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SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

New Israeli military tech speeds up warfare

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No:14963

SAFAR 4, 1432 AH

India, Pak in onion trade wrangle

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Uzbeks spoil Qatar Asian Cup party

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Elderly Palestinian killed in cold blood Israeli soldiers shoot ‘wrong man’ in his bed in the

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news

Argentine president to visit Kuwait, Mideast BUENOS AIRES: Argentina is “open to the Arab world”, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said Thursday ahead of an international tour later this month by President Cristina Kirchner to Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey. Kirchner will arrive in Kuwait on Jan 16 for a two-day stay, head to Qatar on the 18-19 then Turkey from Jan 20-21, according to the official agenda for the trip. With Turkey, Buenos Aires would especially like to boost relations, Timerman said, noting the G20 member was already a partner with Argentina on a number of issues including UN reform. There is a large Arab community in Argentina, mostly of Syrian-Lebanese descent, with approximately three million immigrants from the region out of Argentina’s 40 million-strong population.

Blatter expects Qatar World Cup in winter HEBRON: Palestinian mourners shout slogans as they carry the body (left) of Palestinian 67year-old Omar Kawasme during his funeral in this West Bank city yesterday. (Inset) The wife of Kawasme holds his picture as she sits on his blood-stained bed where he was killed by Israeli troops. — AP HEBRON: Israeli troops in Hebron shot dead an elderly Palestinian civilian yesterday as they searched for a Hamas prisoner freed a day earlier. The Israeli army expressed regret over the killing, with a spokesman admitting the 67-year-old man was an innocent civilian who lived in the same house as the wanted Hamas operative. The shooting took place inside an apartment building in the heart of the southern West Bank city as troops were searching for one of five prisoners released from a Palestinian jail in Hebron yesterday. The dead man was identified as Omar Kawasme, with relatives saying he was an uncle of Wael Al-Bitar, one of the Hamas prisoners being sought by Israel. Speaking to AFP, the dead man’s son, Rajaeh Kawasme, said troops had entered the house while his mother was praying and his father was asleep. They had locked her in another room, then opened fire on his father in his bed. “They murdered him in cold blood with 13 bullets in the head without even checking his identity,” he told AFP. “After they killed him, they asked for his identity card. They thought that Bitar lived in this apartment so they shot my father without confirming his identity.” An AFP correspondent at the scene said the shooting took place in a bedroom on the building’s first floor, with the bed drenched in blood. Bitar’s home is on the ground floor. The army admitted Kawasme had been mistakenly killed by troops who were trying to find Bitar, a member of Hamas’ armed wing whom Israel says was involved in planning suicide bombings. “During this morning’s arrest operation, a Palestinian man who was present in one of the terrorist’s homes was killed. The IDF (army) regrets the outcome of the incident,” a statement said, adding an investigation had been opened. “There is no indication that he was involved in

any terror activity at any stage and therefore we regret the incident,” a spokesman explained, saying the killing of Kawasme was “definitely not intentional” as he was “not a target”. The army said it had re-arrested all five Hamas prisoners overnight, including Bitar, whom they said had planned several suicide attacks, including one which killed an Israeli woman and wounded 10 other people in 2008. The predawn killing prompted a furious response from the Islamist Hamas movement which rules Gaza, with a spokesman blaming the Palestinian Authority of president Mahmud Abbas. “Hamas holds the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank responsible, along with the occupation, for this crime,” Sami Abu Zuhri told a news conference. “We call on the Palestinian Authority to immediately stop political arrests and to give the resistance a chance to protect the Palestinian people in the West Bank.” The Hamas men had been arrested on “security grounds” by the Palestinian Authority, which is controlled by the secular Fatah movement, a bitter rival of Hamas. The two sides regularly trade barbs over the thorny issue of prisoners. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat condemned Israel’s actions in Hebron, but also rejected Hamas’s accusations. He said the freed prisoners - all of whom were wanted by Israel - knew that they were responsible for their own safety. “We condemn the Israeli actions in Hebron today and we also condemn the statement made by Sami Abu Zuhri. We refuse everything because it only shifts the responsibility away from Israel,” he told AFP. “Hamas had been told, along with the prisoners and their families, that the Palestinian Authority was only keeping them in custody to prevent their arrest by the Israelis,” said, adding their release had been ordered by the courts. — AFP

DOHA: The prospect of the defending his own organiza2022 Qatar World Cup being tion against corruption allegaheld in the winter moved a tions, saying that the Olympic step closer Friday when FIFA body handles its finances “like president Sepp Blatter said for a housewife”. Blatter, who has the first time that this is what been a member of the Olympic he expects will happen. Qatar International was controversially awarded Committee since 1999, said FIFA was more the right to host transparent the tournament than the IOC, last month and he also despite summer backtracked on temperatures in plans to create a the Gulf emirate new anti-corsoaring to well ruption commisover 40 degrees sion. “Our Celsius. “I expect accounts are it to be in the winopen to everyter because when one. ... We’ve you play football (done) it since you must protect I’m the presithe main people, dent. It wasn’t the players,” he Sepp Blatter done before,” said at a media Blatter said. “The roundtable in the Qatari capital Doha ahead of IOC does it like a housewife. the Asian Cup, which kicked She receives some money and off later yesterday. Blatter said she spends some money.” FIFA had yet to be approached Blatter also said the IOC “has by Qatar about a change of no transparency”, and that any transparency was left to the dates. Meanwhile, Blatter criti- Olympic-sanctioned sports cized the IOC yesterday while themselves. — Agencies


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BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is seen addressing a visiting Kuwaiti press delegation late on Thursday. — KUNA

News

in brief

24-hour news channel KUWAIT: MP Naji Al-Abdulhadi has urged the Kuwait government to establish a state TV news station to rival those of several similar regional and international stations, such as Al-Jazeera. Al-Abdulhadi proposed that the Ministry of Information launch a 24-hour rolling news channel covering local, regional and international events and representing the state of Kuwait. The parliamentarian noted the importance of news networks in keeping the public up to date on current affairs and local and world events, pointing out that the best news channels “attract millions of viewers.” He also suggested that the ministry could utilize the latest technology to ensure that the channel would be at the cutting edge of media development. Warning for satellite stations KUWAIT: The information ministry has warned local satellite stations and media companies against failing to register their broadcasting systems with the concerned authorities before Feb 20th, stressing that those which fail to do so will face legal action. A Ministry of Information insider said that following the ministry’s announcement two weeks ago that it is necessary for station owners to register the satellite broadcasting systems, it has received no requests from any stations to register their systems. The official added that the ministry hopes that these companies will cooperate in this matter whilst there is still enough time to do so. The insider told Al-Jarida that the information ministry aims to regulate the satellite broadcasting process inside Kuwait according to the audiovisual media legislation. Health Ministry forgery KUWAIT: A Ministry of Health (MoH) official said on Thursday that the ministry’s legal affairs department has compiled an official memorandum detailing a number of violations of civil service laws and ministerial decrees committed by staff in the public health department. Speaking to Annahar on condition of anonymity, the MoH official said that, according to the memorandum, a number of public health department staff were given promotions to non-existent posts, while a number of heads of departments were summarily and wrongly prevented from exercising their authority and others were prevented from signing in for duty. The memorandum will be submitted to MoH Undersecretary Dr. Ibrahim Al-Abdulhadi for further action.

Iraqi leaders voice satisfaction at boosting relations with Kuwait BAGHDAD: Top Iraqi officials have praised the noticeable improvement in the bilateral ties with neighboring Kuwait and have expressed aspiration to see these relations being elevated to highest levels possible. Addressing a visiting Kuwaiti press delegation, late on Thursday, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki said his government aspires to establish “the best possible relations with the neighboring states,” namely Kuwait. Al-Maliki affirmed the Iraqi leadership desire to cement further the ties with Kuwait during a meeting with the delegation that included chief editors of Kuwaiti newspapers and officials of various media outlets, with attendance of the Kuwaiti Ambassador, Ali Al-Momen. An official statement released by the premier’s office said Al-Maliki and the Kuwaiti journalists and media figures discussed conditions in Iraq, the nation democratic experience and the successful measures, taken by the government to restore security and stability to the country and reestablish its ties with the international, Arab and regional communities. “Our basic message nowadays is how to establish the best ties with all states specially the states of the region namely Kuwait with which we could have good and solid ties had the defunct regime not scuttled such an approach, “Al-Maliki said, indicating that the Iraqi leaders were preoccupied over the past years in the local security issues, at the expense of enhancing the external ties. Al-Maliki noted that reopening the

Kuwaiti and Iraqi embassies in the two countries was one of the fruits for restoring the external ties, affirming that Baghdad would seek to tackle the negative image about the nation. “We affirm our desire to establish good relations will all states on the basis of mutual respect and non-intervention in national interests and exchange of interests and non-aggression,” he stressed. As to the local political efforts to restore normalcy, the prime minister indicated that the decision makers opted to establish a broad government to secure representation of all political trends of the nation.

years, noting that most of the pending issues between them had been thrashed out. Both, the Kuwaiti and Iraqi peoples, were victims of the “bloody Saddami regime,” he said, alluding to the Baath regime of the executed dictator, Saddam Hussein, who had been executed by gallows following the 2003 liberation of Iraq. Saddam had ruled his nation with an iron fist. His regime committed massacres and executed opponents and critics. It also launched the 1990 aggression on the State of Kuwait. Iraq, following liberation from the dicta-

Reopening of embassies a step closer to strengthening ties: Maliki The official statement said the Kuwaiti visitors expressed satisfaction at the positive developments on the local front and the government efforts to fold the chapter of the past, related to the ousted regime, and its determination to broaden the scope of ties with the Arab and regional countries, as well as realizing the aspirations of the Iraqi people for re-construction, security and stability. Separately, the eminent Kuwaiti guests held a meeting with the former vice president, Adel Abdel Mehdi, who praised the noticeable improvement in the bilateral ties between the two countries over the past

torship, is steadily pressing ahead on the path toward stability, said Abdel Mehdi, a leading member of the National Alliance, in his address to the visitors. The country, after being eyed as a source of tension and anxiety, during the era of the ousted regime, became bound with brotherly ties with countries of the region, he said affirming the remarkable relations of Baghdad with states of the region. He also noted that the holding of the next Arab summit in Baghdad would cement Iraq’s rapprochement and cooperation with the Arab countries. — KUNA

Economists voice optimism for 2011, call for action on development KUWAIT: Local economists and entrepreneurs have voiced overall optimism about the economic outlook for Kuwait in 2011, whilst urging that a number of issues be tackled to help strengthen the business environment. In a survey conducted by Al-Rai, the most pressing issues cited by the business leaders were the need to ensure greater female presence on the national economic scene, to establish stronger electronic cooperation with the ASEAN nations and to ensure that

the thorny subject of financing the government’s development plan needs is promptly resolved. The businesspeople also called for the establishment of a joint sovereign fund amongst Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states to protect them from economic crises, as well as the introduction of stronger anticorruption and transparency legislation. They also urged that greater attention be given to assisting small and mediumsized business enterprises (SME’s) and

that more economic legislation be passed by parliament. The entrepreneurs stressed that 2011 should be the year of practical action on the plan to turn Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub, while mutual investment should be adopted as the most suitable solution to the Iraqi debt issue. In addition, they also called for more diversity in national incomes, especially given OPEC’s prediction that demand for oil will go down in 2011.


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Satire Wire

Kuwait Digest

Winners and losers in the post-grilling period

Where has our immunity gone? By Sawsan Kazak

By Dr Hassan Jowhar

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re there a winner and a loser in the results of the recent grilling presented against His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, and what does the number of those MPs not cooperating with the government reflect? Is there any interest in taking the victory celebrations and claims of victory by either side to the street once again? Is it wise to continue the battle of removing the government by the opposition? Is it politically rational for the government to continue pursuing its political foes and employing its official and unofficial media to defeat and oust them? These are several of the legitimate questions that should decide the path of Kuwait’s political scene in the coming days, as the dust from the grilling settles, leaving many mixed feelings, but the smoldering embers remain beneath the ashes, and these remnants desperately need to be handled with responsibility and forgiveness by both sides. The first step of the coming period starts with the government, and HH the Prime Minister in particular, reading the content of the grilling message and its main headline represented on behalf of the National Assembly members, as the numbers of parliamentary oppositionists have risen from 13 to 22 in less than one year. Here, we do not include those who are described as being behind the escalation of tensions, or as personal foes of the premier, but only those who supported him very strongly over the past two years at the legislative or supervisory levels. The stance taken by the premier and his statement after the voting session, not to mention his announcement about positive cooperation with his opponents, show his readiness to turn a new page

in the government’s methods and the philosophy of cooperation between the two authorities, and we hope that this is not defeated by some of the hypocrites who try to show themselves as defenders of the government; only Almighty Allah and HH the Premier know what they truly cost and their happy burden at the same time. The government has won cooperation, even if only by a small margin, but it lost MPs who are political heavyweights for the fundamental and genuine reasons of those parliamentarians’ wish to protect the constitution and defend Kuwait’s freedom and dignity, while preserving national unity; these are truly invaluable and compelling reasons, in fact, to support HH the Premier and the stability of his government, both politically and popularly. The opposition has the right to benefit from the grilling and utilize the benefits it has won since it lost a round, but gained politically and popularly, bringing those who differ on policy together behind constitutional principles, and it is not possible for this coalition to continue moving away from this principle. On the other hand this group may be weakened due to individual members’ behavior or blunders such as inflammatory statements and more public agitation than what is required, or the choice of using a provocative method of address that has no advantages over the customary protocol of dialogue and mutual respect, even for those with opposing beliefs. As for those who follow this dangerous path, which is beyond our control, we should advise them that their leaders are the rabble-rousers who have not heeded Kuwait’s interests and have begun to settle personal accounts with their opponents at the expense of healing the country’s wounds. — Al-Jarida

sawsan@kuwaittimes.net

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niffles, sneezes and coughs are all you ing any discomfort we want to numb it with hear these days. Wherever you go, peo- painkillers, quickly treat the symptoms and ple are wiping their noses, clearing their put it all behind us ASAP, as if treating the throats, looking and feeling an absolute mess. symptoms were the same as treating the It seems as though everyone in Kuwait has cause of the illness. When you have reduced come down with the seasonal cold simultane- your headache you haven’t prevented it from ously. A slight change in the weather a few coming back, you have simply provided yourweeks back has us all running to the pharma- self with temporary relief. I believe our impatience with any discomfort cy for cold and flu medication. It seems as though a little Kuwaiti virus has spread like we experience is the root cause of our weak immune systems and inability to cope with the wildfire. With all this sudden illness surrounding us, slightest change in our environment. Our bodies this begs the question: where has our immu- usually have their own way of dealing with nity gone? Have our immune systems intruders. The immune system soldiers take their become so weak that the smallest change in time to wage a war, which might seem long due our temperature or brief encounters with oth- to the temporary pain, but in the long run preer infected people are enough to make us ill? vent future infections of the same kind. Perhaps If we are unable to resist a small cold, what if we allowed our systems to slowly cure our ailments we wouldn’t keep will our systems do when getting sick with every confronted with serious change we come across. diseases? Retraction I say, let’s have less medMaybe it’s the fact that On Friday January 7th, 2011, the Friday ication and more patience we run to the hospital Times published a column headlined with our bodies, which have every time we have any lit“Where has our immunity gone?” by evolved enough to be able tle illness and have the Sawsan Kazak. An editorial mistake saw to fight the common cold doctor prescribe us the Sawsan Kazakís column replaced with an so let’s let them do their strongest kind of antibiotic article by another writer. In today’s issue, jobs. A little temporary dison the market to deal with we are publishing the original column. comfort now could mean our scratchy throat. As We regret this mistake. immunity in the long run. soon as we start experienc-


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Lethal injection leads to a man’s death Two dead, one critical in speeding cases KUWAIT: A pharmacist is currently in police custody for questioning after he gave an injection of painkillers to a Kuwaiti man which shortly afterwards had a fatal effect. The victim had gone to the pharmacy in Farwaniya to request painkillers for abdominal pain which he was suffering from. The pharmacist suggested, however, that the man should instead accept an injection of a substance with more short-acting pain relief properties. The man collapsed unconscious a few seconds after the injection was administered, however, and another pharmacy worker called the emergency services after determining that his breathing had stopped. Although paramedics rushed to the scene, they discovered that the man was already dead, reported Al-Rai. The pharmacist was immediately taken into custody. Two die in crash after speeding A 26-year-old Kuwaiti man died in a car crash on the Seventh Ring Road. Although emergency personnel, including paramedics, rushed to the scene, they discovered that the man had died instantly of severe head injuries, reported Al-Qabas. Crime scene investigators established that the accident had taken place after the motorist lost control of his car while driving at high speed. In a separate incident, an Asian man died at the scene after being hit by a speeding car in a street in Salhiya, with the driver of the vehicle immediately fleeing the scene. The victim’s body was removed for autopsy and a hunt has been launched for the hit-and-run driver. In a third case, Al-Watan reported that a six-year-old girl was rushed to Adan Hospital in a critical condition after she was hit by a speeding car in a street in the Adan area. On being questioned, the motorist responsible, a delivery driver for a restaurant chain, told police that he was hurrying to deliver an order for a customer who had promised him a large tip if he arrived quickly. Pedophile caught Police successfully rescued a young boy from a child abuser who abducted him before the man could rape the child as he had planned to. The child had been playing with his peers in an open area of Jahra and the pedophile apparently waited for the boys’ friends to leave the scene before forcing the child into his car and driving away. A passer-by who witnessed the abduction immediately called police, who quickly responded, with a car chase ensuing through the area’s streets, reported Al-Watan. Police eventually managed

to stop the vehicle and arrest the man, freeing the young boy who was taken home to his parents. On being questioned, the pedophile admitted that he had intended to drive the boy to a remote location and rape him. The man is being held in custody prior to going to trial. Teacher abuses disabled child An eight-year-old learning disabled boy sus-

worker’s office, and in the social worker’s presence, going so far as stamping on the child’s head when he fell to the floor during her attack, causing his eye injury. A police investigation is underway. Hunt on for fraudster A Kuwaiti woman lodged a complaint at Sharq police station against a male compatriot,

MCI crook busted Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers have arrested a Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI) official who abused his position to illegally approve contracts for projects and tenders for his own company. The man was arrested following close coordination between MCI officials and their colleagues from the Central Tenders Committee (CTC), who obtained documents proving the official’s involvement in the fraudulent deals, reported Al-Rai. The man, who admitted his actions on being confronted with the damning evidence, is being held pending further action.

tained scratches to one eyeball as well as bruises and other injuries when he was assaulted on two separate occasions by a Religious Studies teacher and a social worker at a Farwaniya special needs school. The boy’s father told Al-Rai that on lodging a complaint against the female Religious Studies teacher over her assault, he was informed by the school that appropriate disciplinary action would be taken against her. Instead, the not-very-religious woman launched a second vicious assault two days later on the defenseless child in the school social

accusing him of stealing KD 23,000 which she had entrusted to him to launch a joint business venture. Al-Watan reported that a case of fraud has been filed and a search is underway for the accused man. ‘Minor’ school stabbing A schoolboy was stabbed by a classmate during a recent fight at a Doha high school. After the incident, the victim was provided with immediate medical attention for his injury, which was reportedly minor. The victim’s father

opted not to press charges since his son’s injury was not serious, reported Al-Qabas. Missing gun A Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior employee filed a case at Al-Roudha police station after he lost his weapon whilst on duty in the area. An investigation has been launched to determine the circumstance of the case and find the missing weapon. Bitter ex Police are searching for a man who brutally assaulted his former wife as she was leaving court shortly after a judge approved an increase in her alimony payments. The woman’s disgruntled ex-husband also used a knife to slash the tires of her car following the attack before fleeing the scene, reported Al-Rai. The woman filed a case against him at Salhiya police station, but her former husband refused to attend the police station when summoned for questioning. Criminal ‘mastermind’ Police quickly arrested a dim thief two hours after he had stolen a laptop from a car in the parking lot of Farwaniya Hospital after receiving a phone call from him to his own mobile which he had dropped at the scene. An officer posing as a civilian who had found the phone arranged to meet the thief and return his phone, with the ‘criminal mastermind’ being arrested at the designated rendezvous point. During questioning, the man admitted to carrying out nine other thefts, reported Al-Anba. He is being held in custody pending further legal action.

Three hurt in road accidents By Hanan Al-Saadoun

KUWAIT: Two vehicles crashed on Thursday at Shuwaikh port. —Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

KUWAIT: A 38-year-old Kuwaiti man suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured left shoulder bone, when his car overturned on Maghaweer Road heading towards Jahra after he lost control of the steering. He was rushed to Jahra Hospital. In a separate accident, a 32-yearold Syrian motorist was rushed to hospital after sustaining head injuries when his car was in a collision with another vehicle on Ghazali Road. Meanwhile, a 25-year-old Kuwaiti man suffered fractures to his left leg and extensive bruising when he was thrown out of his car in a crash in Sabhan. He was taken to hospital.


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‘Gulf: I am happy here’ preschoolers’ carnival KUWAIT: A national carnival for preschoolers was recently held at Al-Seraif Kindergarten in Jaber Al-Ali. The ‘Gulf: I’m Happy Here’ festival took place under the patronage of Sheikha Nawal Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, who attended the event, and was organized by Ahmadi Educational Zone’s social and psychiatric services unit.


International Britain raises terror threat level at airports

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Envoys in last push as south Sudan’s big day looms

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Clinton condemns Belarus for crackdown

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SHIVTA: In this Dec 29, 2010 photo, an Israeli army mobile artillery piece fires during an army drill near the Shivta Field Artillery School, southern Israel. – AP

SHIVTA ARTILLERY TRAINING SCHOOL, Israel: Intense winds scraped sand from the desert floor, clouding the view and leaving the Israeli soldiers scarcely able to see each other as they practiced blasting artillery shells at distant targets. In a nearby armored vehicle, commanders armed with small screens could easily monitor every cannon, jeep and target involved, ordering strikes with the tap of a finger. Their weapon: a sophisticated communication system that compiles battlefield information in an easy-to-use, video game-like map interface, helping militaries make sense of the chaos of battle. The Associated Press was given rare access to the exercise by a military eager to reclaim some of the deterrence it lost over technologically inferior Arab forces. That deterrence has eroded in recent times, as guerrilla warfare left conventional armies — here as elsewhere — looking clumsy and vulnerable.

In a month-long war in 2006, Lebanese guerrillas with relatively simple rockets knocked out Israeli tanks, and Israel’s high-tech military was powerless to stop a barrage of primitive, unguided Katyusha rockets on northern Israel. The latest computerized gadgetry is designed to knock down the military’s response time. Troops on the ground can add new targets as soon as they spot them — like militants on foot, a rocket squad or a vehicle — to the network for commanders to see instantly and hit. Strikes that used to take 20 or more minutes to coordinate now take just seconds, said Maj. Hagai Ben-Shushan, head of the C4I section for Israel’s artillery. “It doesn’t take much, then shells are going to the target,” he said. Israel is among several nations harnessing digital and satellite technology to develop C4I systems — short for “command, control, communications, computers and intelligence” — that integrate battlefield information. The

goal is to have “all the elements of a force ... seeing the same tactical picture, and you can move information from one to the other completely seamlessly,” said Britain-based Giles Ebb, who studies such systems for Jane’s Information Group. C4I systems are operational in the United States, which started development in the 1990s, as well as France, Singapore, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy, among other countries, Ebb said. Israel’s version — being developed over the past decade or so — is “a little bit further down the road than some people ... because they have a focus on the problem, they are constantly operationally alert, and they need to be as operationally developed as they can,” Ebb said. The army says it started using the first, basic version in 2005, but it did not include all units and functions. The latest, completed in 2009 and in training since last March, allows all forces on the ground to communicate instanta-

neously. “Visually, now everything is on the map, so it’s much easier to coordinate,” said the battalion commander whose men were being trained. “You can easily understand the map and the position of forces.” He spoke on condition of anonymity under military rules. On a stretch of sand near the army base at Shivta, deep in Israel’s southern Negev desert, six artillery cannon stood with their barrels aimed at targets about 4 miles (6 kilometers) away. Commanders in a nearby armored vehicle stared at two screens, watching all movement on an interactive satellite map. Pink squares marked each cannon, dotted lines of shell trajectory extended from their barrels and circles showed the expected blast radius of any shells fired. Different symbols marked other army vehicles, their locations kept up to date with GPS-like devices. All the vehicles carried similar screens, giving soldiers a realtime map of the battlefield. —AP


INTERNATIONAL SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

EU to reject Iran offer on nuclear sites BUDAPEST: The European Union will turn down an offer from Iran to tour its nuclear facilities, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said yesterday, but remains optimistic about talks with Iran later this month. Iran has sent letters to a number of ambassadors to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, inviting them to visit two sites-the Natanz uranium enrichment plant and the Arak heavy water complex-in the coming weeks. Diplomats from Britain, France, Germany and the United

States were not invited. But Hungary, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until July, was invited, leaving the EU in a quandary over what to do. “What I’ll be saying is the role of the inspections of nuclear sites is for the IAEA and I do hope Iran will ensure that the IAEA is able to go and continue and fulfil its work,” Ashton told Reuters after talks with Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi, saying the invitation would be declined. While the United States and the three EU countries most

involved with putting pressure on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment were not invited, Russia and China, who are also involved in sporadic nuclear talks with Iran, were. The West suspects Iran’s nuclear programme is directed at developing bombs. Tehran says it is for peaceful energy only. Ashton said she had consulted with Russia and China before deciding that the invitation should be turned down. “I obviously coordinated with the other members of the E3+3 who were invited. My view is

that though this is not an invitation that I’m taking a negative view of, it’s not our job, and looking at the sites and establishing what they are requires expertise,” Ashton said, referring to IAEA inspectors. Western diplomats have described Iran’s invitation as an attempt to split the six powersthe United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China-and weaken punitive sanctions against Tehran over its secretive activity. Russia and China have tended to take a softer line on Iran. Both have yet to respond

publicly to Tehran’s invitation. In an interview published before Ashton’s comments, Iran’s acting foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the invitation was meant as a “goodwill gesture”. “We have invited the ambassadors of the European Union and Non-Aligned Movement (developing countries) entities ... to visit Iran’s nuclear facilities so that the lies propagated by some non-benevolent countries regarding Iran’s nuclear activities are shown,” Salehi told the ISNA news agency. —Reuters

Somber Christmas for Egypt Copts after blast 70,000 officers, conscripts deployed across the country

CAIRO: An Egyptian Coptic Christian woman looks up during a Christmas midnight mass at Abassiya Cathedral in Cairo on Thursday. — AFP

Algeria, Tunisia unrest exposes frustrations PARIS: Violent protests that have erupted in Algeria and Tunisia expose frustrations over the economy and a moribund political elite that have in particular angered young graduates, analysts say. The spreading of the unrest to Algeria after weeks of protests in Tunisia could also be due to widespread use of the Internet in the region, an analyst said, as two Tunisian bloggers were arrested Thursday amid fresh protests. The two countries-as well as their partner in the Maghreb region, Morocco-share the common trait of having economies unable to offer a place for their young graduates in the job market, economist Driss Benali said. “In these three countries, there have been efforts in the area of education but they did not think of ways to integrate young graduates into the community, an integration that happens through employment,” said the professor from Rabat’s Mohammed V University. The protests have been led by youths, with unemployed graduates central to demonstrations in Tunisia linked to jobs and living costs and supported by high school students, unionists and lawyers. The unrest, rare in tightly controlled Tunisia, has left four people dead: two during demonstrations and two suicides. It erupted after 26-year-old university student Mohamed Bouazizi doused himself in petrol on December 17 to protest the police’s confiscation of fruit and vegetables he was hawking because he did not have a permit. Bouazizi died of his burns on Tuesday, described by one diplomat as a “symbol of the rejection of unemployment and contempt”. In Algeria youths rioted this week in the capital and other towns in protests also linked to unemployment, lack of social housing and jumps in the costs of sugar, oil and other basic items. —AFP

ALEXANDRIA: Coptic Christians marked a somber Christmas yesterday, after a deadly New Year’s Day church bombing in Egypt sparked riots that injured dozens of policemen and protesters. Egypt has been under tight security since the attack in the northern city of Alexandria killed 21 people, and the measures were stepped up for Christmas Eve services held for Copts on Thursday. Under the Coptic calendar, Christmas Day falls on January 7. Dozens of police were deployed around the Saints Church in Alexandria which was targeted in Saturday’s attack. “We celebrate Christmas, but we are sad,” said Ramez Magdi, a Copt engineer. Security officials said at least 70,000 officers and conscripts had been deployed across the country to secure churches as Copts, who account for 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million population, attended Christmas Eve mass. Drivers are banned from parking in front of churches, which were being tightly monitored by explosives detection teams and policemen, a police official said. Police said one primitive explosive device-a tin can filled with fire crackers, nails and bolts, but without a detonator-had been found in a church in the southern city of Minya. Hundreds of worshippers gathered on Thursday at the Alexandria church under tight security, where 27-yearold Maureen, dressed in black, said: “To survive, we Copts must confront our fear

CAIRO: Gamal Mubarak, center, son of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, attends the Christmas Eve Mass at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo on Thursday. — AP and pain. We have to be stronger than the terrorists. That’s why I am coming to mass.” Maher, 50, arrived for the mass with his wife and two daughters. “Our sorrow is great, but we feel stronger because of the support of our Muslim compatriots,” he said. Others converged on Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, where the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenuda III, conducted the service, attended by several government members and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s two sons Alaa and Gamal. In Moqattam, an impoverished Cairo district with a large Coptic population, residents said the threat of further attacks would not deter them from going to church. “With Al-Qaeda’s threats,

we anticipate further attacks but we are not afraid. God protects us,” said Adel alWazir. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said yesterday that Christian minorities in the Middle East were victims of “religious cleansing,” following attacks on the church in Egypt and one in Iraq. A series of attacks against Christians “looks more and more... like a particularly wicked program of cleansing in the Middle East, religious cleansing,” Sarkozy said in an annual New Year’s address to religious leaders. Forty-four worshippers and two priests died in an attack on a Syriac Catholic church in Baghdad in October. In Egypt, police have released a sketch of the suspected Alexandria suicide

bomber’s face, reconstructed from the remains of a severed head found on the roof of the church. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which came after threats to Egypt’s Copts from an AlQaeda-linked group in Iraq. The group, the Islamic State of Iraq, said it would attack Copts if their church failed to release two women it claimed were being held against their will after converting to Islam. Weeks before the attack, a website linked to Al-Qaeda published a list of Coptic churches it said should be targeted in Europe and Egypt. Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands have also stepped up security around Coptic churches in response. —AFP


international SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Lebanon PM to meet Saudi king, Clinton in New York BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri headed to New York yesterday to meet with Saudi King Abdullah and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the political crisis in Lebanon, a government official said. The official close to Hariri, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP the talks would focus on the deadlock in Lebanon created by a UN probe into the 2005 murder of the prime minister’s father, ex-premier Rafiq Hariri. In an interview published on Friday in the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, Hariri said he was travelling to New York to meet with the king for the second time in 10 days in a bid to boost Saudi-Syrian efforts to defuse the crisis. “I am going there to discuss ways of boosting the mediation efforts that are a guarantee to Lebanon’s stability,” Hariri was quoted as saying. He revealed that Saudi-Syrian mediation had led to an agreement months ago but accused the Shiite militant movement Hezbollah, backed by Tehran and Damascus, of not living up to its end of the deal. Hariri said the agreement was struck before King Abdullah went to the United States in November for back surgery. The monarch is still recovering in New York. “Any commitment on my part will not be carried out until the other party (Hezbollah) implements what they agreed to,” the premier told Al-Hayat. Lebanon for months has suffered a political paralysis over reports the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is set to indict members of the powerful Hezbollah in connection with Rafiq Hariri’s assassination. Hezbollah has warned it would not accept such an outcome and accused the STL of being part of a US-Israeli plot. The group has been pressuring Hariri, who is backed by the West and Saudi Arabia, to disavow the tribunal and warned that Lebanon could be plunged into a full-blown crisis should any of its members be implicated by the STL. The government official said the Syrian-Saudi deal calls for clear steps to ease tensions in Lebanon and reduce the rhetoric among the rival political parties. “All of the steps centre on a single objective which is domestic stability and the ability of Lebanon to absorb the indictment,” he said. “The government has been paralysed for months and the political leaders should be able to discuss issues and that has not been happening,” the official added. “We hoped to see the process translating into tension-easing steps but that has not so far happened,” he said. “The ball is in their (Hezbollah’s) court.” He said the Saudi-Syrian deal also calls for steps to improve relations between Beirut and Damascus, which have cooled in recent months. Saad Hariri had initially accused Syria, Lebanon’s former powerbroker, of being behind his father’s assassination but has sought to mend fences in the past year. — AFP

BETHLEHEM: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, is surrounded by bodyguards and Greek Orthodox clergy as he attends Orthodox Christmas services at the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by many to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem yesterday. — AP

Mossad chief: Iran won’t go nuclear before 2015 JERUSALEM: Israel’s newly retired spy chief thinks Iran will not be able to build a nuclear bomb before 2015, Israeli media reported yesterday - further pushing back Israeli intelligence estimates of when Tehran might become a nuclear power. Meir Dagan, who left his post as head of the Mossad intelligence service this week, said Thursday that Iran’s nuclear program had been delayed by unspecified “measures” employed against it, according to the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot. Other Israeli media reported Dagan’s prediction, citing “closed conversations” he held Thursday before leaving his post as head of Israel’s covert intelligence arm. An Israeli government spokesman would not comment yesterday. As recently as 2009, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Iran would be able to build a nuclear bomb by 2011. But since then the project-

ed deadline has been extended. The Israeli Cabinet minister in charge of strategic affairs, Moshe Yaalon, said last week it would take the Iranians at least three years to develop a nuclear weapon. The assessment by Dagan adds another year to that estimate. Dagan also said Israel “should not hurry to attack” Iran, according to the Yediot Ahronot report. Israel officially supports the diplomatic efforts in place to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but has not ruled out the possibility of a military strike. Iran claims its nuclear program is aimed at producing electricity, but Israel, many of Iran’s Arab neighbors, the US and other Western countries are convinced the Iranian program is aimed at producing weapons. Iran has blamed Israel for disruptions in its nuclear program. In November, assailants on motorcycles

attached magnetized bombs to the cars of two Iranian nuclear scientists as they drove to work in Tehran, killing one and wounding another. At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years. In addition, a computer worm known as Stuxnet is thought to have caused the Iranians serious technical problems in the centrifuges used for uranium enrichment - a process that can be used both to produce reactor fuel and material for nuclear warheads. Tehran’s nuclear program is of particular concern to Israel, which sees a nuclear weapon in Iranian hands as an existential threat. Iran funds Islamic militant groups on Israel’s borders, such as the Palestinian Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah, and Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has said Israel should be “wiped off the map”. —AP

Gunmen kill five people in their Iraq home

KUFA: Supporters of radical Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, who returned to Iraq this week after four years of Iran-based exile, attend the Friday noon prayer at the grand mosque of Kufa in central Iraq yesterday.—AFP

BAGHDAD: Gunmen shot dead five people, including the sister of an Iraqi policeman, in their beds in a house northeast of Baghdad early yesterday morning, a police official said. The gunmen killed the policeman’s sister, her husband’s mother and father, their daughter and a child in their home in Husseiniya, northeast of the capital, the official said. The policeman had called his sister, who did not answer the phone. He then went to the house and discovered she and the other four people had been killed, the official said. The gunmen are suspected of having used silenced weapons as no one heard the shots. It was unclear why the five were killed, with the official saying an investigation had been

launched into whether it was a “criminal or terrorist” act. According to Iraq Body Count, an independent Britain-based group, 4,021 civilians were killed in violence in Iraq from Jan 1 to Dec 30 last year, down from 4,680 in 2009. “2010’s civilian death toll in Iraq is the lowest since the war began” in 2003, IBC said in its report, while noting there was still an average of almost two explosions a day over the course of the year, with attacks occurring in 13 of Iraq’s 18 governorates. Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, who was approved for a second term by parliament along with a national unity cabinet on Dec 21, has named security as one of his top priorities. — AFP


INTERNATIONAL SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Kazakh leader rejects term extension ASTANA: Kazakhstan’s strongman President Nursultan Nazarbayev yesterday rejected the idea of extending his term until 2020 in a national referendum that was flatly denounced by the United States. The country’s first and only postSoviet leader did not explain why he was overruling his entire political and business elite in a decision that received almost no attention from state media outlets. The three-sentence presidential decree said only that Nazarbayev-who already holds the status of “leader of the nation” (Elbasy) — had decided “to reject a motion by the parliament of Kazakhstan” to hold the vote. The referendum idea emerged unexpectedly last month on the initiative of a little-known rector of a university in the city of Semipalatinsk and was then quickly backed by both branches of parliament.

But it was not clear what stood behind the motion as it gathered momentum and received increasing broad play on the news. The 70-year-old Nazarbayev has ruled the resource-rich former Soviet nation since 1989 and his supremacy has never been truly challenged. The Kazakh parliament has already changed the constitution to allow Nazarbayev to run for re-election as many times as he chooses and he was expected to easily win votes scheduled for 2012 and 2017. Some analysts suggested that the idea was made only so that Nazarbayev could reject it in a bid to improve his lagging democratic credentials in the West. His refusal to support the referendum came only three days after the US embassy in Kazakhstan slammed the idea in an unusually strongly worded statement as a “setback for democracy.”

“We believe a national referendum that would replace the presidential elections guaranteed by Kazakhstan’s constitution would be a setback for democracy in Kazakhstan,” the embassy said in a the statement. “We think that it is important that Kazakhstan’s government and citizens honor their international commitments and continue to strive for free and fair elections,” the statement added. The United States has fostered close ties with Kazakhstan despite periodic criticism of a nation that is strategically close to Afghanistan and is an important supplier of both oil and uranium. Kazakhstan has been viewed as an island of political stability in a region where ethnic politics dominate and which has already seen violence in both neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Yet much of the resulting positive investment climate is based on the

assumption that Nazarbayev will either remain in office or be able to arrange a smooth transition to someone within his ruling clan. That transition however is yet to materialise and some analysts suggested that the ruling authorities were growing anxious and trying to force Nazarbayev’s hand. “A referendum assumes that there are no other candidates,” said Kazakh political analyst Eduard Politayev. The analyst said the move would have allowed Nazarbayev to groom a successor without risking any of the political tensions that have accompanied recent elections in former Soviet republic with long-standing leaders such as Belarus. “But it was obvious that Nazarbayev was going to reject this,” Politayev added. “He has always publicly said that he does not want a cult of personality around him.” — AFP

Britain raises terror threat level at airports: Report Precautionary change

BUDAPEST: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban answers journalistsí questions in the Delegation Hall of the Hungarian parliament building yesterday after the first joint meeting between the EU and Hungarian political leaders as Hungary took over the rotating presidency of the EU. —AFP

Hungary kicks off chaotic presidency BUDAPEST: Hungary kicked off its presidency of the European Union yesterday, already thrown into disarray over a controversial media law that critics say limits press freedoms. The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban was holding talks with the entire European Commission in Budapest, followed by a joint news conference with Orban and Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso in the afternoon. The meeting, meant to discuss Hungary’s priorities during its six-month presidency, will be overshadowed by the media debate. On Thursday, Orban already admitted to a “bad start” for his country’s presidency. “The Hungarians are making us forget the Czechs,” one diplomat said, recalling the chaotic Czech presidency in 2008, which was plagued by the government’s fall and President Vaclav Klaus’s eurosceptic comments. The media law now under attack allows a new regulatory body-headed by a close ally of Orban-to impose major fines on media outlets and force journalists to reveal sources on issues related to national security. Brussels has already expressed doubts over whether the law complies with EU regulations, while Germany and France have also voiced criticisms. Hungary “has adopted laws that raise many questions and that come at a bad time,” France’s European Affairs Minister Laurent Wauquiez said in an interview with French daily La Croix published yesterday. —AFP

LONDON: Britain has raised its terrorist threat level specific to major transport hubs, including airports and London railway terminals, from substantial to severe, a report said yesterday. There was no suggestion of any intelligence of an imminent attack and security officials are stressing the change is precautionary, said the BBC.

The overall terror threat to Britain remained at the second-highest level of “severe” yesterday, where it has been for around a year and which means an attack is considered highly likely. The highest level in the five-stage grading is “critical” which means an attack is expected imminently.

Beneath this overall system are threat levels for particular sectors of the national infrastructure which are not normally made public, reported the BBC. But the broadcaster said the threat level for major transport hubs, including airline terminals and major railway stations in London, had been increased from substantial to severe. The BBC said the threat levels for specific sectors change quite often and are normally kept out of the public eye. The latest change meant there was likely to be a greater police presence at airports and railway stations on Friday, added the broadcaster. Sky News television and The Daily Telegraph newspaper earlier reported that transport police had cancelled leave for their officers and called for back-up to help deal with the heightened alert. London’s Metropolitan Police said: “The threat level to the UK is at severe, which means that an attack is highly likely, and has been since January 2010. “We will police accordingly and use a range of covert and overt tactics which

Heathrow and other terminals, said: “Security at our airports remains at a high level and we remain vigilant at all times.” The reports of heightened security came after a December 11 suicide bombing in Stockholm was linked to Britain, with the bomber having lived in Luton, just

LONDON: A police officer carries out a check on a man at St Pancras International train station in London, yesterday. More police officers were being deployed at transport hubs in London amid continuing fears of a terrorist attack. —AP remain under constant review.” A spokesman for the Home Office, or interior ministry, added: “There is a continuing need for everyone to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police.” Airport operator BAA, which runs London

north of London, for the past few years. It also came after nine men were charged at the end of last month with planning attacks, reportedly in a preChristmas plot with a string of high-profile targets including the London Stock Exchange and the US embassy. —AFP


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Envoys in last push as south Sudan’s big day looms ‘Just two days to go’ for landmark vote JUBA, Sudan:- Western diplomats, elder statesmen and even a Hollywood star descended on south Sudan yesterday as one of the world’s poorest regions was finally poised to have its say on independence after a 50-year wait. The beat of African drums reverberated around the regional capital Juba from early morning as hordes of youthful campaigners, who have held monthly rallies to ensure the promised referendum goes ahead, staged an exuberant “final march to freedom” from the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum. Envoys of the major powers, which played a key role in brokering the 2005 peace deal that ended Africa’s longestrunning civil war, were locked in one final diplomatic push in the Sudanese capital to ensure no last-minute hitches mar the landmark vote which was its centrepiece. “Just two days to go-we’re going to vote and then the country will be split in two,” crowed Archelango, an elderly southerner newly returned from years as a refugee to have his say. Cars festooned in the black, red and green of the southern flag went round and round the dusty streets and potholed pistes of Juba to ramp up enthusiasm for the week-long polling which begins on Sunday.

DARFUR: A handout picture released by the Unite Nations Assistance Mission in Sudan shows Sudanese men carrying ballot boxes yesterday as UNAMID provides air support to carry polling material to Al-Lait in northern Darfur for the upcoming referendum on south Sudan’s independence. Some 23,121 South Sudanese living in Darfur are expected to vote between Jan 9 and 15. — AFP Although opposition to independ- Kerry, as Washington pulled out the ence has been well-nigh invisible, stops to ensure no hitches blocked turnout will be important because the implementation of the peace deal in 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which it was so instrumental. (CPA) stipulates a quorum of 60 percent Former US president Jimmy Carter, of the 3.8 million registered voters. whose Carter Centre foundation has In Khartoum, US envoy Scott Gration deployed poll observers across the held a last round of talks with govern- south, praised the South Sudan ment officials and referendum organiz- Referendum Commission for overcomers hot on the heels of Senator John ing the “great difficulties” it had faced in

preparing the vote in a vast region with just 40 km of tarmacked road. Commission spokesman George Maker Benjamin said the preparations were “absolutely complete.” “The ballots arrived at all of the centers all over the south. We have coordination with the United Nations. They are giving us small planes to distribute the ballots.” He added that an official ban on further campaigning would come into force after yesterday’s rallies. In New York, the UN Security Council praised both sides for surprising the international community with their efforts to make sure the independence vote went ahead on schedule. In a rare act of praise for President Omar Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, over his government’s handling of the seven-year-old rebellion in Darfur, the council said its members “appreciate” his stance on the referendum. But it also expressed “deep concern” over the continuing failure of northern and southern leaders to resolve their dispute over the oil-rich district of Abyei, which had been due to hold a simultaneous vote on its future on Sunday that

has now been indefinitely postponed. Hollywood star George Clooney, who arrived in Juba on Thursday in a show of support, was due to head to Abyei on Friday to voice his own concern. Threats by leaders of the district’s settled pro-southern Ngok Dinka population to take unilateral action over the poll delay have sparked fears of clashes with heavily armed Misseriya Arabs from the north who use its waters for seasonal pasture. The southern head of the United Nations Mission to Sudan, David Gressly, expressed optimism that calm would reign for the referendum. “For the last several weeks-several months probably-we have seen the lowest level of insecurity in southern Sudan since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement has been signed,” he said. “It has been a very conducive environment for the registration, and we expect the same to continue for the polling period.” But aid agency Oxfam took issue with the peacekeeping mission’s focus, saying it should have devoted fewer resources to the referendum and more to the protection of civilians from persistent low-intensity violence that has claimed nearly 1,000 lives over the past year.—AFP

S Africa denies bail for Nigeria bomb suspect JOHANNESBURG: A South African court yesterday rejected a bail appeal for the suspected ex-militant leader accused of ordering deadly twin car bombings on Nigeria’s Independence Day last year. Prosecutors say Henry Okah is the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the Nigerian militant organization that has claimed scores of kidnappings and attacks on oil installations in recent years. He was arrested at his home in Johannesburg on Oct 2 last year, one day after the car bombs killed 12 people in Abuja, and has since been in custody. Judge Flip Hattingh said the evidence against Okah pointed to a prima facie case and the court had “valid reasons” to deny the bail, dismissing the bombing suspect’s argument that he should be released on health grounds. “He has denied involvement in the bombings despite evidence seized from his laptops, cellphone and diaries, linking him to the events in Abuja,” said Hattingh at

Randburg Magistrates Court in Johannesburg. “The regional court found him to be untruthful,” the judge added. Okah’s current detention is not his first time in jail. During a previous incarceration in Nigeria, he complained to his lawyers of attempts by authorities to kill him, alleging poisonous snakes were released into his cell. Okah has denied organizing the October 1 attack and claims he has never been the leader of MEND, which claimed responsibility for the blasts. Sympathizers filled the court, wearing t-shirts emblazoned with his face and the message” “Free Okah”. Defense lawyer Rudi Krause said the push for bail was not over. “We will consider the supreme court of appeals. This is not the end of the road for us,” he said. The fourth of nine children of a senior navy officer, Okah is said to have turned to militant action following the 1995 execution of rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who pushed

for justice for the Niger Delta region. Despite being the centre of the one of the world’s largest oil industries, the Niger Delta remains deeply impoverished. Oil spills have also left the region badly polluted. Okah is said to have first witnessed the squalid conditions under which villagers lived in the creeks of the region in his late teens, when he visited the area his family was from. He was arrested in Angola in September 2007 for arms and explosives trafficking along with a colleague. He was extradited to Nigeria in February 2008. Police identified him as “an international gun-runner and a major oil bunkerer (thief) in the Niger Delta.” With Okah said to have a kidney ailment, MEND militants eventually made his release one of their key demands, saying his health was deteriorating behind bars. Okah, who is married and has four children, was set free in 2009 as part of a government amnesty deal offered to Niger Delta militants. — AFP

ABIDJAN: In this Jan 4 photo, Alassane Ouattara, right, internationally recognized as Ivory Coast’s elected president, greets Canadian ambassador to the Ivory Coast Isabelle Massip, left, along with other ambassadors at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan. — AP

Ivory Coast leader intensifies stand-off with world ABIDJAN: Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo’s stand-off with the world intensified yesterday after Britain and Canada rejected his expulsion of their envoys, insisting they only recognize his rival. Gbagbo’s increasingly isolated government said late Thursday that the two ambassadors were no longer welcome but both countries reiterated that they only recognized statements made by his rival Alassane Ouattara. Ouattara is the internationally recognized winner of a Nov 28 presidential run-off, but he has been holed up in an Abidjan hotel for weeks, sur-

rounded by the Ivorian army which remains loyal to Gbagbo. Ouattara himself has called for a “non-violent operation” by west African special forces to snatch Gbagbo and thus head off the threat of civil war. Regional leaders have said they could carry out an armed intervention if mediation efforts fail. Gbagbo government spokesman Ahoua Don Mello read out a statement ordering the expulsion of Britain’s Nicholas James Westcott and Canada’s Marie Isabelle Massip “through the application of the principle of reciprocity”. —AFP


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Clinton condemns Belarus for crackdown Concern for detainees WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday condemned Belarus for its handling of the presidential election and crackdown on activists and political leaders. The comments came after the top US diplomat met human rights activists from Belarus in a further signal of its opposition to the crackdown in Minsk. “The secretary condemned the conduct of Belarus’s presidential election and crackdown on political leaders and activists, civil society representatives and journalists,” a statement from her office said. “She stressed her concern for detainees and for their family members, noting the US embassy in Minsk’s efforts to remain in close contact with them.” The statement noted that Washington and the European Union have issued two joint statements condemning the violence and calling for the immediate release of all who are detained. “The secretary repeated this appeal and also urged an end to repressive acts against the opposition, the media and civil society,” the statement said. Clinton also “told the activists that we are watching the government’s actions closely and considering our response to those actions.” Earlier, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Clinton “shares their concerns over the recent presidential elections, as well as the government’s disproportionate use of force following those elections.” Belarus is holding hundreds of opposition supporters arrested in a mass protest against the December 19 elections won by President Alexander Lukashenko. The United States and the European

WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks with reporters at the State Department in Washington on Thursday following a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara. —- AP Union on Tuesday both slammed Belarus for ordering the closure of the OSCE office in Minsk, and urged it to release all those protesting the elections. Belarus on Friday ordered the closure of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) office in Minsk, in an apparent response to the transatlantic security group’s stinging criticism of its presidential polls. OSCE monitors issued a damning report on the polls that listed a litany of vote count violations, saying its observers

assessed the tally “as bad and very bad” in almost half of all observed polling stations. Toner said Clinton’s meeting with the Belarussian activists was designed to send a message to the authorities in Minsk and he hoped the high-profile meeting here “would not put them at risk” when they return to their country. “What we’re trying to send here is a signal. We’re trying to show our engagement. We are concerned about the situation in Belarus, and we’re going to stay engaged on this issue.” —- AFP

Yemeni begs president to commute death sentence SANAA: A Yemeni man facing execution next week after being convicted of a murder committed while he was still a minor in 1999 has urged President Ali Abdullah Saleh to commute his death sentence. Muhammed Taher Thabet Samoum escaped the gallows in November when his executioner did not turn up after falling ill, but as the new date approached, he appealed for clemency, saying he killed his friend by mistake when he was just 13. “I call upon the president to commute my death sentence,” Samoum told AFP by telephone from prison, as President Saleh, who ratified his execution sentence, has the power to pardon him or commute his sentence. The 24-year-old is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday. Death sentences in Yemen are mostly carried out by one executioner who would shoot the convict in a public place. “I swear by Allah that the killing happened by mistake when I was with my friend Ammar al-Jamili playing with an AK-47 machine gun,” he said, adding he passed out after hearing the bang of a fired round, only to see his friend lying in blood when he came round. Samoum said the family of the victim had advised him to hand himself in to police and that he would be set free through a “tribal agreement and paying blood money.” “Some parties meddled in the case, taking it to a death sentence, although I was only 13” at the time in May 1999, he said. Samoum was put on trial on 2002. He is imprisoned in Ibb, about 190 km southwest of the Yemeni capital Sanaa. London-based rights watchdog Amnesty International last month urged President Saleh to stop Samoum’s death sentence, which it described as “inhuman”. “We call for him to be saved from execution-the ultimate cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment-and for his death sentence to be commuted,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa. Samoum, who does not have a birth certificate, is not the first person to face death for alleged crimes while still a minor. “Another alleged juvenile offender, Fuad Ahmed Ali Abdullah,” was also due to be executed on December 19, the group said, but authorities stayed the sentence and are now reviewing his case. Eight other people “are possible juvenile offenders on death row in Yemen,” where “death sentences are often passed after proceedings which fall short of international standards for fair trial,” the statement said. According to Amnesty, at least 53 people were sentenced to death in 2009 in Yemen of whom a minimum of 30 were executed. In 2010, at least 19 people were executed while hundreds are believed to be on death row.— AFP

Russian fishing boat sinks off Sakhalin MOSCOW: Two Russian boats and a jet scoured the country’s stormy Far East seas yesterday in a desperate search for at least 11 fishermen whose schooner sank off Sakhalin Island. The vessel’s captain sent a last minute distress signal suggesting that the crew had been unable to deploy their life rafts on time and officials reported no progress in their initial bid to locate the craft. “Attention, attention: whoever can hear me,” the federal fisheries agency quoted the last message from the Partner schooner as saying. “Partner-suffering distress,” said the ship’s captain. “We are going under. Only one of the life rafts deployed, and even that one did not do so correctly.” Two Russian transport boats and an An-24 jet were sent on a search and rescue mission that was being staged amid unusually fierce storms that have seen gusts of up to 65 miles per hour. But Interfax reported that at

least one of the ships and the jets had given up their search for Friday and would only resume their work with sunrise. Initial Russian reports said the schooner had a crew of 14 and that the craft was owned by a small firm registered in Belize. The accident was only the latest to affect Russian fishing vessels this winter. Three more craft with more than 400 people on board became stranded in the Sea of Okhotsk on December 30 in a high-seas drama that dominated television news. The Admiral Makarov icebreaker was only able to reach the first of the three vessels on Thursday and not expected to return to the two remaining larger ships until the weekend. The Sea of Okhotsk-an arm of the Pacific stretching between the Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin Island-is a fishing area that turns dangerous for much of the winter season as the region becomes whipped by daily storms. —- AFP

MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (C) attends an Orthodox Christmas service in the XIX century church of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God in Turginovo, about 160 kilometers northwest of Moscow yesterday. Thirteen days after Western Christmas, on January 7th, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates its Christmas, in accordance with the old Julian calendar.— AFP


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Korea, US troops lower alert status Tensions ease in peninsula SEOUL: North Korea has lowered its military alert status, prompting similar moves by Seoul and US forces as tensions on the Korean peninsula showed signs of easing, a report said yesterday. The apparent moves came as South Korea held its latest war games to simulate an infiltration by North Korean troops across the disputed Yellow Sea border, officials said. Tensions have been high since the North shelled South Korea’s frontline Yeonpyeong island on November 23. Yonhap news agency quoted unidentified South Korean government sources as saying that the North recently lifted a special alert it issued on November 21 for its military forces on the coast near the tense sea border. “The North Korean military recently withdrew an order for special military readiness it had issued in connection with our Hoguk military drills (in November),” a source was quoted as saying. The South Korean military and US forces in South Korea had consequently reduced their own alert status by one notch to a normal level, the source said. South Korean troops have lowered “the level of their alert status by one notch in some areas due to fatigue”, a defense ministry spokesman told AFP, adding the move was not related to any political development. He also said the computerized military exercise involving the South Korean navy and marines “began as planned”, declining to give details. Navy officials said yesterday’s manoeuvres were designed to enhance the South’s capability to repel a surprise landing on islands. Command posts were

TOKYO: A top US envoy for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, center top, is surrounded by local press members following his talks with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo yesterday.—AP involved in the simulated war games but it was unclear whether troops were involved in any physical manoeuvres. Besides the shelling in November, the North also raised security fears that month by disclosing a uranium enrichment plant to visiting US experts. But after a difficult year on the Korean peninsula, 2011 started on a more peaceful note. The North began the year calling for improved relations with Seoul, while South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak Monday also reached out, saying he was open to talks and offering closer economic ties. Efforts to resume long-stalled nuclear disarmament talks with the North also

gained momentum as Beijing urged dialogue and Pyongyang signaled it was willing to return to the negotiating table. In an unusually cordial statement, carried by its KCNA agency, North Korea said Wednesday the communist nation “courteously proposes having wide-ranging dialogue and negotiations”. But South Korean officials were dismissive of the comments. Vice Unification Minister Um Jong-Sik said on KBS radio that the North should show seriousness of purpose by acting on its obligations under a 2005 agreement on denuclearization and apologizing for the November shelling and the sinking of a South Korean warship last year. —AFP

Philippine boy survives 3 days at sea MANILA: A 15-year-old Philippine schoolboy who was sent alone to sea by his grandmother to fish survived three days adrift after his boat engine failed, local authorities said yesterday. The hungry, thirsty and exhausted boy, sixth-grader Mark Sanico, washed ashore aboard his tiny dugout in the central city of Danao on Thursday, and is recovering at a local hospital, police officer Cherry Panares told AFP. “He was very weak. He had had no food or drink for three days. He said he had some boiled ground corn, but it spoiled early so he had nothing to eat,” Panares told AFP by telephone. The big waves meant he could not cast his net out to get food, she added. Clad only in a shirt and shorts, the boy told police the boat had drifted at least 90 kilometres (56 miles) across the Camotes Sea from his coastal hometown of Villaba on Leyte island without any other mariner noticing his plight. The boy told police he saw only another fishing boat on Wednesday and no other vessels, but the other fisherman apparently did not see him when he waved for help, Panares said. She praised the boy’s resilience, saying a life spent in poverty had probably ensured his survival. “He’s one tough kid. That’s probably what saved him,” said Panares, head of the Danao police women and children’s section. The boy told police his mother left him to his grandparents a few months after he was born. He said his grandmother sent him off to sea early on Monday when he should have been at school because they needed fish to eat. “They are very poor. The municipal government had to give bus fare to his grandmother so she could come here to pick up her grandson,” Panares said. “He looked a lot better today and is laughing again. I told him jokes so he would not feel down. He just wants to go back home.” —AFP

Veteran pilot shocked by Australian floods ROCKHAMPTON, Australia: If Rockhampton is suffering its worst ever floods, Australian rescue chief John Fisher ought to know-flying overhead in his helicopter, the veteran pilot has seen them all. “A lot of people around this place have seen floods, but not of this dimension before,” said Fisher, one eye on the storm clouds gathering overhead. “The extent of water out there in the Fitzroy (river), it’s astounding how far it’s gone. It’s drained across the floodplains, particularly Rocky where it comes into the big delta. It’s really stretched to its outermost limits.” A storm has forced Fisher to take a break from his hectic schedule of supply drops and evacuations, and he watches real-time weather maps stream on a nearby computer screen, discussing logistics with emergency officials. Paper maps are pinned on an easel, and a whiteboard lists jobs for the four helicopters refuelling on the small green nearby.

Rockhampton’s “Heritage Village” tourist park, a showcase of historic Australian life, seems an odd base for the vital helicopter operations, but the airport is swamped and the site’s proximity to town makes it an ideal makeshift helipad. “We’re going to collect two English tourists who’ve found themselves stranded by the floods,” Fisher chuckles, gesturing at the darkening sky. “But we avoid those things (storms), they’re not very pleasant.” Regional fire and rescue manager Fisher doesn’t think himself a hero, but for the scores of families isolated by Australia’s unprecedented floodwaters he’s their lifeline to the outside world, bringing food and medicine and dropping fodder to water-bound cattle. His sleek red chopper, Hannah, is laden with 200 kilograms (400 pounds) of groceries to fly to five families in a remote area surrounded by mucky water-enough for the four or five weeks before the del-

uge recedes. Fisher, who has been in aerial rescue for more than 20 years, insists it’s all routine-”flying helicopters and that sort of thing isn’t that stressful” but his team must delicately balance priorities and resources. Medical emergencies worry him most, and there have been a few since flooding hit, including midnight call-outs for Black Hawk crews on loan from the military for “the very pointy end of those more difficult jobs”. “It might be a heart attack, suspected heart attack, it might be a broken leg-all of those things that might normally have gone through a triple-0 (emergency) call to the ambulance now might mean a helicopter ride,” Fisher said. Has he been hugged? “Not yet, no,” but people are “always keen to see us” and there’s definitely still time. Parts of the until-recently parched region could remain cut off by water or road damage for at least a month. —AFP

ISABELA: Arnel Buenaflor, the alleged assassin of a village councilman Reynaldo Dagsa on New Year’s Eve, is presented to the media in handcuffs following his arrest, in Isabela province in northern Philippines yesterday. Buenaflor was photographed by the victim aiming his pistol behind three members of the victim’s family while welcoming the New Year. —AP


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INTERNATIONAL SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Taleban suicide attack kills 17 at Afghan bath KANDAHAR, Afghanistan: A Taleban suicide bomber yesterday assassinated a police commander and killed 16 others at a public bath in southern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. The militia claimed responsibility for the attack as part of its nine-year insurgency against the Westernbacked Afghan government, concentrated in the south, particularly the province of Kandahar where the bomber struck. “At around 12:00 pm (0730 GMT) a suicide bomber blew up explosives strapped to his chest at a public bath in Spin Boldak,” border police official General Abdul Raziq told AFP. The local government confirmed from provincial capital Kandahar that at least 17 people had died in the attack and that 23 people were wounded. The administration released a statement saying that the bomber had been targeting a police commander named Ramazan, who died in the attack. Raziq identified him as head of the local rapid reaction police border unit. He said that apart from two border policemen who were wounded, all the other casualties were civilians. Spin Boldak is a short distance from the border with Pakistan, where US officials say the Taleban and AlQaeda-linked insurgents use rear bases to plot attacks in Afghanistan and the West. Taleban spokesman Yusuf Ahmadi told AFP by telephone that the militia killed the police commander because when he used the public baths, he cleared everyone else out. “Only his men could use it at the same time as him,” he said, denying that any civilians had died. “Today is Friday (the weekly Muslim day of rest). There weren’t any civilians inside,” he told AFP, speaking from an unknown location. The Taleban are fighting to bring down the Western-backed Afghan government and expel 140,000 US-led foreign troops. US officials say an American-led military campaign in the south is makeor-break for the war, pinning their hopes on undermining the Taleban in its heartland and limiting the number of attacks such as yesterday’s bombing. Defence Secretary Robert Gates this week ordered an extra 1,400 US Marines to southern Afghanistan in a move the Pentagon said would put pressure on the Taleban in order to pre-empt a traditional insurgent offensive in the spring. Defense officials expressed hope that the extra troops would bolster areas recently cleared between Kandahar city and Helmand province. There are about 97,000 American troops in Afghanistan and 45,000 from other countries. Officials said the new Marines would not push the total number of US forces above the limit of 100,000 authorized by President Barack Obama. A year after ordering 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan has part of a last-ditch “surge” strategy designed to defeat Al-Qaeda and reverse the Taleban, Obama conceded last month that gains were fragile and reversible. The White House said the strategy was “on track” but 711 foreign troops died in Afghanistan during 2010, an average of two a day and exceeding by far the previous most deadly annual toll of 521 during 2009. US commanders are under pressure to show clear progress in Afghanistan in 2011 so that at least a limited draw down of American troops can begin from July, or else face fresh public doubts about the course of the war. The conflict has never been deadlier. The United Nations says 2,412 Afghan civilians died in the first 10 months of 2010, an increase of 20 percent on the corresponding period in 2009. The Afghan interior ministry said 1,292 policemen died in the war last year. — AFP

Pakistan government wins back majority MQM joins ruling coalition KARACHI: Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said yesterday it would rejoin the government coalition, but not the federal cabinet in a move that restores the prime minister’s majority following a fiveday crisis. “The Muttahida Qaumi Movement announces it will sit on the government benches in the larger interest of the country and democracy,” senior MQM member Raza Haroon told a news conference with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. He claimed that the party had “decided to sacrifice” itself again for the sake of democracy and join the government in view of the “deteriorating law and order situation and economic conditions of our people”. Gilani invited the MQM back into government at crunch talks on Friday in order to restore his majority in parliament, 24 hours after caving into a key MQM demand and reversing controversial fuel price hikes. A visibly relieved prime minister said: “We welcome the MQM decision and appreciate their sentiments for democracy in Pakistan and hope our association will last long in the larger interest of the people of Pakistan.” In a sign of how determined he was to keep his fragile government alive, Gilani had flown to Karachi, the MQM’s powerbase, to visit its party headquarters for the since becoming premier in 2008. The MQM walked out of government last Sunday, taking its 25 lawmakers on to the opposition benches. The move saw Gilani lose his majority in parliament and raised fears that his administration could be forced to call early elections.

RAWALPINDI: Pakistani Islamists gesture as they march outside the residence of arrested Pakistani bodyguard Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the alleged killer of Punjabís governor Salman Taseer, during a rally to support him in Rawalpindi yesterday. — AFP With the MQM lawmakers off the opposition benches and back on the treasury benches, Gilani leads a coalition that again controls a slender majority of around 185 seats in the 342-member lower house of parliament. The prime minister told reporters he had discussed all MQM’s “issues and reservations” in detail by telephone with its leader, Altaf Hussain, who lives in exile in London and promised to work together on all future decisions. On government plans to introduce reformed general sales tax, Gilani gave an assurance that he would not act “without consultation with our partners.” “So far we have done everything on consensus. No such tax will be introduced without consensus, I assured Mr Altaf Hussain.”

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government has faced opposition to efforts to introduce a general sales tax, which the United States and other donors have welcomed, on the grounds that it will affect ordinary people the most. “We believe in his (Gilani’s) promise that the reformed general sales tax will not be introduced without a consensus among all parliamentary parties,” the MQM’s Haroon said. The MQM had attributed its withdrawal from government to the hike in fuel prices and government failures to handle fiscal reform, corruption and inflation, but relations soured with Gilani’s PPP over political violence in Karachi last year. A senior PPP leader had blamed MQM supporters over the killings. — AFP

US missiles kill five in Pakistan

HYDERABAD: Indian students push a bus allegedly burnt by them to block the road, demanding the creation of a separate Telangana state, in Hyderabad yesterday. A committee set up in February 2010 to study the demands for and against carving out a new state called Telangana in the northern part of Andhra Pradesh state has favored maintaining status quo, news reports said Thursday. — AP

MIRANSHAH: A barrage of US missiles killed up to five militants in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal district yesterday, destroying a vehicle used by Islamist fighters, security officials said. Pakistani security officials reported the strikes in what is reputedly the country’s most impregnable Taleban and AlQaeda fortress, where US officials want Pakistan to launch a ground offensive to eliminate the militant threat. They said strikes killed five rebels in Ghar Laley village, 35 kilometres (22 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, and close to the Afghan border. “US drones fired four missiles, targeting a vehicle and a house,” a local Pakistani security official said. “So far five bodies have been recovered,” he said. “Taleban have surrounded the area and there are fears the final toll may go up,” he said. The area is a stronghold of Taleban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur but neither the precise identities of the dead nor whether they included any high-value target was immediately clear. “The missiles targeted militants fleeing on a motorbike,” said another Pakistani security official, putting the death toll at two. “The area is considered a stronghold of militants, including foreign Al-Qaeda fighters,” he said. Washington says wiping out the militant threat in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt is vital to winning the nine-year war against the Taleban in Afghanistan and defeating Al-Qaeda. Militant networks in North Waziristan are accused of escalating the nine-year war in Afghanistan and US officials want Pakistan to launch a ground offensive in the district to limit the Islamist threat.—AFP


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GERMAN ECONOMY PAUSES FOR BREATH

US AUTOMAKERS IN POLE POSITION

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CHINA EASES FEARS OVER SOARING PRICES

SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

It will take years for jobs to come back: Fed

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NEW DELHI: A worker sorts through onions at a wholesale vegetable market in New Delhi yesterday. India is urging Pakistan to resume onion exports to help ease the strain of rocketing food inflation, the foreign minister said yesterday. —AP

India, Pakistan in onion wrangle New Delhi asks Islamabad to resume exports NEW DELHI: India yesterday urged Pakistan to allow onion exports after its regional rival cut off trade in the vegetable by land because of soaring prices at home. The cost of the humble onion, which provides the pungent foundation for thousands of different curries and dishes on the subcontinent, has shot up in both countries, leaving their governments grappling for solutions. Onion prices have more than doubled in Pakistan after worse-than-normal harvest, with hundreds of trucks now stuck at the border with India after the abrupt order from the commerce ministry to stop exports by road and rail. Exports by air and sea are still permissible, however. Reacting to the move yesterday, Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna said New

Delhi was attempting to reverse the Pakistani decision. “We are in touch with Pakistan and we are hopeful that we will find a solution to this (ban) and which will ease the problem,” Krishna told reporters. Relations between India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since independence in 1947, are riven by mistrust while efforts to get their slow-moving peace process back on track have stalled in recent months. The ban will do little to improve relations, and will almost inevitably be seen by some in India as a deliberate ploy to increase the hardship of consumers who are battling a 20-percent rise in food prices over 12 months. Some vegetable traders in northern India said they had stopped their exports to Pakistan as retali-

ation. “We took this decision because when we needed vegetables (onion), Pakistan has simply banned the export of essential items,” Amritsar-based vegetable trader Anil Mehra told the Press Trust of India. The news agency quoted a customs official in India as saying no trucks carrying vegetables had passed over the border. The Pakistani clampdown is aimed at preventing traders from trucking produce to India, where customs duties on onions were eliminated last month and the prices are higher. India has also banned exports. Onion prices in India reached 80-85 Indian rupees ($1.75-$1.87) last month and are currently around 70 rupees a kilo, way above the “normal” retail price of 20-25 rupees. Prices in Islamabad, where food items are generally

more expensive than elsewhere, have risen from 40 Pakistani rupees last month to up to 90 rupees a kilo ($0.47 to $1.05). The price rises on both sides of the border were caused by unseasonal monsoon rains which hit the crop, with the Pakistani shortage exacerbated by the exports to India. “The exports (to India) triggered a shortage of onions in our domestic market,” a Pakistani commerce ministry spokesman told AFP. New Delhi is keen to be seen to be doing everything within its power to control the price of the staple, aware of the influence of onion prices on public opinion. In one instance in 1998, a six-fold surge in the cost of onions was held partly responsible for the electoral defeat of the ruling Delhi state government. — Reuters


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BUSINESS SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Portugal’s debt worries worsen LISBON: Portugal’s bond yields rose to euroera record highs yesterday, driven by market fears about the debt-laden country’s economic health and wider concerns about the euro-zone’s financial stability. Investors are worried the government won’t be able to meet its debt obligations and may need a bailout like those provided to Greece and Ireland last year. Borrowing rates edged up across much of the rest of Europe after a euro-zone growth figure was revised down, but traders were by far most worried about Portugal — its 10-year government bond yield spiked above 7.1 percent. The country is one of the 17-nation euro-zone’s smaller members, accounting for less than 2 percent of the bloc’s gross domestic product. But its difficulties could stoke the continent’s debt crisis, especially by placing pressure on its

much larger neighbor Spain, which also has debt problems. “While the relatively small size of Portugal’s funding needs suggests that a Portuguese bailout will not exert a huge amount of pressure on the euro-zone support fund, it will raise the risk of a speculative attack on the Spanish debt market,” Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank International, wrote in an analysis. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi noted that whereas Ireland’s loan maturity average is seven years at an average cost of 5.8 percent, Portugal’s 7-year bonds are now trading at 6.6 percent. Portugal aims to raise 1.25 billion euros next week by auctioning off 3-year and 9year bonds next week in a key test of investor confidence.

The government insists it doesn’t need financial help and says its debt reduction plan is on track. Prime Minister Jose Socrates said yesterday that state revenue was higher than forecast last year and spending was lower than expected, helping Portugal to meet its budget deficit target of 7.3 percent. Meanwhile, the economy is estimated to have grown by at least 1.3 percent in 2010. Socrates said those figures “should help instill confidence in the markets.” However, analysts expect an austerity plan featuring tax hikes and pay cuts to cast Portugal into recession this year. That would hurt tax revenue and place further stress on the budget which is already being drained by high interest rates on its borrowings and increased welfare payments resulting from a jobless rate that has risen to

11 percent. Fears that economic growth in Europe will be slow and drag on governments’ efforts to raise income were heightened by a downward revision to the eurozone’s GDP growth in the third quarter of 2010. Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, said output rose by only 0.3 percent, down on the previous estimate of 0.4 percent and way below the 1 percent growth recorded in the second quarter. Business investment fell and personal spending declined, suggesting the region is in for a prolonged period of weak growth and government belt-tightening will be harder than expected. The Lisbon benchmark stock index was down 1.15 percent, dragged lower by a fall in shares in Portuguese banks which are exposed to national debt. Spain’s index was down 1.42 percent. — AP

German economy pauses for breath Industrial output, retail sales drop FRANKFURT: Germany’s recovering economy paused for breath in November when industrial output and retail sales declined, but remained on track for more growth this year, officials and analysts said yesterday. The German trade surplus also contracted as imports reached an all-time high but the biggest economy in Europe and the number two exporter worldwide still had some reserves, the economy ministry said. “Given a strong level of orders, the trend (higher in industrial output) should contin-

ue in the coming months,” and results for the fourth quarter of 2010 should be positive as well, a statement said. On Thursday, official data showed that industrial orders were five times higher than expected in November owing to sustained global demand for German goods such as chemicals, machine tools and vehicles. What looks set to be a record-setting expansion of business activity in 2010 was nonetheless dialed back in November, with industrial production down by 0.7 percent on the month and retail sales losing 1.9 percent.

BARCELONA: A customer smiles among other, fully-clothed customers, at a ‘Desigual shop on the first day of sales, yesterday in Barcelona. ‘Desigual’ clothing company in San Sebastian, Barcelona and Marbella, asked customers to visit their stores wearing underwear in order to get free clothes during the first sale day in Spain. — AFP

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a decline of 0.2 percent and an increase of 0.8 percent, respectively. German retail sales numbers are highly volatile however, and analyst Frank Engels at Barclays Capital said the latest ones “should be taken with a grain of salt.” Consumer confidence readings, wage developments and reports from retailers “suggest that real private consumption growth should have accelerated in the second half of 2010, including surprisingly robust Christmas sales notwithstanding the adverse winter weather,” he added. Imports leapt meanwhile by 33.3 percent in November from the same month a year earlier, in part owing to higher prices for oil and other commodities, to $75.1 billion (€97.5 billion), the national statistics office reported. That was the highest level “since foreign trade statistics were first produced for the Federal Republic of Germany in 1950,” the Destatis office added. It referred to former West Germany, which was reunited with former East Germany in October 1990. Destatis said German exports amounted to €88 billion, their highest level since October 2008, just after the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers. Berenberg Bank chief economist Holger Schmieding reiterated his view that “Germany’s economic recovery is powered by domestic demand much more than by exports,” and added: “Today’s data confirmed that once again.” The national trade surplus fell to €12.9 billion from €16 billion in November 2009. “Despite the strong and sound fundamentals, the German industry is likely to fall into some kind of snow hibernation in the coming months,” ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski commented. “However, similar to last year, the strong winter will only postpone, not stop the industrial recovery.” — AFP

JACKSON: Becky Pernicone, center, of Jackson, NJ, waits in line to attend a job fair in New York. More Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the last week, but the four-week average fell to its lowest level since late July 2008.—AP

Euro-zone’s growth revised down to 0.3% BRUSSELS: Euro-zone growth slowed more than expected in euro-zone countries in the third term, to 0.3 percent rather than 0.4 percent in a third revised estimate released by the EU’s data office yesterday. In the second quarter, growth rebounded one percent in the 16 euro countries-now 17 since Estonia joined on January 1, 2011 — after a 0.4 percent increase in the three previous months. Eurostat, however, confirmed its previous third-quarter estimate of 0.5 percent growth across the 27 European Union nations. Of the EU 27, Sweden saw the strongest growth at 2.1 percent, followed by Luxembourg at 1.5 percent and Poland at 1.3 percent. In the euro-zone’s leading economy, Germany, growth slowed to 0.7 percent, a strong contrast to the previous quarter’s rebound of 2.3 percent. Growth was 0.3 percent in France-compared to a previous estimation of 0.4 percent-after 0.6 percent in the previous quarter. Growth was 0.3 percent in Italy, better than the previous 0.2percent estimate, but Spain and the Netherlands saw zero growth. Previous estimates for the Netherlands saw a 0.1-percent fall. Across the euro area, consumption increased 0.1 percent in the third quarter, Eurostat said, revising downwards its previous estimate of 0.3 percent. It also revised investment down 0.3 percent against a previous estimate of stable growth. Exports rose 1.9 percent and imports 1.5 percent (against a previous estimate of 1.7 percent). Compared to 2009, GDP increased 1.9 percent in the third quarter across the euro area and 2.2 percent in the EU 27, Eurostat said. — AFP


business SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

US crude futures up, focus on jobs data Dollar index at one-month highs, euro falls

KARACHI: A Pakistani employee changes the oil prices on a billboard at a fuel station in Karachi yesterday. —AFP

LONDON: US crude oil futures were firmer above $89 a barrel yesterday as expectations US jobs data later in the day would show strong growth spurred hopes of a more robust recovery in the world’s top oil consumer. In a rare market move, the price of Brent and US crude futures went in opposite directions. US crude futures were 67 cents up at $89.05 a barrel by 1225 GMT, while February Brent crude contracts lost 41 cents to $94.11 a barrel, having tested highs of $96.17 a barrel during a rally this week on the back of index rebalancing. Analysts said the price differential between Brent and US crude contractsalso known as West Texas Intermediate (WTI) remained exceptionally high and should tighten over the coming weeks.

“It seems WTI prices have found a bottom and the huge price differential between Brent and WTI, the highest since 2009, looks excessive,” Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said. “The price differential should narrow, meaning Brent should decline and WTI increase somewhat in the coming weeks.” Investors focused on the December reading of US non-farm payrolls due at 1330 GMT. A surprise increase in US private sector job creation in December raised hopes of stronger non-farm payrolls figures, helping lift revised forecasts to 175,000 from 140,000 earlier. A positive reading would indicate a more sustained recovery, and drive the dollar index to one-month highs. “Non-farm payrolls (are) likely to steal

the limelight,” Danske Bank analysts wrote in a note, “as markets will be eager to see signs of job creation in the United States.” US crude prices have had a turbulent first week of the year, seesawing in a range of almost $5 between 27-month highs of $92.58 a barrel on Monday and lows of $88.38 on Thursday. A jump last week in crude stored at the Cushing, Oklahoma hub, the delivery point for WTI, caused the US benchmark grade to trade at a discount of around $6.50 a barrel on Thursday. “The driving factor for this decline was once again concerns about the storage situation at the delivery point in Cushing, with the discount to ICE Brent widening,” JBC Energy consultants said in a note yesterday.— Reuters

Kuwaiti crude oil up $2.09 KUWAIT: Kuwaiti oil prices increased $2.09 in Thursday’s trading to settle at $91.18 per barrel (pb), compared to $89.09 pb in the day before, the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said yesterday. US economy reports and the weekly US report on energy, including the extreme cold temperatures in Europe and the US has contributed to the high in demand of the crude oil, in turn increase in trading prices. The US industrial services marked as well an increase which exceeded expectations, bringing more signs that the US economy is well on the recovery path. —KUNA

Thomas Cook travel takeovers threaten competition: EU BRUSSELS: European regulators warned yesterday that British holiday firm Thomas Cook’s planned takeover of travel businesses of two independent retail groups would threaten competition in Britain. The European Commission said its preliminary investigation found that competition could be significantly affected by Thomas Cook’s acquisition of holiday units of the Co-operative Group and of Midlands Cooperative Society. But the European Union’s competition watchdog referred the case to British authorities because the two co-operatives-which group retailers ranging from food stores to funeral services and travel agencies-are not active outside Britain. “The Commission’s preliminary investigation confirmed that the proposed transaction would threaten

to affect significantly competition in a distinct market which is at most UK-wide,” it said. The decision to send the case to London followed a request by Britain’s Office of Fair Trading, which is concerned that the transaction could hit competition “in the distribution of holidays via retail travel agency outlets in the UK and a number of affected UK regions,” the commission said. Thomas Cook and the Cooperative Group announced in October a merger of their stores and foreign exchange businesses to create the nation’s biggest high-street travel chain. The new company would be 70-percent owned by Thomas Cook and 30-percent owned by the Co-operative, and would have more than 1,200 shops across Britain and about 4.3 million customers. —AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan soldiers sell vegetables from a stall in Colombo on January 7, 2011. as part of a new drive by the military to get into retail trade. Security forces defeated Tamil Tiger rebels after nearly four decades of fighting in May 2009 and since then have been venturing into civilian businesses and also joined city clean up and construction projects.—AFP

Sri Lanka deploys army against pricey vegetables COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s army opened a chain of food stores yesterday that will sell produce at low prices and be manned by troops formerly deployed in the island nation’s civil war. Fifteen unnamed shops opened will offer low-priced produce bought directly from provincial farms in a move designed to cut out middlemen and lower costs for consumers. Vegetable prices have climbed in Sri Lanka since October after a freakish spell of heavy

rains disrupted supplies and destroyed crops, forcing the country to reply on imports to meet shortfalls. “It is a community assistance project to sell low-priced vegetables to consumers and to assist the government to bring down the cost of living,” Major General Ubaya Medawala told AFP. The government information department said the move was aimed at eliminating “middlemen and the black market mafia”. The military is

already deployed to run a string of small food kiosks along a main road to the island’s former war zone as the country looks for ways to deploy its large armed forces after the end of fighting. Government troops wiped out the separatist Tamil Tiger movement in the north and east of the country in May 2009, ending nearly four decades of fighting that cost an estimated 100,000 lives. —AFP


business SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Estonian inflation rate soars to 5.7% TALLINN: Annual inflation in Estonia reached 5.7 percent in December, the nation’s statistics agency said yesterday, confirming fears that consumer prices are spiraling higher in the euro-zone’s newest member. Statistics Estonia said that goods prices jumped 7.2 percent in December 2010 compared with the same period a year earlier, with food and nonalcoholic beverages soaring 12.1 percent. In November annual inflation had been 5.3 percent. By comparison, the Eurostat office announced on Tuesday in a flash estimate that annual euro-zone inflation in December was 2.2 percent. Estonia was not included in the estimate since it just joined the now 17member club this month. Analysts said part of Estonia’s inflationary troubles were due to rising energy and food prices worldwide but that the euro changeover was also a factor. “The risk that Estonian retailers and wholesalers will benefit from the introduction of the euro by raising food product prices is largely maintained,” Danske Bank said in a research note. Estonia is emerging from its worst crisis on record — output shrank by over 14 percent in 2009 — though the economy grew approximately 2.5 percent last year and could expand by a further 4 percent in 2011. Economists say the Baltic state’s growth is driven mainly by exports, while domestic demand remains weak. “The recovery in consumption is still not sustainable, and it seems unlikely that the current surge in consumer prices will last long,” Danske Bank said.—AP

CSC cuts Trafford Centre price to thwart Simon bid LONDON: Capital Shopping Centres cut the price it is offering for the Trafford Centre 8 percent, boosting the British mall owner’s defense against US peer Simon Property’s 2.9 billion ($4.5 billion) approach. CSC, Britain’s largest mall owner, said yesterday it would issue 205.9 million new shares to Trafford Centre owner Peel Group, down from the 224.1 million previously agreed. Peel accepted the new price. “The repricing of this transaction reflects my strong belief in the growth yet to come at CSC,” said John Whittaker, Peel Group’s billionaire head. CSC is attempting to fend off Simon’s 425 pence per share offer for its business, a bid which came after CSC launched its move to buy the Trafford Centre. Simon’s 5.1 percent stake in CSC would be diluted by the Peel deal, which it opposes. CSC said its net asset value-a value gauge commonly used by real estate investment trusts (REITs) — could be as high as 625 pence per share, and the revised acquisition

alone implied an NAV as high as 536 pence. Simon, the biggest US mall owner, must formalise its bid by Wednesday under English takeover law. “There is now no scope for a recommended offer from Simon emerging before the put up or shut up deadline of Jan. 12,” said Micheal Burt at Execution Noble, a stockbroker. Simon has to move close to 500 pence for a more realistic offer, Burt said. CSC shares were down 0.2 percent at 418.2 pence by 1130 GMT. Simon has said it would not buy CSC if the Trafford deal went through. After Simon urged CSC shareholders to oppose the deal at a meeting scheduled for Dec. 20, CSC moved the date to Jan. 26, saying it needed more time to inform shareholders. Simon’s third attempt to acquire CSC comes as real estate investors have been showing a renewed interest in British malls, which they expect to rise in value as the local economy stages a tentative recovery. —Reuters

Chinese CB says inflation priority More rate hike on cards BEIJING: China’s central bank says fighting inflation will receive higher priority this year, raising the possibility of more rate hikes at a time when other major economies are trying to boost growth. The announcement late on Thursday follows repeated pledges by Beijing to cool inflation that jumped to a 28-month high of 5.1 percent in November. Communist leaders worry that sharp rises in living costs might trigger unrest. “Stabilizing price levels will receive more prominent status,” the People’s Bank of China said in a report after an annual planning meeting. The bank said it will “effectively manage liquidity and control financial conditions that might cause excessive price increases.” Chinese stocks declined in early trading Friday after the announcement but the main index rebounded to positive territory by late morning. The inflation surge highlights the contrast between China, which rebounded quickly from the global crisis and is trying to restore normal financial conditions, and the United States and struggling European economies. Higher interest rates could further slow China’s growth, possibly cutting its demand for factory machinery, industrial components, iron ore and other imports from the United States, Europe, Australia and its Asian neighbors. China’s rapid expansion slowed to 9.6 percent in the three months ending in September, down from 10.3 percent the previous quarter, though still the highest of any major economy. Analysts expect that to slow further

BEIJING: A vendor, left, eats her lunch while another vendor arranges food for sale at a market in Beijing yesterday. ‘Stabilizing price levels will receive more prominent status,î the People’s Bank of China said in a report after an annual planning meeting.—AP this year as Beijing clamps down on credit and steers growth to a more sustainable level. Analysts blame the price rises on the flood of bank lending that helped China ward off the global downturn. Inflation so far is limited mostly to food, but analysts say price pressures will spread unless Beijing raises interest rates further and tightens access to credit. Inflation has been well above the government’s target

of 3 percent since late last year and some analysts expect it to rise further in December and January. The central bank has raised interest rates twice in the past three months, most recently on Christmas Day. Many analysts expect more increases this year. Chinese leaders ordered a shift in monetary policy from easy credit to a “prudent monetary policy” in 2011 in a planning report issued last month. —AP

KOLKOTA: Indian vegetable vendors attend to clients at a street side stall in Kolkata yesterday. Indiaís food price inflation have touched a five-month high, fuelled by surging vegetable prices, data showed, raising pressure on Indiaís central bank to hike interest rates again.—AFP


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US Dec payrolls gained 103,000 Private employment gains 113,000 WASHINGTON: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke takes his seat on Capitol Hill in Washington yesterday prior to testifying before the Senate Budget Committee. —AP

It will take years for jobs to come back: Fed boss WASHINGTON: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress yesterday that there is increasing evidence that a “self-sustaining” economic recovery is taking hold, but he said the Fed’s $600 billion Treasury bond-buying program is still needed because it will take years for unemployment to drop to more normal levels. In prepared testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke offered a more optimistic outlook, saying the economy should grow more strongly this year as consumers and businesses boost their spending. However, he said that even with the expected improvements, it could still take four to five years for unemployment to drop to a historically normal rate of around 6 percent. Bernanke spoke one hour before the government released a disappointing employment report. US employers added only 103,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent partly because people gave up looking for jobs. The report suggested only slow healing in the jobs market. Many economists had forecast much bigger job gains, signaling that a crucial corner had been turned in the labor market recovery. The Fed chief defended the central bank’s much criticized decision in November to start buying $600 billion in Treasury’s through June. And, he gave no hint that the Fed would change its course. The bond purchases are designed to boost the economy by lowering interest rates and lifting stock prices. The program has been criticized by Republicans in Congress and some Fed officials who contend it will do little to help the economy and could hurt it by unleashing inflation and speculative buying on Wall Street. The move heightened tensions with trading partners including China, Germany and Brazil. They complained it was really a scheme to push down the value of the dollar, giving US exporters a competitive edge. Bernanke predicted that the overall pace of the economy will be “moderately stronger” this year and said the Fed recently has seen “increased evidence that a self-sustaining recovery” is taking place. Factories are cranking up production. The service sector is growing at its fastest pace in more than four years. Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits over the past month than in any other fourweek period in more than two years. Consumers are spending more freely, and a payroll tax cut is likely to boost their activity further. However, there are risks — namely a weak jobs market. “Notwithstanding these hopeful signs ... employers reportedly still reluctant to add to payrolls, considerable time likely will be required before the unemployment rate has returned to a more normal level,” Bernanke said. “Persistently high unemployment, by damping household income and confidence could threaten the strength and sustainability of the recovery,” he warned. Earlier this week, Fed officials said they think Congress’ tax-reduction plan will help bolster the economy this year and should spur more hiring. The tax package extends tax cuts enacted by President George W Bush in 2001 and 2003, gives a pay raise to working Americans by lowering the Social Security payroll tax, provides tax breaks to businesses and extends unemployment benefits. The package has a price tag of $858 billion over two years. Bernanke also argue for Congress and the White House to come up with a long-term plan to reduce the government’s trillion-plus-dollar budget deficits. However, he warned them not to slash spending or boost taxes now because the economy is too fragile. President Barack Obama’s debt commission at the end of last year failed to reach a consensus on what to do about exploding deficits. Over the coming decade government deficits are estimated in the $10 trillion range. If Congress fails to come up with a plan to curb those deficits in the long run, the economy could be hurt, Bernanke said. Big deficits could force investors to demand more returns to loan out their money to the government. Interest rates could soar, crimping spending and slowing the economy. —AP

WASHINGTON: The US economy created far fewer jobs than expected in December, suggesting the Federal Reserve will complete its asset buying program, but the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest in more than 1-1/2 years. Non-farm payrolls increased 103,000, the Labor Department said yesterday, below economists’ expectations for 175,000. Private hiring rose 113,000, while government employment fell 10,000. However, overall employment for October and November was revised to show 70,000 more job gains than previously reported. The unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent, the lowest since May 2009, from 9.8 percent in November. Economists raised their employment forecasts after payrolls processing company ADP Employer Services said on Wednesday private employers added 297,000 in December-the largest gain on

ADP records dating to 2000. “The labor market improvement is still way slower than what everybody would hope for,” said Harm Bandholz, chief US economist at UniCredit Research in New York. Federal Reserve officials will weigh the jobs report when they meet on Jan. 25-26. Signs of strength in the economic recovery had led to calls for the US central bank to scale back its widely criticized $600 billion government bond-purchasing program aimed at keeping interest rates low to boost demand. Some policymakers indicated in December they had a “fairly high” threshold for curtailing the stimulus program. Analysts say the Fed’s focus is on unemployment and expect it to complete the bond-buying plan. “Gains in payrolls won’t be enough to spark a change in Fed policy until the gains either accumulate for many, many

months or are accompanied by gains in inflation expectations,” said Tony Crescenzi, a strategist at bond fund PIMCO. The economy usually needs to create at least 125,000 jobs a month to keep the unemployment rate from rising, but a faster pace might be needed now since so many discouraged workers are sitting on the sidelines. As job growth picks up, these workers could re-enter the labor force, keeping upward pressure on the jobless rate. Employment gains in December were led by the private services sector, which saw payrolls rising 115,000 after gaining 84,000 in November. Retail jobs increased 12,000 after a surprise 19,400 slump in November when retailers reported their best sales in years. Temporary hiring, seen as a harbinger of permanent employment, increased 15,900 after 31,100 in November. — Reuters

SAN DIEGO: Satila Higgins, of Evansville, Indiana, speaks with a prospective employer at a career fair in San Diego. The nation’s economy added 103,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent last month, its lowest level in 19 months.—AP

Germany urges China to review rare metals policy BERLIN: Germany has urged a visiting senior Chinese official to review its restrictions on exporting rare earth metals critical to manufacturing hi-tech goods, a German spokesman said yesterday. Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday met Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle who asked that China “review once again restrictions that it has imposed or plans to impose” on the exportation of the critical minerals, Bruederle’s spokesman said. China announced last month announced a 35 percent cut in rare earth exports for the first half of 2011, drawing complaints from Japan and the United States. It has also hiked export taxes. Yesterday, the China Daily reported that the Ministry of Environmental Protection has approved tougher environmental standards for miners of rare earths, which could further drive up

prices. In recent years, Beijing has radically cut back rare earth metals exports resulting in rocketing prices for elements critical to manufacturing everything from iPods to low-emission cars, wind turbines and missiles. China controls up to 97 percent of global rare earths production, according to Commerzbank, although this is mostly a result of low Chinese wages and lax environmental controls having made it unprofitable to mine the elements in other countries. Bruederle issued a statement following the meeting with Li calling for “open, equitable and reliable access to Chinese raw materials.” Li was due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel later yesterday when he was expected to sign a number of commercial agreements. —AFP


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DETROIT AUTO SHOW US AUTOMAKERS IN POLE POSITION

HAVANA: Manuel Cardenas repairs shoes in a state-run workshop in Havana; his job may be at risk. —AP

Cubans fret as massive job cuts get under way HAVANA: Leticia Albert is a nurse at a Havana geriatrics center, pulling in just enough to keep her family afloat and worrying what the future will hold if her job will be next on the chopping block. “What’s coming isn’t going to be easy. Where will I go? Besides the concern, I see a lot of uncertainty,” the 40-year-old told AFP as the first of half a million government job cuts got underway this week. Although she complains about her low salary — 20 dollars per month-Leticia worries her job is on the line at the Old Havana Geriatrics Center that hired her only four years ago, thinking the government layoff policy is based on job seniority. Five colleagues were let go a few months ago when the facility first started downsizing. And while management has yet to announce more layoffs, everybody knows “the second round will be bigger,” she said. “They’ve got to announce it at a meeting with the workers, and that hasn’t happened yet. But we know they’re going to get rid of a lot of staff.” Like thousands of other Cubans, Leticia’s worries began in October when President Raul Castro announced a series of economic reforms to bring the communist regime up to date. Pivotal to the changes is cutting more than a million government jobs, or 20 percent of Cuba’s entire work force, over the next three years-including 22,000 jobs in the health sector. Castro said 500,000 jobs would have to go by March 31 of this year. The first culling of so-called “bloated payrolls” dragging down the Cuban economy began Tuesday in the sugar, farming, construction, health and tourism sectors, as announced by Salvador Valdes, the head of Cuba’s only labor union CTC. “We’re not nervous, but certainly worried. It’s not something you can just ignore... nobody knows who it’s going to touch,” said Yanelys Coello, a cashier at the El Escorial cafe, in Havana’s historical center, where nobody so far has been fired. Rolando Garrido, 34, is a doorman at the cafe. He got his agronomy degree in 1995 and shares in the collective concern, but is somewhat optimistic about finding another job. “There are thousands of unemployed, but I’m well adapted because I can work anywhere. In the worst scenario, I can always go back to farming,” he said with a smile. On making his job-slashing announcement, Valdes said the culling process was in the hands of a panel of experts from all walks of life in Cuba. “We must avoid infractions, paternalism, favoritism and any other negative tendency,” he said. Castro launched a media drive to justify the reforms he said are necessary to improve the efficiency of Cuba’s economy, currently 90 percent controlled by the government. The president vowed that no worker would be “left out.” “In 2011... it’s crucial we should continue dealing with all our domestic problems with hard work, the right measure of harshness, but without becoming apocalyptic,” Castro said Wednesday from the pages of the official Granma daily. Alexis Vargas, 42, is a bricklayer waiting for his local union to announce its list of layoffs. But he is not worried. “I’ve got a job anywhere,” he said, referring to the labor shortage in farming and construction. As part of the economic reforms the Cuban Communist Party Congress will debate in April, Castro also announced a significant growth of the private sector; the government plans to issue some 180 licenses for small- and medium-sized businesses. If all goes well, the government by 2015 hopes 50 percent of the country’s five million-strong work force will have shifted to the private sector, compared to 824,000 at present. —AFP

CHICAGO: US automakers take a victory lap at the Detroit auto show next week after a remarkable recovery from years of red ink, a steady loss of market share to Asian rivals and the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler. GM posted a two-billion-dollar third quarter profit and then launched the biggest initial public stock offering in history

in November, just 16 months after emerging from a government-financed bankruptcy. Chrysler-which didn’t even host a press conference at the Detroit auto show last year because its product offerings were so old and weak-managed to increase its market share in 2010 and will be introducing two highly anticipates new models on Monday.

Ford, the only one of the Detroit Three to survive the deepest downturn in decades without government aid, regained the number two spot in the US market from Toyota for 2010 after its share grew for the second year in a row. “It’s a bit of a coming-out party for them, frankly,” said Jeff Schuster, an analyst with JD Power and Associates. “The overall expectation would be for a much more upbeat show as well as expectations for the year.” After crashing in late 2008 and dropping to the lowest level since the 1983 recession, US auto sales rose 11 percent in 2010 to 11.6 million vehicles. With sales forecast to rise to 12.5 to 13.5 million units this year and Toyota still smarting from a series of mass recalls, the prospects for big gains are good. “If (the Detroit Three) can make money at depression level sales it tells you something dramatic has changed,” said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “If we get back to 13, 14, 15 million units, this is going to be an astonishingly profitable business.” There is plenty of competition. More than a dozen automakers will vie for the attention of 4,500 journalists on Monday with the presentation of 30 to 40 worldwide

tric car, Tesla will be showing off a luxury electric sedan and Chinese automaker BYD will be pitching a compact E6 electric sedan which is scheduled to hit dealerships this year. “The risk to the marketplace is that consumer aren’t asking for these,” said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive. Hybrid auto sales fell last year to 2.4 percent of the US market from 2.8 percent in 2009, according to Autodata. And while automakers are touting the fuel savings of their compact cars, the cost savings often aren’t enough for comfort and storage-

A view of the Detroit auto show in 2010. debuts. There will be a continued focus on green cars as automakers revamp their lineup to meet tough new emissions standards. Toyota will be expanding its popular Prius hybrid with the introduction of a new wagon and executives are expected to make a big announcement about future products. GM will launch its new subcompact-the Chevy Sonic-introduce a new compact Buick and is also expected to tout its plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt which recently hit showrooms. Ford could also announce plans for its upcoming elec-

seeking American consumers. “Crossovers are easily the big winners,” Lindland said. “They get pretty decent fuel economy and they can carry five to eight people with some stuff.” Luxury car fans will get plenty to see at the show. Porsche has returned after a four-year absence with the introduction of a new Spyder coup, BMW is showing several new models including the 650i convertible, and Daimler will show a new MercedesBenz C class sedan. Audi and Bentley will also be making an appearance. —AFP

Markets unshaken by US jobs data LONDON: A lower than expected rise in the number of jobs created in the US during December had a negligible impact on stock markets and the dollar yesterday as an upward revision to the previous month’s figure reined in any disappointment. In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 15.30 points, or 0.3 percent, at 6,004.21 while France’s CAC-40 fell 7.46 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,896.96. Germany’s DAX was up 6.94 points, or 0.1 percent, at 6,988.33. In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average was up around 19.3 points, or 0.2 percent, at 11,716.61 soon after the open while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,276.16. Stocks are trading a bit firmer than expected when the Labor Department reported that only 103,000 jobs were created in December. Though that was lower than consensus expectations for a 175,000 increase, a 70,000 improvement in November’s gain meant the overall figure was more or less in line with expectations. The news that the US unemployment rate dropped to a 19month low of 9.4 percent from November’s 9.7 percent helped calm any initial jitters. “The data breakdown is not as weak as the December headline suggests,” said Alan Ruskin, an analyst

at Deutsche Bank. The figures, which often set the tone in markets for a week or two, had taken on greater significance following a survey on Wednesday by the ADP agency showing US employers added a massive 297,000 private sector jobs in December. That was way up on November’s 92,000 and significantly ahead of market expectations for a 100,000 increase. The US jobs data will continue to be a central factor behind the performance of the US economy and on the timing of the Federal Reserve’s exit from super-easy monetary policy. While more jobs in the US is good news because it signifies that the world’s largest economy is growing faster than before, it may prompt the Fed to start withdrawing its monetary stimulus sooner than previously expected. As well as cutting its key interest rate to near zero percent, the Fed has authorized two massive money injections into the US economy and is currently in the middle of a $600 billion effort. The payrolls figure also had little impact on the dollar, which was trading more or less where it was before the data’s release — the dollar has been buoyant since Wednesday on the back of a sharp spike in Treasury yields. That means that holding dollars is more attractive because the returns are potentially greater. —AP


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Tablet-mania at Las Vegas gadget show LAS VEGAS: Electronic book readers were all the rage at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as companies raced to come out with rivals to Amazon’s popular Kindle. This year they’re all chasing the iPad. CES, which opened on Thursday, has been hit by tablet-mania. Dozens of companiesfrom the best known brands in the industry to total unknownsare displaying touchscreen tablet computers or prototypes in a bid to take a bite out of a fast-growing market dominated so far by Apple. Shawn Dubravac, chief economist for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the CES organizer, estimated that more than 100 firms from around the world would be making tablet announcements at this year’s show. But like many of last year’s e-reader hopefuls, quite a few of the devices may never see the light of day, he said. At last year’s CES, organizers for the first time set aside a special section on the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center just for ereaders. Not this year. Tablet sales are forecast to eclipse those of e-readers in 2011 despite the head start enjoyed by the Kindle and other e-reader makers such as Sony and US bookstore chain Barnes & Noble. According to the CEA, tablet computer sales will double this year to 30 million units while ereader sales will total nearly 20 million units. Technology research firm Gartner forecasts even higher tablet computer shipments in 2011 — more than 55 million units worldwide. One explanation provided by analysts for the explosive growth of tablets over e-readers is the Web browsing and multi-media entertainment experience they offer in addition to serving as digital book readers. Amazon, for its part, touts the Kindle as the better device for “serious readers” and announced last month that its latest version had become the Seattle-based company’s best-selling product ever. While the Kindle remains the market leader on the e-reader front, the iPad, which went on sale in April, is the device which rivals quite literally have in their sights .Many of the tablets unveiled at CES bear a strong physical resemblance to the iPad, although some offer screens that are half the size of the iPad’s 9.7-inch (24.6-centimeter display). Most of the new entrants also boast front- and rear-facing cameras, a feature not included on the first generation of the iPad, and a USB port. Where they differ more is on the inside, with most of the new tablet computer entrants opting to power their machines on Google’s free Android software and a few with Microsoft’s Windows operating system. US telecom maker Motorola Mobility announced Wednesday that it will be the first to market with a tablet, the Xoom, featuring Android 3.0, or Honeycomb, software designed specifically for tablets by Google. Motorola Mobility chief executive Sanjay Jha said the Xoom will go on sale by the end of March and he expects it to be “the most competitive product in the marketplace.” For the moment, Apple’s stiffest competition has come from Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which hit stores in November and sold 1.5 million units during its first quarter of availability, according to the South Korean company. Apple has not yet released sales figures for its latest quarter but it sold eight million iPads between April and September and it is expected to reap the lion’s share of the estimated 30 million to 55 million tablets sold this year. In a bid to gain an edge, Motorola Mobility’s Jha and other tablet makers are playing up the ability of their devices to run Adobe Flash video software, which is widely used on websites but is banned from the iPad. Bill Monroe, a spokesman for Toshiba, which plans to market an Android-based tablet this spring, said the upcoming device from the Japanese company will not be as “limited.” “One of the great things is being able to run those Flash-based applications that are out there,” Monroe said as he stood next to a prototype of the unnamed Toshiba tablet mounted in a rotating glass case. Motorola Mobility and US computer giant Dell, which unveiled a seven-inch (17.8 centimeter) tablet, the Streak 7, here on Thursday, are also touting the faster 4G networks of their wireless partners compared with the 3G speeds of Apple’s partner AT&T. Taiwan’s Asus is seeking to differentiate its tablets from the iPad with hybrid models that marry a touchscreen tablet with a laptop by including a slide-out keyboard like on some mobile phones. Other tablets, like the Qooq from France’s Unowhy, are seeking to carve out a niche. Described as the “cookbook of the 21st century” or “Kindle for the kitchen,” the Qooq offers recipes, tutorials and, its inventor Jean-Yves Hepp said, “it is able to withstand the assaults of butter, flour, milk and honey.”—AFP

LAS VEGAS: The Motorola Xoom is on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Attendees check out a 3-D television demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show.

(From right) Lady Gaga describes the new Polaroid GL30 instant digital camera with Chairman of the Board Bobby Sager, during the Consumer Electronics Show.

The Playbook is on display at the Blackberry booth.—AP Photos

Microsoft’s answer to the iPad is still in pieces SEATTLE: Instead of unveiling an elegant response to the iPad, Microsoft came to the tech industry’s premier gadget show with a collection of exposed computer guts. Microsoft’s biggest news was that the next version of Windows would run on the style of mobile phone chips that power the iPad and other tablets today. It proved it with a series of demonstrations on half-built computers; on the monitors hooked up to those machines, the software was indistinguishable from the current Windows 7. Microsoft’s missing tablet served as a reminder that the world’s largest software maker remains years from a serious entry into this new category of devices. It also raised more doubts about whether Microsoft Corp. will ever be able to grab a meaningful piece of this fast-growing segment. If it can’t, Microsoft Corp.’s dominance of personal computers may become increasingly irrelevant as people embrace ever-sleeker portable devices. CEO Steve Ballmer mostly lingered on what went right last year when he gave the company’s customary keynote on the eve of the International Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday. He had his share to boast about. Xbox 360 and the Kinect motion-sensing controller that’s racked up more than $1 billion in sales in just two months, a groundup overhaul of the Windows smart-phone software and rapid adoption of Windows 7 on PCs are all legitimate successes. Still, it’s hard for anyone to applaud Microsoft without noting the threats posed by the growing popularity of Apple Inc.’s iPad. It’s also hard to see Windows as a tablet contender amid an onslaught of new tablets running Google

Inc’s Android software, which has already helped turn mobile phones into mini-computers. Those concerns have been weighing on Microsoft stock, which has hovered around the $20 to $30 range for the past decade. Apple, on the other hand, has seen its share price more than triple since the first iPhone was announced in early 2007. Last year, Apple’s market capitalization surpassed Microsoft’s, making Apple the second-largest US public company after Exxon Mobil Corp Microsoft has not been absent from the tablet discussion-Windows tablets have been around for years, but the devices never caught on with the mainstream. At last year’s gadget show, Ballmer demonstrated a sleek “slate” from Hewlett-Packard Co that runs Windows 7, and today there are several iPadesque tablets that use Microsoft’s operating system. But those gadgets have none of the iPad’s cachet, and Microsoft has done little to market them. And it’s the upcoming Honeycomb version of Android, Google’s first to be designed specifically for tablets, that is seen as the best shot to challenge Apple. Many analysts and design experts say Windows 7 is doomed to fail as a tablet system because it was created with the keyboard and mouse in mind. At best, said technology industry analyst Rob Enderle, Windows 7 tablets are a stopgap measure while Microsoft pushes ahead on what will likely be called Windows 8. Microsoft declined to make Ballmer available for an interview Thursday. Given the rudimentary proof-of-concept work Microsoft demonstrated Wednesday, and the

difficulty of the task of building a multi-platform operating system, analysts don’t expect a new Windows to arrive for at least another two years. Microsoft moved late in part because it didn’t take tablets seriously. “Remember, we just had the netbook scare,” Enderle said in an interview. Netbooks, a class of cheap, under-powered laptops that at first ran versions of the free, open-source Linux operating system, were heralded as the end to Windows’ domination. But Windows soon edged out Linux on netbooks; shortly thereafter, consumers realized the devices weren’t good for such tasks as watching online video. The phase passed so quickly that when the industry moved on to tablets, Microsoft expected to see the same progression, Enderle said. The factor Microsoft apparently failed to take into consideration was Apple, which scoffed at netbooks but took the tablet very seriously. When the iPad launched, Apple’s design and marketing savvy tipped tablets into the mainstream. “Now, they recognize that they’ve got a problem,” Enderle said. In the near term, worrying about Microsoft crumbling at Apple’s feet seems overblown despite its stagnant stock. After all, the software maker has for years handily fended off challenges to its cash cows, Windows and Office, from the likes of Google and Apple. The company, with more than $40 billion in cash on its balance sheet, can afford to slog from behind in areas such as search and smart phones. Its earnings rose 29 percent and revenue grew 7 percent in its last fiscal year that ended in June, while most other companies were foundering in the global recession. —AP


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LAS VEGAS: (From left) Time Warner chairman and chief executive officer, Jeff Bewkes, Verizon’s chairman and chief executive officer Ivan Seidenberg, president and chief operating officer Lowell McAdam, and Motorola Mobility chairman and chief executive officer Sanjay Jha discuss mobile technology during the Consumer Electronics Show.—AP Photos

Verizon displays the 4G Motorola Droid Bionic.

Verizon reveals first 4G wireless tablets, phones LAS VEGAS: This year, the big national wireless carriers will be racing to stake their claims in the new frontier of service: ultra-fast data access - for smart phones and laptops as well as for gadgets like tablets. The companies are boosting their wireless data speeds and revving up the marketing hype. They’re moving away from talking about call quality and coverage, and focusing on data speeds: megabits in place of minutes. For consumers, there are benefits in the form of faster service and cooler gadgets. Yet some of the marketing campaigns seem designed to confuse consumers about the gadgets’ speed. At the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Verizon Wireless revealed the 10 gadgets with built-in access to its new high-speed wireless data network, including smart phones, tablet and laptops. Some are to launch as early as March. Along with Sprint Nextel Corp’s subsidiary Clearwire Corp, Verizon is at the forefront of the move to a new network technology, designed to relay data rather than calls. Verizon’s fourth-generation, or “4G” network, went live for laptop modems in last month. The new wireless network is the nation’s fastest. Verizon is hoping to cash in on that advantage by selling tablets and smart phones that devour data. One of

the devices, Motorola Mobility Inc’s Xoom tablet, will come with a 10.1-inch (25.65-centimeter) screen and two cameras: one for video chatting, the other for high-definition videos. The Xoom will begin selling by March. Initially, it will work with Verizon’s 3G network but will be upgradeable to work on the speedier 4G network. Motorola’s Droid Bionic smart phone will also have two cameras, to help with videoconferencing, a data-hungry task. It will be one of the first phones with a so-called “dual-core processor” that will roughly double its computing capacity. That should help with video processing. LG Electronics Inc, Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp are bringing out similar phones for the network. Hewlett-Packard Co is adding 4G capability to a laptop and a netbook. There will also be two “mobile hotspot” devices for the network: small battery-powered bricks that act as Wi-Fi access points, connecting Wi-Fi-equipped computers to the 4G network. Verizon didn’t reveal what the new devices or wireless plans will cost. Verizon’s size — by number of subscribers, it’s the largest US wireless carrier— and the quality of its network are helping it gain traction with manufacturers. “By deciding to go early and go first to (4G), we sent a signal to the entire consumer

LAS VEGAS: A new Dell Streak 7 4G tablet is pictured during a news conference.

electronics market that this technology would develop very quickly,” said Lowell McAdam, Verizon’s president and chief operating officer, in a keynote address at the trade show Thursday. There’s speculation that Verizon will get to sell a version of Apple Inc’s iPhone this year. That would break AT&T Inc.’s exclusive hold on the most popular smart phone. But there was no talk of an iPhone from Verizon at Thursday’s events. With or without the iPhone, Verizon’s new network is pressuring its competitors to step up their offerings. AT&T Inc on Wednesday said it’s on track to launch its own 4G network this summer. Also, it said it will start calling its current 3G network “4G,” since it’s been upgraded to be capable of nearly 4G speeds. TMobile USA said Thursday that it will upgrade its 3G network to double the possible download speeds in two-thirds of its coverage area. It started calling the network “4G” in ads last fall. It, too, revealed two tablets for its network, to launch later this year. Sprint and Clearwire have chosen a slightly different route to 4G. They’ve picked a 4G technology called WiMax that was ready before Long Term Evolution, or LTE, which Verizon is using. Now, however, WiMax looks set to be a niche technology, while the rest of the industry adopts LTE. That

will hamper Sprint’s efforts to get competitive devices for the network. Still, it was able to launch its first 4G phone last summer, ahead of the competition. On Wednesday, it announced it would be the first to carry a 4G tablet computer from Research In Motion Ltd, the maker of the BlackBerry, sometime this summer. The most distinctive feature of 4G technologies like LTE and WiMax is that they’re designed to carry data rather than phone calls. That makes them more efficient at serving today’s smart phones, tablets and other gadgets that need data access on the go. It also makes the networks cheaper to build out and manage. They’re faster than today’s 3G networks, though not by much, which makes T-Mobile and AT&T feel justified in calling their upgraded 3G networks “4G.” After all, they say, speed is what really matters to users. Aside from the bump in speed, the main reason the LTE buildouts of Verizon Wireless and AT&T significant is that they add fresh spectrum to the nation’s wireless networks. That means more capacity for the growing number of mobile gadgets. Also, both companies are using spectrum that was previously used for UHF TV channels, a prime piece of the airwaves. —AP

LAS VEGAS: A view of one of Sony’s 3-D HDTV screens through a pair of 3-D glasses.


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CHINA SMOKING DEATHS COULD TRIPLE BY 2030 BEIJING FAILING TO DELIVER ON PLEDGES: REPORT BEIJING: China is failing to deliver on pledges to help its 300 million smokers kick the habit, according to health experts who warned of a sharp rise in tobacco-linked deaths if strong steps are not taken. By 2030, more than 3.5 million Chinese could die from smoking-related illnesses each year, compared with 1.2 million in 2005, a joint report by Chinese and foreign medical experts said. The report, “Tobacco Control and the Future of China”, was officially released on Thursday and said China would almost certainly miss a January 9 deadline to impose an indoor ban on smoking. China, the world’s largest tobacco producer and consumer, pledged to enact the ban when it became a party to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) five years ago. “China’s score remains low in terms of its implementation of tobacco control and FCTC obligations. China significantly lags behind in its implementation of the FCTC’s requirements,” the report said. The report was sponsored by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite its pledge, no such indoor smoking ban has been put in place and smokers in China continue to light up freely in restaurants and office buildings. Tobacco is the country’s top killer, and smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke result in a huge medical and social cost, the report said.

“Medical costs and labor losses caused by smoking are increasing year by year and at an ever-faster rate,” the report said. Smoking is deeply ingrained in Chinese society and widely accepted, with the offering of cigarette a common gesture of greeting. As a result, the report said, an estimated 738 million Chinese are exposed to second-hand smoke, including 182 million children. Government agencies are the largest buyer of high-grade cigarettes, which are often given as official gifts, sometimes as bribes, according to the report. It singled out the Chinese cigarette industry for particular blame, saying it had seriously undermined anti-smoking efforts and was a key barrier to effective tobacco controls, it said. “The tobacco industry has become the largest ‘health-hazard’ industry,” said the report. “Although it is a major taxpayer, the industry is generating a much greater social burden.” China’s tobacco monopoly acts as the lead entity in implementing the tobacco control framework, which effectively allows it to impede adoption of anti-smoking policies and laws, it added. The report called for the establishment of a high-level tobacco control bureau to implement rigorous anti-smoking activities and for the government to discourage smoking by hiking cigarette taxes and other market measures. — AFP

(Left) This NASA image obtained yesterday shows a hemispheric view of Venus created using more than a decade of radar investigations culminating in the 1990-1994 Magellan mission, and is centered on the planet’s North Pole. The Magellan spacecraft imaged more than 98 percent of the planet Venus and a mosaic of the Magellan images (most with illumination from the west) forms the image base. (Right) Two European Space Agency observatories combined forces in this image obtained from NASA to show the Andromeda Galaxy in a new light. Herschel sees rings of star formation in this, the most detailed image of the Andromeda Galaxy ever taken at infrared wavelengths, and XMMNewton shows dying stars shining X-rays into space.

UN cautions over lead poisoning in N Nigeria LAGOS: The UN warned yesterday that an outbreak of lead poisoning due to illegal gold mining in northern Nigeria believed to have killed more than 400 children remained an “alarming” risk. The 400 children under the age of five have died in several villages in Zamfara state since early 2010, according to the Doctors Without Borders non-governmental organization. UN officials dispatched a team to the area to investigate the health crisis and their report was released yesterday. “Until complete remediation of polluted villages takes place, and as long as ore processing continues in sensitive areas-home compounds and villages, wells and ponds used for drinking water by humans and livestock-there remains an alarming, continuing health risk,” the report said. The joint team from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UN Environment Program recommended methods of reduc-

ing risks in the area that result from mining. “High levels of lead pollution were found in the soil, and mercury levels in air were determined to be nearly 500 times the acceptable limit,” the UN said. Lead has been dispersed in the villages by the processing of ore for gold extraction. “Ingestion and inhalation of the fine lead particles was determined to be the major reason for high blood lead levels in victims’ bodies,” the report said. “Blood lead levels were ‘unprecedented’ for human beings, according to the CDC,” it added, referring to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Local communities largely concealed or denied the fatalities and illnesses from lead poisoning for fear that authorities would ban their mining activities, a Reporters Without Borders official has said. Illicit gold mining is more lucrative than agriculture for the impoverished farming communities. —AFP

UK pays people to slim down, stop smoking LONDON: Can people be bribed into better health? The British government is increasingly convinced they can. For decades, doctors have tried to persuade people to quit smoking, exercise more and lose weight. But with mixed success on the exhortation front and facing a rising obesity crisis, British officials are slowly abandoning the health argument and fattening peoples’ wallets instead. The UK has tested several programs that pay people to make healthy choices. Although the trials have been small, officials say they have been successful enough to roll them out further. This week, the government announced it will give out five million 50-pound vouchers to families that can be swapped for fruits and vegetables. “We will be expanding programs that use financial incentives for healthy behavior where the evidence supports it,” said a Department of Health spokesman who did not want to be named, in line with government policy. Some health experts, however, say it’s difficult to change people’s habits and warn the cash strategies may backfire. Critics also question whether the government’s limited health funds could be better used elsewhere. But the British government is committed to cash pay-outs to try to reverse the obesity epidemic. In several London suburbs, the public transport system ran a pilot study offering kids movie tickets or shopping vouchers if they walked to school. Similar projects are being considered for other parts of the country. Britain also commissioned the Weight Wins company to test whether paying people to slim down worked. In eastern and coastal Kent, experts found that 400 people in a 2008 trial lost an average of nearly 15 pounds and kept it off for at least one year. The program paid people up to 425 pounds ($662) if they hit their weight loss target and maintained it for up to 24 months. “If people drop out, they get nothing,” said Winton Rossiter, who designed the program. “And people hate giving up money even more than they like making it.” Similar programs in the US have largely flopped. An American study that examined seven employer-run programs found that the average person lost little more than a pound. A pilot project in Scotland, meanwhile, offered poor pregnant women food vouchers worth 12.50 pounds ($19.50) a week if they stopped smoking. After one month, nearly 60 percent of them had, and after three months, almost 35 percent had. By last month, health workers had treated more than 500 women, and there are now plans to unveil the program in the rest of Scotland. Paul Ballard, deputy director of public health in Tayside, where the project started, said it worked because the amount of money made enough of a difference to women in deprived areas. But some experts say the success of cashreward programs is limited because people can’t stay on them forever. “To just pay fat people to eat healthy can work for a bit, but in the real world, they’re constantly given the opposite message to eat more,” said Tim Lang, a professor of food policy at City University in London who has advised the British government. “If you want to reduce obesity on a societal level, governments will have to make fundamental changes like altering food price systems to make healthy foods cheaper,” he said. Others question whether Britain should be spending money on these programs when health funds are so tight due to government budget cuts. “I’m not sure cash-based incentives should be rolled out at the expense of things that are already proven to work,” said David Haslam, chairman of Britain’s National Obesity Forum. “There are lots of reasons to be healthy, like looking better and living longer and now maybe earning a bit of cash,” Haslam said. “But once you spend that cash, what happens to your motivation?” —AP


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SHARKS FIND SANCTUARY IN TINY PALAU TINY PACIFIC NATION SUCCEEDS IN CURBING ILLEGAL FISHING KOROR, Palau: The shark-feared as a bloodthirsty killer and hunted to the brink of extinction in many parts of the world-has found a passionate champion in the tiny Pacific nation of Palau. With just one ageing patrol boat policing an area of ocean roughly the size of France, Palau says it has still managed to make significant inroads curbing the illegal fishing that threatens the marine predators’ survival. The country declared the world’s first shark sanctuary in September 2009, banning shark fishing in its exclusive economic zone, which covers almost 630,000 square kilometres (240,000 square miles) of the northern Pacific. Palau Shark Sanctuary founder Dermot Keane, an Irishman who dedicated himself to saving the animals after first visiting the archipelago in 1995, said foreign fishing vessels hunting shark were once common in Palau waters. The trade feeds Asia’s appetite for shark fin soup, a delicacy that has increased in popularity as the region’s wealth has grown, putting pressure on shark populations across the globe, Keane said. Known as finning, it involves hacking the fins off captured sharks then throwing their bodies back into the sea to die. “When I first came here, there were 50 or 60 shark boats working the waters,” Keane told AFP. “They had shark fins hanging from the rigging. “Not only was it visually offensive for someone who came here as a tourist to scuba dive, the smell was pretty awful too. The sight of shark fins laid out to dry on the boats was not a positive image for Palau.” The Pew Environment Group

(Right) A cargo of allegedly illegally fished sharks rests on a Taiwanese boat seized by authorities in Palau. estimates up to 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins, which fetch up to 100 US dollars a kilogram on the black market. It says sharks are slow to reproduce, making them unsuitable for commercial fishing. Keane, who now helps run a diving business after moving to Palau permanently in 1997, said that as top predators sharks had a vital ecological role and the country was determined to protect the 130 species found in its waters. “We’re seeing less and less of the pelagic (deep water) sharks,” he said. “With their removal an unbalanced food chain results, changing the way the natural environment functions.” The Irishman began campaigning to halt finning in the late 1990s and hit upon the idea of a shark sanctuary after finding many members of the public found gruesome images of mutilated sharks too

confronting. “It was very much a blood and guts message of showing people pictures of sharks and fins and trying to explain what was going on,” he said. “At the same time, through my work, I was trying to promote Palau as a tourist destination and I was concerned I was working against myself. “So I started looking for a way to save sharks which was positive and that’s how I arrived at the idea.” Keane admitted there was initially skepticism about offering protection to a predator many seafaring communities regard not only as a deadly threat to their own lives, but also as competition for fish stocks. “At first, if you were to press the locals about whether they were for or against it (shark finning), most of them, even though they weren’t directly involved in it would say ‘never mind the sharks, they take our

fish’.” Since then, attitudes have changed in the nation of about 21,000 people, making it one of the world’s leading advocates for shark preservation. President Johnson Toribiong has repeatedly raised the plight of sharks at the United Nations, citing studies that show the predators have far greater value as tourist attractions than as a commercial catch. “The need to protect sharks outweighs the need to enjoy a bowl of soup,” Toribiong said on the sanctuary’s first anniversary. “These creatures are being slaughtered and are at the brink of extinction unless we take positive action to protect them.” While resources to police the sanctuary are scarce, Thomas Tutii from Palau’s Marine Law Enforcement Division said foreign vessels were getting the message and there had been no finning

arrests for more than a year. “We can’t completely stop illegal shark fishing but the declaration has been effective,” he said. ���We haven’t seen shark fins on board the foreign fishing vessels and they seem to be complying and they are more conscious that they’re not allowed to fish for shark.” Palau’s move to protect its sharks has prompted other nations, including the Maldives and Honduras, to establish similar sanctuaries. Richard Brooks, an underwater photographer in Palau, said the sanctuary had helped educate the public that the misunderstood creatures should be respected, not feared. “They’re a natural part of the eco-system and removing any part of the eco-system, it will change and it will have a domino effect,” he said. “They are actually more scared of humans, than we are of them.” —AFP

UK’s surge in flu could stretch across Europe LONDON: European health officials are warning that the swine flu outbreak that appears to be spiking in Britain could soon spread to the rest of the continent. The annual flu season struck the UK early this year, with cases surging last month and doubling almost every week. The predominant strain infecting people is swine flu, which was responsible for the 2009 pandemic. Unlike most flu viruses, swine flu mostly affects people under 65 and many of its victims are previously healthy younger people with no underlying problems. In Britain, a vaccine shortage is forcing authorities to resort to leftover shots from last year’s swine flu pandemic. Some hospitals have been forced to cancel elective surgeries to accommodate extra flu patients. Health officials say the European continent should pay attention to what’s happening in Britain. “What starts in the West of Europe tends to move East,” said Angus Nicoll, director of influenza coordination at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. “It’s very likely this same pattern (in Britain) will progress to the rest of Europe.” Nicoll said some countries with particularly high vaccination rates — Finland, Norway, Oslo and Sweden — would likely dodge a severe flu season. He said other countries, including France and Germany, should step up their vaccination programs and possibly prepare their hospitals

for an imminent wave of flu cases. “It’s not clear if flu in the rest of Europe will be as intense, or if there was a perfect storm of bad weather (and virus circulation),” Nicoll said. According to Britain’s Royal College of General Practitioners, there were about 99 cases per 100,000 people last week, down from 124 cases per 100,000 people in December. Nearly 800 people with flu are being treated in intensive care units and 50 people have died — almost all of the deaths were in people who were not vaccinated. Ian Jones, a flu expert at the University of Reading, said the British numbers were higher than typical flu seasons but not yet at epidemic levels. Swine flu symptoms include fever, muscle aches, a sore throat and diarrhea, though most people will recover without needing medical treatment. Some experts blamed the British government for not advertising its annual flu vaccination campaign. A renewed effort began last week, but some experts say that’s too late. Flu appears to be peaking now, but it takes at least about two to three weeks for people to develop full immunity after getting the vaccine. “Dropping the ad campaign has directly affected the uptake of the flu (vaccine), especially because there is a certain complacency with regard to seasonal flu,” said Tarit Mukhopadhyay, a vaccine expert at University College London. —AP

Liberty Valley Elementary School, Danville, Pa, kindergarten student Tianna Swisher attempts to drink from the water fountain at Montour Preserve, near Washingtonville, Pa, during the school’s outdoor field trip. Fluoride in drinking water, credited with dramatically cutting cavities and tooth decay, may now be too much of a good thing. It’s causing spots on some kids’ teeth. A reported increase in the spotting problem is one reason the federal government announced it was planning yesterday to lower the recommended limit for fluoride in water supplies, the first such change in nearly 50 years. —AP


SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Weekender

Winfrey pleased with OWN network (Page 30)

Homeless man with velvety voice becomes star

(From Left) Macus Luna as King Baltazar, Marcus Sanchez, center, as King Baltazar, and Junio Alvarado as King Melchior, participate in El Museo del Barrioís 34th annual Three Kings Day parade, Thursday in New York.— AP


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New book

highlights Anna Sui’s career of cool catwalks

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feathered headdress, Carla Bruni in knee-highs, Linda Evangelista in a polar-bear cap and Helena Christensen in a tinsel-like scarf. More recently, Agness Deyn rocked a guitar and Isabeli Fontana piled on turquoise bangles. Any show, any year, you’ll see models smiling in the photographs, a rare catwalk combination. Sui has carved out a niche in romantic, bohemian dresses that double for daytime and cocktails, as long as the wearPhoto shows fashion designer Anna er is young and hip. But she also Sui during an interview. broadened her appeal with a Target — AP photos collaboration, fragrances and cosmetics. “What people look to me for is a events that gave me the confidence to whole look,” she says. “People come to stage my own fashion show,” Sui me for icing on the cake, not a basic writes in the forward of the book, pubstretch pant.” Sui was there with lished by Chronicle. And she’s been Madonna when she wore a sheer black staging fun, lively shows ever since babydoll at the Gaultier show, linked with Naomi Campbell wearing a by mutual friend and top photographer Steven Meisel. “She came out with a coat on, and I couldn’t wait to see what she was wearing. I thought it would be some outrageous outfit, and then she said, ‘Anna, I have a surprise for you.’” Madonna also wore Sui when she was photographed by Meisel in 1992 for Vogue. Meisel, along with other high-wattage friends, including Campbell, Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Sofia Coppola, and Jack White and his wife Karen Elson, certainly help keep Sui part of the cool crowd, which seems a bit at odds with the shy, cherub-faced woman who opens up her Garment Center office with her own keys for an early morning interview and spends her downtime in a Detroit suburb with her parents. She also doesn’t wear her glasses when she takes her bow at the end of the fashion show so the faces in the crowd will be blurred because it’s too nerveracking. “I think to myself, ‘Oh my god, how can I follow these most beautiful girls in the world out there?’” Her collections wouldn’t be what they are if Sui didn’t have this yin-yang personality, a full life and such loyalty to herself and her group of e g n ra s an o w diverse friends, says o h s to File pho oral tree print Andrew Bolton, curator at fl a z r n e a org sia glitt the h The Costume Institute at c fu a d n n e An led at dress a the Metropolitan Museum of shows th ction irt mode 4 to h o s h tp a e b e Fil oll scu 00 Art. He counts himself in Sui’s g 2011 c i spring 2 Sui sprin uring Fashion Anna Su shown in New inner circle, and it’s mostly d d n o le P ti e c A d e o — m coll York. Park. t his words in “Anna Sui.”—AP w n e a N ry in B Week York’s

ach runway show is a chapter in Anna Sui’s life. It’s a commentary on her interests, passions and mindset of the moment. Now each runway show is also a chapter in a new book, which, she says, is an autobiography in pictures. Seeing it all together, Sui notices some commonalities especially the influence of rock ‘n’ roll and some aberrations - like the joint surfer-hip hop moment - but it all makes her feel both humbled and proud. “All I ever wanted to do was design clothes for rock stars and people who go to rock concerts. That I’ve been able to do that for so long is pretty amazing,” says Sui. It’s also pretty amazing that Sui can define the single moment her career took off in 1990: Madonna, on her way to a Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show in Paris, wore one of Sui’s dresses. She could have chosen any one of the hundreds of designer frocks littering her hotel room, but the pop starfashion diva picked hers. “It was the first in a chain of

e Anna shows th File photo 2009 collection g Sui sprin uring Fashion d modeled ew York. N in k e e W


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Another men’s e-commerce site to launch in 2011

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ollowing the announcement by Net-a-porter that it will launch a separate men’s ecommerce site in January 2011, Gilt Groupe is also taking the plunge: the fashion e-tailer says it

too will unveil a new full-priced men’s site next year. Gilt Groupe is a members-only shopping site that specialises in 36-hour flash sales with designer brands like Vivienne Tam, Marc

Jacobs, and Derek Lam sold for up to 70 percent. The US e-tailer, which draws nearly one million monthly visitors, was launched in 2007. It offers a curated selection of merchandise, including apparel, accessories and lifestyle items across the women’s, men’s and children’s categories. Gilt has offered men’s items since April 2008 and launched its dedicated Gilt Man site last October. Its men’s business now exceeds $100 million in sales, representing nearly one-third of the company’s business. The next logical step, according to company executives, is to launch a fullpriced men’s fashion site separate from the current one that operates around flash sales. The launch date is set for July 2011, in order to coincide with the release of pre-fall collections. The fledging site will offer apparel, accessories, athletic gear, gadgets and more. Between 75 to 100 brands will be offered and they will be similar to those currently found on Gilt Man, such as A. Testoni, Calvin Klein and John Varvatos. Articles will remain available for purchase for an entire season rather than for 36 hours under the current flash-

sales model. E-commerce is a rapidly growing industry. Online retailers registered a 11.4% growth from October 31 through November 13, according to MasterCard. Yet there are relatively few e-tailers that cater only to men’s fashion. Most e-boutiques are targeted towards women, such as the bevy of flash sales sites like Rue La La, Ideeli and HauteLook, and the full-priced luxury fashion retailer Net-a-porter. Sites dedicated to men’s clothing and accessories include Topman-which carries contemporary urban brands like Wesc and Ben Sherman-and Mainline Menswear-which carries designer brands like Lacoste, Ted Baker and Paul Smith. But Gilt won’t be competing with these businesses, given its luxury positioning. Its main business rival will undoubtedly be Net-a-porter’s men’s site MrPorter (due to launch next January), which will target time-pressed, affluent men and offer a selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories from 60 upscale brands, including Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Dunhill, and Mr by Roland Mouret. —AFP

A model displays a necklace named Maelstrom during the ‘Les Voyages Extraordinaires’ high jewellery collection by Van Cleef & Arpels launch party in Taipei yesterday. The exhibition will be open to the public between January 8 to January 16. — AFP

Faces in fashion 2011:

Celebrities we’ll see on billboards

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rom Rafael Nadal to Julianne Moore, here are five of the most anticipated fashion ad campaigns for 2011. Rafael Nadal for Giorgio Armani: Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal has been named the face of Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans for the Italian fashion label’s upcoming spring/summer 2011 collections. The first campaign feaQuarterback Tom Brady will model for Under Armour—AFP

After posing nude for Bulgari, Julianne Moore will be the face of Talbots.—AFP

turing the 24-year-old Spanish sensation will launch in February. Nadal follows in the footsteps of fellow hunky athletes David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. Blake Lively for Chanel: 2010 was quite a year for the blond beauty. The Gossip Girl star was invited to every major fashion show and even graced the cover of Vogue’s Best-Dressed issue. Now the American actress has been tapped to star in Chanel’s handbag campaign in 2011, joining the ranks of previous Chanel ambassadors Lily Allen, Keira Knightley, Georgia May Jagger, Nicole Kidman and Audrey Tautou, before her. Tom Brady for Under Armour: The NFL quarterback Tom Brady, who also happens to be the husband of Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bunchen, has signed a partnership with Under Armour. This is the highest profile athlete to enter into an endorsement deal with the sportswear apparel company. January Jones for Versace:

The American actress, who plays the role of Betty Draper in the award-winning TV series Mad Men will front the Italian fashion house’s spring 2011 campaign, shot by celebrity photographer Mario Testino. The show has been credited with bringing 1950s-era fashion-midilength skirts, demure sweaters, bright lipstick, and curves, back into fashion. Julianne Moore for Talbots:

The 49-year-old actress will replace supermodel Linda Evangelista as the new brand ambassador for the American apparel company. Moore will be shot by acclaimed fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for Talbots’ spring 2011 advertising campaign. The red-headed beauty is no stranger to modeling-she was most recently seen posing nude for Bulgari. —AP

Rafael Nadal has been tapped to pose for Giorgio Armani.—AFP


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ita Von Teese always puts on red lipstick to feel glamorous. The burlesque dancer - who is famed for her vintageinspired wardrobe and made-up look - says she could never leave the house without bright colored lips as it completes her look. She said: “I love Tom Ford’s Smoke Red and Dior’s Diorific Rouge Bingo.

Putting on lipstick is so glamorous.” As well as glamorous lipsticks, Dita is a huge fan of designer handbags and shoes. She said: “90 per cent of my shoes are by Christian Louboutin, including a pair of Marie Antoinette shoes. “I love structured, retro handbags that look like bags my grandmother would carry.” The 38-year-old star recently revealed

she is keen to have own make-up range because she feels not every woman is catered for. Dita - who was a spokesperson for the MAC AIDS Fund in 2006 and 2007 - said: “I want to do my own make-up line, because I feel like things are missing in the world. I’m constantly trying to mix up colors. Also, I mix my own body make-up. I love the idea

of beautiful packaging for cosmetics. I use a lot of vintage powder compacts, and I buy vintage lipstick tubes and transfer lip colors into them. I put my MAC lipstick into my vintage Helena Rubinstein tubes. “I love the look of matte, velvety lips. Every girl should have a matte red and a matte fuchsia. And that’s so hard to find these days.”

Swift and Gyllenhaal have split up

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ake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift have split up. The couple - who have been dating since October - are believed to have called time on their romance in December and spent the festive season apart. An insider told People: “They’re over. It ended last month.” It has been claimed the 30-year-old actor - who was previously in a relationship with Reese Witherspoon - decided to end his romance with the 21-year-old country singer because he felt “uncomfortable” with the couple’s nine-year age gap. A source told Us Weekly magazine: “Jake reached out to her and started all of this, but now he’s not acting as interested. He said he wasn’t feeling it anymore and was uncomfortable with all the

attention they got. “He also said he could feel the age difference. Taylor is really upset. We told her not to move so fast with this but she didn’t listen. Jake cares about her, but the publicity was a lot for him. He wants to keep his private life private, and that’s hard to do dating Taylor.” Only last month, the ‘Love and Other Drugs’ star admitted he gets very frustrated by the interest in his personal life because he worries it will affect his relationships. He said: “It bothers me a little that there is so much interest. “One of the greatest parts about being in a relationship is the intimacy you share - but it can be difficult if you’re being watched the whole time. But I understand - it’s just one of those things.”


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to run London nightclub

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he pop superstar met with Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes to discuss buying a stake in his company, The Aura Group, which owns several nightspots including Aura Mayfair. An associate of the singer told The Daily Telegraph newspaper: “Madonna sees it as a natural move. She has ambitious plans.” The ‘Material Girl’ hitmaker is a regular visitor to the exclusive club - which is owned by Fernandes, events and motorsport entrepreneur Jonny Dodge and Supper Club proprietor Alberto Barbieri - and is believed to be keen to put her own influence into the venue. If Madonna does become a stakeholder in Aura she will be able to count her ex-hus-

band Guy Ritchie as a business rival as he owns The Punchbowl pub in the exclusive area of the city. It seems the 52-year star is keen to expand her business empire. In November, she opened a gym, the Hard Candy Fitness centre, in Mexico City. At the time she said: “It’s a sexy name that gives you the opportunity to have fun and to build strength as far as the imagination will allow. “If any of you have seen my shows, you know that I don’t skimp on them and the same is true for the gym. We spend what it takes to make a globally first-class gym.” She is expected to launch another 10 gyms across the globe, including in Argentina, Russia and Europe.

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he British soccer ace has owned the sports car for the last two years but now wants rid of the motor, which cost a staggering $150,000. The 35-year-old sportsman paid $100,000 for the matt-black automobile when he purchased it in 2008, and he spent a further $50,000 customizing it. It features heated front seats and has the number 23 - the number shirt he plays in for current soccer team Los Angeles Galaxy and

wore at Real Madrid - emblazoned in the interior. The car is being sold on eBay through Los Angeles dealer Chequered Flag and the top bid currently stands at $134,000. It is set to rise because of its unique owner history. Neil Jaffe from Chequered Flag said: “This is an opportunity to acquire a supercar with an unparalleled celebrity history.” Car lover David would often be spotted out driving around in the vehicle in Los Angeles where he lives with his family, wife Victoria Beckham and three sons Brooklyn, 11, Romeo, eight, and Cruz, five. He is currently in negotiations to play for English soccer club Tottenham Hotspur for three months in London.

eg Ryan is reportedly dating John Mellencamp. The ‘City of Angels’ actress was spotted together with the ‘Jack and Diane’ rocker in New York, and friends say they have been seeing each other quietly for several weeks, less than a week after John announced his split from his wife of 20 years, former model Elaine Irwin. Meg - who moved to New York last year has been seen with John, 59, in the Martha’s Vineyard Island off the coast of New England, and in New York where they are said to be regular customers of the Gourmet Garage grocery store. A source linked to the store told People.com: “She usually comes in by herself or with her daughter. I thought that was her husband because they seemed comfortable and familiar with each other, just like an old married couple.” John has been married three times and has five children, including two sons with Elaine. Following his shock split from his wife, he spent a low key New Year at his home in South Carolina. Meg, 49, has been married once, to actor Dennis Quaid, whom she separated from in 2000, after 10 years of marriage. She has been largely single since, apart from a brief fling with the actor Russell Crowe around the same time her marriage ended. Meg has one son with Dennis, Jack Henry, who is 18 and she also adopted a daughter, Daisy True, six, from China.

Lautner’s

Madonna

romance continues to grow

SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

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aylor Lautner’s new romance is continuing to grow. The 18-year-old hunk has been quietly dating 21year-old actress Lily Collins - whose father is ‘In The Air Tonight’ singer Phil Collins for several months and though it is still early days between the two, pals expect their relationship to progress when they begin promoting their new movie ‘Abduction’ together. A source told gossip website PopEater: “They appear to be seeing each other, but it’s too early to see what will happen because they are both young. They make a cute couple. Once ‘Abduction’ is released this fall, they will be spending even more time together promoting it.” Though they have not yet confirmed their relationship, Taylor reportedly met Lily’s hard-to-please father late last year and was delighted to get the seal of approval. A source said in November: “Phil is pretty tough on the guys Lily introduces him to. But they got along well.” The pair were first romantically linked in July, when it was reported Taylor had seduced his co-star on the set of ‘Abduction’ by “constantly flashing his shirtless six pack,” despite her having a boyfriend. A source said at the time: “Lily told pals that she wasn’t looking to fall in love, but soon realized she had strong romantic feelings. “Taylor was smitten from day one, but Lily let him know she was in a relationship with a stuntman who was working on a Steven Spielberg movie in New Mexico. When the boyfriend got suspicious because Lily didn’t return calls promptly, he hopped a plane and turned up unannounced to confront her.” —Bang Showbiz


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SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

pleased with OWN network’s weekend opening

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prah Winfrey says she’s “grateful that we weren’t embarrassed” during the much-anticipated first weekend that her new OWN network was on the air. For a network started from scratch, OWN delivered some impressive sampling on its Jan 1 debut. At one point Saturday night, OWN was the third-ranked cable network behind ESPN and USA in the ratings. The challenge will be turning the curious into regular viewers. “I am grateful that the first phase of what we wanted to happen actually happened,” Winfrey told reporters on Thursday. “I’m

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grateful that we weren’t embarrassed. I’m grateful that people came.” Winfrey called her network’s programming “mind food” and said the intention is to bring positive energy into the homes of people who watch it. “I see myself as a messenger for a message that is greater than myself and my message is you can, you can, you can,” she said. OWN announced on Thursday that personal finance expert Suze Orman would be getting her own primetime show this fall. The series, “Money Class,” will feature Orman visiting individuals and families

most memorable

Nicolas Cage

performances

In this undated file photo originally released by First Look Studios, Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes are shown in a scene from “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.” — AP

across the country to give them advice on their own financial circumstances. OWN highlighted a handful of its new programs on Thursday, including a competition where 10 contestants (out of 15,000 applicants) are vying for the chance to host their own show. “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett, who is producing the competition, has committed to producing six episodes of the winner’s show. It’s a diverse group of panelists, including an obese chef who wants to do a cooking show that illustrates his effort to get back into shape, a disabled man who wants a

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o matter the role-and he’s played a diverse array of them over the past three decades-Nicolas Cage often seems to be teetering on the brink of his own personal, self-inflicted insanity. Sure, he’s done plenty of forgettable action movies, and lately he’s been at the fore of some family-friendly Disney adventures. Then there was that period in the late ‘90s where every movie he made was a drag, and it was a drag watching him in them. But when he’s at his volatile best, it’s an exciting place to be. This week, with Cage starring in his latest in a series of wheels-off thrillers, “Season of the Witch,” here’s a look at his five most memorable performances. Like the best-ofJack-Nicholson list recently, this one was hard to narrow down: • “Adaptation.” (2002): Cage earned an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and his identical (and fictional) twin brother, Donald, in Spike Jonze’s brilliantly mind-bending comedy. And he seemed to be having the time of his life playing these contrasting roles: the selfloathing and stumped Charlie, as well as the goofy and garrulous Donald. After brooding his way through a series of films leading up to this (“8MM,” “Bringing Out the Dead,” “Windtalkers”), he lets loose again here even while creating two

show on overcoming obstacles he faces traveling around the world and a prospective variety show host who wants to be “America’s gay best friend.” Lisa Ling’s new series, “Our America,” shows her profiling people involved in controversial issues, including sex offenders, faith healers, drug addicts and online brides. Burnett said OWN’s programming, at least at its start, has not been predictable. “It’s an unimaginable task to me what they’ve all pulled off,” the veteran producer said. Winfrey noted that not all of the new programs will succeed with viewers, although they

distinct, structured personalities, and his enthusiasm is contagious. • “Raising Arizona” (1987): One of the Coen brothers’ earliest, most playful and visually inventive films features a deliriously nutso starring performance from Cage. Hi McDunnough is a loser and excon who seemingly can do no right, but he finds a way to make his wife Edwina (Holly Hunter) happy when he steals a baby for her from furniture tycoon Nathan Arizona, the father of quintuplets. Like “Moonstruck,” “Raising Arizona” allows Cage to tap into his unique brand of off-kilter, romantic goofiness. He’s a grubby, lovable cartoon character. • “Leaving Las Vegas” (1995): Cage won a best-actor Oscar for playing an alcoholic, failed screenwriter hell-bent on drinking himself to death. He and Elisabeth Shue, excellent as a hardened prostitute, forge a twisted, codependent bond in which neither will interfere with the other’s selfdestruction. But Cage never devolves into a drunk cliche; rather, he finds shadings within this lost soul’s deep despair. Director Mike Figgis’ film is intense and unflinching, which just happen to be two of Cage’s strong suits. While the movie itself is often hard to watch, Cage’s performance is mesmerizing.

may succeed with the most important viewer. “There are a few shows, even if they don’t respond to, I’m keeping them on because I can, because I like ‘em,” she said. She said she didn’t truly understand the work that would be involved in starting the network • and needed her partners at Discovery Communications Inc. to point that out to her. She said she didn’t expect to take a vacation in three years. “It was not actually until we were on the air that I fully started to grasp what it means to have a network where you are the OW of OWN,” she said. — AP

• “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” (2009): Here he is in classic crazed mode. Werner Herzog’s wackedout remake is fueled by a wacked-out performance from Cage, whose character is himself fueled by a steady supply of cocaine and heroin, gambling and violence. His Terence McDonagh is a brazenly corrupt detective, a man infested with dark proclivities. As he descends further into drug-induced mania in post-Katrina New Orleans, we don’t know what’s real and what’s in his mind, and it doesn’t matter. Cage makes it all wild and riveting, and all you can do is watch in awe of how far he’ll go. • “Valley Girl” (1983): Cage’s first starring role, the one that put him on the map, and a personal favorite of mine, having grown up in the San Fernando Valley in the ‘80s myself. So please, indulge me for a minute. “Valley Girl” came from an era of dumb teenage sex comedies, but it’s got an undeniable sweetness that most of those films lack. Much of that comes from the tender way Cage’s LA punk, Randy, courts the stylish and pristine Julie (Deborah Foreman), who lives on the other side of the Hollywood Hills. It’s “Romeo and Juliet” set in Southern California, but in his endearing awkwardness, Cage breathes new life into a familiar figure. — AP


SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Homeless man with velvety voice becomes star

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rom the streets to the studios. Ted Williams, whose deep, velvety radio voice and touching story prompted an outpouring of sympathy and job offers from across the country, has become an overnight sensation. He’s America’s hottest - and most improbable - star. On Thursday, Williams, who was living in a tent near a highway in Columbus, Ohio, just days ago, was in New York for an emotional reunion with his 90-year-old mother, media appearances, and to do some commercial voiceover work. On NBC’s “Today” show, he described his previous 48 hours as “outrageous.” “There’s no way in the world that I could have ever imagined that I would be - I mean, just have all of this just all of a sudden come into this portion of my life,” he said during a live interview in the program’s studio. Left homeless after his life and radio career were ruined by drugs and alcohol, Williams has been offered a job by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, and the 53-yearold is being pursued by NFL Films and others for possible work. Williams and his compelling tale became an online sensation after The Columbus Dispatch posted a clip of him demonstrating his voiceover skills while begging by the side of the road. Now, he’s in demand. “I don’t know which one to choose, which one is the right one,” he said on “Today,” regarding the job prospects. But he said he was ready to handle the second chance he was being given and predicted that in five years, he’d be working as a radio program director and living in his own apartment. Williams said he found a “new sense of spirituality” in 2010 that would help him deal with whatever success comes. Williams was contacted Wednesday by the Cavaliers, who have offered him a position that could include announcing work at Quicken Loans Arena, the team’s downtown facility. Williams said the team has offered him a twoyear contract and said they would pay his living expenses. It’s been a shocking turn of events for the goldenvoiced man, who had gotten by living in shelters and occasionally with family and friends over the past few years. Williams has also been in his share of trouble. His past includes a lengthy list of arrests. He has served time in prison for theft and forgery and has been cited with numerous misdemeanors, including drug abuse. He was most recently arrested on May 14. He pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor theft charge. In court records, his address is listed as “Streets of Columbus.” Williams acknowledged his record during the “Today” show appearance and explained that he turned

to crime so he could afford his drug habits. Upon learning of Williams’ criminal history, the Cavaliers said their offer still stands. “We believe in second chances and second opportunities,” said Tracy Marek, the team’s senior vice president of marketing. “The gentleman deserves an opportunity to explain certain situations. We’re not jumping to conclusions. It’s not fair.” Cavaliers spokesman Tad Carper said exact details of the team’s offer and their plans to help Williams with housing were still being

“She has always been my best friend,” he told The Associated Press on Wednesday, crying. “When I was a kid, she would take me down to Radio City Music Hall and on the subway. I’m just glad that she is still around. I prayed that she would live long enough that I could make her proud and see could her son do something other than stand along the side of the road with a sign asking for money.” Julia Williams is thrilled her only child is turning his life around. She can’t wait to see him. “This will be my day to see my son get up and do

In this photo provided by NBC Universal, Ted Williams, right, and his mother Julia Williams appear on NBC’s “Today” show in New York, yesterday.—AP

worked out. “They said that they’re going to give me LeBron’s old house,” Williams joked on NBC Thursday, referring to former Cavaliers star LeBron James, who left for the Miami Heat. The Cavaliers did not know much about him, but were moved by Williams’ ordeal. “When you know something’s right, you just have to launch,” Marek said. “One of the big things that we talk about here, with our organization, is how important urgency is - when you see something that feels good and seems right.” During a timeout in the first quarter of Wednesday night’s game against Toronto, the Cavaliers put a picture of Williams on their giant scoreboard and urged fans to send him messages at http://www.wewanttedwilliams.com. Williams flew Wednesday night to New York, where he was expected to stay in a posh hotel off Central Park. He plans to see his mother, Julia, who lives in Brooklyn. She has stood by him during his battles with addiction.

something to help himself,” she said. “He has so much talent. I hope this will be the thing for him. He came from a nice family. And then he went poor, poor. So, maybe this will build him up and let him see that there’s more in life than hanging around with the wrong people, and taking drugs.” Williams said his life began spiraling downward in 1996 when he began drinking alcohol “pretty bad.” He used marijuana and cocaine and lost interest in his radio career. He eventually wound up on the streets, despite the best efforts of his children, seven daughters and two sons who all live in the Columbus area. —AP

Country Strong? soundtrack is traditional country

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arious Artists, “Country Strong: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” (RCA Nashville) As often happens with Hollywood films, the soundtrack to “Country Strong,” starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw, leans harder on traditional country music than the Nashville music industry does. Modern country music blurs genre lines with its rocking popcountry hybrid; “Country Strong” highlights an older-fashioned sound firmly belonging to country traditions with performances by Hank Williams Jr, Lee Ann Womack, a duet with Chris Young and Patty Loveless, and others. Paltrow will get the most attention for her three new songs and a duet with McGraw. Playing an aging country star, she sings convincingly, although not distinctive enough to suggest she has an alternate career as a country diva. Leighton Meester, co-

star of TV’s “Gossip Girl,” plays a beauty queen seeking a career in country music, while Garrett Hedlund of “TRON: Legacy” plays an attractive, young singer-songwriter. Both present a song each: Meester’s breathy voice is reminiscent of several contemporary female country stars; Hedlund’s rough-cut acoustic song presents a stand-out moment. Too many songs, such as Sara Evans’ “A Little Bit Stronger,” sound like throwaways left off previous albums. But Faith Hill’s slow boil on “Give in to Me” shows the pretenders what makes a great country music performance. Check out this track: Ronnie Dunn’s first solo offering since the end of Brooks & Dunn goes back to the barrooms with a superb version of “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinking Doubles),” a Wayne Carson song that the late Gary Stewart turned into a honky-tonk classic. — AP


SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

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onsidered the heartbeat of the home and an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art provides a fresh perspective on kitchens and the emotional and ideological hold they have on cooks and non-cooks alike. “Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen,” which runs through March 14, reels visitors in with objects from everyday life and reveals the economic, social and even political impact of kitchens. “They have a tremendous symbolic value for us,” Juliet Kinchin, the curator of the exhibit, said in an interview. “We’re constantly bombarded by images of kitchens in films, magazines, novels and television programs. They are where we form and maintain so many relationships within our families and with close friends.” Some design engineers saw the kitchen as a place to accomplish ideals of efficiency and even equality. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the iconic Frankfurt Kitchen, which exemplifies efficiency. Designed in 1926-27 by Margarete SchutteLihotzky, its compact and ergonomic design integrates storage, appliances, and work surfaces and aimed to transform the lives of ordinary working people on an ambitious scale. About 10,000 of the kitchens were made for public housing built around Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany after World War One as part of a five-year program to modernize the city. “They’d just come through the complete upheaval following the First World War and there was a real commitment to trying to try to improve life,” Kinchin explained. “It was unpretentious and socially conscious in the sense of moving toward building a better, more egalitarian world.” In the United States, the modern kitchen also celebrated the prosperity of a growing middle class. During the American National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959 the kitchen and its gadgets even sparked an exchange known as the Kitchen Debate between then US Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev about national aspirations. Comparing the technologies of the two powers at the height of the Cold War, Nixon spoke of the merits of household innovations that would make the life of housewives easier. —Reuters

This architectural rendering by Diller Scofidio and Renfro shows the $130 million, museum billionaire Eli Broad plans to build on Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles.—AP

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illionaire Eli Broad unveiled plans Thursday for the porousconcrete-shelled structure that will be the future downtown home of his 2,000-piece art collection and a hoped-for catalyst for the continuation of the city center’s halting renaissance. The three-story Broad Art Foundation, designed by New Yorkbased Diller Scofidio + Renfro, consists of a spongelike mantle that lets light into the 40,000-square feet (3,700-sq. meters) of gallery space, which itself sits atop a vast storage vault. Broad said the downtown location on Grand Avenue amid a row of buildings by top-shelf architects-which the developer-turned-philanthropist played a leading role in having built-was a fitting home for the paintings, sculptures and prints he and his wife Edythe have spent four decades collecting. “We’re convinced Grand Avenue is where it’s at,” Broad said at the unveiling held at the nearby Walt Disney Concert Hall, a Frank Gehry-designed structure that Broad was instrumental in helping fund. The $130-million art museum’s construction is scheduled to begin in late summer, with the galleries welcoming their first visitors in early 2013. The price includes a parking lot that the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency will buy from the foundation for up to $30 million and operate after its completion. Broad said the museum’s initial exhibit will include a broad selection of works from his collection, including pieces by Jeff Koons, John Baldassari and Cindy Sherman. For the following three years, it will rotate its exhibitions every four months to focus on artist that

are well represented in the collection, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst and Roy Lichtenstein. Art not on view will be housed in the storage area at the museum’s core, which visitors will be able to see through windows placed along a stairwell leading down from the top-floor gallery area. “They understood the need to design a museum that would engage the public, to be an iconic piece of architecture on Grand Avenue,” Broad said of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who also designed the renovation and expansion of Lincoln Center in New York City and the new Institute of Contemporary Art on the Boston harbor. The Broads’ museum is being built on a 2.5-acre (1-hectare) parcel of county-owned land originally set aside as part of a stalled $3 billion shopping, hotel and condo complex known as the Grand Avenue project. Under the deal for the land, Broad’s foundation agreed to pay $7.7 million over the course of a 99-year-lease. The 77-year-old Broad, whose net worth was pegged last year by Forbes magazine at $5.8 billion, also pledged to fund the museum with a $200 million endowment. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the Broads for building and financing the museum, which he predicted would help rekindle the downtown redevelopment projects that have been dampened by the economic downturn. “This is going to become an anchor tenant for an area that is revitalizing before our very eyes,” Villaraigosa said. — AP

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e was meant to pursue a law career in Tokyo but a passion for French cuisine won out: chef Taka Takano has found his niche blending East and West at the helm of the celebrated Lyon restaurant Le Bec. While buried in legal texts as a student in the nineties, Takao Takano- Taka for short-took to concocting delicacies in his kitchen for his friends. “When we talked about cooking, only French cuisine existed in my head,” the youthful-looking 35-year-old told AFP. An admirer of the noted Japanese chef Kiyomi Mikuni, who trained with France’s famed “nouvelle cuisine” chefs Alain Chapel and the Troisgros brothers, Pierre and Jean, Taka bought Mikuni’s cookbooks and “imitated his braised chicken.” His career took off in 1999 when he was hired to assist chef Masahiro Morishige at La Butte Boisee in Tokyo, another Frenchtrained Japanese chef who worked at the Michelin-starred Parisian restaurant Taillevent and under chef and restaurateur Marc Veyrat, known for his use of mountain herbs and plants.It was from Morishige that Taka said he was drilled in “respect for the product” and “seasonal cooking”.

Japanese chef Takao Takano aka Taka poses as he cooks in the kitchen of the restaurant Le Bec on November 26, 2010 in Lyon. — AFP

He stayed at La Butte Boisee for twoand-a-half years but “I dreamed of moving to France,” confided Taka, who said he was fascinated by French culture and the iconic singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg-although at the time he spoke no French at all. In late 2002 he embarked on a student visa for Lyon, the eastern city known as France’s gastronomic capital with some of its finest restaurants and chefs. Taka treated himself to a New Year’s dinner at one of these establishments, the Cour des Loges in the historic Vieux Lyon district where Breton chef Nicolas Le Bec had been freshly awarded “Best Chef of the Year” as well as his first Michelin star. —AFP


SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Tourists treated to Caving 101 at Carlsbad Caverns This Dec 18, 2010 photo shows hundreds of cave formations that decorate the Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns National Park near Carlsbad, NM.—AP

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ne by one, the tourists’ headlamps grow dim and disappear as they venture farther into a fracture in the limestone, deep beneath the surface of southern New Mexico’s scrubby desert. They shimmy through a narrow cave passage, ducking to keep their helmets from scraping tiny crystals overhead as they leave behind a huge subterranean chamber filled with towering columns of calcite and otherworldly formations that have captivated explorers and scientists for more than a century. This is exactly what the novice cavers signed up for-a personal tour of the underground backcountry of one of the most famous-and unique — cave systems in the world, Carlsbad Caverns National Park. For less adventurous visitors, there are paved paths, hand rails and lights in other parts of the caverns. But here, more than 800 feet (240 meters) down, the beauty that nature spent eons perfecting is intertwined with the challenges of negotiating slippery flow stone and squeezing from one chamber to the next through slots with names such as “The Florida Key.”

For ranger Mark Joop and his group of 12 amateur cavers, the excitement comes from anticipating what’s around the next bend in a portion of the park called Lower Cave. “Caves are like the unknown,” Joop says. “Since I can’t go to the moon and explore other planets, this is the last unknown realm on the planet. We’ve gone to the highest peaks and everything, but there’s so much yet to be found and explored here underground.” More than 400,000 people visit Carlsbad Caverns each year to get a glimpse of the monumental stalagmites and

Photo shows stalactites and a lone stalagmite in the Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.—AP

stalactites, delicate soda straws, translucent draperies and reflective pools that decorate the park’s main attraction, the Big Room. But only a fraction of visitors get a chance to experience the more extreme tour through Lower Cave or a lanternlit history lesson in Left Hand Tunnel. And because of limited reservations for “off-trail” tours, even fewer people get to crawl through the Hall of the White Giant and Spider Cave, which are the most difficult-and quickly booked-of the ranger-guided caving tours. Joop finds a spot along the narrow passage in Lower Cave where everyone can gather around. Crammed shoulder to shoulder with their headlamps blinding one another, he makes a suggestion: Turn off your lamps, your cameras and anything else that might glow. In a few seconds, darkness takes on a whole new meaning. “Try waving your hand in front of your face,” he says. “Some people claim they can see their hand moving, but that’s just your brain freaking out, thinking that it can actually see something. It’s just too dark.” Aside from the absolute blackness, the silence inside the passage is stifling. Everyone holds their breath to see just how quiet it is. There’s no dripping water, no breeze, no crickets, nothing. Actually, though, crickets have found a way to survive quietly deep inside the caverns. Rangers point them out along with horsehair worms in the drip pools when a scanning headlamp is lucky enough to spot one of the elusive creatures. There are also the mummified remains of a not-so-lucky bat along the trail and another whose tiny body was entombed in a stalagmite as it formed eons ago. Carlsbad Caverns’ discovery was something of an accident. As the story goes, teenage cowhand Jim White was mending fences just before sunset and saw what looked like a plume of smoke rising in the distance. When he got closer, he realized it was a cloud of bats pouring from the mouth of the cave for their nightly dinner run. That was around 1898. Over the next few years, White spent much of his time underground, exploring with an oil lamp fashioned from a coffee pot and homemade ladders made from fence wire and wood. Photographs of the caverns eventually made their way into The New York Times. The federal government’s General Land Office mapped the underground wonderland and the National Geographic Society followed with an expedition that put the place on the map in 1924. In 1930, Congress designated Carlsbad Caverns a national

park and it later became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For those not up to hiking the steep paved path that winds down from the cave’s natural entrance, a high-speed elevator zips down the 75 stories in less than a minute. Long before the elevator and paved walkway, cave visitors rode in huge buckets on a rope and pulley system erected by workers who mined guano (bat droppings) for use as fertilizer. The fascination with Carlsbad Caverns comes partly from the way it was formed, a process responsible for just 5 percent of the world’s caves. It started some 250 million years ago with the creation of a reef formed from the remains of sea sponges and other creatures. Then came evaporation, erosion and uplift. Rainwater seeped down while hydrogen sulfide-rich water migrated upward from the vast oil and natural gas deposits below. The resulting sulfuric acid ate away the limestone, forming the massive chambers that visitors see today. The decorations formed drop by drop over 500,000 years as calcite-rich water found its way from the surface. “It’s fantastic. It’s so beautiful you just want to touch everything, but you can’t,” said Judy Weinberg of Toronto, Canada, after going on a two-hour tour of Left Hand Tunnel. The rangers’ mantra is: Don’t touch! The oil from hands and skin damages cave formations. Rangers like to point out the “cave popcorn” covering the walls, soda straws hanging in small alcoves and “cave bacon,” a wavy formation that reveals muted ribbons of color when lit from behind by a flashlight. “Can you imagine finding that big room for the first time? Coming into that gigantic, dark, open void and then seeing all of these formations? Ah, it would have been a thrill of a lifetime, like you discovered paradise underground,” Joop says. With his leather gloves and cinched helmet, Joop was the picture of an old hand at underground exploration. The rest of his group, not so much. They fiddled with batteries for their headlamps and rummaged through their packs for gloves. Once the rustling stopped, Joop pulled out a knotted rope and held it up. “This is caving 101,” he said. “There are ropes, three flights of ladders, slippery surfaces and narrow passages. Does any of this scare anybody?” No way! This was why they signed up. The park has been offering adventure tours since 1995. —AP


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hristmas is doing a little extra for someone”. The students of The Indian Community School (ICSK) gave a real treat to their friends and teachers. With the blessings of the Almighty, once again the ICSK Junior branch Salmiya celebrated their Christmas program in a grand manner by depicting the birth of Jesus’ in a manger. The festive mood with the message of Jesus birth helped the members of the community to reflect on the various aspects of their faith. The talents of the children were showcased with a marvelous performance of the Nativity Scene which was a visual treat to all.

The special assembly commenced with the recitation from the Holy Quran which was very apt for the occasion. The melodious carols rendered by the students were remarkable. The entry of the Santa Claus enthralled all the little ones. Principal Madam Fathima enlightened the students and teachers to realize peace, love and justice in the stress filled human life, giving priority to the life of the least, lost and last. The carol group with the Santa visited all the classes and the children were all excited and cheerful. Their happiness had no ambit. The school ambience was so great that everyone had a feel of Christmas.


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SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Saturday, January 8th at 7:30PM THE MAID Director: Sebastien Silva Country: Chile Release: 2009 Genre: Drama

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appy Birthday: Abdul Jabbar Abdullah celebrates his birthday today. May Allah shower all his blessings on him and give him happiness, long life and prosperity. Blessings from his wife Mumtaz Begum, daughters Shamsath Begum, Safah Begum, Nishath Begum, son-in-law Barkath Ali & Elahi and friend Jamil.

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Thursday, January 13th at 7:30PM THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES Director: Juan Jose Campanella Country: Argentina Release: 2009 Genre: Drama | Mystery ■■■■■

Saturday, January 15th at 7:30PM THE WHITE RIBBON Director: Michael Haneke Country: Austria | Germany Release: 2009 Genre: Drama | Crime

S

t. John’s prayer group Salmiya, one of the prayer groups of Indian Orthodox Maha Edavaka, Kuwait celebrated Christmas and New Year on 30th December, 2010 at Salmiya. H.G. Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius, Metropolitan of Kolkata diocese of the Indian Orthodox Syrian Church delivered the Christmas message. Felicitation speeches were delivered by the Edavaka Vicar Rev. Fr. Jose Mathew and Assoc. Vicar George C. Varghese. Parish Secretary, Prasad Cherian was also present on the occasion. During the celebration they honored the senior members of prayer group, George

Thomas, Baboi Cherian, I C Kurian, P K Kurian and Leela George by being adorned the “Ponnada”. Also they congratulated Akhila Malankara Marthamariam Samajam, Exam winners Sherly Koshy, Susan John and Annie Varghese. Various games were conducted for both seniors and children and the winners were awarded prizes. Varghese George, Oommen John, Koshy Mathew, James Peter and Shaji Thankachan were leading the program. The Welcome speech was delivered by Secretary Samuel Kochummen and the program was concluded with a vote of thanks by committee member Mathai Varghese.

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Thursday, January 20th at 7:30PM SON OF RAMBOW Director: Garth Jennings Country: UK Release: 2007 Genre: Comedy ■■■■■

Saturday, January 22nd at 7:30PM CITY OF GOD Director: Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund Country: Brazil Release: 2002 Genre: Crime | Drama ■■■■■

Thursday, January 27th at 7:30PM THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD Running time: 139 minutes ■■■■■

Saturday, January 29th at 7:30PM IL POSTINO Director: Michael Radford Country: Italy


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TV listings SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

00:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 01:00 Good Morning America 03:00 Supernatural 04:00 Kings 05:00 Commander In Chief 06:00 Good Morning America 08:00 Lost Special 09:00 Burn Notice 10:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 11:00 The Bachelor 12:00 Cold Case 13:00 Commander In Chief 14:00 Lost Special 15:00 My Own Worst Enemy 16:00 Good Morning America 17:00 The Bachelor 18:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 19:00 Commander In Chief 20:00 Glee 21:00 Psych 22:00 Supernatural 23:00 Kings

00:50 Untamed & Uncut 01:45 Killer Crocs of Costa Rica 02:40 Dogs 101 03:35 Austin Stevens Adventures 04:30 Whale Wars 05:25 Buggin’ with Ruud 06:20 Untamed & Uncut 07:10 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 08:00 Meerkat Manor 08:25 The Crocodile Hunter Diaries 09:15 Planet Wild 09:40 Breed All About It 10:10 Panda Adventures with Nigel Marven 11:05 Cats of Claw Hill 12:00 Animal Precinct 12:55 Wildlife SOS 13:20 Wildlife SOS 13:50 Animal Cops Houston 14:45 Jessica the Hippo 15:40 Pandamonium 20:15 Escape to Chimp Eden 21:10 Dogs 101 22:05 Gorilla School 23:00 Pit Bulls and Parolees 23:55 I’m Alive

00:40 Supernova 01:40 Ideal 02:40 The Weakest Link 03:25 Doctors 03:55 Keeping Up Appearances 04:25 Gigglebiz 04:40 Balamory 05:00 Tweenies 05:20 Fimbles 05:40 The Large Family 05:50 The Adventures Of Spot 05:55 Gigglebiz 06:10 Balamory 06:30 Tweenies 06:50 Fimbles 07:10 The Large Family 07:20 The Adventures Of Spot 07:25 Gigglebiz 07:40 Balamory 08:00 Tweenies 08:20 Fimbles 08:40 The Large Family 08:50 The Adventures Of Spot 08:55 Gigglebiz

09:10 Balamory 09:30 Tweenies 09:50 Fimbles 10:10 The Large Family 10:20 The Adventures Of Spot 10:25 Gigglebiz 10:40 Keeping Up Appearances 11:40 Doctor Who 12:25 Doctor Who Confidential 12:40 New Tricks 13:30 Eastenders 15:30 The Weakest Link 16:15 After You’ve Gone 16:45 The Weakest Link 17:30 Doctor Who 18:15 Doctor Who Confidential 18:30 New Tricks 19:20 Holby City 21:00 Doctor Who 21:45 Doctor Who Confidential 22:00 My Family 23:00 Supernova 23:30 Ideal

00:05 What To Eat Now - Autumn 00:30 Celebrity Masterchef 01:20 Come Dine With Me 03:00 Design Rules 03:25 Cash In The Attic 04:55 Bargain Hunt 05:40 What To Eat Now - Autumn 06:35 Celebrity Masterchef 07:25 Daily Cooks Challenge 08:00 Superhomes 13:00 Ching’s Kitchen 16:20 Bargain Hunt 20:50 Cash In The Attic

00:00 BBC World News 00:30 One Square Mile 01:00 Business Edition With Tanya Beckett 01:30 Sport Today 01:40 Weekend World

02:00 BBC World News 02:30 Newsnight 03:00 BBC World News America 04:00 BBC World News 04:10 The Doha Debate 05:00 BBC World News 05:30 Children Of The Eclipse 06:00 BBC World News 06:30 Develop Or Die 07:00 BBC World News 07:30 Fast Track 08:00 BBC World News 08:30 Middle East Business Report 09:00 BBC World News 09:30 Click 10:00 BBC World News 10:10 Weekend World 10:30 Racing Green 11:00 BBC World News 11:10 Weekend World 11:30 Children Of The Eclipse 12:00 BBC World News 12:10 BBC World News 13:00 BBC World News 13:10 World Features 13:30 BBC World News 14:00 BBC World News 14:10 Weekend World 14:30 Newsnight 15:00 BBC World News 15:30 Fast Track 16:00 BBC World News 16:15 Sport Today 16:30 Equestrian World 17:00 BBC World News 17:30 Dateline London 18:00 BBC World News 18:10 The Doha Debate 19:00 BBC World News 19:30 Middle East Business Report 20:00 BBC World News 20:30 Final Score 21:00 BBC World News 21:10 World Features 21:30 Develop Or Die 22:00 BBC World News 22:15 Sport Today 22:30 Fast Track 23:00 BBC World News 23:10 World Features 23:30 Racing Green

Who’s Your Caddy? on Show Movies

00:15 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 00:40 Chowder 01:05 Cow And Chicken 01:30 Cramp Twins 01:55 George Of The Jungle 02:20 Adrenalini Brothers 02:45 Eliot Kid 03:10 Ed, Edd N Eddy 03:35 Ben 10: Alien Force 04:00 The Powerpuff Girls 04:15 Camp Lazlo 04:40 The Secret Saturdays 05:05 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 05:30 Ben 10 05:55 Best Ed 06:20 Samurai Jack 06:45 Cramp Twins 07:10 Eliot Kid 07:35 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 08:00 Casper’s Scare School 08:25 Chop Socky Chooks 08:50 Chowder 09:15 Ben 10: Alien Force 09:40 Bakugan: New Vestroia 10:05 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 10:30 Cartoon Toon Toon! 11:30 Angelo Rules 11:55 Best Ed 12:20 Eliot Kid 12:45 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 13:10 Megas Xlr 13:35 Samurai Jack 14:00 Ben 10 14:25 Codename: Kids Next Door 14:50 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 15:15 The Life And Times Of Juniper Lee 15:40 George Of The Jungle 16:05 Ed, Edd N Eddy 16:35 Chop Socky Chooks 17:00 Robotboy 17:25 Squirrel Boy 17:50 Chowder 18:15 The Secret Saturdays 18:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 19:05 Bakugan: New Vestroia 19:30 Angelo Rules 20:00 Best Ed 20:25 Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends 20:50 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 21:05 The Powerpuff Girls 21:30 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 21:45 Ben 10: Alien Force 22:10 Ed, Edd N Eddy 22:35 Robotboy 23:00 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 23:25 Samurai Jack 23:50 Megas Xlr

01:00 Sea Of Love-18 03:00 Genova-PG15 05:00 Joe’s Palace-18 07:00 Coraline-PG 09:00 Drumline-PG15 11:00 Brassed Off-PG15 13:00 Escape To Victory-PG15 15:00 The Other Man-PG15 17:00 The Babe-PG15 19:00 Capturing Mary-PG15 21:00 Not Easily Broken-PG15 23:00 The Fisher King-18

00:00 Connect The World With Becky Anderson 01:00 Backstory 01:30 World Sport 02:00 World Report 04:00 World Business Today 04:45 CNN Marketplace Africa 05:00 The Situation Room 06:00 Anderson Cooper 360 07:00 World Sport 07:30 Political Mann 08:00 World Report 08:30 Backstory 09:00 World Report 09:15 CNN Marketplace Africa 09:30 Eco Solutions 10:00 World Report 10:15 CNN Marketplace Middle East 10:30 Living Golf 11:00 World Sport 11:30 Inside The Middle East 12:00 World View 12:30 African Voices 13:00 Larry King Live 14:00 World Report 14:30 World Sport 15:00 Inside Africa 15:30 Eco Solutions 16:00 News Special 16:30 Political Mann 17:00 Inside The Middle East 17:30 Talk Asia 18:00 International Desk 18:30 African Voices 19:00 Living Golf 19:30 World Sport 20:00 World View 20:30 Inside Africa 21:00 International Desk 21:30 Eco Solutions 22:00 World Report 22:30 Talk Asia 23:00 World Report 23:30 Inside The Middle East

00:40 Police Women Of Maricopa County 01:35 Dirty Jobs 02:30 Aircrash Confidential 03:25 Discovery Project Earth 04:20 Mythbusters 05:15 How Do They Do It? 05:40 How Machines Work 06:05 Dirty Jobs 07:00 American Chopper 07:50 Overhaulin’ 08:45 Street Customs 2008 09:40 How Do They Do It? 10:05 How Do They Do It? 10:30 Time Warp 10:55 Time Warp 11:25 Wreckreation Nation 12:20 Mythbusters 13:15 I Could Do That 13:40 I Could Do That 14:10 Motor City Motors 15:05 Mega Builders 16:00 Building The Future 16:55 Extreme Engineering 17:50 How Do They Do It? 18:15 Storm Chasers 19:10 Extreme Loggers 20:05 Ultimate Survival 21:00 Ultimate Survival 21:55 Deadliest Catch: The Phil Harris Story 22:50 Deadliest Catch: Toughest Moments 23:45 Discovery Saved My Life

00:40 Mega World 01:30 The Gadget Show 01:55 Futurecar 02:45 Sci-Fi Science 03:10 Sci-Fi Science 03:35 Weird Or What? 04:25 How Does That Work? 04:50 Scrapheap Challenge 05:45 Robotica 06:40 Weird Connections 07:10 Perfect Disaster 08:00 Weird Or What? 08:55 Da Vinci’s Machines 09:50 Brainiac 10:45 What’s That About? 15:55 Patent Bending 16:20 The Gadget Show 16:45 The Gadget Show 17:10 Weird Or What? 18:00 Perfect Disaster 18:50 How Stuff’s Made 19:15 How Stuff’s Made 19:40 The Future Of... 20:30 Sci-Fi Science 20:55 Sci-Fi Science 21:20 Engineered 22:10 World’s Biggest Airliner 23:00 Colony

00:00 My Friends Tigger And Pooh 00:20 Handy Manny 00:45 Special Agent Oso 01:10 Lazytown 01:35 Lazytown 02:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Y1 (Cema) 02:25 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Y1 (Cema) 02:45 Handy Manny 03:10 Special Agent Oso 03:35 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 04:00 Fairly Odd Parents 04:25 Hannah Montana 04:45 I Got A Rocket 05:10 Wizards Of Waverly Place 05:35 Phineas & Ferb 06:00 Higglytown Heroes 06:10 My Friends Tigger And Pooh 06:35 Handy Manny 07:00 Special Agent Oso 07:20 Lazytown 07:45 Lazytown 08:10 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Y1 (Cema) 08:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Y1 (Cema) 09:00 Handy Manny 09:25 Special Agent Oso 09:45 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 10:10 Fairly Odd Parents 10:35 Hannah Montana 11:00 I Got A Rocket 11:25 Wizards Of Waverly Place 11:45 Phineas & Ferb 12:10 Suite Life On Deck 12:35 Replacements 12:55 American Dragon 13:20 Kim Possible 13:40 Famous Five 14:05 Fairly Odd Parents 14:30 Phineas & Ferb 14:55 Replacements 15:15 I Got A Rocket 15:40 Wizards Of Waverly Place 16:00 Hannah Montana 16:25 Sonny With A Chance 16:45 Fairly Odd Parents 17:10 Phineas & Ferb 17:35 Suite Life On Deck


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TV listings SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

18:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 18:25 Hannah Montana 18:45 The Replacements Splits 19:00 Jonas 19:25 Suite Life On Deck 19:50 Sonny With A Chance 20:15 Hannah Montana 20:40 Wizards Of Waverly Place 21:05 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 21:30 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 21:50 The Replacements Splits 22:00 Cheetah Girls 2 (Cema) 23:35 Phineas & Ferb

00:15 Kendra 00:40 Behind The Scenes 01:05 Behind The Scenes 01:30 20 Most Shocking Unsolved Crimes 03:15 Extreme Hollywood 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 05:30 Streets Of Hollywood 06:00 E!es 07:45 Behind The Scenes 08:35 E! News 09:25 Extreme Close-Up 10:15 Style Star 10:40 Style Star 11:05 Giuliana And Bill 12:00 E! News 12:50 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 17:35 Fashion Police 18:00 E! News 18:50 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 19:40 Then And Now 20:30 Fashion Police 20:55 The Soup 21:20 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 22:10 E! News 23:00 The Soup 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:50 Extreme Close-Up

00:00 Final Fu 00:50 Strikeforce 01:40 X Games 16 2010 02:30 World Combat League 03:20 Final Fu 04:10 Strikeforce 05:00 LG Action Sports World Championships... 05:50 LG Action Sports World Championships... 06:40 Chaz Sands Invitational 2009 07:30 IEX 2009 09:00 The Sorsa Project 11:30 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup 2008 12:20 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championships... 13:10 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championships... 14:00 Carpocalypse 14:50 Winter X Games Europe 2010 15:40 World Combat League 18:10 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009 19:00 Winter X Games Europe 2010 19:50 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championships... 21:30 Carpocalypse 22:20 Fantasy Factory 23:10 Winter X Games Europe 2010

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

01:30 Triangle-18 04:00 My Son, My Son, What Have You Done?-PG15 06:00 Who’s Your Caddy?-PG15 08:00 Cutting Edge: Fire And IcePG 10:00 500 Days Of Summer-PG15 12:00 In The Electric Mist-PG15 14:00 Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs-PG 16:00 Cutting Edge: Fire And IcePG 18:00 Ghosts Of Girlfriends PastPG15 20:00 Helen-PG15 22:00 Year One-18

01:00 Night Of The Living DeadPG15 03:00 Solstice-18 05:00 Mindhunters-18 07:00 Panic Room-PG15 09:00 Gone In Sixty Seconds-PG15 11:00 Final Encounter-PG15 13:00 Messengers-PG15 15:00 Gone In Sixty Seconds-PG15 17:00 The Snow Walker-PG15 19:00 Blue Crush-PG15 21:00 Gran Torino-PG15 23:00 Penny Dreadful-18

00:00 The Break-Up Artist-PG15 02:00 Dead Man On CampusPG15 04:00 Imagine That-PG 06:00 Wag The Dog-PG 08:00 Mr. Magoo-PG 10:00 Exterminators-PG15 12:00 Swing Vote-PG15 14:00 Crush-PG15 16:00 The Break-Up Artist-PG15 18:00 The Foot Fist Way-PG15 20:00 Go-18 22:00 Van Wilder: Party Liaison-18

00:00 Columbus III: The New World-PG 02:00 Stuart Little 2-FAM 04:00 Ulysses-PG 06:00 Tom And Jerry: Blast Off To Mars-FAM 08:00 Simba Junior To The World Cup-FAM 10:00 Ulysses-PG 12:00 Franklin And The Green Knight-FAM 14:00 Stuart Little 2-FAM 16:00 Free Willy 3: The RescueFAM 18:00 Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths-PG 20:00 Pocahontas And The Spider Woman-PG 22:00 Franklin And The Green Knight-FAM

00:00 No Ordinary Family 01:00 Friday Night Lights 02:00 The Martha Stewart Show 03:00 Hawthorne 04:00 The View 05:00 Look-A-Like 06:00 Downton Abbey 07:00 Hawthorne 08:00 The Martha Stewart Show 09:00 Look-A-Like 10:00 Hawthorne 11:00 The View 12:00 Downton Abbey 13:00 The Martha Stewart Show 14:00 No Ordinary Family 15:00 Friday Night Lights 16:00 Downsize Me 17:00 The View 18:00 Emmerdale 18:30 Coronation Street 19:00 Scoundrels 20:00 Damages 21:00 Warehouse 13 22:00 The View 23:00 Downsize Me

01:00 The All Sports Show 02:00 PDC Darts World Championship 06:00 ICC Cricket World 06:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 07:00 Brazil League Highlights 07:30 Futbol Mundial 08:00 The All Sports Show 09:00 PDC Darts Championship 13:00 The All Sports Show 14:00 ICC Cricket World 14:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 15:00 Brazil League Highlights

Order Of Chaos on Super Movies 15:30 Futbol Mundial 16:00 Extreme Sailing Series 16:45 ICC Cricket World 17:15 Total Rugby 17:45 Live Aviva Premiership 20:00 Live Aviva Premiership 22:00 Scottish FA Cup

04:00 The All Sports Show 05:00 ICC Cricket World 05:30 Total Rugby 06:00 Futbol Mundial 06:30 European Tour Weekly 07:00 Live The Royal Trophy Golf 12:00 European Tour Weekly 12:30 Futbol Mundial 13:00 Total Rugby 13:30 Live PGA European Tour 17:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 18:00 Live Scottish FA Cup 20:00 The Royal Trophy Golf

00:00 WWE SmackDown 02:00 WWE Bottom Line 03:00 WWE NXT 04:00 The Ultimate Fighter 05:00 UFC Unleashed 06:00 UFC Unleashed 07:00 WWE Bottom Line 08:00 WWE NXT 09:00 WWE SmackDown 11:00 WWE Vintage Collection 12:00 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge 13:00 Red Bull X-Fighters 14:00 UAE National Race Day 15:00 Full Throttle 15:30 FIM World Cup 16:00 Air Sports World 16:30 UFC All Access 17:00 The Ultimate Fighter 18:00 UFC 125 21:00 The Ultimate Fighter 22:00 WWE SmackDown

01:00 Staten Island-PG15 03:00 Order Of Chaos-PG15 05:00 Witness: The Kidnapping Of Patty Hearst-PG15 07:00 The Dust Factory-PG15 09:00 2012: Startling New SecretPG 11:00 Order Of Chaos-PG15 13:00 Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs-FAM 15:00 The Ramen Girl-PG15 16:45 W-PG15 19:00 Cirque Du Freak : The Vampire’s Assistant-PG15 21:00 The Unborn-18 23:00 Silk-R

01:40 Dead Of Winter 03:25 Palais Royale 04:55 Extremities 06:25 The Ambulance 08:00 Gator 09:55 Caveman 11:25 Salt And Pepper 13:05 Cornbread, Earl And Me 14:40 Beat Street 16:25 Captive Hearts 18:05 Asteroid 20:10 Burn! 22:00 The Miracle 23:35 Lawman

00:10 Rescue Heroes 00:35 Dino Squad 00:55 The Future is Wild 01:20 Tales from the Cryptkeeper 01:45 Rescue Heroes 02:00 Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors Marathon 07:00 New Adventures of Madeline 07:25 Rupert

07:45 Max and Ruby 08:10 Max and Ruby 08:35 Babar 09:00 Babar 09:25 New Adventures of Madeline 09:50 Boo and Me 09:55 Dennis The Menace 10:20 Heathcliff 10:45 Ned’s Newt 11:10 Sabrina The Animated Series 11:35 The Beach Crew 11:40 Birdz 12:05 Ace Lightning 12:30 The Fairly OddParents 13:00 Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers 13:30 Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave 14:10 Dennis The Menace 14:35 Sonic Underground 16:40 Five Children and It 17:05 Birdz 17:30 Sonic Underground 17:55 Beverly Hills Teen Club 18:20 The Beach Crew 18:25 S Club 7 In LA 18:50 The Hardy Boys 19:15 Nancy Drew 19:35 Inspector Gadget 20:00 Snow White and Richard of Albertville 21:45 Sabrina The Animated Series 22:10 S Club 7 In Miami 22:35 Beverly Hills Teen Club 23:00 Snow White and Richard of Albertville

01:20 A Soldier’s Story-PG15 03:00 The Yellow Rolls-Royce-PG 05:00 Screening Room, The Cannes Film...-PG 05:30 Kelly’s Heroes-PG 08:00 All The Fine Young Cannibals-PG 09:55 Support Your Local Sheriff!PG 11:30 Never So Few-PG 13:30 The Yellow Rolls-Royce-PG 15:30 The Honeymoon MachineFAM 16:55 Lust For Life-FAM 18:55 The Comedians-PG 21:30 Marty-FAM 23:00 2001: A Space Odyssey-FAM

00:30 Hell’s Battlefield 01:20 Russia: Land of the Tsars 02:10 Clash of the Gods 03:00 Decoding the Past 03:55 Egypt: Land of the Gods 04:50 Ancient Monster Hunters 05:40 The Universe 06:30 Hell’s Battlefield 07:20 Russia: Land of the Tsars 08:10 Clash of the Gods 09:00 Decoding the Past 09:55 Egypt: Land of the Gods 10:50 Ancient Monster Hunters 11:40 The Universe 12:30 Hell’s Battlefield 13:20 Russia: Land of the Tsars 14:10 Clash of the Gods 15:00 Decoding the Past 15:55 Egypt: Land of the Gods 16:50 Ancient Monster Hunters 17:40 The Universe 18:30 Hell’s Battlefield 19:20 Russia: Land of the Tsars 20:10 Clash of the Gods


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INFORMATION

SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

DIAL 161 FOR AIRPORT INFORMATION In case you are not travelling, your proper cancellation of bookings will help other passengers to use seats Airlines KLM PIA GFA ETH WAN WAN THY UAE DHX QTR PIA ETD RBG JZR JZR JZR KAC BAW KAC FCX FDB KAC KAC KAC KAC KAC UAE KAC ABY QTR ETD GFA KAC JZR MHK JZR MSR JZR KAC JZR FDB MSR KAC UAL KAC SVA KAC KNE KAC JZR QTR IRM KNE WAN AFR KAC SYR IRC ETD UAE KAC GFA CLX WAN SVA RJA JZR JZR ABY RBG ALK JZR

Arrival Flights on Saturday 8/1/2011 Flt Route 447 AMSTERDAM / BAHRAIN 215 KARACHI 211 BAHRAIN 620 ADDIS ABABA 646 VIENNA / BEIRUT 306 CAIRO 772 ISTANBUL 853 DUBAI 370 BAHRAIN 138 DOHA 239 SIALKOT 305 ABU DHABI 3557 ALEXANDRIA 529 ASSIUT 503 LUXOR 555 ALEXANDRIA 416 JAKARTA / KUALA LUMPUR 157 LONDON 412 MANILA / BANGKOK 201 BAHRAIN 53 DUBAI 302 MUMBAI 332 TRIVANDRUM 676 DUBAI 362 COLOMBO 344 CHENNAI 855 DUBAI 302D MUMBAI 123 SHARJAH 132 DOHA 301 ABU DHABI 213 BAHRAIN 204 LAHORE 121 BAHRAIN 711 BAGHDAD / NAJAF 165 DUBAI 610 CAIRO 549 ALEXANDRIA 672 DUBAI 357 MASHAD 57 DUBAI 621 ASSIUT 786 JEDDAH 982 WASHINGTON DC DULLES 618 DOHA 500 JEDDAH 552 DAMASCUS 745 JEDDAH 284 DHAKA 257 BEIRUT 134 DOHA 5066 MASHAD 703 MEDINAH 304 CAIRO 6706 PARIS 550 SOHAG 341 DAMASCUS 6791 MASHAD 303 ABU DHABI 857 DUBAI 118 NEW YORK 215 BAHRAIN 736 LUXEMBOURG 402 BEIRUT 510 RIYADH 800 AMMAN 777 JEDDAH 239 AMMAN 127 SHARJAH 3555 ALEXANDRIA 227 COLOMBO / DUBAI 177 DUBAI

Time 0:10 0:25 1:40 1:45 1:45 1:50 2:15 2:35 2:45 2:45 2:55 3:10 3:15 4:25 5:20 6:00 6:25 6:40 6:45 7:00 7:45 7:55 8:05 8:10 8:20 8:20 8:30 8:40 9:05 9:05 9:30 9:35 11:05 11:10 11:15 11:20 12:55 13:00 13:25 13:45 13:50 13:55 13:55 14:10 14:25 14:30 14:35 14:50 14:55 15:00 15:00 15:05 16:10 16:20 16:30 16:30 16:35 16:45 16:50 16:55 16:55 17:05 17:15 17:15 17:20 17:30 17:30 17:40 17:45 17:55 18:10 18:15

KAC KAC SVA IRA KAC KAC KAC KAC WAN SIA VOS FDB OMA WAN JAI KNE IAC KAC MSR DHX GFA WAN MEA JZR QTR KLM UAE JZR KAC MLR MSR KAC JZR MSR JZR UAL DLH AXB RJA

178 542 2600 607 674 104 774 562 642 458 93 61 647 612 572 789 575 614 618 372 217 104 402 201 136 445 859 513 502 1405 606 788 185 612 135 981 636 393 802

GENEVA / FRANKFURT CAIRO JEDDAH MASHAD DUBAI LONDON RIYADH AMMAN VIENNA SINGAPORE / ABU DHABI KANDAHAR / DUBAI DUBAI MUSCAT ISTANBUL MUMBAI JEDDAH CHENNAI / GOA BAHRAIN ALEXANDRIA BAHRAIN BAHRAIN DUBAI BEIRUT DAMASCUS DOHA AMSTERDAM DUBAI SHARM EL SHEIKH BEIRUT COLOMBO / DUBAI LUXOR JEDDAH DUBAI CAIRO BAHRAIN BAHRAIN FRANKFURT KOZHIKODE / COCHIN AMMAN

Airlines UAL IAC KLM PIA DLH KAC ETH KAC THY DHX UAE RBG ETD PIA QTR JZR JZR GFA JZR JZR KAC JZR FDB WAN BAW KAC JZR KAC KAC UAE ABY KAC

Depature Flights on Saturday 8/1/2011 Flt Route 981 WASHINGTON DC DULLES 576 GOA / CHENNAI 447 AMSTERDAM 216 KARACHI 637 FRANKFURT 203 LAHORE 620 BAHRAIN / ADDIS ABABA 283 DHAKA 773 ISTANBUL 371 BAHRAIN 854 DUBAI 3558 ALEXANDRIA 306 ABU DHABI 240 SIALKOT / ISLAMABAD 139 DOHA 548 ALEXANDRIA 164 DUBAI 212 BAHRAIN 356 MASHAD 120 BAHRAIN 785 JEDDAH 120 BAHRAIN 54 DUBAI 641 VIENNA 156 LONDON 671 DUBAI 256 BEIRUT 551 DAMASCUS 101 LONDON / NEW YORK 856 DUBAI 124 SHARJAH 549 SOHAG

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

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

QTR ETD GFA KAC KAC KAC JZR JZR MHK JZR MSR FDB KAC MSR KAC UAL KNE JZR JZR SVA JZR IRM KAC KAC QTR KAC KNE KAC SYR ETD IRC VOS GFA UAE AFR RJA JZR ABY RBG SVA JZR CLX ALK KAC WAN SVA JZR IRA FDB KAC WAN KNE OMA JAI SIA MSR KAC DHX KAC GFA MEA JZR FCX QTR KLM KAC JZR UAE MLR KAC MSR JZR MSR KAC

133 302 214 617 165 541 776 238 712 176 611 58 561 622 673 982 746 512 200 505 552 5065 501 773 135 787 702 613 342 304 6792 82 216 858 6706 801 184 128 3556 511 266 737 228 285 305 9300 134 604 62 331 407 790 648 571 457 619 543 373 675 218 403 206 102 137 445 301 554 860 1405 205 607 222 613 411

DOHA ABU DHABI BAHRAIN DOHA ROME / PARIS CAIRO JEDDAH AMMAN NAJAF / BAGHDAD DUBAI CAIRO DUBAI AMMAN ASSIUT DUBAI BAHRAIN JEDDAH SHARM EL SHEIKH DAMASCUS JEDDAH ALEXANDRIA MASHAD BEIRUT RIYADH DOHA JEDDAH RIYADH BAHRAIN DAMASCUS ABU DHABI MASHAD BAGHDAD BAHRAIN DUBAI DUBAI / HONG KONG AMMAN DUBAI SHARJAH ALEXANDRIA RIYADH BEIRUT MALPENSA DUBAI / COLOMBO CHITTAGONG CAIRO JEDDAH BAHRAIN ISFAHAN DUBAI TRIVANDRUM BEIRUT JEDDAH MUSCAT MUMBAI ABU DHABI / SINGAPORE ALEXANDRIA CAIRO BAHRAIN DUBAI BAHRAIN BEIRUT DAMASCUS BAHRAIN DOHA BAHRAIN / AMSTERDAM MUMBAI ALEXANDRIA DUBAI COLOMBO ISLAMABAD LUXOR ALEPPO CAIRO BANGKOK / MANILA

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (www.kuwait-airport.com.kw)

10:00 10:20 10:20 11:10 11:45 12:00 12:00 12:10 12:30 13:50 13:55 14:35 14:45 14:50 15:10 15:25 15:40 15:40 16:00 16:00 16:00 16:10 16:15 16:25 16:30 16:50 17:00 17:30 17:35 17:40 17:50 18:00 18:05 18:10 18:15 18:15 18:20 18:25 18:30 18:35 18:40 18:45 19:10 19:15 19:15 20:00 20:05 20:20 20:50 21:00 21:00 21:05 21:10 21:15 21:25 21:35 21:55 22:00 22:10 22:15 22:20 22:20 22:30 22:35 22:40 22:45 22:45 22:50 23:00 23:00 23:05 23:35 23:45 23:55


CLASSIFIEDS

SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

ACCOMMODATION Abraq Khaitan, single room available for a decent Indian bachelor from 1st February in C-A/C building, beside main road, bus stop, near police station roundabout. Contact: 97523316, 24745162. (C 3009) 5-1-2011 Sharing accommodation available for executive bachelor in C-A/C room with small Keralite family near German clinic in front of Bobuyan travels, from Jan 15th. Contact: 97264624. (C 3002) 4-1-2011 Sharing, C-A/C big room available for executive bachelor with small Indian Goan Hindu family, Amman street Salmiya. Please call 99408202. (C 2946)

FOR SALE Prado 2005 model VX 6 cylinder, full option, except sunroof, CD, leather seats, electronic chairs, remote control, excellent condition, low mileage, accident free, lady drive, leaving Kuwait. Price KD 5300. Contact: 67624638. (C 3011) 8-1-2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Glx 2006, maroon color, excellent condition, km 30,000, KD 1700. Mobile: 55323839. (C 3007) 5-1-2011 Toyota Corolla 1.8 XLi, model 2005, color golden beige, 81,000 km done, excellent condition, cash price KD 2,350. Contact: 66211779. (C 3004)

No: 14963

Mitsubishi Space Wagon, 2004, 107000 km, dual A/C, 7-seater, metallic maroon, in excellent condition, KD 1700 O.N.O, Contact: 99775373. (C 3001) Quality household goods and furniture for sale. Sofa set, baby cot, wardrobes, full size pool table, pots/plants and BBQ set. Tel: 97209669. (C 3005) Toyota Corolla 2006 model, excellent condition. Contact: 99668534. (C 3006)

SITUATION WANTED Accountant, B.Com, Indian male, 11 years of experience in Finance/Accounts (6 years in Kuwait) up to finalization, with knowledge of Tally & Oracle, valid Kuwait D/L, seeks suitable placement. Contact: 65067919. (C 3017) 8-1-2011 Chartered Accountant having many years of experience in Finance, Accounting, Auditing and presently working in Kuwait as Finance Manager/Controller available for immediate appointment. Contact: ca.financejobskwt@hotmail.com (C 2948) 4-1-2011

CHANGE OF NAME I, Hamza Mohamed Hussain, holder of Indian Passport A 9875068, hereby change my name to HAMZA MOHAMED HUSSAIN SHAHER. (C 3015) I, Sandip Narayan Power, holder of Indian Passport F3960096, converted to Islam, hereby change my name to ABDULLAH SALIM KHAN. (C 3016) 8-1-2011 I, Sinu Shebha Thomas, Pallickal, Kumplampoika, Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India and holding passport E6430168 issued at Trivandrum, Kerala hereby change my name as Sinu Shebha Samuel. (C 3008) I, Lakhvir Sing S/O Dyal Singh Sidhu R/O Vpo. Talwandi Bhangrain (Moga) have changed my name as Lakhvir Singh Sidhu. (C 3010) 5-1-2010 Panutala Emilian Venkateswarlu. holder of Indian Passport E8759241 hereby change my name to Emilian Gonsalues. (C 3003) 4-1-2011


C R O S S W O R D

1 9 3

SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Word Sleuth Solution

Yesterday始s Solution

ACROSS 1. A widely distributed system consisting of all the cells able to ingest bacteria or colloidal particles etc, except for certain white blood cells. 4. Melon having yellowish rind and whitish flesh. 10. A gradual decline (in size or strength or power or number). 13. A drug combination found in some over-the-counter headache remedies (Aspirin and Phenacetin and Caffeine). 14. On a ship, train, plane or other vehicle. 15. An affirmative. 16. Relating to or characteristic of or occurring on the sea or ships. 17. An oil port in southern Iraq. 19. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 21. Give an education to. 23. The (prehensile) extremity of the superior limb. 24. Of or relating to the stomach and intestines. 25. An award for winning a championship or commemorating some other event. 28. A wide (ornamented) belt worn over the right shoulder to support a sword or bugle by the left hip. 33. A midnight meeting of witches to practice witchcraft and sorcery. 35. The branch of computer science that deal with writing computer programs that can solve problems creatively. 36. Sexually transmitted urethritis (usually caused by chlamydia). 37. Electronic warfare undertaken under direct control of an operational commander to locate sources of radiated electromagnetic energy for the purpose of immediate threat recognition. 38. A hard brittle blue-white multivalent metallic element. 40. The act of ceding. 45. Living quarters reserved for wives and concubines and female relatives in a Muslim household. 47. Genus of sticky herbs with yellow flowers open in morning or evening but closed in bright light. 51. An assertion of a right (as to money or property). 54. Lasting through all time. 56. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 58. A city in the European part of Russia. 59. Any of various coarse shrubby plants of the genus Iva with small greenish flowers. 60. In the same place (used when citing a reference). 62. A recurring sleep state during which dreaming occurs. 63. A room or establishment where alcoholic drinks are served over a counter. 64. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 65. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. DOWN 1. Danish philologist whose work on Old Norse pioneered in the field of comparative linguistics (1787-1832). 2. A fencing sword similar to a foil but with a heavier blade. 3. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 4. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 5. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 6. An internationally recognized distress signal in radio code. 7. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 8. A small nail. 9. A public promotion of some product or service. 10. Long-bodied long-tailed tropical American wildcat. 11. (informal) Very tired. 12. A very young child (birth to 1 year) who has not yet begun to walk or talk.

18. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 20. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 22. Large sweet juicy hybrid between tangerine and grapefruit having a thick wrinkled skin. 26. Freedom from difficulty or hardship or effort. 27. A software system that facilitates the creation and maintenance and use of an electronic database. 29. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 30. A nucleic acid that transmits genetic information from DNA to the cytoplasm. 31. One of the five major classes of immunoglobulins. 32. An actor's line that immediately precedes and serves as a reminder for some action or speech. 34. (Norse mythology) God of thunder and rain and farming. 39. Made of fir or pine. 41. One of the two main branches of orthodox Islam. 42. (prosody) Of or consisting of iambs. 43. A colorless odorless gaseous element that give a red glow in a vacuum tube. 44. A white secretion of the sebaceous glands of the foreskin. 46. A Dravidian language spoken in south central India. 47. A public promotion of some product or service. 48. Sorghums of dry regions of Asia and North Africa. 49. Reason by deduction. 50. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 52. Rock that in its molten form (as magma) issues from volcanos. 53. Slightly open. 55. A Gaelic-speaking Celt in Ireland or Scotland or the Isle of Man. 57. A person's brother or sister. 61. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group.

Yesterday始s Solution


sports SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Thunder beat Mavericks DALLAS: The Oklahoma City Thunder took advantage of Dirk Nowitzki’s continued absence to beat the Dallas Mavericks 99-95 in the NBA on Thursday. Kevin Durant scored 28 points while Russell Westbrook had 15 points and nine assists for the Thunder. Shawn Marion had a season-high 25 points for the Mavericks, who were without top scorer Nowitzki for a career-longest sixth straight game with a sprained knee. Nowitzki is day-to-day and there had been speculation that he might try to play against the Thunder. The nine-time All-Star, averaging 24.1 points, has been shooting at practices. Dallas also is missing No. 3 scorer Caron Butler, out for the season after tearing a tendon in his right knee. Kings 122, Nuggets 102 In Sacramento, Tyreke Evans had 27 points and a season-high 12 assists for Sacramento in the win over Denver. The Kings had a 23-2 run midway through the second half to build a 21-point lead in their highest-scoring game of the season. They shot 56 percent and gave coach Paul Westphal his 300th career victory. DeMarcus Cousins added 20 points for the Kings. Carmelo Anthony had 26 points for the Nuggets, who committed 23 turnovers. — AP

NBA results/standings WASHINGTON: Results and standings after Thursday’s National Basketball Association games: Oklahoma City 99, Dallas 95, Sacramento 122, Denver 102.

DALLAS: Dallas Mavericks’ Jason Kidd (left) and Tyson Chandler (right) defend Oklahoma City Thunder’s Jeff Green (22) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday. —AP

Canadiens beat Crosby-less Penguins NHL results/standings WASHINGTON: National Hockey League results and standings after Thursday’s games: Minnesota 3, Boston 1; Toronto 6, St Louis 5 (SO); Philadelphia 4, New Jersey 2; Montreal 2, Pittsburgh 1 (SO); Phoenix 2, Colorado 0; Edmonton 2, NY Islanders 1; Nashville 5, Los Angeles 2; Buffalo 3, San Jose 0.

Pittsburgh Philadelphia NY Rangers NY Islanders New Jersey

GP 42 40 41 38 40

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OT Pts 26 12 4 56 25 10 5 55 23 15 3 49 12 20 6 30 10 28 2 22

Boston Montreal Buffalo Ottawa Toronto

39 41 40 40 39

Northeast Division 21 12 6 48 22 16 3 47 17 18 5 39 16 19 5 37 15 20 4 34

111 102 111 90 96

88 97 118 121 118

Tampa Bay Washington Atlanta Carolina Florida

41 41 43 39 38

Southeast Division 24 12 5 53 23 12 6 52 22 15 6 50 18 15 6 42 18 18 2 38

123 120 134 112 104

130 107 127 117 98

Detroit Nashville St. Louis Chicago Columbus

40 40 39 42 40

Western Conference Central Division 25 10 5 55 21 13 6 48 20 13 6 46 21 18 3 45 20 17 3 43

138 104 106 130 103

113 96 110 122 118

Vancouver Colorado Minnesota Calgary Edmonton

39 41 40 41 39

Northwest Division 26 8 5 57 21 15 5 47 20 15 5 45 18 20 3 39 13 19 7 33

134 136 103 108 100

96 130 114 118 132

GF 136 135 121 90 71

GA 97 106 104 122 128

Pacific Division Dallas 41 24 13 4 52 118 113 San Jose 41 21 15 5 47 118 115 Phoenix 40 19 13 8 46 112 115 Anaheim 43 21 18 4 46 110 123 Los Angeles 40 22 17 1 45 118 101 Note: Two points for a win, one point for overtime loss.

MONTREAL: Benoit Pouliot scored on Montreal’s fifth shootout attempt to give the Canadiens a 2-1 win over a Pittsburgh Penguins team missing injured captain Sidney Crosby in the NHL on Thursday. Carey Price, who made 31 saves through overtime, was unpassable in the shootout. He denied four Penguins before stopping Chris Kunitz on Pittsburgh’s final attempt. Pouliot deked Brent Johnson and let the puck slide into the right side of the net as Montreal won in its first shootout of the season. He also scored the tying goal in the second period. Arron Asham scored in

the first period for Pittsburgh. Crosby, who leads the NHL with 32 goals and 66 points, missed his first game of the season because of an undisclosed upper body injury. Wild 3, Bruins 1 In Boston, Minnesota extended its record of never having lost at Boston. Cal Clutterbuck scored the go-ahead goal on a giveaway from Marc Savard in the Bruins zone. Martin Havlat also had a fluky goal for the Wild, converting four seconds into a power play. Clutterbuck also assisted on

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L Pct Boston 27 7 .794 New York 20 14 .588 Philadelphia 14 21 .400 Toronto 12 23 .343 New Jersey 10 25 .286 Southeast Division Miami 28 9 .757 Orlando 23 12 .657 Atlanta 24 14 .632 Charlotte 12 21 .364 Washington 8 25 .242 Central Division Chicago 23 11 .676 Indiana 14 18 .438 Milwaukee 13 20 .394 Detroit 11 24 .314 Cleveland 8 27 .229 Western Conference Southwest Division San Antonio 29 6 .829 Dallas 26 9 .743 New Orleans 21 15 .583 Houston 16 19 .457 Memphis 16 19 .457 Northwest Division Utah 24 12 .667 Oklahoma City 24 13 .649 Denver 20 15 .571 Portland 19 17 .528 Minnesota 9 27 .250 Pacific Division LA Lakers 25 11 .694 Phoenix 14 19 .424 Golden State 14 21 .400 LA Clippers 11 24 .314 Sacramento 8 25 .242

GB 7 13.5 15.5 17.5 4 4.5 14 18 8 9.5 12.5 15.5 3 8.5 13 13 .5 3.5 5 15 9.5 10.5 13.5 15.5

Mikko Koivu’s empty-netter with 43 seconds left. The Bruins were 0 for 4 with a man advantage and have never scored a power-play goal against Minnesota. Steven Kampfer scored for Boston. Maple Leafs 6, Blues 5, SO In Toronto, the hosts bounced back from blowing a three-goal lead to defeat St. Louis in a shootout. Tyler Bozak beat Ty Conklin with a wrist shot for the decisive score, but the highlight of the shootout was the move by teammate Mikhail Grabovski, who made a 360-degree turn while cutting across the top of the crease and tucked the puck into the net. The Maple Leafs seemed to be in control when Phil Kessel’s second goal of the game early in the third period made it 5-2. But the Blues clawed back with a goal by Brad Winchester that was confirmed by video review. Eric Brewer’s point shot found an opening to make it 5-4, and Matt D’Agostini completed the comeback when he was sent in alone and scored with a backhand deke. Grabovski, Versteeg and Colby Armstrong had scored earlier for the Maple Leafs. Alex Steen and David Backes had the other goals for St Louis.

LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll (top) checks Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday. — AP

Flyers 4, Devils 2 In Newark, New Jersey, Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell scored two goals apiece to lead Philadelphia over fast-fading New Jersey. Ville Leino had a career-high three assists, and Brian Boucher made 18 saves as the Flyers improved their NHL-best road record to 13-4-3. Briere snapped a 2-2 tie early in the third period with his 19th goal and gave the Flyers breathing room with 8:26 to go when his centering pass deflected past goalie Johan Hedberg. Dainius Zubrus and David Clarkson scored for New Jersey, which has suffered 28 defeats in regulation already this season - one more than the Devils had in each of the previous two seasons.— AP


sports SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Lowly Seahawks try to end Saints’ reign SEATTLE, Washington: Seattle has the worst team to ever make the National Football League playoffs but the Seahawks have the home-field edge today when they try to upset the reigning champion New Orleans Saints. The Seahawks stumbled to a 7-9 record this season but that was good enough to win the NFC West division and book a spot in the 12-team playoff fight for berths in next month’s Super Bowl while two clubs that went 10-6 stayed home. No prior division champion in NFL history had ever finished worse than 8-8 and no team with a losing record had ever reached the playoffs in a season that was not shortened by a labor dispute. Matt Hasselbeck, the Seattle quarterback who missed last week’s divisionclinching victory over St. Louis with a hip injury, will return. He has led the Seahawks to victory in their past four

home playoff games. The Saints, who won their first NFL crown last year in tribute to a home city still recovering from the devasatation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, ripped Seattle 34-19 last November in a regular-season meeting. Today’s other playoff game finds the New York Jets at Indianapolis while Sunday’s games send Baltimore to Kansas City and Green Bay to Philadelphia. New England, with an NFL-best 14-2 record, has a first-round bye along with fellow American Conference division champ Pittsburgh, 12-4, National Conference pace-setter Atlanta, 13-3, and NFC North division winner Chicago, 11-5. Those four teams will host the following weekend’s playoff games against the four winners this weekend. This weekend’s games mark the debut of a new over-time playoff rule whereby a team winning the coin toss and receiving the opening kickoff in

Asian Winter Games are challenge for Kazakhstan ALMATY, Kazakhstan: The Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan will face its first major sporting challenge of the post-Soviet era when the country hosts the seventh Asian Winter Games later this month. More than 1,000 athletes from 27 Asian countries will contest 163 titles in 11 categories, with the events staged in the republic’s two biggest cities - Almaty and Astana - between Jan 30 and Feb 6. With an eye on one day hosting the Winter Olympics, Kazakh leaders consider the upcoming international sports festival to be an important test for them. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, himself a passionate sports lover who enjoys everything from tennis to alpine skiing, has aleady set his government the challenge of involving up to a third of the population in regular sports. “A healthy way of life and people taking responsibility for their own health should become the main feature of the state social policy and our people’s everyday life,” Nazarbayev said recently. “Only this approach can guarantee us regular progress.” Other government ministers meanwhile have touted the republic’s recent economic recovery and good image in the eyes of Western investors. “Kazakhstan’s potential and economic capabilities are very strong,” said Sports Minister Temirkhan Dosmukhambetov. “We have a serious chance of winning the right to host the (2022) Winter Olympics.” Kazakhstan’s former capital Almaty already made a bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics but failed to make the IOC shortlist, with officials saying that they would learn from past mistakes. “We failed because we seriously lacked the experience of hosting major sporting events,” said 1994 Olympic champion Vladimir Smirnov, who won the 50km cross-coutry skiing event before chairing the Almaty 2014 bid committee. Though Kazakhstan is yet to stage a major sporting event, its athletes have already recorded some impressive achievemnets, particularly in summer sports. Kazakhstan won 13 medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including two golds, which was the country’s best performance since it started competing as an independent state in 1996. Its professional cycling team Astana, which was founded in 2006 and won the 2009 Tour de France team title, has become one of the country’s top sporting brands. And the entire nation celebrated when Astana leader, Spaniard Alberto Contador, won the 2009 and 2010 Tour de France titles before leaving the team in a contractual dispute. Two Kazakhstani female weightlifters, Maia Maneza and Svetlana Podobedova, are currently world record holders in their respective categories, winning the two latest championships in South Korea and Turkey. Then there is athletics star Olga Rypakova, who won gold at last year’s indoor world championships in Doha, Qatar with a triple jump of 15.14 m. The women’s handball team beat Beijing Olympics silver medalists South Korea 33-32 in a dramatic Asian championships final. — AFP

the extra period will not automatically win with a field goal on the first over-time possession. The change ensures the team kicking off will have at least one possession in over-time after surrendering a field goal. If the trailing side scores a touchdown, it wins. If it does not score, it loses. If it kicks a field goal to equalize, play continues as before in the usual suddendeath, first-team-to-score-wins format. As the lowest playoff seeds, Green Bay and the Jets would have to visit top seeds if they pull off playoff upsets on the roads, the Packers having to visit Atlanta while the Jets would play arch rival New England. Jets coach Rex Ryan, who has already predicted his club will run the playoff gauntlet and win the Super Bowl, had a dig at Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, saying no one studies the sport like Peyton Manning of Indianapolis. “I know Brady thinks he does. I think there’s a little

more help from (New England coach Bill) Belichick with Brady than there is with Peyton Manning,” Ryan said. The Colts present plenty of problems for the Jets, starting with Manning, who is 5-1 against defenses guided by Ryan, a former defensive coordinator. “The guy is tremendous. There is no one else like this guy in the league,” Ryan said. “This guy is one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game.” The Colts and Jets met last year to decide a Super Bowl berth, with Manning guiding Indy to a 30-17 victory before their loss to New Orleans in the title game. Green Bay defeated Philadelphia 27-20 this season, but that was back in the opening week of the season last September. Baltimore and Kansas City have not met in two seasons. The Chiefs could have avoided the Ravens in round one with a higher seed but lost to Oakland in their final game of the season.— AFP

Ishikawa stars as Asia hold Europe HUA HIN, Thailand: Japanese teen phenomenon Ryo Ishikawa beat Italy’s Matteo Manassero in the battle of the young guns yesterday to help Asia to a 2-2 tie with Europe after the opening day of the Royal Trophy. The 19-year-old Ishikawa, a nine-time winner on the Japan Tour, teamed up with good friend Shunsuke Sonoda to overcome Manassero, 17, and Spain’s Pablo Martin by 3 and 2 in the alternate-shot foursomes at Black Mountain Golf Club. Europe player/captain Colin Montgomerie partnered Welshman Rhys Davies to a 2 and 1 victory over 29th-ranked South Korean Kim Kyung-Tae and Yuta Ikeda, a four-time winner on the Japan Tour last season, in the final match. Scotland’s Montgomerie skippered Europe to a 81/271/2 victory over Asia last January to start an outstanding year for European golf highlighted by a win in the Ryder Cup and the Scot wants to keep the momentum going. “I said that it would be a very hard-fought contest and it was today,” said Montgomerie. “I am happy with 2-2 and it is all to play for. The players have gone to the range and hopefully we can do well in tomorrow’s fourballs and take a lead into the singles.” The adventurous Ishikawa underlined his huge potential by linking brilliantly with Sonoda to down Manassero, rated as one of the hottest prospects in world golf, and the in-form Martin, who retained the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa last month. The match was all-

HUA HIN, Thailand: Japan Ryo Ishikawa of Japan (left) and Shunsuke Sonoda of Japan look on at the 11h hole during their foursome match between Asia and Europe in the fifth Royal Trophy golf tournament at the Black Mountain Golf Club in southeastern Thailand yesterday. —AP square at the turn but the Japanese pulled clear by winning three straight holes from the 10th with Manassero and Martin contributing to their own downfall with bogeys at the 11th and 12th. “I did not drive the ball that well but had a good day on the greens,” said Ishikawa. “I have been practising hard in the lead-up to the Royal Trophy and I am feeling good.” The 47-year-old Montgomerie and Davies started brightly with three birdies in six holes but were never more than two holes up against the highly rated Kim and Ikeda. A bogey by the Europeans at the 15th hole allowed the Asian duo to nar-

row the deficit to one but a piece of Montgomerie magic at the 17th set up a short putt for Davies to clinch a muchneeded point. “The momentum was tilting towards the Asian team,” said Montgomerie. “I hit the approach at 17 and Rhys Davies does not miss from four feet. It was very important that we got the point to go to 2-2.” In the opening match, China’s Liang Wen-chong and Noh Seung-Yul took the prized scalps of Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Johan Edfors, whom Montgomerie had hoped would give Europe a flying start. After a shaky start, OneAsia moneylist winner

Liang and Noh, the current Asian Tour number one, raced to a three-up lead by the seventh hole. Stenson and Edfors, who teamed up successfully with two wins at the Royal Trophy in 2007, narrowed the gap at the 13th but their fightback was shortlived with Liang and Noh winning 3 and 2. Peter Hanson, the only player on the European team to be part of last year’s Ryder Cup success over the United States, and Fredrik Andersson Hed, had a thumping 7 and 5 victory over Thongchai Jaidee and Jeev Milkha Singh. The tournament continues with fourballs today and eight singles matches tomorrow. — AFP


A

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sports

SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Ivanovic injury puts Belgium into final PERTH: A stomach injury to Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic has handed Belgium a match against the United States in the mixed-teams Hopman Cup final yesterday. The Serbian pairing of Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic were top seeds and led Group A after winning two of their three round-robin ties, with Belgian duo Justine Henin and Ruben Bemelmans second despite beating the Serbs on Thursday. However, Ivanovic hurt her stomach in a straight sets singles loss to Henin and the injury recurred at practice yesterday. The 23-year-old underwent scans yesterday afternoon and was ruled out of

the final in a major disruption to her Australian Open preparations. Ivanovic was due to play at the Sydney International next week, but the world number 17 has withdrawn with a strained abdominal muscle, tournament organisers said, as she battles to be fit for the year’s first Grand Slam later this month. Hopman Cup tournament director Paul McNamee confirmed that Belgium would replace Serbia in the final and play the US pairing of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and John Isner. “The rules are very clear. In the round robin if a player can’t play they can be sub-

stituted by another player, but if a player cannot play the final, the team that is second-placed in the group goes through to the final,” he said. McNamee said Ivanovic had not realised the severity of her injury until she practised yesterday morning. “She was still OK in the mixed (on Thursday), when she was warmed up,” he said. “She felt it this morning and also during practice this morning, she had to stop as she couldn’t continue. It is clear she can’t play tomorrow.” McNamee said reigning French Open champion Francesca Schiavone was not in doubt for the Australian Open,

despite retiring from her singles match on Friday with an upper leg injury. Schiavone, who had medical staff strap her right thigh early in the match when she pulled up sore, was locked at 4-4 in the first set with France’s Kristina Mladenovic when she threw in the towel. “No problem,” he said when asked if her Australian Open campaign was in doubt. Earlier in the tournament, world number 39 Yaroslava Shvedova’s Australian Open hopes were dashed when she was ruled out for six weeks after suffering a knee injury. — AFP

Federer through to Doha final, Nadal out

HONG KONG: US tennis player Venus Williams reacts during her match against Li Na of China at the Hong Kong Classic exhibition tournament yesterday. —AP

Venus crashes to earth in HK HONG KONG: Injury-stricken Venus Williams crashed to a second defeat in as many days in Hong Kong yesterday as her preparation for the Australian Open was overshadowed by questions over her fitness. The seven-time Grand Slam winner was seen clutching her stomach as she was dismissed in straight sets by the Chinese ace Li Na in the World Team Challenge yesterday. Williams played her cards close to her chest after the match as she was quizzed about her physical condition ahead of the year’s first Grand Slam starting January 17. Asked about the apparent stomach problem in a postmatch press conference she appeared to avoid the question, saying: “I just tried my best and just pushed myself to play my best tennis.” Williams, 30, suffered a nagging left knee injury last year, being forced into a long lay-off after losing to eventual champion Kim Clijsters in the US Open semi-finals in September. She had not played before that since falling in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in June. Asked how her knee was bearing up, she replied, without elaborating: “I’m okay, thanks.” On court Williams had the balance in the baseline battle early on, despite playing well below her best, but her opponent was more consistent, hitting more winners and aggressively attacking the American’s second serve. “I enjoy playing here, I love the fans here supporting me. I’m looking forward to coming back next year,” Li said after the match. Li, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open and quarter-finalist at Wimbledon, looked the more composed for much of the match, taking the ball cleanly and stepping into every shot.—AFP

DOHA: An ailing Rafael Nadal slumped out of the Qatar Open yesterday to deprive fans and organisers of an eagerly-anticipated final against great rival Roger Federer. Federer kept his part of the bargain with a 6-3 7-6 defeat of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first semi-final at the Khalifa Tennis Centre but Nadal withered away after a bright start against Russian defending champion Nikolay Davydenko, losing 63 6-2. It was an emphatic loss for the world number one, who was also beaten here last year by Davydenko, but he was clearly suffering, telling an on-court doctor he felt ìterribleî during the second set. From 1-2 down in the opening set, Davydenko turned the match around in stunning fashion with some pinpoint hitting. Nadal lost eight consecutive games from 3-3 in the opening set but roused himself briefly to avoid his second 6-0 set of the tournament, snatching a break of serve before Davydenko closed out the victory. Nadal, who has been suffering with a fever all week in the Qatari capital, showed guts to finish the match in the circumstances

DOHA: Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates as he defeats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during their semifinal match at Qatar ATP Open yesterday. (Inset) Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after he lost against Nikolay Davydenko of Russia in the other semifinal match yesterday. — AP and will be keen to regain 100 per cent fitness before the Australian Open starts on Jan 17. Federer, who played second fiddle to Nadal for much of last year when the Spaniard won three of the four grand slam titles, was clinical during a one-hour-21-

minute defeat of Tsonga. The 16-times grand-slam champion produced an almost perfect serving display to keep the hard-hitting Frenchman at bay. The Swiss, who clocked up 14 consecutive points on his service at one point and wrapped up victory with a smash, will be

favourite to win the title for a third time when he faces Davydenko today. Davydenko, however, recorded only his second victory over Federer in 16 attempts when he upset him at the semi-final stage in Doha last year before beating Nadal in the final. — AP

Soderling in semis, Bartoli loses SYDNEY: Robin Soderling’s smooth buildup to this month’s Australian Open continued with a business-like 6-3 6-2 victory over local qualifier Matt Ebden in their Brisbane International quarter-final yesterday. The Swedish world number five broke his 196th-ranked opponent once in the first set and twice in the second before sealing the 71-minute match with an ace. “I’ve been serving really well all week. I haven’t been broken yet and today especially I managed to serve really well when it really matters,” said twice French Open finalist Soderling, who has not dropped a set in the tournament. “I still know that I can play

better. I’ve played three pretty solid matches so it feels good coming into tomorrow’s semi-final.” Soderling will meet last year’s finalist and 2009 champion Radek Stepanek in the semi-finals, after the Czech 32-year-old upset seventh-seeded German Florian Mayer 6-3 6-3. “I’ve played against Radek many times and we’ve always had tough matches so I have to stay focussed on this one,” Soderling added. Defending champion Andy Roddick will contest the other semi-final in a big-serving shootout with towering South African Kevin Anderson. — Reuters


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IPL seeks new start with player auction NEW DELHI: The Indian Premier League looks to recapture its lost sparkle this weekend with a player auction at which teams will bid big bucks to secure some of finest talent in world cricket. The annual IPL tournament revolutionised the sport when it burst onto the scene in 2008 with a high-octane blend of international star players, Twenty20 matches and Bollywood glamour. But its future looked gloomy last year after allegations of massive corruption, money-laundering and tax evasion, as well as secret deals to hide teams’ real owners, and even links to India’s criminal underworld. IPL founder Lalit Modi - whose brash style personified the event - was thrown out by the BCCI, the sport’s governing body in India, over accusations about his conduct and organisers hope this year will be fresh start. Former West Indies captain Brian Lara and England’s Ashes hero James Anderson will be among those

going under the hammer at the auction in Bangalore today and tomorrow. They are among 21 cricketers with the highest reserve price of $400,000 for a three-year contract, with teams such as the Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians likely to force prices sky-high in a fierce bidding war. Other foreigners up for grabs include Australians Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee, England’s Kevin Pietersen, South Africans Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, and New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori. The tournament, to be held from April 8 to May 22, is expected to feature 10 teams after Indian courts overturned the expulsion of the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab. The BCCI, as part of its attempt to improve transparency in the IPL, threw out both teams in October for not declaring changes in their ownership structures. The ensuing legal battle led to their probable return - though no official

announcement has yet been made. Two new teams have joined the league: Kochi, which have also been involved in a nasty ownership squabble, and the Pune Warriors. The players’ auction was due to be held in November but was delayed amid confusion about the size and format of this year’s tournament, which will start just six days after the end of the World Cup co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Twelve players have been retained by their original franchises, with Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni staying with the Chennai Super Kings and Shane Warne and Shane Watson sticking with the Rajasthan Royals. Some top cricketers have opted out of the IPL’s fourth edition, including the Australian trio of Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson, and former India captain Anil Kumble. Other notable absentees include former Australian stars

Matthew Hayden and Glenn McGrath. Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who signed for $1.55 million with the Chennai Super Kings in 2009, has retired. Pakistan’s cricketers will continue to miss out on the IPL bonanza after none of them was included for the auction. Their players participated in the inaugural IPL, but were forced out of the 2009 edition due to security concerns in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, and were then ignored for the 2010 tournament. Modi, meanwhile, faces a government probe over financial irregularities and has also had a criminal case registered against him by the BCCI for the misappropriation of 4.68 billion rupees ($106 million). He denies all charges and now lives in self-imposed exile in London, surrounded by bodyguards, as he claims his life is in danger from Mumbai-based gangsters linked to illegal gambling. —AFP

Pakistan make NZ pay for poor shots TAUNTON, United Kingdom: File photo taken on Sept 1, 2010 shows Pakistan cricketers Mohammad Aamer, (left) Mohammad Asif (center) and captain Salman Butt (right) in southwest England. — AFP

Pak anti-corruption tribunal underway DOHA: A make-or-break anti-corruption tribunal against Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer opened here Thursday with the players facing lengthy bans if found guilty. The hearing, being held behind closed doors at the Qatar Financial Centre, is scheduled to run until January 11, although lawyers have indicated a verdict may come earlier. The three face charges of spot-fixing during Pakistan’s tour of England last year in a scandal that rocked the sport. It is alleged that they conspired in the bowling of deliberate no-balls - claims they all deny. Aamer entered the building first, followed soon after by Asif. They came separately by car. Both wore dark suits, but no ties and did not speak with the media. Butt arrived just before the hearing was due to start, also in a suit and open collar. They were provisionally suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in September, with the world governing body’s code of conduct carrying a minimum five-year ban if corruption charges are proved. The maximum punishment is life out of the game. The scandal came to light when Britain’s News of the World claimed that seven Pakistani players, including Butt, Aamer and Asif, took money from bookie Mazhar Majeed to obey orders at specific stages in the Lord’s Test in August. Scotland Yard detectives raided the team hotel in London, reportedly confiscating a huge amount of money from Butt’s room. The three-man independent hearing is being led by code of conduct commissioner and leading lawyer Michael Beloff of England, aided by Justice Albie Sachs from South Africa and Kenyan Sharad Rao. Rao told waiting journalists he felt the future of cricket was bright. “The future of cricket is good because I think that’s what this exercise is about,” he said. “So it should be a very clean game and we can rely on the result of this.” —AFP

HAMILTON, New Zealand: Poor shot selection saw New Zealand squander a steady start to the first Test against Pakistan and they were battling for respectability at the close of the opening day here yesterday. At stumps New Zealand were 260 for seven, their innings built around only two partnerships of note. Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill put on 83 for the second wicket while Kane Williamson (44) and Tim Southee (56) have put on 83 in their unbeaten eighth-wicket stand. In between, New Zealand lost six wickets for 85 runs as they wrestled with the miserly spin of Abdur Rehman, who was able to produce prodigious turn at times to finish the day with three for 51 off 30 overs including 13 maidens. When Pakistan won the toss and opted to bowl they did not get the assistance expected from the overcast conditions and after New Zealand lost Tim McIntosh early, McCullum and Guptill guided them through to lunch at 78 for one. But when it appeared the top order pair were lining themselves up to build a solid foundation, the innings began to fall apart when play resumed. McCullum, who was fortunate to survive a caught behind appeal when on 34, reached 56 before he was the first wicket to fall when he abandoned his circumspect approach of the opening session to hit out at Umar Gul. Since stepping down as the New Zealand wicketkeeper, McCullum has been intent on forging a name for himself as an opening batsmen while retaining the swashbuckling approach to batting that served him lower down the order. He succeeded with two sixes

off Gul, a drive and a pull, to reach his 18th Test half-century before flashing at a wide delivery which went straight to Azhar Ali at deep point. Ross Taylor was tucked up by Rehman attempting a cut shot that was not there and bottom-edged the ball to wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal to be out for six. Jesse Ryder was run out for 22, and Guptill who had battled patiently for nearly four hours to reach 50, patted a full toss from Rehman straight to Misbah-ul-Haq at cover. Reece Young (14) and Daniel Vettori (0) both mistimed sweep shots to fall leg before wicket leaving Williamson and Southee to mount a face-saving stand. The 20-year-old Williamson has faced 110 balls for his 44 while Southee, who came in at the fall of Vettori’s wicket, has reached 56 off 81 deliveries. Supporting Rehman with the ball, Tanvir Ahmed finished the day with two for 54, claiming the wickets of McIntosh and Vettori, while senior bowler Gul captured the wicket of McCullum while conceding 78 runs from 20 overs. — AFP

SCOREBOARD HAMILTON, New Zealand: Scoreboard at stumps on the opening day of the first

cricket Test between New Zealand and Pakistan at Seddon Park yesterday:

New Zealand 1st innings T. McIntosh c Younis Khan b Tanvir Ahmed 5 B. McCullum c Azhar Ali b Umar Gul 56 M. Guptill c Misbah-ul-Haq by Abdur Rehman 50 R. Taylor c Adnan Akmal b Abdur Rehman 6 J. Ryder run out (Wahab Riaz) 22 K. Williamson not out 44 R. Young lbw Abdur Rehman 14 D. Vettori lbw Tanvir Ahmed 0 T. Southee not out 56 Extras (lb6, nb1) 7 Total (7 wkts, 90 overs) 160 Fall of wickets: 1-9 (McIntosh), 2-92 (McCullum), 3-99 (Taylor), 4-135 (Ryder), 5-158 (Guptill), 6-176 (Young), 7177 (Vettori) Bowling: Umar Gul 20-3-78-1, Tanvir Ahmed 15-2-54-2, Wahab Riaz 17-4-47-0 (1nb), Younis Khan 6-1-20-0, Abdur Rehman 30-13-51-3, Mohammad Hafeez 2-1-4-0 To bat: D. Vettori, T. Southee, B. Arnel, C. Martin.

HAMILTON, New Zealand: New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum ducks to avoid a ball during day one of the first test match at Sedden park yesterday.—AFP


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Australia in freefall after Ashes humiliation SYDNEY: Stand-in skipper Michael Clarke insisted Australian cricket was not in crisis yesterday but after the humiliation of a crushing home Ashes defeat, the once dominant side is pretty close to completing its fall from grace. In cricket, statistics rarely lie and after Australia slipped to fifth in the world test rankings after losing 3-1 to a rampant England side, there can be no denying that the current crop of players are a pale shadow of their predecessors. Not since the days of the late 1970s when Kerry Packer’s rebel world series ripped the heart out of the team have Australia been so thoroughly beaten by their oldest test enemy with England winning three matches by an innings. The nature of Australian cricketing discourse means scant credit will be given to an excellent touring side and

forensic focus will instead be turned on the squad, selectors, coaches and management. “This has been a bad series and it’s a reason for us to have a very good look at where we’re up to, what we do, how we can get better, how we can get back on top,” Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland told reporters on Friday. The signs that all was not right in the Australia camp were all too evident before the Ashes when they put together a run of seven defeats in all forms of the game, including a first home series loss to Sri Lanka in a oneday series. For marketing reasons, the Ashes squad was announced 10 days before the first test at a public ceremony on Sydney’s Circular Quay, when rather symbolically it rained heavily. The selectors had avoided having their choices limited by naming a 17-man

squad - bigger than England’s touring party - and included two spinners, Nathan Hauritz and the uncapped Xavier Doherty. By the end of the series, a third spinner Michael Beer was bowling at the Sydney Cricket Ground as Australia, with hopes of regaining the Ashes gone, tried forlornly to square the series. The confusion over the spinners was replicated with the use, discard, then recall of strike bowlers but in truth, poor though they were compared to England’s devastating unit, bowling was not the only problem. “Putting 100, 200, 250 on the board and expecting the bowlers to get them out for that sort of target, I think we’re asking a hell of a lot,” Clarke said. The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday morning dubbed the 2010-11 Ashes team “Our Worst XI” ever and,

while that might be hyperbole, it would be hard to recall a poorer batting performance from an Australian team. Shane Watson aside, the top order batsmen performed miserably with captains Ponting, who averaged 16.14 before injury ruled him out of the final test, and Clarke (21.44) leading the way. Watson found his own way of keeping the batting totals down by being involved in three run outs involving the Australian openers over the series. Such sloppiness would have been anathema to Australian teams of the recent past but lack of discipline was also reflected in the fielding, as Clarke conceded. “Our fielding has certainly let us down in the series,” he said. “Australian cricket has always been one of the best, if not the best, fielding team in the world. I think that’s really hurting us at the moment.” — Reuters

England celebrate ‘special’ Ashes win SYDNEY: England inflicted an unprecedented third innings victory upon Australia yesterday, providing a fitting finish for Andrew Strauss and his team after thoroughly dominating the Ashes series. England completed an innings and 83-runs run victory before lunch on the last day at the Sydney Cricket Ground - taking the last wicket as a trumpeter played The Last Post for a humbled Australian squad - to seal a 3-1 series win. It was England’s first test series win in Australia since 1987 and the first time since 1978-79 that the English have won back-toback test matches in Australia. Strauss’ squad was also the first ever to inflict three innings defeats on Australia in a single series. Alastair Cook scored 189 in the first innings here to help England post 644, its highest total ever in Australia, and to become the most prolific English runscorer in an Ashes series since Wally Hammond in 1928-29. Jimmy Anderson took three second-innings wickets, and eight for the match, as Australia was dismissed for 280 and 281, unable to handle the reverse swing and the disciplined line and length of England’s bowling unit. “It feels pretty special if I’m honest,” Strauss said after receiving the old urn. England retained the Ashes by taking a 2-1 lead with an emphatic victory at Melbourne last week but was desperate to go one better and win the series outright. “Until an Ashes series is finally over you’ve got half an eye on what’s to come, so even in Melbourne we were still very conscious that we wanted to finish on a high and show people that we deserved to win this series. “Now we’ve done that we can ... be very proud of what we’ve achieved because not many sides have come out here and won, certainly not many ... as emphatically as we did in the end.” It was just a matter of time yesterday for the series to be wrapped up, with England only requiring three wickets and Australia having no chance of victory. Steve Smith (54 not out) and Peter Siddle (43) prolonged Australia’s resistance for an hour around a couple of suspensions for rain, but Graeme Swann broke the 86-run, eighth-wicket stand when he had Siddle caught on the boundary by Anderson. Anderson (3-61) then had Ben Hilfenhaus (7) caught behind and Chris Tremlett (3-79) picked off No. 11 Michael Beer (2) to end the test and cue wild celebrations among England players and its ‘Barmy Army’ supporters. In one of the few highlights for Australia, young all-rounder Smith raised his second test half century with a stylish late cut to the boundary off Anderson. Critics have called for a complete overhaul of Australian cricket, starting with the administration and the national team. “Pretty disappointing and a hard pill to swallow,” said Mike Hussey, Australia’s leading batsman in the series. “But you’ve got to give credit to England. They deserved the 3-1 scoreline.” The English batsmen and bowling unit dominated at the SCG as they had done in the series. Only two Australian batsmen scored centuries in the series, while three English batsmen produced hundreds in this match alone. Cook scored 766 runs in the series, second only to Hammond’s 905 in 1928-29 in the list of English batsmen in the Ashes and was a deserving winner of the player of the series award. “To win man of the match in the final game of the Ashes is a dream come true,” Cook said. “Our bowlers have been fantastic throughout the whole series. They’ve put

SCOREBOARD SYDNEY: Scoreboard on the last day of the fifth and final Ashes Test between Australia and England at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday:

SYDNEY: England’s players celebrate on the podium with their trophies after defeating Australia in the fifth and final Ashes cricket test at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. — AP some pressure on the Australians the whole series, made our jobs a lot easier.” The fifth test defeat was a major setback for Michael Clarke, who was playing his first test as Australia captain after Ricky Ponting was ruled out with a broken finger, and auditioning as the long-term replacement. Plagued by poor shot selection throughout the series, Clarke immediately retired from Twenty20 cricket to concentrate on long forms of the game. “It’s been a tough couple of months. England has outplayed us in all facets,” Clarke said. “We’re disappointed we haven’t put on a good enough show. We need to get back to the drawing board and work our backsides off.” Clarke said the Australian squad had the talent to rebound and said there was no reason for panic. Most commentators disagreed. As veteran analyst Peter Roebuck wrote on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald, “Despair has descended upon Australian cricket. Embarrassment has become an acquaintance. Humiliation has introduced itself. Calamity has piled upon calamity.” — AP

Australia 1st innings 280 (M. Johnson 53, S. Watson 45; J. Anderson 4-66): England 1st innings 644 (A. Cook 189, M. Prior 118, I. Bell 115; M. Johnson 4-168):

Australia 2nd innings (overnight 213 for 7: S. Watsonrun out (Pietersen) 38 P. Hughes c Prior b Bresnan 13 U. Khawaja c Prior b Anderson 21 M. Clarkec Prior b Anderson 41 M. Hussey c Pietersen b Bresnan 1 2 B. Haddin c Prior b Tremlett 30 S. Smith not out 54 M. Johnson b Tremlett 0 P. Siddle c Anderson b Swann 43 B. Hilfenhaus c Prior b Anderson 7 M. Beer b Tremlett 2 Extras (b11, lb4, w3, nb2) 20 Total (all out, 84.4 overs) 281 Fall of wickets: 1-46 (Watson), 2-52 (Hughes), 3-117 (Khawaja), 4-124 (Clarke), 5-161 (Hussey), 6-171 (Haddin), 7171 (Johnson), 8-257 (Siddle), 9-267 (Hilfenhaus), 10-281 (Beer) Bowling: Anderson 18-5-61-3 (1w), Tremlett 20.4-4-79-3 (2nb), Swann 28-8-75-1, Bresnan 18-6-51-2 (2w) Result: England won by an innings and 83 runs Series: England won 3-1 Man-of-the-match: Alastair Cook (ENG) Man-of-the-series: Alastair Cook (ENG)


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SPORTS SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2011

Celtic head into Scottish Cup twilight zone Scottish Premier League Preview GLASGOW: Celtic, still on a high after their Old Firm victory over Rangers, take a trip into Scottish football’s twilight zone tomorrow with a Cup fourth round clash at third division Berwick Rangers. Last weekend’s win over their Glasgow rivals allowed Celtic to move four points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League, but they will be on their guard against complacency against lowly Berwick. “This is definitely a big game for us because, if we go and get beaten there, everyone will forget about the Rangers game and will talk instead about this one,” said Celtic midfielder James Forrest. “So we have to treat this game just the same way we did the Rangers match. We have to try and start the way we did at Ibrox and just take it from there. Hopefully, there will be no looking back and we can get a little bit of luck now.” Celtic will welcome back captain Scott Brown after a one-

Shooting tourney concludes today KUWAIT: The late Sheikh Ali Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah shooting tournament will conclude today in the presence of Deputy President of the ISSF and President of Kuwait and Asian Shooting Federations, and Deputy Chairman of National Security Sheikh Thamer Ali Sabah Al-Salem. The closing ceremony will start at 4 pm at Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Olympic Shooting Complex. Kuwait Shooting Club Secretary General Obeid Al-Osaimi said Kuwait’s shooting is honored to organize the late Sheikh Ali Sabah Al-Salem Cup tournament on annual basis in recognition of his contributions and his courageous Obeid Al-Osaimi stands. Al-Osaimi thanked Sheikh Thamer Ali Sabah Al-Salem for his participation with the board of directors in the cup activities and his continued support of Kuwait’s shooters. Results of the 10 m rifle for women are: Mariam Mohammad Irzouqi, followed by Heba Mohammad Irzouqi and Ayesha AlKandari. 10 m pistol, shooting school (women): Sukaina Yousuf Bu Abbas, followed by Al-Anoud Hassan Hajji and Noura Al-Bulushi, while in the 10 m rifle, shooting school (women): Aseel Fayez Al-Azmi was first followed by Jumana Yousuf Bu Abbas.

Holders PSG host Lens in French Cup French cup Preview PARIS: Holders Paris Saint Germain embark on their French Cup title defence today with a round of 64 clash against first division rivals Lens in a repeat of the controversial 2008 League Cup final. PSG, flying high in the league in second and into the League Cup semi-finals, will want to avoid slipping up on the potential banana skin presented by this tie against a team languishing second from bottom in the table. When the two sides met in the 2008 final at the Stade de France the game was marred by a banner brandished by some PSG supporters. “Paedophiles, unemployed, inbreds: Welcome to the home of the Ch’tis (nickname of people from northeast France),” the banner read. The 25-m long banner unfurled during the second half of the match targetted inhabitants of the industrial northeast of France, home to Lens. A criminal investigation was opened aimed at finding those responsible for “inciting hatred and violence” against northerners. PSG won the game 2-1. Lens have been preparing for this trip to the Parc des Princes with a training camp in Spain, run by their new Romanian coach Laszlo Boloni who saw his players draw 2-2 in a warm up against German league leaders Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.—AFP

game suspension and boss Neil Lennon will have to decide whether to hand Swedish international Freddie Ljungberg his debut at Shielfield. Shaun Maloney and Gary Hooper will both miss out through injury. The Berwick players are dreaming of a giant-killing act and goalkeeper Mark Peat says the Third Division side are looking forward to the televised tie. “It is the stuff of dreams to cause an upset. It will be the first time that most of the players, including myself, have played live on TV and that gives you an incentive,” the Berwick captain said. Rivals Rangers face a tricky tie against top-flight rivals Kilmarnock at Ibrox on Monday. Walter Smith’s side have triumphed over Kilmarnock twice in the league so far this season and also knocked them out of the League Cup at the quarter-final stage. But the matches have been close affairs and the team many tipped for relegation this season have improved greatly under new boss Mixu Paatenlainen, who has led them to fourth place. Rangers could welcome back

midfielders Maurice Edu and Steven Naismith from injury but the game will come too early for Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic. Kilmarnock will be without Ben Gordon after he returned to English champions Chelsea at the end of his loan spell. Elsewhere today, there is a repeat of last year’s final as Dundee United host Ross County at Tannadice. United defeated their First Division opponents to lift the Cup in May but both sides have struggled for form this season. Hibernian will hope to put their poor league form behind them as they welcome Second Division Ayr United to Easter Road. Craig Brown will want his unbeaten start as Aberdeen boss to continue with Second Division strugglers East Fife their opponents at Pittodrie. Stuart McCall will take charge of Motherwell for just the second time when they take on Dundee, who are second in Division One, at Dens Park and Highland League side Buckie Thistle are away to Third Division East Stirling. — AFP

Leonardo gets flying start, Milan ease clear ROME: Inter Milan gave new coach Leonardo a flying start to his San Siro career with a 3-1 win at home to Napoli on Thursday as neighbours AC Milan moved five points clear at the top with a 1-0 win at Cagliari. Former Milan boss Leonardo, who replaced Rafael Benitez, saw Thiago Motta grab a brace while Esteban Cambiasso added the other to sink Napoli, who replied through Michele Pazienza. Inter are still 13 points behind Milan in seventh but they do have two games in hand. Leonardo revealed that the moment almost passed him by while he refused to make predictions on the season. “It was very fast and wonderful, an intriguing situation,” he said of his brief spell at the club helm. “I want to maintain the satisfaction of a winning team. (But) we need to think about one step at a time, game after game.” Napoli dropped to third, six points off the leaders and just one behind Lazio who drew 0-0 at Genoa. Inter enjoyed the best possible start at the San Siro as brilliant one touch football between Goran Pandev and Dejan Stankovic sent Motta through to hit a first time volley beyond Morgan De Sanctis on three minutes. Napoli had the ball in the net moments later but Edinson Cavani’s close-range header was disallowed as Andrea Dossena had strayed offside before crossing. However they were level on 25 minutes as Pazienza headed home an Ezequiel Lavezzi corner. Cavani then teed up Christian Maggio who should have done better than drag his shot wide of the far post. On 35 minutes Diego Milito should have given Inter the lead but somehow spooned over from six yards. Yet two minutes later they were in front as Cambiasso arrived late and at pace in the box to head home Maicon’s cross. Napoli’s Marek Hamsik stabbed wide from an early second half chance before it was three as Motta sent a brilliant header into the top corner on 55 minutes. Inter captain Javier Zanetti had the best chance thereafter but pulled his effort across goal. Sierra Leone international Rodney Strasser pounced five minutes from time to score the only goal of

MILAN: Inter Milan’s Romanian defender Cristian Chivu (center) fights for the ball with Napoli’s Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani during the Serie A match between Inter and Napoli Thursday in San Siro stadium. — AFP the game in Sardinia as AC Milan beat Cagliari 1-0. Controversial signing Antonio Cassano, on his debut as a substitute, slipped in the 20-year-old to beat Michael Agazzi in the Cagliari goal. It was Strasser’s first ever goal for Milan. “Things look good after winning a tough game like today,” said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri. “Most of all with a goal from a young lad who’s come through our youth section, I think we have reason to be pleased. “And I’m pleased with the table and for having started the year a little better than we finished the last one (with a 1-0 home defeat to Roma).” Roma leapfrogged Juventus into fourth as they came back from 2-1 down to beat Catania 4-2 in Rome thanks to doubles by Marco Borriello and Mirko Vucinic. On-loan forward Sebastian Giovinco sent out a message to his regular employers Juventus as he scored a brace for Parma. Having struggled for

the last couple of years to establish himself at Juve, Giovinco went on loan to Parma this season in a bid to find first team football. But he came back to haunt his permanent employers with a well taken double that badly hits Juve’s title chances as they dropped to eight points behind Milan. Following Giovinco’s brace Juve centre-back Nicola Legrottaglie pulled a goal back but Hernan Crespo’s penalty sealed the three points before substitute Raffaele Palladino’s injury-time finish added insult to injury. Juve were eventually overrun largely due to playing most of the game with 10 men following Brazil midfielder Felipe Melo’s sending off for violent conduct after only 17 minutes. At the bottom of the table basement sitters Bari boosted their slim hopes of survival by winning 1-0 at second bottom Lecce while Cesena climbed out of the drop zone with a 2-1 win at Brescia, who replaced them. — AFP


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Spanish League Preview

Villarreal aim to breach Real fortress MADRID: Title hopefuls Real Madrid face their toughest home league match of the season so far when they host third-place Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu tomorrow. Real have a flawless eight wins at home and hope to make Villarreal their latest victims to stay in touch with league leaders Barcelona who are currently two points ahead. Jose Mourinho’s Madrid have won their last four league matches, but come up against a Villarreal side on a high, after coming from two goals down to beat Valencia 4-2 on Thursday and reach the quarter-finals of the Kings Cup. Mourinho has been short of strikers with Argentine attacker Gonzalo Higuain out injured. However, Brazilian international playmaker Kaka is back from injury to boost his attacking options. Kaka, a Ä65-million signing from AC Milan, played his first game of the season as a late second

half substitute in Monday’s 3-2 win over Getafe after spending six months on the sidelines with a knee injury. “When you are out injured you miss your teammates, the dressing room, training and the pressure,” said Kaka. “In Spain I certainly haven’t reached my top level and it is a great challenge for me to do that and to play to my best without injuries.” Champions Barcelona are on a run of 11 consecutive league wins and aim to keep the ball rolling with victory at Deportivo La Coruna today. Barcelona reached the quarter-finals of the Kings Cup defeating Athletic Bilbao on away goals after a 1-1 draw at San Mames on Wednesday with French full back Eric Abidal scoring his first ever goal for Barcelona. Barca coach Pep Guardiola, who celebrated his 150th game in charge against Bilbao, heaped praise on Abidal who kept Barcelona’s treble hopes alive. “Abidal has been spectacu-

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

Asian Nations Cup

Kuwait v China .......................................................16:45 Kuwait Sport Al Jazeera Sport 1 Al Jazeera Sport 4 Al Jazeera Sport +10

FA Cup

Arsenal v Leeds United .........................................16:45 Al Jazeera Sport +5 Al Jazeera Sport +3 Scunthorpe v Everton ...........................................18:00 Al Jazeera Sport +2 Sheffield v Aston Villa ...........................................18:00 Al Jazeera Sport +5 Al Jazeera Sport +3 Stevenage v Newcastle United ............................20:30 Al Jazeera Sport +5 Al Jazeera Sport +3

FA Cup Preview

Hodgson in firing line LONDON: Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson faces a daunting trip to Manchester United on Sunday as he attempts to quash calls for his dismissal with an FA Cup third round victory at Old Trafford. The kick-off proper of the world’s oldest football competition could hardly have come at a worse time for Hodgson, who edged closer to the sack after a miserable midweek defeat to Blackburn Rovers. Hodgson appeared to be resigned to his fate in the aftermath of Wednesday’s loss at Ewood Park, abruptly cutting short his post-match press conference and declining to answer questions on his future. Although Liverpool’s owners New England Sports Adventures are reportedly planning a change of management in the summer, the wrong result against Liverpool’s most bitter rivals on Sunday could hasten Hodgson’s exit. “You keep going as best you can,” a gloomy Hodgson stated. “You make certain that you try to get over the result and make certain the next result is a better one and wipes away the memory.” The bad news for Hodgson is that his team are coming up against a Manchester United side who are determined to atone for their shock exit to Leeds at the same stage of the competition last season. —AFP

lar in the last few games and it was an impressive goal to win the tie for us,” Guardiola said. “It would have been big news if we had lost but we managed to get another important victory.” Depor also reached the last eight of the Kings Cup by overcoming Cordoba and have only lost once at the Riazor Stadium in the league. In other matches, Valencia take on Levante in the city derby on Sunday looking to get over their painful cup exit to Villarreal on Thursday. Valencia sit fourth, three points above fifth-placed Espanyol, and repeating last season’s third-place finish is the target. Espanyol host third from bottom Real Zaragoza on Sunday aiming to get over a recent blip of three successive league losses and a last 16 Kings Cup exit. Espanyol were defeated 2-1 on aggregate by Atletico Madrid after drawing the second leg 1-1 on Thursday so now all that is left is the league.

Elsewhere Sevilla ended a run of five consecutive defeats with a 1-0 win over Osasuna on Sunday and go into Saturday’s match at Real Sociedad with wind in their sails after progressing in the Kings Cup. Holders Sevilla crushed Malaga 3-0 to reach the last eight and now bid to improve on their 10th position in the league. Spanish international winger Jesus Navas, only just back from injury, limped out of the Malaga game with a calf strain and is a doubt for the Sociedad game. With the halfway point of the season approaching, Sporting Gijon have sunk to the bottom of the table after failing to win in their last 10 league matches, and their next match is a trip to Racing Santander tomorrow. “It is a worrying situation but things would look different with a win and we need to get it as soon as possible, which is against Racing Santander,” said Sporting coach Manolo Preciado. — AFP

China, Kuwait to test luck in Cup opener DOHA: China test their young squad and Kuwait count on the momentum of their recent Gulf Cup triumph today as they open their Asian Cup campaign in a cutthroat group. “I want to use this match to test our preparation,” China coach Gao Hongbo said on the eve of the Group A tussle. “We are a young team but we are not afraid of any opponents.” Kuwait coach Goran Tufegdzic, who guided his side in the last few months to the West Asian Championship and their 10th Gulf Cup title, their first in 12 years, said it would be a “very, very difficult Asian Cup.” Hosts Qatar and Central Asian heavyweights Uzbekistan are in the same group. “In our group, there are no favourites. We are the same level,” said the 39-year-old Serb who replaced local coach Mohammed Ibrahim in early 2009 during Kuwait’s struggle in qualifying. He said the Gulf Cup title, which Kuwait won by beating a second-string Saudi Arabia in the final, would not pressure them. “It will only bring more motivation to the team.” Gao, who took the job in early 2009 and led China to the East Asian Championship a year ago, agreed: “All four teams in our group can qualify if they are in the other groups. He has brought a young squad with an average age of 24, the youngest among the 16 finalist countries. “We are more focused on the future,” said Gao, under whom China missed out on a place at the World Cup in South Africa but shocked

DOHA: Qatari fans cheer as one of them waves by a big cartoon hand before the opening ceremony of the AFC Asian Cup at the Khalifa Stadium yesterday. The Arabic words in the cartoon hand read: “We swear we are all Qataris”. — AP France 1-0 away in June to make world headlines. “Our target is to test our tactical philosophy to see if it fits our players,” added the 44-year-old, who said China have had mixed results since Serbian coach Bora Milutinovic guided them to their only World Cup finals in 2002. “At my age, I believe I can see China become the champions of Asia.” China have made nine previous appearances at the continental showcase but the closest they have come to tasting success is runners-up finishes in 1984 and 2004. Kuwait won the Asian Cup on home soil in 1980, but have not managed to progress beyond the last

eight since 1996. At the last edition in 2007, neither side made an impression with China eliminated in the group phase and Kuwait failing to qualify. China midfielder Yu Hai said: “I must say we are a young team but we have more passion and more self-confidence. We will try our 100 percent against any opponents.” “I wish our hard work can help Chinese football change and recover from the bad situation,” said the 23-year-old who has scored six goals in 20 matches since his international debut in mid-2009. Tufegdzic said: “China are generally a very disciplined team and have very good indi-

vidual players.” But he believes in his team who represent Kuwait’s so-called “golden generation.” “I think we have a good future.” Kuwait are sweating on the fitness of talismanic striker Bader Al-Mutawa, who twisted his right ankle during his side’s first training session on Tuesday. One player likely to be involved is AlMutawa’s team-mate Waleed Ali, who is set to join an exclusive club of elite international players by winning his 100th cap for his country. Midfielder Jarah Al Ateeqi said: “Our morale is very high. We all feel we have prepared well. We hope we will come out with three points.” —AFP


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England celebrate ‘special’Ashes win

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Uzbeks spoil Qatar party

DOHA: Odil Akhmedov and Server Djeparov shattered Qatari dreams with second-half goals to hand Uzbekistan a 2-0 win over the hosts in the opening game of the Asian Cup yesterday. Central defender Akhmedov bagged the first goal of the tournament when he sent a looping 30-yard shot crashing off the underside of the bar and into the net in the 58th minute. Captain Djeparov sealed the win 18 minutes later when he made the most of a sloppy back pass by Ibrahim Majed, firing the ball past goalkeeper Qasem Burhan. The football festival, featuring the region’s top 16 teams, runs for three weeks up to the final on January 29 with the opening match played at the Khalifa Stadium, the 40,000-capacity jewel in Qatar’s footballing crown. And the fans turned out en masse for the near sell-out Group A game as the tiny country looks to prove itself after being controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup. The home team came into the game with plenty to prove - their previous best Asian Cup showing was a quarter-final exit at the hands of China in 2000. In their six other appearances - including one as hosts in 1988 - they have failed to progress beyond the group phase. They quickly signalled their intentions with Brazil-born midfielder Fabio Cesar getting the first chance of the game, steering a header wide after a probing cross by Hussain Yaser. But they started giving the Uzbeks too much space and Alexander Geynrikh broke free of his marker to rattle the post barely a minute later. The Qatari back line was ragged and Geynrikh again burst free to

find Jasur Khasanov in the six-yard box, with the speedy winger’s shot forcing a scrambled save from Burhan. Uzbekistan may not have made their Asian Cup debut until 1996, but they have improved with each participation. Eliminated in the group phase on their competition debut 15 years ago, the Central Asian heavyweights suffered the same fate four years later but have since reached the quarter-finals at successive tournaments. Playing in perfect 22 degrees Celsius conditions, they displayed their emerging pedigree, with the home fans not having much to shout about in the opening 20 minutes. Khasanov should have put Uzbekistan in front on 18 minutes when he found himself in acres of space, only to take a touch too much and angle his shot wide of the post. Uzbekistan were dominating possession and Qatar barely got a look in until seven minutes before half-time when Cesar curled a leftfooted freekick round the wall and onto the post. It sparked Bruno Metsu’s team into life and they went to the break with their confidence on the rise. They came back out fired up and Hussain had a glorious chance to break the deadlock soon after the restart when the ball fell to him in the box, but his shot was weak and easily cleared. It got the crowd going but they were soon silenced when Akhmedov smashed in his goal and when Djeparov got the second thousands started leaving early, leaving the stadium half-empty for an embarrassing end to the game. The other two Group A teams, China and Kuwait, face each other today. —AFP

DOHA: (Top) Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of the AFC Asian Cup at the Khalifa Stadium yesterday. (Above) Qatar’s midfielder Wissam Rizq (left) challenges Uzbekistan’s midfielder Timur Kapadze during the 2011 Asian Cup Group A match between Qatar and Uzbekistan at the Khalifa Stadium yesterday. — AP/AFP


8th Jan