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Syrian president blames protests on ‘conspirators’


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China executes three Filipinos

India stifle Pakistan to reach WCup final

Israeli minister proposes Gaza artificial island

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quit amid grillings Lawmaker files to grill foreign minister

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By B Izzak and Agencies KUWAIT: Kuwait’s cabinet is expected to quit today after lawmakers asked to grill three ministers, the latest in a series of challenges by an unusually assertive Arab parliament that have delayed important economic reforms. Kuwait’s parliament, the most outspoken in a Gulf region mostly dominated by ruling families, has triggered numerous cabinet resignations or reshuffles through questionings. Parliamentary sources said the cabinet was set to submit its resignation after lawmakers asked to question three ministers who are ruling family members, including the oil exporter’s energy minister, who is also the information minister. The sources said they expected the Amir, HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, to reappoint Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah to form another cabinet. Meanwhile, Shiite MP Saleh Ashour yesterday filed a request to grill the foreign minister as a political crisis loomed large over Kuwait with strong rumors the cabinet or a number of ministers plan to resign. National Assembly speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi said he was not informed of a cabinet resignation and the question should be asked to the prime minister, while Communications Minister and government spokesman Mohammad Al-Baseeri declined to comment on the rumors. Continued on Page 14

from the editor’s desk

Yes-men’s council?

By Abd Al-Rahman Alyan


sat down in my office as usual last night following the news as I enjoyed a snack of kheema and chapati bought by my Indian colleagues in Kuwait Times in celebration of India’s cricket victory (better luck next time, Pakistan). Anyway, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s speech was replayed and I began to watch it. Halfway through the speech, I got fed up of the hypocrisy that the members of the People’s Council in Syria showed during the president’s speech. Every time he finished a sentenced, the whole chamber would interrupt with slogans of praise and some member would recite a poem glorifying the president, followed by cheers and applause by all the members. I am not against Bashar Al-Assad as I strongly believe that he has made a lot of changes to improve the situation of Syria internally and externally, and he is probably one of the best presidents in Syria’s history. However, the question that always runs through my mind is when are we Arabs going to stop the hypocrisy of glorifying our leaders and making them falsely believe that they can never be wrong. I am sure that Bashar AlAssad did not ask or force the members of the chamber to act in a manner that undermines the responsibilities of such a council. It was probably a high-ranking official from either the government or the council who orchestrated such a hypocritical and flattering reception for the young president, who I am sure would rather hear the true opinion of the people and the advice of the council on what the people want. This meaningless false praise makes it difficult for a leader who wants reforms for his country and prevents him from knowing what problems need to be fixed and where his attention is required. This unfortunately is the case in many Arab countries, including Kuwait. I remember once when I was sitting with my late father having our usual talks about the history of Kuwait, he told me an interesting anecdote about the late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. As he sat with him one day, my father asked him about a rumor he had heard: “Your Highness, I heard that when you travel with your friends, they all chip in for the expenses of the trip. Is this true?” Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem replied: “Yes my son, it’s true. Why do you look so surprised?” My dad said: “Because you are the Amir, the sheikh and the ruler, and it is expected that they will all be guests of your generosity.” Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem responded: “That may be right, but we all chip in because when I ask for my friends’ opinions, I want them to feel free to say ‘You are wrong, Abdullah’ and not say ‘Yes you are right, Your Highness’.” This is proof that the Amir obviously felt that the true opinion of people around him would make him a better ruler, and would make his government more successful. This should be the case in every country and with every government.

Kuwait recalls its envoy from Iran KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah greets children at a ceremony yesterday that honored doctors who have worked at the Ministry of Health over the past 30 years. — KUNA (See Page 3)

MoH honors doctors KUWAIT: Minister of Health Dr Hilal Al-Sayer hailed yesterday efforts made by doctors who have worked at the Ministry of Health in Kuwait over the past 30 years as well as the efforts made by new doctors to serve their country. Al-Sayer said, in his address before the honoring ceremony held under the patronage of HH the Amir for doctors who have served for 30 years at the Ministry of Health, that this first generation of doctors devoted their prime of youth for the treatment of patients, so they deserve honor and appreciation for their efforts. Al-Sayer added that the Ministry of Health has seen big progress since it was first established as a Public Health Department in 1936 up till now, noting

that the ministry continues to be in step with the state-of-the-art developments in the medical field. The Ministry of Health has made big strides toward providing healthcare to citizens and residents alike, so it has established public and specialized hospitals and health centers in various areas and equipped them with cutting-edge medical equipment, Al-Sayer remarked. Al-Sayer said that the ministry has paid much attention to training national cadres inside or outside the country, and constantly supported scientific research and organized international medical and scientific conferences and workshops to tap into Continued on Page 14

Bahrain’s oppn head wants Iran, Saudi out Manama fears sectarian overspill in the Gulf MANAMA: Bahrain’s Shiite opposition head Ali Salman yesterday warned Iran and Saudi Arabia against using his countr y as a “battlefield” in a proxy war. Salman urged Iran to keep out of the Sunni-ruled state’s affairs and called on Saudi troops to leave the countr y. Bahrain’s foreign minister, meanwhile, renewed accusations that Lebanon’s Shiite militant group Hezbollah, which is backed by Tehran, was “training” regime opponents in the Shiite-majority country. “ We urge Iran not to meddle in Bahraini internal affairs,” opposition head

Ali Salman said, also demanding the withdrawal of Saudi-led troops in a joint Gulf force deployed in Bahrain since midMarch to help quash the protests. “We demand Saudi Arabia withdraw the Peninsula Shield forces,” he told a press conference. “We do not want Bahrain to turn into a battlefield” for Saudi Arabia, which is predominantly Sunni, and Shiite Iran, its arch-foe. Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said last week that bringing in Gulf troops was a “strategic and political” blunder that would cost the Bahraini Continued on Page 14

LIBYAN COAST: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) launches a Tomahawk cruise missile from the ship’s bow, off the Libyan coast. Barry is currently supporting Joint Task Force (JTF) Odyssey Dawn. — AP

Outgunned Libya fighters flee east

Qaeda hails Mideast ‘tsunami of change’ LONDON: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has welcomed the wave of revolutions engulfing the Middle East as a “tsunami of change”, the SITE monitoring service said yesterday. Several articles in the latest issue of the group’s English-language e-magazine “Inspire” reflect on the recent upheavals-which have been driven by popular discontent with poor governance, rather than Islamist militancy. Al-Qaeda’s most influential English-language preacher said revolts sweeping the Arab world would help rather than harm its cause by giving Islamists freed from tyranny greater scope to speak out. Western and Arab officials say the example set by young Continued on Page 14

KUWAIT: Kuwait has recalled its ambassador from Tehran a day after a court condemned to death three people it convicted of spying for Iran, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah was quoted as saying yesterday. In the remarks published by Al-Watan newspaper on its website, the minister said that the oil-rich emirate would expel any Iranian diplomat proved to have links with the spy ring. Kuwait’s criminal court condemned to death two Iranians and a Kuwaiti on Tuesday for passing key military information to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. A Syrian and a stateless Arab were handed life terms in the espionage trial, while an Iranian man and the only woman defendant-daughter of one of the two Iranians on death row-were acquitted. The three men condemned to death and the Syrian were all serving in the Kuwaiti army at the time of their arrest in May 2010, while the stateless Arab was an ex-soldier. The defendants were accused of spying for Iran and of passing information about Kuwaiti and US troop deployments in the Gulf emirate to the Revolutionary Guards, an accusation denied by Iran. — AFP

West mulls arming rebels

MANAMA: Opposition leaders (left to right) Fadhel Abbas, Hameed Murad, Sheikh Ali Salman and Hassan Madan, seen during a press conference yesterday in Manama, Bahrain. — AP

AJDABIYA: Loyalist forces overran the Libyan towns of Ras Lanuf, Uqayla and Brega yesterday, scattering outgunned rebels as world powers mulled arming the rag-tag fighters seeking to oust Muammar Gaddafi. AFP reporters and rebel fighters said Gaddafi’s troops swept through the oil town of Ras Lanuf, 300 kilometers east of Gaddafi’s hometown Sirte, soon after dawn, blazing away with tanks and heavy artillery fire. Panicked rebels called for coalition

air strikes on Gaddafi’s forces as they fled in their hundreds eastwards through Uqayla, where they briefly regrouped, then on to Brega, where they also halted temporarily before charging to the main city of Ajdabiya, 120 kilometers away. “We want two things: that the planes drop bombs on Gaddafi’s tanks and heavy artillery; and that they (the West) give us weapons so we can fight,” rebel fighter Yunes Abdelghaim said. Continued on Page 14



2010 report cites drop in human rights in Kuwait

In my View

Sectarian strife

Expat workers still face problems

Starbucks celebrates Diwan Book Club second anniversary KUWAIT: In collaboration with Starbucks, the Diwan Book Club yesterday celebrated its second anniversary and unveiled its new club logo at the Starbucks store located in the American University of Kuwait. The event was held in the presence of club members, guests from the Kuwait Writers Association, the Kuwait Artists Association and members of the media. Diwan Book Club members were honored at the event for their contribution to the club over the past two years. Their commitment has firmly cemented the monthly club meetings as a positive platform that inspires Kuwaitis to share their passion for literature and art. Designed to engage local writers, bloggers, artists and cultural organizations, Diwan Book Club hopes to increase its membership as more Kuwaitis embrace the club’s objectives of empowering and educating its members through literature and cultural forums. Starbucks hosts the monthly club meetings, led by writer and club President Yousef Khalifa, providing a place where over 40 Diwan Book Club members, including writers, artists, professionals and students, can meet to discuss their perspectives on a selected book each month. Commenting on the anniversary celebration, Yousef Khalifa, Diwan Book Club President said: “Another fantastic year has passed for the Diwan Book Club. As well as increasing our membership to over 40 members we have explored and reviewed over 12 books in the past year - an incredible feat for such a young club. Our goal is to bring people together in celebration of literature and I am proud to confirm our success in achieving this. As we launch our new logo, our second year will include further initiatives to increase our local club community to over 80 members who together embrace the power of the written word.” Rana Shaheen, Regional CSR and Communications Manager at Starbucks MENA region said: “It is with great pleasure and pride that we celebrate the second anniversary of this wonderful club. This long-term partnership underlines Starbucks’ commitment to engage and empower the local communities in which it operates. In addition to learning more about the heritage of the Arab world, members regularly review and discuss English books to widen their knowledge of the literary world in a comfortable and relaxed café atmosphere. We look forward to working with Diwan Book Club for many more years to come, helping to ensure that literature and art remain at the forefront of our Arabic culture.” Residents over 18 years of age are invited to join Diwan Books Club for free by registering online at

KUWAIT: The human rights situation in Kuwait has dropped notably in 2010 due to several incidents including violations to the freedom of speech and right to demonstrate as well as the suppression of peaceful political activities. In its annual repor t the Kuwait Human Rights Society (KHRS) mentioned these offenses as well as recapped the positive and negative developments that took place in the state’s human rights sector in the past year. The report mentioned numerous unfortunate events in 2010. “The country [in 2010] featured numerous incidents of excessive force by police officers to disperse peaceful gatherings,” the report read. It specifically mentioned the violence that occurred outside of MP Jamaan Al-Harbash’s diwaniya on Dec 8, 2010. The report said that the law needs to be completely revisited so that it can be replaced by an updated law more compatible to the country’s constitution. The KHRS refers to the strict amendments made to the audiovisual and press law as “a step in the opposite direction” for the government. The society refers to article 36 of the Kuwaiti constitution which protects the freedom of opinion, expression and scientific research and demanded the cancelation of any regulations that put obstacles on the freedom of the press. The 2010 report also

included demands to improve the condition of detention centers, shelters and care homes. It reported several negativities while touring the country’s jails, police stations and home care centers for children and the elderly. The report mentioned the new labor law in the private sector, enforced in June of last year, and said that despite being better than the original law it has still failed to curb the problems expatriate workers face in Kuwait including human trafficking. The report also criticized the lack of improvement for bedoons in addition to the amendments that the government proposed on the audiovisual and press laws. They described the amendments as a step away from improving freedoms. Regarding stateless residents, the report first acknowledges the government’s efforts to establish a central body whose duty is to find a solution to the decades-long problem based on the naturalization of holders of documents for the 1965 census. This would allow remaining residents to obtain basic human rights in education, health, employment and various legal documents. At the same time KHRS raised questions about the government’s ability to carry out decisions favoring bedoons and demanded that the Bedoon Authority provide more clarification on the subject. The KHRS report considers 2010 an

important year in labor rights in Kuwait. It acknowledged the conditions that the new regulation introduced to improve the situation of private sector laborers including minimum salaries, terms of leave and job transfers. On the other hand, the society expressed skepticism on whether the law will be applied appropriately and mentioned that a substantial amount of violations are still being committed by employers against their employees, such as delayed salaries and refusing to allow workers the right to look for other jobs. However, the society indicated that the number of violations recorded in 2010 have dropped compared to previous years. Meanwhile, the KHRS said that legislation on behalf of domestic workers needs to be followed up on since domestic workers are not covered by the labor law. The report applauded efforts made in women’s rights, particularly the enforcement of the women’s housing law by the parliament’s women’s affairs committee. However, the report also noted that the law needs more clarification so that all parts of the Kuwaiti community can benefit from the law. The report noted that Kuwaiti women are still facing trouble getting job promotions or being appointed as judges or public prosecutors.

Sandstorm causes no water shortages KUWAIT: The Ministry of Electricity and Water rejected news suggesting that certain areas of Farwaniya and Hawally governorates were affected by water shortages following last Friday’s sandstorm, reported Al-Qabas. Ministry sources quoted in a recent news report said that no cuts in supply were detected during or after the sandstorm. They explained that the shortages that some houses suffered from may have been a result of problems in water pipes inside homes or due to overconsumption. Meanwhile, the sources also asserted that no increase in the salinity percentage of tap water had been detected according to the test results that were conducted following consumersí complaints.

By Fouad Al-Obaid


unni, Shiite, Christian, Jew, plug in any other religion or religious denomination and you come up with one reality; we are all human beings trying to find a path towards understanding our world and our place in it. The problem with having overzealous attitudes towards brethren of different ideological backgrounds is a certain means towards ensuring the sprout of conflict. We can all get along together in peace and harmony if we decide to see our differences as sources of inspirations rather than causes for hate. Religion and spirituality are good for the soul while peace and stability are essential for the well being of the body. If the two are combined intelligently then we have a recipe for success in a region that has been both the cradle of civilization and the source of three major world religions that claim to be interrelated. The reality is that they are fiercely fighting one another in an open battle for the mind and souls of the masses. Competition is good. Promoting one’s faith in an open space can and should be tolerated. However, when religion becomes an open tool for political control it is no different than any weapon of mass destruction when the desired outcome is utter chaos. In the case of the latter, governments the world over should be intelligent in the way they frame the situation. One should see sectarian strife when supported and encouraged by a foreign element with clear destabilizing objectives in the right angle. They should force governments to take proactive roles to subtly control and correct misguided ideologies that encourage separation rather than integration. In the case of what is currently unraveling in Bahrain the dangers and implication are clear for the region. Tehran is actively meddling in the internal affairs of many countries in the region and this comes as no surprise. What is surprising is the reaction to this meddling that has far often been too passive and without any real counter influence exercised by Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) states, especially in countries that lay in our periphery. It is one thing to support an air campaign against Gaddafi in Libya, who is unquestionably a brutal dictator, however it is hard to engage in such an act when one’s own household is far from being just, let alone democratic. If we are to support the ouster of dictators in faraway lands we ought to consider doing just that within our vicinity. We hear many sermons delivered on Friday calling the West all sorts of names by preachers who for the most part are at best lost in translation or at worst uneducated grumpy men who believe that power comes with loud voices and thin ideas rather than strong ideas spread around in a modest voice. I hope to see the day when we realize that complaining endlessly about things is pointless. If things need to be fixed I call on every able body, mind and soul to do its share of the work to ensure that we live in a world filled with peace, bliss and happiness. That way the legacy we provide to our children is one that we can all be proud of.

Draft law for national transportation body

KUWAIT: Ministry of Health laboratory technicians staged a protest yesterday in front of the parliament building demanding more financial privileges. — Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

Kuwait asked to mediate in Yemen KUWAIT: Several Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are reportedly appealing for Kuwait to mediate and help contain the current trouble in Yemen, Al-Rai newspaper reported yesterday. According to official GCC sources, Kuwait is being asked to handle this duty due to the great confidence that it has from both the leadership and the public at the southwestern Arabian Peninsula nation.

The sources listed numerous contributions that Kuwait has made to support Yemen’s development, including projects financed by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, as well as charity projects funded by Kuwaiti charitable organizations. They further indicated that those aspects make Kuwait more fit than any other nation to be accepted as a sponsor for dialogue by both the leadership and the

Ministry, KISR sign MoU on energy, water, environmental research KUWAIT: Ministr y of Electricity and Water

(MoEW ) and Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) signed here yesterday a KD 6-billion memorandum of understanding (MoU) for five years for bankrolling research on energy, water and environment. Minister of Electricity and Water Dr. Bader AlShuraiaan said, in a statement yesterday, that the ministry attaches great importance to scientific research as it is included within its policies as part of the development plan, adding that such move lends support to decision-making process, making it based on scrutinized scientific rudiments, in addition to upgrading efficiency, and improving resource management. He also expressed his confidence in KISR, asserting that it wields huge potentials and expertise that accumulated over the past 45 years under the institute’s administration, and its technical team, wishing them all success.

opposition in Yemen. Earlier this month His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah mediated talks between the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman to end tensions that had been going on between the two neighboring states for months. There have also been reports suggesting that Kuwait might also help mediate between the opposition and government of Bahrain.

Free healthcare for bedoons KUWAIT: The Assistant Undersecretary of Financial Affairs at the Ministry of Health, Mohammed AlAzmi announced that upon a Cabinet decision that all ID holders with indefinite nationality (bedoons or stateless people) would be exempted from paying any fees for healthcare or medicine at government hospitals and clinics, reported Al-Watan. Further, Al-Azmi explained that the exemption would involve health insurance and checkup fees at hospitals or polyclinics and announced that expatriate children with cancer would be treated free of charge. Meanwhile, he added that bedoons that have already applied to work as teachers in public schools last summer seem to have lost hope in such a career since the Civil Services Commission (CSC) asked the Ministry of Education not to raise the subject again. However, official sources stressed that in an attempt to cover up the shortage of teaching staff members the Minister of Education, Dr Moudhi AlHomoud would send CSC another request.

KUWAIT: Members of the public utilities committee at the National Assembly discussed with the Minister of Communication Muhammad Al-Busairi a draft law on establishing a public authority for transportation, it was learned here yesterday. Following that discussion, the minister told reporters that an authority for transportation was very much on the mind of those in charge of the nation’s development plan and that several government ministries and agencies were involved in bringing to fruition this much-needed independent authority for transportation. Principally among those ministries and agencies are the ministry of communications (land and sea transport sector in particular), the ministry of public works (highways and freeways), the city of Kuwait municipality (land allocation for the proposed authority), and the ministry of interior (traffic dept.). Thanking the committee members for their positive views on the proposed draft law, the minister expressed his wish that voting on the law would take place in the current term of the National Assembly and not be postponed for a subsequent term.



e niv rsar n




KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah honors the doctors who worked at the Ministry of Health in Kuwait over the past 30 years at a ceremony yesterday.

kuwait digest

Interior minister’s surprise visits

Banks want to charge more to cover operating expenses Customers raise objections

By Fawziya Al-Sabah By Ben Garcia


ince he assumed his position as the state’s Interior minister, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud AlSabah has made numerous decisions to refer staff members for questioning over the shortcomings he detected during an unscheduled tour of various ministry departments. Out of his long experience as a member of the ministry, Sheikh Al-Sabah has become accustomed to errors in the Ministry of Interior. Like other state departments, the interior ministry suffers from various administrative errors that can only be fixed through radical solutions such as holding every person accountable for a wrongdoing regardless of his position while rewarding hardworking personnel. As Interior Minister, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud decided to readopt the surprise visits approach that he has been known for during his political career, which worked to bust slacking officers who don’t expect higher officials to drop by and assess their performance. Citizens are pleased with the measures that the minister is carrying out to help the ministry stop administrative flaws. We also hope that more tours are conducted to make sure that the employees are not only committed to their working hours but also doing their job properly. Also, I urge Minister Al-Sabah to take measures to organize the deportation process from a humanitarian standpoint so that it isn’t subjected solely on the personnel assessment of some senior officials. A measure to protect the right of detainees from getting abused, by having the minister’s approval on a lists of inmates sentenced for deportation, before the decisions are enforced. Even better, hopefully a specialized commission is established to look into legal memorandums for convicts so that the minister can approve their deportation orders. This will help address manipulation incidents committed by some officers. — Al-Rai

Juwaihel goes on hunger strike KUWAIT: Activist Mohammed Al-Juwaihel, who had willingly turned himself in after he was sentenced to jail for one year, announced his intention to go on a hunger strike at the Central Prison starting yesterday morning, reported Al-Watan. Official sources close to Juwaihel added that the strike comes in protest of filming him handcuffed at the correctional facilities department and sending the images to some local dailies. The sources added that such facilities were supposed to be fully secure and that nobody should be allowed to record any photographic or film materials of inmates who might eventually turn out to be innocent and be acquitted. Juwaihel was determined to carry on with the strike until those responsible for photographing him were held accountable and the local dailies that carried them were sued. Meanwhile, a high ranking official security source denied that Juwaihel was arrested and stressed that Juwaihel called the facility to turn himself in and requested a patrol be sent to his house in Surra to collect him.

Info reshuffle following grilling KUWAIT: The Minister of Oil and Information, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah made a decision to transfer the Undersecretary Assistant for Administrative and Financial Affairs at the Ministry of Information, Ibrahim Al-Nouh, to the engineering affairs department and appointing Nasser Al-Saffar to the previous position, reported Al-Qabas. This step comes shortly after parliament member Faisal AlDuwaisan filed a grilling against the minister over administrative and financial violations committed in the ministry that were mentioned in state Audit Bureau reports. Official sources within the ministry believe that the reshuffle decision isn’t a coincidence but indicated that it came too late. The lawmaker clearly mentioned in his motion that the reshuffled undersecretary assistant failed to commit to his duties. Moreover, the sources said that Minister Al-Abdullah is expected to freeze the membership of other undersecretary assistants whose names were mentioned in the Audit Bureau reports.

KUWAIT: Financial transactions are now being widely used for all kinds of services, from paying electricity or telephone bills to withdrawing salaries. However, in exchange for these services some local banks charge a modest amount to cover their operating expenses. Just recently some local banks expressed a desire to increase their fees for all the services they provide. News reports quoting sources familiar with the situation in the local banking sector said a number of local banks believed the charges they make today in exchange for ATM, POS and other services are not enough to cover their operating expenses. Many customers have objected to the move. “That is totally unfair to all of us bank users because we don’t have any option

but to use their services,” one customer said. “As expats, we use banks for almost all our financial transactions. The problem nowadays is that we are practically hostages to their services. Before we didn’t need it but now it is a must.” An office worker complained that his account, which he uses to received his monthly salar y, would automatically deduct KD 2 from his account every month. “I don’t know why but they told me I was using a savings account and that it requires a KD 200 minimum balance to maintain it. My argument was that I applied for salary account first, not a savings account, and yet they continue to deduct money from me every month,” he said. Bank transaction services are automatically deducted from a customer’s bank account when a customer uses any of their services. Fees range from 100 fils to as

much as KD 2 depending on the services a customer uses. A public relations officer at a local bank who asked not to be identified told Kuwait Times that the plan to raise service fees was submitted to the Central Bank of Kuwait a long time ago but was rejected. “Currently the issue is being deliberated at the Kuwait Bank Association so that there can be one voice on the matter,” the public relations affiliate said. “We don’t know whether the plan will be accepted but we’d like to see them implemented, especially on the subject of unifying all the fees.” Local banks are demanding a comprehensive redefinition of banking charges so as to keep them more in line with the expenses required for the quality of services they offer. “Current prices are based on old situations that have since featured

many changes,” he continued. “I think there is a need for banking services to be reevaluated so that banks can collect their actual charges.” The plan to get a unified fee for the services they offer is intensely criticized by many bank customers. “I don’t think it’s proper for some banks to call for unified service charges. It’s a marketing strategy by some local banks to entice more clients so to offer incredibly lower price tag on some of their services to keep up competition. What’s the use of being a private bank when you are being regulated,” he said. The Kuwait Banks Association dropped ATM charges four years ago from 200 fills to 100 fills. According to the report the local banks have been trying for some time to convince the Central Bank of Kuwait that it is time for this fee to be reconsidered.

KPC signs cooperation protocol with Loyac summer program KUWAIT: Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) signed yesterday a cooperation protocol with Loyac summer program in order to train and rehabilitate Kuwaiti students in the upcoming summer vacation. KPC Managing Director for Training and Career Development Sheikha Shatha Al-Sabah said, in a statement today, that signing the protocol stems out of KPC interest in boosting distinctive youth energies from Kuwaiti people, and comes in line with its social responsibility. Sheikha Shatha added that the KPC expresses through such step its belief in the real wealth which lies in developing

human resources that contribute to oil industry, and achieve the optimal use of such resources through overall training plans that upgrade the efficiency of national cadres. She also noted that the task of KPC Training and Career Development Department is to support and develop national labor along with rehabilitating students to grapple with the requirements of labor market with distinction and at various levels, besides cultivating self-initiatives for developing the oil sector. Meanwhile, KPC Managing Director for International Marketing Abdulatif Al-Houti asserted that signing such protocol with Loyac summer program comes within the sector’s

plan that aims at consolidating the institution’s status in serving civil society. Al-Houti said that an overall plan was devised in this respect including a training program for students participating in various KPC departments based on assigning these students with daily tasks, and encouraging them to offer notions and plans that will help boost the level of work at KPC. Finally, Al-Houti stressed that KPC will spare no effort to provide the tools of training and career developments for scientific bodies and specialities in Kuwait like Kuwait university, and Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET). — KUNA



Premier urges ministers to face interpellations By A Saleh KUWAIT: As numerous Cabinet

27 tons of spoiled food destroyed By Hanan Al-Saadoun

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Municipality has destroyed 27 tons of expired food stuff, as part of its relentless campaign to stamp out inundating the markets with spoiled food, said Minister of Public Works and State Minister for Municipal Affairs Fadhel Safar yesterday. He vowed that the municipal authorities will turn to the courts any would-be violators from the business community who flaunt the law and allow the dissemination of expired food through their business outlets. The municipality will provide the courts with all required documentation and evidences that will expose these businesses and have them pay a heavy price for their negative deeds, said the minister. Already the municipality, in conjunction with the ministry of trade, is in the process of cancelling business permits and licenses of a number of violating companies that will have to face enormous charges in courts, not the least among them would be their conscienceless zeal at marketing potentially poisonous food to the public with no regard for public health, said Safar.

members prepare to face grilling motions already filed and those expected to be filed, some of them have reportedly asked the Prime Minister not to participate in the debate session because the current situation isn’t in the government’s favor. HH Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad responded to their demands by urging his ministers to stand on the podium in face of the grillings the same way he did previously. This was revealed by a parliament insider, who did not specify which ministers made those demands, but still indicated that they are members of the ruling family. The National Action Bloc has

filed to grill the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, State Minister of Development Affairs and Minister of Housing Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd Al-Sabah, and before that, the Popular Action Bloc made their intention clear that they will file an interpellation against the premier. Meanwhile, MP Dr Yousuf AlZalzalah said that a grilling motion will be filed against Health Minister Dr Helal Al-Sayer. On Tuesday, MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan filed to quiz Information Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, while MP Saleh Ashour yesterday filed an interpellation motion against Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Mohammad AlSabah. So far, it has only been confirmed

Ministry of Commerce budget discussion By A Saleh

he Minister of Commerce and Industry Ahmad AlHaroun said “We discussed the budgets and closing account of the ministry of commerce and industry during the meeting with the parliamentary budgets committee”. He said that there are some comments from the committee and the Audit Bureau, adding: ”we


Detour on Jahra Road to start Thursday KUWAIT: The supervising authority in charge of the Jahra Road Development Project announced the latest developments on construction works for the project yesterday. They stated that all traffic from Hospital Road will be detoured towards the United Nations Roundabout. Abdulatif Shamsah, project manager of the Jahra Road project said, “At dawn on Thursday March 31 we will commence the first traffic detour in the Jahra Road Development Project parallel to the hospital area toward United Nations Roundabout for a total length of 1,525 meters. The detour will be utilized throughout the duration of the project. We would like to extend our apologies to all those who use Jahra Road for the inconvenience this may cause due. We guarantee that the final results of the project will be well worth the sacrifices.” Shamsah said that the main objective of the detour is to redirect traffic heading towards the United Nations Roundabout while maintaining traffic flow in the Hospitals Area via Jahra Road. He explained that the reason for that is so they can begin working on bridges and relocating utilities currently available for this road. In a message to Jahra Road users Alfred Lutfi, Project Safety Consultant said, “We call on all those drivers using Jahra Road to abide by all traffic guidelines and use caution while driving within the construction area. Drivers must adhere to speed limits clearly designated throughout the detour for their safety and for the safety of others and those working on the project.”

KPA union to go on strike next week KUWAIT: Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA) staff members are expected to go on strike next Monday in protest of a recent decision made by the Civil Service Commission, reported Al-Qabas. The new decision would make it impossible for employees to have two allowances at the same time. In a statement made recently to the press, chairman of the KPA’s

that Al-Fahd’s and Al-Abdullahís grilling motions will be debated on the April 5 session of the parliament. Either minister can make a request to delay their motionís debate for two weeks, as per the constitution. The parliamentary source also said he believes that AlFahd will be more likely to make this request since the April 5 session is also set to feature the debate of Sheikh Mohammad grilling. Meanwhile, National Action Bloc members Adel Al-Saraawi and Marzouq Al-Ghanim, who presented the grilling against Al-Fahd, continued gearing up for the debate session, which is expected to be heated with various major issues on the table of discussion touching all fields of the deputy premier’s specialty.

labor union, Ali Al-Sukouni indicated that navy operations department workers at Shuwaikh Port staged a one hour strike this past Monday in protest of the same decision. He noted that the procedure was “just a prelude to the comprehensive work stoppage” announced for next week, which will include laborers from all ports.

Al-Sukouni further explained that they are protesting against the decision to deprive employees allowances approved in recent years, such as special allowances to legal department and accounting sectors. “[ The Council] gives allowances on one hand and then takes them away with the other,” he said.

explained all matters related to the free zone and the money collected by the state from there and deposited at the Ministry of Justice and some at the Industry Authority”. He said that the issue of the car auction was discussed as the state was charging KD 190 thousand, but the issue is under the Ministry of Municipality jurisdiction and not the Ministry of Commerce and it was agreed to turn the matter into the B.O.T .

Speaker confirms receiving grilling motion against FM KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Jassem

Mohammad Al-Khorafi confirmed yesterday that he received a request from Member of Parliament (MP) Saleh Al-Ashour to question Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. Al-Khorafi told reporters that he sent the grilling request to the intended minister to take action based on relevant constitutional procedures. The Speaker added that he also received responses regarding explanatory letters sent by Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of State for Development Affairs and Minister of State for Housing Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad, expressing hope that the responses were adequate and comprehensive. With regard to reports about the resignation of several ministers, Al-Khorafi explained that he had no knowledge of any resignation, noting that he is not the person responsible for accepting or refusing ministers’ requests to resign. The Speaker added that the question must be directed to His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. — KUNA

Maash denies religious, moral violations KUWAIT: Shiite clergyman Abdulreza Maash denied being accused of promoting sectarianism at a lecture he delivered two weeks ago in a secondary school for girls titled of ‘ The Love of Allah and The Prophet— Ailment or Treatment?’ He said that such claims were putting words in his mouth, reported Al-Watan. Maash stated that what the nation needed now was more wisdom, reason and unity and not to be carried away by any more calls for sectarianism. Furthermore, he strongly denied discussing any moral or sensitive topics. “What happened was that upon a kind invitation from the school’s administration I went to lecture on the love of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and strictly spoke of educational, religious and social issues.” He noted that the lecture was videotaped and that it was available to whoever wants to verify his story.

Kuwait Digest

Political games By A Latif Al-Amairi


hen MP Faisal Al-Mislem grilled the prime minister over the cheques’ case, another four grillings were filed in the same session. Many observers explained that as an attempt to foil the grilling of the PM and to remove him from the spotlight. This is being repeated now, but with differences in what is happening. The Popular Bloc has threatened the PM with a grilling, and this was proceeded by a grilling filed by the National Action Bloc against Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd. Some observers describe this as an attempt to foil the prime minister’s grilling. It is not necessary that we agree with this explanation, but it is being strongly discussed in the political and parliament halls. In this connection, some pro-government MPs have filed two grillings. The first against the foreign minister and the second against the information minister. Both grillings were sudden when it comes to timing. This has resulted in reshuffling papers and complicated things, and many were puzzled by this and wondered what is the meaning of this, especially since we know all about this government. MPs are against the government, and all these happenings seem to be logical and acceptable. But it seems the government leaked information to pro-government MPs that there will be a Cabinet reshuffle before the government’s resignation. These pro-government MPs wanted to gain popular support and to show that they are not with the government, so they hurried in filing the grilling. Some opinions are that they wanted to foil the grilling of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd as these grillings will be discussed in the same session. Therefore, they are implementing a government agenda constitutionally through the Assembly. There is another explanation, which is piling pressure against the government to meet certain sectarian demands as they did over not sending forces to Bahrain. The last opinion is related to the foreign minister, as he is the only minister from the ruling family who was not grilled. There is a move from government sides together with pro-government MPs to make sure Sheikh Mohammad loses this badge of honor. What is happening in the parliament arena definitely are political tactics to achieve certain interests and do fulfil agendas for influential parties, which will be revealed sooner or later, and we should be aware of such political games and hold the players accountable. —Al-Anba

Entertainment City marks World Orphans Day in style The Entertainment City is set to host a special celebration on Saturday April 2, 2011, to mark the World Orphans Day, during which children of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor orphanages will enter free of charge. ‘ This event is being held as part of the Touristic Enterprises Company’s Anwar Al-Nisf commitments towards this important sector of society’, said director of the operations and activist department Anwar Al-Nisf in a press statement. The program prepared for the celebration contains several activities that include competitions. Opening hours at the Entertainment City during the special day will be as usual: from 2:00 pm until 11:00 pm, while the festival will kick-off on 5:00 pm.



in brief

Public transport proposal KUWAIT: Communications Minister and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs, Mohammad AlBusairi discussed the proposed law to establish the public transport authority with the parliamentary facilities committee. He said there are several participants in the law, such as members from the Municipality, Communications and Interior Ministries. Al-Busairi said discussions were positive and the final text was agreed upon and ready for vote in the full house.

KUWAIT: Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Senegalese Ambassador Abdel Ahad Embaki held a dinner banquet in honor of the outgoing ambassadors of Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea. Several ambassadors attended the event. — Photos by Yasser AlZayyat

Ministry to compensate teachers KUWAIT: The Ministry of Education is required to pay financial compensation to some expatriate teachers that filed lawsuits against the ministry, reported Al-Qabas. The lawsuits were filed shortly after the teachers discovered that they were being paid less than what they were entitled according to the law. According to Civil Service Commission (CSC) regulations, teachers hired to work in public schools are entitled to a basic KD 260 monthly salary, in addition to other allowances. The appeals court recently ruled in favor of compensating teachers an estimated KD 5,000 — KD 10,000 per teacher that received only KD 200 pay per month according to their attorney Fawziya Al-Sabah.

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior responded to what was published in one of the dailies regarding finding the body of an Omani citizen that drowned during the sand storm last Friday. The ministry explained that contrary to what was published that man’s body was found southeast of Failaka Island, the ministry’s report explained that a Coast Guard patrol led by Lieutenant Abdulrahman Al-Soula found the body three miles west of Ouha Island.



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Kuwait has 7th highest rate of diabetes percentage Much hope for diabetics now KUWAIT: Kuwait has the seventh highest rate of diabetes worldwide, announced endocrine gland and diabetes specialist at Mubarak Hospital and fellow of the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard University, Dr Waleed Al-Dhahei. He also warned diabetic citizens not to be fooled by the claims of some German medical centers to be able to cure diabetes in exchange for KD 9,000, reported Al-Watan. Al-Dhahei stressed that many patients often resort to going to such medical centers and return with no changes. He added that the European Union warned against

dealing with such centers, which have been seen advertising in Kuwait and other Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) states to attract more diabetic patients. Meanwhile, Al-Dhahei said that there is much hope for diabetics today with new medical advancements in treating the disease, such as new medicines and technologies that have emerged from the use of stem cells. “The future still holds very good news for diabetics,” he said, asking the Dasman Diabetes Center to reconsider their treatment policies in order to live up to the purpose of its founding by the late

Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah. Furthermore, Al-Dhahei warned that the rate of diabetes was growing worldwide at an alarming rate. He said that school curriculums should include special chapters to help increase the public’s awareness about the disease. “In Kuwait one sixth of the population is diabetic,” he pointed out, adding that the real threat of the disease lies in not detecting it in children.” “This problem can be fought by integrating knowledge about diabetes in school curriculums, holding special school competitions on the topic over the next

coming years, having more Ministry of Health control over school meals and banning fast food,” he stressed. The doctor noted that 70 percent of Kuwait’s population is obese, 80 percent of them have unhealthy diets and that 60 percent of them do not practice any sport. “People must play more sports, reduce their amount of smoking and be subject to early detection and diagnosis programs. Special surveys need to be conducted and medical teams must be trained on the latest strategies to fight against this disease,’ he advised.

Kuwait, China mark 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties

KUWAIT: A media delegation from the official television station of the Kyrgyzstan Republic paid a visit to the Kuwait Journalists Association’s headquarters. They met with the association’s acting chairman and treasurer Adnan Al-Rashid and other KJA members. The delegation is visiting Kuwait as per an invitation from the state’s Ministry of Information, in order to make a special report about the country.

Kuwait, Mexico to cement relations

MEXICO CITY: The Kuwaiti ambassador pictured with Mexican foreign minister yesterday.

MEXICO CITY: The Kuwaiti Ambassador to Mexico Samih Jowhar Hayat met with Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa at ministry headquarters yesterday, and discussed means to bolster relations and coordination in all fields. The ambassador said there is keenness on both sides to further develop relations and cooperation and to invest and utilize the ample opportunities in both markets for the benefit of both nations. He said there would be considerable development in the level of relations “in the shortterm.” As to discussions with the minister, he said they touched on the expected visit by the Mexican president to Kuwait, and noted the visit serves as great opportunity to work towards development of economic, investment, and commercial relations. The ambassador said he himself focused on the importance of ongoing talks between the two countries. He also expressed confidence MoUs and agreements on cultural cooperation, exemption of entry visas for diplomatic passports, cooperation in the fields of higher education and scientific research, and agriculture would be signed soon. The meeting was in presence of the Mexican Deputy FM Maria del Lourdes Aranda and the ministry’s Middle East and Africa Affairs Director General Sara Valdes. This is the first meeting FM Espinosa holds with an accredited ambassador in three years, and comes to crown rapid development in relations between Mexico and Kuwait recently. —- KUNA

Kuwaiti companies win environmental awards KUWAIT: Two Kuwaiti energy companies have clinched between them three environmental awards at a conference and exhibition on Arabian seas and waterways held this week in Dubai, an official from one of the companies said yesterday. The awards were granted to Kuwait

Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), whose team leader for environmental safety Muhammad Al-Basri informed that KOC got one award for excellence in dealing with environmental issues and another for fighting marine pollution in particular. The two awards reflected the com-

pany’s performance in two projects, one having to do with cleaning GCC beach areas and another with preparations for combating marine pollution. KPC on the other hand got its award for employing the most successful techniques in dealing with environmental issues, said Al-Basri. —KUNA

MPW responds to questions on Jaber Bridge tender

KUWAIT: Tens of workers of the information ministry staged a strike in front of the ministry building demanding approval of new cadre for them. They threatened to organize a full strike and demanded resignation of Information Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdallah Al-Sabah.

KUWAIT: The technical committee entrusted with supervising the Jaber Bridge project at the Ministry of Public Works (MPW ) prepared its responses to remarks made by the Audit Bureau, reported Al-Watan. The responses regard the Audit Bureau’s comments on the competence of a certain contractor. On this regard official sources said that the Audit Bureau met with the MPW’s technical committee to discuss several points including procedures to grant the tender to a certain contractor. The sources also noted that due to altering the specifications of the project after the quotation had been done, it was a violation of tendering laws followed by the Central Tender Committee (CTC). The law states that tender details cannot be altered after disclosing all offers. “The best option in this case will be cancelling the whole tender, having a new integrated comprehensive design and then offering the project for bidding all over again,” said the sources.

KUWAIT: Chinese ambassador to the State of Kuwait Huang Jiemin said yesterday that he discussed with Secretary General of the National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters (NCCAL) Ali Al-Yoha how Kuwait can contribute to a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral ties. Jiemin added, in a statement to the press following his meeting with Al-Yoha, that he also discussed the upgrading of the executive program for the cultural exchange agreement signed between the two countries, and congratulated Al-Yoha on the occasion of taking over his new office as the NCCAL Secretary General. He also noted that the Kuwaiti participation in the celebrations held by China next April on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries will include different aspects. Jiemin also said that memorial stamps and envelopes will be issued on this occasion, adding that the celebrations held by the Kuwaiti embassy in China will start on April 12 with the participation of Kuwaiti artistic troupes. Meanwhile, Al-Yoha expressed his thanks for the Chinese ambassador for the interest shown by the Chinese side in the cultural ties binding the two countries within the framework of marking the 40th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relationships between the two countries. Al-Yoha also expressed his happiness over holding Chinese cultural days in Kuwait in the mid of April, noting the importance of NCCAL’s participation in such celebrations which stress the deep-seated Kuwaiti-Sino at all levels. He concluded by stressing the importance of upgrading the executive program of the cultural exchange agreement between the two countries that aims at boosting the exchange of expertise in the domain of manuscripts’ restoration as well as antiquities and museum sector.

kuwait digest

New grilling motion By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


P Saleh Ashour announced that he is preparing to grill the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Dr Mohammad Al-Sabah over developments regarding the events in Bahrain. The grilling motion is distinguished from others currently being presented and the subject should be considered more entertaining by readers than concerning. In the MP’s statement, Ashour said that after expressing his support to the right of demonstrators in Bahrain - similar to his support of protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Libya - he was “shocked” to witness attacks being directed towards “a representative of the Kuwaiti people and a citizen for expressing his opinion regarding a cer tain subject.” His comments of course referred to criticisms made against him during a talk show aired on Bahrain TV (BTV ) after he showed support to antigovernment protesters in the kingdom. The lawmaker further expressed his disappointment at seeing “the official state television of the Kingdom of Bahrain stoop to such a low level in the dialogue and intolerance to the principles of democracy and freedom of expression.” He accused BTV of “taking a jab” at the Kuwaiti constitution when it was mentioned during the talk show that his opinion doesn’t represent the Kuwaiti people, insisting that article 108 of the constitution in Kuwait clearly indicates that a parliament member represents the entire nation. As if his statements weren’t hilarious enough to make you fall off your chair laughing, Ashour goes on by accusing BTV of taking a cheap shot at him when they “falsely alleged that [he] was fired from the Ministry of Defense in 1997 and had [his] passport apprehended at the time.” He insisted that he voluntarily resigned as an air force officer in 1998 to run for parliamentary elections and demanded that the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, as well as Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah, confirm the true story. Let’s not assume that Ashour interfered in Bahrain’s internal affairs and that he is not responsible for the statements made by the public against him. Let’s say that BTV has completely wronged Ashour. What I don’t understand is: What does the foreign minister have to do with this?!—Al-Qabas




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Syrian found dead in mosque parking lot in Mishref Foul play suspected KUWAIT: An investigation was opened to uncover the circumstances that led to the death of a middle aged Syrian man whose body was found in the parking lot of a mosque in Mishref, reported Al-Watan. Authorities searched the scene for evidence of any foul play after a preliminary investigation revealed that the 54-year-old died as a result of a broken neck. Meanwhile, a Jordanian woman was pronounced dead after being admitted to Mubarak Hospital by her children, reported Al-Watan. They brought her to the hospital after they found her unconscious in their apartment in Nugra. A case was filed at the area’s police station and officers are waiting for the autopsy report. Alcohol trader Ahmadi police arrested an Indian man for being in possession of alcohol, repor ted Al-Watan. After his car was searched, the suspect admitted that he was on his way to deliver the 70 homemade bottles of liquor to his customers. He was referred to the proper authorities.

KFAED signs $20.4 million loan for major road in Uzbekistan KUWAIT: The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) said yesterday it had signed an agreement to loan KD 6 million to Uzbekistan, aimed at funding the development of a major causeway. The causeway project will support economic and social interaction in the central and southern regions of the country, and will meet its internal and regional logistical demands, a KFAED

statement read. The funding will include the tarring of a 73 km-long road of four lanes, along with paved safety lanes. The major road will also come complete with intersections and sanitation, built according to environmentallyfriendly standards, with prior consultancy also included in the package. The loan is the sixth presented to Uzbekistan by the Kuwaiti fund, after another five worth a total KD 25.91 mil-

lion for projects focused on the fields of transport, water, agriculture and health, with another three sums related to technical assistance also presented worth KD 579,000. The agreement was signed in Tashkent by Uzbekistan’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Rustam Azimov and the KFAED’s Deputy Director General Hamad AlOmar. —- KUNA

Brother vs brother During a family quarrel in Jaber Al-Ali a citizen fired shots but missed his brother who was sitting in his car, reported Al-Rai. Police and paramedics reported to the scene and found four bullets inside the car. A case was opened for investigation. Man assaulted A Pakistani man with severe injuries was hospitalized after he was found unconscious by his brother inside their apartment in Sharq, reported Al-Watan. Police who reported to the location suspected the victim’s brother’s behavior and detained him for question-

ing. A case was filed after crime scene investigators found clear evidence of foul play at the scene. Attempted murder A 17-year- old teenager was arrested for stabbing a young man in his 20s in Sulabiya due to previous disputes between them, reported Al-Rai. The victim was admitted to Jahra Hospital with a serious wound to the neck. The suspect was charged with attempted murder. Maid injured A Nepali housemaid was admitted to Adan Hospital with first degree burns on her face after an explosion of a gas c ylinder in Subahiya, repor ted Al-R ai. Firefighters were able to contain the fire before it could spread. An investigation into the incident was opened. Illegal trade A non-Kuwaiti man was arrested in Jeleeb Al-Shuyoukh after he was found selling subsidized food

items illegally on the side of the road, reported Al-Rai. Farwaniya police arrested him before he could escape. The man, an Arab national, confessed that he was tr ying to resell the items after obtaining them through undisclosed methods. Suicide attempt A 46-year-old female citizen was taken to Jahra Hospital with severe burn injuries af ter pouring kerosene all over her body before setting herself on fire in a house in Saad Al-Abullah, reported Al-Anba. Her brother told the police that she attempted to k ill herself because she’s suffering from a mental illness. Her condition is stable and an investigation was opened. Rape case A 28-year-old Sri Lankan housemaid in Jahra was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by three rapists inside an apartment in Fahaheel, reported Al-Anba. Police are still looking for the three suspects.

Kuwait deposits $500,000 in Global fund on AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria GENEVA: The representative of the State of Kuwait to UN and international bodies Ambassador Dharar Razouki yesterday delivered a voluntary contribution to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, a sum of $500,000. The ambassador said the state and fund sustain close coordination and cooperation, and are both keen on exerting all possible effort to check the spread and effect of these and like diseases in the world’s poorest countries. Kuwait extends such contributions in belief of the role and mission of the fund and the World Health Organization, and

in its role in support of such world bodies in ser vice of humanity. This is a weighty mission, he remarked, since such diseases impede overall development and compromise stability. Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine said the Kuwaiti voluntary contribution serves as example for other nations of how a state can honor its duty to support the millenium goals, and recalled the Kuwaiti voluntary deposit of contributions that cover its share for three years ahead since last October. “Kuwait was the first country in the region and among the first in the world to support the fund, and we take this as a ver y positive sign on regional level. It is an indication of level of confidence and support of the fund’s role and mission,” he said. The Kuwaiti contribution would help along efforts covering 47 countries of the world, also members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and this is complementary to the fund’s efforts in other countries, the official said. The meeting between the two officials was attended by member of the Kuwaiti representation in the UN Nawaf Numan. —KUNA

Al-Attiyah praises efforts of Kuwaiti Ambassador to Saudi RIYADH: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC ) Secretar y General Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah praised yesterday the effor ts of Kuwaiti Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah, in the joint GCC work. This came in a statement after his visit to Kuwait Embassy, upon the

end of tenure of Ambassador Sheikh Hamad Al-Jaber. “Ambassador Sheik h Hamad spared no effort in supporting council activities towards realizing Gulf citizenship”, he said. Al-Attiyah had assumed his duties and GCC Secretary General in 2002, to end this March. —KUNA

Al-Khaldi is welcomed to the TEC pavilion.

MCI undersecretary visits TEC pavilion at 2011 WTE KUWAIT: The 2011 World Trade Exhibition (WTE) was inaugurated recently under the patronage and attendance of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s undersecretary Abdulaziz Al-Khaldi at the Mishref Fairgrounds. The Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC), a sponsor of the exhibition and a regular participant, welcomed Al-Khaldi to their pavilion and gave him a demonstration of the special offers provided this year. The TEC team welcoming the ministry official was led by the Deputy Managing Director of Entertainment City Affairs Adel Al-Fahad and also included; the Deputy Managing Director for Entertainment Affairs Khalid Bin Sabt, the Deputy Managing Director for Touristic Affairs Meshary AlSanousy and the Public Relations and Marketing Director Fahad Al-Masoud. Visitors to the TEC pavilion, which lasts until April 1, can make use of a special discount program. The discounts include 30 percent off on sea clubs subscriptions, 50 percent discounts on ice skating rink and swimming pool complex tickets and a reduced KD 2 entrance ticket for Entertainment City instead of KD 3.5. Al-Masoud revealed that TEC will continue to offer customers the opportunity to benefit from discounts after the exhibition ends. He said that TEC’s information center, located on Gulf Road, will continue to receive applications until April 7. Other offers include the Jone Card Subscription, which gives a 20 - 50 percent discount on services at the Kuwait Towers. The subscription also comes with a free invitation for two at the facility’s Horizon Restaurant valid for one year. During the 2011 World Trade Exhibition TEC reintroduced its annual raffle with tickets given to participants for every KD 10 purchase they make at the exhibition. The raffle’s grand prize, a 2011 Kia Cadenza, will be held at TEC’s Information Center on April 7. Other prizes include 42” LCD TVs, iPhones, iPads, yearly subscriptions to TEC’s sea clubs and a two-night stay at a villa in the Khairan Resort.

Al-Masoud gives Ministry Undersecretary Abdulaziz Al-Khaldi a demonstration of TEC’s offers.

Senior TEC staff at the company’s pavilion.

Hong Kong, Kuwait celebrate national occasions KUALA LUMPUR: Kuwait’s General Consul Bader Al-Tunaib has held a broad reception marking Kuwait’s National Days, the independence and liberation occasions, as well as HH the Amir ’s accession to power. The diplomatic mission, in a statement released yesterday, said the gathering was attended by a large number of ranking local officials, eminent figures and diplomats. In an address to the prominent guests, Al-Tunaib noted that this year’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of the liberation of the country and the golden jubilee of the independence coincided with HH Sheikh Sabah Al-

Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s accession to the top post. Sheikh Sabah’s era has been marked with enormous accomplishments in the sectors of construction, development and democracy, Al-Tunaib said. Bilateral relations between Hong Kong and Kuwait have been improving continuously, he said. Shedding some light on the Gulf state “economic diplomacy,” he said that it is basically designed to establish economic partnerships with global economic hubs. Kuwait and China have celebrated the 40th anniversary of establishing bilateral ties. —KUNA

The raffle drawing’s grand prize.

TEC staff in a group photo.

International THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2011

Assad slams ‘conspirators’

Karzai blasts US troops for gruesome Afghan deaths Page 11

DAMASCUS: A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad (C) waving as parliament members applaud in Damascus yesterday. — AP DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar Assad blamed “conspirators” yesterday for an extraordinary wave of dissent against his authoritarian rule, but he failed to lift the country’s despised emergency law or offer any concessions in his first speech since the protests began nearly two weeks ago. Within hours of Assad’s speech, residents of the port city of Latakia said troops opened fire during a protest by about 100 people, although it was not immediately clear whether they were firing in the air or at the protesters. The residents asked that their names not be published for fear of reprisals. Assad said yesterday that Syria is facing “a major conspiracy” that aims to weaken this country of 23 million. The Assad family has ruled Syria for nearly 40 years, using the feared security services to monitor and control even the smallest rumblings of opposition. Draconian laws have all but eradicated civil liberties and political freedoms. “We don’t seek battles,” Assad, 45, said in an unusually short, televised speech before legislators who cheered for him and shouted support from their seats. “But if a battle is imposed on us today, we welcome it.” He made only a passing reference to the protesters’ calls for change, saying “we are for reform” and promising that certain measures were being studied. Social networking sites immediately exploded with activists calling on Syrians to take to the streets. Assad’s speech was surprising not so much for what he said but for what he left out. His adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban, said last week that Syria had formed a committee to study a series of reforms, including lifting the state of emergency laws, which have been in place since 1963 and give the regime a free hand to arrest people without charge. Assad had been widely expected to formally announce the changes. But the fact that he failed to mention any of them was a major disappointment for thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets since March 18.

Human rights groups say more than 60 people have been killed as security forces cracked down on the demonstrations. Assad, who inherited power 11 years ago from his father, appears to be following the playbook of other autocratic leaders in the region who scrambled to put down popular uprisings by offering minor concessions coupled with brutal crackdowns. The formula failed in Tunisia and Egypt, where popular demands increased almost daily — until people accepted nothing less than the ouster of the regime. Assad fired his 32-member Cabinet on Tuesday in a move designed to pacify the anti-government protesters, but the overture was largely symbolic. Assad holds the lion’s share of power in the authoritarian regime, and there are no real opposition figures or alternatives to the current leadership. After waiting for days for the president’s address, many Syrians said it would be better if he had not spoken. “The fact that he is blaming everything on conspirators means that he does not even acknowledge the root of the problem,” said Razan Zaitouneh, a Syrian lawyer and pro-reform activist. “I don’t have an explanation for this speech, I am in a state of shock ... There are already calls for a day of anger on Friday. This cannot sit well with the Syrian people.” A Syrian dissident who lives in Lebanon said Assad’s speech was disrespectful to the protest movement. “It was a speech of defiance,” said Khalil Hassan of the Beirutbased Committee of Torture Victims in the Prisons of the Syrian Regime. “He showed no respect to opposition figures or the martyrs who have fallen in Syria in the past years.” “Such a speech would have worked in the 1970s but now things are different,” Hassan said. Syria, a predominantly Sunni country ruled by minority Alawites, has a history of brutally crushing dissent _ including a notorious massacre in which Assad’s late father, President Hafez Assad, crushed a Muslim fundamentalist uprising in the city of Hama in 1982, killing thousands. — AP




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Britain expels five Libyan diplomats Uganda says would consider Gaddafi asylum LONDON: Britain is expelling five Libyan diplomats including the country’s military attache for intimidating opposition groups in London, Foreign Secretary William Hague said yesterday. “To underline our grave concern at the regime’s behavior I can announce to the house that we have today taken steps to expel five diplomats at the Libyan embassy in London including the military attache,” Hague told parliament. “The government also judged that were these individuals to remain in Britain they could pose a threat to our security,” he said.

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi man inspects his destroyed car in front of the provincial council building of Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq yesterday. —AP

Iraqi PM Maliki vows to punish Tikrit attackers BAGHDAD: Iraq’s prime minister vowed yesterday to punish those behind an attack on a provincial council headquarters in Saddam Hussein’s hometown in which 58 people were killed after gunmen stormed in and took hostages. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki did not say who was behind the attack. But officials and analysts pointed fingers at al Qaeda. “All initial indications show that it is al Qaeda, but maybe there are also other elements cooperating with them,” said Ali al-Moussawi, a media adviser to Maliki, adding that Iraqi security forces may have been infiltrated by militants. Tuesday’s attack in Tikrit, a former stronghold of al Qaeda, was the deadliest in Iraq this year. It was also the first hostage-taking since 52 people were killed in a Baghdad church raid by al Qaeda-linked gunmen last October. “Once again the terrorist murderers commit an atrocious crime by targeting innocent civilians in Salahuddin province,” Maliki said in a statement. “The criminals who planned and carried out this crime will not escape punishment and the investigation committee must submit its findings as soon as possible.” The attackers set off car bombs, explosive belts and hand grenades as they stormed into the building and grabbed hostages, local officials had said. Hostages who did not die as a result of explosions were executed by the gunmen, they said. The death toll stood at 58 with 98 people wounded, said Jasim al-Dulaimi, head of the health operations centre in the northern Iraqi province of

Salahuddin yesterday. Sabah al-Bazee, a freelance Iraqi journalist who worked for Reuters and other media, was among those killed Al Qaeda has been strategically weakened by the deaths of leaders, and both its numbers and the territory in which it can manoeuvre have shrunk since 2006-07, when Sunni tribal chiefs turned on it and joined forces with the U.S. military. But they are still able to carry out lethal attacks eight years after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam, a Sunni, who was hanged in 2006. Their assaults are aimed at grabbing attention and rattling the population at a time when Iraqi forces take centre stage as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw by yearend, analysts say. Iraqi political analyst Ibrahim al-Sumaidaie blamed a weak Iraqi security force and warned such attacks may happen again. “It was expected that al Qaeda would stage a big show to attract attention after a reconciliation between the government and some Sunni armed groups, who were close to al-Qaeda,” Sumaidaie said. “They wanted to say that the reconciliation announced by these groups are baseless.” Salahuddin province continues to suffer frequent attacks by suspected Sunni Islamist insurgents opposed to the Shi’ite-led authorities in Baghdad. Tikrit is dominated by Sunni Muslims, a minority in Iraq who were favoured under Saddam. Overall violence in Iraq has declined sharply since the peak of sectarian slaughter in 200607, but bombings and killings remain a daily occurrence. —Reuters

A Foreign Office spokesman said the expelled diplomats were thought to be strong supporters of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, whom Britain and other countries have called on to stand down. “We won’t go into details on their activities,” the spokesman said. “But we believe they are among the strongest Gaddafi supporters in the embassy, that they have put pressure on Libyan opposition and student groups in the UK and that there is a risk of damage to UK national security if they remain,” he added. Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier that he would not rule out arming rebels who are fighting Gaddafi’s regime. There was no immediate reaction from the Libyan embassy in London. Opposition protesters climbed on to the roof of the embassy-officially known as the Libyan People’s Bureau-on March 16 and replaced the Gaddafi regime’s flag with one used by Libyan rebels. Britain, France and the United States have led an international coalition taking military action to enforce a UN resolution authorizing “all necessary measures” including a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians. Britain closed its embassy in Tripoli on February 26 after evacuating its staff from the country. It has since revoked Gaddafi’s head-ofstate exemptions from British immigration controls. Libya and Britain have a history of stormy diplomatic relations. Britain severed all ties with the North African country in 1984 after a policewoman, Yvonne Fletcher, was shot dead while policing a peaceful demonstration outside the embassy in London. The fatal shot was believed to have been fired from inside the building, sparking an 11-day stand-off with police, but the killer was presumed to have left Britain along with staff who later flew home under diplomatic immunity. Libyan man Omar Ahmed Sodani, who is suspected of Fletcher’s killing has been captured by rebels in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi but denies his involvement, British media said last week. Relations further deteriorated after the 1988 bombing of a Pan-Am flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, for which a Libyan national was later convicted. But after Libya accepted responsibility for Fletcher’s death and paid compensation to her family they restored diplomatic relations in 1999. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair then helped lead Libya in from the international wilderness after Gaddafi agreed to give up weapons of destruction in 2003.

RAS LANOUF: Libyan rebels cram into the back of a truck as they leave Ras Lanouf, Libya yesterday. —AP Gaddafi asylum Uganda would consider an asylum application from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, as it would for anyone seeking refuge in the east African country, a minister said yesterday. Al Arabiya television reported that Uganda would welcome Gaddafi after Western and other states suggested the Libyan leader should go into exile to end the conflict in his country. The television channel did not give further details. “Those are rumors. I have just been in a cabinet meeting with all the ministers and yes we discussed Libya but there was nothing on asylum that we discussed,” Henry Okello Oryem, junior Minister for Foreign Affairs said. “However, if Gaddafi does apply for asylum in Uganda, we’ll consider his application like we do for all those who seek refuge in Uganda,” he said. Uganda is a member of the African Union ad hoc committee trying to mediate a resolution of the Libyan conflict after the United Nations authorized air strikes to protect Libyan civilians from forces loyal to Gaddafi. The United States, Britain and Qatar, which joined others at a meeting on Libya in London on Tuesday, suggested Gaddafi and his family could be allowed to go into exile if they took

Yemen’s Saleh makes new offer to protesters

Egypt’s presidential vote to be held by November CAIRO: Egypt’s military rulers said yesterday that the country’s first presidential elections since the ouster of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak will be held by November at the latest, giving the country’s emerging political groups up to eight months to organize. The news came as the military’s announced a new 62-article interim constitution to replace the one suspended after the fall of Mubarak’s regime on Feb 11 in a popular uprising that rocked the region. The presidential elections will be a held a month or two after September’s parliamentary contests, the military said. Many presidential hopefuls have already announced their plans to contest elections, including Nobel Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, Arab League chief Amr Moussa, and longtime left-wing opposition politician Hamdeen Sabahi. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s most organized group, said it will not nominate a candidate in the presidential elections. The interim constitution comes 10 days after Egyptian voters overwhelmingly approved a package of constitutional amendments to respond to protesters’ demands for reform. By giving a timetable for parliament and presidential elections, the army backed up its earlier commitment to swiftly transfer power to a civilian democratic authority. However many critics fear the rapid timetable would give a significant advantage to the most organized political forces in the country, namely the Muslim Brotherhood and members of the former ruling party and not allow enough time for newly emerging forces, especially among the youth, to develop their popular bases. The interim constitution stipulates the creation of a committee of 100 legal experts, academics, politicians and professionals to be selected by the newly elected parliament to draft a new constitution, which would then be approved by a referendum. Despite demands by many of the youth groups behind the 18-day uprising, the new parliament will keep a 50 percent quota of seats allocated to “farmers and workers,” a holdover from the country’s socialist past. Amid intense debate about the identity of new Egypt, the new document emphasized Egypt’s Islamic identity by stating in Article 2 that the state religion is Islam and the principle of the Islamic Sharia law is the main source of legislation. Article 4, however, bans political parties based on religious grounds. Before announcing the interim constitution, the transitional government met a long-running demand of reformers and carried out a state media shake-up, replacing the old chief editors who under Mubarak era acted as his regime’s cheerleaders. —AP

up the offer quickly to end six weeks of bloodshed. Frustrations, grudges Gaddafi has been a driving force behind the African Union, his largesse has extended Libya’s economic reach throughout sub-Saharan Africa and he has some close friends in power. But analysts say many African leaders have become frustrated with Gaddafi’s erratic behavior, some still harbor grudges over past meddling in internal conflicts and others may not want to tarnish their images further by giving him a home. Gaddafi’s relations with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni have been chequered at best over the years. Museveni put out a statement on March 20 analysing the Libyan crisis. In the article, Museveni detailed five mistakes Gaddafi had made in his relations with sub-Saharan Africa-and Uganda in particular. These included Gaddafi’s support for the late Ugandan dictator Idi Amin-Museveni detailed the time a Libyan air force plane had tried to bomb his rebel troops in 1979. Museveni also criticized Gaddafi’s stance on the African Union, saying African leaders had been forced to oppose the Libyan leader’s “illogical position” on pushing for a United States of Africa. —Agencies

EL ARAQIB: A Bedouin man holds up a Palestinian flag during the annual Land Day rally in the Bedouin village of El Araqib, in the Negev Desert, southern Israel yesterday. —AP

Israeli Arabs, Bedouins protest discrimination AL-ARAQIB: Arab Israelis and Bedouins marked “Land Day” yesterday, saying the Jewish state still maintains a discriminatory policy of trying to force its minorities off their land. Rallies were held in Israel and the Palestinian territories in an annual commemoration of a 1976 shooting in which Israeli troops killed six people during protests against land confiscations. “The title of Israeli policy is the Judaisation of the Negev and the Galilee that wants to drive out the Arabs and Bedouins and bring in Jewish citizens,” said Ahmad Tibi, an Israeli Arab lawmaker attending protests in AlAraqib. Several hundred people gathered in the dusty, wind-swept Bedouin village in the Negev Desert that has been levelled several times by the Israeli police over the past eight months. They danced to music, waved Palestinian flags, planted olive trees and rebuilt several of the tent-like structures that Israeli forces had taken down. “The people are resisting,” Tibi told AFP. “They will rebuild.” Israel has never recognised Bedouin claims of land ownership in the Negev and wants the population to relocate into seven government-planned townships. Several thousand people also gathered in the northern Galilee town of Arrabeh for a protest attended by Arab Israeli MPs and leaders of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee. Many Arab Israeli schools were

closed for the day, and Arab human rights groups said shops and businesses in the town of Sakhnin were observing a one-day strike to mark the anniversary. “This day inspires us in our struggle,” said Mohammed Zidan, head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee. “Our message to the Israeli institution is that no matter how many racist laws you pass it will not change our position,” he said. Israel’s Arab minority leads Land Day demonstrations every year to protest against discrimination and assert its solidarity with the Palestinians. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank also held protests, and in Gaza they were marred by clashes with Hamas police. In Gaza City, hundreds of students began a protest march at Al-Azhar University but were stopped by Hamas police, who arrested a number of them, witnesses said, without saying how many. And around 300 university students marched to the Square of the Unknown Soldier where their rally to mark Land Day and to call for an end to the division within the Palestinian national movement, was forcibly broken up by Hamas police, an AFP correspondent said. A large number of police converged on the square and were seen beating several demonstrators and arresting others. There were no immediate details on injuries. —AFP

SANAA: Yemen’s president has made a new offer to protesters demanding his ouster, proposing he stays in office until elections are held but transferring his powers to a caretaker government, an opposition source said yesterday. Ali Abdullah Saleh made his offer at a meeting on Tuesday night with Mohammed alYadoumi, head of the Islamist Islah party. It was the first time Saleh had dealt with Islah, once a partner in his government, an opposition spokesmen said. “The opposition could pick a head of government of its own choosing and there would be parliamentary elections by the end of the year,” an opposition source said of Saleh’s offer. He said the opposition was still considering its response. Weeks of protests by many thousands in Sanaa and other cities have sent Saleh’s 32-year rule to the brink of collapse, but the United States and top oil producer Saudi Arabia, a key Yemen financer, are worried over who could succeed their ally. They have long regarded Saleh as a bulwark of stability who can keep AlQaeda from extending its foothold in an Arabian Peninsula country that many see as close to disintegration. Yemen’s AlQaeda wing claimed responsibility for a foiled attempt in late 2009 to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit, and for USbound cargo bombs sent in October 2010. US officials have said openly they like working with Saleh who has allowed unpopular US air strikes in Yemen against Al-Qaeda-and Saleh has said the US ambassador in Sanaa is involved in talks to find a solution. Any agreement between Saleh and the parties could run into trouble from another party-the protesters. A coalition of protester groups calling themselves the Youth Revolution issued a statement yesterday saying they would not leave the large public space near Sanaa University until Saleh and his allies are removed from power. “A temporary presidential council of five individuals known for experience and integrity should run the country for an interim period (of six months),” it said, adding the council should appoint a technocrat to form a caretaker government. It also called for corruption trials, return of “stolen public and private property”, release of political detainees, dissolving state security forces and closing

the information ministry-steps taken in Tunisia and Egypt after similar prodemocracy uprisings had removed entrenched leaders. They called for dialogue over the complaints of northern Shi’ites and southerners who lean towards secession. Sheikh Hamid al-Ahmar, a key tribal figure who belongs to the Islah party, told Reuters on Tuesday Islah and the opposition could handle the militant issue better than Saleh, whose government he said was not serious in confronting them. “I think Yemenis would be capable to free Yemen of terror within months,” Ahmar said, adding that the United States and European countries should call directly for Saleh’s departure. “They should do what they did in Egypt. We don’t need what is going on in Libya. We don’t need that much support. But support like what was done in Egypt would be enough to finish things,” he said. Protesters and opposition parties suspect incidents of lax security over the past week are government ploys to demonstrate to foreign powers that Saleh is the strongman who can hold the impoverished country together. Islamists took control of a town in the central province of Abyan after government security deserted it, and the governors of Saada and Jawf provinces in the north also quit, prompting “popular committees” who back the protest movement to step in. The opposition says Saleh is to blame for the presence of militants, including al Qaeda, in the Abyan city of Jaar, where an explosion at a bullet factory killed 140 people on Monday. A perennial survivor of civil wars and militancy, Saleh has said Yemen could drift into armed conflict and fragment along regional and tribal lines if he leaves office immediately. Saleh, who has been alternately conciliatory and defiant, has vowed in public to make no more concessions to opponents. But talks have been going on behind the scenes for days. This week, Saleh’s General People’s Congress proposed a new government to activate his earlier offers of a new constitution ahead of early parliamentary and presidential elections. He said in February he would not run for re-election when his term expires in 2013. The opposition says it believes Saleh is manoeuvring to avoid limits on his family’s future political activities and secure a guarantee they will not be prosecuted for corruption. —Reuters



Pentagon spent $550m so far on Libya action Analyst sees cost as immaterial for defense stocks

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama waves prior to speaking about his plan for America’s energy security, at Georgetown University in Washington. —AP

Obama to set ambitious goal to curb US oil imports WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama will set an ambitious goal yesterday to cut oil imports by a third over 10 years, focusing on energy security amid high gasoline prices that could stall the US economic recovery. Obama will outline his strategy in a speech after spending days explaining US-led military action in Libya, where fighting, accompanied by popular unrest elsewhere in the Arab world, has helped push gasoline prices toward $4 a gallon. The White House says this is a deliberate turn toward energy security by Obama and will be followed by other events to highlight his strategy. “He’ll be laying out the goal ... that in a little over a decade from now we’ll reduce the amount of oil we import from the rest of the world by about a third,” a senior administration official told reporters. Democrat Obama will lay out four areas to help reach his target of curbing US dependence on foreign oil-lifting domestic energy production, encouraging the use of more natural gas in vehicles like city buses, making cars and trucks more efficient, and encouraging biofuels. While polls show Americans have mixed feelings about getting entangled in a third Muslim country, with the United States still engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are clearly worried by high gas prices ahead of the summer driving season. The latest measures of consumer confidence have also been dented by rising energy prices, which saps household spending and could

derail the US recovery if prices stay high enough for a long time, hurting Obama’s 2012 re-election prospects. “The president certainly understands the extra burden that rising gas prices put on millions of Americans already going through a tough time,” the official said. Some analysts reckon Obama may tap America’s emergency oil stockpiles if US oil prices hit $110 a barrel. Prices were hovering just under $105 a barrel in late Tuesday trade. Over half of the petroleum consumed by the United States is imported, with Canada and Mexico the two largest suppliers, followed by Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The Department of the Interior estimates millions of acres (hectares) of US energy leases are not being exploited by oil companies and the White House wants that to change. This argument also helps it push back against Obama’s Republican opponents, who claim he is tying the hands of the US energy sector by denying leases and restricting offshore drilling in the wake of the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. “Part of our plan is to give new and better incentives to promote rapid, responsible development of these resources,” the official said, but declined to go into greater detail ahead of the president’s speech at 11:20 am. In addition, the official said that Obama will set a goal to break ground “on at least four commercial-scale cellulosic or advanced bio refineries over the next two years,” in order to help boost biofuels.— Reuters

WASHINGTON: The United States has spent $550 million so far on military operations in Libya, but expects costs to stabilize at $40 million per month once US forces are reduced and NATO takes over greater control, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. The Defense Department said about 60 percent of the money was spent on missiles and bombs used in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi is battling with rebel forces seeking his ouster. The rest was for bringing troops to the region and operations. “It’s fair to say that the operation will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” Admiral James Stavridis, who is NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and commander of US European Command, told a US Senate hearing. The cost of the Libyan military operations, while small in comparison to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, has exacerbated concerns about overall defense spending levels at a time when the US federal budget deficit is projected to hit $1.4 trillion this year. Two other Senate subcommittees grilled defense officials about continuing cost overruns on weapons programs on Tuesday, with both Democrats and Republicans concluding that more work was needed to rein in defense spending. “I do not believe there is any part of the budget that can be off limits as we look for savings,” said Senator Claire McCaskill, the Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Service Committee’s subcommittee on

readiness and management support. The Pentagon is already working on its budget plan for fiscal 2013, but it is expected to face growing pressure to deliver cuts beyond the $78 billion it has promised for the coming five years. Pentagon spokeswoman Navy Commander Kathleen Kesler said it was hard to estimate future costs, but the Pentagon expects to spend another $40 million on operations in Libya in the coming three weeks as the United States reduces its forces in the region and NATO assumes more responsibility. “Future costs are highly uncer tain,” although the Pentagon expected ongoing operations in Libya to cost about $40 million per month, if US forces stayed at the lower levels currently planned and the operation continued, she said. The estimates do not include the cost of the F-15 fighter plane that went down over Libya due to mechanical failure, Kesler said. Defense analyst Byron Callan, at Capital Alpha Partners, said the military operations in Libya were not expected to have a material effect on US defense stocks, especially now that aircraft have been positioned at bases in Italy, reducing in-flight refueling needs. Callan said he did not expect the militar y action in Libya to disrupt the Pentagon’s investment accounts, but he also did not see it generating enough replacement orders for equipment to have a big effect on US defense company earn-

Alabama apologizes for handling of 1944 rape MONTGOMERY: The Alabama

House has reached back into histor y and apologized for how authorities mishandled the 1944 rape of a young black woman by a gang of white men as she walked home from church in a southeastern Alabama town. The House on Tuesday approved by an apparent unanimous voice vote a resolution that expresses “deepest sympathies and solemn regrets” to Recy Taylor, who is now 91 years old and lives in Florida. She was 24 when she was confronted by seven men who forced

her into their car at knife- and gunpoint and drove her to a deserted grove of trees where six of the men raped her. Two allwhite, all-male grand juries refused to indict the suspects. Her story, along with those of other black women attacked by white men during the civil rights era, is told in “At the Dark End of the Street,” a book by Danielle McGuire, a professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. Activists including Rosa Parks took up their cause, but their efforts were later overshadowed by other civil rights battles. Her

Carter says can’t bring home jailed US contractor HAVANA : Former President Jimmy Carter met with a jailed American contractor but said yesterday that Cuban authorities had made it clear they do not plan to release him. The announcement was a disappointment to supporters of Alan Gross after the trip had raised expectations the 86-yearold former American leader would be allowed to bring the Mar yland native home. Gross is serving a 15-year sentence after being convicted earlier this month of bringing communications equipment into Cuba illegally. State Department officials have said privately that Cuban authorities indicated they might release Gross on humanitarian grounds following the trial. But Carter said that even before he arrived, Cuban authorities told him that “the freedom of Alan Gross would not be granted.” He said he met with Gross at an undisclosed location yesterday morning, and that the 61-yearold contractor told him he had lost 40 kilograms (88 pounds) since his arrest in December 2009. Car ter said Gross’s lawyer plans to appeal his conviction, and if that fails, he hopes Gross will be granted an “executive pardon” on humanitarian grounds. Gross’s 26-year-old daughter and elderly mother are both suffering from cancer. The former US president said he believes Gross is “innocent of any serious crime.” In addition to meeting Gross, Carter also sat down yesterday with Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro, a day after holding talks with President Raul Castro. “We welcomed each other as old friends,” Carter said of the meeting with the 84-year- old former Cuban leader. During the three-day visit, Carter also met with other senior government and religious leaders. Yesterday, he had breakfast with members of the island’s small opposition community, including 10 dissidents recently released from prison by the Cuban government and members of the Ladies in White opposition group. Human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez said Carter told the dissidents he “wanted to express his solidarity and his recognition of the movement for civil rights and also the emerging civil society. “Hopefully his visit will be useful even if it is just one step toward the normalization of bilateral relations between the governments of Washington and Havana.” “We can’t comment on the content” of the meetings added blogger Yoani Sanchez. “My words were dedicated to the need for freedom of expression and free Internet access for Cubans.” Before Carter’s press conference, hope had been rising in Washington that the former leader would

ings. Defense analyst Loren Thompson at the Virginia-based Lexington Institute said the actual amount being spent was much higher, after factoring in the cost of maintaining forces that could be deployed on a moment’s notice. “So what looks like an inexpensive military operation in Libya is actually costing taxpayers about $2 billion per day, because that’s what the Pentagon and other security agencies of the federal government spend to maintain a posture that allows the military to go anywhere and do anything on short notice,” he wrote in a blog on the website. The Government Accountability Office on Tuesday reported that the total acquisition cost of the Pentagon’s 98 biggest weapons programs rose by $135 billion over the past two years to $1.68 trillion, and said half of major arms programs did not meet meet cost goals set by the department. GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, said 80 percent of programs experienced an increase in unit costs from initial estimates, reducing the Pentagon’s buying power. Lawmakers, worried about the federal deficit, are growing increasingly frustrated about chronic Pentagon acquisition issues. Top Pentagon officials say there are reviewing programs earlier, and restraining the militar y ’s desire for ever-better weapons, but note that cultural change is slow and hard. — Reuters

bring Gross home. Last August, the 39th US president and winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize traveled to North Korea to secure the release of an imprisoned American, and many expected the same sort of result in Cuba. “It is what everyone is hoping for and many of us are expecting,” a congressional staffer who deals with US-Cuba relations told AP. “To invite Carter to visit Havana

the Gross case with Cuban officials but was visiting to talk about strained ties. “I am not here to take (Gross) out of the country,” Carter said in Spanish. “We are here to visit the Cubans, the heads of government and private citizens. It is a great pleasure for us to return to Havana,” he added. “I hope we can contribute to better relations between the two countries.” Accompanied by former first lady Rosalynn Carter, the ex-presi-

74-year-old brother, Robert Corbitt, who still lives in Abbeville where the rape happened, said he was happy his sister was finally going to get what she wanted , an apology. The strongly worded resolution said the failure of Alabama law enforcement and the court system to prosecute the crimes “was, and is “morally abhorrent and repugnant.” It now goes to Alabama’s Senate. The House resolution comes a little more than a week after Abbeville Mayor Ryan Blalock and Henry County Probate Judge JoAnn Smith

issued personal apologies to Taylor. Corbitt said his sister is not well enough to be interviewed, but that he has talked to her recently and she was pleased to hear about the apologies from the local officials. “She’s very pleased with what’s been going on,” Corbitt said. Taylor told The Associated Press in an interview last year that she believes the men who attacked her are dead, but she would still like an apology from the state. The AP is using her name because she has publicly identified herself. —AP

Wife, daughter of Mexican governor’s guard killed CIUDAD JUAREZ: Gunmen killed the wife and 5-year-old daughter of a state governor’s bodyguard in northern Mexico on Tuesday, authorities said. Brenda Carrillo, 28, and her daughter were gunned down as they left their home in Chihuahua city, the capital of the state by the same name, the state attorney general’s office said in a statement. Carrillo worked as an investigator for the state attorney general’s office and was married to a bodyguard of Chihuahua Gov. Cesar Duarte. The motive of the shooting was unclear. Many police and investigators have been assassinated in Chihuahua, a state bordering Texas that has been wracked by a turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels. The mayor of a town in the northeastern state of Nuevo Leon, meanwhile, said he survived an assassination attempt Tuesday , the second attack against him in less than two months. Garica Mayor Jaime Rodriguez told reporters that his vehicle was ambushed by gunmen in at least 10 cars. He said he was saved because he was riding in an armored vehicle but that two of his bodyguards were wounded when they got out to repel the attack. Rodriguez escaped unharmed from a similar attack Feb 25. Three gunmen were killed that day in a

shootout with his bodyguards. Several mayors have been assassinated over the past year in Nuevo Leon and neighboring Tamaulipas state, battlgrounds between the Gulf and Zetas drug gangs. In the central state of Morelos, meanwhile, prosecutors confirmed that Juan Francisco Sicilia, the son of Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, was among seven people found dead Monday in a car in an exclusive gated community near the picturesque city of Cuernavaca. Javier Sicilia is known in Mexico for his religious poetry and won a national prize in 2009. Friends of the family gathered in downtown Cuernavaca on Monday night to protest the killings and leave floral offerings. Police have reported no leads in the killings. Several mysterious banners were hung around Morelos state Tuesday vowing that the perpetrators would be hunted down and punished. Such banners have been a hallmarks of drug cartels around Mexico. Violence has spiked in Morelos since the Dec. 2009 death of kingpin Arturo Beltran Leyva as splintered groups began fighting for control. Four men were gunned own inside a home Tuesday in San Marcos, a town in southwestern Guerrero state, another battleground for remnants of the Beltran Leyva cartel, a police report said. —AP

US to seek new term on UN rights panel HAVANA: Cuba’s President Raul Castro, right, and former President Jimmy Carter meet at Revolution Palace in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday. —AP

strongly suggests a willingness to make a humanitarian release of Alan Gross, but the Cuban government is also looking for signals from Washington, and those signals haven’t always been clear.” The staffer spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue. Gross was arrested while working on a USAID-backed democracy-building project and convicted of crimes against state security earlier this month in a case that has blocked improved ties between the US and Cuba. Gross has said he was working to improve Internet communications for Cuba’s tiny Jewish community. Havana considers such US projects to be aimed at toppling the government. Carter said Tuesday that he discussed

dent met with R aul Castro at the Government Palace for private talks Tuesday, but there was no word on what they talked about. Castro and Car ter later arrived by motorcade for an apparent late dinner at an upscale restaurant in Old Havana. Washington and Havana have not had formal diplomatic relations since the 1960s, and the United States maintains economic and financial sanctions on the island. US officials say no thaw in relations is possible while Gross is in prison. Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, previously visited Cuba in 2002, becoming the only former US president to do so since the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. —AP

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration will seek a new term on the United Nations Human Rights Council despite concerns that the panel remains a hotbed of anti-Israel sentiment and a forum for repressive nations to deflect attention from abuses they may have committed, The Associated Press has learned. US officials told the AP that the administration will announce yesterday that it intends to run in 2012 for another three-year term on the oft-criticized council. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been made public, said the US believes its presence on the panel for the past two years has helped steer it in the right direction and can continue to do so. The officials said that

as a part of the council, the US had helped mobilize it to take on crises in countries like Iran, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan and Libya _ which was a member until earlier this month, when it was suspended over its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters. The officials said US membership had also been key to the council taking on issues like women’s rights, discrimination based on sexual orientation and restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly. “We have a substantial positive track record at the council since joining,” said one official. “The United States remains determined to continue to push the council in this positive direction, and to this end, the United States intends to pursue a second term.” — AP



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Zimbabwe tensions top regional security summit LIVINGSTONE: African leaders will try to defuse escalating tensions in Zimbabwe today, where President Robert Mugabe is accused of cracking down on rivals ahead of polls expected later this year. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe’s partner in a rocky unity government, earlier this month called on the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) to lay out a “road map” to new elections. Tsvangirai and Mugabe are expected to meet with the SADC’s security organ, known as the Troika, during the summit Thursday in the Zambian tourist town of Livingstone, near the famed Victoria Falls. The leaders of Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia will all attend the summit. But in the more than two years since Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed their unlikely unity government, SADC has refused to step into

their feuding. The regional bloc brokered the power-sharing accord meant to halt Zimbabwe’s stunning economic collapse and to end the political violence that erupted during the 2008 elections. That deal envisaged a new constitution within 18 months followed within six months by fresh elections, but the process is running nearly a year behind schedule, with a constitutional referendum expected no earlier than September. Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai, however, say they are ready to move toward elections that would end the unity government. The powersharing arrangement has stemmed Zimbabwe’s economic decline, largely by abandoning the local currency left worthless after years of worldrecord hyper-inflation. While Tsvangirai’s allies run most of the ministries dealing with the econ-

omy, Mugabe retains a firm grip on the mining ministry-overseeing the biggest sector of the economy-and the security forces. Now Tsvangirai complains that police are being used to arrest and harass his supporters, from villagers to top ministers, as well as journalists and activists. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party is also trying to squeeze cash out of the mining ministry by requiring foreign firms to sell majority stakes to locals-and by exploiting vast diamond reserves despite claims of military abuses against workers. Rather than intervene, regional leaders are more likely to press the two sides to find a solution domestically, Zambian Foreign Minister Kabinga Pande told AFP. “The desire of SADC is to see that there is unity in the government of Zimbabwe and we are certain that at the end of the summit, the parties will have resolved the dif-

ferences,” Pande said. Zambia, which currently chairs the Troika and has been more critical of Mugabe than most of its neighbors. Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba is close to Mugabe, while Mozambican President Armando Guebuza avoids speaking out on Zimbabwe. South Africa President Jacob Zuma, the bloc’s official mediator in Zimbabwe, is more critical of Mugabe than his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. But Zuma’s personal visits and regular trips by his envoys have yielded few tangible changes. “SADC does not and can not do anything for Zimbabwe,” said Takavafira Zhou, a political scientist at Masvingo University in Zimbabwe. “To expect it to take a hardline stance in terms of resolving the outstanding issues of the (unity accord) or the restoration of rule of law would be daydreaming.” —AFP

Pro-Ouattara forces take town near Ivorian capital Gbagbo camp calls for immediate ceasefire

LAMPEDUSA: Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi gestures on his arrival, after meeting with mayor Bernardino De Rubeis, centre right, during his visit to the tiny Italian island yesterday. —AP

Berlusconi scrambles to respond to migrant crisis LAMPEDUSA: Italy prepared to move thousands of illegal Tunisian migrants off Lampedusa yesterday after an outcry over the government’s failure to solve a growing humanitarian crisis on the tiny southern island. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was expected to visit Lampedusa, some 200 km south of Sicily, as ships arrived to begin the evacuation to centres in other parts of Italy. About 19,000 have arrived on overloaded boats since the start of the year, when the fall of Tunisian President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali loosened previously strict frontier controls and opened the way into Europe for thousands seeking work. Although predominantly Tunisians, small numbers of Eritreans have also made their way to the island via Libya. In normal times a quiet tourist and fishing port, the harbor of Lampedusa has been transformed in recent weeks into a garbagestrewn encampment where hundreds of migrants from Tunisia disembark every day. Almost 6,000 are living in makeshift shelters, many without water or toilets, outnumbering the normal population and bringing local infrastructure close to collapse. After weeks of complaints that went disregarded, residents stepped up their protests this week, blocking the harbor and threatening a general strike if the problem is not solved swiftly. Berlusconi, entangled in a series of corruption trials and facing separate charges next week of paying for sex with a minor, has so far had little to say in public about the growing emergency. But after weeks of inactivity, the government has scrambled to respond, promising to clear the island and move all the migrants to holding centers elsewhere in Italy. The government has struggled to come up with a longer-term response, with Berlusconi’s coalition allies in the Northern

League demanding that migrants be sent back to Tunisia immediately and others demanding hat European partners help. Bitterness is strong over the attitude of France, which has clamped down on migrants crossing the border at the northern town of Ventimiglia, with police sending any they find back across the border to Italy. “Europe has been absolutely inactive on this,” Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told SkyTG24 television. He said a political commitment was needed from the European Union but that this had so far been lacking. “Try talking to the French who are setting up a wall at Ventimiglia, when it is well known that 80 percent of those arriving in Lampedusa speak French and maybe have relatives in French cities,” he said. However politicians in Sicily, the region that includes Lampedusa, have also complained that the richer regions of the north, bastions of the anti-immigrant Northern League, have been very slow to agree to take any migrants. Italy has promised more than 200 million euros in aid and credit lines to Tunisia to help the new government restore border controls and stop the flow of people leaving. “We expect full cooperation from Tunisia and we will help help the Tunisians at home with development aid but they have to give commitments,” Frattini said. Italian politicians have repeatedly stressed that those leaving Tunisia cannot be considered refugees following the overthrow of the former government. “The Tunisians come from a territory where, two months after the insurrection, normal life has resumed, people are working, companies are open,” Luca Zaia, governor of the northern region of Veneto told Canale 5 television.— Reuters

ABIDJAN: Forces loyal to Ivory Coast’s presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara attacked and seized a town near the country’s official capital yesterday, witnesses said, a day after taking swathes of territory across the nation. Forces loyal to Ouattara have launched offensives from the east, west and centre of the country in recent days, and now control key cocoa-producing areas in a southward push to dislodge incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to leave after a disputed election. Tens of thousands of civilians have sought refuge from the fighting in church compounds and other public buildings. Residents of Tiebisso, 40 km (25 miles) north of the notional capital, Yamoussoukro, said proOuattara forces took it after they marched down from Bouake, the main city in the northern territory they have controlled since a 2002-3 war. “The combatants were coming from Bouake and took the town. They are patrolling everywhere in town,” said resident Sebastien Konan. “The (Gbagbo) loyalists have fled.” Heavy gunfire was also heard in the early hours in the town of Bouafle, midway between the cocoa producing hub of Daloa which the Ouattara forces seized on Monday, and Yamoussoukro, officially the capital but which functions as little more than a presidential retreat. They are also moving through the country’s western region that grows most of its cocoa, south towards the major port of San Pedro, and have taken swathes of the east in a southerly march towards the main commercial and government city Abidjan. A local army source in Yamoussoukro confirmed Tiebisso had fallen. “Our men have retreated to Yamoussoukro. We will hold the city, because it is an important gateway to Abidjan,” he said. The violent dispute over last November’s presidential election that UN-certified results showed Ouattara won, but which Gbagbo refuses to concede, has reignited the civil war it was meant to end. As the fighting has intensified, about 30,000 Ivorians and West Africans migrants have been forced to seek refuge in an overcrowded Catholic mission in the town of Duekoue with little or no access to shelter, food, water and health facilities, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM)

ABIDJAN: In this photo taken on Tuesday people walk with their belongings towards a railway station as they leave Abidjan, Ivory Coast. —AP said yesterday, citing figures from its officials in Abidjan. “The Silesian Fathers running the mission have some supplies but they are fast running out,” said an IOM spokesman in Geneva. In Guiglo, where forces loyal to Gbagbo are still in control, about 5,000 have moved into a former IOM reception centre and 3,000 are sheltering in other public buildings. The IOM said the United Nations was moving in to try and secure the area where the people are gathered both in Duekoue and in Guiglo. Up to one million Ivorians have now fled fighting in Abidjan alone, according to the UN refugee agency. At least 112,000 have crossed into Liberia to the west. “Since about 6 o’clock this morning, we are hearing gunfire in Bouafle. Machine gun fire and often heavy detonations,” Alain Zagole, a resident, said by phone. “We cannot go out or leave, we do not know who is in town or those who are fighting,” said Abi Cissoko, another resident of the town about 60 km (40 miles) from Yamoussoukro. On Tuesday the forces loyal to Ouattara advanced to within 200 km (120 miles) of the two main port cities, meeting little resistance from forces loyal to Gbagbo. The area pro-Ouattara forces now control produces about 600,000 tons of cocoa

Kosovo president quits

French religious leaders warn against Islam debate PARIS: The leaders of France’s six main religions warned the government on Wednesday against a planned debate on Islam they say could stigmatise Muslims and fuel prejudice as the country nears national elections next year. Weighing in on an issue that is tearing apart President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party, the Conference of French Religious Leaders said the discussion about respect for France’s secular system could only spread confusion at a turbulent time. The UMP plans to hold a public forum on secularism next week that critics decry as veiled Muslim-bashing to win back voters who defected to the farright National Front at local polls last week and could thwart Sarkozy’s reelection hopes in 2012. Sarkozy’s allies are split over the populist strategy, with moderates such as Prime Minister Francois Fillon publicly opposing what they see as the UMP’s drift to the far right. Stressing that faith should foster social harmony, the religous leaders said the debate could “cloud this perspective and incite confusion that can only be prejudicial.” “Is a political party, even if it is in the majority, the right forum to lead this by itself?” they asked in a rare joint statement. The statement was signed by the leaders of the Roman Catholic, Muslim,

Jewish, Protestant, Orthodox Christian and Buddhist faiths. The leaders formed the group last year to coordinate their approach to religious issues in public debate. UMP party leader Jean-Francois Cope rejected accusations of fear-mongering, saying the debate about how the secular system is respected in practice would ensure equality for all faiths. But many critics say the issues the UMP stresses-veiled women, halal food in school cafeterias, Muslims praying in the street outside overcrowded mosques-all target Islam. The faith leaders said France has held many long and serious debates about its secular system, introduced in 1905 to separate the church and state, and questioned the need for another one. “We are working for a common sense secularism,” they said. “Secularism cannot be separated from our fundamental values, especially the dignity and respect for the human person.” Individual religious leaders have supported Muslims, who at about five million constitute France’s second-largest religion after Catholicism. “It’s often difficult to be a Muslim in France,” Grand Rabbi Gilles Bernheim said last week. “This difficulty is worse today in this unhealthy climate, aggravated by talk that divides rather than unites,” the Jewish leader told the daily Le Monde.

a year, half national output. In a sign violence could become much more widespread, the army called on youths loyal to Gbagbo to enlist in the military. “The Young Patriots are at army headquarters to pick up weapons to go and fight. They will get a few days of training,” an officer at army headquarters said yesterday. Gbagbo’s often violent youth wing, the Young Patriots, are considered his most dangerous and unpredictable weapon. They have caused mayhem in the past and have recently set up road blocks everywhere, armed with AK-47s, sticks and machetes. The deputy chief-of-staff for the Ouattarabacked forces, Issiaka Ouattara, was quoted in the Ivorian newspaper Nord-Sud as saying their objective is to restore democracy and ensure that the choice of the people who elected Ouattara is respected. Gbagbo’s government on Tuesday called for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of dialogue but warned that the advancing forces could not take Abidjan, the economic capital. The death toll is mounting. A UN report of 10 more civilians killed in Abidjan on Monday adds to a tally of 462 confirmed deaths since the crisis begin. — Reuters

VATICAN CITY: Eritrean priest Mose Zarai speaks on his satellite phone with refugees aboard a boat trying to reach the Italian coast, during an interview on Tuesday in his office at The Vatican. — AFP

Vatican priest who saves Libya refugees by phone VATICAN CITY: A few steps away from St Peter’s Basilica, an Eritrean Catholic priest is on the phone with boats in the middle of the Mediterranean filled with African refugees fleeing Libya. Mussie Zerai receives calls from satellite phones on the boats and co-ordinates the arrival of hundreds of Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis with Italy’s coast guard and the NATO warships imposing a naval embargo on Libya. “This is an emergency,” Zerai, told AFP in an interview in his room at the Ethiopian College in the Vatican. Zerai has been campaigning for years for the rights of refugees from other parts of Africa held in detention camps in Libya. He said his biggest worry at the moment was a rubber boat with 68 migrants on board. He last spoke to them on Sunday when the boat was just off Libyan shores and running out of fuel. Now when he calls them the phone rings and

no-one answers. The interview is interrupted by another phone call and there is tension in 36-yearold Zerai’s voice. “That was the anxious call of the brother of one of the people who is on the boat that we have known nothing about for days,” he said. Zerai, who five years ago set up Habeshia, a humanitarian association to help immigrants, said Europe should offer asylum to the hundreds who have begun arriving on the shores of Italy and Malta. “Europe has barricaded itself. I have said it many times. It’s not by building walls that we can resolve the problem,” he said. But with European governments slow to offer aid or assistance to the thousands of migrants making the perilous journey to Italy ’s tiny Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, Zerai has taken matters into his own hands. —AFP

PRISTINA: Kosovo’s President Behgjet Pacolli resigned yesterday after the constitutional court ruled his election by parliament a month ago was not constitutional, but will run again for the office, an aide said. The resignation of Pacolli, who was elected to the largely ceremonial job in a power-sharing deal with Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, might force early parliamentary elections unless ruling and opposition parties cooperate to end the deadlock. Pacolli’s own road to the presidency was opened after the court ruled his predecessor Fatmir Sejdiu had broken the law by serving as a party leader and the president at the same time, paving the way for early parliamentary elections last December. “ The president of the Republic of Kosovo Behgjet Pacolli is ready to respect the decision (of the constitutional court),” Pacolli’s top aide Ibrahim Gashi told reporters. “Pacolli will be the candidate of the coalition partners in the new election of a new president because he did not violate the constitution,” Gashi said. Diplomats say that Europe’s youngest country is producing a crisis upon crisis and it is not able to cope with them. The new political crisis will further complicate technical talks with Serbia which it split from three years ago, and delay the sale of stateowned companies. Thaci’s PDK and Pacolli’s AKR parties voted for Pacolli in parliament but a boycott by opposition parties meant his election lacked a quorum of at least 80 members in the 120-seat parliament. The election also lacked a rival candidate. Opposition parties have adamantly opposed Pacolli’s candidacy because of his history of business ties to Russia, the main opponent of Kosovo’s independence. “This is another crisis and if we have new elections the crisis will be huge and Kosovo is already lagging behind,” said Ardian Arifaj, an analyst of the Foreign Policy Club. Political instability and high levels of crime and corruption have kept foreign investors away from the impoverished and landlocked country with an unemployment rate of 48 percent. — Reuters



Karzai blasts US troops for gruesome Afghan deaths first public mention of the soldier actions KABUL: Afghanistan’s president yesterday

HONG KONG: Indian journalist Dilnaz Boga (L) receives the Kate Webb Award from Agence France-Presse (AFP) Asia-Pacific Regional Director Eric Wishart (R) at the Foreign Correpsondent’s Club in Hong Kong yesterday. —AFP

Indian journalist takes prize for Kashmir work HONG KONG: Dilnaz Boga, an Indian reporter and photographer, received the Kate Webb Prize from Agence FrancePresse yesterday for her courageous investigative work in Indian-administered Kashmir. Boga, 33, spent a year in Srinagar working for the respected news portal Kashmir Dispatch as well as a number of international publications and websites, the culmination of a decade covering the troubled region. She received a certificate and 3,000 euros ($4,200) in cash from Eric Wishart, AFP’s regional director for the Asia-Pacific region, in a ceremony at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong. “Dilnaz Boga is a more than worthy recipient of the third Kate Webb Award, and her work stood out from a very strong field of applicants from across the region,” Wishart said. Boga said the prize money would help support her future coverage of Kashmir as an independent journalist. “I, on behalf of my colleagues in Kashmir, would like to say that we will not stop telling the truth at any cost,” Boga said. She vowed to “fight the battle against forgetfulness-for we know that there can be no peace without justice”. The Kate Webb Prize was launched in 2008 in honor of a legendary AFP correspondent in Asia who blazed a trail for women in international journalism. The prize recognizes exceptional work produced by locally engaged Asian journalists operating in dangerous or difficult circumstances in the region. It is administered by the AFP Foundation, a non-profit organization

created to promote higher standards of journalism worldwide, and the Webb family. “Dilnaz has shown a lot of drive in going to live in Kashmir to report on the impact of a very volatile situation, and on the lives of ordinary people, especially children,” Webb’s brother Jeremy and sister Rachel Miller said in a statement. “In doing so, she obviously uses her direct experiences with the people she is reporting on to shape how she writes about issues. That very much reflects Kate’s way of operating particularly in the early part of her career,” they added. Before working in Srinagar, Mumbaibased Boga earned a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney with a dissertation on the psychological impact of human rights violations on children in Kashmir. The inaugural Kate Webb Prize was given in 2008 to Pakistani journalist Mushtaq Yusufzai for his reports from the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The 2009 prize was awarded to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, which was chosen for its fearless work in the deadliest country for reporters. Webb, who died in 2007 at the age of 64, was one of the finest correspondents to have worked for AFP, earning a reputation for bravery while covering wars and other historic events in the Asia-Pacific region over a career spanning four decades. She first made her name as a UPI correspondent in the Vietnam War prior to assignments in other parts of Southeast Asia as well as India and the Middle East with AFP. —AFP

condemned the actions of a group of US soldiers charged with murdering three unarmed Afghans, charging they killed for entertainment after taking drugs. It was Hamid Karzai’s first public mention of the actions of five soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade who have been charged with murder and conspiracy in the deaths of the three men in southern Afghanistan. Civilian deaths in Afghanistan have created tensions between his government and NATO forces. Rolling Stone magazine published a series of graphic photos showing the soldiers posing next to the dead bodies. The German news magazine Der Spiegel had previously published three of them. “They killed our youth for entertainment, they killed our elders for entertainment,” Karzai said told thousands of new teachers at a graduation ceremony in the capital Kabul. The president said the American soldiers used opium and marijuana supplied by their Afghan translators. “So during the night they smoked marijuana and opium and in the morning they went out to kill local people,” he said, referring to the drugs mentioned in court documents on the case. Rolling Stone posted 17 photos from a cache of about 150 photos linked to the ongoing war crimes probe involving the soldiers from an Olympia, Washington-based platoon. Two of the photos show soldiers charged in the case - Spc. Jeremy Morlock and Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes - crouching alongside an Afghan youth and lifting the victim’s head by his hair. Two other photos show the body of the same Afghan youth, Gul Mudin, one of the victims in the case. Karzai said the boy was 15 years old. Morlock, the first of the five to be courtmartialed, was sentenced last week to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of murder, as well as conspiracy and other charges. He said the killings were part of a deliberate plan to murder Afghan civilians. Up to now, reaction to the photos has been muted in Afghanistan, and Karzai said earlier that incidents of Afghan civilian deaths at the hand of American soldiers should be seen as an exceptional case. “Without a doubt the Americans are very good people, just like the Afghan people and other peoples of the world. They are not cruel people, they helped us with their own resources to develop our education and health sectors. They are working day and

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai gestures, as he speaks during a teachers graduation ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan yesterday. —AP

night to help us,” Karzai also said during the speech yesterday. But he added that he wanted Americans to know that US soldiers “killed a 15-year-old boy and an old man in front of their families.” In nor theastern Afghanistan, NATO announced yesterday that four of its service members were killed by insurgents, bringing Tuesday’s total number of NATO casualties to six. The troops were killed in three separate incidents during an operation in the northeast province of Kunar, said British Maj. Tim James, a NATO spokesman. No other details about the deaths were released pending notification of their next of kin. Their deaths bring the number of coalition troops killed in Afghanistan this month to 33. So far this year 100 have been killed. There has been intense fighting in the region for the last week. On Sunday the Taleban abducted 40 police officers in Kunar, although elders in the Chapa Dara district managed to convince the insurgents to free about half of the officers. The Taleban and other insurgent groups control large swaths of Nuristan, Kunar and other nor theastern provinces near the Pakistani border. Insurgents retain safe havens in Pakistan’s neighboring lawless tribal regions and cross the border into Afghanistan to attack NATO troops. NATO

also announced yesterday the results of its review into a March 26 coalition airstrike in southwestern Afghanistan that killed four civilians. The strike targeted a suspected Taleban commander and his associates who NATO believed were traveling in two vehicles in the Nawzad district of Helmand province. The coalition relied on video surveillance to determine the commander’s location, according to a summary of NATO’s report provided to reporters. A weapons system video shows two vehicles traveling together with motorcycles riding at the front and rear of the movement, but the Taleban commander was not in either vehicle, NATO concluded. Three lower ranking Taleban fighters were killed in the first vehicle and four civilians were killed in the second vehicle. Three other civilians were injured in the blast, NATO said, and three children in the vehicles were unharmed. “This is a deeply regrettable incident and our condolences go out to those affected by this tragedy,” said Brig. Gen. Tim Zadalis, joint command director of air plans for the international coalition. Though the number of civilian casualties attributed to NATO attacks have declined this year, accidental deaths continue to be a source of tension between the international force and the Afghan government. — AP

Pakistan: Bali bombing suspect to be returned

MOHALI: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, left, shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh prior to the ICC World Cup semifinal cricket match between India and Pakistan in Mohali, India yesterday. —AP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has arrested a much sought after Indonesian Al-Qaeda militant suspected in the 2002 bombing of a Bali nightclub and will turn him over to Jakarta, a Pakistani intelligence official said yesterday. The official did not say when or where Umar Patek was arrested, but according to the Philippines army, who has also been hunting him, he was seized on Jan. 25 along with a Pakistani associate believed to have been giving him shelter. The arrest of Patek, who has a $1 million American price on his head, is a major victory in the global fight against Al-Qaeda and, since he was taken alive, could provide very valuable intelligence about regional militant networks and possible future plots. Indonesia’s top police detective, Lt General Ito Sumardi, said he only received a report of Patek’s arrest a few days ago and was sending teams to Islamabad to identify him. Questions remain over how he got to Pakistan, which remains a magnet for foreign militants seeking contact with Al-Qaeda leaders in the country especially in the northwest territories close to the Afghan border. Sumardi said he was concerned over how Patek was able to travel

across international borders to get here. Patek, 40, is well-known to intelligence agencies across the world and is believed to have served as the deputy field commander of Jemaah Islamiyah, the Indonesian Al-Qaeda affiliate that carried out the Bali nightclub bombings that left 202 people dead, including 88 Australians and seven Americans. He’s also suspected in at least two other suicide bombings in Jakarta in 2003 and 2009. Patek spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 1980s and 1990s with about 300 other Southeast Asian militants and together they formed the nucleus of Jemaah Islamiyah. Since 2002, however, Indonesia has rounded up or killed many top militants and he was one of the most senior members of the group still on the run. News of his arrest initially came from intelligence officials in Indonesia and the Philippines on Tuesday. Yesterday, a Pakistani intelligence official confirmed the capture, but declined to give any further information. All spoke on customary condition of anonymity. The officer said Patek was currently being questioned by Pakistani agents. “It is our policy to send them back to their country of origin. We

will eventually give him to the Indonesians,” he said. After the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan is known to have detained a significant number of foreign Al-Qaeda operatives and secretly sent them to the United States, where many were detained in Guantanamo. The CIA, which still cooperates closely with Pakistan intelligence agencies, would presumably like to have access to Patek, but the Pakistani officer said this would happen only with the consent of Indonesia, which too has worked closely with the United States in the past. One of Patek’s suspected coconspirators in the nightclub bombing, known as Hambali, was arrested in Thailand in 2003 and sent to the United States, where he is now being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His detention was a for a long time a source of tension between Washington and Jakarta, which wanted him tried in Indonesia. The country has arrested, tried and convicted hundreds of militants in a widely praised crackdown. Asked about the arrest of Patek, US Ambassador to Indonesia Scot A. Marciel said “as far as I know this is not a US government operation. We did not

arrest him, we do not have custody of this guy, so I’m not sure there is a US government role in this.” Patek fled to the southern Philippines after the Bali bombings, seeking refuge and training with both the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the largest Muslim separatist group, and later, the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, security experts have said. Philippine military spokesman Miguel Jose said Patek’s arrest would be “a big blow to Jemaah Islamiyah and of course the Abu Sayyaf because they have a tactical alliance.” “Many in the region have heaved a sigh of relief that he has been arrested,” he said. Maj. Gen. Francisco Cruz, of the Philippine armed forces, said “the threat from JI (Jemaah Islamiyah) in Mindanao has diminished because of that.” In March 2010, Patek was believed to be in Sulu province in the far southern Philippines. According to the Jamestown Foundation, a national security policy institute in Washington, Patek was one of the “last senior JI commanders with significant experience” in the original Afghan Al-Qaeda camps and long-standing ties to the international jihadist network and its donors. —AP

India bans book hinting Gandhi had gay lover MUMBAI: A state in western India banned Pulitzer-Prize winner Joseph Lelyveld’s new book about Mahatma Gandhi yesterday after reviews saying it hints that the father of India’s independence had a homosexual relationship. The author says his work is being misinterpreted. More bans have been proposed in India, where homosexuality was illegal until 2009 and still carries social stigma. Gujarat’s state assembly voted unanimously yesterday to immediately ban “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India.” The furor was sparked by local media reports, based on early reviews out of the US and UK, some of which emphasized passages in the book suggesting Gandhi had an intimate relationship with a German man named Hermann Kallenbach. “Great Soul” has not yet been released in India, so few here have actually read Lelyveld’s writings. “The book does not say that Gandhi was bisexual or homosexual,” Lelyveld wrote in an email. “It says that he was celibate and

deeply attached to Kallenbach. This is not news.” He noted that his book, which is said is about Gandhi’s struggle for social justice and the evolution of his social values, is available both in the US and as an e-book download. “It should not be hard for anyone to determine what it actually says,” Lelyveld wrote. “It’s a pious hope, but I’d say someone might take the trouble to look at it before it’s banned.” Several reviews of “Great Soul” detailed its sections on Gandhi’s relationship with Kallenbach. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Andrew Roberts said that the only portrait on the mantelpiece opposite Gandhi’s bed was of Kallenbach. “How completely you have taken possession of my body,” reads one widely quoted letter from Gandhi to Kallenbach. “This is slavery with a vengeance.” Britain’s Daily Mail ran an article under the blaring headline: “Gandhi ‘left his wife to live with a male lover’ new book claims.” The Mumbai Mirror on Tuesday ran a front page story under the headline “Book claims German man was Gandhi’s secret love,” which quoted

the same passages as Roberts. Sudhir Kakar, a psychoanalyst who has written about Gandhi’s sexuality and reviewed some of his correspondence with Kallenbach, said he does not believe the two men were lovers. “It is quite a wrong interpretation,” he said. Gandhi’s great goals were nonviolence, celibacy and truth, he said. “The Hindu idea is that sexuality has this elemental energy which gets dissipated,” Kakar said. “If it can be sublimated and contained it can give you spiritual power. Gandhi felt his political power really came from his celibacy, from his spiritual power.” He said Gandhi often filled his letters, including those to female associates, with strong love language, but that did not lead to physical intimacy. “Nothing happened,” he said. “He is telling his feelings, but they are platonic. They are not put into action. That would have been terrible for him.” Politicians in the state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital Mumbai, have also called for a ban on the book and, along

with Gujarat’s chief minister Narendra Modi, have asked the central government to bar publication nationwide. Modi said Lelyveld should apologize publicly for “hurting the sentiments of millions of people.” “It has become a fashion to tarnish the image of great Indian leaders for self publicity and sale of books,” said Sanjay Dutt, spokesman for the ruling Congress Party in Maharashtra. “ The government should invoke a law to severely punish anyone who tarnishes the image of the father of the nation.” Ranjit Hoskote, a writer and general secretary of PEN India, which fights for free expression, condemned the ban and said local media had misconstrued both Lelyveld’s intentions and the nature of Gandhi’s relationship with Kallenbach. “You can’t cite a worse example of third hand reportage and comment,” he said. “How can you ban a book you haven’t read?” He said Gandhi’s correspondence with Kallenbach has been available in library archives for decades. “There’s no secret. There is no scandal,” he said. — AP



Rising Christian anger in Malaysia over Bible seizures KUALA LUMPUR: Rising Christian anger in mainly Muslim Malaysia over the government’s handling of a case involving seized Bibles could complicate Prime Minister Najib Razak’s bid to win back the support of minorities ahead of an early general election. The row over 35,100 imported Malay language Bibles and Christian texts impounded by Customs authorities comes amid a legal battle on the right of non-Muslims to use the Arabic word “Allah” and could raise ethno-religious tensions in the country. The Bibles were seized in 2009 but the case was only made public in January. “There has been a systematic and progressive pushing back of the public space to practise, to profess and to express our faith,” Bishop Ng Moon Hing, chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), said in a statement yesterday. Christians make up 9.1 percent of the country’s 28 million population. Chinese and Indian non-Muslim eth-

nic minorities have abandoned the government, leading to record losses for Najib’s ruling coalition in the last national polls in 2008 and growing complaints of marginalization. Economic growth, which accelerated to a 10-year high of 7.2 percent in 2010, and strong commodity prices are fuelling speculation that Najib may call a general election late this year, though one does not have to be held until 2013. But the row signals continuing minority discontent that could stymie Najib’s bid to reverse the 2008 poll losses and to accelerate the implementation of tax and subsidy reforms, which have slowed due to the government’s wariness about upsetting voters. “This issue will make it easier for the opposition to win additional seats,” said James Chin, a political analyst at the Monash University campus in Kuala Lumpur. The “Allah” affair has been running since December 2009, when a Catholic

publication was given the right to use the word, which led to attacks on houses of worship. The use of the Arabic word is common among Malay-speaking Christians in the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak. Initially, the authorities said the Bibles would only be released if each copy was stamped with the phrase “For Christians Only” and assigned serial numbers. Under a revised offer, the phrase is modified to “For Christianity” and there is no serial number but this will have to apply to all future shipments. The CFM, which represents 90 percent of the churches in the country, said importers would be allowed to decide whether to take up the revised offer but it called on the government to remove all obstacles against the importation and use of Malay language Bibles. While Najib has pledged to win back the support of minorities, some in his United Malay

National Organization (UMNO), the linchpin of the ruling coalition, have cast this approach aside in a bid to woo conservative Malay Muslims. The extent of minority discontent will be tested in the ruling coalition’s bastion state of Sarawak on April 16. Minority unhappiness over the Bible seizure row could help the opposition increase its tally of seats in the 71-seat Sarawak legislature to 18 from eight, said Ong Kian Ming, a political science professor at UCSI University. Such an outcome would raise doubts about the ability of the ruling coalition to win back non-Malay majority parliamentary seats in the next general election. “Christians are hurt because there have been assurances given so often by the authorities, then we find somebody seizing Bibles and publications” said Hermen Shastri, secretary general of the Council of Churches Malaysia. — Reuters

China executes 3 Filipinos Both countries hope no impact on relations SHENZHEN, China/MANILA: China executed

KESENNUMA: A man looks at the town which was burned to the ground by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami yesterday in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan. —AP

Japan orders immediate safety upgrade at plants TOKYO: Japan ordered an immediate

safety upgrade at its 55 nuclear power plants yesterday in its first acknowledgement that standards were inadequate when an earthquake and tsunami wrecked one of the facilities nearly three weeks ago. Adding to the evidence of radiation leakages around the crippled nuclear complex, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, readings showed radioactive iodine in the sea off the plant at record levels. The state nuclear safety agency said the amounts were 3,355 times the legal limit. A Reuters investigation showed Japan and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) repeatedly played down dangers at its nuclear plants and ignored warnings-including a 2007 tsunami study from the utility’s senior safety engineer. The research paper concluded there was a roughly 10 percent chance that a tsunami could test or overrun the defenses of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant within a 50-year span based on the most conservative assumptions. The new safety steps, to be completed by the end of April, include preparing back-up power in case of loss of power supply, and having fire trucks with hoses ready at all times to intervene and ensure cooling systems for both reactors and pools of used fuel are maintained, the Trade Ministry said.Other measures such as building higher protective sea walls would be studied after a full assessment of the Fukushima disaster, officials said. The immediate measures do not necessarily require nuclear plant operations to be halted, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Banri Kaieda told a news conference. “These are the minimum steps we can think of right now that should be done immediately,” said Kaieda. “We shouldn’t wait until a so-called overhaul or a comprehensive revision-something major that would take a long time-is prepared. We should do whatever we can if and when there is something (which safety authorities agree is) viable and necessary,” he said.Before the disaster, Japan’s nuclear reactors had provided about 30 percent of the nation’s electric power. The percentage had been expected to rise to 50 percent by 2030, among the highest in the world. The government and TEPCO conceded there was no end in sight to the world’s worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. “We are not in a situation where we can say we will have this under control by a certain period,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news briefing. The discovery of highly toxic plutonium in soil at the plant this week had already raised alarm over the disaster, which has overshadowed the humanitarian calamity triggered by the earthquake and tsunami, which left 27,500 people dead or missing. Pollution of the ocean is also a serious concern for a country where fish is central to the diet. Experts say the vastness of the ocean and a powerful current should dilute high levels of radiation, limiting the danger of contamination to fish and other marine life. However, just how radiation is spilling into the ocean is unclear and controlling leakage from the plant

could take weeks or months, making precise risk assessments difficult. Tokyo Electric said it would take a “fairly long time” to stabilize overheating reactors, adding four of the six reactors would need to be decommissioned. Meanwhile, the head of the company was in hospital due to high blood pressure, another sign of the disarray at Asia’s largest utility. Prime Minister Naoto Kan, whose government faces mounting criticism for its handling of the crisis, won assurances of American support in a telephone conversation yesterday with President Barack Obama.The United States has already agreed to send some radiation-detecting robots to Japan to help explore the reactor cores and spent fuel pools at the stricken nuclear plant. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who chairs the G20 and G8 blocs of nations, is due to visit Tokyo today. He will be the first foreign leader in Japan since the disaster. In further support, France flew in two experts from its state-owned nuclear reactor maker Areva and its CEA nuclear research body to assist TEPCO. Hundreds of engineers have been toiling for nearly three weeks to cool the plant’s reactors and avert a catastrophic meltdown of fuel rods, although the situation appears to have moved back from that nightmare scenario. Jesper Koll, director of equity research at JPMorgan Securities in Tokyo, said a drawn-out battle to bring the plant under control and manage the radioactivity being released would perpetuate the uncertainty and act as a drag on the economy. “The worst-case scenario is that this drags on not one month or two months or six months, but for two years, or indefinitely,” he said. “Japan will be bypassed. That is the real nightmare scenario.” Japan’s main stock index has fallen about 9 percent since the tsunami while TEPCO shares have fallen almost 80 percent. The government is considering a tax hike to pay for the damage it estimates at $300 billion in what could be the world’s costliest natural disaster. At the site, highly tainted water has been found in some reactors and in concrete tunnels outside and shipments of milk and some vegetables from areas nearby have been stopped. Radiation has also been found in tap water in Tokyo and in tiny traces abroad. Engineers face a dilemma: they have to douse the reactors to prevent overheating, but that risks adding to the radiation problems by increasing water flows. “If they need to increase cooling, it will increase run-off of highly contaminated water and they don’t have any place to store it,” said Edwin Lyman of the USbased Union of Concerned Scientists, a long-time nuclear watchdog group. “They may have to make hard choices about releasing larger quantities of radiation to the environment ... There may not be any good choices.” Already criticised for weak leadership during Japan’s worst crisis since World War Two, Kan has been blasted by the opposition for his handling of the disaster and for not widening the exclusion zone beyond 20 km (12 miles) around Fukushima. —Reuters

yesterday three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking despite public appeals for clemency in the Philippines, days after Amnesty International slammed Beijing’s sweeping use of the death penalty. The three, two women and a man, were caught smuggling several kilos of heroin each into China in 2008. Under Chinese law, the trafficking of at least 50 grams of any illicit drug is punishable by death. “It is a sad day for us, up to the last minute we were doing everything we can to postpone the execution,” Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay said in a radio interview from Qatar. He said he sent an appeal on Tuesday asking to keep the Filipinos alive while Manila investigated new evidence that could have proved the innocence of at least one or two of the three.“The sad part is China did not grant our request and proceeded with the execution of the three Filipinos,” said Binay, who flew to Beijing in February and gained a brief delay of the death sentences. Elizabeth Batain, 38, was executed by lethal injection at a prison in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, 32, and Ramon Credo, 42, were executed in the port city of Xiamen. The three were told yesterday morning that their sentences were to be carried out, Philippine officials said, and they were allowed visits by family members. Philippine President Benigno Aquino said the recruiter of Ordinario-Villanueva, who said she did not know she was carrying drugs, had been identified and charges were being pursued. In the Philippines, prayer vigils, Masses and rallies were held for the three. Around 10 million Filipinos, about 1/10th of the population, work overseas, and the billions of dollars they send home each year is key support of the poor nation’s economy. “The three of them were convicted for drug trafficking, but perhaps, they can also be considered victims-victims of unscrupulous recruiters and drug traffickers, and victims of a society that could not provide for them enough gainful employment in their home country,” Aquino said in a statement. The three were the first Filipinos to be executed in China for drug trafficking, Philippine

QUEZON: Activists hold a banner with slogans as they march in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines yesterday. The Philippine Government said China executed three Filipinos convicted of drug smuggling despite last-minute appeals for clemency. —AP

officials said. Around 200 more Filipinos are in Chinese jails for drug offences. The families of two of the prisoners had sent open letters appealing for clemency, arguing they had been set up by drug syndicates, and a group representing overseas Filipinos said it may be harder to get clemency in other cases. “We’re afraid for our fellow countrymen overseas with similar cases, because governments around the world may no longer listen to our pleas,” said Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International. China’s foreign ministry said that drug trafficking was a serious offence and that justice had been served. “This is an isolated criminal case. I do not want it to affect bilateral relations,” said spokeswoman Jiang Yu at a briefing on Tuesday, a

Myanmar junta makes way for civilian govt YANGON: Myanmar’s junta made way for

a new government yesterday, ushering in an era of civilian rule dominated by the same authoritarian generals that have isolated the country for nearly two decades. The parliament, packed with retired and serving soldiers, dissolved the junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), a formality after a national election in November that was widely criticised as a sham. The end of military rule is seen as a move to attract much-needed foreign investment to a country that just over 50 years ago was one of Southeast Asia’s most promising and wealthiest, the world’s biggest rice exporter and a major energy producer. It also provides an exit strategy for 78-year-old paramount leader Senior General Than Shwe, who named General Min Aung Hlaing yesterday as his successor as commander-inchief, ending months of speculation by signalling his imminent retirement. With his top allies in key posts in the

army and government, Than Shwe has effectively insulated himself from a purge by preventing the emergence of another strongman. Experts agree he is likely to maintain broad behind-thescenes influence. Few expect immediate political, economic or social reforms, with the same generals, now retired, in control of a country where 30 percent of the population live in poverty and botched policies and Western sanctions have blighted its economy. In his inaugural address in parliament, President Thein Sein pulled no punches and accused Western countries of “bullying” Myanmar. He urged them to cooperate and give recognition to the new government and its democratic credentials. “Some countries, which say they would like to see socioeconomic progress among Myanmar’s people and the emergence of democracy in Myanmar, should recognise positive changes and developments in the country,” Thein Sein said. —Reuters

TARLAY: Myanmar people clear debris from destroyed buildings almost a week after a powerful earthquake struck northeastern Myanmar, in Tarlay yesterday. —AFP

sentiment Aquino echoed yesterday. Despite competing claims over the resource-rich Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and criticism last year over the botched police handling of a hostage crisis in Manila that led to the deaths of Hong Kong tourists, bilateral relations between China and the Philippines have been relatively stable. The executions come after Amnesty International again slammed China’s human rights record and widespread use of the death sentence in its latest annual report on the issue. China, with 55 offences still punishable by death, is now believed to execute far more people than the rest of the world combined, even though the nation does not release official statistics. — Reuters

Thai floods kill 15, strand thousands BANGKOK: Thailand mobilized its only aircraft car-

rier as efforts to rescue thousands trapped on storm-swept holiday islands intensified yesterday after severe flooding across the south killed 15. Victims were either swept away by the rising waters, or buried in mudslides as the unseasonably wet weather deluged the homes and businesses of around a million people in what should be one of the hottest months of the year. Rising waters have choked off road and rail links to the southern region, while islands in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea were left isolated as ferries were cancelled. Air connections have also been disrupted although flights began to run again yesterday to some areas. Around 13,000 holidaymakers had been stranded on Koh Samui alone, said Bannasat Ruangjan, of the island’s tourism association, who warned that food and fuel stocks could run low in the next few days if rain continued to hamper the flow of supplies. “We advised tourists to stay in hotels and not to travel to the airport until the situation returns to normal, so far food and utilities are still adequate but I worry about stocks of diesel,” he said. Bangkok Airways said it expected to transport about 2,000 people in 19 flights from Samui to the Thai capital yesterday “as the weather is starting to clear”. Bad weather and a power blackout at Samui airport grounded over 50 flights on Monday and Tuesday. Deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the government had sent its only aircraft carrier to rescue around 1,000 people stuck on Koh Tao island. The 14-year-old HTMS Chakri Naruebet has a displacement of 11,485 metric tons and can accommodate 10 helicopters. “There are roughly one million people affected in many provinces. At first we thought the flood would last a day or two, but now it has already been one week,” he told reporters. According to the Thai interior ministry, there are 1,225 tourists stranded in Koh Tao and 1,100 in the Phangan islands in the Gulf of Thailand. — AFP





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Should the world be more like Belgium? ne requirement for any country considering a spell without an elected government is a functioning bureaucracy. Belgians like to carp about the size and cost of theirs-the business federation says it has 7 more civil servants per 1,000 citizens than its nearest neighbors, at an extra cost of 5 to 6 billion euros a year - but it keeps things working, which may be a cost worth paying for now. “It may have faced criticism, but our government administration is certainly functioning,” said Ghent University’s Devos. Unlike in some countries, such as the United States, senior civil servants in Europe are generally not elected or appointed by ruling parties, which makes any period of transition smoother. On top of that, many players besides politicians have pivotal roles. “The system is less dependent on a dominant leader. You have unions and employer groups, controlling agencies,” said Keukeleire, of the University of Leuven and College of Europe. “The European Union, international organizations and international agreements also determine the limits of government.” In fact, central government in Belgium doesn’t actually have all that much power at all. It’s restricted to managing public finances, the army, judicial system, foreign affairs and certain other issues such as social security and nuclear power. That makes leadership a less coveted prize than in more centralized countries. It’s a similar story in the Netherlands, next door. “In some countries, the president can appoint ministers, judges and people in administrative functions and in the army,” says Jan Tuit, a senior adviser at the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy. “If you look at for example the power of the Dutch prime minister, it’s really very limited. He cannot even reshuffle the cabinet.” And the longer Belgium’s caretaker government has been in charge, the more powers it is assuming, or being given. “Of course it’s better to have a government with full competence, but it’s possible as a caretaker government to take many decisions and we are doing that,” acting Finance Minister Didier Reynders told Reuters. The country’s constitution has nothing to say on caretaker governments. In theory, a stand-in government would just cover a month or two before a new administration is sworn in, but the prolonged deadlock means the unwritten rules are changing. “As time goes by, the scope of decisions taken by the government is widening. You could not have imagined six months ago that the government would nominate a new director of the national bank. Now they have done so,” said Rudi Thomaes, chief executive of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium. Having a monarch has also helped. As head of state, King Albert II has been busy appointing mediators, but he has also demanded the caretaker government revise the 2011 budget, a highly unusual intervention.


NOT ONE, BUT MANY GOVERNMENTS And despite the vacuum at the top, Belgium has plenty of government to keep it ticking over. The country has five federated regional governing bodies, not counting provincial and local authorities. “You cannot say that Belgium is stuck,” says Ghent University’s Devos. “We have many other governments running the country.” There are separate administrations representing the regions of Wallonia and Brussels, for French speakers and for German-speaking minority and a joint one covering the province of Flanders and Dutch speakers. In a series of reforms since 1970, the powers of the regions and language communities have grown and those of the federal state shrunk. That’s at the heart of the current impasse: Dutch-speaking Flemish people, who make up about 60 percent of the Belgian population, have voted for parties seeking yet more control for the regions and fewer subsidies for French-speaking Wallonia, where the unemployment rate is double that of Flanders. Yet in some ways it’s a boon: already, culture and education are the exclusive preserves of the language communities. The regions control a wide range of policy areas including the economy, employment, agriculture, housing, energy, transport and foreign trade. Lambertz, premier of Belgium’s German speakers, says the federal system has helped in the present crisis. “The current system isn’t all that bad. Otherwise, it would have collapsed or the country would have found itself in crisis and that is not the case. Whoever travels through Belgium doesn’t notice much of the current difficulties,” he said. —Reuters

All articles appearing on these pages are the personal opinion of the writers. Kuwait Times takes no responsibility for views expressed therein. Kuwait Times invites readers to voice their opinions. Please send submissions via email to: or via snail mail to PO Box 1301 Safat, Kuwait. The editor reserves the right to edit any submission as necessary.

Syria status quo serves Israelis and Palestinians By Crispian Balmer he fate of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is one of those rare subjects where Israelis and Palestinians largely see eye to eye. They want him to survive. There is no love lost between Israel and Damascus, and many Palestinians are wary of Assad, whose administration has tried to blame them for the unrest roiling Syria. But he is a predictable partner and his ousting would lead inevitably to prolonged uncertainty. “Both sides would prefer Assad to stay in power. It is a case of ‘better the devil you know’,” said Gabriel BenDor, director of national security studies at Haifa University. “Neither side thinks that anything better will necessarily come out of these particular disturbances, and they fear that if Assad goes there would be a long period of instability.” Israel has been forced to review its strategic options on a weekly basis this year. Having seen the overthrow of its most trusted Middle East ally, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, it now faces possible upheaval in its heavily armed northeastern neighbor. Unlike Egypt, Syria never made peace with Israel following a 1973 war, but it has stuck rigorously to its disengagement commitments, establishing a security status quo that has suited both sides down the years. Much less to Israel’s liking is the fact that Syria backs two of its most active enemies-Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas Islamists-and some analysts suggest change in Damascus could eventually benefit the Jewish state. But others argue that should the protests shaking Syria eventually lead to the ousting of the country’s leadership, as has happened in Tunisia and Egypt, then Sunni Muslim extremists could fill the vacuum and make Damascus much more radical. “The idea that these regimes will be replaced by liberal democracies is too good to be true,” said Moshe Ma’oz, a Syria expert and professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.


INCUBATING FACTIONS Just as the Israelis are silently monitoring the situation in Syria, so too are the Palestinians in Gaza, which is run by Hamas, and the West Bank, ruled by a pro-Western administration. “What happens in Syria may have a greater importance for Palestinians than events elsewhere for several reasons. Firstly, 400,000 Palestinians live there, and the offices of many factions are also there,” said Waleed Al-Awad, a leader of the Palestinian People Party, a PLO faction. Syria has been the incubator for several radical Palestinian groups, and the political leaderships of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, whose militants in Gaza regularly fire rockets into Israeli territory, are based in Damascus. Analysts believe neither group wants Assad unseated, and say Palestinians could be acting as a buttress for his government, dismissing hints from Damascus that unnamed “foreigners” might be orchestrating the discontent. “The presence of the main Palestinian

resistance factions gives Syria’s regime some internal strength,” said Palestinian political analyst Talal Okal, who lives in Gaza. Hamas and Islamic Jihad would almost certainly have to find new homes should Assad fall and be replaced by any pro-Western government with ambitions to distance itself from Shiite Iran. That would be the best case scenario for Israel, which fears Iran’s nuclear ambi-

the region,” said Josh Block, a fellow with the Progressive Policy Institute in the United States. “If Assad were to go it would severely weaken Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran; all the forces that oppose the peace process.” GOLAN HEIGHTS The emergence of a less hostile administration in Syria could also finally open the door to a long-elusive peace

DAMASCUS: Syrian citizens watch Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on TV as he addresses Parliament, in Damascus yesterday. —AP tions and wants to see it utterly isolated. “Syria plays an incredibly important role in Iran’s effort to influence and control

deal with Israel, optimists say. All previous attempts to secure a negotiated settlement between the old foes have

failed-most recently in 2008 when indirect talks brokered by Turkey broke down after Israel attacked Gaza in a bid to end Hamas’s repeated rocket strikes. Israelis are sharply split over whether it is worth pursuing peace with Syria, which would inevitably involve returning the Golan Heights, a border plateau seized by Israel in 1967 and later annexed, in a move rejected internationally. Advocates of doing a deal say Israel has to normalize relations with all its neighbors if it wants a secure future. Opponents say Syria has nothing to offer Israel that would justify the military, economic and psychological costs of giving up the Golan, home to some 20,000 Israeli settlers. But any talk of a peace deal at present is absurd. Israel has said it needs a stable environment to talk peace and analysts doubt whether successors to Assad would rush into negotiations, for fear of harming their credibility at home with a domestic audience weaned on antiIsraeli rhetoric. “Any new regime is not going to be able to compromise its legitimacy by reaching any agreement with Israel,” said Haifa University’s Ben-Dor. However, should Assad hold on to power, he might prove more flexible with the West in an effort to strengthen Syria’s economy and quell public anger over poverty and unemployment. “If he stays he might prove more pragmatic,” said Syria expert Ma’oz, arguing that Assad wanted permanent peace. “He wants the Golan Heights from Israel. His father lost it ... and the prestige involved is very important to him.”— Reuters

Arab nations in retreat at London conference on Libya By Henri Mamrbachi ome Arab countries appeared to distance themselves from Tuesday’s London conference, held to plot a course for Libya’s political transition, damping French and British hopes of building a consensus. Several Arab states did not attend the meeting, which set up the Libya “contact group”. They included Egypt, where pro - democrac y protesters forced Hosni Mubarak from power last month; and Algeria, where President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been confronted with a wave of protests by pro-reform activists. Amr Mussa, the Arab League chief, was represented by an ambassador after declining to take up his invitation. An Egyptian diplomat put Mussa’s low profile down to concerns over NATO’s assumption of responsibility for military operations in Libya-as well as the uncertainty surrounding ongoing events in the country. Despite the Arab chief’s absence, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said: “Qatar and the UAE (United Arab Emirates), who are engaged in the operation, are perfectly in agreement


that military command should be entrusted with NATO.” Qatar helped quell some of the unease regarding the Arab stance on the Libyan intervention by accepting the offer to host the first “contact group” meeting, to be attended by around 40 nations. It was initial support from the Arab League that helped convinced Western powers of the need to adopt UN resolution 1973, authorizing the use of “all necessary” powers to protect civilian populations. Whereas the Western powers-the US, Germany and France-were represented by their foreign ministers, the Arabs present were represented by an ambassador, with the notable exception of the UAE and Qatar. Qatari jets have already joined the coalition flights over Libya, while jets from the UAE have arrived in Italy, ahead of flying its own missions. “The end of the (Libya leader Muammar) Gaddafi regime is near,” Sheikh Hamad Ben Jassem, the Qatari prime minister and foreign minister, said at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting. But only seven of the 24 Arab League members were present at the London talks.

And Jean Ping, the Chair of the Commission of the African Union, did not arrive despite expectations that he would attend. Juppe regretted the fact that the African Union had not been represented, despite France’s best efforts. The African nations, he said, had failed to arrive at a consensus, he added. Another notable absentee was Libya’s main opposition group, the Transitional National Council-but that was because they were not invited, despite pressure from France, one of the few powers to have recognized them. The group’s envoy, Mahmud Jibril, was in London however and met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Hague and the foreign ministers of France and Germany on the sidelines of the official talks. Those meetings, said the council, had been “ver y warm”. It called for countries involved in the ongoing operation in Libya to provide weapons to the rebels as well as political support. The Council also presented its own vision of life after Gaddafi: it promised a new constitution, a multi-party system, and the right of citizens to vote in legislative and presidential elections.— AFP



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GAZA: Photo shows a partial view of Gaza City’s coastline. Israel is studying plans to create an artificial island along the Gaza Strip with sea and air ports to be controlled by the Palestinian Authority. — AFP

Israeli minister proposes Gaza artificial island JERUSALEM: Israel is considering building an artificial island with sea and air ports off blockaded Gaza, as a longterm solution to shipping goods into the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave, the transport minister said. Yisrael Katz told Army Radio yesterday he wants an international force to control the island for “at least 100 years” and for unloaded cargo to be brought into Gaza along a 4.5-kmlong bridge with a security checkpoint to prevent arms smuggling. “The Israeli military would continue the naval blockade, but in a more localized way,” he said. Katz said he had pitched the project to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told him to put together a plan, which “has been under examination for many months” by

experts. A spokesman for the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority described the idea as “pure fantasy” and an attempt by Israel “to divert attention from the real problems of Gaza resulting from the Israeli siege”. A Hamas spokesman called it “a Zionist effort to ... internationalize” the blockade. “I am at the stage where the prime minister has to give the green light,” Katz said. “This has not happened yet ... I am certain the Europeans and the Americans and many private elements will be willing to be part of this.” Israel and neighboring Egypt tightened their blockade of Gaza after Hamas Islamists opposed to peace with the Jewish state seized control of the territory in 2007 from

Bahrain’s oppn head wants Iran, Saudi out

forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel eased restrictions on the overland passage of goods through its Gaza border in the wake of a world outcry over the killing of nine pro-Palestinian Turks in confrontations during a raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound flotilla last May. Citing security concerns, Israel does not allow a sea or air port to operate in the enclave. “An island would ... give the Palestinians port services and even an airport down the line,” Katz said, proposing the project include desalination and power plants, hotels-and Hamas’s rival, the Palestinian Authority, as a partner. “We have built models and there are many entrepreneurs who are interested and

MoH honors doctors Continued from Page 1

Continued from Page 1 regime its “legitimacy”. Twentyfour people, four of them police, were killed in a month of unrest, Bahrain’s Interior Minister Rashed bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa said on Tuesday, linking the troubles to Hezbollah. Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa, in an interview with Al-Hayat newspaper, said Manama had “proof ” of “plotting with Hezbollah” and of training in Lebanon on how to organize mass protests. But authorities in Bahrain have no intention of taking steps against Lebanese expatriates living in the kingdom, he said. The foreign minister said his country, which has been widely condemned over the use of deadly force to crush unrest, had feared its Shiite-led protests could spark sectarian conflict in other Gulf

states. “There have been sectarian tensions everywhere” for centuries, he told Al-Hayat. “Bahrain was afraid sectarian confrontations would break out not only in Bahrain but in all other regions.” Sheikh Khaled argued that unrest in Bahrain was fired not so much by political opposition but rather a sectarian division. “We want to affirm to the world that we don’t have a problem between the government and the opposition ... There is a clear sectarian problem in Bahrain. There is division within society,” he said. At yesterday’s news conference, Salman who heads the opposition Shiite bloc Al-Wefaq, accused the government of using “the security option to shut the door to dialogue”. Last month, Bahrain’s Crown Prince Sheikh Salman, with the encouragement of Washington, offered to start an open dialogue with all parties on

the issues which sparked the protests. But the opposition says it refuses to be coerced into talks. Salman said opposition supporters were not being called on to stage fresh protests or to confront security forces. On Saturday, a day of mourning is to be held for the “martyrs” of the protests, he said. On March 16, security forces drove the prodemocracy protesters out of central Manama’s Pearl Square and demolished their camp under a state of emergency put in place for three months. Bahrain’s 40-member parliament on Tuesday accepted the resignation of 11 out of 18 MPs from Salman’s Wefaq, exposing them to possible legal action, after a news blackout om the arrests of top activists. Al-Wefaq MPs resigned en masse in February in protest at the use of deadly force against demonstrators.— AP

Government set to quit amid grillings Continued from Page 1 A number of MPs have stepped up the pressure on the government to step down, with pro-government MP Ali Al-Rashed saying the whole cabinet should quit and many ministers changed, while Faisal Al-Duwaisan, another pro-government MP, said he will support any grilling against any minister or the premier. So far, three grillings have been submitted during the past one week, all against ministers who are senior members of the ruling family, which triggered other rumors that all members of the ruling family in the cabinet have decided to quit. There has been no comment from the government on the political situation. The 17-page grilling filed by Ashour against Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah alleges he has failed to safeguard the integrity and interests of the country in the face of insults from Bahrain. The whole grilling is based on a television program aired by the state-run Bahrain Television on March 25 and 26 and which Ashour claims contained highly offensive statements against Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad AlAhmad Al-Sabah, Ashour himself and a number of prominent Kuwaiti Shiite families. Ashour claimed that the foreign ministry did not perform its constitutional duty to defend the interests and integrity of the Kuwaiti people and the regime, insisting that the Bahrain incidents have revealed a major deficiency in the functioning of the foreign ministry. He said that lack of action by the foreign ministry on those insults has reflected on the Kuwaiti society with an internal problem. The grilling is based on two main issues: failure of the ministry to defend the regime in Kuwait and the failure to safeguard the unity of the society and to defend attempts to undermine the Kuwaiti people. It alleged that the minister is no longer capable of

shouldering his responsibilities and the constitutional duties. The grilling said that the Bahrain TV program has interfered in the Kuwaiti internal affairs by undermining the status of the prime minister who is essentially linked to the Amir who appoints the prime minister under the Kuwaiti constitution. Ashour said that such attacks and insults have only been done by the regime of Saddam Hussein before. “The insults against the prime minister by Bahraini media through an official satellite channel are in fact an aggression against the independence of the state of Kuwait, its constitution and the regime, besides the unity of the society” which the foreign minister is held responsible for not defending, said the grilling. The grilling said that the Bahraini TV program also made offensive remarks against a member of parliament who under Kuwaiti constitution represents the whole country. The foreign minister did not make any attempt to try to prevent the Bahraini TV from showing the program although announcements were made well before the show, thus failing to defend the country’s interests, the grilling said. The grilling said that the Bahraini TV program insulted prominent Kuwaiti (Shiite) families without making any effort to stop the show, which had a major negative impact on national unity in Kuwait. Because the foreign ministry did not defend the Kuwaiti families, they became under the impression that they are second-grade citizens, the grilling alleged. The grilling also highlighted the rejection of Bahraini authorities to allow a Kuwaiti medical team to enter and also banning some Kuwaitis from entering Bahrain for a variety of reasons. In another development, the legal and legislative committee yesterday voted in favor of MP Khalaf Dumaitheer keeping his membership after he was convicted in a court case of forgery.

prepared to invest billions and make money,” he said, without giving further details. The proposal was leaked on Tuesday to Israel’s Channel Two TV, which speculated it could be included in a speech that Israeli officials have said Netanyahu might deliver in the coming weeks outlining ideas to revive peace talks. Palestinians have refused to return to US-brokered negotiations, which froze soon after they began in September, until Netanyahu halts settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war. Asked when the island proposal would be presented to Netanyahu’s cabinet, Katz was non-committal, saying: “Soon, I hope.” — Reuters

world expertise in various medical specialties and get a glimpse of advanced methods of diagnosis and treatment. He added that achievements and successes made by the Ministry of Health have come as a result of the feats of the first generation of sincere doctors who brought to Kuwait

their medical expertise, besides the policy of scholarships granted by the ministry to help doctors get diplomas in rare medical specialities. The honoring ceremony included a musical interlude by the female students of the Ministry of Education, in addition to a documentary depicting the progress of medical services in Kuwait since its early beginnings at Dickson House. — KUNA

Outgunned Libya fighters flee east Continued from Page 1 The 27-year-old, who was holding a Russian AK-47 assault rifle and French flag, said it seemed as if the coalition had halted its air strikes for two days coinciding with a London conference on the Libyan crisis. “We want the French to bomb the (Gaddafi) soldiers,” said another fighter, Ali Atia Al-Faturi, as the sound of shelling and gunfire grew louder. By nightfall, the town of Brega, which also has an oil refinery, was in the hands of loyalists, rebels said, and the sound of artillery fire could be heard on the outskirts of Ajdabiya. Angry mumblings against French President Nicolas Sarkozy, hitherto seen as the rebel’s principal protector, were heard. “Why aren’t they bombing? We’ve heard things like Sarkozy is backing out of this situation,” said Abdullah Shwahdi, a 25-year-old fighter. On Tuesday the rebels came within 100 km of Sirte before encountering fierce resistance which reversed an advance launched when Britain, France and the United States started UN-mandated air strikes on March 19. The ceding of almost all the flat, arid terrain the rebels had taken control of just five days ago was an unplanned, almost panicky affair. Talk by the rebel Transitional National Council in its Benghazi stronghold of a “tactical retreat” was clearly hollow. The insurgents-most of them overconfident young men with no military training or discipline whatsoever-know nothing of tactics. As the insurgents were being routed, British Prime Minister David Cameron said in London the option of arming the rebellion had not been ruled out.

Asked in parliament what Britain’s policy was on arming the rebels, given the existence of a United Nations arms embargo on Libya, Cameron replied: “We do not rule it out but we have not taken the decision to do so.” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe had set the tone at a London conference on Tuesday when he said France is prepared to hold discussions on delivering arms to the rebels. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said however Moscow believed that foreign powers did not have the right to do this under the mandate approved by the UN Security Council. Belgium, too, voiced its opposition to sending arms to Libya, warning that the move could alienate Arab nations. And in Beijing, China’s President Hu Jintao warned French President Nicolas Sarkozy that air strikes on Libya could violate the “original intention” of the UN resolution authorizing them if civilians suffer. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that although UN sanctions prohibit the delivery of arms to Libya, the ban no longer applies. “It is our interpretation that (UN Security Council resolution) 1973 amended or overrode the absolute prohibition on arms to anyone in Libya, so that there could be a legitimate transfer of arms if a country should choose to do that,” she said. A spokesman for the rebel Transitional National Council, Mustafa Ghuriani, told reporters in the Benghazi “it would be naive to think we are not arming ourselves” to match the weaponry deployed by Gaddafi loyalists. But he declined to confirm or deny that France and the United States were offering to supply arms, saying only that unspecified “friendly nations” were backing the rebels. — AFP

Qaeda hails Mideast ‘tsunami of change’ Continued from Page 1 Arabs seeking peaceful political change is a counterweight to AlQaeda’s push for violent militancy and weakens its argument that democracy and Islam are incompatible. But Al-Qaeda preacher Anwar AlAwlaki, in an article published online on Tuesday, said the removal of antiIslamist autocrats meant Islamic fighters and scholars were now freer to discuss and organize. “Our mujahideen brothers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and the rest of the Muslim world will get a chance to breathe again after three decades of suffocation,” he wrote, using a term that refers generally to Islamic guerrilla groups or holy warriors. “For the scholars and activists of Egypt to be able to speak again freely, it would represent a great leap forward for the mujahideen”, wrote Awlaki, an American of Yemeni origin who is believed to be hiding in southern Yemen. He said it did not matter what sort

of government succeeded Arab autocrats, as these were unlikely to be as repressive. Imagining that only a Taleban-style regime would benefit Al-Qaeda was “a too short term way” of looking at events. “We do not know yet what the outcome would be (in any given country), and we do not have to. The outcome doesn’t have to be an Islamic government for us to consider what is occurring to be a step in the right direction,” he said. “In Libya, no matter how bad the situation gets and no matter how pro-Western or oppressive the next government proves to be, we do not see it possible for the world to produce another lunatic of the same caliber of the Colonel (Gaddafi).” Awlaki said the revolts had broken “the barriers of fear” among Muslims whose “defeatism” under tyranny had deepened after Algeria’s crushing of an Islamist uprising in the 1990s. Awlaki made his remarks in the fifth edition of “Inspire”, an online Al-Qaeda magazine aimed at Muslims in the West. The publication is produced by AlQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

(AQAP), an arm of Al-Qaeda responsible for the group’s most spectacular attempted attacks in recent years. Another writer, called Yahya Ibrahim, said Al-Qaeda was not against regime changes through protests but was against the idea that the change should be only through peaceful means to the exclusion of the use of force. Inspire also contained an interview with AQAP military leader Qasim Al-Raymi, also known as Abu Hurairah Al-Sana’ani, one of the world’s most wanted Islamist militants. He called on Muslims living in the West to kill groups of “Jews and Christians” whenever they heard of US drone strikes in Pakistan or Israeli killings of Palestinians. Such attacks “would stop the striking, killing, occupation, humiliation and disgrace of our holy places that America and the West perpetrates.” Yemen has been at the centre of Western security concerns after AQAP launched failed plots to bomb cargo airliners in October 2010 and to destroy a USbound passenger plane in December 2009. — Agencies



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Solis: I’ll box Klitschko for free BERLIN: Injured ex-Olympic heavyweight champion Odlanier Solis said yesterday he is so desperate for a re-match with world champion Vitali Klitschko that he is willing to fight for free. The Cuban challenger suffered a knee injury in the first round of his WBC world title fight on March 19 in Cologne, Germany, which saw Klitschko awarded a technical knock-out amidst bizarre scenes. The Ukrainian, 39, caught Solis with a blow to the head towards the end of the round and Solis suffered a serious right knee injury as he fell. The Cuban had a successful operation in Germany last Thursday to repair a torn cruciate knee ligament. But Solis is in bullish mood, despite needing a second operation in April before he can begin rehabilitation treatment. —AFP


GENEVA: Branded a doping cheat at age 13, karting driver Igor Walilko is appealing his ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The Polish racer is scheduled to give evidence at the Lausanne-based court on Thursday as his lawyers challenge a two-year suspension imposed by motor sport’s governing body, the FIA. Walilko was just 12 when he tested positive for the banned stimulant nikethamide after an international karting race in Germany last July. It was his first doping control. Walilko’s lawyer Michael Lehner told the Associated Press the case had been “very difficult” for the teenager, who

was a national junior champion. “He was very famous in Poland and, one day after, he was a criminal child,” Lehner said in a telephone interview. “He has good chances to go to a career in motor sport, and now with a two-year ban it’s finished.” The FIA did not respond to requests for comment on the case. According to Walilko’s website, he began riding motocross bikes at 4 and followed his father, Rafal, into the sport. In 2007, Walilko started competitive racing in karts — the same route taken by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton on their road to become Formula One world champions. —AP

Pattinson gets Australia call SYDNEY: Fast bowler James Pattinson looks set to make his international debut after being included in the Australia squad for next month’s tour of Bangladesh yesterday. The 20-year-old, whose older brother Darren played one test for England in 2008, was brought in as a replacement for Shaun Tait, who retired from one-day internationals on Monday after Australia’s exit from the World Cup. “James is a very exciting young fast bowler and (we) are confident he will have an impact in international cricket,” chief selector Andrew Hilditch told reporters. The squad for three one-day internationals is captained by Michael Clarke, who was handed the job on Wednesday after Ricky Ponting stood down a day earlier. Ponting was, as expected, also included in the squad and Xavier Doherty was recalled in place of Jason Krezja as the specialist spinner. “Xavier was not considered for the World Cup because of a nagging back injury,” Hilditch added. —Reuters

Flyers soar over Penguins

VIVA raised the flag of Kuwait with four Kuwaiti females in Abu Dhabi KUWAIT: VIVA, Kuwait Telecom Co. announced its sponsorship of the 3 Club team at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon 2011 which was organized at Abu Dhabi. Four Kuwaiti females from the team could raise high the Kuwaiti flag under Abu Dhabi’s sky after their great athletic achievement which exceeded expectations during their participation in the Women’s class where they won the first top four positions after a grueling competition among participants. The multi- sport event required the completion of three continues and sequential endurance events. However, Wadha Al- Bader, Najlaa Al Jarewi, Rabaa Al- Hajiri, Aisha Al- Nafisi could won the top four positions successfully in a record time where they impressed the crowd as

well as trainers , thanks to the perseverance, determination and hard training they received. About this achievement Omar AlHouti, the Public Relations and Communication Manager at VIVA said that “our partnership with the 3 club fruited great achievements that makes any Kuwaiti proud.” Al -Houti noted that the promotion of health education in the society is one of VIVA’s objectives through this partnership by sponsoring sports events and organizing workshops that shed the light on the importance of building a healthy body.” On their part, the winners thanked VIVA for its sponsorship of their team during this competition and said “VIVA Possible”.

Giambi brothers say Bonds trainer supplied steroids SAN FRANCISCO: Colorado Rockies first baseman Jason Giambi and his brother testified that Barry Bonds’ personal trainer supplied them with performance-enhancing drugs. The two on Tuesday were the first athletes called to testify at the Bonds perjury trial, which is in its second week. Appearing calm, Jason Giambi testified that he met trainer Greg Anderson after the 2002 season while both were traveling through Japan with a U.S. all-star team. When they returned to the U.S., Anderson had Giambi’s blood tested and it turned up positive for a steroid that Major League Baseball was planning to test for during the 2003 season. “Anderson told me that would trip a Major League Baseball test and that I should take something else,” Giambi said. Giambi said he paid Anderson a total of about $10,000 for several shipments of steroids known as “the clear” and “the cream” designed to evade detection starting in late 2002 and through the beginning of the 2003 MLB season. Syringes and a calendar detailing when he should take the substances were included in the first shipment, Giambi testified. “ The clear ” turned out to be Tetrahydrogestrinone ( THG) and “the cream” was a testosterone-based substance. During cross examination, Bonds attorney Cris Arguedas read Giambi’s 2003 grand jury testimony when he testified that Anderson had told him “the clear and the cream had steroid-like effects without being a steroid.” Giambi agreed with that testimony. Bonds lawyer Allen Ruby said Bonds used the designer steroids, but believed Anderson when he told the slugger they were legal supplements. Giambi’s brother, Jeremy Giambi, testified similarly. Jeremy Giambi played for

four MLB teams during a five-year career that ended in 2003. Neither Giambi provided direct testimony about Bonds. Instead, prosecutors hope to use their testimony — and that of other players — to show that Anderson was a well-known steroids dealer. Anderson is in jail for refusing to testify at the trial. Several other athletes are expected to testify about their relationship with Anderson this week. Bonds, the MLB record-holder for home runs in a career (762) and a season (73), has pleaded not guilty to four charges that he lied to a grand jury when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs. He also pleaded not guilty to a charge of obstruction. Before the Giambis’ testimony, former San Francisco Giants trainer Stan Conte testified that Bonds added significant muscle mass before the 2000 season. Conte said he noticed acne on the slugger’s back, which prosecutors allege is a side effect of steroid use. Conte, who was now the Los Angeles Dodgers head trainer, told the jury that Bonds viewed him and the medical department as “spies” for the owners. Conte said he suggested to general manager Brian Sabean and manager Dusty Baker at spring training in 2000 that Bonds’ trainers, Anderson and Harvey Shields, should be barred from the Giants training room and clubhouse. Conte said that Sabean told Conte to evict the trainers himself. Conte testified that Sabean remained silent when he asked the general manager to back him if Bonds complained. Conte testified that he understood from Sabean’s silence that he didn’t have the general manager’s backing and he dropped the subject. Sabean said on Tuesday he wasn’t able to comment. — AP

PITTSBURGH: Ville Leino scored twice in the third period as the Philadelphia Flyers rallied to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 52 on Tuesday and stay atop the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia has led the conference and the Atlantic Division since Jan. 8, but the Penguins had won eight of 10 and had a chance to tie their cross-state rivals at 100 points with a regulation victory. Goals by Jeff Carter, Scott Hartnell, and Claude Giroux and 25 saves by Sergei Bobrovsky prevented that for the Flyers, who won in regulation for the second time in seven games. Alex Kovalev and Tyler Kennedy scored for Pittsburgh, which had won four straight games in a shootout. Hurricanes 3, Capitals 2 At Washington, Jeff Skinner scored a goal and converted his shootout attempt to lift Carolina to a win against Washington. Skinner’s goal tied the game at 2 less than two minutes into the third period, when his seemingly innocuous shot knuckled past goalie Semyon Varlamov. Jussi Jokinen also scored for the Hurricanes, and Tuomo Ruutu converted the deciding shootout attempt. Cam Ward had 38 saves. The Capitals did not convert a shootout chance, Ward stopped shots by Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Bruins 3, Blackhawks 0 At Boston, Tim Thomas stopped 32 shots for his ninth shutout of the season, and Mark Recchi moved into 12th on the NHL’s career points list as Boston beat Chicago. Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk scored 2 minutes, 20 seconds apart in the second period to break a scoreless tie, and Recchi assisted on the second goal to give him 1,532 points — one more than Paul Coffey. Nathan Horton made it 3-0 in the third. It was the 25th shutout of Thomas’ career, and his second in three games. He has allowed just two goals in four games to drop his league-leading goals-against average to 1.96. Corey Crawford made 31 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions. Blue Jackets 3, Panthers 2 At Columbus, Ohio, Maksim Mayorov had the lone goal in his first NHL shootout, and Columbus’ Steve Mason stopped all three Florida attempts. Mason stopped Mike Santorelli and Sergei Samsonov to seal the win and end the Blue Jackets’ home losing skid at six and overall slide at four. Scottie Upshall and Antoine Vermette scored in regulation for Columbus, which also ended a string of six consecutive shootout loss. Evgeny Dadonov and David Booth had goals for Florida, which lost its sixth in a row. Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 3 At Toronto, Mikhail Grabovski scored in the second period and rookie Nazem Kadri added two assists to help Toronto top Buffalo. Dion Phaneuf, Darryl Boyce and Clarke MacArthur had the other goals for Toronto. MacArthur also added two assists. Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Rob Niedermayer scored for Buffalo. Lightning 5, Senators 2 At Tampa, Florida, Martin St. Louis and Dominic Moore both scored two goals to lead Tampa Bay past Ottawa. Steven

WASHINGTON: Carolina Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner (53) watches the puck go in as he scores a goal against the Washington Capitals during the shootout of an NHL hockey game. —AP

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Tuesday. Boston 3, Chicago 0; Toronto 4, Buffalo 3; Philadelphia 5, Pittsburgh 2; Carolina 3, Washington 2 (SO); Columbus 3, Florida 2 (SO); Montreal 3, Atlanta 1; Tampa Bay 5, Ottawa 2; Minnesota 3, St Louis 2 (SO); Vancouver 3, Nashville 1; Los Angeles 2, Edmonton 0; Phoenix 2, Dallas 1 (SO). (SO denotes shootout win) Western Conference Eastern Conference Central Division Atlantic Division Detroit 44 22 10 244 216 98 W L OTL GF GA PTS Nashville 41 26 10 203 182 92 *Philadelphia 46 20 10 243 202 102 Chicago 41 27 8 242 209 90 *Pittsburgh 45 24 8 220 188 98 Columbus 34 31 11 203 232 79 NY Rangers 41 30 5 218 181 87 St. Louis 34 32 10 214 222 78 New Jersey 34 36 5 155 189 73 Northwest Division NY Islanders 29 35 12 210 241 70 *Vancouver 51 17 9 250 176 111 Northeast Division Calgary 38 28 11 235 226 87 *Boston 43 23 10 229 178 96 Minnesota 36 32 8 191 215 80 Montreal 41 29 7 203 197 89 Colorado 28 39 8 211 267 64 Buffalo 38 29 9 225 214 85 Edmonton 23 42 11 180 251 57 Toronto 35 32 10 205 235 80 Pacific Division Ottawa 29 38 10 177 238 68 San Jose 44 23 9 224 199 97 Southeast Division Phoenix 42 25 11 221 213 95 *Washington 44 22 11 207 185 99 Los Angeles 44 26 6 209 181 94 Tampa Bay 41 24 11 228 230 93 Anaheim 43 28 5 219 221 91 Carolina 36 30 10 214 226 82 Dallas 38 26 11 209 212 87 Atlanta 32 32 12 211 249 76 * clinched playoff berth Florida 29 36 12 187 212 70

Stamkos had an empty-net goal, and Simon Gagne had two assists for the Lightning, who have won two in a row after a four-game skid. Ottawa, last in the Eastern Conference, got goals from Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek. Canucks 3, Predators 1 At Nashville, Tennessee, Alex Burrows scored twice in the third period to lead Vancouver over Nashville. Vancouver clinched the top spot in the Western Conference and set a franchise record with their ninth straight road win. Mike Fisher scored for Nashville. Canadiens 3, Thrashers 1 At Montreal, Roman Hamrlik and Mathieu Darche scored 11 seconds apart in the first period to end Montreal’s three-game goal drought. Hamrlik scored Montreal’s first goal in 10 days at 12:56 in to end a 199-minute, 1-second scoring drought. That goal had not even been announced when Darche made it 2-0 at 13:07. Carey Price made 27 saves for Montreal, losing a shutout bid 8:35 into the third on a goal by Nik Antropov. Andrei Kostitsyn scored into an empty net with 1:20 remaining. Blues 3, Wild 2 At St. Louis, Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored in

regulation and in the shootout, helping Minnesota end an eight-game losing streak by beating St. Louis. Chris Stewart scored twice for the fifth time in 20 games since joining the Blues, who overcame two late penalties that gave the Wild a two-man advantage for the first 1:06 of overtime. Bouchard and Mikko Koivu beat Jaroslav Halak on the first two rounds of the shootout, and Jose Theodore stopped two of the Blues’ three attempts. Coyotes 2, Stars 1 At Glendale, Arizona, Ilya Bryzgalov had a career-high 44 saves, then made the game-saving pad block in a shootout to preserve a Phoenix victory over Dallas. The victory kept Phoenix one point ahead of Los Angeles for fourth in the Western Conference, although the Kings have six games to go to the Coyotes’ four. Kings 2, Oilers 0 At Edmonton, Alberta, Dustin Brown scored two goals and Jonathan Bernier stopped 32 shots to record his third shutout of the season as Los Angeles downed last-place Edmonton. The Kings have won four straight. — AP

Playoff party gatecrashers vie for position TORONTO: As the regular season reaches a climax, it has become a case of do-or-die for Stanley Cup champions the Chicago Blackhawks, who lead a desperate pack of teams making a late push to crash the NHL post-season party. With eight playoff spots up for grabs in both the Eastern and Western conferences, the sprint to the finish is sure to be furious as only five teams have safely booked their places with a little more than a handful of games left. In the wild West, only the Vancouver Canucks can make playoff plans having clinched top spot in the conference on Tuesday with 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. Behind them, however, little is certain with just five points separating the fourth place Phoenix Coyotes from the eighth place Blackhawks, who saw their grip on the final playoff spot slip with a 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins. The Dallas Stars kept the pressure on Chicago, trimming a point off the Blackhawks

advantage with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Coyotes and move into a tie for ninth place with the Calgary Flames three points back. While the playoff picture in the West remains muddled, the East is slowly coming into focus with the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins having all secured postseason berths. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens were also close to locking up spots with big wins on Tuesday but the Buffalo Sabres were unable to solidify their hold on eighth place, falling 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was very much a missed opportunity for the Sabres, who could have all but ended Toronto’s post-season ambitions with a victory. Now the Sabres face a nail-biting finish to the schedule with the Carolina Hurricanes moving to within three points with a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals and the Maple Leafs still within striking distance five back. “We got a little help (with Toronto defeating

Buffalo) and now we go back at it,” Carolina coach Paul Maurice told reporters. “We go home with some emotion and some excitement now, feeling good about being right back in it.” The Flyers continued to strengthen their hold on top spot in the East with a 5-2 win over the surprising Penguins, who continue to battle for the number one seed despite the absence of captain Sidney Crosby. Sidelined with concussion symptoms since Jan. 5, Crosby has been spotted practicing in full equipment for several weeks but there has been no target date announced for the Canadian Olympic hero’s return. With Russian sniper Alexander Ovechkin back in the lineup after missing three games with an unspecified injury, the Capitals are also eyeing top seed in the East sitting just three back of the Flyers. “We still have a lot to play for we’re not by any means taking a vacation until the playoffs,” said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau. “We want to play hard and win every game.” — Reuters



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Andrea upsets Jelena

KEY BISCAYNE: Rafael Nadal from Spain, watches his return to Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament. —AP

Top trio cruise in Miami MIAMI: Top seeds Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic all cruised into the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open with straight sets victories on Tuesday. After rain delays earlier in the day, Federer took to the court at 12.40 a.m. local time but made short work of Belgian Olivier Rochus, winning 6-3 6-1 in just 52 minutes. Federer, who faces Frenchman Gilles Simon next, will meet Nadal in the semi-finals should they both progress. Nadal had a similarly easy match, facing virtually no resistance from Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov in a 6-1 6-2 victory, winning 86 percent of first service points without facing a single break point. The Spanish world number one will meet Czech Tomas Berdych, a 6-3 2-6 7-6 victor over German Florian Mayer, in the quarter-finals. Djokovic remains unbeaten in 2011, chalking up 21 successive wins, and that record was never in danger against fellow Serb Viktor Troicki in a straightforward 6-3 6-2 win. The world number two was comfortable throughout and will now face South African

Kevin Anderson in the last eight-a player he lost to in this tournament three years ago. “I will have an opportunity to get my revenge in the same court where I lost in 2008,” the Serb said. “But he keeps on playing really well on these courts, and you’ve got to give him credit for that. He beat some very good players and he has a big serve and is very aggressive. “ Djokovic though believes the South African will face a very different player though this time. “I feel much more complete, as a more complete player today. I feel stronger and just have more experience. That’s the difference from the player who was playing here three years ago,” he added. Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, still making his way back from lengthy injury problems, fell to American Mardy Fish 7-5 7-6. Fish is now one win away from replacing Andy Roddick as the top ranked American after his hard-fought victory in front of a crowd that was heavily backing his opponent. Fish will overtake Roddick, who lost in his opening match here, should he beat Spain’s David Ferrer in the quarter-finals.—Reuters

Tiger Woods hits a shot in this file photo.

Woods still gets everyone’s attention ORLANDO: So many people surrounded the first tee that it was hard to see who was playing. The gallery stretched down the entire length of the 461-yard opening hole and wrapped around the back of the green at Bay Hill on a sun-baked Sunday. Now on the tee, Tiger Woods. He was in a tie for 29th. He was 10 shots out of the lead, no serious threat to win. About four hours later, the final group of Martin Laird and Spencer Levin approached the fifth green with under 100 fans tagging along. This is nothing new. A few weeks earlier at Doral, the US PGA Tour decided to group players based on their world ranking. Someone estimated the gallery at 85 people for the “Big Three” of Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. On the other side of the course, there were too many fans to count in the group of players ranked 4-5-6 — Graeme McDowell, Woods and Phil Mickelson. During the FedEx Cup playoffs last year, thousands of fans crammed behind the ropes on both sides of the fairway at Ridgewood Country Club to watch Woods, who was in 20th place and going nowhere. Even at his worst — and there are plenty of numbers and statistics to back that up — Woods remains the most compelling figure in golf. It was like that at Bay Hill last week. It will be that way next week at the Masters, even as Mickelson tries to join him with four green jackets, or Kaymer goes after a second straight major, or Westwood tries to regain the No. 1 ranking, this time without having to explain why. Never mind that Woods is meandering through mediocrity at the moment. Wednesday marks 500 days since his last victory at the Australian Masters, his last tournament before the car crash outside his Florida home and the revelations of affairs that followed and broke up his marriage. He has played 20 tournaments since, not including the Ryder Cup. In his only chance to win, at the Chevron World Challenge, Woods coughed up a four-shot lead in the final round to McDowell, the first time in his career that Woods was leading by more than three

shots going into the last day and didn’t win. Woods has earned $265,465 in five tournaments this year. He earned more in his first five tournaments as a 20-year-old pro. In 16 starts on the US tour since he returned last year, Woods has three top 10s. One longtime British golf journalist might have summed it up best last year at The Players Championship. He wandered onto the TPC Sawgrass to watch Woods for a couple of holes, then walked back in. “It’s nothing special,” he said. Woods was more interesting to watch when he was winning 40 percent of his tournaments, when he looked like a special player. Now he is interesting in a nostalgic sense. They remember how he once performed and wonder if he ever will play that way again. Will he reach, let alone surpass, the benchmark of 18 professional majors won by Jack Nicklaus? Can he be golf’s best player again? Not even Woods knows the answer. All anyone has at the moment are memories of how he once played, and they are strong enough to hold the interest. In times of parity — which is what Woods’ demise has brought — come reminders of how hard it is to win, and how often Woods won. Consider this: Before turning 30, Woods already had 46 wins on the US PGA Tour and 10 majors. Until someone else comes along — probably not in Woods’ lifetime — everyone will want to know about Woods, good or bad. Some watch because they are eager to see him dominate again. Some watch because they delight in his failure. Others are just curious. But they’re watching. At the 1999 Masters, when Woods was rebuilding his swing and was no longer No. 1 in the world, he was in the middle of the pack and headed for Amen Corner on Saturday with a dozen or so media close behind. A radio technician looked at the approaching mass with disdain, shook his head and said, “Why are you guys following Tiger? He’s not even the story.” That’s when someone posed a question. If Nicklaus had called Augusta National that day, he probably would have asked who was leading the tournament. What would his next question be?—AP

MIAMI: Andrea Petkovic pulled off another upset at the Sony Ericsson Open on Tuesday, defeating sixth seed Jelena Jankovic to reach the semi-finals, while Kim Clijsters needed all her big-match experience just to stay in the tournament. The German 21st seed, fresh from beating world number one Caroline Wozniacki a day earlier, continued to display her exciting promise with a 2-6 6-2 6-4 triumph over Serbian Jankovic. In a fourth round match, world number two Clijsters staved off five match points before edging out Ana Ivanovic 7-6 3-6 7-6 to keep her title defence alive. Russian Maria Sharapova emerged from a compelling three-hour 28 minute battle with Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru which ended 3-6 7-6 7-6. With some gutsy play from the baseline, the energetic Petkovic turned things around in the second set, saving four break points with her improving serve. Jankovic fought back in the third, building a 4-2 lead, but Petkovic reeled off four games in a row to finish it, including a thrilling seven-deuce final game. The victory was the first time that Petkovic has beaten two topten opponents at the same tournament. “I’ve just always believed in myself. I always believed that I can beat those top players. It was always just a matter of time,” she told reporters. “I just needed the time and the experience and the consistency.” Petkovic will face Sharapova after

KEY BISCAYNE: Maria Sharapova of Russia, returns the ball to Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania, at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament.—AP the 16th seed narrowly defeated a determined Dulgheru, who played some superb defensive tennis. Sharapova had to receive medical attention shortly after breaking to go 5-4 up in third, a nasty turn of the ankle leaving her in clear pain. The dogged Romanian then broke back and there were some tremendous rallies in the tiebreak before Sharapova finally triumphed to set up a chance of

revenge for her fourth round defeat to Petkovic at the Australian Open in January. While the 23-year-old Petkovic celebrated her place in the final four with her trademark ‘Petko Dance’, Ivanovic was reduced to banging rackets after yet another reminder of the Serb’s frequent inability to finish off matches. The game, delayed by rain from Monday, was there for the taking at 5-1 when Ivanovic failed to convert four match points and

she squandered another opportunity at 5-3 before losing the deciding tie-break. “It is very hard to take, you should see my racquet,” said Ivanovic, who had cried as she left the court. “I really feel like I haven’t done much wrong. I had my opportunities and she played some really good tennis. “I stayed with her and I created the opportunities for myself but I am just very disappointed to lose like that,” she said.—Reuters

HRT to take wing at Sepang — Karthikeyan SYDNEY: Narain Karthikeyan’s first weekend back in Formula One was a huge let down but the Indian is confident he will finally go racing at next month’s Malaysian Grand Prix. After five years out of the sport, the 34-year-old Chennai native returned with Formula One stragglers HRT for last weekend’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix. With no pre-season testing and virtually no time in practice, however, Karthikeyan and his Italian team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi were unable even to straggle as they failed to qualify for the race. “At the start of the week, we thought we were going to race because we knew the new car was capable of it, but it just took so long (to put the car together),” Karthikeyan told Reuters at the team’s hospitality at Albert Park. “The majority of the work is done, but the fine details just go on and on and on. You needed a complete car or it doesn’t make any sense to go out. “We know it is a really bad situation but there’s no point in complaining about it,” he added. In the end, Karthikeyan got out for the final practice session with absolutely no set up and understandably set a time 17 seconds behind Sebastian Vettel in the quickest car. Qualifying was better but both HRT cars still failed to set a time within 107 percent of the top time in the first qualifying session, the criteria for taking part in the race. “For me, it was very difficult because I’ve driven here only once in 2005 and I had to get back into the rhythm of things,” he said. “But I never had a chance.” Speaking before the race as the other teams along the paddock frantically prepared for the start, Karthikeyan said he had no problem with the 107 percent rule. “Basically, they don’t want jokers to come in,” he said. “We respect the 107 percent rule. We are a serious team. “When it all gets kicking off, I think we are going to surprise a few people,” he added. The second round of the championship takes place at Sepang in Malaysia on April 10 and with some new parts, the former Jordan driver thinks he will be able to show that he can still perform at the highest level. “I’m pretty sure I can adapt pretty quickly,” he said. “I know the Malaysia circuit really well, I like it. “If we get the new front wing,” he added, before correcting himself. “Not if, we are going to get it. We are reasonably confident that we will qualify and if all these things happen then we don’t have any excuse not to qualify for Malaysia.” Although Karthikeyan will be focusing on Malaysia for the next couple of weeks, the inaugural Indian Grand Prix on Oct. 30 is never far from his mind. The race at the new $350 million Hermann Tilke-designed track outside New Delhi is expected to attract up to 120,000 fans and Karthikeyan cannot wait. “My comeback has a lot to do with that and it will be great to compete in front of my home crowd, and I will have a lot of support,” he said. “Since my debut in 2005, Formula One had got very big in India. And then there is the Force India team, and I’m the Indian driver, so we’ll have a lot of people cheering for us. “If the tickets are priced right, there will be a full house and it’s going to be crazy.”—Reuters

NEWARK: Houston Rockets’ Kevin Martin (12) shoots the ball in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New Jersey Nets.—AP

Cavaliers cool Heat CLEVELAND: Despite blowing a 23-point lead, Cleveland battled back and beat the Miami Heat 102-90 on Tuesday night, getting a dose of revenge against former Cavaliers star LeBron James.James was making his second homecoming visit to Cleveland since leaving the city as a free agent last summer. JJ Hickson scored 21 points and Anthony Parker had 20 for the Cavs, who were embarrassed by James and the Heat 118-90 on Dec. 2 — a night when Cleveland fans unleashed their hatred on the superstar. This time, James left the floor hanging his head. He finished with 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Rockets 112, Nets 87 At Newark, New Jersey, Kyle Lowry had 16 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds as Houston moved within two games of the final playoff berth in the Western Conference with a victory over New Jersey. Kevin Martin added 20 points as the Rockets (39-35) posted their sixth win in seven games and inched closer to idle eighth-place Memphis (41-33) with eight games left in the regular season.Brook Lopez had 22 points for the Nets, who lost their third in a row and seventh in eight games. Deron Williams missed his sixth straight game for New Jersey (23-50), which has lost 50 games for the second straight season. Thunder 115, Warriors 114 At Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 39

points and Russell Westbrook hit the winning free throw with 11.4 seconds left in overtime as Oklahoma City finished its longest homestand of the season with a victory over Golden State. Durant scored eight of Oklahoma City’s nine points in overtime, but served as a decoy to create room along the right side of the lane as Westbrook drove to the basket and got fouled. Westbrook missed his first free throw, but made the second to put the Thunder on top. Monta Ellis’ jump shot from the top of the key was wide right at the final buzzer. Stephen Curry led Golden State with 35 points. Kings 116, Suns 113 At Sacramento, California, Marcus Thornton scored 24 points and had 11 rebounds for Sacramento, which won its season-high fourth straight game by defeating Phoenix. Despite the strong possibility of the team moving to Anaheim next season, the Kings are enjoying their best stretch of the season, winning five of six games. The loss was the third straight and eighth in 11 games for the Suns, who are 10th in the conference and trail the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies by 4 1/2 games with nine games remaining in the regular season. Both Jared Dudley and Channing Frye scored 21 points for the Suns, who lost to the Kings for the third straight time.—AP

NBA results/standings NBA results standings on Tuesday: Cleveland 102, Miami 90; Houston 112, New Jersey 87; Oklahoma City 115, Golden State 114 (OT); Sacramento 116, Phoenix 113. (OT denotes overtime win) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division * Boston Philadelphia NY Knicks New Jersey Toronto * Chicago Indiana Milwaukee Detroit Cleveland * Miami * Orlando * Atlanta Charlotte Washington

W 51 38 36 23 20

L 22 36 38 50 53

PCT .699 .514 .486 .315 .274

Central Division 53 20 .726 33 42 .440 29 44 .397 26 47 .356 15 58 .205

GB 13.5 15.5 28 31 21 24 27 38

Southeast Division 51 23 .689 47 27 .635 4 42 32 .568 9 31 42 .425 19.5 18 55 .247 32.5

Western Conference Northwest Division * Oklahoma City 49 24 .671Denver 44 29 .603 5 Portland 43 31 .581 6.5 Utah 36 39 .480 14 Minnesota 17 57 .230 32.5 * LA Lakers Phoenix Golden State LA Clippers Sacramento

Pacific Division 53 20 .726 36 37 .493 32 43 .427 29 45 .392 21 52 .288

* San Antonio * Dallas New Orleans Memphis Houston

Southwest Division 57 17 .770 52 21 .712 4.5 42 32 .568 15 41 33 .554 16 39 35 .527 18

* clinched playoff berth

17 22 24.5 32




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Chile beat Colombia 2-0 Copa America warm-up

PARIS: Croatia’s Dejan Lovren (left) and France’s Franck Ribery (right) challenge for the ball during their friendly soccer match at the Stade de France. —AP

France held by Croatia as rebel Ribery returns PARIS: France missed out on a seventh consecutive win when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Croatia in a friendly on Tuesday when Franck Ribery experienced a mixed reception in his first home game since the World Cup fiasco. Les Bleus, who extended their Euro 2012 qualifying Group D lead with a 2-0 win in Luxembourg last Friday, dominated a tense but poor quality game and Ribery’s appearance on the hour was the highlight of the night. Huge boos came from the stands when the influential midfielder replaced Florent Malouda but other parts of the stadium began to chant his name after he picked up the ball. Ribery and Patrice Evra were suspended for three and five matches for their involvement in last year’s World Cup debacle when France players went on strike to support Nicolas Anelka, who was kicked out for insulting coach Raymond Domenech. Both were booed when the stadium announcer read the substitutes’ names before kick off. “I was expecting to be booed,” Ribery told reporters. “I am very happy with the crowd’s good reaction. It gave me more confidence.” Captain Alou Diarra stamped his authority on the midfield as France, playing in their newly designed white and navy blue stripped jersey, started well with

Jeremy Menez a constant threat on the right flank. Croatia looked dangerous on the break but the French central defence, well marshalled by Philippe Mexes, comfortably coped with the threat. Menez beat the offside trap in the 37th minute before finding Karim Benzema with a low cross, only for the Real Madrid striker to sky his attempt over the bar from six metres. Croatia, however, came very close four minutes before the interval when Ivan Perisic outpaced Gael Clichy on the right, dribbled past Mexes in the box and fired a low shot that Hugo Lloris tipped away. On the stroke of halftime, Menez and Benzema played a fine one-two but Benzema once again misfired. The match was briefly interrupted shortly after the resumption when Croatia fans threw flares onto the pitch. Tension rose again when Ribery replaced Malouda, with the Bayern Munich player booed and cheered on by the crowd. It did not seem to bother him, however, and Ribery created a good chance 15 minutes from time. “ We have been tr ying to make the Stade de France our home and it’s a bit of a shame that some players get something of a special treatment,” Malouda said. —Reuters

Italy beat Ukraine in friendly KIEV: A first-half goal by Giuseppe Rossi helped 10-man Italy to a 2-0 friendly victor y in Ukraine on Tuesday, undermining home coach Yuri Kalitvintsev’s hopes of keeping the job long-term. Villarreal striker Rossi, who have flattered to deceive for Italy in the past, shone throughout the game and fired his side into the lead on the 28th minute when he scored from close range following a scramble after a swift counter attack. Though Italy lost substitute Davide Astori to a 75th minute red card and the Ukrainians pressed

hard, the visitors wrapped up victory with Alessandro Matri’s first international goal in the 80th minute after the defence was caught stretched. Ukraine, whose caretaker coach Kalitvintsev now risks being replaced ahead of the nation cohosting the Euro 2012 finals, had started brightly with Yaroslav Rakytskiy rattling the post in the first minute with keeper Emiliano Viviano well beaten. Atrem Fedetskiy tested Viviano again 15 minutes later after running onto an incisive pass from Oleg

KIEV: Sebastian Giovinco (right) of Italy fights for the ball with Oleg Gusev of Ukraine during their friendly soccer match. —AP

Gusev. “We would have controlled the game but for the anarchy in our penalty area,” Kalitvintsev, whose job has been linked in the media with former Italy coach Marcello Lippi, told reporters. He said injuries had kept many players out of the side. “But it makes no sense to talk of whether they could have helped. We were as good as our reserves allowed,” he said. Italy, with one foot in the Euro finals after Friday ’s 1-0 win in Slovenia, took advantage of Ukraine’s early attacking groove to catch the home side on the hop. American-born Rossi, following a cross from Domenico Criscito and a blocked attempt from Alberto Aquilani, clipped the ball into the net. Ihor Oshchypko scuffed a golden opportunity to level after Viviano failed to deal with a corner from Gusev. After Astori was sent off, the Ukrainians pressed again but then Sebastian Giovinco picked up the ball on the edge of the area and flicked it to Matri who curled into the far corner. Italian coach Cesare Prandelli, who rested seven players but had main centre back Giorgio Chiellini taken off injured in the first half, was partially happy with his team. “I asked my players to play more aggressive football despite the fact it was a friendly game. It was even more pleasant to claim victory after we had been reduced to 10 men,” he told reporters. “I had an opportunity to see a few players in action. I am not happy with the performance of some players in midfield. They have to concentrate more in some episodes.” —Reuters

Palestine WCup qualifier KUALA LUMPUR: Palestine will play its first 2014 World Cup qualifier at home af ter drawing Afghanistan in the opening round of Asian matches in June. The game is scheduled for Ramallah. Palestine was eliminated four years ago when it could not fulfill an away leg in Singapore because of Israeli travel restrictions. Forty-three teams will compete for

Asia’s four automatic slots in Brazil, plus an intercontinental playoff place. In the first round, the 16 lowest-ranked teams play eight home-and-away matches on June 29 and July 3. The winners join 22 higher-ranked teams in the second round in July. Those 15 winners then join Japan, South Korea, Australia, North Korea and Bahrain in a group stage. —AP

BUENOS AIRES: Chile handed their new Argentine coach Claudio Borghi his first win when they beat Colombia 2-0 in The Hague in one of a string of friendlies involving teams from the Americas on Tuesday. Midfielder Matias Fernandez scored with free kick for the second match in a row, having hit the equaliser when Chile held Portugal 1-1 in Aveiro at the weekend, and striker Jean Beausejour added the second. Ecuador missed a penalty in a 0-0 draw with 10-man Peru also in The Hague. Peru’s Christian Ramos was sent off for deliberate handball when he stopped a goal-bound shot from Jefferson Montero but Walter Ayovi’s weak spot kick was saved by Salomon Libman. Uruguay beat Ireland 3-2 in Dublin, Argentina without the injured Lionel Messi were held 0-0 by Costa Rica in San Jose and Paraguay beat the United States 1-0 in Nashville as South American teams warmed up for the Copa America in Argentina in July. North and Central American teams are preparing for the Concacaf Gold Cup in the US in June. Mexico, who beat Paraguay 31 on Saturday, were held 1-1 by Venezuela in San Diego in their second match in four days in California. Honduras conceded seven goals in two games in five days, losing 3-0 to China in Wuhan having been crushed 4-0 by South Korea in Seoul on Friday. Jamaica beat El Salvador 3-2 away with two goals by midfielder Dane Richards after having Damion Williams sent off in the 64th minute.

THE HAGUE: Pablo Contreras from Chile (left) is challenged by Mario Yepes of Colombia during an international friendly soccer match. —AP In San Jose, goalkeeper Keylor Navas was Costa Rica’s key player, denying Argentina several chances to secure his country’s second consecutive draw after they were held 2-2 by China at the weekend. However, a near capacity 35,000

crowd at the new Chinese-built Estadio Nacional were unhappy to miss Messi, who did not play after straining a leg muscle in training having tormented the US in Argentina’s 1-1 draw in New Jersey on Saturday. —Reuters

Australia stun Germany with quick fire double GERMANY: Australia stunned Germany with two quick goals to snatch a 2-1 friendly win on Tuesday and inflict the hosts’ first defeat since last year’s World Cup semi-final. Australia’s David Carney slotted home after an hour and Luke Wilkshire converted a penalty to cancel out Mario Gomez’s early goal and give the Socceroos their first win over the Germans in four matches. “We had very good control of the

game in the first half but then in the second half we were a bit careless and we were surprised by the two goals so we ended up losing the game,” Germany coach Joachim Loew told reporters. “But such games are important for the younger players, especially against a physically strong team like Australia.” Germany, who beat Australia 4-0 in last year’s World Cup in South Africa, were missing five reg-

GERMANY: Germany’s defenders Mats Hummels and Arne Friedrich jump for the ball during the friendly national soccer match between Germany and Australia. —AP

ulars and Loew made eight changes to the team that beat Kazakhstan on Saturday to top their Euro 2012 qualifying group. It took a while for his team to settle and Lukas Podolski had their first good chance when he curled a free kick just wide of Mark Schwarzer’s goal on 23 minutes. Two minutes later Gomez was on target, firing in from the edge of the box to beat the Fulham keeper and underline his ambitions to claim a starting spot after replacing Miroslav Klose for the game. With captain Michael Ballack watching from the stands with his international future to be decided next month, the Germans imploded in the second half, allowing Carney to race clear, outsmart two defenders and slot in the equaliser through the legs of keeper Tim Wiese. Wilkshire made it 2-1 with a spotkick three minutes later after Harry Kewell was brought down to give Australia’s German coach Holger Osieck a memorable win. “I never expected that. I know what exceptional players Germany had on the pitch tonight,” said Osieck, assistant national coach when West Germany won the 1990 World Cup. “We wanted to put in a good performance and that was all. We never thought about a result.” —Reuters

Rugby World Cup organisers relocate Christchurch games WELLINGTON: Rugby World Cup organisers released their revised schedule yesterday, dividing up the five games that should have been played in Christchurch to five existing venues. Dunedin gained two of the relocated matches but gave away one existing game to Invercargill, while Nelson, Wellington and Auckland’s North Harbour will all host one extra game of the Sept. 9-Oct.23 tournament. Organisers had already switched two quarterfinals due to be played at Lancaster Park stadium in Christchurch, which suffered heavy damage to the playing surface and stands after New Zealand’ second largest city was devastated by an 6.3 magnitude earthquake last month, to Auckland’s Eden Park. “Our desire was always to transfer as many of the Christchurch pool matches as was reasonably possible to other existing South Island venues,” Tournament chief executive Martin Snedden said in a statement after retaining three matches in the south. “While we know that our rescheduling decisions won’t please everyone, on balance, we have achieved the best possible result taking into account all relevant factors.” Pools B and C are the only two of the four affected by the changes. Twice champions Australia will face Italy in their opening Pool C match on Sept.11 at the North Harbour Stadium in Auckland and play their final group game at Trafalgar Park in Nelson against Russia on Oct. 1. England and Argentina, who are seeded to

advance to the knockout stages from Pool B, will open their campaigns by facing each other in Dunedin on Sept.10. England will play their second match against Georgia in the same venue eight days later with Argentina’s key third pool game against Scotland switching to Wellington on Sept. 25. To cater for the changes, Scotland’s Sept.14 clash with Georgia was switched form Dunedin to Invercargill. ground. “Nelson, Dunedin and Invercargill were logical choices to each host one additional match. But there were always going to be significant problems going beyond that,” Snedden said The enclosed, 30,000 seat Otago Stadium, still under construction, was confirmed as a venue by organisers on Wednesday after they received the necessary guarantees it would be ready but organisers appeared hesitant. “We came to the view that Dunedin could not have reasonably hosted the Australia v Italy match the day after hosting its first major match, England v Argentina,” Snedden said. “We were concerned about the pressure that back-to-back matches would impose on what will be a largely untested venue and a new playing surface. “In addition, accommodation facilities in the city and surrounding region would also have been under severe pressure from the expected influx of 20,000 fans from outside the region that a double-header would bring.” —Reuters



Tendulkar targets final glory in Mumbai MOHALI: India’s Sachin Tendulkar led a charmed life to hit a crucial 85 in yesterday’s semi-final win against Pakistan before targeting his first World Cup title in front of his home fans in Mumbai. Tendulkar was dropped four times in his man of the match innings to anchor India to 260-9 against their arch-rivals before his team’s bowlers applied the pressure and the brakes to

secure a 29-run win in the hotly-anticipated clash. “The final in Mumbai will be a fantastic occasion. We will focus on the job in hand and try to get the job done,” said Tendulkar of Saturday’s title match against Sri Lanka. Tendulkar again missed out on making 100 international centuries but has the satisfaction of having played in all five of India’s World Cup

wins over Pakistan. Now he hopes to be at the forefront of Saturday’s campaign where India will look to capture a second World Cup title, 28 years after their first and only triumph. “It’s always memorable to play against Pakistan and to be on the winning side five times against them is a memory I will always cherish. — AFP

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

Is Sri Lanka relying too much on the top three? COLOMBO: Three of the top four run-scorers in the World Cup are Sri Lankans who have amassed more than 1,200 runs between them over seven games — all but one played at home on Sri Lankan wickets. The real test of Sri Lanka’s world-beating credentials will come in Mumbai on Saturday when their marauding batsmen face a tough bowling attack on an unfamiliar wicket. Tillakaratne Dilshan (467), captain Kumar Sangakkara (417) and Upul Tharanga (393) — with England’s Jonathan Trott — lead the pack of World Cup batsmen ahead of the highly anticipated semifinal between archrivals Pakistan and India which will decide Sri Lanka’s opponent in the final. Has the 1996 World Cup winner relied too much on the top three batsmen to come good everytime? The statistics show that the remaining batsmen have averaged a total of 72 runs between them over the World Cup, although admittedly they have not been needed that often. Playing at home is of course an advantage and seven home games in a World Cup has put Sri Lanka firmly in a comfort zone. Sri Lanka’s team has traveled just once outside their territory since the World Cup began on Feb. 19 when it defeated New Zealand in a group game at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium venue for Saturday’s finale. Sangakkara’s batsmen have so far stuttered just once on the way to the final. And it happened against the only quality bowling they had faced in the tournament thus far when Pakistan successfully defended a total of 2777 in group game. Sri Lanka’s victories in the knockout matches came against England and New Zealand teams missing their frontline bowlers due to injuries. There were some nervy moments on Saturday when New Zealand took four wickets in the space of 25 runs, but the lack of quality bowling denied the Kiwis their first ever chance to qualify for the World Cup final. Mahela Jayawardene started the tournament by racking up Sri Lanka’s fastest ever century in the World Cup when he made 100 off 80 balls against Canada. However, in the remaining five innings Jayawardene could only make a further 101. “Everyone talks when a batsman fails,” Sangakkara said after five-wicket win over New Zealand in the semifinal. “The questions are natural, is he okay? is he out of form? are you worried? it happens in cricket.” But the Sri Lankan captain supported Jayawardene _ a veteran of 340 ODIs. “Mahela is the kind of a player who can turn up and destroy any side, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. Sangakkara was well aware of the fact that either of his two opponents in the final could be dangerous and has the ability to challenge the strong Sri Lankan batting lineup. “We’ve got to come off that high (semifinal win) very, very soon,” he said. “By the time we get on that plane we’ve got to understand what lies ahead of us...that is now the only game that counts, not this one, not the one before.” Sangakkara anchored the innings with a brilliant 111 against New Zealand at Mumbai, but was not sure what type of wicket he would be getting for Saturday’s final. “It’s hard to say,” he said. “ The wicket against New Zealand was unbelievable, it had pace and bounce, it had movement not much turn at all, it was good to bat on once you saw the new ball off. — AP

Deflated Pakistan fans blame Misbah for loss ISLAMABAD: Disappointed Pakistani cricket fans yesterday blamed a sluggish Misbah-ul-Haq for defeat in the World Cup semi-final thriller with arch-rival India. India defeated Pakistan by 29 runs in a match dubbed the “clash of the titans” to set up a World Cup final showdown with Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Saturday, leaving fans across cricket-loving Pakistan deflated. “We lost because of Misbah, as he did not score well when it was most required,” angry fan Awais Shakir told AFP on Islamabad’s main Jinnah Avenue as thousands of disappointed fans were leaving for home. “He just wasted time on the pitch.” Fans in other Pakistani cities which ground to a halt for the game also criticised Misbah, who scored a lacklustre 56 from 76 balls. His slow play pushed the Pakistan towards defeat before the 50th over. For schoolteacher Hazrat Ali, it was disappointing-but not the end of the game. “Defeat and win is part of the game. Our team will win next time,” he said. In Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, engineer Mohammad Ali said: “It was a great contest all along and the day belonged to India. However Misbah and Younis Khan were very lazy.” By the evening all major roads in several Pakistani cities were gridlocked with cars, motorcycles and jubilant revellers, but the festive atmosphere gradually turned tense as Pakistani batting line began to fall before India. Power cuts sparked protests by hundreds of angry spectators who blocked a main highway in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir. The government had declared a half-day holiday in offices and schools to enable the cricket-mad population to enjoy the game. Special prayers were offered in mosques and at homes, and people recited verses from the Koran, praying to Allah to guide the Pakistani team to victory. Motorists listened to the commentary on their car radios and shouted out the latest score to passers-by at a busy intersection in Islamabad. Excitement reached fever pitch as shopkeepers flogged green T-shirts, caps and souvenirs, and social networking sites Facebook and Twitter buzzed with comments on the wickets’ falls and player’s performance-and

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan cricket fans in gloomy mood during the last overs of the Pakistani-India cricket match. —AP

prayers for the Pakistan squad. Young people were seen wearing the green T-shirts of the Pakistani squad, their faces painted in the nation’s green and white, in the northwestern city of Peshawar, while large national flags flew from buildings, houses and cars. In the eastern city of Lahore, which borders with India, more than 20,000 Pakistanis thronged the Gaddafi stadium to witness the match on large screens. Entry was free and people formed long queues to get in. In the southern port city of Karachi residents blocked many roads and set up huge screens to watch the live broadcast from the Indian town of Mohali. Even prison authorities in the city made special arrangements for inmates to watch the match and gave Indian team shirts to some 200 Indian prisoners to support their team. In Rawalpindi, revellers danced to drums in a market

and shouted “Long live the Pakistan team”, “We will win” and “Give your best, we are with you”. Whenever an Indian wicket fell, people jumped and danced in jubilation and fired gunshots in the air. In Islamabad people gathered around screens, letting out screams of excitement when a player hit a four or faced a fierce delivery. Elsewhere the streets were deserted after midday. Large crowds, including women and children, gathered at the lush green Fatima Jinnah park and waved Pakistani flags in support of their team. Another large crowd gathered in front of the Islamabad Stock Exchange building to watch the match on a huge screen mounted on the lofty building. Markets, schools and offices were closed in the restive North Waziristan tribal region’s main town, Miranshah, and many made special arrangements to watch the match on big screens. —AFP

India revels in magical win MOHALI: Thousands of delirious home fans brought the house down at the Mohali stadium yesterday after India ended Pakistan’s World Cup dream with a 29run win in an action-packed semi-final. “We love you India,” screamed a group of college girls over Bollywood music blaring across the packed 30,000-seater Punjab Cricket Association stadium as noisy celebrations erupted throughout the country. “It feels as if we have won the World Cup,” said 23-year-old Anuradha Biswal, wiping away tears of joy with her handkerchief. “The match was so close, my heart missed a beat every time the Pakistani batsman hit a four or a six. But our team made us proud tonight.” Chasing India’s 260-9, Pakistan folded up for 231 all out to hand India a final clash with Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Saturday. Crowds at the venue broke into “bhangra” dancing, which is wildly popular in the northern Indian region around Mohali, and torn tickets flew like confetti over the heads of cheering supporters. A handful of Pakistani fans who crossed the border to watch one of the biggest ever sporting

clashes between the two nations wore a dejected look but were gracious in defeat. “India deserved to win,” said Kashif Abbasi who travelled from Islamabad. “The good thing was that our team did not give up without a fight.” The match had generated huge hype ever since the arch-rivals were drawn together for the semi-final, but the fierce contest out in the middle was in stark contrast to the bonhomie in the stands. “The feeling is as if the bigger brother has won,” said Salma Riyaz, another Pakistani fan. “There was no angry exchange and tempers were never frayed despite the cauldron-like situation. “It shows we have matured and take things in the right perspective.” The audience, which included Bollywood stars such as Amir Khan, could not have asked for more drama with the result uncertain for much of the game. “Despite the huge pressure on the players, they were very sporting throughout the match,” said Leena Khanna, 26, kissing a flag pinned on her blue India Tshirt. Both national anthems were respected by fans, though the overwhelmingly Indian crowd cheered every dropped

NEW DELHI: Indians celebrate after their team won the ICC World Cup cricket semifinal match against Pakistan. —AP

catch by the Pakistanis who put down at least five chances during the Indian innings. Cricket has often suffered from the fractious relations between the neighbouring nations, but Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani attended yester-

day’s game together. “To see them shake hands with players will remain etched in my memory,” said Shyam Shankar, an Indian software engineer who drove to Mohali from New Delhi. “Cricket can be a great healer and help mend relations with our neighbors. We should play each other more often.” —AFP

Clarke appointed Australia skipper SYDNEY: Batsman Michael Clarke was appointed Australia’s 43rd test cricket captain yesterday, a day after Ricky Ponting’s resigned the post. The 29-year-old, who served as vice-captain under Ponting, will also take charge of the one-day side, which plays three matches in Bangladesh next month. All rounder Shane Watson is the new vice-captain of the test and one-day teams. “I just want to say what an honour it is to be named captain of Australia and a huge surprise to see Ricky stand down,” Clarke told a media conference. “I spent a lot of time with Ricky during the world Cup and I was very much unaware of where he was it so it was a big surprise for me.” Cameron White will retain the captaincy of Australia’s Twenty20 team, which Clarke relinquished after losing the fifth Ashes test to England as stand-in captain for the injured Ponting in January. Watson is also vice-captain of that team. Nicknamed Pup, Clarke scored 151

on his test debut in Bangalore in 2004 and another centur y on his home debut against New Zealand, although his form has dipped over the last year. Long Ponting’s anointed successor, Clarke’s tattoos, top of the range BMW and glamorous apar tment in the beach side Sydney suburb of Bondi have jarred with more traditional parts of the Australian public. Clarke is also a keen tweeter and it was via his Twitter page ( that he apologised for not walking when given out during the Ashes test defeat in Adelaide last December. He faces a baptism of fire over the next 12 months as Australia follow their trip to Bangladesh with test tours of Sri Lanka and South Africa before hosting New Zealand and India in the next southern hemisphere summer. His mentor Ponting, who wants to continue playing in both one day and test matches, was included in the squad for Bangladesh, which was also announced yesterday. —Reuters

SYDNEY: Michael Clarke of Australia speaks during a press conference. —AP



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In Blanc’s image, France should forgive cup rebels SAINT-DENIS: At the end of 90 ho-hum minutes that could be Exhibit A in an argument about why countries should play fewer pointless football friendlies, the two coaches who have a very big reason to never again address a kind word to each other came together for a warm-looking tete-a-tete on the touchline. If Laurent Blanc still bears a grudge against Croatia’s Slaven Bilic for causing him to miss the biggest match of his career, the 1998 World Cup final, the French former defender who now manages Les Bleus does a brilliant job of hiding it. Bilic’s play-acting in the semifinal 13 years ago at the Stade de France, the stadium where France met Croatia again this week, was so disgraceful that it ranked at No. 37 in a compilation of 50 most shocking World Cup moments that the BBC broadcast last year. Jostling for a Zinedine Zidane free kick, with France leading 2-1 after two unlikely goals from Lilian Thuram, Blanc shoved his left palm hard into Bilic’s chest, just below his neck. Clutching his right eye socket, the Croatian

defender collapsed dramatically to his knees, pretending he’d been whacked in the face. Blanc’s subsequent red card, his only one in 97 appearances for his country, meant that he sat out the final against Brazil that France won 3-0. But, for Blanc, that’s old history now. He promised before his reunion with Bilic this week that he would shake the Croatian coach’s hand. He kept his word. They spent a couple of minutes deep in conversation, and Bilic draped a friendly hand on the back of Blanc’s neck, after their teams played out a scoreless and soulless halfhearted stalemate on Tuesday night. Blanc’s magnanimity was good to see. All of France should take note, because it is time for Blanc’s countrymen to show a similar spirit of forgiveness to the rebel French players who disgraced themselves at the World Cup last year. That fans were furious, that President Nicolas Sarkozy got involved and that some critics called for life bans was all understandable. The players did, after all, behave like spoiled brats in South Africa. Their televised rebellion, their refusal to train and

their group sulk on the team bus with curtains drawn won’t and shouldn’t be quickly forgotten. Many angr y words and column inches were deservedly directed at all those who dirtied France’s name. Still, as with the Blanc-Bilic push-and-shove in 1998, it is time to turn the page. Those involved, with a few exceptions, have apologized for their behavior in South Africa. Some of them were genuinely embarrassed and almost certainly would not act so stupidly again. Most made the peace-pipe gesture of renouncing financial bonuses they were promised. The supposed ringleaders served bans. Isn’t that enough? Apparently not. Winger Franck Ribery, a 60th-minute substitute for Florent Malouda, ran on to a gale of whistles on Tuesday night. It is not pretty when a crowd of 60,000 gangs up on one person. It takes neither brains nor courage. Yet when he wriggled away from his Croatian marker and passed sweetly to Samir Nasri a few minutes later, chants of “Ribery! Ribery!” started in a section of the ground. So the crowd was fickle, too. The genuine anger that many in France felt last summer, even those who are not

football fans, risks evolving into cheap pantomime. Ribery was the fans’ villain and easy target on Tuesday night. Next match, it could be someone else if they don’t learn how to forgive. The fleet, inventive Bayern Munich player said afterward he’d been bracing for a rough reception because it was his first home game for France since he ended his three-match ban. “There were whistles, of course. That’s normal. I think I was prepared for it. Now, most of all, I’m very happy about how the public reacted as the match went on. It gave me more confidence,” he said. “This evening was a stage I had to go through, playing at the Stade de France, facing my public.” Blanc believes that, with time, the fans will become more forgiving. “Things will get better, you‘ll see,” he said. Still, Les Bleus walked off the field to jeers. French fans seem to have more fun knocking and mocking their team than getting behind it. Hard to believe that this stadium where Thuram became king for the day with his semifinal goals and where Zidane headed in twice in the final was once the theater of so much French joy. — AP

Netherlands, Spain win after rare Euro drama

PORTUGAL: Finland’s Mika Vayrynen (left) fights for the ball with Portugalís Carlos Martins during their friendly soccer match. —AP

Portugal blank Finland AVEIRO: Ruben Micael scored twice on his international debut as a second string Portugal side shrugged off Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence to beat Finland 2-0 in a friendly international on Tuesday. Coach Paulo Bento made eight changes to the side that started Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Chile but his players gelled quickly and went ahead on 10 minutes with midfielder Micael sliding to toe-poke a Ricardo Quaresma cross into Otto Fredrikson’s net. The Finns were timid going forward and only came close to equalising in the 33rd minute when Daniel Sjolund sent a volley over Eduardo’s bar after a fine pass by Roman Eremenko. With Ronaldo sidelined

by a hamstring injur y, Quaresma and Danny took the opportunity to shine on the wings but their crosses were met by wasteful finishing by their team mates, particularly striker Hugo Almeida. Nani came off the bench on 68 minutes and made a difference almost instantly, winning a ball in the Finnish half two minutes later and squaring it for the unmarked Micael to score his second with the easiest of tap-ins. Portugal are second in Euro 2012 qualifying Group H, three points adrift of leaders Norway, with the two sides due to meet in Lisbon on June 4. The Finns are fifth in Group E. — Reuters

Unpaid Rayo have sights set on La Liga payday

BERNE: The Netherlands and Spain brought a hint of drama to Euro 2012 qualifying on Tuesday, surviving fight backs by Hungary and Lithuania to maintain their 100 percent records in the competition. Dirk Kuyt scored two goals in three minutes late in the game as the Dutch, pegged back to 3-3 in the 75th minute by Zoltan Gera’s second goal, snatched a 5-3 win in Amsterdam. Two goals in the last 20 minutes, one an own goal from Tadas Kijanskas and one from Juan Mata, gave Spain a 3-1 win on a muddy pitch in Lithuania after the world champions had had Xavi’s first-half goal wiped out by Marius Stankevicius. It was a rare case of big guns having to work hard for the points in a tournament which has so far featured a dull procession of effortless wins by the top sides. The Dutch have six wins from six games in Group E while Spain have won all five in Group I and both are almost certain to top their groups. The nine group winners will go straight to Poland and Ukraine in 2012 along with the best runners-up. The other eight secondplaced teams play off for four more places. “Matches like this you won’t see often,” said Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk after his team’s 14th successive win in a qualifying match. The World Cup finalists, 4-0 winners in Hungary on Friday, looked set for another easy victory when Robin van Persie, who later went off injured, gave them a 13th-minute lead. But Hungary capitalised on a sloppy Dutch start to the second half as they scored twice within five minutes through Gergely Rudolf and Gera. Wesley Sneijder levelled just after the hour before a sequence of four goals in eight minutes saw Ruud van Nistelrooy put the Dutch ahead, Gera equalise and Kuyt score twice. Sweden, chasing second spot in Group E, beat Moldova 2-1 as goals from Mikael Lustig and Sebastian Larsson made up for a Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty miss just before halftime. Alexandru Suvorov replied for the visitors as Sweden went level with Hungary on nine points, nine behind the Dutch. Spain appeared to suffer as much with the Kaunas pitch as their opponents who had scored two goals in their first three outings. “It’s all sand,” Xavi said. “At this level in 2011 to have a pitch in this state the truth is sad for football. These are issues for UEFA and the like but they should come here and see it because you can’t play football here.

LITHUANIA: Spainís Javier Martinez (left) is challenged by Lithuaniaís Darvydas Sernas, during a Euro 2012 group I qualifying match in Kaunas. — AP “We got the points which was the objective. We have one foot and a half in the finals and so we’re happy.” Czech Republic stayed six points behind Spain in second spot after Milan Baros and Michal Kadlec gave them a predictable 2-0 win over Liechtenstein. Turkey revived their hopes of finishing second behind unstoppable Germany in Group A with a 2-0 win over fading Austria. Belgium, 4-1 winners over Azerbaijan, are second with 10 points while Turkey are third with nine, the Germans leading with a perfect record. Luxembourg briefly looked as if they could cause a major upset when Lars

Gerson gave them the lead against Romania but two goals from Adrian Mutu helped the East Europeans recover for a 3-1 win in Group D. Serbia and Slovenia missed a chance to dent Italy’s Group C lead when they drew away, keeping both five points adrift. Serbia drew 1-1 in Estonia after a blunder by goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic allowed Konstantin Vassiljev to equalise for the hosts in the 84th minute in snowy Tallinn, wiping out Marko Pantelic’s opportunist first-half effor t. Slovenia drew 0-0 in Nor thern Ireland.— Reuters

Gyan goal gives Ghana 1-1 draw with England MADRID: Five kilometres away from the home of the world’s richest football club Real Madrid, Rayo Vallecano look to be winning their battle to join them in Spain’s top division despite playing without getting paid. The club from the working class district of Vallecas to the south east of Madrid’s city centre beat title rivals Real Betis to go top of the second division on Sunday, a month after their owners filed to go into administration. Rayo’s majority shareholder Jose Maria Ruiz-Mateos last month applied for his Nueva Rumasa business to be protected from its creditors in 10 of its divisions, including the cash-strapped club which has debts of around 22 million euros ($31.06 million) on a budget of 18 million. Ruiz-Mateos spent time in prison for tax evasion during the 1980s after the government was forced to step in and take over his previous business empire when they ran into financial difficulties. Rayo’s predicament is far from unique to Spanish football though their staff are perhaps the worst off out of all the teams in the top two divisions. Sunday’s visitors Betis are already in administration, and third-placed Celta Vigo have just come out of it, while topflight Real Mallorca were barred from playing in the Europa League this season after taking a similar course of action. Last week, Rayo’s team captain Michel had explained the situation at their nearby training ground, where a handful of fans and reporters hung around the dressing room door in a manner that would be unthinkable up the road at

Real Madrid City, the largest sports complex ever built by a football club. “The economic problems affect the team,” the 35-year-old midfielder told Reuters, “but we have to focus on the sporting side of things and hope there is a rapid solution to it all. “We are owed money from last season. We have received some money, it is different for each player, but they still owe us money from last year. The club are looking to be able to do something for us as soon as possible.” Michel came up through the Rayo youth ranks and is a veteran of the side that achieved the club’s highest ever finish of ninth in La Liga in 2000 which qualified them for the UEFA Cup under former Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur boss Juande Ramos. They eventually fell to fellow Spaniards Alaves in the quarter-finals of their first European campaign, the Basque club going on to lose to Liverpool in the 2001 final. He clearly identifies with the club’s fans who have given their backing to the squad and staff, even organizing some collections. The fans have directed their anger at club president Teresa Rivero, the wife of Ruiz-Mateos, calling for her and the family to leave after 18 years at the helm. The petitions for her to go grew after she suggested the players were not really interested in promotion following an earlier protest by the squad, though she later apologised for her comments. “The fans are also worried because of the situation with the club,” Michel added. —Reuters

LONDON: Asamoah Gyan scored a superb last-minute equaliser to earn Ghana richlydeserved 1-1 draw with a second-string England in a memorable, all-action friendly at Wembley on Tuesday. Ghana’s 20,000 fans, who had helped create a fantastic atmosphere, were sent absolutely delirious when Gyan’s goal cancelled out Andy Carroll’s late first-half strike

for Fabio Capello’s much-changed England side. Carroll, who moved from Newcastle United to Liverpool for 35 million pounds ($55.94 million) in January but has hardly played because of injury, produced a killer finish with a low left-foot bullet after 43 minutes for his first England goal on his second appearance. But Gyan, who plays his club football in

LONDON: England’s Ashley Young (center) competes with Ghana’s Kwadwo Asamoah (left) and Dominic Adiyiah during their international soccer match. —AP

England with Sunderland, produced a brilliant finish as the match moved into injury time, jinking his way into space in the box, selling Joleon Lescott a dummy, then finishing with a precise left-foot shot that gave goalkeeper Joe Hart no chance. “It was a fantastic game,” England coach Fabio Capello told ITV. “I am happy because Ghana didn’t play it like a friendly. “The two teams were really, really good, playing strongly with lots of tackles. I’m happy with the performance. The players played without fear and with confidence.” Carroll said: “It’s great to be playing again and to have scored a goal. I enjoyed playing in the 4-3-3 formation. I’m here and ready to score goals if picked.” A crowd of more than 80,000 included the largest number of visiting fans for an international since Wembley re-opened four years ago and they gave vociferous backing to last year’s World Cup quarter-finalists as England were made to work hard to stretch their unbeaten run against African opposition to 17 matches. Ghana, who were playing an African Nations Cup match in Congo on Sunday before arriving in London on Monday, deserve huge credit for their positive approach. Capello made seven changes from the team that beat Wales 2-0 in a Euro 2012 qualifier on Saturday, and while there was some criticism of his selection before the match, his 4-3-3 formation acquitted itself well. The breakthrough came after 43 minutes when Ashley Young and Stewart Downing combined before Downing allowed the ball to run on to Carroll who gave Richard Kingson no chance with a blistering finish. —Reuters

Cavaliers cool Heat in NBA action



Deflated Pakistan fans blame Misbah for loss


Netherlands, Spain win after rare Euro drama

Page 19

India stifle Pakistan to reach final

MOHALI: India’s Harbhajan Singh (left) and Virat Kohli celebrate their win over Pakistan by 29 runs in the Cricket World Cup semifinal match. — AP

MOHALI: Disciplined bowling and a fortunetinged 85 by Sachin Tendulkar saw India beat Pakistan by 29 runs yesterday to setup a World Cup final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Saturday. Pakistan, chasing 261 for victory, were dismissed for 231 with a ball to spare in a match that had assumed huge political as well as sporting significance in the build-up. Misbah-ul-Haq, who top-scored for Pakistan with 56, helped take them from 208 for nine to a situation where an unlikely 30 was needed off the last over. But Zaheer Khan held his nerve, bowling four dot balls before Misbah holed out to Virat Kohli to the delight of a capacity crowd. India’s 260 for nine against their arch-rivals was built around man-of-the-match Tendulkar’s 85. But they might have made considerably less had not the star batsman been dropped four times in an innings that still left him one short of a hundred international hundreds. Left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz led Pakistan’s attack with career-best figures of five for 46. India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who won the toss and batted, said it was important to treat the slowing PCA Stadium pitch with respect. “ We got off to a fantastic start through Virender Sehwag and Sachin (48 runs in 5.5 overs) but as the game progressed the wicket got slower, and in the middle overs it was difficult to score,” said Dhoni. “It was important to just play the bowling with respect. 260 was a good score for this pitch. It was turning.” Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi admitted his team had missed their chances to dismiss Tendulkar who was dropped on 27, 45, 70 and 81 in a butter-fingered fielding performance. “We missed some opportunities and they played better than us. We didn’t make part-

nerships and we played some irresponsible shots. I want to say sorry to my nation - we tried our level best.” Pakistan saw Kamran Akmal start their pursuit with a first ball four off Zaheer. But the left-arm quick had his revenge with a slower ball the opener sliced to Yuvraj Singh at point to leave Pakistan 44 for one. Mohammad Hafeez made 43 before he was caught behind after trying to sweep seamer Munaf Patel. Yuvraj, out for a golden duck, atoned in front of his home crowd with two wickets for no runs in five balls as Pakistan slumped to 106 for four. The left-arm spinner bowled Asad Shafiq (30) as the batsman made room to cut and then had the experienced Younus Khan (13) caught at cover by Suresh Raina. Umar Akmal, however, counter-attacked in trademark style, pulling and driving Yuvraj for the first two sixes of the match. But on 29 he was bowled by an arm ball from local hero Harbhajan Singh to leave Pakistan 142 for five. Pakistan required 84 off the last 10 overs and needed a big innings from big-hitting but out of form Afridi. Afridi only managed 19 before he sliced Harbhajan to Virender Sehwag at cover-point and at 184 for seven the game was almost up for Pakistan. Earlier, the 25-year-old Riaz kept his side in the match. Riaz, on as first change, struck fifth ball when he had dangerman Sehwag, hitting across the line, lbw for 38 including nine boundaries. Tendulkar, opening with Sehwag, subsequently squaredrove Riaz for four to become the first batsman ever to score 400 runs in three separate World Cups. But off-spinner Saeed Ajmal nearly had him out twice in successive balls for 23, a reviewed lbw and tight stumping call both going against Pakistan. Then, on 27, Tendulkar pulled leg-spinner Afridi hard to short mid-wicket only for Misbah to drop the catch. Tendulkar was dropped again, on 45, when Younus at mid-off failed to hold on to a mistimed drive off leg-spinner Afridi. Riaz, however, had Kohli caught by Umar Akmal at backward point and next ball clean bowled Yuvraj with a swinging full toss. Tendulkar was given a third reprieve by Pakistan on 70 when wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal failed to hold a tough chance off an edged Afridi leg-break. And he was on 81 when a leaping Umar Akmal at short midwicket dropped a checked drive against off-spinner Hafeez. However, Afridi ended his innings when he took a sharp catch at short extra-cover off Ajmal. Tendulkar faced 115 balls with 11 fours. Riaz had Dhoni lbw before completing his fivewicket haul when Zaheer was caught behind. — AFP

SCOREBOARD MOHALI, India: Full scoreboard in the World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium yesterday: India V. Sehwag lbw b Riaz 38 S. Tendulkar c Afridi b Ajmal 85 G. Gambhir st K Akmal b Hafeez 27 V. Kohli c U Akmal b Riaz 9 Yuvraj Singh b Riaz 0 MS Dhoni lbw b Riaz 25 Suresh Raina not out 36 Harbhajan Singh st K Akmal b Ajmal 12 Zaheeer Khan c K Akmal b Riaz 9 A. Nehra run out (K Akmal/Riaz) 1 M. Patel not out 0 Extras (lb8, w8, nb2) 18 Total (9 wkts, 50 overs) 260 Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Sehwag), 2-118 (Gambhir), 3-141 (Kohli), 4-141 (Yuvraj), 5-187 (Tendulkar), 6-205 (Dhoni), 7-236 (Harbhajan), 8-256 (Zaheer), 9-258 (Nehra). Bowling: Gul 8-0-69-0 (2nb, 1w); Razzaq 2-0-14-0; Riaz 10-0-46-5 (4w); Ajmal 10-0-44-2 (3w); Afridi 10-0-45-0; Hafeez 10-0-34-1. Pakistan Kamran Akmal c Yuvraj b Zaheer 19 Mohammad Hafeez c Dhoni b Patel 43 Asad Shafiq b Yuvraj 30 Younus Khan c Raina b Yuvraj 13 Misbah-ul-Haq c Kohli b Zaheer 56 Umar Akmal b Harbhajan 29 Abdul Razzaq b Patel 3 Shahid Afridi c Sehwag b Harbhajan 19 Wahab Riaz c Tendulkar b Nehra 8 Umar Gul lbw b Nehra 2 Saeed Ajmal not out 1 Extras (w8) 8 Total (all out, 49.5 overs) 231 Fall of wickets: 1-44 (K Akmal), 2-70 (Hafeez), 3-103 (Shafiq), 4-106 (Younus), 5-142 (U Akmal), 6-150 (Razzaq), 7-184 (Afridi), 8-199 (Riaz), 9-208 (Gul), 10-231 (Misbah). Bowling: Zaheer 9.5-0-58-2 (6w); Nehra 10-0-33-2 (1w); Patel 10-1-40-2 (1w); Harbhajan 10-0-43-2; Yuvraj 10-157-2. Result: India won by 29 runs



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Dubai’s top lender eyes mergers, more provisions


Page 22 Kuwait equities lose track Page 24


KIPCO sees promising outlook Page 23

The Avenues Malls expansion on track

KUWAIT: Mohammed Abdulaziz Alshaya, Chairman and Managing Director of Mabanee Company addressing the general assembly on Tuesday.

Mabanee board of directors address the general assembly meeting.



Mabanee posts KD18.670m net profit in 2010 • Alshaya applauds govt initiative KUWAIT: Mohammed Abdulaziz Alshaya, Chairman and Managing Director of Mabanee Company, announced during the general assembly which was held at Avenues Mall on Tuesday that the net profit of the company for 2010 reached KD 18.670 million (approximately $ 67 million), compared to KD 15.3 million in 2009, an increase of 22% as the earnings per share came to 37.2fils. The company’s overall operational revenue came to KD 35.6 million, while shareholder equity increased 14% to KD 126.983 million. Total assets increased 16% to reach KD 256.421 million, he added. Based on these results, the Board of Directors recommended the distribution of 10% bonus shares of the paid-up capital as of December 31, 2010 for shareholders registered in the company’s records on the date of the General Assembly Meeting. He added that the investment for the third stage of Avenues Mall is amounting to half billion dollars especially because this is one of the largest investments for the private sector in the development plan. Alshaya applauded Kuwait Investment Authority’s decision to support the billion portfolio considering that it will support the real estate market in Kuwait in a big way. Alshaya said that the plan executed by Mabanee is reflected in the positive results the company has achieved in 2010. This confirms the success of the short and long-term strategies initiated by the company. New Extension of The Avenues “I am delighted to confirm that the construction of the new extension of The Avenues is taking place as scheduled. Around 40% of the extension has been completed, and it is expected to be inaugurated in 2012. The new area will create a new dimension in the world of shopping through the different districts that it will include,” he said. Proof of the success of The Avenues is the great demand for leasing in the new extension by regional and international highend brands. These luxury brands believe that their presence in the new extension will bring added value to them, especially after the


great success of Phases I and II of The Avenues, he added. Future expansion “We are moving forward with mapping out the plans for Phase IV of The Avenues based on the approvals obtained from government authorities. We will then begin planning for Phase V, which will include a number of hotels in the event that the required licensing is obtained. Phase VI will follow, involving the development of the remaining plot of land. Through our future expansion plans, we aspire to make The Avenues one of the most important shopping cities not only in the region, but also in the world, through its distinguished design and its leasing area which we hope will exceed 400,000 square meters. Given the distinguished methodology that the company has adopted, as well as the experience and prestigious status that it holds, Mabanee is poised to seize investment opportunities based on a number of factors, namely stable cash flow, increasing rate of profit-making, and a professional work environment. A Word of Congratulations and Appreciation “On behalf of the Board of Directors and the employees of Mabanee Company, I would like to congratulate HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on the occasion of the 5th Anniversary of the Accession of HH the Amir to the Throne, the 20th Anniversary of the Liberation of Kuwait, and the 50th Anniversary of the Independence. I pray to Almighty Allah that He continue to guide our leaders along the right path towards greater success and prosperity,” Alshaya said. He also expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the shareholders for their trust which according to him encouraged the company to exert all the efforts to realize the goals and implement its strategies.

The mall

The Avenues Expansion The Grand Avenue With an atmosphere much like the Champs Elysees, The Grand Avenue is a truly beautiful, tree-lined boulevard that echoes grandeur. The retail facades are a mix of three styles; European, local and contemporary under a transparent roof structure that will reinforce and enhance the external appearance and the atmosphere intended. The Grand Avenue is up to 500 meters in length and is 22 meters wide in average. Some stores along the length of the district have small upper floor terraces (balconies), smoothly accessed by elevators, escalators and stairs as alternative access method to the first floor units. Prestige Where luxury meets elegance and provides the visitors of The Avenues with a prestigious shopping experience. It is located in a unique area overlooking the Fifth Ring Road. Prestige houses high-end brands, along with a number of cafes and restaurants that serve the finest of international cuisines spread over two levels. The district has a 23 meters high dome built using rich materials that enhance the luxuriousness of the retail outlets it adorns, such as Harvey Nichols. Customers and shoppers will be offered a world-class shopping experience that is unmatched anywhere else. The Mall The Mall is considered an extension to the existing shopping experience with a variety of well-known brands distributed on two floor, acting as a link between The Avenues Phases. The classic mall environment, with its clearly defined architectural style, allows with a series of courtyard plazas to provide ample of space for cafes and restaurants that will enhance the lively atmosphere. Contemporary modern architectural styles are incorporated throughout the district, with a clean, minimalist feel to the spaces and streets, giving prominence to the retail merchandise. For jewelry, precious stones and gold lovers, The Mall will include the Gold Souk. The designs and colors of the retail facades of the Gold Souk reflect the value of the goods on sale. The first floor above the Gold Souk is designated for children entertainment with an area of more than 5,000 square meters.

SoKu The hip and funky SoKu takes its influence from New York’s bohemian Soho district. An acronym for South of Kuwait, SoKu is Kuwait’s answer to an iconic urban shopping experience Attracting Kuwait’s young, trendy population, the district is perfectly poised to accommodate today’s leading youth brands. Edgy, city architecture provides a “street savvy” appeal and a cultural environment that encapsulates everything in up to the minute retailing, including art galleries, which display the arts of all kinds. Restaurants, cafes and bistros at SoKu provide respite and meeting places to hang out and chill with friends. Tree shaded courtyards provide focal meeting spaces with food and beverage outlets strategically positioned within each courtyard to further animate the space. The Souk Modeled on a traditional Kuwaiti Souk, this district is an interpretation of this traditional regional retail architecture. The Souk at The Avenues is carefully designed to replicate the visual and sensory stimulus characteristic of the Souk environment. Narrow streets provide a market trader feel with units devoted to an array of products. Smaller units provide suitable locations for startup retailers giving a fresh edge and entrepreneurial spirit to the district. Retailers and salespeople in the Souk, as is their tradition, open the wooden doors of their shops from the early morning hours to serve their customers. They are confident that the shoppers will find traditional unique items only in this area. The shoppers can extend their trip at the Souk through spending time at the cafes and restaurants that offer best Kuwaiti cuisine surrounded by the sounds of the retailers who are competing to lure the buyers. The Souk embodies the spirit of the active daily life as they were living in Kuwait years ago. Bazaar The district is inspired by the Grand Bazaar located in the vibrant city of Istanbul. The Avenues Bazaar district located in the new expansion of The Avenues evokes all the energy, authenticity and life of a traditional Bazaar through a number of stores allocated to the corridors connected to one another, offering fabrics, carpets, antiques, furniture and household accessories.




Dubai’s top lender eyes mergers and provisions

Backstage with Wataniya Telecom at Avenues today Three days of live entertainment KUWAIT: Wataniya would like to invite all its customers to celebrate the launch of its brand new music application called Backstage at the Avenues Mall, today. At the event, people will get to enjoy live music. Wataniya will introduce the Backstage service and customers

Abdolaziz Al-Balool will also be able to subscribe to the world of unlimited music instantly. Wataniya has recently launched the Backstage service in collaboration with Universal Music, Mazzika and Melody. Backstage is a unique Mobile & PC application that gives Wataniya customers’ access to unlimited music downloads, latest tracks, a chance to participate in cool contests and win tickets to concerts, passes to meet the greatest international artists and updates about the hottest happenings in the music world.

Expressing his excitement about the loads of fun and benefits Backstage is offering customers, and regarding the live event taking place at the Avenues Mall, Abdolaziz Al Balool, the director of Public Relations at Wataniya Telecom said: “We would love to see all our customers at the Avenues Mall and take them through an entertaining journey that will surely add flavor to their daily lives. Subscription to the Backstage service isn’t just about music, it’s about an entertaining experience with several great benefits and fun moments.” Customers have access to unlimited entertainment with Backstage. Postpaid and prepaid customers can subscribe and download any amount of music on their mobile or PC for a small fixed monthly fee starting at KD 1 per month, and there are no additional downloading charges. Backstage also offers customers a platform to share their playlists with their friends. There are more than 120,000 different songs available in English and Arabic. There is also a wide variety of music such as Trance, Techno, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Jazz and much more to choose from. Wataniya’s booth will welcome customers at the Avenues Mall starting today, March 31st till April 2nd, 2011. Customers can sway to the beats of live music by a DJ playing popular tracks from Universal Music, Mazzika and Melody. People can come and subscribe to Backstage from 10 AM - 10 PM for three days. Wataniya is looking forward to seeing everyone at the Avenues this weekend.

Emirates NBD grapples with debt restructuring DUBAI: Emirates NBD is eyeing merger opportunities within the region and the lender will set aside more money to cover bad loans in 2011 amid debt restructuring, its top executive said yesterday. ENBD, Dubai’s largest bank by market value, reported sharply higher fourth-quarter profit last month but impairments on nonperforming, or bad loans and on investments hit its yearly results. “There will be further restructurings going on, there will be further provisions, the con-

mergers this year, he said: “We’re looking at opportunities ... we continue to look around, our ambition is to move some of our revenue generating activities outside of the UAE.” The lender has about 12.9 billion dirhams ($3.51 billion) in debt maturing in the next two years, with 3.8 billion due in 2011 and just over 8 billion next year, a presentation said. ENBD is 56 percent owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund.

American Business Council of Kuwait

UAE’s Etisalat scraps Syria license bid plans DUBAI: UAE’s Etisalat yesterday scrapped plans to bid for Syria’s third mobile license in a further setback to the telecom operator ’s push to expand its Middle East footprint. Etisalat, which earlier this month withdrew a $12 billion takeover offer for Kuwaiti rival Zain, said yesterday it would not bid for Syria’s third mobile license, saying it was disappointed with the terms. The latter deal would have the provided Etisalat with operations in Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon and Sudan. “Winning the Syria license would have given Etisalat greenfield growth in a Middle East market, and now the Zain deal is over there aren’t obvious acquisition opportunities, with most operators government- controlled,” said Simon Simonian, Shuaa Capital telecoms analyst. Former monopoly Etisalat had been one of five firms to have qualified for the license auction. “I would take this decision positively because it shows the company is showing discipline in its expansion strategy,” Simonian said, however. “It sends a good signal to shareholders and the stock has been one of the best defensive plays this

tent of that I cannot say. We are not out of the provision phase yet,” Chief Executive Rick Pudner told reporters on the sidelines of a conference. The bank is among lenders with the largest exposure to Dubai World the statelinked conglomerate which reached a deal to restructure $25 billion of debt last year. Other state-owned entities like Dubai Holding are in talks with their creditors to restructure their debt. Asked whether the lender was eyeing any

year.” Syria has been hit by growing political unrest in which more than 60 people have been killed. Etisalat, the Middle East’s largest operator by market capitalization, has a long-term ambition to be a top 10 global operator and is likely to look increasingly further afield for acquisitions. In the Middle East, Etisalat owns a 25 percent in Saudi Arabia’s Mobily and has an Egypt unit Etisalat Misr. Etisalat faces increased competition at home where rival du now has an estimated 40 percent share of the mobile market, having launched services in 2007, but remains a good bet for investors, Simonian said. Mobile penetration in the United Arab Emirates was 238 percent in 2010, more than twice the Middle East average, and is expected to reach 250 percent by 2015, according to a Nomura research note issued this week. Etisalat operates in 18 countries, including India, where its affiliate is mired in legal trouble. An Indian government lawyer on Tuesday said Etisalat violated foreign investment and forex rules when it entered the country. Etisalat’s shares fe l l 0 . 5 p e rc e n t o n A b u D h a b i ’s bourse. — Reuters

KUWAIT: Gregg Stevens, Chairman of American Business Council of Kuwait (ABCK), stated that under his Chairmanship 2010-2011, he emphasized the importance of Focus group for the ABCK Corporate Membership. At these Focus group meetings, special guests were invited to attend, dependent on the discretion of the head of focus group. Focus groups included Defense, Oil/Gas, Health, Transportation/Infrastructure, Education, Environment and Legal. Amongst these

groups, the Oil/Gas Focus Group is headed by Fred Shuaibi, ABCK Board member. Shuaibi stated that the few issues that his committee was working on presently are: Bidding Process, Investor Friendly Privatization law, road map to the key decision makers, cost of doing business with American companies, and Kuwaitization. The ABCK was established 26 years ago as a non-political organization, to develop and promote the American businesses in Kuwait.

The Sultan Center announces winners of Mother’s Day Draw KUWAIT: The Sultan Center mother’s day celebration this year was inlaid with pearls and diamonds along with many other valuable gifts. A draw was held on pearls and diamonds sets presented by Zoughaib jewelry, one of the finest jewelry brands in the market. The draw was held on March 28, 2011 at TSC Sultan Center Salmiya in the presence of representatives from Ministry of Commerce, Zoughaib jewelry, and The Sultan Center. The winners were then announced and received their valuable pearls and diamonds sets amid joy and cheer. NIDAI ISON MANLIWAT won the first prize which was a full pearl and diamonds set of necklace, bracelet, ring and earrings and Mr. AMGAD AHMED AL DBZI won the

second prize which was a full diamonds and precious stones set of necklace, bracelet, ring and earrings, while the third winner was ABDULKARIM SOUD ATEYA and won a Spiral watch with inlaid diamonds. TSC Rewards program manager mentioned that this celebration is the truest expression of gratitude and love that The Sultan Center wishes to share with all its esteemed customers in this special occasion. This promotion was exclusive to the TSC Rewards card holders. TSC customers who are not already members of the Rewards Program can sign up for free and receive their card immediately at any TSC Sultan Center. For more information, please visit or call 1844449.

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

.2730000 .4430000 .3885000 .2980000 .2825000 .2830000 .0045000 .0020000 .0751870 .7325260 .3905000 .0710000 .7181090 .0045000 .0460000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2769500 .4450590 .3907070 .3002330 .2847230 .0523860 .0437460 .2854250 .0355550 .2192790 .0033350 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0754320 .7351030 .0000000 .0738730 .7199120 .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

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.369 6.221 3.260 2.516 3.899 220.870 35.740

.2830000 .4530000 .3960000 .3070000 .2910000 .2910000 .0075000 .0035000 .0759430 .7398880 .4080000 .0780000 .7253260 .0072000 .0550000 .2790500 .4484330 .3936700 .3025100 .2868820 .0527830 .0440770 .2875890 .0358240 .2209420 .0033600 .0062710 .0025370 .0032830 .0039030 .0760040 .7406770 .3946960 .0744330 .7253700 .0064900

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

3.821 6.404 9.178 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 74.237 76.498 723.140 739.270 75.795

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 49.500 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 46.601 Yemen Riyal 1.274 Tunisian Dinar 202.110 Jordanian Dinar 393.160 Lebanese Lira 184.700 Syrian Lier 6.036 Morocco Dirham 35.588 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 278.300 Euro 393.930 Sterling Pound 448.620 Canadian dollar 287.380 Turkish lire 178.860 Swiss Franc 303.130 Australian dollar 286.960 US Dollar Buying 277.150 GOLD 270.000 137.000 70.000

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

SELL CASH 288.500 739.870 4.090 289.300 546.400 14.100 53.500 167.800 49.340 396.500 36.390 6.400

0.033 0.254 0.247 3.500 394.820 0.188 93.940 47.000 4.360 212.700 1.886 51.200 722.630 3.340 6.620 76.960 74.280 221.600 43.030 2.699 449.500 45.100 305.300 6.100 9.550 198.263 75.910 278.600 1.340

10 Tola

GOLD 1,481.510

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

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

SELL DRAFT 287.300 739.870 3.829 287.800

221.600 46.841 395.000 36.240 6.230


393.220 0.187 93.940 3.910 211.200

303.800 6.100 9.360 75.810 278.200

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

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 447.500 278.900

Selling Rate 278.000 285.535 446.195 393.030 302.009 735.788 75.666 76.337 74.103 392.705 46.757 2.515 6.216

3.264 3.833 6.407 681.920 3.496 9.197 6.064 3.965 91.428

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. 722.450 3.275 6.395 76.530 74.280 221.600 42.030 2.517 447.500

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

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

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 277.900 3.270 6.215 2.530 3.835 6.425 75.745 74.315 738.800 46.675 451.000 0.00003280 3.910 1.550 394.800 5.750 397.800 290.600

Al Mulla Exchange Currency US Dollar Euro Pound Sterling Canadian Dollar Japanese Yen Indian Rupee Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupee Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso Pakistan Rupee Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Saudi Riyal *Rates are subject to change

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 277.750 394.800 448.800 287.600 3.375 6.222 46.575 2.515 3.820 6.395 3.262 739.500 75.700 74.200



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KIPCO sees promising outlook for 2011 20% dividends to shareholders NBK’s Assistant General Manager, Consumer Banking Group, Adel Al-Jenaee in a group photo with the Porsche and NBK officials.

By Nisreen Zahreddine KUWAIT: Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) held its annual investors forum yesterday announcing that 2011 is expected to be its 20th consecutive year of profitability and 10th year of consecutive dividend payments to shareholders. The company’s investor forum presented a review of 2010 and guidance for 2011 to its shareholders and investors. The annual investor’s report included news about strengthening its market share in Gulf insurance in KSA, Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain and protecting Orbit-Showtime network from piracy. They added that they will be increasing their capital in Burgan Bank, the United Real Estate Company and the United Industries Company.

Thahabi customers check the new Porsche car (Panamera 4S Exclusive Middle East Editions).

NBK’s Thahabi customers first to see new Porsche Panamera 4S Exclusive ME edition KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the leading bank in Kuwait and the highest rated in the Middle East, teamed up with Porsche Centre Kuwait, Behbehani Motors Company, to offer its Thahabi customers an exclusive experience to be the first to see the Panamera 4S Exclusive Middle East Edition. This limited new car from Porsche is one of only 66 cars available for sale in the Middle East in 6 countries. The special activity marked an exclusive evening event held at Porsche Centre Kuwait for a selected number of guests, followed by a dedicated day where the car was openly displayed in the showroom. Both events were highly anticipated by Porsche enthusiasts who were eager to view model number “1” of this exclusive car.

“Our Thahabi customers have a first class lifestyle and we like to reward them with first class and luxury experiences,” Adel Al Jenaee, NBK Assistant General Manager, Consumer Banking Group said. Hosted for the first time in Kuwait, the event is part of a range of rewards and perks enjoyed by Thahabi customers. Thahabi is NBK’s premier package and offers customers personalized and ‘best in class’ products and services, delivered by dedicated Personal Banking Officers. Thahabi customers also receive many banking-related discounts, fee waivers and value-added lifestyle benefits. For more information, Thahabi customers may contact their personal banking officer or call “Hala Thahabi” on 1801801 or visit our website on

VIVA re-launches Al-Kout branch KUWAIT: VIVA, Kuwait Telecom Co announced the re-launching of Al Kout mall branch, Al-Fahaheel area with a modern theme that matches VIVA’s development policies the company follows. The company pointed out that VIVA always aims to provide its customers with comfort, consumer satisfaction, as well as demands adding that this move would make the distance closer between the company and its customers wherever they are, allowing them to finalize their transactions with even greater ease and more familiarity with VIVA’s new products and services. VIVA added, “The growth in our customer base obliges us to strengthen and expand our network of branches to match the size of this development while offering better services and products that is always aligned with the latest standards in the communications industry”. It is worthy to mention that VIVA’s branch is now at the first floor of Al- Kout Mall.

VIVA is the newest, most advanced mobile telecommunications ser vice provider in Kuwait. Launched in December 2008, VIVA makes things Possible for our customers by transforming communication, information and entertainment experiences. The company has rapidly established an unrivalled position in the market through our customer and employee centric approach. VIVA’s quest is to be the mobile brand of choice for Kuwait by being transparent, engaging, energetic and fulfilling. VIVA continues to take a considerable share of the market by offering an innovative range of best value products, ser vices and content propositions; a state of the ar t, nationwide network and world-class service. VIVA offers Internet speed up to 21.6Mbps due to the implementation of the most advanced third generation (3G and HSDPA) network in Kuwait resulting in superior coverage, performance and reliability.

Bullish forecasts for Dubai on back of Asia growth DUBAI: The economy of Dubai, whose financial woes rattled world markets in late 2009, is tipped to grow over the next two years on the back of robust economic activity in Asia, economists said yesterday. “We’re quite bullish” about economic growth in the southern Gulf emirate, a bigspending boomtown before its debt crisis, said Farouk Soussa, chief economist at Citibank. “This year, we expect growth to be at 4.5 percent. We expect growth in 2012 to be at 6.3 percent,” Soussa told participants at a conference on Dubai’s economic outlook. Its economy contracted around 2.4 percent in 2009, according to Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED), after the world financial crisis dried out foreign backing for a local economy growing at breakneck speed. DED chief economist, Mohammed Lahouel, also sounded bullish on economic growth prospects for the trade hub, pointing out that trade and logistics had led the economic recovery.

“Given the vibrant recovery of the trade and logistics sector, growth is expected to accelerate in 2011... Conservative estimates would put growth between three to four percent in 2011,” he said. “It was at 2.5 percent in 2010,” Lahouel said. Dubai is geographically well-located to reap benefits from the rapid economic growth in Asia, according to Marios Maratheftis, a research chief at Standard Chartered bank. “The global economy is in a super cycle, but this time it is in the east. We expect strong growth... Dubai is well located to benefit from this growth,” Lahouel said. The analyst pointed to growth for Dubai’s major trading partners in Asia, especially India. “We expect in 2011 a continuation of recovery due to fast rising demand in (its) major trade partners,” he said. Dubai sent jitters throughout global financial markets in late 2009 when it announced that it needed to freeze payments on the debt of its largest group, Dubai World. —AFP

The forum was followed by a general assembly where they approved distributing a proposed dividend of 20 percent (20 fils per share) and a stock dividend of five percent. The company announced a KD 45 million net profit during 2010, marking an increase of 22 percent compared to 2009. The company’s operations were said to be benefiting significantly from the implementation of the Kuwait government’s development plan. The company ’s Chief Operating O fficer, Samer Khanachet said that KIPCO is expected to maintain its outstanding record in 2011 by delivering its 20th consecutive year of paying shareholders a dividend. He added that the company expects 2011 to be another challenging year with the current turmoil and political instability in the region. “In these uncertain times it pays to be cautious and assess the balance between risk and opportunity,” he said. Khanachet expressed his optimism that 2011 will witness an improvement in the profitability of the company’s key operations. He explained that the reason behind such expectations lies in

KUWAIT: KIPCO CEO Faisal Al-Ayyar (third left) with senior officials of the company during the general assembly —Photo by Joseph Shagra the fact that the company is witnessing growth trends within its financial services companies and in other sectors such as media. He said that the group’s core operating companies are delivering results in line with their first quarter budget and it gives positive expectations for the rest of the year. As for the situation of the group’s companies following the financial crisis, Khanachet commented by saying that the companies are emerging in good shape and ready to grow now

that the worst part of the crisis had passed. He said that if the opportunities coming from the government’s development plan were implemented fairly and sensibly it would create the ideal condition for the group’s companies to achieve sustainable growth throughout the year. He concluded by saying that 2011 look promising and that the company will witness better performances from its core operations if the global market flourishes and confidence returns to the international markets.

Samer Khanachet

Bahrain battles to save business-friendly face $1bn, quarter of GDP, lost in month of unrest: Economist MANAMA: Harsh economic reality has hit Bahrain’s business psyche after martial law was imposed and popular unrest which has left many dead and many missing in the island kingdom, once known for openness and financial stability. Self-branded “Business Friendly Bahrain” is fighting to save its reputation as a secure and liberal Gulf financial centre. That’s a tough sell after a fierce army crackdown two weeks ago quashed weeks of pro-democracy protests led by the Shiite majority in the tiny Sunni-ruled state. “We’d never seen armies in the streets. Now you get up in the morning and drive out to see tanks, your car gets inspected by men wearing masks. It’s like a war zone,” said one expatriate Arab banker, who asked not to be named. One long-term Bahrain investor said eerie background whispers about beatings, disappearances and sectarian tensions have made him uneasy about keeping his financial advisory projects here, already stalled by a month during the protests. “You have to wonder whether Bahrain is the best place for it, compared to Dubai, for example. I’m sure other people are wondering the same thing. Anybody who hasn’t yet committed to Bahrain would be thinking of Dubai, even Doha,” said the investor who asked not to be named for security reasons. A state-backed newspaper headline last week said businesses had “thrived” in the crisis, and the finance minister said the country’s GDP growth would accelerate to 4.5 percent this year, after an estimated 4.0 percent in 2010. But analysts polled by Reuters in March slashed their growth forecast to 3.4 percent for 2011, down from 4.2 percent expected in December following the unrest. Authorities imposed martial law in early March and called in forces from Gulf

Sunni allies Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to help restore order. Small businessmen worry it is the aftermath of the crackdown that will hurt them most. In capital Manama’s central market, vendors pile stacks of fruits and call out the day’s vegetable prices. But they’re missing one thing: customers. “The crackdown dealt quite a blow. People are afraid to leave home. Two more weeks of this and my business is ruined,” said Marwan, a butcher. The sound of a few men hacking at sides of meat echoes through a chamber of empty butcher stalls. Wholesale and retail make up over half of Bahrain’s economy. Vendors say business plummeted 50 to 80 percent because hotels and restaurants are empty. Hotel occupancy rates now hover around 20 percent, said Ahmed Sanad, head of Bahrain’s hotel and restaurant association. “We hope this ends soon, the government isn’t profiting from this, and certainly we aren’t either,” Sanad said. Some economists estimate that Bahrain’s $20 billion economy, with an economic output of around $80 million a day, shed a quarter its output of its during the month of unrest. “That’s like losing $20 million a day ... with over 50 days of unrest, that’s $1 billion .... It takes less than two months to turn the GDP figure from positive to negative,” said Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at NCB Capital bank. Local vendors say they live in fear. Not only customers, but some of their workers are staying home-and it is not because they know their bosses have no money to pay them. “Shiites are worried about getting beaten at checkpoints, or worse. The checkpoints are terrifying,” said fruit vendor Mohammed, who asked only to be identified by his first name.

A Shiite himself, he said at one checkpoint, masked men smashed an entire carload of fruit he was carrying. Bahrain, which took over Beirut’s role as Middle East financial centre in the late 1980s when Lebanon collapsed into brutal sectarian civil war, is now teetering on the brink of its own sectarian crisis. Shiites make up at least 60 percent of the population. They have long complained of discrimination when competing for jobs and services. They are demanding better representation and a constitutional monarchy, though radicals calling for an overthrow of the monarchy alarmed the Sunni minority. Already the recent turmoil has triggered a string of downgrades by rating agencies and sent debt insurance costs for Bahrain, where nearly $10 billion in mutual funds were parked last year, to 20-month highs. The crisis comes at a fragile moment for Bahrain, a home to $66 billion Islamic finance industry, where financial sector accounts for a quarter of its economy. With real estate prices down nearly 60 percent from 2008 peaks in nearby Gulf trade and business hub Dubai, wary Bahrain investors may be less hesitant to jump ship, Kotilaine said. “The international financial services is the segment the government has to be worried about ... We are talking about potentially significant structural readjustment of attitudes, expectations and that can potentially challenge the position of Bahrain as a regional financial centre,” he said. From investor to vendor, all agree that only a political solution negotiated with the opposition can save Bahrain from a downward economic spiral. “This has to be resolved for business, and it won’t until the government finds a political solution,” said fruit vendor Sayed Noori. “It’s starting to affect us psychologically.” —Reuters

Franchise Middle East, IFA present Franchise UAE 2011 DUBAI: Franchise Middle East which is a part of the Franchise India Group, Asia’s largest integrated franchise solution company since 1999 in collaboration with Indian Franchise Association (IFA) is to organize one of the largest International Franchise, Retail and Business opportunity show in Dubai - Franchise UAE 2011. The national franchise and trade show is to be held on April 14th-16th, 2011 at Business Village, Diera, Dubai, UAE. Franchise UAE 2011 offers an unparalleled opportunity for franchisors to access potential entrepreneurs and investors in the dynamic Middle East market, to extend their footprint. Spanning over two days, the show will comprise of a comprehensive business meet covering all the industries extensively with massive domestic and international participation and briefing the exhibitors about the best

practices about franchising. The show caters to network with prospective investors in the domestic market even on the basis of pre-qualified meetings. Franchise UAE 2011 is a platform for new entrepreneurs, budding enterprises and established small and medium enterprises eyeing new areas for business expansion in Middle East. Apart from the trade show, the Entrepreneurship Summit 2011 will focus on creating regional collaboration networking and entrepreneurship development between India & Middle East for selecting new and growing business opportunities. A few prominent brands participating are Moti Mahal, Jetking, DRS Education, CTC Global, Orion Edutech, Red Roses herbals, Thumbrule, Chocolate Room, Aptech, Gitanjali, Cadd Centre, Col Kebab, Cocoberry and many more.

The show offers: * Gateway to Middle East * Multi Brand Owners who patronize the Show * Business Matchmaking meetings with investors & networking with potential vendors * Small Business Convention will bring together an interactive conference sessions * Increased Exposure for an impactful Business to build an motivating and multi media campaign showcase Commenting Further, Gaurav Marya, Managing Director, Franchise Middle East said “Franchise UAE 2011 will be an interesting platform for Indian and International Franchise Brands looking to gain their traction in Middle East without the risk and significant capital investment. The show proffers a dynamic platform for the

franchisors and the investors to find a counterpart to match their interests & investments, coupled with the mindshare & know-how of experts that is doled out during the conference. The Exhibition puts forth a spectrum of opportunities in franchising, retailing, licensing, real estate and retail supply and highlight investment and business avenues open to entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises.” Franchise UAE 2011 will be the first of its kind platform to access Middle East to market and launch franchise concepts. Participants at the show will be from the areas of management and marketing, franchising, licensing, retailing, real estate, marketing, branding consultancy, professional and trade services, accounting and legal services, banking and finance, garments and textile, jewelry and beauty, IT and e-commerce and many more.



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KSE stocks pare gains GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwaiti listed stocks managed to regroup in late trading yesterday but could not nudge out of the negative territory. The day losses were somehow linked to some political issues that pop up concerning new grilling issue. Furthermore, Agility shed 5.00 percent of its share value after a US court dealt a blow to its fight against charges of defrauding the US Army in multibillion-dollar contracts. The court said prosecutors correctly served Agility with an indictment in 2009 when it accused the company of overcharging the Army over 41 months on $8.5bn in supply contracts first signed at the start of the Gulf War in 2003. The drop of the heavy weight stock contributed to the market index’s loss. Global General Index (GGI), market weighted, ended the day down by 0.61 percent, at 201.79 point. Market Capitalization was also down for the day at KD32.80bn. On the other hand, KSE Price Index closed at 6,294.5 point, shedding 28.50 points (0.45 percent) to its previous close. Market breadth During the session, 115 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards decliners as 72 equities retreated advanced versus 21 that advanced. The losses were accompanied by mixed trading activity with most of the trades conducted in the Real Estate sector. Total volume traded was up by 0.40 percent with 164.20mn shares changing hands at a total value of KD25.97mn (15.73 percent lower compared to the day before). The Real Estate Sector was the volume leader yesterday, accounting for 30.06 percent of total shares. Banking sector was the value leader, with 41.73 percent of total traded value. Kuwait Finance House (KFH) was the most value traded in the

market with KD4.08mn traded on the scrip. KFH share price closed flat at KD1.060. Sector-wise Industrial stocks spearheaded decliners during by the end of the session, with Global Industrial Index being down by 1.30 percent. Stock price of National Industries Group (Holding) shed 5.56 percent of its value, and closed at KD0.255. The sector also housed Mena Holding Group that came as the day’s biggest decliner in the sector, shedding 6.67 percent of its share value. Other notable decliners within the industrial sector were, Equipment Holding Company (-5.08 percent) and Ikarus

Petroleum Industries Co. (-2.90 percent). Investment stocks per formed poorly during the session, with Global Investment index reporting 1.18 percent in daily losses. Stock price of Kuwait Projects Company (Holding) shed 2.50 percent of its value and closed at KD0.390. Bayan Investment Company witnessed its share value drop by 6.67 percent and closed at KD0.035. Separately, shares of Al-Ahleia Insurance Company rose by 4.08 percent, lifting the Global Insurance Index up by 1.12 percent. Corporate news Mabanee Company new expan-

sion of The Avenues shopping complex will cost about $500mn. About 40 percent of the expansion project has been implemented and it will be completed in 2012, Mohammed Alshaya, chairman and managing director of the construction firm said.Kuwaiti crude prices decreased $0.68 in Tuesday ’s trading to $106.93pb, compared to the prices a day earlier, the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said yesterday. This slight drop of the crude price coincided with reports about hike of the crude oil reserves in the US for the third week in a row, and other reports indicating record economic growth in the US-higher than forecast.


Oil declines on high US inventory, Libya weighs LONDON: Oil fell yesterday, weighed down by swelling crude inventories in the United States while President Barack Obama is expected to set a long-term goal to cut oil imports. The drop in prices, however, was capped by civil unrest in North Africa and the Middle East. North Sea Brent crude futures fell 25 cents to $114.90 a barrel at 1150 GMT. US crude fell 36 cents to $104.43. The trading volume on both contracts was relatively small, with the end of the first quarter near. Prices have risen from $93 at the end of December, touching 21/2-year highs just below $120 in February. Christopher Bellew with Bache Commodities cited bulging crude oil stocks in the United States and a dip in fuel demand between the winter heating season and the summer gasoline season as a factor capping any gains in oil prices. “In the short term we are at the end of the Northern Hemisphere winter, with a seasonal fall in demand,” Bellew said. “The dichotomy is between the world being well supplied with oil in the short term and the uncertainties that loom in the medium term.” In the medium term, prices are likely to be supported by civil unrest in the oil-rich Arab world and an expected increase in oil and gas demand following a global backlash against nuclear power generation. Nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan, continue to emit radioactivity after severe damage caused by an earthquake and tsunami earlier in March. In the long term, Obama will outline a strategy to cut oil imports by a third over 10 years, focusing on energy security at a time that high gasoline prices could stall US economic recovery. The White House says this is a deliberate turn toward energy security by Obama and will be followed by other events to highlight his strategy. But the immediate market reaction was limited. “It sounds like a very ambitious target indeed,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank. “It will be difficult to achieve. Perhaps there will be large energy, fuel saving measures or they would need to allow more oil drilling, but after the Gulf of Mexico (spill) it could be difficult.” US government oil data is expected to show a 1.8 million barrel increase in the week to March 25 when it is released at 1430 GMT, a Reuters poll of analysts showed. Late on Tuesday, separate data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed crude stocks rose by a sharp 5.7 million barrels last week. In Libya, rebels pulled out of the oil town of Ras Lanuf yesterday under heavy bombardment from Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, showing their weakness without Western air strikes to tip the scales in their favor. A conference of 40 governments and international bodies on Tuesday agreed to press on with a NATO-led aerial bombardment of Libyan forces until Gaddafi complies with a UN resolution to end violence against civilians. In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad will yesterday give his first public speech since pro-democracy protests erupted in the south of the country. Analysts said US ADP employment data at 1215 GMT Wednesday was also on oil traders’ watch list following Tuesday’s gloomy reading of US consumer confidence in March due partly to high fuel costs. — Reuters



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Developing economies’ lead over rivals poses risks: Study US, rich countries struggle to recover

DAVOS: Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz scratches his head during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Stiglitz and others worry that too much money flowing to developing economies will form bubbles in stocks and housing prices that could burst. — AP

Lloyds’ top earner got $8m pay deal for 2010 LONDON: Part-nationalized British lender Lloyds Banking Group Plc awarded a pay package worth nearly 5 million pounds ($8 million) to its most highly rewarded executive in 2010, Lloyds said in its annual report yesterday. Under new rules forcing banks to disclose the remuneration of their most highly-paid executives, Lloyds said one un-named individual received a package worth 4.83 million pounds, made up of 500,000 in basic salary and the rest in shares which can’t be cashed in until an unspecified later date. Its second-highest paid executive got a 3.05 million pound pay deal, Lloyds said, though neither are board members, as in many other banks where the top earners are traders or dealmakers and are not the most senior executives. Yet Lloyds’ pay remains well below that of many rival banks since it has a minimal investment banking presence. British rival Barclays Plc paid new boss Bob Diamond and two other top directors 28 million pounds last year. Lloyds added it had increased the basic salary of its new chief executive, former Santander UK head Antonio Horta-Osorio, to 1.06 million pounds from an original 1.04 million. Lloyds Chairman Win Bischoff’s 2010 total remuneration also increased to 712,000 pounds from 211,000 in 2009. The basic salary of outgoing CEO Eric Daniels was unchanged at 1.04 million pounds. Daniels, who had waived his bonus for 2009, was also awarded a previously-disclosed potential bonus of 1.45 million pounds as deferred shares which can’t be cashed in until March 2013 at the earliest. The British government holds 41 percent of Lloyds and has an 83 percent holding in Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc after bailing out both banks with billions of pounds worth of taxpayers’ money during the credit crisis. As a result of the taxpayer bailout, both RBS and Lloyds were ordered by European regulators to sell a string of assets, and earlier this week Lloyds appointed JP Morgan and Citigroup to oversee the sale of 600 bank branches. Britain hopes to eventually sell its RBS and Lloyds stakes, although authorities have said any sale is unlikely until the UK’s Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) publishes its final report on the sector in September. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: The world’s biggest economies are recovering from the Great Recession at troublesome speeds: too fast or too slow. China, India and other major developing countries quickly returned to breakneck rates of growth after escaping the worst of the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009. Their rapid recoveries showed for the first time that emerging economies have grown big and strong enough to thrive independently while the United States and other rich countries struggle. And today, to an unprecedented degree, the developing world is driving the global recovery, instead of relying on the United States for economic leadership as it used to. This picture emerges from The Associated Press’ new Global Economy Tracker, a quarterly analysis of 22 countries that account for more than 80 percent of the world’s economic output. The shakeup in the world’s economic order has taken 30 years. The developing world’s share of global economic output has risen from 18 percent in 1980 to 26 percent last year, the World Bank says. So growth in emerging markets now has a far bigger effect on the world’s economic performance. Leading the transformation is China, an economic backwater three decades ago that last year replaced Japan as the world’s second-biggest economy. Japan, after more than a decade of stagnation, is struggling again in the aftermath of the earthquake and nuclear disaster that struck earlier this month. Rapid growth in emerging economies has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and created vast consumer markets for US goods and services. At the same time, “this two-track world poses some unusual risks,” warns Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University. He and others fear that too much money flowing to developing economies is driving up commodity prices and inflating dangerous bubbles in emerging market stocks and housing prices. Rapid growth in the developing world is also pulling jobs and investment from the United States and other rich countries. And it’s fanning international disputes over trade and currencies. The AP Global Economy Tracker found that: — The fastest-growing countries — China, India, Indonesia —- are all in the developing world. The slowest are all European: Spain,

Italy and Britain. The United States ranks 12th among the 20 largest economies plus Argentina and South Africa. — Speedy growth is triggering inflation in emerging countries. The countries where consumer prices rose the most last year were Argentina, India and Russia. — High unemployment is plaguing rich countries. At the end of 2010, unemployment was more than 20 percent in Spain, 9.6 percent in the European Union as a whole and 9.4 percent in the United States. (The US rate fell to 9 percent in January and 8.9 percent in February.) In contrast,

that froze credit markets in the United States and Europe and threw the rich world into the worst downturn since the 1930s. Developing countries just kept growing, though more slowly. They never had to bail out their banks or endure the high unemployment and stagnant growth that historically follow financial crises. India’s heavily regulated banks never made disastrous bets on the US subprime mortgage market. Neither did China’s, which are almost all owned by the government. As fear paralyzed financial markets in the rich world, Beijing simply ordered state-run banks to keep lending to support the Chinese

aged nuclear plant. The World Bank says developing economies accounted for 45 percent of global growth last year, the first full year since recession ended in June 2009. They contributed just 14 percent of worldwide growth in the first full year after the deep 1981-82 recession, 11 percent after the 1990-91 recession and 38 percent after the 2001 recession, World Bank numbers show. Rich countries continue to lag because of their devastating financial crisis. Their banks are still writing off bad debts. Their governments are saddled with gaping deficits — the result of shrunken tax revenue, the

SHANGHAI: High-rise buildings are seen at the Pudong New Development Zone in Shanghai, China. Never before have China, India and other developing economies grown so much faster than the United States, Japan and the rich countries of Europe. — AP the unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in Brazil. In the past, the developing world depended on advanced economies _ particularly the United States — to generate global growth, which trickled down to them when the rich countries bought their exports. And when rich countries faltered, poorer ones suffered too. “The conventional wisdom was when we went into recession, they went into recession,” says Robert Lawrence, professor of trade policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. The Great Recession overturned the old relationship. Emerging economies dodged the housing crisis

economy. And they did, unleashing more than $1.4 trillion in new loans in 2009 alone — a year when bank lending fell in the United States. In 2009, developing countries continued to expand, eking out 2.6 percent growth, while rich economies shrank 3.4 percent. Last year, developing countries grew 7.1 percent, rich ones 3 percent. And this year the International Monetary Fund expects developing countries to outgrow the rich world 6.5 percent to 2.5 percent. Japan’s wealthy economy faces new uncertainty after the quake and a tsunami devastated the country’s northeastern coastline and raised the threat of radioactive contamination at a dam-

cost of bailing out banking systems, rising health care costs and the need to stimulate their economies. US consumers are still paying the bills they charged up during the mid-2000s debt binge. Nearly 14 million Americans are unemployed, 1.8 million of them for two years or more. They’re people like John Dail Galvin, who lost a computer specialist job at a health care company in December 2008. Galvin, 48, has burned through savings and unemployment benefits. He says he’s facing a foreclosure on his house in McHenry, Illinois. “I’ve been working since I was 15 years old,” he says. “I’ve never seen it this bad.”

Norway’s DNO boosts oil reserve estimate in Iraq OSLO: Norway’s DNO said yesterday it controls 30 percent more oil in Iraq and Yemen than previously estimated. DNO’s biggest revision was in how much oil it expects to squeeze from its Tawke field in Iraqi Kurdistan — 306 million barrels, up from 230 million. It had no news on an Iraqi political dispute blocking payment for exports from the field. Trond Omdal, analyst at Arctic Securities, called the new Tawke estimate “a major step up” and said there could be more to come. “There could potentially be (additional) upside in both the oil in place and the recovery rate,” he said, estimating DNO will ultimately get at least 400 million barrels from Tawke. DNO based its Tawke revision on an increase in the portion of oil in place it thinks it can recover. It now sees 21.3 percent as recoverable, compared with the 16.6 percent assumed in 2007. Many similar fields in the region have recovery factors between 15 and 30 percent, according to Omdal, who has a buy rating on DNO. Analyst Teodor Sveen Nilsen at First Securities said DNO’s report was positive for the stock. “It is what we’ve been waiting for, as one of several triggers in the first and second quarters,” he said. “It’s the first significant upgrade of Tawke reserves since 2007.” DNO spokesman Tom Bratlie said the company had nothing to report on contentious talks between Baghdad and the Kurdish regional government over how to structure payments to DNO and other oil producers in Kurdistan. Shares of DNO were trading up 1.0 percent at 9.05 Norwegian crowns at 0937 GMT, outperforming a benchmark Oslo index that was up 0.41 percent. — Reuters

Britain, Ireland and Spain have cut spending, raised taxes or both to narrow budget gaps. The United States, slowed by a budget deficit that could reach a record $1.65 trillion this year, is debating its own spending cuts. The World Bank warns that austerity measures will trim 0.7 percentage points from growth in rich countries this year and 0.4 percentage points in 2012. Unburdened by a financial crisis, China, India and other developing countries resumed fast growth as they continued their transition from agricultural to industrial economies. In fact, they’re now generating their own growth instead of relying on exports to the rich world. The World Bank says, for example, that internal demand — including business investments, government programs and consumer spending — accounted for 80 percent of China’s growth last year. “The emergence of a huge middle class in both China and India is generating internal demand,” says Lawrence, co-author of the forthcoming book “Rising Tide: Is Growth in Emerging Markets Good for the United States?” An example, in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan, is Xu Maolin, 31. Working as a mid-level manager at a factory that makes medical equipment, auto parts and aircraft components, Xu earns more than $7,200 a year — a middle-class living in a country where the per-capita income is $3,650. A decade ago, Xu left a poor farm village in central China for a job at the Dongguan factory at $100 a month. His wife and two children live in a house he bought in his home village. He also owns an apartment in Dongguan that he rents to other migrant workers. Xu has an air-conditioned room to himself in the factory dormitory. After work, he logs onto his desktop computer to read news, download movies and chat with friends and family. For all its benefits, fast growth is causing problems for China and other developing countries. Surging demand for commodities — oil, grain, steel — is pushing prices ever higher. Inflation is running near 5 percent in China, over 9 percent in India and near 11 percent in Argentina, AP’s Global Economy Tracker found. Inflation in the United States was just 1.9 percent last year. “I don’t feel I’m any better off than, say, last year,” says Li, a waiter in Beijing who would give only his surname. “My salary might have gone up a little bit this year. —AP

Airlines change schedule in wake of Japan disaster

ATHENS: A protester beats a drum during a rally in Athens yesterday. State school teachers and hospital doctors in debt-ridden Greece walked off the job yesterday while about 1,000 demonstrators marched through the capital, to protest planned education and health spending cuts.—AP

TOKYO: At least three major airlines have added a stop in Seoul for flights in and out of Japan due to staffing and supply concerns brought about by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear troubles that have hit the country. Japan has been hit by fuel, food and power shortages after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which have snarled logistics in the world’s third-largest economy. British Airways, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa have moved crews to Seoul and are using catering services out of Incheon airport, adding a stop in the country for flights through Japan, a Seoul Regional Aviation Administration official said. The stopover in Seoul adds at least two hours to longhaul flights. Air France’s sister airline, KLM of the Netherlands, has added an intermediate stop on flights out of Tokyo at Kansai airport, near Osaka in Japan, until April 8, a spokeswoman said. The carriers share a parent firm but operate independently. Other carriers serving Asia-Pacific, including Australia’s Qantas, have added stopovers in Hong Kong, according to industry data. Qantas said yesterday it plans to scale back flights and cut management jobs to help offset soaring fuel prices and an estimated $144 million hit to earnings from a string of natural disasters in key markets. Passenger traffic to Japan has decreased since the earthquake, with several international companies placing travel restrictions on employees going to Japan due to concerns of radiation leaking from a damaged reactor. — Reuters

UK economy shows tentative signs of Q1 recovery LONDON: Britain’s service sector rebounded in January after a snow-hit December and retail sales rose unexpectedly in March, data showed yesterday, raising hope of a decent pick-up in first-quarter GDP. The pound rose and gilts fell on the data, as investors moved to price a more than 50 percent chance that the Bank of England would raise interest rates in May. Investors believe the strength of first-quarter GDP data, due on April 27, will be crucial in determining the speed with which the Bank of England raises interest rates from their current historic low of 0.5 percent. Services output grew by 1.3 percent on the month-its fastest monthly expan-

sion since July 2002 — following a 1.1 percent decline in December, according to the Office for National Statistics. All five sub-sectors contributed to the recovery, with hotels and restaurants up 4.4 percent on the month, transport up 1.7 percent, distribution up 1.4 percent, business services up 1.4 percent and government services up 0.7 percent. The figures offer the first official glimpse of how the sector, which accounts for more than three-quarters of the Britain’s economy, fared in the first quarter of the year. “At face value it is quite robust,” said Alan Clarke, UK economist at BNP Paribas. “Growth in January has made up for the terrible December, but it is still early days

to gauge the strength of first-quarter growth.” Gauging the strength of the recovery has been complicated by weather distortions following Britain’s coldest December in a century. Heavy snow and ice led to transport chaos at the end of 2010, contributing to a fall of 0.5 percent in UK GDP in the final quarter. Analysts reckon first-quarter growth will need to be at least 0.8 percent to persuade a majority on the BOE’s Monetary Policy Committee to vote to raise interest rates in May. It will be a finely-balanced decision. Consumer sentiment has crumbled, wages are rising at less than half the rate of infla-

tion and data earlier this week showed real household disposable income fell last year for the first time in three decades. Although markets are pricing in just over a 50 percent chance of a UK rate hike in May, the majority of economists polled by Reuters does not expect rates to go up until August. A survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed retail sales rose unexpectedly in March, but the underlying trend remained weak. Sales growth in the three months to March was the slowest since July. “Relative to historical levels the balance is not very upbeat and consistent with subdued retail sales growth,” said Blerina Uruci, UK economist at Barclays Capital.

A procession of British retailers have said trading conditions have got worse since Christmas, adding to fears the government’s fiscal squeeze aimed at slashing its deficit is too much, too soon, for a country emerging from a deep recession. Dixons, Britain’s No 1 electricals retailer, issued a profit warning and a gloomy forecast for 2011-12 on Wednesday, following a downbeat assessment from supermarket chain J Sainsbury a week ago. The Office for National Statistics said most of January’s bounce in services activity was simply making up for ground lost in December. Without weather distortions, growth over the two months as a whole would have been little better than flat. — Reuters



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ECB to raise rates in April as inflation bites: Poll LONDON: The European Central Bank will raise interest rates when it meets next week and is set to follow with a couple more hikes by the end of the year as it focuses on controlling inflation, a Reuters poll found. The poll of 80 economists, taken this week, found all but four of them expecting the ECB to raise rates by 25 basis points from a record low of 1.0 percent when it meets on April 7. “Though southern Europe continues to struggle, the (ECB) Governing Council believes that the risk of a wage-inflation spiral developing in northern Europe poses a greater risk to their price stability mandate,” said Azad Zangana at Schroders.

Bank of Spain sees slower growth, higher deficit MADRID: The Bank of Spain yesterday forecast slower growth and a higher public deficit for the country than is estimated by the government, which is fending off market fears it will need a financial bailout. The bank predicted the economy will grow by 0.8 percent in 2011 and 1.5 percent in 2012, well below the government’s forecasts of 1.3 percent growth this year and 2.5 percent in 2012. It forecasts the public deficit will total 6.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2011 and 5.2 percent in 2012. The government predicts the deficit will hit 6.0 percent of output in 2011 and 4.4 percent next year. The economy is “still immersed in a difficult situation, that requires, on one hand, the continuation of ambitious policies and pressure to correct the fiscal imbalances and on the other hand, progress in structural reforms that favor growth,” the bank said in its latest economic bulletin. Spain is fending off fears in international financial markets that its public deficit is unsustainably high and could prompt the country to follow Greece and Ireland into seeking a multibillion euro EU-IMF bailout. The government has slashed spending and passed pension reforms to rein in spending. It has also reformed the labor market in an attempt to revive the economy and fight an unemployment rate of just over 20 percent, the highest in the industrialized world. Last week Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced, at an EU summit in Brussels, that Spain will introduce a bill that will force the central government to limit total spending as a percentage of GDP. He also said his government was confident it will complete a pending reform to the nation’s collective bargaining system by late April. —AFP

Inflation in the 17-country euro zone accelerated to 2.4 percent in February, further above the ECB’s target of close to, but below 2 percent, and has now been above target since December. “Inflation rates ... are now durably above the common definition of price stability in the euro zone,” ECB President JeanClaude Trichet said on Monday. Trichet shocked markets at the bank’s last policy meeting by saying that an April rate rise was possible, putting it in pole position to raise rates before the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England. The poll gave a median 90 percent chance of a rate hike by end-June and 97 percent by the end of the year, a massive jump

from the respective 25 and 68 percent medians ahead of the March meeting. The euro-zone economy grew 0.3 percent in the final three months of 2010 and recent data has suggested that a recovery that was being led by Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has started to filter down to struggling periphery members. Analysts polled by Reuters two weeks ago predicted first quarter growth of a healthier 0.5 percent for the bloc. The poll predicted the ECB would raise rates by 25 basis points per quarter through to next March. It would then pause and then add 25 points in the third and fourth quarters of 2012, ending next year at 2.5 percent, in line with an earlier poll. In the final throes

of slashing rates at the height of the financial crisis, the ECB narrowed the gaps between its marginal deposit rate and its main rate and between the main rate and an emergency borrowing rate. Some policymakers had suggested the bank would widen the ‘corridor’ again when the time came to raise interest rates. ECB board member Jozef Makuch suggested in an interview with Reuters earlier this month, however, that it was not yet on the cards. “The change in interest rates does not need to be necessarily connected to a change in the interest rate corridor,” he said. Economists in the poll tended to agree with him as 32 of 55 said the bank would

not widen the corridor back to 200 basis points if it raises rates next month. An ECB interest rate hike next month would not carry the normal sting if the bank takes the first opportunity to rewiden its interest rate corridor, although any delay would leave the rest of the job up to the euro-zone’s banks. “Eventually the ECB may want to widen the corridor back to 200 basis points, but in terms of policy signalling it may be best to do so under less volatile circumstances,” said Elwin de Groot at Rabobank. “Because the next two rate hikes should be seen as ‘warning shots’ to prevent second-round effects, a widening of the corridor might blur that message.” — Reuters

US consumer morale ebbs, home prices hit new lows One-year inflation expectations highest since Oct 2008 WASHINGTON: US consumers turned gloomy in March as rising energy prices ignited fears of inflation, a change in mood that could dent global economic growth. Another report on Tuesday showed home prices fell for a seventh straight month in January but held above their post-housing bust low of April 2009. The reports added to signs the US economy lost momentum in early 2011, although the impact of high energy prices-aggravated by unrest in Middle Eastern countries-is likely to be temporary, economists said. They point to an improving labor market as underpinning growth. “We are likely looking at a continuing pattern of ‘two steps forward, one step back’ in terms of the collective mood, given the sources of uncertainty and risk that will not be easily resolved,” said Jim Baird, a partner at Plante Moran Financial Advisors Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Conference Board, an industr y group, said its index of consumer attitudes fell to 63.4 in March after hitting a threeyear high of 72.0 in February. The March reading was below economists’ expectations for a drop to 65.0. Rising gasoline prices, boosted by unrest in the Middle East and North Africa,

are eroding consumer confidence and raising inflation expectations. A separate survey last week showed morale among households at its lowest in more than a year. The Conference Board found one-year price expectations rose to their highest since October 2008. Economists said the jump in inflation expectations was unlikely to trouble the Federal Reserve, which has said price pressure from commodities should be temporary. Core inflation, which strips out food and energy costs, is not far from recent record lows. In Germany, worries about the global economy and inflation drove down consumer sentiment for the first time in 10 months. US financial markets were little moved by the data. The weaker US confidence survey came on the heels of numbers on Monday that showed consumer spending, adjusted for inflation, rose only modestly in February, pointing to a slowdown in first-quarter economic growth. “It suggests to me that consumer spending is already tracking at about half the rate of growth in the first quarter as it did in the fourth quarter,” said Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York. The apparent hiccup in growth

comes as policymakers at the Fed ramp up a debate on whether the economy is strong enough for the central bank to scale back its massive stimulus program. The head of the St Louis Fed, James Bullard, said the US central bank could trim its bond-buying by $100 billion before its scheduled expiry in June. His tone contrasted with other top Fed officials who said on Monday the economy still needed the program’s full $600 billion of support. Bullard, a non-voting member of the policy committee , is not seen as representative of the consensus at the Fed, which backs seeing the easing program through. However, another Fed official, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, echoed Bullard’s skepticism about the easing, saying he would use his vote on the panel this year to object to any efforts to expand it. Jittery markets, nervous about a pick-up in inflation and the likelihood other major central banks will tighten policy in response to troubling signs of price pressures, are on high alert for any evidence the Fed could reverse course and took their cues from the more hawkish Fed commentary. The dollar rose against the yen and against a basket of other major currencies after Fisher’s remarks during a late Fox

Business television inter view. The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of home prices in 20 cities slipped 0.2 percent in January from December. The decline was less severe than expectations of a 0.4 percent drop, but economists say an oversupply of homes from foreclosures will keep house values depressed for a while. Compared with a year ago, prices fell 3.1 percent. Sinking house prices are not seen derailing the economy as residential construction accounts for only about 2.3 percent of gross domestic product. Economists also see limited impact on the U.S. economy from the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Some firms have been forced to scale back production at US plants due to shortages of key parts or components imported from Japan. “There was already a big shift in sentiment before the earthquake,” said Harm Bandholz, chief US economist at UniCredit Research in New York. “The US economy is mostly services. About 6.5 percent of cars sold in the US are made in Japan and just 5 percent of car parts used in the US are imported from Japan.” The cutoff date for the consumer confidence survey was March 16. —Reuters

WTO to publish ruling on Boeing subsidies GENEVA: The World Trade Organization is due today to publish its verdict on decades of state support for US aircraft maker Boeing amid EU claims of a multibillion dollar dent in sales for rival Airbus. The ruling, a second key part in the bruising dispute between two of the world’s biggest trading powers and their dominant aircraft makers, was released confidentially to US and EU authorities on January 31. Both Airbus and Boeing, who have been engaged in a tit-for-tat battle challenging their respective subsidies since 2004, have claimed victory, although their claims could not be verified as the WTO’s findings have not yet been publicly released. Airbus has claimed that the complex

ruling vindicated its complaint that Boeing had received “massive and illegal” subsidies, sometimes in the form of defense or space contracts, that helped the company develop top-selling civil airliners such as the new 787 “Dreamliner”. The European aircraft maker, part of the European Aeronautics Defense and Space Company (EADS), estimated that illicit US subsidies amounted to at least $5 billion, causing $45 billion of lost sales between 2002 and 2006. However, Boeing has described the ruling by the WTO dispute settlement panel as a “sweeping rejection” of EU claims it had received illegal subsidies. While it hinted that claims against about $2.6 billion of subsidies may have been upheld, it insisted that the findings

did not include “the vast majority of its R&D (research and development) claims” made by Brussels. Boeing said that the amounts paled in comparison with “$20 billion in illegal subsidies” that the WTO found last June that Airbus/EADS had received. Brussels and Washington have also been locked in a parallel but linked dispute over European subsidies for Airbus. A WTO ruling last June partially upheld Washington’s complaint in that dispute and both sides have already lodged an appeal. It accepted three out of seven claims by Washington that key launch aid amounted to export subsidies which are illegal under WTO rules, notably through loans at interest rates below the market rate. —AFP

Japan factory output rises again in February TOKYO: Japan’s industrial production climbed for the fourth straight month in February, but the government warned yesterday output would plunge in the coming months due to production and supply disruptions following the March 11 tsunami disaster. Factory output, a key measure of overall economic activity, rose 0.4 percent from January on the back of strong demand for cars and machinery, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said. The February result was better than an average market forecast of a 0.1 percent decline by the Kyodo News agency. But the government warned that Japanese industrial production would fall sharply in the coming months due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which decimated much of northern Japan, crippling production and supply chains. “The earthquake and tsunami destroyed factories and totally crippled production and supply operations. We are very certain that industrial output in March and April will plunge,” said ministry official Naoki Tamura. The ministry has yet to release projected output data following the March 11 disaster, he said. But economist Hiroshi Watanabe from private economic think tank Daiwa Institute of Research said Japan’s industrial production in March could drop 10 percent from a month earlier.

“Production has simply stopped since the earthquake. Many factories cannot operate due to enormous damage after the quake and tsunami,” Watanabe said. Since the disaster, many major Japanese companies, including Toyota Motor Corp

and Sony Corp, have been forced to suspend production due to a shortage of components. Toyota, the world’s No 1 carmaker, halted its entire auto output in Japan from March 14 to 26 — a production loss of 140,000 cars. — AP

Tokyo: A businessman walks past a share price board in Tokyo yesterday. Japan’s share prices rose 249.71 points to close at 9,708.79 points at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, as a weaker yen spurred buying after the previous day’s losses, with investors closely watching efforts to contain Japan’s worst nuclear crisis.— AFP

ANHUI: Chinese workers go about their chores at a textile factory in Hefei, east China’s Anhui province yesterday. China could overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy if it maintains annual growth of eight percent over the next 20 years, after overtaking Japan as the number-two economy. — AFP

Rajaratnam manager testifies he gave boss tips NEW YORK: A former portfolio manager at Raj Rajaratnam’s Galleon Group described pressure at the hedge fund to get “an edge” in trading and said he gave inside tips from a Morgan Stanley investment banker to his boss. The testimony on Tuesday of Adam Smith, the first former Galleon employee to testify at the trial, provided a glimpse into the inner workings of Rajaratnam’s hedge fund. Smith said he passed on confidential information to the one-time billionaire, including periodic email updates written in code on a pending merger he learned of from the banker. Smith, 39, said he referred to the two companies, Integrated Circuit Systems and Integrated Devices Technology, in code as the “two eyes” to Rajaratnam. The deal was announced in June 2005 and was valued at $1.7 billion at the time. “I remember after the announcement having a sinking feeling in my stomach that this may be a problem,” he said on the witness stand in Manhattan federal cour t in the biggest Wall Street insider trading scandal trial in decades. Sri Lankanborn Rajaratnam, 53, is accused of making $45 million in illicit profit between 2003 and 2009 on stock tips from high-placed corporate insiders. He has vowed to clear his name at his criminal trial, arguing his trades were

based on research or publicly available information. Smith pleaded guilty in January and said he leaked details about merger activity and earnings reports to Rajaratnam and others at Galleon. Smith was calm on the witness stand, leaning on an elbow and chewing gum as he answered questions. He described everyday operations at Galleon, including intense 8:30 a.m. meetings with analysts. He said combining a tidbit of confidential information on a company with solid research on its sector was often called “having two torpedoes in the water.” “If one of them misses, the other is likely to hit.” He said Kamal Ahmed, a Morgan Stanley banker in California, tipped him about the pending merger of Integrated Circuit and Integrated Devices in 2005. About a year later, Smith had lunch with Ahmed at a Chinese restaurant in Stanford, California, where the Morgan Stanley banker leaked details of Advanced Micro Devices Inc’s interest in buying ATI Technologies Inc. Immediately after the lunch in May 2006, Smith said he passed the news of the pending takeover to Rajaratnam. No charges have been announced against Ahmed. Morgan Stanley said in January that the banker had been put on leave. Ahmed’s lawyer, Douglas Tween, was not immediately

available for comment on Tuesday. Tween has said previously that Ahmed was cooperating with Morgan Stanley in its investigation and that he did nothing wrong. Smith testified there was pressure at Galleon for “getting an edge”-extra pieces of information where a company’s results might differ from Wall Street expectations. “Research is sort of doing your homework ahead of time,” Smith said. “Getting the number is more like cheating on a test ... I knew the answer ahead of time.” Rajaratnam is accused of assembling a web of high-placed contacts who provided him illicit stock tips. Prosecutors contend that former Goldman Sachs Group Inc board member Rajat Gupta, who has not been criminally charged, leaked details about the bank to Rajaratnam. Also on Tuesday, prosecutors introduced McKinsey & Co consultancy phone records to show that Gupta, a former global head of the elite management firm, called Rajaratnam seconds after Goldman board meetings in 2008. A McKinsey manager responsible for IT security testified that Gupta dialed into Goldman Sachs board meetings on Sept. 23, 2008, and Oct. 23, 2008, from a conference room phone in the consultancy’s New York office. Gupta maintained an office, email and phone at McKinsey after he retired in 2007. — Reuters



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India’s ‘digital divide’ worst among peers: Study NEW DELHI: Most Indians are missing out on the “digital revolution” due to dismal Internet access for the poor with the nation lagging far behind its emerging market peers, a study found yesterday. The study said India was at “extreme risk” from a lack of “digital inclusion” as a vast proportion of its 1.2 billion population had no access to the Internet. “Digital inclusion has the potential to bring education to people in countries where educational infrastructure is limited and the development of cadres of teachers is still constrained,” said Alyson Warhurst, head of British risk analysis firm MapleCroft, which carried out the survey. Digital inclusion is also crucial in helping people take part in economic activities and improves democratic governance, Warhurst added. A Digital Inclusion Index compiled by

MapleCroft found that of 186 countries India was in the lowest category, well behind Russia, China and Brazil in the BRIC grouping of emerging economies. India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and is expected to clock nine percent expansion in the coming financial year starting April 1. However, on a scale of one to 186 with one the worst, India stood at 39, in the same “extreme risk” category as Niger, ranked number one, Chad and Ethiopia. Russia stood at 134, Brazil at 110 and China at 103, all of which are classified as being at “medium risk”. The Netherlands came top of the index at 186, with Sweden at 183 and Britain at 182. The United States was ranked 169, still categorised as low-risk, but the study noted Hispanic and African American families suffered from “sig-

nificant digital exclusion.” The study used 10 indicators, including mobile and broadband subscriptions, to identify countries whose populations were being held back by a lack of “digital inclusion.” India is the world’s fastest-growing mobile market with some 771 million mobile subscribers and monthly additions averaging around 19 million. But the survey found it was just the wealthier segment of India’s population, mainly in urban areas, who use modern communications technology. The biggest impediments to wider use of the Internet in India were expense, lack of education, and poor connectivity, the study found. However, India is rolling out third-generation (3G) phone services which is expected to be a major boost to rural Internet usage. China has the largest number of Internet users in the world with 420 million, accounting for over half Asia’s

Internet users. But Maplecroft said Internet freedom in China remained a problem. “Despite the Chinese government’s efforts to expand Internet connectivity across the nation having seen how it can aid economic growth, the Internet remains heavily controlled,” the study said. The Internet and mobile phones played a key role in coordinating recent uprisings in Tunisia, ranked 81 on the index, and Egypt, ranked 66, while in Libya, in 77th position, unrest has resulted in civil war, the study noted. “Growth in middle class population size and increasing levels of computer literacy have intertwined with the frustration and disenchantment caused by widespread youth unemployment and restrictions placed on democratic freedoms,” said Maplecroft’s Warhurst. — AFP

Microsoft co-founder slams Gates in new book WASHINGTON: Bill Gates plotted to grab Microsoft shares from his cancer-stricken business partner Paul Allen, the software firm’s co-founder has claimed in a new memoir. Painting a unfavorable view of Gates and his rise to the pinnacle of global business, Allen details Gates’ 1982 scheme “to rip me off,” just as Microsoft was becoming a computing powerhouse with its MS-DOS operating system. In an excerpt from his new memoir “Idea Man”, published Wednesday by Vanity Fair magazine, Allen describes Gates, the world’s second richest man with a $56 billion fortune, as brilliant but a schemer from early days to control their firm. The book, Allen’s take on the company’s early history, confirms the long-reported tensions between the two partners. In early 1975, after a test on an early Altair microcomputer proved their BASIC program, they decided to form a partnership: Micro-Soft. Allen said he had always assumed a 50-50 split. “But Bill had another idea,” he wrote: A 60 percent share for himself, claiming he had done more of the programming. Allen reluctantly agreed, but a short time later, after they had licensed BASIC to NCR Corp for $175,000, Gates demanded a 64 percent stake. Unclear on the rationale, Allen nevertheless agreed. “I might have haggled ... but my heart wasn’t in it,” he wrote. Much later, Allen said, he mused over how Gates reached the 64 percent share. “I tried to put myself in his shoes and reconstruct his thinking, and I concluded that it was just this simple: What’s the most I can get? I think Bill knew that I would balk at a two-toone split, and that 64 percent was as far as he could go.” “I’d been taught that a deal was a deal and your word was your bond. Bill was more flexible; he felt free to renegotiate agreements until they were signed and sealed.” In 1980 the rapidly growing company hired Steve Ballmer as manager of what was now Microsoft. Ballmer would become chief executive in 2000. Two years later Allen came down with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, one of the more curable types of cancer. While taking radiation treatment, he clashed with Gates over a key business decision, and began mulling his exit from the company. That December, he overheard Gates and Ballmer discussing his illness, and “how they might dilute my Microsoft equity by issuing options to themselves and other shareholders.” “I burst in on them and shouted, ‘This is unbelievable! It shows your true character, once and for all.’” he recalled. “I was speaking to both of them, but staring straight at Bill.” “I helped start the company and was still an active member of management, though limited by my illness, and now my partner and my colleague were scheming to rip me off. It was mercenary opportunism, plain and simple.” Despite Gates’ six-page written apology that stressed their partnership’s success, Allen said he was determined to leave. Gates then made one last effort: he tried to buy out Allen at a “low-ball offer” of $5.00 a share. Gates rejected Allen’s counter of $10, and, in hindsight, Allen had no regrets. By holding on to his Microsoft shares as Gates ran the company, Allen now ranks 57th on the Forbes global billionaires list, with a cozy $13 billion in the bank.— AFP

This file picture taken on October 20, 2010 shows South African students using their mobile phones. South Africa have opted for “txtAlert,” reminders in the form of a text message to visit the hospital for their appointments or to pick up drugs, which have proven a stunning success. — AFP

Africa turns to cellphones for better health care TxtAlert reminders have proved a stunning success JOHANNESBURG: The text message arrives with life-saving discretion: A neutral “see you at the clinic tomorrow” to remind patients to pick up a fresh batch of anti-AIDS drugs. The free texts from South Africa’s largest HIV treatment site are part of a push in Africa to boost health by targeting the continent’s 624 million mobile phone subscribers. “I check my cellphone all the time-I think that’s why it [the drug regimen] is working so well,” said patient Emily Moletsane, 40, in a queue at Johannesburg’s Themba Lethu clinic which averages more than 450 people a day. About 10,000 people have opted for the txtAlert reminders, which have proven a stunning success. Missed appointments at the centre from 15 percent fell from in mid-2007 to just four percent today. “When I started seeing this, I was also impressed,” said medical manager Thapelo Maotoe. Africa is poor in landlines and hospital beds but rich in cellphones, which is why mobile health-mHealth-offers opportunities for providing care at a low cost, say experts. In west Africa, 2,200 doctors in Ghana and

all of Liberia’s 143 doctors have signed on to anti-poverty group Africa Aid’s MDNet network, allowing then to call or text other physicians for free. In Ghana, a national directory helps find the number to call. Ghanian paediatrician Frank Serebour recently used the system to find a specialist in the capital Accra for emergency surgery on a newborn baby who had been brought to his hospital in Kumasi, 270 kilometres (170 miles) away. “All I did was pick up the directory, found the relevant specialist, arrangements were made and when the ambulance arrived they were waiting for the patient,” he said. More than 2.5 million calls have been made so far on the network, which partners with major mobile operators. “I wish it could be duplicated in every African country. If only they could hook up every single health worker-nurse, midwifeonto the system,” said Serebour. With the value of the mHealth sector estimated at up to 60 billion dollars, mHealth companies are on the rise, said Adele Waugaman, who manages a partnership

James Murdoch named News Corp deputy COO NEW YORK: James Murdoch, the youngest son of News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, was named deputy chief operating officer of the news and entertainment giant yesterday. News Corp. said James Murdoch, 38, would also head the company’s international operations as chairman and chief executive of News Corp. International. News Corp. said James Murdoch will move to New York from London and will report to News Corp. deputy chairman, president and chief operating officer Chase Carey and work closely with his father, Rupert Murdoch. “James has demonstrated in an array of roles that he is a shrewd and decisive operator who can deftly navigate complex issues to transform businesses,” Carey said in a statement. “He has equally shown a unique understanding of the emerging technologies and the digital forces that are reshaping our industry,” he said. “As we become increasingly global and consumer focused, we believe there are real opportunities to add new dimensions to our core businesses,” Carey said. “We are confident that James’ deep knowledge of international markets, his proven leadership, and his passionate focus on building consumer relationships make him the ideal person to help us realize these opportunities across all our companies.” James Murdoch is currently News Corp.’s chairman and chief executive for Europe and Asia and has served as executive chairman of News International, News Corp.’s British newspaper operation, since 2007. James Murdoch served as chief executive of British broadcaster BSkyB from 2003 to 2007 and previously headed News Corp.’s Asian television group STAR. He is one of 80-year-old Rupert Murdoch’s six children and the most involved in News Corp. operations. Five weeks ago, News Corp. announced that it has agreed to buy Shine Group, a television production company owned by Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth, for £415 million ($672 million). — AFP

This file picture taken on October 20, 2010 shows a South African student using her mobile phone. About 10,000 people in South Africa have opted for “txtAlert,” reminders. — AFP

between the UN Foundation and Vodafone. “The opportunities for mHealth in Africa are nearly limitless. The continent carries a disproportionate share of the world’s disease burden, and some of the lowest per capita doctor to patient ratios,” she said. “Mobile phones are now being looked to as a tool to help overcome some of these entrenched global health challenges.” Seventeen years after being torn apart by genocide, Rwanda is trailblazing the use of technology to overcome challenges in a country with one doctor for every 18,000 people. “These tools solve problems specific to developing countries, such as a lack of specialists and specialized services in rural areas that are only be available in urban areas,” Rwanda’s eHealth coordinator, Richard Gakuba, told AFP. “Investment is still needed because this technology does not come cheaply and we still face infrastructure challenges.” One project is TRACnet, developed by American firm Voxiva, which tracks HIV data but also sends reminders for reports to be filed, monitors drug stocks and delivers test

results. Diagnosis of HIV in babies has been slashed from four months to two weeks. TRACnet, used in 450 Rwandan health centres, “is the only tool we have for tracking this data,” said Christian Munyaburanga, an eHealth trainer. “Most of these centres do not have Internet connections and many do not have electricity.” The explosion of phones in Africa is being used for applications from quizzes promoting good behaviour in Uganda to coordinating health workers in Senegal. But scaling up these projects remains a challenge and many governments don’t have eHealth policies yet. Marcha Neethling of the Praekelt Foundation in South Africa, which developed txtAlert, says it costs roughly 14 US cents per patient per month to receive the reminders. “There is no other technology that can reach people in such masses. For the bang for your buck-the amount that you would spend to reach one person-it is by far the cheapest technology,” she said.“It’s so obvious to us that it’s making a massive impact.” — AFP

Google, FTC reach Google Buzz privacy settlement

View of jars containing microscopic algae taken on March 17, 2011 at the factory of the Bio Fuel Systems (BFS) company in San vicente del Raspeig, near Alicante. In a forest of tubes eight metres high in eastern Spain scientists hope they may have found the fuel of tomorrow: Bio-oil produced with algae mixed with carbon dioxide from a factory. — AFP

Airport body scanners not a health risk: Study WASHINGTON: Full-body scanners used to secure airports, about 1,000 of which will be deployed across the United States by year’s end, do not pose health risks, a study released found. The University of California study appearing in the “Archives of Internal Medicine” found that a traveler would have to go through a body scanner 50 times to receive the same amount of radiation as from a dental X-ray. The researchers also said a lung X-ray was equivalent to 1,000 trips through an airport scanner, while a mammogram delivers as much radiation as passing through such a scanner 4,000 times. The study focused on x-ray machines dubbed “backscatter” which use low-dose xrays, similar to those used in medical imaging. So far there are some 486 full-body scanners in place in 78 US airports. “The radiation doses emitted by the scans

are extremely small; the scans deliver an amount of radiation equivalent to 3 to 9 minutes of the radiation received through normal daily living,” the authors wrote. And “since flying itself increases exposure to ionizing radiation, the scan will contribute less than one percent of the dose a flyer will receive from exposure to cosmic rays at elevated altitudes,” they added. “The estimation of cancer risks associated with these scans is difficult, but using the only available models, the risk would be extremely small, even among frequent flyers. We conclude that there is no significant threat of radiation from the scans,” they wrote. Advanced imaging technology X-ray scanners currently in use at airports around the United States sparked an uproar among travelers because they produce a graphic image of a person’s naked body, genitalia and all. Others have worried the scans might be unsafe. — AFP

WASHINGTON: The US Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that it has reached a settlement with Google over privacy concerns with Google Buzz, the social network the Internet giant launched last year. The FTC said that under the settlement, Google is required to implement a comprehensive privacy program and will be subject to independent privacy audits for the next 20 years. “When companies make privacy pledges, they need to honor them,” FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement. “This is a tough settlement that ensures that Google will honor its commitments to consumers and build strong privacy protections into all of its operations.” The FTC alleged that the Mountain View, California-based Google used deceptive tactics and violated its privacy promises to consumers when it launched Google Buzz using its Webbased Gmail email service. The settlement bars Google from making “future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years,” the FTC said. “This is the first time an FTC settlement order has required a company to implement a comprehensive privacy program to protect the privacy of consumers’ information,” it said.

“In addition, this is the first time the FTC has alleged violations of the substantive privacy requirements of the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework, which provides a method for US companies to transfer personal data lawfully from the European Union to the United States,” the FTC added. The FTC said Google led Gmail users to believe they could choose whether or not to leave Google Buzz but the options for doing so were “ineffective.” Controls for limiting the sharing of personal information on the network were also “confusing and difficult to find,” according to the US regulator. Google received thousands of complaints about Google Buzz over the public disclosure of email contacts which, the FTC said, “included, in some cases, ex-spouses, patients, students, employers, or competitors.” Google, in a blog post wednesday, said the launch of Google Buzz “fell short of our usual standards for transparency and user control-letting our users and Google down.” “We’d like to apologize again for the mistakes we made with Buzz,” Alma Whitten, Google’s director of privacy, product and engineering, said. “While today’s announcement thankfully put this incident behind us, we are 100 percent focused on ensuring that our new privacy procedures effectively protect the interests of all our users going forward,” Whitten said. — AFP



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Florida governor faces legal fight over drug tests MIAMI: Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott will soon be hit with legal challenges over his decision to make drug tests mandatory for all state workers, an American Civil Liberties Union official said. “We’re certainly moving in that direction,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, when asked about possible lawsuits challenging the policy. “It’s certainly going to be subjected to a test, a constitutional evaluation by the courts,” Simon, a veteran civil rights advocate, told Reuters.

He was referring to an executive order that Scott, a Tea Party-backed conservative, signed last week requiring random drug screening for all workers on the state payroll at least once every three months. New job applicants would also be subject to drug tests under the order signed by Scott, a controversial former healthcare executive, who took office in January. Scott issued his order on the same day a bill was filed in the state legislature seeking to make good on his campaign pledge to require drug tests for welfare recipients, who would be required to pay

for their own drug screening. Simon said both the executive order and legislative proposal contradict what many consider to be established law, and clear standards on drug testing set by the U.S. Supreme Court about two decades ago. He said random drug testing of government workers, without reasonable suspicion of drug abuse, has generally been limited to employees in jobs where public safety is an issue. “There’s federal, U.S. Supreme Court standards on all of this. I don’t think the governor got very good legal advice on this thing,” Simon said.

He noted that Scott has staunchly opposed a statewide computer database that would track prescriptions of Vicodin, Percocet and other dangerous narcotics, on grounds that it could intrude on privacy rights. “That could only come from a person who is very, very selective in their principles,” Simon said. Law enforcement officials say Florida is the largest U.S. state without a database to keep track of painkillers, including oxycodone, and the undisputed epicenter of America’s illegal pill-mill trade and prescription dope dealers. — Reuters

Drugmakers can’t be sued on overcharge WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a group of large pharmaceutical companies cannot be sued by a California county for allegedly overcharging for prescription drugs in violation of federal law. By an 8-0 vote, the justices overturned a US appeals court ruling that the county with its medical facilities could sue because it was a direct beneficiary of the pricing agreements between the federal government and the companies. Santa Clara County, which operates a number of hospitals or health clinics that receive federal funds, filed the lawsuit in 2005 for alleged overcharges dating back to 2001. The county claimed the drug manufacturers violated a 1992 federal law that requires them to give the same discounts to federally funded medical facilities under the Medicaid program as those under standard pricing agreements between the federal government and the companies. A federal judge initially dismissed the lawsuit and ruled only the federal government, which signed the Medicaid agreements with the companies, had the right to enforce it. The appeals court disagreed, reinstat-

ed the lawsuit, and ruled the county can seek reimbursement of excess payments. “Recognizing the county’s right to proceed in court could spawn a multitude of dispersed and uncoordinated lawsuits” by outside parties, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the unanimous opinion. The court also noted that if the suits were allowed to proceed, secret pricing information could be revealed in violation of the law governing the Medicaid program. “This ban on disclosure is a further indication of the incompatibility of private suits with the statute Congress enacted,” the opinion said. The companies in their appeal told the Supreme Court that the appeals court ruling threatened to disrupt the $30 billion Medicaid program for outpatient prescription drugs. Among the companies appealing were Pfizer, Merck & Co Inc, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Bayer. The Obama administration supported the companies. Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case. She previously served as US solicitor general.— Reuters

MONTGOMERY: Mylar coated rings used in radiation detection devices are pictured at the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory in Montgomery, Ala. The facility monitors a network of 124 stations scattered nationwide from California to Maine that were deployed mostly because of the threat of nuclear terrorism after the 9/11 attacks. — AP

WHO blames drug industry for swine flu vaccine delay Agency distributed 78m doses to 77 poor countries

TIMMENDORFER STRAND: A girl looks at a great spider crab living in a 20,000 liter-basin at the Sea Life aquarium in Timmendorfer Strand, northern Germany, yesterday. Some species of the marine crabs reach a leg span of three meters and even more. —AFP

GENEVA: The World Health Organisation (WHO) blamed the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulators for delays in distributing vaccines to poor countries during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. Margaret Chan, WHO directorgeneral, also said no amount of advance planning would change such systemic obstacles next time. The United Nations agency had made every effort to ensure that the vaccine, donated by rich nations and drug makers, swiftly reached vulnerable people in developing countries, she said. “ The hurdles that slowed us down arise from the lack of harmonisation of registration for medicines and vaccines, issues of

liability that are part of company policies and the simple fact that no country is willing to give up its sovereign right to authorise the marketing of a medical product,” Chan told a review committee evaluating the WHO’s handling of the emergency. Issues linked to the need to maintain a cold chain of delivery to preserve a vaccine’s efficacy had posed additional problems. “In my view, no amount of advance planning is going to change this reality or alter the way the systems work.” The WHO announced in June 2009 that the newly- emerged H1N1 virus was causing the world’s first influenza pandemic in more than 40 years. It declared the pandemic over in August 2010,

saying it had turned out to be much less severe than was feared. The WHO coordinated the distribution of 78 million doses of vaccines to 77 eligible countries including Bangladesh, Cuba, North Korea and Zimbabwe, its figures show. The review committee, in a draft report issued earlier this month, said it had found no evidence of drug industry influence on the WHO’s decision-making in the pandemic. But it signalled shortcomings, including the WHO’s lack of a consistent and measurable description for judging a pandemic’s severity which had created confusion. The panel also said WHO bureaucracy had prevented a timely distribution of vaccines.

GlaxoSmithkline and SanofiAventis are among major producers of influenza vaccines. Dr. Ha r vey Fineberg, an American flu expert who chaired the committee, said it had examined the process of negotiation linked to obtaining vaccine for redistribution in the world. “That was very problematic in the pandemic, it was slow and it wa s difficu lt,” he told a news briefing on Monday. “Everyone recognises that it remains a very s eriou s impediment to the world ’s abilit y to deal with a future pandemic.” The panel will issue its final report in the weeks ahead of the WHO ’s annu al assembly of ministers, being held from May 16-24. — Reuters

Air pollution has ‘serious health impact’ in Bucharest BUCHAREST: Air pollution in Bucharest, one of the worst in Europe, has a “serious impact” on the health of its inhabitants, Romanian environmental NGO Ecopolis warned yesterday. “Bucharest is often and substantially above the threshold of polluting substances allowed in the air by the European Union and the World Health Organisation”, Ecopolis said in a report analysing air pollution between 2004 and 2009 according to official data. “This has a serious impact on the health of the population”, it added. According to Ecopolis, in 2009 alone more than 300 people suffering from

chronic respiratory diseases could have avoided being treated in hospital if the level of fine particulate pollution had been reduced in the Romanian capital. At the beginning of March, Bucharest came out as the worst pupil in the class in a EU-funded study on air pollution in 25 major European cities. The nearly threeyear probe, called Aphekom, found that Bucharest notched up 38.2 micrograms per cubic metre of fine particulate pollution when the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold is set at ten. Life expectancy could be 22 months longer if air pollution was reduced, the study found.

Fine particulates are tiny airborne grains that can be drawn deep into the lungs, with the potential to cause respiratory and cardiovascular disease. The pollution comes from traffic, especially diesel, exhausts, which means that it is particularly pronounced near major roads. Ecopolis asked Romanian authorities and in particular Bucharest municipality to take “urgent measures” to reduce air pollution. The president of the NGO, Costel Popa, criticized the mayor’s project to build a large road through a historic district of Bucharest, saying it “will raise even more the number of cars” crossing the city.— AFP

PLANO: File photo shows bottles of potassium iodide on the shelf of the Texas Star Pharmacy on Tuesday in Plano, Texas. The Japanese nuclear crisis has reignited a debate in the US over the government’s role in distributing a cheap anti-cancer drug to people living around nuclear power plants. — AP

Study: Human virus threatens gorillas

This NASA image obtained yesterday shows Saturn’s moon Janus as it obscures part of the planet’s A ring as the Cassini spacecraft looks toward the main rings and the thin F ring. Janus (179 kilometers, or 111 miles across) appears as a dark oval to the left of the center of the image. A star can also be seen on the right of the image, beyond the thin F ring. This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane. — AFP

NAIROBI: A new study has found that a virus causing deadly respiratory diseases in humans can be passed on to critically endangered mountain gorillas in Central Africa. Researchers who spent time in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park said they found traces of Human Metapneumovirus during postmortem examinations of two gorillas that died in 2009. The two were in a group of 12 infected by a respiratory

disease. The study by researchers from various institutions, including Columbia University and the University of California, was published Tuesday in the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are only 786 mountain gorillas in the wild. They live in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. — Reuters




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health & science

Syphilis experiment

Papers: Guatemalans welcomed US syphilis docto ATLANTA: As US doctors in Guatemala were wrapping up one of the most unethical medical experiments they had ever conducted, a Guatemalan medical official praised the lead researcher as noble and thanked him profusely. The Guatemalan official’s praising letter from more than 60 years ago is among thousands of documents released Tuesday concerning the doctor who led the study that infected Guatemalan prison inmates and mental patients with syphilis in the 1940s. The records released by the National Archives reveal new information about Guatemalan officials’ involvement in the research, though it’s not clear if they were aware of all the details of what the US doctors were doing. The papers that belonged to US Public Health Service researcher Dr. John C. Cutler were formerly housed at the University of Pittsburgh but lay in obscurity until a medical historian discovered them. Her finding made international news in October, when the US government

acknowledged the research had taken place and apologized for it. Both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Guatemala’s president, Alvaro Colom, to personally apologize. Guatemalan Embassy official Fernando de la Cerda said his country hadn’t known anything about the experiment until Clinton made the call. But the records indicate that just as the experiment was buried by government medical officials in the United States, it was also known and them apparently forgotten in Guatemala. Indeed, it was a Guatemalan who first proposed the country as a setting for the research. The idea came from Dr. Juan Funes, chief of the venereal disease control division of Guatemala’s national health service, who had been assigned to a public health lab in New York for a year, Cutler wrote in a summary of the study. From 1946-48, the US Public Health Service and the Pan American Sanitary

Bureau worked with several Guatemalan government agencies to do studies — paid for by the US government — involving deliberately exposing test subjects to sexually transmitted diseases. Researchers attempted to infect about 700 prostitutes, prisoners and mental patients with syphilis. About 770 tests subjects, including soldiers, were exposed to gonorrhea. Patients were treated with penicillin. Among the goals of the research was to see how well differing dosages of penicillin worked against different venereal diseases. But Cutler’s records were not kept with other government documents, and his summaries of the work apparently were never published in a medical journal. US researchers were in firm control of the research, and it’s not clear if each Guatemalan official involved knew all the details of the US doctors’ work. The director of the mental hospital — who gave permission for his patients to be study participants — apparently did not know they

were being given the disease, noted Susan Reverby, the Wellesley College historian who discovered the study records. But there’s no record of any Guatemalan’s expressing ethical qualms with what they did know about. Quite the opposite: Dr. Roberto Robles Chinchilla, the medical administrator of the Penetenciaria Central de Guatemala, wrote Cutler to express “our everlasting gratitude” for the “the noble and gentlemanly way in which you have alleviated the sufferings” of prisoners at the penitentiary. “You have really been a philanthropist,” he wrote in December 1948, as Cutler was finishing the main part of his research there.The perception of philanthropy was understandable. The US research money paid for a new laboratory in the headquarters building of Guatemela’s national public health service. At the meagerly equipped insane asylum where much of the syphilis research was conducted, US research money paid

for sorely-needed anti-epi tions, metal cups and plate refrigerator and even a mov the residents’ entertainmen participated were reward rettes, not to mention re attention that they had not ten at the understaffed faci so exuberant they kept tryi doctors for additional bloo er procedures, Cutler wrote ful they understood the p they were facing from b Some mental patients did their own names, he wrote. Cutler later was involv mous Tuskegee study, a di research in which black m who already had syphilis we not treated. In 1990, Cutler lection of roughly 12,000 p spondence, reports, pho patient records to the Pittsburgh. Cutler died in 20




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Announcements St Peter’s CSI Congregation Vacation 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 . For further enquiries and details, please email us at or contact the VBS Secretary: 94416421. Hurry! Only limited seats available!

KNES attends Job Shadow Program at Gulf Bank


he day began with an introduction and welcome speech by Suliman Buhaimed (Assistant manager-Human resources). He introduced the bank and its various operations. Then there was a talk on SQM (Service Quality Management) and L&D (Learning and Development). This was followed by a very interesting insight into Gulf Bank’s marketing techniques. Ms. Zain Al-Falah spoke about public relations and the methodology by which Gulf Bank chose their marketing designs and layouts as well as the ideas and ideals that the bank stands for. Andy Walker spoke on ‘Anti-Money laundering’. He talked about the various methods used by the bank to verify that no money laundering took place through the bank. A real life incident was introduced to the students and

through that the students understood how the bank goes about its job of keeping a close watch on all transactions that go through it. Then came a visit of the different departments and the students went to the Quality control section. This was followed by a visit to the Call Centre area which operates 24/7. The Call Centre employees work in a restricted area and their office is sound proof. Then came the introduction to Gulf Bank’s recruitment and training policies. Our students showed keen interest and asked numerous questions. The bank also welcomed some of our students to apply for summer internship at the bank. After the visit to the branch office it was time to proceed to the Head Office. There we

GUST showcases the documentary ‘Our Story’


ulf Universit y for S cience and Technology (GUST ) welcomed the Committees of Kuwaitis for Jerusalem in their main conference hall to showcase an impor tant documentar y by Dr Mustafa Barghouti which showcases first-hand insights of the obstacles that the people of Palestine face there on a day-to-day basis. The Committee started by thanking GUST for showcasing the documentary and introduced the director, Dr Mustafa Barghouti, is a Palestinian medical doctor and political leader living in Jerusalem. Through the documentary, he covers the Palestinian story since 1948 to today in a simple, educational and interesting way - stating merely facts; facts that many wouldn’t necessarily know otherwise as he believes that the Palestinian youth is “deprived of telling their own story.” “Palestinian people are aspiring for freedom, liberty, justice, peace and equality.” And with the deteriorating circumstances and lack of control that they face on a daily basis, they need someone to tell their story for them - to get the facts out there, other than what is portrayed in the media. A substantial part of the documentary highlighted the wall built by Israel which the director described as one that deprives and stops communication and life. Palestinians are given certain times where they can cross the wall - total of 50minutes per day - which hinders children from going to school, men and women from getting to their jobs, the sick from getting to a hospital because their condition worsens at a time where the gate is not open. And the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are considered “temporary residents” and have to renew their residency every few months. The documentary was insightful and shed light on some problems that people were not aware of. There was a great mixed, turn out at the movie which showed great support to the committee.

were taken around to see the day-to day operations and the bank at work on a typical day. Students were invited to the credit card and loans sections and understood how these were processed and sanctioned. Finally, the students of Kuwait National English School were taken to the lockers where the money is kept. The area is heavily guarded with closed circuit cameras, bullet proof windows and many other security precautions. The students got to see the bundles of money and on this particular day the bank was holding about a million Kuwaiti dinars in cash. All in all it was a great learning experience. The bank had clearly given our students priority and went all out to make sure our students benefitted.

Kuwait Airways farewell party


he aircraft maintenance engineering hangar staff of Kuwait Airways Corporation conducted a farewell meeting for colleague P. Karunakaran, who has retired on 23 March 2011. The meeting was presided over by Mustafa Shatti, Superintendent Engineering Department and welcome speech was given by Aircraft Engineer Marga Bandhu. Aircraft Engineer Waleed Nakawa and Hangar Chief Lead Hand Yousuf Hussam presented a memento. Mustafa Shatti presented Karunakaran, a gift as a token of appreciation for his services.

Aircraft engineers Ali Shatti, Yousef Malalah, Mohan Menon and Peethambaran and other colleagues Shakil Ahmed, Peter Colman and Suresh Kochath expressed gratitude for his valuable services. The meeting was also attended by aircraft engineers Bonny Demelo, Anthony Alphoso, Mahadaven other lead hands Fawwad Naja, Ramana Murthy and Kalayappan Sethu along with other fellow colleagues. The engineering staff appreciated the meeting organizers Rizwan ul Haq, Peter Colman and Salman Arif for a job well done.

3rd Multi lingual poetry reading Writers’ Forum Kuwait is proud to present its 3rd Multi Lingual Kavi Sammelan / Mushaira / Poetry Reading (along with English translation). Poets shall present their poetries in varied Indian languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Urdu, Kannada, Tamil, Marathi, Konkani, Punjabi, English, Malayalam, Telugu etc. The Forum, in its unique way, attempts to bring All Indian languages under one fora and weaves a multi-layered fabric of national integration with the spirit of unity amongst its members and the people in general. Honourable Chief Guest: Ajai Malhotra, the Ambassador of India to Kuwait Date: April 6, 201 1 (Wednesday) 7.00 pm onwards. Venue: Indian Community (Senior Girls) School, Salmiya. All Indians Are Welcome. For further details, please contact: Maimuna Chougle, (President) 25623513 or Sunil Sonsi (General Secretary) 66846654. NAFO to present Soorya’s ‘Sangamam’ National Forum Kuwait (NAFO Kuwait) is all set to bringing a spectacular, well conceptualized, a jewel in crown super cultural show ‘Sangamam’ for the art lovers of Kuwait, according to a press release. Indian Ambassador Ajai Malhotra will inaugurate the first of its kind super show, scheduled for the evening of Friday, May 13, 2011 (6.00 PM) at the American International School Auditorium, Maidan-Hawalli. Dignitaries from the Kuwaiti community, diplomats from various embassies in Kuwait and prominent figures from Indian expatriate community are expected to witness the cultural extravaganza. Conceived and directed by the versatile celebrity, the founder of Soorya India Society, Padmashree Dr Soorya Krishnamurthy “Sangamam’, a mega show with a difference depicting the great dream of Bappuji “Unity in Diversity”, features more than 30 highly acclaimed cultural personalities from the northern and southern parts of India. The show will highlight oneness in all spheres of life and showcase a wholesome entertainment for the masses with their artistic talents. “A 2-hour breath-taking show, a fusion of traditional and contempo-

rary dance and music, Bharathanatyam, Odissi ensemble, Kathak, Manipuri, instrumental music, contemporary dance style inspired by martial arts and ancient arts of India, by the glittering galaxy of multitalented artistes, capturing the essence of Incredible India, will be an unforgettable cultural feast to all art enthusiasts of Kuwait”, Murali Nair, the Program Convener said. “The entry for the show will be restricted with invitations”, Murali added. For more details, please contact M S Nair 99260356, Subbaraman 66872372, Gopa Kumar 9960428, Anil Kumar 66408395, Pradeep Kumar 99591156, Krishna Kumar 66894907 or mail at National Forum Kuwait (NAFO Kuwait), a non-profit, non-political organization, registered with the Indian Embassy, has been in Kuwait for the last 6 years serving the community in various levels such as social, welfare and cultural. Pathanamthitta association - membership campaign The 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 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:, Mobile no. 99420146, Harish Kumar, email id:, Mobile no. 66991572. Salmiya/Hawali/Kuwait City: Abraham Daniel, Email id:,Mobile no. 97863052, Geetha Krishnan, Email id:, Mobile no. 66361777, Sony Idiculla, email id:, Mobile no. 97211683. Abbassisya/Hasawi/Farwaniiya: Abu Peter Sam, Email id:, Mobile no. 97219734, Kuriakose (Alexander K.V.), , Mobile no. 97932815. Kurian Benny, email id., Mobile no. 66462726. Sabu Oilckal, email id:, 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:

National, Liberation Day and HH the Amir’s assumption of Power Events

Media Night at Movenpick Hotel and Resort Al Bida’a Kuwait


he Media Night at Movenpick Hotel & Resort Al Bida’a presented a great opportunity for all media in Kuwait to mix-and-mingle and enjoy a wonderful time. The Movenpick Hotel & Resort Al Bida’a held its monthly media dinner on March 23rd at its renowned Breeze Restaurant. Guests from different newspapers and magazines in Kuwait including marketing directors, editors and photographers attended the monthly media gathering at Movenpick Al Bida’a and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with their colleagues and the hotel management. The event was kicked off by a short speech by the Director of Sales & Marketing, Mohamed Ibrahim, in which he

welcomed all the invitees and thanked them for their usual support to the hotel. After the speech, a sumptuous buffet was opened to the invitees with a wide range of dishes including Arabic and International delicacies, which was prepared with dedication, passion and attention to detail. The breathtaking Colombian band made sure that everyone got a share of the relaxed mix-and-mingle atmosphere with their amazing music and that the guests enjoyed the culinary highlights prepared by Executive Chef Simon Sperling and his team. All guests were convinced by the outstanding quality presented once again at the Movenpick Hotel & Resort Al Bida’a. A good time among good friends and colleagues was had by all.

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




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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. Kuwait citizens can apply for and receive visit visas to Australia online at 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.

gardening fever at Al-Bayan Bilingual School


n the framework of an awareness campaign for the environment, Al Bayan Bilingual School launched a gardening activity for its students with the help of Al Shaheen Nurseries to raise awareness and reinforce student responsibility towards the environment. Al Bayan Bilingual School extends a hearty “Thank You!” Shaheen AlRubaie, owner of Shaheen Nurseries, for his generous donations of flowers, trees, and manpower in helping with the aesthetic makeover of the Elementary School’s two gardens, now

turned into small oases of beautiful, vibrant colored flowers. Shaheen’s greenery initiated the “gardening fever” in the BBS students. After his talented gardeners turned a scrappy patch of sand into a viable planting area, 6 high school girls planted over 30 of the donated trees into this area, laying the groundwork for what would become “The Hummingbird Garden.” On the tail of this work, elementary students brought in and planted over 300 flowers and plants themselves.

Lolwah Mosaed, a 4th grader is posing with her sister Latifah, a grade 1 student with their drawing depicting the sandstorm that struk Kuwait last weekend.


epresentatives of Kuwait Tamilosal Poets Association Dr. K. Kumar, M. Rajasekhar, Sadiq Basha, U.K. Sivakumar, Ajusudeen, Sivamani, Mrs. Devi Ravi and B. Sekar met the Indian Ambassador Ajai Malhotra at the Ambassador’s Chamber on 21st March, 2011. The representatives invited the ambassador as a Chief Guest for the association’s mega program entitled “Iymperum Kappia Kalai Vizha” scheduled to be held on 8th April, 2011 at Carmel School, Al-Khaitan. B. Sekar illustrated to the ambassador about the association’s social activities and its role for promoting Tamil language and culture. The ambassador expressed his keen interest in the activities of Kuwait Tamilosai Poets Association and accepted the invitation to participate in the program as a chief guest.


Stage set for FOKE anniversary

T Congratulations to Feten Sulaiman who achieved excellence award in grade 7.

he stage is set for the sixth anniversary celebration of Friends of Kannur Expatriates Association (FOKE) tomorrow (Friday) at Al-Jeel AlJadeed School auditorium, Hawally. Well-known Malayalam film celebrity Sreenivasan will arrive in Kuwait to receive the coveted fourth Golden FOKE award from Indian Ambassador Ajai Malhotra during the celebration. Golden Foke award has been given to famous personalities who excel in various socio-cultural fields from Kannur district of Kerala. The award includes a memento designed by renowned sculptor KKR Vengara and a cash prize of INR15,000. Jury, comprising eminent per-

sonalities P P Shasheendra, K K Marar and K K R Vengara, selects the awardees every year. This year, the committee selected cinema field for conferring the award.

A variety of unique cultural programs such as drama, dance and music will be presented by FOKE family during the grand celebration which will com-

mence around 3 pm. Founded six years ago as an expatriate association of people from Kannur district, FOKE has a strength of more than 1,800 members today. Focused on humanitarian and charity programs, FOKE has made significant contributions to the needy people in various sections of the society in Kerala. It also has a welfare program for its members. The organizers have arranged transport facilities for people who seek to attend the anniversary event. For details Abbassiya, Tel: 67701560, 97910261), Fahaheel 97343960, 66086344), Farwaniya 99793558, 66508953), Jahra 99192494, Salmiya 66151258) and Kuwait City 97970157.

Voice Kuwait 6th anniversary


Congratulation to Teaf Sulaiman who successfully completed grade 5.

oice Kuwait celebrating its 6th anniversary “VISWAKALA 2011” on May 20th Friday from 4 pm to 9 pm at Carmel School Khaitan. The program presided over Voice Kuwait president P.G.Binu formed new program committee for Viswakala 2011. P.C.Sukumaran (Chairman),Baiju Vijayan (Gen: Convener). Leelamma Lakshmanan (Joint convener), C.K,Pradeepan, M.Sreenivasan (Refill), V.Shanil,Surendran Mathur, Gireev.P.Kumar, (souvenir), Raghunathan Achari, Deepa Baluchandran (finance), Saritha Rajan, K.Shajan (Arts), Pramod Kakkoth, Balasubramanyan (Stage), Pramod Manukkara, P.Sasidharan (food), Mohanan Achari, Unnikrishnan(transportation), N.Raveendran(Volunteer Captain), Satheesan Kunneru (Vice captain), Keloth Vijayan, Mini Krishna, M.T.Haridasan, K.S.Sajeev,

Gireeshwayanad, V.U.Rajan, A.K.Vilasini, Sreekala Vipin,Salini Raju(reception) are the members of program committee. Voice Kuwait is giving award to its member’s children who got highest mark in last S.S.L.C. either from Kuwait or from Kerala. The students those are eligible should give attested copy of

their mark list to Area conveners or sent copy to General Secretary K.Chandramohanan gave welcome speech and Treasurer Raghunadhan Achari gave vote of thanks. For more information please contact 66950482,94419371.

EMBASSY OF NIGERIA The Nigerian embassy has moved its office to Mishref. Block 3, Street 7, House 4. For enquires please call 25379541. Fax- 25387719. or EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India has further revamped and improved its Legal Advice Clinic at the Indian Workers Welfare Center, and made the free service available to Indian nationals on all five working days, i.e. from Sunday to Thursday every week. Kuwaiti lawyers would be available at the Legal Advice Clinic daily from Monday to Thursday, while Indian lawyers would be available on Sundays. Following are the free welfare services provided at the Indian Workers Welfare Center located at the Embassy of India: [i] 24x7 Helpline for Domestic Workers: Accessible by toll free telephone no. 25674163 from anywhere in Kuwait, it provides information and advice exclusively to Indian domestic sector workers (Visa No. 20) as regards their grievances, immigration and other matters. [ii] Help Desk: It offers guidance to Indian nationals on routine immigration, employment, legal, and other issues (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iii) Labour Complaints Desk: It registers labor complaints and provides grievance redressal service to Indian workers (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iv) Shelters: For female and male domestic workers in distress; (v) Legal Advice Clinic: Provides free legal advice to Indian nationals (Embassy premises; Kuwaiti lawyers 3 PM to 5 PM, Monday to Thursday; Indian lawyers 2 PM to 4 PM on Sunday); and (vi) Attestation of Work Contracts: Private sector worker (Visa No. 18) contracts are accepted at the Embassy; 9 AM to 1 PM; Sunday to Thursday; Domestic sector worker (Visa No. 20) contracts are accepted at Kuwait Union of Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO), Hawally, Al-Othman Street, Kurd Roundabout, Al-Abraj Complex, Office No 9, Mezzanine Floor; 9 AM to 9 PM, Saturday to Thursday; 5 PM to 9 PM on Friday. Embassy of India would like to inform that application forms for passport/visa services and labor contracts that are on its website,, have been upgraded to include the facility for online data entry. Affidavit forms on the embassy website have had this facility since May 6, 2009.

EMBASSY OF SOUTH AFRICA The South African Embassy in the Slate of Kuwait is updating it’s database of South Africa citizens resident in the State of Kuwait. For this purpose South African citizens are requested to contact the South African Embassy in Kuwait City to register contact details. Please contact Ms. Badria Ahmad Yousif, Consular Assistant at the South African Embassy at or telephone number 99505994, 25617988 fax number 25617917. Consular hours at the Embassy are between 8:30am to 12:30pm

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 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. Canada offers a registration service for all Canadians travelling or living abroad. This service is provided so that Consular Officials can contact and assist Canadians in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform Canadians of a family emergency at home. The Embassy of Canada encourages all Canadian Citizens to register online through the Government of Canada Travel Website at The Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi provides visa and immigration services to residents of Kuwait. Individuals who are interested in visiting, working or immigrating to Canada are invited to visit the website of the Canadian Embassy to the UAE at



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00:45 There’s A Rhino In My House! 01:40 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 02:35 Life In The Undergrowth 03:30 Killer Whales 04:25 In Search Of The King Cobra 05:20 Untamed And Uncut 06:10 Must Love Cats 07:00 Lemur Street 07:25 Monkey Life 07:50 Pandamonium 08:40 Breed All About It 09:10 Extraordinary Dogs 09:35 Cats Of Claw Hill 10:05 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 11:00 Animal Precinct 11:55 Wildlife SOS International 12:20 Wildlife SOS 12:50 Animal Cops Philadelphia 13:45 Sspca: On The Wildside 14:10 Vet On The Loose 14:40 The Real Lost World 15:30 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 16:30 Monkey Life 17:00 Breed All About It 17:25 Dogs 101 18:20 Life In The Undergrowth 19:15 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 21:05 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz 22:00 Pit Bulls And Parolees 22:55 I Shouldn’t Be Alive 23:50 Untamed And Uncut

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

Keeping Up Appearances The Weakest Link Casualty Survivors Eastenders Doctors Keeping Up Appearances Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show The Adventures Of Spot The Large Family Buzz And Tell Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show The Adventures Of Spot The Large Family Buzz And Tell Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show The Adventures Of Spot The Large Family Buzz And Tell Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show The Adventures Of Spot The Large Family Buzz And Tell Keeping Up Appearances Keeping Up Appearances The Weakest Link Robin Hood Doctors Eastenders Casualty Keeping Up Appearances Robin Hood The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders Casualty Robin Hood The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders Casualty Full Circle With Michael Palin My Family

00:15 01:05 01:55 02:45 04:50 05:40

Come Dine With Me Home For Life Superhomes Come Dine With Me Home For Life Fantasy Homes In The City

06:30 Daily Cooks Challenge 07:10 Glamour Puds 07:35 10 Years Younger 08:25 Antiques Roadshow 09:15 Fantasy Homes In The City 10:00 Cash In The Attic USA 10:20 What Not To Wear 11:10 Antiques Roadshow 12:00 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 12:45 Glamour Puds 13:10 Glamour Puds 13:30 Daily Cooks Challenge 15:00 Antiques Roadshow 15:50 Home For Life 16:45 Come Dine With Me 18:50 Home For Life 19:40 What Not To Wear 20:30 Antiques Roadshow 21:20 Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey 22:10 Rhodes Across China 22:55 Cash In The Attic

00:00 Business Edition With Tanya Beckett 00:30 Business Edition With Tanya Beckett 00:45 Sport Today 01:00 BBC World News 01:30 Asia Business Report 01:45 Asia 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 Hardtalk 07:00 BBC World News 07:30 World Business Report 07:45 BBC World News 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 Sport Today 10:00 BBC World News 10:30 World Business Report 10:45 Sport Today 11:00 BBC World News 11:30 Hardtalk 12:00 BBC World News 12:30 World Business Report 12:45 Sport Today 13:00 BBC World News 13:30 World Business Report 13:45 Sport Today 14:00 GMT With George Alagiah 14:30 GMT With George Alagiah 15:00 BBC World News 15:30 World Business Report 15:45 Sport Today 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 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 22:30 World Business Report 22:45 Sport Today 23:00 BBC World News 23:30 Hardtalk

00:15 00:35 01:00 01:25 01:50 02:15 02:40 03:05 03:35 04:00 04:25 04:50

Popeye Tom And Jerry Top Cat Yogi’s Treasure Hunt Droopy: Master Detective 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

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

Popeye Classics Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch Scooby-Doo And ScrappyDastardly 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 ScrappyPopeye 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 ScrappyThe Flintstones Looney Tunes Tom And Jerry Kids The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch

00:05 Cow And Chicken 00:30 Cramp Twins 00:55 George Of The Jungle 01:20 Adrenalini Brothers 01:45 Eliot Kid 02:10 Ed, Edd N Eddy 02:35 Ben 10: Alien Force 03:00 The Powerpuff Girls 03:15 Chowder 03:40 The Secret Saturdays 04:05 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 04:30 Ben 10: Alien Force 04:55 Best Ed 05:20 Skunk Fu! 05:45 Cramp Twins 06:10 Eliot Kid 06:35 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 07:00 Codename: Kids Next Door 07:25 Cow And Chicken 07:50 Best Ed 08:15 Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends 08:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 09:05 The Secret Saturdays 09:30 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 09:55 The Powerpuff Girls 10:20 Robotboy 10:30 The Life And Times Of Juniper Lee 10:55 Ben 10 11:20 Chowder 11:45 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 12:10 Camp Lazlo 12:35 George Of The Jungle 13:00 Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends 13:25 Codename: Kids Next Door 13:50 Ben 10 14:15 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 14:40 Squirrel Boy 15:05 Eliot Kid 15:30 Ed, Edd N Eddy 16:00 Cow And Chicken 16:25 Chop Socky Chooks 16:50 Skunk Fu!

iNdEpENdENCE dAy oN osN ACtioN hd

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

00:40 01:35 02:30 03:00 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 22:50 23:45

Chop Shop Dirty Jobs I Could Do That I Could Do That 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 Ultimate Survival Mythbusters La Ink Dirty Jobs Chop Shop Mythbusters Deadliest Catch Cake Boss Border Security Deconstruction How Does It Work How It’s Made Destroyed In Seconds Destroyed In Seconds Aircrash Confidential Dual Survival I Was Bitten

00:30 The Gadget Show 00:55 Nextworld 01:45 How Stuff Works 02:35 What’s That About? 03:25 How Stuff’s Made 03:50 Junkyard Mega-Wars 04:45 Robocar 05:40 Patent Bending 06:10 Engineered 07:00 Scrapheap Challenge 07:55 Head Rush 07:58 Sci-Fi Science 08:25 Weird Connections 08:55 Race To Mars 09:45 How Stuff’s Made 10:10 The Gadget Show 10:35 What’s That About? 11:25 Mean Green Machines 11:50 Scrapheap Challenge 12:40 Patent Bending 13:05 How Stuff Works 13:55 Human Body: Ultimate Machine 14:45 The Gadget Show 15:10 Nextworld 16:00 Head Rush 16:03 Sci-Fi Science 16:30 Weird Connections 17:00 Brainiac 17:50 Kings Of Construction 18:40 Weird Or What? 19:30 Science Of The Movies 20:20 How It’s Made 20:45 The Gadget Show 21:10 Bad Universe 22:00 Weird Or What? 22:50 Science Of The Movies 23:40 Kings Of Construction

00:00 00:25 01:15 02:00 02:50 03:35 04:25 05:15 06:00 06:45 07:05 07:30 07:55 08:20 08:35 09:00 09:25 09:50 10:10 10:35 10:50 11:15 11:35 12:00 12:25 12:42 12:45 13:10 13:30 13:55 14:20 14:40 14:55 15:20 15:40 16:00 16:25 16:45 17:08 17:10 17:35 18:25 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


00:00 KSA 06:00 06:25 06:50 07:15 07:40 08:05 08:30 08:55 09:00 09:25 09:50 10:15 10:40 11:05 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 13:55 14:00 Cody 14:25 Cody 14:50 15:15 15:45 16:10 16:15 16:40 17:05 17:30 17:55 18:20 18:45 19:10 19:35 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:25 21:55 Cody 22:20

Programmes Start At 7:00am Kid vs Kat Kick Buttowski Pokemon Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Kick Buttowski American Dragon Have A Laugh Zeke And Luther Zeke And Luther I’m In The Band The Super Hero Squad Show Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Escape From Scorpion Island Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Kid vs Kat Kid vs Kat Have A Laugh The Suite Life Of Zack And The Suite Life Of Zack And Zeke And Luther Suite Life On Deck Kick Buttowski Have A Laugh I’m In The Band Suite Life On Deck Zeke And Luther Zeke And Luther Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Escape From Scorpion Island Pokemon American Dragon Aaron Stone Kid vs Kat Phineas And Ferb I’m In The Band The Suite Life Of Zack And The Super Hero Squad Show

A ChristmAs CArol oN osN CiNEmA 00:15 Kendra 00:40 Then And Now 01:30 20 Hottest Women Of The Web 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 05:30 Streets Of Hollywood 06:00 THS 07:45 Behind The Scenes 08:35 E! News 09:25 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 10:15 THS 12:00 E! News 12:50 Fashion Police 13:15 Extreme Close-Up 13:40 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 14:05 Kendra 14:30 THS 16:15 Behind The Scenes 17:10 Married To Rock 18:00 E! News 18:50 Extreme Close-Up 19:40 E!es 20:30 Fashion Police 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:20 Kourtney And Kim Take New York 21:45 Kourtney And Kim Take New York 22:10 E! News 23:00 Chelsea Lately 23:25 Kendra 23:50 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami

00:15 Fantasy Factory 00:40 Carpocalypse 01:30 World Combat League 02:20 Fantasy Factory 02:45 Fantasy Factory 03:10 Aiya TV 03:35 Aiya TV 04:00 I’ll Do Anything 04:50 Carpocalypse 05:40 World Combat League 06:30 iEX 2009 07:00 iEX 2009 07:30 iEX 2009 08:00 Quattro Events 2009 08:25 Taig Jumping The Tower 09:15 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 10:05 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 10:55 Glutton For Punishment 11:20 Glutton For Punishment 11:45 Untracked 12:10 Untracked 12:35 Fantasy Factory 13:00 Fantasy Factory 13:25 Carpocalypse 14:15 World Combat League 15:05 Glutton For Punishment 15:30 Glutton For Punishment 15:55 Untracked 16:20 Untracked 16:45 Quattro Events 2009 17:10 Taig Jumping The Tower 18:00 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 18:50 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 19:40 Untracked 20:05 Untracked 20:30 Fantasy Factory 20:55 Fantasy Factory 21:20 Crusty Demons: Night Of World Records 22:10 World Combat League 23:00 Aiya TV 23:25 Aiya TV 23:50 Fantasy Factory

00:30 01:20 02:10 03:00 03:50 04:45 05:15 06:10 07:00 07:50 08:40 09:30 09:55 10:20 11:10 12:00

Ghost Lab A Haunting I Almost Got Away With It Forensic Justice Dr G: Medical Examiner Black Museum Ghost Lab Diagnosis: Unknown Forensic Detectives On The Run Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls Extreme Forensics FBI Files True Crime With Aphrodite

Jones 12:50 13:40 14:30 14:55 15:20 16:10 17:00 17:50 18:40 19:30

Royal Inquest Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls Extreme Forensics Forensic Detectives On The Run FBI Files Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls

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

Earth Tripping Earth Tripping Banged Up Abroad Cruise Ship Diaries Earth Tripping Earth Tripping Banged Up Abroad Cruise Ship Diaries Earth Tripping Earth Tripping Banged Up Abroad Cruise Ship Diaries Earth Tripping Earth Tripping Banged Up Abroad Bondi Rescue Bondi Rescue On Surfari On Surfari Banged Up Abroad Bondi Rescue Bondi Rescue On Surfari On Surfari Banged Up Abroad Bondi Rescue Bondi Rescue On Surfari On Surfari Banged Up Abroad

00:15 It’s Alive-R 01:45 Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground-18 03:45 Pride And Glory-18 06:00 The Betrayed-PG15 08:00 Face Off-PG15 10:00 Independence Day-PG15 12:30 The Bodyguard 2-PG15 14:15 Face Off-PG15 16:15 Mean Machine-18 18:00 The Bodyguard 2-PG15 20:00 Goal III-18 22:00 Se7en-18

01:00 Dorian Gray-18 03:00 Bandslam-PG15 05:00 The Dust Factory-PG15 07:00 When In Rome-PG15 09:00 Whip It-PG15 11:00 Stuart Little 2-FAM 13:00 Astro Boy-PG15 15:00 Au Pair 3: Adventure In Paradise-PG 17:00 Paper Heart-PG15 19:00 The Informant!-PG15 21:00 A Christmas Carol-PG 23:00 Whiteout-18

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 American Dad 02:00 Rita Rocks 02:30 Community 03:00 The Big C 03:30 Entourage 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 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 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 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 12:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 13:00 Just Shoot Me 13:30 Coach

14:00 Yes Dear 14:30 Community 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 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 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 Sarah Silverman Program 22:30 Entourage 23:00 American Dad 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

01:00 03:00 05:00 06:45 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:15 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

28 Days Later-18 Death Race-18 Rec-R The Rock-PG15 Obsessed-PG15 Mutant Chronicles-PG15 Lost In Space-PG15 Obsessed-PG15 The Faculty-18 Unbreakable-PG15 Severed-R The Wizard Of Gore-R

00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00

The Elder Son-PG15 Blank Check-FAM The Match-PG15 Chatterbox-PG Management-PG15 A Dog Year-PG Mr. Magoo-PG Hannah Montana Movie-PG The Elder Son-PG15 Who’s Your Caddy?-PG15 Chasing Amy-18 Lesbian Vampire Killers-18

01:15 03:25 05:40 07:30 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:15 19:00 21:00 23:00

Mesrine: Public Enemy #1-18 Public Enemies-18 Alice In Wonderland-PG Crimes Of The Past-PG15 Keith-PG15 Far North-PG15 Einstein And Eddington-PG15 Drumline-PG15 Cutting Edge: Fire And Ice-PG Motherhood-PG15 This Revolution-PG15 Titanic-PG15

00:30 Edward Scissorhands-PG 02:30 That Thing You Do!-PG 04:15 Valkyrie-PG15 06:15 Changeling-PG15 09:00 Where The Wild Things ArePG 11:00 Keeping The Faith-PG15 13:15 Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea-FAM 15:00 Bring It On 5: Fight To The Finish-PG15 17:00 Where The Wild Things ArePG 19:00 The Unborn-18 21:00 A Christmas Carol-PG 23:00 Van Wilder: Freshman Year-R

00:00 The Jungle Book IV: Hate And Love-FAM 02:00 Franklin And The Green Knight-FAM 04:00 Blank Check-FAM 06:00 Up-FAM 08:00 Scruff In Halloween-FAM 10:00 Blank Check-FAM 12:00 The Prince Of Dinosaurs-PG 14:00 Up-FAM 16:00 G-Force-PG 18:00 Inspector Gadget: Last CaseFAM 20:00 Aliens In The Attic-FAM 22:00 The Prince Of Dinosaurs-PG

00:00 Long Weekend-PG15 02:00 American Teen-PG15 04:00 Hachiko : A Dog’s Story-PG15 06:00 Max And Co.-PG 08:00 Free Willy: Escape From Pirate’s Cove-FAM 10:00 It Might Get Loud-PG15 12:00 Ghosts Of Girlfriends PastPG15 14:00 Easy Virtue-PG15 16:00 Free Willy: Escape From Pirate’s Cove-FAM 18:00 500 Days Of Summer-PG15 20:00 Land Of The Lost-PG15 22:00 The Hurt Locker-18

01:00 01:30 03:30 04:30 06:30 07:00 09:00 09:30 10:30 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:30 14:00 16:00 17:00 17:30 22:30

European Tour Weekly Super League AFL Highlights Super 15 European Tour Weekly Aviva Premiership Total Rugby Trans World Sport AFL Highlights Total Rugby NRL Full Time Trans World Sport European Tour Weekly NRL Premiership Trans World Sport Total Rugby Dubai World Cup Live RFL Championship

00:00 Aviva Premiership 02:00 Aviva Premiership 04:00 Golfing World 05:00 AFL Highlights 06:00 Trans World Sport 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 AFL Highlights 09:00 Super 15 11:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 12:00 Golfing World 13:00 Total Rugby 13:30 Trans World Sport 14:30 Futbol Mundial 15:00 European Tour Weekly 15:30 Live PGA European Tour 19:30 Golfing World 20:30 European Tour Weekly 21:00 PGA European Tour

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 03:30 04:00 05:00 08:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 20:00 21:00 22:00

UFC Wired UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed Sports Adventure Full Throttle Iron Man 2010 UFC Fight Night WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line V8 Supercars Championship WWE Vintage Collection WWE Bottom Line WWE SmackDown Full Throttle Iron Man 2010 UFC Fight Night WWE NXT UFC The Ultimate Fighter UFC Fight Night

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 22:00 23:00

The Ellen Degeneres Show The Cape American Idol Highlights Glee The View Good Morning America Mercy Emmerdale Coronation Street The Martha Stewart Show The View The Ellen Degeneres Show Glee American Idol Highlights Live Good Morning America Mercy The Ellen Degeneres Show Emmerdale Look-A-Like Bones American Idol The Gates Mercy

Classifieds THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2011

Science S cience M Matters atters

Giant medical proton gun Clinics are buying huge devices called proton accelerators for treating cancer amid a debate on whether their benefit justifies the expense.



Patient is positioned on bed

Magnets direct beam of high-energy charged particles into device

3 1

Device rotates, sends beam into body from all sides

2 3

Techniccian Technician shows size s of device devicce

Proto Proton bbeam ea from fro ccyclotron yclotro aaccelerator ccelerato

Immediately available sea view fully furnished flat with all household items ver y good condition in Salmiya near school/chapel. Contact: 99109242. (C 3232) 30-3-2011 Single accommodation available near 6th Ring Road petrol pump, touristic park for couple / executive bachelors or working ladies. Contact: 60379114/ 60753146. (C 3225) Room available for Goan family in 2 bedroom flat near Khaitan Co-operative / Cinema. Contact: 99453500. (C 3226)

Total system weight About 200 tons

Sharing accommodation available for non-smoking executive Indian bachelors in C-A/C flat, Kuwait City. Contact: 99119755. (C 3227)

Treatment cost About $50,000

Compared to X-ray treatment

Goal Kill tumor cells with high-energy beam; spare nearby cells

X-rays X -rays


Penetrate entire body; depth of penetration can’t’ be controlled

Protons P rotons

Penetration depth depends on protons’’ energy

+++ + +

Source: Georgia P Proton Treatment Center, National Association for Proton Therapy (U.S.) Graphic: Helen Lee McComas © 2011 MCT

FOR SALE Mercedes E280, model 2007, 27,000 kms, silver grey owned by Indian expat, price KD 8250.

Contact: 99874399, 97886119. (C 3233) (C 3231) 31-3-2011

Lancer Ex 2008 model, 2000cc, very low mileage 37000 km, excellent condition, alloy wheel, CD player, single owner doctor leaving for good. Passing Oct 2011, full insurance. Expected price KD 2950. Phone: 67087427. Mail- (C 3234) 31-3-2011

Pentecostal parents invite proposal for their daughter 26 years, RN working in govt. hospital Australia, from parents of Pentecostal, spiritual and professionally qualified boys. Contact: 28-3-2011

No: 15044

SITUATION WANTED MATRIMONIAL Proposal inviting for RC boy (Syro Malabar) fair/ 28 yrs, hgt 165cm, wgt 70 kg, B.Com / working private firm in Kuwait as accountant, seeking alliance from girls working in Kuwait. Please contact: arjunja-

M.Com qualified senior accountant with 15 years experience in Travels, Freight & Customs (Cargo), capable of independently finalizing accounts, seeks suitable position. Mobile: 66019422. Email: (C 3229) 29-3-2011

DIAL 161 FOR AIRPORT INFORMATION In case you are not travelling, your proper cancellation of bookings will help other passengers to use seats Airlines RJA JZR JZR THY ETH UAE DHX ETD FDB GFA QTR JZR FCX KAC BAW KAC KAC IRA KAC KAC FDB KAC KAC KAC UAE QTR ABY ETD GFA KNE MEA JZR JZR JZR SVA KAC MSR UAL RJA MSR FDB OMA SYR JZR SVA KAC KAC JZR

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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (


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star CROSSWORD 273





Aries (March 21-April 19) You may have the feeling that the day is slowing down—work is slow—people are slow, etc., etc. Try to be a little easier on yourself. Schedules or goals may need to be changed or readjusted. You may want to readjust your expectations. Work slowdowns or stoppages may present opportunities to catch your breath. An undercurrent of restlessness makes you aware of some positive changes that are in the forecast. Negotiations are being conducted. Be aware of keeping a balance in your own day. You are well-disposed to others now—be careful in bending over backwards. Sometimes it is just better to leave well enough alone. Your creative side is strong. Recognize the creativeness within you and allow yourself time for creative expression.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You will find yourself more excited about completing a work project than ever before. This is a time when you and your team or department can expect some sort of support or recognition. You may feel that you are connected with others; the lines of communication are open. Relaxing after work, you may find yourself discussing philosophical things with friends and acquaintances. You may find a relative or two that seems to need you more often, perhaps more dependent. By the end of next month, however, they may take back those little things that you have been doing for them and thankfully, gain some independence. Your own health is getting better and better, but you may still need to work on some relaxation techniques.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. The eighth month of the civil year. 5. An acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety. 10. Goddess of criminal rashness and its punishment. 13. Small European freshwater fish with a slender bluishgreen body. 14. A violin made by Antonio Stradivari or a member of his family. 15. United States liquid unit equal to 4 quarts or 3.785 liters. 16. Any plant of the genus Erica. 18. Disabled in the feet or legs. 19. A run that is the result of the batter's performance. 20. Reports of the work of a society or learned body etc. 22. Informal terms for a mother. 24. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 25. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Missouri river valley in NE Nebraska. 27. An associate degree in applied science. 29. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 30. An alloy of mercury with another metal (usually silver) used by dentists to fill cavities in teeth. 34. (Greek mythology) Goddess of the earth and mother of Cronus and the Titans in ancient mythology. 36. A person forced to flee from home or country. 38. A Bantu language spoken by the Kamba people in Kenya. 39. A colorless and odorless inert gas. 40. A light strong brittle gray toxic bivalent metallic element. 41. At or constituting a border or edge. 43. A police officer who investigates crimes. 44. A small piece of cloth. 46. A Mid-Atlantic state. 47. Of southern Europe. 52. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 54. A bottle with a stopper. 56. Release from a clasp. 60. Horny plate covering and protecting part of the dorsal surface of the digits. 61. Stem of the rattan palm used for making canes and umbrella handles. 62. Other than what is under consideration or implied. 63. English monk and scholar (672-735). 65. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 66. Relatively deep or strong. 67. Wild sheep of northern Africa. 68. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 69. The branch of engineering science that studies the uses of electricity and the equipment for power generation and distribution and the control of machines and communication. DOWN 1. The content of cognition. 2. An account describing incidents or events. 3. Pertaining to one of the small sacs (as in a compound gland). 4. A summary that repeats the substance of a longer discussion. 5. A very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms. 6. Last or greatest in an indefinitely large series. 7. Pasture grass of plains of South America and western North America. 8. A deep bow. 9. (astronomy) A measure of time defined by Earth's orbital motion. 10. A city in northern India. 11. A sock with a separation for the big toe. 12. English essayist (1775-1834). 17. On or toward the lee. 21. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 23. The arch of bone beneath the eye that forms the prominence of the cheek. 26. Australian shrubs and small trees with evergreen usually spiny leaves and dense clusters of showy flowers. 28. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 31. The local time at the 0 meridian passing through Greenwich, England. 32. In bed. 33. (trademark) A liquid that temporarily disables a person. 35. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 37. Having nine hinged bands of bony plates. 42. A city in southeastern Spain. 43. (astronomy) A measure of time defined by Earth's orbital motion. 45. Offering fun and gaiety. 48. A river that rises in central Germany and flows north to join the Elbe River. 49. To move or force, esp. in an effort to get something open. 50. Australian operatic soprano (1861-1931). 51. (of wood) Darkened or colored by exposure to ammonia fumes. 53. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 54. A heavy brittle diamagnetic trivalent metallic element (resembles arsenic and antimony chemically). 55. A city in northwestern Syria. 57. Wearing or provided with clothing. 58. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 59. A metabolic acid found in yeast and liver cells. 64. A soft yellow malleable ductile (trivalent and univalent) metallic element.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You are learning to take control over your life. You are beginning to sense improvements in all areas of your life and this trend will continue throughout this whole year. You will be encouraged to make a positive difference in your public life, as well as your private life. All the changes and improvements you want to make will come into focus soon. You have learned much and have developed a positive use of your intuitive powers. You will be able to use what you have learned and be more aware of situations as they are developing around you. Today you will be challenged in the use of words. Writing, summing up a situation or requesting important equipment for your office is part of this use of words. You are successful in your efforts.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


You may appear commanding and assertive today because you want to meet deadlines and quickly help others. Hard work and close attention to details pay off. There is recognition for your work. Your sound judgment is good with regard to your finances. If you are artistic, you should allow your dreams and imagination to reach into areas that you have not explored. Regardless of your special talents; music and imagination can take you into levels of consciousness you have never reached before. This energy is safe and fun and will help you to relax. Another good activity is dancing or learning a new type of exercise. Whatever the case, a new type of entertainment is totally enjoyable. You may be helping an old friend this evening.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Remember that you have the power to turn any crises around. Operating any business connected with animals that hunt or protect will make money for you. Providing guards, guides and protective escorts to others could be a source of income as well. You can begin research and investigate all new business ventures and guide others. This is a perfect time to evaluate where you have been in the business world and where you are going now. This is a time during which you may be able to break through and move ahead with your ambitions. You could receive unexpected help from someone older or from authority figures. A teacher may soon appear. This is one of your best days for love! Dreams contain important messages; keep notes.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) You feel inspired in the workplace today. This is an easy calm day that should find everything running smoothly. Interaction with authority figures or older people may be in the forecast. Working with, rather than against the flow of energies today should be easy to do. Community, club or social interests is the topic of conversation during the lunch hour. Think before you act with regard to financial matters today and remember that there is no gain in jumping into a really great sounding deal without checking it out first. You may be sought after for your advice regarding very personal and emotional issues this evening. You will be able to handle questionable material. You are able to cut through the red tape and get at the basics—truth.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Your professional future looks bright—so much so that coworkers want to know your secret. You may worry, excessively, about home life and domestic security if you are away from the home place for too long. Create an opportunity to talk with higher-ups and find a way to merge a new person in—to take some out-of-town trips. Compromise is the right attitude of the day. Do not worry about reuniting with friends; this will come soon enough. A love of music and an appreciation for the pleasures of the finer things in life are the signs of the cycle that has begun for you. This is aesthetic and artistic to be sure, but it is also practical and materialistic. There is an opportunity to increase your professional status, physical well-being and family connections.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You could blurt out the wrong thing today or be unable to convey what you really intend to say. Others may disagree with your ideas so do not push an issue just yet. Since you believe that protocol and convention should be exercised, you are well mannered and gracious to all you come into contact with at this time. This puts you in the front of the class when it comes to showing visitors or new people around the office. Don’t be too surprised to find yourself entertaining out-of-town business guests tonight. You are appreciated for your ability to get things done. Your own happiness improves as you surround yourself with people who love, affirm and bring out the best in you. Find ways to show appreciation to family members tonight.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


Yesterday’s Solution

Progressive people and visionary groups or concepts begin to play a more important role in your life. You may be sought after as just the person for a particular job. You may be asked to weed through a mess and come up with a method or purpose. It is easy for you to swing from one job to another and keep your wits about you. This is the main reason you stay in demand. Resisting the urge to escape from the working world, you come up with ways to enjoy your profession. A disciplined approach to work, health and others of life’s essential routines is important. A teammate will be very helpful at this time. A surprise will come to you today from an admirer. This evening is for reading and nourishment. You cook this evening . . . think green.

This morning you are more coordinated than your teammates. You see results from your hard work before the noon break. In some cases you will serve as a mentor. Smiles and courteous responses are necessary to connect the link of honest communication from one person to another. Strengthen you position in the workplace by responding with clarity, confidence and insight. You may find yourself put to good use by your friends this afternoon, running errands and helping with a young person. This may include the change of previous plans and you will need to make some of the phone calls, announcing a change. Resist the urge to spend excessively—remember that you will be reimbursing others for their time and help this week.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Experimenting with new concepts and putting aside the old tried and true create some new possibilities financially for you now. Financial gain and material well-being are among the brighter prospects now. It is the unique and the original that catches and holds your interest. You are in an inventive, original and high tech frame of mind. You are also beginning some new spending patterns—perhaps focused on high tech interests—computer, phone, etc. Progressive people and new concepts play a more important role in your life. This afternoon is a great time to relax and review the goals that you and a partner have planned. Plan a trip to the zoo, museum or the theater or just simply spending time in the company of your loved one.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

This is a busy, but successful day in the working world. You may gain through a legal maneuver or some dealings with legal types today. A co-worker may be hard to understand; have patience with others that have difficulty in communicating at this time. You may see a colleague today and spend quite a bit of time talking business—the results are good for all concerned. This afternoon you have provided some catch-up time for yourself, perhaps for tending to chores that were set aside from last week. There is still time this evening to visit with young people. You may be opening a door to a new stage of life soon. Look at the road in front of you as widening up—not in turning to another direction. There is good communication with the family.



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e niv rsar n



li fe s t y le G o s s i p

Lohan avoids criminal charge in Betty Ford quarrel rosecutors on Tuesday decided against filing a battery charge against Lindsay Lohan that might have sent the troubled actress to jail over a confrontation at California’s Betty Ford Center rehab clinic. The District Attorney’s office in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, has determined there is insufficient evidence to charge Lohan with a crime, said John Hall, a spokesman for the office. The “Mean Girls” star is on probation for a 2007 drunk driving and cocaine possession conviction, and a new criminal complaint could have violated her probation, putting her back behind bars. Lohan, however, remains in legal trouble. The 24-yearold faces a separate charge that she stole a necklace from a Los Angeles jewelry store in January. Lohan has pleaded not guilty, and a preliminary hearing is set for April 22. A conviction would send her back to jail where she spent around two weeks behind bars for probation violation. In December when Lohan was staying at the Betty Ford Center in southern California, police were called to the facility and conducted a misde-


enelope Cruz is to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The 36-year-old beauty - who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2009 for her role as Maria Elena in ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ - is to receive the 2,436th star from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in recognition of her being the first Spanish actress to win an Academy Award. Director Rob Marshall will unveil the landmark in front of the iconic El Capitan Theatre on April 1. The ‘Nine’ star - who recently gave birth to her first child, baby son Leo, with husband Javier Bardem - recently joked that winning an Oscar was like getting the best toy ever. She said: “My Oscar lives in my house, but it changes rooms all the time. I’m looking at it in different places to make the final decision. I even took it to the beach one day. It’s like being five when you finally get a toy you’ve been asking for.” However, despite scooping the prestigious accolade, Penelope insisted she doesn’t feel any extra pressure when making her films. She added: “I’ve always felt under pressure and had a lot of insecurity, so that doesn’t change and I don’t want that to alter. I don’t want to get to the set and feel too secure. I’ve worked for so many years feeling a lot of respect and healthy fear of the work and I don’t feel I can change that now.”

meanor battery investigation involving Lohan and a Betty Ford Center staff member named Dawn Holland. Holland initially said Lohan pushed her and snatched a telephone from her hand. But Holland later told investigators she would no longer cooperate and did not want charges filed. “Our standard is that if we file charges, we believe that we can produce enough evidence to convict someone beyond a reasonable doubt and that was not the case here,” Hall said. Hall said he could not be specific about the findings of his office’s review of the case. Lohan left the Betty Ford Center in January, after checking into the facility in October for failing a random drug test required by her probation for the 2007 drunk conviction.

Little Steven snares Boss for radio show


ith old friend Bruce Springsteen stopping by to swap music stories for the ninth anniversary of Steven Van Zandt’s rock radio show, Van Zandt laughed at the notion that he’d set the bar pretty high for the tenth year. “It’s been an open invitation,” said Van Zandt, guitarist in Springsteen’s E Street Band. “He just finally got around to it.” Their reminiscences take up three episodes of “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” over three weeks, starting Friday. If it sounds like two old friends talking about glory days, it’s because that’s precisely what it was: Springsteen and Van Zandt grew up playing in New Jersey-area bands in the wake of the Beatles’ arrival with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” “What’d ya think?” asked Van Zandt about when Springsteen first heard the song. “My world changed,” Springsteen replied. He described being driven to a bowling alleyhis house didn’t have a phone-to use the pay phone and call his girlfriend to talk about it. Springsteen tried to stump his buddy, bringing in a laptop to call up a vintage song that Van Zandt hadn’t heard by Darwin’s Theory. Van Zandt said in an interview that he thought it would be instructive to fans to talk in depth about Springsteen’s formative years musically, a topic that doesn’t come up much in serious interviews. He couldn’t recall the exact time they met. The two formed a kinship through their love of rock ‘n’ roll because at the time, people seriously pursuing it were considered


freaks, he said. “He was a very important friend,” Van Zandt said. “When you are a freak by yourself it’s one thing. But if there’s someone else, you don’t feel as freaky. It’s a big deal to have someone feel the same way you do.” Van Zandt has had Keith Richards, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr and Ray Davies as guests on his show, syndicated in more than 200 markets in five countries. He hopes the radio format will be an enduring legacy. “I started doing it because I felt there was a gap, and I think the gap is still there,” he said. “Nobody is playing 60 years of rock ‘n’ roll in one place, and nobody is playing new rock ‘n’ roll.”

ngelina Jolie’s life has been turned into a comic book. The 35-year-old actress is the latest celebrity to be turned into a sketched character by American Publishers Bluewater Productions for their Female Force series. Other stars who have featured in the series include Sarah Palin, Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton, and the new comic book focuses on Angelina as she experiences the ups and down of her acting career, motherhood and humanitarian work. Brent Sprecher, who wrote the comic, revealed he wanted to draw attention away from the ‘Salt’ star’s celebrity persona so people would remember her good deeds. He said:” I learned a great deal about her struggles and triumphs as an actress, mother and humanitarian. “Often painted as an edgy, slightly dangerous movie star, what is often not revealed about Ms. Jolie is her tireless commitment to charity work and her dedication to the plight of refugees around the world as a Goodwill Ambassador with the United Nations.” The writer added that it was his wish that young women across the world would take inspiration from Angelina’s story. He said: “My hope is that this biography, in some small way, inspires others to follow Angelina Jolie’s example and make helping those in need a part of their daily lives.” Other stars set to star in their own comic book in the future are Beyonce Knowles, Bill O’Reilly and Betty White. Bluewater president and founder Darren G. Davis said: “We’re focusing our biography titles on the most intriguing celebrities, world leaders and artists. “This is by design. We want to bring new fans to comics. One way to do this is to publish biographies on celebrities that already have strong and dedicated fan bases.”— Bang Showbiz

A sa Zsa Gabor returned to hospital for at least the fifth time this year on Tuesday after coughing up blood, a spokesman for the ailing actress said. Gabor, 94, was briefly hospitalized last week with high blood pressure when she learned that Elizabeth Taylor had died. Her leg was amputated in January because of a gangrene infection. Gabor, a former fixture on Hollywood’s social scene, starred in 1950s movies “Moulin Rouge” and “Lili.”


fter 12 years playing sultry screen vixen Samantha Jones on “Sex and the City,” Kim Cattrall says she’s “letting it all hang out” in her new role as a hasbeen porn star. Cattrall gained 20 pounds for the title role in the indie film “Meet Monica Velour,” about a washed up, aging porn star living in a rural Indiana trailer park. “It was actually kind of a relief,” the 54-year-old


actress said Tuesday in an interview. “It was like getting rid of the Barbie doll and throwing it out and starting again.” She said packing on the pounds for “Monica Velour,” which comes out April 8, was her fist break from dieting in 25 years and was “wonderful.” “We were shooting in Detroit, and there’s a lot of great bars in Detroit,” Cattrall said. “So I ate and I drank for about six weeks.” Not so wonderful, she admits, was getting back into her strict regimen so she could shoot her next project, Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer,” which was released last year. Cattrall hit the treadmill and cut out breads, dairy, sweets and most meats to prepare for her role as an assistant to a former British prime minister, played by Pierce Brosnan. Cattrall said she hopes the strippeddown role in “Monica Velour” will remind people that before Samantha there was Kim, the actress with more than 35 years of varied film, television and theater credits. “I loved working on ‘Sex and the City.’ It’s a dream job and a great character to play,” she said. “But before ‘Sex and the City’ I was a working actress, and hopefully I’ll be until I can’t talk or move.

Cattrall glams down for gritty indie role




e niv rsar n



li f e s ty le M u s i c


M o v i e s

Russia rejigs Soviet comedies in hit remakes n search of sure-fire hits, Russian film directors are turning to Soviet comedies, updating the action to the present day and adding modern concepts such as product placement. The latest film to be remade, “Office Romance”, is a 1970s romantic comedy poking fun at the Brezhnev era. It led the box office on its first weekend, despite a drubbing from critics, with one even urging a boycott of cinemas. The Cinderella story of a dowdy statistics expert who finds love may be unknown in the West, but it was watched by 58 million viewers when it was released in 1978 and still gets regular showings on television. The new version, “Office Romance: Our Time”, released March 17, transports the action to a commercial ratings agency in a Moscow skyscraper and takes the characters on a corporate outing to a Turkish beach resort. In its first weekend, the film topped the Russian box office, earning $5.8 million, Kinobiznes magazine reported, a strong result in a market where Russian films struggle to compete with Hollywood. Another well-loved romantic comedy by director Eldar Ryazanov, “Irony of Fate” was updated in 2007 and became the highest grossing Russian film, earning around $50 million. Script writer Nikolai Kovbas said the makers hoped the formula would work again, with the familiar title attracting older viewers who would not normally go to to the cinema. “Of course we hope for this. Naturally there are some expectations linked to this,” Kovbas told AFP before the opening, adding that his film lacked the huge promotional backing from state Channel One, which remade the “Irony of Fate”. In the original, drab official Lyudmila has a chauffeur-driven limousine and a central Moscow apartment, but her high position comes with a severe image: clumpy shoes, a


brown suit and no hint of makeup. In the new film, she is a yuppie in Chanel glasses with an elegant chignon, a gold-plated cell phone and a chauffeur-driven Bentley. Kovbas told AFP he spent weeks thinking how the story could be updated and decided Lyudmila’s dowdy image had to go. “For two weeks, I just thought about how I could make this work. Then I calmly decided to imagine honestly how this story would turn out in today’s Moscow,” Kovbas told AFP. “I look at this city and the people who live here and I see that there aren’t any unattractive top managers, none at all.” Another difficulty was arranging an out-of-hours encounter between high-flying Lyudmila and the hero, who is a junior analyst, Kovbas said. Hence the trip to Turkey. “In an extreme measure, I had to herd them into one cabin of a cable car that got stuck in Turkey. When I did that, they had half an hour to talk, they had no choice because they were 1,000 meters up.” “In Soviet times, it wasn’t quite like that. Of course there was huge social stratification, but all the same, everyone was ‘comrades’,” he said. Critics slammed the blatant product placement in both films. In “Irony of Fate 2” one character was portrayed as working for a real-life mobile phone provider. “Office Romance: Our Time” has product placement for a television listings magazine, a social networking site and a drinks brand. “It isn’t a remake of the film ‘Office Romance’. It is a remake of an endless ad break,” Vedomosti business daily wrote scornfully. Critics widely questioned the point of remaking “Office Romance”, saying the new film lacked the appeal of the original, which saw Lyudmila awaken to life and learn to swing her hips and wear eye shadow. “The story gained post-Soviet glitz but lost all its Soviet charm,” critic Anton Dolin said on Vesti FM radio sta-

tion. The screenwriters “shamelessly discredit” the concept of remakes, Lidia Maslova wrote in Kommersant business daily. “It’s as if the creators watched Ryazanov’s film with half an eye and lazily decided: wouldn’t it be cool to make a film about how an analyst at a ratings agency got it on with his boss’,” she wrote. Another critic, Alexander Kolbovsky, called for people to boycott cinemas and stay at home to “watch the old, beloved Ryazanov” film. The director Ryazanov, 83, said he decided not to go to the premiere. “They invited me, but I have nothing to do with it. It does not interest me,” he told the RIA Novosti news agency. Scenarist Kovbas said he was not surprised by outraged reactions but argued that

ops! The promotional blitz for Britney Spears latest album got off to a rough start Tuesday when Spanish heartthrob Enrique Iglesias denied that he would go on tour with the pop starlet. Earlier in the day, Spears had said the two would hit the road for a North American trek beginning in June. But her announcement was greeted almost immediately with skepticism. Iglesias has dates scheduled in Europe up until six days before the planned tour kickoff in Sacramento on June 17, not giving him much time to coordinate logistics for a brand new trek. It was also not clear who would be opening for whom, and indeed what musical similarities the two artists have. His spokeswoman issued a statement later in the day confirming that the tour would not happen. “Unfortunately, Enrique Iglesias and Britney Spears will not be touring together. Despite initial reports based on formal discussions of the possible run, Enrique will continue on his solo tour in support of his new album ‘Euphoria.”“ “Enrique has great respect for Britney and is a longtime fan of her work. He is


File photo shows George Clooney and his girlfriend Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis pose on the red carpet.— AP

George Clooney could testify for Berlusconi in sex case awyers for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi want to call Hollywood star George Clooney and footballer Cristiano Ronaldo to testify in his upcoming sex trial, one of his team told AFP. Both are on a list of 78 people, including two serving ministers in Berlusconi’s government, his legal team wants to call as witnesses. Defense lawyers say Clooney and his girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis were among those who attended dinner parties at Berlusconi’s villa at Arcore. Prosecutors say these parties were the scenes of orgies and strip-shows with prostitutes. Berlusconi is to stand trial on April 6 for allegedly having paid dancer Karima El Mahroug, nicknamed “Ruby the Heart Stealer”, for sex when she was 17, after one of his parties. They both deny the allegation. “We have proposed George Clooney as a witness,” said the lawyer, from the from the Ghedini-Longo law firm. “Ruby says both Clooney and Canalis were at a party at Arcore.” She and Berlusconi have both insisted that these parties were entirely innocent. Clooney issued a statement expressing puzzlement. “It seems odd since I’ve only met Berlusconi once and that was in an attempt to get aid into Darfur,” he said. Berlusconi’s defense added Ronaldo’s name to the list after Mahroug told investigating judges she had sex with Real Madrid player after meeting him in a Milan nightclub in January 2010. Ronaldo, currently the highest-paid footballer in the world, has denied ever meeting her or giving her 4,000 euros in cash for her sexual services. The Milan judges hearing the trial are not obliged to call those listed by the defense: they can refuse to grant the defense’s request if they decide the testimony of a witness is not relevant to the case in question.The case centers around allegations that Berlusconi not only paid for sex with Ruby, but improperly used his power as prime minister by asking police to release her after she was arrested for suspected theft in May. Using the services of prostitutes is not a crime in Italy, but paying for sex with a girl under the age of 18 is illegal. Ruby turned 18 in November 2010, and the prosecution alleges that Berlusconi had sex with her several months earlier. Berlusconi denies both the allegations against him. The the 74-year-old premier has protested that he is the victim of a politically motivated campaign of harassment by “communist” judges. The prosecution has submitted its own list of 136 witnesses, including 49 girls who attended the billionaire media magnate’s parties, some of whom have provided photographic and video evidence of the raunchy evenings. The defense team argues that the prosecution witnesses’ lurid allegations of orgies and of Berlusconi’s nights with prostitutes are simply lies. Clooney is no stranger to Italian courts. In 2010, the 49-year-old Hollywood heart-throb appeared at the fraud trial of three people accused of having co-opted his name for a fashion label. The Golden Globe-winning actor has a house on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, not far from Berlusconi’s private villa at Arcore. He spends several months a year there, sometimes with Italian model and actress Canalis. She too features on the list of 78 witnesses the premier’s legal team would like to call in Berlusconi’s defense. Other witnesses requested by the defense include Berlusconi’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini; and Mara Carfagna, the equality opportunities minister. Popularly known as “Mara La Bella” (“Beautiful Mara”), Carfagna has a law degree and worked for several years on Italian television shows and as a model before entering politics in 2004. She came sixth in the 1997 Miss Italy contest.—AFP

Ryazanov’s film, more than an hour longer, with interludes of poetry reading and music conducted by Khachaturian, would not be a hit today. “The people who argue with us and say we shouldn’t have done it. They do not admit to themselves that the world has changed fundamentally,” he said. “Maybe our film is not as deep as the one was 40 years ago, but the mood of viewer today has changed too,” he said, with most cinema-goers aged just 18 to 24. “It’s not that the viewer has become superficial, or that the viewer has become trivial, but the viewer goes to the cinema for something else.” — AFP

A handout photo shows actors Vladimir Zelensky and Svetlana Khodchenkova starring in ‘Office Romance: Our Time’ a comedy, in Moscow. — AFP

very sorry for the confusion this might have caused to anyone,” the statement said. His spokeswoman declined to comment further. Reaction from the Spears camp was not immediately available. A representative for the tour’s promoter, Live Nation, referred queries to Iglesias’ people. Spears, 29, announced the proposed Iglesias trek during an appearance on the TV talk show “Good Morning America” to promote her seventh album, “Femme Fatale,” which was released worldwide this week. The snafu is rare at a time when publicity campaigns for albums, movies, TV shows and other entertainment products are highly structured. Indeed Spears started her career as a Mouseketeer in Disney’s vaunted marketing machine, and rose to fame in the late 1990s as a wholesome teen idol with bubble gum hits like “... Baby One More Time” and “Oops! ... I Did It Again.” After some highly publicized setbacks a few years ago, Spears’ handlers mastered a career comeback that saw the singer play sellout shows on a world tour to promote her 2008 release “Circus.” Even allegations that she lip-

Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias poses for photographs after an interview in central London. — AP

synced her songs could not dampen fans’ enthusiasm. As for the new album, critics were unimpressed. USA Today said Spears’ voice “swamped by the fastidious production, is thin and colorless.” The Los Angeles Times said the album “never invites more intimate listening.” — Reuters


alaysia’s first gay-themed romance film has become a swift box-office success, attracting curious cinema audiences who rarely get to see movies centered on sexuality because of strict censorship in this Muslim-majority nation, its producer said yesterday. The Malay-language movie, called “Dalam Botol,” or “In a Bottle,” grossed slightly more than 1 million ringgit ($330,000) in its first five days, recouping its production and marketing costs of 970,000 ringgit ($320,000), said Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman, who wrote and produced the film. The movie depicts a Muslim man who has a sex change operation because he believes it will please his male lover, but his effort ends in heartbreak for both of them. Some gay rights advocates have called it an unfairly negative portrayal of gay and transgender people. Part of the movie’s financial success is likely due to intense advance publicity, including earlier speculation that the government-run film censorship board might ban it. The box-office results “prove that Malaysian audiences can handle such movies, that they’re more open and not so conservative anymore,” Raja Azmi told The Associated Press. “I hope it’ll inspire more films that are meaningful and linked to the reality of people’s lives.” Raja Azmi declined to predict how much the movie might ultimately make. According to the government’s film


development agency, “Dalam Botol” has the lowest production budget of seven Malaysian movies that opened so far this year and is the fifth to breach the millionringgit mark. Raja Azmi said “Dalam Botol” is a neutral work that is not meant to support or slam gays, stressing it is based on the experiences of her friend who had sex change surgery in Thailand. It stars heterosexual actors who are seen bare-chested together on a beach and in bed, but the movie only shows them hugging without any kissing. Malaysian gay rights activist Pang Khee Teik voiced concerns that the movie might be perceived as an effort to discourage people who have valid reasons to undergo sex change surgeries. “Many of us Malaysian (gays, lesbians and transgenders) have absolutely no regrets being who we are,” said Pang, cofounder of the Malaysian sexual rights awareness group “Seksualiti Merdeka,” or “Sexuality Independence.” Pang reiterated his group’s criticism of what it considered “absurd and unrealistic” censorship rules that permit portrayals of homosexuality as long as it is not condoned. Sodomy is punishable by 20 years in prison in Malaysia, though prosecutions are rare. Raja Azmi had to submit her script to censors before filming. She was advised to change the original title — “Anu Dalam Botol,” or “Penis in a Bottle” — and remove a bedroom conversation. Raja Azmi said her next film will likely

File photo shows producer and scriptwriter Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman gestures during an interview before a public screening of her new Malay-language film ‘Dalam Botol,’ or ‘In A Bottle.’ — AP

be a “fantasy drama” about a young man who has relationships with older partners, both male and female, but whose closest friend is a fish in a bowl that suddenly transforms into a man.—AP



e niv rsar n


MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2011

lifestyle L I F E S T Y L E

Crafting clubs can appeal to teens’ creative side L

beatification of John Paul II

Gold coin marks

ike many teenagers, 16-year-old Geno Saenz of San Antonio, Texas, spends his fair share of time watching television and playing video games. The high school sophomore does not want to waste all his time in front of a screen, however. Nearly every day after school, he heads to the public library, where one of his favorite activities is making crafts. “They’re really fun, and it really helps kill time when I’ve got nothing to do,” says Saenz, citing a recent calendar he made featuring the character Master Chief from the video game Halo. He also likes the social aspect of crafting. “It’s better than just sitting at home and watching TV. I have so many friends here,” he says. Persuading teens to step away from their laptops, iPods and gaming consoles can be difficult. But crafts can be a way to get them to slow down and express themselves. “It doesn’t matter if you’re creative or not; you do what you like to do,” says 17-year-old Erika Maldonado, who attends many of the same activities as Saenz. She gives some of her crafts to family and friends instead of buying gifts. “That comes from the heart,” she says. “I think that’s something better.” Recent teen craft events at the San Antonio

Public Library have included clay charms and bracelets from bubble-gum wrappers (an “eco-friendly fashion piece”). There is a scrapbooking session on Sundays for teens and adults. Listening to what teens like Saenz and Maldonado want is what gets them to participate in crafts, says Jennifer Velasquez, coordinator of teen services at the library. “Again and again, they want to make stuff that’s personal to them,” she says. Tina Coleman, co-author of “ The Hipster Librarian’s Guide to Teen Craft Projects” (American Library Association, 2009), says T V shows such as Bravo’s “Project Runway” have brought crafting back in vogue. One of the most appealing aspects to teens is being able to reuse and recycle things. “Kids really respond to the idea of taking something that’s going to be trash and turning it into something beautiful,” she says. Coleman and her mother, Peggie Llanes, are preparing to publish a second teen crafts book, including memory boards, patches and jewelry. The first book featured projects such as pressedflower note cards, vinyl totes and a book pillow. Rod Buttermore, youth services librarian at the public library in Grimes, Iowa, says he gets up to 10 teens at a

File photo shows James Brazell as he points to the mileage/charge screen on his Chevy Volt electric car near his home in Asheville, NC. —AP time at his craft workshops. They are most interested in items they can wear. “I think crafting is definitely in right now in terms of the cool factor because it’s another level of self-expression,” says Buttermore, whose projects have included making wallets from duct tape. “It’s

This image provided by Christie’s auction house in New York yesterday shows Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Drawing for a Kiss V.’ The 6 by 6 inch graphite and wax drawing will be auctioned May 11, 2011. —AP

A worker at the Polish mint presents both sides of the new, gold 1000 Polish zlotys coin dedicated to the beatification of the Pope John Paul II. — AFP


s issuing gold and silver collector coins to mark the beatification of its native son, the late Pope John Paul II.The most precious are 500 gold coins worth 1,000 zlotys ($350) each bearing Poland’s state emblem of an eagle on the face and a portrait of the pope on the reverse. The collection also includes gold coins worth 100 zlotys ($35) and 25

definitely something that sets you apart from the crowd.” Technology may be competing for teenagers’ time, he says, but it also makes crafting easier. For example, virtual teen craft clubs have sprung up, such as one at, where a recent project featured a funky

commentator with bleached hair, black nails and a tattoo demonstrating a macrame technique while wearing fingerless leather gloves. The craft club is found among celebrity gossip, fashion, entertainment and music. Such sites can give teens ideas for creating something “tangible, seeable and wearable,” Buttermore says. Some teen crafters can even make a little extra money. Marci Guzowski, 17, has turned crafts into cash on the website, dedicated to selling handmade and vintage items. With the help of her mother, a professional potter, the teen from Asheville, North Carolina, has sold around 1,000 pottery pieces. The money will go toward college expenses next fall, and possibly a car, she says. Guzowski says she plays sports, likes movies and has a smartphone, but crafting keeps her in touch with her creative side and helps her “just chill.” “When I’m doing my pottery, it’s sort of a place for me to kind of go away and relax, and have that time to not worry about anything-school or my friends,” she says. “It’s sort of like a sanctuary where I can go and relax.” And what do her classmates think? “They always ask for me to make them stuff,” she says. —AP

zlotys ($8.75), as well as a silver 20 zloty ($7) coin, each bearing the pope’s image. They were presented yesterday at a state mint and will be available in April. John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyla in Poland and died at the Vatican in 2005. His successor Benedict XVI is to announce him blessed on May 1 during a Mass at St. Peter’s Square. — AP

Hike among bristlecone pines, the


living things


he bristlecone pines loomed out of the mist like ghostly apparitions, their limbs reaching in all directions. Walking among these ancients — the trees are the oldest living things on Earth-after an early fall snowstorm made their twisted and gnarled shapes appear even more otherworldly. This is the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, where many trees are more than 4,000 years old and still growing, albeit very slowly. Even trees that appear dead are often alive. Found high in the White Mountains of the Inyo National Forest, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest sits in a remote area between California’s Sierra Nevada range and the Nevada border. These hardy trees thrive on adversity, living in harsh conditions and high elevation (about 10,000 feet) where little else survives. The ancient forest gets about 30,000 visitors a year, said Patti Wells, lead ranger for the Inyo National Forest Service. That’s less than 1 percent of the number of people who visit Yosemite National Park each year. Hiking to see them Hikers can view the bristlecones on three loop trails that depart from the Schulman Grove Visitor Center. The 4.5-mile

on Earth

Fog swirls around a bristlecone pine in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in California’s Inyo National Forest. (Inset) Layers and textures swirl on the bark of an ancient, gnarled bristlecone pine in California’s Inyo National Forest. —MCT photos

Methuselah Trail is the hands-down winner. It was spectacular even on a cold, gray day because it takes you to the oldest trees. The trail is a treasure trove of bristlecone pines, including the world’s oldest living tree, named Methuselah for a man in the Bible believed to be the oldest person. The 4,789-year-old Methuselah isn’t labeled, though it’s officially listed at 4,789 years old, and its location is kept secret to protect it, said Wells, who works at the Schulman Grove Visitor Center. Some missing tree rings make it difficult to determine the tree’s exact age, but in reality it probably is more than 5,000 years old, she said. The Methuselah Trail, which gains about 700 feet of elevation and is narrow at some points, is not strenuous and has plenty of benches for rest. My hiking partner and I tried to guess which tree might be Methuselah. Was it the tallest one? The one with the oddest shape? We also had fun spotting shapes in the trees and calling out fanciful names, such as Medusa and Donald Duck. The two other trails at Schulman Grove are the one-mile Discovery Trail, which is

the shortest and easiest and has interpretive signs and benches, and the 2.5-mile trail to the Mexican Mine. The latter passes old mine entrances and cabins and provides magnificent views of the eastern Sierra. If you’re up for more adventure, drive 12 miles north of Schulman Grove on a dirt road to Patriarch Grove, home to the world’s largest bristlecone, the Patriarch Tree. Finding the ancients Bristlecone pines are found in six western states, but the oldest are in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Scientists have discovered three types of bristlecones. Those in the White Mountains are the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine, which also grows in Nevada and Utah. The Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pine is in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The Sierra Foxtail Pine grows in California. In the White Mountains, bristlecones thrive in a type of limestone called dolomite and with little water by growing their roots laterally. The rocky, alkaline soil limits rival plants and the exposed, windswept landscape keeps insects at bay. High resin content prevents rot. The needles live up to 40 years, which helps in years of stress. Their gnarled shapes reflect this battle with the elements. Bristlecones have survived harsh conditions for centuries, but they have a new challenge: white pine blister rust. It’s an Asian fungus that arrived in the United States via Europe more than 100 years ago. If you go: Getting there: Fly on any major airline to Los Angeles or Las Vegas and then drive about 260 miles to Big Pine, Calif. From there, drive east on California Highway 168 for 13 miles to White Mountain Road at Westgard Pass. Turn left and drive 10 miles to the Schulman Grove Visitor Center. Storms can close White Mountain Road in winter and spring. Check Inyo National Forest’s recorded information line at 760-873-2500. Hours, fees: The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is generally open from mid-May through the end of November. Schulman Grove is open 10 am to 10 pm as a day-use area. The temporary Schulman Grove Visitor Center is open 10 am to 5 pm daily. ( The visitor center was destroyed by fire in 2008. Construction on a new one is scheduled to begin this summer and will take about a year.) The day-use fee is $3 per person or up to $6 per vehicle. Children younger than 18 are free. What to take: Be prepared for any weather conditions. Wear sturdy shoes and a hat. Add sunscreen in summer and a coat and gloves in other seasons. Schulman and Patriarch groves have no water; bring water and food. They do have restrooms and picnic tables. Where to stay: Grandview Campground (no water) five miles south of Schulman Grove is free, but a donation is suggested. Motels can be found in Bishop, Lone Pine and Big Pine. Nearby attractions: Climb two fourteeners: Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States ( or White Mountain Peak, California’s third-highest summit ( Visit Manzanar National Historic Site, a former internment camp for people of Japanese ancestry during World War II, at Independence, Calif. ( See the limestone formations called tufa towers of Mono Lake ( More bristlecone sites: Other places to see bristlecone pines: Great Basin National Park, Nevada (; Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (; San Francisco Peaks, Coconino National Forest, Ariz. (; Mount Bross, Pike National Forest, Colo. (; and Mount Evans, Mount Goliath Research Natural Area, Colo ( among the oldest living things on Earth. Bristlecone pines survive in the harsh conditions along three trails in California’s Inyo National Forest by the Sierra Nevada range. To protect the oldest tree (Methuselah, about 5,000 years old), rangers don’t reveal its exact location.— MCT



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lifestyle F A S H I O N

Runway to Green:

Green plan

for fashion industry


rganic cotton and reusable bags are steps toward the greening of the fashion industry, but organizers of the Runway to Green project say considering the size, scope and celebrity of players such as Gucci, Burberry, Stella McCartney and Tommy Hilfiger, it can do much more. The project kicked off Tuesday night, with 29 top-tier designers staging a runway show to raise money for environmental education and awareness programs. The designers also have agreed to participate in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Clean by Design program, which will teach them how to integrate greener practices into many aspects of their businesses, from raw materials, fabric finishing and production, to packaging, recycling and shipping. Designer Jason Wu is interested in tackling the dyeing process. “ The information I want for myself from this is: What dyes should we use? What does ‘naturally dyed’ mean? Is it better for the environment? If it’s using thouFile: Designer sands of insects that are part of the Thakoon poses ecosystem to create the dyes, is that with a model better? I really don’t know,” says Wu. wearing Many of the designers seem knowla design by him. edgeable about the problems-and even potential solutions-says Linda Greer, a director for the NRDC, but they don’t know how to get from here to there. That’s where Runway to Green can serve as a pathway. “I think what we’ve all discussed in this industry many times is that there are complications with making anything green. We want to help designers take the very first step. We want them to be more and more green as time goes on,” says Sylvana Ward-Durrett, co-founder of Runway to Green and Vogue’s special events director. Shoppers have to be trained, too, so they’ll want the new products and be willing, in all likelihood, to pay a little more. Nothing gets businesses to change their practices faster than consumer pressure, adds Lorenzo Roccia, chairman and another co-founder with Luisana Mendoza. Consumers demanded environmentally friendly options in beauty and food products-and now those industries are farther ahead in green practices than fashion, notes Greer. “We hope consumers and designers become synchronized in their

This artist sketch released by Tommy Hilfiger shows a design by Hilfiger which will be part of the Runway to Green fashion show Tuesday night in New York. —AP photos

messages. We want people to like the next wave of green products, and we want them to like them and buy them because they’re good, because they’re chic and fashionable, and, oh yeah, because they’re green,” Ward-Durrett says. Items from the Runway show, including Alexander Wang’s one-shoulder dress, Rachel Roy’s shirtdress with hand-painted touches and Rag & Bone’s waistcoat, will be immediately available for sale on, with at least 10 percent of net proceeds going toward Runway to Green. They’ll go to other retailers in a few months as part of the designers’ fall collections. Wu is offering an illusion-top, full-length gown. The more brands involved-from the big to the small-the better it will be, he says, because they are hoping to examine the making of a garment start to finish. Rachel Roy wants to take on packaging. When she first launched her shoe collection and received her very first pair from the manufacturer, she says she was immediately unhappy with the amount of paper used to wrap them. She worked with the factory to reduce the paper by 50 percent. Might there be a slightly greater chance for damage during shipping? Yes, says Roy, but she is convinced-and she thinks shoppers will agree-that the risk is worth it. Greer, of the NRDC, wants designers to come to this initiative armed with questions, personal pet interests and a can-do spirit. “We’re hoping to give designers a menu of options of where to startand we don’t expect to do them all at once-and any of them would be fine with me.” She ticks off potential jumping-off points: rail freight and ocean shipping containers instead of airplanes; fabrics that can be machine-washed in cold water instead of hot (or instead of being dry cleaned). These aren’t quick and easy fixes and will require more of a commitment, including a financial one, to adopt, but once things start changing, Greer hopes the movement will be sustainable. “What the fashion industry has done to date is the occasional green item, and that doesn’t affect the majority of the way they make their stuff. ‘Green’ materials doesn’t really affect how it’s manufactured,” Greer explains. “What we’re hoping for is that this is a new chapter, a much bigger chapter,” rather than a one-off. The industry’s ability to think out of the box is what’s needed most, because some solutions aren’t yet developed, Greer says. The industry, while competitive, also knows how to come together for a cause, observes Hilfiger, noting its fundraising history for breast cancer and AIDS charities. The environment is next on the radar, he says. “It’s part of being a good global citizen,” Hilfiger says, “and fashion is a global business. ... If we can all get together, all of us, I think we have enough influence.” Hilfiger says everything is on the table, from reusing water bottles at the office to LED lighting in stores. A big thing will be rethinking travel, but he’s willing to do that, too. —AP

This artist sketch released by Rachel Roy shows a design by Roy.


It is OK to , but use a light touch


t was the eyes, then the lips. Now, the beauty world is homing in on the cheeks. “I think this look is a big drink of water,” says Benefit co-founder Jean Ford. After so many seasons of smoky eyes and bright lips, this is a refreshing change that really embraces a warm-weather spirit, she says. Color is the spring buzzword, says Pati Dubroff, celebrity beauty artist for Clarins, so no more playing it safe on the cheeks. A little blush goes a long way, however, so makeup experts note that women might need a refresher course in application, color choices and what to do with the rest of their face. “A pop of bright blush is totally doable and can look very pretty when done right,” says Dubroff. She applies that pop right on the apples of cheeks. Where is the apple? It’s the highest point of your cheek, which is easiest to find if you smile with a closed mouth, explains Laura Mercier global artistry director Matin Maulawizada. Concentrate the color there. “Look at a baby’s face. You can see their apple very easily, mimic that,” Maulawizada says. “As you get older, you’ll have redness in places you don’t want, so don’t use that as a guideline.” On photo shoots, he’ll sometimes put blush in the hollow area below the apple, but that’s not for everyday life, Maulawizada says. Nars national makeup artist Francelle Daly found a spot between the apple and the hollow for the models walking in the spring Marc Jacobs show. She liked the

This product image courtesy of Benefit Cosmetics shows their Bella Bamba pink face powder. — AP photos

result — “It looked like the models were blushing,” she says-but that took some trial and error. “As you experiment with color on your cheeks, it becomes easier.” To choose a color that

American celebrity Paris Hilton displays shoe models from her new collection. This product image courtesy of NARS shows their Super Orgasm Blush cheek color.

works for your skin tone, work in the palette that you already use-maybe you prefer pinks, corals or peaches-and then choose a shade or two brighter for blush. Maulawizada suggests pushing your index finger against your thumb. “It’ll turn red, and that red is your red. It could be a warm or cool shade depending on your coloring. And you can go lighter or darker with the blush, but that’s your range to work with.” Other tips from the pros: * If using a powder blush, fill your brush with color-dipping both sides in-and then blow off any excess, says Benefit’s Ford. Apply it moving in gentle strokes upward outward toward the hairline. * Women who pull out their brushes and drag them back and forth under their cheekbones end up with a very ‘80s looktoo ‘80s, says Maulawizada. (It’s a pet peeve of his, and, he notes, it tends to happen a lot while traveling, as soon as an airplane touches the ground.) * Daly prefers working with creams because they blend well, especially as they warm up next to the skin. She finds them an easy building block, too, if you also wear foundation or tinted moisturizer. You can even mix the cheek color with foundation or moisturizer. If you have oily skin, though, Daly suggests a powder blush. * Before applying blush, take the time to even out your skin tone, advises Ford, which creates the smooth canvas. —AP With your rosy cheeks, though, tone down the colors on your lips and eyes. Maulawizada would stick to “I say, even out

Hilton says she’s the ‘original’


aris Hilton, the woman who perfected the art of being famous for being famous, says she has met all of her professional goals. The heiress-turned-TV star, who was in Mexico on Tuesday to promote a new line of shoes, says she doesn’t fear being overshadowed by Kim Kardashian or any other reality show rival with her own fragrance, Bmovies, sex tape and autobiography, all by age 30. “There’s so many people out there who try to imitate what I do but I am the original,” Hilton said in an interview with The Associated Press. “There is nothing like me.” The socialite, who started her career as a model and has tried her hand in movies, fashion and singing, is currently shooting her latest reality T V show, “ The World According to Paris,” which will debut this spring on the Oxygen cable channel. “The show’s everything about my life, showing the business woman”, Hilton said. Before the media reported on Kardashian’s every move, Hilton was the favorite celebutante of the tabloids, which covered every party she went to, every man she dated and every brush she had with the law. Hilton angrily dismissed questions about whether her life is superficial. “I thought we were talking about the shoes,” she said. Her shoe collection is the latest addition to a lucrative empire that lends her name to 17 lines of products from handbags and fragrances to clothing. “I have done

everything that I wanted to do and I feel very blessed that I have been very successful on every area,” Hilton, wearing a long beige, sleeveless dress in her Mexico City hotel suite. “So it’s very exciting. There is nothing else to do,” she said as her aides occasionally touched up her hair and makeup. “I think that I have the best style and I know fashion,” she added. “The

Paris Hilton holds her purse.

American celebrity Paris Hilton displays shoe models from her new collection. —AP photos

girls all love my style. When they buy my products they can be like me.” Her sense of fulfillment doesn’t mean she’s about to retire. Hilton said she hopes the next phase of her business career will be in real estate, with her own chain of hotels, restaurants and nightclubs, a fitting path for the hotel heiress. At a news conference in Mexico City later, she matched a ruffled blouse and dramatic oversized sun hat with a pair of Champaign heels, one of her new creations. Some of the other pairs lined a table next to her. Organizers initially refused to translate when a reporter asked if she had demanded the Swarovski cr ystal water bottle at her side. —AP

George Clooney could testify for Berlusconi in sex case


37 Producers pitching Kennedy project elsewhere

image In this publicity released by tie ReelzChannel, Ka ys ra rt Holmes po edy Jacqueline Kenn e th m fro in a scene , ‘The ie ov m t ar t-p eigh iering Kennedys,’ prem 11 on 20 3, ril Ap , ay nd Su nnel ha zC el cable’s Re AP — k. or tw ne


Congo artists exhibit work in South Africa File photo shows Congolese artist Papy Malambu Dibandi poses for a photo in front of one of his paintings at the opening of an art exhibition by 10 renowned Congolese artists in Johannesburg. —AP


Violence is reaching new levels of savagery in this corner of Congo, where competition for control of mineral resources has drawn in several armed groups, including the Congolese army. Various groups of fighters there have used rape as a strategy to intimidate, punish and control the population. The United Nations says hundreds of thousands of people have been raped or sexually abused in Congo. The pervasiveness of rape in the Congo is part of what makes it so horrifying — one-third of Congo’s rapes involve children, and 13 percent of victims are children under the age of 10. The biggest UN peacekeeping force in the world of 18,000 troops has been unable to end the violence in Congo. At least 8,300 rapes were reported in 2009, but aid workers say the true toll is much higher. Survivors of sexual assault in eastern Congo face many challenges getting help because of displacement, political insecurity and a lack of facilities. Asa Runstrom, a spokeswoman for Panzi Hospital, said they give free treatment to all victims of sexual violence. She said contributions would help them continue their work and help victims when they return home. “We are not here to cry but to look at the strength of these women,” said Willy Yav, who helped curate the exhibit with The Pygma Group, an Africa-based consulting group. The works, chosen by the 11 all-male artists, ranged from pastoral to shocking. Painter Doudou Mbemba Lumbu said his work depicts life as it should be. One piece shows four colorfully dressed women in conversation and at ease, carrying fruit bowls on their heads. Sculptor Alfred Liyolo, 68, said his art depicts human relations. “I am an artist of calm, of peace and sensuality,” he said, showing off his sculpture of a woman carrying a child. His work, modern with smooth lines and minimalist detail, evokes movement through the space it carves out. Other works Congolese artist drew mixed reactions from the crowd, such Alfred Liyolo as a painting by Mavinga Ma N’Kondo poses for a photo Ngwala that depicts a priest reading a in front of one of pornographic magazine. Next to the priest his sculptures sits a Bible and a vase with a cross on it. depicting a Another painting by Ngwala depicts a woman carrying a harsh image of life in Congo: three men on a child. —AP street, one passed out on a table, another

sculptural bust made of discarded bullet cartridges has a protruding belly with a hole in it.Another bust encased in a large glass case has holes in its heart, belly and thigh. “The hole represents life,” Freddy Tsimba, 43, said of the busts he made using tens of thousands of bullet cartridges he has collected over more than 10 years of war in his native Congo. Tsimba and 10 other renowned Congolese artists exhibited work in South Africa’s commercial hub on Tuesday for “Art for Peace,” a show whose proceeds will support victims of sexual violence in eastern Congo. “Through the arts we hope to contribute to the healing process,” said South African Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile. “We reach out to the women and children of eastern (Congo) who have been scarred and whose scars will last a lifetime.” Exhibitors said the money will benefit a hospital in Bukavu, a large city in eastern Congo. Panzi Hospital specializes in the treatment of reproductive trauma and trauma from sexual violence.

fter the History channel said it would not air a controversial miniseries on the Kennedy family, producers were already seeking another television home. The Showtime pay cable network has been approached to air the eight-part series, a spokesman said on Saturday. Eight years ago, Showtime aired a movie about President Reagan that CBS had made but decided not to broadcast when it faced pressure from some of that former president’s family. Showtime won’t make a decision about the Kennedy miniseries until its executives have a chance to see it, spokesman Richard Licata said. The multi-million dollar miniseries, which stars Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes as John and Jackie Kennedy, was History’s most expensive project ever. But the network issued a statement late Friday saying that after watching the finished product, “we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand.” Producers have sold the rights to air the series in other countries, including Canada. The producers, Muse Entertainment and Asylum, said in a statement they were confident US television viewers would have a chance to see the series. A concerted effort was made to quash the series. Liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald collected 50,000 petitions urging History

not to air it, and he produced a short film condemning the project on a website, He had been given an early script, which included one scene where President Kennedy tells his brother Robert about his need to have sex with other women. Former Kennedy aide Theodore Sorensen also harshly condemned the film, saying scenes in the script where he was depicted didn’t actually occur. History also likely felt corporate pressure. The network is owned by the A&E Television Networks, which itself is owned jointly by NBC Universal, the Walt Disney Co and the Hearst Corp. A top Disney executive, Disney-ABC Media Networks co-chairwoman Anne Sweeney, is also on the board of directors for the Special Olympics, the organization started by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, President Kennedy’s sister. Hyperion, a Disneyowned publisher, plans in September to release a book and audiotapes based on interviews that Jackie Kennedy gave to historian and family friend Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in 1964. They had been sealed since then but will be released on the OK of daughter Caroline Kennedy, who is scheduled to edit the project and write an introduction. It’s the 50th anniversary of the first year of Kennedy’s presidency. —AP

Nikos Alexis loads fresh dough into an oven at the Rikers Island jail bakery earlier this month in New York. —AP

Inmates churn out bread for NYC jail system


ach morning, and again in the afternoon, the blades of three bread-slicing machines are counted carefully. Only then does the bakery let workers go home, to their jail cells on Rikers Island. Twenty inmates of one of the nation’s largest jail complexes are part of a team that bakes 36,000 loaves of bread a week to feed the city’s behind-bars population, about 13,000 people. Employees in orange-and-white-striped jumpsuits and surgical caps earn $31 a week churning out whole-wheat bread. There is not an apron in sight The prison bakers say they are learning skills that may keep them gainfully employed once they get out. “I’m learning teamwork,” says prisoner Nikos Alexis, 24, as he walks off in black leather boots caked with flour. He is serving a four-month sentence for possession of a forged instrument, according to correction records. It is a privilege to get this work assignment; only inmates already sentenced to one year or less in jail are considered. Most of the other Rikers residents are awaiting trial on charges including murder. The bakers behind bars get up before dawn and climb into a van for the ride to the other side of the 413-acre (167hectare) island in the East River between the New York City boroughs of Queens and the Bronx. Passing a double row of razor wire-topped fences, they enter the mammoth, single-story bakery around 6 a.m., guarded by correction officers with a captain and

a deputy warden. By the loading dock, a sign in the glass window of a supervisor’s office reads: “FAKE & BAKE” — a small try at making people smile in this grim community. More than culinary discipline is needed in this kitchen, part of a jail system where arguments between inmates or with guards can erupt in a flash, resulting in stabbings and slashings. In December, a Rikers correction officer had part of his thumb bitten off by an inmate. So far, the bakery itself remains violence-free. But it is a dynamic, noisy place. Dangers include fast-moving industrial machinery tagged with hands-off warning signs and blinking yellow lights. The baking process starts in giant metal tubs where 1,600 pounds (726 kilograms) of dough is mixed for each batch, one-half white flour and one-half the darker one. Then it is hoisted with a lift into a machine that divides it into balls that are shaped and fed into cornoiled pans. The finished bread is stored in a walk-in refrigerator with the words “Fort Knox,” the US Army base where much of the US government’s gold reserves are stored, whimsically chiseled into its steel door. The soothing smell of warm, freshly baked bread drifts across the 11,000-square-foot (3,353-meter) space, a labyrinth of white-coated metal machines mixing, shaping, baking, slicing and packing the loaves. —AP

31 Mar  

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