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US lawmaker battles for life after shooting


NO: 14965

150 FILS


SAFAR 6, 1432 AH

New biz expansion: Hello Africa, India’s calling


Kuwait lodge protest against ref as team supports Nada


No Dalglish boost as United knock Liverpool out


South Sudan begins independence vote

Max 16 Min 09 Low Tide 09:35 & 21:52 High Tide 02:37 & 15:57

Africa’s largest country faces split in two as millions cast ballots Khorafi quashes calls for prime minister to quit By B Izzak KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi yesterday said that calls for the prime minister to resign or reshuffle the Cabinet after defeating a non-cooperation motion last week are “unjustified” and could be interpreted in a different way. Khorafi told reporters that HH Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah “has the right to enjoy the trust of the Assembly” after defeating the non-cooperation motion and it is not correct to issue calls for him to step down following the Assembly vote. The speaker, who voted for the prime minister during the confidence vote, said that it is now left for the prime minister to take whatever option and the ultimate decision remains in the hands of HH the Amir. Regarding calls to reshuffle the Cabinet, Khorafi said that changes to the Cabinet are not abnormal but to come at this highlycharged period, it may be wrongly interpreted. Khorafi was apparently commenting on calls on the prime minster by some opposition MPs, especially from Continuecd on Page 14

JUBA, Sudan: Women broke out in song and men wrapped themselves in flags as voters in Southern Sudan began casting ballots yesterday in a weeklong independence referendum likely to create the world’s newest nation about five years after the end of a brutal civil war. The mainly Christian south is widely expected to secede from the mainly Muslim north, splitting Africa’s largest country in two. The president of Sudan, who has been indicted for alleged genocide and war crimes in Darfur, has promised to let go of the oilrich south after his government tried for years to derail the vote now taking place under massive international scrutiny. His unlikely acceptance of the seemingly inevitable loss comes as the two regions face an interwoven economic future: Most of Sudan’s oil is in the south, while the pipelines to the sea run through the north. Hours after voting started, the celebratory atmosphere was marred by reports of fresh fighting between Arab nomads and tribespeople associated with the south in the contested Abyei region. But yesterday, there was only jubilation though among those who had lived through years of fighting. “This is the historic moment the people of Southern Sudan have been waiting for,” said Continuecd on Page 14

in the


Amir tests ‘successful’ KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah underwent “successful” medical tests in the state yesterday after a cold turned into an infection, the Amiri Diwan said. “The Amir underwent medical tests this evening following a bout of cold which infected him last week. The results were assuring,” said an official statement quoted by the state-run KUNA news agency.

50 survive Iran jet crash

JUBA: A group of southern Sudanese men wave local flags and dance outside a polling station yesterday on the first day of a weeklong independence referendum.— AFP

TEHRAN: Fifty from the 105 passengers and crew on board an Iran Air plane which crashed in bad weather yesterday survived the accident, Iran’s emergency services chief and media said. “So far no reports of death have been reported to me,” said emergency services head Gholam Reza Masoumi told Fars news agency. “But 50 injured people out of the 105 on board have come of the plane alive.” Fars said there were 105 people on board, but state TV put the number at 156. The Iran Air plane crashed near the northwestern city of Orumiyeh at around 7:45 pm (1615 GMT), an official in West Azerbaijan province said, quoted on state television’s website.




Sharp increase in number of Kuwaiti students in UK

Kuwait Digest

For the first time in Kuwait By Iqbal Al-Ahmadi

Stage ready for Edukex 2011 By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: More than 2,000 Kuwaitis have enrolled into various tertiary educational institutions in the United Kingdom, disclosed Stephen Forbes, Director of the British Council Kuwait. Forbes was speaking yesterday at a press conference held at the British Embassy in Kuwait in preparation for the upcoming education exhibition named ‘Edukex.’ It will take place in Kuwait on Jan 12 and 13 at the Sheraton Hotel. British Ambassador to Kuwait Frank Baker, Denise Waddingham-Assistant DirectorBritish Council and British Education Project Managers Paul Dryden, Rafat Abutaleb and Alaa Omran attended the event, “As per the higher statistic ministry record in the UK, we actually have more than 2,000 students from Kuwait. The upward trend started in 2004, and the year 2010 registered a record breaking number of students,” Forbes added. Asked whether international students are affected by the recent spate of protests which could eventually affect domestic students, Forbes noted it will not affect international [foreign students] in the UK. “The students protest in the UK are about fees that local [domestic] UK students have to pay in September 2012. The protests we have seen in the past were in response to that. International stu-

KUWAIT: British Ambassador to Kuwait Frank Baker, second right, talking at a press conference yesterday at the British Embassy. With him are Denise Waddingham, extreme left, Stephen Forbes, second left and Ala’a Omran. dents on the other hand will never be affected, and I do not see any reasons for international students to be alarmed,” he explained. Denise Waddingham, Assistant Director cited UK universities as having one of the highest standards in the world, “It is a wellknown fact that UK education is number two in terms of education ranking and that we are also num-

ber two among G8 in terms of accomplishments in various scientific researches. This just re enforces the high-quality of our education in the UK,” she mentioned. Waddingham was also delighted to be working with other local Kuwaiti partners over the upcoming exhibition, “The ministry of higher education will have their own booth at the exhibition ven-

ue,” she said. Ambassador Frank Baker lauded the outstanding level of British tertiary education which he says guarantees highest quality and are most sought after by employers across the globe. As the result of that, they offer unparalleled value to all Kuwaitis and other students who wish to pursue higher education in the UK. He also asked

Kuwaitis students in the UK to discover the exciting multi-faith and vibrant society, “A British education means unique investment for life for Kuwaiti students,” he opined. The education exhibition will be first event in 2011 for the British Embassy in Kuwait. The ambassador noted more activities are being planned as they join Kuwait for their celebration of the brand ‘50/20’-the independence and liberation anniversaries, “Education exhibition is just the initial event; we have many more activities, such as economic exhibition set in February. Our bilateral ties between two countries are historical, deep and substantive and cover all areas of society and government. This educational fair underlines the exciting opportunities that exist in the UK for the Kuwaiti students of today,” he said During the exhibition, presentations will be made on the life and culture in the UK. The education exhibition expects about 42 universities/colleges to take part. They are all included in the list of accredited universities/colleges by the Ministry of Higher Education in Kuwait. They offer both undergraduate and post-graduate studies. During the two-day exhibition, UK Border Agency will also addressed issues such as visa requirements and learn more about gaining English language skills.

or the first time in the history of democracy in Kuwait, voters held their parliament representatives accountable for deviating away from the course they expect them to take when they voted for them. In previous situations, when tension stirred following disagreements between MPs regarding certain topics, we are used to seeing a reaction of voters in discussions held at seminars either for or against the point of view of their MPs. For the first time in Kuwait’s history we found organized activity from voters calling on their representatives in parliament to explain the reason behind their decisions. Kuwaiti voters exercised their right to hold their MPs accountable during an active term of the parliament. This process would have usually waited until an election period, when voters would be able to exercise their opinion on an MPs’ performance while he appealed for their votes. For the first time in Kuwait, rational citizens, young and old, stood together and made their voice heard. Diwaniyas were active with discussion regarding how to hold their MPs accountable by the very people who voted them into parliament. They demanded that the silence must be stopped and that a collective effort must be made by voters to get rid of their disappointing MPs. — Al-Qabas


Indian, Filipino manpower to be hired KUWAIT: At least nine government bodies have reportedly requested the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) to allocate a total sum of KD10 million, pertinent with the national celebrations that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Kuwait’s independence, the 20th anniversary of the country’s liberation and the fifth anniversary of the crowning of His Highness the Amir, reported Al-Qabas. In addition to spending on carnivals and tours - for which KD 6 million has been set aside - the directorates have asked that trained personnel be hired from India and Philippines be hired. The funds will also be spent to rent halls for ceremonies, buy custom-made vehicles at a cost of KD 21,000. Moreover, funds will also be used to renovate the Subbiya road for military parade. This is in addition to the staging of a national operetta that will be produced by a production company. It plans to sign a contract with the Information Ministry.

Schlumberger donates software to Kuwait University

KUWAIT: Kuwait experienced winter rainfall yesterday causing traffic jams around the country and a dip in temperature. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

‘In Search of Understanding’ initiative comes to Kuwait KUWAIT: The distinguished Egyptian diplomat Dr Mohamed Kazem will this evening offer residents of Kuwait a chance to experience his groundbreaking ‘In Search of Understanding’ initiative, a program of discussion and music aimed at fostering peace and understanding among the world’s peoples. ‘In search of Understanding’ is a Public Diplomacy initiative intended to foster a culture of peace, created and implemented by Dr Kazem, a counselor at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr Kazem, who is a PhD holder in International Relations and Public Diplomacy, as well as being a singer-songwriter and musician, is currently seconded to the Foundation for a Culture of Peace, headed by Federico Mayorm, the former Director General of UNESCO, Madrid. The initiative aims to help alleviate problems related to mutual lack of understanding, distorted stereotypes and negative imagery of ‘the other’ among the world’s peoples through a synergy of diplomacy, dialogue, lyrics, music and audiovisual

Dr Mohamed Kazem material. This synergy intends to stress what is shared between and common to us all, ideally culminating in greater mutual understanding and acceptance, and a better future for all human beings. The initiative has already been well-

received in a number of countries and venues and presented in various forms. At the Maidan Theater in Kuwait’s Dar AlAthar Al Islamiyyah this evening, starting at 7pm. Dr Kazem will give a brief explanatory talk about the initiative, its objectives, methodologies and main messages before presenting some related original songs, lyrics and music, performed by him and other musicians in Arabic, English and Spanish, along with a slide-show. In the musical section of the event, Dr Kazem, the lead singer and guitarist, will be accompanied by colleagues and friends on other instruments: Ahmed Riad, Counselor At the Egyptian Embassy in Kuwait, (on bass), Maged Nagati, an Egyptian businessman (on drums), and Mohamed Khalifa, Partner and Managing Director of a leading Egyptian marketing and advertising firm (photos and slideshow). Dr Kazem has already produced the following CDS: The Unsaid, Madrid 1999, Drafts and Drifts, Madrid 2001, Stygmatism, Madrid 2003, and Resilience, Madrid 2007.

KUWAIT: Global oil services leader Schlumberger yesterday donated to the College of Petroleum Engineering at Kuwait University, a full-year access to the state-of-the-art Pipesim software. It is a multi-phase flow simulator developed by Schlumberger for the design and diagnostic analysis of oil and gas production systems used in major oil fields throughout the world. The donation is valued at $5.75 million. The software enables petroleum engineering students to acquire hands-on experience with the latest upstream field technologies. In addition to installing the software on campus, Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) team also delivered a two-day workshop on the various uses of the software to 30 seniors and masters students, as well as their professors. Kuwait University Production Research Center Director, Dr Eissa Al-Safran said, “ The collaboration between educational institutions and industry leaders is a crucial element in preparing professionals that will support the industry’s development in the long-term. We thank Schlumberger for their generous donation to the College and look forward to further collaborating with the company in the future.” Schlumberger Kuwait General Manager, Maen Razouqi said, “With a successful track record of servicing oil fields throughout the world and offering technologies that contribute to the

advancement of the industry, Schlumberger has a commitment to help fuel knowledge growth by sharing its proprietary technology with colleges and universities in Kuwait and across the world. We invite students at Kuwait University to take advantage of this-state-of-the-art technology, which is now available on their very own campus.” The Pipesim software is a Schlumberger developed technology that enables operators to optimize the oil and gas production. The software is currently applied in Kuwait oil fields to model the flow of oil during the production process from the wellhead to the manifold and is also used by international companies operating on major oil and gas producing fields around the world. The software is a steadystate, multi-phase flow simu-

lator used for the design and diagnostic analysis of production systems like wells, flow lines and pipelines. Pipesim software tools model multiphase flow from the reservoir to the well-head and analyzes flow line and surface facility performance to generate comprehensive production system analysis. PIPESIM optimizes production and injection operations with advanced modeling algorithms for nodal analysis, PVT analysis, gas lift and erosion/corrosion modeling. This is the second donation of its kind made by Schlumberger Kuwait to the College of Petroleum Engineering. Last year, Schlumberger Kuwait provided students with access to the ‘Eclipse’ technology, a software offering complete and robust set of numerical solutions for fast and accu-

rate prediction of dynamic behavior, for all types of oil and gas reservoirs and of any degrees of complexity in structure, geology, fluids, and development schemes. Schlumberger Kuwait commenced operation in 1939 and is a supporter of education programs. In 2009, Schlumberger offered international internships to the top two winners of the Kuwait Science Fair, the largest science competition in Kuwait. Last September, it also inaugurated the first online computer lab in Kuwait at The English Academy, connecting the school’s students to over 282,000 students from 42 countries and 66,000 Schlumberger employees from 140 different nationalities, essentially creating a forum of learning, discussion, and knowledge transfer.

Study proposes establishing court for tackling family affairs KUWAIT: Establishment of family affairs courts in Kuwait has become of pending necessity for staying abreast of establishment modern judicial systems globally, according to a study. Such tribunals are necessary, considering the need for modification of the national personal status laws, said the study, prepared by the researcher and legal consultant at the court of appeal, Dr Adel Al-Failakawi. The 25-year-old legislation of the personal status should be amended and its provisions reviewed to be compatible with modern time changes at this level, the study said. Establishment of a court for family affairs can settle disputes and

prosecute in issues such as divorce, custody, spending and heritance. The aspired court can comprise consultants, judges, psychological and social specialists and civil servants. Libel suits and disputes related to personal status, whether at Sunni or Shiite courts, can be be subject to the family affairs court. The advisors and specialists may also file reports about condition of the family seeking settlement of certain disputes. Dr Al-Failakawi’s study also recommends establishing a special center for guiding families and settling disputes, in addition to setting up a committee to monitor implementation of the court laws. — KUNA



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One-third of women in Kuwait are domestic abuse victims ‘Couples don’t know how to communicate with one another’ By Hussain Al-Qatari KUWAIT: The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) recently revealed that 35 percent of women in Kuwait have reported being subjected to domestic abuse. This stunning finding came in a study released by the Ministry of Justice, conducted by Appeals Court counselor Dr Adel Al-Failakawi. The study further revealed that Kuwait saw a total of Family counselor Khaled Al-Mohammadi told the Kuwait Times that most divorces occur because of lack of communication: “Couples don’t know how to communicate with one another,” he said. “They get married because they feel obliged to find a spouse. When it comes to fulfilling their responsibilities at home, they don’t know how to speak to one another, so their marriage falls apart.” Worries around finance are another major factor in the equation, Al-Mohammadi continued: “In most cases, wives complain that their husbands are not able to support the family financially with enough money. Financial instability, caused by young men’s reckless financial behavior and lack of awareness on how to man-

5,192 divorce cases in 2010, an increase of 138 on the previous year’s total. Dr Al-Failakawi also used MoJ statistics for the ten years between 1995 and 2005 to work out the average period taken by unhappy couples to decide on divorce, finding that 39 percent of divorces occur after one year of marriage, while a further 28 percent occur before the couple has even reached the first wedding anniversary.

age their finances, causes domestic instability. The new MoJ report states that domestic abuse is one of the main reasons for divorce, with 30 percent of divorce cases citing domestic abuse as the reason. Kuwait University psychology professor Adnan Al-Shatti said in a report published by KUNA that the local patriarchal traditions mean that domestic violence is widespread in the country. “Men are encouraged from an early age to be macho, and it is a widespread misconception that hitting women proves one’s masculinity. It is a problem that’s neglected, and it only encourages men to use violence at home even more. Individuals who practice violence against their wives, siblings and sons in most cases

need therapy,” he said. Dr Al-Failakawi also noted that the number of domestic violence cases being reported is increasing, with a very small number of these concerning violence perpetrated by parents against children. Most cases of domestic violence, however, are filed by wives against their husbands. The MoJ intends to open a department shortly dealing specifically with domestic issues in an attempt to reduce the number of divorces in the country. The new department, whose roster of staff will include social workers, family consultants, psychiatrists, judges and eminent religious figures, will focus on raising public awareness of the related issues.

in my view

Self-Interest always comes first! By Dr Sami Alrabaa

Jordanian police welcome MoI spokesman KUWAIT: Brig Gen Mohammad Al-Sabr, Spokesman of Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior and Head of its Security Media Department was welcomed by the Director of Public Security of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Lt Gen Husain Al-Majali. Al-Sabr recently visited the kingdom as a representative of Kuwait at the first Arab Police Convention which concluded last week.

Brig Gen Al-Sabr said that discussions were held between experts that represent participating Arab countries. This is in addition to a workshop held to boost cooperation between Security Media Department. Brig Gen Al-Sabr was also welcomed along with Col Emad Al-Mulla by Chief of the Jordanian Gendarmerie, Lt Gen Tawfiq Al-Tawableh, and his assistant Brig Gen Yousuf Al-Abadi.

MAIA slammed over wasting funds, unproductiveness KUWAIT: The failure to tackle a number of longstanding problems at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs (MAIA) has threatened the quality of the ministry’s overall performance, according to MAIA insiders. Several aspects of the ministry’s operations have come in for criticism, including the large number of senior posts still vacant while the ministry seeks suitably qualified staff and the numerous committees and subcommittees which seem to achieve very little or no tangible benefit. Another problem troubling ministry staff is the massive wastage of public funds on largely unproductive projects. With the beginning of the year, many had expected the leading ministry to have taken a determined approach to tackling the various problems that have prevented

it from playing any meaningful role in tackling social and political problems in the country, but this does not yet appear to be the case. One outstanding problem is the MAIA’s failure to provide any effective awarenessraising programs on the need for moderation, despite such programs having noticeable positive effects in Europe. This issue is seen as increasingly important, given the steady increase in intolerance, violence and religious fundamentalism in Kuwaiti society, reported Al-Qabas. The ministry also stands accused of failing to make progress in encouraging young Kuwaiti men to take up careers as Imams and Muezzins, with the latest statistics showing that only 100 Kuwaitis are working in these positions at Kuwait’s 1,300 mosques.

Kuwait Digest

Three messages

By Mubarak Al-Maosharji


uman beings, like most living species on Earth, are driven by self-interest. Self-interest a vital basic instinct, in addition to greed and egotism. This dominates human behavior and helps us survive. We go straight, right, left, upwards, or downwards, driven primarily by our own self-interest. Self-interest can be observed in all human beings. According to the theory of evolution, species that survive are those that are programmed to keep themselves and their nearest kin safe. In that context, it is a survival instinct and instills a sense a rational behavior. Very often, morality and principles only have second place. The majority of us try to satisfy our own interests. We love and hate, help or abandon, motivated by self-interest consciously and unconsciously. Self-interest is an instinct that tenaciously influences our behavior. Those of us who are parents say, “I do everything for my children.” Our children are part of our instinct-driven personalities. How do your children behave? Do they treat their parents likewise? Of course not. Their behavior is also characterized by self-interest. When they grow up and have children themselves, they replicate their parents’ behavior. This is like a ‘genetic’ pattern. To use a simple example, my 14-year old son Simon, hates my guts. I feel it because when I ask him to study and revise for his next exams, he only shows a love or interest in chatting on the Internet and meeting his friends like most youngsters. He avoids me all the time. On the other hand, he loves his grandparents because they flood him with pocket money, chocolates, and allow him to watch TV for as long as he wants. I do not. Many adults will tell you that they hated their parents because they were too strict, at least here in Germany. They can be demanding. In case of a divorce, children prefer staying with the parent that is less demanding. Conflicting self-interests are also part of the

equation. Selfish interests that are backed by power win at the end of the day. Here is another example. If you dogmatically adhere to principles, say, fairness that clashes with your boss’s interest, you will definitely lose. When I was teaching in Kuwait at a private university, my boss fired me for one simple reason. I failed a student who deserved an ‘F’ grade. I sacrificed my self-interest for the sake of fairness. My boss’s self-interest was another. It is a private university, students pay large sums of money in fees. Regardless of performance, they ‘deserve’ to pass. My boss’s logic was very simple: If we fail weak students, they will approach other institutions. That would mean less revenue for the private university. My boss wanted to defend his self-interest and I took cover behind my closely-held principle. Both were, in that case, irreconcilable. Later I regretted my decision. I think I was an idealist and stupid at the same time. Well, as a young teacher, you are enthusiastic and want to change the world overnight. This is what books teach us, but reality teaches us another lesson. In other words, if you want to keep a job or a good relationship, you have to sacrifice principles and correctness. The same applies to politics and major human issues. We human beings accommodate principles and morality as long they do not collide with our self-interests. The West, for instance, lambasts the dismal human rights record of China, but it does not do the same with Arab countries. Why? Well, the West needs both the Arab market and its oil resources. As a matter of fact, western countries are hypocritical. They invest large sums of money in China and maintains excellent trade relations with the Communist regime. Raising the human rights banner is only an act of paying lip service to organizations. At the end of the day, ‘self-interest’ is the name of the game. Here is another example. The USA, and for that matter the entire West, deride Iran and Burma for their

abysmal human rights records. I am sure that if these countries decide one day to establish good economic relations with the West, they would definitely turn a blind eye to human rights record in those countries. The motto is: Self-interest comes first. Human rights? Well, we do not want to interfere in other nations’ internal affairs. But why does the West, once in a while, turn on the ‘siren’ of human rights and lack of democracy, especially in ‘unfriendly’ countries? The answer is very simple. The West wants to show the world that it leads the way, in terms of human rights and democracy. Many suspect, the West uses human rights and democracy values as a propagandistic instrument as it did during the Cold War. It wants to spread the impression that it is a ‘custodian’ of these values during the current global civilization. But people are not stupid, in particular those who live in the West. They know that very often the state authority in the West also abuses human rights: Major parties are ruled by clique-connected people, and main stream media are controlled by wealthy tycoons like Murdoch. Both individuals and states follow the instinct of their self-interest. If we carry on like that, progress on the human front will remain slow. Business as usual will remain ruled by selfinterest, whether we like it or not. Be careful, always say ‘YES’ to your boss or your organization, if you want to sur vive. Otherwise you’ll join the army of losers. If you want to survive or even prosper in this world we live in, you will have to pursue your self-interest even if you must, here and there, act against widely propagated principles or cherished moral values. That was so when Charles Darwin lived and will continue to be so for the coming millenia. Come on! Be realistic! I wish all of you a Happy New Year and much success in boosting your self-interest in 2011 and beyond.

Online crime legislation essential: Senior lawmaker KUWAIT: Kuwait needs to introduce new legislation covering online crime, given the rapid developments in the fields of communication technology in recent years and the associated increasing incidence of crimes in this area, according to a senior lawmaker. Acting Attorney General, Chancellor Dherar AlAssousi, told Al-Qabas that Kuwait’s existing audiovisual media legislation does not recognize the internet as a communications medium, meaning that crimes perpetrated via the internet cannot currently be punished

in the same way as those committed using traditional TV, radio or print media. Until this situation is amended, he said, online crime will be dealt with through alternative legislation such as intellectual property law. Al-Assousi also touched on the reasons behind legal cases in general being dropped or deferred, such as lack of evidence or of legislation covering the alleged crimes The senior lawmaker fur ther revealed that the Attorney General and Public Prosecution Service per-

sonnel are prevented from taking other jobs in commerce or elsewhere or participating in political activities during their term of service in support of the legal principle of impartiality and ensuring the separation of judicial authority from the executive and legislative branches. The Acting Attorney General further revealed that 15,200 legal cases were filed in 2010, with 60 percent of these being criminal cases. This was a fall of almost 500 on the 15,781 cases recorded in 2009.


message to the Cabinet: The narrow margin by which you managed to overcome the non-cooperation motion indicates that there are flaws in the Cabinet that need to be overcome. Ministers are either not committed to their duties properly or ministers are in the wrong positions. This indicates that the Cabinet needs to be reshuffled so that pending draft laws can be enforced, so that the development plan can be pushed forward and so that ministers can take into consideration many of the recommendations made by MPs. A message to the Popular Action Bloc and the Development and Reform Bloc: I’m positive that the message you were trying to make to the Cabinet were heard loud and clear. Therefore, it’s required at this time to calm the situation down so that you don’t get accused of keeping the Cabinet’s attention away from the development process. Providing legislation and recommendations at this point will be the best way to correct mistakes that might take place now. Further escalations will only generate fruitless outcomes. A message to the National Ac tion Bloc: Unfortunately, you have deviated away from your usual path and followed in the footsteps of those you used to object to. This led you to vote against your convictions. In doing so you managed to keep quiet about a leaflet that was published in Kuwait University against hijabless female students. Will your voters remain silent regarding your recent stance? Maybe you should ask them quickly before it’s too late come election time. — Al-Rai

Trial hoisting of Kuwait’s longest flag held KUWAIT: The President of the Volunteer Work Center Sheikha Amthal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah recently attended a trial event in Abdullah Al-Mubarak where the longest flag in the world will be unfurled. The flag is 2,000 meters long. Sheikha Amthal lauded the effor ts put in by Farwaniya educational zone for creating the longest flag

in the world. After the trial, Sheikha Amthal revealed that the flag was supposed to be officially unfurled on the island of Garouh during the National Day and Liberation Day celebrations. However, after the trial unfurling, it was decided to hold the official ceremony during the military parade,

which will be held under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in Subiya. Sheikha Amthal thanked the female students of Fatima Bin Quais Primary School for their efforts, which will be reported to Guinness World Records Book as one of Kuwait’s great achievements.



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Pay rent allowances to Ahmadi evacuees: MP Gas leaks crisis radioactivity levels of goods coming into Kuwait.

By A Saleh KUWAIT: MP Khalid Al-Adwa yesterday urged the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW ) to pay all the backdated rent allowances for those evacuated from their homes in the Ahmadi area due to the gas leaks crisis. AlAdwa said that he found it strange that the PAHW had been so slow in paying the rental allowances for larger families since it had already paid those for smaller families. Anti-radioactive leak policy Meanwhile, MP Naji AlAbdulhadi asked State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan AlRoudhan about what plans are in place to face any possible radioactive leaks from nuclear facilities in neighboring countries, and whether there is a preventive plan in case of a large scale leak, as well as requesting the details if such a plan exists. Al-Abdulhadi asked whether Kuwait had made official contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concerning joining the body, as well as enquiring as to whether or not customs officials are equipped with Geiger counters to check the

Al-Jazzaf’s reinstatement It was also reported yesterday that the National Action Bloc (NAB) has asked the government to reinstate Faisal Al-Jazzaf as chairman of the Public Authority for Youth and Sports (PAYS) after its director was sent into retirement. An insider said that the NAB members believe that Al-Jazzaf was removed from the post because of a court ruling in favor of Al-Falah, and now that this reason has been removed it is logical to support Al-Jazzaf’s return. The insider added that the NAB is worried that if this does not occur Sheikh Talal Al-Fahad Al-Sabah will take over as director of the body since he is currently its deputy director. $300,000 oil contract It was revealed yesterday that a Kuwaiti company has won a $300,000 Iraqi oil contract when the firm informed the administration at the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) of the deal. In a letter sent by Safat Energy Company to the KSE administration, the company explained that one of its sub-

in my view

Behold and protect yourself from the ‘Evil Eye’! By Fouad Al-Obaid


n order not to offend those who believe in the magical power of the evil eye, I will explain my point of view and leave you, dear readers, to judge for yourselves as to the validity of the phenomenon, and its credibility as a concept. We in Arabia are known for our wild imaginations. In our folklore, we recount many mystical experiences and encounters with beasts of various natures, as well as creatures of different origins. It seems that the desert is fertile for the growth of our imagination. The void that the desert offers tends to drive men to find solace in a creative spirit which fills the emptiness of the desert landscape with much-needed decor. To many in our society the power of the evil eye, whereby a person might state, “I was struck by the eye!” however irrational such concepts are to educated individuals, is seen as a valid and real phenomenon, offering an explanation of sorts for negative events, however much it demonstrates a pathetic sense of logical deduction. I may perhaps be wrong. However, to leave things to the unseen powers that be to control the way you perceive our logical world is absurd to say the least. The effect of such a belief, as benign as it may sound, has some serious ramifications. People who believe in the mystical are unable to understand causality. As Newton’s widely known third law of motion states, ‘Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.’ The fact that we are willing to collectively harbor the delusion that things happen because of paranormal intervention by malicious third parties leads us to lose focus on the real world and how it truly functions. In a similar fashion to attributing our actions to a higher power, regardless of what religion you ascribe to, there are few doubts that our universe has been created and is governed by universal laws that keep it from falling to pieces. Our Earth, not much differently to the universe to which it belongs, is likewise governed by constant, immutable laws, which allow for the revolution of the earth, and for the alternation of night and day amongst other things. This stability and order are factors that our species was only recently made aware of! The newfound understanding dispelled the previous wisdom which stated that our Earth was at the center of the universe. Though trivial, the concept that someone can affect you by simply looking at you is mindboggling - though if one were suggesting that they might flirt with you by doing so, that’s another matter entirely! This only attests to a wider issue that we in our part of the world - and not exclusively - are prone to. Such beliefs, amongst others, are typically found in developing cultures, where people are not yet ready to accept that things happen for reasons that are not necessarily linked to unseen powers. We have managed to accept that when we sit on a couch and turn on the TV by the power of the remote control, no ‘magic’ is involved. I hope that soon enough we will come to realize that when bad things happen to us, they do not necessarily do so because of an evil spell, but due to natural laws that we perhaps are not yet made aware of. To conclude, I wish you dear readers a year filled with happiness and devoid of any ‘eye’ problems.

sidiaries, the ‘Eastern National Oil Ser vices Company,’ signed a three-month contract to perform safety checks on oil wells owned by the United Oil Company of Iraq. This is the second contract signed by a Kuwaiti company with an Iraqi firm in as many months. World Bank officials A team of World Bank officials is set to arrive in Kuwait next week to study governmentowned facilities and suggest which should be privatized from next year. An insider said that the team of experts, working closely with Kuwaiti counterparts, will prepare a list of the most important facilities suggested for privatization in order to begin the procedure as soon as possible. Bedoon authority The Central Department for Dealing with Illegal Residents has repor tedly instructed government departments not to take any action concerning bedoon (stateless) residents without first consulting it since it is the only body officially authorized to deal with issues related to Kuwait’s bedoon residents. A depar tment insider

explained that the department has requested that all government bodies cooperate with it, promptly submitting all the requested information and complying with its decisions. New HR authority The cabinet is reportedly planning to announce the establishment of a new public authority for human rights shortly. The new body, which will consist of representatives of a number of ministries and local non-profit organizations, will replace the existing Human Rights Commission, which is under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice. Several ministries are reportedly set to be contacted to nominate a representative each for the new body, which will be responsible for monitoring human rights issues in the civil, political and cultural arenas, as well as in regard to the rights of women and the disabled, reported AlQabas. O fficials are currently seeking a temporary headquarters for the new authority until the M inistr y of Public Works (MPW) provides a site for the construction of a permanent headquarters building.

120,000 fugitives in Kuwait KUWAIT: Over 120,000 citizens and residents in Kuwait are fugitives who are wanted in connection with a variety of civil and criminal cases. This number includes Kuwaiti owners of false companies used as fronts for human trafficking, as well as expatriates in the country illegally. These statistics were revealed by a security insider, who indicated that efforts are currently underway to apprehend all the fugitives, some of whom have already been sentenced. Others are wanted in connection with ongoing investigations. The Ministry of Interior became aware of these figures during a database audit at the end of 2010, the official told Al-Qabas, adding that the majority of expatriates in the country illegally are actually victims of

the ‘front’ companies who have remained in Kuwait since being brought here on false pretences. The insider explained that those expatriates found to be in this situation would be deported shortly after their arrest. The official also revealed that the interior ministry plans to launch a series of crackdowns in areas with a high percentage of single male expatriate residents, including Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Khaitan, Farwaniya and Amghara as part of its efforts to apprehend illegal residents. Fugitives are often arrested at police checkpoints, the official explained, with the officers able to quickly check motorists’ details against the interior ministry database.

Municipality to increase inspection campaigns in Jahra, Capital By Hanan Al Saadoun KUWAIT: Over 1,633 tons of fish and 533 tons of meat were sold in the Capital governorate area in November 2010, according to a senior municipality official, while 1.2 tons of foodstuffs, including 200 kilograms of fish unfit for human consumption were destroyed in the same period. Engineer Mohammad Al-Hurais, the Deputy Director of the Capital and Jahra area’s Municipality

Mohammad Al-Hurais

Affairs office, said that the municipality is keen to increase the number of inspection campaigns at local warehouses and outlets to ensure that no unsafe foodstuffs make their way onto the local market. Al-Hurais further revealed that a total of 143 stores were inspected during November, with 15 of these being issued with warnings instructing them to comply with health and safety regulations.

KUWAIT: Renowned Kuwaiti entrepreneur, Khaled Yousif Al-Marzouq, was laid to rest yesterday at the Sulaibikhat cemetery. A number of dignitaries, including His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah as well as various sheikhs, ministers and members of Parliament attended the funeral. Al-Marzouq, founder of a number of financial institutions including the Commercial Bank of Kuwait and Al-Anba Newspaper, died in Egypt on Friday at the age of 80. — Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

Marifa school hosts field trips for the disabled By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: A group photo of the students with the school and club staff.

KUWAIT: The disabled students exercising with the trainer at the Al-Amal Al-Jadeed Health Club. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

KUWAIT: The Marifa Model School organized a trip for 11 of its female disabled students to the Al-Amal Al-Jadeed Health Club in Mangaf yesterday morning. The outing is one of the many activities that the school regularly hosts for its students to help integrate them into society. This was the first trip held by the school to a health club. “The students enjoyed this new experience a lot,” Dr Abeer Al-Wardan, the Vice Chairman of The Marifa Model School, told the Kuwait Times. “With this activity we hope to integrate disabled students into society. We want them to experience the activities that able bodied people can.” The disabled students, between 13 and 19-years-old, have different kinds of disabilities. The group of 11 female students that visited the health club have Down Syndrome, hearing disabilities, mild mental disabilities, and various physical disabilities. Although the health club was not yet launched and open to the public it welcomed the disabled students. “We tried to make the place suitable and equipped it in the best way possible to accommodate the students,” said Captain Samia Atwa, Manager of the Al-Amal Al-Jadeed Health Club. The school held other activities for their disabled students in

the past two years. “We also took them to Ahmadi Hospital and McDonald’s Restaurant last year,” said Mona Abdulaziz, Marifa Model School’s social worker. “This year we took them to those same two locations as well as the health club.” “The students received training in first aid so that they will be able to help themselves in the event of a dangerous situation. Some of the students were also given training at McDonald’s and one of them was given a job offer. We still have yet to finish the paper work though,” the social worker added. According to Dr Al-Wardan, such field trips are very useful. “The parents of these disabled students worry about the future of their children. These field trips allow students to learn how to depend on themselves. We also teach them how to start their own business by making sandwiches for other students,” she added. The school plans to host additional trips and to visit different locations. “We will take the students to the Mastoura Complex so that those with talents in sewing or fashion will have an opportunity to work there,” said Al-Wardan. “We work on providing disabled students with opportunities. We want disabled students to be independent and take care of themselves after graduating,” concluded Al-Wardan.



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TV director found dead in yard of building in Salmiya Woman leaps to death from fourth floor KUWAIT: A TV director who works for a local private channel was found dead in the yard of a Salmiya apartment building after she jumped from the fourth floor, reported Al-Rai. Police and paramedics responded to the emergency but pronounced the victim dead upon their arrival. Eyewitnesses reported that the victim fell from an apartment building while she was with a man and three Ethiopian women. An investigation revealed that the man was a friend of hers and that all of the people she was with were under the influence of alcohol. When questioned by authorities, the woman’s friends explained that they were all drinking and fell asleep while the woman told stories about her family’s troubles. Officials speculate that the victim committed suicide while heavily intoxicated. The investigation is ongoing. Road accidents An Asian man was killed in Jaber AlAhmad while riding his bike through the area after being hit by a truck, reported Al-Watan. When questioned by authorities, the truck driver explained he could not avoid hitting the bicyclist while he was crossing the street. Meanwhile, a pedestrian was killed in Doha after being run over by a water tanker, reported Al-Qabas. The victim, an American, suffered a severe head trauma after being hit by the tanker and was pronounced dead on the scene by authorities. The Indian driver was placed under arrest and held for questioning. Body found A young man with a history of drug abuse was found dead inside his car in the parking lot of a mosque in Salmiya, reported Al-Rai. Police responded to the scene after being informed that a man was found unconscious in his car and pronounced the man dead after forcing their way into his vehicle. An inspection into his identity revealed that he was charged with drug abuse on four separate occasions. An autopsy was ordered for the body to reveal the exact cause of death. Escape attempt An Indonesian woman fell to her death while trying to escape from a Mahboulah apartment where she worked as a housemaid, reported AlQabas. An investigation revealed that the woman lost her balance and fell to the ground when the bed sheets she tied together to escape from the window tore. Paramedics brought the victim to the hospital in an attempt to save her life but the woman died in the hospital as a result of brain hemorrhages after suffering multiple fractures to her skull. She died shortly after reaching the medical facility. An investigation was

opened. In an unrelated incident, a Filipina woman sustained several injuries when she jumped from the fourth floor of a building in Fintas, reported Al-Watan. An investigation revealed that the 26-year-old was injured while trying to escape from the apartment where she was locked against her will. The victim was admitted to Adan Hospital’s intensive care unit. Officer questioned Four police officers are currently being investigated for responding to an incident outside of their jurisdiction, reported Al-Watan. A police officer from the proper jurisdiction responded to the location of an illegal party in Bnaid AlGar and noticed two police patrols parked outside of the party from the Hawally Governorate. The Hawally officers claimed they reported to the scene in pursuit of a female suspect who made her way into the building. The officer from the correct jurisdiction recognized one of the officers as a man from the Salwa police station who was previously involved in a case where he reported to a scene outside of his jurisdiction without permission. Airport arrest Airport security guards arrested an Asian man for trying to access the departing section of the airport without a passport or a plane ticket, reported AlWatan. When questioned, the man explained that he lost his passport and wanted to travel abroad for health reasons. He was held for further investigations. Iraqi pirates Kuwait coastguard authorities swept an area of Kuwait’s territorial waters where six Iranian sailors claimed they were mugged by pirates on a boat fly-

ing an Iraqi flag, reported Al-Rai. The victims explained that they were making their way to Kuwait when they were forced to stop by the men and robbed of their cargo at gunpoint. Coastguard officials failed to locate the pirates but were able to determine through the use of radar that the pirates made their way out of local waters. The Iranian sailors were taken to the naval security department for further questioning regarding the case. Kidnap case Police responded to an emergency call regarding the kidnapping of two brothers and saved them from being sexually assaulted by their friends, reported Al-Rai. Officials responded to a location in Sulaibikhat after they received an emergency call from a young man who explained that he and his brother had been kidnapped by two friends. He added that he managed to escape but that his brother was still being held against his will. Police placed the two kidnappers under arrest and freed the second victim who was found tied up in the backseat of the kidnappers’ vehicle. Police discovered that the kidnappers were also in possession of a bottle of homemade liquor. Drunk driver A drunk driver was arrested by police after crashing into a streetlight, reported Al-Rai. Police reported to the scene of the incident and found the Asian driver under the influence of alcohol. While being questioned, the driver informed authorities that the streetlight appeared in front of him suddenly and that he did not have enough time to avoid it. The driver was found with a half-empty bottle of homemade liquor in his car. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and for damaging public property.

New Kuwaiti radio station hits airwaves for national celebrations KUWAIT: A new Kuwaiti radio station is to hit the airwaves, frequency FM 93.9, to cover the state’s celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the independence and the 20th anniversary of the liberation, and the station was named “Ya Aghla Dar,” Arabic for “Dearest Homeland.” Head of the media committee for the national celebrations and Radio Kuwait Supervisor Ahmad Al-Fadhli said yesterday, the material broadcast would include patriotic songs, Amir speeches, and instructions and appeals by state institutions to help along a smooth and accident-free and environment-friendly festive season. The official added the phrase “Ya Aghla Dar” would also feature on the screen throughout coverage and other material relating to the national celebrations. The first phase of this project started early this month, the

second phase is due Jan 29, and the third phase is due on Feb 1, he pointed out. As for the fifth anniversary of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah’s assuming office as the state’s 15th Amir, a special program is also ready to commemorate this occasion, all material prepared in this category aired under the slogan “May you bring Kuwait more glory.” The first example of these programs is a special episode of Good Morning Kuwait, Jan 29, that would include interviews, calls from the public, glimpses of Arab and other press coverage of the event, and short recorded messages by leading Kuwaiti and Arab personalities. One more program, “Cables”, would allow diplomats accredited in Kuwait to address the Kuwaiti nation on this occasion, while another pro-

gram, “Visions,” is to include discussions on the Amir’s vision for Kuwaiti development, with emphasis on the Amir’s many tours to world capitals to boost bilateral relations and interaction. The documentary “Biography of a Statesman” would offer glimpses on His Highness the Amir’s many accomplishments throughout his career and would include testimonies by figures and personalities he interacted with while serving his many different posts leading up to assumption of the post of Amir. “Enlightened Contributions” would focus on the Amir’s activities in 2010, such as sponsoring Quran recitation and memorization contests and events, hosting and attending the second moderation forum, and the “Thank You, Teacher” festival, among others.—KUNA

Tijari students complete ‘7 Habits’ workshop KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait presented certificates to students who participated in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective College Students workshop by writer Stephen Covey, which was exclusively for its youth customers in cooperation with LoYAC. On Dec 26, 2010 eight university students who have Tijari account completed the unique 7 Habits workshop. Rami Mokdad, Segment Manager at the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, along with the founder of LoYAC Fareah AlSaqqaf were on hand to present each

student with an official certificate that they have completed the course successfully. The workshop taught the students how to balance all aspects of college life, commit to self-improvement and renewal, set habits that lead to success, set goals and prioritize their activities and many more important tools for success in college. Rami Mokdad stated that “we received a lot of positive feedback from the students during the ceremony where we handed them their

certificates. They all said that they learned important tools that will definitely help them in their future and some even said that they are using these tools in their daily lives already.” The Commercial Bank of Kuwait was the first bank in Kuwait that offered this unique workshop to its customers and based on its success, the bank will sponsor another 7 Habits workshop for high school students from both private and government schools.



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Experts predict growth in office rentals this year KUWAIT: Reading many factors in the market and amid construction of several high-tech office buildings in the capital, experts forecast a good growth in office rentals in 2011. The government’s preference of office facilities in the capital for many of its institutions is also expected to push strongly in the same direction. Al-Hamra Real Estate Company Marketing and Lease Department Director Hamid AlSuheil said over 70 percent of office lease requests in the capital this past year were filed by government institutions. This brought on noticeable recovery to the sector, which was suffering the slump of the global financial crisis, he noted, and many towers and office buildings which were vacant are now fully occupied after this hike in government demand. Specific demand came from the cabinet and the finance ministry’s government employees housing department, and government initiatives specifically aimed to invigorate the sector are likely to start solid gradual recovery in 2011. Al-Suheil remarked price per meter for new office is more or less stable, but offer still outweighs demand and prices need time to

recover. Kuwait Business Town Real Estate Company (KBT ) General Manager Khalid Abdullah Al-Sumait meanwhile said that price per meter is to go down further in view of the new offices to be offered for lease. Real estate companies expect a decline, he said, but do not wish to see prices go below KD 5 per meter. On government demand for offices in the new towers and facilities in the capital, he remarked this trend is obvious, and there is still un-used space the government has the option of leasing. Al-Sumait hoped this government demand continues, as it invigorates the sector’s growth on the one hand, and saves the state millions that would have gone into purchasing land to construct office facilities on the other. Still, price per meter is currently low in comparison to cost and quality of building in the new towers and facilities, he said. Feasibility studies prior to the global financial crunch had been based on a price of no less than KD 9-10 per meter, with expectation of reaching KD 14 in some towers. However, the market now stands on an average 5-6 KD per meter, he said. — KUNA

Dutch Muslims laud IPC for Dawa guidance for European Muslims Conference to give a good idea about Islam to new converts BRUSSELS: Dutch Muslim activists are all praise for the Islam Presentation Committee of Kuwait (IPC) for organizing workshops and training courses to guide new European Muslims in organizational skills for Dawah (propagation) work. Waleed Duisters, chairman of Dutch National Platform for New Muslims, was one of those Muslims from Europe who participated in the IPC courses held in Kuwait in December. “It was a workshop for those Muslims who have a leading role in their countries, to give them information about organizational and leadership skills, in order to help Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe,”ù Duisters said. “This was my first visit to Kuwait. It was very good and useful because normally you get information about Islam but not about organizational skills. We also attended some good lectures by famous Kuwaiti scholars like Tariq Swuaidan,” he added. Duisters spoke at the sidelines of the Fourth Dutch Muslim Converts’ National Day held in the Dutch city of The Hague on Saturday. The one-day event was organized by the OntdekIslam (Discover Islam) foundation and the Dutch National Platform for New Muslims. He noted that 1600 participants came from Holland, Belgium and a few other European countries to attend the conference. “The aim of the conference is to give a good idea about Islam to the new converts,”ù said Duisters noting that the western media tries to portray the new converts as being very strict and extreme. “We want to present the real picture that

the converts to Islam are not extremists but Muslims just like other Muslims from other countries and that we are just as Dutch as before we converted to Islam,”ù he said. “Our message to the new converts in the Netherlands is to show that you can be a Muslim as a Dutch person because some right-wing Dutch politicians like Geert Wilders claim that you cannot be a Muslim and a Dutch person,”ù he stated. “If you look at the people here, they live as Muslims in a democratic country and they don’t have any problems with that,”ù added the Dutch Muslim activist. Three Dutch girls converted to Islam during the Dutch Muslim Converts’ National Day. Duisters pointed out that figures released in 2007 showed there were between 12,000 and 14000 Dutch converts to Islam, but he thought the number is more than that as not all converts say that they have converted to Islam. There are nearly one million Muslims in the Netherlands from Morocco, Turkey, Surinam and other countries. The population of the Netherlands is around 17 million. Leonardo, a Dutch Muslim but with origins from El Salvador also attended to IPC course in Kuwait. “We learnt another form of Dawa not the traditional way but the focus was on akhlaq (character), because the first thing people see in Europe is the behavior of the Muslims,”ù he said. “We learnt how to improve our akhlaq abut also

organizational skills to do so something for the community back home,” ùsaid Leonardo who does social work with Muslim youth in Holland. “The program was very useful for me because the things they taught us and the material they gave us I never had seen something like that, I am trying to spread the message that I received in Kuwait with the other brothers who are doing volunteer social work,”ù he said. “It is important that IPC continues this program because there are not many who give these kind of courses in Europe. They are doing a great job,”ù he noted. Leonardo said he converted to Islam three years ago after his interaction with Muslims in Holland and after reading books about Islam. Jamal Nasser Al-Shatti General Manager of IPC, who had come from Kuwait to take part in the event said his organization was supporting the Dutch Converts’ National Day. “This meeting is very good for the new Muslims to listen to speakers from Holland and other European countries”, he told KUNA. He said the IPVC recently held a one-week training course and workshop for new European Muslim converts in management and Dawa courses to “be good Muslims for their community, to be positive in their community and not to be negative.” This was the second such course organized by the IPC in Kuwait, noted Al-Shatti. The IPC is a committee affiliated to AlNajat benevolent society. —KUNA

Wataniya honors Interior Ministry officers KUWAIT: Wataniya Telecom organized a ceremony to honor officers, non-commissioned officers and civilians working in the General Directorate of Traffic in the Ministry of Interior. This was part of the continuous support and appreciative efforts made by officials and workers in various sectors of the state to enhance its relationship with government parties. The event was held under the patronage and attendance of Mahmoud Al-Dousiri, Undersecretary of the Ministry and Assistant Director of General Directorate of Traffic.

The officer of Public Relations at Wataniya Abdolaziz Al-Balool praised Ministry’s office and pledged Wataniya’s continuous support to the Interior’s officers, non-commissioned officers and civilians, “Awarding these enthusiastic officers is an initiative that can be taken based on the company’s strategy to support all sectors of government and strengthen relationship and ties. It has come from our appreciation of all workers’ efforts throughout the year. We urge them to continue this level of excellence.”

Waste removed in Ushairej campaign KUWAIT: A joint team led by Kuwait’s Diving Team that launched a mega environmental cleaning campaign a month ago, has removed tons of waste materials from beaches and seafloors at the Ushairej coastline in Doha. These include wreckage, tires, disposed ropes and fishing tents, as well as metal and plastic waste. Speaking to reporters, Kuwait diving team leader Waleed Al-Fadhel said that more than 40 wrecked ships were successfully removed from the area, in addition to other forms of waste which pose a serious pollution risk to the location. The joint team also includes representatives from the state encroachments removal commission, the Kuwait Municipality, General Coastguards Department, as well as the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources. The campaign will be completed within two days. The team is currently working toward relocating the remaining waste and clearing the shore around Ushairej ports.

International MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011

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MANILA: Barefoot Filipino Catholic devotees struggle to touch the image of the Black Nazarene and the cross in a raucous procession for its annual festival yesterday in Manila, Philippines.—AP

Filipinos swarm to raucous religious procession MANILA: More than a million Roman Catholics joined a raucous religious procession in Manila yesterday to honor a centuries-old black statue of Jesus Christ that they believe possesses mystical powers. Nearly 600 were treated for injuries. Barefoot devotees surged forward over iron railings to try to touch the 404-year-old image of Christ known as the Black Nazarene. At least 578 people were treated for injuries or other ailments, including 27 who were taken to hospitals. Some had fractures after being pinned in the thick crowd or hit by the railings, said Gwendolyn Pang of the Philippine Red Cross. About 1 million people gathered at the seaside Rizal Park at the start of the procession despite rain that drenched participants. The mostly poor male devotees, wearing maroon shirts, swelled to 1.5 million after night fell, and were secured by 3,500 police along the three-mile (five-kilometer) route from the park to a popular church in Quiapo district, Manila police chief Roberto Rongavilla said. The procession was expected to last well into the

night. The wooden statue of Christ, crowned with thorns and bearing a cross, is believed to have been brought from Mexico to Manila in 1606 by Spanish missionaries. The ship that carried it caught fire, but the charred statue survived and was named the Black Nazarene. Some believe the statue’s survival of fires and earthquakes through the centuries, and intense bombings during World War II, are a testament to its mystical powers. The Philippines, Asia’s largest predominantly Christian nation, is about 80 percent Catholic. As the statue was pulled on a carriage through Manila’s streets, swarms of worshippers pressed forward to touch, kiss, or wipe handkerchiefs on the Black Nazarene to acquire its believed powers. Jose Garcia, 45, clutching a rosary in one hand, said he believed his yearly attendance had cured his handicapped son, who now can walk. Another son was recently diagnosed with a heart ailment that requires surgery, which he said he could never afford. “I need another miracle from God. Please save my other son,” he said to the

statue. Poverty affects about a third of the Philippines’ more than 90 million people. Yesterday’s spectacle reflects the country’s unique brand of Catholicism that includes folk superstitions. Dozens of Filipinos have themselves nailed to crosses on Good Friday each year in another tradition to remember Christ’s suffering, atone for sins and pray for ailing family members or a better life. Manila Archbishop Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales said the large turnout nearly moved him to tears. “It was simply overwhelming seeing that sea of humanity,” he told The Associated Press. “I asked, ‘Jesus, can you see these people? Please answer their prayers.”‘ Rosales said he prayed for peace in the Philippines, which has grappled with decades-old communist and Muslim insurgencies. Philippine boxing star Manny Pacquiao , the world’s top pound-for-pound boxer, is among the many Black Nazarene believers. He has prayed before the statue in Quiapo church after returning from triumphant bouts in recent years.—AP

ARIZONA: A US congresswoman clung to life yesterday after being shot through the head when a gunman opened fire on a crowd at an Arizona political event, killing six people and wounding a dozen others. Gabrielle Giffords, 40, a member of President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party, was meeting constituents outside a supermarket in Tucson on Saturday when the assailant sprayed bullets from a 9mm Glock pistol. A nine-year-old girl and a federal judge were among six people killed and at least 12 others were wounded before bystanders tackled the alleged gunman, 22-year-old local resident Jared Lee Loughner, who was arrested at the scene. Police have released a surveillance camera photo of a possible accomplice spotted at the site of the shooting. The picture shows a white male with dark hair, dressed in blue jeans and a dark blue jacket, approximately 40 to 50 years old, who was apparently walking inside a store with his hands in his pockets. The motivation for the apparent assassination attempt remained unclear. Loughner, a failed army recruit, had filled the Internet with angry and largely incoherent condemnations of the government. A Loughner profile posted on YouTube listed Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s “ The Communist Manifesto” and Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” among his favorite books. A witness who helped wrestle Loughner to the ground said it appeared to him that the suspect had come ready to kill even more people because he had two more ammunition clips and a knife in his pockets. “He was ready for war, he was not playing around,” Joe Zamudio told CNN. “He was blank. He was callous, almost.” Despite initial reports Giffords had been killed, surgeons at the University Medical Center in Tucson where she was taken were cautiously optimistic about her prognosis. “She is in critical condition (but) I’m optimistic about recovery,” said trauma chief Peter Rhee. “We cannot tell what kind of recovery, but I’m about as optimistic as you can get.” At a later briefing however, Giffords family friend and former US surgeon general Richard Carmona was more cautious, saying: “With guarded optimism I hope that she will survive, but this is a very devastating wound.” Giffords, like most rank-and-file legislators, traveled with no security detail, despite threatening incidents during the recent bitter campaign that saw the Democrat re-elected in a typically Republican-leaning state. Giffords, married to NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, is the first Jewish woman elected to Congress in Arizona. She barely survived a bruising re-election bid last year to a Republican rival from the right-wing Tea Party movement. The attacks have shaken official Washington andalthough the motivations of the shooter are unclear-raised concerns that the heated political climate could be feeding violence. “Let me say one thing, because people tend to pooh-pooh this business about all the vitriol that we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that,” Pima county sheriff Clarence Dupnik said. “That may be free speech, but it’s not without consequences,” he told a Saturday press conference. The last major political shooting incident in the United States was in 1981 when then president Ronald Reagan was shot and injured at a Washington hotel. The only member of Congress ever to die in the line of duty was Leo Ryan, a California Democrat killed in 1978 in Guyana as he investigated a cult that later carried out a notorious mass suicide. The House of Representatives has called off proceedings in Washington for the upcoming week and the flags will fly at half mast in honor of the Giffords staffer who died. But yesterday, new Speaker John Boehner, vowed lawmakers would not be deterred by violence. “Public service is a high honor, but these tragic events remind us that all of us in our roles in service to our fellow citizens comes with a risk,” he told reporters yesterday. “This inhuman act should not and will not deter us from our calling to represent our constituents and to fulfill our oaths of office. No act, no matter how heinous must be allowed to stop us from our duty.” For his part, President Barack Obama condemned the attack as an “unspeakable tragedy” adding: “Such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society.” Conservative standard-bearer Sarah Palin had controversially placed Giffords on a political hit list, putting her under an image of a gun’s crosshairs for her support of Obama’s health care overhaul. Palin offered condolences for the victims, writing on her Facebook page: “We all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.”—AFP

Jerusalem hotel demolished for Israeli apartments JERUSALEM: Bulldozers demolished a hotel in Jerusalem yesterday to make way for a new Israeli enclave in the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood, moving ahead with a plan that has angered the Palestinians and the US Shepherd Hotel, purchased by a Jewish American millionaire in 1985 and empty for years, is to be replaced by 20 apartments for Israelis. Workmen and earth-moving equipment were knocking down the structure in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, a frequent flashpoint for Palestinian protests against Israeli policies. The hotel, Arab-owned before 1967, became the property of the Israeli government after Israel captured east Jerusalem in that year’s Mideast war. Nearly two decades later, the building was sold to Jewish American businessman Irving Moskowitz, a longtime patron of Jewish settlers. In 2009, after years of bureaucratic stalling, the Jerusalem municipality issued permits for construction. Peace talks are currently stuck over Israeli construction in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim as their future capital. The Palestinians say they will not renew talks without an Israeli settlement freeze that includes east Jerusalem as well as the West Bank, which also was captured in 1967. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the proj-

ect. “As long as this government continues with settlement and acts like the demolition of the Shepherd Hotel there will be no negotiations,” he said. Israel says it has the right to build anywhere in the city, including east Jerusalem, which it annexed in a move that has not been internationally recognized. Officials also note the Shepherd Hotel project is private and the property was purchased in line with Israeli law. “ This project has nothing to do with protesting or provoking, or to do anything except provide more apartments for Jews to stay and to live in Jerusalem,” said Elisha Peleg, a Jerusalem City Council member and one of the project’s backers, at the site yesterday. Peleg said there were 50 more apartments in the planning stages for the hotel compound, for a total of 70 housing units. Israeli and Palestinian envoys are heading to Washington this week in an attempt to move stalled talks for ward, but the Palestinians say the envoys will not talk directly to each other. Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman, refused to discuss the Shepherd Hotel project but called on the Palestinians to return to talks. A small number of neighborhood residents and onlookers watched the bulldozers work yesterday. “They have no right to anything here,” said

Inas al-Ghawi, 38. “This is Palestinian land, but they are thieves, they steal everything.” The people behind the project “want to settle here and make the situation in Jerusalem even more problematic than it is now,” said Mossi Raz, an Israeli peace activist and former lawmaker. In recent years, settler groups have been moving more Israeli families into Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, attempting to ensure the city will not be divided in a future peace deal. Several thousand settlers now live under heavy guard in Arab neighborhoods of the city. Their presence has led to rising tensions in those areas. Another enclave in the same Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood - where several Palestinian families were evicted by court order after their homes were deemed by an Israeli court to be Israeli-owned - has become the scene of a weekly protest by Palestinians and Israelis who oppose the government’s policies in Jerusalem. Since capturing east Jerusalem, Israel has built large Jewish neighborhoods there that are now home to 200,000 people, more than a quarter of the city’s population. The Palestinians consider those neighborhoods illegal settlements. An additional 300,000 Israelis live in the city’s western sector. About 250,000 Palestinians live in east Jerusalem.—AP

JERUSALEM: Israeli bulldozers demolish the Shepherd Hotel in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah yesterday.—AP



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Disapproval hangs over Sudan vote in north KHARTOUM: Southern Sudanese voters discretely cast their ballots in Khartoum yesterday in a landmark independence referendum, as northerners angered by the likely split that it heralds could only look on. While crowds thronged voting stations in the south, those in parts of the capital remained largely deserted on the first day of the week-long referendum. For James Mabor, a policemen working at Soba prison in southeast Khartoum who has lived in the nor th since his childhood, there is only one choice. “Secession is a must... It will be better. And then we will come and visit Khartoum from time to time,” he said smiling. His opinion is not shared by one of his northern colleagues. “If you want to come back, you will first have to apply for a visa,” scoffed Hamdi Mahmud Hassan, who says he is “furious” but also resigned to the prospect of partition, the widely expected choice of southerners. “Of course we want Sudan to remain united. After secession they will be treated like foreigners.

They will have asked for it,” he added bitterly. President Omar al-Bashir sent out the same message in an interview aired on Friday, criticising southerners who lived in the north but complained about the way they were treated, and saying they would be seen as foreigners if they voted for secession. “They say ‘we are marginalised, second-class citizens.’ Well, to not be marginalised, don’t take the nationality of the country that marginalises you,” he told Al-Jazeera television. South Sudanese are predominantly Christian, and those residing in the north where sharia, or Islamic law, is applied speak of discrimination in the job market. “There must be independence. We must return to the land of our ancestors,” said 44year-old Aaron Khalifa Aaron, a builder from the southern city of Wau. But waiting patiently to vote at a school turned polling station in Haj Yussef, a district in northeast Khartoum, Lawrence Thomas Omdurman said he was upset about the change taking place in his country.

“I am sad that a part of Sudan is choosing to break away, but there’s no way to stop it. It’s true that we are second-class citizens.” Julia Joseph has other reasons to vote for unity. “Separation? Certainly not. I have never known the south. I was born here, and in any case, they have too many problems there,” said the 22-year-old. On the other side of the playground, a group of teachers watching the voting centre spoke angrily of the southern referendum, which is being closely scrutinised by international observers and is widely expected to split Africa’s largest country in two. “We should also have been consulted. There should not even be a referendum. Sudan is one country and south Sudan is an integral part of it,” said one of the teachers who refused to give his name. Another, also speak ing on condition of anonymity, accused foreigners of pushing the referendum. “It’s all because of foreign interference. Without Israel’s plans for the Nile, we would

remain united,” he said, alluding to a popular belief in north Sudan that the Jewish state was plotting with the south to disrupt its water supplies. Only around 117,000 people are registered to vote in north Sudan, the majority of them in capital, compared with 3.75 million in the south. According to the latest census, in 2008, there were some 520,000 southerners in nor th Sudan, although the autonomous southern regional government and aid groups have estimated the southern population in the north to be at least 1.5 million. In recent months, many have returned to the south. Speaking in Juba yesterday, south Sudan’s president Salva Kiir said the south would protect northerners and foreigners, and called on the north to do the same. “It is also the responsibility of the forces in northern Sudan to protect any southern Sudanese who are living in the north,” he said.— AFP

Surprise visit by Obasanjo to Ivory Coast ABIDJAN: Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo made an unannounced visit to Ivory Coast, arriving late Saturday for a private meeting with the country’s defiant president in a final effort to get him to cede power after losing the recent election. An Associated Press reporter was present when the Nigerian leader arrived at the luxury Pullman Hotel surrounded by bodyguards. He declined to comment and was whisked away to his suite on the hotel’s 9th floor, where he spent around an hour before re-emerging to head to the presidential palace. Incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo has remained in office, insisting that he won , a victory handed to him by the head of the constitutional council, a member of his inner circle, who canceled votes from his opponent’s strongholds. The spokesman for Alassanne Ouattara, who is considered to be the legitimate presidentelect after results issued by the electoral commission, said that Obasanjo came to meet with Ouattara immediately after leaving the palace. Ali Coulibaly, the spokesman, said that Obasanjo will see both leaders a second time yesterday. The international community has been unanimous in recognizing Ouattara as the winner of the election because the results issued by the electoral body were certified by the United Nations in accordance with a 2005 peace deal. The UN sent over 900 observers who fanned out across the country to watch as the votes were cast and who later reviewed results poll station-bypoll station. While Gbagbo continues to occupy the presidential palace, Ouattara has been forced to live in a hotel guarded by some 800 UN troops. Over Christmas, Gbagbo’s troops sealed the exits to the hotel and refuse to let anyone in or out. Reporters and diplomats, as well as provisions, are brought in to him via a UN helicopter that lands on the hotel’s lawn. So far four African presidents have come

in to see Gbagbo, including most recently on Monday, but all attempts at mediation have failed. He is now being threatened by the 15-member regional bloc of West African countries known as ECOWAS, which has warned that if he does not step down he could face a military ouster. A close adviser to Ouattara said that Obasanjo is coming to carry a message from the government of Nigeria, whose current president is the chair of ECOWAS. The bloc is scheduled to meet in coming days to decide whether or not to go ahead with a military intervention. The adviser said that Obasanjo , a former military strongman , carries weight when matters of force are in question. “In diplomacy you can say things very nicely. Or you can say it by being mean. He is here to say it in the mean way,” said the senior aide to Ouattara, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter. With every passing weeks since the election, the international community has turned up the heat on Gbagbo, including slapping a visa ban on him and 50 of his closest associates, barring them from traveling to Europe and the United States. He has turned his back on the world, and even refused to take telephone calls from U.S. President Barack Obama, who tried at least twice to call him from Air Force One, according to the State Department. Experts say the only way to make him leave may be through force, but observers question whether the militar y arm of ECOWAS has the manpower and the sophistication to carry out a so-called ‘decapitation strike.’ A second issue is whether ECOWAS will go ahead with a move that could lead to mass casualties. The lynchpin in the decision is Nigeria, which has one the largest standing forces in the region and whose troops have been sent to intervene in other regional conflicts including during the Liberian civil war.—AP

Police: 4 dead in shooting spree in northern Italy ROME: A 74-year-old Italian retiree shot dead two neighbors and then his wife yesterday before turning the gun on himself, police said. Jealousy appeared to be behind the rampage in the northern city of Genoa. Carlo Trabona, a retired bricklayer, first went to a coffee bar where he shot one of his neighbors. As the other one ran away, Trabona followed him, shot him and then went back home where he killed his wife, according to a police reconstruction reported by Italian media.

After police surrounded his building, Trabona shot himself, said Alfredo Federici of the Genoa police. The two neighbors, who were brothers, and the shooter died later in hospital, he said. Federici said an alleged infidelity may have triggered the shooting spree, as Trabona suspected that his 72-year-old wife had been having an affair with one of the neighbors, who were also his longtime friends. Italian news reports also said the shooter had a history of mental problems.—AP

Iran: detained US woman has confessed to spying TEHRAN: A US woman whom Tehran says is an American spy caught filming on its northern borders has confessed to espionage, a senior Iranian police official said on state television yesterday. “During preliminary questioning she confessed to this issue,” said deputy border police chief, Brigadier General Ahmad Garavand, when asked if the woman was involved in spying. Garavand told Iranian media on Saturday that an “American woman spy” he identified as Hal Talayan was arrested in the town of Jolfa on the border with Azerbaijan’s autonomous region of Naxcivan, close to Armenia. She “was arrested on January 5 while she was filming under cover as a tourist, and she was on a mission from the US spy agency,” Garavand said on Saturday. He added that she had been “tasked by Americans to film the borders.” She “was filming the border markets, Jolfa (police) station and the frontier” with “advanced filming equipment.” State-television reiterated yesterday that the “American woman entered Iran through Armenia,” but the Armenian government on Friday denied she had ever been to the former Soviet republic. The Fars news agency gave her name as Hal Talayan, while Mehr and ISNA news agencies named her as Hal Fayalan, 34. Later, Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam television cited a security source as saying a US woman had been refused entry at a border crossing with Armenia over a visa problem. The US State Department also denied that the woman was

in Iran. “We have located the US citizen who appears to have been the subject of the reports and confirmed that the individual is safe,” Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, told AFP. “She is not in Iran,” he said. Talayan would be the fourth American to be arrested by Iran on spying charges along with hikers Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd. Shourd was freed last year on humanitarian grounds and returned home, but Iranian officials say all three will go on trial on February 6. After Shourd was freed on hefty bail in September, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested that the United States free eight jailed Iranians as a “humanitarian gesture” in exchange for the two remaining hikers. But the State Department rejected any link at the time, saying there was “no equivalent” between the Iranians tried and found guilty in the United States and the hikers still awaiting trial in Iran. The animosity between Iran and the United States has grown with Tehran under mounting international pressure led by Washington over its controversial nuclear programme which the West suspects of covering a weapons drive. Iran denies the charge and is due to hold a second round of talks over its nuclear programme with world powers in Istanbul in late January. Iran is also detaining two German journalists after they were arrested in October while interviewing the son of a woman condemned to death by stoning. —AFP

REGUEB: Tunisian demonstrators injured in clashes with security forces are seen yesterday in Regueb, near Sidi Bouzid. Protests sparked by high youth unemployment have spread from the central town of Sidi Bouzid to other parts chiefly in the north African country’s interior, which lags behind the prosperous coastal areas.—AFP

Union officials say 11 dead in Tunisia rioting Unrest in its fourth week TUNIS: At least 11 people have died in clashes with security forces in new rioting in the North African country where unrest is in its fourth week, local union officials said yesterday. The Interior Ministry, meanwhile, said eight people were killed over the weekend in the western towns of Thala, and Kasserine. Rioting to protest joblessness and other social ills has scarred numerous cities across this tiny country since Dec 17, after a 26-yearold man with a university degree set himself on fire when police confiscated his fruits and vegetables for selling without a permit. Mobs have since attacked public buildings and the local office of the party of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Ben Ali has appeared at the bedside of the dying vegetable seller, b u t h a s m a d e n o s t a te m e n t o n t h e r a re

shows of defiance on the streets. The man died last week at a hospital outside capital, Tunis. Union official Belgacem Saihi told The Associated Press that up to five people had died in Thala rioting Saturday night. In Kasserine, seat of the region where Thala is located, union official Amor Mhamdi said at least three people were shot to death Saturday night as protesters attacked public buildings, the local ruling party office and burned cars. Kamel Laabidi, a union official in Regueb, said three people were killed there. Regueb is near Sidi Bouzaid, the centralwestern town where the 26-year-old selfimmolated. The long time chief of the oppos ition Democratic Progressive Party called on the

Tunisian leader to urgently “order an immediate cease-fire ... to spare the lives of innocent citizens and respect their right to peacefully demonstrate.” Nejib Chebbi claimed that at least 20 people were k illed in Thala and Kasserine, citing party representatives in the region. It was impossible to independently verify the casualty claims made by union officials, or t h e o p p o s i t i o n l e a d e r. I n n e i g h b o r i n g Algeria, meanwhile, three people died over four days of rioting, the Interior Ministry there said this weekend. Algerian youths took to streets to protest rising prices of staples like sugar and cooking oil. The Algerian government announced Saturday it was slashing taxes on those products by 41 percent. Calm appeared to prevail yesterday.— AP

Arab summit plan in Iraq faces still challenges BAGHDAD: Insurgent threats and a lack of hotel space for delegations pose stiff challenges to Iraq’s plans to host the annual Arab League meeting for the first time in 20 years, despite assurances from the body’s leader yesterday. Iraq’s government is hoping the summit will showcase what Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki

has described as the nation’s improved security and pump foreign money into the parched local economy. “We are seeking this summit because it will confirm Iraq’s return to its leading role, and that Iraq is an important Arab country,” Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said during a

BAGHDAD: Workers are seen outside of the Palestine hotel in central Baghdad, Iraq yesterday. Insurgent threats and lacking space in hotels being rebuilt from bombings have cast doubt on whether the Arab League can hold its annual meeting in Iraq this spring. But Iraqi and league officials maintain the March 23 summit will happen as planned.—AP

short speech yesterday to Iraq’s parliament. “The Arab League is concerned about Iraq now and in the future.” The government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild palaces and hotels where thousands of delegates from the 22-nation group are expected to stay on the summit’s March 23 start. Observers say, however, that a lack of hotel space and threats from militants could stymie the government’s dream to host the summit. This week, a militant website posted a message from insurgent group Ansar al-Islam threatening to attack the summit and any political or business officials associated with it. Ansar alIslam is a radical Sunni Arab group linked to AlQaeda. “The meeting of the Arab tyrants in Baghdad is part of the American project for normalization relations with the U.S. government in Baghdad,” the website message said. “Any Arab political or commercial official in Iraq will be a military target for Mujahideen.” Another concern is where the delegates , and the security officials and media traveling with them, will stay. Khalid Hussain, managing director of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad said the government estimated as many as 5,000 rooms would be needed to house entourages across the capital, while only 1,800 rooms will be available , assuming repairs proceed uninterrupted. Construction crews are hard at work on the Palestine and Sheraton hotels in central Baghdad after both were severely damaged in a car bombing a year ago, although some guests have returned to the Palestine. — AP




27 deaths, including 14 decapitated, rock Acapulco Bloodshed scaring vacationers away ACAPULCO: The image of this beach mecca has taken a new hit from Mexico's drug violence, with 27 people killed in less than a day, including 14 men whose bodies were found with their heads chopped off at a shopping center. Acapulco has seen fierce turf wars between drug gangs, and the bloodshed is scaring some vacationers away even though little of the violence happens in tourist areas. The decapitation slayings and most of the other killings that occurred in a stretch of just a few hours from Friday night into Saturday also occurred in non-tourism areas. But two police officers were shot to death on a major bayside avenue in front of visitors and locals. The 14 headless bodies, and a 15th intact corpse, were found by police on a street outside a shopping center accompanied by written warnings from a drug cartel, authorities said. Handwritten signs left with the bodies were signed by "El Chapo's People," a reference to the Sinaloa cartel, which is headed by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, said Fernando Monreal Leyva, director of investigative police for Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located. The narco-messages indicated the Sinaloa cartel killed the 15 men for trying to intrude on the gang's turf

ACAPULCO: The bodies of decapitated men, some with messages left behind, lie on a sidewalk next to a shopping center in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco, Mexico, Saturday. —AP and extort residents. Mexico's drug cartels have increasingly taken to beheading their victims in a grisly show of force, but Saturday's discovery was the largest single group of decapitation victims found in recent years. In 2008, a group of 12 decapitated bodies were piled outside the Yucatan state capital of Merida. The same year, nine headless men were discovered in the Guerrero state capital of Chilpancingo. Also killed Saturday in

Acapulco were the two police officers; six people who were shot dead and stuffed in a taxi, their hands and feet bound; and four others elsewhere in the city. Two police officers were wounded when armed men attacked a police post in the city's Emiliano Zapata district. "We are coordinating with federal forces and local police to reinforce security in Acapulco and investigating to try to establish the motive and perpetrators of these incidents," Monreal

said. The wave of violence in one of Mexico's biggest resorts was condemned by the federal government. "Reprehensible acts of violence such as these underscore the need to fight with determination against organized crime," a statement from the Interior Ministry said. At least 30,196 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against cartels in late 2006. Also Saturday, authorities said a small-town mayor

was found dead in northern Mexico. Saul Vara Rivera, mayor of the municipality of Zaragoza, was reported missing by family members Wednesday, Coahuila state prosecutors said in a statement. His bullet-ridden body was discovered Friday in neighboring Nuevo Leon state. There were no immediate arrests. At least a dozen mayo r s we re k i l l e d n a t i o n wide last year in acts of intimidation attributed to drug gangs. — AP

US Republicans hit bumps amid triumph

SHARM EL-SHEIK: In this March 2, 2009, file photo US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, accompanies the United Arab Emirates' foreign minister, Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, top right, before their Gaza Conference meeting in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. —AP

Clinton seeks Gulf aid for Iran sanctions, Iraq WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on the way Saturday to the Gulf region in a bid to tighten sanctions against Iran and win greater support from allies for Iraq's new government. In her five-day trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and Qatar, Clinton will also urge the region to cooperate more to advance democratic, economic and social reforms, officials said. It is her second trip to the energy-rich Gulf in around a month, following her visit to Bahrain in early December. A senior State Department official told reporters Clinton would ask Gulf Arab leaders for insight into events in Iran, which is just across the Gulf, and discuss how to make progress in new multilateral nuclear talks. Host Turkey said talks involving Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany on Tehran's disputed nuclear program will take place in Istanbul on January 21 and 22. Clinton will also "want to take stock on where we are on the sanctions regime," the official said on the condition of anonymity. Under US pressure, the UN Security Council last June imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran in a bid to halt its uranium enrichment program. Washington sees sanctions as a way to force Iran back to negotiations. But the official acknowledged that sanctions also "do hit hard" countries such as the UAE, Qatar and Oman that enjoy close business links with Iran, suggesting there may not be full cooperation in enforcement. "And so we appreciate the opportunity to talk frankly about what is working, what is not working, how we can help them better adhere to the UN sanctions," the official said, raising the possibility of technical aid and training. Iraq and the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process will also be on the agenda as Clinton visits Abu Dhabi today, the UAE commercial hub of Dubai tomorrow, Muscat on Wednesday, and Doha on Wednesday and Thursday. Like the preceding administration of George W. Bush, US President Barack Obama's team is urging Sunni Arab allies in the Gulf to overcome what it sees as lingering reservations and build closer ties with the new Shiite-led Iraq. Obama on Tuesday congratulated Iraq after its parliament endorsed a new government led again by Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, saying the move was a "significant" historic moment and represented a rejection of extremism. Washington sees the new government-finally formed after elections in March-as more broadly representing Iraq's people, including the Sunni minority which dominated the country under Saddam Hussein and his predecessors. "What we're really hoping to do is elicit more expressions of support for the Iraqi government," the senior official said. "And we're going to urge, I think, countries that have not already opened embassies to open embassies in Baghdad," the official said. The some 20 countries in the Arab League all have diplomatic relations with Iraq and most have opened embassies in Baghdad, but a number of them have either not staffed them or refrained from sending ambassadors. The UAE and Bahrain both have full embassies with ambassadors in place. In Qatar, US officials said, Clinton will participate in the seventh Forum for the Future, the highlight of a tour organized around Clinton's push for a better partnership between governments, business and civil society. The forum was set up by the Bush administration so that leaders from the Middle East and North Africa, the Group of Eight leading industrial countries, and delegates from business and civil society could meet to discuss reform. Another senior US official said that during every stop Clinton would meet civil society activists involved in tackling issues such as child marriage or domestic violence, as well as promoting business development and education. At the Doha forum, she will meet with a representative group "to hear about some of the challenges that they face and about what we can do to help them to do their work," the official said on condition of anonymity. But for many in the region, US support for civil society has been undermined by its failure to advance the Arab-Israeli peace process, by the turmoil in Iraq and a perceived lack of pressure on Egypt to hold free and fair elections. — AFP

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama's Republican foes triumphantly took over the House of Representatives-only to find themselves beset by criticism and nursing self-inflicted political wounds. They took heat for backing off their signal campaign pledge to cut 100 billion dollars in government spending in short order, and for bending their own rules for bringing new transparency to the divided US Congress. They drew heavy fire from Democrats for scheduling a symbolic vote to repeal Obama's signal health care overhaul-an elections promise to their archconservative "Tea Party" backerseven though the Democratic-led Senate and presidential veto pen doom that effort before it starts. Even a straightforward display of patriotism-reading aloud from the US Constitution on the House floor-went awry as eager lawmakers mistakenly skipped one section and a heckler in the tourist gallery shouted Obama was not legitimately elected. And Democrats complained that the Republican approach of not reciting original sections

superseded by later amendments, such as the definition of slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of allocating congressional seats, or the national "Prohibition" ban on alcoholic drinks. Still, Democrats and Republicans both happily took par t in what was at times an emotionall charged process, such as when civil rights icon John Lewis read the 13th amendment that abolished slavery and drew a standing ovation. Republicans faced another headache when it emerged that two of their members had sk ipped their own swearing in on the floor of the House-instead reportedly raising their right hands as they watched the proceedings on television at a reception with supporters. The gaffe led the full House to pass a measure Friday to nullify the two not-quite-yet lawmakers' votes before they were sworn in, while red-faced senior Republicans fumed at the entirely avoidable flap. The assault on Obama's landmark health overhaul earned Republicans another blow when the Congressional

Hugo Chavez dismisses criticism from OAS chief CARACAS: President Hugo Chavez on Saturday dismissed criticism by the head of the Organization of American States, who expressed concern about a new law granting Venezuela's leader power to enact laws by decree. OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza said Friday that the powers granted to Chavez by the previous National Assembly last month were completely contrary to the 2001 InterAmerican Democratic Charter. Insulza said the OAS probably would soon discuss the law, which will enable Chavez to bypass the congress for 18 months to enact laws affecting a broad range of areas. Chavez called Insulza's remarks an embarrassment. "I don't even ignore you," he said. He did not refer to similar criticism by US Assistant Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela, who called the law undemocratic and said it violated the OAS charter. Chavez obtained the decree powers shortly before a new National Assembly took office with an opposition contingent large enough to prevent passage of some types of major laws that require approval by a two-thirds majority. Venezuela's Foreign Ministry also condemned Insulza's comments, accusing him of supporting US policies of "intervention and domination" in Latin America. Insulza and Chavez have had public clashes in the past. In November, after Insulza criticized the remarks of a top Venezuelan general, Chavez called the OAS an impotent and increasingly irrelevant organization. The OAS "will have to start disappearing," Chavez said. — AP

Budget Office (CBO), a non-partisan arbiter, warned repeal would plump up the deficit by 230 billion dollars over ten years. Republicans charged Democrats had stacked the deck with rosy assumptions built into the legislation, while Democrats pointed to the new majority's decision to exempt its health care vote from rules aimed at preventing deficit increases as an admission of guilt. And Republicans found themselves on the defensive over planned spending cuts-a key plank of the platform that helped them rout Democrats in November 2 elections, retaking the House and expanding their Senate minority. Republican House Speaker John Boehner insisted they would meet their goal of lowering spending to 2008 levels after other leaders admitted they would fall well short of the 100billion-dollar figure in their signature campaign "Pledge to America." And Democrats gleefully pounced when Republican House Speaker John Boehner, asked in an interview with NBC television to name an unnecessar y government program,

replied: "I don't think I have one off the top of my head." Republicans also grappled with a challenge from the White House to raise the US debt limit, publicly saying doing so required making deep spending cuts as aides privately ruled out steps that could lead to a catastrophic US default. The setbacks proved to be little more than symbolic bumps in the road as Republicans overpowered Democrats 236-181 to set the stage for Wednesday's vote to repeal the landmark health legislation. And Republicans seemed to be rallying top Democrats to key goals, as Pelosi signalled a willingness to pursue a ban on pet project "earmark" funding and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the time was "ripe" to overhaul the US tax code -a cherished Republican goal. But much turned on the next major event on the US political calendar: Obama's annual "State of the Union" address, his highest-profile chance to present an administration retooled to manage a tense new era of power-sharing. — AFP

Venezuela govt building burns, arson suspected CARACAS: A fire ripped through a Venezuelan government office belonging to the agency that handles land takeovers Saturday, and officials said there was evidence pointing to arson. The blaze damaged 70 percent of the regional headquarters of the National Land Institute in the western state of Zulia, Agriculture and Land Minister Juan Carlos Loyo said. "There is a combination of evidence, very strong, that appears to suggest it was not a natural fire but one in which a group of individuals were involved," Loyo said in comments broadcast by state television. He did not elaborate. The agency is in charge of carrying out land seizures as part of a socialist-oriented program under which President Hugo Chavez's government is taking over big swaths of agricultural terrain. Last month, officials accompanied by soldiers and progovernment farmers began taking control of 47 private ranches in Zulia covering more than 93 square miles (240 square kilometers), about the size of the city of Seattle. At the time, Chavez called them "national lands" and argued that the owners had illegally taken them over the years. Chavez later said officials decided to let 16 ranch owners keep properties that are relatively small and being used productively. Loyo said the land agency office has

backups of all the documents and information destroyed, so the fire should not hinder the takeovers. "No matter what happens, there can be no intimidation," he said. "The politics of social justice, the liberation of our lands, must continue." The president of the national cattle ranchers' association urged authorities to conduct a "serious and impartial" investigation. Speaking by phone, Manuel Cipriano Heredia said he hoped the incident "does not get turned into an excuse to further threaten a national industry that, through the effort of several generations, created their ranches from nothing in the middle of the forest." Chavez has said the government will make part of the seized land available to the poor and use it to house thousands displaced by recent floods and mudslides. The government says it has taken over about 8,750 square miles (23,000 square kilometers) of rural land in recent years, targeting farmland that officials contend was either fallow or underused or whose ownership could not be proven through documents. The leftist leader has also expropriated or nationalized a growing list of businesses, pledging compensation in most cases, although payments have been spotty and there have been disputes. More than 200 businesses were seized in the past year, according to private-sector estimates. — AP



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Philippine troops kill 2 suspected militants Attack enforces new counterinsurgency plan MANILA: Philippine troops killed two suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen and captured another during a clash in the country’s volatile south yesterday, enforcing a new counterinsurgency plan that rules out any peace talks with the Al-Qaedalinked militants. Army troops caught up with an unspecified number of Abu Sayyaf fighters and allied rebels during an assault in the mountainous outskirts of Tipo Tipo town on Basilan island, sparking a 45-minute gunbattle, army chief Lt Gen Arturo Ortiz said. Two militants were killed and another was captured by the soldiers, who recovered two M16 rifles with ammunition and a rocket-propelled grenade. There were no army casualties. The militants withdrew and were being pursued, Ortiz said. Under a new six-year counterinsur-

gency plan that took effect this month, the government has ruled out any peace talks with the Abu Sayyaf, resolving to eradicate it by force. The militants have been blamed for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and deadly bomb attacks. The 120,000-strong military, however, will help foster peace talks with communist guerrillas and a larger Muslim group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, while dealing with their threats. Washington has blacklisted the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organization. Although they have been considerably weakened by battle casualties and surrenders, the militants still number about 340 and remain a national security threat, according to the military. The Supreme Court, meanwhile, issued a final ruling upholding the constitutionality of a 2007 anti-terror law that was sought by the govern-

ment to bolster a US-backed campaign against the Abu Sayyaf but critics feared could restrict civil liberties. The court said it did not see any new argument in appeals made by left-wing activists to overturn its earlier ruling in October declaring the Human Security Act legal. The law defines terrorism as any of at least 12 violent crimes , including murder, kidnapping, arson, piracy, coup and rebellion, that cause widespread and extraordinary panic and force the government to give in to an unlawful demand. It allows detention of suspected terrorists without charge for three days and their rendition to other countries. The law rarely has been used since it took effect because law enforcers fear the heavy punishment it includes for mistaken arrests and abuses. — AP

KUALA LUMPUR: In this Friday, Jan 7, 2011 photo released by counsel Wong Kah Woh, a 35-year-old Malaysian transsexual, left, leaves with her lawyer a High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The court refused to change the gender in her identification documents to female following a sex-change surgery, Wong Kah Woh said yesterday.—AP

Malaysian transsexual fights for rights

ST GEORGE: Floodwaters cover a bridge and flow around a weir at the town of St George, Australia yesterday. —AP

‘Dramatic’ rain warning for flood-soaked Australia SYDNEY: Heavy rains falling on Australia’s flooded north-east could have a “dramatic” impact, officials warned yesterday, stretching already swollen rivers and creeks to their limit across the devastated region. Queensland police commissioner Alistair Dawson said that severe weather lashing the already sodden northeastern state could bring flash flooding to currently dry areas with little warning. “Waters will rise quickly-you may not be aware of that rise,” Dawson told reporters. “Those places which have gone under before, especially on the road system, could well flood again within an hour.” Emergency chief Warren Bridson said the unprecedented deluge-which has hit an area larger than France and Germany combined, paralysing the key agricultural and coal-mining region-meant the rain’s impact was unpredictable. “The ground is so waterlogged, the catchments so primed, the rivers so full, the creeks are all flooding, and it will mean something more dramatic than it has in the past,” Bridson said. “That 200 millimetres (eight inches) of rain... could mean the difference between a minor flood and a major flood,” he added. The wild weather even hit Queensland’s premier Anna Bligh, with lightning striking her airplane as she toured flood-stricken areas, reportedly scorching the wings and startling those on

board with a loud bang. “Premier’s plane was just struck by lightning. We landed safely. But slightly shaken. Plane will need to be repaired,” television reporter Sylvia Jeffreys, who was tailing Bligh yesterday, wrote on the Twitter microblogging site. Bligh’s office confirmed the plane had been hit after takeoff in central Queensland and would be “out of action for a little while”, but stressed that no-one had been hurt. Several towns remained severely inundated, including a number still bracing for floodwaters to peak, and the Bureau of Meteorology said strong storms could bring more misery for already swamped towns. “Some heavy falls are likely, which may lead to localized flash flooding and/or worsen existing river flooding,” the bureau said. The town of Maryborough was expecting the raging Mary River to peak twice yesterday due to the rains, while nearby Gympie prepared for a major flood to threaten homes and businesses. River levels at the major flood centres of Rockhampton and St George remained just below their peaks, while huge clean-up operations had begun in a number of other towns, assisted by New Zealand emergency workers. Police said they had recovered the body of a 19-year-old woman who went missing while

swimming with friends in a swollen creek at Barambah late Saturday. At least a dozen lives have been lost in the floods. Thousands of homes and businesses remained without power after the floods and over 5,000 lightning strikes, electricity supplier Energex said in a statement, with crews working overnight to try to reconnect electrical cables. But the waters are not expected to recede significantly for at least another week, preventing hundreds of evacuated residents from returning home and severing the major highway to Cairns, tourism gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The “biblical” deluge has wiped out crops and brought dozens of coal mines to a standstill, driving up world prices and threatening the key steelmaking industry. The disaster is expected to shave at least Aus$6 billion ($6 billion) from Australia’s economy. Australians have donated more than $30 million to a public appeal for flood victims, AAP reported, including over $10 million raised in a telethon by the commercial Nine television network yesterday night. Tennis officials pledged to donate $10 to the relief fund for every ace served during Australia’s summer tournaments, including the Sydney and Brisbane Internationals and the Australian Open. The ATP and WTA expect to raise more than $40,000.—AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian transsexual vowed to fight for her rights after a court refused to change the gender on her identification documents to female following sex-change surgery, her lawyer said yesterday. Lawyer Wong Kah Woh said the High Court ruled Friday it was sympathetic but couldn’t declare his 35-year-old client , who isn’t identified for safety reasons, a woman because it has no jurisdiction to deal with the issue. Wong said his client had applied to the National Registration Depar tment to update the gender status on her identity card after undergoing a sex-change operation in Thailand in 2006, but was told to get a cour t order to declare she is a woman. “The court ruled it was not prepared to grant the application because it did not have the power to do so. My client is upset but she will fight for her rights and

will appeal the decision,” Wong told The Associated Press. Sex-change surgery is legal in mainly Muslim Malaysia, but transsexuals often cannot legally change their gender status. Activists have estimated there are at least 50,000 transsexuals in Malaysia, many who face widespread prejudice and often cannot find employment. Wong said in 2005 a transsexual successfully changed her gender after a judge approved her application on the grounds that it was the court’s duty to help. But in the same year, another judge rejected a similar bid by a transsexual, he said. No law exists in the country to address the issue, which has been left to the judges’ discretion, he said. Wong urged the government to enact necessary legislation to empower the courts to deal with the issue.—AP

Gates: China moving fast on new weapons BEIJING: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates says China’s rapidly developing defense capabilities are worrisome to the United States. China has made strides in building a new stealth fighter jet and Washington is also concerned about a new ballistic missile that could theoretically explode a US aircraft carrier nearly 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) out to sea. China has also apparently beaten US estimates to develop that weapon. Gates arrived yesterday in Beijing for talks about these weapons and other military issues with Chinese leaders. “They clearly have potential to put some of our capabilities at risk,” Gates told reporters traveling with him to Asia. “We have to pay attention to them, we have to respond appropriately with our own programs.” The United States has long known that China wanted to field a stealth jet, but development outpaced US intelligence estimates, Gates said. China is still years behind US capabilities in radarevading aircraft, and even by 2015 the United States would still have far more such aircraft flying than any other nation in the world, Gates said. China says it

does not pose a threat and its military forces are purely for defense , which in its definition includes deterring Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing claims as its territory, from declaring formal independence. In an apparent nod to US calls for more openness, China allowed video and pictures of last week’s runway tests of its prototype stealth fighter to be taken and posted online. Gates is trying to coax Chinese military leaders into more regular discussions with the US The Pentagon is focusing scarcer defense dollars on ways to counter the kinds of weapons China is now building. For example, Gates said recently he wants to spend more on a new long-range nuclear bomber and updated electronics gear for the Navy that could throw an incoming missile off course. Gates will also visit South Korea for talks about aver ting war with the North, as well as Japan, which is alarmed by Chinese military moves. The invitation to visit Beijing was a coup for Gates, who invited a Chinese counterpart for similar talks and a visit to the US nuclear weapons headquarters in 2009.—AP

Thai Red Shirts make new protest pledge for New Year BANGKOK: Thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched in Bangkok yesterday, saying they had learned lessons from chaotic violence last year and had a new strategy for the new year. About 10,000 “Red Shirt” protesters gathered at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument and clogged traffic as they marched to an upscale shopping area where massive crowds of protesters had camped for weeks last year before soldiers swept through and arrested top protest leaders. A brief scuffle occurred yesterday at the shopping area’s main intersection, which police had attempted to seal off with barricades. A few hundred protesters hurled plastic water bottles and pushed past the police, who stepped aside to avoid further conflict. The larger protest appeared to be peaceful. Jatuporn Prompan, a Red Shirt leader who avoided arrest because he has parliamentary immunity, vowed to hold “frequent and symbolic gatherings” twice a month— a change from the large sit-in last year that lasted 10 weeks and prompted a violent crackdown. “We have learned a lesson that big gatherings will not lead to the result we want,” Jatuporn said. About 90 people were killed and more than 1,400 were wounded in the March-May unrest, as the protesters tried to force Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to call early elections. They claim he came to power illegitimately with the help of the military. Many are supporters of

former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a military coup in 2006. Yesterday’s protest was the first since Abhisit’s government lifted a state of emergency in Bangkok on Dec. 22 that technically barred gatherings of more than five people. The ban was widely ignored by the Red Shirt movement, which continues to be active and is treated as a major threat by the government. More than 1,000 police turned out to provide security for the demonstration. The protesters planned to disperse by evening. The gathering was called to mourn those killed during last year’s violence and to demand the release of Red Shirt leaders who were detained on terrorism charges. Protesters say the government is using heavyhanded measures to suppress the movement. “It’s been too long. It is time for the protest leaders to be released,” said one demonstrator, 53-year-old fruit vendor Suk Janbuttarat. “Justice must be returned to Thailand. There has been no progress in any investigation regarding the Red Shirt deaths, or terrorism charges.” Although the violence has subsided, the Red Shirt movement exposed a deep rich-poor divide in Thailand that remains unresolved. Occasional but growing protests in the capital have continued since the military crackdown on the Red Shirt encampment on May 19. Authorities have used their emergency powers to silence anti-government media.—AP

BANGKOK: Thai anti-government demonstrators face off against riot police yesterday in Bangkok, Thailand. —AP



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German foreign minister in surprise Afghan visit

KABUL: German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, left, signs agreements with his Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rasoul before giving a press conference at the foreign ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan yesterday. —AP

KABUL: German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday on a surprise trip to Afghanistan. The visit came ahead of a German parliamentary vote in Berlin this month on extending the country’s unpopular mission in war-torn Afghanistan by one year. Westerwelle, arriving in Kabul following a trip to neighbouring Pakistan, held talks with Karzai, Afghan Foreign Minister Salmai Rassul and National Security Advisor Rangeen Dadfar Spanta. He told Karzai that Germany “will continue providing support to strengthen the Afghan national security forces,” according to a statement from Karzai’s office. It added that Westerwelle said his country “supports President Karzai’s peace initiative with the Taliban.” Westerwelle is due to have a private dinner with figures including General David Petraeus, commander of international forces in Afghanistan, and Mark Sedwill, NATO’s senior civilian representative in Afghanistan, late yesterday. He will then end his visit today, a

Cleric’s arrest sparks Afghanistan protest NATO arrest five in connection with December attacks KABUL: Hundreds gathered in a mosque in northern Afghanistan yesterday, demanding NATO forces release an influential cleric arrested in a raid that touched a raw nerve among Afghans who said they were shut out of the operation. Opening another potential trouble spot for the coalition, three civilians, including a child, were killed Saturday in the crossfire as militants battled NATO forces, according to officials in the southern province of Helmand, a Taleban stronghold. Separately, NATO said one of its service members was killed in a bomb blast in southern Afghanistan, the 11th killed so far this year. In the northern province of Kunduz, NATO said its forces, in tandem with their Afghan counterparts, arrested five people early yesterday in connection with a Dec 19 attack that killed at least eight Afghan security oldiers and police in the area. Provincial authorities said hundreds gathered in the main mosque in the city of Kunduz to protest the arrest of Mullah Nurallah, the apparent target of the raid early yesterday. But

irate Afghan authorities denied that local forces were involved. “It was carried out by US Special Forces, and if they had any Afghan special forces with them, then we’re not aware of it,” said Muhbob Sayedi, the spokesman for the Kunduz governor. “Instead of conducting early morning or late night operations targeting a house inside the city, the Americans could coordinate with Afghan police, and the Afghan police could arrest these people very easily,” he said. The involvement of Afghan security forces and coordination with Afghan officials in arrest raids is a touchy subject. Afghan officials have argued against night raids, saying they violate cultural norms in the country. Moreover, claims that NATO has acted alone sometimes, even if disproven, have infuriated officials who see it as an infringement on the nation’s sovereignty. Sayedi said the arrest of the cleric and the alleged absence of Afghan security forces in the operation touched off the protest at the mosque. Residents said a 10-year-old boy was among those detained. Lt Cmdr Katie Kendrick, a NATO

spokeswoman, disputed Sayedi’s claims, saying in an e-mail that “all coalition efforts are led by Afghan forces.” Kendrick did not identify the raid’s target and said “Afghan and coalition forces do not detain minors except under extreme circumstances, such as deliberate hostile acts against friendly forces.” The fallout from the raid reflects the growing tensions in Afghanistan toward the presence of foreign troops, and comes as NATO and Afghan officials are pushing hard to get the country’s security services ready to take over from the international coalition by 2014, when NATO plans to begin to withdraw. In Helmand, officials said they were investigating whether the three civilians were killed by NATO or insurgent bullets. The coalition has come under fire for civilian casualties several times. In another incident on Saturday in Helmand, the governor’s office said in a statement that two other civilians were killed and three wounded when a rocket struck their home. Authorities were investigating who fired the rocket, the statement said.—AP

German embassy spokesman said. Germany has some 4,600 troops based mainly in the north of Afghanistan, the third-largest contingent after the United States and Britain in an international force of 140,000. The situation in the north has worsened in recent months and 45 German troops have died in the nine-year conflict. A German national who worked for the stateowned development bank and was working in the area died in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, the de facto capital of the north, on Christmas Day. Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to troops in December that Germany was at war in Afghanistan, a sensitive point in a country where the legacy of World War II still looms large. Westerwelle told parliament in December that the German government wants to start reducing troop numbers in Afghanistan by the end of 2011 with a view to pulling out of the country completely by 2014. International troops are likely to begin conditions-based withdrawals from Afghanistan in July before handing responsibility for security to Afghan forces in 2014.—AFP

Afghanistan reconciliation must be led by Kabul: India KABUL: Reconciliation efforts between the Taleban and the Afghan government must be led by Kabul, India’s foreign minister said yesterday, warning that outside interference could undercut the prospect of a stable Afghanistan. S M Krishna’s comments appeared directed at Pakistan, where some of the Taleban’s top leadership is believed to be hiding. The remarks come shortly after a delegation from the Afghan High Peace Council traveled to Pakistan last week to discuss how to move forward with the efforts to bring the Taleban to the negotiating table. “India has always supported the efforts of Afghanistan to reintegrate those individuals who are willing to (reject) violence, respect values of democracy, pluralism and human rights as enshrined in the Afghan constitution, and do not have links with terrorist groups,” Krishna said in a joint news conference with his Afghan counterpart, Zalmai Rassoul. “The process should be Afghan led, inclusive and transparent,” said Krishna, who also met with President Hamid Karzai. “Any external interference in the reintegration process would be detrimental both for its success and for the future of a democratic, stable, pluralistic and prosperous Afghanistan.” Afghan officials have urged Pakistan to go after Islamic extremists, Taleban and AlQaeda affiliated militants who use the tribal areas

KABUL: Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna speaks during a joint press conference with his Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rasoul at the foreign ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan yesterday.—AP along their shared border to stage attacks against US-led troops. They argue that the militant groups, which also seek the overthrown of the Afghan government, undermine stability both in Afghanistan and the region, as a whole. India has also accused Pakistan of hosting the militants who have staged attacks on its soil , recriminations that have further strained ties between the two archrivals. The Taleban and other militants, such as the Haqqani network, an AlQaeda linked group, have used Pakistani soil to stage attacks in eastern Afghanistan. While Kabul and its NATO allies have pressed Pakistan to take action against the militants, Islamabad says its military is too stretched to send forces to the North Waziristan region where those groups are based. Krishna said he and Rassoul discussed the

issue of terrorism and that they agreed on the need to deal “firmly with terrorist groups that continue to exist outside Afghanistan’s borders.” India is playing an increasing role in helping Afghanistan rebuild. Indian companies are carrying out several projects in the country and Krishna said his nation was committed to staying in the country and helping Afghans as long as the “legitimately elected” government of Afghanistan wants. He said India was going to donate 100,000 tons of wheat to Afghanistan, a move linked to the drought that has ravaged crop development over the year. Krishna said the threat to his country’s mission, and its workers in Afghanistan, was “a cause of great concern,” but that he was confident the Afghan government could provide the necessary security. — AP

Indian police say at least 12 Maoist rebels killed

KARACHI: Pakistani Islamists shout slogans during a rally in yesterday against the reform of the Blasphemy law. More than 40,000 people rallied in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi, police said.—AFP

Thousands rally over Pakistan blasphemy law KARACHI: More than 50,000 people rallied in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi yesterday, police said, against the controversial reform of a blasphemy law that was behind the killing of a senior politician. Religious groups blocked a main thoroughfare in Karachi’s teeming metropolis holding banners in support of the police commando who shot dead Punjab governor Salman Taseer on Tuesday over his views favouring an amendment of the law. Taseer had called for reform of the blasphemy law that was recently used to sentence a Christian woman to death. But his outspoken liberal stance offended the country’s increasingly powerful conservative religious base. “Mumtaz Qadri is not a murderer, he is a hero,” said one banner in the national Urdu language in support of the man who carried out Pakistan’s most high-profile political killing in three years. “We salute the courage of Qadri,” said another. Religious students filled the street wearing scarves and turbans inscribed with “Allah-o-Akbar” and bellowing slogans in favour of holy war. Senior police official Mohammad Ashfaq put the overall number of protesters at more than 50,000. Another senior police official confirmed the number and said some 3,000 police officers were guarding the event, which forced the closure of businesses and roads in the area and ended after dusk without violence.

Rally leader Qari Ahsaan, from the banned Islamist group Jamaat ud Dawa, addressed the crowd from a stage. “We can’t compromise on the blasphemy law. It’s a divine law and nobody can change it,” Ahsaan told the masses. His views were echoed by many among the surging crowd. “Our belief in the sanctity of our prophet is firm and uncompromising and we cannot tolerate anyone who blasphemes. Whoever blasphemes will face the same fate as Salman Taseer,” 40-year-old labourer Abdul Rehman told AFP at the rally. Controversy over the law flared when former information minister Sherry Rehman tabled a bill in November calling to end the death penalty for blasphemy, after Christian mother-of-five Asia Bibi was sentenced to hang. Rights activists also say the law encourages Islamist extremism in a nation already beseiged by Taleban attacks. Rehman spoke to AFP from her heavily-guarded home in Karachi yesterday and said she would not be cowed by the protest. “They can’t silence me... it’s not any extreme position like a repeal bill, it’s very rational. They can’t decide what we think or speak, these are man-made laws,” said Rehman. Politicians and conservative clerics have been at loggerheads over whether Bibi should be pardoned, but following Taseer’s death, the government has made it clear that it would not support reform of the blasphemy law.

“I have already clarified and our religious affairs minister has also said that we have no intentions to amend this law,” Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters in Islamabad yesterday. Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy, but Bibi’s case has exposed the deep faultlines in the conservative country. Bibi was arrested in June 2009 after Muslim women labourers refused to drink from a bowl of water she was asked to fetch while out working in the fields. Days later, the women complained that she made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed. Bibi was set upon by a mob, arrested by police and sentenced on November 8. Christian groups held memorial services in the Punjab cities of Lahore and the capital Islamabad yesterday to honor the assassinated Muslim governor Taseer. Bishop Alexander John Malik led a rare gathering of 300 Christians at a cathedral in the eastern city of Lahore. “He was a voice for the oppressed section of society. We dedicate this day to him,” Malik said, before leading prayers for the governor. Most of those convicted of blasphemy in Pakistan have their sentences overturned or commuted on appeal through the courts. Rights activists and pressure groups say it is the first time that a woman has been sentenced to hang in Pakistan for blasphemy. Only around three percent of Pakistan’s population of 167 million are estimated to be non-Muslim.—AFP

BHUBANESHWAR: At least 12 Maoist rebels were killed in two separate clashes with police in eastern India yesterday, police said. Nine rebels were killed in a fierce gunbattle in a densely forested area of Orissa state, said Somendra Priyadarshi, deputy inspector general of police. Police are searching for rebels who fled after the gunbattle, he said. Elsewhere, three rebels were killed in a clash with police in Bokaro district of neighboring Jharkhand state, police said. The rebels, inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting the government in eastern India

for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for the poor. Their presence has expanded as they have tapped into anger among the rural poor left out of India’s economic gains. The rebels are now present in 20 of India’s 28 states and have an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 fighters, according to the Home Ministry. About 2,000 people , including police, militants and civilians , have been killed in violence over the past few years. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has often described the Maoist rebels as India’s biggest internal security challenge. — AP

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Governor General of New Zealand Anand Satyanand (right) greets Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil as Indian Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi looks on during the closing ceremony of the Ninth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2011 (Overseas Indian Conference) yesterday. Some 1,500 delegates from 50 countries gathered for the annual event of overseas Indians, with Satyanand as the chief guest. — AFP





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Eyeing rivals, Kabila wants 1-round poll By Bienvenu Bakumanya and David Lewis

push by Congo’s President Joseph Kabila to reduce elections due later this year to one round highlights fears of a growing alliance against him and heralds a turbulent lead-up to the polls. Kabila’s supporters say the country cannot foot the bill for two rounds of voting but his rivals, who now include a former heavyweight ally as well as traditional opposition leaders, accuse him of trying to change the rules to secure victory and are threatening to block any such efforts. Long-starved of real elections and battered by years of conflict Congo held a post-war election in 2006, mostly paid for with hundreds of millions of dollars of donor funding. Kabila defeated former rebel Jean-Pierre Bemba in a run-off. “It is a tactical move to change the electoral process in (Kabila’s) favour while saving money,” Jason Stearns, an independent author and expert on Congo, told Reuters. With some 60 million people living across a vast country with a weak central government and strong regional identities, the likelihood of any candidate winning over 50 percent of the vote in the first round is small. However, Lambert Mende, spokesman for Kabila’s government, said the choice between spending $350 million for one round or double that to hold a run off as well “was clear”. “The two-round election that we had in 2006 does not suit the interests of our people from a political, economic or security perspective,” Mende added. The 2006 poll paved the way for renewed investor interest in Congo’s mining and oil industries. But the business environment remains one of the world’s trickiest while conflicts still simmer in the east and rights abuses are rife. Meanwhile, Congo has slipped down the international agenda, with powers of United Nations peacekeepers, previously mandated to weigh in on internal political issues, diluted and the poll is unlikely to draw as much foreign support or scrutiny. A single-round election would require a change to the constitution that must be passed by either a referendum or a 60 percent majority in both houses of parliament. Through a coalition formed during the 2006 election, Kabila currently controls about 70 percent of the national assembly and just under 50 percent of senate. But Kabila’s rivals have vowed to block the move. “This proposal must be rejected and we will throw everything at blocking it,” said Odette Babandowa, a founding member of the UNC, which is headed by Vital Kamerhe, a former close ally of Kabila’s who has broken away to form his own party. Since leaving Kabila’s fold, Kamerhe, who was instrumental in securing millions of votes for Kabila in 2006 before becoming a popular speaker of the parliament, has fostered links with established opposition leaders from other key regions. He has talked openly of a possible second round alliance with Etienne Tshisekedi, an ageing opposition leader who still holds considerable sway in the capital and Kasai provinces. Meanwhile, he has also held talks with Bemba, who has since been arrested and faces charges of war crimes at the International Criminal Court, but whose MLC party also remains popular in Kinshasa as well as the north and west. “If (Kabila) changes the rules of the game halfway through the match, we will quit the institutions,” said Francois Muamba, MLC secretary general. Having campaigned largely on pledges to pacify and rebuild nation whose last war killed some 5 million people, Kabila has little to show for his last five years in power and struggled to quash simmering rebellions in the mineral-rich east. His government and armed forces are also regularly accused of abuse and corruption, so Stearns warned of the potential threat the as-yet-unofficial alliance between Tshisekedi, Kamerhe and Bemba’s supporters could pose in a poll. “Kabila would have a very hard time winning a run-off election. This way he gets his challengers to split the anti-Kabila vote, and he could win, even with just 20 or 30 percent of the total vote,” he said. Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, the influential archbishop of Kinshasa who has played a central role in seeking to resolve the former Belgian colony’s political deadlocks over the last two decades, said this would be unacceptable. “The president must have a certain amount of legitimacy in the country, be recognised all over and win at last 51 percent of the vote,” he said. — Reuters


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In Sudan, an election and a beginning

By Barack Obama ot every generation is given the chance to turn the page on the past and write a new chapter in history. Yet today - after 50 years of civil wars that have killed two million people and turned millions more into refugees - this is the opportunity before the people of southern Sudan. Millions of southern Sudanese will vote on whether to remain part of Sudan or to form their own independent nation. This process - and the actions of Sudanese leaders - will help determine whether people who have known so much suffering will move toward peace and prosperity, or slide backward into bloodshed. It will have consequences not only for Sudan, but also for sub-Saharan Africa and


the world. The historic vote is an exercise in self-determination long in the making, and it is a key part of the 2005 peace agreement that ended the civil war in Sudan. Yet just months ago, with preparations behind schedule, it was uncertain whether this referendum would take place at all. It is for this reason that I gathered with leaders from Sudan and around the world in September to make it clear that the international community was united in its belief that this referendum had to take place and that the will of the people of southern Sudan had to be respected, regardless of the outcome. In an important step forward, leaders from both northern and southern Sudan - backed by more than 40 nations and international organizations - agreed to work together to ensure that the voting would be timely, peaceful, free and credible and would reflect the will of the Sudanese people. The fact that the voting appears to be starting on time is a tribute to those in Sudan who fulfilled their commitments. Most recently, the government of Sudan said that it would be the first to recognize the south if it voted for independence. Now, the world is watching, united in its determination to make sure that all parties in Sudan live up to their obligations. As the referendum

proceeds, voters must be allowed access to polling stations; they must be able to cast their ballots free from intimidation and coercion. All sides should refrain from inflammatory rhetoric or provocative actions that could raise tensions or prevent voters from expressing their will. As the ballots are counted, all sides must resist prejudging the outcome. For the results to be credible, the commission that is overseeing the referendum must be free from pressure and interference. In the days ahead, leaders from north and south will need to work together to prevent violence and ensure that isolated incidents do not spiral into wider instability. Under no circumstance should any side use proxy forces in an effort to gain an advantage while we wait for the final results. A successful vote will be cause for celebration and an inspiring step forward in Africa’s long journey toward democracy and justice. Still, lasting peace in Sudan will demand far more than a credible referendum. The 2005 peace agreement must be fully implemented - a goal that will require compromise. Border disputes, and the status of the Abyei region, which straddles north and south, need to be resolved peacefully. The safety and citizenship of all Sudanese, especially minorities southerners in the north and north-

erners in the south - have to be protected. Arrangements must be made for the transparent distribution of oil revenues, which can contribute to development. The return of refugees needs to be managed with extraordinary care to prevent another humanitarian catastrophe. If the south chooses independence, the international community, including the United States, will have an interest in ensuring that the two nations that emerge succeed as stable and economically viable neighbors, because their fortunes are linked. Southern Sudan, in particular, will need partners in the long-term task of fulfilling the political and economic aspirations of its people. Finally, there can be no lasting peace in Sudan without lasting peace in the western Sudan region of Darfur. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Darfuris - and the plight of refugees like those I met in a camp in neighboring Chad five years ago - must never be forgotten. Here, too, the world is watching. The government of Sudan must live up to its international obligations. Attacks on civilians must stop. United Nations peacekeepers and aid workers must be free to reach those in need. As I told Sudanese leaders in September, the United States will not abandon the people of Darfur. We will continue our diplomatic efforts

to end the crisis there once and for all. Other nations must use their influence to bring all parties to the table and ensure they negotiate in good faith. And we will continue to insist that lasting peace in Darfur include accountability for crimes that have been committed, including genocide. Along with our international partners, the United States will continue to play a leadership role in helping all the Sudanese people realize the peace and progress they deserve. Today, I am repeating my offer to Sudan’s leaders - if you fulfill your obligations and choose peace, there is a path to normal relations with the United States, including the lifting of economic sanctions and beginning the process, in accordance with United States law, of removing Sudan from the list of states that sponsor terrorism. In contrast, those who flout their international obligations will face more pressure and isolation. Millions of Sudanese are making their way to the polls to determine their destiny. This is the moment when leaders of courage and vision can guide their people to a better day. Those who make the right choice will be remembered by history - they will also have a steady partner in the United States. NOTE: Barack Obama is the president of the United States

Vote unlikely to be embraced as precedent By Jeremy Clarke outh Sudan’s vote on independence is a morale boost for separatists in other parts of Africa, but the continent’s leaders are unlikely to embrace it as a precedent to be followed elsewhere. Southern Sudanese voted yesterday in a referendum on independence, the culmination of a 2005 peace deal that ended Africa’s longest civil war. That conflict killed 2 million people and destabilised neighbours across much of the continent. From Somalia to Cameroon to Western Sahara - and other parts of Sudan itself - rebel movements are closely watching the vote as proof that self-determination can be won. Borders that were often arbitrarily drawn by colonial powers have left Africa facing a long history of regional rebellions. The continent’s governments have collectively resisted most efforts to redraw the map. The last major change in Africa’s borders - when Ethiopia and Eritrea split in 1993 after a long guerrilla war - was accepted at the time as a one-off exception. Sudan’s situation is viewed by other African states as equally exceptional. Western powers are also loath to support separatism on the continent for fear of spreading conflict, and are likely to support the idea that South Sudan’s solution is unique. “Today there are no other movements in Africa with the history, local following and international support comparable to that of southern Sudan,” the Washington-


based United States Institute of Peace said in a report. Pro-independence movements across the continent have lined up to praise the referendum and cite it as a model to follow. “The Sudanese model should be followed by both

the Polisario and Morocco,” said Mohamed Beissat, minister delegate in the self-proclaimed government of Western Sahara, where a group called the Polisario Front is fighting Moroccan rule. “(Morocco’s) King Mohamed VI should be

inspired by the courage of (Sudanese President Omar Hassan) Al-Bashir,” he said. Nfor Ngala Nfor, vice chairman of the Southern Cameroon National Council, which seeks independence on behalf of the mainly English-

Local Sudanese women observers attend the voting process at a polling station in the suburb of Kober on the outskirts of the capital Khartoum yesterday. – AP

speaking minority there, said: “To the SCNC and southern Cameroonian people at home and abroad, the southern Sudan Referendum ... is an eye opener and great inspiration”. Somaliland, a region of Somalia that has declared independence and ruled itself for two decades, sees the referendum as a model for how to win international legitimacy, said its minister for foreign affairs, Mohamed Abdillahi. “ The question for Somaliland is to get recognition. I think if south Sudan gets recognition through this referendum, I hope that will open the way for Somaliland.” Other independence movements are seeking self-rule elsewhere on the continent, from Ethiopia to Angola - and even in other parts of Sudan itself, such as Darfur. Other African states have bestowed their blessing on the Sudan referendum as a way to end the civil war. But that is a far cry from endorsing the general principle of allowing borders to be redrawn. “This is the most broadly endorsed, broadly guaranteed agreement on the continent. It ... was brokered by an African body and endorsed by the African Union,” said International Crisis Group think tank analyst Zach Vertin. “Other regions and political forces may seek to use partition as an opportunity to alter the balance of power in a post-referendum North. But there will certainly be little interest in Khartoum in entertaining any secessionist inclinations from Darfur or anywhere else,” he added. — Reuters




Sadr clout does not bode well for US By Serena Chaudhry he political power of antiUS Shiite cleric Moqtada AlSadr increases the pressure on Iraq’s new government to reject any effort to extend a US military presence after the last US soldier leaves this year. Sadr, a firebrand still capable of rousing millions of Shiite supporters, told a rapturous audience on Saturday to oppose the United States, using his first speech since returning from selfimposed exile in Iran to reaffirm his anti-US credentials. The scion of a powerful Shiite family led two uprisings against US soldiers and his Mehdi Army militia was at the forefront of much of the sectarian violence unleashed after the 2003 US-led invasion. His militia has since laid down its arms and Sadr’s movement has turned its sights on the political arena, garnering seven ministries in the new government and proving instrumental in securing a second term for Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki. That clout, and Sadr’s presence, is likely to give Maliki even less room to manoeuvre at the end of 2011, when all US forces must withdraw under a bilateral security pact but Iraq will not be ready to fully defend its borders from attack. “Sadr will try to use his presence to stiffen the resolve of as many other Iraqi players as possible, including Maliki, to stick with the stated commitment that the United States should leave as planned,” Wayne White, adjunct scholar from the Middle East Institute, said. Maliki has said the joint secu-


Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr gestures during his first public appearance since returning from nearly four years of self-imposed exile in Najaf, south of Baghdad, Saturday. — AP rity pact will not be renegotiated and that all US troops, now numbering fewer than 50,000 compared to a peak of 170,000, must leave, but he has held open the possibility that the Iraqi parliament might approve some sort of extended presence if needed. Iraq has built up sizeable new ground forces, under US tutelage, but its fledgling air force

will not be ready to defend the country until after it receives its first expected fighter jets in 2014. Its militar y also continues to struggle against a stubborn insurgency, while Kurd-Arab tensions remain unresolved, leading to speculation that Maliki may have little choice but to ask the US military, and particularly the US Air Force, to stay on.

Any inclination by Maliki to extend the US military presence would turn Sadr - and Shiite voters - against him. “ The Maliki government and most Iraqis will want to have a relationship with the United States that serves Iraq’s national interests, while demonstrating at the same time that they are fully sovereign and independent,” said David Mack, a

former US Ambassador and Middle East Institute scholar. Since his arrival in the holy Shiite city of Najaf on Wednesday, Sadr has projected a more statesmanlike manner, removed from his role as a militant agitator in the past. But his anti-US rhetoric was unchanged. The Shiite cleric called the United States, Britain and Israel “common enemies” and demanded that the government stick to its pledge to make all US forces leave this year. His stance will likely stir apprehension amongst Iraqis and Americans hoping the United States will be a powerful ally to the country it has had a significant foothold in, and spent considerable blood and money over, since ousting Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. US officials say a military presence will be less important than a substantial diplomatic one in the future, but diplomatic interactions may also be constrained by Sadr’s anti-US influence over the government. “The US diplomatic, and security, presence will remain considerable for some years to come, but if Sadr does become a major political figure, as is likely, then this will make it less and less likely that the US can exert influence from a position of strength,” said Paul Rogers, a professor of peace studies at Britain’s Bradford University. Sadr’s ties to US foe Iran, which hosted him during his self-imposed exile and helped broker a deal between the Sadrists and Maliki, also unnerves those hoping for deep US influence over Iraq in the coming years. — Reuters

US, Pak spy agency ties suffer strains By Mark Hosenball he critical partnership between intelligence agencies in the United States and Pakistan is under serious strain. Relations between the US Central Intelligence Agency and the InterServices Intelligence Directorate, Pakistan’s principal spy unit, have long been buffeted by tensions over the Pakistani agency’s links to militant groups opposed to Pakistan’s historical enemy, India. US authorities believe some of these groups are linked to antiAmerican militants, including AlQaeda and the Taleban. Now, ties between spies in Washington and Islamabad are approaching a nadir, according to half a dozen US officials involved in foreign policy and counterterrorism. They spoke to Reuters about the issue on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. “We may be in a bit of a trough at the moment,” said a US official who follows the issue closely. The officials, who are familiar


with US military and intelligence operations in the region, say several factors have contributed to a deterioration in the US-Pakistani intelligence relationship over the past year. One sore point is the Pakistani government’s reluctance to expand Pakistani military operations against militants beyond the tribal region of South Waziristan into neighboring North Waziristan, a safe haven for anti-American militants. The US officials interviewed by Reuters said they also remained concerned that elements of ISI continue to back militants who, if not directly involved in operations against US forces in Afghanistan, may be providing shelter and other support for anti-American Taliban and al Qaeda operatives. The officials said they regard with increasing seriousness allegations by a convicted American suspect, David Headley, who accused ISI of involvement in the Nov 2008 commando attack by Pakistani militants on civilian targets in Mumbai, India. US intelligence experts had hoped that the head

of the ISI, General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, and his mentor, Pakistani Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, would dramatically curb ISI dealings with militants. But they have been disappointed by the Pakistani officials’ performance. Some of the US officials complained that their ISI contacts have been less than candid in explaining their agency ’s continuing involvement with militants. They said the relationship between ISI and their US counterparts hit a low point when the CIA was forced to withdraw its top officer in Pakistan late last year after his name was published by Pakistani media. A US official who formerly worked with ISI on counter-terrorism operations said to his knowledge no such leak had previously occurred, even though ISI was well aware of the identities of CIA operatives working in Pakistan. The leak of the operative’s name is regarded by US intelligence officials as a serious breach of trust. The US officials said they believed elements

of ISI leaked the CIA station chief’s identity in retaliation for the filing of three lawsuits in federal court in Brooklyn, New York by families of Mumbai attack victims. The suits allege that ISI’s Pasha and other agency operatives were involved with Lashkar e Taiba (LeT), an anti-India militant group, in planning and orchestrating the attacks. James Kreindler, a lawyer for the attack victims, told Reuters he had served legal papers on the ISI chief and other defendants in Pakistan. Pakistan’s government has said it will “strongly contest” the litigation. A spokesman for the Pakistani embassy in Washington denied any problems in the relationship between the ISI and the CIA. “It’s absolutely baseless to assume that ISI-CIA relations are under stress. To the contrary, their relations have expanded, improved and are at their best ever,” he said in an email. George Little, a CIA spokesman, said: “Naturally, the CIA values strong engagement with our Pakistani counterparts, especially

as we work together in the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups who threaten our country and theirs.” Some US officials say that while US-Pakistan intelligence relationship now may be greatly strained, tensions between the reluctant partners ebb and flow in cycles. “The intelligence partnership between Pakistan and the United States is fraught with complexity,” one American official said. The official said that while the relationship had “gone through a bit of a sine wave of relative ups and downs,” over time, “those shifts have become less dramatic”. Counter-terrorism experts say that the US and Pakistani intelligence services are too dependent on each other to allow current strains to deteriorate to a breaking point. “In any type of shotgun marriage, there are ups and downs,” said Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush. “This is a low period that the relationship will weather.” — Reuters

S Korea cool to N Korea charm offensive By Foster Klug recent North Korean charm offensive is a welcome thaw after the threats traded following the North’s deadly shelling of a South Korean island six weeks ago. But while tensions may be easing, don’t expect a diplomatic breakthrough on the Korean peninsula anytime soon. The North’s sudden willingness to talk fits a wellestablished and - for diplomats engaged in the often tortuous talks in the past - a tiresome pattern. North Korea, the complaint goes, creates a crisis and, when panic and fear envelope Seoul, Washington and Tokyo, then offers the possibility of negotiations to win badly needed food, fuel and other aid. The problem this time is that neither South Korea nor the United States seems willing to give Pyongyang what it wants: money. That means 2011 could be a rocky year. “More shooting, more daring raids, more carefully planned sinking of warships, more nuclear tests, more missile launches and a lot of bellicose rhetoric,” predicts Andrei Lankov, a scholar on the North at Seoul’s Kookmin University. The latest crisis started Nov 23 with a North Korean artillery attack on the South’s Yeonpyeong Island near their disputed western sea border. The shelling killed two civilians and two marines, and an escalating war of words and threats ensued. The New Year, however, has seen a change in tone. The North this week called for unconditional and early talks with South Korea. On Thursday, the North’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, called for “visits, contacts and cooperation, not only between authorities, but between people from all walks of life in the North, South and abroad.” This from a country that threatened


recently to launch a “sacred” nuclear war against the South. Seoul has dismissed the offer and urged the North to show it has changed through actions, not words. The North’s approach, however, has opened up space for negotiations. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, facing stinging criticism for what was seen as a slow, weak response to the initial attack, pushed tensions to the brink late

back harder. The North did nothing. North Korea’s military recently lifted a special alert for its bases near the western sea border, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unidentified government official. The South Korea-US combined forces command lowered its surveillance alert against North Korea on Tuesday, Yonhap said. The Defense Ministry said it could not confirm the report,

missiles. The so-called six-nation talks, which have stumbled along since 2003, were last held in Dec 2008. Since then, the North has conducted a second nuclear test, launched missiles and allegedly sunk a South Korean warship in March of last year, killing 46. Washington and Seoul have been vague about what they want from the North to restart talks. The US has indicated an open-

South Korean army trainees participate in military training at a recruit training center in Nonsan, 155 km south of Seoul, on Jan 3, 2011. – AFP last month when his military staged live-fire artillery drills, backed up with fighter jets in the skies, from Yeonpyeong Island. Essentially, Lee dared the North to respond to the new drills, promising he would hit

citing the issue’s sensitivity. Still, the future of negotiations meant to rid the North of its nuclear programs is murky. US officials worry the North will eventually develop the ability to attack its enemies with nuclear

ness to a resumption but is urging the North to demonstrate a “seriousness of purpose.” President Barack Obama’s envoy on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, met last week with officials in Seoul and

Beijing. He likely discussed with China - the North’s main ally and host of the stalled six-nation talks what it would take to get the negotiations going again. In New York, the Koreas topped the agenda of a meeting Thursday between Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said both stressed “the need for peace and stability in the region as well as for the resumption of the six-party talks.” He said Ban expressed “strong appreciation of China’s active efforts” to revive the talks. In Washington, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said Thursday after meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that North and South Korea should first reopen dialogue, and if the North “takes concrete actions,” the six-nation talks - which involve the two Koreas, Japan, the United States, China and Russia - could resume. North Korea has built a nuclear program despite sanctions and widespread condemnation and is believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for at least a half-dozen atomic bombs. It’s not thought to have mastered mounting a nuclear device on a longrange missile. It also shocked some observers in November by unveiling a uranium enrichment facility, which could give it a second way to make atomic bombs. The North says it has no conditions for talks, but it has definite goals: a peace treaty ending the Korean War, which was settled by an armistice, leaving the peninsula technically in a state of war; direct talks with the United States and the prestige of being called a nuclear weapons power. Even if the Koreas do talk, there’s little sign Pyongyang will be getting what it wants. — AP


Rising food prices bring host of risks By Peter Apps

ecord food prices will hit the world’s poorest hardest, raising the risk of riots, export bans, foreign-owned farmland expropriation and further price spikes fuelled by shor t-term investors. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Wednesday food prices hit a record high in December and could rise further on erratic global weather patterns. For the first time they outstripped levels reached in early 2008, when spiralling prices prompted riots in countries including Haiti, Egypt and Cameroon and brought demands for tighter commodity market regulation. The potential humanitarian, political and business impact - particularly in impoverished states where food makes up the largest component of the inflation basket - is already alarming policymakers and senior officials. “Food price increases impact the poor hardest as food is a higher proportion of their incomes,” said James Bond, chief operating officer of the World Bank’s political risk insurance arm the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). “It creates significant tension in poorer countries, exacerbates standard of living disparities and is a major source of unrest.” The 2008 price spike came to an abrupt end in September that year with the global crash that followed the demise of Lehman Brothers, sucking borrowed money out of markets as lenders called in their debts. But right now, no one expec ts that to happen again. So far, experts say weather-related supply shocks floods in Australia, drought in Argentina, dry weather and fires in Russia and potentially crop damaging frosts in Europe and North America were largely to blame. But they worry politics and markets could soon take over to produce a vicious circle. “The danger is that what happens now is that you get a second shock as countries can respond by imposing export bans and financial markets investors pile in for short-term investment, pushing prices much higher, as they did in 2008,” said Maximo Torero, divisional director for markets, trade and institutions at Washington DC’s International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Russia imposed export restrictions last year after fires and drought. In 2008, IFPRI says at least 13 countries including Argentina, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, China, Ethiopian, Malaysia and Zambia imposed either export bans or taxes, further squeezing supply. Torero said reports of unrest could further fuel price rises, driving speculative investment and promoting panic buying - even if the causes might often in reality be more complex. He pointed to repor ted food riots last year in Mozambique as an example, saying in reality they were as much about subsidy cuts as supply issues. “Clearly what is needed is to increase production through appropriate investment in agriculture, to increase the information on stocks around the world, strengthen the regulation of the futures markets and to have safety net mechanisms to protect the poorest consumers,” he said. Political risk insurers, who provide protection against dangers such as confiscation or political violence, are watching closely although they say there has not yet been any direct impact on premiums. “The potential is there for food riots and also for governments to take action such as embargos on food exports or nationalisation of assets involved in food production or storage in order to protect their people - not always necessarily for the sake of altruism but often to preserve their position as governments in office,” said a senior underwriter in the London political risk insurance market. The highest risks of farmland expropriation remain in Latin America, insurers say -particularly Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador - but this is more down to local political factors than rising prices. The greatest impact of the recent rally could be on land deals in Africa, some suggest. The 2008 spike produced a flurry of interest in farmland purchases both from Western funds and richer emerging countries such as China and Gulf states keen to preserve their supplies. While some deals fell through after the crash, others are now entering production. But they have proved controversial. Local anger over the purchase of Madagascan farmland by South Korean firm Daewoo was seen by some as a contributing factor in the island’s 2009 coup. “The main risks will come where they are in an area where the population is short of food themselves and the deal is seen as being in some way inappropriately negotiated,” said Jonathan Wood, global issues analyst at Control Risks. “So many of these projects are in East Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania. But a lot will depend on the individual deal.” Some investors such as London-based funds Emergent Asset Management and Chayton Capital say a key part of their strategy has been to ensure such projects clearly benefit the local community, for example through local milling. “Smart investors don’t own the land,” said Bond at the World Bank’s MIGA. “They work with contract farmers and see the domestic market as their first and most important market. It makes sense from a risk mitigation strategy.” — Reuters




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Kuwait lodge protest against Aussie referee Team supports tearful Nada

NARASHINO, Japan: A member of Japan’s Ground Self Defense Forces’ airborne troops carries an anti-tank missile launcher as he participates in the New Year’s drill at Narashino city in Chiba prefecture, suburban Tokyo, yesterday. Some 400 personnel and 17 aircrafts joined the annual open exercise at the Narashino training ground. — AFP

Dubai court: ‘Finger’ can get you the boot DUBAI: Another don’t in Dubai: keep the hand gestures clean or risk a one-way ticket home. That’s the message from Dubai’s highest court in a ruling that upheld the deportation of a Pakistani man for a case of road rage that included one of the most familiar side effects - the widely known insult of a raised middle finger. The Court of Cassation - the last stop in the appeal process - confirmed that the United Arab Emirates’ strict indecency codes cover hand gestures and the deportation sentence would stand, media reports said yesterday. It’s no surprise for those familiar with the UAE’s legal system, which is infused with traditional codes against public insults and other acts considered violations of customs in the native Gulf Arab society. But in Dubai’s cultural soup - dominated by foreign workers, visitors and sunseeking vacationers - such rules can seem far removed from the skyscrapers, Western-style malls and lifestyle options that are much closer to California than Cairo. The court ruling is the latest reminder of Dubai’s split personalities as both ambitiously cosmopolitan and

instinctively conservative. The Pakistani man sought to challenge his one-month jail sentence and deportation for giving “the finger” during a traffic altercation. The court, headed by Judge Mohammed Nabil Riyadh, ruled that deportation was acceptable to all acts deemed indecent under UAE law. The complication is that it’s often hard to distinguish the red lines. Malls feature signs appealing for “respectful” clothing by women, but miniskirts and skimpy tops are common among foreigners. Public displays of affection are officially banned, but the boundaries are unclear between a friendly kiss and romantic smooch. In March, a British couple was sentenced to a month in jail and deportation for what was described as exchanging a provocative kiss in a restaurant. The couple insisted it was just a peck on the cheek. Earlier last year, an unmarried Indian couple was sentenced to three months in jail for exchanging steamy text messages. In 2008, two Britons accused of having sex on the beach got three months in jail, though their sentences were later suspended. — AP

Unemployed Saudi teachers stage rare Riyadh protest RIYADH: A group of 250 unemployed Saudi university graduates staged a rare protest in the capital Riyadh, and the group’s spokesman vowed yesterday to keep up the demonstrations till the state creates jobs for them. The US ally and OPEC’s biggest oil exporter is an absolute monarchy and usually does not tolerate public displays of dissent. Newspapers tend to carry the official line. Despite its massive oil wealth Saudi Arabia is grappling with unemployment that hit 10.5 percent in 2009, the latest published figure. “We are a group of teachers who have not found any jobs. We have staged a peaceful protest in front of the ministry of education ... We would like to protest for longer but the police keep dispersing us,” Nayef Al-Tamimi told

Reuters. Al-Hayat daily showed a picture of graduates protesting in front of the Ministry of Education on Saturday. The protestors, who staged a similar protest in August, met with ministry officials to demand the creation of more jobs in government schools. “There is a big chance that we will stage another protest. They promised us that they will announce jobs soon but if they don’t then we will stage another protest,” Tamimi said. Teachers are offered 2,000 riyals ($533) a month in the private sector for a job that pays around 8,000 riyals a month in government schools, Tamimi said. Many Saudis are forced to work as taxi drivers, private security guards or other low-paid jobs to make ends meet - jobs the country is used to Asian

migrant labour doing. Up to a third of Saudi Arabia’s population of some 27 million are thought to be foreigners. Saudi Arabia offers its nationals social benefits but they are considered below those granted by other Gulf Arab oil producers such as Kuwait and Qatar, which have much smaller native populations. The kingdom does not publish regular jobless data, a sensitive issue for authorities since it highlights fissures in wealth distribution in one of the world’s most affluent nations. The country is currently spending $400 billion on infrastructure projects in addition to rolling out three consecutive record budgets in an effort to stimulate the economy and create more jobs for its fast-growing native population. — Reuters

Khorafi quashes calls for pm to quit Continued from Page 1 the liberal National Action Bloc, to resign after his narrow win in the most serious challenge to his government by 25 votes against 22 with one abstention. The National Bloc said in a statement that the close vote should convince the prime minister to resign and some other opposition MPs have explicitly said that the premier has failed politically and morally with the close result. MP Hussein Al-Huraiti, another lawmaker who voted for the prime minister, yesterday said that the outcome of the non-cooperation vote requires at least a Cabinet reshuffle. The statements come on the eve of a crucial meeting of the opposition today to review the result of the grilling and the subsequent non-cooperation vote and to draw a plan for the future. There are however different viewpoints

between the opposition components with hardliners wanting to continue to pressure the government and the prime minister to resign by continuing to hold public gatherings. Others however are opposed to going back to the streets to organize public gatherings, insisting that the point has been made very clear and that they should continue to monitor the government. Opposition Islamist MP Khaled AlSultan however said that the result of the vote should be left for the leadership to decide on. Sultan meanwhile charged that the government was taking excessive measures against his family’s businesses to punish him for voting against the prime minister in the noncooperation vote. Sultan called on reporters to visit the free-trade zone with their cameras to record what the government has done against his businesses in the past few days. Reports said

that the government has closed down several offices of companies owned by the Al-Sultan family and also closed down a restaurant run by the family in Fahaheel. But the commerce ministry said yesterday that it has taken the measures against companies violating licensing rules and those misusing their licenses. In other developments, head of the budgets committee MP Adnan Abdulsamad said the Ministry of Health has wasted KD 140 million of public funds for compensations for medical errors. Abdulsamad made the statement after the committee reviewed reports about the ministry budgets in the previous year. And, MP Naji Al-Abdulhadi sent a series of questions to State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan inquiring about the government’s measures to counter a possible nuclear leak from the Iranian Boushehr nuclear plant.

DOHA: The Kuwait Football Association (KFA) yesterday made an official complaint about Australian referee Benjamin Williams, who oversaw their 2-0 defeat by China in their opening Asian Cup group game. Williams showed Kuwait left-back Mesad Nada a straight red card in the first half of Monday’s Group A game here, after the defender kicked out at Chinese forward Yang Xu. He also rejected a strong Kuwaiti penalty appeal in the first half and refused to award a goal when China goalkeeper Yang Zhi fumbled the ball on his line early in the second period. Kuwait coach Gordan Tufegdzic criticised Williams’ performance in his post-match press conference and yesterday, KFA president Sheikh Talal Fahad Al-Sabah revealed that a complaint had been made against the official. “The mistakes made by the referee were effective and were made in a biased way,” Sheikh Talal claimed in a statement on the KFA website. “If the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has forgotten about the CV of the Australian referee, I will slightly refresh their memory. We all know that he made disastrous mistakes in the match between China and Malaysia in the recent Asian Games (when three Malaysian players were sent off ). Also, he committed obvious mistakes in the match between Al Sadd (Qatar) and Najaf (Iraq) four years ago. Al Sadd protested on his re-appointment for another match a year later. What happened in the match against China is not acceptable and would not occur in street matches.” The Kuwait national team were involved in one of the most famous protests in the sport’s history during a 4-1 defeat by France in the group stage of the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Mistakenly believing they had heard the referee’s whistle prior to a France goal, the Kuwait players were ordered to leave the field by then KFA president Sheikh Fahd Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who stormed onto the pitch. Soviet referee Miroslav Stupar subsequently disallowed the goal, but later lost the right to referee international matches, while Sheikh Fahd received a $10,000 fine. Meanwhile, Nada’s teammates yesterday threw their support behind the left-back following his first-half dismissal. Nada was given his marching orders in the 36th minute of Saturday’s Group A match at the Al

DOHA: Kuwait’s defender Mesad Nada is booked by Australian referee Benjamin Williams during the 2011 Asian Cup group A football match between Kuwait and China at Al-Gharafa Stadium in the Qatari capital Doha on Saturday. – AFP Gharafa Stadium after violently jabbing his foot into Chinese forward Yang Xu’s crotch during a tussle near the touchline. The 27-year-old left the pitch in tears, holding his shirt up to cover his face, but teammate Khaled Khalaf said the squad would pull together to avenge their defeat. “He’s upset because his red card may have caused the team to lose,” said Khalaf, who did not play against China. “He was crying a lot after it happened but

it is okay. We’ll try our best to make him happier after the next game.” Striker Bader Al-Mutawwa also rallied to Nada’s cause. “Mesad was very upset about being sent off but we will try to carry on without him in the next game and hopefully we can get a result,” he said, in comments reported on the Asian Football Confederation website. Kuwait face Uzbekistan in their next group match on Wednesday. — AFP

South Sudan begins independence vote Continued from Page 1 Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir as he cast his vote in front of a cheering crowd of hundreds lined up in front of the polling station. Sudan activist George Clooney was among those watching Kiir vote. Kiir, wearing his trademark black cowboy hat, appeared visibly emotional as he remembered the 2 million people killed in 1983-2005 civil war. He also honored rebel leader John Garang, who died in a plane crash shortly after the peace deal was signed. “I am sure that they didn’t die in vain,” he told the crowd. Women broke out in singing and chants and one man waved a sign saying: “A road toward sovereignty. A new nation to be born on the African continent!!!” Many voters lined up in the middle of the night, and some slept at the site of Garang’s grave, where Kiir voted. Among the voters was Mawien Mabut, a 36-year-old soldier who was grinning widely as he lined up to cast his ballot. “I have seen the inside of war so we have to stop the war now. We are very happy the Arabs are going away,” he said. Standing near him was Rachel Akech, 30. The tall, pregnant woman has traditional scars on her face and her lower teeth removed, a rite of passage in the Dinka tribe. “I couldn’t even sleep I’ve been thinking about this day for so long,” she said. “I am ready to vote.” This week’s referendum is part of a 2005 peace deal that ended the twodecade civil war between the north and south. Voters can mark one of two choices - a single hand for independence or two clasped hands for unity. The illustrations are necessary because only 15 percent of the region’s 8.7 million people can read. Southern Sudan is among the world’s poorest regions, and the UN says a 15-year-old girl here has a higher chance of dying in childbirth than finishing school. Southerners, who mainly define themselves as African, have long resented their underdevelopment, accusing the northern Arab-dominated government of taking their oil revenues without investing in the south. The fiercest period of fighting was the two-decade span that began in the early 1980s and ended with the

peace agreement. More than 1 million people headed north to escape the violence, and about 3,800 war orphans known as the Lost Boys of Sudan resettled in the United States. Some of those orphans will join thousands of other Sudanese to vote at polling sites set up in eight US cities. Sudan, geographically the largest country on the continent, will lose a third of its land, nearly a quarter of its population and much of its oil if the south secedes. Khartoum’s only consolation will be that the pipelines to get the product to market all run through its territory. In recent weeks Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir has sought to play down fears of potential violence, saying the north will accept a vote for secession. “Definitely the division of Sudan will be a painful process. However, at the end of the day, it is the ultimate right of the citizen of the south whether to stay united or secede,” Al-Bashir said in an inter view that aired on AlJazeera English Sunday. The remarks in Arabic were voiced over in English. Former US President Jimmy Carter, said yesterday that the referendum had been calm and peaceful so far. The Car ter Center has obser vers monitoring voting across the country. “I think the last thing that the leaders in the north or south want is a resumption of violence, which would be devastating to both countries, if they are two countries,” Carter said. In the nor th, many people appeared to be resigned to the loss of South Sudan. “We feel an incredible sadness that a ... very loved part of Sudan will separate from us,” said northern opposition Umma Party official Sara Nuqdullah. “We must now work to reassure the northerners in the south and southerners in the north and the tribes in the border zone that they will not be harmed,” she said, breaking down in tears. About 117,000 southerners who live in the north also registered to vote, but the scenes at polling stations in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum were far removed from the joyous scenes in the south. Many southerners fear retribution from northerners if they vote. A large billboard in downtown Khartoum featured a picture of Al-Bashir dressed in feathered southern headgear with the words:

“No to separation, together, together.” At one high school polling station in Khartoum, about a dozen staffers and obser vers sat but no voters appeared. Another station saw only a trickle of voters and some voted against independence. “I voted today, and frankly, I voted for unity,” said Aldod Akon Deng, 65, who is originally from the south. “I am here since 1964. My kids are all born in Khartoum. That’s why I voted for unity. I’ve been raised here. My family grew up here. Even if there’s separation, I’ll stay here.” Ayeng Dut, a government employee in his 50s who plans to return south, opted not to vote. “If I was in the south, I would have voted. But I’m here. I’m staying out of it,” he said. “For southerners, today is freedom.” The north and south still need to negotiate the distribution of oil revenues, rights to the White Nile, official borders and citizenship rights. Full independence wouldn’t take place before July 9, when the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, expires and a new agreement must take its place. Clashes could still flare along border hotspots and in the disputed border region of Abyei. That region had also been scheduled to hold a freedom referendum yesterday but its status is disputed by the two sides. It is likely to be subject to continued negotiations between the north and south, brokered alternately by the African Union and the United States. The US has said it may remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism if the referendum come off peacefully. About 3.9 million people registered to vote. A simple majority must vote for separation for the referendum to pass, but 60 percent of registered voters must cast ballots for the vote to be valid. After the polls close next Saturday, local polling stations will begin tallying and posting results as more than 4,000 local and international observers watch. Final results won’t be certified until February. Turnout appeared robust early in the seven-day process in the southern capital of Juba, where voters were excited to chart a new course. “Today we’re going to determine our future. We will soon be free from Arab rule,” said Ajigak Akoi, 27. — Agencies



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sp orts Wawrinka wins Chennai Open CHENNAI: Third-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka overcame Xavier Malisse in three sets to start the new season by winning the 450,000 dollars ATP Chennai Open title yesterday. The Swiss world number 21 survived a mid-match lapse in concentration to outclass the 60th-ranked Belgian 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 in two hours and 14 minutes at the Nungambakkam Tennis stadium. Wawrinka’s third career title earned him 68,000 dollars and 250 points as he made amends for the loss to Marin Cilic of Croatia in last year’s final in the southern Indian city. It was a disappointing result for Malisse, who was in good form throughout the week but faltered at the last hurdle to remain without a title since February, 2007. Wawrinka, the number two Swiss player behind Roger Federer, served and volleyed superbly, taking advantage of his rival’s hesitant backhand play. The opening game lasted nine minutes as Wawrinka saved three break points before conceding the lead, but Malisse lost his advantage after being broken in the eighth game to make it 4-4. — AFP

Too many F1 changes: Trulli MILAN: Team Lotus driver Jarno Trulli says too many changes have been brought into Formula One for 2011 and that having two teams carrying the Lotus name is “embarrassing and surreal”. “There are too many new things, from aerodynamics to tyres to KERS. We talk about saving money but each year the rules change, people don’t understand, it becomes less of a show,” the 36-year-old Italian told Sunday’s Gazzetta Sportiva

newspaper. Team Lotus will race against the rebranded Lotus Renault this season following a row over the use of the name. The former have backed down from a plan to use the same black-and-gold colours on their cars and will instead go for green livery. “Which is the real one? We don’t know, it’s embarrassing, surreal,” added Trulli, who said his team did not have a car launch date yet because many workers were still on holiday. —Reuters

Lee dominates Super Series TAIPEI: Lee Chong Wei, the world number one, kept his monopoly on badminton’s Super Series Finals title, sweeping aside Denmark’s Peter Gade 219 21-14 in yesterday’s final. The Malaysian has dominated the season-ending tournament since its inception, remaining unbeaten and dropping only one game in its three-year history. The final was a repeat of 2008 and Gade, now 34, had to play second fiddle again, bowing out in 40 minutes. Lin Dan, China’s Olympic champion and former world number one, failed to qualify for the finals after missing various Super Series events during the season. The women’s title went to Chinese world number two Wang Shixian who beat South Korea’s Bae Youn-joo, world ranked eight, 21-13 21-15. The first leg of 2011 Super Series, the Malaysian Open, starts in Kuala Lumpur on Jan. 18. —Reuters

GLENDALE: Goaltender Ryan Miller No. 30 of the Buffalo Sabres makes a pad save on the shot as Eric Belanger No. 20 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates in during the NHL game. —AFP

Red Wings down Canucks in shootout NHL results/standings Results and standings from NHL games on Saturday. Philadelphia 2, New Jersey 1; NY Islanders 4, Colorado 3 (OT); Montreal 3, Boston 2 (OT); Tampa Bay 2, Ottawa 1; Minnesota 4, Pittsburgh 0; Washington 3, Florida 2; NY Rangers 2, St. Louis 1; Buffalo 2, Phoenix 1 (OT); Nashville 2, San Jose 1; Detroit 2, Vancouver 1 (SO); Los Angeles 6, Columbus 4. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF GA Philadelphia 26 10 5 137 107 Pittsburgh 26 13 4 136 101 NY Rangers 25 15 3 126 107 NY Islanders 13 20 6 94 125 New Jersey 10 29 2 72 130

PTS 57 56 53 32 22

Northeast Division 21 12 7 113 91 23 16 3 105 99 18 18 5 113 119 16 20 6 93 126 16 20 4 105 121

49 49 41 38 36

Southeast Division Tampa Bay 25 12 5 125 131 Washington 24 12 6 123 109 Atlanta 22 16 6 137 136 Carolina 19 15 6 117 120 Florida 18 20 2 109 106

55 54 50 44 38

Western Conference Central Division Detroit 27 10 5 145 118 Nashville 22 13 6 106 97 Chicago 22 18 3 133 124 St. Louis 20 14 6 107 112 Columbus 20 19 3 107 130

59 50 47 46 43

Northwest Division Vancouver 27 8 6 141 99 Colorado 21 15 6 139 134 Minnesota 21 15 5 107 114 Calgary 18 20 4 112 123 Edmonton 13 20 7 101 138

60 48 47 40 33

Pacific Division Dallas 24 13 5 120 116 Anaheim 22 18 4 116 123 Los Angeles 23 17 1 124 105 Phoenix 19 13 9 113 117 San Jose 21 16 5 119 117

53 48 47 47 47

Boston Montreal Buffalo Ottawa Toronto

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

VANCOUVER: Jiri Hudler scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Saturday’s clash of the top two teams in the NHL. Johan Franzen tied it for Detroit on a power-play breakaway in the first minute of the third period and the Red Wings went on to end the Canucks’ eight-game winning streak. Despite the loss Vancouver remained atop the NHL standings with 60 points, one more than Detroit and three ahead of Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia. Daniel Sedin scored a second-period, power-play goal for the Canucks, who haven’t lost in regulation in 16 games (13-0-3). Wild 4, Penguins 0 In Pittsburgh, Minnesota extended its unlikely hex over Pittsburgh by winning 4-0 against a Penguins team missing Sidney Crosby. Stand-in goaltender Jose Theodore made 26 saves for his first shutout of the season while Chuck Kobasew, Mar tin Havlat, Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Brodziak scored for the Wild, who are on a season-high four-game winning streak. Theodore has an impressive 19-

4-3 record against Pittsburgh. He has star ted each game of the Minnesota winning streak because usual starter Nicklas Backstrom is out with a groin injury. Theodore has allowed only two goals in three games. The Wild are 9-2-1 against the Penguins and have never allowed more than two goals in a game, and have won six of seven games in Pittsburgh. Crosby missed his second straight game — both Penguins losses — because of a concussion.

Boston. Pacioretty put a wrist shot past Tim Thomas into the top left corner and then pushed Bruins captain Zdeno Chara as he skated behind him, touching off a confrontation. Montreal, which played its 3,000th NHL home game, tied it with two goals late in the third. Scott Gomez scored a power-play goal, then Brian Gionta scored the tying goal with 48 seconds left. Patrice Bergeron scored a pair of second-period goals for Boston.

Rangers 2, Blues 1 In St. Louis, New York goalie Martin Biron made 24 saves to beat St. Louis for the first time in 11 career games. Derek Stepan scored and Sean Aver y netted the goahead goal in the second period for the Rangers - the only NHL team that hadn’t beaten the Blues in regulation in the past 10 seasons. New York leads the NHL with 31 road points (15-7-1) and 10-1 when playing the second game of consecutive nights. The Blues’ Brad Winchester opened the scoring in the second period.

Predators 2, Sharks 1 In San Jose, Sergei Kostitsyn broke a tie early in the third period by scoring in his fifth straight game to lead Nashville over San Jose. David Legwand also scored for the Predators, who have won five straight. Rookie Logan Couture scored the lone goal for San Jose, which has dropped four straight home games and have scored just four goals in those losses.

Canadiens 3, Bruins 2 In Montreal, Max Pacioretty scored in over time, completing Montreal’s comeback win over

Lightning 2, Senators 1 In Ottawa, Martin St. Louis scored a tiebreaking goal in the third period to give Tampa Bay victory over Ottawa. Adam Hall added a goal for the Lightning. Zack Smith scored the lone goal for the Senators.

Capitals 3, Panthers 2 In Washington, Alex Ovechkin’s skates left the ice as he scored a goal off a breakaway, helping Washington edge Florida. Mike Green snapped a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal with 6:52 left. About two minutes later, Ovechkin made it 3-1, taking the puck off the boards, streaking in, and tumbling to his back after scoring his 15th goal. Florida’s Evgeny Dadonov scored with 1:37 remaining to make it a one-goal game, but the Panthers couldn’t convert on a power play over the final 65 seconds. Mike Santorelli also scored for Florida. Kings 6, Blue Jackets 4 In Los Angeles, the home team snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Columbus. Jarret Stoll scored twice, Dustin Brown started a three -goal first period with his team-high 17th, rookie defenseman Alec Martinez scored during a power play, and Ryan Smyth added an insurance goal after Columbus cut a 4-0 deficit to 4-3. Justin Williams an empty netter. Sabres 2, Coyotes 1 In Glendale, Arizona, Drew Stafford scored in overtime to lift Buffalo over Phoenix. Jordan

Leopold also scored for the Sabres, who won their fifth straight against Phoenix. Scottie Upshall scored the lone goal for the Coyotes, who are winless in six overtime games this season. Flyers 2, Devils 1 In Philadelphia, James van Riemsdyk and Danny Briere scored and Brian Boucher stopped 34 shots to lead Philadelphia over New Jersey. The NHL-worst Devils lost one day after trading captain Jamie Langenbrunner to Dallas. New Jersey dropped its 11th straight road game, one shy of the team worst set in 1983. Defenseman Andy Greene scored for New Jersey. Islanders 4, Avalanche 3 In Denver, John Tavares’s overtime winner gave New York victory over Colorado. Kevin Poulin stopped 34 shots, Jeremy Colliton scored twice and Blake Comeau added a goal for the Islanders. The Avalanche tied the game with 4 seconds remaining in regulation when Milan Hejduk sent in a backhanded shot from the side. It was Hejduk’s second goal of the game. David Koci scored early for Colorado. —AP

Gut shocks Vonn to win Super-G ALTENMARKT: Switzerland’s Lara Gut celebrated her first World Cup victory since returning from a one-year injury lay-off yesterday when she upset favorite Lindsey Vonn to win the Altenmarkt Super-G. Gut, the world downhill and supercombined silver medallist, clocked one minute, 12.82 seconds. Vonn-the American who won Saturday’s downhill on the same course-finished second, 0.53 seconds behind. The Swiss Dominique Gisin was third, 0.72secs adrift. Overall World Cup leader Maria Riesch of Germany was sixth and now leads Vonn in the World Cup standings by 96 points.

Gut admitted her triumph-her second ever World Cup win, two years after her first-came at a price. “I’m sure my body is bruised all over because I hit every single gate on the course,” she told reporters. “I was too subdued in the downhill (on Saturday) and skied aggressively today, but I almost went out in the double (gate) and had to put the brakes on.” Yet Gut, who missed all of last season after a hip operation, added: “Today I felt almost like the skier I was two years ago. “I’m not there yet, I’m not consistent enough, especially in giant slaloms, but I know it’s only a matter of

time.” Gut had had a troubled return to competition after she was suspended by her federation last month for criticising the Swiss team coach, Mauro Pini. Vonn was relieved to finish as high as second after a mistake nearly ruined her run. “I was lucky to get away with it, and after such a mistake you’re just glad to be at the finish at all,” she said. “To be second in these circumstances is really good.” The Austrian Elisabeth Goergl, third overall, finished fourth in the Super-G. Compatriot Nicole Hosp clocked the best intermediate times until the final section, and eventually finished fifth. —Reuters

AUSTRIA: Switzerland’s Nadja Kamer competes during the women’s super-G in FIS Alpine skiing World Cup. Switzerland’s Lara Gut won ahead of Lindsey Vonn of US. —AFP



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KAPALUA: In this three photo combo, Robert Garrigus reacts after making an eagle putt on the 18th green during the third round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions golf tournament. —AP

Garrigus shares Kapalua lead KAPALUA: Robert Garrigus sank a monster eagle putt at the last to join fellow Americans Steve Stricker and Jonathan Byrd in a tie for the lead in Saturday’s third round of the Tournament of Champions. Garrigus repeatedly punched his right fist into the air in celebration after his ball rammed into the back of the cup to give him a four-under-par 69 following a tricky day for scoring at the Kapalua Resort. The feared Kona wind blew throughout the round but his 56-foot eagle putt put him level with Stricker (65) and Byrd (67) at 18-under 201 in the PGA Tour’s elite seasonopening event. “That one on 18 sure was sweet,” a smiling Garrigus told reporters after ending the day on a high following an ugly double-bogey, bogey start. “I’m thinking if it didn’t catch the hole it wouldn’t have been on the green. “I thought just getting back to under par for the day

was going to be good for me. That putt on 18 just kind of capped it off. Man, that was really nice.” Stricker birdied six of the last eight holes in the blustery conditions to set the clubhouse lead before being joined at the top by Byrd and Garrigus. “Teeing off, you didn’t really know what to expect because the wind had flipped around,” Stricker said after recording nine birdies and a lone bogey. “I just kept giving myself chances all the way around on the back side, hit them close and made the putts. All in all, a good day and I got myself in position to win.” Byrd had a chance to grab the outright lead when playing the par-five 18th but he misjudged his wedge approach from just short of the green before two-putting from there for a par. “That front pin, it’s a pretty tough hole location,” Byrd said. “I was trying to fly it almost all the way to the hole and

it just had a lot of spin on it, it came off a little low and kind of hot. “I wasn’t too excited to have a 60-footer up the hill for birdie on the last hole. If you hit it past that hole, it’s going down that hill. So fortunately it was a good two-putt.” Swede Carl Pettersson was alone in fourth at 15 under after shooting a 71 in the final pairing of the day with Garrigus. Matt Kuchar, who charged up the leaderboard with seven birdies in nine holes around the turn, was a further stroke back in fifth after carding a 66. Five players held at least a share of the lead during a wildly fluctuating round which overnight pacesetter Garrigus began badly by dropping three shots in the first two holes. However he recovered with birdies at the third, fourth and ninth to reach the turn in a four-way tie for the lead with Byrd, Pettersson and Kuchar.

Stricker charged into contention with a sizzling run of five birdies from the 11th while Byrd kept pace with four birdies after the turn. Just when it seemed that Stricker and Byrd would take a one-stroke lead over their rivals into Sunday’s final round, Garrigus joined them in dramatic fashion with his longrange eagle putt on the 18th green. “I feel great,” said Garrigus, who booked his place in the elite winners-only field at Kapalua with his maiden PGA Tour victory at the season-ending Disney Classic in 2010. “I didn’t think I was going to be playing this good coming into the week, but I knew I was ready. I love being in this position. It’s kind of like a drug when you get out there and your blood is flowing ... it’s so much fun to be here.” Garrigus, Stricker and Byrd are each bidding to become the first American to triumph at Kapalua since Jim Furyk in 2001.—Reuters

Soderling bags Brisbane title

SEATTLE: Seahawksí Marshawn Lynch (24) breaks away from the tackle of New Orleans Saints’ Tracy Porter to score a touchdown in the second half of an NFL NFC wild card playoff football game.—AP

Saints, Colts bundled out SEATTLE: The two top teams of last season, the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts, were both bundled out of the NFL playoffs in dramatic style on the first day of the postseason Saturday. The Seattle Seahawks, written off by everyone but the most ardent fan, pulled off one of the bigger upsets of NFL playoff history by beating the defending champion Saints 41-36. Then a field goal as time expired gave the New York Jets a 17-16 win over the Colts. Seahawks 41, Colts 36 Coach Pete Carroll, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and a Seattle team that no one believed deserved to be in the postseason pulled off a win that proved they belonged in the playoffs. Hasselbeck threw four touchdown passes and Marshawn Lynch scored on an electrifying 67-yard run with 3:22 left. The Seahawks (8-9) held a 34-20 early in the fourth quarter but quarterback Drew Brees looked ready to lead the Saints (11-6) on one of their patented comebacks. However Lynch broke several tackles for his TD to finish off the Saints. The Seahawks, the first division winner with a losing record, will play next weekend, either at top-seeded Atlanta or No. 2 Chicago. Hasselbeck, cleared to play just two days ago because of a hip injury, threw for 272 yards and his four TD passes set a playoff career high. The veteran quarterback threw two touchdown passes to tight end John Carlson in the first half and started the second half with a 38-yard pass to Mike Williams to give Seattle a 31-20 lead. The game wasn’t clinched until Lynch provided a run that’ll be replayed in the Pacific Northwest for years. He took a second-down carry with less than four minutes to go and then the highlights began. He broke six tackles on the 67-yard run, tossing in a stiff arm that sent cornerback Tracy Porter to the turf and completed the longest scoring run of his career. Lynch finished with 131 yards on 19 carries, the first Seattle back to top 100 yards all season. Hasselbeck, Lynch and a strong performance by Seattle’s offense extended the Saints franchise misery to 0-4 in road playoff games. The Saints were considered the second-best team in the division behind the NFC South-winning Falcons. Even though they lost to Tampa Bay in the season finale a week ago and were without running backs Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory, safety Malcolm Jenkins and linebacker Danny Clark, the Saints were favored by 10 points to advance.

Brees and the Saints just couldn’t keep up with Hasselbeck and the Seahawks offense. Brees led one final drive, hitting Devery Henderson on a 6-yard touchdown with 1:30 left to get within 41-36. Brees finished 39 of 60 for 404 yards and two touchdowns. But DeShawn Wynn was stopped on the 2-point conversion, Garrett Hartley’s onside kick was recovered by Carlson and the Seahawks were home. Carroll, in his first year as coach, gathered his team at midfield after the game, jumping up and down on the Seahawks logo with most of his team joining in. Hasselbeck left the field to a rousing ovation and his youngest son propped up on his shoulders. Jets 17, Colts 16 In Indianapolis, coach Rex Ryan and New York finally got the made-for-TV ending they wanted. The bombastic Ryan got his victory over Manning when Nick Folk made a 32-yard field goal as time expired. All week, Ryan turned this into a coach vs. quarterback matchup, referring to his 1-5 record against Manning as Jets coach and Ravens defensive coordinator. Instead, it came down to Folk becoming a hero. With his main tormentor out of the way, Ryan and the Jets next head to New England seeking to avenge the Patriots’ 45-3 demolition job at Foxborough earlier this season. The Colts beat the Jets for the AFC title a year ago and thought they had done so again Saturday when Adam Vinatieri made a 50-yard field goal with 53 seconds to go. But Antonio Cromartie returned the ensuing kickoff 47 yards and Mark Sanchez needed five plays to get the Jets into position for the winner. Manning was 18 of 26 for 225 yards and one TD, and got Vinatieri, considered the best clutch kicker in league history, in position with an eight-play, 48-yard drive in the final 21/2 minutes. But he left 53 seconds on the clock for New York. After Braylon Edwards made a leaping 18-yard catch to take New York to the Colts 14, Folk’s kick went right down the middle. “Any time you lose on a last-second field goal, it certainly stings,” Manning said. Jets tailback LaDainian Tomlinson, considered washed-up by some before the season, carried 16 times for 82 yards and scored on two 1-yard runs. “It’s emotional, exciting and all those things at once,” Tomlinson said. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight against a great team.” The Colts actually helped the Jets’ winning drive by calling timeout with 29 seconds remaining and with the ball at the Indianapolis 32. —AP

SYDNEY: Top seed Robin Soderling underlined his credentials as an Australian Open contender by overpowering defending champion Andy Roddick 6-3 7-5 to win the Brisbane International yesterday. Soderling, who had not dropped a set all week and only been broken once, matched Roddick’s fiercesome ser vice game and unleashed his deadly forehand to win his seventh professional title. The Swede’s victor y ensured he would move above Britain’s world number four Andy Murray in the rankings and take fourth seeding for the Australian Open, which starts on Jan. 17. The 26-year-old stayed calm as Roddick raged through a delay while rainwater that came under the roof of the Pat Rafter arena was cleared from the court, and sealed his triumph with a 16th ace after an hour and a half. “I’m playing really well and what makes me really happy is I never really played well in Australia before,” said Soderling, who has never been past the second round at Melbourne Park. “I didn’t have the results here and now finally I have won a tournament playing really good tennis, which makes me really happy. It gives me a lot of confidence for Melbourne.” World number eight Roddick was always on the back foot in the contest and required a couple of aces just to win his first service game against the powerful Swede. That only delayed the inevitable and Soderling,

BRISBANE: Robin Soderling of Sweden holds the trophy after defeating Andy Roddick of the US in the men’s final at the Brisbane International tennis tournament.—AFP who was running the game from the back of the court, got the break at the next attempt before racing to a 4-1 lead. Soderling summoned up another trio of aces to give himself set point four games later and went 1-0 up with a low crosscourt backhand that kicked off the line. “He ser ved too well today, it seemed like any time I had a look, he came up with one of those big serves,” said Roddick. “I’m normally at the other side and it’s better on that end of the serve.” The American continued to struggle to keep his serve at the start of the second set-it took him seven minutes to go 3-2 up-and the frustration boiled over when play had to be

stopped. Roddick was incensed at the way umpire Fergus Murphy had tested how slippery the court was and made it quite clear he was not prepared to take any risks before the year’s first grand slam. “I’m not going to get hurt before Melbourne,” he grumbled at Murphy. The wet weather in Queensland has left an area the size of France and Germany combined under water and Roddick after the match pledged to double his $100 per ace donation to the relief fund, boosting his contribution to $10,800. Soderling had remained in his chair with a towel over his head throughout the delay and when play resumed was quickly on the Roddick serve again, racking up his seventh, eighth

and ninth break points of the match against none for his opponent. Former number one Roddick has never been one to give up, however, and he saved all three before succumbing to Soderling’s 10th break point with a netted backhand. Soderling cooly served out for victory before heading over to the stands to kiss his girlfriend and shake his new coach Claudio Pistolesi by the hand. “ We’ve only worked together for a couple of weeks, this is the first tournament, and it’s working pretty well, no?” Soderling, who pocketed a cheque for $73,000, said of Pistolesi, who replaced M agnus Norman last month. —Reuters

Clijsters rolls in Sydney SYDNEY: Kim Clijsters beat Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1 6-2 in her first competitive match of 2011 to ease into the second round of the Sydney International yesterday. The third-seeded Belgian did not face a single break point in the 62-minute match, which set up a secondround contest against Nadia Petrova or a qualifier in the $990,500 warm up for the year’s first major. The 27-year- old former world number one was knocked out of Australian Open by Russian Petrova last year, her first return to the tournament after taking two years out of the game to have a child. “I had a good feeling with the way I was playing in

Thailand and I was looking to lift my game up even a bit more,” Clijsters, who won an exhibition match against world number one Caroline Wozniacki in Thailand last week, told reporters. “I’m happy with the level that I played and with my intensity and my focus and everything. It was a good match today.” Twice grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova also reached the second round by beating 2009 Australian Open quarter-finalist Jelena Dokic 6-2 62. The Russian’s victory over wildcard Dokic, who has been suffering from a stomach virus, earned her a second-round tie against Australian number one Sam Stosur or Clijsters’ compatriot Yanina Wickmayer.—Reuters



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Pakistan destroy Kiwis HAMILTON: Pakistan completed a thumping 10-wicket victory in the first Test over New Zealand inside three days after they had bowled the hosts out for just 110 in their second innings after the tea break. The visitors had been given a victory target of just 19 runs after they established a 92-run first innings lead earlier on Sunday before left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman was again the principle tormenter of New Zealand’s batsmen, taking three wickets for 24 runs and creating enormous pressure. Rehman, who was named man of the match, also combined magnificently with left-arm pace bowler Wahab Riaz, who ended with three for 38, while Umar Gul mopped up the tail to finish three for 28. Mohamam Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar then wrapped up the victory in just 3.4 overs to guide the visitors to 21-0 and a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. The second test begins in Wellington next Saturday. “We didn’t feel we would win today,” captain Misbahul-haq told reporters. “The wicket was a bit flat, a bit slow and it wasn’t easy to get the batsmen out but I think the bowlers did a fantastic job and they won the match today.” New Zealand had gone to tea at 33 for no loss, however they crumbled after the break, losing seven wickets for 35 runs. Tim McIntosh, who was dropped by Taufeeq at first slip off Umar Gul and sur vived two confident lbw appeals before tea, was the first to go when he danced down the wicket to Rehman only to see the ball slide past his outside edge and be stumped by Adnan Akmal for three. Brendon McCullum was next to go, though he could be considered unlucky when he was given out by umpire Rod Tucker for 35 caught by Akmal down the leg side off a Wahab delivery. Television replays, however, showed he had not hit the ball with the deliver y deflecting off his thigh pad. Coincidentally McCullum was given not out in the first innings when replays suggested the ball had brushed his gloves. The umpire review system is not being used in the series. New Zealand then collapsed with Martin Guptill (11), Jesse Ryder (0), Ross Taylor (8) and Kane Williamson (1), all being dismissed for the addition for a total of one run, while captain Daniel Vettori was out lbw for three to

10-wicket win

NEW ZEALAND: Pakistan cricketers celebrate the wicket of New Zealand captian Daniel Vettori during their Test match at Seddon Park in Hamilton.óAP reduce the hosts to 71 for seven. McIntosh was dismissed with the team score on 36. “I think we fought pretty hard this morning to give ourselves a chance to come back into the game,” Vettori said after they had dismissed Pakistan for 367. “I thought the three seam bowlers worked pretty hard

and did a good job throughout the game, particularly Tim Southee. “It was probably his best test match bowling performance I’ve seen from him ... but then to let it all slip with a familiar batting performance in the third innings, it just leaves a really sour taste.” — Reuters

Scoreboard at the end of the first test between Pakistan and New Zealand after the third day at Seddon Park on yesterday: New Zealand first innings (275) Pakistan first innings (overnight 235-4) M. Hafeez c McIntosh b Martin 0 T. Umar c Williamson b Arnel 54 A. Ali c Young b Martin 24 Y. Khan c & b Arnel 23 Misbah-ul-haq lbw b Arnel 62 A. Shafiq lbw b Southee 83 A. Akmal c Ryder b Southee 44 A. Rehman b Arnel 28 U. Gul lbw b Vettori 17 T. Ahmed c Southee b Martin 18 W. Riaz not out 0 Extras: (nb-3 w-1 lb-6 b-4) 14 Total: (all out, 122.1 overs) 367 Fall of wickets: 1-0 2-72 3-104 4-107 5-256 6-256 7332 8-332 9-365 10-367 Bowling: Martin 25.1-7-86-3 (w-1, nb-2), Southee 3210-82-2, Arnel 28-6-95-4, Vettori 29-12-48-1 (nb-1), Williamson 6-0-33-0, Guptill 2-0-13-0. New Zealand second innings T. McIntosh st Akmal b Rehman 3 B. McCullum c Akmal b Wahab 35 M. Guptill c Taufeeq b Rehman 11 R. Taylor run out 8 J. Ryder lbw b Wahab 0 K. Williamson c Hafeez b Wahab 1 R. Young c Azhar b Gul 12 D. Vettori lbw b Rehman 3 T. Southee c sub b Gul 17 B. Arnel not out 7 C. Martin c Misbah b Gul 8 Extras: (nb-5) 5 Total: (all out, 38.3 overs) 110 Fall of wickets: 1-36 2-44 3-60 4-60 5-61 6-61 7-71 890 9-96 10-110 Bowling: Gul 8.3-3-28-3 (nb-1), Tanvir 4-1-20-0 (nb-1), Rehman 15-6-24-3, Wahab 11-1-38-3 (nb-3). Pakistan second innings M. Hafeez not out 9 T. Umar not out 12 Total: (for no wickets, 3.4 overs) 21 Bowling: Martin 2-0-11-0, Southee 1.4-0-10-0. Result: Pakistan won by 10 wickets Man of the match: Abdul Rehman (Pakistan)

India win Twenty20

DURBAN: India’s captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni holds the trophy after winning their Twenty20 cricket match against South Africa at the Moses Mabhida stadium. — AP

DURBAN: Late replacement Morne van Wyk upstaged the millionaires of the Indian Premier League but couldn’t stop India beating South Africa by 21 runs in a one-off Twenty20 international at the Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday. Van Wyk hit the fastest half-century by a South African in a 20-overs international but when he was out for 67 his team-mates subsided on a low, slow pitch. India, spurred by an innings of 53 off 34 balls by Rohit Sharma, made 168 for six. South Africa, with black icon Makyaha Ntini playing his last international, could only manage 147 for nine. Van Wyk, 31, who played the most recent of his previous six one-day internationals and two T20 internationals three seasons ago, was called up when Test captain Graeme Smith was ruled out by a heel injury. On the weekend of the IPL auction, when the lowestpriced Indian player was signed up for 700,000 dollars and several of his South African teammates attracted substantial bids, Van Wyk was the only South African to master the pitch and the Indian bowlers. Van Wyk went to his half-century off 24 balls. He hit five sixes and five fours before being caught at deep square leg for 67, made off 39 deliveries. Van Wyk and AB de Villiers (14) put on 57 off 29 balls for the third wicket but it was always going to be an uphill struggle after De Villiers was run out by a direct hit from Suresh Raina. “When Morne and AB were going we were ahead of the rate,” said South African captain Johan Botha. “But for guys coming in it was difficult to keep up.” Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that conditions had suited India better than the hosts. “After winning the toss the aim was to put runs on the board. Rohit batted really well. On this wicket it was a very

good total to defend.” The match marked the last international appearance of South African fast bowler Ntini, who got a rousing reception from a crowd of about 47,000 but conceded 46 runs off four overs without taking a wicket. He had the consolation of holding a good catch on the long-on boundary to end

Sharma’s innings. Sharma, fresh from the news that he had been bought for two million dollars by IPL franchise Mumbai Indians, hit five fours and two sixes. Suresh Raina hit 41 off 23 deliveries before being caught off the last ball of the innings going for a big hit. — AFP

SCOREBOARD DURBAN, South Africa: Scores in a one-off Twenty20 international between South Africa and India at the Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday: India 1 H. Amla b Nehra V. Kohli b Botha 28 C. Ingram c Kumar b Patel 2 14 M. Vijay c Van Wyk b Parnell A. de Villiers run out (Raina) 14 R. Sharma c Ntini b Duminy 53 J. Duminy lbw b Yuvraj 0 Yuvraj Singh run out (Miller) 12 D. Miller lbw b Pathan 10 Y. Pathan b Theron 6 J. Botha c Sharma b Nehra 25 S. Raina c Miller b Theron 41 R. Peterson c Kohli b Pathan 2 M. Dhoni not out 10 W. Parnell c Pathan b Ashwin 14 Extras (lb1, w3) 4 J. Theron not out 1 Total (6 wkts, 20 overs) 168 M. Ntini not out 1 Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Vijay), 2-67 (Kohli), 3-109 (Sharma), Extras (b4, lb3, w3) 10 4-110 (Yuvraj), 5-136 (Pathan), 6-168 (Raina) Total (9 wkts, 20 overs) 147 Bowling: Parnell 4-0-25-1 (w1), Ntini 4-0-46-0, Theron 4- Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Amla), 2-31 (Ingram), 3-88 (De 0-39-2 (w1), Villiers), 4-89 (Duminy), 5-93 (Van Wyk), 6-108 (Miller), 7Peterson 3-0-20-0 (w1), Botha 3-0-25-1, Duminy 2-0-12-1 120 (Peterson), 8-141 (Parnell), Did not bat: R. Ashwin, P. Kumar, A. Nehra, M. Patel. 9-144 (Botha) Bowling: Kumar 3-0-17-1 (w1), Nehra 4-0-22-2, Patel 2-0South Africa 26-1, Ashwin 4-0-33-1 (w2), Yuvraj 4-0-20-1, Pathan 3-0M. van Wyk c Nehra b Kumar 67 22-2

Kuwaiti shooters honored By Abdellatif Sharaa KUWAIT: The new season of Kuwait Shooting Club began with a fitting tournament named after the late Sheikh Ali Sabah Al-Salem AlSabah, whose family was on hand to give away the trophies and prizes to the winners. The late Sheikh Ali Al-Sabah’s family made sure that outstanding shooters be honored and awarded Kuwait’s shooters who won medals during the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. The closing ceremony was attended by Deputy Chairman of National Security Sheikh Thamer Ali Sabah Al-Salem, President of Kuwait and Asian Shooting Federation and Vice-president of the ISSF Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Sheikh Sabah Bader Sabah Al Salem Al-Sabah, Sheikha Reem Ali Sabah Al-Salem, President of the Arab Shooting Federation and Deputy Chairman of KSSC Eng Duaij Al-Otaibi and KSSC board members.

Vice -president of Myanmar Shooting Federation Htet Nyi and President of Slovania Shooting Federation Igor Rakusa were in attendance. Sheikh Thamer Al-Sabah thanked Sheikh Salman and Engineer Duaij and the rest of the shooting community for their efforts. He hoped that this event will continue forever, and shooting is a noble sport. He said shooting has made new strides and deserved to be recognized as they are winning medals, and hoped this support continues to bring out a new generation of shooters to continue winning and keep Kuwait in the advanced places they already reached. “We also call upon the juniors who we just saw, who achieved record scores at the club level, and hope to honor them in future tournaments”. Meanwhile, Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah said “We are honored every year by organizing the

tournament of the late Sheikh Ali Sabah AlSalem, and this event has an important significance in preparing the shooting teams for the 2011 tournaments abroad which decides who will go to the London 2012 Olympic. “I thank the family of the late Sheikh Ali Sabah Al-Salem for their appreciation of the shooting achievements as evident in honoring the shooters who won gold and silver medals in Guangzhou, China”. Sheikh Salman said “You noticed the new shooters both male and female at the junior level, and they are very promising and will compete at the international level”. He thanked all those who worked and exerted their efforts at the shooting school, which brought out such an outstanding shooters. The tournament witnessed strong and heated competition as evident by many scores that had to be settled by shoot offs to decide the winners and placing.

Sheikh Thamer Ali Sabah Al-Salem hands Zaid Al-Mutairi his first place trophy

Results of the tournament are as follows

Sheikha Reem Ali Sabah Al-Salem hands Mai Irzouki her first place trophy.

Skeet (Men) First: Zaid Dakheel Al-Mutairi 145/150 Second: Abdallah Al-Rashidi 145/150 Third: Salah Al-Mutairi 144/150

Skeet (Women) First: Afrah Abdelrahman 81/100 Second: Sheikhah Al-Rashidi 80/100 Third: Iman Al-Shamma’ 77/100

Air rifle (Women) First: Mariam Irzouqi 500/500 Second: Heba Irzouqi 491.2/500 Third: Ayesha Qasem 488.9/500

Trap (Men) First: Tami Al-Rashidi 138/150 Second: Nasser Al Miqlid 136/150 Third: Abdelrahman Al-Faihan 134/150

Air pistol (Men) First: Zaid Al-Thafiri 648.7/700 Second: Ali Al-Mutairi 642.5/700 Third: Mohammad Al-Ajmi 640.5/700

Archery (Men) First: Ali Al-Jassem 477 Second: Sami Al-Kandary 473 Third: Faleh Al-Askar 471

Double Tra (Men) First: Mishfi Al-Mutairi 186+2/200 Second: Hamad Al-Afasi 186+1/200 Third: Fuhaid Al-Daihani 18/200

Air rifle (Men) First: Khalid Al-Subaie 689.0/700 Second: Abdallah Al-Harbi 682.7/700 Third: Brislav Mazinjanin 681.6700

Archery (Women) First: Sanaa Al-Khudari 243 Second: Maali Al-Failakawi 130 Third: Noor Hassan 128

Trap (Women) First: Shahad Al-Hawl 84/100 Second: Sarah Al-Hawal 79/100 Third: Rasha Al-Fares 76/100

Air pistol (Women) First: Mai Irzouki 463.4/500 Second: Iman Boland 455.9/500 Third: Awatif Al-Qallaf 449.4/500



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Syria stun Saudi Arabia DOHA: Syria shocked 2007 finalists and three -time champions Saudi Arabia 2-1 at the Asian Cup yesterday in Group B, piling yet more pressure on their underfire coach Jose Peseiro. Syria, who had to hold on for grim life in the end and survived several scares, had Abdulrazak Al Husein to thank for the unexpected victory, the midfielder bagging a brace-both off deflections. With Japan and Jordan drawing 11 earlier in the day, the unheralded

Syrians top the Group B table after one of the biggest victories in their footballing history. Syria had marginally the better of the tense opening exchanges, midfielder Wael Ayan flashing the ball wide with a left-footed half-volley on three minutes that never troubled Saudi keeper Waleed Abdullah. That was the highlight of an unattractive opening quarter of an hour at a three-quarters full Al-Rayyan Stadium that was marred by each

QATAR: Syria’s midfielder Wael Ayan (right) jumps for the ball with Saudi Arabia’s defender Abdullah Shuhail during their 2011 Asian Cup Group B football match. —AFP

side constantly squandering possession. The prolific Yasser Al Qahtani, the Saudi Arabian captain and their talisman, then had his first whiff of an opportunity, but he was snuffed out by some dogged Syrian defending inside the six-yard box. Nicknamed “the Sniper” for his pinpoint accuracy in front of goal, Al Qahtani had been a major doubt for the game with a minor foot injury. Ayan was always a willing outlet on the left for the Syrians, outsiders to make it out of Group B after a shambolic preparation that saw Romanian Tita Valeriu drafted in as coach just weeks before the big kick-off. But it was Saudi Arabia who should have taken the lead, Al Qahtani’s strike par tner Nassir Alshamrani slotting the ball wide when he ought to have done better. Roared on by vocal and fanatical Syrian support, Mohamad Al Zino then brought a smart save out of Waleed on the half hour with the Saudi keeper diving low to his right to palm the ball out for a corner. It was the first shot on target of the half. On 38 minutes Syria took the lead. Saudi defender Osama Hawsawi could only clear the ball as far as Al Husein, who shot first time from just outside the box with the ball deflecting in off the head of Abdullah Shuhail. Syria had the goal and they carried the momentum into the secondhalf, immediately putting their more highly-rated opponents on the backfoot. However, the Saudis then enjoyed a sustained period of possession. Marauding right full-back Shuhail three times sent in decent crosses from the byline, but to no avail, as Syria began defending deeper and deeper. On the hour came the equaliserand a moment of horror for Syrian keeper Mosab Balhous. His unconvincing punch from a corner was headed back towards goal by substitute Taiseer Al Jassam. It should have been a routine save for the Syrian captain, but he inexplicably flapped at the ball, letting it slip between his legs and into the net. But the Saudis were level for just three minutes, as Al Husein grabbed his second, the ball again going in off a Saudi defender after the midfielder followed up just inside the box on a sloppy clearance. —AFP

United knock Liverpool out LONDON: Kenny Dalglish endured a painful return as Liverpool manager yesterday, losing 1-0 at fierce rival Manchester United in the FA Cup after conceding a penalty in the first minute and having his captain Steven Gerrard sent off. Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov went down under Daniel Agger’s challenge, and Ryan Giggs scored the resulting spot kick. Dalglish’s problems mounted 32 minutes into the third-round match when Gerrard was dismissed for a lunge on Michael Carrick. “The two decisions are important factors in the game, but if you went into detail about them it would take away from the commitment of the players,” Dalglish said. “It’s difficult to come here. They are top of the league and when you are down to 10 men and lose a goal in the first minute you need to show commitment, and the players did that and they had great support here today as well.” Dalglish, who quit as Liverpool manager in 1991, was hired again on Saturday until the end of the season after Roy Hodgson lost his job only six months after being appointed. Also yesterday, Chelsea began its cup defense with a 7-0 rout of manager-less Ipswich and Jermain Defoe scored twice as Tottenham advanced with a 3-0 victory over third-tier club Charlton. At Old Trafford, Liverpool felt that Berbatov went down too lightly before World Cup final referee Howard Webb awarded the penalty. “Of course it was a penalty,” Berbatov said. “There

was enough contact for me to lose my balance and people know I do not go to ground easily. “I thought Liverpool put in a good performance and I thought their ‘keeper, Jose Reina, was their best player and made some good saves — but we were the better side.” Before Gerrard was sent off, United defender Rafael da Silva avoided any sanction for a challenge into Raul Meireles that won the ball but was also twofooted. “In the dressing room before the game someone said to me, ‘The game’s not changed that much,”‘ Dalglish said. “I said, ‘I thought it was a non-contact sport.’ Maybe I was right.” Chelsea went some way to lifting the gloom at Stamford Bridge by crushing Ipswich. Carlo Ancelotti’s side went into the game on their worst league run for almost 15 years following a loss at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Ancelotti’s decision to continue last season’s policy of fielding some youngsters in the early rounds of the cup worked. Daniel Sturridge and Frank Lampard scored twice, Salomon Kalou and Nicolas Anelka also found the net and Ipswich’s Carlos Edwards flicked the ball into his own goal. After a scoreless first half at White Hart Lane, 19year- old winger Andros Townsend marked his Tottenham debut with a goal four minutes after the break. Defoe, who started his career with Charlton, made it 2-0 with a low drive before rounding off the victory by scoring his fifth goal of the season. —AP

LONDON: Manchester United’s Northern Irish defender Jonny Evans (right) vies with Liverpool’s Dutch forward Ryan Babel during the FA Cup third round football match. —AFP

QATAR: Jordan’s forward Odai Al-Saifi (left) challenges Japan’s midfielder Daisuke Matsui during the 2011 Asian Cup Group B football match. —AP

Japan hold Jordan in Asian Cup DOHA: Defender Maya Yoshida scored an injury-time goal to earn Japan a 1-1 draw against Jordan in the Asian Cup yesterday and avoid an upset. Japan dominated the Group B match from the start but struggled to break down the physical Jordanian defense. Japan had several chances in the first half, with one goal disallowed for offside. Japan striker Shinji went past two defenders in the 43rd minute, only to see his shot saved by Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shafi. Jordan barely tested Japan before it opened the scoring in the 44th when Hasan Abdel Fattah’s strike rebounded off the foot of Yoshida. Japan, ranked 29th, attacked for most of the second half, forcing a string of saves from Shafi. Japan came close in the 62nd when an attempt from Makoto Hasebe was just kept out by Shafi. In injury time, Yoshida received a

cross from Hasebe and shot past Shafi to equalize. “I couldn’t have imagined this result,” Japan’s Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni said. “We had prepared ourselves to win.” Zaccheroni praised substitute striker Shinji Okazaki but said his team’s performance overall was “soso.” “Jordan played defensively in the first half. We had ball position but it didn’t matter,” Zaccheroni said. “We couldn’t get a goal even though we had chances and then we gave up the own goal which made it difficult for us.” Jordan coach Adnan Hamad called the result “sad”. “I would like to admit this was a good match,” Hamad said. “A victory was possible. The result was a sad result but not a bad result.” In the two teams’ only other meeting in the Asian Cup, Japan beat Jordan in the 2004 final on penalties. Saudi Arabia and Syria are the other teams in Group B. —AP

Udinese, Milan in eight-goal thriller ROME: AC Milan grabbed an injurytime leveller to share a 4-4 draw with Udinese at the San Siro yesterday in a thrilling game that gave them a sixpoint lead at the top of Serie A. Udinese had led 3-1 at one stage and also moved into stoppage time with a 4-3 lead but Milan were rewarded for their never-say-die attitude. And with second-placed Lazio failing to capitalise as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to Lecce-who are rooted in the bottom three-Milan even opened their lead at the top of Serie A to six points, although Napoli could cut that to four if they beat Juventus in the day’s late game. Udinese’s Antonio Di Natale scored a brace with Alexis Sanchez and German Denis also finding the net for the visitors. But a Pato double, a Medhi Benatia own-goal and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s last gasp leveller ensured the hosts avoided a second successive home defeat following their 1-0 reverse against Roma in December. “Udinese played really well, they caused us problems, especially in the first half,” said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri. “After the break we were careless a few times but we did well to get a draw, I think the draw is fair. My lads played a great match particularly in terms of character.” Udinese opened the scoring on 35 minutes when midfielder Gokhan Inler’s shot beat goalkeeper Marco Amelia but came back off the post to Di Natale who was left alone to slot home into an unguarded net. Milan equalised on the stroke of half-time when Ibrahimovic crossed for Pato to tuck home from six yards. Sanchez put the visitors ahead again soon after the restart when he converted Mauricio Isler’s cross with a diving near-post header. And When Di Natale escaped on the counter-attack, turned inside Daniele Bonera and shot home, Milan looked certain to be heading for defeat. But on 77 minutes Benatia inadvertently headed Thiago Silva’s cross beyond his own goalkeeper Samir Handanovic. And Pato snatched his second eight minutes from time as he pounced on substitute Antonio Cassano’s pass, turned his marker and wrong-footed Handanovic. But there were two more twists to come as Denis struck on the counterattack as Milan were pushing up looking for a winner themselves. And then deep into injury time Cassano teed up Ibrahimovic to finish

crisply and snatch a draw. Lazio would have been expected to earn an easy three points at home to Lecce who started the day one off the bottom. But the visitors went ahead on 39 minutes when Jeda’s shot hit the post and went in off Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera’s back. Lazio captain Stefano Mauri equalised from close range at the start of the second period but 20 minutes from time Carlos Gossmueller was left unmarked at the back post to score the winner. Leonardo continued his winning start as Inter Milan boss as his team came from behind to win 2-1 at Catania. The hosts took a deserved lead when Alejandro Gomez mopped up the loose ball after Dejan

Stankovic had headed Maxi Lopez’s goal-bound shot off the line. That shocked Inter into life and Stankovic played in Esteban Cambiasso to finish cooly. And the Argentine scored his second when he headed home a cross from Maicon 11 minutes from time. In the day’s early game, Sampdoria hurt Roma’s title chances as they also came from behind to win 2-1. Mirko Vucinic gave Roma the lead but goalkeeper Julio Sergio was sentoff when conceding a penalty in bringing down Angelo Palombo after Juan’s woeful back pass. N i co l a Poz z i s co re d f ro m t h e spot and then former Roma midfielder Stefano Guberti hit the winner after another uncharacteristic

ITALY: AC Milan’s Brazilian forward Robinho controls the ball against Udinese during their Italian Serie A match. —AP




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Australia look to humble India DOHA: Tournament heavyweights Australia open their Asian Cup campaign against minnows India today with a potential goal fest on the cards. Nothing but an impressive Group C win at AlSadd Stadium will satisfy Socceroos fans against a team ranked 142 in the world that will be doing its best to avoid complete humiliation. Australia’s German coach Holger Osieck, however, is keen to keep expectations in check. “Our preparation so far has been okay. The players are ready and looking forward to starting the tournament because the worst part is when you have to wait, so it will be good to get the game underway,” he said yesterday. “We want to be convincing on the pitch. The atmosphere in the group is excellent and if we can transfer everything we have done in training, we can have a decent performance level. “But I never pay much attention to statistics and rankings. We are far from being arrogant.” After switching from Oceania to the Asian Football Confederation, the Socceroos approached their first Asian Cup in 2007 confident of winning but learned some harsh realities about playing in the region. They struggled with the heat and humidity in Thailand and Vietnam and crashed out in the quarter-finals to Japan. Four years on, they are less complacent and more conditioned to Asian football. Captain Lucas Neill said they had learned a lesson. “The previous tournamemt was disappointing. The negativity of that we have turned into a positive and now the preparations have been thorough,” he said. “The dream and desire is the same-we want to win the tournament, but we’re only going to concentrate step by step and India is all we are thinking about.” Key players from the 2007 squad-Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell, Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer and Brett Emerton-remain the core of the team and Indian coach Bobby Houghton admits his side will have their work cut out. “Everyone who plays Australia will have great respect for them, they are a very experienced team,” said the English journeyman, who has also coached China and Uzbekistan in his long career. “Five of their players have probably played 1,000 games in the English Premiership-no other team has that pedigree. “They still have to get that together but I see them as favorites to win the tournament. “It will be a tough game for us and will be difficult but we’ll approach it in the way we always do-to try to win. We are confident about our own abilities. They are a good team but surprises happen in football.” India have spent time in the UAE and Portugal preparing for the tournament but have been hit hard by injuries, with captain and star player Bhaichung Bhutia struggling with a calf muscle strain. Houghton said Bhutia would not play against Australia, but is confident he could make their third match against South Korea. “Bhutia is a big influence on the team, a fantastic servant and we want to give him every chance to play in this event,” he said. As well as injuries, they have been hit by controversy, with manager Pradeep Chowdhury walking out on the team in December after an apparent spat with Houghton, prompting players to accuse him of deserting them. The team is in Qatar courtesy of winning the eight-nation AFC Challenge Cup as hosts in 2008 — a tournament of lower-tier Asian teams. It is their first outing at the showpiece event since 1984, where they failed to make any impact, in contrast to their maiden appearance in 1964, when they finished runners-up. —AFP

DOHA: Australia soccer team head coach Holger Osieck (left) chats with Lucas Edward Neill at the press conference for the AFC Asian Cup. —AP

Prince Ali becomes the new kid on FIFA’s block DOHA: Prince Ali bin Al Hussein laughs at the thought that when he was 25, he was friends with most of the players in the Jordanian national team but couldn’t get a game because he wasn’t as good as them. He’s chuckling because as a very youthful and fit chairman of the Jordanian FA, if he could have picked himself, it is unlikely anyone would have stopped him. “But I was never good enough,” he told Reuters in an interview in the Qatari capital, “although it was great to be the same age as them. “That was very useful. There was some opposition to me from the establishment, but it was good to be close to the players and know what they were thinking. It was useful.” Instead of a playing career, the youngest son of the late King Hussein and late Queen Alia applied himself to the serious business of soccer politics. And on Thursday, still only 35, he was elected as Asia’s vice-president on the FIFA Executive Committee beating the seemingly impregnable Chung Mong-joon of South Korea, who was backed by the powerful Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari president of the Asian Football Confederation. Prince Ali, who strongly supports FIFA president Sepp Blatter and has his backing in return, will become the youngest member of the executive by some considerable margin, and is intent, in as diplomatic a way as possible, to change some of the current thinking at the top. He agrees it may take him years to have any major impact in a committee full of far older and experienced soccer politicians than himself, but he does have some fresh ideas. One, of course, regards future World Cups. Qatar’s suc-

cess in securing the right to stage the 2022 World Cup finals provides the perfect catalyst for some new thinking. Intriguingly, he hinted that the concept of rotating future World Cups around the continents, could one day be re-examined. “I don’t necessarily think that it’s the end of the day for anyone who lost out in the World Cup bids last month. The idea now is to go from continent to continent, but even that should not necessarily be the case,” he said. “We really have to work in the future on getting the World Cup to the nations that best deserve it.” He agrees, though, that the last month has been exciting in the Middle East following Qatar’s success. “It is good to have a celebration in the Middle East, for far too long, we have not had anything to celebrate about. “Hopefully it will embrace the region and have the kind of effect on the population that the World Cups had in South Africa or in Germany in 2006 when it gave the Germans a lot of pride and unity in their country.” He also agreed that if the 2022 World Cup were to be staged in the winter months, that would not trouble him. “I know the issue was raised after the decision to host it in June and July was taken, but we need to ensure it is a success. “We would have to talk to our friends in Europe and the other continents and obviously there is a winter break in some European countries. “It would be a lot less expensive if you didn’t have to use air-conditiong in the stadiums and a lot more comfortable in the winter so basically we want the best conditions for our players and fans.” Prince Ali, who was educated among other places at


Cho keeps cool amid high hopes for South Korea

SPAIN: Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano, from Argentina (right0 vies for the ball against Deportivo’s Saul Fernandez (left) during their Spanish Leaguesoccer match. —AP

Barcelona blank Deportivo MADRID: Lionel Messi scored a stunning freekick and helped set up two more goals as Barcelona swept hosts Deportivo Coruna aside 4-0 to surge five points clear at the top of La Liga on Saturday. The Argentine World Player of the Year, who is up against team mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta for the FIFA Ballon d’Or on Monday, swept in a freekick in the 51st minute, having already set up striker David Villa for the opener. Iniesta made it 3-0 in the 80th and almost immediately Messi’s driving run led to the ball breaking to Pedro, who lifted the ball into the net for the fourth. The champions maintained their perfect away record in La Liga to move on to 49 points from 18 games, putting the pressure on chasing Real Madrid, who host thirdplaced Villarreal at the Bernabeu on Sunday. Barca extended their unbeaten streak to 26 matches in all competitions but Spain striker Villa preached caution. “We may be on a good run but we have a team like Real Madrid pushing close behind us,” he told Spanish television. “There is still a long way to go.” Villa raced on to Messi’s pass after 26 minutes and squeezed his shot under Daniel Aranzubia to put Barca ahead. Messi claimed his 18th goal of the campaign with a freekick which curled round the wall and into the top corner after the re-start, and Iniesta killed off the game, running across the edge of the area before firing inside the far post. After Pedro’s cool finish, Messi almost grabbed a second but Aranzubia did just enough to deflect his shot wide.

Asked who would win the Ballon d’Or, which will be awarded for the world’s best player on Monday, Villa said: “In the dressing room the general opinion is that it doesn’t matter. For us, it is good enough that the winner is already among us.” Earlier, two goals in three minutes from Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute helped Sevilla fight back to win 3-2 at promoted Real Sociedad. Sevilla’s fourth straight victory in all competitions helped lift Gregorio Manzano’s improving side up to ninth with 26 points from 18 games. They are behind Athletic Bilbao on goal difference after the Basque side drew 1-1 at Malaga. Mali striker Kanoute volleyed Sevilla level in the 25th minute, soon after Diego Rivas had opened the scoring at Anoeta, but Joseba Llorente put the home side back in front with a breakaway goal after hesitant defending just before halftime. Brazilian striker Fabiano poked the ball home from close range after a corner in the 63rd to level the scores again and Kanoute fired in a off the post soon after to seal the win. Bilbao’s Javi Martinez headed a 93rd-minute equaliser in off the post to deny Malaga at the Rosaleda. Argentina defender Martin Demichelis, one of four new Malaga signings on show, had marked his league debut with a glancing header from a corner in the 81st to give the hosts the lead. Malaga remain in 16th place with 17 points, now four points above the relegation places. —Reuters

Ronaldinho set to join Flamengo Barca trio in running for FIFA Ballon D’Or BERNE: Barcelona’s Xavi, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta are on the shortlist for the first FIFA Ballon D’Or award for the best player in the world to be presented yesterday at a ceremony that gets bigger by the year. The award is a fusion of FIFA’s Player of the Year gong, inaugurated in 1991, with France Football magazine’s Ballon D’Or, which has been going since 1956. For the first time, the coach of the year will also be named with Vicente del Bosque, winner of the World Cup with Spain, competing against Barca’s Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, who led Inter Milan to the Champions League title last season. FIFA will also name its world eleven of the year-one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards — with five players competing for each position. Like the candidates for the player and coach of the year awards, the 55 players on the shortlist are all based in Europe. The merger of the two player of the year awards means an increased voting panel with selected journalists joining the coaches and captains of national teams, who chose FIFA’s award. In a normal year, Messi’s outstanding performances and stunning goals for Barca would be enough for him to win for the second year running. However, a disappointing World Cup with Argentina could cost the forward, who won the FIFA and France Football awards last year, his crown and leave the door open for midfielders Xavi and Iniesta, who inspired Spain’s World Cup win. —Reuters

the Royal Military College in Sandhurst, England, and makes no secret of his passion for Arsenal, says he has no intention of using his title or privileged background to get his way. “If I am to serve my continent properly, then I have to listen to the needs of the majority. I didn’t win this election because of my title, I won it because the national associations believed in me and that it was time for a change. “I really felt it was time to energise and utilise the position after Dr Chung’s 16 years. “I want to work closely with the other continents and create a FIFA Vice-President’s Development Fund to support the pillars of my programme. In Asia we need to develop youth football, women’s football, the amateur game and the professional game. “We need to go down to the schools, find the talent, it’s a big problem in many parts of Asia that children are not taken through all the steps that would happen in Europe or South America. “There is a lot of dignity in Asia but a lot of improvement needed to make Asian football better than it is now.” His election success, coupled with Qatar’s World Cup vote, suggests a change in the balance of power in Asian, and perhaps global, soccer politics. Prince Ali makes no secret of his support for Blatter, but could he one day succeed him ? “I am just looking ahead for the next four years. It would be good to have eight years in the job at least, but I am not thinking beyond that. “I have a good chance of making an impact,” he said, “I listened to the national associations and they know I will deliver.” —Reuters

SAO PAULO: Palmeiras said yesterday it is no longer interested in signing Ronaldinho, leaving popular Brazilian club Flamengo as the sole contender to acquire the player. The announcement came a day af ter Gremio, the club where Ronaldinho started his career, also gave up on the player, accusing him and AC M ilan of demanding too much. The collapse of the deal made Ronaldinho extremely unpopular in his hometown, where fans protested and a local congressman wanted to declare him persona non grata. Fans in Por to Alegre described Ronaldinho as a “mercenary” and a “traitor” after the player dismissed a return to the club where he started playing at age seven. Palmeiras also criticized Ronaldinho, deploring the negotiating tactics used by his brother and agent, Roberto Assis. A group of Gremio fans reportedly insulted Ronaldinho at a night club and he had to be escorted by security guards. Even football legend Pele took a shot at Ronaldinho, saying money shouldn’t have been an issue for him at this stage of his career. “If he really loves Gremio like he said, he should play there for free,” Pele said. Gremio withdrew its interest in signing Ronaldinho after saying that

Ronaldinho the demands from the player and AC Milan increased too much in the final stages of the negotiations, which the club said were nearly complete. A party was already being prepared to introduce the player. Palmeiras president Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo said he had been assured the player was going to close the deal with his club, which is coached by Luiz Felipe Scolari, but was surprised to hear through local media that Assis continued negotiating with other

teams. “We will never accept this type of behavior,” Belluzzo said in a statement on the club’s website. The 30-year-old Ronaldinho had said he wanted to play for Gremio, but that the deal also depended on AC Milan, which has allowed the player to end his contract and return to Brazil in an attempt to revamp his career. Congressman Gilmar Sossella said he is already preparing the petition to declare Ronaldinho a persona non grata in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, saying it is the second time that Ronaldinho has betrayed Gremio. Gremio suppor ters resented Ronaldinho when he left the club in 2001 to sign with Paris Saint-Germain. Fans and club directors wanted him to stay but he negotiated a transfer to the French club despite publicly denying that he wanted to leave Gremio. The congressman said on his website that words are “worth more than a contract” in the state. Gremio president Paulo Odone also attacked Assis, saying the agent had told him that the deal was virtually sealed. Odone said lawyers from both sides were working on the seventh version of a contrac t for Ronaldinho’s transfer. —AP

DOHA: South Korea may be one of the favorites to win the Asian Cup going into their Group C opener against Bahrain today, but coach Cho Kwang-Rae says the key to success will be keeping calm. World Cup semi-finalists on home soil in 2002, South Korea reached the round of 16 at last year’s World Cup and are in Qatar bidding to end a 51-year wait for honors at Asia’s premier international tournament. They kick off their campaign against Bahrain at the Al Gharafa Stadium before a showdown with fellow heavyweights Australia on January 14, followed by a final group game against India on January 18. South Korea and Australia are widely expected to breeze through the group phase, but Cho insists his men cannot afford to take their eyes off the ball in their opening game. “I’ve watched videos of Bahrain’s matches and I’ve been to the stadium to watch their games,” Cho said on Sunday. “The analysis has been done. Bahrain are a strong all-round team, so it will be quite a difficult game for us. “I will speak to the players. The only thing they need to focus on is playing with confidence. Once they start enjoying the game, they will do a good job.” Cho’s words were echoed by captain Park JiSung, who has hinted that this may be his final international tournament. “The first match of the tournament is very important,” said the Manchester United midfielder. “We have many young players without international experience, so I will tell the boys to enjoy the game. Once they are comfortable in the game, they will have no problems.” South Korea warmed-up with a training camp in Abu Dhabi, where they played against Syria and a local club side. Cho revealed that he had taken special steps to prepare his team for the nimble attacking play characteristic of Gulf sides such as Bahrain. “In comparison with when the players were called up at the beginning of our preparations, we have progressed a lot,” said Cho, who was appointed in July. “We were especially focusing on not letting the skillful Middle East players play their own game and get on the ball. “That aspect has progressed a lot. The players have improved their organisation. I’m satisfied with their preparation.” Bahrain beat South Korea 2-1 when they met at the last Asian Cup in 2007, but progressed no further than the group phase. They limped out of the Gulf Cup late last year after picking up only a single point, and coach Salman Sharida says they will have to get to grips with the speed of the South Korean team. “The Korean national team, like all the national teams in modern football, depend on speed,” said Sharida, a former Bahrain international. “Korea rely on playing the ball quickly. But Bahrain are capable and we have the ability to withstand the speedy play of the Korean team.” Bahrain are crossing their fingers that captain Salman Isa will play after the left-back sustained a leg injury prior to the tournament. The Al Arabi Club star took over the captaincy when previous skipper Mohammed Salmeen broke his leg but tore a muscle in a recent friendly against Saudi Arabia. “Salman Isa is undergoing treatment and his condition is improving by the day,” said Sharida. “He took part in training and his condition will determine whether he plays or not. I would say there is an 80 percent chance he will play.” Australia and India meet in the other Group C match today, with the top two sides from each group going through to the last eight. —AFP

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

Asian Nations Cup India v Australia ................... 16:15 Aljazeera Sport Global Aljazeera Sport +10 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD Aljazeera Sport 1 South Korea v Bahrain ......... 19:15 Aljazeera Sport +4 Aljazeera Sport Global Aljazeera Sport +10



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Hello Africa, India’s calling

NAIROBI: Airtel advertisements line a street in Nairobi on Friday. Millions of mobile phone subscribers in Africa saw the icon on their phone screens change to Airtel last fall. The change means little to the average customer, but for the continent, itís another sign that India is moving in. — AP

Kuwait sees output hike if oil hits $110 World’s economies can afford $100 price: OPEC KUWAIT: Speculation could push oil prices to rise to $110 per barrel within a few weeks, which may prompt OPEC to raise production, a member of Kuwait’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) said yesterday. “Demand will increase slightly, but this increase in price is usually technical, due to analysts’ forecasts and speculations,” Imad Al-Atiqi, a member of the country’s highest oil policy body, told Reuters in a telephone interview. “This (increase) could be a reason to increase produc-

tion so the oil market does not get worried ... especially if the rise was quick and crossed the $110,” he said. However, OPEC members are unlikely to meet before their scheduled meeting in June if prices reach $100 a barrel, Atiqi said, adding that the global economy could afford a $100 oil price, and that it would not hurt recovery. “It wouldn’t because this is coordinated with other strategic commodities like gold, metals, food and basic materials,” he said. Last week Kuwait’s oil minister Sheikh

NBK official forecasts global market trends By Nisreen Zahreddine KUWAIT: NBK group Chief Investment Officer George Richani held a presentation about the global markets’ outlook in 2011 at Sheraton hotel yesterday. It was divided into several themes that had to do with performances of global markets in 2010. The situation of the foreign exchange markets, monetary policy, interest rates and quantitative easing, debt, default and deleverage, emerging markets, capital control and currency wars, in addition to the main trends in 2011 were discussed. Riachi stated that markets are autoregressive in 2011 because they work according to the trends of recent past. As 2011 hits it underway, more lessons are learned from the previous trends such as risk dispersion and tightening of credit conditions, asset correlation where all risky assets have a strong tendency to become highly correlated, and systemic (contagion) risk. He added that the leverage issue is a two-edged sword and this was shown in the crisis time where leverages works well until risks show up. On the other hand, he considered that timing the markets remain difficult as there is still ‘bipolar disorder’ with greed risk -on and fear risk -off, in addition to volatility in economics and asset markets will remain high and averages are deceiving. Riachi added that the correlations between assets under the ‘Normal Bell Curve’ assume they will remain under all market conditions. The market has realized that correlations increase during crisis, hence throwing off all the normal assumptions in the bell curve and resulting in more frequent bad events that the curve assumes. Similarly, he stated that, the volatility is still high due

NBK group Chief Investment Officer George Richani holds the presentation. to high correlations, risk-on, risk-off markets (digital, black or white, good or bad). Riachi noted that there are some reasons for sovereign default such as the demand for public spending, political polarization, and trust erosion. As for 2011, Riachi summed it up by saying that the growth of the G10 economies will likely decelerate, and additional fiscal stimulus in the US might support growth. However, the Euro zone, Japan, and UK will find difficulties matching their 2010 growth levels. As for emerging economies, he said that growth will likely be moderate as policy makers try to control rising inflation by tightening policies. Too much tightening will hurt growth, too little and they risk higher inflation, but a shock coming from emerging markets remains just a possibility. As for the US, the monetary policy and concerns over sovereign debt in the Euro zone will encourage capital flow towards emerging economies, which puts emerging markets central

banks in a difficult position as they cannot raise interest rates to control inflation. This is because higher rates invite more capital inflows. He highlighted some expectations of the developed countries economies in 2011 such as having a loose monetary policy, low interest rates for long period, stimulus packages in the US and some fiscal reforms in the eurozone, low inflation in the US and Euro zone and deflation in Japan, large capital outflows and high debt levels, widening deficit gaps, and pressure to tighten budgets, in addition to sluggish recovery and double tip fears and low reserves. As for the developing countries, he forecasted tight monetary policy, rising of interest rates, measures to remove market liquidity, rising inflation of food commodities, large capital outflows, low debt levels, narrowing deficit gaps, pressures to revalue currencies, control growth and hard landing fears, in addition to rising reserves.

Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah said he did not expect OPEC to meet before June unless “something dramatic” happens and did not expect an increase in output in the first half of 2011. Atiqi said for the time being there was ample supplies of crude oil in the market. On Friday the ICE Brent crude price for February fell $1.19 to $93.33 a barrel, trading from $92.59 to $94.58. Last month the price spiked to $94.74 a barrel, its highest since Oct. 2008. — Reuters

Agility at 15-week low on US lawsuit MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Kuwait’s Agility tumbled to a 15-week low yesterday after US prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit against the logistics operator. Agility fell 4 percent to its lowest close since Sept. 27, despite denying the US move amounted to a new suit. Agility said it was instead a “procedural amendment” to an earlier case. On Friday, Reuters reported that US prosecutors had filed a civil suit against Agility, accusing it of defrauding the government over food product contracts to the US military in the Middle East worth $9.8 billion. This follows a criminal suit, first filed in November 2009. The latter led Agility to be replaced as the main regional supplier to US forces and the firm was barred from bidding for any new US contracts while the court case was pending. “Most investors are fed up with the lack of transparency from Agility,” said Kareem Murad, an analyst at Shuaa Capital. “Putting aside the legal case, the US prime vendor contract accounted for 40 percent of Agility’s revenues, with this contract also providing a 30 percent margin, but from January 1 this contract has gone to another company. “So Agility is facing a substantial drop in its operational income and its bottom line could turn negative this year.” Kuwait’s index fell 0.1 percent to 6,966 points, declining for a second day since Wednesday’s two-month peak, but Naser Al-Nafisi, general manager for Al Joman Center for Economic Consultancy, said the

market should remain steady, even if quarterly results fail to excite. “Fourth-quarter earnings will be below the 2010 quarterly average because the stock market didn’t put in a good performance in Q4,” said Nafisi. “But Q4 is over and I think most investors are looking to the future - capital expenditure from the government spending plan started last year and will increase in 2011, while oil is (near) $90, which will help support the government budget.” In August, Kuwait’s government said the country’s banks could finance a KD30 billion ($104 billion) development plan. Saudi Arabia’s index fell 0.1 percent, easing from Saturday’s eight-month peak, but this drop was seen as temporary. “Saudi sentiment is pretty high - people are positioning themselves for good Q4 numbers from petrochemicals, so shares are holding firm despite oil dropping below $90,” said a Riyadh-based trader at an international bank.—Reuters

NAIROBI: Millions of mobile phone subscribers in Africa saw the icon on their phone screens change to Indian company Airtel last fall. The change means little to the average customer, but for the continent, it’s another sign that India is moving in. The expansion by Bharti Airtel into 16 African countries underscores the rise of India in Africa, at a time when much of the focus on foreign investment here has been on China. The Indian government is raising its diplomatic profile in Africa, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Cabinet leading several business delegations in recent years. And Indian companies are striving to keep up with China’s business profile in Africa, taking advantage of historical ties with the continent. “I think one of the things that India doesn’t want to allow to happen is that it doesn’t want to get behind in this kind of engagement,” said Sanusha Naidu, research director at the Britainbased Fahamu organization, an advocacy group tracking African issues. Naidu said India’s renewed interest in Africa has not received as much attention as China’s because India is not seen as a threat. “It is seen as a democratic state,” Naidu, a South African, said. “It doesn’t have a communist regime. All that plays in favor of India.” India and China are vying for Africa because of the bottom line: Africa represents new growth. “This is the last growth continent in the world. Europe is a done industry. The US is a done industry. Southeast Asia is old,” said Sunil Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Airtel. “Our model is not suitable for a matured market. We need growth and Africa is the right place to grow.” The International Monetary Fund said in October that sub-Saharan Africa will register the second-highest growth rates in the world in 2011, behind only Asia. The IMF said sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth rate will be 5 percent in 2010, compared with 2.5 percent in 2009. This year, the IMF projects Africa’s rate will be 5.5 percent. The relations between India and Africa are centuries old. In the 1960s and 1970s, India helped newly independent African states by training them at Indian universities and other institutions. Indian conglomerates such as the Tata Group have had a presence in Africa for decades. But India is now changing its relationship with Africa from the political, such as advocating an end to colonialism, to the economic. In recent years, some Indian companies have expanded their business in Africa, propelling what were once small operations into major players. New companies have also moved in. Among them are: In October 2008, Indian conglomerate Essar Group launched a mobile telephone company in Kenya, in its first investment in Africa. Since then, it has acquired mobile telephone companies in Uganda and the Republic of Congo. Essar Oil, India’s second-biggest private oil firm, entered an agreement in 2009 to acquire 50 percent of Kenya Petroleum Refineries, which serves three countries in east and central Africa. Last year Essar won the bid to acquire a 60 percent share in the stateowned Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Co. In 2005, Karuturi Global, an Indian agriculture company, bought 15 hectares in Ethiopia to grow roses for export, an investment of about $1.9 million. Karuturi has since grown that investment to have 75 hectares of roses. In 2007, it bought one of the largest flower farms in Kenya, in a deal valued at about $65.5 million. In the past two years, Karuturi has acquired another 311,700 hectares in Ethiopia for an undisclosed amount of money. —AP




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business Kuwait Nominal GDP vs. Real GDP Growth (1994-2011f)

research report about the MENA region economies and credit markets that examines the effect of the financial crisis on regional economies and on its short to medium term outlook. This article is divided into three parts in which it examines the effects of the crisis on the Kuwaiti, GCC and rest of the MENA economies, respectively.


Kuwait economic outlook broadly positive KAMCO Research Report KUWAIT: Nominal GDP registered a 21.2% drop according to 2009 data, as compared to 2008, on the back of a sharp decline in oil prices and production cuts along with a slowdown in the private sector growth triggered by the massive losses incurred by investors in the stock exchange and the property market, in addition to the sluggish growth in credit. For the four years prior to 2009, GDP witnessed a steady growth at an increasing pace, to stand at KD 40 billion ($140 billion) at the end of 2008, up from KD 17.5 billion ($60 billion) in 2004, thereby registering a 5 year CAGR of 23%. Impact of financial crisis During 2009, oil prices dropped dramatically causing the oil component of GDP to drop by 40% from KD 23.6 billion ($81.4 billion) in 2008 to KD 14.2 billion ($49 billion) during 2009, while the dry up of capital inflows to Kuwait along with stagnant private sector spending have slowed down growth in the private sector to 5.3% during 2009, lagging behind the average rate of 13% recorded over the past 5 years. Despite the adverse impact of the financial crisis, which weakened economic activity and negatively affected the financial system and government’s fiscal position, Kuwait continues to enjoy a relatively strong economic and financial position supported by the vast financial reserves accumulated over the past years and the rebound in oil prices which crossed over the $80 per barrel. Kuwait’s GDP by Sector Analyzing Kuwait GDP by sector production approach, we find that the Oil & Gas, Financial Institutions and Manufacturing sectors had the greatest slump during 2009 with drops of 40%, 5% and 4%, respectively. The government of Kuwait has managed to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the non-oil sector through changes to its monetary policy represented by the significant cut in the discount rate along with increasing government deposits with local banks. Also, fiscal policy changes included stepping up its spending during 2009 to KD 6.5 billion ($22.5 billion) accompanied with the approval of a four-year

Sluggish Credit Growth In Kuwait, credit growth has been sluggish in the aftermath of the financial crisis due to weak balance sheets both for the banking sector and the non-financial corporate sector. Defaults by some large investment companies along with concentration of local banks’ loan portfolio in real estate & construction sectors and households (mainly channeled to the risky stock market) have contributed to increased uncertainty regarding the health of the financial sector. The decline in external sources of funds, along with slow deposit growth has limited the ability of Kuwaiti banks to extend loans. Credit facilities extended by Kuwaiti banks were flat over the first 10 months of 2010 to stand at KD 25.1 billion ($87 billion) while deposits with banks grew at a marginal 0.8% over the same period to reach KD 28.3 billion ($98 billion). However, Kuwaiti banks were able to weather the financial turmoil and emerge with minimal damage to their balance sheet and sources of income. This was evident in the 9M-10 financial results which witnessed the combined net profit of 9 listed banks grow 30% to reach KD 428 million ($1.48 billion) versus the same period in 2009.

Evolution of Kuwait GDP by Sector (2005-2009) development plan worth around KD 30 billion ($104 billion). Both changes aimed to increase money supply in the local market in order to stimulate banks to lend to the private sector and, therefore, keep the wheels of the economy rolling. In fact, between August 2008 and December 2009, M2 increased by a whopping KD 4.3 billion ($14.8 billion) representing a 20.7% increase. This increase was mainly as a result of the risk aversion preference by most investors who primarily considered divesting large portion of their portfolios to avoid any further losses driven by the volatility in the local and regional stock markets. Given that local banks were in need of fresh liquidity, only 58% of this increase translated into credit to the private sector with total credit facilities increasing

by 11% over the period to record KD 25.1 billion ($86.6 billion). It is worth noting that the growth in M2 was not associated with growth in credit due to tight credit markets and the elevation of the risk of default by corporates along with the highly indebted firms which pushed banks to implement strict lending policies. Kuwait GDP by Type of Expenditures Looking at GDP by type of expenditure, we find that during 2009 net exports have decreased by 45% to KD 8.9 billion ($31 billion) from KD 16.2 billion ($56 billion) recorded in 2008, primarily due to the 34% drop in oil prices along with production cuts by OPEC members. On the other hand, Gross Capital Formation, which measures the value of acquisitions of fixed assets less dis-

posals, has also decreased by 40.5% to KD 4.4 billion ($15 billion) in 2009 down from KD 7.4 billion ($25.5 billion) recorded during 2008. The drop signifies that the government and the private sector have decreased their fixed capital spending in the wake of the crisis due to the uncertainty surrounding future economic prospects and the unfavorable business environment. The figures also indicate that private sector consumption grew at 5.3% in 2009 to KD 11.73 billion ($40.5 billion) lagging behind the 17.8% and 12.3% growth rates recorded during 2007 and 2008, respectively. Private sector consumption constituted around 37% of Kuwait’s GDP for 2009. On the other hand, government expenditure was up by 22% to KD 6.5 billion ($22.5 billion) driven by the efforts to boost the economy.

Outlook broadly positive The economic outlook for Kuwait is positive. We forecast Kuwait Nominal GDP will grow by 17% in 2010 fueled by the global economic recovery which boosted the demand for oil as was evident in rebound in oil prices to reach $80 per barrel and surge in capital spending by the government on infrastructure projects as part of the four-year economic development plan. The economy (in nominal terms) is expected to grow further by 7% in 2011 as oil prices are forecast to stabilize above the $80 per barrel driven by the rebound in oil demand and global economic recovery, and the government accelerates the implementation of its $104 billion development plan. However, the economic outcome for 2011 depends largely on the level of government capital expenditures and the associated private investments.

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

.2730000 .4330000 .3690000 .2920000 .2770000 .2780000 .0045000 .0020000 .0759860 .7403120 .3900000 .0730000 .7257430 .0045000 .0480000

.2860000 .4430000 .3790000 .3020000 .2870000 .2860000 .0075000 .0035000 .0767500 .7477520 .4100000 .0780000 .7330370 .0072000 .0560000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2799000 .2820000 .4357480 .4390180 .3716510 .3744400 .2948800 .2970920 .2799140 .2820140 .0498570 .0502320 .0415560 .0418670 .2803620 .2824650 .0360190 .0362900 .2167580 .2183850 .0034170 .0034430 .0000000 .0063370 .0000000 .0025520 .0000000 .0033180 .0000000 .0040290 .0762250 .0767970 .7426370 .7482090 .0000000 .3988680 .0746600 .0752200 .7272020 .7326580 .0000000 .0065200

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

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka

3.439 6.218 3.285 2.540 3.897 218.290 36.297 3.976

Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal - Transfer Irani Riyal - Cash

6.395 9.370 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

75.238 77.523 733.020 749.380 76.833 ARAB COUNTRIES

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

52.100 48.661 1.324 193.970 398.430 187.600 6.095 33.376

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 282.030 Euro 368.530 Sterling Pound 443.210 Canadian dollar 288.490 Turkish lire 179.530 Swiss Franc 296.340 Australian dollar 279.940 US Dollar Buying 280.095 265.000 133.000 68.500

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

SELL CASH SELL DRAFT 285.200 283.700 751.810 751.810 4.240 3.987 288.200 286.700 555.200 14.100 51.600 167.800 219.700 51.960 48.772 369.100 367.600 37.060 36.910 6.540 6.230

0.033 0.264 0.253 3.480 401.480 0.191 94.810 46.400 4.430 218.800 1.922 48.600 734.320 3.410 6.710 78.190 75.480 219.710 44.120 2.693 443.700 42.200 296.000 6.200 9.740 198.263 77.140 283.100 1.360


399.580 0.190 94.810 3.920 217.300

Sterling Pound US Dollar

294.500 6.200 9.530 77.040 282.700

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 441.700 282.700

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Rate for Transfer US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupees

Selling Rate 282.600 286.740 440.875 368.320 291.740 747.983 76.619 77.601 75.330 399.211 48.805 2.546

Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Cyprus pound Japanese Yen Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees

6.236 3.302 4.006 6.405 693.222 3.495 9.432 6.263 3.980

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. 734.140 3.310 6.405 77.780 75.480 219.710 44.120 2.546 441.700

GOLD 1,452.600

10 Tola

GOLD 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

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

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

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 282.600 3.305 6.230 2.555 3.985 6.450 77.035 75.570 751.300 48.785 445.000 0.00003280 3.990 1.550 401.400 5.750 370.600

Al Mulla Exchange Currency Transfer Rate (Per 1000) US Dollar 282.250 Euro 376.300 Pound Sterling 441.500 Canadian Dollar 285.800 Japanese Yen 3.425 Indian Rupee 6.226 Egyptian Pound 48.740 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.545 Bangladesh Taka 3.970 Philippines Peso 6.408 Pakistan Rupee 3.287 Bahraini Dinar 751.500 UAE Dirham 76.990 Saudi Riyal 75.400 *Rates are subject to change




Samsung kicks off its marketing activities at AFC Cup Qatar 2011 KUWAIT: Samsung Electronics, Ltd, a global leader in the consumer electronics industry, reiterates its support for Asian football fans through its continued par tnership with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2011. As the AFC Asian Cup 2011 Official Sponsor for the Mobile and Semiconductor category, Samsung will offer AFC Asian Cup crowds exciting on-site, as well as off-site, activities through its mobile and online technologies to enhance their experience and fun at the tournament. Activities include the Samsung Galaxy Fan Cafe featuring interactive and hands-on demos of Samsung's latest mobile technology, and a newly launched mobile application called Samsung Scouter, which will bring AFC Asian Cup action closer to football fans The presentation of the Samsung "Man of the Match", rewarding the most outstanding player of the game, is one of the key promotions taking place within the stadium, and Samsung will also provide support for the Player Escor ts program in 12 matches. In addition to these efforts on the ground and via mobile, Samsung is also running an online promotion, "Be Proud, Support Your Country", on its Samsung Mobile MENA (Middle East and North Africa) facebook community ( "This is our second time as official sponsor for the AFC Asian Cup, and Samsung is proud of its continued association with this prestigious event, which demonstrates our passion for the game of football. We hope our latest mobile technology and mix of onsite activities will bring a new level of excitement and experience to football fans and connect people across Asia," said Gyehyun Kwon, Vice President and Head of Worldwide Sports Marketing, Samsung Electronics. Samsung Galaxy Fan Cafe Samsung will fuel football fever by bringing football enthusiasts together at its Galaxy Fan Cafe located within the AFC Fan Zone area. The Galaxy Fan Cafe will offer visitors a fun and relaxed atmosphere to enjoy the AFC Asian Cup experience, along with exciting hands-on demos and digital applications customized for the AFC Asian Cup 2011. Other activities include an interactive football quiz, photo opportunities and an application to measure how

loud fans can cheer for their favorite teams. "Samsung Scouter" - a newly launched mobile application Samsung Scouter is an Android/Bada application which has been specially created for the AFC Asian Cup 2011 to provide real-time commentary on matches, tournament highlights and in-depth player performance analysis and comparison such as pass accuracy, ball possession and sprint speed. With Samsung Scouter fans can access information that even sportscasters don't provide, bringing the stadium experience to life. Exclusively available on the Samsung GALAXY Tab, Galaxy S, Wave I and Wave II smartphones the mobile application can be downloaded from the Samsung Apps Store ( for the duration of the tournament. Facebook Promotion - "Be Proud, Support Your Country" Samsung's online promotion for the AFC Asian Cup 2011 is currently running on the Samsung Mobile MENA (Middle East and North Africa)_facebook community. It is a fan-centric competition that allows participants to submit messages cheering on their favorite teams playing in the AFC Asian Cup 2011. Players who submit the seven best "cheers" will win a pair of return tickets to watch the AFC Asian Cup Finals. To participate, please visit In Stadium Programs - Samsung "Man of the Match" Presentation, "Fan of the Match" Event At each game, a player selected by the AFC will receive the Samsung "Man of the Match" award which distinguishes outstanding performance and fair play. In connection with this, "Fan of the Match", a promotion event for the stadium audience and Samsung Galaxy Fan CafÈ visitors will take place at all matches. Using SMS, participants will be able to guess who will become the Samsung "Man of the Match" player for each game, and prizes including an autographed official football will be given to selected winners. Samsung remains a fervent supporter of sport and is involved in some of the most prominent and visible global sporting sponsorships including; the Olympic Games, the Asian Games, in addition to sponsoring the IAAF Athletics Championships as well as the prestigious Chelsea Football Club.

StanChart sees Mideast private equity deals up DUBAI: British-based international bank Standard Chartered's private equity arm expects to complete two transactions in the Middle East in 2011 and does not rule out another $100 million investment during the year, a top executive said yesterday. Taimoor Labib, the bank's private equity head for the Middle East and North Africa, said the deals could be in sectors such as retail, manufacturing and healthcare as the emerging markets-focused lender tries to capitalize on its banking relations in the region. "We would like to complete another two deals this year but they have to be the right deals. There is no reason why we can't do another $100 million type of deal," Labib said. The British bank recently completed a $75 million mezzanine investment in Bahrain-based Jawad Group, its first private equity transaction and the largest of its kind in the region, according to Labib. Mezzanine debt funding is among the lowest-ranking and riskiest forms of debt and therefore can offer higher returns and become an attractive alternative in buoyant markets. Labib told Reuters in an interview that he saw ample opportunities in the region for mezzanine deals, which act as an effective balance between senior debt and equity. "Historically, people have been investing

in equity or senior debt. There are a lot of companies in this region that can't take any more senior debt and perhaps they don't want to offer equity for personal reasons," Labib said. The executive said he expected the pace of private equity investment activity in the region to slowly pick up after suffering in the last few years as sellers begin to lower their expectations and the overall investment climate improves. Middle East private equity investment plunged by 80 percent to $561 million in 2009, Gulf Venture Capital Association data showed, and deal activity was thin in 2010 too, with investors backing out from capital calls, sellers demanding higher prices than buyers were willing to pay and increasing competition from family groups hampering growth. "I think the market is improving. Most of us in the business feel more optimistic now than perhaps last year," Labib said. "There are quite a few firms who have been sitting on deals and are trying to finish them up and we expect more deals to be announced by other groups." The private equity industry in the Middle East has both international heavyweights such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Carlyle Group along with local players like Abraaj Capital and Citadel Capital. — Reuters

Starwood plans 20 new hotels in Middle East ABU DHABI: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc plans to open at least 20 new hotels in the Middle East in the next five years, with four in Abu Dhabi, its regional president said yesterday. Currently, the hospitality major owns or manages about 50 hotels in the Middle East through its nine brands. "Between now and 2016 there will be 20 to 30 new hotels, split between our brands," Roeland Vos, president, Europe, Africa & Middle East told reporters. In the United Arab Emirates alone, nine properties are under development, four of which are in Abu Dhabi, he said after a signing ceremony. The others are in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. Starwood

CSR assigns BB rating to Al-Safat Takaful Co

signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi property developer Al Maabar to manage Al Maabar's hotel in Amman, Jordan. The hotel will be branded St. Regis Amman, joining Starwood's luxury portfolio in the Middle East, according to the executive. Starwood, which owns such brands as Sheraton, St. Regis and W hotels, is bullish about prospects for the region's hospitality sector despite the industry downturn since 2008. "We are gaining share in the region even though occupancies went down. Occupancies are flowing back, we are seeing opportunities with some markets coming strongly," he said. — Reuters

Outlook is stable KUWAIT: Capital Standards Rating Co (CSR) has assigned an Insurer Financial Strength Rating (IFSR) of 'BB' and a National rating of 'BBBkw' to Al Safat Takaful Company K.S.C. (closed). The outlook is stable. This is the first time that CSR rates Al Safat. The rating is based on the consolidated financial statements until June 2010. The ratings reflect Al Safat's adequate capitalization, improving operating performance and relatively sufficient liquidity position. The company implements a conservative reserve accumulation strategy and relies heavily on reinsurance for its marine & aviation and general accident segments. Al Safat is expanding its insurance business and the company's underwriting performance indicators are improving. The company's rating is however constrained by its small market share of the Gross Premiums Written (GPW) and concentration in the Kuwaiti market. The investment in equities and unlisted funds further adds to the volatility of

the company's financial profile. The outlook reflects CSR's view of the continued improvement in the company's insurance underwriting performance. Al Safat Takaful Insurance Company was established in 2005 according to Islamic Sharia and offers takaful insurance services in Kuwait. The company provides Islamic insurance in various segments such as marine & aviation, motor vehicles, fire and general accident, life and health. The major shareholders (not less than 10% stake) of the company are; Al Safat Group (28.9%), Al Ghanim Group (12.5%), Al Kharafi Group (10%), Commercial Bank of Kuwait (10%), Investors Group Holding (10%), Kuwait Finance & Investment Company (10%), and Commercial Real Estate Company (10%). This diverse group of prominent investors supports the company's insurance business. Al Safat Takaful is aiming to improve its market position in the Kuwaiti market which is becoming

increasingly competitive with the presence and entrance of takaful insurers. The company's started underwriting in 2005 and by the end of FY2007, the company's Gross Premiums Written (GPW ) has increased to KWD 3.09 mn. In FY2008, the GPW increased to KWD 3.86 mn registering 19% YoY growth. As of 2008, the takaful market in Kuwait represents only 16.7% of the overall insurance industry and this percentage continues to increase along with an increase in new Takaful Insurance companies joining the market. This indicates an increasing competition in the Takaful market. In FY2009, the GPW witnessed a 31.4% decline which was mainly due to a significant decline (91.2%) in Marine & Aviation premiums. Al Safat's underwriting quality measured by the loss ratio has not changed significantly over the last 3 years. The majority of the claims have been incurred by the motor vehicle segment, whichis in line with the

insurance industry norms. The expense ratio significantly improved in 2009 mainly driven by the increase in Net Premiums. We expect any improvement in the expense ratio in the near future would largely be driven by the increase in premium written. For Takaful companies, shareholders' account's revenue is solely driven by investment income. Such heavy reliance on investment income is not sustainable during economic downturns, as investment income tends to be highly volatile. However, relying on investment income on the shareholders' accounts is common in the takaful industry due to the fact that the sole purpose of the shareholders' account is to support policyholders and to protect the value of shareholders. The principal methodology used in rating Al Safat Takaful Company is "Insurance Methodology", and it can be found at in the 'methodologies brief ' subdirectory under the Rating tab.

Saudi's Jarir Q4 net profit up 2% JEDDAH: Saudi-based office supplies and electronics retailer Jarir Marketing Co's quarterly net profit rose two percent on higher sales of electronics, the company said yesterday. Jarir made 103.7 million riyals ($27.7 million) in the three months ending December 30 compared to 103.5 million riyals during the same period a year earlier, the firm said in a bourse statement.

"The reason for higher sales in the fourth quarter and the whole year is the increase in smart phone sales and computer sales as well as other electronic equipment," the firm said. Fourth quarter sales reached 811.8 million riyals, up 12 percent from the same period a year earlier while annual sales increased by 18 percent to three billion riyals. The company's annual profit for 2010 grew by 7.2 percent to 401 mil-

lion riyals, missing its own expectations of a rise of at least 15 percent in 2010 after it opened new stores. Jarir said last year it planned to expand the number of its stores to between 40-45 stores by the end of 2013 with a goal of increasing sales to close to a billion riyals in 2012. Shares in Jarir were trading 0.3 percent lower at 0817 GMT. —Reuters



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KSE equities mixed GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange stocks ended on a mixed note yesterday, as investors followed some rumors in local newspapers regarding Agility case In US courts. This caused panic between investors as they started to sell in early trading session. Later on, the logistic service provider, denied this news, adding that the US authorities had introduced a procedural amendment to the indictment filed in November 2009. Agility decline by 4.00 percent to close at KD0.480 and negatively affecting the performance of the Services sector. On a technical overview on Agility, the price can go further down to KD0.465 and KD0.435 if it sustains a close below the resistance area at KD0.510 - KD0.530. On the other hand, the Banking sector helped the Global General Index to end the session in positive note, adding 0.05 percent. Global Banking Sector Index rose by 1.11 percent by the end of the session. Global General Index (GGI) closed 0.10 points up (0.05 percent), at 225.02 point as the Market capitalization increased reaching KD36.59mn. On the other side, Kuwait Stock Exchange Price Index closed in the red zone shedding 9.20 points (0.13 percent) from its value and closed at 6,966.4 point. Market breadth During the session, 119 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards decliners as 29 equities advanced versus 50 that retreated. Volume of shares traded on the exchange increased by 21.0 percent to reach 311.07mn shares, the value of shares traded increased by a 30.92 percent to stand at KD51.65mn. The Investment Sector was the volume leader today, accounting for 38.37 percent of total shares and the Services Sector was the value leader, with 31.91 percent of total traded value. Company-wise, International

Financial Advisors (IFA) was the volume leader, with a total traded volume of 52.64mn shares. changing hands. National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) was the value leader, with a total traded value of KD6.91mn. In terms of top gainers, Gulf Investment House was the biggest gainer for the day, adding 9.62 percent and closed at KD0.0.57. On the other side, Bayan Investment Company came in as the biggest decliner, dropping by 8.62 percent and closed at KD0.53 Sector-wise On a sector-by-sector basis, six out of the eight sectors reported declines. Services stocks spearheaded decliners, as highlighted by a 1.24 percent loss in the Global Services Index. A 20fils dip in the equity price of Mobile Telecommunication Co (ZAIN) and a 20 fils withdrawal posted by National Mobile Telecommunications Co, (NMTC) skewed the sector index.

Non Kuwaiti companies were also notable losers during the day. The sector as a whole, presented through the Global Non Kuwaiti Index, produced 0.48 percent in losses. The sector’s heavy-weights headed the pack of decliners. Ahli United Bank released 0.98 percent. The sole advancer during Tuesday’s session, was the banking sector, up by a modest 1.11 percent. National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) was up by 1.37 percent as investors looked ahead to their earnings report. Corporate news Gulf Cable and Electrical Industries Company. made a clarification of the news published in a local newspaper about winning three contracts worth KD23.5mn. The KSE-listed company said it had been declared the lowest bidder by the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) and was completing some government procedures. However, it did not receive an award letter.

First Investment Company (FIC), has made a clarification of the news published in a local newspaper about divestitures in Saudi Arabia. The KSE-listed firm declares that it owns a 9.65 percent stake in the KSA-based Mutahed Company, a real estate firm, which undertakes buying, selling land plots and operating hotels. The company has been undergoing a revamping process since three years due to legal problems in the Kingdom, FIC noted, adding that it has no information about any divestitures. Oil news price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $91.27 a barrel on Tuesday, compared with $89.79 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. Oil prices could rise to $110 per barrel within a few weeks on speculation, which may prompt OPEC to raise production, a member of Kuwait’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) said yesterday.

Subsidy cut trims Iran’s gas use TEHRAN: Iran’s consumption of natural gas has dropped by more than 20 million cubic metres a day since the government cut price subsidies three weeks ago, the state TV website said yesterday, quoting a senior Oil Ministry official. “Since the enforcement of the targetedsubsidy law (on Dec. 19) up to now, the consumption of gas in the household, commercial and semi-industrial sectors has dropped by 20-21 million cubic metres a day,” Javad Oji, head of the National Iranian Gas Co, told a TV program. Oji did not say what consumption was before the subsidy cut, but Iranian officials usually say Iran consumes around 500 million cubic metres during peak times of the year. The drop in the national consumption of gas in households was an average of 6 percent, he said, but reached 15 percent in the populous capital Tehran. “Considering that some of the fuel consumed by industrial and power station units are imported from abroad, this level of drop in gas consumption in the household sector amounts to an average of $16-16.5 million a day in import savings,” Oji said. Households could further reduce gas use as close to 30 percent of consumption in this sector is wasted, he said, adding that gas could provide the feedstock for several

petrochemical units. Oji said gas production in Iran stood at 600 million cubic metres a day and is expected to remain at that level over the next three years. “Currently 600 million cubic metres of sweet and sour (sulphurous) gas are produced daily in Iran. This level of output drops to 510-520 million cubic metres after being processed at 13 refineries,” he said. Iran announced the plan on phasing out subsidies on essential items like food and fuel as a way to save government cash and cut wasteful consumption. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the move to eventually eliminate the $100 billion per year the state pays to keep down prices, “the biggest economic plan in the past 50 years”. The subsidy phase-out had been due to start in the second half of the Iranian year, which began on Sept. 23, but the authorities delayed implementation of the plan several times due to its politically sensitive nature. Iran is the world’s fifth largest oil exporter and sits on the world’s second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, but sanctions have slowed the development of the industry. The Islamic Republic says it needs around $25 billion a year in oil and gas industry investment to meet its target development goal in the sector. —Reuters

Abu Dhabi’s Al-Maabar to push ahead with projects ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi’s Al Maabar will invest $300 million in a luxury hotel in Jordan and move ahead with its planned projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), its managing director said yesterday. The 270-room hotel in Amman to be branded St. Regis from the Starwood stable will be ready in first quarter of 2014 and will also include residential apartments and highend shops. “There is tremendous demand for hotels in Jordan from wealthy residents, expats and tourists and banks are willing to finance,” Yousef al Nowais told reporters in Abu Dhabi. Al Maabar owned jointly by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala and leading property developers, including Aldar Properties, will build 350 to 400 townhouses and related facilities costing $250 million in Aqaba, Jordan as part of a larger develop-

ment called Marsa Zayed. “The bigger development depends on when the land will be given to us by the Jordanian authorities. It is linked to the port,” he said. The first phase of the Bab al Bahr mixed-use project in Rabat, Morocco comprising 220 units is sold out with the second phase to start soon, he said. In Tripoli, Libya the $300 million Al Waha development will start in first quarter 2011. In Iraq, negotiations are underway for a community project with an agreement to be signed within a month or two, he said. Al Maabar has about $1 billion worth of projects under development currently, said Chief Executive Abdallah Hageali. Maabar’s shareholders include Mubadala, Aldar Properties, Sorouh Real Estate, Al Qudra, Reem Investments and Reem International, all Abu Dhabi-based companies.— Reuters




FORD: CULTURE CHANGE HAS LED TO SUCCESS DEARBORN, Michigan: In every boom cycle of its 107-year life, Ford Motor Co became complacent, unprepared for the inevitable bust in the auto business. From the 1920s, when Ford lost its dominant position in the US because it was slow to update the Model T, to the 2000s, when it squandered billions in SUV profits and narrowly avoided bankruptcy, the company stuck with some strategies too long and didn't pay enough attention to others. "You often hear people at Ford say we can't manage prosperity. I think it's really quite different than that. It's that we stop changing," Executive Chairman Bill Ford told The Associated Press in a recent interview. Now, coming off a great 2010, Executive Chairman Bill Ford and Alan Mulally, the man who replaced Ford as CEO four years ago, say they are ready to break that cycle. Mulally has transformed the company into a simpler, nimbler organization that's ready to react to change more quickly. Management experts aren't so sure. Thanks to strong new products and stumbles at rivals like General Motors and Toyota, Ford saw the industry's biggest increases in market share. It had the best-selling vehicle -- the FSeries pickup -- and ended 2010 with its second straight annual profit. Ford's US sales rose 20 percent, almost double the industrywide increase. Mulally laid the groundwork. He cut brands and put in place a system that encourages managers to stay on top of market changes and other issues and communicate more openly with each other. It was a radical change at company known for vicious infighting, where managers who pointed out problems were demonized. The healthier communication in Ford's top ranks means it's much more likely the company will hire its next CEO from within the company instead of turning to another outsider like Mulally. Mulally, 65, won't say when he plans to retire. Management experts say it's easy to talk about a willingness to change and much harder to do it, especially after pulling off a

DEARBORN: Ford CEO Alan Mulally (left) and Executive Chairman Bill Ford during an interview in Dearborn, Michigan. In every boom cycle of its 107year life, Ford Motor Co became complacent, unprepared for the inevitable bust in the auto business. Now coming off a great year in 2010, Ford and Mulally say they are ready to break the cycle. —AP remarkable comeback like Mulally did after coming to Ford from airplane maker Boeing Co. "Act two is always very, very hard," said Joe Bower, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. "There are leaders who can do it, but it requires a tremendous willingness to imagine the need to rethink everything." Consider Ford in 2000. Flush with profits from sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, it earned $3.5 billion and bought the Land Rover luxury brand from BMW. Just one year later, hammered by the faltering economy and a slow reaction to a recall of Firestone tires use on its SUVs, Ford lost $5 billion, announced a plan to cut 35,000 jobs and fired its CEO. Bill Ford held the reins until he hired Mulally. Even now, Ford is facing some demons, including the recent recall of 600,000 Windstar minivans whose axles can break and questions from Consumer Reports, which says its MyFordTouch dashboard touchscreen is too distracting. The company says it reacted quickly to the Windstar issue and will study Consumer Reports' findings but believes its system is safe.

Commodity weekly update

A shaky start to year 2011 By Ole Hansen ommodity markets have struggled to maintain the momentum from December with several markets having seen corrections during the first few trading days. The all important market driver, the US stock market, kicked off the year making a new two year high on the back of economic data that continues to improve. Meanwhile in Europe worries about the sovereign debt situation continues to attract attention with the cost of insuring Greek government debt rising to the highest level so far. This has helped the dollar rally 3 percent versus the euro thereby reducing some of the support for dollar based commodities. The Thomson Reuters/Jeffries CRB index began the year with losses across the board as the speculative position size has left the sector prone to corrections. It is also worth noting that the index returned an impressive 10 percent during December so short term caution have pushed the overall expectations for 2011 to the back of investors' minds for now. The beginning of January is the time for the annual rebalancing of index funds such as S&P GSCI and DJ-UBS. Every year they adjust their weightings of the different commodities based on various measures of which the performance the previous year is the most important. The major impact of this exercise generally tends to support commodities that have fallen during the previous year while strong performers will attract some selling. The rebalance which takes place from Friday January 7 until the following Thursday will see a noteworthy inflow of approximately 2.6 billion dollars into natural gas. The energy complex as a whole should attract 4.1 billion while grains and soft commodities, should see outflow of 2.7 and 1.1 billion respectively. The change in metals is one of a slight reduction with flows into gold, zinc and aluminum offsetting outflows from silver, copper and nickel. As these changes are well publicized in advance the actual impact once it begins is always questionable but nevertheless highlights the dramatic differences in performances seen during 2010. Most of the major research houses and commentators expect another strong year for commodities as cyclical like energy and base metals will perform amid shrinking inventories and increased economic activity while some food commodities like corn will be supported amid worryingly low global inventory levels. This has resulted in 2011 beginning with speculative long futures positions across US exchanges at a record high of 1.85 million contracts. From the chart the most noticeable sector is the grain and oilseeds with corn and soybeans alone counting for 708.000 lots while the energy sector disguise a four year high position in WTI crude due to a large short position in natural gas.


Ford and Mulally say management can respond faster to such crises because of changes Mulally made. He instituted weekly meetings with the entire 18-member executive team, ensuring that all of Ford's leaders are constantly examining worldwide market conditions, future products and other issues. He also simplified the company's mission, getting rid of excess brands like Land Rover, Volvo and Mercury so Ford could concentrate on its core Ford and Lincoln brands. The company is now consolidating Lincoln dealerships and trying to take the brand even further upscale in order to revive its flagging sales. "Everybody now knows why they're coming to Ford. They know why they're coming in the morning. They know what success looks like," Mulally said. Success, though, has a natural tendency to make a company smug. Experts say management teams continue to do what made them prosperous, believing that the formula will always work. Bill Ford, 53, the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, says he's seen it many times in his 31 years with the company.

"In the past, we would become static, and perhaps thought we had the secret formula and we were going to be slaves to it," he said. James Schrager, a professor at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, said it's commendable Mulally and Ford recognize the company hasn't changed quickly in the past. Mulally's plan to save Ford was well done, but it hasn't been tested yet by an unforeseen event that throws off the strategy, such as a huge gas price uptick, Schrager said. "There's a lot of things that happen outside of Ford's control that determine if they go from boom to bust," he said. "What I haven't seen yet is if they know how to deal with these large exogenous changes that will happen to them from time to time." A few years ago, Ford said, the company would have based its product plans on fuel price predictions that could turn out to be wrong. Now it has a simpler vision: If you build high-quality, fuel-efficient cars and trucks in each segment, fuel prices don't matter anymore. "We have the product lineup and the engine lineup and the transmission lineup to give the customer whatever they want regardless of whatever the external factors are. That's a freedom that's hugely off our backs," he said. Ford and Mulally say simplifying production also will help them deal with external changes. For example, the new Focus sedan will eventually come in hybrid, plug-in hybrid, gas and electric versions, all built on the same Michigan assembly line. Ford will be able to switch quickly between them if it finds buyers prefer one technology over another. Ford is also saving hundreds of millions of dollars by building one car for all worldwide markets. Previously, Ford's global regions operated as independent companies, so cars developed in Europe would never make it to the US or Asia. Now, Ford is basing 10 vehicles off the new, European-developed Focus, including a small minivan that will be introduced at the Detroit auto show this week. Eighty percent of the parts

DETROIT: Construction workers lift a Ford C-Max model to a vertical display at the Ford exhibit at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. — AP those vehicles share are the same. Those savings have helped Ford make money even though US and global auto sales are near historic lows, and industry analysts say big profits are possible when economies recover and sales return to more normal levels. Will the turnaround stay on track if Mulally decides to retire? Mulally and Ford think so. The weekly meetings are training the team in all

aspects of the business, they say, and the sharp elbows that used to characterize Ford's executive ranks have given way to a spirit of collaboration. Ford won't say for sure whether the next CEO will come from within the company. But the chances are high. "At the old Ford, you had heroes and villains," Ford said. "Now, it's, 'OK, where do we have issues and how do we solve them?"' — AP

Saudi needs to boost its food reserves: Chamber Nine basic commodities to be included in reserves RIYADH: Saudi Arabia needs to build up its strategic food reserves as a buffer against rising global prices for basic commodities, executives and chamber of commerce officials said yesterday. Like other Gulf Arab states the kingdom and top OPEC oil exporter had suffered when international food prices spiked in 2008, forcing up its import bill. It has since sought to lease and buy farmland in developing nations to improve its security of food sup-

plies. The United Nations' food agency (FAO) said earlier this month that food prices hit a record high last month, above 2008 levels when riots broke out in countries as far afield as Egypt, Cameroon and Haiti. As a means to address these sharp increases the biggest Arab economy should boost reserves for nine basic commodity foods, such as wheat, soya, sugar, barley, oils and rice, said Saad Al-Kharif,

head of the food security committee at the Riyadh chamber of commerce and industry. "Strategic storages are needed to secure food supplies and fight price fluctuations," he told reporters, adding that a drought in Latin America was fuelling food prices. Argentina and Brazil are among some nine countries from which the kingdom imports grains, he said. The government has commissioned a study into setting up

such reserves and the chamber wants it to now go ahead and also include the private sector. "We are encouraging the government. We are trying to encourage them," Kharif said. Such storages could build up reserves for at least six months or longer, said Khalid Al-Rwis, head of the department of agricultural economics at King Saud University in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia would need by 2015 some 3 million tons of

wheat and 1.2 million tons of rice, he said, citing a recent study of his college. In an effort to save water resources, the desert kingdom abandoned a 30-year wheat cultivation plan and has reduced the amount of wheat it purchased from local farmers by 12.5 percent a year since 2008. In 2009 Saudi Arabia also set up a company with a capital of 3 billion riyals to invest in farmland abroad. — Reuters

Greenback Gains Momentum KUWAIT: The US dollar started the year on a strong footing and managed to strengthen against most of its major counterparts last week. The major movers in the FX markets were the unemployment figures in the US and the euro-zone, alongside other economic indicators. The Euro started the year calmly, and markets witnessed an attempt from the currency to break higher early in the week. However, the Euro failed to break the 1.3433 resistance level, and the currency was heavily sold for the rest of the week and reached a low of 1.2905 on Friday. The statement by the Swiss National Bank whereby it declared that it will no longer accept some Irish bank bonds as collateral, along with good employment figures from the US, played the major roles in the euro's weakening. The euro closed the week at 1.2907. The Sterling's performance was rather flattish last week. After a weak start, the Sterling managed to recoup some of its losses following the favorable PMI figures. After opening at 1.5612, the Sterling range traded between a low of 1.5407 and a high of 1.5646, and closed sessions at 1.5550. The stronger US dollar trend also applied to the Japanese Yen last week in the absence of local economic news and indicators. The yen started the week at 81.12, reached a high of 83.68 on Friday prior to the US job report, and closed the week at 83.15. The Swiss franc followed suit with other major currencies. Although the first trading day hinted at a calm week, the Swiss franc weakened from a low of 0.9321 to a high of 0.9708, before closing at 0.9670. Following the US dollar's strong start, the Dollar Index moved from a low of 78.8 on Tuesday to a high of 81.1 on Friday, and ended the week at 81.01. ADP Figures ADP, one of the largest payroll processing companies in the US, showed in its lat-

November, to 57.0 in December.


est report on private sector employment that 297,000 jobs were created in December. This number surprised markets as it was nearly triple the 100,000 that economists were expecting. This was the biggest jump ever since ADP started publishing this data in 2000. However, several economists have expressed skepticism over the high numbers reported as they believe that the huge hiring in December came from retail chains, restaurants, and bars for the holiday season, and that the real picture will emerge after January's numbers are released. Lower Unemployment Rate Employers in the United States added fewer jobs than forecast last month. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 103,000, below the expected 150,000 increase, reiterating the recent trend of a steady but unspectacular job growth. figures also showed that private payrolls rose by 113,000, which means 10,000 jobs were lost in the public sector. The healthcare and leisure sectors

were the two sectors with the most addition. Despite the lower-than-expected payroll figures, the unemployment rate dropped from 9.8% in November to 9.4% in December. However, this drop is not a sign of improvement in the labor market and was mostly due to a shrinking workforce, as the number of discouraged workers is at a high of 1.3 million. ISM Indices The service industries expanded in December at the fastest pace since May 2006, showing that the US economic recovery is picking up and broadening beyond manufacturing. The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Non-Manufacturing Index, which covers about 90% of the US economy, rose to 57.1 from 55 in November, showing acceleration in the pace of expansion in the services sector. The Manufacturing sector also showed an improvement in December. The ISM Manufacturing Index rose from 56.6 in

Unemployment The unemployment rate in the eurozone remained at record levels in November. The jobless rate in the countries was stable at 10.1%, the highest since the creation of the single currency in 1999. Disparities remain present among different countries: The Netherlands continued to show the lowest unemployment rate of 4.4%, followed by Luxembourg with 4.8% and Austria with 5.1%, while the highest rate is still registered in Spain reaching 20.6%. The jobless rate in Germany, Europe's largest economy, was unchanged at 6.7%. The outlook remains gloomy as fiscal consolidation programs are expected to hamper the European labor market until the end of 2011, particularly in the struggling peripheral economies such as Greece and Portugal, which are under intense market pressure to reduce public debt levels. Inflation European inflation accelerated more than economists estimated in December on surging energy prices, exceeding the European Central Bank's (ECB) limit for the first time in two years. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.2% in December from a year earlier after increasing 1.9% the month before. Analysts believe that the higherthan-expected rise was due to global increases in energy and food prices. In fact, excluding the volatile components, the Core CPI held steady at 1.1% in December. The ECB president, Jean-Claude Trichet stated that he saw no danger of inflation taking off, dismissing any concerns about rising price pressures in the euro-zone. Kuwait Dinar at 0.28200 The USDKWD opened at 0.28200 yesterday morning.




Struggling Portugal faces fresh test on markets LISBON: Portugal faces a crunch test next week as the debt-stricken eurozone country tries to raise fresh funds from investors who want ever higher returns, pushing it to the point where it may need a bailout. The government insists that all is well, that its austerity measures will restore the public finances, but analysts believe it is only a matter of time before Portugal, after Greece and Ireland, with have to be rescued. On Friday, the yield or rate of return paid to investors in Portuguese benchmark 10-year bonds jumped to 7.193 percent, the highest level since Lisbon joined the euro-zone and up from 6.957 percent on Thursday. Interest payments at these levels only compound the government’s problems to get its debt and deficit back under control, and approach levels that could prove unsustainable over the longer term. Greece in May and then Ireland in November ran into similar problems and eventually had to call in the European Union and International Monetary Fund to rescue them from default and the whole euro project from collapse. “Nobody believes that Portugal can get out of this on its own,”

Thomas Mayer of Deutsche Bank said on Friday. “At this stage, it is no longer a question of whether, after Greece and Ireland, Portugal will get help, but when it will,” said Filipe Silva, bond strategist at Carregosa bank. On Wednesday, the government is hoping to raise up to 1.25 billion euros through a sale of 3- and 9-year bonds but it could have to pay a high price to get the money. Last Tuesday, it raised 500 million euros but had to offer record rates-3.686 percent on the 6month treasury bills, up from 2.045 percent at a previous auction and compared with just 0.59 percent a year earlier. “We are in the same (situation) as at the end of 2010 — the problem for these countries remains their sovereign debt,” bond strategist at BNP Paribas bank Patrick Jacq said, referring to Portugal and Spain. “These countries have weak growth and weak inflation. Add to that high bond yields and the cocktail is explosive,” Jacq said. The government said Thursday it had met its 2010 budget deficit target of 7.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product, down from 9.3 percent in 2009, and was on track to fully

implement tough spending cuts and tax hikes. The public deficit is set at 4.6 percent for this year, still well above the EU 3.0-percent limit, while total accumulated national debt stood 143 billion euros for 2010, or 83.3 percent of GDPabove the EU limit of 60 percent. Prime Minister Jose Socrates insisted on Friday that Portugal was moving in the right direction. “Fiscal receipts (last year) were above target and spending was below target and the budget deficit will be what the government said it would be-7.3 percent,” he said. “That is the best news so that the international financial markets reinforce their confidence in Portugal and that is then reflected in the rates of interest we pay on our borrowing,” the prime minister told parliament. For analysts, the truth of that statement will be tested at Wednesday’s bond sale. “There will be demand for the bonds but at what price is the real question,” Rene Defossez of French investment bank Natixis said of the offers due from Portugal, as well as Spain and Italy next week. “If the rates are very high again, that will become very alarming,” he said. —AFP

LISBON: Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates speaks during the 2011 budget debate at the Parliament in Lisbon as Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santo listens. —AFP

Communist Laos poised to embrace capitalism World’s newest stock exchange to open this week BELGRADE: Serbian sky is opening to all foreign air companies that fulfils conditions set by domestic aviation authorities.

Serbia’s economy recovers, inflation remains risk: IMF BELGRADE: Serbia’s export-led economic recovery has “gained momentum”, but a higher inflation rate and foreign financing were the main risks to macroeconomic stability, the IMF said in a report yesterday. “The export-led economic recovery has gained momentum, but external risks remain significant,” the International Monetary Fund said in the report published on its website. It was the IMF’s sixth review of Serbia’s economic performance under a loan originally agreed in January 2009, and subsequently raised to 2.98 billion euros ($3.84 billion) in May that year. Serbia has so far drawn 1.46 billion euros from the IMF loan. “Compared with most surrounding peers, Serbia is recovering at a slow but steady pace,” the IMF said, but warned of a surge in inflation in the last months of 2010. The State Statistics Bureau said in December Serbia’s economy grew by 1.5 percent in 2010 while inflation came in at 11.5 percent, nearly double the forecast. The unemployment rate rose to 19.2 percent of active working population. The IMF said that “GDP growth is picking up on the back of a competitive exchange rate and rebounding industrial output and exports.” “Growth is still projected at 1.5 and 3.0 percent in 2010 and 2011, respectively,” it said. “However, foreign financing risks

remain elevated in the context of a still large trade deficit and subdued capital inflows,” the IMF warned. Serbia also faced “significant risks from fresh adverse spillovers from the region and from euroarea periphery developments,” IMF said. “Foreign financing risks remain elevated as the external trade deficit is still large, and capital inflows have become much less exuberant than before the crisis,” it said. Serbia’s economy has been slowly recovering from the effects of the global financial crisis, and it currently has a public deficit of 4.8 percent of gross domestic product. The government is also grappling with a slide in the national currency, the dinar. “Monetary policy has been appropriately tightened in the face of resurging inflation, but, with inflation risks tilted on the upside, additional tightening may be required,” the IMF said. It warned that the “continued depreciation of the dinar is putting pressure on corporate balance sheets, but banks remain well buffered.” “Serbia’s banking system is liquid and well-provisioned against credit risks but continued vigilance is needed,” the IMF said. The IMF agreed to the loan to Serbia on condition that Belgrade cut its deficit, reduce public administration costs by 10 percent and freeze public sector wages and pensions until April 2011. —AFP

Belgium’s shoddy political record poses fiscal threat BRUSSELS: Without a government for nearly seven months, Belgium now holds a dubious record in Europe and with no end in sight to the political crisis, fears are growing of a backlash from watchful markets. The divided country on Saturday broke the 208- day mark set by the Netherlands in 1977 for being without a government after a bid to coax feuding Flemish and French-speaking politicians back to the negotiating table failed. All eyes will turn to King Albert II today when he decides whether to accept the resignation tendered by his mediator, Flemish socialist Johan Vande Lanotte, whose compromise plan to revive coalition talks was rejected. With the political fog thickening, Belgium could beat Iraq’s ignominious 2009 world record of 289 days without a cabinet if it fails to form a new government by March 30. The clock is also ticking on the financial side, however, as investors demand higher interest rates to lend money to Belgium despite the country’s good reputation on the sovereign bond market. “When you are trying to attract foreign investors, this political crisis is anything but an asset,” Pascal Delwit, a political science professor at Universite Libre de Bruxelles, told AFP. A top official at the Belgian Debt Agency said the political deadlock had raised the yield or rate of return Belgium must pay to investors by 20 basis points, the equivalent of 80 million euros ($104 million). “The markets are following the political situation in Belgium,” said Jean Deboutte, the agency’s director of risk management and investor relations.

The country’s public deficit is much lower than in weaker euro-zone countries such as Ireland and Greece, which were massacred by the markets last year, forcing the two to receive multibillion-euro EU-IMF bailouts. But with debt hovering just below the 100-percent mark of GDP, ratings agencies and Belgium’s central bank have warned of a potential threat from financial markets if politicians fail to strike a deal any time soon. The caretaker finance minister, Didier Reynders, warned last month that Belgium would face the wrath of speculators if no action is taken to cut spending in the first three months of the year. “I not only fear but I am sure that speculators will attack Belgium if in the first quarter ... decisions are not taken by a new government or the current (administrative) government,” he told a television program. Debt ratings agenc y Standard & Poor ’s warned Belgium on December 14 that it could cut the country’s credit score within six months if a government was not quickly formed, a move that would push its borrowing costs higher. Belgium, host to NATO headquarters and the European Union’s de facto capital in Brussels, has been in political crisis on and off since 2007 as nationalist sentiment grows in Flanders. Hopes of a quick resumption of negotiations were dashed Thursday when the independence-minded New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), the top votegetter in June 13 elec tions, raised objections to the Vande Lanotte plan, which would give regions more power over the public purse. —AFP

VIENTIANE: The world’s newest stock exchange is set to open for trade this week in communist Laos, which hopes its cautious embrace of global capitalism will spur development of Southeast Asia’s smallest economy. It is the latest experiment in freewheeling finance for a country that is officially socialist but in reality began tiptoeing away from a Soviet-style command economic system in the 1980s with free-market reforms. The landlocked former French colony of about six million people is seeking to reduce its dependency on agriculture and foreign aid, helped by growing exports of minerals and electricity from hydropower generation. It is no coincidence that one of the two companies that will initially be listed on the Lao Securities Exchange when it opens for trade on Tuesday is a spin-off of state-run energy giant Electricite du Laos (EDL). The chairman of the Lao Securities Exchange (LSX), Dethphouvang Moularat, is confident that the bourse’s opening will be a milestone for the impoverished nation, where the majority of people still live on less than two dollars a day. “It will help the economy a lot,” he told AFP in an interview at the stock market’s modern, glass-fronted headquarters in the capital Vientiane. He said the stock market would complement an existing foreign exchange market, giving firms access to vital capital to expand. “ The stock market will be an expressway for funds,” said Dethphouvang, who expects the bourse to generate strong interest among both investors and private companies looking to drum up cash. While Laos has been a one-party state since 1975, it has followed a similar path as China and Vietnam to a “socialist market economy”, combining central planning with market-oriented reforms. In June 2009, US President Barack Obama declared Laos had “ceased to be a Marxist-Leninist country” and removed it from a trade blacklist, citing its commitment to opening up its markets. For its new exchange, Laos sought technical and financial support from South Korea-whose own stock market operator has a 49-percent stake in the LSX-as well as advice from neighboring Thailand. Along with EDL- Generation Public Pcl-which was spun off in December from state-owned EDL to handle power generation-state-

The nation’s debut bourse, the Lao Securities Exchange (LSX), is a US$20 million joint venture with KRX, Asia’s fourth-largest bourse operator.

In partnership with the Korea Stock Exchange (KRX), Laos launched their debut bourse, the Lao Securities Exchange. The picture shows the inauguration ceremony. run Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao will also debut on the bourse. “The government wants these two companies to boost investor confidence about the market’s benefits,” Dethphouvang said. Novice investors have eagerly signed up for shares in the two state-owned enterprises in the country’s first-ever initial public offerings. Dethphouvang expects that between three and five private firms will also be listed on the market by the end of this year. But experts do not expect a boom in trade in Laos stocks in the near future, par ticularly among foreign investors. They say only a handful of state -owned

enterprises meet the regulatory requirements for listing on the bourse. “Thus far global investor interest in Laos has been restricted mainly to natural resource sectors, such as mining and hydropower. I don’t see that changing soon,” said Nick Owen, an Asia editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, the research arm of London-based publication The Economist. “Laos is one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries, with income levels well below those in neighboring Vietnam, and investment opportunities are likely to remain limited for some years yet,” he said. “Still, foreign investment will increase and the country’s eventual accession to the World Trade

Organization is likely to prove especially significant.” Dao-Heuang Group, one of the biggest private companies in Laos, with interests in imports and exports, real estate and coffee, is among those eyeing the new bourse as a source of funds. “ We are in the process of restructuring so we will show transparency before listing in the market so investors will have confidence in us,” said general manager Sisouphonh Sihalath. He said the company might not list all its businesses but instead focus on the coffee and duty-free retailing divisions. “We expect by mid-2011, Dao-Heuang will be the first private company to be listed on the LSX,” he added. —AFP

Hangover sets in on Spanish debt markets MADRID: A hangover has already set in on Spanish debt markets after a brief celebration over China’s promise to buy government bonds despite fears of a 2011 debt crunch. The rate Spain has to pay to borrow on the debt markets ballooned Friday to 5.543 percent, the highest since at least 2000. Its benchmark 10year bond closed at 5.526 percent, up sharply from 5.46 percent a day before. The immediate headache was caused by news that Portugal will join Spain, Greece and Italy in issuing debt in the next two weeks, potentially overloading markets already depressed by the prospect of a spreading debt crisis. Portugal will be issuing up to 1.25 billion euros in medium to long-term debt on Wednesday, the

day before Spain also goes to the market, with Lisbon’s own borrowing costs rising to record highs on Friday. It will be the first major debt market test of 2011 for the weaker European economies of which Spain is a major concern because of its size-the economy is twice that of Portugal, Greece and Ireland combined. But analysts say a more serious test for Spain may actually come in April. At the same time, the problem for Spain is not just the financing of sovereign debt but also that of its extensive bank debt. Spain must roll over 21.79 billion euros of expiring sovereign bonds and bills in April. A Barclays Capital chart shows hefty bank debt redemptions too, bringing the total of sov-

ereign and bank redemptions in April to well over 30 billion euros. “A difficult spring in Spain,” the bank summarizes. The next big rollover months for Spain’s sovereign debt will be July with 20.2 billion euros expiring and October with 23.40 billion euros due. Spain’s central and regional governments and its banks need to raise about 290 billion euros in gross debt in 2011, including rolling over existing bonds that expire, Moody’s Investors Service warned last month. Private investors in bank debt are also deterred by fear the European Union may oblige them to accept less than their promised returns or even an absolute reductiontaking a haircut in market jargon-in case of a default. —AFP



TECHNOLOGY Consumer Electronics Show

CES triumphs bode well for Motorola rebirth

LAS VEGAS: Motorola Chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility Sanjay Jha (right) introduces the Motorola Xoom tablet during a presentation with Verizon President and COO Lowell McAdam (left) at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show Jan 6, 2011. The Xoom tablet computer running the new Android “Honeycomb” software was crowned the best gadget at CES on Saturday. — AFP

Car tech dazzles at CES LAS VEGAS: Automakers are taking a drive into the future at the Consumer Electronics Show. The annual event is traditionally a showplace for mobile phones, computers and television sets but car makers are grabbing a lot of attention this year with the latest in automotive technology and a glimpse at what's to come. US automaker Ford even chose Las Vegas over next week's Detroit Auto Show to reveal its first all-electric car, the Focus Electric, which can get up to 160 km on a single battery charge and goes on sale this year. Audi attracted crowds to its CES stand with a demonstration of a "head-up display" that resembles a videogame, projecting important information like a car's speed or directions in hologram fashion on the windshield directly in front of the driver. "It shows you where to turn, the speed limit and your speed so you don't have to look down at the dashboard," said Jessica Silvia, a spokeswoman for the German automaker, which has also been experimenting with self-driving cars. Audi's self-driving cars were not seen zipping around CES but a concept car developed by General Motors was - the two-wheel EN-V, or Electric Networked Vehicle, which can park itself or be summoned using a smartphone. Test rides in the two-seater bubble-like EN-V, which was making its debut in the United States after first being shown at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, were a popular diversion among CES attendees. Ford showed off the 2012 Ford Focus version of MyFord Touch, a touchscreen navigational and entertainment display mounted on the dashboard that besides being touch-responsive can also understand 10,000 voice commands. "I can get destinations, I can get songs. I just have to tell it what I want," said Paul Aldighieri, a Ford spokesman. "We don't want you to control the content with your hands we want you to tell the car what you want." The information on the screen is color-coded - blue for climate, red for entertainment, green for navigation and yellow for phone - to minimize the amount of time a driver takes their eyes off the road. Ford also introduced a new software program called Sync Applink which can access mobile applications like Pandora Internet radio after being connected to an Apple iPhone, a Blackberry or an Android-powered smartphone. — AFP

LAS VEGAS: An attendee looks at GE’s new Residential WattStation plugged into a Chevrolet Volt electric car at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show Saturday. The 240-volt Residential WattStation is intended to be installed at home and can charge a car in only 4-8 hours. — AFP

LAS VEGAS: Motorola Mobility's Xoom tablet computer was the star of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in what could be a sign of renewed glory for a faded technology star. "Motorola's got game, again," Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Geldblum said when the Xoom made its debut on Wednesday. Along with being declared the top creation at the dazzling gadget extravaganza, Xoom was also honored as the best of the scores of tablets introduced here as fresh competitors in a market dominated by Apple iPads. Motorola also scored a victory with its Atrix smartphone designed to work with high-speed 4G wireless networks and which can be used in a dock to power a laptop. Atrix won the top spot in a smartphone category at the official Best of CES awards sponsored by technology news website Cnet, which has editors pick the winners. "We took big risks and they paid off," said Motorola Mobility chief software engineer Seang Chau. "We didn't know if people would get it; but obviously they got it." Motorola was a mobile phone pioneer, filing its first patents

for that type of technology in the 1970s. The company stumbled and fell from a leadership position after not moving quickly enough in a smartphone market seized by rivals such as Apple and Research In Motion. Two years ago, Motorola planned to split into business equipment and mobile gadgets groups, but the move was delayed. Lack of direction caused it to lose more ground in the booming smartphone market. The split was made official this week and the CES triumphs signal that Motorola may have found its stride. "They made a comeback in one of the most difficult and competitive markets, and one of the worst recessions," said IDC mobile devices analyst William Stofega. "I don't think anyone would have gone to CES and predicted the success they've had." Many people had given up on Motorola, Stofega said in an interview with AFP, but paradoxically "it gave them time to change". Motorola Mobility jumped into the bustling tablet computer market Wednesday when chief executive Sanjay Jha unveiled Xoom at CES. The

hotly awaited tablet computer powered by "Honeycomb" software tailored for such devices by Internet colossus Google will be available in the first quarter of the year, Jha said. "This is really the next generation of tablets," Motorola Mobility device team head Alain Mutricy said as he held a Xoom in one hand at the awards ceremony. "Our partnership with Google has been very intense and has enabled some great technology." With a 10.1-inch screen, the Xoom is about the same size as Apple's iPad, which hit stores in April and has other leading technology companies around the world scrambling to catch up. The CES accolades came just four days after Illinois-based Motorola split into two companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. Motorola Mobility will focus on mobility, the Internet and computing markets while Motorola Solutions will target next-generation communications solutions to government, public safety and enterprise customers. "This has been a great week for us," Mutricy said of Motorola Mobility. "It is a good beginning. — AFP

Digital health tech on display LAS VEGAS: Technology companies are getting healthier. And not just their bottom line. The latest innovations on the digital health care front are on display here at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) alongside the newest smartphones, touchscreen tablet computers and 3D television sets. For the second year, organizers staged a full-day "Digital Health Summit" featuring sessions such as "The Doctor in Your Hand: Exploring Mobile Health Options" and "Does Technology Motivate People to Stay Healthy?" Exhibitors said digital technology can help significantly lower health costs, give people the ability to be more actively involved in their care through self-monitoring and improve doctor-patients communications. "The intersection of health and technology is really ripe for an explosion," said Jason Goldberg, 33, president and founder of Ideal Life, a Torontobased company that makes monitoring devices. "Technologies formally were cost prohibitive," Goldberg said. "But I can now sit down at the kitchen table for breakfast and check my blood sugar," he said, and transmit the data in real-time to a health care provider using a device that costs less than $100. Elliot Sprecher, senior data analyst for Israeli company IDesia, developer of a heartbeat sensor, said digital technology should lead to "better patient awareness of their own physical health." "Typically if you're an informed consumer in any market you're going to get better service," Sprecher said. "For example, an electrocardiogram (ECG) is usually taken maybe once a year," he said. "That's not enough to capture the possibility of any real substantial heart problem. "If you were taking readings every day eventually you'd also see the affects of bad lifestyle," Sprecher said. "Conversely you'd see the improvement if you started an exercise program." Ideal Life's Goldberg said digital devices can have a big impact on chronic condition management. "You can do that with simple, easy to use, affordable, familiar devices," he said. "A blood pressure cuff, a glucose meter." Chuck Parker, executive director of Continua, an industry consortium that works to ensure the interoperability and of medical devices, said digital technology "has the opportunity to really lower the cost of health care overall. Individuals can collect data and send it and the health care professional on the other end can interact with it," he said, potentially cutting down on some expensive emergency room visits. "There's absolutely no question that digital technology is going to impact health in a positive way," said Ananth Balasubramanian, senior director for product management at iMetrikus, a Sunnyvale, Californiabased company which securely transmits self-monitoring health data. "The big thing is how the industry overcomes all of the political factors, the complete entrenchment of the system right now," he said. "That needs to be changed." Dr Amar Setty, a Baltimore-based medical technology consultant, agreed that a number of barriers remain before full advantage can be taken of the digital revolution in the medical field. "There's just too many different vendors dealing in too many proprietary systems," Setty said, adding that the vast promise of electronic health records also remains elusive for the moment. "Privacy and liability are big matters," he said. — AFP

LAS VEGAS: Mattel’s Angry Birds board game is on display at the CES on Saturday. Mattel’s version of the popular mobile game app will retail for $14.99, and will be available in May. — AFP

LAS VEGAS: A Sphero robotic ball, controlled from an iPhone, is demonstrated at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show on Saturday. — AFP

Robotic ball a hit at electronics show LAS VEGAS: A glowing robotic ball that is controlled by a smartphone has won fans and the interest of game developers at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Sphero, as the ball is called, rolls around the floor on command, its movements controlled by an Apple iPhone or an Android device. A light glows inside the ball as it moves about, stopping, starting and navigating around objects. "The gaming options are endless," said Jim Booth, vice president of business development for Orbotix, the Boulder, Colorado-based company behind Sphero, a finalist for a "Best of CES" award. "You can get simple driving apps to more complex multi-player games," Booth said. "Office golf - we've had hundreds of ideas. We'll develop games for it and we're going to open up the platform to other developers to develop what they like," he said. Booth said Sphero will go on sale in the United States in late 2011 and will cost under $100 smartphone not included. He said the ball is controlled from a smartphone by Bluetooth technology and has a gyro and an accelerometer inside. — AFP

LAS VEGAS: Sifteo wireless game cubes are displayed at the CES on Saturday. Sifteo cubes are digital interactive tiles or blocks with full-color screens that respond to motion and to each other wirelessly. — AFP



health & science

Germany detects illegal dioxin levels in poultry Confirmation of tainted meat sends shockwaves

HONG KONG: A macaque eats a banana as it scavenges for food at a country park yesterday. Several groups of monkeys live in Kam Shan and Lion Rock Country Parks, part of the Kowloon Hills, with the total number of monkeys is estimated to be around 2100 in 2008. —AFP

Insurance fraud rings find fertile ground in Canada MONTREAL: It starts with a seemingly courteous gesture behind the wheel: an innocent driver signals to turn left, and a driver in an oncoming lane waves for him to go ahead-when another vehicle speeds up and crashes into the turning car. Unbeknownst to the person just hit, the collision was staged in order to collect hefty insurance payouts under provincial no-fault insurance programs. The scammers first collect insurance for their car’s replacement value then submit bogus injury claims at health clinics. Ken Bowman, Vice-President of RBC Insurance, said the growing trend of staged accidents involves buying vehicles, often luxury cars such as Mercedes, and having “seat sales”, in which fraudsters “pay $1,000 for every person recruited to be in the car.” In some cases, four people will agree to participate in a staged accident and will go on to submit multiple injury claims, billing for costly healthcare assessments and treatments. Sometimes, legitimate injuries arise from accidentsespecially if an innocent person is involved — but in many cases, the accidents are simply “bump and runs, and quick stops.” “It’s a billion dollar business,” Bowman said. “And there is minimal deterrence for criminals. I think it’s quite obvious that there needs to be stiffer penalties and consequences for those who commit insurance fraud.” Industry experts say automobile insurance fraud rings have become a booming business in Canada. The rings are sophisticated, highly profitable, and almost untouchable, thanks to poor government regulation, weak law enforcement and the absence of a national database to track suspect claims. Insurance companies themselves are seen as partly to blame for not sharing information in a collective data base. Bowman said there have been concerns in the past around “privacy and data that insurers may conceive as a competitive advantage.” Insurance companies have long found it cheaper to settle a suspicious claim rather than investigate and prosecute. But faced with more complex schemes to bilk insurance companies-and the hike in premiums passed onto consumers-the industry is now calling for greater regulation of health clinics and a task force comprised of insurance investigators, police officers and lawyers to tackle the problem. In 2009, insurance fraud accounted for between 10 and 15 percent of premiums-or an estimated $1.3 billion, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the industry watchdog. The scams are most rampant in Toronto, where at least 30 staged collision rings have been identified. The IBC said in a number of cases, individuals have come from New York to Ontario to open clinics because provincial oversight is so lax. In Ontario a person does not have to be a medical practitioner to own or operate a clinic. DESPERATE FOR REFORM The fraud commonly involves identity theft in clinics operated by fraudsters. “They are taking ownership of a medical clinic and that’s where we’re seeing this organized activity taking place,” said Rick Dubin, vice president of Investigative Services at IBC. On average the IBC gets three calls a week from bonafide medical practitioners such as chiropractors or physiotherapists who are worried that their registration numbers are still being used or their signatures are being forged at clinics where they formerly worked. The fraud most often occurs in billing and invoicing at the clinics, if the clinics exist at all. In some cases, the clinics are registered only on paper. For an injury such as whiplash, an individual might submit fraudulent claims for assessments from a myriad of experts, which could include kinesthesiologists, neuropsychological experts, orthopedic doctors, nutritionists, chiropractors and physiotherapists. In most cases, the assessments or treatments haven’t been provided, according to the IBC. Desperate for reform, the industry launched a major investigation dubbed Project 92. The investigation was carried out by a task force of insurance investigators, a Toronto police officer, and two Ontario prosecutors, who uncovered a complex, $25-million fraud ring. Dubin said Project 92 is a “proof of concept” case that resulted in 300 charges laid and 20 criminal convictions. Two individuals were convicted of participating in a criminal organization. “We wanted to prove how successful it would be by taking a task force approach and show the success that could be achieved,” Dubin said. In December, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company launched a lawsuit in Ontario against a group of Toronto clinics. The lawsuit alleges that false claims were submitted by medical practitioners who did not work at the clinics. John Bordignon, media specialist at State Farm in Ontario, told AFP that “with the issuance of this statement of claim and this court case, we are now in the process of taking a pro-active approach to go after those who wish to defraud the system.” “It’s very important to let these groups understand that it’s not carte blanche. We are not going to sit there and continually just pay.” —AFP

BERLIN: German investigators have found excessive levels of cancer-causing dioxin in chicken — the first such confirmation of tainted meat since the discovery that German farm animals had eaten contaminated feed, possibly for months. Three chickens — out of 15 samples of chicken, turkey and pork sent to the EU Commission — showed a dioxin concentration twice as high as legally allowed, an Agriculture Ministr y spokesman said Saturday. The spokesman said the chicken meat had not been sold but eating it would not have been harmful in the short term since the contamination levels were so low. He declined to be named in line with government policy. Excessive dioxin levels were previously discovered in German eggs. Germany had frozen sales of poultry, pork and eggs from more than 4,700 farms to stem the spread of food that could have been contaminated with dioxin. On Saturday, Lower-Saxony state’s ministry lifted the ban for 500 dairy farms after tests on milk, butter and cheese showed no dioxin contamination. Investigators are probing the German firm Harles & Jentzsch GmbH, which had produced fat used in the tainted feed pellets. Samples of the fat contained up to 73 times the approved amount of dioxin, according to tests published Saturday by the Schleswig-Holstein state agriculture ministry. Earlier tests on Friday had found a concentration 77 times above the legal limit. The state ministry said it had proof the firm had been producing tainted fat for months. Dioxins are contaminants that often result from industrial combustion, and exposure to them at high levels is linked to an increased incidence of cancer. The scandal broke after regular random test-

In this picture taken Jan 6, 2011 turkey hens look for feed in Neerstedt near Oldenburg, northern Germany after it was closed. —AP ing revealed excessive dioxin levels in eggs in western Germany. South Korea and Slovakia on Friday banned the sale of some German imports, while Britain, Italy and the Netherlands launched investigations into food safety. In Britain, supermarkets giants Tesco, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s removed cakes, quiches and

other egg products from their shelves after confirming that eggs contaminated with dioxins had been used to produce them. The British Food Standards Agency said the supermarkets had already sold most of the affected food, which had a short shelf life, but added the risks to humans were minimal.

“There is no food safety risk from eating these products,” the agency said on its website. I talian Health M inister Ferruccio Fazio said his ministr y had asked all farmers who import eggs, milk or meat from Germany to check on dioxin levels, but said no Italian farmers had imported the contaminated feed. —AP

High note: Music thrills trigger reward chemical

In this image provided by NASA taken, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer instrument on NASA’s Terra spacecraft captured this image of the inundated city of Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. For Australia, La Nina typically means above-average rains, and the current La Nina is no exception. —AP

Australia’s flood-hit animals find refuge in ‘Noah’s Ark’ ROCKHAMPTON, Australia: I f Australia is facing a flood disaster of “ biblical ” propor tions, Ce ntral Queensland University’s basketball courts must be Noah’s Ark, a yapping, yowling menagerie of rescued animals. Volunteers busily cut lengths of wire fencing for enclosures as animal welfare group RSPCA ambul a n ce s a n d t r u c k s re t u r n f ro m patrols of Rockhampton’s swamped streets with a host of sodden and frightened cats, dogs and birds. “Most times they’re glad just to be with someone, because they’re just scared, hungr y, thirsty-well, they can’t say thirsty ‘cause there’s plenty of water to drink,” explains chief animal welfare inspec tor Laurie Stageman. “We get reports, we’ll go out and wade through the water and get them,” he told AFP. Some of the animals were left behind by families that had to evacuate at short notice or had no room for their beloved pets and have called to ask for a rescue. But others, especially dogs, have been found wandering far from home wet and confused, after taking fright when the flooding hit and swimming, in some cases, a considerable distance downstream.

Stageman says domestic pets are pretty resilient-”they will find somewhere, even if it’s just a post they can sit on”-but the agricultural centre’s livestock have been hit hard by the disaster. He watc hed about 30 cattle washed down the river when the floods first hit Rockhampton last month, and a number have been found dead and injured. One bewildered cow ended up in the Pacific Ocean, a “fair whack ” from where it was swept into the surging river that carried it there, and Stageman said it was discovered by two Vietnamese fishermen. “They put some flotation under it but it died, it drowned,” he said. Decomposing animal corpses pose a serious disease risk to flooded communities, but they also heighten danger for residents by drawing the region’s famous saltwater crocodiles. “Any flooded-up areas, crocs will go and explore it because it could be an easy food source,” said Stageman. “There’s some big salties (saltwater crocodiles) out there.” A number have already been spotted roaming swamped areas at the bottom of residential streets, and Stageman said he had been told a crocodile was seen savaging a dog.

Compounding the risks for animals and their rescuers in the water were highly poisonous and angry snakes, flushed from their nests at the height of mating season. Stageman said there could be as many as one million snakes in the wate r. I t could be some weeks before waters recede-a long wait for the horses, donkeys and even camels holding patient vigil on whatever patches of dry land they have been able to find. Helicopter and boat crews take food to stranded animals and residents care for new-found charges where they can, but it is the ones in hiding or those swept far afield who are suffering and hungry that worry Stageman. “ We rely on repor ts, because there’s only so much we can see from the boat,” he said. Having their pets safe and dry in Stageman’s refuge behind the evacuation centre is some comfort for the hundreds left homeless by the floods, says one Red Cross volunteer, Flora. Two men have set up their camp beds in the enclosure so they can sleep beside their dogs at night. “I think it’s an important part of the healing process,” Flora said. “They are like family, and it’s a great comfort to them.” —AFP

PARIS: People who become euphoric over music unleash dopamine, a brain chemical that also induces the sense of reward that comes from food, psychoactive drugs and money, an unusual study says. McGill University researchers in Montreal, Canada, recruited eight volunteers aged 19-24 among 217 people who responded to advertisements requesting people who experienced “chills”-a marker of extreme pleasure-when listening to music. After careful selection, the volunteers were put into a positron emission tomography (PET ) scanner, which is able to spot a tagged chemical, raclopride, that works on dopamine receptors in brain cells. They were also wired up to sensors that measured them for heartbeat, respiration, temperature and skin conductance. Listening to their favourite piece of spinetingling music, the volunteers showed a rush of physical activity and also unlocked a release of dopamine in the striatum area of the brain. The effect occurred even in anticipation, before the “chill” peak occurred. But no such dopamine surge was seen when the volunteers listened to neutral music which, previous tests showed, was known to leave them emotionally cold. Seeking to find out more, the scientists then put the volunteers in a frequency magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner, which highlights flows of blood in the head, thus showing which part of the brain is being activated. A part of the striatum known as the caudate was involved during the anticipation phase. But during the peak emotional response, a different striatum area known as the nucleus accumbens was involved. The results shed light on the exclusive regard that humans have for music, say the researchers. Reward sensation could help explain why music is liked in every society-but also why appreciation of it is such an individual or cultural thing. Scientists consider dopamine to be an ancient chemical that is essential for survival. It dishes out feel-good jolts in response for lifesuppor ting actions such as eating and for acquiring “secondary” tangibles such as money. The mechanism can also be triggered by drugs. But music is abstract, is not directly essential for survival and is not one of these “secondary” or conditioned sources of reward, says the study. “(Abstract) stimuli have persisted through cultures and generations, and are pre-eminent in most people’s lives,” it says. “Notably, the experience of pleasure to these abstract stimuli is highly specific to cultural and personal preferences, which can vary tremendously across individuals.” One possible explanation for this is because of the emotions invoked by music-”expectations, delay, tension, resolution, prediction, surprise and anticipation,” among others. The paper, headed by Valorie Salimpoor and Robert Zatorre, is published online by the specialist journal Nature Neuroscience. —AFP



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health & science

Struggling to live with diabetes Blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and leg amputations... the complication go on iabetes shut down both of David Cowan’s kidneys four years ago, about the same time his lower left leg was amputated to save him from rampant infection. Before that, Cowan, 49, nearly died from stepping on a rusty nail, which put him in a coma for four months. Even now, as he gets about on an artificial leg and goes in for blood-cleansing dialysis three days a week, Cowan, 49, a Sebastopol resident and former commercial fisherman, has trouble fighting off a common cold. Colds invariably turn to bronchitis and require antibiotics, he said. “It’s a crapshoot,” Cowan said last week at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s Wound Care Clinic, getting treatment for five cuts on the calloused stump of his leg. He was referring, with a wry smile, to the litany of things that can go wrong for a man who’s lived with diabetes for more than 30 years. “My eyes are OK,” he said. Blindness, hear t disease, kidney failure and leg amputations are among the serious complications from diabetes, which affects 24 million people in the United States, nearly 8 percent of the population. Another 57 million people are estimated to be at risk for diabetes, the nation’s seventh-leading cause of death. Cowan, who has lived with diabetes for more than 30 years, accepts the indignities the disease has inflicted on him. “You gotta keep going,” he said. He’s on a kidney transplant list, takes 10 different medications and hopes, as he gets more accustomed to his prosthetic leg, to get back on a basketball court someday soon. “This condition could take me out-in a matter of months,” said Cowan, a stocky man with a light mustache and goatee. “But no, I want to live. So I do what I have to do. It’s just a way of life.” Cowan has Type 1 diabetes, once called juvenile diabetes, which afflicts children and young adults and is treated with insulin to keep blood sugar in check. Diabetics often lose feeling in their feet and won’t sense pain from a rock or needle in their shoes. Cowan once stepped on


Chinese official fired over lead poisoning

Internist Christopher Dodd (left), a resident at University of Miami’s Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine, speaks with his patient Luis Orozco and Orozco’s partner, Adela Gomez in Miami. Orozco recently had a leg amputation due to his diabetes condition. —MCT a barbecue grate so hot it burned through his sandal, but didn’t feel a thing. The cuts on his calloused stump came from pressure against his prosthesis. “ You’ve got to stay off it,” advised Suzanne Drake, wound care manager at Memorial. “I wish I could,” Cowan replied. Cowan, a 1980 graduate from El Molino High School in Forestville, was an active, hearty teenager when his weight plummeted from 200 pounds to 160. A blood test showed he had the elevated sugar level associated with diabetes, which upsets the body’s ability to produce sugar-burn-

ing insulin. He wound up at Palm Drive Hospital, where doctors discovered Cowan had testicular cancer, most likely unrelated to his diabetes. Surger y, followed by chemotherapy and radiation, eliminated the cancer but left Cowan sterile. He is “thankful” for the diabetes, he said, because it enabled doctors to catch a cancer that could have killed him. In 2007, Cowan suffered a diabetesinduced spasm in both legs and crashed to the floor of his kitchen, shattering his tibia and fibula into 17 pieces. The bones failed to heal, and ultimately an infection

set in, forcing the amputation in early 2008. During rehab for the broken leg, doctors told Cowan his kidneys had failed. Now, Cowan is well-versed in life with diabetes. “You’ve got to really know what your sugar level is and take your insulin to adjust it,” he said. Cowan credits his survival to family support, his Christian faith and good doctors. A Baptist who attends the Hessel Church in Sebastopol, Cowan thanks his parents for instilling in him a belief in God and Jesus Christ. “I can fall back on my faith,” he said. Without it, “I would not be here.” —MCT

BEIJING: An environmental official in eastern China was suspended after a battery factory sickened more than 200 children with lead poisoning, authorities said yesterday. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of lead, a key component in lead-acid batteries needed for the growing number of vehicles in the country. New cases of lead poisoning regularly occur, underscoring the toll pollution is taking on the health of rural Chinese. Zhao Yiping, the head of the local environmental protection bureau in Huaining County in Anhui province, was suspended from his duties after tests confirmed that lead emissions from Borui Battery Co Ltd had polluted the nearby soil, the county government said in a statement. It said 228 children out of 307 tested were found to have high levels of lead in their blood. Twentythree of them were hospitalized and were receiving treatment. The batter y plant was forced to halt operations while investigations continue, the statement said. The plant had failed to pass necessar y environmental checks and was asked to close in August,

but it later resumed production without notifying authorities, the government said. The factory was across the street from a residential area despite regulations that battery plants must be at least 1,600 feet (500 meters) away. Cases of lead poisoning in China have sparked unrest and come amid growing anger over public safety scandals in which children have been the main victims. The ruling Communist Party is worried that mass protests will threaten the countr y ’s social stability and considers the protests a serious challenge to its gr ip on power. Reports of lead poisoning have emerged from far-flung par ts of China since 2009, usually rural areas where large, highly polluting fac tories have been plunked down among farms at the behest of local governments whose performance assessments are based on their abilit y to deliver economic growth. Excessive amounts of lead in the body can harm the nervous and reproductive systems and cause high blood pressure and anemia. In severe cases, it can lead to convulsions, coma and death. —AP



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w h at ’s o n


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 ■■■■■

SMCA celebrates Christmas, New Year with a family fest


yro Malabar Cultural Association (SMCA), Kuwait celebrated Christmas and New Year with colorful events on the 7th of January. The celebrations started with Ramsa, traditional evening prayer of Syro Malabarians. President Jaison Chemannur hoisted SMCA flag alongside 4 Area general conveners joined him in the ceremony, while more than 180 Baladeepthy children sang the SMCA anthem and carols. It was followed by nine hours of colorful stage presentations from four areas of SMCA. Dances, skits, traditional musical dance drama Chavittu Nadakam, which symbolizes the martial tradition of Kerala Christians, and Margam Kali the ancient round group dance of Kerala practiced by Saint Thomas Christians invited big appreciation from the huge family gathering of more than 2800. At 6pm the guests were given a ceremonious and traditional welcome. The public meeting was presided over by the SMCA president Jaison Chemannur; and General Secretary Rejoy Varghese Kelamparambil wel-

comed all dignitaries and members to the event. Head of Catholic Church in Kuwait and Patron of SMCA HL Camillo Ballin told about the importance of communion and peace in the Christian life. Ambassador of India Ajai Malhotra delivered the keynote address. Vatican Nuncio HG Peter Rajic wished all and expressed his delight of seeing such a large and vibrant Christian Community here in Kuwait. Guest of Honor KCBC President and Metropolitan Archbishop of Trichur archdiocese HG Mar Andrews Thazhath delivered the Christmas message and felicitated the Silver Jubilee Couples and gave mementoes to them. In his speech he congratulated SMCA for the Faith Formation classes designed to pass the culture and tradition to the younger generation. Peter Rajic released the 16th anniversary souvenir. The four area secretaries of SMCA joined HL Camillo Ballin in cutting the Christmas cake. Baladeepthy president Tany Elizabeth and Idukki MLA Roshy Augustine delivered felicitations. Treasurer Wilson Vadakkedath said the

word of thanks. The public meeting was followed by the arrival of four Carol groups. All groups joined at the center of the venue to rock the audience with a mood of celebration. The SMCA choir sang beautiful carol songs. Trophies to the winners of SMCA arts festival were distributed during the event which was followed by Orchestra. Idea Star Singer winners Joby John and Anju Joseph were the singers and the orchestration was by Melody Musics. A buffet dinner was also arranged, which was enjoyed by all as one family. Guests from various associations and sponsoring companies graced the day with their presence. Christmas raffle prizes were announced through a draw. The first prize of raffle, 20 gm gold, sponsored by UAE Exchange Co was won by PV Sinil. The success of the mega event was the result of collective effort put in by the sub committees under the leadership of, Arts Convener Shajimon Manguzhikkary, Cultural Convener Francis Antony Pulikkan and Social Welfare Convener Gigy George Parakkadan.

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 ■■■■■

Friday brunch at Movenpick Hotel and Resort Al Bida’a Kuwait

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


Up for all-day family style day? Breeze Restaurant is the perfect place to be on Fridays.


nown for its wonderful range of live cooking stations, an array of Arabic and International food, freshly made Pasta, Chinese delicacies prepared in front of your eyes and the chocolate fountain where strawberries, fresh pineapple pieces and marshmallows disappear in soft dripping milk chocolate, the Friday Brunch at Breeze Restaurant displays a great place to be on Friday. Friendly team members are welcoming you with attentiveness and high level of

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

standards and whilst you are attended by your server of the day, pleasant care-takers of the “kids club” already start to keep your little ones busy. You enjoy live entertainment, which contains Oriental Classic music. Highlights of the Brunch are in fact all the action stations - May it be the fried noodles made to order, shawarma station or the fresh pasta station. The wide range of international specialties makes it hard to choose where to start.



ery Happy Birthday to Shannon Sanjay who is celebrating her 9th birthday on January 11th 2011. May God bless her with good health and success in her life. The wishes are from grandfather and grandmother, dada (Sanjay) and Mama (Shweta), brother (Shawne), uncle and aunty and Aren, and all the relatives from India.

Write to us Send to What’s On


appy birthday to our dearest SANJANA who is celebrating her third birthday today. May the Almighty bless you with good health and bright future. Best wishes from Daddy, Mummy, Suraj and all relatives.


ell-known Malayalam theatre director and actor Surjith Gopinath is being received by members of Future Eye Theatre, Kuwait on his arrival at the Kuwait International Airport Saturday. Gopinath arrived in Kuwait to direct Future Eye’s new drama production which will be presented during its first anniversary celebration on February 4, 2011 at the Indian Central School auditorium, Abbassiya.

upcoming events, birthdays or celebrations by email: Fax: 24835619 / 20



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Embassy Information EMBASSY OF BANGLADESH he Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Kuwait has taken up an initiative to update the database of Bangladesh nationals residing in the State of Kuwait. For inclusion in the database all the Bangladesh nationals are requested to collect the Registration Form from the Labour Wing of the Embassy. The forms can also be collected sending request to e-mail address. The filled-in forms can also be submitted by hand, by email or by fax (number 2491-3204).


Clare Daniel presents amazing Mount Kilimanjaro journey.

Members of IWG Executive Board cut the ‘Happy New Year’ cake from the Radisson Blu.

IWG welcomes members into 2011 By Wendy Clayton

Climbing Kilimanjaro to help others to walk


he International Women’s Group welcomed its members into the new year yesterday at a breakfast reception at the Radisson Blu Hotel. In honor of the group the Radisson Blu donated a ‘Happy New Year’ cake celebrating the continued union of the IWG and the Radisson Blu. Special guest presenter was Clare Daniel who shared with members her amazing journey walking up Mount Kilimanjaro in August 2010. Daniel had been dreaming of reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro for some time. She took along her 17 year old twin sons on a journey of a lifetime for all of them. Born and brought up in Zambia Daniel’s quest was two-fold. While doing it as a personal life pursuit she was also raising funds for Zambian charity FlySpec. Daniel explained that Zambia is a very poor country and for those living in the very remote rural areas life was tough. “In the rural area there is no welfare support for villagers,” said Daniel. “If you have lost a limb through injury or illness or suffer from numerous other diseases common to these areas then you are on your own. Medical support is very difficult to come by if not for the wonderful work of FlySpec”, she says. FlySpec was started up by two retired surgeons that voluntarily fly non-stop around the country conducting operations and providing prosthetic limbs to those in need. Initially the pair even supplied their own planes. They trained up other Zambians to work with them providing much needed medical care to people who couldn’t walk or

IWG members at monthly breakfast meeting.

Some of the IWG members are seen enjoying the meeting. —Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh & Wendy Clayton even go to work or school. Daniel explained that in a one-week period the team performs around eighty operations at an average cost of KD42. “It’s a small price to

pay to give someone their life back by enabling them to just walk again,” said Daniel. The effort of Clare and her two boys raised enough money for FlySpec to perform at least fifty opera-

tions to the people of Zambia. Daniel was praised by the IWG for her efforts and presented with flowers as thank you for sharing her inspirational story.


D Landmark Group hosts ‘Art Olympiad’ for the fourth consecutive year


andmark Group of Kuwait is all set to host the Art Olympiad 2011 for the fourth consecutive year on January 12th at the J W Marriott, Kuwait City. This initiative, which has been a part of Landmark Group’s ongoing corporate social responsibility, intends to provide a grooming platform to the future citizens of the world by helping them to improvise their flair and encourage their innovative ability through art. As always, Landmark Group is keen on maintaining an excellent rapport and creating awareness about relevant issues among the youth with constant activities and events, while setting a platform for 150 students from 15 schools of repute across Kuwait. Saibal Basu, Chief Operating Officer of Landmark Group, Kuwait said, “As always, we are committed to the Kuwaiti society and are extremely pleased to receive such positive responses on the various activities, including the most recent ‘Beat Diabetes’ initiative which was held in November 2010.” He added, “The positive and enthusiastic feedback we have received from schools and students as well as the growing number of participants are a clear indication of the successful engagement the Landmark Group has with the community. By conducting the Art Olympiad on an annual

basis, we hope to raise the spirits of the students and encourage them to express their views strongly and in an innovative manner about anything and everything that concerns their world.” The participating schools for this year’s Olympiad are: The English School, the International British School, Dasman Model School, FAIPS, Indian English Academy School, Kuwait American School, Indian Educational School, The English School Fahaheel, The English Academy, Kuwait Bilingual School and more. Students will be judged on the basis of creativity, workmanship, overall impression and relevance to the theme. A total of eight winners will be selected at the end of the competition. Each winner will be awarded with exciting grand prizes and many other valuable gifts. They will also receive certificates and trophies in recognition of their participation, and their schools will be given a plaque of appreciation.

ue to the change in Kuwait visit schedule of Dalia Mogahed, Advisor to US president Barack Obama on faith, Indian Muslim Association (IMA) announces the cancellation of her public lecture which was due on 19th January 2011 at International Islamic Charitable Organization Auditorium at South Surrah. Inconvenience caused is highly regretted.

AMMA Kuwait health camp on Jan 21


mma Kuwait in association with Kuwait Medical Association (KMA) and Indian Doctors Forum (IDF) organize free Health Awareness camp on Friday January 21st, 2011. The camp will be conducted at the Indian Central School, Abbasiya from 8.30 am onwards. Specialist from various departments including Diabetic, Dermatology, ENT, Orthopedics, Nephrology, Cardiology, Urology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Surgery, Internal Medicine, Oncology, General Practitioner and Gynecology will be available for free consultations. Amma Kuwait requests a prior registration in order to facilitate the smooth running of the health awareness camp. Registration to be completed before January 15th. You may register through mma

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. Consular Services for Canadian Citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00 on Sunday through Wednesday. The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, Al-Mutawakel St., Block 4 in Daíaiyah. Please visit our website at Canada offers a registration service for all Canadians travelling or living abroad. This service is provided so that Consular Officials can contact and assist Canadians in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform Canadians of a family emergency at home. The Embassy of Canada encourages all Canadian Citizens to register online through the Government of Canada Travel Website at The Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi provides visa and immigration services to residents of Kuwait. Individuals who are interested in visiting, working or immigrating to Canada are invited to visit the website of the Canadian Embassy to the UAE at EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India has further revamped and improved its Legal Advice Clinic at the Indian Workers Welfare Center, and made the free service available to Indian nationals on all five working days, i.e. from Sunday to Thursday every week. Kuwaiti lawyers would be available at the Legal Advice Clinic daily from Monday to Thursday, while Indian lawyers would be available on Sundays. Following are the free welfare services provided at the Indian Workers Welfare Center located at the Embassy of India: [i] 24x7 Helpline for Domestic Workers: Accessible by toll free telephone no. 25674163 from anywhere in Kuwait, it provides information and advice exclusively to Indian domestic sector workers (Visa No. 20) as regards their grievances, immigration and other matters. [ii] Help Desk: It offers guidance to Indian nationals on routine immigration, employment, legal, and other issues (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iii) Labour Complaints Desk: It registers labor complaints and provides grievance redressal service to Indian workers (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iv) Shelters: For female and male domestic workers in distress; (v) Legal Advice Clinic: Provides free legal advice to Indian nationals (Embassy premises; Kuwaiti lawyers 3 PM to 5 PM, Monday to Thursday; Indian lawyers 2 PM to 4 PM on Sunday); and (vi) Attestation of Work Contracts: Private sector worker (Visa No. 18) contracts are accepted at the Embassy; 9 AM to 1 PM; Sunday to Thursday; Domestic sector worker (Visa No. 20) contracts are accepted at Kuwait Union of Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO), Hawally, Al-Othman Street, Kurd Roundabout, AlAbraj Complex, Office No 9, Mezzanine Floor; 9 AM to 9 PM, Saturday to Thursday; 5 PM to 9 PM on Friday. Embassy of India would like to inform that application forms for passport/visa services and labor contracts that are on its website,, have been upgraded to include the facility for online data entry. Affidavit forms on the embassy website have had this facility since May 6, 2009. EMBASSY OF THE US The United States Department of State announces the increase in various visa fees to ensure sufficient resources to cover the increasing cost of processing nonimmigrant visas (NIVs). US law requires the Department to recover the cost of processing non-immigrant visas through the collection of the application fees. The increased fees are to take effect June 4, 2010. Under the new rule, applicants for all visas that are not petition-based, including B1/B2 tourist and business visitor visas and all student and exchange-visitor visas, will pay a fee of $140. Applicants for petition-based visas will pay an application fee of $150, as each of the below categories requires a review of extensive documentation and a more in-depth interview of the applicant than other categories, such as tourists. These categories include: H visa for temporary workers and trainees L visa for intra-company transferees O visa for aliens with extraordinary ability P visa for athletes, artists and entertainers Q visa for international cultural exchange visitors R visa for religious occupations The application fee for K visas for fiance(e)s of US citizens will be $350. The fee for E visas for treaty-traders and treaty-investors will be $390. EMBASSY OF GERMANY The German Embassy wishes to extend and update its information base on German business in Kuwait. Therefore all Kuwaiti companies representing German companies are invited to register at the embassy. For more information on the registration, please visit



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The Ellen Degeneres Show My Own Worst Enemy Good Morning America Supernatural Kings Commander In Chief My Own Worst Enemy Good Morning America Glee Cold Case The Ellen Degeneres Show Psych Cold Case Commander In Chief Glee My Own Worst Enemy Good Morning America Psych The Ellen Degeneres Show The Closer The Deep End

00:50 Untamed & Uncut 01:45 Killer Crocs of Costa Rica 02:40 Dogs 101 03:35 Gorilla School 04:00 Gorilla School 04:30 Pit Bulls and Parolees 05:25 I’m Alive 06:20 Untamed & Uncut 07:10 Cats of Claw Hill 07:35 Cats of Claw Hill 08:00 Meerkat Manor 08:25 Growing Up... 09:15 Planet Wild 09:40 Breed All About It 10:10 Baby Planet 11:05 Project Puppy 11:30 Project Puppy 12:00 Animal Precinct 12:55 Wildlife SOS 13:20 Wildlife SOS 13:50 Animal Cops Houston 14:45 Saba and the Rhino’s Secret 15:40 Baby Planet 16:35 Panda Adventures with Nigel Marven 17:30 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 18:25 Speed of Life 19:20 World Wild Vet 20:15 Incredible Journeys with Steve Leonard 21:10 Dogs 101 22:05 Weird Creatures with Nick Baker 23:00 K9 Cops 23:55 Whale Wars

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Live At The Apollo Doctor Who Doctor Who Confidential The Weakest Link Live At The Apollo The Weakest Link My Family Gigglebiz Balamory Tweenies Fimbles The Large Family The Adventures Of Spot Gigglebiz Balamory Tweenies Fimbles The Large Family The Adventures Of Spot Gigglebiz Balamory Tweenies Fimbles The Large Family The Adventures Of Spot Gigglebiz Balamory Tweenies Fimbles The Large Family The Adventures Of Spot Gigglebiz

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My Family My Family Doctor Who Doctor Who Confidential The Weakest Link Casualty Casualty The Weakest Link The Weakest Link Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctor Who Doctor Who Confidential My Family My Family Sahara Monarch Of The Glen Inspector Lynley Mysteries Spanish Flu - The Forgotten

Cash In The Attic Come Dine With Me Superhomes Cash In The Attic USA New Scandinavian Cooking Coastal Kitchen Beachcomber Cottage Mitch And Matt’s Big Fish Antiques Roadshow Cash In The Attic Come Dine With Me New Scandinavian Cooking

01:15 Civilization Of Maxwell Bright 03:15 Not Easily Broken-PG15 05:00 Capturing Mary-PG15 07:00 Escape To Victory-PG15 09:00 The Other Man-PG15 11:00 The Babe-PG15 13:00 A Dance For Bethany-PG15 15:00 Julie And Julia-PG15 17:00 The Secret Lives Of Second Wives-PG15 19:00 Rachel Getting Married-PG15 21:00 Welcome To Sarajevo-18 22:45 The Apostle-PG15

00:40 Serial Killers 01:35 Surviving Disaster 02:30 Destroyed In Seconds 03:25 Motor City Motors 04:20 How Do They Do It? 05:15 Deadliest Catch: The Phil Harris Story 06:05 Mythbusters 07:00 Fifth Gear 07:25 Fifth Gear 07:50 Motor City Motors 08:45 I Could Do That 09:40 How Do They Do It? 10:05 How Machines Work 10:30 Ultimate Survival 11:25 Deadliest Catch: The Phil Harris Story 12:20 Dual Survival 17:50 How Machines Work 18:15 Ultimate Survival 19:10 Deadliest Catch: The Phil Harris Story 20:05 Time Warp 20:35 Time Warp 21:00 Mythbusters 21:55 Discovery Saved My Life 22:50 Surviving Disaster 23:45 Police Women Of Maricopa County

00:40 01:30 02:20 03:10 04:00

Nextworld Weird Or What? Perfect Disaster The Future Of... Sci-Fi Science

04:25 Sci-Fi Science 04:50 How Stuff’s Made 05:45 Engineered 06:40 How Does That Work? 07:10 Superships 08:00 What’s That About? 08:55 Da Vinci’s Machines 09:50 Brainiac 10:45 Mean Green Machines 15:05 Green Wheels 15:55 Patent Bending 16:20 The Gadget Show 16:45 The Gadget Show 17:10 Sci-Fi Science 17:35 Sci-Fi Science 18:00 The Future Of... 18:50 World’s Biggest Airliner 19:40 Mega World 20:30 How Stuff’s Made 20:55 How Stuff’s Made 21:20 What’s That About? 22:10 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 23:00 Perfect Disaster 23:50 The Future Of...

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 Little Einsteins 06:25 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Y1 (Cema) 06:45 Handy Manny 07:10 Lazytown 07:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Y1 (Cema) 08:00 Fairly Odd Parents 08:25 Suite Life On Deck 08:50 Wizards Of Waverly Place 09:15 Jonas 09:40 Hannah Montana 10:00 Sonny With A Chance 10:30 Princess Protection Programme 12:00 Phineas & Ferb 12:25 Replacements 12:50 Kim Possible 13:15 Sonny With A Chance 13:40 Hannah Montana 14:00 Jonas 14:20 Wizards Of Waverly Place 14:45 Suite Life On Deck 15:10 Fairly Odd Parents 15:35 Replacements 16:00 Phineas & Ferb 16:25 Famous Five 16:45 Fairly Odd Parents 17:00 Jonas 17:25 Suite Life On Deck 17:50 Wizards Of Waverly Place 18:10 Hannah Montana 18:35 Sonny With A Chance 19:00 Mulan 2 20:10 Wizards Of Waverly Place 20:35 Hannah Montana 21:00 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 21:25 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 21:50 The Replacements Splits 22:00 Phineas & Ferb 22:25 Replacements 22:50 Kim Possible 23:15 Sonny With A Chance 23:40 Hannah Montana

00:15 Extreme Close-Up 00:40 Fashion Police 01:05 Chelsea Lately 01:30 15 Unforgettable Hollywood Tragedies 03:15 Extreme Hollywood

New York, I Love You on Show Movies

04:10 05:05 05:30 06:00 07:45 08:35 09:25 10:15 10:40 11:05 12:00 12:50 17:10 17:35 18:00 18:50 19:40 20:30 21:20 22:10 23:00 23:25 23:50

Sexiest Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties Streets Of Hollywood Ths Behind The Scenes E! News Extreme Close-Up Style Star Style Star Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane E! News Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane Behind The Scenes Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane E! News E!es Extreme Close-Up Then And Now Giuliana And Bill E! News Chelsea Lately The Soup E! News

00:00 Throwdown with Bobby Flay 00:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:00 Iron Chef America 02:00 30 Minute Meals 02:30 Tyler’s Ultimate 03:00 Chopped 04:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back to Basics 04:30 Unwrapped 05:00 Food Network Challenge 06:00 Good Eats - Special 06:30 Guy’s Big Bite 07:00 Iron Chef America 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 Iron Chef America 22:00 Barefoot Contessa 22:30 Everyday Italian 23:00 Chopped

01:00 NFL Game Day 01:30 PGA Tour: Hyundai Tournament of Champions Rd. 3 Kapalua, HI 03:00 Sport Express 06:00 Golf Central International 06:30 Golf Channel - TBA 09:00 Pac-10 Men’s Basketball Cal at Arizona St. 11:00 ACC Basketball North Carolina at Virginia 13:00 PGA Tour: Hyundai Tournament of Champions Rd. 3 Kapalua, HI 17:30 ACC Basketball Wake Forest at North Carolina State 19:30 NFL Game Day 20:00 FOX NFL Sunday 21:00 NFL: NFC Wild Card Game: TBA at TBA - Time Tentative

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A Haunting Psychic Witness The Haunted Ghost Lab A Haunting Psychic Witness Amsterdam Vice On The Case With Paula Zahn Mystery Diagnosis Forensic Detectives Solved Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls Accident Investigator FBI Files On The Case With Paula Zahn Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls Accident Investigator Forensic Detectives Solved FBI Files Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls On The Case With Paula Zahn Murder Shift True Crime With Aphrodite

01:10 02:55 04:25 05:50 07:25 08:55 10:30 11:55 13:30 15:05 16:50 18:40

River’s Edge Coffy Diamond Skulls The Boost Sleepover Maxie Frankie And Johnny Breakheart Pass The Aviator Bigger Than The Sky Brannigan Across 110th Street

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Nomads Bondi Rescue David Rocco’s Dolce Vita Exploring The Vine

Dr G: Medical Examiner

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Weird And Wonderful Hotels Nomads Bondi Rescue Bondi Rescue Banged Up Abroad Don’t Tell My Mother The Frankincense Trail Banged Up Abroad Bondi Rescue Market Values Bondi Rescue Banged Up Abroad Don’t Tell My Mother The Frankincense Trail Banged Up Abroad Bondi Rescue Market Values Bondi Rescue Bondi Rescue Banged Up Abroad

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Wet & Wild Caught In The Act Predator CSI Big Cat Week The Zookeepers The Living Edens Wet & Wild Caught In The Act Predator CSI Big Cat Week The Zookeepers Triumph Of Life Wet & Wild Caught In The Act Predator CSI Big Cat Week Shark Men Triumph Of Life Wet & Wild Caught In The Act Predator CSI Big Cat Week Shark Men Triumph Of Life

00:00 The Office 00:30 Family Biz 01:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:30 The Colbert Report 02:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 03:00 Saturday Night Live 04:00 South Park 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Malcolm In The Middle 06:00 Hope And Faith 06:30 The Drew Carey Show 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Family Biz 08:30 Malcolm In The Middle 09:00 Hope And Faith 09:30 The Drew Carey Show 10:00 The New Adventures Of Old Christine 10:30 Melissa And Joey 11:00 Malcolm In The Middle 11:30 Hope And Faith 12:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 13:00 Family Biz 13:30 Malcolm In The Middle 14:00 Hope And Faith 14:30 The Office 15:00 Melissa And Joey 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 The Drew Carey Show 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Til Death 18:30 Rita Rocks 19:00 Billable Hours 19:30 Two And A Half Men 20:00 Entourage 20:30 Curb Your Enthusiasm 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live (Uncut) 23:30 Billable Hours

01:00 The Wedding Singer-PG15 03:00 Where The Wild Things Are-PG 05:00 Martian Child-PG 07:00 Saved!-PG15 09:00 Ponyo On The Cliff By The SeaFAM 11:00 Jonas Brothers Concert-PG 13:00 The Betrayed-PG15 15:00 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-PG15 17:00 Ponyo On The Cliff By The SeaFAM 19:00 Adventureland-PG15 21:00 Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen-PG15 23:30 Harry Brown-18

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Coronation Street Nip/Tuck Glee C.S.I. Nip/Tuck The Office White Collar The Ellen Degeneres Show Coronation Street House House The Ellen Degeneres Show The Office Coronation Street White Collar Glee C.S.I. 24 The Office Coronation Street The Ellen Degeneres Show White Collar C.S.I. New York C.S.I. Miami Criminal Minds Lost The Office The Ellen Degeneres Show

00:00 The Informers-18 02:00 Cold Souls-PG15 04:00 500 Days Of Summer-PG15

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs on Super Movies 06:00 Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs-PG 08:00 H2O Extreme-PG15 10:00 Nurse.Fighter.Boy-PG15 12:00 Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past-PG15 14:00 Nativity!-PG 16:00 H2O Extreme-PG15 18:00 Alvin And The Chipmunks : The Squeakquel-FAM 20:00 Four Last Songs-PG15 22:00 New York I Love You-18

01:00 Blue Crush-PG15 03:00 Gran Torino-PG15 05:00 Penny Dreadful-18 07:00 Messengers-PG15 09:00 Journey To The Center Of The Earth-PG 11:00 The Snow Walker-PG15 13:00 Alatriste-PG15 15:30 Journey To The Center Of The Earth-PG 17:00 The Truth About Charlie-PG15 19:00 The Sum Of All Fears-PG15 21:00 Trick ‘r Treat-18 23:00 28 Days Later-18

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Fierce Creatures-PG15 The Foot Fist Way-PG15 Exterminators-PG15 Swing Vote-PG15 Crush-PG15 Ghost Town-PG15 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-PG Mr. Troop Mom-PG Fierce Creatures-PG15 Bob Roberts-PG15 Women In Trouble-PG15 Play Dead-18

00:00 Free Willy 3: The Rescue-FAM 02:00 Simba Junior To The World Cup04:00 Franklin And The Green Knight06:00 Pocahontas And The Spider Woman-PG 08:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 10:00 Free Willy 3: The Rescue-FAM 12:00 Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius14:00 Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths-PG 16:00 Little Match Girl-PG 18:00 Doubting Thomas: Spies And Lies-PG 20:00 Space Buddies-PG 22:00 Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

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Scoundrels Damages The Martha Stewart Show Warehouse 13 The View Downsize Me Emmerdale Coronation Street Warehouse 13 The Martha Stewart Show Downsize Me Warehouse 13 The View Emmerdale Coronation Street The Martha Stewart Show Scoundrels Damages Downsize Me The View Emmerdale Coronation Street C.S.I. New York Huge Warehouse 13 The View Downsize Me

00:00 Aviva Premiership 02:00 Aviva Premiership 04:00 ICC Cricket World 04:30 Pool World Cup 05:30 Extreme Sailing Series 06:00 Brazil League Highlights 06:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 07:00 Scottish FA Cup 09:00 Aviva Premiership 11:00 Aviva Premiership 13:00 ICC Cricket World 13:30 Brazil League Highlights 14:00 Scottish FA Cup 16:00 Futbol Mundial 16:30 Live Snooker Masters

01:30 03:30 04:00 07:00 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 17:30 18:00 18:30 19:00 21:00

Scottish FA Cup Futbol Mundial Masters Football Live The Royal Trophy Golf ICC Cricket World Futbol Mundial European Tour Weekly Live PGA European Tour ICC Cricket World Futbol Mundial Total Rugby Live Aviva Premiership The Royal Trophy Golf

00:00 WWE Vintage Collection 02:00 WWE NXT 03:00 FIA GT1 World Championship 04:30 FIM World Cup 05:00 UFC Unleashed 06:00 UFC Unleashed 07:00 WWE Vintage Collection 08:00 WWE Bottom Line 09:00 WWE NXT 10:00 WWE SmackDown 12:00 UAE National Race Day 13:00 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge 14:00 Red Bull X-Fighters 15:00 WWE Vintage Collection 16:00 WWE Bottom Line 17:00 WWE NXT 18:00 WWE SmackDown 20:00 The Ultimate Fighter 22:00 UFC Unleashed

01:00 Five Minutes Of Heaven-PG15 03:00 The Ramen Girl-PG15 05:00 2012: Startling New Secret-PG 07:00 Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs-FAM 09:00 W-PG15 11:15 Delgo-FAM 13:00 Capitalism: A Love Story-PG15 15:15 Carnera: The Walking Mountain-PG 17:30 Mama I Want To Sing-PG 19:15 The Damned United-PG15 21:00 The Invention Of Lying-PG15 23:00 Wuthering Heights-PG15

01:15 Songwriter-PG15 02:50 Wild Rovers-PG15 05:00 2001: A Space Odyssey-FAM 07:15 Screening Room, The - Cannes Film...-PG 08:00 Never So Few-PG 10:00 Marty-FAM 11:30 The Comedians-PG 14:00 Please Don’t Eat The Daisies 15:50 The Big Sleep-PG 17:40 The Last Time I Saw Paris-PG 19:35 Butterfield 8-PG 21:20 The Man In The Moon-PG 23:00 Elvis: That’s The Way It Is-FAM

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

Dinosaur Secrets Modern Marvels Mummy Forensics Lost Worlds How Life Began Evolve Dinosaur Secrets Modern Marvels Mummy Forensics Lost Worlds How Life Began Evolve Dinosaur Secrets Modern Marvels Mummy Forensics Lost Worlds How Life Began Evolve Dinosaur Secrets Modern Marvels Mummy Forensics America: The Story of the US Sliced Pawn Stars MysteryQuest

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 06:30 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 14:00 21:00 21:30 22:00 23:00

Mel B: It’s A Scary World Homes With Style Fashion Avenue How Do I Look? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Married Away Homes With Style Area Clean House Big Boutique Clean House My Celebrity Home Homes With Style Fashion Avenue How Do I Look? Fashion Police Fashion Avenue Jerseylicious Mel B: It’s A Scary World

00:00 Globe Trekker 01:00 Great Scenic Railways-Australia 02:00 Globe Trekker 04:00 Rivers of the World 05:00 Globe Trekker 06:00 Great Scenic Railways-Australia 07:00 The Thrillseekers Guide 07:30 The Big Fish 08:00 Globe Trekker 09:00 Swiss Railway Journeys 10:00 Travel Today 10:30 Skier’s World 11:30 Great Scenic Railways - 175 Years 12:00 Down the Line 13:00 Globe Trekker 15:00 Travel Today 15:30 Hollywood and Vines 16:00 Culinary Asia 18:00 Globe Trekker 19:00 Inside Luxury Travel with Varun Sharma 20:00 Globe Trekker

00:15 00:17 01:00 01:45 02:00 02:45 03:15 03:17 07:15 07:17 08:00 08:45 09:15 09:17

Top Fashion Playlist Sound System 10 Playlist Urban Hit Playlist Top Money Playlist Monthly Top Playlist Africa 10 Playlist Top Sexy Playlist

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Classifieds MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011


ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya for couple in a new C-A/C flat with Keralite family. Contact: 66013882. (C 3023) Sharing accommodation available for 1 Catholic/Hindu bachelor from 1/11/2011 in Abbassiya, Unique store no. 2 bldg, dish, kitchen facilities. Contact: 24313908 or 66110593. (C 3022) 10-1-2011 Sharing accommodation available for a non-smoking Keralite bachelor or couple in a two bedroom flat in Abbassiya. Contact: 66577233. (C 3018) Sharing accommodation available big room 4x5 in Maidan Hawally, near Kabab Ji for decent bachelors/couples. Call 66233501. (C 3019) 9-1-2011 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) 3-1-2010 Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya for couple with fully furnished C-A/C new flat with car parking with Keralite family. Contact: 66013882. (C 2950)

(C 3007) 5-1-2011 FOR SALE TV JVC old, DVD/VHS player, clothes cabinet large, kitchen cabinet set, 601F bulbs old, rugs/throw rug, plants etc. Call 67039015 any time. (C 3012) Hard top coffee table with class cover + dining table (IKEA) with chairs for sale. Contact: 99893082. (C 3024) 10-1-2011 Toyota Camry model 2005, white color, 4 cylinder engine, excellent condition, cash price KD 2650, negotiable, installment possible. Contact: 99105286. (C 3020) 9-1-2011 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.

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) 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) 4-1-2011 Toyota Corolla 1.6, model 2009, color gray, low mileage, exlcellent condition with CD and sensor, cash price KD 3,650. Contact: 99934965. (C 2939) 28-12-2010 Pajero 2002 full option, sunroof, wooden, 4x4,

cruise control, new tires, original black color paint, excellent condition, lady driven, price KD 2,600. Contact: 60613078. (C 2932) 26-12-2010


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

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 F-3960096, 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


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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (


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s ta rs CROSSWORD 195



Aries (March 21-April 19) You may find yourself distracted and wishing you were at home with your own personal projects this morning. You get down to business and get more accomplished than you expected with some personal project. In a gathering with family members this afternoon, you sway others with your view of a particular venture. If you are not in some profession involving speech, law, politics or the ministry, you might consider these options. The evening brings some interesting conversations around the dinner table concerning future goals and plans. All present contribute their desires and have fun in expressing their wishes for themselves. Some of the conversations tonight lead to memories of the past and analyzing the present and possibilities of the future.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Your personality shines and you have a chance to lead the way toward a brighter day when surrounded by friends and allies. Celebrate your successes and focus your energy on using your influence to inspire progress. This is your time to go after what you want. Try something different if you are bored or dissatisfied. You remember your obligations. Richard Bach says, ?Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you are alive, it isn’t.? Spend extra time listening to your inner voice in meditation. If you are simply trying to respond to outside influences or direct your life according to an external focus you will feel frustrated. You are better prepared for challenges when you are centered within yourself.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. An interest followed with exaggerated zeal. 4. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 10. The month following August and preceding October. 13. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 14. A member of a widespread group of Amerindians living in northeastern South America. 15. A sudden loss of consciousness resulting when the rupture or occlusion of a blood vessel leads to oxygen lack in the brain. 16. Immense East Indian fruit resembling breadfruit of. 18. A metal-bearing mineral valuable enough to be mined. 20. The content of cognition. 21. (informal) Roused to anger. 23. East Indian tree bearing a profusion of intense vermilion velvet-textured blooms and yielding a yellow dye. 25. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Missouri river valley in NE Nebraska. 28. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 32. A member of the Iroquoian people formerly living east of Lake Ontario. 34. Someone who operates a barge. 36. The cry made by sheep. 37. European weed naturalized in southwestern United States and Mexico having reddish decumbent stems with small fernlike leaves and small deep reddish-lavender flowers followed by slender fruits that stick straight up. 38. Large burrowing rodent of South and Central America. 41. With no effort to conceal. 42. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 44. Informal terms for a mother. 47. Someone who takes more time than necessary. 49. United States industrialist who manufactured plows suitable for working the prairie soil (1804-1886). 53. A summary that repeats the substance of a longer discussion. 56. Old World vine with lobed evergreen leaves and black berrylike fruits. 57. A port city in southwestern Iran. 60. Ancient Hebrew unit of liquid measure = 1.5 gallons. 61. (computer science) The smallest discrete component of an image or picture on a CRT screen (usually a colored dot). 62. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 63. A lyric poem with complex stanza forms. DOWN 1. An independent state within the British Commonwealth located on the Fiji Islands. 2. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 3. Small European freshwater fish with a slender bluish-green body. 4. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 5. Any property detected by the olfactory system. 6. United States writer of poems and plays about racial conflict (born in 1934). 7. Inspired by a feeling of fearful wonderment or reverence. 8. A white soft metallic element that tarnishes readily. 9. A state in northwestern North America. 10. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 11. Morally bad or wrong. 12. The rate of moving (especially walking or running). 17. A family of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in southeastern Asia. 19. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 22. A clique that seeks power usually through intrigue. 24. The wood of the sabicu which resembles mahogany. 26. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 27. A collection of objects laid on top of each other. 29. A city in northern India. 30. Sew up the eyelids of hawks and falcons. 31. Paying particular notice (as to children or helpless people). 33. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 35. A rectangular groove made to hold two pieces together. 39. Type genus of the Amiidae. 40. A high-crowned black cap (usually made of felt or sheepskin) worn by men in Turkey and Iran and the Caucasus. 41. Capital and largest city of Italy. 43. A diacritical mark (u-curved) placed over a vowel to indicate a short sound. 44. A ductile gray metallic element of the lanthanide series. 45. A soft silver-white or yellowish metallic element of the alkali metal group. 46. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 48. Any group or radical of the form RCO- where R is an organic group. 50. The persistence of a sound after its source has stopped. 51. A sudden short attack. 52. Bulky grayish-brown eagle with a short wedge-shaped white tail. 54. A federal agency established to regulate the release of new foods and health-related products. 55. A workplace for the conduct of scientific research. 58. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 59. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Others inspire you and you are good at listening to your dreams. It is time to fine-tune your life path in harmony with your highest needs. You can gain support for a personal project by finding people that have the same interest. If you are single, you should spend some time in thinking about what you want from a love partner. Your dream love will be introduced to you at the end of this month. Because you will know what you want romantically, you will naturally attract this person. If you are involved in a love relationship now, determine what the goals might be and start talking about those present and future goals. Consider running a garage sale this next weekend. You are due some shelf cleaning and may be surprised at the money you gain.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


Your wish for socializing may come true as the phone rings before you can get out of bed this morning. Harmonious ties to others are what you yearn for; refinement and elegance are what you seek. Family and security are things that rattle your chain more than ever. These are areas where you make new beginnings and bold moves. A partner has a mesmerizing impact on you and you may find yourself learning how to fly a plane, climb a mountain or simply learn how to work in clay. Try to understand that time is not wasted if you are doing something you really like to do rather than doing something you are paid to do. The therapeutic result from creative endeavors at this time cannot be measured. Pause for calm reflection this evening.

Leo (July 23-August 22) You have plenty of enthusiasm today. There is the luck of the draw for your choice in such things as education, travel, publishing, art, theater or sports. Travel desires come from remembering times past and experiences enjoyed. You will be able to make plans for travel through your career acquaintances or the group with which you enjoy a long-time hobby choice. Your life outlook is positive and ready for new life experiences—fasten your seat belt. You need time away from routine matters. You may be inspired to pass on some of your unique experiences and knowledge in teaching survival techniques or in guiding a group. You will more than likely attract the outdoor type and you may find your friends discussing the next fishing trip.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) You have a light heart and a good laugh—others enjoy your company. After the religious service is completed this morning, you may decide to go with the gang or family to the neighborhood specialty restaurant. Today, you will enrich others as you enrich yourself. Mostly, you will feel renewed and rejuvenated. You may find yourself feeling more private and in a stay-at-home mood later this afternoon. For now, you enjoy the company of friends and family. Literary aspirations may strike you and you consider starting a journal or making notes for a short story or some bit of poetry. You are in a tranquil frame of mind and enjoy having friends or family around to interact with; you appreciate your friends and family.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Good luck, good opportunities and interesting relationships make this a fun and rewarding day. If there is something you need help in accomplishing or new projects to begin, today is your day. Someone close to you is supportive of your ideas. You may want to make a trade today and work with your friends part of the day and have your friends work with you the remainder of the day. A social gathering this evening can complete the day quite nicely. You are ready to break free from the things that have been holding you back. One of those things is the release of your passion. You quietly go about your business only to surface if there is a matter you feel needs attention. You are now learning to respect and enjoy your passion and express joy.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) An electronic glitch could lower your productivity this morning, but the problem is soon fixed. Through your free, independent thinking, attractive personality, kindliness and ability to be all things to all people, you make many people happy to be in your company. You are in a class by yourself and set an example that others remember and mimic. You need beauty, cheerfulness and humor in your surroundings and you enjoy being around lots of people. You have your own way of handling things but are smart enough to hold your voice when there is a need to do so. Sophistication and connections are the main keys to your emotional contentment just now. Your magnetic personality attracts all sorts of people to your side; you are smart so choose.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


Yesterday’s Solution

Feeling two ways at once takes up most of the day. For example, although many things are positive, quite a few problems present themselves as well. Your childlike expectations may have to be examined, particularly if you are to turn short-term relationships into long-term ones. You could find yourself traveling soon. Actually, there have been so many changes in the road system around your city, you might want to drive around and see what changes are taking place now. There is talk of a new freeway or toll road. The new and the unusual are the things that instinctively appeal to you. You are able to find just the right words to confide what is in your heart to a loved one this evening. A loved one picks the entertainment tonight.

Yesterday’s Solution


Work may seem to slow down, but you keep on track and gain in productivity. Monetary issues resolve in your favor and your position strengthens. Your dreams and wishes for more education or travel keep coming into play today. Again, there will be an opportunity for exciting travel. For now, you could get your needs met by visiting the library or attending a lecture. Your sense of protection and emotional nourishment comes from your good friends, ideals and social interactions at this time. You may find that a transition is actually easier than you imagined. Being more in touch with people will give you a sense of belonging.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Be wise in your communications with an authority figure today. You may find someone you meet is too secretive and underhanded for your taste. Your thoughts and ideas go against their secretive, power-oriented manner and you are not afraid to tell them. Social invitations and romance are in the forecast tonight and you may want to take some time to get a new suit or dress for the occasion. One or two unspoken resentments may have come to a head lately with a loved one. This is just a matter of adjusting and creating a change to bring understanding and respect. Confusing times are just steppingstones to better, happier times! Ashleigh Brilliant once said, ?Sometimes I think I understand everything; then I regain consciousness.?

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Many changes are about to take place in your life and this month allows you time to adjust before the real pull or push begins. You may feel like making a complete change by breaking away and starting fresh in every area of your life. It would be better to go with the flow and understand that the new changes scheduled in your life now are best affected by keeping a positive attitude. Make a concentrated effort to instill the practice of balance. Look for ways to make a positive difference in someone else’s life and you will be doing the same for yourself. Good luck follows you around today. This day may be stressful in some ways, but you get quite a lot accomplished. You receive a lot of positive interactions with your loved one today. This is a good time.



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i n f o r m at i o n Ministry of Interior website:

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

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


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital

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














Abdullah Salim




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally












New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb













THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY FOR CIVIL INFORMATION Automated enquiry about the Civil ID card is 1889988 AIRLINES Kuwait Airways Wataniya Airways Jazeera Airways Jet Airways Qatar Airways KLM Air Slovakia Olympic Airways Royal Jordanian Reservation British Airways Air France Emirates Air India Sri Lanka Airlines Egypt Air Swiss Air Saudia Middle East Airlines Lufthansa PIA Alitalia Balkan Airlines Bangladesh Airlines Czech Airlines 22417901/2433141 Indian Airlines Oman Air Turkish Airlines


PHARMACY Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

PHONE 23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy Ibn Al-Nafis

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264




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

25622444 25752222 25321171 25739999 25757700 25732223 25732223

Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT): Dr. Ahmed Fouad Mouner 24555050 Ext 510 Dr. Abdallah Al-Ali 25644660 Dr. Abd Al-Hameed Al-Taweel 25646478 Dr. Sanad Al-Fathalah 25311996 Dr. Mohammad Al-Daaory 25731988 Dr. Ismail Al-Fodary 22620166 Dr. Mahmoud Al-Booz 25651426 General Practitioners: Dr. Mohamme Y Majidi 24555050 Ext 123 Dr. Yousef Al-Omar 24719312 Dr. Tarek Al-Mikhazeem 23926920 Dr. Kathem Maarafi 25730465 Dr. Abdallah Ahmad Eyadah 25655528 Dr. Nabeel Al-Ayoobi 24577781 Dr. Dina Abidallah Al-Refae 25333501 Urologists: Dr. Ali Naser Al-Serfy 22641534 Dr. Fawzi Taher Abul 22639955 Dr. Khaleel Abidallah Al-Awadi 22616660 Dr. Adel Al-Hunayan FRCS (C) 25313120 Plastic Surgeons: Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf 22547272 Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari 22617700

Dr. Abdel Quttainah

Dr. Sohail Qamar Dr. Snaa Maaroof Dr. Pradip Gujare Dr. Zacharias Mathew


Family Doctor: Dr Divya Damodar 23729596/23729581

22621099 25713514 23713100 24334282

(1) Ear, Nose and Throat Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan

25722291 22666288

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

(2) Plastic Surgeon 22635047 22613623/0

Gynaecologists & Obstetricians: Dr Adrian Harbe 23729596/23729581 Dr. Verginia s.Marin 2572-6666 8321 Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan 22655539 Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami 25343406 Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly 25739272 Dr. Salem soso 22618787 General Surgeons:

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

Dr. Deyaa Shehab Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees

22610044 25327148

Internists, Chest & Heart: Dr. Adnan Ebil 22639939 Dr. Mousa Khadada 22666300 Dr. Latefa Al-Duweisan 25728004 Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra 25355515 Dr. Mobarak Aldoub 24726446 Dr Nasser Behbehani 25654300/3 Paediatricians: Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed 25340300 Dr. Zahra Qabazard 25710444

Dr. Abdul Mohsin Jafar, FRCS (Canada)

25655535 Dentists:


Dr Anil Thomas


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed


Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari


Neurologists: Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri


Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly


Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali


Endocrinologist: Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman


Dr. Ahmad Al-Ansari


Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr 25329924 Physiotherapists & VD:

Internist, Chest & Heart: DR.Mohammes Akkad 24555050 210 Dr. Mohammad Zubaid MB, ChB, FRCPC, PACC Assistant Professor Of Medicine Head, Division of Cardiology Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital Tel: 25339667 Dr. Farida Al-Habib MD, PH.D, FACC Consultant Cardiologist Tel: 2611555-2622555 Inaya German Medical Center Te: 2575077 Fax: 25723123 Psychologists/Psychotherapists Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688 Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, Ph.D. 2290-1677 Susannah-Joy Schuilenberg, M.A. 2290-1677 William Schuilenberg, RPC 2290-1677 Zaina Al Zabin, M.Sc. 2290-1677

22433377 24379900 177 22924455 22423888 22425747 22434940 22420002/9 22418064/5/6 22433388 22425635 22430224 22425566 22438184 22424444 22421578 22421516 22426306 22423073 22422493 22421044 22414427 22416474 22452977/8 22456700 22412284/5 22453820/1


PRIVATE CLINICS Ophthalmologists:

22434064 22435865 22544200 22547133 22515277 22616662 25714406 22530801


Afghanistan 0093 Albania 00355 Algeria 00213 Andorra 00376 Angola 00244 Anguilla 001264 Antiga 001268 Argentina 0054 Armenia 00374 Australia 0061 Austria 0043 Bahamas 001242 Bahrain 00973 Bangladesh 00880 Barbados 001246 Belarus 00375 Belgium 0032 Belize 00501 Benin 00229 Bermuda 001441 Bhutan 00975 Bolivia 00591 Bosnia 00387 Botswana 00267 Brazil 0055 Brunei 00673 Bulgaria 00359 Burkina 00226 Burundi 00257 Cambodia 00855 Cameroon 00237 Canada 001 Cape Verde 00238 Cayman Islands 001345 Central African Republic 00236 Chad 00235 Chile 0056 China 0086 Colombia 0057 Comoros 00269 Congo 00242 Cook Islands 00682 Costa Rica 00506 Croatia 00385 Cuba 0053 Cyprus 00357 Cyprus (Northern) 0090392 Czech Republic 00420 Denmark 0045 Diego Garcia 00246 Djibouti 00253 Dominica 001767 Dominican Republic 001809 Ecuador 00593

Egypt 0020 El Salvador 00503 England (UK) 0044 Equatorial Guinea 00240 Eritrea 00291 Estonia 00372 Ethiopia 00251 Falkland Islands 00500 Faroe Islands 00298 Fiji 00679 Finland 00358 France 0033 French Guiana 00594 French Polynesia 00689 Gabon 00241 Gambia 00220 Georgia 00995 Germany 0049 Ghana 00233 Gibraltar 00350 Greece 0030 Greenland 00299 Grenada 001473 Guadeloupe 00590 Guam 001671 Guatemala 00502 Guinea 00224 Guyana 00592 Haiti 00509 Holland (Netherlands) 0031 Honduras 00504 Hong Kong 00852 Hungary 0036 Ibiza (Spain) 0034 Iceland 00354 India 0091 Indian Ocean 00873 Indonesia 0062 Iran 0098 Iraq 00964 Ireland 00353 Italy 0039 Ivory Coast 00225 Jamaica 001876 Japan 0081 Jordan 00962 Kazakhstan 007 Kenya 00254 Kiribati 00686 Kuwait 00965 Kyrgyzstan 00996 Laos 00856 Latvia 00371 Lebanon 00961 Liberia 00231




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lifestyle G o s s i p

Gyllenhaal collects

Derulo loves cereal

cook books he ‘Love and Other Drugs’ actor - who recently split from singer Taylor Swift enjoys spending time in the kitchen and is “obsessed” with recipe collections. He said: “I’ve always loved cooking, probably because my father and other always cooked. “I have a massive section in my library at home of beautiful old cook books. I really have a strange obsession with them.” Though Jake collects recipe books, he prefers to come up with his own culinary creations rather than following guidelines. He added: “If I’m making a romantic dinner. I like to go to a farmers’ market first, buy things fresh and come up with my own dish based on whatever I’ve bought. “I grow my own vegetables at home because I love fresh food.” The 30-year-old star recently admitted he never worried about trying to get in shape for his nude scenes in ‘Love and Other Drugs’ because he already eats healthily and didn’t think it would suit his character if he bulked up. He said: “I didn’t think about getting in shape. I wanted my character to be a little sinewy and slimy. “I used to go to the gym but I don’t do that anymore. “I don’t follow a special diet but I try and eat well, so I grow my own vegetables.”


ason Derulo’s favorite food is cereal. The 21-year-old singer admits he is hopeless in the kitchen and would even serve his daily breakfast food for dinner if he was trying to impress a girl. He said: “I don’t know how to cook at all so I would have to make her some cereal. “She might be offended but I’d just say, ‘This is my favorite dish so if you want to me with me, sometimes we’ve got to have cereal for dinner.’ “It’s my favorite meal, it’s so good. I like all kinds. Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Golden Grahams, Lucky Charms.” However, the US star admits there are some cereals he won’t eat. He explained: “Cheerios are boring. So are cornflakes. I’m like, ‘Muuuum, no more Cheerios or Cornflakes.’ I like the fun cereals.” Though Jason doesn’t enjoy cooking for his love interests, he admits food would play an important part on his perfect date. He said: “My dream date would be breakfast on the beach, feeding off each other’s energy.”


Rogen won’t sign a prenuptial

nte v n i s ’ Damonter ego ed al

att Damon invented an alter ego so he could keep his life private. The 40-year-old actor who has four-year-old Isabella, two-year-old Gia, and three-month old Stella with wife Luisiana, as well as raising her 11-year-old daughter Alexia from a previous marriage - was advised by then-girlfriend Minnie Driver to make people think he was bland and quiet when he first shot to fame, in a bid to reduce interest in him. He admitted: “Whenever I did interviews, I pretended to be this other guy, Mike Smiley. So this is boring, smiley guy Mike would turn up and do my interviews for me, which let me get on with my life.” Though Matt is much more relaxed about interest in his life now, he is relieved he doesn’t attract the level of attention that other stars do, such as his ‘The Good Shepherd’ co-star Angelina Jolie. He recalled to FHM magazine: “You always knew which days Angelina was working because there were 40 cameras outside. Eventually they moved her trailed to keep her away from the paparazzi. “But when I’d walk back and forth, the paps were like lions that had already been fed - so they’d just look at me. Maybe there’d be one camera flash as one guy took a picture without really looking.”


Michele’s parents told her she couldn’t sing he 24-year-old actress - best known for playing Rachel Berry in US musical drama series ‘Glee’ insists her career in performing did not come as a result of encouragement from her mother and father. She said: “Did my parents see my star potential? No, they didn’t even know I could sing! “I remember asking my mum if she wanted to hear me sing and she was busy, and then my dad pulled me aside, knelt down in front of me and said, ‘Listen, you’re really funny and a great dancer, but you can’t sing.’ I will never let him live that down.” Despite her lack of encouragement, Lea was delighted when she landed her role in ‘Glee’ - though her audition didn’t go as well as she had hoped. She



oes g n o s Morri uise

sg is astonished by theaplepveearil nogf i d n i out he 32-year-old sarectocerived since he st’aartseted acher Will

‘Glee he ha priattention ical drama series do maintain some cs n u a g c m ettin re at he in US doing wh r a disguise now. “G s but now is d n a r e a k of wee Schuest id: “I have to we rst couple feel they vacy. He sa s exciting for the fi s. “People always show.” e a m w th ti d t y on e ch a ognize le too mu ou are like the gu cess, Matthew tt li a st ju y k it’s suc , they thin hurry to orldwide know you e’ has been a w but won’t be in a ecause le b st Though ‘G opularity won’t la ally exits the show w with p n ie fi s it rv e s h te n as an in know job as soo added in will end find a new usting to film. He ill run its course, it point. a e h w x m e w so o t it is so his sh job a agazine: “T have to find a new take a very long m l a e v e R l probably . I know I’l t out. It’s some day ded tomorrow I’d we are all so burn ly getn re e whe d I’m on “If it all at a point physically hard an re a e W . k o it’s brea duction, d ht now.” such a pro five hours sleep rig ting four to


Nemcova gets engaged to Belman

explained: “My best and worst audition was for ‘Glee’. Everything went wrong. “On my way there I got into a massive car wreck when I was pulling into the studio. “When I came into the room, the pianist messed up my track, so I stopped him and told him he had to start it over. “Everyone was laughing at me so I told them to stop and little did I know that there were little bits of Rachel Berry in me. I thought, ‘This is the worst audition of my life’. But I got it!”

eth Rogen won’t sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married. The ‘Green Hornet’ star insists he has no intention of drawing up legal documents to protect his fortune before he ties the knot with his fiancee Lauren Miller later this year. The comic actor was pushed on the subject during an appearance on DJ Howard Stern’s radio show. When quizzed by the shock jock on whether or not he was going to get a prenup, he said: “I’m not. My business manager told me to get one.” Stern then told Seth how ‘Frasier’ star Kelsey Grammer is going to have to hand over around $50 million to his ex-wife Camille in their divorce settlement. But despite the warnings, he replied: “Marriage can be expensive and if I lose millions then it’ll be the best millions I’ve spent.” Although he was happy to discuss his opinions on prenups, the 28-year-old actor is remaining tight-lipped on his wedding plans. Seth revealed his friend Jonah Hill and his ‘Pineapple Express’ co-star James Franco will be among the guests but he won’t reveal the date beforehand. He said: “I don’t want to say the date because of the paparazzi.” Seth and Lauren who have been together since 2004 - got engaged in September and he claims the ring is “the most expensive thing” he’s ever held in his hands.

etra Nemcova is engaged to Jamie Belman. The Czech model and British actor - who were first introduced through mutual friends eight months ago - got engaged before Christmas and spent the festive period celebrating with close friends and family according to No details on the date or location of the wedding have been confirmed. This is the second engagement for Petra whose first fiance British photographer Simon Atlee was tragically killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami tragedy in 2004. The model has also dated ‘You’re Beautiful’ singer James Blunt and was linked to Hollywood actor Sean Penn after attending Elton John’s annual AIDS Foundation post-Oscar party with him in 2008. Meanwhile fellow model Anja Rubik is also set to tie the knot after her boyfriend model Sasha Knezevic proposed on Christmas Eve. Anja’s agency Next Models New York revealed the happy news on twitter saying: “Congratulations to fantastic couple Anja Rubik and Sasha Knezevic, who were engaged on Christmas in Vienna!” The couple starred in a Gap fragrance campaign together and have a DKNY fragrance campaign due for release later this year.


Cole’s eyebrow disaster heryl Cole’s friends thought she had had Botox when she over-plucked her eyebrows. The ‘Promise This’ singer no longer tends to her own brows after her over-zealous antics with her tweezers made her pals suspect she had tried the muscle-freezing injections. She explained: “I once tried to pluck my brows like Marilyn Monroe. I saw a program on her and was like, ‘She’s amazing! I want her eyebrows.’ But I went too far and everyone thought I’d had Botox.” Cheryl’s beauty disasters are not limited to her face - the singer is still haunted by a disastrous trip to her local hair salon when she was a teenager. The 27year-old beauty admitted: “I had a nightmare in a salon when I was about 15. I was in there for eight hours, it was expensive and the end result was hideous. It put me off. “Did they fix it? Not really. They’d turned me blonde. I’ve got photos somewhere.” —Bang Showbiz




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lifestyle Music and Movies

Award-season contenders flock to Palm Springs Gala

Carey Mulligan holds her Breakthrough Performance award.

Natalie Portman holds her Desert Palm Achievement award.

(From left ) Andrew Garflield, Brenda Song, Armie Hammer, Rashida Jones, Josh Pence, Rooney Mara and Jesse Eisenberg pose together with their Ensemble Performance award for the feature film ‘The Social Network’ at the 2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in Palm Springs.—AP photos

Jennifer Lawrence holds her Rising Star award with her presenter, director Oliver Stone.

Robert Duvall holds his Career Achievement award with presenter, actor Aaron Eckhart.


he road to Oscar brought a blast of expected contenders to this desert town some 100 miles east of Hollywood as the Palm Springs International Film Festival held its annual awards gala. Among those attending the Saturday night affair was James Franco, a likely Academy Award nominee for the drama “127 Hours” and also co-host along with Anne Hathaway of the Feb 27 Oscar telecast. “Yeah, it’s weird,” said Franco, who does some of his studies at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. “Yesterday, I was in North Carolina and it was snowing. And I flew out at 9 pm and landed at about 1 am in LA. And then I met with Anne Hathaway and did some preparation for the Oscars. And now here I am in Palm Springs. And then I’m going to go back to the snows of North Carolina and study poetry. I’m sure I’m developing a split personality. But at least it’s in two worlds that I still love.” Franco was in town to present his “127 Hours” director Danny Boyle with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, named after Palm Springs’ late mayor, who spearheaded creation of the festival 22 years ago. Only recently, however, has the fest’s gala become an award-circuit staple. “It’s obviously a legendary festival,” said Colin Firth, who received the Desert Palm Achievement Actor Award for his work in “The King’s Speech.” “I’ve never been here,” he continued. “So, it’s quite a debut for me.” Javier Bardem was honored with the fest’s International Star Award for his work in “Biutiful.” “I don’t know what it (“International Star”) means,” Bardem chuckled. “It guess it means I don’t speak English.” Ben Affleck, who co-wrote, directed and starred in “The Town,” admitted he, too, was also a bit baffled by his Palm Springs honor. “They told me I was going to get the Chairman’s Award. I

thought it was, like, the award for the people who loot the company, and everybody goes broke,” Affleck joked. The cast of “The Social Network” was given the Ensemble Performance Award and, as they have since the film’s premiere last fall, the cast walked the red carpet together. “I think the fact that we all have each other means a great deal,” said Andrew Garfield, walking the media gauntlet with co-stars Jesse Eisenberg and Armie Hammer. “These events are a great honor,” Garfield continued. “But they’re also nerve wracking. It’s incredibly intimidating to be in front of a wall of lights for even a minute. It’s a strange thing on the senses. So, the fact that I get to be here (with his co-stars and director), it is like a nice little traveling family theater group.” Desert Palm actress winner Natalie Portman’s small baby bump could be seen through her long-sleeved beige and black Vionne cocktail dress. Award season may actually prove a good thing for her pregnancy. “Actually, I feel very calm,” Portman explained. “I feel so lucky and happy. I’m very grateful to have my personal life be in such a lucky place right now.” “Winter’s Bone” star Jennifer Lawrence was given the night’s Rising Star Award. “I’m looking around and, like, really appreciating,” she said. “I mean, I just saw Robert Duvall (“Get Low”) five minutes ago and I was like, ‘Everybody needs to stop and appreciate that we’re looking at Robert Duvall, just for a minute.” Duvall, who turned 80 last week, picked up the Career Achievement Award, and said one of the secrets to his endurance has been “hanging out with young people . . . Sometimes I’d rather work with the first-time director than the guy who has done it 50 times.” The 22nd Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival continues through Jan 17.—AP

Portuguese TV star slain, castrated at NYC hotel


File photo shows Carlos Castro (right) presents an award during the ‘Transvestites’ Nightî show at the Sao Luiz theater in Lisbon, Portugal.—AP

celebrity Portuguese television journalist was found castrated and bludgeoned to death in a New York City hotel, and his companion, a male model who had recently been a contestant on a Portuguese reality TV show, was in police custody Saturday. The journalist, 65-year-old Carlos Castro, had arrived in the US in late December in the company of his young boyfriend, the model Renato Seabra, to see some Broadway shows and spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square, according to a family friend. There had been some friction between the two men toward the end of the trip, but nothing to suggest that anything horrible was about to happen, said the friend, Luis Pires, the editor of the Portuguese language newspaper Luso-Americano. “I think that they were a little bit upset with each other, for jealousy reasons,” Pires told The Associated Press. The couple saw the musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” and took in the movie “The Black Swan.” But when it was time to meet Pires’ daughter for dinner Friday night, Seabra suddenly emerged in the lobby of the InterContinental New York Times Square hotel acting strangely, Pires said. “He told my daughter, ‘Carlos will never leave the hotel again,”‘ Pires said. He said his daughter, distraught, fetched a hotel manager. Security guards opened the door to the room and found the body at about 7 pm By then, Seabra had left the hotel but was detained by police hours later after he sought care at St Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, not far from the hotel. He was being evaluated Saturday at Bellevue Hospital Center, across town. No charges had been filed against Seabra as of Saturday afternoon, the New York Police Department said. Police said the victim suffered serious head trauma. The medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death. Seabra was a contestant last year on a Portuguese TV show called “A Procura Do Sonho,” or “Pursuit of a Dream,” which hunts for modeling talent. He didn’t win the show but did get a modeling contract with an agency founded by fashion designer Fatima Lopes, who developed the show and was a judge on it. Seabra had always been interested in fashion, he told the Independente

Director David O Russell, center, holds his Director of the Year award with presenters Amy Adams, left, and actor Mark Wahlberg.

Javier Bardem holds his International Star award.

de Cantanhede newspaper in September. “I have entered this world, and I don’t want to leave it because I see I can be successful,” he said. Castro, who also was a columnist in Portugal, was admired there for his bravery in coming out as a gay man and “revealing the feminine side of his personality,” said Rui Pedro Tendinha, a film critic who knew Castro. He was a high-profile public figure as a TV personality, Tendinha said. “The way he died is causing a big commotion in Portugal,” he said. The organizer of Lisbon Fashion Week, Eduarda Abbondanza, said she k new Castro from his coverage of Fashion Week . Abbondanza said that when she fell seriously ill, Castro “was always there for me, calling me every time, checking up on me.” On a trip to Rome, Castro even bought Abbondanza a rosary that the pope had blessed. Abbondanza said that when she heard about Castro’s death, she took the rosary to a church to pray. “I only wish I could have helped him the way he helped me,” Abbondanza said. “He had a huge heart. Only a human being with a heart like that could have done what he did for me.” Designer Ana Salazar, considered a fashion pioneer in Portugal, recalled Castro’s role as one of the country’s first social columnists. “I was both in his best- and worst-dressed lists in the ‘80s,” she said. She said she was shocked by his death. “It’s like something out of a horror movie,” she added. A guest at the InterContinental, Suzanne Divilly, 40, told the Daily News she heard the two men arguing in their room during the day Friday. “There was a lot of noise, talking,” she said. “You could hear them arguing in the corridor and even in our room.” Pires described Castro as having “kind of a Liberace style. Eccentric, but very well-known.” He said he had been on Portuguese TV since he was a teenager, had written several books and was friends with the former president of Portugal, Mario Soares. The young model and older journalist had been dating each other for a few months, he said. “My wife and my daughter were with him for the past three or four days,” Pires said. “My wife told me that he was a very nice kid. Very polite. I think this must have been a crime of the heart.” “This was a 21-year-old kid, looking for fame. He (Carlos) probably saw him watching girls, or something.” The death is the second recent slaying in an upscale New York City hotel room. Swimsuit designer Sylvie Cachay, 33, was found strangled and drowned in a bathtub at the trendy Soho House hotel on Dec 9. Her boyfriend Nicholas Brooks has pleaded not guilty in her death. Brooks, the 24-year-old son of “You Light Up My Life” writer and Oscar winner Joseph Brooks, has been held without bail since his arrest. Last year, a Belgian multimillionaire was charged with killing her autistic 8-year-old son in a posh New York City hotel. Gigi Jordan wrote a letter indicating she planned to kill herself and her son before he was found dead and she incoherent last February at the Peninsula Hotel.—AP



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lifestyle T r a v e l

Wheels Through Time museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, contains a priceless collection of early motorcycles and other vehicles.—MCT photos


he best thing coming down the road in this resort town may have been built when Warren Harding was running for president, or perhaps sold new when Elvis was in grade school. We’re looking at roughly 300 antique motorcycles-some fully restored, some with “original dirt”-and most ready to start-in the heart of western North Carolina’s motorcycle region. Dale Walksler’s Wheels Through Time museum holds what’s generally considered one of the top collections of historic bikes in North America. William Davidson of Harley-Davidson visited this spring; press accounts say the executive budgeted a 45-minute visit but spent four hours

Jim Llewellyn and his son Doug rode their motorcycles from Maryland to visit the Wheels Through Time museum . Here, they examine a 1914 Elk.

viewing what his family and others had built. In August, two of Walksler’s historic, restored machines won top honors in California at the invitation-only Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Among those buttonholing Walksler was “Tonight Show” star Jay Leno, a longtime motorcycle buff. Two years ago, founder/curator Walksler also rode his 1918 World War I motorcycle up Pennsylvania Avenue in the Obama inauguration parade. The facility is well-known among riders: Heavy coverage in hobbyist magazines and websites-and word-of-mouth recommendations-bring most to the museum. But Wheels Through Time has been less known to the general public, until recently. This year, the North Carolina Department of Transportation installed 20 brown information signs touting the place on highways near Maggie Valley, including Interstate 40.

Maggie Valley, population about 600, is on a stretch of US 19 that snakes through the Balsam range of the Smokies between Cherokee and the outskirts of Waynesville. It’s close to the Blue Ridge Parkway-celebrating its 75th anniversary this fall-US 74 and I-40. Motels, shops and restaurants sprang up there because of Ghost Town in the Sky, a Wild West-themed amusement park that opened in 1960 atop Soco Mountain. Annual attendance reached the half-million mark its first decade, but the park didn’t age well and fell into bankruptcy in 2009. A massive mudslide early this year, coupled with debt and back taxes, seems to have permanently closed it. And a major reason for visitors to go to Maggie Valley was lost. Haywood County has long attracted cyclists-the famous “Dragon’s Tail, “ an 11-mile stretch of US 129 with 318 hairpin turns, is 40 minutes west. Motorcycles are a common sight, spring through fall. The area’s allure for cyclists appealed to Walksler, who moved his museum from the Midwest to the 38,000-square- foot building he put up at his own expense. Also, a tourism infrastructure was in place: “What a great museum needs is a big ‘parking lot’ of motel rooms,” he says. “And this town has 2,200 of them.” Walksler, 57, became mesmerized by bikes at age 14 in a Chicago suburb. He bought old Harley-Davidson inventories and at 22 purchased a struggling HD dealership in southern Illinois. He eventually was selling 100 cycles a month in a market that Harley-Davidson pegged at 38 per year. From 1996 to 1999, he was their national dealer of the year. He spent his free time and money accumulating and restoring old motorcycles, 220 of which he displayed at the Wheels Through Time museum he opened next to his business. Tired of retailing getting in the way of his passion, he sold the dealership in 1999 and moved his collection to Maggie Valley. While Ghost Town was floundering, Wheels Through Time was drawing upward of 40,000 visitors a year, Walksler says. The museum specializes in 27 American makes, notably Harleys-the American-built highway-cruising “hogs” that have a strong brand loyalty. The average Harley owner is 48; those who buy Harleys have an average household income of $87,000. Physically, the museum blends quietly into the mix of mom-and-pop places that line US 19 in Maggie Valley. It sits back from the low-key sign on the highway. The entrance is easy to miss. Every morning, a few motorcycles are wheeled outside the museum doors. The carpeted lobby holds eight bikes, including a pair of 1935 Harleys-one fully restored and shiny, the other retaining its as-acquired wear. There are two new-looking composite Harleys that Walksler built with parts from the ‘30s and ‘40s. Right inside the door is a 1909 Pierce that belonged to movie star and cycle fan Steve McQueen. It looks like an elongated bicycle: The rider stretched far forward over a frame outfitted with long, narrow four-piston engine. Before you pay the $10 admission, you’ll be buttonholed-by Walksler or his 25-year-old son Matt-and told that most vehicles are on the main floor, and a second-floor

Dale Walksler tends to a 1912 Excelsior Twin at the Wheels Through Time museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

gallery holds dirt-bike machines and memorabilia. No problem if you can’t tell a knucklehead from a panhead or a flathead (they’re types of engines). A volunteer can show you around. Ask for details about a particular bike and he might wheel it out a bit before recapping its heritage. Among the volunteers is Bob White, a long-time “gearhead” who lives in Boone and who owns and rides a 1946 Indian Chief. This good ‘ol mountain boy is also a professor of Chinese history at Appalachian State, is fluent in Mandarin, and just retired as executive director for International Education and Development at ASU. Making the rounds with White-”the place activates the historian in me”-is a walk through time. Many motorcycles can be sat on. White says Dale Walksler does this to “connect people to the machine and to the presentation.” Wheels Through Time bills itself as “a museum that runs,” so the quiet is frequently interrupted by the ka-RANGANG-ANG-ANG of a two-cylinder startup. There’ll be a small waft of spent fuel, but not much: The engines are finely tuned. The Walkslers, especially Dale, delight in starting a bike and riding it down a long aisle of the cement floor. Note the black-rubber skid mark. It’s something White doesn’t do: “That’s a half-million-dollar motorcycle going down a column of half-million-dollar motorcycles.” — MCT



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lifestyle T r a v e l

Sightseers take in the view near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. — MCT photos By Gary A Warner

My choices for the dozen most intriguing communism-related sites in Berlin: DDR Museum: A small new museum on the banks of the Spree River, the museum plays to the “Ostalgia” of Germans by being heavy on cultural and social artifacts and light on politics and military. An exhibit shows how nudism became a rage because it was declared the ultimate expression of a classless society without trappings. There’s a Trabant sedan you can sit in, as well as a relatively upscale re-creation of an East German living room with furnishings that would be familiar to any 1970s American den. There’s a section on the Young Pioneers and other communist groups. The small gift shop includes East German sodas that are still being manufactured.

Checkpoint Charlie: The name of the US Army station that was the last stop before heading into East Berlin. The flashpoint of tensions in the 1950s and 1960s, it was also passed by tourists heading to the unremarkable building just up the street where visitors were searched and questioned before being allowed to stroll the gray streets of East Berlin. Today, a re-creation of the post is manned by “guards” in uniform who charge tourists to take pictures with them. Nearby is the Haus Am Checkpoint Charlie, a private museum that chronicles the many ways that people tried to fly, dig, swim, jump or drive their way to freedom up, over and under the Berlin Wall. Friedrichstrasse at Leipzigerstrasse. U-bahn station: Mitte.

lined with huge apartment blocks called “worker’s palaces.” Originally, the street was Stalin Alee, but when the Soviet dictator fell out of favor during mid-1950s reforms, his 15-foot statue was removed and the stretch renamed after Karl Marx. It’s a remnant of totalitarian city planning, and a pedestrian’s nightmare to cross. Ubahn station: Strausberger Platz Glienicke Bridge: On the outskirts of Berlin is a small bridge that spans the Havel River. Once it separated West Berlin from Potsdam, in communist-controlled East Germany. It was here that the famous spy swaps were held, with each side sending its captive and one representative to the center of the bridge, exchanging prisoners and walking back. The most famous exchange involved Francis Gary Powers, the American U2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union and swapped for Russian master spy Rudolf Abel. Its last known use was in 1986 when Soviet human rights activist Anatoly Sharansky and three Western operatives were swapped for five East bloc agents. Bus from the Potsdam railway station. Statue of Marx and Engels: Regime change always starts the name game. After World War II, the Soviets got rid of Hermann-Goering Strasse and Adolf Hitler Platz. The post-communist era was tougher. Since the end of the Cold War in Germany was officially a reunification, the purge had to be more selective. Prewar communist heroes like murdered activist Rosa Luxemburg were OK. Lenin and other Soviet politicians, along with puppets like dictator Erich Honecker, were stripped of street names and their bronze and marble likenesses hauled away. Among the survivors is a statue of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It’s a popular spot for tourist shots. MarxEngels-Forum park. U-bahn: Alexanderplatz

The jaunty Ampelmannchen, the beloved traffic symbols from East Berlin.

Stasi headquarters: The unremarkable building in the Lichtenberg district was home to the notorious state security police-”the sword and shield of the party.” With 91,000 employees and a vast network of informers, the organization-which took many of its methods and some of its early members from the Nazi Gestapo-quashed much dissent during the Cold War. Its files, opened after the Wall came down, embarrassed many leading East Germans who were shown to have cooperated in investigations on their friends and neighbors. Many artifacts were looted in the days of tumult following the disintegration of the police state. What’s left and has been recovered are now in a small museum showing spy devices and the restored office of its hated longtime leader, Erich Mielke. Ruschestrasse 103, Haus 1. U-bahn station: Magdalenenstrasse. Karl-Marx-Allee: Soviet troops had blasted their way through the Friedrichshain neighborhood. The East Germans rebuilt the area with a double-wide boulevard

House of Ministries: Architecture trumps ideology in the story of this amazing building. It was originally built as the Reich Air Ministry for the Nazi Luftwaffe during World War II. At 2,000 rooms, it was the largest building in the city for a time. Ironically, it was barely touched by the aerial bombardment that flattened much around it. Despite its Nazi heritage, the East Germans turned it into the House of Ministries, headquarters for several communist-era agencies. A mural depicting the heroic struggles of the workers was painted on the side of the entrance to the building. After the reunification, it became the headquarters of the agency that decided who owned what amid the competing claims stretching across two dictatorships and more than 50 years. Today it is the Ministry of Finance. Wilhelmstrasse 97. U-bahn: Mohrenstrasse (the red marble in the station was excavated from Hitler’s nearby bunker).

The grounds near the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin.

Berlin Wall Documentation Center: The German government’s official memorial and museum include a section of the Wall that lay along Bernauer Strasse. The site includes the Berlin Wall Memorial, the Chapel of Reconciliation and the Documentation Center. There are a few other sections of the Wall still intact, including a long segment along the Spree River that has been turned into an art installation of sorts. Documentation Center is at Bernauer Strasse 111. The nearest U-bahn station is Bernauer Strasse. — MCT

Gary Warner at the Berlin Wall in October 1989, just weeks before it would come down.

Wall Victims Memorial: This small group of white crosses once stood directly across the street from the Wall, very near the Reichstag. The disappearance of the Wall has robbed it of some of its visual power, but the commitment of those who remember to keep the crosses in place is a potent reminder of the dark side of East Berlin. U-Bahn station: Bundestag Reichstag: A deranged arsonist with communist ties set fire to the German parliament in 1933, which allowed Adolf Hitler to order sweeping measures to crack down on the remnants of political dissent. It was the center of the last major fighting in Berlin, and its facade still shows the repaired scars of bullets and shells. Soviet graffiti has been preserved under glass in the some areas. A glass dome was added this century to represent transparency of government. The lower house of the German assembly, the Bundestag, meets here. It’s a favorite tourist spot, especially at sunset. U-bahn: Bundestag. Soviet War Memorial Treptower: It’s worth the trip out to Treptower Park to see the massive Soviet War memorial to the 300,000 casualties in the final assault in spring 1945 that captured Hitler’s capital and led to his suicide in a Berlin bunker. The site alongside the Spree River includes the graves of 5,000 Red Army soldiers who died in the Battle of Berlin. A towering statue depicts a Soviet soldier saving a German child while crushing a swastika under his foot. Marble taken from Hitler’s bunker is used on the far end of the memorial. If you can’t make it that far, there is a smaller Soviet War Memorial featuring two T-34 tanks in the Tiergarten, near the Brandenburg Gate. Treptower memorial’s S-bahn station: Treptower Park. Alexanderplatz: A center of city life in pre-World War II Berlin, the East Germans re-created the plaza as a sterile, windswept expanse perfect for party events and military parades. A huge television tower was later erected, whose observation deck included a map of everything to see-except for areas controlled by the West, which was left blank. Several anti-government demonstrators were shot there during the 1953 anti-communist uprising. It was a central gathering point for demonstrators calling for reform just before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Ubahn: Alexanderplatz

The television tower at Alexanderplatz looms in the distance as a tourist studies a monument to world communism located in the former East Berlin.

Two women eat between a piece of the old wall and a piece of the new walls - billboards, in Berlin.


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Award-season contenders flock to Palm Springs Gala



37 Huge gold nugget found in Sierra up for auction


A participant from Italy flies a huge kite at the International Kite Festival in Ahmadabad, India, yesterday. Kite-flyers from 36 countries are participating in the festival which runs to Jan 14.— AP

For minorities, new ‘digital divide’ seen


hen the personal computer revolution began decades ago, Latinos and blacks were much less likely to use one of the marvelous new machines. Then, when the Internet began to change life as we know it, these groups had less access to the Web and slower online connections - placing them on the wrong side of the “digital divide.”Today, as mobile technology puts computers in our pockets, Latinos and blacks are more likely than the general population to access the Web by cellular phones, and they use their phones more often to do more things. But now some see a new “digital divide” emerging - with Latinos and blacks being challenged by more, not less, access to technology. It’s tough to fill out a job application on a cell

In this Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011 picture, Tyrell Coley, 21, holds his iPhone displaying his Twitter account in the Queens borough of New York.—AP

phone, for example. Researchers have noticed signs of segregation online that perpetuate divisions in the physical world. And blacks and Latinos may be using their increased Web access more for entertainment than empowerment. Fifty-one percent of Hispanics and 46 percent of blacks use their phones to access the Internet, compared with 33 percent of whites, according to a July 2010 Pew (News - Alert) poll. Forty-seven percent of Latinos and 41 percent of blacks use their phones for e-mail, compared with 30 percent of whites. The figures for using social media like Facebook (News - Alert) via phone were 36 percent for Latinos, 33 percent for blacks and 19 percent for whites. A greater percentage of whites than blacks and Latinos still have broadband access at home, but laptop ownership is now about even for all these groups, after black laptop ownership jumped from 34 percent in 2009 to 51 percent in 2010, according to Pew. Increased access and usage should be good things, right? “I don’t know if it’s the right time to celebrate. There are challenges still there,” says Craig Watkins, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of “The Young and the Digital.” He adds: “We are much more

engaged, but now the questions turn to the quality of that engagement, what are people doing with that access.” For Tyrell Coley, engagement mostly means entertainment. In December, the 21-year-old New York City supermarket clerk launched a Twitter conversation about “(hash) femalesneedto.” The number sign was a “hashtag” that allowed others to label their tweets and join the discussion. Within a few hours, (hash)femalesneedto was the top trending topic on Twitter - meaning more of the site’s 17 million users were talking about it than anything else. Most comments came from black users and focused on relationships, advising women to do things like “learn sex is not love” and “learn how to love themselves.” “There’s always something happening on Twitter, some drama, people talking about something,” says Coley. “Twitter is a great social network to kill time. When you’re bored, get on Twitter. Next thing you know you’ll be out of work or whatever. Twitter makes my day go by. That’s why I’m on almost every day.” Coley is black, and so are most of his 3,756 Twitter followers. So are about 25 percent of all Twitter users, roughly double the percentage of blacks in the US population, according to a February 2010 survey by Edison Research and Arbitron. Many of Twitter’s trending topics have been fueled by black tweets. Coley has been responsible for several - (hash)youcantbeuglyand and (hash)dumbthingspeoplesay also sprang from his iPhone (News - Alert). He has a desktop computer at home, which he used to apply for his supermarket job. But he uses his phone for 80 percent of his online activity, which is usually watching hip-hop and comedy videos or looking for sneakers on eBay. This trend is alarming to Anjuan Simmons, a black engineer and technology consultant who blogs, tweets and uses Facebook “more than my wife would like.” He hopes that blacks and Latinos will use their increased Web access to create content, not just consume it. “What are we doing with this access? Are we simply sending e-mail, downloading adult content, sending texts for late-night hookups?” Simmons says. “Or are we discussing ideas, talking to people who we would not normally be able to talk to?” Simmons has made professional connections and found job opportunities through social media. But when he first started using Twitter, the first thing he looked for was other black faces to connect with. “The African-American community has a built-in social layer,” Simmons says. “We tend to see other African-Americans as family. Even if we haven’t met someone, we often refer to other black people as ‘brothers’ or ‘sisters.’ “The root of that probably goes back to slavery, how we had to have tight connections because the slave masters could easily break up families,” he says. “We needed that sense of family really to protect ourselves during slavery and Jim Crow. That still is woven into, oddly, the fabric of black America to this day. And I think we see this social construct online.”Facebook and Internet access are what most of Miguel Amador’s customers want when they enter his two stores in Latino neighborhoods in Camden, NJ Five years

ago, the majority of his revenue came from music CDs. Now his mobile device sales are up 50 percent from a year ago. His top seller is the MyTouch 4G phone, which costs $499. Amador immigrated from the Dominican Republic 20 years ago. He uses a laptop at home and a desktop in his store to run his business and update his two Facebook accounts. One account is for personal use - he estimates that 75 percent of the people he knows are on Facebook - and one is aimed at his customers. He recognizes that mobile phones are more limited than computers: “Phones are more for entertainment right now. I don’t want to use the word uneducated, but I don’t think (customers) are 100 percent educated on what the Internet can do in your life. They just see you can have fun on it.” “For the Latino community,” he says, “people without Internet are missing about 65 percent of the opportunities in life.” Yet mobile Internet access may not be the great equalizer. Aaron Smith, a Pew senior research specialist, says there are obvious limitations on what you can do on a mobile device - updating a resume being the classic example. “Research has shown that people with an actual connection at home, the ability to go online on a computer at home, are more engaged in a lot of different things that people who rely on access from work, a friend’s house, or a phone,” Smith says. For those Latinos with mobile access, their connections are often related to geography. “Most Latinos here want to communicate with each other, they have family in other places that they want to be connected to,” Amador says. “And they want to be involved in the American community. They see everyone on TV talking about Facebook and Twitter, and they want what other Americans have.” Yet despite these forces pushing ethnic groups together online, Simmons has seen his social network expand. Only about half of his 2,834 Facebook friends are black, down from about 80 percent when he signed up in 2006. The early days of the Internet were filled with visions of a Utopian space where race would disappear, famously captured by a 1993 New Yorker cartoon with one pooch sitting at a computer saying to another, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” But the reality has turned out much differently, says Peter Chow-White, an assistant communications professor at Simon Fraser University and co-author of the forthcoming anthology “Race After the Internet.” He says there is “absolutely” still a racial divide online, in terms of broadband access and the ability of blacks and Latinos to make their voices widely heard.—AP

ome 150 years after the forty-niners rushed west in search of riches, a new gold discovery in the Sierra Nevada is stirring excitement. A 100-ounce nugget, found by a man last year on his property near Nevada City, Calif., is expected to fetch between $225,000 and $400,000 when it goes up for auction March 15 in Sacramento, Calif. Fred Holabird, a mining geologist whose Reno-based company is one of the country’s largest sellers of Western Americana and is handling its sale, thinks it’s the largest California gold nugget left in existence. Virtually all of California’s gold fields have been thoroughly combed by miners, he said, and other monster nuggets from the Golden State have been melted into ingots for money. While bigger nuggets have surfaced in Australia in recent decades, no similar-sized placer nuggets from California have turned up in museums, he added. The Smithsonian Institution’s largest placer nugget from California weighs about 80 ounces. “The chances of finding something like this anymore are beyond remote. It could be one in a trillion,” Holabird said. The man was using a metal detector in an unmined ancient stream bed near the old Mother Lode mining camp of Washington when he stumbled on the nugget in February 2010. The Union of Grass Valley, Calif., has identified him as San Francisco businessman Jim Sanders. The so-called Washington Nugget is thick and oblong, and resembles a “squished loaf of bread,” Holabird said, adding it was found in the same area where hydraulic mining was invented in the 19th century. A lack of records makes it difficult to determine how the nugget compares in size historically, said John Clinkenbeard, senior geologist with the California Geological Survey in Sacramento. But he said he’s unaware of any similar 100-ounce placer nugget being found in California in recent decades. “I can’t put a numerical value on how rare it is to find a nugget like this,” Clinkenbeard said. “All I know is that large nuggets are very rare and your odds of finding one aren’t very good.” The largest known nugget found in California weighed 54 pounds and was found in 1859 in Butte County, he added. The California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa, Calif., displays the Fricot “Nugget,” a rare 13.8-pound specimen of crystallized gold discovered in the American River in 1864. But Clinkenbeard and Holabird said there’s a difference between Mariposa’s crystalline gold specimen and the placer nugget found last year. True nuggets such as the latter are a product of erosion in a modern or ancient streambed, while the former consists of native gold in quartz that has not gone through the same erosional process. While current gold prices would make the Washington Nugget worth roughly $130,000, Holabird expects a collector to pay well more because of its historical value. Gold closed at $1,368.90 an ounce Friday. “It’s worth more as a collectible,” he said. “No one will be melting this thing. It’s one of the most important California gold artifacts that exist.” — AP

This undated photo provided by Holabird-Kagin Americana, shows a 100-ounce gold nugget found by a man last year on his property near Nevada City, Calif. — AP


eidi Klum’s new TV show is all about kids being funny, but the former Victoria’s Secret supermodel and “Project Runway” host says she is just as happy making a fool of herself. In fact, the German beauty told television writers on Friday that she placed a giant fake booger up her nose on her upcoming show “Seriously Funny Kids”-just to see how kids would react. “Seriously Funny Kids” features Klum getting cute answers from small kids to grown-up questions, along the lines of 1990s TV show “Kids Say the Darndest Things”. Klum, 37, who has four children of her own and is married to the singer Seal, said that in one episode she faked an onslaught of massive sneezing. “I had a gigantic snot fit,” she said. “We had all these different boogers we had to choose from. The kids are looking at me and they don’t know what to do. They can’t believe what I have coming out of my nose! “In terms of me making a goof out of myself? I’m not worried about that,” Klum said. She said one youngster sent her to a parent-teacher meeting dressed in fishnet stockings, high heels and purple hat. The new series, which makes it debut on the Lifetime TV network on Feb 1, is the latest media venture for Klum, who ended her contract as a Victoria’s Secret lingerie model in September after 13 years. She recently launched an active wear line, designed two maternity collections, and lent her name to a range of age prevention creams, but remains host of fashion design contest “Project Runway.” — Reuters

10 Dec  

Kuwait Times