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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

Bahrain bans Lebanon travel, sectarian tension rises

www.kuwaittimes.net

RABI ALTHANI 18, 1432 AH

Former Israel prez Katsav gets 7 years for rape

FIFA’s Blatter says next term would be his last

French giraffe sinks teeth into US baby market

40 PAGES

NO: 15036

150 FILS

7MPs file 28 19 8 request to grill Sheikh Ahmad Questioning focuses on corruption, squandering of public funds

Max 33 Min 16 Low Tide 07:40 & 20:12 High Tide 01:27 & 13:23

By B Izzak

Kuwait plans 75% boost in water output Supplies least secure KUWAIT: Kuwait, seen as one of the countries with the least secure water supplies, plans to raise its desalinated water capacity by 75 percent in the next five years, a minister said yesterday. Electricity and Water Minister Badr Al-Shuraian said the state is seeking to increase water production capacity to 700 million gallons per day in five years from a current 400 million gallons, the state news agency KUNA said. Kuwait, which has limited fresh water resources and almost totally depends on desalinating water from the Gulf, was named along with Mauritania and Jordan among countries with the least secure water supplies in a study that said shortages in the region might cause political tensions and higher oil prices. In October, Shuraian said Kuwait would spend about $21.3 billion on power and water projects in its 20102014 development plan, partly to raise output to 600 million gallons a day from 400 million gallons a day. The water study, by British risk analysis group Maplecroft, said businesses needed to take more account of water security in investment decisions due to rising demand from a growing population and other impacts such as climate change. It said Mauritania in West Africa had the least secure supplies of about 160 nations reviewed, followed by Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Niger, Iraq, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. At the other end of the list, Sweden, Guyana, Canada and Russia are among those with the most secure supplies. The ranking seeks to quantify factors such as population growth, dependence on supplies from abroad and current water intensity in the economy. March 22 is World Water Day in the UN calendar. — Reuters (See Page 5)

KUWAIT: Opposition MPs Marzuq Al-Ghanem (left) and Adel Al-Saraawi (center) speak with the National Assembly’s general secretary Allam Al-Kandari during a parliament session yesterday where the former two filed to question Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Fahd Al-Sabah over alleged corruption. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: MPs Adel Al-Saraawi and Marzouk Al-Ghanem of the National Action Bloc yesterday filed a request to grill Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd AlSabah on allegations of corruption in housing contracts and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) headquarters that cost public funds around KD 250 million. The grilling also alleges that Sheikh Ahmad has failed to properly implement the four-year development plan and has worked against Kuwaiti sports federations and collaborated to get them suspended by international sports bodies, thus tarnishing the image of the country. Saraawi told reporters after submitting a copy of the grilling that it will be debated on April 5, adding that it was filed on behalf of the six MPs of the National Action Bloc. He said that they have obtained around 200 documents as a proof over the allegations made in the grilling request. Ghanem said the grilling is based on four major issues - corruption in housing contracts, facilitating the illegal acquisition of public funds, failure to implement the four-year development plan and conspiring against Kuwaiti sports federations and getting them suspended internationally. The two MPs said the grilling is backed by the Popular Action Bloc and the Reform and Development Bloc in addition to a number of other MPs. In his first comment after filing the grilling, Sheikh Ahmad, who is also minister of housing and development, denied that he will ask for a secret debate of the grilling and stressed that he and the government will deal with the grilling in accordance with the law and Continued on Page 14

Kuwait sues Al-Dar daily Medics seek clearance

UK restricts student visas LONDON: Britain unveiled tough new visa rules yesterday that will cut the number of foreign students and their dependents by 100,000 a year, as Prime Minister David Cameron seeks to slash immigration. Home Secretary Theresa May said the clampdown involved new procedures to vet colleges from April next year, a higher requirement for students to speak English and tighter restrictions on their ability to work while they are here. “This package will stop the bogus students studying meaningless courses at fake colleges,” she told the House of Commons. May said she expected the measures to slash the number of visas for non-European Union students issued each year by 70,000 or 80,000 - about 25 percent. Officials said the number of dependents coming to Britain would likely fall by about 20,000 under new rules on students bringing their families with them. Cameron has promised to reduce net immigration to Britain from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands by the next election in 2015, and ministers view the student visa system as particularly ripe for reform. Continued on Page 14

KUWAIT: A Shiite newspaper in Kuwait faces trial for its use of the term “invasion” to report on the Saudi troop deployment in Bahrain to help quell protests, its editor and local media said yesterday. “So far we have not received official notification, though we heard that we have been referred to the public prosecution for criticising Saudi Arabia,” Al-Dar newspaper editor Abdulhussein Al-Sultan told AFP. Local media reported that Kuwait’s acting information minister, Roudhan Al-Roudhan, ordered the action after meeting with Sultan and asking him to stop articles that could damage relations between Arab states in the Gulf. The meeting came after Al-Dar published a front-page article on “Saudi invasion” of Bahrain, Sultan told AFP. “Roudhan conveyed wishes of the political leadership not to indulge in issues that undermine Gulf ties,” the editor said. “We always say yes to the Amir’s wishes.” Sectarian tensions between the majority Sunnis and the minority Shiite community in Kuwait have soared over the uprising in Shiite-majority Bahrain which is ruled by a Sunni royal family. Sunni Islamist MPs vowed at a public gathering on Saturday to file to question the prime minister in parliament for not sending troops to Bahrain and accused Shiite Iran of meddling in Bahraini affairs. Kuwait has so far remained silent and it remains unclear whether its troops

have been sent to Bahrain, as announced by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates whose forces were deployed on March 16. Bahrain’s army chief said on Monday that Kuwaiti navy units have joined other Gulf forces deployed in Bahrain for joint exercises. And a Qatari military official said last week that his country’s troops also formed part of the joint unit deployed to Bahrain, without giving details of their involvement. Despite the lack of clarity, Kuwaiti Shiites have staged a rally to thank the government for not having sent troops to Bahrain in support of Manama as it cracks down on the kingdom’s mainly Shiite demonstrators. The troops were deployed from the Peninsula Shield force of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. Meanwhile, an organizer of a Kuwaiti medical convoy blocked from entering Bahrain said the team is ready to try again if it gets official clearance. Dr Adnan Fadeq said the convoy returned to Kuwait on Monday after being told it could not cross from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, which is under martial law after more than a month of anti-government protests. Fadeq says no reason was given for the denial of permission to the convoy, which included 53 medical personnel and 21 ambulances. Bahraini authorities also have not commented. — Agencies

Syrians march for fifth day Local governor fired DERAA, Syria: Hundreds of people marched in southern Syria for a fifth straight day yesterday, protesting against the government of President Bashar Al-Assad and shouting “Freedom, freedom. Peaceful, peaceful.” Protesters gathered near the Old Omari mosque in Deraa and in the nearby town of Nawa in the strategic Hauran plateau, close to the border with Jordan, catching a wave of Arab unrest that has toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt. “We want bread, but also freedom,” said a resident of Deraa, where wheat yields fell by a quarter last year due to a drought that has hit the rest of the country of 20 million people. Security forces killed four protesters when the demonstrations erupted in Deraa on Friday, and an 11year-old child died after inhaling tear gas. Yesterday, authorities arrested a leading campaigner who had supported the protesters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Loay Hussein, a political prisoner from 1984 to 1991, was taken from his home in the

Sehnaya district near Damascus, the independent rights group said in a statement. “His house was broken into. The door was smashed. His fate is unknown,” the group’s statement said. Vice President Farouq Al-Shara said yesterday that Assad was committed to “continue the path of reform and modernisation in Syria”, Lebanon’s Al-Manar Television reported, adding he “cannot be against any Syrian citizen”. It gave no details. Meanwhile, the provincial governor, Faisal Kalthoum, was fired yesterday, a Syrian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations barring him from being identified by name. Deraa residents accused Kalthoum - in office since 2006 - of corruption. During a demonstration Monday, protesters chanted, “The people want to bring down the governor.” In a sign the unrest was spreading, video footage posted on the Internet showed new anti-government protests in a suburb of Continued on Page 14

BU MARIEM, Libya: Libyans inspect the wreckage of a US F15 fighter jet after it crashed in an open field in this village east of Benghazi yesterday with both crew ejecting safely. — AP

Libya fighting rages despite no-fly zone US jet crashes, crew rescued TRIPOLI: Fighting raged between forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and insurgents in several towns yesterday despite a UN-mandated no-fly zone aimed at stopping the violence. Meanwhile doubts persisted over the best way to continue the campaign aimed at preventing Gaddafi’s forces from harming civilians in their battle against the rebels, and where it was leading.

Residents of Yafran, 130 km southwest of Tripoli, said at least nine people had been killed when clashes erupted bet ween the t wo sides. Rebels also said they were under intense attack in their enclave of Misrata, east of the capital, which has been besieged by Gaddafi’s forces for weeks, with four children killed yesterday. Continued on Page 14


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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

Years

LOCAL Kuwait Digest

Astronomical cost of demonstrations

MEW predicts no summer outages with opening of new plant

By Ahmed Mohammed Al-Fahad

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s was brought to my attention only two days ago, it is indeed amazing that Bahrain’s Pearl Roundabout is apparently far larger than Cairo’s Tahrir Square. And, if we are to believe some media reports, the number of demonstrations at the Pearl Roundabout has outnumbered those who packed Tahrir Square by many thousands. Now, if we are expected to believe that the number of protesters at Pearl Roundabout has far exceeded 150,000, as has been reported by the media, then we must denounce all those Shiite figures in Bahrain who have said that the daily expenses incurred in maintaining the stand of those protesters will be astronomical - so astronomical, indeed, that their supporters can’t afford to fund it. Now, if we are to put this situation into perspective, let’s assume that each protester must be given three square meals per day. Even in the event that the organizers decide to serve them the lowest-cost meals, the total cost of those meals alone will inevitably come to 450,000 Bahraini Dinars (KD331,145.36) every single day. The financial expenses incurred in staging demonstrations of such magnitude don’t just stop there, however. There are also other expenses - bottles of mineral water, soft drinks, snacks...and that’s before one considers the costs of hiring or buying tents, buying or leasing and fuelling power generators, and printing flyers to publicize their cause, amongst other expenses. And let’s not forget the traditional travelling barber who offers his shaving and beard and moustache-trimming services to male demonstrators - for a cost. We could hardly forget these individuals since one was heard raising his voice above those of other protesters - to advertise his services. The overall cost of accommodating, feeding and providing services to such a large crowd will surely come to at least BD500,000 (KD367,239.51) per day. For an entire month, then, these expenses must surely have amounted to BD15 million (KD11,017,184.98) - at least! The first question that automatically springs to mind here is, “Who are the benevolent and extremely generous figures actually paying these vast expenses? The second question that automatically springs to mind is, “Why did these generous benefactors not instead choose to donate that same amount of money to the hundreds of poor and needy Bahraini citizens who are in desperate need of decent jobs to supplement their incomes and support their families? Why couldn’t these affluent businessmen use that money to help most of those unfortunate Bahraini students by sponsoring their education abroad instead of incurring further losses by demolishing universities, wrecking campuses and assaulting students in fits of rage? If only those generous and affluent patrons had a conscience and diverted their funds to worthy causes instead, then their benevolent acts would definitely have drawn commendation and praise from their respective societies while inviting the blessings of God Almighty upon them. They should have used their funds as material contributions towards boosting development instead of diverting them towards supporting violence. — Al-Watan

KUWAIT: Al-Otaibi at one of the participating booths at the exhibition.

KUWAIT: A Promedia executire awarding an employee and participant of the Ministry of Electricity and Water conference. — Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

Kuwait hosts conference By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: This summer won’t be plagued by electricity

shortages. “Although we expect the increase of power consumption to be about 9 percent compared to last year there won’t be a shortage,” said Dr Mishan AlOtaibi, Assistant Undersecretary of Planning and Training at the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW). He made his comments yesterday at the opening of the second Kuwait Electricity Conference and Exhibition at the Radisson Blu Hotel. “Last year electricity consumption reached 11,000 megawatts and it’s expected to reach 12,000 this summer. By the beginning of June the new Subbiya power station will be operating according to our work plan.” This year the conference and exhibition is being held on March 22 and 23 at the Al-Hashimi Ballroom of the Radisson Blu Hotel. The event is taking place under the auspices of the Minister of Electricity and Water Dr Bader Al-Shuraian and is organized by Promedia. “The programmed cutting of electricity in some

areas is not related to power production in any way. The power outages are related to increased heat and pressure on generators,” he added. The Ministry of Electricity and Water is working on the development plan. “The plan includes 200 projects with a value of KD 6 billion carried out by the ministry, some of which are already in progress. KD 2 billion of this amount will be spent on power production projects while the rest is being spent on the expansion of networks and installation of new meters,” Al-Otaibi pointed out. Speakers and participants from different Arab and European countries will be participating in this conference and exhibition. “This exhibition is a great chance for participants to exchange experiences and it’s a good way to communicate with the private sector. Different technical and scientific issues will be discussed during this exhibition,” he continued. Kuwait is considered a country with one of the highest rates of power consumption in the world, especially during the summer months when temperatures are

high and people are using their air conditioners. “The consumption of electricity in Kuwait has increased rapidly over the past few years, with annual growth rates of more than eight percent,” explained Al-Otaibi. “This is due to the expansion of mega projects and the construction of new cities as part of the development plan. The usage of air-conditioners during the summer makes up about 70 percent of the total daily consumption.” Tomorrow, March 24 the bid for the North Zour power station will be open. “The Ministry is working on increasing power production by carrying out different projects, such as the Subbiya power station, North Zour power station and the Kheiran power station and desalinating plant. These projects should provide reserves of power for future projects. We hope that by the end of 2014 energy production will increase from 12,000 to 17,000 megawatts. We also want to encourage the private sector to participate in development plan projects by 26 percent so we invited them to participate in the tender,” concluded Al-Otaibi.

‘Kuwait WikiLeaks’ launched with 8 documents KUWAIT: The head of the Kuwaiti environmental pressure group Green Line on Monday announced the launch of the ‘Kuwait WikiLeaks’ website, with eight official documents being the first to be posted there. Speaking at a press conference held to announce the launch, Green Line chairman Khalid Al-Hajri explained that the site would specialize in the dissemination of various types of important official documents relating to the judicial, legislative and executive authorities, as well as to private sector and civil society institutions. The new site, named in honor of the controversial whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks, which has shaken governments around the world, aims “to practice democracy based on the right of access to information and compliance with transparency, freedom of opinion and scientific principles,” Al-Hajri explained, adding that the site is designed “to highlight the facts and the need for dissemination of information so that members of the community can

understand the reality of what is taking place around them, particularly as this is often overshadowed by rumors and misinformation on the facts that the community needs to have knowledge of.” The veteran activist stressed that the site administrators are serving as mediators between those who obtain these official documents and members of the local community. On verifying and posting the received documents, he said, the site administrators will allow all site users to leave comments, whether positive or negative, to demonstrate the site’s commitment to transparency and goodwill, and to show the site’s true objective. There are currently around five sites which publish official documents related to Kuwait, Al-Hajri added, but these are usually anonymously owned, which can make users skeptical of the veracity of the information, given the reluctance of those posting it to do so in their own names. Al-Hajri also revealed that the Kuwait WikiLeaks group also has a weblog,

Libyan Council thanks Kuwait KUWAIT: Nasser Al-Mane’, a Libyan crisis management expert and member of the politics and international affairs committee of the Libyan National Transitional Council (LNTC), said on Monday that his current visit to Kuwait is taking place in order to explain the situation on the ground to friends

KUWAIT: Dr Mishan Al-Otaibi cutting the ribbon during the launching ceremony yesterday.

in Kuwait and to ask political and humanitarian relief assistance for the Libyan people, reported AlWatan. Speaking with local daily Al-Watan, Al-Mane’ added that the LNTC has formed a special committee to explain the situation in Libya to other countries and to give a clear picture of what is cur-

rently taking place there. “I met with [Kuwait’s] foreign minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Al-Sabah and the Speaker of the [National Assembly] and explained everything to them, and found out that fully understood and expressed tier full support to the Libyan people,” he added.

KOC keen on environmental preservation KUWAIT: Hashem Hashem, the Deputy Managing Director of the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) for the directorate covering southern and eastern Kuwait, said on Monday that the recently launched Burgan unit project to recover crude oil from different parts of the country will contribute towards environmental preservation and conservation. In an interview published in the latest edition of ‘The Kuwaiti’ magazine, the senior KOC executive said that the company is pursuing an integrated plan which focuses on internal sources and an initiative originated by the Southern and Eastern operations group to protect the environment. KOC maintenance teams are working closely with all the other personnel involved to achieve the initiative’s objectives, revealed Hashem, explaining that the fires at some oil fields and the large quantities of carbon released into the atmosphere by operations there had demonstrated the urgent need for the introduction of a more efficient carbon disposal system. The senior KOC official also stressed the need to take into account the work involved in preserving and recovering raw materials during drilling operations at the company’s Gathering Centering No. 4, adding that the company’s recovery operations had resulted in obtaining an additional 1.25 million barrels of oil, with efforts continuing to develop operations at various other KOC sites, whilst giving priority to protecting the environment. — KUNA

Facebook page and Twitter account, all of which are equipped to receive multiple documents. All documents received are scrupulously researched and checked to verify their validity before being made available to the public, he explained, adding that the WikiLeaks Kuwait team has already received and rejected a large number of forged and falsified documents, including some which had been altered using Photoshop. “We’ve been working on this website since February 2010, and the launch of the site was postponed as the country’s been going through a cycle of political disputes,” he revealed. “We didn’t want anyone accusing Kuwait WikiLeaks of working for any entity of party. After an entire year of waiting, however, we see that the need to launch a site or sites similar to Kuwait WikiLeaks has become urgent.” Al-Hajri stressed the need for “more WikiLeaks-style websites,” saying that “it’s the right of every single person to know what’s going on around them.” He compared the site to the local press, saying

that the site shares the same objective as other news media, which is to disseminate the news that people need to know. Asked about the nature of the documents published by the site, whether any are of a classified or sensitive nature which might require court action to allow publication, and the overall legality of Kuwait WikiLeaks, Al-Hajri said, “ There’s no law banning electronic media, so what I’m doing is legal.” The longtime political and environmental activist concluded the press conference by saying, “ We [Kuwait WikiLeaks] affirm our faith and our adherence in our principles; we support all the sincere Arab youth who seek to promote the culture of WikiLeaks in the Arab region. The culture of WikiLeaks will contribute to strengthening the spirit of freedom and democracy, and to achieving substantive oversight of the performance of different institutions in every country, allowing community members access to the correct evaluation of the development of their country.”

Early-onset puberty rare, but affects almost all ethnic groups: Expert By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Although rare, premature adrenarche or early puber ty is found in almost all ethnic groups, according to British specialist Dr. Leena Patel. Speaking at a twoday medical seminar held at the Palms Hotel on ‘Puberty Disorders in Children,’ which concluded yesterday, Dr. Patel focused specifically on the physiologiDr Leena Patel cal challenges and long-term problems for sufferers associated with premature adrenarche. Dr. Patel was one of several specialists taking part in the event, organized by the Kuwait Institute for Medical Specialties and held under the auspices of Kuwait’s health minister Dr. Helal Al-Sayer, which was sponsored by Sebamed. Dr Patel explained that premature adrenarche is the most common cause of the early appearance of pubic hair in children, although this can also be associated with other, far more serious medical conditions. Dr. Patel said that, based on her own research, some children develop premature adrenarche as early as 13-16 months of age. The condition is associated with several factors, she explained, but most commonly appears in children who are significantly overweight, suggesting a possible link between body mass or adiposity signifiers, such as insulin and leptin. The condition can also be linked to congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Dr. Patel added, and to androgen-producing tumors in the adrenal glands or gonads. In some cases, particularly those in children aged between eight and nine, she said, the onset of premature adrenarche has no harmful causes, although she advised parents to seek medical advice on the appearance of any of the symptoms. Apart from the appearance of pubic hair, these symptoms also include acne, a change in body odor, oily skin, and mood swings. The condition can also be associated with other, pre-existing medical conditions, Dr. Patel went on, saying, “Based on studies, potential candidates for premature adrenarche are those with the conditions of cerebral palsy and obesity problems.”

KUWAIT: Sebamed participated in the ‘Puberty Disorders in Children’ held at the Palms Beach Hotel in Salwa. —Photos by Abdellatif Sharaa

According to Wikipedia, during adrenarche the adrenal cortex secretes increased levels of androgens (the hormones that primarily influence the growth and development of the reproductive system), such as ehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEAS) but without increased cortisol levels. Several internationally renowned experts participated in the seminar, which was attended by medical personnel from a number of pediatric units at local hospitals. The speakers included Dr Adnan Al-Shaikh (Kuwait), Prof J.P. Bourguignon (Belgium), Dr. Leena Patel (UK), Dr Abdullah Al-Fares (KSA), Dr Asma Deeb (UAE), Dr Hazen Al-Rumaiah (Kuwait) Dr Huda Ezz AlDain (UAE) and Dr Zaidan Al-Mazidi (Kuwait).


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wednesdAY, mArch 23, 2011

local

Amir attends army officers’ graduation K U WA I T: I n h i s c a p a c i t y a s C o m m a n d e r o f K u w a i t ’s A r m e d Fo r c e s , H i s H i g h n e s s t h e A m i r Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah yesterday attended the graduation ceremony for the 15th class of army cadets and the 38th class of army officers at the Ali Al-Sabah

Military Academy. HH the Amir was received at the Academy by First Deput y Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, and the Chief of the Army Staff Lieutenant- General Ahmad AlK haled Al-Sabah, in addition to

Govt to grant bedoons right to medical treatment, education KUWAIT: The Central System for Remedying the Status of Illegal Residents (CSRSIR), the government body entrusted with finding a solution to the longstanding problems facing Kuwait’s bedoon (stateless) population, has announced that it is granting a number of rights and services to the country’s bedoon people, including education and medical treatment. The services which the bedoon will henceforth be entitled to include free education for children at state schools paid for by the state at an annual cost of KD200,000, according to a CSRSIR insider. Following a meeting with senior Civil Service Commission (CSC) officials, CSRSIR chairman Saleh Al-Fadhalah told reports that amongst the issues discussed were a proposal to open public sector job opportunities to bedoon applicants, adding that further discussion of this proposal had been deferred till next week. Meanwhile, a news report quoting a ministerial source indicated that Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah is set to provide the Cabinet with a list of people who meet the criteria for naturalization as Kuwaiti

citizens, which reportedly contains the names of a number of bedoon residents, as well as those of children born to Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis. Speaking on condition of anonymity due to the government’s wish to postpone public discussion of the issue, the ministerial source indicated that the naturalization of those who meet the criteria for citizenship will be carried out gradually, adding that this is part of the government’s efforts to resolve the problems facing Kuwait’s bedoon population. Another Cabinet insider seemed to contradict reports that some bedoons will be included amongst those naturalized, however, suggesting that whilst 2011 will see greater efforts to grant citizenship to all children born to Kuwaiti fathers, no matter what their mothers’ nationality status, no bedoon residents are likely to be naturalized this year. The insider also noted that the parliament cannot legally oblige the cabinet to grant citizenship to anybody, adding that the naturalization process will be conducted solely according to the government’s plans. —Agencies

members of the academy’s administration and other staff. Th e i r H i g h n e s s e s t h e C row n Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad AlS a b a h a n d t h e Pr i m e M i n i s te r Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed AlS a b a h a l s o a t te n d e d t h e e ve n t , a l o n g w i t h N a t i o n a l As s e m b l y

Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi, a number of other senior state officials and members of the graduating military personnel’s families. The graduation ceremony featured a speech by the head of the Ali Al-Sabah Military Academy, Maj Gen Ahmad Al-Rahmani, welcoming HH

the Amir and calling upon the graduates to carr y on their duties in defending Kuwait and its people. After the speech, HH the Amir honored the outstanding graduates of the academy, followed by a military parade and display presented by previous academy graduates. —KUNA

CP urges Kuwaitis, media to shun sectarianism Discussion on regional developments KUWAIT: His Highness the Crown Prince on Monday urged the Kuwaiti people and local media outlets to “embody the true spirit of patriotism and awareness of the risks posed at the current critical period of time,” calling on both groups to maintain a positive approach by “burying sectarianism” and to “cut short the attempts of some to spread [sectarian] venoms which won’t spare anyone.” HH Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah was speaking during a meeting he chaired of the National Security Council (NSC), which focused on discussion of recent regional developments including the current events in Bahrain. NSC head Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid AlSabah indicated that Kuwait is “ready to utilize all efforts which would help reinforce security in Bahrain”, whilst strongly rejecting any foreign intervention in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member nations’ affairs. Meanwhile, unconfirmed news report quoting unnamed senior government sources indicated that a coordinated GCC effort is underway to help launch national dialogue between all parties in Bahrain, following the recent “positive talks” between Syrian foreign minister Walid Al-Muallem and Iranian officials in Tehran. The unnamed sources further revealed that

during that meeting, the Iranian authorities conveyed their willingness to communicate with the Bahraini opposition in order to reach an agreement on constitutional amendments and new legislative and monitory authorities for the Bahraini parliament, an agreement that would form the base for dialogue with the government there. Indicating that a meeting of GCC foreign ministers is likely to take place in Manama within the next couple of days to discuss the issue of national dialogue between all sides in Bahrain, the Kuwaiti government sources also revealed that a delegation from the Bahraini

‘Al-Wifaq’ opposition group visited Kuwait this Monday and discussed the approach to mediation with Kuwaiti parliamentarians and politicians. In a related note, a medical convey that made its way from Kuwait Sunday morning heading to the Kingdom of Bahrain, was given orders to return home for reasons that remain undisclosed, reported Al-Qabas. Earlier reports had indicated that the convey, which carried 56 medical personnel and 21 ambulances, had to stop and them resume its mission after initially failing to obtain permission to enter from Bahraini authorities.


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WEDNEsDAY, mArch 23, 2011

local

kuwait digest

Until the term ends By Dr Abdullatif Al-Shuraikh have no idea when the members of our parliament will stop going through these ongoing cases of struggle. Part of them play on voters’ emotions by focusing on populist issues while others are busy settling personal differences. A third group gives you the impression that their statements are being made and directed via remote control. Where is their focus on true development issues? The list of subjects MPs neglect includes improving education and health sectors as well as enforcing legislation that criminalizes promoting hate. They also fail to legislate laws that protect public funds from theft as well as promote projects to encourage youthful creativity and productivity. What are MPs’ true stances on women’s issues? Where are their efforts to diversify the economy? Some might argue that voters are to blame for these failures because they voted these parliamentarians into power in the first place. This is true to some extent but also not entirely. It’s true that voters never reacted according to actual MPs’ performances during the voting process but - unlike ministers who can be subjected to parliamentary questioning and interpellations - voters also don’t have the opportunity to hold MPs accountable until the end of their four year term. This requires the establishment of a new method by which voters can hold their representatives in the parliament accountable on a more regular basis. We in Kuwait can be compared to orphan children that have inherited a for tune. Ever yone claims to be taking care of us but in reality they only have their eyes on our money, which we can’t spend. We don’t have a productive government nor do we have trustworthy MPs. All we have in front of us is a continuous struggle and we are forced to watch until these four year parliamentary terms end. Only then can we make our voice heard about this situation. —Al-Rai

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KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah receiving the participants of the fourth ‘Proud to Be Kuwaiti’ convention at his Bayan Palace Amiri tent yesterday.

Kuwait, GCC desirable for displaced laborers KUWAIT: Kuwait will become a new desired destination for expatriate workers following the revolutions that have rocked North African nations, reported Al-Rai. The revolutions have resulted in the unemployment of an estimated 2 mil-

lion workers in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. The International Organization of Migration (IOM) indicated that Kuwait, along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are poised to

Workshop on Kuwait’s draft traffic strategy kicks off KUWAIT: Activities of the training workshop to deal with the draft national strategy for traffic and transport sector kicked off here yesterday under the auspices of Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Hmoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The workshop began its initial session which was attended by the Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior for Traffic Affairs Maj Gen Mahmoud Al-Dosari and supervision of project coordinator Brig Nasser Al-Anzi and Director of Traffic Engineering Col Saadoun Al-Khalidi. The workshop was attended by a number of experts and advisers from the State of Kuwait, the United Nations, the departments of traffic engineering and transportation in many countries of the world in addition to competent universities and scientific institutes. The first axis was addressed by the UN expert on national strategy Prof Kim Jerio who spoke about the requirements of implementing the national strategy for traffic and public transport sector in Kuwait for the period from 2010 to 2020. For his part, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Public Works Engineer Hussein Al-Mansour spoke about the role of road projects in the implementation of the development plan in the State of Kuwait. Director of the Australian Road Safety Authority Dr Som Jupp spoke about management of road safety and traffic from the Australian point of view. The conferees also spoke about the danger of speeding and preventive measures to limit its consequences. —KUNA

Judges threaten to stage protest KUWAIT: Nearly 400 judges and public prosecutors who were set to stage a sit-in yesterday in front of the office of chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Chancellor Yousef Al-Ghanim, called off the demonstration just before it was due to take place. The judicial officials, who called the protest to object to rumored plans by the cabinet to seek the opinion of the Supreme Judicial Council on introducing pay rises for the judiciary, decided to cancel the demonstration after being informed that there is no evidence that the cabinet has actually done so. The senior officials warned that they would reject any such attempts to deny the payment of the salary increases they were previously promised, which they said had been guaranteed to be separate to those paid to personnel in other judicial departments by an Amiri decree.

become destinations for job seekers willing to work in the Middle East. IOM representatives made their remarks during their participation in a conference organized in cooperation with the Kuwait Institute for Legal Studies

to discuss laborers’ rights and countermeasures to human trafficking. The IOM representatives also acknowledged Kuwait’s efforts to promote human rights as well as the country’s efforts to fight human trafficking.

KFSD announces second International Fire Conference By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Director of the technical office at the Kuwait Fire Service Directorate (KFSD), Colonel Engineer Ibrahim Al-Hamar said that the higher committee supervising the Second International Fire Conference selected 20 papers that they think fit the conference’s slogan this year. The conference, held under the

patronage of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser AlMuhammad Al-Sabah, is being held under the slogan ‘civil protection challenges for the future.’ The conference is held this year from March 21 - 29. Al-Hamar said the conference will first focus on the importance of using technology to analyze the risk of responding to accidents. He added that the conference will also

focus on how to take environmental concerns into consideration when responding to emergencies. He said workshops on evaluating environmental risks will also be available. Al-Hamar said the conference will also discuss how to face the challenges of responding to emergencies in a modern world and said that workshops will be available on evacuation strategies for high rise buildings.

Ten hurt in road accidents By Hanan Al-Saadoun

Municipality vows to continue surprise inspections By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Director of the Public Relations Department at the Kuwait Municipality, Rashid Al-Hashan commented on what has been published in local newspapers recently regarding the municipality ’s destruction of spoiled food and legal action against violators. AlHashan said that all expired food is brought to a dump site after a citation has been issued to the offending business owner. He said that all spoiled food is accounted for before being destroyed with lists showing the type of violation, amount confiscated and the violator’s signature. Al-Hashan said that the names of

violators are not published due to food stores to make sure all materiarticle seven of the Fighting als meet proper health conditions. Municipality Branch Director Commercial Cheating law no Fahad Al-Otaibi said 62/2007, which prethat surprise inspecvents the publication tion campaigns will of the names of violacontinue based on tors before a final the instructions of court ruling. He said the Public Works the Municipality, in Minister and the State coordination with the Minister for Ministry of Municipality Affairs Commerce, revoked Dr Fadel Safar and the licenses of several municipality Director food importers and General Engineer continues to confront Ahmad Al-Subaih. He violators to safeguard said that inspections consumer health. Rashid Al-Hashan will continue to be Meanwhile the Ahmadi Municipality branch contin- carried out against the violators of ued its inspection campaign against municipality rules and regulations.

KUWAIT: An 80-year-old Kuwaiti man suffered multiple injuries when he was hit by a car in the Reqqae area. He was rushed to Adan Hospital where doctors found that his injuries were so severe that they had to amputate one of his legs. In a separate incident, two Indian expatriates in their 20s were rushed to Jahra Hospital after suffering multiple injuries when they were hit by a car near Jahra Cooperative Society. In Khaitan, meanwhile, a five-year-old Pakistani boy suffered a broken left leg when a car hit him as he was leaving school. He was taken to Farwaniya Hospital. In a separate incident, four Kuwaiti citizens sustained various injuries in a crash in the Reqqae area. They were taken separately to Sabah and Farwaniya Hospitals. In another incident, a 20-year-old Kuwaiti man sustained heavy bruising all over his body while a 40-year-old Indian man suffered heavy bruising to his back in a car crash on the Fifth Ring Road. Both were taken to Sabah Hospital.

KFSD officer delivers talk on firefighters’ duties By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The director of Kuwait Fire Ser vice Directorate’s (KFSD) Hawally branch yesterday delivered a lecture at South Salmiya Fire Station on the nature of the job done by firefighters to members of a local Russian language club. In his talk, Colonel Fahad AlSaqer explained the importance to the public of using and maintaining fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in homes, as well as keeping well-stocked first aid kits, explaining that all these things play a major role in minimizing risk and saving lives. After the talk, the visitors were given a guided tour of the fire station.

Deqbasi hails Kuwait support over Arab Parliament speaker’s post CAIRO: The Arab Parliament’s new speaker Ali Al-Deqbasi on Monday lauded the role of Kuwaiti National Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi, and Deputy Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Mohammad Sabah Al-Sabah in backing his bid for the post. Speaking on the sidelines of his participation in an Arab Parliament emergency session held to discuss current events in the region, Al-Deqbasi, who is also a member of Kuwait’s National Assembly, said that his election comes as a result of Kuwait’s international status, its reputation, and its constant effor ts to champion Arab issues, as well as its status as “the land of constitution,” which respects individual freedoms and human rights. “I will be a high-profile envoy who lives up to the prestigious position of the people of Kuwait, and [this appointment] is a message of appreciation sent to the Kuwaiti people,” Al-Deqbasi said, expressing his heartfelt thanks to all those who supported his nomination, particularly the mem-

bers of Arab parliamentar y bloc, and Kuwaiti members of the Arab parliament. Al-Deqbasi also called on people of Kuwait to protect their national unity, and to nip in the bud any attempt to stoke the flames of division and turmoil among peoples from various walks of life in society, calling on them to rally around the constitution which has won the country respect at all regional and international gatherings. Al-Deqbasi said that he will work toward consolidating freedoms, respecting human rights, and will not allow further deterioration in Arab issues, noting that the decision to dismiss the former speaker Hoda Bin Amer is a message of rejection in the face of acts perpetrated by Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi against his own people. He further stressed that it is necessary for Gaddafi to quit power, emphasizing the message of the Arab Parliament, that the region’s peoples will not accept such leaders from now on.

On his part, Kuwaiti MP and member of the Arab Parliament Mikhled Al-Azmi congratulated Al-Deqbasi on the occasion of his election by acclamation to the AP post, adding that Al-Deqbasi has

Also speaking after participating in the emergency session, Al-Azmi said that Arab parliamentarians had stressed their denunciation of the criminal acts perpetrated against the unarmed Libyan and other

CAIRO: Ali Al-Deqbasi and other officials at the Arab Parliament emergency session. immense experience in following up Arab issues, as well as ambitions to advocate on behalf of Arab and Muslim issues.

peoples at the hands of President Gaddafi and other leaders in the region, with Gadaffi using heavy artillery, warplanes and missiles to

attack the Libyan people. The Arab Parliament also stressed its rejection of all acts committed by repressive regimes against their own people. Additionally, the Arab Parliament appealed to all Arab governments to withdraw their recognition of the current Libyan government, which it insisted had lost its eligibility for membership of the parliament, as well as its legitimacy, asking them to instead recognize the transitional Libyan National Council, which embodies popular legitimacy and is the option chosen by the Libyan people. At the conclusion of the emergency session, the Arab Parliament voted to suspend Libya’s membership in implementation of the recent resolution by the Arab League’s Ministerial Council, until the demands of the Libyan people are met in a way that achieves security and stability and protects the country’s territorial integrity. The Arab Parliament also called on Arab countries to

provide all forms of support, including diplomatic, financial, and military assistance, to the Libyan transitional National Council in order to enable it to achieve victory, and fulfill the aspirations of the Libyan people. The Arab Parliament expressed its appreciation of the measures taken and positions adopted by the Arab League Council, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Arab Inter-Parliamentar y Union (AIPU), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and the UN Security Council (UNSC), particularly Resolution No. 1973, and what it incorporates in the form of deterrent measures against the repressive Libyan regime, which has perpetrated heinous carnage against its own people. Finally, the Arab Parliament categorically rejected all kinds of direct foreign interference with Libyan territories, stressing the protection of the national unity of Libyan people as well as the territorial integrity of Libya. —KUNA


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No trust in state departments By Waleed Al-Ghanim

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news report published by Al-Watan daily, issued March 9, 2011, indicates that 45 parliament members requested that the State Audit Bureau investigate tenders for the Jaber Causeway and Zoor Power Plant projects and that the report be submitted within three months. The fact that 45 MPs voted for this request is an indication that parliament members have no trust in the Ministry of Public Works and Ministry of Electricity and Water’s financial and administrative procedures. But that’s only part of the main problem here in Kuwait, which is that people have lost confidence in the activities of all the country’s ministries in general. This lack of trust dominates the relationship between lawmakers and the government. As a matter of fact, talk of the manipulations carried out by senior officials in state departments has become the usual in local dailies as well as conversations between citizens. But who is responsible for this distorted image of our nation’s ministries? Why is it that more and more people believe that personal interest is being put ahead of the nation in various state departments? There are many reasons that factor into the damaged image of government personnel. First, the Cabinet itself has played a major role in damaging the public’s opinion. Senior officials have yet to be held accountable despite audit reports that acknowledge several cases of corruption. Instead, we find that senior officials have their terms extended while corruption increases in their departments. In the meantime, MPs are also to blame for this distorted image that people have of senior public sector officials. That’s because of the unlimited accusations that parliamentarians make inside the National Assembly, which are neither backed up with evidence nor are they refuted by the Cabinet. Several of these accusations have turned out to be untrue but by the time the truth is discovered much of the damage has already been done. Also to blame is the local press, which publishes dozens of reports daily about the alleged violations taking place in ministries, the majority of which turn out to be false. The image of senior officials is not as important to those in the press as getting a good story. It’s also important to mention the culture that people have about the influence of mediation, wasta, favoritism and political dealings for the promotion of senior personnel in state departments. Restoring people’s trust in our state’s departments is the responsibility of the Cabinet. If they manage to solve this problem we will be able to overcome many of the misunderstandings taking place in the parliament. That in turn would increase the level of optimism and confidence among citizens. — Al-Qabas

Kuwait among water risk countries Growing shortages heighten political risk KUWAIT: The Middle East and North Africa have the world’s least secure water supplies, a danger that heightens political risk in an already volatile region and may even lead to higher oil prices in the future, according to a study released yesterday. The Water Risk Index, developed by British risk consultants Maplecroft, found that of the 18 countries around the world facing an “extreme risk” to their water security, 15 are in the Middle East. The list numbers several key oil exporters amongst this number, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Algeria, whose water woes could have global implications. The turmoil currently raging across the Middle East has been ascribed to a host of political and economic problems, among them inflation fanned by rising food and energy prices. Water hasn’t yet been factored into the unrest, but experts have warned that the region’s lack of water, poor water management and disputes over sharing resources may emerge as a new source of instability. “The prevailing opinion is that water isn’t going to be a sole cause of civil unrest or international conflict” said Tom Styles, an analyst with Maplecroft. “But it could be a contributory factor to these sorts of situations, or the tipping point that causes a breakout.” In Syria, the center of unrest was in the southern city of Deraa, which has recently been overwhelmed by refugees from the country’s drought-stricken east. Last September, Olivier de Schutter, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food, estimated that 1.3 million people were affected by the four-year drought there. The Maplecroft index measures a country’s population growth, reliance on external water supplies, intensity of water usage and effectiveness of government policy, among others. By that standard, Mauritania is at the greatest risk, followed by Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and Israel. It also takes into account “virtual water use,” which measures the water intensity of imported goods like food, thereby putting the country at risk from water crises elsewhere in the world. When droughts and a heatwave hit the Russian farm sector last summer, the government ordered limits on wheat exports, causing prices worldwide to rise. Water availability per person in the Middle East is about 1,200 cubic meters, less than 20% of the world average. Rivers and aquifers are being exploited to the maximum already. The World Bank estimates that seven countries in the region are over-pumping their aquifers, deep subterranean natural reservoirs, while water flow has fallen in rivers in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon by between 50%

and 90% in the last five decades. Studies by the United Nations project that some 30 nations around the world will be “water scarce” by 2025, up from 20 in 1990. Eighteen of those are in the Middle East and North Africa. “The world’s top-ranked water conflict hotspot is the Arab region, consisting of the Middle East and North Africa,” warned a statement by the UN organizers of World Water Day yesterday. Water flashpoints in the region tend to be in areas where countries share a single resource. The Nile River for instance is shared by nine countries, including Egypt and Sudan, two otherwise arid countries that get nearly all their water from the river. Israel and its neighbors have squared off diplomatically and even come to blows over the division of Jordan River’s water and aquifers. A 2010 Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement, giving equal access to the river’s water, was signed by upstream African countries. Egypt and Sudan have refused to become signatories, however, fearing they will get less water than under the old accord. Egypt in now guaranteed 56 billion cubic meters out of an annual flow of 84 billion and some have threatened to use force against upstream countries to protect this supply. Among the industries at risk is the Middle East’s key petroleum sector. So-called “lift water” is pumped into the ground to force out more petroleum and prolong a well’s production capacity. The world’s largest oil field, Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar, has been utilizing injections of sea water as production levels stagnate. Maplecroft warned that shortages of water could inhibit the use of lift water, reducing productivity and supply, and further raising oil prices. Among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, six are rated by Maplecroft as being at extreme risk and two as being at high risk. The eight accounted for 45% of global oil output in 2009, it noted. For businesspeople and investors, water security should factor into their strategy, Maplecroft’s Styles said. Aside from political risk, water shortages are likely to prompt governments to regulate consumption more severely and raise costs, which could hurt industries reliant on water. Companies also must be cognizant of “reputation risk” if their facilities are seen by the public as using too much water or degrading its quality, he said. Climate change is likely to exacerbate the challenges to businesses as countries toughen water-usage regulations to prepare for it, Kimberlee Myers, Maplecroft’s principal environmental analyst, said. — The Media Line

Yemen’s envoy supports anti-govt protestors KUWAIT: The Yemeni Ambassador to Kuwait, Dr. Khalid Rajeh Sheikh, on Monday voiced his support for the demands of the protesters in his homeland country, expressing solidarity with their “pursuit of their legitimate rights in peaceful demonstrations” against violent repression. Speaking to reporters, Ambassador Dr. Sheikh emphasized, however, that his stance does not mean that he is resigning from his post as Yemen’s senior diplomat in Kuwait. He insisted that showing solidarity with the protesters is a stronger stance to take than resignation which he described as “avoiding responsibility,” reported Al-Rai. Asked about the Yemeni government’s possible reaction to his decision to support protesters there against the ruling regime, the ambassador indicated that serving in a public post does not necessarily mean demonstrating unquestioning loyalty to the ruler of one’s country, adding that opposition is part of every nation’s political system.

Art exhibition ‘a real pointer of Islam’ VIENNA: His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah hailed yesterday the deep-seated ties binding the State of Kuwait and Austria, deeming them distinctive ones. HH the Amir said in his opening address of the “Art of Islamic Civilization”-which was delivered on his behalf by Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Minister of Oil and Minister of Information and Envoy of HH the Amir — that such ties have steadily grown in the reign of incumbent Austrian President Heinz Fischer, and particularly following the visit which he paid to Kuwait in February 2009. Then, HH the Amir expressed his happiness over the Islamic art exhibition being moved to another European country, after visiting the Italian city of Milan, and so displaying the artifacts of Islamic art at the halls of the Austrian Museum of Art History in Vienna. Then, the Envoy of HH the Amir voiced the commendation of HH the Amir over the distinctive efforts made by Director General of Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyya Sheikha Hussah Al-Sabah and HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah who collected the items for holding such outstanding museum, and welcomed the participants and at their forefront comes the Austrian President who was keen to open the museum in person. Further, Envoy of HH the Amir welcomed Director General of the Austrian National Museum of Art History Sabine Haag, and expressed his thanks for the participants who represented Austrian and foreign high-profile diplomatic, political and media figures. Additionally, HH the Amir stressed that Kuwait is not only an oil-rich country, but it is also rich in another kinds of wealth, namely culture which is the “food for thought”. HH the Amir said that the displayed artistic items which amount to 350 were meticulously selected from among thousands of artifacts in order to feature the distinctive traits of the Islamic civilization over various historical epochs, and spanning a far-flung geographical region extending from Spain to China. —KUNA

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuwaiti Ambassador to Australia Khaled AlShaibani met yesterday with Chief Executive of the Australian-Gulf Council Michael Yabsley. Al-Shaibani said that his meeting with the official focused on means to bolster economic ties between the GCC states and Australia.

Kuwaiti Ambassador meets head of Australian-Gulf Council KUALA LUMPUR: Kuwaiti Ambassador to Australia Khaled Al-Shaibani yesterday met with the Chief Executive of the Australian-Gulf Council (AGC), Michael Yabsley. Ambassador Al-Shaibani told KUNA that his discussions with the Australian official focused on means to bolster economic ties between the GCC states and Australia.The ambassador lauded the strong and steadily-developing relations between Kuwait and Australia, noting that such ties would help to further enhance relations between the GCC and the AGC via mediation between the two nation.

Yabsley, meanwhile, commended the Kuwaiti official on his efforts to promote bilateral relations on all levels, especially within the economic and commercial domains. The AGC is an invitation only council that brings together corporate, political and diplomatic representatives at the highest level to facilitate the two-way flow of capital between Australia and the Gulf states, along with greater levels of political, economic, and cultural understanding. The organization works closely with embassies and other officials to provide the link between government and business.


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Attempt to kidnap young woman foiled in Sulaibiya Man killed in Kabd Road accident KUWAIT: A 20-year-old woman was saved from being kidnapped when pedestrians intervened to rescue her from a person trying to take her by force, reported Al-Rai. Police responded to a scene in Sulaibiya where an emergency caller reported witnessing a young woman crying for help while being dragged away by a man against her will. Police were able to apprehend the suspect before he could escape. The victim’s father, who was summoned to the area’s police station where his daughter and the kidnapper were taken, informed police that the same man attempted to abduct his daughter previously and that a restraining was placed on him. The suspect was held by authorities for further action. Car accident A driver was killed and another was injured in a car accident on Kabd Road, reported AlWatan. Police and paramedics responded to the accident and one of the victims, a 25-year-old bedoon resident, was pronounced dead upon their arrival. The other, a Bangladeshi, was admitted to Farwaniya Hospital with serious injuries. An investigation was launched by authorities. Rape cases A citizen pressed charges at the Abu Halifa police station against an Iranian man, reported Al-Watan. The citizen accused the Iranian man of sexually assaulting his 11-year-old son after luring him to his apartment in Mangaf. An investigation was launched in search of the rapist. Meanwhile, police arrested two teenaged brothers for raping a teenage boy that lives next door to them after luring him to the back of his building, reported Al-Rai. The suspects were arrested shortly after the victim’s

father reported the incident at the Sabah AlSalem police station.

breaking in. He was referred to the proper authorities.

Forced confession Police launched an investigation into a case filed by a citizen who accused a police officer of torturing him, reported Al-Watan. In his statement to police at the Fintas police station he said that the officer forced him to admit he was guilty of a drug related case.

Attempted murder Police arrested and charged two people with attempted murder for stabbing a citizen repeatedly during a fight in Abu Halifa, reported AlRai. Police reported to a scene near a shopping mall in the area where the fight was reported to have taken place. The victim was rushed to Adan Hospital after he was found bleeding from various stab wounds all over his body. In the meantime, police apprehend his attackers before they could escape and referred them to the proper authorities.

Hawally suicide A 70-year-old female resident was found dead inside a Hawally apartment as a result of committing suicide, reported Annahar. Police and paramedics responded to the location after a Lebanese man reported finding his mother motionless in the living room and pronounced the woman dead upon their arrival. An investigation revealed that the woman died as a result of circulatory failure caused by the consumption of large amounts of prescription medications. A suicide note was found at the scene in which the mother asked her children for forgiveness and said that she hopes to meet them in heaven.

Explosives found Bomb squad experts successfully defused two explosives found at a construction site in the Sabah medical zone, reported Al-Rai. Police responded to the location after being informed that foreign objects were found half buried in the ground. Bomb squad experts confirmed that the objects were explosive and defused them. An investigation revealed that the explosives were remnants of the Iraq invasion 20 years ago.

Home robbery Mubarak Al-Kabeer detectives arrested a citizen responsible for several home robberies in the governorate, reported Al-Qabas. He was caught by authorities after he failed to rob a house in the area. The suspect was seen making his way away from a house that he initially tried to break into but changed his mind when he realized it was not vacant. When questioned, he admitted being responsible for breaking into several houses in the area and stealing various valuable items. He explained that he would wait until residents left their homes before

Mugging case Capital department investigators are searching for a security officer charged with stealing an iPhone and KD300 from an Asian man, reported Al-Rai. In his statement to police, the victim said that he was stopped in Salhiya by a person dressed as a police officer and ordered to report to a police station after taking a look at his ID and making a phone call. The man explained that instead of bringing him to a police station the suspect brought him to a remote location, beat him up and mugged him.

Supreme Court rejects husband’s ‘disobedience’ charges KUWAIT: The Supreme Court has rejected a case filed by a Kuwaiti man demanding that his wife be compelled to return to the marital home after she left him. The court also ordered that the plaintiff be forced to pay his wife KD200 in compensation. The woman’s attorney provided evidence to show that her husband was no longer capable

of committing to the duties required of him, including testimony showing that whilst she was in hospital for four days for medical treatment he had failed to visit her at all. Her lawyer, Mohammad Kamal, also presented evidence that the man spends much of the year in tourism outside the country, leaving his wife and children at home with insuffi-

cient funds to meet their needs. The woman’s attorney also furnished proof that the husband had forcibly ejected his wife and children from the marital home on several previous occasions before she finally left of her own accord, as well as seizing her credit card and forcing her to take out a KD15,000 loan from a local bank to meet his own debts.

National manpower conference continues deliberations KUWAIT: The second National Manpower conference, organized by the restructuring program of national manpower and the executive organ of state under the slogan “Development Through National Manpower” continued here yesterday for its second day in a row. Director of Public Relations and Media in the program Abdul Aziz Al-Qassar said during the opening of the seminars yesterday that the conference discusses many of the working papers, notably a paper on the educational outcomes and their effects on the labor market and the

private sector and the importance of linking the needs of the labor market outputs of education. The gathering also discusses the financial benefits of the government and their impact on employment in the private sector, he said. He added that the conference as a whole reveals the successful experiences in rehabilitation and employment of national manpower in the private sector, wishing that its recommendations would support the labor market for the interest of national employment. — KUNA

Official underscores vital role of CSC for national development KUWAIT: The Civil Service Commission (CSC) plays a pivotal role at the level of public authorities, giving recommendations on technical support for civil service affairs and administrative development, an official of the commission said yesterday. The department of administrative development plays a central and significant role in operations such as planning and consultations at the level of public development and training departments, said Mohammad AlRoumi, the Undersecretary of the CSC, addressing the inauguration of the fourth seminar of the public administration institutes and administrative development of the GCC. Underscoring prime role of such authorities for administrative develop-

ment in all GCC countries, Al-Roumi indicated that nations of the globe devote particular concern for the role of such institutes and colleges for the sake of progress and modernization. For his part, Saeed Bin Salem AlHashemi, in charge of the department of human resources at the GCC Secretariat General, said the meeting was held in line with recommendations of the 11th meeting of the directors of the GCC public administration institutes. He expressed his confidence that such colleges and academies could play a greater and more effective role to speed up the pace of development in the member states of the council. Three forums had been held at this level since 2007. — KUNA

Mohammad Kamal

Gulf Bank celebrates Kuwaiti entrepreneurship KUWAIT: Gulf Bank recently hailed the success of its sponsorship of the “Proud to be Kuwaiti” (P2BK) Forum, which was held at the Mishref International Exhibition Fairgrounds. The opening ceremony was held on March 15, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Nasser Mohammed AlAhmad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait, and the closing ceremony on March 20 was under the auspices of Sheikh Ahmed Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. A competition was held during the P2BK forum to recognize the ‘Best Business Concept’, ‘Best Marketing Plan’ and the ‘Best Booth’, with the judging panel of Hadeel AlFadhli, Manager-Marketing Department, Gulf Bank, Haya AlManea from Zain Telecommunications and Ahmad AlAbdulmohsin from Kuwait Energy Company announcing the results during the closing ceremony. Sheikh Ahmed Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of State for Housing Affairs and Minister of State for Administrative Development, and Dhari Al-Wazzan, Founder of P2BK honored all sponsors by handing them mementos as a token of appreciation. Commenting on Gulf Bank’s sponsorship of the Forum, Fawzy Al-Thunayan, General Manager - Board Affairs of Gulf Bank, stated: “Gulf Bank is honored to sponsor the ‘Proud to be Kuwaiti’ Forum, for the fourth time. This is one of the most prominent events that encourage giving, self-achieve-

KUWAIT: Fawzy Al-Thunayan, General Manager, Board Affairs-Gulf Bank, HH Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait, Hadeel Al-Fadhli, Manager, Marketing-Gulf Bank, and Mohammad Al-Otaibi, Assistant Manager, Marketing-Gulf Bank

ment, and translation of ambitions into reality. “As a Kuwaiti bank, we are proud of our youth and their small projects, which we aspire, will develop into great companies and businesses in the future. We diligently endeavor to continue to encourage the change in culture of the Kuwaiti youth from consumption into production, deriving this tendency from the Kuwaiti business heritage, which was propelled by the spirit of initiatives and private projects.” Al Thunayan elaborated. He said: “We believe that eventually this will lead to a prosperous future for the Kuwaiti economy, and to a developed intellectual community that is capable of realizing the hopes and dreams of the future generations; a society that always seeks

to upgrade living styles in all aspects. “Today, we can witness a strong economic leap towards a promising future for our young generations. This can only be achieved with the support by all the institutions and individuals of our society. Let us join hands to activate the development, towards a more developed, more prosperous Kuwait.” P2BK provided the perfect opportunity to recognize and support young business talent in Kuwait. A key highlight was to introduce a dynamic group of budding young Kuwaiti entrepreneurs, the business leaders of tomorrow to seasoned business experts, such as those from the Gulf Bank team, in order to encourage and assist the growth of their businesses.

KAC holds ‘Early Breast Cancer Diagnosis’ seminar

KUWAIT: Raja Al-Roudhan with Dr Nour Al-Huda Karmani.

KUWAIT: In cooperation with Sabah Hospital’s Nour Imaging Clinic, the Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) recently conducted a seminar focusing on the benefits of early diagnosis in the successful treatment of breast cancer. The head of KAC’s communication team, Raja AlRoudhan, explained in a press release issued yesterday that the seminar was part of the airline’s sponsorship of a national breast cancer awareness campaign to help combat the disease. Dr. Nour Al-Huda Karmani, the director of the Nour Imaging Clinic, explained that the objective of the seminar was to spread awareness of the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in surviving the disease in order to increase the numbers of those doing so.


International WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

Yemen president warns of civil war, US concerned

Israel’s ex-president gets 7 years for rape Page 8

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‘Leave Lebanon’, Bahrain tells citizens Oppn leader’s telecom license revoked MANAMA: Relatives cry as the body of Bahia Al-Aradi, 51, is prepared for burial yesterday. Witnesses said Al-Aradi, the first woman confirmed dead in Bahrain’s unrest, was shot in the head as she approached a military checkpoint on a main road in Manama. — AP

MANAMA: Bahrain warned its nationals yesterday not to travel to Lebanon for their own safety, after Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah came out in support of weeks of protests by mainly Shiite demonstrators. “Due to the threats and interference that Bahrain has faced from terrorist elements, it warns and advises its nationals not to travel to Lebanon because of the dangers they may face that may affect their safety, and it advises nationals in Lebanon to leave immediately,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. Meanwhile, dozens of mourners gathered in Bahrain’s capital yesterday to bury a Shiite woman who witnesses say died at the hands of the country’s military shortly after emergency rule was imposed last week. The funeral was a reminder that emotions remain raw and tensions are still high between the Shiite majority, which make up the bulk of the opposition, and the kingdom’s Sunni rulers and their allies. Bahrain descended into turmoil last month as Shiite-led opposition groups took to the streets of the capital Manama to call for greater political reforms. The tiny island nation plays host to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, and its rulers maintain close ties to Saudi Arabia and other Westernbacked Arab nations. Bahia al-Aradi, 51, was driving on a main road in Manama looking for gasoline when she was shot in the head last Wednesday as she approached a military checkpoint, according to witnesses who came to her aid from nearby houses. They said they were also shot at by the military vehicles parked on a highway overpass. The woman’s brother, Habib al-Aradi, 36, said Bahia was on the phone with her younger sister when she was shot. He said the family was told they could pick up al-Aradi’s body from the main civilian hospital, Salmaniya, only this week. However, a death certificate seen by an Associated Press reporter was issued by a military hospital. It listed the cause of death as severe brain injury. “This is not the real reason why she died,” Habib al-Aradi said. He said he wants the military to explain what happened to his sister. “We cannot trust this army anymore.” The military hasn’t commented on al-Aradi’s death. Mourners at AlAradi’s funeral demanded revenge and chanted “Death to Al Khalifa” - a reference to

the country’s ruling dynasty - as they carried her body to Manama cemetery. Human rights groups say at least 20 people have been killed, including two members of Bahrain’s security forces, since protests began Feb 14. Separately, an organizer of a Kuwaiti medical convoy blocked from entering Bahrain said the team is ready to try again if it gets official clearance. Dr Adnan Fadeq said the convoy returned to Kuwait on Monday after being told it could not cross from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain. Fadeq said no reason was given for the denial of permission to the convoy, which included 53 medical personnel and 21 ambulances. Bahraini authorities have not commented. A Saudiled Gulf military force is in Bahrain aiding the monarchy in quelling the opposition protests. The unrest has weighed on Bahrain’s banking sector, one of the kingdom’s main industries. Credit agency Standard & Poor’s on Monday cut its ratings on the Bahrain-based Ahli United Bank and Arab Banking Corp, and the Bahrain branch of Arab Bank. Although Bahrain-based, ABC is majority owned by the Libyan government. S&P said its ratings face pressure from unrest in both countries. Separately, Bahraini regulators revoked operating licenses for a telecommunications company in which Sunni liberal leader Ibrahim Sharif is a large shareholder. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said all services of the company, 2Connect, will be permanently disconnected starting Sunday. Sharif, who is listed in government records as a director of 2Connect, heads the opposition Waad Society, an umbrella group of protest factions. He was arrested last week during a roundup of political activists. The CEO of 2Connect, Fahed al-Shirawi, said Sharif was an early investor who holds more than 10 percent of the company but is no longer a director. Al-Shirawi said unspecified security concerns were given as reason for the planned shutdown. He said he doesn’t understand it, but that company is willing to cooperate with authorities to resolve any concerns. “If there’s a security concern, we’re the first people to want to know what it is and how to stop it,” he said. TRA officials couldn’t be reached for comment. — Agencies

Oil interests mute Bahrain criticism

BAGHDAD: Saudi Arabia’s massive oil wealth and Sunni solidarity against Shiite Iran is the main reason Arab states remained muted over repression in Bahrain, while loudly protesting over the crushing of a popular revolt in Libya, analysts say. “Riyadh has traded Bahrain for Libya, because what happens at its borders is vital for the kingdom,” said Burhan Ghalioun, director of the Centre for Contemporary Oriental Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. He said “the allied military intervention in Libya is secondary for Gulf countries, because their relations are very bad with Muammar Gaddafi,” the Libyan leader facing a revolt at home and air strikes by an international coalition to prevent his brutal crackdown on civilians. On March 14, Saudi Arabia sent 1,000 troops across the causeway into Bahrain, and two days later police cracked down on protesters who had been camped in the centre of Manama for a month, killing three demonstrators. “Nobody is interested in showing hostility to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. Westerners and Arab states alike need their oil and huge financial resources,” Ghalioun added.

Nearly half of the world’s oil reserves are owned by the Gulf monarchies, which since 1984 have been linked through the “Peninsula Shield” defense pact. It has been conflict between Sunnis and Shiites, and the looming shadow of Iran, that has been instrumental in coalescing support behind King Hamad, the Sunni monarch who rules over a Bahrain population that is 70 percent Shiite. “The Arab position, especially that of the Gulf countries, was expected because of sectarian polarization in the region and the ambitions of Iran,” said analyst Ibrahim Al-Sumaidaie. “Washington, together with most Arab countries, is convinced of Iranian involvement in the revolt in Bahrain, and nobody had any intention of seeing a powder keg ignited a few steps from the world’s main oil reserves,” said Sumaidaie, a professor of international relations in Baghdad. For Saudi Arabia, the sectarian issue is ultra-sensitive. Only 10 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population is Shiite, but they inhabit the oil regions of the kingdom. By contrast, virtually all of Libya is Sunni, and Saudi King Abdullah’s dislike of Gaddafi is no secret. The two have occasionally exchanged pointed insults, sometimes publicly. — AFP


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Yemen’s president warns of civil war; US concerned Opposition rejects early poll offer; Fresh defections hit Saleh

CAIRO: Egyptian police soldiers escape from a fire set at interior ministry complex in Cairo yesterday. An Egyptian security official says police protesting in front of Egypt’s Interior Ministry have set fire to part of the downtown complex. — AP

Fire rages at Egypt interior ministry CAIRO: Fire broke out yesterday in an Egyptian interior ministry building in Cairo, shortly after thousands of policemen protested there to demand better working conditions, an AFP correspondent said. Thick black smoke spewed into the sky and flames spread to another building in the ministry complex in the Lazoghly area of central Cairo in the incident that left two people injured, according to the official MENA news agency. “Suddenly, flames came out from inside the building, from the fourth or fifth floor,” witness Walid Ibrahim told Egyptian state television. It was not immediately clear what started the blaze. Protesters at the scene denied any involvement. “We were demanding to negotiate with the minister about salaries and then suddenly we saw the fire coming out of the building,” said Essam Issa, a policeman who was protesting outside the ministry. “They will blame us, but we had nothing to do with it,” he said. Army officerswho had been protecting the building-detained one person at the scene angering protesters who scuffled with the army, MENA said. Officers then fired shots into the air to disperse the crowd, it reported. Police set fire to the same building on February 23 after demanding to be reinstated. Thirteen ex-police officers were each jailed for five years over the arson attack. Egypt has seen a rash of labour-related protests since an 18-day uprising against Hosni Mubarak triggered the resignation of the longtime president on February 11. The Lazoghly complex housed the now disbanded State Security Investigations, the branch of the interior ministry which monitored political dissent and was long accused by rights groups of abuse. Dissolution of the Egypt’s sprawling state security apparatus, the backbone of Mubarak’s repressive regime that was regularly accused of torture, was a key demand of protesters who forced the former president’s ouster. Earlier this month, protesters stormed and ransacked several state security buildings around the country, trying to retrieve files kept on the population by the security police. They said they had seen policemen set fire to documents and had seized them to prevent their destruction. Hundreds of protesters laid siege to the headquarters of the security apparatus in Lazoghly and were attacked with knives and rocks by men in civilian clothing. When protests erupted on January 25 to demand Mubarak’s ouster, the veteran leader’s loyalists used hired thugs to beat back protesters. Police disappeared from the streets a few days into the anti-regime protests giving way to looting and insecurity. Interior Minister Mansur Essawy, who replaced the widely despised Habib Al-Adly now on trial for corruption, vowed to make security his top priority.—AFP

SANAA: Yemen’s president warned yesterday that his country would descend into civil war if he is forced to quit and Washington voiced concern about instability in the Arabian state where Al-Qaeda has a stronghold. Unrelenting anti-government protests, which first began on Feb 3, and fresh defections among the ruling elite have added to the pressure on Saleh, a US ally against radical Islamists, to step down immediately after 32 years in power. But an aide said the president would leave office only after organizing parliamentary polls by January 2012 and he refused to hand over power without knowing who would succeed him. “President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he will hand over power through (parliamentary) elections and the formation of democratic institutions at the end of 2011 or January 2012,” Saleh’s media secretary Ahmed Al-Sufi said. “Ali Abdullah Saleh does not seek power. Ali Abdullah Saleh will not leave without knowing who he is handing over to.” US Defense Secretary Robert Gates voiced rare public alarm about the situation in Yemen: “We are obviously concerned about the instability in Yemen.” He added that he was mainly anxious to avoid “diversion of attention” from opposing Al-Qaeda there. The opposition movement swiftly rejected Saleh’s offer to stay until January 2012. The coming hours would be “decisive”, Mohammed al-Sabry, a key opposition spokesman, said. In speeches to army officers and tribal leaders in Sanaa, Saleh said Yemen would face civil war and disintegration because of efforts to stage what he called a “coup” against his rule. “You have an agenda to tear down the country, the country will be divided into three instead of two halfs. A southern part, northern part and a middle part. This is what is being sought by defectors against the unity,” he said, referring to northern Shiite rebels and Al-Qaeda militants. “Those who want to climb up to power through coups should know that this is out of the question. The homeland will not be stable, there will be a civil war, a bloody war. They should carefully consider this,” Saleh told army commanders. SLIDE INTO FAILED STATE Western countries fear the political crisis could hasten a slide into failed nation status for a country that borders the world’s biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and major shipping routes. One scenario could see the country split into separate zones along tribal, military or regional lines. Al-Qaeda has already used Yemen to attempt attacks in Saudi Arabia and the United States in the past two years. The Shi’ite Houthi movement has staged a number of revolts against Saleh. One opposition leader offered Saleh the prospect of secure retirement if, like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, he would go quietly, unlike Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. “He shouldn’t follow the style of Gaddafi by destroying the country and killing people,” Yassin Noman, rotating head of Yemen’s opposition coalition said. “After this long term of governing, he should say: Thank you my people, I leave you peacefully.” “I know the morality of Yemeni people. If he left peacefully, they will look at him as a real leader. He will be able to live wherever he likes,” Noman said. “They will ensure him a very nice life. His dignity will be kept.” Several generals and officials have abandoned Saleh this week after a massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators on Friday, as one of the most violent of the uprisings that have swept the Arab world has pushed his adminis-

SANAA: Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa. — AP tration to breaking point. Yesterday, Abdel-Malik Mansour, Yemen’s envoy to the Arab League, told Al Arabiya television he was siding with protesters. AbdulRahman Al-Iryani, whom Saleh sacked as environment minister on Sunday along with the rest of the cabinet, said on Facebook he was joining “the revolutionaries”. PROTEST MASSACRE Defections have included generals, tribal leaders, diplomats and ministers. They have gained momentum since gunmen loyal to Saleh opened fire on demonstrators in the capital Sanaa on Friday. Fifty-two people were killed. A crowd of around 10,000 gathered outside Sanaa University in a rally that has been repeated for the past seven weeks. Echoing demands that have been satisfied in Tunisia and Egypt and continue to be heard elsewhere across the region, they chanted: “The people want the fall of regime”. The body of one of those killed on Friday was brought to the protesters before burial. “The people want a trial for the butcher,” they shouted, hurling abuse at Saleh. France on Monday became the first Western power to call publicly for Saleh to stand down. Foreign Minister Alain Juppe described his departure as “unavoidable”. Attention shifted to the United States and Saudi Arabia, two key allies who see Yemen as a bulwark against a dynamic al Qaeda network that has made skilful use of Yemen’s poverty, tribal system and central government dysfunction to use the country as a staging ground for attacks against US and Saudi targets. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr Al-Qirbi returned from Riyadh on Monday where Saleh sent him to seek Saudi-led Gulf Arab mediation. A diplomatic source said there had been no indication of success in the effort to involve those countries. Tribal sources said tribal sheikhs had embarked on mediation efforts yesterday, focusing on a potential agreement that protests could continue, violence against protesters would be investigated and a

smooth transition of power would take place. No more details were available. US President Barack Obama, grappling with pressures for change across the region from the Gulf to the Atlantic, has called for “peaceful transition” in Yemen, where the lack of a clear successor to Saleh has increased nervousness aboard. Yesterday, soldiers were preventing cars from driving along roads close by Saleh’s presidential palace in Sanaa. Late, on Monday night residents heard explosions and shooting near a presidential place in Yemen’s eastern port of Mukalla. General Ali Mohsen, commander of the northwest military zone and Saleh’s kinsman from the alAhmar clan, said on Monday he was backing the protesters and warned of civil war. VETERAN SURVIVOR Tanks were deployed outside the presidential palace in the southern port city of Aden, focal point of a separatist movement hoping to escape Yemen’s myriad problems by recreating the former South Yemen that feels cheated by unity under Saleh. Saleh is a perennial survivor who has held power through civil war, uprisings and militant campaigns. But the death of the 52 protesters has pushed opposition to new levels. Saleh himself appeared to realise the gravity of the bloodshed, sacking his cabinet and declaring a 30-day state of emergency. Shortly after Tunisians forced out their president in January, Saleh offered some concessions to his opponents in Yemen, notably vowing not to stand for re-election in 2013. Last week, he also offered a new constitution giving more powers to parliament and announced an array of handouts. But he rejected calls for a phased handover of power this year. Opponents complain that Yemen under Saleh has failed to meet the basic needs of the country’s 23 million people. Unemployment is around 35 percent and 50 percent for young people. Oil wealth is dwindling and water is running out.— Reuters

Fear barrier crumbles in Syria’s ‘kingdom of silence’ Mosque scene shows new mood, challenge to rulers DAMASCUS: The preacher of the Saladin Mosque was reflecting on the joys of Mother’s Day, his sermon straying far from dramatic protests now gripping Syria, when a young man jumped up to the pulpit and grabbed the microphone. “Why are you talking about this in these circumstances? Tell us about the political situation!” shouted the youth, before secret police arrested him and hurried him away. The scene at the mosque in the lower income Damascus district of Ruknaldin, recounted to Reuters by worshippers who witnessed it on Friday, was striking in a country where pliant citizens have endured government-dictated sermons for decades. In Damascus, as in the provinces, a barrier of fear which had blocked dissent is breaking down. Uprisings across the Arab world have not stopped at the door of one of its most hardline administrations. For the first time, placards other than those glorifying Syria’s ruling elite and the “historic achievements” of the Baath Party are being raised in the towns of the strategic Hauran plain south of Damascus. A single word is etched on them-”Freedom”. The region, where four protesters have been killed by security forces since Friday, has seen the first non-sectarian protests against the Baath Party since Assad’s late father Hafez alAssad crushed leftist and Islamist opponents in the 1980s. Among them were the cream of Syrian society-lawyer and former judge Haitham Al-

Maleh, leftist leader Riad alTurk, writer Akram Al-Bunni, and poet Mohammad AlMaghout, who wrote that being tortured by a compatriot was more painful and humiliating than repression under French colonialism. The violent campaign by the Syrian

interview on BBC Television. “Dr Bashar, listen to us. Non-stop pressure and repression will generate an explosion. You know, and you see how the region is boiling,” said Atrash, referring to a wave of Arab uprisings which have toppled two leaders and challenged

hatred against the president, an ophthalmologist by training who was thrust into politics when his elder brother Bassel died in car accident in 1994. But the name of one top figure of the ruling elite, Assad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf, is being uttered publicly. Owner of

DARAA: A cameraman films the destroyed Revolution Youth Union branch, affiliated to the ruling Syrian Baath Party which was destroyed by Syrian anti-government protesters, in the southern city of Daraa. — AP authorities in the 1980s left up to 70,000 people missing. In 2004, Kurds, many of whom are denied Syrian citizenship, mounted violent demonstrations against the government in which 30 people were killed. In a sign of changing times, Montaha al-Atrash, whose father led a revolt against French rule in the 1920s, addressed Assad directly in an

many more. “The regime is still responding to anyone calling for change by trying to portray it as a scheme for sectarian strife and division, and by unleashing on demonstrators security forces who are already filling the streets,” she added, speaking in Syria. The protesters have not called for the removal of Assad, and Atrash said there was no

Syria’s largest cellphone company and several large businesses, Makhlouf is under US sanctions for what Washington regards as public corruption. Until now, no one inside Syria has dared question his activities. The tycoon maintains his businesses are legitimate, providing professional employment for thousands of Syrians. “Go away Makhlouf.

We don’t want thieves... There is no more fear after today,” is one of the main chants of demonstrators who burnt premises of Makhlouf’s Syriatel company. Residents of Deraa city, where the demonstrations started on Friday, say they have shaken off humiliation and decades of repression, and broken a ‘fear factor’ that had made people suspicious that even close relatives might be informants. “I can now smell freedom,” said one youth, describing how mass demonstrations had helped unify a tribal-based society he said authorities had played a part in fracturing. Even if protests subside-the south was calm on Tuesday morning-Syrians say the grievances which sparked them remain. Opposition figure Riad alTurk, who spent 25 years as a political prisoner including almost 18 years alone in a 2metre by 2-metre underground cell during Hafez al-Assad’s rule, said Syrian leaders face “the moment of truth”. “What is required is serious and clear steps to transform Syria from repression to democracy. “They are steps outlined repeatedly: release political prisoners, abolish the state of emergency, legalize a multi-party system, separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, and scrap the clause that makes the Baath Party ‘leader of state and society’,” he said. “All I know today is that Syria will not remain the kingdom of silence,” 80-year-old Turk said. “Fear will no longer suffocate, and my homeland will not remain a big prison”.— Reuters

TEL AVIV: Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav enters his car after leaving the court house in Tel Aviv yesterday. — AP

Israel’s ex-president gets 7 years for rape TEL AVIV: Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav was sentenced to seven years in jail for rape yesterday in a case that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said showed “that no person is above the law”. Katsav had denied charges he twice raped an aide when he was a cabinet minister in the late 1990s, and molested or sexually harassed two other women who worked for him during his 2000-2007 term as president. But a three-judge panel at Tel Aviv District Court said when convicting him in December that his testimony had been “riddled with lies”. “The defendant committed the acts as any man and as any man he must bear the punishment,” the judges said at sentencing, adding that in the face of the grave offences, his clean record and stature were insufficient grounds for granting leniency. One Israeli newspaper called the verdict an “earthquake” and it was welcomed by women’s groups that have long complained of lax attitudes to sexual harassment in workplaces. Israeli media reported Katsav burst into tears after shouting out at the judges: “The women lied...injustice is being done here. You have caused the lie to triumph...you’ve made a mistake, sir”. At the end of the hearing that lasted less than an hour, Katsav, 65, was whisked out of court by family members and bodyguards and a scuffle broke out between one of his sons and media crews trying to photograph the former president. The court told him to report for the start of his jail term on May 8. His lawyers said they will lodge an appeal. Netanyahu said in a speech in Tel Aviv that it was a day of “sadness and shame ... but also a day of deep appreciation and pride” that the court had showed no one was above the law. Although the scandal had forced Katsav to step down in disgrace, it had little impact on Israeli government functions, as the presidency is largely a ceremonial position. But the allegations against the Iranian-born Katsav, whose rise from the slums once served as a shining example for disadvantaged Jewish immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, stirred deep emotions in Israel, where the elite has traditionally been of European descent. The religiously observant Katsav had cast himself as the victim of extortion and an ethnically motivated “witch hunt”. He immigrated with his family to Israel in 1951 and at 24 became its youngest mayor and went on to hold a number of Likud cabinet posts. Parliament elected him president in 2000 in a surprise victory over Shimon Peres, Israel’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning elder statesman. Peres then succeeded Katsav as president, an appointment observers say has restored dignity to the post. The Katsav affair amplified corruption scandals in 2009 that brought down Israel’s then premier, Ehud Olmert.— Reuters


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US court martial after grisly Afghan photos aired SEATTLE: A soldier from a “rogue” US army unit accused of killing Afghan civilians for sport goes on trial today, two days after grisly photos of troops posing with dead bodies were published. One of three pictures published by the German news magazine Der Spiegel shows Jeremy Morlock smiling over the corpse of an Afghan man he allegedly murdered in southern Afghanistan. News reports say Morlock has agreed to plead guilty at his court martial to his role as part of an allegedly drug-addled rogue unit that slaughtered Afghan civilians in the explosive Kandahar region early last year. The photos, recalling the notorious Abu Ghraib prison abuse images from Iraq, show Morlock and another soldier-Private Andrew Holmes, who also faces murder charges-holding up the head of a blood-spattered corpse. Under military procedures, if Morlock enters a guilty plea today the hearing would immediately go to the sentencing phase. An attorney for Morlock did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. The court martial has already been postponed once, but Army spokeswoman Major Kathleen Turner, speaking after the surprise publication of the photos, said Morlock is still scheduled to go before the court today. Morlock is also the government’s star witness against four other soldiers accused over the execution of Afghan civilians-in particular the alleged ringleader, Staff Sergeant Calvin R Gibbs. Morlock led Army investigators to gruesome trophies allegedly taken from the bodies of civilians killed by members

of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Division’s Stryker brigade, based out of Fort Lewis, Washington.

At a pre-trial hearing for Holmes in November, Special Agent Benjamin Stevenson testified that, using a map

A combination of two pictures released by the US Army shows (left) US Corporal Jeremy Morlock, and Private Andrew Holmes.

drawn by Morlock, he was able to find severed fingers in a large protective barrier near where the soldiers lived. How Der Spiegel obtained the photos is unclear, but the Army apologized on Monday for their appearance, saying the pictures were “repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States Army. “We apologize for the distress these photos cause,” said a US Army statement. But at least one person was glad to see the photos made public. Holmes’s attorney, Dan Conway, has been fighting with the Army to obtain the photos so he can have an outside forensic investigator examine them. Conway says his client is accused of killing the Afghan civilian in the photo with a machine gun, but the lawyer does not believe the photos show evidence that the body was hit by Holmes’s gun. “I’m disappointed that I’ve practically begged the army to give these photos to me,” Conway said by phone. “Now I have to get this potentially exculpatory evidence from a German newspaper?” Conway says Holmes “was ordered to be in the photos, so he got in the photos. But that does not make him a murderer.” Der Spiegel said the US military tried to prevent the publication of the pictures, fearing a possible backlash against its troops on the ground in Afghanistan. The well-respected magazine said it had researched the story of the so-called “Kill Team” for five months, and the three photos published Monday were from some 4,000 pictures and videos it had seen.— AFP

US president seeks deeper Latam ties Strikes on Gaddafi’s forces divide Latin America

PORT-AU-PRINCE: UN peacekeepers from Brazil patrol in the slum of Cite Soleil, Portau-Prince. International monitors praised Haiti’s weekend presidential election, saying it was in sharp contrast to the Nov 28 first round that was marred by disorganization and allegations of widespread fraud. — AP

Martelly tipped to win in Haiti PORT-AU-PRINCE: Partial results suggested Monday that carnival singer Michel Martelly was on course for a landslide in quake-hit Haiti’s remarkably peaceful presidential run-off election. Tally sheets read out on television and radio indicated that in key urban areas such as Petionville in the capital and the sprawling Cite Soleil slum, Martelly was well ahead of his rival, former first lady Mirlande Manigat. “I think he has won the election. From everything that I’ve heard it looks like it may even be a landslide, at least in the urban areas,” USbased Haiti expert Robert Fatton said. Fears Sunday’s polls, delayed for months by bickering over a violence-plagued first round in November, would be overshadowed by the return from exile in South Africa of charismatic ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide proved unfounded. Aristide endorsed neither candidate and did little to interfere with the delicate political situation in a Caribbean nation whose recent past has been scarred by dictatorship and upheaval. Authorities said two people had been killed in electionrelated violence, but in most parts of Haiti voted went ahead calmly. The European Union and the United Nations, which deploys thousands of peacekeepers in the notoriously troubled Caribbean nation-more than 220,000 people were killed in a January 2010 earthquake-offered praise. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the primary task of the new leader would be “to oversee the reconstruction of the country after the tremendous tragedies that have befallen it in the past year.” The United States was more cautious, pointing to encouraging signs, while France described the polls as “satisfactory” but urged candidates not to stir up trouble by prejudging the final result. They “should respect this democratic process by abstaining from any unilateral proclamation based on partial results,” a spokesman for French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told reporters in Paris. Known to fans by his stage name “Sweet Micky,” the 50-year-old Martelly waged a slick campaign built on promises to dramatically shake up Haiti’s elitist politics and drag the masses out of poverty. The candidates are

vying for the job of rebuilding a nation beset by problems, from endemic corruption and the aftermath of the 2010 quake to a cholera epidemic that has claimed almost 5,000 lives since mid-October. Pre-election opinion polls showed Martelly enjoying a slim lead over the soft-spoken Manigat, a 70-year-old academic and opposition figure whose husband was president in 1988 for a few months before being ousted by a coup. Voting problems were minor compared to November when polling stations were trashed and the whole process deteriorated into a farce when most of the candidates called for a re-run even before the polls had closed.At least five people were killed in December when days of rioting erupted at the news that Martelly had finished third behind ruling party candidate Jude Celestin and would not make the run-off. After weeks of US-led pressure and a review by international monitors, Martelly was eventually reinstated at the expense of Celestin, who was seen as current President Rene Preval’s handpicked successor. French sociologist Laenec Hurbon agreed with Fatton that any Martelly victory was more likely due to the perception of him as the change candidate than because people necessarily backed his right-leaning politics. “If Martelly does it, it’s by default,” Hurbon, from the French National Center for Scientific Research, told AFP. “It’s a vote against Preval, against continuity. People are sick of a government seen as devoid of energy and lacking any ideas.” Colin Granderson of regional bloc CARICOM, heading an international observer mission, said turnout had been slightly higher than in the first round when only 23 percent of the 4.7 million eligible Haitians cast ballots. Voting Sunday at a school in the upscale neighborhood of Petionville, Martelly told a crowd of several hundred cheering supporters: “Today is the day of change, change for Haiti. The day when Haiti will escape its misery.” The international community is watching closely as it has committed billions of dollars to help reconstruct Haiti, where hundreds of thousands of quake survivors eke out an existence in squalid camps.—AFP

SAN SALVADOR: US President Barack Obama wrapped up a visit to Chile and departed yesterday for El Salvador, the third and final stop of his Latin America tour. Obama, traveling to San Salvador after stops in Brazil and Chile, hailed the economic vitality of the region, with which he promised to forge a new partnership after a troubled past. Obama and his delegation were due to arrive here at around midday. The three-nation trip-which has been overshadowed by Arab uprisings and the launch of air strikes against the forces of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi was to conclude in one of the world’s most dangerous countries amid greatly tightened security. Large numbers of heavily armed police and soldiers were deployed around the presidential palace and the hotel where Obama will be staying as US military helicopters circled overhead on Monday. Security was also tight around the cathedral of San Salvador, where Obama is to pay a visit today, and the archeological site of San Andres, 40 kilometers to the west, which will be visited by his family. In this final leg of his trip Obama was expected to focus on the drug trafficking and violence that continue to plague much of Central America, after admitting in Chile that US demand for drugs fuels much of the unrest. “The United States shares and accepts our share of responsibility for drug violence. After all, the demand for drugs, including in the United States, drives this crisis,” he said. Obama’s senior Latin America advisor Dan Restrepo said yesterday’s talks with Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes would focus on both “economic stagnation” and “citizen security,” and on how to promote the country’s legal industries. According to the US State Department, El Salvador is one of the 10 most violent countries in the world. A State Department document noted that there were 3,985 homicides in 2010 and 999 carjackings. In Chile, Obama said the United States and Latin America were bound by common values and a shared history as he sought increased trade to boost the faltering US economy. “I believe that in the Americas today, there are no senior partners and there are no junior partners, there are equal partners,” Obama said, speaking alongside Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in Santiago. In a thinly-veiled attack on regional foes like Cuba and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Obama railed against “leaders who cling to

SANTIAGO: President Barack Obama, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama waves before their departure in Santiago, Chile yesterday. — AP bankrupt ideologies to justify their own power and who seek to silence their opponents.” Obama’s Latin America swing has been upstaged by events in Libya, where US-led air and missile strikes are enforcing a no-fly zone authorized by a UN Security Council resolution and aimed at protecting rebels. The strikes on Gaddafi’s forces have divided Latin America, with Colombia, Peru, Panama and Chile voicing support and Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay and Nicaragua condemning the attacks. Obama has evoked the successful struggle against dictatorships in much of the region as a model for the popular uprisings under way in the Arab world. “At a time when others around the world are reaching for their own rights and struggling for their own sense of dignity, Chile sends a powerful message. “You too can write a new chapter in the story of your nation; you too can be free,” Obama

said at the presidential palace, where the democratically-elected president Salvador Allende died during a US-backed military coup in 1973. Obama’s charm offensive could help open up Latin America’s surging economies to US firms and shore up export markets as Washington ties up important free trade deals with key regional partners Panama and Colombia. “We buy more of your goods and products than any other country, and we invest more in this region than any other country,” Obama said, adding that exports to the region will soon support more than two million US jobs. The president and First Lady Michelle Obama will attend an arrival ceremony yesterday at the National Palace after landing in San Salvador, the White House said. Later, Obama and Funes will hold two bilateral meetings, a joint press conference and an official dinner.— AFP


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Gates in Moscow amid Kremlin rift over Libya Putin, Medvedev split publicly over Libyan strikes

SIGONELLA: A Danish F-16 takes off from the Nato airbase in Sigonella, Italy. —AP

Divided NATO tries to resolve Libya role row NATO split on French, Turkish demands BRUSSELS: NATO tried again yesterday to resolve a fractious debate on who should command the military campaign against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya once the United States steps back from leading the operation. US President Barack Obama, trying to avoid getting bogged down in a war in another Muslim country, said on Monday Washington would cede control of operations within days and NATO would have a coordinating role. But a heated meeting of NATO ambassadors on Monday failed to resolve whether the 28-nation alliance should run the operation to enforce a UN-mandated no-fly zone, diplomats said. NATO’s council resumed debate yesterday and agreed to a limited broadening of the NATO mission by activating a plan for alliance warships to implement a UN arms embargo on Libya, NATO diplomats said. The nations leading the air campaign are all prominent NATO states, but NATO’s operational role has so far been limited to expanded air surveillance. France, which launched the initial air strikes on Libya on Saturday, has argued against giving the U.S.-led NATO political control over an operation in an Arab country, while Turkey has called for limits to any alliance involvement. A NATO diplomat said some allies were also now questioning whether a no-fly zone was necessary, given the damage already done by air strikes to Gaddafi’s military capabilities. “Yesterday ’s meeting became a little bit emotional,” the envoy said, adding that France had argued that the coalition led by France, Britain and the United States should retain political control of the mission, with NATO providing operational support, including command-and-control capabilities. “Others are saying NATO should have command or no role at all and that it doesn’t make sense for NATO to play a subsidiar y role,” the diplomat said. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu suggested that air strikes launched after a meeting in Paris hosted by France on Saturday had gone beyond what had been sanctioned by a UN

Security Council resolution. “There are UN decisions and these decisions clearly have a defined framework. A NATO operation which goes outside this framework cannot be legitimized,” he told news channel CNN Turk. ITALIAN WARNING ON BASES Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini reiterated a warning that Italy would take back control of airbases it has authorized for use by allies for operations over Libya unless a NATO coordination structure was agreed. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said Britain or France could take charge of the air operation, or NATO could lead it, if sensitivities in the Arab League over working under NATO leadership were assuaged. However, some analysts and NATO officials question whether France or Britain would be capable of coordinating a complex multinational air mission. British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday that NATO should take charge of a no-fly zone, given its “tried and tested machinery in command and control”.. In arguing against a prominent NATO role, France has cited the alliance’s poor reputation in the Arab world as a result of the war in Afghanistan and the perception that NATO is dominated by the United States. Senior French analyst Francois Heisbourg said the best outcome would be to have NATO handle military coordination but hand political decisions to an ad hoc council of states participating in the coalition, including Arab countries. Italy should be given an equal role with France and Britain because of its geographical location, interests in Libya and the key role of its air bases, he said. “If Turkey sticks to its line, that would rule out a NATO role either politically and militarily,” Heisbourg told Reuters. “If it lifts its objection, France would favor having NATO do the operational military coordination but not the political conduct of operations.” Italian officials have described the current three-way command structure involving France, Britain and the United States and the resulting bombing campaign as “anarchic”. —Reuters

MOSCOW: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Moscow yesterday for talks on Libya in the middle of the first major public spat between Kremlin chief Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Gates will not meet Putin but will see President Medvedev, who rebuked his mentor on Monday for comparing the West’s call for action in Libya to the crusades, the most public difference yet between Russia’s ruling tandem ahead of 2012 elections. Meeting his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov early yesterday, Gates said he wanted the “momentum” of warming ties between the Cold War foes to “continue to build today”. Earlier, Gates praised Russian leaders for choosing to abstain rather than vote against a UN Security Council resolution authorizing military action in Libya, Interfax said. Medvedev defended that decision on Monday, saying he did not consider the resolution wrong. Putin, in some of his harshest criticism of the United States since President Barack Obama started a push for better ties, compared action on Libya to the Iraq invasion and said it showed Russia was right to spend billions on its military. He told workers at a missile factory in central Russia that the UN Security Council resolution was flawed and it “resembles medieval calls for crusades”. Moscow has called on the United States, Britain and France to halt air strikes that are killing civilians, as alleged by Tripoli but strongly denied by the Pentagon. Gates, speaking in St Petersburg at the start of his two-day visit to Russia, told Interfax the

mission was to establish a no-fly zone and “prevent a humanitarian disaster, to prevent Gaddafi from slaughtering his own people”. “I think we’ve made a lot of progress just in a couple of days toward accomplishing those two objectives,” he said in an interview with the news agency. MISSILE DEFENCE? Putin made his comments a day before Gates, a former CIA director expected to retire later this year, spoke to Serdyukov about improving ties between the former Cold War foes. In a defense ministry compound, Gates told Serdyukov the two had “a full agenda” to discuss, including Libya, missile defense and the war in Afghanistan. Moscow, still haunted by its decade -long Soviet war with Afghanistan, has helped set up the Northern Distribution Network, a key supply route. The implementation of the New START nuclear arms treaty will also be addressed, the two said. A holdover from the Bush administration, Gates saw first hand the US-Russia relationship deteriorate over Russia’s 2008 war against pro-western Georgia, and then improve under Obama. Obama’s effort to “reset” ties, crowned with the arms pact which came into force last month, limits each country to 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and 800 delivery systems by 2018. Russia’s chief negotiator on the nuclear arms treaty with the United States has outlined tough conditions for further reductions, stressing Moscow’s demand for an equal say in creating a European missile shield. Moscow worries the shield could weaken Russia’s

MOSCOW: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates puts his hand to his heart during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner as he lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow. — AP

offensive arsenal and upset the balance of power. “The United States would far prefer to have Russia as a partner in European missile defense,” Gates told Interfax. “I think that we can provide political assurances that would reassure Russia that no aspect of our missile defense is ever intended to be used against Russia,” he told the news agency. — Reuters

German nuke plants ‘need rapid decisions’ Safety checks may affect plants’ life spans BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel promised yesterday an early decision on the fate of Germany’s nuclear power stations and refused to say whether seven reactors shut after Japan’s crisis would ever reopen. Merkel, whose party faces tough elections this weekend in states where anti-nuclear sentiment is strong, also signaled that safety checks on atomic plants might affect their life spans, which her cabinet agreed to extend only last autumn. Merkel was speaking after summoning premiers of the five German states that host nuclear power stations for a second time since she suspended her nuclear policy last week. That policy moratorium is due to last until June, but the fate of the seven closed plants, which all began operating before 1980, is uncertain after they undergo the safety checks. Merkel refused to be drawn on the plants, Germany’s oldest. “I cannot predict the result of the entire inspection and I do not want to engage in speculation,” she said. “I have said the time after the moratorium will be different from the time before the moratorium and cannot give further details today.” However, she made clear that the uncertainty over

Germany’s entire nuclear industry could not drag on after the checks. “One cannot order a five-year review. It is expected to be done as soon as possible so that the supervisory authorities will act and draw conclusions,” she told a news conference. SUSPENDED, NOT CANCELLED Merkel provoked a storm last year when her coalition agreed to prolong the lives of all 17 nuclear plants, which produced almost a quarter of German electricity last year. That decision was suspended, but not cancelled, under the three-month moratorium imposed in the wake of the crisis in Japan, where engineers have been fighting to avert a meltdown at the Fukushima complex. However, Merkel indicated that the policy might not be fully restored after June. “I do not rule out that the tests could also have an effect on the life spans.” she said. Merkel faces a major electoral test on Sunday in the southwestern state of BadenWuerttemberg, where one of the seven closed reactors, Neckarwestheim I, is located. The day after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, about 50,000 campaigners formed a 45-km human chain in a pre-planned protest between the state capital of Stuttgart and

Neckar westheim to demand its demise. Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) risk losing control of Baden-Wuerttemberg, one of Germany’s richest and biggest states. A poll published by Focus magazine on Sunday showed the anti-nuclear Greens have surged since the Fukushima crisis. Together with the Social Democrats, their natural coalition allies, they were ahead of the CDU and liberal Free Democrats (FDP), its coalition partner in both the state and federal governments. Merkel, who describes nuclear as a transitional source until green power is developed, called a meeting with premiers of all 16 states for April 15 to discuss moving faster to renewables. Germany currently gets about 16 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to raise that to at least 35 percent by 2020. An expert panel on nuclear safety is likely to recommend stricter safety measures next week, its head said. “The reactor safety commission will present a list of requirements at the end of the month,” panel chairman Rudolf Wieland told the Financial Times Deutschland. “I think there will be material changes in Germany to the safety requirements because of Fukushima.”— Reuters

French police discussing security risk due to Libya

Nigeria condemns world’s double standards on Libya

Meeting precautionary, no specific threats

Ivory Coast sliding towards civil war

PARIS: French Interior Minister Claude Gueant called a meeting of police chiefs yesterday to discuss potential security risks as a result of the military operation in Libya, a police source said. The meeting, the first of its kind since France and other western nations launched air strikes in Libya on Saturday, was called not because of intelligence about specific threats, but because of the Libyan regime’s track-record, the source said. “We know what the Libyans are capable of doing, so we’re cautious,” the police source said. In 1999 a Paris court found six Libyans, including the brother-in-law of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, guilty in absentia for the bombing over Niger of a DC10 operated by French airline UTA in 1989 which killed 170 people. Other attacks have been attributed to Libya, including the bombing of a Berlin disco in 1986 which killed two US soldiers and a Turk, and the bombing of a Pan Am flight over Scotland in 1988, which killed 270 people. A French government spokesman said on Monday that there was no reason to raise the country’s level of security alert, after Gaddafi threatened countries conducting air strikes against his military. France is spearheading the intervention in Libya and so would be a key target for any retaliation attacks. It has been on red alert-the third highest level in a four-step scale of color-coded alerts-since the 2005 suicide bomb attacks in London. Meanwhile, France’s foreign ministry said yesterday that NATO would provide support to military intervention by the Western-led coalition in Libya when the United States scaled back its participation. “When the Americans decide to take a bit of a step back, NATO could come in to support, that seems fairly clear,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Christine Fages. A heated meeting of NATO ambassadors on Monday failed to agree on whether the 28-nation alliance should run the operation to enforce a UN-mandated no-fly zone. Fages reiterated France’s concern that Arab members of the coalition were opposed to NATO taking sole command of the operation. Foreign Minister Alain Juppe suggested on Monday that NATO could take leadership at a planning and coordination level, but political leadership of the mission would need to come from coalition partners. Fages said, however, that the issue of who should run the alliance was not pressing for the time being, as Washington’s leadership was working. “We have no problem with seeking (NATO) help. What matters at the moment is implementing the UN resolution and for the time being, the US leadership is working,” Fages said. —Agencies

ABUJA: Nigeria’s foreign minister has accused the international community of double standards by imposing a no-fly zone to protect civilians in Libya while doing little to end abuses in crisis-torn Ivory Coast. Nigeria is the linchpin of West African bloc ECOWAS, which has threatened the use of force in Ivory Coast to push incumbent Laurent Gbagbo from power after he refused to accept defeat in an election the United Nations said rival Alassane Ouattara won. Around 400 Ivorians have died and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes since the disputed poll. Thousands of youth supporters of Gbagbo answered a call to join the army this week, adding fuel to fear that the violent power struggle risks sending the country back to civil war. Western powers, led by the US, have in recent days launched air strikes and enforced a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians as the country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi fights a civil war against rebels trying to oust him from power. Speaking at the commissioning of a new foreign ministry building in the capital Abuja, Nigerian Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia said the contradictions were “impossible to ignore”. “The contradictions between principle and national interest ... have

enabled the international community to impose a no-fly zone over Libya ostensibly to protect innocent civilians from slaughter, but to watch seemingly helplessly (in Ivory Coast) as ...men, women and children are slaughtered equally, even if less egregious violence,” he said. The United States and the European Union have imposed travel bans and other sanctions on Gbagbo and his inner circle but West African nations will need to take a lead if there is to be any attempt to remove him by force, diplomats say. Ajumogobia said last month that any military intervention in Ivory Coast would need to be UN-led and was more likely to involve an aerial and naval blockade than deploying troops to its cities. African states have been at odds over the use of force since the crisis began. Nigeria and Sierra Leone see Gbagbo’s defiance as a risk to regional peace and efforts to nurture democracy. Other countries have publicly criticized the way in which the United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS and other Western nations quickly recognized Ouattara as victor. ECOWAS leaders are due to meet in Nigeria’s capital Abuja this week to discuss their next move in the Ivorian crisis. There have already been several mediation efforts. — Reuters

1 in 3 Britons support Libya action

PARIS: A fire fighter climbs the ladder near the burning Elysee Montmartre concert hall in Paris yesterday. About one hundred of firefighters pull off the fire at the historical building that opened in 1807 in the Montmartre district of the French capital. No injuries was reported. — AP

LONDON: Only one in three Britons agree with the decision to take military action in Libya, a poll published on Monday showed. The ComRes/ITN poll found that 43 percent disagreed with the action and 22 percent were unsure. Just under half of those surveyed felt military action was an unnecessary risk for Britain to take. Haunted by the experience of the recent Iraq war and continued losses in Afghanistan, Britons told Reuters they were wary of getting dragged into another lengthy foreign conflict at a time of belt-tightening at home. “We shouldn’t be in there, we’ve

got enough on our plate in Afghanistan,” said Neil Wozencroft, a 35-year-old pipe fitter. “It’s a civil war and we shouldn’t get involved, plus there are other atrocities in the worldthe Congo and Mugabe in Zimbabwe. We can’t be the world’s peacekeepers.” Both Britain and France -who led efforts on a no-fly zone in Libya-are having to introduce austerity measures to tackle large budget deficits, while at the same time people are having to cope with rising food and fuel prices. “Is it really worth it? I ask myself,” said widow Roymonde Urien in Paris, concerned the air strikes might lead to a flood of immigrants

from Libya. All those Londoners quizzed by Reuters agreed they would like to see Gaddafi removed, but not through bombing. Despite doubts about the action itself, most praised Prime Minister David Cameron. “He grasped the situation,” Phil Davis, a 43-year-old civil engineer, said. “He saw it was an issue and reacted to it.” After a six-hour debate, the British parliament voted overwhelmingly on Monday to support Cameron’s decision to send British planes and ships to help enforce a nofly zone to stop attacks on civilians by Gaddafi’s forces. —Reuters


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Pakistan workers seek escape after Bahrain attacks MANAMA: Javid Eqbal toiled in Bahrain to earn his family’s living, only to be attacked with swords by alleged Shiite protesters who loathed Pakistanis for being the foot soldiers of the security forces. Living in fear of being targeted again, and sheltering at the Pakistani Club in Manama, all he wants now is to get his passport back from his local sponsor and to go home, after at least one Pakistani was killed last week. Like most Asian workers in the Gulf, he had a low-paid job as a painter. And on March 13, he and his flatmates became victims of the intensified clashes between the predominantly Shiite protesters and police. That night, Eqbal and his flatmates awoke to find youths breaking into their place, brandishing swords, hammers and steel rods. “They started beating us after they found out we were Pakistanis,” said Eqbal, despite telling them that they were laborers, not police. “They said: ‘You people are here to kill us’,” he said, quoting a youth who left him with injuries to the head, chest and feet, before they torched the place. Eqbal is hiding at the club along with around 300 Pakistani laborers who for the past week have not dared to stay in their homes or go to work. Dressed in traditional Pakistani garb, he sat in a community room with some 20 others. Next to him lay flatmate Mohammed Waqar with a bandaged arm that revealed a hand covered in oily

burns ointment. He was too worn out to speak. Eqbal said Waqar, who also had head injuries, was burned when their flat was set ablaze. “These are simple people earning bread and butter for their families,” said Malik Fiaz, a member of the community who helped to interpret as most workers could not speak English. “The problem is that Pakistani policemen are put on the front lines” of riot police in clashes with Shiite demonstrators. “This is not their own choice. This is their job. They have to obey orders,” he said, acknowledging that many Pakistanis serve in the Bahraini police. Many Pakistanis, as well as Sunni Arabs, have been naturalized in Bahrain, infuriating the Shiite majority which believes that many are given citizenship to tip the demographic balance in the kingdom ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty. There are reportedly more than 50,000 Pakistanis in Bahrain, many in the police and security services. “The Pakistani community has suffered more than any other foreign community,” said Fiaz, allegedly at the hands of Shiites who spearheaded a month-long pro-democracy protest that was quashed on Wednesday by security forces. Mohammed Babar, 27, was also a victim of the attacks targeting his community. His arm in plaster, he said he was hit with a steel rod as some 20 youths attacked a laborers’ residence near the central business district on March 13. “They want us to

leave Bahrain. Pakistani people have jobs in government that they (Bahrainis) think should be theirs,” he said. Most of those terrified workers want to return home. “Everybody wants to go back to Pakistan... We are scared here,” said Hassan Cheema, a 22-year-old telecommunications worker. Injured workers alleged that they were also denied treatment at Salmaniya central hospital, and that they were beaten by some medical staff who sympathized with protesters. “They kicked us out because we are Pakistanis. Some hospital staff beat us,” Eqbal charged. Salmaniya Medical Complex is the country’s largest public sector hospital and has been the focus of conflicting reports of abuse, as authorities claimed that Shiite staff turned the complex into a protest ground, while the international community denounced the storming of the facility by police. Salmaniya continues to be controlled by the army with masked men vetting all traffic in and out. Former opposition MP Matar Matar, a Shiite, condemned such attacks on workers, saying he was unable to confirm or deny reports that some Shiite youths had assaulted foreign workers. “Although we are in the midst of a conflict, that does not mean we abandon our values. We respect foreign communities,” said Matar, one of 18 MPs of the Al-Wefaq association to resign last month in protest at the violent repression of

BURI: The body of Abdulrassul Hujairi rests in a freshly-dug grave in the village of Buri outside Manama during his funeral, two days after he went missing amid a heavy-handed police crackdown on Shiite protests in the Gulf kingdom. — AFP

protests. He also said that although many Pakistanis and other foreigners are believed to have obtained Bahraini nationality ahead of time by joining the military, “many have been naturalized for spending the legally required period in Bahrain... and many have made valuable services to Bahrain.” — AFP

Afghan forces to take control in seven areas Afghanistan announces crucial security handover

BEIJING: Chinese people perform dancing exercise at a park near the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing yesterday. — AP

China and India call for Libyan cease fire N Korea slams US-led air strike on Libya BEIJING: China called yesterday for an immediate cease-fire in Libya where the US and European nations have launched punishing airstrikes to enforce a UN no-fly zone. India, too, expressed concern over the campaign, repeating a mantra of both Asian giants that the violence in the North African country was an internal affair. All parties must “immediately cease fire and resolve issues through peaceful means,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a regularly scheduled news conference, citing unconfirmed reports that the airstrikes had caused civilian deaths. China and India were among the five countries that abstained from last week’s vote on the UN resolution to allow “all necessary measures” to stop Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s assault on rebel-held towns. It was approved with the backing of the United States, France and Britain. Beijing has been sharply critical of the airstrikes that hit Libyan air defenses and forces for a third night Monday. The Foreign Ministry registered “serious reservations” about the resolution, and on Monday the country’s most important political newspaper compared the Western airstrikes against Libya to the USled invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told parliament Tuesday that foreign forces should not be meddling in Libyan affairs. “Nobody, no two or three countries, can take a decision to change a particular regime in a third country,” he said. China and India have both historically opposed foreign military interventions as part of long-standing policies of staying out of other countries’ internal affairs. Jiang said China, one of five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council, only opted not to oppose the resolution out of consideration for the support shown for the measure among Arab and African nations. North Korea also Tuesday urged an immediate halt to the airstrikes. An unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman said they were a “wanton violation” of Libya’s sovereignty and a “hideous crime against humanity.” The spokesman also accused the United States of wanting regime change in Libya and control of its natural resources. The comments were carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. The Philippines respects the Security Council decision, presidential spokesman

Abigail Valte in Manila said, while stopping short of openly supporting it due to concerns over the safety of Filipinos in Libya. About 15,000 of the 26,000 Filipino workers in Libya have fled since the unrest started. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs is asking Libya to allow four Filipino maids who work for a Gaddafi relative to leave the country. North Korea yesterday condemned air strikes by the US-led coalition on Libya, calling its own self-defense policy a “valuable deterrent” against potential foreign attacks. The North’s foreign ministry spokesman called the air assault “a hideous crime against humanity” and a “gross breach of the dignity” of Libyans, in an interview with the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “Such war action can never be justified and should be halted at once,” the spokesman said. Operation Odyssey Dawn led by US, French and British troops, aims to stop Muammar Gaddafi’s forces harming civilians involved in a month-long uprising. But the assault on Libya teaches “a serious lesson” that the communist North needs “strong self-defense” to guard against potential attacks, the spokesman said. Pyongyang’s “path of Songgun (military-first)” was a “very valuable deterrent for averting a war,” he added. Experts say the isolated nation has stepped up its campaign to block information on prodemocracy protests in the Arab World, fearing they could spark similar disturbances among its own people. The North tightly controls access to the Internet and attempts to block other sources of information about the outside world, though DVDs and mobile phones smuggled from China have been eroding barriers. Pyongyang and Tripoli have maintained close diplomatic ties, with Gaddafi described in the North as a “revolutionary comrade” of leader Kim Jong-Il, according to defectors from the North. The North has developed nuclear weapons and launched ballistic missiles that could potentially reach Alaska in what it called an effort to defend itself from enemies. Pyongyang heightened regional security fears in November by disclosing an apparently operational uranium enrichment plant, which experts said can be reconfigured to produce atomic weapons. The North in the same month shelled a South Korean island near the tense sea border. — Agencies

KABUL: President Hamid Karzai said yesterday that his security forces will soon take charge of securing seven areas around Afghanistan - the first step toward his goal of having Afghan police and soldiers protecting the entire nation by the end of 2014. In a speech peppered with criticism of the international effort, Karzai said the provincial capitals of Lashkar Gah in southern Afghanistan, Herat in the west, Mazer-e-Sharif in the north and Mehterlam in the east are slated for transition from NATO-led forces to Afghan soldiers and police beginning in July. In addition, all of Bamiyan and Panjshir provinces, which have seen little to no fighting, are on the transition list. Also slated for transition is Kabul province except for the restive Surobi district, which is along a main route to the Pakistan border and in proximity to dangerous areas of neighboring provinces, he said. “The Afghan nation doesn’t want the defense of this country to be in the hands of others anymore. ... This is our responsibility to raise our flag with honor and pride,” Karzai told hundreds of dignitaries and Afghan police and soldiers at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan in the capital. The NATO forces currently in the lead or partnered with Afghan forces in these areas will thin out, take on support roles such as training and mentoring, redeploy to other areas or go home. President Barack Obama has said that he wants the US to start withdrawing troops in July if conditions allow. Karzai’s goal is to have his forces responsible for protecting and defending their homeland in about three and a half years. Coalition forces have seen heavy fighting in parts of southern, northern and eastern Afghanistan as they intensified their campaign against insurgent groups following a surge of troops last year. NATO said that two of its service members were killed yesterday in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan. Their nationalities and other details were not released. So far, 90 coalition troops have been killed in combat this year, 23 this month alone. Karzai also struck a nationalistic chord in his speech, reiterating his call for the Taleban to join the peace process. He complained about the international community, saying its development effort in Afghanistan was disjointed and night raids, civilian casualties and irresponsible arrests have bolstered the insurgency. A series of recent airstrikes that have lead to the death of numerous civilians have seriously eroded relations between Karzai and the US-led military coalition. The death of civilians must end, he said. He emphasized that the war against militants should not be fought in the villages of Afghanistan, but should be directed at the “roots and safe havens” - a veiled reference to neighboring Pakistan, where

KABUL: Afghan National Army commandos, during a training session at Camp Morehead in the outskirts of Kabul. — AP insurgents take refuge and plot attacks out of reach of Afghan and coalition troops. Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Karzai’s speech was merely symbolic because the nation remained occupied by thousands of foreign forces. In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Mujahid said that only time will tell if Afghan forces can secure the transition areas. “We will fight until the last foreign soldier is gone,” he said. “Any place where there are foreign troops will be under attack.” Karzai said the international community should provide financial assistance for vital infrastructure projects even as he argued that the provincial reconstruction teams, meant to train government officials and assist their activities at the local level, should be phased out. “The PRTs, the private security companies and militias, and night raids should be ended as soon as possible, and by putting an end to these things will of course strengthen the central government,” Karzai said. He also said all international assistance should be handled through the Afghan government’s budget. At an international conference in Kabul in July, donor nations approved a 10-page communique that restated strong support for channeling at least 50 percent of development aid through the Afghan government within two years if the government reforms, reduces corruption and strengthens

Thailand ‘could help’ curb Karen insurgents YANGON: A decades-old insurgency in Myanmar’s east could be curbed with the help of neighboring Thailand, an official in the military-run nation said in a state media report published yesterday. Myanmar Information Minister Kyaw Hsan’s comments appear intended to deflect blame for the crisis in Kayin State onto Thailand, which allows Karen rebels from the area to use its soil as a safe haven. Although Thailand is a top investor in Myanmar, relations between the two countries are cool at best. Aside from centuries-old rivalries, Bangkok’s pro-Western stance puts it at odds with Myanmar’s China-aligned military junta. Thailand hosts many refugees from Myanmar, but also turns a blind eye to ethnic guerrillas from the country who hide on its territory. Human rights groups have long accused Myanmar’s army of abuses in ethnic minority areas. According to the report in the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper, Kyaw Hsan did not

mention Thailand by name, but instead referred to the country neighboring Kayin State, where Karen rebels have long fought for autonomy. In response to a question Monday in parliament, Kyaw Hsan conceded there may be “some refugees,” in Thai camps, but added, “Insurgents use those camps as their base and launch guerrilla attack on the army, which is the reason that exchange of fires are still occurring in Kayin State.” The information minister also said the insurgents remain active “with the assistance of some certain super powers” and international non-governmental organizations. The United States and other Western countries are critical of the military junta and have supported its opponents. Kyaw Hsan, again without naming the country, cited China as an example of a friendly neighbor who helped curb the rebellion of Myanmar communist guerrillas by withdrawing its earlier support of the rebels in the 1980s. — AP

its public financial management systems. “There should be more cooperation between Afghanistan and the UN offices working in different areas throughout the country,” he said. “We have asked for a report about the expenses of the UN” Karzai’s speech reflected his desire not to be dependent on foreign forces forever although the Afghan security forces have yet to overcome the lack of training and equipment, illiteracy, corruption and shortages of top officers and international mentors. Karzai’s delivered his speech at a ceremony marking the graduation of a third class of Afghan army officers. In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed Karzai’s announcement. “ This represents the next stage of Afghanistan’s journey, not the destination,” he said in a statement. “And every step of the way will be determined by conditions on the ground.” But Fogh Rasmussen warned the transition is not a sign the allies can start withdrawing from Afghanistan, stressing it was vital that NATO keep up training Afghan forces “in order to ensure that transition is irreversible.” “I understand that as this transition gets under way, political leaders are facing pressure to bring their troops home for good,” he said. But NATO’s principal approach remains “in together, out together.”— AP

India pilots arrested in licensing scandal NEW DELHI: Two more airline pilots with fake certificates have been arrested in a growing investigation of corruption in awarding aviation licenses, an official said yesterday. The two working for budget airline SpiceJet were arrested Monday in the western city of Jaipur for obtaining commercial pilot licenses by submitting forged flying certificates, said Umesh Mishra, an anti-corruption official. Last week Indian aviation authorities ordered officials to check the documents of all Indian and foreign airline pilots working in the country after at least four were found to be flying using fake documents. Two of the four pilots were arrested last week for using fake certificates to gain licenses, while the two others have been suspended and, along with some aviation officials, are still being investigated. Aviation authorities also plan to examine the training and licensing procedures of all flying schools in the countr y, said

Bharat Bhushan, director general of civil aviation. Authorities were also concerned about students who go abroad to train as pilots and return with fake or invalid licenses, Bhushan said yesterday. Another issue is whether flying schools were sticking to the rules laid down by aviation regulatory authorities and were logging genuine flying hours in the log books of students, he said. Concerns have been raised in parliament in recent weeks about inexperienced or underqualified pilots flying aircraft and endangering the lives of thousands of travelers. Opposition lawmakers have accused the government of failing to check corruption in the process of granting pilot licenses. In the last decade, air travel has boomed in India on the back of a growing economy, leading to the rise of a slew of private airlines. This has resulted in a shortage of experienced pilots and airlines have been struggling to hire them to meet the demand. — AP


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I N T E R N AT I O N A L Japan earthquake

Ghost ship haunts tsunami-hit city Battle to cool Japan’s plant

OTSUCHI: A boat sits atop a building in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture yesterday. — AP

KESENNUMA: The newest landmark in the tsunami-stricken city of Kesennuma is a massive fishing trawler that was swept up at sea and came to rest on one of the main roads to City Hall. The No 18 Kyotoku-maru ship, with a red and blue hull and a “safety first” slogan painted just above its bridge, looms over a landscape of homes and business splintered by the March 11 tsunami and then set

ablaze in an ensuing fire. “It really catches the eye,” said Ayaka Hatakeyama, who used to run a butcher shop a few meters from where the ship came to rest in the centre of this northeastern port city. The ship stands out in an already surreal landscape of convenience stores smashed by houses and cars perched precariously on crumbling concrete walls. Locals share stories about the ship

whose crew was forced to stay on board as the city beneath them blazed through the night. “We heard the ship was full of fuel and worried that it was going to explode,” Hatakeyama said as she took a break from salvaging goods from her store. The central business district of the city of 73,000 was ravaged by the tsunami that filled streets with water two-floors

high and parked smaller ships haphazardly in other locations. But the Kyotoku-maru will likely stay where it now sits as a ghost ship for some time to come, with officials expecting it to take months just to remove the debris caused by the tsunami. “I have no idea how they are going to get that thing out of here,” one fire-fighter said. — Reuters

Summer blackouts loom for Japan’s economic heartland Thermal plants near stricken nuke plant to stay shut for a while TOKYO: Japan’s economy may not feel the harshest blow from this month’s disasters until summer, when surging power demand could spark a new round of power blackouts in Tokyo and its neighboring prefectures which account for 40 percent of the countr y ’s GDP. Tokyo Electric Power Co , Asia’s biggest power utility, lost about 20 percent of its operating thermal and nuclear power generation in the earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan on March 11, and is unlikely to get enough back online to meet its usual levels of peak demand in the summer. More outages, following the rolling blackouts in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, would force factories, shops and offices to close , while making it difficult for many workers to commute and keeping would-be consumers at home. “It’s going to be

nip and tuck,” said Sam Perry, senior investment manager of Pictet Japanese Equity Selection Fund. “If we have a cool summer that will be fine. But if we don’t you are going to see brownouts, you are going to see an issue with supply.” Tokyo Electric has said it would likely be able to secure 54 gigawatts of supply by summer, up from around 35 gigawatts now, as it restores some of the damaged thermal plants and brings on other plants that were mothballed or down for maintenance. But even if it can reach its target, that would still fall short of the 60 gigawatts it would typically need to meet peak summer demand. “In particular in the areas TEPCO serves, users are expected to see power supply falling short of demand substantially during summer,” the Institute of Energy Economics of Japan said in a report yesterday. — Reuters

OKUMAMACHI: Tokyo Electric Power Co workers are seen at work at the central control room of reactor Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex at Okumamachi, northeastern Japan. — AP

KITAKAMI: Engineers toiled to restart cooling systems at a stricken nuclear plant in Japan yesterday after a new smoke scare, as the detection of radioactivity in the sea fuelled anxiety over food safety. An external electricity supply has now been restored to all six reactors, 11 days after a 14-metre tsunami crippled the ageing facility, but more work is needed before the power can be turned back on. The twin quake and tsunami disaster, Japan’s worst crisis since World War II, has left more than 22,000 people dead or missing, with entire communities along the northeast coast swept away. Now the shell-shocked nation faces an invisible threat from radiation seeping from the Fukushima No. 1 plant, which lies just 250 kilometers from the greater Tokyo area and its 30 million inhabitants. The health ministry advised residents in five towns or cities in Fukushima prefecture not to use tap water to make formula milk and other drinks for babies due to abnormally high radiation levels. Authorities have already halted shipments of some foodstuffs in four nearby prefectures after the discovery of higher than normal levels of radiation in produce such as milk and vegetables. The government also ordered increased inspections of seafood after radioactive elements were detected in the Pacific Ocean near the Fukushima plant. At one spot radioactive iodine 80 times the normal level was found. But with many fishing villages on Japan’s northeast coast flattened, boats destroyed and ports damaged, the local seafood industry has in any case largely ground to a halt. “Of course we must strive to protect people’s health and safety, but fishermen in the area are in a catastrophic situation. The entire fishing industry has disappeared,” said a spokesman for Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market. “Food products that present abnormal levels (of radiation) will not appear on the market, so please don’t worry. And even if you put such foods in your mouth, they will not have an immediate health risk,” said Consumer Affairs Minister Renho, who uses only one name. Nuclear plant staff and technicians, firefighters and military personnel are struggling to regain control of the overheating facility but spikes in radiation levels have at times forced the crews to suspend work. — AFP

Radioactive particles reach Iceland VIENNA: Miniscule amounts of radioactive particles believed to have come from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected as far away as Iceland, diplomatic sources said yesterday. They stressed the tiny traces of iodine-measured by a network of international monitoring stations as they spread eastwards from Japan across the Pacific, North America and to the Atlantic-were far too low to cause any harm to humans. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), a Vienna-based UN body for monitoring possible breaches of the atom bomb test ban, has 63 stations worldwide for observing such particles, including one in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik. They can pick up ver y small amounts of radioactive particles, in this case iodine isotopes. “They measure extremely small amounts,” one Vienna-based diplomat said. “It has nothing to do with any health risks.” Another source said several CTBTO stations had so far detected particles believes to originate from the Fukushima nuclear complex, which emitted some radioactivity in the days after it was hit by a huge earthquake

and tsunami. “Reykjavik is the first in Europe,” the source added. Experts and diplomats had earlier predicted that very small amounts of radioactive particles were expected to reach Europe. NO ‘HEALTH RISK WHATSOEVER’ The US Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency late last week confirmed “miniscule” amounts of radiation that appeared to have come from Japan’s damaged reactors were detected in California, where the CTBTO also has a station. The agencies also said between March 16 and 17 trace amounts of radiation that may have come from Japan were detected in Washington state. They said the radiation amounted to onemillionth of the dose rate that a person normally receives from natural sources such as rocks, bricks and the sun. Austria’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics said on its website on Monday that levels of radiation which posed no “health risk whatsoever” had been observed also in Alaska and western Canada. France’s nuclear safety authority ASN said that tiny amounts were set to reach the country today. —Reuters

Japan tests sea for radiation near crippled plant High levels of iodine-131 in sea-water TOKYO: Japanese authorities tested sea-water off a badly damaged nuclear plant for radiation yesterday, but stressed that elevated levels already detected were no cause for worry. Reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 240 km north of Tokyo, have leaked radiation after they were struck on March 11 by a massive earthquake and tsunami that led to the world’s worst nuclear crisis in a quarter of a century. In a desperate attempt to cool the reactors and their spent fuel ponds, workers have sprayed or dumped tons of sea-water into the cooling system. But several experts have questioned what happens to the water after that. “I’m interested to know how this water is being disposed ...if it is being disposed or just allowed to drain to sea,” said Najmedin Meshkati, a nuclear and environmental expert at the University of Southern California. “This is now radioactive waste water. Has there been any measurement of its radiation effect?” Officials have acknowledged that some of the water spilled back to sea. Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director-general at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said the radioactivity in the sea could be both from water used to cool the plant and air-borne particles from the reactors. “Personally, I think the lat-

ter is more likely,” he told a news conference. Kyodo news agency quoted plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) as saying levels of radioactive iodine-131 in sea-water samples near the plant on Monday were 126.7 times higher than the limit. Levels of caesium-134 were 24.8 times higher and those of caesium137 were 16.5 times higher, while a trace amount of cobalt 58 was detected, TEPCO said. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Monday that above-safety levels of radiation had been found in sea-water, but these levels “would still be safe even if you drank sea-water for a year.” “Of course, if this were to continue over a long period, some effects will be seen, so we have instructed relevant ministries to step up monitoring efforts of sea water,” he added. COLLECTING DATA Kyodo said the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology would analyse sea-water for radiation at eight locations near the Fukushima plant, while TEPCO also plans to conduct its own studies. The government has sent a research vessel to waters off Fukushima to take samples. Hideo Morimoto, director at the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, said the radiation in the sea-water would dissipate

MIYAGI PREFECTURE: Debris from tsunami-stricken houses are removed from a bridge by heavy equipment in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture yesterday. — AP

and other coastal nations were not at risk. “At current levels of radiation, it’s impossible for it to reach oceans worldwide,” he said, noting it would not add in any way to the natural radiation already in sea-water. “It’s at levels where we can carry out daily lives,” he said. There was no immediate word whether the elevated radiation levels could be

transmitted by seafood from these waters, but the local fishing industry has been wrecked by the quake and tsunami. “There are no fish coming from the regions that were hit, so no fish (being sold) are contaminated,” said Rika Tatsuki of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations. — Reuters


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Morocco king navigates tightrope By Souhail Karam ing Mohammed’s move to overhaul Morocco’s constitution has ensured he remains in control of the reform process, but even deeper change may be needed if he is to satisfy those inspired by revolts sweeping the Arab world. In a March 9 speech the king set up a handpicked committee to draft changes by June, including a stronger parliament, a bigger role for local officials and an independent judiciary. The changes were designed to confront demands that he reign rather than rule the North African country of 32.6 million and curb his economic influence and that of the secretive and influential court elite known as the Makhzen. The initiative appeared designed to deflate growing street protests demanding more radical change in Morocco, which has been ruled by the king’s Alaouite dynasty for 350 years. Tens of thousands of people joined protests across the country on Sunday, some of the largest demonstrations in decades against a system in which the king is military commander, a religious leader and the final political authority in the country. An allegiance pact between Moroccans and the monarchy is based on the king’s role as a leader of the Muslim faith. “We cannot suppress the Commandership of the Faithful since the allegiance pact between the king and the people is not about the king as a person but about religious authority and nothing else,” said Lahcen Daoudi from the main opposition Justice and Development moderate Islamist party. The reforms have been given extra urgency by the political earthquakes in Arab states that have led to the ouster of long-time authoritarian rulers in Tunisia and Egypt and sparked an armed revolt against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Neighbour Algeria has also had demonstrations. “It is bold to some extent, but it is also very clever,” said Lise Storm, senior lecturer in Middle East politics at the University of Exeter. “He will stay in control of the situation by initiating the reform and gain a lot of goodwill from outside and within Morocco because he has taken the initiative,” she said. The king’s speech took many in Morocco by surprise and fuelled speculation he was ready to take further steps, should his initial moves fail to calm the reformist clamour. “The king’s proposal is very telling but it must be accompanied by other steps to add more credibility to the constitutional reform underway,” said Mohamed Darif, a politics lecturer at Casablanca’s King Hassan University. The authorities need to solve pending corruption cases, reexamine trials of hundreds of Moroccans jailed since 2002 on terrorism charges and dilute the economic and political influence of some clans, he said. The king said the reformed constitution should boost the role of the prime minister and parliament, ensure judicial independence and make politicians accountable. “Democratic transition is a long process and the king’s speech obviously reflects his commitment to reform, which should start with the constitution,” said Mustapha Khalfi, editor of the main opposition newspaper Attajdid. The plan would only succeed if political prisoners were freed, the election law became more representative and fraud-proof and the authorities treated political parties fairly, regardless of their political ideologies, he said. Change can sharpen rather than ease calls for reform, though some political analysts say the king’s plan could enhance his image with Western allies - and at home. The king’s proposals tackle what appeared to be the main demands of the February 20 Movement, a loose, youth-led coalition inspired by peers who have led pro-democracy revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. The king has asked a 19-member team he appointed alone to submit draft constitutional reforms in June ahead of a referendum later in the year. It is led by Abdellatif Mennouni, a constitutional law expert who taught the future king at university and is known to be close to leftist militants. But in naming the committee himself, the 47-year-old monarch has made it difficult to gauge just how much power he, or his royal court, is willing to relinquish. “The king showed how much he is in control by pinpointing which areas to be reformed and by naming the committee. He didn’t say anything about the powers he will keep,” Exeter’s Storm said. Political risk consultancy Eurasia Group said the reform would “not strip him of his broad powers” but allow greater political participation “which will likely placate many regime critics.” The February 20 Movement has complained the plan failed to meet its key demands: dismissal of the government, curbs on the king’s business clout, criminal proceedings against officials accused of misuse of public funds.—Reuters

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Uprising reaches Syria, challenging Assad By Dominic Evans our days of protests against corruption and stifling one-party rule have finally brought the Arab uprising to Syria, posing the gravest domestic challenge yet to President Bashar Al-Assad. At least four people have been killed in the protests and demonstrators have set fire to public buildings in open defiance of authorities known for tolerating no dissent. Serious unrest has been confined to the southern city of Deraa, echoing to the chants of “God, Syria, Freedom”, but analysts say disenchantment at Assad’s rule and the exhilarating spirit of regional upheaval may fuel wider rebellion. “It is a semi-totalitarian state ... corruption is everywhere,” said Hazem Saghieh, columnist at pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper. “All the reasons are there to expect drastic change”. Any turmoil in Syria would have an impact well beyond its borders. Under Assad and his father before him, Syria has been Iran’s closest Arab ally, a major force in Lebanon, and a supporter of Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups. The Baath Party, which seized power nearly 50 years ago, has governed under emergency laws and banned all opposition. Other grievances against authorities include the dominance of Assad’s minority Alawites over the Sunni Muslim majority, corruption, economic hardship and a rising cost of living. Assad has said Syria’s foreign policy hardline opposition to Israel and support for its foes Hamas and Hezbollah - means that uniquely among Arab rulers, he is in tune with the mood of his people on one of the most resonant Arab causes. But this socalled “Syrian exception” may offer little protection from protesters focused on domestic demands for more rights, jobs and better living standards.

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When the Muslim Brotherhood staged an armed revolt against the late Hafez Al-Assad, he sent troops into Hama, killing many thousands and razing part of the city to the ground in 1982. Such sustained repression the military operation in Hama took weeks and was completed before the outside world learnt its full extent - may not be an option in an era where mobile phone footage of protests reaches the Internet in minutes. “ The Syrians have shown in the past they are capable of calibrating represssion with flexibility,” said Habib Malik, history professor at the Lebanese American University. “I think they realise what happened in Hama is not possible in today’s world,” he said, adding that the challenge to Assad, although grave, may still be “contained or nipped in the bud”. Like other Arab states trying to contain dissent, Syria has reversed decisions on lifting subsidies and has raised salaries. Volker Perthes, director of the German Institute for International Politics and Security, said it could also defuse tensions in restive Kurdish regions in the northeast by implementing a pledge to grant citizenship to stateless Kurds. A

diplomat in Damascus said Assad, who was elected president unopposed when his father died in 2000, had repeatedly stalled on promised political reform and mistakenly believed that limited economic liberalisation was the key to survival. “They have been trying to put economic band-aids on a wound gushing with the blood of frustration,” the diplomat said. “Bashar had the time to take pre-emptive moves and embark on genuine reform. Instead the regime is making very bad mistakes.” Smaller, possibly coordinated, demonstrations took place after Friday prayers in the central city of Homs and the coastal town of Banias, while a crowd briefly chanted slogans for freedom inside the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus. A peaceful demonstration for the release of political prisoners was broken up in Damascus last week. But the scale of the protests in Deraa, where thousands of people have taken to the streets, suggests the real threat to Assad comes less from Syria’s scattered and weakened opposition groups than from spontaneous grassroots protest. If Libyan rebels, now

backed by Western military power, make further gains in their fight against Muammar Gaddafi, Syrian protesters would be further emboldened, Saghieh said. Demonstrations could then intensify throughout the country, and few expect Assad to follow Egyptian and Tunisian presidents who eventually yielded to mass protests and stood aside. “I think a regime like the Baath regime in Syria would not leave smoothly. It would opt for something like Libya or Yemen,” said Saghieh. “If it is civil war and anarchy, no one would benefit. Iranians would lose their ally, but the Israelis would have on their borders a very volatile situation,” he said. Since 2005, when the United States withdrew its ambassador to Damascus after the assassination of Lebanese statesman Rafiq Al-Hariri, Assad has engineered a rapprochement with the West, but maintained a hard line against criticism at home. He has said he is willing to resume peace talks with Israel, insisting on a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights occupied in 1967, while continuing to position Syria as a champion of Arab resistance to Israel. “The Syrian exception has long rested on the regime’s skill in developing a foreign policy in synch with public opinion - a unique case in the Arab world. But popular sentiment has refocused around a host of domestic issues left unaddressed for too long,” said Peter Harling, Damascus-based analyst with the International Crisis Group. “Authorities currently face challenges akin to other regimes of the region, and for the time being are responding in similar fashion. The future now hinges on their ability to reinvent the Syrian exception, by staking out a credible and comprehensive vision for change,” Harling added. “Repression can only make a volatile situation worse.” — Reuters

Yemen president likely in last battle By Acil Tabbara eserted by top generals and tribal chiefs, Yemen’s long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a great survivor in a turbulent region, is now likely faced with his last battle, analysts said yesterday. In the first of a series of body blows to Saleh’s authority, General Ali Mohsen AlAhmar, commander of Yemen’s northwest region which covers Sanaa, on Monday announced he had joined the “revolution”. Eastern region commander General Mohammed Ali Mohsen has also thrown his support behind protesters. They have been joined by at least two other generals, Nasser Ali Shuaybi in Hadramawt province and Faisal Rajab in the southern province of Lahij, as well as dozens of other officers. The day before, a grouping of religious and tribal leaders called on Saleh, who has been in power ever since 1978, to “respect the will of the people,” and depart. Saleh has “lost all legitimacy in the eyes of his people, and he is now fighting his last battle. It’s a struggle for survival,” said Franck Mermier, a Yemen specialist at the CNRS research centre in France. The killing of 52 people by regime loyalists in Sanaa on Friday has accelerated defections from Saleh’s camp and galvanised protesters, who have been calling

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for Saleh’s departure for months. The bloodbath showed that Saleh was “desperate and does not hold many more cards,” according to Mermier. “This repressive policy deepens the spectre of civil war.”

And a slew of ambassadors, ruling party MPs and other Yemeni officials have either resigned in protest or announced their support for the opposition. Additionally, the opposition is, at

Saleh’s family are “at the forefront of the crackdown” on protesters calling for the president’s departure, Mermier said. Fares Al-Saqqaf, director of the Centre for Future Studies in

Female anti-government protestors shelter from the sun during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa Monday. — AP In addition to army officers, Saleh has also lost key tribal support that is a pillar of his ability to rule. Sadiq al-Ahmar, head of the largest tribal federation in Yemen, also cast his lot with the opposition on Monday.

least on the surface, unified for the first time - southern separatist and northern Shiite rebels have joined the cause. The parliamentary opposition is also supporting the protesters. Security forces commanded by members of

Sanaa, said Yemen has two armies: the regular army under the defence ministry and the Republican Guards and other special units commanded by Saleh’s family. “Change in Yemen is

inevitable, but the question is at what price,” said Saqqaf, adding that Yemen was “closer to the Egyptian scenario, but could also follow that of Libya.” Egypt’s longtime president was forced out on Feb 11 by mass protests, after which the military took power, promising democratic elections. But Libya has descended into open war between rebels calling for the ouster of its leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and forces loyal to him, with international forces carrying out strikes to enforce a no-fly zone on Gaddafi’s military. But the main question, according to Saqqaf, is who would lead Yemen after Saleh, who has been in power for over three decades, among other challenges, Cold War division, civil war and AlQaeda threats. “The vice president does not have real power, and the mandate of parliament is nearing its end,” Saqqaf said. Abdul Aziz Al-Sager, director of the Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre, said: “There is a real concern on the part of the Americans and the Saudis,” who have so far backed Saleh. Washington has criticised violence against protesters, but in contrast to its response to violence in Egypt and Libya, it has not until now called for the Yemeni leader to step down. “There is still no alternative who could provide security and fight Al-Qaeda,” Sager said. — AFP


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POINTE-NOIRE, Congo: The tail of a cargo aircraft stands above the buildings of this densely populated city after it crashed Monday, killing at least 19 people. The Antonov 32 - owned by private company Trans Air Congo (TAC) - crashed in the Mvoumvou area of Pointe-Noire, the country’s economic capital, burying several houses in debris.— AP

Syrians march for fifth day Continued from Page 1 the capital, Damascus, and a village in southern Syria. One clip on YouTube showed several hundred villagers in Sanamein chanting “Freedom!” while another showed dozens gathered in the Hajar Aswad neighborhood of the capital. Syrian activists who reported the protests said they took place Monday evening. The activists spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared government reprisals. The authenticity of the videos could not be independently verified. In Geneva, the United Nations Office for Human Rights said the authorities “need to put an immediate halt to the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters, especially the use of live ammunition”. A main demand of the protesters is an end what they term repression by

the secret police, which is headed in Deraa province by a cousin of Assad, who faces the biggest challenge to his rule since succeeding his father Hafez Al-Assad in 2000. Syria has been under emergency law since the Baath Party took power in a 1963, banning any opposition and ushering in decades of economic retreat characterised by nationalisation. Limited economic liberalisation in the last decade has been marked by the rise of Rami Makhlouf, another cousin of Assad, as a business tycoon controlling key companies. Makhlouf, who is under US sanctions for what Washington deems public corruption, has been a target of protesters’ wrath. They describe him as a “thief”. The tycoon says he is a legitimate businessman helping bring economic progress to Syria. Assad has ignored rising

UK restricts student visas demands to end emergency law, curb its pervasive security apparatus, develop the rule of law, free thousands of political prisoners, allow freedom of expression, and reveal the fate of tens of thousands of dissenters who disappeared in the 1980s. “The revolution is at the door and the regime is still flirting with change,” said Haitham AlMaleh, an 80-year-old lawyer and former judge who has spent his life peacefully resisting the ruling Baath Party’s monopoly on power. The protests have demanded freedom and an end to corruption and repression, but not the overthrow of Assad. The authorities appeared to adopt less heavy-handed tactics on Tuesday, choosing not to intervene against protesters, although activists said hundreds have been arrested across Syria in the last week. — Agencies

MPs file request to grill Sheikh Ahmad Continued from Page 1 the constitution. He did not comment on the substance of the quiz, saying he wanted to read it. Pro - government MP Saadoun Hammad however said that the grilling is “ordinar y ” and it will materialize to nothing as MPs will back Sheikh Ahmad, who is facing the first ever grilling in his long political career as a minister. Regarding the first issue, the 42page grilling request alleges that the housing authority awarded four major contrac ts in the 2009/2010 fiscal year while adopting flawed and illegal procedures that cost public funds KD 71 million. It said that some illegal procedures were applied in disqualifying offers made by 21 companies out of 30 that bid for the contracts for housing projects. The four contracts were awarded to some of the remaining nine companies in violation of the law. It said the allegation was investigated and proved by the Audit Bureau. Regarding the Olympic Council of Asia headquarters in Salmiya, the grilling alleges a series of financial and administrative violations that squandered around KD 180 million of public funds. I t claimed that the government originally granted a piece of land opposite the Scientific Centre on the Gulf Road in Salmiya for the OCA to build its offices. It claimed that the area of the land was expanded

several times and the final land used was more than three times larger, close to 19,000 sq m. I t added that the purpose of the land allocation was to build a headquarter for the OCA, but the project was turned illegally into an investment project in the form of a multi-storey tower that currently houses the offices of major companies. The state charges only KD 22 per year as a rent for the 19,000 sq m of state land while the market value of the land now exceeds KD 10,000 per square meter, the grilling claims. It added that construc tion on the tower star ted even before the National Assembly sanc tioned the agreement between Kuwait and OCA, of which Sheikh Ahmad is the chairman, which is an explicit violation of the country’s constitution and laws. With regard to the development plan, the grilling alleges that Sheikh Ahmad, being the main person responsible for implementing the plan, has failed in implementing it despite the availability of all ingredients to easily carry out the plan. It said the government has not established the public shareholding companies that were supposed to be set up in the first year of the four-year plan which comes to an end on March 31. The grilling alleges that KD 5 billion have been allocated for spending on major projects in the first year of the plan

and only KD 735 million have been actually spent, a mere 15 percent, which represents squandering golden opportunities for developing the country. On the sports issue, the grilling holds Sheikh Ahmad responsible for not implementing a key sports legislation passed in 2007, which some sports officials have alleged contradicts the constitution while many MPs insisted it introduces important reforms to the sports sector. It also alleges that Sheikh Ahmad and sports officials close to him have worked with international sides and got several Kuwaiti sports federations including Kuwait Football Association suspended by the respective international sports bodies. Commenting on the grilling, Saraawi expressed hope that they will be allowed to debate the quiz in an open session so they can explain to the Kuwaiti people the amount of corruption in several departments. In a related development, MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan said that he has decided to grill Information Minister Sheik h Ahmad AlAbdullah Al-Sabah over alleged management and financial violations. Other opposition MPs are also planning to grill Prime Minister HH Sheikh Nasser Mohammad AlAhmad Al-Sabah over allegations of squandering public funds and not sending troops to Bahrain as part of the Gulf force to help the regime against Shiite-led protests.

Continued from Page 1 About 300,000 student visas were issued in 2009, May said, adding that a government review had revealed “widespread abuse”. Under the new rules, educational institutions will be vetted and if they fail, they will be closed down. Students will also have to demonstrate a higher grasp of English to study at degree level, and UK Border Agency staff will be able to refuse entry to those who cannot speak English without an interpreter. “Let me be clear,” May said. “You need to speak English to learn at our education establishments. If you can’t, we won’t give

you a visa.” Lawmakers have expressed concerns that the new measures could hit a vibrant sector hard, noting that the training and education of international students is worth up to £40 billion ($65 billion) a year. But May said the new reforms “will protect our world-class institutions. It will stop the abuse that became all too common under (the former government led by) Labour. And it will restore some sanity to our student visa system.” Hundreds of thousands of overseas students study at British universities each year, mostly from China, India and Ireland, with numbers reaching record levels in 2009. — Agencies

Libya fighting rages despite no-fly zone Continued from Page 1 The US Africa Command said a US F-15 jet crashed in rebel-held eastern Libya late Monday following a malfunction. Its two crew members ejected and were safe. “Two crew members ejected from their US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle when the aircraft experienced equipment malfunction over northeast Libya, March 21, 2011 at approximately 10:30 pm CET (2130 GMT ),” the command, based in the western German city of Stuttgart, said in a statement. “Both crew members ejected and are safe... The cause of the incident is under investigation.” Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander aboard the USS Mount Whitney, told reporters, that both crew members were safe. “One crew member was recovered by coalition forces. The other crew member was recovered by Libyan people. He was treated with dignity and respect, (and) is now in the care of the United States,” he added. Command spokeswoman Nicole Dalrymple told AFP that the crew had sustained minor injuries. She said the aircraft was taking part in a raid to neutralise Libyan anti-aircraf t defences but the crash, the first loss of a warplane since the campaign began Saturday, was not a result of hostile action. After a third night of strikes on Gaddafi’s strongholds and defence s t r u c t u re, U S D e fe n s e S e c re t a r y Robert Gates said “significant military fighting that has been going on should recede in the next few days.” D e s t roy i n g r a d a r a n d mi s s i l e s under Gaddafi’s control would pave the way for a no-fly zone that could be patrolled by combat aircraft, with the United States assuming a supporting role, Gates said in Moscow. A resident of Yafran told AFP that “Gaddafi forces launched a deadly offensive in the area on Monday and Tuesday. The fighting killed at least nine people and wounded many.” The resident added, “We had been waiting for the coalition to stop the advance of Gaddafi’s battalions into the area. “In the absence of such an intervention, the regime wanted to take the city quickly by bombarding it and carrying out massacres.” A rebel spokesman reached by telephone in Misrata said the insurgents remained in control despite an

onslaught by Gaddafi loyalists who had opened fire with tanks and set snipers on roofs to gun down people in the streets. The spokesman said five people, four of them children, had been killed yesterday, a day after a medic in the city confirmed a death toll of 40 and said at least 300 people had been wounded. Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said on Monday that Misrata, Libya’s third city 214 km east of Tripoli, was “liberated three days ago” and that Gaddafi’s forces were hunting “terrorist elements”. A standoff persisted in eastern Libya, where Gaddafi forces in and around Ajdabiya, south of the insurg e n t s’ c a p i t a l of B e n g h a z i , e a s i l y repulsed attempts by the disorganised and ill-armed rebels to advance against them. Africa Command chief General Carter Ham said Monday that US forces had no mission to support a rebel ground offensive, but at the same time Gaddafi’s troops show “little will or capability to resume offensive operations.” Most of eastern Libya, where the plane crashed, is in rebel hands but the force has struggled to take advantage of the gains from the international air campaign. Ajdabiya, the city of 140,000 that is the gateway to the east, has been under siege for a week. Outside the city, a ragtag band of hundreds of fighters milled about yesterday, clutching mortars, grenades and assault rifles. Some wore khaki fatigues. One man sported a bright white studded belt. Some men clambered up power lines in the rolling sand dunes of the desert, squinting as they tried to see Gaddafi’s forces inside the city. The gro u p p e r i o d i c a l l y c a m e u n d e r artillery attacks, some men scattering a n d ot h e r s h ol d i n g t h e i r grou n d. “G addafi is k illing civilians inside Ajdabiya,” said Khaled Hamid, a rebel who said he been in Gaddafi’s forces but defected to the rebels. “Today we will enter Ajdabiya, God willing.” Coalition forces, led by the United States, France and Britain and including some other European states and Arab country Qatar, are acting under UN Security Council resolution 1973 authorising “all necessary means” to protect civilians. There is coordination but no unified command, and moves to hand over control of the operation

to the Nor th Atlantic Treat y Organisation are dividing the alliance. NATO ambassadors resumed talks yesterday after “very difficult” discussions on Monday which failed to overcome their divisions. But a diplomat said they had agreed to use the organisation’s naval power to enforce an arms embargo on Libya ordered under UN resolution 1973. Tur k i s h Pr i m e M i n i s te r R e cep Tayyip Erdogan ruled Ankara out of sending any combat mission to Libya but said it could take part in operations with humanitarian purposes. France also has doubts about the impact on Arab countries of NATO taking control - though the Arab League has backed the no-fly zone - while Germany refused to vote for resolution 1973. Norway said Monday its six fighter jets would stay grounded as long as it was unclear who was running the operation, while Britain, the United States and I taly, whose air bases are the main platform for missions to Libya, are pushing the strongest for a NATO role. Meanwhile it emerged that three western journalists who went missing in eastern Libya last week, including two from Agence France-Presse, were arrested by Gaddafi’s forces on Saturday. AFP reporter Dave Clark and photographer Roberto Schmidt, and Getty agenc y photographer Joe Raedle, had not been heard from since Friday evening. Their driver Mohammed Hamed told AFP that they ran into a Libyan convoy near Ajdabiya. They turned around, but were caught after a chase by soldiers who shot out their tyres. Four soldiers ordered the journalists out of their vehicle at gunpoint before putting them into a military vehicle and driving them away. “We don’t know where they were taken,” their interpreter Sudki Abdulkarim Jibril told the rebel Radio Tobruk. “They were allowed to keep their telephones but not their cameras.” The UN refugee agency said yesterday that thousands of Libyans had fled their homes in the east of the country, taking refuge in homes, schools and university halls. Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the office of the UN H igh Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said people arriving at Libya’s border with Egypt feared reprisal attacks by pro-government supporters. — Agencies


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Years

sp orts Moscow bids to host world championships

England star to forsake royal honeymoon LONDON: Mike Tindall appears ready to forsake his royal honeymoon in an attempt to secure his place in England’s rugby team for the World Cup. Tindall, who will be sidelined for 12 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair ankle ligament damage, is to marry Zara Phillips — Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest granddaughter — on July 30 in Edinburgh. England plays its first warmup match ahead of the World Cup in New Zealand seven days later, against Wales at Twickenham. Coach Martin Johnson said Tuesday that Tindall has declared his availability for the match. “He spoke to me and said, ‘I’m getting married at the end of July,”‘ Johnson said. “I said that obviously that was a week before the first (warmup) game, and he said, ‘Right, I’m available for the first game.’

MOSCOW: Russia made a formal bid to host this year’s figure skating world championships yesterday after Japan was forced to abandon its plans to stage the event following the deadly earthquake and tsunami. “Today we sent a formal letter to The International Skating Union (ISU), telling them of our desire to stage the competition in Moscow,” Valentin Piseyev, executive director of the Russian figure skating federation, told reporters. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday his country would be willing to cover all the

UEFA president Platini re-elected

costs of staging the event in Moscow. “I think we could give a helping hand to our Japanese colleagues as well as the (ISU),” Putin told Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko during a meeting. “We are not demanding anything, it’s more of a goodwill gesture by us. It wouldn’t cost much, so we could cover all the expenses ourselves,” Putin added. Moscow has proposed the 14,000-seat Hodynka arena, built in 2007 to host that year ’s ice hockey world championship, as the venue. —Reuters

PARIS: UEFA president Michel Platini was re-elected unopposed for a second four-year term yesterday, pledging to continue his efforts to bring club spending under control and fight match-fixing and crowd violence. The former France captain, in a speech earlier yesterday, also promised to make international football a priority and to keep the Champions League open to clubs from the smaller of Europe’s 53 associations. The Frenchman, who has been in charge of European soccer’s governing body since 2007, was voted in at the UEFA Congress, where he was given a standing ovation. The 55-year-old former Nancy, St Etienne and Juventus player, the only candidate to register before the deadline on Dec. 16, was visibly moved by the reception. “I thought I was old enough not to get so emotional,” he said. —Reuters

Penguins clip Red Wings DETROIT: The Pittsburgh Penguins blew a four-goal lead before pulling out a 5-4 victory following a shootout against the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL on Monday. Pascal Dupuis had two goals and an assist to help Pittsburgh build its big lead. Tyler Kennedy put the Penguins ahead 4-0 at 13:16 of the second period, ending Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard’s night. Henrik Zetterberg started Detroit’s comeback with 2:19 left in the second, Valtteri Filppula had a goal early in the third, and Danny Cleary and Mike Modano scored 2:21 apart midway through the period to make it 4-4. Pittsburgh’s James Neal scored the only goal in the shootout, and Brent Johnson stopped 37 shots for the Penguins. Kings 2, Flames 1 In Los Angeles, Jonathan Quick made 27 saves, and Anze Kopitar scored the deciding goal of the shootout in Los Angeles’ victory over Calgary, Jarret Stoll gave the Kings a 1-0 lead with 5:52 left in regulation but the Flames tied it 65 seconds later when Olli Jokinen slipped the puck past Quick. It was his 16th goal this season and sixth in 21 career games against his former team. Alex Tanguay put Calgary ahead in the shootout but Stoll responded for LA. Kopitar then put the Kings ahead when he slipped the puck through Miikka Kiprusoff ’s pads. Calgary ’s Curtis Glencross then shot wide of the right post to end it, making Quick 8-0 in shootouts this season. — AP SAN FRANCISCO: Barry Bonds arrives at the federal courthouse for the second day of his trial in San Francisco yesterday. — AP

Eight women, four men picked for Bonds jury SAN FRANCISCO: Barry Bonds finally sat across the court room Monday from the 12 people who will judge whether or not the Major League Baseball’s home-run record holder lied about taking drugs. Following a daylong selection process, eight women and four men were picked to hear the federal government’s case against the 46-yearold former San Francisco Giants star, who is charged with four counts of lying to a grand jury and one count of obstruction for testifying in 2003 that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs. Among the jurors there was no shortage of opinion on baseball’s Steroids Era or drugs in spor ts, though all indicated they could rule impartially in the case of Bonds, who holds the records for home runs in a career (762) and a season (73). Juror No. 69 was angered Congress investigated steroids in sports “on my dime.” “They should be solving things like the national debt,” he said. He made it onto the panel, even though he said Bonds had “probably not (received) a fair trial in the court of public opinion.” Jurors were identified by number rather than name, and US District Judge Susan Illston said their identities won’t be revealed until the day after the verdict. From the initial pool of potential jurors who filled out 19-page questionnaires last week, Illston dismissed 38 based on answers, which included whether they had attended Giants games in the last five years, and whether they were familiar with the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball or congressional hearings into steroids use. Several were dismissed because they said they had formed opinions on the case. Another was dropped because of the death of a grandmother last weekend, and two more because they said jury duty would be a hardship. Illston denied three other hardship requests. Thirty-six underwent 70 minutes of questioning from Illston in the morning, and another hour from prosecutors and defense lawyers in

the afternoon. After a break, Illston’s clerk read the numbers of the chosen 12 and two alternates — down from the four originally intended. Two jurors, both women, are black and 10 are white in a case that could see race become an issue. Juror No. 24, an Air Force veteran who was not selected, brought it up under questioning. “I pretty much think he was singled out because of his race,” the man said. Juror No. 56, one of the black women selected, said for baseball and the NFL the “commissioner’s office should deal with” steroids. “I think it’s up to them and not the government to be involved,” she said. Bonds’ legal team, which spilled over to a side table and the first row of spectator seats, outnumbered the government’s 13-5. When his primary lawyers, Allen Ruby and Cristina C. Arguedas, gave their names for the record, Illston responded: “Is that it?” Several jurors said they could keep an open mind even though they had heard much about the case because they believed media repor ts on Bonds either contained inaccuracies or omissions. For some, though, the glare of this case was too much to deal with. “I would be reluctant to render a judgment against a great athlete like Bonds,” juror No. 24, a single, 61-yearold man living on disability payments, told Illston. “It would color my judgment.” He was not selected. Juror No. 74 said her experience working as a flight attendant years ago would make it tough for her to be fair. “I’m still getting over my baseball charters,” she said. Assistant US Attorney Matthew A. Parrella asked whether any jurors were Giants fans, and nine raised their hands. When Parrella asked whether the Giants were on trial, none responded. Three jurors raised their hands when asked whether Bonds was an inspiration or someone to look up to. “He was a good baseball player and everyone admired his hitting ability,” juror No. 94 said, adding that would not cause the defendant to be treated differently. The woman was not selected. Illston estimated the trial will take about four weeks. — AP

Johnson hints he wants to stay on as England coach LONDON: Martin Johnson gave his clearest indication yet that he would like to remain as England coach beyond the end of his current contract, saying yesterday he is happy in a job he describes as “very addictive.” His deal with the national team runs out at the end of December, two months after the World Cup in New Zealand finishes. Johnson stopped short of stating his desire to stay on but, after guiding a young England side to the Six Nations title on Saturday, his resolve to remain in charge up to the 2015 World Cup in England looks to have been strengthened. “I think last year was a transitional year and as we progressed through the Six Nations to what we’ve done now, when you have a young squad, it’s very exciting. We are making relatively big steps in terms of progress,” said England’s 2003 World Cupwinning captain. “It’s a very addictive job, even with the stress and disappointment (of missing out on the Grand Slam in the Six Nations). When you get that time together and that continuity, and then that success, it’s a good environment to be around. I’m enjoying it at the moment.” Johnson was hired as England coach in 2008, replacing Brian Ashton despite having no coaching experience to fall back on. After a couple of mediocre years, Johnson’s stock has risen over the past 12 months after a strong finish to last year’s Six Nations, following victories over Australia last summer and again in the November internationals and then a first northern hemisphere title since 2003. The English missed out on the Grand Slam by losing 24-8 to Ireland in Dublin at the weekend but four straight wins took the team to the top of the table, above France, Ireland and Wales. “Yesterday (Monday), it is always the worst day of the year because you’ve been in a long tournament and you’re sat there with nothing (to do), there are no players to deal with,” said Johnson. “It’s a very good group to be around, there are good characters there.” Rob Andrew, the Rugby Football Union’s director of elite rugby, praised the work Johnson has done over the past year. “I’m always looking at the big picture,” Andrew said, “and if we said this time last year that in the next 12 months we’ll win away in the southern hemisphere for the first time since 2003, we will have the biggest ever victory against Australia at Twickenham and we will win the Six Nations leading into the World Cup, with a lot more young players coming into the team and something like 13 of the 22 being under 25 on Saturday, I think we’d all say that will be very, very good.”—AP

LOS ANGELES: Rene Bourque No. 17 of the Calgary Flames and Ryan Smyth No. 93 of the Los Angeles Kings vie for position as Matt Stajan No. 18 of the Calgary Flames looks to play the puck during their NHL game at Staples Center. — AFP

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Monday. Pittsburgh 5, Detroit 4 (SO); Los Angeles 2, Calgary 1 (SO). (SO denotes shootout win)

Philadelphia Pittsburgh NY Rangers New Jersey NY Islanders Boston Montreal Buffalo Toronto Ottawa Washington Tampa Bay Carolina Atlanta Florida

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF 44 19 8 228 42 23 8 213 39 30 4 215 34 34 4 154 28 33 12 203 Northeast Division 39 22 10 213 40 26 7 200 35 28 9 214 32 31 10 192 27 36 9 164 Southeast Division 42 21 10 198 39 22 11 214 33 29 10 201 30 30 12 202 29 33 10 182

GA PTS 190 96 181 92 179 82 182 72 233 68 175 185 208 225 223

88 87 79 74 63

176 217 214 238 198

94 89 76 72 68

Western Conference Central Division Detroit 43 21 9 237 209 95 Chicago 39 25 8 234 202 86 Nashville 38 25 10 190 172 86 Columbus 33 29 10 195 218 76 St. Louis 32 31 9 201 214 73 Northwest Division Vancouver 47 17 9 238 172 103 Calgary 37 27 11 227 216 85 Minnesota 35 30 8 185 204 78 Colorado 27 36 8 198 250 62 Edmonton 23 39 10 175 237 56 Pacific Division San Jose 42 23 8 211 191 92 Phoenix 39 24 11 213 207 89 Los Angeles 41 26 6 199 177 88 Anaheim 40 27 5 204 208 85 Dallas 38 25 9 203 202 85 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

PBA pro, Mack wins Round 4 8th Kuwait Bowling Open

KUWAIT: PBA pro, Tim Mack of the United States won the Round 4 finals of the 8th Kuwait Open 2011 to advance into the next round ahead of Tore Torgersen of Norway in second and Asia’s best finisher, Sayed Ibrahim Al Hashemi third on Monday evening. Tim Mack, who earned exemption in the 2009 PBA Tour trials, displayed his old spark that won him 72 international titles since quiting Team America in which he won a gold and four silver medals at the 2003 World Championship. Mack set a blistering pace with 269 in his opening game at the start of the Round 4 finals and followed it up with 257 to lead England’s Paul Moor by 24 pins. Losing the lead briefly to Moor midway through the 6-game finals, the 39-year-old bounced back with 263 and 258 to open up a gap of 56 pins over Norway’s Tore Torgersen moving up to second. The American prevailed to take the round with 1466, 23 pins ahead of Torgersen in second with

1443 while Sayed Ibrahim Al Hashemi of UAE did well to finish third with 1440. Osku Palermaa of Finland took fourth spot with 1435 while Thailand’s Yannaphon Larpapharat was the fifth bowler to surpass the 1400-mark with 1425. Helen Johnson of Sweden and Tannya Roumimper outshone their male counterpart despite given a 5 pin handicap. The duo ended the round in sixth and seventh positions with 1366 and 1361 respectively. The last and eight spot to advance into the next round was Paul Moor, who need a 224 in his final game to edge Hong Kong’s Wu Siu Hong by 14 pins with a total of 1352. Wu missed the cut in ninth with 1338. Round 3 leader, Ronnie Russell failed to advance when he finished tenth. The top 8 would join up with the seven seeded qualifiers for tomorrow’s Round 5 finals, first over four games before advancing into the modified Matchplay finals over 7 matches with pins carried forward.


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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

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sp orts

Webber desperate to get back on track

BATHURST: Formula One driver Jenson Button (center) prepares his McLaren Mercedes car for a drive on the Mount Panorama race track in Bathurst. —AFP

Aussie GP faces fight to avoid chequered flag MELBOURNE: Embattled organisers of Australia’s lossmaking F1 Grand Prix are likely to be among Mark Webber’s biggest cheer-leaders at Albert Park on Sunday, hoping a win for the local favorite offers a welcome distraction from growing acrimony over the race’s cost to taxpayers. Webber’s breakthrough third season with Red Bull helped draw more than 300,000 to the Melbourne street circuit last year, the race’s biggest crowd in years. In the end, local fans, Webber and government officials were all disappointed. Webber crashed to ninth and the race posted a A$49.2 million ($49.5 million) loss, up A$9 million on the previous year and the highest in the Melbourne race’s history. Unlike the 34-year-old Australian driver’s chances, few hold any hope of a better financial result in the Grand Prix’s 16th year in Melbourne, which remains yoked to Formula One until the current lease expires in 2015. “When the loss is now A$50 million and talk of it going to A$70 million, people are paying more attention and obviously it’s providing a bit more ammunition for those who have long opposed the event,” said Geoffrey Harris, a journalist and former media manager for the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC), the race’s organisers. “While I am sure they are doing all they can to contain cost increases, the revenues certainly haven’t been going up,” Harris told Reuters. “So if you didn’t have a government standing behind it, you certainly wouldn’t be able to maintain a business on that footing.” Melbourne’s Grand Prix has accumulated more than A$250 million in losses since its 1996 debut, and revenues have slumped by more than a third in the past five years as costs have risen. The growing fiscal black hole has prompted politicians to question the race’s value to the city and its home state of Victoria, where successive governments have made securing major events central to policy. The city’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle called time on

the race in an editorial in a local tabloid in January, while Michael Danby, a federal lawmaker whose district incorporates the Albert Park circuit, told parliament last month his constituents were overwhelmingly against the race continuing. Victoria’s newly elected Liberal Party-led government has put much of the blame on the previous Labor leadership, for agreeing to pay steep license fees to Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One management company to secure the race in Melbourne. “We’ve inherited a contract that Labor’s signed up to, and I just have to deal with it, so my opinion of what might be an acceptable loss is irrelevant because the event is contracted until 2015, so what we’re trying to do is manage what we’ve inherited,” Louise Asher, Victoria’s minister for major events and tourism, told Reuters in an interview. Harris, who resigned from the AGPC in 2005, said accountability should rather remain with the organisers’ board for negotiating the license fees, which local media estimate at up to A$25 million per year. “The chief executives have changed and there’s been turnover in staff over the years, but certainly there’s only been one chairman throughout the duration,” said Harris, referring to 81-year-old local businessman Ron Walker, a former mayor of Melbourne and Liberal party luminary. “There’s been one chairman in the middle who I would have thought was acting for Victoria, whatever the persuasion of the government. “Clearly the government doesn’t know too much the nature of this business anyway ... If it were a public company, it would have been hard to imagine there wouldn’t have been a lot more scrutiny.” Walker, a long-time friend of Ecclestone, told local media last week the “wretched” license fees could see Melbourne forced to give up the race. “Revenue has started to fall for reasons we never ever worked out,” Walker was quoted as saying.

OneAsia upbeat over ongoing growth of circuit SINGAPORE: The growing Asian talent pool and the financial clout in the region means the OneAsia Tour can provide a genuine rival to the successful European and US PGA Tours, the CEO of the ambitious circuit told Reuters. The tour opens its third season tomorrow at the Indonesia PGA Championship, one of 13 $1 million events on a growing calendar, as it continues to build on its mission of providing an alternative playing field to their global counterparts. OneAsia’s chief executive officer Ben Sellenger, a lawyer who worked on his native Australian PGA Tour previously, explained that the continent’s reliance on outside support was fast coming to an end. “Asian golf historically has absolutely needed Europe and the US because either it needed the money coming out of European or American multinational companies that could support it, or it needed the golfing talent,” Sellenger told Reuters in downtown Singapore. “We are at a point in time now where there is a transition, both of those are changing. The emerging economies that make up Asia can sustain a world class golf tour right now and the talent that exists in Asia is better than ever before. “In time, you remove the need for those outside agents and you can actually have a stand-alone entity like Europe or the US here in Asia.” Sellenger’s passion for Asian golf is engaging and convincing but he is just one of a number of observers who have long talked up the talent in the region. South Korean Yang Yong-eun, the highest ranked Asian at number 32 in the world, claimed the continent’s first major when he held off Tiger Woods to win the 2009 US PGA Championship, but elsewhere, the numbers suggest the talent remains raw. Asia has just 12 players in the top-100

of the world rankings and though talented teenagers Ryo Ishikawa (44th) of Japan and South Korean Noh Seung-yul (68th) represent the bright future Sellenger can foresee, both play on rival tours. However, as the tall Australian points out, the numbers of children learning the game in China alone and the extra prestige of golf becoming an Olympic sport means he may be close to the mark in his prediction of an Asian golden era on the course. “What we hope for the future is that the homegrown talent will be of such a profile... they will be those international stars that you want to play in your tournaments, that draw the publicity, that draw the promotion, that draw the crowds.” Sellenger also believes that if OneAsia can continue its growth to offer his goal of 25 events with a minimum of $2 million in prize money each, Asia’s best players will flock to the circuit. The tour will only visit Australia, Korea, China, Indonesia and Thailand this year, leaving plenty of room for expansion in the world’s most populous continent. “We are an infant in terms of global golf, we have come a long way. We are at 13 tournaments now at a $1 million or more which is a fantastic achievement for us we are already seeing many, many players committing to OneAsia,” Sellenger said. “The next step is to grow to that level where a lot of those established players who have chosen other pathways start to look back and think they can actually commit to home rather than being required, as they have always done, to move away. “If we can provide a platform that is for enough money then I believe these athletes will prefer to be at their home and play.” —Reuters

The state government has placed pressure on the AGPC to cut costs, leading to the abandonment of big international music acts for entertainment and more competitive tendering, according to CEO Andrew Westacott. Despite a positive outlook for corporate sales and sponsorship, Westacott was not confident of an improvement on last year’s result-even with favourable weather and a bumper crowd. “I wouldn’t go as specific as that. I’m confident of delivering a result that will be seen as very good value from a government investment point of view,” he told Reuters. Successive governments have sought to justify the soaring tab on the “branding” effect of the race and flow-on benefits to the local tourism industry. Asher, like previous politicians before her, cites a 2005 report commissioned by the AGPC by a private consultancy that claimed the race generated an extra A$175 million in GDP to the state’s economy. A report released two years later by the AuditorGeneral, a government watchdog, disputed the rosy economic effect, saying the same race actually delivered a net loss. “People who run sporting events are prone to the wildest exaggerations,” said David Rowe, a sports and media researcher at the University of Western Sydney. “The economics are so slippery. It’s easy to work out the costs but the benefits are pretty much extended to almost everything. “There’s always some kind of multiplier, there’s always the line-’if you had to buy that kind of publicity, how much would it cost?’” Doubts over the economics extend to Formula One’s figures on television viewers which officials have long cited to support the race, while critics have called into question the AGPC’s reported crowd numbers and full disclosure of race costs. “The total costs aren’t taken into account,” said Peter Logan, media spokesman for Save Albert Park, a community-based group that wants the race moved elsewhere. —Reuters

SYDNEY: Australia’s Mark Webber, desperate to get racing after the delay to the start of the Formula One season, thinks he “probably” has his best chance of winning his home grand prix in Melbourne this weekend. Speaking by telephone from the launch of the Mark Webber Challenge in Tasmania, the 34-year-old Red Bull driver also said he had no intention of putting away his mountain bike despite sustaining two injuries on it in the last three years. Webber, third last year, and his world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel are again expected to be the team to beat when the season, delayed because of the postponement of the Bahrain race after unrest in the Gulf kingdom, gets underway on Sunday. “It’s time to get racing now,” Webber told Reuters on Tuesday. “It’s nearly April now and we’ve been working hard since the beginning of January and we haven’t even done a competitive lap yet. “Ready to go racing now, sick of the talk about it. We just need get on the track and see where everyone stacks up when the gloves are off. “We had a phenomenal season last year (so) we’re the hunted now,” he added. “Obviously Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Renault — all those big boys-are all going to have a crack at us now to put us back down the order again.” Red Bull monopolised the front row of the grid at last year’s Melbourne race but Vettel failed to finish from pole and Webber ended up in ninth place and a reprimand from the stewards after a collision with McLaren’s British driver Lewis Hamilton. Webber, whose best finish at Albert Park was fifth, conceded this weekend “probably” was his best chance to become the first Australian to win his home race. “Hopefully we can have a better race this weekend and get the season off to a nice solid start,” he said. “Personally for me I want to get out there and execute a really clean weekend and hopefully the rest will take care of itself. “It’s human nature that you always want more, and it would be great to put

(an Australian Grand Prix win) in amongst a Monaco Grand Prix and a Silverstone (British) Grand Prix,” he added. “It’s clear that the Australian Grand Prix is important to me, that’s obvious.” The sometimes acrimonious battle between the experienced Webber and his young team mate was among the more intriguing contests of last season and the Australian is aware that he needs to get off to a good start when they renew their rivalry. “Momentum is always important and that’s why I think it was good that it was so balanced all the way through last year,” said Webber, adding he was responsible for 48 percent of Red Bulls points last season as they won the constructors’ title. “I’m focusing on doing that again and perhaps a little bit more and that’s got to happen from the off.” “I need to win a few more races,” he added. “I won four but the guy who won the championship won five, it’s just those fine margins, you’ve got to keep all the good stuff that you did and work on the details.” Webber, who lives in Britain, took advantage of the trip back home to launch the 2011 Mark Webber Challenge, an annual multi-sport event for elite and not so elite athletes which will take place in Tasmania in December. “We’ve raised a lot of funds (for charity) but also a lot of people in the five or six challenges we’ve had have had some really, really positive outcomes in what they achieved,” Webber recalled proudly. It will come as no surprise that the event features mountain biking along with kayaking, trekking and other outdoor pursuits. Webber has been mountain biking since 1997 and considers it a key part of his conditioning and preparation for driving. That is despite accidents in late 2008 that disrupted his start to the 2009 season and in Singapore last year which led to him racing with a fractured shoulder in the last four races of the season. “O f course, I’m not reckless, both incidents had their circumstances,” he said. “I think for me to lock myself in a gym, I wouldn’t enjoy my preparation for my job then, so I need to get the balance right.”—Reuters

Lotus name Chandhok as reserve driver LONDON: Indian Karun Chandhok will return to Formula One this season as reserve driver with Team Lotus, both sides announced yesterday. “I’ve been talking to the team for quite a while about a role with them and I’m delighted we’re now able to confirm that I will be driving for Team Lotus in 2011,” Chandhok said in a statement. Chandhok, who raced for HRT last year, had appeared to have run out of options earlier this month when the team named Luiz Razia as their third driver and said the Brazilian would take part in some practice sessions. The team said yesterday, however, that Chandhok would be taking part in Friday practice at the Australian season-opener this week, while Razia would remain as third driver. Italian Jarno Trulli and Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen are the race drivers. Team Lotus, who have yet to score a point in Formula One after a debut last year

as Lotus Racing, also have Italian Davide Valsecchi and Portuguese-born Angolan Ricardo Teixeira as test drivers. Friday will be the first time Chandhok has driven the Lotus, despite having attended a couple of pre-season tests with the Malaysian-owned team in Spain. His appointment also means he stands a good chance of taking part in Friday practice in the first Indian grand prix later this year. “His technical input and obvious talent will provide the team with more valuable insights into how to optimise the T128’s performance potential on-track, alongside his ambassadorial role for the team as one of its official drivers,” Team Lotus added. Team boss Tony Fernandes went further in adding that Chandhok represented “the future of motor racing”. “He is living proof that geography is no boundary to talent and ambition and that you will succeed if you work hard and keep dreaming,” he said.—Reuters

Al-Hajri wins Red Bull Wanna Panna title

Dhari Al Hajri receives his trophy from International Referee Abdulaziz Aman

First, Dhari Al Hajri, Al Failakawi second, and Ali Malallah, 3rd

Winner Dhari Al Hajri (right) and Seoud Al Failakawi (left) during the Red Bull Wanna Panna

KUWAIT: Dhari Al-Hajri beat 63 other competitors to win the prestigious title of the first ever Red Bull Wanna Panna in Kuwait. After a close fought battle in the final with Seoud Al Failakawi which ended in draw in both full time and extra time, Al-Hajri managed to impress the judges who unanimously chose him for his skills and talent. Third place went to Ali Malallah. “It feels great to win the first Red Bull Wanna Panna tournament; I’ve been practicing street football for the past four years. The competition was tough especially in the final rounds as the level was getting stronger and stronger. Red Bull Wanna Panna brings a different football culture to Kuwait.” said Al-Hajri after winning. The event took place at Souq Sharq and attracted a large crowd of Panna and street football fans. The qualifying rounds kicked off at 3pm and saw many youngsters battle it. 48 knock-out games took place on two 6x4 meters courts to determine who qualifies for the final 16. The final 16 was played on a 6x6 meters elevated stage with a cage surrounding it. 16 knockout games determined the first three winners who were presented with the trophy and medals by the judges. Each game lasted 4 minutes, the player that scored the most goals between his opponents legs won. If the score was tied at the end of the game, 1 extra minute was added. If the score was still a draw, 3 judges decided on the winner based on his skills and possession. The judging panel consisted of Ibrahim Idrissi, a former international referee, Mohamed Saeed a football specialist from Al Qabas Newspaper and Abdullah Al Hindal, a Kuwait Football Association referee. The matches were refereed by Abdulaziz Aman, an international beach soccer referee. Panna is an exciting new variation of football, it teaches the importance of control and individual skills. Modern football relies on speed and skills and mastering Panna will help you achieve that goal. In recent years Panna football has taken on a new meaning; it is part today of a growing street football scene that includes freestylers. 64 players attended the tournament, with over 1000 spectators cheering on the competitors.


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Greatest champions accept defeats graciously

Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates in this file photo

Olympic dream comes into view for Sharapova LONDON: Maria Sharapova, the girl who left Siberia on a road to fame and fortune, still has unfinished business in an injury-blighted career that has so far brought three grand slam titles. Away from the lucrative endorsements, the former world number one Russian’s appetite for hard work remains unchanged as she targets the two prizes that would complete her Cinderella journey-an Olympic gold medal at Wimbledon next year and a French Open title. Sharapova, 23, missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics because of a shoulder injury. It remains a painful memory for a young woman who, despite the American accent and Florida mansion, still loves the country of her birth. “It’s a huge, huge goal for me,” she told Reuters by telephone en route to the launch of the WTA’s Xperia Hot Shots — an internetbased show that will follow six Tour players around the world, on and off the court. “It was massively disappointing for me to miss the Beijing Olympics because I’ve always wanted to be an Olympian. “Growing up in Russia it was always a big part of our culture and more than anything I could feel what an honour it was to represent our country and watch the flag go up. “I used to cherish watching it and hopefully I can look forward to becoming an Olympian in London next year but first I have to make the team because that’s a tough ask in Russia with so many good players.” Sharapova came to prominence as a 17year-old at Wimbledon when she stunned Serena Williams to win the title in 2004. A US Open title followed two years later and she won the Australian Open in 2008. The French

Open, however, has always proved frustrating with a 2007 semi-final place her best effort. “I’ve always said the clay court season is the toughest part of the year for me,” Sharapova said. “But it’s also one that I really enjoy. I love challenges. Physically, I feel I’m getting better and better at the claycourt season. “It’s the one grand slam I haven’t won and I’d love to have that on my resume.” With Serena Williams sidelined by injury and health issues, her sister Venus also struggling and Justine Henin retired again, the women’s game lacks the rivalries that illuminate the men’s grand slams. “There is a newer generation coming up,” said Sharapova who heads to Miami in confident mood after reaching the Indian Wells semi-finals last week, losing to world number one Caroline Wozniacki. “I think it’s an exciting time in our sport. “Rivalries take time to develop and with Serena missing and Justine now retired I hope that that will be the case this year,” added the world number 13. “Serena is a big champion, a big icon in our sport so to see her away from the game for a long while is obviously disappointing. Hopefully we’ll see her return very soon because I enjoy competing against her.” With the virus that laid her low after the Australian Open clear and her shoulder in good shape, Sharapova is relishing the prospect of playing in Miami after missing the tournament for the last three years. “It’s almost like home,” she said. “I love the eclectic Latin fans there and it’s one of my favourite events. I’m happy with my form too after my run at Indian Wells. I feel like I’m getting to where I want to be.” —Reuters

PARIS: Note to Lindsey Vonn: Sulking isn’t cool. Because of her voracious determination to win, the American is a great athlete, one of the best women skiers ever. But Vonn’s ultra-competitive streak did her a disservice this weekend. Vonn forgot the rule — which Rafael Nadal, in particular, adheres to so admirably — that the greatest champions accept defeats as graciously as their victories. Admittedly, the nature of this loss must have been painful and frustrating for Vonn. Ski fans and the sport’s marketers can lament how what was primed to be the climax to an enthralling season instead went ‘pfffffft,’ a dud. Because of poor weather — which ski officials cannot be blamed for — and some questionable regulations — which they should perhaps now reconsider — skiing blew a great chance to showcase what a thrilling and attractive sport it is, blessed on the women’s side with a rivalry as fascinating as Nadal’s with Roger Federer in men’s tennis. Just three World Cup points — peanuts, really, for two brave women who each accumulated more than 1,700 of them during five hard months of racing — separated Vonn and Maria Riesch ahead of the final race, a giant slalom. Like extra time in a football final or a deciding fifth set on championship Sunday at Wimbledon, this would be one of those sporting moments to savor. Or it would have been without fog thick enough for a horror movie and snow so soft that, with strawberry flavoring and a cone, you might have eaten it. Convinced that sending the women down the steep slope would have been neither fair nor safe, organizers canceled and, because of their rules, did not reschedule. With her three -point lead, Riesch became World Cup champion. Vonn, the three-time exchampion, cried foul, in a statement which she issued instead of actually talking to reporters. “A system that allows a decision like this to be made off the snow needs to be looked at,” she said. “The cancellation of this race doesn’t just hurt me, it hurts the fans and the sport of ski racing as a whole.” “There are so many ways to look at this, there may never

SWITZERLAND: Germany’s Maria Riesch (left) hugs Lindsey Vonn, of the United States, after winning the alpine ski, women’s World Cup overall title, at the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, in this file photo. —AP be a day where I don’t look back and say ‘what if.”‘ But what if a skier had been seriously hurt by being made to race in unsafe conditions? That would not have been an attractive alternative and, had an accident sidelined a star like Vonn who brings in sponsors and fans, could also have been harmful for the sport. Or what if Vonn or Riesch had missed a gate and been disqualified because they couldn’t see through the fog that grew so thick that the 10,000 spectators at the bottom of the course couldn’t even see the finish line? That would have seemed as farcical, random and unfair as Riesch securing the World Cup crown without even clipping on her skis. In skiing, there will always be days when the elements, not the humans trying to conquer them, will win. Vonn should reread her words of March a year ago. Then, officials canceled the last supercombined race because of high winds. That clinched the 2010 World Cup super-combined title for the discipline’s leader, Vonn. “It’s an outdoor sport and anything can happen,” she posted on her Facebook page then. “Sometimes these decisions go your way like in this case, and sometimes they don’t its just part of our sport.” The director of

women’s World Cup races says he has no qualms about Saturday ’s cancellation. Atle Sk aardal says sk iing a giant slalom on such poor snow — a thin icy crust above a soft, sugarlike base — would have opened up holes that could have been “very dangerous.” Organizers did manage to hold a men’s slalom, but those races aren’t as fast and as long as a giant slalom, which made the men’s race more feasible in the poor conditions. “We want to do the races more than anybody, but not at any price,” Skaardal said in a telephone interview. “The price here would have been too high. We would have had a catastrophe in terms of snow conditions and weather conditions.” Moving to another mountain with better conditions wasn’t a realistic option, either, because it takes days to prepare ski tracks, with snow often treated to make it hard and resilient and double rows of netting to catch racers who fall. Conceivably, organizers could have moved the all-important women’s race to Sunday, when skies cleared and after an overnight freeze hardened the piste. But to be fair on everyone, all of the races, not just the Vonn-

Riesch showdown, that were canceled because of rain and warm weather in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, would then have needed to be rescheduled. They included a giant slalom for men and the men and women’s super-G races. As questionable and pig-headed as its regulations seem now, Vonn will have known and presumably accepted going into the crucial last week that the International Ski Federation would not be rescheduling any weather-ruined races. “You lose your slot, you lose your slot,” said Skaardal. “I cannot start to consider if it is bad for a US racer or good for a US racer.” Riesch says Vonn blanked her when the new World Cup champion hugged her on the podium. The German fears that Vonn may now also blank her invitation to her wedding in Austria next month. What a shame that would be, because the off-piste friendship between the two women who celebrate Christmas together makes their on-piste rivalry only more unique and intriguing. Given her skills and drive, Vonn should figure that one day she’ll be the champion again. In the meantime, she shouldn’t be a sore loser. —AP

Olympic frustration for British players LONDON: Emma Beddoes is bright, bubbly and devoted to the sport which provides her with a livelihood and travel around the world. Enthusiasm quickly turns to frustration, though, when the 25-year-old British professional confronts the disagreeable reality that squash will not feature in next year’s London Olympics. “I think I’m going to emigrate before the Olympics are in London,” Beddoes lamented during an interview with Reuters in the deserted bar of her local club on a freezing afternoon in Nottingham. “It’s going to be too depressing.” Squash, a racket and ball indoor sport, is derived from the much older game of rackets, which in turn made an improbable journey from the walled yards of London taverns and prisons in the early 19th century to the privileged surroundings of Harrow school. Spread throughout the world, partly by Britain’s armed forces, squash combines ball skills, agility and brutal physical demands. With this in mind it would appear an ideal Olympic sport and, in an admittedly random Reuters straw poll, several British spor ts enthusiasts expressed astonishment that it was not an Olympic sport although it is played

in the Commonwealth Games. “When you talk to people they say they are so looking forward to 2012, it takes everybody by surprise, everybody just assumes it’s in the Olympics,” commented world number three women’s player Alison Walters in a telephone interview. “If we were in the Olympics it would be massive for the sport. We don’t get enough publicity, basically, and that’s a big, big part of it. If it were an Olympic sport it would make a massive difference.” Peter Nicol, who was the world number one for 60 months, agrees. “People who you think would know, don’t. They just assume that because of badminton and tennis and table tennis, squash is in there,” he said. Tim Garner is a former professional who, among other activities, is the director of the annual Canary Wharf Classic in the English capital. “Squash was a little naive initially and felt it was a sport that deserved to be in the Olympics,” Garner explained over coffee at a north London cafe. “It waited for the Olympics to come knocking and wasn’t proactive about getting in when a number of other sports like tennis and badminton joined the movement when they expanded the raft of sports.

“There’s undoubtedly a focus on the Olympic sports in terms of the coverage that the terrestrial (television) channels are able to give. They allocate time to Olympic sports and if you are not in that raft you are not going to be able to get that exposure.” Squash boasts a distinguished list of exotic champions. Abdel Fattah Amr, also known as F.D. Amr Bey, was an Egyptian diplomat, horseman and polo player and the British Open champion from 1932-7. Hashim Khan, who learned the game as an eightyear-old at the Peshawar Club where his father was the chief steward, was champion from 1950-55. Another Pakistani Jahangir Khan dominated the game in its heyday in the 1980s and may have been the best of them all. Then there is the remarkable Jonah Barrington, who transformed himself from an unemployed 23year-old with indifferent eyesight into a formidably fit and exciting champion who introduced the game to a wider public in the 1960s. The modern obsession with soccer on television and in the media generally has affected the profile and coverage of a host of sports in Britain, including squash even though Walters and the current world men’s number one Nick Matthews are English. —Reuters

Sweet afterlife of a sporting hero LONDON: A theme explored in American fiction by Philip Roth, Irwin Shaw and John Updike is the inability of a sporting hero to cope with life when the cheering stops. It is a theme which resonates with Peter Nicol, once the world’s top-ranked squash player for a total of 60 months. “I was worried when I retired that I might have made the wrong decision,” Nicol said in an interview with Reuters on a visit to London from his native Scotland. “I was terrified.” Unlike Roth’s Ron Patimkin, Shaw’s Christian Darling and Updike’s unforgettable Rabbit Angstrom, life could not be better for Nicol, still lean, athletic and fresh-faced in his 38th year. “Actually it was a very easy decision,” Nicol reflected. “Everything I

did in the game I loved but I really enjoy being on the other side. Forget about squash, life in general, just like enjoying a glass of wine at lunch. That sounds ridiculous but that’s a wonderful thing to do.” In common with actors, musicians and dancers, top athletes exhibit a grace and style which conceals the hard work, the grinding repetitions in rehearsal or practice and the constant pressure to perform. “I don’t think I enjoyed the times that I won, and I was the best in the world, because I was too busy doing it,” Nicol said. “If I won or lost a match I was on to the next tournament immediately and that’s a common thing that athletes talk about. They very rarely have an opportunity to stop and really enjoy it.”

Nicol said there were moments in his career that he savoured at the time. “The one I remember particularly was the final of the World Open in 1999, playing in Egypt in front of 5,000 people, playing the local hero Ahmed Barada. “At the left side was the court and 5,000 seats and on the right side there were the three pyramids with the light show going. It just made me smile, it was like nothing mattered. “I went on and won but what it was was a moment of realisation, that tomorrow the courts will be down and the seats will be down, win or lose, but the memories will still be there.” Nicol, who retired in 2006, was a devoted trainer who from an early age was fascinated with the tactical

demands of working out a winning strategy in a complicated court game. “I didn’t think I was very talented, I was by no means near the most talented person,” he said. “There are people that I have seen that I am in awe of when I watch them play. But I had the ability to work on all the aspects of my game to make them a certain standard that made my overall game unbeatable at times.” Nicol now works in a variety of squash-related activities. He savors life to the full in the knowledge that he made the most of his abilities during the brief career of a professional athlete, someone who retires at an age when his contemporaries may just be starting to make their mark in life. —Reuters

NSSCE face TEC in semis, MACE to take on KEA KEA Friendship Cup Football KUWAIT: The final round of league matches for the Gulf Bank sponsored 2nd Annual KEA Friendship Cup Football tournament organized by Keralite Engineers’ Association was held on Friday, March 18 at the Al Sahel Sports’ Club, Abu Halifa. Since only TEC had already qualified and all other teams had a chance to qualify for the semifinals, some fierce battles were expected and that was exactly what was dished out to the spectators. The first game of the day was between TEC and NIT. Despite having qualified for the semifinals, TEC let loose their fiery brand of football defeating NIT easily by a 3-1 margin. Ramesh, Suresh and Dinto hit the goals for TEC while Sunil netted the solitary one for NIT. Wing Commander Nandakumar of NIT was named player of the match. The second match of the day between AECK and TKMCE was fought hard. AECK were really charged up as they had to win this game to remain in the hunt for the semifinal spot. They went 1-0 up with a brilliant goal by Maneksha in the 8th minute.

However, they conceded a penalty soon after in the 12th minute. Sreekumar G converted the penalty for TKMCE. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Sreekumar G. won the player of the match award. The third match between MACE and CE T ended in a goalless draw. On account of NIT’s loss to TEC earlier in the day, the draw was enough for MACE to qualify for the semifinals. Young Samuel T. Jacob of MACE was nominated the player of the match. The final match of the day was between NSSCE and hosts KEA. While NSSCE had already qualified for the semifinals, KEA had to win the game to make it. It was a hard-fought match. KEA went full throttles, but NSSCE refused to give away anything easily. In the end, KEA prevailed and won the match 2-1. With this win, KEA not only qualified for the next round, but also topped their group. Daniel Muruppel of KEA was adjudged the player of the match. Semifinal line-up: TEC face NSSCE while MACE take on hosts KEA in the semifinals on March 25.


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Australian great Gilchrist backs Ponting SYDNEY: Adam Gilchrist has added his name to the list of former and current players rallying to support Ricky Ponting, saying the beleaguered captain is Australia’s best batsman since Sir Donald Bradman. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday quoted an unnamed but allegedly senior Cricket Australia official saying Ponting’s days as Australia’s limited-overs captain were likely num-

bered. Gilchrist, who was Ponting’s vice captain before retiring after the 2007 tournament, said the 36-year-old batsman had “earned the right” to discuss his future with Cricket Australia after the World Cup. Australia, coming off a loss to Pakistan which ended its 34-match unbeaten streak at the World Cup, plays co-host India at Ahmedabad in the quarterfinals tomorrow. Gilchrist remembered when Steve Waugh was under similar pressure to

win the 1999 World Cup or lose the captaincy, and said it worked out very well for Australia. “But I do know that in 1999 when there were rumors that Steve Waugh was told he would lose the captaincy if we bowed out of that World Cup, he scored one of the great World Cup hundreds ever against South Africa and we went on to win the World Cup,” Gilchrist told Australian Associated Press. — AP

Group A: Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada, Kenya Group B: Bangladesh, England, India, South Africa, West Indies, Ireland, Netherlands

Australia to unleash raw pace against India NEW DELHI: India’s top order batsmen will need to find an effective counter to Australia’s fast bowlers in tomorrow’s World Cup quarter-final if they are to sustain a billion dreams. There is every possibility that Australia would unleash a three-pronged pace attack in Ahmedabad to exploit India’s perennial weakness against the fast, rising deliveries that was so cruelly exposed in Chennai on Sunday even by the modest pace of West Indian Ravi Rampaul. Compared to West Indies, Australia possess a much more potent attack comprising Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson who would crank up the maximum pace they can and direct most of their deliveries to the rib cages of the Indian batsmen. Both the Indian openers, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir, fell to rising deliveries in Chennai and Yuvraj Singh, who struck his 13th ODI century to power India to victory, survived one when he was dropped by West Indies skipper Darren Sammy at point. India would be naive to believe that Australia skipper Ricky Ponting did not watch and make a note in

his diary. Yuvraj, however, was quick to dismiss the suggestion. “I don’t think there is an issue with the short ball,” he said. “If you have an issue with the short ball, you won’t be number one test team and number two one-day team... Definitely we know they have pace and they get wickets with that. We will be prepared for them.” India believe in Virender Sehwag, they have a batsman who can blunt the Australian pace attack singlehandedly and no ploy would work if the opener gets going. Sehwag missed the match against West Indies with a knee problem but is certain to open the innings on Thursday with Tendulkar, who is on the verge of yet another personal milestone — his impending 100th international century. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also gave a good account of himself, opening the attack against West Indies and Virat Kohli’s return to form also augurs well for the side which has shown a recent tendency to squander strong foundations and collapse at the most inopportune time. Australia would expect their pacemen to force

Pakistan likely to retain winning combination DHAKA: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi indicated yesterday he would retain the side who defeated Australia in the World Cup group stages for today’s quarterfinal against West Indies. Pakistan took the field for the Australia match without fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and opened the bowling with leftarmer Abdur Rehman as the defending champions were beaten for the first time at a World Cup since 1999. “We want to go with the winning combination. We will see, but I think we are happy with this winning combination,” Afridi told a news conference. Afridi said the victor y over Australia had given the 1992 champions a welcome confidence boost before the knockout stages. “We worked hard before this World Cup. We are taking the practice sessions very seriously,” he said. “I think we are feeling more confident now, it’s a good sign before the quarter-final.” Afridi paid tribute to his bowlers, signalling out pace bowler Umar Gul for particular praise. “He was struggling a little bit with his ankle before but I

think he is 100 percent fit,” Afridi said. “He is doing a great job with the ball, especially with the new ball.” Afridi has led from the front throughout the group stages, taking five wickets twice with his quick wrist-spin and heading the wicket-taking list with 17 victims. “I am just trying to bowl wicket to wicket,” he said. “The conditions are very good especially for the spinners so I am not trying any experiments. Whatever the plan I make I try to stick with it.” West Indies captain Darren Sammy said his team were looking forward to returning to the ground where they defeated in Bangladesh in the group stages in a match which effectively ensured they reached the knockout stages. He said his two key players Chris Gayle and Kemar Roach were ready to return to the side after missing the final group game against India. “Both Gayle and Roach participated in our practice today. Roach bowled and Gayle batted and I liked the way they looked, so obviously everybody is in good spirits,” he said.

“I know we will come out with the best combination to go out there and win us the quarterfinal.” Sammy said West Indies expected a trial by spin. “Their captain has been the leading wicket taker in the tournament with 17 wickets,” he said. “I think we should pay attention to that, They have two offspinners and a left-arm spinner, we watched them play, we know what we are going to face.” He said the team had no problem returning to the city where the team bus had been stoned by angr y Bangladesh fans who thought the vehicle contained their team. “Since we have been back here we felt loved by the people,” he said. “It’s unfortunate what happened but we left that behind us. We know Bangladesh people are loving people. They support the cricket, no doubt tomorrow will be an exciting game and hopefully West Indies will come out on the victorious end. “We played here and it was a perfect demonstration of a plan being executed. We will be taking confidence from that and looking to put in a good performance.” —Reuters

DHAKA: Pakistan’s captain Shahid Afridi throws the ball during their practice at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka. Pakistan will play their Cricket World Cup quarterfinal match against West Indies today. —AP

another great Indian collapse in Ahmedabad in front of a full-house at the Sardar Patel Stadium. Unlike the co-hosts, four-times champions Australia have already played a match at Ahmedabad where they crushed Zimbabwe by 91 runs with Lee,

AHMEDABAD: Australia’s Brett Lee adjusts his glasses during a training session. Australia will play India in a Cricket World Cup quarterfinal match tomorrow. —AP

Brilliant but brittle, India batsmen in the spotlight AHMEDABAD: With the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag in the order, India’s batting lineup boasts a list of names that should make it the most formidable at the World Cup. As brilliant as it is, though, the batting lineup has been a little bit brittle at times. And it’s situation the tournament co-hosts need to remedy quickly or risk a disappointing quarter final exit to defending champion Australia. Hard-hitting batsmen Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan were expected to build on the work of Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli, but instead India has been plagued by late collapses. India lost nine wickets for 29 runs against South Africa and also slid badly against England and the West Indies. Captain Dhoni concedes the collapses have been a concern as India also lost its last seven wickets for 33 runs in a high-scoring tie against England and seven for 50 during an 80-run win over the West Indies. “It is (a concern), but as you say, you can see there’s a gradual improvement,” Dhoni said after the last group match against the West Indies. “Hopefully, in the quarters we’ll be at our best, that’s the positive I’m taking out of it.” Facing the likes of Australian pace trio Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and

runs/82.55 strike rate, he is second on the list of leading run getters despite not hitting a single six yet. • Yuvraj Singh (India): With three man-ofthe-match awards, 284 runs/94.66 average (one century, three fifties) and nine crucial wickets, Yuvraj is shaping up to have a key say in India’s campaign. Players who have under performed • Ricky Ponting (Australia): With 102 runs from five innings (strike rate of 61.4, highest score 36 against Kenya), this World Cup is proving to be much below Ponting’s standards. Australia will be hoping he is saving his best for when it really matters. • James Anderson (England): Leading wicket taker in the recently concluded Ashes (24 wickets), turned leading run leaker in the World Cup. Has been very profligate conceding 282 runs (6.55 runs per over). His 1-91 against India was the most runs conceded so far in a match. • Kamran Akmal (Pakistan): With atleast four dropped chances and four missed stumpings so far, Akmal has had a poor performance behind the stumps. An average performance with the bat (141 runs) has not helped either.

Mitchell Johnson will pose a challenge. The Indian players will be more comfortable against the inexperienced Australian spinners — if they hang around to give themselves a chance. India’s best batting performance remains its opening game against Bangladesh at Dhaka, when it posted 370-4 with Sehwag scoring 175 and Kohli making 100 not out. Tendulkar has notched two centuries and Yuvraj has chipped in with a ton against the West Indies apart from a few other useful knocks, but the combined batting efforts have been difficult coming. Dhoni has been modifying the batting order in a bid to fix the issues and cover injuries. Another glaring problem has been India’s inability to capitalize on the scoring opportunities created during the batting powerplays, when only three fielders are permitted outside the 30-yard circle. In the batting powerplays, India lost 4-33 against South Africa and 4-28 against the West Indies. Dhoni says India can do better because it hasn’t realized its full batting potential in the tournament. He even turned a negative into a positive. “One big positive for us, we have not utilized the second power play to the fullest, which means if we do that in a game, we’ll score 20 to 25 more runs.” —AP

South Africa embrace spin DHAKA: Johan Botha is relishing his role in a South Africa team who have fielded the most effective attack at the World Cup after supplementing their potent pace attack with a trio of contrasting spinners. South Africa, the only side to dismiss each of their opponents in the group stages, used off-spinner Botha to open the bowling in South Africa’s final group game against Bangladesh. Botha and his spin bowling partners Robin Peterson (left-arm orthodox) and Imran Tahir (right arm leg-spin) accounted for 19 of the 28 overs and six of the wickets as Bangladesh collapsed for 78. South Africa already possess the best opening attack in Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel and appear to have all bases covered before their quarter-final against New Zealand in Dhaka on Friday. “I think our three spinners are lot of different from each other and that has brought us a lot of wickets in the tournament,” Botha told a news conference on Tuesday. “Then we have world class seamers and I think they have done their job so far in the tourna-

Best and worst at World Cup NEW DELHI: The following is a look at a selection of players who have succeeded and flopped during the World Cup so far. Players who have succeed • Imran Tahir (South Africa): The journeyman bowler, 31, made his international debut at the World Cup. With 12 wickets in four matches (impressive strike rate of 15.2), Tahir has to be the standout performer of the tournament. • Shahid Afridi (Pakistan): He is well known for being an explosive batsman but few would have bet on him being the leading wicket taker at the end of the group stages (17 wickets at an economy of 3.54). He was instrumental in Pakistan claiming top honours in Group A despite several chinks in the team. • Tim Southee (New Zealand): With 14 wickets at an economy of 3.95, Southee was not expected to be one of the leading pacemen in the World Cup. He has ensured that his line, length and height have earned New Zealand the best economy rate (4.2) among the fast bowling units of all the qualifiers. • Jonathan Trott (England): The relatively sedate right hand batsman’s selection for the World Cup was the subject of some debate, despite an impressive Ashes. With 336

Tait and Johnson claiming seven of the 10 wickets. Lee has been regularly among the wickets with 12 scalps from six outings, while Tait and Johnson have 10 apiece. Smarting from the defeat by Pakistan that also snapped their 34-match unbeaten run in World Cups dating back to 1999, Ponting is not happy with the batsmen. He was particularly annoyed with the sluggish start provided by Shane Watson and Brad Haddin against Pakistan which, he felt, put avoidable pressure on the middle order. “They ate up too many balls, played too many dot balls and that cost us,” Ponting wrote in a newspaper column. Incidentally, he himself has not really set alight the tournament with the bat so far and his highest score in the tournament being the 36 he scored against Kenya. Ponting would derive inspiration from the 2003 final in which he tore apart India’s bowling to smash a belligerent century and guide Australia to their their second successive World Cup victory. —Reuters

Players who have enhanced their high reputations • Sachin Tendulkar (India): It cannot be easy carrying the burden of a billion people for 22 years. With 326 runs at a strike rate of 99.69, two centuries, eight sixes and one walk back to the pavilion, he is trying hard and fair to win it for India. • Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka): With 363 runs at an average of 121, the leading run scorer at the end of the group stages. He has captained his team to the second position in Group A and keeps wicket. • AB de Villiers (South Africa): With 318 runs at an average of 106, including two centuries and a fifty, he is in the form of his life and well geared to position South Africa to the elusive World Cup win. • Umar Gul (Pakistan): Long heralded as the best fast bowler in limited overs cricket, Gul has led the fast bowling pack, amidst controversies, injuries and bans, to pick up 13 wickets so far at an impressive strike rate of 21.0. • Brett Lee (Australia): With the fading away of a generation of stellar Australian fast bowlers, Lee has taken over the baton. He has taken 12 crucial wickets at an economy of 4.16. —Reuters

ment. Now we do have a really good bowling attack. “The plan for me is definitely to play the holding role, that’s the way I played for the whole of my career.” Botha said Ross Taylor, New Zealand’s best player of spin bowling, would be a threat on Friday. “He is in very good form and he’s played really well so far in this tournament,” he said. “We will be looking at a few things tomorrow and Ross is definitely a key player and so is Brendon McCullum. There is (Scott) Styris who has got a lot of experience so we know we are up against a quality team and if we are not going to be on top of our game than it’s really going to be a tough match. “Daniel Vettori is a world class bowler, he is in the top few in the rankings and we respect him highly. “Our guys have really played spin well in this tournament and we will be looking forward to playing him. “You can’t judge New Zealand by past form or recent form, they are a good team and on their day they can beat anyone. I think it’s going to be a close match and hope it goes our way.” —Reuters


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Terry: ‘I’m not everybody’s cup of tea’ WATFORD: John Terry acknowledged Tuesday that he is not “everybody’s cup of tea” and his reappointment as England captain is unpopular with some people. Coach Fabio Capello confirmed to the squad at training on Tuesday ahead of a 2012 European Championship qualifier at Wales on Saturday that Terry would be regaining the captain’s armband from injured Rio Ferdinand. “I’m not going to be everybody’s cup of tea as I’ve read and I’ve seen, but it was the manager’s decision (to reinstate me),” Terry said. “Respect for the players around me and the manager has always been there.” The Chelsea defender was stripped of the national team captaincy in February 2010 after allegations he had an affair with England teammate Wayne Bridge’s former girlfriend, a scandal which led to Bridge quitting international football. The incident rocked the England squad in the buildup to the World Cup in South Africa, where the team was eliminated in the second round. The 30year-old Terry said no one in the team had questioned his return as captain. “When the manager confronted the team on the training pitch (on Tuesday), he asked the players if they had any questions and nobody spoke,” Terry said. “Nobody said a world to the man-

ager. Nobody said a word to me.” Despite media reports that Ferdinand was miffed at how the captaincy was handled, Terry said the Manchester United defender called to congratulate him. Terry called it a “a very nice touch and goes to show what a great man Rio is.” “We had a 10-minute conversation and he wished me well,” Terry said. “He cares about England and said the most important thing was to keep winning. He was naturally disappointed, but said the most important thing was to keep winning.” Injuries restricted Ferdinand to just four England appearances as captain, with the defender missing the entire World Cup and now set to miss the rest of this season. Terry is adamant that he should never have been stripped of the captaincy by Capello in the first place. “I met Fabio and (general manager) Franco (Baldini) on the day and accepted the decision,” Terry said. “That doesn’t mean I agreed with it but I looked them both in the eye and said ‘You’ll get nothing less from me in training and on the field.”‘ Terry insisted that now he is “certainly older, but wiser as well.” “Maybe the manager looked into that as well, that I had kept my head down and concentrated on playing well for club and country,” he said. — AP

FIFA’s Blatter says next term would be his last PARIS: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said yesterday his next term will be his last if he is re-elected in June. Blatter is running for his fourth term but is facing the challenge of Qatar’s Mohamed bin Hamman in the election to be held in Zurich, Switzerland. “You know very well that I will aspire to another four years, those will be the last four years I aspire to,” Blatter said at the UEFA Congress at Paris’ Grand Palais. Blatter has been running football’s world governing body since 1998 and is facing his first challenge since Issa Hayatou took him on in 2002. Bin Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation president, is also attending the UEFA Congress to lobby European federation presidents for their vote on June 1 in Zurich. “We are in extra time,” said Blatter, referring to the time remaining before the election. “Let’s wait and see what the outcome will be.” While Bin Hammam has promised greater transparency if he ends his rival’s 13-year reign, Blatter told the UEFA delegates that football’s main challenges in the coming years will be to preserve the identity of clubs and to fight against illegal betting and doping. “Football is corrupted by all little devils which exist in the world,” the 75-year-old Blatter said. “Don’t forget that football is a game and that when one is playing, he always tries to cheat a little bit. Together we have the task of bringing together the

adventure we have started. We want to ensure a better future for our youth.” Blatter added that FIFA will have a “zero tolerance” policy in the fight against corruption after several FIFA officials were suspended for seeking bribes during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. UEFA members make up more than one quarter of the maximum 208 FIFA voters that Blatter and bin Hammam will attempt to woo before the June 1 election. The winner needs a two-thirds majority of valid votes cast in the first ballot, or a majority in the second. FIFA has set an April 1 deadline for other candidates to be nominated by a single member federation. Bin Hammam said on Monday that he offered a deal to UEFA president Michel Platini for European support to help him oust Blatter. Platini, the former France captain who won another term as UEFA president Tuesday, said in January he would not run for the FIFA presidency while promising UEFA members he would serve them for four more years. Asked which candidate he will support, Platini said that as UEFA president he is not allowed to give his personal opinion on the matter. “I’m going to meet with associations, (UEFA) vice presidents, countries and we will together decide which stance we will adopt regarding the candidates,” Platini told a news conference. “I can’t speak in my name anymore and I have to listen to all opinions before we have an official stance.” —AP

FRANCE: FIFA president Sepp Blatter delivers his speech during the 35th Ordinary UEFA Congress at the Grand Palais in Paris yesterday. Mohamed bin Hammam is prepared to strike a deal with UEFA leader Michel Platini for European support to help him oust Sepp Blatter as FIFA president. — AP

Israelis, Palestinians play as one in Israel Bowl

The NBK

The KFH

Al-Ahli Bank tops KBC Bowling Tourney KUWAIT: Al-Ahli Bank finished the seventh week of the Banks Bowling Tournament on top of the standing ahead of the National Bank of Kuwait, followed in third place by Al-Ahli United Bank while the Kuwait Finance House came in fourth place. Meanwhile, all teams are currently preparing to take part in the doubles competition of the tournament which is

held by the Kuwait Banks Club. Each bank is allowed to have up to four teams in the doubles’ competition. Khalil Al-Bloushi, KBC board member and chairman of the sports committee, acknowledged the “strong level of competition” shown during the competition, giving credit in a recent press statement to the participating teams for the efforts they’re displaying. Khalil Al-Bloushi

JERUSALEM: The cheers from the skull-capped settlers and armed soldiers filled the air. Jewish and Palestinian teammates worked in collaboration. And the Judean Rebels walked away as champions of Israel Bowl IV. Only a week after five members of a Jewish West Bank settler family were killed in a knife attack, the championship game of the American football league in Israel again brought together people from opposites sides of the political spectrum. This time in celebration. “We play as a team and leave our personal stuff on the side. If they can do it, I can, too,” said Musa Elayyan, a 21-year-old Rebels defensive lineman from the West Bank city of Ramallah who grew up in the United States and goes by the nickname “Moose.” “Once you’ve played together you create a bond, especially on a successful team.” The Rebels held off a late charge to beat the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Sabres 32-30 on Friday at Kraft Stadium, the venue named for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. It’s not the Super Bowl — the level of play is more akin to high school football but on a smaller field and with only eight players per side. And it’s definitely not the World Cup _ although the shofar, a traditional ram’s horn, can give the vuvuzela a run for its money when its blast is heard around the stadium. But it is a chance for Jews and Palestinians to put aside their political beliefs and lock heads on the football field. “We are the only Israeli league of any kind that has any Palestinian players and I’m proud of that fact,” said Steve Leibowitz, the founder of the 4-year-old league. “We were concerned about the politics but it just hasn’t been an issue.” Even in the stands, the camaraderie stood out. Ultra-Orthodox Jews and children wearing

costumes for the Jewish festival of Purim cheered and waved Israeli flags when Rebels linebacker Ayoub Elayyan, Musa’s brother, intercepted a pass to set up the first touchdown of the game. Although American football is still an afterthought on the Israeli sporting scene, it has steadily gained ground in recent years. This year’s Israel Bowl attracted more than 1,000 fans and was broadcast live on the Israeli sports channel. The Rebels are a team made up of mostly Jewish settlers with American backgrounds. They wear orange jerseys and helmets, adopting the color that symbolized the Jewish settlers in Gaza who were removed in 2005. And although the coach kicked out a few players who had reservations about playing with Palestinians, Musa Elayyan said the team quickly gelled and captured the crown in the eight-team local league in only their second year together. He now considers his teammates to be among his best friends. “A lot of their views changed after we joined,” said Musa Elayyan, who played high school football in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “You can never fully drop the politics but the football field is a haven.” The Sabres, who won Israel Bowl III last year, are also a mixed IsraeliArab team. Leibowitz calls the concept of the league “peace under the helmet,” and Jerusalem Lions quarterback Itay Ashkenazi said the nature of the game is what breeds the intimacy between the players. “The essence of the game brings players together in such a close and intimate nature that you can’t help but rely on each other,” said Ashkenazi, a 31-year-old player who is the son of Israel’s recently retired military chief, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. “Football is a terrific tool of creating a bridge, creating a dialogue between people.”—AP

Libya, Ivory Coast to play at neutral venues

Al-Ahli Bank

Al-Ahli United Bank

JOHANNESBURG: Libya and Ivory Coast must play scheduled African Nations Cup qualifiers on neutral turf this weekend because of the precarious security situation in their countries, CAF confirmed yesterday. Libyan troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have been hit by air strikes by a western coalition since the weekend, prompting the Confederation of African Football to switch Libya’s match against Comoros Islands from Tripoli to Bamako, Mali on Monday. The Ivorians said last week they were not

prepared to move their Group H match against Benin from Abidjan in spite of growing violence which has resulted in around 400 deaths since the disputed November election outcome. However, CAF has now ordered them to play the tie in neighbouring Ghana. It will be held in Accra on Sunday. There are 21 qualifying matches across the continent this weekend as the preliminaries for the 2012 finals, cohosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, reach the halfway stage. — Reuters

IFA kicks off 2nd annual football tournament 12 teams compete for coveted IFA Cup KUWAIT: International Financial Advisors Consulting Services (IFACS) has blown the starting whistle and 12 companies within the IFA group of companies are squaring off in their respective matches of the 2nd annual IFA Football Tournament. The group’s employees will compete for three weeks, with three rounds of group matches followed by the quarter- and semi-final rounds; culminating in a day-long finals event. On the finals day - which is open to all IFA Group employees and friends - entertainment and footballthemed activities will gather staff and their families together to celebrate the closing of the tournament in an atmosphere of IFA solidarity. Commenting on the launch of the group-wide tournament, Mr. Hamed Al-Aiban, Chairman of IFA Consulting Services, said: “The IFA group of companies hold the esteem of the Kuwaiti business sector, but the public often forgets that there is a workforce behind the brand and those of our group companies, which command even more respect.

This annual tournament is a way for the group’s employees to feel a part of the IFA family, and to engage them in an activity that is both fun and team-building, and honors them not just as employees but an important and effective part of one family.” Teams participating in the 2011 IFA Football Tournament are from the following IFA Group of companies: International Financial Advisors; International Finance Company; Al Wafir; IFA Consulting Services; Kuwait Real Estate Company; Fasttelco; Al Deera Holding Co.; IFA Real Estate; Drake & Scull - Kuwait; Al Bahar Industries; Aiwa Gulf; First Takaful Insurance. Each team has been randomly assigned a team kit from the world’s best football clubs, such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Manchester United. In the same vein, as if watching the annual UEFA Champions League, companies will compete to progress through the group stages to single match, door-die quarter- and semi-finals, before emerging as the celebrated finalists. The IFA group will then watch as colleagues play their hearts out to lift the 2011 IFA Cup.

IFA Chairman Talal Al-Bahar (center right) poses with the members of the two finalist teams of the 2010 IFA Annual Football Tournament.


Penguins clip Red Wings

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Pakistan likely to retain winning combination

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SAN ANTONIO: Golden State Warriors’ Acie Law (2) drives between San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker (9), of France; Gary Neal (14), and Tiago Splitter (22), of Brazil, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game. — AP

Spurs win game but lose Duncan SAN ANTONIO: The San Antonio Spurs lost Tim Duncan to an ankle sprain, putting a dampener on its 111-96 victory over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA on Monday. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Duncan would be out “a while” but didn’t have a timetable. The injury looked potentially serious as Duncan lay on his side, clutching his foot with both hands, for more than a minute. The 34-year-old All-Star steadied himself with the help of trainers while limping off the court. Manu Ginobili scored 28 points for San Antonio while Tony Parker added 17 points and 15 assists. Ekpe Udoh led Golden State with 15 points. It was Udoh’s foot that Duncan appeared to be trying to avoid while landing awkwardly after hitting a short jumper in the first quarter. Celtics 96, Knicks 86 In New York, Boston scored the final 10 points for a spirited victory over New York. The Celtics showed the Knicks they will be tough to beat next month if this was a preview of a first-round playoff series. Boston’s Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 11 rebound while Rajon Rondo added 13 points and 12 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points for the Knicks, but neither he nor Amare Stoudemire had a field goal in the fourth quarter. Boston (50-19) matched its victory total

from last season and remained tied with Chicago for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Grizzlies 103, Jazz 85 In Memphis, the hosts downed Utah to maintain their hold on the final Western Conference playoff spot. Zach Randolph scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead seven Memphis players in double figures. Darrell Arthur scored 14 points on 7-of11 shooting from the field. Paul Millsap led Utah with 15 points. Bulls 132, Kings 92 In Chicago, Derrick Rose and Kyle Korver scored 18 points apiece as Chicago routed Sacramento. The win gave the Bulls their first 50-win season since 1997-98 and allowed Chicago to remain tied with Boston atop the Eastern Conference. Carlos Boozer scored 16 points in his return to the Bulls’ lineup after missing five games with a sprained ankle. He joined a balanced Bulls attack that had eight players scoring in double figures in a game that was not close after the first period. Marcus Thornton led the Kings with 25 points. Nuggets 123, Raptors 90 In Denver, the hosts’ smothering defense forced 23 turnovers, helping Denver smash Toronto. Ty Lawson scored 23 points for the

Nuggets, who raced out to a 29-point lead in the second quarter and never looked back, beating the Raptors for the seventh straight time at home.Denver was without guards Raymond Felton (left ankle) and Arron Afflalo (left hamstring), but hardly missed a beat. The Nuggets had seven players score in double figures as they improved to 10-4 since the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. Andrea Bargnani had 20 points for the Raptors. Magic 97, Cavaliers 86 In Cleveland, Dwight Howard scored 28 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and was too much for Cleveland’s front line to handle in leading Orlando to a win over the Cavaliers. The Magic built a 15-point lead in the first quarter and were up by 26 late in the third. Cleveland pulled within 92-83 with 3:15 remaining, but Hedo Turkoglu’s 3-pointer put Orlando back in control. Orlando swept all four games against Cleveland, winning the season series for the first time since 2002-03. The teams were heated rivals just a year ago when LeBron James was still with the Cavs, but they’re now at opposite ends of the NBA spectrum. JJ Hickson scored 18 for Cleveland, which has dropped three straight. Pacers 102, Nets 98 In Newark, New Jersey, Indiana opened a

NBA results/standings NBA results and standings on Monday. Orlando 97, Cleveland 86; Indiana 102, New Jersey 98; Boston 96, NY Knicks 86; Chicago 132, Sacramento 92; Memphis 103, Utah 85; San Antonio 111, Golden State 96; Denver 123, Toronto 90. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT Boston 50 19 .725 Philadelphia 36 34 .514 NY Knicks 35 35 .500 New Jersey 22 47 .319 Toronto 20 50 .286 Central Division Chicago 50 19 .725 Indiana 31 40 .437 Milwaukee 28 41 .406 Detroit 25 45 .357 Cleveland 13 56 .188 Southeast Division Miami 48 22 .686 Orlando 45 26 .634 Atlanta 40 30 .571 Charlotte 28 41 .406 Washington 17 51 .250

GB 14.5 15.5 28 30.5 20 22 25.5 37 3.5 8 19.5 30

two-game lead in the race for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference by beating New Jersey. Roy Hibbert scored 24 points and Danny Granger had 17 of his 20 in the second half for the Pacers. Brook Lopez had 20 points to

Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 45 24 .652 Denver 42 29 .592 Portland 40 30 .571 Utah 36 35 .507 Minnesota 17 54 .239 Pacific Division LA Lakers 50 20 .714 Phoenix 35 33 .515 Golden State 30 41 .423 LA Clippers 27 44 .380 Sacramento 17 52 .246 Southwest Division San Antonio 57 13 .814 Dallas 49 21 .700 New Orleans 40 31 .563 Memphis 39 32 .549 Houston 37 34 .521

4 5.5 10 29 14 20.5 23.5 32.5 8 17.5 18.5 20.5

lead the Nets, who saw Sundiata Gaines and Sasha Vujacic miss tying 3-point attempts in the final 15 seconds. New Jersey, which lost its fourth in the row, played without point guard Deron Williams, who missed his second straight game with a wrist injury.—AP

Carter, Crusaders on mission against Sharks

Dan Carter of Crusaders in action in this file photo

LONDON: Star flyhalf Dan Carter leads nomadic New Zealand team the Crusaders into their impromptu Super 15 match in London acknowledging he “dodged a bullet” when the 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch last month. The All Blacks No. 10 said he was lucky to emerge largely unscathed from the disaster that hit New Zealand’s second biggest city on Feb. 22, killing more than 180 people. There was “a bit of damage” to his home, including the loss of a few bottles of wine that smashed on his kitchen floor as the ground shook, but nothing like the kind of devastation that ravaged many of his countrymen and women, weeks before a much larger quake and tsunami struck Japan. Carter said the whole episode has left him feeling “quite useless.” He is keen now, though, to represent Christchurch’s grieving community by doing what he does best — bring smiles to the faces of Crusaders fans by performing on the rugby pitch. With the Crusaders’ stadium badly damaged, Carter’s team is being forced to play its home games outside the city. It moved its first two to Nelson’s small Trafalgar Park but has traveled to the other side of the world for its next. Sunday’s game against South African side the

Sharks will be at Twickenham, the home of English rugby, in a bid to boost the franchise’s finances and raise money for victims of the earthquake. It will be the first Super match ever to be played outside the SANZAR countries — South Africa, New Zealand and Australia — and 26,000 tickets have already been sold, England’s Rugby Football Union said yesterday. “There have been some tough times with the earthquake in Christchurch so it’s good to come over here and hopefully generate some money for people who are going through it,” Carter said. “Obviously with what’s happening in the world at the moment ... I guess you kind of realize how lucky you are. Sport is a good release, to go out there and play footy and give something back to the community.” Carter was in the Crusaders’ changing room after training when the earthquake struck at lunchtime. “It was a pretty fierce shake. I managed to get outside with a couple of teammates but I didn’t really know the extent of it until I jumped in my car, driving home,” Carter said. “That’s when I really understood that this one was so much different, with all the aftershocks. “People were running out of their home, people were crying. Just water and liquefaction everywhere on the roads. A normal five, 10-minute drive back home

took 45 minutes with all the traffic lights out.” Among the dead was a member of the Crusaders board, Philip McDonald. A friend of Carter’s fiancee also died. “Compared to some of the damage people got, the loss of lives, I count myself very lucky,” he said. “I dodged a bullet really. You really feel for those people.” In a further setback to the community in Christchurch, the city was stripped last week of the seven matches it was down to host at the Rugby World Cup this year after AMI Stadium was left severely damaged. “In the back of my mind, I was hoping it would be all right to have the games here, but obviously not,” Carter said. “It’s another blow to the people of Christchurch, who are rugby fanatics down there. It’s really sad.” Motivated by the hardships being endured by Cantabrians, the Crusaders, Super rugby’s most successful side with seven titles, are also determined to try to become the first team to win the title without playing a match at their home ground. “We want to put a few smiles back on people’s faces back home so it’s a real motivation for the Crusaders to now be successful, get a great win (against the Sharks) and achieve something that’s not been done before,” said Carter. “That’s a challenge.” Five pounds from each ticket sold for Sunday’s match will go to the Red Cross earthquake appeal. —AP


Gulfmart to open 10th outlet in Jahra

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India govt introduces crucial tax reform bill Page 25

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

Kuwait stocks stage smart rally

Lulu Hypermarket consolidates presence Page 24

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CAIRO: Egyptian policemen, surrounded by army soldiers, protest in front of their interior ministry calling for a salary increase in Cairo yesterday. Egyptian investors are bracing themselves for the expected reopening of the country’s stock market that was shuttered for almost two months because of the protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s regime. — AP

Egypt bourse seen plunging on reopening Investors remain wary, steep losses likely CAIRO: Egypt’s stock market is poised to reopen today after a nearly two-month closure triggered by the unrest that toppled Hosni Mubarak, and analysts expected steep losses in a reflection of shaken investor confidence. The relaunch of the Egyptian Exchange comes after the prime minister accepted the resignation of the market’s chairman and appointed a new, temporary head. The move was the latest step by officials to try to ensure a smooth first few days of trading on a market whose restart was delayed several times amid fallout from the Jan. 25 uprising and ensuing labor unrest. The decision to reopen the market was based on “taking all required procedures to guarantee its safety opening and trading,” said a statement posted on the Egyptian

Cabinet’s website. Analysts believe that most, if not all, companies will see their share prices hit hard as investors have their first chance to weigh in with their money on the developments that have reshaped the country’s political landscape over the past two months. “I think the market will come under pressure and we’ll see declines in most of the names,” Wael Ziada, research head at the Cairo-based Mideast investment bank EFG Hermes, said yesterday. But “I don’t think that volumes will be significant” in the first few sessions, he said. “As the market declines further, we’ll start seeing trading volumes rising.” Several companies have announced plans to buy back shares, according to a statement released yesterday by the Egyptian Exchange.

Bidding process to become more open KES holds seminar on central tenders law By Nisreen Zahreddine KUWAIT: The Kuwait Economic Society (KES) organized a panel discussion on the recently proposed central tenders draft law. MP Youssef Al-Zalzalah, the Chairman of the Kuwaiti Industries Union Hussein Al-Khurafi and the General Manager of The Contractors company Ahmed Al-Qinaai spoke at the panel. The discussion was moderated by Ahmed Maarefi, one of KES’s board members. Al-Zalzalah spoke about how the government sponsored draft law is being studied by the financial committee in cooperation with the World Bank. He added that the team, which he heads, has finished 50 percent of the document and is expected to finish it within the next two months. He also pointed out that major changes have been made in the bill to give more companies an opportunity to bid on projects transparently and openly. “This method has been brought up a lot recently to investigate subjectivity and bias in choosing the winners of tenders,” said Al-Zalzalah. He explained that the proposal was submitted to the committee two years ago and then withdrawn for further amendments. He pointed out that it has

been given priority again, amongst other laws and projects, in order to further support the development plan. On the other hand, he said that the amendments carried out by the government before being resubmitted did not give additional value to the bill and instead made the process less transparent. He said that all the government did was allow the Central Tender Committee (CTC) to announce the winners of each tender on the internet and give them the power to reject offers without justification. He described the CTC procedures as unbearable and said that the financial committee is working closely with the World Bank on improving the tender process. Meanwhile, Al-Khurafi asked AlZalzalah to allow the private sector to participate in amending the draft law because they are more familiar with the problems faced by applying for government tenders. During the panel Al-Qenaai discussed how he thinks the tender process can be improved upon. He pointed out how unjust it is that all projects are kept in the hands of the CTC. He called for the formation of a legal committee to solve disputes between the private sector and the CTC and to allow the government to pursue legal action through the committee.

Topping the list was property developer Amer Group, which planned on buying 101 million of its shares, according to the exchange statement. The effort is one of many aimed at offsetting losses tied to fears bottled up since the market closed on Jan. 27, after two consecutive days of losses that saw its benchmark index plummet by slightly over 16 percent. What many had expected to be a closure of a couple of weeks, however, was expanded as the popular unrest that toppled Mubarak was supplanted by waves of labor unrest after his ouster. Banks were shut down as workers demanded higher pay and shifts from temporary to permanent labor contracts. The strikes rippled through a broad range of sectors, seriously affecting the

country’s output at a time when tourism revenues were seen falling sharply and foreign direct investment was expected to take a hit amid the political uncertainty in the Arab world’s most populous nation. Egyptian officials enacted measures aimed at safeguarding the market, including triggering a suspension of trading if the broader EGX100 index moves 5 percent or 10 percent. In addition, the finance minister set up a 250 million pound ($42 million) fund that could be tapped if there is a need to boost the market. The government also called on all Egyptians to step up and invest, either in shares or mutual funds, as a way to prevent the market from collapsing. “These are all attempts to try to secure the market,” said Ziada. But the uncertainty

over when the exchange would actually reopen unnerved scores, raising questions about transparency in a market many viewed as among the most transparent in the region. Those questions build on other worries, including the overall welfare of Egypt’s economy and the stability of the country. Other worries centered on the potential impact on the market of investigations into alleged wrongdoing by former ministers and top businessmen linked with the ousted regime. On Monday, ratings agency Moody’s Investor’s Service said it downgraded the foreign currency deposit ratings of five Egyptian banks by one notch, to B1 from Ba3, after having downgraded Egypt’s sovereign rating days earlier. —AP

Markets steady as unrest jitters ease MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Gulf Arab markets were steady yesterday, consolidating recent gains, with investor risk appetite rising as concerns over unrest in Bahrain eased, while traders seemed unfazed by political turmoil in Yemen. UAE markets rose, with traders increasingly betting the country’s safe haven status will boost stocks. Dubai’s benchmark hit a monthhigh, while Abu Dhabi volumes hit a threemonth peak. Emaar Properties and Emirates NBD, Dubai’s two top stocks, rose 1.7 and 1.3 percent respectively. “Politically speaking, things are looking a lot clearer now ... the GCC is pretty much immune to what’s happening outside its borders,” said Haissam Arabi of Gulfmena Alternative Investments. “The worst is over for the GCC.” Seven people have died in a crackdown in Bahrain over the past week, with the country now under martial law as the Sunni monarchy tries to stamp out dissent among the Island’s Shiite majority. The later-closing Saudi Arabia index slipped 0.2 percent after being up in early trade, trimming its weekly gains to 4.5 percent. “Initially, there was de-risking across the region, but at some stage people had to realize that this was overdone and so markets have come back strongly,” said Shahid Hameed of Global Investment House. “We’re not in a doomsday scenario, at least in the Gulf. The fear was that Bahrain unrest would spread to Saudi Arabia, but the situation in

Bahrain has calmed down.” Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) fell 0.5 percent, weighing on the petrochemicals index, which eased from Monday’s five-week high. “The Q1 2011 earnings season will drive the action in the coming weeks as investors refocus their attention on fundamentals,” said Amro Halwani of Shuaa Capital in Riyadh. “Oil has had a pretty outstanding performance year-to-date, which could only mean good news for Saudi petrochemicals, and a lot of val-

ue-driven investors are taking positions in the expectation of a positive quarter,” he said. Saudi investors were little moved by turmoil in southern neighbor Yemen. President Ali Abdullah Saleh told army commanders Yemen could descend into civil war because of efforts to stage what he called a “coup”. Kuwait’s index hit a week high, as its largest lenders rose. National Bank of Kuwait gained 1.7 percent and Kuwait Finance House added 1.9 percent. — Reuters

HEATHROW: Virgin Atlantic airplanes are seen at London’s Heathrow Airport. JetBlue said yesterday it has formed a partnership with Virgin Atlantic that will allow customers to fly on both airlines with a single ticket. —AP


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Gulfmart to open its 10th outlet in Jahra in May

New Protiviti Study

Internal auditors to focus on identifying and managing risks MENLO PARK, California: Risk management is a top priority for board members and executives, making it vital for internal auditors to increase their focus in this area, particularly the identification of potential future risks as well as risks tied to the business strategy, confirms a new study from Protiviti (http://www.protiviti.com), a global business consulting and internal audit firm. In its fifth year, Protiviti’s Internal Audit Capabilities and Needs Survey (www.protiviti.com/IAsurvey) assesses internal auditors’ skills and knowledge, along with competencies most in need of improvement. “A strong internal audit function is critical to operating successfully and maintaining a state of effective internal control in a heightened regulatory and risk management environment,” said Bob Hirth, Protiviti executive vice president and head of global internal audit. “Our latest Internal Audit Capabilities and Needs Survey offers an honest look at the challenges - particularly those related to risk - that internal auditors face as they strive to meet new performance expectations.” To view a short video further exploring the survey’s findings, click here: www.protiviti.com/IAsurvey. More than 600 participants from around the world - including chief audit executives, internal audit directors, and managers from publicly traded, private, government, educational and nonprofit organizations - participated in the 2011 Internal Audit Capabilities and Needs Survey. The survey asked participants to assess their skills and professional development priorities for more than 160 competencies in such areas as audit process knowledge; personal skills and capabilities; and risk management and governance process knowledge (a new category this year). Key Findings of the 2011 Survey According to the study, even as risk management consumes more of internal auditors’ time, these professionals still don’t feel prepared to meet the demands triggered by the spate of new regulation. Understanding “emerging risks” was ranked by survey respondents as the top “Need to Improve” item in the area of risk management and governance process, followed closely by “evaluating and changing risk appetite levels.” Other key findings: • International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) remain a concern for internal auditors. According to Hirth, the convergence of IFRS and U.S. GAAP will not be without its challenges. “Of particular concern to many is the fact that IFRS, as a principles-based approach, requires more discretion and judgment calls, as opposed to a rules-based concept such as US GAAP where the lines are clearer around what can and cannot be done,” he said. • The prevention and detection of fraud once again emerged as a key concern of internal auditors, with related standards and guidance from The Institute of Internal Auditors ranking as top “Need to Improve” areas. • Building expertise in technology-enabled auditing, including continuous auditing and computer-assisted audit tools, also remains a top priority for internal audit professionals. According to Hirth, developing expertise and successfully implementing automated auditing tools and processes will enable internal auditors to focus on such higher-level initiatives as emerging risks - including new regulation, changes in the business model, changes in industry dynamics, and industry competition, among many other factors - and risks tied to the company’s strategy. • With regard to “soft” skills, internal auditors rate “dealing with confrontation” and “public speaking” as the areas in which they most would like to improve.

Gulfmart where quality is affordable KUWAIT: Gulfmart, a division of retail conglomerate BMA International Group, is the fastest growing supermarket chain in Kuwait. Ever since opening their first outlet in Kuwait in 1999, Gulfmart has successfully imprinted its presence through strategically located branches all over the country. The tenth branch of the supermarket’s chain of outlets is slated to open in Jahra city by the end of May. Gulfmart believes the new outlet will supplement its nine other branches in offering quality products at affordable prices to customers all over Kuwait. Residents of Jahra who have long yearned to have a Gulfmart branch in their city will soon have their wish realized when Kuwait’s popular supermarket opens its doors there. The new supermarket, which is undergoing rapid furbishing, will be located at the Al-Khair and Al-Agool building, a popular landmark in the heart of Jahra City. Recently, the Director of Gulfmart Group, Aref Sheikh and the Country Manager for Kuwait, T.A. Remesh, took time off from their busy schedule to give exclusive glimpses into the workings of the Gulfmart brand and insights into its phenomenal success over the years. Remesh began by commenting on the relative delay in opening a branch in a strategic location like Jahra, despite having branches in other parts of the country. “Jahra City had always been part of Gulfmart’s expansion plans; however, the inability to find an appropriate location in Jahra hindered our early attempts to open a branch here. When it comes to selecting a venue for a new location, we have certain stringent criteria that have to be met. For instance, the site we select has to be sufficiently spacious to accommodate our wide range of products; it also has to provide a comfortable shopping ambience and be located in an environment that is secure, convenient and easily accessible to our customers.” “But, at the same time, we do not believe in burdening our customers with the associated costs of operating from a

high-cost, fancy venue,” elaborated Remesh. “We prefer to locate our supermarkets in the basement floor of buildings, where rental rates tend to be more competitive. Also, we look for the availability of free car-parking space nearby, as it will further lower our operating costs. The savings we achieve through lower infrastructural and other operating costs are directly passed on to customers, who benefit from the value pricing of our products.” Adding to the country manager’s comments, Aref Sheikh said, “We currently have nine branches across Kuwait; two

a total of ten branches in Kuwait. And, with the launching of our latest branch in Jahra, we will have accomplished this first phase of our development strategy. However, our earlier assessments were completely upturned by the overwhelming public response to existing branches and demand by customers for even closer access to their favorite supermarket. This called for a total reevaluation of the Group’s strategies and consequently we are now initiating an assertive new expansion plan that will see the addition of 15 more outlets by early 2013, taking the total number of Gulfmart outlets in

Aref Sheikh, Dirctor Gulfmart

T.A Remesh, Country Manger Gulfmart

each in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Hawally and one in Shuwaikh, Salmiya, Fahaheel, Farwaniya and Khaitan, providing the large number of residents in these areas with a good and convenient shopping experience. It was always our intention to open in Jahra City; but we had nearly given up hope of finding the right location, when we came across the AlKhair & AlAgool building. And, I must say we are really delighted with this venue, it perfectly meets all our requirements. For Gulfmart to finally come to Jahra has meant so much to us and we really look forward to fulfilling the long-standing demand by our customers in this area”. “Initially we envisioned opening only

Kuwait to 25,” stated Remesh. By opening convenient branches across the country and through a string of innovative retail schemes and products, Gulfmart has achieved singular success in winning the trust and patronage of a large customer base. We have transformed the supermarket from being ‘just another retailer’ to becoming ‘the supermarket of choice’ among customers who are looking for the widest selection of competitively priced value products, said the country manager. Gulfmart has over the years achieved several remarkable milestones in retailing and the tenth branch at Jahra will

add yet another feather in their retail cap. As Ajai Malhotra, the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, recently pointed out: The continued growth and development of Gulfmart, with its subsequent large volume purchases of Indian products, has in its small way made a noteworthy contribution to trade between India and Kuwait, which currently hovers at $10.5 billion annually. Detailing Gulfmart’s social commitment to the community and environment, the Countr y Manager said, “Wherever we operate, we demonstrate a strong commitment to supporting the local community and environment. For instance, in association with reputed medical institutions we regularly organize medical check-up programs that provide free health check-up to Gulfmart customers. Also, recently, on the occasion of National Day and Liberation Day celebrations, volunteers from Gulfmart along with members of community organizations took part in an environment clean-up program to remove litter and trash from the Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh Park. Elaborating on the brand’s consistent success over the years, Remesh said that Gulfmart’s achievements could be attributed to three main components - the commitment of our staff, the support of our suppliers and the strong patronage of our customers - that underpin all our achievements. And, in the years to come, we look forward to further consolidating and enhancing our strengths in these core areas. Complimenting Kuwait on its triple celebrations, Remesh added, “Gulmart would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the government and people of Kuwait on the occasion of the countr y ’s Golden Jubilee of Independence, the 20th anniversary of Liberation and the 5th anniversary of the ascension of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as the Amir of the State of Kuwait. We pray that Almighty God continue to shower His blessings on the country.”

Special seminar on security and fire-fighting systems Yusuf Ahmad Alghanim & Sons WLL (Eng Group) KUWAIT: Engineering Group - A division of Yusuf Ahmad Alghanim & Sons W.L.L organized a special seminar on March 07, 2011 at Marina Hotel in cooperation with Bosch international Group. The seminar titled ‘Security & Fire Fighting Systems’ was attended by consultant offices, government ministries and institutions. The seminar focused on the importance of security systems like Entrance & Exit Control System, Control Protection System using (CCTV), pagers systems, that can offer robust security and fire fighting solutions to smart buildings. The engineering group of Yusuf Ahmad Alghanim and Sons is a market leader and has completed many projects in smart buildings systems; security systems & Technology Works

where the company has meet all customers’ requirements to provide the best solutions to of complete technology systems, security systems, Visual and Audio systems and Low Voltage Systems. The engineering group offers comprehensive technology solutions from design, supply, installation and maintenance of technology products and systems by its specialists engineers and experienced employees trained on high levels and approved by the international manufacturers. The engineering group is committed to serve its customers and satisfy their needs and will continue offering the best services and latest products in order to provide integrated solutions to the customers.

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

.2720000 .4475000 .3900000 .3030000 .2800000 .2755000 .0045000 .0020000 .0749160 .7298870 .3890000 .0705000 .7155220 .0045000 .0460000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2759500 .4498400 .3924280 .3054570 .2819560 .0526210 .0440170 .2776450 .0353850 .2179530 .0034080 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0751600 .7324490 .0000000 .0736060 .7173120 .0000000

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

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

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.448 6.159 3.243 2.507 3.863 219.890 35.567 3.807

.2820000 .4570000 .3980000 .3130000 .2880000 .2830000 .0075000 .0035000 .0756690 .7372220 .4080000 .0770000 .7227130 .0072000 .0555000 .2780500 .4532630 .3954150 .3077820 .2841010 .0530210 .0443520 .2797880 .0356540 .2196110 .0034340 .0062130 .0025280 .0032710 .0038890 .0757320 .7380230 .3932810 .0741660 .7227710 .0064290

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

6.390 9.169 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 73.965 76.218 720.490 736.570 75.517

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Egyptian Pound - Cash Egyptian Pound - Transfer Yemen Riyal Tunisian Dinar Jordanian Dinar Lebanese Lira Syrian Lier Morocco Dirham

ARAB COUNTRIES 50.750 46.645 1.269 202.100 391.720 184.000 6.014 35.503

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 277.280 Euro 396.090 Sterling Pound 453.630 Canadian dollar 285.090 Turkish lire 176.490 Swiss Franc 308.330 Australian dollar 280.080 US Dollar Buying 276.080

Sterling Pound US Dollar

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

SELL CASH 281.300 737.220 4.060 287.000 544.500 14.100 53.300 167.800 49.990 398.000 36.260 6.360

SELL DRAFT 279.800 737.220 3.815 285.500

220.300 46.791 396.500 38.110 6.160

0.032 0.253 0.246 3.520 393.410 0.188 93.910 46.800 4.350 207.400 1.879 50.400 720.030 3.350 6.590 76.680 74.010 220.280 42.540 2.690 456.000 44.400 310.200 6.100 9.530 198.263 75.640 277.600 1.330

0.032

391.800 0.187 93.910 3.870 205.900

308.700 6.100 9.380 75.540 277.200

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 454.000 277.200

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

Selling Rate 277.100 285.925 452.360 396.465 307.788 733.402 75.421 76.090 73.863 391.432 46.723 2.507 6.174

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

3.249 3.820 6.383 679.709 3.522 9.254 6.044 3.936 91.132

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. 719.850 3.250 6.400 76.250 74.010 220.280 42.540 2.509 454.000

GOLD 1,485.560

10 Tola

GOLD 270.000 136.000 70.000

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

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

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

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 277.400 3.255 6.170 2.520 3.830 6.405 75.630 74.180 737.500 46.755 455.400 0.00003280 3.910 1.550 394.100 5.750 398.900 288.700

Al Mulla Exchange Currency Transfer Rate (Per 1000) Euro 396.300 Pound Sterling 453.900 Canadian Dollar 285.300 Japanese Yen 3.450 Indian Rupee 6.160 Egyptian Pound 46.600 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.507 Bangladesh Taka 3.820 Philippines Peso 6.380 Pakistan Rupee 3.243 Bahraini Dinar 737.050 UAE Dirham 75.450 Saudi Riyal 73.950 *Rates are subject to change


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business

Lulu Hypermarket consolidates its retail presence Retail chain opens 88th hypermarket in Baniyas, UAE With the economy showing robust growth and all round positive trends in the market, the retail sector is witnessing aggressive expansion by the leaders. The Lulu Hypermarket chain, the number one local player in the region has further expanded their presence by opening their 88th branch in Baniyas, a bustling town just off the city limits of Abu Dhabi. The new Lulu Hypermarket was inaugurated by Mohamed Thani Murshed Ghannam AlRumaithi, President of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and is located in the East Baniyas area off the Abu Dhabi - Al-Ain Road. The new Lulu Hypermarket covers an area of 180,000 sq. ft and will offer a whole world of shopping convenience with popular brands of a wide variety of product lines under one roof. Obviously the main focus area of LuLu Hypermarket will be the extensive supermarket section with fresh vegetables, fruits, butcher y and delicatessen ser ving hot and ready-to-eat foods. Special counters serving the best of bakes and cakes and an array of Arabic sweets

and delicacies are also available at the hypermarket, apar t from wide range of electronics and IT products, white goods, garments and sports equipment. In keeping with its endeavor to provide the best quality products in the most hygienic way, Lulu hypermarket has invested heavily in special areas like its state-of-the-art storing facilities and its latest baking and cook ing machines among others. The new hypermarket has ample parking facility for more than 1000 vehicles. The outlet is expected to soon become the shopping destination of choice for the resi-

dents of Baniyas and nearby areas. “It has been our policy for

some time now to bring world-class shopping experience closer to the people in

the outsk ir ts, rather than making them drive long distance to bigger cities” said Yusuffali MA, M anaging Director of EMKE Group. “We will be opening more such stores in the western regions of Abu Dhabi,” added Yusuffali. This hypermarket is also going to be the most eco friendly project with many unique features to reduce the carbon footprint. The stateof-the-art logistics, refrigeration, LED lighting, cooling system, bio-degradable bags are all going to be ‘first-of-itskind’ in the region,” he added. Yusuffali fur ther added

that, “Even though there have been talks of economic slowdown in the market, we have decided to carry on with our expansion plans of reaching the figure of 100 stores by the end of 2011 and to do our bit to fur ther strengthen the regional economic scenario.” Recently the group opened its state - of-the -ar t central logistical hub in ICAD, Mussafah, billed as one of the most sophisticated in the region. “ We have invested heavily into this project as we believe this will fur ther strengthen our efficiency and help us give more value to our shoppers.”

Toyota Hybrid global vehicle sales pass the 3 million mark Growing focus on fuel efficiency and environmental impact Gulf Bank announces winners of 11th Al-Danah draw for 2011 KUWAIT: Gulf Bank held its eleventh AlDanah weekly draw in 2011 on March 20, 2011, announcing a total number of ten AlDanah weekly prize draw winners, each awarded with prizes of KD 1,000. The ten winners are: Awaad Mobarak Ali Mobarak, Ahmad Abdullah Al-Dakhil Al-Shayea, Shareef Nauman Sajid Sehgal, Khalid Mishary Khalid Al-Khoubaizy, Osama Ebrahim Ahmed Mohamed, Dehayan Nashmi Hasan Al-Ajmi, Ali Mohammed Ali Al-Hashash, Jaber Mohammed Al-Ali, Salwa Abdulrahman Yousef Al-Kous, and Ghasan Amen Abbas Aburas. Gulf Bank encourages everyone in Kuwait to open an Al Danah account and/or increase their deposits to maximize their chances of becoming a winner in the upcoming weekly (KD1000 for 10 winners), quarterly (KD250,000 and KD500,000) and the annual draw (1 million dinars). Gulf Bank’s Al-Danah allows customers to win cash prizes and

encourages them to save money. Chances increase the more money is maintained and the longer it is kept in the account. Al-Danah also offers a number of unique services including the Al-Danah Deposit Only ATM card which helps account holders deposit their money at their convenience; as well as the Al-Danah calculator to help customers calculate their chances of becoming an Al-Danah winner. To be part of the Al-Danah draws, customers can visit one of Gulf Bank’s 53 branches, transfer on line, or call the Customer Contact Center on 1805805 for assistance and guidance. Customers can also log on to www.e-gulfbank.com, Gulf Bank’s bilingual website, to find all the information regarding Al Danah or any of the Bank’s products and services or log on www.e-gulfbank.com/aldanahwinners, to find out more about Al Danah and who the winners are.

LG’s new HLX55W takes blu-ray sound bars to next dimension KUWAIT: LG Electronics (LG), a global leader and technology innovator in the flat panel display and audio-video devices market, is proud to announce the release of the HLX55W, a slim and beautifully designed 3D Blu-ray Sound Bar. “With its 3D Blu-ray Playback, minimalist design and rich sound, the HLX55W is the perfect addition to LG’s 3D range,” said Mr. H.S. Paik, President of LG Electronics Gulf FZE. “Coming on the heels of our world’s first FULL LED 3D TV, the HLX55W is another big step in LG’s plan to create a complete and unrivaled 3D home entertainment experience.” With 3D content set to take off over the year ahead, LG’s HLX55W provides the ideal platform for 3D Blu-ray playback. Used in conjunction with LG’s 3D TVs, the HLX55W ensures viewers will be able to view the latest 3D movies with the richness and depth of 3D images in movie theaters. Setting the HLX55W further apart is its elegant design. Slim, sleek and wallmountable, the HLX55W perfectly complements the latest thin TV sets while also blending right in with virtually any home environment. A wireless active subwoofer - which can be easily set up any-

where in the room - further enhances the look, enabling a neater, easy-to-install display that uses less space and creates less clutter than conventional surround sound systems. But if the HLX55W’s design is restrained, its sound quality definitely isn’t. With a 430 watt output and full surround sound 4.1ch; the HLX55W transports viewers into an immersive and powerful soundscape. In addition, the six modes of LG Sound Gallery including VSM Plus, Clear Voice and MP3 Up-scaling - allow users to tailor sound to the most exact specifications they require. Alongside its smart technology and stylish design, the HLX55W boasts a big complement of other features. With its built-in Wi-Fi and DLNA connectivity, users can effortlessly delve into their existing libraries of music, movies and photos stored on other devices and watch them on the TV. Thanks to its NetCast(tm) function, the HLX55W offers viewers access to a world of online pictures and videos, while Gracenote lets them know what music is playing on the soundtrack. iPod and iPhone docking lets users listen to all their stored music, and external HDD playback makes the HLX55W a perfect platform for all files stored on hard drives.

KUWAIT: Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) recently announced that the global cumulative sales of its hybrid vehicles has crossed the 3 million mark, a significant achievement considering that the “Prius”, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle began in the year 1997. Currently, Toyota sells 16 hybrid vehicle models in approximately 80 countries including 14 countries across the Middle East. TMC is committed to augmenting this lineup even further and increasing the number of countries and regions in which it sells hybrid vehicles. TMC plans to introduce 10 new-model hybrid vehicles by the end of 2012, including six newly launched vehicles and four vehicles that have been redesigned. Toyota Motor Corporation’s Bahrain Representative Office said, “With sales of over 3.03 million1 hybrid units globally, we strongly believe that such vehicles are starting to enter the mainstream. With increasing awareness among the masses about the harmful impact of fuel emissions on the environment, the demand for hybrid vehicles that have high fuel efficiency and lower green-house gas emissions, is definitely on the rise. Another clear indication of the demand is that Toyota’s hybrid

sales crossed the one million mark in May 2007 but soon crossed the two million mark in August 2009.” Based on its firm belief that environment-considerate vehicles contribute only through their widespread use, the automaker has endeavored to achieve the widespread use of hybrid vehicles. As per TMC’s calculations, TMC’s hybrid vehicles2 since 1997 have produced approximately 18 million fewer tons3 of CO2 emissions compared with gasoline-powered vehicles of similar size and driving per-

Saudi NCB chief upbeat on bank sector outlook JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s banks are set to double lending to the private sector this year and see higher profits than last year partly due to government handouts of more than $100 billion, said the top-executive at the country’s biggest lender by assets. “The economic effect of the stimulus that the king has announced has a turbo charging effect because more money will be injected into the economy and this money will be looking for financial services and opportunities,” Abdul-Kareem Abu Al-Nasr, chief executive officer of the National Commercial Bank (NCB) told Reuters yesterday. Abu Al-Nasr said increased lending would be driven by the economic activity in the kingdom where multibillion dollar infrastructure projects are underway, plus the return of private sector demand. On March 18, King Abdullah offered a $39 billion handout to boost security and religious police forces as well as some infrastructure projects. This handout follows a previous package of $37 billion, announced earlier this month. “We are already seeing a higher level of activity and competition with Saudi banks on the lending side and we expect in 2011 to see something close to 7-10 percent in terms of growth,” he said on the sidelines of an economic forum in Jeddah. “It will be higher growth. Last year the total lending in the banking sector grew close to 5 percent and it mostly came in the second half of 2010.” “Overall the environment is conducive of growth and the banks are looking for yield because we are working in a low interest rate environment and the banks have a lot of liquidity so they have to find ways to make this liquidity work for them,” he added. Banks’ profits are also expected to rise more than last year, he said, as bad debt provisions which ate into profits in the past year are expected to drop. “I think, given the level of provisions that the banks have already taken, and where we are today, I think there will be less provisions taken,” Abu Al-Nasr said. “ The effect of less provisions in itself and the increased lending activity will improve the level of profitability...Overall it will be a positive year,” he said. In 2009, banks in Saudi Arabia saw lower profits as they increased provisions and lending slowed down following the 2008 financial crisis and due to concern over non-performing loans. Last year, Saudi Central Bank Governor Mohammad Al-Jasser urged banks to be more conservative and make sure provisions for bad loans exceeded 100 percent of their value. —Reuters

formance. TMC continues to expand its hybrid vehicle lineup in the Middle East, launching the Lexus LS600h in 2010 and the “CT 200h”, the first dedicated hybrid model in the premium-compact segment in March 2011. Toyota pioneered hybrid technology back in 1997 with the launch of the “Coaster Hybrid EV” in August followed by the “Prius” in December. Toyota has continued to expand its hybrid systems on such vehicles as minivans, SUVs, rear-wheel-drive

sedans and hatchbacks. TMC intends to continue to dedicate itself in all directions to developing and popularizing other environment-considerate cars in addition to gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. Having positioned hybrid technologies as necessary for development of various environmentconsiderate cars, TMC plans to continue working to further raise performance, reduce costs, and expand its product lineup to create vehicles that are popular with consumers.

Saudi Airlines catering unit IPO pushed to Q2 JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian Air lines plans to hold in the second quarter a delayed initial public offer of its catering unit estimated to be worth up to $540 million, its top executive said. The Saudi national carrier started a

long process of privatization in 2006 by dividing the company into six unitscatering, cargo, maintenance, airlines, flight academy and ground handling. It plans to privatize each of the units individually, before offering them to the public through IPOs. —Reuters


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Kuwait stocks advance GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait equities ended yesterday’s session on a positive note, on the back of a smart rally staged by banks stocks. The broad-based advance drove the market to its highest level in five sessions. The last minute trading boosted major indices after almost sideways session. The market has been sluggish for over t wo months now, thanks to the tension in the M iddle East. Global General Index lost more than 11 percent so far after January 25, 2011. Overall, the picture looks better now af ter Bahrain turmoil eased. Global General Index (GGI), market weighted, ended the day up by 0.72 percent, at 202.22 point. Market capitalization was also up for the day at KD32.87bn. On the other hand, Kuwait Stock Exchange Price Index closed at 6,330.3 point, adding 16.90 points (0.27 percent) to its previous close. Market breadth During the session, 120 companies were traded. M arket breadth was even as 46 equities retreated versus 39 that advanced. The recent gains were accompanied by mixed trading activity with most of the trades conducted in the Services sector. Total volume traded was down by 13.82 percent with Kuwait 126.46mn shares changing hands at a total value of KD27.21mn (0.92 percent higher compared to the day before). The Services Sector was the volume leader yesterday, accounting for 29.14 percent of total shares. The banking sector was the value leader, with 50.48 percent of total traded value.

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) was the most value traded in the market with KD11.74mn traded on the scrip. KFH share price closed at KD1.080, up by 1.89 percent for the day. The Banking Sector index ended the day up by 1.35 percent and helped pushing the market index higher. Sector-wise By sec tor, five out of the eight sec tors edged higher. Bank ing index headed the gains, up 1.35 percent. Heavyweight, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) rose 1.72 percent, while Ahli United Bank, was the biggest gainer in the sector, repor ting a 2.50 percent improvement in its share value.

In sec tor-related news, Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK), will part finance $1.20bn for the second phase expansion of Al-Zour South Power plant, the bank said in a statement yesterday. CBK closed flat at KD0.940. Global Non Kuwaiti Index was the second biggest advancer, adding 0.77 percent to its value. Egypt Kuwait Holding Company was the biggest gainer in the sector, adding 5.56 percent to its share price. On the counter part, Real Estate topped the losers list, shedding 0.43 percent of its value. Kuwait Business Town Real Estate was the biggest loser in the sector, shedding 16.28 percent.

Corporate news Burgan Bank started distributing bonus shares at 5 percent to shareholders of record on March 15th. The distribution will be effected via Kuwait Clearing Co (KCC), Ahmed Tower. Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait Sheikh Salem Abdel Aziz Al-Sabah is due to take part in the tenth Banking Conference of the GCC countries due in Qatar on March 23-24. The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $110.10 a barrel on M onday, compared with $110.54 the previous Friday, according to OPEC secretariat calculations.

Oil weakens, absorbing ongoing Libya conflict LONDON: Oil prices eased yesterday, with Brent hovering below $115 on an anticipated slowdown in Western air strikes on Libya. Anti-aircraft fire rang out across Tripoli for a third night on Monday, but US President Barack Obama, wary of getting sucked into a Libyan civil war, said the United States will cede control of the air assault in days. Front month Brent crude was 29 cents lower at $114.67 at 1212 GMT, still within sight of a two and a half year high near $120 hit last month. US crude for May, the most liquid contract before the expiry of April later yesterday, shed 21 cents to $102.88. Oil gained around 1 percent on Monday, the first trading day after UN-backed western powers launched the military campaign but Libyan rebels have so far done little to capitalize on their advantage, fuelling speculation the conflict could grind to a stalemate. Edward Meir, senior commodities analyst at MF Global, said much of the Libyan supply disruption had already been priced into the market. “Short-term, we suspect that the crude oil market is somewhat overextended here, as the fighting in Libya will lose its ability to spark the market higher,” he said. “For all practical purposes, investors have reconciled themselves with the fact not much oil will be flowing out of Libya anytime soon.” Violent political unrest has reached countries bordering OPEC king-pin Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter and only “swing state” with enough spare capac-

ity to plug serious production shortfalls elsewhere. Samuel Ciszuk, Senior Middle East & North Africa Energy Analyst at IHS Energy, will hold a Q+A session in the Global Oil Forum at 1500 GMT yesterday, looking at the rapidly evolving situation in Yemen, Libya and Syria and assessing political and economic risk across the region. Prices have seesawed over the past week as concerns over Western military intervention in Libya offset the risk aversion that swept global financial markets after Japan’s worst earthquake on record, tsunami and resulting nuclear crisis. Japan will allow the release of an additional 22 days worth of crude oil from privately held reserves in a bid to ease energy shortages the trade ministry said, after allowing the release of 1.26 million kilolitres of reserves, or three days worth of demand, last week. “This should bridge short-term supply gaps after the earthquake disaster. Japan’s oil demand should rise accordingly when these stocks are replenished,” Commerzbank analysts said in a note. Analysts expect weekly reports on US oil inventories will show gasoline and distillate stockpiles fell last week, which should support product values. Industry group the American Petroleum Institute will publish inventory statistics for the week ended March 18 yesterday, followed by US government data from the Energy Information Administration today. —Reuters

Kuwait receives first 2011 imported LNG KUWAIT: State -run Kuwait National Petroleum Co (KNPC) took delivery of its first liquified natural gas (LNG) shipment of the year, a KNPC executive said in published remarks yesterday. The shipment of 130,000 tons was delivered on March 20, Deputy Chairman Asaad Al-Saad told the Kuwaiti Al-Anba newspaper. “The Ahmadi refinery is planned to receive seven shipments of gas monthly ... until November, which coincides with the summer’s highest peak of gas con-

sumption in power plants,” Saad said. The Gulf Arab state does not have enough natural gas to meet its power demand and burns a large volume of oil products at power stations. Like its oilexporting neighbors, Kuwait has been slow to develop its gas reserves to meet domestic demand. The additional shipments to be imported in 2011 are expected to reach 42 billion cubic feet, a source told the newspaper, adding that 30 of those shipments are signed with Shell and Vitol. —Reuters


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Egypt puts economy first General Authority for Investment transferred to direct supervision of Ministerial Council; welcomes new Intel Corporation investment CAIRO: In a move to prioritize the Egyptian economy and for Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to directly oversee developments in both local and foreign direct investments (FDI), Egypt ’s General Authority for Investment (GAFI) now reports directly to the Council of Ministers. Osama Saleh, Chairman of GAFI, said this is a very positive move and will have an almost immediate impact on the relationship with both current and prospective investors. “For this Council of ministers, it is clear that the economy comes first. The Prime Minister is demonstrating a clear commitment to investors by becoming directly involved with GAFI’s strategy and operations.” Saleh added: “We have seen in recent weeks that foreign

investors are committed to the market, and we have been cooperating with them to show continued support for their business in Egypt. We have also reaffirmed that Egypt is committed to all its trade agreements and economic reforms. In his first address Prime Minister Essam Sharaf confirmed that Egypt’s economy is a free economy, but within the framework of social justice. He made a ver y clear promise that the economy will come back stronger than it was before.” Last week Intel Corporation, through its standalone business entity Intel Mobile Communications, announced that it has acquired most of the assets of SySDSoft, a privately held software company based in Cairo and hired approxi-

mately 100 of the company’s electrical engineers and computer scientists. “The acquisition of engineering and design talent from an Egypt-based company in the field of cutting-edge wireless and communication technology is the first of its kind for Intel in the Middle East,” said Ar vind Sodhani, president, Intel Capital and executive vice president, Intel. “The acquisition shows Intel’s continued long-term strategic commitment to the region and its appreciation of its young, growing talent pool.” Moreover, a group of Saudi entrepreneurs announced their decision to set up an investment development bank in Egypt to launch investments, the value of which is projected at $16.9 billion.

Chairman of the Egyptian Businessmen Society and GAFI Board member Engineer Hussein Sabbour highly praised the Saudi initiative to boost the national economy. In 2010, Egypt had attracted $6.8 million in FDI across many sectors including infrastructure, manufacturing, real estate and renewable energy. In Januar y 2011, Nestle unveiled plans to invest more than $160 million in its existing factories and distribution centers in Egypt over the next three years. In its Global Economic Prospects in 2050 repor t, Citibank said it was “optimistic about the prospects for Egypt.” Writing for the Oil & Gas Financial Review, Tammer Qaddumi, private equity analyst in Abu Dhabi said: “I have

hope that the inevitable scaledown of Egypt’s industrial oligarchy will result in a similarly positive economic force. Egypt has a young, educated, wiredin and, as we’ve all seen, empowered population. And it’s big. Moreover, Egypt still has its incredible assets: strategic geographic location, the Nile, the Suez Canal, unparalleled tourist attractions. The field is now wide open for new businesses to stake their claim, developing and marketing innovative products and services which will ultimately enhance the lives of Egyptians.” James Bond, chief operating officer of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency told Reuters in a statement: “We’re seeing in countries like Egypt investors are consider-

ing returning, putting their toes back in the water, interested what the investment environment will look like going for ward.” He said economies across the region have long underper formed and opening them up to foreign direct investment would not only boost growth but also create much needed jobs.” GAFI’s message to the global business community is that Egypt will continue to be a safe and attractive investment destination offering not only the already existing growth drivers that it has always enjoyed, but further augmented by a free and democratic platform where the rule of law prevails giving added assurance and protection for all investors in an open market economy.

India govt introduces crucial tax reform bill Cash-for-votes scandal simmers NEW DELHI: India’s government introduced a wide-ranging tax bill before parliament yesterday, but opposition to the move threatened to derail it which is one of the coalition’s most ambitious reforms of its second term. In a sign of how corruption scandals are hindering the government, opposition lawmakers immediately forced an adjournment by demanding a debate on accusations Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lied to parliament about a cash-for-votes scandal. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused Singh of misleading parliament after he denied a WikiLeaks cable that said his government paid bribes to lawmakers to win a confidence vote in 2008. That controversy was the latest in a slew of corruption scandals, including accusations the government lost up to $39 billion in the selling of telecoms licenses for kickbacks, that have overshadowed Singh’s second term and halted most reforms. The bill to amend the constitution and introduce a nationwide Goods and Ser vices Tax (GST) aims to cut business costs

and boost tax revenues. But it has been delayed by two years and it will almost certainly miss an April 2012 deadline for implementation. The GST bill needs approval of two-thirds of parliament and half of India’s 28 states to become law. It will first go before a committee before returning to parliament for a vote, which is unlikely to happen in the current session that ends on Friday. Many opposition-ruled states oppose the bill and there are worries the tax reform will give too much power to the federal government over local states. Further scandals and a host of state elections this year could

close any window of opportunity for the controversial bill to be adopted. While the government is unlikely to fall over the corruption scandals-no main par ty wants to go to the polls only two years after the last general election-the scandals have hit India’s investment climate and delayed a host of reform bills. The BJP effectively halted the last session of parliament with its demands for a parliamentary probe into the telecoms scam, while the current budgetary session has seen several adjournments amid protests from the opposition over the WikiLeaks reports.

Other bills could also be introduced this session, including a land acquisition bill to make it easier to buy land for industry and infrastructure developments, as well as a bill that shares 26 percent of mining profits with local communities. The current session will almost certainly see the formal passing of the budget despite proceedings being disrupted. “Let the finance bill (budget) be passed, and then we can have a short discussion (on the Prime Minister),” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the government ’s main troubleshooter, appealed to opposition lawmakers. —Reuters

India’s BILT Paper plans $330m London IPO LONDON/NEW DELHI: Indian paper producer BILT Paper Plc plans to raise at least $330 million from a London initial public offering (IPO) next month to fund its expansion and pay down debt. Hopes of a flurry of pre-Easter share offerings were dented last week as two of this year’s largest deals in Europe were shelved due to market volatility on the back of Japan’s nuclear crisis and political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East. But several companies continue to test the markets, with Russian mobile retailer Euroset launching a London IPO yesterday and others, including British vacuum technology firm Edwards, currently marketing to investors. BILT chief executive Yogesh Agarwal said the firm, which has operations in India and Malaysia, had taken the wider conditions into account when deciding to go ahead with its float. “If you look at ... the relationships our business has got with what is happening, we thought it would have a minimal impact on us and we could go ahead with our IPO,” he told reporters on a conference call. “There are others as well who are actually going ahead and we are very confident about our story and our business plan.” Agarwal said listing in London rather than on the Bombay stock exchange like its parent company, India’s largest paper maker Ballarpur Industries, would allow it to access a new set of investors who understood the attraction of India. Shares in Ballarpur closed up 5.1 percent at 32.8 rupees, having risen by as much as 8 percent in intraday trade. Ballarpur owns a 79.5 percent stake in the firm, part of the Mumbai-based Avantha group, with the rest held by private equity investors J P Morgan Mauritius and Lathe investment. BILT, which is expecting to be eligible for inclusion in the FTSE 250 index, said it would raise $330 million from the sale of new shares, while the private equity investors may also sell some secondary shares in the offering. The maker of writing and printing paper plans to use around $170 million of the IPO proceeds to fund its capital expansion, and around $140 million to reduce the company’s long-term debt. BILT, which is involved in all stages of paper making from tree plantations to distribution, has increased its annual paper production capacity by nearly 90 percent over the last two years and plans to grow it by another 50 percent by the end of 2014. “Indian paper demand is expected to increase significantly throughout the next decade,” BILT Chairman R R Vederah said in a statement. “The proceeds from the listing will help us to meet this growth in demand.” —Reuters

MILAN: Parmalat milk packages are seen on shelves of a Milan supermarket, Italy, yesterday. The French dairy company Groupe Lactalis says it has agreed to buy a further 15.3 percent stake in Italy’s Parmalat for 744 million euro ($1 billion), lifting its ownership to 29 percent. Italian officials have indicated that they would move to protect Parmalat’s Italian identity, saying it is a strategic business. There was no immediate government reaction. —AP

French Lactalis ups stake in Italy’s Parmalat to 29% ROME: French cheese giant Lactalis said yesterday it had reached a deal to increase its stake in Parmalat to 29 percent despite a government warning of measures to keep the dairy group in Italian hands. Lactalis, the world’s largest cheese manufacturer, said it would buy yesterday the 15.3 percent of the ordinary shares in Parmalat held by Zenit Asset Management AB, Skagen AS and Mackenzie Financial Corporation for 2.80 euros a share. “At the completion of this transaction the Lactalis Group will have a direct and potential holding of around 29 percent of the capital of Parmalat,” the company said in a statement in Italy at the request of the Italian stock market authority. Trading of Parmalat’s shares were temporarily suspended on the Milan bourse, and slid three percent to 2.38 euros when trading began. At midday, Parmalat’s shares were down

4.14 percent at 2.36 euros. On Thursday, Lactalis announced it had picked up 11.42 percent of Parmalat and said it planned to increase further its stake, without reaching the 30 percent shareholding level which would oblige it to launch a full buyout offer. That already made Lactalis the single largest shareholder in Parmalat, which had grown into a global dairy leader before collapsing in 2003 due to financial fraud by its founder Calisto Tanzi in a scandal that was dubbed “Europe’s Enron”. Lactalis’ move triggered a vociferous response from the Italian government which vowed on Friday to take measures to protect “strategic companies.” Economic Minister Giulio Tremonti talked at a cabinet meeting about “French legislation on safeguarding strategic enterprises in view to future measures by the (Italian) government,” according to a government statement. —AFP

NEW YORK: Specialist Gerard Petti (left) directs trades at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. —AP

Aluminum Bahrain eyes exports to Europe: CEO MANAMA: Aluminum Bahrain (Alba), the world’s fourth-largest aluminum smelter, plans to increase exports of higher-margin products to Europe and says its production is not affected by strikes in Bahrain. “We will increase our sales in Europe (this year) and have a slight decrease in the Middle East ... because we want to develop our value-added products’ share”, Chief Executive Officer Laurent Schmitt told Reuters in an interview yesterday. Last year, Alba generated 50 percent of its sales in Bahrain, 20 percent elsewhere in the region and 10 percent in Europe, to where it plans to sell more billets, foundry alloys and rolling slaps. Schmitt said production at Alba had not been affected by labor strikes and road closures during the recent unrest in Bahrain. “We didn’t lose any production, we kept our plant at full capacity,” he said. The island kingdom saw weeks of protests by its Shiite majority against its Sunni rulers until security forces cleared a central square in Manama last week. The protests prompted Bahrain’s king to impose martial law and call on Sunniled neighbors to send troops to help quell the unrest. Bahrain’s trade unions have called for a general strike but the call has failed to gain much traction.

Schmitt said currently about 80-90 percent of workers were at work. “We reorganized our shifts and so we were able to run our operations without any disturbances.” Alba is majority-owned by Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, which floated a 10 percent stake in the company in an initial public offering (IPO) last year. The smelter that has an annual production capacity of 860,000 tons swung to a full-year net profit of 138 million Bahraini dinars ($366 million) in 2010 on higher sales. Schmitt said Alba expected its full-year profit to rise this year on the back of higher aluminum prices, but declined to give a more precise outlook. He said in addition to higher top-line revenues the company will also boost profits by about $70 million in cost savings and higher margins. Alba is currently studying how to supply energy to a planned sixth production line that would boost its capacity by 400,000 tons annually. Schmitt said Alba is negotiating with Bahrain’s government to receive more gas or electricity but is also considering replacing its power stations to improve energy efficiency. He added that a decision on the expansion could be made in early 2012. —Reuters

Delta: Japan crisis to cut revenue by $400m NEW YORK: Delta Air Lines Inc said yesterday that 2011 revenue will be cut by $250 million to $400 million due to the crisis in Japan. The No 2 US airline is also reducing the amount it flies to Japan and elsewhere to save money because of sharply higher fuel costs. Delta said last week that it was suspending two new flights to Tokyo’s Haneda airport. This is the second time this year that Delta has scaled back plans for the amount of flying it will do this year. Delta and other major airlines have also raised fares this year to offset a rise in jet fuel costs, which have tracked a 38 percent increase in the price of oil since Labor Day. Delta plans to reduce Japan flying by about 15 to 20 percent through May because of slower demand as the country recovers from the

March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Overall flying in the second half of the year will drop 4 percentage points, the Atlanta airline says, with the biggest cuts on routes to the Pacific. Flights to that region will grow just 5 percent, down from a planned 13 percent increase. In the US, Delta now expects to reduce flying by about 3 percent. Delta’s previous forecast was for a 2 percent increase. Delta made the disclosure as part of a presentation to the JP Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Defense conference in New York. United Continental Holdings Inc. and AMR Corp, the parent of American Airlines, are also scheduled to present. Like Delta, both have increased service on lucrative routes to the Pacific region. —AP


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Japan warns again on yen, extra budget seen by May FM warns watching FX moves, G7 action possible

TOKYO: A businessman walks past an electronic share price board in Tokyo yesterday. Japan’s share prices rose 401.57 points to close at 9,608.32 points at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, helped by signs of progress in containing Japan’s postquake nuclear crisis. — AFP

Why inflation hurts more than it did 30 years ago WASHINGTON: Inflation spooked America in the early 1980s. It surged and kept rising until it topped 13 percent. These days, inflation is much lower. Yet to many Americans, it feels worse now. And for a good reason: Their income has been even flatter than inflation. Back in the ‘80’s, the money people made typically more than made up for high inflation. In 1981, banks would pay nearly 16 percent on a six-month CD. And workers typically got pay raises to match their higher living costs. No more. Over the 12 months that ended in February, consumer prices increased just 2.1 percent. Yet wages for many people have risen even less — if they’re not actually frozen. Social Security recipients have gone two straight years with no increase in benefits. Money market rates? You need a magnifying glass to find them. That’s why even moderate inflation hurts more now. And it’s why if food and gas prices lift inflation even slightly above current rates, consumer spending could weaken and slow the economy. “It feels far more painful now than in the ‘80s,” says Judy Bates, who lives near Birmingham, Alabama. “Money in the bank was growing like crazy because interest rates were high. My husband had a union job at a steel company and was getting cost-of-living raises and working overtime galore.” Bates, 58, makes her living writing and speaking about how people can stretch their dollars. Her husband, 61, is retired. They’ve paid off their mortgage and have no car payments. But they ’re facing higher prices for food, gas, utilities, insurance and health care, while fetching measly returns on their savings. “You want to weep,” Bates says. Consumer inflation did pick up in February, rising 0.5 percent, because of costlier food and gas. Still, looked at over the past 12 months, price increases have remained low. Problem is, these days any inflation tends to hurt. Not that everyone has been squeezed the same. It depends on personal circumstances. Some families with low expenses or generous pay increases have been little affected. Others who are heavy users of items whose prices have jumped — tuition, medical care, gasoline — have been hurt badly. But almost everyone is being pinched because nationally, income has stagnated. The median US inflation-adjusted household income — wages and investment income — fell to $49,777 in 2009, the most recent year for which figures are available, the Census Bureau says. That was 0.7 percent less than in 2008. Incomes probably dipped last year to $49,650, estimates Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and a board member of the National Association for Business Economics. That would mark a 0.3 percent drop from 2009. And incomes are likely to fall again this year — to $49,300, she says. Significant pay raises are rare during periods of high unemployment because workers have little bargaining power to demand them. They surely aren’t making it up at the bank. Last year, the average US rate on a six-month CD was 0.44 percent. The rate on a money market account was even lower: 0.21 percent. Now go back three decades, a time of galloping inflation, interest rates and bond yields. When Paul Volcker took over the Federal Reserve in 1979, consumer inflation was 13.3 percent, the highest since 1946. To shrink inflation, Volcker raised interest rates to levels not seen since the US Civil War of 1861-1865. As interest rates soared, CD and money-market rates did, too. The average rate on money market accounts topped 9 percent. Treasury

yields surged, pushing up rates on consumer and business loans. The 10year Treasury note yielded more than 13 percent; today, it’s 3.5 percent. By 1984, consumers were enjoying a sweet spot: Lower prices but rising incomes and still-historically high rates on CDs and other savings investments. Consumer inflation had slid to 3.9 percent. Yet you could still get 10.7 percent on a six-month CD. Even after accounting for inflation, the median income rose 3.1 percent from 1983 to 1984. At the time, workers were demanding — and receiving — higher wages. More than 20 percent of US workers belonged to a union in 1983. Labor contracts typically provided cost-of-living adjustments tied to inflation. And competition for workers meant those union pay increases helped push up income for non-union workers, too. Last year, just 12 percent of US workers belonged to unions. And among union members, a majority now work for the government, not private companies. Wages of government workers are under assault as state governments and the federal government seek to cut spending and narrow gaping budget deficits. Workers’ average weekly wages, adjusted for inflation, fell in February to $351.89. It was the third drop in four months. The result is that even historically low inflation feels high. So “when you mention low inflation to real people on the street, they immediately roll their eyes,” says Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com. Falling behind inflation is something many people hadn’t experienced much in their working careers until now. In the 1990s and 2000s, for instance, most Americans kept ahead of rising prices. Inflation averaged under 3 percent. And inflation-adjusted incomes rose steadily from 1994 to 1999. Once the 2001 recession hit, incomes did falter. But after that, they resumed their growth, rising each year until the most recent recession hit in December 2007. Rates on six-month CDs were also much higher than they are now: They averaged 5.4 percent from 1990 to 1999 and 3.3 percent from 2000 to 2009. These days, though, Americans face the certainty of higher prices ahead. Nike Inc, facing higher costs for materials, freight and other things, said tomorrow it plans to raise prices on a range of products starting this spring. The company makes athletic shoes and clothing. Whirlpool, Kraft, McDonald’s, Clorox, Kellogg, and clothing companies such as Wrangler jeans maker VF Corp, and J C Penney Co, also say they plan to raise prices. Whirlpool, which makes Maytag and KitchenAid appliances, says it’s raising prices in response to higher raw material costs. Kellogg, which makes Frosted Flakes and Pop Tarts, is increasing prices on some products to offset costlier ingredients. Kellogg is responding to soaring costs for commodities including wheat, corn, sugar, cotton, beef and pork. Vickens Moscova, a self-employed marketer in Elizabeth, New Jersey, says he’s paying more for staples like cereal, bread, eggs and public transportation. Yet he’s making little from his savings. “It is a huge pinch,” says Moscova, 25. Though higher gasoline and food prices may lift the inflation rate in coming months, the Fed says it doesn’t think inflation will pose a longterm threat to the economy. The central bank projects that inflation won’t exceed 1.7 percent this year. But if oil prices, now around $101 a barrel, were to go much higher, economists say heavier fuel bills would cause people and consumers to cut back spending on cars, appliances and other items. —AP

TOKYO: Japan warned markets yesterday it would act again to keep the yen in check and prevent its rapid gains from derailing Tokyo’s effort to rebuild areas ravaged by this month’s deadly earthquake and tsunami and revive the struggling economy. In their first joint intervention since 2000, Group of Seven rich nations sold the yen on Friday after it spiked to record highs, threatening to deal another blow to the export-reliant economy that was just picking up from a lull when the disaster struck. “We will cooperate as appropriate while closely watching market movements,” Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda told a news conference after a cabinet meeting. The yen traded around 81 to the dollar, well off last week’s record high of 76.25, and analysts said the 80-80.85 range could serve as a floor for the US currency. Noda said he would not comment on any specific levels when asked about market’s reaction to the intervention. The yen’s strength, driven by speculation that Japanese firms will bring back a big chunk of their overseas investments to fund Japan’s biggest reconstruction push since the post-World War Two period, is just one of Tokyo’s concerns. The authorities are also racing to avert a disastrous meltdown at a quake-crippled nuclear plant while rushing humanitarian relief to the country’s northeast, where the March 11 quake and tsunami wiped out whole communities, leaving at least 21,000 dead or missing and more than 350,000 homeless. There are no official estimates yet, but Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano told Reuters last week the total economic impact could exceed 20 trillion yen ($247 billion). The government may pass two or more extra budget with the first batch possibly in April or May, even before official damage estimates are ready, the ruling party’s secretarygeneral Katsuya Okada said. “At this stage, there’s no way for us to have an estimate of how much the cost of reconstruction would add up to. Therefore, it will be focused on urgent measures,” Okada told reporters. He said, another more comprehensive emergency budget could be drafted later

OFUNATO, Japan: A woman stocks the shelves with reduced supplies at a supermarket in Ofunato, Iwate prefecture, yesterday after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. — AFP once the scale of the devastation is clearer. The enormity of the task prompted Prime Minister Naoto Kan to invite the leader of the main opposition party to join the cabinet as his deputy in charge of disaster relief. The offer was swiftly rejected, but on Tuesday Yosano renewed the appeal, saying Japan should form a grand coalition to better cope with the crisis. “I think it is best to form a grand coalition to speed up political decisions,” Yosano told reporters. Before the quake, opposition parties, which control parliament’s upper house, had been trying to force an early election by blocking several bills needed to implement the 2011/2012 budget, such as one authorizing the government to issue new bonds. The government will still need opposition deputies’ votes to pass bills related to the regular budget as well as extra budgets. However, since the disaster struck the opposition has signalled it would not stand in the way of government’s emergency efforts. It looks certain that the government will end up spending much more than after the 1995 quake in Kobe when it passed extra

budgets worth more than 3 trillion yen. Some estimates put the figure this time above 10 trillion, or nearly 3 percent of gross domestic product. While Kan said it was too early to talk about the size of such budgets or their funding, Japanese media have been speculating for days where the money might come from. In a latest such report, the Nikkei newspaper said that one option was to use 2.5 trillion yen earmarked as a subsidy to public pension funds, although Yosano dismissed that idea. Yosano also said that the government would continue to work on tax and social security reform, which it started before the disaster struck to contain runaway public debt, now already twice the size of the $5 trillion economy. Moody’s Investors Service ratings agency said on Monday it expected Japan to finance the reconstruction mainly via a combination of shifts within the budget and new borrowing. It also said that even though risks have increased for Japan’s economy, which it now expects to shrink this year, Tokyo should have no difficulty financing the rebuilding effort. — Reuters

UK inflation revives talk of early rate rise

OTSUCHI: A fisherman inspects a devastated Otsuchi fishing port, Iwate Prefecture, Japan yesterday following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami which devastated a vast area of northeastern Pacific coast of Japan. — AP

Japan fish market reflects tragedy, economic cost TOKYO: The tsunami that hit Japan this month took such a huge toll on people, equipment and fish that supplies of some seafood could be cut off for a year or more, industry workers said yesterday. The magnitude 9.0 quake on March 11 and the 10-metre (30-foot) tsunami it triggered are known to have killed more than 9,000 people and more than 12,000 are still missing. But the damage to the coastline north of Tokyo has compounded the human tragedy with devastating commercial woes. “The tsunami washed away all of east Japan’s farmed scallop industry,” says Toshiharu Kagami, who works at a fish wholesaler at Tokyo’s Tsukiji central fish market. “And it washed away all the people who worked there.” It is too early to quantify the impact on Tsukiji’s turnover or Japan’s fish exports, officials say, but the blows that wiped out lives and businesses to the north are being felt at the world’s largest fish market, which handled 544,000 tons of seafood in 2009 worth 434 billion yen ($5.4 billion). The tanks and styrofoam boxes that fill the small stands at the Tsukiji market in central Tokyo have no flatfish, black rockfish or abalone from the northeastern prefectures (states) of Iwate, Miyage and Fukushima, collectively known as Sanriku. There are no Sanriku delicacies such as its famed oysters or “wakame” seaweed from Miyagi. The scallops available at the market this week come in smaller numbers from Japan’s west coast. Tsukiji wholesalers are also seeing fewer customers such as sushi chefs and restaurant buyers whose businesses have been hit by rolling power blackouts and train service suspensions to save energy. “Customers are cutting way back. They’re canceling parties,” said Hiroshi

Nagae, who runs a restaurant in Tokyo that seats 70. He couldn’t find flatfish so bought some mackerel instead. “ We’ve got planned blackouts and gasoline shortages,” said another wholesaler, Haruo Shinozaki, wearing a work jacket and an orange towel around his neck. “People just aren’t buying.” Customers at Tsukiji, on the waterfront where the Kanda River meets Tokyo Bay, have been down as much as 70 percent since the quake, according to Tsutomu Kosaka, a market official. It will take a year or more for supplies of many products to revive, he said. Yesterday, Tsukiji was buzzing after being closed on Sunday and Monday for a holiday, with scores of its signature three-wheeled electric carts barreling through the narrow aisles. But business was slow, wholesalers said. “There are fewer fish, and scallops are 20-30 percent more expensive,” said Masato Yajima, 67, who has run a Tokyo sushi shop for 35 years. “Next year, there won’t be any oysters or wakame,” Yajima said, wearing a cap from the USS John McCain, a US navy destroyer based in Japan. Tetsuya Saotome, who owns a handful of upscale tempura restaurants in Tokyo, complained that 90 percent of his business had dried up in the past week. “People are rushing home at 5 (p.m.) and the trains are empty by 8,” he said, blaming the blackouts for sending people home early. But problems extend beyond supply and demand. “Some people are asking for fish that aren’t from up north, because of the nuclear plant,” said Eiichi Heima, the 66-year-old owner of wholesaler Kitome Suisan, referring to the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, where some reactors are leaking radiation. —Reuters

LONDON: British inflation surged to a 28-month high of 4.4 percent last month, reviving speculation that the Bank of England will not wait much longer to raise interest rates. Data yesterday also showed government borrowing recorded its worst February on record, providing a grim backdrop as finance minister George Osborne puts the final touches to today’s 2011 Budget. Sterling strengthened on the inflation figures, which some analysts said brought a May rise in interest rates back into play as BoE policymakers try to wrestle price growth back to the bank’s 2 percent target, a goal they have missed for most of the last three years. “They will have to push up their inflation forecasts in the next quarterly report (in May) and that will be ammunition for the hawks,” said BNP Paribas economist Alan Clarke. “We think that a rate rise will come in May.” The Office for National Statistics said consumer price inflation rose to 4.4 percent in February from 4.0 in January, higher than the 4.2 percent forecast by economists. Housing costs, domestic heating bills and clothing prices were largely to blame. Retail price inflation, a broader measures which is used as a starting point for many wage negotiations, rose to 5.5 percent from 5.1 percent, its highest since July 1991. Six of the BOE’s nine-member Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep rates on hold in February, while three voted for a rise from a record-low 0.5 percent. A voting breakdown for the BOE’s March meeting is published today. Those MPC members in favor of keeping rates steady last month saw inflation falling sharply next year without big rate rises, and were concerned an unexpected sharp fall in fourth-quarter output may presage an extended period of below-par growth. In some upbeat news for growth, the CBI business lobby reported yesterday that factory orders rose at their fastest pace since March 2008. However, prices rose at their fastest rate since July 2008. Short sterling interest rate futures markedly extended losses after the inflation data and now price in roughly a 50 percent chance of a May rate rise. Yesterday’s data also provided bad news for Britain’s finance ministry. —Reuters

LONDON: The front door of 11 Downing Street, the residence of British finance minister George Osborne, is pictured in central London, yesterday. —AFP


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TECHNOLOGY

China rejects Google’s accusation BEIJING: Beijing yesterday rejected accusations it was blocking access to Google’s e-mail services in China amid an intensified Internet crackdown prompted by fears that unrest in the Middle East could spread. “We do not accept such accusations,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters when asked about a statement by Google issued Sunday. She referred questions on technical matters to the Cabinet’s information office. Some Google users in China have reported experiencing difficulties accessing their e-mail service in recent weeks, and the company said in a brief statement that its engineers had determined there were no technical problems with the e-mail service or its main website. “There is no technical issue on our side; we have checked extensively. This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail,” the statement said. China has strict controls over the Internet and blocks many international social media sites, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The controls have intensified since the pro-democracy protests erupted across the Middle East in January. Around that time, anonymous calls for protesters to gather for a “Jasmine Revolution” in China triggered a crackdown by Chinese authorities, who stepped up Web censorship and deployed huge numbers of police to planned protest sites. No protests happened. Google officials said the recent blocking in China, the world’s most populous Internet market, appears to be more sophisticated than other problems experienced by users in the past because the disruption is not a complete block. In addition, a March 11 blog post by Google about security said the company had “noticed some highly targeted and apparently politically motivated attacks against our users. “We believe activists may have been a specific target,” the posting said. Google declined to elaborate on which activists had been targeted or where the attacks had originated. A company spokesman refused to say whether Google had raised the issue directly with Chinese government officials. The run-in is the latest spat Google has engaged in with the Chinese government. In January last year, Google said it would no longer cooperate with China’s requirement to censor search results for banned sites or content. It also complained about major attacks on its website by Chinese hackers, suggesting the government may have instigated them. Google has since moved its Chinese-language search engine to Hong Kong, which operates under separate rules from the rest of mainland China. — AP

Nintendo 3DS could identify vision issues: Optometrists ‘3DS is godsend for spotting kids who need vision therapy’ NEW YORK: US eye specialists are welcoming the Nintendo 3DS game device, dismissing the manufacturer’s warnings that its 3-D screen shouldn’t be used by children 6 or younger because it may harm their immature vision. On the contrary, the optometrists say, it’s a good idea to get your kids to try the 3-D screen, especially if they’re younger than 6. It won’t do any harm, they say, and it could help catch vision disorders that have to be caught early to be fixed. “The 3DS could be a godsend for spotting kids under 6 who need vision therapy,” said Dr Michael Duenas, associate director for health sciences and policy for the American Optometric Association. The new handheld game device is already available in Japan and goes on sale in the US on March 27 for $250. It has two screens like the DS machines it is designed to replace. The top screen can show 3-D images, without the need for special glasses, though only new games will be in 3-D. A pair of cameras on the 3DS can be used to take 3-D pictures. If your kid doesn’t see the 3-D effect on the 3DS, that’s a sign that he or she may have a vision disorder such as amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” or subtler problems that can cause problems with reading, Duenas said. Kids who experience dizziness or discomfort should also be checked, he said. Today’s 3-D viewing systems send different images to the right and left eyes, a technique that creates an illusion of depth. But a lot of the cues we use to perceive depth in our environment are missing. That confuses the eyes and accounts for the eyestrain and headaches many people experience watching 3-D movies. Because of that, optometrists say, these systems can help isolate problems that have to do with the way the eyes move, problems that aren’t caught by eye charts. These problems are much easier to fix if caught before age 6, when the visual system in our brains is more or less done

developing. Only 15 percent of preschool children get a comprehensive eye exam that could catch these subtle problems, according to the American Optometric Association, the professional group for optometrists. More than half of all juvenile delinquents have undiagnosed and untreated vision problems, according to studies. Going to see a 3-D movie or trying a 3-D TV can also help screen for problems, but optometrists expect the 3DS to be in front of kids’ eyes more. “ This has presented my profession, optometry, a wonderful opportunity,” said Dr Joe Ellis, the president of the optometrists’ association. However, optometrists aren’t quite seeing eye to eye on this issue with another group of eye specialists: the ophthalmologists, who are medical doctors. (Optometrists are doctors of optometry but not medical doctors.) Dr David Hunter, a pediatric ophthalmologist affiliated with the Children’s Hospital in Boston and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, said the idea that offthe-shelf 3-D games or movies could help screen for vision problems such as amblyopia is “a little perplexing.” Kids with amblyopia don’t have much depth perception in real life, he said, so if they don’t see depth in a 3-D screen, they might not say anything because that wouldn’t be much different from what they see around them. It’s not impossible that it could help, but it’s “all sort of exploration and speculation,” said Hunter, who has started a company that’s developing a device for childhood screening of vision disorders. Nintendo’s warning, issued in December, was vaguely worded. It said specialists believe “there is a possibility that 3-D images which send different images to the left and right eye could affect the development of vision in small children.” The Japanese company didn’t back the warning up with scientific evidence, so Duenas sees it as being motivated by liability concerns - much like

Technology unites doctors, patients SAN JOSE: Working at the health center on Cisco Systems’ sprawling San Jose campus, Dr Seema Sangwan examines dozens of Cisco employees a week sometimes as they sit in a room nearly 3,000 miles away. The busy internist sees patients at Cisco’s North Carolina campus without leaving California, using a high-end videoconferencing system that Cisco developed for health care use. Standing next to the patient, a nurse uses a high-resolution camera, electronic stethoscope and other devices to send the doctor close-up images and data, including heart rate and temperature, in real time. “It’s amazing,” she said recently. “It really does feel almost like I’m sitting in the same room with them.” Cisco didn’t just develop the technology for internal use. After conducting trials in San Jose, Scotland and France, the company recently announced that its HealthPresence video system and related technology are being used in new “telemedicine” programs offered by medical groups in Southern California and the Southwest. Those programs are part of Cisco’s push to compete with other major tech companies, including Intel, IBM and General Electric, in the growing market for health care products and services. They’re also part of Cisco’s broader strategy to promote and participate in wider use of digital video across numerous segments of daily life - which can only increase demand for Cisco’s core business of selling the networking equipment that carries those digital signals around the globe. Cisco CEO John Chambers recently described telemedicine as a “vehicle for transforming health care on a global scale.” While the idea isn’t new, industry experts say the concept of offering medical services to patients in remote areas, by using the Internet and other telecommunications networks, is gaining wider adoption as major health care providers and insurers increasingly seek ways to serve more people at lower costs. “Telemedicine is going to be everywhere. The only question is when,” said Dr Jim Woodburn, an executive with UnitedHealthcare, the insurance company that is working with local health care providers to deploy Cisco’s technology in rural Colorado and New Mexico. Several other companies, including Hewlett-Packard, Polycom and Teliris, sell high-resolution, commercialquality videoconferencing systems, including some designed specifically for health care. But analysts say Cisco in particular is using its size and clout to accelerate adoption by medical providers and insurance companies. “Cisco has the sales and marketing engine to really drive this forward,” said Ira Weinstein, who studies videoconferencing and related technology for Wainhouse Research. Industry officials say that video systems can help fill a growing shortfall in the number of medical students choosing to become primary care doctors. One study by the Frost & Sullivan research firm estimated the market for telemedicine products and services in North America would grow from $900 million in 2007 to $6.1 billion in 2012. One obvious use for video technology is delivering medical services to remote or rural areas, where patients would otherwise have to drive hours to see a

coffee mugs carry warnings that beverages could be hot - rather than a true danger. Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, says the company is “aware of all the work that has been done in the field” and issued the warning based on that work. The warning, he said, is based on research that up until age 6, a child’s eye - specifically the connection between the eye and the brain is still developing. Nintendo, he said, wants to be “conservative and consistent,” erring on the side of safety. Optometrists haven’t seen any sign that 3-D screens can cause lasting damage, but they also acknowledge that not much is known about how 3-D viewing affects us. Hunter, the ophthalmologist, agrees. The optometrists’ association announced this week that it has formed an alliance with the 3DAtHome

Consortium, a group of TV manufacturers and Hollywood studios promoting the technology. The idea is that the two groups will share information about the effects of 3-D. In the future, Duenas said, 3-D movies might be preceded by public service announcements recommending vision examinations for those who have problems perceiving the 3-D effect. Dr Jim Sheedy, director of the Vision Per formance Institute at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore, said parents should limit kids’ use of the 3DS just as they limit computer or game console use. “Is there a limit on how much a child should be viewing 3-D? Yeah. How much is it? I don’t know. Let’s use some sound judgment,” he said. He noted that the No 1 health issue associated with console and computer gaming is obesity, rather than eye problems. “Kids should be out running around,” he said. — AP

Apple called on to pull ‘gay cure’ app from iTunes SAN FRANCISCO: Apple on Monday was under pressure to yank a so-called “gay cure” application from its iTunes shop for software for iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices. More than 110,000 people had electronically signed an online petition at a change.org website calling for Apple to remove the Exodus International application from iTunes. Exodus, a Floridabased Christian group that advocates freeing oneself from homosexuality through religion, has publicly condemned the petition as an assault on free speech and

an improper spin on the application’s purpose. The free software program links users to Exodus information including videos, podcasts, a Twitter feed, and the group’s page at social networking ser vice Facebook. Exodus boasted at its website that Apple ranked its program as containing “no objectionable material.” “This application is designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and leaders,” Exodus said. “ We hope to reach a broader demographic and readily provide information that is crucial for

many seeking hope and encouragement,” the message continued. The online petition picking up momentum on Monday expressed shock at iTunes approving an app from “a notoriously anti-gay organization” that used “scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes and distortions.” Exodus advocates “reparative therapy” to change the sexual orientation of homosexuals. “No objectionable content?” a message at the petition page at change.org asked rhetorically. “We beg to differ. Exodus’s message is hateful and bigoted.” — AFP

Microsoft hits Android with e-reader lawsuit

SAN JOSE: Image from a medical exam in North Carolina are shown onscreen in Dr Seema Sangwan’s office at Cisco. — MCT specialist or even a primary care doctor. But experts say it can also be useful in big cities where, for example, a major hospital may have several satellite clinics but isn’t able to staff them with every medical specialty. In Southern California, the Molina Healthcare group is one of three medical groups serving lower-income families that are starting to use HealthPresence systems in a program partly sponsored by Cisco and the state of California. Initially, Molina plans to let health educators at its Long Beach headquarters use the equipment to teach patients at outlying clinics about living with diabetes and other conditions. Molina’s Dr. Michael Siegel said the next phase will involve dermatologists, but he believes the system ultimately will be useful for other specialties, including psychiatry. Cisco’s HealthPresence was developed by its Internet Business Solutions Group, a unit that focuses on creating technology for specific industries such as health care, energy or financial services. The system uses some elements of the high-resolution TelePresence videoconferencing systems that Cisco sells to corporations and hotel chains, along with specialized software and hardware - such as a digital probe that a nurse can use to transmit images from inside a patient’s ears, nose or throat. Compared with lower-cost video systems from smaller companies like Polycom and Tandberg, some analysts describe Cisco’s HealthPresence as a “Cadillac” product. — MCT

SEATTLE: Microsoft Corp broadened its attack on Google Inc’s Android software, filing patent infringement lawsuits Monday against Barnes & Noble Inc. and two manufacturers over the Android-based Nook e-reader. In the complaint filed in US District Court in Seattle, Microsoft said it is seeking triple damages based on willful patent infringement of five patents, plus legal costs and an injunction against further infringement. Microsoft said it also filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, which has the power to bar imports of infringing products. Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Nook Color devices, which compete with Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle ereader and various Sony Corp devices, are based on Android, system software developed by Google first for smartphones and then for tablet computers. Microsoft also sued Motorola, a maker of Androidbased smartphones, for patent infringement in October 2010. Motorola counter-sued in November. Microsoft’s lawsuits don’t go after Google directly, but they could still hurt the Web search leader if device makers decide they don’t want to pay to license Microsoft’s technology or risk a legal tussle with the deep-pocketed software maker. Microsoft said in the complaint that the Nook ereader devices and software step on patented technology for showing a webpage’s content before loading background images, allowing users to read the page faster. It also pointed to technology around the way “apps,” or small programs, indicate the status of a download, and technology for opening a separate window on the screen that makes navigating through content easier. The other two patents are related to selecting and annotating text in documents. The suit also named Taiwanese manufacturers Inventec Corp. and Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. On a company blog, Microsoft said that after a year of discussions, Barnes & Noble, Inventec and Foxconn, part of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, have been unwilling to sign a license. —AP

This product image provided by AT&T shows the LG Thrill 4G. Hot on the heels of the Nintendo 3DS game device and its 3-D screen, AT&T plans to launch the Thrill, a smartphone with a 3-D screen and a dual-lens camera for 3-D snapshots. — AP


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health & science

Counting cancer cells helps predict disease Lung cancer patients have very poor survival rates LONDON: British scientists have found that counting the number of lung cancer cells circulating in a patient’s blood could help determine how aggressive the cancer is and predict the best treatment to use. Researchers working with the charity Cancer Research UK looked at the number of circulating tumor cells, or CTCs in blood samples of 101 patients with a type of the disease called non small cell lung cancer before and after they had undergone one cycle of chemotherapy. They found lung cancer patients with five or more CTCs had a significantly worse survival rates. The average overall survival was 4.3 months for patients with five or more CTCs compared to 8.1 months for patients with fewer than five. The findings suggest that counting CTCs could be a simple way to monitor how well a patient is responding to treatment within a few weeks of starting it, the researchers said. And being able to detect when CTC numbers are rising could give doctors the option to move patients on to new treatments more promptly. “We now need to test our findings in more patients but, if our results are confirmed, there is now the potential to tailor treatments to individual patients and find new ways to treat the disease,” said Fiona Blackhall, a doctor from The Christie cancer hospital in Manchester who worked on the study. Lung cancer kills 1.2 million people a year

around the world and is one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer because over twothirds of patients are diagnosed at a late stage when curative treatment is not possible. More than 80 percent of lung cancers are caused by smoking, and less than 15 percent of people diagnosed with the disease survive longer than five years, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In Britain, lung cancer is the second most common cancer and was diagnosed in around 41,000 people in 2008. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can slow the growth and spread of lung tumors, but in most patients the cancer returns and is also generally more resistant to treatment.

Blackhall’s team, whose study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, noted there are no tests available that provide early warning about resistance, but said they hoped their findings might change that. “In the near future we hope to be able to use gene sequencing tools to learn more about C TCs,” said Caroline Dive of the University of Manchester, who also worked on the study. “If we can do this before a patient has chemotherapy and then again later if the cancer returns, we may be able to learn more about the processes that lead to drug resistance, and ultimately develop new drugs.” —Reuters

WFP steps up food aid for refugees

BEVERLY HILLS: In this file photo, Sophie The Giraffe poses in Teri Weiss’ shop in California. —AFP

French giraffe sinks teeth into baby market LOS ANGELES: A cute toy called Sophie the Giraffe, chewed by French babies for decades to quell the pain of first teeth, is now taking a huge bite out of the US market for teething aids. And all thanks to a California-based Frenchwoman who saw an opening for the diminutive rubber plaything-and secured some celebrity help. “When my daughter was born in California in 1994 I looked for Sophie, but she couldn’t be found,” recalls Helene Dumoulin, describing how she hit on the idea of importing the Gallic toy. Made from natural rubber, Sophiesmiling, red-cheeked and with brown spots-was born on May 25, 1961, and has been a staple of French babies’ bedrooms and cots for half a century. But while being a must-have early parenting aid in France the toy, made by French firm Vulli from the eastern Haute Savoie department, was never seen outside its natural Gallic habitat. Persuading Americans to embrace Sophie was not easy. “To be honest I hadn’t figured out how to sell it. And then 20 dollars, it’s expensive. Stores that I visited showed me teething toys for five dollars,” she told AFP. “Then I thought, why don’t I try selling it in upmarket areas. So I went to Beverly Hills,” she added, explaining how, after knocking on lots of doors, she met Teri Weiss, owner of a luxury toy store-who fell in love with Sophie. What she didn’t know was that Weiss created “gift baskets” for a number of Hollywood stars, from her Elegant Child boutique. “She came with a duffle bag full of clothing from France. I looked through all the clothing and I really said ‘No’ to everything,” Weiss recalled. “But in the bottom of the bag there was this little toy and I asked her: ‘What is this?’ “She said: ‘I have six in the car.’ I took the six. You know, I make beautiful baskets, and it looks so beautiful in my baskets.” But then came the real stroke of luck. “ The thing that really changed

everything, I think, was Kate Hudson,” Weiss said, referring to the Oscar-nominated US actress. “Her son just loved it so much and then the press picked it up,” she said. Photos of celebrities’ babies clutching their Sophies began appearing in magazines, and the Gallic giraffe became a must-have accessor y for Hollywood’s smart set. “I offered it to all the high-end boutiques, all over. And then I contacted moms’ blogs, I sent them sample giraffes so they could test them,” said Dumoulin. Despite the success-she sold more than 400,000 giraffes in 2010 in some 3,000 outlets across the United States-Dumoulin only works part time in the evenings on Sophie, after her day job as a real estate agent. “The packaging was in French, so I had to make the labels myself. It was a painstaking job. Lots of people think it happened overnight, but it didn’t. It was a huge amount of work, with lots of tears and frustration along the way!” The watershed came in 2007, when toy giant Mattel was forced to recall millions of toys due to health concerns. “Moms threw all their toys away, and wondered what they could give their baby. Sophie was the answer, recommended from blog to blog,” she said. Made in France with natural rubber, and decorated using food paint, Sophie was welcomed as a no-risk alternative for babies in need of something to chew on to soothe their aching gums. “Babies love it because it’s very lightweight. It’s very easy for them to grasp as a newborn. And they love that the little head has bumps. They love to squish it,” said Weiss. “They feel, I think, the sense of power, that they can squish it and crunch it. And the mothers love it because it’s made with food paint. It’s natural, they are not afraid of it. “It’s a little expensive, but I have found that a mother is very willing to spend 20-25 dollars for her baby,” she added. —AFP

ROME: The World Food Program (WFP) said yesterday it has stepped up food aid to people fleeing the conflict in Libya and cited reports of sharp hikes in food prices in the strife-hit country. “WFP has stepped up provision of food to hungry people crossing Libya’s borders,” the Rome-based agency said. “So far, WFP has moved more than 1,500 metric tons of food into eastern Libya and pre-positioned more than 6,000 metric tons of food in emergency supplies,” it added. The agency is also providing hot meals for people fleeing, including 4,000 meals daily at Djerba airport in Tunisia, 25,000 daily at the Choucha refugee camp also in Tunisia and provisions for those stranded along the Libyan-Egyptian border. WFP said it had heard worrying reports about the sharp rise in food prices within Libya in recent weeks “with the price of flour more than doubling, rice by 88 percent, vegetable oil by 58 percent and bread by over 110 percent.” It also quoted reports as saying that 95 percent of shops in areas like Zawiya, Misrata and Sirte were closed. As well as providing food aid, the UN agency said it has airlifted portable warehouses and office equipment to the border areas as part of regional contingency plans. “WFP has airlifted six prefabricated warehouses, six mobile offices and other supplies from the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi, Italy, to Alexandria, Egypt. “They arrived Monday 21 March and will be prepositioned in Salloum on the Libyan border as part of contingency planning for establishing logistics hubs inside Libya,” it said. WFP has launched a US$39.2 million (27.5 million euros) emergency program to provide food assistance to more than one million people in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia over a three-month period. —AFP

Atlantic oil spill threatens penguins LONDON: Thousands of endangered penguins have been coated with oil after a cargo ship ran aground and broke up on a remote British South Atlantic territory, officials and conservationists said yesterday. The shipwreck also threatens the lobster fishery that provides a livelihood to one of the world’s most isolated communities. The Malta-registered MS Olivia was grounded on Nightingale Island in the Tristan da Cunha chain last week. The ship had been traveling from Brazil to Singapore and contained 1,500 tons (1,650 tons) of crude oil and a cargo of 60,000 tons (66,000 tons) of soya beans. The ship’s 22 crew members were rescued before it broke in two. Tristan da Cunha’s conservation officer, Trevor Glass, said oil was encircling Nightingale Island and called the situation “a disaster.” Island administrators said some 20,000 penguins had been coated in oil. The territory is home to some 200,000 penguins, including almost half the world’s total of northern rockhopper penguins. The bird is classed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Located midway between Africa and South America - more than 2,800 kilometers (1,700 miles) from the nearest land - Tristan da Cunha is home to 275 people who rely on rock lobster fishing for their livelihood. The island administrator said he had temporarily closed the area around Nightingale and nearby Inaccessible Island to fishing. —AP

BERLIN: Picture shows Knut the polar bear as he celebrates his first birthday at Berlin’s Zoo. —AFP

Brain problems led to Knut’s death BERLIN: The Berlin zoo says a test performed on celebrity polar bear Knut indicate that “significant changes” in the animal’s brain led to his sudden death last weekend. The zoo said yesterday that initial results from the necropsy examination performed by an institute in the German capital did not show changes to any other organs. It didn’t elaborate but said further tests, includ-

ing bacteriological examinations, will take several days. The 4-year-old polar bear died Saturday afternoon in front of visitors at the zoo, turning around several times and then falling into the water in his enclosure. Polar bears usually live 15 to 20 years in the wild, and even longer in captivity, and the zoo is hoping the investigation will clarify what happened. —AP

Tween Brands to limit cadmium in its jewelry LOS ANGELES: In the first settlement of its kind, national jewelry seller Tween Brands Inc will effectively eliminate the toxic metal cadmium from the bracelets, necklaces and other items it sells. The agreement covers jewelry sold in California, but given the size of the state’s market, it becomes company policy nationally. It covers jewelry intended for children, teens and adults, expanding the age range from the preteen girls who had been the focus of concern after high levels of cadmium in jewelry surfaced over the past year. Last July, Tween recalled about 137,000 pieces of jewelry that had been made in China due to unspecified high levels of cadmium. While test results from that recall have not been publicly released, some of the five other cadmium jewelry recalls orchestrated last year by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission involved pieces that

were more than 90 percent cadmium, according to laboratory testing conducted for The Associated Press. Under the agreement, starting in January 2012, Tween faces fines if it sells jewelry that is more than 0.03 percent cadmium - a background level that doesn’t suggest the cadmium was intentionally added. A state judge still needs to approve the settlement, but that is almost never an issue in these cases. The case against Tween was brought by the Center for Environmental Health, a Californiabased group that has long used the state’s Proposition 65 to force companies to reduce levels of harmful materials in consumer products. The center said it hoped that the settlement, filed with California’s attorney general Friday, would serve as a model for the 39 other retailers or jewelry suppliers against which it has filed cadmium actions over the past year.

The center’s lawyers are still negotiating with a group of other companies. “Tween is really being a leader and doing the right thing,” said Caroline Cox, the group’s research director. The center said that the jewelry that led to the case - which it bought in February 2010 at a Tween-owned store called Justice - was 69 percent cadmium. Last year, California passed a law that limited jewelry to 0.03 percent cadmium content, but when it goes into effect in January, the levels only apply to jewelry for kids 6 and under. That law, as well as those in three other states, was enacted after an AP investigation revealed that some Chinese jewelry manufacturers were substituting cadmium for lead, the use of which Congress clamped down on in 2008 following a string of imported product safety scandals. Cadmium is a soft, whitish metal that, if ingested over time, can damage the kidneys

and bones; a large-enough single dose can kill. Cadmium also causes cancer, and some research suggests it can stunt the development of young brains. Tween - which in the settlement denied any wrongdoing but will pay the state, the center, and its lawyers a total of $45,000 - issued a statement in response to questions posed by AP: “As a company, we are committed to working to ensure the well-being of our customers, and continue to work to ensure all of our products meet or exceed safety standards.” Meanwhile, the head of a trade group representing the jewelry industry said to expect a new, voluntary standard for cadmium limits in jewelry intended for children 12 and under by the summer. Under that standard, jewelry suppliers would screen items with an Xray gun that estimates levels of various metals and any piece that regis-

tered more than 0.03 percent cadmium would be sent to a lab for more rigorous testing, according to Brent Cleaveland, executive director of the Fashion Jewelr y and Accessories Trade Association. The further testing would gauge how much cadmium escapes from the jewelry - as opposed to how much it contains by simulating what would happen either if a child licks or swallows the jewelr y and it is digested for 24 hours. Jewelry that failed acceptable exposure standards published by CPSC last fall would be in violation. Those standards still have to be decided by members of committees at the private-sector organization ASTM International, which sets voluntary industry safety standards for everything from medical products to toys. That process should be wrapped up by July, said Cleaveland, who heads the ASTM subcommittee devising the standard. —AP


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Contaminants worry experts in radioactive spill ‘Caesium-137 can cause spasms, infertility, cancer’ HONG KONG: Authorities across Asia stepped up checks this week on Japanese imports after radioactive contaminants showed up in food and water in quake-stricken Japan following blasts at a nuclear plant last week. Experts are most worried about three radioactive substances iodine131, caesium-134 and caesium-137 — all of which can cause various types of cancer years later. Caesium-137 is of particular concern as it can stay in the environment and potentially cause havoc for hundreds of years. It takes 30 years for this contaminant to lose its power by half-what experts refer to as a “half life”. At this rate, it would take at least 240 years for the contaminant to exhaust all its radioactivity. “Caesium-137 can last for hundreds of years. If exposed, one can get spasms, involuntary muscular contractions and may lose the ability to walk. It also causes infertility. High doses will also damage a person’s DNA and cause cancer later,” said Lee Tin-lap, an associate professor at the Chinese University’s School of Biomedical Sciences in Hong Kong. But a few experts stressed there was no need for panic yet. Levels of caesium-137 detected in

spinach in Japan over the weekend stood at an average of 350 becquerels per kilogram, well below the European Union’s limit of 1,000 becquerels for dairy produce and 1,250 for all other food items. “Becquerels are like atoms,” said Pradip Deb, senior lecturer in Medical Radiations at the School of Medical Sciences, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University. “A liter of milk has billions and billions of atoms ... and this is just 350.” Caesium-134 has a half-life of 2 years, which will take about 20 years for it to become harmless. The radioactive spill has prompted food checks in the Philippines, Hong Kong, South Korea, China, Singapore and Malaysia, with Taiwan’s government extending surveillance to include even electronics and tech items, chemicals and machinery. In addition to iodine and caesium, Thailand is also looking out for Strontium 90. Milk samples in Japan, however, have been found to contain an average of 1,210 becquerels of iodine-131 per kilogram, well over the limit of 500 becquerels imposed in the EU. Japanese spinach has also been found with an average of 10,450 becquerels of iodine-131 per kilogram,

Exeperince & excellence

more than 5 times the EU limit. One mitigating factor though is that iodine-131 has a half life of 8 days, which means it will take 80 days to lose all its radioactivity-assuming there is no fresh radioactive spillage. “You can’t control radiation. It’s already there, but you can take preventive action (by not consuming any radioactive food that is tainted with iodine-131 for 80 days),” Deb said. Radioactive material is carried by tiny moisture droplets in the air. It can then be directly inhaled into the lungs, get washed down by rain into the sea and into soil and eventually contaminate crops, marine life and drinking water. Radioactive substances are dangerous because they can cause changes or mutations in DNA, which may then go on to cause cancer. While the human body can repair DNA changes or damage, a person is only safe if the repair process happens faster than the time it takes for the damaged or mutated DNA material to replicate. Experts agree that children and fetuses are most at risk because their cells divide at a faster rate than adults. They also consume more milk, which puts them at greater risk. — Reuters

HIGASHIMATSUSHIMA: A little girl presses her hands in prayer as earthquake victims are buried at a grave site yesterday. — AP

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‘You Were Born Rich!’ B

You already have the ability to create an abundant life. The solution is already housed inside you. You simply need direction on how to throw that switch “on.” Bob Proctor lived several years of his life without this understanding; he didn’t even know such a “switch” existed. And then he discovered Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think & Grow Rich.” In just weeks and months, Bob’s entire life incredibly shifted. In fact, in just over a year his income skyrocketed to over a million! Now, nearly 50 years later, Bob Proctor focuses his every effort on traveling the world to teach other people - people from all walks of live and income levels - how to immediately recognize their

ob Proctor, of the movie The Secret says, “As long as you can formulate in your mind what it is you want ... I can show you how to get it.” On April 27, the Gulf University for Science and Technology will host Bob Proctor’s workshop to help you understand how to instantly employ and direct your mind to create every tangible result you seek in your life in his keynote presentation: “You Were Born Rich!” Delivered in a full day program, Bob Proctor’s presentation is specifically designed for people who have a tantalizing desire to immediately begin enjoying a dynamic, abundant lifestyle. He knows something about you that you might not yet recognize:

potential, “throw the switch,” and begin creating the lives they’ve always dreamed of living. On April 27, Bob Proctor is coming to GUST on your behalf to create a mind-stretching beginning for you. He’s here to show you that your path to abundance has always been there - it merely takes your enlightened mind to see it. Your exciting future is closer than you’ve even imagined. It starts on April 27, 2011 at GUST in Kuwait.

Kuwait English School Earth Week Fashion Show

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uesday, March 8, saw another spectacular display of talent from the KES students who participated in the 4th annual Earth Week Fashion Show, in aid of The World Wildlife Fund. The audience of students, staff, parents and distinguished outside judges were wowed and dazzled by singing, dancing and 45 outfits made from recycled materials. Overall winners of the two different categories were; ‘Geometric Gaga’ in the Lady Gaga Collection, designed by Emel El Fakir and Gabrielle Brooke and ‘I just tied the knot in Vegas’ in the Back to Basics sec-

tion, designed by Varshi Srinivas and Amani Al-Gubari. Head judges, Martine Von Ochssee and Karen Henry commented that the standard was extremely high and that it was difficult to choose a winner as all the designs were so impressive. Organizer of the event, Wendy Rowley stated that the show was getting more popular every year and that she hoped that the message about recycling and other green issues would remain in the minds of the pupils and staff of KES for the continued future.

ASAS Decoration appoints PRO

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he ASAS Interhome Decoration announces the appointment of Dina Ghannoom as the company’s newest public relations officer. The company hopes that Ghannoom’s 15-year experience in the marketing and public relations business in Kuwait will help improve the quality of services that it provides. For 20 years, ASAS Interhome Decoration has been keen on utilizing its unique artistic expertise to create excellent home collections which include chandeliers, crystal accessories, and furniture, featuring the most prestigious international brands in indoor design. The company is also proud for providing the best quality service to its customers by selecting team works composed of highly experienced members in marketing at all of its branches around Kuwait.

National, Liberation Day and

Tulukoota Kuwait Kidney Dialysis Project

Greetings

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o all the esteemed members of Tulu Koota Kuwait, Forging ahead with its endeavor for community service, Tulu Koota Kuwait is immensely delighted to announce the implementation of the ‘Kidney Dialysis Project’ in Tulunadu. Tulu Koota Kuwait had announced t h e i n i t i a t i o n o f t h i s s i gn i f i c a n t p ro j e c t d u r i n g i t s Decennial year (2010) and feels extremely proud to implement it in 2011. “Kidney Dialysis Project” is a venture undertaken to benefit the people below poverty line and most deserving kidney patients of Tulunadu by providing them treatment at free/discounted cost. Tulu Koota Kuwait has joined hands with “Aadarsha H o s p i t a l ”, U d u p i , by d o n a t i n g o n e K i d n e y D i a l ys i s machine and ‘SCS Hospital’, Mangalore, by donating Kidney dialysis center (two Kidney Dialysis machines and RO plant) to provide aid and relief to the deprived class of the society. To witness this key event, Tutu Koota Kuwait takes great pleasure in inviting all its esteemed members for the inauguration of the “Kidney Dialysis Project” at: Aadarsha Hosptial, Udupi, on March 25, 2011, at 10:30 am & SCS Hospital, Mangalore, on March 27, 2011, at 10:30 am.

HH the Amir’s assumption of Power Events

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appy birthday Naymah Rahman! As you celebrate this birthday, we wish the very best for you. May your life be filled with joy, peace and countless dreams. Best wishes come from Ferdous (Dad) Farhana (Mum) Fuad (Brother) Ajkar Surjody, Md. Kamal Hussain Imtiaz, Abdur Rahim and friends.

Conference

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Announcements St Peter’s CSI Congregation acation Bible School of St Peter’s CSI Congregation is scheduled to be held from March 18 to April 1, 2011 at the National Evangelical Church of Kuwait (NECK ). Our Vicar, The Rev Binju Varghese Kuruvilla will be the Superintendent. Abraham Varghese, (children’s ministry, Kerala ), will be the Director. All children from 3 to 17 years old are invited to attend the VBS. This is a time for making new friends, singing , learning and fellowship. Please come and join and be blessed! For registrations and more details please visit the website www.csikuwait.org/vbs . For further enquiries and details, please email us at vbs@csikuwait.org or contact the VBS Secretary: 94416421. Hurry! Only limited seats available!

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Dr. B. Iqbal to launch Kala language website he leading Indian association in Kuwait, Kerala Art Lovers Association, KALA is launching the first phase of the interactive web portal www.pravasimalayalam.com which is ultimately a big leap, by the Malayalam Education Mission, which currently KALA is undertaking in Kuwait, with a much higher and Global Perspective. Under the directives and broad vision of Mr. John Mathew, renowned Social activist and Industrialist of Kuwait, a dedicated team has paved way for the Children from other areas of the globe to get the benefit of learning Malayalam and there-

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by our culture too. Utilizing the multimedia and IT resources, the first phase of the web portal is all set for the global take off. Former Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University and well known personality from Kerala Dr.B. Iqbal will formally launch the web portal at United Indian School on 25 March 2011 at 5 PM. The programme will commence with the commemoration of the legends EMS, AKG & Bishop Dr.Poulose Mar Poulose, who left us in the month of March. Further, the essay collection “Athijeevanathinte Kazhchappadukal”, written and compiled KALA President Mr. Sam Pynummodu will be formally released in the same function. All are welcome and the entrance is free. For more details kindly contact 66656642, 97817100, 99539492, 24317875 Music festival he Kuwait Chamber Philharmonia is organizing the First Kuwait International Music Festival to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the founding of Kuwait.

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Pathanamthitta association - membership campaign he executive committee of Pathanamthitta District decided to end this year’s (2010 April - 2011 March) membership drive by 31st of March 2011 as the General Body of the Association will be held in April to elect the new Office Bearers and Executive Committee. Residents of

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nder the patronage of Dr Bader Al-Shuraiaan Minister of Electricity and Water, we accordingly invite you to attend the second Kuwait Electricity Conference and Exhibition today and tomorrow. The opening ceremony will be held at 1:00 pm today at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Al-Hashemi Hall.

Pathanamthitta District and persons of Pathanamthitta origin residing in other areas of Kerala, who are interested in joining Pathanamthitta District Association and who have not completed and submitted the Membership Form are requested to do so before 31st of March 2011. Our Areawise Committee members to be contacted for the Membership Form and submitting the completed Forms are as follows:Fahaheel/Mangaf/Abu Halifa/Ahmadi : Sunil Joy, email id: sunil_joy07@yahoo.co.in, Mobile no. 99420146, Harish Kumar, email id: harishkdm@gmail.com, Mobile no. 66991572. Salmiya/Hawali/Kuwait City: Abraham Daniel, Email id: a.daniel63@hotmail.com,Mobile no. 97863052, Geetha Krishnan, Email id: geethkrishna@hotmail.com, Mobile no. 66361777, Sony Idiculla, email id: s_idiculla@yahoo.com, Mobile no. 97211683. Abbassisya/Hasawi/Farwaniiya: Abu Peter Sam, Email id: abupetersam@hotmail.com, Mobile no. 97219734, Kuriakose (Alexander K.V.), kuiakosekadammanitta@yahoo.com, Mobile no. 97932815. Kurian Benny, email id. kurian.benny@yahoo.com, Mobile no. 66462726. Sabu Oilckal, email id: sabuolickal@gmail.com, Mobile no. 97695664. The following Office bearers can always be contacted for any information or if there is difficulty in reaching the Committee members listed above:- Jose Mannil

(Oommen George), President, Mobile no. 99722437 Benny Pathanamthitta (General Secretary), Mobile no. 66501482 Email id: pta.association@gmail.com KEA friendship cup he third and final round of league matches of the Gulf Bank sponsored 2nd Annual KEA Friendship Cup Football organized by the Keralite Engineers Association (KEA) will be held on Friday, 18 March, at the Al Sahel Sports Club, Abu Halifa. The matches will be AECK vs TKMCE and KEA vs NSSCE in Group A; TEC vs NIT and MACE vs CETA in Group B. The tournament has been rescheduled as no play was possible due to bad weather on March 11. The semifinals will now be held on 25th March and the finals on 8th April. Website: www.keakuwait.org

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Pathanamthitta picnic athanamthitta District Association will be holding a family picnic on Friday 25th March 2011 at FINTAS GARDEN from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm. Members of Pathanamthitta Association and those who are interested to become members of Pathanamthitta District Association are invited to attend this Picnic. For more details and registration contact mobile nos. 99363448, 99722437 or 66501482 or email id: pta.association@gmail.com.

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Embassy Information EMBASSY OF AUSTRALIA The Embassy encourages all Australians to register their presence in Kuwait through Smartraveller Online (see link below). Australians who are registered are asked to update their details. The information provided will assist us in contacting you in an emergency. www.smartraveller.gov.au Kuwait citizens can apply for and receive visit visas to Australia online at www.immi.gov.au. This usually takes two working days. All others visa applications are handled by the Australian Visa Application Centre Tel. 22971110. Witnessing and certifying documents are by appointment only, please contact the Embassy on 2232 2422. The Australian Embassy is open from 8.00am to 4.00pm, Sunday to Thursday. nnnnnnn

ICS holds Hindi recitation competition

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indi recitation competition of the Indian Central School was an event which enabled the children to ward off their stage fear as well as initiate their experience into the world of public speaking. It was an ample opportunity for the students at school level to combat with the biggest fear factor i.e. stage fear. This allows the students to connect with the audience and also understand the concept of voice modulation. It was conducted by the lower middle wing on February 9, 2011 and a

total of 16 students participated in it. Two students from each section of the classes were selected for the finals. The children administered a good performance and it reflected the sincere toil of the teacher conveners, who gave adequate support and guidance to them. “ Preparation plus timing equals success. If you are prepared when your time comes, you will be successful”. Sudharsan Rathnakumar of class V of Sapphire House and Allan Thomas Reji of class VI of Emerald House were the two triumphants

who bagged the first position. The judges Annu Sharma and Shashi Rana judged the students on the basis of intonation, accent, expression, gestures etc. They appreciated the commendable performance of the participants. The full assembly being held in our national language was a new experience for the students.

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, www.indembkwt.org, 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. The Chief Electoral Officers of the states of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Puducherry, where elections have been declared, have issued notification under Rule 8A of Registration of Electors Rules, 1960, allowing overseas electors to submit registration forms to exercise their franchise in their respective constituencies. Relevant application forms, guidelines for filling them, as well as postal addresses of the Electoral Registration Officers of all constituencies in India are on the website of the Election Commission of India (http://eci.nic.in) and Indian nationals in Kuwait desirous of exercising their franchise are advised to access the website. It is clarified that the attestation of Form 6-A and other documents relating to the election process are to be done by the applicant himself/herself (i.e., self attestation) and not by the Embassy of India, Kuwait. nnnnnnn

Women’s Day celebrations women’s day followed by poems and songs recited by members. Later discussions were done about the forthcoming mega event of Tamiiosai on April 8, at Carmel school. Members shared their ideas upon that. Kaviseisekar won the Tamil Arivu Potti. Vote of thanks was given by treasurer. The meeting came to conclusion with delicious food.

Sechsasebak League celebrates 91st birthday of Bangabandhu

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angladesh Awami Sechsasebak League Kuwait Branch celebrated 91st birthday of Father of the Nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The celebration took Place on March 17, 2011 at Ekushe Hotel in Fahaheel city. The event was brilliantly presented Nizam Uddin Joint Secretary of Awami Sechsasebak League Kuwait Branch and it was presided over by Mohammed Masud Karim the President of Bangladesh Awami Sechsasebak League Kuwait Branch. Gallant freedom fighter Engineer Abdur Rob the President of Bangladesh Awaini league Kuwait Branch attended the program as a Chief Guest. Abdus Sobhan GS

Bangladesh Awami League Kuwait Chapter, Mohd Nurul Amin, Mohd Shamim VicePresident of Awami League Kuwait Chapter, Hasan Ali GS Joy Bangla Cultural Group Kuwait Branch, Bahar Uddin Vice President of Awami Sechsasebak League Kuwait Branch were special guests at the event. A large number of cheerful regional leaders of Bangladesh Awami League And JoyBangla Cultural Group had cut the birthday cake. The attendees wholeheartedly prayed for the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahrnan.

KES holds charity concert

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uwait English School Band are presenting a charity concert in support of the people of Japan. The concert will be held in The English School Auditorium in Salmiya at 7:30 pm on Sunday, March 27. The concert is held under the auspices of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society. Tickets are available on a first come first served basis at Kuwait English School during school hours. KES is located in block 11 of Salwa in Street 9. Tickets can also be obtained from Naoko Ueki, Manager at Fanar Mall, from 9am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm at the Fanar Mall Management Office (25720317). Tickets are also available at Kei Japanese Restaurant at Marina Crescent (22244630) and at the JW Marriot Hotel (22422650).

Art exhibition

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uwait Tamilosai Poet’s Association’s 59th monthly meeting was held at Taj party hail- Salmiya. The meeting was celebrated as Women’s day celebration and farewell for singer Muruganandham. The meeting was presided by Jhansirani. A special momentum designed by (Al-Oudha carpentry works) was presented by Sivakumar and Sadiqbacha to Muruganandham on appreciation to his dedicated and hard work in Tamilosai. Special speech was given by Dr Kumar on

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he ARTSHARKS ARTHouse, founded and curated by Manayer AlSharekh, cordially invites you to the launch of the its first exhibition showcasing works from its Contemporary Arab Artists. The launch will take at place at the FA Gallery on Sunday, March 27, At 7:00 pm. This is the first exhibition hosted by The ARTSHARKS ARTHouse to showcase works from 12 of its contemporary Arab artists. ARTSHARKS aims to bridge the art gap’ by providing a network and exchange where members are exposed to art from all over the world. It also aims to dispel the myth that to ‘make it’ one has to know the right people or have right exposure, and that art is only meant for an elite few. In addition to representing artists and their work, the ARTHouse periodically commissions artists to execute ideas with ARTSHARKS founder Manayer Al-Sharekh as the Creative Director. The ARTHouse also works with clients and artists to produce unique, custom commissioned art based on clients’ needs.

Reborn Academy Marathon

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t is with great pleasure that Reborn AcademyRawda branch invites you to participate in our first Reborn Health Marathon. Our guest of honor will be UNESCO. The Red Crescent will have clinics available to check your health on the spot. We will dedicate our Marathon on Bayt Abdullah Children’s Hospice,”a non-profit institute designed to accommodate the needs of children with lifethreatening conditions in Kuwait. This event will be held at the Reborn Academy Rawda, March 28, from 3:30-5:30 pm. Come and walk with us in the name of a healthier Kuwait! Funds raised during our event will be donated in charity to “Bayt Abdullah,” This event is open to students, parents and general public of Rawda. Blood pressure and sugar levels will be checked for free.

EMBASSY OF BRITAIN Should you come into contact with British nationals in or transiting Kuwait requiring consular assistance please have them contact us at the following new consular inquiry numbers: 972 71877 or 972 71922. Our new temporary switchboard number is 999693651 For the latest FCO travel advice please visit: www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-livingabroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/kuwait The Embassy is open Sunday to Thursday 7:30am to 14:3Opm. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF NIGERIA As a sign of growing economic relationship between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the State of Kuwait, the Embassy of Nigeria Kuwait cordially invite you to a press conference to hold tomorrow March 24, 2011, by 13:00 at the Embassy’s conference hall Rumaitheya-Block (4) -Malik Bin Anas Street-Avenue (44)-Villa (31) Opposite Al-Aqsa Road. In attendance, will be the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs I, Dr Aliyu Idi Hong. The idea is to highlight some of our achievements here and happenings in Nigeria. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF SLOVAK REPUBLIC The Embassy of the Slovak Republic to the State of Kuwait would like to inform the public that from April 1, 2011 the new business hours of the Consular Section will be on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00 till 13:00 hrs. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF KENYA The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya wishes to request all Kenyans resident in or training through Kuwait to register with the Embassy. We are updating our database. This information is necessary in order to facilitate quick assistance and advise in times of emergency. Kindly visit in person or register through our website www.kenyaembkuwait.com. The Embassy is located in: Surra Area - Block 6 - Street 9 - Villa 3 Tel: 25353362 25353314; Fax: 25353316. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, Al-Mutawakel St., Block 4 in Da’aiyah. Please visit our website at www.Kuwait.gc.ca. 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 www.voyage.gc.ca. 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 www.UAE.gc.ca. Effective January 15, 2011, the only Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) application form that will be accepted by CIC is the Application for Temporary Resident Visa Made Outside of Canada [IMM 5257] form. All previous Temporary Resident Visa application forms will no longer be accepted by CIC and instead will be returned to applicants. Should old applications be submitted prior to January 15, 2011 they will continue to be processed. To ensure that the most recent version of the Temporary Resident Visa application form is being utilized, applicants should refer to the CIC website. As of January 15, 2011, forms are to be filled in electronically. 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 forms are available on the internet at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/forms/IMM5257E.PDF. A guide explaining the process can be found here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/guides/5256E.PDF.


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00:50 01:45 03:35 Baker 04:30 05:25 06:20 07:10 08:00 08:25 08:50 09:40 10:10 11:05 12:00 12:55 13:20 13:50 14:45 15:10 15:40 17:30 18:00 18:25 18:50 19:20 Baker 20:15 22:05 23:00 23:55

00:35 01:05 01:35 02:20 03:10 03:40 04:10 04:40 05:00 05:20 05:35 05:40 05:50 05:55 06:10 06:30 06:50 07:05 07:10 07:20 07:25 07:40 08:00 08:20 08:35 08:40 08:50 08:55 09:10 09:30 09:50 10:05 10:10 10:20 10:25 10:40 11:10 11:40 12:25 13:30 14:00 14:30 15:20 16:20 17:25 18:10 18:40 19:10 20:00 21:00 21:45 22:15 22:45 23:40

Untamed And Uncut Killer Jellyfish Weird Creatures With Nick Last Chance Highway Shark Shrinks Untamed And Uncut Project Puppy Lemur Street Monkey Life Baby Planet Breed All About It Must Love Cats Michaela’s Animal Road Trip Animal Precinct Wildlife SOS Wildlife SOS Last Chance Highway Sspca: On The Wildside E-Vets: The Interns Killer Whales Monkey Life Breed All About It Extraordinary Dogs Cats Of Claw Hill Weird Creatures With Nick Michaela’s Animal Road Trip Journey Of Life Swarm Chasers The Beauty Of Snakes

After You’ve Gone Keeping Up Appearances The Weakest Link Holby City Eastenders Doctors Keeping Up Appearances Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show Spot’s Musical Adventures The Large Family Buzz And Tell Penelope K, By The Way Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show Spot’s Musical Adventures The Large Family Buzz And Tell Penelope K, By The Way Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show Spot’s Musical Adventures The Large Family Buzz And Tell Penelope K, By The Way Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show Spot’s Musical Adventures The Large Family Buzz And Tell Penelope K, By The Way Keeping Up Appearances Keeping Up Appearances The Weakest Link Coast Doctors Eastenders Holby City Keeping Up Appearances Coast The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders Holby City Coast The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders Casualty Survivors

00:00 Cash In The Attic 01:30 Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey 02:25 Rhodes Across China 03:10 Cash In The Attic 04:40 Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey

05:35 Rhodes Across China 06:20 Antiques Roadshow 07:10 Fantasy Homes In The City 08:00 Cash In The Attic USA 08:30 Glamour Puds 08:55 10 Years Younger 09:45 Antiques Roadshow 10:35 Fantasy Homes In The City 11:20 What Not To Wear 12:10 Antiques Roadshow 13:00 Fantasy Homes In The City 13:40 Glamour Puds 14:05 Glamour Puds 14:35 Daily Cooks Challenge 16:00 Antiques Roadshow 16:50 Cash In The Attic 17:35 Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey 18:30 Rhodes Across China 19:20 Cash In The Attic 20:50 What Not To Wear 21:40 Antiques Roadshow 22:30 Cash In The Attic

00:00 BBC World News 00:30 Hardtalk 01:00 Business Edition With Tanya Beckett 01:30 Asia Business Report 01:45 Sport Today 02:00 BBC World News America 03:00 BBC World News 03:30 Asia Business Report 03:45 Asia Today 04:00 BBC World News 04:30 Asia Business Report 04:45 Asia Today 05:00 BBC World News 05:30 Asia Business Report 05:45 Asia Today 06:00 BBC World News 06:30 Asia Business Report 06:45 Asia Today 07:00 BBC World News 07:30 Hardtalk 08:00 BBC World News 08:30 World Business Report 08:45 BBC World News 09:00 BBC World News 09:30 World Business Report 09:45 BBC World News 10:00 BBC World News 10:30 World Business Report 10:45 Sport Today 11:00 BBC World News 11:30 World Business Report 11:45 Sport Today 12:00 BBC World News 12:30 Hardtalk 13:00 BBC World News 13:30 World Business Report 13:45 Sport Today 14:00 BBC World News 14:30 World Business Report 14:45 Sport Today 15:00 GMT With George Alagiah 16:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:30 World Business Report 17:45 Sport Today 18:00 BBC World News 18:30 Hardtalk 19:00 The Hub With Nik Gowing 20:30 World Business Report 20:45 Sport Today 21:00 BBC World News 21:30 World Business Report 21:45 Sport Today 22:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 22:30 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 23:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 23:30 World Business Report 23:45 Sport Today

00:00 00:25 00:50 01:15 01:35 02:00 02:25 02:50

The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch Popeye Tom And Jerry Top Cat Yogi’s Treasure Hunt Droopy: Master Detective

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

TV PROGRAMS 03:15 03:40 04:05 04:35 05:00 05:25 05:50 06:15 06:45 07:10 07:35 08:00 08:20 08:45 09:10 09:35 10:00 10:20 10:45 11:05 11:30 11:55 12:20 12:45 13:10 13:40 14:05 14:30 14:55 15:20 15:45 16:10 16:35 17:00 17:30 17:55 18:20 18:45 19:10 19:35 20:00 20:25 20:50 21:15 21:40 22:00 22:25 22:50 23:15 23:40

King Arthur’s Disasters Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Flintstones Hong Kong Phooey A Pup Named Scooby-Doo The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Looney Tunes Popeye Classics Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo Dastardly And Muttley Tom And Jerry Kids Top Cat Pink Panther And Pals The Scooby Doo Show The Addams Family Tom And Jerry The Garfield Show Looney Tunes The Jetsons King Arthur’s Disasters The Flintstones Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo Popeye Wacky Races Yogi’s Treasure Hunt The Scooby Doo Show Tom And Jerry Looney Tunes Duck Dodgers Top Cat Scooby Doo Where Are You! Dexter’s Laboratory Johnny Bravo The Scooby Doo Show Tom And Jerry Top Cat Dastardly And Muttley Wacky Races The Scooby Doo Show The Garfield Show The Addams Family Duck Dodgers Pink Panther And Pals Tom And Jerry The Jetsons Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo The Flintstones Looney Tunes Tom And Jerry Kids

00:15 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 00:40 Chowder 01:05 Cow And Chicken 01:30 Cramp Twins 01:55 George Of The Jungle 02:20 Adrenalini Brothers 02:45 Eliot Kid 03:10 Ed, Edd N Eddy 03:35 Ben 10: Alien Force 04:00 The Powerpuff Girls 04:15 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 Codename: Kids Next Door 08:25 Cow And Chicken 08:50 Best Ed 09:15 Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends 09:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 10:05 The Secret Saturdays 10:30 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 10:55 The Powerpuff Girls 11:20 Robotboy 11:30 The Life And Times Of Juniper Lee 11:55 Ben 10 12:20 Chowder 12:45 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 13:10 Camp Lazlo 13:35 George Of The Jungle 14:00 Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends 14:25 Codename: Kids Next Door 14:50 Ben 10 15:15 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 15:40 Squirrel Boy 16:05 Eliot Kid 16:30 Ed, Edd N Eddy

CHANGING LANES ON OSN ACTION HD

17:00 Cow And Chicken 17:25 Chop Socky Chooks 17:50 Skunk Fu! 18:15 Chowder 18:40 Best Ed 19:05 Hero 108 19:30 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 19:55 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 20:20 Ben 10: Alien Force 20:45 The Secret Saturdays 21:10 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 21:35 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 22:00 The Powerpuff Girls 22:25 Ed, Edd N Eddy 22:50 Robotboy 23:00 Camp Lazlo 23:25 Hero 108 23:50 Ben 10

00:40 01:35 02:30 03:25 04:20 05:15 05:40 06:05 07:00 07:50 08:45 09:10 09:40 10:30 10:55 11:25 12:20 13:15 14:10 15:05 16:00 16:55 17:50 18:45 19:10 19:40 20:05 20:35 21:00 21:30 21:55 22:25 22:50 23:45

Chop Shop: London Garage Dirty Jobs Stan Lee’s Superhumans Really Big Things Mythbusters How Does It Work How It’s Made Dirty Jobs Really Big Things American Chopper How Does It Work How It’s Made Mythbusters Cake Boss Border Security Chop Shop: London Garage Ultimate Survival Mythbusters Miami Ink Dirty Jobs Chop Shop: London Garage Mythbusters Deadliest Catch Cake Boss Border Security Deconstruction How Does It Work How It’s Made I Could Do That I Could Do That One Way Out One Way Out Mythbusters I Was Bitten

00:15 00:40 01:30 01:55 02:45 03:35 04:00 04:25 04:50 05:45 06:40 07:10 08:00 08:55 08:58 09:25 09:55 10:45 11:10 11:35 12:25 12:50 13:40 14:05 14:30 14:55 15:45 16:10 17:00 17:03 17:30 18:00 18:50 19:40 20:30 21:20 21:45 22:10 23:00 23:50

Sci-Fi Science Mega World The Gadget Show Perfect Disaster Sci-Trek Sci-Fi Science Sci-Fi Science How Does That Work? Junkyard Mega-Wars Ecopolis Patent Bending Superships Scrapheap Challenge Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections Sci-Fi Saved My Life How Does That Work? The Gadget Show Engineered Mean Green Machines Scrapheap Challenge Patent Bending Sci-Fi Science Sci-Fi Science Space Pioneer The Gadget Show Perfect Disaster Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections Brainiac Mega World How Stuff Works What’s That About? How It’s Made The Gadget Show Nextworld How Stuff Works What’s That About?

00:00 KIM POSSIBLE 00:25 FAIRLY ODD PARENTS 00:50 FAIRLY ODD PARENTS 01:15 STITCH 01:35 STITCH 02:00 Replacements 02:25 Replacements 02:50 FAIRLY ODD PARENTS 03:15 FAIRLY ODD PARENTS 03:35 STITCH 04:00 STITCH 04:25 Replacements 04:50 Replacements 05:15 Emperors New School 05:35 Emperors New School 06:00 Phineas & Ferb 06:20 Phineas & Ferb 06:45 KIM POSSIBLE 07:05 SONNY WITH A CHANCE YR 2 07:30 JONAS LA 07:55 WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE 08:20 FAIRLY ODD PARENTS 08:35 MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE Y1 (CEMA) 09:00 HANDY MANNY 09:25 SPECIAL AGENT OSO 09:50 JUNGLE JUNCTION 10:10 IMAGINATION MOVERS 10:35 SPECIAL AGENT OSO 10:50 HANDY MANNY 11:15 MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE Y1 (CEMA) 11:35 GOOD LUCK CHARLIE 12:00 SHAKE IT UP 12:25 FAIRLY ODD PARENTS 12:42 HAVE A LAUGH 12:45 Phineas & Ferb 13:10 Hannah Montana 13:30 GOOD LUCK CHARLIE 13:55 WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE 14:20 JAKE & BLAKE 14:40 HAVE A LAUGH 14:48 HAVE A LAUGH 14:55 A KIND OF MAGIC 15:20 SHAKE IT UP 15:40 Kim Possible 16:00 Hannah Montana 16:25 SONNY WITH A CHANCE YR 2 16:45 JONAS LA 17:08 HAVE A LAUGH 17:10 JAKE & BLAKE 17:35 WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE 18:00 WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE 18:22 HAVE A LAUGH

18:25 18:45 19:08 19:10 19:35 20:00 20:25 20:50 21:12 21:15 21:35 22:00 22:25 22:50 23:15 23:35

HANNAH MONTANA FOREVER Phineas & Ferb HAVE A LAUGH GOOD LUCK CHARLIE WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE SONNY WITH A CHANCE YR 2 JAKE & BLAKE Hannah Montana HAVE A LAUGH Phineas & Ferb FAIRLY ODD PARENTS Replacements Hannah Montana SONNY WITH A CHANCE YR 2 WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE Jonas

00:00 Programmes Start At 7:00am KSA 07:00 Kick Buttowski 07:25 Zeke And Luther 07:50 Phineas And Ferb 08:15 Rekkit Rabbit 08:40 Suite Life On Deck 09:05 Suite Life On Deck 09:30 Pair Of Kings 09:55 Have A Laugh 10:00 Zeke And Luther 10:25 Zeke And Luther 10:50 I’m In The Band 11:15 The Super Hero Squad Show 11:40 Suite Life On Deck 12:05 Suite Life On Deck 12:30 Escape From Scorpion Island 13:00 Phineas And Ferb 13:30 Phineas And Ferb 14:00 Kid vs Kat 14:30 Kid vs Kat 14:55 Have A Laugh 15:00 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 15:25 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 15:50 Kick Buttowski 16:15 Suite Life On Deck 16:45 Pair Of Kings 17:10 Have A Laugh 17:15 Phineas And Ferb 17:40 Phineas And Ferb 18:05 Zeke And Luther 18:30 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 18:55 Rekkit Rabbit 19:20 Kick Buttowski 19:45 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 20:10 The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes 20:35 Skyrunners 22:00 Phineas And Ferb 22:25 I’m In The Band 22:55 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 23:20 The Super Hero Squad Show

00:15 Kendra 00:40 Style Star 01:05 Style Star 01:30 Beauty Queens Gone Wrong 03:15 Extreme Hollywood 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 05:30 Streets Of Hollywood 06:00 E!es 07:45 Behind The Scenes 08:10 Behind The Scenes 08:35 E! News 09:25 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 10:15 E!es 11:05 THS 12:00 E! News 12:50 Style Star 13:15 Style Star 13:40 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami 14:05 Kendra 14:30 THS 15:25 THS 16:15 Behind The Scenes 16:40 Behind The Scenes 17:10 THS 18:00 E! News 18:50 Fashion Police 19:15 Style Star 19:40 E!es 20:30 Extreme Close-Up 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:20 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 22:10 E! News 23:00 Fashion Police 23:25 Kendra 23:50 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami

00:00 Final Fu 00:50 Fantasy Factory 01:40 Carpocalypse 02:30 World Combat League 03:20 Fantasy Factory 04:10 Final Fu 05:00 Glutton For Punishment 05:50 Carpocalypse 06:40 World Combat League 07:30 iEX 2009 09:00 Quattro Events 2009 09:25 Winter X Games Europe 2010 10:15 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 11:05 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 11:55 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009 12:45 Untracked 13:35 Fantasy Factory 14:25 Carpocalypse 15:15 World Combat League 16:05 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009 16:55 Untracked 17:45 Quattro Events 2009 18:10 Winter X Games Europe 2010 19:00 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 19:50 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 20:40 Untracked 21:30 Fantasy Factory 22:20 I’ll Do Anything 23:10 World Combat League

00:15 00:40 01:30 02:20 03:10 03:35 04:25

Deadly Women: Face To Face Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghost Lab A Haunting Deadly Women: Face To Face Deadly Women Deadly Women: Face To Face

THE LAST SONG ON OSN CINEMA 04:50 05:45 06:15 07:10 08:00 08:50 09:40 10:30 11:20 12:10 13:00 13:50 14:40 15:30 16:20 17:10 18:00 18:50 19:40 20:30 21:20 22:10 23:00 23:50

Dr G: Medical Examiner Crime Scene Psychics Ghost Lab Diagnosis: Unknown Forensic Detectives Impossible Heists Diagnosis: Unknown Real Emergency Calls FBI Case Files FBI Files On The Case With Paula Zahn Extreme Forensics Diagnosis: Unknown Real Emergency Calls FBI Case Files Forensic Detectives Impossible Heists FBI Files Diagnosis: Unknown Real Emergency Calls On The Case With Paula Zahn Extreme Forensics I Almost Got Away With It Forensic Justice

00:00 Departures 01:00 Banged Up Abroad 02:00 Pressure Cook 02:30 Madventures 03:00 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled 04:00 Banged Up Abroad 05:00 Pressure Cook 05:30 Madventures 06:00 Departures 07:00 Banged Up Abroad 08:00 Pressure Cook 08:30 Madventures 09:00 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled 10:00 Banged Up Abroad 11:00 Cruise Ship Diaries 12:00 Earth Tripping 13:00 Banged Up Abroad 14:00 Cruise Ship Diaries 15:00 Earth Tripping 16:00 Banged Up Abroad 17:00 Cruise Ship Diaries 18:00 Earth Tripping 19:00 Banged Up Abroad 20:00 Cruise Ship Diaries 21:00 Earth Tripping 22:00 Banged Up Abroad 23:00 Cruise Ship Diaries

00:45 Paranormal Activity-PG15 02:15 Death Race-18 04:00 Fast And Furious-PG15 06:00 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-PG15 08:00 Mortal Kombat-PG 10:00 Fast And Furious-PG15 12:00 Changing Lanes-PG15 14:00 Mortal Kombat-PG 16:00 Heaven’s Fall-PG15 18:00 Changing Lanes-PG15 20:00 John Carpenter’s Ghosts Of Mars-PG15 22:00 Saw VI-R

01:15 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 PG 11:00 13:00 15:00 16:45 18:45 21:00 23:15

Drunkboat-PG Home Run-PG15 Aliens In The Attic-FAM Snow 2: Brain Freeze-FAM Where The Wild Things AreLucky Break-PG15 Disco-PG Moon-PG15 The Last Song-PG15 The Boat That Rocked-PG15 Agora-18 The Ruins-R

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 American Dad 02:00 Rita Rocks 02:30 Kath And Kim 03:00 The Cleveland Show 03:30 Curb Your Enthusiasm 04:00 American Dad 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 According To Jim 08:30 Coach 09:00 Just Shoot Me 09:30 The Drew Carey Show 10:00 Yes Dear 10:30 Rita Rocks 11:00 Coach 11:30 According To Jim 12:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 13:00 Just Shoot Me 13:30 Coach 14:00 Yes Dear 14:30 Kath And Kim 15:00 Rita Rocks 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 Just Shoot Me 18:30 According To Jim 19:00 Rita Rocks 19:30 Community 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Family Guy 22:30 Curb Your Enthusiasm 23:00 American Dad 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

01:30 03:15 05:30 07:15 09:00 10:45 13:00 15:00 16:45 18:45 21:00 23:00

Goal III-18 Face Off-PG15 Blood River-18 Serbian Scars-PG15 Inkheart-PG Face Off-PG15 Scream 3-18 Inkheart-PG 12 Rounds-PG15 Bugsy-18 Transporter 3-18 Outpost-18

00:00 Bring It On 5: Fight To The Finish-PG15 02:00 Magicians-18 04:00 Car Babes-PG15 06:00 Dragnet-PG15 08:00 The Good Girl-PG15 10:00 The First $20 Million Is Always The Hardest-PG15 12:00 McHale’s Navy-PG15 14:00 Imagine That-PG 16:00 Bring It On 5: Fight To The Finish-PG15 18:00 The Milagro Beanfield WarPG15 20:00 The Freshman-PG 22:00 Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back-18

01:15 Missing-PG15 03:30 The Reader-18 05:45 Amreeka-PG15 07:30 Operating Instructions-PG15 09:00 One Week-PG 10:45 In The Electric Mist-PG15 13:00 Living Out Loud-PG15 15:00 April Showers-PG15 17:00 Nurse.Fighter.Boy-PG15 19:00 Chocolat-PG15 21:00 Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas-18 23:00 Witness To Jonestown-PG15

02:15 Dead Man On Campus-PG15 04:00 Ice Castles-PG15 06:00 Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel-FAM 07:30 Saved!-PG15 09:00 Daddy Day Care-PG 11:00 The Princess And The FrogFAM 13:00 Last Chance Harvey-PG15 15:00 Gifted Hands-PG15 17:00 Daddy Day Care-PG 19:00 The Perfect Score-PG15 21:00 Agora-18 23:30 Witness To Jonestown-PG15

00:15 Flintstones: I Yabba Dabba Do!-FAM 02:00 Scooby-Doo And The Ghoul School-FAM 03:45 Pete’s Dragon-PG 06:00 Dr. Dolittle 2-PG 08:00 Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation-FAM 10:00 Pete’s Dragon-PG 12:15 Scooby-Doo Meets The Boo Brothers-FAM 14:15 Scooby-Doo And The Ghoul School-FAM 16:00 Cars-PG 18:15 Dinosaur Island-PG 20:00 The Archies In Jugman-PG15 22:00 Scooby-Doo Meets The Boo Brothers-FAM

00:00 The Guitar-18 02:00 I Spy-PG 04:00 Prisoner-PG15 06:00 Nativity!-PG 08:00 Planet 51-PG15 10:00 Thor: Hammer Of The GodsPG15 12:00 The Box-PG15 14:00 By The People: The Election Of Barack Obama-PG15 16:00 Planet 51-PG15 18:00 My Fake Fiance-PG15 20:00 The Final Destination-18 22:00 The Dry Land-PG15

00:00 Super League 02:00 Futbol Mundial 02:30 World Hockey 03:00 Super 15 05:00 PGA European Highlights 06:00 Trans World Sport 07:00 NRL Premiership 09:00 PGA European Highlights 10:00 Futbol Mundial 10:30 ICC Cricket World 11:00 NRL Premiership 13:00 Scottish League Cup 15:00 NRL Full Time 15:30 Super 15 17:30 PGA European Highlights 18:30 Trans World Sport 19:30 European Tour Weekly 20:00 PGA European Highlights 21:00 Super 15

00:00 00:30 02:30 04:30 06:30 07:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 13:00 13:30 14:00 16:00 16:30 18:30 19:00 20:00 20:30 22:30 23:00

Tour

Tour

Tour

Tour

NRL Full Time Super 15 Scottish Premier League NRL Full Time NRL Premiership Golfing World Scottish League Cup Scottish Premier League Golfing World NRL Full Time Futbol Mundial Anglo Welsh Cup World Hockey Super League NRL Full Time Golfing World Futbol Mundial Scottish League Cup European Tour Weekly Golfing World

00:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter 01:00 V8 Supercars Championship 03:00 Red Bull X-Fighters 04:00 UAE National Race Day Series 05:00 UFC Unleashed 07:00 WWE Vintage Collection 08:00 Superstock Powerboat Series 08:30 City Centre Races 09:00 Duathlon 2010 09:30 UAE National Race Day Series 10:30 Red Bull X-Fighters 11:30 Airsports World 12:00 WWE NXT 13:00 UAE National Race Day Series 14:00 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge 15:00 Red Bull X-Fighters 16:00 V8 Supercars Championship 18:00 WWE NXT 19:00 WWE Bottom Line 20:00 WWE Vintage Collection 21:00 UFC Wired 22:00 UFC Unleashed


Classifieds WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

ACCOMMODATION Big room available with attached bathroom in CA/C 3 BR flat in Fintas for an executive bachelor or decent couple near London hospital Fintas. Please contact: 60020168. (C 3218)

Week ending March 22, 20111

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Two bedroom flat available with window AC, household items, dish antenna, car parking space inside compound in Chitra studio building next to Asia store in Abbassiya from 1st June 2011. Contact: 97973657. (C 3217) 23-3-2011 A central A/C single room available in Benaid Al Gar opposite Al-Salam hospital for working lady please contact: 97879611 from April 2011. 3 bachelor required for share with Mangalorean bachelor, big room, central A/C, big kitchen at old Regai. Contact: 99709823. (C 3215) 22-3-2011 Sharing accommodation available for decent Kerala bachelor in Abbasiya near German Clinic. Call: 66941892. (C 3209) Sharing room accommo-

dation available in Abbasiya near High Way Center. Family or working ladies with Keralite family. Call: 99509436. (C 3211)

FOR SALE A well maintained Toyota Cressida maroon 1994 model, owned by expat doctor. Excellent running condition. Interior and exterior excellent. Transmission and air condition in superb condition. Registration till 12-7-2011. Price KD 900. Contact: 66559205. (C 3219) 23-3-2011 Harvard sports (Made in USA) pool table in excellent condition for sale. Call 99777004. (C 3178)

22-3-2011 Items for sale in a single bedroom flat 1st floor opposite Ajmal Restaurant Abbasiya, from end of March 11. Contact: 99585211. (C 3212) Toyota Yaris 2008 model 5 door Hitch-back dark silver color, alloy room, fog lights, digi shoilez, condition like new, 15,930 km done, installment possible, cash price KD 2,350. Tel: 99105286. (C 3214) 21-3-2011

CHANGE OF NAME I, Achubatla Shaik Chan Basha, s/o Shaik Achulla Ghouse Saheb, resident of D.No. 2/20, Naidu-Varipalli village, H/o Itamapuram Penagaluru Mandal, Kadapa Dt, AP, India presently residing in Kuwait, holder of Passport bearing No: G7935657, would be henceforth known as Shaik Chand. (C 3204) I, Achubatla Shaik Noorjahan, w/o, Shaik Chand, resident of D.No. 4/67-T, Usman Nagar Rajampeta - 516115, Kadapa Dt, AP, India, presently residing in Kuwait, holder of Passport bearing No. E0642699 would be henceforth known as Shaik Noorjahan. (C 3205)

I, Achubatla Shaik Ayisha, d/o A.S. Chand Basha, resident of D.No. 2/20, Naiduvaripally village, H/o. Itamapuram, Penagaluru Mandal, Kadpa Dt, AP, India, presently residing in Kuwait, holder of Passport bearing No. J0975666, would be henceforth known as Shaik Ayesha. (C 3205)

SITUATION WANTED MBA Graduate, 2 year experience, Visa 18 Transferable, looking for job. Please contact: 66522034. (C 3220) 23-3-2011 MECHANICAL ENGINEER: M.S, B.E - 6 years experience, an incisive professional with 6 years of experience in Industrial and

Process Piping, looking for a job in local and MNC companies in Kuwait. Qualifications of M.S & B.E in Mechanical Engineering is stationed at Kuwait for a month. Contact: 60789880. (C 3208) MATRIMONIAL

Indian CSI boy, 31 year old, working as Engg (BE), looking for suitable girl from Tamil Nadu, CSI background and good family. Email: kirubas52@yahoo.com (C 3216) 23-3-2011 Egyptian Engineer, 49 years old, needs an Asian wife, working, serious and decent who recently came to Kuwait. Email: fathitemsah@yahoo.com (C 3210) 21-3-2011

DIAL 161 FOR AIRPORT INFORMATION In case you are not travelling, your proper cancellation of bookings will help other passengers to use seats Airlines

Flt

KLM ETH BBC THY UAE QTR ETD JZR JZR JZR FAH BAW KAC IRC KAC FDB KAC KAC KAC KAC KAC KAC UAE QTR ABY ETD GFA IRA FCX JZR JZR JZR JZR MEA MSR JZR IRM UAL KAC DHX FDB OMA SVA KAC

443 622 45 772 853 138 305 529 207 503 6693 157 412 6963 352 53 382 302 678 284 344 362 855 132 123 301 213 603 203 151 121 555 165 404 610 561 5066 982 672 370 57 645 500 552

Arrival Flights on Wednesday 23/3/2011 Route AMSTERDAM / BAHRAIN ADDIS ABABA DHAKA / BAHRAIN ISTANBUL DUBAI DOHA ABU DHABI ASSIUT DAMASCUS LUXOR DUBAI LONDON MANILA / BANGKOK TEHRAN COCHIN DUBAI DELHI MUMBAI MUSCAT / DUBAI DHAKA CHENNAI COLOMBO DUBAI DOHA SHARJAH ABU DHABI BAHRAIN SHIRAZ DUBAI DOHA BAHRAIN ALEXANDRIA DUBAI BEIRUT CAIRO SOHAG MASHAD WASHINGTON DC DULLES DUBAI BAHRAIN DUBAI MUSCAT JEDDAH DAMASCUS

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

KAC KNE QTR SYR KAC KNE IRC ETD UAE GFA KAC JZR SVA RJA JZR JZR ABY ALK JZR JZR IYE KAC KAC KAC KAC KAC KAC KAC AIC KAC KAC FDB OMA JAI JZR DHX VOS GFA MEA QTR UAE UAL SAI JZR RBG DLH AXB PIA

562 745 134 341 546 701 6791 303 857 215 550 201 510 800 777 239 127 227 257 177 824 502 542 618 786 614 674 166 975 102 774 61 647 572 787 372 81 217 402 136 859 981 441 185 3553 636 393 215

AMMAN JEDDAH DOHA DAMASCUS ALEXANDRIA RIYADH MASHAD ABU DHABI DUBAI BAHRAIN SHARM EL SHEIKH / SOHAG DAMASCUS RIYADH AMMAN JEDDAH AMMAN SHARJAH COLOMBO / DUBAI BEIRUT DUBAI SANAA / DOHA BEIRUT CAIRO DOHA JEDDAH BAHRAIN DUBAI PARIS / ROME CHENNAI / GOA NEW YORK / LONDON RIYADH DUBAI MUSCAT MUMBAI RIYADH BAHRAIN BAGHDAD BAHRAIN BEIRUT DOHA DUBAI BAHRAIN LAHORE / KARACHI DUBAI ALEXANDRIA FRANKFURT KOZHIKODE / COCHIN KARACHI

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

Airlines AXB AIC PIA KLM DLH ETH BBC THY UAE ETD JZR QTR JZR JZR JZR IRC VOS JZR FDB KAC BAW KAC KAC KAC KAC UAE ABY QTR KAC ETD GFA KAC IRA JZR FCX JZR KAC JZR JZR KAC MEA KAC KAC JZR MSR

Departure Flights on Wednesday 23/3/2011 Flt Route 390 MANGALORE / KOZHIKODE 982 HYDERABAD / AHMEDABAD / CHENNAI 206 LAHORE 443 AMSTERDAM 637 FRANKFURT 623 ADDIS ABABA 46 DHAKA 773 ISTANBUL 854 DUBAI 306 ABU DHABI 554D ALEXANDRIA 139 DOHA 560 SOHAG 164 DUBAI 150 DOHA 6963 TEHRAN 94 DUBAI / KANDAHAR 120 BAHRAIN 54 DUBAI 545 ALEXANDRIA 156 LONDON 671 DUBAI 551 DAMASCUS 549 SHARM EL SHEIKH / SOHAG 561 AMMAN 856 DUBAI 124 SHARJAH 133 DOHA 117 NEW YORK 302 ABU DHABI 214 BAHRAIN 177 FRANKFURT / GENEVA 602 SHIRAZ 200 DAMASCUS 204 BAGHDAD 776 JEDDAH 541 CAIRO 256 BEIRUT 238 AMMAN 103 LONDON 405 BEIRUT 501 BEIRUT 785 JEDDAH 176 DUBAI 611 CAIRO

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

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

IRM UAL FDB DHX KAC OMA KAC KNE SVA SYR KAC KAC QTR KNE IRC JZR ETD GFA UAE RJA KAC JZR ABY SVA JZR ALK IYE KAC KAC FDB KAC OMA JAI JZR DHX KAC GFA MEA FAH KAC QTR KAC UAE RBG UAL KAC SAI

5065 982 58 371 673 646 617 746 503 342 613 773 135 704 6792 786 304 216 858 801 543 184 128 511 266 228 824 283 361 62 331 648 571 502 373 675 218 403 6694 203 137 301 860 3554 981 415 442

MASHAD BAHRAIN DUBAI BAHRAIN DUBAI MUSCAT DOHA JEDDAH MEDINAH / JEDDAH DAMASCUS BAHRAIN RIYADH DOHA MEDINAH MASHAD RIYADH ABU DHABI BAHRAIN DUBAI AMMAN CAIRO DUBAI SHARJAH RIYADH BEIRUT DUBAI / COLOMBO SANAA DHAKA COLOMBO DUBAI TRIVANDRUM MUSCAT MUMBAI LUXOR BAHRAIN DUBAI BAHRAIN BEIRUT DUBAI LAHORE DOHA MUMBAI DUBAI ALEXANDRIA WASHINGTON DC DULLES KUALA LUMPUR / JAKARTA LAHORE

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


34

star CROSSWORD 265

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

s

STAR TRACK

CALVIN & HOBBES

Aries (March 21-April 19) There are many opportunities to be with other people today, perhaps too many people in some instances. An old customer or coworker may present some problem-solving issues today. This is to be ignored and not taken personally. Ask if someone else can help—then get on with the day. There is a chance to understand at a later time. Remember—losing your temper relinquishes your power! You will benefit from penetrating insights, getting to the heart of things. You can ask just the right questions. The challenges you find today are steppingstones to positive changes—do not take them too personally. At home, you may decide to lead the way in a family project—your creativity is heightened. This evening you find time for romance.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Your impish sense of humor is showing. You may find that your peers and co-workers hold you in high esteem because of your ability to lighten up and aim high. Travel and mental development at high levels are major themes in your life. This is a time to broaden your horizons, both intellectually and spiritually. Education, publishing, broadcasting, legal and political interests offer opportunities; if you are on the lookout for them. This afternoon, property, gold and real estate may be the uppermost in your mind. If you have a hunch, do not act on it just yet—check out the specifics and then run to your nearest investment counselor. Your friendships will begin to transform into more reliable, firm relationships now.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. Minor or subordinate. 4. A high-crowned black cap (usually made of felt or sheepskin) worn by men in Turkey and Iran and the Caucasus. 10. A licensed medical practitioner. 13. The most common computer memory which can be used by programs to perform necessary tasks while the computer is on. 14. Small depression under the shoulder joint where the arm joins the shoulder. 15. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 16. A federal agency that supervises carriers that transport goods and people between states. 17. The act of putting something in working order again. 18. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 19. 100 thebe equal 1 pula. 21. (British) A style of popular music in the 1950s. 23. United States minimalist painter (born in 1936). 25. Heal or recover. 26. A river in northern England that flows southeast through West Yorkshire. 27. A benign tumor composed of muscle tissue. 31. United States evangelical preacher famous as a mass evangelist (born in 1918). 35. The table in Christian churches where communion is given. 36. Black tropical American cuckoo. 37. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 39. A republic consisting of 26 of 32 counties comprising the island of Ireland. 40. Small toothless anteater with prehensile tale and fourclawed forelimbs. 44. A flat-bottomed volcanic crater that was formed by an explosion. 46. A collection of objects laid on top of each other. 49. United States writer (born in Poland) who wrote in Yiddish (1880-1957). 54. A white linen liturgical vestment with sleeves. 57. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 58. The compass point that is one point east (clockwise) of due north. 59. Edible viscera of a butchered animal. 61. A dark-skinned member of a race of people living in Australia when Europeans arrived. 62. A doctor's degree in education. 63. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 64. A human limb. DOWN 1. The people of Great Britain. 2. An expensive vessel propelled by sail or power and used for cruising or racing. 3. A person who acts as host at formal occasions (makes an introductory speech and introduces other speakers). 4. A region in Finland and Russia between the Gulf of Finland and the White Sea. 5. An edge tool with a heavy bladed head mounted across a handle. 6. Fleshy folds of tissue as those surrounding the mouth. 7. The sound like water splashing. 8. Having the same or similar characteristics. 9. Type genus of the Cariamidae comprising only the crested cariama. 10. Lacking or deprive of the sense of hearing wholly or in part. 11. A translucent mineral consisting of hydrated silica of variable color. 12. The work of caring for or attending to someone or something. 20. Pompous or pretentious talk or writing. 22. A blank leaf in the front of back of a book. 24. A large fleet. 28. Of or relating to near the ear. 29. Made from residue of grapes or apples after pressing. 30. A particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography). 32. A nucleic acid that transmits genetic information from DNA to the cytoplasm. 33. An anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions. 34. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 38. A city in north central Mexico. 39. The sound like water splashing. 41. The basic unit of electric current adopted under the System International d'Unites. 42. A silvery soft waxy metallic element of the alkali metal group. 43. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 45. Type genus of Ochnaceae. 47. A river in central Europe that arises in northwestern Czechoslovakia and flows northward through Germany to empty into the North Sea. 48. In bed. 50. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 51. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 52. A French abbot. 53. Highly excited. 55. A former monetary unit in Great Britain. 56. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 60. A metallic element having four allotropic forms.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Dozens of opportunities to shine in the work place present themselves to you this day. Your work hours are full of decisions and business calls and you seem to be able to choose the most profitable paths. Your creative side is highlighted as you use your knowledge and your creativeness in solving problems. A man named McRichards once said, “We have to trust the invisible gauges we carry within us.” We have to realize that a creative being lives within ourselves—we must get out of its way and become expressive. You understand the importance of laughter and may be able to cause a healing when it comes to a relationship this afternoon. You are getting good at leaving your work behind—keep practicing.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

NON SEQUITUR

Your ability to pitch in and do more than you fair share of the work is easy for you. You have a good attitude and people love it when you work with them. A customer or co-worker may have a mood swing or two this afternoon but you know just what to say and can be very uplifting. There is personal growth for the person as well as for you when you take time to listen and just be compassionate. There may be a little financial panic with your monetary situation just now. Do not let finances completely dominate your concerns—all will balance out soon. You will want to discriminate between those who truly need help financially and those that engage in rip-offs. This is a favorable time to repair any broken friendships. Romance is possible tonight.

Leo (July 23-August 22) There may be an occasion to assert yourself this morning. Make no apologies or excuses—just state what you need. This is a highly active and rewarding day. Others will notice your self-confidence and understand. There are clear communications between you and a partner—business or other. You are at your most practical when it comes to dealing and working with others. Whatever you want within the business realm is yours for the asking. You are in a planning mood and are very clearheaded and able to view all the alternate paths. Go ahead and make those decisions. You can see the road ahead and will make the right choices. You can appreciate feelings and movement. You may want to just get out and walk or exercise this afternoon.

ZITS

Virgo (August 23-September 22) A positive attitude will help you to overcome difficulties, or harsh conditions. Keeping subjects light and positive encourages others to listen and respond to you in a productive and positive manner. There is a desire for outdoor or physical activity after work—there will be ample opportunities to partake in group sports of some sort. Your life takes on a kind of mysterious quality at the emotional and instinctive levels now. Dreams and illusions, forgiveness and understanding of human frailties arouse deep feelings. The barriers between people dissolve and therein are the keys to a greater psychic and spiritual sensitivity you feel now. A rewarding day at work brings about a fun attitude this evening. Later you enjoy a new book or movie.

Libra (September 23-October 22)

MOTHER GOOSE AND GRIMM

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Today is a great time to be with others and to work together. You may be sought after as just the person for a particular job— yes, again! From now until the end of this month you could be concerned about the health of a family member, perhaps an older relative. You may want to try some holistic medicine. You can demonstrate great understanding and sensitivity to the needs of others just now and are in a good position to communicate concerning groups and society in general. This is your favorite time of the year to travel—the energies for travel stay through the end of this month. Lovers, children and other people dear to your heart are emphasized at this time. A good conversation with those you love is possible.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Today is a very good day for job-related events. Your love relationship and your business relationships are on a firm ground. You may shine in your particular job or find that promotion or practical insights come with ease. You could represent or speak for your company or communicate about your skills. Ignore the gossip at work for now—it is just that—gossip. Close relationships and other ties between people become a focus for much of your energy. Family, home and the other roots in your life give you a sense of mission. There is growth and gain, particularly when it comes to matters of the home and home environment. You also may feel the need to bring your family closer together, acting like a parental figure to people at home.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

To

Yesterday’s Solution

Popularity, curiosity and travel are the highlight of this day. If you are in sales, a wisely placed and cleverly worded advertisement is the trigger for better sales. You should take care to examine all of your business matters, for it could lead to success. You are most concerned with your business future. You will, however, need to be less critical of others just now. Being the friendly sort, you interact with many types of people day and night. An off-the-cuff remark from a customer may spur your interest and you could end up spending quite a bit of time counseling an individual. There is a love for the underdog: such are the experiences associated with the new cycle you are now just beginning. There is a tendency to lean toward the exciting this evening.

In the workplace and at home, interruptions happen but it may sometimes be difficult for you to express yourself. Your ideas may temporarily become lost in the shuffle, so to speak. It may be important to take a step back and quietly look at the scene from a different perspective. Perhaps it is not time to push your ideas. How you deal with some unpleasant feelings will tell a great deal about yourself. If you are a parent or teacher, you may be noticing behavior problems with children. Teach bravery in reporting any bully behavior. You should encourage honest communications. You may be able to enjoy and value your own life situation this evening. There is a yen for romance at this time; you will love the relationship choices coming your way.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This could be a time where you could make a great move forward in your attempt to progress in positive ways with your coworkers. You want friends, not enemies, so any co-worker or higher up that seems difficult are not to become your project. This is a good time to tend to your own job responsibilities. You exercise caution and care in business dealings, both in the physical and financial realm. You are not under stress but you may be around others that are under stress. Energies around you will become more positive—spend your breaks in quiet repose. You are at your mental best with sharp ideas and clear thoughts. This is an excellent time to take care of some details that you put aside earlier. You will be finishing up a lot of overdue projects.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

There is a new creative talent developing now that you never knew you had! An investment you made recently may already be showing some real benefits. Another productive development is happening over some confusing issues over the past few days. As you can see, this is an industrious day. It is a great time for understanding, review, planning and uncovering lost items or information. Look to close friends for release of some restless energy this afternoon. You may desire to meet new and exciting people. It would, however, be better for you to mainstream your focus after work and to exercise your body and relax your thinking a little. You will run squarely into belly laughter this evening! Your career and your personal growth are motivating.


A

y

e niv rsar n

Years

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

i n f o r m at i o n

FIRE BRIGADE

112

Al-Madena

22418714

Al-Shohada’a

22545171

Al-Shuwaikh

24810598

Al-Nuzha

22545171

Sabhan

24742838

Al-Helaly

22434853

Al-Fayhaa

22545051

Al-Farwaniya

24711433

Al-Sulaibikhat

24316983

Al-Fahaheel

23927002

Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh

24316983

Ahmadi

23980088

Al-Mangaf

23711183

Al-Shuaiba

23262845

24812000

Al-Jahra

25610011

Amiri Hospital

22450005

Al-Salmiya

25616368

Maternity Hospital

24843100

Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital

25312700

Chest Hospital

24849400

Farwaniya Hospital

24892010

Adan Hospital

23940620

Ibn Sina Hospital

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

lifestyle G O S S I P

Adams gets a star of fame Crowe splashes $10m on Sydney house ollywood star Russell Crowe has splashed out Aus$10 million (US$10 million) on a Sydney house after a four-year search, a report said yesterday. The Oscar-winning actor bought a property in prestigious Rose Bay where he will live with wife Danielle Spencer and their two children aged seven and four, the Sydney Morning Herald said. The six-bedroom home is not on the waterfront, but instead overlooks the fairways of the Royal Sydney Golf Club. Born in New Zealand, Crowe has lived in Australia since he was a small child. He also has a luxury apartment in Sydney and a 320hectare rural property near Coffs Harbor, in New South Wales state.

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Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa team up for ‘stoner movie’

rammy-winning Canadian singer Bryan Adams was honored with a star on Hollywood’s storied Walk of Fame on Monday - with a little help from fellow countryman and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. The pair braved an unseasonal Los Angeles downpour to celebrate the 51-yearold being granted the 2,435th star on the storied walkway of stars along Hollywood Boulevard. “I remember being in Hollywood at the age of 16 and marveling at the stars,” Adams, a diplomat’s son who has had number one hit records in more than 40 countries. “The idea of being part of it never entered my mind. It was too far-fetched. Today, I’m humbled at the induction of my name. It’s fantastic,” he added, sheltering from the rain. National Hockey League’s all-time scoring leader Gretzky said the weather, rather than Los Angeles’ usual sunshine, was appropriate. “This is typical. I’ve been to an outdoor concert of Bryan’s where it was pouring rain and watched him perform his magic,” he said, calling Adams “a very humble Canadian” and adding: “I’m very proud to say he’s Canadian.” Adams was born in Ontario, but spend much of his youth in England, Israel, Portugal and Austria, following his father’s military postings. He hit the big time in 1983 with his third album Cuts Like a Knife, while his other hits have included Summer of ‘69, Run to You and Let’s Make It A Night to Remember. The singer - who is currently on tour, including a concert in Los Angeles on April 9 - won a Grammy Award for (Everything I Do) I Do It For You” from the 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Adams sang Canada’s national anthem before Gretzky’s final game in 1999, adding the line, “We’re gonna miss you Wayne Gretzky.” Gretzky, known as the “Great One” by his fans, retired holding 55 league records, including being the only player to record more than 200 points in one season which he achieved four times.

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ap icon Snoop Dogg and upstart Wiz Khalifa are teaming up for a new film, “High School,” which the former calls “a comedy stoner movie, a little something for the stoners.” Snoop told Billboard.com that the duo-who also joined forces for the song “This Weed is Mine” for his forthcoming “Doggumentary” album-will begin filming during the first week of May, and that the project grew out of a musical collaboration with the Pittsburgh MC “Just being a fan of his music and likewise, he called me to be on a remix,” Snoop said after his performance Saturday night at SXSW. “And from the remix, we became close friends and spent time together...[we] made six or seven songs and created an idea to do a movie and a soundtrack, and just a bond-to build a friendship and build a brotherhood.” There’s no timetable yet for the release and distribution of the “High School” film and soundtrack. Snoop starred in the 2010 movie “Malice in Wonderland,” while Khalifa is getting set for the March 29 release of his major label debut with his record, “Rolling Papers.” On the same day, Snoop drops “Doggumentary,” which is designed as a sequel to his 1993 debut album, “Doggystyle.” Snoop said that the album is “about going back to the studio and trying to make something that feels good, trying to make something that makes people feel good. “[It’s] just speaking from the heart; that’s what people tend to relate to more than anything, not a scripted plan or some sort of gimmick but more heartfelt music that feels good to me. And I know it’s going to feel good to you, ‘cause usually if it feels good to me, it’ll feel good to you, too.” The 21-track set features the singles “Wet” and “Bloom,” as well as guest appearances by Bootsy Collins, Gorillaz, Kanye West, John Legend, Eminem hype man Denaun Porter, T-Pain, Young Jeezy and more. —Reuters

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‘ Pinetop’ Perkins dies at 97 B lues musician Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins, who this year became the oldest person ever to win a Grammy Award, died at his Austin home Monday at age 97. “He went to take a nap and didn’t wake up,” said his manager, Patricia Morgan. Perkins won a Grammy, the music world’s top award, for best traditional blues album for “Joined at the Hip: Pinetop Perkins & Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith.” He also won a 2007 Grammy and a 2005 lifetime achievement Grammy. Perkins was born in 1913 on a cotton plantation near Belzoni, Mississippi, and became a sideman to blues legends such as Muddy Waters and Sonny Boy Williamson. Never learning to read-a shortcoming he once said cost him throughout his long career-Perkins picked cotton and was introduced to whiskey as a boy by

his mother. He ran away from home after his grandmother smashed a bottle over his head for not chopping firewood. The lanky Perkins began playing guitar at house parties and ramshackle “juke joints” in the South, and taught himself to play piano. He was forced to give up the guitar and stick to piano after a woman sliced open his arm in a Helena, Arkansas, nightspot. The doctor who sewed up the gash left the tendons in his left arm too short for him to finger chords on the guitar. “I can’t play piano like I used to either,” Perkins told the Chicago Tribune in a 2004 interview. “I used to have bass rolling like thunder. I can’t do that no more.” Perkins adopted his nickname after recording “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie,” which he composed for one of his mentors, Clarence “Pinetop” Smith.

Murphy to receive first Comedy Icon award

Lohan’s dad arrested in West Hollywood

ddie Murphy will receive the Comedy Icon Award at the first annual The Comedy Awards, scheduled to air Sunday, April 10 on multiple MTV Networks channels. The honor will be given yearly to a modern icon, an individual who has contributed to comedy and whose impact has changed the landscape and inspired future generations of enter tainers. Murphy will be recognized for his stand-up, sketch, film and T V work. Among the presenters and attendees at The Comedy Awards will be Tina Fey, Jon Stewar t, Jimmy Fallon, Trac y Morgan, South Park’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Ty Burrell, Louis CJ, Stephen Colber t, Rob Corddr y, Bill Hader, Chloe Moretz, Craig Robinson, Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig. The Roots will serve as the award ceremony’s house band.

uthorities in Los Angeles say Lindsay Lohan’s father has been arrested over allegations he held his girlfriend against her will and prevented her from calling police. Sheriff’s investigators say deputies were dispatched on a domestic violence call at 9 pm Monday to Michael Lohan’s apartment. A news release says the 51-year-old was booked for investigation of preventing a report of victimization, false imprisonment and infliction of corporal injury on a cohabitant, all felonies. Bail is set at $200,000. Authorities say the girlfriend refused treatment for minor injuries, but Michael Lohan was taken to a hospital after booking for a medical condition unrelated to the arrest. He has a history of arrests in New York over allegations of harassment from ex-girlfriends. The “Mean Girls” actress reportedly is estranged from her father.

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Ke$ha postpones Japan tour dates e$ha is the latest western musical act to cancel or postpone her upcoming tour of Japan citing the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The pop singer released a statement explaining the postponement through her Japanese promoter, Creativeman Productions, saying: “My heart is with Japan right now through this disaster and these hardships. I genuinely don’t think right now would be appropriate timing for me to perform in Japan given the content and the spirit of my show, which is all about feeling exuberant, rowdy, and wild. “I plan to bring my party there and to that part of the world when we are all ready to dance and Get $leazy together again,” she continued. “In the meantime I am going to do everything I can to help relief efforts and I encourage everyone in the world to do the same.” The singer kicks off a new U.S. string of shows on April 1 in Clarion, Pa Creativeman also announced it would cancel Springgroove, its annual spring R&B, soul and hip-hop festival scheduled for Makuhari Messe near Tokyo on April 2 and Zepp Osaka on April 3. Nelly and Flo Rida, among others, were set to headline. Creativeman’s annual hardcore festival, Punkspring, also has been canceled. Good Charlotte and Hoobastank were to headline the festival planned for alternating line-ups at Zepp Osaka and Zepp Nagoya on April 1 and 2 and Makuhari Messe on April 3.

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Years

lifestyle MUSIC & MOVIES

Female rockers bring girl power to China music scene

(Left) File photo shows Wang Hui, lead singer of the eight-piece swing band Chinese Hellcats, performing in a show honoring women on International Women’s Day in Beijing. (Above) Wang Jing — AFP photos

Firefighters are at work on the side of the Elysee Montmartre music hall in Paris where a fire broke out yesterday morning. —AFP

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Cradle of French Cancan hit by fire

he 18th-century music hall in Paris where the leggy, high-kicking French dance called cancan first graced a stage was severely damaged by fire early yesterday, municipal officials said. The Elysee Montmartre, in the shadow of Sacre Coeur, has been a fixture of glamorous Paris nightlife since it was built 200 ago. Police said faulty wiring was likely to blame for the fire, which destroyed part of the theater’s roof and interior before more than 70 firemen were able to put out the blaze. Besides being the cradle of the can-

can-later adopted by another notorious hotspot, the Moulin Rouge-the Elysee Montmartre also showcased works by writer Emile Zola and painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. A famous short story by Guy de Maupassant, The Mask, opens with a description of a lavish masquerade ball inside the theater. The 19th century French engineer Gustave Eiffel-creator of the Eiffel Tower-later added a metal framework to the building, which is now classified as a historical monument. No one was injured in the fire, local officials said. — AFP

D ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ tackles rural AIDS in China

irector Gu Changwei is praising the allstar cast he assembled in his first film in four years, a drama exploring how AIDS impacts a rural Chinese village. “Til Death Do Us Part” stars Zhang Ziyi, known for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and Hong Kong actorsinger Aaron Kwok as her love interest. The cast also includes Gu’s wife, actress Jiang Wenli, and veteran Chinese actor Pu Cunxin, as well as real AIDS patients. Gu said the role of an ostracized patient “really belonged to no one other than Ziyi.” Zhang, whose recent credits include the romantic comedy “Sophie’s Revenge” and the English-language thriller “Horsemen,” said her role as a social outcast was extremely absorbing. “It was very hard to separate myself from the character at any given moment. I was always living in the world of my character,” Zhang told The Associated Press on the sidelines of a news conference yesterday. Gu started as a cinematogra-

China, including Hong Kong, that will mainly play small underground clubs and bars. “ We are promoting ‘Queen of Fucking Everything,’ our newest album,” said Kang Mao. “I think we will be making some money on this tour. How much is hard to say, but I can tell you, SUBS is no longer losing money,” Kang Mao, who has traded a mohawk haircut for long flowing black hair, said between swigs of beer. But it remains a spartan life. The band will travel on public buses and trains, sometimes departing cities immediately after a gig and arriving at the next destination early the next morning to save on hotel bills. Nationwide tours are becoming increasingly common for Chinese rock bands, most of which have made names for themselves in

McCarthy

ing cat,” refuses to reveal her real identity, age or hometown. Probably in her late twenties or early thirties, she insists she comes from Mars. Now in its third decade in the world’s most populous nation, rock and roll has faced tough government censorship, a lack of support on state-controlled airwaves and rampant piracy of music copyrights. Yet more and more Chinese youths are picking up guitars and beating drumswith women fronting a variety of bands as the country’s increasing openness encourages many to break out of traditional female roles and sample new lifestyles. Founded in 2003, SUBS has released four albums and earlier this month the quartetthe other three members are menembarked on a 22-city, 37-day tour of

Eluding classification is ‘Win Win’ for

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hina’s veteran punk rock queen Kang Mao fiddles with her faux pearl necklace and leopard skin scarf as she dodges a journalist’s questions before a quiet acoustic set honoring women. As the lead singer for SUBS, she is one of the first women in China to front a band pumping out loud punk music and was the opening act for a Beijing show marking International Women’s Day on March 8. “I’m still a girl. Please don’t call me a woman,” she said with a wry smile. “ Tonight we are playing unplugged, no distortion, just clean, acoustic guitar,” she said, adding that the band is playing with “wooden instruments” or “muqin,” which in Chinese is a homonym for “mother.” Kang Mao, a stage name meaning “fight-

Beijing-the country’s rock hub-with its many live music venues and vibrant summer rock festivals. “Beijing is just a natural place to come to play rock music because as the capital it is the most open to new types of music and art,” said Wang Jing, lead singer of Bigger Bang, a band she co-founded in 2008 and named after a Rolling Stones album. Wang, 27, who sports a three-inch tattoo of the word “ENDURE” across the front of her neck, is originally from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, where she formally studied at a music institute. “But you have to love the music, you have to do it for the fun and the enjoyment of performing,” she said, before rocking the Women’s Day crowd with a version of the

band’s punk-funk anthem “Cry of Youth” while prancing across the stage in a set of bright pink tights. Bigger Bang is fresh from signing a record deal and hopes to have its first album out this year. “I think the future of rock and roll in China is bright,” said Wang Hui, lead singer of the Chinese Hellcats, an eight-piece swing band that plays covers of American jazz and rhythm and blues standards. “We are all optimistic about the future, but you cannot be playing rock for the money, you have to do it to make people happy,” she said. The tiny 33-year-old, who hails from southwest China’s Sichuan province, is the wife of Wang Jian, who plays lead guitar for both the Hellcats and Brain Failure, arguably China’s leading punk band. —AFP

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hile writer-director-actor Tom McCarthy was shooting his third film, “Win Win,” his star and longtime friend Paul Giamatti would occasionally turn to him and shake his head in befuddlement: “It’s a weird movie, and I can’t explain why.” McCarthy’s career is no easier to describe than his shape-shifting movies. He seems to run on parallel, never intersecting lines: An actor in films and TV shows like “The Wire” and “Boston Public”; a writer on the Oscarwinning Pixar film “Up”; an acclaimed independent filmmaker, lauded now three times for writing and directing “The Station Agent,” “The Visitor” and “Win Win,” which already earned glowing reviews at the Sundance Film Festival. “I’m a big believer in careers as something you look back on,” says the 45-year-old McCarthy over lunch in at a SoHo cafe near his New York apartment. “It’s gotten me this far.” “Win Win,” which Fox Searchlight will release March 18, stars Giamatti as Mike Flaherty, an elder-law attorney in a small New Jersey town who unwittingly sets off a chain reaction of events when he, in a weak moment of financial anxiety, takes guardianship of an aged client so that he can earn some extra cash. His family (Amy Ryan plays Mike’s wife) ends up taking in the client’s wayward, teenage grandson (Alex Shaffer), who proves an excellent wrestler - much to the delight of Mike, a high school wrestling coach (with Bobby Cannavale and Jeffrey Tambor as assistant coaches). It’s perhaps McCarthy ’s most crowd-pleasing movie, but it’s also very much in line with “The Visitor” and “The Station Agent.” All three are,

(From left) In this film publicity image released by Sony Pictures Classics, Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman are shown in a scene from ‘Barney’s Version.’ —AP above all else, humanistic films based on characters brought together in unlikely kinship. McCarthy acknowledges the theme comes from living in New York, where his girlfriend calls him “the mayor” for his widespread acquaintances. ( True to form, McCarthy greeted another patron at the cafÈ during the interview.) “I’ve revisited it in every one of my movies,” says McCarthy. “You can certainly link the two, and certainly find a lot of inspiration in terms of people and characters and lifestyles. ... Come on, that’s why I love New York.” McCarthy grew up in the town “Win Win” is set: New Providence, NJ The middle of five children, McCarthy’s father was in the textile industry. He didn’t have any designs on moviemaking or even acting, except for an early love of Broadway theater, which he’d

beg his parents to take him to. To help him get closer to suburban family life in New Providence, McCarthy developed the story of “Win Win” with a friend since childhood, Joe Tiboni, an elder law attorney. “I’ve kind of seen the evolution of Tom over the years, from my friend who got cut from the basketball team with me to the writer-director,” says Tiboni. “He had a good imagination and he was funny, but as far as envisioning him doing anything like this, I think everyone - including his family would resoundingly say ‘No.’” As an undergrad at Boston College, McCarthy fell in with a sketch comedy troupe, which he says was his “entry into it all”: writing and performing, the two of which would henceforth always be mixed, intertwining disciplines for McCarthy. —AP

pher for famed Chinese directors Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige on movies like “Red Sorghum,” “Ju Dou” and “Farewell My Concubine.” His directorial debut, the 2005 family drama “Peacock,” won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, and he followed it two years later with “And the Spring Comes,” starring his wife as a school teacher who aspires to be an opera singer. Gu and Jiang marveled at the “Til Death” performances by Zhang and Kwok, a heartthrob idol who has reinvented himself as a serious actor. He won back-to-back best actor trophies at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards — the Chinese industry’s equivalent of the Oscars — in 2005 and 2006 for the crime thriller “Divergence” and the drama “After This Our Exile.” Both Gu and Jiang said they couldn’t picture the glamorous Hong Kong star as a down-to-earth Chinese vil- Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, right, and Hong Kong actor Aaron Kwok attend a promotional event of their latest movie ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ in Hong Kong lager but were pleasantly surprised. —AP yesterday, as part of the events in Hong Kong International Film Festival. —AP


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lifestyle T r a v e l

Oil spill? Not that you can see from this Gulf Coast resort

Baytowne Village at Sandestin Golf and Beach resort offers shops, restaurants and activities for every taste.

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he dolphins, silvery and serene, skimmed through the translucent Gulf of Mexico in rhythm with the fluttering sails of the catamaran. The catamaran’s passengers peered at the dolphins with nothing less than absolute awe, pointing and laughing as the creatures occasionally surfaced and frolicked like small children at play. The spectacularly golden sun was just beginning its descent across the Gulf near Sandestin as the dolphins moved away into deeper water, signaling the cruise was almost at its end. That was just over a year ago, before last April’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill devastated Gulf Coast tourism. Now, just as the anniversary of the spill nears, you would be hard-pressed to find a tar ball along the clean white sand beaches of Northwest Florida. I came to the Gulf Coast to see for myself the effects of the oil spill. The dolphins and sea birds have returned as if nothing had ever been amiss, and except for the fact that you know what happened-it was on the news every day for months-life is returning to normal for beach tourism. Here at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort on Florida’s Gulf Coast-it’s known around these parts as the Emerald Coast because of its crystalline green waters-the forecast is looking rosy for bookings to make up for last year’s losses. Helping push up occupancy rates is the fact that this year’s record-breaking and seemingly endless snowfall across the entire United States have beach bums looking for a big, warm break. “The amount of snowfall the rest of the country receives directly correlates to spring travel here at the beach,” says John Russell, president of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. I’m struck that the 2,400 acres of Sandestin is just a huge palette of color. When I visited, the weather was near-perfect, complementing Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction that an early spring was at hand. The emerald water blends harmoniously with startlingly blue skies and incredibly white sand as soft as confectioner’s sugar. Hot pink and crimson oleander, contrasted here and there by delicate white blooms, sets the landscape ablaze. The palms, standing as sentries over the oleander, keep cadence with the gulf breezes. Sandestin’s wealth of family-friendly prospects for entertainment makes the resort one of the most wellknown and popular resorts along the entire Gulf Coast from the Florida Keys to Galveston. Even during the aftermath of the spill, guests came to stay at the resort, even if they didn’t go into the water, just because there’s so much to do here.

Coming from a town of fewer than 4,000 residents, I enjoy the small town atmosphere where everything is self-contained. The resort, recognized by Frommer’s as one of the top 2010 destinations in the world, is a melange of 30 neighborhoods that reach from the Gulf to Choctawhatchee Bay. Containing about 1,400 one- to five-bedroom villas, townhomes, and hotel accommodations, some with full kitchens and laundry facilities, the resort also has four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a marina, a fitness center, a spa, restaurants that also number 19 (fresh seafood, anyone?) and the Village of Baytowne Wharf, a pedestrian village with about 30 shops and boutiques.. “Once you check in, you really never have to leave this resort. We can cater to any need,” says Jason Draughn, director of activities at Sandestin. The focus is on the oil-free beach (well, except for suntan oil). Want to lie around and do nothing? Check. Boogie board? Check. Take a peaceful parasail journey? Check. (It’s soooo quiet when you’re up there in the air by yourself.) Go shelling or swimming? Search for sea turtles and dolphins? Check, check, and checkmate. If you like to fish, or even if you simply want to learn, try surf fishing, which still holds a certain mysticism about it and its back-to-the-basics premise of nothing more than man, water, and pole. Or if you’re more adventurous and like to get really wet, jet skiing might be more of your cup of sweet tea. “My husband and I come every year,” says a petite, tanned young lady named Deenie. “We live in South Carolina, which doesn’t have the white sand or green water like here, so it’s prettier than our beaches. My husband fishes, and I bring tons of books to read on the beach. It’s perfect for us.” Although the couple doesn’t have children, there is plenty to do for couples who do, including the Club KZ (KidZone), which has fully supervised programs to include fishing, swimming, arts and crafts, field trips, and nature walks. There’s even a “Kids Night Out” program with supervised activities and dinner. For teens, there’s live music and mingling at Finz Pool Deck. Other teen-friendly activities include an arcade, a zip-line and ropes course, sailing classes at the marina, miniature golf and a popular inflatable water park in the bay that was installed last year in response to the oil spill. With effects of the oil spill now just a memory, Sandestin will celebrate this spring with a wide range of events to welcome back Gulf Coast guests, including

The sugar-fine, white sand is one of the reasons families are drawn to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

Easter brunch. And from April 28 until May 1, the 25th annual Sandestin Wine Festival features cuisine and tastings from more than 600 domestic and international wines with representatives from 80 vineyards from around the world. “Oil spill?” laughs South Carolinian Deenie when I asked her if Deepwater Horizon had affected her plans for coming this year. She looked out over the Gulf searching for dolphins and shook her head, “What oil spill? I don’t see any oil. And let’s all hope that we don’t see any of that ever again.”—MCT

From water rides to jet skis, Choctawhatchee Bay at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers an exhilarating change of pace with plenty of water sports.

Luxury villa accommodations at the Grand Sandestin offer plenty of space for families or friends to spread out with multiple bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and laundry, all within walking distance of dining and shopping at the Village at Baytowne Wharf.


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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

Years

lifestyle F a s h i o n

Hat maker Abbie Dwelle lines a fedora at Paul’s Hat Works .

Store manager Macy Torres holds a traditional Panama hat.

Assistant store manager Chris Brodell adjusts the merchandise at the Goorin Bros. — MCT photos

Men’s hats are hot again J

ason Ursua has been sporting baseball caps his whole life. But about two years ago, the 28-year-old expanded his hat collection to include cadet caps and wool fedoras. He now owns 10 “grown up” hats from Berkeley, Calif’s Goorin Bros, and tosses them on to complete his evening looks. “It’s a fresh, mature look,” said Ursua of Pinole, Calif “And everyone’s wearing them now.” He’s right. From the recent runway shows of Milan and Paris to the men of hip-hop and Hollywood, hats are hot. But the current hat culture is different from that of the pre1960s, when men didn’t leave the house without a long brim fedora. Experts say it was more about conformity and etiquette then, and that today’s man wears hats-from bombers and fedoras to cadets and newsboys-to showcase his style and individuality. Jason Avery of San Francisco says he selects which hat to wear depending on his mood. He owns seven fedoras ranging in price from $60 to $230 and says for him, spending time in a hat shop is not unlike a woman in a shoe store. He could roam around for hours. “If it’s a suit night, I’ll wear a black fedora,” says Avery, 38. “But if we’re going out dancing, I’ll go with a lighter weight gray one with a blue rim.” On summer days, he’ll go even lighter, with a whitetrimmed oatmeal-colored hat. “For me, it goes back to my cultural roots,” says Avery, who is half African-American and grew up in New York. “When we’d go out as a family on the weekends, my grandpa always dressed up and wore a hat.” But hats are not just for dressing up. As the co-owner of Jorcal Hat Co in San Jose, Calif ‘s Westfield Oakridge Mall, Rick Callender sees a range of customers and their hat expressions. “You’d be surprised how many guys I see at the mall in jeans, a T-shirt, and a fedora,” says Callender, who opened his shop in 2009. He says he was looking to open a business that was on the cutting edge of fashion. “In mid-2008, I was looking at stars who wear hats, like Usher, Brad Pitt and Justin Timberlake,” continues Callender, who sells a lot of driving caps at the moment.

“And it was then that I said, ‘This accessory is going to make a comeback.’” That’s the thing-now, hats are a fashion accessory, says Macy Torres, the store manager at Berkeley’s Goorin Bros., a San Francisco-based company that’s been in the business since 1865. “Hat culture has totally changed,” she says. “It’s not about etiquette or taking your hat off in front of a lady anymore. It’s about fashion. And in a tough economy, it makes a lot more sense to buy a $45 hat than an expensive suit or new outfit.” Goorin Bros., which has four locations in the Bay Area, has done its part to casualize and modernize hats by shortening brims on fedoras and offering cotton blends and a broad range of patterns. Some are made with recycled materials and are designed by local artists. Not exactly the vibe you get from watching AMC’s “Mad Men.” Hats made their slow exit when President John F. Kennedy showed up to his 1961 inauguration with a bare head, says Michael Carbaugh, an instructor in the School of Fashion at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University. The counterculture took off, roof clearances on cars were reduced, and hats became a symbol of conformity, almost a nuisance, he adds. “Men who wear hats in contemporary society are celebrating their personalities,” says Carbaugh, who was particularly fond of the big, broad-brimmed Borsalinos at the Lanvin show in Paris last month. “Wearing a hat says, ‘I’ve got style.’” The current hat culture may be fueled by fashion and celebrity trends, but hat lovers like Carmelo Santiago of Castro Valley are happily stuck in the past. Every time Santiago reaches for his bowler or fedora, he is reminded of his father, who wore his hats pulled down low in the front, or his grandfather, who never left the house without a cowboy hat. “When you find the right one, it’s like wearing a suit,” Santiago says. “You feel like a million bucks.” If you shop at Paul’s Hat Works in San Francisco, where handmade beaver fur felt hats start at $650, you could spend close to a million on a hat collection. Hat mak-

er Abbie Dwelle and her three co-owners took over the shop and its 93-year legacy in 2009. They source all materials, from the felt and leather to the ribbon bands that wrap around fedoras, in the United States, and hand sew everything to order in the shop. Recently, she’s seeing a lot of young faces. “We’re starting to see high schoolers coming in looking for short brim fedoras with Mom’s assistance,” Dwelle says. But the majority of her customers are men who are not shocked by the sticker price and understand the value and quality of their hats. “I see men who realize, ‘Hey, I look really smart and classy and this is not a baseball cap so I look more like a man,’ she says. “‘I want more.’” Hat wear 101 First time hat shopper? Follow these simple rules from Macy Torres of Goorin Bros in Berkeley, Calif, to find your perfect hat. Placement: Make sure the hat sits at your ears, not above or below them. Fit: Most hats stretch over time, so make sure it fits snugly on your head. Proportion: You might think big cheeks or a long nose means you can’t wear a certain hat. Not true. Try it on or ask a salesperson to help you find a hat that is proportional to your face. Seasons. Just like clothes, hatmakers release hats seasonally, but you can rock a wool or felt fedora year round. Mood: You can change the feel of your hat by wearing it differently. Wearing a fedora on the back of the head makes it casual. Tilted on top of the head with the rim flipped down gives a more mysterious, dressed-up look. — MCT Carmelo Santiago, of Castro Valley, enjoys a cappuccino at a cafe sporting one of his hats.—MCT

Models display outfits by Ukrainian designer Voronin during a Fashion Week in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday. — AP


Female rockers bring girl power to China music scene

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

Kate Middleton Rolls-Royce to use repaired

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ate Middleton will arrive at Westminster Abbey for her April 29 wedding in a Rolls-Royce that was damaged in December when Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were attacked by student protesters, officials said yesterday. The distinctive claret and black 1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI will have its damaged paintwork and windows repaired by the royal couple’s wedding day, officials promised. The car was damaged Dec. 9 when a mob protesting student fee hikes hit the car with sticks and bottles. “There was paint damage and damage to the glass,” said Alex Garty, transport manager at Buckingham Palace. “The repairs are ongoing. We’re using that opportunity to give her a 60-

The 1902 State Landau carriage at the Royal Mews in central London Monday . —AP photos

An H J Mulliner bodied 1950 Rolls Royce Royal Phantom IV (5.7 Litre Straight 8) state car at the Royal Mews.

The Glass Coach at the Royal Mews in central London.

minute makeover, so she will look her best for the wedding.” Royal brides have typically arrived for their weddings in special horse-drawn coaches, but Middleton has decided to travel to the church by car. After the ceremony, she and Prince William will ride in an open-topped 1902 State Landau horse-drawn carriage for the procession back to Buckingham Palace, unless inclement weather leads them to use the famed “Glass Coach,” which has a fixed roof to keep rain at bay. The 1902 State Landau, housed at the Royal Mews near Buckingham Palace, was built for King Edward VII for use at his coronation. It is typically used by the queen to meet foreign heads of state on official visits to Britain. Charles used it to travel to St. Paul’s Cathedral for his 1981 wedding, leaving the cathedral with Princess Diana. The crowd-pleasing Glass Coach, which will be used only if there is steady rain, was built in 1881. In the past it has been used to carry royal brides, including Diana and Sarah Ferguson, to their weddings. Charles’ press office yesterday released details about the procession indicating there would be five horsedrawn carriages. The first would carry William and his bride. The next two carriages would carry Prince Harry, the best man, and Pippa Middleton, the maid of honor, and the bridesmaids. The next carriage will carry Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, followed by a carriage with Prince Charles, Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall, and Michael and Carole Middleton, the bride’s parents. — AP

Zippo’s burning ambition lies in retail expansion

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ippo lighters have retained their retro cool even as the tiny Pennsylvania company that makes them gets ready to celebrate its 80th anniversary and 500 millionth lighter next year.But with pressure increasing on folks not to smoke, Zippo Manufacturing Co. is hoping to capitalize on its brand by offering a wider variety of products-from watches to leisure clothing to cologne-through kiosks and Zippo-brand specialty stores designed to showcase the durable image reinforced by each distinctive lid “click” of its brass-encased, lifetime-guaranteed lighters. Realizing that producing 18 million lighters a year in the mid-1990s was probably the company’s highwater mark — Zippo’s 550 employees will produce about 12 million lighters this year — the company started marketing research before president and chief executive officer Gregory Booth was hired 10 years ago. The surveys asked consumers the question Booth must answer today: “What kind of products could we sell other than cigarette lighters that people would accept as Zippo products?” The research shows the companytucked into a valley above the Allegheny National Forest, some 130 miles (210 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh-could sell other products-if they fit Zippo’s image, which Booth describes as “rugged, durable, made in America, iconic.” “It has to be something that feels like Zippo,” Booth said of the

travel bags, backpacks, watches, sunglasses, jeans and leisure shirts, wallets, pens, liquor flasks, outdoor hand warmers, playing cards and even a fragrance. Manufactured by Italian perfumer Mavive, it comes in a lighter-shaped canister (and, yes, a lid that clicks). Marketing experts said all that makes sense provided that Zippo’s new products stay true to the brand-and that the company learns quickly that selling jeans, or any other product, comes with a whole menu of unique business complexities. “A brand is just a story attached to a product. Like any narrative, it carries sensation. Zippo’s story is ‘manly independence,”‘ said James Twitchell, a marketing expert whose book “Lead Us Into Temptation: The Triumph of American Materialism” argues that Americans have increasingly turned to brand names, instead of religion, for their identity. “As long as this narrative is in place it can be attached to any other product as long as the product doesn’t contradict the story line,” Twitchell said, noting Eddie Bauer-branded sport-utility vehicles nonetheless stay true to the sportswear company’s image of “wanderlust.” Another branding consultant who founded the self-named PaulJLucas.com in Washington, DC, said Zippo’s plans remind him of the success that Victorinox Swiss Army Brands Inc. has had selling watches, luggage, clothing and fragrances. —AP

Bosnian Catholic, Franciscan priest, Marko Kepic stands next to 2 meters tall Easter egg, at St George church in the central-Bosnian town of Vitez , 80 kms west of Sarajevo yesterday. The egg is an art piece by three artists from neighboring Croatia which is to be displayed in public in April 2011, for the upcoming Easter Sunday. — AP

Statues of Pope a hit ahead of beatification

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sing a chisel, sculptor Czeslaw Dzwigaj works wet clay to shape a small fold in the robe on a statue of John Paul II ordered for the beatification of the late pope at the Vatican on May 1. Ahead of the historic event, Dzwigaj’s studio in the Rzaska suburb of the southern Polish city of Krakow has been flooded with orders for statues of the Polish-born pontiff. “Orders continue to pour in,” said Dzwigaj. “With the beatification, priests now want a statue in their church with a reliquary at the base so parishioners can practice the cult of devotion of John Paul II.” The artist is currently working on his 72nd statue of the pope, whom many Poles regard as having played a key role in toppling communism in their country and whom the Vatican has put on a fast-track to sainthood. “We used more than one-and-a-half tones of clay for this pope which is three meters (nearly 10 feet) high. The model is ready for us to

A sculpture created by Polish sculptor Czeslaw Dzwigaj showing Pope John Paul II is pictured near a church in Nowy Wisnicz . —AFP

File photo shows a worker rolls equipment past a collection Zippo lighters showing some of the artwork printed on the casings at the Zippo Manufacturing Co factory. —AP Polish sculptor, Czeslaw Dzwigaj gives a final touch to his last monument showing Pope John Paul II in a workshop in the outskirts of Krakow on March 14, 2011. — AFP

make a plaster cast. Then it will go to a foundry to be cast in bronze. The assembly must be completed by the end of April,” the 61-year-old sculptor said. The statue was commissioned by the parish of Kwaczala, just east of Krakow. Beside it lies another statue-in-themaking of the pope-the 73rd commissioned by the city of Kaunas in Poland’s northern neighbour Lithuania. It depicts Karol Wojtyla as the pontiff standing on a globe-shaped pedestal, leaning on his pastoral staff and blessing the faithful with his right hand. “Currently, there are over 640 statues of the late pontiff across Poland, 30 more will be erected before his beatification. Worldwide, there are about 300, mostly in Latin America,” said Kazimierz Ozog, an art historian from the University of Opole in south-western Poland. But Dzwigaj insists that the pope was never very fond of all these sculptures. “He was very modest, but also knew he couldn’t do anything to stop this cult of devotion,” he said. Some statues that come out of his studio go as far abroad as the United States, Canada and Argentina. “I also have ones in Liechtenstein, Australia and Germany. Recently, I was contacted by a city in Japan,” he boasted. “Shortly after the pope’s death in 2005, orders peaked,” added Zbyszek Karnas, himself a sculptor who has collaborated with Dzwigaj for the last 27 years. “Every week we started a pope. It was crazy,” he said, as he covered a new statue in a plastic sheet to prevent the clay from drying and cracking. Twenty or so of the plaster models of Dzwigaj’s statues of Jean Paul II are on display in a castle in Nowy Wisnicz, near Krakow. They show the pope sitting, kneeling, standing or working at a desk, reciting the Angelus prayer from his window at the Vatican or blessing children. But for art historian Ozog, most sculptures of the pope are kitsch. Recently, there is even a trend to produce them using synthetic resins in workshops specializing in garden gnomes. “They’re cheap, about 2,000 euros (2,828 dollars) and are delivered in a few days,” he said. Although John Paul II forbade the removal of any of his bones for use in the cult of devotion, some of his relics have surfaced. Dzwigaj’s workshop has been commissioned to create a statue of the pope that will contain a lock of his hair, regarded as a relic of the first degree. Relics of the second degree, or objects used by the pope, are more common and include pieces of cloth from his clothes. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the archbishop of Krakow and the late pope’s long-time secretary, keeps the most precious relic: a vial of blood. —AFP


23 Mar