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US diplomat Holbrooke in critical condition

Car bomb kills 6 NATO troops in Afghanistan

Stockholm blasts a ‘terrorist attack’




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Drogba rescues point for Chelsea but pays penalty PAGE 20

PIC to close plant for two months

Ancient Christian site in UAE opens

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s state-run Petrochemical Industries Co (PIC) plans to close its polypropylene plant for two months in March 2011 as part of a scheduled maintenance, a top executive said in published remarks yesterday. Continued on Page 14

DUBAI: A 1,400-year-old monastery that is the only known pre-Islamic Christian site in the United Arab Emirates has opened to visitors, The National newspaper Continued on Page 14

Amir issues stern warning to oppn MPs delay PM grilling By B Izzak

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah pictured with a number of local newspapers’ Editors-in-Chief yesterday at Seif Palace. — KUNA

Media urged to play positive role Kuwait leader meets the Editors-in-Chief KUWAIT: At Seif Palace yesterday, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah received the Minister of Oil and of Information, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah AlSabah, who was accompanied by the President of the Kuwait Journalists Society Ahmed Yousef Behbehani, the Acting Director General of Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) Nabil Najm Al-Yassin and a number of local newspapers’ Editors-in-Chief. In his address to the assembled dignitaries, HH the Amir stressed that the recent unfortunate events, including demonstrations and negative practices in the form of rallies and seminars, as well as the use of violence instead of dialogue, are incompatible with Kuwait’s spirit of brotherhood, love and commitment to responsibility. The Kuwaiti monarch also stressed that the events at last Wednesday evening’s seminar at MP Jamaan Al-Harbish’s diwaniya in Sulaibikhat were not the fault of the Special Forces officers, who he said were carrying out their duties according to the orders they had been given to uphold the law, but resulted directly from the actions of some of those attending the event. The Amir added that he was closely monitoring subsequent events, adding that he is fully aware of and familiar with the orders given by the security officials, who he said

had given sufficient time to the seminar organizers to end the event; however, he said, they (the organizers) did not comply with the Ministry of Interior (MoI) officials’ repeated calls, with some guests going so far as to defy the law. The Amir praised the security force officers, saying that they had carried out their duties to the fullest and adhered to the letter of the law. The Kuwaiti leader emphasized that his orders are in effect and nobody should be allowed to bypass the law and hold seminars outside diwaniya premises, adding that the security authorities will not tolerate any manifestation of illegality, and strive always to preserve the safety of citizens. He also stressed that his orders are final. The Amir said that National Assembly Speaker and the Minister of Interior have been notified of his orders, adding that the law will be applied to everyone for the benefit of all. He also indicated that using the country’s streets as a venue to raise issues and solve problems, rather than doing so under the dome of parliament, represents an alien phenomenon that is incompatible with Kuwait’s parliamentary system and constitutional framework, adding that the necessary measures should be taken to stop such irresponsible acts which he warned aim to push the country into political conflict.

The Amir also stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation between the legislative and executive branches to ensure citizens’ wellbeing and advance the development and progress of Kuwait through the implementation of the development projects approved as part of the government’s major development plan, stressing the necessity to remove any obstacles that stand in the way of achieving these objectives. The monarch asserted that there can be no justification for holding rallies in support of the constitution, saying, “We are keen on preserving the constitution. The National Assembly has been dissolved more than once and the constitution had not been amended and there is no use in talking about its amendment.” Underlining his point, he added, “We are more keen than others on the protection and preservation of democracy.” The Amir concluded his address to the dignitaries present by saying that the various print and audiovisual media outlets ought to shoulder their responsibilities, especially in the current circumstances, and that they must have a positive role in stopping such incitement and to seek to play a constructive role in building bridges of interdependence, love and cohesion among all of Kuwait’s community groups and sects. — KUNA

Abu Dhabi relieves 5 royals of cabinet role Reshuffle seen as major shakeup ABU DHABI: Five members of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family were relieved of their positions on the emirate’s executive council yesterday, in a reshuffle seen as a bid to inject new blood into the de facto cabinet. The move-the biggest change in the wealthy emirate’s government in several years - was made by Abu Dhabi’s ruler Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, who is also president of the United Arab Emirates. A sixth member of the ruling family was replaced as the head of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Finance by non-royal Hamad AlHurr Al-Suwaidi, but kept his seat on the executive council. State news agency WAM said the Abu Dhabi ruler also reappointed his half-brother and crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, as chairman of the executive council.

“It’s a major shakeup. It is becoming clear that Sheikh Mohammed is a practical man who values the hard work of the people around him,” Emirati political analyst Abdulkhaleq Abdullah said. “The message is clear that he wants to depend on people who put in hard work to fulfill Abu Dhabi’s 2030 (development) plan.” The council, trimmed from 18 members to 14, serves as a cabinet for the emirate and oversees the execution of its major development plans. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and controls about 95 percent of the country’s oil resources. A government official, who did not want to be named, said the restructuring was a “natural change. It’s a process of injecting new blood that gives way for more vitality. It gives a chance for new generations to

contribute and this is a good thing for the government.” Abu Dhabi is the largest and richest of the seven emirates that make up the UAE and runs an annual budget that dwarfs that of the federal government. In Abu Dhabi, like the rest of the Gulf Arab region, politics are tightly controlled by the ruling family and much of the decisionmaking takes place behind closed doors. The emirate has a consultative council made up of citizens that has not met for years. Earlier this year, Sheikh Khalifa, who was born in 1948, received medical treatment in Switzerland for an undisclosed condition. He returned to the UAE in September after a period of convalescence. One royal, Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, was given a role in the council for the first time as its vice chairman. — Reuters

KUWAIT: Opposition MPs yesterday postponed plans to grill the prime minister until today to allow more time for MPs to read the quiz and apparently to study a stern warning issued by the Amir. MP Mussallam Al-Barrak, spokesman for the Popular Action Bloc, said the grilling “has been delayed for one day and will certainly be filed tomorrow” adding that the reason was to give MPs backing the grilling enough time to read it. He also said that the grilling is centered on one issue; undermining the dignity of the people and suppressing freedoms” after the Special Forces assaulted dozens of citizens and MPs at a public gathering last Wednesday, hurting four MPs and around 10 citizens in the process. Around 20 MPs agreed on Thursday to support the grilling of Prime Continued on Page 14

KUWAIT: Photo shows some officials monitoring the road with the new mobile speed radar. The Interior Ministry yesterday announced the new mobile radar to monitor speed and traffic violations. — KUNA (See Page 2)

MSAL to suspend issuing work permits 5 days from December 26 KUWAIT: Labor departments within the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) will temporarily suspend all operations related to the issuing or transfer of work permits and other paperwork detailing with expatriates’ residence issues for five days from December 26, with the only exceptions to this being residency renewal transactions and final residency cancellations. MSAL Undersecretary Mohammad Al-Kandari said yesterday that these operations were being temporarily suspended due to the annual audit of all labor departments scheduled to take

place during this period. The audit will also be used to gather the data on transactions involving work permits, residency violations and visa transfers for the whole of 2010. “This is a routine practice that is conducted every year, but the good news is that this year the period during which activities will be suspended will be reduced to only five days rather than two weeks,” the official explained. AlKandari explained that previous experience indicated a need to reduce the suspension period due to the large backlog of transactions that builds up during this

time and the increase in the number of expatriates involuntarily violating residency laws as their transactions are delayed. Asked whether or not the MSAL should be responsible for paying any financial penalties incurred by expatriates over residency-related violations during the suspension period, AlKandari insisted that the ministry should not be held accountable over these since local businesses are fully aware that the ministry conducts its audit towards the end of every year. Continued on Page 14

Suicide bomber kills 17 BAGHDAD: A suicide bomber blew up his car yesterday outside government offices west of the Iraqi capital, killing 17 people, including women and elderly people waiting to collect welfare checks, officials said. Six police officers were among the dead in the latest strike on the provincial council compound in the Anbar province capital of Ramadi, police and hospital officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. At least 23 people were wounded in yesterday’s attack on the compound, which has been a favorite target for insurgents in the past. “We rushed out of the office complex and saw many people injured and dead, lying on the street,” said Anbar Deputy Gov Saadoun Obeid, who was at his office when the explosion touched off a fire in the compound. “I saw two women who were dead, their bodies burnt.” Obeid said a traffic jam kept the suicide bomber from driving his explosives-laden car to the front gate. Eyewitnesses said the vehicle exploded about 200 meters from the compound, creating a crater several meters wide. Officials immediately blamed Al-Qaeda in Iraq for the attack in Anbar, a former stronghold of Al-Qaeda militants and Sunni insurgents that RAMADI: Iraqi security forces stand guard stretches just west of Baghdad to Iraq’s borders while a street sweeper cleans up the blood with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Police found a second bomb in a nearby parking lot a few minafter a car bomb attack in Ramadi. — AP

utes later, but said they safely disposed of it. The compound in Ramadi, which is 70 miles west of Baghdad, also houses the Anbar police headquarters and the governor’s office. The chairman of the Anbar council, Jasim Mohammed Al-Halbusi, put the casualty count much lower, at eight killed and 12 wounded, but said the death toll likely would rise because many of the wounded were in critical condition. Obeid said as many as 57 people were wounded. Conflicting casualty tolls are common in the immediate aftermath of insurgent attacks in Iraq. Al-Halbusi said the dead and wounded were Anbar residents who had come to the compound to fill out paperwork or receive government aid. “The bombing came after a period of calm in the province,” Al-Halbusi said, blaming it on “powers of hatred who killed innocent civilians.” Another suicide bomber in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province killed a Shiite pilgrim and his son as they headed to a parade of worshippers marking Ashoura, an annual ritual for Shiite Muslims. Diyala police spokesman Maj Ghalib Al-Karkhi said a follow-up blast wounded eight people, including six policemen. The director of the federal police in Diyala province R aghib AlMamouri was among those injured in the blast along with the provincial councilman Muthana Al-Timimi, Al-Karkhi said. Continued on Page 14



Monday, December 13, 2010

'I'm honored to be the Amir's pawn'

Minister hits back at MP's accusation KUWAIT: Responding to MP Musallam Al-Barrak's description of him as a "pawn", Minister of Interior Sheikh Jaber Al-Khalid Al-Sabah accused the MP of being ignorant about the game of chess, saying that he is honored to be a pawn of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, "whom I will always serve and obey." Sheikh Jaber stressed, "The Amir is the only one who evaluates me and my performance, not Musallam Al-Barrak."

New radar to monitor roads KUWAIT: Newer additions are made to the existing safety network of the Traffic Department, with the aim of meeting the country's security requirements, announced the Public Relations Administration at the Ministry of Interior. The mobile radar will detect speeding violations and driving on the emergency lane, which has been put into service since a month. This will help achieve traffic stability on all of Kuwait's roads. It explained that the new radar is highly accurate and more portable, in addition, it can record video and take photographs. The radar is fully efficient at different locations, especially congested roads. It will be mostly used to monitor the roads in the morning and afternoon. Officers have been trained to use the instrument. At least 800 to 1,000 cases of driving on the emergency lane have been detected every five days. On a daily basis, 170 to 200 traffic tickets are issued.

The minister continued, "Al-Barrak has described me as a chess piece; I'd wager that he doesn't know its meaning or know how to play this game, but Al-Barrak claims he knows everything and pretends to have solutions to everything. I believe he has grown phobic about Jaber Al-Khalid now; if anyone told him there was a problem with trees and plants, he would blame Jaber Al-Khalid for them." The interior minister stressed that he has no intention of filing a case against the MP for verbal insult, saying, "If I filed a case, then people would say that I was creating problems, but keeping quiet will make people say I am weak. However, I believe that Al-Barrak is just a normal and unimportant person to me, so I do not care what he says and ignoring him is the best way to reply." Regarding Al-Barrak's claims that

Ahmadi turned into military barracks KUWAIT: Residents of Block One in Ahmadi who were evacuated from their homes as a result of the recent gas leak crisis have reiterated their demand that the government pay them the promised rent allowance as soon as possible, also insisting that the sum offered be increased in light of surging rent costs in the country. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, the disgruntled residents also complained at the manner in which the evacuation process was carried out, claiming that there had been no consideration taken of the logistics involved in evacuating large families and that the work carried out in their homes by repair teams threatened the buildings' internal structure. Abdurrahman Al-Otaibi, the chairman of the Ahmadi Cooperative Society, likened the current situation in the area to living in "military barracks," reported Al-Rai. Al-Otaibi added, "The Ministry of Interior is threatening to cut the power supply off from homes whose residents are already having a hard time finding temporary accommodation after receiving evacuation orders."

Sheikh Jaber Al-Khalid is clinging to his position, the minister responded pointedly, "Al-Barrak is the one holding on tight to his position. I want to remind him of his promise to voters during his electoral campaign when he said he would quit the parliament if he failed to depose me. Here I am, still in office as a minister, but he hasn't resigned. So who is the one clinging to his position?" The minister continued, "Al-Barrak should also respect himself and his country by not releasing statements to international satellite TV channels, which are actually targeting Kuwait's reputation and are trying to weaken its national solidarity. Our local disputes should not be published and spread to outsiders, but should remain internal, especially in that Kuwait has its own channels, publications, other media and media freedoms." Meanwhile, MP Saleh Al-Mullah is

apparently planning to submit a bill proposing the establishment of a prosecution department to deal specifically with administrative violations perpetrated by public sector officials. "The draft law aims to fill a legislative void found in dealing with cases of administrative violations and the squandering of public funds," a source close to the MP told Al-Rai, explaining that at present no action can be taken over the majority of violations cited in State Audit Bureau (SAB) reports due to the lack of existing penalties for such offences. As a result of this loophole, the draft law will call for the establishment of a prosecution department to investigate all accusations of administrative violations and to press charges against those responsible in cases where such action is needed, the source added.

MP, professor debate US report on human rights KUWAIT: MP Khaled AlAdwah said that the US state department's report on religious freedom in Kuwait was full of lies and false information, reported AlWatan. "It is completely untrue," he said, noting that the US was not qualified enough to evaluate religious freedom because it already has a long history of violating human and minority rights. At a debate with Kuwait University political science professor and Al-Watan columnist Dr Shamlan Yousif Al-Essa, Al-Adwah said that the report was meant to divide Sunnis and Shiites. "The report said that the state does not recognize the legality of Shiite doctrine," he pointed out, noting that the report focuses on keeping Muslims and the Arab World on a 'hot plate' so that the US can continue playing its favorite role of being the corrupt police officer blackmailing the governments of

regional countries. Al-Adwah further denied the existence of any sectarian tension amongst Sunnis and Shiites. "Followers of all religions and Muslim doctrines can freely practice their rituals because Kuwait is a state of tolerant institutions," he said. On the other hand, Dr AlEssa described the report as "fair, neutral and objective." He said that the report discussed real concerns regarding the freedom of religion in Kuwait. "You gave this report more interest than it really deserved," he said, pointing out that the report included criticism of other countries, such as China and Israel. "Freedom is not only found in Kuwait you know," he stressed. Al-Essa seemed amazed at Al-Adwah's denial of religious tension in Kuwait. "What about the Yasser AlHabib issue and the demonstrations that took place at the time then?" he won-

in the news

kuwait digest

Protect our constitutional accomplishments By Dr Ahmad Al-Khateeb


irst of all, I'd like to clarify that I'm against the use of violence in any form and condemn whoever resorts to using it. I believe that peaceful means are the only way to solve a problem. The physical attack carried out by security personnel against members of the parliament - despite the fact that they identified themselves, according to MP Abdurrahman Al-Anjari - is by all means unacceptable. Tolerating this behavior cannot be accepted as

dered. He added that Kuwaitis have always coexisted as one people, including both Sunnis and Shiites, without any problems until the recent Islamist trend of Salafis and Muslim Brethren entered the parliament. He predicted that a further report would be made about this particular issue and that Kuwait would be forced to abide by international specifications regarding the human, civil and political rights of expatriate laborers. Moreover, both men partially agreed that the Ahamdi gas leak problem is a major problem. "it's a human disaster," they agreed, stressing the need to take immediate evacuation measures to protect its residents. However, while Al-Adwah demanded that the government buy houses in Ahamdi and give them to KOC, Al-Essa stressed the need to diagnose the problem accurately before deciding on what to do.

this behavior gives the impression that officials who are supposed to respect the law and know that MPs have immunity didn't have a problem going above the law when they attacked members of the parliament. Even if a parliamentarian is caught breaking the law, the proper thing to do is to send the case to the public prosecutor who then requests lifting the MP's immunity before he can be prosecuted. At that point it is only the right of a judge to decide whether to convict or acquit the MP. It's obvious that officials didn't have the

rights of the judicial or legislative authorities in mind when they made the attack. The main question, however, is on what basis did officials decide to cross the line? Is it a total negligence for the law or is it a culture by which loyalty to the constitution has been replaced with loyalty to certain personalities? State officials must stop conspiring against constitutional regulations while MPs keep protecting our constitutional system. MPs should put their differences aside and work on reviewing the draft law on public gathering that was submitted to the parliament. —Al-Qabas

Instigator arrested KUWAIT: Police apprehended Obaid Al-Wasmi after obtaining a warrant for his arrest for his role in the 'But the constitution' seminar that took place in front of the Jumaan Al-Harbash diwaniya in Sulaibikhat. Al-Wasmi will be charged with provoking attacks against police officers, reported Al-Shahed. Official sources said that Al-Wasmi was informed by Farwaniya Governorate police officers that he was wanted by state security sources for questioning. School cafeterias KUWAIT: The Ministry of Education is reportedly preparing to shut down all the cafeterias in public elementary schools, reported Al-Rai. It was reported that they are getting ready to make the decision in an attempt to reinforce the lunch meal project that was inaugurated this year. According to a ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Undersecretary Tamadher AlSadairawi signed a letter sent to all public elementary schools participating in the catering project to close their cafeterias during lunch break. The letter also instructed them to remain open during the second break and that their activities would be restricted to only selling juice to students. AOU role hailed KUWAIT: During a ceremonial lunch held by Ambassador Sheikh Faisal Al-Hmoud, the Minister of Education, Dr Moudhi Al-Hmoud hailed Arab Open University (AOU) and stressed the importance of its continued expansion, reported Al-Anba. She said that its expansion would benefit Kuwait by allowing Arab students the opportunity to attend university.


Monday, December 13, 2010

3 No plans for resignation

Cabinet supports interior minister

Alicja Wegorzewska-Whiskerd and Tomasz Kuk in the roles of Carmen and Don Jose. — Photos by Wendy Clayton

Carmen flirts with a corporal on stage.

Polish song-bird brings 'Carmen' to life By Wendy Clayton KUWAIT: The Kuwait Chamber of Philharmonia (KCP) and Radisson Blu staged a condensed version of the French opera 'Carmen' on Saturday at Al-Hashimi II. In the title role of Carmen was regular performing artist to Kuwait Alicja WegorzewskaWhiskerd, who led an all star cast. In a one-night only performance, the KCP were thrilled to be able to present an almost full opera to lovers of opera in Kuwait. Wegorzewska-Whiskerd gave a stunning performance with her rich mezzo-soprano voice range. No stranger to the role of Carmen, Wegorzewska-Whiskerd enchanted the audience and her on stage suitors with her mesmerizing dance moves and singing prowess. Polish tenor Tomasz Kuk was commanding in the role of Don Jose, Carmen's love interest. Kuk is well known in Europe having performed in many operas in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Japan. The role of Micaela was performed by Verica Grmusa who is well-known in Kuwait. Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Grmusa teaches music at the English School, Fahaheel and is a regular on the stage in Kuwait. Another Polish artist, baritone Adam

KUWAIT: A senior state official recently rejected rumors suggesting that the Minister of Interior Sheikh Jaber Al-Khalid Al-Sabah may resign or be relieved of his duties following the violent incident outside of MP Jamaan Al-Harbash's diwaniya last week, reported Al-Qabas. State Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Roudhan Al-Roudhan made the statement to the press a day before antigovernment MPs were prepared to file an interpellation against His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Muhammad Al-Sabah over the issue. He stressed the Cabinet's solidarity and "willingness to face any interpellation motions filed within the articles of the constitution." "The Cabinet is not going to abandon any of ferences to clarify what happened. During their its members," Al-Roudhan said, asserting that second conference last Saturday they insisted the interior minister has the Cabinet's full sup- that security forces were provoked and that port. He indicated that the issue will be thor- they were forced into action when event organoughly discussed during the Cabinet's weekly izers ignored warnings made by authorities to meeting and noted that "citizens have become participants outside of the diwaniya. Sources within the parliament suggested aware of what happened after seeing reports by the interior ministry's officials," referring to the that the Cabinet may resort to ousting the interior minister in an attempt to curb support for press conference held last Saturday. Meanwhile, MPs from the main antigovern- the grilling. They hinted at the possibility of a ment blocs in the parliament agreed to file a Cabinet resignation if a no-confidence motion grilling motion against the Prime Minister, filed during the grilling exceeded 20 votes. In reported Al-Rai. They made their decision on order for it to pass, a no-confidence motion Thursday; a day after security forces violently must be approved by a minimum of 25 MPs. Meanwhile, the same sources accused dispersed a crowd outside Al-Harbash's diwaniya where a seminar was held to discuss a antigovernment MPs of using a double standard request made by the public prosecutor to lift when dealing with the situation. They indicated MP Dr Faisal Al-Mislem's parliamentary immu- that they plan to hold the health ministry accountable for failing to release medical nity. The attack left several people injured, reports to the injured MPs while filing an interincluding parliament members. Ministry of pellation against HH the Prime Minister instead Interior officials have since held two press con- of the interior minister regarding the attack.

Hareer City conference held

Adam Szerszen in the role of Escamillo.

Verica Grmusa and Tomasz Kuk in the roles of Micalea and Don Jose.

Szerszen played the part of Escamillo, the toreador who steals Carmen's heart away from Don Jose. Szerszen has performed in 24 operas in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Canada, Taiwan, and Japan. Carmen is a French opera by Georges Bizet. Premiering in Paris on March 3, 1875 it was almost withdrawn after its fourth or fifth performance after

being denounced by the majority of critics. It did manage to run for the full 48 performances. However, the theater had to literally give tickets away in order to stimulate attendance. On June 3, 1875, Bizet died of a heart attack at age 36, never knowing how popular his Carmen opera would become. Carmen shot to worldwide fame came after being performed in Vienna,

Austria in October 1875. Since the 1880s, Carmen has been one of the world's most performed operas. The KCP now closes the 2010 season of performances, but is already gearing up for 2011. Its Director Witold Wnuk announced in a press conference last month that they are working on another Polish performance and a British presentation for early 2011.

KUWAIT: Participants at a conference held recently at the site of the Hareer City, insisted on the importance of young citizens' participation in the country's development plan, and save them from involvement in current political scene. The conference, dubbed 'Young People in Al-Hareer City,' is organized by the 20/50 social development group under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, during the convention's inauguration. The participants said that the Hareer City project is a 'gift from His Highness the Amir' which will provide 450,000 job opportunities for Kuwaiti

youth. "This is the first time in Kuwait's history that a conference is being held in Al-Hareer City," said Nouriya Al-Sadani, Civil Society Consultant to the assistant deputy prime minister for economic affairs. She asked for a 'new page of hope' would be turned. Meanwhile, head of the Kuwait Society of Engineers and 20/50 group founding member Talal Al-Qahtani said that the launch of the conference from the Hareer City project's site "is an indication of the launch of the project's building process," referring to human development, reported Al-Rai. Al-Hareer City, which will

be finalized within a couple of decades, is a mega project as per an initiative from HH the Amir that focuses on partnership with the private sector. The project includes a resort and a nature reserve that will cover an area of 200 hectares, as well as be home to one of the largest research centers in the Arabian Gulf. The city will be connected with Kuwait City through the under-construction Jaber Bridge. During the conference, Badr Al-Salman, Head of the Architectural Offices Association explained that the volume of investment in the project touches KD25 billion, which will inject around KD45 billion into the national income.



Monday, December 13, 2010

Former MP’s son arrested over Al-Juwaihel attack Man identified from video footage KUWAIT: Police have arrested another suspect in connection w ith the brutal attack nine days ago on political activist Mohammed Al-J uw aihel, w hich left the former parliamentary candidate in a critical condition in intensive care. The latest detainee, the son of a former MP, w as positively identified from video footage of the incident and information gathered during questioning of the other tw o suspects arrested to date.

KUWAIT: Jahra police and bomb squads responded to a prank phone call regarding a bomb threat in an Arabic private school in Jahra. Bomb squad teams responded to the scene and searched the school but found no trace of explosive materials. An investigation was launched to determine the identity of the prank phone caller. — Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

Gulf conman in police custody By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Immigration authorities have arrested a male citizen of another Gulf nation who was wanted by Interpol over his involvement in several embezzlement cases in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations. A police insider said that the man was arrested at a local apartment after entering Kuwait illegally using a passport issued to another person. The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has notified its counterparts in the other GCC nations where the man is wanted in connection with several cases. The

suspect is accused of defrauding a number of Bedoon (stateless) individuals out of large amounts of money by falsely promising to acquire citizenship for them before fleeing with their cash. Road accidents A 54-year-old Kuwaiti man was taken to Amiri Hospital after suffering a broken left kneecap in a car crash on the road between Khaitan and Qurtuba. In a separate incident, a 19-year-old Kuwaiti man sustained a dislocated shoulder in a crash on the Sixth Ring Road. He was taken to

Farwaniya Hospital. In a similar accident, a 39year-old Indian man also suffered a dislocated shoulder in a collision on the Sixth Ring Road near the Sabah AlNasser turnoff, and was also taken to Farwaniya Hospital. Meanwhile, a 51-year-old Syrian man was taken to Adan Hospital after suffering gashes to the head and heavy bruising to his chest in a car cash on the coastal road in the Mangaf area. In a fifth accident, a 15year-old Kuwaiti girl suffered extensive grazing and complained of back pain af ter falling from a moving car in

the Hadiya area. She was taken to Adan Hospital. Fight club A 22-year-old Saudi man was taken to Sabah Hospital after suffering head injuries and facial bruising in a fight in Reggae and Andalus Park. In a separate brawl, this time in the Jahra Industrial Zone, a 40-year-old Indian man sustained cuts to the head. He was taken to Jahra Hospital. Meanwhile, a 28-year-old Bangladeshi man sustained facial injuries in a fight in Jahra’s Wara Mall. He was also taken to Jahra Hospital.

kuwait digest

The seminar where batons spoke By Nabil Al-Fadhl espite warning him that ‘blocking’ Sulaibikhat would prove detrimental to him, the ‘quasirespectable’ MP Jamaan Al-Harbash would not listen although he know deep within that calling to close down or block a whole residential area, is bordering on arrogance. This call is much bigger than the one made by AlHarbash. It is a threat to the civil community and calls for a mutiny of sorts that can be repressed using power - to bring some reason back to empty minds such as those of Al-Harabash and his follower, Waleed. The female MP, we all know, recently expressed amazement at how people can feel sorry for Juwaihel after being beaten up by a group of ruffians and then rejoice when the riot police attacked some MPs and citizens. The so-called lover of freedom of expression should know that such an attitude only reflects how myopic and hollow she was. I would like to give her some information she can use, once she is back to teaching her wretched students, ‘Juwaihel was attacked by dozens of


cowards using stones, glasses, stun guns, knives. The man was admitted to an Intensive Care Unit to save his life. On the other hand, the force used against MPs was that of the police, who represent the state, after they were given ample chances to obey the orders of HH the Amir. Nevertheless, they were too defiant and began insulting and assaulting security forces. What did she expect? Did she want the police to accept insults after being pushed away, assaulted with ashtrays? Did she want the mob to continue undermining police and disrespect the law? Has she ever noticed that the British riot police violently confronted crowds that protested against increasing university tuition fee; when they broke the law and jeopardized public security? This took place less than 24 hours ago, in the cradle of democracy, where she was raised and educated. We had two options last Thursday; either to believe Ministry of Interior commanders or to believe those MPs who were busy bluffing the people. ‘Dr’ Musallam Al-Barrak was interviewed by Al-Mustaqillah and Al-Jazeera TV channels after the incident. What is the

connection between him and those two friendly channels? Do they share certain feelings towards Kuwait and its people? I wonder why the other ‘Dr’ Obaid Al-Wasmi did not correct the public misunderstanding about his specialty. He was introduced as a constitutional expert while he only specializes in proceedings law and has not presented a single paper on the Constitution. Is accepting undeserved titles common between you and your cousin? Encouraging mutiny and rioters should be strictly punished. MP Abdul Rahman Al-Anjeri kept screaming ‘I’m an MP’ during the attack. Do you think that, once in action, the riot police could tell the difference? Do you think that being an MP spares you from respecting the law? Finally, the second meeting of security commanders clearly showed that MP Waleed Al-Tabtabae was the one who initiated the clashes when he attacked a police agent and kept, along with MP Jamaan Al-Harbash, encouraging others to attack the police. It is a shame that those who pass the laws violate it so bluntly! — Al-Watan

Health insurance for Kuwaiti students in UK

KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait booth in the Kuwait International Motor Show has witnessed an unprecedented enthusiasm by the visitors. NBK offers a unique suite of products and exclusive financing solutions to all customers. NBK’s Platinum sponsorship and participation in Kuwait International Motor Show is consistent with the NBK’s endeavor to support public events and to effectively raise public awareness on the advantages and benefits associated with the unique suite of banking products and financing solutions it offers and that are tailored to meet clients’ needs.

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti students studying in the UK and the Republic of Ireland are expected soon to be covered by health insurance provided by the government of Kuwait, reported Al-Rai. Kuwait’s cultural attache in London, Dr Mohammad Al-Hajri announced that both students studying on scholarships or at their own expense will be eligible for insurance. “The health insurance will allow students to receive treatment at private hospitals easily and makes it easier for them to make appointments,” Al-Hajri said. He expressed his appreciation to Kuwaiti medical attache Dr Yaqoub Al-Tammar for helping to make this opportunity possible. Al-Hajri assured students attending universities whose accreditation is no longer recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education that they are okay because the cultural attache recognized their enrollment before the decision was made.

The unnamed latest suspect was ar rested at his home by detectives and taken to the Criminal Investigation Depar tment headquarters for questioning. When confronted with the infor mation and footage showing him taking part in the assault on Al-Juwaihel, using an Iqal (the black headband used to hold the kuffiyeh in place), the suspect admitted participating in the attack. He has been remanded in custody pending further investigation and legal action, reported Al-Qabas. Police continue to hunt for

other suspects involved in the assault, which took place outside the Sulaibikhat diwaniya of MP Ahmad AlSaadoun, where a seminar was underway at the time. In another development, constitutional expert Obaid Al-Wasmi turned himself in to police after a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with the brutal attack by security officers on individuals attending a seminar at MP Jamaan Al-Harbish’s diwaniya last Wednesday evening. Al-Wasmi, a law professor at Kuwait University, was

among those who were assaulted by Special Forces officers during their controversial violent dispersal of crowds gathered outside the diwaniya where a seminar was taking place. The State Security Ser vice subsequently brought charges against AlWasmi, which include assaulting police officers and verbally insulting His Highness the Amir. Af ter reporting voluntarily to the Farwaniya police station, AlWasmi was escorted to the Public Prosecution Service headquar ters to face the

charges, reported Al-Qabas. Al-Wasmi’s attorney AlHumaidi Al-Subai’ei indicated that the charges against his client were purely a counter measure to the charges brought by Al-Wasmi against the officers at the event who he accused of attempted murder. The lawyer suggested that state’s legal case against Al-Wasmi are aimed purely at attempting to force him to drop his own charges, and flatly denied that the distinguished academic would have made any negative remarks against HH the Amir at the event.

in my view

Society and social relations By Fouad Al-Obaid recently viewed a show on AlWatan TV, in which three female professors from various disciplines debated a highly controversial topic in this part of the world - pre-marital relations. Such concept has been framed and dealt with in the Western world under the concept of ‘dating’ where young men and women are referred to using titles boyfriend/girlfriend. The show centered on the legitimacy of such relations in our Middle Eastern societies. The participants argued that such a practice is not socially accepted! They claimed collectively that should such relation be sanctioned, it would open the door to numerous evils. I for one believe that such relations did take place in the past, are currently taking place and will in the future be part of our collective societal spectrum! The reason we could look into in a later article. However, today, I will focus on the concept of dating in the Middle East.


MEW outstanding bill touches KD 285 million KUWAIT: The Ministry of Electricity and Water has failed to collect a total amount of KD 285 million in debts from subscribers, as of March 31, 2010. Only 42.5 percent of the estimated total has been collected. The failing was mentioned in a State Audit Bureau report for the fiscal year 2009/2010, which contains several violations and deficits that costs millions of Kuwaiti dinars. The report notes that the ministry has failed to take legal action against non-paying consumers, mentioning that one consumer’s bill has climbed to KD 28,879 without being asked to pay. Furthermore, the report mentions KD 713,000 was lost from one of the ministry’s facilities, indicating that the ministry has excluded 10,442 consumers from paying insurance fees that touches more than KD 2 million, reported Al-Rai. While it accuses the ministry of having no aptitude to develop the power distribution network, the repor t mentions KD 4.7 million as the cost of power lines and equipment that were stolen from plants and transformers.

New units to store imported items KUWAIT: The Kuwait Municipality is reviewing the option of storing all imported food items at specially refrigerated warehouses until clearance is obtained from laboratories that run tests. This was announced in a statement released to the press by Ahmad Al-Subaih, Head of the Municipality. He explained that an agreement will be reached with the National Central Cooling Company, reported Al-Rai.

I would ask the society to question whether dating should be allowed or at least tolerated? Fundamentally, in light of the structural societal changes of the 21st century, can such a concept come to be sanctioned in a predominantly Arab-Muslim society? If no is what many would answer, then are you willing to live in disconnect from the reality? It is needless to mention that in practice, many of the youth in the Arab world do have various relations with the opposite sex prior to marriage. The degree and nature of such relationships vary from one person to another. Widely nevertheless, people in our region publically frown upon such a concept, and yet, that does not prevent them from continuing such practices! Going back to the show, the woman collectively argued against such relations, stating that the youth until they reach the age of 21 cannot build proper relations with one another. Such claim only makes me question whether their reasoning is correct. If their reasoning has a solid basis, then how is it that the State legally allows the youth, some as young as 16 to enter into marriage? If they were not able to handle a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, how

can they manage an ‘adult’ relationship? In our part of the world, relations between men and women are skewed and governed by various social mores. Without neglecting, perhaps, the most important of such social firewalls - religion, which actively discourages single men and women from mingling for whatever reason other than marriage. I would argue that in 7th century Arabia, such a concept could be valid. However, in the 21st century cosmopolitan world, such is the hallucination that only ensures that social taboos get shoved deeper underground - away from prying eyes! Are we as a society to disbelieve the reality that men and women are bound to meet whether we like, endorse, or not such relations, they are happing. I predict that they will continue to do so in the long run. Can we simply not rethink the nature of human interaction in our societies so as to best accommodate various ideas allowing for controlled interactions, which would be more favorable to the fulfillment and growth of our society that is composed of people from both sexes! Dear reader I ask you this question. fouad@kuw

‘Best 100’ projects to continue competition, says Science Fair KUWAIT: The Kuwait Science Fair, the largest science competition held in Kuwait encompassing students from over 200 schools, yesterday announced the students of the ‘Best 100’ projects who qualified into the experimental phase of the competition. Qualified students will compete for the top ten places. The first prize winner will receive a scholarship in the discipline of the student’s choice from AUK, the grand prize trophy, KD750 in cash, two certificates for participation and ranking, KD100 in vouchers, as well as an international internship at Schlumberger. The second prize winner will also be offered an internship at Schlumberger in Kuwait and will receive the second place trophy, KD500 in cash, two certificates for participation and ranking, as well as KD100 in vouchers. The third prize winner will receive the third place trophy, KD350 in cash, two certificates for participation and ranking, as well as KD100 in vouchers. The ‘Best 100’ projects were chosen by a panel of judges comprising of scientists and teachers. Students will compete until the finals, which will be held from 16th until 19th March 2011. Kuwait Science Fair Managing Director, Aseel AlTurkait, said: “The success of the competition is increasing year on year. With over 248 applicants this year and 214 projects, choosing the ‘Best 100’ was very difficult. Students have great ideas, some simple one that aim to change positively our daily life, others, large scale ideas that would bring positive solutions to some of the world’s challenges. We look forward to three months of exciting experiments to build these ideas into innovative science

projects.” With the start of the experimental phase, a workshop will be held at the Scientific Center on Wednesday, December 15th and Thursday, December 16th to help guide students on how to outline their project. Students are then required to hand in their detailed written plan by Monday, December 20th. During the project development phase, an assigned supervisor will guide students in their scientific experiments. The Kuwait Science Fair has also allocated KD100 for project development expenses. Students must supply receipts signed by their supervising teacher to receive compensation. Other workshops will be held at the Scientific Center to help students follow the requirements when finalizing their project’s requirements, such as the notebook, scientific paper, and display. The Kuwait Science Fair team will continuously be available at the Kuwait Science Fair booth in Marina Mall on weekdays (Sunday - Thursday) from 5pm to 8pm. Students will start presenting their final projects to a panel of judges 3 days prior to the awards ceremony. Finalists and grand prize win-

ners will be announced on March 19th in a ceremony to be held at the Regency Hotel in the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Ahmad AlAbdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. The Kuwait Science Fair competition is endorsed by His Excellency Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Ahmad AlSabah, the Minister of Oil, Minister of Information, and Chairman of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, for the third year in a row. Supporting the competition for the first time, HE the US Ambassador to Kuwait, Deborah Jones, joins as its leading chief ambassador to support the efforts of the competition at large. The competition is founded by ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Kuwait Limited and Kuwait Energy Company and is sponsored in its third year by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, Kuwait United Facilities Management Company, the Information Technology Institute, The Scientific Center, Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait, Asnan Clinic, and supported by partners: the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science, the American University of Kuwait, Schlumberger and the Arab International Industrial Projects.

Monday, December 13, 2010


5 MPW working on 100 projects

Jaber Bridge project in final review stage KUWAIT: The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) is in the final stage of reviewing the financial, technical, and engineering assessments for the Jaber Bridge Project, said Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Municipality Affairs Fadhil Safar on Saturday. Addressing the press on the sidelines of an exhibition held in Souq Sharq on the current ministry projects, the minister further revealed that the MPW is currently working on over 100 projects.

KUWAIT: Dandi Janki (front row right) at the seminar. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Feeling great can be taught: Dandi By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: "Feeling great - you will experience this when you have real peace; when you are in harmony with others and when you place your cares with the One," said Dandi Janki at a seminar conducted at JW Marriott in Kuwait City recently. She spoke about spiritual maturity, well-being, happiness and being at peace. Dandi was invited by the Harmony House Meditation Center in Rumaithiya, a harmony house affiliated to Brahma Kumari's World Spiritual University to deliver a lecture entitled 'Feeling Great.' "The place where you sit today becomes our spiritual peace palace. I want you to realize how good it is the moment you enter this place and when you come out from here," she told an enthusiastic audience right before starting her lecture. "I am sure it is comparable to day and night," she quipped. Happiness will not come from ordinary food, but from the great spiritual foods that nourish not just the body, but the mind and spirit. "Feeling great. We address our God by different names, we name our God the one, and we all belong to that one," she lectured. "With your hearts free from worries, everything happens easily; the peace and love will shine. Be patient, keep the real peace in yourself, and then spread the love. The patience will be inside your beings, not outside. There cannot be patience within unless there is peace," she told her audience. The 95-year-old spiritual teacher-mentor said that human beings are alike, regardless of their age, "Human beings are alike and same, young adult, senior, it doesn't matter; they all have feelings. The song in our hearts has a feeling. Feelings that say 'I am in the world,' and that we have to harmonize our intention with the world and believe that there is one," she added. "I might be getting money and respect, but our feeling is not pure. You may have good relations or even money but inside you don't

KUWAIT: A partial view of the audience. have happiness." She advised that relations with the one should be firm, "How do you see God? I am a friend of God; do you consider your self as God's friend. If that is so, we are worthy; we can ask, we can convey, you can comment on anything that concerns you," she said. She admitted that God is her friend, "Once I feel this, I have my eternal peace and I have real strength and all my weaknesses, defects, vices, bad habits, all of it was removed, and I feel great," she said. Then you will have a good feeling and have passed those good feelings too to others, "If anyone has a bad habit, no matter what happened; they are bound to that habit. Example wondering at night, you are a smoker, that person will not have peace because they are bound to their bad habits," she added. "Any bad habit, you will have bad feelings inside. Human beings are created with a mind and intellect and a conscience; the feeling emerges in the heart, heart means love, mind means peace. Listen to this topic, feeling great! Listen and understand. You will

become happy and feel great if you have connection - with the one who reigns, communication - with your families, friends and the conscience - everything becomes easy and feels great if we use our intellect wisely," she discoursed. She advises people to guard their nose, as it is the root of arrogance; the ears, which interprets words conveyed and the eyes, who judges what we see, "Don't be too busy. If you want to do good and well, do it the right away, exercise patience and forget the past," she said. As the spiritual leader of Brahma Kumari, Dandi has visited many countries around the world to share her thoughts and lead several projects that promote peace and harmony, values and action at grass roots level. Dandi is known to promote peace and inter-faith dialogue. She is the patron of the World Congress of Faith and one of the 'keepers of the wisdom'- an advisory group of eminent and religious leaders which first convened at Istanbul during the UN Earth Summit Rio Brazil and at Habitat II in Istanbul, Turkey.

Safar also explained that the ministry has reached the final stages of signing the contract for developing Jamal Abdul Nasser Street, and is continuing to float the tenders for the projects listed on its agenda with the necessary responsibility and punctuality to fully play its part in implementing the state's development plan. Asked about the means being used to assess progress on the various projects, the minister said that these vary from one sector to the other and one ministry to another. The cabinet has already presented the first Q1 and Q2 reports for this year, and is scheduled to present a detailed report on the first three quarters of 2010 by the end of the year. Dr. Safar asserted that the municipality has reviewed the work to be done on the country's motorway system and the findings of international consultants appointed to assess this, with the metro project, currently being analyzed by the Build Operate Transfer (BOT) committee, taking top priority in the proposed solutions to Kuwait's existing traffic problems. Meanwhile, speaking about the exhibition itself, MPW Undersecretary Abdulaziz Al-

Klaib said that it was the fourth such event with the objective of introducing the public to the ministry's various projects and explaining the progress made to date. Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti government is studying the possibility of executing a project to generate electricity from recycling materials. Discussions are ongoing with international experts. The Environmental Public Authority (EPA) recently welcomed an environmental delegation from the United States, with whom discussions are being initiated to solve several ecological problems in the country. In a statement made recently to the press, EPA consultant Dr Sameer Masoud explained that one of the main topics that were discussed is to resolve the problem of sixteen dumping grounds that span over a 17 square kilometers in the country. The waste materials obtained from this area can be used to generate electricity, he said. The three-member delegation also included an expert that treats soil that has been infected with oil pollution. Talks were held with him to treat the contaminated areas in Kuwait using

Shortage of exam-graders KUWAIT: Concern is mounting in the Ministry of Education (MoE) over the possibility that over 800 teachers who previously marked second and fourth term exams at local schools may be prevented from doing so again this year. The exam grading body consists of teachers assigned by local schools assigned to work there in exchange for an additional allowance, reported Al-Qabas. These teachers are required to take a break from their classroom duties during this period, which has previously caused problems over the subsequent staff shortages for the administration at several local schools. In order to avoid facing similar problems this academic year, therefore, a number of schools are expected to limit their permission for teachers to participate in exam-marking.

advanced methods, reported AlQabas. Furthermore, Dr Masoud added that talks were held with a legal expert who recommended that the country's environmental regulations should match with international controls. Meanwhile, a Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) official has called on the ministry to provide a database containing the visa details of all the country's expatriate residents. In a press release issued yesterday, the anonymous official argued that the introduction of such a system would significantly help MSAL staff to finalize work permit and residency transactions speedily and efficiently, reported Al-Rai. The official claimed that MSAL staff waste between 15

and 30 minutes on each residency transfer transaction in manually updating residents' data, adding that this leads to subsequent delays in completing transactions and to inefficiency, asserting that this time could be better used in increasing levels of competence at the ministry. The official said that the MSAL administration should be held fully accountable for these delays and the wasted effort involved, calling on senior officials to establish a computerized database which would enable staff to quickly and efficiently retrieve residents' information through entering their civil ID numbers. He added that the introduction of such a database would also help in reducing the time taken over the completion of each transaction.



Monday, December 13, 2010

Asian bully in Jahra police custody Youth killed in car accident KUWAIT: Taima investigators arrested an Asian man for harassing, threatening and assaulting w orkers in the J ahra Industrial Area, reported Al-Rai. The man w ould force laborers to pay him every month in order to avoid being beaten. He w ould also threaten to turn the laborers into the police if they refused to pay him. An investigation w as launched w hen one of the laborers filed a case w ith authorities. Police apprehended the bully in the garage w here he w orks and w as held for questioning. He w as charged w ith mugging and physical assault. Fatal accident A 21-year-old citizen was killed in a car accident on a farm road in Sulaibiya, reported Al-Watan. Paramedics responded to the incident and pronounced him dead upon their arrival. The driver of the other vehicle was driven to a nearby hospital. An investigation was launched to determine the cause of the accident.

kuwait digest

Misguided law interpretation By Dr Wael Al-Hasawi ack in 1986, political tensions in Kuwait soared after parliament members presented consecutive interpellation motions that created frustration among public. The government used to dissolve the Parliament, and carry out other practices, including suspension of some articles of the Constitution and tighten control over the press. At first, the public went in support of the government’s procedures, with less regard to outcomes. Later, MPs began challenging the decisions, with meetings being held in diwaniyas in protest, to which security officials responded firmly, while it gathered people’s attention and support. It was displayed when a majority of the public boycotted the nomination and elections for the National Council that was set up to replace the Parliament. A few years later, the Iraqi Invasion took place, after which the country was turned


into a large prison until it was freed following the international intervention that led to liberation. During the dark ages of Kuwait’s history, citizens stood behind the leadership, and the Jeddah convention saw the birth of the new Kuwait that respects the Constitution and the wellness of the public. Following liberation, the government fulfilled the promises made at the Jeddah convention, and Kuwait saw a new era of freedom and democracy that lasted for two decades, until tensions started reemerging as a result of laxity in implementing the law and the power-brokers’ conflict between personal gains and public interest. Growing frustrated by the state of chaos, the public demanded that the government take firm actions in implementing the law. However, what happened outside the diwaniya of MP Jamaan Al-Harbash the other day, was not an act of law enforcement or an attempt to control a chaotic situation. It was rather an unjustified attempt to discipline members of the Parliament, not to

mention that it was a flagrant violation of the laws, and the Constitutional Court’s order. Attacking the crowd after announcing a verbal warning 15 minutes earlier, is an insult not only to MPs, but also to each Kuwaiti citizen. What happened not only reminds us of the situation before the Iraqi invasion when police violently stood against the protest rallies, but also brought to mind the oppressive regimes that are seen in countries that are ruled by authoritarian governments. The fact that nearly half of the parliament’s members have agreed that latest interpellation motion is an indication of the Cabinet’s diminishing popularity among citizens, who have begun to realize that the assault on MPs, could transalalte into an attack on them in the near future. If I were in the Prime Minister’s place, I would have addressed the nation and apologized for what the Interior Ministry has done - misinterpret the orders of His Highness the Amir. — Al-Rai

Desperate drunkard An intoxicated man attempted to kill himself shortly after being apprehended by police for attempting to kidnap two women, reported Al-Watan. Police reported to a scene in Salmiya where they found the man attempting to kidnap two Arab women and placed him under arrest. After placing him in the waiting cell of the Rumathiya police station the man broke the door’s window and attempted to use the broken glass to slit his wrists. The man passed out from blood loss and

was admitted to a nearby hospital. In an unrelated incident, Ahmadi authorities arrested a 70-year-old citizen for driving under the influence of alcohol on Fahaheel Road, reported AlAnba. He was referred to the proper authorities. Drug possession Mubarak Al-Kabeer police arrested a young man for being in possession of heroin, reported Al-Watan. He was pulled over by authorities for driving suspiciously through Sabah AlSalem and a search of his car revealed a plastic bag of heroin. He was referred to the proper authorities. Meanwhile, police arrested a drug dealer and two drug addicts in possession of 250 grams of illegal drugs following a short pursuit on King Fahad Highway, reported Al-Watan. Unconscious child A six-year-old Arab child was brought to Mubarak

Hospital by paramedics after he accidently consumed kerosene and lost consciousness inside his family’s Hawally apartment, reported Al-Qabas. The boy was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit in critical condition. The child’s father was summoned by authorities for questioning. Bomb detonated Bomb squads detonated a landmine found in Doha by an official from the Ministry of Interior, reported Al-Rai. An investigation revealed that the mine was a remnant of the 1990 Iraqi Invasion and the area was searched for other explosives. Woman arrested A woman was recently arrested for stealing valuable items from a classmate’s home in Shamiya, reported Al-Rai. An investigation was launched when a woman informed police that her cell phone and several pieces of her jewelry were

stolen from her house. Following the phone’s tracking signal, authorities were able to find the woman using it. When questioned, she said that she bought the phone recently from a shop in Sharq. Officials reported to the scene and identified the shopkeeper who sold the phone who in turn provided police with the identity of the woman who sold the phone to him. The thief was caught and admitted stealing the phone and several other items from her friend’s home while she was out. Sexual assault A Syrian man informed police that an Asian man sexually assaulted his 7-year-old several times, reported AlAnba. The child informed his father that a man working at a local shopping mall sexually assaulted him at least four times. The child was medically examined and police are searching for the criminal.

Women panel to attend UNIFEM meeting KUWAIT: The Cabinet Women Affairs Committee is scheduled to take part in a regional consultative meeting of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) due to be held in the Jordanian capital Amman tomorrow. The commission, chaired by Sheikha Latifa Al-Fahad Al-Salem Al-Sabah, said in a statement yesterday that the planned meeting would address a host of issues, namely conditions of the women in the Arab world,

plans for the enhancement of the women status and challenges facing the females in the Arab world. Conferees will also deliberate the UNIFEM role for supporting the Arab women through enhancing their social roles and enabling them to shoulder full responsibilities at various levels, it said. Kuwait has praised the UN establishment of a special department for equality between the two genders and has vowed to

support the body with all possible means for boosting the status of the women in various sectors. The Gulf state will be represented at the consultative meeting by Dr. Salma AlAjmi and Dr Hessa Al-Shahin. The Kuwaiti women have successfully strived and made marked accomplishments, occupying senior and decision-making posts and playing a role in various sectors and domains. Kuwait is also rich in many women writers, academics and researchers. — KUNA

Sri Lanka features at KU exhibition KUWAIT: Kuwait University hosted the Fourth International Conference on Social Sciences on Nov 29 and 30 under the patronage of the Kuwaiti Minister of Education Prof Moudhi Al-Humoud, who is also the university’s president. As part of the conference, the representatives of the 25 participating countries took part in a two-day national promotional exhibition focusing on their different cultures, tourist attractions, fashion, people, food and hospitality etc, which attracted thousands of visitors. The participants included Asian, African, European and other countries, which all maintained promotional booths for the event at the university auditorium manned by staff from their respective embassies in Kuwait. The exhibition was inaugurated by the education minister, with dignitaries including MP Dr Massouma AlMubarak, Dean of KU’s Social Sciences faculty Professor Abdul Reda Assiri, members of the diplomatic corps, distinguished scholars, national representatives, Kuwaiti and foreign guests and university students joining the celebrations. The Sri Lankan booth organized by the Sri Lankan Embassy’s Seva Vanitha Unit attracted a large number of visitors. The booth showcased a range of products, including tourism literature, handicraft items, ornaments, gems and jewelry, Sri Lankan food items, fashion and batik accessories, tea and gift items, etc, made of locally-sourced raw materials. The visitors had the opportunity to taste a cup of the globally renowned Ceylon tea and to sample traditional Sri Lankan sweet delicacies, including

kevum, kokis, dodol and Asmee, amongst others. The booth was also decorated with masks, bridal wear, saris, household items, bronze and silverware and some of the bestknown brands of Sri L ankan garments and products. The Guest of Honor Professor AlHumoud, together with Dr. AlMubarak and Professor Assiri, visited the Sri Lankan booth, praising the staff there for their warm welcome and general hospitality. The dignitaries also expressed admiration for Sri Lanka’s beauty, diversity, breathtaking attractions, heritage, friendly people and the lovely items on display. The minister fondly recalled her positive first hand experiences of Sri Lanka from her previous visits, with Dr Al-Mubarak expressing similar sentiments. The Sri Lankan booth was also a favorite with visitors to the event, who voiced great admiration for Sri Lanka, its charm and people and the hospitality. The Sri Lankan booth was elegantly decorated by Mumtaz Fareen and Apsara Peiris, members of the embassy’s Seva Vanitha Unit, who were joined by its chairperson, Ramanika Dissanayake, and the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Kuwait, Sarath Dissanayake. The staff ’s excellent arrangements enabled them to promote Sri Lanka as a safe and attractive destination for travelers, as well as a potential destination for investments and trade. The Sri Lankan booth was one of the most attractive country pavilions maintained by the Embassies at the Exhibition.

Arab, Kurdish women abducted in Iraq city KIRKUK: Two groups of kidnappers seized female relatives of a top Kurdish policeman and an Arab tribal chief within hours in and around the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, police said yesterday. Kirkuk’s provincial police chief blamed the kidnappings in the ethnically-mixed city on the release from jail nearly two months ago of five women linked to Al-Qaeda that he admitted had been a “mistake.” The kidnappers could be aiming for a new prisoner exchange, he suggested. Late on Saturday, four gunmen dressed in military uniform stormed into the home of Hamid Taher Al-Barazanji, a policeman whose brother heads the Kirkuk police’s internal affairs division. The gang handcuffed Barazanji and covered his mouth with masking tape before kidnapping his 25-year-old wife Haifa Abdul Saheb, a police officer said, on condition of anonymity. The officer added that Kirkuk police believed an Islamist group, Ansar al-Sunna, was behind the kidnapping. Just two hours later in Al-Abu Mohammed, a village 35 kilometers (20 miles) south of Kirkuk city, a sep-

arate group of armed men entered the home of Sayakh Thabid al-Ezzi, who heads the Sunni tribe Ezza. They kidnapped both Ezzi, 52, and his daughter Rima, 18. “Criminals are trying to arouse sectarian feelings in the Kirkuk community,” provincial police chief Major General Jamal Taher Bakr told AFP as he confirmed the first kidnapping. He tied the abductions to the October 28 release of five jailed women linked to AlQaeda in exchange for two kidnapped Kurdish sisters, part of a bid to curb violence in the oil city. Both Ezzi and Barazanji were involved in negotiations which led to the exchange. “The police cannot exchange detainees for people who have been kidnapped, because it encourages terrorism,” he said. “The exchange of the five women who were released in October was a mistake.” Kirkuk is an oil-rich province that is home to a tense and fragile mix of Kurds, Sunni Arabs, Turkmen, Shiites and Christians. Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region wants to incorporate the bordering province into its territory, a claim which the Baghdad central government rejects. — AFP

Soldiers kidnapped as anger flares in Yemen Southerner’s death sentence causes widespread fury ADEN: Angry protests erupted in secessionist hotspots in south Yemen and gunmen kidnapped seven soldiers at the weekend after a southerner was sentenced to death on Saturday for a bombing in Aden in October. Local officials said four soldiers were kidnapped on Saturday in the towns of Dalea and Al-Habilayn, and three more, including one officer, were snatched yesterday, again in Dalea. Widespread protests have paralyzed the towns, both southern secessionist strongholds, since a court handed down a death sentence to Faris Abdullah Saleh for bombing an Aden sports club in October, a month before the port city was due to host a regional

soccer tournament, the Gulf Cup. State media had reported that Saleh had carried out the bombing for a leader of the secessionist Southern Movement. Four people died in the attack. Hours after the sentencing on Saturday, demonstrators cut off a main road connecting Aden to the capital Sanaa and yesterday forced shops and restaurants in Dalea to close, local officials said. “Those behind these kidnappings are armed citizens who are angry at the detention of their children and relatives in state prisons, among them the man sentenced to death on Saturday for the bombing of the sports club in Aden,” Nasser Al-Khubaggi, a



Monday, December 13, 2010

leading member of the Southern Movement, told Reuters by phone. Khubaggi denied the movement itself was behind the kidnappings. The Southern Movement says it is peaceful, but there is regular violence between armed activists and security forces. Earlier this year, mounting violence in southern Yemen, from separatist ambushes to battles with security forces, raised fears of a sustained insurgency in what was once a Soviet-backed, socialist state. North and south formally united in 1990 but some in the south, home to many of Yemen’s oil facilities, say northerners have since seized resources and discriminated against them. — Reuters

Palestinians skeptical after US freeze failure ‘It is no longer enough for US to say that settlements are illegal’ RAMALLAH: Palestinian officials expressed doubt yesterday that indirect peace talks w ith Israel could succeed after the United States failed to secure a new settlement freeze. In a speech on Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged that Washington w ould remain engaged despite the failure, He said he was unconvinced that a return to indirect talks, with the United States serving as go-between, could work and called on Washington to take a tougher stand. “It is no longer enough for the US administration to say that the settlements are illegal,” he said. “It is unreasonable for the United States to not have a position and leave the parties to negotiate without an endpoint, we need a clear role from Washington, and we want to know if you are a mediator or a judge or facilitator of the negotiations.” Speaking to Al-Hayat newspaper, Yasser Abed Rabbo, an aide to the Palestinian president, said it made no sense to resume so-called proximity talks, and suggested that the Palestinians were considering abandoning negotiations altogether in favor of a unilateral declaration of statehood. “The old way did not achieve any results and we will not accept a return to it,” he said. “We want to know, will the US side return to the old approach (of proximity talks or direct negotiations), or will they recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital?” Clinton’s speech on Friday came after weeks of US efforts to convince Israel to impose a second freeze on settlement activity in the West Bank. A previous 10-month freeze expired shortly after the relaunch early September of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said he would not contin-

pushing the tw o sides during indirect talks, but Palestinian officials said they had little hope. “The United States has once again proposed indirect talks w ith Israel, w hich means they don’t have anything to present,” Palestinian negotiator Mohammad Estayeh told AFP.

SIDON: Lebanese boy Ahmed Rahme, 11, helps his injured pelican into the water at the port, Saturday, Dec 11, 2010. Rahme who makes a living from fish cleaning at the port, feeds the pelican and takes care of it since it was shot in the wing two years ago. — AP ue negotiations without a new building ban. Washington offered Israel a package of incentives in exchange for a new threemonth ban, but last week admitted it had failed to win a moratorium. Clinton said both parties needed to “grapple with the core issues of this conflict: on borders and security, settlements, water and refugees, and on Jerusalem itself.” And she pledged the United States

would hold “substantive, twoway conversations” with both sides, pushing each “to lay out their positions on the core issues without delay, and with real specificity.” “We will work to narrow the gaps, asking tough questions and expecting substantive answers. And, in the context of our private conversations with the parties, we will offer our own ideas and bridging proposals when appropriate.” Reaction

on the Israeli side was mixed, with one minister close to Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu warning that the Jewish state would not discuss final status issues with the Palestinians “with a stopwatch in hand.” “It is neither logical nor in Israel’s interest,” Environment Minister Gilad Erdan told Israeli public radio. Erdan said Netanyahu “will continue to work for peace with the under-

standing that its price will not be one that threatens Israel’s existence and future.” But Labor party lawmaker and Social Affairs Minister Isaac Hertzog called on Netanyahu to present an Israeli peace proposal to Clinton immediately. “I, for one, believe that we should present an Israeli map toward the negotiations,” he told AFP. “The window of opportunity is very short both on the international and political levels.” — AFP



Monday, December 13, 2010

University fees raise issue hurts UK coalition partner Voters deserting Liberal Democrats

ROME: A demonstrator holds a placard showing Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (right) and his Northern League ally Umberto Bossi and reading "Resign!" during a protest against Silvio Berlusconi's government called by the left-wing Democratic Party (PD) on December 11, 2010. — AFP

Berlusconi gets ready for knife-edge confidence vote ROME: Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi faces a knife-edge confidence vote in parliament tomorrow that could either trigger his downfall or see the resilient Italian leader bounce back once again. Berlusconi says he is confident of winning a majority of votes despite the defection of speaker of parliament Gianfranco Fini and around 40 lawmakers from the ruling coalition earlier this year, which has led to the vote. But his opponents from the right and the left say they have the upper hand. The contest is so tight that even President Giorgio Napolitano-who is expected to play an important role in any political dealmaking after the vote said "a crystal ball" would be needed to predict its outcome. Italian newspapers have been filled in recent days with reports of attempts by Berlusconi allies to "buy" votes by offering consultancy contracts to wavering deputies and there have been some defections to the Berlusconi camp. Prosecutors have opened an inquiry into allegations of vote-buying. The 74-year-old media tycoon burst onto Italy's corruption-ridden political scene with an election win in 1994 and has gone on to win two other votes in 2001 and 2008 and serve the longest term as prime minister in postwar Italy. He has become a figure of ridicule on the international stage-famous for his gaffes, off-color jokes and sexual escapades-but is still seen as a powerful player in Italy and supporters say it is too

early to write him off. "I will secure the vote of confidence," Berlusconi said in a message to supporters on Saturday, even as tens of thousands of protesters from the main opposition Democratic Party marched in Rome to demand a change of government. Opposition leader Pier Luigi Bersani told the crowd: "The record of these last years is disastrous. Our country had not improved at all. We have been left behind by the strong countries of Europe." The government's current mandate only runs out in 2013. Fini's political movement, Future and Freedom for Italy, has said it expects there will be 317 votes against Berlusconi in the 630-seat lower house of parliament. The ruling coalition has said it can get 316 votes. "The showdown between Berlusconi and Fini is in its final act. Whoever loses risks bowing out of the political scene," L'Espresso news weekly said. Antonio Di Pietro, a former anti-corruption judge and one of Berlusconi's fiercest critics, has said the confidence vote will be "a resurrection of democracy, of dignity and ethics in parliament and in the institutions." But a scathing editorial in Il Giornale, which is owned by Berlusconi's family, said earlier the rebellion against the premier "has not succeeded." Berlusconi is expected to give a key speech about the political crisis in the upper house of parliament, the Senate, at around 0800 GMT today.

The confidence votes will then be held in the Senate and in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, tomorrow. Berlusconi and his allies are said to have a strong majority in the upper house and the attention is mostly on the vote in the lower house. The government already won a confidence vote on September 29 when Fini and his allies voted in favor despite having announced a break with the coalition. Their stance against the government has since hardened, with Fini calling on Berlusconi to resign last month and then pulling four ministers loyal to him out of the government when Berlusconi did not step down. The political instability in a major eurozone economy has so far had little effect on financial markets used to Italian government turbulence, but Berlusconi has argued that further trouble could undermine Italy. Many analysts say that, whatever the outcome of the vote, Italy could be headed for early parliamentary elections next year since even if Berlusconi wins the confidence vote his majority would likely be razor-thin. A poll on Saturday showed that Berlusconi's party and its ally, the Northern League party, would draw 39.6 percent of the vote in any future election. The Democratic Party and its main partner, Di Pietro's Italy of Values, would garner 31.2 percent between them. Fini's Future and Freedom for Italy would win 6.9 percent. — AFP

Royal photos show calm, loving William and Kate LONDON: Prince William and Kate Middleton look relaxed, poised and very much in love in official photos released to mark their engagement. One of the two images by Mario Testino shows the couple, dressed in jeans and casual tops, smiling in each others' arms. The other, more formal, depicts them standing together in a state room at St James's Palace. The pictures, released yesterday by the prince's office, were taken by fashion photographer Testino, a royal family favorite who captured some of the most iconic images of William's late mother, Princess Diana. Testino said the couple appeared "in their prime and brimming with happiness" when he photographed them on Nov 25. "I have never felt so much joy as when I see them together," he said. The Peruvian photographer, who made his name shooting models like Kate Moss, took a series of glamorous black-and-white images of Diana that were published in Vanity Fair in 1997, shortly before her death in a Paris car crash. William, who is second in line to the British throne, has inherited his mother's poise. In both pictures he and Middleton appear entirely comfortable with the camera and each other. In the formal photos the cou-

ple stands on a red carpet in the palace's Council Chamber - in front of oil paintings of some of William's ancestors - smiling toward the camera, as Middleton rests her left hand on her fiance's forearm. He wears a gray suit and blue tie over a white shirt, she a smart white dress from Reiss. The more intimate picture shows the pair smiling broadly as they embrace in front of a window at the palace, with William wrapping his arms around Middleton while she puts her left hand on his chest. Clearly visible is the engagement ring William gave her - an oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds that belonged to his mother. Both wear jeans, with Middleton sporting a blouse from mid-market retailer Whistles and William wearing a brown sweater over a white shirt from traditional tailors Turnbull and Asser. William and Middleton, both 28, announced last month that they will marry on April 29 at Westminster Abbey in London. Testino has often photographed members of the royal family, taking portraits to mark Prince William's 21st birthday in 2003 and his younger brother Prince Harry's 20th birthday the next year. He also has photographed their father, Prince Charles, for Vogue magazine. — AP

LONDON: The popularity of Nick Clegg, leader of Britain's coalition government's junior partner, has plummeted and supporters are deserting his party over plans to raise university tuition fees, said a poll published yesterday. Parliament voted on Thursday in favor of plans to allow English universities to almost treble current fees, a policy that has divided Clegg's Liberal Democrat party and led to violent protests in London. Before May's election Clegg and all his party's lawmakers had pledged to vote against any rise, and his decision to renege on that promise has seen his personal standing sink, an Ipsos MORI poll for the News of the World newspaper found. In April, a poll rated him as the most popular British party leader since World War Two Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Now 61 percent describe the deputy prime minister as untrustworthy. The policy has also damaged his party, with nearly half of the voters who supported the centre-left Liberal Democrats in May saying they are unlikely to do so in future. Another poll, published in the Sunday Telegraph, indicated only 54 percent of those who backed Clegg's party would do so at the next election. Less than half of the 57 Liberal Democrat lawmakers voted in favour of raising tuition fees, one of the government's measures to erase a record budget deficit. However, analysts say the growing unpopularity of the Liberal Democrats means the party is unlikely to take any action that would jeopardize the coalition. "This coalition is rock solid," Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander, a Liberal Democrat, told BBC TV. "There is a real sense of purpose about this coalition, it's going to last over the five years," he added, dismissing suggestions Clegg's leadership was in doubt. Conservative support little changed The MORI poll found twothirds of Britons opposed the rise in tuition fees and most thought it would deter those from poor families from going to university. However, it also found Conservative support had been little affected by anger over the policy and Prime Minister David Cameron's personal ratings were almost unchanged. Protesters attacked government buildings and attacked a car carrying British heir to the throne Prince Charles on Thursday during London's worst riots in years and the fourth violent demonstration in the capital against the plans. Police have arrested some 175 people during the four protests and yesterday released pictures of 14 people suspected of being involved in violent disorder, attacking officers and smashing buildings, shops and windows. During the riots, the limousine of Prince Charles was surrounded with protesters kicking the doors, cracking a window, throwing white paint over the car and media reported one protester had jabbed his wife Camilla in the ribs with a stick. "I'm not sure about the term poked with a stick, I understand there was some contact made," Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May told Sky News, adding royal security and police handling of the riots was under review. Royal aides told the Sunday Telegraph that Charles and Camilla did not intend to scale back their public appearances. "It is absolutely business as usual," the unnamed aide said.— Reuters

KOSOVO: An election commission staff exits a mobile polling station in northern Serb-dominated part of ethnically divided town yesterday. — AP

Kosovo votes in historic poll Free and fair vote crucial to EU bid PRISTINA: Kosovo voted yesterday in its first elections since declaring independence in 2008, with many voters angered to find themselves still among Europe's poorest citizens. Police reported threats to minority Serb voters in the north of the overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian territory when shots were fired into an empty building. The electoral commission put turnout across the territory at over 11 percent shortly before midday, and there were no other reports of violence. In Pristina, handfuls of people lined up outside polling stations throughout the city in clear weather. Goran Zdravkovic, a Serb member of the electoral commission, told reporters that the 40,000 Serbs in North Kosovo were maintaining a total boycott of the vote with not a single ballot cast in the five hours of voting before noon (1100 GMT). However, Serbs in enclaves in central Kosovo, accounting for two-thirds of the 120,000 Serb population, were reported to be turning out in large numbers. Opinion polls ahead of the vote showed support for Prime Minister Hashim Thaci's PDK party at 30 percent, just two percent ahead of its main rival the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), led by Pristina mayor Isa Mustafa. Thaci looked relaxed in a leather jacket as he cast his vote in a elementary school in Pristina accompanied by his wife and his young son. "Kosovo is voting today for a European future, for visa liberalization and integration into the European Union and the United Nations," he told a throng of journalists. Many in the 1.6 million strong electorate are disillusioned with the current leadership with Thaci's reputation hurt by a string of corruption scandals involving party officials.

More than 10 years after the war between the independence-seeking Albanian majority and forces loyal to then Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, Kosovo remains one of the poorest regions in Europe with nearly half the population living below the poverty line. "Thaci will win. He should hold be given four more years and you will see he will be the best prime minister Kosovo ever had," Feriz Krasniqi, a 29-year-old street vendor in Pristina told AFP. But many young people and the educated urban elite have turned their backs on the guerrilla leader-turned politician who led Kosovo's armed resistance to Serbian rule. "I got up early to vote because I'm not happy with the way the country was led. People suffered while politicians benefitted and we have to stop that," 39-year-old construction engineer Shaqir Zeneli said. The gun attack threatening Serbs happened in the North Kosovo town of Zubin Potok, police spokesman Besim Hoti said, adding that the gunmen left a written threat warning Serbs to stay away from the polls. The building is sometimes used by NATO-led peacekeepers. "It was a political threat against the elections," he said, adding that it was not known who was behind it. The ethnic-Albanian majority declared Kosovo independent in February 2008, a move recognised by 72 countries including the US and all but five European Union members. Serbia, which still considers the territory as its southern province, has advised the 120,000-strong Serb minority in Kosovo not to vote. Ten out of the 129 parliament seats are reserved for the Serb minority but it could go up to 15 if Serb turnout is high. The snap elections were called after an uneasy ruling coalition imploded late September. — AFP

Angola's dos Santos to make first state visit to South Africa JOHANNESBURG: Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is expected tomorrow to start his first state visit to South Africa, a trip aimed at deepening diplomatic ties between two of the region's major economies. His trip follows President Jacob Zuma's trip to the oil-rich state in 2009, which confirmed a detente with Africa's top oil producer after decades of strained relations under apartheid and the early years of black-majority rule. A presidential official told AFP that Zuma would meet his Angolan counterpart in Pretoria tomorrow, before heading to Cape Town the next day, where dos Santos is expected to visit Robben Island, the prison where former president Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years. Relations between the two countries were marred during the apartheid era as South Africa sided with UNITA rebels who were fighting dos Santos's Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, (MPLA) during its civil war. After the end of apartheid in 1994, former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki favored a negotiated settlement to the civil war, a stand opposed by dos Santos until the conflict ended in 2002. Under Mbeki, the two

nations also feuded over how to handle the crisis in Zimbabwe and the conflict in Congo. A South Africa government statement said the visit was meant to "strengthen bilateral and economic ties between the two countries." Dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979, does not often make state visits within the continent or abroad. "When he decides to go on an official visit to a foreign country, it's a very big deal," said Edward George, an Africa analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit. "It really does mark a change in relations with South Africa. Angola is keen to establish itself as a competing pole of interest in Africa between Nigeria and South Africa," he added. Oil production has propelled Angola into a major investment destination for global companies seeking a slice of its rapidly growing economy, since the end of the war eight years ago. But decades of strained ties has seen South Africa lose out on lucrative reconstruction jobs dominated by China, Brazil and Western countries. Zuma's visit last year, however, saw him sign a clutch of business deals, in mining, banking, agriculture and oil. The oil agreement will see South Africa's PetroSA partner with

Sonangol, Angola's state owned oil firm in exploration, refining and distribution. Angola and Nigeria are the biggest crude oil producers on the continent but dos Santos's state has only one refinery and must import 50 percent of its petrol. South Africa, however, has very little crude oil production but has the second-biggest refining capability in Africa, behind Egypt. The main imports from Angola to South Africa include minerals, chemical products and building materials. South African exports to Angola amounted to 5.5 billion rands (0.8 billion US dollars) in 2009, while Angola's equivalent figure was 12 billion rands (1.75 billion dollars), Pretoria said. The dos Santos visit is expected to address proposals for easing visa requirements and establishing a bilateral commission, which was left unsigned during Zuma's trip to Luanda last year. Belarmino van Dunem, a specialist in international politics at the Lusiada University of Luanda, said the reciprocal visit marked a further step towards a new partnership. "The sympathy between the two men (Zuma and dos Santos) is undeniable," said van Dunem. "Diplomatic relations between the two countries are improving and the visit marks a new era." — AFP

South African cops probe link of Dewani case to 2007 murder

LONDON: This is one of two official portrait photographs taken on Nov 25, 2010 in the Cornwall Room in St James's Palace yesterday. — AP

JOHANNESBURG: South African police are probing a link between a Cape Town murder of the wife of a British businessman and a 2007 killing of a local doctor under similar circumstances, media said yesterday. The Sunday Times said the doctor, Pox Raghavjee, was found shot dead in his car in Bhisho, a small town in the Eastern Cape region, but nothing was stolen from him. His widow, Heather Raghavjee, travelled to Cape Town to comfort businessman Shrien Dewani after the murder of his wife Anni last month, the paper said. "National police commissioner Bheki Cele confirmed yesterday that police were probing links between the 2007 killing of an Eastern Cape doctor to

Anni's murder," said the paper. She was killed in a poor suburb outside Cape Town, after a taxi she was travelling in with her husband was hijacked. The hijackers released Dewani and made off with his wife. Her body was later found with a single bullet to her neck. One of the men who have been arrested for the killing, Zola Tongo, turned state witness and implicated Dewani in his wife's murder. He claimed that he was approached by the Briton whom he met at Cape Town airport and promised 15,000 rand (2,175 dollars) "to remove someone off the scene". Tongo's plea bargain documents reveal that the attack was in fact part of a plan devised together with Dewani to con-

ceal the murder. He claimed that Dewani mentioned he had arranged a fake hijacking in the country before. Police have also seized three sets of CCTV footage showing two separate meetings at a Cape Town hotel between Dewani and Tongo and records of text messages between the two men, which were exchanged before the murder, said the paper. According to a Sunday Times special report, Dewani conned a luxury game lodge where the couple stayed before travelling to Cape Town to give him a discounted rate. He pretended to be a travel consultant in order to qualify for a special accommodation rate at Chitwa Chitwa lodge, near the famous Kruger National Park. —AFP


Monday, December 13, 2010


Obama denounces ‘deplorable’ documents WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has offered his strongest condemnation yet of WikiLeaks’ “deplorable” documents dump, as defenders of the website’s founder denounced the rush to judgment against him. The president made his comments in a call to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Saturday, the White House said. Obama “expressed his regrets for the deplorable action by WikiLeaks and the two leaders agreed that it will not influence or disrupt the close cooperation between the United States and Turkey,” said his office. The comments, and similar statements in a call to his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon, were

Obama’s most forceful yet against the website, whose steady leaking of a trove of secret US diplomatic cables has polarized opinion. Obama’s call to Erdogan could be seen as an effort to soothe ruffled feathers in Turkey, a key regional US ally. Officials there, including the prime minister have reacted badly to some of the information divulged by the documents. Spanish online supporters of Assange called Saturday for worldwide demonstrations to press for his release from a London jail, where he is fighting possible extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations. In a manifesto entitled “For freedom, Say No to State Terrorism,” it demanded Assange’s release and “restoration of

the WikiLeaks domain.” “Given that no one has proved that Assange is guilty of the offences he is accused of and that Wikileaks is not implicated in any of those,” the website also urged credit card giants Visa and Mastercard to rescind their decisions to cut off payments from the website’s supporters. But rallies in Madrid and Barcelona drew only about 400 people, and similar protests in Amsterdam and various Latin American capitals drew even smaller crowds. Assange is due to appear in a London court for a second time tomorrow after being arrested on a warrant issued by Sweden. Prosecutors there want to question

him about two women’s allegations of rape and sexual molestation. WikiLeaks insists the allegations are a politically motivated attempt to smear Assange in retaliation for the leak of 250,000 confidential US documents, believed to have been passed to WikiLeaks by a US Army private. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, has been transferred from the main section of Wandsworth prison to an isolation unit, according to Jennifer Robinson, a member of his legal team. In the Netherlands, 75 people gathered in central Amsterdam to show their support for WikiLeaks, police spokesman Rob van der Veen told AFP. The Amsterdam rally was sponsored by the Dutch Pirates Party “to

call for protection of freedom of the press” and “to express displeasure with the attempt to silence” sites such as WikiLeaks. In Mexico City, about 40 protestors demonstrated outside the British embassy, pasting signs that read “no to censorship” and “the Internet was born free” on its walls. In Peru, about a dozen Assange supporters gathered peacefully outside the British Embassy in Lima, where protestors stressed that the Assange’s values “affect us all.” “Solidarity has no boundaries. Injustice is injustice in any part of the world,” protestor Jorge Meneses, 22, told AFP. In Bogota, only about 15 people turned out for the demonstration

there. A protest in Lisbon drew several dozen people, some of them carrying photos of Assange or signs calling for freedom of the web. Meanwhile, newly divulged US diplomatic cables revealed a row between the Vatican and Ireland over a child abuse inquiry. The Holy See on Saturday questioned the reliability of the cables released by WikiLeaks, which indicated it had refused to cooperate with an Irish probe into child sex abuse by Catholic priests in Dublin. In other disclosures, a leaked cable revealed that the United States and New Zealand have resumed intelligence collaboration after a 25 year break, according to the Wellington Star Times, which published the

cable. And mining giant BHP Billiton was said to have lobbied the Australian government hard to bring down a proposed 19.5 billion US dollar deal between its rival Rio Tinto and China’s Chinalco. Spokesmen for BHP and Rio Tinto refused to comment. Assange’s attorneys said that while he was getting no recreation time in prison, was having difficulties getting phone calls out, and was not allowed to have a laptop in his cell, he was in “very good” spirits. He was however “frustrated” that he could not answer the allegations that WikiLeaks was behind cyber attacks launched on credit card firms that have refused to do business with the website. —AFP

Washington ‘concerned’ over Venezuela-Russian arms deal US tried to stop Russia’s delivery: Leaked info

MEXICO CITY: Artists, wearing masks, look on as they perform outside the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Saturday, Dec 11, 2010. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the country began arriving at the basilica in preparation for Virgin of Guadalupe Day main celebrations yesterday. —AP

Mexico searches for drug lord’s body APATZINGAN: Mexican authorities Saturday were searching the mountains of western Michoacan state for the body of drug lord Nazario Moreno, to confirm that he was killed earlier this week during a shootout with police. Also known as ‘El Chayo’ or ‘The Doctor,’ Moreno is said to be the boss of the La Familia cartel and is on Mexico’s most-wanted list with a 2.4 million dollar bounty on his head. The government said he was killed Thursday during a police attack on his stronghold in Apatzingan, but his body was never found. Security forces on Friday began deploying in remote southern Michaocan, moving from village to village, seeking out La Familia gang members, in their search for Moreno’s remains, La Jornada newspaper said Saturday. After the shootout Wednesday and Thursday in the town of Apatzingan, a government spokesman said Friday “facts and information gathered during the operation indicate that yesterday Nazario Moreno died in action.” Reading from a statement, however, Alejandro Poire went on to say that 11 people were killed in the firefight, but that the death toll was only provisional since cartel members took some dead and wounded, including presumably their leader’s body, when they fled.The fatalities included an 11month-old baby, a 17-year-old girl and five police officers. On Saturday, smoldering vehicles blocked the main road to Apatzingan, as security forces gathered intelligence about La Familia in

Michoacan, one of the poorest states in Mexico and a major producer of marijuana. Military and police vehicles choked the main highway leading to Michoacan’s capital Morelia, its toll booths still abandoned by workers who fled the violence this week. “The federal government has reinforced its coordinated operation in Michoacan in order to protect its communities from (cartel) violence of the last few days,” the Public Security Secretariat said Saturday in a statement. “Let me be clear: there will be no retreat” in the government’s war on drug traffickers, Public Security Secretary Genaro Garcia said at the funeral for the five police officers killed in Apatzingan. La Familia made headlines in October 2005 when members rolled five human heads onto a nightclub dance floor. Along with the heads was a message stating that La Familia did not kill women or children. “Only those who should die will die. Let everyone know, this is divine justice,” it read. Michoacan is the home state of President Felipe Calderon, who launched a nationwide crackdown on the drug cartels after taking office in late 2006. His first target was Michoacan. Since then, drug-related crime and murder has claimed more than 28,000 lives, despite Calderon’s deployment of some 50,000 troops across the country. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation last year arrested more than 300 La Familia members in the United States. —AFP

Palin tours politically unstable Haiti PORT-AU-PRINCE: Haiti’s postelection crisis deepened yesterday after opposition presidential candidates prolonged the political uncertainty by refusing to participate in a proposed recount.Conservative US politician Sarah Palin, undeterred by a deteriorating security situation and riots that left five people dead, toured the quake-hit Caribbean nation with American evangelical group Samaritan’s Purse. The potential 2012 presidential candidate comforted child cholera victims at a clinic on Saturday and visited a camp that shelters victims of the January quake, which killed 250,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless. “I’ve really enjoyed meeting this community,” Palin said. “They are so full of joy. We are so fortunate in America and we are responsible for helping those less fortunate. Samaritan’s Purse is still here doing the tough work.” Her arrival coincided with the first normalcy in Haiti since President Rene Preval’s handpicked protege made it through to a second round run-off in flawed elections, pipping a popular opposition candidate by less than 7,000 votes. Markets and banks opened for business for the first time since violent protests erupted on Tuesday evening when the results were announced. The streets of the capital, eerily bare on Friday as putrid tire smoke lingered in the air, were once again teeming with people Saturday, many of them stockpiling goods, fearful the period of calm may not last long. In a bid to counter the widespread allegations of fraud and stave off further protests, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced plans to add up all the tally sheets in the presence of the three main candidates. Those plans are now in disarray after losing opposition candidate Michel Martelly wrote an angry letter to the election commission, dismissing a process he said would be rigged

CABARET: Former Alaska Gov Sarah Palin (rear center) visits a cholera treatment center run by Rev Franklin Graham’s relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, Saturday Dec 11, 2010. —AP again. “The solution of this public farce which has already caused some regrettable losses in human lives is certainly not a simple recount of the tally sheets in the possession of the CEP,” he wrote. The singer-turned-politician called for “the cancellation of tally sheets from polling stations that were sacked, vandalized, the object of massive and scandalous fraud in favor of the ruling party candidate Jude Celestin.” In an interview with AFP on Friday, Martelly, 49, called the recount a “trap” and accused Preval of conspiring with the elec-

tion commission and Celestin to rig the polls in secret back-room meetings. Hundreds of Martelly supporters demonstrated peacefully in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville on Saturday night, chanting “Martelly or death! Martelly is president!” until being dispersed by police gunfire. According to official results, Mirlande Manigat, a 70-year-old academic and former first lady, won the poll clearly ahead of 48-year-old Celestin, who squeaked through to the January 16 run-off ahead of Martelly. —AFP

WASHINGTON: The United States tried to stop delivery of Russian anti-aircraft missiles to Venezuela in 2009 amid concerns it could pass them on to Marxist guerrillas in Colombia or Mexican drug gangs, The Washington Post said yesterday, citing diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks. Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez heads a strongly anti-American government, received at least 1,800 of the SA-24 shoulderfired missiles from Russia, the Post said, citing UN arms control data. Secret US cables said Washington was concerned about the acquisition by Caracas of Russian arms, including attack helicopters, Sukhoi fighter jets and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, the newspaper reported. It quoted a US State Department cable on Aug 10, 2009 to embassies in Europe and South America as saying Russian arms sales to Venezuela totaled “over $5 billion last year and growing.” Concern about Spanish plans to sell aircraft and patrol boats to Venezuela were also cited in the cable. Russia reported to the UN Register of Conventional Arms earlier this year the purchase totaled 1,800 missiles, the Post said. US Air Force General Douglas Fraser said publicly this year Venezuela could be buying as many as 2,400 of the missiles, the newspaper said. A missile expert at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, Matt Schroeder, told the Post the Russian missiles are among the world’s most sophisticated and can bring down aircraft from 19,000 feet (5,790 meters). “It’s the largest recorded transfer in the UN arms registry database in five years, at least. There’s no state in Latin America of greater concern regarding leakage that has purchased so many missiles,” Schroeder was quoted as saying, in an apparent reference to reports of Venezuelan arms flowing to Colombian guerrillas. Bush, Obama The UN database also showed that from 2006 through 2008, Russia delivered 472 missiles and launching mechanisms, 44 attack helicopters and 24 combat aircraft to the OPEC member and major oil exporter, the Post said. It said the cables showed the administrations of George W Bush and Barack Obama both tried to stop the arms sales by suggesting to Russia the weapons could end up with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a rebel group that Colombian officials say has received material support from the Chavez government. “In early March, Secretary Clinton raised the sale with Russian FM Sergei Lavrov,” the August 2009 cable says, referring to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russia’s foreign minister, according to the Post. It reported that a Feb 14, 2009 cable from Washington to Moscow said FARC computer files seized by Colombia’s army showed Venezuela had tried to help with arms deals for the rebels. It expressed concern that missiles acquired by the FARC, which is involved in drug trafficking, could end up in the hands of Mexican cartels that “are actively seeking to acquire powerful and highly sophisticated weapons.” —Reuters

Cancun reignites climate talks flame CANCUN: A climate deal reached in Mexico has revived faith in UN-backed talks after last year’s debacle in Copenhagen, but environmentalists warn the new measures are far less than what the planet needs. After two exhausting weeks meeting in the resort of Cancun, more than 190 nations hammered out an accord that puts into operation a new climate fund administering billions of dollars in promised aid to poor nations. Negotiators gave Mexico high marks for guiding the talks, after fears that last year’s chaotic summit and vague agreement in Copenhagen had irreparably eroded public interest in climate action. “You have restored the con-

fidence of the world community in multilateralism,” Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, even likening her to “a goddess” for her diplomacy. EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, a Dane who helped lead the Copenhagen summit, described Espinosa as “skillful and clever.” Hedegaard earlier worried that climate diplomacy would “turn into Doha,” the allbut-dead talks on a global economic liberalization agreement. But even though the Cancun talks reached an agreement, they did not take up some of the most critical issues on climate change. “Cancun may have saved the process

but it did not yet save the climate,” said Greenpeace International’s climate policy director Wendel Trio. Oxfam International executive director Jeremy Hobbs said that the negotiations “have resuscitated the UN talks and put them on a road to recovery.” “There is now hope for action to help the millions of poor people who are already struggling to survive the effects of climate change,” he said. The Cancun agreement set a goal of keeping temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. But major emitters’ plans collectively fall well short of meeting the goal. Bolivia was the one nation to refuse to

accept the agreement, with its negotiator Pedro Solon repeatedly taking the microphone to denounce the deal as meaningless. “Let’s be objective about what this agreement means,” Solon said. “It doesn’t mean two degrees. In reality it means four degrees, which is much more catastrophic for human life and the planet’s biodiversity.” Bolivia’s President Evo Morales denounced it as a “bad outcome for the planet.” The Copenhagen accord also included the two degree figure. But it was never approved by the full talks, held under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, after several nations protested that it was negotiated in secret. —AFP



Monday, December 13, 2010

Singapore thinks Asian allies are incompetent SINGAPORE: Singaporean diplomats think the leaders of some close Asian allies are corrupt, incompetent or stupid, cables from Wikileaks revealed yesterday. Confidential diplomatic notes given by the whistleblower website to Australia’s Fairfax media group contained unflattering assessments of key figures in Malaysia, Thailand, India and Japan. “A lack of competent leadership is a real problem for Malaysia,” permanent secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bilahari Kausikan reportedly told US

Deputy Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Sedney in a cable dated September 2008. As such, “the situation in neighboring Malaysia is confused and dangerous,” fuelled by a “distinct possibility of racial conflict” that could see ethnic Chinese “flee” Malaysia and “overwhelm” Singapore, Bilahari was quoted as saying. Another official, Peter Ho, reportedly described Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as “an opportunist” who “would not hesitate” to be critical of Singapore if “it

is expedient for him to do so.” He said allegations linking Najib to the murder of a Mongolian woman in 2006, which the leader has strongly rejected, would continue to “haunt” his political fortunes. Bilahari was also critical of the Thai government in 2008, labeling then premier Thaksin Shinawatra as “corrupt” along with “everyone else, including the opposition.” He also said the Thai crown prince was “very erratic, and easily subject to influence,” and warned of continued instabili-

ty in Thailand. In another 2009 memo, Singapore’s ambassador at large Tommy Koh-known for being mild-mannered and eloquent in public-was uncharacteristically blunt in his assessment of Japan and India. “Koh described Japan as ‘the big fat loser’ in the context of improving ties between China and ASEAN,” a leaked cable detailing a meeting between him and US officials stated. “He attributed the relative decline of Japan’s stature in the region to Japan’s

‘stupidity, bad leadership, and lack of vision,’” it added. “He was equally merciless towards India, describing his ‘stupid Indian friends’ as ‘half in, half out’ of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.)” There was no immediate reaction from the Singapore government to the leaks but the pro-government Straits Times has reproduced the potentially controversial remarks on its website. — AFP

Philippine rebels welcome move to release detainees 400 political activists still being held MANILA: A Philippine government decision to drop charges against 43 health workers detained for months on suspicion of being insurgents will bolster planned talks on ending the 4-decade-long communist rebellion, While the underground Communist Party of the Philippines welcomed the decision, it said Aquino’s government needs to do more to improve human rights, adding that about 400 other political detainees are still being held. Government negotiator Alexander Padilla said authorities are reviewing the cases of several other detainees. The rebels took up arms 41 years ago to establish a Marxist state, accusing the government of failing to solve deep poverty, social and political divisions, and of being subservient to US interests. An estimated 120,000 people have died in the conflict. After years of impasse, Padilla met with his rebel counterpart, Luis Jalandoni, in Hong Kong a few weeks ago. They agreed to a 19-day Christmas cease-fire starting Dec 16 and talks in January to discuss the planned resumption of formal negotiations the following month. Aquino’s order to drop the charges against the health workers is a “boost of goodwill for the forthcoming

rebels said yesterday. On Friday, President Benigno Aquino III ordered prosecutors to drop charges against the “Morong 43,” named after the coastal town east of Manila where they were arrested in February.

resumption of peace negotiations,” the communist party said in a statement. But it added that “there are a thousand more steps that the Aquino government needs to do to in the face of the worsening human rights conditions in the country.” The 43 detainees have insisted they are volunteer medical workers and accused troops of planting weapons and bombmaking materials as evidence against them. They became a symbol of widespread allegations of human rights violations by government forces. In a speech marking International Human Rights Day, Aquino said Friday that the medical workers were arrested on suspicion of aiding the rebels. While the concerns were valid, “we recognize that their right to due process was denied them,” Aquino said. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima cited “some defects” in the search warrant and the arrests by the military and police. “They may be correct in saying that most of them are members of the underground movement, but the

shortcuts they resorted to made the whole operation dubious,” she said. Aquino’s order still needs court approval, which is expected in the next few weeks. The military said it would respect Aquino’s decision. Padilla said the move reflected Aquino’s policy of respecting human rights and was a confidencebuilding step ahead of the planned resumption of peace talks, which have been brokered by Norway. He said Aquino’s government sincerely wants to clinch a peace pact with the rebels. “The president has no hidden agenda,” Padilla said. “He wants to finish this and not pass this headache on to the next administration.” The talks stalled in 2004 when the rebels accused then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s administration of instigating their inclusion in US and EU terrorist blacklists. Human rights groups have blamed security forces for as many as 1,000 deaths during Arroyo’s stormy nine-year rule, which ended in June. — AP

South Korea set to stage live-fire drill

MANILA: In this file photo, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III addresses guests during a ceremony at Malacanang Palace. — AP

Philippines skipped Nobel over China death sentence MANILA: President Benigno Aquino III said the Philippines did not send a representative to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring a jailed Chinese dissident because of his efforts to spare Filipinos on death row in China. Aquino said in an interview published in the Philippine Sunday Inquirer that his envoy’s absence at the ceremony in Norway on Friday did not mean his government is not championing democracy and human rights. “Our interest (is) to advance our citizens’ needs first,” he told the newspaper in his first comments since human rights activists criticized the Philippines’ decision to boycott Friday’s ceremony with China and 16 other countries. China was outraged at the award for democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo, demonizing him in state media and portraying the Nobel as a Western propaganda tool to undermine China. It sought to persuade and pressure other countries to not attend the ceremony, and nearly all the boycotters were close China allies and trading partners. Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao has said his government did not pressure or influence the Philippines. Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo also said that Manila’s move should not be interpreted as “taking sides with China.” He told reporters Thursday that his government remains “clear and consistent to its fight for human rights,” citing its campaign in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for the

release of Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader. The military junta there released her from a lengthy detainment last month. Aquino said he already sent a letter to the Chinese government seeking clemency for five Filipinos sentenced to death for drug trafficking. The Foreign Affairs Department said the death sentences were under review by China’s highest court. If clemency is granted, the sentences could be commuted to life imprisonment. The Philippines has no death penalty, while China executes more prisoners than any other country and applies capital punishment to a range of crimes. Aquino also said that the Philippines was seeking a “closure” with China over the killings of eight Hong Kong tourists during a hostage crisis Aug 23 in Manila. The police response to the hostage-taking was widely criticized as inept, and it damaged the countries’ diplomatic relations. Aquino said Vice President Jejomar Binay was expected to meet with Chinese officials next week to discuss the results of the investigation into the hostage deaths. China has been investing in the Philippine economy, particularly infrastructure projects, but the two countries are also facing off in the hotly disputed South China Sea islands, where the United States is promoting the peaceful resolution of territorial disputes. — AFP

SEOUL: South Korea will go ahead with livefire military drills off all coasts of the Korean peninsula following North Korea’s deadly attack on one of its islands last month, an official said yesterday. But a drill to be staged at 27 venues from December 13 to 19 will not take place near the contested Yellow Sea border with the North, the spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. “This week’s drill will start today as scheduled... we have no plan to conduct it at the frontier islands,” the spokesman told AFP, referring to the South’s five islands near the tense maritime border with the North. One of the islands, Yeonpyeong, was the scene of a deadly shelling attack on November 23 that killed four South Koreans, including two civilians, and sparked a regional crisis. Since the bombardment, the first of a civilian area since the 1950-53 Korean War, Seoul has staged a flurry of military exercises, including a major joint naval drill with the US, in a show of force against Pyongyang. The South had planned a drill at one of the frontline islands during a live-fire exercise last week but it was cancelled due to bad weather, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The North threatened to deal “merciless retaliatory blows” at the military build-up in the South, calling it “a declaration of an all-out war.” Amid a flurry of diplomatic attempts to defuse regional tension, Beijing has called for an emergency meeting between chief delegates to long-stalled six-party talks on the North’s nuclear disarmament. The North’s leader Kim Jong-Il told Dao Bingguo, a visiting senior Beijing official, that Pyongyang was willing to rejoin the talks if other neighbors also agree to come forward, Yonhap news agency reported, citing a senior diplomatic source in Seoul. “But even if the North shows a more forthcoming stance, it would mean little under the current situation where South Korea, the US and Japan all oppose the idea,” said the source quoted by Yonhap. The United States, Japan and South Korea have reacted coolly to Beijing’s proposal, saying the North must first mend ties with the South and show it is serious about disarmament before resuming the talks, which also involves Russia. — AFP

Cambodian Prince Ranariddh

makes comeback to politics

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian Prince Norodom Ranariddh gives a speech at a party congress. — AFP

PHNOM PENH: Prince Norodom Ranariddh, a key leader in post-civil war Cambodia, has returned from two years of retirement to lead the party bearing his name ahead of upcoming elections, a spokesman said yesterday. Ranariddh, 68, was elected new president of the Norodom Ranariddh Party at a party congress Saturday in the capital, Phnom Penh, party spokesman Pen Sangha said. “The party members felt that only the prince has enough ability to lead the party,” Pen Sangha said. Cambodia is to hold local elections in 2012 and general elections in 2013. Ranariddh is a son of retired King Norodom Sihanouk, from whom he took over leadership of Funcinpec, a former armed resistance movement against a Vietnamese-installed government in the 1980s. Ranariddh converted Funcinpec into a royalist party that won UN-sponsored elections in 1993. The

elections were part of a peace process following the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime and were aimed at ending three decades of civil war. Ranariddh served as a coprime minister with the country’s current leader, Hun Sen, before being toppled by the latter in a two-day armed clash in 1997. Ranariddh’s political popularity declined and he was dismissed as president of Funcinpec in 2006 for alleged incompetence. Soon afterward, his former supporters in the party sued the prince for allegedly embezzling $3.6 million. Ranariddh fled the country, and in March 2007 was convicted on embezzlement charges and sentenced in absentia to 18 months in prison. The prince formed a new political party, the Norodom Ranariddh Party, which won only two of 123 parliamentary seats in July 2008 elections while he living in exile, mostly in Malaysia.—AP

PYONGYANG: In this undated photo released by Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (center) gets a briefing during his inspection of the renovated Pyongyang Flour Processing Factory. — AP

Australian Gitmo inmate says he was ‘scapegoat’ SYDNEY: Australian former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks yesterday said he was a “political scapegoat” and insisted his training in Pakistan and Afghanistan was “very far removed from acts of terrorism”. In a rare interview, his first public comment since the release of his controversial memoir “Guantanamo: My Journey”, Hicks hit back at criticism that he deliberately glossed over the events that saw him detained in Cuba. He also denied that his account deliberately played down the training he received and the extent of his involvement with Al-Qaeda, saying the politics of the time had overshadowed real events. “I was used as a political scapegoat,” Hicks told the Sun-Herald newspaper. “If I had been treated according to the law no one would ever have heard my name. My story, from a journalistic viewpoint, must seem like a boring, unsexy truth.” Now in his mid-30s and living in Sydney, Hicks spent five and a half years in the US-run prison at Guantanamo Bay before being convicted by a military commission of providing material support for terrorism. He said that if he had “actually injured someone, attempted to or even trained to”, he would have been tried in a regular court and made an example of, something which he said “never happened”. Hicks returned to Australia in April 2007 and spent nine months in prison completing the commission’s sentence before finally being freed, on strict conditions that he report to police and not give interviews for a year.

Captured in Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 and once dubbed the “Aussie Taleban”, Hicks said he attended “mainstream” military training there and only learned that there were secret Al-Qaeda camps once he was in Guantanamo. “How would a white boy, new to Islam, not understanding local customs or languages, largely uneducated in the ways of the world, get access to such supposedly secret camps planning acts of terror?” Hicks said. The former farmhand also defended the lack of detail in his book about the training he received in Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying he had edited it out fearing the events were dull. “I couldn’t imagine the public wanting to wade through pages of anecdotes such as how I learnt to smear mud on my face and camouflage a uniform, or basic map-reading and using compasses,” said Hicks. “These were situations very far removed from acts of terrorism such as bombmaking, hijacking or targeting civilians.” Hicks described his decision to convert to Islam in 1999 as an “impulsive” one, born of a desire for “somewhere to belong and to be with people who shared my interest in world affairs” rather than for spiritual reasons. Hicks is fiercely private and said his years of isolation and brutality left him fearful of human contact. “Lights, cameras and being the focus of an interview is reminiscent of a Guantanamo interrogation,” he said. “I cannot control interfering emotions.” “This is why I chose to write a book.” — AFP

SEOUL: South Korean runners wearing Santa Claus costumes pose for souvenir photos before taking part in the Santa Marathon race. Christmas is one of the biggest holidays in South Korea where Christians make up over half of the population. — AP

Calls to arm NZ police after machete attack WELLINGTON: There were fresh calls yesterday for New Zealand’s unarmed police to carry guns after a lone constable was attacked with a machete, leaving slashes across his face, deep cuts and fractures to his head and arms and severing a finger. Senior constable Bruce Mellor, 57, was attacked and left to die after he pulled over two teens driving a stolen car late Saturday during a routine stop, Detective Inspector Chris Bensemann said. A passing motorist spotted the bloodied figure lying on the roadside and called emergency services. “I think the most telling of all the injuries ... are the horrific defense injuries” to his arms and hands as he fought to save himself, Bensemann said. Mellor, who also suffered a broken jaw and eye socket and had several skull fractures, was reported in serious but stable condition yesterday after surgery. Police Association president Greg O’Connor said it was time for every police officer to have access to firearms. New Zealand police patrol unarmed, but pressure to give officers ready access to guns has mounted in recent years. New Zealand gun laws don’t allow citizens to own or carry

handguns and require anybody seeking to use a firearm to be approved and licensed by police. Citizens are barred from owning most military-style automatic weapons. Some reformers want all weapons registered and licensed to tighten controls further. Police Minister Judith Collins said she will hear recommendations later in the week from senior officials for greater police access to guns. Collins does not want to see every officer armed, but said there are cases where police may need better gun access - particularly officers working alone in rural areas. Speaking after visiting Mellor in hospital yesterday, she said he told her that “he thought he was going to die.” Collins said that during the attack, “He thought ‘it’s all over now.’ Well, who wouldn’t when they’ve got a machete being used on them?” she said on National Radio. She said Mellor was “quite lucid” despite his injuries and major blood loss from the attack. The teens, aged 18 and 14, are charged with assault on Mellor, who was attacked from behind, stealing a car and attempted arson. The pair would appear in court today, police said. — AP

Monday, December 13, 2010



US diplomat Holbrooke

in critical condition ‘Half of the people who have an aorta tear will die within 48 hours’ W ASHINGTON: Richa rd Holbrooke, the vetera n diploma t US President Barack Obama tapped as his special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, w as in critical condition on Saturday after surgery to repair a tear in his aorta, the State Department said. The

CHITTAGONG: Protesting Bangladeshi garments workers burn tires and furniture to block traffic, at Chittagong, 215 kilometers southeast of Dhaka yesterday. — AP

Bangladesh factories shut after violence, three killed CHITTAGONG: Three people were killed and dozens injured as tens of thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers clashed with armed police at violent protests yesterday demanding higher wages. Police fired live bullets and tear gas shells during demonstrations in Dhaka and the southeastern city of Chittagong, a day after Korean company Youngone shut down all 17 of its factories following staff riots. Bangladesh’s garment workers, who make clothes for many Western brands, have been angered that a government hike in wages due last month has not yet been implemented by employers. “Three people have died including a rickshaw driver who died on the spot after he was hit by a brick,” Meshbahuddin, the special branch police chief of Chittagong, where the worst violence took place, told AFP. Meshbahuddin, who uses only one name, said about 50 people had been injured at the Chittagong Export Processing Zone, where 20,000 workers attacked factories and a police station. Another police officer in Chittagong, Sergeant Sheikh Abul Hasan, told AFP that workers had rampaged through the area. “They torched and damaged scores of vehicles and attacked our officers and the station with bricks and stones. We fired live bullets when they became completely out of control,” he said. Bangladesh’s 4,500 garment factories, many of which produce clothes for retailers such as Wal-Mart, H&M and Levi Strauss, must now pay workers at least 3,000 taka (43 dollars) a month-up 80 percent on the 2006 minimum wage. But unions have said that many manufacturers have not raised salaries, despite government warnings, and that some experi-

enced workers had been demoted to deny them higher wages. Labor minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain told AFP that the violence had to stop, but that employers should act to address the grievances of many senior workers. “I urge the workers, don’t be impatient and don’t be violent,” he said. “But a worker who has 20 years of experience cannot be given the same salary as a new person.” In Dhaka, 4,000 mainly female workers torched two vehicles and blocked a main road in protest against factory owners. At Rupganj, 30 kilometers (20 miles) northeast of the capital, 5,000 workers attacked a German joint-venture garment factory. District police chief Biswas Afzal Hossain said police used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the protesters. Youngone-the country’s largest exporter-shut its factories after riots in Chittagong on Saturday, when dozens of people were injured, including two Youngone managers, as workers vandalized factories and vehicles. Company director Shikdar Mesbahuddin Ahmed told AFP its wages are already higher than the new government minimum but it was “devising ways to compensate senior workers who felt deprived by the new rates”. “They became unruly and didn’t wait for our decision. Our deputy director is seriously injured. He will be flown to Bangkok for treatment,” Ahmed said, adding Youngone employed 36,000 workers in Bangladesh. Garments accounted for 80 percent of the country’s 16.2 billion dollars of annual exports last year. Bangladesh’s factories employ more than three million workers, about 85 percent of them women. — AFP

‘Jailed Afghan drug lord was CIA, DEA informant’ NEW YORK: A top Afghan drug lord jailed in the United States since 2008 was for years on the US payroll as an informant for the CIA and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), The New York Times said Saturday. Hajji Juma Khan was paid lavishly to provide information on the Taleban, Afghan corruption and other drug traffickers in his country, and was even brought secretly to the United States at one point, federal prosecutors, current and former US officials told the daily. The US secret relationship with Khan, said the daily, illustrates how the war on drugs and the war on terrorism sometimes collide in Afghanistan, where drug traffickers, the government and the insurgency often overlap. A small time drug peddler when the US-led invasion of Afghanistan was launched in 2001, Khan-described as in his mid-50s-grew to a major drug trafficker in the opening years of the foreign military campaign, as US forces focused on anti-insurgent and anti-terrorist forces in the country. Over the years, Khan grew in influence, buying off the Taleban and corrupt Afghan government officials to protect his expanding drug trade until he became one of the country’s biggest drug lords, the daily said. At the same time, Khan became an informant for the CIA and the DEA, who were interested in Taleban and drug trafficking operations in the country respectively. In 2006, he was brought to the United States to see if his role as an informant could be taken to a higher level,

a former US official said. He was not arrested because there were no charges pending against him in the United States, officials said, and during the visit Khan took a side trip to New York for some sightseeing and shopping. Officials said it was unclear just how much intelligence Khan provided on other drug traffickers and the Taleban leadership, but his relationship continued for some time after that. Everything changed in 2008, when anti-insurgency pressure eased somewhat and US forces shifted some of their attention to rampant drug trafficking in Afghanistan. Some US officials said Khan had become too big a trafficker to be ignored, while others said he never provided breakthrough intelligence to his handlers. Khan was lured to the United States in 2008 for another meeting with the DEA and even paid for his flight to Jakarta, where he was arrested instead and flown to the United States where he is now in plea negotiations with authorities. He was arrested under a 2006 narco-terrorism law that makes it easier to go after foreign drug traffickers who are not smuggling into the United States, but who can be shown have ties to terrorist organizations, the Times said. Khan’s lawyer denied to the newspaper that his client ever supported the Taleban or worked for the CIA, while a CIA spokesman said the agency “does not, as a rule, comment on matters pending before US courts.” — AFP

Responses to hostage-takings divide the Western capitals PARIS: Today, when Western nations go to war, they fight as a coalition. But when a citizen is kidnapped his or her fate remains in the hands of his own homeland and its policy on hostages. By the end of this month it will be a year since television journalists Stephane Taponier and Herve Ghesquiere were kidnapped by suspected Islamist insurgents in the Afghan highlands east of Kabul. On the face of it, their situation is as bleak as anyone’s, but they do have one factor working in their favor: they’re French. Rightly or wrongly, France has a reputation of paying for hostages’ safe release. Compare their fate-alive but still in peril-to that of 36-year-old kidnapped British aid worker Linda Norgrove, who was killed in Afghanistan on October 8 during a botched rescue attempt by US special forces. Britain insists it never negotiates in kidnap cases, and claims to have a strict policy of not paying ransoms. This is impossible to verify, but British hostage-takings often end in bloodshed. As in France, Britain applies pressure to the media and families of kidnap victims to minimise public outcry over the cases, to deny kidnappers political exposure and allow authorities to work without pressure. Other countries, including the United States, adopt a similar tough stance, at least in public, but others have a different approach. Spain did not convincingly deny reports earlier this year that it paid 6.8 million euros (nine million dollars) to an AlQaeda gang in North Africa for the freedom of two kidnapped aid workers. At the time a Spanish expert on international relations, Carlos Echeverria Jesus of the UNED university, warned that Madrid’s payment added up to “an invitation to continue to kidnap and to blackmail Western countries.” In November 2008, Canadian journalist Melissa Fung of CBC television said she had been released after 28 days as a hostage in Afghanistan after members of her kidnappers’ families were released by Afghan authorities. In 2006, when an AFP reporter spoke to US agents in Baghdad about a threat to kidnap French targets, he was told that militants target

the French when they want money, Britons and Americans when they want a political impact. Paris had long denied, to widespread incredulity, that it pays ransoms, although it always insists that it is ready to negotiate with hostage takers. For many years such behind-the-scenes horsetrading was effective and French hostages returned home safe and sound from several high-profile kidnaps. But something appears to have changed in recent months and years. In April 2008, France did indeed pay a large ransom for the freedom of the 30-strong crew of a yacht, the Ponant, captured by Somali pirates. Next, however, French commandos in helicopters tracked the gang across the desert and swooped on their convoy, capturing six kidnappers and recovering around 200,000 dollars (125,000 euros) of ransom in cash. And in April last year a French rescue operation went tragically wrong when commandos boarded the yacht Tanit to rescue a family on board and accidentally shot dead hostage Florent Lemacon during a shoot-out. So did these raids signal a new get-tough policy from the French? This year French commandos carried out a deadly raid on an Al-Qaeda base in the Sahara Desert, hunting a gang that had captured, and subsequently bragged of killing, a French engineer. After this drama, President Nicolas Sarkozy implicitly criticized Spain’s reported willingness to pay up “It can’t be our only strategy to pay ransoms and to free prisoners in exchange for unlucky innocent victims. That can’t be a strategy,” he said. Nevertheless, when the same Islamist faction later kidnapped seven people including five French citizens-connected to a French-run uranium mine in Niger, Paris made it clear it wanted to talk, even to Al-Qaeda. So where does this leave Taponier and Ghesquiere, facing Christmas in captivity? Will France negotiateeven pay for-their freedom? Or will they have to take their chances in a commando rescue raid? This week a leaked US diplomatic cable from WikiLeaks revealed that France has dispatched a special forces unit to Afghanistan to track the pair, but officials still insist they are working for a peaceful outcome. — AFP

Holbrooke fell ill at the State Department on Friday and was admitted to nearby George Washington University hospital. “This morning, doctors completed surgery to repair a tear in his aorta,” the State Department said on Saturday. “He is in critical condition and has been joined by his family.” Obama said in a statement he and his wife, Michelle, were praying for Holbrooke. “Richard Holbrooke is a towering figure in American foreign policy, a critical member of my Afghanistan and Pakistan team, and a tireless public servant who has won the admiration of the American people and people around the world,” Obama said. A tear in this major artery of the body, known as an aortic dissection, is a painful and life-threatening condition that carries the risk of complications such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure, according to Dr Duke Cameron, chief of cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Recovery often entails a week in the hospital and three to four months for full recovery, said Cameron, who is not one of Holbrooke’s doctors. “Half of the people who have it (a tear in the aorta) will die within 48 hours if there is no treatment for it,” Cameron said in a telephone interview. “Even those who go to surgery, the chance of dying either in the operating room or a short time afterwards in 20 or 25 percent.” A prolonged absence for Holbrooke could be a blow to Obama’s efforts to demonstrate swift progress in Afghanistan next year, when Washington hopes to start putting Afghan forces in the lead and start bringing US troops home in July. A frequent visitor to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, Holbrooke had worked to build personal relationships with the region’s leaders, while at home he has sought to allay concerns in the US Congress over the course of the war. Holbrooke’s illness comes just before the White House is due to roll out an assessment of the revised strategy for the troubled region that Obama unveiled a year ago. Next week’s review is expected to conclude that despite entrenched corruption and weak governance, US and NATO forces are making progress on security in parts of Afghanistan. The review will not bring any major changes to strategy. Kamran Bokhari, director for Middle East and South Asia at intelligence firm STRATFOR, said a lengthy absence for Holbrooke could be a short-term setback because he had developed a rapport with President Asif Ali Zardari and military leaders in Pakistan, and to a lesser degree with leaders in Kabul. “It takes time for a new person to come in and pick up from where his predecessor left off. ... But in the long run, the role of one person is minimal, especially in a place like the United States with strong institutions,” he said. Some analysts have said Holbrooke’s well-known confrontational style may have made him less effective in dealing with leaders grappling with fragile political institutions. ‘Most difficult job’ With a career that included stints in Vietnam as well as serving as the top US.diplomat for East Asia, for Europe and at the United Nations, Holbrooke’s most notable achievement has been bringing all sides in the Bosnia conflict to the negotiating table in Dayton, Ohio. The resulting 1995 Dayton accords ended the conflict. During congressional testimony on July 28, Holbrooke conceded that fighting a resurgent Taleban and helping to rebuild Afghanistan were massive tasks. But he repeatedly defended the Obama administration’s strategy. He called the Afghanistan mission “the most difficult job I’ve had in my career.” But, he said, “Number one, on a personal note, I wouldn’t be in this job if I thought it was impossible to succeed.” “We’re not delusional,” Holbrooke added, listing problems in Afghanistan from high illiteracy to trying to help its government be accountable to its own people. Violence in Afghanistan has soared this year to its highest levels since the Taleban was ousted by US-backed Afghan forces in 2001. A year ago, when he announced his new strategy, Obama ordered 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Some of those could start coming home in July as foreign troops begin transferring security control to local forces. President Hamid Karzai hopes to have Afghans in the lead across the country by the end of 2014. — Reuters

69-year-old Holbrooke, w ho brokered the 1995 accord ending the Balkans w ar, has been a key player in Obama’s efforts to turn around the faltering 9-year-old w ar in Afghanistan, w here violence has surged and at least 477 US soldiers have been killed this year alone.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (right) chats with Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, during a joint press conference after a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in this file photo. — AFP

Crisis brews over Afghan elections Afghan rebels kill 6 foreign soldiers KABUL: The head of Afghanistan’s election commission warned yesterday that a push by the attorney general to challenge the results of September’s parliamentary vote could spark a national crisis. Final results from the Sept 18 vote were announced on Dec 1 but uncertainty has continued to surround the poll because of charges by Attorney Gen Mohammad Ishaq Alako that votes were bought and sold to such an extent that the results could be invalid. Many had hoped the vote would prove a success story for the government of President Hamid Karzai after a fraudmarred presidential poll hurt his credibility last year. Instead, the latest vote has been just as mired in allegations of fraud and state-sanctioned cheating. Alako, a presidential appointee, has sent a letter to the Supreme Court asking it to annul the results of the latest election and issue sentences against 14 top officials who organized the vote and oversaw fraud investigations, according to Rahmatullah Nazari, the deputy attorney general. “We have demanded that the Supreme Court cancel the results of the election,” Nazari told Afghanistan’s Tolo TV in an interview aired late Saturday. Election Commission Chairman Fazel Ahmad Manawi said that annulling the vote goes well beyond the authority of the attorney general’s office. He said the law provides only for the election commission and the dedicated fraud investigation panel to alter the results of the vote. “According to the law, no other institutions inside or outside of the country have the authority to bring the legitimacy of the election into question,” Manawi said. And now that final results have been released, those cannot be changed even by his own commission, he said. Manawi said he stands ready to discuss the issue, but cautioned that the attorney general’s office appears to be ignoring the law entirely. “If they want to have any debate about electoral law and the constitution of the country, we are ready for that,” Manawi said. “But if they just want to exert power and authority I think that this country will go into a crisis.” He declined to be drawn into the nature of the crisis he was predicting, saying only: “Over these decades of war and conflict in our country, we all know what a crisis looks like.” Nazari also said they intend to prosecute 14 top members of the Independent Election Commission and the fraud-investigating Electoral Complaints Commission. “We have collected more than 20 pieces of evidence against them and based on this evidence we have demanded that they be punished,” Nazari said. The evidence includes written agreements for payouts concerning the election, along with falsified documents from the commission, he said. Manawi said that he had seen the letter and that it called for the “harshest punishment” for the commissioners - meaning the death penalty. Alako previously threatened to arrest the spokesmen for both organizations, but no action was taken against them. He has, however, arrested eight employees of the election commission, though half of those were detained in connection with allegations from last year’s presidential vote. It is unclear if the opening session of parliament will be delayed by the tussle over the results. The legislature is currently on its winter break and would not normally reconvene until mid-January. Groups of parliamentarians have met with President Hamid Karzai multiple times in the last week to try to bring forward the inaugural session or postpone it until the Supreme Court rules on the issue. Karzai has walked a middle line - not saying when he will announce the start of the session but also saying he will not hold it back. “Everything will happen as per the instruction of the constitution,” presidential spokesman Waheed Omar said. “The president is not holding the inauguration; we understand relevant bodies have started preparing for it.” Neither the

Afghan constitution nor electoral law set a timeline for when parliament must start work after an election. It is up to the president to set the date. Meanwhile, an insurgent attack killed six foreign soldiers in Afghanistan’s Taleban-infested south yesterday, days before the White House publishes a review of US military strategy in the increasingly deadly war. Despite record numbers of coalition deaths and talk that the Taleban’s reach is spreading, the US assessment is likely to endorse the current strategy amid claims of some battlefield success in the highly volatile south. But critics say the mounting death toll is indicative of a strengthening insurgency and that it is time to negotiate with the militants to end nine years of violence that is only getting worse. NATO would not give further details of the latest incident, one of the deadliest single attacks in recent months on foreign soldiers, and would not reveal the nationalities of the dead, in line with policy. The attack took to 692 the number of foreign soldiers killed so far in 2010, the bloodiest year by far in the conflict, according to an AFP tally based one kept by In 2009, 521 coalition troops died. On November 29, six American police training soldiers were killed by one of their Afghan students in eastern Nangarhar province. The south of the country is the Taleban’s heartland, where 15 civilians, including children, were killed Saturday in a roadside bomb blast-the insurgents’ cheaply made weapon of choice that claims most lives in the war. The rebels were ousted from government in 2001 by a US-led invasion and have since focused their violent bid for a return to power in the south and east of the war-torn country, which both border Pakistan. The long-awaited US war review, expected to be released at the end of the week, comes a year after President Barack Obama deployed 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan to combat the growing insurgency. NATO leaders at a summit last month in Lisbon endorsed plans for the beginning of a “transition” to Afghan forces providing security across the country in 2011, with an aim of ending the combat mission by the end of 2014. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday said during a visit to Afghanistan that he was “convinced” the US “surge” strategy was paying off. “The bottom line is that in the last 12 months, we’ve come a long way, making progress that even just in the last few months has exceeded my expectations,” he told reporters in Kabul. NATO has said it would battle hard through the bitter Afghan winter, which usually signals a lull in fighting. But the US-led war is facing dwindling support at home as casualties mount. The coalition’s upbeat assessment conflicts with that of a group of influential international experts on Afghanistan, who on Saturday appealed to Obama to radically change his strategy and negotiate directly with the Taleban. An open letter from 23 researchers, journalists and NGO chiefs said the current strategy was failing as the militants were growing in strength, and a coalition government including the Taleban should be the longterm goal. “It is better to negotiate now rather than later, since the Taleban will likely be stronger next year. “The situation on the ground is much worse than a year ago because the Taleban insurgency has made progress across the country,” the letter said. The experts said that offensives in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in the south were “losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Pashtun countryside, with a direct effect on the sustainability of the war.” Afghan President Hamid Karzai has made overtures to the Taleban and other insurgents to negotiate an end to the war, but they have so far said they will not talk until all foreign forces leave the country. — AFP



Monday, December 13, 2010


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Sweden blast attacker: A case of a lone wolf? By William Maclean


wedish police investigating two blasts that rocked central Stockholm, killing the suspected bomber and wounding two people, said yesterday they had good leads into what they said were +ACI-terror crimes+ACI-. Here are questions and answers about possible perpetrators and tactics favored by militant groups. WHAT ARE THE THEORIES ABOUT THE PERPETRATOR? He has not yet been identified by authorities. The main publicly available clue is a message sent to authorities before the attack that linked it to Sweden's military presence in Afghanistan and a cartoons controversy. That suggests the perpetrator is involved in violent Islamism of the type promoted by Al-Qaeda. A Swedish broadcaster, citing unidentified sources, said the dead man was thought to be a 29-year-old from a small town in southern Sweden, but it gave no other details. IS HE FROM SWEDEN'S IMMIGRANT MINORITY? Not necessarily. Attacks of this type in the West have sometimes been carried out by Western converts to Islam radicalized by reading extremist websites and associating with militant Islamists in their social life. IS HE LIKELY TO HAVE ACTED ALONE? True +ACI-lone wolves+ACI- are rare. Experience from other attacks shows assailants usually have some support, even if it is only encouragement from like-minded associates. But attacks have happened without the perpetrators taking formal instruction from militant groups in a hierarchical chain of authority. +ACI-These things rarely happen in isolation so I suspect the authorities in Sweden will be looking at who else was involved with this particular person,+ACI- said Henry Wilkinson, terrorism specialist at Janusian security consultancy in London. DO FORMAL LINKS TO MILITANTS MATTER? Less than they did. Al-Qaeda uses various attack models. Plots coordinated from the central leadership. Examples, investigators say, are suspected conspiracies uncovered in the past 18 months in the United States, Norway and Britain, which law enforcement officials say were directed by a group of operatives in the core leadership's bases in Pakistan. Conspiracies hatched by affiliate group. Examples are a plan by the Yemen-based AlQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to conceal bombs inside office equipment and mail the packaged items air freight to America. The plot was uncovered and foiled. The +ACI-homegrown+ACI- attacker who, fired up by ideological fervor, strikes out using whatever weapon is to hand. Examples include US Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hassan who killed 13 people in a shooting spree in 2009.

WHO ARE THE MAIN ISLAMIST MILITANTS TARGETING EUROPE? Al-Qaeda aligned groups, many based in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, can provide training and money, although their capacity to do so in formal training camps is constrained by attacks from the US military and by US-backed government forces. AlQaeda's leadership, increasingly restrained by missile strikes from US drones in northwest Pakistan, prizes +ACI-homegrown+ACI- recruits as they have Western passports and can travel overseas easily, experts say. ARE THE CARTOONS STILL AN ISSUE? Very much so. The message cited Afghanistan, where Sweden still has troops, but also mentioned Western media cartoons of Prophet Mohammad published several years ago. Muslim anger at them is kept alive by Al-Qaeda propaganda to help radicalize and recruit, says Lorenzo Vidino, a specialist in Islamism and political violence in Europe at the RAND Corporation think tank. HOW WILL THE ATTACK BE SEEN ELSEWHERE IN EUROPE? This will heighten vigilance among security officials. The incident follows several testing months for European governments after a US travel alert about possible attacks by militants and the failed AQAP plot involving air cargo. German authorities last month said they were on guard against threats of armed attack on civilians of the kind that killed 166 in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008. +ACI-Other European capitals must be worried about the fact that this happened in a capital city in the runup to Christmas,+ACI- said Claude Moniquet, head of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center think tank in Brussels. +ACI-It could be a signal to other potential attackers to prompt them to attack at this time.+ACIIS TERRORISM RISK HEIGHTENED? Moniquet says there is heightened sensitivity in the West to the possibility of an attack around Christmas because of a failed attempt by a Nigerian Islamist to destroy an airliner over Detroit on Dec 25, 2009 on a flight from Amsterdam. The attack was praised by Al-Qaeda which argued that the apprehension, disruption and security costs it had generated had helped publicize the group's anti-Western message. — Reuters

All articles appearing on these pages are the personal opinion of the writers. Kuwait Times takes no responsibility for views expressed therein. Kuwait Times invites readers to voice their opinions. Please send submissions via email to: or via snail mail to PO Box 1301 Safat, Kuwait. The editor reserves the right to edit any submission as necessary.

Thaci is Kosovo's rebel turned independence leader By Ismet Hajdari


rime Minister Hashim Thaci led Kosovo to its declaration of independence three years ago but polls now show that he his grip on power could be weakened in yesterday's historic elections. In this first vote since the declaration of independence in 2008, opinion polls predict a neck-andneck race with just two percentage points of voting intentions between Thaci's PDK and his main rival the LDK of popular Pristina major Isa Mustafa. The popularity of Thaci, who has been at the centre of power in Kosovo since he began his career as the leader of the political wing of the Kosovo Liberation Amy (KLA), has waned. In the past year Thaci and his cabinet have been bombarded with accusations of corruption by the opposition, civil society and the media. In April the European Union rule of law mission, in the country to help the authorities make the transition to an independently functioning legal system, even raided the transport ministry headed by a close Thaci ally. The territory is regarded by international watchdogs as a regional centre of corruption and repression of the freedom of speech, lacking the desired climate for foreign investment. In an effort at damage control Thaci returned to his successful guerrilla rhetoric, declaring a war on all officials involved in criminal scandals since 1999. He also turned to new promises

to attract his electorate, casting himself as the only true Kosovo statesman able to deal with international institutions and lead Pristina to the EU and NATO. Now 42, Thaci was barely 30 years old when he burst onto the political scene in 1997 as the political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) that fought Serbian forces in the 1998-1999 war. Born on April 24, 1968, in Buroje village in the Drenica region of central Kosovo-a hotbed of ethnic Albanian separatism - Thaci was involved in passive resistance to the Belgrade authorities from the early 1990s.Becoming disenchanted with the peaceful opposition to Belgrade as preached by late Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova, Thaci in the mid-1990s organized other frustrated ethnic Albanians into an underground guerrilla army to take on the forces of then Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic. The move quickly attracted the attention of the Belgrade regime which controlled Kosovo with an iron fist and Thaci fled to Switzerland to finish his studies in political science. In 1997 he returned to found the KLA with other resistance leaders and within a year the guerrillas controlled a quarter of Kosovo. Thaci, also known by his nom de guerre "Snake", headed the political wing of the KLA. As the situation in Kosovo deteriorated Milosevic' brutal campaign to stamp out the rebels turned into a full blown

war between 1998-99 widely condemned by the international community. Thaci led the Kosovo Albanian negotiating team at the 1999 Rambouillet internationally brokered peace conference, but the Belgrade representatives dismissed him as a terrorist and refused to communicate with him. After

the 1999 NATO intervention that ousted Serbian security forces and established a UN's administration over Kosovo, Thaci laid down arms and put on a suit, starting his transformation into a mainstream politician. As the founder and leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo

(PDK) he devoted himself to fighting for independence through political means and dialogue, aware he needed to work with the international community while retaining the respect not only of his former fellow guerrillas and the Albanian majority but also the Serb minority in Kosovo. The death

of Rugova, who was invincible in all post-war elections, in 2006 led to Thaci's victory in the November 2007 elections. Three months later he declared independence from Serbia. But in this vote his reputation as the first independence leader might not be enough to keep him in power. — AFP

Isa Mustafa, the Iceman who could shake up Kosovo politics By Ismet Hajdari


ristina Mayor Isa Mustafa, nicknamed the Iceman, is seen as a possible game changer in Kosovo politics which have been dominated by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, a former guerrilla leader. In early November the popular Mustafa, 59, was elected to head the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). For years the LDK was the strongest party in Kosovo, but it went into decline after the death of its first president, Ibrahim Rugova, in 2006. "I took over a huge responsibility. That I know. It is a responsibility for victory," he told the LDK's congress after defeating former party head Fatmir Sejdiu. His cool demeanor at the LDK rallies where he rarely cracks a smile earned him the nickname "the Iceman" in the Kosovo media. He is coming in at a time when many Kosovars are unhappy with the government achievements over the last three years since declaring independence as it is tries to leave behind its war-torn past and make the transition into a self-sufficient country. According to the World Bank Kosovo is among the poorest countries in

Europe with more than 48 percent of unemployed labor force, some 45 percent of the two million population living in poverty, 15 percent in extreme poverty. With Mustafa's elevation to the LDK's leadership, the party is the strongest rival to Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) in yesterday's vote. The latest polls show PDK at 30 percent with Mustafa trailing two percent. In 2007 the LDK lost the elections and formed an uneasy coalition with Thaci's party. The partnership imploded in October after the Kosovo Constitutional Court ruled that Fatmir Sejdiu could not act as president both of Kosovo and the LDK. Sejdiu resigned and the LDK withdrew from the coalition, forcing early elections on December 12. Born on Maj 15, 1951, in Prapashtica village in the Pristina municipality, Mustafa has the advantage of an unparalleled political experience. He led the municipal council of Pristina for four years and was economy and finance minister in the Kosovo Albanian government in exile for eight years before the 1999 war. After the war between ethnic Albanian guerrilla and forces loyal to then Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, which was

ended by a NATO led campaign ousting Serbian troops from Kosovo, he chose an academic path far from political life. He lectured on business leadership and dedicated his free time to his family and three children. Mustafa made his political comeback in 2007 when he became mayor of Pristina in local elections, beating Fatmir Limaj, vice president of the PDK and one of Thaci's close allies. He was reelected in November 2009, again beating out an important Thaci ally by winning more 50 percent of the capital's vote. Pristina's electorate represents a quarter of all Kosovars eligible to vote. His popularity prompted Mustafa to vow he would never form a coalition again with Thaci's PDK. In his campaign he slammed Thaci's political inheritance as unemployment, poverty and lawlessness. "We will establish a government of learned men with untainted profiles and histories so they can solve the problems that lie before us," Mustafa said. During the campaign he vowed to create an economically strong Kosovo that will benefit all citizens. "I intend to secure jobs for everybody (and) make life as easy as possible for our citizens," he said. — AFP

Berlusconi: Television tycoon, political survivor By Dario Thuburn


taly's billionaire Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who faces key confidence votes in parliament tomorrow, is one of the world's most flamboyant and controversial government leaders. The outspoken media and construction industry tycoon burst onto a corruption-ridden political scene in the early 1990s, winning parliamentary elections in 1994 with a new party called Forza Italia ("Go Italy"). His populist style has earned him the adoration of part of the Italian public but he is loathed by others and has been increasingly dogged in recent years by sleaze scandals and a series of embarrassing international gaffes. His political nous-and, his critics would say, his control of Italy's three main private television channelshave allowed Berlusconi to survive the rough and tumble of Italian politics for 16 years. Born in Milan on September 29, 1936 to a middle-class family, Berlusconi gained a keen business sense from his bank-clerk father and showed entrpreneurial

zeal and determination to better his status from a young age. He graduated in law in 1961 after brief stints as a vacuum cleaner salesman and cruise-ship crooner, and embarked on a career in the booming construction business by making a deal with the head of his father's bank. The mystery surrounding the source of funding for his ambitious garden city project on the outskirts of

Milan-Milan Two-has led critics to repeatedly accuse the prime minister of links with organized crime at the time. Despite numerous charges, however, he has never been convicted of any crime. In 1978 Berlusconi set up Fininvest, a holding company which grew to include several m a j o r household n a m e s , including Mediasetwith three national television channelsand AC Milan, one of the world's

leading football clubs. He was estimated to be Italy's wealthiest person between 1996 and 2008. He is now Italy's third richest man after chocolate king Michele Ferrero and eyewear tycoon Leonardo Del Vecchio, according to a ranking by Forbes magazine. Berlusconi likes to play up his Latin-lover persona and some of his most damaging scandals have involved a parade of alluring young women. His second wife, Veronica Lario, filed for divorce after some lurid allegations last year. The media tycoon had three children with Lario-Barbara, Eleonora and Luigi-but his would-be familyman persona was ruined by revelations that young escort girls were paid to attend lavish parties in his private villas. Among the prime minister's most shocking blunders have been likening a German member of the European Parliament to a Nazi concentration camp guard and calling newly-elected US President Barack Obama "suntanned." His first stint as prime minister in 1994 lasted only a few months. But in 2001 Berlusconi won elections

again after a heavy media campaign, which included sending an illustrated booklet boasting his entrepreneurial, sporting and political achievements to 15 million Italian homes. The media magnate remained in power until 2006 in what turned out to be the longest premiership in the history of post-war Italy. He gave over control of his media empire to his family. He was credited by some with ensuring stability, but critics said Berlusconi's stewardship spelled disaster for the country's public accounts. Berlusconi defied critics and opponents to win once more in 2008. Throughout his political career, Berlusconi has been implicated in a string of corruption probes, including a decade-long money laundering scandal involving British lawyer David Mills, who worked for Berlusconi in the 1990s. Berlusconi was charged with handling a bribe for Mills in return for witness evidence favorable to the prime minister, but he escaped sentencing because the case had expired under a 10-year statute of limitations. — AFP


Monday, December 13, 2010


A noble feud reflects India's royal ambivalence By Tim Sullivan


heir tale begins in the 18th century, with an ancestor who served a Mogul emperor and an aristocratic family's rise to immense wealth and power. It ends with the two brothers-in-law, whitehaired men living in adjoining apartments in a palace that long ago passed the point of crumbling, and both claiming the throne of a kingdom that has not existed for 150 years. The whisper of angry words echoes across tattered brick courtyards. "I think he's obsessed," said Ibrahim Ali Khan, former oil company executive and the leading claimant to the title in question: Nawab of Awadh. "Once you realize you are not the nawab, and the whole town knows that you are not, even then you want it. What would you call it? You'd call it an obsession." His brother-in-law, though, calls it something else. "There is this thing known as megalomania," said Jaffar Mir Abdullah, the more recent aspirant to the long-gone throne. He is a former medical equipment salesman whose younger sister is married to Khan. More than anything, he is furious that Khan has made their fight public. "He needs consultation with a psychiatrist." Their 15-year feud, in a city once famed for its poets and artists, has become a matter for newspaper reporters and an ever-watching public, and a reflection of India's deeply ambivalent relationship with its bewildering array of royalty, semi-royalty and lesser aristocrats. Because if those aristocrats do not matter at all in modern India, they also matter very much. "Royalty is a very complex thing in this country," said Malvika Singh, a magazine publisher who often writes about politics and culture. "What is modern? What is feudal? I think India is a mixture of all of these." Officially, at least, the assorted noble titles - the nawabs, nizams, begums, maharajahs, maharanis, sultans, princesses and others - do not amount to anything. India's aristocratic families were stripped of their political power at independence, in 1947, and their feudal landholdings five years later. The final blows came in the 1970s, when they lost their govern-

ment allowances and legal right to their titles. "We had some very tough times," said Khan, a courtly 63year-old with sad, deep-set eyes and a comb-over, pouring whiskey as he told the story of Awadh. From memory, he lists the many rulers of the kingdom, which stretched across north India. He grows nostalgic as he talks of Lucknow, its last capital, and how it was famed for its gentility and its love of the arts. The kingdom disappeared when it was annexed by Britain in the 1850s, but the descendants of the ruler, the nawab, remained in the city as powerful landlords, living off the family's riches. Khan has faint memories of the last gasps of the old days, when there were eunuchs in the palace and 106 servants. He remembers clearly when many of those servants had to be let go, after the family's feudal lands - they controlled 996 vil-

subcontinent. India was the jewel of Britain's empire, a place where English businessmen grew rich from timber, opium and tea, but where millions of ordinary Indians saw little but staggering poverty. It was a colony where a confusing patchwork of 565 kingdoms was ruled by royals famed for their riches and their love of ostentatious spending. While the kingdoms were officially independent, nearly all major decisions were made in London. Today, India is fiercely proud of being the world's largest democracy, with a fast-growing economy and an elite desperate to shed the country's reputation for poverty and illiteracy. Their vision of India celebrates millionaire entrepreneurs and Oxford-educated technocrats and relegates the royals to entertaining wealthy foreign tourists in palaces-turnedhotels.

gone through." Certainly, many aristocrats have fallen on hard times over the years, unable to survive a world of university entrance exams and job interviews. Many more have simply put their titles behind them, dusting off the royal robes only for occasional weddings. But for those willing to trade on their noble roots, there also are new ways to find success. Dozens of politicians have won elections based on little but their aristocratic pedigrees. Royals, whether they use their titles or not, can be found in corporate boardrooms and on Bollywood sound stages. There are aristocratic university professors and aristocratic journalists. And, in Lucknow, there are two angry brothers-in-law. Conversations with both men tend to start in the early 1700s, when Awadh's first nawab was an aide to the Mogul emperor. There are digressions into

UTTER PRADESH: Ibrahim Ali Khan stands outside the crumbling royal palace known as Sheesh Mahal, in Lucknow.— AP lages - were taken away in the 1950s. It was a time when socialist policies governed much of the economy, and wealthy royals got little sympathy. "We had to sell our heirloom jewelry, and whatever land we had left. But we had to keep up a lifestyle, because for so many hundreds of years we'd been looked up to." He smiled solicitously, and gestured at the whiskey glasses: "Would you like some more water?" In many ways, modern India seems impossibly different from the country Khan was born into, in 1947, as colonial Britain was granting independence to the

The reality, however, is more complicated. The nobility may have no legal standing in modern India, but plenty still wield power. How could they not? Even stripped of their titles, most are still comparatively rich, and have generations of family connections to call upon. Most important, they still captivate India. "The West is obsessed with their royalty. The British are obsessed with their royalty. We're no different," said Singh. "People love the idea of royalty. We have not lost that despite Marxism and leftism and everything else that India has

family trees of mind-bending complexity and often-contradictory explanations of how noble titles are inherited. There are tales about the Sheesh Mahal, the Palace of Mirrors, the onceornate 18th-century mansion where both now live. The original palace, now little more than a crumbling shell that surrounds a maze of subdivided buildings, houses some 200 people in the shadow of long-gone elegance. Both men live in a century-old addition to the palace: Abdullah in a cluster of moldy, highceilinged rooms, Khan about 10 meters away in a more modern, freshly painted apartment.

When discussions finally reach living memory, the cloak of politeness quickly gives way. In separate interviews - once close friends, the two men seldom speak these days Abdullah lashed out at Khan for everything from his mental state to his family's real estate decisions. Khan, in turn, ridiculed Abdullah for his claim to be part of Awadh's nobility. "His grandfather married a second cousin of my father in 1917. The family had never seen the face of Lucknow before then" said Khan, sitting in his living room. "Then, in 1995, he starts calling himself a nawab!" That is when the trouble began. In the 1990s, Abdullah began working with travel agencies that offered foreign tourists the chance to dine with nobility. A friendly, potbellied man, Abdullah is a natural storyteller who enjoys introducing tourists to Lucknow's history. His brotherin-law, he said, is being pedantic about old aristocratic legalities. "'Nawab' is not even a title now," he said, arguing that many men in the family can now use the title. "This is the family of the nawabs. Not one nawab." Unless, of course, you've been raised to believe you are that one nawab. "Being the eldest son, I got the title," Khan said angrily. "If it was the old days, he would not have dared to call himself a nawab!" He probably is right about that. Local historians and journalists agree that Khan has the most right to title. In downtown Lucknow, next to an old movie theater where discount clothing is now sold, a 90year-old man sits at a desk in his small bookstore and talks about the feud. Ram Advani's shop has been a center of Lucknow's intellectual life for decades, a home to generations of writers and historians. Royal infighting, he said, has been here for centuries. If it might appear there is little at stake today for the nawab - no kingdom, no feudal land, no legal title - there is still a public that pays close attention to their powerless ruler. "The people silently have respect for these aristocrats," said Advani. There's no public touching of feet anymore, no requests for blessings. But still, the nawab will be greeted on the streets of Lucknow with a certain quiet deference. "These royals have lost even their titles," he said. "Now, they just want that respect." — AP

On climate, the elephant that's ignored By Charles J Hanley


he latest international deal on climate, reached after hard days of bargaining, was described by exhausted delegates as a "step forward" in grappling with global warming. If they step too far, however, they're going to bump into an elephant in the room. It's a symbolic elephant - the US Republican Party and as in the saying, nobody at the Cancun meetings wanted to talk about it. The impending Republican takeover of the US House of Representatives essentially rules out any new, legally binding pact requiring the US and other major emitters of global warming gases to reduce their emissions. Still, in endless hours of speeches at the annual UN climate conference, the US political situation was hardly mentioned, despite its crucial role in how the world will confront what the Cancun final documents called "one of the greatest challenges of our time." Not everyone held his tongue. Seas rising from warming, and threatening their homes, got Pacific islanders talking. Marcus Stephen, president of Nauru, spoke despairingly of "governments deadlocked because of ideological divisions." Enele Sopoaga, Tuvalu's deputy prime minister, referred to the "backward politics" of one unnamed developed nation. A US friend, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, told a large gathering here, "The key thing for us is not whether the American Congress is controlled by this or that party," but that richer nations help the developing world with financial support - for clean energy sources, new seawalls, new water systems and other projects to try to stem and cope with climate change and the droughts, floods, disease and extreme weather it portends. "Which party" does matter, however. Many Republicans dismiss strong scientific evidence of human-caused warming. And early in the two-week

conference here, four Republican senators in Washington sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton demanding a freeze on about $3 billion in planned US climate aid in 20102011.The senators called it an "international climate change bailout." What will they call the long-term finance plan embraced at the Cancun conference, for $100 billion a year in US and other international climate financing by 2020? Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who with Zenawi co-chaired a UN panel on climate financing, was asked how this US opposition can be overcome. "I believe that many things might happen in American politics in a period of 10 years," he replied. Such long, wishful views have dominated the cli-

mate talks for two decades, as the US remained outside the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the modest mandatory reductions in emissions that other industrial nations accepted. For the world to agree on a new, all-encompassing treaty with deeper cuts to succeed Kyoto, whose targets expire in 2012, the US Congress must pass legislation to cap US industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. "I don't think that's going to happen right away," Todd Stern, chief US negotiator, said with understatement here early Saturday. Instead, the Cancun talks, waiting for another day, focused on small steps on climate: some advances in establishing a system to compensate developing nations for protecting their forests, for example, and in set-

ting up a global clearinghouse for "green" technology for developing nations. Cancun's chief accomplishment was to decide to create, with details to come, a Green Climate Fund that will handle those expected tens of billions of dollars in climate support. This slowly-slowly approach began at the climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, last year, when the US, China, other big emitters and some small one pledged to carry out voluntary reductions in emissions. Some say this will be the way global warming will be addressed, not with "topdown," legally binding treaties, but with self-assigned targets, bilateral deals to help create low-carbon economies, aspirational goals set by G-20 summits. If the world busies itself with such voluntary activities, this

thinking goes, it may all add up to climate protection. But scientists do numbers better than politicians. And the latest UN scientific calculation shows that the current emissions-reduction pledges, even if all are fulfilled, will barely get the world halfway to keeping temperatures rising to dangerous levels. The US pledge based on executive, not congressional action - is for a mere 3 percent reduction of emissions below 1990 levels. If too little is done, the UN science network foresees temperatures rising by up to 6.4 degrees Celsius by 2100. In a timely reminder of what's at stake, NASA reported last week that the JanuaryNovember 2010 period was the warmest globally in the 131-year record. At that rate, climate will become the elephant no one can ignore.— AP

Climate talks: 18 years, too little action? By Alister Doyle


was born in 1992. You have been negotiating all my life. You cannot tell us that you need more time," Christina Ora of the Solomon Islands complained to delegates at UN talks on fixing global warming. Her line from a brief, riveting speech to a 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen was emblazoned on activists' T-shirts at the latest UN talks in Mexico, expressing exasperation at small steps meant to slow floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels. The two-week 190-nation conference in Cancun, a Caribbean resort, agreed on Saturday to step up action against climate change, including a goal of $100 billion a year to help the poor from 2020 and action to protect carbon-absorbing rain forests. Almost all admit it fell woefully short of action needed. Cancun underscored that a treaty, as urged by Ora, is out of reach because of disparate economic interests among China, the United States, OPEC oil exporters and Pacific islands. "Signs that climate change is happening and with catastrophic consequences are there-flooding in Pakistan, heat waves in Russia, China," Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim said. "This is a huge step forward but of course not sufficient based on science," he said of the Cancun agreements that at least restore some faith in the United Nations after Copenhagen fell short of the widespread goal of reaching a treaty. The UN panel of climate scientists in 2007 said greenhouse gas emissions would have to peak by 2015 to give a chance of limiting a rise in average temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times-a ceiling agreed to in Cancun. But based on current projections, that will not happen. Existing government policies for combating global warming will lead to a rise in world temperatures of about 3.6 C above pre-industrial times, according to Niklas Hoehne, director of energy and climate policy at consultancy Ecofys. 'MATTER OF OUR SURVIVAL' Surging economic growth in emerging nations led by China and

India are helping to ease poverty but are driving up world emissions even as rich nations' economies flounder. Such changes do not sound like much, but the difference between an Ice Age and now is only about 5 degrees C (9 F). A new treaty has eluded the world since a UN Climate Convention was agreed to in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The convention's 1997 Kyoto Protocol only binds about 40 rich nations to curb emissions during an initial period ending in 2012. Outside the conference hall, youth delegates wearing blue T-shirts with Ora's quote waved banners saying, "1.5 to stay alive." They say a temperature rise ceiling of 1.5 C is needed to avoid the worst impacts. Even to some delegates, especially from vulnerable African nations and low-lying islands at risk of sea level rise, the talks seem like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. "This is a matter of our survival," said Colin Beck, who like Ora is from the Solomon Islands and a vice-chair of the Alliance of Small Island States. Average world temperatures have already risen about 0.8 degree C since the Industrial Revolution and 2010 is set to be among the top three years on record, vying with 1998 and 2005, since records began in the 19th century. 'THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW' Despite the gloom, others say a response is happening away from the glacial UN talks, with investment shifts from coal, gas and oil toward renewable energies. China is investing heavily in projects ranging from solar power to high-speed rail links. "We've been trying to emphasize that the focus shouldn't solely be on the struggles with the treaty negotiations-this word and that word-because there are things you can do now," World Bank President Robert Zoellick said. "Business is not sitting back and waiting for this process to come to a result. ... The world is moving ahead anyway," said Yvo de Boer, climate adviser at audit, tax and advisory group KPMG and a former UN climate chief. He listed concerns over climate, energy prices, energy security, materials scarcity, consumer preferences and a realization that things had to change with the world population set to reach 9 billion by 2050 from 6.8 billion now. — Reuters


US small town: The battle for tolerance By Helen O'neill


he cemetery lies beneath a grove of maples on a hill overlooking the farm. On a crisp November day in 2009, it received its first guest - a 28-year old stonemason killed in a car accident two days earlier. Somberly, his Sufi Muslim brethren carried his coffin up the hill, their colorful turbans and baggy tunics a striking contrast to the rolling hills all around. Beneath a vibrant green headstone, the color of the Osmanli Naksibendi Hakkani order, which runs a 50-acre farm and mosque here, the shrouded body of Amir Celoski was lowered into the ground. Mourners bowed their heads and prayed: May he rest in peace. But that was not to be. Instead of peace, Celoski's burial ignited a war, which would erupt nine months later and hurl Sidney into the national spotlight and bitterly divide some residents while transforming others who say their lives and their town will never be the same. It all began quietly enough at a sparsely attended meeting of the Board of Supervisors last summer, after a second burial in the cemetery. At the height of a national debate about a mosque near the former site of the destroyed World Trade Center, town leaders voted unanimously to investigate the Sufi graves on Wheat Hill Road. The Sufis had followed proper procedures and received burial permits. That didn't deter town Supervisor Robert McCarthy from calling the graves illegal and suggesting the bodies might have to be disinterred. "You can't just bury Grandma in the backyard under the picnic table," he said. With that, McCarthy, a 70-year-old retired businessman, became a poster child for Muslim-bashers everywhere. MSNBC host Keith Olbermann denounced him as "worst person in the world." Satirist Stephen Colbert direly warned viewers about Muslim vampire "sleeper-in-coffincells" infiltrating the Catskills. Locals watched in horror as Sidney was branded as Islamophobic, backward and ignorant. "It was sickening," says attorney Tom Schimmerling, 58, son of Holocaust survivors, who immediately offered to represent the Sufis free of charge. "McCarthy was acting like this was Selma, Alabama, in the '60s and he was Bull Connor," an Alabama politician and police official who became known around the United States for using vicious dogs and water cannon against black civil rights demonstrators. "At first I felt so ashamed of my town," said Richard Cooley, 48, whose Main Street jewelry store has been in the family for 125 years. "And then I saw how the community reacted, and I thought how amazing the way we pulled together to do away with something so wrong and make it right." For in the days and weeks that followed, a spirited, almost intoxicating sense of mission seemed to surge through Sidney, 150 miles north of New York City. Though the town Board of Supervisors hastily dropped the cemetery issue, it had set in motion something it could not contain. People reached out, not only to Sufis, but to each other. They set up websites, bonded on Facebook, launched petitions to impeach McCarthy and investigate town government. They packed into the civic center for a chaotic town meeting, where - as more than a dozen Sufis looked on - about 150 locals yelled at their board. "Shame on you!" they cried. "Apologize!" Many had never been to a town meeting before. Many had never met a Muslim. And they trekked to the Sufi center eight miles outside town, to sip tea with the sheik, to vow that Sidney, population 6,000, will be in the spotlight again, this time as a shining example of tolerance and understanding. It is 6 am on a Saturday, and business is brisk at the Trackside diner, where pancakes and bacon cost less than $3, political opinions are as strong as the coffee, and the roar of an approaching train occasionally drowns out conversation. Here regulars, including a core group of McCarthy supporters, meet every morning for breakfast. These days, the main topic of conversation has been, as one man jokingly put it, "the turbans on top of the hill." The door opens and two men in turbans walk in. The diner falls silent, just the clinking of silverware as people bury themselves in their breakfasts. Although he has been to the diner only once before, everyone recognizes the taller man - Hans Hass, chief spokesman for the Sufis and chief thorn in McCarthy's side. Lately Hass, 40, seems to be everywhere: talking with national media, writing letters to town leaders and state officials, attending meetings of the newly formed "Concerned Citizens for Responsible Sidney Government," filing freedom of information requests. His unruffled manner and calm, authoritative voice have captivated the crowd as he persistently confronts McCarthy with the facts and the law. As captain of the local ambulance squad, volunteer firefighter, and roofing contractor, Hass was already a familiar face in town. Now, almost overnight, he has become a community leader with many urging him to run against McCarthy in the next election. At the diner, Hass is greeted by Carrie Guarria, a 45-year-old college assistant administrator who invited him after becoming increasingly disturbed about comments she heard at breakfast: that all Muslims are terrorists, that the Sufis have pictures of Osama bin Laden at their center, that the town would be better off if they dug up their graves and left. If ever there was a time to shatter caricatures and prejudices, Guarria thought, it was right now, right here in Sidney. Sitting at her table is Bill Howes, an 81-year-old retired excavator, in work boots and baseball cap. He grunts good morning at Hass, who sits down across from him. Soon the two men are bantering about sports and exchanging mildly racy jokes as they dig into pancakes and eggs. But Howes' demeanor changes when the conversation turns to McCarthy. "Someone has to shake the town up," he says, defending McCarthy's efforts to rein in spending in areas like the hospital and a local campsite. "It's not just your cemetery deal." "But he told reporters all over the country that what we did was illegal, and it wasn't," Hass protests. Howes excuses himself and moves to another table. Later, he will boast about having breakfast with "those Muslim guys" and will tell people how nice they seemed. But he has no plans to take up Hass' invitation to visit with the sheik. Other diners invite Hass to join them. Soon a dozen people are engaged in a lively debate about politics, religion and the fate of their once thriving riverside factory town. Old-timers lament that the cemetery controversy is just the latest in a string of misfortunes, including the recession and a 2006 flood. They ask Hass about his background, and he tells them of growing up in South Portland, Maine, of going to college in Connecticut, of embracing Sufism after years of searching other religions and ways of life. Before leaving, he hands out his business cards and invites them to visit the center, called a dergah. Later, Hass drives the back roads, checking on a roofing job, stopping by the homes of elderly dairy farmers to inquire about their health and their cows, picking up his mail at the post office. Everywhere, he is greeted warmly. There is one place, however, where he does not feel welcome, the Jess F. Howes building supply store in Sidney Center. Earlier in the year, Hass says, he asked the owners to remove offensive Muslim jokes scattered on the counter. They did, but he felt it

was done reluctantly. Now Hass refuses to shop there. Inside the store, a man behind the counter glares at a visitor, gives a phony name and snaps "no comment" when asked about his Sufi neighbors just a short drive up the hill. The Sufis settled in the hamlet of Sidney Center in 2002, following Sheik Abdul Kerim al-Kibrisi, 54, who moved here after years of hosting services in New York City. Quietly, they worked their sprawling sheep and cattle farm, isolated for the most part, relatively unnoticed by the larger community. They converted the enormous red barn into a mosque. Five times a day, a lone man in a turban stands outside chanting, his deep, mellifluous voice ringing across the fields as he calls the faithful to prayer. Inside, the mosque is a stunningly beautiful place, glowing with colors and warmth, the sweet smell of incense blending with that of a smoky wood stove. Green and gold tapestries drape the walls, which are covered with pictures of sheiks and saints and elaborate calligraphy depicting passages from the Quran. Oriental rugs and cushions cover the floor. A naturalized American who was born in Cyprus, the sheik is a genial man with a jeweled purple turban, flowing dark tunic and long gray beard. His dark eyes sparkle as he tells his story, of how he first saw the dergah in a dream. Friday's Jummah service, the most important of the week, lasts about 40 minutes, the men bowing and praying in front. The women, some in colorful headscarves, others in burqas, pray behind a thin curtain in the back. Afterward, the curtain is pulled aside and everyone drinks sweet Turkish tea and listens as their sheik speaks of tolerance, the perils of ego, and the controversy consuming the town. His deep, gravelly voice fills the room. "What is happening right here in Sidney," he says, "can show the whole world, that we can live peacefully as Muslims and non-Muslims, that we can share the same land, that a small town in America can show that the whole country is not mired in Islamophobia." The group of about 30 men and 10 women listen attentively. They come from all backgrounds and cultures, American-born converts as well as Muslim immigrants. Most live and work locally, visiting the dergah for services. Others drive from New York City or New Jersey, where the order has another dergah. All say the furor over the graves has imbued them with a renewed sense of hope for their country and their town. "It fills my heart," says Erdem Kahyaoglu, a strapping 31-year-old, who grew up on Long Island and became a Sufi as a college student. He chokes up as he describes his joy and astonishment that, as he wrote to one of his new Facebook friends, neighbor Jenneen Bush, "you stood up for us and you don't even know us." "Honey," Bush wrote back. "I just stood up for what is right. And I want to get to know all of you." Sufism is a mystical tradition in Islam; the order says its mission is to live a quiet, simple life of prayer and contemplation. But the Sufis know they are being watched. They have heard their share of taunts: "Terrorists, go back to your own country." They have had their share of police calls: a suspicious man in a turban spotted sitting by the dam; a suspicious man in a turban making a cell phone call next to a power plant. An FBI agent has visited, impressing them with his knowledge of Islam. Still, they hear the rumors: they are storing weapons; they are a cult; they are planning something evil. If only more people would visit, get to know them as individuals. They would meet Bilal, once a shy, skinny kid from New York City who was scared of sheep, now in charge of the animals; Abdullah, the beekeeper; Talatfathima, whose luminous eyes peer from her black burqa as she giggles at the antics of her 14-month-old son; Bilques Mohamed, the oldest member at 85, who shuffles into the mosque every day pushing her walker, and her son Bayram, a former New York City cab driver and the mosque's resident comedian, who entertains everyone with priceless impersonations of McCarthy. As Maryem Brawley, the sheik's wife, told town officials, "No one called. No one wrote a letter. No one knocked on our door. You just assumed that we were doing something illegal. You made assumptions about us that were not true." Brawley, 60, who was raised Roman Catholic in New Jersey and turned to Sufism in the mid-1990s, works for IBM and rarely had much interaction with locals. But lately that has changed. People have written letters of support, have reached out in e-mails, have moved her to tears with their compassion and goodwill. "We were all sort of strangers before," she says. "And now we are becoming friends." It is not a friendship that appeals to everyone. In cowboy hat and Windbreaker, Bob McCarthy strides into the Sidney Golf and Country Club, a creaky clapboard building that looks as though it has seen better days. The guys at the bar offer friendly nods. Diners pat him on the back and tell him what a good job he is doing. The waitress knows his order, a cup of soup and a hamburger, half of which he will save for his chocolate Labrador mix, Kelly, who waits patiently in his gray pickup truck outside. Here McCarthy, a stocky, red-faced man with snow white hair, can be comfortable. No one is yelling at him to account for gaps in budget figures, or to resign. There are no guys in turbans denouncing him as a bigot. "It had nothing to do with the fact they are Muslim; I was just trying to keep tax dollars down," says McCarthy, who once ran a business making custom golf putters. McCarthy has no political experience. He first ran for office last year, and he says he has no political agenda other than to cut taxes and spending as much as possible. The cemetery affair, he says, was blown out of proportion by the media. McCarthy makes no apologies for his pugnacious manner. He says he does not care that fellow board members issued a statement saying he needed to work on his "people skills," or that he is lampooned daily on a Facebook site called Impeach Bob McCarthy. "It's not a popularity contest," he says, though he admits that "all this stupidity" has upset his wife. McCarthy ran for office on a platform of "transparency in government" and he insists that is what he is trying to do, though a recent budget workshop session, hastily posted the night before, was held at 7:30 a.m. Hass showed up, mocked his lack of transparency and accused the board of holding an illegal secret meeting. Hass further needled McCarthy by walking into a recent Sunday service at the First Baptist Church, wearing his turban, and infuriating McCarthy's wife, who worships there. Hass says it was a chance to reach out to people he ordinarily would not meet. He describes a fruitful exchange with the pastor, who told him the controversy had prompted him to start reading the Quran, and with elders who explained the history of the church. McCarthy snorts in disbelief. He questions whether Hass is truly a Muslim, or simply "a jerk fueling things for his own personal agenda." Yet McCarthy's agenda has caused consternation even among fellow Republicans. Earlier in the year he made headlines when he publicly opposed funding for the local Stop-DWI program. "Cell phones are a worse menace," McCarthy says defensively, as he finishes lunch and heads back to his truck. Kelly barks excitedly in the front seat. McCarthy's eyes soften. "I could kill Mother Teresa and this dog would still love me," he says, before driving away. —AP



Monday, December 13, 2010

Keep us informed about Tehran, GCC urges P5+1 MANAMA: Bahrain’s foreign minister yesterday stressed that Gulf countries want to be kept informed about the negotiations that Iran is holding with world powers on its controversial nuclear program. Because of their proximity to Iran, “the countries of the region are part of the equation and it is important that they be kept constantly informed” about the talks, the last round of which was in Geneva, Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed AlKhalifa said. “We are not asking to be part of the discussions, just to be kept informed,”

said Sheikh Khaled, who spoke with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Sabah, who was visiting Manama, present. “It is important to us that the discussions do not fail,” he said, adding that success in the Iran talks would “ease the situation in the region” of the Gulf. Iran on Tuesday wrapped up two days of talks in Geneva with the P5+1 grouping of UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany, over Tehran’s nuclear program. Many Western states believe the

Islamic republic is seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran vehemently denies. US diplomatic cables released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks report calls from some Gulf Cooperation Council members, especially Saudi Arabia, for US military action to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. On Friday, US Defense Secretary Robert gates said that countries in the Gulf share Washington’s view on the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program and support an approach focused on continued sanctions against Tehran. — AFP

Pompeii collapse Stockholm blasts triggers outrage ‘an act of terror’

STOCKHOLM: Police forensics expert at the scene of an explosion in Stockholm on Saturday, Dec 11, 2010. Two explosions in central Stockholm killed one person and injured two on Saturday, causing panic among Christmas shoppers. — AP

Email threat referred to Afghanistan, cartoonist STOCKHOLM: Two blasts that shook a busy shopping street in central Stockholm were an act of terrorism, officials said yesterday, in what appeared to be a suicide bombing. It would be the first such attack in the Nordic country. Police would not comment on a motive for the Saturday attack, which left the apparent bomber dead and two people injured. But a Swedish news agency said it received an email threat just before the blast in which the writer claimed to have visited the Middle East “for jihad,” and referred to the country’s soldiers in Afghanistan and a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad that outraged the Muslim world. The terror threat alert in the Nordic country is not being raised from its current elevated level, although police are investigating the attacks as “a crime of terror,” spokesman Anders Thornberg told reporters. “When we go through the existing criteria and the series of events that occurred it fits well within the description of a terror crime,” Thornberg said. He declined to elaborate. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt described the attack as “a most worrying attempt at a terrorist attack.” Bildt commented in a Twitter message that it “failed - but could have been truly catastrophic.” Thornberg did not confirm local media reports that the man who died had explosives strapped to his body. He also would not say if the man was a suspected suicide bomber as widely reported by Swedish media, but added that police have “a totally

clear picture about that” but were not sharing the information. He said there were no indications so far that other people were involved. “If this is a suicide bomber, then it’s the first time in Sweden,” he said. In the incident that rattled normally peaceful Stockholm, a car exploded near the shoplined pedestrian-only Drottninggatan street in a burst of flames, causing panic among Christmas shoppers. Shortly afterward, a second explosion hit higher up on the same street. Witnesses reported seeing a man lying on the ground afterward with blood appearing to come from his abdomen. The exploded car contained gas canisters, rescue workers said. Ten minutes before the blasts, Swedish news agency TT received an e-mail saying “the time has come to take action.” According to the news agency, the e-mail referred to Sweden’s silence surrounding artist Lars Vilks’ 2007 drawing of Muhammad as a dog and to its presence in Afghanistan, where it has about 500 soldiers in the NATO force. “Now your children, daughters and sisters shall die like our brothers and sisters and children are dying,” the news agency quoted the e-mail as saying. According to TT, the man said he visited the Middle East “for jihad,” but that he could not tell his wife or child about it. “I never went to the Middle East to work or to earn money, I went there for jihad,” the agency quoted the email. Police said they were aware of the e-mail, which had also been addressed to Sweden’s security police, but couldn’t

immediately confirm a link to the explosions. Two people were taken to the hospital with light injuries. Sweden, which has so far been spared any large terrorist attacks - raised its terror threat alert level from low to elevated in October because of “a shift in activities” among Swedish-based groups that could be plotting attacks there. The security police said then that the terrorism threat in Sweden remained low compared to that in other European countries. Vilks’ drawing in a local Swedish newspaper infuriated Muslims. In May, vandals unsuccessfully tried to burn down his home in southern Sweden after he showed a film about Islam and homosexuality during a lecture at Uppsala University. Last month, police in neighboring Denmark said the Scandinavian country remained a “high-priority terrorist target” because of separate cartoons of Muhammad that sparked riots in the Muslim world in 2006. In September, a Chechen man accidentally set off a letter bomb, believed to have been intended for the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that first published the 12 cartoons. In January, a Somali man, armed with a knife and an ax, broke into Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s home, though Westergaard was unhurt. Police in Norway said that three terror suspects who were arrested in July in an alleged Al-Qaeda plot there were likely planning an attack against the Jyllands-Posten. — AP

Suicide bomber kills 17 Continued from Page 1 Insurgents have frequently targeted government and security officials since shortly after the 2003 US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein. More recently,

they have sought to undermine Iraq’s security as US troops prepare to leave by the end of next year. The Islamic State of Iraq, an Al-Qaeda front group, claimed responsibility for a December 2009 bombing on the same government complex in

Ramadi in which Anbar Gov Qasim AlFahadawi lost a leg. In July, a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a reception room outside Al-Fahadawi’s office. Obeid said Al-Fahadawi was not in the building during yesterday’s strike. — AP

Amir issues stern warning to oppn Continued from Page 1 Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahamd Al-Sabah and more support was initially expected. But the picture became unclear yesterday after HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah issued a stern warning to the opposition, strongly criticizing taking problems to the streets instead of debating it in the assembly. The Amir also put the opposition MPs in a tight corner when he explicitly placed the blame for the police action at the gathering on “some of the participants” who defied orders and police instructions. The Amir said the police crackdown was not the mistake of the Special Forces but due to practices by some participants and their challenge to orders and the

forces. Speaking to editors of local dailies, the Amir said that he will not allow holding outdoor gatherings, urging for solving disputes in the National Assembly. The Amir also reminded that he is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces in the country and that he was following developments at the gathering until the incident began. MP Barrak did not say the delay was to study the Amir’s warning, but said it was to allow more time for MPs to study the grilling request. It was not immediately known if the Amiri speech will have any impact on those who supported the premier’s grilling or not. Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi and a number of MPs warmly welcomed the Amiri speech, saying the Amiri instructions must be obeyed without argument. MP Hussein Al-Qallaf

even advised opposition MPs to scrap plans to grill the prime minister after the Amiri speech. Khorafi said that the Amir is the best person in the country to care about the interest of the nation and the people, and called on all parties to understand the importance of working for the stability of the country. Asked about the doubts raised over him relaying the Amir message last Wednesday in which Khorafi quoted the Amir as saying that only indoor gatherings were allowed, the speaker said that “constitutionally the Amir is the head of all authorities and I am the speaker of one of these authorities.” He added that “HH the Amir asked me to convey the message and I did and if there had been something wrong with that, the Amiri Diwan would have commented.”

POMPEII: Pompeii mayor Claudio D’Alessio does not want to go down in history linked with Pliny the Younger, the Roman who chronicled the destruction of the ancient city nearly 2,000 ago in an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. “The city is suffering and losing its pieces,” said D’Alessio as he stood near the Via dell’ Abbondanza, the main street leading from the columns of the Forum in the ancient city that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. D’Alessio is worried not only because he loves culture. He knows that the economy of his modern city of 25,000 people relies heavily on tourists who come from all over the world to see the famed archaeological site. Last month the “House of the Gladiator” and a long retaining wall in the garden of the “House of the Moralist” collapsed. The collapses sparked charges of official neglect by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right government and calls for the resignation of Culture Minister Sandro Bondi, who has imposed cuts to arts spending as part of austerity measures. “We don’t have the luxury of waiting. We can’t wait for other collapses. We need an immediate intervention to heal years of delays and neglect,” D’Alessio said. Like many other cultural heritage sites in Italy, ancient Pompeii is an engine of local economic growth that supports hotels, restaurants, guides, transportation and travel agencies. Pompeii advocates have accused Bondi of being ultimately responsible for the decline

of the sprawling site, which remained buried and undiscovered for almost 1700 years under ash until excavations began in 1748. “In the last two years, the decisions regarding Pompeii have been made by politicians and not by experts,” said Tsao Cevoli, president of the national association of archaeologists. Cevoli and other critics say that under Bondi’s administration, the culture ministry has concentrated on spectacular events rather than regular maintenance. For example, money was invested in a hologram tour where the image of Julius Polybius, a nobleman of ancient Pompeii, guides visitors around a 3-D virtual version of his sumptuous villa. “We must invest in regular maintenance. This does not attract attention but is very necessary,” said Cevoli, adding that removing weeds from roofs and walls is not as enticing as light shows and holograms but it does stop water infiltration. Cevoli says there have been seven collapses in a year but not all of them have received the publicity they deserved. “The fact that there have been so many collapses in such a short period means that something serious is happening. These are very dangerous signs,” he said at the site. He said some 80 million euros were spent in the last two years for what he called “spectacular but not indispensible restorations” of single structures such as the second-century-BC Great Theatre. “The minister is responsible for having chosen a management style at Pompeii that favored

appearance over substance. No expert would have done this. Technicians, restorers and archaeologists were denied any say in the matter,” Cevoli said. Pompeii, then home to about 13,000 people, was buried under ash, pumice pebbles and dust by the force of an eruption equivalent to some 40 of today’s atomic bombs. Two-thirds of the 66-hectare town has been uncovered. What makes Pompeii rare, if not unique, is that it was frozen in time, offering a total picture of the ancient world. Pliny the Younger witnessed the cataclysm 1,931 years ago from Misenum (today’s Miseno) on the northern shore of the Bay of Naples. He wrote: “A dense black cloud was coming up behind us, spreading over the earth like a flood.” Some have said the only solution to saving Pompeii is to privatize it. “Precisely because it belongs to all humanity, its management should be taken away from a state that has shown itself incapable of protecting it,” Italy’s leading business newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore, said in a scathing editorial. But privatization of culture is still a politically loaded subject in Italy, so most observers see a mix of state ownership and some private sponsorship as the best solution. Judith Harris, author of the 2007 book “Pompeii Awakened”, said it would be important that sponsors let archaeologists do what they feel is necessary. “There is no glamour in pigeon control and weed removal but but they are necessary,” she said. — Reuters

Blizzard rocks US Midwest CHICAGO: A fierce early winter storm pounded several Midwestern states and was moving east yesterday, shutting busy airports and highways and snarling travel across about half the United States. Blizzard warnings were issued for parts of Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin as snow socked the states in tandem with wind gusts topping 45 miles per hour. The storm - 10 days before the onset of winter-took its greatest toll in Minnesota, where as much as two feet of snow had fallen in some locations, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The state’s largest city Minneapolis was under a blanket of white 17 inches deep, the worst snowfall to hit the city in more than 19 years and the fifth-biggest on record. As an indicator of the storm’s severity,

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport-a transit hub with expertise in contending with foul weather-was shut down for the first time in years. “Travel conditions will remain hazardous and potentially dangerous,” the NWS said in a weather bulletin. Snow also damaged the Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Vikings American football team, and led to the indefinite postponement of their game against the New York Giants. The stadium’s inflatable roof sagged like a collapsed souffle when the snow’s weight damaged some of the covering’s teflon panels. Roads in much of Wisconsin and Iowa have been closed or virtually impassible, and while snowfall was expected to let up later, temperatures were predicted to nosedive with wind chill readings well below zero (minus 18 degrees Celsius).

“The Wisconsin Department of Transportation along with the State Patrol is advising motorists not to travel on any Wisconsin highway now through, unless absolutely necessary,” the department alerted on its website. Snowfall was not due to be as deep in Chicago, but the Windy City was expected to live up to its nickname, with gusts stronger than 50 miles per hour forecast. Flight delays were averaging about an hour at Chicago’s O’Hare International, the world’s third busiest airport, with minor delays at nearby Midway Airport. The storm was causing temperatures to plunge as far south as Atlanta and the system was expected to bring heavy rain or snow across the entire East Coast, from the northeast state of Maine clear down to southern Florida. — AFP

MSAL to suspend issuing work permits Continued from Page 1 For this reason, he said, these businesses bear the primary responsibility for ensuring that any such transactions are completed in time so that employers and employees face no penalties over these issues. The senior MSAL official also

revealed that the number of work permits issued to state sector employees had increased significantly in 2010 than on the previous year, attributing this sharp rise to the government’s major development plan which demands an increase in the numbers of state sector personnel. The number of work permits issued overall had been falling since 2007, with

government statistics showing that while 179,000 work permits were issued that year, this fell to 100,000 the following year, and again in 2009 to only 72,000. With the launch of the government’s development plan, however, these numbers are expected to show a significant increase when the figures are gathered at the end of this year.

MICHIGAN: Snow from a strong winter storm blankets roping and boat docks along Hackert Lake yesterday in Scottville, Mich. — AP

Ancient Christian site in UAE opens Continued from Page 1 reported yesterday. The monastery on Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi emirate is “believed to be the only permanent settlement ever established on the island” and “the only pre-Islamic Christian site known in the UAE,” it said. It is believed to have been built around

600 AD by a community of 30-40 monks and was discovered in 1992, said the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Development Company which is developing the island. Dr Joseph Elders, the chief archaeologist for the Church of England, is leading the team excavating the site, the company said in a statement. “Twenty years ago, we had no idea that Christians came

this far south and east” in the Gulf region, The National quoted Elders as saying. “We don’t have many monasteries from this period.” The people who lived at the monastery probably belonged to the “Nestorian Church, or Church of the East,” it said, adding that the settlement was abandoned after about 750 AD. It opened to the public on Saturday. — AFP

PIC to close plant for two months Continued from Page 1 “The shut related to upgrading the three refineries for Kuwait National Petroleum Co (KNPC), which are also restrained to a certain time peri-

od,” PIC’s Managing Director Maha Mulla Hussain was quoted as saying in daily Al-Anbaa newspaper. The polypropylene plant’s production capacity is about 150,000 tons and is considered as one of the company’s most important

plants in Shuaiba, she said. In February, PIC said its planned petrochemical plant will cost about $5 billion. The plant will produce over 1 million metric tons per year of etheylene and is expected to be operational by 2015. — Reuters



Monday, December 13, 2010

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Saturday: Philadelphia 2, Boston 1 (OT); Pittsburgh 5, Buffalo 2; Toronto 3, Montreal 1; Detroit 4, New Jersey 1; Atlanta 5, NY Islanders 4; Colorado 3, Washington 2; Columbus 3, NY Rangers 1. (OT indicates overtime win) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF GA PTS Pittsburgh 21 8 2 101 71 44 Philadelphia 19 7 5 105 76 43 NY Rangers 17 13 1 89 83 35 New Jersey 8 19 2 53 88 18 NY Islanders 5 17 5 59 93 15 Northeast Division Montreal 18 10 2 78 61 38 Boston 16 8 4 81 56 36 Buffalo 12 14 4 78 84 28 Ottawa 13 16 2 68 92 28 Toronto 11 14 4 65 86 26 Southeast Division Washington 18 10 3 98 85 39 Tampa Bay 16 10 4 94 106 36 Atlanta 16 11 3 95 88 35 Carolina 12 12 4 78 87 28 Florida 13 15 0 71 72 26 Western Conference Central Division Detroit 19 6 3 96 73 41 Chicago 16 12 3 96 89 35 Nashville 14 8 6 71 70 34 Columbus 16 11 1 74 76 33 St. Louis 14 9 5 72 75 33 Northwest Division Vancouver 15 8 4 89 73 34 Colorado 15 10 4 101 90 34 Minnesota 13 11 4 69 80 30 Edmonton 11 12 5 76 99 27 Calgary 12 15 3 81 89 27 Pacific Division Dallas 17 10 2 83 80 36 Phoenix 14 8 6 81 77 34 San Jose 15 10 4 88 84 34 Anaheim 15 13 4 81 96 34 Los Angeles 16 10 1 73 65 33 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

ATLANTA: Goaltender Craig Anderson No. 41 of the Colorado Avalanche saves a shot on goal. — AFP

Penguins thrash Sabres, Blue Jackets triumph BUFFALO: Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to their 12th straight victory, 5-2 over the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL on Saturday. Alex Goligoski and Michael Rupp scored 4:34 apart in the third period to seal a victory. Dustin Jeffrey and Arron Asham both scored first period goals for Pittsburgh, and Matt Cooke scored into an empty net. The Penguins (21-8-2) maintained their lead atop the NHL standings and matched a franchise-best by winning their seventh consecutive road game. Fleury extended his career-best win streak to 11 and hasn’t given up more than two goals in his past nine games. Tyler Ennis and Jason Pominville scored for the Sabres. Blue Jackets 3, Ranger 1 In Columbus, Ohio, Rick Nash scored twice in a late 3-minute span and Steve Mason stopped 32 shots as Columbus topped New York. Nash, who set the Blue Jackets record by playing in his 544th game, had his fourth multi-goal game of the season. Antoine Vermette also scored for Columbus. Marc Staal had the lone goal for the Rangers, who got 20 saves from Henrik Lundqvist. Red Wings 4, Devils 1 In Newark, New Jersey, Tomas Holmstrom and Danny Cleary scored on Detroit’s first two shots against Martin Brodeur as the Red Wings beat

slumping New Jersey. Chris Osgood had 33 saves in posting his 399th career win. His bid for his first shutout since November 2009 ended in the opening minute of the third period when Patrik Elias scored on a power play. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg each added a goal as Detroit won for the second time in two nights. The Devils suffered their season-high fifth straight loss. Avalanche 3, Capitals 2 At Washington, Paul Stastny had a goal and two assists and Craig Anderson had 40 saves as Colorado beat Washington. Rookie Kevin Shattenkirk had a goal and an assist, and Ryan Wilson got his first goal of the season to help the Avalanche earn their third win in nine games. It was the fifth straight loss for Washington, its longest skid since a five-game slide in November 2007. After losing in Dallas on Dec. 2, the Capitals dropped four successive home games by a combined score of 14-7. Thrashers 5, Islanders 4 In Uniondale, New York, Bryan Little’s goal with 8:25 left lifted Atlanta to victory over lowly New York. Defenseman Johnny Oduya had his first two goals of the season, and Alex Burmistrov and Chris Stewart also scored for Atlanta, who got 25 saves from Chris Mason. New York, which led 2-0 early on, dropped to 5-

17-5 and has a league-low 15 points. Rob Schremp, Matt Martin, Matt Moulson and Blake Comeau had goals for the Islanders. Flyers 2, Bruins 1 In Boston, Mike Richards scored with three seconds left in overtime to lead Philadelphia over Boston. Brian Boucher stopped 35 shots for the Flyers in their first trip to Boston since coming back from a 3-0 deficit in Game 7 of last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals. James van Riemsdyk also scored for Philadelphia. Nathan Horton scored a goal and Thomas made 32 saves for the Bruins, who haven’t lost in regulation in six games. Coyotes 5, Stars 2 In Glendale, Arizona, Shane Doan scored twice and Lauri Korpikoski added a short-handed goal early in the third period to help Phoenix beat Dallas. Keith Yandle had a goal and two assists, and Ray Whitney added a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who won for the second time in three games to move within two points of the Pacific Division-leading Stars. James Neal and Loui Eriksson scored for the Stars, who have lost three of four. Predators 3, Panthers 0 At Nashville, Tennessee, Anders Lindback made 22 saves in his first NHL shutout, and Ryan Suter had a goal and an assist to carry Nashville past

Florida. Nashville has won five of six. Florida’s three-game winning streak was stopped. Lindback, a rookie goalie from Sweden who earned the start over the injured Pekka Rinne, improved to 6-1-2. Shea Weber and Joel Ward had the other goals for the Predators. Hurricanes 2, Blues 1 In St. Louis, Jussi Jokinen scored the lone goal in the shootout and Cam Ward stopped 38 shots to lead Carolina over St. Louis. Ward stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout. Carolina improved to 2-4 in tiebreakers this season, while St. Louis fell to 3-3. Brandon Sutter gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead in the third period, but defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s power-play goal leveled the score. Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1 In Toronto, defenseman Tomas Kaberle’s first goal in 35 games lifted Toronto past Montreal. The Maple Leafs got rare first-period production, scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes for the first time since Nov. 13. Phil Kessel and Kris Versteeg also scored for the Maple Leafs. Mike Cammalleri had the lone goal for Montreal. Sharks 2, Blackhawks 1 At San Jose, California, Ryane Clowe scored his second goal of the game 3:52 into overtime to give

Newton clinches Heisman trophy NEW YORK: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy in college football Saturday after a season in which he played brilliantly but was also the focus of an NCAA investigation. Newton won in a landslide vote, easily beating runner-up Andrew Luck of Stanford to become the third Auburn player to win the sport’s biggest individual award. “Honestly, it’s a dream come true for me, something every child has a dream that plays the sport of football, and I’m living testimony that anything is possible,” Newton said. Newton received 729 first-place votes and 2,263 overall points, 1,184 more than Luck. Oregon running back LaMichael James was third, followed by Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, the other finalist. On the field and off, Newton has been the story of the college football season. He’s carried the top-ranked Tigers to the Bowl Championship Series national title game against No. 2 Oregon, running and passing over opponents who looked helpless trying to stop him. But his story is stained: Recently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association determined his father tried to peddle him to Mississippi State for cash. The NCAA cleared him to play before the Southeastern Conference (SEC) title game because it found no evidence that he or Auburn knew about Cecil Newton’s pay-for-play scheme. It also suggested that it was still investigating. The FBI and the Mississippi secretary of state’s office also are looking into the case. Cam Newton has denied any wrongdoing. Still, it invites speculation the

newest Heisman winner could perhaps be heading down the same path as Reggie Bush, who returned his Heisman Trophy three months ago after the NCAA ruled that he and his family received cash and gifts while he was at the University of Southern California. To be eligible for the Heisman, a player must be in good standing with the NCAA. And for most of November, after news broke of claims by a Mississippi State booster who said Newton’s father tried to get the Bulldogs to pay $180,000 for his son to play for them, it was unclear if Cam Newton was clean. The NCAA didn’t punish Cam Newton but did say that Cecil Newton’s access to Auburn athletics would have to be limited. What that means is unclear, but Cecil Newton did not attend the Heisman Trophy ceremony Saturday night. In a statement released by his lawyer earlier in the week, he said his presence could “rob Cam and the event of a sacred moment.” Blending a linebacker’s body with a tailback’s speed and quickness, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Newton has guided Auburn to a perfect season. He had an SEC-best 1,409 yards rushing with 21 touchdowns, and 2,589 yards passing and 28 TD passes. He’s the first SEC player to run for at least 1,000 yards and pass for at least 2,000 in the same season. Newton threw 15 touchdown passes and only one interception in the final five games, saving maybe his best performance for last. In a 56-17 victory over South Carolina in the SEC title game, Newton passed for 335 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 73 yards and two scores. — AP

San Jose a victory over Chicago. Antti Niemi stopped 28 shots to beat his former team, the defending Stanley Cup champions, for the second time this season. Jordan Hendry scored for the Blackhawks. Goalie Corey Crawford also made 28 saves, but failed to tie a rookie franchise record for consecutive wins. Wild 3, Kings 2 In Los Angeles, defenseman Brent Burns scored a power-play goal 2:50 into overtime to lead Minnesota past Los Angeles. Mikko Koivu and Cal Clutterbuck also had goals for the Wild after blunders by Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick. Jose Theodore made 24 saves and ended the Kings’ three-game winning streak. Minnesota has won consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 19 after a five-game skid. Lightning 5, Canucks 4 At Vancouver, British Columbia, Steven Stamkos scored his second goal of the game on a power play 34 seconds into overtime to help Tampa Bay held off Vancouver. Henrik Sedin scored a power-play goal midway through the third, and defenseman Keith Ballard tied the game with 5:47 left as the Canucks came back from two goals down for the second straight game. Teddy Purcell, Nate Thompson and Brett Clark also scored as Tampa Bay won in Vancouver for the first time. Dan Ellis made 23 saves for the Lightning. — AP

NZ defeat England with last-gasp penalty in final

NEW YORK: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton reacts during a news conference after winning the Heisman Trophy award. — AP

GEORGE: New Zealand kept its South Africa Sevens rugby title with a last-gasp penalty by Tomasi Cama for a 22-19 win over England in the final on Saturday. Cama slotted his drop-kick in the fourth minute of injury time as New Zealand won in South Africa for the fourth time in five years, and prevented England from winning successive tournaments for the first time. England won the sevens world series opener last weekend in Dubai, beating New Zealand in the semifinals, but the men in black hit back with two wins over England in South Africa’s Western Cape — a 20-7 win in the pool stage on Friday, and again in a dramatic final. “To play finals footy in front of an awesome crowd like this and take it right down to the last second, it was definitely a pleasing moment,” said New Zealand captain DJ Forbes. “They (England) are well-coached, well-drilled and they’ve got a lot of tricks up their sleeve. “I guess to knuckle down and beat them back to back is definitely credit to the boys.” England knocked out host South Africa in the quarterfinals, series defending champion Samoa in the semifinals, and led the Kiwis 14-0 in the decider through tries by veteran Ben Gollings and James Rodwell. But New Zealand, which shrugged off a persistent Fiji team to reach its first final of the season, hit back when Declan O’Donnell outstripped the England defense to score in the left corner just before halftime. Forbes then finished a New Zealand break from deep inside its own half and Tom Mikkelson sprinted down the left wing to score. Cama’s conversion pushed the defending champions in George 19-14 ahead. Mat Turner made it 19-19 with England’s only second-half score, wriggling through the defense to burst clear. But, a minute after New Zealander Bryce Heem was sinbinned, England gave away a penalty near its own 22 and Cama succeeded with his pressure penalty for the dramatic win. “We had to take it,” said coach Gordon Tietjens.

“We were down to six men and it was unlikely we were going to break down the English defense in the end there. He’s (Cama) been kicking well, so we gave it a crack and it won us the game.” With the final hooter having sounded three minutes earlier, England had opted to keep the ball in play deep inside its own half and paid the price for an infringement at a ruck. “Fair play to them they got a penalty at the end and that was it really,” said England coach Ben Ryan. “I thought we dragged ourselves back in and were certainly good enough to win this game. We let them win in the end ... I hate to finish like that. “We wanted to play at the end. We could have kicked into touch and gone to extra time but you back yourself and unfortunately that’s what’s happened.” England still leads the series standings, but New Zealand has closed to within four points in second, heading to its home tournament in Wellington from Feb. 4-5. Samoa is third. Having dominated with eight titles in the first nine seasons, New Zealand last won the world series in 2008. South Africa salvaged some pride from its home event with a 10-5 win over Argentina in the Plate final — its second Plate win of the new season. In the semifinals, the home team needed Cecil Afrika’s hat-trick try 30 seconds before the end to scrape past 2009 World Cup winner Wales 22-21 in an end-to-end contest. Against Argentina, Frankie Horne’s try halfway through the second half settled a tight, physical battle. Scotland won the Bowl, running away with a 26-0 victory over Russia — which had impressed earlier in George with a 25-7 win over Zimbabwe and a 34-0 hammering of a listless France to reach the final. Tries by captain Jacques Leitao, Gardener Nechironga and Tangai Nemadire led the Zimbabweans to the Shield title with a 14-5 win in an all-African final against Kenya. The tournament could be the last in George. After nearly a decade hosting the South African leg of the series, the city’s agreement with the South African Rugby Union is up for renewal. —AP



Monday, December 13, 2010

San Francisco in danger of losing America’s Cup SAN DIEGO: San Francisco has been told it will lose the right to host the 2013 America’s Cup unless a deal is signed by Friday. The warning came in a letter the Golden Gate Yacht Club sent to Mayor Gavin Newsom and other officials on Saturday. America’s Cup official Stephen Barclay said he considered San Francisco to have come up with the winning bid in early November, when city officials and the yacht club negotiated an agreement that was then sent to the city’s Board of Supervisors to begin the approval process. But he said the Port Commission recently changed key points in the agreement that would put too much of a financial risk on the America’s Cup Event Authority, which has been contracted by the GGYC to run the regatta. The Board of Supervisors’ budget and finance committee will hold a final hearing on Monday, and the full board is expected to vote on the agreement on Tuesday. “They’re holding on by their fingernails at the moment,” Barclay told The Associated Press on Saturday from his home in Auckland, New

Zealand. “It was theirs to lose and they were told that.” Barclay said the GGYC — which sponsors America’s Cup champion BMW Oracle Racing — set the deadline because the America’s Cup Event Authority is committed to informing participating teams of the venue choice by Dec. 31. BMW Oracle Racing swept Alinghi of Switzerland in two races off Valencia, Spain, in February to return the oldest trophy in international sports to the United States for the first time since 1995. San Francisco officials have estimated that hosting the America’s Cup would be worth $1.4 billion in economic benefits and create 8,000 jobs. Barclay said the GGYC has reopened talks with Italy to hold the America’s Cup in 2013. He added that Tom Ehman, a member of the GGYC board of directors, was en route to Newport, Rhode Island, to reopen talks with officials there. Ehman also is a member of the New York Yacht Club, which defended the America’s Cup in Newport from 1930 until 1983, when Dennis Conner was beaten by Australia.

Barclay is chief operating officer of BMW Oracle Racing and a member of the GGYC’s America’s Cup Committee. BMW Oracle Racing is owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, whose Oracle Corp. is based in Redwood City, south of San Francisco. Ellison also owns a mansion in Newport. Italy is in the mix because Club Nautico di Roma is the Challenger of Record, which represents the interests of all challengers. There might even be a third option. BMW Oracle Racing officials are said to have remained in the United Arab Emirates following the recent Louis Vuitton Trophy, perhaps to initiate talks about the America’s Cup being sailed in the Middle East. Newsom’s spokesman, Tony Winnicker, confirmed receipt of the letter from Barclay. “We’re confident we’ll put forward the best possible bid for the team to consider well in advance of the date it has set,” Winnicker said. Winnicker said the city will consider the GGYC’s recommendations in the letter. The original agreement included a pledge by the city for a

local America’s Cup Organizing Committee to help raise $270 million in corporate sponsorship money to help defray the estimated $300 million cost of the regatta, and a commitment by the America’s Cup Event Authority to spend $150 million to refurbish certain piers south of the Bay Bridge in exchange for future development rights. Barclay said the Port changed the agreement to include piers north of the Bay Bridge and changed the terms of the long-term leases. He added that the pledge of help in raising the $270 million in sponsorship is just that — “a promise, not a guarantee.” He said that pledge was in lieu of San Francisco paying a fee to earn the hosting rights. Valencia, he said, paid $85 million for the 2007 America’s Cup and guaranteed approximately $50 million in sponsorships. “All of us recognize that having the event on the bay, which really is a natural amphitheater, would just be a fantastic place to hold the America’s Cup,” Barclay said. “That said, the arrangements can’t put at risk the event itself.”

City officials responded Saturday with a letter to Barclay, saying they believe the northern proposal has a greater net development value than the original agreement and will dramatically lower the event authority’s upfront investment costs. “We believe that the city’s bid, subject to any final changes imposed by the Board of Supervisors during its deliberations, offers remarkable opportunities for the America’s Cup,” the letter said in part. It was signed by Jennifer Matz, director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and Monique Moyer, the port director. While aware of the city’s financial woes, Barclay said Cup officials were “exasperated” with the changes. Winnicker said he understands that San Francisco’s process for doing business can be frustrating to some. “We have always believed that this is a serious competition,” Winnicker said. “We believe this would be an unmatched opportunity for the America’s Cup right here in San Francisco. We’re going through this because we want to win. We want to bring it here.”—AP

Martin defends title

Pablo Martin celebrates in this file photo

Rain washes Australian PGA round COOLUM: The final round of the Australian PGA Championship was postponed until today because of heavy rain, with Peter Senior holding a one-stroke lead after nine holes. The round was called off Sunday about three hours after play was suspended. Officials said more than 50 millimeters (2 inches) of rain had fallen on the course overnight, and the players that managed to get on the course were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls on the fairways. American Bobby Gates, the third-round leader by a stroke, bogeyed two holes in a row to fall out of the lead just before play was called. He was level in second with Australian Peter Fowler after nine holes. There are 24 players still to play when the round resumes early today. “We’ve been out to inspect the course, and it’s now in worse shape than when we suspended play,” said Andrew Langford-Jones, director of tournaments for the PGA of Australia. Senior leads at 12-underpar overall after both he and Fowler both finished at 1under on the day. Trailing Fowler and Gates by a stroke were last week’s Australian Open champion, Geoff Ogilvy, and fellow Australian Richard Green, playing in the same group after completing 13 holes. They were level with Australian Matthew Griffin, who had played 14 holes, and countryman Andrew Stolz, who played 11. Gates, playing the Coolum course for the first time, tried to be diplomatic when play was called despite a tough officiating decision that had forced him to hit an awkward shot out of a bunker that was nearly flooded by rain. He ended up bogeying the hole. “I’ve never played where it’s gotten to this point before, but I understand they want to try to get it in,” Gates said during the rain delay. “The greens are a little tricky, some faster than others, but it’s just another challenge.” Senior, who said he felt Gates got a bad decision on his bunker shot, said the last three holes that he and Gates played were extremely difficult, and

“the 10th tee was actually underwater when we got there.” “I was just a little disappointed that the round wasn’t called a little earlier. A lot of guys were suffering out there, not so much with the rain, but when the fairways become so water-logged that you can’t actually hit golf shots that’s when it should be called,” Senior said. At least the finish should be less controversial than in 2002, when fading light meant that

Australians Peter Lonard and Jarrod Moseley had to share the title after a playoff. After both players parred the first playoff hole — the par4, 390-meter 18th — an official approached them to see if they wanted to continue playing, be declared joint champions, or return on Monday to finish the playoff. The players decided to split the first- and second-place prize money. It was the first time in the-then 97-year history of the tournament that joint winners were declared.—AP

COOLUM: Ji-ho Jung of South Korea plays a shot on the 9th fairway during the final round of the Australian PGA golf championship held at the Hyatt Regency.—AP

MALELANE: Pablo Martin successfully defended his Alfred Dunhill Championship title yesterday as he recovered from a late stutter for a final-round 2-under 70 and a two-shot win. The Spaniard made a triplebogey 7 at No. 17, but then birdied the last for an 11-under 277 at Leopard Creek Country Club, two clear of Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and South African pair Charl Schwartzel and Anthony Michael. Martin had surged ahead with an eagle-birdie start, and opened a five-shot lead through 11 holes following two more birdies on Nos. 7 and 9. With a three-shot lead on the tee at No. 17, the disastrous 7 then cut his advantage over playing partner Michael to one stroke with one hole to play. But the 24-year-old defending champion recovered to send his second on the par-5 No. 18 on to the middle of the green, and Michael found the water to end his chances. Martin finished with a birdie four for successive victories at the European Tour’s season-opening tournament, winning a $210,000 check. He is the first winner on the 2010-11 Race to Dubai and the first player to retain a European Tour title since Padraig Harrington won a second straight British Open in 2008. “I played really well for nine holes, then I got myself into trouble,” Martin said. “It was a good start and it gave me a little bit of a cushion, and I needed it. “I was able to hit a couple of good shots coming in, especially the one on 18. On 17 I made a big mess but I was really lucky that everything went well.” Newcomer Michael, 25, had led since Thursday afternoon at Leopard Creek but had two bogeys and a double-bogey Sunday and couldn’t match the attacking strokeplay of Martin. He will have to wait for his first tournament win as a professional after a final-round 73 — his worst of the tournament — dropped him to a tie for second on 9 under alongside Olesen and the No. 39-ranked Schwartzel. Olesen fired a superb 66, with six birdies, to jump 10 places. Schwartzel mixed four birdies with two bogeys to finish with a 70. South Africa’s Thomas Aiken (70) was alone in fifth on 7-under 281, while England’s Robert Dinwiddie (70) and another South African, Alex Haindl (73), shared sixth with 282 totals. In Naples, champions Tour players Fred Funk and Kenny Perry shot a 10-under 62 in betterball play for a share of the secondround lead in the Shark Shootout with defending champions Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly on Saturday. Stricker and Kelly, who rallied to beat Perry and J.B. Holmes last year in the final round, had a 63 to match Funk and Perry at 18 under on the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort’s Tiburon Golf Club course. Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter shot a 64 to finish at 17 under. The 12 teams was to play a scramble format yesterday. Last year, Perry and Holmes had a twostroke lead with four holes to play in the final-round scramble format, only to see Stricker and Kelly take the title. “I’m not taking for granted anything,” said Perry, who won with John Huston in 2006 and Scott Hoch in 2008. “They’re great putters; we’re good putters. If I drive it well, it’s going to set up the whole day for us.” Stricker and Kelly birdied four of their last six holes. “When we’re playing together and we’re feeding off each other, it’s fun,” said Kelly, who did most of the talking because Stricker is losing his voice. “A fun, competitive arena. But we’re just really going to enjoy what we’re doing, and not really worry about where everybody else is.” Perry birdied the first six holes of the day, and Funk made three of the team’s four remaining birdies. Funk was amazed by Perry’s streak, which ended when he missed a 4-footer for birdie on No. 7.—AP

Al-Buíaijan seen with participants and organizers of the tournament.

KBC conclude shooting tourney KUWAIT: The Kuwait Banks Club recently concluded its fourth shooting tournament which consisted of competitions for both genders that featured participation of staff members from local banks and their families. The men’s tournament was won by Mohammad AlThuwaini from Gulf Bank, who placed first ahead of Yousuf Abdullah from Kuwait Finance House, and Saad AlRandy from Burgan Bank. Meanwhile, Khadija Andas from the National Bank was crowned as the tournament’s women’s champion, after finishing in first place ahead of Muna Al-Awadhi from Burgan Bank and Asrar Fadhel from the Commercial Bank. In the meantime, the tournament featured the first competition for children of banking sector staff members, was won by Abdul-Aziz Al-Kenderi from the Gulf Bank, followed by Hamad Al-Sane’a from the National Bank of Kuwait in second place, and Hamad AlMutawa’a from the Central Bank in third. The conclusion ceremony was patronized and attended by CEO of the KBC Hesham Al-Bu’aijan.

Al-Thuwaini receives his trophy.

Andas is awarded for winning the women’s competition.

Giants and Vikings hunt venue after roof collapses NEW YORK: A huge snow storm caused the Minneapolis Metrodome’s inflated roof to collapse yesterday, creating more scheduling chaos for the New York Giants-Minnesota Vikings NFL game that had already been postponed. The NFL confirmed the collapse on the league’s official website ( and said it was seeking alternative venues for the GiantsVikings clash that had already been rescheduled from Sunday to Monday because of the storm. “We were notified this morning by the Metrodome authorities that the dome will not be available for the Giants-Vikings game today or tomorrow,” said NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello on his Twitter account posted on “We are currently exploring alternatives to play the game Monday night at the University of Minnesota stadium or another domed NFL stadium.” The game was originally postponed after the Giants were stranded in Kansas City when their charter flight was unable to land in Minneapolis because of the snow. The delay might benefit veteran quarterback Brett Favre, whose record consecutive gamestarting streak of 297 games was in jeopardy because of a strained throwing shoulder. If the 41-year-old Favre is unable to play, backup Tarvaris Jackson will steer the Vikings (5-7) against the NFC East co-leading (8-4). — Reuters

MINNEAPOLIS: In this Sept. 16, 2009 file photo, the Metrodome is shown in Minneapolis. The Metrodome collapsed during a snowstorm yesterday. — AP


Monday, December 13, 2010


Mancuso aims to regain top three status ST. MORITZ: Healthier and happier, Julia Mancuso believes her life and skiing are heading in the right direction. Mancuso’s two silver medals at the Vancouver Olympics in February proved a stunning comeback after some difficult recent seasons. Now the 26-year-old American says she feels ready to regain the elite top-3 status in the World Cup rankings she last held in 2007. “Top three overall is a big goal,” Mancuso told The Associated Press at St. Moritz, where she competes in a giant slalom late yesterday. “Right now, I’m just really comfortable with who I am and the place I am in life.” Mancuso’s renewed self-confidence comes from good race

results, and knowing old back injuries have healed while new ski equipment is working. Then there’s her blossoming relationship with fellow racer Aksel Lund Svindal, whose triple-medal Vancouver success was another feel-good Olympics story. “When everything is going well in your life, or you’re in love, and things are working well, then it’s definitely an asset,” Mancuso said. “Me and Aksel have been friends for a long time and so it’s nice just to be really comfortable in the relationship.” It’s easy to see how spending significant time with Svindal would improve the quality of life. An Olympic super-G champion and two-time overall World Cup winner, the genial Norwegian is probably

the best-liked skier on the circuit. Mancuso said Svindal’s easygoing outlook also helped focus her during “a really great summer’s training.” “He wants to be strong and works out hard,” she explained. “But there’s no real, I guess, rush to do anything. Whatever the day brings is what you should do, and how you feel.” Quality replaced quantity in Mancuso’s Hawaii-based regime and fueled her appetite for winter racing. That enthusiasm had waned, especially during a 200809 season wrecked by nagging back pains. “I wasn’t really enjoying traveling so much, and spending all my time on the road,” Mancuso acknowledged. “Mentally, I had to get back in the

game, too.” This winter, things shaped to be different. “I felt like I was ready,” she said in the Swiss Alps resort, the first stop in a three-month trek across Europe after a brief swing through North America. “I’m excited that it’s started. It’s even more exciting to see the results I’m getting from all the hard work I’m putting in.” Four top-10 finishes in six races included third place last Sunday in a super-G at Lake Louise, Canada, behind the undisputed big two, Lindsey Vonn and Maria Riesch. Noted for peaking later in the season, it was Mancuso’s first pre-Christmas podium finish in three years, and her 21st in World Cup races. It also was reward for a fresh, more analytical approach to rac-

ing, and on new Voelkl skis. “I feel like I’ve cruised along too much in the World Cup and ... that I didn’t put pressure on myself every race,” Mancuso said. “I know that the girls to beat — Maria, Lindsey, Lizzie Goergl — are skiing well this year too. I know that I can push them and try to sneak in there but I still have a little bit to go.” Mancuso, who took 2006 Olympic gold in giant slalom, knows she must score well in that event to challenge for third place. Though Mancuso’s life is currently sweet, one sour note is that best friend Chemmy Alcott can’t be with her. The British skier’s season ended in Lake Louise when she broke her right leg in a

nasty training crash. “She’s like a sister for me,” said Mancuso, emotions quickly surfacing. “She missed a part of one season a couple of years ago and I remember being so sad. “The worst part is just not knowing what happens when your friend gets helicoptered off the hill, and you just have no idea how bad (the injury) is.” Mancuso spent last holiday season with Alcott, but already had different plans this time. Following a Dec. 21 slalom in Courchevel, France — two days after the men’s circuit pauses in Italy — Mancuso heads for Norway to meet the Svindals. “It’s a nice trip to have somewhere to go for Christmas,” she said cheerily. “I get to see him every once in a while.”—AP

Hirscher captures World Cup slalom

ST. MORITZ: Tessa Worley of France speeds down the course during the women’s alpine skiing Giant Slalom race. — AP

France’s Worley leaves Germans behind ST MORITZ: France’s Tessa Worley confirmed herself as the main threat to the all-conquering German racers with her second giant slalom in succession in the Alpine ski World Cup yesterday. The winner in Aspen two weeks ago, Worley, who has an Australian father, fought back from fifth place in the first run to win in a combined time of two minutes 10.70 seconds. Germans Vitkoria Rebensburg and Kathrin Hoelzl, the Olympic and world champi-

ons, had been fastest in the first run but were hampered by the strong winds which forced the start of the afternoon run to be delayed by an hour. Rebensburg, winner of the first giant slalom of the season in Soelden, finished 10th while Hoelzl missed a gate on the second leg. “I did about the same as in Aspen-a correct first leg not far from the top, which forced me to go for it in the second,” Worley said. “The snow was much more rugged in the second leg but I

found the right line. I skied it just right.” Finn Tanja Poutiainen finished second by the slimmest margin of 0.01 seconds while Slovenia’s Tina Maze was third, 0.31 adrift. German Maria Riesch retained the World Cup overall lead on 514 points despite crossing the line in 19th. Her big rival Lindsey Vonn had her best giant slalom result in two years with seventh place. “It’s a very important result for me in terms of my confi-

dence,” the American said. “Every time I finish in the top 10 in a GS it makes things different for the next weekend. “Next week, we’re in Val d’Isere with three races which should suit me just right. It will be ideal to put myself on solid ground before the Christmas break.” Saturday’s super-G due to take place in St Moritz was called off because of snow and wind and will now be held in Val d’Isere, France, on Friday. — Reuters

England draw against Victoria MELBOURNE: England remained unbeaten on its Australian Ashes tour despite a batting collapse in a drawn three-day match against Victoria at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday. Set 311 to win, England slumped to 149-6 before reaching 211-6 at stumps with Matt Prior unbeaten on 102. Test opener Andrew Strauss went in at No. 8 and the England captain was 22 not out when play was called off with 15 overs remaining. Fast bowler Jayde Herrick was taken out of Victoria’s attack after bowling two full tosses above waist height in consecutive overs in the postlunch session. Clint McKay led the Victoria bowling with 4-68 from 17 overs. England will travel to Perth today for the third Ashes test starting on Thursday. England can retain the Ashes with a victory in Perth, having already taken a 1-0 lead in the five-match series after winning the second test in Adelaide. England selectors were trialling Chris Tremlett, Ajmal Shahzad and Bresnan to replace the injured Stuart Broad for the Perth Test. The trio took one wicket among them for the match. —AP

MELBOURNE: England’s Andrew Strauss (third from left) sweeps the ball against Victoria on the third and final day of their Ashes cricket tour match. —AP

SCOREBOARD MELBOURNE: Scoreboard after the final day of the three-day tour match between Victoria and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday. Victoria 1st Innings 216 for 2 declared (M. Hill 105 not out, D. Hussey 67 not out; M. Panesar 1-53): England 1st innings 184 for 2 declared (A. Strauss 66, I. Bell 60 not out; J. Holland 2-53) Victoria 2nd innings R. Carters b Collingwood 68 A. Finch c Bell b Panesar 45 A. Keath c Prior b Collingwood 46 M. Wade c Cook b Collingwood 1 J. Hastings c Collingwood b Panesar 7 C. McKay not out 58 M. Hill lbw b Strauss 4 J. Herrick not out 40 Extras (lb4, w1, nb4) 9 Total (6 wkts declared, 60 overs) 278 Fall of wickets: 1-72 (Finch), 2-147 (Carters), 3163 (Wade), 4-174 (Hastings), 5-176 (Keath), 6197 (Hill) Bowling: Tremlett 9-1-28-0 (3nb), Bresnan 102-28-0, Panesar 21-4-83-2 (1nb), Shahzad 7-028-0, Collingwood 6-1-19-3 (1w), Strauss 4-0-511, Morgan 3-0-37-0.

England 2nd innings S. Davies c White b McKay 18 A. Cook b McKay 10 P. Collingwood lbw b Herrick 8 M. Prior not out 102 E. Morgan c Wade b Herrick 6 T. Bresnan c Wade b McKay 19 I. Bell c Keath b McKay 17 A. Strauss not out 22 Extras (lb5, w1, nb2, b1) 9 Total (6 wkts, 54 overs) 211 Fall of wickets: 1-15 (Cook), 2-36 (Collingwood), 3-36 (Davies), 4-55 (Morgan), 5-100 (Bresnan), 6-149 (Bell) Bowling: McKay 17-4-68-4, Herrick 11.4-0-74-2 (1w, 2nb), Hastings 8.2-3-26-0, Holland 10-2-220, White 6-0-14-0, Finch 1-0-1-0.

ICC head says referral system could change ADELAIDE: The head of the International Cricket Council said yesterday the referral system for all test series could undergo further review and that changes could be made. The system has been debated since its trial introduction in 2008 and subsequent addition as an optional extra for all test series, particularly the element that allows competing teams to choose which decision should be sent to

the third umpire for video evidence. “From the start we’ve always had a very open mind about the referral system and we are always open to changes that can make the system better,” ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat told Australian Associated Press. “I can’t say what those changes might be, but we are open-minded.” Each team is limited to two incorrect referrals per

innings under the system, and players are learning to choose their referrals more wisely to concentrate on obvious umpiring errors rather than marginal calls. “More and more people are being won over to the system after having seen it or used it,” Lorgat said. “There are still a few people who are not supportive of it.” England coach Andy Flower is among those who have advocated a return to the system used dur-

ing the 2005 ICC “Super Series” between Australia and World XI, in which the responsibility for referrals was placed solely in the hands of the umpires. But Lorgat said the system was gaining the confidence of players as more learned how to use it, citing the referral by England’s Alastair Cook to correct a wrongful dismissal during the Adelaide Ashes test as an example of its ideal use. — AP

VAL D’ISERE: Marcel Hirscher tamed the daunting Face de Bellevarde course for a second consecutive year to claim a third World Cup win yesterday, edging fellow Austrian Benjamin Raich by 0.31 seconds in a challenging slalom. Hirscher, who trailed leader Manfred Moelgg of Italy by 0.20 seconds after the first run, clocked 53.06 seconds in the afternoon to win in a combined time of 1:44.70. “I like Val d’Isere and Val d’Isere likes me,” said Hirscher, who posted his first World Cup victory in the French Alps when he won a giant slalom last year. “This slope is very steep, there are a lot of rolls and you need to have a very good technique to win here. And good technique is probably my best weapon.” With the victory Hirscher climbed to third in the overall World Cup standings with 200 points. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway leads the standings ahead of Ted Ligety with 236 points, 15 more than his American rival. “Slalom used to be my best discipline when I started, but I struggled in that event in the past years,” Hirscher said. “It makes this win even more special.” On a bad day for the US ski team, Ligety — who won Saturday’s giant slalom in impressive fashion — missed a gate in the second run and finished 36.44 seconds off the pace in 25th place. Will Brandenburg, 12th after the first run, went out in the second and failed to score his first World Cup points. Raich climbed up to fourth overall with 188 points and said his second place will boost his confidence. “I’m very happy with this result given that I had back problems last week,” said the former Olympic champion. “Today the key was to push very hard and to ski with good tactics.” Frenchman Steve Missillier, who was lagging 1.80 behind after the first run, came back impressively on his 26th birthday to finish 0.56 back in third. Missillier recorded the second run’s best time of 52.02. “Let’s hope this first podium finish won’t be the last,” said Missillier after receiving a birthday cake in the press room. “I needed to be fast and I took all the risks because on such a difficult slope it’s impossible not to make mistakes.” Competitors with late start numbers — including Hirscher — skied into shade on the upper part of the course and had to cope with a quickly deteriorating course. The difficult conditions proved too much for Moelgg, who dropped to ninth overall after the second run, 1.47 back. Most of the competitors struggled to keep their balance on the steep course and the first run saw several high-profile casualties. American Bode Miller and slalom World Cup leader JeanBaptiste Grange of France _ who won the season’s first World Cup slalom last month in Levi, Finland _ went out for the second consecutive day. Grange, who missed most of last season with a serious knee injury, made several mistakes on the upper part then straddled a gate near the finish and lost a ski to the disappointment of the local fans. “I can’t really explain what happened,” Grange said. — AP

FRANCE: Marcel Hirscher of Austria competes on his way to win an alpine ski, men’s World Cup slalom race. —AP

B’desh win Zimbabwe series CHITTAGONG: Opener Tamim Iqbal hit a brilliant 95 to power Bangladesh to a six-wicket win over Zimbabwe in fifth one-day international and a 3-1 victory in their five-match series. Local boy Tamim entertained his home crowd with seven sixes and five fours to score 95 off 96 balls as Bangladesh eased past Zimbabwe’s modest 188-6 with seven overs to play. Tamim survived a few anxious moments at the early part of his innings and had one clear let-off when Christopher Mpofu dropped a sharp return catch with him on 24. He never looked back after that, however, and again exploded with some powerful driving. Tamim struck six sixes in his 154 against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo and surpassed that mark in the 29th over of the innings with a six off Dabengwa through long on. He attempted another long bomb off the next ball but fell short as Graeme Cremer dived to take a catch at deep midwicket and deny him a deserved century. It ended his 136-run second

wicket partnership with Zunaed Siddique, who finished on an unbeaten 56. Wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim took a single off Dabengwa, taking the hosts to 189-4, which gave Bangladesh their sixth series win over Zimbabwe on home soil in the past six years. Zimbabwe took a surprise lead in the series with a nine-run win in the first game, but Bangladesh bounced back to win the next two games by six wickets and 65 runs. The fourth onedayer was rained off. Zimbabwe had a disastrous start to the final game when, after choosing to bat first, they lost a wicket off the first delivery with opener Brandon Taylor suffering a freakish run out. Some tight bowling from paceman Mashrafee Mortaza, who finished with 2-25, left them reeling at 21 for three before Tatenda Taibu and Craig Ervine staged a recovery with a 96-run stand. Taibu made 64 for before falling victim to Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh’s most successful bowler with 3-58. —Reuters

CHITTAGONG: Bangladesh cricket captain Shakib Al Hasan (third left in first row) and teammates pose with the trophy in Chittagong. Bangladesh won the fifth and final limited-overs international against Zimbabwe by six wickets and clinched the five-game series 3-1. —AP

SCOREBOARD CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh: Complete scoreboard of the fifth and final one-day international between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe on yesterday: Zimbabwe: B. Taylor run out 0 H. Masakadza lbw b Mortaza 6 K. Dabengwa lbw b Mortaza 9 C. Ervine c Rahim b Shakib 46 T. Taibu c Mortaza b Shakib 64 E. Chigumbura c Raqibul b Shakib 23 P. Utseya not out 12 R. Chakabva not out 14 Extras (lb6, nb1, w7) 14 Total (for six wickets; 50 overs) 188 Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Taylor), 2-12 (Masakadza), 3-21 (Dabengwa), 4-116 (Ervine), 5-152 (Chigumbura), 6-168 (Taibu). Bowling: Mortaza 8-2-25-2 (nb1), Shafiul 7-1-100, Naeem 8-0-30-0 (w2), Razzak 10-0-31-0, Shuvo 7-0-28-0 (w1), Shakib 10-0-58-3 (w4).

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal c Cremer b Dabengwa 95 Imrul Kayes c Taibu b Mpofu 2 Junaid Siddique not out 56 Raqibul Hasan c Masakadza b Cremer 0 Shakib Al Hasan c Taylor b Price 11 Mushfiqur Rahim not out 6 Extras (lb5, w14) 19 Total (for four wickets; 43 overs) 189 Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Kayes), 2-139 (Tamim), 3139 (Raqibul), 4-172 (Shakib). Bowling: Mpofu 7-0-40-1 (w10), Utseya 10-1-290, Price 10-1-25-1 (w1), Taylor 2-0-14-0, Cremer 10-1-53-1 (w2), Dabengwa 4-0-23-1 (w1). Result: Bangladesh win by six wickets Series result: Bangladesh clinch five-match series 3-1



Monday, December 13, 2010

Mavs silence Jazz, Heat scorch Kings DALLAS: Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki had 31 points and 15 rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks extended their winning streak to 12 games with a 103-97 victory over the Utah Jazz in the NBA on Saturday. DeShawn Stevenson added a season-high 17 points and Caron Butler had 16 points for Dallas. The Mavericks hit 14 of 26 from 3-point range to prevail in a matchup of Western Conference heavyweights. Deron Williams scored 19 of his 34 points in the first half to lead the Jazz, who had won nine of 11. Paul Millsap added 16 points and Ronnie Price scored 14 for Utah.

HOUSTON: Cleveland Cavaliers’ Leon Powe (44) goes up for a rebound with Houston Rockets’ Brad Miller (right) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game. —AP

NBA results/standings NBA results and standings on Saturday. Memphis 84, LA Clippers 83; Atlanta 97, Indiana 83; Boston 93, Charlotte 62; Toronto 120, Detroit 116; Chicago 113, Minnesota 82; Dallas 103, Utah 97; Houston 110, Cleveland 95.

Boston NY Knicks Toronto Philadelphia New Jersey Chicago Indiana Milwaukee Cleveland Detroit Miami Orlando Atlanta Charlotte Washington

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT 19 4 .826 15 9 .625 9 15 .375 7 15 .318 6 17 .261 Central Division 14 8 .636 11 11 .500 9 13 .409 7 16 .304 7 18 .280 Southeast Division 17 8 .680 15 8 .652 16 9 .640 8 15 .348 6 16 .273

GB 4.5 10.5 11.5 13 3 5 7.5 8.5 1 1 8 9.5

Western Conference Northwest Division Utah 17 8 .680 Oklahoma City 16 8 .667 Denver 14 8 .636 Portland 12 11 .522 Minnesota 6 18 .250 Pacific Division LA Lakers 16 7 .696 Phoenix 11 12 .478 Golden State 8 15 .348 Sacramento 5 16 .238 LA Clippers 5 19 .208 Southwest Division San Antonio 19 3 .864 Dallas 19 4 .826 New Orleans 14 8 .636 Memphis 10 14 .417 Houston 9 14 .391

0.5 1.5 4 10.5 5 8 10 11.5 0.5 5 10 10.5

Ferrari hail end of ‘team orders’ hypocrisy ROME: Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has praised the dropping of Formula One’s ban on team orders, describing it as end to “pointless hypocrisy”. Ferrari were fined 100,000 dollars last season for ordering Felipe Massa to move over when leading the German Grand Prix and let team-mate Fernando Alonso pass him to take victory. On Friday, the World Motor Sports Council decided to drop the regulation that bans team orders from next season. “Naturally, one hot topic was the abolition of the rule banning team orders. Finally, we have said goodbye to this pointless hypocrisy,” said Domenicali.

“For us, Formula One is a team sport and we have always maintained that viewpoint and it should be treated as such. “The regulations already include points that prevent certain situations being managed in an extreme manner. The decision taken (Friday) is very important.” Alonso went into the final race of last season leading the championship but an illtimed pit-stop sent him down the field and the former double world champion could not make up enough ground allowing Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel to claim the title. But Domenicali vowed that his team will not be making such mistakes again.

“We will make adjustments, but they will only be revealed at the right moment,” he said of the team’s structure. “From a technical point of view, we must try not to repeat the mistakes which occasionally led us to take a step backwards rather than forwards. “In order to succeed, we are working without letting up. Next season will be very long and we cannot allow ourselves not to make the most of our potential at every race. “In 2010, especially in the early stages, we missed opportunities to pick up valuable points and we paid heavily for that at the final reckoning.” —AFP

Heat 104, Kings 83 In Sacramento, California, Dwyane Wade’s flying, one-handed rebound jam highlighted his 36point night as Miami beat Sacramento for its season-best eighth straight win. LeBron James scored 25 and Chris Bosh added 14 points and a season-high 17 rebounds as the Heat broke open a close game in the third quarter. After losing three of four in late November, the Heat have won every game during this winning streak by double digits. Omri Casspi had 20 points for the Kings, who have lost 15 of 17 and have the second-worst record in the NBA. Raptors 120, Pistons 116 In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Jerryd Bayless matched a career high with 31 points as Toronto pulled off its biggest comeback in franchise history to beat Detroit. Toronto overcame a 25-point second-half deficit to end a four-game losing streak. The victory was just the Raptors’ third of the season on the road. Italy’s Andrea Bargnani added 22 points, including a pair of key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and Brazilian Leandro Barbosa scored 20. Ben Wallace had a career-high 23 points and 14 rebounds, while Rodney Stuckey scored 23. Toronto shot 65 percent from the floor in the first half, but committed 14 turnovers that led to 29 Detroit points. The Pistons only turned the ball over once on their way to a 72-53 lead. Grizzlies 84, Clippers 83 In Los Angeles, Zach Randolph had 18 points and 13 rebounds and Spain’s Marc Gasol added 17 points as Memphis held on to beat Los Angeles. Baron Davis missed an 18-footer at the buzzer for the Clippers, who were coming off an 87-86 loss to the Lakers on Derek Fisher’s driving layup at the buzzer on Wednesday. Eric Gordon scored 25 points and Blake Griffin had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Los Angeles. Gay, the Grizzlies’ leading scorer, was held to 12 points on 5for-12 shooting.

Khan edges Maidana by decision LAS VEGAS: Amir Khan successfully defended his WBA 140-pound title with a narrow unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana on Saturday, surviving the stiffest test of his career with guts and skill. Khan (24-1, 17 KOs) knocked down Maidana with 10 seconds left in the first round of the British champion’s Las Vegas debut with a vicious left hand to the body, and the fight never really slowed down from there. The free-swinging Maidana seemed to be close to stopping Khan during a brilliant 10th round, but Khan absorbed every shot from his Argentine opponent and responded with a strong 11th. Khan finished his third title defense with blood dripping from his nose. Still scarred by a first-round knockout loss in his only defeat more than two years ago, Khan has grown tougher and stronger. “I know I made mistakes, but I worked hard and came back stronger than ever,” Khan said. “He’s a strong fighter, and he hits hard. My chin was tested. I’m not taking anything away from him. He’s a great champion. I proved today I’ve got a chin.” Maidana (29-2) was hurt by a point deduction by referee Joe Cortez in the fifth round, apparently for throwing an elbow at Cortez in frustration when the referee broke a clinch. Judges Jerry Roth and CJ Ross scored

the bout 114-111 for Khan, and Glenn Trowbridge favored the British fighter 113-112. The Associated Press also favored Khan 114-113. Maidana attempted to leave the ring after the decision was announced, but his promoters pulled him back. “I thought I won,” Maidana said through a translator. “I thought I did enough in the final rounds to win the fight.” Khan landed 45 percent of his 603 punches, while just 20 percent of Maidana’s 767 blows landed. Khan connected with 53 percent of his power shots, but Maidana landed 122 power punches, many of them apparently devastating. “I fight with my heart,” Khan said. “When I go into the ring, I know I’m going to get hit. You can tell by his record he’s a strong puncher, and I took everything he gave me.” The tone was set in the opening seconds of the fight when Khan approached the middle of the ring with his glove raised in good sportsmanship — and Maidana instead threw a sneaky left hook that barely missed. Maidana then landed two shots to Khan’s head in the opening minute, putting his opponent on the defensive immediately. But Khan caught Maidana with two body shots in the final seconds of the first round, and his left hand to Maidana’s abdomen sent the Argentine to his knees. Khan also dominated the sec-

ond round, but Maidana caught Khan with two big punches early in the third. After Cortez’s unusual ruling when Maidana’s elbow hit the referee in the chest in the fifth, Maidana responded with two outstanding rounds, stalking Khan with uppercuts that had the champion staggering. After what appeared to be a scolding from trainer Freddie Roach, Khan righted himself in the eighth and began to pepper Maidana with jabs and combinations. Maidana utterly dominated the 10th round, repeatedly rendering Khan defenseless _ but Khan never went down. Maidana also dominated the 12th round, but Khan had enough of a lead to hang on. Khan rocketed to British stardom at 17 with a silver medal at the Athens Olympics, but he doesn’t yet have the international drawing power of Ricky Hatton, Manchester’s favorite son. Hatton got several thousand Brits to make the transcontinental trip to Las Vegas for his biggest fights, but Khan appears to be on the way. Hundreds of Khan’s British and Pakistani fans showed up at Mandalay Bay, blowing vuvuzelas and waving both nations’ flags. The fight also was a breakthrough for Maidana, who was largely unknown outside Argentina until his stunning sixth-round stoppage of Victor Ortiz last year in Los Angeles. —AP

Rockets 110, Cavaliers 95 In Houston, Kevin Martin scored 32 of his season-high 40 points in the first half and Argentine Luis Scola added 14 points and 14 rebounds to lift Houston over Cleveland. Shane Battier also scored 16 for the Rockets, who outrebounded Cleveland 48-34 and went 12 for 26 from 3-point range.Antawn Jamison scored a season-high 24 points and Mo Williams added 18 points and nine assists for Cleveland, who have lost seven in a row, their longest skid since dropping seven straight in 2004. Bulls 113, T’wolves 82 At Chicago, Derrick Rose had 21 points and seven assists to lead Chicago over Minnesota for its season-best fifth straight victory. Rose set a career high with five 3-pointers. It was the third time this season he has made four or more 3s. He made that many just once during his first two NBA seasons. Luol Deng added 19 points and Carlos Boozer 17 for Chicago, which outrebounded Minnesota 53-36. Kevin Love had 23 points and 15 rebounds and Michael Beasley added 16 points for the Timberwolves. Celtics 93, Bobcats 62 In Charlotte, North Carolina, Ray Allen and Glen Davis scored 16 points apiece to lift Boston over Charlotte for its 10th straight victory.Kevin Garnett added 13 points and 11 rebounds for Boston, which played its second straight game without center Shaquille O’Neal, who was resting his sore right calf. Nazr Mohammed scored 14 points for the Bobcats, who shot 34 percent and committed 22 turnovers.

LAS VEGAS: Steve Woolsey takes a hoof to the back of the head in bull riding event during the tenth go-round of National Finals Rodeo. Woolsey received a concussion and is out until symptoms clear. —AP

LAS VEGAS: Amir Khan, of England and Marcos Maidana, of Argentina trade blows during the round of their WBA super lightweight championship boxing match. —AP

Hawks 97, Pacers 83 In Atlanta, Jamal Crawford scored 25 points and Josh Smith added 21 despite a sore hamstring to lead Atlanta over Indiana. Al Horford also finished two assists shy of a triple-double with 16 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists. Mike Dunleavy had 16 points and Danny Granger and Brandon Rush each added 14 for the Pacers. —AP

LAS VEGAS: Victor Ortiz (left) punches Lamont Peterson during the third round of their super lightweight boxing match in Las Vegas. The match was a draw. —AP

Mares, Agbeko win semifinal bouts TACOMA: Ghana’s Joseph Agbeko was a unanimous winner and Mexico’s Abner Mares won a split decision Saturday in the semifinals of the Bantamweight Tournament. Agbeko (28-2) beat Yonnhy Perez (202-1) and Mares (21-0-1) edged Vic Darchinyan (35-3-1) in the event, which featured four of the world’s top 118pound fighters. Agbeko and Mares will now meet in the championship round next spring. In the opening fight, Darchinyan dominated early on with his strong left, knocking the Mexican down in the second round. Mares then lost a point in the fourth round for his second low blow after

a warning from the referee. That penalty seemed to ignite Mares — he had Darchinyan up against the ropes in the fifth and knocked him down with a left in the seventh. “Our plan was to push him back because we know he likes to bully people,” Mares said. “He has a tremendous punch. I proved that I could take punches. I kept pushing him back. I heard him moan every time I landed a body shot.” Darchinyan, who was born in Armenia but now fights out of Australia, lost for the first time in four bouts since losing by unanimous decision to Agbeko in July 2009. “It’s very disgusting,” Darchinyan said about the decision. “I think, of

course, I won. By three to four rounds, I was in front.” In the second bout of the night, the 30year-old Agbeko returned to the ring for the first time since losing a unanimous decision to Perez in October 2009 in Las Vegas. Agbeko dominated the early and late rounds. Neither fighter had a knockdown. “This is my meal ticket and I’m glad I got it back.” Agbeko said. “I’m presenting it to Ghana as a Christmas bonus.” Perez, the California-based Colombian, failed to retain his IBF title. He will now fight Darchinyan in a consolation bout on the same card as the Mares-Agbeko title fight. —AP


Monday, December 13, 2010


Neuer the hero as Schalke stun Mainz

ITALY: AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, of Sweden (left) scores during a Serie A soccer match between Bologna and AC Milan at the Dall’Ara stadium. —AP

Milan in flight after Bologna win ROME: AC Milan are starting to escape from the pack after winning for the 10th time in 12 league games in yesterday’s 3-0 success at Bologna. The rossoneri went six points clear at the top of Serie A as goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng, Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic eased them to a comfortable victory. Lazio can close the gap back to three points if they win at Juventus later but if they fail to do so, Milan will be guaranteed top spot in a week’s time when Serie A shuts down for its winter break. Their latest win was down to the same three players who hit the net in last week’s 3-0 defeat of Brescia as Milan are proving to be increasingly ruthless in despatching so-called smaller teams. Ibrahimovic said the 12.30 kickoff time had presented a new challenge. “We won 3-0, it was a hard game, it’s the first time we’ve played at midday, it wasn’t easy but we won and that’s the most important thing,” he said. “Everything’s possible, we’re in the running for all the trophies (league, cup and Champions League), we have to keep going, don’t relax, there’s still lots of games left so we’ll talk about the title another time.” With Ghana midfielder Boateng playing in the holding role between midfield and attack, Milan were totally dominant. Bologna had the first chance with a speculative effort from distance from Gaston Ramirez that Christian Abbiati tipped around the post. Thereafter it was all Milan and they went ahead on nine minutes as Ibrahimovic hit an inswinging cross from the left and Boateng burst into

Italian Serie A results/standings Bologna 0 AC Milan 3 (Boateng 9, Robinho 35, Ibrahimovic 60); Brescia 1 (Cordova 13) Sampdoria 0; Cagliari 3 (Nene 11, 27, 71) Catania 0; Lecce 3 (Ofere 16, Piatti 45, 69) Chievo 2 (Bogliacino 55, Mandelli 90); Roma 1 (Juan 30) Bari 0. Playing later Juventus v Lazio Italian Serie A table ahead of yesterday’s late match (played, won, drawn, lost, against, points): AC Milan 16 11 Napoli 16 9 Lazio 15 9 Juventus 15 7 Palermo 16 8 Roma 16 7 Inter Milan 15 6 Sampdoria 16 5 Udinese 16 7 Genoa 16 6 the box between two defenders to stretch out his right leg and prod the ball home from six yards. On 18 minutes Andrea Pirloplaying alongside fellow old-timers Gennaro Gattuso and Massimo Ambrosini in midfield-fired just over from distance. The second came on 35 minutes as Robinho shot between goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano’s legs after a Boateng flick slipped him in on goal. It could have been worse for Bologna as Robinho then played in Ibrahimovic who also shot between Viviano’s legs but this time the ball clipped one of them and diverted wide. Then deep into injury time inexplicable hesitancy in the Bologna defence allowed Gianluca Zambrotta to win the ball in the box

goals for, goals 3 3 3 6 2 5 5 8 2 3

2 4 3 2 6 4 4 3 7 7

29 25 20 29 28 21 20 18 19 13

12 17 12 15 21 20 14 13 18 15

36 30 30 27 26 26 23 23 23 21

Cagliari 16 5 5 6 19 15 20 Chievo 16 5 5 6 18 18 20 Fiorentina 16 5 4 7 16 17 19 Bologna 16 5 5 6 16 2319* Catania 16 4 6 6 13 18 18 Parma 16 4 6 6 14 20 18 Brescia 16 4 3 9 12 20 15 Lecce 16 4 3 9 16 33 15 Cesena 15 3 3 9 10 20 12 Bari 16 2 4 10 10 25 10 * Bologna deducted one point for unpaid taxes

and fire a shot off the crossbar. Viviano came to his side’s rescue from an Ibrahimovic shot just after the restart but then Abbiati almost gifted Bologna a goal. The shot-stopper ran out wide to prevent a corner but was then dispossessed outside his box before he could clear his lines but Ramirez’s snap-shot hit the sidenetting. The game was over on the hour mark as Pirlo’s inch-perfect pass picked out Ibrahimovic and the big Swede did the rest. There was still time for Milan to concede what was incredibly the first penalty against them this season, although it was generous to say the least as Marco Di Vaio flung himself to the ground after the slightest contact with substitute

Clarence Seedorf. Justice was done though as Abbiati plunged to his right to stop Di Vaio’s spot-kick. Later Roma closed in on the Champions League places and moved up to sixth as they beat rock-bottom Bari 1-0 at home courtesy of a goal from Brazil centreback Juan. Down the bottom, Brescia won for the first time in 12 games as they beat Sampdoria 1-0 at home. On Saturday Napoli went second-for the moment as either Lazio or Juve will overtake them on Sunday night-as Marek Hamsik’s goal gave them a 1-0 win at Genoa. Palermo went fifth and a point off the Champions League places as they came from behind to beat Parma 3-1 in Sicily. —AFP

FRANCE: Lyon’s French forward Bafetimbi Gomis (right) vies with Toulouse’s French defender Daniel Congre during the French League football match. —AFP

Lyon see off Toulouse PARIS: Lyon, struggling in the relegation zone back in September, moved up to third yesterday on the back of a 2-0 home defeat of Toulouse. Lisandro Lopez, whose injury time winner earned the seven-time former champions a 2-1 win over Montpellier in their last league run out, opened the scoring in the fifth minute. The in-form Argentinian bagged his fourth goal in a week when pouncing on Toulouse keeper Mathieu Valverde’s failed clearance after Michel Bastos’ acute angled shot from the left. Half an hour later Bafetimbi Gomis burst through the Toulouse defence to bag Lyon’s second to seal a convincing win which lifted Claude Puel’s side on to 29 points, one behind Paris Saint Germain and two behind leaders Lille. This was Lyon’s seventh win since the painful derby loss to Saint Etienne in late September and their tenth game without defeat. Saint Etienne came away from their trip to Monaco as the 2-0 winners. Laurent Battles

sent the visitors into the break in front, with Bakary Sako adding the second in the 70th minute. On the strength of this win Saint Etienne moved up five places into seventh, while Monaco are living dangerously, only avoiding relegation territory on goal difference. Rennes, who can end the weekend in third with victory, are at Bordeaux in yesterday’s late game. Saturday’s action saw Lille, who had scaled the summit last weekend by demolishing Lorient, maintain top spot but only after an injury time goal downed bottom club ArlesAvignon. With second-placed PSG keeping the wheels on their title push with a 2-1 win at Valenciennes, Lille were in danger of seeing their capital rivals overtake them. But after minnows Arles had manfully held their own Tulio De Melo popped up with a header in the 93rd minute to earn Lille their eighth win of the campaign. PSG had Nene to thank for their win at

Valenciennes, the Brazilian striker putting the visitors into the lead shortly after the break. Vincent Aboubakar levelled for Valenciennes in the 82nd minute with Nene providing the perfect response with his decisive second six minutes from time. This was PSG’s tenth game without defeat and it further advertised their claims as worthy title contenders in this most open of all title races. Elsewhere Lorient picked themselves up after last weekend’s 6-3 thrashing by Lille to register a 3-0 home win over Lens while Nancy beat Sochaux 1-0. The matches between Caen and Nice and Brest against Montpellier ended in goalless draws. Marseille failed to follow up their midweek win over Chelsea in the Champions League, Didier Deschamps’ champions being held to a 11 draw by Auxerre, finishing the game a man down after Stephane Mbia’s first half sending off. That left them in fourth, two points shy of Lyon. —AFP

BERLIN: Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was the hero for Champions League last 16 qualifiers Schalke yesterday as his second-half penalty save sealed his side’s 1-0 win at Mainz. After striker Jefferson Farfan put Schalke ahead with a goal after 30 minutes, there was drama when Neuer had a penalty awarded against him after he brought down Hungary striker Adam Szalai with just over 20 minutes left. But he saved the day for the Royal Blues when he stopped the spot-kick from Mainz’s Germany squad member Andre Schuerrle to give Schalke their fourth win from their last six league games. Victory saw Schalke move up to 10th in the German league, while Mainz stay fourth in the table as leaders Dortmund finish the weekend with an 11-point lead. Earlier Freiburg knocked defending champions Bayern Munich down to sixth following their 3-0 win over bottom side Borussia Moenchengladbach as striker Papiss Cisse scored twice. Senegal striker Cisse netted either side of half-time and joined Frankfurt’s Greek star Theofanis Gekas as the league’s joint scorer with 13 from 16 games. Meanwhile strugglers Stuttgart sacked Jens Keller and immediately named Bruno Labbadia as their third coach of the season. Keller, 40, had taken over from former Tottenham Hotspur manager Christian Gross in October, but Stuttgart only managed to garner nine points from nine league games under his leadership. Stuttgart’s 2-1 defeat to Hanover on Friday left the 2007 German champions one off the bottom in the league and was the final nail in Keller’s coffin. He becomes the third coach to lose his job in the Bundesliga this season after Gross and Zvonimir Soldo (Cologne). Labbadia, a 44year-old former German international, now takes over having been out of work since his sacking from Hamburg in April. “I am aware of how hard the task will be, but I’m confident we’ll achieve our goal,” he said at a press conference. On Saturday, Dortmund picked up their seventh-straight win with a 2-0 victory over Bremen. A superbly struck freekick after nine minutes by Dortmund’s Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin put the leaders ahead before Poland striker Robert Lewandowski netted in the 70th minute as Dortmund took all three points. It was their 14th win from 16 games with the only defeat coming on the first day of the season back in August. The result leaves Dortmund 11 points clear of second-placed Leverkusen who beat Hamburg 4-2. Bayern remain 17 points behind the leaders, but they were buoyed by the news Bastian Schweinsteiger will stay until 2016 following their 3-0 win over 10-man St Pauli. The 26-year-old has signed a four-year extension and looks set to end his career in Munich, dealing a blow to a host of reported suitors including Real Madrid. Cologne enjoyed a rare win as teenage midfielder Christian Clemens scored his first Bundesliga goal when he netted in the 56th minute to seal a 1-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt. Hoffenheim were held to a 1-1 draw by Nuremberg while Wolfsburg had a goalless draw at Kaiserslautern.—AFP

GERMANY: Schalke’s Jefferson Farfan of Peru, Mainz’s Elkin Soto of Columbia and Mainz’s Christian Fuchs of Austria (from right) challenge for the ball during the German First Division Bundesliga soccer match. —AP

German League results/standings Freiburg 3 (Cisse 19, 59, Barth 41) Borussia M’gladbach 0; Mainz 05 0 Schalke 04 1 (Farfan 30). German league table after yesterday’s match 16 6 3 7 25 27 21 (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals Hamburg against, points): Schalke 04 16 5 4 7 22 24 19 Borussia Dortmund 16 14 1 1 39 9 43 Nuremberg 16 5 4 7 19 27 19 Bayer Leverkusen 16 9 5 2 33 23 32 Werder Bremen 16 5 4 7 22 33 19 Hanover 96 16 10 1 5 24 24 31 Kaiserslautern 16 5 3 8 25 26 18 Mainz 05 16 10 0 6 26 17 30 VfL Wolfsburg 16 4 6 6 22 23 18 Freiburg 16 9 0 7 23 23 27 St. Pauli 16 5 2 9 14 26 17 Bayern Munich 16 7 5 4 26 17 26 Cologne 16 4 3 9 18 30 15 Hoffenheim 16 6 6 4 30 20 24 VfB Stuttgart 16 3 3 10 29 30 12 Eintracht Frankfurt 16 7 2 7 23 21 23 Borussia M’gladbach 16 2 4 10 25 45 10

Manchester City reject Tevez transfer request LONDON: Manchester City have rejected captain Carlos Tevez’s written transfer request, the Premier League club said yesterday. City, who went joint top of the league on Saturday, said they were disappointed by the move, particularly as they had been so accommodating of the Argentina striker’s personal circumstances of his family living in South America. “This is both an unfortunate and unwelcome distraction and the club will remain focused on the games ahead in what is turning out to be a very promising season,” the club said in a statement on its website ( “The door remains open

for Carlos to be selected to play.” Tevez, who joined City in 2009 after a spell at Manchester United and is the club’s highest-paid player, missed Saturday’s 3-1 victory at former club West Ham United through suspension. He has been enjoying some of the best form of his career at City, scoring 33 goals in 50 league appearances, and his desire to leave comes as more of a disappointment than a shock to fans given reports he is feeling homesick. The 26-year-old has often spoken of his desire to return to South America and in August he hinted that he could even consider retiring from the game,

LONDON: Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez

such was his dismay at Argentina’s defeat by Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals. “Roberto Mancini and all at the club have shown, and will continue to show, sensitivity to Carlos’ personal circumstances including the issue of his family being based overseas,” the club statement said. “Indeed following his suspension as a result of the game against Bolton, Carlos requested, and was given, special dispensation by the manager to take leave overseas. “The written transfer request is in stark contrast to Carlos’ stated position in both public and club contexts.” The club said it had received numerous requests over recent months from Tevez’s representatives to renegotiate and improve his playing contract as well as more recently a request to extend the contract by another year. “However, in line with the club’s policy of not negotiating playing contracts mid-season this has not been granted,” the statement said. “Carlos’ current fiveyear contract has three-anda-half years to run and he is the highest-paid player at the Manchester City football club.” —Reuters Tevez, who cost City around 26 million pounds ($41.18 million), would attract interest from across Europe’s biggest clubs in the approaching transfer window and City would have little trouble recouping their outlay. The striker made his name with Brazilian club Corinthians before joining West Ham United along with Javier Mascherano-a controversial deal that later cost West Ham a 5.5 million pounds fine because he was part-owned by businessman Kia Joorabchian’s MSI company.—Reuters

Chelsea pay the penalty Tottenham 1

Chelsea 1

LONDON: Bolton’s Kevin Davies (left) wins a header against Blackburn’s Ryan Nelsen on his way to setting up Stuart Holden’s winning goal during their English Premier League soccer match. —AP

Holden’s late goal lifts Bolton Bolton 2

Blackburn 1 BOLTON: Stuart Holden scored a dramatic late goal to give 10-man Bolton a 2-1 win over Blackburn just seconds after Mame Biram Diouf appeared to have snatched the visitors a point. The American drilled home a stunning 88th-minute finish just after the visitors finished celebrating their equalizer by substitute Diouf. Bolton played with 10 men since Mark Davies’ 56th-minute dismissal for an apparent elbow, but

they still grabbed a 65th-minute lead through Fabrice Muamba. And just when Rovers had made their desperate pressure tell, United States midfielder Holden raced on to a neat header down from Kevin Davies to smash his rising shot past goalkeeper Paul Robinson. Diouf had just equalized but Holden burst forward following the resulting kickoff to half-volley past Robinson from just outside the area. The American midfielder’s second goal of the season lifted Bolton to sixth place and 26 points, just six behind provisional leader Arsenal. “What I loved was that, having lost an equaliser so late in the game and being down to 10 men, it would be easy to feel sorry for yourself,” Bolton manager Owen Coyle said. “But with this group,

their first instinct was to go forward and to try to win it, even with 10 men.” Bolton took the lead shortly after going down to 10 men, bringing on Muamba as a 58th-minute substitute. Muamba, an England under-21 midfielder, had been on the field for just seven minutes when he cut inside defender Ryan Nelsen to score with a low shot to the near post. But Diouf, the Senegal striker on loan at Blackburn from Manchester United, made Blackburn’s pressure and numerical advantage count in the 87th. Diouf collected a pass from Jason Roberts, held off a defender and lifted the ball over diving goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. Holden made sure Blackburn was level for only seconds.—AP

SPAIN: Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (left) vies with Zaragoza’s Czech midfielder Jiri Jarosik (right) during the Spanish League football match. —AFP

Real cruise past Zaragoza MADRID: Real Madrid cruised to a 3-1 victory at last-place Real Zaragoza to keep the pressure on Barcelona, which must beat Real Sociedad later yesterday to stay Spanish leader. Mesut Oezil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria scored for Madrid to improve to 38 points in the standings - one better than Barcelona. Zaragoza had chances early at La Romareda stadium but Madrid took control with Oezil’s 15thminute goal as the Germany playmaker capped a quick breakout by tucking a shot from the right under Leo Franco. Franco was left flat-footed in the 44th as Ronaldo dipped his free kick over the defensive wall and into the empty side of goal for the Portugal international’s league-leading 17th goal. Di Maria made it 3-0 three minutes after the break by shooting over Franco as the Zaragoza goalkeeper raced out to try and cut off the Argentina forward after Xabi Alonso had played him clear into the area. Ricardo Carvalho was booked for halting Nicolas Bertolo’s run inside the area and Gabriel Fernandez stepped up to beat Iker Casillas from the penalty spot for Zaragoza’s goal in the 54th. Franco made saves from Karim Benzema — playing alone as striker with Gonzalo Higuain out to

injury — and Lassana Diarra, one of Madrid’s standouts in midfield, to keep the hosts within two goals. But Zaragoza coach Javier Aguirre remained without a victory after four games. Earlier, Fernando Llorente and David Lopez scored second-half goals as Athletic Bilbao rallied to beat Espanyol 2-1 yesterday and deny it the chance to move into third place. Espanyol striker Pablo Osvaldo was a threat throughout as the Argentine striker capped a slick buildup in the 33rd minute by firing past Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz to put the visitors on course for a first win at the San Mames stadium since 2001. Lopez’s 56th-minute entrance spurred the hosts on, however, as he tested Carlos Kameni before Llorente made up for a wasteful miss by powerfully heading Andoni Iraiola’s cross past Kameni for the 73rd-minute equalizer. Lopez then curled in a perfectly taken free kick for the 78th-minute winner and the Basques’ fifth straight home win. Also, Sporting Gijon rallied to draw against Levante 1-1 and Oscar Serrano returned from a seven-month knee injury layoff to score two minutes into injury time as Racing Santander won 1-0 at Mallorca. —AP

Spanish League results/standings Athletic Bilbao 2 Espanyol 1, Hercules CF 4 Malaga 1, Real Mallorca 0 Racing Santander 1, Real Zaragoza 1 Real Madrid 3, Sporting Gijon 1 Levante 1 Spanish League table before yesterday’s late match (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points:) 1 Real Madrid 15 12 2 1 38 12 38 14 Racing 15 5 2 8 13 23 17 2 Barcelona 14 12 1 1 41 8 37 15 Osasuna 14 4 3 7 12 17 15 3 Villarreal 15 9 3 3 27 13 30 16 Levante 15 4 3 8 17 24 15 4 Espanyol 15 9 1 5 17 17 28 17 Almeria 15 2 7 6 13 22 13 5 Valencia 14 7 3 4 19 15 24 18 Malaga 15 4 1 10 20 32 13 6 Atletico 15 7 2 6 24 19 23 19 Sporting 15 2 5 8 12 23 11 7 Getafe 15 7 2 6 23 20 23 20 Zaragoza 15 1 6 8 14 27 9 1-3: Champions League / EC I 8 Sociedad 14 7 1 6 21 19 22 4: Champions League preliminary round 9 Bilbao 15 7 1 7 23 26 22 5-6: Europa League 10 Mallorca 15 6 3 6 15 17 21 7: Europa League depending on 11 Sevilla 15 6 2 7 21 26 20 domestic cup 12 Hercules 15 5 3 7 18 22 18 18-20: Relegation 13 Deportivo 15 4 5 6 12 18 17

LONDON: Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti was left to rue a late penalty miss from Didier Drogba as Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes went from villain to hero in a dramatic 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane yesterday.

Gomes goes from zero to hero Ancelotti’s spluttering side were heading for a fifth defeat in nine games after Roman Pavlyuchenko’s first-half strike put Spurs in front. But Gomes gifted Chelsea an equaliser with 20 minutes left when he allowed Drogba’s shot to escape his grasp and loop into the net. Drogba had a golden opportunity to steal the points for Chelsea when Gomes conceded a stoppage time penalty, but the Ivory Coast striker saw his spotkick brilliantly saved by the Brazilian. Chelsea were well below their best once again and Ancelotti, under increasing pressure in recent weeks, will be cursing Drogba’s miss, which leaves the Blues one point behind Arsenal ahead of the leaders’ trip to Manchester United today. Several previous Chelsea managers were sacked for less than the team’s miserable run of just two wins in their last eight games, so it was a brave move by Ancelotti to leave Drogba on the bench. Although Drogba has struggled to recapture the form that made him the Premier League’s top scorer last season, he remains Chelsea’s most potent attacking option and his side were toothless without him in the first half. If Drogba’s absence played a part in Chelsea’s slow start, they were hindered even more by a continued lack of security at the back. Once the cornerstone of Chelsea’s success, Ancelotti’s defence now gifts chances with alarming regularity and Pavlyuchenko took full advantage to open the scoring in the 15th minute. When Jermain Defoe cut infield and found Pavlyuchenko in the penalty area, Chelsea captain John Terry should have closed down the Russian striker. Instead he and John Obi Mikel sat back and allowed Pavlyuchenko to drill a low shot past Cech at his near-post. Replays showed Defoe may have been just offside before crossing, but that was no excuse for Chelsea’s poor defending. Over 25 minutes passed before Gomes was seriously tested when Salomon Kalou’s header from Nicolas Anelka’s cross forced the Brazilian into action. Another Chelsea defensive lapse should have been punished with a second goal for Pavlyuchenko, but he couldn’t keep his shot on target after running unmarked onto Gareth Bale’s free-kick. Only Florent Malouda was providing a sustained threat for Chelsea and he set up two chances for Kalou, who glanced his first header wide and then skied the next headed effort well over. Chelsea had plenty of possession as the half wore on but there was no cutting edge and it was no surprise when Ancelotti sent on Drogba for Mikel at the interval. Drogba’s arrival almost paid immediate dividends as his longrange shot was pushed away for a corner by Gomes, who had to make another acrobatic stop moments later to prevent Wilson Palacios heading a Drogba cross into his own net. With Drogba up front, Chelsea at last had some focus to their attacks. They lacked composure at times, but that didn’t matter as Gomes gifted Chelsea their equaliser in the 70th minute. Drogba showed tremendous strength and skill to control a hopeful punt and flick it past Michael Dawson. However, his shot was straight at Gomes and should have been saved. Instead the Brazilian’s weak attempted stop only managed to push the ball into his net to the delight of Ancelotti and his players. —AFP

LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur’s Peter Crouch (right) goes for the ball with Chelsea’s John Terry during their English Premiership soccer match at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane stadium. —AP

Hunt leads Wolves over Birmingham Wolves 1

Birmingham 0 LONDON: Stephen Hunt scored a late first-half goal to give Wolverhampton Wanderers a 1-0 win over fellow Premier League struggler Birmingham yesterday. Hunt scored his second goal of the season with a close-range shot in the 45th minute after a pass from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Substitute Kevin Phillips wasted a chance to grab an 89thminute equalizer for Birmingham but headed wide. Wolves stopped the opposition from scoring for the first time this season to go to 15 points, three clear of last-place West Ham and just one point away from climbing out of the threeteam relegation zone. Birmingham’s Ben Foster denied Wolves a more comfortable victory with a string of impressive saves, starting in the 10th when he dived to his right to stop Dave Edwards’ goalbound header. The former Manchester United goalkeeper was at it again less than 60 seconds later, denying Hunt with a great point-blank block after the ball broke six yards out. Ward lobbed a speculative effort over the crossbar before Ebanks-Blake’s effort was parried by Foster at the near post. Ward did find the net just before the interval but was flagged offside. Yet there was nothing wrong with Hunt’s 45thminute breakthrough as he got in between Roger Johnson and Stephen Carr to connect with Ebanks-Blake’s low cross, leaving Foster with no chance. An unmarked Edwards should have doubled Wolves’ advantage within minutes of the restart, but he headed wide from Ward’s right-wing cross. In the second half Foster was again called into action, getting his body behind Nenad Milijas’ free-kick before collecting Ronald Zubar’s tame shot. Birmingham manager Alex McLeish turned to Craig Gardner and Jean Beausejour from the bench but it was Foster who remained busy, tipping Milijas’ header over the bar. It was the first time a Wolves team led by manager Mick McCarthy had beaten Midlands rival Birmingham in seven league attempts. —AP

EPL results/standings Bolton 2 (Muamba 65, Holden 88) Blackburn 1 (Diouf 87); Tottenham 1 (Pavlyuchenko 15) Chelsea 1 (Drogba 70); Wolves 1 (Hunt 45) Birmingham 0. English Premier League table after yesterday’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Arsenal 16 10 2 4 34 18 32 Manchester City 17 9 5 3 24 13 32 Manchester Utd 15 8 7 0 35 16 31 Chelsea 17 9 4 4 31 12 31 Tottenham 17 7 6 4 25 22 27 Bolton 17 6 8 3 30 24 26 Sunderland 17 5 9 3 20 18 24 Newcastle 17 6 4 7 27 26 22 Liverpool 17 6 4 7 21 22 22

Blackpool West Bromwich Stoke Blackburn Aston Villa Everton Birmingham Fulham Wigan Wolverhampton West Ham

16 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17

6 6 6 6 5 3 3 2 3 4 2

4 6 4 7 3 8 3 8 5 7 9 5 9 5 10 5 7 7 3 10 6 9

24 24 21 22 19 18 17 16 13 18 15

29 29 22 27 28 20 20 20 28 30 30

22 22 21 21 20 18 18 16 16 15 12

Matches on TV (local timings) English Premier League Man United v Arsenal - 23:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 5 Spanish League Valencia v Osasuna - 23:00 Al Jazeera Sport 2 HD Al Jazeera Sport +2

LONDON: Birmingham City’s Cameron Jerome (left) competes for the ball with Wolverhampton Wanderers Richard Stearman during their English Premier League soccer match. —AP

Oman Air scoops ‘Tech Implementation of the Year’


Wataniya Airways offers special winter fares


Euro ministers grapple with crises


Monday, December 13, 2010

Qtel eyes partnership with Qatar sovereign fund DOHA: Qatar Telecommunications (Qtel) is in talks to form a joint investment venture with the Gulf Arab state’s sovereign wealth fund, the company said yesterday. “The company confirms that it is in discussion with the Qatar Investment Authority regarding the establishment of a joint investment vehicle, the details of which are yet to be finalized,” Qtel said in an emailed statement. “The potential fund would not, however, represent any change to Qtel’s existing strategy and would be focused on telecom and telecom-related ventures. Further details will be released in due course.” The statement followed a local newspaper report quoting Qtel Chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed AlThani as saying the two parties were about to sign a partnership agreement. “There is agreement to establish a joint company to invest and seize appropriate opportunities in telecommuni-

cations and information technology (sectors) abroad,” the Qtel chairman was quoted as saying in the Qatari daily El Raya. Qtel, which operates in 17 countries, is 55 percent owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, according to Reuters data. The telecom firm has long focused its expansion efforts on Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. It lost its local monopoly in 2007 after Vodafone Qatar, a unit of Britain’s Vodafone, entered the Qatari market. “Qtel’s revenues from outside Qatar currently constitute more than 75 percent of its revenues, and this approach will continue,” the chairman was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “Expanding services in mobile communications, data services and the services of institutions in Asia will remain an important part of our strategies.” Qtel shares ended 0.1 percent lower yesterday. — Reuters

China vows stable growth, inflation management SHANGHAI: China’s leaders wrapped up an annual economic planning meeting yesterday with a pledge to cool surging inflation while shifting the economy toward more stable, balanced growth. The vow to keep the economy on an even keel came a day after the government reported that inflation jumped to a 28-month high in November, despite a crackdown on speculation and repeated moves to curb the flood of money circulating in the economy from massive stimulus spending and bank lending. A statement announcing the end of the conference, held each year in early December, reiterated previous pledges to support farmers, fight poverty, promote clean energy and various other sweeping goals. But the broad policy blueprint included no specific new policy measures. In the coming year, which is due to begin a transition to a new generation of leaders, economic policies will be flexible, proactive and prudent, said the statement, carried by the official Xinhua News Agency. The aim is to maintain a balance between fast growth and stability. “China is facing a complicated situation. Improving people’s living standards and keeping social stability are still arduous tasks,” said the statement, which was read on the evening state-run television news broadcast. With their pledge of “greater policy emphasis” on price stability, the leaders endorsed continued tightening of monetary policy as a strategy for reining in excess bank lending, Jun Ma, an economist with Deutsche Bank, said in a report issued after the meeting ended. “Overall, we think the work conference has reinforced the message that anti-inflation measures will be the main policy focus in the near term,” it said. The meeting also warned against “blindly launching new projects” as the country begins the new decade — and a new “five-year plan” for 2011-2015. Chinese banks lent a total of 7.45 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) in January-November and are certain to overshoot the government’s official lending target of 7.5 trillion yuan. — AP


Property, banks lift Egypt stocks; Dubai falls again CAIRO/DUBAI: Real estate and banking stocks lifted Egypt’s bourse yesterday, as investors expect a newly formed parliament to pass reforms that will help the two sectors in 2011. Property firm SODIC jumped 4.3 percent and Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG), Egypt’s biggest listed developer, climbed 2.1 percent. “The new parliamentary members of Egypt’s ruling party meet today,” said Nader Khedr, an investment and capital market analyst. “Traders expect they will discuss reform laws and private and public partnerships (PPP), mostly in infrastructure and housing projects, financed by banks.” The government delayed a number of reforms ahead of parliamentary elections on Nov. 28 and a run-off on Dec. 5. The ruling National Democratic Party took about 80 percent of the seats. “The Egyptian finance minister spoke about this (PPP) plan in a economic conference” before the election, Khedr said. SODIC on Thursday approved a five-for-one stock split designed to make it easier for investors to buy and sell its shares. “News on SODIC’s stock split and expectations that Talaat Moustafa’s legal dispute over its land deal will be resolved in the

first few sessions of the new parliament, which start this week, lifted their stocks up,” Khedr said. Egypt’s Commercial International Bank (CIB) climbed 2.1 percent and Al Baraka Egypt Bank gained 2 percent. The EGX30 ended 0.6 percent higher. In the United Arab Emirates, district cooling firm Tabreed weighed on Dubai’s index, as investors were worried about dilution in value of the stock after the firm slashed its share capital by 80 percent. Tabreed closed 5.1 percent lower on the first day of trading after the firm reduced its number of outstanding shares to 243.4 million from 1.2 billion, cancelling 970 million shares. “Traders are worried about dilution going forward,” said Matthew Wakeman, EFGHermes managing director for cash and equity-linked trading. “Whether that gets more clarified remains to be seen but at the moment investors think its better to reallocate their funds.” Property stocks also gave up gains registered last week over hopes that Qatar’s selection to host the soccer World Cup 2022 will lead to new contracts for developers and builders. Arabtec fell 2.9 percent and Drake & Skull dropped 3.2 percent. — Reuters

Alliance to target telecom, telecom-related ventures

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti car race driver Mishal Al-Najadi with his race car and trophies posing with AlTabtabai. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat. (See Page 23, Page 25)

US to hold pivotal trade talks with China, then EU WASHINGTON: The United States will hold high-level trade talks with China and the European Union this week, testing the Obama administration’s ability to tear down barriers that impede US exports and economic growth. The United States and China will cap a rocky year of trade relations with two days of meetings beginning on Tuesday. The United States on Thursday will then shift from transpacific to transatlantic relations for talks with the EU. The separate dialogues present distinctly different challenges, with fast-growing China receiving the bigger share of US attention this year. Heading into the annual US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) meeting, the Obama administration is under pressure from Congress to show progress on trade irritants ranging from beef to computer software. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan will head a delegation of nearly 100 officials for talks led on the US side by Commerce Secretar y Gar y L ocke and Trade

Representative Ron Kirk. A bipartisan group of US members of the House of Representatives on Friday complained that promises made by China at past JCCT meetings “have failed to lead to commercially meaningful market access for US companies.” They urged Locke and Kirk to press China to commit to specific targets for measuring how much it is cutting piracy of US software and other intellectual property and boosting impor ts of American goods. The United States is also expected to press China to loosen export restraints on rare earth minerals used in a variety of clean energy and high-tech industry technologies. US concerns about China’s currency, which the United States contends is significantly undervalued, are not formally on the agenda but will be in the background of the talks. Another major topic will be China’s “indigenous innovation” policies that threaten to force US companies to transfer intellectual property to China to

participate in that country’s vast government procurement market. A successful meeting would provide momentum for a summit between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao in mid-January, said John Frisbie, president of US-China Business Council. “China says it prefers to resolve things through dialogue, not legislation or sanctions. I think this is an opportunity to show that,” Frisbie said. While the US-China trade relationship is often fraught with tension, relations between the United States and the 27 member nations of the EU may suffer from neglect. “We treat this transatlantic relationship like a stale mar riage,” said Kathyrn Hauser, executive director of the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue, a private sector group. “But when push comes to shove, the innovation and the job creation that affects Americans most significantly is because of our relations with the Europeans,” she said. — Reuters

Dubai ruler names Sheikh Ahmed Dubai World head DUBAI: Dubai’s ruler appointed a new board for Dubai World, the flagship conglomerate which struck a deal to restructure $25 billion in debt earlier, appointing his uncle and key adviser as chairman yesterday. The UAE’s state news agency WAM said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum-who spearheaded Dubai’s attempts to recover from last year’s crippling debt crisis as head of the Supreme Fiscal Committee (SFC) — was named to the top spot. Sheikh Ahmed is also chairman of Emirates airline and a top adviser to ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. Other SFC members were also named to a new board of directors, including Mohammed Al-Shaibani and Ahmed Humaid AlTayer. Dubai finance director Abdulrahman Al-Saleh is also a new director. “The board’s functions include approving plans to restructure (Dubai World) and its affiliates, as well as approving the draft annual budget and final accounts and adopting its administrative and financial systems and those of its subsidiaries, the adoption of financing and borrowing from financial institutions and providing them financial guarantees,” said an official statement carried by WAM. State-owned Dubai World won creditor support from all its creditors in November for a $25 billion restructuring plan, one of the first major milestones in resolving the debt headache which has plagued the Gulf Arab emirate since last year. In its debt deal, presented to creditors earlier this year and seen by Reuters, Dubai World had said there would be a new managing director and chief financial officer for the company, whose assets range from shipping to real estate. Yesterday’s announcement made no reference to this. Observers were divided yesterday about the ramifications of the move with some viewing it as a confidence boosting move while others fretted that it may signal more issues to come. “If they put the heaviest hitters in Dubai on the board of the company that was successfully restructured, I sense they realize that the DW story is certainly not over yet,” said a financial industry source, asking not to be identified. Dubai World plans to sell its prized assets over a period of eight years to generate as much as $19.4 billion to pay off creditors, according to the restructuring proposal document obtained by Reuters. It said in the document asset disposals over an eight-year period will help generate up to a maximum of $19.4 billion, while similar sales based on current prices would be worth a maximum of $10.4 billion. “This is very good news, not only because of Sheikh Ahmed’s track record at Emirates group, but also as a statement from the government,” said Haissam Arabi, chief executive and fund manager at Gulfmena Alternative Investments. “The fact is Sheikh Ahmed is very good for Dubai World’s restructuring plan and will give more confidence to creditors that the government is very serious about fulfilling the obligations of the restructuring.” — Reuters



Monday, December 13, 2010

Oman Air scoops ‘Technology Implementation of the Year’ KUWAIT: Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, was awarded the ‘Technology Implementation of the Year’ category at the prestigious 4th Annual Aviation Business Awards 2010. The award recognized Oman Air’s pioneering introduction of in-flight mobile phone and Wi-Fi connectivity, which utilizes the Airbus ALNA V2 system and Honeywell’s SwiftBroadband (SBB) solution, via OnAir and Inmarsat. The award was accepted by Oman Air’s Chief Officer, Management Affairs, Abdul Aziz Al Raisi, at a spectacular ceremony held at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, attracting many international leaders of the aerospace industry alongside a host of other VIPS. Oman Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Peter Hill, said: “Oman Air is extremely proud to have won this important award and to be recognised as the first airline in the world to offer both full mobile phone and Wi-Fi connectivity onboard our widebody fleet. The introduction of this cutting-edge technology offers pas-

Aviation Business Awards 2010

sengers the convenience of connecting to the Internet and any one of a range of hand-held devices from the comfort of their seat. With the ability to make phone calls, send text messages, use instant messaging, check emails, surf the web

or update social media, passengers onboard Oman Air’s A330 flights need never be out of touch with the world, even as they fly.” Organised by publisher ITP Business, the award has established itself as the ultimate cel-

ebration of achievements within the Middle East aerospace industry over the past 12 months. The 4th Annual Aviation Business Awards included 15 categories in total, covering the airline, airport and cargo sec-

Gulf Employment recruits and manages 5,000 researchers for the 2011 Census Through a prime HR supply project in Kuwait KUWAIT: On this occasion and in a press statement, Majed A. Al-Turkait, Chairman and Managing Director of Gulf Employment Co, announced signing the HR supply contract, the largest of its kind at the national level with the Central Statistical Office on November 01, 2010, through which Gulf Employment Co. is to supply and manage a total of 5000 field researchers for the 2011 Kuwait Census to gather data of individuals and families (citizens and residents), houses and facilities under the supervision of the Central Statistical Office. Managing the Field Work Al-Turkait emphasized the company’s keenness to engage its extensive expertise and specialized capabilities in managing the field work to ensure quality control and accuracy of the required data through its innovative and sophisticated organization that employs the highest international standards on human and technical levels In this regard, Al-Turkait introduced the company’s elite local and international team of specialists & consultants who are wellversed in HR and projects management according to the international standards and are highly experienced in drawing up professional communications plans and strategies. He also portrayed the company’s distinctiveness in adopting modern technologies with easy and flexible uses, in addition to applying the latest administrative and financial systems. Approved strategy Regarding the operating mechanism, AlTurkait described the basic steps of the work to be performed under the supervision of the Central Statistical Office, which

Majed A Al-Turkait, Chairman and Managing Director, Gulf Employment Co. design the overall strategy adopted by the Company to manage the field work starting with personnel well-training, data collection. Al-Turkait said that the company will choose high school holders, with preference to university graduates from citizens and residents for the field work. He called on anyone wishing to join and participate, to apply through the website ( or (www.. ⁄œ«œ«·flÊÌ com) Those who apply will be screened, and

then personally interviewed. He noted that the company has established a call center to receive inquiries and to answer questions from interested persons and those willing to participate in the project. The Field W ork : a Na tiona l Demonstration In Addition, Al-Turkait invited young men and women to participate in this national project, which covers all the governorates of Kuwait, and which would contribute to upgrading the services provided to the Kuwaiti society to which we all belong, in order to achieve the major national objectives. In this concern, Al-Turkait announced the allocation of financial rewards for participants (citizens & residents) in accordance with the company’s policy in contributing to supporting national employment and with the application of its social responsibility. Gulf Employment Co: The first specialized company in Kuw ait At the conclusion of his press statement, Majed A Al-Turkait, Chairman and Managing Director for Gulf Employment Co. expressed his contentment for favoring Gulf Employment Co. to implement this Large national project, which represents part of the company’s vision to accommodate the market needs concerning public & private sectors, since its establishment on 1999 as the first Kuwaiti shareholding company specialized in recruitment and HR services, to become a pioneer in providing HR and projects management services for major governmental institutions, banks and oil companies.

tors, and entries were assessed by a prestigious panel of experts, selected from within the Middle East aerospace industry. Oman Air’s award win follows a year in which the airline has been at the forefront of technological innovation. In addition to in-flight connectivity, the airline has introduced a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system, featuring audio and video on demand and live satellite TV, as well as launching a new fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft and expanding its network to include a range of exciting new destinations across the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. Chief Officer, Management Affairs Abdul Aziz Al Raisi, of Oman Air, added: “I am extremely pleased to have received this award on behalf of Oman Air. We are honoured to have won the award in this highly competitive category, and against such worthy competitors, and we look forward to announcing further innovations and initiatives which will offer even more choice and value for our customers.”

Jazeera Airways group raises Sahaab Leasing capital by KD 9 million KUWAIT: Jazeera Airways Group has increased the capital of its fully-owned leasing arm, Sahaab Aircraft Leasing, from KD 20 million to KD 29 million to take advantage of new market opportunities. Sahaab Aircraft Leasing was launched in October 2008 to acquire and lease high-utility commercial aircraft for customers, and started operations with Jazeera Airways as its first customer. Sahaab was then acquired by Jazeera Airways Group in February 2010 as part of the Group’s vertical integration strate-

gy of investing in services that compliment passenger airline operations. Jazeera Airways Group Chairman Marwan Boodai said: “Sahaab’s acquisition brought immediate benefits to our business as planned, such as consistent and stable revenue streams as well as access to global leasing markets. And now less than a year since our acquisition we see additional growth opportunities opening up in the leasing market. Thus, Jazeera Airways Group committed to increasing Sahaab’s capital through internal resources.” The

leasing company now has six Airbus A320 aircraft placed with Jazeera Airways and four Airbus A320 aircraft placed with the San Francisco-based Virgin America, and one Airbus A320 placed with a third undisclosed customer. Jazeera Airways Group, which recently closed its best performing third quarter in history by registering KD 4.4 million in net profit, is the parent company for both Jazeera Airways, the passenger airline, and Sahaab Aircraft leasing. Jazeera Airways Group owns 11 Airbus A320s and is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.

Higher Colleges of Technology honors First Gulf Bank Continued commitment in supporting, developing UAE national youth ABU DHABI: First Gulf Bank (FGB) was recently honored during the ceremony which was hosted by the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in Abu Dhabi, with a special commemorative award for its dedication and continuous commitment in the funding of an academic chair of professorship in business management for three years at HCT. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology, presented the award to Abdulwahed Juma, Head of Corporate Affairs of FGB in the presence of Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister. Abdulwahed Juma deeply appreciated this tribute by stating: “We are honoured to receive such a highly regarded accolade, as we will constantly endeavour to boost and sustain the skills and capa-

bilities of the UAE National workforce at all levels and through various schemes. We will therefore continue to pursue and search for new prospects and enhance new contributions in providing our Nationals with higher educational certifi-

cation and qualifications.” The award was a tribute to the contributions of FGB towards the agreement that was signed in 2009 with HCT to establish the “First Gulf Bank Professor of Business Administration.” Through this program provided by

the Higher Colleges of Technology and through the support it receives from the First Gulf Bank, this program promotes best practices, monitors and improves academic standards, evaluate student performance, and facilitate faculty development.

EXCHANGE RATES Commercial Bank of Kuwait US Dollar/KD GB Pound/KD Euro Swiss francs Canadian Dollar Australian DLR Indian rupees Sri Lanka Rupee UAE dirhams Bahraini dinars Jordanian dinar Saudi riyals Omani riyals Philippine peso Egyptian pounds

.2740000 .4400000 .3680000 .2830000 .2750000 .2740000 .0045000 .0020000 .0761350 .7417630 .3900000 .0730000 .7271670 .0045000 .0480000

.2860000 .4500000 .3760000 .2920000 .2840000 .2820000 .0075000 .0035000 .0769000 .7492180 .4100000 .0780000 .7344750 .0072000 .0560000

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

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2804500 .4432370 .3709650 .2859840 .2777700 .0497510 .0405820 .2763830 .0360780 .2145590 .0033400 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0763750 .74440970 .0000000 .0748070 .7286310 .0000000

.2825500 .4465560 .3737430 .2881250 .2798490 .0501230 .0408860 .2784530 .0363480 .2161660 .0033650 .0063140 .0025570 .0033050 .0040360 .0769470 .7496680 .3996460 .0753670 .7340870 .0065330

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. Japanese Yen Indian Rupees


Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal - Transfer Irani Riyal - Cash Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Egyptian Pound - Cash Egyptian Pound - Transfer Yemen Riyal Tunisian Dinar Jordanian Dinar Lebanese Lira Syrian Lier Morocco Dirham

3.270 2.508 3.968 218.810 36.220 3.975 6.622 9.458 0.267 0.310 GCC COUNTRIES 74.865 77.139 729.380 745.660 76.451 ARAB COUNTRIES 51.550 48.948 1.317 204.170 396.450 187.700 6.140 35.749

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 280.630 Euro 401.020 Sterling Pound 455.460 Canadian dollar 280.350 Turkish lire 200.450 Swiss Franc 292.020 Australian dollar 282.170 US Dollar Buying 279.895 GOLD 259.000 131.000 67.500

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

SELL CASH 281.800 749.160 4.260 282.600 553.200 14.100 51.400 167.800 51.360 376.900

36.960 6.480 0.033 0.264 0.252 3.470 400.050 0.191 92.400 45.900 4.410 215.300 1.916 48.100 731.720 3.390 6.660 77.920 75.210 216.610 43.600 2.683 449.500 42.300 291.100 6.200 9.720 198.263 76.870 282.100 1.360

10 Tola

GOLD 1,463.270

Sterling Pound US Dollar

36.810 6.245 0.032

398.170 0.190 92.400 3.920 213.800 731.540 3.300 6.465 77.490 75.210 216.610 43.600 2.535 447.500 289.600 6.200 9.560 76.770 281.700

SELL DRAFT 280.300 749.160 3.994 281.100

216.600 48.883 375.400

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

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

281.600 282.660 446.345 374.895 286.615 690.765 745.330 76.645 77.325 75.062 397.358 48.674 6.267 3.290

2.533 4.009 6.434 3.353 9.348 6.143 3.902

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

US Dollar Pak Rupees Indian Rupees Sri Lankan Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso UAE Dirhams Saudi Riyals Bahraini Dinars Egyptian Pounds Pound Sterling Indonesian Rupiah Nepali rupee Yemeni Riyal Jordanian Dinars Syrian Pounds Euro Candaian Dollars

TRAVELLERʼS CHEQUE 447.500 281.700

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

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

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

281.600 3.295 6.250 2.540 3.995 6.480 76.760 76.760 748.600 48.650 450.700 0.00003280 4.025 1.550 400.100 5.750 378.200 284.700

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

Transfer rate 281.600 375.000 445.500 279.900 3.370 6.240 48.640 2.534 3.986 6.440 3.290 748.200 76.700 75.150


Monday, December 13, 2010


Mercedes Benz launches ‘ProvenExclusivity’ program Abdul Rahman Albisher & Zaid Alkazemi Co’s exclusive program for certified pre-owned cars Abdul Rahman Albisher & Zaid Alkazemi, authorized General distributor of Mercedes Benz in Kuwait, launched its new Certified Pre-Owned Cars website under the program ‘ProvenExclusivity’. This website includes all the details required by a prospective buyer to make and informed purchase decision. The website includes a wide collection of pre owned MercedesBenz cars, which have gone through stringent multipoint checks, with detailed pictures, vehicle specifications, and details the options available in the given vehicle. This program ensures peace of mind for the customers who will get the opportunity to buy a manufacturer-backed vehicle with GCC specifications that has undergone a complete multipoint check before being put on the market. As well as providing the best available preowned Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Facilities are available for insurance and, finance for the convenience of our customers. All ‘ProvenExclusivity’ vehicles are registered with MB NET Mercedes-Benz Net - the global Mercedes registration system which checks chassis numbers, service and car repair history, ensuring customers of the highest standards of quality and safety as well as total vehicle transparency. The company also carries out checks to ensure that the correct

mileage is shown. Details about the benefits, as well as cars available under the ‘ProvenExclusivity’ program are now available on the recently launched website The site offers customers the chance to browse through a selection of pre-owned vehicles now available under the program. This new program not only provides peace of mind to pre-owned

car buyers who know they are getting a quality pre-owned car with a proven history, it also gives new car buyers stability in the used-car market allowing them to buy in the knowledge that their car will retain its value during their ownership. The Approved Used Car showroom is housed in an elegant building located next to the existing Mercedes-Benz showroom in Shuwaikh. The showroom provides generous 2500 sq. m of dis-

play space where more than 35 vehicles can be shown at any given time. The Approved Used Cars showroom is connected to the main Mercedes-Benz passenger cars showroom so that customers have complete access to all the Albisher & Alkazemi Company facilities. More information about the program can be located on our website OR by calling 1-833-111 Ext. 561 /564.

Wataniya Airways offers special winter fares VIVA Kuwait at the Business Faculty of King’s College University, London Small to Big phase two, successfully accomplished with the guidance of business specialists KUWAIT: In a training camp at the University of King’s College in London VIVA Kuwait successfully concluded the second phase of the CSR project Small to Big in collaboration with Pink Coffee for Marketing and Public Relations Company, in order to support youths and small-business owners and promote the concept of social responsibility among the Kuwaiti society. For two weeks, specialized business professors at the University of King s College briefed ,15 participants from small-scale entrepreneurs and 2 members of the assigned committee, on the latest scientific methods and means to develop strategic plans for any small project.

The training courses aimed to ensure the success of small businesses and its sustainability to face any difficulties or problems that would be encountered in the market. “Ranked 22nd among the most prestigious business administration universities in the world, King’s collage University in London was the right place to conclude the second phase of Small to Big due to its educational atmosphere which helped the participants gain an unforgettable experience; as it sets them on track of having a solid business start to guarantee a successful future,” said VIVA Kuwait, CEO, Eng. Najib Al-Awadi who added,” VIVA Kuwait is in the process of

developing the CSR project Small to Big through shedding the light on the academic side to become more flexible and appropriate for participants; and also enhancing more projects under the umbrella of CSR due to its significance in our society and beloved country Kuwait. We at VIVA Kuwait have a strong belief in our social responsibility and role which received the blessing and support of His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah and the Crown Prince His Highness Sheikh Nawaaf AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, as it implements the values of “Fulfilling, Energetic, Engaging, and Transparency” VIVA Kuwait cherish and treasure.”

KUWAIT: Wataniya Airways, Kuwait’s only premium airline, is offering a brand new range of attractive fares to some of the most popular destinations in its winter flight schedule. To take advantage of this unique limited period offer, guests need to book and buy their tickets on or before December 31, 2010, and travel before 31 January 2011. The new Wataniya Airways special winter fares offers Premium Economy from KD22 to Dubai, KD 35 to Beirut, KD 59 to Sharm El Sheikh, KD69 to Cairo, and KD 99 to Istanbul and Vienna. Guests wishing to fly Wataniya Airways’ BusinessFirst can also enjoy new lower fares during the same period, with tickets starting from KD119 to Dubai, KD 169 to Sharm El Sheikh, KD 199 to Beirut, Cairo, and Istanbul, while Vienna is being offered at an attractive fare of KD349. Jassim AlQames, Head of Public

Relations at Wataniya Airways, said: “Winter season is always a fun time to travel. Our destinations have plenty to offer whether it’s the beautiful weather in Dubai, or diving in Sharm ElSheikh, or even skiing in Austria. This is the perfect time for our guests to book their tickets and enjoy travel especially during the holiday season.” “Wataniya Airways is committed to providing guests with greater convenience, premium service and excellent value for money. The special prices we have announced today are a reflection of this,” He concluded. From Kuwait, guests who wish to travel on Wataniya Airways can book tickets by logging on to or by calling the Kuwait Guest Contact Centre on 118 or +965 24379999, or by making a reservation through their preferred travel agent. Wataniya Airways, Kuwait’s only premium service airline, commenced

Jassim AlQames operations in January 2009 and now flies to numerous Dubai, Beirut, Cairo, Sharm ElSheikh, Istanbul, and Vienna, with new destinations continually being added. The premium carrier also has a code-share and interline partnership with Austrian Airlines allowing it

to serve attractive European destinations via Vienna. Most recently, Wataniya Airways announced it was adding a further ten destinations to its European routes, making a total of 29 European destinations overall. Wataniya Airways offers advantageous services and schedules geared to the specific demands of discerning travellers flying to and from Kuwait. Operating four A320 aircraft with only 122 seats, Wataniya Airways offers passengers more comfort and space than any other scheduled airline within the same aircraft class. BusinessFirst offers industry leading comfort, utility, dedicated business facilities and personal service, while Premium Economy delivers business class ease and comfort for economy guests. In Kuwait, Wataniya Airways operates from Sheikh Saad Terminal, delivering unprecedented levels of exclusivity, convenience, and efficiency on the ground to all its guests.

Mubadala unit reaches Yemen energy accord ABU DHABI: A unit of Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala said yesterday it signed a preliminary agreement with Yemen Company for Investments in Oil &

Minerals (YICOM) for exploration and production of oil and gas in Yemen. Under the memorandum of understanding, Mubadala Oil & Gas and YICOM will

assess opportunities for investment, field redevelopment and expansion projects in Yemen, a statement from the Mubadala affiliate said. “The Yemeni government

has created an attractive investment environment in the upstream sector and we believe Mubadala can use its ability to act as a powerful catalyst, working with YICOM,

to open up new oil and gas opportunities in Yemen,” Suhail Al-Mazrouei, deputy chief executive officer of Mubadala Oil & Gas, said in the statement. —Reuters

Al-Mazaya Holding to launch projects for UAE and Kuwaiti investors in Dubai Offering competitive financial facilities and incentives DUBAI: Dubai’s real estate market has made significant strides towards maturity - a long awaited situation since the comprehensive boom witnessed in the emirate during the first decade of the millennium. This signified a conclusive end to the stressful months that existed during the mentioned period, as a result of the rapid rise in the sector’s performance and the doubts from the uncontrollable rising prices driven by various factors that dominated the boom period. The GCC real estate markets, in general, and Dubai in particular, witnessed a number of positive and negative practices at that time which greatly impacted the entire real estate sector. These included the offplan sales, unprofessional brokers and speculators, the blurred economic reports and the unjustified rise in rental value and sale price of commercial and office spaces. Dubai is seeking to continuously strengthen the foundations of maturity by prudent and direct supervision. Eng Naif Al-Awadi, CEO of AlMazaya Holding’s Dubai Operations, said: “ We are in constant contact with Dubai’s government departments including Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and Dubai Land Department. Therefore,

we have noticed obvious changes in the regulations that govern the relations among developers and investors; working towards more efficient transactions among these parties. In the recent times, the investors market in Dubai has shifted from rapid sale to long term income generating projects, which generate guaranteed revenues, yet less in value than what developers used to generate during the previous policies”. “The real estate sector’s recovery

requires other amendments in the loan policy, terms and conditions of sale and purchase contracts, realistic return on investment, raising the bar of real estate services, reducing fees and offering facilities and incentives to investors. These require joint efforts by all the related private and government sectors to accelerate the revival of real estate sector and then the other economic sectors”, AlAwadi added. According to reports issued by the Statistics Unit at Al-Mazaya Holding,

there is an apparent stability in the freehold projects of recent. This is a fact that was confirmed by the company’s monitoring of the real estate market in Dubai and its sale and rental transactions in the residential, office and commercial space, despite the supply of other 100 thousand units, expected to increase by the end of the year. The real estate market is still underperforming as a result of strong measures taken by banks with regard to liquidity. In response

to this situation, reputed companies are offering other alternatives, relying on their track record of completed projects, and thus launching new high quality projects. There are a number of such reputed developers operating in the real estate market at the present. The reputation established by these companies during the post-crisis period together with investors’ confidence in the company’s investment decisions and their loyalty and keenness to support are all elements that will help the real

estate market to go forward. Commenting on this trend Eng. Al-Awadi said: “We confirm our confidence in the Dubai real estate market, and seek to further establish our footprint in this market. We have the investor friendly legal environment and modern infrastructure in the emirate on one hand, and our proven ability to complete and deliver our project on time, on the other. We have a track record of projects in the emirate such as “Sky Gardens” and “Business Avenues”, both of which have been completed, and “The Villas” is nearing completion. We are currently selling the remaining completed units of “The Villas”. The designs of these units have been inspired by Spanish lifestyle, with amenities that include swimming pools and gardens among many more. We have, also, the Q-Point project which is now under construction. The mutual confidence we have established with our customers has helped expand our investor base, and encouraged them to create a win-win relationship based on trust in the company’s ability to develop more projects and their confidence in Dubai existing and forthcoming promising opportunities”, he said. Al-Awadi added: “Companies are

thinking of what they can do to cope with the new trend of market stability. At Al-Mazaya, we have established a reputed name in the market during the previous period, and completed a number of landmark projects. We are now busy putting the final touches on a host of projects targeting the UAE, Kuwaiti and GCC investors in Dubai. These projects have been developed following a study conducted on the real estate trading and the nature of the new phase in the real estate sector. The aforementioned results include offering competitive financial facilities for investors as part of the company’s strategy which focuses on stimulating the sector’s growth and paving the way for new trends of real estate investors, a move for which AlMazaya expects tremendous success that may help encourage other companies to follow suit”. Al-Mazaya aims to attract new groups of investors by providing furnished hotel apartments in Sky Gardens at the Dubai International Financial Centre that offer short stay options and enjoy competitive services and facilities at reasonable rates, together with direct access to the strategic district of Dubai International Financial Centre.



Heavyweights face pressure as KSE stocks remain bearish Global Daily Market Report KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE ) kicked off the week on a negative note continuing its downward trend for the second consecutive session. Most of heavyweights, witnessed selling pressures yesterday leading six out of eight sectors to report daily losses. Global General Index (GGI) closed lower by 1.05 points (0.49 percent), at 213.34 point as the Market capitalization declined reaching KD34.55mn. On the other hand, Kuwait Stock Exchange Price Index closed in the red zone shedding 17.80 points (-0.26 percent) from its value and closed at 6,803.60 point. Market breadth During the session, 92 companies were traded. Market breadth was noticeably skewed towards decliners as 45 equities retreated versus 15 that advanced. KSE witnessed sluggish trading activity yesterday as total volume of shares reached to 63.54mn, down by 38.33 percent with a total value of shares amounted to KD8.77mn, shedding by 49.06 percent. The Services Sector was the volume and value leader yesterday, accounting for 34.14 percent of total shares and 35.44 percent of total traded value. Company-wise, Mubarrad Transport Company was the volume leader, with a total traded volume of 5.8mn shares and it was also among value leaders' list with KD0.52mn traded value. Burgan Bank was the value leader, with a total traded value of KD0.94mn. In terms of top gainers, Housing Finance Company (ISKAN) was the

Monday, December 13, 2010

Branson to be AirAsia 'stewardess' next year KUALA LUMPUR: Virgin boss Richard Branson will serve as a flight attendant on an AirAsia X flight in February next year after losing a cross-dressing bet to rival Tony Fernandes, officials said yesterday. The two men laid the wager over whose Formula One team would place higher in this year's rankings. Although both teams completed the season with zero points, Fernandes' Lotus F1 team was placed ahead of Branson's Virgin Racing by virtue of their better race finishing positions. "It's confirmed February 21, 2011. Richard Branson will be a crew of AirAsia X," Fernandes said in a Twitter post late Saturday, adding that the flight will take off from London Stansted Airport bound for Kuala Lumpur. Fernandes said last month seats on the flight will be auctioned off for charity. An AirAsia official said Branson would be required to wear makeup and highheels, along with the regulation red stewardess outfit, and would have to perform regular duties-including cleaning the toilets-during the flight. — AFP

ACS says welcomes offer for talks with Hochtief biggest gainer for the day, adding 9.26 percent and closed at KD0.118. On the other hand, Pearl of Kuwait Real Estate Company was the biggest decliner, dropping by 11.63 percent and closed at KD0.038. Sector-wise Six out of the eight sectors of the market ended yesterday's session on a lower note. Real Estate Sectoral Index was the most affected ending the day with 0.97 percent loss to be the biggest decliner among all market sectors. This decline was mainly attributed to Mabanee

Company, largest listed stock in the sector in terms of market cap, which lost 1.25 percent for its value. Non-Kuwaiti Sectoral Index followed losing 0.93 percent to close at 54.88 points. Most of the banks listed in the sector reported noticeable daily losses led by Ithmar Bank, which plunged by 4.11 percent to close at KD0.35. United Gulf Bank also shed 1.49 percent to close at KD0.330. Global Industrial Index was the sole advancer marginally rising by 0.03 percent supported by Gulf Cables & Electrical Industries Co, which was the

only gainer adding 1.04 percent to its value. Corporate news Global Investment House "Global" announced yesterday that it made a further principal repayment of $27mn in relation to its bank debt value date 13 December 2010. With this payment, Global met its first year repayment commitment stated in the Debt Rescheduling Agreement signed with 53 lending banks on 10 December 2009. Mazaya Holding and Sorouh Real Estate agreed on putting Morina Residence on

hold until market recovers. Mazaya's development is expected to cost AED300mn. Jazeera Airways Group has increased the capital of its fullyowned leasing arm, Sahaab Aircraft Leasing, from KD20mn to KD29mn, an increase of KD9mn, to take advantage of new market opportunities. Oil news The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $87.92 a barrel on Thursday, compared with $87.46 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations.

FRANKFURT: Spain's ACS said it hopes Hochtief talks start as soon as possible after its German rival said it was open for dialogue, a sign that frosty relations between the construction companies are thawing. ACS, headed by Real Madrid soccer club president Florentino Perez has not sat down for talks with Hochtief despite launching a formal bid for control of Hochtief on December 1. "We welcome that Hochtief responds positively to our offer for talks which we have made several times over the past couple of months," a

spokeswoman for ACS said on Sunday. "We expect talks to begin as soon as possible. It will be crucial for both parties to treat the talks with utmost confidentiality," she added. Hochtief told German weekly magazine Der Spiegel that it does not regard the takeover bid by Spanish builder ACS as hostile and will agree to talks with them "as a shareholder". Hochtief management reacted to the ACS bid by seeking authority from its board of directors to explore measures to fend off ACS, and by selling a 9.1 percent stake to the emirate of Qatar.

ACS saw its 29.9 percent Hochtief stake diluted to around 27 percent after the move. Hochtief Chief Executive Herbert Luetkestratkoetter said he is skeptical about a strategy which relies on merely combining the portfolios of ACS and Hochtief to achieve economies of scale and better regional diversification. "Size alone is not an advantage. It's about know-how. It's about having a presence in economically attractive parts of the world. Hochtief is in a good position. I cannot see where ACS can help us," he told Der Spiegel. — Reuters


Monday, December 13, 2010


KUWAIT: Rashid Al-Tabtabai (right) at the Kuwait Motor Show yesterday. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Kuwait Motor Show off to a dazzling start New and rare models on display • Something for everyone By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Kuwait's annual car exhibition is here again, with new models and some rare vehicles on display at the Kuwait International Motor Show in the Kuwait International Fairgrounds (KIF) in Mishref, halls: 5, 6, 7, and 8 from December 12 - 18. The prices of the cars on display have remained affordable, said a senior Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI) official during the inaugural event yesterday. "I didn't notice an increase in vehicle prices at this motor show," said MCI Undersecretary Rashid Al-Tabtabae. "It's a great opportunity for people to visit this fair and choose a vehicle, especially since they can compare the benefits and options of various car marques under one roof." Vehicles are important consumer goods, said Al-Tabtabae: "Cars are important lifestyle items and are consumed very fast. This exhibition contains all kinds of cars at different price ranges. There are cheap vehicles and on the other hand there are luxury ones for those who can pay more," he noted. Inflation levels in car prices have remained at acceptable levels, added the senior ministry official. "Vehicles as a method or instrument of transportation are one of means used to measure inflation," he explained, adding, "Currently the level of inflation is normal, which is a good situation." On a separate issue, Al-Tabtabae also revealed that the MCI is to set up a committee, whose members will include experts in the corporate sector, to enforce a law first introduced in 1960 which would monitor those firms that lost 75 percent of their capital and failed to hold general assemblies. At the exhibition, most local dealers are participating, with a number of these displaying luxury models being exhibited in the region for the first time, such as the futuristic-looking BMW Vision Efficient Dynamic. A number of the models on display have been specially modified, boasting some unique accessories. Lovers of American sports vehicles will definitely be impressed by the Chevrolet Camaro 2010, which offers many additional accessories, as well as the purple Chevrolet Silverado Trucks. The Ford Mustang vehicles on display in the same hall are also set to attract a lot of admirers. Visitors to the exhibition can also find a large range of car accessories, including tires, motor oils, spare parts, and many others. Staff from each of the participating car firms are on hand to provide detailed information about the vehicles and the after-sales service on offer, with some booths also holding raffle draws for prizes, while others are giving away branded souvenirs. Forty different companies are participating in this year's motor show, one of the longest-running and most successful of the events held at the venue, which consistently attracts high numbers of visitors. The exhibition will be open daily from 9:30 AM - 1:00 PM, and from 4:30 PM - 9:30 PM from Saturday to Thursday, and from 4:30PM to 10:30 PM on Fridays.

Ali Alghanim and Sons Automotive

Never-before-seen BMW Group models KUWAIT: Ali Alghanim and Sons Automotive has unveiled one of the strongest car line-ups at the Kuwait International Fair Auto Show 2010, showcasing three BMW Group models never before seen in Kuwait, including one which makes it first appearance in the Middle East ever. The exclusive importer of the BMW Group in Kuwait is displaying 16 of the latest BMW and MINI vehicles, including the first ever Middle East appearance of the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics car, a

four-seater sports car with charismatic design, fascinating performance figures and unsurpassed efficiency, powered by BMW ActiveHybrid technology. Visitors will also hope to catch a glimpse of the all new BMW X3, which is set to launch in Kuwait in early 2011, on display for the first time in Kuwait. The second generation of the mid-size Sports Activity Vehicle is one of the star attractions of the BMW Group stand, and is already drawing rave international reviews for its new and improved design.

Other cars on display from the popular X range include the new BMW X5, X6 and X6 M, the first all-wheel-drive model to offer the supreme performance, dynamic driving features, athletic design and premium quality typical of a BMW M Car. The model is powered by a newly developed M TwinPower Turbo V8 high-performance engine delivering 555 hp at an engine speed range between of 6,000 rpm, acceleration from 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds, and a top speed electronically limited to 250km/h.

MINI enthusiasts will not be disappointed either as the eagerly-anticipated MINI Countryman, the first 4x4 MINI with four doors, is on display in Kuwait for the first time ever. The new fourth model in the MINI family is a genuine crossover, bridging the gap between the classic concept of the MINI and a modern Sports Activity Vehicle. Yousef Al-Qatami, General Manager of Ali Alghanim and Sons Automotive, said, "The Kuwait Auto Show is a well-organized and world class motor show that provides a

perfect opportunity for us to showcase the latest BMW Group products and technology developments under one roof. We are delighted to be the first country in the Middle East to bring the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics and BMW X3 for display to the general public." The 2010 Kuwait International Auto Show takes place at The Kuwait International Fair in Mishrif from December 12th-18th, and the BMW Group vehicles will be on public display in Hall No 6.

Ford accelerates new product introductions

KUWAIT: The BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics

KUWAIT: The motorcycles displayed at the motor show.

KUWAIT: The SLS AMG Mercedes

KUWAIT: Ford Middle East expects to close 2010 on a high note with a 30 per cent increase in its 2010 vehicle sales across 0CC markets versus 2009. And the company is confident that this trend would go well into 2011 thanks to the strong products that it is launching in the Kuwait Motorshow this week (Dec 12-18), including the new 2011 Ford Edge crossover, the new 2011 Ford Mustang in both V6 and V8 versions and the new 2011 Lincoln MKX. "Ford continues its tremendous growth across the region, and I am pleased to say we now feature one of our most refreshed and youngest lineups ever," said Hussein Murad, Ford Middle East's regional director of Sales. Passenger cars led the growth, with sales up by 33 per cent region-wide based on preliminary 11month figures and forecasts to year end, led by Taurus, Fusion and Focus. Trucks and SUVs also saw an upswing, showing an increase of 24 per cent over last year, with Explorer, Expedition and Edge taking the lead. "It is evident that Ford in the region is reaping the benefits of our global One Ford plan," said Larry Prein, Ford Middle East's managing director. Saudi Arabia posted the strongest regional growth, with a staggering 40 per cent boost aver 2009, where trucks and SUV sales increased by 47 per cent, and passenger car sales went up by 36 per cent. Sales in the United Arab Emirates were up 10 per cent over last year, with the Taurus, Fusion and Mustang contributing to nearly 10 per cent increase in passenger car sales The Ford stand in Hall 5 of the Kuwait International Fair will feature a host of new products and technologies and promises to engage show visitors with some really cool activities.



Monday, December 13, 2010

Australia unveils reforms to boost bank competition CANBERRA: Australia's government unveiled reforms to boost bank competition yesterday, allowing lenders to issue covered bonds for the first time and cracking down on interest rate signaling under a package designed to calm voter anger at rising mortgage interest rates. Treasurer Wayne Swan said the reforms aimed to help mutual credit unions and building societies become a fifth pillar of Australia's finance sector, by making it easier for customers to leave the big four banks which currently dominate the home loan market. The reforms aim to help unlisted credit unions and building societies access funding and customers, but analysts say they are unlikely to seriously hurt the profitability and share values of the major banks. "Most

of what has been announced has been flagged or leaked. I don't think there is anything really new or earth-shattering here, so I don't see a huge reaction," said RBS bank analyst John Buonaccorsi. "But certainly over time, it will lead to slightly cheaper housing loans, because covered bonds are cheaper funding. But it is not going to cause a dramatic difference." Australia's four major banks, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia , National Australia Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac, currently control around 87 percent of Australia's $1.1 trillion home loan market. Shares in the top four banks have slightly underperformed compared to the benchmark index since plans for the bank reforms were first mooted in November. The Australian Bankers

Association, which represents the major banks, said some of the reforms would increase competition, but warned some regulatory changes, such as scrapping loan exit fees, could hurt smaller lenders. "Regulatory interventions may be politically popular but risk being counter-productive. Exit fees reflect legitimate costs of mortgages and banning them will hurt small lenders," Association chief executive Steven Munchenberg said. Swan said the government would invest a further A$4 billion ($3.94 billion) in residential backed mortgage securities, a key source of funding to small lenders, would allow more "bullet bonds" for small lenders, and would scrap mortgage exit fees charged by large banks. He said the government would also

increase the powers of the competition regulator to prosecute any collusion among banks through interest-rate price signalling, and will ask former Reserve Bank of Australia governor Bernie Fraser to examine whether it is possible to have portable bank account numbers. "Vigorous competition is the best way to keep interest rates for borrowers lower over time and create a system that offers real choice," Swan said. Swan announced the move to reform the sector in early November in response to growing public anger at rising mortgage rates, with the main banks all lifting rates above official central bank rate hikes and citing the higher cost of funding on international markets. Australia's banks are among the most

stable and profitable in the world and survived the global financial crisis largely unscathed, thanks in part to an early government guarantee on large deposits and wholesale funding. Australia's top banks rely on offshore debt for a quarter of their annual funding needs and have defended their move to raise rates faster. They have said the sector has enough competition, though the share of smaller lenders has crumbled. Swan yesterday said the government's free guarantee on bank deposits of up to A$1 million would now be made permanent, although regulators may change the A$1 million cap after October 2011. The government has already invested A$16 billion in the RMBS market, in two A$8 billion tranches, to help lenders have

access to funding. Swan said the second A$8 billion tranche was expected to be fully invested by early 2011. Building societies and credit unions controlled 36 percent of mortgages and 25 percent of deposits in 1984 but over the years their market share has dwindled to 4 percent of the two markets. The four big banks-protected under the four pillar policy that bars them from being taken over-have over the years gobbled up competition. The latest during the global financial crisis when St George Bank and Bankwest were acquired. The reform plan is the first of the several political attempts to clip the powers of the big banks. This week the banks are due to appear before a senate commission probing competition in the sector. — Reuters

More shoppers staying home US retail market

MADRID: Jean Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank gestures during a press conference after the V High-Level Seminar of the Eurosystem and Latin American Central Banks in Madrid on Friday. JeanClaude Trichet said that it was essential for Spain to ‘deepen structural reforms of the labor market.’ —AP

ATHENS: EU Monetary affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn (left) speaks at an economy conference as Greek Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou looks on, in Vouliagmeni, near Athens. — AP

Euro ministers grapple with crises The year of living dangerously... BRUSSELS: It was Europe's 'annus horribilus' with gamechanging bailouts for Greece and Ireland, more emergency financial rescues seemingly guaranteed and tens of millions of citizens expressing rage when the boom times went belly up. Even humble journalists working through the night of Sunday May 9, 2010, when the 27 states that make up the European Union cooked up a trillion-dollar public-debt warchest, knew they were covering events of lasting significance. Three days earlier, three people died at a bank in Athens that caught fire after rioters threw firebombs in anger at the price to be paid by ordinary Greek people for their government's 110-billion-euro international bailout. As Greek President Carolos Papoulias warned that his country stood on the "edge of the abyss," the world watched and wondered: can this really be contained? Ireland's bailout was scarcely less. And experts predict Portugal and Spain will need more. Commentators homed in on the fact that the worst-affected have been 'young democracies,' for whom the memory of military dictatorships remain fresh. When euro finance ministers

held just the first of many such emergency sessions that Sunday-outside trading hours-it was clear the contagion couldn't be controlled. Once it was Argentina, Indonesia or Mexico staring at bankruptcy. Now Europe faces radical reform if it is to properly anchor a 10-year-old currency with a central bank but no central government, and compete with the new world's developing giants. First though, with loans, come interest-and as the Scottish historian Niall Ferguson says in "A financial history of the world" the terms can feel as rapacious as those offered by Glaswegian loansharks. And so the bailout culture spawned the age of austerity. From the Greek 'austeros,' meaning bitter or harsh, when wine or fruit makes the tongue dry, austerity was one of those words that entered the lexicon of everyday life. Millions have already been affected. French footballing icon Eric Cantona failed with a Facebook call for people to withdraw their savings and bring down the banks. Exarchia Square in Athens, the scene of a police killing of a teenager that sparked major rioting two years ago in an eerie precursor of the trouble ahead,

MADRID: Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez, the Governor of the Bank of Spain Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez, listens to Jean Claude Trichet.—AP has long been known as a hotbed of anarchists, drug-dealers and stray dogs. But 2010 austerity even extended to the animal kingdom when Andrex, an iconic toilet roll brand, decided to save money and employ a digitized dog rather than the puppies that set apart its advertising for the previous 38 years. French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, who spent much of her career as a lawyer in the United States, called the May 9 deal a "historic turning-point."

How we think about wealth, poverty, taxation, politics and government changed irretrievably-and ordinary people did not hide their anger. The gates of the Irish parliament were rammed by a cement-mixer truck with 'Toxic Anglo Bank' written on it on a Europe-wide day of protest at the end of September. The offer from non-euro London of a loan to help Ireland's collapsed banking system revived centuries of mistrust over English motives.

In Brussels that same day, as many as 100,000 marched in protest. One group of Romanian police officers facing salary cuts, pension raids and compulsory redundancies travelling two days and nights on a bus from the Black Sea only to run smack into riot police guarding EU headquarters, banks blamed for excessive risk-taking and designer stores that hid behind private security guards. Then in December, angry students clashed with police outside the "mother of parliaments" in London, with tuition fees set to treble and the coalition's deputy prime minister labeled a "liar and a snake." David Cameron, the Conservative premier, said "the decisions we make will affect every single person in our (countries). "And the effects of those decisions will stay with us for years, perhaps decades." Once Winston Churchill mortgaged the 'Great' in Britain and bankrupted the Treasury to defeat Hitler. But Germany now calls the financial and policical shots in Europe. And the rationing applied by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, the euro paymaster, will similarly be felt for many years to come. Historian Simon Schama told the FT that the world is teetering on the brink of a new

age of rage. The reason is simple: massive cuts to public services; capping and reduction of salaries (while publicly bailedout banks restore huge profits); bumper tax increases; cuts to social welfare; VAT increases; and pension fund raids either directly (in the case of Ireland) or indirectly (as in France, where President Nicolas Sarkozy extended the retirement age). Sarkozy, like Queen Elizabeth II with her staff Christmas party, cancelled a lavish annual garden party in order to show he understood citizens' pain. But already on eight out of nine days of French protest in 2010, more than one million people came out to demonstrate against Sarkozy's reform. The effect on European politics is clear, with far-right parties currently in government in Italy and sitting in the parliaments of Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Slovakia, Sweden and The Netherlands. "It's the European version of the Tea Party movement," said Fabrice Pothier, director of the Carnegie Europe think tank, referring to the ultra-conservative faction in the United States. "A very reactionary response to the crisis." There will be more. — AFP

Syria to fight poverty with $45bn dollar investment DAMASCUS: Syria is moving forward with a new plan to develop its economy, launching a 45billion-dollar scheme to bring out of poverty the one-in-seven of its citizens on insufficient incomes. According to the UN Development Program's 2010 Human Development Index, which measures life expectancy, educational attainment and income, Syria ranks 111 out of 165 countries measured. With 14 percent of Syrians living in poverty, and unemployment standing at 20 percent, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdullah Dardari said last month the "challenges facing us are formidable." The five-year plan, set to start next year, aims to invest $14 billion (10.6 billion euros) in human development-education, health and social programs, officials say. The rest will be aimed at infrastructure-construction of a Damascus metro, a railroad from the capital to the Jordanian border, upgrading the Mediterranean ports of Tartus and Latakia, and modernizing Damascus airport. As part of financing for the plan, Syria is to issue treasury bonds on Monday for the first time ever, placing about 107 million dollars in issues ranging from three months to five years in maturity.

It is also seeking help from international financial institutions, such as the World Bank. It hopes to enlist private sector participation to the tune of another 40 billion dollars, focusing on energy development in a country whose oil reserves are rapidly being depleted, water treatment and road and airport infrastructure. The government is targeting 5.7 percent annual growth in gross domestic product during the five years, compared with only four percent in recent years. However, independent economist Nabil Sukkar says Syria should aim for a GDP. "growth rate of between eight and nine percent... to absorb the endlessly growing demand for jobs and to wipe out unemployment." Part of the government's efforts to combat this problem will be to seek to reduce demographic growth to 2.1 percent from 2.4 percent. Since President Bashar Al-Assad took office in 2000, Syria has been striving to move away from its traditionally managed economy to a more open, competitive one. But as Carnegie Middle East Centre director Paul Salem said this summer, while the authorities have "a clear economic vision... the changes are being made at a slow pace due to cor-

ruption, lack of transparency and freedom." In a report in March, the International Monetary Fund noted the Syrian "authorities intend to continue to advance structural reforms in order to accelerate growth, diversify the economy and create employment." It said progress had been made in many areas, including reducing import tariffs, easing import barriers, reforming fuel and agricultural subsidies and establishing a one-stop window for approving private investment. The IMF recommended Syria resume fiscal consolidation, maintain current expenditure restraint and build on the progress made in reforming subsidies. It urged Syria to complete preparations for introducing a goods and services tax next year, improve public financial management and accelerate structural reforms, including liberalizing trade. Syrian planning chief Amer Lotfi has said the aim is to have balanced growth, with "investment in such important sectors as agriculture and industry." The agricultural sector is in severe crisis, suffering from drought and disease, which have driven more than a million people off their land and into the cities. "The task is enormous; there are

so many challenges that everyone seems to be the priority," said Sukkar. In a review in July, economists warned the gap between rich and poor has grown due to economic reforms already put in place, the global financial crisis and a

drought that has ravaged the northeast since 2006. And with the phasing out of subsidies, the price of food and fuel has skyrocketed, hitting in particular the pockets of the less well-off. Carnegie's Salem warned unless Damascus deals with the

economic erosion, social unrest could follow. He said Syria should follow the example of neighboring Turkey. "Thirty years ago (Turkey), now on its way to becoming a world economic power, resembled Syria of today," he says. — AFP

TUNIS: Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (right) meets Japan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Seiji Maehara (center) and Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akihiro Ohata (left) during the second meeting of the Arab-Japan Economic Forum ‘A new Charpter for Mutual Prosperity’ in Tunis.—AFP

This year at Deb Tangelder's gift and shoe shops in the old red brick building at the crossroads in Clarence Center, more shoppers seem to be spending more on Vera Bradley wrist wallets and knit headbands with rhinestone rosettes. They also seem to be happier about it. "I think people are embracing, and feeling wonderful about, shopping local," Tangelder said. "It's nice to walk into a store and have someone greet you and, perhaps, know you by name." This year seems better than the last two of the recession, according to Tangelder and other shop owners working in old-fashioned shopping districts, now decked out in wreaths, lights and "open" flags. The shopping enthusiasm Tangelder can see in the way people buy things for themselves -- $130 "riding" boots have been hothas converged with some new and some intensified collaboration among suburban businesses. They ranged from the 25year-old "Williamsville Business Association" that covers 140 restaurants, salons, clothiers and lawyers for about a mile of Main Street and beyond to the newly galvanized and organized. The "Meet at the Center Merchants Association" in Clarence and Hamburg's "Village Business Advisory Council" are both 3 years old and began in 2008, the year the economy tanked. They worked hard this year to promote shopping local as a now-trendy community-enriching virtue and old-fashioned, walkable street charm they share with the city's Elmwood Avenue shops. They held elaborate season-launching festivities with reindeer, trolleys, free photos with Santa, the weekend after Thanksgiving. They promote themselves in newspapers, fliers, restaurant table signs and Facebook. Some of the groups are organized in districts that fit address clusters on Main Street or the small group of 10 intersection-oriented businesses, including Tangelder's, at Clarence Center and Goodrich Road. East Aurora's broader Chamber of Commerce created a news release list of seasonal happenings, highlighting its old-fashioned Main Street, including the 38thannual caroling "Carolcade." Singing starts at 7 pm Saturday, complete with hot chocolate, doughnuts and Santa, in front of the expansive 80-year-old, five-anddime "Vidler's" with its redand-white striped awning. Inside the store, once featured in Martha Stewart magazine, shoppers have not spent as freely on butter dishes, pillows, stationery, lunch boxes and yo-yos the last two years. To encourage them, the owners have extended shop hours and worked to organize more promotions themselves: A performance by a local group of women singers and a guitar. A local children's book author came to read. The Vidler's Facebook group page, with 713 members, gave this answer to a customer wondering if snow would get in the way of her shopping earlier this month: "Not bad at all. Roads and

parking lot are all clear," wrote Don Vidler, whose online photo is a smiling close-up. "I think we've had to market more than ever," he said. To Williamsville shop owner Joan Ess, it also seems clear that this year things are working. The shoppers who sustain her are more willing to spend $30 on whimsical ornament fruits with faces and chunky $100 gemstone necklaces in amethyst and citrine. "I can see it getting better," said Ess, owner of Alexandra gifts. "People are spending more money, buying quality gifts instead of 50 little ones." This year, the Williamsville association attracted more people and expanded on its annual weekend winter festivities-from adding trolley rides up and down Main and movie showings to a horse-drawn wagon and Santa Claus pictures. "It was the biggest crowd we ever had," Ess said. "We just know we have to go that extra mile here ... Everybody is trying to make sure there's something for all budgets." In Hamburg, Heather Sidorowicz worked with the Village Business Advisory Council to coordinate a later shopping night on Thursdays until Christmas. Local restaurants feature table signs that say, "8 weeks open til 8" and "Please remember to shop local!" At Southtown Audio Video on Lake Street, where Sidorowicz works as a project manager, business has picked up since the slow summer season. Usually during the holidays, new customers come for televisions and stereos. This year, business has been distinguished by old customers returning to add sound and televisions to secondary rooms-dens and bedrooms-beyond the basic great room, now already outfitted. "We're always, on a daily basis, fighting the big corporate, online stores," she said. "If you spend online, nothing comes home." To Tangelder, she and her fellow shopkeepers who sell stationery, haircuts and cafe fare, are a kind of oasis, trying to re-create some of what shopping may have been like when the building she's in first opened in the 1870s with a general store, a meeting room and theater. Wander the wood floors now, look over snowman necklaces made from Scrabble tiles, bright Vera Bradley cloth paisley bags, cake servers that look like heeled shoes and Tangelder's good-hearted style begins with a "hello" to all. She has arranged collections for the food pantry and gifts of shampoo and toys for those spending the holidays in a local women's shelter. For season festivities at the beginning of the month, she coordinated a live nativity scene behind the store, with children as angels, and an appearance by two visiting reindeer that she spent a year on a waiting list for. This year, her work, and the economy that may be on the mend, seems to be paying off with people who have been coming from Clarence and more distant suburbs. "When they come up to the register, they're excited, they think they've picked out that perfect something," she said. — MCT


Monday, December 13, 2010


China online video firms jostle for post-TV generation SHANGHAI: A crying shop girl runs in front of a red convertible, staring down the driver as he screeches to a halt. "That Love Comes" has all the elements of Chinese television drama, only it is not on TV. The show is the first made-for-Internet original production by Shanghai-based Tudou, a web site often described as China's YouTube. It now hopes to draw comparisons to HBO as well. Tudou-whose name is the Chinese word for potato, a play on "couch potato"filed on November 9 to raise up to 120 million dollars in a NASDAQ initial public offering. The spotlight on the Internet video sector in China, home to the world's largest online population of 420 million people, intensified a week later when Tudou's

domestic rival Youku unveiled its own 150 million-dollar IPO plan. The pair's race to go public has grabbed investors' attention in a hot overseas market for China IPOs where everyone is looking for the next new media champion. "It's a high risk if one goes public and the other doesn't, because the one who goes public will have access to huge financial resources," said Fritz Demopoulos, chief executive of travel site Qunar, who has spent more than a decade working in China's media and Internet industries. Tudou and Youku executives declined comment while the US Securities and Exchange Commission reviews their filings. Neither company dominates the Chinese market like YouTube in the USwhich censors have blocked in China. But

they are the leaders. Youku-whose name means excellent and cool-had an audience of 252 million in the third quarter, ahead of Tudou's 225 million viewers, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. A total of 319 million people watched online videos in China over that threemonth period, with the same viewers visiting multiple sites, Analysys said. Through a mix of custom-made and licensed programming and streaming events like concerts, stand-up comedy and World Cup matches, the companies cater to a young, post-TV generation, said Thomas Crampton, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide's Asia-Pacific head of digital strategy. Unlike online video in the US, 70 percent of the content in

China is professionally produced movies, music and television series. Crampton said the shift away from the conservative content on Central China Television (CCTV) and other state-run broadcasters is apparent when he visits Chinese university classes and asks about viewing habits. "I'll ask everybody 'If you've watched CCTV in the last seven days, please raise your hand.' Nobody raises their hand," Crampton said. "'If you watched Tudou or Youku in the last 24 hours, please raise your hand'. Every hand goes up." Advertisers are making the shift too. The online video advertising market's value rose 148 percent on year in the third quarter to 621 million yuan (93.5 million dollars), with Youku taking a 23 percent share

and Tudou 19 percent, according to Analysys. But that spending is still dwarfed by CCTV, whose 2011 upfront advertising auction this month generated nearly 1.9 billion dollars. As advertisers allocate more money to online video, Tudou and Youku can expect fierce competition from online giants like Baidu, Tencent and Sina as well as state-run Goliaths like CCTV, said Bill Bishop, a Beijing-based Internet consultant and investor. "These guys (Tudou and Youku) deserve a lot of credit for surviving in a competitive market, but people were fighting over not much money," Bishop said. "Now that the dollars are flowing they're going to find out what real competition is like." But Bishop said a more immediate

concern for the companies, and prospective investors, is profitability. After reining in broadband costs-its biggest expense-Tudou has said it could make its first ever profit this quarter after receiving 135 million dollars in financing since it was founded in 2005. Youku, which raised 160 million dollars privately and has 10 million dollars in debt, has reportedly said it expects to turn a profit in 2013. But using a video game analogy, Tudou founder and chief executive Gary Wang said these challenges are all part of the business. "For me, doing things is like playing games," Wang told the China Daily earlier this year. "You pass a level and you will become stronger. But you also have to face stronger enemies." — AFP

Facebook, Twitter: The new roadmap for high-end travel Social networks as a crucial tool for the future

WASHINGTON: The Amazon homepage is seen in Washington advertising its new Kindle e-reader. Amazon will make its Kindle electronic books available for reading on Web browsers beginning early next year, with people's digital collections saved in the Internet "cloud." Amazon executives on December 7 showed off "Kindle for the Web" at a Google press event introducing a new, swifter version of the California technology giant's Chrome software for navigating the Internet. — AFP

Tablet computers come of age in 2010 with iPad mania SAN FRANCISCO: Yearning for an Internet-linked gadget bigger than a smartphone but smaller than a laptop merged with always-connected lifestyles to make tablet computing a defining trend for 2010. The iPad launched in April by Apple became the must-have device of the year and has rivals intent on dethroning the culture-shifting California company before it can lock in the market the way iPods became the ruling MP3 players. "Apple nailed it and made tablet computers a success," said Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney. "There are going to be a lot of people trying to beat them but it will turn out like iPods; everybody wants one." Internet Age lifestyles set the stage for the rock star debut of a tablet computer done right, according to Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps. Work weeks have grown steadily longer with the proliferation of gadgets keeping people connected to bosses and offices nights and weekends. "Consumers are working all the time, have less leisure time and less money to spend but still want to maximize enjoyment they get out of life," Rotman Epps said. "Tablets fill that demand for devices that fill those in-between moments and minimize your unconnected time," she said. Forrester data shows that 26 percent of US consumers who bought iPads use the tablets for work as well as personal purposes. The top spot for using an iPad is the living room, with the bedroom being the second most common, according to Forrester. "People are using tablets to read the Wall Street Journal or watch TV in bed," Rotman Epps said. "It is replacing, in some circumstances, laptop computers, television and print media." Apple benefited by focusing on regular people instead of businesses, adding its hip cache and having real-world stores where people could try iPads before committing to buying devices, according to Rotman Epps. "Apple cracked the market that others had struggled with for years," said Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg. Research shows that owners of the Apple tablets consume more video, news and other content online than other people do.

Some analysts expect iPad sales will blast past the 10 million mark this month, if they haven't already, and competitors are hitting the market with their own tablets or have announced plans to do so. Samsung said its Galaxy Tab, which is powered by Google's Android software, has sold one million units, Microsoft considers tablets a "priority" and Blackberry maker Research in Motion plans one next year named the PlayBook. Forrester predicted that by 2015, the number of US consumers using tablet computers would be 75 million: more than netbook users but less than the number of people using smartphones or laptops. The tablet trend will put downward pressure on laptop computer prices, based on Forrester research indicating consumers think it's not worth paying a lot more to get a laptop instead of a tablet. "Tablets really changed consumer thinking about mobile computing and the industry's thinking," said Forrester analyst Charles Golvin. Analysts said the other big consumer electronics stories of the year were the continued growth of smartphones and Microsoft's Kinect, the Xbox 360 videogame console that players control using gestures and spoken commands. Microsoft said it sold more than 2.5 million Kinects for Xbox 360 devices worldwide in the 25 days after they hit the market. Google, meanwhile, said more than 300,000 smartphones running its Android software are activated daily as it builds momentum in the hot mobile market. According to research firm Gartner, Finland's Nokia sold 29.5 million smartphones during the third quarter of the year for a 36.6 percent share of the worldwide market, down from 44.6 percent a year ago. Sales of Android-powered smartphones soared to 20.5 million units, giving the Android platform a 25.5 percent market share, up from just 3.5 percent a year ago, Gartner said. Apple's iPhone was next on sales of 13.5 million units followed by Canada's Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, with sales of 11.9 million units and Microsoft's Windows Mobile with sales of 2.2 million units. — AFP

WikiLeaks cyber backlash all bark, no bite: Experts WASHINGTON: Despite their martial overtones, the attacks on credit card and other websites by supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are more political protest than real cyber war, experts say. Over the past week, the Internet has rung with a call to virtual arms by "Anonymous," a band of computer hackers that has targeted websites of Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and others for cutting off WikiLeaks access to funds. "The war is on," the group has proclaimed, vowing to attack any entity with an "antiWikiLeas agenda." But the campaign has fallen short of a real cyber war, said James Lewis, a specialist in cybersecurity at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, a Washington think tank. "I would say that a war involves damage and destruction. This is more like a noisy political demonstration, like a mob surrounding a bank and refusing to let anyone in or out. It's not war," he said. "For me, this is political theater, kabuki-entertaining and perhaps influential, but much less than war." Calling it cyberwar is "a piece of rhetoric," said Allan Friedman, research director at the Brookings Institution's technology innovation center-especially, he added, since there are no clearly identified camps and "Anonymous" is merely a "very loose online community." "What people call cyberwar is much more a cybermob," he said. "The Anonymous have succeed in shak-

ing things up but they have thus far not actually managed to do anything that has any lasting effect." With their denial of service attacks, which paralyze targeted websites under a deluge of bogus requests to a server, hackers have only hit at companies' windows on the web, which is "a fairly easy thing to do," Friedman said. "They'll have a first move advantage but I don't think this is sustainable. And all of the websites that have been attacked are now back online," he said. Similar denial of service attacks originating in Russia, but even more massive in scale, struck Estonia in 2007 and Georgia in 2008, causing temporary disruptions. "These attacks have a political effect but I don't think they have a lot of effect on people's confidence in using their credit cards," Adam Segal, an expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, said of the most recent attacks. Visa and Mastercard have continued to conduct transactions, and people have continued making payments with credit cards. Far more difficult to pull off would be the kind of viral attack that penetrates banking networks and brings down systems for handling financial transactions, these experts say. "I'm not sure about the capacity of these groups. Probably some of them are quite good, they can probably cause some damage, but it's not clear to me what political purpose it would serve, given the context," Segal said. — AFP

CANNES: Facebook, Twitter and a host of invite-only travel websites are fast becoming a key pipeline for well-heeled travelers as well as the budget-conscious to find hot deals and destinations. Bigwigs from the world's elite travel industry, gathered in the chic Riviera resort of Cannes for the annual ILTM trade fair that wrapped up Thursday, had their eyes on social networks as a crucial tool for the future. "Social networks, such as Facebook with its 600 million users, will have a dramatic impact on how affluent consumers make their (travel) decisions," Klara Glowczewska, editor of Conde Nast Traveler, told a conference at the event. The American-born socialite and interior designer, Baroness Monica von Neumann, told Luxury Travel Magazine she uses travel websites for their customer reviews and hotel rankings. "Testimonials really help in the decisionmaking process," Von Neumann said. And the trend is set to intensify when the first wave of US baby boomers-veteran travelers who are web-savvy and engaged in social networking-turn 65 next year, pre-

dicts Preferred Hotel Group president Lindsey Ueberroth. Matthew Upchurch, CEO of the elite network of travel agencies, Virtuoso, sees the Internet as opportunity more than threat for its 6,000-plus advisors, spread across 22 countries. "Social media is one of the best things that ever happened to true professional travel advisors," Upchurch said. "I have up to 1,200 friends on Facebook, who are either close friends or colleagues and when I learn something really interesting about a destination that I have just come back from, I click 'share' and everybody benefits." Social media are also starting to have a major impact on exclusive hotels and resorts, which are using them to boost their online presence, attract a new clientele and ensure customer ratings remain high. Hotels are increasingly using Facebook and Twitter to publicize new activities and deals and keep up a dialogue with customers. Most luxury hotels today employ social media managers to protect their image and reputation online, Olivier Chavy, a senior luxury and lifestyle executive at the Conrad

and Waldorf Astoria hotels and resorts said. Online bookings today account for between 55 and 60 percent of all business, Chavy noted, meaning that a single bad review on a popular travel website can destroy a reputation for luxury that has taken years to build up. Savvy upmarket travellers, however, can pick up tips on less well known websites and invitation-only online communities, such as asmallworld, the kiwicollection of hotels, Jetsetter, Rue La La, SniqueAway, Tablet Hotels, Vacationista or Voyage Prive. Online niche communities like asmallworld also offer well-off vacationers a chance to discover new discrete upmarket hotels, such as the new luxury Crans Ambassador hotel and resort that opens this Christmas in the Swiss Alps. Social networking for travel is not confined to young, wealthy vacationers. Some 6.5 million of America's 77-million baby boomers are already active social networkers, according to a study carried out for the Preferred Hotel Group. While the very wealthiest boomers chose to get their travel advice from per-

sonal luxury experts, the Preferred Group study said millions of others spend hours researching and booking travel on the Web. With the first wave of boomers turning 65 next year, a whole new healthy, wealthy and extremely active generation are about to intensify their passion for travel, the study suggests. Just how this fast-growing trend will impact a market that still heavily relies on travel agencies and tour operators is still unclear, according to experts from over 70 countries at the four-day ILTM event. The hottest up-and-coming destinations tipped by experts in Cannes included Finland, the Mongolian Steppes and Ethiopia for the adventure-driven; or for luxury-loving sunseekers, the lush rainforests of Cambodia's first ever island resort at Song Saa. Rory Hunter, who is building the Song Saa resort said he would use a cocktail of on- and offline media to attract customers ahead of its opening in late 2011. "Online will be a key part of our strategy but to get the right volume, we will also be using tour operators and travel agents." — AFP

Google's Street View

Attorney general demands Google's Street View data SAN JOSE: Connecticut's attorney general has demanded that Google turn over data from unsecured wireless networks collected by its Street View cars, saying the information is necessary to determine whether the company broke state laws. While privacy officials in Canada have viewed the Wi-Fi data collected by Google, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said that to his knowledge, no federal or state authorities in the US has viewed it. Google has repeatedly apologized for the international data breach, which the company says was inadvertent. Google has until Dec 17 to respond to the civil investigative demand, the equivalent of a subpoena, issued Friday for data that Street View cars collected in Connecticut. "We need to verify what confidential information the company

surreptitiously and wrongfully collected and stored," Blumenthal said in a statement released to media outlets. "We are compelling the company to grant my office access to data to determine whether e-mails, passwords, Web browsing and other information was improperly intercepted, for the same reasons that other law enforcement agencies abroad have done so. "Reviewing this information is vital because Google's story changed, first claiming only fragments were collected, then acknowledging entire emails." The US Federal Trade Commission closed its inquiry into the data breach in October, saying it was satisfied with privacy reforms Google announced. The decision was blasted by online privacy advocates, and privacy regulators in other countries continue to scrutinize the privacy breach. Google has

promised that it will never use in any product the 600 gigabytes of data roughly equivalent to 300 million printed pages - it collected from unsecured Wi-Fi networks in homes and businesses around the world dating back to 2007. "As soon as we realized what had happened, we stopped collecting all WiFi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities," Google said Thursday in a written statement to the San Jose Mercury News. "We did not want and have never used the payload data in any of our products and services. We want to delete this data as soon as possible and will continue to work with the authorities to determine the best way forward, as well as to answer their further questions and concerns." Privacy advocates said Thursday

they were pleased that Blumenthal, a Democrat who was elected to the US Senate last month, is pushing the issue. "Connecticut sounds very serious about doing something, doing something more than just a slap on the wrist," said John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group that has asked for congressional hearings on the issue. Blumenthal "is going to be a junior senator, but he may carry some of this with him to Washington. Who knows, he might be the guy who gets some kind of a hearing" in Congress. Blumenthal's statement referred to potential penalties against Google. "We will fight to compel Google to come clean - granting my office access to improperly collected materials and protecting confidentiality, as the company has done in Canada and elsewhere," Blumenthal said. — MCT



Monday, December 13, 2010

Your chance of dying depends on which hospital treats you Hospitals don’t always follow recommended care guidelines MINNEAPOLIS: The two smalltown hospitals could hardly be more alike. Just 20 miles apart in southern Minnesota, they’re both run by the Mayo Health System and even share some of the same doctors. Yet in Albert Lea, patients hospitalized with heart failure are twice as likely to die as those in neighboring Austin, government data show. That kind of gap may seem improbable, especially in a state known for first-rate medical care. But new ratings published by the federal government have found startling disparities in hospital performance. In Minneapolis, for example, the risk of dying from a heart attack can vary by as much as 40 percent, depending on where you’re hospitalized. The chance of being readmitted within 30 days - often a sign of medical complications - is 50 percent higher at some Twin Cities hospitals than at others. “This country has a very serious quality and safety gap,” said Janet Corrigan, of the National Quality Forum in Washington, DC. Yet patients, and even doctors, are often in the dark, she said. Hospital officials say the federal statistics can be misleading and make even good medical centers look bad. But the ratings, compiled annually and published on a federal Web site, are forcing the medical profession to confront a problem many have ignored until now: There are unnecessary variations in the way hospitals deliver care, and thousands of patients are dying or suffering needlessly as a result, with billions of dollars wasted in the process. ‘Any institution needs to look at that number in a cold hard light and say: What’s this telling me?” said Dr Greg Gilmet, chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. “You begin to ask the question, why is there variation? That’s the beginning of an interesting journey.” Vast gaps Until a few years ago, it was almost impossible for consumers to find out how hospitals compared on such life-and-death indicators. “We can get information on the safety of a car, we can get information on the performance of a stock, yet for years we never had a clue how our doctors and hospitals are providing care, whether it’s quality care,” said Jennifer Sweeney, director of Americans for Quality Health Care, a national consumer advocacy program. Now that’s changing. Since 2007, the federal agency that runs Medicare has compiled data to grade hospitals. Using its vast database (Medicare covers more than 44 million people) and controlling for the fact that some hospitals see more severe cases than others, it has tracked patients with three common conditions: heart attacks, congestive heart failure and pneumonia. To see how they fared, it calculates how

MINNESOTA: Patti Strong, 80, pictured at her home goes through a daily ritual to watch for danger signs that could send her back to the hospital. —MCT many die or end up back in the hospital within 30 days. Nationally, the gaps can be vast. Depending on which hospital you walk (or are carried) into, your chances of dying from a heart attack range from 1 in 10 to nearly 1 in 4. In Minnesota, the gaps are less dramatic, but just as surprising. In St Cloud, 12.5 percent of patients die following a heart attack; at Hennepin County Medical Center, it’s close to 20 percent. In Austin, heart-failure patients have an 8.3 percent death rate; in Albert Lea, it’s nearly 16 percent. Although Medicare mainly serves the elderly, it’s the nation’s largest payer of hospital bills, covering more than 1 in 7 Americans. That sweep gives it a unique ability to compare hospitals. Motivating change The ratings don’t quite explain why some hospitals perform better than others, and there’s little evidence that consumers use them to shop around for care. But hospitals are paying attention. “If I’m running a hospital, I want it to be as good as my neighbors,” said Dr Gordon Mosser, an expert in quality measurement at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “Once the numbers start getting reported, they start caring a lot.” Dr Penny Wheeler, chief clinical officer at Allina Hospitals & Clinics,

was taken aback when she first saw the numbers. Last year, 14 Minnesota hospitals stood out as significantly better - or worse - than their peers nationwide. Allina had hospitals at both extremes, including three in the bottom group on certain indicators: Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, St Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee and Unity Hospital in Fridley. Her initial reaction: “This doesn’t look like exceptional care to us,” she said. “We’d better find out what’s going on.” At Mercy, officials were stumped. Just months before, Mercy had been named one of the nation’s top 100 heart hospitals for the sixth year in a row by Thomson Reuters, the law and publishing giant. Yet the Medicare data, released in July 2009, told a different story. Mercy had an unusual spike in readmissions for heart-attack patients from 2005 to 2008: 24 percent were back in the hospital within 30 days. In Medicare’s analysis, that was the highest rate in Minnesota, and a possible sign of substandard care. “I think my first reaction was: Show me the data,” said Dr. Dennis O’Hare, the hospital’s vice president of medical affairs. Staffers combed through patient records for an explanation. O’Hare said he never found

one but concluded that the numbers were out of date. “My top question was: Is this still a problem? The answer to that was, it’s not. ... Whatever was happening back then was no longer going on.” Other hospitals, too, insist the scores can be misleading. “The most likely scenario is that this is more a question of coding than care,” said Dr Brian Prokosch, vice president of medical affairs at St Francis. His hospital had the highest rate of pneumonia readmissions in Minnesota, 22.6 percent. “There was a blip in 2007, but ... it’s gone,” he said. “We’re actually better than (the) national average.” Mayo, like Allina, had hospitals at both ends of the spectrum. “Does it really say that this hospital is inferior to that hospital? The answer is no,” said Dr Robert Lohr, an internist at the Mayo Clinic. “The statistical difference between Albert Lea and Austin can be completely chance.” Not a fluke National experts, however, say that’s not likely. Some differences are simply too large to brush off as flukes, said Lein Han, a Medicare senior adviser and data expert. Most hospitals fall into a broad statistical middle ground, with scores that are comparable given their patients’ health. Fewer than 10 percent score

so far outside the statistical norm that Medicare labels them “better than” or “worse than” the rest. She added that Medicare has access to information that individual hospitals do not. Because it pays the bills for millions of people, it can track when a patient leaves one hospital and winds up at another. So if hospitals score at opposite extremes, she said, “there are very likely true quality” differences there. Soul-searching Even among hospital executives, there’s growing acceptance that public comparisons, though painful, can be a healthy thing. “It certainly creates the soul-searching when you see those numbers,” said Wheeler, of Allina. It also pierces the myth that everyone is above average. As one doctor told her: “We were legends in our own minds.” For some, the simple realization that they’ve fallen behind has sparked a transformation. At the Austin Medical Center, Dr Cynthia Dube noticed the red flags several years ago. At the time, the hospital’s own data showed that heart-failure patients weren’t doing as well as expected. Among other things, records showed, only about 80 percent were getting proper discharge instructions, said Dube, the medical

director. She started asking why. It turned out that patients were supposed to get the instructions right before leaving, but if the nurses got distracted, they sometimes forgot. Without instructions, patients are more likely to miss danger signs or skip medications, which can land them right back in the hospital. To prevent that, the hospital started putting discharge instructions in the admission packets, which every patient gets on arrival. It also made other changes: assigning a nurse to make sure heart-failure patients got the right medications and tests while still in the hospital. By 2009, Austin ranked among the best in the nation in two Medicare categories, including heart-failure deaths. Whether Austin’s improvement resulted from Dube’s changes - or were simply a coincidence - isn’t clear. There is plenty of evidence, though, that hospitals don’t always follow recommended care guidelines, even when there is broad professional consensus on what’s best for the patient. It’s widely known, for example, that aspirin can be a lifesaver for patients having a heart attack. But 5 percent of Minnesota heart-attack patients didn’t get aspirin when they got to the hospital, according to the 2009 Medicare data. Doctors also know that giving patients antibiotics before surgery can prevent infection. But in Minnesota hospitals, 13 percent didn’t get the recommended antibiotics, the data show. Among heart-failure patients, fully 30 percent went home without discharge instructions. Some hospitals manage to do all three nearly 100 percent of the time. Others don’t come close. Daily ritual Sometimes the pivotal difference doesn’t take place inside the hospital, but after the patient heads home. Just ask 80-year-old Patti Strong of Wayzata, Minn. In 2001, she was taken by ambulance to Methodist Hospital, struggling to breathe. Like many people with congestive heart failure, she landed back in the hospital numerous times. At Methodist, they’re known as “frequent fliers.” Several years ago, the hospital started trying to head off those return trips by helping patients monitor their symptoms at home. Strong was only too happy to take part. Now, she starts every day with a ritual: stepping on the scale, calling an automated phone line and reporting her weight and symptoms. With heart failure, sudden weight gain is a danger sign; it can mean the heart isn’t pumping properly. If she reports any trouble, a nurse calls back, ready to adjust her medication or arrange a quick trip to the doctor. Those daily check-ins, Strong said, have kept her out of the hospital for more than three years. For

nearly 20 years, Methodist has been obsessively tracking patient outcomes, said Dr David Abelson, chief executive of Park Nicollet Health Services, which owns the hospital. “There are times when we need to look at ourselves in the mirror,” Abelson said, and ask: “What can we learn here?” In 2009, Methodist had one of the lowest readmission rates for heart failure patients in Minnesota: 20 percent, according to Medicare. The implicit message to everyone else: If Methodist can do it, why do some Twin Cities hospitals have readmission rates of 27 percent (the University of Minnesota Medical Center), 28 percent (Hennepin County Medical Center) and 29 percent (Unity)? “That’s pretty good evidence that a deliberate effort can improve the numbers,” said Mosser, of the university. Patient, or hospital? Skeptics say it’s unrealistic to expect the same results everywhere. “These 30-day (re)admissions have very little to do with the hospital care; they have everything to do with the patients,” said Dr. Bradley Bart, chief of cardiology at HCMC. “If they’re unemployed and they can’t afford their medications, or they don’t have a phone, how’s the hospital going to fix that?” Bart asked. He also points out that HCMC’s scores are within the national average, and no different than those of other big teaching hospitals. Still, there’s growing recognition that patients will keep coming back, or die prematurely, without more help. “I don’t think our responsibility ends at the hospital door,” said Wheeler, of Allina. “Now we’re looking much more carefully at how we can help them.” No one expects hospitals to solve the problems themselves, said Corrigan, of the National Quality Forum, an advocacy group. But they have to start somewhere. “We know that 75 percent of readmissions are avoidable,” Corrigan said. “That’s called waste.” That’s also one reason Medicare has focused attention on hospital performance: Solving the problem could save billions of dollars. Starting in 2011, Medicare will have authority to cut reimbursements to hospitals with excessive readmissions. Private insurers may follow suit. With that in mind, many hospitals have begun campaigns to reduce readmission and death rates, including HCMC, Allina, Fairview and Mayo. One of them is the Albert Lea Medical Center. The reforms were already in the works before last summer’s ratings, said Dr John Grzybowski, the medical director. But the Medicare scorecards could well speed things up. “It’s going to help mainly because we’re all competitive people,” he said. No one, after all, wants to be last. “Most of us want to be the best.” —MCT

Boy’s ‘cerebral palsy’ misdiagnosed DURHAM: The last thing Wes and Melissa Klor want to do is rein in their son when he darts around like 18-month-old toddlers are apt to do. Just six months ago, the couple had no hope their baby would ever walk, much less run. As an infant, John Klor failed to reach normal physical milestones and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. But last summer, John was instead discovered to have a rare metabolic disorder that affected his ability to process protein, creating a toxic assault on muscle and brain function. A fairly simple dietary change, along with supplements, resulted in a swift turnaround. Within days and weeks, John went from being unable to bear weight to crawling, pulling up and walking. “It was really unbelievable,” said Wes Klor, 28. Now doctors and scientists at Duke University Medical Center, where John is being treated, are laying the groundwork for a study to determine whether John’s metabolic condition - GAMT deficiency - should be included in the battery of disorders North Carolina screens for in its routine infant blood tests. The state checks all newborns for 30 life-threatening metabolic and genetic disorders in a program that set national standards more than a decade ago. New disorders are periodically added, if the case can be made for the need. “A lot of research has to be done to prove we could add this,” said Dr Dwight Koeberl, a medical geneticist at Duke and John Klor’s doctor. “But it is a good candidate for screening. It causes severe conditions if it’s undiagnosed, and we have a treatment.” Encouraged by John’s transformation - and the suspicion that more children like him might have been misdiagnosed to a life of disability - the Duke team and the Klors said they are compelled to press forward. John Klor had a rough arrival on May 28, 2008. His umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, causing a shortage of oxygen to his brain. He initially didn’t score well on newborn health assessments, but his numbers improved and after 24 hours on oxygen, he was fine. For a few months, he tracked along with his peers, but then he fell behind, and even regressed. He rolled over a few times, but stopped. He laughed

RALEIGH: John Klor, 18 months, rests on the leg of his father, Wes Klor, while waiting for a doctor’s appointment in North Carolina. —MCT and cooed, and then quit. He had increasingly poor control of his head. He constantly swirled his hands in a fluid wave. At his six-month checkup, his pediatrician confirmed the Klors’ fears that John wasn’t developing normally and referred them to a neurologist in Greenville. There, John was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a broad term describing varying levels of impaired movement. A major factor in the diagnosis was John’s delivery, because oxygen deprivation often leads to brain damage. The Klors were devastated. “We left that office not knowing what to do,” Melissa Klor said. The neurologist was so sure of the diagnosis that she didn’t insist they get a brain scan for confirmation. Melissa, 27, said she was prepared to fill her days at their home in the Carteret County coastal community with regimens to help John, while Wes, a former Marine who continues to work on Harriers as a private contractor, reevaluated the dreams he had for his firstborn son. “We were ready to have to spend a lot of time taking care of him,” Wes Klor said. But the Klors wondered about the diagnosis, especially because they hadn’t gotten

the brain scan, and they decided to seek a second opinion from a neurodevelopmental specialist, Dr. Karen Harum in Wilmington. Harum told them John had some classic symptoms of cerebral palsy, including the repetitive hand motions, but she wasn’t convinced. She urged the Klors to get additional blood tests and the brain imaging to rule out other causes. The brain scan, an MRI, showed little of the telltale damage to the parts of the brain that characterizes cerebral palsy. And John’s serum tests, which had been sent to Duke to be read by genetic experts, were unusual. A urine sample revealed a surprising result - a condition so rare the genetic group figured the screener had run the test incorrectly. They ran a second test and it came back identical. John had a genetic disorder in which he wasn’t processing protein properly. “It was kind of exciting,” said Jennifer Goldstein, a genetic researcher at Duke who was involved in the diagnosis. “We had been doing research on these disorders for years. It’s very rare.” But it was unclear which of three protein malfunctions was the culprit: an extremely rare, but treatable

form, or two others that were less rare, but had worse prognoses. “I was like, dear God, let it be the rare one,” Melissa Klor said. The biochemical genetics lab at Duke, using tandem mass spectrometry technology and a biological procedure that Duke scientists developed, is one of two in the country that can test for the type of disorder afflicting John. The Duke team discovered that John’s condition was GAMT deficiency (short for guanidinoacetate methyltransferase deficiency). About 40 cases have been described in the medical literature worldwide since the deficiency was identified in 1994. The GAMT gene tells the body how to process protein into energy for muscles and the brain - a complex process involving an exact choreography of merging and diverging components of the essential nutrient. A faulty gene can cause a major disruption in that synthesis. It’s as if a dam occurs in the protein stream, so certain nutritional building blocks clog to toxic levels on one side, while other essential components aren’t released on the other side. The result is damage to the body and brain that increases over time, including developmental delays, lack of speech, seizures, movement disorder, mental retardation and autism. “We do suspect these disorders are under diagnosed,” Goldstein said. Because no one tests for them, they aren’t found, so they may actually be less rare than the literature would suggest. And that may mean some children who could be helped are, instead, diagnosed and treated for other profound disabilities - to no avail. The Duke team hopes it can collect the data to make a case for including GAMT in the state’s infant screening program, which catches an average of 230 metabolic and genetic disorders each year in infants. The tests, using five drops of blood collected on every baby born in hospitals, began in the 1960s to catch cases of PKU, a treatable malfunction in the processing of amino acids. North Carolina was among the first in the nation to begin screenings for dozens of disorders in 1997, using mass spectrometry and a process developed at Duke. —MCT

Monday, December 13, 2010



African health research has solutions, no support NAIROBI: African health laboratories are bubbling with innovation to combat the continent’s diseases but these home-grown solutions are stagnating due to a lack of support, studies published yesterday said. The studies published by the Science journal and BioMed Central identified 25 “stagnant technologies” that never got off the drawing board. “Driven largely by entrepreneurs, innovative and affordable technologies to improve health in Africa are under development throughout the continent,” said Ken Simiyu, who co-authored the study for Canada’s McLaughlinRotman Center for Global Health (MRC). “Clearly, many Africans have the needed talent and knowhow,” he told AFP. After touring laboratories in subSaharan Africa, the Kenyan scientist discovered a plethora of dormant innovations: A low-cost dipstick tech-

nology developed in Ghana for quick village diagnosis of schistosoma, a parasitic disease that affects more than 50 percent of people in some areas of Africa. An easy-touse and inexpensive portable medical-waste incinerator developed in Uganda that could solve the problem of hospital waste management in rural areas,

and development, 10 times less than developed countries. But while the scientists behind those innovations have not always received adequate funding, they have also lacked the required contacts and skills to move their products to the stages of licensing, manufacturing and marketing. The Kenya Medical

never got off the ground. The product is one of the few low-toxicity drugs to treat the disease, a chronic blood disorder that affects four million people in Nigeria alone and afflicts many people of African descent in the West. However, the treatment, called Niprisan, never achieved success due to a

Many innovations lie dormant for years especially during mass immunization programs. A herbal, anti-malarial medicine called Nibima developed in Ghana. There are many other such African inventions that have not hit the market. “It is not entirely financial. It is a more general innovation problem, which involves politics and finance,” Simiyu said. African countries dedicate an average of 0.2 to 0.3 percent of GDP to research

Research Institute (KEMRI), for example, built a facility to produce AIDS and hepatitis B diagnostic kits but the factory has remained idle due to a regulatory change from the government, its main purchaser. One of the study’s papers relates how the commercialization of a drug developed by Nigeria’s National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development to treat sickle-cell anemia

raft of problems “such as insufficient manufacturing capacity, quality control issues, pricing and distribution, and lack of financing,” the study said. The study did identify some success stories, such as the Tanzanian company A to Z Textiles, which managed to overcome regulatory and procurement hurdles to become one of the world’s largest producers of insecticide-treated bed nets. In a preface to the work,

Harvard professor Calestous Juma noted that concern over access to medicines had dominated the health policy debate for years, wrongly assuming that Africa would continue to rely on imports. “This collection of original papers provides a different prognosis. They reveal an emergent ‘health innovation system’ in Africa,” he said. McLaughlin-Rotman Center director Peter Singer stressed that African knowhow — 16 of the 25 innovations studied involved traditional plant products-needed to be urgently supported. “Required are creative institutions and coherent policies that reduce risk, build on local strengths, and promote the effective use of local health research,” he said.”Many people will die if we wait for scientists from elsewhere to invent and market the health products Africa needs,” Singer said. —AFP

BERLIN: A crow eyes a polar bear at the zoo. Meteorologists forecast fresh temperatures and some precipitations for the German capital. —AFP



Monday, December 13, 2010

Congratulation Roubi Abdulazim a memAberhmed of the Egyptian Committee of Kuwait congratulates engineer Ali Abdullah Mabruk for winning the elections in Egypt.

AUK holds lecture today ‘Nanoscience: Threat and Promise’ by Dr Ursula Gibson r Ursula Gibson is a professor of physics D at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, following a 20 year career

ESF Choir around Kuwait s part of their seasonal activities, The English School Fahaheel junior and senior Choirs and Recorder group were recently invited to perform a number of Christmas songs at the Radisson

ABlu Hotel in Kuwait. The talented students also performed on 4 December at the annual ESF Winter Fayre. Many more concerts and events are planned for 2011.

on the faculty of the Engineering school at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA. She has held visiting positions at institutions in Germany, Australia and Sweden. Her work encompasses the development of nanostructured materials for applications including magnetic logic, solar cells and cancer therapy. AUK and Dartmouth College have a Memorandum of Understanding, and this visit by Dr Gibson is indicative of their continued cooperation and consultative efforts. Date: Today at 6 pm Location: Liberal Arts Auditorium, the American University of Kuwait, Salmiya. The lecture is conducted in English For more information please call: PR & Marketing Department American University of Kuwait Tel.: 22248399 Ext. 306

AWARE center ur Islam 101 series on Wednesday O December 15th, 2010 about, “The Muslim beliefs and the Acts of Worship,” by Dr Teresa Lesher. The Six Articles of Faith” clarify the beliefs that shape Muslim thought and life as they relate to God, prophets, scripture, angels, jinn and the Next Life. Satan, as well as personal and universal events after death from the Islamic teachings, will also be discussed. On the other hand, “The Five Pillars of Practice” describe the five acts of worship that distinguish a Muslim from other believers in God. A discussion of their implications and effects on the individual and society as a whole will be conducted, as well as Prophet Muhammad’s answer to the question “how much is enough?” If interested, you are welcome on Wednesday December 15th, 2010 at 7:00pm.

Filipino Badminton Tourney he Filipino Badminton Committee (FBC) is inviting all the badminton Tenthusiast in Kuwait to join their 21’st

TKS-Kuwait organizes competitions for children elugu Kala Samithi - Kuwait organized Telugu Competitions for the TTelugu Children studying in Kuwait on Dec 10 in Carmel School, Khaitan. The response from Telugu

Kids was enormous and the enthusiasm shown by the kids was appreciable. The competitions were held for various class groups like LKG & UKG, 1st & 2nd classes, 3rd & 4th,

5th & 6th, 7th & 8th and 9th, 10th & above classes. Different types of tests were conducted for each group like Identification, Speech in Telugu, Writing in Telugu, Telugu Padyaalu

Voice Kuwait Vanitha Wing new committee oice (Viswakarma Organisation For Ideal V Career And Education) Kuwait elected its new women’s wing committee members. President Saritha Rajan; Gen:Secretary Mini Krishna; Treasure Deepa

Baluchandran; Vice President Radha Madhavi; Joint Secretary A K Vilasini; Arts Secretary Suja Rajimon. Advisory Members Girija Vijayan, Sorojani Mohan Das. Executive Members: Lelamma

Lakshmanan, Vinitha Vijayan, Sreekala Vipin, Salini Raju, Anusmitha Shanil, Geetha Haridasan, Suma Sundaran, Ambily Rajeev, Bijina Sujan, Rajitha Sujith, Sija Murali, Rajeswary,

Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyah ll events take place at 7pm at the alA Maidan Cultural Centre (T: 2563 6561 / 6528), located in the Adbullah alSalem School in Maidan Hawally; are in English; and on Monday or Wednesday, unless otherwise noted. Please visit our website for more information: Fa Gallery Fa Gallery is located in Sharq, Block 2, Gulf Road, Villa 76 (next to Al Amiri Hospital). For more information please call 2249 8999.

Sultan Gallery Manal Al-Dowayan was born and raised in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia and works out of her hometown Dhahran. Over the course of her education, she partook in a range of courses in differing art institutions in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Bahrain and London. In 2009 she was a resident artist at the Delfina Foundation in London and attended the Clore Leadership program and in 2010 she was a resident artist in Dubai in the Cuadro Fine Art Gallery program. She is currently part of the British Council International Cultural Leaders program.

and Drawing. The winners’ list is posted on TKS website TKS Executive Committee wishes all the winners and thank all the judges for their

EMBASSY OF BANGLADESH The Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Kuwait has taken up an initiative to update the database of Bangladesh nationals residing in the State of Kuwait. For inclusion in the database all the Bangladesh nationals are requested to collect the Registration Form from the Labour Wing of the Embassy. The forms can also be collected sending request to e-mail address. The filled-in forms can also be submitted by hand, by email or by fax (number 2491-3204). The Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Kuwait will remain closed on Thursday, December 16, 2010 on the occasion of Victory Day 2010. EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, AlMutawakel St., Block 4 in Da’aiyah. Please visit our website at The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. Consular Services for Canadian Citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00 on Sunday through Wednesday. Canada offers a registration service for all Canadians travelling or living abroad. This service is provided so that Consular Officials can contact and

time and effort. The awards for the winners will be given during the next kids cultural event “Bala Vinodham” on Dec 24 in the Carmel School.

assist Canadians in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform Canadians of a family emergency at home. The Embassy of Canada encourages all Canadian Citizens to register online through the Government of Canada Travel Website at Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi provides visa and immigration services to residents of Kuwait. Individuals who are interested in visiting, working or immigrating to Canada are invited to visit the website of the Canadian Embassy to the UAE at EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India has further revamped and improved its Legal Advice Clinic at the Indian Workers Welfare Center, and made the free service available to Indian nationals on all five working days, i.e. from Sunday to Thursday every week. Kuwaiti lawyers would be available at the Legal Advice Clinic daily from Monday to Thursday, while Indian lawyers would be available on Sundays. Following are the free welfare services provided at the Indian Workers Welfare Center located at the Embassy of India: [i] 24x7 Helpline for Domestic Workers: Accessible by toll free telephone no. 25674163 from anywhere in Kuwait, it provides information and advice exclusively to Indian domestic sector workers (Visa No. 20) as regards their grievances, immigration and other matters. [ii] Help Desk: It offers guidance to Indian nationals on routine immigration, employment, legal,

and other issues (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iii) Labour Complaints Desk: It registers labor complaints and provides grievance redressal service to Indian workers (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iv) Shelters: For female and male domestic workers in distress; (v) Legal Advice Clinic: Provides free legal advice to Indian nationals (Embassy premises; Kuwaiti lawyers 3 PM to 5 PM, Monday to Thursday; Indian lawyers 2 PM to 4 PM on Sunday); and (vi) Attestation of Work Contracts: Private sector worker (Visa No. 18) contracts are accepted at the Embassy; 9 AM to 1 PM; Sunday to Thursday; Domestic sector worker (Visa No. 20) contracts are accepted at Kuwait Union of Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO), Hawally, Al-Othman Street, Kurd Roundabout, Al-Abraj Complex, Office No 9, Mezzanine Floor; 9 AM to 9 PM, Saturday to Thursday; 5 PM to 9 PM on Friday. Embassy of India would like to inform that application forms for passport/visa services and labor contracts that are on its website,, have been upgraded to include the facility for online data entry. Affidavit forms on the embassy website have had this facility since May 6, 2009. EMBASSY OF THE US The United States Department of State announces the increase in various visa fees to ensure sufficient resources to cover the increasing cost of

Badminton Tournament dubbed as the FBC 4th Anniversary Championship Cup that will start on January 7, 2011 at the Kuwait Disabled Club, Bin Khaldoun, Hawally. For more inquiry, kindly call 97197268 or visit us at the Kuwait Disabled Club every Friday from 8:00 onwards.

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 petitionbased, 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 indepth interview of the applicant than other categories, such as tourists. These categories include: H visa for temporary workers and trainees L visa for intra-company transferees O visa for aliens with extraordinary ability P visa for athletes, artists and entertainers Q visa for international cultural exchange visitors R visa for religious occupations The application fee for K visas for fiance(e)s of US citizens will be $350. The fee for E visas for treaty-traders and treaty-investors will be $390. EMBASSY OF GERMANY The German Embassy wished to extend and update its information base on German business in Kuwait. Therefore all Kuwaiti companies representing German companies are invited to register at the embassy. For more information on the registration, please visit

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


Monday, December 13, 2010


Lulu opens 85th Hypermarket etail major Lulu has opened their 3rd hypermarket in Al Ain, R United Arab Emirates, taking its store count across the region to 85 amid an aggressive expansion drive. The new hypermarket in Al Ain is the Group’s 9th hypermarket opened in a row this year. The new Lulu Hypermarket, housed within the new Al Foah Mall, is strategically located on the

PGA Winter Football Camp at Shaab Park

Al Ain - Dubai road and is easily accessible with ample car parking facilities. Though Lulu Hypermarket opened its doors for business, a formal inauguration ceremony of Al Foah Mall, which is also managed by the Group, is expected to take place at a later stage. Spread over 140,000 square feet, the hypermarket showcases a fresh

food section comprising fruit, vegetables, dairy products, meat, fish and hot and cold ready-to-eat food, as well as a huge area dedicated to department store items such as electronics, IT products, home appliances, sports, stationery, furnishings and furniture, and fashion brands for ladies, gents and kids. 40 cash counters ensure hassle-free shopping experience for shoppers.

Commenting on the opening of new hypermarket, Yusuff Ali M.A., managing director of Lulu, said: “It is our policy now to be as close to the shoppers as possible, thereby reducing the driving time and making it convenient for them to reach us easily. In addition, and in true tradition of LuLu stores across the Gulf, the hypermarket will feature the widest

choice of world-class brands at the fairest prices and also offer a whole world of shopping with a good selection of brands and product lines under one roof. LuLu’s winning formula of value for money quality shopping will be a matter of delight for the residents of Al Ain who will cherish the pleasurable shopping experience and the economy it offers.

Commenting on the Group’s expansion plans, Mr. Yusuff Ali said: “We will be opening 17 hypermarkets next year, in new as well as in existing markets in the UAE and other GCC countries. All our planned projects are on track and our immediate plans include hypermarkets in Bahrain, Salalah, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Mushrif Mall in Abu Dhabi. The Group is slated to

open its 100th store by the end of next year. In India it is building one of the country’s biggest malls in the southern city of Kochi, which is expected to be operational by the end of next year. With close to 420,000 footfalls per day, Lulu hypermarkets currently accounts for nearly a third of the entire Gulf’s retail market share.

Future Eye Theatre holds ‘Symposium on Shakespeare’ uture Eye Theatre, Kuwait held a ‘Symposium on Shakespeare’ at the FOrma auditorium Abbassiya on Friday

he Premier GOAL Academy in association with Everton Football Club of the English Premier League is holding a five day Winter Football Coaching Camp at Shaab Park from 19th to 23rd December inclusive. The daily timing is from 0930 to 1330 and players from beginner to advanced levels will receive expert coaching from fully qualified UEFA coaches following the evertonway curriculum. Individual skills and techniques will be developed through a series of training exercises, games and activities with daily competitions and team matches. The Winter Camp is open to players of all ability levels from 3 to 16 years of age and everyone will receive a football strip (shirt, shorts and socks), football, medal and certificate. For details or to reserve a place, contact Academy Director Mike Finn on 99981327 or Executive Director Baker Al Nazer on 66918666.


in which eminent speakers and theatre experts participated. In his theme paper presentation on ‘Shakespeare and Tragedy’, Prof John Mathews traced the historical inheritance of tragedy starting from Greek theatre till Shakespearean theatre outlining the philosophical facets of tragedy. The keynote speaker Prof Dr Pran Pandit, senior professor, English faculty, the Arab Open University, Kuwait presented his paper on ‘Tragic Heroes of Shakespeare.’ With the support of a Powerpoint presentation, Dr Pandit gave an overview of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes - Othello, King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar. He also delivered the famous speech of Mark Antony to the delight of the attendees. Rajeshwari Subbaraman, English Faculty, Arab Open University, taking cue from Dr Pandit spoke about Shakespeare’s heroines and looked at the possibilities of adapting those popular characters into Indian context, especially into Kerala’s ritual and classical theatres. Future Eye Theatre Gen convener P.D. Poulose supported the presentation with his impromptu acting. Madhu Warrior, an actor and a specialist in Kerala’s classical theatre, outlined the influence of Shakespeare in Malayalam theatre and delved deep into Shakespeare’s relevance in ‘Kathakali’ and ‘Koodiyattom’. George Mathew, a well-known actor, quoting a few famous lines from Macbeth, spoke about the impact Shakespearean tragedies have made on the development of Indian theatre. Earlier, Future Eye Theatre Patron Adv John Thomas inaugurated the symposium. Future Eye President Sajeev K Peter moderated it. Future Eye Joint Secretary Praveen Aduthila welcomed the gathering. Theatre persons, playwrights and actors who attended the symposium included Future Eye Theatre Treasurer Biju Samuel, K.P. Balakrishnan, Sunil K. Cherian, Bergman Thomas, Mohammed Riyas, Babuji Batheri, Regi Bhaskaran, Rajesh Poonthuruthi and others.

Nicholson Syrian Girls’ School alumni meeting of the former stuA dents of Nicholson Syrian Girl’s High School, Thiruvalla will be held on December 14, 2010 at 6:00 pm at the United Indian School auditorium Jleeb Al-Shoyoukh. Susamma Mathew, Principal and Susan Varghese, teacher of this school are on a short visit to Kuwait and they will attend this meeting. All former students in Kuwait are requested to be present. Contact number is 24311278/99397630.

KTAA meeting tomorrow

Movenpick Hotel Kuwait holds Christmas tree light up ceremony

Kuwait Textile Arts Association under the auspices House cordially invites you to a presentaTtionheofbyAl-Sadu renowned fashion designer and consultant Kaveri

magical evening filled with joy and cheer bought grace and the happiA ness of the season to the hearts of all

Das see an exclusive collection of her famous jacket designs plus an embroidery demonstration. Location: Al Sadu House on Arabian Gulf Street, Kuwait City (on the corner of the National Museum) Doors Open at 6:30 pm for 7:00 pm start On behalf of Kuwait Textile Arts Association or

Exhibition collection of antique carpets chosen by carpet collector Aydah Merza will be on display at Tilal Gallery. The A exhibition is opened yesterday. The exhibition will be on view till December 15.

Lecture he TIES Ladies Club is hosting a women lecture on Friday, December 17, from 6 pm to 8:30 pm titled: T“Divorce according to the Kuwaiti family code” by guest speaker Dr Eissa Al-Enezi, Head of International Law Dept at Kuwait University. The lecture will be in English.

KDMCA releases calendar ancily Varkey, Country head of UAE Exchange co. Kuwait releasing 2011- Calendar of Kuravilangad Deva Matha College Alumni Association (KDMCA), Kuwait Chapter by giving a copy to Johnson Sebastian(Convener Calendar P Committee). Mathew Papaddy ( President), Biju Ennamprayil (Gen Secretary), Raju Zacharias (Chairman, Advisory Board), Boby Pattani (Ex. President) and Maxi Mani were present on the occasion.

that attended. Santa Claus flew in from the North Pole to light up the tallest Christmas tree in Kuwait at the Movenpick Hotel Kuwait at the Free Trade Zone. Hundreds of spectators among them many children were watching Santa Claus coming in with his horse and carriage to light up the giant 12 meter Christmas tree and take pictures with the children. This year’s event was special because Baroue the children’s favorite store for clothes and toys sponsored the event and has provided Santa with hundreds of gifts to be given to the children who attended the event, not only has the gifts been sponsored by Baroue but also the games the jumping castle, trampoline and face painting where also supplied by Baroue to grantee a Fun day for our beloved children. Baroue

always strives to make every child’s dream a reality and every visit memorable and meaningful. At exactly 5:30 Santa Claus waved to the crowd and lit up the 12 meter tree by his own hands where Christmas cheer was bought to everyone in the moment that the tree was lit up. Santa who did not came empty handed, generously distributed to each child a pre-Christmas present and everybody had the chance to take a picture with him. Movenpick Hotels & Resorts, a premium hotel management company with over 12,000 employees, is represented in 26 countries with over 90 hotels existing or under construction and focuses on its core markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The international hotel group with Swiss roots is forging ahead with its expansion and aims to extend its portfolio to include 100 hotels by 2010.



Monday, December 13, 2010

Orbit / Showtime Listings

00:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 01:00 Kathy Griffin: My Life On The DList 02:00 Live Good Morning America 03:00 Momma’s Boys 04:00 The Invisible Man 05:00 The Philanthropist 06:00 Live Good Morning America 07:00 Private Practice 08:00 Eureka 09:00 Criminal Minds 10:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 11:00 Smallville 12:00 The Invisible Man 13:00 Momma’s Boys 14:00 Eureka 15:00 Live Good Morning America 17:00 Criminal Minds 18:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 19:00 Law And Order 20:00 Big Love 21:00 Rescue Me 22:00 Happy Town 23:00 The Pacific

00:50 Shark Attack Files 2 01:45 Untamed And Uncut 02:40 The Most Extreme 03:35 Untamed And Uncut 04:30 Your Worst Animal Nightmares 05:25 Animal Cops Philadelphia 06:20 Untamed And Uncut 07:10 Wildlife SOS 07:35 Sspca: On The Wildside 08:00 Corwin’s Quest 08:50 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 09:15 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 09:40 Groomer Has It 10:35 Xtremely Wild 11:00 In Too Deep 11:25 In Too Deep 11:55 Monkey Life 12:20 Rspca: Have You Got What It Takes? 12:50 Miami Animal Police 13:45 E-Vets: The Interns 14:10 Pet Rescue 14:40 Animal Cops Houston 15:35 Wildlife SOS 16:00 Rspca: Have You Got What It Takes? 16:30 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 17:25 Project Puppy 17:50 Project Puppy 18:20 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 18:45 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 19:15 Wildest Africa 20:10 Amba The Russian Tiger 21:10 Cats 101 22:05 Max’s Big Tracks 23:00 Incredible Journeys With Steve Leonard 23:55 Animal Cops Houston

00:25 Life On Mars 01:20 The Jonathan Ross Show 02:10 Casualty 03:00 Casualty 04:00 Only Fools And Horses 04:30 Tellytales 04:40 Penelope K, By The Way 04:50 Me Too 05:10 Forget Me Not Farm 05:25 The Roly Mo Show 05:40 Teletubbies 06:05 Penelope K, By The Way 06:15 Me Too 06:35 Forget Me Not Farm 06:50 The Roly Mo Show 07:05 Teletubbies 07:30 Penelope K, By The Way 07:40 Me Too 08:05 Forget Me Not Farm 08:20 The Roly Mo Show 08:35 Teletubbies 09:00 Penelope K, By The Way 09:10 Me Too 09:30 The Roly Mo Show 09:45 Forget Me Not Farm 10:00 Teletubbies 10:30 Mastermind 2006 11:00 Only Fools And Horses 11:30 Only Fools And Horses 12:00 The Weakest Link 12:45 Heart And Soul 13:35 Doctors 14:05 Mastermind 2006 14:35 Michael Palin’s New Europe 15:35 Only Fools And Horses 16:05 Only Fools And Horses 16:35 Heart And Soul 17:25 The Weakest Link 18:10 Doctors 18:40 Mastermind 2006

19:10 Michael Palin’s New Europe 20:10 Heart And Soul 21:00 The Weakest Link 21:45 Doctors 22:15 Eastenders 22:45 Holby City 23:45 Conviction

00:10 Masterchef 01:50 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 02:45 Living In The Sun 03:40 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 04:25 The Home Show 05:20 Cash In The Attic 06:10 Fantasy Homes In The City 06:55 Living In The Sun 08:20 Antiques Roadshow 09:10 What Not To Wear 09:35 What Not To Wear 10:00 Daily Cooks Challenge 10:30 Antiques Roadshow 11:25 Hidden Potential 11:45 Cash In The Attic USA 12:05 Cooked 12:30 What To Eat Now - Autumn 13:00 The Home Show 13:50 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 14:35 The Restaurant UK 15:25 What Not To Wear 15:50 Cash In The Attic USA 16:10 The Home Show 17:00 Cooked 17:25 What To Eat Now - Autumn 18:00 Masterchef 18:25 Cash In The Attic USA 18:50 Daily Cooks Challenge 19:50 The Restaurant UK 20:40 Masterchef 21:10 Glamour Puds 21:35 Chef At Home 22:05 The Home Show 22:50 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 23:35 Come Dine With Me

00:00 The Garfield Show 00:25 The Scooby Doo Show 00:50 Wacky Races 01:15 Dastardly And Muttley 01:40 Top Cat 02:05 Popeye 02:30 King Arthur’s Disasters 02:55 Droopy: Master Detective 03:20 Looney Tunes 03:45 The Flintstones 04:10 The Jetsons 04:35 Pink Panther And Pals 05:00 Tom And Jerry 05:25 Popeye Classics 05:50 Scooby Doo Where Are You! 06:15 Tom And Jerry Kids 06:40 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo 07:05 Yogi’s Treasure Hunt 07:30 Tex Avery Show 08:00 Tom And Jerry 08:25 Looney Tunes 08:55 The Flintstones 09:20 The Jetsons 09:45 Tom And Jerry Kids 10:10 The Garfield Show 10:35 Duck Dodgers 11:00 The Scooby Doo Show 11:30 Wacky Races 12:00 Dastardly And Muttley 12:25 King Arthur’s Disasters 12:50 Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch 13:15 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo 13:40 Popeye 14:00 Looneynoons 17:00 Tom And Jerry 17:20 Top Cat 17:45 Wacky Races 18:00 Dastardly And Muttley 18:30 The Scooby Doo Show 19:00 Johnny Bravo 19:30 Dexter’s Laboratory 20:00 Looney Tunes 20:20 Duck Dodgers 20:45 The Garfield Show 21:10 The Flintstones 21:35 The Jetsons 22:00 Yogi’s Treasure Hunt 22:25 Tom And Jerry 22:50 The Scooby Doo Show 23:15 Droopy And Dripple 23:40 Top Cat

00:15 Out Of Jimmy’s Head 00:40 Chowder 01:05 Cow And Chicken 01:30 Cramp Twins 01:55 George Of The Jungle 02:20 Adrenalini Brothers 02:45 Eliot Kid 03:10 Ed, Edd N Eddy 03:35 Ben 10: Alien Force

04:00 The Powerpuff Girls 04:15 Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends 04:40 The Secret Saturdays 05:05 Codename: Kids Next Door 05:30 Ben 10 05:55 Best Ed 06:20 Samurai Jack 06:45 Cramp Twins 07:10 Eliot Kid 07:35 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 08:00 Codename: Kids Next Door 08:25 Skunk Fu! 08:50 Best Ed 09:15 Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends 09:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 10:05 The Secret Saturdays 10:30 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 10:55 The Powerpuff Girls 11:20 Robotboy 11:30 The Life And Times Of Juniper Lee 11:55 Ben 10 12:20 Samurai Jack 12:45 Megas Xlr 13:10 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 13:35 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 14:00 Laughternoons 19:00 Hero 108 19:30 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 20:00 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 20:25 The Secret Saturdays 20:50 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 21:05 Ben 10 21:30 Best Ed 21:45 Skunk Fu! 22:10 Ed, Edd N Eddy 22:35 Codename: Kids Next Door 23:00 Ben 10: Alien Force 23:25 Samurai Jack 23:50 Megas Xlr

01:00 Quadrophenia-18 03:00 The Waterdance-PG15 05:00 Barbarossa-PG15 07:15 Not One Less-PG 09:00 Seven Pounds-PG15 11:00 Keith-PG15 12:45 Smart People-PG15 14:30 Mr. Holland’s Opus-PG 17:00 Forever Strong-PG 19:00 Joe’s Palace-18 21:00 Mesrine: Public Enemies #1-PG15 23:15 Sea Of Love-18

00:00 Fareed Zakaria Gps 01:00 The Best Of Backstory 01:30 World Sport 02:00 World Report 04:00 World Business Today 04:45 CNN Marketplace Middle East 05:00 World View 05:30 Open Court 06:00 World’s Untold Stories 06:30 Cnngo 06:45 Future Cities 07:00 World Sport 07:30 Business Traveller 08:00 World Report 08:30 The Best Of Backstory 09:00 World Report 11:00 World Business Today 12:00 World Report 12:30 World View 13:00 Larry King Live 14:00 World Report 14:30 World Sport 15:00 World Report 15:30 African Voices 16:00 World Report 17:00 World Business Today 18:00 International Desk 19:00 The Brief 19:30 World Sport 20:00 Prism 20:30 African Voices 21:00 International Desk 22:00 Quest Means Business 23:00 World One

00:40 Destroyed In Seconds 01:35 Motor City Motors 02:30 Wheeler Dealers 03:25 I Could Do That 03:55 I Could Do That 04:20 How Do They Do It? 05:15 Destroyed In Seconds 06:05 Extreme Engineering 07:00 Fifth Gear 07:25 Extreme Engineering 08:15 American Chopper 09:10 Mythbusters

Alice In Wonderland on Show Movies

10:05 Ultimate Survival 10:55 Overhaulin’ 11:50 The Gadget Show 12:20 How Do They Do It? 13:15 Mythbusters 14:10 Mythbusters Top 25 Special 16:00 Mythbusters 19:40 The Gadget Show 20:05 How Do They Do It? 21:00 Ultimate Survival 21:55 Deadliest Catch 22:50 Swamp Loggers 23:45 Undercover

00:40 The Future Of... 01:30 What’s That About? 02:20 How The Universe Works 03:10 Space Pioneer 04:00 The Colony 05:45 Weird Or What? 06:40 How Stuff’s Made 07:10 The Future Of... 08:00 Junkyard Mega-Wars 09:00 Mars: The Quest For Life 10:00 Sci-Fi Science 10:55 Stunt Junkies 11:20 The Gadget Show 11:50 The Future Of... 12:45 How Stuff’s Made 13:15 Catch It Keep It 14:10 Weird Connections 14:35 Engineered 15:30 Nextworld 16:25 The Gadget Show 16:55 Mars: The Quest For Life 17:50 Mega World 18:45 Brainiac 19:40 Mega Builders 20:30 Superships 21:20 How It’s Made 21:45 The Gadget Show 22:10 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 23:00 Mega Builders 23:50 Superships

00:20 Replacements 01:10 Fairly Odd Parents 02:00 A Kind Of Magic 02:45 Stitch 03:35 Kim Possible 04:25 Emperors New School 05:15 Stitch 06:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 06:20 Handy Manny 06:45 Jungle Junction 07:05 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 07:30 Sonny With A Chance 08:15 Stitch 08:35 Wizards Of Waverly Place 09:00 Fairly Odd Parents 09:20 Brother Bear 2 10:50 Phineas And Ferb 11:15 Sonny With A Chance 12:00 Stitch 12:25 Hannah Montana 13:10 Kim Possible 13:30 Wizards Of Waverly Place 14:20 Jake And Blake 14:50 A Kind Of Magic 15:15 Jonas 15:40 Jonas 16:00 Hannah Montana 16:30 Phineas And Ferb 18:00 Read It And Weep 19:10 Jonas 19:35 Hannah Montana Forever 20:00 Sonny With A Chance 20:50 Phineas And Ferb 21:15 Fairly Odd Parents 22:00 Hannah Montana 22:50 Wizards Of Waverly Place 23:35 Jonas

07:25 Kick Buttowski 07:50 Pokemon 08:15 Phineas & Ferb 08:40 Phineas & Ferb 09:05 Kick Buttowski 09:30 American Dragon 09:55 Cars Toons 10:00 The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes 10:50 I’m In The Band 11:15 The Super Hero Squad Show 11:40 Suite Life On Deck 12:05 Suite Life On Deck 12:30 Aaron Stone 12:55 Have A Laugh 13:00 Phineas & Ferb 13:30 Phineas & Ferb 14:00 Kid Vs Kat 14:30 Kid Vs Kat 14:55 Have A Laugh 15:00 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 15:25 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 15:50 Zeke And Luther 16:15 The Super Hero Squad Show 16:40 Cars Toons 16:45 Kick Buttowski 17:15 I’m In The Band 17:40 Suite Life On Deck 18:05 Zeke And Luther 18:30 Zeke And Luther 18:55 Phineas & Ferb 19:20 Phineas & Ferb 19:45 Kick Buttowski 20:10 Pokemon 20:35 American Dragon 21:00 Aaron Stone 21:30 Kid Vs Kat 21:55 Have A Laugh 22:00 Phineas & Ferb 22:25 I’m In The Band 22:50 Cars Toons 22:55 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 23:20 The Super Hero Squad Show

00:40 Dr 90210 01:30 Fatal Beauty 03:15 Extreme Hollywood 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 05:30 Streets Of Hollywood 06:00 Ths 06:55 Ths 07:45 Behind The Scenes 08:10 Fashion Police 08:35 E! News 09:25 Giuliana And Bill 09:50 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 10:15 E!es 11:05 Ths 12:00 E! News 12:50 Fashion Police 13:15 Pretty Wild 13:40 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 14:05 Kendra 14:30 E!es 16:15 Behind The Scenes 16:40 Behind The Scenes 17:10 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 18:00 E! News 18:50 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 19:15 Pretty Wild 19:40 Ths 20:30 Kendra 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:20 The Spin Crowd 21:45 The Spin Crowd 22:10 E! News 23:00 Fashion Police 23:25 Kendra 23:50 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami

00:00 Dr Danger 00:25 Dr Danger 00:50 Breitling Airsports 2008 01:15 Breitling Airsports 2008 01:40 FIA European Drag Racing Championships 02:05 FIA European Drag Racing Championships 02:30 Fantasy Factory 02:55 Fantasy Factory 03:20 Untracked Series 1 03:45 Untracked Series 1 04:10 Fim World Supermoto Championships 2009 05:00 Fim World Supermoto Championships 2009 05:50 Winter X Games 14 06:40 Winter X Games 14 07:30 I-Ex 08:00 I-Ex 08:30 I-Ex 09:00 Winter Dew Tour 09/10 11:30 Rebel Tv 17 11:55 Fim World Motocross Mx1 = Mx2 12:45 Tread Bmx 13:10 Tread Bmx 13:35 Mantracker Series 1 14:25 Eds Up 14:50 Eds Up 15:15 Alpine Adventurer 16:05 Fim World Motocross Mx1 = Mx2 16:55 Tread Bmx 17:20 Tread Bmx 17:45 Winter Dew Tour 09/10 20:15 Rebel Tv 17 20:40 Mantracker Series 1 21:30 Tread Bmx 21:55 Tread Bmx 22:20 Fim World Motocross Mx1 = Mx2 23:10 Alpine Adventurer

00:00 Good Eats 00:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:00 Iron Chef America 02:00 30 Minute Meals 02:30 Tyler’s Ultimate 03:00 Food Network Challenge 04:00 Barefoot Contessa 04:30 Unwrapped 05:00 Iron Chef America 06:00 Good Eats 06:30 Guys Big Bite 07:00 Chopped 08:00 Paula’s Best Dishes 08:25 Good Deal with Dave Lieberman 08:50 Guys Big Bite 09:15 Barefoot Contessa 09:40 Everyday Italian 10:05 30 Minute Meals 10:30 Tyler’s Ultimate 11:00 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 11:30 30 Minute Meals 12:00 30 Minute Meals 12:30 Paula’s Party 13:30 Guys Big Bite 14:00 Good Deal with Dave Lieberman 14:30 Paula’s Best Dishes 15:00 Barefoot Contessa 15:30 Everyday Italian 16:00 30 Minute Meals 16:30 Good Eats 17:00 Iron Chef America 18:00 Barefoot Contessa 18:30 Unwrapped 19:00 Paula’s Best Dishes 19:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 20:00 30 Minute Meals 20:30 30 Minute Meals 21:00 Food Network Challenge 22:00 Barefoot Contessa 22:30 Everyday Italian 23:00 Iron Chef America

00:15 NFL TBA at TBA 03:30 Sport Express 04:00 ACC Sunday Night Hoops Boston College at Maryland 06:00 ACC Sunday Night Hoops Clemson at Florida St. 08:30 Golf Central International 09:00 Golf Channel - TBA 11:30 PGA Tour: The Shark Shootout Final Rd. Naples, FL 14:30 ACC Sunday Night Hoops Boston College at Maryland 16:30 NFL TBA at TBA 19:30 NFL TBA at TBA 22:30 ACC Sunday Night Hoops Clemson at Florida St.

00:40 Couples Who Kill 01:30 Serial Killers 02:20 True Crime With Aphrodite Jones 03:10 On The Case With Paula Zahn 04:05 Couples Who Kill 05:00 Serial Killers 05:55 Crime Scene Psychics 06:20 Ghost Lab 07:10 Real Emergency Calls 08:00 Mystery Diagnosis 08:50 Real Emergency Calls 09:40 Forensic Detectives 10:30 Solved 11:20 Murder Shift 12:10 FBI Files 13:00 Ghost Lab 13:50 Disappeared 14:40 Mystery Diagnosis 15:30 Real Emergency Calls 16:20 Murder Shift 17:10 Forensic Detectives 18:00 Solved 18:50 FBI Files 19:40 Mystery Diagnosis 20:30 Real Emergency Calls 21:20 Ghost Lab 22:10 Disappeared 23:00 Serial Killers 23:50 FBI Case Files

00:30 Dennis The Menace 00:45 Nancy Drew 01:10 The Hardy Boys 01:30 Inspector Gadget 02:00 Heathcliff Marathon 07:00 Dennis The Menace 07:25 Beverly Hills Teen Club 07:45 Pelswick 08:00 Programmes Start At 8:00pm KSA 20:00 Sonic Underground 20:20 Dino Squad 20:45 The Future Is Wild 21:10 Rescue Heroes 21:30 Ace Lightning 22:00 Even Stevens 22:25 Sabrina The Animated Series 22:50 Tales From The Cryptkeeper 23:10 Rescue Heroes 23:35 Ace Lightning

01:25 Network 08:30 Where Angels Fear To Tread 10:20 Spellbinder 12:00 The Aviator 13:35 Nothing Personal 15:15 Shag 16:55 The 70’s

Forever Strong on Super Movies 18:55 Whales Of August 20:25 Once Upon A Crime 22:00 Frankie And Johnny 23:25 American Heart

PG15 18:00 Trainwreck: My Life As An Idiot-18 20:00 Mr. Woodcock-18 22:00 Magicians-18

00:00 Two And A Half Men 00:30 The Simpsons 01:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:30 The Colbert Report 02:00 Entourage 02:30 Curb Your Enthusiasm 03:00 Saturday Night Live (Uncut) 04:30 Entourage 05:00 Curb Your Enthusiasm 05:30 Dharma And Greg 06:00 Hope And Faith 06:30 The Drew Carey Show 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 The Simpsons 08:30 Dharma And Greg 09:00 Hope And Faith 09:30 The Drew Carey Show 10:00 Will And Grace 10:30 Better Off Ted 11:00 Dharma And Greg 11:30 Hope And Faith 12:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 13:00 The Simpsons 13:30 Dharma And Greg 14:00 Hope And Faith 14:30 Two And A Half Men 15:00 Better Off Ted 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 The Drew Carey Show 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 The Simpsons 18:30 Will And Grace 19:00 Better Off Ted 19:30 Two And A Half Men 20:00 How To Make It In America 20:30 How To Make It In America 21:00 The Daily Show Global Edition 21:30 The Colbert Report Global Edition 22:00 Comedy Central Presents 22:30 Comedy Central Presents 23:00 The Cleveland Show 23:30 Better Off Ted

00:00 Babar: King Of The ElephantsFAM 02:00 Velveteen Rabbit-FAM 04:00 The Tale Of Despereaux-PG 06:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 08:00 Barbie In A Fashion Fairytale-FAM 10:00 The Tale Of Despereaux-PG 12:00 Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs-FAM 14:00 Velveteen Rabbit-FAM 16:00 Franklin And The Green KnightFAM 18:00 Au Pair 3: Adventure In ParadisePG 20:00 Yogi’s Great Escape-PG 22:00 Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs-FAM

00:00 Stuart: A Life Backwards-18 02:00 Genova-PG15 04:00 Eva-PG15 06:00 Four Christmases-PG15 08:00 Ambrose Bierce: Civil War StoriesPG15 10:00 Mee Shee-PG 12:00 Morning Light-PG 14:00 Beyond A Reasonable Doubt-PG15 16:00 Ambrose Bierce: Civil War StoriesPG15 18:00 Alice In Wonderland-PG 20:00 Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead-18 22:00 Man On Wire-PG15

01:00 Lakeview Terrace-PG15 03:00 The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day-18 05:00 Red Sands-18 07:00 Ice Twisters-PG15 09:00 Behind Enemy Lines: ColombiaPG15 11:00 Ghost Town (TV Movie)-18 13:00 Bionicle: The Legend RebornPG15 15:00 Behind Enemy Lines: ColombiaPG15 17:00 Hellboy II: The Golden ArmyPG15 19:00 Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground-18 21:00 American Dragons-PG15 23:00 Alatriste-PG15

00:00 Welcome Home Roscoe JenkinsPG15 02:00 Callback-PG15 04:00 Dirty Work-PG15 06:00 I Spy-PG 08:00 The First $20 Million Is Always The Hardest-PG15 10:00 Americanizing Shelly-PG 12:00 Three And Out-PG15 14:00 Down To You-PG15 16:00 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins-

00:00 C.S.I. New York 01:00 Kings 02:00 The Martha Stewart Show 03:00 House 04:00 The View 05:00 Downsize Me 06:00 Emmerdale 06:30 Coronation Street 07:00 House 08:00 The Martha Stewart Show 09:00 Downsize Me 10:00 House 11:00 The View 12:00 Emmerdale 12:30 Coronation Street 13:00 The Martha Stewart Show 14:00 C.S.I. New York 15:00 Kings 16:00 What’s Good For You 17:00 The View 18:00 Emmerdale 18:30 Coronation Street 19:00 C.S.I. Miami 20:00 Desperate Housewives 21:00 Heroes 22:00 The View 23:00 What’s Good For You

03:00 IRB Sevens 06:00 World Sport 06:30 ICC Cricket World 07:00 Pool Mosconi Cup 12:00 UK Championship Snooker 16:00 Spirit of a Equestrian 16:30 Spirit of Yachting 17:00 European Challenge Cup 19:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 20:00 ICC Cricket World 20:30 Live Goals On Monday 21:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 22:00 Scottish Premier League

03:00 UK Championship Snooker 07:00 European PGA Tour 11:30 European Challenge Cup 13:30 IRB Sevens 16:30 Mosconi Cup Pool 21:30 Spirit of Equestrian 22:00 Spirit of Yachting 22:30 European PGA Tour Highlights 23:30 UK Championship Snooker

02:00 WWE Smackdown 04:00 WWE Bottom Line 05:00 WWE NXT 06:00 WWE Vintage Collection 07:00 WWE Bottom Line 08:00 FIM World Cup 08:30 Full Throttle 09:00 UAE National Race Day 10:00 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge 11:00 V8 Supercars Championship 12:00 V8 Supercars Championship 13:00 FIA GT1 World Championship 14:30 Full Throttle 15:00 WWE Smackdown 17:00 UFC124 Prelims 18:00 UFC 124 21:00 UFC Unleashed

01:15 The Stepfather-18 03:00 Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal-PG15 05:00 2012: Startling New Secret-PG 07:00 Flirting Wth Flamenco-PG15 09:00 Forever Strong-PG 11:00 2012: Startling New Secret-PG 13:00 Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The DinosaursFAM 15:00 Aliens In The Attic-FAM 17:00 Forever Strong-PG 19:00 Mama I Want To Sing-PG 21:00 The Stoning Of Soraya M.-18 23:00 The Last Station-PG15

00:15 Pawn Stars 00:40 MysteryQuest 01:30 Nostradamus Effect 02:20 The Universe 03:10 How the Earth Was Made 04:00 America: The Story of the US 04:55 Life After People 05:50 Pawn Stars 06:40 MysteryQuest 07:30 Nostradamus Effect 08:20 The Universe 09:10 How the Earth Was Made 10:00 America: The Story of the US 10:55 Life After People 11:50 Pawn Stars 12:40 Declassified 13:30 Nostradamus Effect 14:20 The Universe 15:10 How the Earth Was Made 16:00 America: The Story of the US 16:55 Life After People 17:50 Pawn Stars 18:40 Declassified 19:30 Nostradamus Effect 20:20 The Universe 21:10 How the Earth Was Made 22:00 Life After People 22:55 The Universe 23:50 Dogfights

Fashion 00:00 Special Weekend 00:25 Special Weekend 00:45 Fashion Week 01:00 Top Brands 01:30 Backstage 02:00 Midnite Haute 03:00 Swimwear 03:30 Hair And Make Up 03:45 Models 04:00 F Floor 04:30 Lingerie 05:00 Fashion Week 05:30 Now In Store 06:00 Photographers Night 06:30 Models 07:00 Top Brands 07:30 Fashion Destination 08:00 Ftv Breakfast 08:30 Ftv Breakfast 10:00 I See It First 10:30 Ftv Breakfast 11:00 Hair And Make Up 11:30 Fashion Destination 11:45 Fall/Winter 12:00 F Men 13:00 Fashion Week 13:30 Backstage 14:00 Designers 14:30 First Face 14:45 Global Fashion 15:00 Top Brands 15:30 Backstage 16:00 Focus On Designers 16:30 Focus On Designers 17:00 Models Talk 17:30 Global Fashion 17:45 Models 18:00 I See It First 18:30 Now In Store 19:00 Focus On Models 19:30 Fashion Destination 20:00 Top Brands 20:30 Designers 20:45 Hair And Make Up 21:00 Focus On Models 21:30 Now In Store 22:00 F Men 22:30 Fall/Winter 22:45 Tendances 23:30 First Face

Monday, December 13, 2010

33 tact: 97669236 (24315927 after 5pm). (C 2987) 13-12-2010

ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available for a couple or a decent bachelor (non-smoking) with a Christian couple in Abbassiya from 3rd January 2011. Contact: 99378344 / 24332105. (C 2986) Accommodation available for a decent couple/small family or two bachelors non-smoking/non-drinking in a two bedroom flat in Abbassiya with kitchen, local phone, A/C & other facilities, from Jan 1. Con-

Separate room available in a C-A/C flat in Farwaniya behind Arbid building. Call 97245851. (C 2981) 12-12-2010 Accommodation available for a small family / ladies / decent bachelors in a two bedroom, 2 bathroom flat in Abbassiya between Paradise Hotel and Queenʼs Beauty Parlor from Dec 24. Please contact: 90034820 / 66558927. (C 2973) Single room available in a

C-A/C flat in Maliya, Kuwait City behind U.T.C for single executive Indian bachelor or spinster. Rent KD 80. Call: 65900575. (C 2974) 9-12-2010

aluminum slippery control automatic and manual mode, 54000 km, KD 4100, 24 valve. Tel: 66212507. (C 2984) 13-12-2010

Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya for one or two working ladies or married couple with Keralite family. Contact: 66013882. (C 2970)

Toyota Corolla 1.6, model 2009, color white, excellent condition, km done 25000, cash price KD 3,550. Contact: 66211779. (C 2980) 12-12-2010 Prado V6 2007 model CD with wooden interior alloy wheels, white color. Phone: 55605233. (C 2978) 11-12-2010

FOR SALE Chevrolet Lumina 2008 blue, rear wheel drive, electrical seat eruse control 16”

CHANGE OF NAME I, Jeronimo Marcelo, holder of Indian Passport No. E 5349188 hereby change my name as Jeronimo Marcelos. 13-12-2010 I, Shaik Shakeel Ahmed s/o Shaik Emam Sab holding Indian Passport No. G 1349697 permanent resident of 22-7-269 B-1, Noor Mahal Complex, Dewan Devdi, Hyderabad - 500002 at present working and residing in Kuwait have changed my name to SHAIK AAQIL AHMED for all purposes. (C 2982) 12-12-2010 I, Mohammed Ziaur Rehman holder of Indian Passport No. H1118356, hereby change my name to SHAIKH MOHAMED ZIAUR REHMAN. (C 2976) I, Nafees Ansari holder of Indian Passport No. H0869371, hereby change my name to NAFEES AHMAD KHALIL AHMAD. (C 2975) 11-12-2010

MATRIMONIAL Keralite (Ernakulam Dist) Hindu/Ezhava parents living in Kuwait invite proposals for their daughter 26/150cm B.Arch from professionally qualified well placed NRI


Ezhava boys. Email: (C 2972) Orthodox parents invite proposals for their son 27/180, fair, B.Tech (course completed) working in Kuwait, from parents of girls working in Kuwait. Contact email: (C 2979) 12-12-2010


Accountant (male), 10 years experience (2 years Kwt), Accounts up to Finalization, Bank Reconciliation, Inventory, Cash, Creditors and Debtors Management, good knowledge in Tally, Oracle, M.S. Office. Tel: 65990299. (C 2977) 13-12-2010


No: 14937

Required English speaking maid / nanny. Please call: 99824597. (C 2983) Required cook for house, good experience, good knowledge of all kind of food, full time, good salary + accommodation. Call: 23901053 / 666519719. (C 2985) Small Indian family requires maid preferably Indian, Nepalese, Indonesian, Ethiopian. English speaking, good cook, good household work, experienced baby-sitter. Contact: 66014855, Fax: 24839128, E-mail: (C 2989) 12-12-2010


In case you are not travelling, your proper cancellation of bookings will help other passengers to use seats Arrival Flights on Monday 13/12/2010


































































































































Departure Flights on Monday 13/12/2010 Flt Route






































































































































































































































































































































































































































Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (


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Monday, December 13, 2010



Aries (March 21-April 19) You may find it a bit hard to organize or push your own ideas today. Everything may seem as though it is falling apart or coming unglued. Be patient and let the chaos dissipate. Clashes are possible with an older person but only if you become involved in the dispute. Remember, everyone is entitled to personal ideas. Perhaps you could just listen and be most inspiring in that way. Follow through on a promise that you made earlier. This could be a great day for thinking and ideas. You have plenty of mentors and can provide much comfort to those that just want to talk. You may want to explore a few ideas later today. Also, perhaps a short trip or a special phone call is in order. This time the conversation is in a sharing mode. You have a loving spirit. Taurus (April 20-May 20) You will benefit from taking an inward direction, turning away from the outward world a bit and allowing new ideas and information to filter through. Accepting compliments from someone is usually a nice experience--this time is no exception. Someone you do not know flatters you on your preferences or possessions. Keeping an eye on your money, you shop to fill the refrigerator with some of your familyís favorite foods today. You may find it very easy to enjoy and value your own life circumstances or to feel especially kind towards a friend or loved one. This evening is a good time to think and study--you have a liking for new ideas. You may find yourself engrossed in a long conversation, writing a letter or making a special phone call.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. Contemptuous name for a Black man who is abjectly servile and deferential to Whites. 4. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 9. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 13. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 14. Appeal or request earnestly. 15. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 16. A Hindu prince or king in India. 18. Being ten more than one hundred forty. 19. A major European river carrying more traffic than any other river in the world. 20. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 22. The compass point midway between south and southeast. 23. An ancient upright stone slab bearing markings. 26. Cook and make edible by putting in a hot oven. 29. American professional baseball player who hit more home runs than Babe Ruth (born in 1934). 32. God of fire. 33. Before noon. 35. A gradual decline (in size or strength or power or number). 36. (Sumerian) Goddess personifying earth. 37. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 38. The cry made by sheep. 40. Consisting of or made of wood of the oak tree. 41. Alsatian artist and poet who was cofounder of Dadaism in Zurich. 43. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 44. (astronomy) The angular distance of a celestial point measured westward along the celestial equator from the zenith crossing. 46. A motley assortment of things. 49. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 53. A doctor's degree in musical arts. 56. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 57. A quantity of no importance. 60. Large burrowing rodent of South and Central America. 61. A narrow elongated opening or fissure between two symmetrical parts. 62. Small arboreal tropical American insectivorous lizards with the ability to change skin color. 64. (informal) Roused to anger. 65. An official language of the Republic of South Africa. 66. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 67. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. A three-tone Chadic language. 2. Large elliptical brightly colored deep-sea fish of Atlantic and Pacific and Mediterranean. 3. Type genus of the Majidae. 4. Enlarged prostate. 5. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 6. Of or like a cecum. 7. A high-crowned black cap (usually made of felt or sheepskin) worn by men in Turkey and Iran and the Caucasus. 8. A public promotion of some product or service. 9. Hormone secreted by the posterior pituitary gland (trade name Pitressin) and also by nerve endings in the hypothalamus. 10. Conqueror of Gaul and master of Italy (100-44 BC). 11. Wading birds of warm regions having long slender down-curved bills. 12. A native or inhabitant of Denmark. 17. A descent down a nearly vertical surface by using a doubled rope that is coiled around the body and attached to some higher point. 21. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 24. Alternatively, a member of the family Nymphaeaceae. 25. A metabolic acid found in yeast and liver cells. 27. Any culture medium that uses agar as the gelling agent. 28. Strike sharply. 30. An endorsement. 31. (Babylonian) A goddess of the watery deep and daughter of Ea. 34. A flat-bottomed volcanic crater that was formed by an explosion. 39. The trait of lacking restraint or control. 40. A public promotion of some product or service. 42. A light touch or stroke. 45. A clique that seeks power usually through intrigue. 47. The basic unit of electric current adopted under the System International d'Unites. 48. Tropical tree of Central America and West Indies and Puerto Rico having spikes of white flowers. 50. An elaborate song for solo voice. 51. A Tibetan or Mongolian priest of Lamaism. 52. Type genus of the Anatidae. 53. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 54. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 55. An informal term for a father. 58. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 59. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 63. (Akkadian) God of wisdom.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) This is a great day with lots of energy. This is the day to start new projects or push forward with those projects already begun. You may enjoy a sense of creating your own opportunities. You may decide to do volunteer work in a children’s clinic. You could answer phones, file, log in medicines and donations, run errands or prepare information packets on those important immunizations. Diet and exercise somehow mean more now, as you just want to feel good about yourself and the way that you do things. A sense of belonging to something bigger than the merely personal becomes a greater focus in your life. You attach a lot of importance to friendships and you enjoy taking part in a group celebration this evening.

Non Sequitur

Cancer (June 21-July 22)Some frustrations could exist at home but they disappear quickly. There are many things for your family to experience today and it might be a good idea to write the choices of activities down on separate pieces of paper and have them draw or choose. Divide them into two jars; one marked responsibilities and the other jar marked wishes. Divide the responsibilities evenly, even if it is not a thing you or someone else usually does and then pull out a number of wishes. Now, a fun day has been created. Mysteries and arguments and difficultendless-tasks have come to an end. Now you have cooperation and laughter throughout the whole day. Learning and passing on to others what you have learned or experienced will keep the doors of communication open. Leo (July 23-August 22) Family, home and the other connections in your life give you a sense of mission now. There is growth and gain through these things. This is generally a fruitful period for real estate investments. Seeking advice with this subject would be good. Knowledge and communicating take care of a natural need to learn. You should benefit appreciably from allowing your unique qualities to grow. Some new solutions to problems that may have confounded you before now may become evident at this time. A new idea or invention comes to your attention that will make someone’s life in your family much easier; some sort of easy open can opener would be convenient for those that do not see well. Your dreams can become your next reality.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) You will flourish by pursuing your dreams of how life could be. Don’t be afraid to create a plan and see the completed project--make those dreams real. An increased need to be nurtured is a larger than usual element in your life. You could be feeling the need to care for others or to have them care for you, possibly on a public as opposed to private level. This may be the beginning of some volunteer opportunity. You enjoy viewing and showing off the older parts of your city and may decide to join a heritage guild. You enjoy teaching about the historic buildings, music, food, crafts and exhibits. These things reflect the process of growth to todayís lifestyle in your city. You might enjoy being a tour guide for your city after you retire or on weekends.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Libra (September 23-October 22) Your days at home have been quiet lately and this is another good Monday to relax and prepare for the week ahead. This morning you enjoy friends and a gathering at religious services. Lunch could be served after the services or a group of you may decide to go to a restaurant for the noon meal. Work, achievement and ambition are all things that mean a great deal to you and this time of relaxation gives you renewed energy with the enthusiasm you need to return to work next week with fresh ideas and fresh energy. A bookstore with lots of used books is a great place to spend the afternoon. Quiet time this evening may consist of soaking in a hot tub of water with special care to the feet. Share a massage with a loved one and embrace the good times. Scorpio (October 23-November 21) A friend or associate may come to you for help in working through some issues that are very personal. Being in a position to understand allows you to help resolve some potentially explosive subject matter. You are able to cut to the chase and get at what lies beneath and behind the problem. The secret to successfully helping this person is to step away from the approval mode and help with the facts instead. Decisions are easily made when we know the facts. Your friendship is valued. You might consider volunteer work that would serve as a court-appointed advocate for a child in protective placement or in a disputed custody case. You would be very good at investigation and recommendations surrounding the best interest of young people. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) This would be an ideal time for surrounding yourself with friends and young people and for having a good time. You are comfortable with your particular situation and enjoy support from those around you. It may be that time of the year, when you and your friends visit each other just to see the decorations at each other’s homes and enjoy the afternoon. Perhaps the visits will begin in one home and progress to others for what is called a progressive dinner party. The end would be for dessert and a hot drink and opening gift packages, if appropriate. You should be feeling very healthy and ready for most any activity. It is difficult to connect with peers when one is not focused. This current activity is perfect for nurturing friendships.

Yesterday’s Solution


Yesterday’s Solution


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

Damascus Allepo Tunisia Rabat Washington New York Paris London Madrid Zurich Geneva Monaco Rome Bangkok

0096311 0096321 0021610 002127 001212 001718 00331 004471 00341 00411 004122 0033 00396 00662

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You are revered for your ability to make commonsense decisions that affect others. You just somehow know what the community wants and needs. Being adopted or knowing someone that is adopted, or just enjoying the company of young people, creates the desire to volunteer your Sunday afternoons to a pregnancy and adoption center in or near your town. You could be helpful in the outreach and intervention program for adolescents. You might also help to sort and tag clothing items, organize the shop, design window arrangements and perform cashier duties for the thrift shop. You are good at getting your message over to others and may be called upon to do just that. Your timing is perfect when it comes to being helpful for others.

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

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Fondness and appreciation for the past and for your roots in life take on a greater meaning and importance for you now. Distant family members may be visiting from a distant land. Research goes into finding a family crest or in finding a gift that will help keep the memories of this time fresh. Making your home situation most pleasant and attractive plays a part in this. Of course, the sale or purchase of real estate could bring you much gain before this cycle is through; if you are looking to sell your home. You may find it easy to enjoy or value your own life situation today or you could find yourself feeling especially kind-hearted toward a friend or loved one. A visitor in your home pays you a nice compliment on your preferences.

Word Sleuth Solution

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Today should find you with the ability to take charge and tackle tasks that require real discipline and organization. You may, however, have some serious or contemplative moments. Family members or friends may have to call out your name, if they want to get you to respond to their words. By this afternoon, you will have completed all your tasks. There is a lot of motivation to help the younger members with their tasks. Someone passing by your house may get the feeling of a party instead of work. You have an opportunity to join up with others in a few cultural activities this afternoon. You enjoy meeting a variety of people. There could be a museum, art gallery or very large flea market/charity drive today. Laughter and music is easy to find.


Monday, December 13, 2010

35 FIRE BRIGADE Operation Room 112 Al-Madena 22418714 Al-Shohada始a 22545171 Al-Shuwaikh 24810598 Al-Nuzha 22545171 Sabhan 24742838 Al-Helaly 22434853 Al-Fayhaa 22545051 Al-Farwaniya 24711433 Al-Sulaibikhat 24316983 Al-Fahaheel 23927002 Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh 24316983 Ahmadi 23980088 Al-Mangaf 23711183 Al-Shuaiba 23262845 Al-Jahra 25610011 Al-Salmiya 25616368

Ministry of Interior website:

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


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Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


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Adan Hospital


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Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital

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

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North Jahra


North Jleeb














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


PHARMACY Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

PHONE 23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638


Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554


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

25622444 25752222 25321171 25739999 25757700 25732223 25732223

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

22434064 22435865 22544200 22547133 22515277 22616662 25714406 22530801

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari Dr. Abdel Quttainah

22617700 25625030/60

Family Doctor: Dr Divya Damodar 23729596/23729581

Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr.

Zahra Qabazard Sohail Qamar Snaa Maaroof Pradip Gujare Zacharias Mathew

25710444 22621099 25713514 23713100 24334282

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

Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer 22610044 Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher 25327148

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

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

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

25655535 Dentists:

Dr Anil Thomas


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed


Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari



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

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

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

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


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


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


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


Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr


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

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

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INTERNATIONAL CALLS Afghanistan Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antiga Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia Botswana Brazil Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Congo Cook Islands Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Cyprus (Northern) Czech Republic Denmark Diego Garcia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England (UK)

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Monday, December 13, 2010

icole Richie and Joel Madden tied the knot in a lavish ceremony on Saturday night. The couple who have been dating for four years and have two children, Harlow, two, and 15-month-old Sparrow, together - said their vows in front of 130 close friends and family at Nicole’s father Lionel Richie’s vast Beverly Hills estate. With Joel’s twin brother and fellow Good Charlotte rocker Benji Madden reportedly assuming the role of best man, it is believed one particularly unusual guest was in attendance at the nuptials. According to gossip website Radar Online, a trained elephant named Tai was spotted being led into the estate prior to the wedding. Meanwhile, DJ Samantha Ronson was bridesmaid, while several high-profile close


rad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s relationship has been transformed by couples’ yoga. The Hollywood stars - who raise six children together, Maddox, nine, Pax, seven, Zahara, five, Shiloh, four, and two-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne - have been working with Indian spiritual teacher Guru Ram Lalji to bring harmony to their five-year union. A source told Now magazine: “They’ve been practicing his Siddha yoga and they start and end the day by chanting a sacred word he’s given them. “It’s transformed their relationship - they’ve both cut back on drinking and no longer argue.” Brad and Angelina are not the only couple to practice yoga together. It was recently revealed that David and Victoria Beckham have developed an interest in the relaxation technique and attend regular sessions together. A source said: “Victoria and David do power yoga classes for couples for an hour about twice a week. “It’s a very intimate experience. You have to learn to become one entity entirely. You stretch, breathe and move as one - it’s great for couples and probably better than talking in a way. “They started taking the classes about a year ago and it’s astonishing how in tune with each other they are these days.”


ir Elton John’s drug habit nearly killed him. The legendary musician - who has battled alcohol and cocaine addictions, as well as the eating disorder bulimia in the past - admitted his “tragic” life come “very close” to ending at the height of his drug problem. When asked how close his addictions came to killing him, Elton replied: “Very close. I mean, I would have an epileptic seizure and turn blue, and people would find me on the floor and put me to bed, and then 40 minutes later I’d be snorting another line. “This is how bleak it was, I’d stay up, I’d smoke joints, and then I’d stay up for three days and then I’d go to sleep for a day and a half, get up, and because I was so hungry, because I hadn’t eaten anything,


I’d binge and have like three bacon sandwiches, a pot of ice cream and then I’d throw it up, because I became bulimic and then go and do the whole thing all over again. “That is how tragic my life was.” The 63-year-old singer - who suffered from a drug overdose in 1975 admitted despite his vices, he never considered himself to be a drug addict. Speaking to Piers Morgan as part of his ‘Life Stories’ series, Elton added: “I’m not being flippant when I say that when I look back I shudder at the behavior and what I was doing to myself. It just takes over your whole psyche, this stuff. “I never considered myself a drug addict, I thought drug addicts were people who stuck needles in their arms. And I was the biggest junkie there was.”

helsea Handler has branded Angelina Jolie “insincere”. The ‘Chelsea Lately’ host - who branded the ‘Tourist’ star a “homewrecker” last week - has again hit out at the actress, admitting she wouldn’t want to spend time in her company. Chelsea - a close friend of Jennifer Aniston, the ex-wife of Angelina’s partner Brad Pitt - said: “I’m not a fan. She just doesn’t come off to me as a sincere woman. She seems like a woman that you’d really want to avoid.” While Chelsea has nothing good to say about Angelina, she was full of praise for her friend Jennifer. She told America’s Glamour magazine: “Jennifer Aniston makes me laugh. She sends me really, really funny emails. She’s hilarious and irreverent.” Though the comic was criticized for her foul-mouthed tirade against Angelina, the 35-year-old star insists she has some limits when it comes to writing her jokes. She explained: “I think talking about children and their looks is not nice. Like, unattractive children. I don’t do that. And I don’t talk about people who are dying. I think that’s inappropriate.”


olin Firth’s latest role was a “physical battle”. The 50-year-old actor stars in ‘The King’s Speech’ as King George VI and found playing the stammering monarch made him so tense he suffered from headaches and trapped nerves, putting him in a “semi-paralysis”. On playing someone so emotionally fragile, he said: “Some part of you goes there. I try to play it as the character would be experiencing it, which is to try not to do it. The sheer physical effort that requires had an effect on my whole body, and while shooting ‘The King’s Speech’ I suffered from headaches. “Playing the role would put my left arm to sleep. I must have been tensing, particularly if I had long speeches. I must have been locking someone, pinching a nerve, because I couldn’t use it properly. It was a semi-paralysis that would last for three or four days. “So I found myself in a physical battle.” Colin also found after spending so long portraying someone with a stammer, he found the vocal tic surfacing when he spoke away from filming. He added: “Even now I find myself stammering. Every time I talk about it, I am in danger of losing my flow.”


s well as romancing fellow singer Selena Gomez - who is two years his senior - the 16-year-old pop star is also getting close with That’s So Raven star Jasmine Villegas. The pair had a secret meeting in Atlanta in November and were spotted kissing in September, and both girls now think they are the teen heartthrob’s girlfriend. An insider told The Sun newspaper: ‘Justin and Jasmine have been closer than they have let on for some time. ‘He turned up on her video shoot and they were kissing and cuddling. She refers to him as her boyfriend. She also went to Atlanta to visit him. ‘But Selena seems to think she’s his girlfriend too. She’s been gushing about him to her friends - and they had this cute breakfast date in Philadelphia this week. ‘Justin could take his pick of the world’s teenage girls - and he’s loving it. Two older women on the go aged 16 is pretty impressive stuff.’ Earlier this week Magic singer Selena revealed she ‘loved’ Justin. Discussing her closeness with him, she said: ‘I love him, he’s one of my best friends. I would do anything for that kid.’


friends, including Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Kris Jenner and music legend Quincy Jones who is also Nicole’s godfather also saw the couple marry. However, the 29-year-old star’s former best friend Paris Hilton with whom she famously had a well-documented spat in 2005 was reportedly nowhere to be seen at the nuptials. Nicole who is believed to have worn a custom-made Marchesa gown was said to be keen to ensure her wedding was only attended by the couple’s “closest friends and family”. An insider told People magazine: “They wanted an Old Hollywood, glamorous feel to their wedding. They went all-out with the decor. Nicole wanted a memorable, elegant affair for only their closest friends and family on their special day.”

ixie Lott thinks drug takers are “losers”. The ‘Gravity’ hitmaker is amazed at how easy it is to buy illegal substances but insists she has no desire to experiment with mild-altering narcotics. She said: “It’s crazy nowadays because there are drugs everywhere. And not just in the industry. So going to a party and doing drugs isn’t a symbol of success to me. It’s the opposite. It’s actually really loserish.” “I’ve had so many opportunities where I could’ve done it but it simply doesn’t appeal.” However, although she would never consider taking drugs Pixie admitted she loves to have a few drinks with her friends. She told The Times newspaper: “Alcohol? Yes I drink with my friends. I think if you’ve got alcohol, I don’t see the need to do anything else.” Although the 19-year-old singer does want to set a good example for her fans, she also thinks it is important to be a normal teenager. She explained: “I wouldn’t want to put a bad example across to the fans. Neither do I want to portray a fake squeakyclean image. I’m just trying to be natural and show what it’s like growing up and then the fans can relate to you.” — Bang Showbiz



Monday, December 13, 2010

Army veteran Raquel Ramirez of Long Beach, models African fashion. — MCT photos

By Alexandra Zavis ntil two weeks ago, Lindsay Higgins was sleeping on friends’ sofas and park benches. But on Sunday evening, the 25-year-old former soldier donned a swirling black and cream evening gown and sashayed down the runway at an improvised fashion show in Los Alamitos, Calif., celebrating women’s military service. “I felt like I could be a model,” she said, beaming. The event held at the California Wok restaurant was organized by GI Hope and Amvets, which advocate for veterans and help them locate services such as transitional housing, career advice, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. “It’s very important to us that our women veterans feel special, feel beautiful and feel honored,” said Kenya Lawson, who runs GI Hope. As more women serve in combat zones, the number who end up homeless after they leave the military has nearly doubled in the last decade to about 6,500 nationwide, according to the Department of Veterans


Army veteran Leslie Gober of Long Beach, models African fashion.

Affairs. Although they make up about 5 percent of the homeless veteran population, studies have found they are up to four times more likely to lose their homes than their civilian counterparts. Women veterans become homeless for the same reasons as their male counterparts: difficulties adapting to civilian life after the trauma of combat, a tough job market and alcohol and drug addiction. But many have the additional burden of being single parents or recovering from sexual abuse. “Our women veterans deserve to come back and have services there for them, and it is not happening as quickly as we would like,” said Ann Reeder, a women veterans coordinator for Amvets. Higgins said she battled drug addiction and mental health problems after leaving the Army in 2004. She did not know help was available until a friend referred her to the Department of Veterans Affairs. She is now in transitional housing and receiving treatment through the New Directions nonprofit. Theresa Pane, a 50-year-old former Air Force chaplain’s assistant who spent months living in her


Army veteran Lindsay Heggins

van after fleeing an abusive marriage last year, wasn’t sure how she felt about the sparkly blue dress she was asked to model Sunday. “It’s so not me,” she said anxiously. “But blue is my favorite color.” The Greater Light Baptist Church in Santa Ana, Calif., provided the fashions, which ranged from colorful African ensembles to businesslike suits. Hairstylist Traci Garrett, whose ex-husband battled with post-traumatic stress disorder after he was pulled out of a burning vehicle in Iraq, snipped and curled behind a screen. Several dozen veterans and their friends cheered on the models. Proceeds from the event will go toward housing female veterans and building their self-esteem, the organizers said. GI Hope is trying to raise $500,000 over the next year to open a housing complex for homeless female veterans and their families. “A lot of them have lost custody of their kids and in order to regain custody, they need a permanent address,” Lawson said. She is already planning the next show, which will take place in May. — MCT

Army veteran Lindsay Heggins gets her hair done by volunteer hair stylist Traci Garrett before the Women’s Veterans Fashion Show.

By Michael Thurston ichael Jackson fans will this week finally get their hands on the pop icon’s first record since he died, with huge sales expected despite lukewarm reviews and questions over its authenticity.”Michael,” due out tomorrow in the United States, comprises 10 songs the King of Pop was at various stages of completing when he died last year, and includes contributions from rapper 50 Cents, Lenny Kravitz and US singer Akon. Two tracks have already been released online, the first of which-”Breaking News,” a fierce protest at how the media hounded the scandal-tainted singer-sparked a fierce debate over whether it was really Jackson’s voice. Record company Sony-which plans to release a series of new Jackson albums-was forced to defend the album after fans and even some of Jackson’s family members questioned the record’s authenticity.”We have complete confidence in the results of our extensive research as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael that the vocals on the new album are his own,” it said in a statement. Jackson’s sister LaToya said bluntly that the record “doesn’t sound like him.” But more generally, purist Jackson fans question how some of the songs were completed, from material recorded sometimes several years ago. At least one song, “Much Too Soon,” was written at the time of Jackson’s landmark 1982 album “Thriller,” several stem from the time of his last album of new material, 2001’s “Invincible.”The most recent track, “Band of Joy,” stems from the months before Jackson’s shock death in June, 2009 — he planned to keep working on it in London in between a series of sell-out concerts in July and August, producers say. Jackson is credited as writer of all but two of the songs-”Another Day” by Lenny Kravitz and “Hold My Hand” by Akon, and producers are keen to stress how closely they kept to the singer’s original intentions.”While Michael was not there to complete the tracks as only he could, he had left behind a unique roadmap mapping out his creative vision in the form of notes and detailed conversations,” they say in a 10-page media introduction, which spends two pages seeking to justify the album’s authenticity. Pre-release reviews of the new album-reportedly the first of a 10-album deal over seven years, although that is difficult to confirm-have been decidedly mixed.”This is not a Michael Jackson album ... He would not have released anything like this compilation, a grab bag of outtakes and outlines assembled by Jackson’s label,” said Rolling Stone, although calling the album “compelling.”Entertainment Weekly gave it a “B” grade, saying: “As musical epitaphs go, Michael is a solid album, arguably stronger than Invincible and certainly no great affront to his name. “But it can be hard to listen and not wonder what he would have done differently-or if he would have wanted us to hear it at all.”In Britain, music weekly NME’s reviewer said the album was saved by the last two tracks: “Behind the Mask” which he describes as “brilliant” and the Thriller-era ballad “Much Too Soon.”“Oh, it isn’t really very good, don’t be under illusions of that. But compared with the unnecessary, inauthentic and insulting mess it could have been ... ‘Michael’ can actually be considered something of a win,” he says. But, perhaps inevitably, the album is already a bestseller with fans, much like last year’s film “This is It,” made from footage of rehearsals for the London shows. The album-whose cover, in typical Jackson style, depicts him being crowned by cherubs with a biblical-looking star in the backgroundwas number 11 in’s top sellers this weekend, ahead of its actual release. — AFP


Models wear creations from Polish designer Gosia Baczynska’s 2011 women’s collection, presented in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday. — AP



Monday, December 13, 2010

(From Left) American Eve, performs with Congolese Fally Ipupa after winning Best Video Award at the MTV Africa Music Awards in Lagos, Nigeria, Saturday. —AP

ome favourite Nigerian artist 2Face swooped two main awards as South Africa’s legendary singer Miriam Makeba was posthumously honored at the MTV Africa Music Awards on Saturday in Lagos. South African anti-apartheid icon Makeba was posthumously awarded the “Mama Legend” prize after a career at the pinnacle of the continent’s musical scene. 2Face took the Best Group and Best Male awards. Other awards were taken by artists from Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and South Africa. American Eminem won the Best International artist prize. Known as “Mama Africa”, the Grammy-winning Makeba was the musical voice of the fight against whites-only apartheid rule. “Makeba is a true legend and rightly celebrated throughout the world for her beautiful voice, fighting spirit and pioneering interpretation of African music,” said Alex Okosi, managing director of MTV Networks Africa. “Africa is the future. There is a unique tradition on the continent,” said American rapper Chuck D presenting the Makeba award. Makeba, who died aged 76 in November 2008 after a performance in Italy, is famed for hits such as “Pata Pata” and “The Click Song”. She won a Grammy award for Best Folk Recording with US singer Harry Belafonte in 1965. But her music was outlawed in her homeland after she appeared in an anti-apartheid film. The awards ceremony in Nigeria’s commercial capital featured American rapper Rick Ross, as well as a host of top African artists including Fally Ipupa from the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa’s Teargas and Kenya’s P-Unit. Hosted by US hip-hop artist and actress Eve, the event is into its third year and also saw performances from leading Nigerian artists D-Banji and BankyW.—AFP


(From Left) Nigerian singer 2Face shows his Artist of the Year award next to Nigeria’s D’Banji.

Cong o Ipupa lese artist Best V , winner o Fally forms ideo Awar f the d, pe at th Music e MTV Afri rca Awar ds.

Kenya’s Daddy Owen, center, winner of Best Anglophone Video awards, poses on the red carpet at the MTV Africa Music Awards.

Nigerian artist Sasha shows up her Best Female Award.

American Rick Ross performs at the MTV Africa Music Awards.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winners of the MTV Africa • • • • • • • • • •




Best Video : Fally Ipupa “Sexy Dance” (Democratic RCongo) Best Artist : 2Face (Nigeria) Best Anglophone : Daddy Owen (Kenya) Best Lusophone : Cabo Snoop (Angola) Best Francophone : Fally Ipupa (Democratic Republic of Congo) Best Female : Sasha (Nigeria) Best Male : 2Face (Nigeria) Best Song of the year : Liquideep “Fairytale” (South Africa)ʼ Best Group : PSquare (Nigeria) Best International : Eminem (US) — AFP

American hip hop artist Eve, center, performs with African backing singers.


Nigerian artist J Martins gesture while arriving for the MTV Africa Music Awards.

Angolan actress and a contestant on the last season of the reality television show “Big Brother Africa” Tatiana arrives for the MTV Africa Music Awards.

American artist Eve arrives for the MTV Africa Music Awards.

South African group Big Nuz performs at the MTV Africa Music Awards.

American artist TPain, center, performs.

Nigerian artist Nneka arrives for the MTV Africa Music Awards.

South African duo Jozi performs at the MTV Africa Music Awards.

American talk show queen Oprah Winfrey poses in front of the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House on December 11, 2010.—AFP photos

Oprah Winfrey’s friend Gayle King poses at Sydney’s harbor side Botanic Gardens. heering crowds mobbed US talkshow megastar Oprah Winfrey across Sydney yesterday as she conquered her fear of heights to scale the city’s iconic Harbor Bridge and lunched on Bondi Beach. Winfrey, 56, was treated to a glittering harbor front reception when she touched down in Sydney on Saturday, with a dazzling fireworks display capping an evening soiree with her 302-strong US studio audience. The Sydney Harbor Bridge was lit up with a glowing red “O” in her honor, and the television queen climbed to the top with some of her US fans yesterday. “We did it!” Winfrey exclaimed to hundreds of fans who had gathered for hours beneath the bridge to catch a glimpse of her, with one fan reduced to tears when she was rewarded with a wave from the star.”Oh she’s so beautiful, it’s unbelievable,” the woman wept.”She’s the queen and Elvis is the king and all I have to do is meet him now.” Similar scenes greeted Winfrey’s entourage at Bondi Beach, where she enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the famous Icebergs restaurant, enthusing that the pea salad was so delicious she’d begged the head chef for his recipe.”It’s one of the best locations I’ve ever experienced,” she said of Bondi’s sparkling waves, where a group of her “Ultimate


Oprah Winfrey (C/R) interacts with her guests at the harbor side Botanic Gardens.

By George Jahn alfway through another 12-hour day, Narcisa Tranca scrubs the floor, one eye on her infant son and her thoughts on the tasks ahead: cleaning, cooking, feeding the pigs and chickens. Forced to abandon big dreams and marry at 15, this has been her life for the past seven years, locked in a joyless union she has come to accept. On the outskirts of Bucharest, the teeming capital to the west of this drab village, younger sister Claudia takes a break from her English homework. She is in her last year of high school and preparing for college, where she plans to study languages. Asked about marriage, the straight-A student giggles, shrugs, and says: “There’s time.” Though separated by only four years and a two-hour drive, Narcisa, 22, and Claudia, 18, are worlds apart. Their lives represent more than a tale of two gifted sisters going separate ways. They are Gypsies. Their story reflects creeping change within Europe’s downtrodden minority. They offer a glimmer of hope that coming generations of girls may be allowed to choose education rather than early marriage, empowering them to escape squalor on the fringes of society. “I was wrong,” says Marcel Tranca, when asked about his decision to force his daughter Narcisa into marriage. Looking at Claudia, he adds: “But I learned from that mistake.” Among Gypsies, or Roma, marrying young is a tradition born of the need to survive in an environment where young women were fair game for non-Roma men. Romanian Roma, in particular, turned to early marriage during 500 years of slavery that ended only in the 19th century. Married girls were less likely to be raped by their owners, a fate that turned Roma girls and their children into outcasts wanted neither by the “white” nor Roma society. No statistics exist on the number of underage girls forced into illegal marriage-like arrangements among Eastern Europe’s more than 5 million Roma. But a 2008 Romanian report said 55 percent of female Gypsies had their first pregnancy while under 18 compared to 14 percent of non-Gypsy Romanians. Recent reports of a Roma girl who gave birth in Spain at age 10 may have been overblown; neighbors from her Roma community said she was at least 13. Still, dozens of documented examples over the past decade of Roma girls being “married off” at 12 or 13 indicate that such cases are no rarity in the Gypsy world. Figures on schooling also show Roma at a huge disadvantage. A 2006 United Nations Development Program survey on Roma in Southeastern Europe showed that two of three Roma in the region do not complete primary school, and two of five do not even start school. One in four was illiterate, and just 8 percent had completed secondary school or above. In the recent past, many Roma kids had no chance even if their parents favored education for them. In the Czech Republic, Slovakia and elsewhere they were sometimes put into schools for the mentally handicapped on the basis of


race alone, a practice that is now changing only after massive international outrage. Criticism of discrimination against Roma has been amplified by recent expulsions of Gypsies from France. But beyond the prejudices, rigid attitudes toward education and marriage also play their role in trapping Roma in their cycle of hardship. Still, a ray of hope is offered by girls like Claudia. And there are signs that Gypsy attitudes toward education are fitfully evolving. There were 109,000 Gypsies attending Romanian schools in 1990; now there are between 238,000 and 260,000, according to the Education Ministry. The increase is larger than the rise in the Gypsy population. A poll by Gallup and the Roma Education Fund released last year showed about 1,420 Roma students enrolled in 2006 in

Australian Adventure” participants were learning to surf.”We did this to get over the bridge climb,” the talkshow host joked with reporters. Crowds mobbed Winfrey’s convoy as it passed, packing the scorching streets outside the Bondi restaurant hoping for a smile or wave. Winfrey has received a rock star welcome since arriving in Australia on Wednesday, with more than 8,000 fans

prosperous livestock traders in Udupu who spent much of their lives on the road, needed someone who would take over household duties and start giving them grandchildren. With the blessing of both households, a cousin brought Marin to meet Narcisa in Bucharest. A dowry of $2,000 for Narcisa changed hands sometime between the first of four brief meetings and their wedding seven months later. The ceremony was a feast reported back then by The Associated Press: Diesel fumes mingled with the smell of barbecue at the Corina truck stop restaurant outside Bucharest. Roused by frenetic clarinet licks, the dancing crowd pumped fists into the air and swayed to Gypsy folk, an eclectic mix of Romanian pop and traditional Roma music. ‘Long live my husband.’ ‘I’ve got the perfect wife,’ the sweat-drenched

gathering to hear her speak in Melbourne, and crowds staking out locations she is known to be visiting. The star’s tour Down Under is her talkshow’s first foray out of North America, and she has jetted from the Great Barrier Reef and desert monolith Uluru to Sydney and Melbourne. She is due to take a cruise of Sydney Harbor today before shooting two open-

Fireworks explode in Sydney harbor in front of the Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge.

house,’ said Marin, who dropped out of elementary school after fourth grade. ‘She’ll be busy with housework.’ Fast forward seven years to Udupu, where horse-drawn carts vie for right of way with cars on the rutted road bisecting the village. Chicken scratch the dirt in the yard of Narcisa’s home, and pigs squeal in the background. Narcisa stands Madonna-like in her drafty kitchen holding her 18month-old son, her two daughters 6 and 4 huddled around her. With her delicately modeled face and figure, she still looks more the child forced to wed in 2003 than the young woman now working hard for her children, her husband, and her rough-hewn in-laws. Husband Marin smiles when asked about his marriage, but his eyes reflect wariness. “Of course we discuss things. She has her say in run-

singer wailed. Broad grins split the faces of the bride’s parents, and no wonder _ poised and pretty, she was a dream in white satin, huge gold earrings and faux pearls piled high in her hair. But Narcisa’s smile was forced and her mind seemed far away as she obliged requests for a dance. Just weeks ago, Narcisa had been in junior high school, an A-student with dreams of studying medicine. She pleaded with her parents to let her continue her education. No, they said. That is not the Gypsy way. ‘I wanted to be a pediatrician,’ she said, resignation tugging at the corners of her mouth. ‘I told them again and again, but my parents just wouldn’t listen.’ Marin, the groom, said he wanted two girls and two boys. Asked if his wife-to-be agreed, he grinned and said: ‘I don’t know. I haven’t asked her yet.” School? ‘Not once she’s in my

to grade 12, a year short of a diploma. “I regret it now,” he said of his decision to quit. “I could have finished, I could have gone on to university.” What prompted him to force his first born into a dead-end life? And why is he letting Claudia go on with her schooling? “It was Gypsy custom but I regretted it shortly after we agreed to the marriage,” Tranca says over coffee and biscuits in the tidy pink-painted foyer of his house, a two-story dwelling crowned with fanciful turrets of tin. “I cried every time I left her with her new family. I realized she missed her childhood. Even after she married I wanted to put her back to school but then the babies came, one after the other,” he says. Marcel has other plans for his own children still at home-Claudia, 17-year-old son Amir, and 4-year-old daugh-

In this Nov 25, 2010 picture, Narcisa Tranca, 22, top, poses with her sister Claudia, 18, left, and two of her children in Udupu, Romania. Among Gypsies, or Roma, marrying young is a tradition born of the need to survive in an environment where young women were fair game for non-Roma men. — AP

Narcisa Tranca, 22, holds one of her children in Udupu, Romania. —AP

places reserved for them at Romanian universities and similar higher institutions. That is a four-fold increase since 2000. “They gossip about me, they feel sorry for me, they say my kid cannot find anyone to marry,” Marcel Tranca says, speaking about other Gypsy parents’ reactions to the status of his daughters. “I don’t care. ... The other girls in the neighborhood come to ask advice of Claudia. She is like a role model.” Narcisa was scarcely into adolescence when word of her virtues started spreading along the Roma grape vine. Slender, with expressive almond-shaped eyes, Narcisa already was a beauty at 14. More important, she worked hard, able to toil long hours for her future husband while bearing many children. The Rupitas were interested. Son Marin was already at marrying age at 16 and his parents,

air episodes of her show before 12,000 Australian fans in the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House. “I’ve got a lot of surprises up my sleeve,” said Winfrey, who was ranked the world’s most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine. Local media have dubbed her visit the “biggest show in town”, with security rivaling that normally offered to heads of state. — AFP

ning the household,” he says. “But I do what I want.” When pressed, he says he wants his kids to stay in school “so they know more than we do.” But he winces when asked what his parents think; Narcisa hastily interjects: “We have lots of time to cross that bridge.” She is wistful about her own lost chance at education, saying “I would have loved to have stayed in school, gotten a good job, had a chance to stay longer with my family. “Claudia has more freedom, less cares. I’m happy for her, but I wish I could be in her shoes.” She shakes her head when asked if she resents her parents for pushing her into marriage. “It’s not their fault,” she says. “Its destiny.” By Roma standards, Marcel Tranca is an educated man. The 40-year-old unemployed mechanic and driver finished grade 10 at regular school and then went on at night school

ter Anna-Maria. “I want them to see the world, I want them to have good jobs,” he says. “I want them to have a chance. ... It has something to do with our age and our times.” Wife Mihaela joins in from the background-her place, as dictated by Roma custom. “Marriage is an important step,” she says softly. “It’s not for children.” Bookish and soft-spoken, Claudia already has seen more of the world than Narcisa probably ever will. She has participated in two monthlong high-school student exchanges to the United States-to North Carolina in the east and Washington state in the west-and wants to study at a university outside of Romania. Marriage? A family? Yes, says Claudia, but only after a good education. Quietly enthusiastic as she speaks of her plans to get a Masters degree, her mood turns somber when talk turns to Narcisa.—AP

13 Dec  

Kuwait Times