RI PT IO N BS C SU THE LEADING INDEPENDENT DAILY IN THE ARABIAN GULF
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2010
RAMADAN 25, 1431 AH
Arabs pile pressure on ‘nuclear’ Israel
Experts see trouble ahead for developed world
The Inner secrets of Fasting - Part II By Imam Ibn Qudaamah Al-Maqdisee
here are three levels of fasting: The general fast, the specific fast, and the more specific fast. As for the general fast, then it is the refraining of the stomach and the private parts from fulfilling their desires. The specific fast is the refraining of one’s gaze, tongue, hands, feet, hearing and eyes, as well as the rest of his body parts from committing sinful acts. As for the more specific fast, then it is the heart’s abstention from its yearning after the worldly affairs and the thoughts which distance one away from Allah, as well as its (the heart’s) abstention from all the things that Allah has placed on the same level. From the characteristics of the specific fast is that one lowers his gaze and safeguards his tongue from the repulsive speech that is forbidden, disliked, or which has no benefit, as well as controlling the rest of his body parts. In a hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhaaree: “Whosoever does not abandon false speech and the acting upon it, Allah is not in need of him leaving off his food and drink.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree, Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhee and Ibn Maajah] Another characteristic of the specific fast is that one does not overfill himself with food during the night. Instead, he eats in due measure, for indeed, the son of Aadam does not fill a vessel more evil than his stomach. If he were to eat his fill during the first part of the night, he would not make good use of himself for the remainder of the night. In the same way, if he eats to his fill for suhoor, he does not make good use of himself until the afternoon. This is because excessive eating breeds laziness and lethargy. Therefore, the objective of fasting disappears due to one’s excessiveness in eating, for what is intended by the fast, is that one savors the taste of hunger and becomes an abandoner of desires. Recommended Fasts As for the recommended fasts, then know that preference for fasting is established in certain virtuous days. Some of these virtuous days occur every year, such as fasting the first six days of the month of Shawaal after Ramadaan, fasting the day of ‘Arafah, the day of ‘Aashooraa, and the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram. Some of them occur every month, such as the first part of the month, the middle part of it, and the last part of it. So whoever fasts the first part of the month, the middle part of it, and the last part of it, then he has done well. Some fasts occur every week, and they are every Monday and Thursday. The most virtuous of the recommended fasts is the fast of Dawood (‘alayhis salaam). He would fast one day and break his fast the next day. This achieves the following three objectives: The soul is given its share on the day the fast is broken. And on the day of fasting, it completes its worship in full. The day of eating is the day of giving thanks and the day of fasting is the day of having patience. And Faith (Eemaan) is divided into two halves - that of thankfulness and that of patience. [Note: the hadeeth with a similar statement is unauthentic, see adh-Dha’eefah: 625]. It is the most difficult struggle for the soul. This is because every time the soul gets accustomed to a certain condition, it transfers itself to that. As for fasting every day, then it has been reported by Muslim, from the hadeeth of Abu Qataadah, that ‘Umar (radhiallahu ‘anhu) asked the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): ‘What is the case if one were to fast every day?’ So he (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “He did not fast nor did he break his fast - or - he did not fast and he did not break his fast.” [Saheeh Muslim]. This is concerning the one who fasts continuously, even during the days in which fasting is forbidden. Know that the one who has been given intellect, knows the objective behind fasting. Therefore, he burdens himself to the extent that he will not be unable to do that which is more beneficial than it. Ibn Mas’ood would fast very little and it is reported that he used to say: “When I fast, I grow weak in my prayer. And I prefer the prayer over the (optional) fast. Some of them (the Sahaabah) would weaken in their recitation of the Qur’an while fasting. Thus, they would exceed in breaking their fast (ie by observing less optional fasts), until they were able to balance their recitation. Every individual is knowledgeable of his condition and of what will rectify it. — Zawaj.com
Emsak: Fajer: Shoruk: Dohr: Asr: Maghreb: Eshaa:
03:55 04:05 05:27 11:47 15:20 18:07 19:25
‘Mystery’ explosions rock south Lebanon PAGE 19
Taleban threatens to hit US, Europe ‘soon’
53 Shiites killed Suicide bombers target Pakistani minorities QUETTA: At least 53 people were killed and 197 have been wounded yesterday in a suicide bombing targeting a Shiite Muslim rally in the southwest Pakistan city of Quetta, police said. “According to the reports collected from hospitals, 53 people have been killed and 197 have been injured,” Sardar Khan, chief of Quetta’s police control room said. Protesters dragged wounded people into private cars as burning motorcycles sent clouds of black smoke billowing through the streets. The bodies of the dead and wounded lay strewn across the road. Some Shiite youths fired in the air after the blast, and Qazi Abdul Wahid, a senior police official, said officers were trying to control the situation. Shiite leader Allama Abbas Kumaili appealed to participants to remain peaceful. Continued on Page 19
ICC vows to root out cheats, preserve integrity PAGE 24
BlackBerry a ‘spy tool’ Dubai worries over Israel, US DUBAI: Worries about spying by the US and Israel spurred plans to sharply limit BlackBerry services in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai’s police chief said in comments that suggest a tough line in talks with the smart phone maker. The UAE says it will block BlackBerry email, messaging and Web services Oct 11 unless authorities can gain access to the encrypted data traffic - a demand by other countries warning of possible bans including India. The proposed UAE action
threatens BlackBerry service for an estimated 500,000 local subscribers and could tarnish the country’s reputation as the Gulf’s business and tourism hub with potentially millions of visitors left without key BlackBerry services. Dubai’s police chief, Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, said that fears of espionage and information sharing by foe Israel - as well as UAE allies United States and Britain - helped prompt the possible limits on the popular BlackBerry. Continued on Page 19
Iran: Mideast talks doomed QUETTA: Volunteers help injured people following an explosion during a Shiite procession in Quetta yesterday. — AP
Anti-mosque game sparks outrage ‘Bye Bye Mosque’ VIENNA: Austrian authorities have banned a far-right online game where players eliminate animated mosques and Muslims, the political party behind the game said yesterday. The “Bye Bye Mosque” game, which has had over 200,000 visitors since it was launched on Monday, has drawn sharp criticism from Austria’s Social Democrats and Green Party, as well as the Islamic and Roman Catholic communities. Set up by the provincial branch of the far-right Freedom Party ahead of an election in Styria later this month, the game encouraged
players to collect points by putting a target over mosques and minarets emerging from the countryside and clicking a “Stop” sign. They also had the chance to eliminate a bearded muezzin calling Muslims to prayer. “Due to the political pressure from our opponents this game has been banned by Austrian justice authorities,” a statement on the party’s website said. The local prosecutors’ office, which was not immediately available for comment, said earlier this week it was investigating Continued on Page 19
they representing? What are they going to talk about?” he asked rhetorically about Abbas’s negotiating team. “Who gave them the right to sell a piece of Palestinian land? The people of Palestine and the people of the region will not allow them to sell even an inch of Palestinian soil to the enemy. The negotiations are stillborn and doomed.” Iran implacably opposes the new talks and has given strong support to the Islamist movement Hamas, which carried out two attacks against Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank that killed four people and cast a pall over the talks relaunch. Continued on Page 19
A record 4th term for Sonia Gandhi Power broker wins place in history books
600,000 crowd Grand Mosque
JERUSALEM: A Palestinian woman worshipper reacts while praying in front of the Dome of the Rock Mosque during the last Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, in the AlAqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City. (See Page 4) — AP
TEHRAN: Hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a proPalestinian rally yesterday that revived Middle East peace talks are “doomed” to fail, as Islamist militiamen stopped one of his arch rivals from attending the annual march. Calling Westernbacked Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas a hostage of Israel, Ahmadinejad said the talks that he began with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on Thursday lacked legitimacy as he had no right to make concessions in the name of the Palestinian people. “What do they want to negotiate about? Who are
RIYADH: Some 600,000 Muslims crowded into the Grand Mosque in Islam’s holiest city of Makkah for prayers on the last Friday of the Ramadan holy month, mosque officials said. In all more than a million worshippers were in the mosque and surrounding areas, Said Al-Mansoori, a spokesman for the commission governing Makkah and Medina said. The two cities have swollen with worshippers from Saudi Arabia and around the world undertaking the umrah, or minor pilgrimage, which peaks during Ramadan. The Muslim fasting month ends on September 9 with the holiday of Eid Al Fitr. The month’s last Friday, the Muslim holy day, is considered especially blessed. Saudi King Abdullah was in Makkah as well yesterday to inaugurate a 187-million-dollar expansion of the Zamzam waterworks which serves up to worshippers the celebrated holy water from a spring beneath the city. The new system can filter up to five million liters of Zamzam water per day. Many overseas pilgrims take large jugs of Zamzam water, which Muslims consider holy, back home from Makkah. — AFP
NEW DELHI: Italian-born Sonia Gandhi was elected yesterday for a record fourth term as president of India’s ruling Congress party, cementing her role as the power broker of the country’s politics. Gandhi, widow of assassinated former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and regarded as India’s most powerful politician, was elected unopposed for the top Congress job to wild cheers from party supporters. “It’s a
great responsibility and I thank all Congress workers. Whether we are in power or not we should always work for the oppressed,” she said in a speech in New Delhi after the vote, which made her the longest-serving party head. Gandhi rarely appears in public but holds great sway within the Congress party. She is credited with shaping the party’s welfare policies and is seen as a champion of Continued on Page 19
Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Planning committee prepares report
Bedoon solution to be ready after holidays KUWAIT: The supreme council of planning committee is prepared to hand over a report with a plan to solve the issue of stateless residents in Kuwait to the Cabinet, reported Al-Watan. A news report recently suggested that the solution will place bedoons into three categories; those that will receive Kuwaiti nationality, those to be awarded permanent residencies and those that will be give a chance to correct their residencies before facing legal actions. According to the head of the committee, former MP Saleh Al-Fadhalah, the report currently only contains adjustable flowcharts that are still being worked on.
Vietnam society lauds Amir’s contribution KUALA LUMPUR: Head of the Islamic Society in the Vietnamese city of Ho Chi Minh, Idris Ismail lauded here yesterday the efforts by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in supporting Muslims in Vietnam and worldwide. This came during Ismail’s meeting with Kuwait Consul General in the City Najib AlBader. Al-Bader said in a statement that the society has a leading role in supporting Muslims in the city and nearby areas, noting that it runs 15 mosques serving some 5,000 worshippers. Bader hailed the great privileges to all religious and ethnic groups which reflect the government’s support for religious freedoms and values. He said that Vietnam’s Muslims are law-abiding citizens, play an effective role in society, and are greatly
He noted that committee members are keen on maintaining precision because the issue is complicated and has several social, political and economic concerns. AlFadhalah added that the final report will be referred to the Cabinet following the Eid AlFitr holiday. The earlier news report suggested that the first category will include bedoons whose names, or fathers’ names, are mentioned in the 1965 census, proving that they have been residents in Kuwait before that year. The second category will address bedoons who made extraordinary efforts and contributions towards the country. They will be given permanent residency, identification cards as well as birth and marriage certificates. They will also be given the right to pursue employment at ministries and other public firms. The remaining stateless nationals will be given three years to correct their residencies before legal action is taken against them and could result in their deportation. The committee is currently considering other options
but has yet to reveal any details. The Ministry of Interior has provided the planning council with various documents regarding stateless residents, their academic qualification and military service. Meanwhile, several MPs openly rejected the government and the Parliament’s alien practices committee’s intention to collaborate on drafting amendments to the audio-visual law, reported AlWatan. They accused the committee of restricting freedoms and said that such an attempt could damage the country’s democracy. The uproar came as a response to a meeting between the committee and HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, which was considered illegal by several MPs because it was held outside the committee’s headquarters in the National Assembly. For that reason, protesting MPs believe that decisions made during the meeting should not be mandatory. “While HH the Prime Minister has the right to hold meetings with any party out-
side of the parliament, it’s important to note that the results of such meetings are not obligatory for other MPs to follow,” said MP Hassan AlQallaf. He also pointed out that the Islamist-majority alien practices committee gave the impression of supporting sectarian groups. MP Adnan Al-Mutawa agreed with many of AlQallaf’s points and added that the committee itself no longer needs to exist. Describing the meeting between the Prime Minister and a parliament committee as unacceptable, MP Salwa AlJassar added that enforcing the outcome of this meeting would be a “serious development.” MPs Naji Al-Abdulhadi and Faisal Al-Duwaisan insisted that MPs no longer be obliged to follow recommendations made by the committee. Likewise, MP Dr Rola Dashti stated that holding a committee meeting outside of the National Assembly is a violation to the parliament’s regulations. MP Mubarak AlKhurainij said that an issue as important as national unity ought to be discussed in the
Parliament. The Cabinet is said to be committed to the amendments they proposed to the audio-visual law and have no interest in the alien practices committee recommendations. Meanwhile, according to official sources within the Cabinet, it’s believed they are prepared to send a series of proposals to the Parliament’s educational committee following the Eid Al-Fitr holiday. In other news, the Parliament’s health committee reported never receiving documents regarding violations within the medical treatment abroad files. They added that they have not received MPs’ reports on the concern despite the fact that several MPs have notes on the issue and were asked to submit them two weeks ago, explained MP Dr Aseel AlAwadhi, the committee’s reporter. In light of such developments, the health committee reported that they will compare the Audit Bureau’s reports on medical treatment abroad to notes made by MPs before preparing their final investigation.
Big role for KRCS volunteers KUALA LUMPUR: Idris Ismail pictured with Najib Al-Bader yesterday. appreciated and respected by the authorities. The Kuwaiti diplomat said
24 What is the name of the mountain where the Aqsa Mosque is built?
that there are an estimated 72,000 Muslims in Vietnam, most of them are living in
the southern parts of the country which host 64 mosques. —KUNA
KUWAIT: Red Crescent volunteers continue to assist midnight prayergoers at Kuwait’s Grand Mosque, as they do every year during the last ten nights of the holy month of Ramadan. Some 150 volunteers (men and women) are working in and around the mosque, assisting the elderly and the
disabled and equipped with wheelchairs and first aid kits, head of the volunteer unit in the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) Musaed Al-Enezi said. KRCS has worked to provide two ambulances on the site, along with 25 medical aid points in various hotspots around the mosque as well, he added.
25 In which year was the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) born?
560 A. D
Mount Seir Mount Moriah
571 A.D 583 A.D
He praised the Grand Mosque administration for their efforts in making sure all procedures are taken care of, describing this as “excellent.” He also commended the efforts of KRCS Chairman Barjas Al-Barjas, along with that of its employees and volunteers. —KUNA
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Verdict prejudiced and unjust
Appeals court overrules attorney’s jail sentence By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The misdemeanor court of appeals recently overruled a three-month prison sentence made against attorney Nawaf Al-Fuzaie and sentenced him instead to a KD 100 fine. Al-Fuzaie was sentenced to jail and fined KD 300 by the criminal court on July 22 after he was found guilty of defaming a judge in the High Court. At the time, AlWhen Al-Fuzaie asked for a week to respond to the allegation his demand was rejected and a court order was made a week later to drop his case. Following that, Al-Fuzaie issued a complaint to the head of the High Court, criticizing the fact that his request was rejected. The head of the court referred the issue to the head of the department who then pressed defamation charges against Al-Fuzaie. Defending Al-Fuzaie in the case, President of the Arab Bar of Lawyers Sameh Ashour, called for the judge who observed the trial to be interrogated for forging the trial’s
report. The rejected.
Stepmother contract Abdelmohsen Al-Qattan, a lawyer representing the heirs of a citizen, filed a complaint against their stepmother to nullify a contract to sell a house worth KD 900,000. The lawyer said that when the owner of the estate died, he left his house for his children. The heirs decided to go to court and distribute what their father had left for them but were surprised to find that their stepmother was in possession of a contract proving that their father sold her half
Fuzaie claimed that his sentence was prejudiced and unjust because he never violated a law in his legal procedures. Al-Fuzaie had filed a lawsuit on behalf of his client, the owner of a commercial company, against the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). During the trial, KCCI’s attorney, Abdullah Al-Kandari issued a statement claiming that the court is not authorized to look into cases of this type.
of the house for KD 65,000, even though the house is worth 900,000. The lawyer explained that his children remained with their father until his death and that he never spoke of selling the house to his second wife. An investigation revealed that some of the documents may have been forged considering the deceased used to place a fingerprint on each of the papers he signed and these documents only contained his signature.
Offending footballer An official security source reported that an officer at the
Kuwait International Airport asked that charges be dropped against a national Syrian Football team player. The football player was arrested for insulting a public official while on duty. He was brought to the Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh police station where he was held until the charges were dropped.
Drug awareness The General Department for Drug Control (GDDC) should participate in all activities that spread awareness against drug usage, said Major General Ahmad Al-Abdallah Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah, Director General of General
Department for Drug Control (GDDC). He also asked the Awareness Department to take part in all activities that will be organized as part of the Popular Fifth Meeting to be held under the patronage of Social Affairs and Labor Minister Dr Mohammad AlAfasi. It will be organized by the secretary general of the Arab Union for the Prevention of Drug Addiction under the slogan ‘ Change your life, you change their lives, No place for drugs,’ at Al-Bahar Center mall. Booklets, leaflets and posters in Arabic, English, Persian and Urdu languages were distributed.
in my view
Impressions of Ramadan in Yemen By Sam Brett y first experience of Ramadan, and indeed of life in the Middle East, was in Yemen. I was there to learn Arabic; it was only when I arrived that I learnt that Ramadan would soon be starting. Perched on the corner of the Arabian peninsula, Yemen is a conservative society and can often feel isolated and inward-looking, very different to Kuwait. Tradition and traditional religious values are cherished, although people are very sociable and friendly. Respect for these religious values is expected of all and Ramadan is strictly observed, especially in public. Although I am not religious, I decided it would be a good experience to join in the fast. There were many reasons why I chose to do this, the personal challenge, the health benefits, and the fantastic sense of solidarity experienced during the month of celebrations. The fast would not be easy. As well as the chal-
lenge posed by going without food for up to twelve hours at a time, it was also September, and temperatures regularly reached the forties. It was clear that water would be the biggest problem (followed by cigarettes!). The teachers at the language school I was a part of had great admiration for my decision, and I quickly discovered that as tough as Ramadan would be, it would also be hugely enjoyable. Yemenis are, of course, well adjusted to fasting, and also adjust their daily schedules accordingly. People sleep late, shops are closed until near sundown, the markets are deserted during the day. At night however the labyrinthine alleys of old Sana’a, Yemen’s exquisitely beautiful capital, erupt into vivid, bustling life. Streets fill with families of women in burqas and men in traditional Yemeni dress, shawls draped over their shoulders and jambiyyas (a small knife) tucked into their belts, shopping for hours and filling their homes with sweets, spices, and kebab. Scents of foods and perfumes mix wildly in the air.
The atmosphere of excitement is at its most electric just as the sun dips below the ring of mountains which encircles the ancient city. As the sky turns a deep red and shadows lengthen, tired taxi drivers and schoolchildren race through the streets to be the first to be seated at the family table. Although I know that in reality I spent most days in bed, weak and with terrible headaches, the communal experience of the iftar - the breaking of the fast - will always be my main memory of that month. In small restaurants and cafes, the owner would sit with passing policemen and businessmen and eat hungrily the dates with which Yemenis normally break the fast. They would always beckon me in, keen for me to join them. After dark, food is on offer everywhere, and for the foreigner it is often offered for free. While it is a cliche to say that generosity is a hallmark of the Middle East, this is never truer that during Ramadan in Yemen. Although difficult, the experience is one I would repeat any year.
More penalties planned for violating suppliers KUWAIT: The chairman of the Kuwait Municipality recently received demands to enforce more restrictive penalties against food supply companies found selling products that are unsuitable for human consumption, reported Al-Qabas. In a letter sent to Ahmad Al-
Hajj convoys licenses could be transferred KUWAIT: The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs is prepared to allow, for the first time, the owners of licenses to operate Hajj convoys to transfer their licenses to other people. The ministry will start allowing the transfer of licenses starting this year’s Hajj season, reported Al-Anba. The announcement was made by the head of the ministry’s Hajj department, Roumi Al-Roumi, in a press release. He also announced that a team from the ministry will head to Saudi Arabia on September 18 to check on the hotels and other residences reserved by local Hajj convoys for pilgrims to stay in. He added that teams will conduct a one week inspection tour of the arrangements to make sure that the buildings meet the standards set by the ministry. Moreover, AlRoumi explained that violations detected against Hajj agencies last year were limited and denied reports suggesting that suspensions were issued.
Grand mosque expansion
KUWAIT: The National Bank of Kuwait announced that its ‘Ramadan Tent’ which was set in Sharq before the start of the holy month has been prepared to welcome worshippers who wish to perform the Qiam late night prayers, while the tent as well as other tents continue to welcome fasting people to have their iftar meals at the NBK Iftar Banquettes organized daily during Ramadan. Furthermore, NBK volunteers are also located throughout the month at the Grand Mosque in order to help worshippers during the last days of the holy month, as these contributions come as part of the bank’s commitment to its social duties and charity work.
KUWAIT: A member of the Municipal Council proposed to expand the country’s Grand Mosque as well as to establish a grand mosque for each of the country’s six governorates, reported Al-Qabas. In light of the increased capacity of worshipers that the Grand Mosque, located in the Capital Governorate, receives each year during the Holy Month of Ramadan, council member Ashwaq Al-Madhaf believes that a vertical expansion of the mosque would allow it to accommodate more people. He also proposed constructing smart parking lots on the premises.
Subaih, the General Manager of the Municipality, Mohammad AlOtaibi, the Assistant General Manager for Municipality Services Affairs, noted that several companies have violated the regulations banning the sale of food products before their testing results are returned.
KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad AlSabah was recently invited to the diwaniya of Shiite personality Mohammad Baqir Al-Mahri in Jabriya. The PM congratulated the people upon his arrival for the holy month of Ramadan and the Eid Al-Fitr holidays. Al-Mahri acknowledged the PM for his attendance, indicating that HH’s popularity has increased within all members of the Kuwaiti society due to his approach of reform and technocracy.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Arab states seek to pile pressure on Israel VIENNA: The head of the UN nuclear watchdog invited Israel last month to consider joining a global anti-nuclear arms pact but the Jewish state has dismissed the idea as a politically-motivated drive by Arab states. A report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) yesterday said Director General Yukiya Amano met with Israeli leaders during a visit to the country in August to discuss an Arab-led push for it to accede to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and put all its atomic sites under U.N. inspection. In a letter attached to
the report, Israel rejected the Arab drive as an attempt to divert attention from the the Middle East’s “real proliferation challenges” of Iran and Syria. Arab states won narrow backing last year for a non-binding IAEA assembly resolution urging Israel to sign the NPT, which would require it to forswear atomic arms. They are expected to propose a similar text for the annual meeting later this month. Israel, widely assumed to be the region’s only country with nuclear weapons, condemned the resolution as being fuelled by foes which question its existence. It has
conditioned its joining the treaty on comprehensive Middle East peace. The United States and its allies, which also voted against the Arab initiative, have warned that zeroing in on Israel could inhibit broader initiatives aimed at banning weapons of mass destruction throughout the Middle East. Western diplomats said Amano’s trip to Israel was a direct result of last year’s resolution, which asked him to consult with “concerned states” and report back to the assembly, but they did not believe it would have any impact on Israeli policy.
The Japanese envoy’s report was published a day after Israeli and Palestinian leaders meeting in Washington agreed to a series of direct talks, seeking to forge the framework for a US-backed peace deal within a year. It said Amano during his visit to Israel had conveyed the IAEA assembly’s concern about Israeli nuclear capabilities and “invited Israel to consider to accede” to the NPT and “to place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards”, as requested by the resolution. “I think this is something which is obligatory for him to do.
He has to go through the motions,” said Shannon Kile at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Israel has never confirmed or denied having atom bombs under a policy of ambiguity to deter numerically superior adversaries. By staying outside the NPT, it has also foregone the access to civilian nuclear power which it arranges. “The idea of them joining the NPT as a non-nuclear weapons state is obviously a non-starter from the Israeli point of view,” Kile said. Amano had asked IAEA member states for their views on how to implement
the 2009 resolution on Israel and the answers, published in his report, highlighted deep divisions. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Arab-led IAEA resolution “would disrupt efforts to create favourable conditions” for a planned conference in 2012 to discuss creating a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. Iran, which rejects Western accusations it is seeking to develop nuclear bombs, said “Israel’s nuclear weapons activities ... seriously threaten both regional and international peace and security.” — AP
Call for more armed resistance
Muslims hold mass prayers at flashpoint Jerusalem mosque J ERUSALEM: Tens of thousands of Muslims poured into the heavily guarded Al-Aqsa mosque compound in J erusalem for the last Friday prayers of Ramadan as Palestinians protested over new ly relaunched peace talks. Israeli police put the number of w orshippers at 160,000 to 170,000, w hile Muslim authorities said it exceeded 200,000. In his Friday sermon Shaikh Yusef Abu Sneineh criticised the relaunch on Thursday of Middle East peace talks in Washington, saying “these negotiations are a joke.” He w ent on to accuse Israel of seeking normalisation w ith the Arab and Muslim w orld w hile “continuing its colonisation” of the occupied West Bank through the building of J ew ish settlements.
JERUSALEM: Palestinian Muslim women queue to cross an Israeli checkpoint on the outskirts of the West Bank town of Qalqilya into Jerusalem yesterday to attend the last Friday prayer of the holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest shine. — AFP
Call to halt unsafe refugee returns GENEVA: The UN refugee agency yesterday urged European countries not to send Iraqi refugees back to central parts of Iraq, just days after the official withdrawal of US combat troops. The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees made the appeal after 61 Iraqis from Britain, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, were flown to Baghdad airport on Wednesday. It was the latest in a series of joint flights from Europe this year that have prompted UNHCR protests about forcible returns to unsafe areas in and around the Iraqi capital. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said the agency remained concerned at the “ongoing forced returns of Iraqi citizens from western European countries. “We strongly urge European govern-
ments to provide Iraqis with protection until the situation in their areas of origin in Iraq allows for safe and voluntary returns,” he told journalists. “In this critical time of transition, we also encourage all efforts to develop conditions in Iraq that are conducive to sustainable and voluntary return,” Edwards added. The UNHCR began warning about deportations from northern European countries earlier this summer. The agency has long recommended that Iraqis should not be returned to five “governorates”, mainly in the centre and east of the country, because of serious violence there. Some of the 61 who returned this week may have been headed to safer areas or returned voluntarily, Edwards acknowl-
edged. However, the UNHCR fears that deportations from Europe may encourage neighbouring countries like Syria and Jordan, that host hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees despite the significant economic burden, to do the same. “We’re certainly concerned about the message that these returns give to surrounding countries, we do need surrounding countries to continue give the protection that they’ve offered,” he explained. Edwards declined to say how the European governments engaged in returns had responded to the refugee agency’s complaints. US forces ended their seven-year combat mission in Iraq on Tuesday, prior to a complete withdrawal at the end of 2011. — AFP
In the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, hundreds of people attended a rally in honour of the Iranian-declared Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day. Senior officials from Hamas and other hardline factions called for more armed “resistance” following twin attacks by the Islamist group in the West Bank that killed four settlers ahead of the talks. “Jerusalem will not be liberated by negotiations but by jihad and resistance,” senior Hamas official Ismail al-Ashqar told the crowd, adding that it was a “crime” to participate in such talks. Jerusalem remained calm, however, according to Israeli police. “As in previous weeks, the police deployed 2,000 men around the mosque. They have not interfered, and the prayer has taken place with the utmost calm,” Jerusalem police spokesman Shmulik Ben Ruby said. The sprawling mosque compound is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. It is also the holiest site in Judaism because it was the location of the Second Temple, razed by the Romans in 70 AD. The compound is inside the famed Old City in Arab east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed in a move not recognised by the international community. The fate of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues in the Middle East peace process, with Israel claiming the entire city as its capital and the Palestinians demanding east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state. As with past Fridays, Israel limited access to the compound to men over the age of 50, women over the age of 40 and children, and only granted visiting permits to a limited number of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank. The site has often been a flashpoint for violence, most notably in 2000 when the second Palestinian uprising erupted after a visit to the compound by Ariel Sharon, a right-wing politician who went on to become Israel’s prime minister. The holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, is expected to end on September 9 or 10, depending on the sighting of the new moon. —- AFP
TEHRAN: A cleric holding a child attends the annual state-sponsored rally known as Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, an annual event dedicated to condemning Israel and expressing support for the Palestinians, in Tehran, yesterday. — AP
Iran Guards stop opposition leader from joining rally TEHRAN: Islamist militiamen and elite Revolutionary Guards surrounded the home of Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi yesterday to prevent him from joining a governmentsponsored rally that last year saw opposition protests, his website said. At the Quds (Jerusalem) Day Palestinian solidarity march in Tehran last year, supporters of Karroubi and fellow opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi staged demonstrations against hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government. “As of 8 am today, Basijis (militiamen) and Sepahi (Guards) gathered in front of Karroubi’s home,” the samahnews.org website said. “The aim of these people is to prevent him from participating in the Quds Day rally.” During the morning, dozens of people on motorcycles surrounded the whole neighbourhood, virtually cutting it off from the rest of the capital, the website added. The fresh siege of Karroubi’s home came after several Basijis, some carrying guns, attacked his residential building late on Thursday for a second night in a row and seriously wounded his chief
bodyguard. “Armed Basijis attacked Mr Karroubi’s house and got inside the building after smashing down the door. The guards were obliged to fire in the air,” the opposition leader’s website said. “The attackers opened fire and threw Molotov cocktails at the building,” it said, adding: “Karroubi’s chief bodyguard was badly beaten up and had to be taken to hospital.” The website later reported that the bodyguard was in a coma. “Land line connections to Mehdi Karroubi’s residential building have been cut since last night. There has been no telephone contact with him practically since then,” it added. The website said the assault, which began shortly before midnight (1930 GMT) on Thursday, only ended when special forces arrived on the scene. The website said on Wednesday that the militiamen had been gathering in front of Karroubi’s home since Sunday to prevent him from making any plans for Friday’s solidarity rally. The militiamen only dispersed yesterday afternoon after the end of the Quds Day rally, leaving a few police cars on guard outside Karroubi’s building, a witness said. —AFP
KFAR SIR: A picture shows the main square of the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Sir the hometown of Shiite cleric Shaikh Hassan Msheymish, known as a critic of Syrian-backed Hezbollah, who has been arrested in Syria on suspicion of spying for Israel, according to a high-ranking Lebanese security official yesterday. — AFP
Sudan referendum panel agrees key post
BAGHDAD: Followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr crowd a street as they attend open air Friday prayers on a very hot day as temperatures reached 43 Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, yesterday. — AP
KHARTOUM: Sudan’s referendum commission agreed on a key post yesterday, ending a deadlock which has stalled plans for the Jan. 9 southern vote on independence from the north against which it has fought decades of civil war. The plebiscite is the climax of a 2005 north-south peace deal which ended Africa’s longest civil war. But bickering over implementing the deal has fuelled mistrust and most analysts believe the south, where most of Sudan’s 6 billion barrels of proven oil reserves lie, will secede. Last month, south Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement said it would accept a northerner to take the post of secretary-general, ending a row that had paralysed the nine-member commission’s work. The secretary-general is pivotal and controls the funds. “We agreed - we had only one person that was brought this morning and we agreed that he should be the secretarygeneral,” commission member Lual
Chany told Reuters. Mohamed Osman al-Nujoomi had previously worked in the finance ministry, he said. The president would appoint al-Nujoomi to the post. But the SPLM on Thursday accused the northern ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of trying to derail the Jan. 9 deadline for the emotive vote. Observers say a delay could spark violent protests by southerners throughout Sudan. “The NCP they have no political will to take decisions - they are buying time...with committee after committee,” said senior SPLM official Yasir Arman. “The end game is for the referendum not to take place on time,” he said. At least four committees are tackling sensitive post-referendum issues including the division of oil wealth and defining citizenship but little progress has been made. The two party leaders President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and First Vice President Salva Kiir have failed to agree
on the disputed north-south border or oil-producing Abyei region. “The meetings of the presidency and of the committee they were not fruitful,” Arman said. Arman said the NCP was funding the settlement of some members of the nomadic Arab Missiriya tribe in the north of the Abyei region to change the demographic ahead of any vote and urged the U.N. peacekeeping mission (UNMIS) to investigate. UNMIS was not immediately able to comment.The International Crisis Group think tank said on Thursday some of the border areas were “dangerously militarised” and that a small, mobile, monitoring force along the north-south border in time for the referendum to supplement or replace UNMIS may help. Critics say UNMIS is expensive, bureaucratic, focuses on self-protection and has struggled to prevent, and at times even to monitor, clashes between the north and south. — Reuters
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Suspected arms dealer’s extradition to US delayed BANGKOK: A suspected Russian arms dealer’s extradition to the United States will be delayed at least until Oct 4 to allow a Thai court to review new charges filed as a precaution by Washington, a judge said yesterday. The announcement by the Bangkok Criminal Court is the latest blow to Washington, which had expected Viktor Bout’s rapid extradition after a Thai appeals court gave its approval on Aug 20. Bout, 43, is reputed to be one of
the world’s most prolific arms dealers. His high-profile arrest in a 2008 US-led sting operation in Bangkok ended a decade-long chase for the Russian, who has never been prosecuted despite being the subject of U.N. sanctions, a Belgian moneylaundering indictment and a travel ban. After last month’s ruling, the US quickly flew a plane to Bangkok to pick up Bout. The move was publi-
cized in Thailand as the latest evidence of heavy US pressure in a case that has turned into a diplomatic tug-of-war between Washington and Moscow. Experts say Bout, a former Soviet air force officer, has knowledge of Russia’s military and intelligence operations and Moscow does not want him to go on trial in the United States. Bout has been indicted in the US on four terrorism-related charges
and faces possible life in prison. The US indictment alleges Bout agreed to sell weapons to US agents posing as arms buyers for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which Washington classifies as a terrorist organization. Bout denies the accusations. The Bangkok Criminal Court in August 2009 rejected an initial US extradition request in a ruling that stunned Washington. The US
responded by requesting an appeal but also filed new charges against Bout to keep him detained in case the lower court’s ruling was upheld. When the appeals court reversed the ruling last month, the US moved to drop the second charges. However, under Thai law, a defendant has the right to object to charges against him being dropped, Criminal Court Judge Krerkrit Ittarat said. That means Bout could object to dropping the charges as a way to stall his
extradition, a stance that his lawyer has said he will take. The court said it previously set a date of Oct. 4 for Bout to hear the new charges and will stick to that schedule. “Since there’s already a court date and witness hearing scheduled for Oct. 4, the court will summon (Bout and his lawyer) then,” the judge said. “But whether or not the court will rule to drop the charge is a different matter. The ruling could come on the same day
or at some other date.” American officials initially praised the appeals court ruling but have been cautious in commenting since then. “In accordance with State and Department of Justice policy, we do not comment on pending extradition cases,” US Embassy spokeswoman Kristin Kneedler said yesterday. “We respect the Thai judicial system and are awaiting the completion of the final steps in the extradition process.” —AP
8 million remain dependent on handouts
Flood victims’ protests hamper aid efforts THATTA, Pakistan: Angry outbursts by flood victims reliant on scarce aid are hampering relief work in Pakistan, the Red Cross said, as the nation struggles to cope with its worst-ever natural disaster. A month after monsoons triggered catastrophic flooding throughout the country, submerging an area the size of England, eight milJacques de Maio, the head of operations for South Asia for ICRC, said it had to halt two distributions recently due to unrest. “What we are detecting is a very worrying trend of areas where... people are so in need, so resentful of not getting enough aid, that they turn understandably aggressive and this is bad because it doesn’t help in our efforts to reach more of them,” he said in Geneva Thursday. Aid worker Aslam Khwaja, working for Pakistan charity the Edhi Foundation, said he had witnessed three violent outbreaks in the past few days, including an attack on an aid worker near Thatta city, in the worst-hit Sindh province. “People have been getting violent because there’s no coordination among the various aid agencies and the government, which causes delays in providing relief goods and makes people angry,” he told AFP. An AFP reporter said he had witnessed three small protests in the past few days in southern Sindh, with groups of about 50 chanting anti-government slogans outside their relief tents, seeking better relief provision. He said tensions were running high, often leading aid workers to throw supplies from trucks to avoid the risk of being caught in a crowd. “Everyone wants food for their children
lion remain dependent on handouts for their survival, which they say are too slow coming. Aid workers say they have fled outbreaks of violence among the frustrated survivors living in makeshift camps, while there have been isolated, spontaneous protests that have occasionally forced road closures.
and that leads to fighting. We want to get food with dignity and respect,” said one survivor in Thatta city, Jeando Khan. “They should give us food like humans and not throw the food to us as if we were dogs.” While the international community has donated 700 million dollars, domestic anger has been mounting against the widely unpopular civilian government, which has come under fire for its handling of the crisis. The UN has warned that the slow pace of aid pledges could impede relief operations and says Pakistan faces a triple threat to food supplies-with seeds, crops and incomes hit. “Given the number of those in need, this is a humanitarian operation of unprecedented scale,” Manuel Bessler, head of the UN’s coordination agency OCHA, said in a statement. The floods have ruined 3.6 million hectares (8.9 million acres) of rich farmland, and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said farmers urgently needed seeds to plant for next year’s crops. In southern Pakistan, hundreds of hungry and desperate families from a relief camp in Thatta blocked the highway to Karachi one morning this week, demanding the government provide more food and shelter.
“No food or water has been provided to us for the past two days,” Mohammad Qasim, a 60-year-old resident of the flooded town of Sujawal, told AFP. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Wednesday the flooding had caused economic losses of 43 billion dollars. The World Bank on Thursday raised flood aid to Pakistan to one billion dollars, while the IMF approved 450 million dollars in emergency financing to help the nation cope. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference on Thursday appealed to Muslims everywhere to direct their zakat tithes-donations required under Islam-to relief for Pakistan, rather than leave Pakistanis “alone to their fate”. With the deluge flowing south, Sindh irrigation minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo said Friday that the last two towns lying between the flood and the Arabian Sea had now been completely evacuated. But he said a breach in a canal had caused new flooding further north in Sindh. “Around eight million people have been affected by the flood in Sindh and 2.5 million of them were displaced,” Dharejo said. The government’s official death toll from the floods has reached 1,760, but disaster officials have said that number will likely rise “significantly” when the missing are accounted for. —AFP
Pakistan havens still threaten Afghanistan
TANAH KARO: A flock of pigeons fly near the cloud covered crater of Mount Sinabung, seen from Tanah Karo district yesterday. Hours earlier Mount Sinabung unleashed its most violent eruption in 400 years, sending a tower of ash into the sky but failing to budge a handful of stoic villagers who live on its slopes. —AFP
Indonesian volcano spews new burst of hot ash TANAH KARO, Indonesia: An Indonesian volcano that was quiet for four centuries shot a new, powerful burst of hot ash more than 10,000 feet (3km) in the air yesterday, sending frightened residents fleeing to safety for the second time this week. The force of the eruption the strongest so far - could be felt five miles (eight kilometers) away. “This was a big one,” said 37-year-old Anto Sembiring, still shaken after abandoning his coffee shop in the middle of the danger zone. “We all ran as fast as we could. ... Everyone was panicking.” The eruption of Mount Sinabung on Sunday and Monday - which caught many scientists off guard - forced more than 30,000 people living along its fertile slopes to evacuate to cramped emergency shelters in nearby towns. Wearing surgical masks to protect themselves from the smoky air, many have complained about the steadily deteriorating conditions, from poor sanitation and short food supplies to having to sleep on hard, cold floors. “It’s especially bad for the kids,” said Yacoubus Runtuwene, a World Vision
relief worker. “We’re staring to see a lot of respiratory problems, diarrhea and eye irritations.” Tired of waiting, thousands of people started returning to the mountainside earlier this week so they could clean up their sootcovered homes and salvage what they could from their vegetable farms and rice paddies. But several hours before Friday’s predawn blast, a new alert was issued. Some people trudged back down the slopes, carrying blankets, clothes and food. A handful of others insisted on staying, even after the new explosion, which caused the entire mountain to violently tremble for five minutes. “We’re not going anywhere,” said Razia Barimbing, who was among 50 men refusing to budge, saying they had to protect abandoned villages a few miles from the crater’s mouth against looters. “It’s so sad to see this,” said the 35-year-old farmer, pointing to the white dust blanketing houses, gardens and even livestock. “We just want this to be over, so we can pull our lives back together, and get our children back in school.” The air was
thick with the smell of sulfur and, despite a soft drizzle, heavy smoke limited visibility to just a few yards (meters). Some small domestic hopper flights had to be diverted, according to Bambang Ervan, the transportation ministry’s spokesman. International air travel was unaffected. Mount Sinabung had last erupted in 1600, and government vulcanologists acknowledged they had made no efforts before the mountain started rumbling last week to sample gases or look for rising magma or other signs of seismic activity. They were too busy with more than 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, a seismically charged region because of its location on the so-called “Ring of Fire” - a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia. They said from now on they will be watching it very closely. “It’s still going off, even now,” said Surono, who heads the nation’s volcano alert center, noting there was a rather strong burst yesterday evening. “You can’t see it because of the heavy fog around the crater.” —AP
KANDAHAR CITY, Afghanistan: Militants operating out of safe havens in Pakistan remain a major threat to Afghanistan but cooperation between NATO-led forces and the Pakistani military is increasing, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday. Devastating floods over the past month have delayed Pakistan’s military from going after militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and North Waziristan on Pakistan’s porous northwestern border. Afghanistan regularly blames Pakistan for allowing Islamist groups to flourish there, President Hamid Karzai describing them as a great threat to Afghan security. Gates travelled to Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban in Afghanistan’s south, to visit US troops. He said he and Karzai agreed on the need for stepped up cooperation between the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Pakistani military to “get rid of” insurgent sanctuaries. “Cooperation between the two is increasing and everybody understands that the sanctuaries on the other side of the border are a big problem,” Gates told reporters. However, he said the likelihood of direct US military engagement in Pakistan was “very low”. “Unfortunately the flooding in Pakistan is probably going to delay any operations by the Pakistani army in North Waziristan for some period of time,” Gates said. “But I think the solution here is ISAF, Afghan, Pakistani cooperation to take care of these targets,” he said. Almost 150,000 foreign troops are in Afghanistan after US President Barack Obama ordered last year another 30,000 troops in a bid to turn the tide against the Taliban-led insurgency. Violence is at its worst across Afghanistan since the Taliban were ousted by US-led Afghan forces in late 2001, with civilian and military casualties at record levels despite the presence of so many foreign troops. —Reuters
KARACHI: Pakistani flood affected residents wade through floodwater in Sujawal town in southern Sindh province yesterday. Angry outbursts by flood victims reliant on scarce aid are hampering relief work in Pakistan, the Red Cross said, as the nation struggles to cope with its worst-ever natural disaster. —AFP
Aquino accepts blame for hostage operation MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino took responsibility yesterday for last week’s botched bus hijack rescue attempt, in a bid to deflect demands for the resignation of the interior minister. Eight tourists from Hong Kong died after police commandos stormed the bus in a Manila park and killed the hijacker, a disgruntled former policemen. Authorities have opened an investigation into the rescue operation which drew criticism at home as well as in Hong Kong. “At the end of the day, I am responsible for everything that has transpired,” Aquino told reporters amid calls from the opposition and his own allies that Interior Minister
Jesse Robredo step down. Aquino, in power for more than two months, said he would directly supervise the country’s police force, adding he was awaiting results of a high-level inquiry which opened yesterday to determine accountability for the police operation. Civilian and police officials who appeared at the inquiry said there had been operational lapses in negotiations to free the Hong Kong tourists held hostage by the sacked police captain seeking reinstatement. “I am not capable of handling hostage situations,” Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno who headed the national crisis committee for the bus hostage said.
Puno said the crisis committee believed that the Manila police could resolve the crisis because the negotiations were going on smoothly in the initial stages, describing the hostage-taker as “cooperative”. General Jesus Verzosa, head of the national police, said the operational manual for handling hostage situations should be reviewed, particularly the procedure for foreign captives. Verzosa also admitted tactical lapses, including failure to control the crowd and handling media coverage of the incident. Various television networks were beaming live images of the police assault on Aug. 23. —AP
26 killed in vehicle accidents in China
DHAKA: Bangladeshi Muslims offer Jummat-Ul-Vida prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan outside the National Mosque of Bangladesh, Baitul Mukarram in Dhaka yesterday, ahead of the Eid Al-Fitr festival. The three-day festival, which begins after the sighting of a new crescent moon, marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, during which devout Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk. —AFP
EU urged to probe Cambodian farmers’ rights violations PHNOM PENH: Cambodian rights groups urged the European Union yesterday to investigate what they said were human rights violations by local firms exporting sugar to European countries under a free trade scheme. “We are calling on the EU to investigate the gross human rights abuses that have been perpetrated in connection with the production of sugar that is being exported to Europe free of tariffs under the Everything but Arms agreement,” David Pred, executive director of land rights group Bridges Across Borders Cambodia, told Reuters. The “Everything But Arms” initiative lets developing countries export certain products tariff-free to the EU. Pred said the initiative had not benefited poor Cambodian farmers, who had been forced
off their land by the authorities and companies wanting to develop sugar production. “We are simply asking the EU to implement its regulations, which require the European Commission to take precautionary measures to bring Cambodia into compliance with its international obligations,” he said. “If those measures are not successful, the preferential treatment of Cambodian sugar should be suspended in accordance with EC rules,” Pred said. According to local rights group Licadho, at least 1,214 families are involved in land disputes with a sugar plantation operator and senator, Ly Yong Phat, in three provinces. Ly Yong Phat declined to discuss the allegation when contacted on Friday. Rafael Dochao Moreno, charge d’ affaires of the EU del-
egation to Cambodia, said it was unjustified to blame the EBA initiative for violations of human rights or land rights. “EBA is a trade preferential scheme that supports the economic and social development of Cambodia,” Moreno said. “We believe that questions related to forced evictions need to be dealt with by the Cambodian government and we encourage an open and inclusive process to address those concerns,” he added. In a bid to attract foreign investment, Cambodia has awarded big land concessions to companies, mainly from China, Vietnam and South Korea, to run mines, power plants and lately sugar plantations. At the start of 2010, Cambodia launched its first sugar factory in 40 years in the southern province of Koh Kong. —Reuters
BEIJING: At least 26 people were killed in separate vehicle accidents in northeastern China yesterday, state media reported. In Jilin province, a truck and a long-distance bus collided at the entrance to an expressway near the provincial capital Changchun at about 3pm, leaving at least 16 people dead, the official Xinhua news agency said. The bus could seat 45 passengers but it was not known how many people were on board at the time of the accident, Xinhua said, citing local police spokesman Su Limin. “An initial investigation found the bus had a flat tyre and crashed through the median barrier on the expressway, colliding with a car first and then the truck, which was carrying paper products,” Su said. Some of the passengers suffered burns and had been taken to hospital, Xinhua said. Further north in Heilongjiang province, at least 10 people were killed after a truck loaded with sand and a mini-bus collided on an expressway at about 2:00 pm near Jiamusi city, Xinhua said. Nine passengers travelling in the mini-bus were killed instantly while a tenth died later, the report said. China’s roads are among the most dangerous in the world, with traffic laws widely flouted. Almost 70,000 people died in road accidents in 2009, or around 190 fatalities a day, according to police statistics. —AFP
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Miliband brothers fighting for top Labour post LONDON: Mom is neutral. Everyone else has an opinion. The unusual spectacle of two brothers fighting for the soul of the defeated Labour Party — and the chance to challenge Prime Minister David Cameron in the next general election — has turned a ho-hum contest into a nailbiter. Voting began this week, with former Foreign Secretary David Miliband seen as a slight favorite over his younger brother, former Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, and three other candidates. Results will be announced at the start of a party conference in late September. The younger Miliband is running a maverick campaign, promising to bring the Labour Party back to its working class roots after the centrist, pro-business policies that brought Tony Blair and his New Labour cronies to power in 1997. He enjoys strong support from some vocal union leaders, who have an influential voice in the selec-
tion process. “I’m the candidate most willing to turn the page in this election,” Ed Miliband says on his campaign website, taking a subtle dig at his big brother, who represents the party Establishment. He isn’t attacking his older brother by name — they have promised to maintain family harmony if at all possible. But he has launched a scathing attack on New Labour leaders for endorsing “brutish” U.S.-style capitalism at the expense of the working man, accusing them of adopting the Conservative Party philosophy of letting the free market rule. The youthful brothers physically resemble each other and have similar mannerisms. Both have a hint of gray in the same spot of their otherwise dark hair, and both cultivate an easy, approachable manner. David Miliband is more polished and experienced on the world stage — making a
strong and favorable impression on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others at summit meetings. Their Jewish parents escaped from Poland at the height of the Nazi terror. The late Ralph Miliband was a prominent leftwing academic and author; his wife Marion, now 75, has never commented publicly on the horrors she faced as a child, when she went into hiding after her father and other close relatives were sent to the death camps. She is close to both sons and has not spoken about their political rivalry. David Miliband, 45, said at one campaign event that his mother is backing Diane Abbott — the only woman in the race, which also includes former ministers Ed Balls and Andy Burnham. He then quickly explained that he was joking. Most insiders believe David Miliband is ahead of his brother. But the results are hard to predict because of a complicated system that allows voters to rank the five
candidates in order of preference. As a result, a candidate who is named as the second choice by a large number of voters could end up with the job. Ed Miliband, 40, has scored points with unions by criticizing New Labour for failing to create enough new jobs and for doing little to lessen the gap between rich and poor. He also says New Labour’s foreign policy — shaped in part by his brother — made Britain too reliant on the United States at the expense of its values. The bitter internecine battle delights some Labour Party opponents who sense a party split that won’t easily be papered over. “They are indulging in fratricide,” said Bernard Ingham, a Conservative Party stalwart who served as press secretary to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He was referring not only to the Milibands’ battle, but to former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to go public this week with
his criticism of his successor, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Blair says in his newly published book that Brown has “zero” emotional intelligence. Blair said that Thatcher reshaped Britain’s political landscape during her long years at 10 Downing Street, breaking the entrenched power of the unions, and forcing Blair, Brown and their inner circle to come up with a “New Labour” approach that filched heavily from Thatcher’s playbook. Now that New Labour has been defeated, the party is rudderless, Blair said. Still, he predicted that David Miliband would likely emerge as party leader despite his close ties to Blair and other key New Labour figures. The vote is open to party members, Labour legislators, and members of unions affiliated with Labour. Unions remain an important part of the party base — though they have less raw power than in the past — and at least one union leader
backing Ed Miliband has warned publicly that unions will withhold financial support if Labour chooses a “more of the same” approach. David Miliband does enjoy the backing of the Labour Party elite. He has been endorsed by 11 members of the “shadow Cabinet” — a British institution that gives the opposition party a chance to speak out on policy matters. He has the backing of former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, former Chancellor Alistair Darling and other prominent figures. “Most of our members of Parliament are supporting David,” said Ann Clywd, a Labour Party legislator from Wales. “I’ve worked with him closely, and I think he’s young but of considerable stature. He’s known to the world as foreign secretary and he gave a good account of himself.” She said David Miliband would be a credible candidate for prime minister if an early election is called in the coming months. —AFP
Poor South Africans bear the brunt of strike
South Africa govt, strikers brace for new wage talks J OHANNESBURG: Striking South African state w orkers held small-scale protests yesterday as union and government negotiators prepared for bargaining next w eek aimed at ending the three-w eek w alkout by about 1.3 million. The unions rejected a government offer of 7.5 percent pay raises, nearly double inflation, and 800 rand a month for housing, w ith w orkers demanding a better offer.
LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha pose for pictures with their new baby daughter Florence Rose Endellion, outside 10 Downing Street, in London yesterday. The baby, weighing six pounds and one ounce (2.7 kg) at birth, was delivered by caesarean section on Aug 24, 2010, in the Cornish capital Truro, south-west England. — AFP
Police question scientist in Miami MIAMI: A scientist has been detained at the Miami International Airport after screeners spotted a metal canister in his luggage that looked like a pipe bomb, prompting an evacuation, a government official said. The FBI and Miami-Dade police were interviewing the 70-year-old man, the official said yesterday. No explosives have been found. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation. The man being questioned at the airport is an American citizen, FBI agent Michael Leverock said at a news conference in Miami. “He’s being very cooperative,” Leverock said. “He’s not under arrest at this time.” Leverock said the man was on a flight that flew into Miami but would not say where he flew from. The item found in the man’s luggage has been brought to a lab for more testing, Leverock said. “We don’t know if a crime has been committed here,” he said. A police bomb squad spent hours scouring the airport and passengers had to be evacuated from four of the airport’s six con-
courses Thursday night and airport roadways were closed down, police and airport officials said. They described the shutdown of the concourses as a public safety precaution. The airport fully reopened just after 4 am yesterday before the first scheduled morning departures, which signaled the start of the peak US Labor Day holiday weekend. “Everything’s back to normal,” airport spokesman Greg Chin told The Associated Press soon after the closed concourses reopened. He said the end of the evacuation order largely coincided with the nighttime drop-off in flights. Passengers, workers and others were allowed back in just as the airport was expecting the first of 1,500 passengers on flights between 4 am and 6 am alone — and more thereafter. The Miami International Airport Hotel, which is located near the airport’s international terminal, was also evacuated, Chin said. The Transportation Security Administration declined to identify the pas-
senger, saying in a terse statement that the screener spotted something suspicious in a checked back at about 9 pm Thursday. The federal agency responsible for air travel security said four of the six concourses in the 2-mile long complex — Terminals E, F, G, and H — had been evacuated beginning late Thursday. Miami-Dade Police said a bomb squad spent hours at the airport with fire officials and the others. Fire trucks and police vehicles stood by and a hazardous material team was spotted at the scene. Police spokesman Alvaro Zableta had urged those with scheduled departures Friday to check with local air carriers. Chin said between 100 and 200 passengers were evacuated initially. “I’m still not sure how many flights came in during this time, but any that did were relocated to the eastern or western ends of the airport,” Chin said, adding parts of Concourses D and J remained open to flights while the evacuation order was in effect for remaining areas. — AP
JOHANNESBURG: Union members sing and dance during their protest in Johannesburg. Unions are demanding an 8.6 percent wage increase and a 1000 rand ($137) housing allowance. The government is offering a 7.5 percent increase and 800 rand ($110) for housing. —AP and file to accept the deal. COSATU planned a Friday
strategy meeting to discuss the deal with its members, the
more militant of which, analysts said, may not want to budge and could drag the strike out even longer, defying the wishes of union leaders, analysts said. “We are going as quickly as we can and will make an announcement when members give us their mandate. I am not sure when that will be,” COSATU’s President Sidumo Dlamini said. Pay and benefits are the biggest expenditure category in the state budget. In 2006/07, about 35 percent of tax revenue went towards it. That rose to about 47 percent in 2009/10. “A greater volume of taxpayer money will have to be spent on state employees, thereby detracting from much needed expenditure on improving education, health, transport and infrastructure,” said NKC Independent Economists economist Christie Viljoen. COSATU put on hold a plan to have all its near two million members in vital industries including mining, go on a sympathy strike to allow the state workers to consider the new offer. A prolonged strike by all COSATU members would put enormous pressure on the government to reach a deal to prevent any major blow to Africa’s largest economy. The strike has seen South Africans volunteering at hospitals and the private sector filling gaps left by striking workers. Emergency service provider Netcare said it treated about 730 patients stranded by the strike, costing about 15 million rand. — Reuters
Court gives verdicts in child abuse trial in Portugal
Unions assail beleaguered reform minister PARIS: France’s trade union bosses said yesterday that the country’s labour minister, increasingly plagued by an influence-peddling scandal, was no longer fit to defend a controversial reform of France’s pension system. Raising the pressure ahead of nationwide strikes next week, Francois Chereque, head of the powerful CFDT union, said Labour Minister Eric Woerth should no longer serve as lead minister on the biggest reform of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 5-year term. “It’s no longer possible to work with Eric Woerth,” Chereque told Europe 1 radio. “The Eric Woerth problem is beginning to overshadow the real problem, the reform.” Woerth has been dogged for months by revelations from a family feud surrounding the fortune of France’s richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt and funding of the political party of President Sarkozy. Woerth, who recently stepped down as treasurer of the UMP party, on Thursday publicly acknowledged having intervened to help Bettencourt’s wealth manager receive France’s prestigious Legion d’Honneur medal. —Reuters
The parties have a bargaining session planned for Monday where they will try to find a way to end the strike that has been the biggest in terms of lost man days in three years. The strike has hit hardest the legions of poor who depend on state services to live and has quashed the euphoria the country felt after hosting the June-to-July soccer World Cup. “It can go either way on Monday. But whatever the outcome it will be a united position from COSATU and the independent unions,” said a union spokesman who did not want to be named. The unions, who represent court clerks, prison guards, customs officials and nurses, are seeking pay rises of 8.6 percent and 1,000 rand a month for housing. Most are affiliated with COSATU, the country’s largest labour federation. “Both parties have dug themselves into supposed final positions, which to some extent will become an obstacle to bringing the strike to an end,” said labor lawyer Tony Healy. Government officials said the state cannot afford the offer it has already put on the table and there is no more room in the budget to increase its offer, which would swell state spending by about one percent. “The one certainty is that the strike will not be resolved on the basis of labor’s current demands,” Healy said. Union leaders have said they understand the government’s financial constraints and will try to convince rank
NAIROBI: Kenyan Muslims offer prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan, the holy fasting month of Islam, at the Jamia mosque in Nairob, Kenya yesterday. — AP
Russian wildfires kill 6 MOSCOW: Wildfires swept through villages in southern Russia yesterday killing at least six people and destroying more than 400 homes, the Emergencies Ministry said. Fires driven by high winds destroyed more than 500 buildings in Volgograd and Saratov provinces, including at least 400 homes, Emergencies Ministry spokesman Ivan Abakumov told Reuters.
“All the fires are now under control,” he said. The blazes in the provinces on the Volga River southeast of Moscow followed wildfires that killed at least 54 in central Russia in July and August during Russia’s worst heat wave ever recorded. Television pictures showed smoke rising from the blackened ruins of a village of wooden houses in the Volgograd region, where 20
population centres were affected. More than 2,500 people and at least five planes were involved in fighting the fires, the Emergencies Ministry said in a statement. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised 1 billion roubles ($34.35 million) to each of the stricken regions to rehouse those who lost their homes. — AP
LISBON: A judge started reading a Portuguese court’s verdicts yesterday on more than 800 alleged crimes in a major child sex abuse trial that has lasted nearly six years. Six men and one woman stood accused of sexually abusing minors and adolescents, raping children and running a pedophile ring at a state-run children’s home in Lisbon during the 1990s. The trial, believed to be Portugal’s longest, has included testimony from more than 800 witnesses and experts, including 32 alleged victims. The accused include a national television celebrity and a retired ambassador in a case that shook public trust in the country’s institutions when the allegations emerged in 2002. The reading of the verdicts was expected to take much of the day Friday. Ana Peres, the lead judge in a threejudge panel, read a summarized version of the court’s decisions. The full document reportedly stretches to almost 2,000 pages. The victims — now aged between 16 and 22 — have given chilling testimony during the trial and identified their alleged abusers by pointing to them across the courtroom. “Some of the accounts could be considered pornographic,” Peres told the small courtroom where a few members of the public were present. The session started more than an hour late as several of the accused and their lawyers had trouble working their way through a crowd of journalists. And once they were inside they waited more than half an hour for proceedings to begin. The court gave no immediate explanation for the delay. The trial is considering allegations of abuse centered on Casa Pia, a 230-year-old
institution caring for roughly 4,500 needy children, most of them living in dormitories at its premises around the capital. A 53-year-old former driver at the Casa Pia, Carlos Silvino, has confessed to more than 600 crimes and has incriminated the other defendants. They include Carlos Cruz, a popular television presenter with a threedecade career in show business, and Jorge Ritto, a decorated career diplomat and former UNESCO ambassador. Three other men are also charged with child sex abuse, including a doctor and a former Casa Pia ombudsman. A 68-yearold woman, Gertrudes Nunes, is charged with providing her house for meetings between the children and the alleged
pedophiles. The six have denied the charges and say their lives have been ruined by the allegations. The former ombudsman, Manuel Abrantes, said the allegations wrecked his career and family life. “My life was destroyed overnight,” he said. Any defendant who is convicted will have the right to appeal. The claims that a pedophile ring had preyed on children at the state institution for years rocked the public’s faith in the authorities, who appeared unable to protect the most vulnerable members of society. The protracted trial has also fueled outrage about Portugal’s notoriously slow legal system. —AFP
LISBON: Carlos Cruz, one of the defendants in the Casa Pia scandal, is mobbed by reporters as he arrives at the Lisbon court yesterday to attend the reading of the verdict. — AFP
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Banks admit better disclosure on bonuses needed Bonus pool, pay transparency needs to improve: IIF LONDON: Banks have acknowledged they need to be more open about the size of their bonus pools and the methodology for paying star bankers after making progress in other areas of reforming pay structures. More policy changes are needed to reduce the excessive risk taking that was blamed for contributing to the global financial crisis, according to a survey released yesterday by the Institute of International Finance (IIF), a bank lobby group. “There has been a surprising amount of progress in a number of areas, but not all institutions are there yet and there is still work needed in shuffling the industry down the right path in some areas,” said Nick Studer, a partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman in London and a coauthor of the report. “There is a definite risk of returning to the first mover disadvantage mindset, whereby a bank thinks if they do anything
to overhaul compensation practices they risk losing people,” he said. Rick Waugh, CEO of Canada’s Scotiabank and co-chairman of an IIF steering committee on pay issues, said banks had to do more, including increasing emphasis on linking incentives to performance. “Importantly, we do not see this as restricting the level of compensation, but that banks adopt policies to ensure that incentives do not induce risk-taking in excess of the firm’s risk appetite,” Waugh said in a statement. The report, conducted with Oliver Wyman and based on a survey and interviews with banks accounting for 70 percent of wholesale banking revenues, showed most banks were implementing compensation systems in line with guidelines set out by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) a year ago. A senior FSB official said banks are still falling short of what is need-
FRANKFURT AM MAIN: German Federal Bank (Bundesbank) president Axel Weber addresses a press conference at the headquarters of the bank in Frankfurt. — AFP
ed, however. “I think financial institutions are very far in many cases from meeting these standards,” Svein Andresen, secretary general of the FSB, told Reuters at a regulation conference in Seoul. Banks still hadn’t done enough to change the way they adjust for risk in their compensation policies, he said. “There are still substantial differences in the ways these principles and standards have been implemented.” Industry critics have said not enough has changed and banks are reverting to offering massive payouts. Credit Suisse this week said its top UK bankers will receive a special September bonus. The Swiss bank has led with some pay reforms, but said it needs to remain competitive after cutting bonuses last year. The IIF report said politicians need to acknowledge that some reforms, such as basing bonus-
es on profits adjusted for risk or capital usage, would take several years. That needs consistent regulation to help the process, it said. The IIF said boards and remuneration committees are now more involved in setting the bonus pool and designing pay plans. The structure of payouts has been significantly reformed since the start of the crisis, with more money deferred or paid in shares, the survey showed. Deferred compensation was now 39 percent of the compensation pool, 85 percent of surveyed banks are deferring pay for three years or more, and nearly 70 percent of deferred compensation is paid in shares, it said. Firms have also cut rewards for failure, the IIF said, with unconditional payouts halved and multi-year guaranteed bonuses almost eliminated. It said 15 percent of firms still had “golden parachutes”, but most were attempting to eliminate them. — Reuters
Oil turns positive on US jobs report US fuel inventories at record levels
HYDERABAD: An Indian laborer looks at his mobile phone as he leans against bags of onions in Hyderabad. India’s economy grew 8.8 percent in the June quarter, its fastest pace in over two years, as good farm and manufacturing output lifted growth back to its pre-crisis trajectory. — AP
Europe stocks gain; Yen near 15-yr high vs dollar Gains capped as investors brace for US jobs data LONDON: European stocks edged higher yesterday after US shares climbed, but the dollar struggled as markets braced for a key US labor report expected to show more job losses, clouding the outlook for recovery. US non-farm payrolls likely took a hit from a combination of a fading boost from census hiring, companies’ reluctance to hire staff and further layoffs at cashstrapped state and local governments. Surprisingly strong US manufacturing data earlier this week had dispelled some gloom about faltering growth, but investors were far from convinced all is well. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.5 percent, on course for a rise of 3 percent over the week. World stocks as measured by the MSCI were up 0.6 percent,
propped up by the gains in European and Asian shares. “People are watching the growth in (US) private sector employment, which is likely to be too low to be good enough for the economy,” said Bernard McAlinden, investment strategist at NCB Stockbrokers in Dublin. “The market is going up on relatively unconvincing economic data. It just needs to know there won’t be a double dip.” Underscoring simmering angst about US growth, the yen remained locked close to a 15year high against the dollar and the Swiss franc near a record peak against the euro. The US currency traded flat at 84.27 yen by 0835 GMT, hovering in range of a 15-year low of 83.58 yen hit late last month. Against a basket of currencies, the dollar
was a touch lower on the day at 82.42. Market participants said traders were short of dollars heading into the figures due at 1230 GMT expected to show US non-farm payrolls fell 100,000 in August following a loss of 131,000 the previous month. FED SPECULATION “If the figure does not provide a massive surprise to the upside, it will support the market’s view that the Fed will not raise rates for a very long time,” said Ulrich Leuchtmann, currency strategist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. He added that this would also raise speculation the Federal Reserve may implement more quantitative easing to boost the economy, which would be negative for the dollar. US Treasury debt prices
were mostly steady in Europe with traders focused on whether the jobs data would provide a catalyst for a further rebound in the benchmark 10year yield from last week’s 19month low. The 10-year T-note yield was last unchanged on the day at 2.627 percent while German 10year bond yields were up 1 basis point at 2.293 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely. Commodity prices barely budged. Gold was little changed at $1,251.05 an ounce but oil fell for the first day in three as Hurricane Earl neared the country’s east coast, fuelling concerns of disruptions to refineries and demand during the Labour Day long weekend. US crude was last down 0.5 percent at 74.63 a barrel. — Reuters
LONDON: Oil nudged into positive territory yesterday when the release of stronger than expected US employment data calmed expectations of a double-dip recession, although the demand outlook for oil was cautious. US crude for October rose five cents to $75.07 a barrel by 1304 GMT, recovering from intra-day losses, while ICE Brent rose 21 cents to $77.14. US employment fell for a third straight month in August, but the decline was far less than expected and private payrolls growth surprised on the upside, easing pressure on the Federal Reserve to prop up growth. Earlier this week, positive weekly US jobs data also helped to offset data that showed US fuel inventories were at record levels. The link between the economy and demand for fuel has helped to keep oil prices closely tuned to other asset classes rather than to market fundamentals of supply and demand. Traders say that could continue, keeping oil positively correlated to equity markets and negatively correlated to the US dollar, which when weaker makes dollardenominated commodities relatively cheap for holders of other currencies. “We’re still heavily dominated by financials. There was quite a big build in US inventories, but the market is showing resilience,” said Tony Machacek of brokerage Bache Commodities. “Anything that will affect currencies, such as non-farm payrolls, will have a big effect on oil.” World stocks and the dollar against a basket of currencies also hovered around flat. US economist Nouriel Roubini told Reuters Insider Television he believed things could get worse in the United States in the second half of the year and economic growth could go below one percent. “Even if it is not technically a double dip recession, it is going to feel like a recession,” said Roubini, who has been nicknamed “Doctor Doom” for his pessimistic forecasts. END OF DRIVING SEASON The data arrived ahead of a long weekend as the US Labor Day holiday falls on Monday, traditionally considered as the end of summer driving. As Hurricane Earl swirled up the US eastern coast, it posed a potential threat to some oil refineries. Although inventories are so high, any impact on refined product prices could be limited and the bigger impact might be to temporarily reduce demand for unrefined crude. Bad weather could also curb driving demand. On Thursday, the US Energy Information said Hurricane Earl could affect 1.1 million barrels per day of US operable refinery capacity on the Atlantic coast, or about 7 percent of the nation’s total. Earl has lost some force and its impact so far has been less than first thought. Tropical Depression Gaston has also weakened. Forecasters said there was still a chance it could regenerate, but it was too early to tell whether it would head for the Gulf of Mexico where energy infrastructure is concentrated. — Reuters
KUALA LUMPUR: In a file picture, workers put up a Petronas oil company billboard at a service station in Kuala Lumpur, with Malaysia’s landmark Petronas Twin Towers in the background. British oil giant BP has agreed to sell some of its Malaysian assets to local state energy firm Petronas for 363 million dollars (285 million euros). — AFP
BP spill costs hit $8 billion Shares rise 0.2 percent LONDON: BP Plc said the cost of dealing with its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had risen to $8 billion as the oil giant prepared to release the findings of an internal probe into the causes of the disaster. BP published figures yesterday which showed that since it capped the well on July 15, it had spent around $90 million/day, in line with the spend rate while the well was gushing over 60,000 barrels per day into the sea. Analysts had expected that BP’s costs would fall off sharply after the well was sealed for good by drilling a relief well into the base of the blown out well and pumping it full of concrete. However, a successful effort to install a temporary cap on the well delayed work on the relief well, which BP said yesterday was now likely to be completed in mid September. After this, the armada of rigs and ships, some of which cost $1 million a day to operate, working at the drill site can be stood down. “Until it’s killed for good, you can’t move the kit away,” one BP source said. However, BP also indicated that there had been no major uptick in the amount of money being handed out to those affected by the spill, under the new independent compensation system, established in a deal with the White House. On average, since Aug. 23, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, a $20 billion fund headed by former government pay Czar Ken Feinberg, paid out around $3.5 million per day, broadly in line with the amount paid before BP handed over responsibility for administering claims. Some investors had feared Feinberg could take a more generous approach to paying out damages. BP shares traded up 0.2 percent at 393 pence at 0847 GMT, compared to a 0.4 percent rise in the STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index BP is also preparing to issue a report on the
findings of an internal probe into events on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which exploded and sunk, leading to the oil spill. BP declined to say when the report will be concluded or published but insiders said it could be released as early as next week. The investigation was led by BP’s head of safety and operations, Mark Bly. BP said Bly was acting in an “independent” capacity, seeking the truth, rather than aiming to bolster the company’s position in legal disputes with the government and the other parties involved in the accident. US politicians have already criticized the terms of the BP probe as being too marrow. Some media reports citing leaks of parts of the probe say lower level employees will be blamed for making mistakes that contributed to the blast. This could be seen as an attempt by BP to deflect criticism of top management and company culture-something BP was accused of doing after a blast at its Texas City refinery in 2005, which killed 15 workers. Shortly after the blast BP sacked junior employees for breaking company operating procedures which it said contributed to the deaths. A later investigation by safety regulator the Chemical Safety Board blamed more institutional flaws including BP’s culture of cost cutting. BP critics in Washington will also check the report to see if Donald Vidrine, BP’s “company man” or senior representative, on the rig, which was owned and operated by drilling contractor Transocean, contributed to the report. Vidrine has declined at least twice to appear before a Coast Guard-Interior Department panel investigating the disaster, citing medical complaints, so any contribution from him could be interpreted negatively on Capitol Hill. — Reuters
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Service sector spotlight shines on Germany, China Spain’s service sector contract anew, UK growth lower
BEIJING: A commuter sleeps inside a double-decker bus drive on a traffic jam during rush hour in Beijing yesterday. Auto sales in China, the world’s biggest car market, rebounded in August as subsidies for energy-efficient vehicles and a stronger currency spurred demand. — AP
Experts see trouble ahead for the developed world CERNOBBIO: Is the global economy out of the woods? Two years after near-meltdown, with the US looking sluggish, equity markets groggy and Europeans fighting a debt crisis, experts gathered in Italy offered a generally gloomy outlook - especially for the United States and much of the industrialized world. The doomsayers were led by New York University economist Nouriel Roubini, who warned in booming tones that “there is a significant risk of a double-dip recession in the United States” as well as in Japan and many European countries. Some of the assembled experts and leaders at the annual Ambrosetti Forum on the shores of Lake Como were somewhat more upbeat: economist Edwin Truman, a senior fellow of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, predicted that “the most likely global outlook is subpar growth.” But most appeared to agree on a sobering array of basic problems standing in the way of true recovery:- Many of the growth drivers in place since the collapse of Lehman Brothers are winding up or have ended, including not only the massive stimulus spending but tax breaks, schemes such as the “cash for clunkers” program and for some countries like Russia high commodity prices. The stimulus deemed necessary to jump-start moribund economies soon causes deficits and debt, upsetting the markets enough to spur austerity, which undermines growth. - Most of the world’s growth stems from a developing world led by China, which is so dependent on exports that it needs the West to continue to buy, and so will suffer if recovery in the rich world proves short-lived. Europe continues to lose competitiveness partly because of the euro, which, for all the fretting over its dip earlier this year at the height of the Greek debt crisis - remains high in purchasing price parity terms versus the US dollar. The sector that is widely
seen as the spark of the global recession - US real estate - has not recovered, with house-buying flat and the mortgage market, with its related financial instruments, essentially still in ruins. - The jobs picture is not improving and in parts of the developed world - such as Spain, with some 20 percent unemployment - it is disastrous. “Conditions in the US labor market are awful,” said Roubini, who gained celebrity for predicting the global collapse of 2008 when others were still celebrating the boom times. He added that even if some US growth is maintained in coming quarters it will be so low - perhaps an annualized 1 percent, which means per capita stagnation - that “it will feel like recession for most people.” Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson noted that since 2001 the United States has seen its debt-to-GDP ratio double to 66 percent and that it may well be headed toward the danger zone of 100 percent. “This is a completely unsustainable fiscal policy,” said Ferguson. “Pretty soon the US will be spending more on debt service than national security. ... That’s a tipping point for any global power.” Americans “just have to go down in their living standards” after years in which their living standards soared in part based on foreign credit which is no longer there,” said University of Munich economics professor Hans-Werner Sinn. Jacob Frenkel, Chairman of JP Morgan Chase International, urged the United States to rein in entitlements as part of a “political deal” that recognizes reality. Chairing a panel, CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo drew laughs by challenging the scowling Roubini to come up with “any good news.” He offered that “emerging economies have high potential growth.” But even that comes with a caveat: Roubini warned that world growth leader China was too dependent on exports to the struggling West and predicted that within a year its economic
growth will be overtaken by India, a huge nation much more reliant on its domestic market for development. The leading Chinese delegate to the forum, Cheng Siwei, seemed to agree with the criticism. “We must change our investment pattern from investment driven to relying more on domestic consumption,” said Cheng, a former top Chinese official who chairs the China Soft-Science Research Society among other positions. What about Greece, whose neardefault four months ago rattled the nerves of investors around the globe? “Greece will not make it,” said Sinn. He said the world can either subsidize Athens indefinitely, force a degree of austerity that actually risks “civil war,” or - in what he suggested was the least bad option - encourage Greece to restore its drachma currency despite the domestic banking collapse that could well result. Sinn noted that bond spreads the difference between the cost of borrowing for troubled countries such as Greece and solid ones such as Germany - have swiftly returned to the startling levels that preceded the Greek bailout in May. Truman ended his remarks on a high note, noting that in recent quarters’ “US productivity increase has been significant.” But that development, while good for companies’ bottom lines, is also a reflection of the stagnant labor market and the shrinkage of payrolls as firms hope to produce as much as before with fewer and more productive staff. In perhaps an illustration of that psychology, several hundred business leaders at the forum were asked for their projections on their own companies’ prospects. Voting electronically, some 70 percent predicted a rise in turnover by the end of 2010 and almost half predicted a rise in their firms’ investment. But less than a third saw a chance for new hiring; almost half saw no change and about a quarter predicted even more reductions. — AP
Metro Bank ahead of targets LONDON: Metro Bank, Britain’s first new high street retail bank in more than 100 years, said yesterday it was ahead of its own targets for new account openings at its flagship branch. Metro Bank opened for business at its main branch in London’s Holborn district just over a month ago, and Chief Executive Craig Donaldson said that the Holborn branch was well ahead of its internal goals. “Holborn has exceeded our year’s expectations in one month for new account openings,” said Donaldson. He declined to give any precise figures, saying these would be revealed when the company publishes its accounts. Chairman and co-founder Anthony Thomson said there had been strong demand from both retail and business customers at the Holborn branch. “I’ve got a waiting list of 200 people to open business accounts,” said Thomson. Metro Bank is one of several new entrants seeking to break into the country’s retail banking sector following the credit crisis, which saw the near-collapse of some of the best-known names and the takeover of HBOS by Lloyds Banking Group. Britain’s retail bank sector is dominated by the “Big Four” of Barclays,
Lloyds, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland. There is also competition from building society Nationwide and Spanish bank Santander, while the NBNK Investments banking venture of Lloyd’s of London Chairman Lord Peter Levene raised 50 million pounds ($77.3 million) in a stock market listing last month. LOOKING TO HIRE WHILE OTHERS CUT BACK Donaldson and Thomson were speaking as Metro Bank launched its second branch in London’s Earl Court district and announced plans to hire 100 more workers, bringing total staff to 250. Its expansion comes as some rivals cut jobs. On Thursday, part-nationalized Royal Bank of Scotland announced 3,500 job cuts while insurer Standard Life said this week it would cut a net 500 jobs. In contrast to the queues at the July launch of the Holborn office, there were only a handful of customers outside the Earl’s Court branch yesterday morning but Thomson remained confident. “It will get busier. Earl’s Court is not a particularly high footfall destination but it’s got good visibility,” he said. —Reuters
LONDON: Global service sector surveys highlighted a growing divergence in economic recovery yesterday with a pick up in growth in China and Germany but slowdowns in Britain and Spain and an expected deceleration in the United States. The data follows sister surveys which earlier this week painted a similar picture for the manufacturing sector although signs of expansion in China and the US revived some investor confidence. China’s service sector expanded at its fastest pace in four months in August on the back of strong domestic demand but the headline figure was below the long-run average of the series. HSBC said its Purchasing Managers’ Index for Chinese services, which account for much less of output than in more developed countries, rose to 57.6 in August from 56.3 in July. The pace of recovery in the 16-nation euro zone, whose economy is heavily weighted to the service sector, was barely changed in
August from July but signaled a growing split, with a pick up in Germany offset by Spain sliding back into contractionary territory. Markit’s Eurozone Services Purchasing Managers’ Index for the service sector, which accounts for roughly twothirds of the euro zone economy, nudged up to 55.9 in August from 55.8 in July - a strong overall reading. “The surveys highlight the uneven performance of the euro zone economies, with Germany currently performing very well, France decently, Italy growing modestly and Spain and Ireland still struggling to develop recovery,” said Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight. The bloc’s economy expanded 1.0 in the second quarter over the first, its fastest pace in more than three years, although that was really a reflection of German resurgence. Spain’s services PMI fell to 49.2, the first time the index has slipped below the 50.0 line that separates growth from contraction since
February. And Britain saw its dominant service sector activity grow last month at its slowest pace since April 2009, with a marked fall in hiring as employers worried about an economic slowdown and public spending cuts. The headline Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers’ index dropped to 51.3 in August from July’s 53.1, a much sharper fall than the decline to 52.9 forecast in a Reuters poll. Governments are turning their focus to slashing budgets as they face up to paying off the billions of dollars pumped into economies to drag them out of the worst post-war recession. PAYROLLS FORECAST TO FALL AGAIN A similar index for the United States, due later yesterday, is expected to show a slowing growth rate for services in the world’s biggest economy but all eyes will be on US jobs numbers at 1230 GMT. A reluctance by firms to add staff amid the economic
uncertainty and relentless layoffs at cash-strapped state and local governments is expected to produce a third straight month of decline in non-farm payrolls. “In the euro zone there is not at the moment the risk of a double dip, a risk that instead is present in the United States,” Hans-Werner Sinn, president of Germany’s IFO economic research institute, told reporters in Cernobbio, Italy. US growth braked to a 1.6 percent annualized rate in the second quarter after a brisk 3.7 percent in Q1. With unemployment stuck near 10 percent and the impact of the government’s $862 billion economic stimulus fading, investors worry that even if the US economy avoids a double-dip recession it may face a period of near-stagnation. The big question is whether Asia and Europe’s biggest powers could carry on prospering or would inevitably be dragged down by the world’s largest economy, whose markets they are still heavily reliant on for export demand. — Reuters
Nigeria SEC aims for new stock exchange Demutualisation to make exchange more competitive LONDON: Nigeria’s stock exchange w ill have new management by the beginning of next year at the latest and listing the bourse w ill be among their priorities, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said yesterday. The SEC removed the head of the stock exchange a month ago and suspended its chairman and members of its governing council in a bid to restore investor confidence amid a raft of governance concerns. “The process of bringing these people (replacements) in is extremely competitive. We are looking both inside and outside the exchange,” SEC Director General Arunma Oteh told a conference in London. “The principal officers are to come on board at the latest at the beginning of next year and put in a timeline for demutualization,” she said. Demutualization would turn the exchange into a listed company, making it more globally competitive and giving it a larger incentive to bring in profitable new products such as derivatives or exchange-traded funds. Oteh, who took over in January, has pledged tighter regulation and surveillance as part of an overhaul of Nigeria’s capital markets. The SEC appointed a former top Deloitte accountant as interim manager of the stock exchange and appointed accountancy firm KPMG to audit the books earlier this month after removing director general Ndi OkerekeOnyuike. Nigeria has been trying to restore investor confidence since last year’s $4 billion bailout of nine banks, whose reckless lending-much of it to stock market speculators-was deemed by central bank auditors to have left them so weakly capitalized that they posed a systemic risk. The SEC said in August it was taking 260 individuals and entities including banks and other capital markets operators to a special tribunal over alleged price fixing, fraud and insider trading committed between 2006 and 2008. Oteh said the SEC would be recommending that the licenses of some brokers be revoked. — Reuters
US payrolls fall WASHINGTON: US employment fell for a third straight month in August, but the drop was far less than expected and private payrolls growth surprised on the upside, easing pressure on the Federal Reserve to prop up growth. Nonfarm payrolls fell 54,000, the Labor Department said yesterday as temporary jobs to conduct the decennial census dropped by 114,000. Private employment, considered a better gauge of labor market health, increased 67,000 after a revised 107,000 gain in July. In addition, the government revised payrolls for June and July to show 123,000 fewer jobs lost than previously reported. “These are very nice numbers for the labor market,” said Kathy Lien, a director of currency research at GFT in New York. “It means for the time being, some of the fears of weakness in the US economy may be misplaced as the data shows the labor market is not as bad as feared.” US stock index futures rose, while prices for safe-haven US Treasury debt extended losses. The US dollar rallied against the yen and euro. The decline in payrolls was about half as large as expected. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast overall employment falling 100,000 and private-sector hiring increasing 41,000. The smaller-than-expected job losses last month could assuage fears the economy is sliding back into recession and ease pressure on the Fed-the U.S. central bank-to launch a fresh round of bond buying to keep borrowing costs low.
However, the report will do little to help the Democratic Party in November’s crucial midterm elections. Concerns of a double-dip recession had already diminished somewhat this week as data showed strength in manufacturing and gains in consumer spending but the sluggish pace of growth has kept investors on edge. The unemployment rate edged up to 9.6 percent last month, in line with market expectations. The rise in the jobless rate reflected an increase in the labor force as some discouraged workers resumed the hunt for jobs. CONSUMER SPENDING HURT Jobs scarcity is hurting consumer spending, which normally accounts for about two-thirds of US economic activity, leaving the recovery from the worst recession in 70 years sputtering. Growth slowed markedly in the second quarter and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said the central bank stands ready to take fresh measures to support the economy if needed. Minutes of the Fed’s last policy meeting released this week showed several policymakers felt the outlook would have to deteriorate “appreciably” to spur fresh monetary support. “The economy is in a bit of a lull and gauging how long we are stuck in this rut will determine if the Federal Reserve needs to step in,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The economy’s poor health has weakened
President Barack Obama’s popularity and could see Republicans wrestle control of Congress away from the Democratic Party. Typically in midterm elections when there is no presidential race the party in power in the White House suffers losses, but analysts say the drubbing Democrats could face may be unusually severe. Last month, the dominant service sector
added 67,000 jobs after July’s 70,000 rise. Temporary help services, which is seen as a harbinger of future permanent hiring, rebounded 16,800 after falling in July for the first time since September. There were more job losses at cash-strapped state governments, helping to pull down government payrolls by 121,000 compared to a 161,000 fall in July. —Reuters
Russia grain export ban extension is not a crisis MILAN: Russia’s plan to extend its grain export ban destabilizes markets but does not bring closer a repeat of the 2007/2008 food crisis, a senior UN economist said yesterday after seven people died in food riots in Mozambique. Wheat output shortfalls in drought-hit Russia, last year’s No.3 exporter of grain, drove world wheat prices to two-year highs this summer and sparked fears of food price spikes. “It is true that Russia is thinking about extending the embargo, but it still does not mean that we are going to have a crisis,” Abdolreza Abbassian, economist at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) told Reuters. Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday the export ban-which had been due for review after Dec. 31 - would be extended until late 2011, puzzling analysts and helping send wheat prices higher. “Actions like this will simply go against
the stability (of grain markets)”, Abbassian, who is also secretary of the FAO’s Intergovernmental Group on Grains, said in a telephone interview. “It does highlight a very big problem here: a very large exporting country with a great influence on the market can make unilateral decisions like that. It causes disturbances of the market,” he added. Abbassian said he hoped Putin meant to say the ban could be extended if the situation worsened: “I still hope that there is something lost in translation.” Calm was restored in Mozambique yesterday after two days of rioting, triggered by a spike in bread prices there, in which seven people, including two children were killed, 288 injured and which left millions of dollars of damage. TIGHTENING SUPPLIES The FAO has said after two years of plentiful crops around the world the situation on global markets remained differ-
ent from the food crisis of 2007/2008, which sparked food riots in developing countries and panic buying in the wealthier world. FAO’s Food Price Index, which tracks monthly price changes for a food basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar- hit a two-year high at 176 points in August but was still 38 percent below its peak reached in June 2008. Benchmark wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade are also well below August peak of $8.41 a bushel, trading just below $7.00 yesterday. Prices rose as high as $13.34-1/2 in February 2008 but higher global stocks mean that a return to those lofty levels appears unlikely, analysts have said. Abbassian said global grain supplies remained solid and the markets should settle down soon with strong crops in other major producers offsetting output shortfalls in Russia, which has been hit by its worst drought in over a century. —Reuters
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Get ready for a world of nanotechnology LONDON: The prefix “nano” is gaining an increasing presence in public consciousness, from invocations of the nanometre (nm) as a unit of measurement for our burgeoning silicon technology’s tininess (as in Intel’s latest 32nm processors), to the hubristically named iPod nano, which is a bit smaller than the others. The prominence of this word in our culture is set to rocket over the coming decades as more tightly defined “nanotechnology” becomes available - for example, Nokia is hoping to release a nanotech phone that it calls the Morph in 2015. A commonly accepted definition of nanotechnology is that it deals with devices smaller than 100nm in size. A nanometre is one billionth of a metre. A single atom is between a tenth to half a nanometre across; a million or more of them stacked on top of one another would equal the thickness of a piece of paper. Nanotech machines will use individual atoms and molecules as mechanical mov-
ing parts, and will enable us to take apart and rebuild just about anything atom by atom. If this sounds like science fiction, consider that you’re carrying trillions of proofs of concept around inside you that could only be viewed with an electron microscope; every time your DNA is transcribed into RNA, or your muscle cells use fuel from food for movement, or your immune system fights off an infection, the work is done by nanomachines devices built out of atoms and molecules which do mechanical work. In his book, Engines of Creation, K Eric Drexler reminded readers that every manmade and natural object around us is an arrangement of (mostly very common) atoms and molecules. The ability to arrange those molecules more regularly will allow us to build materials many times stronger and lighter than those used in engineering today. This could bring a space elevator within reach, allowing us to explore the solar system
and exploit the resources of the planets and asteroids cheaply. In the body, nanomachines could fight disease, or even aging, one atom at a time, restoring them to the configurations characteristic of healthy tissue. An advanced nanotechnology would be capable of repairing the damage we have done to our environment, capturing carbon out of the air and salting it away under the earth, or using it to build the light, strong, diamond-like materials the nanotech-enabled human-scale technology will depend on. Ultimately, the most basic and useful elements we will need (carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc) can be harvested out of the air and dirt, and assembled into useful configurations with barely an hour of work. Nanotechnology has the potential to build a post-scarcity material economy - with the same implications we are so awkwardly working through in the postscarcity information economy. Drexler didn’t shy away from con-
Tween players impacting online game development
fronting the negative possibilities of uncontrolled nanotech development in his book, and he and other scientists, such as those at the Centre for Responsible Nanotechnology, attempt to raise public awareness of the coming developments, which will inevitably grow out of research into molecular biology and computing (specifically, artificial intelligence and computer-aided design). There are many terrifying possibilities for nanotechnology; military nanomachines could infiltrate human bodies and systematically tear them apart using the same principles medical nanomachines will use to repair them. An uncontrolled nanomachine designed to replicate itself could lead to the “grey goo” scenario that once panicked Prince Charles. Monopolistic practices on the part of the corporation or government that first produces a workable nanotechnology could hoard its benefits for one segment of the population, denying the rest of the world the massively increased prosperity it
offers. The solutions will have to complement one another if this, the biggest technological leap forward since the Industrial Revolution, is to benefit everyone. The most important is collaboration and diplomacy; the democracies that lead the world in scientific research need to collaborate in development and come to agreements that will share benefits and severely restrict weaponisation. Nanotech treaties will have far greater import for the survival of mankind, and of Earth as an ecosystem, than any nuclear treaty. Even “rogue” states need to be included in these efforts, simply because the new technology will be so desirable that if they are not included, they will push forward with their own, more dangerous and less controlled research. The other aspect of preparation is education. The electorate need to be adequately informed to understand the debate that will take place and to put pressure on their leaders to choose the
right paths. This means that formal science education in schools needs continued support from the ministers setting curriculums, and higher education and research needs support and funding so that we continue to have scientists and engineers capable of contributing to research and to public debate. We need a forum for discussing the implications and direction of technological change in a way that is open and comprehensible to the public, and whose conclusions and advice ministers take seriously and do not dismiss on ideological grounds. Drexler proposes that such a forum needs the credibility of due process present in a court of law, and the scientific reliability that stems from peer review. Most of all, we need politicians with the courage to resist the temptation to short-termism that comes with limited terms in office, who realise that the debates arising in the coming years will see them legislating the shape of the future. — Guardian
46% of ‘Free Realms’ players are under the age of 13 BURBANK: A booming market of tweens is changing the landscape of online games. This audience of boys and girls aged 8 to 11 has game publishers launching new games like Disney Online’s “World of Cars Online” and Sony Online Entertainment’s “Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures.” As these tweens grow older, they are also fueling the success of established online games like Blizzard Entertainment’s “World of Warcraf t” and Zynga’s “Farmville.” In 2007, when children’s marketing research firm KidSay asked boys what virtual worlds or online games they had visited in the past two weeks, 35 percent of boys aged 8 to 11 replied “none.” But a new M2 Research Report, “Kids and Games: What Boys and Girls Are Playing,” found 91 percent of boys and 93 percent of girls aged 8-11 are playing games online on a regular basis. “The number of families with broadband Internet access has increased substantially in the past several years and this has greatly helped make online gaming accessible to a younger audience,” said Wanda Meloni, founder of M2 Research. Over the past few years, video game publishers like Sony Online Entertainment, Electronic Arts and Disney Online have focused on creat-
ing new free-to-play gaming experiences like “Free Realms,” “Monopoly Online” and “Pirates of the Caribbean Online” to a growing audience of young, connected kids. It seems the strategy is paying off. Sony Online Entertainment has attracted over 12 million “Free Realms” players in North America and Europe in its first 16 months and plans on expanding the game to China. According to John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment, 46 percent of “Free Realms” players are under the age of 13 and 75 percent of them are under the age of 17. “We went out of our way to make sure kids were in a safe online environment, so that’s why we’re getting such a strong amount of kids registering,” said Smedley. “And we’re finding that many of our older players now play this game with their kids.” “World of Cars Online,” which just launched on Disney.com, is the latest freeto-play game from Disney Online Studios. The company has had success in this category with games like “Club Penguin” and “Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow.” M2 research has shown that children gravitate to games that have strong brands like Disney’s and are marketed on television.
Meloni said with the right marketing, these games will be on a fast track to success, as long as the gameplay remains engaging. “‘Cars’ fans will be able to experience the characters and story lines they love in an entirely new medium,” said John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. “The ‘World of Cars Online’ gives players the ability to create and customize their own car characters and worlds in a fun and imaginative way, just as we are working on expanding that same world with our upcoming feature ‘Cars 2.’” Michael Pachter, video game analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities, believes “World of Cars Online” will ultimately attract 3 to 5 million consumers and open the door for in-game micro-transactions for virtual items for gamers. Meloni said that while tweens tend to play ageappropriate games online such as Disney’s “Club Penguin” and SOE’s “Free Realms,” as they move into their teens (12-15) they start to move away from these games. “In par ticular, we are starting to see more references of ‘World of Warcraft’ and Xbox Live showing up on the ‘preferred games lists’ for boys, and Facebook games showing up for girls,” said Meloni. — Reuters
BERLIN: Visitors view a novelty TV with a soccer collar at the 50th edition of “IFA” in Berlin, yesterday. IFA, the world’s largest consumer electronics and home appliances fair opens to the public from September 3 to 8, 2010.
BERLIN: A visitor walks past a wall with vacuum cleaners. —AFP photos
BERLIN: Visitors try out Samsung’s “Galaxy Tab” tablet PC at the 50th edition of “IFA” in Berlin, yesterday.
YouTube to turn profit this year NEW YORK: This product image provided by mTrip Travel Guides shows the mTrip Travel Guide application. The new iPhone application, mTrip, is a travel guide and then some: It uses the latest in smartphone technology to make it easier to stay on track in a foreign locale. — AP
WASHINGTON: Googleowned videosharing website YouTube is expected to turn a profit this year on revenue of 450 million dollars, The New York Times reported yesterday. The newspaper, in an article about the rise of advertising on YouTube, said the site’s revenue has more than doubled each year for the last three years. Google does not release revenue figures for YouTube, which the Internet search giant bought for 1.65 billion dollars in 2006, but senior executives have suggested recently that it is near profitability. The Times quoted unidentified analysts as saying that this is the year the video site will turn the corner and make money. YouTube has been gradually adding professional content such as full-length television shows and movies to its vast trove of amateur video offerings in a bid to attract advertisers. Annual revenue of 450 million dollars would still only be a drop in the bucket compared to the money Google makes from search advertising. The Mountain View, California-based company reported a second-quarter net profit of 1.84 billion dollars in
July on revenue of 6.82 billion dollars. “YouTube is a big component of our display (advertising) revenue, and display is our next big business,” Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said in an interview with the
Times. Schmidt said he asked YouTube’s management team about a year and a half ago to start focusing on revenue. He said the strategy had been to amass “an audience first, then figure out the tools that will create the revenue.”
TOKYO: This product image released Thursday by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, shows Toshiba T series notebook (laptop) computers. Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. announced a voluntary recall of the Satellite T135, Satellite T135D and Satellite ProT130 Notebook Computers as they can overheat at the notebook’s plug-in to the AC adapter, posing a burn hazard to consumers. — AP
Britain’s Financial Times reported earlier this week that YouTube is in negotiations with Hollywood studios to launch a global pay-per-view video service by the end of 2010. It said viewers would
stream rather than download the movies and pay about five dollars for newer titles. They would be available at the same time as their release on DVD and on Apple’s iTunes store and Amazon.com, the newspaper said. -— AFP
Saturday, September 4, 2010
HEALTH & SCIENCE
‘Birth tourism’ a tiny portion of immigrant babies SAN JUAN: When Ruth Garcia’s twins are born in two months, they’ll have all the rights of US citizens. They and their six brothers and sisters will be able to vote, apply for federal student loans and even run for president. Garcia is an illegal immigrant who crossed into the country about 14 years ago, before her children were born, and the citizenship granted to her children and millions others like them is at the center of a divisive national debate. Republicans are pushing for congressional hearings to consider a change to the U.S. Constitution to
deny such children the automatic citizenship they are currently guaranteed. They say women like Garcia are taking advantage of a constitutional amendment meant to guarantee the rights of freed slaves, and paint a picture of pregnant women rushing across the border to give birth. A closer examination of the issue shows that the trend is not as dramatic as some immigration opponents have claimed. Most children of illegal immigrants are born to parents like Garcia who have made the United States their home for years. Out of 340,000 babies born to illegal immigrants in the United States in
2008, 85 percent of the parents had been in the country for more than a year, and more than half for at least five years, according to recent study from the Pew Hispanic Center. And immigration experts say it’s extraordinarily rare for immigrants to come to the U.S. just so they can have babies and get citizenship. In most cases, they come to the U.S. for economic reasons and better hospitals, and end up staying and raising families. Garcia’s husband has been deported and she earns a living selling tamales to other immigrants who live in fear of being deported from the
slapdash, impoverished colonias that dot the Texas-Mexico border. “I think that children aren’t at fault for having been born here,” Garcia said. “My children always have lived here. They’ve never gone to another country.” Under current immigration law, Garcia and others like her don’t get US citizenship even though their children are Americans. With an estimated 11.1 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, the issue strikes a chord with many voters — people like retired Air Force nurse and pediatric nurse practitioner Susan Struck, 66, of Double Adobe, Arizona.
“People come over ... and they have babies with U.S. birth certificates, then they go back over the border with that Social Security number, with that birth certificate,” and have access to public services, she said at a recent event near the border organized by conservative tea party activists. Several prominent Republican leaders share Struck’s beliefs on the issue. Among them is Senator Lindsey Graham, a vocal advocate for changing the Constitution who has helped the issue gain momentum heading into November congressional elections.
“Women have traveled from across the world for the purpose of adding a U.S. passport holder to their family, as far away as China, Turkey and as close as Mexico,” said Jon Feere, legal analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for strict immigration laws. Still, changing the Constitution is highly unlikely, legal scholars say. Measures have been introduced in each two-year congressional session since 2005, but none has made it out of committee. Constitutional changes require approval by two-thirds majorities in both chambers of Congress, an impossibility now because Democrats have
the majority in both houses and most oppose such a measure. Even if Republicans gain power in November and legislation is passed, an amendment would still need to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. To be sure, some pregnant Mexican women do come to the United States. In border cities like Nogales, women have been coming to the US for decades to give birth, although the primary reason is better medical care, Santa Cruz County sheriff Tony Estrada said. Billboards advertising birthing services in Arizona line streets across the border in Nogales, Mexico. —AP
Drug a more targeted way to block brain plaques
Cancer drug points way to new Alzheimer’s approach BEIJING: A migrant worker walks past a board calling for citizens to support the population census in Beijing, China. Cloth banners strung up in communities across China right now are calling for citizens to “actively support the population census.” It’s a reminder of the monumental task facing the government: counting every person in the most populous country in the world. —AP
Diabetes drug may keep lung cancer at bay CHICAGO: The common diabetes drug metformin may hold promise as a way to keep smokers from developing lung cancer, US researchers said on Wednesday. They said metformin prevented lung tumor growth in mice exposed to a cancer-causing agent found in tobacco smoke, and because it is already widely used in people, it may be worth further study. Metformin has been shown to switch on an enzyme that blocks mTOR-a protein that helps tobacco-induced lung tumors grow. A team led by Dr. Philip Dennis of the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, studied metformin in mice exposed to a potent, cancer-causing agent in tobacco called nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone or NNK. They treated the mice with metformin either orally or with an injection. Mice that got the drug orally had 40 to 50 percent fewer tumors, while those injected with the drug had 72 percent fewer tumors. The findings were so strong the team now wants to test it in smokers to see if it can keep then from developing tumors. “Although smoking cessation is the most
important step for current smokers, over half of lung cancer cases are diagnosed in former smokers, raising the importance of identifying those at highest risk and identifying effective preventive treatments,” Dennis, whose findings were published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, said in a statement. Other studies have shown that metformin can cut diabetics’ risk of pancreatic and breast cancers, and the latest finding now suggests it may defend the body against smoking-induced lung tumors. “This important laboratory study, together with prior laboratory and epidemiology research, suggests that metformin may be useful in cancer prevention and treatment,” said Dr. Michael Pollak of McGill University in Montreal, who wrote a review on metformin research in the same journal. The World Health Organization says tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death globally, killing more than 5 million people each year from heart disease, cancer and lung disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 20 percent of US adults smoke. Tobacco kills one-third to one-half of those who smoke. —Reuters
CHICAGO: An altered version of the cancer drug Gleevec could form the basis formed the treatment of one type of leukemia, to make it work safely in the of a new class of drugs that block the development of brain-damaging plaques brain. The key lies in an enzyme that triggers the production of beta amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease, US researchers said yesterday. They said they hoped plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s. Gleevec, now used to treat drugmakers could tinker with the formula for Gleevec, a pill that has trans- chronic myeloid leukemia, blocks this gamma-secretase activating protein. “Our findings reveal that gamma-secretase activating protein is a potential target for a new class of anti-amyloid therapies,” said Paul Greengard, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize for research into how neurons communicate, who worked on the study published in the journal Nature. In prior work, Greengard discovered that Novartis AG’sGleevec or imatinib blocks gammasecretase activating protein. The latest study, led by Gen He, a researcher in Greengard’s lab, shows that this protein dramatically increases the production of beta amyloid, and blocking the protein in genetically engineered mice kept Alzheimer’s brain plaques from developing. Greengard said Gleevec clears too quickly from the brain to prevent Alzheimer’s disease on its own, but he believes drug companies could find ways to make it active in the brain longer. “The development of com- WESENDAHL: Employees of the BB Obst GmbH fruit company package apples at the company’s plant in pounds that work like Wesendahl, eastern Germany, yesterday. Apple-harvesting season started in the eastern federal state of Gleevec, but have the ability to pass the blood-brain barrier Brandenburg. —AFP and target gamma-secretase activating protein could revo- that,” he said. organs and the immune sys- amyloid, but it makes many that affects 26 million people lutionize the treatment of this other substances that are vital globally, offers a tantalizing Greengard said the gamma- tem. disease,” Greengard said in a secretase activating protein is This new approach may for the survival of our cells,” market to drug companies, but statement. so far it has proven to be an more targeted than other sidestep some of the chal- Greengard said. He said Gleevec could be Alzheimer’s drugs in develop- lenges seen with Eli Lilly’s Alzheimer’s patients given elusive target. modified chemically so it ment that target gamma-sec- recently failed phase 3 trial of the Lilly drug in a clinical trial Current drugs only treat does not get pumped out retase. That is because it does its gamma-secretase blocker actually developed worse symptoms, but no drugs can right away. “I’m sure when not interfere with Notch, a semagacestat, a drug that inter- symptoms, and were more arrest the steady mental our paper is published, a vital cell signaling pathway fered with Notch signaling. prone to develop a form of skin decline that robs victims of the number of pharmaceutical that plays a pivotal role in the ability to think and care for “It’s known that gamma- cancer. companies will try to do just development of blood-forming secretase not only makes beta Alzheimer’s, a fatal disease themselves. —Reuters
HEALTH & SCIENCE
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Promising new one-dose malaria drug discovered WASHINGTON: Researchers have discovered a promising new malaria drug with the potential to treat resistant strains of the deadly disease in a single dose, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science. The drug could be ready for clinical trials as soon as later this year and appears to be more potent than currently used drugs, researchers said. “We’re very excited by the new compound,” said study author Elizabeth Winzeler, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute and member of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation.
“It has a lot of encouraging features as a drug candidate, including an attractive safety profile and potential treatment in a single oral dose.” Current treatment methods require patients to take drugs between one and four times daily for three to seven days. Reducing the treatment to a single dose leaves less opportunity for the parasites to develop a resistance to the drug, researchers said. There were approximately 247 million cases of malaria in 2008 which caused nearly one million deaths, mostly among young children in Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
Malaria is contracted when people are bitten by mosquitoes infected with a parasite called Plasmodium. It causes fever and vomiting and can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. The parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medications in many parts of the world and it has been more than a decade since a new class of malaria drugs began to be widely used. “Malaria remains a scourge,” said Mark Fishman, president, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. “The parasite has demonstrated a frustrating ability to outwit new medicines, from
quinine to today’s unsettling increased tolerance to artemisinin derivatives,” he said in a statement. “We are delighted that our scientists could provide this potential new malaria therapy, based on an unprecedented chemical structure and directed to a novel target.” The drug was tested on mice infected with a strain of malaria that typically kills them within a week. A single large dose of the drug cured all of the five infected mice which received it. Half of the six mice which received a smaller dose were cured and the cure rate rose to 90 percent when mice were given three doses of the smaller amount.
There has been little economic incentive for developing new malaria drugs because the disease primarily strikes in the world’s most impoverished nations. The compound, dubbed NITD609, was developed through a partnership involving the pharmaceutical giant Novartis, several non-profit organizations, US and Singapore government agencies and researchers at universities in the United States, Switzerland, Thailand, and Great Britain. The drug was discovered by screening the Novartis library of 12,000 natural products and synthetic compounds to find compounds active against the most deadly malaria parasite.
The first screen turned up 275 compounds and the list was narrowed to 17 potential candidates. “From the beginning, NITD609 stood out because it looked different, in terms of its structure and chemistry, from all other currently used antimalarials,” Winzeler said in a statement. “The ideal new malaria drug would not just be a modification of existing drugs, but would have entirely novel features and mechanism of action. NITD609 does.” Further animal studies are underway and researchers are in the process of getting approval for early-stage human trials. — AFP
An outgunned FDA tries to get tough with drug ads
FDA warns drugmakers over marketing surge SILVER SPRING: It w asn’t w hat you w ould call a casual get-together. In February 2009, a popular New York blogger attended a brunch w ith fellow “frazzled moms.” They took in tips from a style expert and listened to a nurse extol the virtues of Mirena, a birth control device sold by Bayer Healthcare.
TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan (R) listens to Michel Kazatchkine (L), executive director of the Global Fund as he visits the HIV photo exhibition “Access to Life” in Tokyo yesterday. Kan delivered a speech at the symposium of the “Born HIV free” campaign, which, promoted by the Global Fund which fights AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria, is attempting to cease the transmission of HIV from mother to child. — AFP
Fertility study on mice eggs raises hope for older mothers LONDON: Scientists have made a breakthrough in understanding why older women become less fertile, suffer a miscarriage or have a baby with Down’s syndrome. The discovery could ultimately lead to treatments that would increase the chances of a successful pregnancy for growing numbers of would-be mothers in their late 30s and early 40s. Researchers led by Dr Mary Herbert, an expert in reproductive biology at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health, have identified why some older women produce abnormal eggs, according to findings published in the journal Current Biology. It has been known for a long time that would-be mothers who are nearing the end of their fertility are at higher risk than usual of having eggs that are affected by chromosomal abnormalities, but the underlying cause has been unclear. The new study has identified problems arising from a woman’s declining stock of proteins called Cohesins, which act as binding agents to hold chromosomes together by keeping them inside a ring. They are vital to ensure that chromosomes split evenly when cells divide. Women’s supplies of Cohesins fall as they age, Herbert and her colleagues discovered. Tests on eggs taken from both young and old mice indicated that the amount of Cohesins in women’s bodies declines after their mid-30s. When that happens it means that chromosomes are less tightly held together and they
are therefore more likely to result in defective eggs, which can cause problems such as miscarriage and Down’s syndrome. Every cell in the human body, apart from eggs and sperm, contains two copies of each of the body’s 23 chromosomes. Sperm and eggs must lose one copy each as they prepare for fertilisation. That process involves a complicated form of cell division. This problem is compounded with eggs, because the attachments that hold chromosomes together have to be maintained by Cohesins until the egg divides just before ovulation.
When Herbert’s team studied chromosomes during division in the egg, they found that the lower levels of Cohesin in eggs in older females led to some chromosomes becoming trapped and unable to divide properly. “Reproductive fitness in women declines dramatically from the mid-30s onwards. Our findings point to Cohesin being a major culprit in this”, said Herbert. More work was needed to understand why Cohesin declines over women’s reproductive years, and such knowledge could lead to ways being developed to stop that loss from
occurring. Dr Peter Bowen-Simpkins, the medical director of the London Women’s Clinic network of private fertility clinics and spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said the study was “very exciting” and could lead to real improvements in older women’s chances of having children. “This breakthrough could mean the difference between success and failure - them having a baby or not - for the fast-growing number of women who are trying to conceive after their late 30s,” he added. — Guardian
Test on mice eggs indicate that Cohesins, proteins which act as binding agents to hold chromosomes together, decline with age. — AP
The nurse was on Bayer’s payroll. In a series of events organized with the help of a women’s website, Mom Central, the pharmaceutical company gathered a captive audience of young mothers. It provided the nurse with a script and had the women fill out a survey before they left. The sessions earned a stern rebuke from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In a letter to Bayer Healthcare made public earlier this year, the agency faulted the drugmaker for telling “busy moms” that using its intrauterine device (IUD) “will result in increased levels of intimacy, romance and, by implication, emotional satisfaction.” Besides hyping the product, the nurse failed to disclose potential risks. “Here you have a company hiring a third-party to invite people into a home like a Tupperware party,” said Thomas Abrams, whose department oversees pharmaceutical marketing reviews at the FDA. “That was extremely, extremely concerning to us because this product has risks-risk of infection, loss of fertility. Huge risk.” Under the Obama administration, the FDA has vowed to crack down on increasingly aggressive marketing tacticsboth online and off. But even Abrams acknowledges the agency lacks the resources to sharply curtail misleading drug ads. Downturn or no, the pharmaceutical industry hasn’t been skimping on advertising. In 2009, companies spent a vast $4.8 billion to reach out to consumers in the United States-the only country besides New Zealand that allows direct-toconsumer advertising-up from nearly $4.7 billion the year before, according to tracking firm Kantar Media. To drug companies, it is all part of patient education. But consumer advocates, some lawmakers and others see the barrage of ads as a way to push medicines that people may not need as well as raise the nation’s overall healthcare costs. As media splinters into a sea of Internet blogs, on-demand television and niche publications, companies are racing to keep pace. Websites and digital technology offer powerful tools that make it easier, cheaper and quicker to target specific groups. And drugmakers are relying more on celebrities and other methods to make their products stand out. For example, last year the FDA warned Abbott Laboratories over a promotional DVD featuring former basketball star and HIV patient Earvin “Magic” Johnson that the agency said suggested the company’s HIV drug Kaletra was safer and more effective than proven. Agency staff have also slapped Allergan Inc for its website promoting its eyelashboosting drug Latisse, saying various webpages did not tell potential consumers about possible risks, such as extraneous hair growth if the product touches the skin elsewhere, and downplayed possible allergic reactions. Earlier this year, Novartis earned a warning for two websites it sponsoredwww.gistalliance.com and www.cmlalliance.com-to promote its leukemia drug Gleevac. —Reuters
Psychedelic drugs such as ketamine and MDMA (ecstasy) have been used to treat mental illness. — Guardian
Psychedelic drugs return as treatments for mental illness LSD therapy were promising LONDON: Long before hippie poster boy Timothy Leary invited the world to “Turn on, tune in and drop out”, a group of pioneering psychiatrists working in Canada began to treat alcoholics with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and reported unprecedented recovery rates. Far from being at the fringes of medical research, their work was fully supported and funded by the Canadian government, and became a promising new area of research that played a role in modernising the field of psychiatry. But despite the encouraging results, studies of LSD therapy ended abruptly in the late 1960s, and did not resume again until some 40 years later. At the cutting edge of early psychedelic research was one Humphry Osmond (1917-2004), a British psychiatrist at the Weyburn Mental Hospital in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It was Osmond who gave the novelist Aldous Huxley his first dose of mescaline in 1953, and coined the term “psychedelic” in 1957. Between the years of 1954 and 1960, Osmond and his colleague Abram Hoffer treated some 2,000 chronic alcoholics with LSD. None of these patients had responded to other treatments, and yet, Osmond and Hoffer reported that up to 45% of those treated with a single large dose of the drug abstained from drinking for at least a year afterwards. Other researchers in Canada, Britain, the United States and elsewhere began experimenting with LSD therapy, and by the time the drug hit the streets in the early 1960s, there were more than a thousand published research papers that described promising results in over 40,000 patients. These studies took place alongside trials of newly developed compounds such as the antipsychotic chlorpromazine and the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine. This body of work effectively established the new field of psychopharmacology, which led psychiatrists to abandon the psychoanalytical
approach they had been using since the turn of the century, and begin to consider alcoholism and mental illnesses in terms of disrupted brain chemistry. Although the results of many of the early studies into LSD therapy were promising, investigations of the potential therapeutic benefits of the psychedelic drugs stopped towards the end of the decade, for two main reasons. First, some began to question the methods used in the studies, arguing that they lacked scientific rigour, and few, if any, other researchers managed to replicate the high recovery rates reported by Osmond and Hoffer. Many therefore viewed the early studies as providing nothing more than anecdotal evidence for the therapeutic benefits of LSD. Second, and more importantly, the cultural and political climate became less conducive to psychedelic research. LSD became a popular recreational drug towards the end of the 1960s, and came to be associated with the hippie counterculture, anti-authoritarianism and social disobedience. As a result, research funding quickly dried up, and the drug was eventually criminalised by the US and other governments in 1970. The past decade has seen renewed interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of LSD and other psychedelic drugs, and the availability of sophisticated techniques such as functional neuroimaging is beginning to provide fresh insights into how they affect the brain. The new research confirms that the psychedelic drugs do indeed have therapeutic value for a number of psychiatric conditions, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia. It also points to various brain mechanisms which may underly their beneficial effects. We now know that the socalled classical hallucinogens (LSD, psilocybin and mescaline) activate 5-HT2A receptors - which normally bind the neurotransmitter serotonin - in the deep layers of the prefrontal cortex. This in turn alters nerve
cell signalling mediated by the transmitters glutamate and dopamine, and may also lead to changes in the strength of connections between neurons in the cortex and other parts of the brain. Serotonin and dopamine convey messages in the brain circuits involved in mood, and psychedelic drugs apparently alleviate the clinical symptoms of mood disorders by modulating the activity of the cells in these circuits and by modifying their connections. The very latest research shows that ketamine, an anaesthetic with hallucinogenic properties, can reduce the symptoms of depression quickly and effectively, and that MDMA (popularly known as ecstasy) can be beneficial to sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder when used in combination with behavioural therapy. By contrast, new research into the effects of the classical hallucinogens has progressed at a much slower pace, probably because these drugs are categorised as Class A in the UK (Schedule I in the US), and researchers who wish to obtain them therefore face numerous regulatory barriers. Nevertheless, it now seems quite clear that psychedelic drugs have enormous potential for treating a wide variety of psychiatric conditions. Much still remains to be discovered about exactly how they affect the brain, however. For example, optimising their clinical benefits will require a better understanding of how their molecular structures are related to their activity, and of how each drug can be combined with psychotherapeutic approaches to achieve the best results. Furthermore, because most psychedelics can mimic the symptoms of naturally occurring psychoses - they can, for example, induce hallucinations and disorganised thought processes - future research may reveal some of the brain mechanisms underlying schizophrenia and related conditions. — Guardian
Sugar for newborns does not relieve pain PARIS: Contrary to international guidelines, sugar given to newborn babies does not ease pain, according to a study published on Thursday by The Lancet. In 2001, doctors published recommendations, based on a series of trials, that oral sucrose be administered to newborns to help relieve pain from invasive procedures. But a new look suggests that sucrose does not reduce pain signals in the brain or spinal cord, but merely changes the babies’ facial expression, which gives a false impression that pain is being relieved. Rebeccah Slater of University College London and colleagues pricked the heels of 59 newborns with a small
blade-a procedure that was required anyway to draw a blood sample-and monitored pain activity in the brain and spine using electrode caps. The infants were assigned either sterile water or a sucrose solution, placed on the tongue by a tiny syringe. Pain activity did not differ significantly between the two groups. “The absence of evidence for an analgesic action of sucrose in this study, together with uncertainty over the long-term benefits of repeated sucrose administration, suggest that sucrose should not be used routinely for procedural pain in infants without further investigation,” Slater’s team said. — AFP
Saturday, September 4, 2010
a month from Mel
indsay Lohan’s father claims God has told him to open a rehab clinic. Michael Lohan - who has previously insisted his daughter has an addiction to prescription medications - says he has been inspired to open a facility to help people struggling with substance abuse after witnessing the troubled actress’ problems and also his own battle with drug and alcohol dependency. Michael - who is estranged from his four children with ex-wife Dina - said: “After seeing what my daughter, myself and other people I know have been through, it has led me to realise this is my calling and purpose in life. “All I want to do is open this place and see my family, Dina and my children are in a good place. When that day comes, I am done, I am finished. “All of the things that have happened to me in my life have led to this. I know this is what God wants me to do first and foremost. The 50-year-old patriarch does not plan to employ doctors or use conventional medical treatments and wants to adopt a more “spiritual” approach to recovery. He explained to Us Weekly magazine: “That will be done at an associated hospital. We are rehab that focuses on mind, body and soul. It is a spiritual retreat. “The basis of the rehab will be that there is a God; that good conquers evil; that the best way to live is to treat others like you want to be treated; and treat your body like a temple.” Michael - who recently moved from New York to Los Angeles to set up the clinic and repair his strained relationship with his daughter - has not yet chosen a location for the centre, but has already started hiring staff, including physical therapists and a kickboxing and yoga specialist. He said: “We’ve got the team in place, and the financing is all there.” Michael also promised to open the centre to anyone who needs help. He said: “I’m not going to close my doors on anyone. We may offer a scholarship to those in need. You don’t have to be Lindsay Lohan or Nicole Richie or Robert Downey Jr. or a celebrity to get rehab.”
though he will not finalise the amount until seeing further information on the terms of her contract. The investors initially wanted $8.3 million. In his original ruling in August 2009, the judge stated that although Paris was not at fault for the flop as the movie was “hardly destined for critical acclaim”, she could have to return a portion of the $1 million fee she was paid for starring in the film. It had been reported that Paris who played a college sorority president in the film - became disillusioned and distanced herself from the movie when extra scenes of nudity were added. This is the latest legal problem for Paris, who is facing up to four years in prison after she was charged with possession of a controlled substance following her arrest in Las Vegas last Friday.
aris Hilton may owe $160,000 after her film flopped. The socialite who was sued by producers for failing to adequately promote 2006 comedy ‘National Lampoon’s Pledge This!’ was told she was not at fault for the movie’s commercial failure, but has now been warned she may have to pay damages to the project’s investors. US District Judge Federico Moreno ruled in Miami, Florida on Thursday (02.09.10) that the 29-yearold star breached her contract when she refused interviews with publications in Russia and the United Kingdom. The judge said that the heiress could be liable for a payout to producers Worldwide Entertainment Group Inc. after valuing the lost promotional opportunities at around $160,000,
ksana Grigorieva is reportedly demanding $40,000 a month from Mel Gibson in child support. The Russian singer - who has accused her exlover of domestic abuse - is said to have asked a judge to increase the monthly payment from $5,000 to $40,000 to help look after their 10-month-old Lucia. As well as paying for Lucia, Mel also pays for the luxury Los Angeles home where Oksana lives with her daughter and her 13-year-old son Alexander and sources close to the actor are furious she is demanding more. One told gossip website
TMZ: “Lifestyle is not an issue for a baby. Think she knows the difference between a Ford and a Bentley?” It is also reported Oksana receives $2,500-a-month in child support from Alexander’s father, former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton. It is thought Judge Scott Gordon is yet to rule on Oksana’s petition. Last month, it was claimed Mel wanted to pay just $6,000 a month in child support. Lawyers for the ‘Braveheart’ actor were said to have told a judge overseeing his bitter custody battle with Oksana that the 54-year-old star spends a staggering $7.2 million a year on
himself but he does not want to increase payments for his daughter. According to reports, Mel’s lawyers insist some of Oksana’s requests - such as he pays for bodyguards - are unnecessary as Lucia is still just a baby. In contrast, they argue the money he spends on himself is necessary for his living expenses and doesn’t include luxuries such as his private jet. Mel and Oksana have been locked in a bitter dispute since separating in April. Since their split, audio tapes have been leaked which apparently feature Mel verbally abusing and threatening Oksana.
he Spice Girls musical will be about a reality TV show. The forthcoming project titled ‘Viva Forever’ - will use the girl group’s music, but “won’t be a tribute or bio show” of the ‘Wannabe’ hitmakers, instead analysing the fickleness of modern fame in the era of instant celebrity - which the Spice Girls predate.
ulia Roberts gets over her problems quickly. The 42year-old actress - who has twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, five, and three-year-old Henry with second husband Danny Moder - admits she couldn’t relate to author Elizabeth Gilbert’s decision to take a year-long sabbatical to travel the world in order to find herself after her divorce. Julia who portrays the writer in new movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ - said: “I think we all go through phases of hardship. Hers is much bigger and broader - it’s really more of a crisis in her life. We all go through some variation of that, whether we interpret it as a bad weekend or a bad moment in life. “I come from the ‘Pick yourself up, dust yourself off’ attitude, but I had empathy for what she was going through and how she decided to go about solving it.” Despite raising three young children, the US actress insisted she didn’t find it difficult moving her family around the world to be with her while she filmed scenes in Italy, India and Bali, admitting that the director had a harder job. She added to Empire magazine: “I can organise three kids. The director Ryan Murphy and his team had to organise an entire production and a lot of gear and lights. It’s a lot easier doing what I did.”
aty Perry likes to steal from hotels. The ‘California Gurls’ hitmaker - who is engaged to British comedian Russell Brand - has admitted can’t resist taking pillows from the places she stays all over the world, and once went on a stealing spree in Japan. She explained: “I do steal pillows from every single place I stay. It’s like ‘Princess and the Pea’ and I’m just laying on a bunch of pillows in a big room. “When I was 17, I went to a really fancy hotel in Japan and stole everything. I was saying to the chambermaid, ‘More lotions please, more fancy chocolates please.”
The brunette beauty has been travelling across the globe to promote her second studio album ‘Teenage Dream’ and revealed life on the road makes her feel as if she’s “growing another head”. She added to BBC Radio One: “In the past four weeks alone I’ve been to Los Angeles, Malaysia, Singapore, London, Paris ... I’m thankful to even be alive today. I feel like I’m growing another head somewhere - my body is definitely reacting to all the travelling. I’ve been zig-zagging all over the world. “My family are always asking me for my air miles, at least I never run out!”
Producer Judy Craymer said: “We live in a world dominated by people wanting to be famous. What the Spice Girls did was before those shows became really what they are, and before the world become slightly obsessed by such shows. “‘Viva Forever’ will encompass the Spice Girls ethos of friendship, identity and being true to yourself,
it won’t be a tribute or bio show, nor will it feature characters with any of the names of the famous five piece.” The show will be written and produced by Judy - who was behind the stage adaptation of musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ - with comedian Jennifer Saunders. Although it analyses fame, Judy said it would, however, still include
more light hearted elements. She added: “It has a glimpse of the underbelly of TV talent shows, an invented show, and a little bit of comedy romance.” The Spice Girls - Mel B, Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Mel C and Geri Halliwell all met late last year to discuss the musical and Mel B, 34, has revealed how pleased they are to
eese W itherspoon’s boyfriend has reportedly been shopping for an engagement ring. Jim Toth - who has been dating the ‘Walk The Line’ actress for almost eight months - has allegedly been spotted in several Hollywood stores looking for the perfect ring to propose to the beauty with. A source said: “Reese wasn’t with him, because he wants it to be a surprise. But he knows her style. The ring will be classic and beautiful, just like Reese herself.” The pal went on to add that Reese - who has two children, Ava, 10, and sixyear-old Deacon with former husband Ryan Phillippe - is more serious about Jim than she was about ‘Brokeback Mountain’ star Jake Gyllenhaal, who she dated for two years prior to embarking on a romance with the Hollywood agent. The insider added to America’s InTouch weekly magazine: “She never considered marrying Jake. She loved him, but wasn’t passionate about him. Jim is her ulti-
mate guy.” However, a friend of 34-year-old Reese - who married Ryan in 1999, divorcing seven years later - recently advised she is not ready to fully commit to the relationship until she is sure things
be working with Judy on the project. She said: “All five of us are really super excited. We don’t do anything unless all five agree. “All of us loved ‘Mamma Mia!’. We needed someone who would have a great vision alongside ours.” The musical will reportedly feature 14 of the group’s songs and is expected to open in 2012.
will last. They said: “Reese got married too young the first time, and she never wants to go through another divorce again. She wants to take things very slowly.” —Bang Showbiz
Saturday, September 4, 2010
War photographer Pellegrin takes a shot at fashion ward winning photographer Paolo Pellegrin has documented many of the world’s danger zones from Lebanon to Kosovo and Rwanda to Haiti. In 1995, his stunning reportage on AIDS in Uganda received the World Press and the Kodak Young Photographer Awards. The Italian-born snapper has published six books, of which “As I Was Dying”-brought together his moving images of human suffering in war zones and in natural disasters. Now, the 46 year-old Pellegrin, who joined Magnum in 2005, has curated and shot this year’s edition of the photo agency’s fashion magazine called “Storm”. The end result is a raw and ghostly vision of the future of our planet through a collection of eery landscapes from New York to Iceland and Siberia and unconventional fashion shoots. “I took the whole experience as a challenge to see if I could create something worthwhile in another field. Obviously it contains some fashion, but I also wanted to make a more general statement on the environment and the state of the planet,” Pellegrin told Reuters by phone. With a print run of 8,000, the magazine is now available worldwide in selected libraries and museums. It also features contributions from fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney, architect Norman Foster or designer Bruce Mau. In the interview, Pellegrin discussed what it was like to work in the context of fashion and why he became a photographer.
Q: W ha t w a s your view of the fashion w orld before “Storm”? A: It’s a world I do not frequent or know well. But I did not want to dismiss it as superficial. There is a lot of talent and creativity in fashion. I came with respect and wanting to discover a world I knew not so much about. Q: How did you choose the title of this year’s magazine? A : The original title was “Transition”. It seems we are very much in a transition on many levels, the financial crisis, the environmental thing. The model is at the end of its cycle and hopefully another one will come. Then, there was the volcano in Iceland. I was interested in this butterfly effect, a very minor eruption in a relatively minor volcano in a far-away island that disrupts life and air travel for over 10 days. I took some pictures of Iceland and as a result of those images, we changed the title. So, in a way Iceland brought the storm. Q: How did it feel to be a fashion photographer? A: In my usual work as a photographer I always work alone and confront the world. The fashion shoots were a complete revolution because I was working with a team. I had a creative director, a stylist, a makeup artist, a model. So I felt more like a director than a photographer. Also, normally I face the unknown and here I was working in a controlled environment. I chose the location, the space.
The Chooky Dancers, from a remote Northern Territory island north-east of Australia’s Arnhem Land, rehearse their production “Wrong Skin” at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday. Wrong Skin, running from September 2-12, tells the story of lovestruck teenagers who break traditional marriage laws and is set around an outdoor Saturday night disco on Elcho Island. —AFP
Artist draws inspiration from Bosniaʼs turmoil thnic tension and the haunting memory of war vex Bosnia 15 years after Europe’s worst fighting since World War Two, but artist Mladen Miljanovic draws inspiration from such turmoil. Working in a wide variety of media from painting to video, sculpture and performance art, the 29-year-old Bosnian artist (www.mladenmiljanovic.com) is attracting growing international attention with his take on the absurdities of war and Bosnia’s divide along ethnic lines. “Culture in Bosnia generally needs to play a bigger role to connect those two opposite, separate, divided sides,” he said in Banja Luka, the capital of the Bosnian Serb half of the country where he lives. “Subversive art, eclectic art, is affected by the crucial problems, so if there are more problems, you will see that there
are more, and better, eclectic and subversive art.” In one 2006-2007 project, Miljanovic, who served in the postwar Bosnian Serb army in 2000-2001, confined himself to a former military base for 274 days-even skipping his grandmother’s funeral to his family’s chagrin-to produce anti-military art. One series of images shows the outline of human forms used for target practice, with bullet holes only outside targets. In another, he turned 30 army helmets upside down, filled them with dirt and started growing plants. “It was one work showing how I can start to deal with my past, how I can transform my past,” Miljanovic said. In 2005 he invited Bosnian Croats, Serbs and Muslim amateur artists who had lost limbs in the 1992-95 Bosnian war to spend several days together producing art-but failed to mention their former foes
would also be present. “Everyone who wanted to give funding was very concerned that there would be an incident,” said the artist, adding it turned out to be a success with some participants becoming friends. “It was important to the society as an example how the people who lost body parts can be together, can be creative and be good for society.” Suspicion among Bosnia’s ethnic groups remains strong, and is accented in the current political campaign ahead of Oct. 3 elections where many are expected to vote along ethnic lines. Miljanovic, who has a mischievous sense of humour, often involves an element of performance art in his work. After winning an award to mount a major solo show at Vienna’s MUMOK Museum of Modern Art that ends on September 12, he presented art based on the Serbian
resources/videoarchive/mladen-miljanovic/?L=1). “Artists need to find new strategies to involve people,” he said. “Most of them asked me: is it really free?” For an exhibition in Sarajevo later this month, he plans to hang off a balcony on a busy street for an hour to highlight the precarious position of the artist in Bosnia and, more broadly, the endangered state of Bosnia itself. Inside, the display will have washing machines in which he will clean clothes of fellow artists; the washed garments will become part of the display. “In the beginning they thought that I am weird, that I am crazy: who is smart that will isolate themselves for nine months for the sake of art?” Miljanovic said. “But after that crazy guy won some awards, they thought, okay, maybe that crazy guy is not so crazy.” —Reuters
Jay Leno ratings dip below Conan O’Brien’s BC might have summer’s most-watched show in “America’s Got Talent,” but the network’s late-night ratings aren’t so hot. “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” is pulling a smaller number among adults aged 18 to 49, an elusive demographoc coveted by advertiser, than when Conan O’Brien hosted the show last year. In fact, this summer is the lowest-rated “Tonight Show” on record, though such feats have become increasingly common on broadcast across the board. Since the end of the broadcast season in May, Leno is averaging 3.8 million viewers and a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating (each ratings point in that demo equals about 1.3 million viewers). That’s a 12% improvement in total audience compared with O’Brien, though off 23% in the demo and down in both measurements compared with Leno’s performance two years ago. His percentages greatly improve if comparisons begin a few weeks deeper into the summer so “Tonight” is not facing O’Brien’s opening weeks hosting the show, though O’Brien is tops in the demo either way. Even with the reduced rating, Leno is back to beating his top rival, CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman,” by a
Q: What story are you telling in the magazine? A: The story of the model is one of transformation. So she starts at the beginning of the magazine as nearly naked which works in parallel with the semi-deserted landscapes. Throughout the book, she is transformed as the landscape changes and becomes more man-made and at the end she is that woman with an armour. Also, I treated these fashion shoots more like a portrait session. I tried to introduce a psychological layer. Q: How did you find the experience and w ill you w ork in fashion again ? A: Very positive. I took the whole experience as a challenge to approach a field that was not mine. But I am actually very eager to go back to my usual work. This was a parenthesis. I am happy I did it. I think the result is quite interesting, it has some quality but it’s not the reason why I chose to be a photographer. Q: So w ha t drives you in your w ork as a photographer? A: There is a humanistic/political aspect that I find morally important. I feel it’s important to investigate stories, to create visual documents, to record history. I always quote the example of the concentration camps. If some revisionist historian comes along and says they did not exist, we have Margaret Bourke-White and all these other photographers who showed it was there. That’s why today it’s important to go to Gaza, to Darfur or Guantanamo to investigate. These are the things that drive what I do. Q: What is your next assignment ? A: I am going to Gaza in a couple of weeks for a couple of months. —Reuters
Zastava car. “Although he is quite young, Mladen takes his chances and he will make his way, because he is working very professionally, meeting any Western artistic standards at a high level,” said Tina Lipsky, the show’s curator at MUMOK. “It is harder for artists from the Balkans coming up with original, high-level international art pieces from classical modernism up to now because their museums did not have enough money for buying those works, art institutions do not have enough money for loaning them and maybe some of the directors are still not open-minded enough for cooperation.” Some of Miljanovic’s ideas are a bit zany. For the MUMOK show, he gave out his cell phone number and offered to drive museum-goers to the exhibit free of charge for the first week in his own Zastava (http://www.mumok.at/online-
healthy 22% in both metrics. CBS counters that Letterman’s ratings are at least holding steady compared with last summer, when Letterman hit an all-time low of his own. Other late-night hosts have been showing stability too, with NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” CBS’ “The L ate L ate Show With Craig Ferguson” and ABC ’s “Jimmy
Kimmel Live!” maintaining their demo averages, and Fallon and Kimmel even sporting gains in total viewers. Heading into the fall, NBC’s affiliates say that, if anything, they’re pleased about the schedule in general and late-night in particular. Last year, stations contended with the expected ratings decline of putting Leno at 10 p.m. and the uncertainty of O’Brien hosting “Tonight.” Station managers are looking forward to having scripted dramas back in late primetime, which in turn should fuel audience momentum into late-night. There’s an expectation that it’s nearly impossible not to have a better story to tell advertisers in the fall, especially with NBC stocking up on dramas like high-concept series “The Event” and shows from top-shelf producers Dick Wolf (“Law & Order: Los Angeles”), Jerry Bruckheimer (“Chase”) and J.J. Abrams (“Undercovers”). “There’s been a lot of NBC stations that have suffered significant declines in late prime, and that’s not going to happen with this lineup based on the estimates buyers are getting,” said Eric Lassberg, president and GM of NBC affiliate KXANTV Austin. “All evidence points to our ratings going up (at 10 pm).” — AP
Brooks & Dunn end 20-year career at Nashville show he first song Brooks & Dunn ever sang together has become their last. The country music duo closed out a 20-year career at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night with their 1991 debut single, “Brand New Man,” during the encore. The sold-out show was the final stop on their Last Rodeo Tour and doubled as a fundraiser for the Country
Kashmiri Muslims gathered to pray on Jumat-ul-vida, the fourth and last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, listen to a speech by Jamia Masjid head imam and top separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Srinagar yesterday.
Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Kix Brooks said early in the night, “This isn’t a funeral. We did show up to party.” They ran through many of their 23 No. 1 hits, including “Neon Moon,” “My Maria,” “Red Dirt Road” and “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.” Reba McEntire made the only guest appearance, singing a few lines during “Cowgirls Don’t Cry.” Both Brooks
and Ronnie Dunn joked about the reasons for their split. Brooks blamed it on his crazy concert ideas, like picking old songs and hoping the crowd would help if he forgot the words. Dunn said he was jealous of the cowboy hats Brooks got to wear all these years. Dunn explained that it was the reason he got a tattoo of the word “Cowboy” on his right forearm. —AP
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Coppola takes insider’s look at Hollywood A-lister ofia Coppola’s latest movie is a Hollywood insider’s look at the life of an A-list actor- five star hotels and Ferraris, adoration and sexual advances, but also loneliness, tiresome media attention and boredom. “Somewhere” is part comedy and part examination of a man’s personal crisis, as Johnny Marco, played by Stephen Dorff, is finally forced to face the question of where a life so enviable on the surface is ultimately heading. The daughter of director Francis Ford Coppola and an Oscar winner for her screenplay of “Lost in Translation” was in a rain-drenched Venice yesterday for the new film’s world premiere. Like Lost in Translation before it, much of the action is set in a hotel-this time the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, a well known hangout for Hollywood glitterati, where Marco takes up residence following the breakdown of his marriage. “We spent a lot of time going out, living in hotels when we were on location with my dad, so I always find when you are living in a hotel it’s like a world in itself,” the 39-year-old said after
bemused as journalists ask inane questions at press conferences. The catalyst for change is the unexpected arrival of his 11year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning), who is left with him for several weeks while her mother goes away. “I think the movie’s about him becoming a man,” Dorff said of his character. Asked whether he drew on his own experiences as an actor in the portrayal, he replied: “The one thing that I found very interesting ... there is an isolation that happens to an actor when a film is finished. “On this film, for example ... it made me really sad when the movie ended. Film actors, we work together for three months and then the movie ends and for me I don’t go to an office every day so I’m kind of left with not knowing what I’m going to do until the next movie arrives.” Coppola underlines Marco’s ennui with long takes, often without dialogue, including one where Dorff sits and smokes an entire cigarette and another where he drives his Ferrari around the same track time after time. Somewhere has its US theatrical release in late December. — Reuters
the film was warmly applauded at a press screening. “I like hotels for settings, they are an impermanent place. A lot of the characters I am interested in are in a moment of transition and it seems fitting that they would be
(From L) US actor Stephen Dorff, director Sofia Coppola and actress Elle Fanning pose during the photocall of “Somewhere” at the 67th Venice Film Festival yesterday at Venice Lido. —AFP
in an impermanent setting.” Coppola added that she wanted “to tell the story from a guy’s point of view, something about the emotional life of men who are different for me.” Numbed with pills and alcohol, Marco drifts from one party and partner to another, hires scantily-clad pole dancers to perform in his room and looks on
Venice festival honors Chinese director John Woo he Venice film festival yesterday honored Hong Kong director John Woo, one of the few Asian filmmakers to enjoy box office success in Hollywood as well as at home. The 64-year-old was awarded a lifetime achievement Golden Lion at the world’s oldest film festival on the same day it showcased his latest film “Reign of Assassins”, which he co-directed with Su Chao-Pin and also produced. Woo, best known for his choreographed action sequences, was active in Hong Kong during the 1970s and 1980s, and in 1989 he released “The Killer”, which drew the attention of US filmmakers and helped him make the jump to Hollywood. He moved there in 1993, and directed Jean-Claude Van Damme in “Hard Target” the same year. Three years later he made “Broken Arrow” starring John Travolta, and teamed up with the actor again in 1997 in “Face/Off”, a financial and critical hit.
New Bollywood film-makers shift focus to rural India he grit and grime of rural India, its people and problems are all finding their way into the glamorous world of mainstream Bollywood films. Made on smaller budgets than an average Bollywood film and shorn of big stars, some movies are exploring themes such as farmer suicides and sexual attitudes in rural India, something rare in an industry dominated by soppy romances or family dramas. “Peepli (Live)”, a satirical look at the growing problem of farmer suicides in
In 2000, Woo directed Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible II”, which was the world’s biggest earner that year, but his next two US projects failed to match that success. He has since returned to China to direct. “Since I’d been working in Hollywood for over 16 years and learned a lot ... I think it is about time to bring what I have learned in Hollywood into Asia,” Woo told reporters in Venice. “On the other hand, I find we have so many good stories from our culture. “I work in quite a few foreign countries and I find people in general don’t know much about our culture and history. Some people are only familiar with our kung fu films. “That’s why I made a decision to make a movie like ‘Red Cliff’ and produce a movie like of Reign of Assassins,” he added. “It doesn’t mean I’ve given up Hollywood. I still have several projects in Hollywood and I would love to work both in China and the United States.” Red Cliff is a two-part period epic that is billed as the most expensive ever Asianfinanced movie. It also broke box office records in the region. Asked how he felt about being officially recognised by the Venice festival, Woo replied: “When (festival director) Marco Mueller mentioned he was giving me this lifetime achievement award, my first reaction was of shock. The second reaction was I thought he was kidding.” Reign of Assassins, set in ancient China, stars Michelle Yeoh as a skilled assassin who is on a mission to return the remains of a mystical Buddhist monk, believed to hold special powers, to their resting place. Along the way, she falls in love with a man named Jiang, whose father was killed by her gang. Unaware that he also is a trained martial artist, love blossoms but tensions arise as the truth of her past unfolds.— Reuters
the only one. Director Abhishek Chaubey used the arid landscape and rough language of northern India as a background for a racy thriller, “Ishqiya”. “Finally we are making movies about an India that should have been talked about long ago,” said Chaubey. “Rural India may not be very pretty on screen but it does have a lot of stories to tell, and those are finally being seen on screen.”Ironically, it is urban audiences that are loving these films about rural India where three-quarters of the coun-
try’s 1.1 billion population lives. “Love Sex, aur Dhokha” (Love, Sex and Betrayal) is another film that explores sexual attitudes in small-town India. The film interweaves three storylines-a student who falls in love with his film’s lead actress, a shop manager who traps an employee in an MMS scandal and a sting operation on a rock star. Most of these films are made on budgets of under 100 million rupees (euro 2.14 million), less than half the budget of a nor-
mal Hindi film, which could go upto 250 million rupees. One of India’s most promising film-makers, Anurag Kashyap produced “Udaan”, a coming of age tale set in small-town India, which was an official entry at the Cannes film festival this year and opened to rave reviews in India. The film chronicles the journey of a teenager forced to return to his smalltown home and a tyrannical father after he is expelled from boarding school in a bid to capture the small-town mindset on education and parenting.— Reuters
Hollywood updates Facebook in lineup of fall movies ocial media” is among today’s most popular catch phrases thanks to the success of, among other things, networking website Facebookthe favored way for today’s youth to communicate on a global level. Now Facebook is the subject of what’s expected to be the fall’s most anticipated movie, “The Social Network,” which is among a slew of titles including “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” and the Clint Eastwood-directed “Hereafter” that Hollywood will usher into theaters this fall movie season. With the summer season coming to an official close over this weekend’s Labor Day holiday in the United States, it’s back to school for kids, back to work for adults, back to dramas in movies, and onto Oscar season for Hollywood. “It’s a heavy, early fall,” said Entertainment Weekly movie writer Dave Karger. “Once Labor Day hits, things get pretty heavy, pretty quickly.” There is the Ben Affleck-directed bank heist film “The Town,” which opens Sept. 17 with an all-star cast that includes Affleck himself, “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm and “The Hurt Locker” Oscar nominee, Jeremy Renner. One week later on Sept. 24, Michael Douglas is back as shifty financier Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Douglas, who won an Oscar with Gekko in the original 1987 “Wall Street,” reprises his role alongside a young cast that also includes Shia LaBoeuf and Carey Mulligan. “The movie is a hell of a ride and you don’t know what’s going to happen in the end,” Stone told Reuters. “Gekko is a charming devil. You never know what he’s going to do next.” That same weekend, Ryan Reynolds plays a man trapped inside a coffin with only a cell phone and a lighter in “Buried,” a breakout success at his past Sundance Film Festival.
“S Hong Kong’s film director John Woo poses during the photocall of “Jiangyu (Reignof assassins)” and his Lifetime achievement Golden Lion award at the 67th Venice Film Festival yesterday at Venice Lido. —AFP
rural India, has done well at the boxoffice and got rave reviews since its release two weeks ago. Farmer suicides are common in rural India, where poor infrastructure and debilitating loans cause a huge burden on farmers. Some 150,000 farmers have commited suicide in the country since 1997. “It is a look at the way global India is struggling with local India and the dichotomy between the two, which is an issue no one cares about,” director Anusha Rizvi told Reuters. “Peepli” isn’t
“Social Network,” starring Jessie Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake, opens Oct 1 and recounts the story of how the website was founded by a college student in his dorm room. Of course, just who came up with the idea for Facebook depends on which kid you talk to. That’s why filmmaker David Fincher tells the story from multiple viewpoints to find out how a young techie named Mark Zuckerberg became a visionary while gaining friends, enemies and lawsuits. Just like Facebook can be a place for drama and betrayal, expect plenty of that in “Social Network.” “It’s an exciting movie because it tells a complicated story in a very entertaining way,” says the film’s star, Jesse Eisenberg. “There are several characters claiming to be right. In a way, they all are.” Joining “Social Network” on Oct 1 is “Let Me In,” about a viciously bullied kid who teams up with another outcast that happens to be a vampire. On Oct 8, Robert De Niro and Edward Norton test each other as a parole officer and murderer, respectively, in “Stone,” and that same weekend, “Secretariat,” about the famed Triple Crown-winning racehorse gallops into theaters. Ben Affleck appears onscreen again Oct 22 as a man whose world crumbles when he gets laid off in “The Company Men,” another past Sundance flick. That same weekend, Clint Eastwood shows people dealing with tragedy in “Hereafter” with a cast that includes Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard. Whereas the summer brought animated family fare like “Toy Story 3,” silly comedies such as Will Ferrell’s “The Other Guys” and mindless action like “The Expendables,” Hollywood tends to put on a more serious face in the fall. Instead of movies for kids, there is a documentary about kids-more to the point, about the sad state of the U.S.
public education system and what might be done to fix it in the documentary “Waiting for Superman.” Realism gets a dramatic make-over with “127 Hours” on Nov. 5. Filmmaker Danny Boyle, who last directed Oscar winner “Slumdog Millionaire,” takes on the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco) who is trapped in a Utah canyon for five days when a boulder falls on his arm. His choice is to die-or to free himself by cutting off his trapped limb with a pocket knife. As always, a few exceptions counter the seriousness. On Sept. 17, there is the animated “Alpha and Omega” about two wolves trying to get home. That same weekend, Hollywood’s newest ‘it’ girl, Emma Stone, stars in the high school comedy “Easy A” as a girl who lies about losing her virginity. Meanwhile, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich play retired federal agents forced out of retirement and back into action alongside Bruce Willis in “Red,” based on a comic book mini-series, opening Oct 15. As Halloween approaches later that month, the scare and gore is rolled out in films like “Saw 3D,” “Paranormal Activity 2” and “Monsters.” November sees some lighter fare and family friendly movies timed to the Thanksgiving holidays. Getting a jump on what is surely to be a crowded season, the animated “Megamind” opens Nov. 5 starring Will Ferrell as a blue skinned alien in a lifelong struggle with the vain Metro Man (Brad Pitt). Also that weekend, “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips brings out a new comedy, “Due Date.” In this road trip movie, Zach Galifianakis plays an aspiring actor to Robert Downey Jr.’s man trying to get home for the birth of his child. —Reuters
This product image provided by Lord & Taylor shows the Ladylike Dress by Carmen Marc by Carmen Marc Valvo. —AP
Bronze works by renowned French artist Edgar Degas are seen at a press preview in Sofia on September 2, 2010. Bulgaria’s National Art Gallery has announced that it will present the full collection of 74 bronze sculptures by the French impressionist Edgar Degas. —AFP
Lloyd Webber art collection goes on show omposer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s private art collection, which contains works by Rossetti, Millais and Waterhouse, is to go on show this month for the first time. The multi-million pound display at London’s Royal Academy of Arts will replace a postponed major exhibition of Egyptian art. Lloyd Webber originally concentrated on mainly British 19th century paintings, but has since expanded the historical range of his works. “I sincerely hope that it will give as much pleasure to those who visit the exhibition as it has given me, my family and friends, over many years,” he said in a statement. The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection will be staged from Sept. 20 to Dec. 12. —Reuters
WHATʼS ON IN KUWAIT
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Announcements Sept 17 Onam Fest 2010: ‘Vanithavedi Kuwait’ a leading women’s association will be celebrating Onam on Friday, Sept 17, 2010, from 9 am - 6 pm at the Indian Community School, Khaitan Branch, the program named as ‘OnamFest 2010’ will have the public meeting followed by various cultural programs. The traditional Onasadya will be served. For the successful conduct of Onam Fest 2010, a program committee has been formed. Dr Vasanthy Nair (general convenor), Valsamma George, Dr Mary (Joint Convenors), Prasanna Ramabhadran (Arts convenor), Tolly Prakash (Food convenor), Shiny Ajith (Raffle convenor), Sumathy Babu (Souvenir convenor), Valsa Sam (Publicity convenor), Syamala Narayanan, (Reception convenor), Sharlette Albert (Volunteer captain). For more details, contact: 24342807, 66428433, 66596625, 24331598. Theater & Music All level music classes: ‘Treasure of Talents’ (est in 1992) music education program invites all level music classes on piano, theory of music, vocal, flute. Academic Level teachers help prepare for international exams, children concerts, yearly ‘Treasure of Talents’ Festival and music competitions. Contact Prof Cezary, Tel. 25320427, 66549009 of Ms Yasmeene - Berlitz Institute Tel: 22542212. 22512533 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
EMBASSY OF US
KFH volunteers help worshippers at Grand Mosque
team of officials from the Kuwait Finance House recently took part in helping organizers who facilitate the ‘Qiam’ late night prayers at the Grand Mosque, which are attended by more than 30 thousand worshippers each night during the last ten days of the holy month of Ramadan. Volunteers from the public relations department and other departments of the KFH are taking part in coordinating with security officers located at the place to maintain security, as well as helping in dispensing food and drinks for worshippers, and that starting from 8:30 pm each night till late midnight. Furthermore, the KFH acknowledged the cooperation of the head of the mosque’s administrator, Ahmad Al-Asfour, and other officials for their contributions in allowing KFH volunteers to take part in this special event.
✦✦✦ Call to classical music lovers: Are you a lover of music? Would you like to promote the traditional Indian classical music in Kuwait? If your answer is in the affirmative, please write ton more details to firstname.lastname@example.org. in (that is, music underscore karnatic) with your contact details or call 7978286.
OCT 21 Rendezvous 2010: The Kuwait Chapter of the St. Aloysius College Alumni Association (SACAA KUWAIT) have announced that “Rendezvous” their hallmark event will be conducted on 21st October at Asia Asia Restaurant, Souk Al Watiya, Kuwait City from 8 pm onwards. This year, SACAA Kuwait celebrates five years of its existence in Kuwait. SACAA-Kuwait has been synonymous with various fund raising initiatives through which they consistently supported various needs of their Alma Mater and its students back in Mangalore, India. Through Rendezvous-2010, SACAA-Kuwait intends to help generate funds for the Poor Students Fund of St. Aloysius institutions where numerous needy students look forward to assistance to subsidize their costs. SACAA Kuwait calls upon all Aloysians, their families and also like minded people to join this noble cause and help make life a little better for those needy students back home. For entry passes and further information, kindly contact - 66731828, 66746425, 66181041, 94093275, 66699857, 66091962.
Women keen to learn martial arts
nterest in martial art is increasing, especially now that women are allowed to enroll in the police academy. Women of all nationalities are interested in getting more information on martial arts. Master Ismail Radwan has been practicing martial
arts since 1983. He is a certified instructor of the International Federations of Kung Fu and Kyokushin Karate, the Arab federation of Muay Thai and the International Federation of Kowat Alrami. Radwan insists on increasing women’s participation
in martial arts. He supports their enrollment by allowing them to bring whoever they want to practice to make themselves feel more comfortable. He allows parents to accompany their daughters to training classes so that they can feel more comfortable with a male trainer.
n Sunday, 12 September, from 6-8 pm, AWARE invites the Western expatriate community of Kuwait to an Eid Al-Fitr Open House Festival marking the end of Ramadan and the breaking of the Fast. The atmosphere is designed to be friendly, fun and festive as Western expatriate guests from around the world visit the center to take part in a variety of cultural activities both past and present including Henna hand-painting, Arabic calligraphy and more. Guests will be encouraged to sample fresh dates, coffee and sweet mint tea-all traditions related to the Arab and Muslim culture. We welcome you, your family, friends and collegues! The AWARE Center is an essential resource for anyone who wants to experience fully the richness of life in Arabia. Block 3, Surra Street, Villa 84, Surra, Kuwait Telephone 2-533-5280/60 Fax 2-533-5230. Email: email@example.com www.aware.com.kw
EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India has further revamped and improved its Legal Advice Clinic at the Indian Workers Welfare Center, and made the free service available to Indian nationals on all five working days, i.e. from Sunday to Thursday every week. Kuwaiti lawyers would be available at the Legal Advice Clinic daily from Monday to Thursday, while Indian lawyers would be available on Sundays. Following are the free welfare services provided at the Indian Workers Welfare Center located at the Embassy of India: [i] 24x7 Helpline for Domestic Workers: Accessible by toll free telephone no. 25674163 from anywhere in Kuwait, it provides information and advice exclusively to Indian domestic sector workers (Visa No. 20) as regards their grievances, immigration and other matters. [ii] Help Desk: It offers guidance to Indian nationals on routine immigration, employment, legal, and other issues (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iii) Labour Complaints Desk: It registers labor complaints and provides grievance redressal service to Indian workers (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iv) Shelters: For female and male domestic workers in distress; (v) Legal Advice Clinic: Provides free legal advice to Indian nationals (Embassy premises; Kuwaiti lawyers 3 PM to 5 PM, Monday to Thursday; Indian lawyers 2 PM to 4 PM on Sunday); and (vi) Attestation of Work Contracts: Private sector worker (Visa No. 18) contracts are accepted at the Embassy; 9 AM to 1 PM; Sunday to Thursday; Domestic sector worker (Visa No. 20) contracts are accepted at Kuwait Union of Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO), Hawally, Al-Othman Street, Kurd Roundabout, AlAbraj Complex, Office No 9, Mezzanine Floor; 9 AM to 9 PM, Saturday to Thursday; 5 PM to 9 PM on Friday. The Embassy of India will remain closed on August 23 and September 2, 2010 on account of ‘Onam’ and ‘Janmashtami’ respectively. EMBASSY OF BANGLADESH The Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Kuwait will follow the following office hours during the holy month of Ramadan. Sunday to Thursday: 09:00 3:00 pm. Friday and Saturday: Weekly holidays.
OCT 29 Onathanima tug of war: Thanima is conducting its annual Onam celebrations along with its celebrated tug of war competitions on October 29 at Central School compound, Abbasiya. Cultural procession, concert and other attractive cultural items will add glitter to the evening function in which many prominent personalities are expected to be present. Those teams wishing to participate in the tug of war competition, please contact 99865499 / 97253653 / 66071276 / 99703872.
AWARE Eid Open House
The United States Department of State announces the increase in various visa fees to ensure sufficient resources to cover the increasing cost of processing nonimmigrant visas (NIVs). US law requires the Department to recover the cost of processing non-immigrant visas through the collection of the application fees. The increased fees are to take effect June 4, 2010. Under the new rule, applicants for all visas that are not petition-based, including B1/B2 tourist and business visitor visas and all student and exchange-visitor visas, will pay a fee of $140. Applicants for petition-based visas will pay an application fee of $150, as each of the below categories requires a review of extensive documentation and a more in-depth interview of the applicant than other categories, such as tourists. These categories include: H visa for temporary workers and trainees L visa for intra-company transferees O visa for aliens with extraordinary ability P visa for athletes, artists and entertainers Q visa for international cultural exchange visitors R visa for religious occupations The application fee for K visas for fiance(e)s of US citizens will be $350. The fee for E visas for treaty-traders and treaty-investors will be $390.
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Kuwait will remain closed on Monday, 06 September 2010 on the occasion of Holy Shab-e-Qadr. EMBASSY OF TURKEY
Bangladesh Awami League observes Mourning day
angladesh Awami League, Kuwait hosted an iftar mahfil on the occasion of 35th National mourning day 15th August. It was presided by freedom fighter Engineer Abdur Rab President of Bangladesh Awami League Kuwait. Md.Nurul Islam Councilor of Bangladesh Embassy Kuwait was the chief guest. The mahfil began with the recitation verses from the holy Quran, recited by Md.Abu Hanif. Nurul Amin Vice President of Awami League Kuwait presented the program. K.M.Ali Reza Labor Secretary of Bangladesh Embassy - Kuwait, renowned businessman and C.I.P. Mohammed Rosen , Md. Ershad All member of Habiganj district Awami League, Md. Liton Chowdhurv, Md. Amin Hoen Vice President of Awami
League-Kuwait, Nuruzzaman, Nurul Amin and Abdus Subhan newly elected General Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League Kuwait were among the special guests. Hundreds of activists, guests were present at the function. Nekmohammed of Khabor groupKuwait, Masud Karim of Joybangla Sangskritik Jothe along with others attended the mahfil. The chief and special guests in their respective speeches prayed for the departed soul of Bangabandhu and those who were brutally killed on 5th August, 1975. President Abdur Rab urged all to get united against all conspiracies against the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh Awami League. The program had ended in Prayer Mahfil followed by iftar.
The Embassy of the Republic of Turkey announces that Turkish language course will restart at the Embassy’s Tourism, Culture and Information Office 4 October 2010. The lessons will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. For further details and registration please contact. * The Embassy at Tel: 22531785 (only from 9 am to 3 pm) * Or fill the application form on http://kuweyt.befscnet.net and send it to the e-mail: Turkish_embassy_Kuwait@hotmail.com EMBASSY OF THAILAND All foreigners who apply for Tourist Visa at the Royal Thai Embassies and the Royal Thai Consulate General worldwide, including eligible foreigners who apply for Visa on arrival at designated checkpoints, will be exempted from tourist visa fees until 31 March 2011. Such arrangement is for Tourist Visa only.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Flight Schedule Departure Flights on Saturday 04/09/2010
Arrival Flights on Saturday 04/09/2010 Airlines
Jordanian Wataniya Airways Gulf Air Turkish Ethiopian Air Arabia Egypt Egypt Air DHL Pakistan Emirates Etihad Qatari Jazeera Jazeera Kuwait Jazeera British Kuwait Jazeera Falcon Jazeera Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Emirates Arabia Qatari Etihad Iran Air Gulf Air Middle East AlNaser Wataniya Airways Jazeera Jazeera Wataniya Egypt Air Kuwait Kuwait Wataniya Airways United Jordanian Egypt Air Fly Dubai Kuwait Jazeera Wataniya AlMasria Universal Saudia Kuwait Nas Air Qatari Kuwait Jazeera Kuwait Etihad Rovos Emirates Kuwait Wataniya Gulf Air Cargolux Saudia Jazeera Jazeera Arabia Jazeera SriLankan Jazeera Syrian Air Kuwait Wataniya Wataniya Rovos Wataniya Kuwait Kuwait Wataniya Kuwait Iran Air Bahrain Air Singapore Kuwait Kuwait Oman Air Indian Middle East Jet A/W Egypt Air KLM Kuwait DHL Gulf Air Kuwait Emirates Qatari Kuwait United Jazeera Jazeera Lufthansa Jazeera Egypt Air India Express Egypt Air
802 Amman 188 Bahrain 211 Bahrain 772 Istanbul 620 Addis Ababa 551 Alexandria 614 Cairo 370 Bahrain 239 Sialkot 853 Dubai 305 Abu Dhabi 138 Doha 637 Aleppo 503 Luxor 412 Manila/Bangkok 527 Alexandria 157 London 416 Jakarta/Kuala Lumpur 529 Assiut 201 Bahrain 613 Lahore 204 Lahore 302 Mumbai 332 Trivandrum 676 Dubai 284 Dhaka 344 Chennai 362 Colombo 855 Dubai 121 Sharjah 132 Doha 301 Abu Dhabi 3407 Mashad 213 Bahrain 404 Beirut 711 Baghdad/Najaf 102 Dubai 165 Dubai 491 Jeddah 422 Amman 610 Cairo 672 Dubai 774 Riyadh 432 Damascus 982 Washington DC Dulles 800 Amman 621 Assiut 057 Dubai 786 Jeddah 257 Beirut 332 Alexandria 407 Alexandria 500 Jeddah 552 Damascus 745 Jeddah 134 Doha 1502 Beirut 173 Dubai 118 New York 303 Abu Dhabi 061 Baghdad/Najaf 857 Dubai 548 Luxor 402 Beirut 215 Bahrain 792 Luxembourg 510 Riyadh 457 Damascus 493 Jeddah 125 Sharjah 481 Sabiha 227 Colombo/Dubai 511 Sharm El Sheikh 341 Damascus 104 London 304 Cairo 106 Dubai 093 Kandahar/Dubai 106 Dubai 542 Cairo 502 Beirut 202 Jeddah 618 Doha 607 Mashad 344 Bahrain 458 Singapore/Abu Dhabi 562 Amman 614 Bahrain 647 Muscat 993 Chennai/Mumbai 402 Beirut 572 Mumbai 618 Alexandria 0445 Amsterdam 788 Jeddah 372 Bahrain 217 Bahrain 674 Dubai 859 Dubai 136 Doha 178 Geneva/Frankfurt 981 Bahrain 313 Bahrain 241 Amman 636 Frankfurt 185 Dubai 612 Cairo 393 Kozhikode/Cochin 606 Luxor
00:05 00:30 01:05 01:15 01:45 02:00 02:05 02:15 02:15 02:25 02:55 03:20 05:45 05:50 06:15 06:20 06:30 06:35 06:40 07:00 07:05 07:10 07:50 07:55 08:00 08:10 08:20 08:20 08:25 08:40 09:00 09:20 10:20 10:45 10:50 10:55 11:05 11:15 11:25 12:50 12:55 13:15 13:20 13:35 13:35 13:35 13:40 13:50 14:00 14:05 14:05 14:25 14:30 14:35 14:55 15:05 15:35 16:05 16:15 16:50 16:50 16:55 17:00 17:15 17:15 17:15 17:20 17:35 17:40 17:40 17:45 18:00 18:15 18:30 18:35 18:35 18:45 18:45 18:45 18:50 18:50 18:55 18:55 19:05 19:25 19:25 19:40 19:55 20:15 20:15 20:20 20:30 20:35 20:40 20:45 21:00 21:05 21:10 21:15 21:35 21:40 21:55 22:10 22:20 22:35 22:40 22:55 23:10 23:15
Jazeera Shaheen Air Egypt Air KLM Indian Lufthansa Turkish Ethiopian Air Arabia Egypt Egypt Air DHL Pakistan Emirates Etihad Qatari Jazeera Wataniya Jordanian Jazeera Wataniya Gulf Air Wataniya Rovos Rovos Jazeera Wataniya Kuwait British Kuwait Kuwait Arabia Kuwait Emirates Kuwait Qatari Kuwait Etihad Jazeera Kuwait Iran Air Gulf Air Wataniya Kuwait Middle East Wataniya Jazeera Kuwait Rovos Jazeera Jazeera AlNaser Jazeera Kuwait Wataniya Egypt Air AlMasria Universal Wataniya Jordanian Fly Dubai Kuwait Egypt Air United AlMasria Universal Kuwait Kuwait Nas Air Saudia Qatari Nas Air Kuwait Jazeera Kuwait Etihad Gulf Air Emirates Kuwait Arabia Jazeera Saudia Cargolux Jazeera SriLankan Syrian Air Iran Air Bahrain Air Kuwait Singapore Kuwait Oman Air Middle East Jet A/W Egypt Air Wataniya KLM Gulf Air DHL Kuwait Emirates Kuwait Falcon Qatari Kuwait Kuwait Jazeera United Jazeera Kuwait Jazeera Egypt Air
528 Assiut 442 Lahore 607 Luxor 0447 Amsterdam 576 Goa/Chennai 637 Frankfurt 773 Istanbul 620 Bahrain/Addis Ababa 552 Alexandria 615 Cairo 371 Bahrain 240 Sialkot/Islamabad 854 Dubai 306 Abu Dhabi 139 Doha 490 Jeddah 101 Dubai 803 Amman 164 Dubai 331 Alexandria 212 Bahrain 421 Amman 096 Muscat/Kabul 094 Dubai/Kandahar 256 Beirut 431 Damascus 785 Jeddah 156 London 671 Dubai 551 Damascus 122 Sharjah 101 London/New York 856 Dubai 1501 Beirut 133 Doha 773 Riyadh 302 Abu Dhabi 480 Sabiha 547 Luxor/Sharm El Sheikh 3406 Mashad 214 Bahrain 401 Beirut 165 Rome/Paris 405 Beirut 303 Cairo 172 Dubai 541 Cairo 062 Baghdad 456 Damascus 510 Sharm El Sheikh 712 Najaf/Baghdad 492 Jeddah 501 Beirut 201 Jeddah 611 Cairo 408 Alexandria 105 Dubai 801 Amman 058 Dubai 561 Amman 622 Assiut 982 Bahrain 408 Alexandria 617 Doha 787 Jeddah 746 Jeddah 505 Jeddah 135 Doha 702 Riyadh 613 Bahrain 240 Amman 673 Dubai 304 Abu Dhabi 216 Bahrain 858 Dubai 543 Cairo 126 Sharjah 184 Dubai 511 Riyadh 792 Hong Kong 312 Damascus 228 Dubai/Colombo 342 Damascus 604 Isfahan 345 Bahrain 283 Dhaka 457 Abu Dhabi/Singapore 331 Trivandrum 648 Muscat 403 Beirut 571 Mumbai 619 Alexandria 187 Bahrain 0445 Bahrain/Amsterdam 218 Bahrain 373 Bahrain 675 Dubai 860 Dubai 381 Delhi 102 Bahrain 137 Doha 301 Mumbai 205 Islamabad 526 Alexandria 981 Washington DC Dulles 502 Luxor 411 Bangkok/Manila 460 Damascus 613 Cairo
FOR AIRPORT INFORMATION 161
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Sharing accommodation is available in a C-A/C flat for decent family or working ladies at Jabriya area 10, near Jabriya Indian school. Please contact Mob: 99300513. (C 2636) Furnished sharing accommodation available for small family, non-smoking executive bachelor, couples to share with Keralite family in a two bed room flat near Abbassiya super market with immediate effect. Tel: 97647066. (C 2637) 2-9-2010 Khaitan - sharing room / bed space available for decent Indian bachelor in CA/C new building, beside main road and bus stop, near police station round about. Contact: 97523316 / 24745162. (C 2635) 1-9-2010 Sharing accommodation for executive bachelor, families or ladies with 2 BH and CA/C apartment. (Indians Only) Ph: 66625901 / 24716975. (C 2629) 31-8-2010 Single room available for an Indian family or a bachelor at Salmiya, Amman street, opp. Al-Rashid hospital. Contact: 66332653. (C 2621) Sharing accommodation available for a decent working lady in Abbassiya with Keralite family. Cont: 66013882. (C 2625) Furnished sharing room available with all facilities in
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Required driver, cook and maid to work in Kuwaiti home. Tel: 22450617 / 22450618. (C 2627) 30-8-2010
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Saturday, September 4, 2010
Aries (March 21-April 19) Your energies are high
for receiving knowledge and you are adaptable to the changes in your workplace. Today you will be able to tackle tasks that require real discipline. You find yourself in a very practical mood and working with, instead of against, yourself. You may have some serious or contemplative moments. You may soon perceive how to proceed with plans and decisions in regard to your life situation. This afternoon you may find yourself shopping for new utensils or table covers for the kitchen. You want to try a new diet and if you try, you might get a member or two of the family to try the same diet so the cooking will be easier. Harmonious ties to others are what you yearn for; refinement and elegance are what you seek. Taurus (April 20-May 20) In-depth discussions and
probing conversations find you at your mental best today. There could be some round-table discussions and you may find yourself suggesting new techniques or ideas to more than one subject. If you want to be in charge of some project, your wise suggestions will lead you into that area. Your diagnostic abilities are at a high point. This afternoon is a good time for surrounding yourself with friends and young people and for having a good time. You appreciate your particular situation and enjoy support from those around you. Your mind is quick and sharp and your words are the only weapon you will need. You have insight into your emotions and drive and you can talk about your feelings with great insight and fluidity.
ACROSS 1. Area around the altar of a church for the clergy and choir. 5. A small loosely aggregated mass of flocculent material suspended in or precipitated from a liquid. 9. Disabled in the feet or legs. 13. Starch resembling sago that is obtained from cuckoopint root. 14. Fallow deer. 15. A fit of shivering. 16. Not accepting reservations. 17. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 18. A narrow way or road. 19. English scholastic philosopher and assumed author of Occam's Razor (1285-1349). 21. An executioner who beheads the condemned person. 23. The basic unit of money in Nigeria. 24. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 25. Wheelwork consisting of a connected set of rotating gears by which force is transmitted or motion or torque is changed. 26. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 28. 10 grams. 37. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 39. Large brownish-green New Zealand parrot. 41. An accidental hole that allows something (fluid or light etc.) to enter or escape. 42. One or more recordings issued together. 44. (Hindu) A manner of sitting (as in the practice of Yoga). 47. A kind of heavy jacket (`windcheater' is a British term). 51. Small shrubby tree of eastern North America similar to the Judas tree having usually pink flowers. 55. An annual publication including weather forecasts and other miscellaneous information arranged according to the calendar of a given year. 57. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 58. Inflammation of the urethra of unknown cause. 59. United States architect (born in England) (1802-1878). 61. Of a light yellowish-brown color n 1. 62. A potent estrogen used in medicine and in feed for livestock and poultry. 63. Softened by the addition of cushions or padding. 64. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. A nobleman (in various countries) of varying rank. 2. Annual to perennial herbs of the Mediterranean region. 3. True mosses. 4. A member of the Semitic speaking people of northern Ethiopia. 5. A federal agency established to regulate the release of new foods and health-related products. 6. A boy or man. 7. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Missouri river valley in NE Nebraska. 8. (of a young animal) Abandoned by its mother and raised by hand. 9. Ground snakes. 10. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 11. Of or relating to or associated with the moon. 12. The time of life between the ages of 12 and 20. 20. (British) A waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric. 22. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 27. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 29. Fermented alcoholic beverage similar to but heavier than beer. 30. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 31. A state in northwestern North America. 32. Lacking excess flesh. 33. Offering fun and gaiety. 34. A white soft metallic element that tarnishes readily. 35. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 36. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 38. Jordan's port. 40. Limited or below average in number or quantity or magnitude or extent. 43. Used of high or hilly country. 45. The first light of day. 46. (Babylonian) A demigod or first man. 48. A long noosed rope used to catch animals. 49. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 50. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 52. Other than what is under consideration or implied. 53. A doctor's degree in music. 54. A dull persistent (usually moderately intense) pain. 56. Rare (usually fatal) brain disease (usually in middle age) caused by an unidentified slow virus. 60. A doctor's degree in optometry.
Gemini (May 21-June 20) Too much emotional input can cloud your thinking this Friday. The business world and decisions around new business transactions should probably be put on hold for a few days. Your passion and excitement may be judged inadequate by others— careful. Your judgment could be thin just now and it would be wise to play the day as low-key as possible. This is all temporary—stay as focused as possible. Your phone rings quite a bit this afternoon. Enjoy your interactions with friends and find opportunities to be with them as often as you can. Harmonious ties to others are what you yearn for; refinement and elegance are what you seek. The ideal partnership, the perfect balance, the highest standards of truth and beauty—are the things that interest you most.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) Deceptive trends today indicate that you will need to exercise care in your business dealings. Speak the truth, just the truth and nothing but the truth. You are most happy when you can do something for someone, but be careful about keeping others in your debt. Your general sense of concern for everything makes you invaluable when anything needs doing and, if left unoccupied, you can worry for worry’s sake. Given only a few facts, you are able to take in a situation and come up with a picture of what is happening. Others will certainly benefit from the advice you can offer. This is a productive day and you are most happy when you are fully engaged. There is time this evening to have a hugging contest with your loved ones. Leo (July 23-August 22) Today features communication, travel and an ability to expand your horizons. You may spend part of the day looking for particular information— perhaps passport, birth certificate, etc. What you started a week or so ago, could now reach realization—you are pleased with the results. Now could be the time to make that date, apply for a particular job or otherwise make yourself known. Close relationships offer a lot of potential for growth and good fortune. People close to you are optimistic and have good prospects to offer you for your consideration. Your observations about life are quite accurate now. Others will certainly benefit from the advice you offer them. A marriage or other partnership can raise high hopes and give your spirits a boost.
Virgo (August 23-September 22) This is a very good day for job-related events. You may excel in your particular job or find that promotion or practical insights come with ease. You could represent or speak for your company or communicate about your skills. Your tendency to compromise and settle for less than you dreamed can be a problem. You may choose the path of least resistance, willing to bypass some of the things you always wanted in favor of expediency. Career moves must be given special attention. Reach beyond the immediate. Become more aware of your own potential. A long-distance call from a relative or close friend brings cheer! The highest standards of truth and beauty quicken your pulse now. You enjoy the sunset, or an evening walk with a loved one. Libra (September 23-October 22) Your enthusiasm today is catching. Your verbal abilities can bring you recognition—either negative or positive. Today, however, it is all positive. This is a good day, one in which you can expect a little boost, some sort of extra support or recognition from those around you. Do not miss out on any opportunities to make contact with higher-ups today and share your ideas. This afternoon a new technology may come to your attention. Whether you work in that particular field or not, it might be wise to brush up on the new things that are soon coming into the work field. Look for ways in which you can broaden your scope of knowledge. Your family will give positive responses to your suggestions and efforts. Your home surroundings will improve soon.
Mother Goose and Grimm
Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You find that you can
really use your mind to think things through and make clear choices. Career decisions are beginning to gain a good focus and your plans are strengthened at this time. You make your way through good ideas and concepts. Friends, group projects and community concerns could play a key role that effects your career direction soon. Humanitarian efforts can affect your work and life-path. You may be very forceful in what you say and think. With all of this emotional energy, you could speak or communicate very well. You have a good, positive mental drive. Obtaining and exchanging information takes on emotional significance now. Being more involved with neighbors or sibling(s) satisfies a deep emotional need. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You are at your most practical when it comes to dealing and working with others. You know just what to do and can act without haste and emotion. You are called on to make use of your natural abilities and common sense. Assimilating information and experience, learning lessons and putting them into practice is the focus as this cycle unfolds. It’s a time for prudence and stewardship, a time to tend to the details. Work, achievement and ambition mean a lot to you now. Your inner resources and emotions are accented. Expect a sense of support and goodwill from those around you. You value fairness in all things and go out of your way to be fair. You appreciate others who have been successful and may surround yourself with those in power.
Capricorn (December 22-January 19) This is
Yesterdayʼs Solution to
INTERNATIONAL CALLS Kuwait Qatar Abu Dhabi Dubai Raas Al Khayma Al-Shareqa Muscat Jordan Bahrain Riyadh Makkah - Jeddah Cairo Alexandria Beirut Damascus Allepo
00965 00974 009712 009714 009717 009716 00968 009626 00973 009661 009662 00202 00203 009611 0096311 0096321
Tunisia Rabat Washington New York Paris London Madrid Zurich Geneva Monaco Rome Bangkok Hong Kong Pakistan Taiwan Bonn
0021610 002127 001212 001718 00331 004471 00341 00411 004122 0033 00396 00662 00852 0092 00886 0049228
Word Sleuth Solution
a good time, when your efforts really pay off and things seem to run smoothly. Now you have the ability for sustained work that allows you to coordinate and organize like never before. You will bring complicated tasks to an end. You may find yourself being put to good use by your friends later this afternoon. There is a chance to visit and enjoy each other’s company. You are correct in your observations, but you must keep the guesswork to yourself. Do not engage in gossip and do not encourage others to gossip—walk away. The ideal partnership, the perfect balance, the highest standards of truth and beauty are some of the things that quicken your pulse. Romance and social activity takes on a greater importance this evening. Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This is one of your best overall days. Investigate; give full play to your intellectual curiosity. Your enthusiasm is high; circumstances swing in your favor. Your judgment and intuition are likely to be on target. You are good at rallying support for any project you feel could be important. At this time, you control whatever you want to accomplish. Everything conspires to reveal you at your most elegant, particularly in social situations. Harmonious ties to others are what you yearn for; refinement and elegance are what you seek. The ideal partnership, the perfect balance, the highest standards of truth and beauty are some of the things that quicken your pulse. If there is not a social event to take advantage of this evening, you will create or find one. Pisces (February 19-March 20) This day brings many opportunities to accomplish what you set out to do. Ideas, mental things, information exchange and the interrelating of all these are central to this day. Your career and life direction may be putting some real pressure on your home and emotional life. Obviously, you cannot live without both, so some kind of balance is indicated. You may have trouble with subordinates or young people. Harmonious ties to others are what you yearn for; refinement and elegance are what you seek. You look for the ideal in every area of your life. Do not rush someone into an answer this evening. Things will work out in your favor but perhaps not on your time schedule. Laugh this evening—it is a great way to relieve stress!
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Iran’s opposition leader attacked SHEHABIYEH: A UN peacekeeper arrives near the site of explosion, in the southern Shehabiyeh village yesterday. — AP
‘Mystery’ explosions rock south Lebanon SHEHABIYEH: A series of explosions yesterday ripped through a house rumored to be serving as an arms depot in south Lebanon, an area considered a Hezbollah stronghold, state media reported. The staterun National News Agency said the blasts were in a three-storey building that was being used as an arms warehouse on the outskirts of the town of Shehabiyeh, just south of the Litani River, an area under surveillance of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). But the agency later withdrew its report, saying only that a series of explosions had been heard in the area. A Lebanese army spokesman confirmed that there had been three explosions in the house, but said the nature and cause of the blasts was still unclear. UNIFIL said it had no information on the incident. A helicopter bearing the multi-national force’s blue logo
was seen hovering briefly over the area before leaving. “At this time all I’m able to tell you is that we are coordinating with the Lebanese army and we have sent patrols to the location,” UNIFIL spokesman Neeraj Singh said. Hezbollah issued a statement saying there were no casualties in what it said was a fire, although it did not comment on the cause of the blaze. “Hezbollah’s media relations deny that there have been casualties in the fire in Shehabiyeh as has been reported by media organizations,” the statement said. “The army is currently conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fire,” it said. The fire was quickly put out as troops cordoned off the area, an AFP correspondent said. Ambulances also arrived at the site. Journalists were kept away from the scene by Hezbollah members in their par-
ty’s military garb and signature yellow berets, the correspondent said. A nearby resident, who asked not to be identified said that the building had been rented out by the Shiite militant party. An arms cache believed to belong to Hezbollah exploded last summer in an abandoned house in the southern village of Khirbet Selm, 20 kilometers from the Israeli border. In October 2009, a rocket exploded in a garage in Tayr Felsay, a village some 20 kilometers east of the southern coastal city of Tyre. Tensions have been high in south Lebanon as Israel, which fought a devastating war with Hezbollah in 2006, has repeatedly accused the Shiite militant group of stockpiling weapons in residential areas. UN reports on the implementation of Resolution 1701, which brought an end to the 2006 war, regularly express concern over the continued presence of arms in south Lebanon. — AFP
piling pressure on a US-backed government overwhelmed by the flood crisis. “We will launch attacks in America and Europe very soon,” Qari Hussain Mehsud, a senior Pakistani Taleban leader and mentor of suicide bombers said by telephone from an undisclosed location. Earlier yesterday, a suicide attack on a mosque belonging to the minority Ahmadi sect killed at least one person and wounded several others in the northwest Pakistani town of Mardan. Military and law-enforcement officials also have been battered by militant violence, particularly along the border with Afghanistan. Officials said a roadside bomb attack in the capital of the northwest’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province yesterday killed one police officer and wounded three others. The floods, spawned by heavy rains weeks ago in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and elsewhere in the mountains of northern Pakistan, have killed more than 1,600 people and affected about 20 million people. The waters are still swamping rich agricultural land in the southern provinces of Sindh and Punjab. Flood victims say they have received little government help, and most assistance has come to them from private charities. The International Committee of the Red Cross warned Thursday that survivors’ anger was beginning to hamper those aid efforts. About 500 survivors blocked a key road in the Sindh town of Gharo yesterday to protest inadequate food and drinking water. “We have blocked traffic today to draw government attention toward our problems. We are living at a government building without food,” said Deedar Ahmad, 25, who said he fled with about
1,000 people from a nearby flooded village. Survivor Ali Nawaz said the government had housed flood victims but was not providing food, electricity, water or adequate shelter. “We cannot sleep because of the fears of snakes,” he said. The flooding, and anger over the government response, has raised fears about the stability of Pakistan’s government, seen as a problematic but essential Western ally in the fight against Islamist militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s own restive tribal areas. The Pakistani Taleban has issued veiled threats against Western aid workers but a recent wave of attacks have focused instead on religious minorities, particularly Shiites and Ahmadis. Police official Ahsanullah Khan said the bomber in yesterday’s attack on the Ahmadi mosque in the northwest town of Mardan appeared to have detonated himself after he was prevented from entering the building. In May, two teams of seven militants armed with hand grenades, suicide vests and assault rifles attacked two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, killing 97 and wounding dozens. Many mainstream Muslims consider the Ahmadis heretics for believing that their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was a savior foretold by the Quran, Islam’s holy book. They say Ahmadis are defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Muhammad is the final prophet. Ahmadis argue that their leader was the savior rather than a prophet. Under pressure from Islamists, Pakistan in the 1970s declared Ahmadis a non-Muslim minority. Pakistani Ahmadis - who number between 3 million and 4 million - are prohibited from calling themselves Muslims or engaging in practices such as reciting Islamic prayers. — Agencies
53 Shiites killed Continued from Page 1 “We understand these are attempts to set Sunni and Shiite sects against each other,” he said. The attack in Quetta was the second this week on Pakistani Shiites, who by some estimates make up about 20 percent of the population in the mostly Sunni Muslim country, although figures are imprecise and disputed. A triple suicide attack Wednesday night killed 35 people at a Shiite ceremony in the eastern city of Lahore. Kumaili said the attacks against minority sects were a result of government failure. “Our government concentrates all its efforts to secure VIPs. Common men are not their priority,” he said. Government officials have said they cannot protect outdoor gatherings from attacks, and Interior Minister Rehman Malik called Thursday for Shiites to hold religious ceremonies indoors. Baluchistan provincial Police Chief Malik Iqbal said officials had warned organizers of the Quetta ceremony to stick inside a security cordon after intelligence agents received reports about a possible terror attack. “They violated the route,” Iqbal said. “We had warned them not to extend their rally out of the cordon.” Wednesday’s attack in Lahore, and a host of other assaults on religious minorities, was claimed by the hardline Sunni Pakistani Taleban, which is seeking to overthrow a Western-backed government shaken most recently by flooding that has caused massive displacement, suffering and economic damage. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Taleban has threatened to launch attacks in the United States and Europe “very soon”. The warning came after a renewal of militant violence in Pakistan this week that is
TEHRAN: Pro-government militiamen attacked the home of an Iranian opposition leader with homemade bombs and beat one of his bodyguards unconscious, an opposition website reported, in an apparent attempt to keep him from attending a key rally yesterday. Mahdi Karroubi’s guards had to fire gunshots in the air to clear crowds that broke down the door of his home on Thursday night after days of gatherings outside, said the Sahamnews website, which supports Iran’s pro-reform movement. The report said the attackers were members of the plainclothes Basij militia, which led the crackdown on protests that swept the country in response to allegations of fraud in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s June 2009 re-election. Karroubi was one of the pro-reform candidates who ran against Ahmadinejad. The brazen assault on Karroubi’s doorstep suggests the Basij and other government security forces have increasingly turned their attention to pinpoint intimidation of opposition leaders after crackdowns derailed street protests. Karroubi has remained the most public dissenter - with his car being the target of pro-government mobs several times. But authorities also have directed pressure on Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and former President Mohammad Khatami. The opposition has not held any street demonstrations since February and canceled plans for a rally on the anniversary
Continued from Page 1 the poor as India undergoes rapid economic development. She also crafted the strategies which gave Congress back-toback general election victories, ending years in the political wilderness. Gandhi, 63, whose dark brown hair only now shows streaks of grey, took over the party’s reins when it faced “drift and despondency,” said one party leader. She arrived in India as a shy bride of
Rajiv Gandhi in her early 20s and was transformed into a sari-clad Indian who now speaks fluent Hindi. Her years in the Gandhi household, when her strong-willed autocratic mother-in-law Indira-slain in 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards-was premier gave her an intimate insight into India’s turbulent politics. She officially took charge of the Congress party as its president in 1998, becoming the fifth member of the NehruGandhi family to serve as its chief. Congress’s fortunes were on the slide
when party workers implored Gandhi to take the helm. Gandhi-who has described herself as “a reluctant politician” rebuilt the party, leading it to victory in the 2004 general elections. But she handed the prime minister’s job to the current incumbent Manmohan Singh, worried about a political backlash against her because of her foreign origins. She now is widely thought to be preparing the way for her son Rahul, 40, to become the country’s next leader, replacing 77-year-old Singh. — AFP
BlackBerry a ‘spy tool’ Continued from Page 1 Tamim told a conference on information technology that the proposed BlackBerry curbs are also “meant to control false rumors and defamation of public figures due to the absence of surveillance,” according to a story posted yesterday on the website of the UAE newspaper Al-Khaleej. Tamim, whose remarks are often considered to reflect the views of Dubai’s leadership, did not elaborate on the spying accusations in the article. He did not respond to calls by The
Associated Press for further comment. The police chief gained international attention as the pointman in the probe into the January slaying of a Hamas commander in Dubai, which Emirati officials have blamed on Israel’s Mossad spy agency. UAE officials reportedly are still in talks with BlackBerry maker, Canadabased Research in Motion Ltd. Tamim’s comments, however, point to a hard line by Emirates security chiefs who demand access to BlackBerry data. Blackberry traffic is encrypted and routed through servers operated by RIM.
The company has said it would not disclose details of discussions with regulators in any of the more than 175 countries where it operates. This week, India gave RIM a 60-day window to offer ways for authorities to monitor BlackBerry traffic. Saudi Arabia last month allowed BlackBerry services to continue, citing “positive developments” after talks with the company. It’s unclear whether the Saudi reprieve is permanent. Other countries such as Indonesia and Lebanon have also noted security worries about BlackBerry services. — AP
be decided in Palestine and through resistance and not in Washington.” Iran supports the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Gatherings for Quds Day were also held in other cities around the country. Karroubi, a cleric, and Mousavi were the two proreform candidates who ran against Ahmadinejad in 2009. Mousavi claims he won the election but that it was stolen from him through massive fraud. Yesterday, Mousavi condemned the attack on Karroubi’s home, saying it proved the government’s “enmity against Israel is an excuse” for attacking opposition figures. “Karroubi and figures like him and other freedom-seekers are the real enemies of authoritarians.” Yasser Khomeini, a grandson of the Islamic Republic’s founder, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, also visited Karroubi at his home to express concern about the attack, according to Sahamnews. On Thursday, Tehran police chief Gen. Hossein Sajedinia told the semi-official Fars news agency that police forces would be deployed in several parts of Tehran to maintain security during the rallies. There were no reports yesterday of any opposition gatherings. Since the vote, authorities have detained thousands and tried scores on charges of fomenting postelection unrest. More than 80 of them were sentenced to prison terms from six months to 15 years. Ten were sentenced to death, and their cases are being appealed. — AP
The US war in Iraq is over - who won? WASHINGTON: The end of America’s combat mission, after seven and a half costly years, has raised questions that will provide fodder for argument for a long time to come: Was it worth it? And who, if anyone, won? It’s too early to answer the first question, according to US Secretary of State Robert Gates, a man of sober judgment. “It really requires a historian’s perspective in terms of what happens here in the long run ... How it all weighs in the balance over time remains to be seen.” For a sizeable group of Middle East experts, the second question is easier to answer than the first. “So, who won the war in Iraq? Iran,” says the headline over an analysis by scholar Mohammed Bazzi for the Council on Foreign relations, a New Yorkbased think-tank. His argument: “The US ousted Tehran’s sworn enemy, Saddam Hussein, from power. Then Washington helped install a Shiite government for the first time in Iraq’s modern history. “As US troops became mired in fighting an insurgency and containing a civil war, Iran extended its influence over all of Iraq’s Shiite factions.” As a consequence, US influence has been waning, Iran’s has been rising, and there are predictions that Iran will fill the vacuum created by the drawdown of US troops to 50,000 who will “advise and assist” the Iraqis. When President Barack Obama
announced the completion of the drawdown in a somber speech on August 31, he made no reference to Iran - a curious omission - but said that “in an age without surrender ceremonies, we must earn victory through the success of our partners.” In the case of Iraq, only optimists find it easy to see shining success. Six months after national elections, there is still no Iraqi government, with Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds unable to agree on how to share power and, as importantly, the country’s enormous oil wealth. A squabbling, deadlocked parliament is not much to show for more than 4,000 American, up to 100,000 Iraqi deaths and $1 trillion in war spending. Obama’s predecessor, George W Bush, and the neoconservative war hawks who agitated for an attack on Iraq, predicted that the country would become a model of democracy that would inspire the rest of the Arab world, largely run by autocratic regimes, to follow suit. That proved a pipedream. Instead, in the words of Wathiq Al-Hashemi, a political analyst in Baghdad, Iraq has become a theatre for settling foreign disputes. “Iran has said many times ... that it will fill the vacuum after the US withdraws. The country has become the target of regional ambitions and interference in its affairs.” Which raises the question whether the US has pulled out too early. Like many of
America’s foreign policy moves, the withdrawal by August 31 was a function of domestic politics rather than conditions on the ground. “This was my pledge to the American people as a candidate for this office,” Obama said in his speech. “That is what we have done, we have removed nearly 100,000 US troops from Iraq.” Promise fulfilled. For Obama, how to deal with Iran’s influence in Iraq and elsewhere in the region is a work in progress. The issues range from the Tehran government’s nuclear program to Iran’s backing of Hamas, the Palestinian group that runs Gaza, and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite organization Israel tried (and failed) to wipe out in its 2006 invasion of Lebanon. The US considers both groups terrorist organizations. Early in his tenure, with his prestige riding much higher at home and in the Muslim world than it is now, Obama might have had a chance to tackle Iran the way Richard Nixon dealt with China and strike a grand bargain, putting all the differences between the two countries on the table and resolve them as a package. That possibility is probably gone. Neither Iran nor its Hamas allies in Gaza were on the agenda this week as Obama convened the first direct talks on making peace between Israel and the Palestinians in 20 months. — Reuters
Anti-mosque game sparks outrage Continued from Page 1 the Freedom Party for incitement over the game. The party has said it wanted to start a debate about mosque-building. The Austrian dispute is symptomatic of a wider trend in the United States and in Europe where Islam is becoming a more prominent political issue. Geert Wilder’s anti-Islam party doubled its seats in the Dutch parliament in June elections and Swiss voters backed a ban on
building minarets in a referendum last November. The debate in Austria reignited last month after the head of its Islamic community said it would be normal to see a mosque with a visible minaret in each of the country’s nine provinces. There are four such buildings in Austria and none of them is in Styria, where 1.6 percent of the population is Muslim according to the Austria Press Agency. There are around half a million Muslims in Austria, a predominantly
Catholic country of 8 million people ruled by a centrist coalition. At a national level, the Freedom Party has been calling for a special vote on banning mosques with minarets and Islamic face veils before another provincial election in Vienna. With its catchy slogans and youthful leader, the anti-immigrant party enjoys strong support especially from young people in Austria, winning 17.5 percent of the vote at a national level in 2008. — Reuters
Iran: Mideast talks doomed Continued from Page 1
A record 4th term for Sonia Gandhi
of the election. Crowds also encircled Karroubi’s residence for several hours Friday as Iranians filled Tehran’s streets for the annual state-sponsored rally known as Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day. The government uses the occasion as an anti-Israel outpouring and to show its support for the Palestinians. But last year, Karroubi and other opposition leaders marked the day by gathering tens of thousands of their own supporters into the streets, and violent clashes broke out with security forces. Crowds of hard-line protesters have gathered at the gate of Karroubi’s home for several days, apparently because they believed he would try to attend the rally again this year, though none of the opposition leaders has called for demonstrations. Karroubi’s son, Hossein, told The Associated Press Friday that dozens of hard-liners had targeted the leader’s home for several hours yesterday but they later dispersed. President Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, addressed the Tehran rally, saying Israel and its supporters are too weak to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. No violence was reported at the event. Israel, the United States and other nations believe Iran intends to develop atomic weapons under the cover of its civil nuclear power program. Iran denies that, saying its nuclear work is only for peaceful purposes. The president also dismissed the IsraeliPalestinian peace talks held in Washington this week, saying “the fate of Palestine will
“The fate of Palestine will be decided in Palestine and by the resistance of Palestinians and not in Washington, Paris or London,” Ahmadinejad said. Ever since the 1979 revolution, Iran has organized annual Palestinian solidarity marches across the country on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. This year’s rallies came just a day after Abbas resumed direct talks with Israel, which he broke off in December 2008 when Israel launched a devastating offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Tens of thousands of Iranians poured on to streets around the country shouting “Death to America! Death to Israel!”. Several demonstrators carried caricatures of US President Barack Obama, while others hoisted banners saying “Quds (Jerusalem) is Ours” and urging a boycott of firms doing business with Israel. “Inshallah. One day we will pray in Quds,” said state television’s news anchor as he introduced coverage of the marches. The Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the city’s annexed Arab eastern sector is Islam’s third holiest site. Ahmadinejad told the Tehran rally the people of the Middle East were capable of “removing” Israel even if their leaders chose not to, echoing his past predictions of the Jewish state’s demise that outraged Western governments. “If the leaders of
the region do not have the guts, then the people of the region are capable of removing the Zionist regime from the world scene,” he said. The region’s sole if undeclared nuclear power, Israel has never ruled out a military strike to prevent Iran acquiring an atomic weapons capability, an ambition Tehran strongly denies. But Ahmadinejad dismissed any Israeli threat to Iran’s nuclear program which his government has continued despite four sets of UN sanctions. “The Zionist regime is nothing and even its (Western) masters are too small to conduct any kind of aggression against Iran and the rights of the Iranian people,” he said to chants of “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) from the crowd. His view was echoed by General Hassan Firouzabadi, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, who said he “hoped that we do not have to target the nuclear facility” of Israel if Iran is attacked. State television said millions marched in a nationwide rally to mark the day, including soldiers, students and clerics. Black-clad women with small children clutching balloons emblazoned “Death to Israel” were among those flocking the streets of central Tehran. Iran does not recognize Israel and has repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state as the only solution to the conflict in the Middle East. It backs Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups in their fight against
Israel. “The nations of the region are able to eliminate the Zionist regime from the face of the earth,” said Ahmadinejad, adding the Israeli “regime has no future. Its life has come to an end”. Washington accuses Iran of sponsoring terrorism by arming and financing those organizations. Iran says it provides moral support to the Islamist militant groups. Iran is also at odds with Washington and its European allies over its nuclear activities, which the West fears is aimed at building bombs. Iran denies this. Israel, believed to be the only nuclear-armed Middle East, regards Iran’s nuclear program as a threat to its existence and has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end the row. International sanctions has been imposed on Iran to pressure Tehran to halt its sensitive nuclear work. Ahmadinejad told Israel the Islamic Republic would not remain idle in the face of any military attack. “I want to say that not only the Zionists, but even their masters are smaller than to lay a finger on the Iranian nation and its rights,” said Ahmadinejad. Iran’s top military official echoed the president’s comments. “Our developed weapons can hit any part of the Zionist regime (Israel) ... We hope not to be forced to attack their nuclear facility,” armed forces chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi told the semi-official Mehr news agency yesterday. — Agencies
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Champagne, flowers and dog food fill Stanley Cup
SWITZERLAND: Eduardo Molinari tees off during the first round of the Omega European Masters Golf Tournament in Crans Montana. — AP
Molinari leads European Masters CRANS-SUR-SIERRE: Edoardo Molinari took the early second round lead at the European Masters after shooting a 6-under 65 yesterday. Looking for his second straight win after last weekend’s Johnnie Walker Championship victory, the 29-year-old Italian made six birdies to reach 11 under. “I feel relaxed and have a lot of energy and confidence inside me and that’s why I am 11 under and it could have been even better,” said Molinari. “I missed a few putts out there so I cannot complain about being 11 under.” It was a second day of low scoring with Finland’s Mikko Ilonen just a shot back. Ilonen followed his opening 65 with a 67. England’s Graeme Storm is third after shooting a second-round 68 to add to his 6 under first round score of 65. Storm, whose only European tour win was recorded at the 2007 French Open, had start-
ed with four birdies in five holes but dropped four shots in five holes and it was only an eagle at the par five 14th that kept his round competitive. South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, twice a winner this year, shot a 68 to move to 8 under and within three of the lead. The 17-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero, who opened with a 64 Thursday, started his second round with two birdies in three holes to move to 9 under. Meanwhile, nationwide Insurance announced yesterday it will end its title sponsorship of the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit in the US when its contract expires in two years. The company, based in nearby Columbus, Ohio, has been the title sponsor of the tour for the past eight years. Nationwide also announced it will become the presenting sponsor for the Memorial Tournament starting in 2011, replacing Morgan Stanley, which
declined to renew its contract with the tournament founded and hosted by Jack Nicklaus. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the tour was economically healthy and had survived a difficult financial climate, but would be looking to find a replacement sponsor for the Nationwide Tour. Meanwhile, South Korean teenager Noh Seung-yul has a bright future ahead of him, according to Australia’s former world number one golfer Greg Norman. Noh played two rounds with Norman at the European Masters, an Asian Tour co-sanctioned event, and the 55-year-old Australian liked what he saw from his 19-year-old rival. “He’s an impressive young player. He’s got a big future and I enjoyed my walk in the park with them,” said Norman, referring as well to clubhouse leader Edoardo Molinari of Italy. Noh, the current Asian Tour Order of
Merit leader, shot a five-under-par 66 in the second round on Friday, but Norman shot a second straight 75 to miss the halfway cut. Man-of-the-moment Molinari, who won last week’s Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland which earned him a Ryder Cup callup, was also impressed with Noh. “He’s a hell of a player. It was definitely good fun out there playing with Greg and him,” said the Italian, who holds the clubhouse lead on 11-under-par 131. Noh, who won the Malaysian Open in March thanks to a sensational chip at the 72nd hole that set up his winning birdie against countryman K.J. Choi, said he had enjoyed playing alongside Norman, a former world number one and winner of 91 titles around the world. “Greg is a former world number one, so I had a lot of good experience playing with them. I’m happy,” said Noh, who will go into
Old foes renew rivalries in worlds last 16
NY Liberty reaches WNBA East finals NEW YORK: The New York Liberty advanced to the WNBA’s Eastern Conference finals with a 7774 win over the Indiana Fever on Wednesday, clinching a 2-1 series win. Cappie Pondexter scored 30 points, including a tiebreaking jumper with 28 seconds remaining, to set a franchise record for points in a playoff game. After Pondexter made her go-ahead jumper, Indiana’s Tamika Catchings missed a driving layup 4 seconds later and New York’s Taj McWilliamsFranklin grabbed the rebound. The Liberty called timeout, but were called for a 5-second violation on the ensuing inbounds play, turning the ball over. Catchings missed another layup with 12.9 seconds to go, McWilliams-Franklin again corralled the rebound and passed to Kia Vaughn, who was fouled. Fever coach Lin Dunn believed Catchings was fouled on both layup attempts and did not hesitate to criticize the officials. “I’m very disappointed that Eric (Brewton), Denise (Brooks) and Lamont (Simpson) did not call a foul when Tamika drove to the rim the first time, and the second time,” Dunn said. “It’s unfortunate that the players did not get to finish the game on their own.” Catchings, however, put the blame on herself. “Things happen and regardless of whether you get fouled or not, I didn’t finish two layups,” she said. “Doesn’t matter. I take the blame. You got to hit those shots.” Vaughn then made 1 of 2 free throws to extend the Liberty’s lead to three points, and Indiana’s Briann January missed a potential tying 3 with 3.9 seconds left. Vaughn had a season-high 13 points in extended playing time. “She was amazing,” Pondexter said of Vaughn. “My whole career, her whole career I’ve never seen Kia play like that. If she didn’t play like that, we definitely wouldn’t be here advancing to the next round.” New York reached the conference finals for the second time in three years where it will face Atlanta beginning Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Indiana’s Katie Douglas scored 24 points and Catchings had 21 as the Fever fell to 0-7 in postseason series in which they didn’t have homecourt advantage, including last year’s WNBA finals loss to Phoenix. — AP
the third round five shots behind Molinari. Noh added that Molinari was the obvious man to beat. “He hits it so straight and is a nice chipper and putter. I played with many players and I think he’s the number one short game player. I learned a lot from him as well,” he said “I’ll keep working hard for the weekend rounds. Putting is difficult here as the greens are difficult. But it was better for me than Thursday. I had more confidence today. It felt better.” An added incentive for the South Korean here is to finish strongly and preserve his slender lead atop the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit. He missed the cut last year and learnt his lesson. “Because of the high altitude, you get a bit more distance than other courses. Last year, I didn’t know how to handle the distances and kept hitting every shot over the green. It’s much better this week. I just take away 10 percent in my distances,” he said. — AFP
TURKEY: Novica Velickovic from Serbia is seen in this file photo during the World Basketball Championship preliminary round. —AP
ISTANBUL: Serbia and Croatia won a haul of medals when they were partners in the former Yugoslavia but today they will face each other for the first time as independent nations in the world championship last 16. Passion will also be running high when holders Spain take on Greece, also on Saturday, in a repeat of the 2006 final. Favourites the United States play Angola on Monday while Argentina and Brazil lock horns in a South American derby on Tuesday. The Serbians have had more success than the Croats since the two nations parted company in 1991 and their contrasting form in Turkey suggests Serbia will start as strong favourites to reach the quarter-finals. “Unlike us, Serbia have played outstanding basketball in this tournament and we can only beat them if we double our efforts,” Croatia forward Kresimir Loncar said after their 92-74 rout by Brazil in the final Group B match on Thursday. “We looked like we had never played together before and our current form is not good enough to give much weaker teams than Serbia a run for their money.” Serbia, who lost to Spain in the 2009 European Championship final, won Group A with an enthralling 84-82 Group A win over 2004 Olympic champions Argentina but their coach Dusan Ivkovic said they had to improve in the knockout rounds. “We have to make sure we don’t concede easy points and commit silly fouls any more, our fast-flowing game sometimes backfires because this is a young team,” he said. “But overall I am proud of my players because they have shown moderm and entertaining basketball in highscoring games, which the fans love to watch.”
Serbia are the tournament leaders in points, assists, and rebounds per game, their only glitch coming in an 82-81 defeat by eliminated Germany when they had captain Nenad Krstic and playmaker Milos Teodosic suspended. The Spaniards are sorely missing Los Angeles Lakers centre Pau Gasol and Toronto Raptors playmaker Jose Manuel Calderon and their depleted side had a rough ride in the preliminary stage, losing to Lithuania and France in Group D. The United States breezed through the group stage and although beating Angola in the last 16 should be a formality, their coach Mike Krzyzewski said the overall performance still left something to be desired. “The Tunisia game was symbolic of the level of hard play in every possession in our pool,” he said after his team coasted to a 92-57 whitewash of the Africans. “They got 25 offensive rebounds and that means they never gave up on the ball; I admire that and it means we have to work on our stuff a little bit better.” Argentina have been the dominant South American team since they reached the 2002 final in Indianapolis, followed by their 2004 Olympics victory when they beat the United States in a memorable semi-final. But Brazil, led by Argentine coach Ruben Manano and aiming for their first World Championship medal since 1978, will not be overawed after upsetting their perennial rivals in the South American Championship final earlier this year. The remaining last 16 matches feature Slovenia against Australia, Turkey against France, Russia against New Zealand and Lithuania against China. — Reuters
TORONTO: Though it is the National Hockey League’s (NHL) ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup has been left at the bottom of a swimming pool, used as a flower pot and a popcorn bucket and carried into a Finnish sauna. As the NHL allows members of every winning team their own day with the Cup, the well-travelled sterling silver trophy is often the centre piece of unusual celebrations as players try to trump each other in creativity. “If the Stanley Cup could talk it would be a best seller,” Phil Pritchard, curator of the Toronto-based Hockey Hall of Fame, told Reuters during a recent interview. “It would have so many viewpoints on all the great and different things that it has seen, but most of all it would be impressed on how much it travels and how many countries it has visited.” The 35-lb (15.89-kg), three-foot (0.9-metre) Stanley Cup is composed of a bowl, three tiered bands, a collar and five rings inscribed with the 2,163 names of members of winning teams. While other North American professional sports leagues give out a new likeness of their championship trophy each year, the same Stanley Cup is handed to the NHL team that secures 16 wins in a tough, four-round playoff after an 82-game regular season. When the Cup is won, the captain of the winning team is allowed to keep it for the night unsupervised-the only time this is allowed-which has no doubt contributed to the dents and scratches that add to the trophy’s character. The morning after Mario Lemieux won his first Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991, the Hall of Famer woke up to find the trophy resting at the bottom of his pool after it had served as a giant champagne flute the night before. Despite years of partying and about 300 days of travel a year, the Stanley Cup has always returned safe and little worse for wear thanks to the white-glove service from Pritchard. Pritchard and four others known as ‘Keepers of the Cup’ offer 24-hour supervision for a trophy that has been hoisted, cradled and kissed by the game’s greatest players. Since it was first presented in 1893, the Stanley Cup has been dropkicked into the bottom of a canal in 1905, where it remained until the next day, used as a flower pot for a few months in 1907 and left on a roadside snowbank in 1924. Pritchard says at least one horse has eaten from the bowl as have two dogs, most recently in 2007 when goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere allowed his pet to have a go. Former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre used it as a baptismal font for his daughter in 1996, Martin Brodeur took it to a cinema so his children could eat popcorn from it and Jere Lehtinen took it to a Finnish sauna party after winning with Dallas in 1999. The 117-year-old Cup has also been used as a bowl for ice cream, cereal and soup made from cows’ intestines and to hold greasy chicken wings as Patrick Kane celebrated his win with the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this year. Of all his time with the Stanley Cup, Pritchard said his oddest encounter was at a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada when a woman mistook the trophy for a coffee urn and asked him where the coffee cups were. Pritchard said winners of the Stanley Cup respected it and he could not recall the last time he had to decline an idea for how someone wanted to spend their day with it. Lord Stanley of Preston, at the time the Governor General of Canada, donated the Stanley Cup in 1893 after purchasing it for 10 guineas, or $50 at that time. —Reuters
Saturday, September 4, 2010
LONDON: England’s Joanna McGilchrist (centre) is tackled by Australia’s Tricia Brown (left) and Sharni Williams (right) during their Women’s Rugby World Cup semifinal match. —AP
Australian rugby struggles with weight of history JOHANNESBURG: Australia will again struggle with the weight of history, and the effects of altitude, in the Tri-Nations test against South Africa in Bloemfontein today as it searches for a long-awaited victory on the highveld. The Wallabies will seal second place in the Tri-Nations and claim back the Nelson Mandela Plate from South Africa with a win at Vodacom Park in the penultimate fixture of this year’s competition. But those honors will be less significant than a first success over the Springboks since 1963 at one of the country’s highveld venues. Australia has won just twice at altitude in South Africa, and both victories are distant memories: a 15-4 win in
Bloemfontein in 1933 and the 11-9 triumph at Ellis Park in Johannesburg 30 years later. It’s become a “highveld hoodoo” and was reinforced last weekend when the Wallabies wasted a 14-0 and 21-7 lead to go down 4431 to a desperate South Africa in Pretoria. “The highveld bogey is something we have talked about a lot,” wing Drew Mitchell said at the Australian training camp in the east coast city of Durban this week. “We know it has been a long time since an Australian team has won there, and we know it is a losing sequence we must break. “We feel we are very close now to breaking through the barrier and creating a bit of history.” Mitchell and recalled hooker Stephen Moore will win their 50th caps for
Australia at Vodacom Park. Like South Africa lock Victor Matfield’s 100th test at Loftus Versfeld last weekend, which ended a four-game losing streak for the Boks, the result overrides personal milestones for the Wallabies. “This match is hugely important for the team as we want to achieve something that we have been talking about and looking for for quite a few years now,” Mitchell said. Robbie Deans’ team had the Springboks on the ropes in Pretoria, but appeared to fade with the affects of the altitude in the second half and the Boks fought back to level the Nelson Mandela Plate series at 1-1. Australia outplayed South Africa 30-13 in Brisbane earlier in the tournament, but has a
lopsided record of 30 losses in 38 tests in South Africa. Dean’s response was to recall experienced forwards Moore and lock Mark Chisholm, who have 100 tests between them, for the Bloemfontein matchup. Western Force utility forward Ben McCalman has also been handed his first test start. All three changes are in the pack, where Australia knows it has to compete with South Africa’s physical forwards if it is to end the jinx. Deans said the three changes would add “energy” to his team, but the coach hopes the experience of Moore and Chisholm and McCalman’s lineout ability gives Australia an edge up front. “Both Stephen (Moore) and Mark (Chisholm) have experience playing in
games where the circumstances were not too dissimilar to what we will encounter on tonight,” Deans said. “They know what to expect and ... what is required to be successful.” South Africa has returned to winning ways following a dismal defense of its TriNations title, but coach Peter de Villiers and his world champions are also under pressure to win in Bloemfontein — and take something from a poor tournament. “There is still the Mandela Cup to play for and whilst we do not play only to win trophies we do see them as just reward for hard work. Hopefully our hard work will pay off and we can celebrate a win at the weekend,” De Villiers said. South Africa’s only change to its starting 15 also came up front, with
powerful second rower Danie Rossouw recalled in place of the young Flip van der Merwe. “We feel that Danie will be better suited to the type of game we would like to play,” De Villiers said, suggesting an onslaught from the Springbok forwards. Starting prop Jannie du Plessis and Van der Merwe, who moves to the bench, have both been passed fit for South Africa after scans at the start of the week. Lock Nathan Sharpe and center Matt Giteau will run on for Australia after shaking off ankle sprains. Ahead of another highveld test for the Wallabies, Mitchell said: “It is not as if we don’t believe we can beat these guys. It’s just a case of us needing to be more consistent through 80 minutes.”—AP
Iran’s first lady of skiing trains on grass
BELGIUM: Ferrari’s Brazilian driver Felipe Massa drives at the SpaFrancorchamps circuit in this file photo. —AFP
FIA probes Massa’s start at Belgian GP LONDON: Formula One’s governing body is investigating how Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was able to make a false start at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix without any race officials or rival teams noticing. An International Automobile Federation (FIA) spokeswoman added, however, that there was no possibility of the Brazilian losing his fourth place finish from Spa. Video footage taken from the crowd and posted on the internet after the race at Spa clearly showed the front of Massa’s car was positioned well ahead of the line on the starting grid that it should have been behind. Had it been noticed, the driver, who started sixth, would have collected a penalty. “The problem was not brought to the attention of the FIA race director by either the marshals nor the automatic jump start system in time to be able to apply the appropriate penalty for jump starts,” the spokeswoman said. “As no further information or complaints were received before the publication of the official result on Sunday night, the classification of the Belgian Grand Prix will now remain unchanged. “The FIA are investigating the causes of the apparent failures in communication with race control in order to ensure a repetition is not possible.” Normally a transponder on the car would send an automatic signal to race control to alert officials to the vehicle being out of position at the start. A Ferrari spokesman, whose team will find out
next week whether they are to be punished further by the FIA for a ‘team orders’ furore at the German Grand Prix in July, said he could only comment on the result, which was official. Ferrari have already been fined $100,000 for illegally ordering Massa to let team mate Fernando Alonso pass at Hockenheim so that the Spaniard could win. The Spa incident marks the second time this season that the governing body has reacted to film or photographic evidence. Photographs that showed the front wings of the Red Bull and Ferrari apparently flexing under speed were published in a French newspaper in July and subsequently led to the FIA introducing more stringent stress tests. Meanwhile, Malaysian state oil company Petronas has extended its title sponsorship of the country’s Formula One grand prix for another five years until 2015. Malaysia has hosted a grand prix at the purposebuilt Sepang International circuit outside Kuala Lumpur since 1999 and Petronas has sponsored all 12. “Apart from the continuous benefits our businesses and brand receive through the Formula One exposure, (the extension) reflects our long-term commitment and continued dedication to support efforts to position Malaysia as a major motorsport hub and tourist destination,” Petronas’s Mohd Medan Abdullah said in a news release.” —Reuters
DIZIN: Skiing down a grassy mountain in the middle of summer is not the only unusual thing about Marjan Kalhor. She is also an Olympic competitor-a rare thing for a woman in a maledominated sport in Iran. Two hours’ drive from Tehran, Dizin’s hotel and many flashy chalets cater for skiers and the many winter visitors who want to escape the bustle and pollution of the capital. But in summer, when temperatures in the city are often well above 40ºC (104ºF), it remains a training ground for people, like Kalhor, who have devoted much of their lives to the sport. It is also the home town of the 22-year-old who this year became the first woman skier to represent Iran in a Winter Olympics. Warming up to whiz down the grassy slope, Kalhor told Reuters she loves her career as a skier despite the fact that, like many Iranian athletes, she receives no financial backing. “During the Olympics I hurt my knees, but no one even bothered to call and ask how I was doing? I myself paid the whole costs.” A male colleague, Mahdi Solghani, agreed that life is tough for Iranian athletes, men or women. “Inviting me to the camps for exercising was the only thing that the (Iranian skiing) federation has done for me ... Although I am a double medal winner, this year I myself bought all my gear which is worth 4 million tomans ($4,000). Passion is the only reason that brings me here, but there is no income.” Financial problems and a lack of sponsors are not Mahdi’s only problems. He
also has to serve military service- obligatory for men in Iran-next year. For Kalhor the obstacles have been different. In a country where women are not allowed to watch men play soccer and where women players wear head-to-toe clothing and have to cover their hair in accordance with Islamic law, skiing was once a taboo for women. Kalhor says attitudes have changed and there are now no restrictions. “In the past there was a very negative attitude towards a woman who skied in Iran, but time passed and women could prove they had something to say and could be successful.” At the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, where she completed the giant slalom 21.75 seconds behind the fastest time, Kalhor wore a similar racing outfit and helmet to her competitors. “Both danger and cold weather play a key role in skiing. Therefore, ski outfits are designed in a way to not impose limitations on anyone. I exactly wear the same outfit in Iran which I wore in the Olympics race.” As Iran’s flag-bearer at the Vancouver opening ceremony, Kalhor sees herself as a role model for the next generation. “I am truly happy because like a spark I could make other professional female skiers think about big events like the Olympics and that is so precious for me. I hope this trend continues.” While her competition career continues, Kalhor plans to get a doctorate in sport physiology and become a university professor, while setting her sights on the 2014 winter games. “What I wish for is to attend the Olympics one more time.”— Reuters
Yevgeny Plushenko skates in this file photo
Banned Plushenko still wants to skate in Sochi BEIJING: Former Olympic figure skating champion Yevgeny Plushenko is still determined to compete at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics despite the indefinite ban imposed on him last month. The Russian was banned by the International Skating Union (ISU) for skipping the world championships through injury but then appearing without permission in lucrative exhibitions. “I would like to skate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, that’s my goal and my dream,” the 27-year-old three-times world champion told reporters yesterday. “I’m going to compete in an ISU event in October in Japan. That’s my first step and then you will see.” Plushenko is in Beijing to take part in today’s “Artistry on Ice”, a gala to celebrate the wedding of China’s first Olympic champion figure skaters Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo. His compatriot and fellow former Olympic
champion Alexei Yagudin is also taking part and he said he hoped Plushenko would be able to skate on home ice in Sochi. “From 2002 to 2006, Russian skaters won a lot of events,” the 2002 Olympic champion said. “But right now it’s really bad, and we basically see Russian skaters in major events win pretty much nothing except Yevgeny. “In my opinion, our only hope for winning a medal at the 2014 Winter Games is if Yevgeny returns.” Shen and Zhao came out of retirement to claim the pairs title at the Vancouver Winter Games in February, ending Russia’s 46-year dominance of the event. Yagudin said urgent changes needed to be made at the Russian figure skating federation (RFSF) if things were to improve for the 2014 Olympic hosts. “We have to make some changes, otherwise it’s not going to be good,” he said. —Reuters
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Pistorius hopes to comfortably make London 2012 ROVERETO: A woman carrying pole vaults in a purpose-built bag struggles to make her way through a crowd of screaming children at an athletics meeting in northern Italy. Caster Semenya, the women’s 800 metres world champion is alongside 2004 Olympic men’s 100 gold medallist Justin Gatlin but the duo are not the recipients of the adulation. Instead, Oscar Pistorius, who has never run in a world championship or an Olympics, is the one being mobbed by local youngsters even if some in the athletics fraternity had hoped the double amputee with prosthetic legs
had gone away. The South African 400 metres runner was splashed across the the world’s newspapers two years ago after winning his battle to race with able-bodied athletes having previously been banned. He then failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics or the 2009 world championships in Berlin but his dream of reaching next year’s worlds and London’s 2012 Games burns brighter than ever. “I’m sure at end of this year I’ll reflect and take some positive points which I’ll apply for the world champi-
onships and by the time 2012 comes around I should be qualifying quite comfortably,” he told Reuters after coming third in a leisurely run of 47.14 seconds. Arriving straight off a plane from South Africa did not help his time but his future aim is to consistently break 46 seconds and reach the qualification grade, thus becoming the first disabled track and field athlete to compete at an Olympics. “My personal best before this season was 46.23, this year I came down to 46.02. I am knocking on the door, you can make that difference up just
at the end of the race,” he added. “I missed it this year by two hundredths of a second, a bit too close for comfort. I have to work harder, I have to find better ways of recovering, train smarter and prepare for the next two years.” Pistorius began competing against able-bodied athletes in 2007 but the governing IAAF banned him after ruling the hi-tech blades he runs with gave him an unfair advantage. The Court of Arbitration for Sport lifted the ban in 2008 and although he missed out on qualification for the Olympics, he won three gold medals
in the Beijing Paralympics and continues to set disabled world records. Even if he does make the South African team for London, Pistorius still plans to race in the 2012 Paralympics just a two weeks later. “I’ve run five 400s in two days. I’m not really fazed by it,” he said. “The pressure is the biggest thing about an event like that, it’s not really a physical issue. It’ll demand a lot but I’ve been preparing for it for three or four years so I’m definitely going to be ready.” Although South African, Pistorius’s powerbase is in Italy
where he does much of his northern hemisphere training and competing. The Italians, always the fan of an underdog and with few top-class athletes to call their own, have taken him to their hearts and dozens of fans waited eagerly for him after his race. Having casually taken off the prosthetic blades which caused all the bother in 2008, he switched to his normal artificial legs before putting on his trousers and shoes. Pistorius then proceeded to sign autograph after autograph and appear in countless photographs. “I love running here,” he said. “Hopefully next
year I can come back and run a better time.” Despite the attention and being nicknamed “Blade Runner” by the media, the slightly shy 23-year-old talks like any other athlete desperate to make the grade at international level. In a long conversation he did not mention his disability once. “I enter the year thinking I’m having the best preparations and then at the end of the year I realise how much I have learnt from the season,” he said as another teenage girl grabbed hold of him for a picture. —Reuters
David Rudisha, star of 2012 Olympics?
ITALY: David Rudisha from Kenya celebrates his new world record in the 800metre event at the 40th IAAF Grand Prix Meeting in this file photo. —AFP
Ultimate fighters target Asia’s billions BEIJING: No one could accuse the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) new Asia chief Mark Fischer of lacking ambition. While most sports organisations setting up in Asia adopt modest plans for growth and market reach, Fischer believes UFC’s brand of mixed martial arts (MMA) can capture the imagination of more than a third of Asians. “I’d say one billion fans is a good target,” Fischer, the newly appointed managing director for UFC Asia, told Reuters in an interview. “The sport is already here in Asia and in China. There is a deep martial arts heritage across Asia.” Fischer’s optimism partly comes from the remarkable success UFC has had in the United States over the last few years in raising the profile of MMA-a fusion of jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, boxing, kickboxing and wrestling. Being a former senior vice president of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Asia operation, Fischer also knows well enough how successful imported sports can be on the continent. Basketball and the NBA brand have boomed in China, in particular since Chinese centre Yao Ming joined the Houston Rockets as the first overall pick in the 2002 draft. “We hope that the same thing would happen with UFC,” the American said. “Quite frankly there’s probably even a better chance that would be happening with the UFC than...with the NBA. “There are many more potentially very good fighters coming from China over the next 10 years for example that could compete very strongly in the MMA.” The first fighter signed up by UFC is from Inner Mongolia, home to China’s best wrestlers. Martial arts have deep roots in Asia, which is
home to most of the disciplines that make up MMA. China at one stage was hoping that wushua catch-all term for Chinese martial arts including kung fu-might make it into the competition schedule for the Beijing Olympics. Although wushu remains popular, there have been problems codifying it for competition and some critics say it is more like gymnastics than fighting these days. That certainly could not be said of the UFC fights and, while Fischer stresses the safety of UFC, he believes that clearer rules would bring the martial arts in China to a more advanced level. “There is also a tradition in Asia, maybe it’s not such a good one, maybe more of a controversial one, that some of the rules are not as developed or refined,” he said. “What I like and I think what many people would like and appreciate about the UFC is that it has applied a very consistent set of rules and regulations to the sport that not only emphasises and ensures the consistency of the competition but also the safety for the fighters.” Enlarging the fan base of the existing televised fights from the US in Asia was a more realistic short-term goal than having the bouts in China very soon, Fischer said. “I think the initial measurement of success would be measuring the fans’ base for the UFC and I think a very close corollary to that is the number of TV viewers and internet followers of the sport,” Fischer said. “The third measurement, maybe a little bit down the road, would be participants, people that consider themselves participating or training in the sport. “And ultimately, how many fighters we have from Asia, and of course from China, participating in UFC at the highest levels.” —Reuters
Vuvuzelas set for blast off at Commonwealth Games NEW DELHI: Loved and loathed in equal measure, the drone of the vuvuzela will resonate in India for the first time at the Commonwealth Games in October. The plastic horn, which went on to become soccer’s World Cup soundtrack in South Africa this year, will be part of Delhi’s noisy celebration for the Oct. 3-14 multisports gathering, organisers said on Thursday. Even though the cacophony received a resounding thumbs-down in Europe, the chairman of the event’s official merchandising partner, Premier Brands, said the high decibel level should not be a problem in India. “In India we enjoy sports with lot of noise. We are not like the Europeans,” Suresh
Kumar told Reuters yesterday. “The organising committee only needs to ensure that the fans are allowed to enter the stadiums with the vuvuzelas and it is not perceived as a security issue.” Kumar refused to share the sales target and where he was sourcing the horns from. “With just a month to go for the Games to start, we have not set ourselves any target but I can assure you that supply would not be an issue.” Unlike the ones sold in South Africa, the vuvuzelas would be decorated in Indian colours and priced at a little less than $4. Apart from the company website, vuvuzelas and other official merchandise products
could be obtained from mobile vans which will visit schools in the morning and shopping malls and residential areas in the afternoon. Vuvuzelas symbolised South Africa’s passion around the soccer World Cup but were soon consigned to the scrapheap once the final whistle had sounded. The horns were banned from the Wimbledon tennis grand slam and also from UEFA competitions such as the Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2012 qualifiers. The vuvuzelas, however, are expected to be a hit in a country where loud celebrations are part of life and where cricket crowds are often so noisy that umpires struggle to detect edges. —Reuters
PARIS: Alongside or near Usain Bolt, add David Rudisha to the list of athletes who should shiver our spines at the London Olympics in — it is getting much closer now — the summer after next. Bolt, the showman, will always be the bigger star. His events, the 100 and 200, have more glamor, more pulling power than Rudisha’s discipline, the 800. And Bolt, of course, is already a multiple Olympic champion. But Rudisha is the Next Big Thing. The 21-year-old Kenyan proved that not once but twice on consecutive Sundays this August by rewriting the 800meter world record that had gathered dust since 1997. Like Bolt, Rudisha is forcing us to reconsider where the boundaries of human possibility lie in his discipline. It is surely only a matter of time until he becomes the first human to complete two circuits of the track in under 1 minute and 41 seconds. He’s only a whisker away now: the ink drying on his shiny new record reads 1:41.01. The biggest parallel with Bolt is in style. Both men are simply thrilling to watch because of the muscular power they radiate when they run, like the smooth pumping of steel pistons in an ocean liner’s boiler room. A consequence of their long, loping and controlled strides is that their rivals look jagged and frenetic in comparison, as if forced to try too hard to keep up. Perching uncomfortably on the crossroads between sprints and middle distance makes the 800 a monstrously difficult race. Its unique combination of distance and speed taxes both the aerobic and anaerobic systems in the body — essentially its methods for creating energy — to the absolute limit. Runners must be both quick and enduring, powerful but not too heavy — physical qualities that do not always come together and which require very different types of training to hone. Yet Rudisha, like Bolt in his events, makes it look so laughably easy. The way his manager tells it, he always has. James Templeton was first alerted to Rudisha by another Kenyan runner, Japheth Kimutai, in an April 2005 phone call. “I’ll never forget the conversation,” he says. “He said, ‘Oh, JT, oh, you are going to be a happy man.’ ... I said, ‘What’s up?’ He said, ‘We’ve found the guy we’ve been looking for.”‘ “That day he ran his first 800 and he ran 1:49 on a sluggish dirt track with his long stride. Japheth was well aware then that this kid had greatness in him.” To truly be considered great, Rudisha now needs gold medals — Olympic and world — around his neck. As much as these things can be planned, it was smart of Rudisha to brush Wilson Kipketer’s world record out of the way this year so he can focus next year solely on the worlds and, in 2012, the Olympics. Motivation won’t be a problem. Rudisha flopped at the 2009 worlds, a semifinal victim of inexperience and cold, rainy weather. Before that, a pulled calf muscle kept him from the 2008 Beijing Games. “It took him a long time to get over that,” says Templeton. But, looking ahead to the coming two years, the manager adds: “In some ways, that disappointment could have worked out for the best.” At 6-foot-2, (1.88 meters), Rudisha is taller than previous record holders Kipketer and Sebastian Coe. —AP
Kosuke Kitajima celebrates in this file photo
Kitajima to head Japan’s Asian Games team TOKYO: Japan’s multiple Olympic gold medallist Kosuke Kitajima will head his country’s Asian Games swimming team at the November event, Japanese officials said yesterday. World backstroke champion Junya Koga and Ryosuke Irie were also named on a strong Japanese squad for the Nov. 12-27 Games in Guangzhou. “We have kept the team down to the best of the best to give the team the biggest chance,” Japan’s head coach Koji Ueno told reporters after the 29-member squad was announced. Kitajima, who won the men’s 100 and 200 metres breaststroke at the 2004 and
2008 Olympics, repeated the feat at last month’s Pan Pacific championships in the United States. After flirting with retirement following the 2008 Beijing Games, Kitajima has set his sights on an unprecedented “triple double” at the 2012 London Games. Meanwhile, China’s Olympic swimming champion Liu Zige will skip November’s Asian Games to concentrate on next year’s world championships, Chinese swimming officials said. Liu had been suffering from fatigue since winning the 200 metres butterfly at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the vice president of Chinese swimming’s governing body told
yesterday’s China Daily. “To prepare for the London Games we’d better give her a rest to recover her strength and keep her form,” Shang Xiutang said on Liu’s decision not to compete in Guangzhou. “Missing the Asian Games is acceptable,” Liu’s coach Jin Wei told Xinhua recently. “Top-class events will be her number one priority-especially next year’s world championships and the 2012 London Olympics.” The absence of the world-record holder will make Jiao Liuyang, runner-up behind Liu at the Beijing Olympics, favourite to win the Asian title. —Reuters
INDIANAPOLIS: Honda Repsol rider Dani Pedrosa of Spain speeds in this file photo. —AFP
Pedrosa clocks fastest time MISANO: Dani Pedrosa, victorious at Indianapolis last week, demonstrated his pace-setting skills again yesterday when he clocked the fastest time in practice for tomorrow’s San Marino Grand Prix. The Honda rider clocked 1min 34.772sec to edge out stablemate Andrea Dovizioso by 0.612sec, with Yamaha pair Jorge Lorenzo, the championship leader, and Valentino Rossi, the defending world champion, filling the top four. “It’s been a really good start here in Misano compared to last year and I’m very happy about that,” said the 24-year-old, whose win at the US Grand Prix last Sunday was his third of the season.
“We are coming from a strong result at the last race and it’s important to keep the momentum going, which we have done so far. “But we need to remain very concentrated and focused because we still have some areas to improve, and I’m sure our rivals will also go quicker tomorrow.” Pedrosa was third here last year and tomorrow will be chasing his first back-toback wins in MotoGP. Lorenzo has a 68point lead in the title race over Pedrosa and has finished on the podium in every race this season, but the Spaniard admitted that he was not happy with his performance yesterday.
“Today was quite difficult for us, more so than we expected,” said Lorenzo. “It’s not my physical condition, I feel completely recovered from the hard weekend in Indianapolis, but we really struggled today and I didn’t have enough confidence in my bike or in the tyres.” Rossi, chasing a third sucessive win at his home event, was happy with his fourth-place despite being 0.767sec off the lead. “We’re quite far from Pedrosa, who was very impressive today, but we’re close to Dovizioso and Lorenzo. Tomorrow we will try to find some tenths and improve our time a bit,” said the Italian. —AFP
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Ghana lead Nations Cup hopefuls into battle JOHANNESBURG: World Cup quarter-finalists Ghana lead 42 hopefuls when the 2012 African Nations Cup qualifying campaign kicks off this weekend. The ‘Black Stars’ are away to minnows Swaziland tomorrow two months after new Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan blazed a last-minute penalty over off the crossbar and Uruguay went on to win on penalties. Midfielders Michael Essien of Chelsea, Sulley Muntari of Inter Milan and Stephen Appiah of Cesena will be notable absentees, leaving wily Serb coach Milovan Rajevac to unleash his young stars on the Swazis. Essien has just returned to action after a lengthy absence caused by a knee injury sustained during training at the 2010 Nations Cup in Angola last January and opted out of African combat for an indefinite period. Talented but temperamental Muntari has given the coach more grey hairs than the rest of the squad combined and was left out while Appiah decided last month to concentrate on his club career in Italy. Swaziland usually provide stiff resistance at Somhlolo Stadium in the breathtaking Ezulwini Valley, defeating Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor and his Togo team-mates there in the last qualifying competition. Sudan host Congo Saturday in the other Group I fixture knowing that second place is the realistic limit of their ambitions with Ghana hot favourites to secure a place at finals being co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Defending champions no longer get a free passage to the biennial tournament so seventime title holders Egypt must go through the same six-match grind as everyone else, starting with Sierra Leone in Cairo Sunday. The Pharaohs warmed up with a 6-3 home victory over the Democratic Republic of Congo and in young Ahmed Ali from Ismailia they appear to have unearthed another promising striker. Another threat to the Leone Stars will be Mohamed ‘Geddo’ Nagy, unknown before the 2010 tournament only to upstage stars like Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast and finish leading scorer with five goals. South Africa and Niger are in the same group and the 2010 World Cup hosts cannot afford any slips in north-east city Nelspruit Saturday as new coach Pitso Mosimane makes his competitive debut. Both teams had encouraging warm-up results last month with Bafana Bafana (The Boys) edging Ghana 1-0 in Johannesburg while Niger forced a goalless stalemate away to Benin. Nigeria caretaker coach Austin Eguavoen has gone against the tradition of naming only foreign-based stars by including several locals for a Group A encounter with modest Madagascar in Calabar Sunday. After a disastrous World Cup campaign, the ‘Super Eagles’ are under massive pressure to improve and should collect maximum points against rivals who battled to overcome featherweights Comoros Islands in a warm-up game. Algeria, who held England at the World Cup, get the 21-fixture schedule under way Friday in Blida against Tanzania with the biggest concern of the hosts being the lack of fire power harshly exposed in South Africa. Drogba has followed Chelsea team-mate Essien and made himself unavailable for multi-talented but trophy-less Ivory Coast, leaving fellow ‘Pensioner’ Salomon Kalou to lead the Abidjan assault on Rwanda today. That leaves Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o as the only African superstar in action and an away engagement with Mauritius offers the possibility of goals for World Cup flops Cameroon under new Spanish coach Javier Clemente. Because there are five teams in Group K, three rounds have been played and surprise leaders Botswana can begin dreaming of a first Nations Cup appearance if they defeat Togo in Gaborone today. The 16-team finals field will comprise Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, the 11 group winners, the Group K runners-up, and the best two runners-up from the other 10 mini-leagues. —AFP
YEREVAN: Ireland’s Liam Lawrence (right), and Armenia’s Artak Edigaryan (left) fight for the ball during their Euro 2012 Group B qualifying soccer match. — AP
Turkey give Hiddink winning start ASTANA: Turkey made a perfect start to life under Guus Hiddink by confidently beating Kazakhstan 3-0 in their opening 2012 European Championship qualifying match here yesterday. Galatasaray winger Arda Turan, Bayern Munich midfielder Hamit Altintop and Besiktas striker Nihat Kahveci all scored for Turkey, who recorded their third win in as many competitive meetings with Kazakhstan. Hiddink, the 63-year-old Dutchman who led Holland and South Korea to the World Cup semi-finals
and guided Russia into the last four at Euro 2008, was taking the reins for his first competitive match at the Turkey helm. The visitors started positively in their Group A opener, pinning Kazakhstan back inside their own half in the opening minutes and winning two corners that came to nothing. They took the lead in the 24th minute when Turan swept in a rebound after a team-mate’s header had hit the woodwork and then rolled along the goal-line. Altintop doubled the score two minutes later, firing a powerful shot
underneath the crossbar after a wellworked corner. Kazakhstan took the game to the away side early in the second half but they were soon forced back and home
do besides fielding fruitless longrange attempts. Nihat Kahveci made it 3-0 in the 79th minute, steering the ball into the net from a precise cross to set
Ireland edge Armenia 1-0 in Euro qualifier goalkeeper Andrei Sidelnikov was kept on his toes as Turkey threatened repeatedly. The hosts were able to fashion a number of half-chances but Turkey goalkeeper Onur Kivrak had little to
the seal on a well-deserved win. Meanwhile, substitute Keith Fahey scored a late winner yesterday to secure a 1-0 victory for Ireland over Armenia in their qualifying opener for the 2012 European
a corner. Given made two more saves late in the first half to deny the home side from scoring. “It was a hot game,” Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni said. “The last 15 minutes were really tough for the Irish team.” Armenia pressed for an equalizer but Given blocked Karlen Mkrtchyan’s shot from outside the box and saved two efforts from late substitute Edgar Manucharyan in the 84th and 89th. Ireland next hosts Andorra on Tuesday, while Armenia travels to FYR Macedonia. Group B also includes Russia and Slovakia. — Agencies
Roethlisberger suspension cut
Coaches support five-refs experiment NYON: Europe’s leading coaches are in favour of the experiment with two extra linesmen behind the goals and prefer it to the use of goal-line technology, UEFA said on Thursday. However, they are less enthusiastic about changing the away goals rule used in European club competition, even though some feel it encourages teams to play defensively at home rather than attack when they are away. The new refereeing system, which features one extra linesman behind each goal, was first tried in the Europa League last season and has been extended to the Champions League and the Euro 2012 qualifiers. UEFA president Michel Platini is one of the most vociferous supporters of the experiment which is being carried out in other competitions worldwide over the next two years before FIFA decides whether to implement it on a permanent basis. “They’re very positive about this experiment,” UEFA’s technical director Andy Roxburgh told reporters after a two-day meeting of some of Europe’s leading coaches at UEFA headquarters including Pep Guardiola, Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Claude Puel and Felix Magath. “They’re very much aware of the problems of going down the technology route and, like Platini, they would like to keep it human if possible, so this experiment with the additional
Championship. Fahey came on for Aiden McGeady in the 68th minute and pounced on a rebound eight minutes later after goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky failed to control Robbie Keane’s shot from inside the box. Keane had hit the post previously, as Ireland wasted a number of chances to take the lead. Henrik Mkhitaryan had Armenia’s first effort on goal with a low shot from the right forcing Shay Given to make a save in the 14th minute. Eight minutes later Berezovsky blocked Glenn Whelan’s header from
referees allows us to do that.” “The additional refs sometimes do not always look very active but they are very active because they are in constant touch with the referee,” added Roxburgh. “This role is new so it’s something which has to be nurtured and developed and it will evolve. “There’s also the deterrent effect, if there’s eyes behind the line there might not be so much pulling in the penalty box or simulation.” The five referees failed one test last week when officials at the Tottenham v Young Boys Champions League qualifier missed an obvious handball by Jermain Defoe before he scored a Spurs goal. “There’s no 100 percent guarantee but this is an attempt to make it better, to minimise mistakes,” said the former Scotland manager. Roxburgh said coaches had shown little enthusiasm for changing the away goals rule. “We raised the question that, after 40 years, is it something that should be reviewed because some teams seem to think now that a 0-0 at home is a good result because they didn’t lose an away goal, so has the balanced changed a bit? “But they think that after 40 years, it’s well established, part of the game and we should leave it. “However, they were questioning whether we should have the away goals rule in extra-time,” he added. —Reuters
Ben Roethlisberger in action in this file photo
NEW YORK: Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension has been reduced from six games to four by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ star quarterback met with Goodell early yeterday and was told he could return on Oct. 17 against Cleveland. Roethlisberger was suspended in April for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, but Goodell said at the time he would review Roethlisberger’s behavior over the next few months. Goodell was satisfied that the player has followed the league’s guidelines and stayed out of trouble. Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a Georgia college student following a night of drinking in a Milledgeville, Georgia, bar on March 5. He was not charged by Georgia authorities. The league said the “reinstatement is contingent on Roethlisberger continuing to adhere to the program established by our advisors and avoiding any further violations of the personal conduct policy.” “You have told me and the Steelers that you are committed to making better decisions,” Goodell said in a letter to Roethlisberger. “Your actions over the past several months have been consistent with that promise and you must continue to honor that commitment.” Roethlisberger is the first player suspended by Goodell under the NFL’s personal conduct policy who was not arrested, charged with or convicted of a crime. However, Goodell said in April the policy allows him to impose such a penalty when the league’s integrity and reputation are at stake. Roethlisberger’s representatives at one point wanted the suspension cut in half, to three games, but Goodell stipulated in
April it would be a six-game ban that could only be reduced to four games. Steelers president Art Rooney accompanied Roethlisberger on his trip to see Goodell. Rooney and his organization kept in frequent contact with Goodell throughout the four-month process, during which Roethlisberger underwent extensive evaluations. Indeed, Goodell’s ruling was made in consultation with Rooney and the Steelers, who were angered by the two-time Super Bowl winner’s behavior and would have punished him if the league hadn’t. Roethlisberger and Goodell met last month at the team’s training camp in Latrobe, Pa. At that time, Goodell said he was encouraged by the progress Roethlisberger was making and promised to make his decision on the term of the suspension before the regular season began. Goodell kept his word Friday. The Steelers re-signed Byron Leftwich and planned to start him in Roethlisberger’s absence. But Leftwich hurt his left knee in Thursday night’s exhibition finale against Carolina. Depending on the extent of the injury, Pittsburgh could be down to Dennis Dixon and veteran Charlie Batch while Roethlisberger is suspended, and would certainly need to add another QB. While he is out, Roethlisberger plans to work with a California-based quarterbacks coach, George Whitfield, and he’ll throw to some freeagent receivers who are looking for work in the league. Roethlisberger also is being sued in Nevada by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her there in 2008. No charges were brought in that case, and it did not figure in the NFL’s suspension. — AP
ICC vows to root out cheats, preserve integrity LONDON: Cricket’s governing body vowed yesterday to do whatever necessary to root out cheats and preserve the integrity of the game after suspending three Pakistan players over match-fixing allegations. “I would like to express my extreme disappointment and sadness at what has happened,” International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat told a news conference. “We have been clear that we will not tolerate any sort of corruption in the sport and upholding the integrity of cricket is paramount and fundamental to every single one of us. “We will do whatever is necessary to ensure we maintain integrity in the sport.” Pakistan test captain Salman Butt and opening bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were charged on Thursday under the ICC’s anti-corruption code and were provisionally sus-
pended from all forms of cricket and related activities until the case is concluded. The three players had their mobile phones confiscated as part of a police investigation following allegations in a British newspaper that they took bribes to fix incidents in the final test against England at Lord’s last week. The News of the World alleged that Amir and Asif had bowled deliberate noballs by pre-arrangement. A former girlfriend of Asif told Reuters yesterday that she had been questioned by ICC officials in Lahore this week as part of the investigation. Veena Malik, a well-known actress and model who had a much-publicised break-up with Asif earlier this year, had spoken about the case on television. “I have cooperated with the ICC because this is about Pakistan and India and because cricket is a global game now.
It is the lifeline for many Pakistanis,” she told Reuters. Pakistan high commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan criticised the ICC’s decision to suspend the players after the three had already voluntarily withdrawn from the Pakistan squad earlier on Thursday. The rest of the Pakistan team played a one-day warmup game against Somerset in Taunton on Thursday and are due to play Twenty20 matches against England in Cardiff tomorrow and Tuesday, followed by five one-dayers. Two replacement players would join the team by next week, officials said yesterday. In recent years Pakistan have faced ball-tampering accusations, doping scandals, security problems and dressing-room intrigues but Lorgat was keen to stress the ICC remained supportive of Pakistani cricket. “I can assure you there is absolutely
no truth to the position that there is a conspiracy against Pakistan cricket,” Lorgat said. “On the contrary, we are seeking to ensure that Pakistan continue to play international cricket, albeit at neutral venues.” The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) disciplined seven players in March, banning some and fining others, after an inquiry blamed infighting within the team for the poor performance on tour in Australia. “Our view was that, yes, it was a dysfunctional tour,” said the ICC’s anti-corruption chief Ronnie Flanagan, who joined Lorgat on the stage at yesterday’s packed news conference at Lord’s. “Yes there were things that went on that were not in the spirit of the game. But what we have no evidence of were that those things that went on were for financial gain. There were a lot of other
things that went on.” Pakistan have called up Asad Shafiq and Mohammad Irfan as replacements for the suspended Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif for the oneday series in England. “Both the players are currently playing with the Pakistan A team in Sri Lanka and will now join the senior team by next week,” a Pakistan Cricket Board official told Reuters yesterday. Tall left arm pacer Irfan has yet to play for the senior team while batsman Shafiq made his one-day international debut in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka in June. Pakistan test captain Butt and opening bowlers Amir and Asif face possible life bans af ter they were charged on Thursday under the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) anti-corruption code. British police confiscated the three players’ mobile phones following allega-
Danger man Blake next hurdle for Djokovic
Clijsters, Stosur advance NEW YORK: Defending champion Kim Clijsters advanced to the fourth round of the US Open yesterday by defeating Wimbledon semi-finalist Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-0 for her 17th consecutive Flushing Meadows triumph. The Belgian second seed will play for a quarter-final berth on Sunday against the winner of a later match between 157th-ranked French wildcard Virginie Razzano and former world number one Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. Clijsters struggled early but won the last 12 games over the Czech 27th seed to advance in 62 minutes as brisk winds whipped across Arthur Ashe Stadium with Hurricane Earl passing southwest of the area. “Those first three games I just had to adjust and get used to the wind. It was tough,” Clijsters said. “My serve has caused me some problems in the past few weeks. I was glad after those first three games I could get my serve going. “I’m happy to have my match done before the storm comes.” Australian fifth seed Samantha Stosur, this year’s French Open runner-up, also advanced to the last 16, beating Italy’s 37thranked Sara Errani 6-2, 6-3. Stosur will play Russian 12th seed Elena Dementieva, who ousted Slovakian 24th seed Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 6-2, for a quarter-final berth. Dementieva is 4-1 lifetime against Stosur, winning all four of their hardcourt matchups. “I’m playing well, I’m hitting the ball well and I think I have got a good chance,” Stosur said. Former world number one Clijsters, trying to become the first back-to-back US Open women’s champion since Venus Williams in 2001, won her only Grand Slam titles on the New York hardcourts in 2005 and 2009. But injuries and a two-year hiatus to start a family kept her from the US Open in between her titles, giving her the impressive win streak that looked to be in jeopardy at the start. Kvitova broke Clijsters twice for a 3-0 lead after 11 minutes, inspring memories of her US Open upset of top seed Dinara Safina last year on her way to a fourth-round finish before the 30year-old Belgian roared to victory. Stosur, a 26-year-old from Brisbane, won both prior meetings with Errani, including a secondround match last week at New Haven in the final US Open tuneup event where Errani had four match points in a third-set tie-breaker. “She’s tough. She fights you on every point. I didn’t want to go down the same path I did last week,” Stosur said. “It definitely helped to have a battle like that. Who knows what it did for the match today but it was nice to get a win and move on.” Stosur continued her best US Open showing in seven tries and matched her 2006 and 2010 runs to the last 16 in her homeland as her best Grand Slam efforts outside of the red clay of Paris. Stosur became the first Australian woman in 30 years to reach a Grand Slam final but lost at Roland Garros to Italy’s Francesca Schiavone, a possible US Open semi-final foe. Errani and Stosur traded early breaks but the Aussie broke for a 4-2 edge with an underhand loft shot to the backline and broke again for the first set. Stosur netted a forehand to surrender a break in the fifth game of the second set but broke back to 3-3 and again to 5-3, each time cracking Errani on her fourth break chance of the game, before holding to end it after 80 minutes. Dementieva, the 2004 US and French Open runner-up in her best Grand Slam showings, had a run of 46 consecutive Grand Slam appearances snapped when she missed Wimbledon with a left calf injury but was on form from the start. Hantuchova served for the first set but Dementieva broke, starting a four-game sweep to claim the set after 56 minutes when the Slovak hit a forehand wide. Dementieva seized a 5-1 lead in the second set and cruised home. “I was trying to find my rhythm out there and I finally did late in the first set. That was the key to the match,” Dementieva said. “In the second set I was more comfortable.” Dementieva improved to 12-4 in her rivalry with Hantuchova, whose win by retirement this year at Dubai snapped a five-year, five-match losing streak. —AFP
tions of corruption in a British newspaper. They were accused of taking bribes to fix incidents in the fourth test against England which finished at Lord’s last Sunday. Pakistan one-day captain Shahid Afridi said the team had been shaken since the betting allegations first surfaced. “It has been a difficult time for all of us and there is a concerted effort to not discuss this issue during our training sessions or even in the dressing room and now just focus on doing well in the one-day series,” he told the Geo Super channel. “It is never easy to find replacements for proven performers but we have good back up talent and I am optimistic we can still do well in the one-day series.” Pakistan face England in the first of two Twenty20 internationals in Cardiff tomorrow. The teams also play five onedayers. —Reuters
NEW YORK: Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns the ball to Philipp Petzschner of Germany during the US Open tennis tournament. —AP
NEW YORK: World number three Novak Djokovic’s path to a fourth consecutive US Open semi-finals appearance has a tricky thirdround obstacle today in US danger man James Blake. The 23-year-old Serbian and 30-year-old Blake, a former world number four fallen to 108th in the rankings after injuries, will meet at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the American veteran figures to be a huge crowd favorite. “James always plays well here,” Djokovic said. “He has been so many years on this level, winning against a lot of top players. He knows how it feels like to play on a big stage in important matches. “I’ve faced this situation with the crowd in my life. You cannot always have a crowd behind you, but you always try because it’s very important. It’s a big support - just big energy when the crowd is behind you.” Djokovic lost the 2007 US Open final and fell in the semi-finals the past two years, all at the hands of Roger Federer, the 16-time Grand Slam champion who could await Djokovic again in this year’s semi-finals. “Physically I’m fit. I’m definitely ready for this tournament and mentally motivated to do well,” Djokovic said. “I have been playing really well in New York in last three years. The court is very suitable to my style of the game. I just hope I can maintain this high level of performance.” Blake, whose deepest US Open runs were to the 2005 and 2006 quarter-finals, likes his chances after exiting at the third-round the past two years on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts. “I would expect it to be a pretty good match,” Blake said. “You have got to think that he’s the favorite. Played some great tennis. Plays very well on hard courts. He has been a finalist here before. “If I go out there and start dictating, I feel like I have a good shot, but there’s also a good shot that he comes out and proves why he’s No. 3 in the world right now. Hopefully I can come up with some of my best as I’ve been known to do at the Open before.” Their only prior meeting came at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when Djokovic beat Blake 63, 7-6 (7/4) to bring Serbia a bronze medal. Both were in the unusual situation of a meaningful match after a tournament loss. “That was a difficult situation,” Blake said. “I think both of us were a little shaken up about it because it means so much to you. You’re not used to losing and then coming back and playing. “But he played well. We had a pretty tight match. He’s got a great service motion, a great serve, one of the best backhands in the game. His movement is unbelievable. I’m going to have to play well, that’s for sure.” Djokovic realizes he is in a similar situation. “He’s a very aggressive player and I have no doubt that he’s going to have that mindset when we step on the court,” Djokovic said. “He’s going to try to take the ball early, and I have to be ready for that.” —AFP
I’m not so old, says Sharapova NEW YORK: At just 23 years old, Maria Sharapova considers herself still to be in the bloom of youth, but things are moving fast. Her third-round match at the US Open today will see her take on 18year-old American wildcard Beatrice Capra, who idolised the Russian glamour girl as she was growing up. It all comes as a bit of a shock to Sharapova, who won Wimbledon in 2004 as a precocious 17-year-old and who was ranked number one in the world a year later. “It’s pretty crazy because I still somewhat consider myself pretty
young, as well - I’d like to think so, at least,” she said. “You know, to see someone coming up that’s 18, that’s a lot younger than I am, in the third round of the Open is great. “I think it shows a lot about the younger generation that’s coming up. To see someone especially that’s an American and doing well at the Open is really great.” Sharapova, who is bidding to win her second US Open crown, four years after winning her first when she was barely older than Capra is now, does have words of warning, however, for wide-eyed rivals like Capra.
“It’s really strange because I’ve always had a difficult time accepting when little kids, whether I’m doing a clinic, talking to them, when they tell me they want to be just like me,” she said. “Not only is a bit overwhelming and a bit of a shock, it’s kind of strange. “I mean, I’m certainly far from perfect. I have many things I’m not good at. I always say to them, ‘You should want to be better than me or anyone else.’” Sharapova is best known for her movie-star looks and prime-time star appeal, but her work ethic and mental toughness is widely recognized in the tennis world with her rise to the top of
the rankings, from Siberia to Florida a classic rags to riches story. During that time, she explained, she was never one to place players on a pedestal or stick posters of them on her bedroom wall. “Growing up, I idolized a certain part of someone’s game, but I never thought that someone was so good that I wanted to be like them,” she said. “I think that’s a good point-probably one of my strengths. “Obviously, that’s something that’s gotten me through so many matches in my career. In tennis, being strong and steady mentally, sometimes more than physically, is
more important on certain days.” Sharapova says she will be wary of the Capra threat even though the Baltimore youngster is playing in a WTA Tour main draw for the first time, having won a wildcard playoff event at the last moment. It was in the same round here just a year ago that she was humiliated by another American teen, Melanie Oudin, who went on to reach the quarterfinals. Asked what she remembered about that match Sharapova shot back: “Why do we need to remember that one?” —AFP