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Israel OKs new settlement work as Biden arrives

PM Maliki emerges as frontrunner after vote

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Magic get revenge, top Lakers in finals rematch PAGE 20

Kuwaiti women complain of discrimination By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Bahrani Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa (left) is welcomed by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah at Bayan Palace yesterday. The Bahraini premier is on an official visit to Kuwait. —KUNA (See Page 2)

KUWAIT: Women in Kuwait complained yesterday of gender discrimination in employment and other sectors despite making key strides in politics after four females were elected to parliament. Marking International Women’s Day at a day-long symposium, women’s rights’ activists and MPs said women in the state are still barred from becoming judges and are deprived of promotion to senior posts. Leading female lawmaker Rola Dashti yesterday sent a detailed question to the government about numbers and names of people holding high bureaucratic posts in the government in the wake of reports the number of women holding such posts is extremely small. In her question, Dashti asked State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan for the numbers and names of people in senior posts in ministries and government agencies. She also asked for the duration each official has spent in the current post, the date of their appointment for the first time and the last date of renewal. Dashti also asked about the standards and conditions for appointing people in senior posts in the ministries and government agencies. The questions came after statements by a senior female official at the Civil Service

Commission that the number of Kuwaiti women in such posts is very small. Nahla bin Naji told the symposium that women occupy only 17 senior posts at ministries and agencies compared to as many as 252 men. The number of such women was only seven in 2004, she said. Naji defined senior posts as undersecretaries the top position in the ministries - and assistant undersecretaries. “I really don’t know the reason for this, especially that we have a large number of highly qualified women,” Naji said. This is despite the fact that Kuwaiti women employees form about 45 percent of total Kuwaiti workforce, according to the latest official figures by the Public Authority for Civil Information. Dashti said at the symposium that she plans to press for the approval of a draft law that will ensure gender equality in appointments to senior posts. Based on the latest available official data as of last June 30, Kuwaiti women employees accounted for 44.9 percent of the total national workforce. They made up 44.1 percent of Kuwaitis employed in government. “Leading positions are distributed in accordance with political considerations and women are kept away from such considerations,” activist Oroob Al-Refai said. There is only one female minister in the 16-member Cabinet. Continued on Page 14

Kuwait eyes nuke energy within 7 yrs

in the news Zain names new board KUWAIT: Kuwait telecoms giant Zain yesterday appointed a new board of directors with As’ad Al-Banwaan as Chairman and Abdul Aziz Al-Nafisi as Deputy Chairman. Other members of the board include Sheikh Khalifa Ali Al-Sabah, Ayeda Salem Al-Ali, Jamal Al-Kandari, Saleh Al-Sugobi and Jamal Al-Kazemi, reported Al-Aan.

Juwaihel ‘not dead’ KUWAIT: Head of Security Media and Official Spokesman of the Ministry of Interior Colonel Mohammad Al-Saber refuted rumors circulating yesterday claiming the owner of the controversial Al-Sour TV channel Mohammad Al-Juwaihel was shot dead. The rumor was circulated today via text messages, and the messages falsely quoted Al-Saber himself saying Al-Juwaihel was killed. The colonel told KUNA the man was still alive and added that security authorities concerned are investigating the issue and tracing the messages.

France urges world to turn to nuclear power

Saadoun questions exemptions KUWAIT: Veteran opposition MP Ahmad Al-Saadoun yesterday questioned moves by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour to resume issuing work permits to recruit expatriates for certain businesses, which he said contradicts the new labour law in the private sector. Saadoun said article 11 of the new labour law that became effective two weeks ago bans the ministry from discriminating between businessmen in issuing work permits or transfer of residence under any condition. He said the article explicitly states that any action that contradicts this content is “totally null and void”. He said a decision issued by the ministry in 2001 that allows the issuance of work permits to specific sectors and businesses “has been revoked by the new labour law as soon as it became effective”. Saadoun added that the assistant undersecretary for labour affairs said in press statements yesterday that the ministry plans to revive the 2001 decision. He asked the minister about what actions he intends to take to stop any discrimination between businessmen in the private sector.

KUWAIT: Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi attends the first Women’s Forum held on the International Women’s Day yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat (See Page 3)

LOS ANGELES: Kathryn Bigelow accepts the Oscar for best achievement in directing for “The Hurt Locker” at the 82nd Academy Awards on Sunday in Hollywood. — AP (See Pages 36-40)

‘Hurt Locker’ sweeps Oscars HOLLYWOOD: Iraq war drama “The Hurt Locker” blew away box office king “Avatar” to take six Oscars, with Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first woman to win the best director award on a historic Hollywood night. The nerve-jangling movie about a US Army bomb disposal squad in Baghdad also took best picture and best screenplay while “Avatar”, made

by Bigelow’s ex-husband James Cameron, won just three Oscars at Sunday’s awards. “This really is, there’s no other way to describe it, the moment of a lifetime,” said Bigelow, only the fourth woman to be nominated for best director by Academy voters. “I’d like to dedicate this to the women and men in Continued on Page 14

PARIS: Kuwait’s Minister of Electricity and Water Bader Al-Shuraiaan yesterday affirmed Kuwait’s interest in acquiring and harnessing alternative energy - namely nuclear and solar energy - and predicted the start of using this power resource in seven years. The minister, in a statement to KUNA on sidelines of the Paris international conference on peaceful usage of nuclear energy, affirmed that this source of power is clean and nature friendly. He affirmed Kuwait’s approach to depend more on eco-friendly energy resources and cut dependency on polluting fossil fuels, noting the country’s mounting need to increase production of electricity and water. HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has formed a special committee chaired by Dr Ahmad Beshara and grouping academics and experts to undertake the task of acquiring and using the nuclear energy in line with international treaties and resolutions. Continued on Page 14

Abu Dhabi eyes more star power CAIRO: Egyptian taxi driver Inas Hamam stands next to her car in a women’s taxi parking lot on March 6, 2010. — AFP

Taxis for women hit Cairo streets CAIRO: A waxed rag in hand, Inas Hamam gives her car a good buff as she awaits her first clients of the day Egyptian women, tired of sexual harassment, who prefer a female taxi driver. Following in the tracks of other femalefriendly services - carriages reserved for women on

Cairo’s metro and womenonly cafes - the first all-female taxis have started to make an appearance on the busy streets of Cairo, a move criticised by opponents of such segregation. “It’s a start. I think it’s an excellent idea that a space be reserved for Continued on Page 14

ABU DHABI: With an economy based on pumping oil and landmarks that include one of the Mideast’s grandest mosques, buttoneddown Abu Dhabi has little obvious in common with freewheeling media magnets like Hollywood or midtown Manhattan. This week, the Arab emirate is hoping the world takes another look. The city-state, best known of late for bailing out its flashier neighbor Dubai, is bringing together some of the industry’s biggest names for a summit that will temporarily shift much of the world’s media and entertainment elite to a luxury hotel on the Arabian Gulf. Headliners at the event starting today include News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch and Google Inc chief Eric Schmidt. The idea is to entice “the best and the brightest media minds,” said Edward Borgerding, a former Walt ABU DHABI: An Emirati technician and his colleague talk at a TV Disney Co executive who is now CEO of Continued on Page14 studio in the TwoFour54 media complex on March 4, 2010. — AP

PARIS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech at the opening of a conference on civilian use of nuclear technology yesterday. — AP

Turkey quake kills 51 as villagers sleep OKCULAR, Turkey: A powerful pre-dawn earthquake buried sleeping villagers in remote eastern Turkey yesterday, claiming at least 51 lives and leaving dozens injured, officials said. Measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, the tremor struck at 4:32 am (0232 GMT), razing mud-brick houses in five mountainous villages in a mainly Kurdish area and killing whole families in their beds. The epicentre of the shallow quake was near the town of Karakocan in Elazig province, the Kandilli observatory in Istanbul said. Continued on Page 14

Slaying in Dubai ripples worldwide Interpol issues new arrest notices DUBAI: If there’s a signature moment in the plot to kill Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, it’s likely his short elevator ride from the hotel lobby to Room 230. The Hamas commander and a woman hotel clerk enter the elevator and, just before the doors close, two men slip in. They look like any tourist here for the Arabian Gulf winter sunshine: baggy shorts, tennis rackets, sneakers and baseball caps. Mabhouh - still wearing the winter jacket he traveled in from Damascus to Dubai - barely gives them a

glance. But Dubai police say he was rubbing shoulders with two members of a surveillance team that would trail him to identify his room in the Al-Bustan Rotana hotel. A few hours later, authorities say, assassins would break in, drug him with a syringe jab and then smother him with a pillow - a killing Dubai’s police chief Lt Gen Dhahi Khalfan Tamim calls “99 percent, if not 100 percent” carried out by Israel’s Mossad secret service. Continued on Page 14



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New survey

Kuwait professionals less satisfied with salaries KUWAIT: The number of professionals in Kuwait describing themselves as highly satisfied with their salaries has fallen sharply in the past year to six percent. These findings from the new Middle East Salary Survey, carried out by Middle East recruitment website and research specialists YouGov Siraj, were consistent with those across the Middle East, with salary satisfaction falling across the region by two percentage points. The highest number of professionals reporting themselves as highly satisfied with their salaries was found in Qatar, where 7 percent agreed with this description, while the lowest percentage was in Syria, with only 2 percent of professionals there saying the same. Across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the average monthly salary varies considerably from country to country, the survey found.

KUWAIT: Bahrain Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa being received at the Kuwait International Airport yesterday. — KUNA

Bahrain PM arrives in Kuwait KUWAIT: Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa and the accompanying delegation arrived in Kuwait yesterday for an official three-day visit. The Bahraini PM was received upon arrival in Kuwait International Airport by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, First Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah, and Amiri Diwan Advisor and head of the honorary mission Sheikh Ahmad Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. He was also received by the Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr

Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Deputy Premier for Legal Affairs and Minister of Justice and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Justice Rashed Abdulmohsen Al-Hammad, and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Abdulaziz Al-Roudhan. A number of sheikhs, ministers, governors and top leaders of the army, police and National Guards were present, in addition to the Deputy Dean of the Diplomatic Corps the Ambassador of Somalia to Kuwait, and top officials from the Premier’s Diwan, in addition to ambassadors of the two countries. The Bahraini prime minister said his visit is part of the kingdom’s efforts to strengthen its ties with Kuwait in all fields.

“This visit is considered a real translation to strong and deep-rooted relations linking the two brotherly countries and an affirmation of the affectionate ties between them which are becoming firmer one day after another in light of the kind guidance of Hamad bin Essa Al-Khalifa, the king of the Kingdom of Bahrain and HH Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait on enhancing brotherly ties between the two countries in all field,” he said. Sheikh Khalifa hailed Kuwaiti-Bahrain ties as a role model to all ties among brothers and hoped his talks would further solidify them in all domains.— KUNA

‘Pre-democracy seeds sowed in Middle East’ By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: The pre-modern seeds of democracy were first planted in the Middle East, says Samer Ali, Professor of Arabic Literature at the University of Texas, Austin during a lecture conducted yesterday at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) Gulf Study Center. “The pre-democracy seeds were seen and have been sowed in the Middle East even before the emergence of western and eastern civilizations,” said Professor Samer Ali. He narrated some of the poetries written by some Arab authors during the beginning of ninth to fifteenth centuries in the Middle East. He claimed that authors have described in words, several principles of democracy. Some of the Arab authors, quoted and mentioned, were from Iraq and Syria. “Many things that happened in the Middle East in the past are precursors to what happen in the West and

the rest of the world right now,” he claimed. He said that the world has changed dramatically and the massive decline in poetry appreciation is responsible for some ‘seeds of democracy’ especially in the Middle East, that was part of the cycle of history. Islamic civilization, according to Professor Samer, has undergone massive transformation. “The events that follow are but great opportunities for change. Islamic ‘rejection’ ism has been steadily fading and it changed into wide acceptance and tolerance around the world,” he claimed. Commenting about democratic principles that shifted political system in some parts of the world including the United States, Professor Ali said, “I don’t see democracy as Utopia and believed there are major structural problems in democracy, inefficiencies, deadlocks and selfinterest.” He added, “There is something that I see about

Professor Samer Ali democracy: Change and laws that are hopeful to mankind. Every single democracy has its own framework. The Constitution frames what can and cannot be done. There is no better alternative to manage the conflict of interest. This is because every other system commands conflicts of interest and creates legitimacy that cannot be dissipated. In democracy, however, a majority decision is respected and is better of the worse system.” Samer Ali is Associate Professor at the University

of Texas at Austin and book review editor of the Jour of Arabic Literature. He is currently a Fulbright Fellow that conducts research in Egypt and Kuwait for a forthcoming book entitled ‘The AraboIslamic Middle Ages as Public Sphere: Poets, Public Performance and Shaping of Government.’ He has published articles in Arabic and Islamic culture of the Middle Ages in the Encyclopedia of Islam. His first book Arabic Literary Salon in the Islamic Middle Ages will appear in late 2010.

EPA head calls for staff pay increases KUWAIT: The director of the Environmental Public Authority (EPA) has called for pay rises for the authority’s personnel, suggesting that their pay should be equal to that of their counterparts at the Public Authority for Industry. EPA director Dr. Salah AlMoudhi said that the authority has introduced a number of new strategies recently to help enhance its performance and develop staff members’ skills. One of these, a ‘new blood’ policy, will see the EPA implement a policy of more openness and engagement with the media, he added, with this and other strategies aiming to create a more unified and motivated workforce, better organize the authority’s internal affairs, publicize its environmental work and implement the related laws. The EPA’s new policies have already begun to pay off in practical terms, Dr. Al-Moudhi claimed, adding that this was demonstrated by the recent inspection campaigns in Shuhaiba and the authority’s involvement in introducing new regulations following the Mishref sewage plant breakdown. This excellent performance by EPA employees deserves to be rewarded with better pay and conditions, he said, adding that senior EPA and government officials feel that the achievements of the authority’s workforce merit far greater financial rewards than they currently receive.

Qatar eclipsed the UAE this year in terms of the biggest salaries, with more than a third of Qatar’s professionals, 39 percent, earning between $3,001 and $8,000 each month. This figure was down to 37 percent of professionals in the UAE. Unsurprisingly, the Gulf region has the highest number of professionals earning top tier salaries: 12 percent of professionals in Qatar earn more than $8,000 per month, as do 10 percent of professionals in the UAE, 7 percent in Bahrain, 6 percent in Kuwait and 3 percent in Saudi Arabia and Oman. As in the previous report, the lowest paid professionals in the region are in the North African countries of Algeria, Egypt and Morocco - although the total number of residents receiving the lowest salary level has dropped in each country. This year, 50 percent of professionals in Algeria reported that they were earning under $500 per month, compared with 54% last year. In Egypt, 41 percent of professionals receive up to $500 per month, as do 40% of those in Morocco; while 2% of professionals in Morocco earn more than $8,000 per month, as do just 1% of those in Egypt. The Middle East Salary Survey is designed to look at the current levels of wages and benefits in the region, and to gauge employee opinion and satisfaction levels regarding the salaries they receive, and how these have kept pace with the cost of living. “There is a very high demand for accurate figures on salary levels in the Middle East across industries, job roles and career levels,” said’s CEO, Rabea Ataya. “By conducting this comprehensive pan-regional, pan-industrial, salary survey which covers professionals across the GCC, Levant and North Africa, we are able to shed a timely light on what level of salaries people are earning and whether the Middle East’s professionals are, or indeed are not, satisfied with how much they are paid, in addition to their expectations concerning future salaries and economic conditions.” The survey data is collated in part by looking at whether average salary increases were in-

line with the average rise in the cost of living. As was found in previous research, professionals overwhelmingly felt that the average salary increase did not reflect the rise in the cost of living in any of the countries surveyed. Overall, professionals across the Middle East felt that the cost of living had increased by 24 percent yet the average salary increased by just 7 percent. In Kuwait, respondents said that living costs had increased by 22 percent, while the average salary increase was just 8 percent. This year, the biggest disparity in the increase in living costs compared to salary increases was felt in Syria - where respondents reported that the cost of living had increased by 28 percent, while salaries had increased by just 9 percent. Following close behind were Saudi Arabia and Jordan where in each country there was an 18 percentage point disparity between the rise in salary level and the increase in the cost of living. While there were still sizeable gaps between the salary and living cost increases, the countries where this gap was smallest were Tunisia and Qatar, which both recorded a 12% difference, and Morocco and Bahrain which both reported a 14% gap. Interestingly, the respondents were asked to compare their salary raise for the period of December 2008-2009, and their salary raise for the period of December 2007-2008. Across all of the surveyed countries, the salary increase for the 20072008 period was higher than a year later, which perhaps demonstrates the effect of the recession on the region’s salaries. On average, the 20072008 salary raise was 9.0% compared to a 7.3% average raise the following year. This year’s salary survey also looked at the respondents’ level of satisfaction with the pay rise they received. For the most part, the region’s respondents did not receive a pay rise, with a sizeable 44 percent missing out. This figure rose to an overwhelming 59 percent of respondents in Kuwait - the highest percentage among the surveyed countries. In Kuwait, just 4 percent of professionals said they

were very happy with their salary increase, while 5 percent were very unhappy, 12 percent described themselves as unhappy, and just 5 percent agreed that their pay rise was fair given the circumstances. The survey also looked at what percentage of their salary people manage to save each month. The results showed that a high proportion, 38 percent, do not manage to save any of their monthly salary at all. Jordan, Morocco and Syria were the countries where respondents were least likely to save money, with 54, 51 and 50 percent of respondents respectively stating that they save no money each month. The best savers were respondents in Qatar, with 74 percent of those surveyed managing to save money each month, followed by 71 percent of respondents in Oman. In Kuwait, meanwhile, 61 percent of the professionals surveyed manage to save some of their salary each month. Despite the widespread unhappiness with pay rises, the region’s respondents generally believe that they are better off in terms of their quality of life in their country of residence, when compared to their peers. In Kuwait, 40 percent of professionals said they are better off than others, while 43 percent said they were about average. At the other end of the spectrum, just 14 percent of respondents said they were worse off than others. Those feeling worst off were respondents in Jordan, where 21 percent said they were worse off than others of their generation. “Employers and employees alike need to look at studies like this to help in gauging both what to pay and what to expect, respectively. Given the challenging economic circumstances of the past year, it comes as no surprise perhaps that so many of the region’s professionals did not even receive a pay rise,” said Joanna Longworth, YouGov’s CMO. “However, many of the region’s professionals feel they are doing better than others in terms of their quality of life. This demonstrates that while they may have been unhappy with their pay rise or the current economic conditions, in reality they still

feel in a relatively good position.” The study additionally revealed that across the Middle East, 74 percent of residents feel they have personally been affected by the global economic crisis. In Kuwait, this figure was slightly below the average at 72 percent, with just 28 percent saying they have not been affected. Residents in Jordan 81 percent - were the hardest hit amongst the surveyed countries, while those least affected were the respondents in Oman and Lebanon, where 57 and 58 percent respectively said they have been affected by the crisis. Asked on their feelings about the economic climate in terms of the labour market, almost a quarter of respondents, 22 percent, said they feel optimistic that there will be robust economic growth in their country of residence and more jobs available in a year’s time. This year just 18 percent feel pessimistic about the future. Oman and Morocco were the most optimistic about the future - 34 and 28 percent, respectively said they were feeling very optimistic, while Jordan and Lebanon were the least optimistic with just 16 and 14 percent respectively of professionals stating they are very optimistic. In Kuwait, just 14 percent said they were quite pessimistic, while 22 percent said they were very optimistic. “The salary survey serves to paint a clear picture of economic conditions inside a particular country and allows organizations, recruiters and stakeholders across all types of industry to see how salary levels are changing from year to year. By conducting such a survey, we can add value to organizations across the region by giving them an insight into current trends and feelings about the labour market, which can then be used to affect change,” concluded Ataya. Data for the 2009/2010 Salary Survey was collected online in February 2010 from a total of 10,699 respondents across the UAE, KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Males and females aged over 20 of all nationalities were included in the survey.

MoE amends criteria on recruitment KUWAIT: The Ministry of Education (MoE) has amended its recruitment criteria for recruiting teachers from GCC countries, doing away with the requirement for teaching experience in the fields of Islamic Studies, English Language and Mathematics. The decision was taken in order to help fill the teacher shortages in these subjects at local public schools, although applicants for teaching positions in other subjects will still be expected to have previous teaching experience. Meanwhile, a team of MoE teaching recruitment experts is scheduled to leave for Egypt on Wednesday where it aims to recruit 530 male and female teachers, reported Al-Qabas. These will join the 406 teachers already recruited from Syria, Jordan and Tunisia.

KUWAIT: Ahmadi Governor Sheikh Ibrahim Duaij Al-Sabah patronizes the Prophet’s (PBUH) hadeeth contest yesterday. — KUNA

Cabinet slams Israel’s desecration of holy sites KUWAIT: The Cabinet yesterday strongly condemned Israel’s plan to include the AlIbrahimi and Bilal Bin Rabah Mosques, as well as the walls of Jerusalem, to its list of heritage landmarks. According to an official statement, during its weekly meeting yesterday the cabinet discussed various political issues and developments in the Arab and international arenas. In light of the Israeli government’s announcement that it is adding the Al-Ibrahimi and Bilal Mosques and the walls of Jerusalem to its list of ‘Jewish heritage sites,’ the ministers expressed strong condemnation and deep concern at this provocative declaration. The government also denounced the continuous brutal Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people and Israel’s breaches of the sacred Islamic sites in Jerusalem, saying

that Israel’s aim in these moves is to ‘judaize’ the Occupied Palestinian Territories and eradicate the holy sites’ Arab and Islamic identity. The Cabinet called on the international community to take decisive action against this hostile Israeli policy that targets Islamic holy sites since it constitutes a blatant violation of international law and of various international and humanitarian covenants. The cabinet also assigned the Interior Ministry to take all necessary legal measures to strip people who were illegally naturalized from the Kuwaiti nationality. Minister of Interior Lt Gen Sheikh Jaber Khaled Al-Sabah (rtd.) briefed the cabinet members about a report by a committee chaired by Sheikh Thamer Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah regarding flaws in a decree to natu-

ralize some persons, and how the committee recommended withdrawal of nationalities, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan said in a statement. Sheikh Jaber also spoke about studies regarding some negative aspects accompanying application of naturalization law which resulted in granting nationality to some people “without being worthy of it” because those people violated the law, said AlRoudhan, in addition to withdrawing nationality if naturalized person who chose a nationality of another country. The cabinet, chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, underlined that nationality should be granted to those who deserve it because it reflected the national identity. — KUNA

Tuesday, March 9, 2010



Kuwait celebrates International Women’s Day

Kuwait women face host of challenges, problems By Rawan Khalid KUWAIT: As the world marked the 100th International Women’s Day, Kuwait’s First Women’s Forum was held yesterday under the patronage of the Speaker of the Kuwaiti Parliament, Jassem Al-Khorafi. “Kuwaiti women are faced with problems and challenges,” Al-Khorafi said. “Their political

KUWAIT: British MP Ann Clwyd talking to some participants.

KUWAIT: MP Salwa Al-Jassar and US Ambassador Deborah Jones. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

‘Social care’ project soon KUWAIT: The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) will run its test operation of the Social Care Services Automation Project on Wednesday. When implemented, allowances will be automatically transferred into bank accounts. The ministry will use this test period to compare the new system with the previous one and evaluate the positive and negative points before making an official launch, announced the

Undersecretary Assistant for Development and Planning, Awatif Al-Qattan. Following its launch, the system will be connected with other institutions concerned with paying for social security care. On a separate note, the Minister of Public Works, Dr Fadhel Safar, held a meeting yesterday to discuss the cost of repairing the Mishref sewage water plant. There were recent reports about the actual costs being doubled.

Al-Khorafi pointed out that, as important as it is, recognizing women is more important than their “mere appointment to leading positions in the Cabinet or Parliament.” On empowering women, AlKhorafi said that “women and women’s groups in our civil community must pay attention to the tools of social and economic empowerment. They should also work on providing social security to those groups of Kuwaiti women who need it the most,” he added, “and address all forms of discrimination against women in the state’s legislative and administrative structure. A woman’s role in preserving the fabric of Kuwaiti society and family should be strengthened. These, “the Speaker stressed,” are the greatest challenges facing women at this stage, in my view. Minister of Information and Oil, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Sabah said, “Women represent half of this society if not more; she is my mother, my sister and my daughter. Wherever you go she is there. I was the first minister to vote for women’s rights and I believe they deserve as much support as possible. They need to be an active part of our daily lives because, after all, they are everything in our life. Dr Maasouma Al-Mubarak, President of the Women and Family Affairs Committee, and MP in the National Assembly (NA) said, “International Women’s Day should be celebrated openly. I wish there were demonstrations and something more than just a forum. For the

activity must serve as an effective tool in addressing the issues affecting women as well as society as a whole.” He noted that women’s contribution to society is a testament to the honorable role they play in developing and serving society. “This involves a grave responsibility,” he stressed. “Their contribution must remain within the restraints and norms of Kuwaiti society and culture.”

Jassem Al-Khorafi first time in Parliament we are studying a draft demanding that current laws regarding women be more equal and offer more opportunities for women in legislation.” “We held this forum to discuss issues regarding women as civil workers, women in public housing, social security laws and family laws. All the laws we have implemented at this time.” Al-Mubarak added. “Our task at this point of time is to go through these laws and amend them in order to have more gender equality in these laws. We want to implement the United Nation’s slogan; ‘equality in rights, equality in opportunity’ and this means progress for all. This is what we are looking for. It is not a war against men, it is the logical and legal demands necessary to improve the status of women,” Al-Mubarak concluded. MP Dr Aseel Al-Awadhi added that “this is the first

Dr Maasouma Al-Mubarak

forum organized by the Women Committee and we are working on changing some legislation that does not treat men and women’s civil rights equally.” Dr Rola Dashti, also an MP said that the Parliament’s women committee hosted the event in order to highlight issues facing women today. The women’s committee will propose laws to empower women and encourage them to be more active in society, she added. “We have a lot of experienced and qualified women and we want to see them get leading positions, decision making positions,” she said. The challenges that a woman faces in the work place is a topic of importance to us, she stressed, and we are working on providing women more rights in the workplace. She pointed out that the housing issue and the rights of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis is also a very important issue to the commit-

tee. “We acknowledge the challenges that women face here,” Dashti continued. “The fight is continuous. We are going to move the process forward to ensure that women get full partnership in the development of society and make sure she is treated like a real citizen.” “The Speaker of the House is extremely supportive of our cause and is advancing it. We thank him, and I thank the Kuwaiti men and women for electing four women to parliament to ensure their part of society,” Dashti concluded. “I think it’s a great idea to commemorate and reflect on the advances that women have made, particularly in political sphere and the economic sphere,” said Deborah Jones, American Ambassador to Kuwait. “I believe that every day is women’s day because women play such an integral and important role in our socie-

ty. When we don’t include women as full members of society we don’t grow as much as we can.” “I am impressed by the courage of individuals, both men and women, who advance these causes,” Jones continued. “I’ve never seen a weak woman anywhere in the world. Women know their responsibilities, they carry a heavy load for the family and the society and it’s nice to see that things have progressed to the point where they can put all the talent they develop into raising a family into the very foundation of our society.” “All the multi tasking and political debate that goes on inside the family is applied to society. We always remind people that economics come from managing finances at home. The more we have both parts of our society involved in making solutions, the more productive our societies become,” Deborah concluded.

Support for women’s access to senior judicial, fatwa posts KUWAIT: Kuwaiti MP Ali Al-Rashid said yesterday that there is no legal obstacle preventing Kuwaiti women from performing leading positions in the judiciary or ‘fatwa’ (religious opinion) institutions. Addressing the first session of the First Forum on Women, being hosted by the National Assembly’s Women Affairs Committee, Al-Rashid, the chairman of the forum’s first session, said: “There are numerous efficient females in Kuwait who are fit to occupy leading judicial and fatwa position.” The MP noted that despite Kuwaiti women suffering from discrimination for a long time, they had made great contributions to and participated actively in the country’s development process. Another speaker at the forum, Sara AlDuwaisan, highlighted the pivotal role played by women in ensuring social stabil-

KUWAIT: Polish Ambassador’s wife (left) with Al-Saadoun at the reception

KUWAIT: German Ambassador’s wife (left) pictured with Al-Saadoun.

Astrologer hosts reception for diplomats’ spouses By Nisreen Zahreddine KUWAIT: On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, astrologer Adel Al-Saadoun hosted a reception brunch for the wives of diplomats in Kuwait, and a number of Kuwaiti women yesterday. It was the fourth consecutive annual reception held. The wives of diplomats of Syria, Somalia, Benin, Poland, Germany, and Russia graced the occasion, in addition to a number of women from the British community in Kuwait. A number of Kuwaiti female social activists were present as well.

Al-Saadoun said that it is a lovely occasion to celebrate. He expressed hope that the women would be granted their rights which have been denied to them for thousands of years. AlSaadoun stressed that it was a big day and expressed his happiness at the fact that Kuwaiti women have reached Parliament, which is a major step for Kuwaiti women. He also expressed hope that the number of Kuwaiti women in the Parliament would increase. He added that their presence in the Parliament would bring in a sense of balance and thwart a number of MPs’ attention to gain people’s attention.

ity and development. “All of the state laws oblige government institutions to ensure equitable treatment for all citizens and gender equality without any kind of discrimination,” she said in her address at the event. Prominent campaigner Nahla Bint Naji said that women in Kuwait account for “a very small percentage” of the leading positions. “Only 17 females, compared with 252 males, are serving in such positions in 12 state departments,” she said, citing recent statistics. Aroub Al-Refaie, meanwhile stressed the need to tap women’s potential fully to realize the country’s socioeconomic development targets. In the second session of the forum, held under the theme ‘Women and Housing,’ Nedhal Al-Humaidan, an advisor

MP stresses importance of gender integration KUWAIT: Supporting and defending women’s rights does not necessarily mean negative competition against men, but, rather, gender integration for the interest of the nation, said a prominent Kuwaiti MP yesterday. “Working to support women and defend their rights does not mean negative competition against men. Rather, it’s about integration in the national interest,” said Dr. Maasouma AlMubarak in her opening address at the inauguration of the First Forum on Women, organized by the parliamentary Women’s Affairs Committee. “Everyone needs, today more than ever, a promotion campaign to affirm the principle of gender equality in view of rights, integrated roles and equal opportunities without any discrimination. This would lead to ensuring societal progress and security, something which

we all seek,” said Al-Mubarak, who chairs the parliamentary committee. The forum is being held to coincide with yesterday’s 100th International Women’s Day. “We are still seeking an intellectual and cultural ground for accepting women as a genuine and effective partner in the all-out development process,” said the eminent MP and former minister. Dr. Al-Mubarak also voiced regret that local laws still strongly discriminate against women, urging male and female lawmakers to work together in earnest to revise such outdated legislation so that the principles of justice and equality can be ensured. In this context, the National Assembly’s Women Affairs Committee is currently working on a package of proposals concerning women’s civil and social rights, she pointed out. — KUNA

to the Minister of State for Housing Affairs, said that since its first steps towards contemporary development in the 1950s, the State of Kuwait had launched a range of major housing projects to provide decent housing for Kuwaiti families, but added that “a certain category of women were excluded from this welfare.” Al-Humaidan pointed out, “This runs counter to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, joined by Kuwait in 1996. The category in question includes Kuwaiti single females, divorcees without children, and those who are married to non-Kuwaiti husbands,” she noted, urging the introduction of legal and legislative reforms to ensure psychological stability for such females. Suad Al-Shemali, a prominent local lawyer, protested against what she called

“inconsistencies and contradictions” in the housing welfare act in relation to the state constitution. “The law provides for offering rent allowances for males as soon as they get married but denies that to single Kuwaiti females, divorcees without children, and those who are married to non-Kuwaiti husbands,” Al-Shemali apointed out. She also criticized as a “negative initiative” the provision of housing units in AlSawaber Complex for women in these groups. However, Al-Shemali praised the government plan, unveiled by Deputy Premier for Economic Affairs, Minister of State for Housing Affairs and Minister of State for Development Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, to allocate a KD 150 million portfolio for females’ housing welfare. — KUNA



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

KJA hosts a seminar on trends, ethics

Media do not die, media adapt, says US professor By Velina Nacheva KUWAIT: The fundamental megatrend of media convergence set the margins of the discussion on the current media landscape and media ethics that was held at the Kuwait Journalist Association’s (KJA) premises yesterday. What is different today in the media world is that newspapers are aggregators, Powers said. A newspaper creates different online channels, she added, providing an example with the case of The Houston Chronicle’s channel devoted to various subjects where readers are invited to provide stories on a range of subjects. In that way, she said,

information comes from the community. In that vein, instead of a hit-and-run approach, the newspaper is thought of as a friend, she said elaborating that the reporter in the community becomes an MC and brings people in as regular contributors. Powers, who has 25 years of teaching and research experience, explains that the media

Newspapers and books are not dead they are just a part of what is going on; media do not die but change and adapt, says an American media professor. Angela Powers, Director of the A Q Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Kansas was addressing a media seminar held at Association’s premises in Shuwaikh yesterday.

ethics class is compulsory in the curriculum. “We teach our students organizational ethics... It is important that we teach our students a good system of ethical decision-making,” Powers said. She stressed that the key to ethical decision-making is to have a lot of discussion and information on practices that have been relied upon before a discussion

is made. In her words, ‘a personal set of ethics’ is important in the decision-making process. Powers has lectured on research related media management and broadcast news, and worked with students to produce a magazine-type news program. Powers, who has amassed professional experience in television news as a reporter for the

NBC and CBS, is also an expert on media management and digital news convergence answered the question of where news would be in the future stating: “It is all about the content.” The information superhighway, she observed, should “engage” a multitude of voices that can be gathered from blogs as an additional information.

MGRP fraud ring leader sentenced to 7 years KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti former Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) employee involved in a massive fraud and money laundering ring within the government body has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment and ordered to repay KD 31,000, which he obtained fraudulently. He has also been dismissed from his post, reported Al-Watan. In the case at the Criminal Court, which saw a total of 72 Kuwaiti citizens being charged in connection with the massive fraud operation, 20 of the other suspects were sentenced to three years imprisonment and

fines of KD 1,000 each, while the remaining 51 were subjected to fines of KD 1,000 each but were escaped imprisonment. The suspects were prosecuted after it was discovered that they had been deceitfully claiming allowances from the MGRP after registering their names with ‘front’ companies created solely to perpetrate fraud. The MGRP brought charges after discovering that the main suspect had previously reached an agreement with the ‘front’ companies’ owners to give them a share of the illegally obtained allowances in exchange for cooperating with him in perpetrating the fraud.

KUWAIT: The Interior Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah received the Nepali Ambassador to Kuwait, Maduban Poudel yesterday and discussed issues of mutual interest. —KUNA

Trials suspended as MoJ experts strike Privatization to save KD 1 billion

KUWAIT: Minister of Health, Dr Hilal Al-Sayer yesterday inaugurated the new Saad Al-Abdullah Polyclinic in Jahra. The inauguration ceremony was attended by senior ministry officials and dignitaries. —Photos by KUNA

in the news Drug possession KUWAIT: A police officer and a firefighter were sent to the Drug Prosecution Department on charges of possessing drugs with the intent to sell. The two were found with one and quarter kilos of hashish. After the firefighter was arrested for attempting to sell 250 grams of hashish he confessed to receiving the drugs from a police officer. A central prison inmate was taken to court when his cell phone was searched and a significant amount of drugs were found concealed inside. Meanwhile, an Ethiopian woman was taken against her will to the room of her Bangladeshi taxi driver and locked inside. The woman, who still had her mobile, called police and was rescued. The Bangladeshi was arrested and sent to the proper authorities. 17 internet cafés raided KUWAIT: Several offenders were arrested following a raid conducted at 17 coffee shops and internet cafés in Khaitan and AlFarwaniya. The security campaign was held to contain illegal practices that occur in these areas. Officials of the joint committee formed at the Ministry of Commerce and Interior personnel apprehended 20 expatriates who violated residency and labor laws, in addition to issuing 11 citations, reported Al-Watan. The campaign, which lasted from 4:00pm to 9:00pm, is expected to be followed by similar campaigns held during the upcoming days.

New transplant center KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti-American project is in place to establish a medical center that will specialize in liver and pancreas transplant operations in Kuwait. Al-Qabas reported on

the announcement, made by liver and pancreas transplant specialist Dr Husain Hayati. “Diabetes patients will benefit the most from this center,” said Hayati, who noted that the country has a great need for the services a center like this could provide. He pointed out that many patients are forced to leave the country in order to receive liver and pancreas transplants. Hayati also added that the Hamid Al-Essa transplant center performs about 75 kidney transplant operations annually.

Fish prices reduce KUWAIT: Fish prices have dropped by as low as 50 percentage, announced the Fishermen Union Market’s Supervisor Salim Al-Failakawi. After the prices of ‘Zubaidi’ variety of fish reportedly jumped to KD 10, fishermen who had taken winter breaks were summoned to work in order to fill up the shortage in market, reported Al-Watan. Around 200 fishermen were summoned, and their efforts helped slash Zubaidi prices to KD 6. Al-Failakawi expects prices to reduce in the near future.

KUWAIT: Around 1,000 court trials have been suspended due to industrial action by Ministry of Justice (MoJ) legal experts over pay and conditions. The legal experts are refusing to prepare material for trials, with the head of the committee representing them insisting that the cases would not be adversely affected in any way by this action. Their action has prompted the cabinet to appoint justice minister Rashid Al-Hammad to coordinate with the parliamentary legislative committee on resolving the situation as soon as possible, reported Al-Watan. The head of the MoJ’s legal experts committee said that the industrial action was not a strike, since the experts have been attending work and carrying out all their other duties. He

explained that they had decided to take this action in protest at the cabinet’s failure to attend last week’s parliamentary session to discuss the bill on their pay and conditions, meaning that it could not be passed. The experts will continue their action until the March 18 parliamentary session when the cabinet is set to explain its stance on the issue, said the official. The experts are demanding work-related allowances costing a total of KD 2 million annually, along with end-of-service payments, a request flatly rejected by the cabinet, although the government did approve parts of the bill, including other allowances, payments for transport and accommodation and a 66-day annual paid holiday period.

Flour-smuggling bid foiled KUWAIT: Customs officers at Shuwaikh Port reportedly foiled an attempt by a North Korean consul to smuggle a shipment of subsidized flour out of Kuwait on a boat bound for his homeland. The customs staff apparently became suspicious of a container about to be exported and checked its contents, discovering that rather than the contents listed the whole shipment consisted of white, government-subsidized flour, which it is illegal to export. A customs insider said that although the North Korean official attempted to abuse his authority after the deception was discovered to complete the export process, he was unsuccessful. A report has been submitted to the relevant authorities so that they can take action over the case.

KUWAIT: The government expects that the privatization law will save at least KD 1 billion following the privatization of Communications and Electricity sectors. At present, Maintenance, Operation and Technicians and engineers payrolls consume a fortune. Officials added that the government intends to follow other GCC countries’ footsteps in pri-

sector provided that 50 percent of its shares are owned by the private sector. The service should be provided for reasonable prices,” explained the sources. They pointed out that the Cabinet had asked the Finance Ministry to determine the sectors it wanted to get rid of, so that they are included as part of privatization plans.

Meshary Al-Sanousi

Khalid Al-Ghanim

Fake charity collectors KUWAIT: The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor’s (MSAL) charities department is investigating a number of unidentified individuals who have been fraudulently obtaining money by claiming to be collecting money for a local charity, which has no knowledge of them. Nasser Al-Ammar, the head of the ministry’s charity department, announced that the ministry had intensified its investigation into the fraudulent ‘charity collectors,’ saying that the charity they claim to be collecting on behalf of had approached the department to complain after receiving reports of people being approached by a number of these individuals attempting to fraudulently solicit money.

12 factories shut down KUWAIT: on Sunday, preparations were made to temporarily shut down twelve factories in west Shaaibah for violating environmental standards, reported Al-Qabas. The decision, made by the Minister of Commerce and Industry last Thursday, instructed the closure of three factories for a week. The other nine were instructed to close for three days, starting Sunday. The factories will be given a chance to commit to the environmental standards or face further prosecution.

vatizing communication and postal services, particularly since the government sector lacks the modern ‘know-how’ to run the postal services, reported Al-Rai. Furthermore, sources remarked that the government would not privatize the electricity sector immediately. “A special company or establishment will be set up first to run the

KUWAIT: The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ahmed Al-Haroun, is photographed here during a meeting held with a delegation from the Saudi Co-operative Union yesterday. —KUNA

Chocolate festival at Kuwait Towers KUWAIT: The Kuwait Towers continues to provide visitors with the best quality service by holding various events and activities. It will now organize a cultural food festival. The Deputy Member of the Touristic Affairs at the TEC, Meshary Al-Sanousi, announced that the Kuwait Towers will host the chocolate festival between March 10 and March 20. It will be held in cooperation with the Kathmi (food supply) company. The event will feature items prepared from excellent Belgian chocolate, including a chocolate fountain made out of three main types of chocolate. Furthermore, Al-Sanousi announced that a buffet containing healthy, low-fat and lowsugar food will also be on display during the event. It will be suitable for diabetic patients

and people following a diet. The buffet will include products made from ostrich meat which is naturally cholesterol free, and ostrich egg that helps achieve balanced nutrition. Meanwhile, on behalf of the Touristic Enterprises Company’s staff, Deputy CEO Khalid Abdullah Al-Ghanim congratulated the Kuwaiti national football team’s qualification for the Asian Cup tournament which will be held in Qatar next year. In a gesture to express gratitude for the great achievement, Al-Ghanim invited the team’s members and staff to a dinner party to be held at the Kuwait Towers. The success is was garnered amid the struggles that the country’s sports sector has been experiencing. He further wished the team success in the tournament.

Smart IDs distribution to be completed in two years KUWAIT: The smart ID project, which was launched in July 2009, has reached a production capacity of 5,000 cards with the help of 14 distribution devices, said the General Director of the Public Authority of Civil Information (PACI), Musaed Al-Asousi. Citizens with IDs that expired in 2009 were summoned to receive their smart IDs. However, the PACI has

prepared a list that features the names of citizens who will receive their cards this year. Al-Asousi further indicated that 130,000 smart ID cards have already been distributed, and that number could have been increased had the PACI utilized its full capabilities, which they chose not to, with the intention of avoiding overcrowding.

The smart IDs will allow citizens to use it for several purposes and services. For example, the Ministry of Health has been contacted to update citizens’ medical information in the smart ID cards’ database. It can also be used in services that pertain to cooperative societies, K-Net payment, and for fuel recharge. Speaking about the possibility of issuing similar ID

cards to expatriates, Al-Asousi asserted that the government has plans start issuing the cards to nonKuwaitis once distribution is completed among citizens in two years’ time. Furthermore, Al-Asousi indicated that smart ID cards were designed according to high quality standards that are nearly fool proof.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


5 Ministry ‘unable to control abuse’

Hayef questions porn websites, Blackberry By Hussain Al-Qatari KUWAIT: Conservative MP Mohammad Hayef submitted yesterday a question to the Minister of Education Modhi AlHomoud regarding students’ accessibility to pornographic websites on computers in public high schools. The lawmaker said that the Ministry of Education is ‘unable to control the phenomenon’ and was urged to take immediate action. He

kuwait digest

Developing the future for Kuwait youth


he human being is the primary target of development and simultaneously the means to achieve it, writes Bader Al-Daihani in Al-Jarida. The best development plans, therefore, focus on the human element, improving people’s standard of living, providing education and enhancing their skills and abilities, as well as constantly polishing their skills through continuous advancement. The importance of developing human resources increases in a nation like Kuwait, whose economy is dependent on a single source of income; this means that the government should pay close attention to developing the skills of the country’s human resources since they are the true and permanent national wealth that the nation will depend on to implement development plans even after the oil runs out or if it loses some of its market value. As part of this issue of human resources development, one matter of primary importance is the attention paid by the state to the youth sector, developing and enhancing their skills and abilities. This is doubly important when one considers the demographic nature of Kuwaiti society, with young people comprising the majority of the population. According to recently released statistics, under-30s comprise 69.3 percent of the total Kuwaiti population, with 27.6 percent of Kuwaitis being aged between 15 and 29, while a whopping 41.7 percent are under 14. This demonstrates the importance of ensuring that young Kuwaitis spend their spare time wisely as a way of developing their skills and abilities, with developed nations according this issue great importance.

These nations invest in young people in positive ways, allowing them to use their spare time in activities that benefit not just the young people themselves but society as a whole by utilizing their youthful energy in constructive ways. Failing to do so, however, is bad for young people and for society in general. In Kuwait, unfortunately, there are very obvious shortcomings in the government’s policies on the provision of recreational facilities and activities for young people. There is a very noticeable lack of well-equipped modern youth clubs or public libraries in residential areas, more especially of new ones. Another failing is the lack of adequate sports or entertainment facilities in these areas, with the problems becoming more difficult and complex when we consider the availability of such facilities or activities for young women, who are deprived of any way of constructively using their spare time. This lack of any facilities for young Kuwaitis in residential areas means that the majority have no suitable place to spend their spare time constructively, so we find them roaming in malls and killing time in pointless activities that, far from being beneficial, may actually be harmful to them and others. So, will we hear about new, groundbreaking development-related government plans and high-quality policies for all those in society, particularly the young? Or is the government’s ‘development plan’ which we’ve heard so much about a euphemism for yet more concrete tower blocks that will only benefit those whose pockets are already full?

The Kuwait Times attempted to contact Ministry of Education officials but failed to get any quotes. Commenting on this, Omar Al-Enizi, a 38-year-old teacher of Computer Studies in a public high school said that the internet service providers block all access to improper websites and that the allegations of the MP are false. “Some students know how to bypass censorship and use proxies to access blocked sites. Others carry pictures and videos on their mobile phones, and the mobile phones are not allowed inside the schools. It is not our responsibility as teachers to do anything other than punish students and inform their parents,” he said. The teacher continued that the phe-

warned the minister against taking this matter easily, urging to avoid its spread among the local community. He requested to be provided with photocopies of the contracts of the Ministry of Education and local internet service providers, and demanded that the minister justify this shortcoming on the part of ministry officials. The conservative tribal lawmaker is known for his extreme stance on what he calls “foreign phenomena.”

nomenon is not only present inside schools, but everywhere in the country. Hadeel Al-Shatti, a parent in her early forties said that the MP should not blame schools and the Ministry of Education, but rather encourage good upbringing. “Porn films are sold in video stores and are available all over the internet, with or without proxies,” she said. She argued that it is not a phenomenon, it is merely a case based on a few incidents and it should not be generalized and blown out of proportion. “We were all students at some point in our lives and we know that the upbringing is what makes a good or a bad kid,” she added.

Earlier this week, a conservative pressure group published an open letter on the internet requesting Hayef to urge MPs and government officials to ban the use of Blackberry smart phones. The letter claims that Blackberry smart phones bypass censorship and access pornography websites directly. It calls for the MP to ‘take action’ against what it named a “crime against any decent family in Kuwait.” “The catastrophe lies in the fact that the internet browser on the Blackberry opens all websites with no limitations ... which explains why it is being marketed at very affordable prices by local telecommunication companies,” states the letter.

Environmental center to boost awareness KUWAIT: By establishing Kuwait’s “Environmental Monitoring Information System”, the state is taking a major step towards increasing awareness and helping decision makers reach wellinformed decisions regarding the environment, a specialist said here, yesterday. Chairman of the new project said the center would provide crucial data that would help efforts at preserving and rehabilitating the environment as well as improve national staff’s capabilities in the area of environmental data systems and monitoring the environmen-

tal situation. The official expressed appreciation for the support of the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Chairman of the Supreme Council for the Environment Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah for the idea and for the project, which he stressed would prove a huge leap in environment action in Kuwait. On objectives of the center, he said these would include bolstering the EPA’s monitoring capabilities and performance, encouraging and assisting in environmental development, and push

for adopting policies and practices which help in the area of environmental preservation. Another main objective is compilation of a reliable database on the environment in Kuwait through a mechanism of thorough analysis, evaluation, and proper documentation, the official said. As to awareness on environment issue in Kuwaiti society, he said the center would help in this area by providing access to information as well as providing training opportunities within the region. Access to the aspired

databases would benefit the new system’s technical staff, environment specialists and activists, researchers, students, and state and other workers in this field. Al-Ahmad stressed the importance of providing interactive maps and other content via reliable and trusted portals to help the public become more aware and help staff be more capable in terms of analyzing data and planning mechanisms for “effective” monitoring. Al-Ahmad expressed thanks to the team members who are working on the project. —KUNA



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spare keys the main tool

Sharp increase in number of car thefts around Kuwait KUWAIT: A rise in car thefts has prompted questions about the effectiveness of the Ministry of Interior’s role in maintaining security and safety. Recently issued statistics show a sharp increase in such thefts in recent months. One factor shared by many of the thefts is that they were committed using spare keys, rather than through breaking into the vehicles, which has seen further questions raised about the compliance of local locksmiths with the country’s Local daily Al-Watan called on any outlets found not to be complying with the relevant legislation to be penalized. The paper further proposed that MoI security officers should crack down on such outlets, arresting any locksmith or staff member offering to cut spare keys without following the legal procedures and to heavily penalize the shop owner. Heart attack A Bangladeshi man in his 30s died after suffering a heart attack while working at a chalet in the northern part of the country. Police and paramedics reported to the scene and pronounced the man dead. Drunks arrested Three youths were arrested for being drunk while driving a car on First Ring Road. Police pulled the car over when they noticed the three men dancing in the vehicle. When questioned, the youths explained they were drinking to celebrate their friend’s birthday. Drug abuse Farwaniya police arrested two citizens for abusing drugs

in a parked car in Andalus. The two tried to evade police in their vehicle but were apprehended after being forced to stop at a traffic light. They were found to be under the influence of drugs and an envelope of heroin and paraphernalia were found in their possession. They were sent to the General Department for Drug Control. Police also captured four Egyptians abusing hashish in a car parked in Maidan Hawally. They were taken to the proper authorities. Beggar in custody A 60-year-old Yemeni man was arrested for panhandling in Kabad. When searched, police found him in possession of KD 100 and discovered that he entered the country using a commercial visa. He was taken to the proper authorities. Domestic violence Police responded to an emergency call regarding a domestic dispute in Rawdha where a man was physically assaulting his wife and daughter. After arriving, they found that the man had left the scene. A case was opened for investigations.

laws on key-cutting and on whether or not the ministries of interior and commerce are regularly inspecting all such outlets and checking that they are properly licensed. Further doubts have arisen over whether or not the proprietors and staff in these outlets are following the mandatory procedures when making copies of keys, being legally compelled to make photocopies of the ID of every customer.

Fatal accident An Asian man was killed in a car accident on Abdali Road when his vehicle overturned. The passenger of the vehicle, his wife, suffered serious injuries. Police and paramedics responded to the scene but found that the driver had already succumbed to his wounds. His wife, still breathing but in critical condition, was taken to a nearby hospital. Juvenile fight Three juveniles suffered severe stab wounds after engaging in a fight with a number of youngsters behind a mall in Hawally. They were taken to Mubarak Hospital by paramedics and police arrested some of the other fighters. Bootlegger held A Kuwaiti man was arrested in Jahra for selling alcohol. Police arrested him after confirming that he was involved in selling the illegal substances. Three boxes containing homemade liquor were found in his possession. Family saved A Lebanese man responded

to calls for help from his neighbor after her apartment caught fire. He was able to save the citizen’s daughter who was trapped inside her room. Firefighters, police and paramedics responded to the emergency and extinguished the flames while the daughter was taken to a nearby hospital. It was revealed that the same man had saved the same family from a fire in their apartment a month ago.

woman was admitted to Mubarak Hospital’s intensive care unit in critical condition and suffering from at least five stab wounds. When her condition stabilized, she explained to investigators that her son attacked her for not handing ownership of several stores to him. She added that his late father left the stores in her name before he died. A case was opened and police are searching for the son.

Child abandoned Fawaniya police reported to a school in Omariya to bring home a 7-year-old child who had been waiting for his family for an hour and a half. The 2nd grader was taken to the police station and authorities began searching for the boy’s parents. They discovered that his family resides in Rabbiya but were unable to locate the family. Investigators are still searching for the missing family.

Bargaining thief A job owner filed a case with the Jahra police station against one of his employees for stealing KD 2,500 from the company. He recently received a phone call from the employee, who offered to give the business owner KD 1,500 in exchange for dropping the case. The employer refused and informed police about the offer.

Mother stabbed A Syrian woman in her fifties was attacked and stabbed by her son several times with a kitchen knife in her apartment in Salmiya. The

Neglect A 4-year-old Egyptian child sustained second degree burns after boiling hot water spilled on him in an apartment in Farwaniya. He was taken to the hospital and a case of neglect was opened against his parents.

Kuwait ‘a pioneer’ in field of charity

DAMASCUS: Activities of the Kuwaiti Cultural Week in Syria in progress. — Photos by KUNA

Kuwait cultural week in Syria displays deep Arabic culture DAMASCUS: Kuwaiti Cultural Week with the variety of activities it offers showcased deep Arabic culture, Syrian Deputy Minister of Culture Ali AlQayyim said yesterday. In a statement on the sidelines of the event which kicked off here yesterday, Al-Qayyim applauded Kuwaiti orchestra for displaying authentic Kuwaiti folklore symphonies. Kuwaiti youth proved their creativity in cultural, intellectual and artistic domains, he said, pointing out to the time-hon-

ored theatrical, intellectual and cultural movement of Kuwait inspired by the Arabic culture. Meanwhile, Syrian Journalists’ Association chairman Elias Murad hailed Kuwaiti Embassy which is co-hosting the event with Syrian Culture Ministry for its contributions directed towards boosting cooperation between both nations in the fields of culture and media. Such activities help enhance inter-Arab relations, he said, and praised books and photographs exhibitions which high-

lighted deeply-rooted KuwaitiSyrian relations and presented a variety of valuable publications. An economic symposium delivered by regional director of Kuwaiti’s Fund for Arab Economic Development in the Middle East, South and East Africa Abdulrahman Hashem will be held today, followed by poetic recitation presented by Kuwaiti poetry writers and a folklore concert. A number of gifts will be distributed for orphans on the sidelines of the exhibition. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Sheikha Fareeha Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah receives a shield from chairperson of the Al-Manar Media Center Aisha Al-Reshadi — KUNA

DOHA: Kuwait is a pioneer in the domain of charity and in supporting ailing societies, Secretary General of Fahad Al-Ahmad International Award for Charity Dr Shibib AlZaabi said yesterday. The fact that Kuwaiti humanitarian aid covers various countries worldwide showcases the giving nature of Kuwaiti people, Al-Zaabi said on the sidelines of participating in the third conference for charitable organizations affiliated with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The two-day conference held in Doha is a good opportunity to highlight Kuwait’s contributions especially those that cover the Islamic world, he said, and noted that the event is aimed at boosting and facilitating charitable work. Charity plays a great role in the advancement of countries; therefore, governments should applaud and take pride in such noble actions, he said. As for Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmad’s award, AlZaabi said that the award was directed towards overcoming charity hurdles through educating those affiliated on international laws and regulations adopted by world’s relief and humanitarian agencies, alongside displaying positive effects of charitable work on society. A number of workshops tackling recommendations issued at the second conference and of which are associated with charitable work in the Islamic world will be held on the sidelines of the conference where 35 Islamic countries are participating. The OIC’s conference held in cooperation with Qatar Charitable Society will touch on ways to develop charitable work and boosting organization’s performance. The first conference was held in Senegal back in 2008 while the second was held in Libya last year. — KUNA

Gulf Bank supports special needs children KUWAIT: Gulf Bank recently concluded its sponsorship for special needs’ students at Al Noor & Al Amal School for deaf and blind disabilities, as well as Al Raja’s School for physical disabilities. The events were aimed at celebrating the first day of returning to school. Over 500 special needs students, along with their teachers, enjoyed the fun filled activities and entertainment provided by representatives from Gulf Bank. Several prominent figures in the special needs education field were present on the first day of school including: Dakheel Al-Enizi, Director of Special Education Schools Management; Mohammad Al-Kanderi, Assistant Undersecretary for Specialized Education; Mansour Al-Mansour, Head of Activities Department and Nadia Al-Yaseen, Principal of Al Amal & Al Noor School, Laila AlKhodhari, Principal of AlRaja’a School and Nabeela Dashti, Assistant Director of Al-Raja’a, who thanked Gulf Bank for its continuous support towards education and youth. During the event, Gulf Bank’s famous Nassour character along with other cartoon characters shared the first day at school with the children, where they assisted school teachers and the specialized staff who were teaching the children methods of avoiding and protecting themselves from H1N1. In addition, Gulf

Bank representatives helped distribute books and meals to the students. Al Raja’a School also held competitions and fun activities for the children which included face painting, hair braiding and henna designs. The Bank used the opportunity to wish all attending students the best of luck and a

successful school year ahead. Gulf Bank also recently sponsored Gulf University of Science and Technology’s (GUST) “Alive 2010” Event, which was aimed at special needs, and included a range of entertaining activities. Gulf Bank’s commitment to corporate social responsi-

bility starts with its belief in the core values of Kuwaiti society, and the Bank’s policies and vision are aligned to meet the needs of Kuwait. Gulf Bank continues to support special needs’ students education and development through the year reiterating the Bank’s commitment to the wider community.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

in the news Lift state of emergency DAMASCUS: Human rights groups in Syria yesterday urged the government to lift a 47year-old state of emergency, free political prisoners and allow greater political freedoms. “We call on the Syrian government to lift the state of emergency, which has been in force since 1963, and to close the file on political prisoners by freeing them,” said a joint statement. The rights groups called on authorities to “annul the emergency courts and the judgements put forth by these tribunals.” The statement appealed for a law on political parties that “would allow citizens to take part in political life.” Notable signatories of the text included the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Syrian League for the Defence of Human Rights and the Kurdish Committee for Human Rights. Their statement called on the government “to take all measures to amend laws limiting the activities of human rights organisations, and which prohibit them from working publicly and freely.” It also called for freedom for Syria’s significant Kurdish population, allowing them to “enjoy their culture and exercise their language.” The state of emergency was imposed on March 8, 1963, after the Baath party came to power in Syria.

Reject talks with Israel DAMASCUS: Palestinian opposition groups including the militant Hamas have rejected the Palestinian leadership’s decision to hold indi-

rect peace talks with Israel. A statement signed by eight Damascus-based groups yesterday says the decision to hold US-mediated peace talks with Israel for four months comes in response to US and Israeli pressure. The Palestine Liberation Organization agreed on Sunday to resume indirect talks with Israel, effectively ending a 14-month breakdown in communications between the two side. The decision also marks a first achievement in more than a year for US regional diplomacy. Yesterday’s statement says the decision is a retreat from an earlier pledge not to negotiate with Israel before it halts its settlement activities.

Asylum to Iran dissidents BERLIN: Germany will offer asylum to a “host” of Iranian dissidents abroad in a gesture of solidarity against human rights abuses by the Tehran regime, an interior ministry spokeswoman said yesterday. “We have decided to welcome in Germany Iranian citizens based abroad. There are a host of valid cases,” she added, declining to say how many asylum seekers would be admitted. According to sources familiar with the matter, the dissidents are mainly people who have criticised the Iranian regime and now live in Turkey. “As you know, the federal government is greatly worried about the state of human rights in Iran. With this action, Germany is showing a sign of solidarity and support,” she said. Germany would act in cooperation with the United Nations agency for refugees, added the spokeswoman.

TEL AVIV: US Vice President Joe Biden (C) shakes hands with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon (L) as he arrives at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv yesterday. Biden arrived in the Middle East yestreday with Israel and the Palestinians on the cusp of opening indirect peace talks after a break in negotiations of more than a year. — AFP

Biden in Mideast to press peace efforts JERUSALEM: US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in the Middle East yesterday with Israel and the Palestinians on the cusp of opening indirect peace talks after a break in negotiations of more than a year. He was welcomed at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv by Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, who is also strategic affairs minister. Biden, the highest-ranking American official to visit Israel and the West Bank since President Barack Obama took office last year, was expected to throw his weight behind the USbrokered indirect talks. Palestinian officials announced on Sunday that they were ready to take part in the talks, despite deep scepticism about the prospects for success. Talks between the two sides have been on hold since Israel launched a devastating offensive against the Gaza Strip in December 2008, despite US efforts to relaunch the peace process. Biden said it was crucial that both sides enter negotiations with a positive attitude. “We have got to ensure now that we will give the talks every chance of succeeding. The key is holding talks with goodwill, so that both sides come to the table with serious intentions,” he said in an interview with the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot. “If the talks develop, we believe that we’ll be able to bridge the gaps and that the conflict will be ended,” he said in the interview published in Hebrew. Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that any peace agreement must take Israel’s security into account. “We are trying to advance-and I believe we shall succeed in advancing-the peace process, but this process is not a game, it’s a real thing,” he said in a statement. “It concerns first and foremost security, and our security is not a piece of paper. In real agreements we must prevent missiles, rockets and terror,” he said after talks with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who is also in the region. “These are things on which I intend to vigorously insist in order to achieve an agreement

which will last for generations.” Biden will meet Israeli President Shimon Peres, Netanyahu and opposition leader Tzipi Livni today. On Wednesday, he is due to hold talks with Tony Blair, special envoy for the Quartet of key diplomatic players, as well as Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and prime minister Salam Fayyad. Israeli media reported that Biden’s mission was also to convince Israel not to attack Iranian nuclear facilities and give US-led efforts to impose sanctions on Tehran a chance. Israel has called for crippling sanctions on Iran’s energy sector to persuade it to halt its uranium enrichment programme, which Israel and the West suspect is aimed at developing a weapons

capability. Tehran has insisted the programme is purely for civilian purposes. Israel, the region’s sole if undeclared nuclear power, views Iran as its greatest threat after repeated predictions by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Jewish state’s demise. Biden refused to comment on the possibility of military action against Iran, but expressed Washington’s commitment to stopping Tehran from acquiring the bomb. “Iran obtaining nuclear arms will deeply undermine the stability of the entire international community and could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that will be extremely dangerous for everyone involved, including for Iran,” Biden told Yediot Aharonot. — AFP


Premier Maliki emerges as front-runner after Iraq vote Turnout across the country was about 60% BAGHDAD: Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, the Shiite who helped ease Iraq’s sectarian strife, emerged yesterday as a front-runner in a parliamentary election but could yet face a tough battle to cling to power. Maliki polled well President Barack Obama, who has promised to withdraw all US troops from Iraq by the end of next year, paid tribute to “the courage and resilience of the Iraqi people who once again defied threats to advance their democracy.” The key estimates from the Baghdad region, which could swing the result of the vote, were not yet available yesterday but local officials said Maliki’s political bloc was so far leading the count in nine of Iraq’s 18 provinces. Maliki’s State of Law Alliance was ahead in Shiite regions, while Iyad Allawi, a former premier who heads the Iraqiya list, was leading in Sunni areas, said estimates AFP obtained from officials across the country. Official final results are not due until the end of March and it is then likely to take months of horsetrading before a new government is formed. But early indications were positive for Maliki. A source close to the prime minister said it now looked like his list was going to get 100 seats in the 325-seat parliament. Maliki was appointed prime minister in 2005 as a compromise candidate and his administration, with considerable help from the US military, sharply reduced the Sunni-Shiite sectarian strife that killed tens of thousands in the wake of the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam. He played down his party’s Shiite religious roots in his campaign for this election and sought to portray himself as the leader who restored security to Iraq, a claim dented by a series of recent bombings. One analyst, however, said even if Maliki’s list was triumphant, his unpopularity among Iraq’s many political parties could prevent him from remaining prime minister. “His relations with the Kurds, who play a key role in parliament, are not good,” said Hamid Fadel, a political scientist at Baghdad university. “The Iraq National Alliance accuses him of concentrating power in his own office and the Sunnis accuse him of launching a ‘de-Baathification’ process aimed at them,” he told AFP. Maliki’s main challenger, according to the initial estimates, is Allawi, whose Iraqiya is a mostly Shiite slate that has campaigned on a nationalist and non-sectarian ticket. The other leading list is the Iraq National Alliance, dominated by two Shiite religious parties-the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and the movement of radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr, who led two uprisings against US troops. Whoever forms the new government, they will be tasked with tackling still high levels of violence, an economy in tatters and a culture of endemic corruption. — AFP

according to early forecasts from Iraq’s second election since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein, which saw millions shake off the fear of bomb, mortar and rocket attacks that killed 38 people to cast ballots.

BAGHDAD: Iraqi employees at the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) headquarters in Baghdad sit in front of stacks of ballot boxes yesterday following Iraq’s second general elections since the US-led invasion of 2003. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, the Shiite leader who helped ease Iraq’s deadly sectarian conflict, emerged as a front-runner after yesterday election, seen as a test of the nation’s young democracy. — AFP

Iran releases journalists, opposition members on bail TEHRAN: Iranian authorities have freed five men, including reformist journalists and aides of opposition leaders, on bail after some of them paid hefty sureties, an oppositon website reported late on Sunday. Abdollah Momeni, Mehdi Forzandehpour, Ehsan Mehrabi, Akbar Montajabi and Vahid Pourostad were behind bars after they were detained as part of a crackdown on supporters of opposition leaders. Momeni, a top reformist student activist and an aide to opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, has been sentenced to six years in jail but was granted five days’ prison leave on bail of 800,000 dollars, his lawyer said. Momeni has been in custody

for eight months and in November his wife reportedly said he was charged with participating in anti-government protests which erupted after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June last year. Forozandehpour, an aide of the main opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, was released after paying unspecified bail, opposition website said. He had been in custody for two months. Reformist journalists Mehrabi, Montajabi and Pourostad were also released. The website gave no details of the bail conditions. Mehrabi and Montajabi were arrested in early February, while Pourostad was

detained in early January. Iran has released a growing number of opposition supporters and reformists in recent weeks, especially after bloody clashes between protesters and security forces on December 27, the day the nation marked the Shiite Ashura ceremony. Iranian news reports say 10 protesters charged with participating in the post-election unrest have been sentenced to death so far. On January 28, Iran executed Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmani Pour, two members of a monarchist group, whose exact timing of arrest is unclear but who were put on trial along with several other post-election protesters. —AFP



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Scouts founder held talks with Nazis: British secret files LONDON: Scouting founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell was invited to meet Adolf Hitler after friendly talks with the Hitler Youth about forming closer ties, secret British files released yesterday showed. Britain’s Baden-Powell, who started the Scouts in 1907, held talks with German ambassador Joachim von Ribbentrop and Hitler Youth chief of staff Hartmann Lauterbacher on November 19, 1937. Lauterbacher, then 28, was in Britain to

foster closer relations with the Boy Scout movement and Ribbentrop invited BadenPowell to tea with the Hitler Youth leader, newly declassified MI5 Security Service files revealed. A letter from Baden-Powell to Ribbentrop the day after the meeting showed how he felt about the talks. “I am grateful for the kind conversation you accorded me which opened my eyes to the feeling of your country towards Britain,

which I may say reciprocates exactly the feeling which I have for Germany,” BadenPowell wrote. “I sincerely hope that we shall be able, in the near future, to give expression to it through the youth on both sides, and I will at once consult my headquarters officers and see what suggestions they can put forward.” In a report on the meeting, Baden-Powell described Ribbentrop as “earnest” and “charming”. He wrote: “I had a long talk

with the ambassador, who was very insistent that the true peace between the two nations will depend on the youth being brought up on friendly terms together in forgetfulness of past differences. “He sees in the Scout movement a very powerful agency for helping to bring this about if we can get into closer touch with the Jugend (Youth) movement in Germany. “To help this he suggested that if possible we should send one or two men to meet

their leaders in Germany and talk matters over and, especially, he would like me to go and see Hitler after I am back from Africa.” He went on: “I told him that I was fully in favour of anything that would bring about a better understanding between our nations, and hoped to have further talks with him when I return from Africa.” There is no evidence that Baden-Powell ever met Hitler. Once the war had been under way for several years, the security

services had no doubt about the nature of the Nazi youth wing. An October 1944 intelligence assessment warned that the organisation should not be taken lightly and could not be compared to the Scouts. It said: “It is a compulsory Nazi formation, which has consciously sought to breed hate, treachery and cruelty into the mind and soul of every German child. “It is, in the true sense of the word, ‘education for death’.” — AFP

British citizens suing govt and intelligence agencies over mistreatment

UK justices hear Gitmo detainees’ torture appeal LONDON: Lawyers for six former Guantanamo detainees yesterday appealed a ruling that the British government can use secret evidence to fight a claim that it was complicit in their abuse. The former terror suspects, all British citizens or residents, are suing the government and intelligence agencies over their alleged mistreatment in Afghanistan, Guantanamo and elsewhere. They deny any involvement in terrorism and allege that British spy agencies abetted their unlawful imprisonment and extraordinary rendition to locations around the world where they were tortured. The government says some evidence is too sensitive to be released to the claimants, their lawyers or the public. But the former detainees say having access to the British government evidence is vital to open justice. Dinah Rose, a lawyer for several of the claimants, said the secrecy the government seeks “has never been allowed in the history of the common law. “The process is fundamentally incompatible with the very notion of what a civil trial is,” she said. In November, the High Court ruled that

some evidence could be heard in secret if its disclosure was considered a threat to national security or international relations. In that case, the material could only be reviewed by a specially appointed lawyer who could not discuss it with the former inmates or their attorneys. The system of secret evidence, known as a “closed material procedure,” has been used only in a handful of terrorism cases, and never in civil courts. Lawyers for the men claim that the extension of its use would be dangerous to the judicial process, and say the

courts have no power to allow the procedure. “Does the civil court have the power to conduct a trial in the absence of the claimant and to entertain oral and written submissions that are concealed from the claimant and ultimately to give a judgment that is concealed from the claimant?” Rose said. “Our submission is that the answer is no.” The case is the latest legal battle by the government to keep information secret in cases of alleged torture. Last month, a court ordered the release of a summary of CIA documents detailing ex-

Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed’s mistreatment in Pakistan in 2002, rejecting the government argument that it should be kept secret. The claimants are Ethiopia-born Mohamed, who was released from Guantanamo last year; Libyan-born Omar Deghayes, Iraqi Bisher al-Rawi and Palestinian-Jordanian Jamil elBanna, all British residents who were released in 2007; and Britons Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar. The hearing before three appeals judges is scheduled to last three days. — AP

in the news

GENEVA: Yang Jinali, left, Chinese political dissident, Phuntsok Nyidron, from Tibet and longest serving female political prisoner, 2nd left, Alfred Moses, 2nd right, President of UN Watch and Rebiya Kadeer, right, Uyghur human rights activist, from left, take part in the panel on ‘Rising powers and international Rights compliance: Case study of China of the 2nd Geneva Summit for Human Rights Tolerance and Democracy/ at the International Conference Center in Geneva (CICG) in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday. — AP

South African minister nominated for UN post JOHANNESBURG: The South African president’s office announced the nomination of its tourism minister for the United Nations’ top climate post yesterday. The office said in a press release that Marthinus van Schalkwyk is a candidate to direct the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The current leader of the post, Yvo de Boer, announced his resignation in February and will step down July 1. Van Schalkwyk was South Africa’s former minister for environmental affairs and tourism and is well-regarded in climate change circles. He has a reputation as an effective bridge-builder in a process that

often pits developing against industrially advanced countries. “We are pleased to know Minister Van Schalkwyk is being considered and would be very confident that he would be equal to the task of replacing Mr. de Boer,” said Themba Linden, Political Advisor at Greenpeace Africa. “By all accounts, he has an excellent standing as a negotiator, and has earned a great deal of respect for being very engaged and informed.” Van Schalkwyk’s chances of being appointed are bolstered by the high likelihood that South Africa will host the UN’s climate change negotiations in 2011. South Africa along with the US,

India, Brazil and China drafted the climate change agreement reached in Denmark in December. The compromise calls for reducing emissions to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 C (3.6 F) above preindustrial levels. The nonbinding agreement also calls on rich nations to spend billions to help poor nations deal with drought and other impacts of climate change, and to develop clean energy. Even though it helped draft the accord, South Africa joined a chorus of critics, expressing disappointment at not reaching a legally binding climate change agreement. — AP

Dutch far-right MP to take council seat in The Hague THE HAGUE: Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders will take a seat on the municipal council of The Hague where his party came second in municipal polls last week, the city said yesterday. “I can confirm that Mr Wilders will take a seat on the council,” a spokeswoman for the municipality, Tina Ehrami, told AFP. Wilders had listed himself in the 20th and last spot of his Party for Freedom’s (PVV) list of candidates for elections in The Hague, where it took 16.8 percent of the vote and eight seats out of 45 on the municipal council. The PVV had contested only two cities: The Hague, the seat of government, and Almere near Amsterdam where it came first with 21.6 percent of the vote in a show of strength ahead of June general elections. Wilders, whose party is said by polls to now be the most popular nationally with its campaign

to “stop the Islamisation of the Netherlands”, won 13,636 votes for himself in The Hague while the head of his PVV list in the city, Sietse Fritsma, got 16,229 votes. The candidate in third place received 612 votes. “I didn’t initially want to do it (sit on the council), but I realised Friday that I received quite a few preferential votes,” in his own name, Wilders was quoted as saying Monday by Dutch news agency ANP. “For that reason, I will do it.” He will remain a member of the Dutch lower house of parliament. The new municipal council of The Hague, where the Labour party PvdA came first with 21.2 percent of the vote and 10 seats, will be inaugurated on Thursday. Negotiations to form a coalition government in the city were well underway, said Ehrami. — AFP

LONDON: British Justice Secretary, Jack Straw arrives at his office in London, yesterday. Straw said the government may reveal more about why convicted child murderer Jon Venables was taken back into custody nine years after he was released on parole. Venables and his friend Robert Thompson were only 10 when they lured toddler James Bulger away from a shopping center in Liverpool in 1993 and beat him to death by an isolated railway line. — AP

Female prisoners pardoned NOUAKCHOTT: Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has pardoned four female prisoners to mark International Women’s Day, according to a presidential decree issued yesterday. “On the occasion of the holiday on March 8, International Women’s Day, the president of the Republic has decreed that four women detained under common law be pardoned, in accordance with article 37 of the constitution,” read the decree. The document said the four women had not “committed offences linked to blood crimes, terrorism, rape or drug trafficking.” This is the first time women have been pardoned since Mauritania started celebrating women’s day in 1970, five years before the United Nations declared it an international holiday. Women’s representation has increased in the Muslim country in recent years, with 20 percent of lawmakers who are women and six female governnment ministers, including the foreign minister who is the first woman to hold this post in the Arab world. ‘Fun’ beatings MUNICH: Three Swiss 17year-olds appeared in court in southern Germany yesterday, accused of brutally and randomly beating up five passers-by, including one disabled man, “for fun” during a school trip. The trio, identified only as Mike B., Ivan Z., and Benjamin D., face charges of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm and could spend up to 10 years behind bars if found guilty. According to prosecutors, the three were drinking and smoking cannabis in a park in Munich in July when they decided to embark on an orgy of random violence. They beat up three unemployed men, aged between 43 and 64 while still in the park. One of these men was disabled. Shortly afterwards, they punched and kicked a 46year-old insurance broker, who suffered severe head injuries as a result. Finally, the trio attacked a Bulgarian student. Prosecutors said that at least two of those attacked could have died as a result of the violence. When they were arrested, one of the accused allegedly said they wanted “to have a bit of fun.” A verdict in the case is due in May.

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed shake hands after a press conference following talks at the chancellery in Berlin yesterday. — AFP

Iraq war won Britain respect in ME: Miliband LONDON: Britain’s decision to back the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 earned it respect in the Middle East and it must not be scared of similar action in the future, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said yesterday. Giving evidence to the public inquiry into Britain’s role in the US-led conflict, Miliband insisted that despite all the violence, Iraq now had the potential to be an example to the region on democracy and human rights. Miliband acknowledged the domestic and international opposition to the war but said many Arab countries respected Britain more for acting on Iraq’s violation of UN resolutions on its weapons of mass destruction. “I do think people in the region do respect those who are willing to see through what they say they favour,” he said. “Even those who disagree with it (the war) would say to me, ‘you’ve sent a message that

when you say something you actually mean it. And if you say something’s a last chance it really is a last chance’.” He added: “In the Arab world today, I don’t believe that the Iraq decisions have undermined our relationships or our ability to business. Some of our ambassadors say we are in a stronger position.” Miliband said that even US critics of the invasion accepted Britain had been a “staunch ally”, and any divisions in the United Nations-which failed to agree on a second resolution explicitly authorising war-had blown over. The inquiry was set up to learn the lessons of the conflict, and although Miliband admitted these were numerous, he urged the panel not to conclude that the idea of such military action was a bad idea. “The wrong lesson would be that Britain should leave international engagement to others,

that the world is just so complicated and so dangerous that we’re better off retreating into ourselves,” he said. While the Iraq war had caused difficulties and killed many, it has also created opportunities for the people there and the region, he said, noting moves to improve human rights and the elections that took place on Sunday. “The opportunity was always that Iraq should be a relatively wealthy, relatively pluralist part of the Middle East,” he said. He added: “The potential is there for a radically different example of what it means to be a citizen in the Arab world.” Miliband was a junior education minister in Tony Blair’s government at the time of the 2003 invasion. He was appointed foreign secretary when Gordon Brown took over from Blair as Labour prime minister in June 2007. — AFP

THE HAGUE: This image released by The International Criminal Court (ICC) yesterday shows an artist’s impression of its new headquarters. – AP

International court unveils new HQ design THE HAGUE: The International Criminal Court unveiled the design of its new headquarters yesterday, a €92 million ($125 million) complex of six towers built on the edge of sand dunes lining this city’s North Sea coast. Danish architect Bjarne Hammer showed off a model of the five oblong office buildings and a transparent block that will house three or four courtrooms. The buildings are linked by a public ground floor with gardens and a mirror pool. Hammer called the design “an abstract informal structure in the landscape — a piece of land art” whose open spaces give views of the dunes behind the court. A central garden will feature plants and trees from all 110 of the court’s member states. Court registrar Silvana Arbia praised the design, saying it “transmits a feeling of harmony and peace.” The world’s first permanent war crimes court currently is housed in the former office tower of a Dutch telecommunications company in a rundown industrial neighborhood on the

eastern edge of The Hague. Its new home will be built on land formerly occupied by a military barracks and is scheduled to be completed in 2015. The Dutch government made available the land and a low-interest loan to fund the building. The member states ultimately will have to pay for the building but it was not announced how they would be assessed. The court is not part of the United Nations. Danish architectural firm schmidt hammer lassen was chosen to design the new headquarters in a competition that drew entries from 171 architects around the world. The court was established in 2002 to prosecute war crimes when local authorities are unwilling or unable to do so. It has so far launched formal investigations in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and the Sudanese region of Darfur. Four suspects are in custody, three of whom are on trial. Among eight suspects indicted but still at large are Sudanese President Omar alBashir and the leaders of Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army. — AP


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Looters hand back goods as Chile mourns quake dead Demolition and reconstruction efforts begin in badly-hit areas CONCEPCION: Looters in Chile have handed back stolen goods worth two million dollars, the government said, as the country mourned the hundreds killed in last month’s earthquake and tsunami. Pressed by

NEWTON: This, March 5, 2010, photo shows University of New Hampshire history professor Ellen Fitzpatrick, author of “Letters to Jackie: Condolences From A Grieving Nation,” in Newton, Mass.— AP

JFK condolence letters published for first time CONCORD: Among the 1.5 million condolence letters sent to US President John F. Kennedy’s widow after his assassination in 1963 were more than two dozen from Jane Dryden, a dogged and dramatic 11-year-old who churned out a letter a week for six months straight. “I know that you hate the whole state of Texas. I do to,” she wrote to Jacqueline Kennedy from Austin in January 1964. “I wish I lived in Washington, D.C. where maybe I could maybe see you standing on your porch. I am determined to move there as soon as I can. I would feel safer there.” Given the overwhelming volume of mail — 800,000 letters in the first seven weeks alone — most of condolence letters were destroyed. But at least one of Dryden’s notes ended up among the 200,000 pages that were sent to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, where they sat largely ignored until historian Ellen Fitzpatrick decided to write “Letters to Jackie: Condolences From a Grieving Nation.” The book, released last week by HarperCollins, includes more than 200 never-before-published letters divided into three categories: vivid recollections of the day Kennedy was killed; letters that express views on society, politics and the presidency; and personal experiences of grief and loss. Larry Toomey of Upper Darby, Pa., didn’t even wait until Kennedy’s death was announced before starting his letter. “My dear Mrs. Kennedy, Even as I write this letter, my hand, my body is trembling at the terrible incident of this afternoon. I am watching the CBS-TV news report. No official word as yet.” Writing two days later, eighth-grader Mary South described learning that the president had been shot just as she sat down to play the church organ at her Catholic school in Santa Clara, Calif. “I tried to tell myself he would be all right but somehow I knew he wouldn’t. ... the tears wouldn’t stop. The slightly damp keys were hard to play but I offered it up that the President might live,” she wrote. In return for her letter, she received a small card printed with the words “Mrs. Kennedy is deeply appreciative of your sympathy and grateful for your thoughtfulness.” “Getting that back felt like: She saw this. Jackie saw this,” South, whose married name is Mary Certa, said in an interview Thursday. “I felt good that I had done something. I just wanted her to know how upset we were and how helpless we felt.” When one of Fitzpatrick’s researchers called and read her letter, “I started to cry all over again,” said Certa, 60, of Campbell, Calif. “It was like I was right back there in 1963.” Fitzpatrick was at the Kennedy library researching a different book when she asked to see some of the condolence letters in hopes of getting a sense of how Kennedy was perceived by Americans in his own time. As soon as she started reading, she was hooked. “It was like the roof came off the building, the walls dropped away, the floor came out from under me. I was absolutely floored by what I’d begun to read,” she said Friday. “I have been teaching American history for 30 years, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a collection as powerful and that

represented so many ordinary people speaking from the heart about their views about American society, and politics, and the president.” Fitzpatrick, a University of New Hampshire professor, soon discovered why the letters had never been published: she would have to get permission from each writer before including it the book. But after she whittled down her list of favorites from 3,000 to 240, only five of the 220 or so she was able to track down declined to be included. “There have been so many books about the Kennedy assassination. We’ve heard from the experts, we’ve heard from the conspiracy theorists, we’ve heard from people in the Kennedy administration, but here are the voices of those voiceless, everyday Americans,” said Fitzpatrick, who said she was surprised at the eloquence of the writers, no matter how uneducated or young. “I’m just an average American — average mentality, average housewife, average housing, average size family, a year younger than you and perhaps a little more sensitive than some, but I will always have a warm spot in my heart for both of you as long as I live,” wrote Marilyn Davenport of New York, who included her phone number “if you ever want to talk.” Barbara Rimer was 15 when she wrote “I promise you that I will give body and soul to perpetuate the very ideals President Kennedy lived for.” Rimer, now dean of the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, didn’t even remember writing to Mrs. Kennedy until contacted by Fitzpatrick. “When I read it, I thought, ‘Wow, was I naive!’ I don’t know how many people write letters to the president today or to Michelle (Obama), but it seemed incredibly naive,” she said. But Rimer also realized that she has kept her promise to Mrs. Kennedy through her career in public health and by encouraging students to give back at the local, national and global level. “When I saw this letter, it made me realize how long I’ve been on a path I really wasn’t aware I was on, so I’m really grateful to the author of this book for kind of giving me back a piece of my history,” she said. For Jane Dryden Louis, author of the weekly letters, the assassination coincided with her growing awareness of the world outside her neighborhood. She remembers being drawn to the drama and pageantry of the Kennedys, and the tragedy as well. After the assassination, she set up an altar with candles in her bedroom, and she and her friends pretended to be Jacqueline, Teddy and Bobby Kennedy. “They say I look like you, too, although I am blonde and wear glasses,” she wrote to Mrs. Kennedy. As an adult, Dryden Louis has worked as pastoral minister, helping families prepare for a loved one’s death. “I can almost still recognize a piece of myself that’s drawn to be in relationships with people in that sort of deep and tragic but very rich context,” she said. “It’s still me.” One of the shortest letters came from Martin Rosenberg, a student at the University of Massachusetts who wrote: “Dear Mrs. Kennedy: I have never seen our football players cry ... but today, they did.” — AP

Havava slams dissident’s hunger strike as ‘blackmail’ HAVANA: Cuba slammed dissident journalist Guillermo Farinas’s 12-day hunger strike as “blackmail” yesterday, rejecting his demand to free 26 political prisoners who need medical care. Farinas, 48, began his 23rd hunger strike, refusing all food and drink, a day after political prisoner Orlando Zapata died on February 23, 85 days into a hunger strike to protest prison conditions. “Cuba, which has demonstrated many times its respect for human life and dignity, will not accept pressure or blackmail,” the government-controlled newspaper Granma said in the first article on the matter to be published in the Cuban press.

Zapata’s death drew international outrage, with rights groups calling on Cuba to release all political prisoners. Farinas was hospitalized Wednesday after fainting, two days after two government doctors and a nurse found him to be very dehydrated during a medical visit. But the dissident has refused treatment, saying he is ready to die for his cause. “In this case, it is not medicine that must resolve a problem created with the intent to discredit our political system but the patient himself and the stateless people, foreign diplomats and the media who manipulate him,” Granma added, accusing Farinas of being an agent for US and

European interests. “The consequences will be his responsibility, and his alone.” It said that successive hunger strikes had weakened Farinas’s group. “If he is alive today, it must be said that it is thanks to the skilled medical attention he received despite his status as a mercenary,” the official newspaper added. “A doctor must respect the decision of someone who has begun a hunger strike. This is why we cannot force-feed him, as US authorities do regularly in prisons and in torture sites at Guantanamo (Cuba), Abu Ghraib (Iraq) and Bagram (Afghanistan) in violation of prisoners’ rights.” — AFP

The looting had broken out in the wake of the devastating 8.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Chile on February 27. That and rioting led to curfews and the deployment of some 14,000 soldiers-a move unprecedented since the 17year dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet that ended in 1990. President Michelle Bachelet visited a depot of returned goods Sunday, promising justice. “This looting has nothing to do with survival,” Bachelet told journalists, estimating the total value of the objects to be almost two million dollars. “It had everything to do with people trying to make a profit on the suffering of others.” Meanwhile, the national blue, red and white flag fluttered at half-mast from buildings across the country at the start of three days of national mourning, in a week in which president-elect Sebastian Pinera was due to be sworn in. Religious ceremonies, some taking place in the open air, brought Chileans together to remember their dead-now officially estimated at 452 after officials revised down a first toll of 802 when some missing turned up alive. Many of the nation’s 16.8 million inhabitants joined a wave of solidarity alongside public and international aid efforts, and looters handed back stolen goods under threat of arrest. Demolition and reconstruction efforts have slowly begun in badly-hit areas. Aid has poured in from across the world but, with severed bridges, fractured freeways and villages washed off the map, the nation has struggled to deliver relief to many, including some two million homeless survivors. Costs to repair damaged infrastructure, not including repairs on public buildings or damaged ports, would amount to between one billion and 1.2 billion dollars, Sergio Bitar, the minister of public works, estimated on Sunday. But he added: “Chile’s infrastructure held up well.” Bachelet winds up a fouryear term on Thursday facing criticism for a slow response to the quake. More than 60 percent of residents of the capital Santiago believed the government response was “slow or inefficient,” according to a survey published in El Mercurio newspaper on Sunday. Residents of Concepcion have organized sometimes violent protests against the slow trickle of aid, blocking traffic with burning tires and setting shopping centers aflame. With half a million homes destroyed, sanitary conditions for many of those still on the streets were a growing concern. “We have cases of gastroenteritis, respiratory problems, and we’ve had heart problems due to fears caused by recent aftershocks,” Carlos Barra, a health center doctor in Concepcion, told AFP. Aftershocks following the February 27 quake have complicated the rescue efforts, with more than 200 rattling the nation since then, including a 5.5-temblor on Sunday. Some 80 percent of total electricity supplies were restored by Saturday, officials said as they shortened a curfew in Concepcion from 18 to 13 hours, and reduced curfews in Arauca, Nuble and Bio Bio provinces. A hastily-organized weekend celebrity-filled telethon meanwhile raised 30 billion pesos (58 million dollars), twice as much as it had aimed for and enough to build 60,000 basic houses. —AFP

police and military patrols, Chileans returned hundreds of television sets, washing machines and other electronic and furniture items stolen from stores and warehouses.

CONCEPCION: A Chilean flag flies at a camp for earthquake survivors in Concepcion, Chile, Sunday. An 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile on Feb. 27, causing widespread damage. —AP

Obama keeps Amerecan troop withdrawal plan after Iraq poll WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama congratulated Iraqis on Sunday for braving violence to vote in a parliamentary election, praising Iraqi security forces and repeating his end-2011 deadline for removing all U.S. troops from the country. Scores of mortar rounds, rockets and roadside bombs exploded near polling stations across Iraq, killing 38 people, in an apparent effort to scare voters participating in an election for Iraq’s second full-term parliament since the 2003 US invasion. “As expected, there were some incidents of violence as al Qaeda in Iraq and other extremists tried to disrupt Iraq’s progress by murdering innocent Iraqis who were

exercising their democratic rights,” Obama told reporters at the White House, praising Iraqis for going to vote. “But overall the level of security and the prevention of destabilizing attacks speaks to the growing capability and professionalism of Iraqi security forces, which took the lead in providing protection at the polls,” he said. Obama’s emphasis on Iraqi security forces bolsters his argument that U.S. troops can leave the country on time, freeing the president to focus more on the war in Afghanistan. “We will continue with the responsible removal of the United States forces from Iraq,” Obama said, repeating that the US

combat mission would conclude at the end of August. “We will continue to advise and assist Iraqi security forces, carry out targeted counterterrorism operations with our Iraqi partners and protect our forces and civilians. And by the end of the next year, all US troops will be out of Iraq,” he said. Obama noted Iraq would have difficult days ahead with further violence likely. “But like any sovereign, independent nation, Iraq must be free to chart its own course. No one should seek to influence, exploit or disrupt this period of transition. Now’s the time for every neighbor and nation to respect Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said. —Reuters



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cambodian rape victims face bribes, corruption PHNOM PENH: Rape victims seeking justice in Cambodia face serious obstacles such as police who demand bribes before making an arrest, a human rights report released yesterday said. The report by Amnesty International says the incidence of rape appears to be growing in Cambodia, but corruption and discrimination within the police and

courts prevent rapists from being prosecuted. The London-based group based its findings on research in 10 provinces last year and dozens of interviews with rape victims between the ages of 10 and 40, family members, government officials, rights groups, medical personnel, police and lawyers. One of those interviewed was

the father of an 19-year-old woman with a learning disability who was raped twice. The father said police asked him for 100,000 riel ($25) to arrest his daughter’s attacker — an amount roughly equivalent to the monthly salary of a civil servant. “Police only work if you have money, if you can pay,” the father was quoted as saying in the report. “But we don’t

have that. And if you don’t, the police just ignore the case.” Donna Guest, Amnesty’s Asia-Pacific deputy director, said some rape victims were forced to marry their attackers as part of a deal between the families involved, who see it as a way to marry off a woman stigmatized by rape while dropping the complaint against her attacker. “For too many survivors of rape,

the pursuit of justice and medical support adds further distress to the initial abuse,” Guest said. Amnesty urged the Cambodian government to “publicly condemn sexual violence,” saying much more needs to be done to dispel the stigma associated with rape. There are no comprehensive statistics on rape and sexual violence against women and girls in

the country, but officials at the National Police, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and elsewhere “believe the incidence of rape in Cambodia is increasing and that a growing number of victims are children,” the report said. Police recorded 468 cases of rape, attempted rape and sexual harassment in 2009, a 24 percent increase over the previous year, but

those figures are considered low and unreliable, the report said. Interior Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Khieu Sopheak confirmed that rapes cases in Cambodia appear to be increasing, but he criticized the Amnesty report as overly negative. “Even though there is an increase in rape cases, I can assure you that all of the rapists we have arrested are in jail,” he said. — AP

Stage set for country’s first election in 20 years

Myanmar junta unveils election laws, no date YANGON: Myanmar’s military government yesterday unveiled longawaited laws for elections later this year but gave no immediate date for the country’s first polls in two decades, state media said. Junta supremo Than Shwe promised the elections in 2008 as part of his so-called “roadmap to democracy” but critics say the vote will be a sham if pro-

democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest. “The laws were enacted by the State Peace and Development Council and the details of the laws will be published in tomorrow’s newspaper and also will be published as a book,” state television and radio said, referring to the junta by its formal title.

NEW DELHI: Portraits of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi are seen as Myanmar exiles participate in a protest on the occasion of International Women’s Day in New Delhi, India, yesterday Protesters demanded immediate release of all female prisoners by the military junta of Myanmar. — AP

Thailand to impose security law for rally BANGKOK: The Thai government plans to invoke a tough security law giving the armed forces broad powers to control a rally in Bangkok by supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a minister said yesterday. The Internal Security Act (ISA) allows the country’s top security agency, the Internal Security Operations Command, to impose curfews, operate checkpoints and restrict the movement of demonstrators if protests by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) turn violent. “Based on information we have received, there are many groups of protesters and some may attempt to use violent means,” Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said after a meeting with top security officials, adding that violent acts may include bombings and the seizure of government offices. The ISA, to be formally invoked after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, would be imposed from March 11 to March 23 in Bangkok and surrounding areas, where anti-government protesters plan to rally to press for new elections. Following the decision to use the ISA, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva cancelled a visit to Australia planned for March 13-17, a

spokesman said, without elaborating. Thaksin’s red-shirted supporters plan to kick off their rallies in parts of Bangkok and the provinces on March 12. They plan to merge in the historic part of the city on March 14 in an operation that they said would “peacefully halt Bangkok”. The UDD has said it would rally peacefully for at least seven days in what has been dubbed “a million-man march”, although analysts doubt the group can mobilise that number. However, even a smaller number could paralyse the capital, with the UDD promising tens of thousands of pickup trucks and tractordrawn carts will descend on the city. Protesters brought traffic in parts of Bangkok to a halt for days in April 2009, sparking Thailand’s worst political violence in 17 years. The riots were quelled by the army. Since then, the group has held peaceful rallies in Bangkok and elsewhere. The special security law has been pre-emptively invoked on seven occasions but no restrictions put in place. After two election victories, Thaksin was ousted by the military in 2006. He was later convicted on graft charges in his absence and sentenced to two years in prison. On Feb. 26 the Supreme Court confiscated

$1.4 billion of his wealth for abuse of power to help family business interests. The government and its supporters have been criticised for using scare tactics ahead of the upcoming rally, repeatedly warning of violence or sabotage by the UDD. Yesterday officials said weapons and ammunition had been stolen from an armoury 840 km (520 miles) south of Bangkok. Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said rifles, pistols and hand grenades were missing. Authorities were checking if they might have found their way to Bangkok to be used during the protest. Separately, a rogue army major-general allied with Thaksin, Khattiya Sawasdipol, who has travelled to Dubai several times in recent weeks to meet the ex-prime minister, was held in police custody for two days along with aides. He and six of his aides were released on bail on Monday evening but police denied bail to another, who is accused of seeking to instigate unrest by appearing in a video clip, posted on the Internet, predicting bomb attacks in Bangkok. On Saturday, two grenades exploded at branches of Bangkok Bank Pcl, causing slight damage. Police have arrested two suspects. — Reuters

South Korea, US launch war games despite North threats SEOUL: Tens of thousands of US and South Korean troops yesterday began an annual military exercise despite threats from North Korea, which claims the drill is a preparation for nuclear war. The ten-day Key Resolve/Foal Eagle drill involves 18,000 US troops including 10,000 not based in Korea and 20,000 South Korean troops, said a spokesman for the Combined Forces Command. Troop numbers are smaller than last year and no US aircraft carrier will be involved, but the spokesman said the size of the drill was guided only by operational reasons. South Korea and the United States, which stations 28,500 troops in the country, say the exercise is purely defensive. The North habitually blasts it as a prelude to invasion and threatens counter-measures, although the exercise normally passes off without major incident. The communist state’s military Sunday threatened “merciless physical force” in response to any attack and said it was no longer bound by the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. It also vowed to halt nuclear disarmament efforts and strengthen its atomic arsenal. The North is under pressure to return to sixnation nuclear disarmament talks which it abandoned last April, a month before staging a second nuclear test. — AFP

SEONGNAM: South Korean protesters stage a rally against the annual joint military exercises, dubbed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, between South Korea and the United States, in front of the South Korean and United States War Command Center TANGO, Theater Air, Navy, Ground Operation, in Seongnam, South Korea, yesterday. North Korea’s army said it is ready to “blow up” South Korea and the US, hours after the allies kicked off annual military drills that Pyongyang has denounced as a rehearsal for attack. — AP

It was unclear if a date for the election would be included in the five new laws. Analysts have predicted the polls will take place in October or November. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) said the junta had not given parties enough time to prepare for the elections, but it would reserve its decision on whether to take part until after it had seen the laws. The NLD won Myanmar’s last national polls by a landslide in 1990 but the military regime refused to let it take office. Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi has been in detention for 14 of the last 20 years since then. “It cannot be fair by announcing the laws at this time for an election to be held in 2010. There is not enough time, the parties are not ready, they cannot lobby or campaign,” NLD spokesman Nyan Win told reporters. He said senior party members hoped to meet Suu Kyi later this week. The five laws enacted were the political parties registration law and four separate laws for the national election commission, the election commissions of the two houses of parliament and all regional parliaments. They are expected to contain rules on the length and type of campaigning and on which candidates are eligible to stand. The elections are being held under a new constitution agreed in a May 2008 referendum just days after a devastating cyclone that killed up to 138,000 people in Myanmar. The constitution effectively bars Suu Kyi from standing even if she were released from her house arrest, which was extended by 18 months in August due to an incident in which an American man swam to her lakeside home. It also reserves around a quarter of all parliamentary seats for serving members of the military. The UN rights envoy to Myanmar said after visiting in February that the polls would be neither fair nor free if Suu Kyi and another 2,100 political prisoners were kept in detention. But analysts said the elections could still be a catalyst for partial change. “I see the elections themselves as being totally rigged and closed,” Sean Turnell, a Myanmar expert at Macquarie University in Australia, told AFP. “But we are in an interesting period in the lead-up because there is a lot more uncertainty than anyone really expected. There do seem to be some people (in the regime) jockeying around,” he added. Analysts have suggested the elections could herald at least a formal change in the hierarchy at the top of the junta, even if real power remains in the hands of 76-year-old Than Shwe and his allies. The government has increased contacts with Suu Kyi since September. Media reports quoted Home Affairs Minister Maung Oo as saying in January that the democracy leader’s release would come in November, though there has been no official confirmation. In recent months the United States, followed by the European Union, has shifted towards a policy of greater engagement with Myanmar, as sanctions have failed to bear fruit. — AFP

MANILA: Relative and friends view the flag draped coffins containing soldiers, during a memorial at the Philippine Army Headquarters in Manila yesteray. The Philippine military admitted that a junior officer who led his men into a deadly ambush by communist guerrillas had made a tactical mistake. New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas ambushed the platoon led by a lieutenant on Mindoro island south of Manila at dawn on March 6, killing the officer and 10 of his men and leaving seven other soldiers wounded. — AFP

Philippine leadership urges ‘interim’ deal with rebels BAGUIO: The Philippine presidency hopes to see an “interim” peace deal with Muslim rebels before Gloria Arroyo steps down in June, an aide said yesterday, after the rebels said they might wait for a new leader. Arroyo’s chief peace adviser Annabelle Abaya said an interim agreement with the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front would pave the way for a final peace accord to be developed by Arroyo’s successor. A long-running separatist rebellion in the southern island of Mindanao has left more than 150,000 people dead. An interim deal “will define the framework of a more comprehensive agreement,” Abaya told a forum in the northern resort city of Baguio. Arroyo had hoped to seal an fully fledged accord before stepping down but the rebels rejected her latest proposal last month. Last week the MILF said it would wait for her successor before sealing any peace accord. “We are looking beyond the present administration,” said MILF negotiator Michael Mastura after talks with government negotiators in Kuala Lumpur. Abaya said an interim agreement would help avoid a repeat of what happened in 2008, when the Supreme Court outlawed a proposed deal that would have given the MILF control over large areas in the south.

In retaliation, MILF forces unleashed attacks across the southern island of Mindanao that left nearly 400 combatants and civilians dead and displaced over 700,000 people. A new ceasefire was signed last September, paving the way for fresh talks, but over 250,000 people remain displaced, according to government figures. Abaya conceded that some of the conditions of the MILF for a peace agreement, such as creating a sub-state within a state-would require a change in the constitution, making it more important to consult with the public first. Meanwhile, attacks on candidates and campaigners involved in forthcoming Philippine national elections in May have claimed 16 lives in the past two months alone, police officials said yesterday. Chief Superintendent Francisco Don Montenegro made the announcement as he ordered the creation of more task forces to investigate the growing levels of violence ahead of the elections. “The investigating division is bent on solving these cases of violence against elected government officials and candidates. And we will be in the forefront in whatever election-related cases that will pop up this season to ensure an honest, orderly and peaceful election,” Montenegro stressed. — AFP

Indonesian police arrest two alleged gun suppliers BANDA ACEH: Police arrested two men on the main Indonesian island of Java yesterday on suspicion of supplying firearms to a new terrorism cell in the western province of Aceh, an official said. One was arrested in Jakarta and the other was arrested outside the capital in West Java province, Indonesia’s Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri said. He did not say when the men were arrested, but officials at Jakarta police headquarters said both were taken into custody on Saturday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to comment to the media on anti-terror matters. By yesterday, police had arrested 18 men in a crackdown on what they call a new terror group in Aceh believed to have links to Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian offshoot of AlQaeda blamed for deadly bombings in Indonesia in recent years. The arrests began with a police raid on their paramilitary training camp on Feb. 22. Since then, 14 have been charged with planning terrorist attacks. Police said they found a military assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition thought to belong to the militants hidden in a rice paddy on Sunday east of the Aceh Besar southern district where the hunt for militants is centered. The M-16 rifle had a similar Arabic serial number as another rifle seized from the militants, a detective involved in interrogating suspects said. The detective, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the

JAKARTA: Detained terrorist suspects, Amir Abdillah (2nd L) and Syaifudin Zuhri (R), arrive at South Jakarta court yesterray for their trial in connection with the late Jemaah Islamiyah terror leader Noordin Mohammad Top the mastermind behind the deadly bombings of Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotel in Jakarta last July. — AFP media, said one of those arrested was a former member of Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia, also known as MMI. The Javabased hardline group was founded but abandoned by Abu Bakar Bashir, the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah. MMI concentrates on missionary and charity work but has previously been linked to militants. It was involved in relief operations in Aceh after it bore the brunt of the 2004 Asian tsunami. The detective did not name the suspect or say whether he was among the 14 charged. Counterterrorism police continued their village-by-village search for militants

Monday in Aceh Besar near the mountains where the camp was found. Before 100 police attacked the camp on Feb. 22, villagers in the surrounding area said they did not suspect they had a terrorist training camp in their midst. Two local bystanders were shot in crossfire that night, one fatally. Another local farmer, Muhammad Nubari, 60, was shot dead on Thursday last week when militants ambushed police, killing three officers. At least one militant also died. “It was like a war,” Nubari’s daughter, Ramlah Nubari, said yesterday, adding that gunfire had continued through the night. — AP


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Gates in Kabul, cautions against over-optimism Gates meeting with military, political leaders KABUL: Preparations have begun for a crucial campaign to assert Afghan government control over Kandahar, spiritual home of the Taleban, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan said yesterday. The NATO-led force is growing in districts surrounding the city of Kandahar that are under the Taleban thumb as part of a gradual increase in pressure ahead

NEW DELHI: Rashtriya Janata Dal President, Lalu Prasad Yadav, right, and Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav, third left, shout slogans against the Women’s Reservation Bill outside parliament in New Delhi, India, yesterday. —AP

India’s ruling party loses support over women’s bill NEW DELHI: Two political parties withdrew support for India’s ruling Congress party yesterday to protest a controversial bill reserving one third of seats for women, possibly weakening the government’s capacity to pass laws. The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), two regional parties who account for 26 seats in the 545-seat lower house of parliament, were not part of the coalition government but supported it from the outside. While the Congress-led coalition still has a majority with 272 seats, the withdrawal gives the government less breathing room over key pending economic legislation. The women’s bill is a test for Congress, which sees the quota as a cornerstone of its electionwinning platform of inclusive growth, but which might lose some political capital needed to push economic reforms and maintain high growth. Since winning a second term last year, Congress is already under fire over a slew of issues, including a fuel price hike announced in the February budget. “Certainly the party will be weakened for future legislation,” said political analyst Amulya Ganguli. “The government will need every vote it can.” Congress’s own coalition allies have shown reluctance to support the government and recently opposed the fuel price rises. Congress has so far stood firm on implementing the unpopular fuel increase aimed at cutting a 16-year-high fiscal deficit. Championed both by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, the women’s bill had been scheduled for a vote yesterday coinciding with

International Women’s Day, 14 years after it was first introduced. It is intended to speed up women’s empowerment in a country where women lag far behind on many social and health indicators. “We will withdraw our support to the government and continue our protests against the bill,” Lalu Prasad Yadav, the RJD leader, told reporters. The house was repeatedly adjourned on Monday and, at one point lawmakers from the two parties rushed to the centre of the house to tear up copies of the bill. Hundreds of women activists had meanwhile gathered outside the building. Detractors say the legislation will be passed at the expense of other disenfranchised minorities such as Muslims or lower castes, or benefit women already in privileged classes.—Reuters

Explanation The story titled ‘Sex scandals and stampedes: Bad week for India ‘god men’’ (Page 11 of Kuwait Times edition of March 8, 2010) had inadvertently carried a picture of popular Indian spiritual leader Mata Amruthanandamayi (Mother) and her follower. The picture and the story came from AFP, the French news agency. The story talks about the spiritual mother, not as part of the scandal but talks about her in a very positive way as part of the overall picture. The AFP picture was attached with the story since the Mother was mentioned in the article. Kuwait Times does not intend to offend anybody and we encourage our dear readers to read the whole article.

The 30,000 additional US forces Obama ordered are now arriving and most will be in place by summer. Without being specific, McChrystal suggested that any heavy fighting in Kandahar will wait until more US and NATO troops are ready. The fighting, when it comes, will not resemble the recent successful operation to retake the area around Marjah, also in southern Afghanistan. “Kandahar is much larger, much more complex,” McChrystal told reporters. The large city is the spiritual home of the Taleban insurgency and while the city is not now under the Taleban flag the insurgents are a constant, entrenched presence in and around Kandahar. While the military operation will be different than Marjah, the smaller operation is a template for the inclusion of local Afghan leaders and civilians, said Mark Sedwill, the new senior civilian representative serving alongside McChrystal. “Just as in Marjah, what we need to do is bring the local people into both having a sense of ownership of the government agenda, but also having some control and influence over it,” he said. Gates said the offensive launched last month is encouraging, but he stopped short of saying the success in Marjah suggests that the war is at a turning point. The Marjah campaign routed most Taleban fighters from a town they once controlled, without a high casualty toll for U.S. troops and the Afghan security forces fighting alongside them. Despite what he called positive signs, Gates cautioned against optimism. “People still need to under-

of an eventual military operation, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said. “There won’t be a D-Day that is climactic,” he said. The general spoke after US Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Afghanistan to check on the progress of the war’s expansion directed late last year by President Barack Obama.

KABUL: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, flanked by security personnel, arrives in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday. Gates arrived in Afghanistan early yesterday as coalition forces continue to restore order in the town of Marjah, the first major test of the US and NATO counterinsurgency strategy since President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 new American troops to blunt the Taleban’s momentum. — AP stand there is some very hard fighting, very hard days ahead,” Gates told reporters traveling with him for the unannounced visit. During his visit, Gates is meeting with his top military commanders and senior Afghan officials, including President Hamid Karzai. McChrystal told reporters the campaign around Marjah

could have gone quicker, but the cost in civilian casualties would have been unacceptable. The campaign, he said, could been over in one night. Instead active military operations to rout the Taleban took about three weeks. The military counts 19 Afghan civilian deaths from errant combat action during the

Marjah campaign. McChrystal said that would been a lot higher without the deliberately slow pace, and without significant local backing for the operation. The Afghan war is now in its ninth year and unpopular with a majority of Americans. The challenge for the Obama administration is to demonstrate clear progress against the entrenched

Taleban insurgency this year, when the number of US forces in the country will reach roughly 100,000 — nearly triple the size of the force when Obama took office. Karzai has invited Taleban participation in a spring peace conference, but US officials have suggested that it is too soon to hold such a session. — AP



Tuesday, March 9, 2010


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Lebanon, at peace, braces for war By Doyle McManus


he Middle East has no shortage of conflicts to worry the rest of the world: the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the nuclear ambitions of Iran, the stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians. And now, add an old trouble spot to that list: Lebanon. On the one hand, Lebanon’s economy grew by a dizzying 9 percent last year, the strongest pace of any country in the region. Its feuding religious and political factions have joined in a powersharing agreement that seems stable. And it’s even selling itself, with some success, as a chic destination for European and American tourists. But as I discovered on a visit to Beirut last month, the Lebanese are certain all this good fortune can’t last. They’re convinced - not without reason - that the confrontation between the US and Iran will spill over into another war between Israel and Lebanon. Just inside Lebanon’s southern border, where Israel and the Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah went to war in 2006, Iran and its ally, Syria, have been helping Hezbollah rearm. The radical militia, which runs southern Lebanon as its own mini-state, reportedly has obtained Iranian-made missiles that can reach Tel Aviv, and Hezbollah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, has promised to strike at Israel at a time and place of his choosing. Israel isn’t taking the threat lightly; its pugnacious foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, recently warned that Israel might use the next war to try to topple Syria’s authoritarian regime. For all the saber-rattling, both sides are still being careful at this point. There have been no recent cross-border raids, no errant missiles from either side. The Lebanese government has complained about Israeli overflights, but its troops haven’t shot anything down. But this delicate equilibrium could easily be upset. If Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Lebanese believe Hezbollah will respond by starting a war on Israel’s northern border. Alternatively, if the United States and its allies impose tough sanctions on Iran, as the Obama administration wants, that could lead to war too: Iran could push Hezbollah to start a fight merely to entangle the West in another costly, distracting crisis. It’s not just the Lebanese who are worried. In a speech earlier this year, Obama’s national security advisor, retired Marine Gen James L Jones, noted that “when a regime is feeling pressure ... it often lashes out through its surrogates - including, in Iran’s case, Hezbollah in Lebanon. ... As pressure on the regime in Tehran builds over its nuclear program, there is heightened risk of further attacks against Israel.” Lebanon’s fragile domestic political system doesn’t seem capable of preventing the larg-

er forces around it from starting a war. The Cedar Revolution - the popular uprising that sought to turn Lebanon into a Western-oriented democracy after the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri - has stalled over the last couple of years. It succeeded in forcing Syria to withdraw from Lebanon in 2005 and in holding free elections in 2005 and 2009. But it seems to have met its match in Hezbollah, which has enough muscle on the ground to maintain its own military alliances with Syria and Iran whether the government in Beirut likes it or not. Lebanon’s government today is an ungainly coalition led by Hariri’s son, Saad Hariri. (In Lebanon, even democratic parties are dynastic.) The Cabinet includes Hezbollah and other proSyrian factions, and they hold veto power over major decisions. Last month, Hariri quietly made peace with the man who probably ordered his father’s assassination, Syrian President Bashar Assad. “It was necessary,” Hariri told me in an interview. “It contributed to stability.” Once, Hariri’s movement was mostly about political reform; now, hemmed in by Syria and Hezbollah, it is focusing on stability and economic growth instead. Democratic political reform gets lip service, but it’s on a back burner. Lebanon’s political structure is as traditional as it’s ever been: Government jobs are allocated by religious sect. If a revolution is under way, it’s a revolution of lowering expectations. Obama is still backing Lebanon’s government with military aid and offering “engagement” to Syria as he has to Iran. The United States is sending an ambassador to Damascus this year for the first time since the elder Hariri’s assassination. So far, though, Syria hasn’t offered much in return. “My main job is to unite people,” Hariri, a Sunni Muslim like all Lebanese prime ministers, told me. “You push reform softly.” Like his father, he’s hoping that economic growth will enable the government to deliver basic services such as education and electricity - and that, in turn, will “gently” pave the way for political reform. “If people have something to lose, they will protect it,” he said. Hariri is the opposite of a firebrand. When he took office last year at 39, he stumbled over the formal language of his first speech in parliament. But when I met him in a less formal setting - on the terrace of a mansion in the hills overlooking Beirut - he was at ease and in command of his brief. But not in command of his country’s top priority. What does Lebanon need most? I asked. “Peace, peace and peace,” he said. NOTE: Doyle McManus is a columnist for The Los Angeles Times — MCT

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Obama’s foreign agenda remains daunting By Steven R Hurst


onsumed by domestic battles over health care and the ravaged economy, President Barack Obama had nearly fallen silent on foreign policy - until Sunday, when several things began breaking his way. First among them - the Iraq election. Insurgent attacks on polling stations killed at least 36 people even with extraordinary security measures in place, including closure of the country’s borders and the Baghdad international airport. But American officials and Iraqis had feared far worse. The president has seen a paucity of good news from overseas, and when he appeared in the White House Rose Garden to congratulate Iraqis on the big turnout in the face of violence, Obama seemed relieved. The day had passed without an explosion of bloodshed that has marked a war in which tens of thousands of Iraqis died and more than 4,300 Americans have lost their lives. “Today’s voting makes it clear that the future of Iraq belongs to the people of Iraq,” the president said. Success in the elections moves the United States a step closer to its pledge of pulling combat troops out of

Iraq by Aug 31 and to withdraw the remaining 50,000-strong security force by the end of the year. The successful vote was a notch in Obama’s political belt as well, given that he campaigned for the White House vowing to end the conflict and refocus on the Afghan war. Also Sunday and after months of frustration, Palestinians said they were ready for indirect negotiations with Israel. Obama had put a resumption of peace talks at the top of his foreign policy agenda but was repeatedly foiled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to pledge an end to settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The Palestinians want that land for a future state. The United States will act as mediator for the indirect talks and Vice President Joe Biden is headed to the region this week to push for progress. Former Sen. George Mitchell, Obama’s special Mideast envoy, also is returning to facilitate the process. There was good news as well in Afghanistan, where provincial officials said as many as 100 members of the powerful Hezb-e-Islami militia, loyal to regional warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, were joining forces with

U.S.-backed Afghan security forces in the fight against Taliban fighters. And in Pakistan, intelligence officials reported the arrest of an American who has served as a spokesman for Al-Qaeda. Pakistani authorities, in a seeming break from their policy of allowing refuge to key Afghan Taleban and Al-Qaeda members, have now captured several key leaders of those organizations over the past several weeks. But many of the most daunting foreign policy challenges that faced Obama a year ago remain and fester. And that will leave the foreign policy establishment working feverishly. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton likely will continue her relentless travel. Envoys like Mitchell will need to continue shuttling. They will whittle away at major tasks as political realities at home force Obama into a single-minded use of the bully pulpit to save his domestic agenda. The most daunting foreign policy issue: Iran. Tehran is believed to have hastened attempts to build a nuclear bomb to put atop a missile. While Iran asserts it is only trying to build reactors for electricity generation, a new report from the UN nuclear watch dog agency to the contrary has deepened

concerns in the United States and Europe. The US and its allies are preparing for a new push in the United Nations for a fourth round of sanctions on Iran. The Russians - in a change of behavior - appear ready to join the effort. But China still can block the sanctions effort in the Security Council. Beijing - like the US, Britain, France and Russia - holds a veto. So far, it appears the best Obama can hope for is a Chinese abstention. Beijing says sanctions are not in order and insists more diplomacy is necessary. China is increasingly emboldened on the world stage given growing global economic muscle. It also is deeply at odds with the United States over recent arms sales to Taiwan - which the Chinese claim is part of their territory. Beijing was further inflamed by Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader China accuses of separatist ambitions for the Himalayan region controlled by Beijing. Russia, while more pliable than in the past on Iran sanctions, is believed balking - if only temporarily - in negotiations on an arms control treaty to replace the START pact that expired in

December. It appears that reported plans for a US missile shield have snarled the talks. There had been significant progress on a replacement treaty, particularly after Obama announced he would forego building the missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland. But word that it might be shifted to Romania and Bulgaria appears to have caught the Russians off guard. And so, global and American political realities have stunted Obama’s ambitious international agenda of a year ago. He has made some progress in repairing America’s image through a series of speeches delivered to overseas audiences. But his focus on foreign policy, nine foreign journeys in 2009, has been sharply curtailed so far - so much so that he will first venture abroad this year, when he travels to Asia later this month. That will leave his foreign policy establishment working feverishly. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton likely will keep up a relentless travel schedule, and special envoys like Mitchell will continue shuttling. That leaves Obama, for now, able to bear down at home with a single-minded use of the bully pulpit to save his domestic agenda. — AP

Egypt’s political stability turning to liability? By Alexander Dziadosz


gypt’s calcified politics has long been judged an asset in a turbulent region but as President Hosni Mubarak ages in office with no clear successor investors are wondering if it might be a liability. Egypt’s economy is still buoyant despite uncertainty about whether the 81-year-old president will seek a sixth term in 2011 or lever his son into power, or whether a dark-horse military officer or other candidate will emerge. But bankers, rating analysts and brokers are asking more questions about who will rule after Mubarak, concerns that may bring demands for higher returns from Egyptian investments compared to rival markets and can confine Egypt debt ratings. Worries about Mubarak’s health, in power since 1981 and who has not picked a vice president, have in the past rattled Egypt’s markets. So when he had surgery this month, it seemed carefully planned to fall on a weekend to give little chance for the usual rumours to start. “The stable political outlook has obviously long been something that has been identified as an advantage for Egypt,” Control Risks analyst Wolfram Lacher said. “Now, as the presidential succession is approaching, there has been obviously more uncertainty, and this uncertain political outlook has turned into somewhat of a disad-

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak addresses a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the chancellery in Berlin on March 4, 2010. — AFP vantage.” Headline figures do not reflect investor caution. Egypt’s bourse is among the region’s best performers, the economy has grown at nearly 5 percent through the global downturn and, while foreign investment dipped in the crisis, it still flows in. But there are signs of concern. An Egyptian banker, when asked what IPO deal flow would look like in 2011, would not comment until pushed to say, in private, that it was too difficult

to predict with a presidential election looming. Asked about dealings with foreign clients, an economist at another bank said: “They are not holding back in terms of investment, but they do recognise there is a degree of uncertainty that has become more elevated now than before.” A Cairo-based brokerage analyst, who like others wanted to remain anonymous because of the political sensitivities, said political risk pushed foreign

investors to demand higher returns from Egypt than in rival emerging markets, like some in Asia. Officials dismiss concerns. Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said about the succession in a Reuters interview in October: “I’m telling investors, don’t worry. There is always a way and there is always an alternative. There has been in Egypt in the past.” If the president dies in office or is incapacitated, powers will pass temporarily to the speaker

of parliament, and an election must be held within 60 days. The first multi-candidate race was held in 2005, and Mubarak won easily. But rules make it almost impossible for anyone not backed by Mubarak’s ruling party to mount a real presidential challenge. Under those terms, the decision-making on the next president is likely to happen in backroom dealings not at the ballot box. “It is frustrating for outside observers because they have very little to rely on. When you don’t understand something you tend to think it is unstable or unpredictable,” said one Egyptian political analyst, who also declined to be named, although he said concerns about instability might be overplayed. Richard Fox, head of the Middle East and Africa sovereign team at Fitch Ratings, said the presidential succession still confined debt ratings because it could slow economic liberalisation policies lauded by foreigners since 2004. “If we had a transition and we could see what the next government would look like, then obviously it’s much easier to form judgments,” said Fox, adding without clarity the succession issue “certainly constrains on the ratings going up.” Many Egyptians believe Mubarak wants to hand power to his son, Gamal, 46, who has risen to a senior position in the ruling National Democratic

Party and whose allies dominate key economic portfolios in the cabinet. Father and son deny this. “I think the business community would like Gamal Mubarak to succeed his father,” said Khaled Abdel Majeed, managing partner of MENA Capital, a Londonbased investment management firm. “There are millions of poor Egyptians out there who may have a different view, because the gap between the haves and have-nots has widened,” he said, referring to complaints that the benefits of economic liberalisation have not trickled down. But Gamal Mubarak’s succession is no foregone conclusion. Unlike all Egypt’s presidents, he has no military background which may make it tougher to establish his authority. Omar Suleiman, intelligence chief and confidant of the president, has been cited as a possible contender and a military candidate could emerge from under the radar, analysts say. Mohamed ElBaradei, one of Egypt’s best-known figures abroad after he led the International Atomic Energy Agency till last year, has stirred up debate by saying he might run and drawing tens of thousands of supporters on Facebook and other sites. But he has said he will not run without securing a set of conditions, such as changing the constitution, that are unlikely to be achieved. — Reuters


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Chile quake response stains Bachelet’s legacy By Simon Gardner and Todd Benson


utgoing President Michelle Bachelet was the most popular leader in Chile’s recent history, but her government’s slow response on providing aid and halting looting after a devastating earthquake has hurt her politically and could foil any comeback bid. The South American nation’s first woman leader, a pediatrician-turnedpolitician, was riding a lofty 83-percent approval rating in her last weeks in office when a devastating 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck on Feb 27, triggering tsunamis and killing hundreds. But the government’s handling of one of the most powerful quakes on record threatens to tarnish an otherwise successful presidency for Bachelet, a former defense minister whose term ends on March 11 when her center-right successor Sebastian Pinera is sworn in. It could also hurt chances that Bachelet or someone else from the center-left retakes the presidency in four years. “I am disappointed with the government and with Bachelet. The government reacted really badly,” said Blanca Jara, 33, who works at a school for handicapped children in the quake-hit city of Concepcion. “We are decent people and had to go out with sticks and shotguns to protect our houses from looters,” she added. “I hope the next government does a better job.”

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet visits the police headquarters in Concepcion to see recovered objects that had been looted after the earthquake in Concepcion, Chile on March 7, 2010. – AFP A poll published in daily El Mercurio’s Sunday edition showed 60 percent of Chileans thought the government’s aid response was slow and inefficient. Nearly 72 percent failed the government on its moves to reestablish order. In the early hours after the quake, Bachelet and other officials initially misjudged the extent of damage and declined offers of international aid.

That delayed the flow of assistance to disaster areas, leaving many survivors feeling they had been abandoned by the government. Worse yet, the navy’s catastrophealert system failed to warn the population of the ensuing tsunami, leaving hundreds who survived the initial quake to be engulfed by massive waves that followed. A week later, the navy

fired the head of the agency in charge of issuing tsunami warnings. The government’s fumbling of the death toll also proved embarrassing for Bachelet. After the National Emergency Office announced the death toll had reached 802, the government later backed off that estimate, saying missing people who later turned up alive had mistakenly been included. That prompted a veiled swipe from Pinera, who pledged to completely revamp the state agency. A billionaire businessman, the silver-haired Pinera will end the left’s 20-year grip on power in Chile when he takes office this week. “This isn’t going to be good for Bachelet. She’s going to pay a high political cost,” said Patricio Navia, a political scientist at New York University and Santiago’s Diego Portales University. “And even though her government was not ... bad, people are going to remember the last few days,” he added. “She was herself flirting with the idea that perhaps she would come back in 2013. Now after this it’s more difficult. Now everything will depend on how Pinera does.” Analysts say the quake controversy will likely help Pinera because rivals in Congress will likely feel compelled to back legislation to help reconstruction. The disaster also gives him an alibi if he fails to live up to election pledges. Before the quake, Pinera had vowed to boost average economic growth to 6 percent and create 1 million jobs. The

quake is seen shaving from 1 to 2 percentage points off original forecasts for 2010 growth of around 5 percent. Bachelet, 58, acknowledged that the rescue effort did not go as well as it should have. But she also strongly defended the government, saying it moved quickly to rectify mistakes. She made an emotional appeal to Chileans to join the relief effort, choking up in a live radio interview as she called on the population to band together and stop finger-pointing. She fought back tears again late on Saturday after a telethon by Latin American pop music stars including Shakira and Juanes raised 30 billion pesos ($59 million) in aid for quake survivors. “I feel enveloped by the sadness of what has happened. I feel as a country we are spectacular,” Bachelet said after the fundraiser. “People can sometimes make mistakes, but the truth is that we (as a people) are there when it matters and that fills one with happiness.” After a rocky start due to student protests at the beginning of her presidency, Bachelet won over people with a pragmatic, amiable style and steady economic growth in one of the region’s most developed countries. Bachelet toured the earthquake zone to do what she does best - connecting candidly with people and pledging to meet their needs as best she could without making false promises. But whatever she did seemed wrong. — Reuters

Chile quake resets Pinera agenda, poses risks By Simon Gardner


hile’s tragic earthquake will deny President-elect Sebastian Pinera a honeymoon period when he takes office this week but it could present more opportunity than risk as he launches reconstruction efforts. The massive 8.8 quake and ensuing tsunamis that killed hundreds and ravaged towns, cities and roads give Pinera a strong alibi if he falls short of campaign pledges to boost annual economic growth to 6 percent and create a million jobs. The center-left coalition that Pinera will push into the opposition when he is sworn in on Thursday has already signaled cooperation to help rebuilding, meaning he will have an easier ride than previously expected in a split Congress. Chile is a world-class mining power and is flush with savings from copper exports. It is also one of the world’s most stable emerging market

economies with an A+ credit rating, making it a breeze to issue debt to fund reconstruction. But Pinera, a billionaire who made most of his fortune in the airline industry, also sets out with a cabinet heavy on business acumen and light on political and public sector experience at a time when there is no room for teething problems. “The risks he has are his new cabinet ... They can’t afford to spend a year learning how things are done,” said Daniel Kerner, an analyst with the Eurasia Group risk consultancy. “And if Pinera takes his eye off the ball of construction, that could be problematic for him.” But Kerner said the crisis caused by the Feb 27 earthquake could help Pinera, 60, establish himself after two decades of center-left rule in Chile. “It gives him a clearer agenda and it gives him the opportunity to implement it and be able to show more than what he was able to show otherwise.” With tempers

already frayed at outgoing President Michelle Bachelet’s administration over the slow pace of aid and restoration of order after widespread looting, public tolerance will be fragile. Quake survivors, some of whom had

Sebastian Pinera

to arm themselves to fend off looters following the quake, want quick results from Pinera. “Everyone is waiting to see what Pinera does,” said 34-year-old baker Sergio Alarcon from the hard-hit city of Concepcion, who watched as crowds raided the supermarket where he works. “I have faith.” Pinera, who is in the process of selling his major stake in Chile’s successful air carrier LAN Airlines after he was elected, has sought to dampen expectations. “It is impossible to ignore that this earthquake is going to mean significant changes to our government program,” Pinera said in the days following the quake. He has appealed to his opponents to rally around and help him push through legislation on emergency aid, reconstruction and donations from the private sector in the early days of his presidency as well as an overhaul of Chile’s tsunami warning systems. Pinera is the

Referendum strengthens Iceland hand in debt talks By Wojciech Moskwa


he spectacular rejection by Icelandic voters of an “Icesave” accord gives Iceland a resounding mandate to push for better terms in settling $5 billion in losses to Britain and the Netherlands. Fireworks lit up the Reykjavik sky late on Saturday after referendum results showed some 94 percent of Icelanders voted against a previous Icesave agreement, widely seen here as placing an unfairly large financial burden on Iceland.Mandate in hand, Iceland will push for better terms in new Icesave talks with Britain and the Netherlands, knowing it needs a deal to unblock international aid. But negotiators have only a small window of opportunity for agreement before British and Dutch elections, and Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir’s cabinet could face challenges from an opposition which also feels empowered by the referendum. “The likelihood of quick deal is quite high as they already agree on the big issues...and it’s in nobody’s interest to see the talks end without agreement,” said Mats Olausson, chief strategist emerging markets at SEB in Stockholm. “The UK and Holland may soften up a little as a result of the ballot, but for the Icelandic side it may become a bit harder to keep cross-party support,” Olausson added. Iceland owes money to Britain and the Netherlands after they compensated 400,000 savers in their countries who lost deposits in a failed Icelandic bank during the global financial meltdown in 2008. The Icesave debts come to more than $15,000 for each of the 320,000 peo-

Iceland’s president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson poses after casting his vote at an Alftanes polling station on March 6, 2010. – AFP ple on the island. Much of that should be raised by selling overseas assets of the failed bank Landsbanki. So the focus of negotiations is on the interest payments, which Icelandic officials say may cost $1 billion to taxpayers. Britain has said it offered Iceland an interest rate equal to the LIBOR money market rate plus 275 basis points the same as the rate Nordic countries get for their loan that is part of an aid package run by the International Monetary Fund. This offer was rejected, even though it

was an improvement over the 5.55 percent fixed interest rate in the previous Icesave bill that was rejected in the referendum. One sign of possible movement came from Britain on Sunday. Britain’s Finance Minister Alistair Darling said that he would be flexible in reaching a solution with Iceland, suggesting scope for a face-saving compromise for both sides. But Sigurdardottir will need to show her government has won further compromise from Britain and the

Netherlands if she is to win parliamentary approval for any new deal. The opposition was deadset against the old deal and feels vindicated by the referendum result. It is likely to exploit any perceived weakness in the government’s negotiations, especially if support for Sigurdardottir continues to plummet. The centre-left government has flip-flopped on Icesave and its popularity has fallen in past months. Sigurdardottir has said the government will stay on, but if it fails to win a deal soon, its future is shaky. Sigurdardottir has already angered Icelanders by declining to take part in the referendum, which some interpret as a sign that she is out of touch with ordinary people. “Not voting in a referendum that is of the greatest importance to the future of the country...shows a great rift between them (the government) and the nation,” said Olafur Isleifsson, an economics professor at Reykjavik University. Foreign aid to Iceland’s shattered economy remains on hold due to the Icesave row, which has dominated the political agenda for months, pushing issues such as soaring unemployment and a rising tide of mortgage defaults to the back burner. “The message from the people is clear and the government must pay attention,” Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson said after Saturday’s referendum. “But as I have said before, Iceland can’t wait any longer for the matter to stay unsolved.” That impatience was echoed on the streets. “The government is only concerned about Icesave and sort of forgotten about our problems. It has to solve this quickly and move on,” said Kristin Jonasdottir, an office worker. — Reuters

first conservative leader democratically elected in Chile in half a century but was not expected to sharply change economic policy after 20 years of center-left leadership. His original government program relied heavily on tax and other incentives to lure private investment, spur job creation and boost growth as the economy emerges from its first recession in a decade, and he is expected to push ahead with those policies, but the earthquake has put rebuilding at the top of his agenda. One priority will be rebuilding bridges and roads so that fruit and wine exporters in south-central Chile can get their produce to ports. Some analysts estimate the quake will take up to 2 percentage points off original forecasts for 2010 growth of around 5 percent, with most of the damage in the first half of the year. However, other economists forecast growth will remain strong. — Reuters


Togo dispute setback for Africa democracy By Mark John


ogo’s presidential vote is the latest in a string of disputed elections in Africa which risk undermining the trend of the last decade for political power to come through the ballot box. Provisional results showing incumbent President Faure Gnassingbe the comfortable winner of Thursday’s poll were immediately challenged by his main rival, while police used tear gas to quell protests in the capital Lome over the weekend. While the unrest is not seen matching that of the last poll in 2005, when hundreds were killed in a security crackdown on protests, the row highlighted just how difficult many African countries still find it to stage a credible election. “The principle that you have to seek legitimacy through the ballot box is more entrenched then it was a decade ago,” said Omaru B. Sisay of Exclusive Analysis. “But the real danger with (disputed elections) is they might drive people who would otherwise seek power through a poll into the bush to try an insurgency,” he said. With the 2010/11 election calendar due to include tense votes in Guinea, Ivory Coast, Niger, Central African Republic, Liberia, Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo, the potential for further trouble is high. Africa does not have a monopoly on election disputes, as shown by rows over polls last year in Iran and Afghanistan and the likelihood that the outcome of Iraq’s parliamentary vote on Sunday will be contested. However events around Togo’s vote on Thursday bore all the hallmarks of what is emerging as a typically African experience of elections that have left nagging questions over the outcome, such as recent polls in Gabon, Congo Republic and Equatorial Guinea. As in Gabon last year, the ruling Togolese party had the resources to ensure blanket billboard and campaign coverage of its candidate, ensuring that

Gnassingbe was more visible than any rival from a fragmented opposition. Even before official results giving Gnassingbe just over 60 percent of the vote were released on Saturday, rival JeanPierre Fabre hailed himself the winner, prompting a counterclaim from Gnassingbe on the government website. With African and European observers raising concerns about procedural flaws but not questioning the result outright, Togo is now left in an uneasy limbo as it awaits the constitutional court ruling later this week needed to validate the result. Sisay and others believe Gnassingbe, who deployed extra troops to secure the poll, is more able to contain protests than in 2005, when events exploded out of control and the subsequent crackdown killed up to 500, according to UN estimates. Rolake Akinola of Global Risk Analysis said poll disputes in themselves did not automatically deter hardened investors in the region, who in many cases are able to live with leaderships of all hues as long as their assets are secure. But she argued that they served to highlight how far many countries still have to go in consolidating the reforms which ensure a sense of confidence in elections, such as an independent judiciary and freedom of press and expression. “For example, Nigerians have in general embraced democracy but elections there still remain turbulent,” she said. Increasingly sophisticated African electorates and tighter procedural checks are making it harder to rig elections in the blatant manner of the early postcolonial rulers who often claimed near unanimous backing from voters. But Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s appeal on Sunday for international observers and peacekeepers to ensure a level playing field against President Robert Mugabe’s camp next year demonstrates that fear of meddling remains alive. — Reuters


14 Slaying in Dubai ripples worldwide C o n t i n u e d f ro m Pa g e 1 The tactics might look like old school: simple disguises such as wigs, months of scouting missions and a hotel pillow as the murder weapon. But they are thoroughly modern in one important sense. We’re seeing it unfold: on media websites and social networks such as Facebook and YouTube - everything but the killing itself. Perhaps no other political assassination has ever been so quickly and thoroughly displayed before the public, a testimony to the pervasiveness of surveillance technology and our connected world. Key events surrounding the Jan 19 killing were captured on hotel security cameras. The body was discovered the next day, but the news didn’t become public until nine days later. Then Dubai authorities rushed to release evidence in order to embarrass Israel, which insists it doesn’t know who was responsible but has welcomed the killing, claiming Mabhouh was a key link in smuggling weapons to Gaza and a possible middleman with Israel’s archenemy, Iran. The accusations hinge on tangible clues: expertly faked passports, many of them linked to apparent identity theft in Israel; credit cards under aliases stretching from banks in Germany to a small town in Iowa; and the surveillance tapes, edited by Dubai police into a kind of 27-minute video indictment for the media. The swift exposure has put Israel on the defensive. It is being called to answer to its own citizens who had their identities stolen, as well as to allied governments whose passports were abused. The affair has left a trail of mysteries across the Middle East. If Mossad was behind it, did it act alone? The slain man’s aide has claimed Arab forces hostile to Hamas collaborated in the killing. How badly damaged was the perpetrating agency by having its methods put on display for the world? There has been criticism even within Israel. “The last assassination of its kind,” said a headline in the Israeli daily Haaretz, suggesting it had ended an era of covert operations. Did the alleged hit squad members push their luck? Did they think the chances of being identified were just too remote? Was it deliberate misdirection, or a lightly veiled warning to other perceived enemies? Mabhouh’s aide, Mohammed Nassar told Hamas’ Al Aqsa radio in Gaza that his boss was involved in supplying weapons for Hamas, fueling speculation in Israeli media that he was heading for talks on a new arms deal with Iran. “There’s a huge number of questions to be answered,” said Mustafa Alani, head of security studies at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai. “But what is rather clear is that someone underestimated the Dubai police.” One of those questions is why it took 10 days for the slaying to be made public. Another is this: Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas’ armed wing, had survived at least three reported attempts on his life since 1991. So why did he travel alone to Dubai? Hamas has not offered any clear details. But if there was an Iranian connection, Dubai would be an obvious choice. It’s an important transit point for legal goods to Iran and, some experts say, for military and nuclearrelated shipments banned by UN sanctions. It supports Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and openly calls for Israel’s destruction. Just hours af ter Dubai police released the first names and identities of the suspects, a phone rang in the town of Beit Shemesh west of Jerusalem. It was the first of dozens of calls from reporters to Melvyn Adam Mildiner, who was home recovering from pneumonia. Did you know your name was mentioned by Dubai police?

Is this your passport number? Have you ever been to Dubai? Mildiner, a dual British-Israeli citizen who emigrated to Israel about a decade ago, first asked if it was a joke. Not at all. It quickly became clear. The photo on the British passport cited by Dubai police was not him. The birthday was off by a few days, but the passport number was correct. He had his real passpor t with him. “Bizarre,” said Mildiner. “I have never been to Dubai.” At least 20 men and six women have so far been linked to the plot through falsified passpor ts from Europe or Australia. Most were in logistics and surveillance, scouting out Dubai for at least nine months, police say. Two Palestinians also are in custody. The passports gave them visa-free access to Dubai, and they followed common routines. They nearly always traveled on Emirates, which uses its own terminal where crowds are generally light and immigration lines move quickly. And they stayed in Dubai no more than a few days on trips beginning as early as March 2009. The tally by Dubai police: 12 British passports, six Irish, four French, three Australian and one German. A 27th suspect has been named, but his nationality has not been released. Interpol has issued a red notice - its highest level alert - for all 27 suspects, 16 of them yesterday. At least 15 of the names on the passports are shared by dual citizens living in Israel: a British-born building contractor on a kibbutz. An ultra-orthodox seminary student. A physiotherapist at a Jerusalem hospital. They are not considered suspects, but could face a travel purgatory as long as their names stay on Interpol watch lists. “I am just a father, a husband, and a kibbutz resident,” pleaded Paul Keeley, whose name was on a passport. Other Israeli links to the slaying have been raised. Dubai police claim at least 17 credit cards were issued to the suspects using the faked passports to purchase air tickets and book hotels. Most of the cards were prepaid accounts issued by Meta Financial Group Inc in Storm L ake, Iowa, a town of 10,000 billed by its Chamber of Commerce as a “welcome relief from hectic city life”. Authorities have in turn linked that bank to Payoneer Inc, which provides prepaid MasterCards issued by MetaBank and other lenders. The role of privately held Payoneer, which is based in New York and has a research and development center in Tel Aviv, has not been made clear. The company, founded in 2005, is headed by CEO Yuval Tal. A 2006 Fox News interview identified Tal as a former member of the Israeli special forces. In the interview, Tal provided commentary on the war between Israel and Hezbollah. He described the conflict as one that Israel must win. “It’s a war that they cannot lose. ... The Israelis have to win this war,” Tal told the network’s “Fox & Friends” program. “It’s something that the Israelis knew for many, many years, and I think now the world is understanding better what is going on.” One of Payoneer’s main backers, Car mel Ventures, is based in Israel. Other investors include Greylock Partners, which has significant operations in Israel, and Crossbar Capital, whose co-founder previously headed an Israeli venture capital firm. In 2003, Greylock tapped Moshe Mor, a former Israeli army military intelligence officer, to head its expansion into Israel, according to a press release at the time. Payoneer is also affiliated with Taglit-Birthright Israel, which organizes educational trips to Israel for groups of young Jewish adults to “strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity”. Par ticipants are required to pay trip deposits through the company, according to the group’s

‘Hurt Locker’ sweeps Oscars website. The AP called Payoneer’s Tel Aviv office and got a recording listing extensions, but when these were pressed, there was only dead air. After the slaying, Payoneer said it was cooperating with MetaBank and cooperating in the investigation.Mar y Kae Marinac, a spokeswoman for Payoneer, said yesterday that Tal was unavailable and that the company “is providing no further comment on the matter”. A statement from MetaBank to the AP said the prepaid credit cards were loaded with funds by outside companies, but gave no further details. Israel, meanwhile, is facing diplomatic fallout and questions at home. Australian Foreign minister Stephen Smith said any Israeli role in the faked passports would not be considered the “act of a friend.” Last month, Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, sidestepped questions about Mabhouh slaying gathering at European Union headquarters. In Israel, too, there have been some calls for an internal reckoning on Mossad’s tactics, though majority opinion seems to hold that the end justifies the means. Tzipi Livni, leader of the parliamentary opposition and a former Mossad recruit, called the slaying “good news.” Trade Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a former general, said it shows that no one in Hamas is “untouchable” but added: “I don’t know if it is us or not.” However, international pressure and slip-ups - have pried out Israeli disclosures in the past. In 1997, Israel was forced to send an antidote that saved the life of Khaled Mashaal when two Mossad agents posing as Canadian tourists were captured after injecting the Hamas leader with poison. Dubai police have moved from accusing Israeli officials to taunting them. Dubai police chief Tamim called on Mossad chief Meir Dagan to confirm or deny a role in the killing. “Let him be a man,” Tamim sneered. “Tell the truth.” On Friday he announced that his force has collected suspects’ DNA and fingerprints, and confirmed that the assassins managed to leave the room locked from the inside. Tamim has vowed to block entry to Dubai to anyone suspected of having a second passport from Israel. But how to spot them? By profiling Israeli “physical features” and speech patterns. Tamim didn’t elaborate. Even after pointing his finger at the Mossad, Tamim also has suggested leaks within Hamas about Mabhouh’s movements could have been the crucial factor. Jordanian political analyst L abib Kamhawi said Israel may one day be forced to admit to an “illegitimate act”. “By the same token,” he added, “it’s a lesson for the Arabs and Palestinian resistance that Palestinian security agencies are infiltrated.” As for Hamas, it has pledged to keep fighting. Mashaal, sur vivor of the earlier poisoning attempt, addressed Israel directly when he said of Mabhoub’s slaying: “You have hurt us with his killing, but it is an ongoing war between us.” Interpol’s “Red Notices” - which are not international arrest warrants but alert member states that Dubai would like the suspects to be arrested and extradited - made no mention of the alleged Israeli connection. Instead it provided what it said were photographs and known aliases of 16 suspects, including six who were using British and three Australian passports, along with several whose nationalities were not given. Of the newly listed suspects, only one had never before been identified by Dubai police. Interpol revealed his face and alias for the first time, releasing a photo of a smiling, darkhaired young man and listing his alias as Joshua Aaron Krycer. It did not give his age or nationality. - Agencies

Kuwait eyes nuke energy within 7 yrs Continued from Page 1 Moreover, a special team has been assigned to choose an adequate site on the national territory to build a nuclear reactor. Elaborating, he noted that Kuwait initialed an accord with France for cooperation in this domain, alluding to the tentative agreement reached last January. It called for harnessing enriched uranium at internationally acceptable levels, habilitating cadres and using the energy in medicine, agriculture, geology and industrial medicine. Al-Shuraiaan said the ministry, through the BOT commission, would launch a power station powered with solar energy, noting that several foreign companies have tendered for investment in the venture. Asked when the nuclear energy would

be practically used in Kuwait, the minister indicated that this might happen in seven years. As to safety, he affirmed that states that use nuclear energy have made headways in securing nuclear sites. Earlier yesterday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy inaugurated the conference, affirming that peaceful nuclear energy has become a basic issue for the future of mankind. He called on the international community to find ways to fund this energy for nations that suffer from power depletion. France, since 1970, has opted to venture into the world of nuclear power, Sarkozy said, noting that the French nowadays boast of acquisition of 58 electrical nuclear stations, adding that up to 80 percent of the electrical power in the European nation is produced from nuclear

energy. The event is witnessing participation of 65 states. Al-Shuraiaan is heading a delegation which consists of members of the national committee for the peaceful applications of nuclear energy. Al-Shuraiaan will be meeting with several French nuclear officials to discuss cooperation between Kuwait and France on peaceful nuclear technology. Attracting as many as 700 senior international officials, the conference is mainly intended to promote the peaceful and responsible use of nuclear energy. During the two-day conference, held at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) headquarters, the conferees are to mull over several nuclear issues and how to spur and encourage multilateral cooperation to help those countries that seek peaceful nuclear energy. — KUNA

Kuwaiti women complain of discrimination Continued from Page 1 “I have been working as a lawyer for the past 32 years but still I cannot become a judge,” activist Salwa Al-Ajmi told the symposium. “It is shameful that the government has accepted and signed international treaties banning discrimination against women and still bars females from becoming judges,” Ajmi said. A woman activist last month filed a lawsuit after her application to become a member of the public prosecution was rejected because of her sex. The conservative state adopts a strict interpretation

of Islamic laws by some religious scholars who say women are forbidden to become judges. Ajmi, however, said that other Arab states in the Gulf region such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have appointed female judges. Kuwaiti women made history last May when four women were elected to parliament for the first time, four years after they were granted full political rights, including the right to vote. Kuwaiti women are also facing discrimination under the state’s nationality law. They are not allowed to pass on Kuwaiti citizenship to their children or foreign husbands,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

unlike Kuwaiti men. They also do not have the same housing privileges as men and do not receive allowances for their children. Parliament is to debate several draft laws stipulating better social and civil rights for women. Last year, Kuwait’s constitutional court issued two milestone verdicts in favour of women. Women were allowed to obtain passports without the prior approval of male guardians, and the court confirmed two women MPs as deputies after their election was challenged for not wearing the hijab. (Material from agencies used in this report)

Continued from Page 1 the military who risk their lives in a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world,” Bigelow added. “May they come home safe.” Top acting honors went to Hollywood veterans Jeff Bridges for his performance as an alcoholic country singer in “Crazy Heart” and Sandra Bullock as a feisty housewife in the sports drama “The Blind Side”. It was a perfectly scripted night at the Kodak Theater for Bigelow, whose lowbudget film had been locked in a duel with “Avatar” and Cameron, whose $500-million science-fiction epic has become the highest-grossing film in history with more than $2.5 billion in earnings. “Avatar” mainly won its Oscars in technical categories. The face-off had been billed as the “Battle of the Exes” but Bigelow and Cameron smiled and joked throughout the evening as they sat just a few feet apart. Bridges finally landed an Oscar after four previous nominations. He thanked his late parents in an acceptance speech which came 39 years after his first nomination. “Thank you mum and dad for turning me on to such a groovy profession,” he said. Bullock completed a uniquely dubious double with her best actress award, which came 24 hours after she was

crowned worst actress at the Razzies, the annual Oscars parody. “Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down?” said Bullock, whose role was based on the true story of Leigh Anne Tuohy, who took on a homeless black teenager and helped set him on the road to an American football career. Bullock, who wore a dazzling silver beaded gown with an elegant train, later revealed she planned to display her Razzie award next to her Oscar statuette. “You take the good with the not so good,” she said. The supporting actor awards went to Austria’s Christoph Waltz for his portrayal of a sadistic Nazi officer in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”, and Mo’Nique, a monstrous parent in harrowing drama “Precious”. Mo’Nique was only the only the fifth black actress to win an Oscar. The 42-year-old paid tribute to Hattie McDaniel, the first black actress to be garlanded for her role in “Gone With the Wind”, in her acceptance speech and revealed she had picked out her Oscars outfit in honor of her predecessor. “I want to thank Miss Hattie McDaniel for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to,” she said. “The reason why I have on this royal blue dress is because it’s the color that Hattie

McDaniel wore in 1940 when she accepted her Oscar.” Waltz, 53, meanwhile was in raptures after collecting his statuette from Spanish siren Penelope Cruz. “Oscar and Penelope - that’s uber bingo,” he said. Waltz, who has also won a Cannes film festival award, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a British Bafta prize, was heralded in his native Austria yesterday. “Triumph” said Die Presse newspaper. “Up,” about an elderly gent who ties balloons to his home to live his dream of seeing the wilds of South America, took the award for best animated feature. Juan Jose Campanella’s latest feature “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” (The Secret in their Eyes) landed Argentina its first Oscar in 25 years when it scooped the award for best foreign film. On the red carpet before the show, platinum and silver dominated Hollywood’s traditional display of glitz and glamour. Bigelow charmed with a simple form-fitting platinum column dress while Kate Winslet displayed the most exquisite jewelry of the night: a pendant style necklace of white and yellow diamonds with matching earrings believed to be worth more than $2.5 million. — AFP

Turkey quake kills 51 as villagers sleep Continued from Page 1

“It started shaking - first slowly and then violently. I was terrified and began crying. The cupboard fell over and then the television set exploded,” said Zeynep Yuksel, a teenager in Okcular, the worst-hit village. Civil and military rescue teams rushed to the region but search operations were called off after about eight hours. “According to the information we have, no one remains under the rubble. The work has been ended,” an official from the governor’s office told AFP. Crisis desks in Elazig and Ankara both put the death toll at 51, revising down an earlier figure of 57, and officials said 74 were injured. The heaviest toll - 18 dead and some 30 houses destroyed - was in Okcular, a Kurdish village of some 900 people nestled among snow-covered hills at a height of about 1,800 m and accessible only by one narrow road. “I rushed out after the tremor, looked to one side and saw nothing, then looked to the other side - again nothing. Everything had collapsed,” said a mid-

dle-aged woman who did not give her name. “I pulled out the two kids from the rubble with bare hands. They were both dead,” said the woman, who lost a sisterin-law and two nephews in the quake. As night fell and the temperature dropped close to freezing, survivors huddled round stoves in the entrance of tents distributed by the Red Crescent. Wrapped in blankets and cuddling babies, women wailed around a bonfire as rescue workers distributed food and other relief supplies. Survivors scrambled to recover any valuables from the debris, often terrified anew by a flurry of aftershocks jolting the area, with the most powerful measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale. “I don’t dare go back to my house, which was damaged, for fear of another tremor,” said Nimet Cicek, a survivor in her 60s. Graves were quickly dug and by the end of Monday afternoon all of the dead were buried following brief prayers at a village mosque that was missing part of its minaret after the tremor. The quake also killed many livestock, the main livelihood for locals in the impoverished region.

Officials lamented that shoddy construction exacerbated the disaster as in many other quakes that have hit Turkey. Provincial governor Muammer Erol stressed that buildings made of cement or stone had only “minimal damage, such as cracks”. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had instructed the public building company to immediately launch reconstruction in the area. “Mud-brick construction is undoubtedly a local tradition there. But unfortunately, it has proved to have a heavy price,” he said in Ankara. In Brussels European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso offered condolences, saying he would monitor the situation “so that assistance can be mobilised as necessary” for the EU-hopeful country. Major earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which is crossed by several active faultlines. Two powerful tremors in the heavily populated and industrialised northwest claimed about 20,000 lives in August and November 1999. Many deaths were blamed on sub-standard buildings, the result of widespread corruption plaguing the construction sector. -— AFP

Abu Dhabi eyes more star power Continued from Page 1 the state-owned Abu Dhabi Media Co, the event’s host. But the gathering is also a coming-out party for Abu Dhabi, which has seen its own star rise as nearby Dubai’s fades, serving as a reflection of the emirate’s growing weight in the media industry. As in most of the Arab world, the government here has long controlled much of the domestic media, running television networks, newspapers and radio stations, including one devoted to readings from the Holy Quran. Censors routinely black out nudity and politically sensitive topics, and block access to hundreds of websites. A media law passed last year stifles the press and increases self-censorship, rights groups say. Increasingly, though, the United Arab Emirates capital has been using its immense petroleum wealth to extend its media reach overseas, even as it shows little sign of easing restrictions on journalists or Internet users at home. It has set up a company to bankroll Hollywood films, built an office park to house foreign news agencies, and spent billions to invest in microchips that power the electronic gadgets that increasingly serve as platforms for media consumption. It is also partnering with established Western brands, including National Geographic and Comedy Central, to develop Arabic-language programming, and is splashing out on big-name concerts for eager audiences at home. Recent shows featured Rihanna, Aerosmith and Beyonce. The investments are part of a broader push by Abu Dhabi’s hereditary leaders to diversify the economy away from oil and provide a broader range of jobs for locals. They serve another purpose too - to establish an image of Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital and the largest of the country’s seven semiautonomous city-states, as a tolerant, cultured and internationally relevant Arab society.

“We work to promote a more progressive point of view of this region,” said Mike Fairburn, director of marketing and planning at Flash Entertainment, a government-created concert and events promoter. “A big part of popular entertainment is about challenging certain perceptions.” Abu Dhabi is not alone in its quest to become a regional media player. Neighboring Dubai built its reputation on being a carefree business haven. Despite its well-publicized economic slump, the port city continues to host regional offices for hundreds of media companies, ranging from small ad agencies to international broadcasters such as CNBC and Showtime. And Doha, the capital of nearby Qatar, is home to the best-known group of Arabic satellite TV channels, Al-Jazeera. Abu Dhabi officials, however, insist they are creating something unique. A big part of that effort revolves around a project called TwoFour54, named after the city’s geographical coordinates. The project’s sand-whipped office park in a rapidly developing corner of the city has already lured a number of international news agencies, including CNN, which also maintains an office in Dubai. The broadcaster is using its Abu Dhabi site to produce a daily news show for its international channel. TwoFour54 also includes a media training academy primarily offering short skills-based courses, as well as production facilities and a venture capital arm to invest in promising Arabic media startups. “We see ourselves ... as providing an environment that is supportive and conducive and stimulating for creative people to want to be here,” said Wayne Borg, chief operating officer of TwoFour54. Other state-backed projects are aiming further afield. Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi’s Flash Entertainment bought a 10 percent stake in the parent of Ultimate Fighting Championship, the Las Vegasbased mixed martial arts producer that

makes most of its money through payper-view sales and video game licenses. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Media set up a film production and financing arm called Imagenation that aims to pump more than $1 billion into feature films over five years. The company produced last year’s family adventure film “Shorts” by director Robert Rodriguez, and has since announced co-production deals for a number of other movies, including the upcoming political thriller “Fair Game” starring Sean Penn. The venture is symbiotic. Hollywood gets money it needs after funding sources like investment banks and hedge funds tightened purse strings amid the global meltdown. Abu Dhabi gets international cachet. “If you can just get the brand out there with the name Abu Dhabi in it, it promotes Abu Dhabi as a decent, legitimate business partner,” said Christopher Davidson, a professor at the University of Durham who has written extensively about the UAE. He said one goal might be to persuade a studio to set part of a major film in the city, though he added that freedom of expression remains a concern. “The reality is it’s still a traditional political system, and there are limits,” he said. It is difficult to gauge how much of its oil wealth Abu Dhabi is willing to lavish on the media business, which must compete with the government’s plans to grow other sectors, such as technology, manufacturing, energy and tourism. Few details about the government’s finances are made public, and none of the executives who agreed to speak with The Associated Press would discuss their companies’ financial resources. Davidson estimates the state will spend at least $2 billion to $3 billion over five years just on physical infrastructure and seed money for the media sector. But there is always more should things really take off. “This is small change for Abu Dhabi,” he said. “They can throw such massive resources at this.” — AP

Taxis for women hit Cairo streets Continued from Page 1 women on public transport,” said Inas, a 36-year-old mother of one. “I’ll be the first to encourage it,” added Inas, who like most Muslim Egyptian women, dons the hijab - the Islamic headscarf. The taxi initiative was launched by the private Cairo Cab, which has reserved a part of its fleet to the women-only service. The company receives around 300 calls a day, with 80 percent of women callers asking for a female driver, Cairo Cab’s Mahmud Kamel told AFP. In recent years, women - Egyptians whether veiled or not, and foreign residents - have become more vocal about verbal and physical sexual harassment on the streets and on public transport, amid efforts by the government and rights groups to shed light on the problem. In December, Egypt’s deputy parliament

speaker and member of the National Women’s Council Zeinab Radwan called for a law to protect women from sexual harassment, which she said had reached “savage” levels and threatened society’s “collapse”. Women’s rights groups in Egypt have long campaigned against sexual harassment and assault in Cairo, accusing police of ignoring the phenomenon. Convictions are relatively rare in Egypt, which does not have a law defining sexual harassment. According to a study by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Right (ECWR), 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women in Egypt had experienced sexual harassment. But the rights group is less than thrilled about the idea of a taxi service just for women, believing it will increase the gap between the sexes in public places.

“This kind of initiative isolates women and sidelines them,” said Nihad Abul Qomsan, a lawyer who heads the ECWR. “It reinforces the idea that a woman is vulnerable and needs special protection. In the long term, this risks decreasing women’s chances in the job market and weakening their role in society,” she said. The service received a mixed reaction on the street. “We are not used to seeing women cab drivers,” said student Mona Ashraf. She sees it more as a “man’s job”. But father Mohammed Salah, who comes from a working class neighbourhood, found the scheme comforting. “If I order a taxi for my daughter, it reassures me to know that the driver is a woman,” he said. Still, many Egyptians for whom a cab ride is an unaffordable luxury, have to resort to crammed minibuses where sexual harassment of women is common. — AFP

Tuesday, March 9, 2010



NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Sunday. Pittsburgh 2, Boston 1; Vancouver 4, Nashville 2; Calgary 5, Minnesota 2; Carolina 4, Atlanta 0; Buffalo 2, NY Rangers 1 (OT); Philadelphia 3, Toronto 1; Detroit 5, Chicago 4; Edmonton 2, New Jersey 0; Montreal 4, Anaheim 3 (So); (OT Denotes Overtime, SO is shootout). Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF Pittsburgh 40 22 4 211 New Jersey 38 23 3 169 Philadelphia 34 26 4 195 NY Rangers 29 28 9 170 NY Islanders 26 31 8 169

GA 189 154 173 179 206

PTS 84 79 72 67 60

161 189 185 164 220

79 77 70 69 52

Buffalo Ottawa Montreal Boston Toronto

Northeast Division 35 20 9 174 36 25 5 181 32 29 6 178 29 24 11 157 20 33 12 168

Washington Atlanta Tampa Bay Florida Carolina

Southeast Division 44 13 8 257 182 96 28 26 10 194 209 66 27 26 11 172 196 65 26 28 10 168 186 62 27 31 7 182 200 61

Chicago Nashville Detroit St. Louis Columbus

Western Conference Central Division 43 17 5 217 161 91 35 25 5 182 187 75 31 22 12 175 178 74 30 26 9 177 182 69 25 29 11 170 209 61

Vancouver Colorado Calgary Minnesota Edmonton

Northwest Division 40 23 2 211 166 82 37 22 6 192 170 80 32 24 9 166 165 73 31 28 5 178 185 67 21 38 6 162 221 48

San Jose Phoenix Los Angeles Dallas Anaheim

Pacific Division 42 14 9 212 39 22 5 176 38 22 4 194 28 24 12 180 30 27 8 183

160 164 175 203 201

93 83 80 68 68

Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

PITTSBURGH: Sidney Crosby No.87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins handles the puck around Zdeno Chara No.33 of the Boston Bruins in the second period at Mellon Arena. —AFP

Canadiens edge Ducks, Penguins down Bruins ANAHEIM: Tomas Plekanec added the winner in the fourth round of the shootout as the Montreal Canadiens’ beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in the NHL on Sunday. Brian Gionta and Andrei Markov scored in the final 1:50 of regulation, and Plekanec also scored in the second period, helping the Montreal overcome an early three-goal deficit. Anaheim center Saku Koivu played his first game against the team he spent his 13 previous NHL seasons with and captained for 10 of them — tying Jean Beliveau for the longest captaincy in the Canadiens’ 101year history. Ryan Getzlaf set up first-period goals by Corey Perry and Scott Niedermayer, and newly acquired Lubomir Visnovsky had a power-play goal for the Ducks, who are six points out of a playoff spot with 17 games left on the schedule. Penguins 2, Bruins 1 At Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin scored

early in the third period after former linemate Pascal Dupuis’ equalizer as Pittsburgh beat Boston. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 21 shots by the NHL’s lowest-scoring team to help the Penguins end Boston’s five-game road winning streak. Malkin’s 23rd goal was a wrist shot through traffic from the right circle less than 90 seconds into the third period. Malkin has at least one point in 16 of 17 games. Bruins center Marc Savard was carried off the ice on a stretcher after being leveled Matt Cooke in the third period. Flames 5, Wild 2 At St. Paul, Minnesota, Jarome Iginla had his 10th career hat trick and Vesa Toskala made 27 saves in his first start since being traded to Calgary. Rene Bourque and Mark Giordano also scored for the Flames, who stayed

within a point of Detroit for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Guillaume Latendresse scored twice for the Wild. Iginla also scored in the third on another slap shot during a 5on-3 power play. He added an emptynet goal with 1:33 left. Red Wings 5, Blackhawks 4 At Chicago, Pavel Datsyuk capped a five-goal second period as Detroit rallied to beat Chicago, spoiling a hat track by the Blackhawks’ Andrew Ladd. Brian Rafalski, Nicklas Lidstrom, Jason Williams and Valtteri Filppula also scored in the second period for Detroit, which came back from a 2-0 deficit to win for the fourth time in five games. Duncan Keith opened the scoring for Chicago at the 4:24 mark before Ladd made it 2-0, firing in a one-timer from the right circle off a turnover.

Sabres 2, Rangers 1 At New York, Patrick Kaleta banked in a rebound off goalie Henrik Lundqvist 2:22 into overtime to snap Buffalo’s road losing streak at eight games. Adam Mair gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead with 5:57 left in regulation, and Brandon Dubinsky tied it for New York with 1:23 remaining. New York had gone 149 minutes, 30 seconds without a goal, dating to the second period of a 5-4 home loss in overtime to Pittsburgh on Thursday. Hurricanes 4, Thrashers 0 At Atlanta, Manny Legace made 27 saves for Carolina’s first shutout of the season, and Jussi Jokinen had a goal and an assist. Legace improved to 9-5-2 with his 24th NHL shutout and first since April 5, 2008, for St. Louis against Columbus. Carolina has won eight of nine overall. After losing

its first 13 road games of the season, Carolina has won five of its last seven away from home. Brandon Sutter, Joni Pitkanen and Rod Brind’Amour also scored. Canucks 4, Predators 2 At Nashville, Tennessee, Jannik Hansen scored the go-ahead goal with just under 6 minutes left in the third period for Vancouver. Mikael Samuelsson, Alexander Edler and Henrik Sedin also scored for Vancouver, which has won three of its last four. The Canucks are 7-5-0 so far on their franchisehigh 14-game trip. Jason Arnott and Jordin Tootoo had goals for the Predators, who have dropped backto-back games after winning their previous three. Flyers 3, Maple Leafs 1 At Philadelphia, Simon Gagne and Danny Briere scored in a 1:16 span in the

second period, and Michael Leighton made 27 saves for Philadelphia. Jeff Carter scored his 30th goal to help the Flyers break a two-game losing streak in their first home game after the Olympic break. Nikolai Kulemin scored for Toronto. Oilers 2, Devils 0 At Edmonton, Jeff Deslauriers made 22 saves for his third shutout of the season while Gilbert Brule and Marc Pouliot scored for the Oilers in a 2-0 victory over New Jersey. Edmonton also beat Minnesota on Friday night to snap a threegame losing streak. Last overall in the NHL, the Oilers are 6-25-2 in their last 33 games. Edmonton opened the scoring 1:23 into the second. Patrick O’Sullivan tracked down a puck behind the New Jersey net and put in front to Brule. His quick shot banked in off of Brodeur for his 14th goal and 30th point of the season. — AP

Loeb tops championship after victory in Mexico

FRANCE: A combo made on March 7, 2010 in Paris shows French rugby union national team fly half Frederic Michalak (left) and French rugby union national team scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili (right) during a training session at the team’s training camp in Marcoussis. — AFP

French look to avoid Italian trap PARIS: Grand Slam-chasing France will not under-estimate a much-improved Italy at the Stade de France next weekend as the Six Nations resumes. French coach Marc Lievremont has won over many of the doubters after two years of using over 70 players, but having broken his jinx of not managing three successive wins with the 26-20 defeat of Wales, he is keen to take it on and claim what would be France’s first Grand Slam since 2004. However, the 39-year-old former France flanker is wary of the threat that the Italians can pose, especially coming off a deserved victory over Scotland last time out. “We are not taking anything for granted,” said Lievremont. “We are extremely vigilant, we know that the match against Italy is a potential trap for us. “We saw how hard they pushed the English (England only prevailing 17-12 in Rome). We remember also how two years ago we were

snapped at all through the match at the Stade de France by the Italians. “There will definitely be plenty of reminders about that for the squad in the week leading up to the match.” France’s real strength this campaign has been their scrum but they will perhaps have their greatest test against a fine Italian unit. The backs too may also find it more difficult to cross the tryline than their previous three matches as Italy have conceded just one try in their last two matches. While France go in search of the Grand Slam, their predecessors in that role Ireland still have hopes of the Triple Crown and host Wales with high hopes of rewarding captain Brian O’Driscoll with victory on his 100th appearance for his country. However, coach Declan Kidney realises that whilst the table may show the Welsh with just one win from three matches it could just as easily have been three wins from three. Alun-Wyn

Jones’s sin-binning against England was a major blow while the Welsh have developed a habit of only coming alive in the second-half of their matches. “It will be a huge Test against Wales who’ve shown extraordinary resilience in coming back in three successive Test matches,” said Kidney. “They won’t be in a mood to give us points.” Wales’ former Ireland coach Warren Gatland is under no illusions about his team’s problems. “If we can stop being our own worst enemies, our own victims, and we get it right, I think we are not far away from being a very, very good side,” said the New Zealander. One side that most people are agreed have not either been a joy to watch or played especially well are England. Giving extra spice to the Calcutta Cup match against Scotland, is that the Scots are coached by former England boss Andy Robinson. — AFP

MEXICO CITY: Six-times world champion Sebastien Loeb cruised to an easy victory in the Rally of Mexico on Sunday to move top of the drivers’ standings after two races. The Frenchman, who started the day in first place for Citroen almost a minute ahead of Norwegian Petter Solberg, finished 24.2 seconds ahead of the pack for his 55th victory at world championship level. Citroen driver Solberg and Sebastien Ogier were left to scrap it out for the runner-up spot, providing a thrilling finale. Former world champion Solberg narrowly trailed Frenchman Ogier going into the decisive Super Special stage but set the fastest time to beat the Citroen Junior Team driver to second overall by 1.1 seconds. “I had a good lead today and was not going to take any risks with that when I started first on the road,” Loeb, who has now won in Mexico four years in a row, told the World Rally Championship website ( “I was just breezing through the last couple of stages trying to keep my concentration. It’s a good victory; I’m back in the lead of the championship and the points we lost in Sweden we’ve won back-that’s important. Behind Citroen’s top-three finish, Ford’s Rally of Sweden winner Mikko Hirvonen finished fourth with his team mate Jari-Matti Latvala completing the top five. Loeb has a six-point lead over Finn Hirvonen in the championship standings. The next round of the championship is the Jordan Rally which starts on April 1. — Reuters

MEXICO: French driver Sebastian Loeb (right) and co-driver Daniel Elena from Monaco, of Citroen C4, celebrate after winning the Mexican FIA World Rally Championship. — AFP

Japan wonderhorse Vodka forced to quit TOKYO: Japan’s back-toback horse of the year Vodka has been forced to retire after suffering a nosebleed in a warm-up race for this month’s Dubai World Cup. The Japan Racing Association described the six-year-old mare as a “jewel for Japanese and world horse racing” on Monday after hearing of the shock decision to end her racing career. “When we saw she had a nosebleed again after the race the owner (Yuzo

Tanimizu) and I decided to retire her,” Vodka’s trainer Katsuhiko Sumii told reporters. Vodka, who captured public imagination in 2007 by becoming the first filly to win the Japan Derby in 64 years, also bled in winning the Japan Cup last November. She will now be bred to last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Sea the Stars in Ireland and not return to Japan. “It would be wrong to push her,” Sumii said. “We

wanted one final swansong for Vodka but it wasn’t to be unfortunately. Vodka was a true champion. We are deeply grateful to her.” Vodka was scheduled to end her glittering career on March 27 at the world’s richest race in Dubai. The record-tying seventimes Grade One winner won 10 of 26 races and earned more than 1.3 billion yen ($14.40 million) — the most prize money ever won by a mare in Japan and third all-time. — Reuters



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Noh stopping South Korean teenager, says Choi LONDON: New Malaysian Open champion Noh Seung-yul is all set to make an impact on world golf, according to seven-times US PGA Tour winner KJ Choi. Teenager Noh, who does not even own a car, became the youngest professional winner on the European Tour when he pipped fellow South Korean Choi by one stroke to win in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. “He is one of the most powerful young talents coming up,” said Choi in a news release. “The way he controls and hits the ball is like no other. “I feel like he is going to develop in all aspects and is going to be on the

world stage. He has the heart for it but he has to keep working hard,” added the 39-year-old who makes a point of practising with the youngster when he competes in Asia. Noh, at 18 years and 281 days, broke the 39-year-old European Tour record of South African Dale Hayes by nine days when he landed the Malaysian title. New Zealander Danny Lee is the youngest amateur winner on the European Tour. He was 18 years and 213 days when he lifted the Johnnie Walker Classic trophy in Australia in February 2009. “This is more special than my first

win,” said Noh in a reference to his Asian Tour breakthrough triumph at the 2008 Midea China Classic. “This tournament in Malaysia, competing with the top players in the world and defeating someone (Choi) I look up to, is special.” Choi birdied the last hole to draw level with Noh in the event co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours. The teenager then showed nerves of steel by floating a superb chip shot from behind a hospitality marquee to within four feet of the cup before sinking his putt for a matching birdie and a one-shot win. “When KJ birdied the last I

thought if I got a par I would get into a playoff and if I lost in the playoff it wouldn’t disappoint me too much because I was competing against KJ, and if he won I would also be happy as he is from the same country,” said Noh. He may be a golf champion but Noh has yet to buy his first car. “I just got my driver’s licence last year and I don’t have a car,” he said. “I borrow my mum’s from time to time and my dad made a promise that if I won a million dollars my parents would buy me a car. “With this win I will be halfway to achieving that goal so this gives me the motivation to play better,”

smiled Noh. Meanwhile, only one of the some 20 golf courses in Beijing has been developed legally, a member of the law committee in China’s parliament said. Amid concerns about land grabs of prime farming land, China’s government put a moratorium on the development of new golf courses in 2004 and reinforced the ban last year. Development has continued, however, and the China Golf Association (CGA) puts the number of courses on the mainland at around 500, mainly clustered around the major cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

“There are many golf courses in Beijing, but only the one close to the Ming Tombs has been legally approved,” Sun Anmin, deputy director of the National People’s Congress (NPC) law committee, told Monday’s Beijing Youth Daily. The Beijing International Golf Club, which borders the Ming Tombs reservoir, was the first course built in Beijing in 1986. The 19 other courses in Beijing include the sumptuous Jack Nicklausdesigned Pine Valley as well as championship courses, the Beijing Honghua and the CBD International, which have both hosted the European

Tour sanctioned China Open in recent years. Sun suggested the developments be given legal status retroactively, saying that golf courses helped China’s economy by providing employment and green spaces in urban areas helped improve the environment. CGA Vice President Wang Liwei told Reuters last week that he backed the ban on developing good farmland but thought that courses might be legally built on wasteland in the future. The annual NPC, China’s largely rubberstamp parliament, continues until Sunday. —Reuters

Villegas triumphs at Honda Classic

FLORIDA: Camilo Villegas, of Colombia, lifts the trophy as he poses for photographers after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament in Palm Beach Gardens. —AP

Spain wants to stage Ryder Cup LONDON: Spain is hosting more European Tour events this year than any other country and wants to protect that powerhouse status by winning the bid to stage the 2018 Ryder Cup, a leading official told Reuters. Seven events are due to be held in Spain in 2010 and national golf federation (RFEG) president Gonzaga Escauriaza said in an interview his organisation owed it to all their tournament promoters to land the Ryder Cup vote. Sweden, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany and France are the other nations in the running, with the winning bid to be decided in April 2011. “The European Tour really associates professional golf with Spain and I think one of our special assets in terms of the bid is having seven events,” said Escauriaza on a visit to London. “One reason we want the Ryder Cup is that we need to give the tournament promoters something, a weapon to go out and try to secure these tour events into the future.” The tour has suffered as a result of the global economic downturn, with several sponsors and tourna-

ments falling by the wayside. Spain, however, can boast the World Match Play Championship, Spanish Open, Madrid Masters, Andalucia Open, Mallorca Open Castello Masters and Andalucia Masters on a proud portfolio of front-line events. “The financial climate is difficult now... we (the RFEG) need help, we cannot finance all the Spanish tournaments so we thought we really needed the Ryder Cup to make it easier to sell our events in the market place,” added Escauriaza. “With the Ryder Cup the interest among the media and the fans is huge. I think we owe the promoters that and the Ryder Cup would be special for them.” If their bid is successful the RFEG will host the biennial contest between Europe and the United States in Madrid. “We also want the tourist aspect of this for Madrid and we want to have a legacy which will help to keep alive the other tournaments,” said Escauriaza. “The Ryder Cup will help us reach out to the general media as well as to the golfing media so we can spread the word among the non-golfers, this is our aim. —Reuters

PARIS: French deputy minister for Ecology and former Karate-kata French champion Chantal Jouanno (left) and her team celebrate with the trophy on the podium after winning the French Karate team championships. —AFP

PALM BEACH GARDENS: Colombian Camilo Villegas kept his cool to win his third PGA Tour event with a fiveshot victory over American Anthony Kim in the Honda Classic on Sunday. The 28-year-old Villegas went into the final round with a three-shot lead and he swiftly doubled that advantage by producing four birdies from the first 10 holes in unusually breezy and mild Floridian weather. However Villegas, nicknamed ‘Spider-Man’ for the elastic-like flexibility he displays lining up putts, nearly lost his grip on the lead with three bogeys on the tougher back nine, including the 15th the opener to the three hole ‘Bear Trap’ series. But with his closest rival Kim bogeying the penultimate hole, Villegas regained his groove, avoiding trouble at the tricky 17th-a par three over water-and finishing his round in style with a 19-foot birdie putt. “I had a couple of hiccups there in the back nine but winning golf tournaments is always tough. If there is a golf course where you can mess up coming in then it is this one, trust me. Those finishing holes are tough. “I just picked my targets, put in good swings and took care of business,” he added. The Colombian finished 13under-par for the week after carding a two-under on Sunday for his first PGA Tour win since his previous two in September 2008. The wiry Villegas putted with confidence all week and gave himself a cushion for his back-nine wobble with a trio of excellent putts and a superb second shot from the rough on the challenging 10th. Having driven into the trees to the right, the Colombian punched 200 yards out of the rough to land just five feet from the hole. The victory crowned a demanding week for Villegas, who on Monday was in Bogota for a Pro-Am ahead of this week’s Bogota Open, the first PGA sanctioned event in his native country and one that featured his younger brother Manuel. “It’s been a long week but man it’s been a good one, I’ve loved every second of it,” said Villegas at the end of his round. “Today it was about coming here and taking care of business, I’ve done it all week but tournaments are about four rounds.” Villegas’ victory sets him up perfectly for one of his favourite events of the year, the WGC-CA Championship at Doral near Miami next week. The Colombian is a crowd favourite at the most Latin influenced event on the tour where he tied for fifth last year. On Sunday, Kim was second on eight-under and Britain’s Justin Rose equaled the course record with a sixunder 64 to finish third at seven-under. Another Briton, Paul Casey tied for fourth place on six under with Fijian Vijay Singh. Sam Saunders, the 22year-old grandson of seventimes major winner Arnold Palmer, played on a sponsors exemption and finished tied for 17th. —Reuters

Jenson Button in action in this file photo

Button leaves comfort for McLaren MADRID: Formula One champion Jenson Button’s move to McLaren is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing decisions of the season. Button left constructors’ champion Brawn GP in November after seven years with the former Honda group just before it was taken over by Mercedes, which is investing in an F1 team for the first time in 55 years. The Briton traded in the comforts of a team he knew well for a chance to drive at McLaren, where teammate Lewis Hamilton has been racing since he was 13. Hamilton’s influence inside the team led Fernando Alonso, who joined immediately after winning a second straight championship in 2006, to leave after just one season due to supposed favoritism. “Jenson knew exactly what he was letting himself in for,” McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said of his all-British lineup. “So far he hasn’t regretted it. We will see as the season unfolds which of our drivers feels most uncomfortable — inevitably they will. One of them has to feel uncomfortable if he’s being beaten by the other.” Last season, Button won six of the first seven races and then hung on to win the championship over Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton was fifth after a mixed season with McLaren, but preseason testing has shown that the British team is one of the favorites going into a field where Alonso has been reinvigorated by a move to Ferrari and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher returns to take Button’s place. Despite all of the competition on the grid,

it’s the in-house threat that seems most dangerous. “Our chances our good. I have a confidence in my ability and my confidence in building a good team around me,” Button said. “But you never know until you’re racing someone in the team. It’s very difficult to know where you stand. “There will be rivalry, there always has to be between teammates. (And) one of us is always going to be on top.” Whitmarsh, who regrets how the team treated Alonso, said the rivalry will help the team’s drive for the title. “Jenson and Lewis in harmony at McLaren isn’t a headline we’re likely to read,” Whitmarsh told the BBC. “We’ll do our best to do everything as fairly as we can with the two drivers. “There is all kind of speculation about this is a Hamilton team — Lewis knows we want a fair fight. We will be fair and treat these guys equitably.” Hamilton, who won two races as McLaren rebounded down the stretch last year, said his working relationship with Button was good, but the 2008 champion did not mince words when it came to getting back into the title fight. “I’m happy to put my hands up and say when I’ve been beaten, and I have lost a race to a teammate, but not a championship,” said Hamilton, who also admitted to errors in handling Alonso’s stay at the team. “At some stage it could happen, but I will just do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t.” Button said his driving style will also suit new regulations, which have banned refueling.

“It’s still a different way of driving for me because it is like an endurance race. It’s like driving at Le Mans, you really have to look after the tires at the start of the stint,” the 30-year-old Button said. “If you damage the tires on Lap 3 you are (in trouble) for the whole stint. You really have to be very gentle with the car.” Whitmarsh said McLaren has the fastest team on the grid, which is quite a statement considering Button was better known by his playboy reputation than driving skills for some time. Button made a promising debut for Williams at 20 before eventually moving to Benetton and Renault, where his off-track reputation came alive. He joined BAR-Honda in 2002 and finally scored his first victory four years later in Hungary, but waited until last season to triumph again. Button was on the verge of exiting the sport when Honda pulled out in December 2008, even taking a pay cut while paying his own way to some races. The highs and lows have obviously benefited Button, whose maturity and patience eventually paid off with Brawn at the start last year, something he will need to do with McLaren or risk falling by the wayside of Hamilton. “This year I’m more excited because of the competitiveness of the four top teams, plus Sauber and Williams,” Button said. “Also having Lewis as a teammate. He’s an exceptional driver and it’s really a challenge, an exciting one.” —AP

Schumacher return galvanizes F1 MADRID: Although Formula One has been galvanized by Michael Schumacher’s return, the 41-year-old driver’s comeback could turn out to be far trickier than imagined as he faces one of the most competitive fields in the sport’s history. Schumacher, who always did everything he could on the track to win, returns to the grid after three years on the sidelines with a newfound hunger pushing his bid for an eighth world title. Although testing has put his Mercedes GP team in contention alongside favorites Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull, Schumacher only emerged with confidence right at the close of the preseason. He previously said the German car could not win this weekend’s seasonopener in Bahrain. “I see it first of all as a threeyear program,” Schumacher said. “Secondly, it is important what happens at the end of the season and not the beginning of the season. If we are not in position to win the first two races I wouldn’t be worried at all. If we are two seconds off the pace _ OK, then I may start to worry.” Former champions Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, as well as promising drivers Sebastian Vettel and teammate Nico Rosberg, are all primed to race against Schumacher. Only Alonso and Button faced the German while he was at Ferrari. “For me the age doesn’t mat-

Michael Schumacher ter,” Schumacher said. “I feel definitely different. If you see the guys I’m around with, most of the guys I feel like it’s the good old days.” But age could play a big factor this time around. “He’s not 22 any more. It’s totally obvious that he’s maybe not like he was, age-wise. That might be something that we might find out if it works against him,” Red Bull driver Mark Webber said. “But you can never underestimate him, we know that. He’s a very determined guy and I take my hat off

to him.” Schumacher had planned to return last year as a replacement for injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, but that comeback was called off due to his own neck and back injuries. He has followed a rigorous workout routine, which includes five to six hours of exercise and a protein-based diet with absolutely no pasta _ not easy for a former Ferrari driver. “Michael trains nearly 365 days a year. He takes only Christmas and his birthday off,” Johannes Peil, who has worked

with Schumacher for years at the Bad Nauheim clinic in Germany, told The Associated Press. “What he has achieved, after such serious injury, is truly astonishing.” Schumacher has always been guided by a cool, calculating demeanor and an unflinching driving style that bends to no one. That remains. “He’s very motivated, physically well,” former Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello told the AP. “The way he acts with the team, obviously I had to up my game to another level. Absolutely I became a better driver because of it.” New teammate Rosberg, rich with promise, will be encouraged by some of those words as he attempts to prove himself against a man who easily sways the team his way. “I’ve been feeling very comfortable in general, which has been good,” Rosberg said. “(But) one has to be a bit careful with that because I’m up against one of the best of all time. But of course your benchmark is the teammate, so I’ll measure myself against him and it’s going to be a great challenge this year to have such a strong teammate.” Webber expects Schumacher to be recharged following a three-year break after a 16-year career that included a record 91 wins but also featured ruthless actions to thwart rivals’ chances, most notably against Jacques Villeneuve and Alonso. —AP


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Group photo of winners of the Mercedes Trophy 2010

Mercedes Trophy — Kuwait National Final 2010 KUWAIT: The Kuwait National Final of the prestigious Mercedes Trophy Golf tournament was held at the Sahara Golf and Country Club on Friday, March 5. This year was a very special tournament as Albisher & Alkazemi celebrated 13 years of organizing this unique tournament in Kuwait. It was an exciting finish to the keenly contested championships with the top 3 winners getting a chance to play in the Mercedes Trophy World Final in the fall of 2010. Mercedes-Benz’s involvement in international golf is a key component of the brand’s international sports sponsorship activities. The image dimensions of this sport are a perfect match for the values espoused by our premium automotive

brand. Moreover, Mercedes-Benz has been active in amateur golf since 1989. The Mercedes Trophy is a dedicated tournament series for amateurs in which more than 57,000 players tee-off each year in more than 50 countries. The contestants aim to reach the World Final in which the best individual players and the best team are decided in Stuttgart. 112 golfers participated in this year’s tournament in Kuwait, all of them vying for the exclusive prizes and the most coveted top three positions for the chance to compete in the World Finals in Stuttgart, Germany. The day started off with the participants registering with the club and collecting

their welcome gift packs provided by Albisher & Alkazemi, followed by a hearty breakfast to energize the golfers. The tournament was divided into three-handicap classes to give everyone a fair chance to win and there were more than ten prizes up for grabs. The play started at 12:30 PM and already one could feel the energy and competitiveness in the air as the golfers commenced on the challenging course. Everybody had their eyes set on Hole # 4, for the Hole-In-One prize - a fabulous Mercedes-Benz GLK Sports Utility Vehicle provided by Albisher & Alkazemi Company. The fiercely contested tournament was won by

First Place Handicap Division A — Lenny Petruccelli First Place Handicap Division B — Nadeem Shafi First Place Handicap Division C — Soren Sorensen All three golfers are now eagerly awaiting the World Finals of the Mercedes Trophy golf championships held in Stuttgart, Germany every year. A complete list of other winners follows below • Winner Trip to Dubai + Golf Package - Mohan Singh • Winner Trip to Dubai + Golf Package - Choi Shin Hyuck • Winner Trip to Dubai + Golf Package - John Rhee

• 2nd Place Division A - K.C.Shin • 2nd Place Division B - Pan Jun Kim • 2nd Place Division C - Raj Sethi • 3rd Place Division A - Min Ryu • 3rd Place Division B - Sang Hack Lee • 3rd Place Division C - Robert Drolet • Nearest To Pin (Ladies) - Y.S.Lee • Nearest To Pin (Men) - Peter Wilson • Longest Drive (Ladies) - E.K.Nam • Longest Drive (Men) - Farhan Al Shammari Michael Ruehle, General Manager Albisher & Alkazemi Company (MercedesBenz) said “We wish to thank all the sponsors who made this year’s competition a success.” He continued to say - A very special word of thanks to the major sponsors of the

tournament - Qatar Airways, Sheraton Hotel, Jumbo Travels, Libano Suisse Insurance, Golf M.E. & Tiffany & Co. for helping to make this year’s event such a great success. As a token of appreciation, Albisher & Alkazemi Co. extended to the golfers playing in this tournament a very exclusive offer on new Mercedes-Benz SUVs as announced by Palli Musthafa, Senior Manager Sales & Operations. Albisher & Alkazemi company has been organizing this tournament continuously for the past twelve years and this very special thirteenth edition of the Mercedes Trophy Final came to a close with a sumptuous dinner accompanied by a jazz band at the terrace of the Sahara Golf Club.

Edwards and Keselowski out to settle old score

HAMPTON: Carl Edwards was 156 laps off the lead when he apparently decided it was time to settle a score with Brad Keselowski. The result was a frightening crash that sent Keselowski’s car flying toward the stands at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and put NASCAR’s “have at it” philosophy to the test a mere four races into a season that was supposed to let the drivers show more aggression and emotion. It remains to be seen if Edwards will be suspended for what appeared to be an intentional bump of Keselowski at more than 190 mph (305 kph), or whether NASCAR will give the No. 99 a pass for merely taking its new mandate to the extreme. “To come back and intentionally wreck someone, that’s not cool,” said Keselowski, who escaped Sunday’s crash unscathed. “You could have killed someone in the grandstands.” The feud between Edwards and Keselowski boiled over with three laps to go in the Kobalt Tools 500, a race won by Kurt Busch but overshadowed by the

shenanigans going on behind him. A decision from NASCAR is expected Monday or Tuesday. Edwards faces the possibility of a fine, loss of points or even a suspension for the next race at Bristol in two weeks. “I would say there seems to be a history between those two drivers,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “I’m not going to go any further into it right now.” There’s definitely some history between these guys. Last April, Keselowski and Edwards were racing for the win in a tightly bunched pack at Talladega when their cars got together. Edwards spun into Ryan Newman’s path, and the second hit sent Edwards’ car soaring toward the main stands. While the battered car was slung back onto the track by the safety fencing and Edwards was OK, seven fans were injured by flying debris. “At least I didn’t do it intentionally when it happened,” Keselowski said. The two scrapped again in Atlanta. Early

on, Keselowski got underneath Edwards coming through turns one and two, which sent the No. 99 careening into Joey Logano along the outside wall. While his car was in the garage for lengthy repairs, Edwards complained that Keselowski “never gives any room at all” but sounded as though he wasn’t too upset about the incident. With Keselowski contending for a topfive finish, Edwards banged into him as they came to the start-finish line. Keselowski’s No. 12 car went into a spin, lifted off the track, turned upside down and slammed into the barrier in front of the stands with the roof. The battered machine flipped back onto the track, landing right side up. “It will be interesting to see how NASCAR reacts to it. They have the ball,” Keselowski said. “If they’re going to allow people to intentionally wreck each other at tracks this fast, we will hurt someone either in the cars or in the grandstands. It’s not cool to wreck someone intentionally at 195 mph.”

After the crash, NASCAR ordered Edwards off the track. He drove defiantly around the quarter-mile track in front of the stands and went backward down the pit lane before meeting privately with series officials in their trailer. Climbing from the car, he didn’t even bother with a denial. “Brad knows the deal between him and I,” Edwards said. “The scary part is the car went airborne, which was not what I expected. At the end of the day, we’re out here to race and people have to have respect for one another and I have a lot of respect for people’s safety. “I wish it wouldn’t have gone like that, but I’m glad he’s OK and we’ll just go on and race some more and maybe him and I won’t get in any more incidents together. That would be the best thing.” Before the season, the governing body encouraged drivers to do more banging and show more emotion, in large part to answer a growing fan sentiment that the sport had gone stale. Pemberton himself said, “We will

put it back in the hands of drivers, and we will say ‘Boys, have at it and have a good time.”‘ While suspensions are rare in a sport that rewards consistency and being on the track for every race, they’re not unprecedented. In 2007, Robby Gordon spun out Marcus Ambrose during a Nationwide series race in Montreal, ignored a black flag and was suspended for the following day’s Cup event at Pocono. That same year, truck driver Ted Musgrave was ordered to sit out a race for hitting a competitor during a caution period. The facts in this case seem pretty clear. “It looked like it could have been a payback from the No. 99 on the No. 12,” Pemberton said. “We talked with Carl after the race and we have an understanding about it. ... Carl said he got into him. He said he didn’t expect the result.” Keselowski defended his actions in the first incident Sunday. “He cut down on me on a restart and I lift-

Davis Cup heavyweights set up q-final showdown PARIS: Defending champions Spain proved there is life without Rafael Nadal when they swept aside Switzerland 4-1 to set-up a mouthwatering Davis Cup quarter-final clash with France on Sunday. Russia also went through thanks to a 3-2 win over India, their 17th successive home win, which gave them a last eight clash against Argentina, who defeated Sweden 3-2. World number two Novak Djokovic led Serbia to a 4-1 victory over the United States, earning his country a last-eight place for the first time and a July trip to bitter rivals Croatia, the 2005 champions. In Logrono, David Ferrer scored the winning point for Spain as he easily saw off an exhausted Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 to give the hosts an unbeatable lead after they had led 2-1 overnight. Nicolas Almagro then eased past Marco Chiudinelli 6-1, 6-3 in the dead rubber. Despite his heroics, Ferrer admitted that his place in the team for July’s clash with France was not guar-

anteed with Nadal and Fernando Verdasco expected to return. “I hope to play and be picked, but we will see. I just want to focus on the next tournaments,” said Ferrer. France maintained their 72-year domination of Germany when they wrapped up a 4-1 win in Toulon, leaving the French eager to face Spain on home ground. “It’ll be like a final, it’s the kind of thing you dream about,” said France captain Guy Forget. “Facing the defending champions with Nadal, Verdasco, Ferrer, Lopez...we want to beat the best in the world. We have started to talk about it and I hope that the boys will be in peak form.” France will have the advantage of playing the tie at home and will - not surpisingly - opt for a hard court rather than the clay courts favoured by the Spanish. In Belgrade, Djokovic won a five-set thriller to defeat America’s John Isner and hand Serbia a place in the quarterfinals for the first time.

Serbia will travel to Croatia on July 9-11 after Djokovic claimed a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4 win over Isner in a four hour, 16 minute marathon. Croatia wrapped-up a 5-0 win over Ecuador in their first round tie. “It’s the biggest win for men’s tennis in Serbia,” said Djokovic. In Moscow, Mikhail Youzhny eased Russia into the last eight when he beat Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 to give his side a 3-1 lead over India. Rohan Bopanna won the dead rubber, beating Teimuraz Gabashvili 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, to ensure a final scoreline of 3-2, after veteran doubles pairing Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won Saturday’s doubles to keep India in the tie. David Nalbandian was Argentina’s match-winner in Stockholm when he defeated Andreas Vinciguerra 7-5, 6-3, 46, 6-4 after Robin Soderling had seen off Leonardo Mayer 7-5, 76 (7/5), 7-5 to pull Sweden level. Former Wimbledon finalist Nalbandian, who has only just returned to action after under-

ed (off the accelerator). I couldn’t lift fast enough,” he said. “I was underneath him and tried to cut him a break. It was too late, though. He turned down. I apologized to him, but there was nothing that I could do in that situation.” The race need a couple of overtime restarts before Busch pulled away for the win. After the Keselowski smashup, Busch pulled off a brilliant move to slip between Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer, snatching away the lead going into turn one. But he couldn’t get all the way around to take the white flag before a seven-car crash broke out behind him. On the second green-white-checkered attempt, Busch powered away on the restart, zipped around the track two more times and beat Matt Kenseth to the line by nearly half a second to win the Atlanta spring race for the second year in a row. It took 16 extra laps to finish a race that was scheduled for 325. Juan Pablo Montoya was third, followed by Kasey Kahne and Menard. —AP

Britain launches inquiry after Davis Cup debacle

BELGRADE: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his victory after a Davis Cup World group first round tennis match against John Isner of US. —AP going hip surgery in May, had edged Argentina ahead on Saturday when he teamed with Horacio Zeballos to see off Robert Lindstedt and Soderling in the doubles. Argentine captain Tito Vazquez praised Nalbandian who only arrived in Sweden on

Thursday and was suffering a leg injury. “We didn’t know about David until ten minutes before the match whether he was able to play or willing to play,” said Vazquez. “It was a last minute decision - we took the responsibility

and he also took the responsibility but if something would have happened (to his leg) it would have been a problem.” The Czech Republic saw off Belgium in Bree and will face either Chile or Israel. Chile were 2-1 ahead after Sunday’s doubles.—AFP

LONDON: Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) are to hold an inquiry after the team suffered fresh Davis Cup embarrassment by losing to Lithuania and risking relegation to the lowest tier of world tennis. John Lloyd became the first Great Britain captain to oversee five straight defeats in the Davis Cup as the side slumped 3-2 away to Lithuania - a team with only three world ranked players, all teenagers - on Sunday. The loss, which came as British star Andy Murray continued to opt out of the men’s team tournament, raised fresh questions about the way the LTA runs British tennis. It received over 29 million pounds (44 million dollars) last year in profits from Wimbledon alone, while Lithuania’s estimated annual tennis budget is just 90,000 pounds (136,000 dollars). Under-pressure LTA chief executive Roger Draper said yesterday: “Five defeats in a row is unacceptable. “So I have asked the LTA player director, Steven Martens, to review last week’s performance and result, and report back to me and the LTA main board as soon as possible.

“That review needs to be swift and decisive as it is clear some real improvements need to be made.” Britain now face a relegation play-off against Turkey in July to avoid dropping into Europe/Africa Zone Group III the lowest tier of the competition - alongside the likes of Montenegro and San Marino. Former Australian Open finalist Lloyd said after Sunday’s defeat in Vilnius he was considering his position, saying: “I’ll ask myself, ‘Did I screw up or could someone else do a better job?” A report in yesterday’s edition of The Times said former British number one Greg Rusedski had been approached to replace Lloyd, although whether a change of captain alone is enough to revive the team’s flagging fortunes is doubtful. But Martens said no approach had yet been made to Canadaborn Rusedski, who already works for the LTA’s talent identification team, about captaining the Davis Cup team. “We have had no direct contact at all (with Rusedski)...Clearly we have to be swift and decisive. But it is very important that in the heat of the battle you don’t do anything emotional.”—AFP



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

FRANCE: Yellow jersey overall leader, Netherland’s Rabobank cycling team’s Netherland’s Lars Boom (third left) rides with 2009 Paris-Nice winner, Spanish cycling team Caisse d’Epargne’s Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez (center) and winner of the stage, Britain’s Sky cycling team, NewZealand’s Gregory Henderson (right) during the Paris-Nice cycling race. — AFP

Henderson wins Paris-Nice stage CONTRES: Greg Henderson of New Zealand won a sprint yesterday to take the first stage of the Paris-Nice race, and Lars Boom of the Netherlands maintained the overall lead. Henderson beat Slovenian rider Grega Bole and Jeremy Galland of France to complete the 201.5-kilometer (125-mile) flat stage in 4 hours, 22 minutes, 17 seconds. “It was a headwind and it was like a slow motion sprint, and I was lucky to get it on the line,” Henderson said. “It’s beautiful to win here and to win such a beautiful race is real honor.” Boom won the race prologue Sunday and finished in the main pack with the same time as Henderson and retained the yellow jersey, 5 seconds ahead of German veteran

Jens Voigt. British rider David Millar is in third place, 13 seconds back. Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador fell behind over the last 15 kilometers and moved down to eighth place in the standings, 25 seconds behind Boom. Contador also crashed three kilometers from the finish line but didn’t appear injured. Romain Feillu of France launched the first attack early in the stage and was followed by Dutchman Albert Timmer. With the help of a strong tailwind, they set a high tempo at front and rode alone for 146 kilometers before being caught about 50 kilometers from the finish line. Philippe Gilbert, last year’s Tour of Lombardy winner, and Dutchman Tom Veelers tried their luck with 41 kilometers

to go and quickly built a one-minute lead while American rider Levi Leipheimer was held up by a crash at the back of the peloton. About 30 riders were caught in the pileup but were able to get back on their bikes. On very narrow roads, Contador’s Astana team and riders from the Rabobank squad chased the two breakaway companions, who were reined in by the peloton with 16 kilometers to go. Alejandro Valverde and three other Caisse d’Epargne riders, including defending champion Luis Leon Sanchez, attacked at the front of the peloton a few minutes later, using the windy conditions to their advantage in a tactic known as “bordure,” which can help breakaway groups gain time on the main pack. Contador was caught off-

guard while Boom reacted quickly and joined the group of breakaway riders along with overall Valverde and Sanchez. Contador crossed the finish line 17 seconds behind the stage winner. The ParisNice race ends on Sunday. Tuesday’s second stage will take the riders from Contres to Limoges on a 201K trek featuring three third-category climbs. Meanwhile, Lance Armstrong said he will take on the Tour de France this year as a better cyclist but is unsure if he can close the gap on reigning champion Alberto Contador. The seven-times Tour winner returned to competition last year and finished third behind Spaniard Contador in Paris, but suffered a troubled relationship with his then Astana team mate.

Armstrong is back in action with a new U.S.-funded team Radioshack for 2010. “Last year I was more about brute force, this year I feel it is more cycling power,” Armstrong said in an interview with Spanish daily El Pais yesterday. “I’m a better cyclist now. I feel more comfortable in the peloton. Last year, at the start, I was nervous, fearful, at the back, and that’s why I fell in Palencia.” But he tried to steer clear of stirring up the controversy between himself and Contador again. “He (Contador) is highly strung, which isn’t a bad thing. So am I. All the great champions are like this, they all have a bit of insecurity in their lives, and feel they have to compensate,” Armstrong added. “I don’t think it was Alberto more the

people around him. Alberto isn’t stupid. He’s an intelligent person. He will continue to improve and gain experience in everything.” As to his chances in the Tour, Armstrong recognised it would be tough for a 38-year-old to beat someone who was still only 27. “It doesn’t look to be in my favour...(but) we’ll go to the race and see who is best,” Armstrong said. “It isn’t essential (for me to win). I don’t need to especially, other than to reward all the hard work. There is no difference between winning seven or eight. “The next Tour will be a great story, the rivalry with Contador, what happened last year...This is good for the Tour but it won’t change my life whether I win or not.” — Reuters

England’s Trott slams century

ANNAPOLIS: Michael Phelps races in the 200-yard butterfly at the Maryland Swim Championships, setting a new US record of 1 minute, 39.65 seconds. — AP

Phelps shatters own US record ANNAPOLIS: Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps broke his own US short course record in the 200 yard butterfly at the Maryland Swim Championships on Sunday at the US Naval Academy. Phelps, who won both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic gold medal in the 200 meter butterfly, had a time of 1:39.65. His old US record of 1:39.70 in the 200-yard event was set March 3, 2006 at the South Texas American Short Course Championships. The Naval Academy pool is measured in yards, not meters. The record is considered unofficial until it is certified by USA

Swimming. It was the third win of the weekend for Phelps, who was swimming competitively for the first time in seven weeks. “When the crowd starts yelling like they were, you know something good is happening,” Phelps said. “Whenever they get behind it and get more excited and louder, you kind of feel the energy and gain adrenaline. Being able to have that was definitely helpful. It makes it so much more exciting. You really can hear them on every stroke.” Phelps was primed to set the U.S. record in the shorter course race. “I tried to find out what my splits were when I broke the record back

in ‘06 and just wanted to see what I could do tonight,” Phelps said. “I wanted to try and go out and take a shot at it. Coming off the last turn I wanted to stay under as long as I could. That was clearly the difference.” Phelps had opened the threeday meet with a victory in Friday’s 400 yard individual medley, but was more than 3 seconds off the American record. After that race, his disappointment was obvious. “On Friday, I let other things stand in my way and I wasn’t able to compete how I wanted to,” Phelps said. “(Saturday) night and (Sunday) I wanted to come here

and put all that behind me and just come in and race how I know how to race. Phelps is preparing for the 2012 Summer Olympics and says the two years will “fly by.” His next competition will be at Ohio State University during the first weekend in April. “There are a lot of things yet to be done,” Phelps said. “This shows that with more time and training I can get faster. I am not in the best shape athletically right now and not in the best swimming shape. But being able to do what I did the last two weeks shows anything is possible when I am prepared.”—AP

CHITTAGONG: England’s Jonathan Trott regained form ahead of a Test series against Bangladesh with an impressive century in a warm-up match yesterday. Trott, with just one halfcentury in his last four Tests in South Africa recently, hit 14 fours in his 134-ball 101 before retiring to help the tourists gain the lead on the penultimate day of the three-day game. England declared their first innings closed at 281-7 in reply to Bangladesh A’s 202. Trott steadied the innings with a 96-run stand for the fourth wicket with Ian Bell after three wickets fell for 64. Bell contributed 47 before being trapped legbefore by left-arm spinner Mehrab Hossain in the morning session. Wicket-keeper Matt Prior also gained valubale batting practice before the two-Test series starts in Chittagong on Friday, scoring a brisk 73 not out with the help of one six and eight fours. The second and final Test begins in Dhaka on March 20. The hosts, trailing by 79 runs, were 131-3 in their second innings at stumps, with Raqibul Hasan (50) and skipper Mohammad Ashraful (14) at the crease. England off-spinner James Tredwell, who bagged six wickets in the first innings, was again the most impressive bowler with 250. Brief scores: Bangladesh A: 202 (Raqibul Hasan 107 not out; J. Tredwell 6-95, S. Finn 213) and 131-3 (Raqibul 50 not out, Junaid Siddiqui 37; Tredwell 2-50). England XI: 281-7 decl (J. Trott 101 retd, M. Prior 73 not out, Bell 47; Mehrab Hossain 2-59, Mahbubul Alam 2-38). — AFP

CHITTAGONG: England’s Jonathan Trott (left) bats as Bangladesh A Team’s Ariful Hoque (right) looks on during the second day of the three-day cricket match. — AP

CHITTAGONG: England’s Ian Bell bats on the second day of the three-day cricket match against Bangladesh A Team in Chittagong. — AP


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Real’s path blocked by Lyon’s sturdy defence

BERNE: Real Madrid must find a way past an Olympique Lyon defence which has not conceded a goal in more than 10 hours’ football if they are to keep alive their dream of playing in a Champions League final in their own stadium. David Beckham will return to Old Trafford for the first time in seven years as AC Milan visit his old club Manchester United, who may be without injured Wayne Rooney, in another of this week’s round-of16 second legs. In-form Arsenal host two-times winners Porto and Bayern Munich visit Fiorentina in the remaining matches, both of which featured highly-controversial refereeing deci-

sions in the first leg. Referees are likely to be even more under the spotlight this week after soccer’s rule-makers, the International Football Association (IFAB), on Saturday decided to indefinitely reject the use of goal line technology, standing firm in the face of pressure from players, coaches and the media. With the final at the Bernabeu, much of the Spanish media see a 10th European title as almost an obligation this year for a Real team which includes Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo. Real have scored 14 goals in winning their last three La Liga games but on Wednesday must overcome a 1-0 deficit

against a Lyon side which has kept a clean sheet in its last six matches, including the first leg last month. The last player to score against Lyon was Paris St Germain’s Mevlut Erding in the 10th minute of a Ligue 1 game on Jan. 31. “It will be a failure to not get past this round against opponents such as Lyon, who

Preview are good but not among Europe’s big teams,” midfielder Guti told the sports daily Marca. “Wednesday’s game is a final for us,” added Xabi Alonso after Saturday’s 3-2 win

over Sevilla, when Real came from 2-0 behind. Beckham is expected to get a warm reception at Old Trafford in the other of Wednesday’s games although he may have to settle for that with his team trailing 3-2 from the first leg at the San Siro. He is far from certain to start either, having begun several recent games on the substitutes’ bench. Milan’s Brazilian coach Leonardo is still hopeful the seven-times champions can turn the game around. “Football is giving us a great opportunity. It’s extraordinary to go to Old Trafford having to win in an important way,” he said. “I don’t just mean winning 2-0. I mean

victory, going there to score goals and play a game against a Manchester side who have their style. Rooney, who scored twice in the first leg, suffered a knee injury during England’s 3-1 friendly win over Egypt on Wednesday. “It’s one of these bad bits of luck you get-the Wembley pitch has just killed him,” said manager Alex Ferguson. Arsenal, who have Cesc Fabregas doubtful with a hamstring injury, go into Tuesday’s match 2-1 down to a Porto goal which had Arsene Wenger fuming. The Arsenal manager was incensed after Colombian striker Radamel Falcao’s goal from a quickly taken indirect free kick was

allowed to stand. “First of all, it has to be clarified how UEFA nominate referees for games. They have to be much more open on how they rate their referees. Nobody really knows how they name their referees,” he told a news conference a couple of days after the game. “Where is the ranking of the referees? I believe too much has gone on in the last 30 years. What has happened is not good for football.” Four-times champions Bayern, unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions, take a 2-1 lead to Fiorentina thanks to a lastgasp Miroslav Klose goal which both coaches agreed was well offside.-—Reuters

Arsenal will make amends for Porto farce: Campbell

ITALY: Inter Milan Serbian midfielder Dejan Stankovic is fouled by Genoa midfielder Omar Milanetto during an Italian League soccer match.—AP

Inter miss chance to stretch lead ROME: Serie A leaders Inter Milan failed to capitalise on the draw between closest rivals AC Milan and AS Roma when they were held 0-0 by Genoa at the San Siro on Sunday. Inter have 59 points from 27 games after their fourth draw in five league games and maintain the four-point lead they started the weekend with over Milan, who failed to turn dominance into goals in another goalless draw in Rome on Saturday. AS Roma are three points further back in third. Jose Mourinho, serving the second game of his three-match touchline ban for his controversial handcuffs gesture against Sampdoria two weeks ago, fielded three strikers in his starting XI. Nevertheless his team were sterile in attack in a listless first half, when Genoa’s Giandomenico Mesto and Giuseppe Sculli and Inter’s Dejan Stankovic all had crisp but central shots easily saved. The champions made three substitutions in a bid to shake things up after the break with the struggling Samuel Eto’o among those making an entry from the bench. The Cameroon striker had a shot from outside the box well saved by Marco Amelia and Maicon came close with a diagonal strike as Inter finally put the visitors under pressure in

the closing stages. “We had a lot of players who travelled and played 90 minutes with their national teams this week,” Inter’s technical director Marco Branca told Sky television. “You cannot always be at the top in terms of concentration and desire. “It’s a point and it’s one game less to the end of the season. Today’s match wasn’t brilliant. That can happen during the course of the championship.” Mourinho is refusing to talk to the media before or after league matches during his ban. Palermo regained fourth place earlier on Sunday when Fabrizio Miccoli’s late goal gave them a 1-0 home win over relegation-threatened Livorno. Palermo have 46 points from 27 games, two more than Juventus who won 2-1 at Fiorentina on Saturday. Sampdoria are also in the chase for Champions League qualification after a 2-1 comeback win at home over Lazio that puts them one point behind Juve in sixth. Stefano Guberti’s piledriver and a volley by Giampaolo Pazzini clinched it in the first half after Sergio Floccari’s early opener for the Rome club. Lazio, who are just three points above the relegation zone, had Mauro Zarate sent off for dissent in the 77th minute.—Reuters

Independiente go top with 2-0 win BUENOS AIRES: Independiente went top of the Clausura championship with a 2-0 home win over River Plate in Argentina on Sunday. Strikers Dario Gandin and Andres Silvera scored either side of halftime to take Independiente to 17 points from eight matches. Gandin put the home side ahead in the “clasico” at the Libertadores de America stadium when he raced onto a fine chip forward by midfielder Walter Acevedo in the 38th minute. Silvera exchanged passes with midfielder Walter Busse before netting the return from close range on the hour for his sixth goal, joining Martin Palermo of Boca Juniors as the championship’s leading scorers. The new leaders are two points ahead of Godoy Cruz, who lost the last remaining unbeaten

record in the first division with a 2-1 defeat away to Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario. Uruguayan striker Joaquin Boghossian scored twice in 11 minutes as Newell’s came from behind. Newell’s veteran defender Rolando Schiavi was dismissed after half an hour and Godoy Cruz midfielder Nicolas Olmedo followed four minutes later. Title holders Banfield, winners of the Apertura in December, are third with 14 points after a 0-0 draw at Atletico Tucuman. Velez Sarsfield, winners of last season’s Clausura, lost ground with a 1-0 defeat at Argentinos Juniors and are equal on 12 points with Newell’s and Colon, who visit Arsenal on Monday. Boca Juniors, in the lower half of the table like their arch-rivals River Plate, were upset 2-1 at home by Racing Club on Friday.—Reuters

LONDON: Sol Campbell expects Arsenal to use the painful memories of their farcical Champions League first round defeat in Porto to kill off the Portuguese champions in the decisive second leg today. Arsene Wenger’s side must overcome a 2-1 deficit at the Emirates Stadium following a self-inflicted first leg loss that featured two bizarre mistakes by goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. The Pole spilled a Silvestre Varela cross into his own net early on at the Dragao Stadium. Campbell headed Arsenal’s equaliser, but Fabianksi showed a shocking lack of awareness in the second half when he picked up a back-pass from Campbell and then compounded his mistake by throwing the ball straight to Falcao, who gratefully shot into the empty net. It was a comical way to lose such an important match, but Campbell’s away goal could prove priceless as the Gunners need only a 1-0 win in north London to advance to the quarter-finals. “The game is only halfway done, and that should stand us in good stead for the second leg,” Campbell said. “Scoring away from home was important. Had we lost 1-0, it would have been harder. That one away goal could make a massive difference. “It gives us a bit of an advantage to build on for the second leg. But, we are not happy because we lost the game. “What we have to do now is take the positives from the game and go again as a team. “There is still a big job to be done, don’t get me wrong, but it would be much harder without that goal.” Reaching the last eight should be more than enough incentive for Arsenal but former England defender Campbell, 35, believes the manner of the first leg defeat could provide an important additional motivation. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was less than impressed by the way Swedish official Martin Hansson allowed the free-kick to be taken so quickly and Campbell agrees that Arsenal were hard done by. “You can go on about it, and yes it was quick thinking from the Portuguese, but the ref has never given me a chance

LONDON: Arsenal’s players warm up during a team training session at Colney in north London. Arsenal are due to play against Porto in the last 16 of this season’s UEFA Champions League in London tomorrow. —AP to get in front of the ball - basically he gave it to them and let them play,” Campbell said. “There was no whistle and I do not think he even had his arm up when the kick was taken.” Arsenal can draw on recent history for proof that they have nothing to fear from Porto. A 40 victory over Jesualdo Ferreria’s team at the start of last season followed a 2-0 win over Porto at Emirates

Stadium in September 2006. But the Gunners will be without captain Cesc Fabregas after the Spain midfielder limped off in the first half of his side’s 3-1 win over Burnley on Saturday. Fabregas had just scored Arsenal’s first goal moments earlier when he suffered the hamstring injury. “We cannot even take a gamble, so he is not available,”

Wenger said. While Porto’s European progress would be guaranteed with a draw, midfielder Raul Meireles insists there is no chance of the visitors playing cautiously at the Emirates. Porto, who drew 2-2 with Olhanense on Saturday, will be looking for success in the Champions League to keep their season alive as they sit 11 points behind Portuguese lead-

ers Benfica. We will not be ultra-defensive in London. That’s not our style and to try to play that way would be a disaster for us,” Meireles said. “Arsenal are a dangerous team in attack and to give them the ball would cause chaos for us. “I’m optimistic and our squad have the confidence and belief that we will reach the last eight.”—AFP

Fiorentina need win over Bayern FLORENCE: Fiorentina is hoping to break out of a recent slump and reach to the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time with a win over Bayern Munich today. The team coached by Cesare Prandelli lost the first leg in Germany 2-1, and has won just one of its last nine Serie A matches. The team has also gone 17 games since its last clean sheet. “We want to make history and we have to think about the opportunity that we have,” Prandelli said. “There isn’t any problem with fatigue, but I want to see the team concentrate. You play differently in Europe from the league and tomorrow we will do our best not to concede a goal.” On Saturday, Fiorentina was beaten by an uninspired Juventus team 2-1, and the squad appears to have been distracted by speculation that Prandelli will take over from Marcello Lippi as Italy coach after the World Cup. “We are playing one of the strongest

teams, one capable of winning the competition,” Prandelli said. “In the first leg, though, we showed we could cause them problems.” In the first round, Fiorentina finished at the top of Group H, above Liverpool and Lyon, and returned from Anfield with a 2-1 win that eliminated the 2005 winners. “In the past we have shown that we can get out of impossible situations even when we seem weaker on paper,” Fiorentina goalkeeper Sebastien Frey said. “We’ve already beaten Liverpool twice this season, therefore we can beat Bayern.” By contrast, Bayern goes into the match unbeaten in 18 matches, although it was held to a 1-1 draw at FC Cologne on Saturday, needing Bastian Schweinsteiger to score a second-half equalizer to salvage a point for the Bundesliga leader. Schweinsteiger, a product of Munich’s youth system, has quickly becoming a center-

piece of the side and is a certain starter for Germany at the World Cup. “Bastian is an outstanding player, one of the best in Germany,” Bayern captain Mark Van Bommel said. “He has the ability, and he’s showing it now. The coach has got every player knowing exactly what to do in his position. Bastian’s benefiting hugely from that.” However, Bayern coach Louis Van Gaal has problems in defense where central defender Martin Demichelis is out after fracturing his face in three places during Argentina’s 1-0 win over Germany. Left back Diego Contento also gashed his knee against Cologne and requires stitches. “We may have won the first game, but Fiorentina is a strong team and will have to attack,” Bayern goalkeeper Jorg Butt said. “It will be a very open match and that will give us a lot of opportunities to score.” There is better news for Van Gaal in that his star wingers are likely to be able to play. —AP

Ten-man Bordeaux snatch draw PARIS: Ligue 1 leaders Girondins Bordeaux survived two penalties and being reduced to 10 men for an hour to earn a 1-1 draw in their top-of-the-table clash with Montpellier on Sunday. The French champions are ahead of Montpellier on goal difference with both teams on 52 points, two clear of Olympique Lyon. The match turned sour for Bordeaux on the half hour when defender Michael Ciani

was handed a straight red card for a foul on Colombian striker Victor Hugo Montano. Alberto Costa took the resulting penalty but Cedric Carrasso denied him with a spectacular dive to his left. The second penalty came four minutes before the break when Matthieu Chalme handed the ball in area. Montano took the penalty this time and had his first effort disallowed by the referee. At the second attempt,

Todayʼs matches on TV (local timings) UEFA Champions League Arsenal v Porto ..................................................22:45 Al Jazeera Sport +3 Al Jazeera Sport +4 Fiorentina v Bayern ........................................... 22:45 Al Jazeera Sport +5

Bordeaux keeper Carrasso once again dived to his left and saved it. Bordeaux scored on the hour when Marouane Chamakh controlled the ball after a long-range free kick and netted with a powerful right foot shot. Montpellier levelled four minutes into added time when Costa redeemed himself with a 30-metre free kick. Olympique Marseille failed to put any pressure on the top two when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by midtable Lorient. After missing several chances, Marseille seemed to have done the hard work when Ligue 1 top scorer Mamadou Niang recorded his 15th goal of the season just before halftime, banging in a cross from Laurent Bonnart.

Laurent Koscielny, however, levelled in the 64th minute with a scrappy goal. The 25-year-old defender caught a Marama Vahirua free kick with the back of his head, Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda deflected the ball on to the post but Koscielny recovered it and pushed it over the line. Marseille pushed hard until the final whistle but Lorient goalkeeper Fabien Audiard denied each of their attempts. “Of course, I’m disappointed. We had 12 chances and failed to score a goal but we still have along way to go before the end of the season,” Marseille coach Didier Deschamps told a news conference. Marseille stay fourth in the table on 49 points.—Reuters

FRANCE: Argentinian forward Alberto Costa of Montpellier (white shirt) challenges for the ball with Bordeaux’s Brazilian midfielder Fernando during their French Division One soccer match.—AP

Football’s guardians score own goal on technology PARIS: Over at FIFA headquarters, they should carve this motto above the door: Why annoy some people some of the time when you can infuriate just about everyone all of the time. In ruling out further experiments on the use of technology to determine whether a goal has been scored, the guardians of football have made a bad mistake. Call it Murphy’s law, divine intervention or mere unfortunate coincidence, but soon af ter the International Football Association Board voted this weekend to stay in the technological Dark Ages, the extent of the rule-makers’ folly was exposed by a goal dispute in football’s oldest domestic cup competition, England’s FA Cup. Had the technology been in use, then a

ball with an embedded chip could have sent the message “Goal” or an earpiece beep to referee Steve Bennett when Liam Ridgewell’s header for Birmingham crossed Portsmouth’s line. Without a long and tiresome hold-up in play and without anyone in the crowd or on the pitch even having to know that he got a computerized helping hand, Bennett could have awarded the goal that would have cut Portsmouth’s lead to 2-1 and, with some 10 minutes left to play, might have heralded a Birmingham fight-back. But instead, match officials didn’t keep up with the action, as is too often the case. Bennett, forced to rely on nothing more than human eyesight, ruled it was not a goal. Unfairly for him, he was made to look incompetent by TV replays which subsequently showed the ball crossing the

line before Portsmouth goalkeeper David James blocked it. Reaching the cup semifinal would have netted Birmingham at least 450,000 pounds (US $680,000) in prize money. The fact that broke Portsmouth needs the cash more doesn’t make this situation fair. Let’s hope now that a similar mistake mars the final of the World Cup on July 11. FIFA and the other IFAB members who refuse goal-line technology would have a far harder time justifying their blinkered approach if the outcome of football’s showcase tournament is determined by yet another avoidable refereeing mistake. As sad as it would be to see the World Cup won undeservedly, it could also be a necessary evil if it forces the IFAB to reconsider. Only such a huge embarrass-

ment, in front of a global television audience of hundreds of millions, could perhaps do the trick. Because the rule-makers don’t otherwise seem to give a hoot that their refusal of technology is incomprehensible to the game’s leading lights like Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. It’s their word and their word only that counts. Football, as FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke made so abundantly clear this weekend, is not a democracy, even if it is the planet’s most popular sport. Said Valcke: “Technology should not enter into the game, whatever are the opinions.” The IFAB, made up of FIFA and the football associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is right to argue that football’s human face and charms should be preserved. They

are correct that referees’ calls cause fans to chatter over beers in bars across the world. If referees and not video replays are to remain the final arbiters of the game, as they should, then occasional mistakes are inevitable perhaps even desirable. But match officials are also being outgunned and second-guessed by television spectators and commentators armed with far more information than is available out on the pitch. According to Valcke, 32 cameras will cover each World Cup game, so viewers will see the action from angles that referees can’t. Their mistakes will inevitably be spotted, which is bad for their credibility and that of football as a whole. Getting rid of the cameras clearly isn’t the answer, getting the referees more help is.

Introducing video replays for other elements of the game, to spot fouls like Thierry Henry’s infamous hand ball against Ireland in World Cup qualifying for example, would take too much power out of the referees’ hands, and there likely would be too many stoppages in play while videotape is reviewed. But just because those technologies are undesirable doesn’t mean that all technical solutions are. At the very least, referees should not be missing goals or awarding them when the ball did not cross the line. For the IFAB to claim that it wants to help referees, while at the same time ruling out further experimentation with goalline technologies that could stop them from making the most elementary mistake, makes no sense. —AP

Magic spell stop Lakers ORLANDO: Vince Carter had 25 points, and Dwight Howard finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds as the Orlando Magic beat the Lakers 96-94 on Sunday to hand Los Angeles its first three-game losing streak of the Pau Gasol-Kobe Bryant Era. Carter made his first 13 free throws and kept the Magic in control, showing signs of why Orlando made the move for the eight-time All-Star after losing to the Lakers in last year’s finals. Bryant had 34 points and Gasol added 20 points for the Lakers, walking to the locker room distraught and dejected after their latest loss. And with quite a different feeling than that champagne-soaked championship celebration last June. Celtics 86, Wizards 83 At Boston, Ray Allen scored a game-high 25 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 17.1 seconds remaining, as Boston rallied past Washington. Boston trailed 79-66 with 6:11 remaining and responded with a 20-4 run to close out the game with eight points from Allen and six from guard Rajon Rondo. Al Thornton scored 24 points to lead the Wizards and Andray Blatche added 23 for Washington. Pistons 110, Rockets 107 At Auburn, Michigan, Tayshaun Prince scored a season-high 29 points to help Detroit snap a six-game losing streak. Richard Hamilton added 22 points for Detroit, while Kevin Martin had 27 points for Houston and Aaron Brooks scored 25. Martin and Brooks, though, both missed key 3-point attempts in the last 10 seconds of overtime. Nuggets 118, T Blazers 106 At Denver, Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points _ his third consecutive game with at least 30 points _ as Denver beat Portland for its third straight victory. J.R. Smith added 22 points, Chauncey Billups had 21 points and Nene 14 for the Nuggets. Jerryd Bayless’ 24 points led the Trail Blazers, who saw their three-game winning streak snapped. Andre Miller had 19 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16.

DENVER: Portland Trail Blazers guard Andre Miller (left) loses control of the ball as Denver Nuggets center Johan Petro, of France, defends in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game. —AP

NBA results/standings NBA results and standings on Sunday. Philadelphia 114, Toronto 101; Orlando 96, La Lakers 94; Detroit 110, Houston 107 (OT); Boston 86, Washington 83; Oklahoma City 108, Sacramento 102; Denver 118, Portland 106. (OT denotes overtime) Eastern Conference

Boston Toronto Philadelphia NY Knicks New Jersey

Atlantic Division W L 40 21 32 29 23 39 21 41 7 55

PCT .656 .525 .371 .339 .113

GB 8 17.5 19.5 33.5

Western Conference Northwest Division Denver 42 21 .667 Utah 40 22 .645 Oklahoma City 38 24 .613 Portland 37 28 .569 Minnesota 14 49 .222

Cleveland Milwaukee Chicago Detroit Indiana

Central Division 49 15 33 29 31 31 22 41 20 43

.766 .532 .500 .349 .317

15 17 26.5 28.5

LA Lakers Phoenix LA Clippers Sacramento Golden State

Southeast Division 44 20 .688 40 22 .645 32 31 .508 30 31 .492 21 39 .350

3 11.5 12.5 21

Dallas San Antonio Memphis Houston New Orleans

Orlando Atlanta Miami Charlotte Washington

Pacific Division 46 18 40 25 25 38 21 42 17 45

1.5 3.5 6 28

.719 .615 .397 .333 .274

6.5 20.5 24.5 28

Southwest Division 43 21 .672 36 24 .600 32 31 .508 31 31 .500 31 32 .492

5 10.5 11 11.5

Thunder 108, Kings 102 At Sacramento, California, Kevin Durant had 27 points and eight rebounds as Oklahoma City beat Sacramento. The road victory was the seventh in nine games for the Thunder, who are 3-1 against the Kings this season. Tyreke Evans had 24 points and seven assists for the Kings and Carl Landry had 20 points and eight rebounds. Francisco Garcia scored 14 points and Jason Thompson added 11. The Kings have lost two straight and three of four in falling to 15-15 this season at home. Russell Westbrook scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter for the Thunder, who have won two straight and five of six. James Harden scored all 14 of his points in the first half, while Jeff Green added 12 points. 76ers 114, Raptors 101 At Toronto, Thaddeus Young scored a career-high 32 points and Jr ue Holiday had 21 as Philadelphia beat Toronto to snap a five-game losing streak. Andre Iguodala had 16 points and 10 assists and Elton Brand had 12 points and nine rebounds for the 76ers. Louis Williams added 12 points. Jarrett Jack had 20 points and nine assists for Toronto, which has lost five of six. Chris Bosh had 12 points and 12 rebounds in his return to the lineup. —AP

NEW DELHI: Pakistan hockey player Shakeel Abbasi (left) in action against Australian hockey player Fergus Kavanagh (second left) as others looks on during their World Cup 2010 match at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium. —AFP

Australia on top, England lose NEW DELHI: Favorites Australia sweated to a 2-1 win over Pakistan yesterday to join England in the semi-finals from group B in the men’s field hockey World Cup. Veteran penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas put a rejuvenated Pakistan ahead in the 24th minute, before Desmond Abbott scored twice in the second half to clinch victory for the Kookaburras. European champions England, who had won all four previous matches, crashed to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Beijing Olympic silver-medallists Spain in their last match. Pau Quemada convered a penalty corner in the 35th minute and Eduard Tubau increased the margin six minutes before the end against an English team already assured of a semi-final berth. Both England and Australia ended the league on 12 points each, but the Kookaburras took top spot in the group by virtue of a superior goal difference of plus-17 against their rivals’ plus-5. Spain finished third in the group with nine points to ensure themselves a top-six finish in the tournament. Hosts India claimed the fourth spot after a thrilling 3-3 draw with South Africa, who finished fifth and relegated Pakistan to sixth place. After Lloyd Norris-Jones had put South Africa ahead in the seventh minute, Sarvanjit Singh and Diwakar Ram struck in quick succession to give India a 2-1 lead at the interval. South Africa, who had beaten Pakistan earlier in the league, made it 3-2 through Justin Reid-Ross and captain Austin Smith, before Shivendra Singh equalised for India four minutes from the end. India and South Africa both ended with four points, but the hosts had a better goal difference of minus-4 and compared to the Africans’ minus-15. The two semi-final spots from group A will be decided after Tuesday’s last round with four teams - the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea and New Zealand still in the fray. England captain Barry Middleton rued his team’s first loss in the tournament. “We let ourselves down today,” he said. “We did not play at our enegry levels and it proved that if we dump our game we can be disappointing. “We let our standards slip, but I hope it was only a oneoff going into the semi-finals.” Spanish coach Dani Martin admitted the loss to Pakistan earlier in the league ruined the semi-final hopes of his team. “That defeat hurt us,” he said. “Otherwise we would be celebrating right now. I don’t think we played to our potential in this tournament.” Australian captain Jamie Dwyer said the match against Pakistan gave them an opportunity to try the reserves. “It was not a great game, but it is nice to finish at the top of the group,” he said. “But a semi-final is a different competition altogether. You can’t afford to have a bad day. The opponents we face

will be tough to beat, whoever they are.” Abbas said Pakistan lacked consistency. “We play well one day, and very bad the next day,” he said. “The team lacks co-ordination. There is a lot of hard work ahead for us.” —AFP

World Cup results/standings NEW DELHI, March 8, 2010 (AFP) - Collated results from the ninth day of the men’s field hockey World Cup in New Delhi yesterday: Group B England 0 Spain 2 (Pau Quemada 35, Eduard Tubau 64) H-t: 0-1 Australia 2 (Desmond Abbott 38, 68) Pakistan 1 (Sohail Abbas 24) H-t: 0-1 India 3 (Sarvanjit Singh 17, Diwakar Ram 25, Shivendra Singh 66) South Africa 3 (Lloyd Norris-Jones 7, Justin ReidRoss 39, Austin Smith 47) H-t: 2-1 League table after the ninth day of the men’s field hockey World Cup yesterday (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Group A Netherlands Germany South Korea New Zealand Argentina Canada

4 4 4 4 4 4

3 2 2 2 1 0

1 2 1 0 0 0

0 0 1 2 3 4

14 14 14 6 5 4

3 7 7 7 9 24

10 8 7 6 3 0

Group B Australia England Spain India South Africa Pakistan

5 5 5 5 5 5

4 4 3 1 1 1

0 0 0 1 1 0

1 1 2 3 3 4

23 17 12 13 13 9

6 12 8 17 28 16

12 12 9 4 4 3

Australia and England advance to the semi-finals from group B. The last round of group A matches will be played on Tuesday.

Behbehani Motors names Firas Mufti as marketing manager


Index or active? A key to the best of both worlds


Kuwait, Turkey to boost investments


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NBK to raise capital, expand overseas Bank’s net profit rose 4% in 2009 By Ahmad Saeid

Weekly commodity update

Dollar weaker but only for a while By Ole Hansen Investors continue to blow hot and cold as the economic outlook remains uncertain and the sovereign debt problem is not going away. The dollar rally ran out of steam during the early parts of the week as traders decided to book some profit ahead of the monthly US employment rapport. A record large speculative short position in Euros has increased the risk of a swift short covering rally. So far the EUR 1.3740 has stopped the euro from making any further progress and dollar buyers emerged after the report assuring a relative strong close on the week. The Greek debt office finally managed to sell EUR 5 bn of 10 year bonds with the issue being heavily oversubscribed. It however came at a very high price, some two percent above Portugal and double the rate paid by Germany. With another EUR 20 bn of debt falling due in the coming week’s investors will be watching Athens commitment to fiscal tightening closely. The price of crude oil has been trading close to $80 this past week looking for the catalyst that can drive it up towards the January high at $84. Inventory levels are largely unchanged and are expected to stay that way in the coming weeks. One worrying sign was news out of China that refineries there will be scaling back crude runs in March. The cut in runs has been explained by large build in unsold stocks of products, such as heating oil and gasoline, as supply has outpaced the growth in demand. This buildup comes at a time where the stockpile of products in the Western world is already at high levels. Until inventories begin to draw properly the current range for crude oil looks set to prevail with dollar movements being the main source of inspiration. Gold moved higher this week helped by a temporary reversal of the recent dollar strength combined with news that the Russian Central Bank would be looking to divert additional reserves into the yellow metal. ETF demand has picked up recently indicating continued retail support for the market and the large overhang of speculative long positions on Comex has been reduced. The next obvious upside target is the January high at 1,162 and support can be found at 1,125 followed by 1,107. Silver has been the highflyer recently, reaching the highest level since January 22nd and once again shows that it follows gold but tend to outperform in both direction. The current range is between USD 17.05 to $17.55. The ratio (gold price / silver price) has now come down from 71 to 65.70, giving silver a 7.5 percent lead over gold during the last month. We are looking for

support on that ratio down towards 65 where we would be looking for gold to begin a new round of outperformance which overall would indicate a reversal of the recent rally on both. The tragic earthquake in Chile last weekend triggered a spike in copper prices on concerns that mines and thereby near term supply could have been affected. Chile produces one third of the global output but as the mines are located in the north of the country far away from the epicenter they turned out to be unaffected. Codelco the world’s largest copper producer estimated its output to be impacted by less than 0.5 percent of annual production. Despite the initial sell off following the spike prices have held firm and now sits 20% above the lows from a month ago. Inventories are still rising albeit at a slower pace while cancelled warrants for copper on the LME remain high, suggesting physical market activity is picking up. Short term we are looking for the metal to trade in a $329 to $350 range with economic activity indicators and the dollar being the main drivers. The price of corn has slowly continued to recover from their early April low at $359. Corn has since January been trying to recover from the 16% sell off that was seen after the WASDE report which showed an unexpected increase in production. Technically the market has still got a gap to close between $396 and $403 on the CBOT contract for May delivery. On March 10th the Crop Production report will be released and there is some speculation that the USDA will reduce the production numbers from those reported back in the January thereby lending support to prices. Several other factors seems to be supporting prices in the weeks ahead; robust ethanol demand, quality concerns, potential problems with planting delays after a cold winter and not least the historical pattern where corn tend to move higher during the spring planting season. Technically May corn is trading in an upward sloping channel between $372 and $394. We favor the upside and would be buying on dips for an eventual attempt on closing the above mentioned gap. The technical pattern for wheat looks similar but the fundamental picture favors corn so alternatively a long corn short wheat strategy can be an alternative.

KUWAIT: The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) yesterday announced a 4 percent increase in its annual net profit for 2009 from KD 255 million in 2008 to KD 265 million in 2009. The operational income of the bank rose by 2 percent to KD 518 million in 2009. The announcement came during the general assembly meeting held at its headquarters in Kuwait City yesterday. The general assembly approved a recommendation of the board of directors to distribute 40 percent of the nominal share value as cash profits in addition to 10 percent bonus shares. The assembly also approved a proposition to further raise the capital of the bank by 10 percent to KD 3,598 million. During the meeting, Vice-chairman of the bank Nasser AlSayer said that the profits made by the bank came despite tough economic circumstances. “We’ve managed to achieve an acceptable growth of 4 percent amidst an exceptional economical situation in the global markets,” said Al-Sayer, adding that the bank managed to stay in the list of safest banks in the world during the financial crisis. “We were chosen as the safest bank in the Arab world, and among the list of the biggest lenders in developing markets,” he asserted. Ibrahim Dabdoub, NBK Group Chief Executive Officer, said that the bank is the only Kuwaiti bank recording positive increase in profits for the year 2009. Dabdoub added that the bank is seeking to diversify its income sources and reduce its reliance on Kuwaiti market by spreading its activities into the region and worldwide. Dabdoub also added that the bank had been pursuing its Kuwaitization policy in 2009 and hired 460 nationals increasing the national labor percentage in the bank to 61 percent. Dabdoub also announced plans to hire 250 more Kuwaitis in the year 2010. The assembly also approved amending the 25th article of the internal chart to allow electing nine members for the board of directors, instead of eight. The assembly then voted to elect the new board of directors for 2010-2012.

KUWAIT: (From left): Nasser Al-Sayer, Vice Chairman, Ibrahim Dabdoub, Group Chief Executive Officer and Isam Al-Sager, Chief Executive Officer, NBK Kuwait at the general assembly meeting.

Kuwait’s KIPCO to launch pensions firm in Bahrain KUWAIT: Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO) said yesterday it will launch a savings and pensions company in Bahrain, which will be the first of its kind in the Middle East. KIPCO said in a statement it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Munich Re, one of the world’s leading insurers, to provide the new company with technical services and

training. “Taka’Ud Savings & Pensions will be incorporated in Bahrain and aims to launch its initial product range in selected MENA countries by the Middle of 2010,” KIPCO said in a statement. KIPCO said it believes there is a “large and unmet demand throughout the MENA region for lowrisk, long-term pension products with

secure and reasonable returns.” United Nations statistics show that the number of people aged over 65 in the region will increase to 32 million by 2030, from an estimated 10.6 million in 2000, KIPCO said. KIPCO’s vice chairman, Faisal AlAyyar, said funding retirement for a growing number of people has proven to be an “enormous challenge” even

for the richest countries in the region. Companies like Taka’Ud Savings & Pensions would “support the efforts of regional governments as they encourage working people to take more personal responsibility for their retirement funding,” Ayyar said. They would also “allow government pension schemes to focus on the needs of the less affluent segments of their

societies.” The statement did not offer any financial details about the Bahrainbased company, but it told Reuters last year it planned to sell pension products with up to $500 million in the Middle East over the next five years. KIPCO is Kuwait’s biggest investment firm. It owns stakes in 50 companies and operates in 21 countries. — Reuters

Current oil price is fair: Saudi

NEW YORK: Employees and guests of Silvercorp Metals attend the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. Silvercorp Metals Inc is a Canadian-based primary silver producer with mining operations and development projects located in China and Canada. —AP

Dubai World deal hope lifts markets, divides creditors DUBAI: Hopes of progress this week on Dubai World’s $26 billion debt restructuring lifted stocks and eased fears of default, but potential divisions emerged among creditors to the state-owned conglomerate. Dubai World could put its plan to major creditors, which include HSBC and Standard Chartered, in London this week but was being delayed by efforts to value the assets of its Nakheel unit, builder of Dubai’s palm-shaped islands, bankers said. While some of the 97 creditors want to see the option of full repayment on the table, others are willing to take a “haircut” in order to get some money back fast, bankers said. “We are not willing to take a big haircut ... in that case we would go back to the committee to see what our options are,” said one Gulf-based banker, who asked not to be named. “Full repayment should be an option, timing is less of an issue.” Dubai World shocked global markets in November, when it requested a standstill on its debt repayments. It was bailed out

the next month by neighboring Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest member of the United Arab Emirates federation, which stepped in again yesterday to rescue Dubai-listed cooling firm Tabreed. Dubai says the Dubai World plan will be fair, but Dow Jones has reported that creditors may get just 60 cents on the dollar. “There are those banks who want to have the money immediately and take a haircut and those who can wait for a longer time,” said one banker at an Asian lender which is among the creditors. “If one of the lenders doesn’t accept both options, they can go for a legal case. It’s in the interest of the bankers and the company there is some agreement.” Despite the potential divisions, hopes of progress in the talks cut the cost of insuring Dubai’s debt against default and boosted Nakheel’s 2011 bond yesterday. Dubai’s five-year credit default swaps (CDS) fell about 20 basis points to 488.7, their lowest level since Jan 28. They had risen as high as 654 basis points on Feb. 15

after a report that Dubai World was mulling a two-part deal, including one that repaid lenders 60 percent over a period of seven years. Dubai’s stock index ended up 1.7 percent yesterday. Abu Dhabi’s index hit a two month closing high. Dubai World declined to comment on the talks with banks. “No formal proposal has been made,” a person familiar with the matter said. “Dubai World is in ongoing contact with its banks as part of ongoing confidential discussions around the restructuring process.” Dubai World has ringfenced key assets from its restructuring plan including ports operator DP World, which has said it may seek a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange. A report on Sunday said DP World may offer new shares to shareholders and Dubai World could sell part of its 77 percent stake as it bids to become part of the FTSE 100 share index. The move would help boost DP World’s liquidity and raise the stock’s free float

shares to 35 percent. Bankers said the restructuring was unlikely to include proposals for a capital hike or contain any surprises. A source familiar with the matter said last month that the Nakheel bond maturing in May was unlikely to be repaid. But that could frustrate creditors expecting to get their money back after Abu Dhabi’s lastminute bailout in December allowed Dubai to repay Nakheel’s maturing bond. “It’s more of a local issue than a global issue now because the news is out, people know they want to restructure,” said a European fund manager, who used to hold Dubai World debt. “Given that they paid out on Nakheel in December, creditors will be looking for full payment on the other bonds.” Dubai’s debt crisis is still causing ripples around the region. Moody’s downgraded seven Abu Dhabi government-related entities late last week, due to the absence of an explicit, formal guarantee of government backing. —Reuters

JEDDAH: Current oil prices suit both consumers and producers of oil, Saudi Arabia’s deputy oil minister said yesterday. “Yes,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told reporters when asked if current prices were fair. Consumers and producers agreed that a price of around $70-$80 a barrel was a price high enough for those that invest in oil production capacity and low enough for those that burn the fuel, he said. King Abdullah, the ruler of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, said in December that a price around $75 was fair. Prince Abdulaziz declined to comment on the likely outcome of OPEC’s meeting on March 17, when ministers would meet to discuss oil supply policy. The 12-member group looks set to leave targets unchanged at the meeting. Members should uphold commitments to their output targets under OPEC’s agreement to curb output, Prince Abdulaziz said. “Saudi Arabia always had, still has, and will continue to have an excellent record on maintaining its commitment on the quota and it would certainly help if everybody commits to its own quota,” he said. OPEC compliance with output curbs agreed in late 2008 has steadily fallen since April last year. Compliance with curbs was just 53 percent in February, down from a record of 81 percent in April 2008. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s most influential member, has shouldered most of the 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd) cuts the group agreed in late 2008 as producers raced to match supply with recessionary demand. Other members have taken advantage of higher oil prices to pump more oil. Saudi Arabia pumped around 8.22 million bpd in February, slightly above its target of 8.05 million bpd. —Reuters



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

CGAP, D-B, Grameen-Jameel and IDB join hands

Partnership to launch ‘Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010’ DUBAI: CGAP, Deutsche Bank, Grameen-Jameel and Islamic Development Bank have joined forces to challenge the Islamic microfinance industry to develop new ideas for business models in the Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010: Innovating Sustainable, Scalable, and Market-Driven Models. Islamic microfinance has gained some traction over the past few years, with a swift rise in the number of institutions offering microfinance products in compliance with Islamic principles. But the fundamental challenge for the Islamic microfinance industry remains meeting client demand with affordable, authentic, profitable, and market-driven products. “The competition will identify innovative product and business ideas that fulfill both Islamic and good business criteria, and thus have the potential to become self-sufficient and profitable,” said Alexander Schuetz, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer for the

Middle East and North Africa region of Deutsche Bank. The winner will be awarded with $100,000 in grant funds to launch a pilot program of their proposed business, which the competition organizers will then showcase to garner further support for the program’s growth and development. While conventional microfinance institutions (MFIs) have made significant inroads in creating a more inclusive financial system for the poor, many Muslims do not accept conventional microfinance products, on account of their dissonance with Islamic law (Sharia). Islamic finance principles prohibit interest-based contracts, and emphasize risk-sharing and asset-backed transactions. The Islamic finance industry has grown rapidly over the past 40 years, with a current estimated market size of $1.5 trillion. Yet, the Islamic microfinance sector remains in its infancy, and only a limited number of Islamic microfinance pro-

grams combine self-sufficiency and substantive outreach. A 2008 CGAP study estimated that 125 financial institutions reach only 380,000 clients with Islamic microfinance. Studies suggest that a much larger number of the world’s poor Muslims could benefit directly from access to Islamic microfinance. “The need for specialized Islamic microfinance products is emerging,” remarked Julia Assaad, General Manager of GrameenJameel Pan Arab Microfinance, the first social business supporting the microfinance sector in the Arab world. “While Islamic banking has been a successful model in the banking sector, it has not proven to be scalable in the microfinance sector. It is therefore essential to develop Shariah-compliant products which better suit Islamic microfinance clients’ needs.” A 2008 report from the Islamic Development Bank, “The Role of Microfinance in Poverty Alleviation,” points out that even amongst Islamic

microfinance clients there are a broad range of needs, and a “one-size-fits-all solution” to poverty alleviation will not work. As the report notes, more creativity in developing Sharia-compliant products is critical to addressing poverty in developing countries with Muslim populations. The competition seeks to address this need by catalyzing the development of a range of Sharia-compliant products to meet the diverse needs of poor Muslims across the world. Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010 is open to the general public, with a deadline for submitting the initial application by May 3rd, 2010. An independent panel of judges, consisting of leading experts in Islamic law, microfinance, and commercial business, will consider submissions on the basis of their originality, as well as the perceived profitability, sustainability, scalability, and Sharia-compliance of the business model and its products.

Behbehani Motors names Firas Mufti as marketing manager KUWAIT: Behbehani Motors Company, the sole distributor of Volkswagen and Porsche vehicles in Kuwait, has announced the appointment of Firas Mufti as Marketing Manager. This comes as part of the development plan adopted by the company to expand its manpower due to its corporate growth. Behbehani Motors, during 2009 and the beginning of 2010 is working to boost its operations and activities in Kuwait by recruiting human resource elements of great experience in the local market. The company is also presenting distinguished offers and post-sale services to its clients. On his part, Mufti expressed his joy at joining Behbehani Motors, and promised to utilize his experience in the service of the company and the achievement of its strategic goals, namely expanding in the Kuwaiti market. Mufti will be responsible for guiding the overall strategic marketing goals, to guarantee corporate growth and expansion, and the spread of the Volkswagen brand which has seen increasing popularity in the Kuwaiti market over the past two years. Having carried out his formative studies in Kuwait and

Firas Mufti then moving to Canada for university, Mufti comes with more than seven years experience as a Marketing Manager in the local automotive market, in addition to his consultancy experience in Japan and his certification in MBA Marketing.

Behbehani Motors achieved significant milestones in 2009, including being awarded the ISO 9001:2008 certification, their “Superbrands” status and their ranking as the number one Volkswagen distributor in the Middle East with the highest percentage of sales in 2009.

SBT officials visit UAE Exchange Centre KUWAIT: UAE Exchange Centre WLL, Kuwait was recently honored by the visit of senior management delegates from State Bank of Travancore (SBT), India. Country Head of UAE Exchange Centre, Pancily Varkey, welcomed the SBT team of Jayaprakash P P (Chief Manager, NRI business) and John Joseph (Chief Manager, International Banking Division) to UAE

ACCE executives visit DIFC office DUBAI: The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) yesterday hosted a delegation from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), an association for chamber of commerce professionals in the United States and Canada. Abdulla Mohammed AlAwar, CEO of the DIFC Authority, received the delegation, which included Presidents, Chairmen and CEOs of Chambers of Commerce from across the US and Canada. DIFC officials made a presentation on DIFC and its offerings for the financial services industry, following which the delegation was led on a tour of the financial district.

Abdulla Mohammed AlAwar said: “The UAE has had a strong and enduring relationship with both the US and Canada based on mutual political, economic and financial interests. With the global economy undergoing a transformation, we have an opportunity to redefine and enhance this relationship. The visit of the ACCE delegation gave us an opportunity to discuss areas of potential new synergies in the economic domain especially in financial services and capital markets. The investments made by the Nasdaq OMX Group and the CME Group in Dubai’s capital market institutions and the presence of many leading North American financial services companies in DIFC

have already created strong linkages between our two regions. We eagerly look forward to further strengthening this relationship.” Eng Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry maintained that the Chamber is very keen on showcasing the real picture of Dubai’s economy to the visitors who will get a first-hand account of the opportunities available in the active sectors of trade, exports, logistics and financial services as well as the supporting sectors of tourism and real estate. He said, “Dubai’s economy is full of investment opportunities in many sectors and as the US investors are looking at emerging markets to

expand their business activities, Dubai provides the ideal destination for their investments due to its geographic location, world class infrastructure and competitive advantage.” The US-Dubai 2010: Executive Business Leaders Mission to Dubai is an initiative organized by Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry with the objective of boosting trade ties between Dubai and the US and to reaffirm Dubai’s position as a popular investment destination for American businesses and a gateway to the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The US-Dubai 2010: Executive Business Leaders Mission comprises of 45 top officials of major American chambers

from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) and representing hundreds and thousands of American companies. ACCE is the only national association serving the professional development needs of chamber professionals throughout the US and Canada. Representing more than 7,300 individuals, ACCE enhances the knowledge, leadership skills, and management effectiveness of chamber executives and their staff through education, benefits programs, trend analysis, benchmarking, and network development. ACCE promotes the highest standards of professional excellence and integrity within the chamber profession.

Exchange. During deliberations with the senior management team of SBT, Varkey addressed concerns and exchanged ideas of mutual interest. The Country Head explained to the visiting delegates various features of the company’s speed remittance facility with SBT, including same-day crediting for customers sending money to Bank accounts as well as notifying

senders through SMS to their mobile numbers. During the visit, the SBT officials gave a brief outline of various Bank schemes launched for NRIs including SBT-Swagatham, an important scheme whereby SBT arranges loan to Non-resident Keralites who return to India, on final transfer, after canceling their foreign residence visa.

Oman’s Al-Khalili IPO on hold due to market concerns MUSCAT: Oman’s Al Khalili Group, a familyowned industrial company, has stalled plans for an initial public offering due to weak market conditions, the lead manager for the issue said yesterday. “The Al Khalili Group IPO is on hold because the market is not receptive to new issues just yet,” said Deputy General Manager Loay Bataineh of Oman Arab Bank, the lead manager of the issue. In Januray, Bataineh told Reuters that the group was planning to sell 40 percent of its paid up capital or about 60 million shares in the open market through a public offering. An official for Al-Khalili Group who spoke in the condition of anonymity said prices of most listed companies

now trade below their actual values which could prevent the company from getting the right price for the issue. “We will not get a fair price now because most of the blue chip companies are trading below their worth,” he told Reuters. Al Khalili’s decision could impact the outlook for other IPO hopefuls in the region, such as Hasan Juma Backer Trading and Contracting, Al Argan Towell Investment Company, Oman Merchant Bank and Barr Al Jissah Resort. Other potential offering on hold is telecom operator Nawras Telecommunications, Qatar Telecom’s local unit, but the Omani bourse chief Yahya AlJabri said last month he expected the issue to come out soon. — Reuters

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

.2830000 .4340000 .391000 .2660000 .2780000 .2600000 .0045000 .0020000 .0782480 .7623490 .4020000 .0750000 .7473510 .0045000 .0500000

.2930000 .4430000 .3980000 .2740000 .2860000 .2670000 .0075000 .0035000 .0790350 .7700110 .4180000 .0790000 .7548620 .0072000 .0580000

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

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2875500 .4361630 .3934670 .2687840 .2800140 .0528700 .0406090 .2620290 .0370440 .2054360 .0031810 .0063540 .0025220 .0034030 .0042130 .0783270 .7631160 .4066730 .0767190 .7472550 .0062850

.2896500 .4392440 .3962460 .2706870 .2819970 .0532440 .0408970 .2638790 .0373060 .2068910 .0032030 .0063990 .0025400 .0034270 .0042430 .0788270 .7679820 .4095540 .0772080 .7520200 .0063290

US Dollar Sterling pounds Swiss Francs Saudi Riyals

TRANSFER CHEQUES RATES .2896500 .4392440 .2706870 .0772080

280.620 188.540 270.130 261.200 287.000 ASIAN COUNTRIES

Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal - Transfer Irani Riyal - Cash

3.259 6.294 3.407 2.522 3.949 206.700 37.230 4.172 6.273 8.856 0.301 0.292 ARAB COUNTRIES

Egyptian Pound - Cash Egyptian Pound Yemen Riyal Tunisian Dinar Jordanian Dinar Lebanese Lira Syrian Lier Morocco Dirham

56.500 52.710 1.363 208.740 408.200 193.900 6.312 35.670 GCC COUNTRIES

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

77.081 79.412 750.900 767.640 78.720 GOLD

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

221.000 113.500 59.000

Bahrain Exchange Company

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer Euro Sterling Pound

Canadian dollar Turkish lire Swiss Franc Australian dollar US Dollar Buying

288.900 395.100 435.230

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

SELL CASH SELL DRAFT 266.400 264.900 767.990 767.990 4.410 4.170 284.700 283.200 567.100 15.800 54.100 167.800 208.100 56.240 52.692 398.800 397.300

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

37.880 6.500 0.035 0.296 0.261 3.290 409.940 0.195 88.400 47.400 4.260 206.100 2.183 50.300 750.170 3.550 6.440 79.870 77.110 208.060 41.350 2.774 442.000 41.500 274.200 6.400 9.180 217.900 78.800 289.200 1.390

37.730 6.345

408.210 0.194 88.040 3.990 204.600

272.700 8.040 78.800 288.800


Sterling Pound US Dollar

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Rate per 1000 (Tran)

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

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 440.000 288.800

289.050 3.425 6.335 2.530 4.180 6.310 78.760 77.250 768.000 52.695 442.800 0.0000314 3.930 1.550 410.300 5.750 399.200 287.600

Al Mulla Exchange Currency

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

2.520 4.180 6.270 3.240 8.770 5.568 3.922

Currency 749.990 3.420 6.285 79.440 77.110 208.060 41.350 2.525 440.000

GOLD 10 Tola

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

289.050 278.515 443.415 400.625 268.420 708.480 766.505 78.675 79.305 77.110 407.980 52.725 6.260 3.405

US Dollar Euro Pound Sterling Canadian Dollar Japanese Yen Indian Rupee Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupee Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso Pakistan Rupee Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Saudi Riyal

*Rates are subject to change

Transfer rate 288.600 397.650 440.350 282.050 3.206 6.355 52.650 2.525 4.170 6.285 3.412 767.680 78.675 77.010


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Index or active? - A key to the best of both worlds By Robert Broadwell Building wealth is a dynamic process. In order to maintain flexibility while achieving investment goals that are in line with one’s risk tolerance and investment time horizon, one must construct a portfolio that is adaptable to meet those needs. A core/satellite investment approach can offer this flexibility in structuring a portfolio to meet longterm goals while creating the ability to seize short-term opportunities. Core/satellite investing is a method of portfolio construction designed to minimize costs and volatility while providing an opportunity to outperform benchmarks. Many different types of investors use core/satellite strategies, including pension fund managers, wealth managers, asset managers and private investors. This approach is simply based on the concept of splitting a portfolio into two segments, the largest segment being composed of the core. This forms the foundation of the portfolio around which the more specialized satellite investments can be added. The exact percentage of allocation to the core is typically based on an investor’s risk tolerance for under or over-performing a benchmark, or “the market.” The core usually takes the form of index tracking investment products that are benchmarked to major market indexes, such as the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index (S&P

500). Implementation of core investments is typically done via an index tracking fund, such as an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). ETFs are index funds that trade like any listed security on major stock exchanges and like common stocks, they are subject to investment risk and fluctuation in market value. The key benefits of ETFs are that they offer low cost, diversified and transparent exposure to equity, fixed income and commodity indices - as simple as trading a stock. The goal of an ETF is to deliver a return in line with the total return index that the fund aims to track - this is referred to as ‘beta’ or ‘passive’ return. Second, you have the satellites. These are typically more specialized investments which the investor believes will deliver returns beyond index benchmarks - known as ‘alpha’ or ‘active’ returns. This can be achieved through exposure to specific markets and typically include investments with higher risk / volatility than are found in the index tracking core. Satellite investments can include specialty investment funds that tend to have higher fees than index funds. The satellites give the investor the opportunity to pursue independent or market-driven investment ideas. Once the core element has been established, you can use the satellite vehicles to take advantage of shorter-term opportunities. So how would this approach work in practice? Let me illustrate how this

approach can be used in order to build more effective portfolios to meet investment objectives. Let’s say that a local GCC investor is US Dollar benchmarked and has employed an investment manager that specializes in GCC listed equity/bonds and physical property. The investor’s goal is to increase diversification through exposure to other markets than the GCC, but the investment manager doesn’t have the time or the resources to follow single stocks outside the GCC. The following example shows how this can be achieved. The manger decides to liquidate 20% of the investor’s portfolio across

Commercial Bank announces names of Al-Najma Account draw winners KUWAIT: Commercial Bank of Kuwait held the Al Najma Account draw on 7th March 2010 . The draw was held under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry represented by Mr. Suhail Makki. Commercial Bank of Kuwait was represented at the draws by staff members of Retail Banking Division, Technical Support Division, IT Security, and Advertising & Public Relations Department in addition to a large crowd of customers.

The winners of the Al Najma draw are:No Names KD 1 Mohammed Qasim AbdulHameed 100000 2 Kurian Thomas Kuttipurathu Abraham 1000 3 Saif Omar Magdi Alazer 1000 4 Sami Abdullah Qambar Qassem 1000 5 Yousef Abdullah Mohamad Al Baidan 1000 6 Hejab Thalj Al Hassan 1000 7 Laila Murad Haji Ashkanani 1000 8 Yasmeen Fawzi Yousuf Al Nafisi 1000 9 AbdulMonem Omar Khalil Al Farra 1000 10 Mohamed Rafiq Shafi Mohamed 1000 11 Suliman Abead Jadlan Al Dhaferi 1000 12 Ibrahim Ahmad Mohamad Ibrahim 1000 13 Abdul Rahman Sultan Al Salem 1000 14 Kishor Karo Vagheln 1000 15 Yauqob Naser Yousif Alabduljaleel 1000 16 Hassan Abdulazeez Mirza Shaban 1000 17 Hakimuddin Bakir Ali 1000 18 Shrefah Mohamed Jaber Al Khashem 1000 19 Abdulaziz Mansour Abdulla Al Mihaini 1000 20 Jaber Mohamed Bakhit Al Marri 1000 21 Haitham Abdulkarim Yaqoub Abogaith 1000 22 Yessary Abdalhamed Kishtta 500 23 Nwaf Yousef Yaaqob Al Yatama 500 24 Adel Jawdat Felipes 500 25 Ali Mohammed Al Salim 500 26 Basem Kamel Aajel 500 27 Anwar Naser Abdulla Al Rabah 500 28 Yauqob Naser Yousif Alabduljaleel 500 29 Xianntcheng Shin 500 30 Saied Sulaiman Al Adasani 500 31 Abeer Majed Sulaiman Abdulaziz 500 32 Saber Jummah Al Khalil 500 33 Subhia Hassan Al Bahrani 500 34 Hassan Ali Hussain Al Bloushi 500 35 Hassan Mohamad Al Sayed Alweesh 500 36 Abdulaziz Abdullatif Khalaf Al Failakawi 500 37 Atallah Hassan Al Hraki 500 38 Barrak Ahmed Rajab Saleh 500 39 Ali Hussain Mohamad Rafee Rafeie 500 40 Sabeha Ali Kazem Abdulla 500 41 Naheed Akhtar Mohammad Afdal 500 42 Fakhruddin Soyabahal Mandeiwala 500 43 Amal Mnadi Mutlaq Al Nemran 500 44 Abdulaziz Fahad Omar Al Serri 500 45 Tawfiq Yacoub Yousif Al Fareeh 500 46 Shaikh Khaled Mahmoud Sadeq 500 47 Ibrahim Nouraldeen Al Hariri 500 48 Reyad Saddam Mohamad Al Shemeri 500 49 Jamal Mahmoud Faraj Ahmad 500 50 Ali Hussain Ahmad Al Shamali 500 51 Sulaiman Abdulla Hayef Al Harbi 500 52 Mohamad Yousef Assaf 500 53 Moodhi Moubarak Naseer Al Azmi 500 54 Eman Faisal Ali Abel 500 55 Zaied Meshary Saleh Sheri 500 56 Aminikkat Vallikutty Subramannian 500 57 Mohammad Zuhair Al Deen Mohamed Basher Alden 500 58 Mohamed Saqer Mohamed Al Hajry 500 59 Zaeila Abdulla Abdulmehsen Al Hasham 500 60 Essam Hammad Abdelrahim Abozied 500 61 Faisl Mohamad Khalil Budair 500 62 Zeyad Abdullah Ramazan Al Kandri 500 63 Shaikha Maha Jaber Fahad Al Sabah 500 64 Ali Hussain Ramthan Jommah 500 65 Bakkhan Zarkhan 500 66 Hsam Ahmed Gasem 500 67 Khaled Abdul Lateef Jumaa Ahmad 500 68 Naheed Sohail Mohamad Sohail Qaiser 500 69 Emad Faisal Mohamad Al Anizi 500 70 Hassan Salah Al Sadeq 500 71 Saad Mutar Abbas Al Dheferi 500 72 Sameer Bader Yousef Al Essa 500 73 Wassim Khaled Abdulrahman Dahood 500 74 Helal Mohamad Slaiman Ahmed 500 75 Reema Burhan Aldin Mofleh Qadous 500 76 Jasont Lal Kalal 500 77 Abdulla Yaqoot Saleh Al Awad 500 78 Fadel Mandani Abdulla Akbar 500 79 Faisal Abdul Aziz Mohamad Ishaq 500 80 Salah Ali Hassan Ali 500 81 Galdson Mario Lazarinuo Gomes 500 Commercial Bank of Kuwait takes this opportunity to congratulate all lucky winners and also extends appreciation to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for their effective supervision of the draws which were conducted in an orderly and organized manner.

each of the following asset classes (in equal proportions): cash, private equity, GCC equity and physical property. The manager doesn’t have the time or the resources to track individual stocks outside the local market so he decides to use the liquidated cash to construct a new, non-GCC allocation via a core/satellite strategy. From the new allocation the manager will invest 70% into core and 30% in satellite. For example, the core allocation could be split up between developed and emerging market (excluding GCC) equity and bonds

ETFs. The satellite allocation will be equally divided between actively managed developed market equity funds with a history of producing market outperformance. The manager would also use a parallel fund that invests in an actively managed emerging markets fund. The primary and underlying strength of a core/satellite investment structure is how modular its construction is. One can easily tweak specific positions within the portfolio to match a specific risk profile or investment time horizon. The result is a cost-effective

core to track “the market” (beta) while allowing for potential market outperformance in the active satellite investments. Active managers can and do provide outperformance, but the question that investors must ask themselves is how consistent that outperformance is, and if the investor is comfortable with the increased risk that long-only active mangers need to take to achieve that alpha. A core/satellite approach enables portfolio managers to set and control risk targets for the different investments made. The decision on the mix of assets across both core and satellite may prove to be the most challenging part of the process, and is another critical part of the asset allocation process. A core/satellite strategy will encourage the consideration of a broad range of possible investment vehicles and products. Investors typically use index tracking funds, actively managed vehicles, hedge funds, direct holdings of stocks/bonds, across various asset classes in which the strategy can be executed. Among these options, broad based ETFs have enjoyed widespread acceptance as a way to implement the core index allocation. Sector and thematic ETFs are commonly finding homes as satellite holdings. Examples here include biotech, technology and emerging market infrastructure indices. —Robert Broadwell, Vice-President, iShares

New airport in Madina, commercial park near Jeddah airport

Saudi announces airport projects worth $4.5bn JEDDAH: Top OPEC oil exporter Saudi Arabia is planning to launch tenders worth more than 17 billion riyals ($4.5 billion) this year to modernize two airports in the Gulf Arab state, an official said. Traffic at Saudi airports has reached 30 million passengers annually and is expected to double to 60 million For this year alone, GACA wants to launch tenders to build a new airport in the holy Muslim city of Medina and a commercial center near Jeddah airport. The new Medina airport, estimated to cost between 7 billion riyals and 8 billion riyals, will increase traffic capacity to eight million passengers a year from three million. “We plan to offer a 25-year build, operate and transfer (BOT) contract for the development of a new airport in Medina,” Samman told Reuters. The tender will be launched in May with bids accepted until October and contracts to be awarded by December. In the Red Sea port Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s commercial hub, authorities want to build an “airport city” that will include hotels, office buildings, housing units, malls and even a flight academy, Samman said. Jeddah airport, which is a gateway for millions of Muslim pilgrims to the holy cities of Makkah and Madina, receives 18 million passengers a year and expects to see an increase of up to 30 million by 2013, Samman said. “We have offered two large pieces of land, one is one square kilometer and the other is 1.4 square kilometers, to Saudi and foreign investors for the development of the airport city,” Samman said. Development would cost around 10 billion riyals. Four prequalified consortia including Australia’s Land Lease Corp, Saudi’s Saudi Oger and Saudi Real Estate Co (Akaria), as well as US developer Hines, are expected to submit bids before the end of May. — Reuters

over the next 10 years, said Alaa Samman, director of business development at the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA). In order to cater for this growth, the government wants to launch projects costing at least 55 billion riyals to overhaul airports to be completed over the next 20 years, he added.

More SIA routes to feature new cabin offerings Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A330300 aircraft, featuring the Airline’s latest product and service offerings, will soon operate on selected routes serving the Middle East, West Asia and North Asia. From 28 March 2010, the Airline will commence A330-300 four-times weekly services between Kuwait and Singapore via Abu Dhabi. The services will replace the Airline’s Boeing 777 operations on the route. A330300 aircraft will also be progressively deployed on other regional and medium-haul routes later this year as part of Singapore Airlines’ ongoing product enhancement efforts. The Airline currently oper-

ates A330-300 services to and from three Australian cities, namely Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth, and two Japanese cities, namely Nagoya and Osaka. The Singapore Airlines A330300 is configured in a two-class layout with 30 Business Class and 255 Economy Class seats. The Business Class cabin is laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration featuring a new seat specially designed for regional and medium-haul routes. The seat converts to an incline lie-flat bed and offers enhanced levels of comfort, privacy and functionality. The Economy Class cabin is laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration. Featured are the new-generation Singapore Airlines Economy

Class seats, currently also available on the Airline’s Airbus A380 and B777-300ER aircraft. They are ergonomically designed to provide customers an unsurpassed level of comfort, with more personal space and increased legroom. All seats feature the new KrisWorld, Singapore Airlines’ award-winning inflight entertainment system, and in a world first, iPod and iPhone connectivity in every seat, including Economy Class. “With the deployment of A330-300 aircraft to Kuwait, our customers will now enjoy better and improved products - namely our seats and inflight entertainment system. The genuine

leather Business Class seats exude luxury and comfort. While the 2-2-2 seat configuration removes the middle-seat perception, which enhances privacy in the Business Class cabin. In Economy Class, our customers will welcome the additional legroom and a choice of more than 1000-on demand inflight entertainment options. We are excited and look forward to introducing this enhanced product to our customers in Kuwait”, said Mr Chew Yun Meng, Singapore Airlines General Manager Kuwait. Singapore Airlines currently has nine A330-300s, with another 10 due to be delivered by the end of this year.

Toyota genuine spare-parts draw announces the winner KUWAIT: Mohamad Naser Al-Sayer & Sons Automotive Co held the second grand draw of its promotion campaign on the 7th of March 2010. Al-Sayer continues to run the electronic raffle draw to ensure that all of Al-Sayer’s customers have an equal and fair chance in the draw. The event was attended by a representative from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and from Al-Sayer MNSS Mohamed Ali Hilal (General ManagerParts). The promotion carried on from December 5, 2009 to Feb 28, 2010 on all Toyota genuine spare parts by entitling all customers to a coupon to enter the draw on exciting prizes for every KD5 spent on Toyota genuine spare parts at any AlSayer parts showrooms or Toyota service centers. The winner of the grand prize silver Yaris 2010 is Faleh Salem coupon number ( 63991 ). Mohamad Naser Al-Sayer &

Sons congratulates all winners and thanks all customers for their wise choice of

Toyota genuine spare parts and their trust in Toyota service centers.


BUSINESS NBK hosts Turkish trade delegation

Kuwait, Turkey discuss ways to boost investment opportunities By Ahmad Saeid KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) hosted yesterday a Turkish trade delegation meeting with local business owners to encourage investment and cooperation between the two countries. The meeting was held in Sheraton Hotel in Kuwait City and was attended by the CEO of NBK group Ibrahim Dabdoub and the head of Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT) Alpaslan Korkomaz. During the meeting, Shaikha Al-Bahar, Deputy CEO of NBK Kuwait, said in her opening speech that the initiative and decision for the gathering was taken by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and Turkish President Abdullah Gul during his visit to Kuwait in December 2009. Al-Bahar noted that Kuwait’s ambitious development plans offer great investment opportunities for Turkish companies to benefit from. “There’s also a growing interest in investment in Turkey from Kuwait and other Gulf countries,” she added. The head of ISPAT Alpaslan Korkomaz said that Turkey is a very active investment environment due to its strategic location, and the special relations it has with numerous regions. “Are we Europeans, are we Middle Eastern, are we Asian, we are all of these and we have the capacity to connect these regions, so that everyone can benefit,” he said. Korkomaz said that Turkey is currently doing all that it can to make investing in the country easier, whether for local or foreign investors. “My direct boss is Rejab Tayyep Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey, and my agency exists to find and eliminate any obstacle standing in the way of investing,” he explained. The visiting delegation was also briefed about the economic and business environment of Kuwait, the currently undergoing government projects, and the main areas of interest for foreign investors in the government’s development plan. The Turkish delegation consists of representatives of major Turkish companies from various sectors, it will take part in a number of business activities and seminars in Kuwait during its twoday visit to the country. They will hold meetings with officials from various ministries and government bodies concerned with foreign investment.

Head of ISPAT Alpaslan Korkomaz delivering his speech

The attending Kuwaiti and Turkish businessmen at the symposium. —Photo by Ahmad Saeid

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Emaar, debt hopes lift Dubai; markets mixed DUBAI: Emaar Properties surged to a seven-week high yesterday after its Indian joint venture received approval to launch an initial public offering, helping Dubai’s index extend gains. Hopes Dubai World will soon unveil a $26 billion debt restructuring gave another boost to UAE markets, but Middle East markets were mixed as investors cashed in Sunday’s gains. Emaar rose 5.4 percent to its highest finish since Jan 20. “Investors believe it’s cheaper to buy Emaar through its Dubai listing than through the IPO,” said Robert McKinnon, ASAS Capital chief investment officer. Although details are sketchy, investors are betting they will benefit from an IPO windfall, McKinnon said. “There’s now a real investment play and we might see a rally for a little bit longer, barring any substantial negative news hitting the market,” added McKinnon. Dubai’s index rose 1.7 percent to a four-week high, while Abu Dhabi hit a two-month peak as banks surged on bets Dubai World’s debt deal would not be as harsh on creditors as feared. National Bank of Abu Dhabi climbed 4.5 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rose 4.7 percent. “There is a speculative move that Dubai World restructuring will be resolved this time,” said

Ahmed Hamdi, senior relationship manager at Prime Emirates. “The bad news is already priced in and I can feel more optimism when I talk to clients. At the end of last year, there was a sell-off in the market and at some point this cash has to come back in again and that could be happening now.” The cost of insuring Dubai’s debt against default fell and Dubai World subsidiary Nakheel’s 2011 bond rose yesterday, while Dubai World may put its debt plan to creditors this week, bankers told Reuters. Egypt’s Orascom Telecom fell 1.7 percent after it said it had lost an appeal against an Algeria tax bill. “Investors were hoping the money from the rights issue would be put elsewhere,” said Sara Shadid from CI Capital. Saudi Arabia’s index ended lower for a first session in five, easing from Sunday’s 19-week high. Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) hit a 16month high, rising 0.3 percent as oil prices extended gains. “When oil prices improve, investors tend to buy petrochemical stocks rising oil demand should translate into rising demand for petrochemical products,” said Asim Bukhtiar, senior investment analyst at Riyadh Capital. National Bank of Kuwait fell 1.7 percent after its board approved a 10 percent capital hike in a

move that will be dilutive to existing shareholders. Qatar Telecommunications Co (Qtel) dropped 3.1 percent after the firm recommended a reduced dividend as fourth-quarter profit fell. Oman’s index fell for a third session in four as investors sold up to reinvest in high dividend yield stocks. “We’re very much affected by Dubai,” said Adel Nasr, United Securities brokerage manager. “If an agreement is reached about Dubai World I believe the Oman market will strongly rebound.” HIGHLIGHTS DUBAI The index rose 1.7 percent to 1,649 points. EGYPT The index fell 0.5 percent to 6,774 points. SAUDI ARABIA The measure slipped 0.1 percent to 6,554 points. KUWAIT The measure fell 0.4 percent to 7,386 points. ABU DHABI The benchmark rose 1 percent to 2,774 points. QATAR The index climbed 1.9 percent to 6,855 points. OMAN The benchmark fell 0.1 percent to 6,673 points. BAHRAIN The index fell 0.1 percent to 1,504 points. —Reuters


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Gulf markets advance on positive sentiments KUWAIT: Despite the drop among the world’s oil prices and earnings of numerous companies falling below expectations, all seven equity markets in the GCC region ended the month on a positive note on the back of further companies’ earnings and dividend announcements and positive investor sentiment throughout the month. Led by the gains registered by the market heavyweight Services sector, Kuwait Stock Exchange, which is represented through KAMCO TRW Index, gained 9.57% thus ending the month as the best performing market in the GCC region. Out of the total 626 listed stocks in the seven GCC equity markets, 358 companies announced their FY-09 earnings by the end of February. Excluding the financial results announced by Kingdom Holding Co. which incurred massive

A report prepared by KAMCO Research that analyzes the performance of the 7 GCC equity markets during the month of February 2010 in addition to assessing the latest key economic and market developments and their effect on the performance of each stock market. note with all seven markets ending in green, led KSE - KAMCO TRW Index, the QE 20 Index, and Tadawul All Share Index which recorded monthly gains of 9.57%, 4.79%, and 2.96% respectively. The GCC markets are expected to be in line for a catch-up during 2010, once the shock of Dubai’s debt restructuring abates. Most GCC economies are expected to recover

down 18.11% from last year’s aggregate profit of $40.14 billion. Saudi Stock Exchange (TADAWUL) In Saudi Arabia, Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) maintained its previous month upward trend to gain 2.96% and close at 6,437.50, thereby ending as the third best performer amongst its GCC peers. The rise can be mainly

KAMCO Research

losses of SAR 30 billion in FY-08, the aggregate profit for the seven markets totaled $32.87 billion, down by 18.11% from last year’s aggregate profit of $40.14 billion. Dubai Financial Market witnessed the largest hit in its 2009 earnings as it registered a 47.49% drop from its FY-08 earnings as uncertainties regarding state-owned Dubai World’s restructuring plans continue to hinder the market’s overall performance. Nonetheless, despite rising non-performing loans in addition to the booking of additional provisions by banks, renewed investor optimism over the performance of GCC banks and companies alike prevailed throughout the month. As investors believe that markets’ performance is bound to improve in 2010 as the worst of the financial crisis is over and its impact has already been factored in FY-09 results. Consequently, GCC Equity Markets ended the second month of the year 2010 on a positive

during 2010, after the global financial crisis froze credit in the world’s top oil producing region last year, with Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s expectations to outperform their neighbors while the UAE is seen lagging due to its debt and leverage concerns. Despite that, risks from rising defaults and non-performing loans is still present and is expected to hamper on the profitability of the banking sector during 2010. FY-09 corporate earnings announced so far have shown weak financial performance, mainly driven by provisions charged against credit losses and impairment in the value of investments due to the deterioration in financial asset and property prices. Excluding the Kingdom Holding Co results which incurred massive losses of SAR 30 billion in FY-08, the combined FY-09 net profit for 358 companies out of the 626 companies listed on the GCC equity markets reached $32.87 billion,

attributed to the gains recorded on the market heavyweight Banking sector, which witnessed its market cap increase 3.45% over renewed investor optimism that the performance of local banks is set to improve in 2010 despite rising non performing loans coupled with the booking of additional provisions by banks in 2009 which amounted to SAR 11.4 billion. Market heavyweight Petrochemical sector, on the other hand, witnessed its total market cap rise 3.00% amid renewed investor confidence that the recovery in global economies coupled with demand from China would underpin a profit recovery in 2010. Total market capitalization at the end of Feb-10 reached SAR 1.27 trillion, up 2.4% as compared to the previous month. Gains recorded during the month enabled the TASI YTD-10 gains to rise to 5.16% and thereby end as the second best performer in the GCC region.

ing week the ADX General Index declined by 2.28% as weak earnings from the Real Estate sector and rising speculation that Dubai World’s property arm Nakheel’s $980 million Sukuk maturing on May 13th are unlikely to be repaid weighed down on the market’s performance. Nonetheless, the Index ended the month on a positive note after registering a 2.67% gain.

GCC equity markets

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange In Abu Dhabi, led by the healthy gains recorded on the market heavyweight Telecommunication Sector, the ADX General Index gained 70.19 points or 2.67% during February to close at 2,703.56 points. However, the progress of the ADX General Index was hampered by the losses incurred in the Real Estate Sector. Thereby, the ADX ended the month as the fifth best performing market amongst its peers in the GCC region. The market witnessed low volatility accompanied by falling volume and value traded during the month. The ADX General Index witnessed a positive performance during the first three weeks of trading, gaining 5.06%, on the back of healthy earning announcements and the positive news regarding Emirates Telecom planned expansion across the MENA region. However, during the last trad-

Qatar Exchange Following along, driven by investor’s buying activities ahead of companies’ earnings and dividend announcements, the QE 20 Index ended the month on a positive note after adding 314.37 points and closing at 6,872.82 points, representing a 4.79% gain from January’s close. Despite the drop witnessed in the world’s average oil prices during the second trading week of the month and numerous companies’ earnings falling below expectations, investor sentiment remained upbeat throughout the month. Of the total 20 trading sessions during the month, 15 closed out on a positive note with the remaining ending on a negative note. Accordingly, total market capitalization for the month rose 4.20% to reach QAR 382.7 billion ($105.1 billion) in comparison to Jan-10 market cap of QAR 367.3 billion ($100.9 billion).

Muscat Securities Market In Oman, the MSM 30 Index continued to gain for the second consecutive month as it added 2.41% supported by better than estimated earnings for the aggregate market which increased 3.7% to OMR 402 million in FY-09. This came alongside economic data that showed that the Sultanate had booked a budget deficit of OMR 22.1 million ($57.4 million) in 2009, which was less than prior estimates of a deficit totaling OMR 810 million. Total market capitalization rose by OMR 150 million ($392 million) to end the month at around OMR 6.55 billion ($17.01 billion), adding 2.36% at the end of February where market heavyweight Banking & Investment sector, added 2.01% to its market cap to reach a total value of OMR 3.26 billion ($8.46 billion).

Bank of Sharjah targets 550m dirhams net profit in 2010

NEW YORK: An AIG office building is shown in New York. American International Group will sell its overseas life and health insurance unit for $15.5 billion to MetLife Inc, the insurer said yesterday. —AP sell a cornerstone of its business, Asia-based life insurer AIA Group, to Britain’s Prudential PLC in a government-approved $35.5 billion deal. AIG and MetLife are based in New York. AIG shares rose 10 cents to $28.18 in premarket trading. —AP

Libya vows equal treatment for foreign oil companies TRIPOLI: All international energy firms will be given equal opportunities to work in Libya, the country’s top oil official said yesterday after US firms were caught up in a row between Washington and Tripoli. “We are going to give a chance to every international oil company, whether they are from East or West,” Shokri Ghanem, head of the state-run National Oil Corporation, said at an energy conference. “There is no difference between companies.” Libya is demanding that Washington apologise after a US official made caustic comments about Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Last week

Dubai Financial Market In Dubai, the lack of transparency regarding the scale and scope of the debt restructuring plans and the intended course of action by Dubai World (DW) and its lenders contributed to the negative market sentiment this month hindering the index performance as Dubai Financial Market ended the month with a minimal gain of 0.18% to close the month at 1,592.91 points. The lack of information about Dubai’s debt issue, rumors about a settlement deal where DW only pays 60% of its loans to lenders and a weaker earnings season weighed down on the market performance during the month. During 2009, Dubai’s consumer prices fell sharply as the collapse in the housing market and falling food costs led the Emirate to witness its lowest inflation rate in five years. According to the Dubai Statistics Centre, Dubai’s inflation rate stood at 4.1% in 2009 as compared with 11.3% in 2008. The Dubai Statistical Centre also released data that confirms that Dubai’s government sector con-

tributed significantly to GDP growth in the third quarter of 2009. While real GDP contracted by 4.1% during the same quarter as compared with the comparable period in 2008, the government sector rose by 11.4% during the period. In terms of Dubai’s budget, the Government of Dubai has started to cut its spending in an effort to swing its budget deficit to a surplus by 2011.

UAE’s Bank Sharjah, BNP eyeing private banking JV

AIG sells Alico unit to MetLife for $15.5bn NEW YORK: American International Group will sell its overseas life and health insurance unit for $15.5 billion to MetLife Inc, the insurer said yesterday, as it attempts to repay billions in government aid. In the deal announced yesterday, MetLife will pay $6.8 billion in cash, and the rest in stock and equity units. The cash portion of the sale will be used to reduce a $47.9 billion investment in AIG by Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “With this sale of Alico, along with the sale of AIA to Prudential PLC announced last week, we are on track to generate approximately $50.7 billion from these two transactions alone, consisting of approximately $31.5 billion in cash to repay the FRBNY, plus another approximately $19.2 billion in securities that we will sell over time to repay the government,” said AIG Chairman Harvey Golub. “Both sales give AIG greater flexibility to move forward with our restructuring and rebuilding efforts.” AIG owes the government almost $130 billion in bailout funds, including $47.3 billion owed to the US Treasury and $34.5 billion in assistance tied to the value of investments the New York Fed bought to prop up AIG. The deal will give MetLife a larger presence in Japan as well as high-growth markets in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Alico, which operates in more than 50 countries, is the second international unit AIG has sold this month. On March 1, AIG said it would

Kuwait Stock Exchange In Kuwait, the KAMCO TRW Index bucked its previous five month downward trend to gain 9.57% to end at its highest monthly close since Sep09 at 2,684.52 points. Parliament approval of a KD 30 billion four year economic development plan coupled with the CBK discount rate cut boosted investor sentiments during the month. Also, market heavyweight ZAIN’s announcement that it has received an offer for its African operations, excluding Morocco and Sudan, for $10.7 billion from India’s largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel added to the positive sentiments during the month. As a result, ZAIN, which dominated the course of trade on the KSE since Sep-09, witnessed its share price surge 40.7% to close at KD 1.280. Total market capitalization, during the month, surged 13.22% to KD 33.42 billion ($116.7 billion). Gains recorded during the month witnessed the KSE end as the best performing market in the GCC region.

Bahrain Stock Exchange In Bahrain, the BSE All share Index maintained its previous month upward trend and rose by 2.69% to close the month of February at 1,518.06 points. This gain can be attributed to the better than expected earnings announcements by a majority of the listed banks coupled with the proposed new regulations brought forward by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), which aim to tighten banks’ credit and assets exposures. Gains recorded during the month enabled the BSE All Share Index YTD-10 gain to stand at 4.10%, hence enabling the Bahrain Stock Exchange to end as the fourth best performing market since the beginning of the year among its peers in the GCC region.

Ghanem summoned the local heads of US energy firms to convey Tripoli’s anger. US energy companies including Exxon Mobil, Occidental and Hess have invested heavily in Libya, home to Africa’s largest proven oil reserves, since the country emerged from decades of international isolation. Ghanem, who was speaking yesterday at the Oil and Gas Libya conference in Tripoli, made no specific mention of the dispute with Washington. The Libyan energy chief, underlining comments he made a week ago, said he expected the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting

Countries to leave its oil output targets unchanged when it meets in Vienna on March 17. He said OPEC still did not have a clear enough picture of the world economic outlook to be able to change its targets. “Do not expect any decision on decreasing or increasing (production) at the OPEC meeting next week,” Ghanem told the conference. Libya’s spat with Washington centers on a speech Gaddafi made last month calling for a “jihad” against Switzerland. The term is often translated as “armed struggle”, but a Libyan official has since said Gaddafi meant only an economic boycott. —Reuters

SHARJAH: The UAE’s Bank of Sharjah plans to join forces with France’s in the final stages of setting up a joint venture with possibly a 50-50 ownership biggest lender BNP Paribas to tap the fast-growing Middle-Eastern market for structure to cover the Middle-Eastern private banking market, Bank of the very rich, the company’s general manager said yesterday. The two banks are Sharjah’s executive director and general manager told Reuters in an interview. The number of high net worth individuals, usually those with investable assets of around $1 million, in the oil-rich Gulf region is expected to grow about 6 percent between 2008 and 2013, despite a recent drop as a result of the financial crisis. “To tap the potential of the region (Middle East) you need the local know-how and in order to be credential you need the expertise of a solid bank like BNP Paribas,” said Varouj Nerguizian at the bank’s headquarters in Sharjah. “The idea is to serve wealthier high net worth customers directly from the Gulf ... we have access to money that they (BNP) cannot have ... it’s easier for us because we are a local bank and we know the people better,” Nerguizian said. The BNP Paribas deal would become the latest example of a local bank teaming up with a European counterpart. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank earlier in March announced a private banking partnership with Schroder & Co Bank AG, a subsidiary of Schroders PLC, one of the world’s biggest asset managers. Middle Eastern banks in recent years have slowly started to develop their private banking franchise in a market that is dominated by foreign players such as Citigroup. TOKYO: Japan’s auto giant Toyota Motor president Akio Toyoda is surrounded by reporters Bank of Sharjah, a mostly UAE-focused corporate after he met with Masayuki Naoshima, Minister of International Trade and Economy, lender with a market value of $1.1 billion, was an affiliate of BNP Paribas until 2002 when the Paris-based lender Toyota’s former labor union leader at Naoshima’s office in Tokyo yesterday. —AP sold its stake. Bank of Sharjah acquired BNP’s Lebanese assets in 2008 and also owns 81 percent of Emirates Lebanon Bank, while the remaining 19 percent still belongs to BNP. Bank of Sharjah may consider buying the remaining stake from BNP, Nerguizian said. “We are considering the possibility, I think we should do it this year, it is the right time,” he said. Sharjah is the third largest of the seven members of TOKYO: Toyota Motor Corp President tified before Congress about Toyota’s able to recreate sudden acceleration in the United Arab Emirates. Akio Toyoda met with Japan’s prime handling of its quality problems. a Toyota vehicle by manipulating its Bank of Sharjah made 475 million dirhams in full-year minister yesterday and promised to Transport Minister Seiji Maehara, electronics. Toyota said Stanford net profit in 2009. Nerguizian expects 550 million UAE restore trust in the automaker’s cars as who also met with Toyoda yesterday, University’s Center for Automotive dirhams ($149.7 million) in 2010 net profit, although if it embarks on a broad campaign to praised him for traveling overseas to Research will show that the malfuncregional stock markets remain weak, full-year net profit repair its tarnished reputation. Toyoda explain the global recalls of 8.5 million tions Gilbert produced “are completely will be around 500 million dirhams, he said. pledged to improve quality controls is vehicles. The meetings came hours unrealistic under real-world conditions The bank is considering establishing a European foothis meeting with Japanese premier before Toyota plans a major rebuttal and can easily be reproduced on a wide print, either by acquiring a small bank or obtaining a Yukio Hatoyama and other government against suggestions that its electronics range of vehicles made by other manulicense. officials on the company’s problems. “I systems caused the sudden accelera- facturers.” The automaker has also “I think we are going to pursue that shortly ... there is explained that we will work hard to tion problems that contributed to the launched its first big U.S. sales push a lot of a business between Europe and the UAE that you once again become a more transparent recalls. since February, featuring loyal Toyota can capture through that entity,” Nerguizian said. At 1 pm EST, Toyota will aim to owners and big incentives like zero perand customer-focused company,” Shares in Bank of Sharjah closed at 2.04 dirhams on Toyoda told reporters following the duplicate the scenario created by David cent financing for five years. Toyota’s Sunday and have risen nearly 9 percent in the past three meeting. Toyoda, grandson of the com- W. Gilbert, a professor at Southern US sales fell 9 percent in February and months, outperforming the Abu Dhabi exchange where pany’s founder, is recently back from Illinois University Carbondale. Gilbert its market share fell to 12.8 percent - its the stock is listed. —Reuters trips to China and the US, where he tes- told Congress on Feb. 23 that he was lowest level since July 2005. —AP

Toyota chief meets Japan PM, vows to rebuild trust



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Swiss unemployment flat in Feb, in line with poll ZURICH: Switzerland’s unemployment rate was unchanged in February when adjusted for seasonal factors, data showed yesterday, in line with expectations and indicating the downturn in the labor market was seeing some respite. The unemployment rate was flat

at 4.1 percent when adjusted for seasonal factors compared to the previous month, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said. “There seems to be a stabilization in the labor market, it may be a first sign that there will be a turnaround in the second quarter,” said Jan Poser of

Sarasin. “The labor market usually lags the economy by six months.” Switzerland emerged from the worst recession since 1975 last summer, thanks in part to resilient private consumption, and several recent indicators have pointed to further recovery. Many economists, howev-

er, expect joblessness to peak later this year and this could weigh on consumer spending. Joblessness rose in January, but by less than economists had expected. The Swiss National Bank meets for its quarterly policy review on March 11, and economists expect it

to keep its rate target at 0.25 percent. But they are keen to see whether the bank will raise its inflation and growth forecasts after the Swiss economy returned to growth in the second half of 2009. “The conditions of the labor market are a bit better than had initially been expected. It

confirms the slightly better picture,” said Fabian Heller of Credit Suisse. “We expect optimism to rise at Thursday’s meeting but that won’t be additional pressure to raise rates,” he said. The unemployment rate fell to a non-seasonally adjusted 4.4 percent in February from 4.5 percent in the

previous month, the SECO said. Economists had expected an adjusted rate of 4.1 percent and an unadjusted rate of 4.4 percent. At its last meeting the SNB said it expected GDP growth of 0.5 to 1.0 percent for 2010 with inflation of 0.5 percent. — Reuters

Top state banker says China stands behind the dollar

Beijing cautions against expecting fast yuan rise BEIJING: Any rise in the yuan’s exchange rate will be gradual, China’s trade chief said yesterday in comments that underline the competing interests at the heart of Chinese policy-making. Commerce Minister Chen Deming said a halt to the yuan’s appreciation since mid-2008 was part of a panoply of pro-growth policies to prop up the economy during the global credit crunch. “Exiting from the stimulus does not mean all these measures will disappear. They will still be there, but there will be some fine-tuning,” Chen told Reuters on the sidelines of the country’s annual session of parliament. China has effectively re-pegged its exchange rate at around 6.83 yuan per dollar since mid-2008 to help its exporters during the global financial crisis and is under intense pressure from the United States and Europe to abandon the peg. “The movement and degree of stability in the yuan in times of crisis ought to be different from when there is no crisis,” he said. But he added: “The direction of yuan reform will be gradual and controlled.” Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, speaking on Saturday, also stressed the need for policymakers to proceed with caution. But Zhou broke new ground by stating that exiting the stimulus would sooner or later spell the end of the “special yuan policy” adopted to counter the financial crisis. “This is the most explicit comment on the renminbi’s exit

ANHUI: A bank clerk counts US dollars and RMB yuan notes for a customer at a bank in Hefei, in central China’s Anhui province. China faces mounting pressure from trading partners to loosen currency controls and is giving signs it might raise the value of the yuan to ease strains on its fast-growing economy.— AP from current de-facto peg made publicly by top Chinese policymakers so far,” HSBC’s chief China economist, Qu Hongbin, said in a note to clients. The yuan is also called the renminbi. He said stronger economic growth, rebounding exports and the emergence of inflationary pressures supported his view that China would move away from the yuan’s peg as early as next quarter. “Yet the pace of appreciation will likely be gradual. We expect USD/CNY exchange rate at 6.50 at the end of this year.”

The yuan rose modestly in the offshore non-deliverable forwards (NDFs) market in response to Zhou’s remarks. The one-year dollar/yuan NDF hit a five-week low of 6.6200, falling from Friday’s close of 6.6500. It recovered to 6.6420 in late afternoon, implying appreciation of about 2.85 percent over the next 12 months. A dealer at a European bank in Shanghai cautioned against over-reacting to Zhou’s comments. The central bank, eager to curb inflation and achieve a bet-

ter-balanced economy, may want a stronger exchange rate. But other parts of the government, including the Ministry of Commerce, care more about protecting exports, he said. “So I think NDFs should not over read Zhou’s comments to predict an immediate and steep rise in the yuan,” he added. Indeed, Chen said Chinese exports would not truly recover until the global economy had put the crisis fully behind it. “If external demand has not recovered yet, how can we have a fundamental recovery?” Chen

said. Wu Xiaoling, a former central bank vice governor, agreed that China would not focus on medium-term market-oriented reforms, including greater yuan flexibility, until global markets have stabilized. Wu, a parliamentary delegate, mused that the yuan might not necessarily be undervalued if China’s natural resource and labor costs matched global levels. “A country’s currency rate is decided by market supply and demand in the short term. Fundamentally, it has also something to do with domestic prices,” she told a news briefing. Speaking separately to reporters, a top state banker said any speculation that China might stop supporting the dollar in the next few years was “absolute nonsense”. Li Ruogu, chairman of Export-Import Bank of China, a lender tasked with supporting the country’s foreign investments, said China should aim to stabilize the dollar and preserving its status as the leading global currency. China has $2.4 trillion in official reserves, the largest stockpile in the world, and bankers believe about two-thirds of the total is invested in dollar assets. “I believe that, for now, supporting the dollar’s stability and its international currency status is good for China,” Li, a former deputy central bank governor, said in a group interview. “As China has a huge sum of foreign exchange reserves, a dollar collapse would bring nothing good to China,” he added. — Reuters

Egypt’s Citadel to buy 35% of east African railway NAIROBI: Egypt’s Citadel Capital has a conditional go-ahead to acquire all of South African company Sheltam Close’s 35 percent stake in an east African railway concession, a director said yesterday. Citadel has already acquired a 17.5 percent stake in Rift Valley Railways (RVR), which won a 25year concession to run the Kenyan and Ugandan railways jointly, after buying a 49 percent stake in Sheltam, the operator’s lead investor. The two have now agreed on Citadel taking 51 percent of Sheltam to give it Sheltam’s full 35 percent stake in RVR, once the deal has the greenlight from lenders to RVR including the International Finance Corporation (IFC), said Karim Sadek, a managing director at Citadel Capital. “It is done, we are not going to renegotiate, (it is) signed, sealed, finished. The only reason we are not there yet is that we are waiting for that consent,” he said. Another shareholder in RVR, TransCentury, has complained about the deal and says it will seek legal redress. Other partners in the consortium are Mirambo Holdings and Primefuels Ltd, Centum Investment Ltd and Babcock & Brown of Australia. “We are always looking for an additional stake, even now. If any of the shareholders want to drop out we are more than happy to cover them.” The shareholders in RVR completed a $10 million cash call at the end of January, Sadek said. A second $10 million will be raised by the end of March. The money raised in January will mostly go towards paying overdue concession fees but the second tranche of cash will partly be used to invest in track renovation work and new engines, he said. The $20 million is part of the $50 million the company needs to raise in a restructuring process to get trains moving. Kenya demanded last year that the concession deal be renegotiated to change the shareholding and leadership structure in order to inject fresh capital into the line’s

operations. Sadek said most of the shareholders were agreed on a new structure whereby RVR is the lead investor in a yet-to-be-formed Kenya Uganda Railway Holdings that will own the concession. Once the restructuring deal is signed the shareholders will be required to raise $50 million within 15 months. They would have $20 million of it by the end March, Sadek said. According to Citadel Capital’s estimates, the line needs only $150 million of investment to have an efficient and reliable service. “They don’t have to go spending loads on marketing, they do not need to cut prices because there is so much cargo in Mombasa that even ... operating on (modern) standards will not be able to carry,” he said. “We are not talking about billions.” Some $54 million is already available in a facility that has not been drawn on. IFC and Germany’s state banking group KfW made the loan available at the start of the concession but required some $50 million of equity from RVR. Sadek said his company hopes that by the first quarter of next year the service between Mombasa and Nairobi will be fully recovered and that by end of 2011 the entire route to Kampala will be back in full operation. Businesses are frustrated that while rail transport is cheaper than road, most cargo has to be trucked overland through Kenya, where corruption and poor roads delay deliveries. “It is a shame what has happened to this company,” Sadek said. “This is a railway that does not have to fight to get a market share. All it needs to do is to run a train without derailing. Not too much to ask. So I understand completely the frustrations ... especially Uganda’s, which is landlocked.” Plans by Kenya to build a new standard gauge railway will not pose much competition as it would cost a $4 billion compared with the $150 million RVR needs to get its operations off the ground, Sadek said. — Reuters

SEOUL: South Korean Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-Hyun speaks at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) in Seoul yesterday. — AFP

S Korean finance chief warns against rate rise SEOUL: South Korea’s finance minister warned yesterday the country’s economic recovery remains too fragile to withstand an increase in borrowing costs from a record low, cautioning the central bank just days ahead of a rate-setting policy meeting. “It is the view of the Korean government that we do not believe it is the right time to raise rates yet,” Minister of Strategy and Finance Yoon Jeung-hyun said. Yoon, speaking to journalists from foreign media organizations, cited worries over what he called the “self sustainability” of the country’s private sector, a spike in unemployment and “significant” household debt levels. The South Korean government has repeatedly expressed concerns about the risks of a too-early exit by the Bank of Korea from a series of rate cuts from late 2008 that have lowered borrowing costs to a record low 2 percent. In January, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance exercised its right to sit in on a central bank policy meeting for the first time in a decade, sending a top official as an observer. The ministry said at the time that it respects the bank’s independence but emphasized “the need for policy coordination between the government and central bank during times of economic crisis.” Yoon expressed confidence the bank’s monetary policy committee would make a “reasonable decision on how to gauge rates going forward” and emphasized the government has no intention to interfere.

“We do want to respect that this is a decision that the committee has and we want to respect their independence in making their decisions,” Yoon said. The central bank took unprecedented monetary easing measures to battle the impact of the financial turmoil that erupted after the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings in September 2008. The bank has left the rate unchanged since March 2009 as the economy stabilized and recovered. It lowered the rate to its current level in February last year. The monetary policy committee next meets Thursday. South Korea’s economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter of 2009 on weakness in manufacturing, construction and exports, a sign that the country’s strong recovery from the global meltdown was losing steam. Gross domestic product grew 0.2 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31 compared with the previous quarter. South Korea’s economy, Asia’s fourth largest, had expanded 3.2 percent in the third quarter, its strongest performance in more than seven years. South Korea’s jobless rate surged to a nineyear high of 5 percent in January as the number of people seeking work increased. From late 2008 through 2009, the South Korean government pumped nearly 50 trillion won ($44 billion) of stimulus into the economy in the form of extra spending and tax cuts as authorities worldwide took similar measures to revive growth. — AP

KEELUNG, Taiwan: A semi trailer drives along a container terminal at Taiwan’s northern Keelung harbour on March 8, 2010. Taiwan’s exports slowed from January but remained robust for a fourth-straight month, helped by strong demand for electronics products from China, the finance ministry said.— AFP

India auto sales surge 49% in Feb MUMBAI: India’s auto sales surged 49 percent in February compared to a year ago, as customers scrambled to buy cars before tax hikes and new emissions norms take effect. Sales of commercial vehicles, a sign of economic activity, led gains, rising 119.4 percent, to 68,024 vehicles, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group, said yesterday. Sales of passenger cars rose 33.2 percent to 153,845 units, and sales of other passenger vehicles, like utility vehicles, rose 37.2 percent, to 40,703 units. India is one of the few automobile markets that has continued to grow through the global downturn. Economic growth is picking up and demand for cars remains strong, even in the face of rising prices, analysts say. The government announced a 2 percentage point hike in excise taxes on Feb 26 — part of a rollback of fiscal stimulus measures — dismaying automakers, who quickly passed on those higher costs to consumers. But the government’s focus on road building and rural infrastructure will likely boost

vehicle sales in the long run, said Angel Broking analyst Vaishali Jajoo. “Over the longer term, comparatively low penetration levels, a healthy economic environment, and favorable demographics, supported by higher per-capita income levels, are likely to help the auto companies in sustaining their top-line growth,” she said in a research note. India’s leading carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, sold 96,650 vehicles in February, up 22 percent from a year ago — the highest total monthly sales in the company’s history. Demand is so strong the company is ramping up production capacity from 1 million to 1.25 million vehicles a year, Jajoo said. Tata Motors, the nation’s largest commercial vehicle company, also reported its highest-ever total monthly sales of 69,427 vehicles, up 58 percent. Overall exports from India surged 44.9 percent, to 41,004 vehicles, the trade group said. Commercial vehicle exports more than doubled, to 4,320 vehicles, while passenger vehicle exports rose 39.6 percent, to 36,684 units. — AP

Bovis Homes CEO sees no hike in house prices soon LONDON: The head of UK housebuilder Bovis Homes said he is not expecting any material increases in house prices this year, adding to fears that growth will remain muted for the sector in 2010. “We’re not expecting sales prices to rise significantly in 2010, activity is still constrained ... it’s still a liquidity issue in the sector,” Chief Executive David Ritchie said. “What we have is a plan, to reinvest from here to bring good quality, profitable land onto the balance sheet which we can get into development quickly,” he said in an interview with Reuters. Bovis, which reported fullyear results in line with expectations, said it has a good pipeline of land opportunities, which will fuel long-term profitable growth. But analysts remain worried about the group’s short-term outlook given the number of its sales outlets dropping from 85 to 70 sites, and outlook on prices and volumes. “Despite what looks like a fairly upbeat results statement for FY09 ... we expect to reduce our FY10E estimates by around 20 percent due to lower price and margin assumptions and,

not for the first time, a downgrade to volumes,” said Alastair Stewart at Investec. Bovis, one of the smaller midcap UK-listed housebuilders, reported yesterday a pretax profit in 2009 of 4.8 million pounds ($7.3 million), compared with a 78.7 million pound loss the year before. Market expectations had ranged between a profit of 8.8 million pounds and a loss of 3 million pounds, with the consensus at a profit of 4.5 million, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of nine analysts. Bovis Homes, which demerged from the transport group P&O after its flotation on the stock market in 1997, also reported a write-back of 11.6 million pounds, due to a recovery of certain sites coming from improved sales prices and reduced costs. This follows peer Persimmon reporting a 75 million pound exceptional provision last week. Ritchie said he expects sales rates to continue at the same pace in 2010 as the first nine weeks of the year. “We’ve been quite pleased with trading, we’ve achieved an average of 0.42 sales per week, 8 percent higher than the run rate that we

saw in the first nine weeks of 2009,” he said. Results from the UK builders so far have been relatively upbeat, despite uncertainty around the upcoming general election, which is expected to hit sales, and the fragile economic outlook. Nonetheless, data for January and February is not so buoyant. House prices fell in February for the first time since June last year according to lender Halifax. Meanwhile mortgage approvals hit a nine-month low in January to 48,198 from 58,223 in December after bad weather and the end of the stamp duty holiday. Bovis said it acquired four sites in the fourth-quarter of 2009 and said it has agreed in principle on a further 15 sites. “We’re not finding a great deal of competition. Vendors’ expectations are still quite stretching, people are still adjusting ... but there is certainly enough to look at, we’re processing a great deal of land at the moment,” said Ritchie. The group’s large land bank of 12,044 plots also makes it a possible takeover target from larger listed rivals such as Persimmon. Bovis declined to comment. — Reuters

French quarterly growth is expectedly low: CB PARIS: The French economy grew by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2010, a slightly slower pace than previously forecast, the central bank said yesterday. The Bank of France had forecast first-quarter growth of 0.5 percent in its previous forecast in early February. The new figure is in line with a forecast by the INSEE statistics agency, which said in December it expected a “laborious and fragile” recovery with growth of 0.3 percent to 0.4 percent in the first two quarters of 2010. The French economy grew by 0.6 percent in the last quarter of 2009, the best performance in

the 16-nation euro-zone. The government expects growth of 1.4 percent for the whole year after the economy contracted by 2.2 percent in 2009. The Bank of France also published yesterday its monthly business survey, which showed that the confidence indicator fell to 102 points in February from 104 in January. The bank said industrial activity increased in the majority of sectors in February but at “a more moderate pace” than the previous month. Business confidence has been progressively growing since it hit rock bottom in December 2008, when it plunged to 67 points. — AFP


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Organizers prepare for 70m Shanghai Expo visitors Display includes robots preparing food

SHANGHAI: A worker walks past Spanish Pavilion under construction yesterday. — AP

BEIJING: Organizers appealed yesterday for patience from the expected 70 million visitors to Shanghai’s World Expo, which opens in under two months, because not all of them will be able to see the most popular pavilions. The six-month event, with the theme “Better City, Better Life,” is expected to draw an average of 400,000 people a day to see exhibits from 192 countries. A soft opening, with 200,000 people a day, will take place from April 20 to 25 to iron out any teething problems before the Expo officially opens on May 1, Zhou Hanmin, deputy director of the World Expo, told a news conference on the sidelines of China’s

annual legislative session. “Crowd control will be a comprehensive challenge on many levels, including safety, which is our No 1 priority,” Zhou said. The capacity of the China pavilion, expected to be one of the most popular, means that not all of the visitors will be able to see it every day, so it will be kept open for visitors after the Expo ends on Oct 31, he said. Zhou said the visitors, mostly expected to be Chinese, needed to plan their trips in order to maximize their time, and to show patience. “Expo visitors should also be polite and respect one another. For example, visitors from Shanghai should let outside visitors have priority when visiting

crowded pavilions, and Chinese visitors should do the same with international visitors,” Zhou said. At the Expo site yesterday, workers toiled in freezing rain, putting final touches on many pavilions. Roads in the site were being repaved and piles of construction waste awaited removal. In the German pavilion, less than half of the interior appeared ready to house exhibits, but Huang Jianzhi, deputy director of the Expo bureau, said no participants had informed them of delays and he expected a majority of the pavilions to open as scheduled. Expo organizers said that visitors can expect to see the latest technology from around the world,

MRI scans pose danger for patients with pacemakers Cristina McShane is 25 and an exceptionally fit long-distance runner. But a year ago, a rare heart condition left her hospitalized and needing a pacemaker. McShane, an Orlando physician’s assistant at a cardiology practice, knew that she faced a dilemma: If she didn’t get the pacemaker, the random pauses in her heartbeat would lead to continued blackouts, leaving her unable to drive and severely limiting the quality of her life. Getting the device, though, would make it dangerous for her to get an MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, the most important tool for diagnosing certain soft-tissue problems, such as brain tumors. In fact, most doctors wouldn’t allow her to get an MRI. “I was upset,” McShane said. “I was only 24, and looking to the future and what I might need medically, I knew I might need an MRI. But I didn’t have a lot of choice. I couldn’t keep passing out.” McShane’s youth made her case unusual, but millions of Americans already have implanted medical devices that make getting an MRI a problem.

Although fatal complications are rare, the threat is growing as more people get defibrillators, pacemakers and other implants and the use of MRIs increases, experts say. More than 60 million MRIs are performed in the US each year to diagnose cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart and artery conditions, and muscle, bone and back pain. Sometimes there are good alternatives to the scan, sometimes not. And although most physicians are aware of the issue, a surprising number of patients and caregivers aren’t. A survey of seniors by the National Council on Aging, due to be released this week, found that nearly a third of adults 65 and older and more than half of their caregivers reported being uninformed about the problem. “People are just not having the dialogue with their doctors that they need to,” said Stuart Spector, senior vice president for the National Council on Aging. “I was aware of the problem because my father ... had an implantable device for Parkinson’s. So I uncovered it speaking with his doctors. My

father would never have thought to ask on his own.” The danger potentially applies to anyone with metal in his or her body because the MRI employs a powerful magnet. It can superheat the metal, burning heart tissue where the leads of a pacemaker are attached. Or it can disrupt the device’s signal, causing the heart to go into a life-threatening arrhythmia. Dr David Bello, director of cardiovascular imaging at Orlando Health, said most orthopedic implants - typically, the pins and screws that hold together broken bones - are not a problem because they don’t attach to soft tissue and they’re not apt to come loose within the body. But even those are worth mentioning should you undergo an MRI. “The biggest risk is to people with pacemakers and defibrillators because they attach to the heart and because a large number of people have those devices now,” he said. “One of our patients has a brain tumor and he has a pacemaker, and we had to allow him to have an MRI

with a crash cart standing by in case he went into cardiac arrest.” Doing so leaves the doctor with a huge risk of being sued - a risk most doctors wouldn’t take. But because Bello has done extensive research on the issue, including developing an MRI-compatible pacemaker that is awaiting approval by federal regulators, he ends up dealing with similar cases about once a month. McShane, who works for Bello’s practice, was also one of his patients. “I requested to the FDA that we use one of the experimental, MRIcompatible pacemakers in her case because she is so young,” he said. “But ultimately they declined.” Other devices that may cause problems range from insulin pumps and stents to cochlear implants for the deaf and neuro-stimulators used for depression or seizures. Even orthodontic braces are a problem, Bello said, though because they are used most often in children and could be removed if necessary, they’re not as great a risk as an implant. Imaging centers and hospitals post a list of MRI-incompatible

From heart pumps to Tang, NASA spurred innovations CAPE CANAVERAL: Advocates of the US space program often point to innovations based on technology first used in space - from inventions that made possible health technologies like the heart pump to foods eaten in space that took off on Earth, such as Tang powdered drink mix. A hall of fame has even been established to recognize particularly noteworthy developments. As NASA retires the space shuttle later this year and places more of an emphasis on the commercial spaceflight, the German Press Agency dpa takes a look at some technologies that have emerged from the space program.

Dr David Bello, who specializes in cardiovascular disease and electrophysiology, checks the pacemaker of one of his patients, Cristina McShane, at his Orlando, Florida office. — MCT devices for technologists. And patients with the devices are supposed to carry a card in their wallet advising medical personnel of the situation. But because the diagnostic tool has become so popular, 98 percent of doctors in the NCOA

survey said more education is needed. “But at the end of the day,” Bello said, “if you need a pacemaker, this is not a reason for someone to say no. I don’t want people to be afraid; I just want them to be aware.” — MCT

Web is not yet the answer to college textbook costs

TOKYO: Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen (center) uses electromyography (EMG) sensors to operate a Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) as HAL developer Japanese university professor Yoshiyuki Sankai (left) smiles during a visit to a nursing home yesterday. The nursing home uses the HAL, an exoskeleton which is designed to learn the user’s motion and assist the wearer’s movement, for the rehabilitation of disabled and elderly people. — AFP

Internet ‘unaffordable’ for too many: Queen Elizabeth LONDON: The Internet remains an “unaffordable option” for too many people across the globe, Queen Elizabeth II said yesterday in her annual Commonwealth Day message. The British monarch praised advances in science and technology for improving lives, but said too many people were left out of the benefits offered by advances in modern telecommunications. “Experimentation, research and innovation mean that more opportunities for improving people’s lives exist today than ever before,” the head of the Commonwealth said. “Take long distance communication,

where the obstacles of time and geography have been dramatically reduced. “People can now use mobile phones to be in instant contact virtually anywhere in the world, be it with a medical centre in the Himalayan mountains in Asia, a Pacific island school, a research facility at the South Pole, or even the International Space Station, beyond this planet altogether. “Advances in modern telecommunications are also having a marked economic effect on people from developing nations in the Commonwealth, helping to transform small to medium-sized businesses.” — AFP

As a freshman at Temple University, Gian Hunjan shelled out $500 per semester for textbooks at the bookstore, all new. Now a senior, he buys most of his books used, or forgoes them altogether and looks up material on the Internet instead. He wishes more books were available online. “I think every student would, especially if they’re cheaper,” the finance major said. But most students still prefer print to digital, and even if they didn’t, textbook publishers and authors have made very few titles available online. At the University of Pennsylvania, for example, only 31 of the 1,578 course titles registered with the bookstore were available digitally, eight of which were sold by the bookstore. But that could change with the advent of the tablet-style Apple iPad and with students throughout the region buckling under heavy book expenses on top of pricey tuition. A small but growing number already are buying digital texts, many of which are half the price of books. Experts expect students to have more choices as campuses, professors, and companies look for new ways to make texts available and more affordable. Students spend more than $1,100 a year on textbooks and supplies, says the College Board. Textbook publishers and book authors are grappling to find a fair method that makes use of technology and satisfies students. “It’s like the Wild West. Everybody’s trying something new,” said Steven Bell, associate university librarian at Temple. “What’s the pricing model that’s going to work?” Don’t look yet for a groundswell toward digital books. According to the national Student Public Interest Research Groups, 75 percent of students still prefer print. “The critical mass just isn’t there yet,” said Bell, who added it’s also not clear whether students will buy the e-reading devices to make digital books more palatable. CourseSmart, founded three years

including China’s largest solar rooftop energy system and wind turbines to power buildings at the Expo. More than 1,000 hydrogen and electricitypowered cars will be used for transportation around the Expo site. Other displays of technology include robots preparing food, while the Japanese and British pavilions will generate their own power, and the Swiss pavilion will be made of biodegradable soybean fibers. “I hope the green technology and innovation displayed at the Expo will carry on and become incorporated into our lives, to improve our way of living,” Science and Technology Minister Wan Gang told the news conference. — AP

A small but growing number are already buying digital texts, many of which are half the price of books. ago as a joint venture of five large college textbook publishers, hopes to change that. It offers about 9,000 book titles online at about 50 percent of the cost of print, said Frank Lyman, executive vice president. Sales grew 400 percent from 2008 to 2009, he said, declining to release exact numbers. “It is in the hundreds of thousands of students using it - not yet millions,” he said. He expects Apple’s iPad to increase that interest. “It will capture the imagination of yet another group of students who will ask, ‘Why aren’t I using digital textbooks?’” he said. Don’t count on La Salle University sophomore Vinny Vella. He prefers holding a book in his hands. “I really don’t enjoy reading on the screen for too long. It hurts my eyes,” said Vella, of Kresgeville, Monroe County. The communication major began renting books this semester as an alternative. He rented a textbook for his art class, priced new at nearly $200, for less than $60. At Princeton University, students this school year were given Kindle devices loaded with all material for three courses in a pilot project to lower paper usage. Some students found the devices difficult to use and slow, according to the Princetonian, the student newspaper. Nicole Allen, textbook

Satellite technology: Satellite technology is now used in such everyday events as television broadcasting, mobile phones and global positioning systems. Cochlear implants: A NASA engineer developed the device that is implanted in the ear of deaf patients and sends electrical pulses that allow the patient to hear. He used technology learned as an engineer at the Kennedy Space Centre to design the device for his own hearing problem. Food preservation: As part of studies done on growing food in space during a 1995 shuttle mission, scientists developed a device that removes the gas ethylene from the air. The gas speeds the ripening of foods, causing them to decay sooner. The technology is now marketed as an air purification device and is in use in supermarkets, food making facilities, floral shops and health care centres. “Lifeshears”: This rescue tool, also known by the brand name Jaws of Life, is used by police and fire departments to cut people out of wrecked cars. It uses the same hydraulic power that causes the shuttle to shed its rocket boosters after launch. Cancer screening: The stereotactic breast biopsy system that zones that guides a doctor’s tools directly to a tumour to see if it is cancerous was developed from advanced digital camera technology used in the Hubble Space Telescope. Temper foam: The body shaping foam used in space shuttle seats has acquired broad commercial uses, including sports helmets and mattresses.

Vinny Vella, a LaSalle University sophomore, holds two textbooks he rented. — MCT advocate for the Student Public Interest Research Groups, believes textbooks should be less expensive for students than the price CourseSmart offers. A 50 percent cut is barely below the cost of rentals or used books, she said. Her group is advocating for professors at campuses nationally to use “open textbooks” - free digital versions - whenever possible. “We just want to make sure that open textbooks are on the table,” she said. At Rutgers University’s New Brunswick campus, students last year got about a dozen professors to sign a pledge to use more affordable book sources, said Lindsey Swoap, 19, a sophomore from southern Virginia. The American Federation of Teachers passed a resolution in 2009 in support of open textbooks. Allen’s group pushed for legislation that will take effect July 1 requiring schools that receive federal funding to give students advance notice on books needed for the semester so they have time to shop around. It also prohibits book companies from “bundling” textbooks and supplemental materials, and requires price disclosure to faculty. Professors say they hear con-

cerns from students frequently about cost and are interested in helping address the issue. Jean-Claude Bradley, a Drexel University chemistry professor and E-learning coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences, said he avoids requiring a textbook when possible and makes as much material as possible - including tutorials, recorded lectures, readings, and games - available for free online. Authors are sympathetic, too. “I have no desire to cost these kids one cent more than they need to pay,” said Kate Nelson, an instructor in Temple’s Fox School of Business, who recently completed the fifth edition of a textbook on business ethics. “I am for whatever gets knowledge out there as cheaply as we can get it out there.” At Temple, a committee of professors is looking at ways to make the best curriculum materials available at the most reasonable cost. Several professors are planning a pilot project for open textbooks produced by the staff and available for updating. Meanwhile, the rental market is growing. Students can rent books for varying prices, depending on the length of the rentals. — MCT

Grooved pavement: The grooves in pavement were developed by NASA to prevent hydroplaning on runways and are now used at commercial airports as well as the Kennedy Space Centre’s landing strip. The technique has since been widely applied to highways as well. Motor sport: The same material used to make the heat shield on the shuttle has been applied to NASCAR racing cars to protect the drivers from excessive heat. Robotics: Robots similar to the Mars rovers have been put to use by military and police to scan dangerous situations without risking human life as well as to disable bombs. Scratch resistant lenses: Now commonly used in eyeglasses, the technology was first used in astronaut helmets. Cordless tools: Tool and small appliance maker Black and Decker developed these battery-operated tools for use by astronauts on the moon. Heart defibrillators: The power source used to provide the shock in the medical device was originally developed for space lasers. Remote medical monitoring system: A kit system used to remotely monitor patients was developed in part for use on the International Space Station. — dpa



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

To each ethnic group their sleep habit, study reveals WASHINGTON: Most AfricanAmericans like to pray just before they do it, white Americans like to do it with their pets, Asians tend to do it best and Hispanics fret about work just beforehand. It is sleep and the 2010 Sleep in America poll released yesterday by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) shows that sleep habits differ depending on what ethnic group you belong to. AfricanAmericans have the busiest bedtime

routine: three-quarters said they watched television in the hour before going to bed, and only slightly fewer 71 percent - said they prayed. Only 18 percent of Asians, one third of whites and just under half of Hispanics said they prayed before going to bed. One in 10 AfricanAmericans and Hispanics said they had sex every night-which is 10 times more than Asians and 2.5 times more than whites. Asians slept the

best, according to the study, said to be the first to look at the ethnic differences of sleep in the United States. Eighty-five percent of Asians said they had a good night’s sleep at least a few nights or more a week, and most of them did it without sleepaids. Only five percent of Asians said they used a sleep medication at least a few nights a week compared with 13 percent of whites, nine percent of

blacks and eight percent of Hispanics. Hispanics are the most likely to say they are kept awake by financial, employment, personal relationship or health-related concerns, the study shows. Nearly four in 10 Hispanics (38 percent) and a third of AfricanAmericans reported losing sleep a few nights a week over any of those concerns compared to about onequarter of whites or Asians. Around

20 percent of Hispanics and blacks said they lost sleep every night over economic, health or personal issues. Whites, meanwhile, were the most likely to report sleeping with their pets: 14 percent of whites said they usually slept with Fido or Fluffy compared with just two percent of respondents from the other ethnic groups. And Asians were the most likely to report sleeping in the same room

with their children: 28 percent of Asians said they did compared to 22 percent of Hispanics, 15 percent of blacks and eight percent of whites. “If you are having trouble sleeping, and you sleep with your spouse, your child, your pet or all three, remember that may be contributing to sleep disturbances that prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep,” said Sonia Ancoli-Israel, chair of the NSF task force that conducted the poll.

But while there are differences, there are also similarities in different ethnic groups’ sleep habits. For instance, all groups said they had missed work or family functions because they were just too pooped (19-24 percent), and among couples living together, all ethnic groups frequently reported being too tired for sex - around a quarter of the time. The NSF surveyed 1,007 adults aged 25-60 for the annual poll. —AFP

Australian researchers claim fat is ‘sixth taste’ New findings could help counter obesity

SYDNEY: File photo shows Asian elephants at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo. —AFP

Elephant calf dies during labor at Sydney zoo SYDNEY: An elephant calf has died during days of labor at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, where its mother was a part of a program to breed endangered Asian elephants, officials said yesterday. The baby elephant presented in a position that experts had never seen before, meaning that “there was never any chance of a successful birth”, Taronga’s director Cameron Kerr said. “The attending international expert doctor has confirmed that in the wild, such a labor would have been fatal for both mother and calf,” Kerr said. “We’ve all been incredibly saddened by

this outcome, but right now, our focus must be on caring for (the mother) Porntip and the rest of the herd.” The calf would have been the second elephant conceived by artificial insemination in Australia after the birth in January of a female at Melbourne Zoo. In July 2009 Taronga welcomed the first baby elephant ever born in Australia, a naturally conceived male. “Although we all knew that first deliveries are successful in only 50 percent of elephant births, everyone at the zoo was hoping that our second birth would be successful,”

said Kerr in a statement. The dead elephant’s mother Porntip, who went into labor last week, is being monitored by the staff. Zoo staff said she was still fit and young and had reproductive years ahead of her. But the event has dealt a blow to the breeding program implemented by Australian zoos following the controversial importation of the elephants from Thailand in 2006 as part of a bid to help save the species. As few as 33,000 endangered Asian elephants are thought to remain in Asia. —AFP

Farmers in the dock in water-deficient India NEW DELHI: India faces a water crisis with availability in decline and demand rocketing, and the profligate agricultural sector is in the firing line. Farmers’ wasteful use of water is unsustainable in a country with a fast-growing population and rapidly industrializing economy, says Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. Agriculture “is going to face tough competitive demands from other sectors”, Bansal told a water management conference in New Delhi recently. “To feed 17 percent of the world’s population we have only four percent of the world’s water resources,” he warned. India’s overall annual water consumption is expected to almost double from 634 billion cubic meters (BCM) to 1,180 BCM by 2050, according to the Central Water Commission. The ministry of water resources predicts per capita water availability by 2050 to be less than half 2001 levels. The concerns coincide with new worries about India’s ability to feed itself as another failed monsoon hits crop yields. Food prices are up about 18 percent over 12 months and swathes of parched earth in the countryside serve as a stark reminder of how water is inextricably linked to Indian poverty. Last year’s monsoon was the weakest since 1972, which meant the more than 100 million Indian farmers who rely solely on the rains to

SYDNEY: It’s a theory set to confirm why humans are so fond of fatty foods such as chips and chocolate cake: in addition to the five tastes already identified lurks another detectable by the palate-fat. “We know that the human tongue can detect five tastes-sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (a savory, protein-rich taste contained in foods such as soy sauce and chicken stock),” Russell Keast, from Deakin University, said yesterday. “Through our study we can conclude that humans have a sixth taste-fat.” Researchers tested 30 people’s ability to taste a range of fatty acids in otherwise plain solutions and found that all were able to determine the taste-though some required higher concentrations than others. They then developed a screening test to see how sensitive people were to the taste and found that, of the 50 people tested, their ability to detect fat was linked to their weight-a finding which could help counter obesity. “We found that the people who were sensitive to fat, who could taste very low concentrations, actually consumed less fat than the people who were insensitive,” Keast told AFP. “We also found that they had lower BMIs (Body Mass Indexes).” Keast said the research, conducted in collaboration with the University of Adelaide, New Zealand’s Massey University and Australian science body CSIRO, suggested that the taste of fat could trigger a mechanism in the body. “We all like eating fatty foods. What we speculate is (that) the mechanism is to do with stopping eating. Your body is able to tell you you’ve had enough and stop,” he explained. “And if you are insensitive to it, you’re not getting that feedback.” With fats easily accessible and commonly consumed, it was possible that people may become desensitized to the taste of fat, leaving some more prone to overindulging in calorie-rich foods, he added. The results, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, have not definitively classified fat as a taste but Keast says the evidence is strong and mounting. For something to be classified as a taste there needed to be proven receptor mechanisms on taste cells in the mouth, he said. “We have what... we will call possible candidate receptors for fat on taste receptor cells,” he said. —AFP

AHMEDABAD: This photo shows Shree Maa Anantanand sitting behind medicine made from cow urine which she uses to treat patients suffering kidney ailments and cancer at her hospital. —AFP

Keeping clean and fit with cow dung, urine AHMEDABAD: “God resides in cow dung,” says Kesari Gumat, as he walks through his laboratory where researchers mix bovine excreta with medicinal herbs and monitor beakers of simmering cow urine. The lab in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad is one of a growing number of research centers which have embraced the sacred status of cows in India and sought to push it to a new level. Promoting the practical alongside the spiritual, they have developed a line of dungand urine-based medicines which they say can cure a whole herd of ailments from bad breath to cancer. “These formulas are not new,” Gumat said. “They are contained in ancient Hindu holy texts. We are just making them with a scientific approach.” The raw materials are generated on site from more than 300 cows which roam the compound housing the centre. Visitors must remove shoes and socks before entering and brave a

barefoot walk across a carpet of semi-soft dung drying in the sunlight. “Walking on fresh cowdung is very healthy,” Gumat insisted. “It kills all the germs and bacteria and heals wounds. And dry cowdung is a great scrub to get rid of dead skin and improve blood circulation.” The list of derivative applications is, according to Gumat, an extremely lengthy one, stretching beyond medicines to toiletries like soap, shampoo and toothpaste, as well as incense sticks and mosquito coils. The products have been applauded by Hindu nationalist groups, the largest of which, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), unveiled its own urinebased soft drink last year as a “healthy” alternative to Coke and Pepsi. “Gau Jal,” or “cow water” was developed at the RSS Cow Protection Department, a research facility in the northern city of Haridwar on the banks of the holy river Ganges. “This will end the mar-

ket for carbonated fizzy drinks,” predicted the facility’s bullish director Om Prakash. Gau Jal is currently awaiting government approval. In the meantime Prakash said his team was focusing on packaging, marketing, and preservation-to prevent the drink spoiling in India’s summer heat. Cows are sacred to India’s huge Hindu majority, precluding them from eating beef, but the animals’ bodily waste falls into the same acceptable category as dairy products. The dung is generally dried for over a week, then blended at a very high temperature to kill all harmful bacteria and germs. The final product, a dung powder, is mixed with variety of ingredients to make the medicines and toiletries. The urine meanwhile is distilled to remove any impurities. Raghav Gandhi, who heads the cow nutrition department at another research centre in Ahmedabad, stressed that the process begins long before the waste is harvested. —AFP

Scientists find why ‘sunshine’ vitamin D is crucial for health Vitamin D vital for triggering immune system defenses AMRITSAR: Indian farmers Ravi Kumar and Dharam Singh tend to a cauliflower field yesterday. —AFP water their fields were left high and dry. “What we should do, given the water requirements and demand and supply imbalance, is promote water-saving technologies like sprinklers,” said Usha Tuteja, of the Agricultural Economics Research Centre at Delhi University. Experts say free water supplies for those farmers lucky enough to live near government irrigation canals and rivers encourages waste and inefficiency. Many farmers flood their crops, using more water than they need to,

and often choose water-intensive crops in areas with low rainfall. Bansal believes pricing water to reflect its scarcity would deter waste and force farmers to take “the last drop to the last mile.” But most farmers are reluctant to pay for something they take for granted now, and most Indian farmers are small-scale operators who would be unable to shoulder the cost. “The policy needs rethinking. Only small and marginal farmers who are below the poverty line should get these

inputs for free,” Tuteja said. Anil Jain, managing director of Jain Irrigation Systems, which sells micro-irrigation systems that use less water, believes his company is part of the solution. The company sells products that feed water to the roots of crops or the soil directly through small devices such as pipes and valves. “What farmers are doing today is flooding the entire land,” Jain said. “Our concept is you need not irrigate the land, you need to irrigate the crop and provide water to the root.” —AFP

LONDON: Vitamin D is vital in activating human defenses and low levels suffered by around half the world’s population may mean their immune systems’ killer T cells are poor at fighting infection, scientists said on Sunday. The findings by Danish researchers could help the fight against infectious diseases and global epidemics, they said, and could be particularly useful in the search for new vaccines. The researchers found that immune systems’ killer cells, known as T cells, rely on vitamin D to become active and remain dormant and unaware of the possibility of threat from an infection or pathogen if vitamin D is lacking in the blood. “When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device or ‘antenna’ known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it searches for vitamin D,”

said Carsten Geisler of Copenhagen University’s department of international health, immunology and microbiology, who led the study. “This means the T cell must have vitamin D or activation of the cell will cease. If the T cells cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won’t even begin to mobilize.” Scientists have known for a long time that vitamin D is important for calcium absorption, and that there is a link between levels of the vitamin and diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis. “What we didn’t realize is how crucial vitamin D is for actually activating the immune system-which we know now,” Geisler wrote in the study in the journal Nature Immunology. Most Vitamin D is made by the body as a natural by-product of the skin’s exposure to sunlight. It can

also be found in fish liver oil, eggs and fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel, or taken as a supplement. Almost half of the world’s population has lower than optimal levels of vitamin D and scientists say the problem is getting worse as people spend more time indoors. Geisler and his research team said the findings offered much needed information about the immune system and would be of particular use when developing new vaccines. “This is important not only in fighting disease but also in dealing with anti-immune reactions of the body and the rejection of transplanted organs,” they wrote. Active T cells multiply at an explosive rate and as well as fighting infection, can also mistakenly attack the body itself. —Reuters



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

JIS holds valedictory ceremony

Embassy information


t was an evening of mixed emotions for all present at Jabriya Indian School, on Feb 18, to witness the official send off for the class XII students at the Valedictory Ceremony 2010. The pain of parting from peers, teachers and indeed their alma mater which had hitherto been their cocoon, combined with the pride of having reached thus far was writ large on the faces of the outgoing students resplendent and majestic in their black gown and caps. The function commenced with a procession of Class XII students who walked in solemnly to take their allotted seats. The program began with recitations from the Holy Quran after which the school principal Usha Varkey warmly greeted and welcomed the guests in her address. The august gathering included the Chief Guest Mubarak Naser Mohamed AlSayer, CE0 and Executive Director, AlSayer Group of principals of various schools, parents and former students. In his valedictory address, Mubarak advised the students to stay focused in life, the road to success is not an easy one and to be mentally prepared to face the challenges in life. The outgoing students were presented with Course Completion Certificates by the Chief Guest, Mubarak Al-Sayer. The School Chairman, M Mathews, presented certificates and medals to those students who had topped the school in various subjects in the Class X and Class XII examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education New Delhi, in March 2009. The Chairman encouraged the students to achieve greater heights and reach the pinnacle of success. The school football team who represented Kuwait at the national level was also given certificates by the chairman. The school Headgirl Sally Antranik of Class XII received the gold medal for being the Best Outgoing student. In her speech, she thanked her parents, her teachers and her school for supporting her on her way to success and

EMBASSY OF UKRAINE The Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Kuwait informs that it has started updating the information about Ukrainian citizens, who live and work in Kuwait. In this connection, we are asking you to refer to the Embassy and update your file in consular register in order not to be excluded from it. Please note, that the last day of updating your data is 20th of March, 2010. For additional information please call: 25318507 ext.106 or visit the embassy of Ukraine in the State of Kuwait (address: Hawalli, Jabriya, bl.10, str.6, house 5). The consular section of the Embassy open every day from 09:30 till 14:30 except Friday and Saturday.

achievement. The audience was indeed touched by her emotional speech. Omyr Faisal, the School Headboy, was selected as the Model Student for the year 2009-

2010. The ceremony was punctuated with inspirational songs by the smartly turned out school choir. An enthralling folk dance was presented by the students of the mid-

dle school to serenade their seniors. Blessings were bestowed on the outgoing students with well-meaning words of advice and caution by the Chief Guest,

Mubarak Al-Sayer and the School Chairman M Mathews. A prayer by the principal and a farewell song was a befitting end to the entire ceremony.

Bangladesh Awami League holds meeting


angladesh Awami Volunteer’s League Kuwait Chapter held a discussion meeting on March 7 in Kuwait City at Gulshan Hotel. Bangladesh Awami Volunteer League Kuwait Chapter G S Mohammed Lak Miah presented the program and it was presided over by Mohammed Masud Karim, President of Awami Volunteer League Kuwait Chapter. Engineer Abdur Rob the founding President of Bangladesh

Awami League Kuwait Chapter and chief patron of Awami Volunteer’s League Kuwait Chapter attended the celebrations as the chief guest. Sayed Ali Rezu, Burhan Uddin Faruk, the advisor of Awami Volunteer League Kuwait Chapter, Hasan Ali G S Joybangla Cultural Group, Kuwait were the special guests. Awami Volunteer’s League Vice-President Bahar Uddin, Mohammed Abdullah, Organizing Secretary Bandhan

Nath, Office Secretary Mohammed Rashed, Sayed Omar Faruk delivered their speeches. The speakers highlighted the importance of March 7 and conveyed its meaning in their speeches. The celebrations began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran and was followed by one-minute silence observation in the honor of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and all martyrs of 1971.

BNP celebrates Int’l Language Day


angladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) held a meeting to commemorate International Language day on Feb 21. The meeting was held at Rajdhani Hotel and was presented by Jakir Hossain Gazi, General Secretary, Hawally Branch. It was presided over by Abdul Lotif, President, BNP, Hawally. The guest was Sharif Hossain, Joint Secretary, BNP Kuwait and Ex-Secretary BNP Kuwait Chapter. Kabir Hossain, Ziaur Rahman, Jamal Hossain, Anwar Hossain, Shah Jalal Kanon, Ismail Hossain also attended the meeting.

TEF conducts decennial function


n the celebrative Kuwait Liberation day, February 26, 2010, Kuwait witnessed one of its rare kind of program among the Indian community - the first ever educational and career guidance program for Tamil community in Kuwait conducted by Tamil Nadu Engineers Forum (TEF) on February 26, 2010 (Friday) at The Cambridge English School- Mangaf as a part of their 10th Year Inaugural Day celebrations. The entire day was organized in a grand novel, innovative approach which was appreciated by the audience who attended the function. The morning day session started with one of the most sought and essential need for majority of the parents and children in Kuwait an educational and career guidance program which included the heads of engineering and medical education from Tamil Nadu and leading Educational consultants explaining in detail the various educational opportunities, admission procedures, rules and regulations for getting admissions through NRI and non-NRI quotas in Tamil Nadu Professional courses. Dr P Mannar Jawahar, ViceChancellor of Anna University which is the head of 225 selffinancing engineering colleges, six government colleges and three government-aided engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu enlightened the audience with in-depth details on the Engineering college admission procedures in Tamil Nadu. Dr Thiagavalli Kirupakaran, Director of Medical Education Tamil Nadu (retired), with her long

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 PHILIPPINES The Embassy of the Philippines wishes to inform the Filipino community in the State of Kuwait, that the recent supreme court decision to extend the registration of voter’s applies only in local registration in the Philippines under Republic Act no. 8189 and does not apply to overseas voters which is governed by Republic Act no. 9189, hence it has no impact on the plans and preparations on the conduct of overseas absentee voting. The overseas absentee voting for presidential elections will start on 10 April 2010 and will continue uninterrupted until 10 May 2010 daily at the Philippine Embassy. Registered overseas absentee voters are advised to schedule their days off in advance to avoid complications in their schedules. Qualified voters are encouraged to get out and vote.


term experience in the medical education and through her valuable presentation explained the values of medical profession, various Medical courses under the Tamil Nadu Medical Directorate, seats availability and the admission procedures. Jayaprakash Gandhi, a well known educational consultant and an educational reformer who has performed several TV shows and career guidance programs in Tamil Nadu, attracted the audience through his flawless informative speech and guidance on the different career options for children, pros and cons of various courses, colleges and universities and also more importantly how to score the maximum marks in school exams and competitive exams. The questions and doubts raised by the audience on the education aspects in Tamil Nadu seemed that parents were thirsting for such event in Kuwait. The evening session ‘The Decennial

Inaugural Function’ commenced formally with the traditional Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu and with the Kuthuvilakku lighting. Ajai Malhotra, Ambassador of India to Kuwait honored the occasion with his valuable presence in the evening function. During his inaugural speech he lauded TEF’s efforts in Kuwait and also highlighted the long term established relations among Kuwaitis and Indians. Dr P Mannar Jawahar, Vice Chancellor - Anna University delivered a highly motivational speech to the Children stressing the importance of utilizing opportunities as and when it arises wound with beautiful narrative moral stories and with his melodious songs. Khaled H Al-Saif , Managing Director of NAP-ESCO - the main Silver Sponsored for TEF 2010, during his address appreciated and lauded TEF’s efforts in organizing such social events. The special show of the evening - a mesmeriz-

ing magic show by the world famous, Logic Illa Magic Fame S A C Vasanth was truly a different and entertaining show. The audience was awe-struck at the sheer amount of fantastic magic that Vasanth created and even more so by how well he performed it. It was evident that Vasanth was a legendary stage performer and a brilliant magician whose ingenious techniques baffled the peers added with his superb manipulation and daring comedy techniques. After the stage performance, Vasanth’s interactive magic session with the audience during the dinner time involving all the people was far beyond anyone’s imagination and no one can believe his tricks. Everyone became more intimately relinquished with his performance as it continued late into the night. Overall the day was very informative and fun filled which left everyone a long lasting remembrance of the day and remembrance of each moment.

TODAY AWARE diwaniya You are cordially invited to AWARE’s diwaniya on “Counseling Psychology: The Context of Counseling Psychology,” by Allen John. In simple terms, counseling psychology means helping others to help themselves. It includes guidance, suggestions, advice, diagnosis, assessments etc. This makes one more effective in his/her family, social relationships, financial dealing, job etc. So, what is counseling psychology; An Art or a Science? In today’s world scenario, competition has been part of every sector. And this makes us restless, tired, frustrated and even depressed. So, let’s look how counseling psychology becomes relevant here to eradicate one’s mental health issues and build him/her in a more enthusiastic, realistic, and energetic way in his day to day activities. In his 25-minute presentation, Allen, a psychologist himself and a holder of MSW, M.PHIL(SOC), M.PHIL(CP) , will address these issues and many more. You are all welcome at AWARE today at 7pm. For more information, please call 25335280 ext 105 or e-mail:”

Tuesday, March 9, 2010



BSK triumphs on the soccer field


ollowing on from the many successes of the volleyball and basketball teams of The British School of Kuwait, it was time for the football teams to take their bow. After an excellent season of consistent results, the Under 19 BSK Boys team lifted the coveted Kuwait International Schools trophy after a thrilling win over local Salwa rivals Kuwait English School. In a fiercely contested game where skill and determination were on show in equal measure, the BSK boys fell behind after only a minute of the game when KES

took advantage of some sleepy defending to pounce and take an early lead. BSK took time to settle but when they did they lead from the front, with captain Mohammed Abdelhak scoring his first goal of the season with a clinical finish to level the score as half time approached. The teams stayed even but gradually BSK began to assert themselves on the opposition with the midfield pairing of Ali Al-Khazzam and Fawaz Al-Fahad controlling the game and Basel Abousedu and Jacob Abrahams operating as defensive rocks. As the

game neared the end, the ever dangerous Mohammed Al-QalIaf and Mohammed Housein combined down the right to slip in top scorer Abdulaziz AlAli who was felled as he was about to shoot. Abdulaziz picked himself up and confidently converted the penalty and BSK looked in command as the final whistle beckoned. Credit however to the KES boys, who began to put the BSK goal under siege and with the last kick of the game a goalmouth scramble resulted in an equalizer to send the game into

penalties. What a climax to a riveting game! The tension continued to mount when BSK’s Abdelhak and Al-Fahad had confidently dispatched their penalties along with the opposition. It was time for Abdullah Hamza in goal to be the hero, saving expertly to ensure the Abdulaziz Al-Ali had the last kick of the game, a powerfully taken penalty that lead to huge celebrations from the BSK boys and their fans a close but none the less well deserved victory and another sporting trophy in the burgeoning cabinet at BSK.

The Meat Co opens at 360 Mall


he Meat Co continues to expand its global footprint with the grand opening of its 15th trendsetting store - The Meat Co Kuwait last month. Located within “The Gardens” zone at the new 360 Mall, its design and décor takes inspiration from its surroundings. Dressed in a smouldering yet bold colour palette of copper, chocolate, magenta and red, the new Meat Co Kuwait immerses diners in the rich vivacity of its African heritage. Sheikha Fariha Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, sister of the Crown Prince of Kuwait was one of the many VIP guests there who were spotted getting into the rhythm of the African style entertainment showcased by the talented staff and included hi-energy singing, dancing and drumming. Scrumptious bite size canapés of The Meat Co’s a la carte menu provided guests with a

tantalizing taste of just what The Meat Co has to offer diners in Kuwait. At The Meat Co Kuwait, form is juxtaposed with function. Walls that resemble rustic wooden blocks subliminally reference chopping blocks and the restaurants main attraction for which it is world renowned: Steaks, so good, “You’ll leave home for “ them.” With a seating capacity of 200 people, The Meat Co’s emphasis on the simple yet sophisticated pleasures to be found in pure, unadulterated natural ingredients and product is further reflected in the use of natural textures and materials including brushed leather, rich wood and muslin. The energetic open plan kitchen dominates the red and chocolate brown-accented space and creates a sense of theatre, drawing diners in as active participants from the comfort of their sleek bench seating. The

custom designed furnishings with audacious amber lighting create the perfect excuse for gathering together and participating in a collective culinary event. Open air dining that is visible from the mall, is central to the cutting edge design and offers a diversity of seating experiences. Recessed booths secluded between wooden block walls create the suggestion of privacy without being closed off from the energetic activity of the open dining space, while circular and square wooden tables in the very heart of the restaurant, provides a lively and convivial culinary experience. Together with their global commitment to the highest levels of service excellence and the serving of the finest steaks in the world, The Meat Co Kuwait is well positioned to set a new precedence for dining experiences in the Middle East.


Al-Mulla Exchange hosts annual staff picnic


l-Mulla Exchange, the fastest growing Exchange Company in Kuwait, held their annual staff picnic at the Al-Mulla Group Spring Camp. The highly interactive day-long event, which has become a much anticipated occasion at the company, was attended by Exchange staff and their family members. The picnic was marked by fun and excitement and included various participatory sporting activities like cricket, football, volleyball and sack-race among others. Throughout the event, the upbeat music provided by the DJ had everyone swinging to the tunes. During the event, the General Manager of AlMulla Exchange, Faisal Athar Hussain, gave away Performance awards and certificates for the staff. With plenty of gifts and giveaways for children and others, everyone had a great day at the event.



any, many happy returns of the day to dear Jeena. Everyday is a new beginning. But today is very special day as it’s your birthday and that’s what makes this day all the more beautiful. Best wishes from Sayaed.

ESF learns about Kuwait democracy

appy Birthday to our darling Kimberly. You are four today and on this day, we extend our heartiest congratulations and joyful greetings and pray that God may shower His abundant and beautiful blessings to keep you in pink health and fulfill your cherished dreams in the years to come. These happy birthday wishes come to you from you loving mum Avilia, dad Edwin, aunt Cynthia, uncle/godfather John Baptist, aunt/godmother Nandita, cousins Ashton, Natanya, paternal and maternal grandparents and also from all your loving relatives in Kuwait, Goa, Mumbai, Bangalore and Portugal.

PASTCOS releases directory during celebrations


number of Kuwaiti students from The English School Fahaheel’s Year 6 recently visited the National Assembly as part of an exclusive visit to get better acquainted with Kuwait’s democratic system and constitution. Students were privileged to a guided tour of the premises and had a unique opportunity to meet with members of Parliament. ESF wishes to thank all officials at the National Assembly for inviting students on this exclusive field trip.


THANIMA musical night


he Human and Nostalgic Interaction of Malayalees Abroad (THANIMA, Kuwait) is holding a concert in honor of the late south Indian film lyricist Girish Puthanchery on Thursday, March 11, at United Indian School, Abbasiya at 7 pm. Popular music instrumentalists and singers will take part in the concert. All are welcome.

Music concerts


or the first time in Kuwait’s musical history, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, comprising of 45 talented musicians, will perform two gala concerts in Kuwait on March 17 and 18 at the Al-Hashemi Grand Ballroom of the Radisson Blu Hotel. The concerts will be held in collaboration with the Kuwait Chamber Philharmonia. For details, call 2567 3620, fax: 2565 2999 or email:

ala St Thomas College Old Students' Association (PASTCOS) Kuwait Chapter held a grand releasing ceremony of its directory along with the New Year and X-Mas celebrations on Jan 22, 2010, at Orma Auditorium Abbassiya Kuwait. Thet chief guest for the ceremony was internationally well reputed Statistics Professor and Researcher Dr K K Jose Kanichukattu; Principal, St Thomas College Pala. The chief guest explained the various roles, duties and contributions of alumni for their parent Institutions and reminded that the alumni working abroad are the ambassadors of the college. He also received the four scholarships instituted by PASTCOS Kuwait Chapter for the four meritorious poor students in Pala St Thomas College during the time of diamond jubilee of the college. The ceremony started with welcome speech by Tomy Cyriac Kanichukattu; the General Secretary; followed by presidential address by Lalgi George, the President. Also PASTCOS remembered the contributions and traditionally honored all the founders and senior members like Mohan George, Santosh Tom, Josekutty Mathew, Sunny Joseph, George Joseph Kanjamala, Kuriakose K Mundi yanickal, Jacob Palakeel, M P Sen, George Varghese, Zacharias Joseph, Alex Chandy, Mathew Joseph etc. Finally Treasurer Sunny Joseph Kurisummootil delivered the vote of thanks.

Reward offered for missing dog


ur beloved dog Spike is missing in Kuwait. He went missing two months ago when police raided the dog training school in Chabd. Spike is microchipped, well-trained and four-years-old. He has a white whisker on the left side of his mouth. If found, please contact 0096170894973 by SMS or email at We are currently in Beirut. A reward is guaranteed for his safe return.



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Orbit / Showtime Listings 21:45 How It’s Made 22:10 Mythbusters 23:00 Build It Bigger: Rebuilding Greensburg 23:50 Green Wheels



ith the latest, hottest comedies that are storming ratings around the world, you’ll be spoilt for choice this month when OSN Comedy brings riotous comedy with brand new series MODERN FAMILY and COMMUNITY. On Thursday, 11th March brand new comedy MODERN FAMILY will find its home on OSN COMEDY. From the Emmy® award-winning writers of Frasier, the mockumentary style series centres around three very different American family units who are being followed by a film crew. It quickly becomes apparent that they are anything but the husband + wife + 2.4 children. The show has already garnered considerable critical acclaim in the US: USA Today called it “smart, funny and well-cast”, Variety named it “one of the best comedy series in a long time” and Time Magazine found it “the funniest new family comedy of the year… very, very funny”. Plus, it has already attracted a big name guest star in the shape of Edward Norton,

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Kathy Griffin Prison Break Inside the Actors Studio Murdoch Mysteries Prison Break Supernatural Damages Kathy Griffin Big Love Saving Grace Inside the Actors Studio Murdoch Mysteries Damages Supernatural Inside the Actors Studio Prison Break Big Love Saving Grace ER Damages Dollhouse Flash Forward Burn Notice True Blood

00:50 The Heart Of A Lioness 01:45 Animal Cops Houston 02:40 Untamed And Uncut 03:35 I’m Alive 04:30 Animal Cops Philadelphia 05:25 Animal Precinct 06:20 Monkey Life 06:45 Shamwari: A Wild Life 07:10 Vet On The Loose 07:35 Rspca: Have You Got What It Takes? 08:00 Wildlife SOS 08:25 Pet Rescue 08:50 The Heart Of A Lioness 09:45 Corwin’s Quest 10:40 Britain’s Worst Pet 11:05 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 11:30 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 11:55 Monkey Life 12:20 Shamwari: A Wild Life 12:50 Animal Precinct 13:45 Vet On The Loose 14:10 Pet Rescue 14:40 Animal Cops Philadelphia 15:35 Wildlife SOS 16:00 Rspca: Have You Got What It Takes? 16:30 The Heart Of A Lioness 17:25 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 17:50 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 18:20 Britain’s Worst Pet 18:45 Animal Battlegrounds 19:15 Cell Dogs 20:10 Shark After Dark 21:10 Animal Cops Houston 22:05 Untamed And Uncut 23:00 Cell Dogs 23:55 Animal Cops Philadelphia

BBC ENTERTAINMENT 00:35 Holby City 01:25 A Year At Kew 01:55 A Year At Kew 02:25 Space Race 03:15 Cash In The Attic

who will play a band bassist in an episode later in the year. Life is not rigid, politically correct or tidy, but that’s exactly what makes it fun and interesting. Another series enjoying rave reviews and premiering on Wednesday, 10th March is COMMUNITY, a smart and snappy comedy about a band of misfits who attend Greendale Community College. The show is brought to you by Dan Harmon (“The Sarah Silverman Program”) and Emmy Award-winning directors Joe and Anthony Russo (“Arrested Development”). At the centre of the group is Jeff Winger (Joel McHale “), a fast-talkin’ lawyer whose degree has been revoked. With some help from his fellow classmates, Winger forms a study group who eventually learn more about themselves than their course work. Plus with a brand new ninth season of the ever brilliant SCRUBS premiering on Tuesday, 2nd March and the multi award winning 30 ROCK just months away OSN COMEDY is guaranteed to have you laughing all year long.

03:50 Holby City 04:40 Holby City 05:35 A Year At Kew 06:05 A Year At Kew 06:35 Bargain Hunt 07:20 Balamory 07:40 Fimbles 08:00 The Roly Mo Show 08:15 Tikkabilla 08:45 Yoho Ahoy 08:50 Little Robots 09:00 Balamory 09:20 Fimbles 09:40 The Roly Mo Show 09:55 Tikkabilla 10:25 Yoho Ahoy 10:30 Little Robots 10:40 Bargain Hunt 11:25 A Year At Kew 11:55 A Year At Kew 12:25 Space Race 13:15 The Weakest Link 14:00 Eastenders 14:30 Doctors 15:00 Bargain Hunt 15:45 Cash In The Attic 16:15 Red Dwarf 16:45 Red Dwarf 17:15 The Weakest Link 18:00 Doctors 18:30 Eastenders 19:00 Holby City 20:00 Holby City 21:00 The Weakest Link 21:45 Doctors 22:15 Eastenders 22:45 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries 23:35 Cherished

00:05 Ching’s Kitchen 00:30 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 01:20 Cash In The Attic Usa 01:45 Hidden Potential 02:15 Antiques Roadshow 03:15 Antiques Roadshow 04:15 Coleen’s Real Women 05:15 Cash In The Attic Usa 05:45 Hidden Potential 06:10 Living In The Sun 07:00 Coleen’s Real Women 08:00 Antiques Roadshow 09:00 Cash In The Attic Usa 09:25 Hidden Potential 09:45 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 10:30 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 11:30 Living In The Sun 12:20 Antiques Roadshow 13:10 Coleen’s Real Women 14:00 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 14:45 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 15:40 Daily Cooks Challenge 16:15 Daily Cooks Challenge 16:45 Cash In The Attic Usa 17:15 Hidden Potential 17:45 Antiques Roadshow 18:50 Antiques Roadshow 19:45 Daily Cooks Challenge 20:15 Daily Cooks Challenge 20:40 Masterchef Goes Large 21:10 Carluccio And The Renaissance Cookbook 22:00 Bargain Hunt 22:45 10 Years Younger 23:35 The Naked Chef

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Pavilion Of Women-18 Ma Place Au Soleil-PG15 Dad Savage-PG15 The Truman Show-PG15 Millions-PG15 Napoleon Part 1-PG Calendar Girls-PG15 Stolen Summer-PG Max-PG15 What Rats Won’t Do-PG15 Sexy Beast-PG15 The Contender-18

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Untamed & Uncut Miami Ink Street Customs 2008 American Chopper Beetle Crisis Campervan Crisis Mythbusters How Do They Do It? Dirty Jobs Man Made Marvels Asia Beetle Crisis Campervan Crisis Street Customs 2008 How Do They Do It? Mythbusters Ultimate Survival American Loggers How Do They Do It? How Do They Do It? American Chopper Miami Ink Mythbusters Dirty Jobs American Loggers Street Customs 2008 Destroyed In Seconds How Do They Do It? How Do They Do It? Industrial Junkie Industrial Junkie Man Made Marvels Asia Extreme Explosions

00:40 Giant Of The Skies: Building Airbus A380 01:30 Nextworld 02:20 Nyc: Inside Out 03:10 Mega Builders 04:00 Beyond Tomorrow 04:50 Ten Ways 05:45 How Stuff’s Made 06:10 Green Wheels 06:40 One Step Beyond 07:10 Nextworld 08:00 Thunder Races 09:00 Ten Ways 10:00 Nyc: Inside Out 10:55 How Stuff’s Made 11:20 Stuntdawgs 11:50 Nextworld 12:45 Green Wheels 13:10 One Step Beyond 13:40 Ten Ways 14:35 Nyc: Inside Out 15:30 Ipod Revolution 16:25 How Stuff’s Made 16:55 Thunder Races 17:50 Brainiac 18:45 World’s Biggest Airliner - A380 19:40 Build It Bigger: Rebuilding Greensburg 20:30 Green Wheels 20:55 Green Wheels 21:20 How It’s Made

00:15 Streets Of Hollywood 00:40 Ths 01:30 25 Most Stylish 02:20 Sexiest 03:15 Ths 05:05 Dr 90210 06:00 Ths 07:45 Style Star 08:10 Style Star 08:35 E! News 09:00 The Daily 10 09:25 Perfect Catch 10:15 Ths 11:05 Ths 12:00 E! News 12:25 The Daily 10 12:50 Wildest Tv Show Moments 13:15 Wildest Tv Show Moments 13:40 Cheating Death 15:25 Behind The Scenes 15:50 Behind The Scenes 16:15 E! Investigates 17:10 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 17:35 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 18:00 E! News 18:25 The Daily 10 18:50 Streets Of Hollywood 19:15 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 19:40 Ths 20:30 Ths 21:20 Kendra 21:45 Kendra 22:10 E! News 22:35 The Daily 10 23:00 Dr 90210 23:50 Wildest Tv Show Moments

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Dr G: Medical Examiner Fbi Files Dead Tenants Forensic Justice Dr G: Medical Examiner Forensic Detectives Amsterdam Vice Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghosthunters Ghosthunters Forensic Detectives Fbi Files Extreme Forensics The Prosecutors Forensic Detectives Fbi Files Guilty Or Innocent? Diagnosis: Unknown Fugitive Strike Force Forensic Detectives Fbi Files Extreme Forensics The Prosecutors Forensic Detectives Fbi Files Guilty Or Innocent? Diagnosis: Unknown Fugitive Strike Force Deadly Women Undercover

01:20 03:05 04:35 06:35 08:05 09:30 11:05 12:45 14:20 15:40 17:15 19:05 20:25 22:00 23:50

Wisdom Wish You Were Here The War At Home Virgin High The Glory Stompers Operation Lookout Prancer Arena The Trip A Green Journey The Wizard of Loneliness The Lost Brigade Crossplot Ulee’s Gold Something Wild

00:00 Billable Hours 00:30 Will and Grace 01:00 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 01:30 The Colbert Report 02:00 Best of Late night with Jimmy Fallon 03:00 Monday night Stand Up 04:30 Life & Times of Tim 05:00 Billable Hours 05:30 Best of Late night with Jimmy Fallon 06:30 Tyler Perry’s House of Payne 07:00 Home Improvement 07:30 Malcolm in the Middle 08:00 Coach 08:30 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 09:00 The Colbert Report 09:30 Drew Carey 10:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 10:30 Frasier 11:00 Til’ Death 11:30 Eight Simple Rules 12:00 Best of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson 13:00 Will and Grace 13:30 Tyler Perry’s House of Payne 14:00 Home Improvement 14:30 Malcolm in the Middle 15:00 Coach 15:30 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Drew Carey 17:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 17:30 Frasier 18:00 Eight Simple Rules 18:30 Til’ Death 19:00 Scrubs 19:30 Will and Grace 20:00 Best of Late night with Jimmy Fallon 21:00 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Reno 911 22:30 State of the Union 23:00 The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

00:00 The Martha Stewart Show 01:00 10 Years younger S3 01:30 Eat Yourself Sexy 02:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 03:00 Moms Get Real / Now you know / Amplified 04:00 Huey’s Cooking Adventures 04:30 Fresh 05:00 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 06:00 GMA (repeat) 08:00 Parenting 08:30 Popcorn 09:00 The Martha Stewart Show 10:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live! 11:00 Downsize Me S1 12:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 13:00 The Martha Stewart Show 14:00 Huey’s Cooking Adventures 14:30 Fresh 15:00 GMA Live 17:00 GMA Health 17:30 What’s the Buzz 18:00 Eat Yourself Sexy 18:30 10 Years younger S3 19:00 The View 20:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 21:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live! 22:00 The Tonight show with Jay Leno 23:00 The Monique Show

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Cass-18 The Clan-PG15 Frozen River-PG15 Uncross The Stars-PG Son Of Rambow-PG A Plumm Summer-PG15 Beverly Hills Chihuahua-PG Mostly Ghostly-PG Son Of Rambow-PG Glorious 39-PG15 Blood Diamond-PG15 The Brothers Bloom-PG15

01:30 Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead-18 03:00 The Patriot-PG15 05:45 The Other Side-PG15 07:30 From A Place Of Darkness 09:00 Circus-PG15 11:00 The Other Side-PG15 13:00 H.I.T.-PG15 15:00 Circus-PG15 17:00 Linewatch-18 19:00 Hotel California-18 21:00 The Art Of War III: Retribution-PG15 23:00 House Call-R

00:00 Jason Byrne Live At Vicar Street Theatre-PG15 02:00 Art School Confidential-PG15 04:00 Ghostbusters II-PG 06:00 Heartbreakers-PG15 08:00 Trapped In Paradise-PG15 10:00 My Name Is Bruce-PG15 12:00 Class Act-PG 14:00 More Of Me-PG15 16:00 Jason Byrne Live At Vicar Street Theatre-PG15 18:00 In Memory Of My Father20:00 The Break-Up Artist-PG15 22:00 Mallrats-PG15

00:00 Mucha Lucha! Return Of El Malefico-FAM 02:00 Madagascar 2-PG 04:00 Robin Hood: The Invincible Knight-FAM 06:00 Little Hercules In 3-D-PG15 08:00 Barbie - And The Diamond Castle-FAM 10:00 Robin Hood: The Invincible Knight-FAM 12:00 Dennis The Menace Strikes Again-PG 14:00 Madagascar 2-PG 16:00 Curious George: Follow That Monkey-PG 18:00 Hoot-PG 20:00 Scooby-Doo And The Loch Ness Monster-FAM

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Ugly Betty Desperate Housewives Sex and the City Sex and the City Smallville C.S.I Every Body Loves Raymond My Name is Earl Emmerdale

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Coronation Street Sons of Anarchy Every Body Loves Raymond My Name is Earl Smallville The Beast C.S.I Emmerdale Coronation Street Frasier My Name is Earl Ugly Betty Desperate Housewives Sons of Anarchy Smallville Emmerdale Coronation Street C.S.I: NY C.S.I: NY C.S.I Sons of Anarchy Sex and the City Sex and the City

01:00 Premier League Classics 03:30 Barclays Premier League Review 05:00 Premier League 14:00 Premier League 16:00 Premier League Classics 16:30 Premier League Classics 17:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 17:30 Premier League World 18:00 Premier League

01:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 01:30 Goals On Monday 03:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 03:30 European PGA Tour Highlights 04:30 World Sport 05:00 World Hockey 05:30 Premier League World 06:00 Mobil 1 06:30 Premier League Classics 07:00 Goals On Monday 08:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 09:00 Super 14 11:00 Weber Cup Bowling 12:00 World Hocky 12:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 13:00 Premier League Classics 13:30 Futbol Mundial 14:00 Goals On Monday 15:30 Super League 17:00 Weber Cup Bowling 18:00 Guinness Premiership 20:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 21:00 Futbol Mundial 21:30 Fut Brasil 22:15 Scottish Premier League Highlights

00:00 FIH Hockey World Cup 02:00 FIH Hockey World Cup 04:00 FIH Hockey World Cup 06:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 07:00 Portuguese Liga 09:00 Premier League World 09:30 Goals On Monday 11:00 Premier League Classics 11:30 Scottish Premier League 13:30 World Hockey 14:00 Live FIH Hockey World Cup 20:00 Super League 22:00 Futbol Mundial 22:30 Barclays Premier League Highlights 23:30 Premier League Classics

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00:55 Ryan’s Daughter 04:05 Off Set: Michael Douglas 05:00 The Screening Room 05:30 Poltergeist 07:30 The Screening Room 08:00 High Society 09:45 Please Don’t Eat The Daisies 11:35 The Wonderful World Of The Brothers... 13:40 Butterfield 8 15:25 The King And Four Queens 16:50 Easter Parade 18:30 Caveman 20:05 Mutiny On The Bounty 23:00 The Prize

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

Battle 360 Deep Sea Detectives Warriors Modern Marvels Deep Sea Salvage Ax Men Battle Stations Battle 360 Deep Sea Detectives Warriors Modern Marvels Deep Sea Salvage Ax Men Battle Stations Battle 360 Deep Sea Detectives Warriors Modern Marvels Deep Sea Salvage Ax Men Battle Stations Battle 360 Deep Sea Detectives Warriors Modern Marvels The Korean War The American Revolution Battle Stations

00:00 01:00 02:00 02:30 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 06:30 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 10:30 11:00 12:00 13:00 13:30 14:00 15:00 15:30 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:30 20:00

Clean House Peter Perfect Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane The Dish How Do I Look? Split Ends Dr 90210 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane Area How Do I Look? Style Star Style Her Famous My Celebrity Home Style Star Dress My Nest Peter Perfect Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Ruby Giuliana And Bill Clean House Clean House Comes Clean Dress My Nest What I Hate About Me Split Ends Dallas Divas And Daughters The Dish Running In Heels Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane Split Ends

00:00 01:00 01:30 02:00 03:00 03:30 04:00 04:30 05:00 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 13:00 14:00 14:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:30 20:00 21:00 21:30 22:00 22:30

Globe Trekker Angry Planet The Thirsty Traveler Planet Food Floyd Uncorked Travel Today Essential Chef Abroad Globe Trekker Swiss Railway Journeys The Thirsty Traveler Angry Planet Globe Trekker Essential Destination Cuba Distant Shores Distant Shores Chef Abroad Entrada Planet Food Globe Trekker Chef Abroad The Thirsty Traveler Feast India Entrada Planet Food Globe Trekker Skier’s World Hollywood And Vines Chef Abroad The Thirsty Traveler Globe Trekker Taste Of The Caribbean Chef Abroad Chef Abroad Essential

00:00 01:00 01:30 02:00 02:30 03:00 04:00 07:00 09:00 11:00

Music For The Masses Pixie Lott 2009 La Roux 2009 Vh1 Rocks Smells Like The 90s Greatest Hits Vh1 Music Chill Out Vh1 Hits Vh1 Music

00:00 00:30 01:00 01:30 02:30 03:00 03:30 04:00 04:30 05:00 05:30 06:00 06:30 07:00 07:30 08:30 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:30 13:30 14:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 16:30 17:00 17:30 18:30 19:30 20:30 21:00 21:30

Word Travels Pressure Cook Pressure Cook Cruise Ship Diaries Bondi Rescue Destination Extreme Surfer’s Journal Treks In A Wild World Madventures Chasing Time Word Travels Word Travels Pressure Cook Pressure Cook Cruise Ship Diaries Bondi Rescue Destination Extreme Surfer’s Journal Treks In A Wild World Madventures Chasing Time Don’t Tell My Mother... Lonely Planet Lonely Planet Bondi Rescue Destination Extreme Surfer’s Journal Treks In A Wild World Madventures Chasing Time Don’t Tell My Mother... Lonely Planet Lonely Planet Bondi Rescue Destination Extreme Surfer’s Journal

NCAA Basketball WWE Vintage Collection Bushido UFC - The Ultimate Fighter UFC - The Ultimate Fighter UFC - The Ultimate Fighter WWE NXT UAE National Race Day FIM World Cup Ironman NCAA Basketball Bushido WWE NXT Red Bull X-Fighters UAE National Race Day Ironman NCAA Basketball NCAA Basketball UFC - The Ultimate Fighter Live Premier League

01:00 Balls Out The Gary Houseman Story-R 03:00 Talk To Me-PG15 05:00 Stan Lee: Mosaic-PG 07:00 Barack Obama: The Man And His Journey-PG 09:00 Into The Storm-PG15 11:00 Things That Hang From Trees-PG15 13:00 Dog Days Of Summer-PG 15:00 Diamonds Pt 2-PG15 17:00 Into The Storm-PG15 19:00 21-PG15 21:00 A Shine Of Rainbows-PG15 23:00 No Country For Old MenPG15

Talk To Me on Super Movies

Star Listings (UAE Timings) STAR Movies 20:35 VIP Access 21:05 In Tranzit 22:55 Dim Sum Funeral 00:30 Xtra Credit 02:00 Carrie 03:35 Supernova 05:05 In Tranzit 06:55 Dim Sum Funeral 08:30 Xtra Credit 09:55 Carrie 11:30 Supernova 13:00 Phantom Racer 14:25 City On Fire 15:50 What Happens In Vegas 17:30 Titanic STAR World 20:00 Kyle XY 20:50 Married With Children 21:00 Reaper 21:50 Different Strokes 22:00 Stone Undercover 22:50 Married With Children 23:00 Criminal Minds S2 23:50 Married With Children 00:00 Reaper 00:50 Different Strokes

01:00 01:50 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 08:30 09:00 09:50 10:00 10:50 11:00 11:50 12:00 12:50 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:50 15:00 15:50 16:00 17:00 18:00

Stone Undercover Married With Children Kyle XY [V] Tunes [V] Tunes [V] Tunes 7th Heaven The Goode Family The King Of Queens According To Jim According To Jim Criminal Minds S2 Married With Children Brothers & Sisters Different Strokes Kyle XY Married With Children Reaper Married With Children The King Of Queens The Bold And The Beautiful 7th Heaven Different Strokes Grey’s Anatomy Married With Children [V] Tunes Criminal Minds S2 The Goode Family

18:30 The King Of Queens 19:00 According To Jim 19:30 According To Jim Granada TV 20:30 Shampoo 21:00 Total Emergency 22:00 Emmerdale 22:30 Coronation Street 23:00 Total Emergency 00:00 The Paul O’Grady Show 01:00 Trinny And Susannah Undress (Series 1) 02:00 Mystery Tuesday: Secret Smile 03:30 Strange But True? (Series 4) 04:00 Weather From Hell 05:00 Emmerdale 05:30 Coronation Street 06:00 The Paul O’Grady Show 07:00 Trinny And Susannah Undress (Series 1) 08:00 Mystery Tuesday: Secret Smile 09:30 Strange But True? (Series 4) 10:00 New Homes From Hell 11:00 Emmerdale 11:30 Coronation Street 12:00 The Paul O’Grady Show 13:00 The Crunch 14:00 Mystery Tuesday: Secret Smile 15:30 Strange But True? (Series 4)

16:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 19:00

Emmerdale Coronation Street The Paul O’Grady Show The Crunch Mystery Tuesday: Secret Smile

Channel [V] 21:00 Keys To The VIP 22:00 [V] Plug 22:30 The Playlist 23:00 Loop 00:00 Backtracks 01:00 Double Shot 02:00 [V] Plug 02:30 The Playlist 03:00 Loop 04:00 The List 05:00 [V] Tunes 06:00 Double Shot 07:00 Backtracks 08:00 Loop 09:00 [V] Plug 09:30 Double Shot 10:00 Backtracks 11:00 [V] Tunes 12:00 [V] Plug 12:30 The Playlist 13:00 Loop

14:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00

[V] Countdown Backtracks [V] Tunes [V] Plug The Playlist Loop [V] Countdown

Fox News 20:00 Happening Now 22:00 The Live Desk 00:00 Studio B with Shepard Smith Live 01:00 Your World with Neil Cavuto 02:00 Glenn Beck with Glenn Beck 03:00 Special Report with Bret Baier 04:00 The FOX Report with Shepard Smith 05:00 The O’Reilly Factor 06:00 Hannity 07:00 On the Record with Greta Van Susteren 08:00 The O’Reilly Factor 09:00 Hannity 10:00 On the Record with Greta Van Susteren 11:00 Glenn Beck with Glenn Beck 12:00 Fox Report 13:00 Special Report with Bret Baier 14:00 The O’Reilly Factor 15:00 FOX & Friends First Live 16:00 FOX & Friends Live

18:00 America’s Newsroom 19:00 America’s Newsroom National Geographic Channel 20:00 Megastructures -Sea Launch 21:00 Helicopter Wars -Taliban Gambit 22:00 Megastructures -Super Sub 23:00 Theme Week -Inside Afghan ER 00:00 Air Crash Investigation -Dead Weight S5 01:00 ABOUT ASIA -Flight Of The Elephants 02:00 Situation Critical -Miracle At Quecreek 03:00 Animal Extractors -Snake Attack S1-8 04:00 Animal Autopsy -Whale 05:00 ABOUT ASIA -Flight Of The Elephants 06:00 Meet The Natives - USA -The Suburbans 3 07:00 Built For The Kill -Packs 08:00 Situation Critical -Miracle At Quecreek 09:00 Hayden Turner’s Wildlife Chall -Crabs 6 09:30 Hidden Worlds -Antelope Of The Kings 10:00 Theme Week -Inside : Air Force One 11:00 Air Crash Investigation -Dead Weight S5 12:00 ABOUT ASIA -Flight Of The Elephants 13:00 Long Way Down -Gentlemen,Start Your Engines 1 14:00 Cruise Ship Diaries -Inspectors On Board 2 15:00 Theme Week -Inside : Air Force One

Monday, March 9, 2010

33 8-3-2010

ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available with a Keralite family for Keralite couples in a two bedroom C-AC flat near Integrated Indian school Abbassiya. Please contact: 99255235. (C 20426) Sharing accommodation available in Kuwait City. Please call: 97527233. (C 20425) 9-3-2010 Sharing accommodation available for Keralite or Indian bachelor in Sharq Kuwait City with all facilities. Contact: 97964063. (C 20419) Sharing accommodation available in Farwaniya from 1st April in a flat with facilities kitchen, A/C, cupboard, satellite, buses convenient. Contact: 66021273/97449273, 24751664. (C 20418) Flat for rent with furniture 2BR, 2 toilet + kitchen, hall, 2 balconies, new building with reserved car parking decent location very close to Salmiya RC Church & Takkar Bhelpuri shop. Contact: 66764062. (C 20424) Single room with separate toilet wanted for an executive preferably with decent Christian family. Contact: 66764062. (C 20423)

Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya for Keralite Christian couple/working ladies in a CAC 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom flat, near Rainbow center/Eden store from March 25. Contact: 97143449. (C 20417) Sharing available in studio room with Mangalorean Catholic bachelor close to Khaitan cinema Garnatha. Contact: 66036893. (C 20416) 7-3-2010 Sharing accommodation available in Sharq near Amiri hospital, in 2BHK CAC separate bathroom with Keralite family, for family, working ladies or executive bachelors. Contact: 97675851. 6-3-2010 Abaraq Khaitan, single room available for executive bachelor / lady opp Kuwait clinic beside the main road, new building, from 1st April. Contact: 97523316/ 24745162. (C 20411) 5-3-2010 Sharing accommodation available for couples or working ladies in Abbassiya. Please contact: 66538532. (C 20404) Accommodation available for non-smoking

bachelor in 2 BR CA/C flat in Abbassiya near Integrated School. Contact: 97199124. (C 20407) Sharing accommodation available for Indian bachelor to share with other Indian bachelors at Salmiya behind Apollo hospital in CA/C building. Contact: 97961405. (C 20405) Room available to share with a working lady at Salmiya, close to Indian Community senior school, working ladies/girls. Contact: 66231580. (C 20408) 4-3-2010 Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya for Keralite couples only KD 50/month. Contact: 97145592. (C 20402) Sharing accommodation (fully furnished room) available for an executive bachelor with Keralite family, near Classic typing center, Abbassiya. Call 66829585. (C 20401) Sharing accommodation available with food for 2 Goan or Manglorean bachelors to share with a Goan family in Abbassiya. Contact: 66269035. (C 20399) Nangangai langan 2 pilipinang bed spacer sa Salmiya, likod ng Gulf Mart. tumawag sa

99101530 or 99132471. (C 20400) 3-3-2010

FOR SALE 2002 model GMC Envoy, white, sunroof, full options very good condition, KD 1,650. Contact: 99098766. (C 20421) 8-3-2010 Items for sale in a 2 bedroom central AC flat in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, it in adjacent to Integrated Indian School and Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan. Contact: 66482318. (C 20414) 7-3-2010 Audi TT 2008 convertible black and red turbo mileage 40,000 km with best condition, special order from Al Ghanim. Tel: 99983300. (C 20410) Furniture and household items, flat with two bedroom sitting dining balcony two full toilets extra kitchen table and cabinet, central A/C available near City Center Salmiya. Contact: 97201151. (C 20413) 5-3-2010

1997 Mercedes Benz Class for sale, insurance up to 14th Feb 2011. Please contact: 99256044. Corolla 1.8 2003 model, totally maintained by Al Sayer, all 4 tyres new top condition, price KD 1800. Phone: 97848077. (C 20403) 4-3-2010

MATRIMONIAL Orthodox parents (in Kerala during April) invite proposals for their son 27/172 cm, M.Com PGDBA employed in MNC at Kuwait from parents of Orthodox/Jacobite/ Marthoma girls suitably qualified and employed at

Kuwait. Contact email: (C 20415) 7-3-2010 Proposals invited for a well qualified Marthomite boy, 28 years and working as an HR - officer at a hospital in Kuwait. BSc nurses working at MOH or any other professionals preferred. Interested candidates may contact with full details and photo to: (C 20412) 5-3-2010

CHANGE OF NAME I, Santokh Singh Tung Pritam Singh, holder Indian Passport No: G2644269 hereby change my name to Santokh Singh Tung. (C 20409) 5-3-2010

BABY SITTING Baby sitting available near Carmel School, Khaitan, with motherly care, and flexible timing. Contact: 66434840, 66436458, 55283525. (C 20422) 8-3-2010


Live-in Indian driver required for an Indian family with transferable residence 18 or 20. Contact: 22406645. (C 20406) 4-3-2010

No: 14662



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


403 857 215 510 0303 0493 0239 0125 0217 0367 519 2101 227 982 2003 473 1025 502 542 674 618 166 093 786 614 774 104 552 458 512 0647 618 0459 0343 993 217 402 0136 859 0443 1129 0449 0429 091 0117 0187 389 636 1029 205


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




Time 00:01 00:05 00:35 00:40 00:50 01:20 03:15 03:15 03:50 04:10 05:00 06:10 07:00 07:00 07:35 07:40 07:45 07:50 07:55 08:30 08:35 08:55 09:15 09:25 09:35 09:35 09:40 10:00 10:20 11:40 11:45 11:50 11:50 11:55 12:00 12:00 12:15 12:20 12:25 13:00 13:30 13:40 13:55 14:20 14:30


342 0216 8292 0458 617 511 501 773 613 801 0135 404 216 0304 858 0126 0262 511 0184 0116 0448 082 0428 520 228 283 361 343 351 0648 619 457 218 171 801 675 403 102 381 0137 301 860 0443 0526 0502 411


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



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Calvin Aries (March 21-April 19) Things are happening

and your career or path depends upon your own ambition and drive—which are strong now. You are able to use your good sense about financial risks and you make the right moves. It is time now to get ahead by taking action. More and more of your time will be freed for people skills. There could be boring and complicated work ahead, but you are able to handle it. An important relationship, perhaps a young person or someone in your near environment may come into focus today. There could be an emotional overtone to all of this that may require understanding and flexibility on your part. The most interesting person you will meet in your life could be you! Slow down and enjoy the quiet times . . . hear the birds? Taurus (April 20-May 20) Before the conversation

begins, think through the important matters that are up for discussion; particularly concerning business. Clear communication is important. You could find that you are appreciated for your ability to act and get things done. There is comfort and ease in your daily routine. Business get-togethers after work call for networking—as often as you can. Being more involved with neighbors or siblings satisfies a deep emotional need. Relations with your friends are strong and carefree. There will be opportunities to be with your family members in a positive gathering this evening. Perhaps an evening out for dinner or a movie is in the making. Everything comes together beautifully and you are at your most elegant.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. An aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect. 5. East Indian tree bearing a profusion of intense vermilion velvettextured blooms and yielding a yellow dye. 8. Inquire about. 11. The inner and longer of the two bones of the human forearm. 12. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 13. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 14. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 15. A digital display that uses liquid crystal cells that change reflectivity in an applied electric field. 16. Thigh of a hog (usually smoked). 17. (astronomy) The angular distance of a celestial point measured westward along the celestial equator from the zenith crossing. 18. Before noon. 20. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 23. Being one more than two. 24. A genus of Ploceidae. 27. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 28. Tropical starchy tuberous root. 29. An open sore on the back of a horse caused by ill-fitting or badly adjusted saddle. 32. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 36. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 40. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 41. A self-funded retirement plan that allows you to contribute a limited yearly sum toward your retirement. 42. (informal) Exceptionally good. 45. Tag the base runner to get him out. 46. A light touch or stroke. 47. English monk and scholar (672-735). 48. Relating to or containing the azo radical. 49. A Kwa language spoken by the Yoruba people in southwestern Nigeria. 50. At any time. 51. A zodiacal constellation in northern hemisphere between Cancer and Virgo. DOWN 1. A low woody perennial plant usually having several major branches. 2. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 3. A nucleic acid that transmits genetic information from DNA to the cytoplasm. 4. A small cake leavened with yeast. 5. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 10 liters. 6. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 7. A family of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in southeastern Asia. 8. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 9. The act of scanning. 10. God of love and erotic desire. 19. A master's degree in fine arts. 21. A conversation between two persons. 22. A doctor's degree in education. 25. A public promotion of some product or service. 26. An informal term for a father. 30. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 31. (South African) A camp defended by a circular formation of wagons. 33. Obvious and dull. 34. Affect with wonder. 35. Used as a Hindi courtesy title. 37. Any of various strong liquors distilled from the fermented sap of toddy palms or from fermented molasses. 38. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 39. A French abbot. 40. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 43. Rate of revolution of a motor. 44. A sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) There is a willingness now to conform more to the norm and less insistence on showing your independence. Your social life may also be toned down a bit to allow more concentration on success with your financial production. This is short-term; however, you might feel that some avenues of support have been changed. In actuality, you are given an opportunity to grow and create. There is an instinctive imperative to be powerful and in control—pulling the strings— may lead to greater interest or experience in healing and investing. You may join your friends this evening in a group activity that encourages movement. Everything is beginning to get a sense of balance and you will be wise to remember and mirror this day in the future.

Non Sequitur

Cancer (June 21-July 22) This morning calls for clear and sharp thinking. It is easy to organize your thoughts—communication of all kinds is encouraged. This may mean it is your turn to do the book report or teach or influence higher ups about some long-term difficulty. All sorts of communicative activity is encouraged. There is a lot of motivation for disciplined work, but push too hard and you may have a lot of difficulty. This afternoon you are in the mood to begin reading or writing your book, take that course, or use your mind in some other constructive way. A family member calls this evening and relays some interesting news. This evening you will find some fun times with a friend that you feel you can really open up to and be expressive. Leo (July 23-August 22) You will be picking up new ideas all day; like a radio receiver. The air is electric and your mind is wide open. This is a very lucky day for making plans or decisions and finding your way through just about any problem you discover. Self-discipline and a sense of self-worth are important issues in your life. A fear of asserting yourself can hold you back—as can coming on too strong. Good advice from a guide or older person may be forthcoming and it is all positive. This is a good day. Other people’s ideas that just seemed impossible to you are not quite impossible after-all. This may be travel to parts unknown or snow-ski or, etc. An attractive co-worker catches your eye and there could be a battle with your thoughts—careful.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) You hit the day running and there are lots of things to accomplish. Human interaction and experience involves processing information in order to make decisions—today you may have to allow yourself some time to think about the options before making a decision. Quick decisions can be hazardous in some cases, so slow down a bit. Take some time during your lunch break to read, listen to music or walk. Ideas and thoughts will have greater meaning and form just now. You are particularly creative and taking advantage of this creative energy is a good idea. Giving flowers or some other token of esteem could bring surprising results, particularly to a sick friend or neighbor. Close relationships take on more emotional depth, power and importance. Libra (September 23-October 22) You could make poor choices this morning if you do not slow down a bit. This means that after you get to work you are still running. You are trying to beat the traffic or you jerk the phone up, off your desk so very fast, that you could knock something over and break it. Slow down a bit and mistakes will happen less often. It may be difficult to relax today, just because so much is on the agenda. You are good at what you do, but . . . taking caution when you are in a hurry is always a good idea. This afternoon you may spend more time with your head down, writing, translating, proofing, etc. Aim for a balance in order to maintain your stamina. Speaking, teaching or becoming involved in some fun activity will help you to clear away the stress.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) There is a tendency

for you to be extremely hard-working, particularly today. This is a day you could set examples and make much progress. Be practical in how you use your energy. Try to involve yourself in projects that need to be finished before going on to something else. This will lead to a feeling of accomplishment and help you to see the results of your hard work. Check all areas of a project to rule out any mistakes. Renovations and spring-cleaning can be initiated later this afternoon by starting with one room or one portion of the house a day. When this weekend rolls around, you will be the first to have a party. This is an excellent week to work on joint finances in order to work out satisfactory future security for each family member. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) There are opportunities today to become extremely communicative to your associates. This is a most beneficial time to exchange ideas and create some good friends or associates. It is also a good time to be with others in an atmosphere of work. You could be thinking about using the home as a means to do some work in the future. Additionally, it is a favorable time to line up and plan for repairs or refurbishing tasks at home. Although you are usually healthy you need a good exercise activity on a regular basis to keep you feeling fit. Exercising with others is fun and you may look for ways to involve another person in regular times for this activity. The sudden need to push your physical strength probably comes from viewing healthy friends or family members.

Yesterday’s Solution

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) It


Yesterday’s Solution


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

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

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

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

Word Sleuth Solution

seems that after all the confusion and frustrations; you once again have everything in control. Everything points to your taking the initiative. You could feel great support from those around you and there are circumstances that dictate your taking action. Clear-minded insight into your own plans and methods is available. This is a very good time to communicate your goals and put them into words—also a good time for making decisions. You will find yourself striving for complete domestic happiness. Consolidate your friendships, strengthening them before you forget each other. Planning future gatherings can be lots of fun. By the way, this is one of your better days for money! Perhaps there will be a gift in the mail or a refund received. Aquarius (January 20- February 18) A financial surprise resulting from some investment or a bonus that you or your mate will receive soon is a positive. You have magic in the house—the flower essence remedies. The flower essence remedies are wonderful tools for relaxation and you may think the good changes that have happen recently may be the cause of these remedies. Some of the changes did not happen because of the flower essence—however, it certainly made things peaceful and open to creative thinking. Your earning power is steadily increasing and you are learning to appreciate and respect money—this is fun! If you are not on vacation today, take a little trip to a romantic restaurant or a good movie this evening. It is time to enjoy the company of your loved ones. Pisces (February 19-March 20) There is an overflow of responsibilities that may be in front of you for the duration of this day. The stress, however, can be just as fun as the rewards. These extra pushes that you do to perform at you best, helps you to be more creative, and in turn, productive. When you are not in high gear, you can become listless. You will burn yourself out and cause old age to come quicker if you drive yourself too fast, too often. Give yourself time to think this one over before becoming involved in so much stress. You may be of tremendous help to an associate or stranger because of your compassionate nature. Communicating and getting your message across to others is at a high just now. This is a good day, with lots of ambition.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

35 FIRE BRIGADE Operation Room 777 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


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North Jahra


North Jleeb














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


PHARMACY Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

PHONE 23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638


Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554


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

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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

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Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari Dr. Abdel Quttainah

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Family Doctor: Dr Divya Damodar 23729596/23729581

Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr.

Zahra Qabazard Sohail Qamar Snaa Maaroof Pradip Gujare Zacharias Mathew

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(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. Abidallah Behbahani 25717111 Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer 22610044 Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher 25327148

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

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

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

25655535 Dentists:

Dr Anil Thomas


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed


Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari



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

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

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

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


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


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


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


Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr


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

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

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

82nd Academy Awards

‘Hurt Locker’ brings Oscar glory to woman filmmaker he Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow battled her way into Oscar history books Sunday, topping her movie’s best film honor with her own Academy Award for directing to become the first woman ever to earn that distinction. The low-budget film, which has earned $20 million at box offices, picked up six awards in all and bested “Avatar,” directed by Bigelow’s ex-husband James Cameron. “Avatar” is the top-grossing movie of all time with $2.5 billion. In a ceremony that harkened back to old Hollywood with glamour, music and comedy, the gritty drama about a squad of bomb-defusing specialists also secured writer Mark Boal the Academy Award for original screenplay and claimed honors for film editing, sound editing and mixing. “This really is, there’s no other way to describe it, it’s the moment of a lifetime,” said Bigelow, the first female best director in the Academy Awards’ 82-year history. She said she hoped to be the “first of many” women filmmakers to win the honor and that the female modifier “would be a moot point” in the future. Boal highlighted the str uggle to make the movie when only a few years ago in Hollywood money for such tr ue-life drama was hard to find after audiences turned their backs on war films. “This has been a dream, beyond a dream,” said Boal, a journalist who was embedded with US troops in Iraq. At best, he said, the film’s makers hoped “we would find a distributor and someone would like the movie.” For its part, “Avatar” walked away with three Oscars, but in technical categories-visual effects, cinematography and ar t direction.


FAMILY NIGHT AT OSCAR Veteran Jeff Bridges claimed best actor for playing a drunken country singer in drama “Crazy Heart.” The son of Hollywood star Lloyd Bridges held his trophy high over his head, looking to the heavens and thanking his deceased parents. “Mom and Dad, yeah,” he shouted. “Thank you Mom and Dad for turning me on to such a groovy profession.” Sandra Bullock was named best actress for “The Blind Side” in a first for the actress once dubbed “America’s Sweethear t” because she won so many early fans in her romantic comedies. For “The Blind Side,” however, she took the part of a real-life, strong-willed mother who helps take a homeless youth off the street and makes him into a football success. “Did I really ear n this, or did I just wear you all down?” she joked on the Oscars stage.

Oscar winners (From left) Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Greg Shapiro celebrate the Best Picture Oscar for The Hurt Locker at the 82nd Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California on Sunday. —AP/AFP photos

Kathryn Bigelow accepts the Oscar for best achievement in directing for ‘The Hurt Locker’ from presenter Barbara Streisand. She held back tears when thanking her own mother, whom she called “a trailblazer” and major influence in her own life. “To the moms who take care of the babies, no matter where they come from. Those moms never get thanked,” Bullock said. Family film “Up,” one of the best-reviewed movies of 2009, won two Oscars for best animated movie and original score with its tale of an elderly man who ties balloons to his home and flies off on an adventure with a young boy. Dark drama “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” also earned two Oscars including best supporting actress for Mo’Nique and, in another piece of Academy Award histor y,

Hosts Steve Martin, left and Alec Baldwin, shake hands as the cast and crew of “The Hurt Locker” celebrate on stage after winning the Oscar for best motion picture.

adapted screenplay for writer Geoffrey Fletcher, who became the first African American to claim that honor. RECALLING HOLLYWOOD HISTORY Mo’Nique told reporters backstage that in her hair she wore the same gardenia Hattie McDaniel had when she won supporting actress in “Gone With the Wind”-a trailblazing win because it was the first ever Oscar for an African American. “I want to thank Miss Hattie McDaniel for enduring all she had to so that I would not have to,” Mo’Nique said on stage. Austrian actor Christoph Waltz won best supporting actor for his turn as a menacing Nazi officer in revenge fantasy “Inglourious Basterds,” which follows a band of American Jews killing their enemies behind lines during World War Two. But it was the only trophy Quentin

Winner for Writing (Original Screenplay) Mark Boal for ‘The Hurt Locker’.

Winner for Writing (Adapted Screenplay) Geoffrey Fletcher for ‘Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire’.

Tarantino’s “Basterds” could claim from eight nods, behind nine apiece for “Hurt Locker” and “Avatar.” Oscar organizers promised a fast-paced show with lots of laughs from co-hosts Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. And af ter an old-style musical from by Neil Patrick Harris with showgirls and men in tuxedos and tails, Baldwin and Martin put on a stand-up routine picking out stars in the audience. “There’s that damn Helen Mirren,” Martin said. “No Steve, that’s Dame Helen Mirren,” Baldwin came back. On the red carpet fashion parade before the awards, Hollywood’s leading ladies like Bullock, Cameron Diaz and Zoe Saldana dazzled fans with gowns in many colors and shimmering metallics. Choices were bold and less restrained than in previous awards shows this season. —Reuters

BEST PICTURE “The Hurt Locker” BEST ACTOR Jeff Bridges for “Crazy Heart” BEST ACTRESS Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side” DIRECTOR Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM “The Secret in Their Eyes” (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) SUPPORTING ACTOR Christoph Waltz for “Inglourious Basterds” SUPPORTING ACTRESS Mo’Nique for “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Mark Boal for “The Hurt Locker” ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Geoffrey Fletcher for “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” ANIMATED FEATURE “Up” by Pete Docter ANIMATED SHORT FILM “Logorama” by Nicolas Schmerkin ART DIRECTION Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg for art direction and Kim Sinclair for set decoration on “Avatar” COSTUME DESIGN Sandy Powell for “The Young Victoria” MAKEUP Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow for “Star Trek” CINEMATOGRAPHY Mauro Fiore for “Avatar” LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM “The New Tenants” by Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson DOCUMENTARY FEATURE “The Cove” by Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens for ‘Roadside Attractions’ DOCUMENTARY SHORT “Music by Prudence” by Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett VISUAL EFFECTS Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones for “Avatar” SOUND EDITING Paul NJ Ottosson for “The Hurt Locker” SOUND MIXING Paul NJ Ottosson and Ray Beckett for “The Hurt Locker” FILM EDITING Bob Murawski and Chris Innis for “The Hurt Locker” ORIGINAL SCORE Michael Giacchino for “Up” ORIGINAL SONG “The Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart” music and lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett. —Reuters

Richard Baneham, Andrew R. Jones, Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum From left, Richard Baneham, Andrew R. Jones, Joe Letteri, and Stephen Rosenbaum accept the Oscar for best achievement in visual effects for “Avatar”.

Key facts about Oscar winner Sandra Bullock Winner for Best Actress in a Leading Role Sandra Bullock.

The cast and crew of ‘El Secreto de Sus Ojos’ accepts the Oscar for best foreign language film.

fter a 20-year career, Sandra Bullock won the best actress Oscar and her first Academy Award for her role in “The Blind Side.” Here are a few details on Bullock: * Bullock was born on July 26, 1964, in Arlington, Virginia, the daughter of a German opera singer. * Her family moved back to the Washington area when she was a teenager and she later enrolled in a university in


Christoph Waltz poses backstage with the Oscar for best performance by an actor in a supporting role for ‘Inglourious Basterds’.

North Carolina to study acting. She dropped out and moved to New York in 1986 to pursue acting in earnest. She joined the Neighborhood Playhouse Theatre, where she took acting classes. * She came to prominence as an aspiring country singer in “The Thing Called Love”she performed her own song “Heaven Knocking on My Door”-and then as a perky police officer in the big-budget sci-fi film “Demolition Man.”

* Her break-through film was the 1994 bomb-on-the-bus blockbuster “Speed” with Keanu Reeves. * “While You Were Sleeping” followed in 1995 winning Bullock a Golden Globe nomination. Other films include “In Love and War” (1996), “28 Days” (2000) and “Miss Congeniality” (2000) and “Two Weeks Notice” (2002). * Bullock took on more serious roles with “Crash” (2004),”Infamous” (2006) and “Premonition” (2007). In “Infamous,” she played writer Harper Lee in the Truman Capote drama. * Bullock had a career breakthrough with “The Blind Side,” based on the true-life story of African-American professional football player Michael Oher. Playing Leigh Anne Tuohy, she stars as a suburban wife and mother who brings Oher (played by Quinton Aaron), a homeless teenager, into her family and helps him overcome his personal challenges. * Apart from the Best Actress Oscar, Bullock won a Golden Globe for her work on the film. * Bullock was given the Hollywood spoof, “Razzie” award on Saturday for worst female performance in “All About Steve.” No performer has ever won a Razzie and an Oscar the same year. —Reuters

Actress Sigourney Weaver stands with Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg and Kim Sinclair as they celebrate their Oscar for Achievement in Art Director for ‘Avatar’.

Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow celebrate their Oscar for Achievement in Makeup for “Star Trek”.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


82nd Academy Awards

Why Oscar chose ‘Hurt Locker’ over ‘Avatar’ y the time “The Hurt Locker” won the best picture Oscar Sunday, it seemed almost a foregone conclusion since it previously earned honors from the Producers Guild, BAFTA, Broadcast Film Critics, the National Society of Film Critics and critics groups in New York, LA and elsewhere. But “Hurt Locker” was anything but a sure thing. In a historical context, its win is surprising. After all, it is


(From left) Best Actor and Best Actress nominees Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Helen Mirren, Colin Firth, Carey Mulligan, Morgan Freeman, Gabourey Sidibe, Jeremy Renner are on stage .

Ben Stiller in makeup as a character from the movie ‘Avatar’. the lowest-grossing best picture winner of all time; it was never on more than 535 screens; and it beat the highest-grossing movie in modern history, one that has been playing on thousands of screens for nearly three months. In the era of blockbusters, “Locker” cost a mere $11 million to make compared with the more than $230 million cost of “Avatar.” To earn its gold, “Hurt Locker” had to break what producer Greg Shapiro called “The Iraq War Curse,” referring to all the movies touching on that conflict that had failed to find an audi-

Mo’Nique is 5th black woman to win acting Oscar

Mo’nique with her Oscar for a Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Prescious. o’Nique became the fifth black woman to win an acting Oscar on Sunday night, 70 years after Hattie McDaniel became the first to do so for “Gone with the Wind.” The 42-year-old standup comedienne portrayed an abusive mother in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.” “I want to thank Miss Hattie McDaniel for enduring all she had to so that I would not have to,” Mo’Nique said in accepting the Oscar. Her character, Mary Jones, is terrifying and violent and reveals her own brutalized past in the end. Mo’Nique, who hosts The Mo’Nique Show on BET, was the overwhelming favorite in the run-up to the Oscars, having racked up supporting actress wins at the Golden Globes, Spirit Awards and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, among others. In the supporting actress category, the only other black Academy Award winners were Jennifer Hudson for “Dreamgirls” (2006) and Whoopi Goldberg for “Ghost” (1990). Halle Berry is the only black Oscar winner in the best actress category, earning the honor for “Monster’s Ball” (2001). Seven black men have won acting awards, including Denzel Washington, who won best actor for “Training Day” (2001) and best supporting actor for “Glory” (1989). —AP


ence. It had to weather attacks in the media and from some in the military who questioned the realism of how it portrayed the bombremoval unit. The film also drew censure for the illicit campaign methods of one of its producers, the first to be banned from attending the Academy Awards. And it had to win with backing from Summit Entertainment, a relatively new and small distributor that had never before won an Oscar. There also is the parallel question of whether “Avatar” and distributor Fox contributed to their own demise in the best-picture race. The sci-fi epic had been critically acclaimed, far more widely seen and was widely heralded for its breakthrough technology. And it boasted the deeppocket backing of a major Hollywood studio. Could it be explained as the ultimate example of the split personality in Hollywood, where movie choices are mostly driven by the need to make large amounts of money but where the people behind the camera still want to be seen as making art? And was it hurt by attacks from the political right on the movie’s plot, which was seen as a dig on America’s Iraq incursion? Or was “Avatar” doomed because it was sci-fi, a genre that rarely has been rewarded by Oscar? After all, there are precedents. In 1977, when “Star Wars” was the breakthrough movie, it lost best picture to Woody Allen’s low-budget comedy “Annie Hall.” And in 1982, when “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” was rewriting box office records, it was beaten for best picture by “Gandhi.” The path that “Hurt Locker” took was anything but standard. After Summit picked up domestic distribution rights in September 2008, it put the movie on the shelf because its release schedule was crowded. It eventually opened “Hurt Locker” last summer as counter programming instead of in the fall, when most serious dramas get a showcase launch. Summit turned the Oscar strategy over to PR firm 42 West, where veteran campaigner Cynthia Swartz called the shots. Swartz was criticized for waiting until early December to send out the DVDs, even though the whole strategy revolved around getting the movie seen by as many voters as possible. She also had to get attention from Academy voters and guild members for a movie without any marquee names and a subject that put off many people already weary of a war that never seemed to end. What Swartz did right was to center the campaign around Bigelow, a woman who directed with as much glory and guts as any man, and to feature writer/producer Mark Boal for his screenplay and real-life story as a journalist who was embedded with a bomb disposal unit in Iraq. She had bound copies of the “Hurt Locker” script sent to every member of the Writers Guild of America, earning guild honors for the original screenplay and the same award at the Oscars. Meanwhile, Fox seemed to downplay awards campaigning, letting Cameron take the lead. And what Cameron wanted to talk about was how frustrated he was that his actors, whose performances were captured by computer-generated technology, were not taken as seriously as live-action actors. —Reuters

Oscar co-hosts give stars comic one-two punch

Host Alec Baldwin, right, and Steve Martin are seen on stage. omedy stars Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, the first duo to share the Oscar stage as co-hosts in the television age, traded punch lines and barbs in Sunday’s show as they gently roasted this year’s nominees. Working the room like a pair of Hollywood insider insult comics, Martin and Baldwin singled out many of the assembled Oscar contenders for some light, deflationary ribbing, starting with each other. After they were lowered to the stage from the rafters of the Kodak Theatre on a glittering, circular contraption adorned with showgirls, Baldwin introduced his partner as “one of the most enduring entertainers of all time, Mr. Steve Martin.” Martin reciprocated, sort of, by presenting his co-host: “And this is Alec Baldwin.” Much of the evening’s humor continued in that vein, politely irreverent, at times silly and often self-deprecating on an institutional scale. After one commercial break, Baldwin welcomed television viewers back to what he called “the biggest night in Hollywood-since last night.” By contrast, the night’s biggest Oscar champion, Iraq war drama “The Hurt Locker”-winner for best original screenplay, best director and best picture-was deadly serious. Both the director, Kathryn Bigelow, and screenwriter Mark Boal used the occasion to salute members of the US military around the world. In one emotional high point, comedienne Mo’Nique, accepting her supporting-actress Oscar for playing an abusive welfare mother in “Precious,” thanked her husband from the stage “for showing me that sometimes you have to forgo what is popular in order to do what is right, and baby, you were so right.” Otherwise, the evening’s tone rarely strayed from upbeat. In their shared opening monologue, Martin motioned in the audience to Sandra Bullock, who went on to win her first Oscar as best actress for “The Blind Side.” —Reuters


Key facts on Oscar winner Jeff Bridges

US actor Jeff Bridges celebrates his Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of an alcoholic country singer in the drama “Crazy Heart”. eff Bridges won the best actor Oscar on Sunday for his portrayal of a drunken, world-weary country singer in “Crazy Heart’s.” Here are a few facts about Jeff Bridges: * Bridges was born on Dec 4, 1949, in Los Angeles, California, the son of film and TV star Lloyd Bridges. His first big-screen appearance came as an infant in the 1951 drama “The Company She Keeps.” * He made his TV-movie debut in 1969 drama “Silent Night, Lonely Night,” playing his father’s character as a young man in flashbacks. * Bridges has been Oscar nominated on four previous occasions for “The Last Picture Show” (1971), his first major role, “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” (1974), “Starman” (1984) and “The Contender” (2000). * Other notable films include the 1982 sci-fi cult classic “Tron,” and his appearance with brother Beau Bridges and Michelle Pfeiffer in “The Fabulous Baker Boys” in 1989. His performance in “The Big Lebowski” (1998) was well received. * Bridges is a talented guitarist. He is a fan and friend of Kris Kristofferson with whom he appeared in “Heaven’s Gate” (1980). * Bridges founded the End Hunger Network in 1983, which to date has raised millions of dollars for community food banks. * Bridges famously turned down the lead roles in both “Love Story” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” —Reuters


Former actor Ric O’Barry flashes a sign as winner for Documentary (Feature) Louie Psihoyos holds the trophy for ‘The Cove’.

Roger Ross Williams, left, and Elinor Burkett accept the Oscar for best documentary short subject for ‘Music by Prudence’.

Nicolas Schmerkin celebrates with his Best Animated Short Film Oscar for ‘Logorama’.

Pete Docter poses with the Oscar for best animated feature film of the year for ‘Up’.

Dancers perform during the introduction of nominees for best original score during the 82nd Academy Awards. —AP/AFP photos

Winner for Music (Original Score) Michael Giacchino for “Up”.

Sandy Powell poses with her Oscar for Best Costume Design in The Young Victoria.



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

82nd Academy Awards

Bullock wears ‘Oscar’ gown, other stars take risks talk about it.” Carey Mulligan’s full-skirted black Prada was adorned in unusual embroidery: tiny forks, knives and scissors. She said she didn’t choose it to make a statement. “I just thought it was really cool,” she told the AP. “It’s not a dress where I have to wear Spanx or anything, so I’m good.” Her earrings were 19th Century cascading diamond pendants by Fred Leighton.

andra Bullock dressed the part at Sunday’s Academy Awards: She wore a gleaming, metallic, slim-fitting gown that seemed fashioned after the Oscar statuette itself. The dress was a winner, making the best actress one of many who stepped up their style on what is considered Hollywood’s most important runway. Top actresses made bold color choices, donned stiffer shapes and used sparkle strategically to get them noticed. “This red carpet was whimsical, thank God. It was the most interesting red carpet in a long time,” said Suze Yalof Schwartz, Glamour magazine’s executive fashion editor at large. “You want to see a dress that makes you say ‘Wow!’ and I saw at least six of those.” There had been a trend in recent years to make safe choices at the Oscars, with celebrities knowing that the photos taken there would follow them for the rest of their lives. But there was a refreshing sense of fun-and some directional fashion-this year. “We’re moving into architectural shapes and away from all the drapery. There were not a lot of ‘goddesses’ this year,” observed Sharon Graubard, senior vice president of trend analysis at forecasting firm Stylesight. “This was about glamour, very tasteful, grown-


Actress Sarah Jessica Parker / Channel and designer Tom Ford.

yrus / Miley C ackham Jenny P Another fashion-forward look was Zoe Saldana’s Givenchy gown with a sparkly light pink bodice and a lilac skirt that descended into tight ruffles in all shades of purple. Queen Latifah’s one-shoulder Badgley Mischka was a lovely shade of pink and the mermaid shape “is the right way to dress a curvy woman,” said Yalof Schwartz. Vera Farmiga said her magenta fan-pleat strapless gown by Marchesa “reminds me of a flower in bloom.” Her “Up in the Air” costar Anna Kendrick’s blush-colored Elie Saab wasn’t her first choice, but it was the right one, she said. “It’s so young and pretty and it fits me so well.” Meryl Streep did an

/ Bullock Sandra a s Marche

Charlize Theron / John Galliano for Dior

Kate Winslet / Yves Saint Laurent

Carey Mulligan / Prada

Jennifer Lopez / Armani Prive

unexpected turn in bright white gown with a deep V neckline. Yalof Schwartz loved it. “With Meryl Streep, you used to not look at what she wore, but she’s embracing fashion now.” Tina Fey, who scored a few fashion “don’ts” earlier this year, was much improved in her black, one-shouldered, leopardlace Michael Kors. Maggie Gyllenhaal wore something rarely seen on the awards circuit-a print. The blue-black-andwhite gown by Dries van Noten had a tropical vibe. “I love his clothes. They’re sexy and unusual. He designed my wedding dress,” she said. Her husband, Peter Sarsgaard, wore the tuxedo he bought for their wedding-designed by Tom Ford. Rachel McAdams went the print route, too. Hers was a draped strapless in dusty shades of blue and gray. Nicole Richie’s multicolored sequin gown by Reem Acra kept to the vintage vibe she favors, but was quite covered up compared to the rest of young Hollywood. Not surprisingly, Kristen Stewart wore a midnight blue gown by Monique Lhuillier with a sculpted bodice and draped trumpet skirt. Mariah Carey seemed a little tame in her navy dress, but she promised that the slit on her Valentino would blow wide open if the wind kicked up. But in fashion, it was Bullock going for the gold, said designer Patricia Field, who called it “simple, classy-it looked good on her.” —AP

Zoe Saldana / Givenchy

Gabourey Sidibe / Tadashi Shoji

Meryl Streep

Diane Kruger / Channel

up glamour.” Gold was a huge trend, with Kate Winslet looking like an old-school movie star in her sleek, strapless gold gown by Yves Saint Laurent and Deco-inspired $2.5 million yellow-diamond necklace from Tiffany & Co Cameron Diaz, with bold red lips, was another screen siren in a gold strapless gown with metallic ribbons and pailettes by Oscar de la Renta; Miley Cyrus wore a bustierstyle strapless gold number by Jenny Packham; and Sarah Jessica Parker chose a custom yellow Chanel with silver flowers around the bustline. “I loved Sarah Jessica Parker in Chanel. It was interesting, romantic and she’s a fashion risk-taker,” said Mary Alice Stephenson, stylist and fashion commentator. She said the same for Diane Kruger in her white Chanel dress with black bands around the neck, waist and near the knees. Flowers were another dominant theme at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. Bullock’s Marchesa gown had a delicate floral embroidery and Mo’Nique complemented her electric blue Tadashi Shoji asymmetrical dress with gardenias in her hair. She said she did it in the spirit of the late Hattie McDaniel, who had done the same in 1940. Gabourey Sidibe’s blue dress was decorated with silver beads in a floral pattern, and fashion designerturned-director Tom Ford stuck a gardenia in his lapel. A few looks seemed sure to generate chatter because they weren’t standard-issue, red-carpet styles. Jennifer Lopez’s sculpted, strapless pale-pink Armani Prive had a dramatic slit on one side and an exaggerated modern train that jutted out from her hip. Armani said the dress was inspired by the romance and mystery of the moon. Charlize Theron also had a futuristic vibe in her amethyst gown by John Galliano for Dior with two folded rosettes not on the bustline but on the bust itself. “Charlize’s dress was really dramatic,” said Stephenson. “Love it or hate it, you want to


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Penelope Cruz / Donna Karan

Amanda Seyfried / Armani

Colin Firth / Tom Ford

82nd Academy Awards

Rachel McAdams / Dries van Noten

Cameron Diaz

Dame Helen Mirren / Badgley Mischka

Queen Latifah / Badgley Mischka

Kathryn Bigelow

Maggie Gyllenhaal / Dries van Noten

Mariah Carey / Valentino

George Clooney and Elisabetta Canalis / Armani Anna Kendrick /Elie Saab

Vera Farmiga / Marchesa

Tina Fey / Michael Kors

—AP/AFP photos

Kathryn Bigelow poses backstage with the Oscar for best achievement in directing for “The Hurt Locker” at the 82nd Academy Awards Sunday in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. — AP/ AFP photos

What the Oscar winners said? Kathryn Bigelow (Best Director) here’s no other way to describe it-it’s the moment of a lifetime.” “I’d just like to dedicate this to the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world, and may they come home safe.”


Jeff Bridges (Best Actor) hank you Mom and Dad for turning me on to such a groovy profession.” Backstage, when asked about career ups and downs, Bridges said: “As the dude says, its all strikes and gutters. That’s about it,” referring to his wildly popular character in “The Big Lebowski”.


Japan defends dolphin hunt in Oscar-winning ʻCoveʼ he Japanese fishing village featured in “The Cove,” which won an Oscar for best documentary, defended its practice of hunting dolphins yesterday as a part of its tradition. The covertly filmed movie, which mixes stunning underwater shots of gliding dolphins with grisly footage of their slaughter, also claims that dolphin meat is laden with toxic mercury. Residents of this remote village nestled on the rocky coast of southwestern Japan expressed disgust at the film, which they said distorted the truth, though few acknowledged seeing it in its entirety. The mayor’s office handed out a statement that said Taiji’s dolphin hunt is lawful and argued that the movie contained statements that were not based on science. Otherwise, most town officials refused to talk. “There are different food traditions within Japan and around the world,” the statement read. “It is important to respect and understand regional food cultures, which are based on traditions with long histories.” Director Louie Psihoyos said “The Cove” isn’t meant to bash Japan but that it is “a love letter to the Japanese people.”


Sandra Bullock (Best Actress) id I really earn this, or did I just wear you down?” Backstage she joked about the fact she had earned a worst actress Razzie one day earlier for her role in “All About Steve.” “They’re going to sit side by side as they should. We’re in the entertainment business and that’s what we’re supposed to dotake the good with the not so good. It’s the great equalizer. Nothing too good happens before something chops me off at the the knees. They’ll be near each other ...’but the Razzie will be lower.”


Mark Boal (Original Screenplay)

Mo’nique (Best Supporting Actress) o my amazing husband, Sidney, thank you for showing me that sometimes you have to forgo doing what’s popular in order to do what’s right-and baby, you were so right.” Backstage she said: “Everybody, and I don’t care what crime you have committed, everybody deserves to be loved even when they are unlovable.”


Christoph Waltz (Best Supporting Actor)

would like to thank and dedicate this to the troopsthe 115,000 who are still in Iraq, the 120,00 in Afghanistan and the more than 30,000 wounded and 4,000 who have not made it home.” “It always helps to have a genius for a director ... She (Bigelow) obviously took the work and knocked it out of the park.”


Geoffrey Fletcher (Best Adapted Screenplay) his is for everybody who works on a dream everyday-precious boys and girls everywhere.”



scar and Penelopethat’s an uberbingo!”

A dolphin demonstrates a flip at a dolphin pool in Taiji, southwestern Japan, where visitors can play with the animals yesterday. —AP “Our hope is the Japanese people will see this film and decide themselves whether animals should be used for meat and for entertainment,” Psihoyos said backstage after receiving the Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The town of Taiji kills about 2,000 dolphins every year for their meat. Some are captured and sold to aquariums. The Japanese government, which allows about 19,000 dolphins to be killed each year, acknowledges that dolphin meat is contaminated with mercury, but denies it’s dangerous unless consumed in huge quantities. In September, amid an international outcry following the screening of the movie abroad, villagers released several dozen dolphins that had been caught. But locals say they will continue with the hunt. The movie has not yet been released in Japan, but it will start showing here in June at 20 to 30 theaters nationwide. It was shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October, where viewers gave it mixed reviews. Still, most Japanese don’t know about the annual dolphin hunt, and dolphin meat is hardly eaten in Japan. Takeshi Kato, president of Unplugged in Tokyo, which is distributing the film in Japan, said the faces of dozens of Taiji residents are being blurred out for the Japan version of “The Cove” to ward off possible lawsuits under Japanese law that protects privacy. “Our purpose is not to attack the people of Taiji,” he said. “If this movie can serve as an opportunity for people to find out, it would be great,” he told The Associated Press yesterday. —AP

9 Mar  

Kuwait Times

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