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MOHARRAM 13, 1432 AH

‘Muslim women achieving great things in Britain’

Qatar Airways sticks by Boeing 787 despite delays

Germany’s Merkel visits soldiers in Afghanistan




NO: 14943

150 FILS

Inter Milan lift Club World Cup with 3-0 win in final PAGE 20

38 arrested after clashes in Madinah RIYADH: Saudi police arrested 38 people in the holy city of Madinah after fighting erupted near Islam’s oldest mosque AlQuba on Ashoura, Saudi media reported yesterday. Several people suffered minor injuries in Thursday’s clashes between “groups of youths,” the press reports said. Three security officials were also wounded and 36 cars damaged, the AlMadina newspaper said. The Shiite website said the fighting pitted members of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority against majority Sunnis. “Security forces arrived to disperse the crowd,” a local journalist said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There has been heavy security presence in Madinah since then, with police patrolling streets.” The Saudi current affairs website quoted a local police spokesman as saying police had stepped in to end an argument between two groups of young people that involved stone throwing. “The situation is now totally quiet,” spokesman Muhsin Al-Radadi was quoted as saying. The website showed a picture of what it said was an ambulance arriving at the scene. The interior ministry in Riyadh could not be immediately reached for comment. The Rasid website said residents of Madinah’s Asbaa neighborhood, which is mostly Sunni, used poles and stones in their assault against Shiites in the nearby Qabaa district, home to a number of Shiite places of worship. Several Saudi newspapers reported the violence, but for the most part without mentioning any sectarian element. Though one paper, Al-Riyadh, blamed “young zealots who were wearing black clothes”, in a reference to Shiites participating in the mourning rituals. The AlWatan daily said security forces fired gunshots in the air after failing for two hours to end the clashes. Shiites are 10 percent of predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia’s 22.6 million people. They complain of discrimination, saying they are barred from key positions in the military and government and are not given an equal share of the country’s wealth. — Agencies

Bahrain frees Brit bankers LONDON: Bahrain has released four Britons held in the country for 18 months after the banks they worked for collapsed, in a meltdown that has caused a multi-billion dollar row between two Saudi families. The four - who worked at banks related to the empires of businessman Maan Al-Sanea and the Algosaibi family he is now in conflict with - all returned from Bahrain this week, sources close to the matter told Reuters. The men had been ordered not to leave the small island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia, pending investigations af ter Awal Bank and The International Banking Corporation (TIBC) were put into administration in the middle of 2009. But no formal accusations were ever levelled against the four. They are Tony James, Alistair MacLeod and Cliff Giddings, all formerly senior executives at Awal Bank, and Kevin Moriarty, who was at TIBC. The failure of the banks is a centrepiece in a spectacular row that has erupted between the Ahmad Ahab Algosaibi and Brothers (AHAB) business empire and Al-Sanea, who is related by marriage to the family, but Continued on Page 14

Mullen: US ‘very ready’ to counter Iran on nukes Washington seeks to reassure nervous Gulf states MANAMA: Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, posing a threat to its neighbors, and the United States is “very ready” to counter Iran should it make a move, the top US military officer said yesterday. Adm Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sought to reassure Arabian Gulf nations nervous that an increasingly militarized government in Iran might try to start a war. “The United States takes very seriously our security commitments in the Gulf region,” Mullen said following a meeting with Bahrain’s king. Bahrain, directly across the Gulf from Iran, is home to a large US Navy base that would be on the frontlines of any war with Iran. “We’re very ready,” Mullen said, an unusually direct acknowledgment that the United States has contingency plans to counter Iran should it make a move. “There are real threats to peace and stability here, and we’ve made no secrets of our concerns about Iran.” Continued on Page 14

DOHA: Qatari armed forces take part in a military parade during the Qatar National Day celebrations yesterday. — AP

ISI denies unmasking CIA chief ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top spy agency denied yesterday that it helped unmask the CIA’s station chief in Islamabad, dismissing speculation it was retaliating for a US lawsuit linking the Pakistani intelligence chief to the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India. An official with the Pakistani spy service warned that such allegations risk raising tensions between the already uneasy allies. The CIA ordered its station chief out of Pakistan because his life was threatened after a Pakistani legal complaint revealed his name. His recall comes at a delicate time, as the White House presses Islamabad to

rid its lawless tribal regions of safe havens for militants fighting in Afghanistan, where the US is grappling with an exit strategy. The station chief’s name was revealed by a Pakistani man threatening to sue the CIA over the deaths of his son and brother in a 2009 US missile strike. The attorney involved with the legal complaint said he learned the name from Pakistani journalists. Pakistan’s spy agencies have kept ties to a number of Pakistani journalists as a way to influence coverage. Questions have arisen as to whether a civil lawsuit filed last month in Brooklyn

in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks may have raised tensions with Pakistan and spurred it to retaliate. The lawsuit lists Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, as a defendant and accuses the ISI of nurturing terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks, which left 166 people dead. The Pakistani intelligence official dismissed any claims of ISI involvement in exposing the CIA official as “a slur”. He declined to offer any comment on the Brooklyn lawsuit and said it was entirely possible Pakistani journalists Continued on Page 14

Heavy snow hits travel across Europe Blizzards bring festive havoc to Britain

EAST BELFAST, Northern Ireland: A woman and child make their way through snow yesterday. Most of Northern Ireland has been brought to a standstill after heavy snowfalls. — AP

LONDON: Blizzards and freezing temperatures shut down runways, train tracks and highways across Europe yesterday, disrupting flights and leaving shivering drivers stranded on roadsides. Airports in Britain, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark reported cancelations or delays to flights. London’s Gatwick airport reopened late afternoon after 150 employees using dozens of snow plows worked to clear the runway, though officials warned flights would be limited and cancelations likely. British Airways canceled all short-haul flights from Heathrow airport and said long haul services would not resume before 7 pm (1900 GMT). Continued on Page 14

MANAMA: Adm Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (right) speaks during a press conference as US Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli (left) looks on at the US military base yesterday. — AP

TEHRAN: Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and new foreign minister, pours water at a Foreign Ministry function yesterday. — AP

Salehi woos Saudis, EU TEHRAN: Iran’s nuclear chief replaced the country’s sacked foreign minister yesterday and said his top priorities include building a “special relationship” with Saudi Arabia, an announcement that appeared meant to ease suspicion and fear across the Arabian Gulf about Iran’s nuclear program. Ali Akbar Salehi, who still heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said he also wanted stronger ties with key ally and growing regional player Turkey and with China and Russia - two nations whose veto power on the UN Security Council is crucial to Tehran’s battle to ward off more sanctions. Salehi also reached out to the European Union, in a shift from the confrontational stance Tehran usually takes toward the West. “In spite of the EU’s illogical, unprincipled and unjust behavior, still EU members are pursuing dignified relations with Iran for many reasons, including the energy issue,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Salehi as saying. “Should the Continued on Page 14



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Preparatory sessions held ahead of ‘Youth Arab Media Forum’

Media urged to follow accurate pattern of standard methods By Nisreen Zahreddine KUWAIT: The preparatory meeting of the Supreme Council for Arab Media (SCAM) started yesterday and was held during two closed sessions. A press conference was held following the morning session at the JW Mariott Hotel where the Secretary General of the Arab Media Forum, Madi Al-Khamis spoke

KUWAIT: As part of its social responsibility program, Yarmouk Co-operative Society organized a marathon for the local residents over the weekend. Hundreds of participants took part in the event. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

kuwait digest

He said that the priority for developing this kind of approach for renovating Arab media must take place along two parallel lines. He said the first thing Arab media outlets need to do is develop and train professionals to deal with direct media. Secondly, he continued, Arab media needs to develop an awareness of their receivers, the Arab audience, in order to avoid using negative media tools. He stressed that the Supreme Council for Arab Media will be directly concerned with providing studies and projects that serve the development trends of media in the Arab World. During the press conference Mohammad Bin Issa, Secretary General of the Aseela Cultural Forum announced that their name was changed to the Development Council for Arab Media. He added that they intend to monitor Arab media and prepare annual documents on the status of media sectors throughout the Arab World. Saleh Al-Qalab, the former Minister of Information of Jordan stressed that this step is not replacing any official effort or taking the place of any official institution or syndicate. He wished the Development Council for Arab Media luck as a civil service organization. Khawla Mattar, the General Manager of the UN media office said that this move comes at a time when Arab media should be monitored, adding that violations in media freedom must be tracked and objectivity encouraged. The executive board of the Development Council for Arab Media consists of: the Secretary General of the Aseela Cultural Forum, Mohammad Bin Issa; Media Counselor for the King of Bahrain, Nabil Al-Homr; Ezzedine Mayhoubi, the former Algerian Minister of Information; Turki Al-Sedayri, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Riyadh newspaper; Saleh Al-Qallab; Khawla Matter; Hussein Amin,

on the forum’s objectives; to overcome obstacles in the Arab media, strengthen media evaluation and guide it toward transparency and objectivity. During his opening speech, Al-Khamis stressed the need for Arab media to face the challenges that threaten the Arab world economically, politically, scientifically, and culturally. In his opinion, Arab media institutions need to follow an accurate pattern of standard methods to address these cultural conflicts.

KUWAIT: Madi Al-Khamis addressing the press conference at the JW Mariott Hotel yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat information and media professor at the American University of Cairo; Mohammad AlKhamleeshi, Assistant Secretary General of the infor-

mation department in the Arab League; Mohammad AlRumaihy academic and media specialist: Jaber Al-Haramy, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Sharq

Newspaper; Moahmoud Shamam, media specialist: Salaheddine Moawi, Chairman of the Arab Radio Channels Union, and Madi Al-Khamis.

MPs support pay raise for servicemen KUWAIT: Despite the turbulent relationship between Cabinet members and antigovernment MPs, both sides still agree on the importance of raising the salaries of servicemen, reported Al-Rai. The Cabinet drafted a law on raising the salaries of servicemen in both the Ministry of Interior and Defense but still have yet to submit it to the parliament. Speculations suggest that the bill may require further studies or may be presented as a New Year’s gift or during the national holidays. When asked whether they would vote in favor of the draft law when it is finally submitted, antigovernment MPs agreed that the current relationship between the two

authorities will not stand in the way of an increase. In a statement made to the press, MP Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said that security officers are “brothers who should always have our utmost support, regardless of what MPs suffered at the hands of police forces during Al-Sulaibikhat’s seminar.” Al-Tabtabaei was among the MPs injured during a clash between authorities and gatherers outside of MP Jamaan Al-Harabsh’s diwaniya on December 8. Al-Tabtabaei fended off rumors suggesting that antigovernment MPs might vote against the increases in the wake of the incident. He added that such rumors are “part of

a media campaign against [the coalition of antigovernment MPs.” MP Mohammad Hayef agreed that the issue regarding servicemen salary increases should not be affected by the clash between MPs and police. He added that MPs must push the government on the draft law. MP Jamaan Al-Harbash agreed that the draft law should be sent to the parliament’s interior and defense committee so that it can be voted on by MPs as soon as possible. MP Abdurrahman Al-Anjari, also injured during the confrontation nearly two weeks ago, said that the salaries of servicemen should be increased as long as further studies recommend such a move.

It’s time to expose criminals By Iqbal Al-Ahmad


watched a documentary on TV the other night, which sent chills down my spine and made me feel sick. The program spoke about the effect of spoiled meat on the human health, and relayed stories about mothers who lost their children after a long period of suffering - due to the consumption of stale meat products. In Kuwait, the Municipality decided, as per the orders from the minister, to cooperate with the media and the Press to expose the supply of meat products that are unsuitable for human consumption. The Municipality aims to keep the public updated with the efforts made to tackle this problem. And despite the high level of transparency followed in the procedures, the public is still and can never be convinced that the happenings are normal. On the contrary, the more rotten foods are seized, the more people become concerned about the safety of what they consume. ‘How did all these amounts of rotten food make their way into the local market in the first place?’ People have been wondering recently.

The conference’s first day is today and features sessions and workshops with several well known media specialists and personalities.

in the news

Meanwhile, the questions have led people to believe that there are ‘mafias’ working within the Municipality and outside of it. They allow such a scandal to take place in total disregard to public health; as long as their pockets remain filled. The public face serious risks - from unfit food that make their way to the market, perhaps after receiving the ‘green light’ from a bribed official. This took place in light of a lack of sufficient supervision. Unfortunately, we in Kuwait usually tend to keep information secret, in fear of the reactions that may result if they are spread. The public must eventually become aware of serious problems that can result in catastrophic outcomes. The Municipality has adopted this aspect of transparency while dealing with the food corruption. Nevertheless, instead of publishing pictures of inspectors, it would be appreciable if Municipality officials would cooperate with the local press to expose the criminals who smuggle food into the local market, similar to how pictures of drug dealers and other criminals are published in newspapers. This is so that people can identify those who put their health at serious risk. — Al-Qabas

Inspection campaign

Ahmadi municipality conducts inspections KUWAIT: The Ahmadi Municipality has issued repeated warnings to remove the communication towers that have been erected at private residences. Following the elapse of the time period, the violating structures will be removed. Fahad Dghaim Al-Otaibi, Director of Ahmadi spoke about the formalities taken by the Municipality, pointing out that one of the towers at Al-Mangaf has been removed after a warning sticker was placed on it and the legal period elapsed. Al-Otaibi also noted that 28,564 animals were butchered in the month of November. The meat obtained from sheep, cows camels, and 23 other animals were destroyed as they were found to be unfit for human consumption. He told reporters that inspection campaigns covered 216 shops and issued nine citations. Many operated without municipal licenses and 41 placards have been removed from shops. At least 986 placards were removed from the main roads of the governorate. Also, 47 citations and 105 warnings were handed over to violators, in addition to another nine citations.

KUWAIT: With the Christmas season approaching, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is actively working toward forming several inspection teams to take action against celebrations being held in cafes, hotels and malls. This is to ensure that no religious violations will be committed, reported Al-Watan. In this regard, officials said that the inspection teams would be deployed all over the country to hold violators accountable, “Very strict penalties will be imposed on violators that may even include venue license cancellation,” said officials, noting that the inspection team would comprise elements from the Ministries of Interior, Awqaf, Commerce and the Municipality.

Cleaning costs KUWAIT: The Minister of Public Works and Municipality Affairs has issued a decree to allot a timing to study the estimated cost of 17 tenders on urban cleaning works that the ministry hopes to sign in the future. As per directions of Minister Dr Fadhel Safar, the team will study the estimated cost of each tender separately. They will be allowed to contact companies and factories in Kuwait to study offers, in addition to coordinating with ministries as well as other public and private firms, reported Al-Qabas. Moreover, the minister urged all departments in the Kuwait Municipality to cooperate with the team by providing the necessary data and statistics.

Sunday, December 19, 2010



Conservative Party chairperson visits Kuwait

Muslim women achieving great things in Britain By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Religious tolerance needs to be seen from a greater context as it speaks a lot, said a British lawyer and politician. At a press conference held at the British Embassy in Kuwait recently, Baroness Sayeeda Hussain Warsi said

KUWAIT: The Head of the Autism Center in the Iraqi city of Basra, Hassan Al-Refaei, recently visited the Autism Center in Kuwait with the hope of benefiting from Kuwait's expertise in the field and boost his center's performance. It has been suffering, in light of the current situation in Iraq. Al-Refaei also expressed appreciation towards Dr Samira Al-Saad, Director of Kuwait's Autism Center who offered train Iraqi teachers.

'Spending rates to rise' KUWAIT: A recent bi-annual report on the development plan's achievement indicates that spending during the first half of the current fiscal year only comprises 14 percent of the required amount, despite posting a 43 percent rise when compared to the same period during the previous fiscal year. The report, which was released by the Cabinet and submitted to the Parliament, revealed that spending on developmental projects during the first six months of 2010/2011 has reached around KD 734 million. It is 43 percent higher than the previ-

ous fiscal year in 2009/2010. Moreover, the report gives two reasons for this - the first is the fact that the state's budget was submitted late, near the end of the first quarter of the 2010/2011. Furthermore, the report explains that the first stages of the projects' execution do not require that funds be spent. This mostly includes carrying out preliminary studies and consultations, reported Al-Qabas. Meanwhile, the report says that spending rates are expected to rise during the second half of the current fiscal year.

"Like me, I was born and raised in Britain and I am a Muslim by faith, the daughter of a Pakistani immigrant laborer, but I can become the member of a cabinet," she pointed out. "Because the UK supports equality and as a member of the minority, we have an equal opportunity as everyone else. Before, Asian women were not allowed to represent the society in a higher post like in the Parliament. Like in Islam, the debate is still raging about whether Muslim women should take a lead in the government because it is argued that it is against the teaching of Islam," she said. "Every time we are learning. During the last five years, we have more Muslim women garnering achievements in sports, arts, media businesses. There are great stories to be told. Muslim women achieve great things these days," she told members of a local press. She added that her advocacy is to build a stronger relationship with the other faith. A life peer and member of the Conservative Party, she is its current chairperson and a Minister without a portfolio in David Cameron's cabinet. Her appointment makes Warsi the first Muslim woman to serve in the cabinet. Baroness Warsi was born in Dewsbury, West Riding of Yorkshire in 1971 to Pakistani parents, who emigrated from Kashmiri Pakistan. She is the second of five daughters. When asked about her agenda in Kuwait, Warsi confirmed that she held various meetings with

that religious tolerance should be viewed beyond the word tolerance. "It should not only be about tolerance, I think we should look beyond that. There has to be lots of respect, understanding, appreciation and valuing," Warsi noted. According to first British Muslim female minister, every country faces many challenges and like the United Kingdom they also want to continuously learn from others.

KUWAIT: (From left) British Ambassador Frank Baker, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Embassy Press Officer Aala Omran at a press conference held recently at their embassy in Dasman. — Photo by Joseph Shagra various local authorities including one with the PM, a Parliament speaker and the Minister of Electricity. She had also visited the Grand Mosque and laid a foundation stone at local hospital in Rawda. "I was invited here by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah to attend and see the vision he has for Kuwait, especially to see 'his vision' over the next four years.

We spoke about many issues including the Silk City, public and private partnership. It is an exciting time for Kuwait," she said. When asked about the broad participation of former British PM in Kuwait's economic plan, Warsi told reporters, Tony Blair was hired as a private consultant and that he is no longer connected in the British government,

"Well, Mr Blair is no longer with the British government; any act that he's been doing in Kuwait is part of his private and personal capacity. What we want and why I am here is for our government to continue strengthen our bilateral relationship," she said. On UK economy, according to Warsi, she admitted that most countries in the West suffered as a result of economic crisis, "We

have the issue of structural deficit. What the coalition government has done quickly is to introduce an emergency budget. Because of that, our credit ratings have improved and restored, our growth is healthier than expected, and manufacturing output is stronger nowadays. We are optimistic that our coalition government is back on the right path," she said.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dashti calls for NA cooperation

'Heated dialogue won't take us anywhere' KUWAIT: A parliament member said that the interior minister should have been subjected to the grilling motion filed by the parliament's anti-government coalition instead of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Muhammad Al-Sabah. MP Rula Dashti said that since he is the Cabinet member directly responsible for the actions of that day that the Prime Minister should not be held accountable, reported Al-Rai. The lawmaker made her comments during a televised interview and criticized the interpellation motion filed against HH the Prime Minister in the wake of the clash

between authorities and those gathered outside of MP Jamaan Al-Harbash's diwaniya on Dec 8. "Had [the interior minister been grilled] instead, not only would those who committed mistakes be held accountable but democracy would have also been reinforced," she stated. When asked about the option of a request to discuss the grilling in a confidential session, Dashti asserted that she will only make a decision that will not be against rights as they are protected in the constitution. She refused to talk about the option of filing a no-cooperation motion against HH

the Prime Minister before the session. She added that she would lead support for HH the PM should the request be made and if his responses were convincing. During the interview, MP Dashti criticized Al-Rai TV for "deteriorating the level of dialogue," which she said caused frustration amongst the public. She mentioned the statement made by fellow MP Dr Aseel AlAwadhi, indicating that "she expressed her point of view in a very respectable manner," and urged other MPs to take a similar approach. "Insults and heated dialogue won't take us anywhere but negotiating with each

other can," she added. Meanwhile, MP Dashti announced the intention to present a draft law on organized public gatherings today. She noted that the country suffers from a lack of legislation on this regard and acknowledged that the clash between authorities and citizens outside AlHarbash's diwaniya was unacceptable. "His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah's directions were clear and MPs should have followed them." MP Dashti indicated that she called to check on activist Mohammad Al-Juwaihel after he was attacked outside of MP Ahmad

Al-Saadoun's diwaniya earlier this month and pointed out that she did the same for MPs that were injured during the clash with authorities. Moreover, she revealed that she planned on voting in favor of lifting MP Dr Faisal Al-Mislem's immunity had the parliamentary sessions to discuss the subject been held. In another development, a parliament member has presented a draft law to establish a National Authority for Consumer Protection, aimed at protecting the rights of consumers and preventing them from damage - either through commodity purchase or the services enjoyed.

The draft law presented by MP Askar AlEnizy states that the authority's board would consist of representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Municipality Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Ministry of Electricity and Water, the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as non-profit organizations and sports institutions, reported Al-Qabas. The draft law further states that the CEO and deputy CEO posts should exclusively represent non-profit organizations and sports institutions.

kuwait digest

The voice of reason By Mubarak Al-Maosharji


P Dr Aseel Al-Awadhi addressed the current situation of the political scene in such a respectable manner that it earned everyone's respect despite including criticisms of both the Cabinet and the parliament. Dr Al-Awadhi commenced her statement by announcing her national duty towards His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah and acknowledged his status as leader of the nation as outlined in the constitution. Following that, the MP listed a number of mistakes that the Cabinet has committed, accusing ministers of failing to commit to HH the Amir's directions. Dr Al-Awadhi did not forget about her fellow parliamentarians. She criticized those who failed to commit to their duties when they refrained from attending parliamentary sessions in favor of achieving personal gains. Al-Awadhi pointed out that the lack of quorum postponed several discussions on legislation and explained how the tactic wasn't necessary because the Cabinet already has a majority support among MPs. Al-Awadhi's statement was met with a round of applause from ministers and MPs alike the moment it ended and became the talk of the town amongst young people online. Not only has Dr Aseel AlAwadhi proved that a man of respectful achievements in the parliament can also be a woman, she also delivered the message that yelling is not the way to defend rights. —Al-Rai

Inspection teams found more expired food

KUWAIT: With the aim of curbing obesity, Ahmadi Hospital yesterday organized a marathon for children at the Ahmadi stadium. Winners were awarded special trophies. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Emergency inspection teams from the Farwaniya Municipality branch discovered large amounts of expired food stored inside private residences. In a statement issued recently to the press, team leader Duaij Al-Sanafi noted

that recent inspections targeted residential areas where any commercial business is banned by law. He explained that several locations where food items were illegally stored were busted after monitoring the activity of vehicles spotted carrying goods.

Wataniya launches 'GiveKuwait' campaign KUWAIT: Kuwait's 50th anniversary is coming up and Wataniya has created a fantastic new and interactive way to enhance the celebration and show its love for Kuwait. Wataniya Telecom announces its one of a kind interactive online campaign that will give all its customers a chance to express their love for Kuwait through their own creative and personal style. Wataniya customers can participate in this campaign by taking a picture, recording a video or an audio about Kuwait and uploading it on Viewers can vote and share their feedback with their friends through social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. This is a unique contest where posting of entries and voting will all happen online. By the end of the campaign, the portal will be a library of entries about Kuwait. This is a great way for participants to get the recognition they deserve by showcasing their unique talents and passion for Kuwait. Wataniya will display the skills and hard work of all the

participants by creating a collage of the material uploaded and broadcast it via different channels and mediums. Adding to the excitement of the campaign, Wataniya has appointed a panel of judges who are experts in their respective fields to support the voting process. The judges are: composer "Abdullah Al-Quood", filmmaker "Abdullah Boushahri" and photographer "Bahaa Al-Deen Al-Qazweeni". The three judges will be voting for the best entries and they will control 30% of the outcome while the remaining percentage will be controlled by viewers. "Our preparations for Kuwait's 50th anniversary celebrations are filled with inspiration and enthusiasm, we aim to introduce the first social media campaign in Kuwait with a very high level of interactivity online. We encourage all our customers to participate, as sharing moments of celebrations are always joyous for everybody especially when it comes to showing love for their country." Riham Al-Ayyar, Senior Communication Manager at Wataniya Telecom said.

Commenting on this contest, Composer Abdallah AlQuood believed that "Wataniya's initiative will definitely enhance patriotism among all people in Kuwait and we are more than glad to participate in this campaign and celebrate Kuwait golden jubilee. We will try our best to choose the best work and contributions; we'll be selecting only the ones which most show the love and passion to Kuwait". The campaign will start today and continue until the National and Liberation days. To encourage the youth of Kuwait and those interested in showing their love for Kuwait, Wataniya will be giving weekly iPads for the winners of each category. Weekly winners will compete for the grand prizes, which are, for audio winner; A chance to record a song and a video clip composed by Abdullah Al Quood and a paid trip for two to attend a concert at an international destination. Photography winner will be given a professional DSLR camera and a trip to an international destination for two. Video winner will get a paid trip for

Riham Al-Ayyar two to Hollywood and a chance to participate in a TVC/Film production with a popular production house. Grand prizes will be given at the end of the campaign (February 2011).To help facilitate this competition; Wataniya is creating a booth at the Avenues Mall for Wataniya users to come and record their entries and instantly upload it on the portal. Besides giving away prizes, Wataniya will be displaying all photos sent across in an exhibition book while all videos will be edited into a montage film which will be screened on TV/cinemas along with the posted songs and audios.

EQUATE wins top Mideast CSR award KUWAIT: EQUATE Petrochemical Company received the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) award during the first annual Oil and Gas Awards ceremony organized by the Oil and Gas Middle East magazine. On this occasion, EQUATE VP Technical Services and head of EQUATE CSR Team Mohammad Al Benali said, "The Company has launched several initiatives relevant to community awareness, education, health, environment and other fields with the aim of achieving overall sustainability within and outside Kuwait." Al Benali added, "Among these initiatives are a number of campaigns that addressed breast cancer (Keep Your Life Rosy), obesity (Lighten Up), hypertension (Stay Normal) and community awareness about the plastics industry (Plastic ?EFantastic); in additional to annual university scholarships in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and numerous corporate contributions to several organizations; as well as a number of environmental ventures that include Kuwait's first project green carbon project and the Middle East's first plant water recycle project." Al Benali expressed utmost appreciation to the award's organizers and their role in recognizing the efforts of EQUATE

which has received numerous recognitions, adding "The Company does not view this award and others as rewards, they are sources of encouragement to dedicate more efforts into implementing the princi-

ples of sustainability to the fullest by continuing EQUATE's Sharing Success philosophy." Al Benali noted, "In recognition of its sustainability achievements, EQUATE has earned several prestigious honors, including His Highness the Amir Award for the Best Plant in Kuwait; the Gold Award in Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) for Gulf private sector companies; the Award for Best Gulf Company in Recruiting Nationals; as well as Kuwait's CSR Award in the Industrial and Oil Sector. In addition, EQUATE has received the Highly Commended Best Community Program Award during the First Middle East CSR Award Summit." Established in 1995, EQUATE is an international joint venture between Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC), The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Boubyan Petrochemical Company (BPC) and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company (QPIC). Commencing production in 1997, EQUATE is the single operator of a fully integrated world-scale manufacturing facility producing over 5 million tons annually of high-quality petrochemical products which are marketed throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.


Sunday, December 19, 2010


Iraqi Parliament Speaker's appeal

Resolve issues with Kuwait within brotherhood spirit BAGHDAD: Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama Al-Nujaifi called here yesterday for resolving all suspended issues with the State of Kuwait within the spirit of brotherhood along with eliminating all the malicious effects of the past which resulted from the Iraqi invasion of the State of Kuwait. Al-Nujaifi said in an address before the Iraqi House of Representatives on the occasion of the partial lifting of international sanctions on Iraq, "that while Iraq asserts its full commitment to what was thrust upon it by virtue of the sanctions system, it calls on all concerned sisterly and friendly countries, and at their forefront the sisterly State of Kuwait to turn a new leaf and eliminate all the malicious effects of the past." Al-Nujaifi also called on the State of Kuwait, "to embark upon serious and sedate negotiations in order to address all the suspended issues within the spirit of truthful brotherhood, and with clear, frank and fixed intentions as well as a responsible national keenness and real partnership for making a better future for the region in which peace, harmony and the respect of national specificities of each party reign supreme and confronting common challenges through solidarity that stems out of our Arab and Islamic traditions." He also hailed the UN Security Council for their role in making such achievement, saying that they exerted good offices to reach such good achievement. Further, he expressed his hope that turning a new leaf will open up broad horizons for civilizational, human, scientific, technical, economic, industrial, agricultural and health communication with all world peoples on firm bases of mutual respectability, non-intereference with others' domestic affairs and caring for mutual interests and benefits. UNSC decided two days ago to partially lift the international sanctions on Iraq under the purview of the Chapter VII of the UN Charter and following 20 years of its imposition because of Iraq's invasion of the State of Kuwait. Meanwhile, in Tunis, preparatory meetings of

the second session of joint Tunisian-Kuwaiti Higher Committee scheduled for the 20th of this month kicked off here yesterday. Meetings of the joint Tunisian-Kuwaiti Higher Committee will begin next Monday with the participation of Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. It is expected for the meetings of the joint Tunisian-Kuwaiti Higher Committee to lead to signing a series of bilateral agreements in the domains of agriculture, health, industry, culture, scientific research and education. Director of Arab and Islamic Affairs department at the Tunisian foreign ministry Ali AlQotali stressed on this occasion the importance of exploring new horizons of Tunisian-Kuwaiti cooperation in order to tap into the available potentials and energies of two countries. He also stressed the necessity of making good use of these potentials, particularly in the economic, trade and investment fields. Al-Qotali also said that Kuwaiti investments in Tunisia come at the "top and most successful" foreign direct investments in Tunisia, asserting that his country always welcomes Kuwaiti investors. As for bilateral cooperation, he said that it saw remarkable developments, particularly at the technical level, expressing his confidence that the

atmosphere of harmony will contribute to the success of the committee in reaching a joint understanding. He also hoped for reaching a mutually acceptable formula for making further bilateral gains for the benefit of the two countries. Meanwhile, Director of the Arab World Department at the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry Jassem Al-Mubaraki asserted that TunisianKuwaiti relationships are marked by "realism" according to a sustained Kuwaiti approach based on determination upon making achievements and shunning off sloganeering. Al-Mubaraki also hailed the Tunisian institutional tackling of the policies set by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), particularly in the field of infrastructure, expressing his pride in such relationship. He also asserted the importance of following up the implementation of agreements and understandings as well as devising mechanism for developing such agreements and pushing ties to the level of "strategic partnership", particularly in the economic field. It is expected for the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister to arrive Tunisia next Sunday to lead the Kuwaiti delegation who will take part in the meetings of the joint Tunisian-Kuwaiti Higher Committee due next Monday. —KUNA

UN bodies thankful to Kuwait

Adel Al-Jenaee

Exclusive offer for NBK Thahabi customers KUWAIT: The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the leading bank in Kuwait and highest rated in the Middle East offers its Thahabi customers up to 27 percent exclusive discount at Trafalgar boutiques in Marina Mall. Customers can avail of the instant discount when they use their Thahabi debit or credit cards on 21 and 22 December 2010. Adel Al-Jenaee, NBK's Assistant General Manager, Consumer Banking Group said, "This offer with its exclusive discounts and benefits comes within NBK's endeavors to reward its premium Thahabi account holders with the best offers available in Kuwait where they can fulfill and satisfy their appreciation for luxury." Thahabi is the premier affluent package from NBK that has been awarded the 'Best Premium Banking Service in the Middle East.' It offers customers personalized and 'best in class' products and services, delivered by professional Personal Banking Officers. Thahabi customers also enjoy many banking-related discounts, fee waivers and valueadded lifestyle benefits. Qualification for the Thahabi package is subject to meeting the minimum deposit criteria of KD 30,000 in any of NBK accounts or Investment Funds and/or a minimum continuous monthly salary transfer of KD 1,500.

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Development Program (UNDP) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) expressed their sincere thanks to the Kuwaiti Government for contributing USD 250,000 each in response to the international efforts to assist Pakistan cope with the devastating flood that hit the country earlier this year, it was announced here yesterday. In a letter to the Kuwaiti Government, UNDP Executive Director Helen Clark said this contribution, besides the other contributions Kuwait offered to UNDP following the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year, proves the Kuwaiti Government's commitment to the international humanitarian assistance and to the existing partnership between Kuwait and the UN in general and UNDP in particular. "We in UNDP attach a great importance to our

partnership with Kuwait, and would like to emphasize our commitment to continue this partnership, to strengthen it and expand it in Kuwait, through our regional office there, and beyond, whether within the Arab region or elsewhere," Clark said in her letter. She added that UNDP is looking forward to holding further discussions with the Kuwaiti Government on ways to deepen this partnership. UNICEF also announced yesterday that Kuwait contributed $250,000 for Pakistan flood response and thanked the Kuwaiti Government for it. "Thanks to the generosity of the people and State of Kuwait, many children and their families will continue to receive necessary life-saving support and ensure a restoration of core basic social services," said Pascal Villeneuve, the acting UNICEF Country Representative for Pakistan. — KUNA

Al-Sabr meets NCPDA delegation KUWAIT: The official spokesman of the Ministry of Interior recently acknowledged the role played by the National Committee for Prevention of Drug Abuse (NCPDA) in spreading awareness among students. Brig Gen Mohammad Al-Sabr, who is also the Head of the Ministry's Security Media Department, expressed his apprecia-

tion for the NCPDA's efforts during a meeting held at his office with Ghanima AlBlushi, General Manager of the NCPDA's Secretary General office, who led a visiting team from the committee. The meeting saw discussions which focused on the means of boosting joint cooperation to achieve more progress.

The Brig Gen further asserted during the meeting on the efforts made by the Security Media Department in devising steps to help curb the spread of illegal practices, through media plans. Al-Sabr also noted that cooperation with the NCPDA had begun since the beginning of the committee's activity.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hopeful signs from new Iraqi govt: Al-Otaibi Security Council committed to Kuwaiti file UNITED NATIONS: Permanent representative of Kuwait to t he United Nations Ambassador Mansour Ayyad AlOt aibi confirmed yest erday that the Security Council’s decision to extend the mandat e and functions of Gennady Tarasov, the UN High-Level Coordinator for missing Kuwaiti and thir d country nat ionals and repatriation of Kuwaiti property for anot her six mont hs highly stresses the council’s conviction on t he importance of keeping the issues of the Kuwait i file on it s agenda unt il reaching satisfying r es ults on this matt er .

Five held for drug, alcohol possession KUWAIT: Ahmadi police arrested two Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) nationals for being in possession of eight illegal drug pills, reported AlWatan. An investigation into their identities revealed that one of them was wanted by authorities for avoiding a month long jail sentence for illegally reentering the country. In a few unrelated incidents, authorities arrested a GCC national for being in possession of 31 illegal drug pills, a Sri Lankan man for being in possession of heroin and a Pakistani man for being in possession of four bottles of homemade liquor, reported Al-Watan. Explosion An Asian man died after stepping on and detonating a landmine in Abdaliya, reported Al-Watan. M i s h r e f fr a u d A GCC national living in a villa in Mishref was arrested for fraud, reported Al-Watan. Authorities reported that he tricked several women into

paying him money in exchange for protecting them from curses. The man was deported and blacklisted from being able to reenter the country. Em b e z z l e r c a u g h t A female citizen in her twenties filed a case against her ex-boyfriend at the Maidan Hawally police station for threatening to upload inappropriate pictures of her online if she refused his illicit demands, reported Al-Watan. The man was arrested by authorities and taken into custody after the photos were found in his hard drive. I n ma t e s t e st e d Inmates in a ward of the Central Jail underwent an emergency medical test after a mysterious illness was discovered there, reported Al-Rai. The procedure was ordered as a precautionary measure after prison staff members in the jail’s medical facility failed to diagnose two inmates’ - a Kuwaiti and an American mysterious illness.

Drug de aler nabbed Mubarak Al-Kabeer investigators arrested an Arab drug dealer and an absconding Asian woman, reported Al-Rai. The suspect, who works as a driver, was arrested in his Farwaniya home following an investigation into his illegal activities. Authorities found amounts of heroin and hashish inside the man’s home as well as an Asian woman whose sponsor filed an absconding case against her. An elderly inmate was rushed to Farwaniya Hospital after collapsing in his Central Jail cell and falling into a coma, reported Al-Anba. The 60year-old citizen was serving time for a drug related case but was taken out of solitary confinement after a blood test result came back negative for drug abuse. The prison director, who initially put the suspect in solitary confinement, protested the move and ordered that he be moved back to his previous cell. The inmate collapsed upon hearing the director’s orders and medical staff members believe that he suffered a heart attack.

Suicide attempt A teenage girl who was recently saved from her kidnappers by authorities attempted to kill herself by jumping from a window on the first floor of her family’s home, reported Al-Anba. The 17-year-old girl was found in an apartment a month after her family reported her missing and police arrested her five Kuwaiti assailants for kidnapping and sexually assaulting her. After identifying her kidnappers at a police station the girl returned to her home in Rabiya and tried to kill herself. She survived the attempt but suffered several broken bones. She was referred to Farwaniya Hospital Suspects arrested Hawally investigators arrested six women and three men as suspects in a homicide case filed by authorities after the body of a newborn baby was found on the roof of a building in Salwa, reported Al-Anba. The women, some of which were recently detained prostitutes, took a paternity test in order to determine if they are the baby’s mother.

Al-Otaibi said that the UN Security Council’s decision of the UN GeneralSecretary’s annual report on the latest developments on the subject of missing Kuwaitis and PoW’s as well as the return of all Kuwaiti properties was “an affirmation of the council’s greatest interest to follow up on how all the concerned parties are committed to execute the council’s decisions.” He noted that there are hopeful signs from the newly-formed Iraqi government and the good and truthful intentions of its top officials on committing to resolving this issue and highly prioratizing it on the new government’s agenda. Al-Otaibi expressed his hope that “these good intentions would be translated into actions in order to achieve progress in all

remaining issues of the Kuwaiti file such as the maintenance of the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border signs as well as the issues of the missing persons and the return of Kuwaiti property.” He confirmed that “Kuwait will exert all efforts to help Iraq on finishing up with those commitments as soon as possible,” adding that “communications between the Kuwaiti and Iraqi delegations, in New York, are always in motion in order to end this file and to fulfill all related resolutions that have been made by the UN Security Council.” “We are optimistic. We feel there is a true and serious desire from the Iraqi brothers to end these issues and start a new page to establish close bilateral ties based on respect and independence of sovereignty,

good neighborliness and non-interference in internal affairs,” he pointed out. Iraq and Kuwait are obligated to remain committed to all decisions made under the 7th clause, especially resolution 833 which had ensured the sanctity of international borders drawn by the UN Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission. On the issue of Iraq exit from under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, Al-Otaibi said such call has been dominated by a political nature, adding that all obligations under Security Council resolutions, whether issued under Chapter VI or VII are, from a legal view point, binding and can not be revoked or terminated only after being fully implemented, along with the issuance of a UN resolution. — KUNA

164 students reach ‘The Best 100’ KUWAIT: The third annual Kuwait Science Fair (KSF), the largest science competition held in Kuwait encompassing students from over 200 schools, yesterday announced that 164 young and aspiring scientists have reached the last stage of the six-month long science competition, posing innovative solutions to modern day challenges and opportunities with a total of 100 math and science projects. The announcement comes after a two-day student workshop that was held at the Scientific Center to guide them through the development of their project plan that is due on Dec 20. During the last stage called ‘The Best 100,’ every project team is assigned a supervisor to guide students to develop their experiments. Students will also be able to take advantage of up to KD100 in terms of project development expenses. Students must supply the receipts that have been signed by their supervisor to receive the reimbursement. Students will present their final projects to a panel of judges, comprising leading scientists and engineers, from March 16 until March 19, 2011. The top 10 finalists will be awarded during the last day of the competition on March 19, 2011 in an awards ceremony. Student projects will also be exhibited at the Regency during the afternoon of the same day. Kuwait Science Fair Managing Director, Aseel AlTurkait said, “We are excited to see the Best 100 move into the second phase of the competition, and are even more thrilled to see the final working models in action during the March exhibition. Until then, the KSF team will continue to provide students with guidance and resources to complete their innovations.” The first prize winner will receive a scholarship in the discipline of the student’s choice from the American University

of Kuwait, 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 KD 350 in cash, two certificates for participation and ranking, as well as KD100 in vouchers. The Kuwait Science Fair will continue to hold workshops

at The Scientific Center to help students finalize their projects. The Kuwait Science Fair team will also be available at the Kuwait Science Fair booth at Marina Mall on weekdays (Sunday to Thursday) from 5pm to 8pm until March 15, 2011. The Kuwait Science Fair competition is endorsed by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah AlAhmad Al-Sabah, 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, the US Ambassador to Kuwait Deborah Jones, joins as its leading chief ambassador to support the efforts of the com-

petition at large. The competition is founded by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Kuwait Limited and Kuwait Energy Company and is sponsored in its third year by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), Kuwait United Facilities Management Company (KUFM), the Information Technology Institute (ITI), The Scientific Center, Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait, Asnan Clinic, and supported by partners: the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS), the American University of Kuwait (AUK), Schlumberger and the Arab International Industrial Projects.

‘Workers not to be tested at old medical clinic’ KUWAIT: The Ministry of Health (MoH) will not conduct medical tests for expatriates at the medical facility in Kaifan. It will continued to be used as a temporary laboratory to test food items that are suitable for human consumption. In a statement made in response to inquisitions made by MP Waleed AlTabtabae, Minister Dr Hilal Al-Sayer explained that 68 staff workers are employed at the ministry’s microbiology food chemistry department. This is in addition to nine inspectors and three directors. He further indicated that food samples are received from the Kuwait Municipality, reported AlQabas. Furthermore, Dr AlSayer noted the samples will continue to be tested at the polyclinic until the construction of the food testing lab in Al-Sabah medical zone is completed.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Maliki to name Iraq govt Zebari to return as foreign minister BAGHDAD: Hussa in a l-Sha hrista ni w ill be rea ppointed Ira qi oil minister w hen a new ca binet is unveiled tomorrow , senior officia ls sa id, keeping in place the architect of pla ns to turn Iraq into a top global oil producer. Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd, also w ill rema in a t his post but a final selection of a new fina nce minister ha d not yet been

TRIPOLI: “Merry Christmas” wishes from the municipality of Tripoli are lit in red and yellow in the centre of the northern Lebanese port city on Friday. — AP

Think tank plans study of how US treats detainees NEW YORK: A nonpartisan legal think tank plans to study US treatment of terrorism detainees, partly out of concern that the country’s policies lack clarity and can be manipulated to permit abuse or torture in dangerous times, members of a task force appointed to conduct the study said Friday. Eleanor J. Hill, one of three chairpersons on The Constitution Project’s new panel, said the study will look at events after the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, such as the abuse by American troops of inmates at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and complaints of detainee torture. She said it was important in fighting terrorism to project an image of the United States that is consistent with the principles the country was founded upon so that terrorists are not viewed more favorably than Americans in some parts of the world. “When you see stories of Abu Ghraib and stories of torture, it’s not the kind of America we want the rest of the world to see and the kind of country we want to be,” said Hill, who was a Department of Defense inspector general under President Bill Clinton. “America is not what terrorists say we are, an evil country to be hated.” Former FBI Director William Sessions, former US Rep. Asa Hutchinson, a retired Army general and a retired appeals court judge in Washington are among 11 people selected for a task force that will meet for the first time in early January, said Virginia Sloan, a lawyer and president of The Constitution Project. Sloan said the task force will try to reconcile the lack of clarity and consistency in US detainee treatment policies to ensure public confidence in future policy decisions. Its work should produce a final report in a year to 18 months, she said. She said the policies must be clear because civil liberties are undermined in times when national security is threatened. “We’ve seen it throughout history,” she said. “When there’s some sort of crisis, we do curtail

civil liberties.” Hutchinson, a Republican who served as Department of Homeland Security undersecretary under George W. Bush, said in an interview that he joined the panel because he was convinced the study was “something important for our national security and our war on terrorism.” He said he will want to know what policies toward detainees were in place and how they were viewed during the past three presidential administrations. “I’m going into it with very much an open mind,” Hutchinson said, calling himself an “unabashed conservative.” He said the group’s work will be hampered somewhat because it will lack subpoena power and will not have access to classified materials. Sloan said the group decided to study the issue after others tried unsuccessfully to persuade President Barack Obama or Congress to initiate their own studies. Hill said she understood that other looming issues including the war in Afghanistan and the economy likely took precedence. “The idea really is to move the country past this,” she said. “We’ll look at the facts. Were things done that shouldn’t have been done and, if so, what can we do to prevent those things from happening in the future.” The task force was formed just weeks after the first Guantanamo detainee to be tried in a civilian court was acquitted in federal court in Manhattan on all but one of more than 280 charges that he took part in the alQaida bombings of two US embassies in Africa in 1998. The twin attacks killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans. Just before the start of Ghailani’s trial, US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan excluded the prosecution’s most important witness on the grounds that the government learned about him only after Ghailani was subjected to harsh interrogation tactics at a CIA-run camp overseas after his 2004 arrest. None of the statements Ghailani made to authorities after his arrest were used at the trial. — AP

Iraqi lawmakers lift ban on Sunni politicians BAGHDAD: Iraq’s parliament took a major step yesterday toward creating a unity government, lifting a ban on three Sunni Muslim politicians who were barred from running in national elections last March after being accused of having ties to Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime. The vote brings Iraq closer to ending months of political turmoil following the March 7 election, which failed to produce a clear winner. It also paves the way for broader Sunni participation in the emerging government, headed by Shiite incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Parliament voted 109-61 to allow former lawmaker Saleh alMutlaq and two other Sunnis to return to political jobs. AlMutlaq, an al-Maliki critic and member of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya political coalition that won the most seats in the March vote, is expected to take a government post instead of rejoining the legislature. Iraqiya spokesman Haidar al-

Mullah said yesterday’s decision sought to assure Sunnis they will not be sidelined in the new Shiite-dominated government. The two Muslim sects have fought bitterly for power after Iraq’s majority Shiites took control of the government that Sunnis ruled under Saddam. “What has happened today is the starting point for more national reconciliation,” alMullah said. Al-Mutlaq was the most prominent of hundreds of candidates who were barred from the elections after a Shiiteled panel said they were loyalists to Saddam’s outlawed Baath Party. Their blacklisting, part of a controversial process to weed Baathists from government, was seen as a thinly veiled attempt to bar Sunnis from returning to power. Ahmed Chalabi, the head of the de-Baathification panel, said lifting the ban on al-Mutlaq and the other politicians was made possible by a decision last month by Iraq’s political parities to abolish the vetting commission entirely

BAGHDAD: In this Sept 5, 2006 file photo, Saleh al-Mutlaq is seen at a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq’s parliament yesterday lifted a ban on three Sunni Muslim politicians barred from running in national elections last March after being accused of having ties to Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime. — AP

within two years. “These politicians have the right to assume posts in the executive authority or in the government but not in the legislative authority or the parliament,” Chalabi said. Shiite lawmaker Sami al-Askari told The Associated Press that lifting the ban was al-Maliki’s attempt to show he supports a power-sharing deal among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds that was struck last month. —AP

Analysts say target of 6-7 million bpd is more realistic. Shahristani will be a key member of Maliki’s new cabinet as Iraq tries to rebuild damaged and neglected infrastructure more than seven years after the US-led invasion that ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein and touched off sectarian warfare that killed tens of thousands of people. Iraqis have been waiting for a new government for more than nine months since a March parliamentary election that failed to produce a clear winner and displayed the depth of Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian divisions. After months of squabbling over positions and power, the main Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions reached agreement last month on dividing up the top government posts. Shahristani, a nuclear scientist who oversees the ministry that delivers about 95 percent of Iraq’s federal revenues, will return to the job he started in 2006. “The minister of oil will stay in his place as the minister of oil,” said Abdul-Hadi al-Hasani, an official with Maliki’s coalition and a former deputy leader of parliament’s oil and gas committee. Other senior sources, including one close to Shahristani, confirmed that he would return as oil minister rather than take a post as deputy prime minister in charge of energy affairs. Shahristani did not think the new job would give him enough influence, a senior member of Maliki’s negotiating team said. “The prime minister has a desire to let Shahristani be deputy prime minister for power affairs but Shahristani thinks that the minister will be the owner of the final decisions in his ministry,” the source said. Shahristani’s return amounts to a pledge to oil companies to honour contracts to develop Iraq’s vast oil reserves. Maliki intends to name a cabinet expected to include 42 posts including three deputy prime ministers. The jobs are being divvied up among Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions according to the seats they won in the March election. Two of the most prominent Kurds in the government’s inner circle will be familiar faces: Zebari and Deputy Prime Minister Ross Nouri Shawis. “The ministry of foreign affairs is settled for Zebari and a deputy prime minister post is settled for Ross Nouri Shawis,” said Mahmoud Othman, a senior Kurdish lawmaker. Still unsettled is the role of Iyad Allawi, the secularist

ma de, sources close to Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri a l-Ma liki sa id. Shahristani, a Shi’ite, led the oil m inistry as it set Iraq on an a mbitious path to boost its production ca pa city to 12 million barrels per day in the next six or seven yea rs, rivalling globa l leader Sa udi Ara bia , from 2.5 million bpd now .

KARBALA: Shiite Mulsim pilgrims light candels during Ashoura rituals in the holy city of Karbala, south of Baghdad. —AP Shi’ite former prime minister who led his cross-sectarian Iraqiya bloc to 91 seats in parliament, more than any other coalition. Under a power-sharing deal reached on Nov. 10, he was expected to take the leadership of a

national strategic policies council. But he has since wavered on whether to join Maliki’s government and said on Friday he would take part only if he was given real power. Maliki has said the strate-

gic policies council would be an advisory body. Senior officials said Maliki’s announcement tomorrow would not include security posts, including the interior minister, who has control of the Iraqi police; the defence min-

ister, who controls the army; and the national security minister. Nominees for those sensitive posts have not yet been decided due to a dearth of qualified, independent candidates, officials said. —Reuters



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Belarus opposition complains of dirty tricks MINSK: An opposition activist depicted as a bikini-clad gay on national TV. Leaflets telling lies about a presidential hopeful. An honors student suddenly expelled from university after appearing in a video making fun of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Although the election campaign has been the most free seen since Lukashenko came to power in 1994, it has been tainted by vicious propaganda and mysterious reprisals against opposition candidates and their supporters. It has also been shadowed by the hanging death of an activist close to a top Lukashenko challenger. An unprecedented nine candidates are running against Lukashenko, and they have been granted unusual freedom to campaign. The candidates have been given time to debate on state television and radio, the country has no independent broadcasters , although Lukashenko has not participated. The comparative openness apparently reflects Lukashenko's desire to improve relations with Europe and the United States amid troubled relations with longtime patron Russia. But Lukashenko appears to have no desire for a genuinely competitive election, and dirty tricks have abounded. Lukashenko is courting both Russia and the West. He needs cheap oil and gas from Russia to keep the Soviet-style state-dominated economy functioning and Russia wants a

cooperative leader in a country lying between its borders and three NATO members. The West, offended by Belarus' dismal human rights record and repressive politics, is eager to see signs of reform. "Lukashenko must make concessions to the West and create a democratic facade in these elections," said independent political analyst Aleksandr Klaskovsky. "But in exchange, he has turned on the machine to discredit opponents to full capacity." A recent documentary on Belarus' state-controlled Channel One portrayed the campaign staff of a top opposition candidate, Vladimir Neklyayev, as a gang of homosexuals, pedophiles, drug addicts and swindlers. In the film, an unnamed bearded man identified as a member of Neklyayev's campaign was shown posing for photos in a purple bikini and then in a silk nightgown. The film also accused Neklyayev's activists of document forgery and possessing child porn and illegal drugs. Neklyayev says the movie is nothing but lies. Opposition candidate Andrei Sannikov complained that voters in the city of Brest have been given fake leaflets purportedly from his campaign that urged NATO membership for Belarus, which he opposes. Sannikov blames Lukashenko supporters. "Government propaganda is trying to humiliate all democratic candidates in any possible way,"

said Neklyayev. Even the sudden appearance of an iceskating rink on one of the Belarusian capital's central squares raised questions about today's presidential elections , the square is where opposition activists plan to rally to protest a vote count they're sure will be fraudulent. Sannikov and Neklyayev yesterday repeated their calls for protesters to assemble after the polls close on October Square , even though a slippery sheet of ice has been laid down across almost the entire expanse in the past couple of days. In previous winters, a rink has taken up only a small portion of the square, where large protests arose after the 2006 presidential vote. Nonetheless, "we are going to stand for our rights there," Neklyayev said. Lukashenko himself has been the target of campaign jabs. In a video clip that went viral in Belarus, two bulky louts show up at the door of an old woman and pressure her to sign up as a Lukashenko voter. Her grandson snatches her passport before the men can jot down her details. The video's creator, a state broadcasting company employee, was fired, and the college student who played the grandson was kicked out of school, according to the opposition organization Charter 97. The group, whose founders include Sannikov, remains haunted by the September death of another of its founders, Oleg Bebenin, who was found

hanging in his summer home. Under pressure from the West, Belarus allowed Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe investigators to probe the death. The investigation concluded it was suicide, but Charter 97 suspects foul play and complained that investigators did nothing but review evidence provided by local authorities they say are biased. The group says Bebenin left no suicide note and had shown no signs of despair that would lead to suicide. There has also been concern that Lukashenko's regime is stuffing ballot boxes in early voting that began Tuesday. The OSCE, which has sent a large international observer mission to Belarus, noted in a report last week that Belarus this year adopted laws requiring ballot boxes used in early voting to be sealed at night. But it is unclear how closely that regulation is being followed. Valentin Stefanovich, coordinator of a group of independent Belarusian election observers, said Friday that "during the period of early voting, the authorities began the falsification process that was seen in all previous elections." He also claimed that students, soldiers and workers in state enterprises are being forced to take part in the early voting. All those sectors of the population are seen as especially vulnerable to pressure to vote for Lukashenko.—AP

Prosecution focused on alleged orchestration of genocide

Prosecutor: Sudan's Bashir stole billions THE HAGUE: The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said yesterday he has evidence Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has stolen billions of dollars from his impoverished country. "From different sources, we have information about possible accounts that could belong to

President Bashir in foreign banks," Luis Moreno Ocampo said in a statement to The Associated Press. But he said that his prosecution is focused on al-Bashir's alleged orchestration of genocide in Darfur and not suspected embezzlement.

MAIDUGURI: In this Nov 12, 2010 photo, Usman Halidu prepares fish to sell at a market in Maiduguri, Nigeria. In northeastern Nigeria, far from the battlegrounds of Afghanistan, a group known as the Nigerian Taleban is waging war against a government it refuses to recognize. —AP

Radical Muslim sect again stalks northern Nigeria MAIDUGURI: In the dusty streets of northeastern Nigeria, far from the battlegrounds of Afghanistan, a group known as the Nigerian Taleban is waging war against a government it refuses to recognize. The radical Muslim sect called Boko Haram was thought to be vanquished in 2009, when Nigeria's military crushed its mosque into concrete shards, and its leader was arrested and died in police custody. But now, a year later, Maiduguri and surrounding villages again live in fear of the group, whose members have assassinated police and local leaders and engineered a massive prison break, officials say. Western diplomats are concerned that the sect is catching the attention of al-Qaida's North Africa branch. They also worry that Boko Haram represents chaos and disintegration in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and one of the top suppliers of crude oil to the United States. "It is possible that Nigeria could be a future Pakistan," a leaked cable released by the WikiLeaks website quotes U.S. Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Johnnie Carson as saying earlier this year. "In 25 years, there could be impoverished masses, a wealthy elite and radicalism in the north. The question is whether the oil wells will be dry as well." The cable later adds: "Nigeria is at a critical financial and political threshold and the entire nation could possibly tip backwards permanently." Maiduguri sits in the upper northeast reaches of Nigeria, about 1,040 miles (1,675 kilometers) away from the country's commercial capi-

tal and seaport of Lagos. The sun rises as early as 6 a.m., quickly scorching the dusty streets and lands slowly being taken over by the growing Sahara Desert. It was here a decade ago where Mohammed Yusuf, a one-time moderate imam, began preaching against the practices of Western education in life across Nigeria's Muslim north. Boko Haram was a constant refrain in the Hausa-language sermons, meaning "Western education is sacrilege." Yusuf's words came at a time when about a dozen northern states adopted Islamic Shariah law, in the wake of the country becoming a democracy after decades of military dictatorships. Many believed the law, a code of conduct based on the teachings of the Quran, would end the corruption that gripped the country's government. However, the Shariah courts remained under the control of secular state governments, which pushed them into roles of directing traffic and stopping beer trucks. Government continued as always, with politicians driving black luxury Land Rovers, and one trader boasted a mansion built for about $100 million, complete with a room plated in gold. In the meantime, more than 80 percent of the country's 150 million people lived on less than $2 a day. "People are living in absolute poverty," said Ibrahim Ahmed Abdullahi, an imam in Maiduguri. "Whenever people are living in this type of poverty, if you start saying to them, 'Look, come let us bring about change,' ... people must listen to you." University graduates who joined Boko Haram tore up their diplomas. Others joined riots in 2007 attacking police

stations. Yusuf's preaching became even more incendiary. In July 2009, sect members attacked local police stations and government buildings throughout northeast Nigeria. The riots brought a crackdown by Nigeria's military and left more than 700 dead. Yusuf himself died after he was captured by the military and turned over to police in a country where so-called "extrajudicial killings" by authorities remain the norm. An overrun, grassy field is all that remains of Boko Haram's former headquarters, surrounded by the hulked, rusted remains of motorcycles and cars set ablaze during the group's last stand. The loudspeaker that once called members to prayers lies on the ground, silent, as paramilitary police pat down passers-by on motorcycle taxis and take palmed bribes from drivers. But rumors began this year about the group rearming. A short time later, two-man teams on the back of the motorcycle taxis that fill Nigeria's streets began attacking police officers, religious leaders and local officials who had testified against the group in open court. In September, authorities say, Boko Haram members attacked a federal prison in Bauchi, freeing about 750 inmates _ with more than 100 belonging to the sect. It remains unclear how many members the group has in total. Boko Haram members have amassed around Maiduguri, as well as across Nigeria's border with nearby Cameroon, Chad and Niger, said Borno state police spokesman Lawal Abdullahi. The group's swelling arms supply comes across Lake Chad and the expansive, poorly-patrolled bush that surrounds the city, Abdullahi said. —AP

"The most urgent reason to arrest Mr. Bashir is not because he could have billions in his secret accounts but because he is still controlling an ongoing genocide in Darfur," Moreno Ocampo said. He gave no further details of the information his office has about the alleged foreign accounts, but said they were not in Britain. The court issued arrest warrants for al-Bashir in July on three charges of genocide for allegedly masterminding atrocities in his country's Darfur region. He also was charged last year with crimes against humanity in the war-torn region. Al-Bashir, who was re-elected to a new five-year term earlier this year, refuses to recognize the court's authority and has insisted he will not turn himself in to stand trial. The United Nations estimates 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have be forced from their homes in Darfur since ethnic African rebels rose up in 2003, accusing Sudan's Arab-dominated central government of neglect and discrimination. The embezzlement accusations were first reported yesterday by British newspaper The Guardian, based on a diplomatic cable provided by the Wikileaks website. Citing a "senior US official" in a leaked cable, The Guardian said Moreno Ocampo had suggested revealing the embezzlement allegations as a way of turning the tide of public opinion against Al-Bashir. The cable said Moreno Ocampo put the amount of stolen funds at $9 billion. Moreno Ocampo said he could "make no judgment on the authenticity of the alleged US State Department cables." But he said that if stolen money could be found in al-Bashir accounts it could eventually be paid out to victims of allegedly state-sponsored violence in Darfur if alBashir is convicted. "As part of its mandate, the (prosecutor's) office is investigating money that could belong to President al-Bashir," Moreno Ocampo said. "This money could be used to compensate President Bashir's victims." Mariam Sadiq, a senior member of the opposition Umma Party in Sudan, called the allegations "disgraceful and sad." "This is something we knew for ten years when petrodollars were pouring into Sudan but never trickled down to the people of Sudan," she said. "Instead, the Sudanese citizen became poorer and needy." She said that the theft along with the possible secession of the south following a referendum scheduled for January and the Darfur crisis could mark the end of al-Bashir rule in Sudan. "These accumulations will end up with a regime change in Sudan and it will have broad and heavy impact on the public since these practices are threatening the existence of Sudan as a nation and a state," Sadiq said.—AP

MINSK: Belarus opposition presidential candidate Vladimir Neklyayev, center, speaks at a news conference as opposition presidential candidate Andrey Sannikov, left, looks on, in Minsk, Belarus yesterday. —AP

Masked men open fire on UN base in Ivory Coast ABIDJAN: Masked men in military uniforms opened fire on the United Nations base after following guards back from a patrol early yesterday, the UN mission said. No one at the UN was harmed in the shooting, which came two days after violent protests left up to 30 dead. The six armed men in a civilian vehicle shot at the patrol as it entered the mission compound early yesterday and continued firing along the wall of the compound, the UN mission said. The UN guards returned fire, according to a statement released yesterday. The United Nations certified results followed the disputed presidential election showing longtime opposition leader Alassane Ouattara won the vote. The UN has been providing protection at the Golf Hotel, where Ouattara has tried to govern. As many as 30 people were killed during violent protests Thursday, when Ouattara called on his supporters to seize key state institutions that incumbent Laurent Gbagbo has refused to let go of. Police and troops loyal to Gbagbo prevented Ouattara's supporters from marching on government buildings Friday. International pressure is growing on Gbagbo to

give up his claim to power in this West African nation that was once an economic hub because of its role as the world's top cocoa producer. A 200203 civil war split Ivory Coast in a rebel-controlled north and a loyalist south, and many had hoped that the election would help reunite the country. While the country officially reunited in a 2007 peace deal, Ouattara still draws his support from the northern half of the country where he was born while Gbagbo's power base is in the south. Gbagbo claimed victory in the presidential election only after his allies threw out half a million ballots from Ouattara strongholds in the north, a move that infuriated residents there who have long felt they are treated as foreigners in their own country by southerners. National identity remains at the heart of the divide. The question of who would even be allowed to vote in this long-awaited election took years to settle as officials tried to differentiate between Ivorians with roots in neighboring countries and foreigners. Ouattara had himself been prevented from running in previous elections after accusations that he was not Ivorian, and that he was of Burkinabe origin.—AP

PERUGIA: Convicted US student Amanda Knox, center, is escorted by penitentiary guards as she arrives for a hearing in her appeals trial at Perugia's courthouse, Italy yesterday. —AP

Knox trial resumes in Italy PERUGIA: An Italian court hearing the appeals murder trial of Amanda Knox was deliberating yesterday whether to allow new witnesses and an independent review of evidence, a crucial decision for the defense of the American student convicted of killing her British roommate. Defense lawyers are seeking a full, independent review of forensic evidence, including of contentious DNA evidence found on a knife allegedly used in the murder, as well as introduction of new witnesses. The prosecution insists the review is not necessary. It is the first significant test for Knox's defense. A rejection would be seen as dealing a blow to their hopes of overturning the conviction. Knox was convicted last year of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Her co-defendant and exboyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito of Italy, was convicted of the same charges and sentenced to 25 years. Both deny wrongdoing in the 2007 slaying. The defense maintains that DNA traces presented at the first trial were inconclusive and also contends they might have been contaminated when they were analyzed. They are disputing DNA traces found on the knife and on the clasp of Kercher's bra. "If they don't do the review, we'll be disappointed obviously," said Edda Mellas, Knox's mother. But, she added, "we won't throw in the towel." Prosecutor

Giancarlo Costagliola insisted that a review would be "useless" and that "this court has all the elements to be able to come to a decision." A lawyer for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, also opposed the bid for an evidence review, telling the court that Knox's and Sollecito's defense teams want to have "endless judgments." Knox, a 23-year-old from Seattle, was hunched and pale as she was escorted into the courtroom. She has been behind bars in Perugia since Nov. 6, 2007, four days after Kercher's body was found in a pool of blood, her throat slit, in the apartment Knox and Kercher shared as exchange students in Perugia. Mellas said the case has been taking a toll on her daughter. ""We assumed there would be no way (she would get convicted)," she said. "It's scary to think it might happen again." Yesterday's hearing was held two days after Italy's highest criminal court upheld the conviction and 16-year-prison sentence of the third person charged with the murder, Rudy Hermann Guede of the Ivory Coast. Guede has admitted being at the house the night of the murder but denies killing Kercher. He was tried separately. The high court's ruling, which cannot be appealed, is significant because it states that Guede took part in the slaying but did not act alone, prosecutors and lawyers said. — AP

Bag caused bomb-scare at Norwegian airport OSLO: A forgotten school bag containing crayons and paper prompted Norwegian authorities to close an airport for almost eight hours yesterday, allowing it to open again after a bomb squad ruled out the possibility of explosives. The Haugesund Airport on Norway's southwestern coast had been closed since late Friday after airport staff found a suspicious piece of luggage in a handicap toilet in the departure hall. An alarm, that had been set off in the same restroom just moments earlier, alerted the attention of the police. Chief Police inspector Trond Friberg said that

the combination of the two events led to police taking the situation more seriously than usual. "It could be seen as if the alarm had been activated to lure someone into a trap," Friberg said. He added that just as the airport was opening again, the mother of the bag's owner had contacted police, explaining how one of her two children had set off the alarm, while the other had forgotten its school bag as they rushed to catch their flight , the last one going out on Friday. The airport closure led to one cancellation and delays for two others. It was not clear how many passengers were affected by the incident. — AP

Sunday, December 19, 2010



Video recording shows violent death

Mexico outraged by killing of anti-crime crusader CIUDAD JUAREZ: Anger over Mexico's creaky, inefficient justice system boiled over after a mother who waged a two-year battle to bring her daughter's killer to justice was herself shot to death, possibly by the same man suspected of murdering the teenager. A security video recording shows masked men pulling up in a car in front of the governor's office in the northern city of Chihuahua. One

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama walks off stage after signing the $858 billion tax deal into law in a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Friday in Washington. —AP

Obama pushes for nuke treaty ratification WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is warning that failure to ratify a new arms control treaty with Russia will undercut American leadership on scores of challenges it faces worldwide. Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address yesterday to plead with the Senate to approve the treaty, a dearly held foreign policy priority in the waning days of Congress' lame-duck session. Obama said without action on the pact, known as New START, "we'll risk undermining American leadership not only on nuclear proliferation, but a host of other challenges around the world." "Ratifying a treaty like START isn't about winning a victory for an administration or a political party," the president said. "It's about the safety and security of the United States of America." Although the White House and Senate Democratic leaders have expressed confidence about prospects for ratification, the fate of the treaty is uncertain in the Senate, where it requires a two-thirds vote for passage. Senators are juggling it along with other contentious issues Obama wants to see completed before Congress recesses for the holidays,

including a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military, and time is fast running out. Senators debated the treaty into the night Friday, with Republicans raising concerns that it would limit US missile defense options, something the White House strongly disputes. The treaty, signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April, would limit each country's strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, down from the current ceiling of 2,200, and establish a system for monitoring and verification. US weapons inspections ended a year ago with the expiration of the 1991 arms control treaty. All 58 senators in the Democratic caucus are expected to back the treaty, but it needs Republican votes to reach the necessary 67 votes. A number of Republicans are supportive, but others continue to express reservations, despite entreaties from the Pentagon and prominent Republicans outside Congress, including former President George H.W. Bush. "Every minute we drag our feet is a minute that we have no inspectors on the ground at those Russian nuclear sites," Obama said. "It's time to get this done."— AP

Canadian court hikes terrorists' sentences TORONTO: A Canadian court increased the sentences Friday for three convicted Islamic terrorists and ordered the extradition of two Sri Lankan men facing terrorism-related charges in the US in a series of judgments. The Ontario Court of Appeal raised the sentence of Mohammed Momin Khawaja from 10 1/2 years to life in prison for participating in an al-Qaida-inspired plot to bomb British targets in 2004. Khawaja must now serve at least 10 years before being eligible to apply for parole. The 31-year-old Canadian was accused of collaborating with a group of Britons in a thwarted 2004 plot to attack London's Ministry of Sound nightclub, a shopping center and electrical and gas facilities. The suspects were all of Pakistani descent. Khawaja was convicted of five charges under Canada's terrorism laws, including financing training at a camp in Pakistan and providing a house and other assistance to his five conspirators in Britain , all of whom received life sentences after being convicted by a British court. The appellate judges said Friday that the original trial judge who sentenced Khawaja had seriously underestimated his fanaticism and the role model he could become for future jihadists. "He was obsessed with the cause, fanatic in his determination to establish Islamic dominance, seemingly at any cost, and eager to assist in bringing about the destruction of Western culture and civilization," the judges wrote. "The trial judge ought to have found that the appellant continues to pose a serious threat to society and is likely to do so for the indefinite future." Khawaja was the first to be charged and

sentenced under Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act, passed after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. In another ruling Friday, two men convicted of participating in a homegrown plot to set off truck bombs outside Canada's main stock exchange and two government buildings also had their sentences raised. The two were ringleaders of the so-called Toronto 18 plot whose goal was to pressure Canada into removing its troops from Afghanistan. Of the 18 men who were arrested in 2006, 11 of them have been convicted and seven had their charges stayed, which means that the government won't proceed with prosecutions. Saad Khalid, a Canadian citizen born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents, had his 14-year sentence increased to 20 years. The sentence for Saad Gaya, born in Canada to Pakistani parents, was raised from 12 years to 18 years. A third plotter, Zakaria Amara, a Jordanian-born Canadian citizen, had appealed his life sentence but that was denied Friday. In two other rulings, the court ordered the extradition of two alleged Sri Lankan terrorists to the United States. Suresh Sriskandarajah and Piratheepan Nadarajah face charges of assisting the rebel Tamil Tigers by offering to purchase surface-toair missiles and a AK-47 assault weapons from an undercover police officer in Long Island, New York. The two were appealing their 2009 extradition orders. The US and Canada have declared the Tamil Tigers, who launched a rebellion against the Sri Lankan government in a bid to establish an independent ethnic Tamil state, to be a terrorist group.—AP

Congress grants Chavez decree powers CARACAS: Venezuelan lawmakers granted President Hugo Chavez broad powers Friday to enact laws by decree, undermining the clout of a new congress that takes office next month with a bigger opposition bloc. Chavez opponents condemned the move as a power grab, saying the law gives him a blank check to rule without consulting lawmakers. The National Assembly approved the special powers for 18 months. A new congress goes into session Jan 5 with an opposition contingent large enough to hinder approval of some types of major laws. Chavez has argued he needs decree powers to fast-track funds to help the victims of recent floods and landslides, and also to hasten Venezuela's transition to a socialist state. He taunted his opponents in a televised speech Friday night, saying now that he has decree powers they won't be able to block his laws. "You won't be able to make a single law, 'pitiyanquis,"' Chavez said, using one of his favorite insults, which refers to US collaborators and translates as "little Yankees." "We're going to see how you make laws now." The president's critics have denounced the decree powers as one of many controversial measures being pushed through in the final weeks of a lame-duck congress. Another measure under discussion Friday was the revised "Social Responsibility Law," which would impose broadcast-type regulations on the Internet and ban online messages "that could incite or promote hatred," create "anxiety" in the population or "disrespect public authorities." Questions remain about how the Internet regulations would be enforced. The law granting Chavez decree powers — for the fourth time in his nearly 12-year presidency — also will allow him to unilaterally enact measures involving telecommunications, the banking system, information technology, the military, rural and urban land use and the country's "socio-economic system." Among the planned

decrees already announced, Chavez intends to increase the value-added tax, now 12 percent, to raise funds for coping with the disaster caused by weeks of heavy rains. The government is erecting tents to house thousands left homeless and is accelerating public housing construction. Critics accuse Chavez of taking advantage of the disaster to tighten his grip on power, saying he is violating the constitution while trying to impose a Cuba-style system. Lawmaker Pastora Medina, a former Chavez ally who turned against him, condemned the decree powers saying the president already "has the budget and the resources to solve the problems." Newly elected opposition lawmaker Julio Borges said Chavez is trying to use the Christmas lull when Venezuelans are focused on other matters to push through "laws that have one single purpose: to give more power to the government and take power away from the people." Borges said the opposition will keep fighting and that "the Cuban project is going to fail." Chavez has enjoyed near total control of the National Assembly since the opposition boycotted 2005 elections. That is set to change when the new congress takes office with 67 of the 165 seats controlled by the opposition — enough to prevent Chavez from having the two-thirds majority needed to approve some types of major legislation and to confirm Supreme Court justices. Anticipating that shift, pro-Chavez lawmakers earlier this month appointed nine new Supreme Court justices, reinforcing the dominance of judges widely seen as friendly to his government. Starting in January, the opposition lawmakers "will have their space, they must be allowed to," Chavez said. "There's going to be debate and that will be interesting." National Assembly President Cilia Flores said the approval of decree powers shows the outgoing legislature's "revolutionary commitment." — AP

On Friday, a group of demonstrators gathered outside the Interior Department in Mexico City to protest the killing, briefly scuffling with police while chanting "Not one more death!" And far to the north in Ciudad Juarez, where Escobedo's 17-year-old daughter's burned and dismembered remains were found in a trash bin in June 2009, activists protested outside the state prosecutors office with signs demanding "Justice for Marisela." Thursday's slaying "shows that in Mexico it is the victim who suffers, without protection," veteran anti-crime activist Alejandro Marti said. The scandal resulted in the suspension of three judges who had ordered the release of the main suspect in the daughter's killing after he was absolved by a court in April for lack of evidence. That man, Sergio Barraza, is now a chief suspect in the mother's death, said Carlos Gonzalez, a spokesman for the attorney general's office in Chihuahua state, where Ciudad Juarez is located. Escobedo's daughter, Rubi Frayre Escobedo, disappeared in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, in 2008. After the body was discovered last year, the mother launched a campaign pressing for a conviction in the case. Escobedo staged numerous marches, once wearing no clothes, wrapped only in a banner with her daughter's photograph. "This struggle is not only for my daughter," Escobedo said through a megaphone at that march, her voice breaking. "Let's not allow one more young woman to be killed in this city." Three days ago, she planted herself in front of the offices of Gov. Cesar Duarte and vowed not to move until investigators showed progress in the case. In an interview with the newspaper El Diario on Sunday, Escobedo said she had received death threats from Barraza's family. Duarte said state security officials had been assigned to guard Escobedo, although from a distance. He said their failure to protect her Thursday would be investigated. Duarte had also called on the state's top court to suspend the three judges. On Friday, court president Javier Ramirez Benitez said they would be suspended pending an investigation. Ramirez Benitez said an oversight commission found earlier this year that the case was improperly handled. Prosecutors said Barraza, Frayre's live-in boyfriend, admitted murdering her and led police to the body. But at trial he proclaimed his innocence and claimed he had been tortured into confessing. The judges ruled in April that prosecutors failed to present material evidence against him. The case exemplifies the problems of the judicial system in Chihuahua state, one of the first to adopt oral trials instead of the closed-door interrogations and filings of documents used for most Mexican trials. Despite training, Chihuahua police and prosecutors have struggled to adapt to a system that puts the burden of proof on prosecutors. Many homicide cases have been thrown out for lack of evidence or never make it to trial. Often, police rely solely on confessions that suspects later claim were made under duress. Newly captured suspects in much of Mexico are often displayed to the press with bruised faces. Police in Ciudad Juarez have been overwhelmed by drug gang battles that have made the city one of the world's deadliest. More than 3,000 people have been killed in the city of 1.3 million this year alone. Records obtained by The Associated Press show that last year, when 2,600 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez, prosecutors filed 93 homicide cases and got 19 convictions. Chihuahua's judicial deficiencies go back years before the new system was implemented, before drug violence soared to unprecedented levels. In the 1990s, hundreds of women were killed around Ciudad Juarez, about 100 of whom were sexually assaulted and dumped in the desert.—AP

appeared to exchange words with anti-crime crusader Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, who was holding a vigil outside. She tried to flee by running across the street, but the gunman chased her down and shot her in the head late Thursday, said Jorge Gonzalez, special state prosecutor for crime prevention. Escobedo was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she died within minutes.

CIUDAD JUAREZ: Human rights activists hang a sign on the wall of the state prosecutors office to protest the killing of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Friday.—AP

Senate nears repeal of US military's curbs on gays WASHINGTON: Congress is close to ending the ban on gays serving openly in the US military, with the Senate ready for a landmark vote that could deliver a major victory to the gay community, liberals and President Barack Obama. Senators planned a procedural vote yesterday on a bill ending the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as lawmakers held an unusual weekend session in their race to finish the year's legislative business. If at least 60 senators vote to advance the bill as expected, the repeal, which passed the House of Representatives earlier this week, could win final passage by late afternoon. Republicans opposed to changing the law could demand

extended debate although early indications were that they might not bother. With opposition from Republicans weakening, passage would mark a triumph for Obama, who made repeal of the 17-year-old law a campaign promise in 2008. It also would be a win for congressional Democrats who have struggled in the final days of the outgoing Congress' session to overcome Republican objections, and for gay rights groups who said yesterday's vote was their best shot at changing the law. Republicans, who are far less supportive of gay rights, take over the House and gain strength in the Senate when the new Congress is seated in January. Advocates vowed to leave nothing to chance and stepped up lobbying efforts in the hours

before the vote, including a silent protest in the visitor seats overlooking the Senate floor. "We simply cannot let the clock run out and lose this historic opportunity," said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, whose supporters vowed to sit in the Senate gallery until the law was repealed. Repeal would mean that for the first time in US history, gays would be openly accepted by the military and could acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being kicked out. More than 13,500 service members have been dismissed under the 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" law requiring uniformed gays to hide their sexual identity. —AP



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Filipino kidnapper gets 23 years for ’95 abduction WASHINGTON: Fifteen years after leading a kidnapping that turned a family vacation into a hostage crisis, the former second-incommand of the Filipino militant group Abu Sayyaf was sentenced Friday to 23 years in an American prison. Madhatta Haipe led about 40 members of Abu Sayyaf in abducting 16 vacationers at a mountain tourist resort in the southern Philippines during Christmas week 1995. The hostages included six children and two pregnant women and were released after five days when ransom was paid. Haipe was prosecuted in the United States because four hostages were American citizens and a fifth was a permanent resident alien. Those five victims and others who flew

in from as far away as the Philippines appeared in court during a five-hour hearing and tearfully described how they still are traumatized and suffer psychological problems. Bien-Elize Roque, who was 11 when she was kidnapped along with her parents, said the experience stole her childhood and left her with nightmares of men in camouflage and an obsession with locking doors and windows. “You had no right to force me to grow up,” she told Haipe. Haipe, 48, evaded capture for more than a decade, mostly living in Malaysia as the owner of a string of small businesses and father after he said he left Abu Sayyaf in 1997. But prosecutor Gregg Maisel said, “The United States never forgot.” Maisel showed a video the

vacationers took shortly before the gunmen attacked them at the Traan-Kine Spring Resort at Lake Sebu, 640 miles southeast of Manila. They gathered on a lush green mountainside, the children squealing in delight as they splashed in water pooled beneath a waterfall. Maisel said the kidnappers appeared suddenly, wearing fatigues, wielding guns and knives and shouting at the tourists, “Get down, get down!” Two men who did not immediately obey were hit with rifle butts, and some had their hands and necks tied with rope to prevent escape. All were forced to march up the mountain, some still wearing bathing suits without shoes, and were shown a large semicircular knife that

would be used to behead them if they did not comply. The defendant, who went by “Commander Haipe,” then questioned the hostages individually about their background and set a $38,000 ransom for one American family and $19,000 ransom for the release of the rest. He then sent three women and a male driver to collect the money, rejecting their pleas to release the children. He threatened to kill their families if they did not comply or went to police. One victim went by her initials V.L. when she spoke to the judge because she still lives in the Philippines and fears for her safety from Abu Sayyaf. She said she begged the kidnappers to release her two younger children, an 11-year-old son and 7-year-old

daughter with asthma, even if they had to keep her 19-year-old daughter hostage. “How can a mother forgive herself for choosing only two of her three children?” she said. But she was sent to collect ransom and says she still hears the wailing cries of her son begging to go with her as she walked away. “I am grateful that the long arm of the law finally got Mr Haipe.” The kidnappers took one vacationer’s video camera and recorded themselves while they waited for the ransom money. The families huddled under tents of blue tarp while their smiling young male captors showed off weapons including rifles and a bazooka. Roque’s mother, Helen, also was sent

away to collect ransom. She said she desperately called family members, friends and coworkers and was able to borrow the $38,000 that Haipe demanded for her family. Maisel said only part of the money made it to the camp since interveners who delivered it apparently took a cut, but Haipe agreed to release the hostages anyway on the promise they would pay the rest later. Haipe, wearing a gray striped prison jumpsuit, turned and addressed the victims as “friends” and said they were lucky because someone was standing for their justice. He said Muslims have been subject to tyranny, oppression and massacre in the Philippines without such justice, which is why he joined Abu Sayyaf.—AP

South Korea to hold firing drills despite North threat Tensions rise on divided peninsula YEONPYEONG ISLAND: South Korean troops geared up yesterday for artillery drills on a border island shelled by North Korea last month despite Pyongyang’s threat to retaliate again, as Russia and China expressed concerns over rising tensions on the divided peninsula. The North warned Friday that it would strike even harder than before if the South went ahead with its planned The Russian ministry issued a separate statement later Friday urging North Korea to demonstrate maximum restraint and refrain from taking actions that could lead to a repeat of last month’s artillery exchange with the South. China, the North’s key ally, said it is firmly against any acts that could worsen already-high tensions on the Korean peninsula. “In regard to what could lead to worsening the situation or any escalation of acts of sabotage of regional peace and stability, China is firmly and unambiguously opposed,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement yesterday. China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun also warned in a statement that the situation on the Korean peninsula is “extremely precarious.” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday that marines would go ahead with the drills as scheduled and that the military was ready to respond to any possible provocation. “We have a right to conduct our own military drills,” a Joint Chiefs of Staff officer said. The North’s threat and the Chinese and Russian concerns will not affect the timing of the exercise, said the officer, who spoke anonymously, citing department rules. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun said the drills are defensive in nature and are not aimed at stoking regional tensions. The artillery drills were not expected to be held over the weekend because of bad weather and will be conducted either Monday or Tuesday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff officer said. Marines carrying rifles conducted routine patrols yesterday morning on Yeonpyeong, and no warning for residents to evacuate to underground shelters had been issued. About 300 residents, officials and journalists remain on Yeonpyeong, but officials from Ongjin County, which governs the island, said they had no immediate plans to order a mandatory evacuation to the mainland. “North Korea said it will deal the powerful ... blow at us if we go ahead and fire artillery. So residents are getting more restless,” said Yoon Jin-young, a 48-

drills. Four people died last month in the North’s attack on Yeonpyeong Island near the tense sea border. The US supports South Korea, saying the country has a right to conduct such a military exercise. However, Russia’s Foreign Ministry expressed its “extreme concern” Friday over the drills and urged South Korea to cancel them to prevent a further escalation of tensions.

SEOUL: South Korean protesters attach a picture of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on a picket as others hold signs reading “Stop Artillery Drills,” during an anti-war and anti-government rally in Seoul, South Korea yesterday. —AP year-old islander. Later yesterday, activists launched balloons containing about 200,000 propaganda leaflets toward the North from the island, which is only about seven miles (11 kilometers) from North Korean shores. The balloons also carried 1,000 $1 bills and DVDs containing infor-

mation on the North’s artillery barrage last month. Several bloody naval skirmishes occurred along the western sea border in recent years, but last month’s assault was the first by the North to target a civilian area since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The North does not recognize the U.N.-

drawn sea border in the area. The North claims South Korea fired artillery toward its territorial waters before it unleashed shells on the island last month, while the South says it launched shells southward, not toward North Korea, as part of routine exercises. The North issued a warning

yesterday saying South Korea would face “catastrophe” if it went ahead with the planned drills, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Friday that North Korea should not view South Korea’s upcoming drills as a threat. “A country has every right to train and exercise its military in its own self-defense,” Crowley said. “North Korea should not use any future legitimate training exercises as justification to undertake further provocative actions.” Still, Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, voiced concerns of a potential chain reaction if the drills are misunderstood or if North Korea reacts negatively. “What you don’t want to have happen out of that is for us to lose control of the escalation,” he told reporters at the Pentagon. A flurry of regional diplomacy was under way to defuse the tensions, with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson visiting the North. A frequent unofficial envoy to the reclusive country, Richardson said he wanted to visit the North’s main nuclear complex and meet with senior officials during his four-day trip, though details of his schedule were unclear. “My objective is to see if we can reduce the tension in the Korean peninsula,” Richardson said Thursday at the airport in Pyongyang, according to Associated Press Television News. US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg held closed-door meetings Thursday with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo. Beijing’s top foreign policy official returned last week from talks in Pyongyang with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. China has come under growing pressure to push North Korea to change its behavior. In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the Nov. 23 attack on Yeonpyeong “one of the gravest provocations since the end of the Korean War.” Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, urged North Korea to show restraint and called on both Koreas to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula.—AP

Boat crash forces look at Australia refugee policy ADELAIDE: Rescue teams resumed scouring the Christmas Island coastline and surrounding sea yesterday in a dwindling hope for any more survivors from a deadly crash of a boat full of asylum seekers. At least 30 men, women and children died when the wooden boat smashed into craggy cliffs Wednesday, splintering to pieces and tossing the passengers into treacherous waves. Forty-two survived. On Friday night, about 70 asylum seekers held at the island’s detention center gathered near the entrance in an impromptu protest. They chanted, “Help me, UN,” and complained of how long they have been held in detention. Many expressed grief over the boat tragedy. The Department of Immigration said it was a peaceful protest. The horrific crash has triggered a blame game: Blame the cyclone off Christmas Island. Blame the Indonesian people smugglers who loaded people onto the rickety vessel and set off for Australia. Blame the slow response of rescue teams. But mostly, blame the government.

“The Gillard government has blood on its hands,” Herald Sun newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt wrote, calling for Gillard to resign. “These tragic drownings at Christmas Island are a direct result of her reckless boat people policies.” The tragedy has once again put the spotlight on the three-year-old Labor government’s struggle to come up with an effective refugee policy. Critics on both sides say the current approach encourages asylum seekers to undertake perilous sea journeys. When the Labor Party swept to power in late 2007, it relaxed the previous government’s strict refugee laws as part of an effort to forge a fairer and more humane process. Since then, boat arrivals have increased steadily. More than 120 carrying at least 6,000 people landed in 2010, the highest in 20 years. The opposition Liberal Party blames the policy shift, while the Labor government contends that unrest in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Sri Lanka is behind the surge. Whatever the

reason, detention centers are overcrowded, and a huge backlog of refugee applications has built up. The government’s response, on what is a politically charged issue that could bring it down, has seemed confused. In April, Australia temporarily suspended processing applications from Afghans and Sri Lankans, stating that those countries were becoming safer. Human rights groups criticized the decision, and the suspensions were eventually lifted. Most remarkably, Gillard proposed a regional processing center in a third country - mimicking the former Liberal government’s “Pacific Solution” in which Australia paid the tiny island country of Nauru to host a detention center. Even refugee advocates blame the prime minister, saying she hasn’t gone far enough. “The government’s policies at the moment are pushing people to get on boats,” said Ian Rintoul, a spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition. “If the Australian government would process asy-

lum seekers in Indonesia and guarantee them resettlement here, and stop pressuring Indonesia to detain them, then people wouldn’t feel pressed into getting on boats to travel to Australia.” While the number of asylum seekers arriving by sea is far less than those who fly in, the boat people draw the most attention and ire. Typically they pay up to $10,000 to smugglers, who bring them by various routes to Indonesia and then cram them into often barely seaworthy boats bound for Australia. In 2001, a Liberal government under Prime Minister John Howard imposed strict laws that included mandatory detention for asylum seekers, offshore detention centers and only temporary visas for those who were granted refugee status. The boats largely stopped coming. The Liberals, now in opposition, typically demand the government tighten its policies to deter would-be refugees. But in the wake of Wednesday’s horrific tragedy, their response so far has been muted. — AP

GUNSAN: In this photo released from the South Korean coast guard via Yonhap, a Chinese fishing boat is seen capsized in western South Korean waters off Gunsan, South Korea yesterday. —AP

China fishing boat capsizes in scuffle SEOUL: A Chinese fishing boat capsized in a maritime scuffle with a South Korean coast guard ship trying to curb its illegal fishing activities yesterday, killing one fisherman and leaving two others missing, South Korea’s coast guard said. About 50 Chinese fishing boats were illegally fishing in western South Korean waters off Gunsan city, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) south of Seoul, when the South Korean ship approached them, coast guard spokesman Ji Kwan-tae said. One of the boats intentionally hit the larger coast guard ship to allow fellow Chinese vessels to sail back to their waters, and then capsized, he said. Eight people from the capsized boat were plucked from the sea, but one was unconscious and later died at a Gunsan hospital, the coast guard said in a statement. Coast guard boats and helicopters were dispatched to the area to locate the two missing Chinese sailors, it said. Coast guard officers fought with fishermen on other Chinese boats who wielded steel pipes, shovels and clubs, and four of the officers suffered fractured arms and other injuries, the statement said. None of the injuries were life-threatening, Ji said. Chinese fishing fleets have been going farther afield to feed growing domestic demand. A collision between a Chinese fishing boat and Japanese coast guard vessels in September led to a nasty diplomatic spat between the two countries over

disputed islands in the East China Sea. The incident soured what had been improving relations between China and Japan. More than 300 Chinese fishing boats are captured for fishing illegally in South Korean waters every year, according to South Korea’s coast guard. In 2008, one South Korean coast guard officer was killed and six others injured in a maritime scuffle with Chinese fishermen fishing in South Korean waters. A senior South Korean Foreign Ministry official expressed regret over the death of the Chinese fisherman in a phone call to the Chinese consul general in Seoul, Yonhap news agency reported. Calls to the South Korean Foreign Ministry went unanswered. A man answering the phone at the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center in Beijing confirmed that a Chinese fishing boat capsized yesterday in the Yellow Sea and two Chinese fishermen were missing. But another man at the center , reached by phone an hour later , said nine fishermen had been rescued and only one was missing. South Korea’s coast guard couldn’t immediately explain the discrepancy in the number of missing fishermen. Both men , who didn’t give their names, as is common with Chinese officials , said China dispatched a rescue boat to the area. Calls to the Chinese Embassy in Seoul went unanswered.—AP

Search for survivors in Aussi boat crash ends ADELAIDE: No more survivors are expected to be found from a deadly boat crash on a craggy Australian island this week and officials are preparing memorial services for the 30 people known to have died, the immigration minister said yesterday. Officials have said the boat could have been carrying as many as 100 Iraqi, Iranian and Kurdish asylum seekers when it shattered against cliffs in stormy seas on Wednesday. The bodies of 30 men, women and children were retrieved from the ocean, while 42 people were rescued. “The search has moved from a search for survivors to a search for bodies,” Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said yesterday. Bowen said memorial services for the victims will be held at the Christmas Island detention center today and tomorrow. The island community is also planning a service, as many residents witnessed the disaster and tried to give assistance as the boat splintered and passengers were tossed into the water. On Friday, asylum seekers at the detention center expressed remorse and anger at the incident by staging two protests. Some chanted, “Help me, UN,” and complained of how long they have been held in detention. Bowen said the protests were peaceful and the

center was calm yesterday. The tragedy has once again put the spotlight on the three-year-old Labor government’s struggle to come up with an effective refugee policy. Critics on both sides say the current approach encourages asylum seekers to undertake perilous sea journeys. In 2001, a Liberal government under Prime Minister John Howard imposed strict laws that included mandatory detention for asylum seekers, offshore detention centers and only temporary visas for those who were granted refugee status. The boats largely stopped coming. When the Labor Party swept to power in late 2007, it relaxed the previous government’s strict refugee laws as part of an effort to forge a fairer and more humane process. Since then, boat arrivals have increased steadily. More than 120 carrying at least 6,000 people landed in 2010, the highest in 20 years. Currently the country takes 13,500 people annually, down from 21,000 a decade ago. Hassan Varasi, an Afghan who came to Australia by boat in 2001, said nothing will stop people who are desperate to escape violence in their home countries. “You’ll do anything to save your life, even risking it on one of those boats,” he said.—AP

China: Possible Korea clash could hurt region BEIJING: China warned yesterday that a possible fresh clash between North and South Korea could shake regional stability and it urged both governments to avoid moves that it said would stoke tensions. Reflecting Beijing’s hands-off stance towards the volatile rift between the two sides of the Korean Peninsula, the statement from Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu neither directly criticised Seoul’s plans to stage a live-fire military drill

nor Pyongyang’s threat to strike if the drill goes ahead. But Jiang’s statement, issued on the Ministry’s website (, made plain that Beijing fears a repeat of the confrontation that erupted last month, when North Korea shelled a South Korean island after Seoul staged a military drill. “The situation on the Korean peninsula is now particularly complex and sensitive, and China is highly concerned,” Jiang said. — Reuters


Sunday, December 19, 2010


India’s Congress party meets amid controversies NEW DELHI: India’s ruling Congress party began three days of soul-searching yesterday as it goes through its roughest political patch in the six years since it was returned to power. The party’s plenary session comes as authorities probe what could be India’s biggest corruption case-a mobile phone licensing scandal which cost the nation 40 billion dollars in lost revenue. Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, India’s most pow-

erful politician, is due today to address the meeting, laying out her electoral vision for the party, which is marking the 125th year since its foundation. Gandhi, who has held the Congress top job for the longest time in the party’s long history, was thrust into the limelight after her husband, former premier Rajiv Gandhi, was killed by a suicide bomber in 1991. Central to the meeting, being held in New Delhi and being attended by around 1,750

party activists, is expected to be a resolution declaring “zero tolerance” on corruption. “It is a painful fact that corruption seems to be widespread and I feel strongly it is our responsibility as well as that of each and every political party to together, seriously, devise a way-a mechanism-to curb this growing menace,” Gandhi said this month. Another resolution is expected to focus on steps to strengthen the party nationwide

following its humiliating electoral drubbing in the eastern state of Bihar. Gandhi, who engineered the party’s surprise victory in the 2004 general elections, is expected to spell out the party’s strategy for a slew of assembly elections next year in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry. The plenary session comes amid a row involving Rahul Gandhi-widely seen as an Indian prime minister-in-waiting-who said

he believes Hindu extremists may pose a greater threat to India than Islamist militants, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable. Rahul, scion of India’s Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, told US Ambassador Timothy Roemer last year there was “some support” among Indian Muslims for militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba-blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks. “However, Gandhi warned, the bigger

threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community,” said the cable released by website WikiLeaks. The opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has been quick to pounce on Rahul Gandhi’s leaked comments, with spokesman Prakash Javdekar accusing Gandhi and the Congress party of “bias.” — AFP

Germany’s Merkel visits soldiers in Afghanistan Chancellor thanks troops

KUNDUZ: Picture provided by the press department of German Government, showing German soldiers explaining what they call an Afghan fridge made of mud and straw, to keep grapes fresh, to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Kunduz northern Afghanistan yesterday. — AP

NATO kills 20 insurgents in eastern Afghanistan KANDAHAR: NATO troops killed more than 20 insurgents in fighting in eastern Afghanistan yesterday after a patrol came under fire, the coalition said, while in the north, Germany’s chancellor made a surprise visit to her nation’s troops. In southern Afghanistan, a suicide bomber targeting a district chief in the city of Kandahar killed two passers-by, including a child, and wounded at least nine more people, authorities said. Yesterday’s gunbattle between NATO forces and insurgents took place in the Tagab district of Kapisa province, where coalition forces called in air support after their patrol came under fire, NATO said. It added that Taliban commanders were among the more than 20 insurgents killed. The fighting came a day after more than five insurgents were killed in a three-hour firefight in the same district following sniper fire on Afghan and international forces manning a checkpoint, NATO said. The coalition did not say what nationality the international troops were, but French forces are stationed in the area. About 3,850 French troops are deployed in Afghanistan, mainly in Kapisa and the Surobi district north and east of Kabul. A French soldier was killed Friday after a reconnaissance

mission came under fire in the neighboring district of Alasay in Kapisa, bringing the total number of French soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 51. Separately NATO said a coalition soldier was killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, but it did not release the nationality of the casualty or the location of the attack. Another soldier died of a noncombat injury in the north of the country on Friday, NATO said. The German military said one of its soldiers, a 21-yearold, died of a gunshot wound that appeared to be the result of an accident at a military post in Baghlan Province, but the matter was being investigated. More than 670 international troops have died in Afghanistan so far this year. Germany currently has nearly 4,700 troops serving in Afghanistan and plans to start gradually withdrawing in late 2011. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her defense minister and the military’s chief of staff arrived in Kunduz, in northern Afghanistan where Germany has a base, on a surprise visit early yesterday. She later continued to another German base at Mazar-iSharif, also in the north, where she met Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of

U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Before meeting Karzai, she said she planned to discuss administration and corruption with the Afghan leader. “The progress here is not as we would envision,” she said. Merkel thanked troops in Kunduz for their “extremely dangerous” deployment. “You are embroiled in battles of the kind one has in war,” Merkel said. “That is an entirely new experience for us.” Later, in Mazar-i-Sharif, she said that “we haven’t known something like this since the second World War.” To the south, a suicide bomber blew himself up yesterday near an armored car carrying a district chief in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, killing two civilians , including a child , and wounding at least another nine, Afghan authorities said. NATO said the bombing had wounded 11 children. The bomber targeted Ahmadullah Nazak’s car in a residential and shopping area of the city as the official was traveling to a meeting, said Zalmai Ayubi, spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor. Nazak was unharmed. “I am safe and sound, and all of those who were in the car are also safe and sound,” Nazak told The Associated Press shortly after the explosion. He did not say how many people had been in the car with him. — AP

KARACHI: Pakistani Sunni Muslim spit fire during an Ashoura procession in Karachi on Friday. — AFP

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel painted a stark picture yesterday of the task her country’s troops face battling insurgents in Afghanistan, saying that Germany hasn’t experienced anything like it since World War II. Merkel’s comments came during an unannounced visit to German soldiers in northern Afghanistan. She thanked them for their “extremely dangerous” deployment in the NATO-led security force. “If you look at the reality for our soldiers, it is the case that in the Kunduz region they stand in real combat , as soldiers do in a war,” Merkel said in Mazar-i-Sharif, where Germany has a base. “We haven’t known something like this since the Second World War,” she said. “We were told about it by our parents and grandparents.” Since the early 1990s, reunited Germany has emerged gradually from its postwar diplomatic and military shell , committing soldiers to missions from Kosovo to Congo. Until this year, officials generally avoided using the word “war,” a term with which postwar Germany has been uncomfortable in view of the militaristic past, to describe the unpopular mission in Afghanistan. Merkel’s visit came as parliament prepares for a vote expected in January on renewing the mission’s mandate. Accompanied by her defense minister and the military’s chief of staff, she started her visit in Kunduz , a regular flashpoint over the past year in a region that was long relatively calm. “You are embroiled in battles of the kind one has in war,” Merkel told troops. “That is an entirely new experience for us.” She later continued to Mazar-i-Sharif, where she met Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Germany currently has nearly 4,700 troops serving in the International Security Assistance Force in northern Afghanistan. It plans to start gradually withdrawing in late 2011. The current parliamentary mandate allows for a maximum deployment of 5,350 German soldiers. All German deployments abroad require parliamentary approval, typically on a yearly basis, and its renewal is not expected to meet serious opposition. Merkel told troops yesterday that “the population in part views this deployment skeptically, yet it is still proud of you.” Before meeting Karzai, she said she planned to discuss administration and corruption with the Afghan leader. “The progress here is not as we would envision,” she said. Separately, the German military said a 21year-old soldier died Friday night after being found with a gunshot wound at a military post in Pul-e-Khumri. It said the wound appeared to have resulted from an accident, but the matter was being investigated. He was the 45th German soldier to die on service in Afghanistan since the mission began nine years ago. —AP

KANDAHAR: US soldiers inspect the site of suicide attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan yesterday. A suicide bomber attacked an armored car carrying a district chief in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, killing himself and one civilian bystander, Afghan authorities said. —AP

Suicide bombing targets Afghanistan district chief KANDAHAR: A suicide bomber blew himself up yesterday near an armored car carrying a district chief in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, killing two civilians , including a child , and wounding another nine, Afghan authorities said. The bomber targeted Ahmadullah Nazak’s car in a residential and shopping area of the city as the official was traveling to a meeting, said Zalmai Ayubi, spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor. Nazak was unharmed. “I am safe and sound, and all of those who were in the car are also safe and sound,” Nazak told The Associated Press shortly after the explosion. He did not say how many people had been in the car with him. Irfan Hameed, a doctor at the local hospital, said the bodies of a man and a boy killed in the blast were taken to the hospital, which was also treating five men and four

children wounded in the attack. Violence has been on the rise across much of Afghanistan, with the southern provinces of Kandahar , the birthplace of the Taleban , and Helmand seeing much of the fighting. NATO forces have poured troops into both provinces. Elsewhere, a NATO service member was killed yesterday in an insurgent attack in the east of the country, the military coalition said, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a surprise visit to her nation’s troops in the north. The alliance did not reveal the nationality of the service member or the location of the attack. Another soldier died of a noncombat injury in the north of the country on Friday, NATO said. The German military said one of its soldiers, a 21-year-old, died of a gunshot wound that appeared to be the result of an accident at a military post in Baghlan

Sri Lanka allows UN to share war crime evidence COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has backtracked and will now allow a United Nations team to visit the country and share evidence gathered during an investigation into whether war crimes were committed during the final phase of the island’s bloody civil war, a Cabinet minister said yesterday. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed a three-member panel last June to look into alleged human rights abuses during the decades-long war. The Sri Lankan government resisted the move, calling it an infringement of its sovereignty and vowed not to issue visas for the UN team. Human rights groups have repeatedly called for investigations of Sri Lankan troops and the now-defeated Tamil Tiger rebels during the war that ended in May 2009. Sri Lankan troops have been accused of shelling civilian areas and hospitals, and blocking food

and medicine for people trapped as the Tamil Tigers mounted their last stand. According to the UN, at least 7,000 civilians were killed in the last five months of fighting. An estimated 80,000100,000 people died during the 26-year conflict. Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited UN investigators to share evidence gathered with his own reconciliation commission, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said yesterday. “We resisted the panel saying we can’t allow a UN investigation unilaterally. But in this case, the president has invited them not to undertake any investigation but to share the evidence,” Rambukwella said. Ban praised the move saying he hoped the UN team will “have an accountability process and make progress as soon as possible,” he told a news conference Friday. — AP

Province, but the matter was being investigated. More than 670 U.S. and other international troops have died in Afghanistan so far this year. Germany currently has nearly 4,700 troops serving in Afghanistan and plans to start gradually withdrawing in late 2011. Merkel visited Kunduz, where her nation’s troops have a base. In Berlin, the German government said Merkel traveled with her defense minister and the military’s chief of staff. The German parliament is expected to vote in January on renewing authorization for the nation’s military mission in Afghanistan. The current parliamentary mandate allows for a maximum deployment of 5,350 German soldiers. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Thursday that Germany is defending its own security in Afghanistan. “That is why this

mission is right, but it is also right that it cannot go on forever,” he said. Separately, NATO said yesterday it had killed a senior Taleban leader in an airstrike in Badghis province in northern Afghanistan the previous day. The military coalition said in a statement that the Taleban leader, Mullah Tor Jan, had been appointed by the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taleban command council based in Pakistan. The airstrike that killed him followed a firefight that broke out as Afghan and international forces pursued “an armed individual” to a cave complex, the coalition said. Badghis deputy chief of police, Abdul Jabar Khan, said Tor Jan was a senior Taleban commander responsible for planting mines along routes used by Afghan and international forces and for organizing attacks on police stations. — AP

WikiLeaks torture cables no surprise: Kashmiri separatists SRINAGAR: Separatists in Indian Kashmir said yesterday reports in leaked US diplomatic cables that security forces used torture in the disputed Himalayan region came as no surprise. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided US diplomats in 2005 with evidence of systematic use of torture by Indian security forces in Kashmir, the cables released by WikiLeaks said. “There was nothing new. I, too, was subjected to thirddegree torture in jails,” said hardline separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani. “Indian forces have been resorting to inhuman and brutal torture to crush people for the past 20 years”, when an armed separatist revolt against New Delhi’s rule began, said Geelani, who supports Kashmir’s union with Pakistan. The head of the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Yasin Malik, said the bodies of Kashmiris bore “witness to the brutal torture most of my colleagues,

including myself, were subjected to.” The ICRC told US diplomats of 177 visits it made to detention centres in Indian Kashmir that revealed “stable trend lines” of prisoner abuses. Techniques included electric shocks, sexual and water torture and the incidents always occurred in the presence of an officer. The ICRC, which met nearly 1,500 detainees, stressed few were militants. The vast majority were civilians “connected to or believed to have information about the insurgency”. The ICRC said it was “forced to conclude the (Indian government) condones torture”, but added the situation had improved from the 1990s, according to the cables. Human rights groups have repeatedly accused India of abuses in Muslim-majority Kashmir. Kashmir’s chief priest and chairman of the region’s moderate separatist grouping, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, said the leaks vindicated complaints about torture in Kashmir’s jails. — AFP



Sunday, December 19, 2010


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Cables shed light on Thai succession risks By Andrew Marshall


onfidential US Embassy cables released by WikiLeaks have shed unprecedented light on the biggest political risk faced by investors in Thailand the prospect of a royal succession intensifying social conflict. Strict lese-majeste laws make it hard for investors to make informed predictions, but the issue of succession looms large at a time of deepening tension in Thailand following the worst political violence in its modern history over April and May. While 83-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-serving monarch, commands supreme moral authority in Thailand, the leaked cables show doubts among key royal advisers about the suitability of his son and heir, 58-year-old Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. General Prem Tinsulanonda, the head of the privy council and a former prime minister, Anand Panyarachun, another former prime minister, and privy councillor Siddhi Savetsila all expressed concern about the prince as the likely heir in private conversations, according to a leaked cable written by former US Ambassador to Thailand Eric John. "All three had quite negative comments about Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn," John wrote in a memo dated Jan 25, 2010, and posted on the Guardian newspaper's website on Thursday. There has been no public comment by those quoted in the leaked cable on whether the comments attributed to them are genuine. "We're not in a position to comment on the authenticity and accuracy of these documents because they did not originate from us," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdihe. Although talk of the Thai monarchy's role and possible problems on the horizon are taboo and illegal, the topic is followed closely in Thailand's financial markets, which fell briefly last year on concerns over the King's health. Siddhi, an Air Chief Marshall, acknowledged that "succession would be a difficult transition time for Thailand", the US ambassador said in the memo. "While asserting that the Crown Prince will become King, both Siddhi and Anand implied the country would be better off if other arrangements could be made. Siddhi expressed preference for Princess Sirindhorn," John wrote. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is highly respected by Thais, while there is widespread disapproval of the prince's lifestyle. "Anand suggested only the King would be in a position to change succession, and acknowledged a low likelihood of that happening." Analysts say privately that there could be a prolonged period of turmoil and even civil unrest if the succession does not go smoothly. "It's the big issue, there is no doubt about it, and it comes up often in private discussions with our clients but it is not something to be aired in public," said a Singapore-based regional ana-

lyst at an international investment bank, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject. Another major bank said in a report that succession worries impose a political risk discount on Thai assets. Thailand's financial markets are among the world's strongest this year. Stock prices are up more than 40 percent and the Thai baht is trading at 13-year highs, making Thailand among several emerging markets vulnerable to a correction. Prem, widely believed to have helped orchestrate a 2006 bloodless coup that ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said over lunch with John that the prince probably maintained "some sort of relationship" with Thaksin, a divisive figure reviled by Thailand's establishment. Thaksin, a telecommunications tycoon particularly popular among Thailand's poor, was convicted in absentia on corruption-related charges and lives abroad to avoid jail. He is a figurehead of the red-shirted anti-government protest movement whose supporters clashed with authorities in April and May during nine weeks of protests in which at least 91 people were killed and more than 1,800 wounded. But Prem doubted the prince would come to Thaksin's support in the future. "He does not enjoy that sort of relationship," he was quoted as saying in the leaked Jan 2010 cable. Suggestions of ties between Thaksin and the prince are contentious. Thaksin's supporters have repeatedly clashed with the royalist military, now led by a general known to have the backing of Queen Sirikit. Thaksin and his allies have been accused of republicanism, which they deny. A separate US cable released last week quoted late former Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej as saying the Queen had encouraged the 2006 coup that toppled Thaksin and plunged Thailand into its current political crisis. As a constitutional monarchy, the palace is officially above politics, but Samak said the Queen was supporting street protests against his government, dominated by a proThaksin party. Samak, premier for seven months in 2008, "showed disdain for Queen Sirikit, claiming that she had been responsible for the 2006 coup d'etat...", the US ambassador said. "Samak viewed himself as loyal to the King, but implied that the Queen's political agenda differened (sic) from her husband's," he added in the cable. In another cable, a palace insider told the US ambassador the "yellow shirt" protests against Samak's government and the occupation of his offices had "irritated" the king, who explicitly told the army chief not to launch a coup. The Nov 2008 cable described the Queen's attendance at the Oct 13, 2008, funeral of a yellow-shirt protester killed during a demonstration as a "significant blunder" that jeopardised the public's perception of palace neutrality. — Reuters

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American secrets and bizarre rules By Bernd Debusmann


oes a secret stop being a secret when millions of people know it? Yes, says common sense. No, says the US government, whose reaction to the WikiLeaks dump of classified diplomatic cables portrays a bureaucracy inhabiting a logic-free world all of its own. Writers thinking of producing 21st century novels emulating the works of Franz Kafka are well advised to closely follow Washington's problems in coming to grips with what kind of information should be open to whom and when. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can see the 1,500odd classified cables released so far by the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, which holds more than 250,000 messages exchanged between the US Department of State and American embassies around the world. Five news organizations, including the New York Times, have reported on the cables in great detail. But the fact that the information is in the public domain

makes no difference to the government's view of its classified nature. So, government workers were told, in the first week of the WikiLeaks data dump, that "unauthorized disclosure of classified documents (whether in print, on a blog or on websites) do not alter the documents' classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents. To the contrary, classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate US government authority." There's an authority specifically set up for the declassification of documents, under an executive order President Barack Obama signed a year ago. It's called the National Declassification Center and it is dealing with a backlog of more than 400 million (yes, 400 million) classified documents. They date back 25 years or more and are kept in cardboard boxes holding 2,500 pages each in storage

vaults the size of several football fields at the US National Archives in College Park, Maryland. The classified-stays-classified view of documents made public has produced an element of anguish among federal employees, including the more than 200,000 who work under the umbrella of the sprawling Department of Homeland Security. One of its workers expressed the vexation of many in an email to Steven Aftergood, a veteran anti-secrecy campaigner who puts out a weekly newsletter, Secrecy News, for the Federation of American Scientists. The email, from a DHS employee whose work involves dealing with senior foreign officials, noted that "if it is discovered that we have accessed a classified WikiLeaks cable on our personal computers, that will be a security violation. So, my grandmother would be allowed to access the cables, but not me. This seems ludicrous." Not to be outdone by Homeland Security, the US Air Force went a step further this week and blocked employ-

ees from using work computers to view the websites of the New York Times and other news organizations that have posted WikiLeaks cables. Those who tried saw "Access Denied: Internet usage is logged and monitored" splashed across their screens, a notice that brings to mind the Chinese government's efforts to block its citizens from material deemed inappropriate. Denying access to information that virtually everyone else in the world can see has been accompanied by warnings to students at several colleges to refrain from commenting on WikiLeaks and its cables on social websites such as Facebook or Twitter. Doing so might jeopardize their chances of future employment with the government, said messages from the schools' offices of career services. Selfcensorship in the country that prides itself on its commitment to free speech and openness, or prudent advice in a climate of post-Sept 11 obsession with secrecy? One of the casualties of WikiLeaks

and the government's fierce reaction to them will almost certainly be the effort Obama launched a year ago to curb America's secrecy inflation. The executive order that created the National Declassification Center also laid out in 13,000 words and great detail guidelines on classifying information. One of the novel features of the order was that classified documents must include the name of the person who classified them. That was meant to curb such excesses as slapping "secret" labels on, for example, summaries of foreign press reports. The opening paragraph of the order, dated Dec 29, 2009, says: "Our democratic principles require that the American people be informed of the activities of their Government. Also, our Nation's progress depends on the free flow of information both within the Government and to the American people." How does that square with the present attempts to prevent large numbers of Americans from looking at information available to much of the rest of the world? — Reuters

Ivory Coast hangs between war and peace By Todd Pitman and Marco Chown Oved


fter a day of clashes, some of the bloodiest to hit Ivory Coast in years, this divided corner of Africa where two rivals claim to be president stands at a precarious crossroads between war and peace. On Friday, it seemed the nation of 21 million could slide either way. There were reports of rebels attacking several towns but retreating. A day earlier, Alassane Ouattara, whose election victory last month over incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo has international recognition, called on his supporters to seize the state TV headquarters in Abidjan, the capital. Their advance got nowhere near the station, but a firefight broke out between rebels and security forces loyal to Gbagbo, the first significant clash between the two sides in six years. Rebels also briefly attacked government positions in the central town of Tiebissou on Thursday, marking a serious escalation in the conflict. The day's casualty toll given by various groups ranged from 9 to 30 shot and killed. The former French colony is the world's leading cocoa producer, and skyscraper-lined Abidjan was once known as the Paris of West Africa. Then came a 2002-2003 civil war that divided it in two. The election was supposed to open a new chapter, except that the loser has defied international pressure to step down. The harsh crackdown by police and troops backing Gbagbo drew further sweeping condemnation, and

Police mount a road block on a road in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Friday. — AP the US and other nations gave Gbagbo an ultimatum: Leave Ivory Coast within days or face travel and financial sanctions. But, despite having the outside world on his side, Ouattara is still "far from forcing Gbagbo from power", said Frederic Abe, a researcher with the Abidjanbased Center for Research and Action in Peace. And peace seems further away than ever. The civil war left the rebels in control of most of the north. A 2007 peace deal reunited the nation in theory and set the stage for elections that had been delayed repeatedly. In

reality, though, neither side was ready for the vote. The rebels never disarmed, and Gbagbo - who had managed to stay in power since his mandate expired in 2005 citing emergency clauses in the constitution - was clearly not ready to lose. Although Ouattara's victory has been recognized by many foreign governments, Gbagbo fully controls the army and state media. He occupies the presidential palace and his loyalists hold most Cabinet ministries. Ouattara, by contrast, is trying to govern from a tiny hotel room

in a compound protected by 800 UN peacekeepers. From here, the crisis could move in any direction. A power-sharing deal is one possibility, and deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq has said Gbagbo wants to talk to Ouattara about it. But UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was firm Friday in insisting Gbagbo step aside. "Any other outcome would make a mockery of democracy and the rule of law," Ban said. "There was a clear winner. There is no other option." He threatened that those responsible for loss of life "will be held

accountable." His warning was echoed by US State Department spokesman P J Crowley. "Time is running out," he said. "The United States is prepared to impose targeted sanctions individually and in concert with our partners on President Gbagbo, his immediate family and his inner circle should he continue to illegitimately cling to power." But sanctions have typically failed to reverse illegal power grabs in Africa in the past. Delegations from the African Union and the Economic Community Of West African States are due in Abidjan soon

and they face the same obstacles in trying to persuade Gbagbo to yield. Ouattara is also trying to hamper Gbagbo's ability to pay civil servants, the army and the daily operating costs of government. Last week, he wrote to the regional central bank asking them to block funds. The bank has yet to respond. In the meantime, the country is in fear and bracing for more violence. The UN refugee agency says at least 3,700 people have fled to neighboring Liberia and Guinea. Ouattara called for more demonstrations Friday, but Abidjan was mostly calm. Thursday's violence was the first firefight between the two sides since 2004, said Christian Bouquet, an Ivory Coast demographer and geography professor at France's University of Bordeaux II. It was also a big setback for the goal of integrating rebel and government forces into a new 5,000-strong force - something that was supposed to happen shortly after the runoff vote on Nov 28. Ahead of the vote, both sides carried out mixed patrols in the northern town of Korhogo, "but this rapprochement imploded between the two rounds" of voting, Bouquet said. As part of the peace effort, both sides deployed forces in each other's territory, but they pulled back immediately after the runoff began turning sour. Gbagbo's bid to hold on to power is steeped in irony. During the country's last election in 2000, tens of thousands of young militants launched protests that swept Gbagbo to power when his rival tried to steal the vote. — AP


sunday, December 19, 2010


Blast prompts UK soul-searching on militancy By William Maclean


orget Yemen or Somalia. It is Britain and its record of violent Islamism that should be the focus of security concern after a suicide attack in Sweden by a man apparently radicalised in the UK. So say critics of Britain's counter-terrorism policies, arguing Saturday's Stockholm attack shows the real threat facing Britain comes from long-standing official indulgence of antiWestern Islamist thinking among British Muslims. "The Stockholm bomber is but the latest export from Londonistan and unless the Government gets up off its knees and changes its disastrous strategy, I very much fear he will not be the last.," wrote commentator Melanie Phillips, a trenchant critic of government policy. Critics voiced similar unease after a botched attack on Detroit by a London-educated Nigerian on Dec 25 2009, an event that stirred fears that the British capital was resuming its 1990s role as Europe's Islamist hub. Nigerians were outraged when their country was put on a list of states required to toughen screening of air travellers. Why was Nigeria's former colonial ruler exempted, the Nigerian Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka asked, calling England a "cesspit" of Muslim fundamentalism. "If Nigeria qualifies for a place on the US list of terrorist countries then, admit it, Britain is overqualified," he wrote in Britain's Sunday Times newspa-

A picture from the Islamist website Shumukh Al-Islam allegedly shows Taymour Abdel Wahab, named by the individual who posted the picture as the man responsible for twin explosions which hit the Swedish capital on Dec 12, 2010. – AFP per earlier this year. The Sweden bombing was the latest in a string of attacks dating back to the 1990s by young Islamist militants educated in Britain, many of whom have ancestral links to formerly British-ruled South Asia and in particular Pakistan. Perceived UK failings in tackling militants are not new - Britain was criticised by some European and Arab allies when it became a hub of Islamist activity in the 1990s thanks to a tradition of granting asylum to Middle East dissidents. After Sept 11, 2001 it cracked down on what many

believed had become a dangerously radical militant scene. But international confidence in Britain's grasp of the problem has frayed following a string of subsequent plots, including the 2005 London bombings which killed 52 people. A 2006 US embassy cable disclosed by WikiLeaks reported that "little progress has been made" by the state in engaging its Muslim minority of up to 2 million despite investing considerable time and resources. The Sweden attack has given new urgency to the issue, and Prime Minister David Cameron admitted on Wednesday his govern-

ment was not doing enough to tackle the threat. The bomber, Taymour Abdulwahab, is believed to have become radicalised in Luton, a town suffering unemployment and social division that analysts say has helped spawn extremist groups including white supremacists and Islamist radicals. Recruitment of Britons by militant groups overseas accelerated after Britain participated in the Iraq invasion of 2003, an event that triggered strong opposition from Britain's Muslims as well as from other segments of the population. Fellow worshippers at a mosque

where Abdulwahab prayed in Luton have said they knew he had radical ideas, a fact apparently not known to police or local government. That appears to be an intelligence lapse, but the problem goes deeper than that, security experts say. At the heart of Britain's counter-terrorism policy is a belief that while rounding up networks of attackers is urgent and important, the threat of attack will not diminish until young men can be dissuaded from joining terrorist groups. That long-term task appears to be proving as complex for Cameron as it was for the previous government his coalition replaced in elections in May. To date a counter-radicalisation effort called Prevent begun by the previous government has met with suspicion from Muslim communities, who have equated the program with spying and of anti-Muslim stigmatisation, analysts say. Critics say it failed by mixing the work of building bridges of tolerance between communities with intelligencegathering. Cameron's security team has said it will make the distinction much clearer in a revamped Prevent. But seven months into office, the new strategy has yet to be rolled out, partly because of complications thrown up by swingeing budget cuts in government expenditure, experts say. Counter-terrorism analysts say some of the work of counselling alienated youths predisposed to al Qaeda-aligned groups has lost momentum in

the absence of the new policy. "They've got to move quickly," said Jahan Mahmood, a community historian in Birmingham. "Seven months on, they need to have something in place. There are vulnerable youths out there." Budgets are not the only complication. Another is that the premise of a British Muslim community is flawed, experts say. British Muslims are highly diverse. Moreover, radicalisation is not always a pressing problem - other ills include crime. Among the thorniest of the issues is who speaks for Muslim Britons. Officials have found the best organised and motivated groups - often Islamists of a non-violent bent who denounce Al-Qaeda - are not necessarily the most representative. Such groups have argued that they are best placed to counsel vulnerable youths because their strict views on Islam and anti-Western opinions on foreign policy gave them a street credibility more secularminded groups would lack. For several years UK officials favoured this tactic, relying on purported community leaders who presented themselves as trusted intermediaries between Muslims and the state. But in 2006 officials pulled back from this approach, saying it was not clear that such groups acted as a barrier against violent radicalisation, and the ultimate aims of these peaceful Islamist groups were unclear. What approach Cameron's team will take on this is not yet clear. — Reuters

Attack punctures Swedish sense of security T By Simon Johnson

wo centuries of neutrality, decades of good relations with the Middle East and years of liberal immigration policies have led many Swedes to believe their country was a safe haven. But the Stockholm bombing has forced a rethink - not about their values or the government's policies but about their security. "The attack was a game changer," said Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director at the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College. "It goes against the grain of the Swedish psyche. We are the moral guardians of the world, we work through the United Nations, we are doing good humanitarian work. Why would anyone want to target us?" Part of the explanation for why is that Sweden has linked itself increasingly closely to other Western nations, not least through its membership of the European Union. It joined in 1995. "Sweden has become more of a 'Western' state, like others," Ulf Bjereld, professor of political science at Gothenburg University said. "For someone standing outside, it is more and more difficult to distinguish Swedish foreign policy from that of other European countries." The country has had troops in Afghanistan since the early 1990s, making it easy to identify Sweden with anti-Muslim aggression in the eyes of militants. Furthermore, the publication in Swedish and Danish newspapers of drawings lampooning the Prophet Mohammad drew massive criticism

from Muslims around the world and death threats against the artists. Taymour Abdulwahab, the man who blew himself up in Stockholm last Saturday - after a bomb belt he was wearing went off prematurely - gave Afghanistan and Swedish artist Lars Vilks as motives. Sweden and Denmark stood up for the artists' rights to free speech, drawing the countries' governments into the controversy, although Sweden was at pains to try to conduct a dialogue with Muslim nations over the affair. Now, Sweden has joined the United States, Britain, Spain and other nations as a target of politically motivated violence. Sweden's open immigration policy is seen as a prime factor. Sweden has taken in waves of refugees over the last decades -from Chileans fleeing a military dictatorship in the 1970s to Iraqis escaping the chaos of their war-torn land. A tiny minority are radicals, though Swedish police had thought they presented more of a threat abroad than at home. Security scholar Edwin Bakker said that the Dutch too had thought they were immune from attack. "We had this (idea) here in the Netherlands for a long time: 'It won't happen here because we are all so nice'," said Bakker, professor of counter-terrorism studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands. But it is no longer possible for countries such as the Netherlands and Sweden to think about their populations as homogenous groups with shared values and world views, he said. Attitudes toward immigration in the Nordic region have been hardening too.

Denmark's People's Party has gained influence in recent years and the antiimmigration Sweden Democrats took seats in parliament for the first time in September. Bakker, however, warned against drawing conclusions too hastily

by linking the attack to Sweden's foreign or immigration policies, saying the bomber's real motives may never be known. "We have to be careful not to politicize it too much," Bakker said. "There can be a lot of personal motiva-

tions, frustrations etc, and maybe some political ideas to legitimise them." Analysts say that in the wake of the Saturday bomb attack, the first of its kind in Stockholm, Sweden is likely to remain a target. —Reuters

Swedish tolerance threatened By Rita Devlin Marier


ven as Sweden's Muslim community denounces the country's first suicide bombing, experts have cautioned the attack could be exploited by the rising farright to polarise the nation. A man strongly believed to be Taimour Abdulwahab blew up his car and then himself in a busy shopping quarter of central Stockholm Saturday. He killed only himself, but narrowly missed wreaking havoc among Christmas shoppers. Abdulwahab had been living in Britain in recent years, where he studied at university, but media reports said he had arrived in Sweden from Iraq as a child, growing up in a small town a three-hour car ride from Stockholm. The attacks were immediately and widely denounced by Sweden's Muslim community, with condemnations from many Muslim groups and several small peace protests. But the clearest message came perhaps on Tuesday, when Hassan Mussa, one of Sweden's most influential clerics, issued a fatwa - an Islamic ruling - clearly condemning the attack. "It is forbidden to accept what has happened or try to justify it," said Moussa. "Those who accept it or justify it are as guilty as the perpetrator himself," he added, according to Swedish radio's translation. But the fact that a Swedish-raised man blew himself in the name of Islam - as he understood it-has challenged Sweden's tradition of tolerance, said respected Islamologist Jan Hjaerpe. "This (attack) in Stockholm is used to point to all the Muslims in Sweden and say they are dangerous," Hjaerpe told AFP. A report released Wednesday by Sweden's intelligence agency Saepo suggested this kind of

extremism was very are: it estimated only about 200 extremists with the potential for violence among the Muslim population. On that evidence, Hjaerpe insisted, they "do not represent the huge majority of the Muslims in Sweden." Even the audio message attributed to the bomber, sent out shortly before Saturday's attack, appeared to acknowledge this lack of radicalism, said Hjaerpe. "You could hear he was quite angry that the Muslims in Sweden were not interested in going into a jihad," he pointed out. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt while condemning the attack, warned against drawing hasty conclusions, and in his comments he stressed the tolerance that underscores Swedish society. But Malena Rembe, chief analyst at Saepo's counter-terrorism unit, warned that this tolerance was increasingly being challenged. With the far-right, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats entering parliament for the first time after September's election, the country was moving towards greater polarisation, she cautioned Wednesday. The increase in Islamophobic rhetoric from the far-right would put Sweden's tradition for open, tolerant diaologue, under pressure, she warned. "What we've seen in other countries where you have a more polarised debate where you have more open xeonphobia or Islamophobia - is that it tends to push people into movements because they feel isolated in their own society and they feel included in these extremist environments," she told AFP. "An increased polarisation in discussions would perhaps further stigmatise individuals - and stigmatised individuals tend to be recruitable ... It is extremely important to ensure a nuanced discussion," she said. — AFP

Afghan war keeps Islamist threat alive in Germany By Dave Graham


ermany will remain at risk of attack in 2011 by Islamist militants trying to erode wavering support for military involvement in Afghanistan and to strike at the heart of the European economy. For the past month, Germans have trudged about in the snow under the watchful gaze of hundreds of extra police stationed in transport hubs and other public places after the government unexpectedly raised its security alert. The government did not identify a specific threat, but security officials have described a series of potential scenarios that could occur in Germany, including armed attacks similar to those that struck the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008. The heightened security alert followed the discovery of a parcel bomb sent from Yemen to a US target that passed through Germany, as well as a separate device from suspected Greek militants that reached Chancellor Angela Merkel's office. Germany has not suffered a major assault by Islamic militants since the attacks on the United States in 2001, although several attempts have been thwarted and its military presence in Afghanistan has kept it braced for strikes. "As the third biggest provider of troops in Afghanistan, Germany continues to be a major target for terrorists," said Rolf Tophoven, director of the Institute for Terrorism Research and Security Policy (IFTUS) in Essen. "The risk of an attack is still very high," he said. "The attack in Sweden showed you can't contain all the risks because it's impossible to have every lone operator

German Chancellor Angela Merkel jokes with German soldiers during lunch in Kunduz northern Afghanistan yesterday. – AP on your radar." A suspected suicide bomber of Middle Eastern origin was killed in Stockholm last weekend after one of several devices he was carrying exploded in the Swedish capital. The blasts have been linked to Sweden's military presence in Afghanistan. Security experts say Berlin's contingent of more than 4,500 troops in the war-torn country has helped to win a steady stream of recruits for militant

Islam in Germany. Compounding Merkel's problems are polls that show a majority of Germans do not believe their soldiers should be Afghanistan, encouraging some radical Islamists to see Berlin as a weak link in the NATO coalition that should be actively targeted. "It's not the soldiers whose resolve is wavering on Afghanistan, it's the German population," said Berndt Georg Thamm, a

Berlin-based expert on Islamic militancy. By threatening or carrying out attacks, militants could pressure the politicians to end German involvement in a conflict that many voters already had major doubts about, he added. "They can keep turning the screw knowing this will produce a corresponding reaction," Thamm said. Militant confidence in the power of violence to influence Western foreign

policy grew in 2004 when bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people affected polls that swept from power a government that had taken Spain into the Iraq war. Several Islamist militants of German origin have received training in camps in South Asia in order to fight what they regard as NATO forces of occupation in Afghanistan. Backing for the Afghan mission also suffers from a German mistrust of military operations abroad because of the destruction wrought by the Nazis in World War Two, analysts say. Berlin is already eyeing up ways out of Afghanistan. On Monday, a government report showed Germany wanted to begin withdrawing its troops by the end of 2011. Analysts say the latest threats to emerge in Germany, which federal police believe is home to more than 1,000 potentially violent Islamists, may also be part of a plan by militants to damage Europe by striking at its most important economy. "The parcel bombs look to be part of a strategy of bringing death by a 1,000 cuts," said Thamm, noting that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has argued that Western powers have for years plundered the resources of the Middle East, Islam's heartland. "It makes sense from the point of view of a Jihadi terrorist. With minimum of expenditure, terrorists can do billions of euros in economic damage," Thamm said. "We can expect many more of these scares in the next few years." Berlin briefly suspended air freight shipments when it emerged one of the Yemen parcel bombs had landed in Cologne. Germany, Europe's biggest economy, is highly dependent on foreign demand. —Reuters


'Great wall of suspicion' between China, India By Sui-Lee Wee


hinese Premier Wen Jiabao left New Delhi on Friday, vowing that India will never be a rival, but his rhetoric has done little to lift Indian unease over a long-running border dispute and ChinaPakistan relations. Despite the effusive displays of warmth during Wen's visit neither side appears anywhere close to resolving differences over their disputed border, China's policy on Kashmir and its close security ties with India's archrival, Pakistan. "Because the relationship had entered into a rough phase, China probably calculated that the downward trend needed to be arrested and that explains the visit," said Kanwal Sibal, who was India's former foreign secretary from 2002-03. "But...he did not seem to come prepared with any concrete decisions or signals to arrest these problems." Wen's visit is the first by a Chinese premier in five years and he brought with him more than 300 business executives, many of whom signed deals with Indian firms worth more than $16 billion. Even as trade ties between the world's two fastest-growing major economies continue to flourish, with Wen setting an ambitious target of $100 billion by 2015, he gave few firm commitments on when and how India's ballooning trade deficit with China would be addressed. Wen said he would give Indian companies greater access to the IT, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products sectors in China, in a bid to assuage Indian exporters, who have been frustrated with the slow pace at which they see China opening up its markets. "I don't think that's going to happen quickly," Sibal said. "China doesn't yield ground quickly. Even with powerful players, China hasn't done much to satisfy their demands. My fear is that while the trade volumes will increase, the trade deficit will also increase." India's trade deficit with China is by far the highest among its trade partners and could touch $25 billion this year, which would account for around a fifth of India's total expected annual deficit. India has sought to diversify its trade basket, but raw materials and other low-end commodities such as iron ore still make up about 60 percent of its exports to China. At the start of his trip, Wen said he was looking forward to an early launch of negotiations for a free trade agreement, but no progress was made due to Indian worries that it might be a dumping ground for cheap manufactured goods from China. No other country has initiated more anti-dumping investigations against China at the World Trade Organisation than has India. Many Indians were counting on the fact that Wen would acknowledge that: Kashmir was an integral part of India; that Pakistan-based militant groups were involved in the Mumbai attacks in 2008; and that he would offer a solution to the boundary dispute - issues that have marred Sino-Indian relations. But he disappointed on all counts. "All Talk No Gain. Wen's visit fails to breach Great Wall of Suspicion," said a headline in India's Mail Today. "Peking ducks on core issues," said another. One of the immediate issues left hanging was a row over China's policy on Kashmir, where the Indian side was hoping Wen would reiterate the country's long-standing policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of anoth-

er country. But the joint statement made no mention of the disputed Himalayan region. In 2009, China began issuing stapled visas to residents of Indian administered Kashmir, angering Indian politicians who interpreted the move as a sign of Chinese interference to discredit Indian sovereignty over the disputed region. From the Chinese point of view, the joint statement did not make the usual mention of the "one China principle," referring to Taiwan, and "Tibet Autonomous Region as part of the territory of the People's Republic of China, issues close to Beijing's heart. One analyst saw the lack of reference to Tibet or Taiwan as New Delhi's response to Beijing for failing to endorse its sovereignty over Kashmir. "You cannot treat Kashmir as a separate part of India and expect us to go publicly to support 'One China," said Siddharth Varadarajan, strategic affairs editor of The Hindu. The biggest sticking point remained the unsettled border over which China and India fought a war in 1962. "To completely resolve this problem, it will not be an easy task," Wen said at a speech on Thursday. "We need enough patience and a fairly long period of time." The Asian giants still claim vast swathes of each other's territories along their 3,500 km Himalayan border which has never been demarcated. "If the border issue is not resolved, the national identity is not defined, which means that the normalisation of relations between India and China is not complete,"said Srikanth Kondapalli, the chairman of the Centre for East Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University. "That is the biggest source of mistrust. There is no road map, no progress." Beijing's close military ties with Pakistan which New Delhi blames for aiding militant groups involved in acts of violence in the country are also a sore point. Unlike recent visitors French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama, Wen did not mention the Mumbai attacks or acknowledge that Pakistan harboured the militants responsible for the attacks. While China is India's largest trade partner, it invests seven times more in Pakistan and is helping it build nuclear reactors, despite grave misgivings in the West. Wen arrived in Islamabad on Friday to further deepen ties. India also fears China wants to restrict its global reach by possibly opposing its bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat or encircling the Indian Ocean region with massive projects from Pakistan to Myanmar. China on Thursday reiterated its support for India's aspirations to play a greater role in the Security Council, but it stopped short of expressing full backing for India's bid for a permanent seat. A hotline between Wen and his counterpart Manmohan Singh was launched a few days ago, one of the few tangible gains in political ties. Both sides agreed on regular consultations on issues of importance. "Both sides recognise that the broader problem behind these specific problems is a lack of mutual strategic trust," said Zhang Li, a professor who specialises in China-India relations at Sichuan University in southwest China. "So I think the point is that before we can deal with those specific problems, we have to first nurture broader trust, and that was the main point of this visit." — Reuters



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Senate poised to lift military ban on gays WASHINGTON: In a landmark vote for gay rights, the US Senate set the stage for passage yesterday of legislation that would overturn the military’s ban on openly gay troops, and President Barack Obama said it was “time to close this chapter” in US history. Repeal would mean that, for the first time in American history, gays would be openly accepted by the military and could acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being kicked out. More than 13,500 service members have been dismissed under the 1993 law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” requiring uniformed gays to hide their sexual identity. A 63-33 test vote - 60 votes were need to overcome procedural hurdles to advance the measure to a final vote - earlier yesterday paved the way for passage, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said a final vote would come at 3 pm. The House of Representatives had passed an identical version of the bill, 250-174, earlier this week, so Senate approval would send the measure to the White House for Obama to sign into law. It was a historic victory for Obama, who made repeal of the policy a campaign promise in 2008. It also was a political triumph for congressional Democrats who struggled in the final days of the postelection session of Congress to overcome Republican objections on several legislative priorities before Republicans regain control of the House in January. With an end to the ban, “no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay,” Obama said in a statement. “And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.” Even if the measure becomes law, the policy change wouldn’t go into effect right away. Obama and his military advis-

ers would have to certify that the change wouldn’t hurt the ability of troops to fight, and there would also be a 60-day waiting period. Some have predicted the process could take as long as a year before the Bill Clinton-era policy is repealed. Sen John McCain, Obama’s Republican presidential rival in 2008, led the opposition to the bill. Speaking on the Senate floor minutes before the test procedural vote, the Arizona Republican acknowledged he didn’t have the votes to stop the bill. He blamed elite liberals with no military experience for pushing their social agenda on troops during wartime. “They will do what is asked of them,” McCain said of service members. “But don’t think there won’t be a great cost.” Senate Majority Leader quoted another Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate in support of the bill. “As Barry Goldwater said, ‘You don’t have to be straight to shoot straight’,” said Reid, referring to the late libertarian-leaning Arizona senator. In the end, six moderate Republican senators broke with their party in favor of repeal. West Virginia Democratic Sen Joe Manchin, the only Democrat to oppose repeal, did not vote. The Republican lawmakers swung behind repeal after a recent Pentagon study concluded the ban could be lifted without hurting the ability of troops to fight. Obama said the policy “undermines our national security while violating the very ideals that our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend”. He also said “we can responsibly transition to a new policy while ensuring our military strength and readiness”. “It is time to close this chapter in our history. It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed,” he added.

Advocacy groups who lobbied hard for repeal hailed the vote as a significant step forward in gay rights. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network called the issue the “defining civil rights initiative of this decade.” Supporters of repeal filled the visitor seats overlooking the Senate floor, ready to protest had the bill failed. “This has been a long fought battle, but this failed and discriminatory law will now be history,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group. The Pentagon study found that twothirds of service members didn’t think changing the law would have much of an effect. But of those who did predict negative consequences, a majority were assigned to combat arms units. Nearly 60 percent of the Marine Corps and Army combat units, such as infantry and special operations, said in the survey they thought repealing the law would hurt their units’ ability to fight. The Pentagon’s uniformed chiefs are divided on whether this resistance might pose serious problems. Marine Corps Commandant Gen James Amos has said he thinks lifting the ban during wartime could cost lives. “I don’t want to lose any Marines to the distraction,” he told reporters this week. “I don’t want to have any Marines that I’m visiting at Bethesda (Naval Medical Center) with no legs be the result of any type of distraction.” Adm Mike Mullen and Marine Gen James Cartwright, the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, respectively, have said the fear of disruption is overblown. They note the Pentagon’s finding that 92 percent of troops who believe they have served with a gay person saw no effect on their units’ morale or effectiveness. Among Marines in combat roles who said they have served alongside a gay person, 84 percent said there was no impact. — AP

Defiant Gbagbo orders UN out of Ivory Coast ABIDJAN: Defiant Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo ordered UN and French peacekeepers out of the country yesterday, accusing them of backing rebel fighters supporting his rival Alassane Ouattara. The demand for their “immediate” departure reflects the growing anger of Gbagbo’s nationalist supporters, and came as his most notorious lieutenant urged young Ivorians to make ready to fight for their sovereignty. The United Nations, United States, European Union and Ivory Coast’s west African neighbours all demanded that Gbagbo cede power to Ouattara after both men claimed to have won last month’s presidential election. But the veteran strongman retains control of the official armed forces and his backers have vowed to fight on, turning their anger on UN peacekeepers, former colonial power France and Ouattara’s own Ivorian supporters. “The president of the Republic of the Ivory Coast has just asked for the immediate departure from Ivorian territory of UNOCI and the French forces that support it,” Education Minister Jacqueline Lohoues-Oble said. As tension mounted between the two camps, Gbagbo’s supporters accused the United Nations 10,000-strong UNOCI peacekeeping force and France’s 900 troops in Ivory Coast of supporting proOuattara rebel fighters. The spokeswoman repeated these claims and said: “The Ivorian government considers that UNOCI has broadly failed in its mission in carrying out acts that are not in conformity with its mandate.” “This means

that the Ivorian government henceforth opposes renewal of the operation’s mandate, which expires on December 20, 2010,” she said, referring to the authority granted the mission by UN member states. There was no immediate reaction from the United Nations to the demand, but UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has previously defended UNOCI’s work, called on Gbagbo to step down and vowed to protect Ouattara’s government. France has said in recent days that its contingent, known as “Licorne”, could be used to ensure the safe departure of the 15,000 French civilians living in Ivory Coast if the situation turns dangerous. The UNOCI mission deployed in 2004 to help end a civil war between Gbagbo’s southern forces and northern rebels dubbed the New Forces. The rebels now back Ouattara and Gbagbo’s order will increase fears of a new conflict. “Play time is over,” declared Charles Ble Goude, Gbagbo’s minister for youth, who has been under UN sanctions since 2006 for “acts of violence by street militias, including beatings, rapes and extrajudicial killings”. “We are going to defend the sovereignty of our country until the last drop of our sweat. I urge all Ivorians to make themselves ready for this combat. We are going to totally liberate our country,” he told AFP. In a sign of the rising tension, six men in military uniform opened fire overnight on a UN patrol returning to the force’s main base in Abidjan, ONUCI complained in a statement. A UN sentry returned fire

but there were no reports of anyone hurt in the clash, and the mission appealed for calm. The New Forces said Gbagbo had no right to order out the peacekeepers. At FN headquarters in Bouake, spokesman Felicien Sekongo said: “Gbagbo is not president and his orders do not engage the state or people of Ivory Coast.” Separately, a FN military leader said northern forces were on “maximum alert” but were holding to their positions along the 2003 ceasefire line. During a 2004 crisis, France temporarily reinforced Licorne to more than 5,000 troops in order to help evacuate more than 8,000 foreign civilians, and killed around 50 Ivorian protesters in clashes in Abidjan. While Gbagbo retains control of ministries and the armed forces, Ouattara is based in an Abidjan hotel protected by an 800-strong force of UN peacekeepers, and his leadership is endorsed by the former colonial power. On Friday, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy called for Gbagbo to stand down, warning he and his powerful wife Simone face individual international sanctions, including an EU visa ban and asset freeze. Sarkozy’s call matched those made by Washington and the United Nations, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). On Thursday, street clashes between pro-Gbagbo security forces and Ouattara supporters left between 11 and 30 people dead, and the Red Cross has treated almost 550 wounded since the start of the standoff. — AFP

Heavy snow hits travel across Europe Continued from Page 1 “Heathrow is fully operational, but we are expecting more snow and planning for the worst,” Europe’s busiest airport said in a statement. Conditions on UK roads were treacherous, Automobile Association official Darron Burness said. “One of the biggest problems is that large amounts of snow are falling very quickly on to frozen surfaces, making driving hazardous,” he said. Hundreds of motorists were left stranded on the major route in northwestern England following a deluge, prompting police patrols to offer food and water to drivers. In Italy, the Autostrada of the Sun the country’s main north-south highway was jammed with hundreds of vehicles, whose chilly occupants slept in their cars, vans or trucks. Though snow had mainly cleared or melted early yesterday, the highway was still closed in one direction, with traffic backed up for nearly 40 km. The snowfall also forced high-speed trains to bypass Florence’s central Santa Maria Novella station, stopping in suburban stations instead.

Paris was sprinkled with a light coat of snow overnight, as many people prepared to set off on their Christmas vacations. More snow was predicted yesterday, leading civil aviation authorities to cancel 15 percent of flights at Charles de Gaulle airport between 4 pm (1500 GMT) and 11 pm (2200 GMT). Many flights were also canceled in northeastern France, where snow already blanketed the ground, and services were also canceled at the airports in the cities of Nantes and Rennes. Significant numbers of domestic and European flights were canceled at Germany’s Frankfurt airport as it dealt with the disruption. Germany’s railway operator Deutsche Bahn said it was pressing into service all the trains it could - though some journeys were subject to delays. “Everything that can roll is rolling,” spokesman Holger Auferkamp told the German news agency DAPD. Retailers said the poor weather would likely dent sales on what it traditionally the busiest shopping weekend before Christmas. London’s Brent Cross indoor shopping mall closed its doors early yester-

day afternoon. Elsewhere, a snowman greeted tourists at London’s Camden Market, while traders broke up ice and snow with shovels on the cobblestone paths. Two groups of tourists hurled snowballs at each other across the canal on the edge of the market. Britain may experience its coldest December on record, weather service forecaster Mark Seltzer said. “Temperatures will struggle to get over freezing and although the snow should ease off tonight, it will return to eastern areas on Sunday,” he said. Police in Leicester, central England, said the snowy weather had helped uncover a cannabis factory in the city. Officers raided the premises after spotting that snow had melted on the building’s roof as a result of heat from industrial-strength lights used in the cultivation of the drug. Horse racing meetings and dozens of football games in England and Scotland were called off as a result of the conditions, including a high profile match scheduled for today in London between Chelsea and Manchester United. — AP

WASHINGTON: Three of seven lion cubs born to two sisters in August and September play with one of the females at the National Zoo yesterday as they make their debut at the zoo. Both litters were fathered by Luke, the zoo’s sole male lion until the birth of the cubs, who are the first to be born at the zoo in more than 20 years. — AFP

ISI denies unmasking CIA chief Continued from Page 1 simply figured out the station chief’s identity on their own. Such “unfounded stories can create differences between the two organizations,” the official warned. He also said the CIA has not directly accused the ISI of any wrongdoing in the matter. Like other intelligence officials, he requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of his work and because he is not authorized to speak to

media on the record. The AP learned about the station chief’s removal on Thursday but held the story until he was out of the region. The CIA’s work is unusually difficult in Pakistan, an important but at times capricious counterterrorism ally. The station chief in Islamabad operates as a virtual military commander in the US war against Al-Qaeda and other militant groups hidden along the PakistanAfghanistan border. The chief runs the

Predator drone program targeting terrorists and handles some of the CIA’s most urgent and sensitive tips. The station chief also collaborates closely with Pakistani intelligence. The alliance has led to strikes on key militant leaders but has also been marred by spats between the two agencies. During the first term of President George W Bush’s administration, Pakistan almost expelled a previous CIA station chief in a dispute about intelligence sharing. — AP

Bahrain frees Brit bankers Continued from Page 1 runs his own Saad Group. The Saad Group declined to comment. The Algosaibi family has accused Al-Sanea of defrauding them of billions of dollars, in court cases in New York, the Cayman Islands and London. The Saad Group, Maan Al-Sanea and his wife Sana Algosaibi deny the accusations. The release comes after diplomatic

pressure from the UK around a recent visit of the Bahraini crown prince, and a second investigation into the matter by Kroll, a consultancy known for its work on highprofile fraud and crime cases. “We are aware of this case and have been providing consular assistance, (but) we cannot comment on the detail of this,” a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said. An earlier report into the demise of Awal by HIBIS, a relatively unknown

British group, was handed to Bahraini authorities last year. The conflict between the two Saudi families -which involves an estimated $22 billion in bank debt - is highly complex and unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. In a boost for the Saad Group, a New York court threw the case out on jurisdictional grounds earlier this year. But the Caymans recently decided it will hear the case locally, though this decision can still be appealed. — Reuters

Mullen: US ‘very ready’ to counter Iran on nukes Continued from Page 1 In Iran, the new foreign minister - and current nuclear chief - said yesterday that he wants to build the country’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and strengthen ties with Turkey, China and Russia. The latter two countries have veto power on the UN Security Council that could help Iran as it tries to fend off tougher sanctions. Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, replaced longtime foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who was fired Monday by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without public explanation. Iran denies it is seeking a nuclear weapon, and denies US claims that it sponsors terrorists. Iran has wary relations with many of its neighbors, who are trading partners with the oil giant but distrust the theocratic government. “Concerns about Iran’s nuclear program are very real and inform a lot of the decision making” among Gulf nations, said Adam Ereli, the US ambassador in Bahrain. The US fears that if Iran masters the technical challenge of building a bomb it could set off a nuclear arms race around the Gulf. “From my perspective I see Iran continuing on this path to develop nuclear weapons, and I believe that that development and achieving that goal would be very destabilizing to the region,” Mullen said. He gave no specifics about US

plans or defenses, but the Navy base is headquarters for ships and aircraft that monitor Iran and could be used to deter or defend against what military officials fear would be an attack that would come without warning. The base also houses Patriot missiles. The US keeps tabs on Iran through extensive air surveillance in the Gulf and from naval patrols that regularly engage in formal communication with Iranian ships. “I would like someday to think that they would be responsible regional and international players as opposed to what they are right now,” Mullen added. “I just haven’t seen any steps taken in that regard.” Mullen said he supports the current strategy of applying economic and political sanctions on Iran to try to dissuade it from building a bomb, while engaging Iran in international negotiations over the scope of its nuclear program. Iran claims it is seeking nuclear energy. Mullen repeated his view that a preemptive military strike on Iran’s known nuclear facilities is a bad option that would set off “unintended consequences”, but one the United States reserves the right to use. The Obama administration has said it will not allow Iran to become a nuclear weapons state but has never said exactly what steps it would take to prevent that. “I’ve said all options have been on the table and remain on the table,” Mullen said.

Iran is currently under four sets of UN Security Council sanctions and subject to additional penalties imposed separately by the United States, European countries and others. The most recent round of Security Council sanctions were adopted in June. The Obama administration and its European allies are prepared to impose additional sanctions if Iran fails to meet international demands to prove that its nuclear program is peaceful, a senior US official said Friday. Gary Samore, the White House coordinator for arms control, told a Washington think tank that the US and its partners will keep up pressure on Iran to come clean about its nuclear ambitions. Leaders of six US-allied Gulf Arab nations said this month they are watching Iran’s nuclear ambitions with “utmost concern,” and appealed to the West for a greater voice in the renewed talks with Tehran. The statement from the Gulf Cooperation Council - powerful Saudi Arabia and its fast-growing neighbors appeared to cast off a bit of the group’s traditional caution and adopt a harder tone. The group warned Iran not to interfere in Gulf Arab affairs and called on it to reject “force or the threat to use it.” Iran holds frequent military drills along the Persian Gulf - primarily to assert an ability to defend against any US or Israeli attack on its nuclear sites, but also to send a message to Arab neighbors on its southern border. — AP

Salehi woos Saudis, EU Continued from Page 1 EU change as soon as possible its method of confrontation into one of cooperation, it will be in the interest of both parties.” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad abruptly fired his longtime foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, on Monday while he was in the middle of a visit to Senegal. He gave no public explanation, but the president may have wanted to install a figure more personally loyal to him as Tehran resumes critical talks with world powers over its nuclear program. The United States and some of its key allies believe Iran is using its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop atomic weapons. Iran has denied the charges, saying its nuclear program is geared toward generating electricity and producing medical isotopes for patients. The doubts over Iran’s true aims are shared by the United States’ Arab allies in the Gulf. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, for example, has forcefully urged

Washington to take military action against Iran to “cut off the head of the snake”, according to the secret diplomatic memos made public by WikiLeaks. The leaders of Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf Arab nations said this month they are watching Iran’s nuclear ambitions with “utmost concern” and appealed to the West for a greater voice in the renewed talks with Tehran. Salehi, who was introduced as the new top diplomat at a Foreign Ministry function yesterday, indicated he wanted to ease those worries. “Saudi Arabia deserves to enjoy special political relations with Iran. Iran and Saudi Arabia are two effective regional countries in the Islamic world which can resolve many problems together,” IRNA quoted Salehi as saying at the function. Despite Iran’s best arguments that its nuclear work is entirely peaceful, the UN has imposed four rounds of sanctions in response to its refusal to halt uranium

enrichment, a process that can be used both to produce reactor fuel and material for nuclear warheads. Iranian media reports over the past year have said that some lawmakers believed Mottaki was not a forceful or persuasive enough advocate for Iran on the world stage. Mottaki refused to attend his own farewell event Saturday in an apparent gesture of protest. Salehi will serve as caretaker foreign minister until a permanent replacement is named. Under Iran’s constitution, the president has three months to name Salehi or another candidate, who must then survive a vote of confidence in parliament. Besides its neighbors across the Gulf, Salehi said Iran needs to pay special attention to improving ties with China and Russia as two permanent Security Council members who have in the past blocked harsh sanctions against Iran. Neither nation, however, stood in the way of the latest round of penalties, imposed in June. — AP


Sunday, December 19, 2010


NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Friday. Nashville 3, New Jersey 1; Florida 6, Buffalo 2; Chicago 4, Detroit 1; Colorado 6, Ottawa 5 (OT); (OT denotes overtime win) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF GA Philadelphia 21 7 5 113 81 Pittsburgh 21 10 2 104 78 NY Rangers 20 13 1 104 87 New Jersey 9 20 2 57 91 NY Islanders 6 18 5 62 100

PTS 47 44 41 20 17

Montreal Boston Ottawa Buffalo Toronto

Northeast Division 19 11 2 85 16 10 4 86 14 16 4 79 13 15 4 83 12 15 4 71

69 63 103 92 92

40 36 32 30 28

Washington Atlanta Tampa Bay Carolina Florida

Southeast Division 18 11 4 99 17 11 5 102 17 10 4 96 14 12 4 85 14 16 0 80

94 96 107 92 78

40 39 38 32 28

Detroit Nashville Chicago St. Louis Columbus

Western Conference Centra l Division 20 8 3 102 84 17 8 6 82 73 17 14 3 108 101 15 10 5 80 84 16 12 3 81 88

43 40 37 35 35

Colorado Vancouver Calgary Minnesota Edmonton

Northwest 18 10 17 8 14 15 13 13 12 14

40 38 31 30 29

Division 4 118 103 4 94 76 3 89 93 4 72 89 5 84 108

Pacific Division Dallas 18 10 3 89 86 39 Anaheim 17 14 4 91 102 38 San Jose 16 11 5 96 93 37 Los Angeles 17 11 1 82 71 35 Phoenix 14 9 7 84 84 35 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

SUNRISE: Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller makes a save during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers.—AP

Blackhawks clip Red Wings CHICAGO: Tomas Kopecky scored two goals as the injury-depleted Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 41 on Friday night. Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who improved to 9-9-0 at home. Chicago rookie Corey Crawford made 29 saves in his eighth start

in the last 10 games. He needed to make several timely stops, but the Blackhawks — who again played without star forwards Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa — provided solid defensive support for most of the game. Patrick Eaves scored for the Red Wings, who lead the Western Conference with 43 points.

Predators 3, Devils 1 In Newark, New Jersey, Martin Erat scored a pair of power-play goals as the Nashville Predators won their fifth straight NHL game, 31 over the New Jersey Devils. Steve Sullivan added a goal as Nashville matched a club record by earning a point in 10 straight games (8-0-2). The Devils’ sole goal came from rookie Mattias

Huefner wins World Cup luge PARK CITY: Olympic champion Tatjana Huefner won the women’s luge event Friday night at Olympic Park, giving Germany its 102nd straight World Cup victory. Huefner had a two-run time of 1 minute, 27.075 seconds for her 25th career victory and fourth in four races this season. Teammate Anke Wischnewski (1:27.159) was second, followed by Canadian Alex Gough (1:27.346). “The first run was not so good, but second run was good,” Huefner said. “I’m satisfied.” Defending world champion Erin Hamlin, from Remsen, New York, was 10th after making a few mistakes in her first run. The American speaking after her second run said a couple of mistakes had cost her crucial time. “I tried to put it all out there and had a little accident out of the start curve. At the top you have to be perfect because with a track like this you need all the time you can get,” Hamlin said. “It was a tiny mistake, and at the bottom I made another one because I was at the point where I was trying to do anything I could to let it fly. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out so well.” The loudest cheers were for Canada’s Gough, who had her parents, two uncles, an aunt and brother cheering her on. “It was great for them to come and see it,” Gough said. “It’s been kind of a good race, bad race kind of season, so it was nice to come out and (medal) again.” She finished third in Germany, but was only seventh last week in Calgary.—AP

Tedenby in the third period.

Panthers 6, Sabres 2 In Sunrise, Florida, Marty Reasoner scored twice in the first period as Florida took a 4-0 lead inside 20 minutes and comfortably beat Buffalo. Tomas Vokoun made 41 saves while Michael Frolik and Stephen

Weiss each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers. Bryan McCabe and David Booth had the other Florida goals. Derek Roy and Tim Connolly scored for Buffalo.

Avalanche 6, Senators 5 In Denver, Matt Duchene scored his second goal of the game in overtime to lift

Colorado to its fifth straight win. TJ Galiardi, Cody McLeod, Brandon Yip and Ryan O’Reilly also scored for the Avalanche in a game that saw the scores level five times. Erik Karlsson, Milan Michalek, Matt Carkner, Alex Kovalev and Daniel Alfredsson scored for the Senators. —AP

Organisers promise ‘gimmick-free’ Russian GP LONDON: The Sochi circuit due to host Russia’s first Formula One race in 2014 will encourage overtaking, be ready on time and without “gimmicks”, local officials have promised. City mayor Anatoly Pakhomov told Reuters, in emailed and translated replies to questions, that the track would be ready well ahead of the Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort that year. “Of course there are some more specific features that will need to be added upon the completion of the Olympic Games such as run-off areas, catch fencing etc,” he said. “But we foresee the base requirements of the track being completed approximately one year prior to the first race being held.” He said the biggest challenge was the fact that the F1 calendar would not be finalised until late 2013, leaving organisers uncertain about how much time they would have to play with after the Feb 7-23 Games. Formula One’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Russian Prime

Minister Vladimir Putin announced a sevenyear race deal in October. They said the first race could be postponed if it affects Winter Olympics preparations but Pakhomov doubted that would be necessary. “There is every intention to ensure that the F1 race will go ahead as planned in 2014,” said Pakhomov. “The specific requirements of managing the two events together is being studied carefully at present as the committee working to oversee the successful implementation of the Olympics becomes fully integrated with the committee being set up to orchestrate the F1 race which is still in its formative stage. “However, I don’t foresee any slippage of the race into 2015 being necessary.” The mayor said organisers intended to use as many of the Olympic facilities as possible for the grand prix in an unusual legacy of the Games. There would be no need to build two international media centres and many of the

high profile Olympic structures could be used for corporate hospitality. “The (grand prix) project has been very closely costed and government at all levels are investing just under $200m in building the track facilities,” added Pakhomov. Andrey Kraynik, a senior executive of Olympic and Grand Prix sponsor MegaFon, expected the street circuit built near the Olympic Park to become a fan favourite. “When we first invited (designer Hermann) Tilke down to see Sochi in 2009 we stressed the importance of ensuring the track design got the balance right,” he said by email. “The track will be a classic track with an emphasis on good overtaking opportunities, no gimmicks. It will have a mix of high speed corners, long straights and hairpins. “On the one hand you will have the mountains as a backdrop and a city street-track feel at the same time. It will come to be loved by the fans like Montreal, and be challenging for the drivers like Monaco.”—Reuters

Goosen, Cejka lead South African Open

UTAH: Anke Wischnewski from Germany celebrates her second-place finish in the World Cup women’s luge competition at the Utah Olympic Park.—AP

DURBAN: Retief Goosen and Alex Cejka were locked at the top of a congested leaderboard after the opening round of the South African Open at Durban Country Club on Friday. Both men fired eightunder-par 64s to take a oneshot lead over the South African duo of world number 12 Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel. Six players were tied a further shot back, on six-under, and there were 10 players on five-under, including British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen. Goosen was the first to take advantage of benign conditions at the coastal course, with a round that included six birdies and two eagles. The South African resumed on two-under-par through four holes after most of the first day’s play was washed out, and he made his intentions clear with a birdie on the first hole of the day, the 527-yard par-five 14th. The 41-year-old dropped a shot on 17 but more than made up for the lapse with an

eagle on the par-four 18th. His tee shot found the front edge of the green before the twotime SA Open champion nailed the long putt. Despite the flourish, Goosen, ranked 17 in the world, said his iron play had underpinned his round. “My driving could have been better and I missed a few fairways out there, but I hit a lot of iron shots close, which made putting a little bit easier,” he told a news conference. Germany’s Cejka turned in a bogey-free round as he picked up four birdies on each nine to put himself in contention. The 40-year-old said his decision to play conservatively on the narrow course had paid dividends. “I just played smart with a lot of three irons and three woods off the tees because it is a tricky course,” he told reporters. Els, the four-time SA Open champion, found his rhythm on the back nine, shooting three birdies and an eagle. “I missed a few putts on the front nine and was getting

Retief Goosen plays a shot in this file photo. a little annoyed with myself,” Els said. “Hopefully that back nine will give me a lot of confidence for the weekend.” In an effort to make up for time lost to rain, organisers

decided to move the cut line from 65 and ties to 50 and ties after late yesterday’s round. They will also attempt 36 holes today to avoid a Monday finish.—Reuters



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Padres acquire shortstop Bartlett from Rays SAN DIEGO: The San Diego Padres added a new double-play combination on Friday when they reacquired shortstop Jason Bartlett in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and closed in on a deal with second baseman Orlando Hudson. The Padres got Bartlett and another player yet to be determined from the Rays. In return, Tampa Bay will receive major league relievers Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos, and minor leaguers Brandon Gomes, a right-hander, and Cole Figueroa, an infielder. Two people with knowledge of the deal told the Associated Press that Hudson has agreed to an $11.5 million, two-year contract. The people spoke on

condition of anonymity because Hudson must still pass a physical. Hudson will replace David Eckstein. Hudson played last season with the AL Central champion Minnesota Twins, hitting .268 with six homers and 37 RBIs. Before that he was with the L os Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays. Hudson will make $4 million next year and $5.5 million in 2012. There’s an $8 million mutual option for 2013 with a $2 million buyout. Padres general manager Jed Hoyer said he couldn’t comment on the Hudson deal. Bartlett will replace Miguel Tejada, who signed with the San Francisco

Giants. He made 125 starts at shortstop for the Rays, hitting .254 with four homers and 47 RBIs. He was selected by San Diego in the 13th round of the 2001 amateur draf t, then traded to Minnesota the following July for Brian Buchanon. The Padres had just drafted Khalil Greene, making Bartlett, then with Double-A Lake Elsinore, expendable. “I’m excited,” Bartlett said during a conference call. “I never got to the big leagues over there. I’ve heard the National League game is a lot different. My wife and I love the beach, so we’re excited about that. Coming from Tampa, there’s no

better place to go than San Diego. Hopefully, I can be there for a while.” Bartlett is eligible for salary arbitration after making $4 million last season. He can become a free agent after the 2011 World Series. “Certainly in making this deal, I’m hopeful we can keep him in a Padres uniform beyond one year,” Hoyer said. Bartlett was an All-Star in 2009, when he set career highs by hitting .320 with 14 home runs, 66 RBIs, 90 runs scored and 30 stolen bases. He dropped off last year, hitting .254 with four homers and 47 RBIs. “Something clicked that year where everything was going right,” Bartlett

said of the ‘09 season. “Hopefully it clicks again.” The Rays and Padres appeared close to a deal at the recent winter meetings, but Hoyer said reports were premature. Bartlett said he initially found out about the deal then because he has an MLB trade rumor application on his iPhone and he got an update saying the trade was official. He texted his agent, who said it wasn’t. “It’s been pretty hectic,” he said. “I had a feeling it would work out.” Hoyer, who used to work in Boston’s front office, was familiar with Bartlett. “He was hard to play against,” Hoyer said. “He’s a pest. He gets on base, he

has good at-bats. He’s a good all-around baseball player. There was always a focus on that breakout year he had, but even before that season you didn’t want to see him in the batter’s box. He’s a player you didn’t want to play against.” Bartlett was traded from Minnesota to Tampa Bay, along with Matt Garza, in a six-player deal on Nov. 28, 2007. Russell made 12 relief appearances with San Diego in 2010 while Ramos made 14 relief appearances. Both were in their second big league seasons. Figueroa and Gomes are minor leaguers. The Padres still need to get a first baseman af ter trading Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. — AP

QB Brees is 2010 AP Male Athlete of Year

MIAMI: This Feb. 7, 2010, file photo shows New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the NFL Super Bowl XLIV football game against the Indianapolis Colts. Brees was voted the 2010 Male Athlete of the Year. — AP

Mayweather jailed, freed in Las Vegas battery case LAS VEGAS: Floyd Mayweather Jr. spent a night in a L as Vegas jail before his release Friday on a misdemeanor battery warrant stemming from an allegation that the boxer poked a security guard in the face last month outside his home. The second arrest in three months for the undefeated prizefighter drew allegations from his lawyer that police and prosecutors overreacted to a minor criminal accusation and that the 33-year-old Mayweather was getting “unequal punitive exaggerated treatment.” “This is a misdemeanor,” attorney Richard Wright told The Associated Press. He noted that police usually write a ticket for a misdemeanor, or issue a court summons at the jail. Wright accused District Attorney David Roger of “going out of his way to treat (Mayweather) differently than anyone else.” Roger didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Mayweather was arrested just before midnight Thursday at the posh Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip and booked early Friday into the Clark County jail without bail. Police initially said the boxer might remain in jail pending a Monday court date. But defense attorney Karen Winckler intervened, and Mayweather was freed less than 12 hours after his arrest. The misdemeanor charge stems from a confrontation Nov. 15 during which authorities allege Mayweather poked a 21year-old security guard repeatedly in the left cheek during a loud verbal confrontation over parking tickets. Mayweather’s attorneys have denied wrong-

doing on his behalf. The warrant was issued Dec. 8 by a Las Vegas justice of the peace, but he immediately recalled it. It was reinstated Dec. 13 after prosecutors complained that Mayweather was receiving preferential treatment. The judge, Tony Abbatangelo, scheduled a Tuesday hearing to determine whether Mayweather should remain free pending trial. The misdemeanor case carries a possible six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Mayweather is one of the boxing’s richest and most recognizable figures, with 25 knockouts in his 41 wins. He goes by the nickname “Money,”

and earned more than $20 million in May from a single fight in Las Vegas against “Sugar” Shane Mosley. But he has also been dogged in recent years by allegations of violence and confrontations at home and at Las Vegas clubs. Mayweather has misdemeanor battery and assault convictions in Las Vegas and his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., and is facing a felony coercion, grand larceny and robbery case stemming from a September dispute with his children and their mother at her home. He faces trial Jan. 24 in that case, and could face up to 34 years in prison if convicted. — AP

LAS VEGAS: This Sept. 10, 2010, file photo shows boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., leaving the Clark County Detention Center, in Las Vegas. —AFP

NEW ORLEANS: Quarterback Drew Brees is the 2010 Male Athlete of the Year, chosen by members of The Associated Press, after leading the New Orleans Saints to their first Super Bowl title. Brees is a big reason New Orleanians can smile and boast. Not only did the reigning Super Bowl MVP turn around the Saints’ football fortunes and bring the city its first NFL championship in February, he’s become a civic leader as his adoptive hometown recovers from a time of turmoil and suffering. “I’ve always tried to visualize myself in that position of being considered one of the best and winning championships,” said Brees, who won his first title in his ninth NFL season. “Certainly the way you’re perceived, the way people talk about you, the kind of category they put you in — that stuff changes and it’s flattering, certainly humbling.” Brees is only the fourth quarterback to receive the honor in the past four decades, along with the Patriots’ Tom Brady in 2007, the 49ers’ Joe Montana in 1989 and 1990, and the Raiders’ George Blanda in 1970. There were 176 ballots submitted from US news organizations that make up the AP’s membership. Brees received 48 votes, while the 2009 AP Male Athlete of the Year, NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, finished second with 31. Boxer Manny Pacquiao was third with 21 votes, followed by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay with 17. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, a comeback story himself, rounded out the top five vote-getters with 10. The place Brees finds himself now is even more remarkable when you consider that he came to New Orleans having been unceremoniously discarded by the San Diego Chargers after a career-threatening injury to his throwing shoulder. New Orleans was at its nadir in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Saints needed a lift and their new, undersized quarterback was looking for a second chance. Brees embraces the chance to talk about those moments, because in his mind, they are linked with the success that followed. “I believe that 100 percent. New Orleans is the last place I ever thought I’d be,” Brees said. “The Saints organization and team didn’t have that great a reputation prior to (2006) and so it was probably not the most attractive place for anybody to come. Then right after the storm, the city’s destroyed and everybody’s displaced and I look back on those times and it was like we were really starting over.” Nearly five years later, many are now familiar with how Brees rebuilt his arm, his career, his team and even helped rebuild New Orleans through millions of dollars in charitable contributions. Since 2006, he has thrown for more yards (22,153) and touchdowns (150) than any NFL quarterback and in the process set club records in both categories. His 70.6 completion percentage in 2009 set a single-season NFL record.—AP

Jammie Johnson in action in this file photo

Pacquiao still mulling options for next fight NEW YORK: Manny Pacquiao is mulling over options for his next fight, with three names still in the running for the lucrative shot at boxing’s biggest box office attraction. Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, told The Associated Press on Friday that no decision has been made on the opponent, although the bout will likely be May 7. Former welterweight champion Shane Mosley, welterweight champ Andre Berto and lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez are the options and all have made financial proposals for the fight. “The situation is now that the date has been confirmed, it’s May 7, more likely than not, the venue would be Las Vegas,” Koncz said. “But with regards to the actual opponent, all three of the guys named before are still live opponents.” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was in the Philippines to celebrate Pacquiao’s 32nd birthday on Friday, and was expected to present him with the options at that time. There were reports that Pacquiao might announce his

opponent, but Koncz said that was untrue. “It’s the holiday season, Manny’s birthday, Bob’s here. We had discussions about the fight but nothing was finalized,” Koncz said. “No rush.” Mosley is considered the favorite to land the fight based on his name recognition. The former titleholder has been in the ring with everyone from Floyd Mayweather Jr. to Oscar De La Hoya, and could conceivably draw the most casual viewers to the fight. Mosley also considers himself a promotional free agent, and Arum is against co-promotions. Marquez may represent the most fan-friendly option after looking good in a victory over Michael Katsidis a few weeks ago. He’s met Pacquiao twice before, fighting to a 12round draw in 2004 and losing a close split decision in March 2008, but both of those outcomes could have gone either way. Some observers even insist that Marquez won them both. If the fight happens May 7, Marquez could provide an additional incentive. He’s

from Mexico and the Cinco de Mayo weekend is traditionally a major drawing card for Latino fight fans. Berto is the dark horse, and perhaps the most dangerous of the three. He looked sensational in a first-round knockout of Freddy Hernandez on the undercard of Marquez’s last fight, but he is not widely known among casual fans. The one fighter who won’t be facing Pacquiao is Mayweather, with their two camps repeatedly having failed to give fans what could be the richest fight in boxing history. The undefeated Mayweather was arrested late Thursday on a misdemeanor warrant for allegedly poking a security guard in the face outside his Las Vegas home. He was released on bail less than 12 hours later but is due back in court next week. Mayweather, who made headlines in September with an expletive-filled online video directed at Pacquiao, also faces unrelated felony charges stemming from a September dispute with his children and their mother. He

Manny Pacquiao celebrates in this file photo

could face up to 34 years in prison if convicted in that case. Whoever the opponent, Pacquiao will almost certainly ensure they make a fortune. The Filipino Congressman defeated Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito before huge crowds at Cowboys Stadium this year, generating massive pay-per-view numbers both times. The performances were enough for Pacquiao to finish third in voting for 2010 AP Male Athlete of the Year behind New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson. Those results, unlike his next opponent, were announced Friday. “Nothing’s finalized. Bob will go back and talk to the opponents’ camps and then he’ll get back to Manny and then, you know, we’re in negotiations. I don’t want to give any indication of who’s ahead of who,” Koncz said. “It’s not the way to negotiate, in the media. “There’s no deadline per se, but who knows when?” Koncz said. “Maybe next week. Who knows?”—AP


Sunday, December 19, 2010


DUBAI: Therese Alshammar of Sweden swims a Women’s 100 meter Butterfly heat at the FINA Short Course Swimming World Championships. — AP

Soni beats breaststroke rival Jones DUBAI: American Rebecca Soni beat Australian rival Leisel Jones again in the 100-meter breaststroke at the short-course world championships yesterday. Soni was just one hundredth in front of Jones at the race’s midpoint but accelerated in the second half of the race, touching in a championship record 1 minute, 3.98 seconds. Jones finished 0.28 seconds behind and Ji Liping of China was third, 0.81 back. Soni and Jones split the 100 and 200 titles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but Soni beat Jones over both distances at the Pan Pacific championships in August as the Australian returned from a postOlympic break. Soni will also be favored in the 200 today, with Jones not entered. Meanwhile, Ryan Lochte has set two world records on consecutive nights and the American is just getting warmed up. “There were a lot of mistakes I made and I can go a lot faster, I know that,” Lochte said Friday after adding the 200-meter individual medley mark to his 400 record a day earlier at the short-course world championships. “It’s just a matter of time where I finally have a perfect race.” While he may have not been completely satisfied with it, Lochte’s latest victory was a dominant display. He touched in 1 minute, 50.08 seconds to improve on the previous mark set by South Africa’s Darian Townsend by an astounding 1.5 sec-

onds. Lochte finished more than two bodylengths ahead of his closest competitor, Markus Rogan of Austria, who was 2.82 seconds behind. Another American, Tyler Clary, was third, 3.48 back. “When I was doing backstroke I looked up on the screen and I saw how I was right in front of the world record line and that kind of motivated me,” Lochte said. “It pushed me in breaststroke and freestyle and I just came off that last wall, took a deep breath and just went in.” Rogan finished only 0.34 behind Lochte at a short-course yards meet in Ohio a couple of weeks ago. This time, the Austrian was so far behind he could only admire his rival. “I watched him the whole race,” Rogan said in his usual lighthearted manner. “I had the best seat in the house — nobody saw his feet like I did, nobody saw his turns. I’ve got to get that ticket again.” Lochte’s two marks represent the only individual world records set in 2010 - either in short- or long-course — after hightech bodysuits were banned at the beginning of the year. By contrast, nearly every record in swimming was broken multiple times the previous two years. Two other world records in relays were set the past two days. “Lochte is not from this planet — he’s a little freak,” said sprinting standout Cesar Cielo. “I’m just glad I’m not an IMer. If he wants to swim

the (sprints), I’m ready for him, but let’s just let him take those world records for now.” Lochte has won all three of his individual events so far and he has two more remaining, plus possibly a relay. “I never go in the race expecting world records,” he said. “I’m just going out there having fun, and if me having fun puts me first with a world record, more power to me I guess.” Lochte took bronze medals in the 200 and 400 IMs at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which were both won by Michael Phelps, who is skipping this meet. Also Friday, Cielo showed a return to form with a dominant display in the 50 freestyle. Cielo clocked 20.51 seconds in the two-lap race, 0.30 ahead of French rival Frederick Bousquet, with Josh Schneider of the United States third, 0.37 behind. After winning the 50 in Beijing, Cielo then swept both sprints — the 50 and 100 — at last year’s long-course worlds in Rome. But he failed to win over both distances at the Pan Pacific championships in August, where American sprinter Nathan Adrian prevailed. “Swimming is like boxing — eventually you’re going to get hit — but they didn’t knock me out,” said Cielo, who celebrated by slamming the water with his fist. “I’m up and I’m hitting them back. So if they want to win again they’re going to have to bring some more.” Adrian failed to reach the final in

the 50, and Cielo now enters as an even bigger favorite for the 100 today. In the women’s 100 free, Dutch sprinters Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Femke Heemskerk finished 1-2, relegating American standout Natalie Coughlin to third. Kromowidjojo clocked a championship-record 51.45, Heemskerk finished 0.73 behind and Coughlin was 0.80 back. Kromowidjojo and Heemskerk also finished 1-2 in the 100 free at the European shortcourse championships three weeks ago. Both were also part of the Dutch squad that took gold in the 400 freestyle relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and last year’s long-course worlds in Rome. “Kromowidjojo was in a class of her own,” Heemskerk said. “She did great and I am the best of the rest.” Paul Biedermann of Germany won the 400 free in 3:37.06 — more than four seconds off his world record last year in a bodysuit. Nikita Lobintsev of Russia took silver, 0.78 behind, and Olympic 1,500 champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia was third, 1.11 back. “People refer to me as Mr. Suit,” said Biedermann, whose form improved drastically with the hightech bodysuits last year, memorably beating Phelps, before struggling most of this year. “I’ve been training more to prove to everyone that I am the best.” — AP

DUBAI: South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh swims a Men’s 50m breaststroke heat at the FINA Short Course Swimming World Championships. —AP

Vonn wins first downhill of season

ITALY: Switzerland’s Silvan Zurbriggen speeds down the course on his way to win an alpine ski World Cup men’s downhill race, in Val Gardena. —AP

Zurbriggen tops WCup downhill VAL GARDENA: Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland won a World Cup downhill on the Saslong course yesterday to take the lead in the overall standings. Zurbriggen clocked 1 minute, 57.21 seconds, edging Austria’s Romed Baumann by 0.06 seconds on a fast, bumpy track. Didier Cuche, the defending World Cup downhill champion, was third, trailing his Swiss teammate by 0.10. The 29-yearold Zurbriggen had never previously finished on the podium in a World Cup downhill. He punched both fists in the air repeatedly in the finish area after taking the lead from Cuche. “It’s something crazy, unbelievable. I’m very, very happy and I had a superb run,” said Zurbriggen, whose only previ-

ous World Cup victory came two seasons ago in the combined event at Kitzbuehel, Austria. Zurbriggen won Olympic bronze in super-combined in Vancouver, when Bode Miller won gold, but had the reputation as an all-purpose racer rather than speed specialist. Michael Walchhofer, the prerace favorite from Austria, was 0.35 back in fifth after winning the super-G on Friday. Zurbriggen’s 100 points for the victory lifted him above Walchhofer atop the overall standings, with a 315-294 advantage. Zurbriggen has a 150-145 edge in the downhill discipline standings after two races. Walchhofer won in Lake Louise, Canada, last month when Zurbriggen was fourth. Cuche,

twice a runner-up in the Saslong classic, was denied a victory he thought was his after Walchhofer was the last topranked downhill specialist to race. The 36-year-old Cuche could not bear to watch his great Austrian rival race. He assumed a prayer position on his knees with his head down, then rose with a shout of delight when Walchhofer crossed the line. “I was expecting it was enough (to win),” Cuche said. “But in Val Gardena you always have to wait for the last racer and the course was in perfect condition.” Zurbriggen was next to go, wearing bib No. 23, and Baumann followed three skiers later. Miller was the fastest American in 17th place, trailing by 1.53. — AP

VAL D’ISERE: American skier Lindsey Vonn won her first downhill race of the season at Val d’Isere yesterday to close the gap on overall World Cup leader Maria Riesch, who finished 24th after a dismal run. Vonn, the three-time defending World Cup champion and reigning Olympic downhill champion, had finished second behind her German rival in both downhills at Lake Louise two weeks ago but turned the tables at one of her favourite resorts. Despite a wobble near the top section of the 2.8-kilometer (1.7-mile) OreillerKilly course, Vonn finished in a time of 1 minute, 51.42 seconds. Swiss pair Nadja Kamer and Lara Gut were second and third respectively. “I love Val d’Isere, I’ve always had a good feeling here. It’s great to have another victory,” Vonn said. Vonn has a prolific record at Val d’Isere, whatever the slope she races on. She won World Cup downhill races here in 2005 and 2006, along with a downhill-Super-G world championship double and a World Cup super combined race last year. This time, she made a spectacular recovery after nearly crashing on the turn just below the second jump. She feared that slip would cost her, only for Riesch to fare much worse than expected. “I made a big mistake at the top but I tried to make up time on the bottom, and I think I skied pretty well on the turns,” Vonn said. “At the finish I thought it was a good time, but for sure Maria would beat me.” Vonn was .001 down on Kamer at the second time split, but picked up speed on the second part of the course to beat her by .68 seconds, and the 19-year-old Gut by .80. “It’s hard to be faster than her, that’s a challenge for us,” Kamer said. Gut pointed to Vonn’s ability to overcome errors with her superior speed.

“She always lets the skis run — even though her and Maria (Riesch) make mistakes — she recovers after three turns because she never brakes,” Gut said. “As Nadja said, we have to really go all out (to catch her).” Riesch started poorly in soft conditions and kept losing more time to Vonn, finishing 2.28 seconds adrift. Vonn’s win gave her extra satisfaction after Lake Louise, but she could hardly believe Riesch’s dismal performance. “I was definitely surprised,” the 26year-old Vonn said. “I was a little bit frustrated to be second by only one tenth (of a second) in the two races in Lake Louise.” Vonn earmarked this season as one for new records. She wants to break her American single-season record of 11 wins set last year and aim for the all-time record of 14 victories established by Swiss great Vreni Schneider in 1988-89.

“I feel like my confidence is at a great place right now,” Vonn said. “I feel like all my events are pretty good.” Vonn’s win moves her top of the downhill standings ahead of Riesch, who leads Vonn by 52 points in the overall standings ahead of today’s super combined race. The clear blue skies and bright sunshine were a stark contrast to Friday’s weather when the super-G race — already postponed last weekend at the Swiss resort of St. Moritz — was called off again because of heavy snowfall and almost no visibility. Elisabeth Goergl of Austria finished in fourth place on Saturday, with French veteran Ingrid Jacquemod tied for fifth with Italy’s Johanna Schnarf, who was the first to start. Riesch’s run, meanwhile, went from bad to worse. She was 1.09 behind Vonn on the first time split, then 1.10 and 1.95.

Moments after crossing the line, Riesch looked startled, shrugged her shoulders and then bowed her head. Andrea Dettling was one of the first down on Saturday and crashed near the top section, flying sideways into the netting. But the Swiss skier got back up on her feet after a few seconds without any assistance and appeared unharmed. Gut feels she is getting back to her best form, more than a year after dislocating her right hip in a training crash. “It’s a good feeling, it’s my second (World Cup) podium in downhill if you discount the world championships,” said Gut — runner-up to Vonn at last year’s worlds. Gut was suspended for two World Cup races this week by the Swiss ski federation for criticizing head coach and former mentor Mauro Pini in interviews. — AP

FRANCE: Lindsey Vonn of the United States speeds down the course on the way to win an alpine ski World Cup women’s downhill race. — AP



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Now for the win, says double centurion Kallis

CENTURION: South Africa’s batsman Jacques Kallis celebrates his double century on the third day of the first Test match against India at the SuperSport Park. — AP

Scoreboard Scoreboard at the close of the third day of the first test between South Africa and India at Centurion, South Africa yesterday. India first innings 136 (M.Morkel 5-20)

Raina 7-0-77-0, Tendulkar 10-1-51-0 (1w).

South Africa first innings G. Smith c Dhoni b Harbhajan 62 A. Petersen c Gambhir b Harbhajan 77 H. Amla c Dhoni b Ishant 140 J. Kallis not out 201 A. de Villiers c Dhoni b Ishant 129 Extras (b-2, lb-3, w-2, nb-4) 11 Total (four wickets declared; 130.1 overs) 620 Fall of wickets: 1-111 2-166 3-396 4-620. Did not bat: A. Prince, M. Boucher, D. Steyn, M. Morkel, P. Harris, L. Tsotsobe. Bowling: Sreesanth 24-1-97-0 (2nb, 1w), Ishant 27.1-2120-2, Unadkat 26-4-101-0 (2nb), Harbhajan 36-2-169-2,

India second innings G. Gambhir lbw b Steyn 80 V. Sehwag c Smith b Harris 63 R. Dravid not out 28 Ishant Sharma not out 7 Extras (b-8, lb-1, w-1, nb-2) 12 Total (two wickets; 44.1 overs) 190 Fall of wickets: 1-137 2-170. To bat: S. Tendulkar, V. Laxman, S. Raina, M. Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, S. Sreesanth, J. Unadkat. Bowling: Steyn 12-4-38-1 (1w), Morkel 11-1-38-0 (1nb), Tsotsobe 9.1-1-48-0, Harris 8-0-34-1, Kallis 4-1-23-0 (1nb).

Rampant Australia poised to square Ashes Test series PERTH: Mike Hussey produced a sparkling century before Australia’s pace bowlers destroyed England’s top order to push the hosts to the brink of a serieslevelling victory on day three of third Ashes test in Perth yesterday. Hussey’s 116, as his batting partners fell like dominoes, propelled Australia’s second innings to 309 and set England a mammoth 391-run chase with two days to play. England lead the five-test series 1-0 and had hoped to seal the Ashes with a win in Perth, but they began their second innings poorly by losing five wickets after tea to limp to 81-5. “We’ve bowled as a good team, the four quicks have all stuck together and bowled in their roles and done a good job,” paceman Peter Siddle told reporters. “Hopefully we’ve put a little bit of damage into them at the moment after this match and see how they back it up for the next two tests. “It’s just a matter of keeping them out in the field and batting for long periods of time and really tiring them out.” Paul Collingwood was dismissed for 11 with the last ball before stumps by Ryan Harris, the Englishman nicking an edge to all-rounder Steve Smith, who took a sharp catch in the slips. Nightwatchman James Anderson was on zero at stumps as the last-ball wicket brought raucous cheers from home supporters on a day of brilliant sunshine at the packed WACA ground. England’s highest successful fourthinnings run chase was the 332 they made to beat Australia in Melbourne in 1928. If they were to make 391 here, it would be the fifth largest run chase in tests. “All you can do in these situations is believe,” said England fast bowler Chris Tremlett, who took career-best figures of 5-87 in Australia’s second innings.

PERTH: Australia’s Mitchell Johnson celebrates taking the wicket of England’s Jonathan Trott on day three of the third Ashes cricket Test. — AP “It’s obviously a long shot (to win) but it only takes one partnership and stranger things have happened. We’ll come in tomorrow believing that we can win the game.” Pace bowler Harris struck first for Australia, trapping England opener Alastair Cook lbw for 13 with a quick, fuller delivery before Mitchell Johnson had captain Andrew Strauss caught by Australian skipper Ricky Ponting in the slips for 15. After two days of fruitless toil, Ben Hilfenhaus celebrated his first wicket in the test by removing dangerman Kevin

Pietersen for three, caught in the slips by Shane Watson. Johnson picked up his second wicket of the innings when he had Jonathan Trott caught behind for 31, the ball deflecting off Ponting’s hands for wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to take the catch. Ponting, who has had a dreadful series with the bat, injured a finger in the catch attempt. “It’s clipped him on the little finger on the left hand, he’s a little bit sore at the minute, but he’s gone for a precautionary X-ray,” Siddle said.—Reuters

Scoreboard PERTH: Scoreboard at the close of play on the third day of the third Ashes Test between Australia and England at the WACA on yesterday: Australia first innings 268 (M. Johnson 62, M.Hussey 61, B. Haddin 53) England first innings 187 (I. Bell 53, A. Strauss 52; M. Johnson 6-38)

Fall of wickets: 1-31 2-34 3-64 4-177 5-252 6-271 7-276 8-284 9-308 10-309 Bowling: Anderson 26-7-65-1 (w-1), Tremlett 24-4-87-5 (w-2, nb-1), Finn 21-4-97-3 (nb-1), Swann 9-0-51-0, Collingwood 6-3-3-1 (w-1).

Australia second innings (overnight 119-3) S. Watson lbw Tremlett P. Hughes c Collingwood b Finn R. Ponting c Prior b Finn M. Clarke b Tremlett M. Hussey c Swann b Tremlett S. Smith c Prior b Tremlett B. Haddin b Tremlett M. Johnson c Bell b Collingwood R. Harris c Bell b Finn P. Siddle c Collingwood b Anderson B. Hilfenhaus not out Extras (lb-6, w-4, nb-2) Total (all out, 86 overs)

England second innings A. Strauss c Ponting b Johnson 15 A. Cook lbw Harris 13 J. Trott c Haddin b Johnson 31 K. Pietersen c Watson b Hilfenhaus 3 P. Collingwood c Smith b Harris 11 J. Anderson not out 0 Extras (lb-7, nb-1) 8 Total (for five wickets, 27 overs) 81 To Bat: I. Bell, M. Prior, G. Swann, C. Tremlett, S. Finn. Fall of wickets: 1-23 2-37 3-55 4-81 5-81 Bowling (to date): Hilfenhaus 10-4-16-1, Harris 6-1-222, Siddle 4-1-8-0 (nb-1), Johnson 7-1-28-2.

95 12 1 20 116 36 7 1 1 8 0 12 309

CENTURION: Jacques Kallis took a little time to savour his first double century in Tests, then looked forward to South Africa completing a big win over India in the first Test at SuperSport Park. After taking a battering for two days, India finally put up some resistance with a solid start to their second innings on Saturday, the third day of what has largely been a one-sided contest. Openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag put on 137 but both men were out before the close. Faced with a massive first innings deficit of 484 runs, India reached 190 for two before bad light stopped play. South Africa earlier piled up 620 for four declared, with Jacques Kallis hitting 201 not out and AB de Villiers racing to the country’s fastest Test hundred. For Kallis, it removed one of the few blots on an otherwise outstanding Test career record. “It’s nice to tick that box off but now we just need to complete the win,” said Kallis. “They’re not the number one side in the world for nothing. We don’t expect them to fall down and it’s going to be hard work tomorrow. But if you had to choose which change room you would rather be in, it would obviously be ours. It’s going to be very hard for them to come back from this position.” Kallis, fifth on the all-time Test run-scorers list, was the only player in the top 15 not to have converted at least one century into a double. It was his 38th hundred in his 143rd Test match. Spectators on the packed grass banks roared their approval when Kallis glanced Jaidev Unadkat to the fine leg boundary to reach the elusive landmark. Kallis removed his helmet, looked to the skies, hugged batting partner De Villiers and acknowledged the applause with a broad smile. De Villiers made a spectacular 129 off 112 balls. He raced to his century off 74 balls with 11 fours and five sixes, beating the previous fastest, shared by Denis Lindsay, Jonty Rhodes and Shaun Pollock, by 21 balls. It was an extraordinary innings by De Villiers, who in his previous Test match scored a South African record 278 not out against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi last month. De Villiers played a dazzling array of strokes, from sweetly-timed drives and delicate cuts to reverse sweeps and fearless slog-sweeps over fielders placed on the mid-wicket boundary. He reached his 12th Test century with two successive hits for six off part-time spinner Suresh Raina. Kallis, who had shared a third wicket stand of 230 with Hashim Amla (140), was content to be the supportive partner as De Villiers went on the rampage in a fourth wicket stand of 224 off 226 balls. “It was fantastic,” said Kallis. “It took the pressure off me and I could just knock it around. It was one of the best knocks I have seen. It was an absolute honour to stand on the other side and watch it.” Yet Kallis scored at a rapid rate by Test standards, reaching his double century off 267 balls with 15 fours and five sixes. It was a humiliating morning and early afternoon for India, ranked number one in Test cricket, as they conceded 225 runs off 36 overs in an extended morning’s play and 254 off 43.1 overs before the declaration. India recovered some pride during the Gambhir-Sehwag stand, although Sehwag gave a hard chance to Hashim Amla at short cover off Lonwabo Tsotsobe when he had 34 and Gambhir survived two chances, with Alviro Petersen at point putting him down off both Steyn and Morkel when he had 43 and 62. Sehwag made 63 before he fell in typical style, lofting leftarm spinner Paul Harris to wide mid-off, where Graeme Smith took a good running catch. Gambhir made 80 before Dale Steyn trapped him leg before with a ball which cut back and kept a bit low. Gambhir said India were determined not to give up. “It’s a matter of hanging in there and taking it session by session. It’s about saving a Test match for the country. — AFP

NEW YORK: Miami Heat’s LeBron James (left) shoots over New York Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire during the first half of an NBA basketball game. — AP

Heat scorch Knicks

NEW YORK: LeBron James scored 32 points and finished with his 30th career triple-double to help the Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks 113-91 on Friday and notch their 11th straight NBA victory. James had 11 rebounds and 10 assists, silencing the first sustained boos he’s ever heard in New York. His first trip to Madison Square Garden since snubbing a Knicks contract offer to join Miami sounded different, but otherwise looked the same. The league MVP toyed with a Knicks team hoping to prove it belonged with the big boys but instead was overwhelmed. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh each scored 26 points, extending Miami’s longest winning streak since 2004-05. The Heat beat the Knicks for the sixth straight time. New York’s Amare Stoudemire was limited to 24 points, snapping his franchise-record streak of nine straight 30-point games. Danilo Gallinari scored 25 points to lead the Knicks. Hornets 100, Jazz 71 In New Orleans, David West scored 23 points to lead New Orleans in a rout of Utah. Chris Paul had 11 points and 10 assists for the Hornets, who finished with a season-high 53 rebounds — more than twice as many as their opponents. The Jazz was averaging 101.4 points per game, but shot just 35.8 percent and finished with a season low in points. Paul Millsap led Utah with a meager 14 points. Lakers 93, 76ers 81 In Philadelphia, Lamar Odom scored 28 points to lead Los Angeles over Philadelphia. Pau Gasol had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers, who rallied and broke the game open in the fourth quarter to win their fourth straight game. The Lakers trailed by four before turning the game around with a 27-8 run. Spencer Hawes had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Sixers. Hawks 90, Bobcats 85 In Atlanta, Al Horford assisted on a crucial basket by Marvin Williams with just over a minute remaining, and Atlanta held off Charlotte. With the Hawks clinging to an 82-79 edge, Horford spotted Williams underneath, feeding him the pass for an easy lay-in with 1 second left on the shot clock. Joe Johnson scored 16 points in his return

to the Hawks’ lineup, 21/2 weeks after undergoing elbow surgery that was supposed to keep him out for at least a month. He hit two free throws to help seal the victory with 24 seconds remaining. Boris Diaw and D.J. Augustin led the Bobcats with 22 points apiece. Charlotte shot just 38 percent from the field. Thunder 102, Kings 87 In Oklahoma City, the hosts used three fourth-quarter spurts to put away Sacramento. The pesky Kings, who have an NBA-worst five wins, stayed within single digits most of the night and trailed 83-77 midway through the fourth. Then, the Thunder had two separate runs of eight straight points to put the game away. Kevin Durant scored 24 points and Serge Ibaka added 12 points and 10 rebounds as Oklahoma City won its fifth in a row. Tyreke Evans scored 22 points for Sacramento, which has lost 18 of 20. Pacers 108, Cavaliers 99 In Indianapolis, Danny Granger had 30 points and a season-high 12 rebounds to help Indiana beat Cleveland, extending the Cavaliers’ losing streak to 10 games. Granger had struggled during Indiana’s three-game losing streak, but bounced back to make 12 of 22 shots, including four of seven 3-pointers. Roy Hibbert, Mike Dunleavy and Brandon Rush each scored 15 points for the Pacers, who are 3-0 against Cleveland this season. Mo Williams had 22 points and 11 assists for the Cavaliers. The aggressive game included five technical fouls and an ejection in the fourth quarter. Raptors 98, Nets 92 In Toronto, the hosts beat New Jersey for the sixth straight time. Andrea Bargnani had 32 points and nine rebounds, while Linas Kleiza had 18 points and matched his career high with 12 rebounds for the Raptors. Brook Lopez scored 20 points for the Nets, who have lost nine of 10 and are 2-12 on the road. Clippers 109, Pistons 88 In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Los Angeles won its first road game of the season by beating Detroit. The Clippers had gone 15 games without an away win. Blake Griffin had 24 points and 17 rebounds for the Clippers, while Charlie

Villanueva led the Pistons with 18. Detroit’s starters scored just 29 points and pulled down two fewer rebounds than Griffin. Rockets 103, Grizzlies 87 In Houston, the Rockets overcame the season-ending loss of All-Star center Yao Ming to defeat Memphis. Kevin Martin scored 34 points for the Rockets, who disclosed earlier that their 2.29 meter tall center would miss the rest of 2010-2011 because of a stress fracture in his left ankle. Rudy Gay and Sam Young scored 19 points each to lead the Grizzlies, but Gay was ejected for a flagrant foul with about 6 minutes remaining. Luis Scola added 23 points for the Rockets and Kyle Lowry, who has been filling in for injured point guard Aaron Brooks, had 17 points and a career-high 18 assists. Mavericks 106, Suns 91 In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry scored 18 points apiece as the surging Dallas Mavericks beat Phoenix, taking advantage of an injury to Suns guard Steve Nash. Caron Butler added 17 points and Shawn Marion scored 15 for the Mavericks, who have won 14 of 15. The Suns played without their star point guard for the final three quarters after Nash left because of what the team called a “stinger.” Earlier in the first quarter, Nash and Tyson Chandler collided while going for a loose ball in the Phoenix backcourt. Nash’s neck appeared to drive into Chandler’s hip, and Nash was down for several minutes before walking slowly to the bench. Hakim Warrick had 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost four of five. T Blazers 107, T’wolves 102 In Portland, Lamarcus Aldridge equalled his career high with 36 points and Rudy Fernandez added a personalbest 26 as Portland beat Minnesota. Aldridge went 15 of 22 from the field, scored six baskets on dunks off lob passes and grabbed 10 rebounds to help the Trail Blazers win their 13th consecutive game over Minnesota. Michael Beasley scored 33 points for Minnesota. Kevin Love added 19 points and 17 rebounds. — AP

NBA results/standings NBA results and standings on Friday: Indiana 108, Cleveland 99; Miami 113, NY Knicks 91; LA Lakers 93, Philadelphia 81; Toronto 98, New Jersey 92; Atlanta 90, Charlotte 85; LA Clippers 109, Detroit 88; New Orleans 100, Utah 71; Oklahoma City 102, Sacramento 87; Houston 103, Memphis 87; Dallas 106, Phoenix 91; Portland 107, Minnesota 102.

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

Ea stern Conference Atla ntic Division W L PCT GB 21 4 .840 16 11 .593 6 10 16 .385 11.5 10 17 .370 12 7 20 .259 15 Central Division 16 8 .667 12 13 .480 4.5 10 14 .417 6 8 19 .296 9.5 7 19 .269 10 Southea st Division 20 8 .714 16 9 .640 2.5 17 11 .607 3 9 17 .346 10 6 18 .250 12

Western Conference Northw est Division Oklahoma City 19 8 .704 Utah 18 9 .667 1 Denver 15 10 .600 3 Portland 13 14 .481 6 Minnesota 6 21 .222 13 Pacific Division LA Lakers 20 7 .741 Phoenix 12 13 .480 7 Golden State 9 16 .360 10 LA Clippers 6 21 .222 14 Sacramento 5 19 .208 13.5 Southwest Division San Antonio 22 3 .880 Dallas 21 5 .808 1.5 New Orleans 16 10 .615 6.5 Memphis 12 15 .444 11 Houston 11 15 .423 11.5


Sunday, December 19, 2010


Soccer results/standings Blackburn 1 (Nelsen 51) West Ham 1 (Stanislas 78); Sunderland 1 (Welbeck 32) Bolton 0; Postponed Arsenal v Stoke; Birmingham v Newcastle; Liverpool v Fulham; Wigan v Aston Villa; Playing today Postponed Blackpool v Tottenham; Chelsea v Manchester United; West Brom v Wolves. Playing tomorrow Manchester City v Everton English Football League results Championship Coventry 1 Norwich 2; Derby 1 Reading 2; Hull 2 Bristol City 0; Leeds 2 QPR 0; Nottingham Forest 3 Crystal Palace 0; Sheffield Utd 1 Swansea 0. Playing later Ipswich v Leicester Postponed Cardiff v Burnley; Millwall v Barnsley; Portsmouth v Scunthorpe; Watford v Preston. Division One Exeter 5, Sheffield Wednesday 1. Postponed Brentford v Huddersfield; Bristol Rovers v Colchester; Dagenham and Redbridge v Peterborough; Hartlepool v Charlton; Leyton Orient v Plymouth; Milton Keynes Dons v Oldham; Rochdale v Bournemouth; Swindon v Tranmere; Walsall v Southampton; Yeovil v Carlisle. Division Two

Postponed Accrington v Burton; Aldershot v Lincoln; Bury v Stevenage; Cheltenham v Stockport; Crewe v Bradford; Gillingham v Chesterfield; Hereford v Macclesfield; Northampton v Morecambe; Oxford v Shrewsbury; Port Vale v Barnet; Southend v Wycombe; Torquay v Rotherham. Scottish Premier League results Hearts 1 (Kyle 25-pen) Inverness CT 1 (Munro 17); Kilmarnock 2 (Kelly 9, 43) Hibernian 1 (Riordan 55). Postponed Aberdeen v Motherwell; Hamilton v Celtic; Rangers v St Mirren; St Johnstone v Dundee Utd; Scottish Football League results First Division Dundee 2 Stirling 0 Postponed Falkirk v Partick; Queen of the South v Morton; Raith v Cowdenbeath; Ross County v Dunfermline. Second Division Alloa 2 Airdrie 3 Postponed Ayr Utd v Forfar Athletic; Brechin City v East Fife; Dumbarton v Peterhead; Stenhousemuir v Livingston. Third Division Queens Park 1 Elgin 1

GERMANY: Frankfurt’s Halil Altintop (left) and Dortmund’s Mario Goetze (center) and Sven Bender challenge for the ball during the German First Division Bundesliga soccer match. —AP

Postponed Albion Rovers v Annan Athletic; Berwick v Montrose; Clyde v Arbroath; Stranraer v East Stirling.

Dortmund downed as Gekas strikes

English Premier League table English Premier League table after yesterday’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Man Utd Arsenal Man City Chelsea Tottenham Sunderland Bolton Newcastle Liverpool Blackpool West Brom Blackburn Stoke Aston Villa Everton Birmingham Fulham Wigan W’hampton West Ham

16 17 17 17 17 18 18 17 17 16 17 18 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 18

0 5 3 4 4 3 4 7 7 6 7 8 8 7 5 5 5 7 10 9

36 34 24 31 25 21 30 27 21 24 24 23 21 19 18 17 16 13 18 16

16 19 13 12 22 18 25 26 22 29 29 28 22 28 20 20 20 28 30 31

34 32 32 31 27 27 26 22 22 22 22 22 21 20 18 18 16 16 15 13

English Football League tables Championship QPR 21 11 8 Leeds 22 11 5 Cardiff 21 11 4 Swansea 22 11 4 Norwich 22 10 6 Coventry 22 10 4 Reading 21 7 9 Nottingham 20 7 9 Derby 22 9 3 Watford 21 8 6 Doncaster 21 8 6 Burnley 20 7 8 Barnsley 20 8 5 Millwall 21 7 7 Portsmouth 20 8 4 Leicester 21 8 4 Hull 21 6 8 Bristol City 21 7 5 Sheffield Utd 21 7 4 Ipswich 21 7 3 M’brough 22 6 3 Crystal 22 6 3 Scunthorpe 20 6 2 Preston 21 5 4

2 6 6 7 6 8 5 4 10 7 7 5 7 7 8 9 7 9 10 11 13 13 12 12

36 39 35 28 35 29 30 24 35 38 33 32 25 25 28 31 19 24 17 22 21 24 23 25

14 35 22 19 30 25 23 17 29 33 35 26 29 22 27 35 23 30 28 30 32 40 35 39

41 38 37 37 36 34 30 30 30 30 30 29 29 28 28 28 26 26 25 24 21 21 20 19

Division One Brighton Sheffield Huddersfield Charlton Bournemouth Colchester Oldham Peterborough Exeter Southampton Brentford Carlisle Hartlepool Milton Keynes Plymouth Leyton Orient Swindon Rochdale Notts County Tranmere Bristol Rovers Dagenham Walsall Yeovil

3 8 7 5 5 3 3 8 7 7 7 6 6 9 8 7 7 7 10 9 7 9 12 11

31 34 31 31 36 25 27 38 32 26 23 26 21 25 25 27 30 27 23 20 23 21 18 20

15 21 21 25 21 23 21 40 34 18 21 20 24 32 29 26 33 26 28 28 34 32 32 36

36 33 32 32 30 30 29 29 29 28 28 27 26 26 25 24 24 22 22 22 22 18 17 16

19 21 19 19 19 19 18 19 20 19 19 19 18 19 19 19 19 19 18 19 19 19 19 19

9 10 9 9 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3 3 2 3 4 2

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

7 2 5 4 6 9 8 4 4 4 4 4 3 5 9 9 10 7 3 7

6 3 2 5 6 9 8 2 5 4 4 6 5 2 4 6 6 7 1 4 7 6 2 4

Scottish Premier League table Rangers 15 12 2 Celtic 15 11 2 Hearts 17 10 3 Inverness CT 17 7 6 Kilmarnock 16 7 2 Motherwell 15 7 2 Dundee Utd 14 5 4 St Johnstone 16 5 3 Hibernian 16 4 3 St Mirren 16 3 4 Hamilton 15 2 4 Aberdeen 16 3 1 Scottish Football League tables First Division Dunfermline 15 9 3 Dundee 16 8 5 Raith 13 8 3 Falkirk 13 7 1 Queen 14 6 2 Cowdenbeath 14 5 1

1 2 4 4 7 6 5 8 9 9 9 12

3 3 2 5 6 8

35 35 30 28 26 23 15 12 18 15 11 15

27 24 18 28 18 20

16 12 15 20 19 18 20 23 27 28 29 36

15 14 8 14 18 28

38 35 33 27 23 23 19 18 15 13 10 10

30 29 27 22 20 16

Ross County Partick Morton Stirling

15 15 15 14

3 4 3 3

6 3 5 3

6 8 7 8

12 12 13 13

18 21 16 33

15 15 14 12

Second Division Brechin Livingston Ayr Alloa Forfar Airdrie Utd East Fife Peterhead Stenhousemuir Dumbarton

14 13 13 15 13 15 14 16 14 13

7 8 7 6 6 5 4 3 3 3

6 3 2 4 3 4 4 6 3 1

1 2 4 5 4 6 6 7 8 9

28 22 23 25 22 23 34 22 13 12

13 12 22 25 18 26 28 30 21 29

27 27 23 22 21 19 16 15 12 10

Third Division Stranraer Albion Elgin Arbroath Berwick Annan Athletic Montrose Queens Park East Stirling Clyde

15 13 16 14 13 12 14 14 13 12

7 8 7 7 5 5 3 3 3 1

7 3 3 2 7 5 4 2 2 3

1 2 6 5 1 2 7 9 8 8

29 25 27 26 29 22 25 16 8 1

20 17 28 27 17 15 26 22 18 29

28 27 24 23 22 20 13 11 11 6

BERLIN: Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund suffered only their first defeat since the season’s opening day yesterday when they were beaten 1-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt thanks to a goal by Greek hot-shot Theofanis Gekas. The leaders were stunned when the league’s top-scorer netted his 14th league goal of the season on 86 minutes to inflict only the second defeat on Dortmund with the Bundesliga set to take its customary winter break today. “They deserved to win,” admitted Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp. “They were more passionate than we were in the one-on-one challenges. “Neither the opponent, nor the pitch was our friend, things just didn’t go our way. “It was a close game and it just wasn’t our day today. “After 17 matches, it doesn’t feel so good because we lost, but things are better than they feel right now.”

Dortmund would have claimed the German league record for the best start to the season if they had drawn or won. Now both fourth-placed Mainz, who play St Pauli on Saturday night, and second-placed Leverkusen, who face Freiburg today, can cut Dortmund’s lead if they win. Defending champions Bayern Munich are at Stuttgart today and will be 14 points behind the leaders if they claim a victory. Third-placed Hanover were stunned 3-1 at mid-table Nuremberg as US defender Steven Cherundolo scored an own goal on 28 minutes before defender Andreas Wolf netted for the hosts three minutes later. Hanover midfielder Sergio Pinto converted a second-half penalty to pull the scores back to 2-1 on 76 minutes, but Nuremberg striker Julian Schieber made sure of the win with a late goal.

Hanover are still 12-points behind Dortmund. Champions League last 16qualifiers Schalke picked up their thirdstraight league win with a 3-0 victory over Cologne as Spain striker Raul netted a hat-trick. It was his second in the German league since joining Schalke from Real Madrid at the start of the season. The hosts took the lead when midfielder Ivan Rakitic pounced on a mistake in the Cologne defence and squared the ball for the ex-Real forward to head home on 30 minutes. The Royal Blues made sure of the result which leaves them 10th in the table when Raul completed his hattrick with strikes on 50 and 87 minutes to take him on to nine league goals this season.Hoffenheim allowed a 2-0 lead to slip to a 2-2 draw at Wolfsburg as exEngland manager Steve McClaren’s side fought back.

Leeds sink leaders QPR

Matches on TV (local timings) English Premier League West Bromwich v Wolverhampton 15:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 6 Blackpool FC v Tottenham Postponed


Chelsea FC v Man United Postponed


Spanish League Sociedad v Valencia Al Jazeera Sport +5 Al Jazeera Sport 2 HD


Osasuna v Zaragoza Al Jazeera Sport +5 Al Jazeera Sport +3


Almeria v Getafe Al Jazeera Sport +8


Malaga v Atletico Al Jazeera Sport +2 Al Jazeera Sport 2 HD


Real Madrid v Sevilla Al Jazeera Sport +2 Al Jazeera Sport +3 Al Jazeera Sport 2 HD


Italian League Lazio v Udinese Al Jazeera Sport +1 Al Jazeera Sport HD


As Bari v Palermo Al Jazeera Sport +5


Napoli v Lecce Al Jazeera Sport +9 Al Jazeera Sport 2 HD


Chievo v Juventus Al Jazeera Sport 1 HD


Sampdoria v Genoa Al Jazeera Sport +1 Al Jazeera Sport 1 HD


Hoffenheim midfielder Luiz Gustavo, who has been linked to a move to Bayern Munich, scored the opening goal after 35 minutes before Iceland’s Gylfi Thor Sigurdsson scored five minutes later to put them 2-0 up at the break. Brazil defender Diego then pulled one back for Wolfsburg on 75 minutes before striker Edin Dzeko netted in injury time to claim a point. The result leaves Wolfsburg 13th in the league and just four points from the relegation zone, while Hoffenheim are eighth. Werder Bremen slipped further towards the relegation zone when they were beaten 2-1 by Kaiserslautern to suffer their second straight defeat. Both sides had players sent off in a bad-tempered match. It was Bremen’s eighth reversal of the season in 17 games and they are 14th in the league, four points above third from bottom Cologne. —AFP

STOCKHOLM: An image of the interior of a trophy awarded to the champion of the Swedish football league shows a hidden message of support for a Stockholm-based team as former national soccer team physician Magnus Forsblad and Christer Rohman of the Swedish football league use an arthroscope to look inside the league trophy. —AP

Keyhole surgery reveals secret trophy message

STOCKHOLM: A keyhole operation has revealed that the trophy awarded to the champion of the Swedish football league contains a hidden message of support for a Stockholm-based team. Sweden national team physician Magnus Forssblad opened the trophy on Friday after rumors began circulating last month that Ingemar Eklund, the silversmith who made the silver football had inscribed a secret message of support for his favorite team, Hammarby. But Forssblad instead found the words “Djurgarden is the best,” a reference to Hammarby’s city rival. Speculation has mounted that the silversmith’s assistants pulled a prank on their boss. Ingemar Eklund died earlier this year, but one of his colleagues set the Swedish football community talking with news of an engraved dispatch inside the country’s top football prize. Forssblad, formerly Djurgarden’s team doctor, was visibly pleased with the outcome of the operation. “No

swelling, no bleeding — it’ll be back in action tomorrow,” he told The Associated Press. The decision to drill a hole in the Lennart Johansson Cup was taken after the former UEFA boss expressed dismay at rumors of a hidden message in the trophy bearing his name. At the Sophiahemmet hospital, the physician explained that the invasive procedure — an arthroscopy — was normally used to assess knee injuries. A rapt audience looked on as images resembling a lunar landscape were projected on to a screen. A group of female doctors eventually broke the silence, laughing at the barely legible pro-Djurgarden message. Djurgarden last won the league in 2005 after a period of dominance that also saw it claim the title in 2002 and 2003. Malmo is the current Swedish champion. The Swedish Football Association will decide on the future of the trophy, which has been awarded to the Swedish champion every year since 2001. —AP

Hearts miss out on summit chance GLASGOW: Hearts missed the chance to move level on points with second placed Celtic as Inverness Caledonian Thistle held them to a 1-1 draw at Tynecastle in their Scottish Premier League clash yesterday. The artic conditions blasting Scotland at the moment once again decimated the SPL

fixture list with just two matches surviving, allowing Hearts an opportunity to pile the pressure on the Hoops, whose match against Hamilton was called off due to a frozen pitch. The Jambos had won six successive matches in the league but it was Inverness, unbeaten away for over a year,

who took the lead through Grant Munro with a quarter of an hour played. Hearts were level eight minutes later when Inverness keeper Ryan Esson brought down Stephen Elliott in the box and for the second successive match former Sunderland striker Kevin Kyle converted from the penalty spot. —AFP

LONDON: Leeds United seized the momentum in the Championship promotion race as they moved into second place with a 20 win over leaders QPR at Elland Road yesterday. Simon Grayson’s side are now unbeaten in nine matches and look a good bet to return to the Premier League just a year after winning promotion as League One runners-up. They were too strong for QPR as two goals from Max Gradel - one in each half handed Neil Warnock’s team their second successive defeat. Leeds, who last played in the top-flight in 2004, are one point ahead of third placed Cardiff, whose match against Burnley was postponed due to snow, and just three points behind QPR. The Yorkshire club took the lead in the 25th minute when Robert Snodgrass crossed from the right and Ivorian winger Gradel slammed home his second goal in as many games from six yards. QPR responded through Clint Hill’s header, which was blocked by Leeds defender Neill Collins, and Kaspars Gorkss, who volleyed wide when well placed. Gradel got his second goal in the 70th minute when he took George McCartney’s pass, beat his marker and drove an emphatic finish into the bottom corner. Swansea would have gone second if they had beaten Sheffield United but they crashed to a 1-0 defeat at Bramall Lane. Ched Evans grabbed the winner in the 44th minute as United began life after Gary Speed in impressive fashion. John Carver has been placed in temporary charge following Speed’s

appointment as the new Wales manager and saw a spirited display from his charges. Norwich are fifth after Grant Holt’s double clinched a 2-1 victory over 10-man Coventry at the Ricoh Arena. Holt, who missed last Saturday’s home defeat to Portsmouth due to a onematch ban, opened the scoring in the 64th minute with a powerful diving header from Russell Martin’s cross for his 10th goal of the season. It was also the first goal play-off hopefuls Coventry had conceded in 460 minutes. Coventry, reduced to 10 men in the 35th minute when Aron Gunnarsson was dismissed for a twofooted lunge on on-loan Norwich midfielder Henri Lansbury, levelled nine minutes later through Marlon King. But Holt earned the Canaries a fifth away win of the season when he pounced from 12 yards with three minutes remaining. Shane Long scored twice as Reading defeated Derby 2-1 at Pride Park to secure a first win in seven league matches. Long put the Royals in front from the penalty spot after Shaun Barker pulled him back just before halftime. Kris Commons’ 12th goal of the season drew Derby level in the second half but Long netted again in the closing moments. Marcus Tudgay grabbed a debut goal as Nottingham Forest extended their fine home run with a 3-0 victory over struggling Crystal Palace at the City Ground. Former Arsenal striker Jay Simpson scored twice as Hull beat Bristol City 2-0. Millwall’s game against Barnsley, Portsmouth’s clash with Scunthorpe and Watford’s fixture against Preston all fell victim to the freezing weather. —AFP

Title race on ice as snow blankets EPL

ABU DHABI: Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti (center) holds up the trophy as he and fellow team members celebrate after winning the Club World Cup final soccer match against TP Mazembe at Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi.—AP

Inter lift Club World Cup ABU DHABI: Inter Milan won the Club World Cup yesterday with a comfortable 3-0 victory over TP Mazembe 3-0 in the final to end the surprising run of the African champions. The European champions jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o chipped a pass to forward Goran Pandev who opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Eto’o added the second himself four minutes later when he picked up a loose ball in the area and slotted it home. It was his 19th goal in

23 games for Inter. Mazembe, which beat Copa Libertadores champion Internacional of Brazil in the semifinals, didn’t settle into the game until the final 20 minutes, when striker Dioko Kaluuyituka had several chances. However, Inter’s Joseph Biabiany put the match away with a goal in the 85th. Meanwhile, two goals from striker Alecsandro helped Internacional of Brazil account for 10-man Seongnam Ilhwa of South Korea 4-2 to take third place at the Club World Cup yesterday.

Seongnam was already 2-0 down when defender Jang Suk Won received a second yellow card in the 34th minute for bringing down Tinga. A dominant Internacional made it 4-0 after the break, but Colombian-born Mauricio Molina scored twice at the end to give Seongnam some compensation. Four days after being stunned by African champion TP Mazembe in the semifinals, Internacional was praised by coach Celso Roth for continuing to attack. The key difference this time, he said, was being able to get in front early and

control the tempo. “Today, we had patience and the balance. It was a good game with good quality,” Roth said. Internacional took the lead in the 15th when a diving Tinga headed a shot beneath Seongnam goalkeeper Jung Sung Ryong. Alecsandro fired in Internacional’s second 12 minutes later after collecting a pass from midfielder Andres D’Alessandro. The Copa Libertadores champs missed three or four easy chances before going up 3-0 in the 52nd when Alecsandro blasted from out-

side the area past a diving Jung. The fourth came when Tinga dummied a pass across the goalmouth that seemed to fool Jung and Alecsandro tapped it in for his second. Feeling very comfortable, Internacional sent in retiring keeper Roberto Abbondanzieri, but he was caught out twice by the Asian Champions League winner, with midfielder Molina scoring in the 84th and 93rd. Seongnam coach Shin Tae Yong blamed his team’s defeat on fatigue, a lack of experience in big games,

as well as the loss of Jang so early in the match. That, he said, only put further pressure on a weary defensive line. “If we played 11 players we might have been able to put a little more pressure on them,” he said. “Having one player out and the Brazilians scoring first, that affected our game overall.” Shin admitted his strategy was to hold Internacional’s pressing attack with the hope it would tire as it did against Mazembe. But the strategy fell apart when the Brazilian side was up 2-0 by halftime.—AP

Sunderland down Bolton

Blackburn held by Hammers Blackburn 1 West Ham 1

BLACKBURN: Caretaker Blackburn manager Steve Kean did little to boost his chances of being given the job on a permanent basis after a miserable 1-1 draw with bottom-placed West Ham here yesterday. Kean, who replaced Sam Allardyce following his shock sacking, saw his side jeered off after being held by the struggling Hammers. It was the least West Ham deserved, as manager Avram Grant picked up a precious point that could prove crucial in their fight for survival. Substitute Junior Stanislas was West Ham’s hero as he cancelled out Ryan Nelsen’s opener for Blackburn. But this result will do little to please the home fans. Whether for or against Allardyce, Rovers’ supporters have been united by apprehension after this week’s events and the messages from the club’s Indian owners. A week ago, Kean was merely another cog in the Blackburn machine, now he is their main man in one of the world’s most demanding industries. Few managerial notices get thrown straight in at the deep end, yet just 16 months on from arrival at Ewood Park as first team coach, Kean has been handed his big break. The 43-year-old Scot’s managerial debut was always going to be overshadowed with the bizarre circumstances surrounding Allardyce’s dismissal.

Yet there was a strange atmosphere at Ewood Park. After three home wins on the bounce, this wasn’t a team struggling in a fight for survival, in contrast to Hammers boss Grant, under pressure after just two wins this season. Grant’s task hadn’t been helped by the injury blow to goalkeeper Rob Green. The England goalkeeper missed out as he undergoes a minor operation so Belgium’s Ruud Boffin was handed his Hammers Premier League debut. An abject first half prompted frustrated Blackburn fans to immediately let their feelings known over the new owners, chanting: “There’s only one Jack Walker”, in reference to the former chairman who led Rovers to their success in the 1990s. Kean must have delivered some hard words at the interval as Blackburn came flying out of the traps in the second half. It was no surprise to see Rovers, who came out with more intent, take a 51st minute lead through Nelsen’s third goal of the season. Brett Emerton delivered a fine cross where the New Zealand defender’s shot was initially saved by Boffin, only for the Rovers captain to react first by kneeing home the scrambled opener. Grant, in a desperate need for goals, sent on Calton Cole and Stanislas as they looked to inject some life into his side. But after Matthew Upson has struck a post in the 71st minute, it was a matter of time before the visitors drew themselves level, with Stanislas providing. Scott Parker’s driving run saw the ball rebound off Gael Givet, only for the young striker to curl home a fine effort for this first goal of the season.—AFP

LONDON: Chelsea’s home game against title rival Manchester United was called off as a blast of heavy snow yesterday wiped out most of the weekend Premier League program. The conditions made it too hazardous for fans to attend matches, with Chelsea’s game today being the most high-profile of seven top-flight fixtures to fall victim to the big freeze. The Stamford Bridge fixture was postponed around 27 hours before kickoff after consultation with the police and the local authority in London. United defender Rio Ferdinand questioned the decision, highlighting the fact many shops remained open for Christmas shoppers. “Can’t believe our game is off ... ruined my weekend,” Ferdinand tweeted. “Are all the stores shut as well (for the safety of the people attending them)??!” Games at Arsenal and Liverpool were called off hours before kickoff yesterday, when only two matches were played-Sunderland’s meeting with Bolton and Blackburn’s game against West Ham. While most pitches were deemed playable, clubs are concerned about the treacherous conditions surrounding their stadiums and on approaching roads. Arsenal, which was due to play Stoke, said three inches (seven centimeters) of snow fell over the Emirates Stadium before the referee called off the match and the north London club said there appeared to be “no apparent let up.” There were also heavy snowfalls in Liverpool, where the home side was due to play manager Roy Hodgson’s former club, Fulham. Wigan said 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow fell overnight as “freak weather conditions” hit the town before its match against Aston Villa was forced to be postponed. Birmingham cited “health and safety grounds” for the decision to call off its home match against Newcastle. There will be no matches today, with Blackpool’s home match against Tottenham and the derby between West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton unable to go ahead. On Monday night, Manchester City hosts Everton.—AP

Sunderland 1

Bolton 0

LONDON: Blackburn’s Mame Biram Diouf (right) vies for the ball against West Ham’s James Tomkins during their English Premier League soccer match at Ewood Park.—AP

LONDON: Danny Welbeck headed Sunderland to a 1-0 victory over Bolton yesterday and up to sixth in the Premier League at the expense of its opponent. Welbeck, who is on loan from Manchester United, produced his fifth goal of the season in the 32nd minute after goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen parried Darren Bent’s shot. The 20-year-old Welbeck also clipped the outside of the post in the second half with a side-footed shot. Sunderland may struggle to persuade Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson to allow Welbeck to stay beyond the end of the season when the English forward’s loan ends. “He has terrific ability,” said Sunderland manager Steve Bruce — a former United player. “He is flourishing, he loves playing and he loves the games ... I hope Sir Alex gets drunk on his birthday (on Dec. 31) and lets us keep him.” Sunderland is now level on 27 points with fifth-place Tottenham, which has played a game less. “It just shows (what we

can achieve) with a bit of resilience — we were down to bare-bones defensively but we kept a clean sheet,” Bruce said. After losing for just the second time in eight matches, Bolton dropped to seventh place on 26 points. “We feel aggrieved not to be leaving with a point,” Bolton manager Owen Coyle said. “I think the game today showed we are a decent team ... The way we came out (in the) second half we put Sunderland under pressure for the last 25 minutes.” Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon produced a series of saves to secure the victory. The first came after nine minutes when Kevin Davies’ shot was blocked by Gordon’s foot, while Zat Knight’s strike from point-blank range was turned over on the stroke of half time. Bolton had chances to equalize in the closing minutes. Gary Cahill’s goalbound effort was blocked by defender Anton Ferdinand and Ivan Klasnic volleyed wide when he was unmarked six meters (yards) from the goal. Sunderland substitute Bolo Zenden might have increased the home side’s lead in a frantic conclusion, but he headed wide from Jordan Henderson’s cross. —AP

2010 Cadillac SRX awarded top honors


Irish divided on bailout, say sovereignty lost


Year 2011 might see record Dow


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Obama signs $858bn tax bill compromise WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has signed into law a massive tax package that frayed his relations with liberals, caused him to abandon a pledge not to extend tax cuts to the rich and heralded a new balance of power in Washington. Dramatic both as an economic and a political accomplishment, the agreement sets the stage for Obama’s new relationship with Republicans, who as of January will have a majority in the House and will have narrowed the Democrats’ majority in the Senate. With the benefits of the package expiring in two years, the law also places taxes at the center of the political debate ahead of the 2012 US presidential elections. Displaying a new style of compromise, Obama invited Democrats and Republicans alike to the White House on Friday for the signing of the bill that will cost $858 billion over two years and that contains provisions to address the concerns of both parties. “It’s a good deal for the American people; this is progress and that’s what they sent us here to achieve,” Obama said as a rare bipartisan assembly of lawmakers looked on. Conspicuously absent from the ceremony were the two top congressional Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a reflection of the sharply divided sentiment about the bill in the Democratic caucus. The bill was the result of a deal hashed out just 11 days earlier in order to avert a scheduled Jan. 1 tax increase and renew jobless benefits. To strike the bargain, Obama had to set aside his vow to extend tax cuts only for middle and working class Americans, and enact an estate tax that is more generous to the wealthy than he initially had sought. Failure to pass the bill would have resulted in tax hikes for most Americans, as cuts approved under the administration of former President George W. Bush were set to expire. On Thursday, liberal House Democrats threatened to torpedo the bill, forcing a delay. The House battled over the measure late into the night before passing the bill 277-148 at about midnight. The Senate on Wednesday passed it by an overwhelming 83-15 margin. Supporters say the package, which included additional reductions in payroll taxes, could help stimulate the US economy. But it will also add to a growing deficit that has become a big concern among many voters. A number of conservative Republicans joined some liberal Democrats in opposing the bill for that reason. In addition to averting New Year’s Day tax hikes, the measure also will cut federal Social Security pension taxes for nearly every wage-earner and pump billions of dollars into the still-sluggish economy. Obama’s strategy of governing in a more bipartisan fashion has been forced upon him by the Republican landslide in November’s congressional elections. The opposition party gained a majority in the House and won significant grounds in the Senate, though Democrats still retained the majority there. Obama has said he still opposed portions of the legislation because it keeps in place big tax benefits for the wealthy. Nevertheless, he said, compromise was necessary. In return for keeping in place income tax cuts for all income levels, Obama had won a Republican pledge to vote for a 13-month extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. The deal also includes a 2 percent reduction in payroll taxes that finance Social Security, the federal pension system for the retired and disabled. But Republicans boasted that their success in extending tax cuts for all was a sign of things to come. “The American people are seeing change here in Washington,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said. “They can expect more in the new year.” Liberals, unable to alter the plan, seethed. They argued Obama should have bargained harder, and they especially objected to the new estate tax, which will allow the first $10 million of a couple’s estate to pass to heirs without taxation. The balance would be subject to a 35 percent tax rate. Obama signed the bill less than half an hour after meeting with a dozen labor leaders, some of whom were vocal critics of the agreement. — AP

Agreement sets stage for new relationship with Republicans Qatar Airways sticks by Boeing program

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama shakes hand with Vice President Joe Biden (left) after signing the $858 billion tax deal into law in a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex on Friday in Washington. —AP

China, Pakistan ink trade deals during Wen’s visit ISLAMABAD: With 13 agreements already signed, Pakistan and China were expected to ink additional economic deals worth billions more yesterday, the second day of a rare visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to this impoverished, conflict-ridden nation. The two nations also stressed the importance of cultural exchange by inaugurating a new center dedicated to what Islamabad calls their “all-weather” friendship. China is Pakistan’s closest friend in Asia, giving Islamabad military aid and technical assistance, including nuclear technology. Crucially, most Pakistanis view China as an ally that, unlike Washington, doesn’t make demands for its assistance. But Beijing is hardly left emptyhanded from its ties with Pakistan, which serves as a close, cheap source of natural resources to fuel its growing economy. During Wen’s trip, the first by a Chinese premier in five years, the two governments are to sign deals worth $14 billion for 36 projects in Pakistan, while businesses in the two countries will agree to deals worth another $10 billion, Pakistani Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said. The 13 agreements signed on Friday included a $229 million donation from China to help with reconstruction from the devastating floods Pakistan suffered earlier

this year, as well as a $400 million soft loan for Pakistan, he said. Pakistan is desperate for foreign investment to help create jobs for its 175 million people. While its bilateral trade with China is up from $1 billion in 2000 to some $7 billion now, much of the new trade consists of cheap Chinese imports into Pakistan, officials said. Islamabad hopes to do more to balance that. Pakistan has stressed it is supremely confident in its relationship with China. This is even as China improves its ties to India, Pakistan’s archrival. Wen’s visit to Pakistan follows a visit to New Delhi. Wen and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani joined dozens of other officials from both countries Saturday morning in a dance-filled ceremony to inaugurate the Pakistan-China Friendship Center. The white building — featuring a latticework facade — is to be used for cultural exchanges, conferences and other displays. Much of the Pakistani capital also was decked out to welcome the Chinese premier. Huge posters bearing his picture and slogans such as “Family” and “Building the Future Together” were posted along the major roads in Islamabad. The Marriott Hotel’s lobby was filled with festive Chinese-related displays. —AP

ATHENS: Police clash with demonstrating students outside Greece’s parliament, in a protest against austerity measures, in Athens. This has been the ‘annus horribilis’ of the euro common currency, meant to be a history-defying example for modern world finance. — AP

DOHA: Qatar Airways’ CEO expressed confidence in Boeing Co over its delayed 787 program yesterday, but warned the fast-growing carrier may need to scrap orders for the planes if development problems drag on. Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker noted, however, that there are no current plans to amend Qatar Airways’ orders for 30 787s and options for 30 more. “If there is another slip, yes we will have no alternative” but to consider canceling orders, he said. “But as of today, I still have confidence in Boeing.” Al-Baker has been one of the most vocal critics of 787 delays. He made the comments Saturday as he opened a new arrivals terminal at Doha International Airport to accommodate the airline’s rapid growth. The facility, part of a $1 billion revamp of the airport, is meant to provide additional space until a new airport opens in 2012. Test flights on the 787, also known as the Dreamliner, were halted last month because of an electrical fire, adding another wrinkle to a development program that is running well behind schedule. Boeing is aiming to deliver the first 787 to Japan’s All Nippon Airways early next year — nearly three years later than originally hoped. That target is widely expected to be pushed back further. The 787 is made mostly of composite materials designed to make it lighter and more fuel-efficient than other planes of the same size. In Doha, Al-Baker said Qatar Airways is on track to turn a profit for the second straight year in a row this year. He said the airline is generating “a very hefty profit” but didn’t provide specifics.—AP

Iran trims petrol ration, first step in subsidy cut TEHRAN: Iran has reduced the ration of heavily subsidized gasoline motorists can buy each month, an official said yesterday, in a tentative first step towards slashing long-standing government price supports. Iranians have been expecting a big rise in the price of gasoline for the last three months as the government starts to phase out the $100 billion spent annually to hold down prices of essentials like fuel and food. Amid fears over a hostile public reaction, gasoline subsidies which allow Iranians to fuel their cars for just 1,000 rials (about $0.10) per litre had not been touched until now and the measure announced on Saturday was less severe than expected. People rioted when the government started rationing subsidized petrol in 2007 and some analysts say big price hikes could reignite unrest which flared after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection last year. Iranian politicians have discussed cutting subsidies for years to stem wasteful consumption of valuable resources but Ahmadinejad has finally pushed the measure through at a time when Iran is under increasing pressure from sanctions imposed by countries concerned about its nuclear program.

Recent sanctions have targeted a vulnerability caused by Iran’s lack of refining capacity which means the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter has until recently had to import up to 40 percent of its gasoline needs. US sanctions punish companies that sell gasoline to Iran and European Union measures ban the sale of equipment which can be used in Iran’s refining sector. The Iranian official in charge of rationing said subsidies would be cut in the next Iranian month, which starts on Wednesday, three months later than initially anticipated. But rather than raise the price of fully subsidized gasoline, the ration will be trimmed, with each motorist allowed 50 litres per month, down from 60 litres. Beyond that amount they have to pay a “semisubsidised” price of 4,000 rials. “Government support for vehicles will decrease by 15 percent in (the month of) Dey and the price of rationed gasoline will be the same,” Mohammad Royanian, head of Iran’s Transportation and Fuel Management Office, was quoted as saying by state broadcaster IRIB. Earlier this month the government denied a newspaper report which quoted the economy minister as saying the gasoline price would rise seven-

fold. The total amount of fully subsidized fuel sold in Iran will be cut to 39 million litres per day from 45 million litres, Royanian told the semi-official Fars news agency. Iranians consume some 61 million litres per day, according to the Oil Ministry. Officials announced in September that an emergency plan to refine gasoline in petrochemicals plants now meant Iran no longer needs to import the fuel. Iranians fear the home-made fuel is of lower quality and has contributed to a big increase in pollution, something the government denies. Consumers and many politicians fear subsidy cuts could cause inflation to soar from the official rate of around 10 percent, something which could increase dissatisfaction with Ahmadinejad’s government. One member of parliament, Dariush Qanbari, said direct cash payments that the government has promised to pay to poorer families will not make up for price hikes. “Based on what economy experts have said the country’s inflation rate will increase by 20 to 70 percent in the coming year and the government’s compensation policy should be such that the weaker segments of society can meet their basic needs,” Qanbari told the semi-official ILNA news agency. — Reuters

Bank of America cuts off WikiLeaks WASHINGTON: Bank of America was quoted as saying late on Friday that it was joining other financial institutions in declining to process payments to WikiLeaks, which has angered US authorities with the mass release of US diplomatic cables. “Bank of America joins in the actions previously announced by MasterCard, PayPal, Visa Europe and others and will not process transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended for WikiLeaks,” the bank said in a statement, quoted by McClatchy Newspapers. No one at Bank of America was immediately available to comment. WikiLeaks has said it will release documents early next year that will point to “unethical practices” at a major US bank, widely thought to be Bank of America. Several companies have ended services to WikiLeaks after the website teamed up with major newspapers to publish thousands of secret US diplomatic cables that have caused tension between Washington and some of its allies. “This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments,” the Bank of America statement added.

WikiLeaks later issued a message on Twitter urging its supporters to leave the bank. “We ask that all people who love freedom close out their accounts at Bank of America,” it said on the social networking medium. “Does your business do business with Bank of America? Our advice is to place your funds somewhere safer,” WikiLeaks said in a subsequent tweet. In a backlash against organizations that have cut off WikiLeaks, cyber activists have been targeting companies seen as foes of the website. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was released on bail this week from a jail in Britain, where he is fighting extradition to Sweden over alleged sexual offenses. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, said on Friday that he was the target of an aggressive US investigation and feared extradition to the United States was “increasingly likely”. US Attorney General Eric Holder has said his government was considering using the US Espionage Act, under which it is illegal to obtain national defense information for the purpose of harming the United States, as well as other laws to prosecute the release of sensitive government information by WikiLeaks. — Reuters

This book cover provided by Wiley, ‘30 Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step guide to Managing Your Finances,’ by Christine Benz, is shown. — AP



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Large caps shine as market remain upbeat

KUWAIT: Another week of good performance was witnessed on the Kuwaiti market with trading activity kicking off to higher levels. However, trading was more on the large capitalization stocks this time which contributed to the index’s gains. Despite starting the week with lower readings, the index managed to reverse its trend marking an uptrend through the rest of the week. Global’s weighted General Index managed added 2.87 percent to its value and closed at 220.53 point, its highest level since November 7. On a year-to-date basis, the index gains reached 18.42 percent. On the other hand, Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) price index was also up for the week but with less glamorous, adding 31.80 points (0.47 percent) to its value as it closed at 6,853.2 point. Total market capitalization reached KD35.72bn. Market breadth was marginally skewed towards advancers with 67 stocks gaining against 63 declining out of 146 shares traded this week. Trading activity managed to gain some base, with the weekly trading volume rising by 52.33 percent, reaching 816.08mn shares changing hands, at a total traded value of KD197.62mn (117.28 percent compared to the week before). Trading volume was high on the Investment Sector, which accounted for 40.40 percent (329.69mn shares traded) of the total market volume as several investment companies managed to make it to the top volume traded list this week. Al-Safat Investment Company was the most traded with 62.20mn shares changing hands. The scrip ended the week down by 13.85 percent, being one of the biggest losers for the week. Al-Ahlia Holding Company followed with 50.16mn shares traded and also being a major loser, shedding 18.18 percent of its share value. On the value side, the Services Sector saw the most value traded, accounting for 42.06 percent (KD83.12mn) of the overall market traded value. Zain continued to top the highest value traded shares, with KD61.76mn traded on its share price. Looking at market sectors, all sectors were at higher closings at the end of the week with no exceptions. The Services Index was up by 4.14 percent pushed by gains recorded in the large capitalization services stocks. Also the Banking Index was able to record good gains, reaching 2.68 percent with only one bank declining in the sector. The Food Index was the biggest advancer, adding 4.31 percent to its value. The Investment Sector added 2.42 percent to its value. Three of the investment companies made it to the top five gainers list. DAMAC Kuwaiti Holding Company was the top gainer for the week, adding 32.61 percent Also Housing Finance Company (ISKAN) and National Investment Company, both added 16.67 percent and 11.11 percent, respectively to their share values. While on the other side, a services company, Credit Rating & Collection Company, shed the most, being down by 44.93 percent. Global’s special indices were also higher except for Global Small Cap (Low 10) Index which lost 1.18 percent of its value. Global Large Cap (Top 10) index added 3.94 percent to its value while Global Islamic Sharia Index increased by 0.35 percent. Macroeconomic News The Government Manpower and Restructuring Program (GMRP) has revealed that there are 22,000 unemployed Kuwaitis and hinted that the rate of unemployment may rise and create economic and social problems in the country. An official source at the GMRP affirmed that 5 percent citizens lost their jobs in the public sector an added that 70 percent of the total unemployed citizens hold secondary school certifi-


cates or less, “so they still have opportunity in the private sector.” He said GMRP has decided to increase percentage of Kuwaiti employees in about 24 sectors of the economy. He said the sectors are divided into two groups; the first group consists of 12 sectors including banks, as well as investment and communications companies, while the second sector will be specialized for holders of secondary school certificates and lesser educational certificates. Oil Related News Kuwaiti crude rose by $0.52 per barrel during the last week as it settled at $86.72 on Wednesday, December 15, compared with Wednesday’s closing of December 08, the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said. Current oil prices are stable and fine, Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah AlSabah said this week. He also said that he would like to see oil prices in a range of $75 to $90 per barrel until the end of the year. The rise of the Kuwaiti oil coincided with drop of the rate of the US dollar vis-a-vis major currencies amid a tendency among traders for making risky transactions and Chinese plans to abstain from hiking the interest rate. Other factors contributed to the rise of the price of the crude on the international market, mainly a decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to maintain the current ceiling of the crude output. Analysis believe that the cold wave prevailing in the United States and Europe will result in hiking demand for oil soon. India’s Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) are offering a total of up to 120,000 tons of naphtha for December to January loadings, coming at a time when demand is expected to remain strong, traders said this week. KPC was offering to sell 25,000 tons of light grade together with 50,000 tons of full-

range naphtha for January 22-25 loading in a tender which closed on late Tuesday. Bids were to stay valid until Wednesday. The state-owned refiner had previously sold 24,000 tons of light grade for December 2526 loading to Hanwha at premiums of $24.00$25.00 a ton to Middle East quotes on a freeon-board (FOB) basis, a jump of about 70 percent compared to a previous deal for late November loading. This reflected the strong market sentiment, which traders are expecting will hold in the short-haul due to healthy demand for petrochemical products. Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) sold 75,000 tons of January naphtha to Lukoil at a lower premium compared to a previous sale for a December parcel as sentiment slipped on muted end-user demand, traders said this week. KPC sold the volumes, comprising 25,000 tons of light grade and 50,000 tons of full-range naphtha to the Russian trading house on late Wednesday for January 22-25 loading at premiums of around $20.00 a ton to Middle East quotes on a free-on-board (FOB) basis. This was lower compared to $24.00-$25.00 a ton on a FOB basis it had fetched from Hanwha previously for 24,000 tons for December 25-26 loading. Other local news The board of France’s Areva will meet to weigh its recapitalization, which could see Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund invest in the state-owned maker of nuclear reactors, according to les Echos. The paper said that the Kuwait fund is ready to put 500mn to 600mn euros ($792mn) in Areva. The French government, which has a large role in setting Areva’s strategy, has, however, rejected proposals from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which both wanted to invest in Areva, according to the paper, without citing its sources. The French state plans to put in about 300400mn euros as well, but the total sum will

fall far short of the 3bn that the company had initially been seeking to fund its international expansion and development. “If everything goes as planned, the recapitalization could reach 1bn euros and be concluded before the end of the year,” wrote the paper. ANHAM FZCO, LLC became fully responsible for the Prime Vendor contract with the US government, providing full-line food and non-food distribution and support services in Kuwait and Iraq. This marks the end of the seven-month transition from the previous vendor, as outlined in the original contract awarded in April 2010, in which ANHAM became the Prime Vendor for the contract. The contract requires ANHAM to provide a range of food products - from fresh fruits and vegetables to Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) and other operational rations. The contract is estimated at a total aggregate dollar value of $2.16bn, including options if exercised, with a maximum contract dollar value of $6.47bn. The initial contract period is 18 months, with options to renew the contract up to six years. Kuwait Energy Company, one of the fastest growing independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in the Middle Ease, announced that it has sold a 20 percent participation interest from its contractor’s share in the Burg El-Arab concession in Egypt to Calgary-based oil and gas company East West Petroleum Corporation. Kuwait Energy will remain the operator of the Burg Al-Arab concession with a 55 percent interest from the contractor’s share in addition to the operatorship. Gharib Oil Fields, partner in Burg El-Arab, will retain its 25 percent participation interest. Boubyan International Industries Holding Company got the listing approval from Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) and will start trading in the bourse on December 23, 2010. Boubyan is a Kuwaiti shareholding company with a total paid-up capital of KD30mn. The

Company’s performance for the financial year ended in July 31, 2010 resulted in net profit of KD3.57mn (11.9fils per share) compared to a net profit of KD3.24mn (10.82fils per share) recorded in the year ending in July 31, 2009. The reason behind this increase in the company profitability is primarily due to the exit of some of the company’s investments while achieving good returns on some other investments from previous years. With the listing of Boubyan, the total number of listed companies under the regular market became 213. Kuwait Stock Exchange Global Investment House announced last week that it had completed the first year of its debt rescheduling after making a principal payment of $27mn. “With this payment, Global met its first year repayment commitment stated in the debt rescheduling agreement signed with 53 lending banks on December 10, 2009,” the company, one of Kuwait’s biggest investment firms, said in a statement. Global reached a deal with creditors a year ago to reschedule $1.7bn in debt. “Since signing the rescheduling agreement, Global has made interest payments of $82mn in addition to settling the KD20mn ($71.1mn) bond on its due date of December 23, 2009, less than two weeks after signing the debt rescheduling agreement,” the statement said. “Following repayments of $28.9mn on April 21, $50mn on July 21 and $72.5mn on October 21 this year, the company has now repaid a total of $178.3mn which is $5.8mn in excess of the agreed repayments due in the first year,” it added. Global Capital Management (GCM), the alternative asset management subsidiary of Global Investment House, announced this week that Global Opportunistic Fund II (GOF II), a Pre-IPO and IPO fund managed by GCM, has concluded a successful and profitable exit from its investment in Evergrande Real Estate Group (Evergrande). Primarily

driven by the divestment of Evergrande as well as income from other investments, GOF II declared a distribution of $61.2mn representing 20 percent of the initial committed capital as a return of capital to the investors. GOF II realized an IRR of 35 percent and an absolute return of 100 percent in the sale of Evergrande investment. The fund invested $30mn in Evergrande in June 2008 and exited completely in November 2010. It is worth mentioning that, including Evergrande, GOF II has fully exited five companies from its portfolio with an aggregate IRR of 57 percent, thus returning $133mn to its investors. The fund’s current portfolio has nine companies across the Middle East and South Asia region spanning different sectors including infrastructure, healthcare, logistics, retail, food and restaurants, auto ancillary and textiles. First Dubai Real Estate Development Company was set to auction off over 68mn of its stocks, representing 6.8 percent of its capital, December 21. The initial price is set to be charged at 0.046fils per share, of a total KD3.13mn. Investment Company (KFIC) (the initial buyer) to close the deal. The auction will be held under certain conditions, and those intending to step in should deposit a check of 10 percent of the total amount to the mediator in a period no later than 10:00am Kuwait time, December 21st . The doors will be opening at 12:45pm on the date of commencement, and the auction will run for only an hour, providing a buyer quoting a higher price does not come along. A Kuwaiti court said it would rule next week on a lawsuit from a Zain shareholder unhappy with Etisalat’s $12bn bid for a 46-percent stake in the Kuwaiti telecoms company. A court official said on December 15 that the ruling would be handed down on Wednesday, December 22. The shareholder, Al-Fawares Holding, which owns a 4.5 percent stake in Zain, took legal action to halt the due diligence in the planned sale. Al-Fawares had said Zain’s board should not have opened its books to Etisalat without board members seeing the offer. An initial hearing scheduled for December 8 was delayed after a judge postponed it for a week to look at documents. National Investment Company was granted the approval from the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) to extend the period for repurchasing or selling up to 10 percent of its issued shares for additional six months till June 13, 2011. The company should comply with CBK’s buyback regulations and rules, in addition to provisions of Article No 115 bis of Corporate Law. Jazeera Airways Group announced increasing the capital of its fully-owned leasing arm, Sahaab Aircraft Leasing, from KD20mn to KD29mn 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 strategy of investing in services that compliment passenger airline operations. Mazaya Holding Company and Sorouh Real Estate Company agreed on putting Morina Residence on hold until market recovers. Mazaya’s development is expected to cost AED300mn. United Real Estate Company approved in its AGM last week the increase of its capital by KD40mn through floating 400mn shares at KD0.100 par value plus KD0.003 issue premium each. The subscription is running from December 12, through December 27, 2010. The board of MENA Holding Group intended to discuss on December 14, the procedures of merging its subsidiary Kuwaiti Egyptian Real Estate Investment with Egyptian Kuwaiti Development and Investment, as per the Egyptian law.

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 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES 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

.2730000 .4380000 .3700000 .2880000 .2750000 .2750000 .0045000 .0020000 .0759860 .7403120 .3900000 .0730000 .7257430 .0045000 .0480000

.2860000 .4480000 .3780000 .2970000 .2840000 .2840000 .0075000 .0035000 .0767500 .7477520 .4100000 .0780000 .7330370 .0072000 .0560000

.2797000 .4436740 .3744480 .2887670 .2773980 .0502360 .0410120 .2783020 .0359660 .2147410 .0033510 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0762250 .7426370 .0000000 .0746600 .7272020 .0000000

.2818000 .4470050 .3772600 .2909350 .2794800 .0506130 .0413200 .2803910 .0362360 .2163530 .0033760 .0062970 .0025500 .0032960 .0040260 .0767970 .7482090 .3988680 .0752200 .7326580 .0064900

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.399 6.237 3.287 2.534 3.883

Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal - Transfer Irani Riyal - Cash

215.250 36.275 3.990 6.379 9.399 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES Saudi Riyal 75.225 Qatari Riyal 77.510 Omani Riyal 732.890 Bahraini Dinar 749.250 UAE Dirham 76.819 ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 51.500 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 48.644 Yemen Riyal 1.323 Tunisian Dinar 195.820 Jordanian Dinar 398.360 Lebanese Lira 187.600 Syrian Lier 6.130 Morocco Dirham 34.014 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 281.980 Euro 376.160 Sterling Pound 442.290 Canadian dollar 282.400 Turkish lire 185.370 Swiss Franc 295.270 Australian dollar 279.300 US Dollar Buying 279.845

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 10 Tola Sterling Pound US Dollar

376.500 36.980 6.480 0.033 0.264 0.252 3.450 400.330 0.191 92.320 45.900 4.420 211.700 1.917 48.100 732.240 3.390 6.670 77.980 75.270 215.450 43.630 2.685 442.500 42.300 294.500 6.200 9.730 196.263 76.920 282.300 1.360

375.000 36.830 6.220 0.032

398.450 0.190 92.320 3.890 210.200 732.060 3.300 6.410 77.550 75.270 215.450 43.630 2.537 440.500 293.000 6.200 9.550 76.820 281.900

GOLD 1,454.820 TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 440.500 281.900

GOLD 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

266.000 135.000 70.000

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

SELL CASH 282.000 749.690 4.260 282.100 553.600 14.100 51.400 167.800 51.390

SELL DRAFT 280.500 749.690 3.990 280.600

215.500 48.660

Rate for Transfer UUS Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Cyprus Pound Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Indian Rupees

Selling Rate 281.050 280.655 443.650 377.535 291.885 689.414 743.872 76.495 77.174 74.915 396.581 48.558 6.241

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

3.282 2.531 3.989 6.409 3.350 9.345 6.131 3.901

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency 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

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 281.800 3.295 6.205 2.550 3.990 6.425 76.830 75.350 749.150 48.675 443.200 0.00003280 4.025 1.550 400.300 5.750 381.100 286.400

Al Mulla Exchange 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

281.650 373.800 439.250 279.750 3.360 6.215 48.665 2.534 3.985 6.375 3.276 748.850 76.750 75.150


Sunday, December 19, 2010


Qatar W Cup 2022: Benefits to outweigh challenges Qatar plans to spend $100 billion, around 87% of GDP, on constructing or upgrading infrastructure over the coming several years, thus driving future growth Real GDP (at 1990 prices) (USD bn)

NBK GCC Brief KUWAIT: On December 2, 2010, the FIFA awarded Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup. The cup is one of the most coveted sporting events in the world. Among other things, the world cup draws fans from around the world, on top of players, supporting staff, organizers, and journalists. It is followed by billions around the world. It is estimated that the 2010 competition held in South Africa drew around half a million visitors, almost a third of Qatar’s current population. Qatar will also be the smallest economy to host the World Cup, implying that the event could have a relatively big impact. Spending program Prior to FIFA’s announcement, Qatar had already outlined a plan to spend $100 billion, around 87% of GDP - 2010 GDP in current prices is estimated at $115 billion (chart 1) - on infrastructure construction or upgrade over the coming several years. This is part of the country’s ambitious National Vision 2030, to modernize the country. As part of the plan, the government will spend more than $40 billion on projects, while the remaining amount will come from government entities such as Qatar Petroleum. The plan will include, among others, a number of high profile mega projects, largely in the transportation and housing sectors. The plan includes a $25 billion metro and rail network, which were initially slated for completion by 2025 - although some sections of the project were to be ready sooner. Qatar is also well into the construction of the first phase of the new $10 billion airport, dubbed the New Doha Airport, which will eventually replace the current airport. The first phase of the project is scheduled to open in late 2011 or early 2012, with later phases being rolled out between 2012 and 2027. Once completed, the new airport would have the capacity to cater to 24 million passengers yearly. Other prominent projects include a $7 billion deep water seaport and a $1 billion crossing to link the new airport with projects in the northern part of Doha. An additional $20 billion will also be spent to build and expand roads. Moreover, there are currently several housing projects underway and there are plans to start several more to accommodate Qatar’s ballooning population. The latter has witnessed a 128% increase since 2004 (1.7 million currently). How w ould the World Cup help Hosting the World Cup foremost adds a sense of urgency and an ultimate hard deadline for the completion of projects critical to a successful hosting. As a first step, officials in Qatar have already announced the launch of a staggering 200 projects in different areas by the first quarter of 2011. Also, officials have pledged that preparations for the World Cup would push the metro and rail projects forward to accommodate the expected inflow of tourists. Also, the $4 billion Qatar-Bahrain causeway, which had witnessed multiple delays since its announcement, could finally receive the green light. While all the above projects were

planned independently of 2022, Qatar would also benefit through additional spending on projects undertaken solely for the World Cup. Qatar will receive an unexpected boost from two primary areas. On the one hand, the actual bid outlines having 12 stadiums ready by 2022. The stadiums, costing around $4 billion, include three existing venues which would be expanded and nine new state-of-the-art stadiums with capacities of at least 43,000 each. Furthermore, Qatar plans to build 90,000 additional hotel rooms. Although under FIFA requirements Qatar would only need to build 65,000 rooms, Qatar has pledged to build an additional 25,000 rooms for assurance. Indeed, the resulting boost to the economy is not to be underestimated, and comes at a most opportune time. It coincides with Qatar reaching the targeted 77 million tons per year of LNG production and amid much speculation over Qatar’s ability to sustain its rapid growth after gas related projects are completed. Implications Qatar is set to benefit enormously ing and servicing the plethora of projects. This would be especially the case as more and more regional companies take part in the execution of the different projects and look for local and regional financing. A w ord of caution There are always risks to take into consideration when assessing such ambitious plans. To begin with, planned spending runs the risk of placing some strong pressure on government finances in the short to medium term. The government has already issued several bonds in the past few years, and has increased its borrowing from local banks. Moreover, as is often the case, actual spending tends to exceed budgeted costs, and the ultimate bill might see some considerable upward revision over the years. Still, large foreign

ly in hotel rooms. Still, as mentioned before, the bulk of the spending will see its way to needed projects and to build the proper infrastructure of Qatar regardless of the requirements of the World Cup. Also, the returns of hosting the event (tourism, TV rights etc) should cover a good deal of the additional expenses. Bottom line The NBK report concluded: The benefits should heavily outweigh any challenges that lie ahead. Qatar does need to address structural issues following the phenomenal growth of recent years, and needs to pave the way for future growth. Hosting the World Cup will set tight deadlines, create extra spending, bring in new expertise, and present additional motivation and incentives to reach Qatar’s National Vision 2030.

Select non-hydrocarbon mega projects

from currently planned spending in general, as well as from the impact of the World Cup. Continued economic growth would be the primary result, just when the fast-paced growth, induced by the large buildup in capacity in the hydrocarbon sector in recent years, was set to come to an end. This vast spending program will also help diversify the economy away from hydrocarbons. Moreover, the private sector will have a greater role to play, reducing the government’s contribution in the economy. Investment in infrastructure will also help relieve some of the bottlenecks and shortages that have built up in many areas, because expansion in infrastructure had not kept up with the rapid growth of the economy or population. The new investments will pull the

economy back into balance and help set the stage for further growth in the future. This also bodes well for Qatar’s plans to boost its tourism and become a pole of attraction in the region. Spending will also have tremendous repercussions for the country’s financial sector. The banking and investment sector could be one of the main beneficiaries. Already, government backed projects have been very instrumental in 2010 in helping the banking sector’s quick recovery in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Sustained future plans will help banks generate revenues through balance sheet growth and increased fee generating businesses. The plan could also result in deeper stock markets with some companies likely to go public for their funding. This will improve Qatar’s competitiveness and its bid to become

one of the financial hubs for the region. Implications for region The whole region is set to gain from Qatar’s spillover effects. This is especially true for the many contractors in the region that have built up their stocks and operations in the region, prior to the crisis induced slowdown. Developments could also force some intra-regional integration between players. Already, a first cross border merger has been announced between the GWC and Agility that could be a harbinger of future similar transactions. Intra-regional trade would also get a boost. A good deal of the raw materials involved in the construction of many projects will be sourced from neighboring countries. Large regional financial institutions would also benefit by sharing in financ-

Kingdom Holding to pay its first cash dividend JEDDAH: Saudi investment firm Kingdom Holding plans to pay its first annual cash dividend from accumulated retained earnings, amounting to 550 million riyals ($146.7 million), it said in a statement yesterday. Shares in Kingdom Holding, which are 95 percent owned by its Chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, jumped 4 percent in early trading. Shares reached 8.10 riyals by 08:27 GMT. “The cash dividend represents a payment of 5 percent of capital or 50 Halalas per share to the public shareholders,” the firm said in an emailed statement. “With a dividend yield of 6.4 percent to the public shareholders based on current market price, this reflects a move in the company’s strategy to start distributing cash back to its shareholders,” it said. Kingdom Holding made a net profit of 160 million riyals in the third quarter, rising 52.6 percent from the same period a year earlier. The firm attributed the gain to a better performance of affiliated firms. Kingdom Holding has minority stakes in some of the world’s top companies, the most valuable of which is Citigroup . Last month Kingdom Holding announced that it subscribed $500 million, along with its chairman Prince Alwaleed, to General Motors’ initial public offering. — Reuters

asset reserves and strong hydrocarbon revenues would cushion any sharp unforeseen spike in spending estimates. The increased activity from the planned projects will undoubtedly place significant upward pressure on prices of goods and services in Qatar. This could be a significant factor for the country, especially considering that inflation in Qatar has exceeded the GCC average in the years following the oil boom. A final consideration is the costly legacy assets that would remain after the world cup concludes. The 12 stadiums that will be built for the event are excessive for a country of the size of Qatar, although the authorities intend to get around this by dismantling and gifting some of the stadiums to other countries once the event is over. Also, the country runs the risk of building excess supply in certain sectors, main-

2010 Cadillac SRX awarded top honors by industry experts

MARKAZ KSE Weekly update

KSE index gains by weekend Open: 6,821, High: 6,853, Low: 6,770 Close: 6,853. The Kuwait market price index opened lower and after touching intraweek low of 6,770, the index rebounded to 6,853 with heavy volume and closed at 6,853 level, a marginal gain of 32 points or 0.2%. While the KSE weighted index continued to rise for the last two week and closed at 477 level, a gain of 13 points or 2.8% compared to last week. All the sectors in the market ended positive note except the Services sector which lost 1.4%. The Food sector was the top gainer with 2.1%. While the Banking, the Investment and the Industrial sectors increased in the range of 1.6% to 1.3%. The market sentiment

was positive as 64 stocks gained against 52 stocks declined while 21 stocks were unchanged and closed at same price as the previous week. Among the large caps stocks the top gainers were NINV +11.1%, NIND +7.5%, ZAIN +7%, FOOD +5.2%, NBK +4.7%, GBK +3.8%, KPROJ +3.4%, BOUBYAN +3.2%, KIB +3.1%, NMTC +2.2%, AGLTY +2% and KFH 1.7% on weekly basis. The KSE market price index may meet upside resistances at 6,900 and 6,950 levels and downside support remains at 6,800 level. The KSE Weighted index may face upside resistance at 485 level with downside support remains at 470 level.

DUBAI: High profile Middle East media outlets Automobile Magazine and Future TV’s Automobile Program have highlighted Cadillac’s commitment to quality, design and innovation by awarding the 2010 Cadillac SRX the prize for Best Elegant and Ergonomic SUV. The recognition comes as part of their annual motoring awards, announced this year at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Motor Show. As leading Middle East motoring titles, the Automobile Awards has been going on since 16 years, and have gained a highly anticipated recognition within the automotive industry. Selection and judging is done through a series of test drives and evaluation by the editorial team, in addition to gathering customer’s feedback of the vehicles in review. “The recognition that 2010 Cadillac SRX is receiving from the highly regarded motoring media outlets demonstrates Cadillac’s success in creating a crossover that aims at the heart of one of the industry’s strongest categories - the luxury crossover segment,” said Fadi Ghosn, Chief Marketing Officer at GM Middle East. “Being recognized by a regional motoring title proves that we are catering to our audience here, and continuing our international standards in the ever important Middle East market, something that makes us very proud.” Middle East customers are increasingly demanding the quality and performance associated with a Cadillac vehicle, with the sales increasing by 22% in the first 11 months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. The star performer

DUBAI: Fadi Ghosn, Chief Marketing Officer at GM Middle East receiving the award from Ibrahim Fakhri, Editor-in-Chief of Automobile magazine and presenter of Automobile program on Future TV. in terms of sales volume has been the Escalade, followed by the CTS entry level luxury sedan and the SRX luxury mid-sized crossover vehicle. The Cadillac SRX crossover brings a more dynamic alternative to the luxury crossover segment. It sets the dynamic bench mark with its combination of innovative design, safety features and efficient engine providing a true crossover

of luxury and design. The driving experience of the SRX blends the best elements of a sports sedan with the safety and excellent traction capability that crossover and SUV buyers’ value. As award winning cars, Cadillac vehicles set the precedent in the automotive industry, paving the way for innovative features and designs while maintaining the highest level of quality and safety.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

KSE indices record gains, sentiment positive KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) ended the week in the green zone, as both market main indices recorded gains. The price index ended last week with an increase amounted to 0.74%, while the weighted index rose with 2.80%, compared to the closings of the week before. Furthermore, last week’s average daily turnover increased by 73.82%, compared to the preceding week, reaching KD 39.52 million, whereas trading volume average was 163.22 million shares, recording a growth of 21.86%. KSE witnessed notable retreat in its trading value in the first trading day, as the turnover was around KD8.8 million. The market was affected by the political disagreement between the government and Kuwaiti parliament, nevertheless, the daily turnover rose during the week due to buying deals on leading stocks. News about the deal of Mobile Telecommunication Company “Zain” stocks continued to play significant

BAYAN INVESTMENT WEEKLY REPORT role in the market, especially after the reports released indicating that problems may prevent the collection of the needed stocks volume for the deal. Moreover, the adjudication for the lawsuit to stop the due diligence procedure, was postponed to 22nd December. On the other hand, the Development Minister said that the banks will play the greatest role in financing the development plan, while other financing methods will play the other part. By the end of the week, the price index closed at 6,853.2 points, up by 0.47% from the week before closing, whereas the weighted index registered a 2.80% weekly gain after closing at 477.53 points.

Sectors’ Indices All of KSE’s sectors ended last week in the green zone except for one sector. Last week’s highest gainer was the Insurance sector, achieving 3.30% growth rate as its index closed at 2,716.3 points. Whereas, in the second place, the Food sector’s index closed at 4,636.8 points recording 2.07% increase. The Banks sector came in third as its index achieved 1.64% growth, ending the week at 11,808.5 points. The Real estate sector was the least growing as its index closed at 2,281.1 points with a 0.18% increase. On the other hand, the Services sector was last week’s only loser as its index declined by 1.43% to end the week’s activity at 14,664.5 points.

Sectors’ Activity The Investment sector dominated total trade volume during last week with 329.69 million shares changing hands, representing 40.40% of the total market trading volume. The Services sector was second in terms trading volume as the sector’s traded shares were 23.23% of last week’s total trading volume, with a total of 189.61 million shares. On the other hand, the Services sector’s stocks where the highest traded in terms of value; with a turnover of KD83.12 million or 42.06% of last week’s total market trading value. The Banks sector took the second place as the sector’s last week turnover of KD 50.95 million represented 25.78% of the total market trading value.

Market Capitalization KSE total market capitalization grew by 2.92% during last week to reach KD 33.94 billion, as all of KSE’s sectors recorded an increase in their respective market capitalization. The Food sector headed the list as its total market capitalization reached KD 783.19 million, increasing by 4.31%. The Services sector was the second in terms of recorded growth with 3.98% increase after the total value of its listed companies reached KD 9.73 billion. The third place was for the Insurance sector, which total market capitalization reached KD 327.93 million by the end of the week, recording an increase of 3.78%. The Non Kuwaiti Companies sector was the least growing with 0.66% recorded growth after its market capitalization amounted to KD 2.18 billion. For further details, please v isit our web site: www.bay aninv — Prepared by the Studies & Research Department, Bay an Inv estment Co.


sunday, December 19, 2010


Irish divided on bailout, say sovereignty lost: Poll Most taxpayers say 2011 budget unfair DUBLIN: Just over 50 percent of Irish people support a multi-billion euro EU/IMF rescue package but believe the country has lost its sovereignty by accepting the external assistance, according to a poll published yesterday. Ireland was forced to resort to the IMF, the European Union and European Central Bank to negotiate an 85 billion euro ($113 billion) loan after a banking sector crisis drove the economy into the ground and sent ripples across the wider euro-zone. Irish taxpayers face years of spending cuts and tax hikes, as part of a four-year austerity drive designed to squeeze 15 billion euros from the worst deficit in Europe, beginning with 2011 budget’s record pack-

age of 6 billion euros in adjustments. When asked if they supported the bailout, 51 percent of Irish people said they welcomed it, 37 percent did not, and 12 percent did not know, an Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll showed. Fifty-six percent of the 1,000 voters sampled said Dublin had surrendered its sovereignty by accepting the deal, while 33 percent said it had not and 11 percent had no opinion. Brian Cowen, the most unpopular Irish prime minister in recent history, is expected to lose a general election held early next year, over his handling of the crisis. Opinion polls indicate the opposition centre-right Fine Gael party will form a coali-

tion government with the centre-left Labour after the next election, possibly in February or March. Parliament approved the bailout on Wednesday in the face of opposition threats to renegotiate the deal, but given Ireland’s dependence on the rescue package to shore up its banks and finance its deficit, and having signed up to its tough fiscal targets, their room for manoeuvre may be limited. Saturday’s poll showed voters who back Cowen’s Fianna Fail party were the most supportive of the bailout and a majority of them did not believe that Dublin had given up its sovereignty. Fine Gael and Labour voters also sup-

ported the bailout, but said sovereignty had been surrendered, the Irish Times said. Expressing disgruntlement with the severe austerity measures they will face, 68 percent of voters said they thought the Dec. 7 budget was unfair against 27 percent who thought it was fair. A poll held earlier this week showed support for Fianna Fail and Cowen had reached record lows, with satisfaction with the way the government is doing its job at just 8 percent. The Irish Times said the latest poll was held on Monday and Tuesday, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. — Reuters

IMF releases 2.5-billion-euro Greek loan, warns on growth BRUSSELS: Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen (right) shares a word with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels on Friday. European Union leaders are changing the treaty that underpins the bloc to make room for a huge new rescue system for countries that get into debt trouble in the long term. — AP

Burgan Bank completes all IBAN procedures KUWAIT: Burgan Bank, amongst the leading and the most dynamic banks in the state of Kuwait, in compliance with the regulations issued by the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK), has completed all necessary system development for International Bank Account Number (IBAN) procedures. The IBAN number is aimed at facilitating and enhancing the process of transferring funds amongst local and international banks in an efficient and effective manner. “We are happy to inform our clients that we have successfully completed all the necessary system requirements for the issuance of IBAN numbers. At Burgan Bank we are constantly upgrading our systems to ensure we meet all international system requirements, without causing any inconvenience to our clients,” said

Ivan Jensen Chief Information Technology Officer. IBAN in Kuwait is a 30 digit number containing the existing account number of the client as well as alpha-numeric digits which indicate the country code and the bank code. “Burgan Bank is one of the first banks in Kuwait to have completed all the IBAN requirements well ahead of the stipulated implementation date of January 2011 as set by the Central Bank of Kuwait. The implementation of the new system will boost the banking system in a very cost effective manner,” Jensen added. Burgan Bank clients can obtain their IBAN numbers by visiting any of the Burgan Bank branches, or by calling the Call Center at 1804080.

Iraqi Oil Minister Shahristani

Shahristani to stay as Iraq oil minister BAGHDAD: Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani, the architect of deals with oil majors that could vault Iraq into the top ranks of global producers, will keep his job in Iraq’s new government, senior officials said yesterday. Shahristani led the oil ministry as it set Iraq on an ambitious path to boost its production capacity to 12 million barrels per day in the next six or seven years, rivalling global leader Saudi Arabia, from 2.5 million bpd now. Iraq needs to boost oil revenues to rebuild damaged and neglected infrastructure after years of war and international economic sanctions. Crude exports account for 95 percent of its federal budget. “The minister of oil will stay in his place as the minister of oil,” said Abdul-Hadi alHasani, an official with Maliki’s Dawa party and former deputy leader of parliament’s oil and gas committee. A source close to Shahristani confirmed the minister would remain in

office rather than take a post as deputy prime minister in charge of energy affairs. “Hussain al-Shahristani shall keep his position as oil minister in the next government,” the source said. “Prime Minister Nuri alMaliki is strongly backing him to keep his position.” Maliki will present his cabinet choices to parliament tomorrow. Iraq has been without a new government for more than nine months since an inconclusive election in March, with the country’s main Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions reaching agreement last month on dividing up top government posts. Shahristani had been under consideration for deputy prime minister with responsibility for the oil, electricity and other energy portfolios but did not think the new job would give him enough influence, a senior member of Maliki’s negotiating team said. “The prime minister has a desire to

let Shahristani be deputy prime minister for power affairs but Shahristani thinks that the minister will be the owner of the final decisions in his ministry,” the source said. Once a nuclear scientist at Iraq’s Atomic Energy Commission, Shahristani said this week he expected to have a say in the development of a nuclear program in Iraq. The United Nations on Wednesday gave Iraq a green light to develop a civilian nuclear program, ending a 19year ban dating back to the Saddam Hussein era and aimed at preventing it from developing nuclear weapons. “Iraq used to own a developed peaceful program compared to other developing countries before it turned to the military use under Saddam,” Shahristani said in a statement issued by his office. “God willing, I will play an important role in improving a peaceful nuclear program in coordination with the relevant authorities.” — Reuters

More economic pain ahead of debt-ravaged country WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund released a 2.5-billioneuro loan for Greece, as it warned of yet more economic pain ahead for the debt-ravaged nation. Amid a brutal recession, skyhigh borrowing costs and draconian budget savings, the IMF said growth would slow to a crippling minus three percent next year. The economy had been expected to contract by a marginally less painful 2.5 percent. As part of efforts to avoid the country falling into default, the IMF approved the disbursement, worth roughly $3.3 billion, bringing total IMF emergency loans to Greece to 10.58 billion euros, or $13.98 billion. The loan is part of a European Union and the International Monetary Fund 110-billion-euro loan approved in May that rescued the nation from bankruptcy. As a condition of the loan, Athens has embarked on a series of dramatic spending cuts. After reviewing Greece’s moves to slash its deficit, the IMF said reforms were beginning to put the books back into good order. “The Greek authorities are to be commended for their determined implementation of difficult and ambitious macroeconomic policies and structural reforms,” senior IMF official Murilo Portugal said. “Inflation is falling and competitiveness improving,” and that the “overall fiscal adjustment to date has been impressive,” he said. But it has not been without pain. The country has been rocked by strikes and demonstrations that have paralyzed transport networks and occasionally turned violent. Earlier this week protesters assaulted an ex-minister and clashed with riot police as thousands joined street demonstrations during a general strike. Hours after parliament approved another batch of wage cuts, this time in the country’s inefficient public utilities, the center of the Greek capital was left scarred with debris and the heavy smell of tear gas and smoke. There may be more to come. The IMF warned that Athens must accelerate structural reforms, including to the labor market, the tourism trade and the retail sector. The Greek government on this week gave the green light to a three-year privatization plan to raise seven billion euros through the sale and exploitation of state companies and other assets. The finance ministry said the Socialist government intended to draw “at least one billion euro” in 2011 from the partial sale, joint management or outright privatization of hundreds of properties. — AFP

DUBLIN: A newspaper seller sits in his stall in Dublin, Ireland. This has been the “annus horribilis” of the euro common currency, meant to be a history-defying example for modern world finance. Seven summits of European Union leaders and countless emergency meetings in a year have barely dented the powers of the financial markets and failed to restore the shine of the gold-and-silver-colored euro coins, tarnished by towers of debt. —AP

US SEC expands mortgage probe NEW YORK/WASHINGTON: US securities regulators have broadened their inquiry into the mortgage industry, asking big banks about the early stages of securitizing home loans, two sources familiar with the probe said. The Securities and Exchange Commission launched the new phase of its investigation by sending out a fresh round of subpoenas last week to big banks including Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Wells Fargo & Co, the sources said. Months ago, the SEC began looking into the banks’ foreclosure practices following allegations that mortgage servicers were using shoddy paperwork to evict delinquent borrowers from their homes. Now the SEC is looking at how the lenders packaged up mortgages for sale to investors, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the probe is not public. Questions from the SEC include information about the role of so-called “master servicers”-specialized firms that oversee the selection and maintenance of the large pool of home loans that go into every mortgage-backed bond. In many cases, Wall Street banks that underwrite mortgage-backed securities either own their own master servicing firms or are closely aligned with one. The Justice Department, banking regulators and the attorneys general in all 50 US

states are also probing potential wrongdoing. The state of Arizona sued Bank of America on Friday, accusing the bank of misleading consumers about its home loan modification process. One of the sources said the SEC is seeking information about the role banks had in mortgage securitization. The regulator is also looking at the role trustees for the trusts that issued the mortgagebacked securities had in monitoring the performance of the underlying loans. The SEC is looking at whether loans were properly transferred to the trusts that issued the securities, the source said. The renewed look at the securitization process is an extension of the SEC’s preliminary probe into the mortgage mess. The SEC’s regional offices are all looking at some aspect of the foreclosure crisis. The SEC had no comment. Separately, the SEC is still investigating banks, credit rating agencies and individuals in connection with the 2007-09 subprime crisis. Those investigations center around potential misrepresentations to investors about the value of the mortgage-backed securities that helped fuel the crisis. The agency has filed some high-profile cases, including one against former Countrywide Financial chief Angelo Mozilo and another against Goldman Sachs. Banking regulators, including the Federal Reserve, are reviewing lenders’ foreclosure practices and are expected to

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner addresses the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington in this file photo.—AFP reveal their findings in January. In particular, the Fed is concerned about investors accusing lenders of misrepresenting the loans that underpin mortgage securities, and demanding repayment. That has already happened with Bank of America, which has started negotiating with a group of angry mortgage

investors, including BlackRock Inc. Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Goldman had no comment. Wells Fargo said it is “always working with regulators and others who are interested in its servicing business” but declined to comment on whether the bank had received a subpoena. — Reuters

Argentina’s YPF to resume Patagonia oil operations BUENOS AIRES: Argentine energy company YPF will resume operations at its oil fields in the Patagonia region after workers agreed to end a twoweek-old strike, a company source said early yesterday. The labor dispute forced YPF, a unit of Spain’s Repsol, to halt operations at several sites in the Patagonian provinces of

Chubut and Santa Cruz, putting fuel supplies at risk in the South American country. “They will return to work tomorrow and weíll resume production in Chubut and Santa Cruz,” a company source told Reuters, asking not to be identified. State news agency Telam quoted YPF union sources as saying

that they would comply with a government request to suspend the strike. YPF’s senior employees in the two provinces had staged the walkout to press for higher wages. The company said violent incidents involving striking workers had forced it to halt operations. The protesters blockaded a crude oil storage facility used by other

energy companies, including US Exxon Mobilís local unit Esso, which had to reduce refining activity. About a third of the 250,000 barrels of oil per day produced by YPF come from the fields affected by the dispute. YPF is the largest energy company in Argentina. — Reuters



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wall Street enters Christmas week with cheer NEW YORK: Wall Street will move into low gear this week ahead of the Christmas holiday, but traders will keep a close eye on a trickle of US data and Europe's struggle to contain its debt troubles. Last week saw stocks close slightly higher amid an encouraging sharp drop in weekly jobless claims and a robust rise in housing construction and manufacturing. Sentiment was further lifted after Congress approved late on Thursday the extension of a sweeping tax cuts and jobless benefits deal that analysts expect to boost the country's economic growth in 2011. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law shortly

after markets closed on Friday. "In what was a very busy week for economic indicators, the theme was generally better-than-expected readings on the economy, which is consistent with our outlook for steadily improving growth in the next couple of years," analysts at Wells Fargo Advisors said in a note. In the week to Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.72 percent to 11,491.91, after reaching on Thursday its highest level since September 2008. The broader S&P 500 index added 0.28 percent to 1,243.91 points, while the technologyrich Nasdaq composite index rose 0.21 percent to 2,642.97 points.

Though traditionally considered a period of profit-making, analysts expect stocks to move modestly up next week-cut short by Christmas day on Friday-as many traders have already cashed in profits in recent weeks amid growing optimism. "Historically, we see a nice move for the market into the end of the year buoyed by sentiment that the season brings, but this year it wouldn't surprise me if it continues to be muted until December 31," said analyst David Levy of Texas-based Kenjol Capital Management. This week, several key economic indicators will be released, led by the third estimate of the third quarter

gross domestic product, which analyst expect to be revised slightly higher to 2.6 percent. Other data includes existing home sales, personal spending and manufacturing data which are all forecast to notch up in keeping with recent data that has pointed to a slow but steady economic recovery. "There is plenty of economic data to come out, some companies will report their earnings, but generally speaking the last two weeks of the year are pretty slow," said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak. The main source of concern to global markets will remain Europe's efforts to deal with the major threat of member states going broke

under massive debts, following Ireland and Greece. Over the last week alone, Moody's downgraded Ireland's rating and threatened to slash that of Spain and Greece, once again, due to their high debt levels. "The one wild card (on Wall Street) could be something happening in Europe," according to Levy. "In the last several days we've seen downgrades of various countries' sovereign debt, and so far the US market has chosen to largely ignore the news out of Europe and instead favoring better economic news and stronger corporate outlook in the US," he told AFP. —AFP

2011 might see record Dow NEW YORK: Could the Dow set a record high next year? That question would have seemed crazy early last year when fear and panic enveloped the stock market and the Dow Jones industrial average plunged to 6,547 on March 9. Many investors thought it would take a decade or longer to get back to the record of 14,165, set on Oct. 9, 2007. Now we could be on the verge. The Dow has soared 76 percent the past 21 months, and it would have to climb just 23 percent from Friday's close of 11,492 to set a record. That's a big jump, but the Dow has risen 23 percent or more six times since 1985, or roughly 1 in 4 years. Two other years, the Dow just missed with a gain of 22.6 percent. Add them and the number becomes eight years out of 25, or roughly 1 in 3. Many analysts don't expect a 23 percent gain in 2011, but they agree conditions are in place for the rally to continue. "There are some really compelling reasons out there that say the Dow could approach its highs," says Randy Bateman, chief investment officer for Huntington Asset Advisors. "You've got a fairly rosy scenario, where there isn't a whole lot of competition for stocks." Corporate bonds provide decent income but lack the potential of stocks to appreciate. Interest rates on cash investments, such as bank CDs and money market mutual funds, remain in the basement. Meanwhile, corporate earnings keep rising, which makes stocks more appealing. Companies also are sitting on a record amount of cash, giving them leeway to pay bigger dividends, buy their own stock or buy competitors. The economy could help, too. The Great Recession ended in June of last year, so this economic expansion is only one and a half years old. Expansions since World War II have lasted an average of nearly five years. The Dow doesn't always rise the year

Long way from dog days...

NEW YORK: Businessmen arrive at the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow has soared 76 percent the past 21 months, and it would have to climb just 23 percent from Thursday's close of 11,499 to set a record. —AP a recovery marks its second anniversary. But the last time it did so, in 2003, the Dow jumped 25 percent. This expansion has been fitful so far. If it finally gains traction next year, stocks could do well. The Dow has already had a good run this year. It's up 10 percent despite serious problems lingering in the economy, including a 9.8 percent unemployment rate and a weak housing market. Part of the reason is that stock investors focus more on what's ahead than what's happening now. They believe the economy will continue to heal next year and companies

will keep earning more money. On Friday, investors got the latest sign that the economy is on the mend. The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators rose last month at the fastest pace since March. Here's a look at how the Dow made a leap of more than 23 percent six times the past 25 years: • 1985. A third straight year of strong economic growth -- GDP grew 4.1 percent -- after a deep recession had ended in November 1982 fueled a 28 percent gain in the Dow. The inflation rate remained stable a fourth straight year, convincing many

investors that the inflation monster of the late 1970s had been slain. • 1989. Mergers and acquisitions, including takeovers by corporate raiders, helped push the Dow up 27 percent. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.'s purchase of RJR Nabisco was the largest corporate deal the country had seen. In August, the Dow regained the level it had reached in August 1987, two months before that year's "Black Monday" crash. • 1995. The Dow jumped 33 percent as what would become the longest economic expansion in US history powered through its fifth year.

And more Americans were putting money into stocks through companysponsored retirement accounts. The number of households owning stocks jumped to 41 percent, up from 37 percent in 1992 and 32 percent in 1989, according to the Federal Reserve. •1996. The Dow rose another 26 percent as the economy continued strong. Stocks gained so much that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan asked in a speech in December whether "irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values." • 1999. Strong corporate profits and excitement about the Internet pushed the Dow up 25 percent. Earnings per share for the companies in the S&P 500 index jumped 28 percent, the strongest growth since 1994. • 2003. The Dow rose 25 percent as the economy enjoyed its second year of recovery after the 2001 recession. The Federal Reserve cut shortterm interest rates as low as 1 percent to encourage growth. The two years the Dow rose 22.6 percent were 1986 and 1997. Each followed one of the strong years above as strong economic conditions continued. Many analysts expect corporate profits will keep rising -- and stock prices with them -- but not at a rate that would send the Dow past 14,000 next year. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, for example, expects earnings per share for the big companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index to rise 9 percent in 2011 and 6 percent in 2012. It sees the S&P rising 13 percent in 2011 from Friday's close. "Nothing's impossible, but it's not real probable," says Bob Millen, a portfolio manager of the Jensen Portfolio mutual fund. Even Huntington's Bateman, who says the Dow could reach a record in 2011, warns stocks may not stay that high for long. Larger government deficits, he says, could drive stock prices lower in 2012 or 2013. — AP

Treasurys prices edge up as Europe worries return NEW YORK: The recent drop in Treasurys took a pause on Friday as Europe's ongoing debt troubles had investors returning to the safety of US government bonds. The 10-year Treasury note gained 65.6 cents for every $100 invested. That pushed the yield down to 3.33 percent from 3.42 percent late Thursday. The rating agency Moody's cut Ireland's credit rating to three levels above junk status on Friday, citing worries over the country's financial health. Moody's said Ireland's austerity program of tax hikes and spending cuts could hurt the country's already weak economic growth. Signs of trouble in Europe often send traders into US dollars and Treasurys. Even with swelling debts, the United States still receives top marks from the three major rating agencies. The Federal Reserve also

MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, listens to Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow yesterday.—AP

US states sue BofA for mortgage fraud LOS ANGELES: The US states of Arizona and Nevada filed lawsuits against Bank of America on Friday accusing it of defrauding cash-strapped homeowners amid the global economic downturn. The legal action was triggered after hundreds of complaints and a year-long investigation centered on the bank's loan modification and foreclosure practices, said Arizona's attorney general Terry Goddard. "Bank of America has been the slowest of all the servicers to ramp up loss mitigation efforts in response to the housing crisis," he said, announcing the lawsuit filed in the Maricopa County Superior Court. "It has shown callous disregard for the devastating effects its servicing practices have had on individual borrowers and on the economy as a whole," he added. Specifically he accused Bank of America, as the biggest US residential mortgage loan servicer, of breaching state consumer fraud law as well as a March 2009 agreement made between Arizona and BoA-owned lender, Countrywide. In the agreement, called a "consent judgment," Countrywide agreed to develop and implement a loan modification program for some of its former borrowers in the southwestern US state. The Arizona lawsuit alleges that "Bank of America has repeatedly violated the judgment's provisions related to loan modifications," and seeks to order it to pay compensation, fines,

lawyers' fees and investigation costs. "I am filing this lawsuit today because, after years of delay and broken promises, Arizonans should not have to wait any longer to seek redress," said Goddard. Nevada attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto also announced legal action against Bank of America "for engaging in deceptive trade practices against Nevada homeowners. "Consumers turn to their banking or lending institutions for answers when faced with a life changing decision such as saving their home," said Masto. "Bank of America's callous disregard for providing timely, correct information to people in their time of need is truly egregious." A Bank of America spokesman lamented the lawsuits, which he said could complicate efforts to reach an agreement with a number of US states including Arizona and Nevada. "We are disappointed that the suits were filed at this time, however, because we and other major servicers are currently engaged ... to address foreclosure related issues more comprehensively. "That is the approach that will best broaden programs for homeowners who need assistance. Bank of America has been a cooperative partner with the attorneys general, and has worked with state leaders to evolve programs and resources to broaden assistance to distressed customers," he added. — AFP

gave Treasury prices some support, buying $2 billion in bonds coming due between 2028 and 2040. With trading increasingly light as the year ends, some in the bond market think the Fed's bond-buying program may keep a lid on yields. Yields have shot higher in recent weeks with signs the economic recovery is taking hold. The 10-year yield reached a seven-month high of 3.56 percent early Thursday, after a batch of encouraging economic reports spurred traders to sell Treasurys, lifting their yields. In other afternoon trading Friday, the 30-year bond rose $1.37. Its yield dropped to 4.44 percent from 4.53 percent. The yield on the two-year note slipped to 0.61 percent from 0.65 percent. The three-month Treasury bill paid a 0.10 percent yield at a discount of 0.10 percent. —AP

Lockheed reaches $10.3m settlement with US govt ATLANTA: Defense company Lockheed Martin Corp reached a $10.3 million settlement with the federal government on Friday to resolve claims that one of the company's divisions inflated rates used to price contracts for the Air Force and Navy between 1996 and 2000. The settlement resolves prosecutors' claims that Lockheed mischarged costs in a commercial contract with Italian company Alenia Aerospazio to develop a tactical transport plane dubbed the C-27J, said US Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. Lockheed, the largest US military contractor, is accused of charging business development and other costs associated with the company's commercial contract to government accounts, prosecutors said. Yates said Lockheed "failed to follow basic accounting rules and submitted claims for costs for which reimbursement was not permitted." She said that resulted in a "significant unintended subsidy" for one of the company's commercial ventures. Lockheed spokesman Joe Stout characterized the case as a disagreement over how costs should be categorized under federal regulations. He said the company decided to settle with the government because of the "complexity of the regulations and the differing interpretations of those regulations." "The settlement agreement is not an admission of liability by Lockheed Martin, but instead a recognition that settlement is in the best interests of both parties," Stout said in a statement. The C-27J is a rugged, medium-sized transport plane designed by the Italian company that's also known as the Joint Cargo Aircraft. —AP

Bank of Montreal buys US bank for $4.1bn TORONTO: The Bank of Montreal is buying a Milwaukeebased bank, the latest example of Canadian banks using their muscle to snap up US financial institutions battered by the economic crisis. Canada's fourth-largest bank announced on Friday that it was acquiring Marshall & Ilsley Corp. for $4.1 billion in stock, doubling its presence in the US from 321 branches to 695. The news sent shares of M&I surging 18 percent, up $1.06, to $6.85, while US-traded shares of the Bank of Montreal fell $4.40, or 7.1 percent, to $57.26. Canadian banks, ranked the soundest in the world by the World Economic Forum, weathered the economic crisis far better than their counterparts in other countries. In a concentrated banking system dominated by five major players, Canadian banks have been looking across the border to find growth opportunities, casting an eye toward distressed US banks. The Toronto-based bank signed a definitive agreement with M&I to exchange 0.1257 Bank of Montreal shares for each share of M&I, which it values at $7.75 apiece. "The timing is very good," Bank of Montreal President and CEO Bill Downe said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It certainly represents a very good value." Downe credited a resurgent Canadian dollar and a healthy banking system in Canada. "A strong and stable economy and a strong and stable banking system is extremely important in helping financial institutions. It has given us the benefits of lower loan loss provisions, higher capital levels and more consistent earnings," Downe said. There are other opportunities for Canadian banks to do more in the US, Downe added. Most of the acquisitions have been smaller or mid-sized purchases in retail banking. Downe said acquiring investment banks makes less sense because investment bankers don't stick with the same firm for long and a stable corporate culture is important. The Bank of Montreal bought a small investment bank in New York earlier this decade but Downe doesn't see big investment bank deals being done. Marshall & Ilsley president and CEO Mark Furlong acknowledged the deal is the latest example of a strong Canadian bank picking off a struggling US bank, but he said it was also a good fit. "To deny that we haven't been through some tough times in the last three years would be foolish, so absolutely we have. And I would say the Bank of Montreal has performed admirably through this cycle. Those are facts," Furlong told The AP. Marshal & Ilsley was among the banks that participated in the

US government's Troubled Asset Relief Program, credited by many with averting an economic meltdown. Bank of Montreal said it is buying all of Marshall & Ilsley's $1.7 billion TARP preferred shares and will repay them in full before the acquisition closes. BMO also said they've accounted for another $4.7 billion in expected loan losses. The purchase bolsters the Bank of Montreal's presence in the Midwest where it operates Chicago-based Harris bank. The combined operation will be the 15th largest banking group by assets in the US. M&I is headquartered in Milwaukee and has $51.9 billion in assets. The bank has more than 190 offices throughout Wisconsin as well as locations in Indiana, Minnesota and other states for a total of 374 branches. Bank of Montreal said once the transaction is completed, Furlong will become the CEO of the combined banks' US personal and commercial banking business, based in Chicago. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both banks and is expected to close before July 31. Many analysts have long been waiting for BMO to bulk up its US assets. "One of investors' long voiced complaints about BMO's strategy had been the lack of movement around its US banking operations under the Harris banner," wrote Barclay's analyst John Aiken in a note. "Strategically, the acquisition makes a lot of sense, given the geographic overlap of the core operations, principally Wisconsin and Indiana as well as broadening BMO's scope in other key regions such as Arizona and Florida as well as M&I's focus on mid-market commercial lending." Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canada's second largest bank, has also expanded its US presence in recent years with the purchase of New Jersey-based Commerce Bancorp and smaller, troubled banks in the Carolinas and Florida such as South Carolina-based South Financial Group. Earlier this year, TD agreed to buy the risky assets of three insolvent Florida banks worth $3.8 billion. Riverside National Bank of Florida, First Federal Bank of North Florida and AmericanFirst Bank were all purchased with the help of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. TD didn't have a presence in the US six years ago, but now has about 1,300 branches in the US compared to about 1,100 in Canada. Canadian banks are investing in the US from a position of strength. There was no mortgage meltdown or subprime crisis in Canada. Banks don't package mortgages and sell them to the private market, so they need to be sure their borrowers can pay back the loans. — AP


Sunday, December 19, 2010


NASA fuels shuttle Discovery in test for cracks CAPE CANAVERAL: NASA fueled space shuttle Discovery at the pad Friday, not for a flight but for tests to help understand mysterious cracks that appeared in the fuel tank during a launch attempt last month. Discovery is grounded until at least the beginning of February because, while the cracks have been fixed, engineers still do not know what caused them. In a countdown test that began at sunrise and lasted well into the afternoon, the launch team pumped more than 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and oxygen into Discovery’s external fuel tank. The tank was rigged with sensors and other equipment. “We’re not committing to flying anytime soon. We’ve got to wait until we know we have a good answer to go fly,” launch manager Mike Moses said as Discovery’s 15-story tank filled up. “We want to make sure we know the risk we have in front of us.” The concern is that cracks could cause chunks of foam to pop off and, in the worst case, slam into the Discovery at liftoff. A large slab of foam doomed space shuttle Columbia in 2003. When Discovery does fly, the trip will be its last. Just two or three missions remain before NASA ends its shuttle program next year. Endeavour is due to fly in April, and Atlantis may follow in the summer if funding is forthcoming. Discovery is loaded with supplies for the International Space Station as well as an experimental humanoid robot. Back on Nov 5, NASA halted the countdown for Discovery because of leaking hydrogen gas. An unrelated problem - the cracking - later was discovered in the insulating foam of the fuel tank, in the ribbed central portion that holds instruments. When the foam was removed, cracks

were found in two of the more than 100 aluminum ribs, or brackets, making up that area. The two damaged ribs - each 21 feet long - were next to each other. Both the leak and cracks were fixed, and NASA aimed for a possible December flight. But engineers were stumped by the cracks. They now believe there may have been a buildup of stress in the brackets during assembly, which caused them to crack when the super-cold fuel was loaded into the tank, Moses said. Besides stringing cables with gauges and sensors on the suspect portion of the tank, technicians also painted small black dots - 10,000 to 12,000 of them - on the exposed white foam over the repaired area. Technicians worked in freezing temperatures, dipping their gloved fingers in paint and then pressing them gently onto the foam. The dots were part of an optics test. A pair of cameras provided visuals of the dots, recording the motions of the tank in that area and hopefully providing additional clues to the cracking. There were no leaks and no immediate signs of cracking as the test concluded Friday afternoon. Discovery will be taken back to the Vehicle Assembly Building next week so engineers can Xray the brackets on the back of the fuel tank. The goal is to launch Discovery as early as Feb 3 or at least by month’s end, Moses said. In orbit, meanwhile, the space station got three new residents Friday with the arrival of a Russian Soyuz capsule. The orbiting lab is now back to a six-person crew: three Russians, two Americans and one Italian. The Soyuz - NASA’s sole means of getting astronauts to orbit once the shuttles retire - blasted off from Kazakhstan two days earlier. — AP

Great Firewall no obstacle for Facebook game makers SHANGHAI: China’s Internet censors may have kept most of the nation’s 420 million web users from accessing Facebook, but they have not stopped social game developers like Ellison Gao. Five Minutes, a Shanghai-based studio co-founded by Gao, 27, launched its first social game two years ago and has attracted millions of dollars from investors, including US venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. “It is impossible for any Chinese developer to ignore the Facebook market, just as it is for all the other social game firms across the globe,” Gao said at an industry forum last week. More than a million users play his studio’s games each day on Facebook, the firm’s biggest market, although it has also moved onto local platforms in Brazil, Japan, and South Korea, Gao said. Social games, which are usually free to play, are one of Facebook’s most popular features. Games such as Zynga’s FarmVille, in which users interact as they manage virtual farms, have become global hits. Developers and social networking websites share revenue they generate from selling virtual goods and in-game advertising. Gao’s firm is not the only Chinese company prospering on Facebook, which is blocked along with websites like YouTube and Twitter by China’s vast system of Internet censorship, dubbed the “Great Firewall”. Beijing-based studio Happy Elements has an average of more than 2.2 million daily Facebook users while rival studio ELEX has about 1.3 million, according to tracking firm Inside Network. Chinese game studios are swarming to Facebook, which collects a 30 percent share of revenuesterms developers say are more favorable than those of domestic sites-and offers an open platform with over 500 million users. “It is not surprising that smaller companies are the ones taking the risks to develop for the Western market”, said Andrew Mo, head of product management at the Beijing studio of London-based social network game maker Playfish. “Unless you are a big company in China, it is hard to get that relationship with different social network platforms in order to get a good revenue share-split.” Facebook has an estimated 14 million Chinese-language users, mainly based in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. That number is expected to grow to 16 million by March, according to the Inside Network site that reports on Facebook. The success of Chinese game studios on Facebook has also spurred Western social networking game developers like Zynga to set up shop in China to tap a growing pool of talented programmers. San Francisco-based Zynga established a Beijing studio in May by acquiring local firm XPD Media, while US videogame maker Electronics Arts last year bought Playfish, which has been in Beijing since 2007. “As we combine the web and games, it makes sense to build up a studio here to develop for the global market,” Andy Tian, head of Zynga’s Beijing studio, told a packed hall at the forum. Three months after announcing the acquisition of XPD Media, Zynga launched a Chinese version of “Texas Poker”-Facebook’s third-most popular game. Both Tian and Playfish’s Mo acknowledged the Chinese market’s importance, but declined to say whether they were developing games for it. Both are hiring in China. “We are still taking a wait-and-see approach for the Chinese market-it will take time for it to fully open up,” Tian said. In contrast to independent studios, Chinese online game giants like Tencent and Shanda do not yet have a significant presence on Facebook, though many of its popular games have been cloned for their platforms. Tencent, whose instant message service has more than 600 million accounts, has launched, its own platform for third-party developers to create games and other applications. However, some argue conglomerates like Tencent lack the kind of fair playing field that Facebook offers because they are likely to promote their own game units. “If you also do your own games, then you will want to push your own games... That may not be the best game for the users,” Arthur Chow, chief operating officer of Hong Kong social game developer and publisher 6 Waves said. Chow also noted Chinese studios on Facebook need to adopt a more international style, for example, by promoting virtual goods linked to Thanksgiving or Boxing Day. “They (Facebook users) want some really creative and original ideas. That’s where the challenges are, particularly for most Chinese developers.” — AFP

FLORIDA: This image provided by NASA TV shows the space shuttle Discovery on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center on Friday morning Dec 17, 2010 as a tanking test begins. Teams will fill the spacecraft’s external fuel tank with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen just as they do during a launch attempt to verify repairs made to the tank. Technicians added 89 sensors to the outside of the tank recently including strain gauges to gather precise measurements of how much the tank moves during the fueling process. — AP

US code cracking agency works as if compromised Official’s rare public comments highlight cyber threats WASHINGTON: The US government’s ma in code-making a nd code-cracking agency now works on the a ssumption that foes may ha ve pierced even the most sensitive nationa l security computer networks under its gua rd. “There’s no such thing as ‘secure’ anymore,” Debora Plunkett of the Nationa l Security Agency said amid US anger and embarrassment over disclosure of sensitive diplomatic cables by the w eb site WikiLeaks. “The most sophistica ted adversaries are going to go unnoticed on our netw orks,” she sa id. Plunkett heads the NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate, which is responsible for protecting national security information and networks from the foxhole to the White House. “We have to build our systems on the assumption that adversaries will get in,” she told a cyber security forum sponsored by the Atlantic and Government Executive media organizations. The United States can’t put its trust “in different components of the system that might have already been violated,” Plunkett added in a rare public airing of NSA’s view on the issue. “We have to, again, assume that all the components of our system are not safe, and make

sure we’re adjusting accordingly.” The NSA must constantly fine tune its approach, she said, adding that there was no such thing as a “static state of security.” More than 100 foreign intelligence organizations are trying to break into US networks, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn wrote in the September/October issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Some already have the capacity to disrupt US information infrastructure, he said. Plunkett declined to comment on WikiLeaks, which has started releasing a cache of 250,000 diplomatic cables, including details of overseas installations that officials regard as vital to US security.

Official have focused publicly on Army Private Bradley Manning, who is being detained at a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, as the source of the leak. NSA, a secretive Defense Department arm that also intercepts foreign communications, conceives of the problem as maintaining the availability and assuring the integrity of the systems it guards, rather than their “security,” she said. NSA-which insiders jokingly used to say referred to “No Such Agency”-also focuses on standardization and auditing to hunt for any intrusions, Plunkett said. She referred to the development of sensors for eventual deployment “in appropriate places within our infra-

structure” to detect threats and take action against them. Mike McConnell, a retired Navy vice admiral who headed the NSA from 1992 to 1996, told the forum he believed no US government network was safe from penetration. A third-party inspection of major computer systems found there was none of consequence “that is not penetrated by some adversary that allows the adversary, the outsider, to bleed all the information at will,” said McConnell, director of national intelligence from 2007 to 2009 and now leader of the intelligence business for the Booz Allen Hamilton consultancy. — Reuters

Survey: Parents start to see TV, Internet the same

This image provided by NASA Friday shows a topographic map centered on the Apollo 15 landing site, highlighting the Apennine and Caucasus ranges and the fairly subtle wrinkling in Serenitatis from data provided by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter on board NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. NASA’s LRO is allowing researchers to create the most precise and complete map to date of the moon’s complex, heavily cratered landscape according to scientists. The false colors indicate elevation: red areas are highest and blue lowest.— AP

NEW YORK: No TV for a week, the time-honored punishment for misbehaving children, has been enhanced. Now, parents are also withholding Internet access to punish their kids, further sign that the Web has become as important to families as television. As the two mediums converge, parents are quickly coming to see TV and the Internet in similar ways and are seeking to limit their kids’ access to both, according to a report out this week from researchers at the University of Southern California. The survey from the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future found that two-thirds of parents say they restrict their kids’ access to TV as punishment, a number that has barely budged over the past 10 years. But the percentage of parents who limit Internet access as a form of punishment has nearly doubled in the last decade. Among parents surveyed this spring, 57 percent said they withheld Web access to punish their kids. That is up from 32 percent in 2000. Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the center, said parents are starting to not see a big distinction between TV watching and Internet use. Even so, parents are still more comfortable with the amount of

time kids spend on the Internet - 71 percent said it was “just about right” compared with just 51 percent for TV. Earlier surveys by the center have shown that families are spending less time together than they used to, a decline that has coincided with the explosive growth of social networks in the past few years. Now, parents are saying Internet access at home is also reducing the time their children spend with their friends face-to-face. Gilbert called this a worrisome trend, though noted that the number of parents to report this is still small - 11 percent in 2010 compared with 7 percent in 2000. Of course, the Internet and social networks also make it easier to communicate and they help families stay in touch with loved ones. “The answer is never about technology. It’s always about parental responsibility,” Gilbert said. But he noted that the explosive growth of digital technology has made it increasingly difficult for parents to monitor what their kids are doing. The 2010 survey was conducted in April among about 2,000 Americans over the age of 12. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. — AP

NASA’s arsenic life-form scientist answers critics WASHINGTON: The NASA-funded scientist whose discovery of a bacterium that thrives on arsenic prompted an avalanche of criticism responded Thursday with a statement answering questions about her research. Felisa Wolfe-Simon, lead author of the study published in the journal Science earlier this month, also reflected about her experience as a young scientist thrust into the heart of a web-fueled controversy. “The speed of communication is ahead of the sheer time needed to think and get in the lab and work,” she wrote on the microblogging site Twitter, in an apparent reference to critiques that lit up the blogosphere after the December 2 study. The microbe, GFAJ, was found in California’s arsenic and salt-rich Mono Lake. Researchers said it could survive on arsenic instead of phosphorus, shifting science’s definition of the building blocks necessary for life.Canadian scientist Rosie Redfield

ignited a web fury by musing over what she called “flim-flam” research and flaws by “bad scientists.” Other bloggers picked up on it and soon the criticism found its way into mass media as newspapers and magazines reported on the debate over the team’s methods, barging in on a realm that is typically dominated by peer-reviewed study in science journals. Among the chief complaints was that the arsenic detected by the scientists was merely residue and not part of the microbe’s DNA. Questions about the team’s findings “tended to focus on whether the bacteria had truly incorporated arsenic into the DNA and whether the microbes had completely stopped consuming phosphorus,” Wolfe-Simon’s web statement said. “While the team prefers to address questions through a peer-reviewed process, Felisa Wolfe-Simon and (co-author) Ron Oremland have provided some additional information here as a pub-

lic service, and to clarify their data and procedures.” She emphasized that the answers had not been peer-reviewed and were “provided on behalf of the authors only as a public information service while more formal review of their responses to comments sent to Science continues.” A list of scientific explanations to three of the top questions is contained in the statement, available online at”We freely admitted in the paper and in the press that there was much, much more work to do by us and a whole host of other scientists,” it concludes. “We look forward to working with other scientists, either directly or by making the cells freely available and providing DNA samples to appropriate experts for their analyses, in an effort to provide more insight into this intriguing finding.” WolfeSimon and her co-authors have remained largely silent since the controversy erupted, and after her

official responses were posted online she let loose with a series of comments on Twitter about the experience. “Codes of conduct develop as we evolve to cope. Let our paper teach us all something about human nature and our respect for one another,” Wolfe-Simon said in one tweet. “My role as lead and communicating author has been an incredible growing and character building experience,” she said. She also hinted that she may have been at odds with NASA’s decision to describe the study ahead of time as offering evidence of extraterrestrial life. “We were certainly not completely in control of press releases,” she tweeted. “I was involved in the writing of the press release. But ‘involved’ does not imply in control. We are in control of the science. “PR machines are just that. We are scientists. I am a scientist. “As an early career scientist, this has been an experience I look forward to reflecting on... now back to the lab!” — AFP



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bones found on island might be Amelia Earhart’s

NIKUMARORO: Photo shows a possible human finger bone in a research lab in Silver Spring, Md. — AP

NORMAN: The three bone fragments turned up on a deserted South Pacific island that lay along the course Amelia Earhart was following when she vanished. Nearby were several tantalizing artifacts: some old makeup, some glass bottles and shells that had been cut open. Now scientists at the University of Oklahoma hope to extract DNA from the tiny bone chips in tests that could prove Earhart died as a castaway after failing in her 1937 quest to become the first woman to fly around the world. “There’s no guarantee,” said Ric Gillespie, director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, a group of aviation enthusiasts in Delaware that found the pieces of bone this year while on an expedition to Nikumaroro Island, about 1,800 miles south of Hawaii. “You only have to say you have a bone that may be human and may be linked to Earhart and people get excited. But it is true that, if they can get DNA, and if they can match it to Amelia Earhart’s DNA, that’s pretty good.” It could be months before scientists know for sure and it could turn out the bones are from a turtle. The fragments were found near a hollowed-out turtle shell that might have been used to collect rain water, but there were no other turtle parts nearby. Earhart’s disappearance on July 2, 1937, remains one of the 20th centu-

Rare lunar eclipse set to begin Tuesday morning LOS ANGELES: A total eclipse of the moon will be visible throughout all of North and Central America from 2:41 am EST Tuesday until 3:53 am Wednesday, the first such eclipse in almost three years. Weather permitting, observers will begin seeing the moon enter the Earth’s inner shadow, or umbra, at 1:33 am which appears as a redbrown shadow creeping across the bright moon. This shadow has a curved edge, taken as proof to at least some ancients that the Earth is round. The sky will get darker as the shadow progresses across the moon, and more stars will appear in the sky as sunlight reflected from the moon fades. Totality will last a generous 72 minutes, then the process will reverse, with the moon completely emerging from the umbra at 5:01 am. Unlike a total solar eclipse, when the sun is blotted out, a lunar eclipse rarely turns the moon totally black. Because of sunrises and sunsets around the world that

scatter and refract light from the sun, the moon generally appears bright and coppery orange, or sometimes brown or dark redblack, depending on how much pollution is in the atmosphere. The most recent total eclipse of the moon was on the night of Feb 20-21, 2008. Also unlike a solar eclipse, which can generally be seen only from selected places on the Earth’s surface, a lunar eclipse can be seen from anywhere on the side of the Earth facing the moon. The next lunar eclipse is on June 15, 2011, but North America will miss out because we will be facing the wrong way. Another eclipse will occur on Dec 10, but it will be interrupted by moonset and sunrise. The next total lunar eclipse for the entire continent doesn’t occur until April 14-15, 2014, an unusually long wait. NASA will be hosting Web chats about the eclipse and, for those encountering bad weather, showing it live at — MCT

Scientists report link between autism and freeway proximity LOS ANGELES: Children born to mothers who live close to freeways had twice the risk of autism in a study published recently. The study, its authors say, adds to evidence suggesting certain environmental exposures could play a role in causing the disorder in some children. “This study isn’t saying exposure to air pollution or exposure to traffic causes autism,” said Heather Volk, lead author of the paper and a researcher at the Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “But it could be one of the factors that are contributing to its increase.” Reported cases of autism cases increased by 57 percent between 2002 and 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although professionals still debate whether rates have actually risen or a greater proportion of autistic children are now being diagnosed. An estimated one in 110 children are diagnosed with autism today. There is no cure, although research has shown that various therapies can mitigate some symptoms, especially if begun early in life. In the current study, published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers looked at 304 children with autism and, for comparison, 259 children who were developing normally. The children, between the ages of 24 and 60 months at the start of the study, lived in communities around Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. Each family was evaluated in person, and all of the children received developmental assessments. Researchers collected data on where the child’s mother lived during pregnancy and at the time of birth as well as the proximity of the homes to a major road or freeway. Children living about 1,000 feet from a freeway at birth - about 10 percent of the sample had a two-fold increase in autism risk. The link held up even after researchers controlled for other factors that may influence development, such as ethnicity, parental education, maternal age and exposure to tobacco smoke. The study did not find a link between autism development and proximity to a major road, as opposed to a freeway. That may be due to the type and quantity of chemicals dispersed on freeways as compared to major roads, Volk said. In Los Angeles, some freeways carry more than 300,000 vehicles daily. Gayle Windham, chief of the epidemiology surveillance unit with the California

Department of Health Services Environmental Investigations Branch, said the study did not directly implicate air pollution as a risk factor for autism because it did not have a way of measuring how much pollution the mothers were exposed to during pregnancy. “They are using a proxy measure for air pollution, which is distance to a freeway,” she said. “But you still don’t know how much time the women spent at home or working or commuting.” Windham was not involved in the study. Windham was the lead author of a 2006 study, also published in Environmental Health Perspectives, that found that children with autism were about 50 percent more likely to have a birth residence in an area with hazardous air pollutants. The study was based on air pollution data from the Environmental Protection Agency that was matched to birth records in the San Francisco Bay Area. Research like this suggests environmental factors need more attention within autism research, said Clara Lajonchere, vice president of clinical programs for the advocacy group Autism Speaks. Lajonchere was not involved in the study. “The implication could be very far-reaching in terms of prevention and public health concerns,” Lajonchere said. “I think it’s pretty well-established that genes play a huge role in autism. But there is something going on beyond genetics.” Chronic exposure to air pollution during pregnancy is thought to have physical effects on the fetus. High levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter have been linked to a higher risk of preterm birth and low birth-weight. Chemicals such as ozone, sulfur dioxide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have also been identified as harmful to a developing fetus. “We know there are some chemicals in air pollution coming from diesel exhaust that might be a good forerunner to look at,” Volk said. “But right now we really don’t know what it is about air pollution that is associated with autism.” Families residing close to freeways may have to wait for more research before scientists can issue advice or recommendations on what to do about this potential risk, Volk said. For one thing, this study requires replication, she said. In addition, future studies will attempt to identify the level of exposure to particular pollutants. — MCT

NIKUMARORO: Researchers work at the dig site on the uninhabited island of Nikumaroro, in the South Pacific, where researchers say they found bone fragments that could help prove that famed aviator Amelia Earhart died as a castaway after failing in her quest to circumnavigate the globe. — AP ry’s most enduring mysteries. Did she run out of fuel and crash at sea? Did her Lockheed Electra develop engine trouble? Did she spot the island from the sky and attempt to land on a nearby reef? “What were her last moments like? What was she doing? What happened?” asked Robin Jensen, an associ-

ate professor of communications at Purdue University in Indiana who has studied Earhart’s writings and speeches. Since 1989, Gillespie’s group has made 10 trips to the island, trying each time to find clues that might help determine the fate of Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan. Last spring, volunteers working at what seemed to be an

abandoned campsite found one piece of bone that appeared to be from a neck and another unknown fragment dissimilar to bird or fish bones. A third fragment might be from a finger. The largest of the pieces is just over an inch long. The area was near a site where native work crews found skeletal remains in 1940. Bird and fish carcasses sug-

gested Westerners had prepared meals there. “This site tells the story of how someone or some people attempted to live as castaways,” Gillespie said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. “These fish weren’t eaten like Pacific Islanders” eat fish. Millions of dollars have been spent in failed attempts to learn what happened to

Earhart, declared dead by a California court in early 1939. The official version says Earhart and Noonan ran out of fuel and crashed at sea while flying from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island, which had a landing strip and fuel. Gillespie’s book “Finding Amelia: The True Story of the Earhart Disappearance,” and “Amelia Earhart’s Shoes,” written by four volunteers from the aircraft group, suggest the pair landed on the reef and survived, perhaps for months, on scant food and rainwater. Gillespie, a pilot, said the aviator would have needed only about 700 feet (200 meters) of unobstructed space to land because her plane would have been traveling only about 55 mph at touchdown. “It looks like she could have landed successfully on the reef surrounding the island. It’s very flat and smooth,” Gillespie said. “At low tide, it looks like this place is surrounded by a parking lot.” However, Gillespie said, the plane, even if it landed safely, would have been slowly dragged into the sea by the tides. The waters off the reef are 1,000 to 2,000 feet deep. His group needs $3 million to $5 million for a deep-sea dive. The island is on the course Earhart planned to follow from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island, which had a landing strip and fuel. Over the last seven decades, searches of the remote atoll have been inconclusive. —AP

Atomic weights of ten elements to be altered Carbon, nitrogen, oxygen affected LOS ANGELES: Ca ll it Extrem e Ma keover: Chem istry Edition. Tha t im posing, yellow ing cha rt gracing the w alls of every science cla ssroom is a bout to get a n upda te. The a djustm ents pla nned for the periodic table of the elem ents w ill m ore accura tely reflect the true na ture of 10 k inds of a toms - ca rbon, nitrogen a nd oxygen a mong them - tha t pla y a key role in such real-w orld issues as detecting counterfeit food, tracing Boron, for example, has five protons and usually five or six neutrons, giving individual atoms an atomic weight of 10 or 11. In the past, chemists have given the element credit for an atomic weight of 10.811 an average of the isotopes found in nature. The new table will reflect the fact that boron atoms can have atomic weights ranging from 10.806 to 10.821, depending on where in the world the element originates. “It is important to set the record straight,” said chemist Tyler Coplen, director of the US Geological Survey’s Reston (Va.) Stable Isotope Laboratory, a co-author of the report, which is to be published in the journal Chemistry International in March. The report will also recommend similar ranges for hydro-

polluta nts in rivers a nd na iling baseball pla yers snea king steroids. The Co m m issio n o n I so t op ic A b u n d a n c es a n d At o m i c We ig h t s a t t h e I nterna tiona l Union of Pure a nd Ap plied Chem istry ha s decided the time has come to ensure that the figures listed on the official Ta ble of Sta nda rd Atomic Weights properly indica te the varia bility tha t exists in na ture.

gen, lithium, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, silicon, sulfur, chlorine and thallium. Of course, the periodic table has been edited in the past to account for the discovery of new elements. When it was first devised 140 years ago by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, only 63 elements were listed. Now there are 118, and scientists are searching for more. And you thought you already had a lot to remember. Still, fiddling with the actual atomic weights is unprecedented. After all, they have been regarded by generations of high school students as sacrosanct constants of nature. The exercise is not entirely academic. Precise measurement of isotopic ratios can be used to determine the purity and source of all kinds of chemical substances. For example, counterfeiters

often try to pass off Indonesian or Chinese honey as high-grade New Zealand honey, but measurement of the ratio of carbon isotopes of the honey can readily identify its origin. Coplen said that one of his favorite stories involved truckers who were bringing orange juice concentrate from Florida to Kansas City, reconstituting it and selling it to grocery stores as fresh. Isotopic analysis of the water, he said, “showed that it was KC tap water,” and the case ended up in court. Another chemistry commission is currently assessing the boundaries for several other elements, including helium, nickel, copper, zinc, selenium, strontium, argon and lead. Coplen said changes could be made for at least some of those as soon as next summer. — MCT

Yahoo! trimming products

Google refusing to turn over Wi-Fi data Google alerting searchers to hacked websites CONNECTICUT: Connecticut’s attorney general says Google is refusing to give him access to data it collected about state residents from public Wi-Fi networks. Google announced in May that it had inadvertently collected information from people’s online activities from unsecured networks in more than 30 countries while taking photographs for its Street View mapping project. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and officials in nearly 40 other states have been seeking to review the information to see if Google improperly accessed e-mails, passwords and other private data. He had given Google until 5 pm. Friday to turn over the data. Blumenthal says he will now consider whether legal action is warranted. Google did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment. Meanwhile, Google on Friday announced search engine upgrades that included alerting people to hacked websites that make it into query results. “We’ve added new notifications to the results page to warn you

when sites may have been compromised, spammed or defaced,” Google director of product management Mike Cassidy said in a blog post. “In addition to helping users, these notices will also help webmasters more quickly discover when someone is abusing their sites.” Google added automated tools designed to detect signs of hacking and then pin warnings reading “This site may be compromised” beneath potentially tainted entries in search results, according to Cassidy. “Rest assured, once the problem has been fixed, the warning label will be automatically removed from our search results,” said Google associate product manager Gideon Wald. The Mountain View, California-based Internet giant also added new languages and domains to its “Instant” search feature that delivers suggested results with each key stroke of a query. Google’s translation service was given upgrades that include providing alternatives as to what the intended meaning of phrases might be. — Agencies

SAN FRANCISCO: Fresh from cutting its workforce, Yahoo! is looking at getting rid of products that don’t fit the struggling Internet pioneer’s efforts to re-invent itself. “Part of our organizational streamlining involves shif ting our investment with off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation in the next year and beyond,” Yahoo! said Friday in response to an AFP inquir y. Yahoo! properties on an internal “sunset” list leaked onto the Inter net this week included MyBlogL og, Yahoo! Picks, Yahoo! Bookmarks, Yahoo! Buzz and search ser vice AltaVista. “We’re actively thinking about the future of Delicious and we believe there is a home outside the company that would make more sense for the service, our users and our shareholders,” Yahoo! said. A message Friday at the Delicious blog assured users that the social Website bookmarking service was not being shut down. While not a “strategic fit” for Yahoo!, Delicious could find an “ideal home” elsewhere. The Sunnyvale, Califor nia-based fir m declined to discuss other properties on the list other than to say that it was

making decisions based on which products had promise and which were under-performing.Yahoo! on Tuesday announced that it would cut some 600 jobs, about four percent of its global workforce, as it fought to regain its footing on a shif ting Inter net landscape increasingly dominated by Google and Facebook. It was the third round of layoffs since the fall of 2008 and the second since Carol Bar tz took over as chief executive in Januar y 2009. Bar tz replaced Yahoo! cofounder Jerry Yang at the helm after the company rebuffed a bid by Microsoft to buy the company for about 45 billion dollars in early 2008. Microsof t and Yahoo! reached an agreement last year that calls for the US software giant to power searches at all Yahoo! websites. Yahoo! will continue, however, to present search results in its own fashion on its sites, with only a discreet reference at the bottom of the page to their being “Powered by Bing,” Microsoft’s new search engine. Yahoo! has “disposed of non-core assets” while making strategic acquisitions and cultivating partnerships with hot young Internet stars Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga, according to Bartz. — AFP

Sunday, December 19, 2010



Interbreeding brought on by melting ice could fuel extinction LOS ANGELES: As the world heats up and polar ice melts, different types of bears, whales and seals could meet and mate but these unions may be far from happy, researchers said Wednesday. In fact, interspecies sex brought on by the melting Arctic ice could lead to the extinction of many endangered Arctic animals, the scientists said in an article published in the journal Nature. At least 22 species are at risk of hybridizing in 34 different combinations, according to a team led by Brendan Kelly, an Alaska-based evolutionary biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The pairings include polar bears and grizzlies; narwhals and beluga whales; and various assortments of seals. Some of those species are listed as endangered or threatened. Since hybrid offspring or their offspring, in turn - are often infertile, maladapted or

sickly, much of the genetic biodiversity of the Arctic could be lost, the scientists warned. Kelly said the report “is sort of a call-to-arms to encourage our colleagues around the Arctic to recognize this may be going on.” The authors urged the scientific community to begin monitoring mammals living in the Arctic to check for any uptick in hybridization events. Kelly and his co-authors reached their conclusions after reviewing scientific literature, scouring museums for possible hybrid bones and pinpointing which populations are at risk of running into each other as the Arctic ice shrinks. That ice has separated many sea and ice-dwelling animals for as much as 10,000 years, maintaining a barrier to animal movement, and thus interbreeding. Some scientists have predicted that the Arctic could become ice-free by the century’s end as a consequence of climate

change. Although Arctic species rarely interbreed, many are capable of doing so. In 2006, a bear with a patchy white-andbrown coat was shot in the Canadian Arctic. Scientists suspected and DNA-typing later confirmed - that the animal was polar bear-grizzly bear hybrid, a creature known variously as a “pizzly” or “grolar bear.” In the 1980s, an apparent beluga-narwhal hybrid skull (one that lacked the narwhal’s single tusk) was picked up in Greenland. And last year, what appeared to be a hybrid of two whales - a bowhead whale and a right whale - was spotted in the Bering Sea. David Withrow, a marine mammal biologist with NOAA, was the one to spot the hybrid whale, the first he had ever seen. He recalled his shock as the animal headed toward him. “It really threw me,” said Withrow, who was not involved in the new report. “I felt small, like I should know what this

CLEVELAND: Thick ice coats the lighthouse at the entrance to Cleveland harbor. While northeast Ohio got a respite from the winter storms earlier last week, ice-slicked roads prompted warnings of treacherous driving conditions and delayed school openings across a swath of the country. — AP whale is.” If endangered animals increasingly mate with other species, they could be

hybridized out of existence, Kelly said. Consider North Pacific right whales. About 200 are known to exist and only 30

in the Bering Sea area where Withrow spotted the bowheadright whale hybrid in 2009. Even though hybrids can often be

more healthy than either of their parents (a phenomenon termed “hybrid vigor” by scientists), this is often a temporary advantage, said co-author Andrew Whiteley, a conservation geneticist at the University of Massachusetts. The offspring, should the hybrids be fertile, are generally more sickly. And first-generation hybrids are often ill-suited for the environments in which they live, the researchers said. Take the polar bear-grizzly hybrid: Its mottled coat no longer traps heat as efficiently as that of a pure polar bear, it is a poorer swimmer, and it does not exhibit the crafty hunting behaviors (such as jumping on a snow cave to pin a hiding seal) that would help it to survive. The beluga-narwhal hybrid discovered in the 1980s lacked the narwhal’s characteristic horn, a key asset in competing with other males for rank and mates. Negative effects may be

more subtle, too, said Fred Allendorf, a conservation geneticist at the University of Montana who was not involved in the study. Birth cycles may not match up to those scarce months when food is available. Animals may head in the wrong direction during migration periods. And it’s not clear that hybrids would be hardy enough to handle certain environmental shocks or diseases. “With a winter storm ... or other kinds of environmental stresses, they may not survive where the native populations would have before,” Allendorf said. Crossbreeding could also bring positive results, said Allendorf. However, he seconded Kelly’s call-to-arms. “The most important point is ... collecting the samples now so we can see if this happens in the future. If we don’t, in the future we’ll have no way of knowing if this is something new or has been there the whole time.” — MCT



Sunday, December 19, 2010

IDF holds career guidance program packed auditorium, eager young students, attentive parents and an Aexpert faculty characterized the Career Guidance Program organized by the Indian Doctors Forum on Saturday 11th Dec 2010 at KMA Hall, Jabriya. Indian Doctors Forum (IDF), Kuwait proved once again that it is an organization with an active agenda towards community service. The Career Guidance Program on Saturday was organized as part of IDF’s ongoing commitment towards school outreach programs. Over the past years, IDF has been active in organizing workshops, seminars and lectures to promote health awareness among school children and teachers. A few weeks back, IDF successfully conducted the first IDF Interschool Health Quiz as a ‘fun’ way to spread health awareness and received widespread appreciation and accolades. Teenage children in senior classes are very often confronted with difficult questions regarding the future. In this age where career options range from astronomy to marine biology, actuarial sciences to event management, medicine to catering, the average teenager is confused with the choices he or she has to make. Even after making such a choice, the child and parents are often faced with difficulties on how to achieve their goal - which are the good institutions, what are the course requirements, are scholarships available etc. Recognizing this need, IDF decided to invite BS Warrier, a renowned career guidance expert from India, to present a talk on career options to the Indian community in Kuwait. BS Warrier, is well known in India, being a regular columnist in national and regional newspapers as well as a par-

ticipant in various career related programs on television. He has, in addition, presented numerous seminars and lectures all over the country as well as abroad on career guidance. He has received numerous awards in India for his work in the education sector. Although an engineer by profession, he is a keen educationalist and researcher. Through years of painstaking effort, he has compiled and validated an unbelievably large amount of data related to various career options, institutions, admission procedures, course requirements, fees etc. Although this was his first visit to Kuwait, he is well known in the Gulf region, having presented similar programs in other Gulf countries. Warrier presented his talk in a

dynamic and interactive style engaging the audience with questions, comments and anecdotes. The topics covered in his extensive talk were:How to identify the most suitable course for a student. - Factors that influence the selection of a course. Mainstream disciplines & Career opportunities. - Emerging disciplines. - Quality institutions for studies in different disciplines Warrier elucidated in detail on how to identify the most suitable course for a student and the factors that should be taken into consideration for the same. Mainstream disciplines like engineering, medicine and the financial services were described, with details of regional, national and international institutes. Warrier took pains to clarify popular misconceptions and also shone light

on lesser known yet promising career options like biotechnology engineering, actuarial sciences etc. In the latter part of his talk, Warrier, touched on emerging disciplines like nanotechnology which show immense career potential in the near future. Quality institutions in India and abroad, the requirements for admission, course details were briefly enumerated in the final part of his talk. Warrier’s talk was followed by an energetic interactive session where students and parents addressed their queries to him. Utilizing his extensive database, Warrier comprehensively answered all the questions providing even minute details wherever required. The event also felicitated the academic achievers in the IDF family. Seventeen children of

IDF members who were top academic performers in the last academic year were awarded the IDF medals of academic excellence. The medals, certificates and gifts were presented to the children by BS Warrier. The children who achieved this distinction are: Verghese Kurien, Isra Meraj, Silar Khan Mayana, Pranav Makarand Dhongade, Tejaswini Vivek Wani, Meshaal Mohd Shukkur, Namitha Mariam Raji, Kriti Gupta, Sara Khan, Kristylyn Cherian Thomas, Ishas Jolly, Nehla Amir, Sheena Gupta, Mohd Muqhtdir Sharfuddin, Sushmitha Ramakrishnan, Sonal Mashankar and Syed Earlier in the day, Indian Doctors Forum had also organized a special session for teachers of Indian Schools at KMA Hall. BS Warrier conducted a

seminar on teaching techniques and how to train children to face exams. Organized in an informal way, the seminar was well attended and well appreciated. Mr. Warrier shared his insights about teaching drawn from his rich experience of teaching and research. Warrier stressed the need to involve and include all students of a class while teaching and not just to concentrate on the achievers. The atmosphere was lively with active interaction by the participants. Dr Nampoory, the President of IDF, expressed his satisfaction at the audience turnout at both the events and said that it showed that there was a palpable need for similar programs in the community. Dr Murali Gopal, the General Secretary of IDF, who played a major role in flawlessly co-coordinating the event was all

praise for Warrier’s presentation. Dr Prashant Purohit, Jt secretary, IDF, carried out his role as master of ceremonies to perfection. Several senior IDF members and prominent members of the community like ED Titus, Managing Director of BEC Exchange were present at the event. Dr Amir Ahmed, Dr Murali Gopal and Dr Sebastian Mathew had earlier laid the groundwork for the event by liaising with the various Indian schools, other social organizations and the Indian community leaders. Wani and Dr Umesh, senior IDF members, presented a memento to BS Warrier, as a token of IDF’s gratitude and appreciation. Many members of the community expressed their thanks and hoped that IDF would organize further events like this.

The highlight of the afternoon was of course the children’s Tableau visualizing the happenings leading to the birth of Jesus, beautifully enacted by members’ children which were well appreciated by all. In his Thank You note, G.O.A President, Raymond D’Sa thanked the sponsors and donors including Indian Airlines, John

Vaz, Charles D’Sa, Peter D’Souza, and Albert Pinto for their support. He also had a special word of thanks for the Goa-World team for their coverage of the event, as well as appreciation for the members, players and committee members for their dedication and support to carry out all the activities of the Association.

Goans organize Xmas tree party ith the theme ‘Let’s be friends this Christmas’ The W Goan Overseas Association, one of Kuwait’s oldest existing Goan Organization celebrated their annual Christmas Tree party on 10th December 2010 at the Asia Restaurant (Kuwait City) from 11:30am onwards. Julio Cardoso the host got the ball rolling for

this traditional and prestigious annual year-end event for the Indian Community, by welcoming the 250 odd guests and announcing that Christmas is that time of the year when the whole world engages in the spirit of spirituality, friendship and love. DJ Mario set the mood for the afternoon by playing a set of Christmas Carols

which was a cue for the guests to invade the dance floor. Games for children were conducted in the 0-5, 6-9 and 10-12 age categories and a special X’Mas Carols Quiz was held for the teenagers. The adults had their own share of spot prizes to be won and a unique Best Friends Contest wherein guests had to

partner their best friends and write down each other’s personal details, was won by best buddies, Steven Rodrigues and Blesson D’Souza. Just before lunch, to the wonderment of the 60 odd children present in the hall, Santa Claus made his grand entry showering everyone with sweets and toys

from his goody bag. He later on went on to distribute gifts to all the children and teenagers present in the hall. The hamper draw was conducted during the lunch break and Oscar J D’Sa was the lucky first prize winner. A Kuwait- Goa return airline ticket sponsored by Indian Airlines was won by Reji Rodrigues.

Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyah ll events take place at 7pm at the al-Maidan Cultural A 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 a Gallery is located in Sharq, F(next Block 2, Gulf Road, Villa 76 to Al Amiri Hospital). For more information please call 2249 8999.

Sultan Gallery anal Al-Dowayan was born M 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.

Farewell party for ex-FIMA president 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

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

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

ederation of Indian Muslim Associations (FIMA), the coordiFnation council of 14 Indian Muslim Associations working in Kuwait, conducted a farewell party for its patron and former president Dr Ahmed Ghazi who is leaving Kuwait for good. A senior doctor at Adan hospital and a veteran social worker Dr. Gazi played a vital role in shaping the FIMA activities in Kuwait. Ajai Malhotra Indian Ambassador to Kuwait was the chief guest at the function. He praised the personality of Gazi and said he was an asset to the Indian community living in Kuwait. He wished him all the best for his future endeavors. President Siddeeque Valiyakath recalled Dr Gazi’s contributions to the community as he has been proactively bringing many issues faced by Indians living in Kuwait to the attention of the relevant authority. He strived for expediting the renewal process of passport of Kashmiris living in Kuwait with the support of HE Ambassador Ajai Malhotra. He was focused on Educational development of the community all through his tenure as the president of FIMA. Ambassador presented FIMA’s memento to Dr Gazi, as a token of appreciation for his invaluable contributions. Mukhtar Maroof, Kareem Irfan, Dr Ameer Ahmed, Sayed Ghalib Al Mashoor, Mohammed Iqbal, Mohammed Hoshdar Khan and Sharafuddin Kanneth made felicitation speeches. All remembered the passion and enthusiasm Dr Ghazi showed to the common causes under the platform of FIMA and his professional commitment and dedication. Dr. Gazi in his reply speech thanked the organization for giving such an honor. He praised the actions of Indian Embassy under the leadership of Ambassador for the welfare of the Indian community. He cherished good memories of working together with his colleagues in FIMA and underlined that the satisfaction which he acquired by involving in the activities of alleviating the sufferings of many people in India and Kuwait , and also taking the relevant issues to authorities was tremendous. Program started with recitation of versus from holy Quran by Treasurer Muneer. Secretary General Masood Quadri welcomed the audience, and Secretary Basheer Batha rendered vote of thanks. Vice president Salim Desai and Joint treasurer Dr Naimuddin coordinated the activities.

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

Sunday, December 19, 2010



Announcement ‘Love the one you’re with!’ IM to give away free coffees at select Caribou stores across Kuwait to say ‘Happy Thursday’ to all BlackBerry users Research In Motion (RIM) and Caribou Coffee will welcome BlackBerry smartphone users into stores at the Avenues Mall, 360 Mall, Al-Kout Mall and Salhiya Mall, during December to make Thursday afternoons just that extra bit special. From 12 noon onwards, the first 4,000 users to arrive and display their own BlackBerry smartphone will be offered a Caribou loyalty card with a complimentary coffee and free donuts. Customers will also go into the draw each Thursday to win one of the latest BlackBerry smartphones, as well as designer skins. The promotion will run on the Thursdays 23rd and 30th of December. Get there early to take advantage!


PGA Winter Football Camp at Shaab Park 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.


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


Annual Seasonal Tea at Kuwait National English School The Kuwait National English School held its annual seasonal tea party to thank all staff for their hard work and dedication. The School Director Madame Chantal Al Gharabally sends her best wishes and wished everybody a happy, successful, peaceful New Year 2011.

Voice Kuwait Youth Wing formed Organisation for Ideal Career and Education (Voice VBinuiswakarma Kuwait) formed new youth wing. Voice Kuwait President P.G. led the meeting. The following committee members for the year 2010 - 2011 were elected. Baiju Vijayan - President; Ajimon MVice president; Manoj Kumar NP -Vice President; V Shanil General Secretary; Arun - Secretary; J Anil - Secretary; Gireesh Vayanad - Treasurer; Dhaneesh - Joint Treasurer; KS Sajeev Organizing Secretary; Shajan K - Arts Secretary; Manu Sankar Sports Secretary.

St Berchman’s Annual Extempore Competition he ICSK Amman legTexemplary end of producing orators lives on as the young and powerful speakers from our school made us proud on the 15th October, 2010 when they brought home the overall second trophy for the Sub -Junior B category conducted by St Berchman’s Annual Extempore Competition. The flag of ICSK keeps flying high, thanks to the sincere efforts of the teaching faculty and the genius of our young talents. The Alumni Association of St Berchman’s College (AASBCO), Kuwait Chapter held the 13th Annual Extempore competition at the Indian English Academy School (Don Bosco), Salmiya. The competition witnessed eager participation from 214 participants from various

schools across Kuwait. Jane Mendonca and Sharan Yadav of Class IX from ICSK, Amman participated in the Sub -Junior B category and secured the second and third place respectively. The young speakers thrilled the audience and impressed the judges with their stellar performances. The eloquence of speech, the wide range of vocabulary and the positivism that our children exhibited evinced unanimous appreciation from the judges and the audience and secured an overall second position. The winners were awarded the trophies and certificates on 15 Oct ,2010 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Hall, Jleeb Al Shuwaikh in the presence of HE Ajai Malhotra, Hon Ambassador of India to Kuwait. Kudos to the winners.

ICSK Khaitan visits Kuwait zoo hen the KG and Prep children of ICSK walked through the gates of the zoo, their faces glowed with wonder seeing the real world of animals. They compared the real ones with what their teachers taught them in class. The teachers were happy because their students identified the animals correctly. The little tots enjoyed the picnic and it was not only a day of fun and frolic but W also an enriching educational exploration.

Kuwait TDP supports Chandra Babu uwait Telugu Desam Party Fans/supporters gathered last Friday at K Farwaniya and expressed their support to Chandra Babu Naidu who has been in indefinite hunger strike demanding that the state and the central governments immediately provide succor to hapless farmers and artisans who faced the brunt of nature’s fury in the last one year. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief and Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Assembly, Chandra Babu Naidu protest-

ing through indefinite hunger strike against the ‘inadequate relief package announced by the state government for farmers who lost their crop in the recentt rains.” Meanwhile Kuwait Telugudesam party, Paritala Ravi Yuvasana, Gulf wide Nandamuri fans leaders, members joined the meeting held at Farwaniya Rayala seema hall last Friday. They praised Chandra Babu Naidu and team of legislators for their great efforts for farmers of

Andhra Pradesh. Ratakonda Lakshmipathi Naidu, Vegi Venkatesh Naidu, Polavarapu Babu Naidu, Kovuru Sudarsana Naidu, Darla Srinivasa Achari, Sanapanani Mani, Kommi Nanniah, M. Vengaiah Chowdary, Oleti Divakar Naidu, K Mohan Babu, Mulakala Subarayudu Naidu, B P Naidu, Perugu Srinu, Venkat, Ravi, Natam Srinu, Dagupati Srinu, Subbaiah Naidu and Dr Nettem Chinni Krishna took lead part in this gathering.



Sunday, December 19, 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 Burn Notice 04:00 The Invisible Man 05:00 The Philanthropist 06:00 Live Good Morning America 07:00 Private Practice 08:00 Glee 09:00 Psych 10:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 11:00 The Philanthropist 12:00 Cold Case 13:00 Burn Notice 14:00 Glee 15:00 Private Practice 16:00 Live Good Morning America 17:00 Psych 18:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 19:00 Momma’s Boys 20:00 Eureka 21:00 Criminal Minds 22:00 Happy Town 23:00 The Tudors

00:50 Shark Bait Beach 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 The Crocodile Hunter Diaries 08:50 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 09:15 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 09:40 Project Puppy 10:05 Project Puppy 10:35 Xtremely Wild 11:00 Cats 101 11:55 Gorilla School 12:20 Sspca: On The Wildside 12:50 Animal Precinct 13:45 E-Vets: The Interns 14:10 Pet Rescue 14:40 Animal Cops Philadelphia 15:35 Wildlife SOS 16:00 Sspca: On The Wildside 16:30 Wildest Africa 17:25 Cats 101 18:20 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 19:15 World Wild Vet 20:10 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz 21:10 Shark Family 22:05 Panda Adventures With Nigel Marven 23:00 Ultimate Air Jaws 23:55 Maneaters

00:15 Taking The Flak 00:45 Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show 01:10 Manchild 02:10 Manchild 02:40 Eastenders 03:10 Eastenders 03:40 The Weakest Link 04:30 Me Too 04:50 The Roly Mo Show 05:05 Fimbles 05:25 Teletubbies 05:50 Gigglebiz 06:05 Me Too 06:25 The Roly Mo Show 06:40 Fimbles 07:00 Teletubbies 07:25 Gigglebiz 07:40 Me Too 08:00 The Roly Mo Show 08:15 Fimbles 08:35 Teletubbies 09:00 Gigglebiz 09:15 Me Too 09:35 Fimbles 09:55 Teletubbies 10:20 The Weakest Link 11:10 Casualty 12:00 Casualty 12:50 Only Fools And Horses 13:20 Only Fools And Horses 13:50 Holby City 15:45 Holby City 16:45 Only Fools And Horses 17:15 Only Fools And Horses 17:45 Doctors 19:45 Doctors 20:15 The Weakest Link 21:00 The Weakest Link 21:50 Monarch Of The Glen 22:40 Heart And Soul 23:35 Holby Blue

00:20 Trish’s Paris Kitchen 00:45 Daily Cooks Challenge 08:55 Daily Cooks Challenge 09:25 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 11:55 James Martin’s Champagne 12:20 James Martin’s Champagne 12:40 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 13:30 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 15:10 James Martin’s Champagne 15:35 James Martin’s Champagne 16:00 Daily Cooks Challenge 16:30 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 17:20 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 18:10 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 19:00 Rick Stein And The Japanese Ambassador 19:55 James Martin’s Champagne 20:25 James Martin’s Champagne 20:55 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 21:45 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 22:35 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 23:25 Rick Stein And The Japanese Ambassador

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 The Flintstones 08:25 The Jetsons 08:55 Tom And Jerry 09:20 Looney Tunes 09:45 Paddington Bear 10:10 Pink Panther And Pals 10:35 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo 11:00 The Garfield Show 11:30 Popeye Hour 12:25 Scooby Sandwich 22:00 Yogi’s Treasure Hunt 22:25 Tom And Jerry 22:50 The Scooby Doo Show 23:15 Droopy: Master Detective 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 Chop Socky Chooks 08:50 Ben 10: Alien Force 09:15 Bakugan: New Vestroia 09:40 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 10:05 The Secret Saturdays 10:30 George Of The Jungle 11:30 Angelo Rules 11:55 Ben 10 And Star Wars Clone Wars... 17:50 Chowder 18:15 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack

One Week on Show Movies

18:40 Skunk Fu! 19:05 Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends 19:30 Angelo Rules 19:55 Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory 21:30 Best Ed 21:45 Skunk Fu! 22:10 Ed, Edd N Eddy 22:35 Codename: Kids Next Door 23:00 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 23:25 Samurai Jack 23:50 Megas Xlr

01:15 Soul Food-PG15 03:15 Finding Forrester-PG 05:30 Punch-Drunk Love-18 07:15 Jump Tomorrow-PG15 09:00 The Memory Keeper’s DaughterPG15 11:00 The Loss Of A Teardrop DiamondPG15 13:00 Martian Child-PG 15:00 Shine A Light-PG15 17:15 Sunshine Cleaning-PG15 19:00 Awakenings-PG 21:00 Wings Of The Dove-18 23:00 I Want You-18

00:00 Mainsail 00:30 Revealed 01:00 The Best Of Backstory 01:30 World Sport 02:00 World Report 02:30 Inside Africa 03:00 World Report 03:30 I Report For CNN 04:00 Your $$$$$ 05:00 Larry King Live 06:00 The Best Of The Situation Room 07:00 World Sport 07:30 Mainsail 08:00 World Report 08:30 The Best Of Backstory 09:00 World Report 09:30 Revealed 10:00 World Report 10:15 CNN Marketplace Africa 10:30 I Report For CNN 11:00 World Report 11:15 CNN Marketplace Middle East 11:30 Mainsail 12:00 Political Mann 12:30 Talk Asia 13:00 Larry King Live 14:00 World Report 14:30 World Sport 15:00 News Special 15:30 Inside Africa 16:00 Fareed Zakaria Gps 17:00 State Of The Union With Candy Crowley 18:00 World Report 18:30 I Report For CNN 19:00 Mainsail 19:30 World Sport 20:00 Prism 20:45 CNN Marketplace Middle East 21:00 African Voices 21:30 Revealed 22:00 World Report 22:30 Talk Asia 23:00 World Report 23:30 News Special

00:40 Cook County Jail 01:35 True CSI 02:30 Top Tens 03:25 Motor City Motors 04:20 How Do They Do It? 04:50 How Do They Do It? 05:15 Deadliest Catch 06:05 Mythbusters 07:00 Fifth Gear 07:25 Wheeler Dealers 08:15 Motor City Motors 09:10 I Could Do That 09:40 I Could Do That 10:05 How Do They Do It? 10:30 Ultimate Survival 11:25 Deadliest Catch 12:20 Border Security 17:20 Border Security 17:50 How Do They Do It? 18:15 Time Warp 18:45 Time Warp 19:10 Ultimate Survival 20:05 Deadliest Catch 21:00 Mythbusters 21:55 Wreckreation Nation 22:50 Worst-Case Scenario 23:20 Eyewitness 23:45 Pit Bulls And Parolees

00:40 Nextworld 01:30 Weird Or What? 02:20 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 03:10 The Sun 04:00 Sci-Fi Science 04:25 Sci-Fi Science 04:50 The Future Of... 05:45 Engineered 06:40 How Stuff’s Made 07:10 Superships 08:00 Junkyard Mega-Wars 09:00 Scrapheap Challenge 10:00 Da Vinci’s Machines 10:55 Brainiac 11:50 How Stuff’s Made 15:55 How Stuff’s Made 16:25 Weird Connections 16:55 The Xtesters 17:20 The Xtesters 17:50 The Gadget Show 18:15 The Gadget Show 18:45 Sci-Fi Science 19:10 Sci-Fi Science 19:40 Creatures Inside Us 20:30 Human Cloning 21:20 What’s That About? 22:10 Stephen Hawking’s Universe 23:00 Human Body: Ultimate Machine 23:50 Extreme Bodies

00:20 Replacements 00:45 Replacements 01:10 Fairly Odd Parents 01:35 Fairly Odd Parents 02:00 A Kind Of Magic 02:20 A Kind Of Magic 02:45 Stitch 03:10 Stitch 03:35 Kim Possible 04:00 Kim Possible 04:25 Emperors New School 04:50 Emperors New School 05:15 Stitch 05:35 Stitch 06:00 Special Agent Oso 06:25 Jungle Junction 06:45 Handy Manny 07:10 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 07:35 Fairly Odd Parents 08:00 Fairly Odd Parents 08:25 Good Luck Charlie 09:00 Toy Story 2 10:30 Sonny With A Chance 10:55 Sonny With A Chance 11:15 Kim Possible 11:40 Wizards Of Waverly Place 12:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 12:25 Stitch 12:50 Good Luck Charlie 13:15 Good Luck Charlie 13:40 Fairly Odd Parents 14:00 Jonas La 14:25 Jonas La 14:50 Phineas And Ferb 15:15 Hannah Montana 15:35 Hannah Montana 16:00 Sonny With A Chance 16:30 Stitch 16:55 Stitch 17:20 Stitch 18:00 Hannah Montana 18:20 Good Luck Charlie 18:45 Good Luck Charlie 19:10 Den Brother 20:40 Phineas And Ferb 21:25 Wizards Of Waverly Place 21:50 Good Luck Charlie 22:15 Good Luck Charlie 22:40 Sonny With A Chance 23:05 Jonas 23:30 Hannah Montana 23:55 Hannah Montana

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

00:40 Dr 90210 01:30 15 Most Shocking Political Sex Scandals 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 05:30 Streets Of Hollywood 06:00 Ths 07:45 Behind The Scenes 08:10 Behind The Scenes 08:35 E! News 09:25 E!es 10:15 E!es 11:05 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 11:30 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 12:00 E! News 12:50 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 13:40 Ths 14:30 Giuliana And Bill 14:55 Giuliana And Bill 15:25 E!es 16:15 E!es 17:10 E! News 17:35 E! News 18:00 E! News 18:50 Holly’s World 19:15 Holly’s World 19:40 E!es 20:30 E! News 20:55 E! News 21:20 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 21:45 Fashion Police 22:10 E! News 23:00 Chelsea Lately 23:25 The Soup 23:50 Extreme Hollywood

00:00 Dr Danger 00:25 Dr Danger 00:50 Breitling Airsports 2009 01:15 Breitling Airsports 2009 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 2010 05:00 Fim World Supermoto 2010 05:50 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships 20 06:40 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships 20 07:30 I-Ex 08:00 I-Ex 08:30 I-Ex 09:00 Ride Guide Mountain Bike 11:55 Ride Guide Mountain Bike 12:20 Alpine Adventurer 13:10 Alpine Adventurer 14:00 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships 20 14:50 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships 20 15:40 Alpine Adventurer 16:30 Alpine Adventurer 17:20 Extreme Lives: My Right Foot 18:10 Harvest 1 19:00 Alpine Adventurer 19:50 Alpine Adventurer 20:40 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships 20 21:30 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships 20 22:20 Fantasy Factory 22:45 Fantasy Factory 23:10 Untracked Series 1 23:35 Untracked Series 1

00:00 Good Eats 00:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:00 Food Network All-Star 02:00 30 Minute Meals 02:30 Tyler’s Ultimate 03:00 Iron Chef America 04:00 Barefoot Contessa 04:30 Unwrapped 05:00 Chopped 06:00 Good Eats 06:30 Guys Big Bite 07:00 Food Network Challenge 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 Giada At Home 12:00 Paula’s Best Dishes 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 Giada At Home 20:30 Paula’s Best Dishes 21:00 Iron Chef America 22:00 Barefoot Contessa 22:30 Everyday Italian 23:00 Chopped

01:30 Pac-10 Men’s Basketball UCLA at BYU 03:30 Asian Tour Hero Honda Indian Open 04:00 Golf Central International 04:30 Golf Channel - TBA 07:00 European Tour South African Open Rd. 3 Western Cape, South Africa 10:00 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic Miami v Cenral Florida Sunrise, FL 12:30 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic Florida v Kansas St. Sunrise, FL 14:30 Golf Central International 15:00 Extreme Sailing Series 15:30 Pac-10 Men’s Basketball UCLA at BYU 17:30 European Tour South African Open Final Rd. Western Cape, South Africa 20:30 FOX NFL Sunday 21:00 NFL TBA at TBA

00:40 A Haunting 01:30 Psychic Witness 02:20 The Haunted 03:10 A Haunting 04:05 A Haunting 05:00 Psychic Witness 05:55 Crime Scene Psychics 06:20 Ghost Lab 07:10 Real Emergency Calls 07:35 Real Emergency Calls 08:00 Diagnosis: Unknown 08:50 Real Emergency Calls 09:15 Real Emergency Calls 09:40 Forensic Detectives 10:30 Solved 11:20 Accident Investigator 12:10 FBI Files 13:00 On The Case With Paula Zahn 13:50 Murder Shift 14:40 Diagnosis: Unknown 15:30 Real Emergency Calls 15:55 Real Emergency Calls 16:20 On The Case With Paula Zahn 17:10 Forensic Detectives 18:00 FBI Files 18:50 Solved 19:40 Diagnosis: Unknown 20:30 Real Emergency Calls 20:55 Real Emergency Calls 21:20 Ghost Lab 22:10 Murder Shift 23:00 True Crime With Aphrodite Jones 23:50 On The Case With Paula Zahn

00:20 Sonic Underground 00:45 Nancy Drew 01:10 The Hardy Boys 01:30 Inspector Gadget 02:00 M.A.S.K. Marathon 07:00 New Adventures Of Madeline 07:25 Rupert 07:45 Jass Time 07:50 Dennis The Menace 08:00 Programmes Start At 8:00pm KSA 13:00 Programmes Start At 8:00pm KSA 20:00 Sonic Christmas Blast 20:25 Wallace And Gromit: A Close Shave 20:55 Birdz 21:20 Fat Dog Mendoza 21:45 Sabrina The Animated Series 22:10 S Club 7 In Miami

Whip It on Super Movies 22:35 Beverly Hills Teen Club 23:00 Sonic Christmas Blast 23:25 Wallace And Gromit: A Close Shave 23:55 Ace Lightning

01:30 Last Embrace 03:10 Scandal 05:05 Watch It 06:50 Masquerade 08:20 The 70’s 10:20 Where Angels Fear To Tread 12:10 Rich Kids 13:45 Italian Movie 15:20 Home Of Our Own, A 17:05 Sleepover 18:35 Spring 20:05 Pink Panther 22:00 Busting 23:30 Hickey And Boggs

00:00 The Office 00:30 Scrubs 01:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:30 The Colbert Report 02:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 03:00 Saturday Night Live 04:00 The Cleveland Show 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 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 Scrubs 08:30 Dharma And Greg 09:00 Hope And Faith 09:30 The Drew Carey Show 10:00 Watching Ellie 10:30 How I Met Your Mother 11:00 Dharma And Greg 11:30 Hope And Faith 12:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 13:00 Scrubs 13:30 Dharma And Greg 14:00 Hope And Faith 14:30 How I Met Your Mother 15:00 The Office 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 Entourage 20:30 Curb Your Enthusiasm 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live (Uncut) 23:30 Better Off Ted

00:00 Sex And Lies In Sin City-18 02:00 G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra-PG15 04:00 Man In The Chair-PG15 06:00 Shoot The Hero-PG15 08:00 Defiance-PG15 10:15 One Week-PG 12:00 G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra-PG15 14:00 Crimes Of The Past-PG15 15:45 Defiance-PG15 18:00 12 Rounds-PG15 20:00 My Son, My Son, What Have You Done?-PG15 22:00 Sleuth-18

01:00 Punisher: War Zone-18 03:00 Con Air-18 05:00 Face Off-PG15 07:00 Ghost Image-PG15 09:00 Dragonball: Evolution-PG 11:00 Changing Lanes-PG15 13:00 Polar Storm-PG15 15:00 Dragonball: Evolution-PG 17:00 Nighthawks-18 19:00 Juice-18 21:00 Quarantine-18 23:00 The Bank Job-18

00:00 Working Girl-18 02:00 The Immaculate Conception Of Little Dizzle-PG15 04:00 Maneater: Part I-PG15

06:00 Maneater: Part II-PG15 08:00 America’s Sweethearts-PG15 10:00 Car Babes-PG15 12:00 Paul Blart Mall Cop-PG15 14:00 Wag The Dog-PG 16:00 Working Girl-18 18:00 Dead Man On Campus-18 20:00 Fired Up!-18 22:00 In The Loop-18

00:00 The Legend Of The Sea-FAM 02:00 Clockstoppers-FAM 04:00 Doubting Thomas: Spies And LiesPG 06:00 The Jungle Book III: Mowgli’s Adventure-FAM 08:00 Legend Of Sleeping Beauty-PG 10:00 Doubting Thomas: Spies And LiesPG 12:00 Gulliver’s Travel-PG 14:00 Clockstoppers-FAM 16:00 Hey Arnold! The Movie-PG 18:00 Robin Hood: The King’s ReturnFAM 20:00 Born To Be Wild-FAM 22:00 Gulliver’s Travel-PG

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

03:30 Scottish Premier League 05:30 Live Ashes Test Cricket 13:00 Futbol Mundial 13:30 Scottish Premier League 15:30 Test Cricket 22:00 Live PDC Darts World Championship

00:30 European Challenge Cup 02:30 Futbol Mundial 03:00 Brazil League Highlights 03:30 World Sport 04:00 Spirit of Equestrian 04:30 Total Rugby 05:00 European Challenge Cup 07:00 PDC World Darts Championsip 12:00 European Tour Weekly 12:30 World Sport 13:00 ICC Cricket World 13:30 Live European PGA Tour 17:30 Futbol Mundial 18:00 Scottish Premier League 20:00 World Sport 20:45 Live European Challenge Cup 22:45 European PGA Tour

01:00 WWE Bottom Line 02:00 WWE NXT 03:00 WWE Smackdown 05:00 UFC Unleashed 06:00 UFC Unleashed 07:00 WWE Vintage Collection 08:00 WWE Bottom Line 09:00 WWE NXT 10:00 WWE Smackdown 12:00 V8 Supercars Championship 13:00 V8 Supercars Championship

14:00 FIM World Cup 14:30 Full Throttle 15:00 V8 Supercars Extra 16:00 WWE Smackdown 18:00 V8 Supercars Championship 20:00 WWE Vintage Collection 21:00 WWE Bottom Line 22:00 WWE NXT 23:00 WWE Smackdown

01:00 It’s A Free World-PG15 03:00 The Damned United-PG15 05:00 Witness To Waco-PG15 07:00 Ye Olde Times-PG 09:00 Suburban Girl-PG15 11:00 The Damned United-PG15 13:00 The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor-PG 15:00 Accidents Happen-PG15 17:00 Suburban Girl-PG15 19:00 Whip It-PG15 21:00 Surrogates-PG15 23:00 Order Of Chaos-PG15

00:40 Cities of the Underworld 01:30 Ax Men 02:20 Battlefield Detectives 03:10 Investigating History 04:00 Lost Worlds 04:55 The True Story of Troy 06:40 Cities of the Underworld 07:30 Ax Men 08:20 Battlefield Detectives 09:10 Investigating History 10:00 Lost Worlds 10:55 The True Story of Troy 12:40 Cities of the Underworld 13:30 Ax Men 14:20 Battlefield Detectives 15:10 Investigating History 16:00 Lost Worlds 16:55 The True Story of Troy 18:40 Cities of the Underworld 19:30 Ax Men

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

00:00 Saturday Night Fever 02:00 VH1 Music 06:00 Chill Out 08:00 Smooth Wake Up 10:00 Aerobic 11:00 VH1 Hits 12:00 Music For The Masses 13:00 Top 10 14:00 Cover Power 15:00 Best Clips  2000-2010 Weekend 18:00 VH1 Loves 19:00 The Album Chart Show 20:00 Guess The Year 21:00 Best Clips  2000-2010 Weekend 23:00 Zane Meets U2

Sunday, December 19, 2010

33 ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya for one or two working ladies or married couple with Keralite family. Contact: 66013882. (C 2908) Sharing accommodation available in Farwaniya for couples (Keralite/South Indian only) with a small Keralite family in a two bedroom C-A/C flat, easy access to bus stop & Jamiya. Please contact: 97508939 or 66786103. (C 2910) 19-12-2010 Accommodation available in Abbassiya, bath attached independent room in CA/C building, 2 bedroom 2 bathroom flat - available for non-

smoking couples with Kerala Christian family near Integrated School from December end. Rent KD 85. Please contact: 99416236. (C 2905) 18-12-2010 C-A/C room available for a single or two bachelors with a small Indian Goan Hindu family, Amman Street, Salmiya. Please call: 99408202 / 25625932. (C 2998) Sharing accommodation available for a couple or 2 working ladies in a two bedroom C-A/C flat in Abbassiya with Keralite Christian family from 2011 January 1 onwards. Contact: 66037905. (C 3000) 16-12-2010 Sharing accommodation available for executive

bachelor (Muslim) furnished flat near Behbehani Complex, Sharq. Contact: 65627272. (C 2991) Furnished sharing accommodation available for a non-smoking Keralite bachelor in Abbassiya. Rent KD 40. Contact: 66577233. (C 2992)

Sharing accommodation available from 1st January 2011 for Christian family or 2 working women near German Clinic, Canery building, C-A/C, separate toilet. Contact: 99760741 / 99520301. (C 2993) 14-12-2010 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 nonsmoking/non-drinking in a two bedroom flat in Abbassiya with kitchen, local phone, A/C & other facilities, from Jan 1. Contact: 97669236 (24315927 after 5pm). (C 2987) 13-12-2010

FOR SALE Selling double bed 180/200, sofa 3 seats, microwave, vacuum. Call: 67665529. (C 2907) Toyota Corolla 1.6, Model 2009, color gray, low mileage, with CD and sensor, excellent condition, cash price KD 3,550. Contact: 99934965. (C 2909) Mitsubishi Galant Super Saloon model 1990, engine, gear, tires excellent condition, automatic gear, price KD 220. Contact: 99105286. (C 2911) Toyota Camry model 2008, silver color, 48,960km done, A.B.S 4 cylinder engine, excellent condition. Cash price KD 3,800 (Installment possible). Contact: 66507741. (C 2912) 19-12-2010


Computer HP xw4400 Workstation, Core 2 Duo, 500 GB HDD, Nvidia Quadro VGA, Original XP Professional with HP LP2065 20-inch LCD. (Send All IT Inquiries Also) Warranty 1 year. Tel: 66158602, E-mail: (C 2903) Desktop Dell OptiPlex GX620 SFF (DCNE) 3.4 GHz Dual Core, Original Windows XP with HP L1740 17-inch LCD. (Send All IT Inquiries Also) Warranty 1 year. Tel: 66158602, E-mail: (C 2904) Mitsubishi Lancer 2003 GLX, Maroon color, excellent condition, KD 1100. Contact: 55323839. (C 2906) 18-12-2010


CHANGE OF NAME I, Bramha Devra Deepak Kumar, holder of Indian Passport No. E5413572, son of Anandham Anjayya, converted to Islam, do hereby change my name to Mohammed Salahuddin. (C 2901) I, Brahma Devara Malkanthi, holder of Indian Passport No. E1088903, wife of Bramha Devva Deepak Kumar converted to Islam, do hereby change my name to Sarah Fathima. (C 2902) 16-12-2010 I, Sakila Ahmad s/o Zahoor Ali, holder of Indian passport No. G0638547 hereby change my name to Shakeel Ahmad s/o Zahoor Ali. (C 2995)

Toyota Corolla box 1.3, model 2002, white color, one owner. Contact: 66233022. 16-12-2010


Veluthedathu Nair parents inviting proposals from professionally qualified boys for their 24 year old daughter doing Msc nursing. E-mail: sreelathajayaprakash@gma / (C 2997) 15-12-2010

Academic proofreader is needed on part time basis to work from home, please send your CV to: proof_reading_kwt@yahoo. com

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)

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: 14943

Motorcycle Honda ST1100, model 2000, very clean, only 10,000 km, baby gold wing touring bike, KD 1650. Contact: 66655326. (C 2994) Selling refrigerator, coulter 4 burners, TV with warranty, double wooden bed. Call: 67665529. (C 2996) 15-12-2010 Toyota Camry 2008 SE, white color, low mileage, extra spoiler, LCD with navigation system, sunroof, remote key, fog lamp, all service done in Al-Sayer till date. Price KD 3,950. Contact: 66015265. (C 2990) 14-12-2010 FOR AIRPORT INFORMATION 161

In case you are not travelling, your proper cancellation of bookings will help other passengers to use seats Airlines WAN JZR WAN GFA ETH WAN BBC THY UAE DHX QTR FDB ETD JZR KAC JZR JZR FCX BAW KAC KAC FDB KAC KAC KAC UAE KAC ABY QTR ETD GFA IRA FCX JZR WAN JZR IRC JZR IRA MEA KAC KAC MSR JZR KAC KAC FDB SVA UAL SVA KAC


Time 0:40 0:45 1:20 1:40 1:45 1:50 1:55 2:15 2:35 2:45 2:45 3:05 3:10 3:50 4:40 5:40 6:00 6:15 6:40 6:45 7:40 7:45 7:55 8:05 8:10 8:30 8:35 9:05 9:05 9:30 9:35 9:40 10:30 10:55 11:05 11:10 11:15 11:20 11:35 11:55 12:40 12:45 12:55 13:00 13:25 13:40 13:50 14:00 14:10 14:30 14:40


284 134 257 341 546 3555 303 857 215 510 213 800 239 127 432 97 227 511 177 304 204 542 106 618 786 614 674 744 202 166 102 552 405 61 647 572 402 372 217 81 104 402 136 859 322 172 502 981 157 612 185 135 981


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


186 389 636 422 108 205



Departure Flights on Sunday 19/12/2010 Flt Route



394 981 576 637 620 283 46 773 381 371 68 854 306 139 98 560 164 803 212 786 94 120 54 641 545 156 671 171 256 511 771 561 856 124 117 133 302 214 602 204 212 611 541 510

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23:10 23:30 23:35 23:45 23:55 23:55

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (


238 6802 103 614 405 785 176 611 58 551 673 9361 982 617 503 103 342 501 613 135 743 3556 304 216 305 858 801 184 128 156 511 228 204 134 361 62 351 648 571 373 712 675 218 403 102 137 301 860 502 343 530 554 415 613 411


12:10 12:15 12:30 12:35 12:55 13:40 13:50 13:55 14:35 14:40 15:10 15:15 15:25 15:35 15:45 16:00 16:05 16:15 16:20 16:30 16:40 17:15 17:40 18:05 18:05 18:10 18:15 18:20 18:25 18:30 18:35 19:10 19:15 20:05 20:20 20:50 20:55 21:10 21:15 22:00 22:00 22:10 22:15 22:20 22:30 22:35 22:45 22:50 23:00 23:30 23:35 23:45 23:45 23:45 23:55



Sunday, December 19, 2010



Aries (March 21-April 19) If, for any reason, you have been procrastinating about having a conversation with an authority figure concerning anything that needs changing in your city, now is the time. You could communicate the details of some legal matter that will make the law clear in your area of the state. Perhaps this matter involves a leash law or identification tags for your feline friends. This is a period when you can put your practical insights into words and convey them to others. A little cleaning and putting things away can be a problem with all the decorations lying around; however, you soon have everything looking tip-top shape. You aim to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Step outside to see the beautiful sunset! Taurus (April 20-May 20) You may be feeling very good about yourself just now and appreciating your own better qualities. You may see value in or feel love for an older person or someone in authority. You seem to appreciate feelings and movement in general, and could possibly find yourself looking for a little romance, or at least enjoying some emotional release. You may just want to get active and walk or exercise. It's just a wonderful time to be in the company of others and to work together. A particular job may be just right for someone with your credentials. You may want to consider your path to this new job, beginning with a couple of paragraphs to the manager of that department about how you think you could be an asset. Your ideas are on target!

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. Any of various strong liquors distilled from the fermented sap of toddy palms or from fermented molasses. 5. United States writer (born in Poland) who wrote in Yiddish (1880-1957). 9. A island in the Netherlands Antilles that is the top of an extinct volcano. 13. Type genus of the Nepidae. 14. The United Nations agency concerned with civil aviation. 15. The sixth month of the civil year. 16. Horny plate covering and protecting part of the dorsal surface of the digits. 17. (British) An open river valley (in a hilly area). 18. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 19. (Babylonian) A demigod or first man. 21. A person forced to flee from home or country. 23. Medium-sized tree having glossy lanceolate leaves. 24. A particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography). 26. The use of bacteria or viruses of toxins to destroy men and animals or food. 32. A human limb. 34. A native of ancient Troy. 35. The branch of computer science that deal with writing computer programs that can solve problems creatively. 38. Group insurance that entitles members to services of participating hospitals and clinics and physicians. 39. (informal) Exceptionally good. 41. American prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship three times (born in 1942). 43. (pathology) An elevation of the skin filled with serous fluid. 44. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 47. A flat mass of ice (smaller than an ice field) floating at sea. 53. Clean or orderly. 56. The month following February and preceding April. 58. A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn. 59. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 60. Worthy of imitation. 61. By bad luck. DOWN 1. A former copper coin of Pakistan. 2. Having been read. 3. Relating to or having the characteristics of bees. 4. A high-crowned black cap (usually made of felt or sheepskin) worn by men in Turkey and Iran and the Caucasus. 5. A resource. 6. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 7. A high-crowned black cap (usually made of felt or sheepskin) worn by men in Turkey and Iran and the Caucasus. 8. A tool with a flat blade attached at right angles to a long handle. 9. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 10. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 11. A small cake leavened with yeast. 12. Wild sheep of northern Africa. 20. A soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. 22. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 25. A unit of absorbed ionizing radiation equal to 100 ergs per gram of irradiated material. 27. A low dam built across a stream to raise its level or divert its flow. 28. A metallic element having four allotropic forms. 29. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 30. Willing to face danger. 31. Sweet pulpy tropical fruit with thick scaly rind and shiny black seeds. 33. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 36. Metal or plastic sheath over the end of a shoelace or ribbon. 37. Fail to agree with. 38. A tool with a flat blade attached at right angles to a long handle. 40. On a ship, train, plane or other vehicle. 42. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 45. Proceeding from or ordered by or subject to a pope or the papacy regarded as the successor of the Apostles. 46. The branch of engineering science that studies the uses of electricity and the equipment for power generation and distribution and the control of machines and communication. 48. A soft heavy toxic malleable metallic element. 49. A circular segment of a curve. 50. The food served and eaten at one time. 51. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 52. A river that rises in northeastern Turkey (near the source of the Euphrates) and flows generally eastward through Armenia to the Caspian Sea. 54. 10 hao equal 1 dong. 55. A federal agency established to regulate the release of new foods and health-related products. 57. A metric unit of length equal to one thousandth of a meter.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Taking the novel approach and trying out new ideas and breakthroughs in thinking could be what keeps you busy right now. You just simply feel like trying out something new and unusual. Perhaps your life may feel too complacent, or you could be getting bored with the status quo. Adding a little variety to life is what gives it spice and adds interest. You may want to travel a lesstraveled path. Perhaps you can write a story about what it would be like. Growth comes from allowing yourself to make changes, allowing yourself to see things differently. Fear not what awaits you on the other side of any adventure--take it by the event and let go. This evening there is time for a bicycle ride with a friend or two.

Non Sequitur

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Self-expression is accomplished through helping others and you will be happy to help someone out if they ask. The challenges that come up today will be more beneficial for you than you think; keep a positive frame of mind. You may be placed in a working situation today where you will be with a group of people in a small place; patience. Plan to do a little exercise later this afternoon, even if it is only to walk the dog. This will create a picture for you to think about if a situation today gets a bit stuffy. You will be very much in tune with your own feelings and the feelings of others. Being patient, creative and understanding is your ticket to a most positive end result. A lover or child is generous or inspiring this evening. Leo (July 23-August 22) A rather eccentric person may temporarily overshadow your humor today. Your unique qualities are appreciated by those around you and when the time is right, you will be acknowledged once again. The happenings this day should give you some new ways of looking at things or discoveries with respect to your living situation or life circumstances. Feel free to allow yourself to dream. Since you will not find these insightful days too often, you should not ignore the opportunity to let your imagination loose. Maybe, later this afternoon, a good book or movie will take on a more than real dimension. Keep exploring the many possibilities that life seems to present to you. You are successful and others learn from your attitude and insights.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) Your warmth and affection attracts many people to you. It is easy for you to make a good impression. Today, however, when meeting new people, you should avoid behaving in any way but natural. You will want be sure that you do not mislead a person--it could bring problems later. In existing relationships your natural affection could be put to good use to undo tensions with friends and loved ones. You may find yourself entertaining company. It would not be a bad idea to find tours in your area that would be of interest to the type of creative things your guests might appreciate. Perhaps a planetarium, IMAX Theater, museums, a tour through a candy company, etc., would be a fun and different ways to remember their visit.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Libra (September 23-October 22) You should find yourself in top condition when it comes to any kind of mental activity today. You are full of wit and sharp ideas. Having a clear idea of what the public wants and needs at this time is beneficial to you in making practical decisions with regard to group issues--especially if you find yourself working or volunteering in a group project. Expect to make some decisions that affect others. You may find yourself wading cautiously through some difficulties, blocks or a few hot spots all day long. This afternoon there is just enough time for you to kick back and relax, perhaps a hot tub, beautiful music, a little snack or a nice nap. This evening is for fun and dancing and to enjoy the company of a loved one who understands you. Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You may find yourself working extra hard today to get things and people organized--there is a feeling of change. You may have been asked to guide someone in his or her research for a better job. Wait until you are asked before you start changing a resume. Although their resume probably needs changing, it still gives a true indication of just where they are emotionally, as well as educationally. There is a great deal of understanding between good friends and you can be assured of a special time with someone you love before the day has ended. Great feelings and knowing how much you are loved makes this a very happy time. Sit quietly with a loved one and let them have their say-they may ask for your guidance and advice. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) This morning is a great time for exercise and especially with a friend, perhaps an early morning run. A good breakfast begins your busy day. Congratulations on the physical improvements--hard work pays. A hot shower, massage or a little caffeine and you are off to join your friends. Whether you are away from home or at home just now, there are some fun things to enjoy. You will want to seek exciting and stimulating contact with people today. This may mean you visit a tourist interest or go on a shopping expedition. Your intuition is more active at this time. A new project of yours has a special creative vent and proves quite successful. Laughter and a sense of togetherness with special people make for a great weekend.

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) Watch out--an independent streak seems to be surfacing at this time. Others will admire your unique and rather unusual way of understanding. Your sense of humor simply shines at this time, and added to your rather eccentric behavior, should set you apart from the crowd. You should find the benefit of new insights or breakthroughs in your living situation or life conditions. If you are performing in a comedy club, you have probably discovered a completely new set of ideas. Keeping people guessing is part of your allure. People love to be entertained by you. A change of scenery this afternoon is just what you need to lighten your spirit. Get away for the afternoon to some place exciting. An amusement park, perhaps with a loved one, could be just the place.

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) When some kind of recognition or extra support comes along it is always nice, but to get that extra boost that you find coming your way today, makes life extra special. You may have the feeling that you are very much in touch and in harmony with those around you; the lines of communication are wide open. All of the support that you need will be there for you today. Your taste in art and a curiosity in how things work in general are heightened. Maybe this is the perfect time to pick out furnishings, colors and so forth--the more elegant things in life. Your sense of value is good. This evening is a wonderful time to be around friends and associates and to work together in some sort of effort to make life better--perhaps a charity.

Word Sleuth Solution

Pisces (February 19-March 20) You may find a move or some other change in the planning stage at this time. Anticipation and preparation is the type of energy for much of today. Chatting with friends, you may come up with an idea for a new invention or some new experiment you want to try. This could be anything such as carpentry, fishing or designing of clothes styles. You will ponder many questions by analysis and deep or penetrating thought. Someone close to you may come to you for your psychological perceptiveness and comprehension. Putting yourself in a position to gather and share information is always important to you. You understand hypothetical ideas and know how to present them to those around you. Network if possible.


Sunday, December 19, 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


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


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

24874330/9 CLINICS













Abdullah Salim




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally












New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


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


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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

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jolie and Pitt plan an ʻadventurousʼ

Christmas ngelina J olie is looking forward to an “adventurous” Christmas. The ‘Tourist’ actress - who raises six children Maddox, nine, Pax, seven, Zahara, five, Shiloh, four and two-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne with her partner Brad Pitt - revealed the busy family are excited about taking off for a special Christmas abroad. She said: “We’re going to travel with the kids and go to a random part of the world. We’re going to travel and have an adventure because that’s what we love to do.” Although the Jolie - Pitts will be travelling, Angelina revealed the children won’t have to worry about getting their Christmas presents because the organized mum-of-six has already sorted them out. She


Hilary Swank loves playing ‘underdogs’

told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show: “I’ve got it all boxed and ready to go. I went through it today. I’m trying to get every stocking right and all the wrapping paper.” Angelina recently compared herself to other working mothers and said she is lucky to be able to have time off to spend with her children. She said: “I’m very fortunate in that I can work for two weeks on ‘The Tourist’ and be off for five months. Most working mothers work a lot more hours than I do. I think I’m just like other women, and every woman has a side to them that’s just extremely nurturing, and has a side to them that’s behind closed doors. “I’m a mom first and foremost, and that’s what keeps me grounded and happy.”

Coldplay bans children’s choirs from ‘Christmas lights’

he 36-year-old actress - who won Academy Awards for her role as a transgendered teenager in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and a troubled female boxer in ‘Million Dollar Baby’ - is attracted to characters experiencing hardship who have an unusual story. She said: “They are people who have the odds against them in so many ways. I love the underdogs.” In her new film ‘Conviction,’ Hilary plays an unemployed high school drop-out who fights a legal battle on behalf of her brother after he is imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit. The actress loved working on the movie, which also stars Minnie Driver and Sam Rockwell, because she is always “drawn” to scripts based on real events. She said: “It’s an extraordinary story. I’ve always been drawn to true stories because life is stranger than fiction and this story amazed me, I was really stirred by this bond between a brother and sister. It’s a rare kind of love they have where they would do anything for the other.” Hilary went on to say she went into acting because she loves telling people’s stories. She said: “I became an actor because I love people and I love their stories; it’s like a great kind of advanced psychology class.”

he band have just released single ‘Christmas Lights’ and made a list of the predictable festive pop sounds they didn’t want on the track. In an interview with British station BBC Radio 1, guitarist Johnny Buckland said: “Funnily enough when we were writing this song we thought about all the things that take a song from being a great


he Hollywood star announced her split from husband of two years Ryan Reynolds earlier last week but friends say the gorgeous actress is looking forward to falling in love again someday. The friend told E! News: “She wants a family once she finds the right guy with enough confidence to deal with her celebrity.” However Scarlett will not be looking for a new boyfriend any time soon as her pals have revealed she and Ryan are both struggling to come to terms with their marriage break-up. The source said: “It hasn’t been easy for either one of them. They still care deeply about each other. It didn’t end on bad terms.” Scarlett’s and Ryan’s relationship came under huge pressure because they spent so little time together due to their busy careers. Pals revealed they tried to spend one month together every year but in the end it wasn’t enough. The friend said: “They were together probably three months their entire marriage. They just grew apart. It was never like ‘we want to split.’ But they just both gave in to the reality that they were never together.” “Work never even allowed them to get a chance to spend enough time together. “Last year they spent a month in Europe and didn’t work the whole month.


is a fine line between good and cheese.” Although Chris is pleased with the group’s foray into festive music, the singer insists he isn’t going to worry about what the reaction is to ‘Christmas Lights’ - which has already charted in over 10 countries. He said: “I’m not going to get all paranoid about it. It’s Christmas! Start worrying in January.” ourdes, 14, is keen to change her raven locks to a brighter color but the fashion-conscious teenager admits her superstar mum isn’t impressed with her plans. Writing on her blog, Lourdes said: “I don’t know if any of you saw my hair yet but its mad dark right at the moment. I’m almost sick of it and now I want royal blue hair but not a streak, like my entire head. I’m sure if I get that hair color I’ll be sick of it after about two weeks. “I read this blog aloud to my mother and she is sitting here staring at me with no expression on her face, as if she doesn’t approve of it! So now you all know what I have had to put up with for the past 14 years of my life :D. (sic)” This is not the first time Lourdes and Madonna have clashed over their opinions as they recently launched teen clothing range Material Girl together and the ‘Celebration’ hitmaker admitted they didn’t always see eye-to-eye. She said: “I think we complement each other but we do disagree on a few things. I wouldn’t have worn this flannel shirt thing but she looks good in it so what are you going to do. I’m a very proud mum tonight.” Lourdes added: “Yes there were definitely clashes but you know it all worked out in the end.”

L Madonna’s daughter wants to dye her hair blue

Scarlett Johansson is not giving up on love

Christmas song to being a huge Christmas song, and we had a long list of things that we would absolutely not put in our Christmas track.” Singer Chris Martin interjected to add: “You threw all my lyrics out didn’t you?” Johnny continued, saying: “About the reindeer and stuff? It’s been done before. A children’s choir, that’s a no-go, and sleigh bells. There

Gaga’s iconic ‘meat dress’


ady Gaga’s meat dress has been voted the most iconic outfit of 2010. The ‘Poker Face’ singer - who’s known for her eccentric fashion sense - appeared on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards wearing a dress, hat and boots made of meat and the ensemble has now topped a poll by celebrity style website Although the dress caused controversy, she hit back at critics, saying: “What’s everyone’s big problem with my meat dress? Haven’t they seen me wear leather? Next time, I’ll wear a tofu dress and the soy milk police will come after me.” Kate Middleton’s blue Reiss Issa dress which she wore in the photocall after her engagement to Prince William was announced came second, while Victoria Beckham’s sleeve banded mini-dress came third. The website’s marketing director Andy Barr said of the poll: “It wasn’t surprising to see that Lady Gaga’s infamous ‘meat dress’ clinched the top spot, especially after all the controversy it caused; but the relatively recent dress, as worn by Kate Middleton during the royal engagement announcement, has clearly made a big impression in a short space of time.” Other stars to make the top ten include Katy Perry, Sarah Jessica Parker’s ‘Sex and the City’ alter-ego Carrie Bradshaw and Cheryl Cole. The top 10 iconic outfits of 2010 1 - Lady Gaga’s meat dress 2 - Kate Middleton’s Reiss Issa dress 3 - Victoria Beckham’s sleeve banded mini-dress 4 - Cheryl Cole’s Julien Macdonald dress 5 - Katy Perry’s latex dresses 6 - Carrie Bradshaw pink Halston Heritage dress 7 - Cheryl Cole’s ‘bondage’ tights 8 - Leighton Meester’s suit 9 - Lady Gaga’s Francesco Scognamiglio dress and wig 10 - Emma Watson’s Rafael Lopez lace dress. —Bang Showbiz



Sunday, December 19, 2010

f there were a Hollywood Remakes 101 college class, “True Grit” directors Joel and Ethan Coen no doubt would be in violation of a basic lesson: Never remake a film people know and love. John Wayne’s 1969 Western “True Grit” was one of his choice late-career roles, earning him a best-actor Academy Award for a character so memorable that the 1975 sequel “Rooster Cogburn” was crafted to pair him with Katharine Hepburn so he could ride again as the boozy, one-eyed lawman. But of course, the Coens were never thinking remake with their “True Grit,” which opens Wednesday. They had not seen Wayne’s “True Grit” since they were kids. Their idea was to bring to the screen a faithful version of the novel on which it was based. Charles Portis’ “True Grit” reads like a novelization of a Coen brothers’ film. Macabre humor and bursts of savage violence, often at the same moment. Deadpan dialogue spoken with poetic rhythms, delivered with a highfalutin’ grandiosity that sets the world apart from any other. Oddball characters who have never met a movie cliche they couldn’t sidestep to do something utterly unexpected. “I reread the book a few years back to my kid out


loud and thought it would be fun to do as a movie,” Joel Coen said in an interview alongside his brother. Paramount Pictures owned the rights, but “they weren’t jumping all up and down about it ... because I think studios are cautious about ‘Westerns,’ in quotations marks.” “In their minds it’s a Western. In our minds, less so,” said Ethan Coen. “It’s an interesting novel, not a Western, per se. But yeah, to them it’s a Western, and that’s just kind of poison now. They know it doesn’t do well overseas.” Even if international audiences are not keen for stories of America’s Old West, studios are eager to be in business with the Coens these days, after their offbeat sensibilities went mainstream with 2007’s “No Country for Old Men.” That film won them the best-picture, directing and adapted screenplay Oscars and became their biggest commercial success. They followed with another solid earner in 2008’s “Burn After Reading” and a bestpicture nominee last year with “A Serious Man.” So Paramount gave them the goahead to not only take on a genre that has fallen out of favor, but also to re-create a character so closely identified with Wayne. “I’m not even sure if John Wayne is more

of an icon to us and less and less of an icon as the demographic gets younger and toward people who actually go to the movies now,” said Ethan Coen, 53. “That’s really true,” said Joel Coen, 56. “There are people I mention the movie to who are not that much younger than we are, the next generation, and they go, ‘Yeah, I’m aware of that vaguely. That title sounds familiar. I have no idea what it is. What is it?”‘ The Coens’ veteran cast was familiar with Wayne’s “True Grit” but not Portis’ novel, a first-person adventure told by 14-year-old Mattie Ross, an Arkansas girl who hires US Marshal Cogburn to track down her father’s killer and bring him to justice. Jeff Bridges, who starred in the Coens’ “The Big Lebowski,” plays Cogburn, while Matt Damon co-stars as Rooster and Mattie’s trail companion LaBoeuf, a pompous dandy of a Texas Ranger who was played in Wayne’s version by Glen Campbell. The cast also includes “No Country for Old Men” star Josh Brolin as Tom Chaney, the cowardly murderer that Mattie and her men are hunting, and Barry Pepper as outlaw leader Lucky Ned, a role Robert Duvall played in the original film. “I was curious why the Coen brothers wanted to remake

37 In this film publicity image released by Paramount Pictures, Hailee Steinfeld, left, and Barry Pepper are shown in a scene from, “True Grit.”— AP

a movie. It seemed odd of them,” Bridges said. “Once I’d read the book, I thought, well, this reads like a Coen brothers script. The characters are so unusual, and the twists and turns in the plot.” Pepper had the same reaction when he read the book, particularly Portis’ dialogue, much of which the Coens used verbatim in their film. “It would almost be fair to say that they’re kind of Portis-esque, the Coens,” Pepper said. “It fits them like a calfskin glove, this dialogue, this genius dialogue.” Hailee Steinfeld makes her screen debut as Mattie, a role originated by Kim Darby, who was in her early 20s when she costarred alongside Wayne. Just turned 14, Steinfeld was only 13 when the film was shot and, as the Coens’ surmised about

younger audiences, she had never heard of “True Grit” until she auditioned for the part. “When I first heard that they were adapting, remaking, re-adapting this, I watched the original, and then that’s how I kind of became familiar really with the whole thing,” Steinfeld said. Though the Coens do not consider it a remake, most everyone else does, even some of their cast. “It is a remake of the movie, because the movie does exist, and there’s no way to deny the fact that they’re remaking a film that is iconic and a role that’s iconic,” Brolin said. Early on, Brolin said he read blogs and online traffic from Wayne fans complaining that the Coens’ new version was disrespectful to the actor, who died in 1979. Now that some audiences have seen the film in advance

By Bernard Orr uran Duran rose to fame in the 1980s with stylized videos that fueled the early MTV generation, and in recent years has sold out live shows by playing old hits such as “Hungry Like a Wolf” and “The Reflex.” But with a new album, “All You Need is Now,” set for release on Dec 21, the band whose synthesized pop rock helped usher in the New Wave of the ‘80s is updating its sound for a younger generation while still offering a taste of their past. The band-Roger Taylor, John Taylor, Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes-called on uber-producer Mark Ronson for their 13th studio album, which features 12 new tracks. “We all wanted to get a little bit more experimental with this record. We wanted to reconnect with fans, on the territory on which the band, and Mark Ronson who is the producer, felt we should own. And that was this kind of modern synth, dance, experimental, pop music,” Le Bon told Reuters. With hits like “Girls on Film,” “Rio” and “Save a Prayer,” Duran Duran sold tens of millions of LP’s, cassettes and CD’s and logged numerous top 10 hits in a 30-year span that also saw major changes in the way music has been distributed online. Now, the band is embracing the digital age. The new album’s first single, also titled “All You Need Is Now”, has been available for about a week, free, on iTunes, and the album will also be sold on Apple’s popular music site before CDs are available in stores in February. “The way that people consume music is


man serving probation on a two-year-old conviction for stalking actress Uma Thurman and harassing her family was jailed on Friday on new charges that he resumed stalking the actress, authorities said. Jack Jordan, 39, was arrested in November at his home in Montgomery County, Maryland as he was researching the Oscar-nominated actress on Google, and he was transferred to New York on Thursday to face the fresh stalking charge. Jordan on Friday pleaded not guilty in front of a Manhattan judge and was jailed without bail, a spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office said. Jordan was convicted in 2008 of sending harassing e-mails to Thurman’s father and brother, loitering for hours on the steps of the actress’s Manhattan apartment and visiting her trailer on the set of the 2006 film “My Super ExGirlfriend.” At the time, he was given probation. Thurman, who testified at Jordan’s 2008 trial, starred in the “Kill Bill” movies and has a long list of film credits that include roles in “Pulp Fiction” and “The Producers.”— Reuters

Duran Duran

obviously radically different than the way it was even ten years ago,” said Rhodes, who started Duran Duran with John Taylor in 1978. Rekindled spirit Unlike some music veterans who are turning

their backs on the industry in an age when inexpensive downloads of singles have decimated CD sales, Rhodes said he was now excited for the first time in a long time. The reason is the new CD. “This album has been such a joy to make because of what we have achieved with it,” he said. “It really drives you to

screenings, Brolin said he senses the word is spreading that the Coens have gone back to Portis’ story, not done a number on a beloved John Wayne flick. “Their adaptation was spot on. Where they really, I think, got it right was in lifting as much of Portis’ dialogue as they could, because the dialogue is so beautiful and so funny,” co-star Damon said. “It’s like I feel when I read a writer I really admire, my thought usually is, I know all of those words. I just never thought to put them in that order. And that’s how I feel about Portis. There was something in the formality with which people spoke but the barbarity of the world they were living in,” Damon said. “It feels very much like a Coen brothers movie to me. The total absurdity.”—AP

want to go play shows and introduce these songs to the audience.” New songs have titles such as “Girl Panic!”, “Safe (in the heat of the moment)”, “Being Followed”, “Leave aLight on” and “The Man Who Stole a Leopard,” which features singer Kelis. Ronson, a DJ and solo artist who has produced for the likes of Christina Aguilera and Amy Winehouse, went back to the early Duran Duran records to update what once worked. He has said he thinks of “All You Need is Now” as the “imaginary follow up to ‘Rio’ that never was.” Yet, the producer takes Duran Duran’s synthesized sound and twists their formidable beats and rhythms into modern songs that the band hopes will please loyalists and win new fans. While Ronson is the producer, Rhodes and the band still write and perform all the songs, and Rhodes said that his love for music-while it may have changed over the yearsnever completely went away. “If you have it in your blood and in your mind and in your spirit that you want to make music, you don’t really have the urge to stop,” he said. “I wake up with a tune in my head or I scribble down some words most days. Later, I might rub it out and think ‘nah, that wasn’t any good.’ But you keep thinking about the process all the time.” Duran Duran plans to begin a tour early next year and hopes to play in countries like China and India for the first time. — Reuters


Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar smiles during a news conference for his new film “Tees Mar Khan” in Toronto, on Friday, Dec. —AP

By Bryan Alexander


By Deborah Evans Price s he prepared to kick off his first of nine sold out shows on Friday at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena which will benefit Middle Tennessee’s flood relief efforts - Garth Brooks praised the city’s resilience and thanked the companies and individuals donating their time and services for the concerts. “[These] nine shows are probably going to end up costing somewhere $300,000 to $400,000,” Brooks said during a preshow press conference. “It usually costs three to four million to put on show like that. Everyone you see working tonight is doing it for free. I can’t tell you how big this thing has gotten or how lucky I feel to be a part of it.” Brooks is performing nine concerts in six days, starting with two concerts tonight. He sold 140,000 tickets, setting a new record for the most tickets sold by an artist in Tennessee. (The previous record was 72,000 by Michael Jackson at Knoxville’s Neyland Stadium.) Brooks’ concerts at the Bridgestone have raised $3.5 million so far, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Community Foundation Tennessee


In this Oct 15, 2009 photo, country music star Garth Brooks appears at a news conference in Nashville, Tenn, to announce that he’s coming out of retirement.— AP

he trouble-plagued Broadway production of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” featuring music from U2’s Bono and the Edge, has delayed its opening night until February 7, according to a release from the production company. The original opening night was January 11. Lead producer Michael Cohl said in a statement: “Due to some unforeseeable setbacks, most notably the injury of a principal cast member, it has become clear that we need to give the team more time to fully execute their vision.” “‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ is an extremely ambitious undertaking, as everyone knows, and I have no intention of cutting a single corner in getting to the finish line,” he added. The Hollywood Reporter said earlier this week that the $65 million Broadway production was going to be delayed once again. But despite technical glitches and actor injuries (villainess Natalie Mendoza received a concussion after being struck in the head by equipment backstage; she returned Wednesday; a flying performer broke both his wrists while rehearsing), news about the daring stunts has only fueled interest in the production. During its first week of previews, the show grossed $919,457 from five performances at the theater. That’s 98.2% capacity at an average ticket price of $97.11. Three previews were canceled; had the show played a full eight performances, it could have made nearly $1.5 million. — AP

Flood Relief. Brooks called Nashville the “greatest big city/small town combination you can get” and said the goal of the shows was not only to sell tickets, but to bring a positive economic impact to Nashville at Christmas time. “Our mission was let’s make sure that Nashville is up and running again,” said Brooks. Moo TV donated their services to film the first few shows to create a one-hour television for the Armed Forces Network, which will give military personnel all over the world a chance to see the concert. Concerts will be held December 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 22. With so many concerts in such as short period of time, how does Brooks expect to hold up during the grueling schedule? “As a guy, there’s always that girl you can’t wait to be with, then it’s over in two minutes,” he joked. “I think I’m gonna be spent pretty early. I’m gonna plead for the people to do a lot of singing.” Singer/songwriter Karyn Rochelle is set to open for Brooks and the evening will also include Brooks’ wife, Trisha Yearwood, and longtime friend Steve Wariner. — Reuters

In this image released by The O and M Co, the Spider-Man character is suspended in the air in a scene from the musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” in New York. — AP



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas decorations light up The Mission Inn. Christmas decorations adorn The Mission Inn.

By Gary A Warner he Mission Inn is the Winter Palace of Southern California. The 107-year-old hotel in Riverside is decked out in 3.5 million holiday lights, with fireworks set off over its cupolas built to resemble the Spanish missions’. Crowds throng the halls, passing the suite-turned-bar where Teddy Roosevelt slept and Richard Nixon was married. They tour the chapel where Bette Davis was married, the arches under which Albert Einstein strolled and the hallways where Ronald Reagan spent the first honeymoon night of his second marriage. It’s a sprawling, rambling, eccentric old place that by all rights should have passed away along with the lifestyle it was built to celebrate. But the Mission Inn lives on through the graces of a local boy made very good who has a deep well of nostalgia for the old place, and an even deeper wallet to indulge it. Time can’t stand still, but on one block in downtown Riverside, it can be frozen. “The Inland Empire” is mostly a marketing slogan these days, but there was a time not long ago when it was true. From the deserts to the mountains and almost to the sea was a vast kingdom of tidy groves of oranges, limes and avocados that flourished under the steady sun of Southern California. At the heart of the empire, a castle was built by a brilliant eccentric named Frank Miller. His Mission Inn in Riverside opened in 1903 and towered above the homes and orchards. The hotel was a citadel of luxury where the shivering rich from the East could take the train to escape to California for the winter. Miller, equal parts salesman and showman, would sometimes meet the train dressed as a Franciscan friar, handing out oranges to arriving guests before leading them from the station. The grand hotel became a favored playground for the Hollywood set, along with Riverside locals, who in the inn’s early days lived in the city with the richest


per capita population in the United States. Miller added onto the hotel in eclectic styles drawn from his travels-Spanish, Chinese, Italian and Japanese, with a bit of Arts & Crafts thrown in. There were flying buttresses holding up nothing, extra patios and hidden music rooms. Enamored of Asia, he put a pagoda-shaped cowling on the kitchen’s chimney. The additions created a zig-zagging layout that confused adults and enthralled children playing hide-and-go-seek. Viewed from the fourth-floor rooftop walkway, the collection of domes and staircases looks like one of those vertigo-inducing drawings by MC Escher. To fill up these vast spaces, Miller became a highclass hoarder, bringing in cannons from the Philippines, a soaring carved wood and golf leaf altar piece from Mexico, Tiffany windows from a demolished church in New York and a massive temple bell from China. He put a large sitting Buddha into a room, which was later used in a movie in which 1960s bombshell Raquel Welch ended a sexy dance by plopping into the ancient wise man’s lap. Miller was an ardent Republican, and the Mission Inn became a place of political pilgrimage for those hoping to succeed in Southern California. The Depression hit the hotel hard, and the driving force of the Mission Inn withered when Miller died in 1935. His family kept it going into the early 1950s, after which it went through a series of owners. The empire that the Mission Inn had celebrated receded, then disappeared. The citrus orchards gave way to the tract homes, shopping centers and businesses that spilled out from the burgeoning Los Angeles area. Hollywood and the East Coast snowbirds preferred the resorts along the Pacific Coast. Doctors who once sent patients with lung diseases to Riverside for the clean, dry air now warned it was in the smog belt that turned the blue skies gray much of the year. The inn closed in 1985. The dark shell was visible

from the Riverside Freeway, which sped travelers between Los Angeles and the popular resorts in Palm Springs that took the Mission Inn’s place as a “clear and dry” winter getaway. But the Winter Palace had a white knight. Duane Roberts lived a millionaire’s life in Laguna Beach with his wife, Kelly. Duane’s roots were in Riverside, where he and his father built a food business. Like Frank Miller, Roberts is a Republican stalwart. Duane Roberts remembered visiting the Mission Inn for special occasions with his family. When plans to redevelop the property collapsed, he stepped in, buying it in 1992. He finished the work, reopened the hotel and has added restaurants, a wine bar, a spa created by his wife and a high-end cupcake shop overseen by his daughter, Casey. The surrounding downtown neighborhood has seen its fortunes revive along with the hotel, with shops and cafes opening in the streets alongside the inn. A few blocks away, there’s an ongoing refurbishment of the landmark Fox Riverside Theater, where “Gone With the Wind” had its first public showing in 1939. It has been a struggle at times-especially during the recent economic downturn. The Mission Inn isn’t a charity, but its owners don’t expect it to throw off a lot of cash either. “If this were a normal bottom-line driven proposition, we wouldn’t operate like we are,” Duane Roberts said. “The hotel is part of the family,” Kelly Roberts said. The couple came to Riverside the Friday after Thanksgiving for what has become the most anticipated night in the region. With several thousand people counting down on Mission Inn Avenue, the millions of lights came on and the animated figures on the balconies and roofs of the hotel came to life. Fireworks shot into the night sky, bathing the Spanish tile roof in reds, greens and golds. The Winter Palace was the center of life in the Inland Empire yet again. — MCT

The St Francis of Assissi Chapel is seen at The Mission Inn in Riverside, California. — MCT photos

By Jason Rhodes ZURICH: Famed as a private banking fortress where the wealthy come to stash their cash, Zurich’s abundance of culture make it an attractive destination for all, not just the rich and famous. Spread along the shores of its magnificent lake with beaches and lidos for swimming in summer, Switzerland’s largest city also provides easy access to fabulous winter skiing and walking in the nearby Alps. Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a short stay in the city. Friday 3 pm. On stepping out of the train at Zurich’s main station, get straight into the festive spirit with a warming drink in between browsing the many food and craft stalls on the Christmas market in the spacious arrival hall, used for many other public events throughout the year like the city’s own mini Oktoberfest. The hall is dominated by a colorful angel made by French artist Nicki de Saint Phalle hovering above the crowds on golden wings and, at this time of year, a huge Christmas tree dripping with thousands of glittering ornaments from crystal maker Swarovski. 5 pm. Soak up that gluehwein with traditional Swiss fare at the Volkshaus Restaurant before heading on to Kreis 5, Zurich’s former industrial area now favored by the city’s arty crowd thanks to its ‘cultural mile’ of galleries, clubs and bars. 8 pm. Visit one of the excellent theatres in the Schiffbau, where Lake Zurich’s paddle steamers were built at the turn of the 20th Century but which has since been converted into an impressive cultural centre. Music lovers can plump for one of the top international acts appearing in the intimate setting of Moods jazz club, also housed there. Saturday 9 am. Start the day with a leisurely stroll

down posh shopping street Bahnhofstrasse, where you can buy jewellery, designer clothes and, of course, fine Swiss watches and chocolates. 11 am. People-watching at chic Cafe Spruengli, where celebrities like Mirka Federer can sometimes be seen taking a break between shopping and a trip to one of the private banks clustered around Paradeplatz. 12 pm. Head on foot through the medieval old town to the Fraumuenster, which boasts a cycle of stained glass church windows by Marc Chagall. On the opposite bank of the River Limmat check out the colorful windows by German Sigmar Polke in the twin-towered Grossmuenster. 1 pm. Stop by the stand outside Restaurant Vorderer Sternen close to the lakeside to taste Zurich’s best bratwurst (grilled sausage) and hottest mustard. 2 pm. Wander the halls of Kunsthaus Zurich, currently celebrating its centenary by revisiting its landmark 1932 Picasso exhibition, allowing the 21st century public to view the Spanish artist’s groundbreaking work afresh with 70 works from the original show. 6 pm. Dinner at Die Blinde Kuh (The Blind Cow), where you will rely on taste alone to sample food served in total darkness by blind and partially sighted staff.

9 pm. Enjoy a pint or two of Irish stout at the James Joyce, named after the Irish writer who wrote par t of his masterpiece Ulysses in exile in Zurich. The pub’s late19th century interior originates from Jury’s Hotel in Dublin. 11 pm. If you still have the energy after a busy day sightseeing, sample Zurich’s renowned nightlife with DJs at Vallman, Jade or Amber. Sunday 9 am. Chill out with Sunday papers bought from the station and enjoy a lavish Sunday morning breakfast buffet at Hiltl, Europe’s oldest vegetarian restaurant and loved by herbivores and meat-eaters alike. 12 pm. Take a look at the Cabaret Voltaire, home of Dada, an anti-establishment movement formed in Zurich by artists railing against the horrors of World War I. 1 pm. Head up the funicular to Dolder, where a huge outdoor ice rink awaits you in a tranquil forest setting. Alternatively take a cable car or train up local mountain Uetliberg for breath-taking views over the city and lake. 4 pm. Grab one last coffee and a snack before heading home at the Jugendstil Grand Cafe Odeon, frequented over the years by famous patrons like Joyce, Albert Einstein and Vladimir Lenin. — Reuters



Sunday, December 19, 2010

By Gary A Warner ost every store in North America seems to be playing the Bing Crosby chestnut “White Christmas” this time of year. But in Hawaii, where the only thing white at Christmas is the sand on Waikiki, you’re more likely to hear another Crosby classic, with these lyrics: Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day That’s the island greeting that we send to you from the land where palm trees sway Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way to say Merry Christmas to you. Mele Kalikimaka captures the spirit of Christmas in the islands-a warm, playful attempt by people on a Pacific Island to act out an Americanized holiday filled with symbols drawn from a snow-flecked Northern European tradition. There’s an old joke that there are two seasons in Hawaii-summer and Christmas Day. But like much of the rest of the world, Hawaii goes Happy Holidays crazy as soon as the last Halloween pumpkins go in the compost bin. The end of the year is one of my favorite times to travel to Hawaii. Airfares are low in early December, and it’s time for the big-wave surf contests on the North Shore of Oahu and on Maui. This year I traveled to the Big Island and Oahu. I was hit with the Christmas spirit, island-style, the first morning in Hilo. I stopped in for some macadamia nut flapjacks at Ken’s House of Pancakes and was greeted by waitress Wilma Kuamoo, decked out in a Santa hat, with fake pine needles and sleigh bells tied to her shoes. “Christmas is a fun time for family,” Kuamoo said. “I’m 65, but I can’t retire. I have 13 grandchildren. Who would there be to buy them all presents?” Hawaiians like Kuamoo have taken Christmas and given it a twist and a wink. It starts with the Hawaiian version of the traditional greeting. Hawaiians say “Mele Kalikimaka,” a phonetic approximation of the “Merry Christmas” greeting given by early 18th-century Christian explorers and missionaries Then there’s the version of Santa and Mrs. Claus on display in downtown Honolulu. Santa seemingly squints in the sun, throwing a Hawaiian thumb-andpinky “hang loose” shaka sign, his white-furtrimmed red shirt open wide to reveal a big tanned tummy. The statue of a tropical St. Nick sits next to a huge “Tutu Mele”-”Merry Granny,” as Mrs Claus is called-who has hiked up her skirt to catch a cool trade wind. In downtown Honolulu, King Kamehameha’s hand reaches out, seemingly pointing toward a big SEASONS GREETINGS sign on a building nearby. Colored lights glow from the banyan and monkey pod trees. On Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki, every other Aloha shirt or muu-muu has the traditional, tropical red and white design. What looks like a Christmas tree from afar at the Kahala Mall is actually a cone-shaped iron stand with rings for dozens of tropical, potted red poinsettias. Other holiday standards get a mele makeover. A local version of “The Night Before Christmas” replaces Santa’s call


A 55-foot Christmas tree reaches near the towering palms as it stands on South King Street in downtown Honolulu. of “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night’” with “Merry Christmas, da kine, aloha Hawaii!” There’s a Hawaiian take on “The Twelve Days of Christmas” that turns all the oddball gifts to equally strange Hawaiian things, topped by changing the “partridge in a pear tree” to a “myna bird in a papaya tree.” In some storybooks, Santa arrives by outrigger canoe, or his sleigh is pulled by dolphins instead of reindeer. There are a few places that Hawaiians and visi-

tors go to approximate Christmas on the mainland. The Lodge at Koele up in the pine trees of Lanai has the feeling of a modern version of the hotel in “Holiday Inn.” Kula on the slopes of Haleakala on Maui is one place where a roaring fire isn’t just an invitation to sweat. The Big Island gets snow, on the distant peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. It’s possible to ski the grainy snow on the high-altitude slopes if you time your trip just right. One of my favorite holiday sights is the cabins

at a military recreation center within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It can get down to the 50s on many December nights, one of the reasons the accommodations are booked well in advance each holiday and decked with Christmas lights. I’d rather go with the flow down at the beach. Across most of the islands, traditional Christmas weather is nowhere to be felt. It’s higher than 80 degrees during the day. No need to roast chestnuts on an open fire-just set them out on some tinfoil on a

A Christmas tree, built of poinsettias, stands at the Kahala Mall.

By Gary A Warner

he modern Hawaiian Christmas is a mix of traditions brought by 18th century explorers and missionaries, combined with the winter solstice celebration of the ancient Hawaiians. Hawaiians observed Makahiki, a four-month celebration around the winter solstice that was a time to thank the gods for the food drawn from the land and sea. At the heart of the festival was the god Lono, who represented fertility and growth. His image in the form of a tiki was carried throughout the islands. During Makahiki, it was forbidden for warriors of rival clans to go to sea in war canoes. This ensured that the time could be spent in peaceful celebrations and feasts featuring pig and fish. The festival also marked the beginning of the new year, a time when Hawaiians say “Hauoli Makahiki Hou”-roughly “happy new year to you.” The Western version of the holidays came to Hawaii on Dec 25, 1786. The British ship Queen Charlotte was anchored off present-day Waimea, on the west side Kauai. This was eight years after Capt James Cook had come into Waimea Bay and “discovered” what he would call the Sandwich Islands, after the Earl of Sandwich, the Lord of the Admiralty. According to the accounts of the Queen Charlotte’s captain, George Dixon, a search party was sent ashore. The group caught a wild pig, which was roasted by the ship’s cooks. Sailors mixed their traditional rum ration with the milk of coconuts taken from the island in what may be the first recorded pina colada in history. In a celebration that echoed the American Thanksgiving, British officers later extended the season’s greetings to the natives by sending “trifles” ashore for women and children on Kauai. Soon after, a local chieftain sent canoes out to the British with pigs and vegetables, the first recorded Christmas gift swap in Hawaii. The missionaries who arrived in 1820 had a more restrained view of Christmas and did not organize active celebrations for several years. But as other branches of Protestant evangelists, along with Catholic priests, arrived in the islands, the various traditions of Christmas became known. Traders and sailors who arrived in the missionaries’ wake were more likely to celebrate the holiday. By 1837, a Honolulu newspaper published salutations of “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year.” In 1856, King Kamehameha IV moved the official national day of Thanksgiving to Dec 25, more than coincidentally coinciding with Christmas. A large Christmas party was held on the royal grounds in 1858, including what is believed to be the first Christmas tree in the islands. Christmas became an official Hawaiian holiday in 1862. Historical accounts said the occasion was marked by the firing of cannons and flaming tar poured down the sides of Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu to recreate the image of a volcano. — MCT


If you go lanning ahead: Christmas decorations are on display throughout Hawaii, though most of the major events have already been held. If you are planning on a trip in 2011, check with the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau for the dates of events such as the Banyan Tree Lighting in Lahaina, Maui; the Kailua-Kona Christmas Parade on the Big Island; and the Hanapepe Christmas Festival on


chair at the beach. But the underpinnings of the holiday are universal, whatever the thermometer reads. Sunny Garcia, the legendary Oahu surfer who has split time in recent years between the islands and Orange County, told me years ago that it was perfect timing that the holidays came just at the height of the North Shore surf season. “Christmas is a special time because after a year of traveling around the world, it’s when I get to come home.”

Kauai. There are dozens of other events featuring a range of interests: music festivals, craft fairs, tree lightings, parades and carnivals. The Honolulu lights festival: The event runs through the end of the year. Highlights include a 50-foot Christmas tree in front of Honolulu Hale, the city hall. The Hawaii-themed Santa and Mrs Claus are nearby. The trees in the downtown area are wrapped in

A surfing Santa ornament hangs on the Christmas tree in the dining room of the Kilauea Lodge in Volcano Village.

lights. 530 S King St. Hotel decorations: The major resorts bring out holiday finery. The outer island resorts do a nice job, but the best displays are in Honolulu. The decorations at the Moana Surfrider (2365 Kalakaua Ave), Royal Hawaiian (2259 Kalakaua Ave) and Kahala (5000 Kahala Ave) are my favorites. — MCT

Season’s greetings lights up behind the King Kamehameha I statue on the Aliiolani Hale.

‘Larry King Live’ draws 2.2m for last show

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ar r y K g. More than g ’s f in a l n in ings) ba t o w a t c h K h t . T h a t ig in n d y sda but tune n T h u r uge number, to o w o h h s d a e r N e a k N p li C m t sound 00% co may no more than 1 p u annel’s it was ious night. ews Ch cable N v x e o r F p the en beat ial 9 pm King ev y, the perenn H a n n it y w a s it . n in an did Sean H r t o t a l t u n e - But Hannity o . fo n e w s , by 2.1 million s’ target dem s v d w e 0 e h 0 n c t ,0 43 wa ong olds (5 ing am b e a t K of 25-54 year graphic ). — Reuters 530,000


In this April 19, 2007 file photo supplied by CNN, Larry King interviews former President Bill Clinton.

In this Dec 11, 2006 file photo provided by CNN, Larry King, interviews actress Angelina as she promotes the movie ‘The Good Shepherd’. — AP photos

In this Nov 22, 2005 file photo released by CNN, Larry King interviews comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

In this Oct 17, 2005 file photo provided by CNN, actress Sharon Stone greets talk show host Larry King.

In this Dec 16, 1999 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov George W Bush jokes with CNN’s Larry King.

Paris Vogue editor to leave after 10-year tenure aris Vogue says its editor-in-chief, Carine Roitfeld, has decided to leave after a 10-year tenure in which the French fashion monthly became “a worldwide reference and indispensable magazine.” The magazine says on its Web site that Roitfeld’s years as the top editor were marked by “constant growth” both in terms of circulation and advertising. Xavier Romatet, the head of Conde Nast France, the French arm of the US publishing house, said he “of


course” regrets Roitfeld’s decision to leave “even if I understand it.” He didn’t elaborate. Paris Vogue said in the online statement Friday that Roitfeld’s departure would be effective “in several weeks.” It didn’t indicate what her future plans are. But the Web edition of British Vogue said that she had “decided to concentrate on personal projects.” The New York Times’ Web edition quoted Roitfeld as telling them by telephone: “I think it’s time to do something different.”

Roitfeld was quoted as telling The Times that she informed Jonathan Newhouse, the chief executive of Conde Nast International, that she wished to pursue other projects. “I have no problem with Jonathan, and he understood me very well.” “I had so much freedom to do everything I wanted. I think I did a good job,” The Times quoted her as saying. But she added, “When everything is good, maybe I think it’s the time to do something else.” It said she expects

to complete issues through March, but that she was not sure what she would do after that. “I have no plan at all,” The Times quoted her as saying. Under Roitfeld, French Vogue has lived up to its reputation for pushing the envelope and has continued to be much edgier than its more commercial US counterpart, with lots of nudes and sometimes overtly sex-seeped or disturbing spreads. Roitfeld made waves with a recent shoot that featured supermodel Lara Stone

in blackface, for example. Another showed two models in identical bobbed wigs wearing only spike heels and carrying pricey leather handbags. Roitfeld, a whip-thin woman with a penchant for vertiginous heels and body-conscious trench coats, has a reputation among industry for being friendly and approachable-in contrast with American Vogue’s Anna Wintour, who is widely regarded as an ice queen. The two women have long been rumored to be rivals

but are often seen chatting amicably at fashion shows. Roitfeld got her start in fashion as a teen, after she was spotted on the street by a model scout. She went on to work as a journalist and then stylist for French Elle. She rubbed elbows with industry bigwigs, from Peruvian-born photographer Mario Testino to US designer Tom Ford, and was approached by Vogue publisher Conde Nast to head French Vogue, known in France as Vogue Paris, in 2001. — AP

People dressed as Grandfather Frost, Russian Santa Claus, and Snow Maiden, his ever-present companion, stand in front of St Bazil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square, Russia, yesterday. —AP In this Saturday, May 23, 2009 photo, Carine Roitfeld arrives for the Dolce & Gabbana party, during the 62nd International film festival in Cannes, southern France. —AP

At Marvel, Crossgen resurrected as new imprint he shared universe of Crossgen, defunct when it filed for bankruptcy in 2004, is pulsing with life again as an imprint of Marvel Comics. The New York-based publisher of comic books says that the Crossgen imprint will launch a new in March with a pair of four-issue limited series - “Ruse” and “Sigil” - part of its bid to expand its storytelling efforts to new characters, concepts and, ultimately, audiences. The first two books run the gamut between mystery and highadventure, free of traditional caped super heroes. Both books were part of Crossgen’s original lineup but folded when the company sought bankruptcy protection and was ultimately purchased by Disney. “Sigil” is being written by Mike Carey and drawn by Leonard Kirk, while “Ruse” is scripted by Mark Waid and drawn by Mirco Perfederici. —AP


Forbes antique toy collection sold for $2.3m in NY collection of rare and valuable toys amassed over almost 40 years by the late Malcolm Forbes and his sons sold for $2.3 million at auction in New York. The Forbes collection of antique toys was estimated to bring in anywhere from $3 million to $5 million at Friday’s sale at Sotheby’s. It included toy boats, soldiers, motorcycles and board games, including a handmade Monopoly


game from 1933. The highlight was a 3-foot (meter)-long replica of the Cunard Line’s Lusitania ocean liner, complete with crew and passengers. It sold for $194,500 to an American collector, a record for a toy boat at auction. The price included the buyer’s premium. Malcolm Forbes paid $28,600 for the Lusitania at Sotheby’s in 1983. It had been estimated to bring in $100,000 to $200,000. —AP

File photos show a part of the Forbes toy collection which has been on display for the past 25 years in the lobby of the Forbes Magazine headquarters in New York. —AP photos

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