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Japan’s new PM Kan takes power PAGE 5


Disappointing US jobs report sends stocks tumbling

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Ivory Coast in suspense after Drogba injury

Hong Kongers break silence on Tiananmen PAGE 15


150 FILS


Erdogan: Hamas not a terrorist organization

‘Thou shall not kill’, Turkey tells Israel ISTANBUL: Relatives touch the coffin of a victim of the Israeli naval commandos raid during the funeral at the Beyazit mosque yesterday. Israel insisted yesterday that it won’t let any aid ship breach its blockade of the Gaza Strip. — AP

Kuwait foreign assets swell to $277 billion KUWAIT: Kuwait’s foreign assets swelled to $277 billion at the end of the fiscal year to March 31, up from 238 billion dollars a year earlier, a local newspaper said yesterday. The assets are held in two state-owned funds, the Reserve Fund for Future Generations (RFFG) whose assets grew to 220 billion dollars on March 31 up on 196 billion dollars the previous year. The second fund is the General State Reserve with 57 billion dollars at the end of the last fiscal year up from 42 billion dollars, the report said. Finance Minister Mustafa AlShamali gave a briefing on Kuwait’s financial position to parliament at a secret session on Thursday and declined to reveal any figures to reporters. Kuwaiti foreign investments, which were estimated to have soared to a record 300 billion dollars in 2008, were severely affected by the global economic crisis.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in its 2009 World Investment Report that Kuwait sovereign wealth fund assets shrank by 94 billion dollars last year due to the economic meltdown. But KIA categorically denied the report without providing any figures. By law, 10 percent of Kuwait’s total income is transferred into the RFFG every year regardless of whether the budget is in surplus or deficit. The Gulf state has posted a budget surplus in each of the past 11 fiscal years, amounting to around 140 billion dollars. In the last fiscal year, the emirate posted a preliminary budget surplus of 28.2 billion dollars. Kuwait says it sits on 10 percent of global crude reserves and pumps around 2.3 million barrels per day. It has a citizen population of 1.1 million, besides 2.35 million foreign residents. — AFP

Mideast rivals vie for Iraq ‘influence’ US pulling out, Iraqi neighbors stepping in BAGHDAD: The United States might be trying to disentangle itself from Iraq, but there is no shortage of contenders to take its place. A battle between Iraq’s neighbors for influence in Baghdad is being played out between Iraq’s Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, complicating efforts to stitch together a government three months after an inconclusive parliamentary election. Failure to reconcile their rival interests could yet delay the government for months to come, further testing stability as all but 50,000 U.S. troops withdraw over the hot Iraqi summer. “The train leading to the formation of an Iraqi government will depart from Saudi Arabia, passing through Iran, Turkey and Syria, before reaching Baghdad,” an Iraqi political analyst said on condition of anonymity. “The United States is not alone,” he said. The March 7 vote was narrowly won by the cross-sectarian Iraqiya alliance, led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and heavily backed by Iraq’s once-dominant Sunni minority. But Iraqiya polled too few votes to form a government on its own, and now the race is on to secure a governing majority in the new 325-seat parliament after the Supreme Court on Tuesday certified the results. All sides say there is room for all in the next

government, but key is who leads it and takes the powerful post of prime minister. Washington says it wants a government that respects the will of the voters, hoping for a broad coalition reflecting Iraqiya’s victory and aiding stability as the US military cuts troop numbers from just under 90,000 to 50,000 by Sept 1. But Iran has other ideas. Mainly Shiite Iran is backing a Shiite-led government of Prime Minister’s Nuri Al-Maliki’s second-placed State of Law and the third-placed Iraqi National Alliance of anti-US cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr. The two announced an alliance in principle on May 4. But analysts say Iran is lukewarm on the prospect of Maliki staying on as prime minister, fuelling a dispute between the two blocs over who should head the government. Tehran faces competition from Saudi Arabia, which sees itself as the bastion of Sunni Islam and is alarmed at rising Iranian influence and the dominance of Iraq’s previously disempowered Shiite majority since the 2003 US invasion. Saudi Arabia is backing Iraqiya and Allawi. Gala Riani of IHS Global Insight said the deadlock in Iraq was the result of political immaturity, weak rules and “the salience of ethno-national and sectarian identities.” Continued on Page 15

Trade flourishes as Syria befriends old foe Turkey ALEPPO: Turkish delicacies are unashamedly on display in Syria’s culinary capital. Aleppo merchants are switching to imports from Turkey, and buses ferry shoppers to an upscale mall across the border. A warming of oncechilly Turkish-Syrian ties has unleashed a oneway trade boom. A trade deal activated two years ago has cut tariffs and reduced smuggling. Visa requirements were abolished. Turkey’s popularity in Syria soared after an Israeli raid on Gaza-bound aid ships in which nine Turks were killed on May 31. “Turkey now has a stake in the Palestinian cause, and Syria stands to gain,” a diplomat said. “It will

be more difficult for Israel to launch any military action against Syria.” The furor over the flotilla interception has also deflected attention from Israeli and US pressure on Damascus over its alleged arms supplies to the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group. Syrians have traditionally looked askance at their powerful northern neighbor, which ruled them during the Ottoman Empire, but many are now seeing secular Muslim Turkey, a NATO member with an Islamist-leaning government, in a new light. “It’s time to shed the stigma we have had about Turkey. Continued on Page 15

Defiant activist ship steams towards Gaza ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of betraying its religion yesterday, as Palestinian flags flew at the funeral of a Turkish activist killed when Israeli commandos raided an aid ship bound for Gaza. The killing of nine Turks on a Turkish flagged vessel in international waters during an operation by Israeli commandos to stop the aid convoy on Monday has brought relations between the once-close allies to virtual breaking point. Erdogan ramped up antiIsrael rhetoric in a televised speech, while addressing supporters of his Islamist-leaning AK Party in the central Anatolian city of Konya. “You (Israel) killed 19-year-old Furkan Dogan brutally. Which faith, which holy book can be an excuse for killing him?” Erdogan asked, referring to one of the nine dead activists. “I am speaking to them in their own language. The sixth commandment says “thou shall not kill”. Did you not understand? I’ll say again. I say in English “you shall not kill”. Did you still not understand? So I’ll say to you in your own language. I say in Hebrew ‘Lo Tirtzakh’.” Pledging never to forsake the Palestinian people, Erdogan likened the Israeli killings of Palestinians to Turkish civilian deaths caused by conflict with Kurdish separatist militants. “They killed the babies in their mothers’ arms like the terrorists here. They killed innocent children on their bicycles,” he said. He went on to stand up for the Palestinian Hamas government. “Hamas are resistance fighters fighting for their land, they are Palestinians. They won an election and now they are in Israel’s prisons. I told this to the Americans, that I do not accept Hamas as a terrorist Continued on Page 15

DHAKA: Relatives mourn near the bodies of victims (inset) of a fire at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital yesterday. — AP

Dhaka fire kills 117 ‘Why me? What wrong have I committed?’ DHAKA: An electrical explosion plunged a neighborhood of Bangladesh’s capital in darkness and ignited a shop of flammable chemicals, creating a massive inferno that killed at least 117 - including 15 members of a wedding party - and injured more than 100 others. The country’s worst fire in recent memory began Thursday night in the narrow

alleys of the old section of Dhaka, crammed with new additions to decadesold buildings, when an electrical transformer exploded soon after a rainstorm swept the city, police officer Abul Kalam said. “There were screams, shouts for help and total chaos,” Kalam said. Most of the dead were trapped in two or three residential buildings, said gov-

Aussie diners ‘eat up iPad as menu’ SYDNEY: An Australian restaurant has ditched printed menus and now hands diners the latest tech-craze, Apple’s touch-screen iPad computer, from which to choose and order their meals. Risking damaging wine spills and customers taking an iPad ‘to go’, the Global Mundo Tapas eatery at the Rydges Hotel in North Sydney introduced its new menus three days ago-within a week of the iPad’s Australian release. “One of the points of difference for our restaurant was to have a unique menu,” the hotel’s general manager Craig Simpson said yesterday. “Everyone’s excited about the iPad and we’re jumping on the back of that.” Hundreds of people queued round the block in central Sydney to buy the iPad when it went on sale outside the United States for the first time on May 28. Simpson bought 15 of the sought-after tablets, flying to Adelaide to pick up 10 of them on launch day, which retail from 629 Australian dollars (531 US). “It’s the cost of doing business,” he said. Continued on Page 15

SYDNEY: Two Apple touchscreen iPad tablets, one showing the menu (below) and one showing a photograph of a meal (top), are displayed at the Global Mundo Tapas eatery at the Rydges Hotel yesterday. — AFP

ernment administrator Mohibul Haque. He said the death toll could rise because some were still feared trapped in the rubble. Mohammad Gulzar was serving beverages to dozens of guests who had just arrived in his small apartment for his daughter’s wedding reception when they were jolted by a loud blast. Continued on Page 15

Pandemic or panic? WHO slammed over swine flu PARIS: The World Health Organization’s handling of the swine flu pandemic was deeply marred by secrecy and conflict of interest with drug companies, a top medical journal said yesterday. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that WHO guidelines on the use of antiviral drugs were prepared by experts who had received consulting fees from the top two manufacturers of these drugs, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). In apparent violation of its own rules, the WHO did not publicly disclose these conflicts when the guidelines were drawn up in 2004, according to the report, jointly authored by the London-based non-profit Bureau of Investigative Journalism. A draft assessment prepared for the Council of Europe, also

released yesterday, likewise lambasts the WHO for lack of transparency, wasting huge sums of public money and provoking “unjustified fears”. It also points to potential health risks stemming from the “fast track” manufacture of vaccines. WHO decisions led governments worldwide to stockpile vast quantities of antivirals, and its decision to declare a pandemic in June 2009 triggered the purchase of billion of dollars worth of hastily manufactured vaccines. Much of these stocks have gone unused because the pandemic turned out to be far less lethal than some experts feared, fueling suspicion that Big Pharma exerted undue influence on WHO decisions. The BMJ report also reveals that at Continued on Page 15



Saturday, June 5, 2010

MP Al-Tabtabaei describes Israeli raid on Flotilla KUWAIT: MP Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabaei recently described how activists on board the Mavi Marmara boat resisted Israeli soldiers attacking their Freedom Flotilla. He explained that after activists took three heavily armed soldiers hostage, Israeli troops opened fire randomly and killed 16 activists, reported Al-Watan. Speaking in a televised interview with AlWatan TV, Al-Tabtabaei first expressed gratitude to the Kuwaiti leadership for their great concern and support of the Kuwaiti activists and their safe return home. The MP then explained that Kuwaiti participation in the flotilla began when Kuwaiti women collected charity to purchase a ship and humanitarian aid for the flotilla. This entitled 16 Kuwaitis to participate in the trip, he said, and added that he decided to participate when an appeal was made to members of the parliament. Describing the details of the Israeli attack,

Al-Tabtabaei stated that they left Turkey in the afternoon and by 11 pm that same day Israeli troops surrounded their boat. He added that the troops raided the boat by dawn the next day. He said that the Israeli troops killed two activists on board their ship before boarding the vessel, shooting one from a helicopter and another from a boat. The troops then used smoke bombs to take over the ship, which prompted Turkish activists to resist them, he explained. “When they witnessed the resistance, the [Israeli] troops opened fire randomly, killing 16 Turkish humanitarian activists on board before taking full control of the ship”, AlTabtabaei said. He added that the activists were arrested and left sitting in the sun for seven straight hours while the troops seized all of the ship’s materials. Al-Tabtabaei recalled a conversation that took place between him and an Arabic speak-

Preparations for 2nd flotilla underway KUWAIT: Two Kuwaiti charitable organizations launched a campaign in cooperation with a Qatari organization to collect donations to fund a second Freedom Flotilla to break the siege on Gaza, reported Al-Rai. On the first day of its launch on AlRisalah TV, the campaign collected nine million Saudi riyals. The campaign will be carried out by the Kuwaiti Charitable Works Organization in cooperation with the Kuwait Social Reform Society as well as the Eid Al-Thany Charity Organization from Qatar. The campaign will participate in launching ships carrying food and medicine from Turkey to Gaza. “The Charitable Works Organization

has huge projects in Gaza and is considered a main contributor to charitable works in the Strip,” said the organization’s general secretariat, Dr Hashim AlHashimy. Furthermore, Al-Hashimy noted that MP Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabaei’s - who leads the organization’s activities in Gaza - participation in the Freedom Fleet took place after he managed to help gather aid for Gaza. He added that preparations for the second aid flotilla started soon after his return to Kuwait. Al-Hashimy called on the Kuwaiti people to support the donation process in order to provide the oppressed people of Gaza with as much aid as possible.

Kuwait FM meets GCC counterparts during Tokyo visit

GCC engaged in dialogues with world’s major players

BEIJING: Kuwait’s Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem AlSabah (second left), seen with other officials during the GCC-China strategic dialogue in Beijing. —KUNA

Activist leads restoration effort KUWAIT: A small kiosk in Mubarakiya Market where the former Kuwaiti Amir, the late Sheikh Mubarak Al-Kabeer Al-Sabah, used to meet with Kuwaiti personalities to discuss matters of the state has long been forgotten. It has since been turned from a symbol ofKuwait’s democracy to a small canteen, reported Al-Watan. Considered the origin of Kuwaiti democracy and the country’s first parliament-like assembly, the location is now inhabited by a small shop that sells snack food and drinks such as falafel and samosas. However, this is bound to change soon following an intervention led by Kuwaiti heritage activist and head of a voluntary work center, Sheikha Amthal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. She intends to turn the kiosk into a national monument with the cooperation of the Ministry of Public Works and the Kuwait Municipality. “The new monument will be ready to be officially opened by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah during the country’s golden jubilee celebration of its independence,” Al-Ahmad stated. Head of the municipality, Ahmad Al-Subaih indicated that the kiosk’s restoration process is part of the municipality’s plan to restore several historical locations in Mubarakiya Market.

in the news New company to run gas projects KUWAIT: Deputy chairman of the board of the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC), Asaad Al-Saad announced the formation of a supreme gas committee, reported Annahar. He announced that sitting on the committee are KOC chairman Sami Al-Rasheed, Petrochemical Industries Company Chairlady Maha Mulla Hussein, KNPC Chairman Farouq AlZanki and KPC Managing Director Abdullatif Al-Houtti. He added that they will be trusted with studying the foundation of the companies or sectors that will specialize in natural gas projects. Ministry to handle Abdaly Port KUWAIT: The Kuwait Municipality approved a decision to shift the process of privatizing the Abdaly border checkpoint, the Customs Zone, and the Free Trade Zone locations, from the Ministry of Commerce to the Ministry of Finance, reported AlQabas. The municipality also approved a decision regarding the allocation of a location to establish a recycling factory for tires. They decided upon a location near the current temporary location for collecting used and damaged tired in Rahiya. 2.6 GPA to transfer amongst various private universities KUWAIT: The Minister of Education, Dr Moudhi Al-Homoud announced that the Council of Private Universities approved the reduction of the minimum of points needed for students to be allowed to transfer amongst various private colleges, reported Al-Anbaa. The grade point average of 3.0 was reduced to 2.67 points and will start in the academic year of 2010-2011. On another issue, Al-Homoud announced that according to law 34/2000, there is nothing against establishing non-profit universities such as the Arab Open University.

Allowances to be paid this month KUWAIT: The Civil Service Commission (CSC) is expected to finalize a list of professions for which allowances are to be allocated, reported Al-Rai. The allowances are expected to be assigned to citizens with their monthly salaries this month. Ministries and other governmental directorates whose staff are entitled to allowances will be notified by the Ministry of Finance with lists of the specific professions that will be permitted allowances. Furthermore, the reports will contain updated pay rates for newly appointed employees, as well as old staff members. The amount of allowance will be based on an employee’s academic qualification, experience and job position.

BEIJING: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has begun a new policy of launching dialogues with major international players, Kuwaiti Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem AlSabah said yesterday, highlighting the just-inaugurated GCCChina strategic dialogue in Beijing and his current Asian trip as a whole. “We have a new policy to have dialogues with the world’s top economic and political powers, such as Japan, where I visited yesterday, and also the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),” Sheikh Dr. Mohammad, whose country holds the current rotating GCC presidency, told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). The six-member GCC plans to initiate a similar dialogue with Russia by the end of this year, he said, adding that the bloc is also engaged with Europe and the US. The GCC groups Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. “The creation of such network helps us achieve a remarkable goal, which the Arab world is seeking,” he said. China is the last leg of his three-nation Asian trip that has also taken him to Singapore and Japan. In Singapore, Sheikh Dr. Mohammad co-chaired the ministerial meeting between GCC and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). While in Japan, a high-level Kuwaiti delegation led by Sheikh Dr Mohammad and the Japanese side at the Japan-Kuwait Joint Committee, the participants confirmed their shared desire to conclude a GCC-Japan free trade agreement (FTA) at an early date. Earlier in the day, the Gulf delegation of Sheikh Dr Mohammad, the UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Qarqash and GCC Secretary-General Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah jointly launched GCCChina strategic dialogue with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and signed the memorandum. The two sides had very active discussions of issues of mutual concern, including the Iranian nuclear dossier, Israeli attack against a humanitarian flotilla bound for Gaza Strip and the Middle East peace process, according to Sheikh Dr Mohammad. The talks also touched on their bilateral cooperation, in politics, economic and culture, he said. “The GCC highly values the bilateral ties with China given that the country is a friend of Arabs and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. “China, with its economy is growing at 8.5 percent, also the world’s leading economic power and has its presence especially after the global financial crisis in 2008,” he added. During the first round of strategic talks, the Chinese minister hailed the progress made by the GCC and its important role in maintaining regional peace and security, promoting economic growth and boosting communication between different civilizations. “The Sino-GCC ties have developed rapidly in recent years, witnessing frequent high-level visits, strengthened political mutual trust and growing cultural exchanges,” he said. The GCC delegation also met with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. Sheikh Dr Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, who was in Tokyo yesterday as part of an Asian tour, met with ambassadors of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) while here. — KUNA

ing Israeli investigator after they were taken to Ashdod port. - Inspector: Are you going to Gaza? - Al-Tabtabaei: It’s none of your business. - Inspector: How come it’s not my business? - Al-Tabtabaei: I refuse to answer. Our kidnapping by you is an act of piracy. - Inspector: So, you refuse to cooperate in the investigation? - Al-Tabtabaei: I’m not going to speak. - Inspector: Do you want to return to your home country? - Al-Tabtabaei: Yes. - Inspector: Then sign [the following documents. - Al-Tabtabaei: I’m not signing any documents. - Inspector: If you refuse to sign you won’t return home. Instead, you will be taken into custody.

- Al-Tabtabaei: I prefer prison over being forced to sign [any documents]. After the interrogation, Al-Tabtabaei said the activists were taken to Beersheba prison, including those who signed the documents. “We were forced to wear prisoners’ suits and were locked-up, four persons to a cell,” he said. He added that on the following day, European ambassadors assured them that they would be released soon and that the whole world was outraged over Israel’s attack on the flotilla. “All Arab and foreign activists were released two hours after the ambassadors’ visits,” Al-Tabtabaei said. He pointed out that all Turkish detainees waited until all Arab and foreign activists were released before leaving. The activists were taken to the Jordanian border where they were warmly welcomed and Kuwaiti activists reached home three hours after their plane departed from Jordan.

Drug addicts caught KUWAIT: An Egyptian man was arrested in Hawally after he was found in possession of hashish, reported Al-Watan. In an unrelated incident, another Egyptian man was arrested in Jabriya after he was found to be under the influence of drugs. Also, authorities pulled over a 34-year-old citizen for speeding on Fifth Ring Road, reported Al-Watan. They later discovered that the man was intoxicated and referred him to the proper authorities. Meanwhile, two citizens were arrested in Mishref when police found them under the influence of drugs in a car parked in the area, reported AlWatan. They were also found in possession of drug paraphernalia and were taken to the proper authorities. In another drug related case, a citizen caught two bedoon youngsters wandering around the property of his East Sulaibikhat house, reported Al-Watan. He later discovered that they were looking for drugs that were supposed to have been left for them by a drug dealer. After catching them with the help of his neighbor, the citizen took them to the Andalus police station. When questioned, they confessed to their crime and revealed that their supplier works for a drug dealer serving time at the Central Jail. They were held for prosecution. Mishap A 25-year-old Iranian man was seriously injured when a wall collapsed on him in a shop in Hawally, reported Al-Watan. Police and paramedics responded to the emergency call and admitted the man to Mubarak Hospital’s intensive care unit. An investigation was carried out at the scene. Officials assaulted Two Farwaniya police officers were assaulted by two brothers who were being

arrested for public intoxication in Abdullah Al-Mubarak, reported Al-Watan. The incident occurred when the brothers were forced to stop at a roadblock after they led authorities on a brief car chase. They were taken to the proper authorities. Meanwhile, a drunk man being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol assaulted a police officer. He was taken to the Jleeb Al-Shouyukh police station when authorities were able to put him under control. Lebanese man mugged A Lebanese man in Nugra was mugged and attacked while trying to deposit money at a local bank, reported AlWatan. He reported that after he withdrew KD 13 thousand from an ATM a motorcyclist attacked him from behind and stole his money. An investigation was launched in pursuit of the thief. Drunk father threatens family Authorities arrested an intoxicated Kuwaiti man who kicked his wife out of their house and threatened to murder their young son in Saad AlAbdullah, reported Al-Watan. Jahra police responded to the emergency and found the man holding a knife against his son’s neck at the balcony of his home while his wife begged police to stop him. Police were able to convince the man to release his son by fooling him into believing that they would not arrest him for his actions. As soon as he released his son, police stormed the house and placed him under arrest. Sexual harassment A Kuwaiti man informed Jahra police that his 8-year-old son was sexually harassed by an Arab teacher from one of the area’s private schools, reported Al-Qabas. The man

reported that the incident occurred in his family’s home when the English tutor was giving his son a private lesson. After a case was opened, police arrested the man who, when questioned, admitted he was guilty of harassment. He was charged with attempting to rape a minor. Jail smuggling A serviceman working at the Central Jail was arrested after he was caught trying to smuggle a cell phone to one of the jail’s inmates, reported AlQabas. The arrest was made after a cell phone was found concealed in the officer’s clothes. When questioned, the smuggler confessed to smuggling cell phones to inmates for KD 700. He was referred to the Public Prosecution. Attempted rape A woman of Arab nationality informed authorities at the Jleeb Al-Shouyukh police station that a job owner attempted to rape her, reported AlAnba. In her statement, she reported that the incident occurred when she responded to an ad in a newspaper regarding a job opening for a secretary. She said that soon after she entered the office, the job owner attempted to sexually assault her after he closed the door. She explained that she was able to escape with the help of people from outside the office. Police are working on summoning the job owner for questioning. Fight A 23-year-old bedoon man suffered a deep stab wound in his back after he was stabbed during a fight in Sulaibiya, reported Seyassah. Paramedics admitted the man to Farwaniya Hospital’s intensive care unit. Meanwhile, police are searching for the other brawlers.

7,000 Kuwaitis with dual citizenship KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior estimates that there are seven thousand Kuwaiti citizens with a second nationality, most of whom have citizenship to other Gulf countries, reported Al-Qabas. The ministry formed a tripartite commission of personnel from the State Security Department, the Immigration and Citizenships Department and the

General Department of Investigations to follow up on this issue. The committee is designed to make those with dual citizenship choose which citizenship they want to keep. The commission will run its operations from the Immigration and Citizenships Department.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait weather office shows 44 degrees C at 13:18 yesterday as temperatures are expected to continue to rise in June.

Saturday, June 5, 2010



Solar power to decrease the influence of pollution on human health: Scientist MEW hosts alternative energy workshop By Nisreen Zahreddine KUWAIT: Kuwait’s potential to benefit from the use of alternative energy was the subject of a workshop held at the Ministry of Electricity

in the news Kuwait has world’s worst eating habits KUWAIT: According to participants in a seminar on healthy diets hosted by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), Kuwait is home to the world’s worst eating habits, reported Al-Qabas. According to statistics provided by KISR researchers, Kuwait was also found to be among the world’s top countries consuming carcinogenic products as well as products that cause nerve damage. “The average Kuwaiti citizen consumes unhealthy food material at a rate higher than anywhere else in the world,” said researcher Dr Husam Omairah. New tender for 5,000 nurses KUWAIT: The assistant undersecretary of the Ministry of Health’s financial affairs department, Abdul Fattah Al-Asmawi said that the ministry will soon announce tenders for private sector companies to recruit 5,000 nurses as well as lab and radiology technicians, reported Al-Anbaa. Al-Asmawi said that the first tender will involve the hiring of 500 of the said technicians for this year while the rest will be hired by next year. AlAsmawi justified the use of private companies to bring the needed technical staff so that the ministry could save money by avoiding the need to pay for staff members’ accommodations, catering and security needs. He added however that the ministry will be responsible for selecting a ministry delegation to travel to countries and interview applicants GCC asks ILO to set out duties of domestic workers recruitment GENEVA: The Gulf Cooperation Council

(GCC) member states stressed here yesterday that the proposed international agreements on domestic workers should discuss the duties of recruitment agencies that brought the workers from abroad. This came in a speech by Director of the General Immigration Department of Kuwait’s Interior Ministry, Major General Kamil Al-Awadhi, on behalf of the GCC states, at the 99th annual conference of the International Labor Organization (ILO). He said that it was important that recruitment agencies brief the domestic workers about their rights and duties, as well as the culture of the societies that they would be working in. He stressed that domestic workers in the Gulf countries lived in the houses of citizens and were treated as members of the families at which they worked. They get proper accommodation and meals, he pointed out. The GCC states coordinate with each other and exchange information on policies regarding dealing with workers, he said. The member states issue joint regulations and review them regularly, he highlighted, emphasizing that GCC countries were keen on preventing human trafficking and on protecting the rights of foreign workers in compliance with international conventions. Al-Awadhi said that the increase in the number of domestic workers in the Gulf region created great challenges that were dealt with seriously. Kuwait is representing the GCC states at the conference that will conclude on June 18. The Kuwaiti delegation taking part in the event is headed by Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Dr. Mohammad AlAfasi.

In his address at the event Ahmad Al-Jassar stressed that all of the ministry’s projects must first pass environmental approval before being taken into consideration. All projects must first pass several environmental standards, which are followed up by the ministry. Al-Jassar’s comments came in response to Lamia Jawhar’s presentation on the use of solar power to decrease the influence of pollution on human health. Al-Jassar said that the special techniques mentioned in the presentation will be the subject of an alternative study if proved to be beneficial. He pointed out that the ministry is interested in alternative energy and that it considers solar energy a promising source of energy in the future. Dr Lamia Jawhar also discussed the materials that have affected the environment due to the use of oil for generating power. She added that all the food, water

and Water (MEW) on Thursday. The workshop included a presentation by the professor of vital chemistry at Kuwait University, Lamia Jawhar, and a speech by Ahmad Al-Jassar, the Ministry’s Undersecretary.

Every power station in Kuwait contributes about 750 to 900 thousand tons of polluted material to the environment. and air we consume contains cancer causing materials. She added that its percentage has increased since the Iraqi Invasion of 1990. She said that moving towards renewable energy instead of depending solely on oil generated energy is an important step because oil resources are destroying Kuwait’s only source of food, the ocean. She pointed out that Kuwaiti shores, especially those in the north, are 100 percent more polluted than other Gulf shores. According to the seminar’s partici-

pants Kuwait’s beaches are 100 percent polluted compared to the beaches in other Gulf states, according to Jawhar who explained that no signs of biological presence can be detected in sea waters near power plants and two kilometers into the sea, due to the high temperature of waters dumped from these plants. “Temperature of waters dumped into the sea from power plants reach 44 degrees, while the maximum limit is 28 degrees”, she said. When speaking on the affects of such pollution on people, Jawhar said

that it can contribute to a high rate of miscarriages amongst pregnant women, cause sterility, brain cancer and several other diseases. This is caused, she explained, by the presence of uranium and phosphate in ships carrying oil off the coast of Kuwait during the Iraqi Invasion of 1990. Jawhar said that every power station in Kuwait contributes about 750 to 900 thousand tons of polluted material to the environment. While she did not call for the closing of the current power stations she did point out several cases of how the United Arab Emirates was able to use more environmentally friendly ways to generate electricity. Furthermore, Jawhar warned from the negative effects that the Subbiya Bridge project has on the environment, stating that contractors ignored environmental studies necessary to be made before going ahead with any similar projects.

Kuwait Chamber Philharmonia to hold concert KUWAIT: Kuwait Chamber Philharmonia will hold a special gala concert on June 12, marking the 9th ‘Treasure of Talents’ festival, under the patronage of French Ambassador Jean-Rene Gehan. The gala concert, which will be held at the Hashemi II Grand Ballroom at 8 pm, will be performed by French soprano Aurelie Loilier and French pianist and conductor Gaspard Brecourt. The program includes Opera and Operetta Arias from Gluck, Handel, Mozart, Bellini, Offenbach and Kalman. Soprano-singer Aurelie Loilier has performed many leading roles from Mozart, Donizetti, Verdi, and Puccini as well as contemporary repertoire at many prestigious Opera the-

A file photo of pianist Gaspard Brecourt

A file photo of soprano Aurelie Loilier

aters in France and Europe, as well as in the Arabian Gulf, Russia and China. Critics and audiences widely appreciate her

excellent voice and interpretation, combined with exceptional personal charm and beauty. Gaspard Brecourt is a

renowned French conductor and pianist. He presented several major Operas from Mozart’s ‘Marriage of Figaro’ and ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ by S. Xarhacos at the National Greek Opera Theater in Athens. He was the musical director of the ‘Theatre Francais de le Musique’, and also presented French repertoire with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. The gala concert will be preceded by a ‘Six Stars Concert’ showcasing a performance by young, talented music students. These include the winners of the 1st Gulf International Chopin Competition held this year in Kuwait, as well as young talents of the Gulf Competition held in Bahrain in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and the best partici-

pants in this year’s ‘Treasure of Talents’ festival. The participants will receive honorary certificates, prizes and medals during the concert. The ‘Treasure of Talents’ is a music education project run by Kuwait Chamber Philharmonia since 1992. In previous years, most of the students who were prepared under the ‘Treasure of Talents’ program obtained certificates from the London-based Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) with special honors. Many of the winners of the festival and Chopin Competitions are continuing to pursue music studies at the best universities and music academies in US, UK, France, Canada, and Poland, among others. — KUNA



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Israel’s deadly sea raid a boon to Hamas GAZA CITY: Israel’s interception of a flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza has been a boon to Hamas and vastly improved prospects of at least easing the 3-year-old closure of the territory. Before Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish vessel this week, the Islamic militant rulers of the impoverished Palestinian territory had reached a dead end in their desperate attempts to pry open the borders. But that was before Israel sent commandos to try to stop the six-ship flotilla carrying tons of aid on Monday, prompting a violent confrontation that led to the deaths of nine pro-Palestinian activists. The widespread outcry over the showdown at sea has forged a growing international consensus that the blockade cannot be sustained. Hamas, once internationally isolated, can now count on the backing of Turkey, a powerful NATO ally with strong ties to the West. A growing number of world leaders also have demanded a complete lifting of the embargo, imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas wrested Gaza from Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. The policy, which initially enjoyed the tacit backing of many in the international community, was meant to squeeze and eventually drive out Hamas. Israel has remained defiant against the pressure, saying it is necessary to keep out weapons and

goods such as cement and steel that could be diverted by Hamas for military use. For now, the Obama administration is signaling it will stick to its gradual approach of persuading Israel to ease restrictions. “We have to put as much pressure and as much cajoling on Israel as we can to allow them to get building materials in,” US Vice President Joe Biden said in a TV interview this week. But grassroots pressure to lift the blockade keeps mounting, with more aid ships en route, including an Irish-flagged cargo ship heading toward Gaza on Friday. For Hamas, the aid flotillas are a riskfree way of keeping the world’s attention focused on the blockade. In the past, the militants often resorted to firing rockets at Israel to push back against the border closure, provoking harsh Israeli retaliation and international condemnation. Some in Hamas portrayed this week’s events as a watershed and a major boost to morale. “There is no way this blockade will continue as it did before,” predicted Omar Abdel Razek, a Hamas lawmaker in the West Bank. “Everyone in the region, in the international community, wants to put an end to it.” In what appeared to be a first sign of change, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered Egypt’s passenger terminal with Gaza to open daily, instead of spo-

Abbas government in the West Bank, the fiasco at sea has affirmed Hamas as a key Mideast player. “The mistake is always to think that if you get things going well in the West Bank, Gaza can somehow be left to the side,” Blair told The Associated Press. “It will never be left to the side. It has 1.5 million people, and Hamas is also an actor in this thing.” Israel and other Hamas’ critics argue that the Islamic militants could have ended the blockade long ago by releasing a captured Israeli soldier and accepting international demands to renounce violence and recognize Israel. Hamas refused, in part because it feared diluting its militant ideology would lead to the eventual demise of the movement. Instead, it chose to ride out the blockade by smuggling commercial goods, cash and Iranian-funded weapons through tunnels along the border with Egypt.

CAIRO: Egyptians shout anti-Israeli slogans following Friday prayers at Al-Azhar mosque, the highest Islamic Sunni institution, in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday to protest against the Israeli attack on an aid flotilla that was trying to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza last Monday. Arabic on Israeli flag read “Israel the killers”. — AP radically. Although the stringent rules of who can leave remain in place, the move is helping reduce the backlog of thousands of Gazans

with permits trying to get out. International Mideast envoy Tony Blair said the recent bloodshed made it clear that Gaza cannot

be left unattended, even if the world disagrees with Hamas’ often violent tactics. While the international community continues to support the

After this 3-year standoff, Turkey’s unexpected high-profile support for Hamas demands to open Gaza’s borders signaled a turning point. Turkey was the unofficial sponsor of the flotilla and berated Israel, an erstwhile regional ally, over the clash at sea left eight Turks and an American of Turkish origin dead. Hamas has proudly displayed its new friendship with

Obama says incident should boost peace efforts

in the news

Israeli police brace for violence in Jerusalem JERUSALEM: Israel tightened security in Jerusalem yesterday, anticipating Palestinian violence in reaction to its sea raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship earlier this week, an Israeli police spokesman said. US President Barack Obama

said the incident at sea in which nine international pro-Palestinian activists were killed while trying to break the Gaza blockade was tragic but should be used as an opportunity to advance Middle East peace efforts.

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with US Senator George Mitchell in Jerusalem yesterday. — AFP

Turkish Kurdish rebels declare end to ceasefire SULAIMANIYAH: Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq announced yesterday they had ended their unilateral ceasefire with Turkey, as Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani paid a landmark visit to Ankara. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) statement came less than a week after six Turkish soldiers were killed in a rocket strike which a news agency close to the rebels said was claimed by the PKK. It ends a truce declared by the rebels in April 2009, the latest in a string of such announcements over the years which Ankara has dismissed as mere propaganda ploys. “The ceasefire with Turkey has ended... because of Turkey’s continuing hostility to the Kurdish people,” PKK spokesman Ahmed Denis told AFP. “Turkey was exploiting the ceasefire to attack our troops and arrest Kurdish political activists in Turkey.” Denis’s remarks came a day after Massoud Barzani met Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and pledged “all efforts” to stop rising rebel violence.

The PKK, which has fought Ankara since 1984, has bases in remote mountains in Barzani’s autonomous region in northern Iraq, which it uses as a launchpad for attacks on Turkish targets across the border. Turkey often accused the Iraqi Kurds of tolerating and even aiding the PKK, but has recently toned down its rhetoric, shifting to a policy of seeking cooperation with their regional government to curb the rebels. Last year, Ankara announced it would expand Kurdish freedoms in a bid to reconcile with the restive community and encourage rebels to renounce violence. The initiative has faltered, however, amid a string of unsettling events, including the banning of the country’s main Kurdish party in December and bloody attacks blamed on the PKK that have led to public outrage. Blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community, the PKK’s quarter-century fight for self-rule in Kurdishmajority southeastern Turkey has cost an estimated 45,000 lives. — AFP

ISTANBUL: A Turkish woman mourns by the coffin of Cevdet Kiliclar during a funeral service after Friday’s prayers at Beyazit Mozque in Istanbul yesterday. Nine people, eight Turks and a US national of Turkish origin were killed in the May 31, 2010 pre-dawn raid by Israeli forces on the Turkish ferry, Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the aid flotilla aiming to break the crippling blockade of Gaza. — AFP

Turkey, which has been trying to assert itself as a Mideast player and appears to have shifted closer to Syria and Iran, at the expense of its traditional alliance with Israel. In sharp contrast, the Hamas government has often played down its ties to its main foreign supporter, Iran. The crisis has boosted the standing of the cash-strapped Hamas government, which had been fending off an angry backlash against an aggressive taxation campaign. “Of course, Hamas is more popular after the ship issue,” said Mohammed Shamali, 45, who owns an electronics shop in Gaza City, citing the opening of the Egyptian border crossing and the outpouring of international support for Gaza. Under the blockade, Israel has allowed only basic humanitarian goods into Gaza but barred virtually all exports and the import of raw materials, including construction supplies. The ban has wiped out most private industry and hampered UN-led efforts to rebuild what was destroyed during Israel’s military offensive against Gaza 16 months ago. Israel has said it would allow more goods in, and in recent weeks permitted the first small shipments of wood and aluminum. However, Western diplomats and aid agencies have complained that Israeli foot-dragging has delayed vital projects in Gaza. — AP

A spokeswoman for activists aboard another boat trying to run the blockade said they would continue their voyage. Israel, facing an international outcry over its naval operation on Monday, has vowed to stop the MV Rachel Corrie, named after an activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Israeli forces to exercise “caution and politeness” in handling the ship. The boat is expected near the waters off Gaza today. Israeli officials have defended their security forces after the incident which has pushed to breaking point Israel’s ties with Turkey, nine of whose nationals were killed aboard the Turkishflagged vessel boarded by commandos on Monday. Together with Egypt, Israel tightened its blockade on Gaza after Hamas took control of the coastal enclave in 2007. Israel has defended the embargo, saying it stops Hamas from bringing in weapons to fight Israel. But officials said on Thursday Netanyahu was considering modifying the blockade. He is considering some form of international role in enforcing an arms embargo, while letting in civilian goods. While this week’s incident has brought thousands to the streets in other countries, the popular reaction in the Palestinian territories has been limited. Anticipating protests by Palestinians yesterday, Israeli security forces fanned out in Jerusalem, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Men under the age of 40 would not be allowed into the area near the al-Aqsa mosque, a site that is regularly a flashpoint for confrontation between Palestinians and Israelis. “It’s all connected,” Rosenfeld said of the heightened alert in the holy city. The United States, which is overseeing indirect PalestinianIsraeli peace talks, has said the incident must not undermine the negotiations. US envoy George Mitchell, who is mediating the talks, on Thursday spoke of progress in talks which many observers doubt will achieve a breakthrough. Mitchell met Netanyahu yesterday. He held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday that a Palestinian official said were dominated by the ship incident and the Gaza blockade. “I think what’s important right now is that we break out of the current impasse, use this tragedy as an opportunity,” to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Obama said in an interview with CNN’s Larry King on Thursday. —Reuters

Lebanese officer killed BEIRUT: A Lebanese policeman died yesterday after he was critically wounded by a bomblet from a cluster bomb, one of millions dropped by Israel during a devastating 2006 war with Hezbollah, police said. “Hassan Mohammed Rammal, 33, died today of injuries he sustained on Monday when an Israeli cluster bomblet exploded in the southern village of Doueir,” a police spokesman told AFP. He would not give further details. The United Nations estimates that Israeli jets dropped more than four million cluster bomblets in southern Lebanon during its devastating monthlong war with the Shiite militant group in the summer of 2006. Ninety percent of the bomblets were dropped in the final 72 hours before the ceasefire, the United Nations says. Around 40 percent of the munitions failed to detonate on impact, rendering them de facto anti-personnel mines. The munitions have killed 46 people and maimed more than 300 civilians since 2006, according to Lebanese army and UN figures. American hurt in bombing dies JERUSALEM: The wife of a US citizen seriously injured in a Palestinian suicide bombing seven years ago says he has died as a result of complications from his wounds. Julie Averbach says her husband, 44year-old New Jersey native

Steve Averbach, died in his sleep on Thursday. A Hamas suicide bomber killed seven people and wounded 20 when he detonated his explosives on a packed commuter bus in Jerusalem in May 2003, at the height of the Palestinian intifada uprising. Averbach was hit by shrapnel and paralyzed from the neck down. Julie Averbach said on Friday that her husband was periodically hospitalized in the years since the attack and that his condition had worsened in recent months. The family lives in a suburb of Tel Aviv. Khomeini’s death anniversaly TEHRAN: Crowds of Iranians yesterday cut short a speech

by late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s grandson who hardliners consider a supporter of the opposition movement. “Please allow me to speak,” Hassan Khomeini pleaded, with crowds chanting slogans against him just as he began to speak on the 21st death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic republic. “I apologise to the crowd. Time is very short, but some people are not allowing the ceremony to continue,” the cleric said. But the crowd shouted: “We are not people of Kufa to leave Ali alone,” referring to the founder of Shiite Islam as well as Iran’s current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech under a portrait of his predecessor, the late founder of Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, during a ceremony marking the 21st anniversary of Khomeini’s death at his mausoleum in a suburb of Tehran yesterday. — AFP

Ahmadinejad warns opposition, blasts Israel TEHRAN: The Iranian president yesterday warned the country’s opposition against straying from the path of the founder of the Islamic Revolution and slammed Israel for a deadly raid this week on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke before hundreds of thousands gathered at the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the surrounding grounds in southern Tehran for a ceremony marking his death 21 years ago. The Khomeini-led Islamic revolution toppled the US-backed shah and brought hard-line Islamists to power in 1979. “Those who deviate from the Imam’s path will be banished by the people,” Ahmadinejad said. The stark warning came just days ahead of the opposition’s mass rally planned on the anniversary of last June’s disputed presidential election. The rally is to be the first opposition gathering in months and authorities have warned they will confront any unauthorized demonstrations. The Iranian opposition claims Ahmadinejad won the June 12 election through massive vote fraud. It had rallied for months against the election results but was met by a heavy government crackdown, which the opposition says killed 80 people during street protests so far. More than 100 opposition figures and activists were put on a mass trial, and 80 of them were sentenced to death or given prison terms ranging from six months to 15 years. But Ahmadinejad reiterated Friday that the election was “100 percent free” and added he is “bound by duty to protect the people’s vote.” The annual commemoration of Khomeini’s death is part mournful ceremony, part political rally for the base that sustains Iran’s hard-liners amid rising dissatisfaction with inflation, unemployment, social constraints — and an opposition movement that has persisted despite the crackdown. Ahmadinejad, known for his anti-Israeli rhetoric, used the podium at the shrine grounds

Friday to blast Israel’s commando raid on the international flotilla off Gaza’s shores, calling it “barbaric” and urging the dismantling of the “Zionist regime.” “They have lost their self-control and ability to think,” he said of the Israeli raid that killed nine activists on the Turkish flagship in the flotilla Monday. “Thousands such freedom flotillas across the world will sail out with freedom fighters, to scrap the Zionist rule and bring peace and freedom to all mankind,” added Ahmadinejad. Iran’s supreme leader and Khomeini’s successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also criticized the raid as a “mistake” that “showed how barbaric the Zionists are.” Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters in Iran, also indirectly criticized opposition leaders, saying that some who revered the late Khomeini now “speak differently” than before. He also warned the opposition to carefully examine what he said was support that comes from “foreign enemies of Iran, enemies of the Imam.” Khomeini’s grandson took the stage as he does every year on the anniversary, but this time his speech was repeatedly interrupted by antiopposition chants from Ahmadinejad supporters. The chanting was apparently a jab at Hassan Khomeini’s perceived support for opposition leaders. Khomeini left the podium before finishing. “The dignity of the anniversary does not deserve what this small group is doing,” he said. The semiofficial Ilna news agency said other Khomeini relatives who attended the ceremony left in protest over the incident. State TV carried the ceremony live, saying it was attended by 2 million people, including more than 700,000 Iranians who were bused in from various provinces. Khomeini is still deeply popular and respected among Iranians, including veterans of the eight-year war that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein launched against Iran in the 1980s. —AFP



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tiananmen Square activist arrested in China embassy in Japan TOKYO: A prominent student leader from China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, Wu’er Kaixi, was arrested after entering the Chinese embassy in Tokyo yesterday, media reports said. Police confirmed an arrest after a man had entered the mission but did not immediately confirm the person’s identity. Yesterday marked the 21st anniversary

of the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing. A member of the Uighur ethnic minority, Wu’er Kaixi was number two on the government’s “most-wanted” list of student protesters following the military crackdown, which left hundreds, possibly thousands, dead. Wu’er Kaixi, now 42, became a celebrity overnight after he interrupted

then-premier Li Peng during a meeting between student leaders and politicians aired live on state television on May 18, 1989. He was seen as a hardline student leader and took part in a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square, resulting in his hospitalisation. After the protests he spent time in the United States and then went to live in Taiwan. A year ago on June 4 he was deport-

ed to Taiwan after failing to enter Macau and turn himself in to the Chinese government. At the time he said upon his return to Taipei: “I am deeply saddened that I have not been able to see my family for 20 years and that my intention to return by turning myself in was barred.” “The Chinese government is avoiding something that happened 20 years ago... I

am wanted in China but I cannot even turn myself in. Is China really a confident, great nation?” he said a year ago. In Hong Kong organisers hoped that at least 50,000 people would attend the candlelit vigil in Victoria Park to commemorate the day when Chinese tanks crushed the protests 21 year ago. The annual vigil in Hong Kong has become a touchstone for a

movement calling for democracy in China and for Beijing to reverse its official verdict condemning the demonstrations as a counter-revolutionary uprising. In central Beijing yesterday, black cars marked “special police”-each manned with two armed officers wearing helmets and flak jackets — were seen patrolling at regular intervals. — AFP

Departure of Hatoyama gives ruling party a boost

Japan ruling party picks Kan for PM before election TOKYO: Finance Minister Naoto Kan, a fiscal conservative with an image as a challenger to the status quo, was elected as Japan’s next premier yesterday, improving the ruling party’s chances in a national election and raising hopes of bolder steps to fix tattered public finances. Kan,

KABUL: Afghan delegates listen to speeches during the Peace Jirga in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday. Delegates to the Afghan peace conference voiced strong support yesterday for unconditional negotiations between their government and the Taleban to try to end years of war. — AP

Afghan jirga proposes commission to end war KABUL: Delegates at a landmark conference aimed at bringing an end to Afghanistan’s long war yesterday proposed steps for the Afghan government to take in order to draw the Taleban to the negotiating table. Around 1,600 delegates, representing Afghans across the political and social spectrum, are attending the so-called peace jirga which wraps up Friday in a massive tent in Kabul. Delegates called for the establishment of a peace commission to lead efforts to open talks with the Taleban to bring an end to the war now in its ninth year. “A peace committee which represents all Afghans and which the opposition could trust must be created to lead the peace talks with the opposition,” Mawlavi Sidiqullah, who headed one of the jirga’s 28 committees, told the delegates. “Talks should take place in an Islamic country such as Saudi Arabia or Turkey,” he said. The delegates were divided into committees that sat down Thursday to consider the specifics of a plan for President Hamid Karzai to approach militant leaders, including who and how, for negotiations that could lead to an end to war. In a session that reflected widespread sympathy for the Taleban, the leader of each committee addressed the delegates as they gathered in the huge tent. Parliamentarian Atiqullah Ludin, who also headed a committee, said the militant leaders must be approached directly as the starting point for peace talks. “The addresses of Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahed and Engineer (Gulbuddin) Hekmatyar

must be located and the talks must start from there,” he said, referring to the leaders of the Taleban and Hezb-i-Islami militant groups respectively. Delegates also called for the release of Afghans held without charge in military detention centres and an end to military operations conducted by NATO soldiers without the participation of Afghanistan’s own security forces. Corruption, which infects every aspect of Afghan life and is a reason for the unpopularity of Karzai’s government, was also singled out as a cause of the unrest that is blighting the country. The committees’ submissions will be collated into an overall position set to be presented to the jirga as it closes later on Friday, organisers said. Diplomats have said that such a broadly-supported agreement would add legitimacy to Karzai’s leadership, as his popularity with the Afghan public is low and his government is regarded as corrupt and inept. The UN special representative to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, told the BBC that “the only solution is a political one” and that the “rules of the game” for reaching peace “will come from the peace jirga”. “This is the year to make it or break it,” he said. The Taleban have said they will not open negotiations until all foreign forces leave Afghanistan. There are 130,000 troops under US and NATO command leading the battle against the insurgents, with another 20,000 due to be deployed by August, most to Kandahar, the main theatre of operations. —AFP

Mumbai attacker wants to challenge death sentence MUMBAI: A Pakistani national sentenced to death by an Indian court for his part in the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks has lodged an application to appeal, the Times of India said yesterday. The newspaper said prison authorities in India’s financial capital had confirmed that Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab had approached the city’s high court to challenge the sentence and apply for a state-funded lawyer. Kasab was convicted last month of a string of offences, including waging war against India, mass murder, terrorist acts and conspiracy in connection with the November 26, 2008 attacks that killed 166

and injured more than 300. The 22-year-old was the only one of the 10 Islamist extremist gunmen to be captured alive during the three-day assault, which targeted the city’s main railway station, three luxury hotels, a popular restaurant and a Jewish centre. No one was immediately available for comment at the high-security prison in central Mumbai where Kasab is being held when contacted by AFP. Death sentences-reserved in India for only the “rarest of rare” cases-by law have to be confirmed by the local high court after reviewing the evidence. Defendants have a right of appeal and can challenge the

ruling all the way to the Supreme Court in the capital, New Delhi. A final plea for clemency can be made to the country’s president. Senior state government officials in Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, have said they want the verdict and sentence ratified swiftly, amid public calls for Kasab to be executed as soon as possible. But questions have been raised about how long Kasab will be kept on death row, as India has not carried out an execution since 2004 and only two since 1998, while dozens of final clemency appeals are still pending. The country also has a shortage of hangmen. —AFP

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) and South African President Jacob Zuma shake hands during a photo call for delegation level talks in New Delhi yesterday. President Zuma, on his first tour of Asia since taking office, is in India for a four-day visit. — AFP

The Democratic Party of Japan picked Kan by an overwhelming majority to succeed the unpopular Yukio Hatoyama, who quit this week ahead of an upper house poll expected in July that the ruling bloc needs to win to avoid policy deadlock. Kan was later voted in by parliament. “What I want to tell voters in the upper house election is that our reforms are becoming more concrete,” Kan said in his first news conference as prime minister-elect. “The hopes voters had for the Democratic Party are not just ending up as a mere dream. They will be realised. That’s what I want people to know for the election.” Kan’s rise to the top job and his expected new cabinet lineup could spell bolder steps ahead to rein in a public debt that is already twice the size of the economy, but he will face opposition from many in his party ahead of the election. Hatoyama, his voter ratings in tatters, resigned on Wednesday just eight months after the Democrats swept to power pledging to cut waste, wrest control of policy from bureaucrats, and give consumers more cash so as to stimulate domestic demand. His abrupt departure has raised concerns among investors that the government will delay efforts to thrash out plans, due this month, to cut public debt and craft a growth strategy. Financial market players generally welcomed Kan as Japan’s next leader. His selection improves the ruling bloc’s prospects at the polls, though many wondered how much would change. “If Hatoyama had remained the party would have had a big loss at the election and the political situation would have been chaotic,” said Hiroyuki Nakai, chief strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research. “But with Kan in charge now, the sense of stagnation in politics and the economy is receding somewhat, even though much will depend on the makeup of the cabinet.” Kan, a former health minister who got his start in politics as a grassroots activist, has forged an image as a fiscal conservative and occasional central bank critic since assuming the finance post in January. He was among the few cabinet ministers to urge early debate on raising Japan’s 5 percent sales tax, a step economists say is vital to fund the huge social welfare costs of a greying society. But yesterday, Kan dodged a question on the sales tax, saying he would state his stance after forming his cabinet on Tuesday, when he will be sworn in. Kan was likely to pick a fiscal reformer, Deputy Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, as his finance minister, a move that would be welcomed for bond markets worried about too much debt. Kan said in a statement he would work with the Bank of Japan to beat the deflation bedevilling Japan’s economy. As finance minister, Kan has pressured the central bank to do more in the battle against deflation, although for now the government and BOJ seem to be on the same page. He also said he would keep Japan’s policy to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels. Financial markets will be watching the new leader’s comments on currencies as well. “(Kan’s) appearance of being in favour of a weaker yen is being viewed positively by the stock market. For the Nikkei to move much over 10,000, we need currencies to move towards a weaker yen,” said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities. —Reuters

63, will become Japan’s fifth prime minister in three years, taking the helm as the country struggles to rein in a huge public debt, engineer growth in an ageing society, and manage ties with security ally Washington and a rising China.

TOKYO: Naoto Kan (C), newly elected Japanese Prime Minister, is congratulated following an election for the new prime minister at the lower house of parliament in Tokyo yesterday. — AFP

Schoolboy expelled for getting married PESHAWAR: A Pakistani pupil has been expelled from his private school for getting married on the sly because teachers believe marital relations are inappropriate playground talk. Ghairat Khan, a bearded seventh grader, is registered as 13 years old and attends classes at the English-language Peshawar Model School with 12 and 13-year-old boys, but insisted to AFP that he is 18. It can be common for children to fall back several years at school in parts of Pakistan and Khan said he married his 16-year-old cousin because his father died and his mother was ill with asthma. Under civil law in

Pakistan, boys can marry at 18 and girls 16, but under Islamic law, younger unions are permitted with parental consent. “After my father passed away, my uncle, he is the guardian of our family and he gave me the hand of his daughter and my cousin in marriage as my mother also wanted to see me wed in her lifetime,” he told AFP. About five feet six inches (170 centimetres), Khan said his family comes from the tribal district of Mohmand, which lies outside direct government control, but now lives in the northwestern city of Peshawar. He says he got married on April 25 and asked the school permission for time off to

attend a cousin’s wedding. When teachers found out Khan was the groom, they expelled him, saying that getting married was against school rules. “The school administration handed me a school leaving certificate saying they do not allow married students in their school. The certificate says the certificate was issued upon the request of parents,” Khan said. He has taken the school to court in Peshawar and a judge has summoned the school’s principal and director on June 9. “There is no law in Pakistan under which a school can expel students for marrying. Under Islamic law, minors can marry

with consent of their parents,” Khan’s lawyer Isa Khan told AFP. “On June 9, we hope the court will allow Ghairat to rejoin the school.” Principal Beatrice Jamil refused to discuss the case in detail because the matter was before the court. “According to school rules, a married student cannot study in our school, because it affects other children, when they share their stories,” she added. The education minister in KhyberPaktunkhwa province, Sardar Hussain Babak, confirmed there was no government bar on school pupils marrying. “We will implement court’s decision,” Babak said. — AFP

US says no signs N Korea preparing new provocations SINGAPORE: The United States sees no indications North Korea is preparing any new “provocations” or an attack on the South, a top US military official said yesterday, as tension simmers over the sinking of a South Korean warship. Admiral Robert Willard, head of the US Pacific Command, said there were no signs North Korea was preparing a nuclear test or moving troops towards the South. North Korea has said war could break out at any moment. “Right now we’re not seeing indications that North Korea is intending the next provocation,” Willard said. “But I think everyone in the region is watching North Korea very closely given their unpredictability,” he told reporters in Singapore on the sidelines of a major security conference, where South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will make the keynote speech later yesterday. South Korea has blamed the North for torpedoing its navy corvette Cheonan in March, killing 46 sailors. The North denies responsibility and accuses the South of staging the incident to help Lee in local elections this week. Willard said US naval forces in the Pacific were ready to respond to any threat from North Korea and have been told to be vigilant because of rising tensions. “What I certainly have done is alerted my forces to be ... particularly vigilant given this particular provocation and the nature of it,” Willard said. — Reuters

BUSAN: The USS Curtis Wilbur, an 8,950-ton Aegis destroyer of the US Navy, is docked at a naval base in Busan, South Korea, yesterday. The destroyer arrived in the port city to participate in South Korea-US joint drills in the West Sea slated for this month. — AP



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Obama postpones trip to Australia, Indonesia WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has postponed a trip to Australia and Indonesia, the White House said yesterday, in a sign the unchecked Gulf oil spill is now making waves in his broader agenda. The announcement delays for a second time the president’s trip to Indonesia, a southeast Asian heavyweight where Obama spent four years as a youth. Obama telephoned Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to

inform them of the decision, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. “President Obama expressed his deep regret that he has to postpone his trip to Asia that was scheduled for later this month,” Gibbs said in a statement. “The president looked forward to rescheduling so that he can visit both countries soon.” “President Obama underscored his commitment to our close alliance with Australia and our deepening partnership with Indonesia,” Gibbs said, adding that he

planned to meet with Rudd and Yudhoyono on the margins of the G-20 meeting in Canada. In Canberra, a spokesman for Rudd said Obama “explained the challenge represented by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and the continuing strong efforts of the administration to respond to that.” “He regretted that, in view of that, he was not in a position to visit Australia in June as planned.” Obama was scheduled to make his third visit to Louisiana later yesterday to check on progress in containing

the leak, something that has so far eluded BP and some of the best technical minds in the US government. Between 22 and 36 million gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf since an explosion tore through the BP rig on April 20, killing 11 workers. Images of oil drenched birds and slickthreatened beaches are ratcheting up the domestic political pressure on the president, who told CNN Thursday that he was “furious about the entire situation” but “my job is to solve this problem.”

Obama’s trip to Australia and Indonesia had been an opportunity to show US engagement with dynamic Asia-Pacific region at a time when the global economic crisis has raised questions about US staying power in a region increasingly dominated by China. He postponed a trip to Indonesia in March after it came into conflict with his successful push for health care reform. Although the White House had not yet released an official itinerary for the trip,

Obama had been expected to depart late next week to Australia and Indonesia. In Indonesia, he planned to stress Indonesia’s emerging economic weight and the role of the world’s most populous Muslim nation in battling extremism, as well as to build on his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last year. In Australia, Obama’s aides had said he would focus on strong US-Australia trade links and would mark the 70th anniversary of the US-Australia alliance. — AFP

Officers recover shotgun and .22 rifle fitted with telescopic sight

British premier visits scene of gun massacre WHITEHAVEN: Prime Minister David Cameron visited Cumbria yesterday to meet survivors of a gun rampage which left 12 people dead, as police probed whether financial woes could have sparked the massacre. Cameron

also held talks with police working to explain why local taxi driver Derrick Bird, 52, went on a deadly rampage through part of the scenic Lake District region Wednesday before turning the gun on himself.

CUMBRIA: People look at flowers left at the scene of shooting victim Darren Rewcastle, gunned down by Derrick Bird on June 2, 2010, on Duke Street, Whitehaven, in Cumbria, north west England yesterday. British Prime Minister David Cameron headed for northwest England yesterday to visit the scene of a shooting spree that left 12 dead, as police probed whether financial woes sparked the massacre. — AFP

French Muslim Council warns govt on veil ban PARIS: France’s official Muslim council has warned the government not to expect it to impose a planned ban on full face veils for women that legal experts argue will be unconstitutional and police predict will be unenforceable. Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), said his group opposed the full veil and would try to convince the tiny minority of veiled women that it was not a religious obligation and was out of place in France. But Muslim leaders could not act as agents of the state during a six-month “mediation period” during which veiled women will be stopped and informed about the law but not fined. The draft law, due to be passed this autumn, bans wearing full veils in public. After the mediation period, veiled women must pay a 150 euro ($182.8) fine or take “citizenship lessons” while anyone found forcing them to veil risks a 15,000 euro fine. “It will be very hard to apply,” Moussaoui told journalists on Thursday. “The CFCM has said it’s ready to work for this, but not as someone mandated by the state. It’s the duty of society to shoulder its responsibility for the mediation.” Justice

Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has said she would depend on the police, the CFCM and local civic associations to convince covered women their veils violated French values. Police unions have warned that stopping veiled women in the street could lead to chaotic scenes and protests. “There will be lots of refusals, it will degenerate into insult and outrage, they’ll be detained and families will gather outside the police station,” Yannick Danio of the Unite SGP-Police union told the newspaper Le Monde. Other critics of the ban have said radical Muslims might provoke such confrontations to extend their influence. France’s Council of State, a top legal advisory body, has twice warned that a ban would probably violate the French constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, but President Nicolas Sarkozy has decided to push ahead with it. “Some politicians see in the veil a provocation to the authority of the state,” Moussaoui said. “But if the Council of State, the Constitutional Court or the European Court of Human Rights censure any law that is passed, the state’s authority will also be weakened.” Moussaoui made clear the

CFCM, which represents 86 percent of mosques in France, opposed the full face veil, “Nobody accepts it... A veiled woman cannot have a normal social life.” But it also opposed the ban, which it thought would force veiled women to stay at home and not tackle the root question of why they want to isolate themselves from French society. Asked how the CFCM could convince women to remove their burqas and niqabs, he said the fact that women had to uncover their faces to perform some rituals on the haj pilgrimage to Makkah showed full veils were not required in Islam. “How can a practice forbidden on the haj become obligatory outside of it?” he asked. Fewer than 2,000 women in France’s 5million-strong Muslim community are estimated to wear full veils. Moussaoui said a large minority of them were converts, who opt for strict practices in the false belief they reflect authentic Islam. “They say they’ve studied the scriptures and made their decision,” he said. “It’s an illusion to think a convert can interpret the scriptures. They don’t have the training to do that. That’s for judges to do, not for just anybody.” — Reuters

Obama sets trip to India, pledges ties WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama set a visit to India in November as he pledged Thursday to push forward ties between the world’s two largest democracies as part of his busy diplomatic agenda.

The United States also offered full support for India’s role in Afghanistan after highlevel talks in Washington, despite Pakistan’s lingering suspicions about its historic rival’s influence in the war-torn

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama, right, enters with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, and Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna at the start of a US-India strategic dialogue reception at the Department of State in Washington, yesterday. — AP

country. Relations between India and the United States have steadily warmed over the past decade, with the two countries overcoming decades of mutual distrust during the Cold War era. But many Indian policymakers have remained anxious about Obama, who has set an early priority on broadening cooperation with Asia’s other rising power China and on supporting Pakistan in fighting Islamic extremism. In a symbolic show of his commitment, Obama journeyed to the State Department for the first time since the days after his inauguration to address a reception for the “strategic dialogue” between the United States and India. “The relationship between the United States and India is fundamentally unique,” Obama told a reception of senior officials and members of the increasingly influential Indian-American community. “We share common interests, but we also share common values, as the world’s two largest democracies, and as countries that are rich in diversity, with deep and close con-

nections among our people.” Obama did not give an exact date for his first presidential visit to Indian other than to indicate it would take place in “early November,” but he is due in Yokohama, Japan for the November 13-14 summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. He is unlikely to travel abroad close to the November 2 mid-term elections, in which his Democratic Party is fighting to retain control of Congress. After the talks, the United States and India pledged to “regularly consult” on Afghanistan. “It is in our common interest that the people of Afghanistan succeed in their reconstruction and development efforts without outside interference, in an atmosphere free from violence and extremism,” said a joint statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna. “Afghanistan’s success is vital for the security and stability of the region.” At a joint news conference, Clinton thanked India for its “generous contributions” in Afghanistan. —AFP

Police confirmed Bird had killed his twin brother David and the family solicitor and said they were investigating speculation that tax problems had pushed an outwardly ordinary man over the edge. Bird also wounded 11 people as he drove through west Cumbria, calling people over to his car before opening fire or taking pot shots from the window. As police closed in, he took his own life in a wood near the village of Boot. Officers recovered a shotgun and a .22 rifle fitted with a telescopic sight. Police confirmed Bird had valid licences for both weapons. More than 100 officers were working to retrace Bird’s deadly journey through an area popular with hill walkers to establish why a man described by neighbours as a “normal bloke” caused such mayhem. One of his friends, a fellow taxi driver, said Bird had been worried about an investigation by tax authorities into his finances. “He said: ‘They have caught me with 60,000 pounds (90,000 dollars, 70,000 euros) in the bank, the tax people’. He just said: ‘I’ll go to jail’,” said Mark Cooper, 45, who had known Bird for 15 years. Reports suggested Bird argued with his twin brother David over the money and their mother’s will, but David’s three daughters denied any family rift. Rachel, Tracey and Katie paid tribute to their father, a “loving character”. “We would like to take this opportunity to say there was absolutely no family feud. Our Dad’s only downfall was to try and help his brother,” they said, in an apparent hint at discord within the family. Police confirmed they were investigating whether financial troubles could have triggered the massacre. “It is an ongoing line of inquiry but there is no comment on that at this present moment,” said a Cumbria police spokesman. Bird had also argued with other taxi drivers the night before the killings, and reportedly told them: “There’s going to be a rampage tomorrow.” Other media reports said an old friend of Bird’s recalled that the killer had told him late Tuesday: “I won’t see you again.” Bird’s brother and his family solicitor, 60-year-old Kevin Commons, were thought to be among the first victims, before he drove to the taxi rank in the town of Whitehaven and shot three of his fellow cabbies. Other victims included Jane Robinson, 66, gunned down as she delivered catalogues doorto-door, 23-year-old Jamie Clark, whose body was found in his car, and Garry Purdham, 31, found dead on a roadside. Detective Chief Superintendent Iain Goulding said it appeared the taxi driver selected some of his victims deliberately and others randomly. Goulding said Bird had convictions for theft in the 1990s, but he had never been to prison and there was no record of him having mental problems. Bird’s elderly mother, Mary, was said to be “stunned” by her son’s actions. People who knew “Birdy”, as the killer was widely known, described a quiet but popular man who lived alone. He was divorced, had two children and had recently become a grandfather. —AFP

PAPHOS: A picture released by the official Press and Information Office (PIO) shows Cyprus President Demetris Christofias (C) and First Lady Elsie Christofias welcoming Pope Benedict XVI upon his arrival at the airport in Paphos yesterday, at the start of the pontiff’s first official visit to an Orthodox country. — AFP

Pope: Killing of bishop won’t cloud Cyprus trip PAPHOS: Pope Benedict XVI said en route to Cyprus yesterday that he was deeply saddened by the killing of a Catholic bishop in Turkey but believed the killing was nonpolitical and would not cloud his pilgrimage. Turkish officials have said Bishop Luigi Padovese was killed by his driver, who has been charged with murder and appears to be mentally ill. The pope appeared to accept Turkey’s explanation about the killing, saying it was not “a political or religious assassination, it was something personal.” “This has nothing to do with the themes and realities of this trip,” the pope told journalists en route to Cyprus. “We must not give responsibility to Turkey or the Turks.” The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Padovese’s killing shows the “difficult conditions” the Catholic community faces in the Middle East. Cyprus, an island divided between ethnic Turks and Greeks, is viewed by the Vatican as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. The pope’s visit is expected to be a test of whether the pope has found his diplomatic feet after his linking of Islam to violence during a speech in Germany led to outrage in the Muslim world — and nearly forced the cancellation of a trip to Turkey in 2006. The pope has meetings with church officials from across the region. Cyprus police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos said yesterday that, while there was no heightened risk to Benedict’s safety following the bishop’s killing, security was stepped up anyway. He said that over 1,000 police will be mobilized for the entire duration of the visit. The pope is meeting in Cyprus with prelates from the region to set an agenda for an October meeting in Rome to build a strategy to stem an exodus of Christians from the Holy Land, Iraq and elsewhere because of violence and economic hardship. The Middle East includes ancient Christian communities. Benedict also faces issues on the

division in Cyprus, splits in the Orthodox Christian community and concerns over damaged Christian and Muslim houses of worship. 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 the north in 1983, but only Turkey recognizes it and maintains 35,000 troops there. The pope, speaking about the problems of both the division of Cyprus and the Middle East region as a whole, said that “violence is not the solution” and that everyone “must not lose patience” in the search for peaceful solutions. The trip also comes days after the island’s leaders — 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. There are no plans for Benedict or any other Vatican officials to visit northern Cyprus, Lombardi said. But he did not rule out a meeting with Muslim representatives. The Cypriot ambassador to the Holy See, George F. Poulides, said Benedict will be staying at the Vatican Nunciature, located right on the so-called Green Line in Nicosia — the UN-patrolled buffer zone between bullet-pocked buildings and army sentry posts separating the ethnically divided communities. There are also problems between Cypriot Catholics and Orthodox Christians, who are dominant in the south. Some hardline Orthodox clerics, who view the pope as a heretic, say Benedict should stay in Rome to avoid provoking the island’s 800,000 Orthodox. Doctrinal, theological and political differences caused the Orthodox and Catholic churches to formally split in the 11th century. Officials from both churches have been engaged in talks in recent years to heal “The Great Schism,” but opposition to reconciliation still lingers. — AP

NATO, Pakistan seek to boost non-military ties BRUSSELS: NATO and Pakistani leaders agreed yesterday on the need to strengthen their political ties, even as they face an increasingly bloody military struggle with Al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters. Measures could include high level exchanges and parliamentary visits, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said after meeting NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the alliance’s Brussels headquarters. “We have not only to confine (our cooperation) to only terrorism and extremism,” Gilani told a joint press conference, referring to the fight against Islamist insurgents in the AfghanistanPakistan border area. “We have to look beyond that so that we can work together in future as well... there should be more cooperation with the parliamentarians.. and with high level exchange of visits,” he added. “It has to be a process that is demand driven,” said Rasmussen, adding: “We have already started military-to-military cooperation and we stand ready to further develop that,” he stressed. But “we should expand the political dialogue, personally I attach a lot of importance to dialogue with the parliaments,” he

added, echoing his Pakistani guest. Rasmussen said Pakistan should define the area where the NATO alliance can offer its support. NATO and Pakistan have been fighting Islamic militants in the border region in a sometimes brittle relationship which has till now been largely limited to military contact. Both said they were ready to continue the military efforts. “Pakistan is determined to win against the evil forces of

extremism and terrorism,” said Gilani. “Defeat in this war is not an option for us,” he added, offering his appreciation of NATO’s role in Afghanistan. Rasmussen underlined that “NATO will stay in Afghanistan as long as it takes to finish our job. There should be no misunderstanding about that. “We count on Pakistan as a partner and we will be a a partner to Pakistan as well.” — AFP

BRUSSELS: European Union President Belgian Herman Van Rompuy (C) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (R) welcome Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (L) prior to their meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels yesterday. — AFP



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tourism boom boosts Syria’s flagging economy BOSRA: Exploiting the acoustics of a freestanding Roman theatre at Bosra in Syria, two French women serenade other tourists with an impromptu operatic medley. Not to be outdone, a Syrian family perched on stone terraces high above the stage warbles Arabic songs to the beat of a drum. The theatre, wholly enclosed by an Arab fortress, is among many ancient sites that Syria can promote to develop tourism, already one of the brighter spots in its hard-pressed economy. According to Tourism Minister Saadallah Agha Al-Qalaa, the industry will generate 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year. It already accounts for 23 percent of Syria’s hard currency earnings and provides 13 percent of its jobs.

He said tourist arrivals had jumped by a “spectacular” 1 million in the first four months over the same 2009 period. “Of course we had some difficulties to provide the appropriate hotel capacity,” he told Reuters in an interview. International tourism earned Syria $5.2 billion in 2009, plus $1.5 billion from domestic tourism, 12 percent more than the previous year, despite a global recession which saw worldwide tourism receipts shrink 4 percent, Qalaa said. Syria has fuelled the tourism boom by removing visa requirements on visitors from Turkey and Iran. Busloads of Iranian pilgrims clog streets around Shi’ite shrines such as the gold-domed Sayyida Zeinab on the outskirts of Damascus.

Westerners are also discovering Syria, now shaking off the diplomatic isolation that followed the 2005 killing of Lebanese statesman Rafiq Al-Hariri. Damascus denied any responsibility. European tourists are drawn by archaeological treasures such as the desert ruins of Palmyra or the old cities of Aleppo and Damascus, spruced up in recent years and now boasting dozens of boutique hotels and restaurants in restored courtyard houses. BOUTIQUE HOTELS Some of these lovingly refurbished hotels, targeting a wealthy clientele, say they are booked for up to a year ahead. “People come because it is special,” said Mayssa Rumman, manager of Beit Rumman, a six-room hotel in a 17th centu-

ry house in the Old City of Damascus which her family bought in 2004. “We will need another three or four years to break even,” she said. “Everything here is custom-made and it takes time for people to do it, so you are investing time, money and effort.” New hotels are being built too slowly to cope with tourist numbers rising roughly 15 percent a year in the past decade. “We still have a real challenge, with bottlenecks in high season, mainly in Damascus,” said Qalaa, the tourism minister. He said tourist projects under construction were worth $6.3 billion, compared to those in service worth $4.4 billion, but it would take time to complete them and train staff properly. Syria now has only 52,000 beds in two- to five-star hotels and received

6 million tourists last year, although these included 3.5 million Arabs and a million Syrian expatriates, many of whom rent apartments or stay with relatives. With oil resources dwindling and the effects of a severe 2008-09 drought still lingering, Syria certainly needs a healthy contribution from tourism if it is to meet its target of 5 percent GDP growth in each of the next five years. One challenge is to diversify tourist development so that benefits are spread across Syria and not concentrated only in the best-known attractions, Qalaa said, listing new growth areas such as ecotourism, health tourism and conferences. Syrians, despite their government’s political tensions with the West, tend to welcome tourists warmly. Alcohol is on sale

in some places in the secular-ruled but conservative Muslim land. Today the atmosphere in Syria is much less dour than it was in the first few decades of heavyhanded Baathist rule, but President Bashar alAssad’s economic reform efforts since 2000 have yet to be matched by any serious political relaxation. Some state restrictions might surprise tourists, who find for example that they cannot access popular Internet sites such as Facebook and YouTube, which are blocked for security reasons. Qalaa waved away the idea that this might bother anyone. “I didn’t receive any complaints,” he said. “When tourists come to Syria, they let themselves fall into the magic of the Orient. They don’t need to be back in everyday life.” — Reuters

G20 policymakers fret over fragile economy Ministers warn of risks to growth without prompt action BUSAN: Leading policymakers were unusually candid yesterday in voicing fears that the euro zone’s financial and banking woes could derail the global economic recovery. The troubles of Greece and other heavily indebted European governments dominated conversations ahead of a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of 20 of the world’s top

ARKANSAS: Singer Enrique Iglesias interacts with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. associates as he performs during the Wal-Mart shareholders’ meeting in Fayetteville, Ark yesterday. — AP

Wal-Mart annual kicks off with cheers and celebrities At Wal-Mart meeting, flash mixes with cash FAYETTEVILLE: Thousands of Wal-Mart Stores Inc employees gathered in a basketball arena in Arkansas yesterday, looking for big-name entertainment and pep-rally motivation, while shareholders were looking for more cash. Welcome to the Wal-Mart annual shareholder meeting, where high-powered Hollywood celebrities and musicians entertain 16,000 people. Workers from WalMart and Sam’s Club stores and powerful executives like Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke join in the Wal-Mart cheer while telling shareholders about their plans for the company in the coming year. Those looking for entertainment got Oscarwinning actor Jamie Foxx, who started with a song that celebrated Wal-Mart’s price rollbacks and then went into an impersonation of singer and musician Ray Charles. In a video that introduced Foxx, he looked for his movies in a Wal-Mart video section, while in the cosmetics department, he pointed to makeup ads that featured female costars he has kissed on the screen. “Sometimes I just come to Walmart in the makeup section to hang out with my girlfriends,” he said. But shareholders want to hear how the company will jump-start growth in the United States, where sales at discount stores open at least a year have fallen for the last four quarters,

analysts said. They are also interested in a steady payout through higher dividends and share repurchases, one of the main attractions of a stock that has not shown much appreciation outside of the recession, analysts said. “It’s a high-quality balance sheet, which is more important today than ever,” Janna Sampson, co-chief investment officer of OakBrook Investments, said last week in preparation for the shareholder meeting. The stock’s dividend yield is about 2.3 percent, which is a better rate than short-term cash, said Sampson, whose firm holds 488,000 Wal-Mart shares. Wal-Mart has announced thousands of price “rollbacks” to attract customers who remain on very tight budgets. It has aggressively cut costs to help fund the rollbacks and increase earnings. Overseas sales have also helped lift results. While low prices resonate with some customers, those who feel more secure in their jobs have started to shift to rival Target Corp and some department stores to buy more discretionary items like clothing and home furnishings. At the other end of the spectrum, Wal-Mart faces increasing pressure from dollar stores, which have added food offerings in order to attract customers. Shares of Wal-Mart were down 1 percent at $51.18 in trading before the market opened. — Reuters

Pakistan GDP grows 4.1% ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s gross domestic product has grown 4.1 percent in the current fiscal year to June 30, up from 1.2 percent over the same period last year, the government said yesterday. The growth came despite a difficult two years in which the country was battered by the global recession and an upsurge in extremist violence, it said. “The economy grew by a provisional 4.1 percent in the outgoing year, after a modest growth of 1.2 percent in 200809,” said Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who advises the prime minister on finance. Growth for 2008-9 was initially estimated at two percent but was later revised downwards to 1.2 percent, the decade’s lowest. “Despite severe challenges, the economy

has shown resilience in the outgoing year,” Shaikh told reporters while releasing an economic survey on the eve of the national budget to be presented in parliament. “The recovery in economic growth is fragile and will remain so until the weaknesses in the macroeconomic framework are forcefully addressed.” Unemployment has increased from 5.2 percent to 5.5 percent over the period. The agriculture sector grew two percent, against a target of 3.8 percent. Manufacturing rose 4.4 percent and the services sector 4.6 percent, compared to 1.6 percent in 2008-09, the pre-budget document said. The fiscal deficit remains unchanged at 5.1 percent of GDP this year. It said the external current account

deficit was expected to decline to under three percent of GDP in the current year compared with 5.6 percent of GDP (9.3 billion dollars) in 2008-09. Foreign exchange reserves have been rebuilt to over 16 billion dollars, from a low of less than six billion dollars in October 2008, “though much of the accumulation is due to releases from the IMF,” Shaikh admitted. Pakistan approached the IMF in 2008 and has secured a 11.3 billion dollar standby loan in an effort to contain 30-year-high inflation and cope with a rapid depletion of reserves that were barely enough to cover nine weeks of import bills. Inflation declined from 25 percent in October 2008, to 13.3 in April, Shaikh said. — AFP

LAHORE: A Pakistani vendor prepares a special delicacy for customers in Lahore, Pakistan. — AP

Gatherings such as the G20 are typically an opportunity for officials to radiate confidence, especially when financial markets are in a nervous state, as they are now. But Flaherty was not alone in his warnings. “We can’t afford to be complacent,” South Korean Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun told the opening session. “Without further and ongoing action from us, the recovery may not remain on track and we may not be able to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth,” he said. South African Planning Minister Trevor Manuel said he could not think of a more challenging time than the present for the Group of 20. Decisions needed taking, he said, to banish the specter of a double-dip recession. “It’s important that we all understand just how fragile the recovery is,” Manuel, himself a former finance minister, said. As ministers got down to work, police boats patrolled near the beach hotel where they are meeting. Authorities have steeped up security in the southern port city in the face of war-like rhetoric on the divided peninsula after the South accused North Korea of sinking one of its warships. ALL EYES ON EURO ZONE The 16-nation euro zone is bailing Greece to the tune of 110 billion euros after Athens lost the confidence of bond markets and was unable to roll over its vast debts. The euro zone, working with the International Monetary Fund, is also putting together a 750 billion euro ($910 billion) safety net for other member countries with big debts in case they too fail to find buyers for their bonds. A forced debt restructuring would inflict heavy losses on euro zone banks. Investors first responded enthusiastically to the May rescue package, but the euro has since slumped on doubts about the capacity of southern European states to plug holes in their budgets. World stock markets have shuddered at the prospect that Europe’s woes could derail a recovery from the deepest financial crisis since the 1930s. “Just when we thought we had turned the corner there are clouds on the horizon,” World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said. But US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sounded a more optimistic note. “The world economy came into this period of concern about Europe with stronger underlying momentum and growth than many people expected, and we’re in a much stronger position to get through this,” Geithner told CNBC television en route to Busan. BANKING STALEMATE Turning to the other main item on the Busan agenda, Geithner said the G20 shared a commitment on the need for common standards across global financial markets that will constrain some of the risk-taking that helped fuel the 2007/08 financial meltdown. Rich-country taxpayers had to fork out trillions of of dollars to rescue banks felled by the crisis, but fierce opposition from Canada, among others, has torpedoed the idea of a global bank levy to pay for any future bailout. —Reuters

developed and emerging economies, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said. “It is essential to ensure continued recovery that Europe fix its banks. It is essential that certain vulnerable European nations follow through with major fiscal consolidation, and get the job done,” Flaherty told reporters in Busan, South Korea.

BUSAN: Managing Director of the World Bank Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (left) listens to Il SaKong, chairman of the World Bank conference during an opening press conference at the G-20 Finance and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Busan, South Korea yesterday. — AP

India sees no firm deal on bank levy in Busan BUSAN: Finance ministers from the world’s 20 leading nations are unlikely to reach firm agreement on a controversial bank levy when they meet, Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said. The issue may be pushed back to a G20 summit in Seoul in November, Mukherjee told AFP in an interview. The levy is backed by the United States and Europe but opposed by developing nations plus Canada and Australia, who say their banks did not trigger the 2008-9 crisis and should not have to pay for cleaning up the mess. Mukherjee made the same point. “Our banking system could withstand the trouble which counterparts in Europe and America had to face, mainly because of wellplaced regulations,” he said. “Well-placed regulations can achieve the job which the new proposal is to achieve through taxation. We are not in favor of taxing the banks.” Mukherjee said ministers meeting today in the South Korean city of Busan may “arrive at some sort of common formulation” on the issue, but decisions would be taken by their leaders. The Busan meeting is preparing for a Toronto G20 summit on June 26-27 but the Indian minister said the levy issue may have to wait till later this year. “Perhaps the leaders would like to take more time to ponder over the issues before the Seoul summit,” he said. Ministers are attempting to shore up a fragile world recovery against the threat

posed by the eurozone debt crisis. “We shall have to achieve economic recovery,” Mukherjee said. “At the same time we cannot give up fiscal prudence, so striking a balance between two apparently contradictory situations is to be achieved.” Echoing host South Korea, he said the grouping needs “to emphasise development so that strong balanced growth all over the world can take place”. The minister said he expects and hopes that Europe can contain the eurozone damage with a support package for financially distressed countries such as

Greece worth 750 billion euros. At the current level the eurozone crisis would have little impact on India but Europe was an important export destination and source of foreign investment. “If Europe as a whole is affected by the crisis and their recovery is thrown down, then it would have an adverse impact,” Mukherjee said, reflecting widespread fears among Asian exporter nations. India on Monday reported 7.4 percent growth in the year ended March and Mukherjee at the time forecast 8.5 percent GDP growth in the fiscal year to March 2011.He said he hopes for an

even higher figure and noted that the International Monetary Fund forecasts 8.8 percent. But the minister said securing investment in infrastructure is a major challenge. He estimated the country would need 500-600 billion dollars in investment in the next few years, without giving a precise timeframe. Mukherjee said inflation was another important challenge, with food inflation reaching almost 21 percent in November before starting to fall. He expressed hope of bringing core inflation below five percent in the next year. — AFP

Algeria defends protectionism ALGIERS: Algeria’s telecommunications minister says the country has the right to be protectionist and reinstate state monopolies to defend its interests - regardless of whether that scares off foreign investors. Moussa Benhamadi told Alger Chaine III radio that it’s the Algerian government’s “sovereign right” to make these decisions, and that it can decide on “protectionist measures when circumstances require them.” The minister’s comments, reported yesterday, referred to a plan announced by the government to pre-empt the sale of the country’s main cell phone operator, Djezzy, owned by the Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom. The buy-out would recreate a state telecommunications monopoly in Algeria after a decade of painstaking efforts to liberalize the largely government-run economy. The row between Algeria’s government and Orascom Telecom became public this spring after the Algerian football team was harassed by Egyptian supporters in Cairo. Orascom’s owner, Naguib Sawiris, said earlier this week he hadn’t heard from

Algerian authorities since they blocked negotiations for Orascom to sell Djezzy to the South African firm MTN. Sawiris values Orascom telecom’s Algerian subsidiary at $5 billion to $7 billion. Benhamadi said Algerian government experts will take their time to study the issue and won’t be pressed into a fixed deadline to respond. The Djezzy sale issue is too sensitive to be handled by his ministry alone and is being overseen directly by the prime minister’s office, he said. Benhamadi became telecommunications minister last week after his predecessor was fired, largely because of his handling of the Djezzy issue. The possible buy-out has several independent media outlets wondering whether Algeria is reverting to its long history of state-controlled economy. The Algerian state derives large revenues from oil and gas, but has been struggling to attract foreign investors or tourists. It enforced a new law, retroactive to the 2009 fiscal year, that largely bans foreign firms from repatriating benefits earned by their subsidiaries in Algeria. — AP



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Canada’s economy added 25,000 jobs in May Fifth consecutive month of employment gains OTTAWA: Canada’s economy added 25,000 jobs in May for a fifth consecutive month of employment gains, Statistics Canada announced yesterday. The national unemployment rate, however, remained unchanged at 8.1 percent, as more people returned to the labor market, the government agency said in a statement. The job creation figure significantly exceeded analysts’ expectations that 15,000 new jobs would be created in the month, after 109,000 new jobs were created in May. In light of this unexpected turnaround,

PARIS: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper points at journalists after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday at the Elysee Palace. After visiting yesterday British Prime Minister David Cameron in London, Harper traveled to Paris to discuss financial reforms and to talk about the G8 and G20 agenda with Sarkozy. — AFP

S European nations need to cut deficits ‘Surplus’ countries need to support global growth SHANGHAI: Euro zone countries, especially those in southern Europe, need to cut their budget deficits to show that they can live within their means, British finance minister George Osborne said yesterday. Osborne, visiting China ahead of the G20 meeting this weekend in the South Korean city of Busan, said that Britain’s planned austerity measures to cut the budget deficit will boost confidence in the economy, adding he was optimistic about the global economic outlook. “I think if we are able to show that we can do that, and I am confident we can, then I think that will bring economic confidence,” Osborne, deficit hawk, told UK business leaders in Shanghai. Officials with Britain’s new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government have said they will go ahead with plans to push through tough measures in an emergency budget on June 22. Ahead of the G20 meetings in Busan and Toronto later this month, Osborne said sustaining world economic growth would be the most

important, particularly on dealing with global imbalances. “Countries with high budget deficits show the world that they can reduce those deficits and deal with those deficits, and equally that surplus countries like China show that they too support economic growth going forward.” Despite concerns over British companies’ market access in China, Osborne stressed Britain’s openness towards Chinese business and investments. “At the moment, only 2 percent of British exports go to China, I want to increase that. I also want to increase Chinese investment into Britain through companies like Shanghai Automotive Company and others,” he said. Osborne added that the new coalition government sought to establish strong relations with Beijing. “This relationship between Britain and China can only get stronger and I think both countries can do a lot to increase the prosperity of the world economy,” he told reporters. —Reuters

GM starts venture capital company DETROIT: General Motors Co has set up its own venture capital company with $100 million to invest in companies that are developing new autorelated technology. The automaker announced the formation of General Motors Ventures LLC in a statement released early yesterday, saying it wants to nurture transportation technology and help bring it to market so GM has the latest innovation available. Jon Lauckner, now head of global product planning, will be president of the venture capital company and remain a GM vice president, starting July 1. He will report to Stephen Girsky, vice chairman of corporate strategy and a GM board member. The $100 million is an initial investment. GM says it already is exploring a number of equity investments in auto-related technology. The subsidiary likely will make small investments at first in startup companies, said spokeswoman Sherrie Childers Arb. The structure of the investments likely will vary, and GM Venture Capital could take ownership stakes in some of the companies, she said. No investments have been made yet, but the company hopes to do so very soon, she said. GM, which is 61 percent owned by the US government, notified the Treasury Department of plans to set up the subsidiary but did not ask for permission, Childers Arb said. Funding for the company is coming from cash generated by General Motors, she said. GM nearly ran out of cash in 2008 and needed $50 billion in US government aid to survive a trip through bankruptcy court. It repaid $6.7

billion of the aid, and the government is hoping to get the remaining $43.3 billion back when GM sells stock to the public, perhaps later this year. Last month the Treasury Department hired Lazard Freres & Co as its adviser to prepare for an initial public stock offering. Recently GM’s financial picture has started to improve. It posted net income of $865 million in the first quarter less than a year after it emerged from bankruptcy protection. On Wednesday the company reported May sales that were up 17 percent over the same month last year. But more than a third of the sales went to lower-profit fleet buyers such as governments and rental car companies. Sales of its four remaining brands - Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac - rose 32 percent for the month. GM is phasing out or selling Saab, Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer. GM already has taken ownership stakes in two companies that are developing ethanol fuel technologies. In 2008 the company announced investments in Boston’s Mascoma Corp, which is working to develop ethanol from wood chips, waste paper sludge and switch grass. It also invested in Coskata Inc., a renewable energy company based in Illinois that plans to produce ethanol from agricultural leftovers and municipal and industrial waste. The size of GM’s stakes in the companies was not disclosed. GM and other automakers such as Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC have pushed flexible-fuel vehicles that run on ethanol as an alternative in the face of rising gasoline prices and tougher fuel efficiency standards. — AP

Newsweek draws bids despite losses NEW YORK: At least three groups of investors have made bids for Newsweek despite expectations of continued losses at the magazine. Initial, nonbinding bids were due Wednesday. Those submitting bids include Newsmax Media, the publisher of the conservative monthly Newsmax; Open Gate Capital, the private equity firm that owns TV Guide magazine; and Thane Ritchie, a hedge fund manager who made an unsuccessful bid last year for the company that publishes the Chicago Sun-Times. The bidders declined to say how much they are willing to pay. Rima Calderon, a spokeswoman for Newsweek owner Washington Post Co., said the company is not commenting on

how many bids came in or how attractive they were. The Post announced last month it wanted to sell the 77-year-old newsweekly. The collapse of the advertising market during the recession put severe pressure on Newsweek. Its print ad revenue has dropped by more than half since 2007 to $70 million, according to a summary of the magazine’s finances reviewed by The Associated Press. It had an operating loss of more than $28 million last year. Through staff reductions and other cost cutting, the magazine reduced its losses to $2.3 million in the first quarter of this year, compared with $17.4 million a year earlier. Under editor Jon Meacham, the magazine underwent an ambitious redesign last

year and cut the circulation it guarantees for advertisers to 1.5 million from 2.3 million, an effort to focus on a smaller and more loyal audience. Circulation for the magazine’s domestic edition had exceeded 3 million through the 1990s. But Newsweek still faces long-term challenges. More and more, readers are heading to the Web for news and opinion that’s updated constantly, raising questions about the viability of a news provider that publishes only once a week. US News and World Report has already shifted from weekly to monthly format. Although Newsweek runs a website, news publishers haven’t been able to charge as much money for online ads as they have for print. — AP

the Bank of Canada is likely to continue raising interest rates, after hiking its key lending rate on Tuesday from a historic low to 0.50 percent. Its overnight lending rate had remained at 0.25 percent since April 2009. The rate increase was the first by a G7 central bank after the global economic crisis and followed “robust” economic growth in Canada in the first quarter of 6.1 percent, led by housing and consumer spending. But the hike was less than analysts had expected. The Bank of Canada said on

Tuesday it remained cautious about “the possibility of renewed weakness in Europe” and an “increasingly uneven” global economic recovery. Thus far, the spillover into Canada from events in Europe has been limited to a modest fall in commodity prices and some tightening of financial conditions. There is also “strong momentum” in emerging market economies and some consolidation of the recovery in the United States, Japan and other industrialized economies, the Bank of

Canada said. However, “the required rebalancing of global growth has not yet materialized,” the central bank said. Statistics Canada said the private sector added 43,000 people to its payrolls in May but there were 28,000 fewer self-employed workers. Canada’s transportation and warehousing sector; healthcare and social assistance; public administration; and agriculture recorded the highest job gains, it said. These were offset by job losses in information, culture

and recreation; accommodation and food services; and natural resources. May’s overall employment growth was mainly among women aged 55 and over (+17,000). Since mid-2009, men aged 55 and over had previously led job gains. Regionally, employment was up in Canada’s Ontario, Alberta, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia provinces, but declined in British Columbia and Prince Edward Island. Average hourly wages, meanwhile, rose 2.4 percent compared to a year earlier. — AFP

Equities, euro slump on contagion fears, US data Economy adds 431,000 jobs but few in private sector LONDON: European equities dived yesterday and the euro plunged to a four-year dollar low, with sentiment hammered by contagion fears over the eurozone debt crisis and worse-than-expected US payThe European single currency spiraled lower to 1.2019 dollars, touching a low point that was last seen on March 29, 2006. “After a few days out of the spotlight, the European sovereign debt crisis is back centre stage,” GFT analyst David Morrison said, citing contagion concerns from the eurozone debt crisis. “We have seen huge flows out of the euro and into the Swiss franc ... There are big concerns surrounding Romania and now Hungary.” The Swiss franc, which is widely regarded as a safe-haven, hit a new high against the euro on Friday, as the shared eurozone unit plunged below the 1.40-franc barrier. Morrison added: “This sell-off in the single currency has pulled the rug out from underneath equities, just as many major indices were testing significant resistance levels.” Equities were also rocked after key US job creation figures fell well short of analyst forecasts, dealers said. The US economy created 431,000 jobs in May amid massive temporary government hiring and the unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent from 9.9 percent, official data showed yesterday. The key nonfarm payrolls report undershot analysts’ consensus forecasts for the creation of at least 500,000 jobs. “Nonfarm payrolls numbers come in way below expectations,” said trader Rajesh Patel at financial betting firm Spread Co in London, adding that the news was sapping investor confidence. Markets were also hit by vague market rumors that French bank Societe Generale had made losses in derivatives trading. A Societe Generale source said that it did not comment on market speculation, adding it would have said something if there had been anything to reveal. “Various rumors and catalysts helped push the euro to fresh lows,” added Patel. He said there were “rumors French bank Societe Generale was in trouble (and) mutterings from the Hungarian Prime Minister’s spokesman that talks of default were not exaggerated.” Eurozone debt crisis concerns had resurfaced on Thursday after Hungary sparked fears about its budget deficit. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso meanwhile warned Hungary to cut its budget deficit faster in order to pull itself out of a “delicate situation” amid fears it risked a Greece-style debt crisis. Added to the negative mix yesterday, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said he was not worried about the fall of the euro, saying that on the contrary it was “good news” for eurozone exports. Patel warned that the euro was dangerously close to breaking the psychological barrier of 1.20 dollars. “A break of that level and it could be a seriously black day for the euro,” he said. Asian stock markets had also fallen in earlier trade yesterday as investors sat tight ahead of the US jobs data. Tokyo lost 0.13 percent as Japanese investors were largely unmoved by the election of new prime minister Naoto Kan, while Hong Kong also finished marginally lower. Japanese shares slipped, one day after soaring 3.24 percent on expectations that Kan would take the helm of Japan-which is the world’s second-biggest economy. — AFP

rolls data. The London stock market sank 1.81 percent, Frankfurt fell 1.80 percent, Paris plunged 2.66 percent and Madrid tumbled 3.58 percent.

TOKYO: A woman with a child rides past the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo.— AP

Trade unions plan action day to protest budget cuts European austerity measures spark despair BRUSSELS: European austerity measures to tackle the soaring debt crisis have sparked “despair” and will cut too deep, a senior trade union official warned yesterday, as he announced a protest action day. John Monks, head of the European Trade Union Confederation, who met EU and employers’ officials in Brussels, said there was “despair and alarm at the prospects of growth in Europe as all countries, not just those in distress, move to cut their budgets, cut public expenditure.” “We don’t want a bleak mid-winter for the unemployed,” he added, pointing out that already there was “quite a bit of social unrest in some countries” over the kind of deep cuts in public spending, including salaries, pensions and benefits. Rioting has been particularly fierce in Greece where the government is making deep cuts after being afforded a multi-billion euro bailout by the EU. Monks said plans were underway for a European “day of action” on September 29, with the focal point a protest at a meeting of EU finance ministers scheduled the same day in Brussels. Work stoppages were a possibility on that day “to keep pressure on the growth agenda,” he stressed. EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said the talks had been tough and “very open” but insisted on the need for the austerity measures as Europe emerges from the worst reces-

sion since World War II. “I underlined the need for fiscal consolidation and structural reforms,” he told a joint news conference with Monks. “Only if we are serious about getting our house in order, and only if we really do our best to work for a sustainable future, will we be able to re-establish confidence in our economy and growth,” he added. “Without determination

to act now, we put our European model of society at risk,” he told reporters. Philippe de Buck, director general of the Business Europe employers’ group, called for restraint and social dialogue. “The last thing we need is continued social unrest. This is a way to undermine confidence,” he warned. Bernard Thibault, head of

France’s main union federation the CGT, said workers were “the main victims of a crisis which they were not responsible for,” something which he said justified their protest action. He said dialogue with Barroso was not fruitful as the EU leader justified the austerity plans due to national debts.— AFP

ATHENS: Two helmetless men illegally ride a scooter along empty tramlines, to dodge heavy traffic during a public transport strike in central Athens. — AP


Saturday, June 5, 2010


Trash-coated ‘hotel’ set up in Rome ROME: A stone’s throw from the Vatican, German artist HA Schult has set up a hotel covered by 12 tons of trash to illustrate humans’ relationship with the immense quantity of garbage they produce. “We are in the trash time. We produce trash and we will be trash. So this hotel is the mirror of the situation,” Schult said yesterday, on the eve of World Environment Day. About the size of a large single family house, the temporary hotel-open from June 3 to 7 — stands in the shade of Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo, a 11th century landmark castle along banks of the

Tiber river. The building is completely covered on all sides with old tins, hats, cameras, socks and soccer balls found on European beaches and selected by Schult. “In the ocean, the trash from all continents meets one another. The trash from Africa meets the trash from Europe, meets the trash from South America,” Schult said, pointing to the guitars and shoes plastered across the building. “The environmental problem is a global problem. We are living in a planet of garbage,” said Schult, whose most famous work is “Trash People,” an installation of 1,000

human figures made out of trash. “Trash People” was installed under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, in front of the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, in Red Square in Moscow, at La Defense in Paris, and along the Great Wall of China. Danish supermodel Helena Christensen slept in the three-room, two-bathroom hotel to raise awareness about the trash polluting the world’s beaches. “You walk down the beach and you realize how incredibly ignorant we are with garbage,” Christensen said. “It was fun. I’ve slept in worst places,” said Allan Thompson, a 53-year-old from

London, who spent Thursday night in the hotel along with his daughter. “Some of that stuff goes way back, it doesn’t go away,” said Thompson, who won a night’s stay at the hotel when he entered a competition to win a years’ worth of Corona, the Mexican beer that sponsored the work. Schult has been shining a spotlight on garbage since the 1960s, but is now increasingly concerned about the mountains of trash now coming from highgrowth countries like China and India. “We have to change the world, before the world changes us,” he said. — AFP

Next-generation iPhone on tap but may fail to dazzle Android emerges as chief iPhone rival ROME: ‘Save the Beach Hotel’ near St Angel Castle in central Rome is the first hotel made of recycled waste from European beaches. — AFP

Amateur astronomer spots ‘Jupiter strike’ LOS ANGELES: Jupiter has gotten whacked again. An amateur astronomer in Australia peering at the giant gas planet Thursday reported witnessing a bright flash from an object hitting the Jovian surface. Anthony Wesley, a computer programmer with a good reputation among professional astronomers, alerted the cosmic collision to professional and amateur sky-gazers. The discovery was later confirmed by another amateur astronomer in the Philippines. “When I saw the flash, I couldn’t believe it,” said Wesley. “The fireball lasted about 2 seconds and was very bright.” Wesley gained fame last year when he spotted a scar the size of the Pacific Ocean near Jupiter’s south pole believed to have been caused by an asteroid smacking

into the planet. Using an infrared telescope on Hawaii, NASA scientists found evidence that Jupiter was apparently struck near its south pole, and credited Wesley. The latest hit near the equator has not left any visible mark so far, but astronomers are on the lookout. The absence of a detectable gash and the short impact time have led scientists to believe Jupiter was likely struck by a meteor. “We’ve never seen a meteor slam into Jupiter,” said Glenn Orton of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The latest collision should give astronomers a better idea of the size of debris floating in the outer solar system. In 1994, Jupiter was bombarded by pieces of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. — AP

Scientists begin 520-day Mars mission simulation MOSCOW: An international team of researchers climbed into a set of windowless steel capsules Thursday to launch a 520-day simulation of a flight to Mars intended to help real space crews of the future cope with confinement, stress and fatigue of interplanetary travel. The six-member, all-male crew of three Russians, a Frenchman, an Italian-Colombian and a Chinese will follow a tight regimen of experiments and exercise under video surveillance. The Mars-500 experiment conducted by the Moscowbased Institute for Medical and Biological Problems in cooperation with the European Space Agency and China’s space training center - aims to reproduce the conditions of space travel, with exception of weightlessness. “For me, it will be mainly my family, and the sun and fresh air,” French participant Romain Charles said when asked by reporters what he will miss most during the nearly a year and a half of confinement. The researchers will communicate with the outside world via the Internet - delayed and occasionally disrupted to imitate the effects of space travel. They will eat canned food similar to that currently offered on the International Space Station and shower only once a week or so. Crew members will have two days off a week, except when emergencies are simulated, though they will still be in the capsules. “Certainly, the crew is largely on its own here, with very limited communications with the outside world,” Martin Zell of the ESA’s Directorate of Human Spaceflight said. “They have to cope internally with a lot of conditions and to organize themselves.” A real mission to Mars is decades away because of huge costs and massive technological challenges, particularly the task of creating a compact shield that will protect the crew from deadly space radiation. President Barack Obama said last month that he foresaw sending astronauts to orbit Mars by the mid2030s. The crew members said they were confident of success. Diego Urbina, the ItalianColombian member, told a news conference that for him it would mean “accomplishing dreams about the future, doing something that no human has done before.” Psychologists said long con-

finement would put the team under stress as they grow increasingly tired of each other’s company. Psychological conditions can be even more challenging on a mock mission than a real flight because the crew won’t experience any of the euphoria or dangers of actual space travel. French participant Romain Charles said he was bringing along a guitar to warm the atmosphere. Others said they would bring books, movies and pictures of their relatives. The crew will split their days into eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep and eight hours of leisure. “The routine is much more than on a real mission, there is a little bit less thrill,” Zell said. “But I think their team spirit, and their motivation to go there and to accomplish the whole mission is enormous.” As part of efforts to keep the crew

in good spirits, they will play an “interplanetary” match with former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov at some point during the experiment. The facility for the experiment is in western Moscow and includes living compartments the size of a bus connected with several other modules for experiments and exercise. A separate built-in imitator of the Red Planet’s surface is also attached for a mock landing. The mission director, cosmonaut Boris Morukov, said the experiment could be disrupted for medical or technical reasons or if some of the participants categorically demand it be stopped. “Each crew member has the right to end the experiment and walk out,” he said at a news conference. “We have had such negative experience in the past, and I hope it won’t happen during this experiment.” —AP

MOSCOW: International researchers prepare to enter the facility at Moscow’s Institute for Medical and Biological Problems in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, June 3, 2010. — AP

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple Inc’s next-generation iPhone, which CEO Steve Jobs is widely expected to unveil Monday, will have to really set new standards in multimedia content and function to wow Wall Street and consumers. Apple’s challenge may be to dream up game-changing innovations, since the Competition from a host of well-received smartphones based on Google Inc’s Android operating system is also growing, pressuring Apple to raise the bar even higher. The “iPhone 4.0 will keep them ahead of the game. Is it as easy as last year to stay ahead? No. I think Android has made huge progress,” said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. Only last year, Research in Motion Ltd was seen as Apple’s top rival. While the company’s BlackBerry remains the smartphone of choice for many corporations, Apple has made strides in that market as security concerns addressed by the BlackBerry have eased. More than 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies have deployed or piloted the iPhone, according to Apple. But the iPhone’s prime target-for now-remains the consumer, in a market where it increasingly goes head-tohead with Android phones from vendors like HTC, Motorola Inc and Samsung Electronics. Longer-term, investors are squarely focused on the iPhone’s spread into international markets including China, Apple’s pricing strategy, and when the device will be available through another US carrier besides AT&T. Jobs takes the stage at Apple’s developers conference in San Francisco Monday following a hectic public schedule of late, where Wall Street is expecting to get its first formal look at the fourth-generation iPhone. The phone will likely be

iPhone is already an unqualified blockbuster that is the company’s main profit growth driver, and its share price hovers near record highs. The bid is made tougher with the early success of the iPad tablet computer, which many say has already created a new market.

CALIFORNIA: Apple Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs speaks at an event at Apple Inc in Cupertino, Calif. After a series of leaked prototypes, it’s almost a given that Apple Inc will unveil a new version of the iPhone during its annual software developers conference that opens Monday, June 7, 2010, in San Francisco. — AP faster, have more capacity, a better screen and battery life, and a front-facing camera- all nice additions, but none of which move the competitive needle very much. “There will be some pretty

cool things on stage with Steve, but at the end of the day we know the general functionality,” said Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall. Some features that iPhone users have

long clamored for, such as multi-tasking, will also be added. GROWING COMPETITION The iPhone, introduced in 2007, arguably created the modern smartphone industry. The template pioneered by the iPhone-a roughly 4inch slab with a touchscreen interface offering quick access to thousands of applications-has become the standard for Web-surfing handsets. But the market has since grown thick with competitors, particularly slick smartphones based on Android. “Android is the only real contender to the throne,” said Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar. “Nokia’s position continues to fade, RIM has yet to make traction on the consumer side, and Microsoft could end up being too little, too late.” Nokia’s Symbian mobile operating system is the global market leader and RIM’s platform is No. 2, but both are losing market share, according to Gartner data. The iPhone’s global share surged to more than 15 percent in the first quarter, making it No 3. Android was No 4 with close to 10 percent of the market, a huge increase from the previous year and gaining, Gartner data show. Milanesi said the iPhone has done well internationally, particularly in Europe, but still has plenty of room to grow in Asia, where competition is fierce and smartphone preferences can vary widely from market to market. The iPhone is available in around

90 countries and on more than 150 carriers. Apple sold a record 8.75 million iPhones in its latest quarter. That accounted for 40 percent of revenue, with margins estimated at roughly 60 percent. Many on Wall Street expect the iPhone to arrive at Verizon no later than 2011, and perhaps as early as this fall. Apple is not expected to announce a Verizon iPhone Monday. AT&T has come under withering criticism from iPhone users over its network quality, although Jobs said this week he expects to see improvement this summer. AT&T said Wednesday it will stop offering an unlimited pricing plan for new subscribers to its mobile data services, which could help improve the speed of its network in some areas by cutting down on network-clogging downloads. Piper Jaffray analyst Christopher Larsen said the timing of that announcement, days before Apple’s event, was no coincidence. It could help the carrier keep its exclusive iPhone deal for longer. How Apple chooses to price its newest iPhone, as well as the older models, will be closely watched, given Apple’s enviable margin profile. The latest model iPhone, the 3GS, starts at $199 with an AT&T subsidy, with the older model 3G priced at $99. Many doubt there will be any surprise announcements on Monday, but with Apple one never knows. The rumors include a Web-based version of iTunes, and a new version of Apple TV. — Reuters

easyJet unveils plans to fit ash detectors LONDON: Low-cost airline easyJet PLC unveiled yesterday a planned trial of aircraft radar to detect volcanic ash clouds, calling on other airlines to join the research to build up a real-time map of the risk across Europe. easyJet said the devices - designed to be placed on an aircraft’s tail fin and detect ash clouds within 100 kilometers - are the first of their kind and could prevent a repeat of the shutdown of European airspace in April caused by an erupting Icelandic volcano. The airline is spending 1 million pounds ($1.46 million) developing and testing the technology with aircraft manufacturer Airbus and hopes to roll out the devices in a dozen of its planes by the end of the year. The AVOID Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector - technology is designed to work like the weather detection systems already in use for spotting thunderstorms. A lightweight infrared device would provide images to both the pilots and an airline’s flight control center, enabling pilots to see an ash cloud at altitudes between 5,000 feet and 50,000 feet. “This pioneering technology is the silver bullet that will make large-scale ash disruption history,” easyJet CEO Andy Harrison told reporters in London. However, use of the devices will need approval from regulators across Europe and industrywide adoption to have a significant effect. Jeremie Teahan, a spokesman for the European Aviation Safety Agency, said the regulator welcomed “applications to certify any equipment that has the potential to increase flight safety” but noted that one had not yet been received from

easyJet. Harrison said the airline hadn’t worked out the commercial details, but intended to share the technology, which was developed by a senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research. “What we don’t want to do is to gain a commercial advantage over other airlines so we can fly and they can’t,” Harrison said. “This is a huge leap forward and the best thing is to get this technology on hundreds of planes operated by a number of airlines.” Other airlines, such as Virgin Atlantic, were watching with interest. Virgin said in a statement it “welcomes the testing of any technology that could play a role, when proven and certified, in preventing a repeat of the unnecessary blanket closures of UK airspace.” The unprecedented closure of European airspace in April caused direct losses of more than $1.3 billion to the airlines affected, and as much as $1.95 billion to other businesses. Millions of passengers were stranded as flights were canceled, turning to boats, trains and cars to get to their destinations. Airlines have blamed European regulators for overreacting to what they say was a manageable threat and have demanded that internationally recognized standards of ash contamination be set. easyJet, which lost 55-75 million pounds because of the airspace closure, is one of a number of airlines seeking compensation from governments. Andrew Haines, the chief executive of Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, defended the decision to close airspace, saying aircraft manufacturers did not provide any information about

what was a safe level of ash. Few doubt that flying directly into the plumes of a volcano could disable an aircraft. But it remains unclear whether the abrasive particles present a hazard to the jets outside the immediate area of the volcanic plume, once it is dispersed by high-altitude winds. “Until we could get a clear assessment, we were absolutely justified in taking the actions we took,” said Haines. “Otherwise, it would have been a case of keeping our fingers crossed and I don’t think anyone would have thanked us for that.” He welcomed easyJet’s testing of new tech-

nology as an important contribution from the industry to solve the problem. “I very much hope this is a sign that the industry is going to play its part ... rather than pretending the risk doesn’t exist,” he said. Fred Prata, the scientist behind the devices, has been developing the technology for some 20 years, carrying out tests near erupting volcanoes around the world. EasyJet plans to carry out its first test flight on an Airbus A340 test plane within two months. Depending on the results of those tests, it will then move to the wider trial on its own aircraft. — AP

Renault announces eco-friendly factory RABAT: The Renault factory at Tangiers in Morocco will reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 98 percent and become the first car factory in the world to use renewable energy, a Moroccan minister said yesterday. “Operational in 2012, this factory will be a zero carbon industrial site, with zero liquid industrial waste, thanks to a partnership between Morocco, Renault and the French environmental firm Veolia,” Industry Minister Ahmed Chami told a press conference. The Moroccan national electricity office will also be a partner in the project, officials said. “The impact on the environment of the Renault factory at Tangiers will be reduced to levels never attained by a chassis-building plant,” Renault president for the Euro-Mediterranean region Jacques Chauvet said. “CO2 emissions will be reduced by 98 percent, which is about 135,000 tons of CO2 avoided each year. No water used in the industrial process will be released into the natural environment,” he added. The factory will be electrically powered by renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, as well as hydroelectricity. The construction plant “will emit no liquid industrial waste and will cut its needs in water by 70 percent,” said Minister for Energy and the Environment Amina Benkhadra. “The Renault factory in Tangiers is going to revolutionize the domain of the automobile industry,” Chauvet said. The Renault Tangiers-Mediterranean industrial complex will begin operations at the start of 2012, with an initial capacity of 170,000 vehicles a year that will be expanded to 400,000 vehicles. — AFP



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mediterranean diet helps keep heart diseases at bay NEW YORK: Eating a Mediterranean-style diet can shield people from heart disease but it can also help heart patients stay healthy, according to research from Greece. A diet including lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, vegetable oils, low-fat dairy products, legumes, whole grains, and fish, has been shown to help shield people from heart disease and may also ward off certain cancers. But Dr Christina Chrysohoou of the University of Athens and her colleagues said less information was

available on whether the Mediterranean diet might be helpful for people who already have heart disease. To investigate, Chrysohoou and her team looked at 1,000 patients who had suffered heart attacks or severe chest pain while at rest or with only light exertion. They rated each patient on a scale of 0 to 55 based on how closely their eating matched the Mediterranean ideal. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found nearly half of the patients experienced a second heart-related event within two years

after their original hospital discharge. But patients with the most Mediterranean-style diets were at 31 percent lower risk of suffering another heart attack or experiencing chest pain during the first month after they were discharged from the hospital. They were only half as likely as those with the least Mediterranean eating habits to have another heartrelated event within a year, and nearly 40 percent less likely to experience repeat heart problems within two years. For every additional point on the 55-point

Mediterranean Diet Score, a person’s risk of having another heart-related event over the next two years fell by 12 percent, the researchers found. Patients with the most Mediterranean diets were also the least likely to experience reductions in the ability of the heart’s main pumping chamber to work at full capacity, as well as harmful structural changes to the heart known as cardiac remodeling. When the researchers looked at different components of the Mediterranean diet separately, they found

that vegetables and salad and nuts were the only foods that cut risk. People who ate vegetables and salad or nuts daily or weekly were at 20 percent lower risk of repeat heart problems within two years of their initial hospitalization compared to people who ate these foods monthly or less often. Based on the findings, Chrysohoou and her team concluded that strategies to reduce mortality and illness due to heart disease should include a “diet that contains the favorable characteristics of the Mediterranean diet.” — Reuters

Hormone patches safer for women High-dose patches and pills raise risk WASHINGTON: Women w ho w ant to use hormone replacement therapy may be less likely to have a stroke if they use low -dose patches instead of pills, Canadian researchers reported on Thursday.

Their study of British w omen show ed that those w ho used estrogen patches to control symptoms of menopause did not have any higher risk of stroke than w omen w ho did not use HRT.

AMNEVILLE: Two Harris’s Hawks chicks are pictured at the Amneville zoo, eastern France yesterday. — AFP

EU to permit nations to ban approved GM crops BRUSSELS: Individual EU nations will be free to ban genetically modified crops, even if they are deemed safe and approved, under rule changes being drawn up by Brussels to unblock the clearance process. EU Health Commissioner John Dalli, in charge of the emotive dossier, will hand over plans to national capitals and the EU parliament for their consideration next month, Green groups and Brussels sources said following a series of briefings. GMO supporters cite the benefits of growing crops with higher yields, more resistance to pests and disease, and requiring less fertilizer and pesticide. Opponents speak of ‘frankenfoods’ which will inevitably contaminate other crops and for which there can be no definitive evidence of their safety. While the European Commission would not confirm the plans, a spokesman said there were no immediate moves to authorize more GMO crops. Environmental group Friends of the Earth said there were two main planks to the planned rule changes, The first is “to allow member states full flexibility to ban GM crops,” with that right extended to regions within a country, a very important point in Germany and its substantially autonomous regions, or Laenders. The other proposed change is to guidelines for preventing crosspollination with normal, non-GM crops, something which is of major concern to both farmers and environmentalists. Under the new rules, EU nations would be obliged to prevent crosspollination but free to decide how to do so, leaving the possibility-not currently available-for governments to set however wide a boundary they think is necessary or desirable between different crops. Friends of the Earth “cautiously welcomed” the initiatives but warned that by seeking to end the impasse on the subject, Brussels could also be opening the door for pro-GM member states to cultivate more GM crops. “The public and environment will only be protected if the proposal is backed up by Europe-wide measures to prevent our food and feed from being contaminated,” said the group’s food and agriculture campaigner Adrian Bebb.

The issue, which is still being discussed in Brussels, is set to get a preliminary airing at a meeting of EU environment ministers next week, though may not come fully into effect for a couple of years given the approval and law changes required. The level of concern was demonstrated in March when the European Commission approved the cultivation of a type of genetically-modified potato, prompting an angry response from environmental campaign groups and two EU member governments. Austria said it was planning an immediate ban on cultivation, while Italy’s agriculture minister slammed the commission’s decision and vowed to defend “traditional agriculture and citizens’ health.” That was the first approval of genetically modified foods in Europe for 12 years and the protests came despite the fact that the Amflora potatoes developed by

German chemical giant BASF will not be for human consumption. Before the potato, MON 810, a strain of genetically modified maize made by US firm Monsanto, was the only GM plant allowed to be grown in Europe although some other GM maize types may be sold within the EU. Seven countries including France and Germany have banned MON 810 maize, citing contamination risks. Those bans had to be justified by the nations involved and authorized by Brussels, leaving plenty of room for the kind of conflict and delays the EU is seeking to avoid in future. Greenpeace expert Marco Contiero told AFP that his group welcomed the proposal to allow countries to ban GMOs but added that “we don’t want this proposal to be used to water down the current EU legislative system,” by lessening the safeguards required for the crops to be grown. — AFP

Low IQ increases men’s suicide risk, says study STOCKHOLM: Men with low IQs are more likely to attempt suicide, a Swedish study found, in what a researcher described yesterday as the first association between intellectual performance and suicide. The study was based on an analysis of some 1.1 million Swedish men whose intelligence quotients (IQ) were measured during conscription tests, at around the age of 18, and who were followed for an average of 24 years. When adjusting for age, the study published in the British Medical Journal found men with the lowest IQs were almost nine times as likely to be admitted to hospital for attempted suicide than men in the highest IQ groups. “What we found is, we can say, the first association between intellectual performance and suicide,” Finn Rasmussen of Stockholm’s Karolinska institute told AFP. “That means that the

higher the intelligence, the lower the risk of attempting suicide.” Rasmussen cautioned that the study did not follow women, and that the inverse association between IQ and risk of attempted suicide did not hold for people who had mental illnesses such as severe depression or schizophrenia. But he indicated his team believed the results of the study, although it followed only Swedish men, “could be generalized internationally, at least to the westernized societies.” Although Rasmussen said the study did not offer any short term solutions for significantly improving suicide prevention, it might be of “some interest (for doctors) to keep in mind that the risk (of attempting suicide) is higher among the people who have lower intelligence.” The study was carried out in collaboration with British and Australian researchers. — AFP

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, adds to a very slowly growing body of evidence that could rehabilitate the use of HRT, which plummeted in 2002 after the publication of the Women’s Health Initiative study, which found an increased risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, strokes and other health problems from hormone therapy. Sales of US market leader Wyeth’s combined estrogenprogestin therapy Prempro have fallen by about 50 percent since 2001 to around $1 billion a year. Wyeth is now owned by Pfizer. But many experts who studied HRT said there was some evidence that if women took a lower dose and if they took HRT by means other than a pill, the risks might not be as high. Samy Suissa of McGill University in Montreal and colleagues used Britain’s national medical database to pick out 15,700 women over 50 who had strokes and nearly 60,000 who had not. Women who had used lowdose transdermal patches to get their HRT had almost precisely the same risk of strokevery slightly less, in fact-than women who used no HRT. “I think that these are promising findings,” said Dr JoAnn Manson of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, who helped lead the Women’s Health Initiative and who was not involved in Suissa’s study. Suissa’s team found that 7.7 percent of stroke patients had been given a prescription for some form of HRT within the previous year of their stroke. And 6.9 percent of women who did not have a stroke got some form of HRT. “The risk of stroke was not increased with use of low estrogen dose patches compared with no use, whereas the risk was increased with high dose patches,” Suissa’s team wrote. HRT pills raised the risk of stroke by 25 percent to 30 percent, regardless of the formulation. High-dose patches raised the risk by 88 percent. Delivering low doses of hormones through the skin bypasses the liver and may reduce the whole-body effects, Suissa’s team said in their report. Menopause can cause serious symptoms, including debilitating hot flashes, sleep disturbances and a lack of energy. Women also become more susceptible to heart disease, osteoporosis and some cancers after menopause. Experts in HRT and menopause say women should be able to choose to use hormones to treat these symptoms but should take the lowest dose possible for the shortest possible time. Before 2002 HRT was regularly prescribed to prevent heart disease and osteoporosis but the experts now recommend against this. Manson said the ongoing Women’s Health Initiative study will look at different doses of hormones. Her team found two years ago that lowdose HRT pills did not raise the risk of stroke and said more study is needed to be sure. “If there was an option that didn’t raise the risk of stroke, that would be a tremendous breakthrough,” Manson said in a telephone interview. Makers of HRT patches include Novogyne, a joint venture of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp and Noven Pharmaceuticals Inc, which was acquired last year by Japan’s Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co Inc and Janssen-Cilag, part of Johnson & Johnson. — Reuters

MALANG: This combo photo shows a file TV grab (left) taken off Youtube showing “Sandi” smoking a cigarette, and the now four-year-old Sandi, aided by a teacher (right) playing with other children in a school in East Java. — AFP

Indonesia’s smoking boy to receive medical care JAKARTA: A two-year-old Indonesian boy who smokes about 40 cigarettes a day will have specialist treatment next week to wean him off his habit, officials said yesterday. Little Ardi Rizal became an Internet sensation and unwitting poster-boy for Indonesia’s failure to regulate smoking after a video of him greedily puffing on a cigarette appeared online last month. “The boy was able to stop smoking for about two hours after we distracted his attention with toys,” the chairman of the National Commission for Child Protection, Seto Mulyadi, told AFP. He said a multi-disciplinary team including a pediatrician and a psychiatrist would be brought in to treat Ardi next week. “I’m pretty sure that with serious treatment, the boy will be able to gradually quit this bad habit,” he said. The toddler from Sumatra island reportedly became a nicotine addict after his father gave him his first cigarette at just 18 months old. His parents say he throws tantrums and beats his head against a wall if denied cigarettes, but his father nonetheless insists he is “healthy”. The case has

UK scheme for MS drugs ‘a costly failure’: Experts LONDON: A scheme enabling multiple sclerosis patients to get expensive drugs paid for by Britain’s state-funded National Health System has been a “costly failure”, health experts and economists said yesterday. In a series of commentaries in The Lancet, health economists said the scheme had wasted an estimated 50 million pounds ($74 mn) a year since its 2002 launch and should now be abandoned. The drugs included in the scheme were Biogen Inc’s, Avonex, Bayer’s Betaseron, and Merck KGaA’s Rebif, as well as Copaxone from Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals. “The scheme was a success for the drug companies, who sold at close to full price to the NHS,” said James Raftery, a professor of health technology assessment at Southampton University. “For the NHS, however, the scheme can be judged only a costly failure.” Raftery said an assessment of the scheme in 2009 by its scientific advisory group, which included the drug firms, found that patients fared worse on the drugs than had been expected, suggesting the medicines were not cost effective. Yet the panel decided to continue with the project. The risk sharing scheme was set up by the government in 2002 to make disease-modifying multiple sclerosis drugs available on the NHS after the country’s health costs watchdog, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), ruled that they were not cost effective. Under the terms of the scheme, the government agreed to pay for the drugs on the NHS while research was carried out to assess their long-term cost effectiveness. The agreement was that the NHS would then gradually stop paying for the drugs if patients did not appear to be benefiting. In 2009, seven years after the scheme was set up, the first analysis of the data published in the British Medical Journal showed that patient outcomes were worse than predicted, but the scheme’s scientific advisory group said it was too soon to reduce prices without further analysis. Christopher McCabe, a professor of health economics at the University of Leeds, said in a separate analysis that the decision to delay a price review was not justified. “It is difficult to see how they can justify such an expensive divergence from the scheme rules,” he wrote. Both experts, whose commentaries were also backed by several colleagues, questioned the independence of the advisory group, which included patients, doctors and drug firms. McCabe added that if a proper assessment had been done after the first two years of the scheme, the NHS could have already saved around 250 million pounds ($369 million). But Alastair Compston a professor of neurology at Cambridge University, who helped set up the scheme, argued that although it had not been run entirely properly or adequately governed, it had helped patients. “Regardless of the scheme’s outcome, it has advanced the situation for people with multiple sclerosis,” he wrote. “Now that the principles of when and who to treat are better understood, more effective treatments can be developed.” — Reuters

highlighted the tobacco industry’s aggressive marketing to women and children in developing countries like Indonesia, where regulations are weak and many people do not know that smoking is dangerous. Another Indonesian child smoker, four-year-old Sandi Adi Susanto from Java island, caused a similar international stir when a video of him smoking and swearing went viral on the Internet earlier this year. Mulyadi said child welfare officials had succeeded in helping Sandi to cut back but he still smoked regularly. Cigarette consumption in the Southeast Asian archipelago of some 240 million people soared 47 percent in the 1990s, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Almost 70 percent of men over 20 years of age smoke and regular smoking among women almost tripled to 4.5 percent between 1995 and 2004, it said. Some 3.2 percent of three- to 15-year-olds are regular smokers, according to Indonesian figures. The WHO says about 400,000 Indonesians die every year from smoking-related illnesses. — AFP

Kellogg discards Rice Krispies health claims WASHINGTON: Cereal maker Kellogg Co has agreed to drop advertising claims that Rice Krispies will strengthen children’s immune systems. The Federal Trade Commission said said the company had agreed in February 2009 to stop claiming that its Frosted Mini Wheats were “clinically shown to improve kids’ attentiveness by nearly 20 percent.” In an advertising campaign that began in about July 2009, Kellogg began advertising on cereal boxes that Rice Krispies “now helps support your child’s immunity.” “What is particularly disconcerting to us is that at the same time that Kellogg was making promises to the commission regarding Frosted MiniWheats, the company was preparing to make problematic claims about Rice

Krispies,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz and Commissioner Julie Brill wrote in a statement. Kellogg said in a statement that it had “a long history of responsible advertising. “We stand behind the validity of our product claims and research, but we agreed to an order that covers those claims,” company spokeswoman Kris Charles said in an emailed statement. Kellogg Company had 2009 sales of nearly $13 billion in 180 countries worldwide. Its products include cereals, cookies, crackers, toaster pastries and cereal bars. Kellogg’s brands include Keebler, Nutri-Grain, Morningstar Farms, Famous Amos, Special K, All-Bran, Club and Kashi. A company representative could not immediately be reached for comment. — Reuters

N Korea claims ‘super drink’ breakthrough SEOUL: North Korea’s propaganda machine, taking time off from threatening war with South Korea, hailed yesterday the development of a “super drink” that can multiply brain cells and stop skin ageing. The anti-oxidation drink contains 60 kinds of “microelements” extracted from more than 30 species of plants, according to the communist state’s official news agency KCNA. “It, with effects of both preventive and curative treatment, helps improve mental and retentive faculties by multiplying brain cells,” KCNA said. The drink can also protect skin from wrinkles and black spots, and prevent common conditions such as heart dis-

ease by removing “acid effete matters”, it said. “It also makes skin fair.” The drink is a breakthrough by the state company Moranbong Carbonated Fruit Juice Joint Venture, which also makes fizzy water flavored with fruits such as apples, peaches and strawberries, KCNA said. It quoted a company manager as saying the drink has “proved efficacious among workers of such industrial establishments as thermal power station and smeltery and at medical institutions”. The miracle drink attracted “much interest from Chinese, German and other businessmen” at a trade fair in Pyongyang last month, the news agency said. — AFP

Saturday, June 5, 2010



US gets picky over what makes oil ‘extra virgin’ CARMEL VALLEY: Extra virgin, light, with lemon, unfiltered, cold-pressed: the variety of olive oil on most supermarket shelves is dazzling. But what does it all mean? These terms might be common cur rency among foodies and the farmer’s market crowd, but they have never been enforceable, or legally defined in the US - until now. The US Depar tment of Agriculture in April adopted scientifically verifiable standards for nomenclature such as “virgin” or “extra virgin.” They will start enforcing them in October, just in time for the harvest of trees that are now in full flower. The definitions will differentiate cheaper impostors from the best oil: those cold-pressed, pure, golden-hued products that lead connoisseurs to talk of grass tones, apple or nut flavors, and peppery finishes, in a language usually reserved for wines. “It will put an end to marketing terms that are confusing to the consumer, such as light, extra light language that really doesn’t meant too much,” said Patricia Darragh, executive director of the Califor nia Olive Oil Council, a trade association of producers responsible for most US-grown olive oil.

The standards will also conform to international and trade group definitions, reassuring buyers they can be sure of what’s behind that fancy label before they plunk down $15, $20 or more for a bottle. “You have so much to choose from, it’s good to know there will be a way to weed out the masses,” said shopper Katheryn Kealey, 23, who stopped in the olive oil aisle of an upscale San Francisco supermarket to read the fine print on a jar. The regulations also were welcomed by Dean Griggs, whose Tres Osos olive oil won Best in Show in the COOC’s competition this year. But when he talks of his oil - made mostly of taggiasca olives from the western Italian coast and bottled by Griggs himself in small batches - he doesn’t use the language of chemical composition. “You put it under your nose, the first thing you notice is grass,” he said. “You pull it back over your tongue, there’s a little fruitiness, a little nuttiness with that grass. It finishes off, you get that pepper burn.” Years before the federal standards, the California Olive Oil Council adopted their own mandatory quality test for its members in 2003. To get their seal of

approval, an oil purporting to be “extra virgin” had to meet requirements including an acidity test and a taste test. Soon after that, the association petitioned the USDA to adopt a similar approach to protect their boutique products from competition with refined olive oils of lesser quality, or even oils altered with cheaper products like hazelnut or sunflower seed oil. The last time the USDA visited the issue was right after World War II, when they graded olive oils with old-fashioned terms like “choice” or “fancy,” decades before California’s olive oil industry took off. Almost all US-grown olive oil comes from California, and production expands about 20 percent per year. “There has been a concern for some time about the quality and truthfulness of oil brought into the United States,” said Darragh. “In the absence of a federal standards, some unscr upulous importers have flooded the market.” Olive oil fetches a higher price than nut or seed oils, but is far more costly and labor intensive to produce. Adulteration scandals in the 1990s led the European Union, which produces the majority of the world’s supply, to establish an inves-

tigative task force to handle the matter. It also hurt the developing US industry, said Darragh. The new regulations provide specific chemical parameters of purity and freshness that provide a basis for enforcement. They include indicators for fatty acid composition, which helps separate olive oils from seed oils, and the ultraviolet light absorption, which indicates the oil’s state of preservation, as well as a taste test by experts. Rayne Pegg, an administrator with the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, said the standards establish “a common language for trade while providing consumers more assurance about the quality of olive oil that they purchase.” Local oil producer Griggs has had trouble breaking even, though he loves what he does. “This is my soul right here,” he says of the rolling hills of Monterey shale, where olives and wine grapes were grown within reach of Pacific Ocean’s cooling breeze. The standards will ease the pressure on price and make it a little easier to have a presence in the market, Griggs said. “Now it’ll be a level playing field,” he said. “I’ll still put out the same product, but I won’t have to compete with garbage that’s out there.” — AP

CARMEL VALLEY: In this photo, olive grower Dean Griggs holds up olive oil he produces in California. — AP



he ‘Twilight’ actress admits she is constantly getting phone calls from a mysterious person and although she has her suspicions who it is, she won’t let anyone else dictate how she leads her life. She told Britain’s Elle magazine: “I have one crazy stalker. It’s not worth changing my number for, I’m


Saturday, June 5, 2010

pretty certain that it’s some girl who got my number from someone I went to school with who’s like, ‘I’ve got Kristen Stewart’s number.’ “ Despite her worldwide fame, Kristen - who is dating her ‘Twilight’ costar Robert Pattinson - tries to live as normal life as possible but admits it’s sometimes hard because she is

always in the public eye. She said: “It’s so weird, that you have to be worried about seeing things. You want to be excited about something, normal people can be excited about their lives, and I am, too, but it’s such a different thing. It comes out as entertainment for other people and that makes me want to throw up.”

Heidi Klum launches maternity range he ‘A-Team’ actor - who is currently dating Renee Zellweger - insists he never used to receive much female attention when he was younger because of his unconventional appearance. He explained to Details magazine: “I never lived the life of ‘Oh, you’re so good-looking.’ People thought I was a girl when I was little, because I looked like a girl - maybe because my


mother would keep my hair really long in a bowl cut. “I was in a coffee shop once and the waitress was like, ‘What do you want, Miss?’ I was 10 or 11 - the worst age to have that happen. I had a jean jacket on and a Metallica pin. I thought I was really cool.” The 34-year-old star also branded speculation he dated Jennifer Aniston last year as “crazy”, insisting they have only ever been

he No Doubt singer - who has her own clothing range L.A.M.B. - is a huge fan of her rocker husband Gavin Rossdale’s look and he gives her great ideas about what clothes to design next. She said: “He has such great style. I get ideas from a lot of his clothes for the women’s clothing line, because I like that kind of mixture. I use a lot of stuff in his closet. I’ll be, like, ‘Ooh, we should do a girl version of this!’” The 40-year-old star, known for her eccentric style, admits she has always been obsessed with fashion since before she was famous. Gwen said: “It’s been the same my whole life. I made so many clothes growing up and I used to do my own costumes. Fashion gets me so excited.” Her latest range comes out later this year and the ‘Sweet Escape’ singer says all the items in the collection are things she would wear. She told Britain’s InStyle magazine: “I wanted to make a collection I was really going to wear. I was into grey, black and white, with just touches of color, like yellow here and there. “And a lot of drapery and slouchy stuff and some tailoring - and looks that were a bit 80s, but also modern. It’s about what I would wear, to

friends. He said: “I’m reading about me taking Jennifer Aniston to my Bel Air mansion and having a candlelit dinner, and I was like, ‘That’s crazy. Never happened. Despite being happy to talk about his relationship with the ‘The Bounty Hunter’ star, Bradley was not so forthcoming about his current girlfriend. When asked about the ‘Cold Mountain’ actress, he replied: “I just can’t.”


he supermodel - who raises four children with husband Seal - looked stunning in a figure-hugging white and yellow tunic minidress as she proudly showed off her Lavish and Loved collections for firms A Pea In The Pod and Motherhood Maternity. Heidi said she wanted to create the collections so women had something fashionable to wear during pregnancy, saying: “I experienced fashion challenges during my four pregnancies and combined my knowledge of what works in terms of style, comfort and practicality to create these lines. “They are all about making you feel beautiful inside and out; being


pregnant shouldn’t stop you from being fashionable and feeling great about your changing body. It’s an exciting journey.” Heidi recently revealed she wants six-year-old daughter Leni to help design her clothing lines as she comes up with some good designs. Heidi - who also has sons, Henry, four, and Johan, three, and sevenmonth-old daughter Lou - said: “My daughter Leni was there when I designed the floral pattern for some of the fabrics. She was like, ‘Wow, so many of them.’ I’ve been thinking that maybe one day I’ll have her create a pattern for me too.”

Jessica Biel wants to live in a boat he ‘Valentine’s Day’ actress - who is dating Justin Timberlake - would love to go exploring around the world to indulge in her passion for archaeology. She said: “I would like to sail around some part of the world and live on a boat. I have a love of Egyptology. I would like to go there and see the pyramids. As a kid I wanted to be Indiana Jones and dig for bones and find mummies.” Jessica can next be seen in action adventure movie ‘The A-Team’ - in which she plays Charisa Sosa - and admits training for the movie made her fall in love with guns. She told America’s Glamour magazine: “I had this really sexy 9-millimeter Beretta, and I trained a lot with an M4 machine gun. Before, I felt very scared of guns. But you learn about them and then you feel capable, and it becomes an empowering experience.” The 28-year-old beauty feels she has a lot in common with her character, but believes her big screen alter ego has a harder edge. She joked: “She’s a hardcore adrenaline junkie. I’m also an adrenaline junkie. I’m a romantic adrenaline junkie!” — Bang Showbiz


he ‘Bad Romance’ hitmaker - who is known for her bizarre headpieces - feels much safer when she is able to hide behind a big accessory and thinks they help her deal with fame better. She said: “The hat is a nice barrier. The bigger the better. For me, it keeps the devil away. I always like when I have a hat big enough to keep people away at pretentious parties. It’s protection. Everything happened so quickly for me. Suddenly the whole world is watching you and you just want to put a giant hat on to protect yourself.” The outrageous star whose real name is Stefani Germanotta - also insisted her performing persona is no different to her real-life personality. She explained in an interview with “The biggest misconception about me is that I’m a character. Or Gaga is separate from Stefani. We are one and the same, there is no difference. “I am exactly who I say I am, and exactly who you say I am.” Gaga also spoke about her “responsibility” to lead her fans in a positive way. She explained: “Particularly with my next album, I’m much more self-aware of my spiritual and leadership connection to my little monsters and the world in the way that any artist is a leader in that way. I am very against judging any particular kind of personal people or thing or idea. I think it is very important to be free and full of non-judgment. I guess I would say that is how I religiously and spiritually lead my fans is in that way. I am OK with that responsibility.’


By Shilpa Jamkhandikar ri Lanka is hoping to use the glitz of a Bollywood awards ceremony to emerge from the devastation of a quarter century war and re-build its image among global travelers as a serene, sun-bathed Indian Ocean island. The tear drop-shaped island is hosting this year’s International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, billed as India’s Oscars, and pumping in money and resources for a host of Indian stars. Sri Lanka has just emerged from a bloody war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, that killed over 100,000 people and ravaged large parts in the country. “IIFA is a very good vehicle to help us rebuild our image post-war,” Dileep Mudadeniya, managing director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, told




Saturday, June 5, 2010

Reuters. The three-day IIFA celebrations, which has fashion shows and a celebrity cricket match, ends today with the actual awards night. “Bollywood and its stars are recognised in this country as well as all over the world, and the kind of media exposure we will get during the event is unprecedented.” The award ceremony has met with some protests by Sri Lanka’s ethnic Tamil minority which alleges government mistreatment and criticizes the way it handled the closing stages of a 25-year-long war. Some 300,000 Tamil civilians were displaced by armed conflict, and subsequently detained in government camps, Amnesty International said in a report last month. But organizers say people are trying to put the war behind them and looking forward to rebuilding the nation. “We are investing as

much as $4 million on infrastructure and facilities for IIFA, but these can be used later as well,” Mudadeniya said. “We hope that the event will help us get international exposure, and double the number of Indian tourists who visit Sri Lanka, to 200,000 by the year 2012.” Special trains are carrying passengers from the airport to the city centre, while Sri Lankan airlines has hired aircraft with business class seats from Europe especially for the event. Fans were seen crowding the Cinnamon Grand hotel in the heart of Colombo to catch a glimpse of the Bollywood stars. “IIFA is an opportunity for us ... We have no problems in our country now and are ready to welcome everyone who comes here,” Sri Lanka’s deputy minister for economic development, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana, told Reuters. — Reuters

By Sonia Grezzi sinara has come a long way since its dark days as a top Italian Mafia prison and the tiny island is now a national park where rare and occasionally lovelorn white donkeys gambol free. The donkeys are only to be found on Asinara, which covers barely 52 square kilometers (20 square miles) off the coast of Sardinia, and on a few small islands off the coast of north Africa. Local legend has it that a French king on his way back from Africa left a few of the beasts on the Mediterranean island before continuing his journey. “Italy has seven species of donkey, of which two are on Asinara, the only place with white donkeys: this is a priceless heritage,” Pierpaolo Congiatu of the Asinara National Park ( tells AFP. Two kinds of donkey share the island: around 250 grey in the northern half, and around 150 white donkeys in the south. In the middle, there are a few “mixed” families. Hikers treading the all-but-deserted island’s narrow paths, accompanied by a park guide, will see the strangely beautiful animals which are “more fragile” than their grey cousins, says Congiatu. But many of the albinos “are physically and psychologically depressed because of the male-female imbalance” whereby many males, who by far outnumber the females, are unable to find a partner, laments Congiatu. Violently-torn donkey ears are a common


Photo shows wild donkeys on the island of Asinara, Italy. — AFP

Indian Bollywood personalities Kunal Kapoor (left) and Bipasha Basu (right) attend a cricket match between Indian Bollywood actors and Sri Lankan cricketers during the three day International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards events in Colombo yesterday. — AFP

sight, scars from the fights these peaceful-looking animals get into in the hope of conquering their heart’s desire. The island’s arid coast is spotted with euphorbia and other brightly colored wildflowers, some very rare. The snaking footpath leads past some Roman ruins, whose peace is disturbed only by passing flocks of sheep and goat. Asinara, about 180 miles (300 kilometers) west of mainland Italy, has but one human inhabitant, a former guard at the prison who decided to remain on the island and pursue a future as a sculptor when the prison closed in 1998. The artist, who had the confidence of top mafiosi including the infamous Sicilian boss Toto Riina, known as The Beast, prefers not to speak to journalists. In the 1980s, judges Giovanni Falcone and Paole Borsellino took up residence on the island for a few months to prepare the 1986-1987 trial of hundreds of mafia suspects held from 1986-1987. Both judges were murdered in 1992 — Falcone in a bombing organised by Riina in revenge for what Italians called the “Maxi Trial”. Today, besides the donkeys, Asinara is also home to a sea turtle rehabilitation centre. Every year, around a dozen injured turtles, mostly maimed by human fishing, are taken care of by biologists. “We currently have four visitors: Anita, Anna, Polly and Green, a green turtle, which we haven’t seen around here for 20 years,” says biologist Giuliana Azzori, avoiding mention of another kind of island resident unseen for years. — AFP

Review W

hen a series of books is as popular as Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, there is no question whether readers will buy the final installment. But will they be satisfied? It is a layered question, much like Larsson’s books. The series follows characters Lisbeth Salander, an antisocial computer hacker in her late 20s, and Mikael Blomkvist, a Swedish journalist. They met in book one (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) when Salander helped Blomkvist solve a murder. Their friendship became sexual and Blomkvist’s casualness broke Salander’s heart. In the second book, “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” Salander wants nothing to do with Blomkvist. She goes into hiding after being accused of murder. “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” begins with Salander being critically injured. She spends part of the book in the hospital and then goes on trial. Meanwhile, Blomkvist goes to work to prove her innocence. The best parts of the novel are when they interact, which is mostly by postings on an Internet message board (using aliases, of course). Salander still wants Blomkvist out of her life, but he is more determined than ever to piece together her back story. Larsson’s books always have greater evils at hand. In “Hornet’s Nest,” a secret government unit is introduced. At this point, the writing gets a bit complicated, droll and hard to follow. Readers need to pay attention for

Hijuelos writes ‘Mambo Kings’ back story O scar Hijuelos’ prequel to his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love,” starts out innocently enough. Actually, it ends innocently, too. And most of what’s in between is a meditation on innocence. The innocence of Cuba before Fidel Castro; the innocence of a melancholy musician’s soul; the innocence of a teenage girl who grew up poor and neglected and mostly alone. But the novel is less a narrative than a lyrical incantation to sex. Intoned against the backdrop of pre-revolutionary Havana’s famous beaches and infamous nightlife, it retraces the life of the voluptuous Maria of the title. We suspect even as she leaves the rural valley where she was raised, a hollow with no schools or plumbing, that she will be a heartbreaker. It is inevitable, because of the task Hijuelos set for himself, to tell the back story of a character whose role in the Mambo Kings is unambiguous. The memory of Maria plagues the pure Nestor Castillo, and it is about her that he writes the song that briefly makes him and his brother famous. Melancholy Nestor and beautiful Maria had great sex and lots of it. But she led him on, rejected him and may be to blame for worse. Even on the ride to Havana to find her future, the teenage Maria gets credit for a man’s frustration. For the driver who picks her up, a pig hauler with a big heart and a “gargoyle” face, it is an achievement to leave her virginity intact. The emotions and

Olga Vagiatchva of the Russian department of Sotheby’s auction house, poses with a Faberge jeweled and enameled gold and hardstone flower study in London, yesterday. The flower, circa 1900, which was given by Queen Alexandra to her friend Lady Iveagh and is expected to fetch £200,000 ($292,281, euro 239,716) to £250,000 ($365,351, euro 299,645) in Sotheby’s Summer sales of Russian Art this month. — AP

the depth of character that might have occupied another novelist, especially a woman, were not on the bill Hijuelos set out to fill. Instead, Hijuelos is imagining what all Cubans must have longed for, even decades after they fled the harsh realities that befell their island when Castro took power. “Beautiful Maria of My Soul” is an evocative love note to a nation that may never have existed as well as to a woman. — AP

x-Baywatch star Pamela Anderson has appealed to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin to ban imports of baby seal pelts, a newspaper reported yesterday. The prime minister’s apparent “fondness” for animals prompted Anderson’s plea, the spokeswoman for animal rights group PETA wrote in a letter cited by the Izvestia daily. “My friends at PETA and I were happy to see a recent slideshow spotlighting your fondness for animals,” the Canadian actress said. “Since you’ve already banned the slaughter of baby seals in Russia, I’m writing to ask that you also ban seal-pelt imports from my native Canada, where almost all seals who are killed are three months of age or younger.” While Putin has not yet seen the letter, he is “very sensitive” to this cause, his spokesman


it all to make sense. Although there is resolution in “Hornet’s Nest,” it moves at a slower pace and has fewer suspenseful moments than the two previous novels, making it the weakest of the three. It still is going to be a difficult story for fans to swallow. Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004 at age 50. He left behind the manuscripts of three books and had an outline completed for a fourth. Readers wanting to know more should research Larsson’s life and career, which have become synonymous with conspiracy theories since his death. In Sweden, the three books have been adapted into films. Hollywood is working on its own version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” directed by David Fincher. — AP

Dmitry Peskov told the paper. Russia last year banned the hunting of baby whitecoat seals after Putin condemned the “bloody practice”. Better known in the West for pushing a muscular foreign policy and tightening control over Russia’s politics, Putin has shown compassion for wildlife and nature. He voiced concern over the fate of polar bears when he helped scientists put a tracker on a 230-kilo (506-pound) bear on an Arctic trip in April. Last October he was shown cuddling a tiger cub he received as a birthday gift. Many countries have banned the large-scale hunting of whitecoat seals following protests by environmental groups. Harp seals, prized for their snow-white fur, are still prey to poachers and hunting off the coasts of Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia. — AFP

By Mehdi Lebouachera he Atlas film theatre in central Baghdad is a shadow of its former self-its red seats are badly torn and white neon lights flicker constantly, stopping only when a power cut turns them off entirely. Its clients fill a handful of seats in the massive dusty hall. The world over, cinema is associated with glitz and glamour but not so in Iraq where the few remaining theatres are largely empty and downtrodden, serving clients accused of seeking Western “perversions”. “Cinema is dead in Iraq,” said Abu Ahmed, one of just 15 men who turned up to watch an eight-year-old French film, “Irreversible,” starring Italian actress Monica Bellucci. “Look, there’s no one in the room. In the ‘90s, the Atlas used to be packed,” he said, watching the first scenes of a movie that was judged disturbing by many Western viewers and would be considered offensive and against Islamic values by the vast majority of Iraqis. “Now, the only people who come are the unemployed and those with time to kill,” the 52-year-old civil servant added. “Me? I came here because I enjoy movies about the police.” Abu Ahmed declined to give his real name, a sign of the negative connotations of visiting the cinema in Iraq, where strict interpretations of Islam have been on the increase since the 2003 US-led invasion. The Atlas itself carries faded posters that would likely spur the anger of many a religious conservative. An advertisement for the nearly decade-old “Vanilla Sky” features Cameron Diaz in a skimpy swimsuit, while the poster for “Irreversible” shows Bellucci wearing a wet T-shirt, exposing her breasts. The films themselves are a far cry from the quality which cinema-goers in most of the world would expect. In place of high-definition images and surround sound, Iraqi cinemas run grainy, flickering images and crackly sound. Theatre owner Saad Hashim Ahmed explained the discrepancy. The video being projected on screen was a poor-quality two-dollar pirated DVD bought from a Baghdad market, and tickets were also cheap, at just 1,000 Iraqi dinars (90 cents) per seat.


‘Cinema is dead’ “A 35mm copy in Egypt costs 20,000 dollars,” said the

53-year-old man with grey hair and moustache. “We just do not have the money.” “Cinema is dead!” he moaned in a voice betraying his desperate efforts to keep the Atlas open. “Iraqis have lost contact with the cinema, they are not used to it anymore.” According to Ahmed, the downfall of Iraqi cinemas-just three are open in Baghdad today, compared to 25 in the capital and 30 more nationwide before the invasion-can be put down to the lack of security. “After the fall of Saddam Hussein, the security situation deteriorated,” he said. “After that, we had sectarian war. Every Iraqi family has fallen victim to this, so how can they go to the cinema?” Another cinema goer, who did not want to be named, pinned the blame on another development in the aftermath of the invasion. “People just watch television, they don’t go out,” the man said. Post-Saddam Iraq has witnessed a massive growth in satellite television, with countless homes planting dishes and accessing hundreds of previously-unavailable channels from the region and around the world. On the widely-made allegation in Iraq that cinemas are the haunt of voyeurs out to see nudity or of homosexuals, he replied: “Iraq is a tribal society. People are not used to films here.” Fuad Al-Bayati and Thaer Al-Hajj Mohammed, two Iraqi film producers who grew up in Baghdad, are out to change that. Last year, Bayati and Mohammed bought the Semiramis, close to the Atlas in central Baghdad’s Karrada district, and hope to restore it to its former glory of decades gone by. In the 1960s and 1970s, the building was a hub for culture and was known for its screenings of Egyptian and European films. “Iraqis are very cultured,” Mohammed insisted. “Twenty years ago, right here, we could watch French films starring Alain Delon, Catherine Deneuve and Yves Montand.” “Kids and families are eager to return to the cinema,” said Mohammed, who together with his business partner wants to target young families by putting on performances of comedy theatre. “They can see that our theatre is respectable and clean, and we hope they will begin coming to see films in the evening,” with night-time security far improved from the dark days of 2006 and 2007, the parttime actor added. — AFP

Two Iraqi men are seen inside a cinema in central Baghdad, one of the last five theaters still open in Iraq. — AFP

14 This file photo shows Dutch model Doutzen Kroes as she arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala in New York. — AP

SPECTRUM By Samantha Critchell outzen Kroes might not fit the mold of a top model. She’s a jeans-and-T-shirt girl. She likes - and eats - bread. She wasn’t discovered in a remote place by a famous scout or photographer. And at 25, she has curves that have kept her off a lot of high fashion runways. But somehow, none of that matters. Kroes ranked No 5 this year on the Forbes list of top-earning models. She’s most recognized as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, the brand’s top tier of models, a spokeswoman for L’Oreal and the former face of Calvin Klein Eternity. “My life has always been like I’m in a bubble and it’s floating and it goes in the right direction,” Kroes says.


Sri Lankan-born Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez (left) and Sri Lanka cricket team captain Kumar Sangakkara (right) display designs. — AFP

Indian models display designs at IIFA Rocks, a fashion show starting off the three day International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards events in Colombo late on June 3, 2010. Many Bollywood actors are in Sri Lanka to attend the glitzy Bollywood event in Sri Lanka despite a boycott called by the Tamil cinema industry. — AFP

“I don’t want to interrupt it.” It was Kroes, a Dutch native, who got the ball - or bubble - rolling. As a teenager, she saw a magazine photo of a model and she thought to herself, “She has beautiful hair, beautiful makeup, a beautiful dress, and I thought I’d like to look like that one day.” Her sister took photos and Kroes sent them off to a modeling agency in Amsterdam, a place she rarely visited as a self-described “country girl.” Kroes’ passion until then had been competitive speed skating. Other than her sister, no one knew about her new high-fashion ambition. “I didn’t tell anybody that I sent the pictures because I’d be embarrassed if I didn’t get the job,” she says. Apparently she didn’t need to worry with her long blond hair, blue eyes and Brigitte Bardot look. She

Saturday, June 5, 2010

relocated to New York within a year. Kroes has a “modern style,” describes L’Oreal’s international general manager Vianney Derville, who also says the model is “blessed with an excellent sense of professionalism and a natural elegance.” On most days, you’ll still find her in jeans, T-shirt and flat shoes, but she likes stepping it up for a night out. At last month’s Costume Institute Gala Benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Kroes was the date of designer Zac Posen, wearing a princess-worthy blue gown that they collaborated on. For the Cannes Film Festival a few days later, she wore a glamorous Grecian-style gown with a plunging neckline by Roberto Cavalli. Next week, she’ll present the popular-vote award at the Council of Fashion Designers of America

Hollywood-style awards show. Kroes is outspoken about her feminine, curvy figure and how it’s cost her jobs. She was a panelist for the CFDA’s round-table discussion about too-skinny models and says she hasn’t done as much runway work as she’d like because she doesn’t always fit the sample size. “I have to work really hard. My body - I have a voluptuous body. I am not one of those skinny girls. I like to enjoy life,” she says. Her shape has served her well when it comes to Victoria’s Secret. Still, in the lead up to the big Victoria’s Secret runway show she’ll temporarily give up the bread, cheese and chocolate that she loves. “I am a totally healthy girl that eats but eats in moderation and I take care of myself.” — AP

Bollywood actor Salman Khan (left) and actress Seema Khan display designs. — AFP


Saturday, June 5, 2010


Exiles, Hong Kongers break silence on Tiananmen HONG KONG: Exiled student leaders, Hong Kong citizens and Taiwan’s president yesterday challenged China’s silence on the 21st anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown with tributes outside the mainland and on the Internet. Tens of thousands of people held aloft white candles at a large park in the former British colony of Hong Kong, which enjoys freedom of speech as part of its special semiautonomous status. Democracy activists laid a wreath at a makeshift monument dedicated to the Tiananmen victims, bowing three times in line with traditional Chinese mourning customs. “Hong Kong people have the right to voice their opinion and this is much better than the mainland, where people are not allowed to say anything. I hope Beijing will at least see that Hong Kong people want to right the wrong,” said 62-year-old businessman Lee Sum, one of the estimated 113,000 that police say attended. “I came here today in the hope that the next generation will be aware of this issue. We will do anything to help, even though we are not optimistic that Beijing will take heed,” said 27-year-old Fay Liu, who works for a nongovernmental organization. In Tokyo, former student leader Wu’er Kaixi stormed into the grounds of the Chinese Embassy, but was quickly arrested by Japanese police, according to local news reports. The now-Taiwanese citizen said in a prerecorded video that he wanted to return home so he could lobby Chinese

HONG KONG: People raise candles during a candlelight vigil at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park yesterday, to mark the 21st anniversary of the June 4th military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Beijing. — AP

Trade flourishes as Syria befriends old foe Turkey Continued from Page 1 They’re no longer Ottoman, but a development model for the Arab East,” said Abdelqader Al-Deiri, a Syrian businessman who now buys restaurant equipment from Turkey instead of Europe. “Transport costs are lower, but Turkish goods do not compete on price alone. They make high quality,” added Deiri, who often vacations in Turkey. His eight-year-old son is learning Turkish. “We have to admit that the Turks make better sweets than us. The pistachios and butter are better, so is the workmanship,” he said, munching on a baklava slice from Gaziantep. Viewing Syria as a gateway to the Middle East, Turkey has moved in recent years to solve old disputes with Arab governments while becoming more critical toward Israel. Ankara mediated indirect Syria-Israel peace talks that were broken off when Israel attacked the Gaza Strip in 2008. “Syria is an important country as a growing market, a promising economic partner, plus it has an important place in regional issues,” Turkish ambassador Omer Onhon said. “So it’s only natural that our relations have improved.” Yet the two countries, on opposing sides in the Cold War, came to the brink of conflict in 1998 over Syrian support for the PKK, a separatist Turkish Kurd guerrilla group. Work on demining the 800 km border began only two years ago. Syria previously complained that Turkish upstream dams had worsened its water shortage. It long upheld a territorial claim against Turkey, which was awarded the

province of Alexandretta (Iskenderun) by France in 1939 when Syria was under French rule. Syrian maps still show the border province as part of Syria, but the government has indicated that a solution is possible. Under Western pressure, Turkey has expanded the rights of its Kurdish minority in recent years, although clashes with the PKK continue. Syria has kept its own one million Kurds on a tight rein, denying citizenship to a substantial number of them. The easing of Syrian-Turkish trade restrictions, however, is helping revive Aleppo, which has a big Kurdish population. The once-cosmopolitan entrepot had been a prime casualty of the decades of border tensions that cut the city off from its natural hinterland in what is modernday Turkey. Turkish businessmen fill Aleppo hotels, eager to sell consumer goods to Syrians starved of them under the country’s previous socialist-style economic policies. Joint ventures, mostly in jeans and textiles, with Turkish companies make up half of the $650 million investments at the nearby Sheikh Najar industrial zone, according to official data, but overall Turkish investment in Syria remains miniscule. “Syria is a truly virgin market for us,” said Bilge Pakis, an engineer at Turkish waterpark specialist Polin, which operates in 70 countries. Syrian presidential aide Hassan Turkmani said ties with Turkey had helped Damascus overcome Western attempts to isolate it, but acknowledged the challenges in befriending a powerhouse with an economy 10 times as big as Syria’s. Turkish

exports to Syria, ranging from construction material to white goods and electronics, rose to $1.4 billion in 2009 from $1.1 billion the previous year. Syrian exports in return, mostly of oil, almost halved to $328 million in the same period. “Syria has the potential and if we can learn from the Turkish experience and adopt the technology we can become competitive,” Turkmani said. The burgeoning relationship with Turkey may also have encouraged Syria to snub an economic deal with the European Union that could have forced the government, controlled by the Baath Party since 1963, to discuss its treatment of political prisoners and reforms to the legal system. Syria cited interference in internal affairs and potential economic damage as reasons for refusing to sign the deal last year. But not everyone sees this as a good thing. “What we would have lost to the European Union we are now losing to Turkey,” one Syrian businessman said. Last year the two countries signed 50 protocols ranging from energy to transport, which will consolidate Turkey’s push. Turkish officials, keen to see Syria ease container truck congestion at the border, say progress has been slow. “Trade has been to our advantage. But more Turkish investments will come and Syrian labor is starting to go to Turkey,” one of the officials said. Syrian businessman Fahed Tfenkji said Syrian companies could not rely only on lower labor costs to attract Turkish partners. “A Turkish company comes and is pleased with the operation for the first six months,” he said. “But unfortunately the Syrian partner often cannot sustain the quality.” — Reuters

his wife, children, grandchildren and parents. He survived because he stayed late at work. “I should have come home early,” Faruk said, sobbing. “Maybe I could have saved some of them.” Fire official Abdus Salam said firefighters were delayed because their vehicles couldn’t fit through the narrow streets and there were no hydrants or other sources of water. Firefighters and residents carried victims to hospitals on three-wheeled rickshaws as relatives wailed. The state-run Dhaka Medical College Hospital was overwhelmed with burn victims. Burn unit chief Shamanta Lal Sen said it was the worst disaster he had seen in his 40-year career. His hospital division struggled to

care for the casualties with available beds for only about 25 people. Hospital authorities appealed to the public for donations of blood to treat the injured, some in critical condition. Bangladesh will hold a day of national mourning today when flags will be lowered to half-staff and special prayers will be recited at places of worship across the country. In 2007, a blaze in an 11story building in central Dhaka housing two TV stations and a newspaper killed six people, including several who jumped to their deaths from the burning offices. Others were rescued from the rooftop by firefighters using ropes and steel ladders. — AP

The WHO has refused to identify committee members, arguing that they must be shielded from industry pressure. On Thursday, WHO head Margaret Chan announced-based on recommendations from the emergency committee-that the pandemic-level alert would be kept in place despite mounting expectations of a downgrade. While outbreaks have largely disappeared in the northern hemisphere, new cases of A(H1N1) influenza were expected in the coming weeks south of the equator, she said. “The WHO’s credibility has been badly damaged,” BMJ editor Fiona Godlee commented in an editorial. To repair that damage, the global health body must reveal the membership and any conflicts of interest of its emergency committee, and develop “stricter rules of engagement with industry that keep com-

mercial influence away from its decision making,” she said. A WHO spokesman responded to the BMJ report in general terms, but did not comment on the committee set up last year. “Declarations of interest are submitted by all experts who attend WHO expert committee meetings, these were requested at meetings going back as far as we know into the dim and distant past,” said Gregory Haertl. In April, WHO formed its own panel of outside experts to probe accusations that the agency had overreacted or was tainted by commercial interests. This report should be finished and released “without delay or defensive comment,” Godless said. The Council of Europe assessment, prepared by British Labor Party deputy Paul Flynn, will be reviewed in plenary session toward the end of the month. — AFP

Dhaka fire kills 117 Continued from Page 1 The building was quickly engulfed by fire, and the guests tried to run outside but found themselves trapped as the blaze engulfed the gate of the five-story building. At least 15 of Gulzar’s guests and family members died. “Why me, Allah? What wrong have I committed?” Gulzar, 50, cried as he sat in front of rows of corpses covered with white shrouds on the road outside his burned apartment. Gulzar’s daughter, Runa Aktar, survived because she was at a beauty parlor to prepare for the ceremony. Mohammad Faruk, who lived nearby, lost all 16 family members -

Pandemic or panic? Continued from Page 1 least one expert on the secret, 16member “emergency committee” formed last year to advise the WHO on whether and when to declare a pandemic received payment during 2009 from GSK. Announcing that swine flu had become a global pandemic automatically triggered latent contracts for vaccine manufacture with half-a-dozen major pharmaceutical companies, including GSK. “If authors of WHO guidance which promoted the use of certain drugs were being paid at the same time by the makers of those drugs ... that is reprehensible and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” Chris Del Mar, a member of the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, was quoted as saying in the BMJ report.

Aussie diners ‘eat up iPad as menu’ C o n t i n u e d f ro m Pa g e 1 An iPad application developed ahead of the tactile device’s launch allows diners at the 50-seat restaurant to browse the menu-complete with photographs and tasting notes-with a flick of a finger. Order a steak and the application asks how you would like the meat

cooked, and placing your order can be d o n e w i t h t h e p re s s o f a b u t t o n . Planned features include pop-up boxes that will suggest wines to match meals, a n d s t o c k - c o n t ro l m e c h a n i s m s t o delete sold-out items from the menu. “Hotels used to be cutting-edge food and beverage,” Simpson said. “We are trying to bring the pizzazz back.” Food

and beverage manager Fareid Taheri said the menu had been well received. “It’s something to play with while you order,” he said. “With a menu, you don’t really know what you’re getting,” lunch customer David Wisemantel said y e s t e rd a y. “ I w o u l d b e f a r m o re inclined to order... if I knew what it looked like.” — AFP

leaders to openly discuss the 1989 military action. “Today, I take this action to go back to China to continue to press the Chinese government for dialogue - even if this dialogue has to take place in a courtroom,” he said. Wu’er, who rose to fame during the Tiananmen protests by haranguing thenChinese Premier Li Peng during a televised meeting, was No 2 on China’s list of 21 wanted student leaders. The exile who topped the list remembered the dead by hosting an online discussion on his Twitter account. “In the past 21 years, we have never and will never forget them. We are just the lucky survivors. They are the true heroes,” Wang Dan, who now lives in Los Angeles, said in a Tweet. In Washington, the Obama administration urged China to provide full disclosure of events surrounding Tiananmen and to protect the rights of citizens expressing dissent. “We ask the Chinese government to provide the fullest possible public accounting of those killed, detained or missing, and to cease harassment of those who participated in the demonstrations and the families of the victims,” said State Department spokesman Philip J Crowley. In Taiwan, which split with China amid civil war in 1949, President Ma Ying-jeou issued a statement urging Beijing to “take any necessary action to heal the trauma of the victims and their relatives and correct any unfairness.” In China, the government enforced its long-standing censorship of

Tiananmen. Yesterday in Beijing, the square was open but tightly guarded as tourists attended the early morning flagraising ceremony and others flew kites above the massive space. The Web service Foursquare, which lets users alert their friends to their locations through their mobile phones - was blocked after many users had “checked in” from Tiananmen Square to mark the anniversary. Late Thursday, police officers blocked reporters from watching activist Ding Zilin mourn her son at the spot in western Beijing where he was killed during the crackdown. A group of strangers surrounded the small candlelight vigil, apparently trying to block television journalists from shooting. The Chinese government has never fully disclosed what happened when the military crushed the weekslong, student-led pro-democracy protests, which it branded a “counterrevolutionary riot.” Hundreds, possibly more, were killed. Asked by a reporter about the demonstrations on Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said, “There has already been a clear conclusion.” In a purported manuscript of Li’s memoir whose excerpts were released by a Hong Kong publisher yesterday, the former premier defended the military action, saying Chinese soldiers acted in self-defense when they fired on citizens. Li says 313 people died, including 42 students and 23 soldiers - but no one was killed on the square itself. — AP

Lead poisoning leaves 163 dead in Nigeria DARETA: Lead poisoning caused by illegal gold mining has killed 163 Nigerians, most of them children, since March in several remote villages in northern Nigeria, a senior government official said yesterday. Dr Henry Akpan, the health ministry’s chief epidemiologist said a total of 355 cases in six locations in Zamfara state had been reported so far and that 111 of the dead were children, many of them under the age of five. “We discovered unusual cases of abdominal pains with vomiting, nausea and some having convulsions,” Akpan said. “These people were around the area where they were digging for gold. The fatality rate is 46 percent.” Nigeria has asked for the assistance of international agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to contain the outbreak of lead poisoning. The villages affected are in remote parts of Zamfara, one of Nigeria’s poorest states in the arid Sahel region on the southern fringe of the Sahara desert, where many people work as artisanal miners and subsistence farmers. Dareta, one of the villages affected, is

little more than a collection of mud huts some three and half hours by road and tracks from the state capital Gusau. An official from one international agency said it was vital to clean up family compounds thought to contain residual traces of lead before the rainy season caused further contamination. But the remote location and Muslim restrictions which allow only women into some of the compounds made the work difficult. Akpan said health officials had found children playing in water close to the mining sites when they visited. He said the number of cases had fallen since April after local authorities halted illegal mining and began evacuating residents. “We have been able to get on top of this. The number of reported illnesses have fallen. We are winning,” he said. Although impoverished, Zamfara is thought to be rich in minerals including gold, copper, iron ore and manganese. President Goodluck Jonathan recently inaugurated a mineral processing plant and the state is keen to attract investment. A spokesman for Zamfara state government, contacted by Reuters two days ago, said he

had no information on any lead poisoning in the state, stating “there is nothing like that.” Many victims died after coming into contact with tools, soil and water contaminated with large concentrations of lead. Too much lead can damage various systems of the body including the nervous and reproductive systems and the kidneys. Lead is especially harmful to young children and pregnant women. Studies suggest a blood level of 10 micrograms per decilitre can have harmful effects on children’s learning and behavior, according to WHO’s website. “WHO has sent some experts to join a team, along with CDC and ministry officials, to see the extent of the contamination and shed light on whether there are any other chemicals, such as mercury,” said Dr Olaokun Soyinka, a WHO health promotion official in Nigeria. Poverty is rampant in Africa’s most populous country, with the vast majority of its 140 million residents living on less than $2 a day. Unemployment is officially estimated at around 20 percent, but the actual jobless total is much higher. — Reuters

Mideast rivals vie for Iraq ‘influence’ Continued from Page 1 “Certainly Iraq’s neighbors have all in one way or another exacerbated these divides by playing on them and using them to their advantage to ensure that the balance of power in Iraq does not tip against them,” Riani said. “Having a friendly government in Baghdad is ... seen as critical to their sense of security and to some degree even stability.” Overall violence in Iraq has dropped sharply from the all-out sectarian war of 2006/07, but the situation is fragile, and a spike in civilian casualties over the past two months suggests insurgents are trying to exploit the power vacuum. Allawi has warned Iraq risks greater sectarian bloodshed if Sunni-backed Iraqiya does not lead the next government, which will likely preside over the lucrative revival of Iraq’s stagnant oil industry on the back of multibillion-dollar deals. Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal is reported to have accused Maliki last month of trying to

“hijack” the election, to “deny the Iraqi people their legitimately elected government.” Maliki, who has often accused unnamed Gulf Arab countries of supporting Sunni Islamist insurgents in Iraq, shot back, saying Prince Turki was behaving “as if he is part of the Iraqi conflict”. It was a telling comment. “The Iraqi issue is not purely a domestic Iraqi issue,” said Iraqi analyst Nabeel Yasin. “Regional and international players are active. This has complicated the Iraqi issue and made it very difficult to predict what might happen.” US troops are set to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, and ideological arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran look well placed to expand the influence garnered since the 2003 invasion. But they are not alone. Syria too, accused by Maliki of harboring Baathist allies of Saddam Hussein, is keen to keep him out of government. Turkey, battling a decadeslong guerrilla war by Kurdish separatists in its southeast, is watching closely Kurdish aspirations in the neighboring, semi-

autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. The next Iraqi government will face continued tensions over the disputed regions adjacent to Kurdistan, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk that has long been coveted by the Kurds. Turkey wants a strong government in Baghdad that can rein in the Kurds. Syria also has a Kurdish minority. Maliki has criticized efforts to ‘internationalize’ Iraqi politics and condemned Allawi’s warning of bloodshed. “Those who threaten violence and civil war, and call for foreign interference not only violate national sovereignty but pave the way for internal battles, for regional and international conflicts on the Iraqi stage,” he said on Tuesday. Allawi says Iraq became an international issue with the US invasion, and the world must now guarantee Iraqi democracy. “Calling on the international community to fulfill its obligations in Iraq does not mean we are opening the door to interference,” he told Iraqi television late last month. — Reuters

‘Thou shall not kill’, Turkey tells Israel Continued from Page 1 group.” AK Party supporters responded with chants of “Mujahid Prime Minister”. In Istanbul, the father of Cevdet Kiliclar collapsed beside his son’s coffin as thousands knelt in prayer at the Beyazit Mosque to mourn the 38-year-old journalist who had been working for the Turkish Islamic charity that organized the aid flotilla. Black, white and green Palestinian flags flew over the congregation, along with some from Hamas and Hezbollah. “The people have shown an appropriate response but our government hasn’t yet,” said Nuri Dogan, a 19-year-old student among the mourners, adding he wanted a boycott of Israel. A service was held a day earlier for eight other Turks shot when Israeli marines stormed the Mavi Marmara on Monday to stop a convoy of six ships trying to break a naval blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Public anger over the Israeli actions taps both nationalist and Islamist sentiments in Turkey, and analysts expected Erdogan to take a strong stand with a general election due by mid-2011. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc delivered a cooler assessment of the desperate state of relations with Israel in an interview with the NTV news channel. “We may plan to reduce our relations with Israel to a minimum,” Arinc said. “But to assume everything involving another country is stopped in an instant, to say we have crossed you out of our address book, is not the custom of our state.” Addressing a news conference, Bulent Yildirim, the head of the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), denied that his charity had direct links to Hamas or

ties to militants, describing it as Israeli “propaganda”. He said three people his charity had listed on Thursday as missing had been located and were being treated for wounds in Ankara. He had no news on the whereabouts of a southeast Asian doctor who he said was shot while helping an Israeli soldier. Ankara, which had supported the proPalestinian convoy, has already cancelled joint military exercises, recalled its ambassador to Israel and successfully called for an emergency UN Security Council to condemn the Israeli action. The United States regards the two military heavyweights as crucial allies in the Middle East, and analysts expect Washington to try to stave off a final split. Turkey, a moderate, secular country, recognized the Jewish state soon after its establishment in 1948 and in the 1990s it forged military and intelligence cooperation agreements with Israel, when both had hostile relations with Syria. With Turkey a customer for Israeli arms, bilateral trade reached $2.5 billion in 2009. Projects worth several billion dollars are in the pipeline in water, energy and agriculture. However, since the AK Party came to power in 2002 Turkey, NATO’s only Muslim member has sought better relations with Iran and Arab neighbors, notably Syria. Friendship with Israel began wearing thin following an Israeli offensive in Gaza in late 2008. After that, Erdogan became one of Israel’s most trenchant critics, and relations started to spiral downwards rapidly. Meanwhile, an aid ship trying to break the blockade of Gaza could reach Israel’s 20-mile exclusion zone yesterday, an activist said, but Israel’s prime minister has vowed the ship will not reach land. The dueling comments suggest a poten-

tial new clash over Israel’s three-year-old blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and come only four days after an Israeli commando raid on a larger aid flotilla left nine activists dead. Greta Berlin, a spokesman for the Free Gaza group, said in Nicosia the 1,200-ton Rachel Corrie is heading directly to Gaza and will not stop in any port on the way. It is trying to deliver hundreds of tons of aid, including wheelchairs, medical supplies and concrete. By yesterday afternoon, the ship was 150 miles from the coast of Gaza in international waters, the group said on its website. Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead McGuire and the former head of the UN Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, Denis Halliday, were among the 11 passengers on board. The Irish vessel is named after an American college student crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer while protesting house demolitions in Gaza. Israel will not allow the aid ship to reach Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told senior Cabinet ministers late Thursday. According to a participant in the meeting, he said Israel made several offers to direct the ship to an Israeli port, where the aid supplies would be unloaded, inspected and transferred to Gaza by land, but the offers were rejected. Netanyahu has hotly rejected calls to lift the blockade on Gaza, insisting that it prevents missile attacks on Israel. The Rachel Corrie’s cargo of concrete is also a problem, because Israel considers that to have military uses. Netanyahu has instructed the military to act with sensitivity in preventing the Rachel Corrie from landing and avoid harming those on board, the participant said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed. — Agencies



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Orbit / Showtime Listings 20:00 Bikecar 21:30 Go Fast Speed Day 1 22:00 Untracked Series 1 22:30 Untracked Series 1 23:00 Untracked Series 1 23:30 Untracked Series 2 23:55 Endless Summer Revisited, The

00:00 Burn Notice 01:00 Life 02:00 One Tree Hill 03:00 The Closer 04:00 Life 05:00 Inside the Actors Studio 06:00 Ghost Whisperer 07:00 Burn Notice 08:00 Criminal Minds 09:00 Big Love 10:00 One Tree Hill 11:00 Inside the Actors Studio 12:00 Ghost Whisperer 13:00 The Closer 14:00 One Tree Hill 15:00 Life 16:00 Criminal Minds 17:00 Big Love 18:00 Burn Notice 19:00 Doctor Who 20:00 Glee 21:00 Drop Dead Diva 22:00 The Closer 23:00 Janice Dickinson

00:15 Dark Days in Monkey City 00:45 Animal Cops Houston 01:40 Untamed & Uncut 02:35 Whale Wars 03:30 Animal Cops Philadelphia 04:25 Animal Precinct 05:20 Animal Battlegrounds 05:45 Monkey Business 06:10 E-Vets: The Interns 06:35 Aussie Animal Rescue 07:00 Lemur Street 07:25 Meerkat Manor 07:50 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 08:15 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 08:45 Animal Cops South Africa 09:40 E-Vets: The Interns 10:05 New Breed Vets with Steve Irwin 10:55 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 11:50 Beverly Hills Groomer 12:15 Monkey Life 12:45 Dogs 101 13:40 Escape to Chimp Eden 18:15 Planet Wild 19:10 Orangutan Island 19:40 Going Ape 20:10 Pit Bulls and Parolees 21:05 Untamed & Uncut 22:55 Animal Cops Philadelphia 23:50 Orangutan Island

00:35 A Thing Called Love 01:35 The Weakest Link 02:20 Last Of The Summer Wine 03:00 Teletubbies 03:25 Me Too 03:45 Tikkabilla 04:15 Teletubbies 04:40 Me Too 05:00 Tikkabilla 05:30 Teletubbies 05:55 Me Too 06:15 Teletubbies 06:40 Me Too 07:00 Tikkabilla 07:30 Teletubbies 07:55 Me Too 08:15 Tikkabilla 08:45 Teletubbies 09:10 Me Too 09:30 Mastermind 2006 10:00 Coast 11:00 Eastenders 13:00 Coast 14:00 Coast 15:00 The Life Of Mammals 16:00 The Weakest Link 18:15 Holby City 20:15 Doctor Who 21:00 Doctor Who Confidential 21:20 Robin Hood 22:15 Green Green Grass 23:45 Keith Barret Show, The

00:20 James Martin’s Favourite Feasts 00:45 Sweet Baby James 01:10 Living In The Sun 02:00 What Not To Wear 02:50 The Restaurant Uk 03:40 Hidden Potential 04:05 Diy Sos 04:35 Bargain Hunt 05:15 What Not To Wear 06:00 Masterchef Goes Large 06:30 Masterchef Goes Large 07:00 Antiques Roadshow 12:00 Saturday Kitchen 13:00 Living In The Sun 13:50 Cash In The Attic 16:05 Bargain Hunt 16:50 Come Dine With Me 17:40 Come Dine With Me 18:30 James Martin’s Brittany 18:55 What To Eat Now - Summer 19:25 The Hairy Bakers 19:55 Trish’s French Country Kitchen 20:20 James Martin’s Favourite Feasts 20:45 Come Dine With Me

17:15 The Secret Saturdays 17:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 18:05 Bakugan: New Vestroia 18:30 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 19:00 Megas Xlr 19:25 Samurai Jack 19:50 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans on Super Movies 01:15 People I Know-18 03:00 In Tranzit-18 05:00 Heights-PG15 06:45 Les Miserables-PG15 09:00 Jacquou Le Croquant-PG15 11:30 Grace Is Gone-PG15 13:00 Sunset Park-PG 15:00 What Rats Won’t Do-PG15 17:00 Frozen River-PG15 19:00 Ambrose Bierce:civil War Stories 21:00 Field Of Dreams-PG 23:00 Humboldt County-18

00:00 Border Security 00:30 Destroyed in Seconds 01:00 Street Customs 02:00 Dirty Jobs 02:55 Industrial Junkie 03:20 Industrial Junkie 03:50 Extreme Engineering 04:45 Mythbusters 05:40 How Stuff Works 06:05 Dirty Jobs 07:00 Nextworld 07:55 Brainiac 08:50 Mythbusters 09:45 How Stuff Works 10:10 Huge Moves 11:05 Heart of the Machine 12:00 Fifth Gear 12:30 Fifth Gear 12:55 Heartland Thunder 13:50 Battle Machine Bros 14:45 Mega Builders 15:40 Mighty Ships 16:35 Extreme Engineering 17:30 How Stuff Works 18:00 Destroyed in Seconds 18:30 Destroyed in Seconds 19:00 Tornado Road 20:00 American Loggers 21:00 Extreme Fishing 22:00 Deadliest Catch 23:00 Surviving Disaster

00:30 The Colony 01:20 The Gadget Show 01:45 The Gadget Show 02:10 Space Pioneer 03:00 Beyond Tomorrow 03:50 Thunder Races 04:45 Cool Stuff & How it Works 05:10 Weird Connections 05:40 One Step Beyond 06:10 The Colony 07:00 Thunder Races 08:00 Robotica 09:00 Science of the Movies 09:55 Mighty Ships 15:25 Savage Planet 15:55 Ultimate Power Builders 16:50 How It’s Made 17:15 How It’s Made 17:45 Da Vinci’s Machines 18:40 NYC: Inside Out 19:30 Nextworld 20:20 The Gadget Show 20:45 The Gadget Show 21:10 Science of the Movies 22:00 Mythbusters 22:50 Mythbusters 23:40 Nextworld

00:00 The Suite Life of Zack and Cody 00:25 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 00:50 Fairly Odd Parents 01:15 A Kind of Magic 01:35 I Got A Rocket 02:00 Wizards of Waverly Place 02:25 Phineas and Ferb 02:50 Suite Life On Deck 03:15 Replacements 03:35 Hannah Montana 04:00 Kim Possible 04:25 Famous Five 04:50 Fairly Odd Parents

05:15 Phineas and Ferb 05:35 Replacements 06:00 Lazytown 06:25 Imagination Movers 06:45 Handy Manny 07:10 Jungle Junction 07:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 08:00 Fairly Odd Parents 08:25 Suite Life On Deck 08:50 Wizards of Waverly Place 09:15 Hannah Montana 09:40 Hannah Montana 10:00 Good Luck Charlie 10:30 Toy Story 2 12:00 Hannah Montana 12:25 JONAS 12:50 Replacements 13:15 Fairly Odd Parents 13:40 Sonny With A Chance 14:00 Suite Life On Deck 14:25 A Kind of Magic 14:50 Phineas and Ferb 15:15 Fairly Odd Parents 15:35 Replacements 16:00 Wizards of Waverly Place 16:25 Hannah Montana 16:45 Fairly Odd Parents 17:10 Suite Life On Deck 17:30 Wizards of Waverly Place 17:55 Hannah Montana 18:20 Hannah Montana 18:45 Good Luck Charlie 19:10 Toy Story 2 20:35 Hannah Montana 21:00 Wizards of Waverly Place 21:25 Wizards of Waverly Place 21:50 Suite Life On Deck 22:15 Suite Life On Deck 22:40 Sonny With A Chance 23:05 JONAS 23:30 Hannah Montana 23:55 Hannah Montana

00:15 Leave It To Lamas 00:40 Dr 90210 01:30 Wildest TV Show Moments 01:55 Reality Hell 02:20 THS 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Battle of the Hollywood Hotties 05:30 Streets of Hollywood 06:00 THS 07:45 Bank of Hollywood 08:35 E! News 09:00 The Daily 10 09:25 THS 17:10 E!ES 18:00 E! News 18:25 The Daily 10 18:50 THS 21:20 Keeping Up with the Kardashians 22:10 E! News 22:35 The Daily 10 23:00 Kendra 23:25 Kourtney & Khloé Take Miami 23:50 25 Most Stylish

00:00 Strikeforce 01:00 Winter X Games 13 02:00 M1selection 2010 03:00 Lucas Oil Motorcross Championships 2009 04:00 Lucas Oil Motorcross Championships 2009 05:00 I-Ex 07:00 Rebel Tv 17 10:30 Go Fast Speed Day 1 11:00 Lg Action Sports World Championships 2008 12:00 Lg Action Sports World Championships 2008 13:00 Fantasy Factory 15:00 Man’s Work 15:30 Man’s Work 16:00 Untracked Series 1 17:30 Untracked Series 2 19:00 Man’s Work 19:30 Man’s Work

00:00 Food Network Challenge 01:00 30 Minute Meals 01:30 Tyler’s Ultimate 02:00 Guys Big Bite 03:00 Barefoot Contessa 03:30 Everyday Italian 04:00 30 Minute Meals 05:00 Tyler’s Ultimate 05:30 Guys Big Bite 06:00 Barefoot Contessa 07:00 Everyday Italian 07:25 Food Network Challenge 07:50 30 Minute Meals 08:15 Tyler’s Ultimate 08:40 Guys Big Bite 09:05 Barefoot Contessa 09:30 Everyday Italian 10:00 30 Minute Meals 10:30 Throwdown With Bobby Flay 11:00 Iron Chef America 11:30 Barefoot Contessa 12:30 Everyday Italian 13:00 30 Minute Meals 13:30 Guys Big Bite 14:00 Throwdown With Bobby Flay 14:30 Tyler’s Ultimate 15:00 Food Network Challenge 15:30 Barefoot Contessa 16:00 Barefoot Contessa 17:00 Food Network Challenge 17:30 Throwdown With Bobby Flay 18:00 Guys Big Bite 18:30 Iron Chef America 19:00 30 Minute Meals 19:30 Tyler’s Ultimate 20:00 Food Network Challenge 21:00 Barefoot Contessa 21:30 Everyday Italian 22:00 Food Network Challenge 23:00 Throwdown With Bobby Flay 23:30 Guys Big Bite

01:00 Golf Central International 01:30 The Golf Channel 02:00 NHL Playoffs: Tentative OR Nationwide Tour, Inside the PGA Tour, World Sport 201 05:00 MLB 08:00 European Tour Celtic Manor Wales Open Rd. 2 Newport, Whales 10:30 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 400 Fort Worth, TX 13:30 Golf Central International 14:00 Champions Tour: Principal Charity Classic Rd. 1 West Des Moines, IA 16:00 European Tour Celtic Manor Wales Open Rd. 3 Newport, Whales 19:00 NHL Playoffs: Tentative OR MLB: Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers 22:00 Mobil 1 The Grid 22:30 This Week in Baseball 23:00 MLB on FOX: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners FOX SPORTS HD 01:00 Golf Central International -HD 01:30 The Golf Channel - Programming TBA-HD 02:00 NHL Playoffs: Tentative OR Nationwide Tour, Inside the PGA Tour, World Sport 2010-HD 05:00 MLB: Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers-HD 08:00 European Tour Celtic Manor Wales Open Rd. 2 Newport, Whales-HD 10:30 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 400 Fort Worth, TX-HD 13:30 Golf Central International -HD 14:00 Champions Tour: Principal Charity Classic Rd. 1 West Des Moines, IA 16:00 European Tour Celtic Manor Wales Open Rd. 3 Newport, Whales-HD 19:00 NHL Playoffs: Tentative OR MLB: Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers HD 22:00 Mobil 1 The Grid 22:30 This Week in Baseball 23:00 MLB on FOX: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners-HD

00:30 A Haunting 01:20 FBI Files 02:10 Extreme Forensics 03:05 Extreme Forensics 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 Undercover 09:30 Diagnosis: Unknown 10:20 Forensic Detectives 11:10 FBI Files 12:00 Guilty Or Innocent? 12:50 Disappeared 13:40 Royal Inquest 14:30 Forensic Detectives 15:20 FBI Files 16:10 Undercover 17:00 Diagnosis: Unknown 17:50 Forensic Detectives 18:40 FBI Files 19:30 Guilty Or Innocent? 20:20 Disappeared 21:10 Ghost Lab 22:00 A Haunting 22:50 A Haunting 23:40 Psychic Witness

00:10 Clean Slate 01:55 American Dragons 03:30 Speechless 05:10 Grievous Bodily Harm 06:45 Man Of Passion, A 08:20 Russians Are Coming, The 10:25 Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, The 11:55 Operation Lookout 13:30 Small Town In Texas, A 15:05 Just Between Friends 16:55 Give Me Your Life 18:25 Mandela 20:25 Delirious 22:00 The 60’s

00:00 Bondi Rescue 00:30 Lonely Planet 01:30 Racing To America 02:30 4Real 03:00 First Ascent 03:30 Banged Up Abroad 04:30 Treks In A Wild World 05:00 Exploring The Vine 05:30 Surfer’s Journal 06:00 Bondi Rescue 06:30 Lonely Planet 07:30 Racing To America 08:30 4Real 09:00 First Ascent 09:30 Banged Up Abroad 10:30 Treks In A Wild World 11:00 Bondi Rescue - Bali 11:30 Banged Up Abroad 12:30 Weird And Wonderful Hotels 13:00 Weird And Wonderful Hotels 13:30 Cruise Ship Diaries 14:30 Cruise Ship Diaries 15:30 Cruise Ship Diaries 16:30 Treks In A Wild World 17:00 Bondi Rescue - Bali 17:30 Banged Up Abroad 18:30 Weird And Wonderful Hotels 19:00 Weird And Wonderful Hotels 19:30 Cruise Ship Diaries 20:30 Cruise Ship Diaries 21:30 Cruise Ship Diaries 22:30 Treks In A Wild World 23:00 Bondi Rescue - Bali 23:30 Banged Up Abroad

00:00 Kath & Kim 00:30 Two and a half men 01:00 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 01:30 The Colbert Report 02:00 Late night with Jimmy Fallon 03:00 Cougar Town 03:30 American Dad 04:00 Saturday Night Live 05:00 Family Biz 05:30 Late night with Jimmy Fallon 06:30 Everybody Loves Raymond 07:00 Dharma & Greg 07:30 Three sisters 08:00 Frasier 08:30 Tyler Perry’s House of Payne 09:00 Married with Children 09:30 Family Biz 10:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 10:30 Dharma & Greg 11:00 Frasier 11:30 The Bernie Mac show 12:00 Saturday Night Live 13:00 Two and a half men 13:30 Tyler Perry’s House of Payne 14:00 Married with Children 14:30 Three Sisters 15:00 Kath & Kim 15:30 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Family Biz 17:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 17:30 Frasier 18:00 The Bernie Mac show 18:30 Gary Unmarried 19:00 Watching Ellie 19:30 Gavin & Stacey 20:00 Late night with Jimmy Fallon 21:00 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Curb your Enthusiasm 22:30 Entourage 23:00 Saturday Night Live

00:00 What’s Good For You 01:00 10 Years Younger 01:30 Look A Like 02:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live! 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 What’s Good For You 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 The Martha Stewart Show 14:00 Parenting 14:30 Job Club 15:00 GMA Weekend Live 16:00 GMA Health 16:30 What’s the Buzz 17:00 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 18:00 Downsize Me 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 Taking Of Pelham 1, 2, 3,-18 01:45 Barbarossa-PG15 04:00 Gifted Hands-PG15 05:45 The Express-PG 08:00 And When Did You Last See Your Father-PG15 10:00 Fireproof-PG 12:00 Eagle Eye-PG15 14:00 Gracie-PG15 16:00 And When Did You Last See Your Father-PG15 18:00 Bedtime Stories-FAM 20:00 My Life In Ruins-18 22:00 Watchmen-18

01:00 Charlie Valentine-PG15 03:00 The Art Of War III: RetributionPG15 05:00 Fracture-PG15 07:00 The Art Of War III: RetributionPG15 09:00 Anaconda 3: The Offspring-PG15 11:00 Dark Island-PG15 13:00 House Of Fallen-PG15 15:00 Anaconda 3: The Offspring-PG15 17:00 Room 6-PG15 19:00 Wushu Warrior-PG15 21:00 Nightfall-PG15 23:00 One Missed Call-PG15

00:00 I’m Not Rappaport-PG15 02:15 The Lonely Guy-PG15 04:00 Picture This-PG15 05:30 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-PG 08:00 The Utopian Society-PG15 10:00 Backseat-PG15 12:00 Will You Merry Me-PG15 14:00 Lucky Break-PG15 16:00 I’m Not Rappaport-PG15 18:15 The Milagro Beanfield War-PG15 20:15 How To Lose Friends And Alienate People-PG15 22:15 Election-18

00:00 Snow 2: Brain Freeze-FAM 02:00 Moomin And Midsummer MadnessFAM 04:00 Pocahontas II: Winter Of The Rocky Mount-FAM 06:00 The Pagemaster-PG 08:00 Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation-FAM 10:00 Pocahontas II: Winter Of The Rocky Mount-FAM 12:00 Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose-PG 14:00 Moomin And Midsummer MadnessFAM 16:00 The Gold Retrievers-PG 18:00 Christopher’s Dream-FAM 20:00 Little Hercules In 3-D-PG15 22:00 Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose-PG

00:00 24 01:00 24 02:00 Flash Forwards 03:00 Parkinson 04:00 Every Body Loves Raymond 04:30 Home Improvement 05:00 Lie to Me 06:00 Better off Ted 06:30 Billable Hours 07:00 Flash Forwards 08:00 Every Body Loves Raymond 08:30 Home Improvement 09:00 Parkinson 10:00 Lie to Me 11:00 Flash Forwards 12:00 Better off Ted 12:30 Billable Hours 13:00 Every Body Loves Raymond 13:30 Home Improvement 14:00 24 15:00 24 16:00 Lie to Me 17:00 In Plain Sight 18:00 Emmerdale 18:30 Coronation Street 19:00 Psych 20:00 Law & Order: Criminal Intent 21:00 In Treatment 21:30 In Treatment 22:00 True Blood

01:00 Underworld: The Rise Of The Lycans-18 03:00 Against The Current-PG15 05:00 Centre Stage 2: Turn It Up-PG15 07:00 Eavesdrop-PG 09:00 December Boys-PG15 11:30 Management-PG15 13:15 A Shine Of Rainbows-PG15 15:00 Mr. Magoriums Wonder EmporiumFAM 17:00 Against The Current-PG15 19:30 Sticks And Stones-PG 21:00 Changeling-PG15 23:30 Doubt-PG15

00:05 California Split 01:40 2001: A Space Odyssey 04:00 The Split 05:30 Flipper 07:00 High Society 08:45 The Philadelphia Story 10:35 The Screening Room 11:05 American Friends 12:45 Kidnapped 14:30 An American In Paris 16:20 The File Of The Golden Goose 18:05 The Screening Room 18:35 Hannibal Brooks 20:20 Easter Parade 22:00 The Collector

00:30 Deep Wreck Mysteries 01:20 Mega Movers 02:10 Cities Of The Underworld 03:00 The Crusades 03:55 Dead Men’s Secrets 04:50 The Universe 05:40 Extreme Trains 06:30 Deep Wreck Mysteries 07:20 Mega Movers 08:10 Cities Of The Underworld 09:00 The Crusades 09:55 Dead Men’s Secrets 10:50 The Universe 11:40 Extreme Trains 12:30 Deep Wreck Mysteries 13:20 Mega Movers 14:10 Cities Of The Underworld 15:00 The Crusades 15:55 Dead Men’s Secrets 16:50 The Universe 17:40 Extreme Trains 18:30 Deep Wreck Mysteries 19:20 Mega Movers 20:10 Cities Of The Underworld 21:00 Beyond The Da Vinci Code 22:50 Angels & Demons Decoded

00:00 Dr 90210 01:00 Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane 01:30 Dallas Divas & Daughters 02:00 Split Ends 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 Clean House 09:00 What I Hate About Me 10:00 Ruby 11:00 How Do I Look? 12:00 Clean House 13:00 Fat Free Fiancés 14:00 How Do I Look? 15:00 How Do I Look? 16:00 How Do I Look?

17:00 How Do I Look? 18:00 How Do I Look? 19:00 How Do I Look? 20:00 How Do I Look? 21:00 Giuliana & Bill 21:30 The Dish 22:00 Jerseylicious 23:00 What I Hate About Me

01:04 New 01:35 Playlist 02:00 Urban Hit 02:45 Playlist 08:04 RNB 08:45 Playlist 11:00 Club 10 11:45 Playlist 13:04 Urban Hit 13:50 Playlist 14:00 Focus 15:00 Guest Star 15:15 Playlist 16:04 French Only 16:45 Playlist 18:00 Urban Hit 30 20:04 Africa 20:45 Playlist 21:00 Trace Video Mix 22:00 Legend 23:00 Club 10 23:45 Playlist

00:00 Intrepid Journeys 01:00 Chef Abroad 01:30 Sophie Grigson In The Orient 02:00 Planet Food 03:00 Top Travel 03:30 Destination Art 04:00 Distant Shores 04:30 Distant Shores 05:00 Distant Shores 05:30 Distant Shores 06:00 Down the Line 07:00 Globe Trekker 08:00 Spring 08:30 Top Travel 09:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 10:00 Distant Shores 10:30 Distant Shores 11:00 Distant Shores 11:30 Distant Shores 12:00 Globe Trekker 13:00 Planet Food 14:00 Chef Abroad 14:30 Chef Abroad 15:00 Think Green 16:00 Globe Trekker 17:00 The Big Guide 18:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 19:00 Floyd On Africa 19:30 Chef Abroad 20:00 Chef Abroad 20:30 Sophie Grigson In The Orient 21:00 Planet Food 22:00 Top Travel 22:30 Destination Art 23:00 Globe Trekker

01:00 Vh1 Music 05:00 Chill Out 07:00 Smooth Wake Up 09:00 Vh1 Music 11:00 VH1 Weekly Album Chart 12:00 Top 10 Rain 13:00 Music For The Masses 14:00 Disco Fashion Weekend 17:00 Final Countdown Best Alternative Videos 21:00 Greatest Albums Ever Pt1 22:00 Greatest Albums Ever The Result 23:00 Saturday Night Fever

00:00 Test Cricket 07:00 Live AFL Premiership 10:00 Total Rugby 10:30 International Rugby Union 12:30 ICC Cricket World 13:00 Live Test Cricket 20:00 Futbol Mundial 20:30 World Sport 21:00 NRL Premiership 23:00 NRL Premiership

00:00 International Rugby Union 02:00 PGA European Tour 05:30 NRL Premiership 07:00 International Rugby Union 09:00 PGA European Tour 12:30 Live International Rugby Union 14:30 Total Rugby 15:00 Live European PGA Tour 19:00 International Rugby Union 21:00 Live Rugby Churchil Cup 23:00 Total Rugby 23:30 Live Rugby Churchil Cup

Watchmen on Show Movies

Star Listings (UAE Timings) STAR Movies 21:30 Phantom Racer 23:00 Eleventh Hour 00:35 In Tranzit 02:25 Someone Like You 04:00 Phantom Racer 05:25 Eleventh Hour 07:00 Wargames: The Dead Code 08:45 Casino Royale 11:10 Someone Like You 12:45 Xtra Credit 14:15 Keeping Up With The Steins 15:45 Stanley & Iris 17:30 Distinguished Gentleman, The 19:20 Savages, The STAR World 04:00 American Idol 06:00 Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? 07:00 Scrubs 07:30 The Bold and the Beautiful 08:00 The Bold and the Beautiful 08:30 The Bold and the Beautiful 09:00 The Bold and the Beautiful 09:30 The Bold and the Beautiful 10:00 October Road 11:00 American Idol 13:00 Stone Undercover

14:00 14:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 17:00 19:00

Scrubs Scrubs According To Jim According To Jim Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? American Idol Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?

Granada TV 20:00 The Friday Night Project - Carol Vorderman 20:30 Miranda 21:00 I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! (Series 7) 23:00 I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! (Series 7) 01:00 Northern Lights 02:00 The Brief (Series 1) 03:15 Art Crime 04:00 I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! (Series 7) 06:00 Emmerdale (Weekend Omnibus) 07:30 Big Bad World (Series 2) 08:00 Demolition Day 09:00 Art Crime 10:00 60 Minute Makeover (Series 3) 11:00 Come Dine With Me (Primetime Series 2) 12:00 Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway (Series 3) 13:00 Stars In Their Eyes (Series 13) 14:00 Prime Drama: If I Had You 16:00 Come Dine With Me (Primetime Series 2) 17:00 Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway (Series 3)

18:00 Stars In Their Eyes (Series 13) 19:00 Prime Drama: If I Had You Channel [V] 21:00 [V] Special 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 [V] Tunes 04:00 [V] Plug 04:30 The Playlist 05:00 [V] Special 06:00 [V] Tunes 06:30 [V] Tunes 07:00 Backtracks 07:30 Double Shot 08:00 [V] Tunes 09:00 XO 09:30 Loop 10:00 Backtracks 11:00 [V] Countdown

13:00 13:30 14:00 15:00 15:30 16:00 17:00 17:30 18:00 19:00

[V] Tunes [V] Tunes Loop [V] Tunes [V] Tunes [V] Tunes XO Loop Backtracks [V] Countdown

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 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:30

The O’Reilly Factor The O’Reilly Factor (repeat) FOX and Friends Saturday FOX and Friends Saturday FOX and Friends Saturday Bulls and Bears Cavuto On Business FORBES on FOX Cashin’ In

National Geographic Channel 20:00 Samurai Sword 21:00 Against All Odds -Crash S1-1 22:00 Is It Real? -Spontaneous Human Combustion 5 22:30 Is It Real? -Monsters Of The Deep 7 23:00 Theme Week 30m -Seconds From Disaster : Crash of the Concorde 1 23:30 Theme Week 30m -Seconds From Disaster : Derailment at Eschede 5 00:00 Rescue Ink -House Of Horror 4 01:00 ABOUT ASIA -ShowReal Asia : The Toilet Men 02:00 Lonely Planet -Lonely Planet- Roads Less Trav : China 7 03:00 Nat Geo Junior -Monkey Thieves : Hard Times 15 03:30 Nat Geo Junior - Wild Detectives : Bear Meeting 04:00 Food Lovers Guide To The Planet -Cocktail Artists 20

04:30 Food Lovers Guide To The Planet -Catch Of The Day 12 05:00 Fishzilla: Snakehead Invasion 06:00 Wild Africa -Caught On Safari 07:00 Nat Geo Weekends -Engineering Connections : Sydney Opera House 08:00 Megastructures -Build Up To The Cup : Stadiums 09:00 ABOUT ASIA -China’s Great Wall : Mongol Invaders 10:00 ABOUT ASIA -China’s Great Wall : Protecting The Dragon 11:00 Best Job in the world -The Best Job In The World : Grub 5 11:30 Best Job in the world -The Best Job In The World : Last Hurrah 6 12:00 Super Factories -UPS 13:00 Nat Geo Weekends -Engineering Connections : Hong Kong’s Ocean Airport 14:00 Lonely Planet -Lonely Planet- Roads Less Trav : China 7 15:00 Against All Odds -Crash S1-1 16:00 Super Factories -UPS 17:00 Nat Geo Weekends -Engineering Connections : Hong Kong’s Ocean Airport 18:00 Lonely Planet -Lonely Planet- Roads Less Trav : China 7 19:00 Against All Odds -Crash S1-1

Saturday, June 5, 2010

17 Flight Schedule Arrival Flights on Saturday 05/06/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jordanian 802 Amman Wataniya Airways 188 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 306 Cairo Gulf Air 211 Bahrain Wataniya 408 Beirut Turkish 772 Istanbul Air Arabia Egypt 551 Alexandria Jazeera 267 Beirut DHL 370 Bahrain Pakistan 239 Sialkot Emirates 853 Dubai Ethiopian 622 Addis Ababa/Bahrain Etihad 305 Abu Dhabi Qatari 138 Doha Jazeera 637 Aleppo Jazeera 502 Luxor Kuwait 412 Manila/Bangkok Jazeera 527 Alexandria British 157 London Kuwait 416 Jakarta/Kuala Lumpur Jazeera 529 Assiut Falcon 201 Bahrain Jazeera 613 Lahore Kuwait 204 Lahore Kuwait 302 Mumbai Fly Dubai 053 Dubai Kuwait 332 Trivandrum Kuwait 676 Dubai Kuwait 284 Dhaka Kuwait 344 Chennai Kuwait 362 Colombo Emirates 855 Dubai Arabia 121 Sharjah Qatari 132 Doha Etihad 301 Abu Dhabi Gulf Air 213 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 182 Bahrain Middle East 404 Beirut Alnaser 711 Baghdad/Najaf Wataniya Airways 102 Dubai Jazeera 165 Dubai Jazeera 171 Dubai Wataniya Airways 422 Amman Egypt Air 610 Cairo Jazeera 457 Damascus Kuwait 672 Dubai Kuwait 774 Riyadh United 982 Washington DC Dulles Jordanian 800 Amman Wataniya Airways 432 Damascus Egypt Air 621 Assiut Fly Dubai 057 Dubai Wataniya Airways 332 Alexandria Jazeera 257 Beirut Jazeera 525 Alexandria Saudia 500 Jeddah Kuwait 552 Damascus Nas Air 745 Jeddah Qatari 134 Doha Mahan Air 5066 Mashad Kuwait 786 Jeddah Iran Aseman 6791 Mashad Jazeera 173 Dubai Kuwait 118 New York Nas Air 703 Medinah Mihin 403 Colombo/Dubai Rovos 061 Baghdad/Najaf Etihad 303 Abu Dhabi Emirates 857 Dubai Gulf Air 215 Bahrain Cargolux 792 Luxembourg Wataniya Airways 402 Beirut Saudia 510 Riyadh Arabia 125 Sharjah Jazeera 493 Jeddah Jazeera 129 Bahrain Srilankan 227 Colombo/Dubai Syrian Air 341 Damascus Wataniya Airways 304 Cairo Kuwait 104 London Wataniya Airways 106 Dubai Kuwait 502 Beirut Kuwait 542 Cairo Kuwait 548 Luxor/Sharm El Sheikh Wataniya 202 Jeddah Kuwait 618 Doha Iran Air 607 Mashad Jazeera 177 Dubai Kuwait 674 Dubai Bahrain Air 344 Bahrain Singapore 458 Singapore/Abu Dhabi Kuwait 562 Amman Kuwait 814 Bahrain Rovos 093 Kandahar/Dubai Fly Dubai 061 Dubai Jazeera 459 Damascus Oman Air 647 Muscat Indian 993 Chennai/Mumbai Wataniya 612 Sabiha Middle East 402 Beirut Jet A/W 572 Mumbai Egypt Air 618 Alexandria KLM 0445 Amsterdam Wataniya Airways 404 Beirut Jazeera 183 Dubai DHL 372 Bahrain Gulf Air 217 Bahrain Jazeera 433 Mashad Emirates 859 Dubai Qatari 136 Doha Kuwait 178 Geneva/Frankfurt United 981 Bahrain Jazeera 429 Bahrain Lufthansa 636 Frankfurt Jazeera 117 Abu Dhabi Egypt Air 612 Cairo Bangladesh 043 Dhaka India Express 393 Kozhikode/Cochin Egypt Air 606 Luxor Wataniya Airways 108 Dubai

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

Departure Flights on Saturday 05/06/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 528 Assiut Shaheen Air 442 Lahore Egypt Air 607 Luxor KLM 0447 Amsterdam Indian 576 Goa/Chennai Lufthansa 637 Frankfurt Turkish 773 Istanbul Air Arabia Egypt 552 Alexandria DHL 371 Bahrain Pakistan 240 Sialkot Ethiopian 622 Addis Ababa Emirates 854 Dubai Etihad 306 Abu Dhabi Qatari 139 Doha Wataniya Airways 101 Dubai Jordanian 803 Amman Jazeera 164 Dubai Jazeera 524 Alexandria Wataniya Airways 331 Alexandria Jazeera 456 Damascus Gulf Air 212 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 181 Bahrain Wataniya 421 Amman Rovos 094 Dubai/Kandahar Jazeera 256 Beirut Wataniya Airways 431 Damascus British 156 London Jazeera 170 Dubai Fly Dubai 054 Dubai Kuwait 671 Dubai Kuwait 551 Damascus Arabia 122 Sharjah Kuwait 101 London/New York Emirates 856 Dubai Qatari 133 Doha Kuwait 773 Riyadh Etihad 302 Abu Dhabi Kuwait 785 Jeddah Kuwait 547 Luxor/Sharm El Sheikh Wataniya Airways 401 Beirut Gulf Air 214 Bahrain Kuwait 165 Rome/Paris Middle East 405 Beirut Wataniya Airways 303 Cairo Jazeera 172 Dubai Rovos 062 Baghdad Kuwait 541 Cairo Wataniya 611 Sabiha Alnaser 712 Najaf/Baghdad Jazeera 492 Jeddah Kuwait 501 Beirut Wataniya Airways 201 Jeddah Egypt Air 611 Cairo Wataniya 105 Dubai Jordanian 801 Amman Fly Dubai 058 Dubai Kuwait 561 Amman Egypt Air 622 Assiut Jazeera 458 Damascus United 982 Bahrain Jazeera 176 Dubai Jazeera 128 Bahrain Kuwait 673 Dubai Wataniya Airways 403 Beirut Jazeera 432 Mashad Kuwait 617 Doha Nas Air 746 Jeddah Saudia 505 Jeddah Qatari 135 Doha Mahan Air 5065 Mashad Kuwait 613 Bahrain Jazeera 182 Dubai Iran Aseman 6792 Mashad Nas Air 704 Riyadh Etihad 304 Abu Dhabi Mihin 404 Dubai/Colombo Gulf Air 216 Bahrain Emirates 858 Dubai Wataniya Airways 305 Cairo Kuwait 543 Cairo Arabia 126 Sharjah Saudia 511 Riyadh Jazeera 116 Abu Dhabi Kuwait 285 Chittagong Cargolux 792 Hong Kong Kuwait 787 Jeddah Srilankan 228 Dubai/Colombo Jazeera 428 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 407 Beirut Syrian Air 342 Damascus Wataniya 433 Damascus Wataniya Airways 107 Dubai Kuwait 283 Dhaka Iran Air 604 Isfahan Jazeera 266 Beirut Bahrain Air 345 Bahrain Fly Dubai 062 Dubai Singapore 457 Abu Dhabi/Singapore Jazeera 512 Sharm El Sheikh Kuwait 331 Trivandrum Oman Air 648 Muscat Middle East 403 Beirut Jet A/W 571 Mumbai Egypt Air 619 Alexandria Wataniya Airways 187 Bahrain KLM 0445 Bahrain/Amsterdam Jazeera 240 Amman Gulf Air 218 Bahrain DHL 373 Bahrain Kuwait 675 Dubai Emirates 860 Dubai Falcon 102 Bahrain Kuwait 381 Delhi Qatari 137 Doha Kuwait 301 Mumbai Kuwait 205 Islamabad Jazeera 526 Alexandria United 981 Washington DC Dulles Jazeera 502 Luxor Kuwait 411 Bangkok/Manila Egypt Air 613 Cairo


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

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Calvin Aries (March 21-April 19) Some past restrictions are reviewed. You will be able to move forward and not feel as though you are burdened. Your ideas and thoughts will be clear and you will know which direction you should be headed. Fine-tuning the steps that will help you reach your goals helps you feel exhilarated and self-confident; you just know you are focused and moving in the right direction for success; nothing can stop you. There are highlights of leadership and opportunities for advancement. You will feel powerful and those around you will see your ability to make decisions, accomplish goals and relate with authorities. There are plenty of compliments and encouragement coming your way today. You inspire the young people. Taurus (April 20-May 20) Be absolutely certain you know what you are getting into this Friday. Resolving conflicting opinions and deciding between opposing views, or different options, is essential now. You must decide one way or another, or else you are stuck in a rut. It is easy to be distracted, so study things through in order to act from a position of knowledge, rather than out of ignorance. Close relationships have a big impact on your life; old ones will be transformed or perhaps ended; new ones will come on like gangbusters. A partner has a mesmerizing and persuasive deal to offer. Business ventures could be compromised by faulty information. Enjoy some much-needed downtime after work. You enjoy connecting with old friends and you enjoy plenty of laughter.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. Evergreen trees and shrubs having oily one-seeded fruits. 5. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 7. An amino acid that is found in the central nervous system. 11. A river in western Thailand. 12. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 13. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 14. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 15. Date used in reckoning dates before the supposed year Christ was born. 16. A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn. 17. A member of a North American Indian people living around the mouth of the Colorado river. 21. The most common computer memory which can be used by programs to perform necessary tasks while the computer is on. 22. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 24. English historian noted for his constitutional history of medieval England (1825-1901). 28. A city in northern India. 32. A small pellet fired from an air rifle or BB gun. 33. A cord that is drawn through eyelets or around hooks in order to draw together two edges (as of a shoe or garment). 35. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 37. (informal) Of the highest quality. 39. United States tennis player who was the first Black to win United States and English singles championships (1943-1993). 44. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 48. An ugly evil-looking old woman. 49. A Turkish unit of weight equal to about 2.75 pounds. 50. A ballistic missile that is capable of traveling from one continent to another. 51. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 52. A tight-fitting headdress. 53. A Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ. DOWN 1. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 2. The dynasty that ruled much of Manchuria and northeastern China from 947 to 1125. 3. Half the width of an em. 4. A fee charged for exchanging currencies. 5. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 6. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 7. An anxiety disorder characterized by chronic free-floating anxiety and such symptoms as tension or sweating or trembling of light-headedness or irritability etc that has lasted for more than six months. 8. The sixth month of the civil year. 9. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 10. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 18. (computer science) The part of a computer (a microprocessor chip) that does most of the data processing. 19. Having nine hinged bands of bony plates. 20. The syllable naming the fourth (subdominant) note of the diatonic scale in solmization. 23. A very young child (birth to 1 year) who has not yet begun to walk or talk. 25. A metallic element of the rare earth group. 26. (Scottish) Bluish-black or gray-blue. 27. A white trivalent metallic element. 29. A rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element. 30. An intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores. 31. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 34. One of two flaps attached to a cap to keep the ears warm. 36. God of wealth and love. 38. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 40. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 41. A town and port in northwestern Israel in the eastern Mediterranean. 42. A small cake leavened with yeast. 43. A software system that facilitates the creation and maintenance and use of an electronic database. 45. A licensed medical practitioner. 46. Informal terms for a difficult situation. 47. The smallest multiple that is exactly divisible by every member of a set of numbers.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Your ability to manage and direct others has positive results today; it is a good day to work with others. There is a high probability that if you decide you want to join a group or you have a desire to own property, the results will also be positive. There is an urge to have a little property in the country or perhaps, near a lake. You would eventually be able to build on that property. You are optimistic and set your goals within reason, so keep up the good work. Any frustrations this work day do not last past the quitting hour. Someone or some circumstance may leave you speechless, but this could be valuable for you in the end. Use any free time to reorganize at home. Home life this evening ends with glitter and sparkle of some fun social event.

Non Sequitur

Cancer (June 21-July 22) There are not many people of your talents out there when it comes to management. If you are not in a management position, you may find the opportunity will open to you soon. New business will bring the opportunity to you. Don?t hesitate or you will miss the boat! Work on securing your financial future--have a plan. You have a young friend that you want to lend some attention to this afternoon. With more employers requiring solid basic skills, a high school diploma and often college experience as prerequisites to a job . . . you may volunteer to help encourage and educate. Because you appear so self-sufficient, others may find it very difficult to imagine that you might need love and attention. It is important for to express your needs to your beloved. Leo (July 23-August 22) Today is a positive day, although a bit challenging. Career and values may not coincide just now. You may find that you will need to speak up and remind others of a particular schedule or added duty. Your sense of value may be tested. If you are in the mood to challenge authority--think through your action and plot your path. If you proceed with tact, you will be pleased at the results--others will see your point of view. Rocking the boat may be a bigger part of your day--but a very gratifying one. You face challenges with a great attitude. With an eye to progress and the future, you feel compelled to try for what is just out of your reach. A friend or relative is willing to help you with a creative project this afternoon. Perhaps it is time to paint a room.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) This is a day to let life move along a little slower. Sorting things out and getting them organized to the utmost efficiency keeps you busy. There could be personal accomplishments later today that will help you in your place of business. This may mean a lecture or some public speaking that puts your company in good light. You may find some exciting subjects come to your attention while visiting with your peers after the workday has ended. The latest developments in individual tracking technology, the future of robotics and a few other subjects inspire you to research and study. Be aware that there may be a need for sensitivity within the family unit this evening. Changes that you think need to be made, may best be held for later. Be happy!

Libra (September 23-October 22) This is a time where you will become more in focused mentally and have many friendly conversations with others. There is more involvement with other people and gathering information is important and is successful when done discreetly. There is likely to be an emphasis on reading, writing, studying, etc. This will serve as a path for self-discovery and personal development. If you have children and you feel you must work, you will begin to look for more time to set aside for these young people. Parenting requires important one-on-one time, yet parents often give less and less. You may decide to help bring this to the attention of society in order to initiate a positive change. Others support your positive developments.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Your mind is ready to absorb new information. Trying something new and unusual is just what you would prefer. This is the way new ideas are spawned and it could be a breakthrough time for you. You could discover something new or design a better approach to an old idea. This is also an energetic time; your communication abilities are inspired. Not only is it a creative time, it is a time when you should be able to get your point across with enthusiasm. Fear is not for you today; you are ready and willing to express yourself--and you do it well. Be careful that you do not go on a spending spree this evening, for you may appreciate the beauty and value of everything you encounter. Budgeting and investing are worthy of your attention. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Your own life seems more important these days. This could be a time of reflection, meditation and appreciation of the value of life itself. You may take this time to explore the information you receive. It is just the type of day you have needed for some time. You take this opportunity to involve yourself with some type of mechanical engineering, creative thinking, or a little experimenting. You may gain results from your efforts in the form of a design for some new addition to your home or the perfect presentation at work. There is approval for whatever you are attempting. This afternoon you feel relaxed and glad that you can catch your breath, so-to-speak. A love of music and an appreciation for sensual pleasures, entertains you this evening.

Yesterday’s Solution

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) You may feel that you have been sent on too many senseless errands today. Hang in there; your attempts to please and accomplish are a plus to your benefit. You may actually find some corners to cut, so-to-speak. Create a plan on paper and present your findings. The ability to get things accomplished is what earns you respect. You attract good company this afternoon and others enjoy being around you. If you find another project is unfolding, gather the forces together to help you and be patient. All will end on a positive note! If you haven?t noticed you may soon discover that the secret to success is confidence, patience and humility. Your personal income will increase very soon. This evening there are no projects; whew! There are books for later.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You can really

Yesterday’s Solution

get your thoughts and ideas together today. It is a period of great mental concentration and your thinking abilities are finely tuned. Ideas flow with ease. You can speak with such animation that people love to hear you tell a story. The sharpness and quickness of your mind may result in your saying a little too much however, careful. Quick-witted you are, but you might also find a foot-in-mouth. Take measures to listen to yourself as you speak and you will know how to make the necessary adjustments. Just think about what you would want to hear from others. You are inquisitive about the world and the people in it. You also have your own opinions, but you are never afraid to absorb new information.

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

00965 00974 009712 009714 009717 009716 00968 009626 00973 009661 009662 00202 00203 009611 0096311 0096321 0021610 002127

Washington New York Paris London Madrid Zurich Geneva Monaco Rome Bangkok Hong Kong Pakistan Taiwan Bonn New Delhi Mumbai Madras Hyderabad

001212 001718 00331 004471 00341 00411 004122 0033 00396 00662 00852 0092 00886 0049228 009111 009122 009144 009140

Word Sleuth Solution

Pisces (February 19-March 20) A taste for art and an appreciation for the finer things in life are where your attention is just now. This is a good time to project your image to others, especially those in a position of power. Many positive opportunities are opening up for you now. You try something and if it does not work, you toss it aside and go on to something else. You do not want to waste your time changing or fixing something that is not going to work anyway. Your sense of value is peeked and you may decide to pick through a few options and choose to teach or help others for now. This evening you could be shopping and finding bargains. Projects at home get your attention and if someone wants to help; let them. You make a positive, visible difference in others attitude for the best.

Saturday, June 5, 2010



A’s find power to beat Red Sox BOSTON: Kurt Suzuki hit two of Oakland’s four homers as the Athletics showed unusual power in overcoming Boston’s 18-hit attack and winning 9-8 in the American League on Thursday. The A’s entered the game with the third-fewest in the majors, but hit more than two in a game for the first time this season. Suzuki homered in his first two at bats against Tim Wakefield (1-4), a solo shot in the second inning and a two-run homer in the fourth. Then, with Oakland leading 7-5 in the eighth, Jack Cust and Kevin Kouzmanoff hit homers on consecutive pitches. Bill Hall’s solo homer in the ninth pulled the Red Sox within a run, but A’s closer Andrew Bailey got the last two outs for his 12th save.

LOS ANGELES: Boston Celtics guard Tony Allen (second from left) puts up a shot as Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom (left) and guard Kobe Bryant (right) defend and guard Derek Fisher (center) falls to the floor during the second half in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals. —AP

Lakers roll over Celtics LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Lakers showed they were ready to withstand rough Boston tactics by beating the Celtics 102-89 in Thursday’s opening game of the NBA finals series. Kobe Bryant scored 30 points and Pau Gasol had 23 points and 14 rebounds to give the Lakers the 1-0 series advantage in the 12th finals series clash between the two teams. Ron Artest scored 15 points after tumbling to the ground in a tangle with Paul Pierce in the opening minute. Bryant and Gasol then led a gritty physical effort against the Celtics, who memorably pushed around the Lakers while winning their 2008 finals matchup in six games. “They were the more physical team by far,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “They were more aggressive. They attacked us the entire night. I didn’t think we handled it very well.” Pierce scored 24 points and Kevin Garnett added 16 after a slow start for the Celtics, who might not want to know that Lakers coach Phil Jackson’s teams in Los Angeles and Chicago have won 47 straight playoff series after winning Game 1. “I wish I had put it in the bank, so to speak,” said Jackson, the 10-time champion. “We’ve got to play this out. ... Our defense stiffened at various points in the game, was very effective. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but it’s nice to know that (the 47-0 streak) is on our side.” Game 2 is tomorrow

in Los Angeles. If the first 48 minutes of the rematch are any indication, this series again will be a knockdown, drag-out physical confrontation — and the supposedly finesse-oriented Lakers held their ground early. Boston’s Ray Allen scored 12 points in just 27 minutes, saddled with constant foul trouble while trying to guard Bryant. Pierce also picked up early fouls, while Garnett simply struggled, going 7 for 16 from the field and grabbing just four rebounds — even inexplicably missing an open layup with 5 1/2 minutes to play. That’s mostly because of Gasol, the Spanish 7-footer determined to assert himself after getting pushed around by Garnett two years ago. Gasol capped a strong game by sprinting downcourt and catching a long pass in stride for a dunk with 6:21 to play. “Pau played a big game tonight,” Jackson said. “They did a good job on him in the post, but his movement and his activity was important.” After Artest and Pierce clashd in the opening minute, the mood didn’t improve much in a game featuring 54 fouls, but Bryant’s playmaking and the Lakers’ inside advantages drove them to a 20-point lead after three quarters before surviving Boston’s final run. “You can’t ease into the game, especially in the finals,” Pierce said. “That’s one of the better rebounding teams in the NBA. We’ve just got to do a better job rebounding the

ball, eliminating easy opportunities. When I look up and we’ve given up 100 points, I haven’t seen that in a while.” Los Angeles outrebounded the Celtics 42-31 and put up a strong shooting percentage until a fourth-quarter slump, again excelling at the their two biggest areas of strength in this postseason. Andrew Bynum scored 10 points on his injured right knee as the Lakers improved to 9-0 at home in the playoffs this season, with 12 straight postseason home wins dating to last year’s championship run. Rajon Rondo had 13 points — just three in the second half — and eight assists as Boston went 1 for 10 on 3-pointers, but forced 15 turnovers. Bryant scored just four points in the fourth quarter, but hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds. He added seven rebounds and six assists in his 12th 30-point game of the postseason. The first quarter featured 18 personal fouls and 20 free throws, 12 by Boston. The Lakers took a 50-41 halftime lead, but Rondo kept Boston close with 10 points, including a buzzer-beating jumper. Los Angeles took charge in the final minutes of the third quarter, when Bryant led an 11-2 run to an 84-64 lead heading into the fourth. Boston swiftly sliced that lead with a 10-1 run in the first four minutes, but the Lakers kept their lead in double digits throughout the fourth. —AP

Mariners 4, Twins 1 In Seattle, Felix Hernandez snapped a personal four-game losing streak, allowing one run over eight innings as Seattle beat AL Central-leading Minnesota. The Mariners’ ace just avoided getting drilled in the head by Justin Morneau’s liner in the first inning, then settled into a groove. After Morneau’s RBI hit, Hernandez (3-4) retired 22 of the final 27 batters he faced. Hernandez even struck out four Twins in the eighth inning after Joe Mauer reached base when a third strike in the dirt bounced away from catcher Rob Johnson. No problem for Hernandez, who got Morneau looking to end the inning and add to his strikeout total. Jose Lopez hit a threerun homer for Seattle. Twins starter Carl Pavano (5-6) was the loser. White Sox 4, Rangers 3 In Chicago, Carlos Quentin, booed after committing an error that led to a Texas run, atoned with a two-run homer for Chicago in the seventh inning, helping the White Sox edge the Rangers. Chicago starter Freddy Garcia (5-3) pitched seven solid innings, and Andruw Jones and Alex Rios also homered for the White Sox, who avoided being swept at home by the Rangers for the first time in 24 years. Texas starter Colby Lewis (4-4) was in command for six innings, but three pitches in the seventh blew a 3-2 lead. After A.J. Pierzynski doubled on the first pitch, Quentin sent Lewis’ pitch just over the right-field fence. White Sox closer Bobby Jenks worked a scoreless ninth for his eighth save. Angels 5, Royals 4 In Kansas City, Jered Weaver outpitched Zack Greinke in seven scoreless innings to steer Los Angeles past Kansas City. Weaver (5-2) was sharp for the fourth straight start, getting his first win since May 7 behind a Los Angeles offense that knocked around Greinke (1-7). Torii Hunter homered for the second straight game for the Angels, who had 12 hits after getting 14 the night before. Los Angeles (28-28) reached .500 for the first time in over a month. Greinke seemed off-kilter for the second straight home start, extending his post-Cy Young misery by allowing four runs in six innings.

KUWAIT: Under the auspices of the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Roudhan Al-Roudhan and the Kuwait Fire Services Directorate (KFSD) Director, Maj. General Jassem Al-Mansouri, KFSD recently concluded its soccer tournament with the final match between Capital and the Operations teams. Capital won the final 2-1.

Yankees 6, Orioles 3 In New York, Alex Rodriguez homered to help New York inflict hapless Baltimore’s eighth straight loss. Brett Gardner also homered and Robinson Cano had an RBI double off Kevin Millwood (0-6) as the Yankees won their fifth consecutive game, all against divisional last-place teams. New York starter CC Sabathia (5-3) won for the first time in a month, allowing three hits and striking out seven over seven innings, improving to 12-1 against the Orioles by beating them for the third time this season. Luke Scott hit a two-run homer and Adam Jones also connected for the Orioles. Tigers 12, Indians 6 In Detroit, Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera hit consecutive homers in a five-run seventh inning as Detroit routed Cleveland. The Tigers quickly bounced back from the disappointment of Wednesday, when a blown umpirng call cost pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. Detroit reliever Brad Thomas (2-0) retired two in the sixth inning for the win. Cleveland’s Hector Abriz (0-1) gave up a run on two hits in an inning to take the loss. —AP

BOSTON: Red Sox’s Victor Martinez (left) is out at home while attempting to score on a double hit by Red Sox’s Kevin Youkilis as Oakland Athletics’ catcher Kurt Suzuki (right) makes the play in the third inning of a baseball game. —AP

MLB results/standings Major League Baseball results and standings on Thursday: NY Yankees 6, Baltimore 3; Detroit 12, Cleveland 6; Oakland 9, Boston 8; Houston 6, Washington 4; LA Angels 5, Kansas City 4; Florida 3, Milwaukee 2; Chicago White Sox 4, Texas 3; Seattle 4, Minnesota 1; Atlanta 4, LA Dodgers 3. American League Eastern Division W L Tampa Bay 36 18 NY Yankees 34 20 Boston 31 24 Toronto 31 24 Baltimore 15 39 Central Division Minnesota 31 23 Detroit 28 25 C White Sox 23 30 Kansas City 22 33 Cleveland 19 33

Texas Oakland LA Angels Seattle

PCT .667 .630 .564 .564 .278

.574 .528 .434 .400 .365

Western Division 28 25 29 26 28 28 22 31

.528 .527 .500 .415

GB 2 5.5 5.5 21

2.5 7.5 9.5 11

1.5 6

National League Eastern Division Atlanta 32 22 Philadelphia 28 24 Florida 28 27 NY Mets 27 27 Washington 26 29

.593 .538 .509 .500 .473

3 4.5 5 6.5

St. Louis Cincinnati Chicago Cubs Pittsburgh Milwaukee Houston

Central Division 31 23 31 23 24 29 22 31 22 32 20 34

.574 .574 .453 .415 .407 .370

6.5 8.5 9 11

San Diego LA Dodgers San Francisco Colorado Arizona

Western Division 32 21 31 23 28 24 28 25 20 34

.604 .574 .538 .528 .370

1.5 3.5 4 12.5

Braves edge Dodgers LOS ANGELES: Kris Medlen took a three-hit shutout into the eighth inning and doubled home a run as the Atlanta Braves held on for a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday, notching a ninth straight win. Troy Glaus homered for the fourth time in five games as Atlanta brought up its longest winning streak in 10 years. Medlen (3-1) was charged with two earned runs in a careerhigh 7 1-3 innings, walking none in his ninth big league start. Atlanta closer Takashi Saito - pitching against his old side retired the first two batters in the ninth before injuring a hamstring. Jonny Venters came on and strick out Russell Martin with his first pitch for his first

major league save. Los Angeles’ Hiroki Kuroda (5-4) was the loser. Marlins 3, Brewers 2 In Miami, Josh Johnson pitched seven strong innings to guide Florida to a tight win over Milwaukee. Johnson (62) finally allowed an earned run, ending his streak at 31 13 innings spanning parts of six starts. The towering pitcher allowed one run while striking out eight. Leo Nunez converted his 12th save in 14 opportunities. Ronny Paulino drove in two runs for the Marlins. Milwaukee starter Chris Capuano (0-1), returning from Tommy John surgery, made his first start in the majors since 2007, and

allowed three runs in 3 2-3 innings. Astros 6, Nationals 4 In Houston, Carlos Lee hit a two-run homer in the ninth for Houston after the Astros tied it on an error by Washington’s Cristian Guzman. Michael Bourn started the comeback with a double to center. After a ground out, Lance Berkman drove a sinking liner that dropped at Guzman’s feet and bounced away. Lee then drove an pitch from Matt Capps (0-3) into the left-field porch for his second two-run, gameending homer of the season and the Astros’ second win in their last at-bat in three days. Guzman had given the Nationals a 4-3 lead in the top of the ninth off Astros closer Matt Lindstrom (1-2). —AP

NEWPORT: England’s Chris Wood in action during round two of the Wales Open. —AP

Donald equals course record NEWPORT: England’s Luke Donald bounced back from a poor opening round at the Wales Open to equal the Celtic Manor course record yesterday. Donald shot a 4-over 75 on the first day and was 111th and in danger of missing the cut. But he responded with nine secondround birdies yesterday and shot a 6-under 65 despite carrying a seven on his card. “In the first round I had a

sore throat, was not switched on mentally and putted poorly,” said Donald, who reached 2 under to move into the top 30 on the leaderboard. “I can’t remember the last time I had 32-33 putts in a round. “But I woke up feeling a lot better healthwise and used the calm good weather to my advantage and sank a lot of putts.” Donald’s confidence in his short game returned after he sank a

40-foot effort on the fourth green. He followed that up with a 30-footer at the eighth and went on to sink three more from more than 20 feet. The multiple birdies allowed Donald, the winner of last week’s Madrid Masters, to offset the damage done to his card when his approach shot to the 18th green spun back into water and cost him a double bogey. —AP



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Italy keep faith with fading star ROME: One of the most intriguing elements of Italy’s World Cup defence, in both senses of the word, will be the form and influence of Fabio Cannavaro. The 36-year-old Juventus defender lifted the trophy four years ago as the Italy captain in a dream season in which he was later named world player of the year and also moved to Real Madrid. Cannavaro, then 32, was on top of the world and was showered with plaudits from all quarters. However, four years is a very long time in football and now both Italy and Cannavaro find themselves in a precarious situation.

Having been an automatic first choice in the team for many years now, Cannavaro’s position has become something of a conundrum. He has become what Francesco Totti is to AS Roma or what Paul Gascoigne became towards the end of his England career: a problem. Behind the Juve star there are very few Italian centre-backs presenting an unequivocal case for inclusion alongside Georgio Chiellini, Cannavaro’s centrehalf partner for club and country. It means that no-one has yet convinced coach Marcello Lippi that the veteran’s time is up, so the wily coach,

the man who guided Italy to their world title four years ago before quitting and then reclaiming the reins after a twoyear hiatus, remains faithful to his captain. But the general feeling in Italy is that Cannavaro has lost it and there’s nothing like the prospect of playing up to seven matches in a month to expose any such weaknesses. Football, and indeed picking teams, is obviously an inexact science but one thing that cannot be denied is that Cannavaro is not what he was. He has just been a part of a Juventus team that lost a club record 15 league

matches and conceded a club record 56 goals in a season. And that despite playing alongside Chiellini, who was probably Juve’s only bright spark all season, and with Italy number one Gianluigi Buffon behind them. Cannavaro was frequently found wanting in crucial moments and dragged embarrassingly out of position all too frequently for comfort. Crucially it was in the biggest games that he and his team-mates failed in the most spectcular manner. They twice lost 3-0 to AC Milan last season and were thumped 4-1 at home to Bayern Munich

in the Champions League group stages to be dumped out of the competition. When Juve needed their Italy captain the most, he was powerless to plug the holes in their backline. In the last game of the season, at the San Siro against Milan, Cannavaro was at fault for the first goal as he charged out of position to close down Milan lef t-back Luca Antonini only to then be beaten for pace by the same player who ran into a gaping hole to go on and score past Buffon. Cannavaro was also out of position on Milan’s second goal and missing when Ronaldinho wrapped up the victory in the second half.

Slovenia may give PM more boots to shine LJUBLJANA: Soccer often takes a back seat in Slovenia, a country of just two million where winter sports such as Alpine skiing, ski jumping and ice hockey draw bigger crowds than first division matches. That definitely was not the case after the Slovenians stunned Russia in a World Cup playoff to reach their third major tournament as an independent nation. The country’s celebrations were capped by Prime Minister Borut Pahor fulfilling a promise to clean the players’ boots. “I admit I did not clean them thoroughly,” Pahor told Slovenian TV after coming out of the dressing room. The Slovenians hope to qualify for the knockout stage of a major competition for the first time in South Africa and their qualifying performances give cause for optimism. Slovenia sprung the first upset when they clinched the runners-up spot in a qualifying group including Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland. They then produced the shock of Europe’s play-offs when they knocked out Russia on away goals. That kind of resilience has been the Slovenian national team’s trademark down the years and although they will start as underdogs against England in Group C, they will not fear Algeria or the United States. Slovenia are a tough side to break down and their back four are superbly marshalled by goalkeeper Samir Handanovic who has made a name for himself in Serie A in three seasons with Udinese. Wisla Krakow’s Andraz Kirm and Bostjan Cesar, who plays for French side Grenoble, were the defensive pillars in Slovenia’s qualifying campaign while Valter Birsa of AJ Auxerre pulled the strings in midfield. The key player on the road to South

Africa was 30-year-old Cologne striker Milivoje Novakovic, the top scorer with five goals. If Slovenia can produce the kind of consistency that took them through the qualifiers, reaching the knockout stage may not be beyond them. However a thin squad with limited talent is unlikely to progress beyond the last 16 and even that may be too tall an order if any of their main players pick up injuries or suspensions. Meanwhile, Milivoje Novakovic, Slovenia’s top scorer in World Cup qualifying, was a late developer in soccer terms and started his professional career as a 20-yearold at Olimipja Ljubljana. The striker, who has scored 14 goals in 37 internationals, made his Slovenia debut in 2006 and has been an automatic starter for his country ever since. Novakovic joined Austrian part-timers ASK Voitsberg in 2002, three years after his debut, where he scored just two goals in six appearances. In 2003 he moved to Mattersburg and, the following year, joined their first division rivals Linz where he scored eight goals in 21 appearances in each of his two seasons before he switched to Litex Lovech. He blossomed at the Bulgarian side and finished the 2005-06 season as the first division’s top scorer after Litex came third. This fruitful season led to a move to Cologne, where he was named captain after finishing as the German second division’s top scorer in 2008. He was Cologne’s top scorer the following year, netting 16 times after their return to the top flight. He was stripped of the captaincy in November 2009 after a dispute with Cologne coach Zvonimir Soldo. Novakovic is not a world-class striker but needs no second invitation in the penalty box. His awareness enables him to find the back of the net when time and space are in short supply. The scorer of five goals, he was one of only three players who featured in all 12 of Slovenia’s World Cup qualifiers. Although Slovenia have talented players in Valter Birsa, Zlatko Dedic and Nejc Pecnik, their chances of progressing to the last 16 depend to a considerable extent on Novakovic’s form and fitness. — Reuters

Factbox Colors: Green and white shirts, white shorts and white socks Nickname: Zmajceki (Dragons) Previous World Cup Appearances: 1: 2002 Best World Cup performance: group stage in 2002 Coach: Matjaz Kek Most capped player: Zlatko Zahovic 80 Top scorer: Zlatko Zahovic 35 Talking points Slovenia caused a major upset to qualify for the World Cup finals after they knocked out favourites Russia in one of Europe’s four play-offs. Coach Matjaz Kek is confident they can reach the last 16 for the first time in a major tournament, but acknowledged his thin squad would have to reproduce their qualifying form. Slovenia are an industrious team with few world-class talents but their work rate can outweigh their weaknesses. It remains to be seen whether gifted youngsters Rene Krhin and Tim Matavz will break into the final 23-man squad. Players to watch Striker Milivoje Novakovic was Slovenia’s top scorer in qualifying and the team’s chances of reaching the last 16 rest heavily on his clinical finishing. Midfielder Valter Birsa has had an excellent season at Ligue 1 side Auxerre while goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic appears to have peaked at Serie A club Udinese and the trio should be the backbone of Slovenia’s effort to reach uncharted territory in major tournaments, having bowed out of the group stage in Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup. — Reuters

Italy face Number 10 World Cup conundrum

SLOVENIA: Slovenia's Zlatko Dedic controls the ball during World Cup qualifying playoff second leg soccer match against Russia, in Maribor, Slovenia. — AP

Masterstroke by Slovenia

SLOVENIA: Slovenia's head coach Matjaz Kek after their friendly soccer match against Qatar at Ljudski Vrt stadium in Maribor, Slovenia— AP

Such generally poor defending was anathema to Cannavaro four years ago and it is worrying for Italy that they have put their faith in a player who is creaking so obviously. What’s more, Italy will be relying on their traditional defensive strengths in South Africa as their forward line offers very little to strike fear into their opponents. But their defence, and in particular Cannavaro, just isn’t that good any more. June risks presenting Cannavaro with a very inglorious exit from top level football and not one becoming of a former world player of the year. — AFP

LJUBLJANA: After Slovenia’s failure to reach Euro 2004 or the 2006 World Cup, Matjaz Kek was appointed during the equally unsuccessful Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. Taking over from Branko Oblak, Kek used the qualifiers to inject fresh blood into a side that was past its peak. Slovenia finished sixth in a group of seven, behind Belarus and Albania, but Kek held on to his job and this decision by the Slovenian Football Association proved to be a masterstroke. Kek restored the kind of discipline and hard work that had led Slovenia to

Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup. They finished second in their 2010 World Cup qualifying group ahead of the more fancied Czechs and Poland. Slovakia, the group’s other surprise package, were automatic qualifiers and the Slovenians were given little chance of getting past Russia in their playoff. Zlatko Dedic, recalled to the team by Kek in 2007 after being dropped by Oblak three years earlier, scored the goal which gave Slovenia a shock victory on away goals. Kek was never a household name in his playing days but the former centre

back won three league titles in his last four seasons with Maribor before retiring in 1999. Kek had started at Maribor in 1979 while Slovenia was still a part of the former Yugoslavia. In 1985 he moved to Austria where he spent a decade with Spittau and GAK Graz. Now 48, he was an assistant coach i n M a r i b o r b e f o re h e w a s n a m e d manager in 2000, winning the league title in his first season in charge. In 2003, Kek was named manager of Slovenia’s under-15 and under-16 sides. — Reuters

ROME: Italy head to South Africa for the defence of their World Cup title in June with a worrying problem, they’re missing a number 10. This doesn’t mean the azzurri will be playing a man short for the tournament but merely that they have no-one whose natural game is as a second striker. What this means is that Italy’s attacking options will be seriously compromised, likely making them a more predictable and less effective unit. Coach Marcello Lippi has as good as admitted as much, telling his players that they will be building from a solid defensive foundation and informing the media that his probable tactics will be one lone striker backed up by nine outfield players who “run around and defend.” It is a major concern for the reigning world champions who arrive at the tournament with a dearth of quality frontmen. For a team who have in the past called on the likes of Gianluca Vialli, Roberto Mancini, Roberto Baggio, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero to lead their frontline, the current squad is a horribly poor shadow of teams past. And that is no more so in evidence than up front. The likes of Alberto Gilardino, Antonio Di Natale, Vincenzo

Iaquinta, Giampaolo Pazzini and Fabio Quagliarella would barely be fit to lace up the boots of their illustrious predecessors. Gilardino is many people’s favorite to be asked to lead the line in South Africa, a job he was also given four years ago in Germany before losing his place at the business end of matters. But Gilardino is a player who failed at AC Milan and lost his place to a pair of teenagers before moving to Fiorentina two years ago. His record of 35 goals in 71 league games over the last two seasons is good and translates to more or less a goal every two games, but it isn’t sensational and this is an out and out number nine: a goal poacher. Di Natale has just finished a great season for Udinese with a stunning 29 goals in 35 Serie A games to finish capocanoniere, or top goal scorer. But this season was a one off and he’s been playing in a team fighting a relegation battle. He’s 32 and he’s played his whole career in mid-table for struggling Serie A teams as well as a fair few seasons in Serie B with Empoli. He’s quick and can be elusive but he’s more of a wide player than a forward and international defences won’t be as vulnerable to his talents as those of Serie A.—AFP

Austria draws World Cup stars for buildup VIENNA: Austria could have been mistaken in the past weeks as the World Cup venue instead of faraway South Africa, as some of the world’s top teams trained and played their final matches before the big event. For over 20 years, the small alpine nation has welcomed national sides and prestigious clubs like Arsenal and Real Madrid for altitude training in summer. But with players facing games at over 1,000 metres above sea level in South Africa, Austria turned into a meeting point for world-class footballers in the past month such as Spain’s Xavi Hernandez, England’s Steven Gerrard and Wesley Sneijder from the Netherlands. “The climate is similar to the one we’ll have in South Africa and the altitude is similar too,” said Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso, whose squad is training in Schruns, in the western Vorarlberg province. “The conditions are good to train and prepare.” Players also praised the camp locations in remote valleys, away from media attention and hype. Since mid-May and until the end of this week, nine World Cup contenders and other national sides have set up camp in Austria. Attracting top teams is no easy feat, but the little nation-itself ranked only 68th in the world by FIFA-has steadily garnered a reputation for well-organised camps. “Austria is a very safe country, a beautiful country, and of course-and that’s the most important thing-we have to do a good job as organisers, we have to be reliable,” said Nikolaus Pichler, director of the IFCS agency, which brought England and New Zealand to Styria, a southern province. Now word has got around and teams are flocking to Austria for training. “Managers speak with each other and coaches switch teams. Take Fabio Capello, he came to us with AS Roma, he was here with Real Madrid and now he was here as England manager,” Pichler noted proudly. Costs are relatively limited-England paid for its 10-day camp in a five-star converted castle in Irdning with the proceeds from a single friendly match against Japan in Graz on May 30, Pichler said. According to the Seefeld tourism board, which organised the Dutch training camp in the scenic Tyrol region, a 10day stay for a team of 35 or 40 in a fivestar hotel could start at 60,000 euros (73,285 dollars). Every need is catered to, from special food requests to outdoor activities. South Korea brought two of its own cooks to its camp, and the town of Schruns even closed a street to avoid bothering the Spanish team during siesta time. As a result, demand is high and many clubs return to the same region year af ter year. “We always have more requests than we can take,” said Bernadette Stauder of the Seefeld tourism board, which has been organising camps since 1988. Agencies and tourism boards also organise friendly matches, such as the 13 warm-up games held here ahead of the World Cup. Hosting the 2008 European championship also helped promote Austria’s excellent training facilities. “We certainly gained a good reputation during the European championship,” noted Angelika Hofherr of the Stubaital tourism board, which hosted European champion Spain in 2008 and helped organise South Korea’s Tyrolean camp in Neustift this year. The region could soon be tagged a champion-maker if the Koreans go far in the World Cup. “(After Spain) it would be fantastic if South Korea could also advance thanks to the fresh air and their stay in Stubaital,” said Hofherr. With national squads on their way to South Africa now, the next batch of clubs is already lining up for training in the Alps. Premier League teams Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers, Bundesliga sides Schalke and Vfl Wolfsburg and other European teams such as Lens and Sparta Prag are all signed up for a camp here this summer. — AFP



Saturday, June 5, 2010

US aim to transform past success MIAMI: The United States need to establish a first-choice line-up quickly if they are to transform the successes of the past year into a long run at the World Cup. Victory over European champions Spain in the Confederations Cup last year gave a huge boost to the self-belief of Bob Bradley’s squad and this was followed by the US taking a two-goal lead over Brazil in the final, before losing 3-2. Qualification for the World Cup finals was achieved with relatively few complications. But the final match of the campaign, a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica in October, may yet have an impact on the campaign in South Africa. Although the result had no bearing on the US’s qualification, the team suffered two serious injuries. The day before the match, striker Charlie Davies, who had brought a new dimension to Bradley’s team with his pace and confidence, was involved in a car accident which killed a friend. Davies suffered injuries that have kept him out of competitive football since. Then, in the game, central defender Oguchi Onyewu, who had matured into the linchpin of the defence and had recently signed for AC Milan, suffered serious knee ligament damage. Onyewu is back in the squad for the pre-tournament training camp but if he misses out, this would mean a new pairing in the centre of defence with little time to gel. Bradley is trying out several options for the forward line. Davies’s strike partner, Jozy Altidore, has had a poor run of form for Hull and so the coach may have to opt for a new front pairing. On the plus side, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan have enjoyed good spells in England and will be crucial to Bradley’s plans, whether in midfield or higher up the field. The centre of midfield is settled with Michael Bradley and Ricardo Clark almost certain to start. So the talent is there, the team has experience and a good coach. The only question is whether Bradley can mould them into an effective unit for the June 12 opener against England. Slovenia and Algeria may be tougher opponents than some American fans imagine but the US will expect to go through the group stage with England. Meanwhile, Stuart Holden is a key figure in Bob Bradley’s squad after transforming himself into one of the most exciting players in the United States over the past year. Holden, born in Scotland but raised in Texas from the age of 10, began his professional career in the youth ranks at Sunderland in England. His spell with the club was cut short when he was attacked outside a bar in Newcastle and suffered a fractured eye socket. Holden returned to the States without having played a full league game for Sunderland and eventually got a contract with his local team in Major League Soccer (MLS), Houston Dynamo. There, under the tutelage of another Scottishborn American, Dominic Kinnear, Holden worked his way into the Dynamo midfield, performing with enough distinction to earn a call-up to the US under-23 team. Holden made his debut for a largely secondstring US in July’s Gold Cup and his performanc-

es in that competition earned him a spot in the first-choice squad. “He’s a player who finds good spaces to get the ball, is confident, capable of scoring, producing a final pass or a cross, so he’s a guy that we’re excited to have with us,” said Bradley when he called up Holden for the World Cup qualifier with Mexico in August. Holden often buzzes out wide where he is capable of beating a man and delivering a pinpoint cross. The 24-year-old is also comfortable spraying the ball around from midfield and possesses a powerful shot, as he showed with his spectacular strike against Haiti in the Gold Cup. “I came into the season fit and everything was clicking and in the right place. I wanted to be part of the World Cup team, that is everyone’s dream, but at the start of the season I considered myself maybe a long shot. I knew I had some work to put in and get into consideration,” he said. His timing was perfect. Not only did Holden’s performances make him a guaranteed traveller to South Africa, they also earned him a move back to England and, this time, to first-team football in the Premier League. Holden joined Bolton Wanderers in January before a leg injury in a friendly against the Netherlands in March kept him out until the final day of the season. But Bolton manager Owen Coyle was clear about why he had signed Holden. “He has a great energy and desire, and he wants to show that he can play in the best league in the world, so he is a young man with a point to prove.”— Reuters

Bradley proves safe and successful MIAMI: When Bruce Arena quit after a disappointing United States campaign at the 2006 World Cup, Fabio Capello and Juergen Klinsmann were mentioned as possible replacements. In the end, the US went for the familiar-the tried and tested Bob Bradley. Bradley, a studious man with a background in college soccer, was never going to generate the buzz of a big-name foreign coach but he knew the player pool well, knew the US system and has now proved he knows how to get the best out of both. Qualifying for the World Cup is expected these days for the US but beating European champions Spain on the way to the final of the Confederations Cup in South Africa last year was a pleasant surprise to even the country’s most optimistic fans. Bradley, 52, already has 30 years of coaching experience, having started at Ohio University at the age of 22. In the era after the demise of the North American Soccer League, and before the advent of Major League Soccer (MLS), Bradley chose the wisest path for a young coach in a country without a toplevel professional league-college soccer. Between 1984 and 1995, Bradley worked at the university where he had gained his degree, Princeton, before he moved into the professional game as an assistant at DC United in 1996. Two years later he had his

PRINCETON: United States Men's National World Cup soccer team coach Bob Bradley answers a question at Princeton University —AP own job at the newly formed Chicago Fire where he led the team to a rare MLS title and US Open Cup double, and was named MLS Coach of the Year. Spells with the New York/New Jersey Metrostars and Chivas USA followed before Bradley left MLS to being working with the US under-23 team and then the full national side. — Reuters

Factbox Colors: White shirts, dark blue shorts, white socks. Nickname: The Yanks Previous World Cup appearances: 8 (1930, 1934, 1950, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006) Best World Cup performance: Third place, 1930 Coach: Bob Bradley Most capped player: Cobi Jones 164 Top goalscorer: Landon Donovan 42

NASHVILLE: United States midfielder Landon Donovan celebrates after assisting on a goal by Jozy Altidore against Trinidad and Tobago during the first half of a World Cup qualifying soccer match in Nashville, Tenn. — AP

Talking points Where to play the two best players? Both Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey have been used frequently in midfield roles by Bob Bradley. But the US coach is short of quality attacking options and perhaps needs more defensive steel in his midfield, and so the option to play a ‘Double D’ strike force will be tempting. Player to watch If Stuart Holden is match-fit after his spell injured, then he could surprise many people with his energy and class on the right flank which have prompted comparisons with a young David Beckham. —Reuters

Donovan yearns to shine on world stage MIAMI: Landon Donovan is considered the best American soccer player of all time but he still yearns to leave an indelible mark on the world stage. It has been a hectic year for Donovan who, after a row with his LA Galaxy team mate David Beckham, followed the England international’s example and opted for a loan spell in Europe. While Beckham’s period with AC Milan ended in an injury which has ruled him out of the World Cup, Donovan enjoyed a successful spell with Everton which further enhanced his reputation.

After failing to make the grade in Germany, where Donovan had two spells with Bayer Leverkusen and a brief loan with Bayern Munich, the Califor nian’s success at Goodison Park showed he definitely had what it took to be a top player outside the United States. “The experience was a priceless one for me. The games were always fast and ultra-competitive and my time there certainly made me a better player,” he said. “I feel like I had to earn the respect of the fans, and once I did, they were always going to support

me.” That respect is a given in North America where Donovan has no match as an attacking midfielder or creative support forward. The 28-year-old has appeared in two previous World Cup finals and scored 42 goals in 121 international appearances for his country, making him the US side’s all-time top scorer. He made his debut for the United States full national team on Oct. 25, 2000, against Mexico and scored. He scored twice in the US run to the last eight in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan where he won the tournament’s Best

Young Player award. The 2006 edition in Germany was disappointing for Donovan and the team as a whole, but he was in excellent form when the US reached the final of the Confederations Cup last year and was instrumental in their World Cup qualifying campaign. Increasingly used by US coach Bob Bradley in a wide midfield role, a position he occupied under David Moyes at Everton, Donovan can also play off a target man striker and he may find himself back in that role at times in South Africa. — Reuters



England’s old song could have new chorus

Capello leads England’s renaissance

Fabio Capello

LONDON: England’s transformation in just over two years from a side going nowhere to one counted among the World Cup favourites is largely down to Fabio Capello. The 63-year-old Italian art lover and opera fan has overseen a renaissance in the national side, restoring a sense of pride, discipline and self-belief that has been lacking for too long. Capello was appointed after England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008, the lowest point in their fortunes since their absence from the 1994 World Cup in the United States. From the first day he met the players, they knew the easy affability of the Steve McClaren era was over. Capello did not refer to his players as “JT” (John Terry) or “Becks” (David Beckham) in news conferences and his message was crystal clear: “We need to improve, the players know it, I know it...and we will.” Capello was one of Europe’s most successful coaches, winning four Italian titles with AC Milan, one with AS Roma and two with Juventus, plus two Spanish titles with Real Madrid. He also won the Champions League with Milan in 1994. He had been successful as a player, winning four titles with Milan and Juventus and playing 32 times for Italy, and he has brought that winning mentality to England, paying as much attention to off-field details as to what happens on the pitch. “Respect is everything,” he told reporters. “And attention to detail is everything too. We can leave nothing to chance.” While on England duty, the players eat together, arriving and departing at the same time. Mobile phones are banned and casual clothes have been replaced by team blazers. Although the nucleus of the squad is much the same as it was when he took over, he has got England to play as a tighter unit when they are without the ball, closing down the opposition quicker and defending in greater depth. As a consequence results have improved. Nine wins out of 10 qualifiers prove that, and they included 4-1 and 5-1 defeats of Croatia who ended McClaren’s reign with a 3-2 win at Wembley. In hindsight, that defeat could be regarded as a blessing in disguise for, without it, McClaren would probably have stayed. Without Capello, England’s chances of success in South Africa would be far lower than they are.—Reuters

Practice makes perfect for consistent Lampard LONDON: Frank Lampard’s Uncle Harry tells the story of the day he looked out of his window and saw a young lad practising his skills all alone on a muddy football pitch. Uncle Harry was not just any casual observer. Harry Redknapp was manager of West Ham United at the time and his nephew Frank was a junior at the club. “When I see what he can do now, and what he has achieved in the game, I often think back to that time. Frank was special from day one and had that will to succeed.” Redknapp was talking at a tribute evening in his nephew’s honour in January. Four months on, Lampard has helped Chelsea to win the FA Cup and Premier League double-even though he uncharacteristically missed a penalty in the Cup final against Portsmouth-and the midfielder is now preparing for South Africa. For the fifth successive season, Lampard, who turns 32 during the finals, scored 20plus goals for Chelsea and maintained the high standards that have been the hallmark of his game for a decade. He was the only man to play in all 10 of England’s World Cup qualifiers, contributing four goals including two when the team sealed their place in the finals with a 5-1 win over Croatia at Wembley last September. With 77 England caps to his credit, and David Beckham out of the finals with injury, only Steven Gerrard (78 caps) has played more times for England among the current squad. The Lampard-Gerrard dilemma-how to accommodate them both in the England midfield-is no longer such an issue with coach Fabio Capello deploying Gerrard on the left and Lampard in a more central role. The two players’ ability to score goals and keep driving England forward, with Gareth Barry in the supporting role, is one of Capello’s trump cards.—Reuters

England's Frank Lampard plays against Kazakstan in their World Cup group 6 qualifying soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London, Saturday, Oct. 11 , 2008. —AP

Factbox Colors: White shirts, white shorts, white socks Nickname: Three Lions Previous World Cup appearances: 12: 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962,1966, 1970, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2006 Best World Cup performance: Winners 1966 Coach: Fabio Capello Most capped player: Peter Shilton 125 Top goalscorer: Bobby Charlton 49 Talking points: England qualified for the finals with eight successive wins and finished with nine wins out of 10 games in European Group Six, but trouble has dogged the squad since the end of the qualifiers. John Terry was deposed as captain following revelations that he had an extra-marital affair with the ex-partner of England and former Chelsea team mate Wayne Bridge, who has since made himself unavailable for national selection. Injuries to David Beckham, who will miss the finals, and Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson and Aaron Lennon hampered coach Fabio Capello’s preparations while the inconsistent form of Terry and his centre-back partner Rio Ferdinand has not helped. Player to watch: Wayne Rooney. The 24-yearold Manchester United striker, who struck 34 goals before a spate of injuries affected the end of his season, is England’s key player. He expects to have fully recovered from a groin strain, and if he is on form and scoring goals, England could go far. If he is below par, they probably will not.—Reuters

Saturday, June 5, 2010

England's Wayne Rooney is seen during the World Cup group 6 qualifying soccer match between England and Ukraine on Oct. 10, 2009. —AP

LONDON: Before every major tournament England’s refrain is the same: we really can win it this time. To update the words of the Euro 96 anthem, England have now suffered “44 years of hurt” since winning their only major honor, the World Cup in 1966. However, a superb qualifying campaign, the prodigious form of Wayne Rooney and the weather in wintry South Africa have given England hope of becoming world champions again. Manager Fabio Capello, who succeeded Steve McClaren after the failure to qualify for Euro 2008, has given England back their self-belief while keeping the talented nucleus of the side that came up short two years ago. England qualified for the World Cup after winning their first eight games although things have not run smoothly for Capello since then, with off-field headlines involving former skipper John Terry and Ashley Cole giving him headaches. Injuries to important players such as Glen Johnson, Aaron Lennon, Rio Ferdinand, Cole and Gareth Barry have added to his problems while David Beckham’s absence because of a ruptured Achilles tendon has deprived him of the former captain’s unique qualities. Despite those setbacks England’s prospects remain good if Rooney can carry his domestic form into the finals. Rooney scored 34 goals in all competitions for Manchester United before niggling injuries affected the end of his season. Capello’s likely starting lineup will have Robert Green in goal, behind a back four of right-back Glen Johnson, centre-backs Ferdinand and Terry with Cole on the left. In a four-man midfield, Steven Gerrard will start on the left with Barry, if he recovers from an ankle injury, and Frank Lampard across the middle and either Shaun Wright-Phillips, Lennon or Theo Walcott on the right. Rooney, with support from the muscular Emile Heskey, will spearhead the attack and the team should be able to take first place in Group C from Algeria, Slovenia and the United States. England’s bid for glory at the World Cup will be hurt by the exhaustion of their players after a long season of fast-paced Premier League football, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said. “The intensity of the English game is so great that it makes it more difficult for those players to perform well in the World Cup,” Ferguson told reporters. “You have to say the number of games, particularly at our level, is exhausting. “Every game Manchester United play is a Cup final. We have to win, and teams playing against us are motivated to play against Manchester United.” Ferguson said his players competing in the World Cup will be in urgent need of the 28 days of rest they are given before returning to training with United for next season. “They must have that or they won’t feature next year, they’ll just collapse. Exhaustion will get them, which makes it difficult for English players to perform well in the World Cup,” he added. United’s leading striker Wayne Rooney, who carries the weight of the nation’s expectations every time he pulls on an England shirt, struggled with injury towards the end of the season but Ferguson said he would be fit for the finals. “... if he wasn’t (fit), there would probably be headlines all over the papers. I’m sure he’ll be all right. I’m sure he’s OK.” Asked who would win the tournament in South Africa which starts on June 11 Ferguson went with the form books. “My general view is that Brazil are very strong favorites with Spain following them,” Ferguson told Reuters after embracing the head of United’s US supporters club following the news conference. “...I think that France will do better than people think. They are underdogs, which is not normal for them, and Italy will probably get to the semi-finals.”—Reuters

Ferdinand out of World Cup RUSTENBURG: England captain Rio Ferdinand was ruled out of the World Cup yesterday after injuring his knee in the team’s first full training session in South Africa. The 31-year-old center back sustained the ligament damage to his left knee while defending against striker Emile Heskey at England’s training ground near Rustenburg a week before England’s opener against the United States in this northern South African city on June 12. Scans showed that Ferdinand will be out for four to six weeks and his place in the squad will be taken by Tottenham defender Michael Dawson, while midfielder Steven Gerrard assumes the captaincy. “It is obviously bad news and everyone with the squad is very disappointed and sorry for Rio,” England coach Fabio Capello said. “It was an accidental injury in training, but had nothing to do with the pitch.”

It came at the end of another injuryrestricted season for Ferdinand at Manchester United. Plagued by a longstanding back problem, the defender was restricted to just 12 starts for United. Matthew Upson or Ledley King, who has chronic knee problems, are likely to take Ferdinand’s starting spot in central defense alongside John Terry. Dawson was cut from the preliminary 30-man squad on Tuesday but put on standby as a possible replacement for Ferdinand. Under FIFA rules, injured players can be replaced up to the day before the opening game. Another concern for Capello is the fitness of injury-prone goalkeeper David James, who was unable to train with his teammates at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus and had to work separately in the gym. James is competing for the starting spot with Robert Green and Joe Hart. “David James has a little problem with the knee after a long flight,”

Capello said. “It is not such a big problem.” But there was more positive news regarding Gareth Barry, with the midfielder training for the first time since injuring his right ankle a month ago. The ligament damage sustained by Barry playing for Manchester City on May 5 made him a doubt for inclusion in the 23-man World Cup squad, but he made the cut after a medical check on Tuesday. “We have to wait day-by-day to see what happens with the ankle,” Capello said. “The work is harder everyday, stronger everyday. “In the afternoons he trains in the gym with the physio and in the morning with the team, but not completely with the team. We have to be careful with every moment and make sure the ankle is really good.” Former captain David Beckham, whose World Cup campaign was ended by an Achilles’ tendon injury, has been allowed to travel with the squad to help the players.—AP



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Football in S Africa: Long legacy of barrier-busting JOHANNESBURG: Over many decades of minority rule, South Africa’s white authorities wielded every kind of law and policy they could think of to maintain a segregated society that kept blacks down. Yet one sport confounded every strategy — football. When Bafana Bafana, the mostly black national squad, takes the field Friday at the World Cup, that moment will culminate the dramatic evolution of South African football along a path that foretold the demise of apartheid. Even in football’s early phases, long before apartheid laws formalized racial segregation in 1948, it was a rare and welcome means for blacks in impoverished and unauthorized urban settlements to build their communities, develop their own heroes and break down ethnic barriers. By the 1960s, the top white teams were maneuvering to play black teams — knowing that was the true test of their prowess. In 1977, the all-white professional league shut down, with many of its players shifting to a black-dominated league that became a showcase for black players, coaches and owners. “Soccer was a black-run sport, by and large — it was ahead of the curve,” said Peter Alegi, a Michigan State University

history professor who writes frequently about African football. Football in South Africa dates back at least to the 1860s, when white soldiers and civil servants played matches in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. By 1880, black and Indian clubs were active. The whites-only South African Football Association was formed in 1892, while black leagues were taking root by the 1920s. In 1935, the first official interracial tournament was launched — with black, mixedrace and Indian teams. Leepile Taunyane, an 81-year-old former educator who is life president of South Africa’s Premier Soccer League, said those early interracial matches had historic repercussions. “Soccer played a very crucial role as a form of resistance — never yielding to be being divided by government policy,” he said. The African National Congress — which went on to become the main force in challenging apartheid — got involved in football as a match sponsor. One of its early presidents, Albert Luthuli, helped established an interracial football board in Natal province. Later, many of ANC leader Nelson Mandela’s fellow political prisoners played football in their dusty prison yard on

Robben Island — a vital means of keeping up their spirits and camaraderie. Mandela was freed in 1990 and elected president in 1994. In 1995, he donned the Springbok jersey of the nearly all-white national rugby team when it won the World Cup in Johannesburg — a remarkable gesture of unity given that rugby is the sport most cherished by the white Afrikaners who had created and maintained apartheid. While in power, the Afrikaner establishment never fully embraced football. But other South African whites, with roots in Britain, Portugal, Greece and elsewhere, had the sport in their blood — and many were open to interracial competition either as players or fans. Even in the sport’s early days, Alegi said, there were whites who helped black teams get organized and find a place to play at a time when blacks were legally prohibited from staying in most urban areas. “In the process, it started building the foundation for the integration that would come later on,” Alegi said. “For a while, sport was the only forum for that.” Some of the great, predominantly black teams now playing in the Premier Soccer League have remarkable histories dating back to their humble pre-apartheid origins. The Orlando

Pirates were founded in 1937, the Moroka Swallows in 1947. A group of breakaway Orlando Pirates formed the Kaizer Chiefs in 1970, and those two clubs, each drawing fans from the huge black township of Soweto, have developed one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport. By the late ‘70s, as these teams drew ever bigger followings, some major South African corporations began arranging sponsorships. “Big business sees the writing on the wall — that there’s money to be made from the emerging black middle class,” said Chris Bolsmann, a South African-born sociologist who now teaches in Britain and has studied the evolution of football in his homeland. Bolsmann went to an all-white high school in Pretoria where he was forced to play rugby, yet became a top-level youth footballer in the mid-1980s and says the matches he played as a teenager were his first interaction with black peers. The ‘70s and ‘80s produced an array of brilliant black players — including Ace Ntsoelengoe of Kaizer Chiefs and Jomo Sono of Orlando Pirates. They both played in the North American Soccer League as well as in South Africa, and Sono — highlighting the ascension of blacks in the sport

Algeria revamp squad for World Cup return ALGIERS: Bringing seven uncapped players into Algeria’s preliminary World Cup squad reflects concern over the north Africans’ chances at the finals. Coach Rabah Saadane has made significant changes to his squad in the wake of their performance at the African Nations Cup finals in Angola in January and a mounting injury toll. Regulars such as Hameur Bouazza and Yacine Bezzaz have been ruled out of the tournament in South Africa and there is concern over the fitness of Mourad Meghni, the Lazio midfielder. Algeria’s football federation have paid for Meghni to have specialist treatment on a knee injury in Qatar in an attempt to return him to fitness for the finals. Saadane made a point of seeking out new talent af ter the Nations Cup, despite Algeria exceeding expectations by reaching the semifinals. The team started their Angolan adventure against the backdrop of internal friction and suffered a shock defeat to Malawi in their first game, before recovering to scrape through to the knockout stage. There they delivered an upset of their own in beating the Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals before being brought back down to earth when Egypt hammered them 4-0 in the semi-finals. Algeria also had three players sent off in the game. Saadane made a tour of several European countries in March to look at prospective new players, calling up former Liverpool player Carl Medjani, Sochaux’s Ryad

Boudebouz and Italian-based Djamel Mesbah af ter watching them play. The search for a new goalkeeper led him to run his eye over several candidates before he settled on Rais Mbouli, who has been at Manchester United on trial. Fitting the new players into the established

group is a big gamble for the coach so close to the World Cup finals. But Saadane, in an interview with Reuters in February, said Algeria’s unexpected qualification from a tough group, combined with drawing England, Slovenia and the U.S. in the group stage, could perhaps work in their favour. “We will be playing without pressure and without much expectation. We need to also play without fear against these big teams,” he said. “We want to show that we can play good football. We are back at the World Cup after 24 years and that I think is our primary objective. But there is no reason to think we cannot pull off a shock result. Why ever not?” Meanwhile, Antar Yahia holds a special place in sporting folklore not only for the goal that booked Algeria a place at the 2010 World Cup but also as the first footballer to play legitimately for two different countries. Yahia was the first to take advantage of a new FIFA rule that allows players who had been capped by one country to switch their allegiance as long as they had not won a senior cap and they possessed dual nationality. Born in France to Algerian parents, Yahia had enough potential as a junior to sign for Inter Milan and later, at Bastia, to be called up to represent France at under-18 level. He was among several players the Algerian Football Federation coveted later as they led the clamour for ex-youth inter nationals to be allowed to change their footballing allegiance with FIFA’s blessing. World football’s governing body allowed the new switching process after a vote at their congress

ANGOLA: Algeria's Karim Matmour celebrates a goal against Ivory Coast during their African Cup of Nations quarterfinal soccer match in Cabinda.—AP

in Doha in 2003 and, within weeks, Yahia was wearing the green of Algeria in an Olympic Games qualifier. He was also able to play for Algeria at the 2004 African Nations Cup finals in neighbouring Tunisia. Yahia was the first to push through the door in a process from which Algeria have benefitted richly, dipping into a reservoir of talent in expatriate communities in Europe. The bulk of the Algerian side is now made up of second or third-generation immigrants to France and their experience has boosted Algeria’s fortunes, which had plummeted since they won the Nations Cup in 1990. Yahia, who hails from the Alsace region of France, spent four seasons at Bastia before moving to Nice in 2005. He signed for VfL Bochum 18 months later, but is set to leave after their relegation from the Bundesliga. Yahia was the scorer of the goal that won Algeria the qualifying play-off against archrivals Egypt in November, a match in neutral Khar toum that was among the most tense qualifiers for any World Cup. — Reuters

— purchased a previously white Johannesburg team when he returned home in 1982. Tony Karon, a South African-born journalist with, wrote an essay after Ntsoelengoe’s death in 2006, recalling how the great black stars of the apartheid era had become heroes to young South African fans of all races. Because of the international sports boycott imposed on South Africa during apartheid, players like Ntsoelengoe never got to represent their country internationally. Yet Karon argues that they played a historic role nonetheless. “The emergence of Ace and his contemporaries as the first generation of urban black celebrities in South Africa ... was a negation of the very basis of apartheid’s version of black identity as a rural, tribal phenomenon,” Karon wrote. FIFA admitted South Africa as a member in 1952 but suspended it in 1961 because of its segregation policies. The suspension was upgraded to outright expulsion in 1976, after several hundred blacks were killed in nationwide rioting sparked by the Soweto uprising. Reinstatement didn’t come until 1992, when apartheid laws were dissolving and

South Africa’s long-divided football associations had united as the nonracial South African Football Association. “That was a pretty powerful symbol of black institution building,” Alegi said. “At time when there was a heck of a lot of uncertainty, to see that this black-run institution had managed to do away with old racial divisions and then get admitted back into FIFA — symbolically that was very significant.” In July 1992, South Africa hosted its first official international match with a team representing the entire nation — and beat Cameroon 1-0. Bolsmann, 20 at the time, watched that game. “For the first time I identified with a South African team that was made up of everybody,” he said. “It was our team.” Twelve years later came the ultimate honor — FIFA choosing South Africa to host 2010 World Cup. Mandela was there for the announcement in 2004, and couldn’t hold back tears. Danny Jordaan, head of the South African organizing committee and a veteran of past struggles to topple football’s racial barriers, also was on hand. “The dream of a nation has come true today,” Jordaan said at the time. “Some South Africans may not have food or a job but they now have hope.”—AP

Factbox Colors: White shirts, socks and shorts, all with green trim Nickname: Les Fennecs (desert fox) Previous World Cup appearances: 1982, 1986 Best World Cup performance: Failed to past the first round in previous appearances. Coach: Rabah Saadane Most capped player: Mahieddine Meftah 95 Top goalscorer: Abdelhafid Tasfaout 35 Talking points Algeria have exceeded expectations by reaching the World Cup finals for the first time since the 1986 tournament in Mexico. They also eliminated African champions Egypt during the qualifiers. It means Algeria will either be happy to rest on their laurels or they will try to build on their unexpected success by plotting to score some big upsets. The side are heavily dependent on Frenchborn players, while locally-based players are controversially overlooked. The policy of tapping into Algerian talent across Europe has been actively pursued by the country’s football federation but it causes resentment at the lack of opportunity available for Algerian-born players. Players to watch Karim Ziani is a tricky player with the potential to destroy defenders on the right-hand side and Nadir Belhadj adds a similar option down the left. In defence, Madjid Bougherra is key to holding the line and keeping the discipline, plus he adds an attacking option going forward for set pieces. — Reuters

Ziani ready for adrenaline rush ALGIERS: Karim Ziani loves living in the fast lane but that experience is unlikely to match the adrenaline that will course through his veins when he runs out for Algeria at the World Cup finals. “If you are Brazilian, French or Argentine and among the best in your country you know

you will go to the World Cup regularly,” said Ziani, who is often snapped driving an array of fast cars. “But if you are Algerian this is not something that comes around every day,” he added in an interview with France’s L’Equipe newspaper after his country booked their ticket to the finals for the first time in 24 years. The 27-year-old has built a reputation of being a crafty winger and is

arguably the most gifted player in the Algerian squad. His low centre of gravity allows him to twist and turn with pace down the wing or cut in from the right side of midfield, leaving opposing defenders mesmerised. Those talents prompted Armin Veh, the coach who led VfL Wolfsburg to the 2008-09 Bundesliga title, to lure Ziani away from French giants Olympique Marseille last year but his inaugural season in Germany has ended in deep disappointment. After a promising start, the winger found himself out of the playing squad once Veh was dismissed in January. It is in contrast to when he

first emerged at Lorient, winning the award as the best player in the French second division in 2006 and then moving on to Sochaux and Marseille in quick succession. —Reuters

ALGERIA: Algeria national soccer team coach Rabah Saadane in an Associated Press interview at Algeria's Football Federation headquarters in Algiers, Algeria—AP

Saadane back after 24 years ALGIERS: Algerian coach Rabah Saadane has the remarkable distinction of returning to the World Cup at the helm of his country’s team almost a quarter of a century after his previous appearance. The 64-year-old was in charge when Algeria last competed at the finals in Mexico in 1986 and returns with them for the South Africa finals after upsetting African champions Egypt in the qualifiers. Saadane is in his fifth stint as national team coach, having originally been brought back into the job some two-and-a-half years ago as a stop-gap measure but then given the task of trying to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. After several disappointing tenures with foreign coaches- Saadane’s predecessor being Frenchman Jean-Michel Cavalli- Algeria’s football federation decided to trim their budget and go for a cheaper, local option by appointing Saadane. The grandfatherly figure slowly proved a galvanising force for the team and pushed them through the early stages of the World Cup qualifiers into the final-round group, where they were seen as lesser contenders to arch-rivals Egypt and up-and-coming Zambia. Steady performances from the Algerians, combined with their more fancied opponents dropping needless points, allowed Saadane’s side to emerge as legitimate occupants of a World Cup berth. In between his two World Cup assignments, Saadane has worked the coaching circuit in his own country, as well as at major clubs in neighbouring Morocco and Tunisia and a short stint as national coach of Yemen in 2004. As a player he was on the books of Stade Rennes in France and he began his coaching career in 1979 at the helm of Algeria’s junior national sides. — Reuters

Nadal storms into final PARIS: Four-time champion Rafael Nadal stormed into his fifth French Open final yesterday to set up a mouth-watering revenge showdown with Robin Soderling, who sent him crashing to a first Paris defeat last year.

Faces Soderling

SION: Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba screams in pain after being injured during an international friendly test game between the national soccer teams of Ivory Coast and Japan.—AP

Injured Drogba facing World Cup heartbreak SION: Ivory Coast saw off Japan 20 in a pre-World Cup friendly yesterday, but captain Didier Drogba may miss the World Cup after suffering a fractured forearm that may keep him out of the event. Drogba fired home an early deflected free-kick but then injured his right arm and was forced to go off after just 18 minutes following a seemingly innocuous clash with Brazilian-born Japanese defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka. “Didier Drogba has not for the moment pulled out (of the squad),” the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) said in a statement on its website, as rumors abounded that the player would not recover in time. Drogba gave way to CSKA Moscow forward Seydou Doumbia and hurried off for a scan at a hospital in the Swiss town of Sion which

hosted the game. Elephants’ coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said: “Didier Drogba was injured just above the elbow. “We do not know if he will be able to play the World Cup. Of course it is very worrying. He is our skipper and our best player. “I have not as yet spoken to him but what is certain is that he was in great pain.” French media reports quoted Drogba as saying he would miss the tournament. L’Equipe sports daily reported on its website: “After tests the player confirmed to us he would not be able to play in the World Cup.” Following his hospital scan Drogba was seen by reporters with his arm in a sling and held protectively under his vest. Team-mate Kolo Toure, who

scored the second goal, said: “Of course without Didier Drogba we are not the same team but we have good players with abundant qualities.” Drogba helped the Ivorians open the scoring just three minutes before going off, hammering goalwards a free kick which was deflected in off Tanaka. Manchester City’s Toure added the clincher ten minutes from time to complete the win and give the Elephants a fillip, the injury to Drogba notwithstanding. The Ivorians ought to have seen off weak opponents by a larger margin and Doumbia wasted several opportunities, firing over after Toure set him up on the half hour and then firing off target seconds before the break. Aruna Dindane also went close as Japan struggled to hold their

lines. Toure finally claimed his goal when he turned in following a Saka Tiene free kick.—AFP

China beat France SAINT-PIERRE: A vicious free-kick by Deng Zhuoxiang earned China a 1-0 win over France here yesterday as Les Bleus slumped to a dispiriting defeat in their last World Cup warm-up game. France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has been one of the most vocal critics of the lightweight Jabulani ball designed for the World Cup and he was completely bamboozled by the dipping trajectory of Deng’s 68thminute strike. —AFP

Spanish second seed Nadal, who turned 24 on Thursday, outclassed battling Austrian journeyman Jurgen Melzer 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) to maintain his record of not having dropped a set in this tournament. Soderling, the Swedish fifth seed who was defeated by Roger Federer in the 2009 final, blasted past Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in his semi-final. Now the Swede, who put Federer out in the quarterfinal here on Wednesday, stands in the way of Nadal capturing a fifth French Open, a feat which would place the Spaniard just one behind Bjorn Borg on the all-time list. “It was very hot today, but the ball bounces higher and there’s more top spin which is good for my game,” said Nadal. “Soderling is playing really well. I will go on court and do my best and if he beats me I will congratulate him. For sure, it will be a difficult match.” Nadal said he was in the best shape ahead of the final, unlike last year when his season unravelled as his suspect knees buckled under the strain. “I was really nervous before the tournament, but today I am more relaxed and

PARIS: Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts as he defeats Austria’s Jurgen Melzer in their semifinal match for the French Open tennis tournament.—AP happy because I am in the final where I dreamed of being. Physically and mentally I am in the best condition,” said Nadal. “Last year the toughest thing was coming here in the worst possible condition.” Melzer, the first Austrian since Thomas Muster in 1995 to reach this stage, came back from losing the first two sets to defeat world number three Novak Djokovic in his quarterfinal to reach a first Grand Slam semi-final. But there was to be no repeat of that miracle victory against fellow left-hander Nadal, who has the added incentive of reclaiming the world nunber one spot from Federer if he wins the title yesterday. “Of course I am disappointed. If you are not disappointed

when you lose a Grand Slam semi-final then you are not doing your job,” said Melzer, who will rise into the world top 20 next week. “It took me a while to get used to the way he played. The weather helped him because the ball bounces higher and that suits his game.” Nadal cruised through the first set in just 29 minutes with breaks in the sixth game, courtesy of a Melzer double fault, and the eighth when the Spaniard unleashed a rapier, cross-court backhand. The 29-year-old Austrian, playing in his 29th Grand Slam, continued to struggle against the classy Nadal who quickly broke in the fourth game of the second set to lead 3-1. Melzer managed to regain

the break, but it was a brief respite as Nadal typically charged back for a 5-2 lead. Play was briefly interrupted when a spectator fainted in the 28-degree heat. But there was no halting the Nadal assault as the former champion went on to take the second set 6-3. Nadal broke to love in the first game of the third set with a succession of deep, razor-sharp groundstrokes which left Melzer breathless from the chase. Melzer gallantly clung on and retrieved the break in the 10th game as Nadal served for the match. The Austrian saved two match points in the tiebreak, the second with a nerveless drop shot, but dumped a forehand into the net on the third.—AFP

5 Jun  

Kuwait News

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