent. Unlike in developed markets, sudden, inexplicable price moves only rarely generate company statements and with insider trader rife, nervous investors are easy to panic. Kuwait has 17 newspapers competing for news, so financial pages are full of unsourced reports - the big ones could have up to 15 stories about takeovers, earnings, dividends. Some are accurate, some not, but most are market moving. Investors can bid for shares without having the cash to buy them and offer stock for sale without owning it, while regulatory regimes across the region are typically weak. One classic ruse is for a group of wealthy investors to target a particular small-cap stock. They will buy and sell an agreed amount of shares at increasing prices so they are each left with the same positions, only with the stock now at a higher price. This surge will tempt unwitting buyers, who get dumped on as the original players cash in. “This happens every single day and we’re talking about stinking rich investors,” said one Kuwait broker, speaking on condition of anonymity. After years of stalemate, Kuwait’s parliament in February passed a bill to create a capital markets authority (CMA). This will separate regulatory and trading functions and ensure more transparency to protect minority shareholder rights while it can also impose fines of up to 100,000 dinars ($348,600) and prison sentences of up to five years. “The CMA (is) not going to slap big fines or prison sentences on these players because they’re too powerful,” the broker added. “Instead, it will give them a warning and hopefully eventually put an end to this practice.” In Saudi Arabia, too, it’s easy for high net worth investors to manipulate stocks. For example on May 8, the market fell 4.4 percent as the Greek debt crisis soured global sentiment, but some traders said big-buck players had exacerbated the fall with large sell orders which frightened the less well-informed retail investors who make up 90 percent of the market. That bout of panic selling enabled the big players to pick up shares at a significant discount. The Saudi capital markets authority is becoming more proactive - the country’s third largest retail investor, reputed to be worth some $2 billion, was last June ordered to pay nearly $1 million after being found guilty of insider trading - but analysts say it acts too slowly to create an effective deterrent. Corporate governance regulations are still voluntary for listed firms. One Kuwaiti analyst said dealing in these markets is like a game of musical chairs: “When the music stops there’s a man left standing with all the shares,” he said. “The biggest problem is that people don’t see anything wrong with this - it’s part of the investment culture and will take a lot to change.” — Reuters

Kuwait privatizes new power plants Continued from Page 1

Iran, Russia clash in worst row for years

ment in the economy of Bahrain creating jobs and income for thousands of Bahrainis,” he said. The project is expected to take five years to complete, with construction contracts and jobs largely coming from the local Bahraini population. The first phase of construction, which is scheduled for completion by late 2012, will see the development of site utilities and a utilities building, a perimeter wall and a pass and ID gate. For the second phase port operations and a harbour patrol unit facility will be built, along with a small-craft basin. Beginning in the summer of 2011, the third phase will focus on an administration

facility consolidating 16 commands, personnel barracks and the flyover bridge which will link the new extension to the current base that oversees US and coalition operations in the region. The final phase will commence in 2012, and will include additional personnel quarters, a dining facility and a recreation centre. The Bahrain base is the 5th Fleet Command headquarters and oversees operations inside the Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean. It is directly involved in support to the maritime war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as counter-terrorism and counter-piracy on the high seas. — dpa

Reforms change Syria economy, not politics

Lax oversight makes Gulf bourses alluring Continued from Page 1

Thursday, May 27, 2010

KD 2.2 billion and power plants KD 920 million. Spending on the transport sector is KD 295 and KD 323 million on education. The main projects to be executed by the private sector include KD 413 million in industries, KD 391 million in power plants, KD 618 million in transport and communications and KD 801 million in finance and insurance. This is the first time a plan like this is passed in Kuwait. Government spokesman Mohammad Al-Baseeri Baseeri praised the Assembly for approving the plan and said the government is prepared for its implementation. Although the Assembly started the debate on a number of bills proposing amendments to several laws related to women rights, MPs decided to send the reports to the women’s affairs and financial affairs committees to study the various amendments which will be discussed again on June 22. The bills propose to end discrimination between Kuwaiti men and women.

Soviet-style economic restrictions his father and predecessor, Hafez Assad, left him. He opened up the country for foreign banks, threw its doors wide open for imports, authorized private higher education and empowered the private sector. But the lanky, former eye doctor who came to power 10 years ago this summer has not matched his liberal economic policies with any political reforms. None, in fact, and his powerful security services are in constant watch for criticism of the regime. In the process, Assad has changed the Syrian regime’s basis of legitimacy. He has depended less on his father’s old anti-Israeli, Arab nationalism rhetoric, basing his power instead on promises of stability, modernization, economic openness and ending Syria’s international isolation. After 10 years of Assad’s rule, the Damascus that once looked like a grim little place now smells of money, gripped by a consumer boom sustained by a clique of nouveau riche and businessmen living it up in what’s essentially a “money talks” society. Foreign tourists crowd the old city’s storied bazaar, hotels boast full occupancy and trendy restaurants are so busy that advance booking is always recommended. The latest car models from Japan and Europe are a common sight on the city’s congested streets and boutiques selling designer clothes seem to multiply. Opening up a country economically while denying the populace democracy and freedoms is perhaps the Arab world’s most popular formula of governance. Close US allies Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan have been pioneers in the field. It is not entirely riskfree. The free market economy often makes political reform the next logical step in people’s minds. Moreover, some Syrian economists warn

that the changes have widened the gap between rich and poor and send prices soaring beyond the reach of most - making the regime vulnerable to popular grumbling or even unrest. “The real challenge ... is managing the switch from a socialist to a free market economy without increasing poverty,” said economist Jihad Yazigi. “But the government has not managed this as well as it should.” Reform, he said, is desperately needed to root out corruption in the bloated government sector and to make the judiciary more efficient in dealing with trade disputes, if the regime is serious about boosting the economy. Still, Assad has been strong enough to weather a difficult past few years, as Syria was forced to withdraw its military from neighboring Lebanon in 2005 and endured heavy international isolation that is only now beginning to ease. Assad has so far been able to withstand US pressure that Syria break its alliances with Iran and militant groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. “Consolidating his power-base has been a trying process, but his grip on power today is undeniable,” said Bilal Saab, a Middle East expert from the University of Maryland at College Park who regularly briefs US officials on Lebanon and Syria. Assad’s image as a modernizer, helped by the appeal and sophistication of his attractive, British-born wife Asmaa, have helped him increase his popularity among Syria’s 20 million people. Meanwhile, his family and its trusted associates keep a tight grip on the armed forces, security and intelligence. They and the new business clique that owes its deep pockets to the regime control the biggest and most lucrative businesses like mobile phone line providers and franchises for anything from cars to computers. Unlike his father, the younger Assad has not

responded to political dissent by jailing thousands without trial or by razing entire neighborhoods to the ground - steps that would worsen Syria’s isolation. Still, after a short-lived accommodation with opponents soon after coming to power in 2000, he has followed the same uncompromising intolerance for dissent. Haitham AlMaleh is a good example - the prominent 79year-old reform activist is currently standing trial before a military court on charges of “disseminating false news that could weaken the nation’s morale”. His crime was criticizing arrests and the emergency law in a TV interview and in Web articles. In an April 22 court appearance, Al-Maleh pleaded to no avail to be released while on trial because of his deteriorating health. He complains of diabetes and arthritis. Assad’s feared security agencies also keep a close watch on everyone, carefully combing Internet postings for criticism of the regime and any sign of religious militancy. Syrians say they are back to whispering again just as they were when they wanted to talk politics under the rule of the late Assad. US-based Syria expert Joshua M Landis said Assad’s claim to legitimacy is no longer rooted in Syria’s conflict with Israel, as it was under his father. “It is based on the fear of chaos and the promise of stability,” he said. Still, the younger Assad uses the formal state of war with Israel to his advantage, with his regime citing it to explain away economic woes, emergency laws and harsh treatment of critics. “Insisting on the idea that we are in a state of war with Israel since 1973 is no longer acceptable,” said Aref Dalilah, a leading economist who in 2008 completed serving a seven-year sentence after criticizing business monopolies awarded by the government. “It’s being used to justify everything.” — AP

Death upheld for Jahra ‘arson’ wife Continued from Page 1 The Aug 15 inferno engulfed the women-and-children-only tent in minutes and triggered a stampede. The final death toll was 57, including Saudis and stateless Arabs as well as Kuwaitis. Enezi was initially believed to be the

groom’s ex-wife but defence lawyers said she was still married to him. Enezi and her husband have two children together, both of them mentally handicapped. If her death sentence is upheld by the supreme court, she would be the first Kuwaiti woman to be executed in the

state’s histor y. Women from other nationalities have been hanged in the past, however. Kuwait has executed a total of 72 people, three of them women, since it introduced the death penalty some four decades ago. Most of the condemned have been convicted murderers or drug traffickers. — AFP

Iraq scraps airline amid Kuwait row Continued from Page 1 “The decision was taken because of the numerous acts of harassment that the company has faced from Kuwait that have prevented its planes from taking on fuel and food at various airports,” transport ministry spokesman Aqeel Kawthar told AFP. “The transport ministry will carry out the decision by the council of ministers, even though we disagree with it,” he added, without giving details on whether a new company would be formed. An aide to Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki who attended the meeting at which the decision was taken confirmed the dissolution of the airline, speaking on condition of anonymity. Kuwait Airways says Iraqi Airways owes it $1.2 billion, a dispute dating back to Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of the neighbouring state. Kuwait says 10 of its planes as well as aircraft parts were plundered after its airport was seized during the invasion. Kuwait said it will continue to pursue the debt, whether Iraqi Airways is closed or not. “We expected the Iraqi government to close the airline in an attempt to escape complying with final rulings issued by British courts,” communications minister and government spokesman Mohammad Al-Busairi told a news conference. “We will not concede our debt ... whether it is dissolved or not. If it is closed, we will pursue Iraqi officials responsible for the action. We will continue to press with our demands and legal and judicial measures to secure our rights approved by international courts,” said Busairi, whose ministry oversees Kuwait

Airways. Christopher Gooding, a lawyer representing Kuwait Airways, called Iraq’s strategy a “cynical tactic” and said it will not end the dispute because Kuwait will still hold the government accountable for the debt. “It appears to me to be a sorry reflection of Iraq’s attitude to its international commitments that liquidating its own national airline is seen as preferable to addressing those commitments,” he said in an emailed statement. “This action will not protect a government company because when a government company is declared bankrupt, its assets are transferred to the Ministry of Finance, and therefore the ministry will be prosecuted,” he added. “There is a huge amount of bitterness that still exists. It really goes both ways,” said David Bender, a Middle East analyst at the Eurasia Group in Washington. He said the international community has heeded US pleas to forgive a large chunk of Iraq’s Saddam-era debt, with the exception of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which have been very resistant. “Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have tremendous fears of an Iranian-dominated Iraq that becomes an oil power and economic power and, in theory, a political power in the region,” he said. “Despite significant US pressure on Saudi and Kuwait to improve their relations with Iraq, they have been largely resistant to that.” For his part, US Ambassador Christopher Hill told reporters in Baghdad that Washington was concerned that the Kuwait-Iraq “relationship needs to get bet-

ter”. He cautioned, however, that a thawing of ties was unlikely before the formation of a new government in Baghdad. More than two months after elections, no political bloc has yet assembled a parliamentary majority. “I think it would be helpful in terms of the Kuwait relationship if Iraq got a government formed ... These are tough issues that require broad consultation within the Iraqi political system and the time to do that is soon after a new election.” He added: “Kuwait and Iraq are going to be neighbours for a long, long time and they have to try to work these things out.” On Tuesday, Iraqi Airways announced it was ceasing its services to Britain and Sweden, with chief executive Kifah Hassan Jabbar blaming the decision on the legal battle with Kuwait. Jabbar had his passport seized and the plane he arrived on impounded at London’s Gatwick Airport on April 25 as a dispute with Kuwait Airways marred Iraqi Airways’s first commercial flight from Baghdad to London in 20 years. His passport was eventually returned and he was allowed to return home on May 6 after he complied with the court order to provide Kuwait Airways with an affidavit of Iraqi Airways’ assets in Britain. There have been no further flights. The dispute with Kuwait Airways is part of a wider row between the two countries resulting from Saddam’s invasion of the state. Iraq has said it cannot sustain its reparations payments to Kuwait for the invasion, which it claims are the highest paid by any country in history. — Agencies


Thursday, May 27, 2010


Sore Saavedra returns to track as happy man INDIANAPOLIS: Sebastian Saavedra hit the walls at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and thought it cost him a starting spot in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. But a freakish set of circumstances ended with the 19-year-old Colombian with spiky hair earning the last place on the starting grid while he was nursing an aching back miles from the track. “It’s just a bruise,” Saavedra said, referring to the back. “You know (team owner) Bryan (Herta) told me there are two kinds of drivers at Indy — those who have hit the walls and those who will hit the walls.” Saavedra understands. After posting the slowest speed of the 33 qualified cars, Saavedra found himself

vulnerable to being bumped off the grid when he went back out for practice with about an hour to go in qualifying. As the Indy Lights regular drove through the slick first turn, his car spun into the outside wall at 175 G’s, ending Saavedra’s day and leaving him without a Plan B to make the 500. That’s when the craziness began. Saavedra was quickly released from the infield medical center before returning later complaining of back pain. Doctors immediately sent him to Methodist Hospital for X-rays at about the same time Brazilian Tony Kanaan was bumping Saavedra out of the lineup. “When the crash happened I had more

pain knowing I was pretty much out of the race,” Saavedra said. “I knew TK had bumped me out, so, not knowing the rules, I thought I was done.” Not quite. Paul Tracy of Canada, still holding one of the 33 starting spots, withdrew his speed in an attempt to post a faster time. That put American Jay Howard back on cusp with 10 minutes to go, which is where Howard stayed when Tracy waved off his attempt. Two more drivers, American Jaques Lazier and Venezuela’s Milka Duno, pulled off the track before completing their qualifying attempts, giving Howard the No. 33 spot. But with two minutes left, Howard

inexplicably withdrew his speed to make one more attempt and put Saavedra back in the lineup. Howard’s four-lap average of 223.120 mph (359.06 kph) was not enough to beat Saavedra’s 223.634 mph (359.89 kph) — though Saavedra didn’t even realize he had made the race. “I was watching on TV and I saw everyone celebrating in the pits, and I didn’t know what was happening,” he said. “No one was picking up their cell phone or telling me what happened. Then I saw Bryan shaking and he screamed, ‘We’re in the Indy 500.”‘ Saavedra wasn’t the only one surprised with the strange twists. “I was talking to Sebastian yesterday and told him this was unbelievable,” said

Simona de Silvestro of Switzerland, one of four women and two female newcomers to qualify for Sunday’s race. De Silvestro is starting 22nd. The fastest of the six newcomers is Brazil’s Mario Romancini. He’ll start 27th, the outside of Row 9. Another Brazilian, Ana Beatriz, has the best starting position, 21st, of the first-timers. “It’s pretty cool that there are four women, but it would have been nice to have five,” Beatriz said, smiling. The only other debutants in the field are Japan’s Takuma Sato, who starts 31st, and Belgian Bertrand Baguette, who is 24th. Sato has appeared on the Indy podium once before, when he finished third in Formula One’s

Garland steers Padres to win over Cardinals

Surging Red Sox overcome Rays ST. PETERSBURG: David Ortiz’s two-run double was enough for the Boston Red Sox to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 on Tuesday in a clash of American League East pennant contenders. Boston starter Jon Lester (5-2) pitched six scoreless innings, striking out nine and allowing only one runner past second. He is unbeaten in his past seven starts. The victory was the seventh in eight games for the Red Sox, who are a season-best five games over .500 (26-21). The Rays, who have baseball’s best record at 32-14, lost a series at home for the first time since the opening week of the season. Tampa Bay starter James Shields (5-2) limited the Red Sox to four hits over eight innings.

SAN DIEGO: Jon Garland pitched seven scoreless innings to steer the San Diego Padres to a 1-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League on Tuesday. Garland (6-2) won his sixth straight decision, escaping a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the first inning and getting two inning-ending double plays. He struck out seven as he lowered his ERA to 2.10. Mike Adams and Heath Bell pitched one inning apiece to combine for San Diego’s major-league leading ninth shutout. Bell picked up his 13th save in 15 opportunities. The sole run came when Jerry Hairston Jr. hit a homer off Adam Wainwright (6-3) in the second inning — his first homer this season. Wainwright took the loss despite allowing only that run in seven innings and tying his career best with 12 strikeouts.

Twins 0, Yankees 0 In Minneapolis, the Minnesota-New York game was suspended because of rain - the first rain delay in Target Field history and its first suspended game. The game was scheduled to resume in the top of the sixth yesterday. The Twins moved outdoors to Target Field this season after 28 years under the protective roof of the Metrodome. Games can only be suspended if more than five innings have been completed and the score is tied.

Mets 8, Phillies 0 In New York, knuckleballer RA Dickey earned his first win since April 2009 as New York beat Philadelphia. Two days after Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield tossed eight shutout innings to beat the Phillies, Dickey (1-0), called up from the minors, escaped bases-loaded jams in each of the first three innings. The 35-year-old pitched six shutout innings and struck out seven, matching his career high. Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur drove in two runs each for the Mets, who won their third straight, while Jose Reyes had three hits and scored three times. Phillies starter Jamie Moyer (5-4) took the loss.

Angels 8, Blue Jays 3

Marlins 6, Braves 4

In Anaheim, Ervin Santana pitched a four-hitter for his second complete game against Toronto this season, steering Los Angeles to victory. Santana (4-3) finished with 10 strikeouts, one off his career high, after getting staked to an early 5-0 lead. Toronto’s first three hits against him came on first-pitch homers by Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill and Jeremy Reed. Mike Napoli homered for the Angels, while Bobby Abreu and Erick Aybar each had two RBIs. Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero (4-2) went 5 1-3 innings, giving up seven runs.

In Miami, Anibal Sanchez allowed two runs pitching into the seventh inning to steer Florida past Atlanta. Sanchez (4-2) has won three straight starts for the first time since September 2006. Cody Ross hit a two-run double in the three-run eighth for Florida while Cameron Maybin homered in the third inning. Brian McCann hit a two-run double and Martin Prado had three hits for the Braves, who again struggled to give starter Kenshin Kawakami (0-7) run support. The Japanese is winless in nine starts this season, and hasn’t won for 16 appearances. Jason Heyward had a two-run single in the ninth, drawing Atlanta within two.

Cubs 3, Dodgers 0 In Chicago, Ryan Dempster threw eight scoreless innings as Chicago blanked Los Angeles. Dempster (3-4) handed the Dodgers just their third loss in 15 games while earning his first win since April 23. Derrek Lee homered and drove in all three runs for Chicago. Lee, who came in with a .218 average, had three hits. He drove in Ryan Theriot with a single off Clayton Kershaw (4-3) in the sixth after Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal misfielded his grounder. Lee made it 3-0 in the eighth with a two-run shot — his sixth homer this season and 299th career — after Starlin Castro reached base on a throwing error by Furcal.

Rangers 8, Royals 7 In Kansas City, Vladimir Guerrero hit two two-run homers and drove in five runs for Texas in the win over Kansas City. Guerrero is hitting .444 with five home runs and 12 RBIs against Kansas City this season. It was his 41st multihomer game and second this season, both against the Royals. Guerrero homered in the first and fifth innings and added an RBI double in the seventh. Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back homers in the fourth inning off Royals starter Gil Meche, who gave up four home runs in the first five innings after yielding only three in his first eight starts. The Royals tied it 6-6 with a threerun sixth. Texas starter Darren O’Day (2-2) allowed one run in one inning to take the win. Rookie closer Neftali Feliz worked the ninth for his 13th save in 15 opportunities. Brad Thompson (0-3), the second of five Kansas City pitchers, lost after giving up two runs without retiring a batter.

Pirates 2, Reds 1 In Cincinnati, Pittsburgh’s Ryan Doumit hit a solo homer with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to beat Cincinnati — his second game-deciding homer in three days. Doumit had the first game-ending homer of his career in Sunday’s win over Atlanta. This time, he connected off Nick Masset (3-3). Earlier, Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips tied it 1-1 in the eighth with his 100th career homer off reliever Joel Hanrahan (1-0). Pirates closer Octavio Dotel pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 12 tries.

Giants 4, Nationals 2 In San Francisco, pitcher Todd Wellemeyer singled and scored the go-ahead run to snap San Francisco’s 24inning scoreless drought as the Giants beat Washington and ended a season-worst five-game skid. On the mound, Wellemeyer (3-4) allowed four hits in six innings to improve to 3-0 lifetime against the Nationals. He sparked the Giants’ four-run fifth inning with a two-out single. Pablo Sandoval added an RBI double and Edgar Renteria singled in a run as San Francisco ended an 0-for-25 stretch with runners in scoring position. Freddy Sanchez hit a two-run double for the Giants, who tagged former San Francisco pitcher Livan Hernandez (4-3) for a season-high seven hits in five innings.

Mariners 5, Tigers 3 In Seattle, Milton Bradley homered and then drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to lift Seattle over Detroit. Chone Figgins doubled off Justin Verlander (5-3) with one out in the eighth. Franklin Gutierrez, who had homered in the sixth to tie the game at 3, walked, and Bradley followed with a single. Bradley’s first inning homer was his first since April 13. Seattle’s Shawn Kelley (3-0) pitched the eighth for the win.

Rockies 3, D’backs 2 In Denver, Jhoulys Chacin pitched six solid innings to help Colorado edge Arizona. Chacin (3-2) allowed four hits and picked up his first home win of his career. Manuel Corpas struck out Mark Reynolds with a runner on second to end the game and pick up his fourth save. Brad Hawpe and Troy Tulowitzki homered, while Todd Helton had three hits for the Rockies, who have won three straight. Conor Jackson doubled in a run and scored another for the Diamondbacks. Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy (3-3) gave up three runs in five innings.

Brewers 6, Astros 1 In Milwaukee, Randy Wolf pitched seven scoreless innings to help Milwaukee down Houston and snap a run of eight straight home losses. Wolf (4-4) was dominant after struggling through a miserable May. Houston had four singles in seven innings off Wolf, who faced a basesloaded jam in the second after two walks, and a two-on and two-out situation in the seventh. Both times, Wolf struck out the final batter to end the threat. Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun had a two-run homer in the first and Rickie Weeks’ two-run shot sealed it in the seventh. Houston starter Felipe Paulino (0-7) allowed two runs over six innings.—AP

2004 U.S. Grand Prix. But it was Saavedra’s wild ride that had everyone talking. “I would have probably had a heart attack because I would be so emotional if you’re out of the race,” Beatriz said. Fortunately for Saavedra, all he had was a bruised back, a pain in the neck and an improbable starting spot in the Indianapolis 500. It won’t be enough to keep him out of the race. “The crash itself, we were on the limit. We’re always on the limit here and the track conditions were very greasy,” Saavedra said. “They’re still putting the car back together and making sure every single thing is perfect. But I’ll be ready to go.”—AP

Orioles 5, Athletics 1

ANAHEIM: Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Scott Downs works against the Los Angeles Angels during the ninth inning of a baseball game.—AP

MLB results/standings Major League Baseball results and standings on Tuesday. Baltimore 5, Oakland 1; Cleveland 7, Chicago White Sox 3; Boston 2, Tampa Bay 0; Florida 6, Atlanta 4; NY Mets 8, Philadelphia 0; Pittsburgh 2, Cincinnati 1; Chicago Cubs 3, LA Dodgers 0; Texas 8, Kansas City 7; Minnesota, NY Yankees Postponed; Milwaukee 6, Houston 1; Colorado 3, Arizona 2; San Diego 1, St. Louis 0; LA Angels 8, Toronto 3; Seattle 5, Detroit 3; San Francisco 4, Washington 2. American League Eastern Division W L PCT Tampa Bay 32 14 .696 NY Yankees 26 18 .591 Toronto 27 21 .563 Boston 26 21 .553 Baltimore 15 31 .326 Central Division Minnesota 26 18 .591 Detroit 25 20 .556 Chicago White Sox 19 26 .422 Kansas City 18 28 .391

Cleveland GB 5 6 6.5 17 1.5 7.5 9

Texas Oakland LA Angels Seattle Philadelphia Florida Atlanta NY Mets Washington

17 27 .386 Western Division 26 20 .565 23 23 .500 22 26 .458 17 28 .378 National League Eastern Division 26 18 .591 24 22 .522 23 22 .511 23 23 .500 23 23 .500

9 3 5 8.5

St. Louis Cincinnati Chicago Cubs Pittsburgh Milwaukee Houston

3 3.5 4 4

San Diego LA Dodgers San Francisco Colorado Arizona

Central Division 26 20 .565 26 20 .565 22 24 .478 20 26 .435 18 27 .400 15 30 .333 Western Division 27 18 .600 25 20 .556 23 21 .523 23 22 .511 20 26 .435

4 6 7.5 10.5 2 3.5 4 7.5

In Baltimore, Ty Wigginton and Adam Jones delivered successive sacrifice flies in the sixth inning to help Baltimore down Oakland. Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie (3-4) gave up one run in six innings. Baltimore took a 3-1 lead against Tyson Ross (1-3) without benefit of a hit. The defeat ended Oakland’s three-game winning streak.

Indians 7, White Sox 3 In Cleveland, rookie Mitch Talbot outpitched former NL Cy Young winner Jake Peavy to help Cleveland beat Chicago. Talbot (6-3) allowed two runs over seven innings. He took a shutout into the seventh before giving up four doubles. Jason Donald and Shin-Soo Choo homered in the Indians’ three-run third inning off Peavy (3-4). The Indians made it 6-0 with a three-run sixth off the White Sox starter. Peavy gave up six runs over six innings.—AP



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blackhawks take no chances on Cup bid CHICAGO: In a city that believes deeply in sporting curses, the Chicago Blackhawks have decided not to take any chances in their bid to put an end to the National Hockey League’s longest championship drought. After sweeping past the San Jose Sharks 4-0 in the Western Conference final, Chicago will now open the Stanley Cup final on Saturday at its ‘Madhouse on Madison’ against the upstart Philadelphia Flyers. But while the Blackhawks are the toast of the Windy City and favored by many to win the finals, nobody is planning a victory parade through downtown Chicago just yet. It has been 49 years since the Blackhawks last

hoisted the Stanley Cup, and while that may seem an eternity to some it is a walk in the park compared to Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs, who have not celebrated a World Series title since 1908 and are called the “Lovable Losers.” The ‘Curse of the Billy Goat’ has haunted the Cubs for 65 years, the team doomed to failure by an enduring hex placed on the club in 1945 by the owner of Billy Goat Tavern after his pet was not allowed in Wrigley Field for a World Series game. While there are no such famous curses hanging over the Blackhawks, the team has lived under a dark cloud since it last won the Cup in 1961. They lost their next five trips to the finals, most recently in

1992. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews opted not to tempt fate and gave into a long-standing NHL superstition when he refused to touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl that is presented to the Western Conference champion. Hockey lore says no good comes from lifting the conference trophy, though the Pittsburgh Penguins proved that theory wrong last year as they held the conference trophy and went on to win the Stanley Cup. “Some teams are all on board with grabbing the trophy and saying, you know, the heck with it,” Toews told reporters. “But to me it’s not being superstitious. It’s just saying that we’re here for bigger and

better things.”If there are magical forces at work in these playoffs it could be found in the Eastern Conference, where Philadelphia defied the odds to advance to the finals despite entering the post-season as the second-lowest seed in the conference. In contrast, the Blackhawks are exactly where many expected them to be after recording the third-best record in the regular season and then knocking off the Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks and Sharks in the playoffs. The young Hawks are led by 22-year-old Toews, who is on a 13-game scoring streak, leads the playoffs with 26 points and is garnering plenty of Conn Smythe trophy talk as MVP of the

post season. His sidekick Patrick Kane is third in playoff scoring while Dustin Byfuglien has been a goaltender’s worst nightmare with eight goals, including three game winners against the Sharks. The Chicago defense is anchored by Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook-two of Toews’s goldmedal winning Canadian team mates from the Vancouver Olympics-while Finnish rookie Antti Niemi has also provided sharp play in net. “Sky’s the limit,” said Toews. “This is a great opportunity, a great chance. “We’re going to go right after it. No reason we can’t go out there and get another four wins.”— Reuters

Massa fired up for Turkish Grand Prix

LONDON: England’s Steve Finn stretches during a practice session at Lord’s cricket ground.— AP

Tamim gives Bangladesh hope against England LONDON: Tamim Iqbal gave Bangladesh a glimmer of hope for the first test against England starting at Lord’s today by promising to take his place at the top of the order despite a painful wrist injury. The dashing left-hand opener has been told he can play with his left wrist taped, although he may eventually need surgery. “I don’t want to take any chances but I’m batting okay in the nets and the pain is getting better day by day,” he told reporters. Tamim, who scored three fluent halfcenturies during the two-test home series against England this year, is one of Bangladesh’s two world-class players. The other is captain and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who expects to play despite contracting chicken pox. Cooler weather and showers predicted for the weekend after a brief burst of searingly hot weather in south-east England will also create the usual problems for visiting teams at the start of the English summer with assistance for the home bowlers. England have rested their Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood and all-rounder

Stuart Broad at the start of a hectic season, giving an opportunity to Eoin Morgan to show he can take his one-day form into the test arena. Morgan does not have a great first-class record but the England management are impressed with his temperament under pressure and the Bangladesh attack provides as gentle an introduction to test cricket as anyone could wish. England begin the home season buoyed by their win in the Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean and with an Ashes defence against losing finalists Australia to look forward to at the end of the year. After the two-test Bangladesh series they play four tests against Pakistan, who are condemned to play their international cricket abroad because of the uncertain security situation at home. Pakistan also play two tests against Australia and for the first time since the rain-drenched 1912 Triangular series between England, Australia and South Africa, Lord’s will stage three tests. Even by their own turbulent standards, Pakistan

have endured a spectacularly troubled year. The International Cricket Council’s anticorruption unit is investigating their woeful performances in Australia and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has banned former captains Younus Khan and Shoaib Malik after an internal inquiry. The pair were still included in a preliminary tour party on Tuesday pending their appeals against the bans along with fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar who has had more than his share of brushes with the Pakistan authorities. They will be captained by the flamboyant wrist-spinning all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who ended a four-year self-imposed exile from test cricket at the weekend and who is, himself, appealing against a fine for balltampering. The clear indication is that the PCB is determined to field the best side it can muster regardless of its own sanctions, a team who at their mercurial best can fully test both England and Australia and give useful hints to the course of the subsequent Ashes series. — Reuters

LONDON: Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan participates in a training session at Lord’s cricket ground in London. — AP

Semenya’s return to athletics delayed JOHANNESBURG: South African world 800 metres champion Caster Semenya’s return to competitive athletics has been delayed as her comeback event in Zaragoza has been cancelled, her coach told Reuters yesterday. The 19-year-old underwent gender verification tests after winning gold at the Berlin

world championships last August and has not competed since. Semenya’s coach Michael Seme told Reuters by telephone “the meet (on June 24) is off and we will make an announcement on Tuesday” about her next move. Athletics South Africa (ASA) has made

clear Semenya is not banned from competition but said she must wait for the results of her tests from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) which are not expected until June. Her lawyers said in April that the tests proved she could run as a female. — Reuters

ISTANBUL: A red letter day for Formula One glamour team Ferrari this weekend provides the perfect occasion for Felipe Massa to rekindle his Turkish Grand Prix love affair. Sunday’s seventh round of the season will be the scuderia’s 800th grand prix, a milestone no other team is close to matching, and the Italians would dearly love to celebrate in style. Massa could be just the man, even if rampant Red Bull look the runaway favourites after taking pole position in every race so far. The Brazilian, fifth in the championship and 12 points adrift of his Spanish team mate Fernando Alonso, has not won a race since 2008, having missed much of last year due to life-threatening head injuries suffered in Hungary last July. Three races ago he was leading the standings but now needs to get back at least on level-pegging terms with Alonso, who won the season-opener in Bahrain. Istanbul Park, out near the city’s second airport on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, has favoured the little Brazilian like no other driver since the country first hosted Formula One in 2005. Two years ago, after winning there for the third time in a row, Massa quipped that he was about ready to apply for Turkish citizenship. “It’s a great memory,” he told the Ferrari website ( this week. “It’s a track I love to race, I enjoy driving this track and I won three times in five races. “I think it gives even more motivation to go push even harder and fight for the victory. The circuit, running anti-clockwise like his beloved home Interlagos track, also gave Massa his first Formula One pole position and first victory in 2006. “I believe we can bring a good car,” he said. “I think if everything works perfectly, we can have a competitive car. “It’s a great pleasure for me to be a small part of these 800 grand prix for Ferrari,” he added. “I will try my best to go to Turkey to fight for the victory, to have also a nice celebration about these 800 grands prix. “It’s a fantastic feeling to be inside this nice story.” Alonso, the double champion who has already stamped his authority on the team, will be a big threat but the Red Bulls could again be just too fast for any rivals. Australian Mark Webber will be going for his third win in a row while German team mate Sebastian Vettel, level at the top of the standings on points but behind on race wins, is another Turkey lover. Vettel, who will have a different chassis to the one used in the last two races after a defect was found post-Monaco, made his Formula One debut in Turkey as a Friday test driver with BMW-Sauber in 2006 at the age of 19. The youngster made an instant impression, as Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone recalled. “I said to him, right before his very first free practice... that he had received his super license just temporarily, so don’t screw up but justify our trust in you,” the 79-yearold Briton told the website. “The next thing I saw was his name on the very top of the timesheets. Then I thought to myself that this boy, only 18 yearsold, is a sensation.” Vettel, still just 22, started on pole last year and could well walk away from Turkey with the outright lead of the championship. Red Bull have started every race this year on pole, and Istanbul has historically smiled on the top slot. Britain’s Jenson Button won last year in a Brawn car he described at the time as a ‘monster’. His McLaren cannot claim a similar moniker but the world champion and team mate Lewis Hamilton will still be challenging for victory anyway. — Reuters

Felipe Massa

London organizers announce Games 2012 torch relay plans LONDON: The Olympic flame will make a 70-day journey across Britain ahead of the 2012 London Games, with more than 8,000 people taking part in a youth-dominated torch relay that organizers say will “inspire the country.” The flame will arrive in Britain from Greece on May 18, 2012, and the relay route will take the torch to within an hour’s distance of 95 percent of the population, organizers said yesterday. Sports and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson said the torch relay will get people across the country behind the games. “It has enormous power to inspire the country,” he said. Robertson said at least 50 percent of the spots in the relay will go to people under the age of 24. Organizers are working on a system for selecting the torch bearers, which will include a nomination process. Sebastian Coe, head of the London organizing committee, said the aim is to find torch bearers who “inspire young people.” After the nationwide relay, the flame will arrive in London the weekend before the cauldron is lit at the opening ceremony on July 27, 2012. Details of the relay route will be announced next year. After the international torch relay for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was marred by protests by human rights activists in London, Paris, San Francisco and other sites, officials decided to keep future relays to within the host nations, apart from the lighting in Greece. Coe said the torch relay should be a national event that can be used to energize the host country. “We can use the torch to shine light on great things in the country,” he said. Security around the torch will be easier to control because it is a national event, Robertson said. “I cannot guarantee that

on the day there will be no pressure groups at all who will try to interrupt events but I hope they will not ruin an opportunity for people,” Robertson said. “They will be inspired by it.” The torch relay will be sponsored by CocaCola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung. Robertson and Coe reiterated that Olympic preparations will not be threatened by the 27 million pounds ($39 million) in spending cuts announced

Monday by Britain’s new coalition government. The cut represents only 2 percent of the overall budget of the Olympic Delivery Authority, the body responsible for building the venues for the games. “We have to deliver on projects that were promised and we’ll make savings that don’t (affect) the final Olympic Games,” Robertson said. — AP

LONDON: London 2012 Organizing Committee Chairman Sebastian Coe (left) and Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson stand in front of gymnasts from Heathrow gymnastics club as they perform a routine themed around the Olympic Torch Relay. — AP


Thursday, May 27, 2010


Super Bowl heads to New York region for first time MIAMI: The NFL fulfilled a marketing dream on Tuesday by bringing their most prestigious game to the Big Apple, awarding the New York area the 2014 Super Bowl despite fears of cold weather. The league’s championship game, held annually since 1967, has never been played in the New York area, nor played outdoors in a cold climate. A vote by the league’s 32 owners supported a bid to have the Super Bowl held in the New Meadowlands Stadium

where the New York Giants and New York Jets play their home games across the state line in New Jersey. The $1.6 billion, 82,566 capacity stadium will host the two teams for the first time in the upcoming NFL season, replacing the old Giants stadium. The joint New York/New Jersey bid beat out offers from Florida rivals Tampa and Miami-with 14 previous Super Bowls between them. While critics have worried that freezing and windy weather in the New

York area in winter could ruin the occasion, the winning bid’s presentation embraced the cold as being part of the game’s traditions. “What a great place to have it, it couldn’t be a more fun or more appropriate location - it will be played outside and I hope it snows,” said Woody Johnson, Jets chairman and CEO. “The world’s biggest game will take place on the world’s biggest stage,” New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “People talk about the weather

but this is football, this isn’t beach volleyball,” he added. Not surprisingly for a sport where profit competes with touchdowns as the main aim, the winning bid even included “NFL branded weather-specific merchandise”, possibly woolly hats and scarves, among it’s selling points. The NFL has traditionally insisted the Super Bowl, normally played in January or February, must be held in areas where the external temperature

exceeds 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) or in a stadium that has a closed roof. But the league’s Super Bowl Advisory Committee agreed to a waiver for 2014 to allow the Giants and Jets to submit a joint bid for their new stadium opening this year. “Obviously it will be cold, but that’s what playing football is all about,” Giants quarterback Eli Manning told Fox News Channel’s ‘Studio B with Shepard Smith’ show.

“I think it’s great. I’ve played in the Super Bowl and I’ve been to a couple of Super Bowls and if you’re not in it, the Super Bowl is an event, kind of a a place to be. “There’s no better place to be than New York City for that vibe and that atmosphere,” said Manning, who won with the Giants, in Arizona, in February 2008. The decision could prompt other Northern stadiums to bid for a chance to host what it was one of global

sport’s biggest televised events. “Our slogan was make history, we made history? Will a lot of other East coast teams try to do the same? I think they will,” said Steve Tisch, Giants chairman. Miami has hosted the Super Bowl 10 times, including this year. Tampa staged the game for the fourth time last year. Dallas (2011), Indianapolis (2012) and New Orleans (2013) will host the next three Super Bowls. —Reuters

PHOENIX: Suns guard Goran Dragic, of Slovenia, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant go after a loose ball during the first half of Game Four of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals. —AP

Suns see off Lakers PHOENIX: Channing Frye broke made four 3pointers for 14 points as the Phoenix Suns pulled away in the fourth quarter for the second game in a row to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 115-106 on Tuesday and level the Western Conference finals at 2-2. Game 5 will be played Thursday in Los Angeles. The Suns reserves, considered an

advantage entering the series but largely ineffective through three games, outscored their Laker counterparts 54-20. Leandro Barbosa scored 14 on 6-of-8 shooting and Jared Dudley added 11 points. Goran Dragic ran the show at point and had eight points and eight assists in 18 minutes. Amare

Stoudemire led Phoenix with 21 points. Steve Nash, playing with a broken nose, had 15 points and eight assists. Kobe Bryant had 38 points and 10 assists as the reigning NBA champions fought back to lead briefly early in the fourth before the Suns backups stole the show. Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry

kept all five reserves in the game for almost the first nine minutes of the final quarter, and they produced an 18-3 run, and the Lakers never recovered. When Nash re-entered with 3:05 to play, those subs — usually playing against the Los Angeles starters — had turned an 87-85 deficit into a 103-94 lead. “We believe in our

half. He is at No. 10 for his first appearance for two years. England face the Australian Barbarians four days before the June 12 first test against the Wallabies in Perth. Another midweek meeting with the Australian Barbarians follows before the June 19 second test in Sydney. The tour concludes on June 23 against New Zealand Maori in Napier. Meanwhile, the Stormers will be unchanged team for the all-South African Super 14 final against the defending champion Bulls in Soweto on Saturday. Stormers coach Allister Coetzee kept faith yesterday with the players who earned the Cape Town team its first final appearance with a 25-6 semifinal win over the New South Wales Waratahs last weekend. Former Bulls winger Bryan Habana is the only Stormers player with Super 14 final experience. Habana won with the Bulls in 2007 and 2009, scoring the winning try in 2007 against the Sharks in the only other all-South African final. “He’s been giving a lot of insight,” Coetzee said of ex-Bull Habana. “But at the end of the day you have to go out there and play. We know what’s coming our way and we’re going to prepare well.” The match features a string of South Africa’s biggest rugby stars up against each other at the unlikely venue. Soweto’s Orlando Stadium — where the Bulls have moved because their stadium has been set aside for the World Cup — is typically a football venue.—Reuters

Storm down Mystics SEATTLE: Sue Bird and Tanisha Wright scored 16 points each as the Seattle Storm rallied from 10 points down in the second half to beat the Washington Mystics 82-76 in the WNBA on Tuesday. Swin Cash and Lauren Jackson added 14 points each to help the Storm improve to 4-0 for the first time in franchise history. For Washington, Monique Currie scored 24 points and Lindsey Harding had 15. After trailing by 10 late in the third quarter, Seattle went on a 31-10 run to take a 72-61 lead with 3:11 to go. The Mystics pulled bak within three about 2 minutes later, but Bird made six free throws in the final 33 seconds to secure the Storm’s win.

Easter to lead strong England side against the Barbarians LONDON: No. 8 Nick Easter will captain England against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday in a warmup for the end-of-season tour of Australia and New Zealand. Lewis Moody will miss the game because of his involvement in Leicester’s English Premiership final against Saracens on Saturday, but he will replace Easter as captain of the 44man tour squad. Easter was among eight players from England’s final match of the Six Nations who were picked yesterday in a strong starting lineup. Ben Foden, Mark Cueto, Mike Tindall, Danny Care, and forwards Steve Thompson, Tom Palmer and James Haskell are the other survivors from the 12-10 loss to France in March. Joe Worsley and Mathew Tait were also involved at Stade de France and are among the replacements against a Barbarians team featuring England internationals Ben Kay, Julian White and Paul Sackey. Xavier Rush will lead the Baa-Baas from No. 8, with fellow All Black Rodney So’oialo at blindside flanker. Wales’ Martyn Williams completes the back row in a team featuring eight nationalities. Former New Zealand rugby league international Shontayne Hape will make his England debut in midfield alongside Tindall, and Jon Golding makes his first appearance at prop. With Jonny Wilkinson injured and Danny Cipriani out of contention, Charlie Hodgson will get a chance to reestablish himself as an international fly-

bench,” Gentry said. “Tonight they played as well as they could play.” Frye had made 1-of-21 shots in the series and missed 18 in a row when his second shot of the night, a 3-pointer, finally fell to the roar of the home crowd. Los Angeles did a much better job against the zone defense than in Game 3, but it wasn’t enough. —AP

Nick Easter

Mercury 110, Shock 96 In Tulsa, Diana Taurasi scored 35 points to lead defending champion Phoenix past Tulsa. Penny Taylor added 29 while Candice DuPree had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Mercury, who shot 45 percent from the field, including 16 of 36 3-pointers. Taurasi sank 8 of 13 from beyond the arc and Taylor 6 of 12. Tulsa shot 47 per cent but just 4 of 16 3-point attempts. Amber Holt scored 20 points and Shanna Crossley and Scholanda Robinson had 13 apiece. Tulsa tied the score at 80-80 with about 21/2 minutes left in the third. However, it was all Phoenix from there as the Mercury outscored the Shock 30-16 the rest of the way. —AP



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Victims of Landis’ deceit celebrate confession PARIS: In making explosive accusations that his former teammate Lance Armstrong doped, Floyd Landis distracted attention from the ugly truth that he himself left a tornado-like trail of victims by lying and cheating for years before belatedly coming clean last week about his own use of banned drugs. Toward the top of the very long list of people whom Landis conned, betrayed, soiled and wronged are the scientists and technicians at the antidoping laboratory in France which first proved that the now disgraced cyclist was a drug cheat. Landis and his defense dragged the laboratory and its staff through

the mud after it found synthetic testosterone in one of the eight urine samples he gave at the 2006 Tour de France. Not only did the Landis camp accuse the Chatenay-Malabry lab of botching the tests, of sloppy science and misconduct, but — far worse and more damaging — of dishonesty, too. Lab technicians who tested his urine were flown to California to be grilled by Landis’ lawyers in the hearing that eventually determined his guilt and nullified his 2006 Tour victory. Landis sought to put the whole anti-doping system on trial, turning the tables on people who were simply

doing their jobs. “The people doing the testing, the people accusing the athletes, are far more unethical than the athletes,” Landis said back then when he was still living his lie. It is one of many such Landis statements that now seem outrageous, even sickening, considering his sudden aboutface last week. It is a crying shame that Landis’ confession that he doped at the peak of his professional career, as a support rider on 3 of Armstrong’s 7 winning Tours and after, came too late for Jacques de Ceaurriz. The director at Chatenay-Malabry died this January. It bothered de Ceaurriz that his lab employees had been hurt and

smeared. Had he been alive, the gravelvoiced anti-doping pioneer surely would have joined the celebrations that erupted at the Paris lab last week when Landis confessed, telling that he had used performance-enhancing drugs “in every Tour de France I ever did.” “There were cries of joy,” says Francoise Lasne, de Ceaurriz’s longtime colleague who took over as testing director after his death. The Landis case “was quite a traumatizing experience for the laboratory,” she told The Associated Press. “The number of questions, the justifications we were asked to supply,

were incredible. They really tried to dirty the laboratory ... For some people, it was very tough.” Among Landis’ other victims are those who shelled out US$24.95 or a bit less in euros for his 2007 book, “Positively False, The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France.” “I have nothing to hide,” Chapter One begins. What a con. Then there are all those who donated money for his legal defense. A $75 donation to the Floyd Fairness Fund earned a signed ‘thank you’ note from Landis, $250 got a “Winning Fair and Square” poster and a signed yellow jersey was promised for those who coughed up more than $1,000.

What a scam. Those who worked for the fund are now keeping their heads low. One of them who doesn’t want to be named because “I want to move on with my life beyond Floyd Landis” said that what bothers him most now “is that we were out there publicly stumping to raise money for him.” This person says Landis hasn’t since called to apologize. Nor, says Lasne, has he phoned the French lab. Perhaps that is not entirely surprising: Landis would still be dialling years from now if he apologized to all those he has deceived, including the millions of spectators who watched him race in France and the other riders — some of them might even have

been clean — that Landis beat. Ultimately and saddest of all for cycling, Landis’ biggest victim may be the truth. Had he confessed immediately in 2006 and not strung everyone along for years, then it might have been possible to believe his new story that Armstrong and others doped, too. Telling the truth, Landis says, has lifted a weight off. “I couldn’t believe how much better I felt,” he told But he is a crowd of one, the only person who feels any better. Because considering his long history of deceit, super-liar’s word is now worth nothing on its own. —AP

Federer shines in Paris Open rain

PARIS: Defending champion Switzerland’s Roger Federer serves the ball to Colombia’s Alejandro Falla during their second round match for the French Open tennis tournament.—AP

Bare-all Venus blames genetics PARIS: Venus Williams insists that she doesn’t take to the court intending to titillate male spectators and says her outfits only generate attention due to the assets nature gave her. Venus has taken to the court at the French Open this week sporting a racy black dress with red trim and skin-colored underwear. Asked if her aim was to excite the imagination of male fans, she replied: “That was never the objective. It all started in Australia with the slits, and it was about wearing a dress that looks like you have these slits with bareness (underneath),” said the world number two. “So the design has nothing to do with the rear. It just so happens that I have a very well developed one! “It’s all genetic. If you look at mom and dad, you’ll see the same thing happening. If you look at my sister

(Serena), you’ll see the same thing.” Venus’s skin-tone underwear has given courtside photographers plenty of ammunition for racy photos and the 29-year-old American said she was happy to attract attention. “It’s really about the illusion. Like you can wear lace, but what’s the point of wearing lace when there’s just black under?” she asked reporters. “The illusion of just having bare skin is definitely for me a lot more beautiful. So it’s really not about anything else other than just that skin showing. So I’m glad that it’s gotten good reviews. I mean, it could be worse.” Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, reached the third round at Roland Garros yesterday by beating Spain’s Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-2, 6-4. She will play 26th seed Dominka

Cibulkova of Slovakia, a beaten semi-finalist last year, for a place in the last 16. Meanwhile, Belgian Kim Clijsters, who was forced out of the French Open because of a foot injury, confirmed yesterday that she has been given the green light to return to training by her doctors. “Just left the hospital! I can slowly start practicing again but still need to pay attention to any reaction after practice,” Clijsters posted on her internet social website Twitter. The former world number one picked up the left foot injury playing in the Fed Cup last April, and tests revealed a slight tear which forced her out of the second Grand Slam of the season. The world number ten hopes to compete in the preWimbledon warm-up event in Eastbourne on June 14 and at Wimbledon on June 21. —AFP

PARIS: Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki returns the ball to Italy’s Tathiana Garbin during a second round match of the French Open tennis tournament. —AP

PARIS: Roger Federer reached the French Open third round yesterday while defending women’s champion Svetlana Kuznetsova needed to save four match points to stay afloat at a rain-drenched Roland Garros. Federer, chasing a 17th Grand Slam title, overcame a sloppy first set, where he was plagued by 21 unforced errors, and had to save five break points, before defeating Colombian left-hander Alejandro Falla 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-4. The world number one will now tackle German qualifier Julian Reister, the world 165, who had never won a tour match in his five years as a professional before coming to Paris. “Reister? I think I’ve only warmed up with him once in Hamburg a couple years ago. Obviously I don’t remember how he plays,” said the top seed. Federer went into his match buoyed by having already defeated world number 70 Falla twice without dropping a set, including in the second round of Roland Garros in 2006. But he struggled throughout the opening set before getting the better of the Colombian world number 70, shrugging off the distractions of two rain interruptions. “A player like Falla needed the first set to have a chance of winning,” said Federer, on a day when bursts of heavy rain brought to an end three days of 30-degree temperatures. “He had a good first set where I made too many errors, but he was pushing me at the start. I knew the danger, it was a very tight first set and I was a little lucky.” Russian sixth seed Kuznetsova, who defeated Dinara Safina in the 2009 final and was runner-up to fellow Russian Anastasia Myskina in 2006, saved four match points before defeating Germany’s world number 41 Andrea Petkovic. After building up a 6-4, 5-4 lead, the 22-year-old German choked in the 10th game of the second set as she served for the match at 40-0. The 24-year-old Russian than ran away to a 5-2 lead in the decider before Petkovic’s challenge finally wilted after she had bravely saved three match points. Kuznetsova now faces compatriot Maria Kirilenko. Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling, who famously handed Rafael Nadal a first career defeat here last year, crushed hapless American Taylor Dent 6-0, 6-1, 6-1 in just 71 minutes and will next face Spain’s Albert Montanes. Soderling’s quickfire victory was just short of the record 68 minutes it took Jan Kodes to defeat Zeljko Franulovic in the 1970 final. Women’s world number two Venus Williams took 25 minutes longer than Soderling to make the last 32 with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Spain’s Arantxa Parra Santonja. Williams, the runner-up to sister Serena in 2002, next plays Slovakian 26th seed Dominika Cibulkova, who made the semi-finals in 2009. Third seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark went through with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Italy’s Tathiana Garbin, 13 years her senior, and next faces Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru, the winner of the Warsaw claycourt title last weekend. —AFP

ITALY: France’s Damien Monier celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia, tour of Italy cycling race. —AP

Monier claims maiden Giro win PEIO TERME: Spaniard David Arroyo retained the leader’s pink jersey as French rider Damien Monier claimed his first professional success in the 17th stage of the Tour of Italy here yesterday. The 27-year-old Monier crossed the line alone after a solo break to finish far ahead of the peloton which included the favorites following the 173km stage from Brunico. Cofidis rider Monier broke away from

Germany’s Danilo Hondo and Holland’s Steven Kruijswijk with 3km to go and came in 30 seconds ahead of the duo. Arroyo, of Caisse d’Epargne, held the race lead with four days to go as he finished in the first peloton nearly ten minutes behind the winner. “My first victory, it’s extraordinary!” said Monier, who turned professional six years ago. “I still don’t believe it, it’s a dream. “I felt good at the start of the stage but it was really tough at the end.”

A breakaway group of 19 riders, none a threat to Arroyo and the pink jersey, formed at the 54km mark. After a breakaway bid by Russian Mikhail Ignatiev, 20km from the line, no one failed to make the break before the trio - Monier, Kruijswijk and Hondo - followed on the wheel of Spaniard Dani Moreno. Today’s stage returns to flatter terrain with the 140km run from Levico Terme to Brescia offering an opportunity to the sprinters. —AFP

Big pressure on Wiggins, says Tour veteran Elliott LONDON: There is huge pressure on Bradley Wiggins to become the first Briton to crack the Tour de France podium, Malcolm Elliott, the evergreen pro who blazed the trail for British cycling more than 20 years ago, said on Tuesday. Wiggins finished fourth in 2009, equalling Robert Millar’s best British finish, and after moving to head up the new British Team Sky the talk has been of him doing better this year. But Elliott, who raced the tour in 1987 and 1988 and won stages and the points jersey in the Vuelta, knows that nothing can be taken for granted in the biggest race of all. “It’s a big ask, a very big ask,” he told Reuters in an interview. “Having seen what he did last year I’d like to think he can do it-to show that wasn’t a flash in the pan-but there is a lot of pressure on him. I feel for him, there is a real weight of expectation on that team now. It’s tough and it only takes one bad day and it can be all over. “He had a bad day in the Giro on Sunday and I suppose he’s just going through the motions there now.” Wiggins, who has won three Olympic gold medals on the track, surprised everyone when,

having shed 10 kilos, he pushed third-placed Lance Armstrong all the way last year. “It’s not long since he was a pure track rider so he’s done fantastically well and I’d love to see him do well in the Tour again,” said Elliott. “It’s hard to quantify really. He’s still new to the game in a way so there could still be lots more to come through.” Everyone probably seems new to Elliott, who turns 49 in a few weeks having begun his professional career in 1984 two years after winning double gold at the Commonwealth Games. He won multiple domestic titles and retired in 1997 but came back six years later and continues to race as a pro. He was racing for the Motorpoint team in London on Tuesday in the first leg of the Halfords Tour series of 10 citycentre events with teams racing one-kilometre laps for an hour. Elliott and his fellow competitors were happy to sign autographs and pose for photos among the fans as the Canary Wharf business district swaps suits for lycra. “I’ve spent many years doing this type of event and I really enjoy them,” he said. “I said last year was going to be my final year but it was this series which made me

Bradley Wiggins seen in this file photo say ‘one more.’ “Everyone gives a wry smile every time I say I’m going to stop. There’s a limit I suppose; I feel I can keep going and keep going but it’s high pressure to stay in the condition I need to be to compete at this level. “We’ve got an 18year-old in our team, Josh Edmondson, and I was probably already thinking of retiring when he was born.” Elliott appears very much attached to his glory days, still sporting the permatan and bleached locks so prevalent in the 80s but more rare now on most men approaching their 50th year. Equally undiminished is his love of the sport, the main factor behind his comeback after six

years on the sidelines. Having been a part of the first British trade team to race the tour in 1987 and seen the sport dip out of fashion in Britain he is naturally delighted to be involved in such buoyant times. “Back in the 80s it was a euphoric time with the Kellogg’s races, there was a feeling that British cycling was hitting the big time, but that was just one race really and there was no depth behind it,” he said. “Times got hard but now it’s considered if not a major sport in the UK then a sport of significance, which wasn’t the case when I was back in my prime, and this sort of event is just more evidence that the profile of cycling is so high.”—Reuters

GCC Ice Hockey tourney kicks off By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: The Kuwait National Hockey team defeated Saudi 10-3 in the first match held during the opening ceremony of the First GCC Ice Hockey Championship being held from May 25-31, 2010 at the Ice Skating Rink on Tuesday. This championship is held under the auspices of Sheikh Ali Al-Jaber, the Capital Governor. There are four GCC teams participating in this championship. The opening ceremony was launched with a show of the four participating teams, and a short documen-

tary about each player of the Kuwaiti national team and the championships they participated in. The Head of the Ice Hockey Committee addressed a welcome speech and wished all the teams success. Sheikh Ali Al-Jaber threw the puck on the ice rink to inaugurate the championship. Then the young Kuwait singer Yousif Al-Omani presented a special song for this occasion titled ‘Champions of Hockey’ while skating on the ice rink. The first match between the Kuwaiti and the Saudi team started after the opening ceremony and the audience were

cheering for the Kuwaiti national team. Four international judges will preside over the championship in addition to the timing referee. The Kuwaiti hockey team have already participated in Arab and Asian championships and achieved top positions. In their first participation in 1999 they achieved the bronze medal in Korea, and was the first Arab flag to be raised in this championship. The team is now preparing for their participation in the International Winter Asian Olympics to be held in January 2011 in Kazakhstan.


Thursday, May 27, 2010


Messi: I can handle Argentina World Cup pressure BARCELONA: Lionel Messi doesn’t feel any pressure to deliver for Argentina at the World Cup, with the world player of the year saying he won’t change his Barcelona playing style to suit his country. Four years on from watching Argentina lose to Germany in the quarterfinals, Messi is a very different player from the 18-year-old who watched from the bench in Berlin that June afternoon. This time around, Messi heads to the tournament in South Africa having won a string of personal honors and titles with Barcelona, largely due to his extraordinary playmaking and scoring prowess. “I don’t feel the pressure,” Messi told the Associated Press in a recent inter-

view. “The truth is I’m arriving in good shape. I have a strong desire to do as well as I can, as do my teammates. We want to give our best for Argentina and we hope things turn out well.” Coach Diego Maradona has yet to capture Messi’s best, with the forward’s performances for Barcelona seemingly on a different plane to his international displays. “I won’t change. I’ll keep playing in the same way,” Messi said. “I hope to be able to do what I do (in Barcelona) in the national team without my form suffering, because that (way of playing) is what has made me able to achieve everything I have (up until now).” Messi looks best employed on the right

side of Barcelona’s habitual three-pronged attack, although he has also had a prolific season as a central striker for Pep Guardiola’s team. Messi was the Spanish league’s top scorer with 34 goals and led Europe with 47 goals to equal both of Ronaldo’s club record tallies from 1996-97. Up until now, Maradona has opted to select Messi in a free role behind the two strikers, but the Argentina coach has an array of attacking talent in Diego Milito, Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero at his disposal. Argentina routed Canada 5-0 on Monday in its last friendly before the finals, with Maradona’s tactics offering lit-

tle intent on trying to replicate Barcelona’s Ajax-inspired formation with suitable players. “I don’t know. It’s Diego’s decision,” said Messi, who spoke to the AP at the launch of his new Adidas football boot. “But I think Argentina is fortunate to have many top-quality forwards. That has been proven in this last year because if you look at all the important leagues, there is an Argentine there at the top. “We are approaching the World Cup on very good form and that’s great news.” Bizarrely, Messi has been forced to endure criticism in Argentina following some off-color performances for his national side.

“The criticism on how I play doesn’t hurt,” the Rosario native said. “If it’s because of my performances then I’m the first to criticize myself and the first to know that I haven’t done things well enough - it’s not a problem. But what hurts is when people talk about things unrelated to football. Things beyond football, things from outside.” Such criticism has seen Messi accused of being concerned solely with money or not being interested in playing for his national side, part of which stems from the Barcelona star having lived away from Argentina since the age of 13. “Let’s hope we can do things well and that we can become champions with Argentina and lift

the cup,” he said. “There is no doubt that winning a World Cup would be something unforgettable for the country, for me and for everybody. “I have also won everything individually and now I would like to do the same with Argentina.” Messi calls playing for icon Maradona “very special,” but he is quick to dismiss the comparisons that have arisen following his breathtaking displays this season. “It bothers me for him more than it does for me,” Messi said. But Maradona’s greatness will long remain and the Argentina coach has said he hopes Messi can outshine him this summer. “That’s impossible,” Messi said. “But let’s hope Argentina can be champion.”—AP

Turkey on mission for place on football map JOHANNESBURG: A South African golf player (right) pretends to steal a copy of the FIFA’s World Cup trophy brought by Clovis Fernandes (left), a Brazilian football fan known as Gaucho.—AFP

FIFA to crack down on dangerous tackles BRUGES: FIFA medical chief Michel D’Hooghe has a message for players at the World Cup in South Africa: You’ll pay for those bone-crunching tackles. D’Hooghe said yesterday that he plans to give referees plenty of instruction and warning, adding that a big event like the World Cup offers a chance to send the message that these kinds of bone-crunching tackles are unacceptable. “We will specifically tell our referees and let everyone know” to use the red card as soon as a career-threatening foul is committed at the World Cup, D’Hooghe said. Early this season, D’Hooghe produced a DVD of some of the worst fouls committed in recent years to convince national federations to curb violent play. Nevertheless, it has continued and D’Hooghe doesn’t want it to spill over into the World Cup. “I took action after four or five serious incidents in a row,” he told The Associated Press at his medical office in western Belgium. One of the fouls was from the Belgian league when Standard Liege midfielder Axel Witsel snapped both bones in the right leg of Poland international defender Marcin Wasilewski in a grudge match against Anderlecht. D’Hooghe is hoping his campaign will match the success he had combating facial injuries ahead of the last World Cup in Germany. The 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan saw no less than a dozen serious facial injuries from elbows, often flying in anger and with callous determination. When Germany came around in 2006, the medical staff at FIFA campaigned to make the elbow to the face an automatic red card. “We really stressed this ahead of the World Cup

in Germany and we went from 12 to just two injuries,” D’Hooghe said. “This is my main point: the first doctor at the World Cup is the referee.” The spate of horrific tackles and injuries this season have often boiled down to players blindly launching a tackle and not really caring if the ball is still there. Then, with the outstretched leg, they get the opponent’s foot often in the most delicate area between foot and shin. In comparison, a good tackle goes for the ball just in front of the foot so it doesn’t break a bone if it misses the ball. “If you know that over one third of injuries comes down to foul play, and you can cut down on foul play, then you already achieved a lot,” he said. Players don’t always get red carded for these challenges, as they invariably claim they were trying to get the ball and a severe injury was accidental. Arsenal is a case in point when it comes to being victimized by dangerous tackles. Its challenge for this season’s Premier League title was undermined by injuries. Defender Kieran Gibbs broke a bone in his left foot in November and was left with what manager Arsene Wenger called “a big hole in his leg” following a tackle in the Champions League by Standard Liege player Eliaqium Mangala. Gibbs did not play again this season, while midfielder Aaron Ramsey could be out for as long as a year after his leg was broken in February by Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross. The rough play this season has also had an impact on several World Cup teams. Germany captain Michael Ballack tore ligaments in his right ankle in the FA Cup final because of a wild tackle from an opponent. “In case of Ballack, his World Cup is over and out,” D’Hooghe said.—AP

Italy adjusting to high-altitude training SESTRIERE: Italy is only four days into its World Cup training camp and players are already reporting a series of physical ailments: headaches, dehydration, nausea and problems sleeping _ with shortness of breath the least of the worries. That’s all to be expected when the squad’s “base camp” is at an elevation of 2,035 meters (6,677 feet). “At 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) and up, altitude sickness is normal,” team physician Enrico Castellacci said. “At that elevation you tire quicker if the body is not accustomed to it. Oxygen pressure is lower and heart rates and breathing levels increase.”

The Azzurri chose to train for the World Cup in Sestriere — the resort where Alpine skiing was contested at the 2006 Turin Olympics — to prepare for playing games at high altitude in South Africa, where some stadium elevations exceed 1,500 meters (5,000 feet). The climate in Sestriere is also similar to that in South Africa’s winter — sunny and warm during the day and much cooler at night, when the mercury often falls to near freezing level. The Azzurri got a firsthand taste of the climactic difficulties in South Africa when they were eliminated after the group phase of last year’s Confederations Cup.

“I remember the players reporting they were out of breath even after one short running burst,” Castellacci said. “That’s why we decided to come here.” The surrounding mountains in Sestriere are still covered with snow. “It’s definitely strange to prepare for a World Cup beside the snow. But this will help us understand the challenges we’re going to face down in South Africa,” captain Fabio Cannavaro said. “Those of us that were there last year remember how cold it gets, as well as the rain. We’re lucky enough in Italy to have nice, high mountains and we’re taking advantage of them.” —AP

SESTRIERE: Italy’s football team players (left to right) Mauro Camoranesi, Antonio Di Natale, Giuseppe Rossi, Gianluca Zambrotta, Mattia Cassani, Fabio Cannavaro and Andrea Pirlo are seen at a training camp.—AFP

GENEVA: Turkey hopes its political appeal and promise of social progress can fight off more traditional bids from France and Italy to be selected host of the 2016 European Championship tomorrow. Turkey’s bid team is preparing for head of state, President Abdullah Gul, to help present its case in Geneva to 13 voting members of UEFA’s ruling executive. The Turkish team will remind the European football’s governing body that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has guaranteed the entire euro 920 million ($1.14 billion) budget for work on the nine stadiums needed to host the month long, 24-team tournament. Turkey’s message is that, as a majority Muslim country, its hosting of the world’s third most popular sports event “will make a great contribution to the mission of UEFA to integrate different cultures.” “We represent the new Europe,” said Mahmut Ozgener,

Euro 2016 bid president of the Turkey football federation, which is bidding for a third straight time. Turkey has never hosted a major football event, and was not even a member of UEFA when the first European Championship was staged by France in 1960. It was accepted two years later. In contrast, France and Italy represent older European football powers, with each hosting two previous European Championships and two World Cups. Each hopes Euro 2016 hosting rights will help modernize stadiums that have fallen below the highest European standards since they hosted a World Cup in the 1990s. The French bid needs euro 1.7 billion ($2.1 billion) to be spent on 12 stadiums, including four new arenas, with euro 662 million ($820 million) pledged from public funds. UEFA’s technical evaluation of the bids expressed concern that less than half of the euro 1 billion ($1.22 billion) private funding required was already secured. “Our main guarantee to UEFA is that our projects are not dependent on the Euro,” said Frederic Thiriez, president of the French League. “Our stadiums will be renovated whatever happens.” France’s bid won praise from UEFA for outlining “a very good long-term legacy” for football and escaped any major criticism. It also could benefit from being blessed by UEFA president Michel Platini, who captained France to victory when it last hosted in 1984. Platini cannot take part in the debate or voting Friday. Italy’s bid appears to be lacking by comparison, with UEFA picking on potential problems including stadium and ticket costs, regional airports and a lack of overall vision for the event. Former playing great Paolo Maldini will help make Italy’s presentation. “We’ve presented a serious and credible bid,” said Italian federation president Giancarlo Abete, another UEFA executive member who cannot vote. “If we don’t win, we will be very attentive that the other candidates’ projects are completed.” Turkey’s challenge is convincing UEFA it can deliver the modern transport links needed to move fans between eight proposed host cities, all in the central and west regions. UEFA will choose a 2016 host while still uncertain about Ukraine’s ability to create infrastructure in time to co-host Euro 2012 with Poland.—AP

BRAZIL: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (center left, in blue suit) poses with Brazil’s national football team at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia. The Brazilian team, five-time world champion, embarks late yesterday to South Africa.—AFP

Rural S Africa gets taste of World Cup LICHTENBURG: Outsiders are rare as rain in this dusty corner of northern South Africa. So when cars carrying government workers, flags and a sound system arrived at the community sports field, curious villagers streamed in. Lichtenburg’s Matikiring community in South Africa’s Northwest Province has no running water, most houses are tin shacks — the word Matikiring means “tin shack place” — and the sports ground consists of two goal posts with torn nets at either end of a field of sand. The government’s youth development agency brought a portable party to Lichtenburg this week as part of a campaign to ensure South Africans in remote parts of the country get a long-awaited taste of the World Cup. Villager Maria Bogatsu says maybe now the eyes of government officials will be opened to poverty in rural South Africa. “We hope that after the World Cup, maybe there will be improvements in our small village,” she said. Steven Ngubeni, chief executive officer of the National Youth Development Agency, said more efforts need to be made to reach out to all parts of South Africa. “Anecdotal evidence points to the fact that young people from rural areas feel completely left out of the excitement of events associated with the World Cup preparations,” Ngubeni said. This was confirmed by Liza Matladi of the aid group CARE, which works throughout rural South Africa. She said some people in rural areas don’t even have electricity, and will only be able to watch the World Cup on TV if the government sets up screens in public areas. Some cash-strapped local governments say they can’t afford to set up viewing areas. Sammy Molofo, an ANC Youth League member from another rural part of South Africa, said, “I don’t know anything about the World Cup. I don’t even know the players.” In Lichtenburg on Tuesday, villagers were given a chance to

LICHTENBURG: In this photo taken Tuesday May 25, 2010, children play a soccer match at the Matikiring sports ground, near Lichtenburg, in the rural part of northern South Africa.—AP win a South African football jersey or a ticket to a World Cup game with hotel accommodation and transportation. A mini football tournament was staged, some of the players were barefoot, all were determined.

Organizers gave a microphone to a man who volunteered to provide a play-by-play call. He climbed a tree for a better view and delivered commentary from his perch. The winning team was promised jerseys and other foot-

ball paraphernalia. Katlego Bogatsu, 19, enjoyed the day. “It’s not often anything happens here, it only happens in the towns,” she said. “It’s the first time we see anything regarding the World Cup.”—AFP

Maradona to run naked if Argentina wins WCup BUENOS AIRES: Diego Maradona has promised to run naked through the center of Buenos Aires if Argentina wins the World Cup. The Argentina coach made the promise during a radio show. The unpredictable Maradona was speaking a day after Argentina defeated Canada 5-0 Monday in its final warm-up match before the World Cup. “If we win the World Cup, I’ll get naked and run around the Obelisk,” he said, referring to the tall monument that marks the center of the city and serves as its most famous landmark. Maradona’s response came after a reporter asked him in the interview what he would do if his team returned to Argentina with its third

World Cup title. In the same interview, Maradona said he had to explain to Lionel Messi why he did not play against Canada. Messi is the reigning FIFA player of the year, but sat out the match to protect him against any possible injury. “If something would have happened to you in that match, I’d have been shot _ you know where,” Maradona said he told Messi. Maradona has the luxury of choosing between some of the world’s best forwards. In addition to Messi, he can use Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain, Diego Milito, Sergio Aguero and Martin Palermo. Argentina plays in Group B, opening against Nigeria on June 12. The team also faces Greece and South Korea.—AP

Real line up Mourinho as Pellegrini sacked MADRID: Real Madrid opened the way for Jose Mourinho to take over as coach after they sacked Manuel Pellegrini yesterday. Florentino Perez, president of the Spanish giants, said that a need for change had necessitated the dismissal of the Chilean incumbent and the courting of Mourinho from Inter Milan. “We have dedicated the last few weeks to analysing and reflecting upon the past season. And we have decided to bring to an end Manuel Pellegrini’s time at the club,” Perez told a press conference here. “We want to thank him and his team for their hard work, professionalism and conduct. The board also agreed to contract Jose Mourinho as the new coach of Real Madrid once his contractual relationship with Inter Milan has been resolved.”

Mourinho has long been in Real’s cross-hairs, none more so than after he guided Inter to a unique treble this season of the Champions League, Italian league and Italian Cup. Perez added: “It’s not been an easy decision to reach but we’re 100 percent behind the need for a change. “We’re very happy that Jose Mourinho will be the man to take over the reins of Real Madrid for the coming years - he’s won everything possible. We want to have the best person in every position out on the pitch and in the dug-out - we want to sign one of the best managers in the game.” Italian news agency ANSA earlier reported Mourinho as saying that he was heading off on holidays before going “to work in Spain”. “Now I’m on holidays. Then I’ll go to work in Spain,” Mourinho said, accompa-

nied by his agent Jorge Mendes, after meeting Inter Milan official Rinaldo Ghelfi, who is in charge of finances at the Italian club. “With Inter it’s not yet over, but everything is going well and there are no problems,” Mourinho later told journalists. Asked by journalists: “Is it possible that you’ll stay at Milan?” Mourinho replied: “It’s impossible.” According to media reports, the transfer to Real Madrid will only be completed when Inter are certain of recuperating the €16 million stipulated in the get-out clause for the coach whose contract runs until June 2012. Pellegrini, 56, spent just one season with Real after arriving from Villarreal, ultimately paying the price for again finishing behind Barcelona in La Liga and their round-of-16 exit from the Champions League. He

had one year on his contract to run. “Mourinho is what Real Madrid needs, he’s going to win titles and Madrid lives off titles,” said fan Cristobal Lamela outside the Bernabeu after hearing of the appointment. Having enjoyed a successful spell coaching in England, Mourinho long ago announced his ambition to work in Spain and thus win trophies in another of Europe’s major football leagues. Speculation had hung over Pellegrini’s future for much of last season and Portuguese-born Mourinho’s name was frequently mentioned by local media as a likely replacement for the Chilean coach. “I don’t like Mourinho, I prefer Pellegrini because he is more thoughtful and more sincere, he’s not so arrogant and then there’s the style of play - Mourinho

plays with 10 defenders,” said fan Jesus Gomez outside the Bernabeu. As the season drew to a close, Mourinho, who won the Italian league title in 2008-09, his first season with Inter, made his dislike of Italian football increasingly clear. He told Sky Sports in March: “I am very happy at Inter; I am not happy with Italian football. Why? Because I don’t like it and it doesn’t like me.” Madrid appeared the logical destination for the Portuguese as he admitted he wanted to coach the club “one day”. Leading Inter to a Champions League semifinal victory against Madrid’s archrival Barcelona before landing the trophy itself in the Bernabeu stadium was the perfect way for Mourinho to persuade the club’s management and fans that he was the right man for the job. — Agencies

Czechs give US 4-2 wake-up call

EAST HARTFORD: United States’ Jose Torres (left) attempts to hold Czech Republic’s Jan Polak (8) from controlling the ball during the first half of an international friendly soccer match. —AP

Nigeria fail to impress WATTENS: Nigeria began their World Cup preparations with an er ror-strewn and uncoordinated 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in a match they were fortunate not to lose in coach L ars Lagerback’s debut. The new coach, who has had his players together for less than a week, turned out a side of more probables than possibles in the alpine village of Wattens in front of a small crowd of some 3,000. Veteran Nwankwo Kanu captained the side but was

among six players changed in the second half as Lagerback, who was appointed to the post in February, ran his eye over players on the fringe of the final squad. Nigeria could only muster a few long-range efforts in the second half but did have one good opportunity just before the break when a power ful r un from Ever ton’s Victor Anichebe and a subsequent square pass should have been tucked away by Kalu Uche. Saudi Arabia could have

won the game in the 71st minute when a clever ball from Ahmed Mohamed Al Fraidi put Abdelaziz Said Al Dawsari through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat. He dragged the ball wide. They had several other legitimate attempts on goal as they finished the stronger of the two teams. Nigeria was tohead to London y e s t e rd a y to resume their preparations, including a match against Colombia on May 30 at Milton Keynes. —Reuters

AUSTRIA: Nigeria’s Peter Suswam (right) and Saudi Arabia’s Saddik Al Mousa Kamil challenge for the ball during a friendly soccer match. —AP

EAST HARTFORD: The United States were given an early World Cup wake-up call when they were beaten 4-2 at home by the Czech Republic in their opening warm-up game on Tuesday. US coach Bob Bradley rested many of his likely starters but gave a run-out to key central defender Oguchi Onyewu, who had been sidelined since a knee operation in October and looked well short of match fitness. The States, who face England in their World Cup opener on June 12, took the lead in the 17th minute through Maurice Edu but goals from Tomas Sivok (44) and Jan Polak (58) put the Czechs in front. Substitute Herculez Gomez equalised but a shaky American defence conceded twice more as Martin Fenin (77) and then Tomas Necid (90+2) led the Czechs to victory. Bradley will reduce his 30man squad to 23 on Wednesday but were he looking for players to give him a last minute re-think, there would seem little scope for adjustment. “I think for the most part we had good ideas there were certain things that were on the fence and so we will have some discussions tonight and make some tough decisions,” said Bradley. Midfielder Stuart Holden, another player returning from a lengthy layoff, created both goals. His in-swinging free-kick from the left was only flapped at by Czech keeper Petr Cech and allowed Edu to tap in the loose ball. Later, Holden’s corner kick was nodded back by defender Clarence Goodson before Gomez headed in at the back post. Gomez and Brian Ching caused more danger than the first half strike pairing of Eddie Johnson and Edson Buddle and Bradley singled out central defender Clarence Goodson for praise. “I thought that Clarence Goodson still did a solid job at the back and helped us on some set pieces, that was good to see,” he said. But Bradley’s biggest concern will be the condition of AC Milan defender Onyewu who was at fault for the first Czech goal, failing to jump and challenge Sivok for his header. Onyewu looked awkward at times and not surprisingly, after seven months out, was far from the commanding figure before his injury. “It is good to see him back on the field. Throughout this period in the camp he is moving better all the time, we will see how he comes out of this game, I think he felt good coming off the field and we will keep working him hard,” said Bradley. The United States also face Slovenia and Algeria in World Cup Group C. Before then, Bradley’s team face Turkey in Philadelphia on Saturday and then Australia in Roodepoort, South Africa, on June 5. —Reuters

AUSTRIA: Greece’s Sokratis Papadopoulos (left) and Korea’s Jong Tae Se challenge for the ball during the friendly international soccer match. —AP

Jong’s double secures draw for North Korea FALTACH: North Korea forward Jong Tae-Se, dubbed the ‘People’s Wayne Rooney’ by Asian media, scored twice for North Korea in a 2-2 draw with fellow World Cup finalists Greece in a friendly on Tuesday. Greece twice took the lead but were pegged back by the impressive Japanbased frontman. Kostas Katsouranis’s second-minute strike from close range after defender Sotiris Kyrgiakos headed a Giorgos Karagounis free-kick across goal gave Greece the perfect start. But the Koreans, with

their direct running and incisive passing making the pedestrian Greeks look embarrassingly one-dimensional, dominated the remainder of the half. North Korea skipper Hong Yong-Jo twice rattled the crossbar and on 23 minutes Jong equalised with a superb long range effort that went in off the underside of the crossbar. Greece’s sole threat stemmed from their set pieces and after making five changes at half time, they regained the lead through substitute Angelos

Charisteas’s volley from another Karagounis free-kick. But Jong showed his class with a clinical finish moments later, controlling a long ball, skipping past Nikos Spiropoulos and then firing powerfully past substitute goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas to level again. Greece, who begin their Group B campaign against South Korea on June 12, struggled to make an impression in a disjointed display and coach Otto Rehhagel will be hoping for an improvement when they continue their preparations against Paraguay

on June 2. “I expect us to get better as things move on from here,” he told reporters. “What I didn’t like was that we were slow with our passing. “They (North Korea) play a fast game and I expect us to play the ball more quickly and have more fluency. Our group opponents South Korea are a very good side and we must be absolutely ready for the start of the World Cup because we will have to give our all in every game.” North Korea are in Group G with Brazil, Ivory Coast and Portugal. —Reuters

Paraguay beaten 2-1 by Ireland DUBLIN: Paraguay’s preparations for next month’s World Cup finals suffered a minor blow on Tuesday with a 2-1 defeat by Ireland. Ireland, whose qualifying campaign came to a controversial end last year when a blatant handball by Thierry Henry set France up for a playoff winning goal, rarely looked troubled after first-half goals from Kevin Doyle and Liam Lawrence. Doyle, one of nine starters who featured in that cruel night in Paris last November, put the hosts ahead on seven minutes, the frontman nodding in from close range after Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz headed onto his own bar. Paraguay, who led the long South American qualification campaign throughout 2008 before finishing in third place, controlled much of the half but created few openings despite striker Rodolfo Gamarra looking lively on just his third cap. The Paraguayans, preparing for Group F matches against

DUBLIN: Paraguay’s Lucas Barrios (left) is tackled by Republic of Ireland’s Glenn Whelan (right) in their friendly international soccer match. —AP Slovakia, New Zealand and holders Italy, were punished again on 39 minutes when Doyle neatly chested a Stephen Kelly cross into the path of winger L awrence to smash home. Paraguay defender Antolin Alcaraz tested Irish goalkeeper Kieren Westwood with a stinging drive just before the break but the visitors looked a shade of the side who beat Argentina and Brazil en route to their

fourth successive World Cup appearance. After a shaky start to the second half, Paraguay got back on top of possession and pulled a goal back on 57 minutes when Argentine-born striker Lucas Barrios, who obtained Paraguayan nationality last month, scored on his debut. The Borussia Dortmund frontman, ignored by Argentina coach Diego Maradona despite

scoring 19 goals in his debut Bundesliga season, finished well af ter a nice one-two between fellow Argentina-born winger Jonathan Santana and Santa Cruz. However, Paraguay failed to trouble the Irish goal again and Giovanni Trapattoni’s side went away with a morale-boosting victory ahead of the European Championship qualifiers which begin later this year. —Reuters

Strike grounds Air India flights

Rehn: Europe faces economic stagnation



Bernanke warns of risk to bank independence


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ramallah in the grips of real estate boom RAMALLAH: New buildings, fancy coffee shops and upscale restaurants that dot Ramallah lend the West Bank political capital an air of prosperity that stands out in the fragile Palestinian economy. The bustling city of 40,000 is in the grips of a real estate boom and has become an ideal showcase for Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's plan to create a viable Palestinian state by 2011. But experts warn that Ramallah's new-found wealth does not in any way reflect the state of the economy in the occupied West Bank or the impoverished Gaza Strip. Economic growth in the West Bank did reach 8.5 percent last year but much of that was the result of generous international aid, according to the International Monetary Fund. "If for some reason foreign aid should suddenly stop or diminish, government spending would slump and the economy would simply go back to zero," says Nasser Abdelkarim of Bir Zeit university's economics department. In 2009 international donors provided some 1.35 billion dollars in budgetary support, accounting for 22 percent of the Palestinian gross domestic product (GDP), and an additional 400 million dollars for development projects. "There is no significant improvement of private investment, particularly in sectors that can contribute to the infrastructure of an independent state, such as agriculture and industry," says Abdelkarim. Israeli restrictions on movement and access severely hobble internal economic activity and foreign trade, the IMF wrote in a recent report. The Israeli army has announced it will soon make some "goodwill gestures" in the West Bank, including the removal of some of the hundreds of roadblocks that restrict movement across the Palestinian territory. "Smoke and mirrors," says Mahdi Al-Masri, who heads the Federation of Palestinian Industries. "Even the lowest ranking soldier in the Israeli army can interfere with the movement of goods worth millions of dollars." Masri is convinced the only way a solid economy can be built is if the Palestinian Authority is given control over the whole of the West Bank. Only about 40 percent of the West Bank is under Palestinian administrative jurisdiction, with the remainder, known as area C, under full Israeli control. "Israel has kept the keys and can change the situation at any time, for example by putting back a roadblock," says Abdelkarim. And the situation in the Gaza Strip, an overcrowded enclave crippled by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade, is putting the brakes on economic growth. Masri estimates that 35 to 40 percent of the Palestinian economy is blocked because of the blockade on Gaza, where about 80 percent of the 1.5 million population rely on foreign aid and unemployment levels have reached 40 percent. Just a few kilometers from Ramallah, particularly in Area C, the economic boom seems like a distant mirage. In the small town of Bir Nabala, about half way between Ramallah and Jerusalem, shopkeepers sit in the dusty streets waiting for business and many stores are shuttered. "It's stagnation," says Mahmud Naim, an employee at a ceramic tile store. He blames the barrierwhich Israel says is crucial to its security and Palestinians call an Apartheid Wall-for turning this once bustling town into a virtual ghost town. "Before the wall, we'd work alot with Jerusalem. Today, nothing." Pointing to the street outside, he lists the stores that have shut down, the grocery, the bakery, the laundry ..." — AFP

Boom belies fragility of Palestinian economy

Investment Dar, Blom battle adds sharia risk DUBAI: A legal wrangle between Kuwait's Investment Dar and Lebanon's Blom Bank has raised sharia risk in the Islamic finance industry, ratings firm Moody's said in a research note yesterday. Blom Bank sued Dar for $10.7 million in a British court last year, seeking the principal it invested plus a 5 percent return, as was structured in an Islamic deal it concluded with the company in 2007. Dar said it would not pay as the fixed return constituted interest which it said was not sharia-compliant and broke the company's own charter. A judge ruled that while Dar should repay the principal, it had an arguable defense regarding the extra profit. While the case has not yet concluded, legal experts and Islamic bankers have been debating its significance for the industry. Moody's senior credit officer Khalid Howladar said that the ratings firm will closely watch the case as the final outcome may set a precedent. "Such precedent when coupled with legal opinions will likely form part of our rating analysis of such instruments and institutions," Howladar wrote in the note. He added that the case highlights the need for the industry to improve its due diligence when structuring such Islamic transactions. He said that Moody's may require clear documentation demonstrating that sharia risk has been addressed before it rates sukuks and Islamic institutions in the future. Documentation may include disclosure of approvals from company sharia boards and a signed waiver in the contract disallowing a sharia-related defense. — Reuters

OECD raises global growth forecasts

RAMALLAH: A general view shows the minaret of a mosque next to modern residential buildings in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, is witnessing a construction boom which makes it an exception in the Palestinian territories which generally have a fragile economy. — AFP

Nigerian business delegates meet Kuwaiti counterparts By Chidi Emmanuel KUWAIT: A 46-member business delegation from Nigeria met with their Kuwait counterparts on Tuesday, May 25 and concluded their investment conference at the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Kuwait-Nigeria Investment Conference (KNIC) intended to promote business opportunities in both oil-rich countries as they sought ways to tap into each other's markets. The delegates discussed issues of mutual interest and signed five memoranda of understanding. There were high level delegates from Nigeria including; the Governor of Katsina State Ibrahim Shehu Shema, the Deputy Governor of the state of Zamfara Muktar Mohammed, Kano State Commissioner of Commerce and Industry Ahmed Yakasia, Eric U Ani from the Presidency, General Suleiman Yekini of the Defense Headquarters Abuja and HRH the Amir of the state of Maradum Zamfara among others. Muneera Al-Hassawi, Vice President of the Deep Impact Company, said the conference was designed to strengthen trade and economic relations between Nigeria and Kuwait. Al-Hassawi urged investors to explore the opportunities of Nigeria's oil, banking, real estate, communication, aviation and the agricultural sectors. She commended the Nigerian government for its business incentives. "There are lots of business incentives and opportunities in Nigeria. Incentives like tax exemptions as well as owning and managing real estate properties are too good to remain unnoticed," she said.

5 memoranda of understanding inked

KUWAIT: The Governor of Katsina State Ibrahim Shehu Shema (second left) presents his speech during the Kuwait-Nigeria Investment Conference (KNIC) at the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry. (Inset) Muneera Al-Hassawi, Vice President of the Deep Impact Company. On his part, the Chief Investment Officer and representative from the Presidency, Eric Ani, praised the efforts of both governments to promote mutual ties and urged investors to make use of huge incentives and business opportunities. "Nigeria and Kuwait have a lot of things in common. It is time to expand our ties. There is a wide range of opportunities for Nigerians and Kuwaitis", Ani said. Regarding the economy, the Nigerian ambassador to Kuwait, Ahmed Gusau Bala said that the Nigerian government embarked on reform programs to set the economy on a path of growth and development. He added that Nigeria has opened the doors for agriculture and tourism and urged businessmen to make use of the investment opportunities

in solid minerals, tourism, telecommunication, agricultural, oil and the gas sectors. "With a population of 150 million people, Nigeria offers great opportunities," the ambassador said. Commending the program, the Amir of the state of Maradum Zamfara, HRH Garba Mohammed Tambari, lauded the efforts of both governments to boost economic ties. The Amir urged Nigerians in Kuwait to act as good ambassadors for their country. He called for active participation from stake holders in a bid to promote business initiatives. "We need to strive for continuous improvement to boost our ties and set targets", he said. The seminar was organized by the Association of Nigerians Residents in the Arabian Gulf and the Deep Impact Company.

KUWAIT: The commissioner for justice Katsina State, Nigeria chat with a Kuwait investor during the Kuwait-Nigeria Investment Conference (KNIC) at the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

PARIS: The global economy is recovering faster than expected from recession with Asia leading the way, but it is at risk from huge debts in developed countries and possible overheating in countries such as China, the OECD said yesterday. In a twiceyearly report, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development raised its forecast for global growth to 4.6 percent in 2010 and 4.5 percent in 2011. Last November it predicted growth of 3.4 percent this year and 3.7 percent in 2011, after a 0.9 percent contraction in 2009. It was also far more optimistic about job markets globally, saying unemployment in its 31 member countries may have peaked at around 8.5 percent-much lower than its previous prediction of almost 10 percent. The new forecasts are higher than the average annual rate of growth in the decade before the financial crisis that spilled out of the United States in 2007 -- an average of 3.7 percent per annum over 1997-2006, according to OECD figures-but the OECD said the bounce was uneven and risk-prone. The developed economies where the 2009 recession exacted the biggest toll were getting a lift from resurgent international trade, propelled primarily by export demand from rising economies in Asia, the OECD said. It raised its forecast for US growth this year and next to 3.2 percent each time, from 2.5 and 2.8 percent in its forecasts of last November. It predicted Japanese growth of 3.0 percent in 2010 and 2.0 in 2011, up from 1.8 and 2.0 percent previously, and forecast the euro zone to lag with growth of 1.2 percent and 1.8 percent this year and next, still marginally more than forecasts of 0.9 and 1.7 percent last November. The biggest challenge the advanced economies faced right now was cutting post-recession debts and containing financial market instability that had spread recently from Europe. Fiscal consolidation is imperative for many countries. It is also to lay the groundwork for sustained growth in the longer term," OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said. "Getting the timing and sequencing right will prove enormously challenging everywhere." That challenge is about juggling austerity measures that may be vital but are also likely to hurt growth, while keeping sight of the need to wean economies off rock-bottom interest rates and government support put in place when many believed the downturn could degenerate into a second Great Depression. After a debt crisis that spread from Greece to spark broader financial market turmoil over perceived debt default risks, the euro zone is accelerating aus-

terity plans such as cuts in public wages and spending. Recent weakening of the euro currency should offset some of the growth hit from austerity by lifting exports and the region should avoid a relapse into recession, OECD chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan said in an interview with Reuters. BOOM-BUST The OECD highlighted a very different threat to the emerging market economies such as China and India, saying: "A boom-bust scenario cannot be ruled out, requiring a much stronger tightening of monetary policy in some non-OECD countries, including China and India, to counter inflationary pressures and reduce the risk of asset-price bubbles." In China, the OECD forecast economic growth of 11.1 percent this year and 9.7 percent in 2011, saying that there was a danger that measures to cool property markets and curb land prices would not see off the risk of overheating. Back in November, the OECD was forecasting Chinese growth of 10.2 percent in 2010 and 9.3 percent in 2011. The report said it expected world trade to grow 10.6 percent in 2010 and 8.4 percent in 2011, after an 11 percent plunge in 2009 that was largely concentrated in the months following the demise of Wall Street banking giant Lehman Brothers. "Strong growth in emergingmarket economies is contributing significantly," said the OECD, whose 31 member countries are mostly developed economies. "The spillover from growth in non-OECD Asia could be stronger than expected, especially in the United States and Japan. From this point of view, the overall environment is relatively auspicious." the Paris-based organization said. The forecasts are marginally higher than the International Monetary Fund's predictions of 4.2 percent and 4.3 percent expansions in global gross domestic product this year and next. DOLE QUEUES The OECD said another 16 million people had lost their jobs across its 31 members in the two years to the end of the first quarter of 2010. Bad as that was, it appeared to be less severe than initially expected and the OECD-wide jobless rate may have peaked as just over 8.5 percent, it said. The OECD said back in September it feared the jobless rate might run as high as 9.9 percent before any turnaround. Debt and debt market instability was the most immediate of the two risks highlighted by the OECD, and European governments were being forced to "respond by the minute" with policies to calm market fears that things could spin out of control. "It's not just a European story," said Padoan.— Reuters



Thursday, May 27, 2010

First Bahrain highlights its 2009 achievements

Warba partners with Microsoft Kuwait to enhance efficiencies KUWAIT: Microsoft Kuwait yesterday announced that Warba insurance company has chosen to partner with the leading IT solutions provider to introduce its latest technologies and enhance operational efficiencies to help serve customers better. Since its inception Warba Insurance has been committed to providing customers with all classes of insurance, reinsurance and related investment activities. The partnership will enable Warba Insurance to provide an expanded range of service offerings including data privacy and security that will serve as a key factor mapping to the customer’s current requirements and future plans. The partnership will leverage Microsoft’s best-in-class technology development capabilities and help Warba Insurance serve their customer base in Kuwait and the region through an advance technology platform. Anwar Jawad BuKhamseen, Chariman of The Board of Directors, Warba Insurance Company said “It is Warba Insurance’s vision to continuously provide our customers with world-class solutions and address their diverse insurance related challenges in Kuwait and the rest of the region. Through this partnership with Microsoft Kuwait, we aim to help our clients further improve the flexibility and reliability of their IT capabilities, while at the same time maximizing the value of their investments,” Tawfik Shamlan Al Bahar, Managing Director, Warba Insurance Company said “We wanted an innovative technology platform that would enable us to meet our business needs quickly and support our long-

term growth and expansion. Windows Server and SQL server are cost effective solutions that fulfills all our requirements and will hopefully help increase productivity and customer satisfaction. Mohamad Al-Alban, Deputy General Manager, Warba Insurance Company said “With diversified business units we were looking for a solution that has the ability to streamline and simplify our daily operations and reduce our overall costs. Microsoft’s latest offerings were the obvious choice for their feature rich functionality and ability to efficiently connect all our departments together economically thereby providing us with an effective framework that enables improved decision-making.” Commenting on the partnership, Charbel Fakhoury, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf said, “Microsoft’s information platform vision provides enterprises with a complete approach to managing information assets, enabling businesses such as Warba to gain strategic value from information from the desktop to the datacenter to the cloud. With offerings like SQL Server and Windows Server, Microsoft

continues to be the value leader, offering rich functionality to support out of the box workloads at a low cost of ownership. We are pleased to work with Warba to help use technology to optimize performance across their internal value chain.” Ehab Mostafa, Country Manager, Microsoft Kuwait added, “The rate of adoption of IT solutions in Kuwait has achieved considerable growth, which represents a significant business opportunity for us. Warba Insurance was looking for solutions that address High Availability, Data Privacy and Security. Microsoft SQL and Windows server proved to be the right solution as it provided all the capabilities that Warba was looking for”. Microsoft SQL Server provides robust capabilities to quickly manage and store all information. It also enables Warba Insurance to manage and administer their database, optimize resources and provide an insight to making better informed decisions. Some of the other Microsoft technologies adopted by the organization include SharePoint 2010 Server, System Center and Exchange.

KUWAIT: First Bahrain, an innovative Kuwaiti real estate development company, yesterday held its annual general meeting at the company’s head office in Al Khaleej Tower - Kuwait City to review and highlight the company’s main achievements during 2009. Highlights of 2009 included the successful completion of Phase I of First Bahrain’s innovative project Majaal, Bahrain’s first small to medium enterprises (SME)-focused warehousing and logistics facility that was completed on time and on budget. Leasing commenced earlier this year and both local and international companies have already signed on as tenants. Briefing the company’s shareholders, Salah Al-Wuhaib, Chairman of First Bahrain, said: “I am pleased to review with you the company’s main achievements during 2009, a year of significant progress for the company despite the global economic difficulties. We are proud to report that 2009 saw the completion of Phase I of Majaal, which has since gained tremendous response and, I am proud to say, was named the best industrial property in Bahrain at the 2009 Gulf Real Estate Awards.” “First Bahrain has reported a loss of KD 2.41 million, due solely to a conservative reduction in the value of its land bank in Bahrain. Despite this loss, First Bahrain finished 2009 with its current assets being 8 times greater than its total liabilities, highlighting the solid liquidity of the company and its debt free position.” The Chairman also noted that in the face of sustained uncertainty, First Bahrain embarked on a defensive strategy for the year, seeking to control costs and structure the company for future growth. In this regard, a petition was successfully filed for the subdivision of First Bahrain’s 236,000 square feet of land in the Seef district of Bahrain, subdividing the plot into seven smaller areas, ranging in size from 21,000 to 77,000 square feet. The newly subdivided plots will offer the company flexibility to develop or sell the land in phases, in keeping with market conditions. Likewise, the provision taken on the value of the land better positions the company to structure an economically viable land sale or joint venture in the year ahead. “In 2010, we will continue to build the follow-on phases of Majaal, and study the possibility of activating the planned commercial and residential mixed-use development for our land at Janabiya, with an eye on opportunistic acquisitions as conditions warrant”, Al-Wuhaib added. In closing, Al-Wuhaib thanked First Bahrain’s management and staff and expressed his sincere appreciation to the company’s shareholders, clients and investors for their continued trust and support.

KUWAIT: Surour Alsamerai, General Manager-Human Resources Gulf Bank along with his HR Team, proudly holds the ‘Employer of the Year’ Award in the presence of members of the 2nd GCC Human Resource Excellence Awards 2010 team.

Gulf Bank wins GCC Employer of the Year Award KUWAIT: Gulf Bank announced that it has won the coveted “Employer of the Year” award at the 2nd GCC Human Resource Excellence Awards 2010 held in conjunction with the 5th Human Assets Middle East Congress. This award is an endorsement of Gulf Bank’s consistent ongoing efforts to implement positive career development strategies across all of its departments. The Awards Ceremony, which took place at the Royal Mirage Hotel (Dubai) on 25 May 2010, is an annual event, which recognizes excellence in HR practices followed by GCC public and private organizations and has been designed to honor both individuals and organizations. Gulf Bank, a leading HR practitioner

in the region, received this year’s Best Employer Award in recognition of its loyalty and care towards its employees, providing ongoing support, and training and developing them to become the future banking leaders of Kuwait. Surour Alsamerai, General Manager of Human Resources at Gulf Bank said, “The GCC Human Resource Excellence Award is more than a recognition of individual excellence. It is a tangible acknowledgment of Gulf Bank’s contribution to the growth, development and professional nurturing of Kuwait’s human capital”. “As a part of its ongoing improvement program, Gulf Bank has introduced a broad range of initiatives to encourage

learning and to develop career opportunities for its staff. This award is an endorsement of the efforts of all our HR personnel at the Bank and the progress we have worked to achieve”, added Alsamerai. Gulf Bank was also nominated for the HR Director of the Year Award, Best Nationalization Friendly Initiative, and the Most Admired Company in Human Asset Management. Gulf Bank is committed to delivering superior customer experience through providing professional quality services, innovation and creative banking solutions. The Bank recognizes that the foundation of its strength lies in the diversity, commitment and performance of its employees.

TEXAS condemns airport users fee KUWAIT: Thiruvananthapuram Expatriates Association, Kuwait chapter (TEXAS) strongly condemned the proposal to implement Users Fee at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. In the press meet TEXAS Kuwait expressed their strong opposition and protest to the proposal on the implementation of Users Fee and also said that they will co-ordinate with the other prominent Associations in Kuwait and the chapters of TEXAS in other GCC countries in planning further actions and other protest measures including approaching for judicial remedies. Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is one of the oldest airports in India

and is wholly owned by the Government of India. There is no arrangement of BOT basis in Thiruvananthapuram Airport and it’s totally unjustifiable on the additional burden to the passengers. Additional revenue to the airport should be sought through different means like bringing more International flights and increasing the traffic. Thousands of middle class expatriates use Thiruvananthapuram airport to commute to their region of work mainly to the GCC and other countries and users fee will be a strong additional burden on them. Kerala is projecting itself as a favored tourism destination, but proposals like this will curtail the arrival of tourists making

them think of other options. A major part of expatriates from the southern districts of Kerala and TamilNadu currently depend on Thiruvananthapuram Airport, but with additional burdens, this traffic will be diverted negatively affecting the airport. It should also be noted that the concept of users fee is not prevalent in any of the airports in India including the ones with Public Private Participation. Hence TEXAS strongly condemns this proposal on the users fee and join hands in support to the Kerala Government and Legislative Assembly members and the members of Parliament against this proposal.

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 .4160000 .3550000 .2480000 .2690000 .2370000 .0045000 .0020000 .0788580 .7682880 .4020000 .0750000 .7531740 .0045000 .0500000

.2940000 .4260000 .3630000 .2560000 .2780000 .2460000 .0075000 .0035000 .0796500 .7760090 .4180000 .0790000 .7607430 .0072000 .0580000

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

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2905000 .4178580 .3572680 .2502050 .2713340 .0480210 .0366400 .2395290 .0372360 .2059870 .0032170 .0061470 .0025650 .0034420 .0042340 .0791300 .7709320 .4108380 .0775040 .7549080 .0062470

.2926000 .4208080 .3597900 .2519760 .2732540 .0483610 .0368990 .2412200 .0375000 .2074450 .0032400 .0061910 .0025830 .0034660 .0042640 .0796340 .7758450 .4137460 .0779980 .7597190 .0062910

US Dollar Sterling pounds Swiss Francs Saudi Riyals

TRANSFER CHEQUES RATES .2926000 .4208080 .2519760 .0779980

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. 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 Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Egyptian Pound - Cash Egyptian Pound Yemen Riyal Tunisian Dinar Jordanian Dinar Lebanese Lira Syrian Lier Morocco Dirham

3.444 2.559 3.872 207.320 37.420 4.210 6.237 9.000 0.301 0.292 GCC COUNTRIES 77.854 80.210 758.410 775.340 79.500 ARAB COUNTRIES 54.750 51.621 1.293 194.900 412.300 195.840 6.265 33.160

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 291.800 Euro 360.400 Sterling Pound 421.100 Canadian dollar 273.400 Turkish lire 184.820 Swiss Franc 252.200 Australian dollar 240.200 US Dollar Buying 289.000 GOLD 238.000 121.000 64.000

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

SELL CASH 244.300 775.810 4.430 276.200 572.800 15.800 49.200 167.800 54.480 363.000

38.110 6.580 0.035 0.289 0.258 3.340 413.820 0.197 90.780 45.200 4.280 198.300 1.968 45.700 757.840 3.540 6.590 80.680 77.890 207.730 39.550 2.764 424.500 38.100 255.200 253.700 6.400 9.330 217.900 79.600 292.100 1.340

10 Tola

GOLD 1,308.690

Sterling Pound US Dollar

37.960 6.150

412.380 0.196 90.780 3.870 196.800

SELL DRAFT 242.800 775.810 4.210 274.700

207.700 51.651 361.500

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

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

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co.

9.190 79.500 291.700

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 422.500 291.700

291.650 273.323 420.028 360.678 250.897 714.863 771.976 79.385 80.088 77.742 411.563 51.642 6.156 3.451

2.558 4.217 6.235 3.234 8.945 6.362 3.859

Currency 757.660 3.460 6.240 80.250 77.890 207.730 39.550 2.560 422.500

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

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

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

291.850 3.460 6.190 2.570 4.210 6.240 79.495 77.995 775.400 51.675 424.100 0.0000328000 3.990 1.550 414.000 5.750 361.400 279.600

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

Transfer rate 291.400 360.000 420.000 272.500 3.265 6.150 51.640 2.562 4.206 6.212 3.455 775.000 79.400 77.800


Thursday, May 27, 2010


Yuan reform taken off the table, but not for long Market sees less chance of yuan rise after US-China talks BEIJING: Far from being an ultimatum to push China to resume yuan appreciation, talks with the United States that ended on Tuesday instead seem to have given Beijing a green light to maintain its currency peg. But despite the signs that a long-awaited revaluation is off the table, it would be a mistake to go to the other extreme and conclude that the Chinese exchange rate will remain locked in place ad infinitum. The very caution of US officials at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue this week in Beijing and its potential for sparking a political backlash in Washington suggest that China could move sooner than expected to break the yuan's 22-month-old peg to the dollar. In toning down its criticism of yuan policy, the Obama administration showed it had bought into China's insistence that foreign pressure would not be conducive to reform. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner spoke softly, trying to make the case that a more flexible exchange rate was in Beijing's own interest. That approach is not without risk. "It leaves the US administration wide open to criticism that it is not speaking up for US interests if China does not restart reform soon," Mark Williams with Capital Economics said. "For this reason, it seems reasonable to

conclude that US officials are still fairly confident that exchange rate reform is imminent," he said. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS Geithner let on nothing about what he said behind closed doors in Beijing, but it would be surprising if he did not at least try to explain that simmering US anger about Chinese exchange policy could easily boil over. "In an ideal world, this is the way to do it. My worry is that it may not be terribly popular politically in the United States," said Michael Pettis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Beijing. "There may be more impatience in the United States than there ought to be," he said. Geithner's main argument-that a more market-driven yuan would help Beijing contain inflation-is likely to have little sway at this time. Falling vegetable prices, a key driver of inflation, are likely to blunt broader price pressures in China. Beijing certainly gave no hint of feeling any urgency. The most President Hu Jintao offered in public was a reiteration of a longstanding assertion that China is committed to reforming its "exchange rate formation mechanism in a self-initiated, controllable and gradual manner". US officials said they were encouraged by this statement, but investors read it as a signal of non-action.

BEIJING: US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (left) speaks at the opening ceremony of the Strategic Economic Dialogue at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. — AFP

The yuan tumbled in offshore forwards on Tuesday to imply a mere 0.6 percent appreciation against the dollar over the next year. The expectation had been closer to 4 percent a month ago. Part of the fall has been triggered by a rush by speculators globally back into dollars. Forwards on Wednesday actually implied depreciation over a one-month horizon. To some, the market move was over done. "At this point, one year premiums pricing in 0.6 percent appreciation is a bit of a joke. In my perspective, there is value here," said Craig Chan, senior foreign exchange strategist at Nomura in Singapore. NOT JUST US-CHINA Just a few weeks ago, there was virtually unanimous agreement in financial markets that China was on the cusp of dropping the dollar peg, put in place to help the country through the global financial crisis. The key development that has led market players to revise down expectations for yuan appreciation is Europe's debt crisis, not the China-US dialogue. Standard Charted bank shifted its call for dropping the peg from May to the third quarter, after a G20 meeting of world leaders in Canada in June that many analysts had tipped would be the trigger for a yuan move. China's commerce ministry has already said that

exports to Europe will suffer. And the Chinese trade-weighted exchange rate has risen steadily in the past month, tracking the dollar higher as global financial markets wobble. The euro slumped to a four-year low against the dollar last week. "The uncertainty hanging over yuan reform is the reduced confidence in the euro, and nobody knows when market sentiment will recover," said Wang Han, senior economist at research group CEBM in Beijing. "I think the Chinese government will need at least another three months to figure out the impact of the European debt crisis on its exports and then it can decide on the yuan," he said. Other analysts say a delay of that length would court trouble for Beijing in a US election year when members of Congress have called for tough action if the yuan remains locked in place. And with G20 leaders meeting in Toronto next month, China will not relish having the finger pointed again at its exchange rate policy as a fundamental cause of global economic imbalances. This is not the time for caution," Pettis said. "This is the time when people need to face the problem head on and aggressively, because if we're all too cautious, trade relations are going to get worse, not better." — Reuters

Subsidies biggest danger to the Yemeni economy Gulf Bridge Intl, Sify sign landing party agreement DOHA: Gulf Bridge International (GBI) the Middle East's first privately owned submarine cable operator and Sify Technologies Limited, a leader in Enterprise and Consumer Internet Services in India with global delivery capabilities, sign agreement to land GBI's sub-sea cable system in India. Gulf Bridge International (GBI) also announced that Sify will provide a landing station for GBI's cable in Mumbai, India. The GBI Cable System which will connect all the countries of the Gulf region to each other will provide onward connectivity to India and beyond via Sify's landing station. The launch of GBI's cable system will provide telecom operators and other communications companies, both in the region and globally, with greater choice, value, diversity and resilience. "We are delighted to announce that GBI have selected Sify to be our landing partner in India. As one of India's leading internet communications companies, Sify is well placed to ensure that GBI's cable system is fully integrated into the rapidly expanding Indian domestic market," commented Hamad Al Mannai, Executive Vice Chairman of GBI. "We are looking forward to a long and successful relationship with Sify," he added. "Access to Undersea Cable System will allow SIFY Technologies to serve the emerging markets in Middle East as well as African region, which are also amongst the fastest growing economies in the world. This allows SIFY to enable a reliable & secure information superhighway to connect the Middle East to Asia Pacific & Americas, thus bringing in superior network connectivity to the Middle East & African regions.

Sify further strengthens its position as a leading ICT player by combining its existing Data Center, Network and Application services with the opportunities provided by the GBI cable system" says Raju Vegesna, CEO & Managing Director, Sify Technologies Limited. "India and the Middle East Region have long established business ties. Today both are successful business hubs with an increasing dependency on telecommunications services, which in turn generates increased demand for international capacity" said Ahmed Mekky, Board Member and CEO of GBI. "Today's agreement with Sify will enable GBI to fulfill our mission to connect the world to the Gulf through the eastern route to India as the Gateway to Asia and the western shore of the USA." "GBI Cable System will provide industry leading secure and direct connectivity to all the Gulf countries as well as to Egypt, Africa and Europe. The new generation technology and architecture of the GBI cable system will allow superior telecommunication services, which is currently a limitation of the existing undersea cable systems. This will complement our objective of providing quality services to our customers and partners" says P J Nath, Executive President - Enterprise Business, Sify Technologies Limited. Scheduled to launch in 2011 , the GBI cable system will connect all the Gulf countries via a core ring, which can re-route traffic thereby increasing resilience. With a design capacity of up to 5 terabits per second on certain cable sections, the GBI Cable System will have the capability to meet the rapid growth in demand that has been forecast for traffic originating and terminating in Gulf.

India's Mahindra buys electric car maker Reva majority stake BANGALORE: Indian car maker Mahindra and Mahindra said yesterday it had bought a majority stake in Bangalore-based Reva Electric Car to strengthen its position in the low-emission electric auto market. Mahindra, India's largest sports utility vehicle and tractor maker, bought a 55.2 percent stake in Reva, a global leader in producing low-cost electric cars. The deal includes buying out equity from the promoters of Reva and providing 450 million rupees (9.5 million dollars) in fresh equity, a statement to the Mumbai stock exchange said. The value of the deal was not disclosed. Reva was formed in 1994 as a joint venture between the family-owned Maini Group and AEV of the United States to manufacture eco-friendly cars. Reva Electric will be renamed Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicle, and will retain two directors from the Maini group and one from Californiabased AEV on its board. Several auto makers like General Motors, Nissan and Toyota are developing environmentally-friendly vehicles. "Reva will help us expand our green footprint both in India and overseas," Anand Mahindra,

vice-chairman of Mahindra and Mahindra, said in a statement. "Eco-friendly transport will be the need of the hour, with issues like climate change and carbon footprint taking centre-stage globally." Pawan Goenka, who will head Mahindra Reva, told reporters in Bangalore that Mahindra would bring to the company its experience of vehicle development and its strong distribution network. The Maini group will hold 31 percent and AEV 11 percent of the new firm. Reva launched its electric cars in Bangalore in 2001 and in London through the G-Wiz brand in 2004. It has about 3,500 electric cars on the road in 24 countries across Europe, Asia and Central and South America. US giant General Motors has an existing tie-up with Reva to develop a plug-in version of the best-selling GM Spark mini-car. Goenka said he expected India to produce 80,000 to 100,000 electric vehicles by the year 2020, with global sales projected at 1.5 to two million cars. Mahindra shares rose 0.64 percent, or 3.3 rupees, to 519.45 on Wednesday at the Mumbai stock exchange. Reva is not listed. — AFP

SANAA: Fuel subsidies and tax evasion are the biggest strains on Yemen's finances and need to be dealt with swiftly to allow the impoverished country to turn its economy around, the Yemeni finance minister said. Falling oil production will see economic growth decline to 5 percent in 2011 from a projected 7 percent this year, Nouman Al-Suhaibi said, and the country's fledgling gas industry will not support the economy in 2010 as much as previously expected. "The energy subsidies are a real disaster for Yemen's public finances, not least because they do not actually benefit the poorest in society," Suhaibi said in an interview, adding that Yemen's poorest have no use for energy subsidies, since they do not own cars or have access to electricity. The government will continue with its policy of cutting subsidies gradually to reduce the impact on ordinary people, Suhaibi said. Around 40 percent of Yemenis live on less than $2

Yemeni rial in 'good shape', seen stable a day, and more than half of young men are unemployed. Earlier this month, the government cut fuel subsidies for the second time this year, raising the price of gasoline to 70 rials ($0.31) per liter from 65 rials. Fuel subsidies will cost the government an estimated $2.2 billion this year if oil prices stay above $70 a barrel, the minister said, but cut backs have previously provoked riots in the conflict-ridden country that also faces dwindling water supplies. Both price increases in 2010 passed without incident, but in 2005, the government reversed hikes in gasoline, diesel and kerosene prices after 22 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in riots. Suhaibi said the government was paying as much as 135 rials per liter of diesel, compared to the 40 rials per liter it charges for it. Gasoline was being sold at 70 rials compared to its real

price of 115 rials. "That is a huge difference in price. ... The government needs to think seriously about how it will get rid of the subsidies. It's a necessity," he said. CURRENCY WEAKNESS, TAX EVASION The Yemeni rial, which has lost about 8 percent of its value against the dollar this year, was in "good shape" and would remain so after the central bank intervened to stabilize the currency, the minister said. The central bank has injected at least $847 million into the market so far this year to support the weakening currency, according to Yemen's state news agency. Analysts say instability in Yemen contributed to the rial's decline. The country's powerful Western allies and neighbor Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, are watching anxiously as Sanaa tries crack down on a resurgent AlQaeda and battles rising separatist

violence in the south. The country has also has just emerged from the latest round in a bitter conflict with northern rebels, who complain of discrimination and have been fighting the government on and off since 2004. An existing truce is already looking fragile. The government has designated $10 billion in spending for 2010 and will run a budget deficit of around $2.5 billion, Suhaibi said. "Can you imagine that a country of 23 million people lives on a budget of $10 billion? In Europe or in America this is the budget of a small or medium-sized company," he said. A reluctance among Yemenis to pay taxes posed another huge burden on the government, Suhaibi said, but he hoped legislation to reduce income tax, expected to be passed by parliament this year, will help remedy the problem. "A big problem in Yemeni soci-

ety is that it is not used to paying taxes. It is very difficult, and therefore our income from taxes is limited compared to the size of commitments and the population growth," he said. The proposed new legislation will see income tax reduced to 20 percent from 35 percent, he said, and taxes on foreign investors cut to 15 percent from 35 percent. "I think that if you reduce the taxation rate, people will no longer have an excuse to evade tax," he said. The government would also begin enforcing an existing 5 percent sales tax from July in all sectors, he said. Revenues from a new multi-billion dollar Total-led liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant will be less than expected in 2010 due to a three-month delay in the start of production on the second train, Suhaibi said. "We were expecting $400 million in 2010 but in the first 4 months the revenues we saw did not reach 25 percent of what we were expecting and what we had accounted for in the budget," he said. — Reuters

Kuwaiti Real Estate index performance

Doha Bank launches 'Doha Gold' KUWAIT: Doha Bank, one of the leading Qatari banks in delivering all banking services in Kuwait, has launched the "Doha Gold" campaign for the first time in Kuwait, in continuation to the outstanding campaign launched in 2010 specially for Kuwait's clients, "Doha Bank" has announced prizes up to 25 kilograms of gold, that will be given through a big draw, which will result in changing the lives of seven winners from our loyal clients immediately. "Doha Gold" campaign is considered to be an added value for Doha Bank clients, since it gives another chance to those who have money in their accounts to win gold through our "Doha Millionaire" program. All Doha Bank's customers with their deposits KD 100/and above in Doha Millionaire account can win several cash prizes up to 1 million Qatari Riyals and now Doha Bank has even increase the brightness of the program to add another chance for winning Gold through (Doha Gold). The first prize from the "Doha Gold" program reaches to 15 kilograms of gold, which will be awarded to one lucky winner from "Doha Millionaire" program for savings. While the second prize will reach to 5 kilograms of gold, through a draw which will take place at the end of the year. In addition to five other winners, granted awards of 1 kilogram of gold each month starting from this month May 2010. 'Doha Gold' Campaign On his behalf, the Chief Country Manager of Kuwait branch, Ahmed Al Mehza stated that: "This year, we will

launch the first draw of its kind in Kuwait. Through our "Doha Gold" campaign, we will grant our banks clients the opportunity to win kilograms of gold." He adds: "Doha Gold" saving programs remains the most attractive and competitive in Kuwait. He also shows the level of commitment from Doha Bank to deliver attractive offers to suit all sectors and segments of society. To do so, we have created this generous award, worth 25 kilograms of pure gold, in addition to many other awards starting from 10,000 Qatari riyals up to millions of Qatari Riyals. He points out that the opportunity still exists for an award reaching up to a million Qatari Riyals through the "Doha Millionaire" draw next month. Al Mehza adds: "The bank has spared no effort to reinforce its position in the Kuwaiti market, and is always trying to facilitate banking operations to its clients, through diversified banking services, and varied options for opening bank accounts, including current accounts, fixed deposit accounts, savings accounts, and demand accounts, that suit circumstances of our daily lives. Regarding the reason behind launching the new campaign of Doha Bank for the year 2010/2011, Al Mehza confirms that the Bank focuses and gives great importance to the best customer services, from individuals and companies, and providing our special customers opportunities to win money awards starting from 100,000 Qatari Riyals, and up to millions Qatari Riyals.

KUWAIT: KAMCO's TRW Real Estate Index moves in tandem with the broader Kuwaiti market, which is represented through KAMCO's TRW Market Index. In fact, the economic boom witnessed in Kuwait during the past few years coupled with the availability of abundant liquidity levels, ultimately played a major role in moving the Sector's performance forward. Additionally, growth experienced by the Sector from 2002 up to 2007 enabled it to increase its contribution to GDP, thus revealing the continued importance this sector plays among Kuwait's local economy. Following along, when further analyzing the real estate sector's performance against the market as a whole, with the start of the financial crisis, it becomes clearer how the Sector moves in congruence with the Kuwaiti market's performance. With the start of the financial crisis, which began to affect the Kuwaiti market in Q4-08, the effect the crisis has on the real estate sector becomes evident as by the end of July-08 the real estate index began to follow a downward trend. In Sep-08 KAMCO's TRW Real Estate Index took a big hit as it plunged by 10.8 percent following a 6.4 percent drop in Aug08. Just like the hit taken by the market, represented by KAMCO TRW Index, as it tumbled in Sep-08 about 9 percent. Moreover, extensive losses in both the Real Estate sector and the stock market were witnessed during Oct-08 with monthly losses of 28 percent and 17 percent respectively. This sharp plunge in market and sector performance was mainly due to the turmoil in the global financial markets that was taking place in addition to the decline in oil prices, which dropped below USD 100 per barrel in Sep-08 after touching a high of $147 per barrel in Jul-08 as fears of a global recession weighed down on the demand for oil. This news placed a downward pressure on investors' sentiment, especially the weakening price of oil as oil revenues continue to remain the single largest contributor to Kuwait's total income. As a consequence investors worried that a sharp drop in oil prices would negatively affect the government's spending, which would in turn affect the different sectors of the economy. When looking at the performance of

KAMCO Real Estate Index on a monthly basis for 2009, the Index performed mostly on a negative note as it posted only three positive returns throughout the whole year. However, it did post its highest monthly return during 2009 in April by registering a double digit return of 17 percent. Likewise, the market as a whole posted its highest return in Apr-09 of 7.72 percent. Thereby illustrating improved investor sentiments, during the examined period, as a result of the Central Bank of Kuwait's discount rate cuts and the announcement of the government's financial stability plan. Market Capitalization In terms of total market capitalization, the real estate sector's market cap in 2002 stood at KD 732 million in comparison to the KD 1.97 billion posted by the end of 2009, registering a CAGR of 15.2 percent over the period. The Sector posted its greatest contribution in 2004, representing 10.18 percent of total market cap. However, when looking at the Sector in terms of the total value of year end market cap, the Sector recorded its highest market cap in FY-07, which stood at KD 4.06 billion. The increase in total market cap over the years mirrors the positive looking macroeconomic conditions throughout the period as a result of the massive oil surpluses recorded, promising stock market performance, increased liquidity levels, and relative ease of access to credit in local and international markets. Adding, following a peak of KD 5.41 billion in June of 2008, the Sector's market cap dropped to KD 1.79 billion as of May 25, 2010. Nonetheless, as of 2008 with the start of the financial crisis and the following periods, the Sector's total market cap tumbled. In 2008, total market cap plunged by 42.6 percent to stand at KD 2.33 billion in comparison to the KD 4.06 billion recorded in 2007. Likewise, in 2009 total market cap continued its decline by dropping 15.6 percent to reach KD 1.97 billion, representing a 6.5 percent of total market cap. Moreover, since its peak in 2007 at KD 4.06 billion, the market capitalization of the real estate sector has shed almost 56 percent of its value, as of the 25th of May 2010, triggered by the turbulence in the stock markets and property markets.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

KSE recovers from sharp losses Global Daily Market Report KUWAIT: The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) recovered part of yesterday's sharp losses, backed by the investment sector, which registered the biggest gains among the rest of the market sectors. The market witnessed a high degree of volatility, whereby it is difficult to know the direction the indicators are going to move, during today's session. Market Indices Global General Index (GGI) gained 0.64 points (0.33 percent) during yesterday's session to reach 194.92 points. Furthermore, the KSE Price Index increased by 5.20 points (0.08 percent) yesterday and closed at 6,807.30 points. Market capitalization was up KD106.48mn yesterday to reach KD32.19bn. During yesterday's session, 119 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards advancers, as 54 equities gained versus 41 that declined. A total of 116 stocks remained unchanged during yesterday's trading session. Daily Trading Activity Trading activities ended on a negative note yesterday as volume of shares traded on the exchange decreased by 36.76 percent to reach 147.47mn shares, and value of shares traded decreased by 34.52 percent to stand at KD34.58mn. The Investment Sector was the volume leader yesterday, accounting for 31.15 percent of total market volume. The Services Sector was the value leader, with 37.51 percent of total market value. Coast Investment & Development Company was the volume leader yesterday, with a total traded volume of 9.96mn. Zain was the value leader, with a total traded value of KD7.64mn. Top Gainers and Biggest Decliners In terms of top gainers, Equipment Holding Company took the top spot for the day, adding 8.06 percent and closed at KD0.067. On the other hand, Arkan AlKuwait Real Estate Company shed 8.93 percent and closed at KD0.051, making it the biggest decliner in the market. Sectors Wise Regarding Global's sectoral indices,

Wataniya Airways service recognized for 'excellence'

they ended the day on a mixed note, with Global Investment Index being the top gainer. The index posted a 1.05 percent gain, backed by Kuwait Projects Company (Holding) ending the day up 1.41 percent and closed at KD0.360. National Investment Company also aided the index by posting a 4.35 percent increase to close at KD0.360. Global Banking Index was the second biggest gainer, up 0.49 percent during yesterday's session. The index's gain was backed by National Bank of Kuwait and Gulf Bank which ended yesterday's session up 1.72 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Global Insurance Index was the top decliner, down 0.45 percent backed by First Takaful Insurance being the only decliner in the sector. The scrip posted a decline of 5.10 percent and closed at

KD0.242. Like the rest of the market, Global's special indices also ended on a mixed note, with Global High Yield Index being the biggest gainer. The index ended the day up 1.26 percent backed by National Industries Group (Holding) ending the day up 3.13 percent. However, Global Islamic Index was the only decliner, down 0.29 percent backed by Kuwait Finance House ending the day down 1.96 percent. Oil News The price of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) basket of crudes was still slipping below the US$70 per barrel (pb) mark and registered US$66.84 pb on Tuesday, compared to US$68.59 the previous day. OPEC said the annual basket price average thus comes to US$76.11 pb. Kuwaiti

oil prices declined US$2.11 to reach US$65.69 on Tuesday, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said yesterday. The Greek financial crisis is still overshadowing world oil markets over growing concerns that it could spill out to other European countries, thus placing fragile global economic recovery in jeopardy. Market News Shareholders of Kuwait's Al Mazaya Holding voted yesterday on a capital hike worth 14.98 million Kuwaiti dinars ($51.48 million), the firm said. Mazaya seeks to increase its capital by 30 percent by issuing 149.8 million new shares to shareholders of First Dubai and Waterfront Real Estate Development Co, the firm said in a statement on the Kuwaiti bourse website yesterday.

KUWAIT: Wataniya Airways, Kuwait's premium service airline marked yet another achievement this week by coming second in the annual "Staff Service Excellence" benchmark survey conducted by the internationally respected airline research consultancy Skytrax. Wataniya Airways was placed ahead of many world-renowned airlines operating in the region and delivering premium services. The survey reviewed 200 airline companies around the world over a period of ten months between July 2009 and April 2010. Abdulsalam Al Bahar, Chairman and Managing Director of Wataniya Airways said: "We are extremely proud of this recognition. Since Wataniya Airways launched in January 2009, our staff have always strived to provide our guests with the highest possible quality of service. To achieve this level of excellence in our first year of operation is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team. "This recognition is particularly special for us as a Kuwaiti airline working to reflect the traditions of Kuwaiti hospitality, which is known for its warmth and excellence, and which we try

to reproduce both in the ground and onboard. "Since the beginning, we promised our guests that we'll bring back the golden age of aviation to Kuwait, and this achievement is a measurement of the progress we have made in creating a unique flying experience. Skytrax's research is recognition and an endorsement of our efforts to provide guests with a pleasant and stress-free journey, getting them to their destination refreshed and relaxed. There is always room for improvement, and we continually review our services and

frequently ask our guests' opinions. We believe that commitment to quality service will encourage guests to look upon us as their preferred airline on the routes we serve. "I personally would like to thank Skytrax for this recognition and our professional team for their dedication and commitment which has produced such an impressive result after only one year of operations. Indeed, I think that we may be the youngest airline ever to achieve this level of excellence. It sets a high benchmark which I hope we can exceed in the future."

Thursday, May 27, 2010



Rehn: Europe faces economic stagnation EU’s monetary affairs chief chides Berlin BRUSSELS: The EU’s monetary affairs chief said yesterday Europe faced economic stagnation and political irrelevance if it did not carry out reforms and chided Germany for acting alone in banning some short-selling activities.

MUMBAI: Stranded Indian passengers wait at the domestic airport yesterday. Air India cancelled 100 flights yesterday after a lightning strike by ground crew and engineers in protest at a management gag order on staff after the weekend’s fatal air crash. — AFP

Strike grounds over 100 Air India flights MUMBAI: A strike by Air India employees entered its second day, forcing the cancellation of over 100 flights - one more blow for the beleaguered national carrier days after one of its planes exploded in India’s worst aviation disaster in over a decade. Analysts say the strike reflects a deepening crisis within Air India, which lost an estimated $1 billion last year and has been plagued by friction between management and employees. Early Saturday an Air India flight from Dubai overshot the runway in the southern Indian city of Mangalore, killing 158 of the 166 people on board Members of two of Air India’s 14 unions walked out shortly after noon Tuesday to protest a management order not to talk to reporters and delayed salary payments. JB Kadian, general secretary of the Air Corporation Employees Union, which says it is Air India’s largest union with 12,000 members - claimed that 15,000 workers walked out. The engineer’s union joined the agitation. Air India spokesman S Chandra Kumar said yesterday that only 1,000 workers had walked out. Kadian said workers protested after management disciplined union leaders for talking to the press. He said staff have also been upset by six months of delayed salary payments and short staffing of cabin crews. He said talks with management are scheduled for 3 pm. When asked about the appropriateness of striking so soon after a deadly crash, he hung up the phone. Spokesman Kumar said 76 flights will be canceled, after more than 32 flights were grounded Tuesday. Almost all of the affected flights are domestic. Kumar said the airline had not ruled out firing the striking workers. “We are trying to be fair but

firm,” he said in a telephone interview. He said it’s too early to tally the financial cost of the strike, but about 30 percent of Air India’s flights have been affected. Unions that did not strike condemned the action. “At a time when we are mourning the death of our colleagues and passengers, it’s grossly incorrect,” said Sanjay Lazar, general secretary of the All-India Cabin Crew Association, which says it represents 3,000 Air India cabin crew and executives. “It’s a time for us to heal and move forward. All the bodies have not yet been identified.” Air India was once a source of national pride. Founded by JRD. Tata, one of India’s most revered industrialists, the airline has disintegrated as a viable business and survives thanks to a 20 billion rupee ($421 million) government bailout. Today, a visit to an Air India ticket office can be a trip back in time, with four employees watching a fifth laboriously write out tickets by hand. “When you have a large section of the organization striking a few days after a national tragedy, it reflects no concern for the organization,” said Kapil Kaul, chief of the India unit of the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, an independent aviation research group. “It is a wake-up call for the government - the situation is so deep that their continuing inaction could be fatal for the company.” The government has demanded a turnaround plan and cost reductions, but stopped short of ordering layoffs. Kaul estimates that the airline’s 30,000 staffers should be slashed by half. Kaul expects the airline will lose as much as $5 billion over the next five years. An attempt to trim performance-linked pay resulted in a five-day strike by pilots in September, with some 400 canceled flights. —AP

Visa launches FIFA WCup Facebook Match Planner SAN FRANCISCO: Visa Inc (NYSE: V), a FIFA partner and the preferred card of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, yesterday announced the launch of the Visa Match Planner, a social media application that allows users to create customizable, dynamic FIFA World Cup viewing schedules to share with friends via social networking channels such as Facebook (US - The Visa Match Planner is the latest extension of Visa’s first-ever global FIFA-themed marketing campaign, Go Fans, which also includes print, television and out-of-home advertising, host market merchant activation programs and usage promotions. The Visa Match Planner will be available in English, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese, and will be customized for each of the 32 qualified countries. In addition to building a customized FIFA World Cup match viewing schedule, the application also lets users organize match viewing parties, chat with friends, track scores and standings, and obtain exclusive offers from merchants such as the “FIFA Official Store” on “Football fans are undeniably passionate about the FIFA World Cup and the teams they follow and social media provides a unique platform to help them express their views and connect with friends from around the world,” said Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing Officer of Visa Inc. “Through dynamic social media extensions of the Go Fans campaign, like the Visa Match Planner, Visa is able to strengthen our connection to the FIFA World Cup and enhance every fan’s World Cup experience with engaging content.” First debuted in Latin America in 2009 and later introduced globally in February 2010, the Go Fans campaign celebrates the common love that all fans have for football with creative executions, featuring the colors of the national flags of each of the 32 qualified countries, symbolizing the expression of each fan’s true colors and love of country. The campaign reinforces the ways that Visa enables fans to express their true colors in support of their teams by offering an easier way to pay,

their Visa card. Go Fans was developed to connect with football fans worldwide to drive preference for and usage of Visa products, promote Visa’s association with the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and reinforce the ways in which Visa enhances the fan’s FIFA World Cup experience. Today, more than 90 markets throughout the world are activating Visa FIFA-themed marketing programs with more than 500 financial institutions and merchants via advertising, customized promotions and the development of marketing collateral (POS, signage and direct mail). FIFA World Cup Sponsorship Activation In the lead up to the FIFA World Cup, Visa provides financial institutions and merchant partners throughout the world with FIFA-themed creative and marketing materials to enhance their cardmarketing efforts, help drive business and achieve corporate brand objectives. Visa is one of six global FIFA partners with exclusive global category rights through 2014, and is the preferred card for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In recognition of Visa’s sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards are the only payment cards accepted, along with cash, at all FIFA stadiums and the Onsite Stadium Merchandise Booths. The partnership provides Visa with global rights in the Financial Services product category to all FIFA World Cup activities, many of which may be activated by financial institution clients and merchant partners. Visa’s FIFA sponsorship includes the rights to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Visa cardholders are reminded to contact their issuing banks before leaving for South Africa to alert them of their travel plans and purchases in another country. This will ensure their banks will not temporarily freeze their accounts as an antifraud measure. Cardholders should also ask about daily withdrawal limits, ATM fees and emergency phone numbers.

“Either we take determined and joint action for Europe’s economic and political revival or we face economic stagnation and political irrelevance,” Rehn told an economic conference in Brussels. He later told Reuters it was vital for most of the 16 states in the euro zone to accelerate fiscal consolidation and praised a 24-billion-euro ($30 billion) austerity plan announced by Italy. “These budget cuts are very significant and go in the right direction. Such significant measures of fiscal consolidation as decided by Italy yesterday do help restore confidence in the euro zone,” Rehn said. Confidence in the euro zone as been damaged by Greece’s debt problems and concerns that other countries such as Italy, Spain or Portugal could face similar problems. The EU also faces criticism for not responding faster to the crisis, which has damaged its global image and caused falls in the value of the euro. Asked about German moves to ban some short-selling activities, Rehn said: “We would prefer coordinated action.” “I do understand German concerns based on their long-standing stabilityoriented culture and fiscal discipline,” he added. Germany caught markets and its EU partners unawares last week when the government’s financial watchdog announced a

Olli Rehn, the European Union’s commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, said the EU was at a crossroads as it tackled debt problems in Greece and other countries using the euro.

BRUSSELS: EU commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn (left) and Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado give a joint press conference after their participation at the Brussels Economic Forum at the EU headquarters in Brussels. — AFP ban on naked short-selling of shares of Germany’s top 10 financial institutions, and of euro government bonds and related credit default swaps.

Naked short selling involves short selling a financial instruments without first borrowing the security or ensuring that the security can

be borrowed. Germany also aims to “regulate further points” with a draft law it plans to enact, a German finance ministry spokesman

said yesterday. Such moves are intended to stabilize financial markets hit by concerns over the euro zone debt crisis. —Reuters

Gold demand drops 25% Jewelry sales rise strongly in Q1, chiefly in India LONDON: Global gold demand is expected to rebound this year as investors buy the metal as a safe store of value amid volatility in the financial markets, and as consumers become accustomed to higher prices, the World Gold Council said. Speaking as the WGC unveiled its first-quarter Gold Demand Trends report, investment research manager Eily Ong said she expected gold demand to be well supported this year despite a 25 percent drop seen in the first quarter of the year. That decline largely came as a result of a sharp slide in buying of gold for physically-backed exchange-traded funds, which plummeted 99 percent from early 2009’s record high levels, to just 3.8 tons from 465.1 tons a year earlier. “ETF flows paused in the first quarter of this year, but we have seen since April and May that flows into gold ETFs have risen strongly,” Ong said. “Anecdotal evidence from the numbers we have seen... over the last two months shows investors are moving to gold for its diversification properties, it being a less volatile investment, (and) to protect their wealth.” “The momentum that has picked up since the second quarter this year could help lift investment demand in the rest of 2010,” she added. Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York’s SPDR Gold Trust, rose 9.5 percent or 107 tons in the

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi jeweler displays gold necklaces and bracelets at his shop in Baghdad yesterday, a day after masked gunmen swooped on jewelers in the Iraqi capital in a brazen morning rampage, killing eight people, including one policeman, and bombing five stores after robbing them. — AFP second quarter to May 24, against a drop of 3.8 tons in the first quarter. World gold jewelry consumption rose by 43 percent in tonnage terms in the first quarter to 470.7 tons, led by a sharp rise in Indian jewelry buying, which slipped sharply last year as prices rose. “Consumers seem to have adjusted their price expectations in the face of higher prices,” said Ong. “That is very

important, particularly in the Indian market, which is the largest market in terms of global demand and jewelry.” Jewelry consumption in India nearly quadrupled in tonnage terms to 147.5 tons from 37.7 tons in the first quarter of 2009, the WGC said, when a sharp rise in prices hammered buying. Ong says Indian gold demand had strengthened after a weak 2009 after the Reserve Bank of

India’s purchase of 200 tons of gold from the International Monetary Fund last autumn. “We believe that transaction has actually helped to fuel the perception among Indian buyers that gold is reliable and a capitalpreserving asset,” she said. “It has underpinned positive sentiment towards gold among Indian consumers.” Greater Chinese jewelry demandencompassing China, Hong

Kong and Taiwan-also rose 11 percent in the first quarter, while demand from the Middle East rose 23 percent and from Turkey by 12 percent. India and China are expected to remain by far the biggest the main goldbuying markets in 2010, Ong said, although demand from Europe and the United States is also expected to recover. In terms of supply, mine output edged up 5 percent in the first quarter, but overall supply dropped 26 percent to 926 tons, with the WGC noting a 43 percent fall in scrap gold supply to the market from early 2009’s extremely high levels. A flood of scrap gold onto the market in that period has reduced the amount of readily available material, Ong said. “The continued drop in recycled flows since that spike in Q1 2009 in spite of the higher price... actually reflects an exhaustion of nearmarket supply of gold available for recycling,” she said. “We believe that for recycling to increase again, considerably higher price will be required to flush out those less readily available supplies of scrap.” Spot gold prices rose to a record $1,248.95 an ounce earlier this month, and are currently holding around $1,200. Industrial and dental demand for gold rose 31 percent to 103.2 tons in the first quarter, from 79 tons in the same period of 2009. The WGC said the rise reflected improved economic conditions. — Reuters

Europe unveils plans for insolvency tax on banks BRUSSELS: Banks will never again be allowed to call on taxpayers to clean up their mess under plans for a new Europewide crisis insurance levy unveiled yesterday. “What I’m proposing is logical-banks paying for banks, not taxpayers,” the European Union’s financial services chief, former French foreign minister Michel Barnier, said after setting out the grand lines of a new insolvency tax on banks to be raised by each of the bloc’s 27 member countries. Barnier stressed that the levy would operate at national level but did not exclude the possibility that monies collected within one territory could be accessed by banks in trouble in another. “We’re going to have to look closely into this question,” he said, having earlier point-

ed out that “in half of all European countries, half of their banks are owned by groups from other countries.” However, he stressed that what is on the table is “not a European, federal fund (but a) ... pragmatic and realistic” course of action to follow today. “Prevention is better than cure-and it’s always cheaper,” Barnier said, citing the vast cost to European governments-some 13 percent of economic output-to bail out banks since the financial crisis broke in late 2008. He said that the collapse of US banking giant Lehman Brothers, which unleashed the world’s deepest recession since World War II, showed the “disastrous secondary effects of not having orderly systems in place.” At the same time, he insisted that the tax plans would create “a fund

for prevention, not for bailouts.” Barnier refused to say how much banks would be required to pay into the European ‘resolution’ fund. “I can’t put a figure on it, we need to have those discussions across the sector,” he said, aiming to have detailed legislative proposals to put to countries and the European parliament by “the start of next year.” Sweden introduced a new 0.036 percent levy on banks’ final balance sheets in 2009 and has tabled formal EU proposals to see its scheme matched across the bloc. In Germany, a fund running to one billion euros each year, paid into by banks there, is also being prepared. Under the commission’s plan, the proceeds of the tax could be used to make bridging loans to financial institutions deemed to be viable. The funds

could also be used to help banks get rid of bad assets and offer legal and administrative help to banks that have to close down. According to commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, the levy should be obligatory. Eurosceptics fear that the plans are transitional and Britain’s business secretary Vince Cable warned on Tuesday that any moves further down the line to create “a kind of insurance fund for future bailouts ... would cause some alarm in London.” Europe is due to have a new system of financial supervision and regulation in place on January 1, 2011, separately covering banks, insurers and financial markets, although arguments have raged for months within EU member states and at the European parliament. -—AFP



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Forbes buying online news startup True/Slant NEW YORK: Forbes Media is buying the online news startup True/Slant, marrying two companies with vastly different approaches to journalism and publishing. Lewis Dvorkin, who founded True/Slant and was once an editor at Forbes magazine, announced the deal in a blog post Tuesday. He didn't say how much Forbes is paying. The deal signals a

new approach to the Web for Forbes, which will get an online makeover with help from the True/Slant team. True/Slant, which started about a year ago, seeks to offer a launch pad for individual writers to build followings around their work. It began with about 100 freelance writers posting bits of news and opinion. A few of the contributors came from established

news brands including CNN, Rolling Stone and Newsweek. Dvorkin said the site now has at least 300 people writing for it. Traffic to the site has grown from 90,000 unique visitors in the US last June to 335,000 last month, according to comScore. True/Slant diverges from most traditional publishers in allowing advertisers to have their own

separate pages on the site, besides regular display ads. And its contributors can earn bonuses depending on the amount of traffic they draw. The whole concept is built around the journalist as entrepreneur - a "brand of one" as Dvorkin put it in an interview last year. Forbes, founded in 1917, is with most traditional magazines in stand-

ing more on the reputation of its overarching brand than its individual reporters. As with most traditional media, the business and finance magazine enforces a strict division between its editorial and advertising departments to prevent the appearance of any conflict of interest. But keeping the two completely

separate is starting to look like an anachronism in the digital age. Bloggers are often judged by how many hits a given post draws, a measure that is tied directly to how much advertisers are charged to run promotions on the site. In buying True/Slant, Forbes is lending its imprimatur - at least in part - to some of the new ideas the

site has pioneered. In an interview Tuesday, Dvorkin said the five-person management of True/Slant will help Forbes redesign its website along the lines of True/ He said True/Slant will remain a standalone site through June, but there have been no decisions about whether or not to keep it going on its own. — AP

Oil surges to $71 LONDON: Oil prices surged to $71 a barrel yesterday as US gasoline stocks fell more than expected and rebounding shares boosted confidence in a stronger fuel demand down the road. Benchmark crude for July delivery was up $1.89 to $70.64 a barrel at midday London time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday the contract dropped $1.46 to settle at $68.75. Gasoline supplies unexpectedly fell last week, dropping by 3.2 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday. Analysts had expected an increase of 150,000 barrels, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of

US gasoline stocks drop McGraw-Hill Cos. "US gasoline stocks fell by an unexpectedly sharp 3.2 million barrels last week, which was seen by markets as evidence that the demand for gasoline appears to be picking up just before the summer driving season begins," Commerzbank said in a note to investors. US gasoline supplies normally indicate the level of business activity and potential demand for fuel. The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration is scheduled to announce its supply report later yesterday. World stock markets regained some of their losses

yesterday, but sentiment remained fragile amid fears Europe's debt crisis could hamper global economic growth. Europe's leading stock benchmarks were up from 1.5 to 2.5 percent at noon London time while most Asian stocks closed higher, boosting the optimism of oil traders who often look to equities as a barometer of overall economic confidence. European governments are, meanwhile, pushing ahead in their effort to tackle their debt loads. Italy passed $30 billion in budget cuts for the 2011-2012 period while Greece is considering selling an array of state

Venezuela economy shrinks 5.8 percent

assets to raise much-needed cash. This month's debt crisis in Europe has lowered expectations for the global economy. Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its forecast for the average oil price in the second half to $78 a barrel from $92, saying that it has sharply reduced its forecasts for the developed world and expects the growth to come from Asia. In other Nymex trading in June contracts, heating oil rose 3.5 cent to $1.907 a gallon, and gasoline gained 4.4 cents to $1.975 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 4.6 cents to $4.097 per 1,000 cubic feet. In London, the Brent crude July contact was up $1.53 to $71.08 on the ICE futures exchange. — AP

Issues, challenges discussed at GCC Customs Union symposium By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Various issues pertinent to the Gulf Cooperation Council Customs Union was discussed in a symposium hosted by the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) yesterday. It was entitled ‘Evaluation of GCC Customs Union’ and included different papers presented by officials from GCC countries. The GCC countries have begun applying to GCC Customs Union since 2003. A unified customs law was implemented in 2002, “This law includes agreements on levying unified fees for the GCC Customs Union at the rate of five percent on all foreign goods imported from outside the Union. This law was enforced in January 2003. At least 417

essential goods were accepted as customs fee. This is in addition to the exceptions included in the unified customs law,” said Abdulraheem Al-Naqi, Secretary General of the Federation of GCC Chambers. “This symposium was held at the perfect timing. The GCC General Secretariat will discuss the speedy application of GCC Customs Union Law with all its Articles,” he added. The GCC countries have extended the second stage of transfer till 2007. The first stage ended in 2004. Another extension was made without completing the procedures. This was caused because work was shifted from individual to collective. The GCC countries are countries that mostly import. “One of the biggest obstacles is to divide the revenue obtained from the cus-

toms departments. We also entered the application phase of the GCC joint market in 2008 without completing the demands of the GCC Customs Union, which has in turn complicated the joint work undertaken by GCC countries,” he pointed out. Al-Naqi concluded by mentioning the demands of GCC Customs Union in expediting joint work and eliminating all obstacles present in the joint customs work. The GCC Economic Treaty signed in 1983, includes developing the commercial exchange and economic activities between GCC countries. “Unifying customs fee was an important step taken in 2005, which came after many attempts were made to realize it. This step strengthened the integration and cooperation between GCC countries and

was the first step taken towards the GCC Joint Market,” noted Osama Al-Nasef, member of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The GCC Customs Union still faces some challenges. “There are many examples of challenges involved like abuse of goods’ re-evaluation at border points to hike prices and set higher custom fees. This weakens competition. Also the bureaucracy, slow administrative procedures and long checks have caused delay in the arrival of goods, in addition to increasing transportation costs,” AlNasef added. Hosam Al-Suhail, Head of the General Audit Bureau in the General Department of Customs in Kuwait held a presentation on decisions issued about applying to GCC Customs Union and the obstacles faced.

JANDIALA: Indian farmer Surinder Singh inspects his sunflower crop in a field in the village of Jandiala, some 15kms from Amritsar yesterday. Sunflower production in India was introduced primarily as an oilseed crop in 1969. Sunflower oil is used for culinary purposes and in the manufacture of soaps and cosmetics. The refined sunflower oil is rich in minerals and vitamins A, D, E and C. — AFP

Geithner in Europe crisis talks as stocks rebound European, Asian stocks rally, euro under pressure

KUWAIT: Hosan Al-Suhail (center) speaks during the event. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Bernanke warns of risk to bank independence TOKYO: US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke mounted a staunch defense of central bank independence yesterday, in a message tailored as much to Washington lawmakers as his Japanese hosts. Addressing a Bank of Japan conference in Tokyo, Bernanke warned that any curbs on central bankers' ability to execute monetary policy would lead to economic instability and "undesirable boom-bust cycles". Against the backdrop of a biting recession, the Fed-like other central banks-has come under fierce pressure to help reduce ballooning unemployment. But Bernanke warned banks must be allowed to make policy "based on what is good for the economy in the longer run, independent of short-term political considerations." "Policymakers in a central bank subject to short-term political influence may face pressures to overstimulate the economy to achieve short-term output and employment gains that exceed the economy's underlying potential," he said. "Such gains may be popular at first, and thus helpful in an election campaign, but they are not sustainable and soon evaporate, leaving behind only inflationary pressures that worsen the economy's longer-term prospects." Bernanke's message will likely resonate with some of his hosts and in other

capitals around the world. The Bank of Japan gained independence in 1997, but has often been criticized for being overly swayed by the ministry of finance. It has found itself under government pressure to combat Japan's crippling deflation ahead of upper house elections in July, in a bid to lift an economy saddled by falling consumer prices and soaring welfare costs. However, Bernanke hailed the 1997 law by saying "This revision significantly diminished the scope for the ministry of finance to influence central bank decisions, thus strengthening the Bank of Japan's autonomy in setting monetary policy,' he said. His comments are likely to be seen in Washington as a thinly veiled shot at US lawmakers, who are putting the final touches to a sweeping financial reform package that could give Congress more powers over the Fed. US policymakers last week approved a bill that curbs proprietary trading by banks and creates a consumer protection agency designed to prevent a rerun of the worst recession since the Great Depression. The set of rules "will govern how the government could come in and prevent the collapse of large financial institutions from creating chaos in the financial system," said Bernanke. During the 2008-2009 financial

crisis the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve, considered a lender of last resort, bailed out major Wall Street institutions and provided billions of dollars to help them weather massive write-downs. In doing so the Fed helped firms such as American International Group, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America. "Once those rules are put into place whatever role the Fed has, if any, will be delineated by Congress and we hope never again to have to be involved in those kinds of activities," he added. During the crisis Bernanke frequently confronted criticism over political interference in the bank's independence as many saw him bowing to government pressure to rescue large financial firms. While he acknowledged a central bank can be an "extremely valuable" stabilizing force, "that is a possibility to contemplate only under emergency and rare circumstances." The use of the Fed's balance sheet to prevent the collapse of the financial sector was "something that we didn't want to be involved in and it's really not ideally where the central bank ought to be," said Bernanke. "But there were no good mechanisms for preventing the collapse of those institutions." — AFP

LONDON: US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged Europeans yesterday to work with Washington on a consistent approach to financial reform as the European Commission unveiled plans for a crisis levy on banks. European shares rebounded by more than 2 percent from nine-month lows but the euro remained under pressure amid continuing signs of banks' reluctance to lend to euro zone counterparts exposed to southern European sovereign debt. Geithner's stress on coordination of new regulation appeared aimed chiefly at Germany, Europe's biggest economy, which stunned markets and angered EU partners by unilaterally banning some speculative financial trades last week. He is due to meet German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin on Thursday after talks with new British counterpart George Osborne and Bank of England Governor Mervyn King in London yesterday and dinner in Frankfurt with European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet. "I'm going to meet the new UK government to prepare for the next stage of global financial reformon the heels of what we expect to be a quick passage of US reforms-to emphasize the importance of a carefully designed global approach, and to discuss developments in Europe," Geithner told reporters. Business television channel CNBC said he would also urge the Europeans to stress test their banks to identify those that need new capital and restore market confidence in the banking system. The European Union's executive arm outlined a framework for a levy on banks' assets, liabilities or profits to pay in advance for the cost of future crises, setting the stage for a showdown on the tax at a meeting of G20 world leaders in June. "I believe in the 'polluter pays' principle," EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said. "We need to build a system which ensures that the financial sector will pay the cost of banking crises in the future." The Commission said the proceeds of a bank levy should be ring-fenced for national bank resolution funds, putting Brussels at odds with France and Britain, which want the money to help strapped national budgets. European bank shares slumped on Tuesday amid concerns that a sovereign debt crisis that began with Greece may turn into a wider banking crisis. The costs for banks to borrow dollars from each other crept up to a new 10-month high yesterday. Fears that Europe's debt crisis could engulf some banks have made them reluctant to lend to each other as happened during the 2007-2009 financial crisis. Money markets are "pricing in for a credit crunch", said Michael Pond, Treasury strategist at Barclays Capital in New York. "A crisis of confidence is developing once again." Investors are not confident that measures so far, including Germany's ban on naked short-selling of some securities, austerity plans by indebted euro zone members or even a 750 billion euro ($926 billion) rescue fund will be enough

to prevent Europe's woes from derailing the global recovery. OECD UPBEAT The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said the global economy was recovering faster than expected from recession with Asia leading the way but remained at risk from huge debts in developed countries. The OECD survey was even relatively upbeat about the euro zone, forecasting growth of 1.2 percent this year and 1.8 percent in 2011 - a more optimistic forecast than the European Commission's 0.9 and 1.5 percent respectively. The OECD also said banks remained vulnerable, noting the high price of credit default swaps to protect bond investments. European regulators conducted a confidential assessment of the solvency of national banking systems last September, but their reassuring conclusion failed to dispel doubts because they did not test individual banks or publish detailed findings. Any European stress tests would have to differ from those conducted by US regulators early last year, because Europe lacks a huge bailout fund like the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program to plug any capital deficiencies found. GERMAN BAN 'COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE' A senior US Treasury official said Washington was unhappy with Berlin's "counter-productive" decision to go it alone in banning naked shorting of shares in top financial companies and sovereign euro bonds and related transactions in sovereign credit default swaps. Geithner has also criticized European Union proposals to regulate hedge funds and private equity, warning that they could discriminate against non-European funds. Far from yielding to widespread criticism, Berlin proposed on Tuesday extending restrictions on such speculative trades to include all shares, a government source said. In the latest move in a Germaninspired Europe-wide austerity drive meant to restore market confidence, Italy's cabinet approved a multibillion-euro package of budget cuts designed to slash the government's deficit to beneath the EU ceiling of 3.0 percent of GDP by 2012. The 24 billion euro ($29.49 billion) plan includes a four-year freeze on public sector salaries, and a reduction in state personnel by replacing only one in five leavers. EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said Italy's budget cuts were "very significant" and would help restore confidence in the euro zone. Credit ratings agencies Standard and Poor's and Moody's both said the package put Italy's finances on a sounder footing and should assure markets. The downside of moves by Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Britain to slash deficits could be slower growth. "There is indeed a risk that, under market pressure, some countries overdo austerity," Olivier Blanchard, chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, said in a newspaper interview on Tuesday. "That would be a mistake." — Reuters

CARACAS: Venezuela's economy shrank 5.8 percent in the first quarter from the same period a year earlier, the Central Bank said in a report that revealed a deepening recession for the OPEC member. The economy was pulled down in the first three months by a 5 percent decline in the key oil sector, a 6 percent decrease in the private sector and a whopping 27.9 percent fall in private investment, the bank said. The further drop came after a 3.3 percent contraction for all of 2009. The economic downturn coincides with 30 percent inflation that has become a major challenge for President Hugo Chavez's socialist government. Venezuela has had the highest inflation in Latin America for five years despite government price controls on many foods and other basics. Venezuela has not seen such tough times since 2003, when the economy contracted 26.7 percent in the first quarter in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt against Chavez and an oppositionled strike by oil industry workers. The 5 percent decline in the oil sector in the first quarter was a major blow, since Venezuela's economy is highly reliant on oil sales accounting for 94 percent of the country's export earnings. The Central Bank attributed the first-quarter results to a range of factors, including a temporary restriction in the amount of dollars allocated by the government for imports, less consumer demand and investment, and a severe drought that forced electricity rationing because Venezuela relies largely on a single hydroelectric dam. Non-oil sectors that fell included transport (15.9 percent), retail (11.6 percent), manufacturing (9.9 percent) and construction (7.8 percent). Imports in the first quarter fell 39.7 percent, the Central Bank said. That appeared to be partly due to the temporary reduction in dollars available to importers, as acknowledged by government officials. The state currency agency helps administer Venezuela's currency exchange controls and provides dollars at the official exchange rate for approved imports. Chavez's government devalued the currency, the bolivar, earlier this year, saying it should help boost domestic production and help the economy. Jose Manuel Puente, a professor at the Institute of Higher Administration Studies, said inconsistent economic policy, an environment of "hyper-regulation" and systematic threats of expropriation and nationalization contributed to the contraction of the economy. Puente said that the government's decision to devalue the bolivar also had a negative impact. The government has set a goal of economic growth between 0.5 percent and 1 percent this year, but analysts are predicting the economy will shrink more than 2 percent by the year's end. — AP


Thursday, May 27, 2010


Greenpeace praises Nokia, slams Nintendo in ‘green’ study TOKYO: Greenpeace panned Nintendo and Toshiba for low environmental standards yesterday but praised Nokia and Sony Ericsson for recycling, energy efficiency and phasing out hazardous substances. In its quarterly “Guide to Greener Electronics,” released in Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district, the group rates 18 of the world’s major consumer electronics companies on their environmental credentials. It targets elimination of two toxic chemicals in particular-polyvinyl chlo-

ride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BRFs) — because they are longlasting in the environment and can accumulate in human bodies. Greenpeace researcher Iza Kruszewska said highly toxic dioxins were released when collectors of electronic waste in developing countries burn PVC cables to recover the copper inside or cook circuit boards in acid to recover gold. Nintendo, maker of the Wii console, took bottom place, said Kruszewska, who added that the gaming giant was

“the only company that has never engaged in dialogue with Greenpeace” among big industry players. Nintendo declined to comment directly but said that each environmental organisation “asks different questions, which tend to be narrow in focus rather than take into account the bigger picture of wider corporate activity”. “We are committed to reporting on our CSR (corporate social responsibility) performance in an open way that avoids misreporting,” the Kyoto-based company said in a statement, urging

consumers to visit its website for details. Toshiba, which makes electronic goods as well as nuclear power plants, dropped from third in December to 14th in the latest ranking. Toshiba earned penalty points “for breaking its promises that all its consumer electronics products should have been free of PVC and BFRs by April 1 this year”, said Kruszewska. “They are hazardous in their production but even more so in the endof-life (stage), when products contain-

ing these substances are recycled in substandard conditions like we see in China, India,” she said. A Toshiba statement said: “Toshiba will continue to make its utmost efforts to promote replacement of PVC or BFRs for digital products by comprehensively evaluating... performance, cost, productivity and other factors.” Nokia took the top spot and Sony Ericsson came second. Philips was in third place, followed by Motorola in fourth and Apple fifth.

Greenpeace imposed penalty points on Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, LG Electronics and Toshiba, saying they had backtracked on promises. “Samsung is the first company to get a second penalty point because they not only broke their commitment but failed to give a new timeline for eliminating PVC and BFRs in TVs,” Kruszewska said. She noted that eliminating toxic materials was important as flows of electronic waste from rich countries to poorer countries are hard to stop.

“We are seeing more and more products are rolling out which are free of PVCs and BFRs from companies like HP, Acer and also two Indian brands, Wipro and HCL,” she said. Wipro and HCL are not covered in the ranking. “In general, Japanese companies perform best on energy and weakest on e-waste and chemical criteria,” she said. “No Japanese company has launched products completely free of PVC and brominated flame retardants.” —AFP

Apple refuses to confirm if new iPad was made at the plant

Apple maker Foxconn steps up anti-suicide drive SHENZHEN: Apple manufacturer Foxconn yesterday reportedly urged its workers in southern China to promise in writing not to kill themselves as it battles to stem a spate of factory suicides. Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn’s Taiwanese parent company Hon Hai Precision, apologised for the

NASA astronauts Michael Good (left) and Garrett Reisman, both STS-132 mission specialists, look through the aft flight deck windows of space shuttle Atlantis in this image provided by NASA during the mission’s third and final session of extravehicular activity May 21, as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station. —AP

Microsoft chief says it’s better to work with China SINGAPORE: Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer defended the company’s presence in China yesterday, saying it was more helpful in easing censorship than the tougher approach of rival Google. Ballmer said that while he respected Google’s decision not to bow to censorship in China, Microsoft believed it was more productive to engage Beijing in dialogue rather than take on a country’s legal system. Human rights groups and members of the US Congress have accused technology giants including Microsoft and Yahoo! of abetting China’s Web censorship machine, dubbed the “Great Firewall of China.” Ballmer, visiting Singapore on an Asian tour, told journalists: “Google made another choice, I respect that they made another choice. “We think we are trying to help reduce the possibility of censorship by being there. I think our choice will do more to help promote free speech than the choice they’ve chosen.” He said that in the event of a formal directive by China’s government to remove information on its site, Microsoft’s policy was to comply, out of consideration for its workers’ safety. “If we get a proper request from the Chinese government, we take the information down, otherwise we put our 2,000 employees in China at risk,” said Ballmer. “But we also put up a big notice that says we took something down in China and we leave it outside of China. “We think we are trying to help reduce the possibility of censorship by being there.” In April, Google stopped censoring results on

its Chinese search engine and began redirecting users to an uncensored site in Hong Kong, a move praised by its shareholders despite the danger of a Chinese backlash. Ballmer said every country had its own regulations governing the Internet and China was no different in this regard. “The fact of the matter is, cybersecurity is an important issue,” said Ballmer. “It’s an important issue to China, to the US, Singapore, everywhere in the world and we work on those issues with the relevant authorities in all countries.” On Microsoft’s prospects in the Chinese market, Ballmer said software piracy remained a challenge and was one factor driving the firm to focus more on other Asian countries offering better intellectual-property protection. “In terms of China in general, it’s a long haul,” said Ballmer. “We are trying our best to collaborate with industry, collaborate with Chinese companies, collaborate with the government so that people understand and appreciate the value of proper protection of intellectual property.” Despite China’s huge market, only about one percent of Microsoft’s revenues come from there, Ballmer said, adding that there were more opportunities in countries such as India and Indonesia in the short term. An annual report issued this month by the industry group Business Software Alliance showed 79 percent of software installed in personal computers in China last year were pirated copies, among the highest rates in Asia. —AFP

TOKYO: This hand-out picture released by Sony Corporation yesterday shows a flexible Organic Light Emitting Display (OLED) recently developed by Japan’s electronics giant Sony. The 80-micrometer-thick full color OLED display can be rolled-up around a cylinder with a radius of 4mm. —AFP

Sony develops roll-up video screen TOKYO: Japanese electronics giant Sony said yesterday it had developed what it called “the world’s first” prototype flexible colour video screen that is small enough to be rolled around a pencil. The screen consists of an ultra-thin flexible material covered in organic semiconductors, potentially pointing to a future of flexible mobile devices, television, electronic newspapers and magazines.

“Even after 1,000 cycles of repeatedly rolling-up and stretching the display, there was no clear degradation in the display’s ability to reproduce moving images”, Sony said of its flexible Organic Light Emitting Display (OLED). Sony is not the only Japanese firm developing long-lasting flexible displays, with public broadcaster NHK having also worked on similar techniques in recent years.

Japan’s department of New Energy and Industrial Technologies (Nedo) is also leading a research programme in a bid to create a manufacturing chain for the displays similar to the way newspapers are printed. The prototype screen will be presented today at a conference on the sidelines of the Society for Information Display (SID) exhibition in the US city of Seattle, Sony said. —AFP

But he defended the company’s labour practices and speculated that some of the suicides may have been linked to personal or relationship problems. Foxconn employees must now agree to go to psychiatric institutions for their own protection if their mental health turns “abnormal”, according to reports. And the company was said to be hanging safety nets around buildings at its vast factory in Shenzhen after a 19-year-old worker fell to his death on Tuesday. The death was the ninth apparent suicide at the huge site this year. Apple, which is preparing to launch its iPad computer tablet in countries outside the United States on Friday, said it was evaluating Foxconn’s efforts to prevent further deaths. “Apple is deeply committed to ensuring that conditions throughout our supply chain are safe and workers are treated with respect and dignity,” a spokeswoman told AFP. Apple refused to confirm if the new iPad was being made at the plant, which does assemble the top-selling iPhone. Ahead of the stage-managed media tour of the Shenzhen site, the parents and sister of Mai Xiang Quian, who committed suicide in January, wept and knelt on the ground at the gates, the father’s tears dripping on a picture of his son. Behind them were signs displaying the fruits of the workers’ labour-Hewlett-Packard computer screens, Sony televisions and Nokia handsets. Inside, journalists were herded around a huge city-within-acity which employs a staggering 300,000 people. Officials said that workers were treated well with only between four and eight people sharing plush dorm rooms. The tree-lined site boasts banks, bakeries, a 24-hour market, gurgling fountains and even an acupuncturist. Foxconn official Louis Woo, one of the tour leaders, said the company was starting a 24-hour helpline and planned to divide workers into groups of under 50, to counter isolation. “The number one priority has to be to try to stop this spate of suicides,” Woo told AFP. Part of the problem, he said, is that a “pretty high number” of employees are aged 18 to 24 — the prime age for suicides. And many are far away from their homes in remote parts of China for the first time. The government of Shenzhen said in a press briefing that more than 30 psychologists had been dispatched to the firm as well as 260 special security officers to train the company’s guards, the Southern Daily newspaper reported. But beyond the factory gates, workers told of long hours, harsh supervisors and low pay. A 22year-old female employee told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post: “I feel like I have an empty life and work like a machine.” Among extraordinary steps taken by Foxconn, Taiwan’s CTI cable TV channel said the company was demanding staff sign a letter promising not to take their own lives. Roof patrols are also being arranged and nets installed around buildings to deter suicidal workers, the channel said. China’s Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper published a photograph of a memo with a Foxconn letterhead that it said all employees were being asked to sign. —AFP

suicides after flying into the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen aboard his private jet for a hastily arranged media tour. “I give my apologies for the impact this has had on society,” Gou said, adding: “I will do all I can to save lives.”

SHENZEN: Parents and sister of a Foxconn employee who died last January 23, 2010 display a portrait of their son and brother as journalists gather at the giant Foxconn plant in Shenzen yesterday. The Taiwanese boss of Apple manufacturer Foxconn headed to a sprawling factory in southern China where a spate of worker suicides have stoked anger about labour conditions. —AFP

Japan may wait before saying ‘iDo’ to iPad TOKYO: Many thought the iPhone would underwhelm Japan, where for years people have used ultra-advanced handsets to send emails, watch live television, feed pets and run talking bathtubs at the touch of a button. But the tide of opinion on Apple’s tactile technology may have turned ahead of the Japan launch of iPhone’s bulkier cousin the iPad on Friday, winning over a market that has seen rivals Nokia and Samsung all but pull out. A recent survey by Tokyo-based MM Research Institute Ltd (MMRI) said the iPhone accounted for 72 percent of all smartphones sold in Japan in the fiscal year ended March. While that only represented about five percent of all mobile phones sold in Japan, analysts say it bodes well for the iPad, despite initial misgivings as to what one can do with an oversized iPhone that cannot make phone calls. “I have already seen Japanese guys showing off iPads they had bought in the US at parties to impress girls,” said Gerhard Fasol, high-tech entrepreneur and founder of Tokyo-based IT consulting firm Eurotechnology Japan. “That’s kind of the ultimate test in some ways,” he added. “Although I don’t know

whether an iPad is enough to attract a charming lady to a boring guy.” Thanks to the media buzz surrounding the iPhone, in which entire magazines are devoted to help people use it, “resistance is fading and the Japanese mindset is ripening for the iPad”, said MMRI analyst Eimei Yokota. Apple boasts that it has already sold more than one million units in the United States and that customers have downloaded over 12 million software applications from its online store. However, Japan poses unique challenges that the cool thin slab of 21st Century computing may struggle to overcome. With popular credit card and train ticket functions unavailable on the iPhone-not to mention connections to pet-feeding machines — many users also carry a Japanese phone made by the likes of overall leader Sharp or Toshiba. This means they may not contemplate juggling a third, larger device on crammed subway trains, analysts say. But others see Apple’s app-driven vision, crucial to the iPad’s success, as the future force replacing NTT’s decade-old but comparatively cumbersome i-mode service in Japan, which enabled phones to serve as train tickets and small TVs.

BETHESDA: Kevin Tolson from Washington, DC, shows his iPad to journalists in front of an Apple store in Bethesda, Maryland, on May 12. Apple’s iPad finally goes on sale outside the United States this week after heavy US demand for the multi-media gadget forced a one-month delay of its international release. The touchscreen tablet device from the maker of the Macintosh computer, the iPod and the iPhone will be available tomorrow in stores in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland. —AFP

“The iPhone came in and offered a machine where you could use your personal computer’s capacity and applications. This certainly was a novelty,” said Iichiro Yamaguchi, telecom analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets. What content will be available for the iPad to make it big in Japan is another issue as domestic news media takes a wait-and-see approach to the device, contrary to their US peers. “Newspapers are strong in Japan, and have been very late to adopt web-based business models,” said Fasol. Circulation remains robust, falling only six percent to 50.3 million sales daily between 1999 and 2009, the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association said, much better than how peers in the United States are faring. The robust performance can be explained by strong subscriptions and a reporting culture that runs late into the night to nab exclusives. The “yomawari” reporters doorstep senior figures until the early hours to generate fresh headlines for their morning editions, meaning that Japan’s old guard is less likely to run stories that appeared the day before online. However, magazine circulation in Japan slumped by a third over the decade. “Publishers in Japan have seen how the iPod changed the music industry and so their industry is right behind,” said Yokota, pointing to the potential for popular manga cartoons and travel applications on the iPad. With many Tokyo commuters facing hour-long journey times, “the iPhone and iTouch screens are too small to substitute books. That’s what will appeal to users,” about the iPad, he added. Japan will also be the only country where shoppers are locked into one 3G network when the device goes on sale, with service provider Softbank chosen as Apple’s exclusive partner, to the chagrin of competitors and consumers. But wireless Internet services are jumping onto the iPad bandwagon, as competing providers slash fees and expand coverage to restaurants, subway stations and bullet trains in anticipation of stronger demand. The iPad will also take aim at the gaming industry with developers having already dabbled with titles formatted for the iPhone. But some remain unimpressed. Nintendo has shrugged off the iPad’s potential to displace its popular DS machine. “It is just a bigger iPod Touch,” CEO Satoru Iwata said dismissively in February. “There were no surprises for me.” —AFP



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Indian ‘miracle lake’ becomes pilgrim destination NAKALI: A dried-up and polluted lake in eastern India has become a major pilgrimage site attracting thousands of people a day after claims that its mud cures cancer and other diseases. At the lake in Nakali village, 70 kilometres (45 miles) south of Kolkata, families smear each other in the dark, gluey “miracle mud”, defying government attempts to prevent the site becoming a religious attraction. Each Tuesday and Saturday-auspicious days for Bengalis-large crowds of devotees who have travelled from across the region gather before dawn to completely immerse themselves in the sludge at the bottom of the small lake. “They arrive overnight in trucks, chartered buses and trains from different parts of the state,” Suman Mondal, a 28-year-old selling lemon water to the mainly Hindu pilgrims, told AFP. “People are not only bathing and covering their body and hair with mud, they are drinking water and

KOLKATA: In this picture taken on April 24, 2010, Indian Hindu pilgrims help another to her feet after bathing in the mud of a dried up pond believed to have holy, restorative powers in the village of Nakali some 70kms south of Kolkata. A dried-up and polluted lake in eastern India has become a major pilgrimage site attracting thousands of people a day after claims that its mud cures cancer and other diseases. — AFP

taking mud from the pond as well. It’s a miracle pond.” Kanti Ganguly, the West Bengal state minister for the Sunderbans region, said the government wanted to end the increasingly popular pilgrimage. “People started to throng to the pond for a bathe after a rumour did the rounds of local villages last year that a man was cured of liver cancer by taking dips,” he said. “Authorities have imposed a ban on gathering in and around the pond as its waters are so polluted that drinking the water or taking a bathe could be unhealthy.” Ganguly said policemen had been stationed around the lake but people poured in nonetheless. “We can’t hurt their faith,” he said. The phenomenon has continued to grow even though the “cured” man has now died. He was a member of the family that owns the lake. “It all started after my brother, Hiranmoy, had a dream about a snake goddess telling him that a dip in the pond could produce miracle

cures of killer diseases,” Tarini Raj, 45, said. “He was cured of cancer for a while, but later died.” Raj pointed to rows of images of snake goddesses beside the pond, offered by those who believed they had been cured of their diseases. “It’s a ritual to offer prayers to the snake goddess,” he said. “Those who come are mainly poor people suffering from chronic ailments. The number is nearly half a million but now on the wane because of the summer heat.” Some say the family is motivated by the money it collects from food and drink stalls that serve pilgrims, but devotees like Biswajit Haldar, 56, are in no doubt about the pond’s curative powers. “We are not bothered what the government says. My wife was suffering from throat cancer for over two years. She is now better after smearing her body with mud of the pond,” he said, sitting in the kneedeep mire. Bathing in sacred water plays a

central part in the Hindu religion, with many believing a dip in the holy Ganges river can cure diseases as well as wash away sin and break the cycle of life and rebirth. Tens of millions of people bathed in the Ganges during the Kumbh Mela festival in northern India which finished last month after 104 days that were seen as especially auspicious. But not all Indians subscribe to such beliefs. Prabir Ghosh, general secretary of the Kolkata-based Science and Rationalist Association of India, has been campaigning against the Nakali lake’s sudden rise to religious prominence. “It’s just a superstition. Authorities should deal with such a thing. This stinking pond is only a health hazard,” he told AFP. Ghosh said some rationalist campaigners had been beaten up when they went to the pond to express their views. “But we are not scared, we will continue our campaign against this false belief,” he vowed. — AFP

New provision ‘increases the availability of health insurance to more adults’

Reform helps young adults WASHINGTON: Young adults and their parents will be among the first to experience the changes brought by the new federal health care legislation. The new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in March, requires private health insurance companies to extend dependent coverage to qualified young people until they are 26.

HAVANA: Josefina Diaz, 76, center, dances next to colleagues of her circle of elderly adults during a march before the 8th International Congress for Satisfactory Longevity in Havana, yesterday. Cuba holds the congress May 26-29. — AP

Lacoste joins bid to help endangered crocodile VILLAVICENCIO: Michel Lacoste proudly brandished a small relic of ancient times: an endangered baby Orinoco crocodile whose survival could hinge on a new marketing operation. The textile entrepreneur and heir of the French clothing giant known for its iconic crocodile logo traveled to Colombia to meet the rare reptile raised in captivity. The eponymous crocodile, which traces its origins to the drainage basin of the Orinoco River that flows through Colombia and Venezuela, is a fearful creature measuring up to seven meters (23 feet). With its 68 teeth and gray-yellow skin, an aggressive character and high-pitched screams, the carnivore scares off villagers. But its survival is essential to preserve the region’s fragile ecosystem. Lacoste was the first international brand to support Save Your Logo, a campaign launched in October 2008 with the help of the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which aims for major firms to help conserve the species used in their logo. The luxury sportswear brand has pledged 150,000 euros (189,000 dollars) over three years to help safeguard and protect the endangered crocodile, namely through a census of the population. The company, founded by tennis champion Rene Lacoste, has also vowed to support other conservation projects. “My father was nicknamed ‘the crocodile’ when he played tennis. And if we can give back a little bit of everything the crocodile has brought us, we should seize the opportunity to do so,” Michel Lacoste told AFP. He insisted the move was not a marketing ploy but rather an opportunity to demonstrate citizen responsibility. “We are not going to put mounted crocodiles in each storefront,” Lacoste said ironically. One of the brands most clearly associated with an animal, Lacoste has embroidered crocodiles on its shirts and other garments for over 75 years. The Orinoco crocodile has also become a symbol of Colombia, one of the

top 10 countries in terms of biodiversity. It is a constant theme in the traditional songs of the llanos (plains) east of the Andes mountain range. “He’s at the top of the chain” of the ecosystem in the Orinoco River and its tributaries, said reptile expert Willington Martinez. The biggest predator in the region, it regulates the population of many species, including amphibians and smaller caimans. “When it’s around, the rivers have a lot more fish,” Martinez noted. In the early 1960s, a large number of crocodiles were still left and they were prized by leather craftsmen for their soft skin. “In Colombia, we used to sell a thousand skins a day,” said Martinez, a scientist dealing with crocodile preservation at the Roberto Franco de Villavicencio tropical biology center. But after years of intensive huntingbanned in 1968 — and deforestation, species in the wild are now a rare sight. According to a 2000 study, only about a hundred of the prized crocodiles were observed. Groups like Spain’s Chelonia-a recipient of Lacoste’s funding are now

trying to make a census of the crocodile population, placed on the red or “critically endangered” list of threatened species culled by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Since the early 1990s, 10 couples have given birth in captivity to some 500 crocodiles that the Roberto Franco center is seeking to reintroduce into the wild. But once Chelonia completes its study, scientists face the tough task of convincing locals to accept the return of the big predators. “People still see them as a threat. They say crocodiles chase their boats,” Martinez said, pointing to the need to educate locals and explain that only females will be released to protect their territory. Chelonia also hopes that reintroducing the species will attract ecotourists and help provide jobs for fishermen by enriching the region’s marine wildlife. Under the Save Your Logo scheme, companies can donate up to 1.5 million euros over three years to a fund held by the World Bank which will add up to 33 percent of the donations received. — AFP

ORINOCO: Undated picture of an Orinoco Crocodile, a critically endangered crocodile living in the Orinoco river drainage basin between Colombia and Venezuela. — AFP

The change takes effect on or after Sept. 23, though many of the nation’s major health insurance companies, including Anthem, Cigna and Aetna, have pushed forward the start date to next week. “Excellent,” said Aaron Richardson, a new graduate of the University of Mary Washington. “I guess the next three years are going to be a little less stressful.” Each spring many families like the Richardsons lose coverage for their adult children when the children age-out of the family’s plan, or are no longer full-time students. When that happens, the young people either go without insurance, or they purchaseoften with their parents’ helpindividual policies or continuation coverage through the federal COBRA law. Scott Hoffman, for example, was dropped from his parents’ policy after graduating from UMW in December. His parents, residents of New York, were able to carry him for an additional 90 days. Since then they have continued his coverage through COBRA for $500 a month. Now young people can remain on their parents’ group or non-group health plans if they don’t have the chance to buy insurance from their own employers. The new provision “increases the availability of health insurance to a population that currently has high uninsured rates,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. While Richardson was at UMW, he was insured under the policy that his father purchases from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, where he works. Richardson graduated this month and does not have a full-time job. He would have been dropped from his father’s policy in July when he turned 23. Now, he said, his family will extend his coverage. “With any luck I’ll only need to be on his coverage for the next few months,” Richardson said. Kat Saunders, 22, also graduated from UMW this month and was dropped from her family’s health plan soon after that. “It’s pretty brutal. There’s no grace period,” said Bob Saunders, her father. Kat Saunders does not have a job, so her father has been shopping for a short-term policy for her. “They’re fairly expensive,” he said. Now the Yorktown resident said he will look to Tricare, his insurer, to extend her coverage.Anthem, Virginia’s largest health insurer, has told its customers that it will push forward the start date of the change to June 1 to avoid a coverage gap. “It doesn’t make any sense to disenroll them and then enroll them again in two or three months,” said Scott Golden, Anthem spokesman. The company also has decided to automatically enroll children who would have been dropped. Parents will have to notify Anthem only if they don’t want to extend coverage. The new law also applies to young people like Casey Paul, who graduated last year from the University of Virginia. Michael Paul, Casey’s father, had included her in the family plan that he purchases from Stafford County schools.

BUCHAREST: A woman holds a baby during a protest by parents against planned cuts of childcare benefits in Bucharest, Romania, yesterday. — AP

US FDA says acid reflux drugs carry fracture risk NEW YORK: US health regulators have cautioned doctors and patients of an increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine from high doses or long-term use of a widely used class of drugs to control the amount of acid in the stomach. The class of heartburn drugs, called proton pump inhibitors, include prescription brands such as AstraZeneca Plc’s top-selling Nexium and the company’s Prilosec, an older generic treatment that is also available over the counter at a lower dosage strength. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday that studies suggest a possible increased risk of bone fractures with the use of proton pump inhibitors for one year or longer, or at high doses. Package insert labels for the drugs will be changed to describe the possible increased fracture risks, the FDA said. “Because these products

are used by a great number of people, it’s important for the public to be aware of this possible increased risk,” Joyce Korvick, deputy director for safety in the FDA’s Division of Gastroenterology Products, said in an agency statement. “When prescribing proton pump inhibitors, health care professionals should consider whether a lower dose or shorter duration of therapy would adequately treat the patient’s condition,” Korvick said. Moreover, the FDA said doctors and patients should weigh whether known benefits of the drugs outweigh potential risks. Other proton pump inhibitors used to treat heartburn, known formally as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), include generically available Protonix, Johnson & Johnson’s prescription Aciphex brand and Novartis AG’s over-thecounter Prevacid. — Reuters

UK rejects Bayer appeal on liver cancer drug LONDON: Germany’s Bayer has again lost its bid to have liver cancer drug Nexavar paid for on Britain’s state health service, after the cost watchdog NICE rejected it as too expensive, despite a special offer. The decision is a blow for Bayer and its partner Onyx Pharmaceuticals, which had hoped to persuade the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to change its mind during an appeal. In the event, NICE decided Nexavar’s high cost could not be justified by its marginal benefit, despite an offer from

Bayer to provide every fourth pack free. The cost-effectiveness organisation said the drug, which is also known as sorafenib, increased survival in patients who normally have less than two years to live by an average 2.8 months, but at a cost of 27,000 pounds ($38,700) per person. Bayer said it was “deeply disappointed and frustrated for patients” by the decision not to recommend Nexavar for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of primary liver cancer. Many other European countries use the drug routinely.

Nicole Farmer, head of Bayer Schering Pharma Oncology in the UK, said she hoped the government would now use its planned new Cancer Drugs Fund to help bridge the funding drug. Nexavar is one of Bayer’s top new drug hopes, along with anti-blood clotting pill Xarelto. It has proved successful against liver and kidney cancer and Bayer is also pursuing approvals for use against lung and breast tumours. Bayer believes it can generate peak worldwide sales of 2 billion euros ($2.44 billion) a year from the drug. — Reuters

S Africa probes wave of infant deaths JOHANNESBURG: The South African health department is investigating a spate of infant deaths at state hospitals, with 181 fatalities recorded in one facility since January, officials said yesterday. “A team of experts is to be set up to investigate the situation and come back with recommendations on how such incidents could be averted in the future,” health ministry spokesman Fidel Hadebe said. The Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in the rural town of Mthatha has recorded the highest number of deaths. “The director general of the ministry has visited the hospital and is going back again today. We will leave no stone unturned,” said Hadebe. Local health authorities have linked most of the 181 infant deaths to HIV, where mothers did not have access to anti-AIDS drugs during pregnancy. Provincial health chief Phumulo Masualle said the mortality rate was “unacceptably high” but that most of the Mthatha deaths were among premature babies. South Africa generally has a high infant mortality rate, with 44 babies dying out of every 1,000

born. That is among the lowest rates in Africa, but very high compared to developed countries. In Sweden the rate is 3.2 per 1,000. Masualle said many HIV-positive mothers went to antenatal clinics when it was too late to receive an effective course of drugs that prevent transmission to newborns. South Africa has the world’s biggest HIV caseload, with 5.7 percent of the 48 million population carrying the virus. After years of delays in rolling out anti-AIDS drugs, South Africa now has the world’s biggest treatment programme. South Africa’s overburdened public health system, mainly used by the poor majority with no medical insurance, faces shortages of money and staff. Private hospitals, ranked among the best in the world, are only affordable for those with medical insurance. Last week, health officials in Johannesburg revealed that dozens of newborns had died of diarrhoea at city hospitals. Those deaths had been blamed on poor hygiene by the nursing staff. — AFP

Thursday, May 27, 2010



Researchers take step to ‘universal’ flu vaccine Vaccine protects against multiple flu strains WASHINGTON: A “headless” version of the influenza virus protected mice from several different strains of flu and may offer a step towards a so-called universal flu vaccine, researchers reported on Tuesday. They identified a piece of the virus that appears to be the same even among mutated strains, and found a way to make it into a vaccine. Years of work lie ahead but if it works in people the way it worked in mice, the new vaccine might transform the way people are now immunized against influenza, the team at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York reported. “We now report progress toward the goal of an influenza virus vaccine which would protect against multiple strains,” Dr. Peter Palese, Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre and colleagues report in a new journal mBio.. “Current influenza vaccines are effec-

tive against only a narrow range of influenza virus strains. It is for this reason that new vaccines must be generated and administered each year.” Flu viruses mutate constantly and each year a cocktail of three flu vaccines is tweaked to try and hit the most common new mutations. Every few decades a new pandemic strain emerges — a year ago the new H1N1 swine flu strain started a pandemic and it has been added to the seasonal flu vaccine mix. It takes months to make a new flu vaccine and governments and commercial drug companies struggled to get the new H1N1 vaccine out by last September. Having a universal flu vaccine could, in theory, prevent future pandemics and keep seasonal flu under better control. Palese’s team focused on an important piece of the flu virus called hemagglutinin. This mushroom-shaped structure

helps the virus attach to the cells it infects and gives flu viruses the “H” in their names. The “neck” of hemagglutinin does not mutate the way more visible bits of the virus do, and if there was an easy way to help the immune system to see it, this provides a good antigen — a target for a vaccine. But the top, umbrella-shaped part of the hemagglutinin protein hides this vulnerable neck from the immune system. Palese’s team found a way to get to the neck, cut it out and make a vaccine out of it. “A headless hemagglutinin molecule could form the basis for a broadly protective influenza virus vaccine,” the researchers wrote. “This paper is more proof of concept,” Garcia-Sastre said in a telephone interview. “We don’t think we have yet the most optimal way to display the antigen.”

Tests in mice showed the vaccine protected them from otherwise lethal doses of multiple strains of influenza. Garcia-Sastre’s team made a plasmid, a circular piece of DNA, for their vaccine but other ways to do it include a viruslike particle, used in other vaccines, or bits of DNA made by a baculovirus, he said. He said they are open to working with a drug company on this. Flu infects up to 10 to 15 percent of the US population each year, more in a pandemic year, and kills an estimated 36,000. Dozens of companies make influenza vaccines and bring in millions of dollars in revenues from them. The United States, for instance, bought 162 million doses of H1N1 vaccine from five makers — Novartis, AstraZeneca unit MedImmune, Sanofi Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline and Australian vaccine maker CSL. — Reuters

Fewer sugary drinks help blood pressure WASHINGTON: Drinking fewer sugary drinks, one of the main sources of sugar in the US diet, can help reduce blood pressure, according to a study Monday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. “Our findings suggest that reducing sugarsweetened beverages and sugar consumption may be an important dietary strategy to lower blood pressure and further reduce other blood pressure-related diseases,” said lead author Liwei Chen of the Louisiana State University health science center. “It has been estimated that a three-millimeters of mercury reduction in systolic blood pressure should reduce stroke mortality by eight percent and coronary heart disease mortality by five percent. Such reductions in systolic blood pressure would be anticipated by reducing sugar-sweetened beverages consumption by an

average of two servings per day,” she added. Researchers looked at data from a group of 810 adults aged 25-79 with prehypertension and stage I hypertension. They took part in an 18-month behavioral intervention study with a focus on weight loss, exercise, and a healthy diet to prevent and control high blood pressure. Consuming more sugar-sweetened beverages had been shown to be associated with an elevated risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes, according to previous research. But the effect of sugar-sweetened beverages on blood pressure is uncertain, Chen explained. At the beginning of the study patients drank a third of a liter of a sugary drink each day just under one serving. At the end of the study they drank half that daily. —AFP



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Embassy information EMBASSY OF NIGERIA The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wishes to invite all Nigerians residing in Kuwait to come and register with the Embassy. The registration is compulsory for all Nigerians residing /visiting Kuwait. Kindly bring the following documents along with you: • A photocopy of the Nigerian passport • One passport photograph • Copy of the civil identification card or visa For additional information please call: 25620278 or visit the Embassy at Block, 4, Malik Bin Anas Street, Avenue 44, House 31, Along Al-Aqsa Road, Rumaithiya. The Consular Section opens Sunday - Thursday from 9 am - 3 pm Your prompt response is highly solicited.

Nizar Mashal receives the Founders’ Award

Samantha Combs receives the Student Employee Award - The Intensive English Program

Nur Soliman receives the President’s Award

Ahmad Al-Refai receives the IEP Academic Achievement Award

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

Shahed Al-Wadani receives the University Service Award

Hala Al Abdulrazzaq receives the Most Supportive Staff Award

Dr Aly Mansour receives the Advisor of the Year Award

AUK holds Annual Awards Night


he American University of Kuwait held its 6th Annual Awards Night on Wednesday, May 19 in the AUK Auditorium. The ceremony commenced with a welcome note from AUK Interim President Dr Tim Sullivan followed by a night of awards for AUK staff, faculty and students. Each division/ department awarded their most worthy student employee in an effort to recognize their hard work and the Student Government Association in return awarded faculty and staff for their support. The Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Carol Ross-Scott said of the ceremony, “AUK Student Awards night celebrates the engagement of students in activities outside the classroom. Activities such as student media, athletics, curriculum related organizations, service clubs and leadership bring the university experience to life. Involvement com-

pels our students to push the boundaries of excellence, academically and in extra-curricular activities. We want our students to be better prepared to serve the competitive, global society and awards night is where we highlight their achievements of the academic year.” The highlights of the evening were the Dean of Student Affair’s Award, the Founders’ Award and the President’s Award. The recipients of these awards are students who have shown exceptional academic achievement and involvement in activities outside of the classroom among other criteria. Dean of Student Affair’s Award: Omar Mehdi Founders’ Award: Nizar Mashal, Nur Soliman President’s Award: Nur Soliman Categories and Recipients: Student Employee Awards

Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences: Mariam Chebli, Nourin Tajani Division of Sciences & Engineering: Salman Al-Saffar Division of Social Sciences: Ali Atesh Division of Humanities and Arts: Fatma Al Fadhli, Perihan Al-Tanani Division of Business and Economics: Sara Al-Rifai Writing Center: Fatima Ibraheem, Nur Soliman, Sara Juma Gulf Studies Center: Majdoline Halawy Intensive English Program: Samih Damerji, Samantha Combs, Lamiya Baz Arabian Heritage Project: Nora AlKhuder Library: Ahmed Dimachkie Office of the Dean of Student Affairs: Hiba Bazzi, Nada Bedir Office of Admissions: Admissions: Dana Banddar, Fatma Mohamad

Registrar: Rasha Al-Jabi Student Success Center: Laila AlDaghestani, Mohammed Arif, Batul Tarawala, Yousef Ali, Rania Shaker, Talal Al-Yaseen, Mohammad AlSulaiman, Shahed Al-Wadani Student Life: Shahed Al-Wadani, Omar Mehdi Outstanding Athlete: Omar Mehdi IEP Academic Achievement Award Bashaier Al-Mesbah Ahmad Al-Refai Khaled Radwan University Service Award Jawdat Khalaf Mustapha Abou-Houeili Omar Mehdi Salma Tayeh Sandra Aoun Shahed Al-Wadani SGA Student Body Awards Innovative Lecturer Award: Dr. Mourad Dakhli

Most Supportive Faculty Award: Dr. Mohsen Bagnied Most Supportive Staff Award: Hala Al Abdulrazzaq Faculty Mentorship Award: Dr. Simon O’Meara Staff Mentorship Award: Basema Da’na Most Humorous Faculty Award: Dr. Charles Chiemeke Most Humorous Staff Award: Munawar Mullaji Student Life Awards Organization Member of the Year: Mubarak Al Mutairi Advisor of the Year: Dr. Aly Mansour, Dr. Amir Zeid Program of the Year: ACM AUK Technology Fair Organization of the Year: Al-Akhdar Environmental Club Outstanding Student Leader of the Year: Fajer Al-Qanai

Annual get-together


enmoney Pravasi Association Annual get-together will be held tomorrow May 28 at Hi-Dine Auditorium Abbasiya at 12 pm. Election for new office bearers 2010-2011 will be held on the same day. All members are requested to attend. For more details, contact Abraham 99558409.

Aware Center’s English language classes


he Aware Center gladly announces that the summer English classes will begin on June 7 till July 14, 2010 every Monday and Wednesday from 7:00 pm till 8:30 pm. Aware English classes are designed with the Arabs and Eastern Europeans in mind. The English language course will offer a relaxed approach to communicating in basic English for those who wish to learn it for travel, for better understanding the Western culture, for conducting business or for simply feeling more involved while residing in the West. Whether you are a teacher, a traveler, or work in the private business sector, Aware English course introduces English language basics that will offer you a start into the skills that will better prepare you for speaking, reading and writing English.

The Australian College hosts seminar on photography dimensions and aspects


he Australian College, the first vocational college in Kuwait, organized a special seminar on the art of photography. The intricacies and mysteries of the art were discussed by Mark Gillette, an international expert in the field. Gillette, whose name has been linked to “life teacher” due to his extensive works of art that have been listed in the history of photography, has consistently shown certain dimensions in

his visual art that are not usually perceived. The President of the College, Professor Vishy Karri, welcomed the British photographer who has a distinguished track record and world-wide reputation for his outstanding work. Gillette mentioned that “the art of photography is one of those arts that capture the soul as it is a silent art, and is dependent only on the aspects of the photograph which in

itself reflects the perception and broad imagination of the photographer.” Furthermore, the expert photographer explained that the “difficulty and beauty of this art, is in fact that each photograph holds a message and the professional photographer is he who can transfer messages through the photograph.” The Australian College of Kuwait is keen on preparing such seminars so as to

enhance and encourage the artistic and creative side of students. Moreover, it aims to portray the message that it is all about providing a supportive educational environment for its students on campus. The College hosts a series of initiatives and programs which allow it to achieve its vision of supporting and motivating students. Moreover, it has been able to establish strategic partnerships with some of the best professional

and vocational Colleges in Australia and elsewhere to present an educational program for the youth sector in Kuwait. “It is very important to give students other means to exercise their intellectual ability along with their routine courses. Giving opportunities to enhance right hobbies and interests to improved lifestyle is equally important to formal education,” Professor Karri added.

Blood donation camp on May 28


RI Telugudesam Kuwait branch is organizing a blood donation camp to commemorate Late N T Ramarao’s 88th birthday tomorrow, May 28 at Central Blood Bank, Jabriya. Those who are interested to donate blood, kindly contact us at: 97125420, 99396711, 99996851, 97809251, 99560433, 99964891, 99410315.

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 AMERICA The United States Department of State announces the increase in various visa fees to ensure sufficient resources to cover the increasing cost of processing nonimmigrant visas (NIVs). US law requires the Department to recover the cost of processing non-immigrant visas through the collection of the application fees. The increased fees are to take effect June 4, 2010. Under the new rule, applicants for all visas that are not petition-based, including B1/B2 tourist and business visitor visas and all student and exchange-visitor visas, will pay a fee of $140. Applicants for petition-based visas will pay an application fee of $150, as each of the below categories requires a review of extensive documentation and a more in-depth interview of the applicant than other categories, such as tourists. These categories include: H visa for temporary workers and trainees L visa for intra-company transferees O visa for aliens with extraordinary ability P visa for athletes, artists and entertainers Q visa for international cultural exchange visitors R visa for religious occupations The application fee for K visas for fiance(e)s of US citizens will be $350. The fee for E visas for treaty-traders and treaty-investors will be $390. EMBASSY OF SERBIA The Embassy of the Republic of Serbia would like to inform the public that the offices of the Embassy have been move to Al Surra, Block 5, street 1, house 71. The Embassy will be open for the public as from 1st June 2010.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Asom Association, Kuwait organizes ‘Manas Robin Xondhiya’


he Asom Association, Kuwait celebrated Rongali Bihu by organizing “Manas Robin Xondhiya” on May 14 at the gorgeous Royal Ballroom of Asia Asia Restaurant in Kuwait City. The programme started with the felicitation of the Guests, Hon’ble Ambassador of India to Kuwait, Ajai Malhotra, his wife Smt Ira Malhotra and the guest artists Sri Manas Robin and Sri Hemanta Borah from Asom followed by lighting of the ceremonial lamp by them. The President of the Asom Association Kuwait, Bikash Jyoti Gogoi in his inaugural speech, welcomed the gathering and outlined the importance of this celebration. Ajai Malhotra in his speech lauded the efforts of the association and remarked that India’s cultural diversity was the strength which sets it apart from any other country in this world. He also expressed his pleasure in seeing the display of handicrafts and artifacts from Asom and other north eastern states arranged as an exhibition by the duo of Debashis Kakoty and Ms Lata Pandey Kakoty. The annual Souvenir of the Association “Jetuka” edited and published by Dwaipayan Bora and Dr Rifat Mannan was released by the hon’ble ambassador. He commended the effort and appreciated the available literary talent. He also distributed the prizes of the drawing and essay competitions to all winning children. Master Arnab Jyoti Gogoi and Miss Ananya Kashyap were the overall winners in the respective competitions. The in-house cultural programme co-ordinated by Abhijit

Sharma comprised of the chorus “Srimoyee Asomir” and “Biswar sonde sonde”. Shyamal Barooah and Abhijit Sharma accompanied

the stngeTrs on keyboard and guitar respectively to keep the audience spellbound. A scintillating performance of Husori

was also performed. The children amply demonstrated their talents by performing classical (Tanaya), Assamese

modern dance, Jhumur dance and walking the ramp. After the in-house cultural programme, the stage was

declared open for “Manas Robin Xondhiya” when the versatile singer, composer and music director Sri Manas Robin took

center stage and drew the attention of all in the crowd. He was assisted by Sri Hemanta Borah from Mumbai.

The cultural programme came to an end with the General Secretary Jayanta Bardalaye offering the vote of thanks.

Annual day celebrations held at Pakistan English Academy


he 5th Annual Day celebrations held at Pakistan English Academy, Farwaniya where AbdulAziz Al Shaya was the chief guest. Manager Yaser Mehmoud, Principal Amjad Ali Khan and vice principal, Mrs Tabbasum Karamat were also present to encourage the students and teachers. Miss Hina Ghafoor hosted the function. The function started with the recitation of Holy Quran by a UKG student Abdul Haleem. The function continued with the National Anthem of Kuwait. A short welcome speech was given by Sara followed by the Principal speech to appreciate the hard work put in by the students, teachers and parents to make it a successful day. The welcome song was sung by the students of UKG to welcome the parents. Later the students presented various items, bringing back days of our childhood with songs like “Mulberry bush” and “Here We Go Looby Loo”. The Islamic skit based on Surah Al Masad represented by students of UKG which told us the story and also brought to life The historical culture of our country with the decoration stage. The program included a story The Thirsty Crow. The parents were overwhelmed with the performance of their children in the Fancy Dress bring back funny cartoon characters like Tom and Jerry, Cinderella, Hulk, Spiderman and so on.. The program ended with the Graduation Ceremony where each class was brought up on stage along with Class teacher, The Chief Guest, Manager, Principal and Vice Principal.

Jyotis 2010 on Friday


erala Art Lovers Association (Kala Kuwait) with with 32 years of live existence in the Indian community has completed all the arrangements for its mega programme Jyothis 2010. Indian Ambassador His Excellency Ajai Malhotra will inaugurate the cultural extravaganza at 9.30AM on Friday May 28th at Khaitan Indian Community School auditorium. Mr. Sebastian Paul ex-M.P. and leading media man will inaugurate the Free Malayalam Classes witch is conducted for the last 20 years in Kuwait by Kala. Later in the programme the souvenir of Jyothis 2010 will be

released by T.A. Ramesh giving the first copy to famous gazal singer Umbayee. The prize distribution for the winners of Balakalamela and the highest scorers of CBSE exam will be distributed by distinguished guests. It will be followed by scintillating stage performance by winners of Balakalamela and their families, Kala members and other talented artists of Kuwait. Prominent members of the Indian Community, social and cultural leaders and media men will attend the function. A unique Malayalam Language study website designed and dedicated for

teaching Malayalam to the children of Non-resident Malayalees will be inaugurated in the function. As a fitting conclusion to this cultural extravaganza the veteran singer Umbayee and troupe will present the Gazal Nite for the music lovers. The entry is free. Kala president J. Albert, secretary J. Saji and programme convener R. Ramesh informed in the press conference that all arrangements are made for this grand function and they invited the Indian Community and especially the music lovers to come part of this cultural mission and also enjoy the gazal songs.

Happy Birthday

FAIPS - DPS excels in Cricket 2010


PS Knightriders produced one of their finest fighting displays in CRY Cricket 2010 U-14 finals held at Ahmadi on 26th March 2010. The rejuvenated knights led by Adwait Ambaskar stormed into the finals without loosing a single match in the tourney and kept the same spirit in the finals and defeated CCC Salmiya in a close tie. It was a magnificent day for team who backed themselves

‘Happy birthday wishes to our dearest Jerome mon on his 7th birthday” —From Dr Sam Arputha John and fly

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in attack and thrashed the defensive bowling of CCC Salmiya with their ferocious commitment. DPS Knightridersís team opener Faizan was awarded as the Best Player of the Tournament. The teams continued their mission and also became the Runners up in DNV Falcon open Tournament Plate Trophy, whereas the DPS Senior Boys were the Runners up in DNV Falcon open cricket tournament finals held on 10th April 2010.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Orbit / Showtime Listings

00:15 Streets of Hollywood 00:40 E! Investigates 01:30 25 Most Stylish 02:20 Sexiest 03:15 THS 05:05 Dr 90210 06:00 Cheating Death 07:45 Style Star 08:10 Style Star 08:35 E! News 09:00 The Daily 10 09:25 Kourtney & Khloé Take Miami 09:50 Kourtney & Khloé Take Miami 10:15 THS 12:00 E! News 12:25 The Daily 10 12:50 Keeping Up with the Kardashians 13:15 Keeping Up with the Kardashians 13:40 Dr 90210 14:30 THS 16:15 Behind the Scenes 16:40 Behind the Scenes 17:10 Kendra 17:35 Kendra 18:00 E! News 18:25 The Daily 10 18:50 Streets of Hollywood 19:15 Battle of the Hollywood Hotties 19:40 THS 20:30 THS 21:20 Pretty Wild 21:45 Pretty Wild 22:10 E! News 22:35 The Daily 10 23:00 Dr 90210 23:50 Wildest TV Show Moments

00:00 Burn Notice 01:00 Life 02:00 One Tree Hill 03:00 ER 04:00 Life 05:00 CSI Miami 06:00 Doctor Who 07:00 Burn Notice 08:00 Lie to Me 09:00 Law & Order 10:00 One Tree Hill 11:00 ER 12:00 Doctor Who 13:00 CSI Miami 14:00 One Tree Hill 15:00 Life 16:00 Lie to Me 17:00 Law & Order 18:00 Inside the Actors Studio 19:00 Doctor Who 20:00 Defying Gravity 21:00 Ghost Whisperer 22:00 Sons of Anarchy 23:00 The Ex-List

00:15 Dark Days in Monkey City 00:45 Animal Cops Houston 01:40 Untamed & Uncut 02:35 The Animals’ Guide to Survival 03:30 Animal Cops Philadelphia 04:25 Animal Precinct 05:20 Deep Into the Wild with Nick Baker 05:45 Monkey Business 06:10 E-Vets: The Interns 06:35 Aussie Animal Rescue 07:00 Wildlife SOS 07:25 Pet Rescue 07:50 Orangutan Island 08:15 Dark Days in Monkey City 08:45 Austin Stevens Adventures 09:40 Monkey Business 10:05 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 10:30 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 10:55 Monkey Life 11:20 RSPCA: Have You Got What it Takes? 11:50 Animal Precinct 12:45 E-Vets: The Interns 13:10 Pet Rescue 13:40 Animal Cops Philadelphia 14:35 Wildlife SOS 15:00 RSPCA: Have You Got What it Takes? 15:30 Orangutan Island 15:55 Dark Days in Monkey City 16:25 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 16:50 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 17:20 Monkey Business 17:45 Monkey Life 18:15 Going Ape 18:40 Going Ape 19:10 Orangutan Island 19:40 Dark Days in Monkey City 20:10 Animal Cops Houston 21:05 Untamed & Uncut 22:00 Going Ape 22:25 Going Ape 22:55 Animal Cops Philadelphia 23:50 Orangutan Island

00:30 Doctor Who Confidential 00:47 A Thing Called Love 01:45 The Weakest Link 02:30 Last of the Summer Wine 03:05 Teletubbies 03:30 Me Too 03:50 Tweenies 04:10 Teletubbies 04:35 Me Too 04:55 Tweenies 05:15 Teletubbies 05:40 Me Too 06:00 Tweenies 06:20 Teletubbies 06:45 Me Too 07:05 Tweenies 07:25 Teletubbies 07:50 Me Too 08:10 Tweenies 08:30 Teletubbies 08:55 Me Too 09:15 Tweenies 09:40 Bargain Hunt 10:25 Egypt 11:15 Last of the Summer Wine 12:15 The Weakest Link 13:00 Eastenders 13:30 Doctors 14:00 Cash In The Attic 14:30 Bargain Hunt 15:15 Last of the Summer Wine 16:15 The Weakest Link 17:00 Doctors 17:30 Eastenders 18:00 Casualty 18:50 Casualty 19:45 Doctor Who Confidential 20:00 The Weakest Link 20:45 Doctors 21:15 Eastenders 21:45 Saxondale 22:15 Supernova 22:45 The Omid Djalili Show 23:15 The League Of Gentlemen 23:45 The League Of Gentlemen

00:25 The Naked Chef 01:15 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 02:05 Here’s Looking At You 02:55 Come Dine With Me 03:45 Daily Cooks Challenge 04:15 Cash In The Attic USA 04:45 Hidden Potential 05:10 Here’s Looking At You

Cassandra’s Dream on Show Movies 06:00 MasterChef Goes Large 07:15 Bargain Hunt 08:00 Antiques Roadshow 09:40 Cash In The Attic USA 10:20 Hidden Potential 10:45 The Naked Chef 11:10 The Naked Chef 11:35 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 12:25 The Clothes Show 13:15 Come Dine With Me 14:05 Bargain Hunt 14:50 Antiques Roadshow 15:40 Cash In The Attic USA 16:00 Hidden Potential 16:25 The Naked Chef 16:50 The Naked Chef 17:15 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 18:05 Antiques Roadshow 18:55 Come Dine With Me 19:40 MasterChef Goes Large 20:10 Indian Food Made Easy 20:35 Ching’s Kitchen 21:00 Colin And Justin’s Home Show 21:50 Little Angels 22:15 Little Angels 22:40 Come Dine With Me 23:30 MasterChef Goes Large

01:15 Confidences Trop Intimes-R 03:00 Wall Street-18 05:30 Darfur Now-PG15 07:15 Under The Same Moon-PG 09:00 Charlotte Gray-PG15 11:00 Mamma Mia-PG15 13:00 Chariots Of Fire-PG 15:00 Stolen Summer-PG 17:00 L’age Des Tenebres-PG15 18:45 We Are Marshall-PG15 21:00 The Wackness-18 23:00 The Dying Gaul-PG15

00:00 Border Security 00:30 Destroyed in Seconds 01:00 Miami Ink 02:00 Overhaulin’ 02:55 X-Machines 03:50 Extreme Engineering 04:45 Mythbusters 05:40 How Stuff Works 06:05 Dirty Jobs 07:00 Extreme Engineering 07:55 Mean Machines: Transatlantic Challenge 08:20 Overhaulin’ 09:15 Mythbusters 10:10 Ultimate Survival 11:05 X-Machines 12:00 Border Security 12:30 How It’s Made 12:55 How Stuff Works 13:20 American Chopper 14:15 Miami Ink 15:10 Mythbusters 16:05 Dirty Jobs 17:00 Deadliest Catch 18:00 Border Security 18:30 Overhaulin’ 19:30 Destroyed in Seconds 20:00 How It’s Made 20:30 How Stuff Works 21:00 Heart of the Machine 22:00 Undercover 23:00 Deadly Women

00:30 Engineered 01:20 Space Pioneer 02:10 What’s That About? 03:00 Beyond Tomorrow 03:50 Thunder Races 04:45 How Stuff’s Made 05:10 Weird Connections 05:40 One Step Beyond 06:10 Engineered 07:00 Thunder Races 08:00 Ten Ways 09:00 What’s That About? 09:55 Stuntdawgs

10:20 Weird Connections 10:50 Engineered 11:45 Cool Stuff & How it Works 12:15 The Greatest Ever 13:10 One Step Beyond 13:35 What’s That About? 14:30 Perfect Disaster 15:25 How Stuff’s Made 15:55 Ten Ways 16:50 Brainiac 17:45 The Greatest Ever 18:40 Science of the Movies 19:30 Brainiac 20:20 How It’s Made 20:45 How It’s Made 21:10 Mythbusters 22:00 Science of the Movies 22:50 Brainiac 23:40 The Greatest Ever

00:00 Special Agent Oso 00:10 Timmy Time 00:20 Jungle Junction 00:35 Special Agent Oso 01:00 Handy Manny 01:10 Handy Manny 01:25 Imagination Movers 01:45 Jungle Junction 01:55 Timmy Time 02:10 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 02:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 02:55 Handy Manny 03:10 Handy Manny 03:20 Jungle Junction 03:35 Fairly Odd Parents 04:00 Phineas & Ferb 04:25 Suite Life On Deck 04:45 Wizards Of Waverly Place 05:10 Hannah Montana 05:35 Jonas 06:00 Special Agent Oso 06:10 Timmy Time 06:20 Jungle Junction 06:35 Special Agent Oso 07:00 Handy Manny 07:20 Imagination Movers 07:45 Jungle Junction 08:00 Timmy Time 08:10 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 08:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:00 Handy Manny 09:20 Jungle Junction 09:35 Special Agent Oso 09:45 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 10:10 Fairly Odd Parents 10:35 A Kind Of Magic 11:00 I Got A Rocket 11:25 Wizards Of Waverly Place 11:45 Phineas & Ferb 12:10 Suite Life On Deck 12:35 Hannah Montana 12:55 Replacements 13:20 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 13:40 Timmy Time 13:50 Handy Manny 14:05 Jungle Junction 14:15 I Got A Rocket 14:40 Phineas & Ferb 14:55 Replacements 15:15 A Kind Of Magic 15:40 Wizards Of Waverly Place 16:00 Hannah Montana 16:25 Sonny With A Chance 16:45 Fairly Odd Parents 17:10 Phineas & Ferb 17:35 Suite Life On Deck 18:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 18:25 Hannah Montana 18:45 The Replacements 19:00 Jonas 19:25 Suite Life On Deck 19:50 Sonny With A Chance 20:15 Hannah Montana 20:35 Wizards Of Waverly Place 21:00 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 21:25 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 21:45 The Replacements 22:00 I Got A Rocket 22:25 Replacements 22:50 A Kind Of Magic 23:15 Wizards Of Waverly Place 23:35 Hannah Montana

00:00 M1 Challenge 01:00 M1 Challenge 02:00 Fight Girls 03:00 M1 Challenge 04:00 M1 Challenge 05:00 Amazing Adventures of a Nobody 05:30 Amazing Adventures of a Nobody 06:00 UCI Nissan Mountain Bike World Cup 2008 06:30 UCI Nissan Mountain Bike World Cup 2008 07:00 Quattro Events 2009 07:30 Quattro Events 2009 08:00 LG Action Sports World Championships 2008 09:00 X Games 15 2009 10:00 Fantasy Factory 10:30 Untracked 11:00 UCI BMX World Championships 2008 11:30 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup 2008 12:00 Pro Bull Riders 13:00 Fantasy Factory 13:30 Untracked 14:00 LG Action Sports World Championships 2008 15:00 X Games 15 2009 16:00 Fantasy Factory 16:30 Untracked 17:00 LG Action Sports World Championships 2008 18:00 X Games 15 2009 19:00 UCI BMX World Championships 2008 19:30 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup 2008 20:00 Fantasy Factory 20:30 Untracked 21:00 Pro Bull Riders 22:00 Fight Girls 23:00 X Games 15 2009

00:00 Chopped 01:00 Food Network Challenge 03:00 Iron Chef America 04:00 Teleshopping 07:00 Food Network Challenge 08:40 Iron Chef America 10:30 Chopped 11:30 Everyday Italian 12:00 Great British Menu 12:30 Daily Cooks Challenge 13:00 30 Minute Meals 14:00 Barefoot Contessa 15:00 Nigella Express 15:30 Daily Cooks Challenge 16:00 Barefoot Contessa 17:00 Everyday Italian 17:30 Grill It! with Bobby Flay 18:00 Tyler’s Ultimate 18:30 Great British Menu 19:00 Daily Cooks Challenge 19:30 Barefoot Contessa 20:30 Nigella Express 21:00 Food Network Challenge 22:00 Iron Chef America

00:30 A Haunting 01:20 FBI Files 02:10 Murder Shift 04:00 Forensic Detectives 04:55 Real Emergency Calls 05:20 Dr G: Medical Examiner 06:10 Ghosthunters 06:35 Ghosthunters 07:00 Forensic Detectives 07:50 FBI Files 08:40 Royal Inquest 09:30 Solved 10:20 Forensic Detectives 11:10 FBI Files 12:00 The Prosecutors 12:50 Guilty Or Innocent? 13:40 CSU 14:30 Forensic Detectives 15:20 FBI Files 16:10 Royal Inquest 17:00 Solved 17:50 Forensic Detectives

18:40 FBI Files 19:30 The Prosecutors 20:20 Guilty Or Innocent? 21:10 CSU 22:00 On The Case With Paula Zahn 22:50 Disappeared 23:40 Dr G: Medical Examiner

01:15 Recipe For Disaster 02:45 Dirt 04:20 Rikky And Pete 06:00 Colors 07:55 Arena 09:30 The Wizard Of Loneliness 11:20 The Hawaiians 13:30 Ski School 15:00 The Secret Of N.I.M.H. 16:20 Elmer Gantry 18:45 The Cure 20:25 The Burning Bed 22:00 In His Life: The John Lennon Story 23:30 Tortilla Soup

00:00 Bondi Rescue - Bali 00:30 Lonely Planet 01:30 Jailed Abroad 04:30 Odyssey:Driving Around The Wor 05:00 Amazing Adv Of Nobody Europe 05:30 Word Travels 06:00 Bondi Rescue - Bali 06:30 Lonely Planet 07:30 Jailed Abroad 10:30 Odyssey:Driving Around The Wor 11:00 Amazing Adv Of Nobody Europe 11:30 Word Travels 12:00 Bondi Rescue - Bali 12:30 Lonely Planet 13:30 Bondi Rescue 14:30 The Best Job In The World 15:00 Weird And Wonderful Hotels 15:30 Jailed Abroad 16:30 The Ride: Alaska to Patagonia 17:00 Amazing Adv Of Nobody Europe 17:30 Word Travels 18:00 Bondi Rescue - Bali 18:30 Lonely Planet 19:30 Bondi Rescue 20:30 The Best Job In The World 21:00 Weird And Wonderful Hotels 21:30 Jailed Abroad 22:30 The Ride: Alaska to Patagonia 23:00 Amazing Adv Of Nobody Europe 23:30 Word Travels

00:00 Community 00:30 Rita Rocks 01:00 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 01:30 The Colbert Report 02:00 Late night with Jimmy Fallon 03:00 Cleveland Show 03:30 Headcases 04:00 Saturday Night Live 05:00 Community 05:30 Late night with Jimmy Fallon 06:30 Everybody Loves Raymond 07:00 Just Shoot me! 07:30 Simpsons 08:00 Frasier 08:30 Tyler Perry’s House of Payne 09:00 Married with Children 09:30 Drew Carey 10:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 10:30 Just Shoot me! 11:00 Frasier 11:30 Hope & Faith 12:00 Saturday Night Live 13:00 Rita Rocks 13:30 Tyler Perry’s House of Payne 14:00 Married with Children 14:30 Simpsons 15:00 Community 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 Hope & Faith 18:30 Just Shoot me! 19:00 Modern Family 19:30 New adventures of old Christine 20:00 Late night with Jimmy Fallon 21:00 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 It’s always Sunny in Philadelphia 22:30 Plus one 23:00 Saturday Night Live

00:00 The Martha Stewart Show 01:00 10 Years Younger 01:30 Look A Like 02:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 03:00 The Monique Show 04:00 The Tonight show with Jay Leno 05:00 GMA (repeat) 07:00 GMA Health 07:30 What’s the Buzz 08:00 The Martha Stewart Show 09:00 Look A Like 09:30 10 Years Younger 10:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live! 11:00 The View 12:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 13:00 What’s Good For You 14:00 GMA Live 16:00 GMA Health 16:30 What’s the Buzz 17:00 The Tonight show with Jay Leno 18:00 Look A Like 18:30 10 Years Younger 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

00:00 The Hunting Party-PG15 02:00 Cassandra’s Dream-PG15 04:00 The Man From Earth-PG15 06:00 For One More Day-PG15 08:00 The Brothers Bloom-PG15 10:00 Dragonlance-PG 12:00 Hotel For Dogs-FAM 14:00 Definitely Maybe-PG15 16:00 The Brothers Bloom-PG15 18:00 The Incredible Hulk-PG 20:00 Revolutionary Road-PG15 22:00 Friday The 13th-18

01:00 The Art Of War III: RetributionPG15 03:00 Traitor-PG15 05:00 The Collective-PG15 07:00 Twin Daggers-PG15 09:00 Shifty-PG15 11:00 Final Encounter-PG15 13:00 Capers-PG15 15:00 Shifty-PG15 17:00 Urban Assault-18 19:00 Termination Point-PG15 21:00 Iron Man-PG15 23:10 Anaconda: Trail Of Blood-R

00:00 Prelude To A Kiss-PG15 02:00 Ira And Abby-PG15 04:00 High Heels And Low Lifes-PG15 06:00 The Clique-PG15 08:00 Kingdom Come-PG 10:00 My Fake Finace-PG15 12:00 Rat Race-PG15 14:00 First Kid-PG 16:00 Prelude To A Kiss-PG15 18:00 My Bollywood Bride-PG15 20:00 Loins Of Punjab Presents-PG15 22:00 Americanizing Shelly-PG

00:00 Barbie In A Mermaid Tale-FAM 02:00 The Tale Of Despereaux-PG 04:00 Superman: Doomsday-FAM 06:00 Robotech - The Shadow ChroniclesFAM 08:00 Taina II-PG 10:00 Superman: Doomsday-FAM 12:00 Just For Kicks-PG 14:00 The Tale Of Despereaux-PG 16:00 Zeus And Roxanne-PG 18:00 Wall-E-FAM 20:00 Happy Feet-PG 22:00 Just For Kicks-PG

00:00 Grey’s Anatomy 01:00 Private Practice 02:00 Criminal Minds 03:00 In Plain Sight 04:00 Every Body Loves Raymond 04:30 Home Improvement 05:00 Law & Order 06:00 Emmerdale 06:30 Coronation Street 07:00 Criminal Minds 08:00 Every Body Loves Raymond 08:30 Home Improvement 09:00 In Plain Sight 10:00 Law & Order 11:00 Criminal Minds 12:00 Emmerdale 12:30 Coronation Street 13:00 Every Body Loves Raymond 13:30 Home Improvement 14:00 Grey’s Anatomy 15:00 Private Practice 16:00 Law & Order 17:00 Lipstick Jungle 18:00 Emmerdale 18:30 Huey’s Cooking Adventure 19:00 Heroes 20:00 Hotel Babylon 21:00 Cold Case 22:00 The Unusuals 23:00 Lipstick Jungle

16:00 NRL Full Time 16:30 European Tour Weekly 17:00 Live PGA European Tour 20:00 AFL Highlights 21:00 Futbol Mundial 21:30 European Tour Weekly 22:00 World Sport 22:30 Total Rugby 23:00 NRL Full Time 23:30 AFL Highlights

00:00 FIA GT1 World Championship 02:00 WWE NXT 03:00 V8 Supercars 05:30 UFC All Access 06:00 UFC Unleased 07:00 WWE Smack Down 09:00 WWE Vintage Collection 10:00 Red Bull X-Fighters 11:30 Mobil 1 The Grid 12:00 WWE Vintage Collection 13:00 V8 Supercars 15:30 NRL Full Time 16:00 Rugby League 18:00 FIA GT1 World Championship 20:00 WWE NXT 21:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter 23:00 UFC Countdown

01:00 Yes Man-PG15 03:00 December Boys-PG15 05:00 Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollars MuttsPG 07:00 Lovely Still-PG 09:00 Familiar Strangers-PG 11:00 Music And Lyrics-PG 13:00 Martian Child-PG 15:00 Broken Lines-PG15 17:00 Familiar Strangers-PG 19:00 Bride Wars-PG15 21:00 Journey To The Center Of The Earth-PG 23:00 Vicky Cristina Barcelona-PG15

01:25 Cannery Row 03:25 The Screening Room 04:00 The Alamo 07:00 To Have And Have Not 08:40 Across The Wide Missouri 10:00 Two Weeks In Another Town 11:45 2010 13:45 The Screening Room 14:10 The King And Four Queens 15:35 Bhowani Junction 17:25 Forbidden Planet 19:05 The Screening Room 19:45 North By Northwest 22:00 Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams 23:30 Lost Angels

00:00 Dr 90210 01:00 Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane 01:30 Dallas Divas & Daughters 02:00 Whose Wedding Is it Anyway? 03:00 How Do I Look? 04:00 Dr 90210 05:00 Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane 05:30 Area 06:00 How Do I Look? 07:00 Style Star 07:30 Style Her Famous 08:00 My Celebrity Home 09:00 Style Star 09:30 Dress My Nest 10:00 Whose Wedding Is it Anyway? 11:00 How Do I Look? 12:00 Ruby 12:30 Giuliana & Bill 13:00 Clean House 14:00 Clean House Comes Clean 14:30 Dress My Nest 15:00 What I Hate About Me

16:00 Whose Wedding Is it Anyway? 17:00 How Do I Look? 18:00 Dallas Divas & Daughters 18:30 Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane 19:00 Split Ends 20:00 Clean House 21:00 Clean House Comes Clean 21:30 Dress My Nest 22:00 Peter Perfect 23:00 Ruby

01:00 Code 01:04 Latina 10 01:45 Playlist 02:00 Urban Hit 02:45 Playlist 05:00 Code 05:04 Legend 06:00 Playlist 08:00 Code 08:04 Latina 10 08:45 Playlist 13:00 Code 13:04 Urban Hit 13:50 Playlist 14:00 Trace Video Mix 15:00 Playlist 16:00 Code 16:04 Rnb 10 16:45 Playlist 18:00 Urban Hit 18:45 Playlist 20:00 Code 20:04 Sound System 10 20:45 Playlist 21:00 Guest Star 21:15 Playlist 22:00 Code Compilation 22:24 Playlist

00:00 World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides 01:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 02:00 Planet Food 03:00 Think Green 04:00 Globe Trekker 05:00 Planet Food 06:00 World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides 07:00 Globe Trekker 08:00 Essential 08:30 Distant Shores 09:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 10:00 Planet Food 11:00 World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides 12:00 Globe Trekker 13:00 Taste Takes Off 13:30 The Thirsty Traveler 14:00 Hollywood and Vines 14:30 Entrada 15:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 16:00 Globe Trekker 17:00 Essential 17:30 Taste Takes Off 18:00 Planet Food 19:00 Tall Ship Explorers 20:00 Secrets of Bangkok 21:00 Distant Shores 21:30 Wild At Heart 22:00 The Big Guide 23:00 Globe Trekker

00:00 VH1 Rocks 00:30 Smells Like The 90s 01:00 Greatest Hits 02:00 Vh1 Music 05:00 Chill Out 07:00 Vh1 Hits 09:00 Vh1 Music 11:00 Aerobic 12:00 Top 10 Hip Hop Memories 13:00 Music For The Masses 14:00 Vh1 Pop Chart 15:00 Vh1 Music 17:00 Music For The Masses 18:00 Vh1 Music 19:00 VH1 Viewer’s Jukebox 20:00 Final Countdown Best First Hits

00:30 Afl Premiership Highlights 01:30 Mobil 1 The Grid 02:00 Futbol Mundial 02:30 Pga European Tour Weekly 03:00 Premier League Darts 07:00 European Challenge Cup 09:00 Nrl Full Time 09:30 European Challenge Cup 11:30 Pga European Tour Highlights 12:30 Icc Cricket World 13:00 Live International Cricket 20:00 World Sport 20:30 Total Rugby 21:00 European Challenge Cup 23:00 Futbol Mundial 23:30 Total Rugby

00:00 Rugby League State of Origin 02:00 European Tour Weekly 02:30 NRL Full Time 03:00 Super League 05:00 Mobil 1 The Grid 05:30 PGA European Tour Highlights 06:30 European Tour Weekly 07:00 AFL Highlights 08:00 World Hockey 08:30 FEI Equestrain World 09:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 10:00 European Tour Weekly 10:30 ICC Cricket World 11:00 Futbol Mundial 11:30 NRL Full Time 12:00 Rugby League State of Origin 14:00 AFL Highlights 15:00 ICC Cricket World 15:30 Futbol Mundial

Familiar Strangers on Super Movies

Star Listings (UAE Timings) STAR Movies 21:10 Mafia! 23:35 Joshua 00:20 Little Man Tate 02:00 Mermaids 03:50 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 05:40 Mafia! 07:05 Breaking And Entering 09:00 Little Man Tate 10:40 Mermaids 12:30 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 14:20 Invincible 16:05 Swimfan 17:30 While You Were Sleeping 19:15 X2: X-Men United STAR World 20:00 Prison Break 20:50 Starsky & Hutch 21:00 Cops S19 21:25 Cops S19 21:50 Who’s The Boss? 22:00 Grey’s Anatomy 23:00 [V] Tunes 00:00 [V] Tunes 01:00 [V] Tunes 02:00 Kyle XY 03:00 Scrubs 03:30 Scrubs 04:00 Boston Legal 05:00 American Idol

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

Grey’s Anatomy Starsky & Hutch American Idol Prison Break The King Of Queens The Bold and the Beautiful Kyle XY Starsky & Hutch Grey’s Anatomy Who’s The Boss? [V] TUNES American Idol Scrubs Scrubs BOSTON LEGAL American Idol Desperate Housewives Dirty Sexy Money American Idol

Granada TV 20:00 What Katie Did Next (Series 1) 21:00 Nights From Hell 22:00 Emmerdale 22:30 Coronation Street 23:00 Nights From Hell 00:00 Come Dine With Me (Primetime Series 2) 01:00 The Jeremy Kyle Show 02:00 Action Thursday: Tough Love 03:30 Strange But True? (Series 4) 04:00 Revenge TV

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

Emmerdale Coronation Street Come Dine With Me (Primetime Series 2) Action Thursday: Tough Love Strange But True? (Series 4) The Jeremy Kyle Show Essex Wives Emmerdale Coronation Street Ballroom Bootcamp Action Thursday: Lenny Blue Strange But True? (Series 4) The Jeremy Kyle Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Ballroom Bootcamp Action Thursday: Lenny Blue Strange But True? (Series 4)

Channel [V] 21:00 Keys To The VIP Double Bill 22:00 [V] Tunes 22:30 [V] Tunes 23:00 Backtracks 23:30 Double Shot 00:00 Loop 00:30 [V] Tunes 01:00 [V] Plug 01:30 Loop 02:00 Backtracks 03:00 XO

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

[V] Tunes [V] Plug The Playlist Keys To The VIP Double Bill [V] Tunes [V] Tunes Backtracks Double Shot Loop [V] Tunes [V] Plug Loop Backtracks XO [V] Tunes [V] Plug The Playlist Videoscope [V] Tunes [V] Tunes Backtracks Double Shot Loop [V] Tunes [V] Plug Loop Backtracks XO [V] Tunes [V] Plug The Playlist

Fox News 20:00 Happening Now 21:00 The Live Desk 23:00 Studio B with Shepard Smith Live 00:00 Your World with Neil Cavuto 01:00 Glenn Beck with Glenn Beck 02:00 Special Report with Bret Baier 03:00 The FOX Report with Shepard Smith 04:00 The O’Reilly Factor 05:00 Hannity 06:00 On the Record with Greta Van Susteren 07:00 The O’Reilly Factor 08:00 Hannity 09:00 On the Record with Greta Van Susteren 10:00 Glenn Beck with Glenn Beck 11:00 Fox Report 12:00 Special Report with Bret Baier 13:00 The O’Reilly Factor 14:00 FOX & Friends First Live 15:00 FOX & Friends Live 17:00 America’s Newsroom 18:00 America’s Newsroom 19:00 Happening Now National Geographic Channel 20:00 Inside -Inside: Undercover In North Korea 21:00 Wild Wednesday -Dangerous Encounters With Brad : Barr V. Bear S5-2 22:00 Wild Wednesday -Rescue Ink : House Of Horror 4 23:00 Theme Week -Blowdown : Rocket Tower S1-4 00:00 Seconds From Disaster -Eruption On Montserrat

S3-11 01:00 ABOUT ASIA -ShowReal Asia : Kung Fu Killers 02:00 Interpol Investigates -Terror in the Skies 03:00 Rescue Ink -Biting Back 2 04:00 Golden Baboons 05:00 ABOUT ASIA -ShowReal Asia : Kung Fu Killers 06:00 Dive Detectives -Submarine Graveyard 07:00 Hunter Hunted -Predators In Paradise 1 08:00 Interpol Investigates -Terror in the Skies 09:00 Monkey Thieves -Divided We Stand 14 09:30 Weddings & Funerals -5 Weddings Couple of funeral : Pedi Wedding 1 10:00 Theme Week -Blowdown : Vegas Casino S1-3 11:00 Seconds From Disaster -Eruption On Montserrat S3-11 12:00 ABOUT ASIA -ShowReal Asia : Kung Fu Killers 13:00 Mega Thursday -Megacities : Las Vegas 1 13:30 Mega Thursday -Megacities : London 4 14:00 Mega Thursday -Construction Zone : Kansai Airport 14:30 Mega Thursday -Construction Zone : North Branch Correctional Faci 15:00 Theme Week -Blowdown : Vegas Casino S1-3 16:00 Inside 911 -Zero Hour 17:00 Seconds From Disaster -Eruption On Montserrat S3-11 18:00 Mega Thursday -Megacities : Las Vegas 1 18:30 Mega Thursday -Megacities : London 4 19:00 Mega Thursday -Construction Zone : Kansai Airport 19:30 Mega Thursday -Construction Zone : North Branch Correctional Faci

Thursday, May 27, 2010

33 Flight Schedule Arrival Flights on Thursday 27/05/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jordanian 802 Amman Jazeera 263 Beirut Wataniya Airways 188 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 306 Cairo Bangladesh 045 Dhaka/Bahrain Gulf Air 211 Bahrain Turkish 772 Istanbul Ethiopian 620 Addis Ababa DHL 370 Bahrain Emirates 853 Dubai Etihad 305 Abu Dhabi Qatari 138 Doha Kuwait 802 Cairo Falcon 201 Dubai Jazeera 503 Luxor Jazeera 637 Aleppo Jazeera 527 Alexandria Kuwait 412 Manila/Bangkok Jazeera 529 Assiut British 157 London Kuwait 204 Lahore Jazeera 613 Lahore Iran Air 605 Isfahan Kuwait 302 Mumbai Kuwait 332 Trivandrum Fly Dubai 053 Dubai Kuwait 676 Dubai Kuwait 284 Dhaka Kuwait 362 Colombo Emirates 855 Dubai Arabia 121 Sharjah Qatari 132 Doha Etihad 301 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 425 Bahrain Gulf Air 213 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 182 Bahrain Middle East 404 Beirut Wataniya Airways 102 Dubai Jazeera 113 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 447 Doha Syrian Air 341 Damascus Jazeera 171 Dubai Egypt Air 610 Cairo Jazeera 457 Damascus Kuwait 772 Riyadh Saudia 9300 Jeddah United 982 Washington Dc Dulles Jordanian 800 Amman Wataniya Airways 432 Damascus Egypt Air 621 Assiut Fly Dubai 057 Dubai Jazeera 257 Beirut Wataniya Airways 422 Amman Saudia 500 Jeddah Kuwait 552 Damascus Nas Air 745 Jeddah Qatari 134 Doha Kuwait 546 Alexandria Kuwait 678 Muscat/Abu Dhabi Kuwait 118 New York Mihin 403 Colombo/Dubai Etihad 303 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 427 Bahrain Emirates 857 Dubai Gulf Air 215 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 402 Beirut Saudia 510 Riyadh Kuwait 562 Amman Jazeera 493 Jeddah Arabia 125 Sharjah Iran Air 617 Ahwaz Srilankan 227 Colombo/Dubai Jazeera 525 Alexandria Kuwait 104 London Wataniya Airways 304 Cairo Wataniya Airways 106 Dubai Kuwait 542 Cairo Kuwait 502 Beirut Wataniya Airways 202 Jeddah Kuwait 618 Doha Kuwait 786 Jeddah Jazeera 177 Dubai Jazeera 459 Damascus Kuwait 674 Dubai Kuwait 614 Bahrain Kuwait 774 Riyadh Bahrain Air 344 Bahrain Singapore 458 Singapore/Abu Dhabi Jazeera 433 Mashad Rovos 093 Kandahar/Dubai Fly Dubai 061 Dubai Oman Air 647 Muscat Middle East 402 Beirut Jet A/W 572 Mumbai KLM 0445 Amsterdam Egypt Air 618 Alexandria Wataniya Airways 404 Beirut DHL 372 Bahrain Gulf Air 217 Bahrain Emirates 859 Dubai Qatari 136 Doha Kuwait 178 Geneva/Frankfurt United 981 Bahrain Indian 981 Chennai/Hyderabad/Ahmedabad Jazeera 429 Bahrain Kuwait 1782 Jeddah Jazeera 449 Doha Lufthansa 636 Frankfurt Jazeera 185 Dubai Egypt Air 612 Cairo Bangladesh 043 Dhaka India Express 389 Kozhikode/Mangalore Pakistan 205 Lahore Wataniya Airways 108 Dubai

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

Departure Flights on Thursday 27/05/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 528 Assiut Shaheen Air 442 Lahore Egypt Air 607 Luxor India Express 394 Cochin/Kozhikode KLM 0447 Amsterdam Lufthansa 637 Frankfurt Indian 576 Goa/Chennai Pakistan 216 Karachi Turkish 773 Istanbul Bangladesh 046 Dhaka Ethiopian 620 Bahrain/Addis Ababa DHL 371 Bahrain Emirates 854 Dubai Etihad 306 Abu Dhabi Qatari 139 Doha Wataniya Airways 101 Dubai Jordanian 803 Amman Jazeera 112 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 422 Bahrain Jazeera 446 Doha Gulf Air 212 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 181 Bahrain Rovos 094 Dubai/Kandahar Jazeera 456 Damascus Wataniya Airways 431 Damascus Jazeera 256 Beirut British 156 London Kuwait 545 Alexandria Fly Dubai 054 Dubai Kuwait 677 Abu Dhabi/Muscat Jazeera 170 Dubai Iran Air 606 Mashad Wataniya Airways 421 Amman Kuwait 551 Damascus Arabia 122 Sharjah Kuwait 101 London/New York Emirates 856 Dubai Qatari 133 Doha Kuwait 771 Riyadh Etihad 302 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 524 Alexandria Gulf Air 214 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 401 Beirut Kuwait 165 Rome/Paris Wataniya Airways 303 Cairo Middle East 405 Beirut Kuwait 541 Cairo Jazeera 492 Jeddah Kuwait 561 Amman Kuwait 501 Beirut Syrian Air 342 Damascus Kuwait 785 Jeddah Wataniya Airways 201 Jeddah Jazeera 426 Bahrain Egypt Air 611 Cairo Jazeera 458 Damascus Jazeera 432 Mashad Wataniya Airways 105 Dubai Jordanian 801 Amman Fly Dubai 058 Dubai Egypt Air 622 Assiut United 982 Bahrain Jazeera 176 Dubai Saudia 2050 Jeddah Wataniya Airways 403 Beirut Kuwait 673 Dubai Kuwait 617 Doha Nas Air 746 Jeddah Saudia 505 Jeddah Kuwait 773 Riyadh Kuwait 613 Bahrain Qatari 135 Doha Kuwait 1781 Jeddah Etihad 304 Abu Dhabi Mihin 404 Dubai/Colombo Gulf Air 216 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 305 Cairo Emirates 858 Dubai Kuwait 543 Cairo Arabia 126 Sharjah Saudia 511 Riyadh Jazeera 184 Dubai Iran Air 616 Ahwaz Kuwait 285 Chittagong Jazeera 448 Doha Jazeera 428 Bahrain Srilankan 228 Dubai/Colombo Wataniya Airways 407 Beirut Wataniya Airways 107 Dubai Wataniya Airways 321 Sharm El Sheikh Jazeera 240 Amman Kuwait 283 Dhaka Jazeera 266 Beirut Bahrain Air 345 Bahrain Jazeera 512 Sharm El Sheikh Kuwait 361 Colombo Fly Dubai 062 Dubai Singapore 457 Abu Dhabi/Singapore Kuwait 351 Cochin Oman Air 648 Muscat Middle East 403 Beirut Jet A/W 571 Mumbai Wataniya Airways 187 Bahrain KLM 0445 Bahrain/Amsterdam Egypt Air 619 Alexandria Gulf Air 218 Bahrain DHL 373 Bahrain Kuwait 675 Dubai Emirates 860 Dubai Falcon 102 Bahrain Qatari 137 Doha Kuwait 301 Mumbai Kuwait 205 Islamabad Jazeera 480 Sabiha Jazeera 526 Alexandria Jazeera 502 Luxor United 981 Washington Dc Dulles Kuwait 411 Bangkok/Manila Kuwait 415 Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta Egypt Air 613 Cairo


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

ACCOMMODATION A fully furnished flat for rent during summer vacation for 3 months starting from June - Aug. CA/C building, nice location in Kheitan, specially for families on visit. Phone: 67060429. (C 2326) Fully furnished 1 BHK available for Indian Muslim family from 22nd June to 10th Sept. with household items at Abbassiya, opp German Clinic. Contact: 97834504. (C 2327) Independent room for working ladies or single bachelor near Lulu Hypermarket, central A/C + satellite. Please call: 65152017. (C 2328) 27-5-2010 Room available in C-A/C flat with separate bathroom in Sharq near Mughal Mahal restaurant for working ladies or small family from June 1st. Contact: 99567689 or 55197093. (C 2321) Sharing accommodation available for an executive bachelor or two decent bachelors from 1st of June, to share a room in a double bedroom flat in Abbassiya, Neethi store building, 3rd floor, flat no. 12, rent KD 70. Contact: 99784801/97285779/24310 647. (C 2325) 26-5-2010 Sharing accommodation available for bachelors, or executive bachelors or families with an Indian family in Farwaniya. Please contact: 99529179. (C 2316) Sharing accommodation available for two or three non-smoking Keralites in Abbassiya behind Oman Exchange, kitchen facilities available. Contact: 66937100/99185377/24334 859. (C 2318) Spacious room with attached bath available for an executive bachelor/working couple in a CA/C flat in Hawally close to Tunis & Beirut streets, very convenient location. Contact: 97563283 (till 4 pm)/66705749. (C 2317) 25-5-2010 Room available preferably for a single person, in a 2 bedroom flat near Khaitan coop/police station, with Goan family. Contact: 99453500/ 66531884. (C 2315) Two central A/C room available in Bneid Al-Gar, very near to Al-Salam hospital for decent working ladies. Please contact: 97879611 from June 2010. (C 2312) Sharing accommodation available for Keralite couples in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom new flat in Abbassiya, near United Indian School. Mob: 97345539. (C 2313) 24-5-2010 Sharing accommodation in Abbassiya with one family, one couple or a single working woman. Please contact: 97501647. (C 2301) Sharing accommodation available for small family or

two working ladies in a room with attached bathroom flat in Abbassiya with a Christian family near highway center, rent KD 80. Contact: 97215421. (C 2300) Sharing accommodation available in Khaitan near Carmel School for a couple or small family. One bedroom with split unit AC and one bedroom and hall with CAC flat. Contact: 66434840, 97685515. (C 2304)

FOR SALE Pentium 4, Intel, 40 GB HDD, 256 MB RAM, CD ROM, 56K modem, soundcard, speakers, 17” CRT monitor, ready for internet KD 30. P III, Intel, 15 GB HDD, 128 MB RAM with 17” CRT monitor KD 15. Contact: 66244192. (C 2330) 27-5-2010 Toyota Hoice bus mini 2006 seat, 4000 KD, Nissan Uran freezer 2000 model, KD 1400 KD. Phone: 66052331. (C 2324) House contents sale, Sat 29 May 9-12 noon, Salwa, block 7, street 7, house 293, apt 2, ground floor, all must go. Tel: 25657060. (C 2322) 26-5-2010 Toyota Camry Grande, model 98, V6, 6 cylinder, golden color, km 90000 thousand, price KD 1300, excellent condition. Tel: 99749610. (C 2320) 25-5-2010 Mitsubishi Gallant model 1999, good condition, color dark green A/C good condition, price KD 550. Tel: 55754706. (C 2314) 24-5-2010

CHANGE OF NAME I, Fatma Likayat Hussain Malik, holder of Indian Passport No: B5329229, change my religion from Islam to Hindu and hereby change my name to Vidya Vijay Rakhra. (C 2329) 27-5-2010

MATRIMONIAL Alliance invited for 26/5ʼ1”/RCSC girl B/B Kuwait. PGDRM/Pursuing MBA. Working with Retail Chain Mumbai, seeks proposals from Keralite RCSC Postgraduate boys B/B outside Kerala. Email: (C 2269) 24-5-2010 SITUATION VACANT

Live-in, full-time housemaid, for family in Salwa, KD 90 per month. Must have own residency. All duties including walking dog. Holiday Friday. Immediate start. Tel: 97611015. (C 2310) 27-5-2010 Cook wanted for a decent Kuwaiti family, well experienced in making Arabic/Indian/Chinese dishes.

Indian/Nepali/Bangladeshi nationals. Please call 97330070. (C 2323) 26-5-2010 Need urgently part-time babysitter in Al Muthana City. Please call 66809431, 55145707. (C 2319) Required live-in maid for an Indian family, please contact 24764736 or 66527975 between 5 pm to 11 pm. (C 2277) 25-5-2010 Wanted driver for Kuwaiti family (salary according to experience). Call: 99285701. (C 2302) Live-in, full-time housemaid, for family in Salwa, KD 90 per month, must have own residency, all duties including walking dog, holiday Friday, start immediately. Tel: 97611015. (C 2311) 23-5-2010


Indian Accountant, B.Com, with 8 years Gulf experience, holding UAE driving license, available in Kuwait on visit, seeking immediate employment. Tel: 65122160. (C 2308) 23-5-2010



Thursday, May 27, 2010



Aries (March 21-April 19) You cherish personal freedom and may have the urge to go exploring today. Perhaps you work at home. A short trip or walk during the day will help you return to a good focus. You may channel you energies in the direction of friends this afternoon. You have a great desire to understand the motivation of a special friend. You may be moved to help this friend through giving advice--trust your instincts. You possess a penetrating mind that will attempt to sway others to positive outcomes. Your analytical powers are superb and you enjoy looking for new avenues of inner growth. You could run a talk show! This is a nice day that should just flow along. In particular, you will do well in activities that include children, young people and your home. Taurus (April 20-May 20) The more creative you are, the better able you will be to come up with a few problem-solving ideas. Take some time now to do some writing on what makes you happy and how you can reach this goal of being more creative. Your personal creative ideas will lift your spirits and bring your thinking to a max in most work situations; particularly if you deal with difficult people. This is a good day and you should receive some good insights. Phone calls, letters and visiting neighbors are an important part of building your circle of relationships and you enjoy bringing out the best in another person. You would make a good teacher or a volunteer with young people. You show your charming side this evening and a romance or marriage is very possible soon.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. A small island. 5. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 8. The airforce of Great Britain. 11. Type genus of the Aceraceae. 12. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 13. Not in good physical or mental health. 14. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium. 16. (of tempo) Leisurely n. 18. A public promotion of some product or service. 21. A nonmetallic largely pentavalent heavy volatile corrosive dark brown liquid element belonging to the halogens. 23. Type genus of the Gavidae. 24. Read anew. 25. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 26. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 28. A metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables. 30. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 33. Before noon. 34. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 36. South American wood sorrel cultivated for its edible tubers. 39. A soft heavy toxic malleable metallic element. 40. (informal) Exceptionally good. 42. Cut off the testicles. 43. A kind of person. 45. Kamarupan languages spoken in northeastern India and western Burma. 47. The cry made by sheep. 48. A former agency (from 1946 to 1974) that was responsible for research into atomic energy and its peacetime uses in the United States. 49. (botany) Of or relating to the axil. 50. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. DOWN 1. The United Nations agency concerned with atomic energy. 2. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 3. (Irish) The sea personified. 4. A trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 5. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 6. By bad luck. 7. A member of an agricultural people of southern India. 8. Gear (including necessary machinery) for a particular enterprise. 9. (law) A defense by an accused person purporting to show that he or she could not have committed the crime in question. 10. All the plant life in a particular region. 15. The basic unit of money in Western Samoa. 17. A peninsula between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. 19. An actor's line that immediately precedes and serves as a reminder for some action or speech. 20. Tropical starchy tuberous root. 22. Type genus of the family Arcidae. 27. A Bantu language spoken by the Chaga people in northern Tanzania. 29. Naked freshwater or marine or parasitic protozoa that form temporary pseudopods for feeding and locomotion. 31. A telegram sent abroad. 32. Top part of an apron. 35. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 37. Wearing or provided with clothing. 38. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 41. A nucleic acid that transmits genetic information from DNA to the cytoplasm. 44. One thousand periods per second. 46. A colorless and odorless inert gas.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Your relationship with others is usually most harmonious. A young person or family member would do well to use you as a mentor in their relationships. This is also a good time to effect subtle changes in your profession. If you are observant today, you will be able to find little non-outstanding chores that will bring positive attention as you complete them without fan fare. You are dependable and you will discover this is a quality that is hard to find within the position you hold. You go out of your way to understand what is bothering a friend or relative this afternoon. This is a great time to get to know the goals and dreams of your loved ones. Learn to ask questions that will culminate in truthful answers. You are in a festive spirit this evening.

Non Sequitur Cancer (June 21-July 22)You have made some real headway with regard to healing any disgruntled type of individual. Additional responsibilities may be placed on you in the work place today but you are able to achieve a positive end. You have plenty of time to complete whatever you feel you need to accomplish. You have a tremendous drive to create a positive atmosphere at work and home. Doing just about anything with friends or family will create good memories and an opportunity to take a few pictures. You may find yourself being entertained by a young child or attending an art show. Careful however, money seems to escape your grasp, even when you are not aware. Hold cash carefully, the wind is strong. Smile, someone has you in their camera lens. Leo (July 23-August 22) This is a vital day with much passion and lots of action. You have lots of physical vigor as well today and it would not be a bad idea to take your breaks out-of-doors; perhaps the noon break could be to walk a block or so and then come back and eat a good lunch. Working off the excess enthusiasm will help you to focus this afternoon. You could find yourself in the limelight this afternoon-everyone wants your attention. After work you may want to spend some time riding a bicycle or some other similar activity; perhaps with friends or family. You may feel very radiant. There may be a little time to do things around the house or with family tonight. There is an open door to some relationship healing which could include a parent or other relative.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) This marks a time when you enjoy good relations with co-workers. Plans for a camping trip or plans for a summer get-together are great ways to build good co-worker relations. Your thinking process is invigorated and you are able to clearly express your ideas to your work partners or to customers. If you are honest with others, you should expect the same in return. Outside of work, your financial position improves because of your association with a relative. You should work hard at this time to keep close relatives, just that--close. You are a caring spirit and may also feel great sympathy for friends; many people turn to you for psychological help. You may be of great help to someone today without even realizing it. Romance is present. Libra (September 23-October 22) You are motivated to be productive--one thing you may concentrate on the most could be in re-organizing and making files thinner and more accessible; perhaps by putting part of the files on computer in some way. Your optimism is not an illusion; you build your life strong and solid, just like you appear to others. People would benefit by your way of thinking and you may want to consider giving to the community through teaching young people. These could be called financial smarts, organize your life, hope for the masses, great people in the world, etc. Teachers teach what they need to learn but you are wise to teach as your teaching keeps you current with your own thinking. Going home this early evening, you enjoy a visit with neighbors or friends.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You have a strong urge to work through some changes and may have found a mentor to help you learn and acclimate yourself to some new working equipment or method. Push too hard, however and you could be too bothersome to yourself . . . give yourself some credit . . . you are smart and quick and can learn as well as the next person. Go ahead and move forward at your own understanding; if you make a mistake, consider it a learning tool--just keep safe. Create peaceful situations as much and as often as possible. Groups of friends just magically seem to gather around you after work; perhaps a pizza party is in order. You find yourself appreciating what is quite normal or ordinary. You and your mate may be happiest in keeping life simple. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) An instinctive urge to get serious about taking care of you at many levels is emphasized now. This may mean an early morning exercise program, as well as some vitamin regimen. You encourage good health and positive thinking to others. Being involved in helping your loved one/s can bring you a great deal of satisfaction. Professionally speaking, this is the type of day with lots of questions and answers. After work, there is talk of learning how to blend with others and have others blend with you. Although this could prove to be a learning time, much is accomplished and you are able to create some positive ideas for future changes in the production line. Tonight is healthy and fun. By the way, this is one of your best days for love.

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

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

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

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

Word Sleuth Solution

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Many little chores seem to block your progress this morning but there is something about today that brings with it good luck. These slow downs may have been meant to be; so-to-speak. A project needs one more person and it would be best to draw straws, particularly if this project comes with good pay or overtime and you are in charge of the decision-making. You could find that you are appreciated or valued for your ability to act and get things done. This is not, however, a good time for you to try out new things or break away from the old routine. Your passion is high and you may feel as though you could conquer the world. There is an opportunity to partake in some group get-together this afternoon. Other people pay for the food--yum.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) The behavior of another person may have you completely surprised today. You have a lot of mental drive. In trading and speculating, your choices are good and will gain good results in a short period. It is time to skim a bit of funds off the top and make some new investments. A little animal gains your attention after the workday and you may spend some time in helping to make decisions about animal control or finding lost animals. Some political office may become available and this is a good time to think ahead about ways you think you might be able to instigate some positive changes. This evening is a great time to reflect on your own situation; just how you feel about yourself and your future goals. Expect money soon. Pisces (February 19-March 20) Your determination to accomplish some project today may be interpreted as a sign of stubbornness. Others may not realize that you desire perfection. You may have to read instructions or ask advice before you can really get into action. Patience will win out and you will be able to plan your method of operation; so-tospeak. Be aware of your words and maintain low tones if possible, because there will be interruptions. Considering the current general feelings--it may be best to take mental notes of other things you want to accomplish and save those projects for a day over which you know you will have more control. An artist has your attention this evening, perhaps Norman Rockwell's works.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cheryl Cole files for di heryl Cole has filed for divorce from husband Ashley Cole. The ‘Fight for This Love’ singer’s legal team lodged her request for a “quickie” divorce at London’s High Court yesterday, where she cited his “unreasonable behavior” as the reason behind the end of their three-and-a-half-year marriage. This comes just months after it was alleged the soccer player had cheated on her with numerous women. In a bid to end their union as quickly as possible, the 26-year-old beauty has told the England star she doesn’t want any of his money and he can keep their £6 million home if she can have a “clean break” from him. A source told The Sun newspaper: “She


he ‘Sex and the City’ actress - who has seven-year-old son James Wilkie and 11-month-old twin daughters Marion and Tabitha with spouse Matthew Broderick - believes the key to a good marriage is to retain an air of mystery. She said: “I like having some mystery in our relationship. I like not knowing everything about my husband. I think people should have things that are theirs, things that are the unknown to someone else. I think it’s good to have some privacy and some secrets in our lives.” The


wants a completely clean break with no malice or wrangling over property or money. Cheryl will not take one penny of Ashley’s money. “Crucially, people expected her to request their mansion as part of the divorce terms. But the house means nothing to her. “Cheryl is giving the house to him.” Cheryl’s publicity firm Supersonic PR said in a statement: “We can confirm the divorce. We have no further comment.” In February, the Girls Aloud star announced she was separating from her husband, after several women claimed they had received explicit picture and text messages from Ashley’s secret mobile phone and had sex with him. In the legal documents, it states Cheryl

had “put it to him that he had been unfaithful” and he “admitted” it was true. The source added: “She has fully accepted there is no going back after Ashley’s cheating and their marriage breakdown. “So this divorce will be clean, swift, amicable and smooth. Cheryl has no spite towards Ashley and has been incredibly mature and considered in how she has handled the split.” It is believed Cheryl had planned to file for divorce in July - the month in which they would have celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary - but decided to bring it forward so their union will have ended before the World Cup soccer tournament starts in South Africa next month.

45-year-old star also claimed her husband has no problem watching her get intimate with another actor in any of her movies. She told “We’ve been together for years. Both of us have starred in movies opposite lots of beautiful, smart, interesting people. But we have still come home to the same house, to each other. Matthew isn’t jealous when I’m in a movie with a sexy guy. He doesn’t seem to show any degree of being threatened by it. I don’t know, maybe he doesn’t care.”

elly Osbourne thinks she could be addicted to exercise. The reality TV star - who has shed over 40lbs in the past year always ensures she accompanies her 20-year-old fiance Luke Worrall to the gym, even if she doesn’t feel well, because she worries she won’t see a difference if she misses a session. She said: “I like to go to the gym three times a week with Luke - even when I’m not feeling great. It almost feels like I’m sweating out the rubbish! We go to the gym together, but we don’t work out together I work out with my trainer. “I do Power Plates and cardio work,

Osbourne addicted to exercise


esse James claims Sandra Bullock was “proud” of him when he went to rehab. The motorcycle entrepreneur - who underwent treatment for rumored sex addiction after it emerged he had cheated on his wife - admits he confessed “everything” about his infidelities, after previously telling a string of lies to cover his tracks. He said: “I told her basically everything, that I had affairs outside of our marriage... I think she had her suspicions but I lied my way out of it. I lied to everyone, even myself. “I told her I was going to get help and she told me she was proud of me.” Jesse also spoke of his heartbreak at seeing Sandra with four-month-old adopted son Louis Bardo - who she cares for as a single parent following their marriage split - but admits he understands why he had to be excluded from the legal process. He added in a forthcoming interview on US TV show ‘Nightline’: “The photographs of them made me sad. But I realize why things had to be done in a certain way. “To see her in the role as mother is, like, one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. She is like a fish to water... as soon as she put that baby into her hands, it was automatic and amazing.”


James claims Bullock was ‘proud’ of him

and he gets in shape with weights. I think I’m reaching that addictive stage of working out, where I know if I just put in an hour, I’ll feel the difference. I’m not at the point where I can be bothered putting in two hours though!” The 23-year-old star also credits her appearance on US TV talent show ‘Dancing with the Stars’ for overhauling her meal plans as she is now more aware of what is good for her. She added in her column for Closer magazine: “I’ve completely changed the way I eat since doing ‘Dancing with the Stars’.” Kelly has previously spoken about how Pilates in particular has helped her to stay in shape. She said: “Pilates is amazing, my posture is so much better and I’m even starting to get muscles on my tummy - it’s incredible.”

Emma Roberts not advised by aunt ulia Roberts doesn’t give advice to her actress niece Emma. The 19-year-old star insists she doesn’t speak much with her aunt about their showbiz lives and they keep work chats to a minimum. Speaking at the world premiere of ‘’ at the Empire Leicester Square Cinema, Emma told BANG Showbiz: “Does my aunt give me advice? We don’t really talk about the business together. I mean, I’ll visit her on set when she’s working on a movie and she asks me what I’m doing but otherwise, no.” Discussing her latest role as downtrodden Joanne in ‘’, Emma claims playing a poverty-stricken woman left her feeling “humbled”. She said: “I had an amazing time. Noel Clarke, the director has such an amazing sense of


humour, he’s hilarious. He’s cute, he’s nice. He’s a really good guy. “Working as a shelf stacker humbled me. Joanne is kind of a pushover. She loves her friends but they kind of take advantage of her. In the end she kicks some a*s though.” As well as preparing for the release of her own movie, Emma is also looking forward to seeing ‘Sex and the City 2’ because she sees so many similarities between herself and lead character Carrie Bradshaw played by Sarah Jessica Parker. She said: “It’s so horrible to say because everyone says it but I’m Carrie. Actually if Carrie and Charlotte had a baby it would be me.”

eline Dion is “waiting for good news” about a second pregnancy. The 42-year-old singer who has a nine-year-old son Rene-Charles with husband Rene Angelil - confesses she doesn’t like to talk about having more children but would love to add to her family in the future. She said: “Well we’re crossing our fingers. We’re waiting for good news hopefully. I don’t want to talk about it so much because I’m superstitious, but I know people have been very wonderful for us and praying for us. Right now we are crossing our fingers, we hope for the best and I can’t wait to give people good news.” The French-Canadian star also admits she will not release any information until she is sure she is pregnant as she doesn’t want to confuse fans. She told Wendy Williams on her TV show: “Once you live in show business and everything spreads out so quick and every pregnancy you have to wait three months to make sure it’s all ok and it’s nerve racking. We’re not getting any younger and you always think it’s your last chance, you’re last try. “I don’t want to jinx myself and say, ‘We think we are’ and then someone hears the wrong thing and it’s, ‘She’s not and she is and she’s not and she is’. It’s terrible. It’s exactly what we don’t want - the fans, the people to hear that. We continue to wait and we hope for the best.” Earlier this year, Celine claimed she would undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) for the fifth time to get pregnant. She said: “I’m going to try until it works. Five’s my lucky number, so this is the time it’s got to work.”— Bang Showbiz


aris Hilton has been bombarding her ex-boyfriend with phone calls. The blonde socialite is said to be distraught over reports Doug Reinhardt - who she dated for 14 months until April - is dating Miss USA Rima Fakih and is now determined to win him back. A source said: “Paris is furious. She was absolutely freaking out at the Cannes Film Festival when she heard Doug was talking to Rima. She’s been constantly contacting him and wants him back!” However, the 25-year-old ‘Hills’ star is said to be shunning his 29-year-old former lover’s calls because he is not interested in getting back with her. The source added to “Her mom Kathy has been consoling her. Doug is just over it.” Despite her actions, Paris recently claimed she loves being single and is “too busy” to embark on another relationship. She said: “I love it! I am having so much fun. A lot of guys have obviously hit on me and I am getting thousands of calls, but I’m not ready to be with anyone. “I want to stay focused on myself and my family and my work. Then, maybe in six months or a year... but for right now, I’m just too busy for a relationship.”



Thursday, May 27, 2010



Winner of the grand prize photo, ‘Walking into Colors’ by Sue Azmi

Lucie Debelkova’s ‘Kuwait-Right place and right time’.

Kuwaiti wins Canon photo of the year anon Middle East has named Kuwaiti photographer Sue Azmi as the 2010 grand prize winner of its regional photography competition, “Celebrating My City”. With more than 2,000 entries to choose from, an independent panel of judges selected the Kuwait inspired image entitled, ‘Walking into Colours’ as overall winner. This year’s competition saw a number of strong entries from Kuwait with Lucie Debelkova’s image titled ‘Kuwait - Right place and right time’ scooping the individual country prize for Kuwait. The annual Canon Middle East photography competition encouraged photographers of all abilities to submit a city-inspired image from the region for a


‘Two of Kuwait’s female photographers capture top spots in Canon “Celebrating My City” photography competition’ chance to win a state-of-the-art DSLR Canon camera - the EOS 500 D or a Canon PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II professional photo printer. Out of the total of 13 winners, the grand prize winner, was rewarded with an all expenses paid trip to Dubai and Beirut - two of the Middle East’s most eye catching cities, as well as Canon’s latest DLSR - EOS 550D. Commenting on the grand prize winner’s image, David Bell, a member of the

international judging panel said, “The grand prize entry conveyed in one image the central theme of the competition, it captures beautifully pride in one’s city. This shot along with the majority of the other winners share a common achievement, that of finding the perfect moment in time to capture the essence of their city.” “Canon Middle East is committed to supporting photography in the region and making it accessible to all. The quality of

imagery submitted from Kuwait was very high and demonstrated the entrants’ photographic skills, with many of the entries managing to capture the spirit of their city beautifully. “The Canon competition has inspired the imagination and creativity of thousands of passionate photographers from across the region, and has enabled them to capture and showcase the best of their city using the power of image,” said Hendrik Verbrugghe, B2C Marketing

Manager, Canon Middle East. Brian Kerrigan, Senior Photo Editor of The National commented, “The grand prize winner’s winning entry is a clean simple image that works so well. The two people at the bottom of the frame give scale and then you just have the flag. The photographer didn’t try to work in too many elements, instead remembered what the story is - the world’s largest flag.” The quality of entries from across the

region made the judging process difficult for the independent on-line panel of experts which consisted of well known photo editors and photographers. “While congratulating our winners, we would also like to recognise other talented photographers who submitted images to make this competition a real success. “As the brand that revolutionised consumer DSLR photography, we are thrilled to see how much photographic talent the MENA region and in particular, Kuwait is producing,” concluded Verbrugghe. To view the winning entries visit the Canon Middle East micro site at:

Mexico’s ‘Familia Burron’ cartoonist dies at 95 abriel Vargas, the creator of “La Familia Burron,” one of Mexico’s mostloved comic strips, died Tuesday. He was 95. The National Council of the Arts and Culture said Vargas died at his home in central Mexico City. It said his health had been failing in recent years, but did not give a cause of death. La Familia Burron was “one of the greatest representatives of the golden age of Mexican comics” and an “undeniable reference point for the nation’s popular culture,” the council said in a statement. The cartoon, which Vargas started in 1937, described in quirky detail the travails of a lower-class Mexican family, their extended family and the barrio where they lived. Comprised of father Regino Burron, a stolid barber, and his inventive and irrepressible wife, Borola Tacuche de Burron, the family wrestled with poverty and neighborhood disputes on a weekly basis. The weekly, stand-alone comic books sold as many as 500,000 copies a week for decades, until the 1970s. Vargas was awarded Mexico’s National Journalism Prize in 1983 and the National Sciences and Arts Prize in 2003. Inspired and influenced at first by American comics, Mexican cartoons quickly took on a life of their own through strips like Vargas’. Often sold in small, pocket-sized formats, serial comic-book publications remain popular in Mexico. A memorial viewing for Vargas was held at a Mexico City funeral home Tuesday.


Gabriel Vargas

Vienna the world’s best city to live, Baghdad worst: Study ienna is the best city in the world to live while war-torn Baghdad is the worst, a survey said yesterday, putting Europe at the top of the rankings with Asia and Africa trailing. The Austrian capital “retains the top spot as the city with the world’s best quality of living,” British consultancy firm Mercer said in its 2010 Quality of Living Survey. Swiss cities Zurich and Geneva followed in second and third places respectively, while Vancouver in Canada and Auckland in New Zealand were joint fourth. For its annual survey, Mercer assessed the quality of living in 221 cities worldwide, measuring them against New York with an index score of 100 points as the base city. Vienna, which also took the number one spot last year, scored a total 108.6 points, while Baghdad scored the lowest with just 14.7 points. European cities continued to dominate the top 25


cities in the survey, Mercer said, while Canadian cities also had a strong showing. Among cities in Britain, London ranked number 39, Birmingham 55 and Glasgow 57. In the United States, the highest ranking entry was Honolulu in 31st place, followed by San Francisco in 32nd. Singapore was the topscoring Asian city in 28th place, followed by Tokyo in 40th. Baghdad ranked 221st, remaining at the bottom of the list. It was followed by Bangui in the Central African Republic, N’Djamena in Chad, Khartoum in Sudan and Tbilisi in Georgia. Mercer also awarded cities eco rankings based on water availability and drinkability, waste removal, quality of sewage systems, air pollution and traffic congestion. Calgary in Canada came top of this list, followed by Honolulu in second place and Ottawa and Helsinki in joint third place. Port-au-Prince in Haiti ranked at the bottom of this table, Mercer said.—AFP

Artist and developer David Belt takes part in his latest project “Glassphemy!” on May 20, 2010, in Brooklyn, New York.—AFP

Participants take part in “Glassphemy!”, a project from artist and developer David Belt, on May 20, 2010, in Brooklyn, New York.

New York artists smash way into recycling world By Luis Torres de la Llosa ot something against other people, but want to save the planet? Then chucking bottles at New York’s “Glassphemy!” installation is for you. Throwing bottles into recycling bins is not new, but throwing them at people at the same time is. Eco-minded artists in a gritty area near Brooklyn’s notoriously polluted Gowanus Canal have set up a tower-shaped container made of bullet-proof glass and metal frames that allows visitors to do just that. Guests-allowed by invitation onlyare encouraged to stand on a high platform and hurl bottles down against the glass wall. On the other side at a safe, but still shockingly close distance, stand their friends, or enemies, trying not to flinch as the bottles rain down and smash next to their faces. The bottles don’t just explode into pieces, they set off flashing lights controlled by sensors attached to the installation. That’s the fun part. The serious part is that the broken glass slowly collects in the huge container for recycling. The artists behind the project call it a “psychological recycling experiment”. “There was a panel in Philadelphia. The architects were saying ‘How can we motivate the people not to go and smash things?’” recalled David Belt, head of the creators Macro Sea, who last summer entertained New York by turning dumpsters into urban swimming pools. ‘It w as cathartic’ “Someone in the audience said, ‘Why


not make a place where you go and smash bottles?’ So we tried to figure out a place where you can go and smash bottles there, and recycle them onsite.” His wife, Belt said, was the first to cast glass. “My wife threw some bottles at me the other night, a little too hard, but she felt much better afterwards,” he said. “It is all about purging your aggressiveness.” One visitor, John Wischmann, 45, said the sensation of throwing a bottle at a friend-albeit separated by the invisible safety wall-was “very satisfying”. “I feel relieved, It feels so good to break some shit over your friend’s face,” he said. Joshua Weeks, 29, was overawed by the liberating feeling of being on the other end. “It was a unique experience. I’ve never had an experience like that in my entire life: to watch a bottle come, flying at you, and hit you in the face,” he said. “It is all about combining a visceral sensation like that with the concept of recycling.” One of the builders of the glass cage, Jocko Weyland, said the installation was as much a tool for recycling human energy as waste matter. “In our modern society, most people are in offices and don’t have an outlet. This is giving people an outlet for urges that are inside,” he said. Visitor Guthrie Jones, 27, agreed. “It was so fun! It was a release of energy, it was cathartic.” “Glassphemy!” is a private affair, but readers of ReadyMade magazine are being asked to take part in the next problem to be solved: the cleverest uses for all that broken glass.—AFP

Participants take part in “Glassphemy!”, a project from artist and developer David Belt.

Participants take part in “Glassphemy!”



Thursday, May 27, 2010


By Hassan Alaoui lton John will be the highlight of Morocco’s biggest music festival despite calls by the country’s main Islamist party to shelve the British singer because of his homosexuality, organizers said yesterday. The public spat between organizers for the Mawazine Festival and the Justice and Development Party, or PJD, the country’s largest authorized Islamist group, illustrates the growing rift between Morocco’s Western-leaning authorities and the more conservative Muslim movements that are on the rise in the North African kingdom. “This singer is famous for his homosexual behavior and for advocating it,” said Mustapha Ramid, a leader and spokesman for the PJD, the biggest opposition party with 40 lawmakers in parliament.


British singer Elton John performs on the main stage of Rock in Rio Lisboa music festival at Bela Vista Park in Lisbon on May 22, 2010. — AFP

“We’re a rather open party, but promoting homosexuality is completely unacceptable,” Ramid told The Associated Press in a phone interview, stating is was against Muslim values. Ramid feared the singer would “encourage the phenomenon” and be a bad influence for Morocco’s youth. While Egypt recently canceled an Elton John concert because of remarks he made on homosexuality, Moroccan officials ignored calls to ban him. “We deal with artists and intellectuals for what they do, without taking into account their private life,” Mawazine Festival organizer El Hassan Neffali told reporters. “Somebody’s private life is one thing, and their art or creative activities are another.” Elton John is expected to draw tens of thousands of viewers yesterday night during his free concert, to be held in an upscale neighborhood of Rabat, the

capital. Seven other stages are set throughout the town. Other singers performing during this year’s May 21-29 festival include Sting, Mika and Carlos Santana, along with a host of Arab music stars. In an apparent move to defuse possible tensions, Elton John is the only artist booked for this year’s festival who isn’t scheduled to meet with the local media. Ramid, of the PJD, said he wasn’t aware whether his group or others planned street demonstrations against the concert. The PJD and other conservatives have regularly criticized Mawazine, saying it promotes promiscuity and artists who don’t abide by Muslim morals. It also blames the festival season for distracting students from their end of the year exams. The free concerts usually draw huge crowds. Eleven people were killed and

about 30 injured last year when a stampede broke out at the end of a concert. Organizers say they have boosted security this year. Mawazine is under the patronage of the country’s King Mohammed VI, and Moroccan officials openly acknowledge they back the festival, along with dozens of others through the spring and summer, as a means to promote cultural diversity and openness in Moroccan society. But homosexuality, though tolerated by Moroccan traditions, isn’t officially authorized in the largely Muslim kingdom and strong Western ally. The country’s first gay magazine came out this month, though it sold under the cover because it didn’t get an official distribution license. The gay rights group that publishes it-one of the first in any Arab country-is based in neighboring Spain. — AP

Blowin’ in India’s northeast - Bob Dylan mania By Rina Chandran o Bob. Wherever you are. With those lines, Andrew, a popular musician in India’s northeastern town of Shillong who goes by one name, kicked off an annual festival to commemorate Bob Dylan with a concert featuring the music icon’s best offerings. This year, a hundreds-strong crowd clapped, cheered and bobbed their heads as they sang along with bands and musicians who had come to mark Dylan’s 69th birthday, which was on Monday. Their loudest cheers were reserved for Shillong’s best-known musician, Lou Majaw, who has organized Dylan’s birthday celebrations since 1972 because, he said at that time, the musician’s songs had given his life meaning. Shillong is in a troubled region hit by a separatist insurgency waged by various groups, and Dylan’s words against war resonate with many local inhabitants. Majaw, a stocky 60something, with silver hair of a length befitting a rock star, acknowledged the fans and bands, and summoned on stage an architect who had come from the southern city of Hyderabad. Strumming on a guitar and playing the harmonica, Jasper Dasan showed no signs of nervousness as he did a rendition of “Blowin’ in the Wind” against a giant poster that said: Bob Dylan’s birthday celebrations #69. “This was a real dream for me, to come to Shillong and sing at this festival,” said Dasan, a silver-haired, bespectacled man. Dasan’s appearance contrasted with many long-haired tattooed musicians who also paid tribute to Dylan on the small stage erected at the city’s busy traffic roundabout, with Lou Majaw the crowd parting occasionally to let cars and bikes through. Vendors selling pink candy floss and corn on the cob mingled with Dylan faithful at the festival, whose highlight this year was an afternoon concert in a school. Kids in their maroon tartan checks trooped on to a makeshift stage on the basketball court to sing versions of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”. Majaw, wearing faded denim shorts, a white vest and red and yellow soccer socks, beamed proudly from the side, then led an enthusiastic sing-along of “Everybody must get stoned”, thrusting the microphone at the whooping, bouncing kids. “There hasn’t been anyone like him - not the Beatles, not the Rolling Stones. No one,” said Majaw, pausing to ask for kids’ names as he signed autographs and posing for pictures. “This is my way of bringing his music, his poetry to more people,” he said. According to media reports, Majaw became a Dylan addict while listening to rock and roll on a friend’s radio as he was growing up in an impoverished family. There are many fans of Dylan and other rock stars in Shillong and India’s north-east, where the locals like to say music runs through their veins. All day on Monday, FM radio stations played Dylan back-to-back and quizzed listeners on Dylan factoids. Has Dylan heard of the birthday party for him in Shillong? Will he deign to grace a celebration some day? “I don’t know. Doing just this is a blessing,” said Majaw. “He’s a busy man, I’m sure.”— Reuters


earful members of Grammy-winning metal band Slipknot shocked fans on Tuesday by appearing in public without masks for the first time in their career to pay tribute to their deceased bass player. A brief news conference, carried live on the Internet, took place a day after 38-year-old Paul Gray was found dead at a hotel near the group’s hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. An autopsy was held earlier in the day, but the cause of death is not yet known pending the results of toxicology tests that could take up to six weeks. Gray was found dead on Monday at a hotel near


the group’s home town of Des Moines, Iowa, by a hotel employee. Local police said there was no evidence of foul play. One big problem for fans watching the news conference: Who was who among the eight surviving members? A simultaneous live feed of Twitter and other messages indicated much uncertainty about the identity of most of the members speaking. One of the speakers about whom there was no doubt was Gray’s wife, Brenna, who is pregnant with their first child. She was seated next to Gray’s brother, Tony. Most of Gray’s ashen bandmates struggled to hold back tears. Guitarists Mick

Thompson and James Root and sampler Craig Jones were too saddened to say anything. “It’s very important that everybody on the outside of us understands that Paul Gray was the essence of the band Slipknot, and Paul was there from the very, very, very beginning,” said percussionist M Shawn Crahan, who played with Gray in an early version of Slipknot during the early 1990s. “None of us would be on the path that we’re on right now in life, or have the sorts of lives that we have, without him,” Crahan added. No one discussed whether Slipknot would continue. One of

(From left) Tony Gray and Slipknot band members Corey Taylor, Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan, Sid Wilson and Mick Thompson attend a news conference on the death of the band’s bassist Paul Gray Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.—AFP photos

rad Paisley, Vince Gill, Steve Wariner and Ricky Skaggs kicked off the Grand Ole Opry’s monthslong 85th birthday celebration Tuesday night with an all-star jam that took on new meaning following an historic flood. The show was already a special occasion with four of country music’s greatest pickers joining together. The night took on added significance though when Opry officials decided to turn it into a benefit for


flood relief. “Gosh, they’re so good, so well known for what they’ve done,” Skaggs said of his fellow players in an interview with The Associated Press before the show. “It’s great they called on us to come out and do something like this.” The show was at Ryman Auditorium, a former Opry home, after flood waters damaged the Opry House, plunging the stage under nearly 4 feet (1.2 meters) of water and damaging priceless country music artifacts and

(From left) Ricky Skaggs, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill and Steve Wariner perform a guitar jam during a broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. — AP

(From left) Slipknot lead singer Corey Taylor and percussionist Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan react during a news conference.

Rock band System of a Down defeats royalties suit By Eriq Gardner os Angeles rock band System of a Down has won a legal battle over authorship of its Grammy-winning song “B.Y.O.B.” after a judge heard about the drugs haze in which the tune was created. The plaintiff in the case was Maxwell Music Limited, a UK music publishing company that claimed co-ownership in the hit song after being assigned rights to the works of Casey Chmielinski, who fronts the band Amen. Chmielinski met System of a Down guitarist Daron Malakian when their respective bands were playing a music festival in Australia in January 2002. After a chance encounter between the two in Los Angeles later in the year, they started hanging out and using drugs. Malakian signed Chmielinski as the first artist to his record label, EatURMusic. The relationship then cooled, and Malakian alleged that Chmielinski owed


him money for advances for Amen recordings. Their last conversation in 2005 allegedly had to do with a 2% songwriters share for Chmielinski’s contribution to “B.Y.O.B.” Chmielinski felt entitled to more, and in bringing the lawsuit, Maxwell Music was looking for a declaration of joint authorship. Both sides presented their own story about the “jamming” session in 2002 that led to the creation of the hit single. New York District Court Judge Robert Sweet analyzed the music from the jam sessions and found that, other than the first line of the chorus, opening guitar riff and bridge section, no other portions appeared on the final version. In his decision, Judge Sweet goes into detail about the process by which songwriters create songs and then inform their publishers about contributions to the authorship. He found fabrication in some evidence presented by Chmielinski, and ruled in the band’s favor. — Reuters

By Jill Serjeant

archives. The Opry never skipped a beat, and the birthday kickoff came off as planned. Each player, all members of the Opry, turned in an individual set before coming together at the end. “We’re going to have a great time!” Wariner said as he kicked off the guitar jam portion of the show with a scorching set that displayed his virtuosity. Wariner is one of just four men dubbed a “certified guitar player” by his mentor, Chet Atkins. The 2010 Grammy winner played a few cuts from his tribute to Atkins. He brought several members of the audience to their feet with a fiery rendition of “Blue Angel,” a classic guitar piece that Atkins cut in 1962. Skaggs said he was excited to play the Ryman stage, the place where he says bluegrass was born. Skaggs told the story of how Bill Monroe was looking around for a new kind of music and hired Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs in the mid-1940s. They used the platform of the Opry show, broadcast across much of the US on WSM, to take the new kind of music they made to a wide audience for the first time. “That’s one of the fires we try to keep burning,” Skaggs told the AP. “Bluegrass music was really birthed right here on this stage. A lot of people don’t know that.”—AP

System of a Down

alk show host and “American Idol” judge Ellen DeGeneres is setting up her own record label with plans to find and sign up new artists. DeGeneres, who joined “American Idol” in January, announced on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” yesterday that she is starting a record labeleleveneleven-and signing up 12-year-old YouTube sensation Greyson Chance as her first artist. Chance, from Edmond, Oklahoma, was spotted by DeGeneres after posting a video of himself playing the piano and singing L ady Gaga’s hit song “Paparazzi” at a sixth grade music festival on the web. He was invited to appear on the DeGeneres’ show on May 13, sparking huge interest in his video which has now been viewed over 20 million times. Chance has also posted two original compositions on YouTube “Stars” and “Broken Hearts.” “Greyson ... inspired me to start a record label called eleveneleven. He is my first artist and we are making a record together,” DeGeneres said in a statement released on Tuesday. DeGeneres said she will continue to use her show as a platform to find new artists, whom she will sign to eleveneleven. The record label is being set up in collaboration with Telepictures Productions. Guy Oseary, Madonna’s manager, and Troy Carter, Lady Gaga’s manager, have signed on to co-manage Chance. — Reuters


(From left) Greyson Michael Chance, a sixth grader who has become a YouTube phenomenon with his performance of ‘Paparazzi’ by Lady Gaga, and his appearance on the ‘Ellen’ show and Ellen De Generes.—AP

rystal Bowersox stormed back against a nervous Lee DeWyze in the “American Idol” performance finale on Tuesday, stealing the hearts of the judges and setting up a nail-biting finish to America’s most-watched TV show. Bowersox, 24, a dreadlocked single mom from Ohio whose energy had been lacking in recent weeks, was the clear judges’ favorite for the 2010 title after her three-song set. But America’s choice revealed last night after millions of text and telephone votes from around the nation have been counted. “This is one of your best moments, at a perfect time” judge Randy Jackson told Bowersox after she closed Tuesday’s show with an emotional rendition of the contemporary folkgospel song “Up to the Mountain.” DeWyze, 24, seen as the dark horse of the TV singing show, had been tipped by Cowell to win before Tuesday’s final performances in front of 7,000 fans. But the bluesy singer and guitarist, who a year ago was working in a Chicago paint store, seemed to have lost some of the confidence that saw him overshadow Bowersox last week. “I would expect a lot more passion and excitement. That was a kiss on the cheek, when I want a kiss on the


Paisley, Gill, Wariner and Skaggs rock the Opry By Chris Talbott

the biggest bands in the metal genre, Slipknot topped the charts in the United States, Australia and Europe with its most recent album, 2008’s “All Hope Is Gone.” The band won a Grammy in 2004 for its song “Before I Forget.” Slipknot became notorious for its performances. Its members often broke each other’s bones, set each other on fire, and injured their fans after diving into the crowd. Inspired by their heroes KISS, each member wears a grotesque mask in public along with coveralls, and is identified by a number. Gray was No 2. — Reuters

lips,” Cowell said of DeWyze’s first effort, “The Boxer”. The night didn’t improve for DeWyze. Kara DioGuardi felt he “got swallowed up a bit” by U2’s smash hit “Beautiful Day.” DeWyze later brushed off doubts about his confidence. “I think looking confident and being confident are two different things. Because for me, if I wasn’t confident I wouldn’t be able to do this,” he told reporters after the show. Asked whether she thought early front-runner Bowersox was better on all three songs on Tuesday, DioGuardi told reporters backstage; “They didn’t start at the same place. She stayed steady and he grew, and for a moment he almost outshined her.” In a first for “American Idol”, the new song unveiled in the finale as the winner’s first release was replaced this year by two different cover versions of existing songs “Beautiful Day” for DeWyze and “Up to the Mountain” for Bowersox. Bowersox and DeWyze are the last two standing from some 100,000 aspiring pop stars who auditioned last summer around the nation for the Fox TV singing contest. The first place finisher will get a guaranteed recording contract and the chance to launch a career like those of previous “Idol” winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. —Reuters

(From Left) In this photo provided by PictureGroup, contestant Lee DeWyze, host Ryan Seacrest and contestant Crystal Bowersox appear onstage at the American Idol Season 9 Top 2 Performance Show at the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday in Los Angeles. — AP



Thursday, May 27, 2010


Luhrmann tackles installation in break from movies aking a break from movies, “Moulin Rouge” director Baz Luhrmann yesterday unveiled a multimedia installation in Hong Kong that he says explores the narrative potential of paintings. “The Creek,” a collaboration with painter Vincent Fantauzzo, centers on a large oil painting showing rescue efforts for a car that has veered off a bridge. The painting is placed in a narrow dark room decorated with candles and photographs from Luhrmann’s childhood in rural Australia. An audio clip of a car crash plays in the background. “I am fascinated with how in classical art narrative is dealt with,” Luhrmann told reporters on the sidelines of the Hong Kong International Art Fair, where his piece is being displayed. “The cathedrals of the 17th century were sort of the cineplexes of their time. The audience went into a darkened room. They contemplated a painting. And in that painting ... they had their own cinematic experience. They had their own narrative experience,” the director said. Known for his flashy visuals and lavish set designs, Luhrmann’s credits also include “Strictly Ballroom,” “William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet” and “Australia.” Luhrmann said he hasn’t decided on his next project and is currently choosing between three movie projects and two stage productions, including a possible adaptation of the F Scott Fitzgerald novel “The Great Gatsby.”— AP


In this Feb 1, 2010 file photo, Oscar nominated film director Baz Luhrmann speaks at a press conference in New Delhi, India. — AP

Russell Brand, left, a cast member in ‘Get Him to the Greek,’ poses alongside his fiancee, singer Katy Perry, at the premiere of the film at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, Tuesday. —AP

Mumbai attacks get the Bollywood treatment By Shail Kumar Singh n Indian film-maker has been sentenced to one month in jail after his British female assistant was knocked over by a train and killed during a shoot in Mumbai. A railway court in the city found Kaizad Gustad guilty of causing the death of Nadia Khan due to a “rash and negligent act” and also fined him 75,000 rupees (1,600 dollars), the Press Trust of India news agency said late Tuesday. Khan, 26, was helping the director on the set of his film “Mumbai Central” at Mahalaxmi station in south Mumbai six years ago when she was hit by a train. Gustad was initially charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder. He had claimed that Khan died in a road accident and was not at the station, according to the prosecution. The charge carries a maximum 10year jail sentence and he spent time on remand in prison before securing bail. In January 2009 a court ruled that he should face a lesser charge. Defence witnesses testified that Khan should have been on platform one, where no trains were running, instead of on the track near platform four, where she was killed. Gustad is on bail pending appeal but will not have to serve the jail sentence because he has already spent 35 days in custody on remand, Indian media reported, quoting the 28-page judgment. “It is significant to note that there is no evidence as to how and in which manner Khan came in contact with the running train. Nobody has seen the actual incident,” the ruling said, according to the Mumbai Mirror newspaper. Khan may have lost her balance and fallen into the path of the oncoming train, the judgment added, but said that Gustad could have taken more precautions to prevent his assistant venturing onto the track. The lawyer for Khan’s family, Yug Chaudhry, told the newspaper that the compensation was “very meagre and measly, especially given the background, the financial capacity and the earning potential of the accused and the victim”. — AFP



In this picture taken on November 27, 2008, flames rush out of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, during an attack by suspected terrorists. — AFP

the attacks were registered with the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association less than a month after the gunfire stopped. Many of the proposed names focused on Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, which was the focus of the siege and saw a 60-hour standoff and fierce fighting between four militants inside and crack commandos outside. One Bollywood film-maker was seen touring the Taj with his son but he later denied he was looking to make a film on the subject amid a public outcry that movie producers were looking to cash in on grief. India’s Hindi-language film industry has previously made movies on real-life disasters. A similar flood of applications were received after the 2006 Mumbai commuter train blasts that killed more than 180 people. Four high-profile films eventually came out in 2008 — “Black and White”, “Aamir”, “Mumbai Meri Jaan” (Mumbai My Life) and “A Wednesday”-and were critically acclaimed. — AFP

Dennis Quaid sues again over twins drug overdose ctor Dennis Quaid has launched another lawsuit against a drug maker over an accidental overdose of the blood-thinner Heparin that threatened the lives of his newborn twins in 2007. The star of movies “The Rookie” and “The Big Easy” filed a second lawsuit against Baxter Healthcare Corp, a unit of Baxter International Inc, in Los Angeles Superior Court last Friday on behalf of his children. It seeks unspecified damages and alleges the overdose was due to a mix-up over similar labels on different doses of Heparin. Baxter said on Tuesday that Quaid had previously filed a similar lawsuit in Illinois, where the company is based, which was dismissed and upheld twice on appeal. The case stems from 2007 when the Quaid twins were given 10,000 units of Heparin rather than the 10 units of the Hep-Lock they


were prescribed to treat an infection. The actor claimed in his new lawsuit that Baxter should have recalled the 10,000 unit vials of Heparin and warned medical providers because similar mistakes had happened previously. Baxter said in a statement that investigations by the hospital and California health officials at the time determined that someone had not read the label on the Heparin vials. “We feel that working together to address this issue would be more productive than continuing to litigate this matter in the cour ts,” spokeswoman Erin Gardner said. Quaid, 56, and his third wife Kimberly Buffington had twins Zoe Grace and Thomas Boone via a surrogate in November 2007. Ten days after their birth they were in intensive care in a Los Angeles hospital after the accidental overdose.— Reuters

A sentimental family film for serious tree-huggers By Ray Bennett ulie Bertucelli’s “The Tree” takes tree hugging to extremes. It will appeal to those who like to believe that upon death human beings take other forms, in this case a towering woody perennial, and bore those who do not. Screened on closing night at the Cannes Film Festival, the French and Australian production is based on Julie Pascoe’s popular Australian novel “Our Father Who Art In the Tree.” Those who cringe at that title should stay away from the film but given the many who enjoy touchy-feely themes, box office potential is high.


new, low-budget Bollywood film depicting the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks opens in India this week, less than a month after the sole surviving gunman was convicted and sentenced to death. “26/11”, which was made for just 20 million rupees (420,000 dollars) with a cast of relative unknowns, is due to hit more than 100 screens across the country tomorrow. Lead actor Rajan Verma dedicated the film to India’s police and security services, who battled the 10 heavily armed Islamist militants to bring the bloody, three-day siege to an end. “The film is a tribute to all the martyrs of Mumbai police and our armed forces who lost their lives in the terrorist attack,” said Verma, who plays Pakistani gunman Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab. “The film has no songs and dance but only action and what happened on that tragic night,” he added. Kasab, 22, was the only gunman captured alive during the attacks,

which began on November 26, 2008 and targeted three luxury hotels, the city’s main railway station, a popular tourist restaurant and a Jewish centre. A total of 166 people were killed and more than 300 others were injured. Kasab was convicted at a special prison court in Mumbai earlier this month of waging war on India, murder, terrorist acts and conspiracy. He was sentenced to death. The 100-minute film, which has also been touted as a warning that extremism achieves nothing, was previously called “Total Ten” after the 10 militants who arrived in Mumbai after hijacking a fishing boat in the Arabian Sea. Problems finding a distributor delayed its release last year but those involved in the production say that 125 theatres have now agreed to screen the film and India’s censors have given it a “U/A” certificate, meaning children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Between 20 and 25 film titles relating to

Certainly, it’s well worth seeing the performance of young Morgana Davies as Simone, a child who becomes convinced that her late father speaks and listens to her through the comforting branches of the tree next to her house. Davies gives the kid a great deal of spunk and character. Gifted with poise and considerable acting range, the young performer makes Simone attractive, sympathetic and vulnerable while remaining fiercely independent and prickly. Her siblings also benefit from strong performances and writer-director Bertucelli deserves great credit for making them appear so natural and credible. Charlotte Gainsbourg plays Dawn, their mother, who also comes to believe she can visit with her late husband Peter amongst the leaves of a tree that is handsome but causes a great deal of disruption with its roots spreading out for water. The family’s home is in danger and also that of a fussy neighbor who petitions for the tree to be torn down. A year after Peter’s death, Dawn gets a job and falls for her handy-man boss George (Marton Csokas). Things come to a head when George is enlisted to chop down the tree and the land is threatened by a ferocious cyclone. Nigel Bluck’s cinematography has sweep and style, and Bertucelli wisely focuses on Simone as the center of the film. That’s a good thing as Gainsbourg makes the woman appear more drippy than necessary. It’s Davies who comes closest to melting the hearts of those immune to the cloying tale.—Reuters

By Jay A Fernandez rant Bowler needs to dig out his passport. The “True Blood” actor has picked up roles in action feature “The Killer Elite” and indie drama “The City of Gardens,” both shooting abroad this month. Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro star in “Elite,” about the real-life efforts of a private British vigilante group to eliminate a band of contract killers. Bowler will play Capt. James Cregg, an SAS officer and war hero who is one of the targets. It is shooting in Australia. Shooting on location in Peru is “City of Gardens,” which centers on a young California surfer in 1980 who is framed and thrown in a jail for political prisoners before escaping. Bowler will play a schizophrenic named Jesus Christ who is stuck in solitary confinement. John Robinson, James Remar and Deborah Unger also star. New Zealand-born Bowler has had regular roles on ABC’s “Ugly Betty” and “Lost.” He returns as Cooter, the deadly biker-turned-werewolf, on the third season of HBO’s “True Blood,” which premieres June 13.—Reuters


Actor Dennis Quaid attends the premiere of HBO Films ‘The Special Relationship’.—AFP

Grant Bowler

With ‘Shrek Forever After’ possibly the last, Mike Myers ponders the end of the tale By Amy Kaufman ack when Shrek, a fearsome, swampdwelling ogre, first entered the film landscape nearly a decade ago, hardly anyone involved imagined the unsightly animated creature could become internationally beloved. Even the man who wound up voicing the role had early reservations. “Jeffrey asked me if I’d be interested in being in an animated movie ... called ‘Shrek,’” Mike Myers said with a grimace last week as he recalled his conversation with DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg. “And I said, ‘Is that really the title? That’s not a really great title,” he said of the film that just had its fourth-and, according to the studio, finalinstallment, “Shrek Forever After,” open Friday. Still, he was intrigued. At the time, the comedian was riding high with his zany ‘60s British spy character Austin Powers. But in the storybook world of “Shrek,” he found something compelling. “When I first saw the mock-ups, I thought it was this unbelievably cool, immaculate universe,” Myers said, leaning back in a chair in his hotel room. “I was like, this is a really brilliant deconstruction of fairy tales. And it’s about class.” Because the Canadian actor viewed Shrek as a “working-class person,” he initially tried out a Canadian accent for the character. But he wasn’t connecting. So he opted for a voice he’d established during his run on “Saturday Night Live,” a character called Lothar of the Hill People. The tone was so gruff he lost his voice after two days. “And then I was like, ‘I’m of Scottish heritage, maybe Scottish is the way to go. Scottish people are the salt of


Now the King of Far Far Away, Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) lays down the law of the land for Shrek (Mike Myers) in DreamWorks Animation’s ‘Shrek Forever After,’ released on May 21, 2010, and distributed by Paramount Pictures.—MCT the earth.’ And when I connected, everybody was like, ‘Oh, yes, this is right.’” The voice was such a good fit that the studio opted to toss out all of the work that had already been completed on the first filmwhich Myers estimates to be about 60 percent-and start fresh with the new direction. Of course, “Shrek” has since defied the

odds, becoming an international phenomenon and pop culture touchstone. The first three films in the franchise grossed more than $2 billion worldwide, and the original film won the first Academy Award for animated feature. The movies have premiered at prestigious film festivals, including Cannes. There has been a Shrek television Christmas special and

a Broadway production, “Shrek the Musical.” So it’s no surprise that with its lengthy run, starting in 2001, it’s been difficult for some of the cast members to say goodbye to the characters they’ve played for so many years. “I’m really sad, actually,” said Cameron Diaz, who voices Fiona, Shrek’s half-ogre, half-princess wife. “I think we’ve all kind of been going, ‘Is this really it?’ It’s something that’s been a constant in all of our lives for so long. As soon as one film would come out, six months later Jeffrey would call you and tell you to come look at storyboards for the next film. In a weird way, I did feel like it was going to go on forever, because why wouldn’t it? Everyone loves Shrek.” Shrek’s journey has resonated because the ogre is so human, Myers believes. “There’s something in Shrek that he feels he’s not good enough to fall in love, to be married, to be a father. And in the last one, he’s not good enough to have a happily ever after,” he said. “Maybe because I grew up in a country next to the big country, I could kind of relate to that. I think the feeling that you’re not enough and wondering about your identity is pretty universal.” But how much the films have come to mean to his career, Myers said, has surprised him. “I feel like a custodian at Yellowstone,” he said. “I can’t account for how wonderfully impactful to the culture it’s been, but it’s been great to be a part of it. And I didn’t know a person was allowed to care that much about a character in the world of animation, and that was a really awesome revelation.” Cast mate Antonio Banderas believes the success of Shrek lies in Myers’ serious approach to the ogre. —MCT

In this image provided by ABC, Nicole Scherzinger and partner Derek Hough pose with their trophies after dominating throughout the 10th season of the hit ABC show ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and bested Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek to win the crown Tuesday night.

he Pussycat Doll is now the “Dancing With The Stars” champ. Nicole Scherzinger and partner Derek Hough dominated throughout the 10th season of the hit ABC TV show and bested Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek to win the “Dancing” crown Tuesday night. “I feel like I just won a Grammy,” she said after the show. “A dancing Grammy!” Scherzinger performed a high-energy jive as her final dance that earned a perfect score of 30 and inspired head judge Len Goodman to say, “There can only be one winner of ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ It should be you.” Lysacek’s quickstep also earned the judges’ praise, but just 28 points. “It’s been such a blast,” the champion figure skater said. “We are totally satisfied with everything we gave. We’re so proud of Nicole and Derek. They deserve it. ... They inspired all the other couples in the competition.” Scherzinger and Hough kissed the mirrorball trophy as they were hoisted on the shoulders of other dancers. “Win or lose tonight, I was just very, very happy with the entire season,” said Hough, a two-time “Dancing” champ. “To get the trophy at the end of it, that was just amazing.” Even more valuable than the trophy, Scherzinger said, were the personal lessons she learned during the season. “This has


‘Dancing With The Stars’ contestants Anna Trebunskaya and Evan Lysacek dance on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ show, in New York, yesterday.

In this image Nicole Scherzinger and her partner In this image the remaining two teams, Nicole Scherzinger, Derek Hough, left, and Evan Lysacek, Anna Trebunskaya flank Tom Derek Hough perform the Argentine Tango. —AP photos Bergeron, Brooke Burke after performing a fourth and final dance Tuesday.

en countries have qualified for the finals of this year’s Eurovision song contest, which will see a total of 25 nations vying for the top honor in one of the world’s most watched events. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldavia, Russia, Greece, Portugal, Belarus, Serbia, Belgium, Albania and Iceland made their way past the first semi-final held in Oslo after voting ended late Tuesday. Five countries have already been picked for Saturday’s final: Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Norway, which is hosting the event after winning last year’s contest with a brash performance of a folk-inspired ballad. The annual contest is watched by an estimated television audience of over 100 million people. The winner gets to host the event the following year. Both the public from across Europe and specialist judges will vote for the winning act in this year’s broadcast of the competing finalists. The other 10 finalists will be chosen from a shortlist of 17 countries on Thursday during the last semi-final. The Eurovision contest began in 1956 as an elegant black-tie event but has since evolved onto an annual music extravaganza known for its many kitschy acts that has been mocked for its “bubblegum pop” and overtly political voting by Eastern European countries. — AFP

been probably the greatest reward personally, this whole personal journey,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve learned so much about Derek Hough. He’s made me a better person through this.” She added that she plans to work on winning a real Grammy now that her “Dancing” stint is done. Lysacek said he hopes to bring some of his new performance skills onto the ice. And though he thought the winning couple “were the best dancers by a mile from the very first night,” he said his competitive spirit pushed him to do better each week. “I came into this competition and said, ‘I’m not going to be competitive, I’m just going to have fun,”‘ he said after the show. “And the further we got from the Olympics, the more my competitive fire started burning. ... It progressed, and slowly but surely I became more confident as a performer and a dancer.” ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews, the third finalist, and her professional partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy were eliminated from the dance-off halfway through the twohour season closer. Earlier in the evening, all three pairs each danced an Argentine tango and earned glowing remarks from the judges. Carrie Ann Inaba called Lysacek’s performance “perfect” and

In this image Nicole Scherzinger, foreground reacts after winning ‘Dancing With The Stars’. Scherzinger’s “like a beautiful masterpiece come to life.” Though being on the show “has meant everything” to Andrews, she said she knew the fight for the title would be between Lysacek and Scherzinger. “I came here under really crummy circumstances,” Andrews said. “I just wanted to be myself again.” Andrews was the victim of a stalker, who was

sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for following the reporter to at least three cities and shooting videos of her through hotel peepholes. Gesturing toward Chmerkovskiy, she said, “This one has just put my life back together, so I’m so thankful.” Chmerkovskiy called the season “a rollercoaster” and “an amazing journey.” “I feel like we’ve won,” he said, “and I certainly


(Left) Hera Bjork from Iceland celebrates after qualifying for the final Eurovision Song Contest.

Filipa Azevedo (second left) from Portugal.

have my own prize.” After the show, Andrews joked that the pro dancer wouldn’t return to the show, but would instead accompany her on the college football sidelines. Rumors have swirled all season that the dance partners are dating. Tuesday’s action-packed final episode featured back-to-back performances by the season’s finalists and past contestants. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin danced in a bedazzled space suit that host Tom Bergeron joked was from the “NASA Liberace collection.” Kate Gosselin reprised her much maligned performance to “Paparazzi,” then tore off her dress to reveal a sparkly miniskirt to finish the routine to the disco staple “I Will Survive.” Pamela Anderson and Niecy Nash performed a sexy number together. Anderson emerged from the ceiling wearing a lacy neglige and slithered seductively across three male dancers lying on the floor to finish her routine. That’s when Nash took over, shaking her “jiggly parts” in a hot pink sequined minidress. “I barely made it through this competition with my jiggly parts intact,” said the buxom star, who joked about her love of food throughout the season. “I feel like a weave on a stick.” Actors Shannen Doherty and Aiden Turner also returned to the dance floor. — AP

The ten qualifying artists celebrate after their qualification for the final Eurovision Song Contest in Telenor Arena in Baerum, Norway, on May 25, 2010. — AFP photos

Butterflies from Belarus perform the song ‘3+2’ during the semi-finals.

Tom Dice, center, from Belgium.

The Butterflies from Belarus.

Giorgos Alkaios & Friends from Greece.

27 May  

Kuwait Times

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