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Gaddafi’s forces hit Libyan rebels east and west

150 Fils


No: 15018


New Egypt PM shows popular touch in Tahrir Square

Magnificent 7 as Ronaldo inspires Madrid win



Kuwait helps Oman reconcile with UAE

Max 23 Min 10

Amir mediates to cool tensions • Aid mulled for Oman, Bahrain MUSCAT: Oman has reconciled with the United Arab Emirates after Kuwaiti mediation succeeded in resolving tensions over an alleged spy ring, a foreign ministry official said yesterday. Last month, Oman said it dismantled a spy ring linked to the UAE that targeted government and military operations. The UAE strongly denied the allegations and the case marked a rare display of tensions between the close allies and neighbors. The official said Kuwait’s Amir HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah, shuttled between the Gulf nations and returned to Oman Thursday along with several UAE officials, including Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. They met with Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. Efforts to ease the dispute have taken on urgency following rare clashes between security forces and protesters this week in Oman. The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council also is seeking a unified strategy amid unrest in Bahrain and calls for protests in Kuwait next week. The UAE news agency WAM confirmed the Kuwaiti mediation and the meeting in Oman. It said Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed AlNahyan, the crown prince of the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi attended the meeting. Separately, Gulf Arab oil producers are discussing a fund to aid Bahrain and Oman, a Bahraini government spokesman said yesterday. “There are discussions taking place on such a fund,” the spokesman said. He did not provide further details, nor would he discuss what the amount of money in any such fund might be. The prospect of an aid fund has been reported by other media as protests sweeping the Arab world and led by mostly the young and unemployed have toppled the leaders in Egypt and Tunisia. In Libya a revolt has become increasingly violent and protests have spread to Bahrain, Oman and Yemen. The Kuwait daily Al-Qabas reported earlier this week that the sixmember Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was working on aid packages for Bahrain and Oman, which have seen protests from thousands of nationals demanding government reform and jobs. An Omani finance ministry official denied such a plan existed or that it would be discussed at a planned meeting of GCC finance ministers in Saudi Arabia today. The GCC ministers are scheduled to discuss a long-stalled agreement on how to share receipts within the region’s customs union. “We are not aware of any meeting or a GCC financial allocation for some Gulf countries to deal with protesters,” the Omani official said. A GCC official also said he was not aware of any talks about aid for Bahrain and Oman. “It (the aid) is not on the agenda. But having a fund is an old idea, it’s not new,” the GCC official, who did not want to be named, said. “It was a development and stability fund and it was suggested by Bahrain in the past. It was for the Gulf as a whole but it’s just a proposal,” he added. Worried about spreading rebellions, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) plan to spend billions of dollars to improve living standards of poorer citizens. Bahrain and Oman are small non-OPEC oil producers and need higher oil prices than oil giants such as Saudi Arabia or the UAE to replenish government finances. Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman have allocated new funds, grants and social benefits or promised new jobs and raised wages. Several people were hurt in fighting between minority Sunni and majority Shiite Muslims in a town in central Bahrain yesterday, while in Oman hundreds of people staged protests. — Agencies

MUSCAT: HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (left) meets Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said (right) on Thursday. Seen behind them are UAE Prime Minister, Vice-President and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid AlMaktoum (right) and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (left). — KUNA

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Years of Themes: Fifty Twenty Years e, Tw Independenc of Liberation

Shoot & Win from 25th February till 30th March



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790 kg of rotting meat seized By Hanan Al-Saadoun

K U W A I T : Authorities have seized 790 kg of rotting meat

imported by air from an Asian nation, the Minister of Public Works and Municipal Affairs Fadhel Safar said yesterday. The

meat was not fit for human consumption due to a change in its physical features in addition to an obnoxious odor, and it was

destroyed at the Shuwaikh central slaughter house. Safar appreciated the efforts of municipality inspectors and

their stand against those who attempt to promote spoiled food, adding that such campaigns will continue.

One dead, two injured in cleaning chemicals blast Kuwaiti family killed in Saudi road accident By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: One man was killed and two people were critically injured in an explosion at an Abdullah Al-Mubarak house yesterday, which has been attributed to a deadly chemical reaction between industrial cleaning substances. Emergency personnel, including firefighters from Mishref and Mubarak Al-Kabeer were quickly at the scene, with two of the injured rushed to hospital. Initial investigations by firefighters suggest that the blast was the result of an explosive reaction between different industrial cleaning detergents being used by cleaners working for a company that was carrying out a large-scale cleaning exercise at the home. 15 hurt in Naeem blaze Fifteen people, including four firefighters, were hurt in a major blaze at a home in Naeem. On receiving reports of the incident, firefighters from Jahra and other emergency personnel rushed to the scene, rescuing eight people who were trapped in the burning building. Firefighters managed to prevent the blaze from spreading any further. Three policemen suffered minor burns in the blaze, while a fourth was hospitalized with heat exhaustion. The Deputy Director General of the Kuwait Fire Services Directorate’s (KFSD) Firefighting and Human Resources sections, Brigadier Yousef Al-Ansari, later visited the injured firemen in hospital. Two fatal accidents A Kuwaiti family died in a tragic accident in Saudi Arabia while they were driving back home from a visit to Riyadh. Paramedics pronounced a 31-year-old Kuwaiti man dead at the scene of the crash, along with his three-year-old son, while his wife, who was seven months pregnant, was rushed to hospital in a critical condition, but died six hours later from severe bleeding. The Kuwaiti embassy in Saudi Arabia facilitated the

return of the victims’ bodies to the country, reported Al-Watan. Meanwhile, Al-Rai reported that a 29-yearold Indian motorist died in a collision on Riyadh Road after losing control of his vehicle when it was hit from behind by another car, forcing it into the opposite lane, directly into the path of another vehicle. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. Police have detained the driver of the vehicle which hit his car for questioning. Child shot A 13-year-old boy was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of Jahra hospital after being accidentally shot in the back. The boy had apparently been playing outside at a campsite in Roudhatain when a group of spectators at a camel race taking part at a neighboring site let off bursts of gunfire in celebration over ‘their’ camel winning a race, reported Al-Watan. A hunt is underway for the gunmen. Police station wedding A quarrel between a young man and the father of the girl with whom he was having an illicit relationship was settled by a novel arbitration method at Rumaithiya police station where police officers arranged for the young couple to marry at the station itself. Police had originally arrested the two men after spotting them in a fight outside a home in the area. Questioning revealed that the girl’s father had began beating the young man, as well as his daughter, after learning about their relationship. The father had apparently refused to let his daughter marry the young man previously, which was why they had been seeing each other behind his back. After the couple told police that they were willing to elope in order to marry without permission if the girl’s father continued to refuse to let them do so legally, officers were able to convince the father, who insisted that the marriage ceremony

KUWAIT: Firemen and police are seen at the scene of a fire in Naeem. be conducted at the police station. Child assault charges A Kuwaiti man has pressed charges against an Ethiopian maid working for his family, accusing the woman of beating his young son whilst the family were holidaying at their chalet. The man told police that the boy had begun having panic attacks after being subjected to the assault, reported Al-Watan. The maid is undergoing questioning about the allegations. Suicide bid A Nepalese man was rushed to Farwaniya Hospital’s ICU in a critical condition after setting himself alight in a bid to kill himself. The man’s horrified sponsor found him at the Kabd campsite where he worked as a caretaker, immediately dousing the flames and calling the emergency services. Police rushed the man to hospital as no ambulance was in the area. Subsequent investigations revealed that the man had doused himself in flammable liquid before setting himself alight. He remains in a critical condition, while his sponsor has denied any knowledge of what might have driven him to such a desperate act.

Mechanic trashes car Police are hunting for a Syrian trainee mechanic who disappeared after damaging a sports car belonging to a Kuwaiti man, which had been left at the garage where the youngster worked. The car owner, who had left the car at the garage in pristine condition for minor repairs, was horrified on returning to retrieve his vehicle to find that it was a wreck. On demanding to know what had happened, mechanics there told the car owner that his vehicle had been hit by a passing truck whilst it was parked in front of the garage. Others in the vicinity, however, informed him that the teenage trainee at the garage had taken the car for a drive and been involved in a collision with a truck. The livid car owner found the youth and demanded payment for his wrecked vehicle, with the young man promising to give him money for repairs the next day. On returning to the garage as arranged to get the money, however, the car owner found that the youth had not turned up for work and had disappeared, reported Al-Watan. The car owner immediately went to the local police station and filed a case against the youngster, and a hunt is underway.



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In my view

Gaddaphobic By Chidi Emmanuel

Kuwait gifts $4.5m to GW University Grant to boost Institute for Middle East Studies


s Western powers rain sanctions on Gaddafi and Libya, one begins to wonder why the rush, seriousness and sudden love for the Libyan people. Africa - a continent with 53 countries - has a lot of Gaddafi-like leaders and this has not attracted as much attention as that of Libya. From north to south Africa there are dictators (some) worse than Gaddafi. Although I am not trying to support Gaddafi and his regime, one can sense some hypocrisy in this Libyan brouhaha. I hope this is not about Libyan oil. Wars, protest and violence attract the attention of the West only when it is affecting Western interests like oil production. Otherwise they will remain unnoticed till the rival factions become tired of killing themselves. The Zimbabweans, Kenyans, Hutus, Tutsis, Darfuris etc can eliminate themselves or could be eliminated without the much concern - with the almighty UN ‘only condemning’ the atrocities. But this time, it is different. The UN Security Council has held emergency meetings, sanctions have been heaped on Libya, the International Court of Justice has opened its net wide waiting for the ‘devil’ (Gaddafi). What about his likes? Why was there no no-fly zone in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Uganda Darfur etc? Gaddafi should be immune to Western sanctions. He has had a full load of them before. There are allegations about the number of deaths, with some Western media claiming about 6,000 people dead, sparking a call for foreign air strikes. Let this not be like the Iraq WMD (weapons of mass destruction) which never existed. Where are the bodies of these dead 6,000 people? Unlike other protests that have engulfed the region, Libyan protests seem to be centered on Gaddafi and not about unemployment and basic amenities. African mercenaries have been alleged as US and its allies push for a no-fly zone in Libya. This according to US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will involve bombing Libya first and dismantling its firepower. Let this not be another Iraq-Saddam strategy. While Libya remains the headline of the Western media, the Ivorian massacre is going unnoticed. The bodies of dozens of young men and women killed in recent Ivorian clashes lie piled on the floor of a morgue in Abidjan with only lip-condemnations from the US, EU, UN etc. More than 50 people have been killed this week alone by fighting between supporters of rival presidential claimants Alassane Ouattara and incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. Since December, hundreds of bodies have been piling up in overcrowded morgues across the city. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s opposition was crushed, maimed and killed; likewise in Kenya, just to mention but a few. All these killings seem to been going on unnoticed. Maybe because of ‘maf oil’. I know if there are traces of oil in these Gaddafi-like countries (Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Uganda etc), US and its allies would have deployed amphibious assault ships and possibly nuclear warheads. As the world court targets Gaddafi for crimes against humanity, what about Mugabe, Kibaki, Gbagbo and a host of other Gaddafi-like leaders in Africa? Is this selective justice?

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah delivered on Thursday a Kuwaiti gift of $4.5 million as an endowment to the Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES) at the George Washington (GW) University. Sheikh Salem handed over the contribution to GW President Steven Knapp, where the meeting was attended by Dean of GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs Michael Brown. In an interview to KUNA, Sheikh Salem said that the Kuwaiti government is accustomed to supporting educational institutions worldwide, especially those specialized in Middle East studies. He added that the horizons of the Kuwait-US relations covered many domains, indicating that the joint cooperation being witnessed between the two countries in many sectors is considered “distinctive and fruitful”. The ambassador affirmed that the relations between Kuwait and the George Washington University is “distinctive and solid”, as the university presented to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah an

WASHINGTON: Kuwait’s Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah hands over the contribution to George Washington University President Steven Knapp. — KUNA Honorary Doctorate in Law in 2005 for their continued support of the George his “great contributions” to public serv- Washington University”. He stressed ice. Sheikh Salem said that in 2005, GW the importance that both countries established the Kuwait Chair which “recognize what this kind of academic conducts research and studies on the program can do to contribute to mutual understanding and the need to help Arabian Gulf region. GW President Knapp said that he is developing the generations of stu“deeply grateful to the Government of dents who will continue that relationKuwait and His Highness the Amir for ship”. —KUNA

‘Afkari’ showcases Kuwaiti crafts KUWAIT: The “Afkari” exhibition, held on the occasion of national celebrations, continues to hold events that showcase handicrafts made by Kuwaiti women, Afkari Executive Director said yesterday. Bader Al-Amer told KUNA that the events involve contests and songs depicting the national occasions. The exhibition also displays collections of products and handicrafts made by creative Kuwaiti women for Kuwait’s national celebrations. Al-Amer noted Afkari is considered a weekly commercial market that provides stability and a chance for unemployed Kuwaiti women to present their products, innovations and creations all year long. He concluded by saying that the importance of the exhibition is to enhance social development and strengthen the individual’s abilities of patience and perseverance in choosing a profession or a craft as well as establishing work concepts, in cooperation with the government’s program of supporting national labor.



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Dogs on the


By Abdullah Al-Qattan KUWAIT: The 2011 ‘PAWS for the Cause’ Kuwait Dog Show took place yesterday morning at the British Embassy of Kuwait in the gardens of the British embassy in Dasman. The event held a variety of lighthearted dog shows including a competition for a Best Junior Handler, Most Mysterious Heritage and the Pet Pageant. Janet Rose, one of the organizers of the event from PAWS told Kuwait Times that the fun-filled event is for families who want to enjoy the events and the activities that they offer as well as giving the chance to collect donations for the shelter in Kuwait. Rose also added that the number of dogs participating at the event is more than 100 canines of all breeds competing in all shows. The US Army K9 Unit also held a special demonstration with their German Shepherd (Max) who is specially trained to help and assist US military in their work. Stalls for pet products were also present at the ‘strut your mut’ for others to admire or enjoy a tasty lunch in the gardens.



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— Photos by Abdullah Al-Qattan

y Years of Themes: Fifftty Twenty Years e, Tw Independenc of Liberation

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in the news Kuwaiti freezes Ben Ali’s assets KUWAIT: Kuwaiti banks have been given notice to freeze any assets belonging to former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi. The notice was issued based on a decision by Kuwait’s Attorney General Chancellor Dherar Al-Asousy, by which all assets, including real-estate, stocks, and cash deposited in Kuwait’s banks, are to be frozen. This comes at the request of the interim government in Tunisia, which was formally passed to the Kuwaiti foreign ministry by senior officials at the Tunisian Embassy in Kuwait, reported AlRai. The decision means that Kuwait will be the first Arab country to freeze all and any assets owned by the overthrown Tunisian president. MPs propose annual minute of silence KUWAIT: Five Kuwaiti MPs have proposed the introduction of an official minute of silence on Aug 2 to commemorate the anniversary of the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. According to local daily Al-Watan, the proposal, submitted by MPs Hassan Jowhar, Musallam Al-Barrak, Saifi Al-Saifi, Ali Al-Deqbasi and Khalid Al-Tahous, calls on the government to suspend all state media and automotive traffic for one minute from 9:00 pm on this date every year. The parliamentarians propose that during this period, sirens would be sounded “in remembrance of the Kuwaiti resistance and to strengthen national unity”. DGCA workers call off strike KUWAIT: Strike action called for by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) staff for next week has been canceled after the union representing the workers there received assurances from senior government officials that its demands would be fulfilled shortly. The union had issued several demands concerning pay and conditions, as well as various benefits, complaining that the government has been stalling in fulfilling earlier promises on these issues and warning that the planned strike action would seriously affect work at Kuwait International Airport. Speaking to the press on Thursday, however, union leader Rajab Al-Refa’ei said that the strike had been called off following a meeting between union officials and HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, “who promised to solve the issue soon”. The meeting was also attended by Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah and Minister of Communications Mohammad Al-Busairi, reported Al-Watan. Shortly after that meeting, Al-Refa’ei and other senior union officials met with the chairman of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Abdulaziz Al-Zibn, who requested a list of all the DGCA personnel’s demands in order to study and enforce them as quickly as possible.

Kuwaiti academic wins science award PARIS: Renowned Kuwaiti academic Faiza Al-Kharafi received the 2011 L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Sciences for Africa and Arab States during a ceremony held at the UNESCO headquarters late on Thursday. Speaking in an address to the large number of attendees, Al-Kharafi symbolically granted the award to the Kuwaiti government and people. She also called for cooperation among scientists of various nationalities for the development of nations. Youth should exert intensive efforts at the scientific level and women can make a noticeable difference if they are given the chance, she added. Meanwhile, Ahmad Zuwail, the chief of a 16-professor team judging the contenders, said Al-Kharafi earned the award for her research that found solutions for water treatment problems and oil industries. A video was screened in front of the audience, shedding light on the accomplishments of Al-Kharafi

and her tests at laboratories. Zuwail, who was granted the Nobel chemistry prize in 1999, praised the Kuwaiti female scientist and professor for her works. UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said five distinguished women were granted the award, coinciding with the declaration of 2011 as the international year for chemistry. This also coincided with the 100th anniversary for granting the Nobel Prize to the pioneer chemist and physicist, Marie Curie. Kuwait’s ambassador in Paris, Ali Al-Saeed, expressed Kuwait’s pride over Al-Kharafi’s accomplishment, noting that the award to her tangibly signaled the state’s efforts of “investment in citizens”. L’Oreal and the UNESCO grant $100,000 to winners of the award. Up to 67 women scientists have won it over the past 13 years. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The traditional Heritage Festival concluded yesterday with a beauty competition that judged the healthiest and best-looking camels and horses. — KUNA

Fatwa dept staff resign en masse By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Over 200 Fatwa and Legislation Department (FLD) personnel, the vast majority of the department’s staff, jointly submitted their resignations on Thursday following two years of unsuccessful attempts to attain improvements in their pay and conditions. The 212 staff from the government department officially submitted their resignations to FLD chairman Sheikh Mohammed Al-Salman, warning that many of the government department’s 58 remaining staff had not submitted their resignations only because they are currently on holiday and would do so following their return to work tomorrow. The disgruntled staff explained that they had been waiting for two years for the approval of laws that would see them accorded the same status as judges and prosecutors, pointing out that according to legislation passed in 1977 they should already have

the same rights. The protesting staff also condemned the issue of their demands being transferred to a committee which they said is known to be against granting them their rights. They also warned that, in the period until their resignations take effect they will suspend all action in the FLD’s department’s consultative section, including activities involving issuing religious fatwas (edicts), and reviewing of contracts and legislative bills, as well as boycotting all committee meetings attended by senior FLD members. They also warned that they will suspend action in the judicial section, including monitoring court procedures and attending court sessions, except in cases which have already been tried. These actions will be followed by more protests, the staff warned, further demanding that the management stop interfering in staff’s work procedures and areas of specialty. The resigning staff have also demanded that draft legislation already submitted to

parliament on their pay and conditions be passed. The bill, which would see the department staff given the same status and rights as judges and prosecutors, is scheduled for discussion during the March 23 parliamentary session. FLD staff member Ghadeer Hayati said, “We aim to highlight certain situation through this action. This gathering follows attempts to reduce the role and status of the department. The FLD is considered a supporting authority for the government. Through this measure, we aim to expose some hidden sides of this issue to the media. The goal of our mass resignation is to achieve our legitimate aspirations.” Another FLD staff member, Dr Abdullah Al-Rashidi, explained that since this department’s establishment predates Kuwait’s constitution, the laws defining and regulating it have never been modified. “The mass resignation is a message to the government that will be followed by other steps in the future,” he warned.

Turkish journalists protest crackdown


Obama, Calderon pledge cooperation in drug wars


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Interpol hunts for Gaddafi, 15 others Gaddafi forces retake rebel town near capital

BENGHAZI: Anti-Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi protesters, wave the old Libyan flag as they shout anti-Gaddafi slogans during a protest after the Friday prayer at the court square, in Benghazi, eastern Libya yesterday.—AP

PARIS: Interpol has issued an international alert for Muammar Gaddafi and 15 other family members and close associates to help enforce international sanctions against the Libyan strongman and his regime. The international police organization said yesterday that Gaddafi, his relatives and allies “have been identified as being involved in or complicit in planning attacks, including aerial bombardments, on civilian populations.” Interpol issues the orange notice when an act or event poses a risk to public safety. The alert is sent to Interpol’s 188 members around the world, give law enforcement and border police information on the targeted individuals that can be used to block their movements and freeze their assets. The UN Security Council has imposed a global

asset freeze on Gaddafi, his four sons and one daughter, and established a travel ban on the whole family along with 10 other close associates. The council also backed an arms embargo and referred the Libyan government’s bloody attacks on protesters to a war crimes tribunal for investigation into possible crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, a leader of rebels in Zawiyah was killed in clashes yesterday with forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi trying to retake the rebel-held town near the capital, a rebel spokesman said. “Many people were killed in Harsha, which is now occupied by them,” rebel spokesman Youssef Shagan said, referring to a small town just outside Zawiyah. “They shot at civilians. We still control (Zawiyah’s) central square. They

are 4 to 5 km away. Our army commander has been killed in Harsha. We have appointed a new one.” Gaddafi security forces launched an offensive to retake the town near the capital that has for days been defying his rule, residents said by telephone. An improvised force of rebels has been pushed back to the central square in Zawiyah, 50 km west of Tripoli, where about 2,000 of them are getting ready to make a last stand, a rebel spokesman said. “We are on the square, all of our forces are here,” said Youssef Shagan. “The square is safe but they (government forces) are attacking from east and west. We will fight until the end.” “They have now started trying to go into the city to try to retake it,” he said. He said three rebel soldiers had

been killed and 40 people had been wounded. His account could not be independently verified because reporters’ movements in Libya are restricted. The rebellion in Zawiyah-the closest rebel-held territory to the capital and also the site of an oil refinery-has been an embarrassment to the Libyan authorities who are trying to show they control at least the west of the country. Eastern regions of the country, around the city of Benghazi, have already spun out of Gaddafi’s control after a popular revolt against his four decades of rule. Earlier this week in Martyrs’ Square in the centre of Zawiyah, re-named in honor of the people killed in the initial fighting that expelled government forces, people threw shoes at posters of Gaddafi. They showed off a cap-

tured armory of tanks, armored personnel carriers and anti-aircraft guns mounted on pick-up trucks. But the town was still encircled by large numbers of government troops and the rebels had been preparing for a major counterattack, which it appeared yesterday was now happening. “From 11 am until now Gaddafi’s mercenaries, mainly from Africa, have been opening fire on people here,” said a local man called Ibrahim. “Hundreds of victims are now in the town hospital. It’s incredible. We can’t let Gaddafi continue massacring his own people. The streets are empty, shops are closed and only cars used by insurgents to transport victims are visible.” “We have no choice but to continue our fight against this dictator,” he said. —Agencies


Army kills four in Yemen protest Tens of thousands protest longtime prez SANAA: Soldiers opened fire at antigovernment protesters yesterday in northern Yemen, killing four people and wounding seven as demonstrations against longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh again turned deadly. Yemen has been rocked by weeks of daily anti-government protests, inspired by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and tens of thousands turned out in cities across the country calling for the ouster of Saleh, a key US ally in the campaign against the Al-Qaeda terror network. He has promised to step down after national elections in 2013, an offer rejected by protesters. Witnesses said the shootings in the town of Harf Sofyan occurred as soldiers tried to disperse thousands who took to the main street for Friday prayers. Soldiers in an army post opened fire with heavy machine guns, believing the protesters were trying to attack the post, according to the witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisal. Protesters threw rocks at the troops and called for Saleh to step down, shouting: “Leave! Leave!” The town, located in Amran province, is a significant base for the Hawthi Shiite tribesmens who have waged an onand-off struggle against the government for the last six years.

SANAA: A Yemeni boy held by anti-government protesters reacts during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen yesterday. — AP

In the capital of Sanaa, tens of thousands assembled near Sanaa University to urge Saleh’s ouster. Security forces watched the gathering closely, but it was not violent. For the first time, the protesters included hundreds of women, filling a square and nearby streets. In the southern city of Aden, tens of thousands of people carried the coffins of three people killed

Bahraini protesters swarm state TV after clashes MANAMA: Thousands of anti-government demonstrators streamed toward the headquarters of Bahrain’s state television yesterday after sectarian clashes between Sunnis and the majority Shiites leading protests in the strategic Gulf nation. The street fighting was brief, but it underscored the tensions building after nearly three weeks of unrest that has left the tiny island kingdom in a stalemate between the Sunni monarchy and Shiite-led demonstrators who claim widespread discrimination and demand a greater voice in the nation’s affairs. Demonstrators converged on Bahrain TV headquarters outside the capital, Manama, chanting slogans against the Sunni dynasty that has ruled for more than 200 years. Some women carried roses and placed them on the wall outside the TV compound. As unrest sweeps the Middle East, Bahrain remains the most volatile point in the Gulf, although protests by job seekers flared this week in Oman and political opposition groups plan rallies next week in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Finance ministers from the regional bloc known as the Gulf Cooperation Council plan to meet today to discuss a possible aid package for Oman and Bahrain, the two poorest nations in the Middle East’s most wealthy corner. Crackdowns by security forces have left seven dead in Bahrain , home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet. The clash late Thursday between Sunnis and Shiites adds to fears that Bahrain could be dragged deeper into a sectarian conflict between Sunnis backing the monarchy and Shiites who represent 70 percent of the population. —AP

last week. Speakers at Friday prayers focused on the fall of the regime. The main speaker during prayers at Sanaa University, Yahia Hussein alDeilami, told the gathering that “deposing a tyrant is a religious duty.” Al-Deilami, a leader of the Shiite Hawthis, was sentenced to death three years ago but was pardoned by Saleh after the government reached agree-

ment with the Hawthi rebels. “This regime, a handful of corrupt officials, have encouraged bribes, corruption and plundering of the nation’s wealth,” he said. Al-Deilami praised the youth revolution in Libya “against the tyrant Mammar Gaddafi” while crowds chanted for Saleh to resign, just like former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. “Ali, Ali before (the fall of) Moammar! Ali, Ali after Mubarak’s fall!” Hundreds of thousands of protesters also demonstrated in Taiz, Hadramawt, Ibb and Hudaydah in what was dubbed as the “Friday of the national cohesion.” In downtown Sanaa, several thousand government supporters carried pictures of Saleh and urged the opposition to respond to the president’s call for dialogue. In Egypt, the Yemeni Embassy said the ambassador was attacked Tuesday by armed men while traveling to the southern province of Assiut but he escaped unharmed. The embassy said in a statement that Ambassador Abdel-Wali al-Shimiri, headed to Assiut to meet Yemeni students, was attacked while stopped in a car at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Assiut. Armed men tried to pull him from the car, but he was unhurt, the statement said. —AP

Egypt’s new PM vows to meet protesters’ demands CAIRO: Egypt’s prime minister-designate vowed yesterday before thousands of demonstrators at a central Cairo square to do everything he could to meet their demands for political change and pleaded with them to turn their attention to “rebuilding” the country. Meanwhile, the Supreme Armed Forces Council that took control of the country from ousted President Hosni Mubarak said a referendum on constitutional changes to allow for competitive parliamentary and presidential elections will be held on March 19. The new prime minister, Essam Sharaf, was picked by Egypt’s military rulers on Thursday to replace Ahmed Shafiq. Shafiq was the last premier to be named by Mubarak, and his resignation was among the major opposition demands. A former transport minister, Sharaf endeared himself to the protesters when he joined the demonstrations that forced Mubarak to resign. He made his address yesterday at Tahrir Square, the protests’ epicenter. “I draw will and determination from here,” he told the estimated 10,000 demonstrators. “I will do my utmost to realize your demands,” he said, pledging to step down if he fails.

CAIRO: An Egyptian protester chants slogans during the demonstration at the Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt yesterday. — AP

Sharaf, a US-educated civil engineer, served in the Cabinet for 18 months between 2004 and 2005. His appearance at the square yesterday, he was carried on the shoulders of demonstrators to and from the podium, was the latest evidence of the power retained by the youth groups nearly a month after they ousted Mubarak. Sharaf’s government will serve in a caretaker capacity until parliamentary elections are held.

However, Sharaf declined to take an oath of office before the demonstrators as they demanded and left the square amid chants of “Swear! Swear!” The protesters had planned the rally to press for Shafiq’s resignation. When he stepped down a day earlier, they said they would go ahead with their gathering to celebrate what they consider the latest victory for the 18-day popular uprising that forced out Mubarak on Feb 11. —AP


Turkish journalists protest crackdown

SOUTH CAROLINA: Cathy Garner of Iva, S C holds an image of her son Nick Alden, 24, of Williamston, SC dressed in uniform with the US Air Force at her home Thursday. US Air Force serviceman Nick Alden, 25, was killed Wednesday at Frankfurt airport. — AP

German attacker’s pistol jammed, sparing airman KARLSRUHE: The pistol used to kill two US airmen at Frankfurt airport jammed with six rounds left, possibly saving the lives of other American troops on their way to Afghanistan, a German investigator said yesterday. Two other US Air Force personnel were wounded in the attack Wednesday by 21-year-old Arid Uka, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo who had lived in Germany for years. Uka was formally charged Thursday with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. He refused to speak in court but made lengthy statements to police shortly after the attack, prosecutor Rainer Griesbaum told a news conference. Uka told authorities he had taken the FN 9mm pistol and two knives to the airport specifically to kill Americans “as revenge for the American mission in Afghanistan,” Griesbaum said. He said a YouTube video Uka saw the day before the attack, allegedly showing a US raid on a home in Afghanistan, had inspired him to prevent “further cruelties.” When he saw the busload of 16 airmen parked outside Terminal 2 heading to the nearby Ramstein Air Base, he approached one standing outside and, under the pretext of asking for a cigarette, asked if they were on their way to Afghanistan. “When he said yes, he shot the 25-year-old serviceman from behind in the head,” Griesbaum said. Uka then stormed onto the bus, yelling “Allah Akbar!” , Arabic for “God is great!” , and shot the driver in the head, killing him as well, Griesbaum said. He shot twice at a 25-year-old airman seated on the bus, wounding him, then fired once at a 21-year-old airman, wounding him as well, Griesbaum said. “Then he tried to shoot a 22-year-old,” Griesbaum said. “He pointed his pistol at his head and pulled the trigger twice, but the pistol jammed and no shots came out.” Uka fled, and the airman he had tried to shoot chased him down in the airport terminal and overpowered him, along with police. The US Air Force identified the two slain airmen as 25year-old Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden of South Carolina, and Airman 1st Class Zachary R. Cuddeback of Virginia. Alden was assigned to the 48th Security Forces Squadron at RAF Lakenheath in England. Cuddeback was assigned to the 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. None of the airmen were in uniform, except for the driver. —AP

ANKARA: Several thousand demonstrators, some covering their mouths with black ribbons, protested yesterday against the detention of eight journalists in a case that has drawn expressions of concern from Western governments and international media rights groups. The arrests Thursday reflect the widening division between the government and its critics over a long-running investigation into an alleged conspiracy to topple the Islamic-rooted government. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says prosecutors are stripping away the vestiges of authoritarian rule in Turkey, but opponents counter that many of the more than 400 suspects have been targeted in a bid to muzzle dissent and undermine Turkey’s secular legacy. Yesterday, members of labor unions, political parties and non-governmental organizations joined hundreds of journalists in Istanbul and Ankara. They shouted slogans demanding press freedom after police detained eight journalists and two other people for links to the alleged coup plot. The larger group was in Istanbul, where protesters carried a giant Turkish flag on a main pedestrian thoroughfare. Some journalists in Ankara marched with their mouths covered by ribbons that signified the alleged clampdown by the government on expression. “Don’t remain silent or you will be next,” journalists in Ankara shouted as they marched toward the Justice Ministry. They also carried a banner that read: “Everyone needs free press.” The government says the decision to detain the journalists was taken by independent judicial authorities. “Of course, this is not nice,” Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said. “The journalists should not be jailed or prosecuted for their writings, but none of us have armor if we violate laws.” “We are disturbed to see renewed heavyhanded treatment of journalists who reported facts that do not suit the government,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement yesterday. Taha Akyol, a columnist for Milliyet newspaper, told CNN-Turk television

ISTANBUL: Several thousand demonstrators protest against the detention of 10 people, including eight journalists, in what authorities allege is a conspiracy to topple the Islamic-rooted government, in Istanbul, Turkey yesterday. —AP that the targeting of journalists was “causing unrest within the society and gives the impression that the opposition is being crushed.” Turkey, meanwhile, continued an offensive against Internet sites, causing further concerns over censorship. A prosecutor yesterday charged the owners or editors of four news websites with “insulting public officials,” for posting excerpts of a high court judge’s alleged conversation, the Anatolia news agency said. They could face up to two years in prison if found guilty. A court also has ordered access to the blog site closed after a satellite television company, which owns the broadcasting rights to Turkey’s football league, complained about league games being shown on some blogs, CNN-Turk television said yesterday. More than 9,000 sites, most of them adult websites, have been banned in Turkey according to Engelli Web, a site that monitors blocked pages. US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley on Thursday said the United States had concerns about trends in Turkey and would monitor ongoing arrests of journalists and “urge that any investigations or prose-

cutions proceed in a transparent manner.” “We will continue to engage Turkey and encourage an independent, pluralistic media,” Crowley told reporters. “It is critical to a healthy democracy.” Thursday’s detentions were a follow up to a raid last month on the anti-government news website Oda TV, and those detained included two investigative journalists, Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener. The suspects are accused of having links with the socalled Ergenekon network that is accused of conspiring to topple the government in 2003. Sik is already on trial for a book he co-authored about the Ergenekon case. Sener is known for a book about alleged intelligence failures that he claims led to the 2007 murder of Hrant Dink, an ethnic Armenian journalist. The Viennabased International Press Institute said it was highly concerned over the detentions of journalists. “No journalist should face arrest, charges, imprisonment or any other form of harassment or intimidation for doing their job which can include expressing critical views,” IPI Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said in an online statement Thursday.— AP

Britain releases UFO Sighting, policy files LONDON : Britain released 35 previously classified files documenting sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) by the military and members of the public dating back to the 1950s. The files contain around 8,500 pages which mainly cover the period from 1997 to 2005 and include photographs, drawings and descriptions of flying saucer sightings, as well as letters the Ministry of Defense (MoD) sent eyewitnesses in response to their accounts. Policemen, a soldier, a Royal Air Force (RAF) officer and members of the public report sightings of objects including a “chewy mint shaped solid craft” and aerial objects resembling a “ring,” a “jellyfish” and a “silver voile

spin top.” In one account a man said he believed he had been “abducted” by aliens in October 1998 after seeing an unidentified craft hover over his London home and finding he had gained an hour of time in the process. “It was a large cigar-shaped vehicle with big projectiles on each side like wings,” he told the MoD. “It seemed to have two very bright lights at the front and a white light flashing round and round underneath... As you can imagine, I felt quite shaken.” The MoD wrote to the man informing him that the object was probably an airship, adding that the time he had gained was probably the result of the clocks being put back one hour on the night of his close encounter. —Reuters

international SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011

Sudan, UN work to quell attacks in border zone JUBA: Political leaders from Sudan’s north and south and a top UN official met in the embattled border zone of Abyei yesterday in an attempt to broker peace after a wave of attacks killed more than 100 people. Fighting broke out in Abyei last Sunday, and southern political leaders blamed the attacks on the north’s military. The northern government maintains the southern government is responsible for the clashes due to its failure to remove pro-southern police from the contested area in line with a January agreement. Abyei is a fertile region that has oil deposits in between north and south Sudan. Southern Sudan voted to secede in January and is slated to become the world’s newest nation in July. Abyei’s future is very much up in the air, and observers worry the region could re-ignite a new war between the north and south. “The UN initiated the idea that this meeting should be held as a matter of urgency,” Hua Jiang, spokeswoman for the UN mission, told The Associated Press by phone yesterday from Abyei. “The purpose of this meeting is to try to stop the current violence and also allow the migration to take place, to proceed,” she added, referring to the yearly migration of the Arab cattle-herding Misseriya people, whose seasonal grazing through the fertile Abyei region has been delayed this year due to insecurity in Abyei. The UN delegation was led by Haile Menkerios, head of the billion-dollar-per-year UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan. It also included the acting force commander of the UN’s 10,000 troops. The governor of Southern Kordofan state, Ahmed Haroun, also attended. Haroun, who is allied with the Khartoum-based north, is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of war crimes for his role in the ongoing conflict in the western region of Darfur. Another official from Khartoum’s ruling National Congress Party in attendance is Salah Gosh, the former director of Sudan’s National Security and Intelligence Services who currently serves as President Omar al-Bashir’s adviser for national security. That could anger the Ngok Dinka, a southern tribe that believes Gosh is organizing the violence. The south was led by the Minister of Regional Cooperation Deng Alor. Alor is a Ngok Dinka native of Abyei. The top official in Abyei, Deng Arop Kuol, told the AP on Thursday that the northern military, known as the Sudanese Armed Forces, had participated in the Wednesday attack that killed scores of police who attempted to defend a police post in Maker Abyior when it came under attack from Misseriya militia forces. These claims have not been independently verified, and Kuol said yesterday that insecurity is preventing UN peacekeepers in Abyei from visiting the sites of the attacks. An internal security report by the UN and seen by the AP estimated that “about 20,000 to 25,000 people” , about half the population of Abyei , may have left. The UN mission announced Wednesday that it was deploying an additional company of peacekeepers to Abyei. Jiang said the company would include between 100 and 130 troops. Following violence in early January in Abyei that killed more than 60 people, the United Nations helped broker an agreement between the northern and southern governments to bolster security. The agreement was intended to allow the Misseriya to migrate with their cattle and to enable the safe passage of tens of thousands of southerners streaming home from northern Sudan in advance of the south’s independence in July. This agreement has not been implemented, and insecurity has reigned in the past months in Abyei. — AP

Ivory Coast in shock after six women killed by army More than 200,000 flee Abobo ABIDJAN: The government of Ivory Coast’s internationally recognized leader said the country’s deepening political crisis has “crossed over to a new level of horror and barbarism” after soldiers backing his rival fatally shot six female demonstrators. Thousands of women were protesting sitting president Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power on Thursday when tanks showed up and soldiers opened fire. “Indeed, we anticipated everything short of imagining that one could shoot live rounds at unarmed women, all the more with tanks,” said Patrick Achi, the spokesman for the government of Alassane Ouattara, whom the UN said defeated Gbagbo in the Nov 28 election. The United Nations says that nearly 400 people have been killed in the three-month-long dispute, though Ouattara’s camp said yesterday that total was too conservative and should be closer to 1,000. Thursday’s deaths were especially shocking, however, because many assumed soldiers would never open fire on women. “The killing is going on unabated,” said Ouattara’s Justice and Human Rights Minister Jeannot Kouadio Ahoussou in Geneva. More than 200,000 people have fled Abobo, the local UN peacekeeping mission reported, after a week when Gbagbo’s security forces entered the neighborhood and began shelling it with mor-

ABIDJAN: Muslim men participate in Friday prayers in the Treichville neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast yesterday. The government of Ivory Coast’s internationally recognized leader said the country’s deepening political crisis has “crossed over to a new level of horror and barbarism”. —AP

tars. The shocking escalation indicates the army is willing to use war-grade weapons on its citizens. Ouattara’s camp has also stepped up its resistance, led by rebels from the north and soldiers defecting from Gbagbo’s army. Thursday’s attack prompted an immediate rebuke from the US, which like most governments has urged Gbagbo to step down and has recognized his rival as the country’s legitimate president. “The moral bankruptcy of Laurent

Gbagbo is evident as his security forces killed women protesters,” said US State Department spokesman P J Crowley in a Twitter message. In New York, the UN Security Council said it is “deeply concerned” about the escalation of violence in Ivory Coast and that it could lead to a resurgence of civil war there. The European Union’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton called for Gbagbo to cease all violence and cede power to Ouattara. — AP

53 peacekeepers killed in Somalia offensive

PM promises new Cabinet in Tunisa

NAIROBI: More than 50 African Union peacekeepers have died in fighting in Somalia since a major offensive against Islamist militants began two weeks ago, officials said yesterday. The death toll is far higher than any publicly acknowledged casualty figures for the African Union, which appears to be trying to keep the extent of its losses under wraps due to political considerations in Burundi, one of two nations providing the bulk of the forces. The African Union force, known as AMISOM, has publicly confirmed only a handful of deaths since heavy fighting broke out in Somalia on Feb 19. An AMISOM spokesman in Nairobi did not answer calls yesterday. The Burundian government spokesman was unavailable for comment. Wafula Wamunyinyi, the second-highest ranking official on the AU’s commission for Somalia, declined to discuss casualty figures when reached Friday. “I don’t have that information where I am now,” he said. Two Nairobi-based diplomats said at least 43 Burundian and 10 Ugandan troops have been killed since Feb 18, citing information from people involved in the operation. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. In addition, a Burundian soldier has been captured alive by militants, and his image and a recorded statement have been circulating on websites used by al-Shabab, Somalia’s most dangerous insurgent group. AMISOM says hundreds of militants from al-Shabab have been killed in the offensive. AMISOM officials say peacekeepers have taken back insurgent-controlled areas of Mogadishu, the capital. The AU says it controls up to 60 percent of the city. — AP

TUNIS: Tunisia’s new premier said yesterday he will present a new Cabinet in coming days to help get beyond the renewed bout of violence in the North African country that led his predecessor to quit, and pull his country back from the “abyss.” Beji CaidEssebsi’s annoucement is the latest step by Tunisia’s interim leaders to stabilize the country after longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled amid protests in January - sparking unrest across the Arab world. CaidEssebsi, 84, said his priorities would be re-establishing security, rebuilding Tunisia’s suddenly troubled economy, and bring life back to normal in the country that has long been a tourist draw for sun-minded Europeans. “We cannot delay, because we are on the edge of the abyss,” said Caid-Essebsi, appearing to convey both determination and reassurance in his first news conference since taking up the post Sunday. He said the new Cabinet would be announced in about two days. Caid-Essebsi held government posts under Tunisia’s two longtime leaders since it gained independence from France in 1956, Habib Bourguiba and Ben Ali, but was unsparing in his criticism of Ben Ali. He called Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia on Jan 14 in the wake of weeks of deadly protests, a “deserter” and accused him of “high treason,” a charge that could bring the death penalty under Tunisian law. CaidEssebsi, an elder statesman and former lawyer, took over Sunday after Mohamed Ghannouchi bowed out after 11 years as prime minister in the wake of weekend protests that left at least five people dead. — AP




US Senate sends Obama a spending bill WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama quickly signed a funding measure Wednesday that slices $4 billion from federal spending, but keeps the US government in operation. Obama signed the spending bill into law just hours after the Democratic-controlled US Senate passed and sent the bill to the White House, accepting a Republican-written measure that moved through the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The appropriation law temporary prevents a government shutdown that was looming. A huge political battle remains to be fought between Democrats and Repubicans who are poles apart on how to cut the budget deficit and start whittling away the spiraling

national debt. The Senate vote saw the same kind of bipartisan result, 91-9 in favor, as was tallied in the House, where more than 100 Democrats broke with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Before signing the bill into law, Obama said he was pleased with the passage of the temporary measure but declared "we cannot keep doing business this way. Living with the threat of a shutdown every few weeks is not responsible, and it puts our economic progress in jeopardy." He asked Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress to begin meeting immediately with Vice President Joe Biden and other key White House officials to "find common ground on a budget that makes

sure we are living within our means." He warned against spending cuts that would damage economic growth or gut investments in education, research and development. Members of both parties, while still far apart on the philosophy and methods of reducing government spending, signed on to the temporary measure to avoid the stigma of having cast a vote that would have shut down the government. That last happened in 1995 when Bill Clinton was president. He stood his ground in that budget battle against then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and saw his political fortunes improve dramatically, leading to his re-election to a second term in 1996.

At stake is congressional appropriation of funds for budgeted government spending for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. Before Democrats lost control of the House in November elections, the party had not used its majority in both houses of Congress to pass appropriations for the full year. Instead the government was funded by temporary spending laws, which expired yesterday. The Republicans, flexing the muscle of their new majority in the House , including a huge newcomer class that owes allegiance to the conservative, small government tea party movement — have already voted to excise $61 billion from government spending for the remaing seven months of the fiscal year.—AP

Trial against US contractor starts in Cuba HAVANA: A US government contractor went on trial in Cuba yesterday in a case sure to have a profound impact on relations between the Cold War enemies. Alan Gross faces a possible 20-year sentence for "acts against the integrity and independence" of Cuba. The 61-year-old Maryland native was working for the Bethesda-based Development Associates International on a USAID-program that promotes democracy when he was arrested in December 2009. His family, and US and company officials, say he was bringing communications equipment to Cuba's 1,500-strong Jewish community. Cuban Jewish groups deny having anything to do with him, and there was speculation some Cuban Jewish leaders would testify against him. Gross's wife, Judy, and lawyer Peter J Kahn arrived by foot at the courthouse in a converted residential mansion in Havana's once-prosperous 10 de Octubre neighborhood. American consular officials also arrived at the court as observors. They did not speak to reporters, who were kept some distance away across a narrow street. The trial, closed to the media , is expected to be over in a day or two, with a verdict announced immedi-

In this file handout photo provided by the Gross family shows Alan and Judy Gross. Alan Gross goes to trial yesterday in Cuba on charges he sought to undermine Cuba's government by bringing communications equipment onto the island illegally. —AP

ately thereafter. Sentencing, should Gross be convicted, would likely come about two weeks later. "We hope it will be resolved so that Mr. Gross can return home to the United States," State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said from Washington. "He has been in prison for too long." The proceedings offer Cuba a chance to highlight Washington-backed democracy-building efforts like the one Gross was working on, which Havana says are designed to topple the government. Washington spends more than $40 million a year on the programs, with USAID controlling most of that and doling out the work to subcontractors. Development Associates International, or DAI, was awarded a $4.5 million contract for the program in which Gross was involved, and Gross reportedly was paid more than a half-million dollars himself, despite the fact he spoke little Spanish and had no history working in Cuba. Gross traveled to the island several times over a short period on a tourist visa, apparently raising Cuban suspicions. The programs have also been criticized repeatedly in congressional reports as being wasteful and ineffective. In March 2010, Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Democratic Rep. Howard Berman, of California , both longtime critics of Washington's 48-year trade embargo on Cuba , temporarily held up new funding in the wake of Gross' arrest. The money has begun flowing again, though US officials say DAI is no longer part of the program. A senior congressional aide with knowledge of the USAID programs told The Associated Press the Cuba effort , which was ramped up under the Bush Administration with the goal of promoting "regime change" on the island , was on autopilot by the time President Barack Obama took office. "Neither the State Department nor USAID knew who all of these people were or what they were doing in the name of the US government and with US taxpayer money," he said, adding that oversight was insufficient to tell whether the programs were effective. He said the contractors themselves designed and evaluated the programs and determined whether they were doing a good job. "They had the mandate, the money, and political advocates in Congress," he said. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the programs with the media, said that "to this day" it is not clear who Gross was working with in Cuba.—AP

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama listens as Mexico's President Felipe Calderon speaks during their joint news conference, Thursday in Washington. —AP

Obama, Calderon pledge cooperation in drug wars Breakthrough in dispute over cross-border trucking WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon agreed to deepen their cooperation in combating drug violence and declared a breakthrough in efforts to end a long-standing dispute over cross-border trucking. During a joint news conference Thursday at the White House, Obama praised Calderon for his "extraordinary courage" in fighting the violent drug gangs that have been responsible for deaths on both sides of the border. Obama pledged to speed up US aid to train and equip Mexican forces to help in those efforts, but he also acknowledged that the United States must stem the flow of cash and guns to Mexico that have aided the drug runners. "We are very mindful that the battle President Calderon is fighting inside of Mexico is not just his battle; it's also ours," Obama said. "We have to take responsibility, just as he's taken responsibility." Calderon's visit comes three weeks after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was shot to death in northern Mexico with a gun smuggled in from the US The incident raised questions in the US about Mexico's ability to control violence and has

Obama administration officials considering arming US agents working across the border to ensure their safety. Mexican law forbids foreign law enforcement agents working in the country to bear arms, and Calderon vehemently expressed his opposition to making an exception for US personnel. But he said Zapata's death showed a need to consider alternative methods for protecting agents. "His death must urge us to work together to ensure a prosperous and peaceful future for our region," Calderon said. Obama said the US is seeking extradition of several suspects arrested in Mexico in connection with Zapata's death. Tensions between the North American allies were already heightened ahead of Zapata's death. Secret State Department cables released last year revealed a grim assessment by US officials of Mexico's ability to fight drug cartels, saying the country has limited intelligence-gathering capacity and quoting Calderon as saying politicians could be tempted to return to a tacit policy of tolerating the gangs. In a show of confidence in Calderon's efforts, the Obama administration said it would continue to send aid to support Mexico in the drug war. —AP




Rio’s Carnival bacchanal opens, city celebrates RIO DE JANEIRO: Revelers are packing streets and dancing to samba beats in this seaside city's Carnival celebration , a bacchanal of music, booze and flesh that officially opened yesterday when King Momo, the mythical figure ruling over the chaos, is handed the keys to the city. The rotund King Momo embodies Carnival, a raucous free-for-all where excesses are encouraged and the natural order of things is turned upside down , men dress as women, the poor parade as kings, rules are bent and everyone escapes their drab daily existence for a few days of catharsis. This year the celebration is expected to draw about 756,000 visitors, both foreign and Brazilian, who will pack hotels to nearly 100 percent capacity and spend about $559 million, according to Rio state's tourism department. While pre-Carnival parties have stoked the wild atmosphere in Rio for a few weeks, several tragedies have already struck revelers. A fire burned through warehouses containing more than 8,000 samba group costumes on Feb 7, forcing the organizations to scramble for weeks to make up what they lost before the parades on Sunday and Monday. A police investigation concluded Thursday the fire was accidental, and not arson. A woman in Rio de Janeiro died Feb. 20 after falling from a Carnival sound truck, and eight days later in rural Minas Gerais state a downed power line electrocuted a crowd dancing in a packed street parade, killing 16 people and injuring dozens of others. The losses were mourned, but didn't put a dent in the partying. In addition to the elaborate two-day samba group parade and the high-dollar costumed balls where the rich spend a lot to wear very little in the most exclusive company, Rio's free, open-to-all street Carnival is bigger than ever. This year, 424 street bands and "blocos," as mobile street parties are called, have registered with the city. Starting several weeks before Carnival, they parade all over town, playing their own songs or traditional Carnival tunes with a following of hundreds or tens of thousands of revelers dancing, drinking, and singing heartily in their wake. Lording over the sweaty, frenzied masses is Momo. "He's the sovereign reigning over Carnival, commanding the party," said Haroldo Costa, an author of several books about Brazil's Carnival traditions. "Handing the city's key over to him is a great symbol , from this moment on, he is the physical and spiritual leader of the city and his cheer is omnipresent." Rio has had a King Momo since the 1930s, when the first one, a rotund, hard-drinking sports journalist , was chosen by colleagues to parade around town in a crown and colorful costume, spreading the party spirit. As with that first King, Momo traditionally was required to carry extra weight. He is, after all, the standard-bearer for all things excessive. Until 2004 Rio had a requirement that anyone competing for the post had to weigh at least 330 pounds (150 kilograms). With diabetes and obesity on the rise in Brazil, Rio removed the weight requirement. Many other cities have followed. It was the dismissal of the weight category that first gave the current King Momo the hope of ascending to the throne. Back then, Milton Rodrigues, a bank manager in the offseason, was in pretty good shape , a mere 255 pounds (116 kilograms) on a 6-foot frame. "There was this taboo, you couldn't be the king if you weren't a big guy," he said. "But I've always loved Carnival, lived for it, ever since I was a teenager. I would run off to samba group rehearsals so I could dance." —AP

RIO DE JANEIRO: A reveler performs during the 'Mameludicos Euforicos' street carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday. —AP

CARACAS: A government opponent holds a sign that reads in Spanish "Gaddafi murderer" during a protest against Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez's ties with Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi outside Libya's embassy in Caracas, Venezuela Thursday.—AP

Venezuela: Gaddafi supports Chavez peace proposal Nations dismiss proposal as wrong approach CARACAS: Muammar Gaddafi supports a plan proposed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to help mediate a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Libya, a Venezuelan official said Thursday. Information Minister Andres Izarra said on Twitter that Venezuela's foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, spoke with his Libyan counterpart, who in Gaddafi's name confirmed his government's support for the peace initiative proposed by Chavez. "Libya's official acceptance of Chavez's peace proposal is news that we believe raises hopes for the possibility of a negotiated and peaceful way out of the conflict," Izarra told The Associated Press in a response to e-mailed questions. However, other countries ranging from the United States to Italy dismissed Chavez's proposal as the wrong approach. And Gaddafi's opponents have shown no openness to talks as long as he remains in power. "You don't need an international commission to tell Colonel Gaddafi what he needs to do for the good of his country and the good of his people," State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters in Washington. "He should step aside, and for the good of his people, he should stop attacking them." Chavez has called Gaddafi a friend, and the two share some socialist political ideas as well as their opposition to Washington. Chavez has accused the United States of exaggerating events in Libya to "justify an invasion," and has said he sees parallels between the situation faced by Gaddafi and a 2002 coup that he survived in Venezuela. Speaking on televi-

sion Thursday night, Chavez said he had spoken with Gaddafi and that the Libyan leader isn't considering going into exile as some have speculated. "Don't believe that, that Gaddafi is going into exile in Venezuela or Nicaragua. No way. If the Yankees and their allies invade Libya, I'm sure that Gaddafi would die standing up," Chavez said. "But I warn the world about the consequences of a war." The price of a barrel of oil, he said, could reach as much as $200 "if the United States turns Libya into a scene of international war." Izarra has said Chavez spoke with Gaddafi earlier this week about creating a bloc of countries to help mediate. The foreign ministers of several Latin American and Caribbean nations allied with Venezuela

planned to discuss Chavez's proposal at a Friday meeting of the Bolivarian Alternative bloc, or ALBA, in Caracas, Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said. "Let's talk about peace for Libya. Negotiated ways out," Izarra said on Twitter. Crowley said any effort to resolve the Libya crisis peacefully deserves consideration. But if Gaddafi isn't "responding to the many calls across the international community to step down, it is uncertain to me what an international commission is going to accomplish," he said. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said that the proposal as he understands it would leave Gaddafi in place, and as a result is unacceptable.—AP

Mexican judge orders hit documentary film pulled MEXICO CITY : A judge in Mexico City ordered authorities to temporarily halt screenings of an acclaimed documentary about the failings of Mexico's justice system after a prosecution witness who appears in the film alleged that his privacy rights were violated. The ruling is the latest round in a heated debate over reform of Mexico's secretive, antiquated justice system, which critics say routinely violates the rights of defendants or fails to convict those who are guilty. "Presunto Culpable," or "Presumed Guilty," centers on 26-year-old Antonio Zuniga, who was convicted of a 2005 murder on scant evidence. Zuniga's conviction was eventually overturned, a process documented by his lawyers, who filmed the hearings with the permission of the judge. The film opened across Mexico on Feb. 18 to wide acclaim. A complaint filed by chief prosecution witness Victor Manuel Reyes Bravo, a relative of the victim, alleges that his right to privacy was violated, the federal Judiciary Council said. Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said in a message posted on his Twitter account Thursday that his administration would appeal the ruling, which he called "an abuse against freedom." Mexico's federal Interior Department, which also promised to appeal, declared it does not have the authority to pull films from theaters.—AP




North refuses repatriations in row with South Korea

Japan rattled by college entrance exam cheat case TOKYO: Japanese police arrested a teenager accused of cheating on his university entrance examination by consulting online forums with his mobile phone, prompting outrage yesterday in this gadget-loving country that prizes hard work and fairness. The arrest of a 19-year-old applicant to prestigious Kyoto University dominated the major newspapers and TV news shows. Japanese media say he could become the first person to be prosecuted in the country for cheating. The case raised questions over whether the country's top universities, the gateway to top jobs in Japan's corporate culture, have adapted to the Internet's new opportunities for cheating. "It's not a mere cheating case," an editorial in the nationwide Mainichi newspaper said. "The impact of the wrongful use of the Internet, capable of massively spreading information instantly, is huge." Police said they arrested the student Thursday on suspicion that he obstructed business through fraud. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison or a fine of 500,000 yen ($6,000), though media reports have indicated that he will likely not be charged. Even if convicted, he would likely be able to reapply to universities, since most Japanese schools don't check applicants' criminal records. His name has been withheld because he is a minor under Japanese law. The suspect admitted to wrongdoing, and the case will be sent to prosecutors today, according to a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity citing department rules. Admission to Japan's top universities, seen as a prerequisite for a good job in government or business, is determined by applicants' performance on grueling entrance examinations, and young people face enormous pressure preparing for them. Many high school graduates who fail to get into their school of choice cram full-time for a full year for another shot , and sometimes longer until they make it. The suspect is accused of turning to a popular questionand-answer site run by Yahoo Japan for help during a test. His eight alleged postings from Feb. 25-26, the exam days at Kyoto University, are still viewable online. Using the online alias "aicezuki", whose meaning was unknown, the suspect asked for help in solving mathematical formulas and translating Japanese passages into English. After one, he ended politely, "It's a rather long passage, and I apologize for the trouble." Various answers were then posted throughout the day. The case was brought to light after someone who saw the Yahoo message board postings called the university on the second day of the test, triggering an investigation. Police also suspect that he used similar cheating tactics at three other top universities , Doshisha, Waseda and Rikkyo, earlier in February. Officials at the those universities found similar questions posted under the same online alias on exam dates for those schools and have requested an investigation. —AP

US, South stage major military exercises SEOUL: North Korea yesterday blocked the repatriation of 27 citizens whose boat drifted into South Korean waters, insisting that Seoul also hand over four others who want to stay in the South. The dispute is the latest episode in a year of high tensions and comes as US and South Korean troops stage major military exercises that the North has branded a rehearsal for invasion. The 31 North Koreans were travelling on a fishing boat which drifted across the Yellow Sea border in thick fog on February 5. After almost a month the South said it would hand over 27 but announced that two men and two women would be allowed to stay as they had requested. In a message late yesterday the North demanded the unconditional repatriation of all 31, according to Seoul's unification ministry, whose officials had been waiting at the frontier village of Panmunjom to hand over the 27. "Our side will try to contact North Korea again next week, probably on Monday," said a ministry spokesman. The communist state late Thursday accused the South of "despicable unethical acts" and said the group on the boat had been held hostage since February 5 in a bid to fuel cross-border confrontation. The North said all those on board the boat had demanded they be sent home but Seoul had pressured them to remain in the South "by appeasement, deception and threat", it added. "This cannot be interpreted otherwise than a grave provocation to the DPRK (North Korea)," said a statement attributed to the North's Red Cross. In another statement yesterday also attributed to the Red Cross, the North said the repatriation of all 31 is "related to the North-South relations" rather than a humanitarian issue. "If the south side does not comply with this just demand of the DPRK, it will be held wholly accountable for the consequences arising therefrom," it added. Seoul's Unification Minister Hyun In-Taek told par-

SEOUL: South Korean protesters and North Korean defectors burn North Korean flags and a picture of North leader Kim Jong Il and his son Kim Jong Un during a rally denouncing North Korea's policy in Seoul, South Korea yesterday.—AP liament the four had not been forced to stay. "We made a decision after respecting their free will," he said. The four include the 38year-old boat captain, who apparently feared punishment if sent back and decided to stay when he saw how different life in the South is, Chosun Ilbo newspaper said. Relations have been icy since the South accused the North of torpedoing a warship in March 2010 near the disputed Yellow Sea border with the loss of 46 lives. Pyongyang denies the charge. In November the North shelled a South Korean island near the border, killing two marines and two civilians. President Lee Myung-Bak stressed the need for separate branches of the military to work together to counter the threat from the North's special warfare forces, which Seoul says number 200,000. "Through reckless military provocations,

they (the North) are continuing to threaten peace," he told a multi-service officer commissioning ceremony at Gyeryongdae, 160 km (100 miles) south of Seoul. The North is trying to shore up the position of Kim Jong-Un, youngest son of leader Kim Jong-Il, as eventual successor to his father. It also appears unnerved by prodemocracy protests sweeping the Arab world, analysts say. Pyongyang has stepped up a clampdown on outside information to block news of the protests and to prevent disturbances among its own people, Won Sei-Hoon, the South's spy agency chief, told legislators. A Seoul-based defector group says it will float leaflets and video footage with news of the Arab protests into North Korea next week, despite Pyongyang's threat to open fire on launch sites for the leaflets.—AP

Vietnam scrambles to save Hanoi’s sacred turtle HANOI: Hundreds of people are working around the clock to clean up a lake in the heart of Vietnam's capital in hopes of saving a rare, ailing giant turtle that is considered a sacred symbol of Hanoi. Some experts fear pollution at Hoan Kiem Lake is killing the giant freshwater turtle, which has a soft shell the size of a desk. It is one of the world's most-endangered species, with only four known to be alive worldwide. Teams of people are cleaning debris, pumping fresh water into the lake and using sandbags to expand a tiny island to serve as a "turtle hospital." The rescuers may even try to net the animal for the first time as part of the effort. The Hoan Kiem turtle is rooted in Vietnamese folklore, and some even believe the animal that lives in the lake today is the same mythical creature that helped a Vietnamese king fend off the Chinese nearly six centuries ago. It swims alone in the lake and in the past has been glimpsed only rarely sticking its wrinkled neck out of the water. But it has recently surfaced much more frequently, alarming the public with visible raw open wounds on its head, legs and shell. Meetings were called, a council was established and 10 government agencies were put to work to try to save it.

HANOI: Workers prepare a floating raft with plants that will be placed into Hoan Kiem lake, trying to clean up its water in Hanoi, Vietnam yesterday.—AP

It's the first time anyone has tried to capture the turtle, and Vietnamese have flocked to the lake in hopes of spotting it, a sign of good luck , as newspapers run daily articles about its plight. "For the Vietnamese, the Hoan Kiem lake turtle is the most sacred thing," said retired state employee Nguyen Thi Xuan, 63, who traveled from a suburban district to try to get a glimpse of the animal. "He has helped the Vietnamese to defeat foreign invaders and also helped the country to have peace. I hope he will live forever." The lake, which measures one mile (1.6 kilometers) is a city landmark for its curved red bridge leading to a temple on a tiny island. Weeping willows and other leafy trees shade a sidewalk that rings the water, a popular site for tourists and Hanoians to exercise and relax. But the lake has been trashed with everything from bricks and concrete to plastic bags and raw sewage. It is not uncommon to see men urinating directly into the murky water. The pollution is slowly killing the Hoan Kiem turtle, a Vietnamese biologist warned. "I believe the injuries were caused by sharp edges from debris in the lake," said Ha Dinh Duc, who has studied the lone turtle for 20 years and considers himself its caretaker. —AP




Nepal’s ex-rebels finally join new government KATMANDU: Nepal's former communist rebels joined the new government yesterday, appointing four party members as ministers after a monthlong dispute with the country's new prime minister. The inclusion of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in the government comes as a relief for Prime Minister Jhalnath Khanal, who has been struggling to hold on to power since he was elected last month in parliament with the help of the Maoists. Khanal's election was expected to

break the country's long political deadlock and help bring back stability. However, a lingering disagreement between his party and the Maoists prolonged the political crisis. Khanal's Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) does not have a majority in parliament, so he needs the Maoists' continued support. The Maoist ministers took the oath of office at the presidential office yesterday. The Maoists are expected to send 11 ministers in the new government but

only sent four yesterday. Maoist spokesman Dinanath Sharma said they were still deciding the names of remaining ministers and would soon name them. Khanal's party and the Maoists had disagreed on distribution of Cabinet posts, and at one point the Maoist announced they would not join the government. The Maoists were demanding the powerful home ministry but Khanal's party refused saying the former rebels could not be trusted with control of

police force and local administration. They reached a truce, saying the home ministry would remain with the prime minister for now. Parliament elected Khanal prime minister on Feb 3 after 16 failed votes over seven months. The previous government bowed to pressure from the Maoists and resigned in June 2010. The government is supposed to write a new constitution by a May deadline and also complete the peace process that brought the Maoists into mainstream politics.—AP

Marines await Taleban move in deadly Afghanistan valley SANGIN: The cacophony of gunfire and bomb- campaign of airstrikes, dropping at least 50 500ing that dominated this southern river valley in pound bombs, firing 30 Hellfire missiles and the fall has dropped to a whisper, but US Marines unleashing over 100 helicopter rocket and gun who have paid a heavy price battling the Taleban attacks. "It has taken us killing hundreds of in Afghanistan's deadliest spot expect the insur- Taleban and suffering a lot of hard hits, but we gents to hit back hard. Violence in Helmand literally go anywhere we want in the battle space province's Sangin district dropped sharply about now," said Lt. Col. Jason Morris, commander of a month ago, a development the Marines believe the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment currently was driven by both the normal winter lull and in Sangin. Also, the Afghan government has struck a significant casualties suffered by the Taleban. But the insurgents have been seeding the ground deal with tribal elders in northern Sangin not to with bombs, pouring in new fighters and step- attack coalition troops, though there's no guarping up intimidation in preparation for a spring antee it will hold. The Marines see signs that the Taleban are feeling the pressure. "Taleban leadoffensive. The Marines say they hope their months of ers in Pakistan have called commanders back aggressive operations will help them counter the and chewed them out, saying 'Go back up there next onslaught. The battle for control of Sangin and be a man and get your jihad on,"' said Morris. looms large in the minds of US commanders The test will come in the spring, when the weathbecause the district is a narcotics hub that helps er warms and foliage returns to give the Taleban fund the Taleban and a crossroads for funneling cover. Insurgent leaders are known to have told weapons and fighters into Kandahar, the fighters in Sangin in late January to switch from gunbattles to Taleban's spirituseeding the al heartland. ground with Sangin was IEDs, or improthe deadliest disvised explosive trict for the coalidevices, and tion in platoon leader Afghanistan last Lt. Joe year, according Patterson sees to NATO. The the results. He British lost over estimates the 100 troops here number of IEDs in four years of hidden in the fighting , nearly alleyways and one-third of their fields in his area deaths in the war have roughly , and when they doubled. handed Sangin HELMAND: In this Feb 19, 2011 photo, US Marines "We have over to the Marines in from 3rd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th traded the conSeptember, the Marine Regiment walk past children asking for candy stant gun batTaleban effec- while on patrol in Sangin district southern Helmand tles of the past with now findtively controlled province of Afghanistan. -AP ing multiple almost all the district. The Marine battalion currently in Sangin IEDs on every route we take," said Patterson, 31, arrived in October and together with smaller from Owasso, Oklahoma. The Marines have units attached to it has waged over 500 firefights received reports of new insurgents coming into and sustained over 30 deaths, with another 175 Sangin, and several new white Taleban flags wounded, many from homemade bombs hidden have gone up in the district. The level of smallarms fire has also picked up. in fields and mud-walled compounds. "They are right now in their reconnaissance In November, when this reporter was last in the district, insurgents were repeatedly attack- phase and are waiting for an opportunity to kick ing the main base next to the district center, and off their attacks," said Morris, 40, the battalion even in the bazaar, considered the safest place in commander from Oceanside, California. The Sangin, Marines had to throw smoke grenades to British military, whose strategy in Sangin has been widely criticized, are likely to be watching thwart snipers. The coalition responded by boosting Marine closely. The arrival of the Marines raised concerns and Afghan force numbers by about 50 percent. among some about the perception of the US finThe Marines in Sangin have also waged a fierce ishing a job the British couldn't handle. –AP

PESHAWAR: A man rushes an injured child to a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan yesterday. A bomb blast has killed many worshippers at a mosque in Nowshera, Peshawar, Pakistan, police said. —AP

Prayers for patience as Pakistani Christian buried Bomb blast at mosque kills eight KHUSHPUR: Shirtless men beat their chests and women wailed in grief as the body of a Christian politician killed for opposing Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws was buried in his home village yesterday. In the capital, the prime minister promised mourners at a funeral Mass that the government would do its utmost to bring the assassins to justice. Shahbaz Bhatti, the sole Christian government minister in Pakistan, was shot dead Wednesday after being threatened for opposing laws that impose the death penalty for insulting Islam. He was the second Pakistani politician killed in two months over the matter, and his death underscored the perils facing a government that is increasingly too weak to govern well in the face of rising Islamist extremism. As Bhatti was being mourned, a bomb blast at a mosque in the northwestern village of Akbarpura killed eight people, another sign of the militants' strength. Thousands of people thronged the road in Khushpur, a Christian-dominated village of around 10,000 people in eastern Punjab province, chanting slogans demanding justice as Bhatti's body was flown in and driven through in an ambulance covered with rose petals. A Catholic religious leader read prayers and Bible verses counseling patience as black flags fluttered nearby and Bhatti's picture loomed

over the crowd. Afterward, his body was laid to rest in a cemetery next to that of his father, who died around two months ago. Earlier yesterday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani visited an overflow crowd of mourners at a Roman Catholic church in Islamabad to praise the late 42-year-old minister for minority affairs, a man many have described as gentle, humble and devoted to helping Pakistan's downtrodden minorities. "People like him, they are very rare," Gilani said. "I assure you, we will try our utmost to bring the culprits to justice." Gilani did not specifically mention Islamist extremists who have waged a war on the country, though he has issued statements denouncing them in recent days. Gilani also avoided mentioning the blasphemy laws, which rights groups have long deplored as vague and misused to persecute minorities or settle rivalries. Christians are the largest religious minority in Pakistan, where 95 percent of the country's 180 million people are Muslim. They are often victims of discrimination and persecution, and they typically live in poor parts of towns and do lowskilled, badly paid jobs. Bhatti and Punjab province Gov. Salman Taseer both criticized the blasphemy laws after a Christian woman was sentenced to death under them last year. —AP











WASHINGTON: Mariam Bario, recently relocated to Seattle from Kenya, fills out an application with others at a job fair, in SeaTac, Washington. Employers in February hired at the fastest pace in almost a year and the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent — a nearly two-year low. —AP

US unemployment dips to 8.9% American firms add 192,000 jobs, shoppers spend more WASHINGTON: US employers hired in February at the fastest pace in almost a year and the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent — a nearly two-year low. The economy added 192,000 jobs last month, with factories, professional and business services, education and health care among those expanding employment. Retailers, however, trimmed jobs. State and local governments, wrestling with budget shortfalls, slashed 30,000 jobs, the most since November. Federal government hiring was flat. Private employers added 222,000 jobs last month, the most since April. That shows that companies are feeling more confident in the economy and about their own financial prospects. And it bolstered hopes that businesses will shift into a more aggressively hiring mode and boost

the economic recovery. The unemployment rate is now at the lowest point since April 2009. It has been falling for three months, down from 9.8 percent in November, marking the sharpest threemonth decline since 1983. “These number can be sustained and built on,” economist Joel Naroff at Naroff Economic Advisors. “The economy is recovering, there is no question about it. Businesses are finally taking some of those profits they are earning and putting them back into the work force.” The number of unemployed people dipped to 13.7 million, still almost double since before the recession. When factoring in the number of part-time workers who would rather be working full time and those who have given up looking for work, the percentage of

“underemployed” people dropped to 15.9 percent in February. That’s the lowest in nearly two years. The positive news on the hiring front comes as the larger economy is gaining momentum. Americans shoppers are spending more. US exporters are selling more abroad. Manufacturing is growing at the fastest pace in nearly seven years. And the service sector, which employs about 90 percent of the work force, is expanding at the fastest clip in more than five years. The 192,000 jobs added in February was a significant improvement from the 63,000 notched in January. Some of the boost came as people resumed work, after dropping off payrolls because of bad weather in January. Still, the gains were widespread. Factories added

33,000 jobs. Education and health care added 40,000 positions. Professional and businesses services added 47,000. Leisure and hospitality added 21,000 jobs. Construction companies, 33,000 jobs — although a good chunk of those reflected people coming back on payrolls after January’s harsh winter weather; Transportation and warehousing added 22,000 jobs. The number of “long-term” unemployed, people out of work six months or more, sank to 5.99 million, a decline of 217,000 from January. Workers’ paychecks were mostly flat. Average hourly earnings rose to $22.87 in February, up only one cent from January. Workers have little bargaining power to demand big pay raises because the weak jobs market. —AP



Arab revolution may trigger FDI boom Kuwait, Qatar have little cause to sell

MANILA: A vendor sells vegetables at a market in Manila yesterday. The Philippines said inflation had risen at a faster-than-expected pace of 4.3 percent in February, amid increasing concerns around the globe over surging food and energy prices. — AFP

LONDON: Unnerving as it is, the tide of political change sweeping the Arab world may also end up drawing in a fresh wave of foreign capital for the region. As entrenched monopolies and patronage give way in the Middle East and North Africa, governments in the region could open their markets further and divest some state assets. Wealthy Gulf states such as Kuwait and Qatar have little cause to sell, but post-revolutionary states in the region such as Tunisia will likely lower protectionist barriers as they seek to accelerate income redistribution for their restive citizenry. The triumph of free market-oriented democracy is far from certain however. After decades of autocratic rule, political parties are only just reforming in Egypt and Tunisia while an uprising in Libya is proving bloody and protracted. But greater access to markets in an oil-rich region with a youthful population is a tantalising prospect for investors. “It’s too early to work out

how these revolutions will pan out. But this crisis is going to reveal some opportunities as structures linked to old regimes will be unwound,” said Julian Mayo, investment director at Charlemagne Capital. Large-scale privatization will be off the agenda, with the oil and gas sector especially taboo. Instead, sectors such as financial services, telecoms and tourism could be liberalized. “Foreign investment has been high in the region but what was lacking was conviction that change was happening fast enough. Market liquidity was low as stocks were tightly held,” said Luca de Conte, Director Capital Markets at GMP Europe. Cashing in on state-held equity in publicly traded companies is an obvious way to boost foreign investment. Thomson Reuters Ownership data show regional governments holding stakes worth $320 billion in publicly traded firms, either directly or through rulers and sovereign funds. The figures exclude Tunisia, where

many companies were privately held by the extended family of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Tunisia’s interim government have said these assets, which include firms in key sectors such as mining and tourism, will be recovered. Many are likely by disposed through direct sales or stock market listings, said Tunisbased broker Issam Ayari. “The government isn’t keen on nationalization. Transparency will be important as well as gaining technical expertise.” To tackle unemployment, the next government will also want to redouble efforts to attract foreign investment, which contributed to a mere 6 percent of Tunisia’s gross domestic product in 2008 before the onset of the financial crisis. Foreign investors in the region have had a mixed reception. High profile successes include Toronto-based PotashCorp’s 2003 purchase of a 28percent stake in Arab Potash Co, which is still majority owned by the Jordanian ruler. —Reuters

Oil prices touch highest level since Sept 2008 NEW YORK: Oil prices hit a two-year high yesterday after the US government said the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in February. The Labor Department said the economy added 192,000 jobs last month. That suggests more Americans will be commuting for work at a time when world oil supplies are under pressure because of the crisis in Middle East. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery gained $1.27 to $103.17 per barrel in early morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price jumped to $103.57 per barrel earlier in electronic trading, the highest since Sept. 29, 2008. In Libya, tensions escalated further yesterday as forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi used tear gas to repel protesters marching on Tripoli. Most of Libya’s oil production has been shut down because of the crisis, and experts say the country’s oil fields will be in danger as long as there’s no clear leader in charge. In other Nymex trading for April contracts, heating oil and gasoline futures added a penny to $3.06 and $3.04 per gallon, respectively. Natural gas lost 2 cents to $3.76 per 1,000 cubic feet. In London, Brent crude added 62 cents to $115.41 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange. — AP

US jobs data fail to boost stocks further LONDON: In-line US jobs figures yesterday failed to boost stocks any further but weighed on the dollar, pushing the euro above $1.40 for the first time since November. The Labor Department reported that the US economy generated 192,000 jobs in February, up from January’s 63,000 but close to market expectations. The unemployment rate fell for the third month running to a near two-year low of 8.9 percent, largely because people are dropping out of the labor force. — AP

ZAWIYA: Ships are at anchors in the Mediterranean sea next to the Zawiya Oil Refinery in Zawiya, west of Tripoli, Libya on Thursday. Libya, which sits on the most reserves in Africa and is a major exporter to Europe, continues to produce oil, though experts say it’s unclear how much will eventually make it to international ports. —AP

Kuwaiti crude up 49 cents KUWAIT: Kuwait crude soared by 49 cents during yesterday’s trading to $108.71 compared to $108.22 in the previous day, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation said here yesterday. Global oil prices saw a remarkable decline yesterday of more than $3 after Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said that plan for peace settlement in Libya proposed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is under study. Further, Brent crude went down by

$113.09 per barrel posting a retreat of more than $3 before recovering to draw close to $115 per barrel. On the fluctuation of oil prices and the impact of Geopolitical events seen by the Middle East on them, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hani Hussein told KUNA yesterday that oil prices in the present time are more affected by psychological factors than supply and demand. Hussein made clear that there is a market oil stockpile that could make

up for any possible shortage due to incidents in Libya, saying that Libyan oil is hard to be compensated because it is of light, low sulfur quality, and so it will be difficult for refineries using it to find another alternative. He attributed the sudden oil price drop during yesterday’s trading to the statements made by the Arab League Secretary General, adding that, “the price hike was not logical, and so the slump was rapid and illogical as well.” —KUNA

Business SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011

Hong Kong office space priciest in world Govt bid to cool property market fails: Survey HONG KONG: Hong Kong became the world’s most expensive place to rent office space last year, a study has found, despite government efforts to cool the surging property market and avoid a bubble. “Fuelled by the economic recovery, Hong Kong entered 2011 as the most expensive office location in the world,” said property consultant DTZ in its annual report on global office occupancy costs. The average price of office property per workstation rose by almost a third from a year earlier in Hong Kong to $22,330, surpassing the 2009 leader, London’s West End, the report said. The soaring cost of property in Hong Kong has become a major cause of complaint for the southern Chinese city’s seven million residents. Worries about a property bubble have prompted officials to announce a series of measures to cool the market, including boosting land supply, new stamp duties to keep out speculators and tightening mortgage lending. Last year, a 79th floor office unit in The Center-a downtown skyscraper owned by Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shingsold for HK$338 million ($44 million), or about HK$25,580 a square foot. Office costs in the city’s prime districts rose 31 percent year-on-year from $16,970 in 2009, outstripping the rest of the Asia-Pacific region and the world amid strong demand and limited supply, the report said. “We forecast that Hong Kong will continue to outpace other markets in the region, with the gap between it and other centers widening,” David GreenMorgan, head of Asia-Pacific research at DTZ said in a statement. Average workstation costs in London’s West End were $20,160 a year, while Geneva came in third at $18,840, Tokyo fourth at $17,400 and Zurich fifth at $16,700. Surabaya in Indonesia was the cheapest place to rent last year, while the Chinese cities of Shenyang, Qingdao and Dalian were also

among the least expensive places surveyed. Looking ahead, DTZ said global average occupancy costs would increase 2.5 percent annually, with the strongest growth in the Asia-Pacific, at 3.7 percent. It forecast Hong Kong office prices to jump to $31,520 by 2015. The survey

HONG KONG: An overview from ‘The Peak’ of high-rise buildings on Hong Kong island. Hong Kong became the world’s most expensive place to rent office space last year, a study has found, despite government efforts to cool the surging property market and avoid a bubble. — AFP


Gold risks correction if Mideast stabilizes LONDON: Gold risks resuming January’s downtrend if unrest in the Middle East dissipates, as the prospect of rising interest rates and steadier economic growth curb investment, GE Asset Management’s portfolio manager for commodities Ben Ross said. The precious metal recovered from its biggest onemonth loss in more than a year in January to hit record highs above $1,440 an ounce this week as violence flared in Libya after weeks of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. But a continuation of those gains will depend heavily on the crisis in the region spreading. “Gold could continue to go higher if geopolitical risks remain, but longer term, on a 12-18 month time horizon, should calm be restored in the Middle East, should European sovereign debt situation stabilize and the economy continue to recover, then I think gold will trade lower,” Ross said. Many jurisdictions’ record-low interest rates since the start of the financial crisis have benefited gold prices, as low rates cut the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets like bullion. Gold prices have already retreated from this week’s highs after the European Central Bank hinted that an interest rate rise in the euro zone may be imminent. Ross said he sees “a good probability” that the US Federal Reserve will raise US rates in the next 12-18 months. “When they do that, it could perhaps be the catalyst that takes a lot of this investment money out of gold,” he said. Another perceived driver of the recent rise in gold

includes within occupancy costs rent, maintenance costs and property tax. Total occupancy cost per workstation is defined as the price of an office unit divided by the number of occupants. The survey compared office rents in 121 business districts across 47 territories around the globe. — AFP

prices, inflation, will not necessarily come to gold’s rescue in this scenario. Gold is often seen as an asset that holds its value in an inflationary environment. “I am more in the camp of hedging inflation with a broader basket of commodities, rather than just gold,” said Ross. This too may apply to hedging against geopolitical risk, he added. “When I look at the Middle East and what is happening there, I think, what would I rather hold-gold, or something that is impacted from a supply standpoint, like oil, or petroleum products?” he said. GE Asset Management is wholly owned by General Electric Co, and is one of the largest institutional asset managers in the United States, investing chiefly in equities, fixed income, and alternative assets. Its total assets under management came to $119.45 billion at the end of 2010, including some $45 billion from the GE pension fund. Its commodities fund is around $400 million in size. The commodities fund was underweight gold and silver last year, though a stronger allocation to platinum and palladium meant it was overweight precious metals. The platinum group metals, whose heavy exposure to the car market makes them sensitive to the economic cycle, have been widely tipped to rise this year. Ross said the fund plans to maintain its current positioning on precious metals for the present. “(We are) more bullish on palladium and platinum, the platinum group metals,” he said. “Given some of their very strong demand fundamentals and very big supply constraints, we find those more attractive than the other precious metals.” — Reuters

Iraq’s Rumaila faces output challenges BAGHDAD: Production at Iraq’s supergiant Rumaila oilfield, developed by BP and China’s CNPC, has fallen from peaks hit in December and early January, official figures showed, in what could be a sign of challenges ahead. The field has a global profile with its over a million barrels per day output almost half of the OPEC member’s output. BP said in January production had increased by more than 10 percent above the 1.066 million bpd baseline rate agreed on in December 2009. But output has ebbed and flowed since. It has dropped as much as 280,000 barrels in a single day-or more than 10 percent of Iraq’s total daily average output- from the 1.29 million bpd reached on Jan. 11, according to state-run South Oil Company documents obtained by Reuters. Several wells were shut down in Rumaila last month, when output was slowing, due to back pressure at the wells, the official documents showed. In most days, production was above 1.1726 million bpd but the wide fluctuations could signal the problems BP and CNPC face keeping up higher production levels at Rumaila. Rumaila has 17 billion barrels in estimated crude reserves. “BP is facing a real challenge in Rumaila. They hit a high production level so fast, but did they know output could slump faster?” said an official with South Oil Co who asked not to be named. BP declined to comment on the output data. “We don’t comment on production levels,” said a spokeswoman in London. In a possible indicator of Iraq’s muted expectations for the rest of the year, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussain al-Shahristani said in February that Iraq’s 2011 average output would reach 2.75 million bpd. That was only 50,000 higher than the actual figure of 2.7 million announced by the oil ministry in January.—Reuters




India looks to boost foreign investment NEW DELHI: India said yesterday is it seeking ways to boost foreign investment needed to fund a $1 trillion plan to overhaul its dilapidated infrastructure-seen as vital to boosting economic growth. "Discussions are under way to liberalize foreign direct investment policy," Pranab Mukherjee told an international financial conference, without elaborating. Foreign direct investment in India has dropped sharply recently amid concerns over corruption, bureaucracy, rising inflation and perceived government resistance to opening up the economy. In 2010, foreign direct investment (FDI) slid 32 percent from a year earlier to $24 billion, according to UN figures, even as New Delhi encouraged foreigners to put money into domestic projects, particularly road building. The decline, if it continues, spells bad news for the country, which the central bank recently said "needs a quantum step" in investment to propel economic growth to the double-digit levels needed to reduce massive poverty. Mukherjee said India was on track to achieve nine percent growth next year, up from 8.6 percent this year but many economists are skeptical about the target, saying aggressive monetary tightening to rein in high inflation could slow expansion. Mukherjee has said government is committed to trimming its fiscal deficit to 4.6 percent in the coming fiscal year starting April 1 from 5.1 percent this year and that India aimed to reduce its market borrowings. —AFP

BANGKOK: A Thai worker look at a toy-car racing track at a shopping mall in Bangkok yesterday. Thai inflation slowed marginally in February, the Commerce Ministry said, but economists predict an acceleration on the horizon as government price control measures come to an end.—AFP

Ambani’s Reliance Comm faces crisis Net debt $7bn against market cap of $4bn

FRANKFURT: Head of European Central Bank JeanClaude Trichet takes off his glasses during a press conference in Frankfurt yesterday.—AP

Looming rate hike to hit Portugal LISBON: The shock warning that European interest rates could rise as soon as next month has set alarm bells ringing in Portugal, slapping the debt-ridden country with an extra burden just as it fights for its financial future. Though the prospect of higher interest rates by the European Central Bank doesn't immediately make Portugal more likely to tap a bailout, analysts warned yesterday that rising borrowing costs will make the country's expected slide back into recession this year longer and more painful. Mortgage rates would rise, business loans would become more expensive, and exporters would have a tougher time if the euro's value keeps rising. That would be manageable in countries like Germany or France, but it is a grim prospect for Portugal, where unemployment is above 11 percent and households are buckling under the strain of tax hikes and pay cuts as the government struggles to heal its weak finances. "It's definitely bad news for Portugal and the Portuguese," said Joao Pereira Leite, head of investments at Portugal's Banco Carregosa. "It would be, indirectly, another austerity measure." The markets have moved in to price an interest rate increase from the European Central Bank next month after its President JeanClaude Trichet indicated Thursday that a rate hike in April is "possible" though "not certain."—AP

MUMBAI: The clock is ticking and costs are seen rising for Reliance Communications Ltd as it struggles to reduce a $7 billion mountain of debtcy, which faces tests with $1.2 billion in convertible debt falling due. "The competitive landscape for telecoms firms in India is very tough and that's a problem for Reliance as well," said Lars Hemmingsen, a Copenhagen-based portfolio manager at Nordea Intia, which manages $260 million worth of Indian shares. "What makes the matter worse for them is huge debt on the balance sheet and weak cash flow. You also have these negative news headlines hitting investor confidence in the firm," said Hemmingsen, who does not hold Reliance Communications shares. In February, Ambani became the highest-profile executive to be questioned by federal police investigating a telecoms fraud that state auditors say cost the government $39 billion in lost revenues. No executives from Reliance Communications have been charged and the company has denied any wrongdoing. Last year, Reliance Communications attempted to sell a 26 percent stake in itself to pare debt. But it found no takers. A plan to float its tower unit in an initial public offering also failed to take off and a deal to merge its tower arm with a rival collapsed. Reliance Communications is battling a fast-growing but ferociously competitive Indian cellular market in which call charges have fallen and operational costs have risen, triggering declines in margins,

while regulatory worries have also increased. The shares have fallen about 35 percent this year, making them the eighth worst performer globally among large capitalized firms. On Feb 9 alone, shares in six companies of Reliance ADA, Ambani's

Anil Ambani conglomerate, dropped suddenly to wipe $2.5 billion off its market value. The billionaire blamed "baseless and motivated rumors" for the drop. The cost of insuring against debt default in Reliance Communications through credit default swaps (CDS) has risen 90 basis points this year to 525 basis points. That's an insurance premium of $525,000 for every $10 million of debt and has risen as markets focused on about $1.2 billion of convertible bonds in Reliance Communications that will mature by March 2012. "If you look globally, the appetite for new issues is pretty low and this company has so many problems. I think the terms of refinancing

would be stiff because the company's cash flow continues to be very weak," said Thorsten Vetter , a portfolio manager at Flossbach & Von Storch in Cologne, Germany, who last year sold Reliance Communications bonds maturing in 2012. Two convertible bonds are due over the next 12 months but investors are unlikely to convert their holdings into equity following the fall in the share price to 93 rupees. A $297 million bond due in May has a conversion price of 475 rupees. A $925 million bond maturing in March 2012 has a conversion price of 654 rupees. Since the bonds are out of the money at current prices, the firm is likely to have to shell out about $374 million for the 2011 bond and $1.2 billion for the 2012 debt. The 2011 convertible bonds are bid at 122-123 in secondary markets versus the redemption price of 125.84, while investors are more cautious about the 2012s, which are bid at 114.25-114.75 versus their 127.69 redemption price. A Reliance Communications spokesman declined to comment on the company's plan to reduce its debt burden. During an analysts call in February, Satish Seth, group managing director of Reliance ADA Group, said the company was evaluating several options. Reliance Communication's net debt to EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) is seen at 4.8 times in the year ending March 31, Thomson Reuters data show. This compares to just under 3 times at bigger rival Bharti Airtel and 2.8 times at Idea Cellular. — Reuters



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business SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011

US economists eye better jobs growth Fewer people seek unemployment benefits

WASHINGTON: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (right) speaks with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner before he testifies on how the US economy is impacted by global unrest, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday. —AP

Foxconn to move 200,000 jobs to central China TAIPEI: Taiwan IT giant Foxconn said yesterday it is set to transform its factories in southern China into an engineering base while moving about 200,000 jobs inland. “Our long-term plan is to continue to carry out some manufacturing in Shenzhen but to also transform our operations in Shenzhen into an engineering base and (research and development) centre,” said Louis Woo, a Foxconn spokesperson. The move will take place over several years and see Foxconn’s workforce in Shenzhen decline to around 300,000 and change in composition as it recruits more engineers, designers, and researchers, Woo said. Foxconn’s plan to turn its manufacturing hub in Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong, into an “engineering campus” reflects a broader trend to move low-end factories from coastal zones to cheap inland provinces. “This is in keeping with the government’s own program to transform Shenzhen into an R and D and engineering centre and a location for higher valueadded manufacturing,” Woo said. Foxconn is the world’s largest maker of computer components and produces goods for Apple, Sony and Nokia. It currently employs around one million workers in China, about half of them based in Shenzhen. The company has been expanding its workforce in central China as it seeks to scale back the size of its biggest facility in Shenzhen, which has been plagued by a series of employee suicides in recent years. Foxconn has previously said it plans to hire up to 400,000 new workers this year, mostly in the central provinces, partly to keep up production while cutting maximum overtime hours. At least 13 employees at Foxconn died in apparent suicides last year, according to Chinese state media. Labor rights activists have blamed the deaths on tough working conditions, highlighting the difficulties millions of factory workers face across China. —AFP

WASHINGTON: Economists are expecting a strong report on job growth in February, bolstered by news that fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week than in any week in nearly three years. The sharp decline in applications for unemployment benefits, along with positive reports Thursday from retailers and the service industry, are the latest evidence that hiring will pick up this year. Some analysts responded to the new data by raising their forecasts for how many jobs the economy created last month. The consensus is 175,000, but many economists are now estimating 200,000 or more, and they expect the pace to hold for the rest of the year. The government releases the February jobs report yesterday. “All signs point to much stronger hiring,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “I think we finally have a prescription for a better job market.” A few economists are expecting the government to report that employers added as many as 300,000 jobs last month, although that’s on the high end of forecasts. January’s figures were anemic — just 36,000 jobs added — partly because of severe winter storms that kept businesses closed. As much as a quarter of February’s job gains could come from people returning to payrolls after the bad weather. But most people pay more attention to the unemployment rate, which fell from 9.8 percent in November to 9 percent in January, the quickest decline in more than half a century. Economists believe the rate edged up to 9.1 percent in February. Unemployment rates often rise when the economy improves and people who haven’t been looking for jobs start hunting again. People who aren’t looking are not counted as unemployed. It would take up to 300,000 new jobs a month on a consistent basis to reduce the unemployment rate significantly, economists say. But few analysts — even those on the high end of

SPRINGFIELD: Businesses solicit students as they fill out job applications during the Springfield Collegiate Career Job Fair at the University of Illinois, Springfield. — AP

February’s forecast — think monthly job gains in the 300,000-plus range could be repeated month after month. Companies have dramatically slowed the pace of layoffs. That’s a major reason why economists are more optimistic that companies will hire more aggressively. The number of people filing for unemployment benefits sank last week to its lowest point in nearly three years, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. Companies, enjoying growing sales and profits, are relying less on layoffs to cut costs, analysts said. Applications for unemployment benefits plummeted to 368,000 last week. It was the third decline in the past four weeks. Applications are now at their lowest level since May 2008. Unemployment benefit applications peaked during the recession at 651,000. The news helped give the stock market its best day in three months. The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 190 points, or 1.6 percent, erasing most of its losses since

the unrest in Libya began. There’s a big wild card for the economy — rising prices. Prices for food around the world are at their highest levels in 20 years, and gas prices have been rising for weeks, with the average for a gallon in the US nearing $3.50. For now, though, the economy is mostly flashing positive signs. Americans appear more confident about spending money, which could convince businesses that the time is right to start hiring more workers. Stores representing shopping tastes across the income spectrum reported strong sales for February, including J C Penney, Macy’s and Saks. And the US service sector, which employs about 90 percent of American workers in fields from health care to construction, is expanding at the fastest pace in more than five years, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Productivity did rise in the final three months of last year. When workers are producing at a higher level, it makes it easier for businesses to hold off on hiring. — AP

Malaysia may open door wider to foreign banks MELBOURNE: Malaysia signalled it was ready to ease bank ownership rules and spur more foreign investment, saying yesterday it was open to Australia & New Zealand Banking Group doubling its stake in Malaysian lender AMMB Holdings . Prime Minister Najib Razak told Reuters he would consider allowing Australia’s fourth-largest bank to raise its AMMB stake to 49 percent, well above the current 30 percent cap on foreign ownership of local banks, provided the central bank approved.

“On ANZ, our policy is really to cap the limit on foreign investment in banks to about 49 percent or so, so within the scope of the policy we can look at what kind of request ANZ bank will make to the central bank,” Najib said in Melbourne, a day after discussing the issue with his Australian counterpart. ANZ bank owns about 24 percent of AMMB Holdings, Malaysia’s fourth-largest bank by market value. There has been market talk that AMMB’s other major shareholder, Azman Hashim, may look to sell his

16.7 percent indirect stake in the bank. AMMB has a market value of about $6.2 billion, with Azman’s interest worth around $1 billion. Azman holds the interest through his investment vehicle Amcorp Group. An ANZ spokesman declined to comment on its plans for further investment in Malaysia when asked about Najib’s comment. “We have a substantial investment in Malaysia. However, we don’t comment on speculation about future plans,” he said. —Reuters



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Euro-zone at critical juncture in debt crisis Series of Euro summits kick off this week

AMSTERDAM: Dutch state bank ABN Amro CEO Gerrit Zalm laughs at the start of a press conference yesterday.—AP

Dutch state bank ABN reports $297m profit AMSTERDAM: ABN Amro, the Dutch state bank, has reported a net profit of 213 million euros ($297 million) in the fourth quarter and says it plans to return to private ownership in 2014. ABN gave no 2009 fourth quarter comparison but reported net profit of 341 million euros in the third quarter of 2010. It booked a 130 million euros gain that quarter from buying back its own debt at below face value. In the fourth quarter ABN also took more provisions for bad loans, and had higher legal costs from integrating former ABN and Fortis operations. ABN and the Dutch parts of its then-owner Fortis were nationalized in 2008 as Fortis slid toward a bankruptcy that threatened the national banking system. ABN said yesterday it cut 11 percent of staff this year and now employs 26,161. —AP

Kenya shilling instability detrimental: CB NAIROBI: Kenya’s central bank governor said yesterday the local currency’s instability was “obviously detrimental” to the economy, and that rising inflation was of a concern and needed further analysis. The shilling is hovering near a lifetime low having touched 83.10/20 on Wednesday, compared with 2004’s all-time low of 83.35. “Instability of the exchange rate is obviously detrimental to Kenya. In particular, when the Kenya shilling weakens, (imports) become more expensive,” Governor Njuguna Ndung’u told Reuters. Treasury Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua said on Wednesday the shilling’s decline was not worrying and that it was good for the export sector. He said the crisis in Egypt, Kenya’s biggest buyer of tea, had hit the east African nation’s foreign exchange position. Exports to the north African country fell 39 percent in January, compared with the same month a year ago. “Moreover, more foreign exchange is needed to buy oil while transport to and from Kenya are affecting horticulture and tourism, which affect export earnings. These matters are being kept under constant review,” Ndung’us said. Tea was Kenya’s biggest foreign exchange earner in 2010. Tourism and agricultural exports such as flowers, vegetables and fruits are also major hard currency earners. The central bank has repeatedly said it would not intervene to cushion the shilling in any direction unless speculative activity was driving trade. Kenya’s inflation rate hit 6.54 percent in February-above a central bank target of 5.0 percent-driven by food and energy prices. It has been on an upward trend since dipping to a 3.09 percent low in October. —Reuters

BRUSSELS: The next three weeks will be crucial for Europe to finally get a grip on the debt crisis that has crippled its currency union and to set up stronger foundations for when it is past the storm. A series of EU summits this month kicks off yesterday in Helsinki, where the euro-zone’s conservative leaders will wrestle over how much of their sovereign economic decision-making they are willing to sacrifice for the sake of a more stable euro. The debate will culminate on March 25, when heads of state and government hope to seal the “comprehensive solution” to the crisis they have promised to the markets. At the center of the debate are demands for stricter budget rules and economic reforms from strong economies like Germany and the Netherlands pitched against pleas for more help and leniency from the currency union’s weaker members. But as the meetings get under way, divisions are growing about what to do and how quickly. In particular, Germany is reluctant to spend on direct support for weaker countries’ bond markets, which the European Union’s executive Commission and the European Central Bank are pushing for. In the middle of all that, European regulators are studying how to design new

stress tests for banks, whose troubles are central not only to the problems in Ireland but also to any action on sovereign debt. “There are so many balls in the air right now,” said Carsten Brzeski, senior economist at ING in Brussels, adding that the wealth of issues might make it difficult for governments make ambitious decisions. The clashing positions among euro-zone countries will be obvious in Helsinki, even though all attendees are members of the same European People’s Party, the centerright bloc in the European Parliament. There is Germany’s Angela Merkel, who is reluctant to put up more money to help less disciplined countries; Enda Kenny, Ireland’s prime minister in waiting, who is not only demanding lower interest rates on the country’s bailout but has also raised the idea of making senior bank bondholders take losses; European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who has called for broader powers and more money for the region’s bailout fund; and Yves Leterme, the caretaker leader of Belgium who is in no position to give up on his country’s treasured system of inflationlinked wage increases, as demanded by Germany. And that cast of characters does not even include the center-left leaders of Spain, Portugal and Greece — each strug-

gling with their own crises. Faced with such division, analysts increasingly expect a watered-down deal by the end of the month that falls well short off the overhaul of the euro-zone’s crisis strategy that had seemed tangible just weeks ago. Despite sustained high borrowing costs for Portugal, seen as the most likely candidate to follow Greece and Ireland in seeking an international bailout, the sense of urgency appears to have eased in markets — and therefore some governments — at least for the moment. “The Europeans are doing big things always under big market pressure and right now there is no big market pressure,” said Zsolt Darvas, a research fellow at Brussels-based think tank Bruegel. The decisive player over the next three weeks will be Germany. Merkel, struggling at home, has set her hopes on a so-called “pact for competitiveness,” which could give her something in return for extending more help to the euro-zone’s stragglers. Originally, Berlin had demanded that euro-zone countries improve their economic performance through unpopular measures like getting rid of automatic inflation-linked wage increases and agreeing on a common base for corporate taxation. —AP

WPP: Cautious firms favor ad spending LONDON: The world’s biggest advertising group WPP is winning new business from companies flush with cash but reluctant to commit to longer term investments, driving strong growth in the US and in TV. Together with a good performance in fast growing markets such as China, the trend helped the British based group follow peers and post strong full-year results yesterday with a solid outlook for 2011. “In Western markets we are seeing companies who are not investing in capacity, they’re afraid of making a mistake, so instead they invest in the brand,” Chief Executive Martin Sorrell told Reuters. “You have two trillion dollars plus sitting on the balance sheets of Western multinationals and they’re not spending it.” The same hesitation to commit to longer term spending appeared to favor staffing companies in the fourth quarter which have reported strong growth in the temporary worker sector. WPP said the robust trading had also continued into January, although its stock slipped in early trading after strong results from rivals Omnicom and Publicis pushed expectations and the WPP share price up strongly in recent weeks. “Full-year results were robust and ahead of consensus though with peers Publicis and Omnicom reporting even larger beats, this won’t surprise,” UBS analyst Alastair Reid said. The new dynamic meant markets such as the US, Germany and Britain performed well while traditional advertising such as free-to-air television also showed strong growth. WPP, whose ad agencies include JWT and Ogilvy & Mather, posted fourth quarter organic revenue growth of 8.5 per-

cent, comfortably ahead of a Reuters poll of 8 analysts forecasting 7.3 percent growth, and a full-year figure of 5.3 percent compared with a forecast of 4.9 percent. That compared to Omnicom however which reported fourth quarter growth of 10 percent, giving it a total of 6.4 percent for the year and Publicis which posted growth of 12.5 percent for the last three months of the year and 8.3 percent for 2010. Headline operating profit before interest and tax was up 21 percent to 1.2 billion pounds and in line with forecasts. For 2011 WPP expects the key industry metric

of like-for-like growth, which strips out the impact of acquisitions and currency moves, of 5 percent and operating margins to rise 0.5 margin points to 13.7 percent. “Overall, the results look robust but with stock up 8 percent in the past month post peers strong results, and trading at 13.5 times 2011 forecasted earnings, close to a historic high relative to the FTSE, we struggle to see significant catalysts to drive notable out-performance,” UBS said. The results do however mark a sharp rebound for WPP which posted organic revenues down 8 percent in 2009. —Reuters

TOKYO: A man walks in front of the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, yesterday. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average rose 107.64 points from Thursday at 10693.66 to close the day. —AP

SaturDaY, MarCH 5, 2011 Crazy Horse cabaret present their show ‘Forever Crazy’ in Moscow, on March 3, 2011. Crazy Horse Paris, the most famous and avant-garde act, for the first time performed in Moscow. — AFP

Asian models all the rage in luxury world (Page 27)

Ruby’s presence shakes up serious Vienna Opera Ball (Page 24)



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Natalie Portman slammed T

he 31-year-old model-and-actress insists she now favours the “pale and interesting” look after a disaster when trying to make herself look sun-kissed. She said: “When fake tan first came out, I applied it myself but went too far and ended up bright orange. “It was horrendous, even my hands were streaky and orange. That’s why I now go for the pale and interesting look.” While Kelly - who has been single since splitting from rugby ace Danny Cipriani last year - is hopeless with fake tan, she says her skills include being a good cook. She said: “My cooking is pretty good, even if I do say so myself. I love doing a big roast dinner. Lamb and beef are my specialties.” Kelly also claimed she no longer enjoys partying, preferring quiet nights in with her friends. She told FHM magazine: “I don’t go out very much at all. I honestly prefer having dinner with some friends and then heading home early. I’m 31 remember, so not only am I getting too old for clubbing, I need to make sure I get my sleep.”


atalie Portman has been criticized for being pregnant before being married. Former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee claims the 29-yearold actress - who is expecting her and her fiance Benjamin Millepied’s first child together - is giving a “distorted” image of parenthood because she can afford to look after a child on her own, while many other American single mothers could not do the same. In an interview with radio host Michael Medved, the ex-politician and Fox News Host said: “One of the things that’s troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, ‘Hey look, you know, we’re having children, we’re not married, but we’re having these children,’ and they’re doing just fine. “But there aren’t really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care.” Natalie - who picked up an Oscar for her portrayal of psychologically troubled ballet dancer Nina Sayers in ‘Black Swan’ last weekend - is believed to be expecting a boy. A source said:


“They’ve only told a very small group of family members and friends that they’re expecting a son. They are so excited. Benjamin cannot wait to be a father.”

he 45-year-old actress is “thrilled” to be appearing as an evil villain in a pilot episode of the new NBC reimaging of the hit 70s show. Writing on her twitter page, Elizabeth - whose previous roles include parts in the films ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’ and ‘Bedazzled’ - said: “Thrilled to be doing the NBC pilot Wonder Woman. I’ll be playing the evil villain. Can’t wait.” While Lynda Carter originally played the iconic superhero - who was first brought to life in DC Comics - relatively

unknown star Adrianne Palicki is set to assume the lead role in the pilot. However, last month’s casting announcement may have come as a disappointment to ‘Mad Men’ actress Christina Hendricks, who recently admitted she would love to play the part. She said: “I’ve been wanting to wear that outfit my whole life! I’d love to do it. That would be such fun! Let’s put it out there!” The initial episode of ‘Wonder Woman’ is to be made by studio giants Warner Bros, with ‘Ally McBeal’ writer and producer David E Kelly penning it and the subsequent series if it proves to be popular. He recently explained while he enjoyed taking the helm, it was a “complicated” show to write. David said: “I had a lot of fun writing it. It’s a very complicated piece, which is the most fun thing about it.”



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he real life couple play Bella Swan and her vampire love Edward Cullen in the ‘Twilight Saga’ movie series and Catherine Harwicke - who directed the first ‘Twilight’ movie - said Kristen felt an instant attraction to her co-star. Catherine said: “I looked at a couple pictures and was like, ‘I’m not sure.’ He had been fired from his last job, he was unemployed, he was in debt. “I have footage of their first meeting at my dining-room table. Kristen was like, ‘It’s got to be Rob!’ She felt connected to him from the first moment. That electricity, or love at first sight, or whatever it is.” While Kristen, 20, eventually managed to convince the director to hire Robert, Catherine revealed she made him promise not to get romantically involved with his co-star because she was only 17 at the time and he was four years older. She explained to Newsweek: “I told him, ‘You’ve got to realize that Kristen is 17 years old. She’s underage. You’ve got to focus, dude, or you’re going to be arrested.’ I made him swear on a stack of Bibles.”


he ‘High School Musical’ star recently had an image of the creature etched onto her neck and says it’s something she has always wanted to have done because of the significance of the animal to her life. She said: “It was very last minute, but I’ve actually wanted it for years. A butterfly landed on my mom’s stomach a week before I was born and that’s how I got my name, because Vanessa means butterfly - it’s a Latin derivative.” While the tattoo may look very pretty, the 22-year-old actress says she feels quite rebellious getting it done. During an appearance on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’, she said: “It’s my very first tattoo, and I kind of feel like a bad*** now!” As well as getting a piece of body art, Vanessa is moving on from her ‘High School Musical’ days and wants to be taken more seriously as an actress. Speaking about the Disney franchise - which she starred in alongside ex-boyfriend Zac Efron - the ‘Beastly’ star said: “It was so much fun. It’s kind of a thing of the past now though.”


he 26-year-old star loved watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show - in which animals are judged against the standards for their breed - on television recently and now wants to enter her beloved Pomeranian pooch Sid into a competition. She wrote in her column for Closer magazine: “I’ve been glued to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Me and mum scream at the TV like teenagers watching Justin Bieber. “My dog Sid’s parents were champion dogs and he’s got the best bone structure! “I feel like a mum- I’d love to put Sid in a show but don’t want to pressure him into anything he might not want to do.” The ‘Fashion Police’ star recently admitted she and her mother Sharon had been inspired by watching the dog show and even staged their own contest for their family pooches. Kelly - whose father is rocker Ozzy Osbourne - tweeted last week: “Watching the Westminster dog show with my mum and we are screaming at the tv if anyone could actually see us right now.... Obsessed “Now my mum and I are having our own Westminster dog show with all our dogs the winner is rocky my dad’s dog. (sic).”— Bang Showbiz



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Ruby’s presence shakes up serious Vienna Opera Ball T

he TV cameras were told to ignore her, and Austria’s rich and powerful sought to avoid her. But amid all the bling on display at the Vienna Opera Ball, most eyes were still on one particular jewel - Ruby. With Ruby, a.k.a. Karima elMahroug, at the center of the scandal plaguing Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, her scheduled appearance at Austria’s ball of balls on Thursday was a sensation most of the wealthy and influential guests present would have been happy to do without. State TV was initially ordered to avoid covering her. But with the Berlusconi scandal big news, she was hard to keep out of sight - let alone out of mind. Ruby’s comments on the eve of the ball added to Vienna high society’s bad case of nerves. “I can’t waltz,” she told reporters before pausing for effect, and adding with a smile: “I can only belly dance.” For centuries, Vienna’s high society has waltzed blissfully through wars, recessions and firebomb-throwing anarchists opposed to the moneyed decadence they think such events represent. But it has never had to deal with an 18-year-old dancer said to have been paid by Berlusconi for sex while she was still underage - and the ripples caused by her presence relegated Libya’s revolution and other top news events to the back pages of Austria’s newspapers. Vienna’s top priest was drawn into the fray, citing scripture in favor of her attendance. The ball’s organizer threatened to ban Richard Lugner, the quirky 78-year old millionaire who invited her and former “Dallas” star Larry Hagman. State television’s program head ordered cameras and commentators to make a wide detour around her. That, in turn resulted in protests from TV employees who see her as the biggest news of the event. As guests started striding over the red carpet leading to the entrance that ban appeared to have been at least partially withdrawn, with hosts occasionally mentioning Ruby’s presence. A camera showed her arriving, barely visible because of the paparazzi, and later panned over the box she shared with her entourage. In typical reporting ahead of the ball, this week’s front cover of News, one of Austria’s most widely read magazines, was dominated by a montage of Lugner in tails and top hat, his arm around a scantily clad Ruby and the headline “Scandal Surrounds the Opera Ball.” Muammar Gaddafi and the uprising in Libya is relegated to a narrow strip running down the left side of the cover. To underestimate the uproar is to ignore the place that the Vienna Opera Ball holds in the hearts of Austrians. It is THE event

Karima el-Mahroug and her host Austrian businessman Richard Lugner (from left) enjoy a dance during the traditional Opera Ball in front of the state opera in Vienna. — AP of the annual ball season that stretches from autumn into late winter. Watched on TV by millions from home, champagne-sipping government leaders hobnob with captains of industry from ornate boxes high above the main floor of the State Opera, while the less wealthy and influential crowd tables below. Their hands daintily perched on those of their male partners, debutantes - daughters of the rich and famous - celebrate their coming out into the privileged upper echelons by opening the festivities with a lilting waltz. Some of Lugner’s past guests among a panoply of Hollywood actresses and other lookers had already raised carefully plucked opera ball eyebrows. He hosted porn star Dolly Buster in 1999 and burlesque artist Dita von Teese three years ago. But his pick of Ruby - after actress Bo Derek backed out was simply too much for some in Vienna, where parents of the moneyed class still send their kids to manners courses. Berlusconi was indicted last month on charges he paid for sex with Ruby, when she was under age, then used his influence to cover it up. Both have denied having a sexual relationship. Lugner - who is reported to have paid 40,000 euros ($55,500) for her appearance - doesn’t under-

British musician Bob Geldof attends the traditional Opera Ball at the state opera in Vienna on March 3, 2011. — AFP

stand the fuss. “If Berlusconi liked her, she’s good enough for the Opera Ball,” he told News. But for ball organizer Desiree Treichl-Stuerkh, she is a “prostitute involved in ongoing legal proceedings against Berlusconi” - and as such, persona non-grata. She said Lugner will not be given an opera box next year, adding her office had fielded calls from prominent ball goers asking how they can avoid being filmed or photographed with the Moroccan teen. Treichl-Stuerkh’s predecessor, Lotte Tobisch, said Ruby’s presence “is wrecking the Opera Ball,” while Wolfgang Lorenz, the state broadcaster’s head of programming who issued the coverage ban, warned against “turning the festivities into a hookers’ ball.” Jumping into the fray, Toni Faber - a ball-goer and head priest at Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral sided with Ruby. Warning against hypocrisy he cited Jesus in newspaper interviews, declaring, “the tax collectors and the prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God ahead of you.” Prominent cultural anthropologist Roland Girtler also doesn’t understand the excitement, noting that throughout history, courtesans and highborn ladies of dubious repute were always welcome at balls. And despite the unease at the higher levels of Vienna’s society most Austrians seemed comfortable with Ruby’s presence. A survey of 850 people prepared by Austria’s Humaninstitut had 70 percent of respondents saying that - now that Ruby is in Vienna - “we should welcome her with Austrian charm.” As for Ruby? She was just looking forward to the evening. “It’s certainly going to be a wonderful experience for me and I’m very grateful to get to go,” she told reporters. While she won’t be among the first couples on the dance floor she says she intends to join the fun - despite her lack of waltzing skills. “I’ll dance along,” she said. “You always learn new things.” — AP



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Worshippers carry a giant effigy called ‘ogoh-ogoh’ that represents evil spirits during a parade a day before Nyepi, the annual day of silence marking Balinese Hindu new year in Jakarta, Indonesia, yesterday. Hindus in the world’s most populous Muslim country will celebrate their new year today by observing a day of silence in which they have to stay inside their homes and meditate in silence and darkness for the entire day. —AP

Bob Dylan to play first China shows


merican music legend Bob Dylan will play in China for the first time in his illustrious career in two April concerts timed to mark his 50 years as a performer, Beijing-based promoters said yesterday. The news comes a year after a Taiwan promoter said its bid to take Dylan to China was scuttled after the Beijing government refused to approve shows by the writer of some of rock’s most iconic and politically charged songs. Dylan, who will be 70 in May, will play in Beijing at the Workers’ Gymnasium on April 6 and then hold a concert at the Shanghai Grand Stage in that city on April 8, promoters GehuaLiveNation said in a statement. “These Bob Dylan concerts are destined to be one of the year’s major tours and a musical event of depth, grace and greatness,” the promoters said. Tickets go on sale next week. Prices start at 280 yuan ($42) and reach 1,961.411 yuan for VIP tickets. The amount represents the date of Dylan’s first official New York gig, on April 11, 1961. Taiwan-based Brokers Brothers Herald tried to bring Dylan to China last year. But those dates fell through with the promoters blaming China’s culture ministry for not approving the concerts. Culture ministry officials declined at the time to comment on the Taiwan promoter’s account. A Gehua-LiveNation official said the ministry had approved Dylan’s April shows. Dylan is best known for the politically inspired songs of his early career, including “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and his anti-war anthem “Blowin’ in the Wind”. — AFP

Music is road to riches for handicapped Congolese T

wo years ago, Papa Ricky slept in the streets of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, but an album by a band he leads has opened the way to wealth for some handicapped Congolese musicians. “Now I have a home of my own!” exclaims Papa Ricky in the house being built for him in Kinshasa. Papa Ricky Likabu, 58, heads Benda Bilili, which has gone in a few years from being a street group of handicapped people to a touring band with a successful first album, “Tres, tres fort!” (“Very, very strong/loud!”). Five handicapped performers and the rest of the group, three other musicians from the poorest parts of Kinshasa, returned to the DR Congo at the end of 2010 after a tour that took them to Europe and Asia. They own land, vehicles and clothes that they never dreamed of possessing one day, until the band attracted attention with its lively, funky rumba style and also drew a couple of movie makers. The “miracle” of Benda Bilili has been followed and filmed by Renaud Barret and Florent de

La Tullaye in a documentary named after the group, which was selected for the prestigious Cesar awards-France’s version of the Oscars-last

month, but did not win. “My life has completely changed. Today I eat copiously and I wear designer clothes. I have become a totally different per-

Miley Cyrus visits “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” at Rockefeller Center on March 3, 2011 in New York City. — AFP

son,” says Roger Landu, a former street kid who deftly plays a kind of lute he fashioned out of a string and a tin can. He is clad in a tuxedo and a white hat, with leather shoes. “With my wheel chair, I spent two hours at the bus stop,” recalls Kabose Kasungo, a 37-year-old singer in Benda Bilili. “Many drivers refused to stop when they saw that I was handicapped.” But now he is seated in a large green limousine, the door ajar with a pair of crutches attached to the handle. Kabose combines his singing job with that of a used car salesman. He owns four vehicles himself and employs two people, one of whom is also handicapped. “I’m a boss, people are interested in me these days. Unfortunately, it’s often to ask me for money,” he says with a mocking smile. Montana, the drummer who goes by one name, 35, runs a bistro and a bar in a remote part of Kinshasa. “I’ve become a role model for a lot of people in this district,” he says, adding that he is waiting for the money from the band’s “next tour, to begin to build apartments”. —AFP



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Impasse over

Bamiyan buddhas, 10 years on In this file picture, a Hazara Afghan woman walks past the ruins of the ancient Buddha statues that once stood in the city of Bamiyan.


en years after Afghanistan’s ancient Bamiyan buddhas were blown up by the Taleban, there is still no agreement on whether the war-torn country’s best-known cultural icons should be rebuilt. In March 2001, seven months before a USled invasion ousted the Taleban, their leader Mullah Mohammed Omar ordered that the two “antiIslamic” giant stone statues be destroyed, despite pleas from around the world to save them. With their country’s economy crippled by war, many Afghans

now want the 1,500-year-old buddhas restored in the hope they can draw tourists to Bamiyan, a relatively peaceful and picturesque province in central Afghanistan. But the UN’s cultural body UNESCO-holding a meeting in Paris this week on the future of the buddhas-does not favor reconstruction, while poor security in Afghanistan as a whole has also hampered progress. “As is often the case in Afghanistan, there is more disappointment than satisfaction because there were high hopes for reconstruc-

In this file photo, an Afghan Hazara man sits beside the Band-eAmir lake on the outskirts of Bamiyan. — AFP

tion and the reality is completely different,” said Philippe Marquis, a French archaeologist with extensive knowledge of the site. Bamiyan is one of the most attractive parts of Afghanistan, famed for its wall paintings, brightly-painted caves, lush valleys and clear lakes. It is located on the Silk Road, the historic trade route which criss-crosses Asia. The two buddhas, 38 meters and 55 meters tall, were built in the sixth and seventh centuries by Buddhists who lived in the area before Muslims conquered it. Many Afghans in the area now hope the brightly-colored historic monuments can be restored to their former glory to help boost the local economy. “People want the buddhas to be rebuilt because every development project depends on it. We mainly need airports, roads, hotels and restaurants,” local lawmaker Mohammad Akbari said. “When the statues are rebuilt, Bamiyan will be a true city for tourists.” Research released by scientists at the University of Munich in Germany last month said it would be possible to piece together the remains of one of the buddhas, despite the doubts of many other experts. Doing so would mean building a small fac-

tory in Bamiyan or transporting 1,400 rocks weighing up to two tonnes each to Germany, the team said. Furthermore, many foreigners with the expertise needed to help with such a project are afraid to come to Afghanistan. “Bamiyan is one of the safest places in the country but people hear news of unrest from Afghanistan so they don’t want to work here,” Akbari said. Other experts dismiss the idea of reconstruction as a purely commercial exercise, since the buddhas have been so badly damaged that there would be no merit in restoring them from a heritage point of view. The buddhas are seen in Afghanistan “mainly as a way to increase tourism, especially from Japan and China”, Marquis said. The Bamiyan valley was put on UNESCO’s list of endangered areas in 2003. UNESCO insists that a great deal of work has already been done on stabilizing the remaining areas around the buddhas. “The areas around the sites have been demined, the remains of the buddhas and the cliff (are) stabilised for the most part, “said Reza Sharifi, a Kabulbased UNESCO official. “Three to four million dollars have been spent in Bamiyan since

An undated file photo shows an Afghan military truck parked in the shadow of the huge standing Buddha statue before it was destroyed by the Taleban in the central province of Bamiyan. —AFP

2004.” Experts also highlight a lack of action on the issue by President Hamid Karzai’s government, which is battling a brutal Taleban insurgency now entering its tenth year. “People know that the government is weak and that culture is not its top priority so they did not expect a quick reconstruction,” said Akbari. “But after ten years, more things should have been done.” — AFP



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Liu Wen


hina’s Liu Wen may not yet have the sizzling star power of Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, but she is leading a bevy of Asian beauties down the world’s top catwalks-and onto global billboards. The scramble by Western brands to feature Asian faces in ad campaigns and eye-catching runway shows from New York to Paris-where fashion week began on Tuesday-parallels Asia’s rising clout in the world of luxury goods. Experts say while foreign labels are hoping to connect with new customers across the regionespecially in China-by offering them models with a more familiar look, the Asian craze also reflects the globalization of the sector. “Savvier companies are using Asian models to penetrate the China market and try to create an emotional bond with consumers, and to give an aspiration that Chinese can look up to,” Shaun Rein, the Shanghai-based managing director of China Market Research Group, told AFP. The 23-year-old Liu last year became the first Asian face of beauty brand Estee Lauder, and her runway calendar has been booked solid since her debut in 2008. In late 2010, she strutted her stuff for US lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret for the second year running-the only Chinese woman to have done so. Her compatriot Shu Pei, 21, is one of the faces of Maybelline cosmetics-a role also filled by Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” fame-and also stars in print ads for the Gap brand. And teenager Danica Magpantay of the Philippines was in January selected as Supermodel of the World by the prestigious Ford modeling agency-and promptly marched straight onto the catwalks in New York last month. But Asian women are not the only ones making waves in the fashion world. In January, TaiwaneseCanadian actor Godfrey Gao was named the first Asian face of Louis Vuitton, striking a pose in the French house’s ads with a sleek checkered messenger bag-the new staple of the upwardly mobile Chinese man. “When you look at some of these brands like Louis Vuitton, they are generating a significant portion of their global revenue in China, so it makes sense to have Asian models,” Rein says. China is the world’s fastest-growing market for luxury goods and is forecast to be the world’s top buyer of such products as cosmetics, handbags, watches, shoes and clothes by 2015, according to consultancy PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Industry heavyweights such as Chanel, Vuitton and Versace are well-established in China, but others like Chloe-a French label with a reputation for ultra-feminine casual chic-are looking to make a mark. Chloe chief executive Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye, who was in Shanghai last week for a special runway show celebrating the label’s fifth anniversary in China, said brands would use Asian models, but only when it suits their image. “Chloe is a brand of the world and the world is now fully mixed-races and cultures. It’s only natural that Asian models are becoming more and more important,” De La

Bourdonnaye said during a group interview. “We’ve had some Asian models. We will continue to have Asian models. But the majority of our models are Caucasian,” he said. “Whether they are Asian or not is not the number one criteria. It’s more personality and the type.” Frederic Godart, a France-based professor at international business school INSEAD whose research focuses on fashion, says while the luxury industry is “seeing a Chinese moment”, labels still need to appeal to customers worldwide. “The use of Asian models by Western brands is a way to look more global,” Godart told AFP. “Everyone in the fashion and luxury industries wants to look global and trendy by using models from elsewhere.” Liu-who is wrapping up the month-long autumn/winter 2011 ready-to-wear catwalk

500-foot (152 meters) Ferris wheel, which would be the tallest in the Western Hemisphere, may be built on the famed Las Vegas strip, officials said. A developer won permission to construct the Ferris wheel as the centerpiece of an amusement park and retail center planned for a vacant plot of land on the Strip, opposite the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. If built, it would be the third-tallest Ferris wheel in the world and, at 500 feet, would

marathon in Paris after stops in New York, London and Milanknows that Asian models still have a long way to go before they become mainstream. “The challenge for me, and for Asian models in general, has been convincing editors, stylists and photographers that we can have mass appeal,” she told US Vogue for a December spread on Asia’s rising stars. But for Rein, the increasing use of Asian models is a no-brainer. “You want to keep your global brand heritage, but you need to make sure that your products and ads fit the wants of the Chinese consumer. If you don’t, you’re going to lose out,” he said. — AFP

be the maximum allowed by the US Federal Aviation Administration. The site is less than half a mile (0.8 km) from McCarran International Airport, where more than 35 million passengers land every year. Developer Howard Bulloch got the green light for the project from Clark County commissioners on Wednesday. The idea behind the Ferris wheel, according to Bulloch’s attorney Ed Garcia, is to offer “a very unique view of the Las Vegas Strip.” Bulloch has not dis-

closed the financial backers of the project but hopes to have it built in 18 to 24 months, Garcia said. The 541-foot (165 meter) Singapore Flyer is the tallest operating Ferris wheel in the world, followed by the 525-foot (160 meter) Star of Nanchang in China. The London Eye, on the banks of the Thames River, reaches 443 feet (135 meters). — Reuters



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Galliano saga T

he City of Light shone especially bright on Thursday, with high-voltage, sequin and mirrorwork covered collections at Balmain and Manish Arora. There were no new developments in the dramatic saga that saw Dior sack its star designer, John Galliano, amid allegations he made anti-Semitic insults. The respite in news on the shocking case, which has riveted the fashion world since it broke last week, finally allowed industry insiders to concentrate on the business at hand and give their full, undivided attention to the fall-winter 2011-12 ready-to-wear collections, which debuted in Paris on Tuesday.

There was plenty of drama on the runway, with the dazzling - in every sense of the word - collections from Balmain, the It Girl’s go-to label for serious party clothes, and India’s inventive Manish Arora, who’s appointment at iconic label Paco Rabanne and collaboration with Nespresso (he decorated a line of expresso machines) have raised his profile of late. Then there were the pretty, ladylike wares from Nina Ricci - which Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus, said ushered in a whole new way of dressing. “The days of throwing on a dress and a pair of Louboutins and calling yourself dressed is over,” Downing said following the parade of delicate skirt suits in oddly beautiful color combinations, like forest green and sky blue. “This style of polite dressing, which is very ladylike and feminine, is going to require a bit more thought.” Two US designers also fielded their collections, with very different results. Rick Owens defended his title as among the most reliably solid of Paris designers, churning out yet another riveting collection that managed to project his dark, tribal vision into the fashion future without compromising its essence. Zac Posen was another story altogether. The show fizzled before it even began, with many of the seats languishing empty and the cast of top models looking bored and listless. The lackluster show sapped any energy the clothes - sexy bustier dresses with crocodile paneling and flared pantsuits - might have had. The Galliano saga will be back in the spotlight on Friday, as Dior fields the Galliano-designed fall-winter collection - presumably without the designer, who rumor suggests is in rehab in Arizona. The fashion world was waiting with bated breath to see how the luxury giant would handle the delicate situation, and whether the house would soon announce Galliano’s successor.

Models show creations by designer Manish Arora.



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BALMAIN These overalls weren’t in Kansas anymore. The Paris label gave that wholesome Midwestern staple a decidedly unwholesome turn, sending out blinged-out overalls in sexy silver chainmail that would make Dorothy blush. The high-wattage coveralls and second-skin catsuits were a welcome alternative to the peaked-shouldered blazers that helped make Balmain the go-to brand for jet-set party girls looking to make a big entrance. Designer Christophe Decarnin has been churning out variations on the blockbuster look for years now, and it was refreshing to see him serve up a collection that, while not revolutionary, at least charted some new territory. Gone were the peaked shoulders, replaced by flat square shoulders on the elongated, lapel-less jackets in metallic leather. As for the overalls, they fit so seamlessly into the label’s sexy rich ‘n’ roll aesthetic it was hard to see why Decarnin didn’t seize on them seasons ago. Still, Thursday’s collection was not all about change. The bling remained: The jackets glinted with ornate hand-embroidered mirrorwork stripes and Swarovski crystal patches. And It Girls with the legs to pull off the label’s tiny dresses needn’t panic: Balmain’s notoriously high hemlines didn’t migrate southward - in fact, the sleeves on many of the dresses appeared longer than the dresses themselves. The collection looked sure to please not only Balmain’s exclusive clique of fans, but also the fashion critics who’d started grumbling about Decarnin’s collections always being the same. MANISH ARORA The problem, when you’re Manish Arora, is that each season, you’ve got to raise the bar. Not such an easy task given that the madly inventive Indian designer took Paris by storm several years ago with sequin-saturated, applique-slathered, metal-work-covered, sculpture-sprouting collections that were unlike almost anything else out there. You name the design feat, he’s done it: fitting catsuits with sculptural exoskeletons in gleaming metallics; covering every inch of an outfit with Swarovski crystals, rich embroidery and mirrorwork; even rigging out cocktail dresses with their own lighting systems. There’s not a whole lot of uncharted territory left for him to explore. So for fall-winter, Arora added magic to the mix, opening Thursday’s show with a materialization act worth of Houdini. Magician Benjamin Dukhan wheeled an empty metal cage into the middle of the catwalk, covered it with a cape and, ta-da, a model appeared inside. As per usual, each look was so elaborate it would take reams to describe exhaustively. A catsuit printed with what appeared to be magnified images of crystal formations was paired with a gleaming gold girdle that sat jauntily on the model’s hips. The eyes of a fox stole glowed eerily with green lights. A floor-length ballgown looked as if it was made out of stiff colored paper cut like a paper snowflake. The collection was yet another tour de force from Arora, who was recently appointed artistic director at Paco Rabanne in a bid to revive the iconic but now sleeping brand that helped define futuristic fashion in the 1960s. Arora is to present his first collection for the house in October, and already fashion insiders were wondering how he’d manage to raise the bar even higher.

RICK OWENS It was what Little Red Riding Hood would wear for a nuclear winter. Rick Owens topped his fall-winter looks off with little capes and ponchos in black and gray leather, wool and fur, adding a sweet, almost ingenuous touch to his hard-edged turtlenecks and long, slim skirts in black microfiber. Owens, a California native, has built an empire on his dark, tribal looks, which often veer into the realm of the post-apocalypse. This season’s dose of sweetness mixed surprisingly well with his signature broody wares. The capes softened the silhouettes and gave the models an ingÈnue quality not often found in Owens’ work. Even the makeup reflected the collection’s saccharine current: Models who in seasons past have been smeared with ash or painted with oversized bug-eyed patches of eyeshadow on Thursday were wearing but a lovely bright shade of red lipstick. Besides the capes, which came in all different shapes, lengths and materials, Owens served up puffer coats with flattened heart-shaped sleeves that evoked some sort of nocturnal moth. You could almost see the bolder women in the room adding those to next season’s mental shopping list.

Models shows creations, part of US fashion designer Rick Owens Fall-Winter ready-towear 2012, fashion collection.

ZAC POSEN Posen’s bid to jump-start his flagging label by showing in Paris looked to have run out of gas in just its second season, as the New York-based designer’s fall-winter display elicited the bare acceptable minimum of applause. The audience’s lackluster response was hard to explain. The clothes were pretty enough, cropped flared trousers and snug little blazers with standup collars and peplums and flattering bustier dresses in crocodile. But the energy that’s palpable at good shows and practically crackles at great ones was utterly lacking. Even the models - who included some of the most sought-after girls of the moment, ladies who know how to work a catwalk looked bored. Their hair in Farrah Fawcett loose curls and their eyelids smothering in teal shadow, they seemed to mope petulantly down the runway. Thirty-year-old Posen, a one-time wunderkind who shot to critical darling status in his early 20s, has struggle in recent years to reproduce his early success. He made his Paris debut last season with a flower-sprouting cancan girl-themed collection that was widely lambasted by the press. — AP

Models show creations for Balmain as part of their Fall-Winter ready-to-wear 2012 fashion collection, presented in Paris, Thursday, March 3, 2011. — AP photos



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technology SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011

Hundreds of thousands of downloads for The Daily NEW YORK: The Daily, the digital newspaper created for Apple’s iPad by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., has tallied hundreds of thousands of downloads since its launch a month ago, its publisher said Thursday. “It’s going great,” Greg Clayman said at the paid Content 2011 conference in New York. “We’re not disclosing the exact numbers (of downloads) but it’s in the hundreds of thousands.” Although The Daily has extended a free trial period until March 21, Clayman said a number of readers had already opened their wallets to pay the subscription fee of 99 cents a week. He declined to say exactly how many paid subscribers The Daily has signed up, joking only that it’s “more

than one and less than a billion.” Clayman said News Corp. had agreed to the same revenue-sharing that Apple is offering to other publishers with the California-based gadget-maker taking a 30 percent cut of each subscription. “We get the same revenue share that everybody else does,” he said. Clayman said News Corp. was not “locked into” a single platform for The Daily, which is currently only available on the iPad, and it would eventually be offered on tablet computers running Google’s Android software. “We want to be where the consumers are,” he said. Apple is the tablet market leader with sales of more than 15 million iPads, Clayman noted, but “we do

NASA earth observation satellite fails to reach orbit WASHINGTON: NASA’s earth observation satellite Glory failed to reach orbit yesterday after its protective cover did not detach following its launch, the US space agency said. The satellite, which cost $424 million to produce, was too heavy to reach orbit with its clamshell-like nose cone cover clinging on and plunged into the south Pacific Ocean, leaving engineers puzzled as to why it failed. “We encountered no anomalies” leading up to the launch, NASA launch director Omar Baez told reporters. But a few minutes into the flight, it became apparent that separation had not occurred. “We didn’t see the indication of fairing separation,” said Baez. “We failed to make orbit and all indications are that the satellite and rocket are in the southern Pacific Ocean somewhere.” The launch of the satellite-which was to measure aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere to help clarify their impact on climate-was delayed on February 23 after an unexpected ground control reading 15 minutes before liftoff. Yesterday it rocketed away from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a four stage Taurus-XL rocket at 2:09 am (1009 GMT), but NASA soon reported that it was slowing down and would not reach orbit. A similar mishap took place in February 2009, when a satellite designed to monitor global carbon

dioxide emissions plummeted into the ocean near Antarctica after failing to reach orbit, in a setback for climate science. There too, a fatal mission error occurred minutes after liftoff when the fairing, which protects the satellite during its ascent, failed to separate properly. But experts said it was too early to say if the Glory failed for the exact same reason, and that more analysis was needed. “Right now we are crunching the data but there is not enough data that has been processed to tell any more than the fairing did not deploy,” said Rick Straka, deputy general manager at Orbital Sciences Corp., which made the Taurus rocket and satellite. The satellite itself weighed 1,164 pounds (528 kilograms), and carried two main instruments, the Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor and the Total Irradiance Monitor which was to be directed at the Sun. Glory was supposed to chart an orbital course 340 nautical miles above the Earth, before employing an on-board propulsion system to raise its orbit to 438 nautical miles. It was then supposed to join what is known as the “A-Train” of Earth-observing satellites sent up by NASA. The five already there-Aqua, Cloudsat, Calipso, Parasol and Aura-fly in formation, crossing the equator every afternoon. Glory would have been the sixth member of the group. —AFP

SPACE: In this image provided by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen participates in the mission’s second spacewalk Wednesday as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station. —AP

expect the Android tablet market will grow.” Describing The Daily, which News Corp. launched on February 2 at an event in New York attended by the 79year-old Murdoch, the publisher said “it really is something new.” “It’s not a magazine,” he said. “It’s not a newspaper and yet it is because it publishes news every day. It’s not a website and yet we’re connected to the Internet. “What the iPad does is it allows you to create something brand new.” Clayman said The Daily, which was developed at a cost of around $30 million, was distinct from other News Corp. properties, which include newspapers in Australia, Britain and the United States

and the Fox television networks. “The key is we’re building a brand,” he said. “We do work with other News Corp. entities... (but) we’re not an aggregator aggregating content throughout News Corp.” The Daily, which has hired a staff of about 100 people from the New Yorker, Forbes, the New York Post and other publications, arrives on a subscriber’s iPad every morning. The digital publication is Murdoch’s latest attempt to find a way to charge readers for content online in an era of shrinking newspaper circulation and eroding print advertising revenue. Speaking at the launch event a month ago, Murdoch said he would consider it a success “when we sell millions.” —AFP

Nintendo 3DS

Downplays competition from smartphones

Nintendo has high hopes for 3DS device SAN FRANCISCO: Nintendo Co Ltd said it has set ambitious goals for its newest handheld gaming system despite growing competition from smartphones like Apple’s iPhone. Nintendo, whose growth has been flagging, is making a big marketing push as it launches the Nintendo 3DS, the first device to offer 3D gaming without special glasses. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime called the 3DS a key revenue driver and argued that its adoption should be even faster than the original DS device, which launched in 2004 and has sold 150 million units to date. “From our perspective, we’ve set the high water bar for a handheld device and our goal is to try to beat that,” he said in an interview on Thursday. The 3DS launched in Japan last month and will go on sale in the United States on March 27. The Japanese company is trying to stay a step ahead of rivals in the mobile market, which is in a state of flux as the iPhone and smartphones based on Google’s Android have become more robust gaming platforms. Nintendo is positioning the 3DS as more of a full-purpose entertainment product. It will be able to stream Netflix movies, as many smartphones can. “This is a full-bore enter-

tainment device, we’re leading with games, but certainly we will leverage 2D and 3D video content,” Fils-Aime said. Despite the gadget’s unique technology, Nintendo is facing formidable competition in the market, and not just from smartphones. Sony is also launching a next-generation handheld gaming device-code-named “NGP”-at the end of the year. Fils-Aime refused to concede that the market dynamics had changed significantly, despite the rise of smartphone gaming. “We’re not influenced by what competitive forces are out there.”“In the end content is what is going to drive the purchase behavior,” he said. Nintendo’s Wii home gaming console pioneered motion-based gaming and was a smash with consumers. But the Wii, released in 2006, is showing some age in the face of competition from Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp, both of whom have release gesture-based gaming accessories last year. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata spoke at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday and made no mention of a next-generation console, despite the hopes of some industry watchers. —Reuters

technology SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011

Samsung sees iPad 2 thinness, price as challenge

SEOUL: South Korean giant Samsung Electronics yesterday admitted it faced a tough challenge to compete with Apple’s new slimmer and cheaper iPad, saying “inadequate” parts had to be improved. The iPad 2 unveiled this week was described by Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs as “dramatically thinner” than the previous model. The tablet is one-third the thickness of its predecessor at 8.8 millimetres (about one-third of an inch) and also thinner than Samsung’s latest 10.9-millimetre Galaxy gadget

announced last month. “We will have to improve the parts that are inadequate,” Lee Don-Joo, executive vice president of the Korean firm’s mobile division, told Yonhap news agency. “Apple made it very thin.” Apple is also winning on price so far. Samsung’s original seven-inch screen Galaxy Tab was priced at nearly $900 if bought without a two-year contract from mobile operators, while the cheapest iPad 2 costs $499. Samsung has not announced pricing for its new 10.1-inch tablet. “The 10inch (tablet) was to be priced higher

than the seven-inch but we will have to think that over,” Lee told Yonhap. Samsung has sold two million Galaxy Tabs since October 2010 while Apple sold 15 million iPads in AprilDecember. Rival manufacturers have been scrambling to bring their own tablet computers to market since Apple introduced the iPad last year. Overall sales of tablets, which can be used to surf the Web, read electronic books, watch videos and more, are forecast to hit 55 million this year. —AFP

Layoffs expected after AOL’s Huff Post buy NEW YORK: AOL’s acquisition of The Huffington Post news and opinion website will trigger layoffs, the Internet company’s chief executive Tim Armstrong said Thursday. Armstrong, speaking at the paidContent 2011 conference here, did not indicate exactly how many people he expected would lose their jobs following the $315 million purchase of The Huffington Post or where they were currently working. “My guess is there will be (layoffs),” Armstrong said in an appearance alongside The Huffington Post’s founder Arianna Huffington. “There’s no way around it for us and we just have to do it thoughtfully and carefully.” Armstrong also said AOL’s acquisition would result in around $20 million

in synergies between the organizations. The Huffington Post buy was the latest high-profile purchase by Armstrong, who joined AOL from Google two years ago in an attempt to turn around a company whose name has become synonymous with the dotcom era’s excesses. In September, AOL purchased TechCrunch, a leading Silicon Valley technology blog. Other AOL properties include Engadget, Patch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater, AOL Music, AOL Latino, AutoBlog and StyleList. Huffington, whose personality and star-studded address book have been key to her site’s success, was asked about The Huffington Post’s controversial policy of using material from

unpaid bloggers. “The people who make that criticism completely fail to understand the sea change that has happened-self-expression has become a tremendous source of fulfillment and entertainment for people,” she said. “We’re getting literally hundreds of submissions a day... One thing we have to do is hire more blog editors because it’s overwhelming.” The Huffington Post has attracted a strong following-nearly 25 million unique visitors a month-to its lively mix of news, entertainment, opinion and blogs submitted by academics, entertainment figures and politicians. Aside from the high-profile celebrities, thousands of ordinary writers have also contributed to the site since its launch in 2005, most of them for free. — AFP

WikiLeaks-linked soldier not held in a ‘hole’: US WASHINGTON: The US soldier suspected of passing secret documents to WikiLeaks is not being mistreated at a military brig or held “in a hole” as his supporters have alleged, the Pentagon said Thursday. “There’s 30 people on a U-shaped corridor, so he’s not in a hole. He’s not away from others. He’s allowed to have conversations with others on that corridor,” said press secretary Geoff Morrell, referring to the army private Bradley Manning held at a prison at Quantico Marine Corps base in Virginia. “He’s not being treated differently than any other maximum security detainee and not differently really that much from the medium security detainees,” Morrell told MSNBC television, after paying a visit to the brig himself. Manning, 23, has been held at the prison since July under a maximum security regimen because authorities say his escape would pose a risk to national security. The army private faces numerous charges of stealing classified files and is suspected as the source of a trove of classified documents published on the WikiLeaks website in recent months, which have infuriated and embarrassed US officials. US military authorities brought additional charges against Manning on Wednesday, accusing him of illegally downloading vast numbers of secret government files and “aiding the enemy.” His defense lawyers have filed a legal complaint over the conditions of his detention at Quantico, which include a “prevention of injury” watch. His supporters say the regimen is inhumane and has been deemed unnecessary by psychiatric experts. Under the strict rules, Manning is allowed out of his cell for only one hour a day for exercise outside or at an indoor gym. “I went down with the (defense) department’s general counsel and came away impressed about how professionally the brig is run at Quantico,” Morrell said. He added that perhaps reporters should be allowed to visit the prison because he said Manning’s advocates have offered a misleading picture of the brig. But Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, disagreed with the Pentagon’s portrayal, saying the army soldier was being held in “unduly harsh” conditions. “While it is true that PFC (private first class) Manning is not technically held in solitary confinement, the cumulative effect of his confinement conditions are tantamount to solitary confinement,” Coombs wrote on his blog. — AFP

FT exec urges publishers to charge for web content NEW YORK: The managing editor of the Financial Times website on Thursday urged other publishers to try charging for online content, saying the British outlet has over 200,000 digital subscribers. Rob Grimshaw, who has headed the newspaper’s online operations since June 2008, said the FT circulates around 400,000 print copies a day and has 207,000 subscribers for “As a publication we’re halfway to replicating our paying print audience in digital and that’s a really big deal for our business overall,” Grimshaw said at a panel discussion at the paidContent 2011 conference in New York. also has three million registered users-readers who can see up to 10 articles a month before being asked to subscribe, he said. Grimshaw addressed the fears of many publishers that erecting a paywall would result in a significant drop in traffic and online advertising revenue. “Our digital revenues from subscriptions increased by over 50 percent year over

year,” he said. “We’ve found with this model that there really isn’t a trade-off between advertising and subscription because our advertising revenues online also grew by double digits,” he said. The key to charging for content online is “quality and differentiation,” Grimshaw said. “If you’ve got quality in your content, if you’ve got uniqueness, if it can’t be found anywhere else, then you have an opportunity to charge for that content,” he said. “Go for it... Use the ability of the channel to test and experiment and find the thing that works for you as a publisher.” In the United States, Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal currently charges for full access to and The New York Times said this week that it would begin charging at “shortly.” Atlantic Media Co. President Justin Smith told the same panel that charging for online content is better suited to financial news outlets like FT and the Wall Street Journal. — AFP

MUMBAI: Sony Corporation Chairman Howard Stringer speaks during a function to launch the Sony Media Technology Centre at the Whistling Woods International film school in the outskirts of Mumbai, India, yesterday. According to the press release, Sony is targeting sales of approximately $12 billion from 3D-related product businesses by the end of fiscal year 2012 including consumer and professional products and game. —AP

TV listings


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Untamed And Uncut Wild Dog Island Dogs 101 Austin Stevens Adventures Whale Wars Buggin’ With Ruud Untamed And Uncut Dogs 101 Meerkat Manor Monkey Business Monkey Business Predator’s Prey Breed All About It Pandamonium Animal Precinct Wildlife SOS E-Vets: The Interns Animal Cops Houston Saving A Species: Gorillas On The

00:35 Crisps 01:05 01:30 02:00 02:45 03:15 03:40 04:10 04:40 05:00 05:20 05:40 05:50 05:55 06:10 06:30 06:50 07:10 07:20 07:25 07:40 08:00 08:20 08:40 08:50 08:55 09:10 09:30 09:50 10:10 10:20 10:25 10:40 11:40 12:25 12:40 13:30 15:30 16:15 16:45 17:30 18:15 18:30 19:20 21:00 21:45 22:00 23:00 Crisps 23:30

2 Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of

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04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 05:30 Streets Of Hollywood 06:00 THS 07:45 Behind The Scenes 08:35 E! News 09:25 Extreme Close-Up 10:15 Style Star 11:05 Kendra 12:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:15 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami 16:40 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 17:35 Fashion Police 18:00 E! News 18:50 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 19:15 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami 20:30 Fashion Police 20:55 The Soup 21:20 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 22:10 E! News 23:00 The Soup 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:50 Kendra EXTREME SPORTS 00:00 Fight Girls 01:40 X Games 16 2010 02:30 World Combat League 03:20 Fight Girls 04:10 Fight Girls 05:00 FIM World Motocross Mx1/Mx2... 06:40 World Combat League 07:30 iEX 2009 09:00 Tread BMX 09:50 Jump The Brazilian Gap 10:40 FIM World Supermoto 2010 12:20 Pumptrack 2010 13:10 Speedsters 2010 14:00 X Games 16 2010 14:50 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009 15:40 Dr Danger 16:05 Kenny Belaey’s Big Time 17:20 Speedsters 2010 18:10 Ty Murray’s Celebrity Bull Riding Challa 19:00 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009 19:50 Pumptrack 2010 20:40 Speedsters 2010 21:30 X Games 16 2010 22:20 Ty Murray’s Celebrity Bull Riding Challa 23:10 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009

Journey Of Life Face To Face With The Polar Bear Dogs 101 Orangutan Island Orangutan Island Pit Bulls And Parolees I’m Alive

Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show Ideal The Weakest Link Doctors Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show Last Of The Summer Wine Last Of The Summer Wine Balamory Tweenies Fimbles Little Robots The Adventures Of Spot Penelope K, By The Way Balamory Tweenies Fimbles Little Robots The Adventures Of Spot Penelope K, By The Way Balamory Tweenies Fimbles Little Robots The Adventures Of Spot Penelope K, By The Way Balamory Tweenies Fimbles Little Robots The Adventures Of Spot Penelope K, By The Way Last Of The Summer Wine Doctor Who Doctor Who Confidential Mutual Friends Eastenders The Weakest Link After You’ve Gone The Weakest Link Doctor Who Doctor Who Confidential Mutual Friends Holby City Doctor Who Doctor Who Confidential My Family 2 Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Ideal

Cash In The Attic Daily Cooks Challenge Antiques Roadshow Fantasy Homes In The City Daily Cooks Challenge Antiques Roadshow Daily Cooks Challenge Design Star Design Star Fantasy Homes In The City Fantasy Homes In The City Daily Cooks Challenge Fantasy Homes In The City Design Star Design Star Fantasy Homes In The City Fantasy Homes In The City Fantasy Homes In The City

Just Buried on OSN Movies Comedy

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Police Women Of Maricopa County Dirty Jobs Fifth Gear Fifth Gear Speed Machines Mythbusters How Does It Work? How It’s Made Dirty Jobs American Chopper Overhaulin’ Street Customs Berlin Mythbusters I Could Do That I Could Do That Wreckreation Nation Mythbusters American Chopper: Senior vs Battle Machine Bros Mega Builders Built From Disaster World’s Toughest Tools How It’s Made Storm Chasers American Loggers Ultimate Survival Man vs Fish With Matt Watson Extreme Fishing Shark Shrinks Chilean Miners Rescue

00:40 Nyc: Inside Out 01:30 The Gadget Show 01:55 Creating Synthetic Life

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Sci-Fi Science Weird Or What? How Does That Work? Junkyard Wars Robotica Weird Connections Perfect Disaster Weird Or What? Da Vinci’s Machines Brainiac Mega World Patent Bending The Gadget Show Space Pioneer Cosmic Collisions How Stuff Works The Future Of... Sci-Fi Science Engineered Mighty Ships Colony

Kim Possible FAIRLY ODD PARENTS STITCH Replacements Replacements FAIRLY ODD PARENTS STITCH Replacements Replacements Emperors New School SPECIAL AGENT OSO JUNGLE JUNCTION Handy Manny Mickey Mouse Clubhouse FAIRLY ODD PARENTS SONNY WITH A CHANCE YR 2 Phineas & Ferb

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00:15 Kendra 00:40 Behind The Scenes 01:30 25 Most Memorable Swimsuit Moments 03:15 25 Most Stylish

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Good Eats - Special Unwrapped Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives Barefoot Contessa Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics Chopped Good Eats - Special Food Network Challenge Good Eats - Special Unwrapped Ten Dollar Dinners Paula’s Best Dishes Paula’s Party Barefoot Contessa Chopped Guy’s Big Bite Boy Meets Grill Good Deal With Dave Lieberman Ten Dollar Dinners Paula’s Best Dishes Barefoot Contessa Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives Throwdown With Bobby Flay Unwrapped Paula’s Party Good Eats - Special Paula’s Best Dishes Throwdown With Bobby Flay Ultimate Recipe Showdown Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives Unwrapped Boy Meets Grill Chopped Paula’s Best Dishes Barefoot Contessa Good Deal With Dave Lieberman Ten Dollar Dinners Paula’s Party Good Eats - Special Guy’s Big Bite Throwdown With Bobby Flay Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives Food Network Challenge Chopped

000:40 Dr G: Medical Examiner 01:30 The Haunted 02:20 A Haunting 03:10 FBI Case Files 04:00 Disappeared

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Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghosthunters The Haunted Mystery Diagnosis Forensic Detectives Impossible Heists Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Disappeared FBI Files Murder Shift Royal Inquest Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls Disappeared Forensic Detectives Impossible Heists FBI Files Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Murder Shift Ghost Lab The Haunted Ghost Lab

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Market Values Weird And Wonderful Hotels Banged Up Abroad By Any Means Market Values Weird And Wonderful Hotels Banged Up Abroad By Any Means Market Values Weird And Wonderful Hotels Banged Up Abroad By Any Means Market Values Weird And Wonderful Hotels Exploring The Vine Weird And Wonderful Hotels Departures Bondi Rescue David Rocco’s Dolce Vita Exploring The Vine Weird And Wonderful Hotels Departures Departures Departures Departures Bondi Rescue David Rocco’s Dolce Vita Exploring The Vine Weird And Wonderful Hotels Departures

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The Kawaii Wild Wild Nights My Life Is A Zoo Hooked Predator CSI Journey Into Amazonia Bavaria’s Alpine Kingdom Shark Men Wild Freaks Animal Impact Wild Rescue Will Work For Nuts Predator CSI Animal Autopsy Monkey Thieves Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy Space Crab Predator CSI Animal Autopsy Monkey Thieves Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy Space Crab

00:00 Clive Barker’s Book Of Blood-R 02:00 Tears Of The Sun-18 04:00 The Ruins-R 06:00 Journey To The Center Of The Earth-PG 08:00 Changing Lanes-PG15 10:00 Obsessed-PG15 12:00 S.W.A.T.-PG15 14:00 Changing Lanes-PG15 16:00 Arlington Road-18 18:00 S.W.A.T.-PG15 20:00 The Taking Of Pelham 123-18 22:00 Signs-PG15

01:15 Order Of Chaos-18 03:00 Harold-PG15 05:00 Love Happens-PG15

TV listings SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:30

The Dust Factory-PG15 Harold-PG15 Surrogates-PG15 Rugrats Go Wild-FAM The Ramen Girl-PG15 Surrogates-PG15 Ira And Abby-PG15 Inglourious Basterds-18 Dorian Gray-18

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Boondocks 02:00 Outsourced 02:30 The Office 03:00 Nut Case 03:30 Weeds 04:00 Boondocks 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Coach 06:00 Yes Dear 06:30 The Drew Carey Show 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 The New Adventures Of Old Christine 08:30 Coach 09:00 Family Biz 09:30 The Drew Carey Show 10:00 Yes Dear 10:30 Outsourced 11:00 Coach 11:30 The New Adventures Of Old Christine 12:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 13:00 Family Biz 13:30 Coach 14:00 Yes Dear 14:30 The Office 15:00 Outsourced 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 Family Biz 18:30 The New Adventures Of Old Christine 19:00 Melissa And Joey 19:30 The Office 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live 23:00 Boondocks 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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The Ellen Degeneres Show American Idol No Ordinary Family Lie To Me Good Morning America One Tree Hill Psych Commander In Chief The View Lie To Me American Idol One Tree Hill Commander In Chief Live Good Morning America The Ellen Degeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street C.S.I. The Event 24 Justified One Tree Hill

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House American Idol Survivor: Redemption No Ordinary Family House The Ellen Degeneres Show 30 Rock Two And A Half Men How I Met Your Mother How I Met Your Mother House The Ellen Degeneres Show 30 Rock Two And A Half Men American Idol How I Met Your Mother How I Met Your Mother House My Boys Coronation Street The Ellen Degeneres Show How I Met Your Mother How I Met Your Mother C.S.I.

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The Event 24 Boardwalk Empire The Ellen Degeneres Show

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Journal Of A Contract Killer-R XXX-PG15 Clive Barker’s Book Of Blood-R Lost Junction-PG15 Mean Machine-18 The Italian Job (2003)-PG15 The Core-PG15 Mean Machine-18 Panic Room-PG15 Traitor-PG15 Signs-PG15 Anaconda: Trail Of Blood-R

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Evolution-PG15 Mr. Baseball-PG School Of Rock-PG15 Hotel For Dogs-FAM America’s Sweethearts-PG15 G-Force-PG All’s Faire In Love-PG Ed-PG Evolution-PG15 The Good Girl-PG15 Just Buried-18 American High School-18

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00

L’ivresse Du Pouvoir-PG15 Chicago-PG15 Hamlet-PG15 A Shine Of Rainbows-PG15 Living Proof-PG The Missing Person-PG15 Shadows In Paradise-PG15 Shine A Light-PG15

17:00 PG15 19:00 21:00 23:00

The Loss Of A Teardrop Diamond-

01:15 03:30 05:00 PG15 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Seven Years In Tibet-PG15 Beauty And The Beast-FAM Did You Hear About The Morgans?-

Cabaret-PG15 Cutting Edge 3-PG15 The Baader Meinhof Complex-18

Solaris-PG15 Astro Boy-PG15 Last Chance Harvey-PG15 Stuart Little 2-FAM I Spy-PG Astro Boy-PG15 The Damned United-PG15 Lower Learning-PG15 The Lovely Bones-PG15

00:00 The Jungle Book I-FAM 02:00 The Trumpet Of The Swan-FAM 04:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 06:00 Christopher Columbus-PG 08:00 Gladiators: The Conspiracy-PG 10:00 The Trumpet Of The Swan-FAM 12:00 Monsters vs. Aliens-PG 14:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 16:00 Wild Records!-PG 18:00 Homeward Bound II: Lost In San Francisco-FAM 20:00 Ulysses-PG 22:00 Monsters vs. Aliens-PG

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Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassin’s Ball-18 Dolan’s Cadillac-PG15 Mee Shee-PG Dean Spanley-PG Legally Blondes-PG Nativity!-PG

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Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past-PG15 Saved!-PG15 Legally Blondes-PG Toy Story 3-FAM Lower Learning-PG15 The Art Of War III: Retribution-PG15

01:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 09:30 13:30 14:00 16:00 16:30 17:30 18:00 22:00 22:30 23:00

Super 15 Super League Super 15 Total Rugby Live Super 15 Total Rugby Live Super 15 Futbol Mundial Trans World Sport Total Rugby Live Super 15 ICC Cricket World Futbol Mundial Super 15

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The All Sports Show Dubai Int’l Racing Carnival The All Sports Show European Tour Weekly ICC Cricket World Trans World Sport The All Sports Show ICC Cricket World European Tour Weekly Super League Trans World Sport The All Sports Show European Tour Weekly Futbol Mundial ICC Cricket World Total Rugby Live Aviva Premiership Trans World Sport Live Super League Futbol Mundial

04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 15:30 16:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 20:00 23:00

WWE Bottom Line WWE NXT UFC Unleashed WWE Bottom Line WWE NXT WWE SmackDown Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge V8 Supercars Championship V8 Supercars Championship V8 Supercars Extra FIM World Cup Airsports World WWE Vintage Collection Futbol Mundial Live Scottish Premier League UFC Fight Night WWE SmackDown

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News, Sport, Weather Sky News At Ten Sky News Tonight Press Preview Sky Midnight News Cbs News News On The Hour News, Sport, Weather Cbs News Sunrise Saturday Live Saturday Sport Weeekend Lunchtime Weekend Lunchtime News, Sport, Weather Live At Five Sky News At Six Sky News At Seven With Steve Sportsline News, Sport, Weather

00:55 The Package-PG15 02:45 I Want To Live!-PG15 04:45 Jezebel-FAM 06:25 The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight-PG 08:00 36 Hours-PG 09:55 Humoresque-PG 12:00 Ride The High Country-PG 13:30 The Shoes Of The Fisherman-FAM 16:00 Flipper-FAM 17:30 Captain Blood-FAM 19:25 Ten Thousand Bedrooms-PG 21:20 Singin’ In The Rain-FAM 23:00 No Small Affair-PG15

Tears of the Sun on OSN Action HD

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The Universe Dead Men’s Secrets The Korean War Dead Men’s Secrets Decoding The Past Investigating History The Universe Dead Men’s Secrets The Korean War Dead Men’s Secrets Battles B.C. Investigating History The Universe Dead Men’s Secrets The Korean War Dead Men’s Secrets Battles B.C. Investigating History The Universe Dead Men’s Secrets The Korean War Dead Men’s Secrets Lost Worlds Battle Stations Tunnellers

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 06:00 06:30 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 12:00

How Do I Look? Jerseylicious Fashion Avenue How Do I Look? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Homes With Style Area Clean House Big Boutique Clean House Big Boutique Fashion Avenue

12:30 13:00 14:00 21:00 22:00 22:30 23:00

Fashion Avenue Bridalplasty Jerseylicious Dude, Where’s Your Style? Fashion Avenue The Dish Jerseylicious

00:15 00:17 01:00 01:30 02:00 02:45 03:15 03:17 07:15 07:17 08:00 08:45 09:15 09:17 11:00 11:40 13:00 13:45 14:00 15:00

Top New Playlist New Playlist Urban Hit Playlist Top Gossip Playlist Top Money Playlist R&B 10 Playlist Monthly Top Playlist Club 10 Playlist Urban Hit Playlist Focus Guest Star

00:00 Globe Trekker 01:00 World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides 02:00 Globe Trekker 03:00 Word Travels 03:30 Wild At Heart 04:00 Four Men And A Lady 04:30 Raiders Of The Lost Snow 05:00 Globe Trekker 06:00 World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides 07:00 Panasia 07:30 Great Scenic Railways-Us And Canada 08:00 Globe Trekker 09:00 Spring 09:30 Australia’s Great Wildlife Islands 10:30 Rudy Maxa’s World 11:00 Planet Food 12:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 13:00 Globe Trekker 14:00 Cruising To The Northern Lights 15:00 Chef Abroad 15:30 Spring 16:00 Planet Food 17:00 Globe Trekker 17:30 Rudy Maxa’s World 18:00 Tall Ship Explorers 19:00 Cruising The Spirit Of Adventure 20:00 Globe Trekker 21:00 Essential 21:30 Globe Trekker 22:00 Globe Trekker 23:00 World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides

00:15 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 00:40 Chowder 01:05 Cow And Chicken 01:30 Cramp Twins 01:55 George Of The Jungle 02:20 Adventure Time 02:45 Eliot Kid 03:10 Ed, Edd N Eddy 03:35 Ben 10: Alien Force 04:00 The Powerpuff Girls 04:15 Chowder 04:40 The Secret Saturdays 05:05 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 05:30 Ben 10: Alien Force 05:55 Best Ed 06:20 Skunk Fu! 06:45 Cramp Twins 07:10 Eliot Kid 07:35 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 08:00 Casper’s Scare School 08:25 Chop Socky Chooks 08:50 Chowder 09:15 Ben 10: Alien Force 09:40 Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders 10:05 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 10:30 The Secret Saturdays 10:55 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 11:20 George Of The Jungle 11:30 Angelo Rules 11:55 Best Ed 12:20 Eliot Kid 12:45 Skunk Fu! 13:00 Ben 10 22:00 The Powerpuff Girls

W h a t ’s O n SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011

US Embassy cautions against Diversity Visa scams


he US Embassy in Kuwait reminds individuals to use caution when working with private entities to apply for visas to the United States, as reports of fraudulent emails, websites, and print advertisements offering visa services are on the rise. In particular, one widespread Diversity Visa (DV) scam e-mail instructs recipients to send money via Western Union to a fictitious person at the US Embassy in London. If you have received this e-mail, you have been targeted by con artists. Under no circumstance should money be sent to any address for participation in the DV Lottery. The Department of State’s Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) does not send e-mail notification to DV entrants informing them of their winning entries. DV-2012 applicants will never receive correspondence containing information on an applicant’s status, but will only receive notification directing them to check their status on the official website. The only official way to receive status updates is through the DV program website at Many private websites offer legitimate services to assist individuals in applying for visas, but some illegitimate entities claim to provide “visa services” as a cover for scams or identity


t’s but rarely that history presents the people of a nation an opportunity to reflect, rejoice and remember. ICSK Junior joined hands in celebrating February 2011 that marks three momentous anniversaries for Kuwait. Every nook and corner of the school looked colourful with national flags banners and the pictures of His Highness and the crown prince. The bulletin boards, class boards and corridors were filled with information about Kuwait, past and present. Students got actively involved in preparing speeches on every aspect of this great country which was addressed every morning after the prayer. The morning assemblies and special assemblies were based on themes on Kuwait’s history and culture. The emphatic speeches

theft. Some of these websites may attempt to charge a fee for providing forms and information about immigration procedures that are available to the public at no charge on the Department of State ( and websites, or through the US Embassy Kuwait’s website. Persons who wish to apply for US visas should use caution before deciding to send via e-mail personal information such as credit card and bank account numbers. The only official way to register for the DV program is directly through the official US Department of State website during the specified, limited-time registration period. The DV program offers up to 55,000 visa slots annually for people who wish to apply for immigration to the United States. Applicants selected in the random drawing are notified by the US Department of State and are provided with instructions on how to proceed to the next step in the process. No other organization or private company is authorized by the US Department of State to notify DV program applicants of their winning entries or the next steps in the process of applying for their immigrant visas. Successful DV2011 applicants already have been notified by KCC by letter,

in English and Arabic reminded one and all about the pre and post independence days. The school campus echoed with melodious songs in Arabic. The energetic dance performance by the tiny tots left everyone spellbound. Children wore badges, bands, caps traditional dresses and carried flags which enthralled one and all with an air of festivity. Our Principal Fathima motivated the students and teachers alike with her inspirational talks which highly boosted the morale of everyone around in active participation. The highlight of the month long celebration was the Quiz competition based on the speeches delivered every morning. Children participated with great enthusiasm. This event of celebration gave students an opportuni-

not by email. DV-2011 entrants also can check the status of their entries at until June 30, 2011. Entrants will not be asked to send money to the KCC or any US embassy or consulate. Entrants who completed the online DV-2012 entries will not receive notification letters from KCC. Rather, they must check the status of their entries themselves through the Entrant Status Check available at between May 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012. To report incidents of visa fraud, please contact the Embassy via email at Images of US emblems such as flags, eagles, monuments, or official seals do not necessarily indicate a US Government website. A domain name of “.gov” ensures that a website is a legitimate US government site where the information is free and up-todate. Complaints about unwanted e-mails that may be scams can be sent to the US Department of Justice at

ty to explore the rich cultural heritage of Kuwait. It promoted respect for the nation which is truly a second home for many Indians. We pray to the Lord Almighty that Kuwait emerges victorious in every field. ICSK Junior wishes everyone a happy National day and Liberation day. Long live Kuwait. Long live His Highness Amir.



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W h a t ’s O n SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011

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).



hildhood is regarded as a magical illusion fabricated for the happiness of children. It’s not just fairy tales or tales of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, but a beautiful gift that is bestowed by one generation upon another! The young and industrious students of Class 2 at Fahaheel Al Watanieh Indian Pvt. School, presented a scintillating show highlighting a theme called ‘Celebrating Childhood’, for their Annual Day program on February 9 and 10, 2011. The aim of the show was to encourage mentors to provide all the happy memories young children need, in order to sustain themselves in an ever changing world! The show began with a dazzling classical invocation dance followed by some vibrant dance performances, highlighting a strong connection between child and nature and a glimpse into the carefree world of young children, exploring their dreams and fantasies. A well-conceived classroom skit called ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ depicted a lively classroom scene between a teacher and her students, who eloquently articulated their thoughts on how to keep their spirits high even when times are rough, in the natural course of life. Dressed in glittery costumes, children happily danced to the beats of a traditional Arabic song emphasizing the love and affection showered on them as a celebration of girgiyaan. A cute and funny family skit, reminded the audience that every child should be allowed to blossom in their own way. A music choir sweetly enthralled the audience with their melodious songs, while the garba and dandiya raas dancers gracefully danced with splendid co-ordination and charisma! A spectacular fashion extravagan-

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

za, exhibited by children gorgeously dressed in glamourous costumes, left the audience completely spell bound! An incredible slide show showcasing the creative and artistic work of students was the surprise element of the program, and an absolute delight for the audience! Principal Anju Dheman congratulated the enthusiastic students of Class 2 as well as the teachers and parents for their wonderful team effort. She gave a heartfelt speech on how allowing children to nurture their own dreams, with a little encouragement in the right direction, could be the greatest gift we could give them.

International Women’s Group


e know you will join us in welcoming Dr Nada Al Mutawa as our speaker tomorrow. Our theme will be International Women’s Day and the topic of Dr Al Mutawa’s presentation is: “The role of Kuwaiti Women in the Economic and Political History.” The meeting will take place at the Radisson Blu, at the Boubiyan Room, with doors opening at 9:30 am.

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, Al-Abraj Complex, Office No 9, Mezzanine Floor; 9 AM to 9 PM, Saturday to Thursday; 5 PM to 9 PM on Friday. Embassy of India would like to inform that application forms for passport/visa services and labor contracts that are on its website,, have been upgraded to include the facility for online data entry. Affidavit forms on the embassy website have had this facility since May 6, 2009.



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Migraine drug ups risk for birth defects: FDA Topamax, generics increase risk of cleft lip, palate WASHINGTON: A headache medication for migraines increases the risk for birth defects in babies born to pregnant mothers taking the medication, US health officials said yesterday. The Food and Drug Administration said new data shows the drug, sold generically and as Johnson & Johnson’s Topamax, can cause cleft lips or cleft palate deformities. Officials called on doctors to warn their female patients of childbearing age who are taking the

medicine about its risks. FDA’s Russell Katz, who heads the agency’s Division of Neurology Products, said doctors should think carefully before prescribing the drug to women and “alternative medications that have a lower risk of birth defects should be considered.” Cleft lips and cleft palates occur when the mouth does not fully form, causing a “split lip” or a hole in the roof of the mouth. They can lead to multiple development issues because

they can make it nearly impossible for babies to get adequate nutrition. They can be corrected with surgery, although sometimes several operations are needed. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc, Mylan Inc and other generic drug makers also sell the drug under its chemical name topiramate. FDA issued the warning based on data collected from the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry, it said. — Reuters

States must continue with health overhaul: Judge

Photo shows stout-braised chicken in Concord. NH This recipe, which is perfect for St Patrick’s Day, combines two techniques: flash browning over high heat and a quick, low-heat braise. By switching around the sauce ingredients you can turn this method for cooking thighs into an endless variety of dishes. —AP

Lung cancer

‘Artificial airway’ transplant is world first French doctors said on Thursday they were delighted at a medical first in which a 78-year-old man was given a section of artificial airway to save a lung afflicted by bronchial cancer. The bronchi are the main tubes for taking air from the trachea to the two sides of the lung. In cases of early, non-metastasizing cancer of the bronchus, surgeons typically remove a whole lung, as well as the bronchus itself, if the tumor is located in the centre of the organ. In more than a quarter of cases, this leads to death within three months of the operation. A team led by thoracic and vascular surgeon Emmanuel Martinod removed the diseased part of the bronchus and grafted a replacement, thus saving the lung. The transplant, carried out in a three-hour on October 28 2009, entailed a small metal tube-shaped frame, or stent, which supported a section of artery taken from a deceased donor and frozen in a tissue bank. The advantage of aortal tissue is that it does not require anti-rejection drugs, which are not recommended for cancer patients, whose weakened immune system is less able to combat infection. “The patient is doing very well,” Martinod, a professor at the Avicenne Hospital in eastern Paris, told a press conference. “He needs regular monitoring, but he’s doing fine, he’s walking, he goes to his house in the country.” The patient “has the respiratory capacity of an 80-year-old man with a history of smoking,” he said. —AFP

PENSACOLA, Florida: A federal judge who declared President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul unconstitutional ruled on Thursday that states must continue implementing it while the case makes its way through the courts. US District Judge Roger Vinson was responding to a request from Obama administration attorneys who sought to ensure Florida and 25 other states follow the law until their challenge to it is resolved. Three other federal judges have upheld the law and a fourth in Virginia has ruled against it, but that ruling is also on hold until appeals are heard. The issue is widely expected to wind up before the US Supreme Court. In Thursday’s ruling, Vinson admonished the administration for being slow to appeal and for asking him to clarify his ruling instead of filing a motion to put it on hold. Still, he said, it is in the nation’s best interest for states to continue following the law for now. “It would be extremely disruptive and cause significant uncertainty” to halt implementation, he wrote. However, if the federal government does not appeal within seven days, the states can consider the law invalid, he wrote. Vinson ruled the massive overhaul unconstitutional in January, saying the federal government had overstepped its authority to regulate interstate commerce by requiring nearly all Americans to carry health insurance. He said lawmakers do not have the power to penalize citizens for not doing something. But he wrote in Thursday’s ruling that other judges will probably disagree with him. “It is likely that the Court of Appeals will also reach divergent results and that, as most courtwatchers predict, the Supreme Court may eventually be split on this issue

as well,” he wrote. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said in a statement that the government would promptly appeal Vinson’s ruling and seek an expedited review. “There is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing the Affordable Care Act and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail on appeal,” she said. Other states that joined Florida in filing the lawsuit were: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. — AP

Goodman Media International, Inc, shows Donald Berwick, the official quarterbacking the overhaul of the nation’s medical system, installed last year by President Barack Obama as a recess appointment, bypassing the Senate. — AP

Surgeon creates new kidney on TED stage LONG BEACH: A surgeon specializing in regenerative medicine on Thursday “printed” a real kidney using a machine that eliminates the need for donors when it comes to organ transplants. “It’s like baking a cake,” Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine said as he cooked up a fresh kidney on stage at a TED Conference in the California city of Long Beach. Scanners are used to take a 3-D image of a kidney that needs replacing, then a tissue sample about half the size of postage stamp is used to seed the computerized process, Atala explained. The organ “printer” then works layer-by-layer to build a replacement kidney replicating the patient’s tissue. College student Luke Massella was among the first people to receive a printed kidney during experimental research a decade ago when he was just 10 years old. He said he was born with Spina Bifida and his kidneys were not working. “Now, I’m in college and basically trying to live life like a normal kid,” said Massella, who was reunited with Atala at TED. “This surgery saved my life and made me who I am today.” About 90 percent of people waiting for transplants are in need of kidneys, and the need far outweighs the supply of donated organs, according to Atala. “There is a major health crisis today in terms of the shortage of organs,” Atala said. “Medicine has done a much better job of making us live longer, and as we age our organs don’t last.” — AFP

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information SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011



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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

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Word Sleuth Solution

Yesterday’s Solution

ACROSS 1. A numbered compartment in a post office where mail is put to be called for. 4. Derived from or containing calcium or lime. 10. A Turkish unit of weight equal to about 2.75 pounds. 13. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 14. Minute blackish gregarious flies destructive to mushrooms and seedlings. 15. 4-wheeled motor vehicle. 16. Son of John Cabot who was born in Italy and who led an English expedition in search of the Northwest Passage and a Spanish expedition that explored the La Plata region of Brazil. 18. Divulge information or secrets. 19. Food of a ruminant regurgitated to be chewed again. 20. By bad luck. 22. (sometimes followed by `of') Having or showing realization or perception. 24. Sour or bitter in taste. 25. (folklore) A corpse that rises at night to drink the blood of the living. 26. Any of various strong liquors distilled from the fermented sap of toddy palms or from fermented molasses. 29. The cry made by sheep. 30. An edge tool with a heavy bladed head mounted across a handle. 31. Of or relating to the gonads. 33. An ancient Hebrew unit of dry measure equal to about a bushel. 37. A reptile genus of Iguanidae. 40. In addition. 42. A magnetic tape recorder for recording (and playing back) TV programs. 43. A rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element. 44. Unknown god. 49. The hair growing on the lower part of a man's face. 52. A period of time equal to 1/24th of a day. 53. Having the head uncovered. 56. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 59. The capital and chief port of Qatar. 60. Neckwear consisting of a long narrow piece of material worn (mostly by men) under a collar and tied in knot at the front. 62. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 63. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 64. French romantic writer (1766-1817). 65. An international organization created in 1949 by the North Atlantic Treaty for purposes of collective security. DOWN 1. Large burrowing rodent of South and Central America. 2. Using speech rather than writing. 3. A small cake leavened with yeast. 4. Standard time in the 6th time zone west of Greenwich, reckoned at the 90th meridian. 5. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 6. Showing or characterized by broad-mindedness. 7. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 8. A self-funded retirement plan that allows you to contribute a limited yearly sum toward your retirement. 9. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 10. English scholastic philosopher and assumed author of Occam's Razor

(1285-1349). 11. Resin of the kauri trees of N Zealand. 12. Type genus of the Ardeidae. 17. Port city on southern Honshu on Osaka Bay. 21. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 23. Treated with wax. 27. A unit of weight used in some Moslem countries near the Mediterranean. 28. Type genus of the Anatidae. 32. Electronic warfare undertaken to insure effective friendly use of the electromagnetic spectrum in spite of the enemy's use of electronic warfare. 34. The ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. 35. An ugly evil-looking old woman. 36. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 38. Reprehensible acquisitiveness. 39. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 41. Long green edible beaked pods of the okra plant. 45. A public promotion of some product or service. 46. A case or sheath especially a pollen sac or moss capsule. 47. Hungarian choreographer who developed Labanotation (1879-1958). 48. Any plant of the genus Erica. 50. English essayist (1775-1834). 51. Type genus of the Aceraceae. 54. Make editorial changes (in a text). 55. Panel forming the lower part of an interior wall when it is finished differently from the rest. 57. Any of various long-tailed rodents similar to but larger than a mouse. 58. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 10 liters. 59. A white soft metallic element that tarnishes readily. 61. A bachelor's degree in science.

Yesterday’s Solution

sports SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011

Levin grabs early lead at the Honda Classic

Magic stun Heat NBA results/standings

Westwood eyeing world number one ranking MIAMI: American Spencer Levin fired an opening round three-under 67 to grab the lead in the opening round of the Honda Classic on Thursday with world number two Lee Westwood of Britain three shots back at Palm Beach Gardens. The 26-year-old Levin, whose bid for a maiden PGA Tour win fell short in a playoff last week, fired four birdies and one bogey for a one-shot lead over Australians Stuart Appleby and Greg Chalmers, South African Charl Schwartzel, American Kyle Stanley and 2009 Honda champion South Korean Yang Yong-eun. “It was very difficult as you could tell by the scores out there, it’s a heck of a golf course,” said Levin, one of just eight players to break par. “Those last four holes are hard anyway ... You throw a 30-mile-anhour wind in your face on three of them, it makes it even that much more difficult. “It was blowing hard out there, it really was.” Westwood, who could reclaim the world number one ranking from Germany’s Martin Kaymer with a solo third place finish or better, battled to an even-par 70 in windy conditions at the PGA National Champion course. Playing the back nine first, world number two Westwood got off to a slow start with bogeys at 12 and 17 but recovered with four birdies against two more bogeys on his closing nine to sit three off the pace. Luke Donald, the world number three from Britain who is fresh off a win at the WGC-Accenture Match Play championship, got off to a disastrous start with a triple bogey seven at the par-four 11th, his second hole, and posted a three-over 73. Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, the world number four, joined Donald on 73 after a difficult round that featured three bogeys. South African Ernie Els and Colombian Camilo Villegas, a pair of former Honda winners, had disappointing rounds. Els, the 2008 Honda champion, opened with four straight bogeys from the 10th followed by a doublebogey at 15 to stand six-over through six holes en route to a 75. Defending champion Villegas continued his poor start to the 2011 campaign as he shot a nine-over 79 that included two double bogeys and five bogeys. — Reuters

NBA results and standings on Thursday. Orlando 99, Miami 96; Denver 103, Utah 101. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT Boston 44 15 .746 NY Knicks 31 28 .525 Philadelphia 30 30 .500 New Jersey 17 43 .283 Toronto 17 44 .279

GB 13 14.5 27.5 28

Central Division 41 18 .695 27 33 .450 23 36 .390 22 41 .349 11 49 .183

14.5 18 21 30.5

Southeast Division 43 18 .705 40 22 .645 37 24 .607 26 34 .433 15 45 .250

3.5 6 16.5 27.5

Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 37 22 .627 Denver 37 26 .587 Portland 34 27 .557 Utah 32 30 .516 Minnesota 15 47 .242

2 4 6.5 23.5

LA Lakers Phoenix Golden State LA Clippers Sacramento

Pacific Division 43 19 .694 31 28 .525 27 33 .450 22 40 .355 15 44 .254

10.5 15 21 26.5

San Antonio Dallas New Orleans Memphis Houston

Southwest Division 50 11 .820 44 16 .733 35 28 .556 34 28 .548 31 32 .492

5.5 16 16.5 20

Chicago Indiana Milwaukee Detroit Cleveland

SALT LAKE CITY: Denver Nuggets guard J R Smith (left) dives for the ball after knocking it loose from Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City. — AP MIAMI: Jason Richardson scored 24 points, 11 of them to kickstart what became a wild 40-9 run, as the Orlando Magic rallied from 24 points down in the second half to stun the Miami Heat 99-96 on Thursday. Jameer Nelson scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half and Dwight Howard finished with 14 points and 18 rebounds for the Magic, who trailed 73-49 after a dunk by LeBron James with 8:57 left in the third quarter. Ryan Anderson scored 15 and Gilbert Arenas added 11, including a pair of big 3-pointers in the fourth. James scored 29 and Dwyane Wade had 28 for Miami, which trailed 97-96 with 9.6 seconds left. JJ Redick pushed the lead to three with a pair of free throws, and Chris Bosh and James missed 3-point attempts in the final seconds.

Nuggets 103, Jazz 101 At Salt Lake City, Aaron Afflalo shook off a sore ankle to score 19 points, including a 3pointer with 11.4 seconds to play to help Denver hold on against Utah. Ty Lawson scored 22 points, and Nene and Chris Andersen each added 13 to give the Nuggets their fifth win in six games the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York. The Jazz had an unlikely chance to send the game into overtime, but Andrei Kirilenko fumbled the ball away as the buzzer sounded. C J Miles had 22 points, and Devin Harris had 21 points and nine assists for Utah, which lost its seventh straight at home - the team’s worst home skid since 1982. The Jazz fell to 1-6 under new coach Ty Corbin. — AP

Miami Orlando Atlanta Charlotte Washington

With Olympics coming, golf world turns to Brazil

FLORIDA: Spencer Levin surveys the eighteen green during first round action of the 2011 Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. — AP

SAO PAULO: The golf world is starting to pay attention to the land of futebol. With Rio de Janeiro preparing for golf’s return to the Olympics after an absence of more than 100 years, some of the sport’s top names are starting to show an interest in Brazil, especially in the opportunity to design the course that will host the historic tournament at the 2016 games. Robert Trent Jones Jr. visited Brazil this week and secured a spot in the race to build the course, joining a field that includes Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman and others. “I’ve been a longtime Olympic activist and obviously was very happy golf rejoined the games,” Jones told The Associated Press while in Brazil.

“We want to be part of it, it would be a wonderful thing.” Golf made its debut at the second modern Olympics in Paris in 1900, but was dropped after the 1904 games in St Louis. The sport was returned to the Olympic roster by an International Olympic Committee vote in 2009 that also guaranteed it a place in 2020, but its participation beyond that will largely depend on an IOC evaluation after the Rio Games. “The game of golf is in Brazilian hands,” said Jones, who formed a partnership this week with retired Brazilian golf great Mario Gonzalez to vie for the Olympic course design work. Norman will team up with Lorena Ochoa, and Nicklaus announced last year that he will join forces with Annika Sorenstam. Both served as “global ambassadors”

during golf’s successful bid to be part of the Olympics. Nicklaus would handle the championship tees for the men’s tournament and Sorenstam for the women’s. “We have dozens of designers interested in this course, the international reaction has been great,” said Paulo Pacheco, the Brazilian golf confederation’s vice president of marketing. “I think it’s even possible that one of these designers will offer their work free of charge just because of the importance of having their name associated with this historic tournament.” The course designer will be chosen in a process that will involve the International Golf Federation and the Rio 2016 organizing committee. — AP



Maple Leafs top Flyers Streaking Bruins dump Lightning David Desharnais also scored for the Canadiens, who have won four of their last five. Travis Moen and James Wisniewski each had two assists. Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun lasted only 8:54 before he was pulled after giving up two goals on three shots. Backup Scott Clemmensen made 25 saves.

PHILADELPHIA: Darryl Boyce scored with 4:30 left in the third period to rally the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 comeback victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. Nikolai Kulemin and Dion Phaneuf also scored for the Maple Leafs, coming off a 3-2 overtime victory over Pittsburgh at home Wednesday night. Toronto, fighting for a playoff spot, 102-4 since the All-Star break. Kris Versteeg scored twice for the Flyers against his former team. Toronto traded him to Philadelphia last month. The Eastern Conference-leading Flyers lost consecutive games for the first time since last December.

Wild 3, Rangers 1 At New York, Casey Wellman, recalled from the minor leagues hours earlier, broke a second-period tie with his second NHL goal and Jose Theodore made 40 saves for the Minnesota. Wellman was brought up on an emergency basis in case Cal Clutterbuck was unable to play following a hard hit he took from behind Wednesday in Minnesota’s loss to the New York Islanders. Clutterbuck was in the lineup, but Wellman took the place of Jed Ortmeyer, sent down to Houston of the AHL. Kyle Brodziak also scored in the second to wipe out the Rangers’ 1-0 lead, and PierreMarc Bouchard added insurance in the third for the Wild, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Sean Avery scored for New York.

Sharks 3, Red Wings 1 At San Jose, California, Dany Heatley scored twice and Antti Niemi made 26 saves to lead San Jose to its eighth straight victory. The win was the 17th in the past 20 games for the Sharks, who have moved from outside the playoff picture in mid-January to third place in the Western Conference, just three points behind second-place Detroit. Patrick Marleau also scored for San Jose. Tomas Holmstrom scored a power-play goal for the Red Wings. Bruins 2, Lightning 1 At Boston, Milan Lucic broke a tie with 3:42 left as Boston won its seventh straight game to break to assume second place in the Eastern Conference. Steven Kampfer also scored for the Bruins, coming off a six-game trip. The Bruins pulled two points ahead of Tampa Bay and clinched the tiebreaker with a 3-1 series victory. Tim Thomas had 27 saves for the Bruins, allowing only Eric Brewer’s goal. Hurricanes 3, Sabres 2, OT At Raleigh, North Carolina, Jamie McBain scored 26 seconds into overtime for Carolina. Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen rushed the puck over the Sabres’ blue line and waited for the trailing McBain. McBain’s slap shot made it through traffic before sneaking through goalie Ryan Miller’s legs. Chad LaRose and Jiri Tlusty also scored for Carolina. Cam Ward made 27 saves. Newly acquired Brad Boyes scored his second goal in two games for the Sabres, Steve Montador also had a goal and Miller made 21 saves.

LOS ANGELES: Phoenix Coyotes right wing Shane Doan (left) trips over Los Angeles Kings center Trevor Lewis during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Los Angeles. The Kings won 1-0. — AP

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Thursday. Boston 2, Tampa Bay 1; Minnesota 3, NY Rangers 1; Toronto 3, Philadelphia 2; Washington 3, St Louis 2; Carolina 3, Buffalo 2 (OT); Ottawa 3, Atlanta 1; Montreal 4, Florida 0; Edmonton 4, Columbus 2; Nashville 3, Vancouver 0; Los Angeles 1, Phoenix 0; San Jose 3, Detroit 1. (OT Denotes Overtime).


Philadelphia 40


6 205 162





7 189 162


NY Rangers



4 182 163


New Jersey



4 134 165


NY Islanders 24


9 177 208


Northeast Division Boston



7 197 149




7 172 165





8 181 182





9 170 197





9 146 202



Southeast Division Tampa Bay

Canadiens 4, Panthers 0 At Sunrise, Florida, Carey Price made 30 saves for his seventh shutout of the season, and Andrei Kostitsyn and Lars Eller each had a goal and an assist for Montreal. Hal Gill and

Detroit Chicago Nashville Columbus St. Louis

Vancouver Calgary Minnesota Colorado Edmonton

Northwest Division 40 16 9 210 154 33 24 9 200 188 34 25 6 169 171 26 30 8 184 219 22 35 8 164 214

Atlantic Division W

Capitals 3, Blues 2 At Washington, newcomer Jason Arnott scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:19 left as Washington beat St Louis for its third straight victory. Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth stopped 25 shots to set a franchise record for wins by a rookie with 21. The 22-year-old topped Bob Mason, who won 20 in 1986-87. Playing in his second game since being acquired in a trade with New Jersey, Arnott took a crossing pass from Alexander Semin and beat goalie Ty Conklin with a slap shot from the left circle. Scott Hannan and Niklas Backstrom also scored and Alex Ovechkin had two assists for the Capitals. Alexander Steen and BJ Crombeen scored for the Blues.

Western Conference Central Division 39 19 7 215 188 35 23 6 208 177 33 23 9 165 153 31 25 7 173 187 28 27 9 175 189

Eastern Conference



7 193 194


Washington 35


10 173 164





9 189 196





11 180 211





7 160 177


85 76 75 69 65

89 75 74 60 52

Pacific Division San Jose 38 21 6 183 164 82 Los Angeles 36 24 4 179 156 76 Phoenix 33 23 10 186 190 76 Dallas 34 23 6 174 177 74 Anaheim 34 25 5 178 187 73 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

Oilers 4, Blue Jackets 2 At Edmonton, Alberta, Devan Dubnyk stopped R.J. Umberger on a penalty shot in the first period and finished with 26 saves in Edmonton’s victory over Columbus. Taylor Hall had a goal an assist, Sam Gagner, Jordan Eberle and Andrew Cogliano also scored and Shawn Horcoff had two assists to help the Oilers win for the sixth time in nine games. Hall completed a “Gordie Howe hat trick” when he traded punches with Derek Dorsett in the second period, but the rookie star injured his left ankle when he landed awkwardly in the fight - his first in the NHL. Matt Calvert and Scottie Upshall scored for Columbus. Senators 3, Thrashers 1 At Atlanta, Craig Anderson made 42 saves and Nick Foligno scored the clinching goal with just under 9 minutes remaining, giving Ottawa a victory over fading Atlanta. Coming into the night six points out of the final playoff spot in the East, the Thrashers’ playoff hopes took a crushing blow with their 11th loss in the last 13 games. Colin Greening scored the only goal through the first two periods. Bobby Butler made it 2-0 a minute into the third, before Byfuglien gave the Thrashers hope with his 19th goal. Predators 3, Canucks 0 At Vancouver, British Columbia, Blake Geoffrion opened the scoring 1:59 into the third period and Pekka Rinne stopped 29 shots in Nashville’s victory over Vancouver. Patric Hornqvist added an insurance goal with 2:21 left and David Legwand completed the scoring into an empty. Kings 1, Coyotes 0 At Los Angeles, Jonathan Bernier recorded his third NHL shutout and Jarret Stoll converted a penalty to Phoenix’s Rostislav Klesla into a power-play goal with 7:47 remaining, leading Los Angeles. Klesla, playing his second gave with Phoenix after a trade with Columbus on Monday, was sent off for highsticking Anze Kopitar. — AP



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Windies destroy Bangladesh in WCup My worst day, says Bangladesh captain Scoreboard Scoreboard in the World Cup Group B match between Bangladesh and West Indies at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka yesterday. Bangladesh innings: Tamim Iqbal c Sammy b Roach 0 Imrul Kayes c Thomas b Sammy 5 Junaid Siddique lbw b Roach 25 Mushfiqur Rahim c Sarwan b Sammy 0 Shakib Al Hasan b Benn 8 Raqibul Hasan c Pollard b Sammy 4 Mohammad Ashraful c Thomas b Roach 11 Naeem Islam c Thomas b Benn 1 Shafiul Islam c Pollard b Benn 0 Abdur Razzak not out 2 Rubel Hossain b Benn 0 Extras: (w 1 nb 1) 2 Total (all out; 18.5 overs) 58 Fall of wickets: 1-0 2-16 3-25 4-36 5-41 6-51 7-56 8-56 9-58 Bowling: Roach 6-0-19-3 (1nb, 1w), Benn 5.5-2-18-4, Sammy 7-0-21-3 West Indies innings D. Smith b Naeem Islam 6 C. Gayle not out 37 D. Bravo not out 9 Extras (b 2 w 5) 7 Total (for one wicket; 12.2 overs) 59 Fall of wicket: 1-29 Did not bat: R. Sarwan, S. Chanderpaul, K. Pollard, D. Thomas, D. Sammy, N. Miller, S. Benn, K. Roach Bowling: Shafiul Islam 2-0-11-0, Naeem Islam 6-1-14-1 (1w), Rubel Hossain 1-012-0, Abdur Razzak 1-0-8-0 (2w), Mohammad Ashraful 2-0-11-0, Shakib Al Hasan 0.2-0-1-0 Result: West Indies won by nine wickets

NEW DELHI: The West Indies destroyed Bangladesh by nine wickets in an embarrassingly one-sided contest yesterday, dismissing the World Cup cohosts for just 58 runs-their lowest ever one-day total. In front of a stunned capacity crowd of 25,000 in Dhaka, the home side’s batting imploded and they were all out in just 18.5 overs-sparking angry scenes from supporters who hurled placards from the stands. The Caribbean side romped to their second win of the tournament in just 12.2 overs, with Chris Gayle making an unbeaten 37 and sit second in Group B with four points from three games, level on points with South Africa. Spinner Sulieman Benn grabbed 4-18 and fast bowlers Kemar Roach and Darren Sammy claimed three wickets each as Bangladesh fell well short of their previous one-day low of 74, notching the fourth lowest score in World Cup history. Junaid Siddique and Mohammad Ashraful were the only two batsmen who made it into double figures in a match that could prove pivotal to quarter-final hopes with India, South Africa and England also in Group B. West Indies skipper Sammy praised team-mate Chris Gayle for a motivational speech that inspired his side. “It was a brilliant performance by my teammates. Chris Gayle wasn’t feeling well today but I thought he came out and showed how

. Bangladeshi fans stone West Indies bus

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s Naeem Islam misfields a shot from West Indies’s batsman Darren Bravo (unseen) during their Cricket World Cup Group B match at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka yesterday. — AP

committed he is to the cause,” he said. “He said ‘do not take Bangladesh lightly’. We were a little flat in the warm-up and he didn’t like that so he encouraged us to go out there and remember Bangladesh would be coming hard at us.”“We’ve always fancied ourselves but it’s up to us to go out there and play competitive and consistent cricket,” he added. Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan said his team’s nine-wick-

et rout by the West Indies yesterday was the “worst day” of his career, but insisted his side’s World Cup campaign was not over. “We did not play well at all,” said Shakib after Bangladesh were shot out for their lowest one-day total of 58 in just 18.5 overs, with the West Indies cantering home in the 13th over of their innings. “I did not expect that we would play so badly. This has to be the worst day of my career.”

The disappointed skipper Hasan was at a loss to explain his team’s disastrous showing, adding that he understood the fans’ frustrations. “We have a lot of things to work on now. We have to sit down and think about it but hopefully we will come back strongly.”He said reaching the quarter-finals was still possible after one win out of three so far, with the game against England in Chittagong now a “must-win”. West Indies’ bus was struck by stones thrown by Bangladesh fans after the co-hosts were heavily beaten in the Cricket World Cup Group B match yesterday, the team spokesman told Reuters. “A couple of fans threw stones, two hit the window and it just broke. No one was hurt and we are safe,” he said. The crowd had reacted angrily earlier after their team were thrashed by nine wickets by the West Indies after scoring only 58 runs. “The glass didn’t shatter. It just broke,” the spokesman continued. “They are back in the hotel.” West Indies opener Chris Gayle tweeted from the bus: “Bangladesh stoning our bus!!! Freaking glass Break!!! This is crap, can’t believe ... what next bullets!!!! “This is ridiculous!!! Damn!!! W Cup with so many security and this happen!! Big Joke!!! Trust me I’m not keen here!!! ... players lay flat!!!” A Bangladesh police officer said that the fans had thought the bus was carrying the home team.— Agencies

Arab Shooting Federation Board members meet in Kuwait KUWAIT: The Arab Shooting Federation Board held a meeting in Kuwait recently at the Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Olympic Shooting Complex. The meeting chaired by ASF President, Vice President of KSF and member of ISSF Administrative Council Eng Duaij Al-Otaibi, coincided with Kuwait’s celebration of its national days. ASF board member, president of GCC shooting federation and UAE SF Major General Ahmad AlRisee thanked Kuwait for its efforts to enhance the shooting sport and congratulated Kuwait for its national days. He lauded the major roles of Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah and Eng Duaij Al-Otaibi for the tremendous progress Arab shooting is witnessing.

ASF member and Jordanís Shooting Federation Secretary General Brig Ghassan Shaaban noted the positive influence Kuwait shooting is having in the Arab world, and the major role of President Eng Duaij AlOtaibi. ASF member from Iraq, Abdeljabbar Aziz appreciated

Kuwaitís significant contributions to the Arab shooting. ASF member Colonel Eng Riyadh Al-Rasheed said he is proud of what Kuwait is doing to the sport of shooting. Technical director of the ASF lauded Kuwaitís efforts in taking the sport to a higher

level. Second vice president of ASF Brig Ahamd Al-Jeedah noted the efforts of the federationís technically and administratively. The board approved the administrative report and the Arab championships schedule as follows: • The Arab 10m pistol and rifle

championship from 20 to 26/4/2001 in Jordan. • The Arab shotgun championship in Morocco from 22 to 30/9/2011. • Participation in the 12th Arab games in Qatar from 11 to 25/11/2011. • Hold the 10th Arab shooting tournament in Algeria 2012.



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New Zealand thump Zimbabwe SCOREBOARD Scoreboard in the World Cup Group A match between New Zealand and Zimbabwe at the Sardar Patel Stadium yesterday. Zimbabwe innings: B. Taylor lbw b Styris 44 C. Coventry run out 0 T. Taibu lbw b Southee 8 C. Ervine c Ryder b Mills 11 E. Chigumbura lbw b Vettori 1 R. Chakabva c Taylor b Vettori 0 G. Lamb run out 18 P. Utseya b Southee 36 G. Cremer c B McCullum b Mills 22 R. Price lbw b Southee 11 T. Panyangara not out 4 Extras: (lb-4 w-3) 7 Total (all out, 46.2 overs) 162 Fall of wickets: 1-2 2-27 3-42 4-46 5-46 6-86 7-89 8-122 9-157 10162 Bowling: Mills 10-0-29-2 (1w), Southee 9.2-3-29-3 (2w), Bennett 80-37-0, Vettori 10-3-25-2, Styris 4-0-13-1, McCullum 3-0-15-0, Ryder 2-0-10-0 New Zealand innings M. Guptill not out 86 B. McCullum not out 76 Extras (lb 1 w 1 nb 2) 4 Total (For 0 wickets; 33.3 overs) 166 Did not bat: J. Ryder, R. Taylor, J. Franklin, S. Styris, N. McCullum, D. Vettori, K. Mills, T. Southee, H. Bennett Bowling: Panyangara 5.3-0-42-0 (1nb), Price 7-0-23-0, Utseya 6-0-23-0 (1nb), Lamb 5-0-18-0, Cremer 7-0-38-0, Chigumbura 3-0-21-0 (1w) Result: New Zealand won by 10 wickets

Ireland wary of India backlash BANGALORE: Ireland batting sensation Kevin O’Brien warned his team to beware an India World Cup backlash when the two sides meet today as the quarter-final race hots up. India came under fire for a sloppy bowling and fielding display which allowed England to tie their 338 in Bangalore last week after letting Bangladesh make 283-9 in pursuit of 370 in the tournament opener. But O’Brien said that the hosts’ bowlers will have a point to prove in tomorrow’s Group B clash at Chinnaswamy Stadium. “We have seen India’s attack so many times. They have a world class performer in Zaheer Khan who is very good with the new ball, and we all know about Harbhajan Singh,” said O’Brien, who hammered the fastest ever World Cup century off just 50 balls in Ireland’s stunning win over England. He said Munaf Patel and Piyush Chawla were also dangerous. O’Brien turned 27 on Friday and is determined that India do not ruin his celebrations in a game where victory could unlock the door to the last eight. “Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag are one of the best opening pairs. They are extremely difficult to bowl to when in full flow. “And with Sehwag, it doesn’t matter even if it’s the first delivery of Test match. If the ball is there to be hit, he will go for it. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan are known power-hitters.” It has been a rollercoaster few days for the Dubliner after his pyrotechnics against England saw his team chase down a 328-run victory target, the highest run chase in the history of the event. With his hair still dyed pink and blond as part of a cancer charity awareness drive, O’Brien has become something of a celebrity, even fielding a phone call from Irish president Mary McAleese. “I spoke to her (Mary McAleese) for a few minutes. It’s always great to get a call from the president (of Ireland),” he said.—AFP

AHMEDABAD: New Zealand players including Martin Guptill (center facing camera) and Nathan McCullum (right) celebrate after the dismissal of Zimbabwe’s Charles Coventry in the Group A match yesterday. — AP

AHMEDABAD: New Zealand dominated Zimbabwe from ball one yesterday and romped to their second 10wicket win in the World Cup but the victory probably did little in getting the team ready for the tougher battles lying ahead. The New Zealand opening batsmen complemented the efforts of their bowlers and thrashed Zimbabwe to notch up their second World Cup win. Paceman Tim Southee led a disciplined New Zealand bowling show to skittle Zimbabwe for 162 runs after the Africans chose to bat first in the Group A match at the Sardar Patel Stadium. Southee bowled full and fast to pick up three wickets for 29 while captain Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills, who returned from a back injury in place of batsman Jamie How, picked up two wickets apiece. Openers Martin Guptill (86 not out) and Brendon McCullum (76 not out) then came back and swatted away whatever Zimbabwe threw at them and reached the target in under 34 overs. Yesterday’s performance was almost identical to their 10-

wicket win against Kenya, when the Kiwi pace brigade had dismantled their opponents for just 69 runs. But New Zealand’s problem has been their batting which was ripped apart by some fiery fast bowling from Australians Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait. The Kiwis have matches against Pakistan, Canada and Sri Lanka left in the group stages and the batsmen will surely be tested hard against the Umar Guls and Lasith Malingas. While the lopsided win against Zimbabwe denied the New Zealand middle-order batsmen from getting a workout yesterday, captain Vettori appeared content. “I think this was the performance we were looking for. Right from the start... the way we bowled, the discipline we showed... the performance with the bat from Guptill and McCullum... this was what we have been looking for from a long time,” said Vettori, whose side take on Pakistan on Tuesday in Kandy. “This is what we were after, where two guys take responsibility and that’s

what we need to do in the big games coming up against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.” Both the right-handers were equally comfortable against medium pace and spin and used their feet well to deny their opponents any breakthroughs. Zimbabwe got off to a poor start in the morning after captain Elton Chigumbura opted to bat first on a placid pitch. The run out of opener Charles Coventry in the second over of the morning put Zimbabwe on the backfoot early and the New Zealand bowlers ensured their opponents never recovered from the setback. The maximum damage was done within the first 15 overs of the innings when Zimbabwe lost half their side with just 46 runs on the board. Opener Brendan Taylor (44) put up some resistance and along with Greg Lamb added 40 runs for the sixth wicket, which helped Zimbabwe get past three figures. Prosper Utseya, with a gritty knock of 36 managed to take the African nation past the 150-run mark.—Reuters

England face tough task to halt World Cup slide NEW DELHI: Arresting their spectacular slide will not be easy when a sloppy England take on in-form South Africa in tomorrow’s World Cup Group B match in Chennai. Andrew Strauss and his team mates must be an emotionally drained bunch, having contributed, often unwittingly, too much of the drama that has brought alive the World Cup. They nearly allowed their upstart Dutch opponents to upstage them in Nagpur before a narrow escape to victory. Against India in Bangalore, they starred in a 676-run see-saw contest that ended in a nerve-jangling tie. The upset they narrowly avoided against the Netherlands finally caught up with them when Kevin O’Brien’s bionic 50-

ball century-the fastest ever in a World Cup-spurred Ireland to a fairytale three-wicket victory on Wednesday. “Our World Cup dreams are not over yet,” Strauss said after the setback that has triggered a massive backlash at home with the British media calling it “the greatest humiliation”. “We need to set things right soon,” he said. The outcome threw open Group B and England need to get back to winning ways at the earliest opportunity if they do not want to leave their quarter-final prospects to permutations and combinations. England’s batting has been inconsistent but their main worry has been their wayward bowlers who bled heavily against the Netherlands (292), India (338) and

Ireland (329). Apart from Graeme Swann, none of the English bowlers have done their reputation any good even though they can pass some of the blame to their butter-fingered colleagues. On the sub-continent’s docile tracks where teams cannot afford to let even half-opportunities fall, England fielders have shown almost criminal profligacy, dropping as many as four catches in the match against Ireland alone. Going by form, they could not have chosen a stronger team to begin their fightback in the tournament. South Africa, gunning for their maiden World Cup title in the 50-overs format just like their English opponents, have not demonstrated any perceptible vulnerability.— Reuters




Lille test title credentials at Marseille french league preview PARIS: If Lille harbor any hopes of staying the course in the supremely congested Ligue 1 title race, tomorrow's trip to champions Marseille looks like a game they cannot afford to lose. Five points clear on February 13, Lille's lead has been whittled down to goal difference by second-placed Rennes after the leaders lost 1-0 at Montpellier and then drew 1-1 at home to Lyon in their last two outings. The wobble has allowed the chasing pack to draw in, leaving the top five teams separated by just four points ahead of this weekend's matches. Lille's slump has also seen them exit the Europa League, at the hands of PSV Eindhoven, but they edged Lorient on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the French Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday to break out of a four-game winless run. "Qualifying is a boost for the trip to Marseille," said Lille central midfielder Florent Balmont. "At Marseille we'll have to be strong, but we shouldn't be timid. We know it's going to be very difficult. If we get a point there, we'll be happy." Third-place Marseille have flattered to deceive at times this season but their 2-1 victory at Nancy last weekend was their fourth league win in a row and moved them to within a point of tomorrow's opponents. OM are well placed to reach the Champions League quarterfinals after drawing 0-0 with Manchester United in the first leg of their last 16 tie, while they are also set to meet Montpellier in next month's League Cup final. Following tomorrow's visit of Lille, Marseille will tackle fellow title contenders Rennes and Paris Saint-Germain in what promises to be a potentially decisive month for their championship ambitions. "The fixture list means that we're going to face our direct rivals," coach Didier Deschamps told the club's television channel, OMtv. "And when the teams take points against the smaller teams, these direct confrontations make the difference. "We'll see what happens at the end of March. We'll know more about what we're capable of doing but it won't be over as there'll still be two months to play." Marseille attacking midfielder Mathieu Valbuena (knee) resumed training on Thursday despite suffering an injury scare the day before, while forward Loic Remy (ankle) has declared himself fit to play. Striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, however, remains sidelined with the groin problem that forced him to miss the game against United. Rennes, second, will go provisionally top with either a draw or a victory at Montpellier today evening. — AFP

Relegation battle will toughen German stars BERLIN: With some of his Germany stars in the midst of a Bundesliga relegation battle, national coach Joachim Loew has said it will toughen them up ahead of this month's internationals. Germany top their Euro 2012 qualifying group and host minnows Kazakhstan on March 26 in a qualifier in Kaiserslautern followed by Australia in a friendly three days later in Moenchengladbach. But with Werder Bremen and Stuttgart both deep in the relegation mire, Loew says senior squad members like Bremen's Per Mertesacker and Tim Wiese, plus Stuttgart's Christian Traesch and Cacau can only learn from the experience. Loew wants victory over Kazakhstan to improve his side's five-point lead at the top of Euro 2012 qualifier group A before meeting the Socceroos in a World Cup re-match after Germany hammered Australia 4-0 in Durban last June. Second-from-bottom Stuttgart are three points from safety and host Schalke on Saturday, while Werder Bremen are just above the relegation zone and are at Freiburg tomorrow. "For players like these, the relegation battle is a challenge, because they have to take responsibility in every game," said Loew. "They are under extreme nervous strain, because everyone is looking at them, but it is also a chance for them to grow."With a certain amount of self-assurance they have to think: 'what mistakes have we made? What do we need to improve?' "They have to think not only for themselves, but for the whole team. "As an international player, you are required to think differently. "That broadens a player's horizons."—AFP

VILLENEUVE D'ASCQ: Lille's players react after winning the French Cup football match Lille vs Lorient on March 2, 2011 at Lille metropole stadium in Villeneuve d'Ascq, northern France. Lille won 5-3. — AFP J-league preview

Nagoya eyeing historic double TOKYO: First-time J-League champions Nagoya Grampus are eyeing an historic double with the domestic season starting this weekend and their onslaught on the Asian Champions League already under way. "Every year is a kind of challenge for every team but now we are (in the) situation to defend our title," said Nagoya's Serbian coach Dragan Stojkovic. "It will be very difficult but we believe that we can do that, so our target is to try again to be the champions," said Stojkovic, who scored 57 goals in 184 games as a Nagoya forward. Nagoya got off to a winning start to the season when they defeated Kashima Antlers 3-1 on penalties after drawing 1-1 to win the seasonopening Super Cup last weekend-a game between the league champions and the cup winners. But they crashed to a 2-0 defeat to Hangzhou Greentown of China in the opener of the AFC Champions League on Tuesday, while Kashima drew with Shanghai Shenhua of China 0-0 on Wednesday. "Personally I'm very happy to participate in the Asian Champions League as a representative of the Japanese football. It's an important competition and my players will get another international experience," said Stojkovic. "The competition is very interesting and we will try our best to get the

title, win it. We must be concentrating on that point." Kashima failed to make it a fourth straight league title last season as they stuttered following the departure of Japan international defender Atsuto Uchida, finally finishing in fourth place. They managed to win a ticket to the Champions League by winning the Emperor's Cup. "We had a disappointing result in the league competition last season. I had been sure of winning the title. We could have won six more games out of our 12 draws," said Kashima's Brazilian coach Oswaldo Oliveira. The J-League runners-up Gamba Osaka and third placers Cerezo Osaka, who lost their star midfielder Shinji Kagawa to Borussia Dortmund, are another two clubs who are chasing the two titles. "We couldn't win any titles in 2010. We want to win them back at any rate. We couldn't do well at the beginning of last season, so we concentrate on starting well this time," said Gamba Osaka coach Akira Nishino. "We were beaten in the first game of the Champions League knock-out round in the past two years. I really want to reach the last eight and then the summit of Asia," added Nishino. Gamba Osaka, the 2008 Asian champions and 2005 JLeague winners, lost Brazilian strikers Magno Alves in 2007, Bare in 2008 and Leandro in 2009, all to oil-

wealthy Middle Eastern clubs. Cerezo Osaka's Brazilian coach Levir Culpi said: "We have two goalsone to win the AFC and the other to win the J-League. It will be difficult, but I want my players to fight always with these high targets." Gamba and Cerezo Osaka, winners over Melbourne Victory 5-1 and Arema Indonesia 2-1 respectively in the Champions League, will face each other as the domestic season kicks off, while Nagoya will play Yokohama Marinos and Kashima meet Omiya Ardija. The 2007 Asian champions Urawa Red Diamonds have struggled since losing Brazilian-born Marcus Tulio Tanaka and Alessandro Santos to Nagoya, Makoto Hasebe to VfL Wolfsburg, and Hajime Hosogai to Bayer Leverkusen. Urawa's new Serbian coach Zeljiko Petrovic appeared happy to be back to the club he played for 10 years and is looking forward to playing against Serbian national teammate Stojkovic. "Urawa are a big club, probably number one in Japan. I want to get a proper result for the club. Stojkovic is the best player I've ever seen in Yugoslavia. But he had a difficulty when he played against me," said Petrovic. "I will play against him as a coach. It's not a competition between us but a competition between the Reds and Grampus. I want to beat Grampus," he added.— AFP




german league preview

‘Careless, gutted’ Bayern look to salvage season BERLIN: Bayern Munich begin their recovery from back-toback defeats at Hanover 96 today determined to salvage something from the season as they pick through the wreckage of their title dreams. Bayern, fourth in the league, were knocked out of the German Cup thanks to a 1-0 semi-final defeat to Schalke at Munich's Allianz Arena on Wednesday, four days after they lost 3-1 at home to league leaders Borussia Dortmund. Having done the league and cup double last season, silverware has been slipping from their grasp in the last week alone.Bayern are now out of the cup and 16 points behind Dortmund in the league with 10 games left to play this season and face third-placed Hanover today. "If we win neither the league nor the cup, it's not a good season for Bayern,"

said captain Philipp Lahm. "We must ensure we come second in the Bundesliga, but it'll be hard to salvage anything from this season."It's bitter and we're gutted. We set out to win both trophies. It can't be replayed and repaired, we've carelessly tossed it all away. "The game today is extremely important to us, perhaps the most important of the season. "Everything's at stake, second place is at stake. We have to go to Hannover and win, whatever it takes." The defeat has left Bayern's stars in despair, but second in the table will give them an automatic Champions League berth next season. Consecutive home defeats were not part of their plan and chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admits their cup exit has hurt the Bavarian giants. "We were utterly determined to make the final in Berlin,"

he said. "Every defeat hurts, it's bad for our confidence and for our image. "We don't want to get used to it, but we have to stay calm." Hanover 96 will be without Ivory Coast striker Didier Ya Konan, because of a knee injury. The 26-year-old has netted 11 goals in 21 games this season and also missed last weekend's 1-0 win at Hamburg's St Pauli. League leaders Borussia Dortmund are hoping to take a step closer to their first Bundesliga title since 2002 when they host Cologne on Friday at their 80,720-capacity sold out stadium. Cologne are unbeaten in their last four matches and are eager to become only the third club to beat Borussia in the league this season. With ten league games left to play, Dortmund are 12 points clear of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen who host VfL Wolfsburg today night. —AFP

scotish premier league preview

Celtic, Rangers back on duty after bust-up GLASGOW: Celtic and Rangers are back on league duty this weekend with the dust not even settled on yet another explosive Old Firm clash. Three players were sent off, ten were booked and there were touchline bust-ups between the management teams on Wednesday as Celtic defeated their rivals 1-0 in the Scottish Cup tie. The fractious encounter generated so much interest even the Scottish Government has felt a need to have its say. However despite having three players red-carded at Parkhead it is injuries not suspensions that are worrying Rangers manager Walter Smith as he prepares for his side's match with St Mirren tomorrow. Rangers were missing seven first-team stars for the Old Firm cup defeat with Kirk Broadfoot, Lee McCulloch, Steven Naismith, Jamie Ness and Vladimir Weiss all ruled out before the Scottish Cup replay due to injury. Nikica Jelavic then strained a hamstring in training on Tuesday, and Kyle Lafferty was struck down with tonsillitis. Now Sasa Papac now joined the Ibrox club's casualty list after being stretchered off in the second half of the 10 defeat. Papac bravely headed a ferocious Mark Wilson shot off his own goal line before the Scotland international netted the only goal of an explosive 90 minutes. The Bosnian missed matches earlier in the season due to concussion after suffering a head injury in a defeat to Hibs in November, and the problem is exacerbated by the ongoing legacy of a car accident a few years ago. Boss Smith said: "He suffered concussion earlier this season, so we have to be careful. He was up and about, there is no problem, but I don't know how the doctors will view it. "Nikica hurt a hamstring in training on Tuesday which is not serious, but will keep him out of tomorrow's game at St Mirren. And Kyle is still having trouble with tonsillitis." However the Gers could find themselves eight points behind in the race for the title by the time they take to the pitch in Paisley if Celtic pick up all three points in their match against bottom of the table Hamilton at Parkhead today. The sides are separated by 11 places and 49 points but the Hoops will be wary of their lowly opponents after they only managed to collect a point against them in a 1-1 draw the last time they met in January. Neil Lennon's side have dropped points three times on the back of Old Firm victories and will be without Shaun Maloney, Glenn Loovens and Thomas Rogne to injury. At Tynecastle it is third versus fourth as high-flying Hearts take on Kilmarnock at Tynecastle. The Jambos are undefeated at home since October 31 when Killie last visited and came away with a 3-0 win. However a great run in the league since has seen Jim Jefferies side open up a 16 point gap over Kilmarnock in the race for a European spot. Motherwell could leapfrog Killie into fourth spot if they can pick up an away win at Inverness Caledonian Thistle. St Johnstone, without a win in four SPL outings, welcome a rejuvenated Hibernian side to McDiarmid Park on the back on five straight victories. On Monday Dundee United host Aberdeen at Tannadice with both sides looking to pick up points to secure a place in the top six.— AFP

VALENCIA: Barcelona's Brazilian defender Dani Alves (right) vies with Valencia's Portuguese defender Ricardo Costa during the Spanish league football match at Mestalla stadium. — AFP spanish league preview

Barca seek comfort before Arsenal test MADRID: League leaders Barcelona look for a third league win in a week as they host strugglers Real Zaragoza at Camp Nou today. Barcelona needed a late goal from top-scorer Lionel Messi, who has 27 league goals, to seal a vital 1-0 win at Valencia on Wednesday and the champions are keen to maintain their seven point lead over secondplaced Real Madrid. "The Valencia win was a very important result. Points like these are what could win us the title," said Barcelona midfielder Xavi. "There are still some difficult games to play. There's a lot at stake. But we're optimistic. We are pleased with the team dynamic, the way we're playing and the attitude." Spanish international Xavi returned from a calf injury against Valencia but Barcelona are still without goalkeeper Victor Valdes and captain Carles Puyol who are both doubtful for next Tuesday's Champions League sec-

ond leg at home to Arsenal. After difficult away matches at Real Mallorca and Valencia, Barcelona will be glad to be back at home although Zaragoza, two points above the relegation zone, are on a high after a 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday. Real Madrid closed back to within seven points of Barcelona with an emphatic 7-0 home win over Malaga on Thursday to maintain their 100 percent home record. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in Madrid's biggest win of the season and coach Jose Mourinho will hope his side can now improve on their erratic away form they have dropped 14 points on the road - in tomorrow's trip to Racing Santander. Racing are unbeaten in their last five league outings under new coach Marcelino and they have only lost twice at home this season. Elsewhere Valencia are at Real Mallorca as they battle to hold onto third and the final

automatic Champions League place. The 1-0 defeat to Barcelona was their first in the league in 2011 and Villarreal are now just a point behind in fourth. "We are hurting after the Barcelona defeat but we competed with the best team in the world," said Valencia coach Emery. Villarreal closed to within one point of Valencia and hope to stay on their heels with a win at Atletico Madrid today. Villarreal have been poor on their travels with just four away wins and Atletico will be full of motivation having moved to within three points of the top six. "It is a special game because there is a really good atmosphere at the (Vincente) Calderon," said Villarreal midfielder Borja Valero. "For us finishing third would be the best we could do in the league and the club would have guaranteed revenue (from the Champions League)."—AFP



e niv rsar n


sports SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011

Mancini: Man City’s ‘Fab Four’ can wait MANCHESTER: Roberto Mancini says any hopes of fielding his dream strike force at Manchester City will have to be put on hold until his injury worries clear up. The City manager has been reluctant to start his “Fab Four” - Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli, Edin Dezko and David Silva - in the same team. The Italian coach has a chance to experiment against Wigan Athletic today having written off their Premier League title hopes. But Mancini, who did include all four in their recent Europa League win over Aris Salonika, is wary of leaving his side exposed by their attacking team selection. “At this moment, I don’t think there is a way to play Balotelli, Dzeko, Silva and Tevez together and get the best out of the team,” he said. “Maybe when we get all our players back, we can think about it. But at this moment, the team must have a balance.” Mancini’s side warmed up for the visit of rock-bottom Wigan by booking an FA Cup quarter-final spot following their win over Aston Villa. But it was the display of Balotelli, who scored in the fifth round victory, who answered Mancini’s

calls for more. The Eastlands manager had been critical of Balotelli’s work-rate, but said: “Mario is a player who is capable of doing things like scoring goals. “I think he should always play like this. “I have known him a long time, and I know that if he wants to, he can score in every game.” It means Manchester City are just fighting on two fronts, with the FA Cup and Europa League in their sights having fallen away in the league. Just five points from as many Premier League games has seen their hopes evaporate in a slump that should be ended against the struggling Latics. But despite discounting his side from mounting a late charge amid their fixture backlog, Mancini has only set his sights on securing a top-four finish that would guarantee Champions League football next season. “We should be realistic, even if we win 10 games I don’t think we can win the title,” he said. “I think Arsenal have a chance and it depends if Chelsea win all their games. “We need to get fourth position. We have been between first and fourth for 28 games. Now is the time for key games.” Mancini meanwhile expects Wigan to provide a

stern test, despite a poor run of form which included last week’s drubbing by Manchester United. “Every time we play them we have difficulties, that’s why it’s important to have three or four fresh players who have enjoyed a rest,” he said. Wigan defender Emmerson Boyce believes his side will have nothing to fear when they make the short journey to Manchester City. The Latics will have their work cut out to start the great escape against the world’s wealthiest club, despite their recent dip in form. But Boyce says his team-metes have every chance of coming away from emerging with a result and will go there full of confidence. “You look at City’s team-they have world-class players right through from the goalkeeper to the strikers,” he said. “They’re still challenging for the title and they’ll be looking for a result themselves. “It’s a tough test for the lads, but Eastlands is a place where teams can go and get a result as we’ve seen this season. “We’ll go there with not as much fear as you have playing Manchester United, believing we can come away with something.” — AFP

Gunners ‘back on track’ LONDON: Nicklas Bendtner is convinced Arsenal’s season is back on track after the League Cup final defeat and believes the Gunners are now ready to increase the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester United. Arsene Wenger’s side face Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium today knowing victory will move them to within one point of United who face Liverpool 24 hours later. A win would complete a satisfying turnaround for Bendtner and his team-mates who were left devastated at the end of last week by the shock of losing at Wembley to Birmingham City. The defeat meant Arsenal failed to end their six-year wait for a trophy but it was the manner of the loss-a shocking mistake gifted Birmingham a last minute winnerthat raised questions about the mental strength of Wenger’s squad. The players wasted little time in moving on from that disappointment, thrashing League One Leyton Orient 5-0 in the FA Cup fifth round replay three days after their defeat at Wembley. That victory set up a quarter-final meeting with United at Old Trafford next weekend, but before then, Wenger’s team will be seeking to deliver an early psychological blow against their close rivals by confirming the title race will go to the wire. Bendtner got a hat-trick in the Orient victory, underlining his claims to deputize for main striker Robin van Persie during the Holland forward’s four-week absence with a knee problem. And the Danish striker is convinced the FA Cup win means the Gunners are looking forward to future success, rather than reflecting on what might have been at Wembley. “It was just what we needed to bounce back in a positive way and this was the best way we could have done it,” said the forward. “We have to put that behind us now, and learn from it. It is a part of football and you have to move on from that. “It is done, they (Birmingham) won it - we didn’t. We have three other things to focus on now and that is what we will do.”We have the players and the mentality

to create something special. At the end of the day, we know we are going to be rated on one thing, and that is what we are trying to achieve.”— AFP

Matches on TV (Local Timings) English Premier League Birmingham v West Brom Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 5


West Ham v Stoke Abu Dhabi Sports HD 8


Newcastle v Everton Abu Dhabi Sports HD 6


Fulham v Blackburn Abu Dhabi Sports HD 7


Bolton v Aston Abu Dhabi Sports HD 4


Arsenal v Sunderland Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3


Man City v Wigan Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 5


Spanish League Real Mallorca v Valencia Aljazeera Sport +7 Barcelona v Real Zaragoza Aljazeera Sport +2 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD Atletico de Madrid v Villarreal Aljazeera Sport +2 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD Italian League Juventus v AC Milan Aljazeera Sport +1 Aljazeera Sport +3 Aljazeera Sport 1 HD

20:00 22:00



Sir Alex Ferguson

Kenny Dalglish

Dalglish, Ferguson set to lock horns LONDON: Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish will resume their ferocious rivalry tomorrow as Manchester United attempt to reassert their Premier League challenge against Liverpool at Anfield. Ferguson and Dalglish have been on opposite sides ever since they faced each other in the 1960s while representing Rangers and Celtic respectively, an encounter Dalglish remembers mostly for Ferguson’s flailing elbows. When Ferguson took over at Manchester United in November 1986 - a few months after Dalglish had led Liverpool to the double-his famously stated aim was to knock the Merseysiders “off their effing perch”. Ferguson however would have to wait seven more years before landing the first League title of his United career; Liverpool under Dalglish added three more during that period, winning their last in 1990. Fast forward 20 years however, and the fortunes of the two clubs could not be more different. Two decades of steady decline at Anfieldalbeit studded with the odd memorable success in European and domestic cup competitions-have contrasted with United’s rise as the dominant force in English football. United are now level with Liverpool on 18 league titles - 11 won under Ferguson-and need only one more to edge ahead of their rivals and lay claim to being the most suc-

cessful club in English football history. Until this week, league leaders United had looked to be moving serenely towards a coveted 19th league title. But Tuesday’s 2-1 reverse against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge has given their nearest rivals a glimmer of hope, and Liverpool can blow the title race wide open tomorrow if they are able to inflict another defeat on Ferguson’s men. Dalglish however insists that his focus remains his Anfield rebuilding job rather than trying to thwart United’s title challenge. “We want to help ourselves first,” Dalglish said. “If we help ourselves and it hinders somebody else then that’s not our problem, that’s theirs. If we get a result tomorrow it is more helpful to us than it is harmful to them.” Dalglish admitted however that he had never expected United to surpass Liverpool’s haul of league titles when they won their first under Ferguson. “I never considered they would catch us,” he said. “To their credit they have won a fantastic amount of Championships and it shows how successful they have been. “But at the end of the day we’ve still got bits we can hang on to. We’ve still won five European Cups.” Dalglish’s first match back in charge at Liverpool was an FA Cup defeat against United at Old Trafford in January, and the Reds boss is looking forward to locking horns with Ferguson again tomorrow. — AFP




Sports e niv rsar n


Windies destroy Bangladesh in World Cup


MADRID: Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema from France (up) vies for the ball with Malaga’s Sergio Asenjo during their Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. — AP

Real thrash Malaga 7-0 Ronaldo breaks scoring drought with a hat-trick MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo broke his fourgame scoring drought with a hat-trick as Real Madrid trounced lowly Malaga 7-0 in La Liga on Thursday to trim the gap with leaders Barcelona back to seven points. The Portuguese forward’s uncharacteristic barren patch ended when he netted Real’s fourth in the 51st minute at the Bernabeu after goals from Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria and Marcelo had put Jose Mourinho’s side 3-0 ahead at the break. France striker Benzema added a fifth in the 62nd and Ronaldo blasted the ball home from the penalty spot in the 68th after defender Manolo Gaspar had been shown a second yellow card for handling in

the area. Ronaldo completed his treble with just over 10 minutes left before leaving the pitch to a rapturous ovation from the fans despite the fact Mourinho had already made three substitutions and Real had to play the rest of the match with 10 men. The club said in a statement Ronaldo had a felt muscle tightness in his left leg and the player told reporters he may not be available for tomorrow’s match at Racing Santander. “I did it when I scored the third goal but I am sure it’s nothing special,” Ronaldo said. “It’s better not to take risks. I don’t think I’ll be available for Sunday’s match.” Malaga were reduced to nine a few minutes earlier when Cala was carried off

on a stretcher with what looked like a serious ankle injury and the visitors had also used all three subs. Ronaldo’s hat-trick put him level on 27 goals at the top of the La Liga scoring chart with Argentina forward Lionel Messi, who fired Barcelona to a 1-0 win at Valencia on Wednesday. Barca, whose victory set a La Liga record of 20 matches undefeated away from home, have 71 points from 26 matches, Real have 64 and third-placed Valencia have 51. Real’s biggest league win of the season made it a humiliating night for Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini, who was returning to the Bernabeu for the first time since he was sacked and replaced by

Cristiano Ronaldo

Mourinho at the end of last season. Pellegrini told a news conference he had rested some players with an eye on Sunday’s match at home to fellow strugglers Osasuna. “With six injured players we couldn’t expect a good result,” the Chilean said. “We would have liked to have played a normal game here with a full squad. Nobody likes losing like this.” Mourinho angered Malaga fans and officials on Wednesday when he said if Real sacked him he would never coach the Andalusian club but instead would go to “a big club in England or Italy”, remarks that were interpreted as a jibe at his predecessor. — Reuters

5 Feb  

Kuwait Times

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