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Kuwaiti naval force in Bahrain on a ‘proud mission’


Russia celebrates Gagarin’s space conquest

United through as 10-man Chelsea exit

Skyscrapers play havoc with London’s historic skyline


NO: 15057

150 FILS

5 Zain27 40 20 elects new board,


approves $3bn dividend New board includes Kharafi Group vice chairman conspiracy theories

No thanks! By Badrya Darwish


ould you wish to be a president or a head of state in such turbulent times? Especially when you see on TV or in the media pictures and stories from different continents of leaders and kings or presidents - elected or not elected - being humiliated and thrown in jails almost every day. The picture in the paper yesterday showed Laurent Gbagbo’s looking very bewildered; his wife sitting on the edge of a bed in a hotel looking miserable and humiliated. One day she was the first lady and now, she is nobody - a prisoner. Do these leaders and strata of society come from a different understanding of life? Most of them have the chance to leave in dignity and style and carry on with their lives after being dethroned. They can regain a respectful life as a commoner, travel and go to the shop and have peace of mind for their families. Instead, some choose to be chased, thrown out of their country or thrown in jail. Are all of them so short-sighted? Or does power make people blind? I think the latter rules whether they are Arabs or non-Arabs. I am not talking about leaders or presidents alone. It is a question of people with power. Look what happened to the cabinet of Mubarak. They never thought that one day they will be questioned. When they had everything, they did not think of sharing what they had with the rest. This is the result of people reaching power by coup d’etat, like Gaddafi, Abdullah Saleh of Yemen or Hafez Assad of Syria. Look at the turmoil his son Bashar is facing now. Or if not coups, they ascend to power by forged elections and corruption, just like Mubarak in Egypt. Or some get hereditary power. Well, this is the result. Accountability comes sooner or later. At the end of the day, what is right is right. Just look at the West. They have a system which nobody can break. Nobody dares. Look at the leaders there. They come in dignity, rule and then continue living as respected members of society. They are even paid millions to lecture around the world. They are celebrities wherever they travel in the globe. After they take the reins of the country, be it a successful ride or not, when they leave office they resume a normal life. Let me mention some names here: Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Bush Senior and Junior. Wouldn’t Gbagbo and the rest of these tyrants envy these characters? That reminds me of the only Arab leader who quit with dignity - Siwar Aldahab. I think that Gbagbo’s picture and his sad wife should be a good reminder for all presidents in the Third World. Going back to the initial question if one wants to be a leader today - my answer is: “No, thanks!”

Doctor assaulted at govt hospital By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: An Egyptian doctor in the emergency department of Mubarak Al Kabeer hospital was attacked early yesterday by an unidentified assailant. Sources said that a young Iraqi woman who had come to see the doctor asked him for treatment of another unrelated ailment, for which the doctor referred her to another hospital. The woman was apparently miffed, and after a few minutes returned with a well-built man who proceeded to beat up the doctor. A paramedic who tried to intervene was lifted and thrown to floor, resulting in neck injuries. The doctor also suffered bruising. Policemen who were supposed to be on 24-hour duty at the hospital were as usual nowhere to be seen. This is not the first time medics have been assaulted at government hospitals, but there has been no firm response from the Ministry of Interior despite repeated pleas.

KUWAIT: CEO of the Zain Asaad Al-Banwan (center) looks on during an ordinary and extraordinary general assembly meeting yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Popular Bloc lashes out at prime minister By B Izzak KUWAIT: Two leading MPs of the Popular Action Bloc yesterday strongly lashed out at the Prime Minister HH Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, insisting he will not succeed in his seventh government because he has failed in all major issues since he was appointed five years ago. Spokesman of the Bloc MP Musallam Al-Barrak told reporters the National Assembly will not accept the seventh government under Sheikh Nasser because he will take the country back to square one, which is a policy of failure. Referring to the controversy about the Iranian spy ring and allegations that

Sheikh Nasser sent State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan to offer an apology to the Iranian embassy, Barrak said that he did not make the story up but only cited it from a local newspaper. Roudhan and Barrak made several exchanges over the issue with Roudhan strongly denying that he made an apology or that he was asked to do so by the prime minister. Barrak blamed the government for being responsible over the controversy because the news was published by a local newspaper citing the defense lawyer and that the government did not deny the story. Barrak said that Roudhan held a meeting with the Iranian Continued on Page 14

Mubarak hospitalized with heart problems

Max 32 Min 18 Low Tide 00:48 & 12:55 High Tide 08:25 & 18:16

KUWAIT: Shareholders in Kuwaiti telecoms group Zain elected a new board, including a top executive from Kuwait’s family conglomerate Kharafi Group, and approved a $3 billion dividend for 2010. The new threeyear board includes Bader Al-Kharafi, the vice chairman of Kharafi Group, and Shaikha Al-Bahar, the Kuwait chief executive for National Bank of Kuwait. The board no longer includes Aida Salem Al Ali Al-Sabah and Sheikh Khalifa Ali Al-Sabah, whose Al-Fawares Holding Co owns a 4.5 percent stake in Zain. Sheikh Khalifa opposed any sale of Zain, Kuwait’s biggest phone company, to Emirates Telecommunications Corp, or Etisalat, which last month announced the end of talks to buy a majority stake in Zain. The 200-fils-per-share dividend, which follows the Kuwaiti telco’s $9 billion sale of its African assets to India’s Bharti Airtel, will be distributed to shareholders within the next 10 days, Zain’s Chairman Asaad AlBanwan said in the meeting. Zain shares fell 1.5 percent on the Kuwaiti bourse yesterday. The broader index closed flat. Separately, Zain’s Saudi Arabian unit said it signed a two-year refinancing agreement worth 2.25 billion riyals ($600 million) yesterday to help its capital projects and meet previous debt obligations. Saudi’s Kingdom Holding and Bahrain Telecom (Batelco) are bidding to buy Zain’s 25 percent share in the Saudi unit. Offloading the 25-percent holding in Zain Saudi was the prerequirement of the takeover of parent Zain by the Etisalat. — Agencies

3 on trial in Bahrain over spying for Iran NATO ships on Gulf tour MANAMA: Bahrain has put two Iranians and a Bahraini on trial on charges of spying for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the state news agency said yesterday. “They are accused of contacts with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to give them military and economic information from 2002 to April 2010... with the intention of damaging the national interest,” the Bahrain News Agency said. It said the men requested money from Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard force in return for the information. The next session for the trial has been set for April 20, the report said, but did not say when the trial began or provide other details. Gulf Arab countries are concerned over what they see as the ambition of Iran, a Shiite power, to

extend its influence in Arab countries mostly under Sunni rule. Kuwait said this week it had expelled three Iranian diplomats for involvement in a spy ring and in a tit-for-tat move Tehran has given three Kuwaiti diplomats 10 days to leave Iran. Last month, a Kuwaiti court sentenced two Iranians and a Kuwaiti to death for being part of the alleged spy ring. Meanwhile, NATO warships were yesterday moored in Dubai’s main port alongside a slew of cargo vessels on a mission to boost military ties with Gulf Arab states, which have increasingly tense relations with Iran. The five-ship North Atlantic Treaty Organisation minesweeping force had already sailed to Bahrain and Kuwait under the 2004 Continued on Page 14

Ex-prez being interrogated

Hosni Mubarak

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was abruptly hospitalized yesterday for heart problems during an investigation over allegations of corruption and violence against protesters, reported state TV. In a sign that his ailment might not be very serious, however, Justice Minister Mohammed El-Guindi said the former president was now being questioned in the hospital. The 82-year-old former president was deposed Feb 11 after 18 days of popular protests and has been under house arrest in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the last two months. The public prosecutor announced Monday he was under investigation. Dozens of demonstrators picketed the hospital, denouncing the president and carrying a sign reading “Here is the butcher”. Continued on Page 14

DUBAI: The US warship Joshua Humphreys is seen docked on April 10, 201 at Jebel Ali, Dubai’s main port, along with other NATO Ships taking part in “Operation Inas Bahr” that aims to maintain security and stability of the Gulf. — AFP

Syrian forces launch attack on 2 villages BEIRUT: Syrian troops took positions on rooftops and gunfire crackled for hours yesterday as progovernment gunmen attacked two villages in northeastern Syria in a move to crush a popular uprising against President Bashar Assad’s authoritarian regime, witnesses said. Syria’s leading prodemocracy group, the Damascus Declaration, urged the Arab League to impose sanctions on the regime and said the death toll from more than three weeks of unrest had topped 200. The White House joined a growing chorus of international condemnation, saying the “escalating repression by the Syrian government is outrageous”. Protests erupted in Syria more than three BEIRUT: A pro-reform activist holds an Arabic placard reading weeks ago and have been growing steadily, with “Freedom is the freedom of the nation and the citizen” as she tens of thousands of people calling for sweeping reforms. The Assad family has kept an iron grip on stands in front of the Syrian embassy yesterday. — AP

power for 40 years, in part by crushing dissent. Assad blames the violence on armed gangs rather than reform-seekers and has vowed to crush further unrest. He has made a series of overtures to try and appease the growing outrage, including sacking local officials and granting Syrian nationality to thousands of Kurds, a long-ostracized minority. But the gestures have failed to satisfy protesters who are demanding political freedoms and an end to the decades-old emergency laws that give the regime a free hand to arrest people without charge. Details were sketchy on yesterday’s violence in the villages of Baida and Beit Jnad, but a resident from a nearby town said he heard heavy gunfire until late afternoon. Continued on Page 14



Indian embassy builds model shelter for runaway maids

In my view

The dangers of national security

No problem in terms of funding By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Ambassador Malhotra talking to the distressed housemaids at the shelter. — Photos by Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Malhotra inspecting supplies for the maids.

The sumptuous meal provided by Ambassador Malhotra for the housemaids.

KUWAIT: On the occasion of the two-year anniversary of India’s shelter for runaway maids in Salmiya, the Indian Embassy in Kuwait organized a media tour to demonstrate how India assists its distressed compatriots. The Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, Ajay Malhotra, led a guided tour of the three-storey villa for runaway maids that opened its doors in April 2009. The total Indian population in Kuwait is 640,000, 39 percent of which are employed in the field of domestic labor, ranging from housemaids, cooks and drivers. Often there are reports of alleged abuse against various domestic helpers who go to their embassies looking for help from their abusive sponsors. According to the ambassador the shelter has been run quite discreetly to protect the runaway housemaids residing there. “They are in distress so we provide them with a beautiful and quiet place to rest with the necessary amenities,” he said. Runaway housemaids are given an arrival kit containing toiletries and other essentials. The shelter has several clean bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, bedrooms, new bedding and regular nutritious meals with different menus every day. These amenities are provided throughout the duration of the runaways’ stay in the shelter. “While their grievances are being addressed we provide them with all the necessary entertainment facilities and we conduct exercises for their physical wellbeing,” the ambassador continued. “The maids are also provided with common areas to allow them to watch cable channels in their respective languages.” Unlike other embassies, Malhotra said that the Indian shelter would never ask owners of recruitment agencies and the local government to provide air tickets for their runaway housemaids. “Thank God we have enough funds, we don’t have any problem in terms of funding,” he said. “We provide everything here if they wish to go back home to India and would not want to contest their predicament anymore. We would help them leave Kuwait immediately.” According to Malhotra, cases they handle at the shelter usually take only four working days to resolve. Difficult cases, on the other hand, take months. “There are a few cases that are resolved tediously,” he said. “The majority can leave Kuwait in a matter of one

Kuwaiti, Chinese officials meet on closer relations BEIJING: Visiting Director General of the Asian Department at the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministr y Mohammad Ahmad Al-Roumi met here yesterday with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs at the People’s Republic of China Zhai Jun, discussing with him issues concerning the development of bilateral affairs. According to a statement by the Kuwaiti Embassy in Beijing, the meeting also focused on recent developments in the Gulf region and Arab world. Speaking during the meeting, the Chinese official lauded His

Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his efforts in bolstering relations between China and Kuwait in all possible domains. The official also indicated that China supported Kuwait concerning UNSC resolution 833 on Iraq and Kuwait, calling on Baghdad to fully carry on steps to implement the decision. Zhai Jun also expressed his solidarity with Kuwait’s recent efforts to safeguard its national security, affirming that China refused any interference with Kuwait’s affairs.

The Chinese official also shared Kuwait’s concerns over the Iranian Bushehr nuclear power plant and called on Tehran to follow international resolutions in regards to its nuclear program. The meeting was attended by Kuwaiti Ambassador to Beijing Mohammad Saleh Al-Thowaik and other Kuwaiti officials. Minister Al-Roumi is on an official visit to China to partake in Kuwait Culture Week in Beijing, organized by the Embassy and other Kuwaiti government institutions. — KUNA

week. We provide tickets and sufficient pocket money for runaway maids to go back to their families in India. From October 2010, the cash money distributed to runaway housemaids was Rs 1,500 but now we doubled it to Rs 3,000. In addition to this, we also provide suitcases on wheels, some clothing and saris so that they can leave the country with dignity.” The rights of Indian workers are being protected carefully, the ambassador mentioned. “ We ban employers that are violating contracts,” he explained. “Besides completely banning them from even visiting our country, which we strictly implement, we don’t give any consular, passport or visa services to employers violating our worker’s rights,” he said. The 24-hour Embassy Complaint Desk has been running since August of 2009. The complaint desk has already served thousands of Indians since it opened. “It is available for our domestic helpers but also to every Indian worker,” he added. “Runaway housemaids are given all necessary assistance including legal, psychological and medical needs once they enter the shelter,” he said. The shelter can house more than 300 workers but at the time of yesterday’s visit there were about 65 runaway housemaids residing at the facility. Malhotra emphasized that employers willing to hire or employ Indian workers must comply with the embassy’s prevailing rules and guidelines. “We ask them to provide at least five telephone numbers on our employment contracts because we want to make sure that we can contact our workers at any given time,” Malhotra said. “We also ask for the phone numbers of their co -workers; Filipinas, Nepalis, or Indonesians to guarantee they are protected. We also ask sponsors to provide a mobile number to their housemaids for easy communication with the outside world.” When asked whether the shelter can be attributed one of his many legacies as the ambassador of India to Kuwait, as he is about to end his two-year tenure, the ambassador responded, “I think I would say yes. This is one of my legacies here. It is very fulfilling to note that the Indian government is now considering this shelter as a role-model for the rest of the Indian missions, especially in the Gulf.” The shelter has been visited by many well-known local Indian organizations.

PC companies second guess deals with MSAL KUWAIT: Many local computer hardware companies are having a hard time dealing with Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) personnel. The local companies have accused the ministry’s staff of violating the terms of contracts regarding providing the ministry with necessary equipment. According to official sources, there are companies that never received payments from the ministry’s planning and administrative development department after installing devices that the ministry bought. The sources further indicated that such incidents have made companies think twice before bidding on tenders placed by the ministry to buy computer devices. Moreover, there are complaints from computer companies claiming that the ministry’s personnel are not qualified enough to use the devices they install properly. — Al-Qabas

Egyptian commercial exhibition hosted at Kuwait fairgrounds By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: The Kuwait International Fair Ground is hosting the Egyptian and Arab Commercial Forum in Hall 5 from April 11 - 16. The exhibition is being organized by the Salwa Abdullah Butaiban Expo. There are 110 companies expected to participate in the exhibition. Visitors can expect to find food stuff, outfits, fashion, home decor, perfumes, cosmetics, toys, bags, accessories, travel services, and much more at the event. The exhibition is a good opportunity to develop trade relations between Arab countries. “ The Egyptian Embassy

always encourages holding such events,” said Taher Farahat, the Egyptian ambassador to Kuwait during the launch of the forum on Monday evening. “It gives vendors the chance to display products produced in their own countries.” “Attending such events is a part of our job at the embassy,” the ambassador continued. “We hope to improve economic relations with other countries and support young Egyptians and their efforts. They are selling nice products here and I advise people to come and visit the fair.” Farahat assured that the situation in Egypt is safe and invited Kuwaitis to come and visit Egypt. “I expect that the coming period

will feature more unity and cooperation between the countries that are important to Egypt. Such visits will strengthen the relations between countries,” he concluded. Meanwhile, Salwa Abdullah Butaiban, General Manager of the company organizing the event, stated that this is the first year the forum has been hosted but added that she plans on organizing it annually. “There are several Arab countries participating in this exhibition, such as Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and many others. I’m pleased with the number of visitors and I hope even more people will come to visit it,” she said.

Proposal to aggregate Kuwaiti NGOs KUWAIT: With several developments taking place in the political, cultural, social and other fields in the country, the role of non-governmental organizations or NGOs - whose main duty is to serve the society by shedding light on its problems- has been almost nonexistent for a long time now. Recently, MP Naji Al-Abdulhadi made a proposal to establish an independent public authorit y under which all 57 NGOs in Kuwait would be affiliated. The purpose of this authority would be to organize the work of civil society in the country, and utilize their efforts to achieve the goals for which they have been created in the first place. Since then, many activists have strongly rejected such a proposal claiming

that civil society organizations should never by placed under the custody of the state. On the other hand, many spectators believe that NGOs are so far failing to address social issues as actively as they are supposed to. For example, people have complained that civil society organizations have failed to address cases of pollution, human rights violations, increasing prices of commodities as well as the sale of food products unfit for human consumption. Moreover, the same people also feel distressed to see NGOs active mostly in political issues, which serve agendas of certain political movements that raises speculation about the parties benefiting from this.— Al-Qabas

By Fouad Al-Obaid


oday in the Gulf, we are witnessing a crackdown on cyber activists who are perceived to be trying to mimic similar counterparts in other Arab countries that have gone through a Spring Revolution earlier this year - though some are still revolting with no clear outcome. The crackdown on the said activists is projecting a divided region, which is trying to grapple with a new reality; monarchies and lasting rules are no longer preferred by a growing majority in the region. It is furthermore intriguing when different government systems are competing, allowing for ironic situations where monarchs call on presidents to resign after decades of rule. Understandably, a clear sense of unspoken hypocrisy is brought to the public view. Regional variations are a given; many countries in our region are known for their ironclad rule. People genuinely fear for their lives as even trivial matters could lead you to harm’s way. Totalitarian forms of government rarely thrive and usually see the heads of systems in the trash-bin of history. Such is the case with many countries in the region. Refreshingly, in Kuwait such is not the case, where I have yet to see a clearly documented case of a person fearing for their life when being candid and honest about matters. It is worthwhile to mention that when one lives in Kuwait, an unquestioned sense of stability and physical security seems to be present regardless of what one utters. Such cannot be applied to neighboring countries where people are scared of their own shadow. It is unfortunate that in our region, the political leadership has focused on internal repression at the cost of foreign deterrence. This leaves a region more vulnerable than ever to foreign threats to which our counter is at best unstudied. We should realize that we ought to organize the region in a manner where general stability needs to be ensured via a balance which would focus on elite and citizen interests. What we are seeing in our region is a real fear of change, which at this point seems to be a given for a majority of countries. The question today is when and how will the change occur and how will it play out? On an ideal level, the belief is that the GCC is a strong union of allied states that share a common heritage and whose people are for the most part economically comfortable. The assumption is that the change will perhaps be derailed in this part of the region. However, if we look back to the events in Tunisia and Egypt, no one predicted that one person would start an unprecedented revolution in a region previously believed to be accustomed to obeying a strongman at the top! Countries should remember that their legitimac y is derived from their citizens who tacitly approve the sovereign via popular support. The moment the people collectively decide otherwise, we come to a situation where it is out with the old and in with the new.



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local kuwait digest

Cancelling Fridays By Dr Ghanim Al-Najjar


ong live the manslayer” shouted the demonstrators that once gathered around the city. The cry was a source of comfort to the dictator who had been clinging to power, oppressing his people and wasting the country’s wealth and shedding its blood. Nothing in this world was more comforting to him than the lives of the people and killing them in cold blood. Although it was annoying to him to be described as a manslayer, the dictator was pleased with the cheers because it demonstrated how feared he was amongst his people. It told him that as long as the people were afraid of his shadow he would still be able to rule them. He knew he didn’t need security or special forces anymore because the people of his country inhaled fear now instead of oxygen. There were those that murmured hostile phrases against the dictator here and there but they were nothing but ‘a handful of mercenaries,’ easily extinguished by the country’s own people, shivering and afraid of those attempting to escape the fear that they so desperately clung to. The day came however that rallies against the dictator did happen, they were loud and inevitable. The rallies became common and the people decided to hold them every Friday and leave the rest of the week to the dictator to do with them as he wished. Things started changing and insurgents started using Fridays to insult the dictator. One Friday they started selling miniature statues of the dictator made of dirt, water and tar. “The dictator for only a pound!” they would shout. When security guards asked them what the statue was made of and they responded, the guards beat the venders mercilessly. “The dictator cannot be made out of tar!” they shouted. The following Friday, vendors announced the sale of statues of the dictator’s deputy for the same price. When asked by security guards what the statue was made of the merchants replied, “only dirt and water.” “Why didn’t you use any tar?” the guards asked, to which the venders responded, “Because then it be a statue of the dictator!” Hearing the story, the dictator, without consulting anybody, decided that the problem was Fridays and canceled them to avoid a revolution. What the dictator didn’t realize however was that every day of the week had become Friday. — Al-Jarida

Coalition eyes unified stance KUWAIT: Opposition groups in the parliament met recently to discuss the potential Cabinet formation, and possible grilling motions that could be filed against His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah. Salafi MP Khalid Al-Sultan told reporters that a unified stance was being coordinated for the ‘Anything but the Constitution’ coalition of opposition group. In addition to the DPR, members from the Popular Action Bloc and the National Action Bloc also attended the meeting. The latter had stated previously that they won’t make any comments about the new government or planned interpellation against the premier until the Cabinet is formed, but sources close to the Bloc indicate that its members opted to participate in the meeting only because it was consultative. Meanwhile, independent MP Dr Ali Al-Omair drew a connection during a recent interview between MPs preparing to file interpellation against HH the Prime Minster and those who previously made statements that are in favor of the parliament’s dissolution as well as for ending HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad’s political career. Al-Omair also insisted that the fate of the upcoming Cabinet is mainly connected to the quality of members and decisions they take. In the meantime, sources believe that special sessions could be allocated during May in order to make up for parliamentary sessions lost in wait for the Cabinet’s formation. However, the same sources opined that it was unlikely that the lost sessions would be compensated following the end of the current parliamentary term in June. In a related subject, MP Mohammad Hayef said that the new Cabinet isn’t expected to survive until the summer break anyway, explaining that there are two grilling motions already prepared against HH the Prime Minister “which he is expected to face”. Hayef made those statements while speaking to reporters as he attended a celebration held for the 40th anniversary since the first Dar Al-Quran - a facility to hold Holy Quran studies and reciting lessons - was established. The Islamist lawmaker also mentioned the Iranian spying subject, which he attributed to the “Iranian ill ambitions towards Kuwait ever since the Khomeini Revolution started”. He also referred to the Iranian embassy in Kuwait as “the main Iranian spying network operating in Kuwait”, going as far as to accuse the top Iranian envoy in the country of supervising all espionage activities in Kuwait. On a separate issue, the Chairman of the Parliament’s Environmental Affairs committee Dr Ali Al-Omair announced that Kuwait is set to receive the estimated $3 billion compensation that the United Nations currently possesses as dues for the 199091 Iraqi invasion. Kuwait is required as per the UN-sponsored agreement to utilize the compensation funds in environmental rehabilitation projects that aim to resolve problems caused to the local environment during the invasion. — Al-Rai, Al-Qabas

KUWAIT: Glenn Miles cutting the ceremonial ribbon at the IDP inauguration on Monday.

KUWAIT: Students counseling in progress at the IDP-Open Day. —Photos by Joseph Shagra

Education sector unaffected by protests in Middle East IDP Australia organizes open day for Kuwait students By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Despite the prevailing situation in the Middle East, Australia continues to welcome a growing number of students from this part of the world, said the Australian envoy to Kuwait. Speaking with the Kuwait Times following the opening of the IDP Education Exhibition at the Sheraton Hotel on Monday, Australian Ambassador Glenn Miles noted that education is a completely separate subject from the prevailing political protests that have been plaguing the region for the past few months. “I don’t think it will have a huge impact on the education sector,” Miles said. “Education is far different from the political

uproar and public protests going on in some areas of the Middle East.” Ambassador Miles pointed out that the number of students from the Middle East hasn’t been affected by the political clamor. “I can say that the number of students coming from the Middle East has continuously and steadily grown and we haven’t felt any change in these last few months,” he continued. “The number of students we have from Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) countries is about 12,000. From Kuwait alone we’ve got at least 600 students and the number is growing annually.” Miles lauded IDP for continuously helping foreign students find educational opportunities for students abroad. “I am

Art fair an opportunity to reflect on cultural development

honored to open the education exhibition, which features some of the best universities and colleges from Australia. The education system in Australia is considered one of the best in the world and we are proud of that,” he said. Australia has about 40 public universities and delivers some of the highest standards of quality services, a safe environment and excellent value for money. “People know what Australia has to offer when it comes to education,” Miles added. “There is a growing awareness about educational institutions in Australia. We already have two educational institutions under the banner of Australia; the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) and

Boxhill College.” He stressed that the education sector is growing quite fast in the Middle East. According to Miles, education is crucial to a country’s economic and social development and courses on technological advancements must be carefully managed and taken care of. IDP offers personal academic counseling on programs and universities and helps students with their entire application process without fees. IDP is a global leader in student ser vices and recruits students from all over the world. Established in 1969, IDP is an official partner of the International English Language Testing System (IETS) along with the British Council and Cambridge University.

PM draws list of candidates KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah has started making the initial list for proposed candidates. Sources close to HH the Prime Minister reveal that Sheikh Nasser has started meeting a number of MPs, and political personalities to consult them about the nature of the government, hoping to form a comprehensive Cabinet. Sources said that His Highness formed a committee from his office to make a list of the

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah AlSabah

names proposed according to the history of each personality and the positions that they have occupied and their political motives. Sources said that three candidates will be allocated for each ministry and one will be chosen out of them. Candidates should have a relation with political work and should also either be close or a member of one of the political groups, so that all political power is represented in the new government and it would help facilitate cooperation between the two

Ahmad Behbehani

Media, technology share symbiotic relationship KUWAIT: Ahmadi Governor Sheikh Ibrahim Duaij Al-Sabah and other officials at the opening of ‘Wahasht il-Dar’ art exhibition. KUWAIT: Art expresses man’s most intimate thoughts and feelings and also provides a mirror to the artist’s society reflecting its development, cultural identity, change, and unique contributions, said Ahmadi Governor Sheikh Ibrahim Duaij Al-Sabah. The governor was among enthusiasts attending the opening of the exhibition “Wahasht il-Dar” for formative artist Fidaa AlOun, Monday night. He appreciated the efforts of Kuwaiti Formative Arts Society over 44 years since its establishment and their support of this exhibition. The artist meanwhile said she considered the works on display a documentation of a

phase in her artistic life, and noted her paintings “suggest” men and women who are engaged in mundane daily activities such as shopping or even just conversation. They leave much room for interpretation and imagination of those looking at them, so that the audience is a more active part of the whole experience. Head of Kuwaiti Formative Arts Society Abderasoul Salman said the artist combines the sentimental approach of yesterdays and today’s spontaneity and simplicity of expression. He added there is richness in human content and romantic element in the paintings of Al-Oun and yet the works are very close to abstract painting. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Al-Jabriya Exhibition Group announced that they are set to organize the annual information, public relations and communication technology exhibition at the Sheraton Hotel between May 9 and 11. The event will take place under the patronage of Minister of Information and Minister of Oil Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, and is set to feature participation of more than 55 media institutions and private firms. “Society is paying more attention to media development and modern technology used by media outlets to stay connected with their audience; this boosts competition”, said JEG CEO Ahmad Behbehani in a press release while speaking about the main goals of holding the exhibition. “Technological advancements have further enabled media

outlets to predict outcomes which result from opting for a different approach”. Moreover, Behbehani acknowledged the role that PR plays in helping successful institutions achieve their goals and developmental projects, noting at the same time that PR resources depend mostly on media outlets to reach out to their audience. He further indicated that information technology is bound to be given exceptional attention by political leaderships around the world in their aim to achieve development based on infrastructures that depend mainly on technological progress. Behbehani also mentioned the modern means of communication as an essential factor in enabling the fast and accurate data exchange achieved nowadays.




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Al-Khorafi urges Europe to play more active role in world crises

kuwait digest

Human trade breeds more human trade By Dr Yaqoub Al-Sharrah

‘World has become a small village’ BRUSSELS: Kuwaiti National Assembly (parliament) Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi yesterday called for a more active European role in world politics. The visiting Kuwait official and his accompanying delegation held here talks with Belgian counterpart Andre Flahant on bilateral relations as well as Kuwait and Europe’s role in resolving world crises particularly in the Middle East. The world has become a small village and conflicts and infighting are running rampant in each corner, he said, adding that there is a need for effective role to iron out differences and help warring parties reach reconciliation. The Kuwaiti Speaker noted that Kuwait and other Gulf nations are exerting strenuous efforts to ease political tension in the region and help find peaceful solutions for the unrest in Yemen, Libya and Bahrain. In this regard, Kharafi urged Belgium and the European Union to participate more effectively in resolving world crises, particularly the conflict in Palestinian territories. “It is not fair to shoulder Americans alone the responsibility of brokering a peace deal between Palestinians and Israel,” he said, adding that the EU could play a more pivotal role in this cause. He urged Belgium and EU to press Israel to halt its attacks on helpless Palestinians and resume peace process. Europe also should help formulate a strategy for dealing with Iraq following the pullout of American troops there, he said.

Al-Khorafi touched upon a Belgian draft law to ban hijab (Muslim headscarf ). The Belgian laws as a whole respect the freedom of religion and “hijab

Muslim world. He criticized campaigns linking terrorism to Islam, stressing that Muslims are the main victims of this phenomenon.

Hindus in India. Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti Speaker warned that the Belgian authorities’ decision which imposed a ban on

BRUSSELS: Kuwaiti delegation holding talks with its Belgian counterparts yesterday. wearing is part of this freedom”, he said, stressing that such law would not bring security for Belgium but it may negatively impact its relations with the

Moreover, he noted that those who practice terrorism against their compatriots in Ireland are Christians and the same applies to extremist

Belgians’ travel to Kuwait would have negative impacts on bilateral relations. He also expressed surprise about the reasons behind this

decision as Kuwait is stable and safe state. Kharafi went on to say that Kuwait has USD 100-billion development plan in the coming years and this plan would provide huge investment opportunities, warning that the travel ban would prevent Belgian investors from getting a share in these investments. On the other hand, the top Kuwaiti lawmaker thanked Belgium for its suppor ting stance to Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion in 1990. He also called for enhancing bilateral relations in all domains, specially the economic one. For his par t, Belgian Parliament Speaker Flahant stressed the importance of dialogue in resolving all crises and developing mutual relations. He added that reaching a solution to the PalestinianIsraeli conflict needs the efforts of all world governments and institutions, highlighting the need for Arab-EU cooperation in this regard. Surprisingly, the Belgian speaker said he would ask about the reason behind the ban on Belgians travel to Kuwait. —KUNA


in brief

Airport passenger traffic KUWAIT: Passenger traffic at Kuwait International Airport increased six percent last March compared with last year, translating to 677,055 passengers, the general directorate of civil aviation noted in a press statement today. Arrivals in that month last year totaled more than 342,000, and departures more than 334,000, said the statement, adding that flights into and out of the airport in March exceeded seven thousand. As for airport cargo shipping in that month, it was over 17.8 thousand tons, of which 12.4 thousand tons were incoming and 5.4 thousand tons were outgoing, said the statement.

Not trained in arms KUWAIT: A total of 68 police officers who graduated recently from the Saad Al-Abdullah police academy have received no training whatsoever on weaponry use during their time at the academy, according to an unconfirmed report published by a local daily.The report claims that 55 policemen and 13 policewomen who graduated underwent 22 and 3 specialized courses respectively; none of which included shooting training or exercises on gun use. Following their graduation, the officers are automatically ranked as lieutenants, which entitles them to carry a weapon in duty.


Invasion of workers disturbs peace in new areas

Phone billing rate KUWAIT: The Ministry of Commerce, through its legal affairs department, is set to prepare a list of new regulations that reorganize the billing system for services provided by the ministry’s phone network. The new system will include all services in their online payment program, which currently does not cover some services. The move comes as the ministry tries to resolve the problems noted in a recent Audit Bureau report. The reports stated that the ministry failed to come up with a legal criteria by which to collect fees for services provided through their phone network.

he human trade issue in Kuwait is a subject of concern, especially at a time when there is talk about 6,000 fake companies which are operating their business illegally in the country. Operations carried out by those companies include bringing expatriate labor forces, only to leave them to fend for themselves without providing them with any of their rights upon reaching Kuwait. A lot of those workers would have criminal records in their home countries which makes it easier for them to be targeted by residency traders. They in turn would end up engaging in criminal acts in Kuwait to maintain a living after they are abandoned by their alleged sponsors. How can a country protect its citizens when it fails to come up with regulations that prevent the recruitment of workers with a criminal history, and in large numbers that exceed the state’s actual requirement of labor forces? Instead of finding precautionary measures, the state suffers in looking for solutions for problems that emerge from this issue. Today, we have gangs who specialize in stealing power cables from construction sites or even cut them from utility posts. In the meantime, the Ministry of Electricity and Water is fully aware of this illegal activity. There are also gangs that use special techniques to steal the international calling services that the Ministry of Communication provides. Other crimes committed by marginal workers include murder, rape and kidnap, all of which are taking place at an alarming rate - especially given Kuwait’s limited demographic and area rates. If we take the case of kidnapping maids following their escape from their employers for example, we find that it has been increasing in the past few years without a radical solution being found. In the meanwhile, officials are only able to arrest absentees most of the time when they engage in other criminal acts. The fact that many absconding workers actually engage in illegal activities reflects the alarming case of lawlessness in society. We read several stories in newspapers about the arrest of drug dealers, prostitutes and other criminals following set-ups carried out by police. However, those traps have not proven to be the solution to eliminate these crimes. What we need is a comprehensive plan that covers all the security, housing, professional and labor issues. It’s sad to notice that cases of flesh trade are so rampant in our society. This fact has already been confirmed by official authorities who say that they are looking for criminals who run this kind of activities around the country. What they should consider though is that these kind of activities are - in most cases - run by people who were left to fend for themselves after being brought to the country by fake companies. —Al-Rai

Campaign to clean up Shuwaikh launched By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The Asima Governorate Municipality launched a campaign to remove abandoned cars and scrap from Shuwaikh Industrial area in cooperation with Asima Security Directorate. The campaign started with 25 tow trucks, 5 half lorries, 6 forklifts, and 4 turn trucks with a team of 50 workers. The campaign resulted in the removal of 55 abandoned cars and were taken to Amghara. The campaign was led by Deputy Director General for Municipality Affairs in Asima and Jahra

Mohammad Salem Al-Harees who said the campaign will continue until all areas of the governorate are cleaned and the eyesores are removed from the public scene. He lauded the cooperation of Asima security and traffic department. Meanwhile Director of Asima branch Faleh Al-Shimmari said the municipality will continue its confrontation of violations in public cleanliness, road occupations or illegal advertisement, in addition to matters related to food. Meanwhile Assistant Director of the Traffic Department Brigadier

Ihsan Al-Owayesh said the department’s goal is to closely monitor the situation of abandoned cars that are ignored by their owners as they do not renew their license, and warn garages that use state property by parking cars in areas adjacent to them for repair which cause traffic jams. He said campaigns will continue in all areas of the country. Meanwhile Director of Public Cleanliness Department at the Asima Abdelaziz Al-Yahya said the second stage will cover 35 areas in the governorate that has more than half a million inhabitants.

KUWAIT: New areas such as Saad Al-Abdullah, Qairawan, Nadha and many others have been recently created by the government to provide housing for citizens. However, within the beautifully constructed neighborhoods constructed specifically for citizens are an often unusual sight. Within the neighborhoods are houses also occupied by residents of Asian nationalities, some of them with as many as 20 residents per house. This situation occurs despite the fact that the newly constructed homes are given directly to citizens via the Public Authority for Housing Welfare and are prohibited from being rented to tenants. Local residents confirm that after receiving their new home some citizens immediately rent out the properties to Asian workers who in most cases are single and work as low-wage laborers for nearby companies, a clear violation to the rules of government provided housing. One citizen who lives in Qairawan informed reporters that some citizens rent out their properties and decide to remain in their parent’s homes so that they can make a profit at the expense of expatriate laborers. Not only do such decisions disrupt the government’s attempts to create areas inhabited only by Kuwaiti families but residents of the areas complain that many of those residing in these areas are bachelors and residency violators that make their incomes illegally. Many have expressed their concern about the situation, explaining that they worry for their family’s safety and are afraid of being robbed. —Al-Qabas

MPW bans smoking in corridors KUWAIT: Undersecretar y of the Ministr y of Public Works (MPW), Abdul Aziz Al-Kulaib issued a directive banning smoking in the ministry corridors and in any other subsidiary building. The directive also states that anyone caught violating the ban would be held legally accountable. The memorandum was actually a revival of a law issued by the health ministry under the number 15/95 pertaining to banning smoking in public places, as well as a response to complaints made by non-smoking employees.

16 shops shut down for food violations KUWAIT: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has decided to shut down 16 food companies including butcher shops and fish shops around the country, who were found to have committed violations pertaining with food safety. According to Ministry Undersecretary Abdul-Aziz Al-Khaldi, some of these companies which specialize in diet food items were found to be storing large amounts of expired food, in addition to companies in Shuwaikh which sell eggs after altering their expiry dates. Al-Khaldi also noted that nearly 160 shops were shut down in 2010 for reasons pertaining to commercial fraud. —Al-Rai

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Sea Sports Club held a ceremony recently to award teams which took part in activities during 2010’s session in which they were able to achieve good results in cultural, social, and athletic activities. The ceremony was attended by KSSC Chairman Maj Gen Fahad Al-Fahad, Vice Chairman Ahmad Al-Ghanim and Secretary General Khalid Al-Foudari.

GCC plans setting up association for medicine manufacturers DOHA: A meeting for manufacturers of medicine in GCC states plus Yemen, concluding yesterday, made a number or recommendations, chief among them being the establishment of an association for the manufacturers that would enable them to easily coordinate among themselves in matters related to the manufacture and marketing of medications. One recommendation urged unifica-

tion of rules and regulations regarding registering, testing, and classifying of medications used in GCC states and Yemen. Another recommendation invited financial institutions and banks in GCC states to seek viable tracks to fund the manufacturers so that the latter could successfully keep up with the latest technological changes in the medical industry. The meeting focused also on the ulti-

mate goal of having to establish national brands of medicine and chemicals, based on international ones within the purview of the WTO. Furthermore, the meeting exhorted the GCC manufacturers to broaden their activities to include joint ventures with the private sectors in GCC states and Yemen and advised the manufacturers to work together toward protection of patent

rights and intellectual property rights. Another recommendation counseled that the Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC) be entrusted to prepare studies encouraging investment in the sector of manufacturing medicine in GCC states and Yemen, and to set up a comprehensive data bank for medicines and their use and health care issues in general. —KUNA



New economic plan to help lessen dependence on oil ‘Bureaucracy constitutes a real bottleneck’

MANAMA: Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah pictured with the Kuwaiti naval forces yesterday.

Kuwaiti naval force in Bahrain ‘on a proud mission’ MANAMA: The State of Kuwait is proud of its naval force’s participation in the Desert Shield mission to sustain stability and security in the Kingdom of Bahrain, stressed head of National Security Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. “Kuwait is proud of its sons who answered the call of duty and honor and came to stand side by side with their peers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to defend the stability and security of Bahrain and its people, under the leadership of King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.” The security chief visited the Kuwaiti troops in Manama, last night, and was accompanied by Ambassador to Bahrain Sheikh Azzam Mubarak AlSabah, National Security Assistant Undersecretary Sheikh Sabah Shamlan Al-Sabah, and the Military Attache Col Ali Al-Asaker. Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid had conveyed the greetings of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad AlSabah. “Taking part in the Desert Shield mission comes within the framework of the GCC Charter, and is a reflection of the GCC people’s unity,” he said. — KUNA

Opposition prepared to file two grillings KUWAIT: MP Mohammed Hayef announced that he has a clear opinion about the new government and its prime minister, emphasizing that the upcoming government will not last past the summer. He added that his coalition of antigovernment MPs are prepared to file two grillings against His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah and that he does not think he will be able to face them. The lawmaker made his comments while speaking at the Dar Al-Quran forum on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, hosted by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in cooperation with the Islamic Studies Administration. At the event, he also called for the further support of programs that play a role in rehabilitating inmates. He pointed out that the lack of cooperation from the Ministry of Interior will be a burden for those working to develop inmate rehabilitation programs. — Al-Anba

US State Department report inaccurate: MSAL KUWAIT: A recent US Department of State report which gave details about human rights violations of expatriate laborers in Kuwait is inaccurate according to a senior Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor official. He said that Kuwait has achieved ‘notable progress’ in the International Labor Organization record with regard to commitment to international labor standards. Undersecretary Mohammad Al-Kandari further indicated in a recent press statement that the ministry has established a coordination with the Ministr y of Information and other bodies to make sure that rights of expat workers are protected, mentioning specific regulations as the minimum salary cap, as well as building shelters for domestic workers who are subjected to abuse by from their employees. Moreover, Al-Kandari also mentioned the labor law that was enforced last year, which he said “protects the rights of labor forces in the private sector”, adding that the ministry is carrying out serious studies for an alternative to the flawed sponsorship system. — Al-Qabas

KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti government has approved a four-year economic development plan that, if successfully implemented, could boost public and private spending and lessen the economy’s dependence on oil. The National Development Plan (NDP), as the scheme is known, was unanimously approved by the Kuwaiti parliament on Feb 3, 2010. It calls for several hundred projects and initiatives in areas such as housing, health care and transport, with total spending projected to reach $108 billion. His Highness the Prime Minister, Sheik h Nasser Mohammed AlAhmed Al-Sabah, held a press conference in July 2010 to outline the program. He said the plan would put the countr y on the path towards further economic development and noted that government spending will most likely lead to an “improvement in the state’s infrastructure and improve general services”. Some are skeptical, however, that the government will be able to meet the plan’s ambitious goals. The IMF wrote in its July 2010 staff report for the Article IV consultation for Kuwait that the country’s economic outlook was “broadly positive” but that downside risks included “the inability of the government to meet the development plan’s spending targets”. The report also noted that “red tape and bureaucratic hurdles could discourage private sector participation”. Government officials have acknowledged this potential obstacle. “Bureaucracy always constitutes a real bottleneck for carrying out any development project,” Sheikh Ahmad Fahd Al-Sabah, the Minister of State for Development Affairs, said during the prime minister’s July press conference. Nevertheless, the private sector

is expected to account for around 50 percent of the spending set out in the project. At the time of the NDP’s announcement in February 2010, the secretar y-general for planning, Adel Al-Weqayyan, told the press that the private sector would participate via joint stock companies and partnership projects between state and businesses. At the Kuwait Financial Forum, an event held in November 2010, the prime minster emphasized the private sector’s role in the country’s economic development, according to local media. In his remarks at the same event, Hamad Al-Marzouq, the chairman of the Kuwait Banking Association, suggested that the government’s financing strategy would help ensure the success of the program. Investors will have an opportunity to learn more about the plan at an event scheduled for April this year. “Kuwait Conference: Financing Development, Developing Finance”, a meeting run in partnership with the Kuwait Ministry of Finance, was held on April 11-12 in Kuwait City. “The conference sessions will seek to explain the NDP to the international capital markets, to promote financial investment in public and private sector opportunities in Kuwait, and to provide a platform for global understanding of Kuwait ’s financial strategy,” announced conference organizer Euromoney, a group that plans meetings related to cross-border investment and capital markets. An increase in private and state spending will likely boost the domestic economy. Indeed, in July 2010 the IMF reported that Kuwait’s non-oil real GDP was expected to grow at 2.5 percent during 2010, compared to 2 percent for the overall economy, attributing this differ-

ential to the government spending set out in the NDP. According to the IMF, the scheme “provides the needed fiscal expansion to support recovery in the immediate term”. More recent data indicates that the economy should continue growing. The IMF has projected real GDP growth of 4.4 percent in 2011, compared to 2.3 percent in 2010, according to its “Regional Economic Outlook” report for the Middle East and Central Asia, published in October 2010. At a press conference on March 13, 2011, Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah, the governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK), said the IMF had forecast nominal GDP growth of 8.3 percent for 2011. At the same news conference, Sheikh Salem also discussed inflation, which in annual terms fell to 5.2 percent in January 2011, after reaching 6 percent in December 2010, mainly driven by higher food prices. According to Sheikh Salem, inflation will remain at around 5-6 percent during 2011. The government has no plans to adjust the policy interest rate, which presently stands at 2.5 percent. It was last changed in February 2010, when it was lowered as a means of stimulating the economy after the slowdown of 2009. The CBK called the current interest rate “suitable”, according to local press reports. Kuwait’s economy has almost cer tainly benefitted from the increase in oil prices since the global economic crisis of 2008-09, with the commodity trading at particularly elevated levels in early 2011 due to instability elsewhere in the region. However, if successfully realized, the spending set out in the NDP could give the economy a further boost in the short run and set the stage for long-term growth. — Oxford Business Group

UN agency pursues issue of ‘environmental compensation’ GENEVA: Ambassador Dherar Razouqi, Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, praised results of the 71st session of the council of the UN Compensation Commission on environmental rehabilitation. Razouqi said Minister of Oil and Information and Chairman of the Environmental Rehabilitation Central Committee Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah informed the board about steps that had been taken by the Kuwaiti authorities in this respect. Sheikh Ahmad’s presence at meetings of the commission was applauded by representatives of the committee member states, that also have membership at the UN Security Council, considering his presence as an indication of the serious intentions of the Kuwaiti authorities to execute relevant ventures as soon as possible and according to the terms of the board. The central committee, as part of several activities, has tasked Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) to supervise the execution of such projects in response to recommendations of the board. Moreover, the State of Kuwait has pledged to the board of the UN committee to improve management of these projects, upgrade its financial and supervisory systems, ensure transparency and lay sound frameworks for the execution of the said ventures. The board earmarked $3 billion in environmental compensations for Kuwait, Razouqi said, adding that the measures taken at home over the past two months would result in quicker disbursement of the compensation funds. Moreover, he added, the board recommended that the executive chairman of the committee pursue consultations between Kuwait and Iraq on the remaining compensation funds, under the auspices of the UN commission, and that a report should be submitted about works of the session to the president of the Security Council. — KUNA

CSC to appoint bedoons in Kuwait public sector KUWAIT: The Civil Service Commission has reportedly assigned a team to study the best mechanisms that can be put in order to appoint stateless residents (bedoons) in the public sector. According to sources, the team members were instructed to start coordinating with the state body for the remedy of the situation of illegal residents next week. The sources further explained that the appointment of bedoons in public firms will depend mostly on academic qualifications apart from criminal records. Regarding possible scenarios that the CSC could go with when determining the mechanism, the sources explained that bedoon applications would be sent to public firms, who would then review their qualifications. The sources confirmed that stateless residents wouldn’t be appointed at a public sector position if there are Kuwaiti candidates who have applied for the same job, but also noted that bedoons will be given priority over other expatriates. — Al-Qabas

Kuwait Digest

Premier accepts the challenge By Khalifa Al-Khurafi


efore he was even sworn in as the state’s prime minister by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, MPs vowed to continue their campaign against His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah. Antigovernment MPs aspire to force His Highness the Prime Minister out of his office because they believe that he’s unfit for the job. It seems that His Highness Sheikh Nasser - with the experience of leading six cabinets - isn’t ready yet to abstain from facing the challenge. He continues to get his strength from his commitment to the law and the constitution. What is admirable about His Highness Sheikh Nasser - other than his unpretentiousness, his patriotism, his willingness to communicate with citizens and his passion for knowledge - is the fact that he always stays calm and maintains his composure in hard times. He can be seen smiling on the darkest of days. On the other hand, one aspect of His Highness the Prime Minister’s personality that is perhaps a drawback is his extreme generosity. This usually puts him in a bad situation whenever large amounts of public funds are spent. Following the movement of youth groups demanding that he not return to the position and the announcement that the Popular Action Bloc would file an interpellation against him, it was speculated that His Highness Sheikh Nasser would refrain from accepting the position. His decision to return to the post is, if anything, an indication that he isn’t afraid of a challenge. He is aware of what is being conspired against him. The biggest question that remains however is His Highness Sheikh Nasser’s ability to face his opposition, led by veteran parliamentarian Ahmad AlSaadoun. Also part of the antigovernment coalition is the ever-outspoken MP Musallam Al-Barrak, a figure that has become well aware of His Highness the Prime Minister’s weaknesses and targets them mercilessly. These two MPs have the ability to garner public support, as demonstrated by the nearly 20,000 people that signed a petition demanding a new prime minister. I personally believe that a similar number of people can pressure their representatives in parliament to file a non-cooperation motion against the prime minister, even during the first parliamentary session after the new cabinet is sworn in. This is in fact the only constitutional way for Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad to be forced out of the position. While some see the decision to confront the challenge as an act of courage and self-confidence, others simply speculate that His Highness Sheikh Nasser has failed to assess the situation properly. — Al-Qabas




e niv rsar n



LOCAL Re-elected food authority chairman reassures consumers, traders KUWAIT: A three-year work strategy has been mapped out to resolve problems concerning domestic food traders, said Head of the Union of Food Traders and Producers Abdullah Al-Buaijan. Al-Buaijan, in remarks on the occasion of his re-election as the chairman of the federation, said all problems related to the pricing of food commodities at the cooperative markets would be listed, in coordination with the prices follow-up committee of the Kuwait Cooperatives Union, in a manner that would ensure rights of both consumers and traders. On food safety supervision, Al-Buaijan indicated full cooperation among the government departments in this respect, adding that all relevant problems facing

the merchants and producers in their dealing with the supervision authorities would be gathered and examined. Officials of such relevant departments hold regular meetings to resolve problems related to the issuance of safety certificates for sake of ensuring people’s health, added the re-elected top man of the federation. He indicated in particular at regular coordination between officials of the Ministry of Health laboratories and the federation regarding food safety. As to commercial supervision, the chairman underscored necessity of coordination between officials of this department with fellow staff of the consumer protection department at the ministry of commerce.—KUNA

Passport forgery gang on the loose in Kuwait Two killed in traffic accidents KUWAIT: Police are on the lookout for a Gulf national suspected of leading a gang that sells skillfully forged passports to criminal suspects to help them flee the country. The authorities first became aware of the gang’s criminal activities when they busted a stateless resident at the Kuwait International Airport in possession of a Yemeni passport which was found to be forged in an expert manner. During interrogation, the suspect explained that he bought the passport from a GCC national for KD2,000 and that he was hoping to use it to travel to a neighboring state where he was bound to get naturalized. The police discovered details about the illegal activities during investigations, including the fact that the gang members were able to send forged passports to deported people to help them return. Officers are on the lookout for the elusive main suspect.

Road accident A motorist was killed and several others were injured in a car collision that took place on the Sixth Ring Road opposite Saad Al-Abdullah. The victim, a 23-year-old Kuwaiti, was pronounced dead at the scene while the others were rushed to a medical facility. A case has been opened. Meanwhile, an Arab man was pronounced dead on a Salmiya street following an accident in which an Indian driver hit him accidentally while he was crossing the street. The driver was apprehended, while the body was sent to the coroner.

Street mugging Criminal investigators are currently on the hunt for a couple who attacked a motorist on the Sixth Ring Road. According to the complaint filed, the Arab man was robbed and then stabbed. Police rushed to the scene after the victim reported being assaulted by the male driver who he thought was asking him for directions when he asked him to pull over at the side of

the road. A woman was reported to jump out of the vehicle and snatch a briefcase from the victim which contained KD8,000 before the t wo escaped. An ambulance took the victim to Al-Jahra hospital, while police filed attempt-to-murder and theft charges at the nearest police station.

Assault Tw o c i t i z e n s f i l e d a c a s e w i t h Sulaibikhat police station officers following an incident in which they were attacked by a group of young men at home. In their statement to officers, the two citizens were sitting in the diwaniya when the thugs stormed the place, beat them with hard objects and then fled the scene. Police gathered a description of the offenders and launched a probe.

Inebriated fighter Mubarak Al-Kabeer police officers arrested a Kuwaiti ser viceman for intoxication and physical assault and also charged him for resisting arrest

wh ile bein g taken in to cus tod y. Officials responded to a report about a man using advanced martial arts skills while fighting with pedestrians at a location in Sabah Al-Salem. At first, the police had trouble restraining the offender who was on a drunk rampage, but he was eventually brought under control with the help of backup officers. It was revealed that the suspect is a Ministry of Defense serviceman, and that he is a multi-time taekwon do ch ampion . Fur th er p rob e revealed that the serviceman had created a ruckus over parking at the local co-op society and refused to oblige even after other pedestrians intervened to help.

Fahaheel fight A garbage collector was hospitalized with a serious head injury after being hit by a coworker during a conflict while the two were collecting garbage in Fahaheel. Investigations revealed that the dispute occurred when the victim picked up pieces of

copper from the space where the suspect was working. Many public cleaning workers in the country separate metal objects from garbage they collect in order to sell them as junk. The suspect escaped before police arrived at the scene.

Maid busted An Asian maid was arrested along with her boyfriend after surveillance cameras installed by her employer around his house caught them having an illicit relationship inside the kitchen. Police were approached by the citizen who turned his maid in and provided the surveillance tapes as evidence. During interrogation, the woman confessed that the male suspec t shown in the footage was actually her boyfriend who lives nearby and claimed that she called him to assist her in washing the dishes while the family wasn’t at home. Her lover was soon caught and the two were put behind bars. —Al-Watan, Al-Rai, Al-Anba, Al-Qabas

Yaqoub is seen in a group photo with the three finalist teams.

Fahaheel Sports Club crowned champions of Cultural League

Al-Fahaheel club pose with their KD4,000 prize check.

KUWAIT: Al-Fahaheel Sports Club were recently crowned champions of the 2010/2011 Cultural League, after defeating Al-Yarmouk Sports Club with a 50-30 point score in the final contest that was held at Al-Da’iya Youth Center under the patronage of Acting Chairman of the Public Authority for Youth and Sport Sheikh Talal Al-Fahad. Al-Fahaheel were awarded KD4,000 cash prize following their victory, while their opponent collected the KD3,000 second place prize. Meanwhile, Al-Qadsiya Sports Club, which finished in third place after defeating Al-Arabi Sports Club in a match to determine the third and fourth finalists, did not go home empty-handed as they were awarded with KD2,000 award for their accomplishment. This victory qualifies Al-Fahaheel Club to represent Kuwait in the GCC Cultural League tournament which is set to take place later this year. Jassem Yaqoub, Deputy Director for Youth Affairs at the PAYS, attended the event on behalf of Sheikh Talal Al-Fahad, and supervised the coronation ceremony.

Chaotic spending leading Kuwait into the dark By Hamza Abbas Former governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait he structure of the state’s budget has suffered a financial catastrophe these past ten years. Public spending rates have tripled from, KD 4 billion in 2000 to KD 12 billion in the 2009/2010 fiscal year, an annual rate of increase of 30 percent. This is an indication that the state’s spending policy on matters of pay raises, allowances and grants (not to mention money wasted on corruption) has gone out of control in the past decade. It will lead to a disastrous result on the country’s microeconomics if this policy continues at this rate. Moreover, Kuwait has become the only country in the world that disrupts the main base of its financial system by following this uncontrolled approach. In a best case scenario, Kuwait’s financial and economic situation has no chance of sur vival if oil prices drop in the upcoming twenty years the same way it did during the 80’s or 90’s of the past century. Even if oil prices continue to increase it won’t help the local economy survive if we consider that the average spending rates are increasing by seven percent, even in the best of scenarios. H e re’s a n e x p l a n a t i o n : I f we s t a r t f ro m t h e 2009/2011 spending rate of KD 12 billion, and an average seven percent spending increase we find that the state’s spending will quadruple in 21 years to KD 48 billion, 92 percent of which will be funded by the sale of oil. In order to achieve a balance between the state’s spending and income rates at that time, Kuwait will be required to produce four million barrels of oil per day at a rate of $109 per barrel. Can we make sure that oil prices - as well as the political situations that affect oil prices - will remain stable for the next 20 years? Given the lack of a true plan to diversify our s o u rce s o f i n co m e a n d to co m e u p w i t h a n a d v a n ce d e d u c a t i o n s ys te m t h a t m e e t s t h e demands of development, we can describe Kuwait in 21 years as followed: A one-year-old Kuwaiti child today will be a fresh university graduate in 21 years but will find himself waiting in a very long line of people looking for a decent job and a decent living. This citizen, and many others in his position, will have no alternative b u t to c a r r y o u t p e a ce f u l d e m o n s t ra t i o n s to demand their basic rights, unlike today where demonstrations are made for more financial privileges. In 21 years authorities should brace themselves to deal with demonstrations carried out by tens of thousands of citizens who have lost all hope for a decent living similar to what their fathers and grandfathers had. These citizens will make up a considerable part of the Kuwaiti population, which will total an estimated 2.3 million people. —Al-Qabas


TEC to announce winners of World Tourism Exhibition KUWAIT: The Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC) will hold a ceremony tomorrow, Thursday, April 14, 2010, to announce the winners of the grand prizes of the annual World Tourism Exhibition which ended recently. The draw will take place at the TEC information center located at the Gulf Street near the Sultan Center restaurant at Fahad Al-Mas’oud 8:00 pm with attendance of a ministry of Commerce and Industry representative. Fahad Al-Mas’oud, head of the TEC’s marketing department, acknowledged the success that his company had during the annual travel exhibition event, during which they provided a selection of special offers to visitors which included up to 50 percent discounts on memberships to sea clubs and entrance tickets to its facilities. Visitors were able to enter the raft draw, for which a 2011 Kia Cadenza has been allocated as a grand prize, with a coupon given for each KD10 purchase.

Kuwait to take part in Saudi Festival

Al-Yarmouk club pose with their KD3,000 prize check.

ACA students learn from CBK’s banking experience KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) continued its school road show that started in February by having Grade 6 and 7 male students from the American Creativity Academy (ACA) visit the bank’s special South Surra branch last week. They participated in a unique presentation created and conducted by the bank called My First Banking Knowledge. It discussed the importance and benefits of saving money as well as other topics and the students from ACA greatly benefited from the useful lessons that were conveyed in the presentation. The Commercial Bank of Kuwait created the presentation and made sure that it wasn’t too difficult for kids to understand but still had all the necessary information on why it is important to save money. It also elaborates on online banking,

kuwait digest

ATMs, the bank’s youth accounts, as well as interest and the various services that the bank provides. After the presentation, the kids were taken on a tour of the branch where they explored the kid’s corner and were shown how an ATM machine works. Each student was also awarded with a certificate to show that they completed the My First Banking Knowledge presentation. Staff from the marketing department conducted the presentation. The Commercial Bank of Kuwait considers the younger generation a vital aspect in shaping Kuwait’s bright future which is why the bank constantly strives to educate young Kuwaitis in many ways and help pave their way to success and happiness. Due the positive feedback that Al-Tijari is receiving from all the schools, the presentations will continue till June.

KUWAIT: Kuwait will take part in the 26th Saudi AlJenadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival which will kick off today. Kuwait would be represented in the annual festival by a high-ranking delegation from the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) headed by Director of the Monuments and Museums Department Ahmad Al-Tatan. In statement to KUNA Tuesday, Tatan said that the Jenadriyah is an important cultural event for the whole Arab Gulf region. It emphasizes the Arab and Islamic identity of the region as well as its religious and social values rooted in the depths of history, he pointed out. Tatan noted that Kuwait is keen on participating in Jenadriyah festival every year due to its role in promoting and saving cultural and popular traditions in the region and highlighting and buttressing fraternal relations among Gulf Cooperation Council member states. Kuwait will participate in the traditional exhibition to be held on the sidelines of the festival with folk costumes and replicas. Jenadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival, organized each year by the National Guard, the most famous cultural event in Saudi Arabia. It lasts for two weeks a year and attracts more than one million visitors and participants. First held in 1985, the festival highlights the Kingdom’s commitment to keeping the traditional culture and crafts of Saudi Arabia alive. The festival includes an array of activities including a traditional camel race, operetta, horse racing and endurance, folk poetry, popular market, arts and popular games, folk costumes and book fair. Visitors can also stroll through the past in a heritage village, which resides permanently in Jenadriyah. —KUNA


Czech leader’s vanishing pen act is YouTube hit

‘Action for Happiness’ launched in Britain

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Libya is ‘out of control’ AU plan in tatters; Britain, UK round on NATO

AJDABIYA: Libyan rebel fighters return after going up on a sand dune to watch for possible activity on the horizon, on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, Libya yesterday. — AP MOSCOW: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said yesterday that the situation in Libya had slipped out of control and indicated that its strongman leader Muammar Gaddafi needed to resign. Speaking in an interview with Chinese television, a transcript of which was published by the Kremlin, Medvedev said no-one appeared to be able to control the situation in Libya including Gaddafi, rebels or NATO. “It has already spun out of control, noone controls it,” he said. “It has already spiraled out of control, and this is very sad.” Reiterating Russia’s position, he criticized NATO’s military campaign saying the plan to enforce a no-fly zone over the country had been reduced to the use of force. “Nevertheless the result has been achieved and as far as I understand, everyone has different plans in this regard. The Europeans say one thing, the Americans says another thing, one day ‘we will participate’, another day ‘we will not participate’.” On Medvedev ’s orders Russia abstained from the UN Security Council resolution that authorized the military action, refraining from using its veto which would have prevented the motion being adopted. Russia has earlier said the time had come for Gaddafi to step down and Medvedev appeared to reiterate that

sentiment. “All the politicians, who are there, should make responsible decisions for the sake of the Libyan people,” Medvedev said. “Someone has to take a serious, maybe fateful decision to leave, give his country an opportunity to develop.” An African Union peace plan for Libya was in tatters yesterday after rebels stuck to their demand that Muammar Gaddafi step down, as NATO came under pressure to drop more bombs on the strongman’s forces. The British Foreign Office meanwhile said Libyan former foreign minister Mussa Kussa was leaving Britain yesterday to travel to Qatar for talks ahead of a meeting there of an international contact group on Libya. Having managed to secure Gaddafi’s agreement to a ceasefire, the African Union delegation encountered resistance from the rebel leadership in Benghazi, who argued that the initiative was obsolete and insisted Gaddafi be forced to quit. “Due to a political demand set as a pre-condition by the Transitional National Council (TNC) to launching urgent talks on the implementation of a truce, it was not possible at this stage to reach an agreement on the key issue of a cessation of hostilities,” an AU statement said. The delegation “makes an urgent call on the TNC to fully cooperate, for the sake of Libya’s

Libya could be a ‘new Somalia,’ Kussa warns LONDON: Libya’s former foreign minister Mussa Kussa, who is in Britain after defecting from Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, said Monday the restive nation could become a “new Somalia” if civil war broke out. “I ask everyone, all the parties, to avoid taking Libya into a civil war,” the former minister said in a statement issued to the BBC. “This would lead to so much blood and Libya will be a new Somalia,” he said. “We refuse to divide Libya. “The unity of Libya is essential to any resolution and settlement for Libya,” he added. Libyan rebels on Monday rejected an African Union initiative for a truce accepted by Gaddafi, and said the only solution was the strongman’s ouster, an idea his son called “ridiculous.” Researchers from human rights group Amnesty International claimed Monday they had seen bodies of opposition fighters who had been shot in the back of the head after being bound up. “The solution in Libya will come from the Libyans themselves through democratic dialogue,”

Kussa argued. Kussa arrived in Britain unexpectedly on March 30 and immediately quit his post as foreign minister. “My country lives in a difficult time, it’s the worst,” the former intelligence chief, who was widely seen as Gaddafi’s right-hand man, said. “When the Libyans started to lose security and stability I decided to resign. I have no contact now with the Libyan regime. “I worked to serve the Gaddafi regime for more than 30 years. I was devoted to my work... but after the latest events things have changed and I couldn’t continue. “I knew what I did will bring me problems but I am ready to sacrifice for the sake of my country,” he added. Scottish officials investigating the Lockerbie plane bombing interviewed Kussa last week to establish the extent of his knowledge of the 1988 incident. Libyan agent Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet AlMegrahi is the only man convicted over the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988, which killed 270 people. —AFP

higher interests, and assist in the quest for and implementation of a fair and lasting political solution”, the statement added. In Benghazi, rebel leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil said the African initiative did not go far enough. “From the first day the demand of our people has been the ouster of Gaddafi and the fall of his regime,” he said. “Gaddafi and his sons must leave immediately if they want to be safe ... Any initiative that does not include the people’s demand, the popular demand, essential demand, we cannot possibly recognize.” The rebels also doubted Gaddafi would adhere to a truce. “The world has seen these offers of ceasefires before and within 15 minutes (Gaddafi) starts shooting again,” Shamsiddin Abdulmolah, a spokesman for the TNC, said. With outgunned rebel forces making little headway in their bid to oust Gaddafi’s hardline regime, British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged NATO allies to intensify military operations in Libya. “We must maintain and intensify our efforts in NATO, that is why the United Kingdom has in the last week supplied additional aircraft capable of striking ground targets threatening the civilian population of Libya,” Hague said. “Of course it would be welcome if other countries also do the same,” he told reporters as he arrived in Luxembourg for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers. “There is always more to do.” Thousands of lives had been saved in Libya thanks to air strikes that were launched by Western powers on March 19, preventing Gaddafi’s forces from storming the rebel-held eastern city of Benghazi three weeks ago, Hague said. “A huge amount has been achieved in Libya but clearly there is more to be done,” he said. “Of course, to have any viable, peaceful future for Libya, Colonel Gaddafi needs to leave.” His comments came just hours after his French counterpart, Alain Juppe, had said France’s NATO allies were not pulling their weight in Libya and their forces should do more to help destroy Gaddafi’s heavy weaponry. “NATO must fully play its role, and it is not doing so sufficiently,” the minister told France Info radio, adding that France would bring the matter up with EU ministers on Tuesday and with NATO in Berlin on Thursday. France which, with Britain and the United States, led the drive for air strikes, was skeptical about handing political control of the operation to the NATO Western alliance. Now, Juppe said, it feels that the full coalition is not tak ing a robust enough attitude in pushing forward with the bombardment of Libyan government forces besieging rebelheld cities. — Agencies




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Yemenis demonstrate against GCC mediation deal

SANAA: An anti-government protester reacts during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa yesterday. —AP

SANAA: Tens of thousands of Yemenis demonstrated across the country yesterday against a mediation proposal by neighboring Gulf nations because it offers the president immunity from prosecution. Protesters in the capital Sanaa carried flowers to give to security forces and wore signs saying they were ready to die as they repeated their two-month-old call for Yemen’s president to leave office after 32 years. Yemen has been wracked by protests since mid-February demanding Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign because of the country’s lack of freedoms and extreme poverty. In the ensuing crackdown, 120 people have been killed. The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council offered its own proposal Sunday to end the unrest and called on Saleh to transfer power to his deputy as part of a deal with the opposition. The deal did not, howev-

er, specify a timeframe and included immunity from prosecution for Saleh and his family. “The initiative does not clearly mention the immediate departure of the head of the regime and it did not touch on the fate of his relatives who are at the top military and security agencies that continue killing the peaceful protesters,” said the anti-government Civil Alliance of the Youth Revolution in a statement. The alliance, which includes 30 youth groups, said the GCC proposals were an attempt to abort the peaceful revolution. Protesters carried banners reading “after bloodshed, Saleh should be tried” and “you (Saleh) will not escape unpunished.” Hundreds of army and security officers in uniform also took part in yesterday’s demonstration. Lt Col Mohammed AlKhollani said the participation of him and his fellow officers

was to “tell our military colleagues that your right place is among the revolutionaries and the revolution.” Similar demonstrations were also held in the cities of Taiz, Aden, Ibb, Hadramawt, Saada and Thamar. In response, the president’s office issued a statement saying Saleh “has repeatedly expressed no reservations to the peaceful and smooth transfer of power within the constitution,” which would allow him to remain in office until the 2013 elections an option long rejected by protesters. Pro-government groups went beyond the president’s carefully worded remarks, however, and in a joint statement rejected the GCC offer as a “flagrant interference in Yemen’s internal issues.” According to the official SABA news agency, the statement denounced the GCC and said their move “goes against the will of the Yemeni people.” —AP

Russia Muslim minority wants to help Gaddafi Community leader says his men are ready to fight MOSCOW: A group of Russian Muslims are waiting for a response from Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi to their offer to join his army, a community leader said yesterday. Originally from Russia’s volatile mainly Muslim North Caucasus, the Circassian people are scattered across the globe, with diaspora in Turkey, Syria and Libya. A 19th century Tsarist military campaign caused many to flee their homeland. Their offer to send fighters was first aired at a gathering of Circassian community leaders in early April in the North Caucasus to discuss their reaction to NATO’s air strikes. “We wanted to pay back our debt to Libya for accepting Circassians who fled to the country during the Russo-Circassian War,” said Aslan Beshto, who attended the meeting and helped draft an open letter to Gaddafi offering fighting help. The letter was later published on Circassian community forum Natpress Beshto said they have not received an answer from Gaddafi. Commenting on the letter, the Washington-based think tank Jamestown noted that Russia forbids its citizens from acting as mercenaries under law. “I think that if we receive permission, there would be a certain percentage of people willing to help,” Beshto said by telephone, adding that within two to three hours of his proposal, approximately 60 to 70 had offered their assistance. Circassian leaders who gathered earlier this month outside of Nalchik, the regional capital

of Kabardino-Balkaria, called on their friends and relatives to gauge sentiment toward sending compatriots to Libya. Some 7 million Circassians are spread across the world, and about 700,000 remain in the northwest Caucasus. Circassian groups count 30,000 of their kinsmen in Libya, with 20,000 and 10,000 living in the rebel-held towns of Misrata and Benghazi respectively. Strong ties amongst the Circassian diaspora have been revived by historical claims to the land where Russia is planning to hold its 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Known as ferocious warriors who for decades defended their historic homeland from Tsarist troops, Circassians say an 1854 mil-

itary campaign wiped out 300,000 of them in and around Sochi. The community has been waging an increasingly vocal campaign to press Russia to either cancel the Games or apologize for what Circassians say was genocide. Russia, a veto-wielding permanent UN Security Council member, backed sanctions against Gaddafi’s government and abstained in the vote on the resolution authorizing military action to enforce no-fly zones, allowing it to pass. However, Russia has voiced concerns over what it says are possible civilian deaths due to Western military intervention, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin likened it to “medieval calls for crusades”. —Reuters

Nigerian president faces vote challenge from Muslim north

ABIDJAN: A soldier allied with Alassane Ouattara adjust the strap on his new assault rifle after a shipment of new weapons arrived, at a republican forces operating base on the outskirts of Abidjan. —AP

Ouattara calls on fighters to disarm ABIDJAN: Sporadic gunfire rang out yesterday after Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara called on all fighters to put down their arms now that the country’s longtime strongman has been captured following a months-long deadly power struggle. More than 1 million civilians fled their homes and untold numbers were killed in the more than four-month power struggle between the two rivals. The standoff threatened to re-ignite a civil war in the world’s largest cocoa producer, once divided in two by violence nearly a decade ago. Armed fighters still prowled the streets of Abidjan even after their leader Laurent Gbagbo was arrested by forces backing Ouattara. Residents said that most of the combat had ceased yesterday, though sporadic gunfire continued and left people cowering in their homes. Meanwhile, a top Gbagbo ally accused pro-Ouattara forces of pillaging the homes of political rivals. “I’m getting calls of distress from all over the city from party members who fear for their lives,” said Gbagbo’s former foreign minister, Alcide Djedje. “I myself was forced to flee my house when looters in uniform broke in. While the looting was going on, I managed to hide at the neighbors’ until the UN peacekeepers came to get me.” Gbagbo’s security forces have been accused of using mortars and machine guns to mow down opponents during the standoff. Gbagbo could be forced to answer for his soldiers’ crimes, but an international trial threatens to stoke the divisions that Ouattara will now have to heal as president. Ouattara cut short speculation that Gbagbo would be delivered to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, calling for an Ivorian investigation into the former president, his wife and their entourage. Ouattara also called on his supporters to refrain from retaliatory violence and said he intended to establish a truth and reconciliation commission. “Every measure has been taken to assure the physical integrity of Laurent Gbagbo, his wife and all those arrested,” he said. “They will receive dignified treatment and their rights will be respected.” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told France-Info radio that France “will certainly not take (Gbagbo) in. Let’s not complicate things.” —AP

KANO: The crowds were so large that people climbed onto rooftops, and the candidate they wanted to see in this city in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north could not even get through to the stage. They were not clamoring for Nigeria’s president, a lowkey politician who has rarely if ever inspired such allegiance. The crowd at a rally ahead of Saturday’s presidential vote waited for one of their own: ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. “The north sees Buhari as its hope for bringing power back to the region,” said Shehu Sani, a rights activist based in the north. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is the clear favorite in the election in Africa’s most populous nation, but to ensure victory he must win over the country’s north, where many feel he has stolen their chance to rule. It is perhaps the main challenge facing Jonathan, a southern Christian, as he heads into the vote, and the issue is so charged that he has mostly spoken of it in only vague terms in public. In order to address it, he has reportedly offered behind closed doors to northern leaders to not seek another term in 2015 if he wins. His difficulties in the north, an economically marginalized region on the edge of the Sahara populated mostly by Hausa-Fulani Muslims, stem in part from a power rotation arrangement in the ruling party some accuse him of violating. The arrangement, called “zoning,” sees the Peoples Democratic Party candidate rotated between the north and south each two terms. The party has won every presidential vote since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999. Jonathan, the first head of state from the oil-producing Niger Delta region, was thrust into office in May 2010 following the death of his predecessor Umaru Yar’Adua, a northern Muslim. Yar’Adua had not even finished his first term, leading many in the north to argue that a candidate from their region should be nominated. Jonathan ran anyway and handily won his party’s primary, but bitterness remains. “The most important challenge Jonathan is going to face in the north is the perception of him as a person who has used the power of incumbency to rob the region of its right to produce the next president,” said Tanko Yakasai of the Northern Political Leaders Forum, a group pushing for power to be returned to their region. It is not only the rotation rule that has left Jonathan vulnerable in the north of Nigeria, a country of some 150 million people roughly divided in half between a predominately Christian south and mainly Muslim north.

OTUEKE: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan casts his vote in Otueke during the parliamentary elections on April 9, 2011. —AFP Buhari also has strong grassroots support in the region, partly due to his reputation as an anti-corruption figure in one of the world’s most graft-ridden countries. His “war against indiscipline” while in power from New Year’s Eve 1983 to August 1985 still resonates with some, though others say it was a police state that committed outrageous rights abuses. Grassroots support combined with anger over the rotation agreement could play a major role in the election-though two opinion polls have given Jonathan a wide lead over Buhari. There have been suggestions that a runoff could occur if 69-year-old Buhari is able to form an alliance with another major opposition party, but such efforts have so far failed. The rotation policy draws intense reactions, with some calling it an outdated arrangement pandering to ethnic politics, while others say it is a power-sharing deal helping to hold the vast country together. Some in the north have resorted to religious rhetoric to exploit anti-Jonathan sentimentraising concern over where such tactics could lead. Mobile phone text messages circulated after Jonathan won his party’s nomination calling northern governors who supported him apostates. —AFP

CAIRO: File photo shows Egyptians, who oppose the continued presence of protesters at Tahrir Square. Local and international rights groups say an Egyptian military court has convicted a blogger of insulting the army and sentenced him to three years in prison. —AP

Rights groups condemn Egypt blogger sentence CAIRO: The sentencing of a blogger to jail for criticizing Egypt ’s army has drawn a chorus of objections from rights groups, who say the country’s ruling military council is drawing red lines around free speech. Maikel Nabil, 26, was taken from his home in Cairo by five military officers early on March 28 and charged with insulting the military establishment and “spreading false information”, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said. Nabil’s lawyers were told the judge would rule yesterday but discovered he had already been sentenced in their absence on Sunday, HRW cited defense lawyer Adel Ramadan as saying. “Maikel Nabil’s three-year sentence may be the worst strike against free expression in Egypt since the Mubarak government jailed the first blogger for four years in 2007,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at HRW. He urged the army to drop all the charges and release Nabil immediately. Activists suspect anything from hundreds to thousands of Egyptians are being held and tried before military cour ts behind closed doors af ter President Hosni Mubarak’s ousting on Feb 11. “ The methods used by the Egyptian military do not seem to have evolved since Hosni Mubarak’s fall,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-Francois Julliard. “A civilian should not be tried by a military court. This is not the way things

are done in the democratic society to which Egyptians aspire,” he added. Responding to a question about Nabil’s trial, military council member General Mamdouh Shaheen said freedom of expression was enshrined in the law, but that it was a crime to say or do things that threatened the safety of the army. Shaheen said on television channel ONTV that Nabil could appeal against the sentence, which will only be final once it is ratified by the chief of the militar y district. In a blog entr y on March 8, Nabil questioned the military’s motives and posted photographs and video clips of protesters he said had been beaten by military police during the uprising that forced the president to quit. “In truth, until now the revolution was achieved by getting rid of the dictator (Mubarak), but dictatorship is still present,” Nabil wrote. The army, which enjoys broad popular support, has denied using excessive force against demonstrators during the uprising. Since Mubarak’s exit, the military rulers have promised free and fair elections and an end to emergency rule. But HRW said it had seen a letter sent to Egyptian newspaper publishers from the ruling militar y council which said any news, pictures o r p re s s re l e a s e s co n ce r n i n g t h e armed forces must be vetted first by military intelligence in order to protect national security. —Reuters

Czech leader vanishing pen act is YouTube hit PRAGUE: A clip showing Czech President Vaclav Klaus spiriting away a pen during a press conference has become cult viewing on YouTube and inspired a tongue-in-cheek Facebook campaign. The clip, copied from a report on Klaus’s visit to Chile which was broadcast by public Czech television on Sunday night, was posted on Youtube the same day. It had drawn more than 550,000 views on YouTube by yesterday afternoon. Klaus, sitting next to his Chilean counterpart Sebastian Pinera, is seen first opening a pen case lying on the table in front of him as the Chilean president gives him an enthusiastic welcome. He takes the pen out, examines it carefully, hides his hands under the table, shuffles with his jacket, then

buttons it up with both hands and finally lets his empty hands emerge above the table again to close the case. Klaus, 69, is no stranger to international protocol. He has been Czech president since 2003 and was prime minister from 1993 to 1997. Yesterday he was quoted by the news site as saying it was “standard to take a pen from an event,” stressing it was no golden pen but a ballpoint. The clip, which uses red arrows and circles to trace the route of the pen to the president’s pocket, has inspired a Facebook collection for Klaus. Participants are to send pens to his office on May 2 “as the president obviously has nothing to write with”, according to the Facebook group. —AFP




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Train running late? Blame high copper prices Helicopters, tracking devices part of anti-theft arsenal PARIS: Thieves lured by surging copper prices are creating a nightmare for European railways, sparking largescale disruption, eroding profits and damaging their reputations. Operators are pouring money into high-tech security measures they hope will prevent the theft of the metal after its price has more than tripled since early 2008 to over $9,000 per ton. “Railways in Europe turn into ATM (cash) machines for copper when prices spike,” said Franco Fiumara, director of corporate protection at Ferrovie dello Stato, Italy’s national rail operator. “The number of thefts is directly correlated,” Fiumara said. “It hits railway infrastructure heavily, and it’s gotten much worse of late.” Copper thieves strike usually at night, targeting cables, signal boxes and dynamos at the heart of a railway’s communication system. Most of the signaling equipment is exposed and cables run for hundreds of kilometers, easily accessible to thieves carrying a set of tools. Last year, theft of copper wire around Europe caused well over 10,000 hours of train delays and tens of millions of euros in damages, five rail operators told Reuters. This year, in spite of heightened security, they expect more of the same. New security measures include helicopter flyovers of thousands of kilometers of

rail network, bulked-up security inside trains, legal measures against scrap resellers and research into copper substitutes. But unless operators happen upon a viable alternative to copper-or the metal suddenly loses enough value to become unattractive to thieves-the war is likely to drag on, and with it the grinding delays for European commuters. YOUR DELAY: 500,000 MINUTES A spokeswoman for France’s stateowned SNCF rail operator said most of the operator’s 30,000 km of copper cables lie alongside train tracks, covered by a thin layer of cement. Thieves crack the casing, slice through the cable and spool up what they can. They can often steal hundreds of meters of the wire, which is several centimeters thick, in one raid. Disrupting the flow of electricity in the system automatically provokes a red signal, fooling oncoming trains into thinking that another train is blocking their progress. By the time a network operator discovers the problem, often late the next morning, time has already been lost. Even hasty repairs bring slowdowns that reverberate across a network. Each rail operator measures the damage differently. Yet even the roughest estimates are alarming. Last year in France, where some 132 million people rode high-speed trains, copper theft caused 5,800

hours of delays, triple the amount from 2009. The cost from damages rose to 30 million euros from 20 million in 2009. “The delays are piling up and the consequences for commuters are very, very serious,” Natalie Kosciusko-Moriset, France’s transport and ecology minister, told a news briefing in March. SNCF officials declined to provide a delay forecast for 2011 but said police had recorded some 50 copper-stealing events per week since the start of the year-triple the rate of 2009. The outlook is no brighter in Britain, where National Rail predicts that copper thievery will cause some 500,000 minutes of delays this year in addition to millions of pounds in damages. “It’s a massive, massive problem for us,” a spokeswoman said. “Those delays are people not getting to business meetings, businesses losing customers, disruptions to an essential service that the country relies on.” In Italy, copper thieves hit a busy station in central Rome in January in a typical incident, tying up traffic for six hours in the early hours of the day. The train leading to Fiumicino, Rome’s international airport, was delayed for up to 60 minutes. Last year such incidents caused nearly 45,000 minutes of delays across Italy, and 10,000 minutes of theft-related delays have already

German nuke shift could hurt ties, French MPs say Europe ‘should have been consulted’ BERLIN: Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear energy was an emotional, knee-jerk reaction to events in Japan which could hurt ties with France and should have been discussed at the European level, French lawmakers said yesterday. The comments, from members of the French Senate’s influential finance committee during a visit to Berlin, come some three weeks after Chancellor Angela Merkel abruptly changed her stance and unveiled plans to accelerate Germany’s exit from nuclear energy. The move shocked close ally France, the world’s most nucleardependent country, which produces 75 percent of its power needs from 58 nuclear reactors. “We understand of course this decision by our German partners, but it will cause a large number of problems at the European level and could hurt ties with France,” said Philippe Marini, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party. “This was a decision that was taken without consultation. We respect it. But it is not without consequences for France and should be the subject of a broader discussion.” French state-owned nuclear group Areva could benefit from increased worries about nuclear security because it makes advanced EPR reactors built

with higher safety standards. But a broader backlash against nuclear energy that spreads from Germany could also crimp demand for French-

BERLIN: Dutch Crown Princess Maxima arrives for a discussion with German and Dutch youths at the Dutch Embassy in Berlin yesterday. Queen Beatrix is on a four-day official visit to Germany. —AP made nuclear plants in the longerterm. France may also be worried that an acceleration in renewable energy investment in Germany could

put it at a competitive disadvantage. Jean Arthuis, a former finance minister who is president of the committee, said talks with members of the Bundestag during the visit had revealed Germany was still “in an emotional state” following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Fukushima nuclear plant in northeast Japan. Radiation leaks at the plant have forced Japan to elevate the accident to the same alarm level as that of the Chernobyl disaster. The French public tends to be heavily in favor of nuclear power, which keeps their electricity bills lower than the European average. But since the accident in Japan, the “Atomkraft nein danke!” (Nuclear energy no thanks!) signs that proliferated in the 1970s and 80s have reappeared on German streets and hundreds of thousands of Germans have staged protests against nuclear power. “I think we need to exit from this period of emotion and talk about this at the European level,” Arthuis said. “What we need to do is focus on security, on nuclear security.” Arthuis, Marini and other committee members said a unilateral German nuclear exit was at odds with European efforts to move towards greater fiscal convergence. —Reuters

Medvedev drops hint on Kremlin ambitions MOSCOW: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said yesterday he would soon reveal if he will run in presidential polls next year, in possibly the strongest sign yet of his ambition to stay in the Kremlin. “I do not rule out that I will run for a new term, the post of the president. The decision will be taken, and rather soon at that,” he said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) in comments released yesterday. Russia is heading for presidential elections in 2012 and both the 45-year-old

Medvedev and his 58-year-old mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, did not rule out standing. Medvedev took over the Kremlin in 2008 after Putin served two four-year terms as president, with Putin immediately becoming a powerful prime minister. They have repeatedly said they would agree who would run to avoid competing with each other but neither has so far confirmed his plans. The stakes are high-the next leader can stay in power for a 6-year term under a con-

MOSCOW: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (left) presents a commemorative medal to mark the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight to cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov at an award ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow yesterday. —AP

stitutional change. “No-one can know the future but I can tell you that as the current head of state, as the president, I of course think about it, I simply must do so,” said Medvedev. Analysts in the past weeks have urged the ruling duo to announce their plans as soon as possible so as not to keep the Russian political and economic elite in limbo amid fears the two men would delay the decision until after the parliamentary elections in December. Medvedev, who spoke ahead of his upcoming visit to China this week, said his decision on whether to run would depend on a number of factors including the current social situation, the elite’s political preferences and people’s support. “I expect that such an understanding will be formed in the rather near future, I will speak about it,” Medvedev said in the interview. Several recent studies have said the ruling tandem is increasingly mistrusted and there is a growing desire for an alternative to Putin or Medvedev. But the opposition is fragmented and is unlikely to field a candidate who could challenge the status quo. Opinion polls show that Putin remains the most popular politician despite falling approval ratings. Kremlin advisor Gleb Pavlovsky said both the president and prime minister want to run but only Medvedev has a political program. “Putin does not have an alternative program. What he has are objections,” he said. —AFP

been recorded in 2011, the operator told Reuters. Belgium was hit hard with 48,000 minutes, while a spokesman for Spain’s Adif state rail infrastructure firm admitted copper theft was a real problem but provided no data. “It’s easier (to steal) on domestic lines, because you can drive up with your car and go to work,” said a spokesman for Belgium’s SNCB operator. “But it’s very dangerous for the guys who do it. Two months ago we came across a guy on the track who had been electrocuted.” CAUGHT RED-HANDED In a rare video shown by French police, grainy surveillance footage shows two hooded men climbing out of a white van parked by the divider of a busy highway in the dead of the night. Working with power tools, they crack open the casing that houses copper cable, spool up a length of it and toss the bundle into the open back of the van. At the end of the video, a police car pulls alongside them, sirens ablaze. Examples of police catching thieves red-handed are rare, however. Thieves work quickly and usually race off before police have time to react, selling their goods to scrap yards, which pay in cash and ask no questions about copper’s provenance. Determined to even out the odds, Italy’s railways have joined forced with utility Enel and Telecom Italia to

put up a common front against thieves, beefing up security at a cost of some 10 million euros per year. “As a railway company, we cannot do more,” Ferrovie dello Stato said in a statement. “For fool-proof protection we could have turned the railway into a kind of subway, sealing it off completely, but that is not possible.” France unveiled its own battle plan in March, promising to spend 40 million euros over the next 18 months to fight theft on several fronts, from surveillance and prevention to funding for research into anti-theft technology. Unveiling the plan, France’s Kosciusko-Moriset said, “ This is a ver y, ver y serious problem for commuters, a problem that exists everywhere in Europe.” She said French police would work closely with counterparts outside the country. In March some 50 helicopters from the Gendarmerie, or national police, started sweeps over thousands of kilometers of exposed track using infra-red vision to spot warm-blooded thieves. Police aboard trains and in stations will seek to spot suspicious behavior on the railway. “This is first and foremost a security risk,” an SNCF spokesman said. “Some of the thefts have taken place at peak travel times and caused fires to break out ... The travelers themselves are at risk from these accidents.” —Reuters

Action for Happiness launched in UK LONDON: Is there a science of happiness? A growing band of economists, politicians and academics thinks so - and they are putting theory into practice by starting a “mass movement for a happier society.” Action for Happiness launched yesterday in London, encouraging hugging, meditation and random acts of kindness. It is getting under way as the British government asks statisticians to measure the economically battered nation’s wellbeing. The nonprofit group’s founders include a former Downing

Street policy chief, Tony Blair’s biographer and an eminent economist. They say happiness - long regarded as the preserve of poets, philosophers and spiritual leaders - is a deeply serious issue. Co-founder Richard Layard, emeritus professor of economics at the London School of Economics, says the group “doesn’t have any creed or dogma. It’s a secular movement, grounded in science.” “Our happiness levels have been stuck for the last 60 years,” he said. “Income does not make a lot of dif-

ference. The quality of human relationships at home and in the workplace - there are a lot of ways in which those have been neglected in favor of higher income.” Increasing numbers of politicians are taking up that mantra. Prime Minister David Cameron has said “it’s time we focused not just on GDP but on GWB - general wellbeing.” Cynics say that’s just as well, since Britain’s economy has been battered by recession and the countr y is facing deep public spending cuts. —AP



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Revolts boost Americans’ views of Arabs WASHINGTON: Recent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have improved Americans’ opinions of Arabs, with Egyptians viewed in an especially positive light since their successful revolt against Hosni Mubarak, a poll showed Monday. Fifty-six percent of Americans surveyed this month said they have a favorable view of Arab people in general, while 70 percent voiced positive opinions about Egyptians, the University of Maryland poll showed. The Egyptian people’s ratings put them just below the 73-percent favorable rating that Americans give Israelis, according to the study,

released on the eve of a forum on relations between the United States and the Islamic world. When the 802 poll respondents were asked if the popular uprisings in the Arab world had influenced their opinions of Arabs, 39 percent said they felt more sympathetic toward the Arab people since the revolts began and just six percent said they felt less sympathy for them. Three times more Americans think the revolts in the Arab world are about ordinary people seeking democracy than believe they are about Islamists aiming to seize power, the poll said. While some officials have voiced fears that the

changes in the Middle East could harm US interests in the region, nearly six in 10 Americans said they would back the moves toward greater democracy even if it meant a country would be more likely to oppose US policies, the survey showed. “Most Americans are cheering the move toward more democracy, even if this might pose some challenges for the US,” said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), which helped conduct the survey. The findings were released on the eve of the US-Islamic World Forum, an annual conference

that since 2004 has brought together American and Arab-world experts to discuss US relations with Muslim countries and communities. The conference is being held for the first time in the United States. Among speakers at the forum will be Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmad Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both of whom addressed a gala dinner yesterday. Other speakers at the forum, which ends Thursday, include former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, and US Senator John Kerry. — AFP

Intel chiefs aim to rebuild trust Pakistani spy chief presses CIA for concessions

PHOENIX: Protesters block the street to protest the SB1070 Arizona immigration law in front of US District Court in Phoenix. — AP

Court upholds freeze on Arizona immigration law PHOENIX: A US federal court has upheld the suspension of key parts of a controversial Arizona immigration law which came into force last year. Arizona’s governor slammed the ruling-and vowed to appeal to the US Supreme Court if necessary-but the Mexican government and rights groups welcomed the decision to maintain a freeze on the law’s most disputed parts. “It sends a very clear message, both to Arizona and to other states that might consider doing something like this, that this is an unconstitutional road to go down,” said Omar Jadwat of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “There were a lot of nails already in the coffin of this approach, but this is should be final blow,” added the ACLU lawyer following the decision by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals. The disputed Arizona law took effect last July, but was stripped of a controversial provision that would have given police officers the power to check the immigration status of suspected criminals. The provision had been blocked by a federal court that agreed with the US Department of Justice’s argument that immigration issues are the jurisdiction of the US government-not state governments. Opponents said the law was xenophobic and would lead to people being stopped on the streets simply because of the way they look. The Mexican government issued a statement welcoming Monday’s ruling. But officials in Arizona say they have to act to stem a tide of illegal immigrants from across the border with Mexico, accompanied by soaring crime rates fueled by people smuggling

and gun- and drug-running. Arizona governor Jan Brewer slammed the ruling, calling it “internationalism run amok.” “I remain steadfast in my belief that Arizona and other states have a sovereign right and obligation to protect their citizens and enforce immigration law in accordance with federal statute,” she said. Arguing that the ruling “does harm to the safety and well-being of Arizonans who suffer the negative effects of illegal immigration,” she added: “Today’s decision is internationalism run amok.” “It is outrageous that the Ninth Circuit Court would grant foreign nations the de facto right to veto the duly-enacted laws of a sovereign state of the United States. And a statement by her office said she and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said they were considering their legal options. “It has always been expected that this legal fight would be a long one. But the Ninth Circuit Court is the most overturned appeals court in the nation for a reason. “Both Governor Brewer and Attorney General Horne believe that the constitutionality of (the law) will eventually be affirmed.” The row over the Arizona law has thrust the issue of the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants once more into the spotlight, after a series of failed legislative attempts to bring them out of the shadows. Opinion polls conducted before the law came into force found more than 60 percent of the US population supporting it. One in three of the 6.6 million people in Arizona is foreign-born and an estimated 460,000 are illegal immigrants, most of whom are Mexican. — AFP

US capital city a ‘pawn’ in federal budget battle WASHINGTON: One day after his arrest at a protest near the steps of the US Congress, Washington DC mayor Vincent Gray yesterday decried the capital city’s role as a “political pawn” in recent federal budget negotiations. “We think we were a bargaining chip in this political game played around the budget,” Gray told CNN television. The mayor, along with several members of the city council was arrested Monday during a protest over an 11th hour deal struck late Friday between Congress and the White House that narrowly averted a federal government shutdown. Among the most controversial provisions is a clause that would prohibit the city from using its own revenues to finance abortions for low-income women. “To impose upon us this restriction with respect to abortions-those decisions ought to be between women and their doctors,” said Gray, who was released from police custody overnight. “Frankly, there’s no other jurisdiction in America that would be told they can’t spend their own local tax dollars,” he added. “We have become a political pawn in the game around this budget,” the mayor said. All told, some 41 of the roughly 150 demonstrators protesting the budget deal were arrested, news reports said. He added that the budget accord points to long festering sore point among Washington residents over the District of Columbia’s peculiar status as the federal capital, but without a vote in the US legislature. “The District has no voting representation in the house. We have no senators. So we are an easy tar-

get. Folks in Congress, frankly, will do things to the District of Columbia that they wouldn’t even do in their own home districts and this is an example of it,” said Gray. The accord between congressional negotiators and the White House also would extend federal funding for a controversial private school voucher program in Washington, a move also decried by city leaders as meddling into the city’s affairs. The moves to restrict funding for abortion and expand the school voucher program were Republican conditions for a deal on a long overdue budget funding, without which the federal government faced a temporary shutdown. Even as Washington regroups from last week’s political tug-of-war, bigger battles over the US debt ceiling and the 2012 federal budget loom on the horizon. President Barack Obama on Wednesday is to lay out his plans to reduce the soaring US budget deficit, setting the stage for a major battle that could define his reelection campaign. At the heart of the ideological debate is the broad disagreement between Democrats and Republicans over the size and scope of the government’s role in American life. Opposition Republicans have put pressure on Obama in the long-term budget debate by last week unveiling their own spending blueprint that would cut government expenditures by $6 trillion over the next decade. Republicans want to slash funds for Medicare, benefits for the elderly, and Medicaid, a health program for people with low income, but Democrats would prefer to make up much of the deficit by raising taxes on the wealthy. — AFP

WASHINGTON: The head of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence directorate met CIA Director Leon Panetta on Monday to discuss ISI demands for greater control over US spy operations on Pakistani soil. The meeting, at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, represented an attempt by both Panetta and the Pak istani spy chief, Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, to repair the critical relationship between the two agencies, which had suffered serious strains over the last six months. Officials indicated the meeting had gone well, though key issues remain unresolved. “Director Panetta and General Pasha held productive discussions today and the CIAISI relationship remains on solid footing,” Preston Golson, a CIA spokesman said. “The United States and Pakistan share a wide range of mutual interests and today ’s exchange emphasized the need to continue to work closely together, including on our common fight against terrorist networks that threaten both countries.” Privately, US officials ack nowledged that despite renewed goodwill, some Pakistani demands for greater scrutiny and control over CIA activities in Pakistan are unacceptable to the administration of President Barack Obama. People familiar with the views of the Pakistani government said last month that, as part of a deal which resulted in the freeing of Raymond Davis, a CIA contract bodyguard who had been arrested on murder charges, the CIA agreed to cut back on US spying in Pakistan. The sources also said the CIA had agreed to give ISI more credit for its counter-terrorism effor ts and to keep Pakistani authorities better informed of CIA activities. Following Monday’s meeting between the spy chiefs, a US official said: “ The Pakistanis have asked for more visibility into some things, and that request is being talked about- along with a host of other topics, including ways to further expand the partnership.” But the official also said that while some Pakistani proposals were “under review,” the Obama administration regarded others as “non-starters.” The official declined to specify which Pakistani suggestions were likely to be rejected by Washington. Beginning late last year, joint USPakistani intelligence operations were disrupted by a series of disputes, most notably the Davis case in which the CIA contractor shot dead two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore in January. Pakistan held Davis in jail for weeks despite US claims that he was protected by diplomatic immunity. He was released last month after the families of the men he shot were paid compensation, a custom in Pakistan and approved in Islam. Ties were also strained when Pasha and other alleged ISI officers were named as defendants in a US lawsuit filed by families of

Americans k illed in a 2008 attack by Pakistan-based militants on high-profile targets in Mumbai, India. The lawsuits allege the ISI officers were involved with Lashkar-e-Taiba, an anti-India militant group, in planning and orchestrating the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan’s government said it will “strongly contest” the case. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Pakistani media named the undercover head of the CIA’s

Islamabad station, forcing him to leave the country. The ISI offered no details on Pasha’s Washington trip, which comes days after the Pakistani government extended his tenure as spy chief for a second time to ensure continuity. Despite continuing difficulties, a US official familiar with the high-level spy talks said: “The bottom line is that joint cooperation is essential to the security of the two nations. The stakes are too high.” — Reuters

WASHINGTON: President Obama removes his jacket after meeting students from Altona Middle School in Longmont, on the South Portico of the White House in Washington. Obama received a letter from a mother at the school worried that her son’s trip would be canceled if there were to be a government shutdown. — AP

UN criticizes US over WikiLeaks’ Manning Washington accused of prevarication GENEVA: The UN investigator on torture accused the US government on Monday of blocking a one-on-one meeting he was seeking with detained “WikiLeaks” soldier Bradley Manning. Argentine lawyer Juan Mendez said he had been trying to organize a visit to check on Manning’s condition since December. Manning, 23, is being held during the investigation of charges that while serving in Iraq he leaked secret documents, including hundreds of State Department cables, that later appeared on the WikiLeaks website. Manning has been held at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia since last May. His lawyers have complained he is being mistreated by being kept in his cell for 23 hours a day while the Pentagon says he has to sleep naked and is woken repeatedly during the night to check that he is safe. “Unfortunately, the US government has not been receptive to a confidential meeting with

Manning,” Mendez said in a statement issued from his Geneva office. Manning’s lawyer now understood that the request for a meeting had been refused, added Mendez, a former political prisoner who experienced torture under his country’s military dictatorship in the 1970s. Mendez said he was “deeply disappointed and frustrated by the prevarication” he had met from both State and Defense Department officials who made clear they would only allow him to talk to the soldier with a prison official present. A Pentagon spokesman said that like in the federal prison system, only lawyers were allowed one-on-one unmonitored meetings with anyone confined at the Quantico base. “The UN Special Rapporteur, like any other visitor, is free to request a visit with Manning through Manning’s attorney and Manning is free to agree to it,” Colonel Dave Lapan said in a statement. —Reuters

Romney declares presidential run WASHINGTON: Former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney became the second major Republican to announce a challenge to President Barack Obama in 2012, declaring he would “put America back on a course of greatness.” Romney joins another former governor, Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty, in having established what is known as an exploratory committee, a move that allows the candidates to begin raising money and hiring staff for a run at the Republican nomination. Romney issued his announcement in a Web video shot at the University of New Hampshire, showing his intention to focus on the tiny US state that holds the first-inthe-nation presidential primary vote. His declaration focused mainly on the troubled American economy and said he had “become convinced that America has been put on a dangerous course by Washington politicians, and it has become even worse during the last two years.” While Romney had been widely expected to run, the timing of his announcement caught many off guard. Polls show him entering the Republican primary fray as the front-runner in what is expected to be a crowded field of candidates. Other likely Obama challengers range from former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich to House tea party

Former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney

notable Rep Michelle Bachmann, a Minnesotan like Pawlenty. Romney sought the Republican nomination in the 2008 race that eventually saw Sen John McCain face Obama. McCain’s running mate, former Alaska Gov Sarah Palin, often is mentioned as a potential candidate this time, but she has been coy about her intentions. About 12 Republicans’ names regularly rise to the top among potential candidates to challenge Obama. The president officially

announced last week that he would seek reelection. Romney could face resistance among Republicans who are determined to revoke Obama’s health care legislation. The Obama plan, which makes it harder for insurance companies to deny coverage to individuals and creates an insurance pool for tens of thousands of uninsured Americans, was based largely on a system put in place in Massachusetts when Romney was governor. Romney also may be burdened by his Mormon faith, a religious belief that many evangelical Christian Republicans view as a sect. Romney sought instead to focus on his business resume. “Across the nation, over 20 million Americans still can’t find a job or have given up looking,” Romney said. “How has this happened in the nation that leads the world in innovation and productivity? The answer is that President Obama’s policies have failed. He and virtually all the people around him have never worked in the real economy. They just don’t know how jobs are created in the private sector.” Romney, a businessman who ran Salt Lake City’s Winter Olympics in 2002, has lined up donors, staff and advisers for his presidential bid. He has quietly built a by-the-books campaign organization that is stacked with experienced presidential operatives. — AP



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Daughter of modern Korea founder eyes presidential run SEOUL: Park Geun-hye, the daughter of the founder of modern-day South Korea, has started piecing together her 2012 presidential bid by challenging President Lee Myungbak’s policies and threatening his reform agenda. Ever since losing out to Lee in the 2008 presidential nominations, Park has bided her time and not criticized Lee directly as she needs the backing of lawmakers from the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) to make a bid for the presidency. But backed by a 42 percent approval rating in a recent poll, the 59-year-old who would become South Korea’s first woman president has attacked Lee for abandoning a regional airport and savaged the central bank governor, a Lee ally, for failing to stem inflation. “She’s always talked about how it was important to keep promises and why credibility must be the basis of politics,” said Sejong University political scholar Lee Nam-young. “And now she sees the president’s moves as a possible obstacle.” In the final two years of his presidency, Lee needs to push through key legislation such as free trade deals with the United States and the European Union as well as tax cuts and measures to dampen household loan exposures. Later this month, he faces regional by-

elections, and the factions within the GNP are closely watching the results for signs of further weakness. Should Lee be seen as failing to deliver, Park could be emboldened to oppose the president more strongly, although at present she is not expected to torpedo any of his major bills. Analysts believe that the party faction led by Park accounts for about one-third of the GNP’s 171 seats in the 296-member parliament. The remaining two thirds in the GNP, who are considered pro-Lee or neutral, are unlikely to try to get in her way in the absence of a strong alternative. DETERMINED Park’s place as daughter of former military strongman turned dictator, Chung-hee, has worked both for and against her in the 13 years she spent in politics. Her father built the country from the rubble of the 1950-53 Korean War, famously declaring that “steel is the strength of a nation” as he started work from nothing to create POSCO , now the world’s third largest steelmaker. Yet, Park Geun-hye’s soft-spoken and cautious demeanor bears little resemblance to the manner of her autocratic father who was assassinated by the country’s intelli-


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Nepal minister stabbed KATHMANDU: Police in Nepal rounded up 150 suspects yesterday as part of a hunt for two assailants who stabbed the country’s new energy minister just hours after he was appointed. Gokarna Bista sustained injuries to his neck and head when he was attacked near his house in Kathmandu on Monday evening by two men, at least one of whom was wielding a traditional Gurkha “khukhri” knife, police said. Bista required hospital treatment for his wounds, but his condition was described as stable. Kathmandu police chief Pushkar Karki said 150 people had been taken into custody in an initial police sweep after the attack. “We have retained seven of them for further investigation,” Karki said. The attack occurred during one of the rolling 14-hour power outages that have blighted daily life in Kathmandu and elsewhere, due to a national energy crisis that would be Bista’s top priority as minister. “The assailants took advantage of the power cut. The minister did not know them. He also told me he hadn’t received any threats,” Karki said. Taleban ‘executioner’ nabbed KABUL: Afghanistan’s spy agency said yesterday its agents had captured an alleged Taleban executioner responsible for public beheadings and other grisly killings on behalf of the Islamist militia. The National Directorate of Security (NDS) accused Mullah Jumah, 30, of being involved in the public executions on March 21 of three men accused by the Taleban of collaborating with US-led troops. The claims could not be verified independently. “Mullah Jumah has confessed to having worked as a Taleban executioner in Helmand province since 2009, and having beheaded dozens of people,” NDS spokesman Lutfullah Mashal told reporters.On March 21, Jumah was assisted by two other men in killing three alleged security guards helping the US-led coalition in the southern flashpoint province of Helmand, the agency said. Jumah allegedly told interrogators that the trio worked as escorts for convoys supplying US-led NATO troops and were sentenced to death by a purported Taleban court. Jumah also allegedly said the Taleban have formed “Fatwa commissions” to prosecute prisoners by edict issued by religious clerics under Islamic law. “Taleban and other terrorists use different methods to keep local people in a state of terror, including public killings, beheading and lashings,” Mashal said. ‘No cellphones in class’ DHAKA: Education authorities thought the ban on student cellphones in class would be enough to prevent disruptions. They forgot about the teachers. Fed up with educators receiving and even making - phone calls during their own lectures, Bangladesh’s Education Ministry has banned them from bringing their phones into class as well. School officials are supporting the rap on the knuckles for teachers. Viqarunnessa High School and College head Hosne Ara Begum says, “There are teachers who spend more time in talking on cellphones and ignoring lectures. We welcome the ban.” The ban took effect immediately yesterday. More than half Bangladesh’s 150 million people have cellphones. Inauspicious start for Lanka timekeeping site COLOMBO: An official Sri Lankan timekeeping website aimed at synchronizing watches and helping locals to obey astrological instructions crashed on its first day thanks to unexpected stormy weather. The website,, was launched Monday by President Mahinda Rajapakse as a resource to help align clocks, watches and computers with Sri Lankan Standard Time, which is five and a half hours ahead of GMT. “But too many hits and lightning affected our server and the website went down,” a spokesman for the site said. Many Sri Lankans are firm believers in astrology and regularly consult experts for advice. The website “will make it easier for people to follow astrological advice and do things at the correct auspicious time,” Trade Ministry spokesman Nipuna Ekanayake said.

BEIJING: A woman walks her dogs along the streets of Beijing. — AP

gence chief in 1979. But they do share a determined streak-underlined by her push to rebuild the GNP in 2004-2006 after a failed attempt to impeach then-President Roh Moo-hyun. Park then led the GNP through an unbroken streak of by-elections that broke the back of the opposition and smoothed the way for a GNP presidency. Despite her strong leadership, Park surprisingly lost out to Lee in an acrimonious race for the GNP nomination, a defeat which clearly left deep scars. Park took a backseat after Lee took office, biding her time and waiting for an opportune moment to flag her leadership ambitions. In recent months, Lee’s waning popularity-amid rising living costs, niggling cases of graft and unfulfilled election pledges-have created an opening for Park to pounce. Last month, Park broke her political silence by attacking measures to fight inflation. She urged the Bank of Korea to pay greater attention to monetary policy and to do a better job anticipating inflation and take steps to curb it, catching Lee off guard and forcing him to declare a “war on inflation”. The Bank of Korea has been widely criticized by economists for falling behind

the curve on inflation which surged to 4.7 percent year-on-year in March, a 29-month high. “This country accomplished a very high growth rate last year. But price of necessities and rent went up sharply, cutting into people’s real income and making lives difficult for them,” she said at a recent parliament session. “The suffering is all the greater among those who live in hardship.” She went on to tell the Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong-soo, a close ally of Lee, that it was time to lower the bank’s inflation target to 2 percent from a band of 2-4 percent to allow a more proactive interest rate policy. “It is certainly a very strong message she is sending to the Bank of Korea, but whether it is actually feasible to lower the inflation target to 2 percent at this point is a different issue,” said Yun Chang-hyun of University of Seoul. Subsequently, South Korean oil companies have bowed to government pressure and cut pump prices. The government has also sought to cap items like tuition fees, as it takes populist measures to rein in inflation. FIRST WOMAN LEADER In a predominantly patriarchal society, analysts have in the past questioned

whether South Korea is ready for its first woman leader. But times are changing. “She somehow seems to have mustered support throughout the country, even in Jeolla,” a government official said following a visit to the country’s southwest, a traditional stronghold of the opposition. “Even people there are very excited about her.” South Korean society-at-large is changing, casting off centuries of Confucian values to make way for a culture that worships youth and innovation-exemplified by the popularity of K-pop boy and girl music bands, and hi-tech gadgetry. Now the four-term parliamentarian who entered politics in 1998, at the peak of the Asian financial crisis, herself gets rock star treatment from her supporters. Recently released pictures of a young Park in a swimsuit dominated national television coverage some months ago. At a recent public event, her security guards formed a scrum to keep her moving through a welcoming crowd which included retired marine corps men and their wives in combat fatigue. “She’s wearing a olive color coat today. It’s pretty,” one of the women said to a colleague, before raising a fist and joining in a chant: “Park Geun-hye! Park Geun-hye!”— Reuters

Japanese nuclear crisis to ‘same level as Chernobyl’ Experts warn of diplomatic repercussions TOKYO: Japan put its nuclear calamity on a par with the world’s worst nuclear disaster, Chernobyl yesterday after new data showed that more radiation leaked from its earthquake-crippled power plant in the early days of the crisis than first thought. Japanese officials said it had taken time to measure radiation from the plant after it was smashed by March 11’s massive quake and tsunami, and the upgrade in its severity rating to the highest level on a globally recognized scale did not mean the situation had suddenly become more critical. “The situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is slowly stabilizing, step by step, and the emission of radioactive substances is on a declining trend,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan told a press briefing yesterday.Kan said he wanted to move from emergency response to long-term rebuilding. “A month has passed. We need to take steps towards restoration and reconstruction,” he said. He also called on opposition parties, whose help he needs to pass bills in a divided parliament, to take part in drafting reconstruction plans from an early stage. The operator of the stricken facility appears to be no closer to restoring cooling systems at the reactors, critical to lowering the temperature of overheated nuclear fuel rods. Yesterday, Japan’s science ministry said small amounts of strontium, one of the most harmful and long-lasting radioactive elements, had been found in soil near Fukushima Daiichi. Hidehiko Nishiyama, a deputy directorgeneral of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), said the decision to raise the severity of the incident from level 5 to 7 - the same as the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986 - was based on cumulative quantities of radiation released. No radiation-linked deaths have been reported since the earthquake struck, and only 21 plant workers have been affected by minor radiation sickness, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano. “Although the level has been raised to 7

today, it doesn’t mean the situation today is worse than it was yesterday, it means the event as a whole is worse than previously thought,” said nuclear expert John Price, a former member of the Safety Policy Unit at the

PRIPYAT: File photo shows a general view of empty houses in the town of Pripyat and the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the background. Pripyat was built for workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, but the city was abandoned soon after a plant reactor exploded on Aril 26, 1986. —AP UK’s National Nuclear Corporation. ‘NOWHERE NEAR CHERNOBYL’ A level 7 incident means a major release of radiation with a widespread health and environmental impact, while a 5 level is a limited release of radioactive material, with several deaths, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Several experts said the new rating exaggerated the severity of the crisis. “It’s nowhere near that level.

China crackdown driven by fears of a broad conspiracy BEIJING: Days of interrogation in a cold, secluded room taught Liu Anjun that China’s security forces see dissidents and protesters like him as players in a plot to topple the Communist Party, a fear that is magnifying Beijing’s hard crackdown on dissent. The most internationally prominent target of that crackdown has been the artist Ai Weiwei, but the net reaches far wider and reflects Party anxiety that it confronts not just general discontent, but a subversive movement waiting to pounce. Liu, a gravel-voiced, charismatic agitator for petitioners’ rights, was taken from his family on February 18. Police bundled him into a van and locked him in a hotel room in south Beijing, where he was watched by rotating teams of guards, he said. There, for six days, police interrogators showed Liu pictures of dissidents, human rights lawyers, and activists, seeking information about their mutual contacts, beliefs and plans, Liu told Reuters at his home in a Beijing alley where he was recovering after his release from 45 days in detention. The police have been hunting for evidence of a web of conspiracy bringing together domestic and foreign foes that the Chinese government believes are behind recent calls for Middle Eastinspired “Jasmine Revolution” protests against the Party. “They took out picture after picture, mainly of democracy activists and rights defenders, and asked about each of them,” Liu said, seated in his cigarette smoke-filled living room. “They were trying to build up links among everybody, trying to get me to tell them who was supporting what,” said Liu, who walks on crutches after a leg injury sustained in a protest over the demolition of a former home. Chinese leaders believe domestic

Chernobyl was terrible-it blew and they had no containment, and they were stuck,” said nuclear industry specialist Murray Jennex, an associate professor at San Diego State University in California. “Their containment

foes, their foreign backers and Western governments are scheming to undermine and ultimately topple the Communist Party. Recent speeches and articles from security officials echo with warnings of subversive plots backed by Western “anti-China” forces. Shortly before China’s clampdown ramped up in February, a senior domestic security official, Chen Jiping, warned that “hostile Western forces”-alarmed by the country’s rise- were marshalling human rights issues to attack Party control. Many of those that police interrogators quizzed Liu about were already detained in the crackdown that gained momentum in February. They included the detained artist Ai Teng Biao, a wellknown rights lawyer, and Wen Tao, a reporter who is a friend and helper to Ai, said Liu. “They also asked a little about Ai Weiwei and showed me a picture of him from a party,” he said. “I told them I didn’t know anything about any of them.” Officials have said Ai faces investigation for “suspected economic crimes”. But his sister, Gao Ge, dismissed that as a ruse and said Ai was detained for his political advocacy. “The police officer who led the searches of his workshop was from state security. That says a lot,” said Gao. “If this is just an ordinary investigation, why haven’t we heard from Ai Weiwei?” China’s government does indeed confront discontented citizens and groups who want to end one-party rule, and the United States and its allies make no secret that they want China to evolve into a liberal democracy. But what outsiders may see as a loose, disparate group of dissidents, bloggers, lawyers, and grassroots agitators, China’s security police treat as a subversive, Western-backed coalition with the potential to erupt into outright opposition. —Reuters

has been holding, the only thing that hasn’t is the fuel pool that caught fire.” The blast at Chernobyl blew the roof off a reactor and sent large amounts of radiation wafting across Europe. The accident contaminated vast areas and led to the evacuation of well over 100,000 people. Nevertheless, the increase in the severity level heightens the risk of diplomatic tension with Japan’s neighbors over radioactive fallout. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told Kan yesterday he was “con-

cerned” about the release of radiation into the ocean. “If Japan mishandles this issue, especially if, to solve its own problems, it affects the safety of neighboring countries, then that will have a bad effect on relations at the government and public levels,” said Sun Cheng, a professor specializing in Japanese politics and Sino-Japanese relations at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. Chinese worries have not reached that point yet, he said. China has so far been sympathetic rather than angry, though it and South Korea have criticized the plant operator’s decision to pump radioactive water into the sea, a process it has now stopped. HUGE ECONOMIC DAMAGE The March earthquake and tsunami killed up to 28,000 people and the estimated financial cost stands at $300 billion, making it the world’s most expensive disaster. Japan’s economics minister warned the damage was likely to be worse than first thought as power shortages would cut factory output and disrupt supply chains. The Bank of Japan governor said the economy was in a “severe state”, while central bankers were uncertain when efforts to rebuild the northeast would boost growth, according to minutes from a meeting held three days after the earthquake struck. NISA said the amount of radiation released into the atmosphere from the plant, 240 km north of Tokyo, was around 10 percent that of Chernobyl. “Radiation released into the atmosphere peaked from March 15 to 16. Radiation is still being released, but the amount now has fallen considerably,” said NISA’s Nishiyama. Lam Ching-wan, a chemical pathologist at the University of Hong Kong and member of the American Board of Toxicology, said this level of radiation was harmful. “It means there is damage to soil, ecosystem, water, food and people. People receive this radiation. You can’t escape it by just shutting the window,” Lam said.— Reuters

Drone ‘friendly fire’ kills two US troops WASHINGTON: A drone missile strike killed a US Marine and a Navy corpsman last week by mistake, in what appeared to be the first instance US troops had been killed in a “friendly fire” incident involving an unmanned aircraft, defense officials said Monday. The militar y has launched a probe into the incident, which appeared to stem from confusion on the battlefield in the southern province of Helmand, US officials said. Fighter jets and combat helicopters are usually called in to provide close air support for coalition troops pinned down by insurgent fire, while drones tend to be used for manhunts targeting Taleban figures. The strike claimed the lives of Navy Seaman Benjamin Rast, 23, of Niles, Michigan, and Staff Sergeant Jeremy Smith, 26, of Arlington, Texas, officials said. NBC News, which first reported the incident, said that the two service members were part of a unit ordered in to reinforce Marines coming under heavy fire from insurgents outside Sangin, the scene of fierce fighting for years. The Marines near Sangin, watching a video feed from the armed Predator drone overhead, saw infrared images moving towards them and may have concluded those “hot spots” were insurgents instead of fellow Marines, NBC reported. The investigation into last week’s incident follows a detailed

KANDAHAR: Taleban fighters peacefully surrender their arms during a meeting with Afghan government officials as part of the government’s peace and reintegration process. — AP account in the Los Angeles Times of a February drone strike that went terribly wrong. In the February strike, US operators of a robotic plane and special operations forces mistakenly thought a convoy of Afghan civilians in vehicles was a Taleban unit moving in. The strike near a village in Oruzgan province killed 15-16 men, one woman and three children, the US military says, while Afghans believe 23 people died, including two children. In another development, the office window of the European Union’s special representative to Afghanistan was hit by gunfire yesterday, officials said. No-one was hurt in the incident at the

high-security Kabul compound of envoy Vygaudas Usackas, and it is not known whether the shooting was accidental or deliberate. “One high-velocity round struck the bulletproof window of head of delegation and EU special representative ambassador Vygaudas Usackas’ office,” a statement from his office said. “Noone was hurt. The incident is under investigation.” It is thought that the shot was fired as Usackas was walking into his office, and that officials do not know who was responsible or where it came from. Usackas, a former foreign minister of Lithuania, was appointed to his current role last year.— Agencies





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Can Liberals spin victory out of defeat? By Randall Palmer here is still a chance that Canada’s Liberals, lagging in popularity and unable to excite the voters, could end up in power after the May 2 election. The opposition Liberal Party has pledged not to form a coalition government with other parties in Parliament. But even if the Conservatives win the most seats, the Liberals might be able to replace them, constitutional experts say. The issue of who will form the government has come to the fore because of the difficulty of getting a majority in a four-party Parliament, and because Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made talk of a Liberal-led coalition a centerpiece of his campaign. The Conservatives will have first crack at forming a new government if they win more seats than other parties. But opposition parties could bring them down within days if the Conservatives have a minority, as they do at present. Canada’s governor general could then ask Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff to form a government with the backing of other opposition parties, and Ignatieff would become prime minister of his own minority government. “I think it’s perfectly possible,” said Ned Franks, a constitutional expert who used to teach at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “There are scenarios that allow that to happen.” The idea of a coalition has alarmed Canadians in the past, especially those who dislike the concept of doing business with the Bloc Quebecois, a separatist party that does not believe Canada should even exist in its present form. The Liberals nearly pulled such a union together in Dec 2008 under then-leader Stephane Dion, after their worst electoral showing since Canada was founded in 1867. But a high-profile signing ceremony with the Bloc and the leftist New Democrats turned into a public relations nightmare. Harper, his popularity soaring, had Parliament suspended, Ignatieff took over as Liberal leader and the coalition died. Fast for ward to 2011, and unless the Conser vatives win a majority in Parliament, Governor General David Johnston will have to decide what to do if a minority Harper government is brought down after the election. “The governor general then is the main decision maker, and it’s not any ‘evil coalition’ as Stephen Harper likes to portray them,” University of Ottawa constitutional lawyer Errol Mendes said. Mendes finds it difficult to believe any of the opposition parties would back the Conservatives just weeks after rejecting their budget and then voting the government out of power. The New Democrats and the Bloc have both said they are willing to co-operate with other parties. Ignatieff, while ruling out coalitions for now, has left the door open to forming a government if Harper fails to win the confidence of the House of Commons. “Whoever leads the party that wins the most seats on election day should be called on to form the government,” he said at the start of the campaign. He then laid out a scenario in which the party with the most seats fails to win the confidence of the House, and then the next party has a chance to try. “That is our Constitution. It is the law of the land,” he said. In this scenario, the Liberals could win power without a formal coalition, which usually means having cabinet ministers from member parties in the government, if the other opposition parties give them their support. Harper’s opponents note that he appeared to endorse this kind of arrangement in 2004 when he and the leaders of the Bloc and the NDP urged the governor general of the day to “consider all your options” rather than calling an election if the minority Liberal government fell. A minority Conservatives government could also stave off defeat with concessions to the opposition, perhaps by sealing a tax deal with Quebec that has been long in the waiting. So far, nobody is budging. The opposition parties have signaled they could not support the budget if it is the same one that was presented on March 22, and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says nothing is going to change. If a budget doesn’t pass, the government falls. —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.

Stage set for tough Nigerian presidential fight By Nick Tattersall osses for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s party in parliamentary polls suggest he could face a tougher battle than expected in Saturday’s presidential election even though he is still clear favourite. Partial results from last Saturday’s legislative elections show the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with a weaker majority in both houses of parliament, shrinking from more than three quarters to nearer half. There were some highprofile PDP casualties, including the speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, who lost his seat, and the daughter of former president and PDP stalwart Olusegun Obasanjo, who lost her senatorial bid. The ruling party also fared badly in Kaduna, the northern home state of Vice President Namadi Sambo, who is expected to help deliver key northern votes for Jonathan - a southerner - at the presidential polls. “The PDP now knows they have a fight on their hands,” said Kayode Akindele, a director at Lagos-based consultancy Greengate Strategic Partners. The ruling party has dominated politics in Africa’s most populous nation since the end of military rule in 1999. Its candidate has won every presidential race since then and it controls most of the 36 states as well as the legislature. But Nigeria has not held a credible


election since 1999 and the mere psychological impact of the ruling party doing badly for once, rather than winning everything by a landslide, could motivate opposition supporters. “End to dominance” blasted the banner headline of the Next newspaper, under a picture of Bankole. Most observers expect the turnout among the 73 million registered voters to be higher for Saturday’s presidential race than at the parliamentary polls, where many people could not even name their local candidate ahead of the vote. “Clearly Nigerians have made some statements. They have punished political arrogance by voting out some people who may have expected to win easily,” said Otive Igbuzoe, head of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development. Nigerians tend to vote for individuals rather than parties, meaning a poor showing by the PDP at a parliamentary level may not translate directly into weaker support for Jonathan. “The political culture of Nigeria is such that, relatively speaking, political parties are weak and political personalities are strong,” said Antony Goldman of London-based PM Consulting. “Winning at one tier does not necessarily guarantee a party support at another tier,” he said. Jonathan must win a quarter of the votes in at least two thirds of the states to clinch victory in the first round. The

“south-south”, including his home region the oil-producing Niger Delta, and the southeast should be easy sweeps. By contrast the northwest and northeast are likely to swing heavily behind his main rival, ex-military ruler and Muslim northerner Muhammadu Buhari. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, like Jonathan from the largely Christian south, struggled to win a quarter of the vote in those parts of the north in the 2003 elections and history is expected to repeat itself. That leaves the southwestern states around the commercial capital Lagos and north-central states such as Plateau, Niger, Benue and Kogi as key battlegrounds, analysts say. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) - the main opposition party in the southwest - not only held its ground in the parliamentary elections but also won seats beyond its home region, both in the south and north.”That should give (ACN presidential candidate) Nuhu Ribadu a boost,” said Greengate’s Akindele. A more diverse parliament is over time seen strengthening democracy in Nigeria, Africa’s third biggest economy and its top oil and gas producer. “In the next parliament there will be a stronger opposition and that will mean better democratic engagement and scrutiny. The voice of the opposition cannot be drowned out and it should benefit the political process,” said Igbuzoe. But in

the short-term, a more deliberative parliament could slow down the passage of key pieces of legislation including the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), wide-ranging and long-delayed reforms which are key to the mainstay sector’s development. Billions of dollars of investment are on hold until the regulatory framework being changed by the bill becomes clear. The results of Saturday ’s vote increases the pressure on Jonathan’s administration to push the PIB through parliament before the current term ends on May 29, a feat that looks increasingly unlikely now that elections have been moved back by a week, further narrowing the window of opportunity. The bill would likely have to go back to a first reading under a new parliament. New committees in both houses would need to be established to review and harmonise it, meaning it could be 2012 before it see the light of day. But for most analysts such risks are secondary to a sense that Nigeria may be about to pull off its most credible elections in decades and develop stronger checks and balances on the political monopoly of the ruling party. “The strengthening of Nigeria’s democracy is seen as far more important than the potential risk that it might take longer to pass legislation,” said Razia Khan, head of Africa research at Standard Chartered. — Reuters

Ouattara faces new battle rebuilding By Thomas Morfin id of his rival Laurent Gbagbo, captured on Monday, Alassane Ouattara faces a new battle to restore law and order and forge national unity af ter a bloody war in which he enjoyed foreign backing. More than four months after the start of a post-election conflict that saw hundreds killed and a million displaced, Ouattara can finally take up his designated place as leader of the former West African Eldorado. But the nation, plunged into the worst crisis of its history as fighting devastated infrastructure and left Abidjan in the hold of armed youngsters pillaging and sowing terror, may have a hard time reconciling, analysts say. This was especially true as Ouattara, his election victory last November recognised by the international community, finally had to resort to force to claim his crown, assisted by French and UN forces who launched strikes against Gbagbo strongholds. Ouattara “will find it difficult to forge a union or to propose national reconciliation,” said Antoine Glaser, former editor of La Lettre du Continent, a publication specialising in African issues, describing the leader’s predicament as “catastrophic”. “He came


President Alassane Ouattara addresses the nation from the Golf Hotel after Ivorian strongman Laurent Gbagbo was arrested by forces that stormed the bunker where he hung on to power in Abidjan on Monday. — AP to power by the gun and with the support of foreign forces. He was already perceived by some Ivorians as a foreign candidate, viewed as a stranger himself (after 15 years of debate about his nationality),” he told AFP.

Ouattara will also be faced with the urgent and difficult task of restoring law and order in Abidjan and the east of the country, said Rinaldo Depagne of the International Crisis Group (ICG). “People must get back to

normal life fast. Ouattara must give the people security ... so that they can leave their homes and go to the market.” Since pro-Ouattara forces entered the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan on March 31, the

Gbagbo regime’s security apparatus collapsed. Thousands of police, military police and soldiers withdrew, not wishing to rally around the outvoted president. As the capital fell into a security void, the Republican Forces of Ouattara started patrols to restore order, and in some areas daily life tentatively resumed. But the new president’s image as an ex-International Monetary Fund head and a democrat respected by the West, has taken a beating on the back of claims that his forces massacred hundreds of people in capturing the town of Duekoue in eastern Ivor y Coast on March 29. “Having arrived by the gun ... he will have to keep in mind the massacres committed by rebels in the east and in certain areas of Abidjan like Yopougon (a proGbagbo area), where people are already speak ing of settling debts,” said political scientist Michel Galy, a specialist on the Ivory Coast. Glaser pointed out that the president-elect’s situation is further complicated by the fact that he is “indebted” to his prime minister, Guillaume Soro, whose disbanded New Forces rebel movement formed the bulk of Ouattara’s Republican Forces. After the victorious battle for Abidjan, “Soro will be viewed as the strongman”, he said. — AFP



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ALTLANDSBERG, Germany: An employee looks out of a window of a bicycle shop and rental station, which has been decorated with some hundred old bikes attached to the front of the building, on April 6, 2011 in eastern Germany. The installation was set up to attract tourists touring the Brandenburg area by bike. — AFP

Syrian forces launch attack on 2 villages Continued from Page 1 From a distance, he saw troops in Baida taking positions on rooftops. He said residents in Baida told him by telephone that two people were shot and wounded and dozens were detained. The government has placed severe restrictions on the media and has expelled reporters. “Security forces and armed men are firing machine guns indiscriminately at the village,” a witness said. “The gunfire against Baida is intense like the rain. At least one person was injured,” another witness told AFP. The villages are several kilometers from the port city of Banias, which the army has sealed off during days of unrest. Security forces killed four protesters in Banias on Sunday. “Security forces and the army continue to assault Banias and we know what they are preparing for us,” said Anas Al-Shuhri, one of the leaders of anti-regime protesters. “There is a shortage of bread in the city, electricity is cut and the majority of phone lines are too,” he added. Abdelbasset, an electrician, told AFP the situation was “extremely bad”. “The army was redeployed outside the city and the security forces and shabbiha (regime agents) conducted a number of arrests. The town is dead, shops are closed,” he

said. “Banias is surrounded by tanks, no one can get in or out. It is like a prison,” said Yasser, a shopkeeper. “We cannot get bread anymore in Banias. Bread supplies were brought from (the city of ) Tartus but that is not enough. The petrol stations are also closed,” he added. Yasser said: “Security forces were responsible for killing soldiers in Banias because they had refused to attack the city,” an account that differed sharply from the official version of events. Preacher Sheikh Mohammed said: “Several families evacuated women and children (to the outskirts of the town), because we are in the Ras Al-Nabee neighbourhood which was targeted by gunfire from Al-Quz neighbourhood. “The bakers of the town do not have enough bread,” he added. Haitham Al-Maleh, a leading Syrian opposition figure in Damascus said residents told him that attackers were using automatic rifles in Baida and Beit Jnad. AlMaleh said villagers have told him there were casualties in yesterday’s attack, but the reports could not be independently confirmed. The White House yesterday called on Syria to respect “universal rights of the Syrian people, who are rightly demanding the basic freedoms that they have been denied”. Instability in Syria has been a blow to US efforts

to engage with Damascus, part of Washington’s plan to peel the country away from its allegiance to Hamas and Hezbollah. Also yesterday, Human Rights Watch said Syrian security forces prevented medical staff from reaching the wounded in at least two towns where security forces clashed with protesters last week. The New York-based group said security forces did not allow ambulances to approach the road to pick up the wounded after prayers last Friday in the southern town of Daraa and in Harasta, near Damascus. Friday marked the single bloodiest day of the uprising, with 37 killed around the country. “To deprive wounded people of critical and perhaps lifesaving medical treatment is both inhumane and illegal,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Barring people from needed medical care causes grave suffering and perhaps irreparable harm.” Outside the Syrian embassy in neighboring Lebanon, dozens of pro-regime activists heckled two women and a man who tried to read a statement urging the Syrian government to listen to demands for change. Police officers protected the three activists and escorted them away from the embassy. — Agencies

Mubarak hospitalized with heart problems Continued from Page 1 They scuffled with supporters of Mubarak amid a massive security presence. El-Guindi said Mubarak was being investigated over his role in the violence against protesters during the uprising. The investigation into corruption charges would be carried later by the Justice Ministry’s anti-corruption department. An investigation of Mubarak’s son, Gamal, is also underway in Sharm elSheikh, the minister said in comments carried by Egypt’s state news agency. A security official at the hospital said both father and son were questioned in the hospital suite. Earlier, a security official said that both sons, Alaa and Gamal were being questioned in the south Sinai capital of Al-Tor, but headed back south to Sharm el-Sheikh after hearing their father had gone into intensive care. State television reported that Mubarak had refused to eat or drink since he received news yesterday morning that he was to be questioned. Deciding on the site for the interrogation was a dilemma for the authorities who wanted to grant the ailing president a degree of privacy and security. Two security officials said Mubarak arrived under heavy police protection to the main hos-

pital and, according to two doctors in the hospital, he stepped out of his armored Mercedes unaided and was taken to the presidential suite in the pyramid-shaped building. Asked if Mubarak was in good health, hospital director Mohammed Fathallah replied: “Somewhat.” The state-owned daily Al-Ahram, citing sources in Sharm elSheikh, said on its website that Mubarak had gone to hospital “under the pretext of being unwell in order to avoid facing questioning.” Mubarak has been suffering for a number of ailments and underwent gallbladder surgery in Germany in March last year. He has kept a low profile since he was ousted, living on his compound in Sharm el-Sheikh. He was banned from traveling and his assets have been frozen. Many of his senior aides have already either been questioned or detained pending investigations. Egypt’s state TV reported that Safwat El-Sherif, a senior aide of Mubarak and one of the most powerful men in his regime, was ordered detained for an additional 15 days pending investigation into his role in attacks on protesters during the uprising. El-Sherif had already been remanded into custody for 15 days pending corruption investigations. — Agencies

3 on trial in Bahrain over spying for Iran Continued from Page 1 Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), which aims to increase security cooperation with the Middle East. Tense ties between Gulf Arab states and Iran were exacerbated after the mid-March intervention of a Saudi-led Gulf force in Sunni-ruled Bahrain where security forces crushed a Shiite-led pro-democracy uprising. The intervention sparked a war of words between various Gulf Arab states and their Iranian neighbour, with both sides trading accusations of meddling in Bahrain, and Arab states alleging Iranian interference in Kuwait. The aim of the NATO mission, which is called “Operation Inas Bahr”, or “Friendly Seas”, is “to promote practical military cooperation with the countries of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative,” said assistant staff officer Lieutenant Giampiero Sanna of the Italian navy. It is “an excellent opportunity for military dialogue as a means to enhance understanding and promote cooperation,” a handout on the operation said. Lieutenant Anastasios Soulas, an officer on the Greek frigate HS Spetsai, the force’s flagship, said the mission was planned long before uprisings that began in Tunisia and spread to other Arab states including Bahrain had even begun. “This kind of trip had to be prepared a long time ago, a long time before all of these things,” Soulas said. “What we can tell you for sure is that all these countries have given us a very warm welcome, and they have all done their best to enhance this kind of cooperation,” he said. Various Western states, especially leading NATO member the United States, also have tense relations with Iran, accusing the Islamic republic of namely of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and backing militants in Iraq. Hulking military-grey US-flagged support ships from a separate force were also in Dubai’s Jebel Ali port, with machine-gun armed patrol boats marked US

Navy standing guard. The US Fifth Fleet has roughly 40 ships, including warships, coast guard and support vessels in its area of operations, which includes the Gulf, a spokesman said. Mines in the Gulf posed a significant risk to both military and civilian ships during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, during which the United States and various Arab countries especially Saudi Arabia, backed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The mining of the Strait of Hormuz off Iran, one of the most important transit points for oil in the world, remains a nightmare scenario for the oil-rich Gulf Arab states, the United States and other Western countries. The five NATO vessels set out from Crete on Jan 22 and sailed through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to Bahrain, Kuwait, and then the United Arab Emirates, Soulas said. They will head back through Suez on May 5. He said that other stops were made along the way for logistics and to provide rest for the crew, but the official visits were limited to those three states. The force’s several hundred Greek, Spanish Italian and German sailors set off for shore leave in Dubai after their April 10 arrival in the glitzy Gulf emirate, but they will be back to work for exercises with the UAE navy. “During our visit to the United Arabian Emirates, we’ve planned a demanding program... with the UAE navy consisting of combined exercises” Captain Georgios Pelekanakis, the NATO force’s commander, said in a statement. The NATO mine-sweeping force is currently made up of the HS Spetsai, which is not designed to counter mines but instead provides security for the four much smaller, lightly armed mine-sweeping ships one each from Greece, Spain, Italy and Germany. The force usually operates in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, said Sanna, adding that in addition to locating mines, the minesweepers can also identify shipwrecks and contribute to archaeological research. — Agencies

Popular Bloc lashes out at prime minister Continued from Page 1 ambassador to Kuwait on May 5, 2010 and Roudhan was quoted as telling the ambassador that there were no accusations against Iran “although investigations had been completed by that date” with members of the spy cell. The lawmaker said he was ready for an open debate with Roudhan over the issue, adding that based on the details of the court verdict, the Iranian labour attache was responsible for the spying rings. Another member of the Bloc MP Khaled Al-Tahous also strongly criticized the running of the country, singling out corruption, corrupt media, expired meat, use of political money

and the attack on the constitution under the previous six governments of Sheikh Nasser. Tahous detailed a number of key issues he claimed that Sheikh Nasser’s governments have failed to deal with, adding that their opposition to Sheikh Nasser is not based on personal issues but matters of public interests and the way to manage the country. The Popular Bloc has vowed it will file to grill Sheikh Nasser as soon as he forms the new government, his seventh since Feb 2007, over allegations of corruption. A number of MPs opposed to Sheikh Nasser held a meeting late Sunday night at the diwaniya of MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei to discuss ways to deal with the new government of Sheikh Nasser, which

is not expected before two weeks. None of the six members of the liberal National Action Bloc attended the meeting because it was held outside the Assembly. In another development, liberal MP Abdulrahman Al-Anjari sent a series of questions to Roudhan about Kuwait’s plans to set up nuclear plants to produce electricity. He asked about the reason for Kuwait resorting to nuclear power and if the decision was based on studies and research. Anjari asked about the funds spent so far on the nuclear program and the expected cost of the program and demanded information about the deals signed by the government with foreign countries.



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sp orts Berlusconi targets Ronaldo MILAN: AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi plans to bid for Real Madrid’s former world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo if his side win the Serie A title, the Italian prime minister has said. The Portuguese has never indicated a wish to leave the Bernabeu but that has not deterred colourful Berlusconi, often accused by opponents of making outlandish bids for political popularity, from making the pledge on Italian TV late on Monday. “If we win the scudetto then the next transfer window will see us add one or two great players, and one of those could be Ronaldo,” Berlusconi said. “If we were able to add Ronaldo to our squad I think it would please everybody. Sometimes dreams come true.” Milan are three points clear in Serie A with six games left as they bid for a first scudetto since 2004. —Reuters

Ten charged in game-fixing SAN DIEGO: Ten people, including two former basketball players and a former assistant coach at the University of San Diego, have been indicted in connection with a scheme to fix games since 2008, federal prosecutors said on Monday. The defendants were charged in the federal grand jury indictment with scheming to fix University of San Diego Toreros basketball games by bribing players and then betting on the games in Las Vegas. All 10 defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit sports bribery, conduct an illegal gambling business and distribute mari-

juana. The indictment charged that the profits from selling marijuana and betting on the games were used to fund further dealing and bribing. Among those charged were former Toreros players Brandon Johnson and Brandon Dowdy, and former assistant coach Thaddeus Brown. “These are very serious allegations and the university is fully cooperating with the investigation,” University of San Diego President Mary Lyons said in a statement, adding the school had contacted the National Collegiate Athletic Association to inform it of the situation. —Reuters

Carl Lewis jumps into politics MOUNT HOLLY: Olympic track superstar Carl Lewis jumped into a race for New Jersey state Senate on Monday, saying he wanted to help struggling children, families and seniors in the region where he grew up. Lewis, 49, announced that he will be running as a Democrat to challenge incumbent Republican Senator Dawn Addiego in the heavily Republican area about 25 miles east of Philadelphia. “When I run-you can see my record-I run to win,” Lewis told a news conference outside Mount Holly’s historic courthouse. Lewis, a nine-time Olympic gold medalist, has been living back in the state where he grew up since 2005. A political novice, Lewis said he was running to help young people, improve education and aid senior citizens. A detailed platform will be coming soon, he said. “My focus will be on children, on the future,” he said. “We cannot rest until we make sure that our families can afford to live and raise their kids here, that our seniors can remain in their homes and afford their health and pharmaceutical costs.” —Reuters

Rangers beat slumping Tigers

SAN FRANCISCO: Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier hits an RBI single off San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner during the fifth inning of their baseball game. — AP

Giants fall to Dodgers SAN FRANCISCO: Clayton Kershaw shut down the Giants again with his bigbreaking curveball and Rod Barajas homered as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat San Francisco 6-1 on Monday night. Kershaw (2-1) struck out seven, walked two and gave up six hits in 6 2-3 innings, and he hasn’t allowed a run over his last 23 2-3 innings against the Giants. That includes seven scoreless innings on opening day and a complete game last Sept. 14. Andre Ethier had a pair of run-scoring singles and Matt Kemp also had an RBI single in the Dodgers’ four-run fifth against Madison Bumgarner (0-2), started by Barajas’ drive to left-center for his second homer of the year. Pat Burrell broke up Los Angeles’ shutout bid with a solo homer against Mike MacDougal leading off the ninth that hit the left-field foul pole. Reds 3, Padres 2 At San Diego, Chris Heisey hit a tworun homer and Jonny Gomes added a solo shot as Cincinnati spoiled the season debut of Padres ace Mat Latos. Latos had been on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder. He lost his sixth straight start dating to September. The homers got Edinson Volquez (2-0) off the hook after another rough first inning. He allowed two runs, making it nine combined in the opening inning in his first three starts. Volquez allowed only one more hit in the next five innings. He finished with five strikeouts and two walks. Latos (0-1) started strongly with five strikeouts in his first three innings. He got out of a first-inning jam when he struck out Gomes to strand runners on first and second. Cardinals 8, D’backs 2 At Phoenix, Kyle McClellan got his first major-league win as a starter and drove in two runs with a pair of hits. Lance Berkman hit two home runs and Jon Jay added a pinch-hit homer for St. Louis. McClellan (1-0) made it through six

innings allowing a run on seven hits with four walks and four strikeouts. The Diamondbacks came back in their half of the fourth with a run off McClellan. Young doubled and came home two batters later on a single by Melvin Mora. Arizona had runners on first and second with one out in the fourth before starter Barry Enright (0-1) grounded into an inning-ending double play. Cubs 5, Astros 4 At Houston, Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd combined for seven hits, five runs and three RBIs. Castro had three hits and scored three runs, Byrd drove in a pair of runs and Barney hit an RBI triple as the Cubs jumped on the Astros early, building a 50 lead by the fourth inning. Alfonso Soriano drove in two runs with a double in the first. Closer Carlos Marmol got the last four outs to help the Cubs to the win and give him his fourth save. Ryan Dempster (1-2) got his first win of the season, allowing four runs in 6 1-3 innings. Houston starter Nelson Figueroa (0-2) allowed eight hits and five runs in four innings. Rockies 7, Mets 6 At New York, Troy Tulowitzki homered and drove in three runs, and Carlos Gonzalez also had three RBIs. Tulowitzki made a terrific jump throw from shortstop to preserve a seventh-inning tie and Seth Smith reached base four times, including on a triple and a double. The Rockies improved to 7-2, with the only two losses coming in extra innings, to match the best nine-game start in franchise history. Jason Hammel pitched six respectable innings and Colorado took the opener of a four-game series, winning its third straight road game. The R o ck ies are 4 -1 away from Coors Field after going 31-50 on the road last year. Huston Street worked a perfect ninth for his fifth save in five chances. —AP

DETROIT: Alexi Ogando outpitched Justin Verlander before injuring his finger in the Texas Rangers’ 2-0 win over Detroit on Monday. The AL champions improved to nine wins from 10 games, the top record in the majors and matching the best 10-game start in team history. Rangers closer Neftali Feliz retired the first two batters in the ninth inning before Ryan Raburn doubled. The Rangers then intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera, bringing Victor Martinez to the plate as the potential winning run. Martinez grounded out on a 2-0 pitch to end it. Michael Young and Mitch Moreland hit RBI doubles in the seventh inning as Texas equaled the start of its 1989 club. Ogando (2-0) gave up just two hits, walked one and struck four over seven innings in his second start in the majors. His outing was cut short by fluid under a callus on his right index finger. Ogando pitched six scoreless innings last week with a blister on the same finger. Verlander (1-1) lost despite pitching a six-hitter. He also struck out four and walked one in his 119pitch performance. Indians 4, Angels 0 At Anaheim, California, Mitch Talbot took a shutout into the ninth inning, and Asdrubal Cabrera and Matt LaPorta homered to lead Cleveland to its eighth straight win. The winning streak is Cleveland’s longest since a 10-game stretch in August 2008. The Indians, coming off a sweep at Seattle, have started out 4-0 on the road for the first time since 1998 (6-0). Their 8-2 start overall is their best since 2002, when they opened 12-1. Talbot (1-0) came within three outs of his first big-league shutout, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out four. He was lifted after Bobby Abreu led off the ninth with a double on Talbot’s 112th pitch. Vinnie Pestano retired the final three batters in order. Angels starter Tyler Chatwood (0-1) gave up four runs, four hits and four walks in five innings in his major league debut. Rays 16, Red Sox 5 At Boston, Sam Fuld went 4 for 6 with a two-run homer, drove in three runs and fell a single shy of the cycle to lead Tampa Bay. Johnny Damon had three hits, including a solo homer, and three RBIs, and John Jaso and Reid Brignac also drove in three runs apiece for the Rays. Jeremy Hellickson (1-1) gave up two runs, five hits, walked five and struck out one in 5 1-3 innings to earn the win. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, Adrian Gonzalez had a run-scoring triple and Carl Crawford went 2 for 5 against his former team to raise his average to .163. Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2) lasted just twoplus innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits. Tampa Bay sent 10 batters to the plate in the second, scoring six runs on three consecutive two-run hits after the Japanese right-hander loaded the bases with no outs. Athletics 2, White Sox 1 At Chicago, Kurt Suzuki hit a go-ahead home run in the 10th inning as Oakland capitalized on Juan Pierre’s dropped fly ball in the ninth to tie it. The White Sox wasted a dominant pitching performance by Mark Buehrle with their second ninth-inning implosion of the season. Buehrle was lifted after eight scoreless innings and 99 pitches. He allowed only three base runners — none past first base. Matt Thornton, who already had two blown saves in two opportunities, came on and allowed a leadoff double to Andy LaRoche in the ninth. One out later, Daric Barton hit a deep fly that Pierre dropped in the left-field corner, allowing the tying run to score.

DETROIT: Texas Rangers relief pitcher Neftali Feliz (30) throws against the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning of a baseball game. —AP

MLB results/standings Results and standings from the MLB games on Monday. Texas 2, Detroit 0; Tampa Bay 16, Boston 5; Colorado 7, NY Mets 6; Chicago Cubs 5, Houston 4; Oakland 2, Chicago White Sox 1 (10 innings); St Louis 8, Arizona 2; Cleveland 4, LA Angels 0; Cincinnati 3, San Diego 2; Seattle 8, Toronto 7; La Dodgers 6, San Francisco 1. National League American League Eastern Division Eastern Division Philadelphia 7 2 .778 W L PCT GB Florida 5 4 .556 2 Baltimore 6 3 .667 Washington 4 5 .444 3 NY Yankees 5 4 .556 1 NY Mets 4 6 .400 3.5 Toronto 5 5 .500 1.5 Atlanta 4 6 .400 3.5 Tampa Bay 2 8 .200 4.5 Central Division Boston 2 8 .200 4.5 Cincinnati 7 3 .700 Central Division Pittsburgh 5 5 .500 2 Cleveland 8 2 .800 Milwaukee 5 5 .500 2 Kansas City 6 3 .667 1.5 Chicago Cubs 5 5 .500 2 Chicago White Sox 6 4 .600 2 St. Louis 4 6 .400 3 Minnesota 3 6 .333 4.5 Houston 2 8 .200 5 Detroit 3 7 .300 5 Western Division Western Division Colorado 7 2 .778 Texas 9 1 .900 LA Dodgers 6 4 .600 1.5 Oakland 5 5 .500 4 San Diego 4 5 .444 3 LA Angels 5 5 .500 4 Arizona 4 5 .444 3 Seattle 3 7 .300 6 San Francisco 4 6 .400 3.5 Suzuki put the A’s ahead on a two-out solo shot off Jesse Crain (0-1). Tyson Ross (1-0) pitched three scoreless innings in his major-league debut for the win and Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect 10th for his fourth save. Mariners 8, Blue Jays 7 At Seattle, Luis Rodriguez fought off nine pitches from Shawn Camp before delivering a gamewinning single as the Mariners rallied from a seven-run deficit in the final three innings to stun Toronto. Camp (0-1) played only a part in Toronto’s bullpen collapse. Milton Bradley hit a solo home run in the sev-

enth inning and the Blue Jays’ bullpen began to waste away the lead in the eighth. A walk and two singles chased Davis Purcey and loaded the bases. Octavio Dotel walked in two runs and Mark Rzepczynski walked in another before allowing a single to Justin Smoak that scored two and pulled Seattle within one. Michael Saunders led off the ninth inning with a double down the left field line and Ryan sacrificed him over to third. Ichiro Suzuki was intentionally walked and stole second to set up the game winning hit. Josh Lueke (1-0) picked up his first career win. —AP

Barry Bonds waits as jury deliberates SAN FRANCISCO: The jury considering four felony counts against Barry Bonds deliberated without a conclusion for the second day Monday. The eight women and four men, who started their discussions on Friday before a weekend break, was due to resume work yesterday morning. The gap between closing arguments and verdict has grown longer than the gap between Bonds’ record-tying and record-breaking home runs in 2007. He broke Hank Aaron’s home run record on Aug. 7 when he hit No. 756, three days after matching Aaron. Bonds, who also holds the singleseason home run mark of 73, is

charged with three counts of making false statements to a grand jury in 2003 and one count of obstruction of justice. He’s accused of lying when he denied receiving steroids and human growth hormone from personal trainer Greg Anderson, and for saying he allowed only doctors to give him an injection. For those trying to get a peek into the jury’s thoughts, the panel has made requests to rehear two pieces of evidence that both center on the injection count. On Friday, the jurors asked to hear a replay of the 2003 secret recording made by former Bonds business partner Steve Hoskins in which Anderson talks about injecting the slug-

ger. Before the resumption of deliberations Monday, the panel spent 71 minutes hearing a clerk read back the March 31 testimony of Bonds’ former personal shopper Kathy Hoskins — Steve’s sister. She testified that she saw Anderson inject Bonds near the navel in 2002, becoming the only one of 25 witnesses at the trial to claim firsthand knowledge of Bonds being injected. “This was very damaging testimony that contrasted starkly with his denials of steroid use that are the heart of this perjury case,” said legal observer Joshua Berman, a former prosecutor who is now a criminal defense attorney in Washington DC. However, it’s impos-

sible to discern how many of the 12 jurors are focusing on that testimony and whether they feel the injection answer was material, or in layman’s terms, important, to the grand jury’s investigation. To convict Bonds of making a false statement, the jury must find both that what Bonds said was a lie and one that had an effect on the grand jury. Anderson was jailed during the trial because he refused to testify. No witnesses said they personally saw Bonds receive drugs — Kathy Hoskins said she did not ask what was in the syringe Anderson used on Bonds. Now 46, Bonds testified before the grand jury that he never knowingly

used performance-enhancing drugs, and that Anderson told him he was using flaxseed oil and arthritic balm — not designer steroids that were undetectable at the time. Most of the jurors scribbled notes when Hoskins’ testimony about the injection was read back. Bonds, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and blue tie, kept an eye on the jurors during early portions of the reading, then focused on the clerk. Just before the jury finished for the day at 3:45 p.m., lead Bonds lawyer Allen Ruby was in the hallway outside the courtroom, wondering when deliberations would be recessed. — AP



Woods and McIlroy set to flourish after Augusta woes

CHICAGO: (Left-right) Danny Cleary No. 11, Jimmy Howard No. 35, Pavel Datsyuk No.13 and Nicklas Lidstrom No.5 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrate a win in this file photo. —AFP

April brings rain and Red Wings in playoffs NHL Stanley Cup NEW YORK: As familiar as warm weather and rain is an appearance by the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup playoffs. For the past 13 seasons they have been joined by the New Jersey Devils, but that has changed because the one constant team in the Eastern Conference didn’t measure up this year. Detroit’s dominance dates even further: Not since 1990 have the Red Wings sat out the race for the Cup. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom, in his 19th NHL season, has seen it all. Throughout his career, Lidstrom has only worn a winged wheel sweater and has never missed the playoffs. He got a bit of a scare last year when Detroit qualified as only the No. 5 seed. But Lidstrom and the Red Wings still managed to reach the second round with a tough, seven-game series win over the Phoenix Coyotes — their first-round opponent again. “Having been with such a good organization for 20 years, and being part of a winning tradition here, you almost take it for granted,” Lidstrom said of being a playoff staple. “Last year was the hardest one where we really had to focus and get some wins and had our backs up against the wall for pretty much the whole season. “It’s always been fun going into the playoffs. People are always waiting for April to come around for the playoffs.” And why not? Not only have the Red Wings made it a habit to be in the playoffs, they are always a threat to win it all. During this 20-season run, Detroit has captured the Cup four times and been to the finals in two other years. The Central Division champions own the No. 3 seed this time. If they advance past Phoenix again they could pose a serious threat to the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks and the second-seeded San Jose Sharks, who despite being a dominant regular-season team in recent years are still seeking their first trip to the finals. The Canucks, who topped the NHL with a team-record 117 points, have been knocked out in the second round by Chicago in two consecutive years. The Blackhawks rode last season’s win all the way to the Stanley Cup title and will likely have confidence again when they take on Vancouver in the first round. Don’t think that the Canucks haven’t taken notice. “We took a very hard look at the end of the playoffs organizationally about where we were, and we analyzed every element of this team from training staff, medical staff, coaching staff, players, how we handled things as managers,” Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis said. “The experience of losing two years in a row to the same team was one that was very difficult for a lot of people to accept. However, we did it with a team that we don’t think is as competitive as the team we have this year. Overall, we feel more confident this year.” The Blackhawks might be sensing a new lease on life, too, given their fortunate road to the playoffs. Chicago could’ve made it an easy Sunday for the team and its fans by beating the Red Wings at home, but Detroit showed why it is so good this time of year and left with a 4-3 victory. That opened the door for the Dallas Stars to sneak in at No. 8, but with their season on the line they were beaten by already-eliminated Minnesota. The Wild won one more for their home fans and for coach Todd Richards, who was fired

Monday. So, what does this second chance mean for the Blackhawks? The Canucks certainly would like to make their title defense end early. “They definitely got in not the traditional way, but at the end of the day they got in,” said Montreal defenseman Brent Sopel, a member of the Blackhawks last season. “It doesn’t matter how you get in. Good for them. Now you’ve got 16 great teams that are battling, and it’s anybody’s ballgame.” In the other Western matchups, the Sharks will take on the Los Angeles Kings in a rare all-California series, and the Anaheim Ducks will face the Nashville Predators. Back in the East, the Devils had one last thing to play for in their second-tolast game when they took on the New York Rangers with a chance to take their biggest rival out of the playoff picture with them. New Jersey grabbed a pair of one-goal leads, but faded and lost

against Buffalo, one of the hottest teams heading into the playoffs. Boston is back in after winning the Northeast Division and will face No. 6 seed Montreal for the 33rd time and third in four years. The Bruins and Canadiens split the previous two meetings, with Boston winning in a sweep in 2009. But Montreal owns the overall edge, taking 24 of 32 series. Spicing up the already hot Original Six matchup is bad blood created when Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara seriously injured Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty with a hard check that knocked Pacioretty into a padded stanchion supporting a glass partition between the benches. “Everybody in the room knows how we match up,” Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said. “It’s not about all the other stuff that’s taken place or what’s happened this year. It’s about who can win the four games.

AUGUSTA: One of the most riveting final rounds at the Masters left Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy dealing with bitter disappointment on Monday, although they each appear to have bright prospects going forward. Woods, without a tournament win for nearly 17 months, looked like the Tiger of old as he charged into contention over the front nine at Augusta National on Sunday, banishing any thought he might be a spent force. He may have stalled in his title bid after the turn as his putter cooled but his inspired form from tee to green, which sparked trademark Tiger roars across the course, suggested a 15th major victory could be on the immediate horizon. Britain’s McIlroy will almost certainly take longer to come to terms with his major heartache, having suffered one of the worst final-round collapses of all time in a grand slam event. The 21-year-old, touted as a future world number one, led by four strokes going into the last day at Augusta National before tumbling out of contention with an eight-over-par 80 that was almost unbearable to watch. Having produced remarkably mature golf well beyond his years over the first three rounds, McIlroy let a first green jacket slip through his hands as he missed several short putts early on before succumbing to a snap left hook. Yet the brave and honest way in which the Northern Irish prodigy faced up to the media after enduring one of his worst days on a golf course suggested he is a characterful player who will rebound. Despite oozing disappointment, he did not dodge a single question. He openly admitted he had not handled the pressure of the final round very well but believed he would eventually emerge stronger for it. European Tour chief executive George O’Grady felt the curly-haired McIlroy was capable of becoming just as inspirational a figure for golf as 14-times major champion Tiger Woods. “Rory plays an exciting brand of golf,” O’Grady told Reuters. “I think he can be inspirational to so many youngsters around the world on the back of the great young generation we have at the moment. “His golfing brain is outstanding, he plays attacking golf when he needs to, patient golf when he needs to be patient, he’s got the most wonderful personality and he’s unfailingly polite with everybody. “Wherever he goes, he is incredibly popular with all age groups. I believe Rory has the potential to be as inspirational a figure as Tiger Woods still is.” McIlroy, who catapulted into the limelight with a stunning maiden US PGA Tour victory at last year’s Quail Hollow Championship, was astounded by the messages of sympathy showered upon him after his Masters meltdown. “Thank you to everyone for all your kind words and messages of support,” he tweeted on Monday. “I’m a little overwhelmed! Very much appreciated!” Almost to a man, his peers predicted McIlroy would return to the winner’s circle in the big events once he had to come to terms with his last-day collapse at Augusta National. “He’s such a good player, he’s going to win a major some time,” said South African Charl Schwartzel, who lifted the green jacket in scintillating fashion with a birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie finish on Sunday. “Obviously things didn’t go his way. Golf is a really funny game. One moment you’re on top of it and the next it bites you. He’s such a phenomenal player. He’ll

MISSION HILL: US golfer Tiger Woods demonstrates his skill to the young golfers during a golf clinic as part of his Asian tour in Mission Hill Dongguan club house. —AP win one.” British world number three Luke Donald, who chipped in at the last to tie for fourth with Woods and Australian Geoff Ogilvy, said: “My heart goes out to Rory, the best talent in golf in my opinion. “I’m sure his closet will be stuffed with green jackets by the time he is done with the game.” Fellow Briton Ian Poulter added: “Rory will be back in full force quicker than ever. It will be hard to take but it will make him stronger.” Woods, who had been seeking his first major title since the 2008 US Open, knows better than most how Augusta National- with its lack of rough but notoriously difficult greens - can toy with a player. “This golf course baits you,” the 35-year-old American said. “You can get aggressive, you can lose it. Very similar to what Rory (was) doing out there. “That can happen very easily and it doesn’t take much. It’s just one shot here or there and it can go the other way.” Woods has had to emerge from his own personal nightmare, his private life having unravelled in late 2009 amid sordid revelations of his marital infidelities. His marriage ended last August, the same month in which he embarked on the fourth swing change of his professional career, but his revamped game now appears very close to his best. McIlroy, plunged into a golfing nightmare at Augusta National on Sunday in only his third appearance at the Masters, can expect to re-emerge in much brighter light in the same fashion as Woods. —Reuters

S Africa to stage richest golf event

DETROIT: Chicago Blackhawk players celebrate in this file photo. —AP 5-2. That set up New York to get some help that came in the nick of time when Tampa Bay won at Carolina on Saturday night, denying the Hurricanes a chance to lock up the last spot with a home win. So the Rangers will face topseeded Washington in the first round, hoping to avenge a series loss from two years ago in which New York led 3-1. “We’ve been in playoffs,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said of the late-season grind. “It’s been a great experience for the youth of our club. Some of the experiences we’ve gone through I think will help us. This is the next round of the playoffs for us.” The Philadelphia Flyers will look to start a second consecutive run to the Cup finals, this time from the No. 2 position instead of last year’s seventh seeding. The quest starts

It should be a pretty good battle.” The Bruins will be looking to erase memories of last year, when they blew a 3-0 series lead to Philadelphia in the second round and a 3-0 lead in Game 7 at home. “It was a tough situation, but we learned from it and moved on,” veteran Bruins forward Mark Recchi said. “You’ve got to grow from those experiences, and I really believe we did as a team. The guys have the right attitude and hopefully we can continue that way.” The Pittsburgh Penguins might still be without captain Sidney Crosby (concussion) in their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They have played without him and Evgeni Malkin (knee), but could feel the pinch if they have to face the playoffs with this dynamic duo out of action. —AP

NHL to play regular-season games in Europe again TORONTO: The NHL will play four games next season in Berlin, Stockholm and Helsinki. It marks the fifth straight season the NHL will play regular-season games in Europe. The Anaheim Ducks and Buffalo Sabres will meet on Oct. 7 in Helsinki. The New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings meet in Stockholm. The Sabres and Kings will play the following day in Berlin, with the Rangers taking on the Ducks in Stockholm. “It’s going to be very exciting,” said Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers. “To go to Sweden ... that’s going to be very special.” The Sabres-Kings game will be the NHL’s first regular-season game in Germany. The Kings also will play an exhibition game in Hamburg on Oct. 4. The Ducks play an exhibition game on Oct. 4 against the Finnish club Jokerit, the former team of Ducks star Teemu Selanne. In fact, the entire Anaheim schedule seems designed to entice Selanne to play another year. The Finnish Flash, who will turn 41 this summer, is contemplating retirement after 18 NHL seasons despite finishing as the league’s eighth-leading scorer with 80 points. “It’s not going to affect my decision,” Selanne said with a grin. “Obviously it’s a great experience, and (Helsinki) is a great hockey city. I don’t know my own situation yet, but if I’m playing, it’s going to be huge.” Selanne spent three seasons with Jokerit, which plays in a suburb of Helsinki, before he joined the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets in 1992. — AP

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa will stage the richest single tournament in the sport when it launches a new World Golf Championship (WGC) event next year, Sunshine Tour commissioner Gareth Tindall said yesterday. The $10 million Tournament of Hope is to be held from 2012 to 2016. A precise date and a venue have yet to be decided. “The awarding of this WGC event, which has the biggest prize money in professional golf, shows the rest of the world believe we have good stock and a good product here in South Africa,” Tindall told a news conference. The announcement comes after South African Charl Schwartzel’s US Masters victory on Sunday and fellow countryman Louis Oosthuizen’s British Open win last July. The Tournament of Hope will be the second WGC event to be staged outside the United States next year, the other is the HSBC Champions in China. “ There is undoubtedly more respect now for international golfers and especially South Africans,” Tindall added. “ The Federation of Tours began the

World Golf Championships in 1987 but there is only one outside America. There’s no doubt the timing was critical, the opportunity won’t be there for us again. “Never before have we had five players in line for the (2011) Presidents Cup team,” said Tindall. “ We had seven golfers at the Masters, which was the second most of any country behind the United States.” Tindall said the Tournament of Hope could be held at the end of 2012. “There is a date that we’re hoping for in late November but it clashes with other big events,” he said. “This is without doubt the most significant milestone in the history of professional golf in South Africa plus we will be using it to create awareness for Aids and poverty, hence the name Tournament of Hope. “We’re hoping there will be other events around the world at the same time, with World Aids Day on Dec. 1, linked to the same theme, whether they be cycle races or pop concerts or whatever. We want to use this golf tournament as a catalyst.” The Sunshine Tour chief said the

Tournament of Hope signalled a shift in golfing power away from the US. “We’re essentially starting a world tour. It had to come. Prize money is going up but golfers are playing less so the model had to change,” said Tindall. “Australia will certainly want to do what we’ve done and there’s no doubt we’ve done what Europe should have done. “The power has swung to the internationals, for how long we don’t know, but we’ve managed to negotiate a really good deal. It might be a bit of payback for the US Tour.” The new WGC event could mean a change of dates for the Sun City Challenge, a 12-man invitational tournament normally held late in the year. “This will be something a lot bigger and better than the Sun City Challenge and they can either work with us or against us,” said Tindall. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for all parties to benefit. If they apply common sense there’s an opportunity for them to go back-to-back with the WGC event and have a much stronger field as a result.”—Reuters

Rebels without applause despite encouraging start MELBOURNE: Super rugby newcomers the Melbourne Rebels have confounded pundits by winning three games in their debut season, but have yet to walk off the field happy with their efforts, according to coach Rod Macqueen. A 26-25 win over Western Force in their last match before a bye week left them mid-table in the Australian conference as the season’s halfway mark approaches, defying forecasts of a winless first year, while keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. Although their form has buoyed the small minority of rugby fans in the Australian football-obsessed city, their World Cup-winning coach Macqueen was loath to share in the enthusiasm as the Rebels contemplate a season-defining month ahead. “We can’t be happy with where we are at the moment,” said Macqueen, who has steered the Rebels to a 3-4

record after eight rounds including last week’s bye. “We’ve got to aspire to be much better than that and that’s what I want this team to be and that’s what the team is at the moment,” he told reporters near the team’s training base in a leafy inner-city suburb. “We really haven’t come off the field yet satisfied with our performance and I hope the day will come soon where we can actually come back and say we really did everything we really set out to do. “Look, we’re still in development mode, there’s no doubt about that, but if we can keep on improving and (reaching) our milestones every now and then we’ll be happy.” Chief among the Rebels’ transgressions have been their slow starts, and the side was made to labor for their first away win over Perthbased Force after conceding a 15-3 lead in the first quarter. — Reuters



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Rajasthan, Mumbai notch impressive wins in IPL

JAIPUR: Delhi Daredevils’ wicketkeeper Naman Ojha celebrates after taking a catch to dismiss Rajasthan Royals’ Rahul Dravid during an Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match. —AP

World Cup a ‘fillip’ to quake-hit N Zealand SYDNEY: The Rugby World Cup in New Zealand later this year will be a fillip to a nation still reeling from the devastation of the Christchurch earthquake, chief organiser Martin Snedden said yesterday. Just 150 days before the tournament opens on Sept. 9, Snedden said the organisational problems caused by February’s deadly earthquake had been dealt with, although how best to involve the devastated city in the event was still a concern. And while Snedden stressed organisers’ sympathy for the continuing plight of the people of New Zealand’s second city and was certainly not looking for a “crass marketing” dividend, he thought the tournament would come at just the right time.“It will be good timing for New Zealand, it will be a real fillip,” he told Reuters in an interview. “We have gone through a period of shock, we are still going through a period of grieving. We are quite tentative at the moment about outwardly celebrating too much. “I think what will happen as the year goes on, is that people outside Christchurch will gradually get back to normal, and excitement will grow. “And in the end, it’s possible that the earthquake will create an emotional feeling that New Zealanders will want the World Cup to be even more successful than they have previously been thinking. “You look for things that unify, and this is an event that will unify the country.” Snedden said it had not been “rocket science” to decide to relocate the seven matches scheduled to take place in Christchurch once the devastation caused by the Feb. 22 natural disaster, which k illed at least 172 people, became clear. The holders of 170,000 tickets for the matches had been refunded NZ$25 million ($19.5 million) and the redistribution of the games to other cities has been “largely ” well

received, Snedden said. “Financially, we’re not sure of the impact,” he added. “If everything goes our way, it will have very little financial impact, if any. But that is not something we’re able to determine until after the tournament itself. “Emotionally, we’ve got a rugby-mad province that is not directly going to be part of the matches, so somehow we’ve got to find a way of making sure those people do have a proper opportunity to become involved. That’s going to be quite challenging.” A home triumph on Oct. 23 was not essential to the success of the tournament, Snedden said, although New Zealand had been encouraged by India winning the cricket World Cup on home soil under similar pressure to that the All Blacks will be under. “I think from a New Zealanders point of view, that would be the icing on the cake, said the 52-year-old, who played two cricket World Cups for his country. “But from an international point of view, what they want to see is a tournament that does rugby justice on the field and which has a really good feel about it off the field.” Up to 90,000 visitors are now expected to visit New Zealand for the World Cup and Snedden was confident his organising committee was on track to deliver them a tournament to remember. “We’ve made our adjustments to take into account what’s taken place in Christchurch, there’s nothing we’re behind on, he said. “Every single component that we have to put in place is ontrack or ahead of track. “We’ve just got to keep that momentum going over the next 150 days. “This is by far the biggest event we’ve ever hosted, we can’t contemplate failure,” Snedden concluded. “It’s got to succeed and I think it’s heading in that direction.”—Reuters

Samuelson making Olympic trials bid BOSTON: Legendary US marathon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson announced on Monday that she will enter next week’s Boston Marathon, for the first time since 1993, in a possible bid to qualify for the 2012 US Olympic Trials. “This was something I was thinking about since the beginning of the year. I’ve done a lot of 20-mile runs through the course of our long Maine winter,” Samuelson said on a conference call. Samuelson inspired a generation of runners by winning the first Olympic women’s marathon, in Los Angeles in 1984, against a star-studded field. One month short of her 54th birthday she is still an elite performer and will be shooting for a time of two hours forty six minutes or less to punch her ticket to the trials, scheduled to be run in Houston in January. If she qualifies it would be Samuelson’s fifth Olympic trials race, after she swore that the 2008 trials, at age 50, would be her last. Speaking to reporters, Samuelson downplayed the potential for a qualifying time. “I can’t do that to myself. I’m thinking about coming back to Boston

for the first time in 18 years and running on familiar ground,” she said. “I’m not getting any younger ... it would be nice to break 2:50 again.” Samuelson’s daughter Abby, 23, will run the race as well. Samuelson won her first of two Boston Marathons in 1979, when she was a 21-year-old student at Bowdoin College in her home state of Maine. She set a world record in winning Boston again in 1983 in 2:22:43, a time that is still the fourth fastest in the race’s history. Last year’s winner, Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia was more than three minutes slower. “Joan is a running legend and perhaps the greatest marathoner the United States has ever produced,” said Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association. Samuelson is one of only four Boston Marathon champions of either gender who have also won gold in the Olympic marathon. She narrowly missed a trials qualifying time at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2010. The 115th Boston Marathon will take place on April 18.—Reuters

JAIPUR: Shane Warne took two wickets in his first three balls as Rajasthan Royals won a second straight game in the Indian Premier League yesterday, and Sachin Tendulk ar hit 55 to also keep Mumbai Indians per fect in the Twenty20 tournament. Warne won the man- of-the match award after finishing with 217 against Delhi Daredevils at Jaipur. He helped put Delhi in a shaky position at 36-4, however the team recovered to post a challenging total of 151-6 with Shaun Tait also taking two wickets. Venugopal Rao (60 off 40 balls) and David Warner (54 off 44) added 83 for the fifth wicket for Delhi. Johan Botha (39 not out off 32 balls) and Rahul Dravid (38 from 31) ensured Rajasthan won with nine balls to spare. “Johan is such a clever cricketer in the way he bats, bowls and fields,” Warne said of Botha, who scored 67 not out in Rajasthan’s preceding eight-wicket win over Deccan Chargers. “He did a great job for us today batting at No. 3.” Mumbai also won with nine balls to spare despite Bangalore managing a respectable 140-4 with Tillkaratne Dilshan top-scoring on 59 off 52 deliveries and A.B. de Villiers hitting 38 off 36 balls. Lasith Malinga and Kieron Pollard took two wickets for Mumbai. However, an unbroken stand of 110 between Ambati Rayudu (63) and Tendulkar gave Mumbai a nine-

BANGALORE: Mumbai Indians cricketer Sachin Tendulkar bats during an Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match against Royal Challengers. —AP wicket victory. Rayudu smashed nine fours with Tendulkar hitting seven boundaries, finding the fence on either side of the pitch through placement rather than big shots. “Sachin guided me and helped me get the runs today,” Rayudu said. Delhi has now lost both matches, while Bangalore has a 1-1 record. Today, Kings XI Punjab takes on

Chennai Super Kings at Mohali, while new franchises Pune Warriors and Kochi Tuskers Kerala clash in Mumbai. Scores: Rajasthan Royals 152-4 in 18.3 overs ( Johan Botha 39 not out, Rahul Dravid 38), def. Delhi Daredevils 151-6 in 20 overs

(Venugopal Rao 60, David Warner 54, Shane Warne 2-17, Shaun Tait 240). Mumbai Indians 143-1 in 18.3 overs (Ambati Rayudu 63 not out, Sachin Tendulkar 55 not out), def. Royal Challengers Bangalore 140-4 in 20 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 59, A.B. de Villiers 38, Kieron Pollard 225, Lasith Malinga 2-32).—AP

Contador eyes third straight win MADRID: Controversial three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, unbeaten in Spain since the start of the season, continues his warm-up for the Giro d’Italia yesterday in the Tour of Castilla y Leon. The Tour of Castilla y Leon, which he won last year, may be just a formality for the 28year-old Saxobank rider. The Spaniard is in sparkling form ahead of the Tour of Italy on May 7-29, his main objective in the early part of the season, having already won the Tour of Murcia and the Tour of Catalonia this year, after a fourth place in the Tour of Portugal. That followed

the end of his suspension for alleged doping offences. Contador tested positive for a tiny amount of the banned muscle-building substance clenbuterol during last July’s Tour de France, which he went on to win. But he was cleared to compete when the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) in February rescinded an initial decision to hand down a one-year competition ban. It accepted the rider’s claim that he had unknowingly consumed drug-contaminated meat and was therefore not negligent. But the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency

announced separately last month they plan to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne over the acquittal. Contador is free to continue racing until and unless the CAS rules against him. His chief rivals in the Tour of Castilla y Leon, which concludes Sunday, are expected to be his countrymen Igor Anton of Euskaltel and Carlos Sastre of Geox. The most challenging stage comes on Friday from Benavente to Laguna de los Peces, which includes two 1st category climbs, ahead of Saturday’s individual timetrial.—AFP

Japan baseball opens to relief and cheer

CHIBA: Players of the Rakuten Golden Eagles, a Japanese professional team based in Sendai, northeastern Japan, observe a moment of silence for victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami before their baseball game against the Lotte Marines. —AP

CHIBA: Against a backdrop of the deadly earthquake and tsunami and worsening radiation leak, the Japan Pro Baseball season opened to relief, empathy and cheers with the Rakuten Eagles beating the Chiba Lotte Marines 6-4 yesterday. The Eagles’ home of Sendai was one of the hardest hit by last month’s earthquake and tsunami, and they’re unable to use their own badly damaged stadium until April 29. An earthquake in Chiba early yesterday and another felt in the stadium during the game didn’t deter the 22,525 hardy fans who gathered at QVC Marine Field, the home of the Japan Series champions, for the Pacific League opener. Local TV showed people in shelters watching the game, before which there was a moment of silence, and each fan in the Chiba cheering section held up signs of support for the disaster areas which said, “Stay Strong Japan.” “Despite the difficult conditions we are able to open the season because everybody helped us to do it,” said Kazuo Matsui, the Rakuten infielder and former Major League Baseball player. “I want to carry this feeling of appreciation for the whole year by playing baseball. “During training camp, I went to a shelter and I saw people there with energy in their faces. I went there expecting to cheer them up, but instead they cheered me up. That’s why I want to play hard.” Rakuten pitcher Darrell Rasner, another former MLB player, said he felt the public was glad to see the season finally start. “It is a sense of normalcy for them. It’s something that’s ingrained in them and you know I think this is going to be

a healing process,” Rasner said. “This is going to be a great thing for them. Just for them to have something to cheer about, something to be happy about. I am and my teammates are really excited to be a part of this.” Rakuten manager Senichi Hoshino has already said he wants to win the championship this season for the people of Sendai and Miyagi Prefecture. They made an encouraging start. Motohiro Shima hit a tiebreaking three-run home run in the seventh inning for the Eagles. Hisashi Iwakuma (1-0) gave up three runs, one unearned, in 8 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked two. Kazuya Fukuura brought the Marines close with a three-run shot of his own in the bottom of the ninth but the rally stopped there after Iwakuma was replaced by Ryan Speier, who finished off. The Eagles and Marines were playing a preseason game in Akashi when the earthquake-tsunami struck on March 11. Since then, the Eagles have been moving from city to city for preseason games, and gathering support. Hisako Aoyama, a 47-year-old translator who lived in the Tokyo area but supported Rakuten, said, “I want to go to as many games as possible that the Eagles will play in the Tokyo area and I am wearing this (Rakuten colors) to show my support for the team and to cheer up people in the north.” Also, in the Central League, Yokohama beat Chunichi 5-4. Games are usually in the evening but the NPB was scheduling more in the daytime this season to save electricity.—AP

Horner upbeat about Webber’s title challenge LONDON: Mark Webber can be a contender for the Formula One world title this season his Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said yesterday. The 34-year-old Australian has struggled in the first two races of the season in comparison to his German team-mate and defending champion Sebastian Vettel, who has won both, the Australian and Malaysian Grand Prix. However, Horner — who battled last season to deny that the team were favoring Vettel and not his popular team-mate even though Webber led the title race for a large part of the campaign insisted Webber’s fifth place in Australia and fourth in Malaysia were impressive results given the circumstances. “I have no doubts his time will come this season, absolutely,” Horner was quoted as saying on the BBC website. “In difficult weekends he has picked up a fifth (in Australia) and a fourth place, and they will all count at the end of the day.” “Mark’s old enough to know how long the season is, and his points are invaluable,” he added. Horner was especially impressed by how Webber -

a six time Grand Prix winner — came back from 10th position in Malaysia last Sunday to just finish off the podium. “He was 10th at the end of it (the first lap), so we decided to go aggressive with him, and went with a four-stop strategy. He needed to make it work, and his drive was a great recovery”, Horner said. “A combination of strategy and performance nearly got him back on to the podium. Obviously he’ll be disappointed with the start, but I’ve spoken with him and he takes a lot of heart out of his performance. “To only just miss out on a podium after the first lap, he had a great drive. I was really pleased.” Webber is presently equal-third in the standings on 22 points with Britain’s 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton heading into this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. Meanwhile, Formula One driver Nick Heidfeld has written an open letter to Robert Kubica wishing him a speedy recovery from the injuries that gave the German his position this season. Kubica was replaced by Heidfeld on the Renault

team after suffering multiple injuries during a rally crash in February. He also dedicated his third-place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix to the Polish driver. “I printed your logo on the front of my helmet, and the Polish flag on the side. I wanted you to see that and to let you know that I’m thinking of you,” Heidfeld said on his personal website. “I wanted to show your fans that you are a part of Formula 1 and of this team. This 3rd place is also yours!” Kubica underwent seven hours of surgery to save his right hand before operations on his shoulder and leg, and later on his elbow. “During the race I had often been thinking of you. Crossing the finish line, happiness totally flooded my head,” Heidfeld said. “I know what you are thinking right now: ‘Lotus-Renault has built such a wonderful car this year. I want to get back as soon as possible and drive it!’ You can do it. I wish you all the best for your rehabilitation.” Heidfeld, who was enlisted by Renault on short notice, has 13 career podiums but remains winless.—Agencies



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Heat hold off Hawks returned to action, center Nene strained his left groin and missed the second half. The Nuggets said he’s day to day. Stephen Curry and Dorell Wright each scored 27 for Golden State.

ATLANTA: LeBron James scored 34 points as Miami locked up second spot in the Eastern Conference with a 98-90 win over the Atlanta Hawks, who nearly rallied from a 20-point deficit while going with their backups in the four th quar ter Monday night. Miami played its starters all the way, looking to clinch second place behind Chicago in the East. Shortly after beating the Hawks, the Heat got the news they wanted: third-place Boston lost at Washington in overtime. The Hawks went with a makeshift lineup with the fifth seeding already locked up. Atlanta leveled the game at 88 in the closing minutes, but Miami outscored the Hawks 10-2 the rest of the way, with James Jones making two huge 3-pointers — including one that turned into a fourplay when he was fouled by a leaping Josh Powell. Cavaliers 110, Pistons 101 At Auburn Hills, Daniel Gibson scored 17 points, including a five-point play late in the third quarter, as the Cavaliers won a testy game in which two players were ejected after a skirmish. Ryan Hollins and the Pistons’ Charlie Villanueva became entangled with 5:47 left in the game, and appeared to push each other in the face. Both were ejected, and Villanueva had to be restrained as he headed off. Later, Villanueva came out of the Pistons’ locker room and sprinted toward Cleveland’s locker room, but was stopped by police on a loading dock. Magic 95, 76ers 85 At Philadelphia, D wight Howard returned from a suspension to score 19 points and grab 13 rebounds, while Ryan Anderson added 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic. Howard served an NBA suspension Sunday after picking up his 18th technical foul. Jameer Nelson also scored 13 for Orlando, which used a 16-2 run in the third quarter to shake off the Sixers. Elton Brand led the Sixers with 22 points. Philadelphia is stuck on 41 wins and needs one in Wednesday’s finale for its first winning record since 2004-05. Jazz 90, Hornets 78 At New Orleans, CJ Miles and Devin Harris each scored 18 points and Paul Millsap added 16 as the Jazz won for only the second time in 12 games. Chris Paul, who went scoreless for the first time in his career in a loss at Memphis a night earlier, had 15 points. Marco Belinelli, who had 13 points, was the only other starter in double figures for New Orleans, which shot 37.8 percent (28 of 74) while dropping its second straight. The Hornets (46-35), who are already playoff-bound, now hold the eighth seed in the Western Conference, a half game behind Memphis (46-34) and 1 1/2 games behind Portland (46-33). Bucks 93, Raptors 86 At Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings broke free for three straight fast-break scores to give Milwaukee the lead in the fourth quarter, and the Bucks held on to beat

NBA results/standings

Thunder 120, Kings 112 At Sacramento, Kevin Durant scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook had 30 points and nine assists for the Thunder, who won their fifth consecutive game. Oklahoma City (55-26) has clinched the Northwest Division and will be seeded no worse than fourth in the playoffs. It trails Dallas by a game and the Los Angeles Lakers by a half game. DeMarcus Cousins made 18 of 21 free throws and had a career-high 30 points and nine rebounds for the Kings, who have dropped six straight to the Thunder. Marcus Thornton had 21 points and nine rebounds, Beno Udrih also scored 21 and Jason Thompson added 16.

ATLANTA: Josh Smith No. 5 of the Atlanta Hawks passes the ball around LeBron James No.6 of the Miami Heat at Philips Arena. — AFP undermanned Toronto. John Salmons scored 24 points and Jennings added 21 for the Bucks in their final home game of what has been a disappointing season. It may have been the final game at the Bradley Center in a Bucks uniform for Michael Redd, the team’s longest-tenured player. Redd played 14 minutes, scoring two points on 1-for-6 shooting. Jerryd Bayless scored 20 for Toronto in a matchup between two teams eliminated from playoff contention. The injury-riddled Raptors used only eight players.

90 win over Atlanta, guaranteed the Heat will finish second and the Celtics will place third. John Wall had 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists to lead the lottery-bound Wizards in their home finale. Jeff Green scored 20 points and tied his career high with 15 rebounds in his first Celtics star t. Glen Davis also had 20 points. Jermaine O’Neal, who needed the playing time after missing much of the season with a sore knee, had seasons highs in both points (15) and rebounds (13).

Bobcats 105, Nets 103 At Newark, D.J. Augustin hit a jumper with 1.1 seconds remaining, leading Charlotte over New Jersey. Nets guard Sasha Vujacic, who finished with 19 points, hit a long 3-pointer to tie the game at 103 with 10.9 seconds remaining. Augustin, who had 19 points and 11 assists, brought the ball down the floor. With 5 seconds left, he used a crossover dribble to get some distance, then made the 19-foot jumper while falling down. Nets center Brook Lopez, who scored a game-high 31 points, heaved a desperation shot at the buzzer that was wide left.

Mavericks 98, Rockets 91 At Houston, Dirk Nowitzk i had 23 points and 12 rebounds as the Mavericks beat the Rockets and moved a half game ahead of Los Angeles for second spot in the Western Conference. Shawn Marion and Jason Terry scored 21 points each, and Tyson Chandler had 12 rebounds for the Mavs, who snapped a three-game road losing streak by beating Houston for the fourth straight time. Kevin Martin scored 28 for the Rockets, who were eliminated from playoff contention Friday. Terry had a chance to win the game in regulation, but missed the second of two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining. The Rockets missed their first four shots of overtime, and Chandler dunked and Terry hit a jumper from the wing to put Dallas in front to stay.

Wizards 95, Celtics 94 At Washington, Boston didn’t play four of its usual starters, essentially setting aside its bid for a better playoff seed for the chance to give its top players some rest, and the result was an overtime loss to Washington that handed the Miami Heat the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference. With Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo watching from the bench, Celtics coach Doc Rivers made it clear that a fresh crew ready for the postseason was more impor tant that using up energy to try to climb one rung in the standings in the season’s final days. Boston’s loss, combined with Miami’s 98-

Volleyball World Cups could be moved from Japan GENEVA: Japan’s nuclear crisis may force volleyball’s governing body to move two Olympic-qualifying World Cup events out of the country. The International Volleyball Federation said yesterday it could choose new hosts for the November tournaments for men and women when it meets next month. “The key problem is the nuclear radiation,” FIVB President Wei Jizhong told The Associated Press. “If not in Japan, we have to prepare two alternatives. They will need at least five months (to prepare).” The FIVB wants to reassure players about Japanese air quality after nuclear power plants were rocked by the devastating 9.0magnitude earthquake and aftershocks. Japan has hosted all the quadrennial World Cups since they became Olympic qualifiers in 1991. The 2011 men’s event is planned in several cities from Nov. 418 and the women’s edition would begin Nov. 20. Each tournament is designed to allow three countries to qualify for their respective 12-team lineups at the 2012 London Olympics. Wei, who met with Japanese officials last weekend at FIVB headquarters in Lausanne, said they wanted to continue as World Cup hosts. “We have to help Japan, because they are in a difficult situation, and respect their decision. We don’t want to impose,” the Chinese official said. Wei said his organization awaited advice from nuclear experts and would “respect the willingness of the players” to compete in Japan. The aftermath of the March 11 quake and tsunami has also affected the playing plans of Japan’s national teams. The FIVB said Tuesday that Japan’s men have forfeited their right to home matches in the 16-nation World League beginning next month. Japan will play only on the road after being scheduled to host two matches in June against each group rival — Germany (in Koshigaya), Russia (in Nagasaki) and Bulgaria (in Wakayama). The Japanese women’s team is also looking for different home venues to play World Grand Prix matches in August. Volleyball is the latest sport seeing its international schedule affected by the natural disasters in Japan. The figure skating world championships were scheduled for last month in Tokyo but will now be held starting April 24 in Moscow. The gymnastics worlds set to be held in Tokyo in October is another important London 2012 qualifier which could be switched. The International Gymnastics Federation has said it hopes to stay in Japan “without taking any risk for the health of the participants.” Its executive committee will consider options at a meeting next month in San Jose, California. An aerobic gymnastics World Cup event in Tokyo also was postponed until June and moved west to Hamamatsu. Japanese football clubs have postponed home fixtures in the Asian Champions League. — AP

Nuggets 134, Warriors 111 At Denver, J.R. Smith’s 22 points led nine Nuggets in double figures and Kosta Koufos equaled his career high with 18 points in Denver’s win over Golden State. The injury-riddled Nuggets reached 50 wins for the fourth straight season and clinched the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Yet, they’re limping into the playoffs. On the same night forward Arron Afflalo and center Chris “Birdman” Andersen

Suns 135, T’wolves 127 At Phoenix, Channing Frye scored a game-high 33 points and hit a 3-pointer with 2:05 left in overtime to start an 8-0 run as Phoenix handed Minnesota its 14th consecutive loss. Af ter Anthony Randolph missed an 18-footer, Grant Hill scored on a 12-foot jumper with 1:27 remaining to give the Suns a four-point lead. Jared Dudley added a 3-pointer from the right corner with 47.2 seconds left to make it 131-124. Hill had a chance to end the game in regulation but his catch-andshoot 6-footer at the buzzer rolled off the back of the rim to keep the game tied at 121-121. Dudley scored 26 points and Hill had 21 for the Suns, who snapped a twogame losing streak. Michael Beasley scored 16 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and overtime and R andolph added 24 for the Timberwolves, who led by 12 in the first half. — AP

NBA results and standings on Monday. Miami 98, Atlanta 90; Charlotte 105, New Jersey 103; Orlando 95, Philadelphia 85; Washington 95, Boston 94 (OT ); Cleveland 110, Detroit 101; Utah 90, New Orleans 78; Milwaukee 93, Toronto 86; Dallas 98, Houston 91 (OT); Denver 134, Golden State 111. (OT Denotes overtime win) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT GB X-Boston 55 26 .679 X-NY Knicks 42 38 .525 12.5 X-Philadelphia 41 40 .506 14 New Jersey 24 57 .296 31 Toronto 22 59 .272 33 Central Division X-Chicago 60 20 .750 X-Indiana 37 44 .457 23.5 Milwaukee 34 47 .420 26.5 Detroit 29 52 .358 31.5 Cleveland 18 63 .222 42.5 Southeast Division X-Miami 57 24 .704 X-Orlando 51 30 .630 6 X-Atlanta 44 37 .543 13 Charlotte 33 48 .407 24 Washington 23 58 .284 34 Western Conference Northwest Division X-Oklahoma City 55 26 X-Denver 50 31 X-Portland 47 33 Utah 38 43 Minnesota 17 64 Pacific Division X-LA Lakers 55 25 Phoenix 39 42 Golden State 35 46 LA Clippers 31 50 Sacramento 24 57 Southwest Division X-San Antonio 61 19 X-Dallas 56 25 X-Memphis 46 34 X-New Orleans 46 35 Houston 42 39 X - clinched playoff spot

.679 .617 .588 .469 .210

5 7.5 17 38

.688 .481 .432 .383 .296

16.5 20.5 24.5 31.5

.763 .691 .575 .568 .519

5.5 15 15.5 19.5

DENVER: Nuggets center Kosta Koufas (left) guards Golden State Warriors forward Jeff Adrien in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, —AP

Federer routs Kohlschreiber MONACO: Roger Federer started his clay-court season yesterday by dispatching Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-2, 6-1 with precise shot-making in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters. The Swiss star, seeded second after Novak Djokovic’s withdrawal, slammed forehand winners and performed exquisite drop shots and lobs on the run that few other players can make look so easy. “Clearly a good start for me into the clay-court season,” Federer said. “I was able to do all the things I was hoping to. I was consistent; consistently dangerous, too. I felt well in the offense, and in the defense I was fine.” He outplayed Kohlschreiber from the start, breaking his serve to begin both sets and wrapping up the win in only 50 minutes. Kohlschreiber’s dejected body language showed he knew it was all over after only a handful of games. Federer, who has lost to top-ranked Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo final from 2006 to 2008, had Kohlschreiber scampering helplessly around center court with a mixture of shots that were beyond the German’s reach. “I managed to vary the game well and not make too many mistakes,” said Federer, whose only title win this year was at the Qatar Open in

January. The 16-time Grand Slam champion broke Kohlschreiber twice in each set, saved the only break point he faced with an ace, and sealed victory with his fifth ace of the match to improve to 6-0 against the German. Federer, who trained with Kohlschreiber last summer, has only ever lost one set to him — in a tiebreaker at Wimbledon two years ago. “I think he can play a lot better than he did today,” Federer said. “Sometimes there are opponents it works really well against. Others, you realize you have to work the point differently. I know how good Philipp is and how heavy his ball actually is. I was actually quite surprised I was having no problems with his serve.” Federer clinched the opening set when Kohlschreiber sent a forehand long. Against the backdrop of the glittering Mediterranean sea, his play continued to sparkle in the second set. He hit a lob on the run from the back of the court, then sprinted to the net to retrieve the return and flick a winner that wrong-footed Kohlschreiber in the sixth game. Former third-ranked Ivan Ljubicic also reached the third round after beating 12th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6 (2), 6-4, while big-serving

MONACO: Roger Federer of Switzerland returns the ball to Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany during their match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament. — AP

Canadian Milos Raonic downed Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 7-5. “I was a break down in both sets, but he struggled to close it down,” Ljubicic said. “Of course, he’s not a patient player. He goes for his shots. On clay, he gives you a little bit more (opportunities) than normal.” Tsonga, who is playing without a coach since splitting from Eric Winogradsky, rued his missed chances. “I am very disappointed,” Tsonga said. “I had the feeling I was playing extremely well for a set and a half.” Nadal starts his clay-court season on Wednesday with a second-round match against Jarkko Nieminen of Finland. “He’s clearly the overwhelming favorite for this tournament, even though I haven’t seen him play yet,” Federer said. “Look, we all know how good Rafa is on this surface. He rarely struggles against guys out of the top 20.” In first-round action, 16th-seeded Gilles Simon of France beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-3, 6-2, Feliciano Lopez of Spain rallied to beat Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), and Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina downed Victor Hanescu of Romania 3-6, 75, 6-1. Fabio Fognini of Italy, Guillermo Garica-Lopez, Alber t Montanes and Pere Riba of Spain also advanced to the second round. — AP

MONACO: Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, returns the ball to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, during their match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament. — AP




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Real ready to dispatch Spurs LONDON: Real Madrid should complete the formality of eliminating Tottenham Hotspur from the Champions League today to set up a probable semi-final against archrivals Barcelona. Real travel to White Hart Lane brimming with confidence after

licly at least, has paid Spurs and English soccer the greatest respect by saying only an English team could overturn a four-goal deficit. If that is true, then that club are Spurs, who have dazzled in their debut season in the Champions League with some stunning fight-

LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp answers a question during a news conference at the White Hart Lane stadium. —AP demolishing Spurs 4-0 in the first leg of their quarter-final last week, while Barca go to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine 5-1 up. Barring the most unlikely of events, Real and Barca will meet each other in European competition for the first time since 2002. Real coach Jose Mourinho, pub-

backs and re-kindled a flickering light from the past. After Manchester United, Spurs were English soccer’s trailblazers in Europe in the early 1960s when they became the first British side to win a European trophy, beating Atletico Madrid 5-1 in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1963.

A year earlier Spurs reached the semi-finals of the European Cup when their manager Bill Nicholson, paying his respects to the all-conquering Real team of Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas, decided his team should change to an all-white kit for European games. Real, some years later, became the first away team in 24 years ever to win a European tie at White Hart Lane when they beat holders Spurs 1-0 in the UEFA Cup in 1985 — and are easily equipped to score another win today. However, although Spurs are almost certain to go out, they will not go down without showing the spirit that has been a feature of their Champions League adventure which ended almost before it started back in August. Spurs were 3-0 down after 28 minutes of the first leg of their qualifying playoff against Young Boys in Berne before losing 3-2 and then qualifying for the group stage with a 4-0 win in the second leg in London. In the group stage they were losing 4-0 at halftime to holders Inter Milan before a Gareth Bale hat-trick in the second half pulled the score back to 4-3. Spurs then beat Inter 3-1 in the return in London. Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said: “It has been a great experience so far and I am sure it will be a great experience on Wednesday. We will give it our best shot and see what happens.” They will have to do that without striker Peter Crouch, sent off last week, while Real Madrid will be without the suspended Pepe. Mourinho, though, can also call on Karim Benzema in attack after his recovery from an injury he suffered playing for France, and he could replace Emmanuel Adebayor, whose two headers last week set Real on their way to their emphatic win. —Reuters


GERMANY: Internazionale’s Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands (left) and Yuto Nagatomo of Japan exercise during their training session. —AP

Schalke eye semi spot as winning habit returns BERLIN: Schalke 04 will be in buoyant mood when they aim to complete a stunning Champions League upset against holders Inter Milan yesterday. New coach Ralf Rangnick has injected a winning mentality since taking over, masterminding a sensational 5-2 victory in the San Siro and erasing the club’s Bundesliga relegation fears with a win against VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday. “We have taken a lot of confidence with our win against Wolfsburg,” defender Benedikt Hoewedes said after the win against the club managed by former coach Felix Magath. “Now we have the necessary calm for the game against Inter.” However, he warned that there was still work to do before they could book their place in the semi-final against either Manchester United or Chelsea. “Inter will most certainly try to reverse the result somehow and their front line is outstanding, that is no secret,” said Hoewedes, who is again expected to be partnered in central defence by Joel Matip instead of Christoph Metzelder. Schalke have now won all three games since Rangnick replaced Magath late last month. Rangnick will likely use 19-yearold defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos in a holding midfield role just as he has done in the past two matches, while Brazilian Edu, who scored twice in the first leg, should again partner Raul up front. Inter restored some pride after an awful week by beating Chievo 2-0 in Serie A on Saturday but the holders know they

have an almost impossible task in overturning Schalke’s first leg advantage when they travel to Gelsenkirchen. Striker Samuel Eto’o has not given up hope though, according to coach Leonardo. “Inside I believe that anything is possible,” the manager told reporters. “I believe it and the players believe it too. Eto’o perhaps believes it more than anyone. “He has plenty of comeback tales and he has played a part in lots of them. He told us all about them and they were great to hear.” Leonardo had previously said it was “unrealistic” to expect his side to turn things around but Inter still plan to go and hold their heads up high as they all but certainly wave goodbye to their cherished trophy which took 45 years to regain. Inter’s Argentina defender Walter Samuel has been included in their squad after missing the last five months because of a cruciate ligament injury. Doctors had expected the centre back to be out for the season after reconstructive surgery but the 33-year-old, who suffered a similar problem in 2007, has quickly recovered having collapsed to the ground in agony against Brescia in November. Playmaker Wesley Sneijder was included in the squad despite a bout of flu while Cristian Chivu, sent off in the 3-0 derby loss to AC Milan earlier this month which looks to have cost Inter a sixth consecutive scudetto, is banned following his red card in the first leg but Lucio is available after serving a European suspension. —Reuters

LONDON: Manchester City’s Adam Johnson (right) vies for the ball against Liverpool’s Fabio Aurelio during their English Premier League soccer match. —AP

Liverpool crush Man City Liverpool 3

Man City 0 LONDON: England striker Andy Carroll scored his first goals for Liverpool with a double in a 3-0 defeat of fourth-placed Manchester City on Monday to maintain their faint hopes of Champions League football next season. Carroll, the most expensive English player after his 35 million pound ($57.28 million) transfer from Newcastle in January, lashed in the opener from the edge of the box after 13 minutes and added his second shortly after Dirk Kuyt’s strike. City’s first half went from bad to

worse after striker and captain Carlos Tevez hobbled off with a hamstring injury and is set to miss the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United on Saturday. Kuyt slotted the ball neatly into the net on 34 minutes before Carroll’s second, a header from a Raul Meireles cross, left Liverpool in sixth place on 48 points with six games remaining. City remain fourth on 56 points from 32 matches. “The fans have been fantastic ever since I’ve been here,” a beaming Carroll, who made his debut against United on March 6 after a long spell out with injury, told Sky Sports. Fellow forward Kuyt said the signing of Carroll and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez in January had made a huge difference to Liverpool. “It makes it a lot easier if you get

more quality in the team,” the Netherlands forward said. “We were very happy with the signings of Andy and Luis and I think you can already see the quality.” Liverpool will now seek to beat Tottenham to fifth place, and possibly even City to fourth, though Kuyt said the task would be a difficult one. “We like to look up to fifth place. I know it’s very difficult but we have to try,” he said. An apologetic Roberto Mancini said his team would put the defeat out of their minds ahead of the FA Cup derby, Man City’s last realistic chance of silverware this season. “It’s important to forget this and we prepare for the semi-final,” the Italian said. “Tonight I made a mistake, it’s my fault. I’m very sorry for the fans. “We conceded a lot of chances in the first 20 minutes, after that we played.” —Reuters

FIFA committee takes over Bosnia federation GENEVA: FIFA yesterday set up a committee to take over the running of Bosnian football and resolve rifts that led to Bosnia Herzegovina’s suspension from international football this month. The six strong normalisation committee will immediately cut off the old tripatrite leadership by May 26 and reform the country’s football federation by the end of November, world football’s governing body said in a statement. FIFA and European governing body UEFA suspended Bosnia Herzegovina from international and European football on April 1 after the country’s federation (NSBIH) failed to adopt statutes that would lead to a single-member presidency. “ The FIFA Emergency Committee has decided today 12 April 2011 to appoint a normalisation committee in order to solve the problems faced by the Football Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FFBH),” FIFA said. “After discussions with various stakeholders and following consultation with UEFA, a six person normalisation committee with football personalities from Bosnia-Hercegovina has been established and put in place with immediate effect.” “The normalisation committee acts immediately as football federation of Bosnia Herzegovina executive committee as well as FFBH emergency committee,” it added. European and world footballing chiefs have demanded that NSBIH’s ethnic-based tripartite presidency-consisting of a Croat, a Muslim and a Serb member-be replaced by a single president, to overcome divisions that blocked decision making. Bosnia are currently involved in qualifying for the 2012 European Championships to be held in Poland and Ukraine, playing in Group D. Their next game is against Romania on June 3. Since the 1991-1995 war, Bosnia consists of two entities-the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serbs’ Republika Srpska. Apart from the joint football federation, founded in 2002, each semi-autonomous half also has a federation of its own. In a first phase the normalisation committee will hold a general assembly by May 26 to adopt new statutes for the federation and cut off the old leadership that had opposed them. FIFA said it will “ensure that all connections/relationships with any members of the ‘former’ FFBH leadership are cut immediately with regard to the decision-making in financial, administrative, sporting and other matters” The committee would also map out improvements and take steps to “fur ther improve” the Bosnian federation’s finances, including the risk of bankruptcy according to football’s governing body. In a second phase, it will hold new elections to appoint federation officials and bodies by November 30, who would then resume control of Bosnian football. —AFP

NAGOYA: Japan’s Nagoya Gampus midfielder Mu Kanazaki (right) scores a goal while UAE’s Al Ain goalie Ismail Rabee attempts a save during the Asian Champions League group F match. —AFP

Nagoya thump Al Ain AFC Champions League TOKYO: Nagoya Grampus notched their first AFC Champions League win of the season with a thumping 4-0 home victory over 10-man Al Ain yesterday. Midfielder Mu Kanazaki scored twice to give the J-League champions a much-needed three points at the Mizuho Athletic Stadium, in a game rearranged from March 15 following Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. The home side started brightly, with midfielder Yoshizumi Ogawa hitting the bar in the third minute before Kanazaki opened the scoring in the 27th minute only Nagoya’s second goal in this year’s competition. Al Ain came close to an immediate reply a minute later when an unmarked Elias received the ball just outside the box, but his shot sailed wide. A Kanazaki header doubled Nagoya’s lead in first-half injury time before Al Ain midfielder Brahima Keita turned the ball into his own net on 61 minutes. There was more misery to come for the UAE side as defender Fares Al Saadi was sent off for bringing down Jungo Fujimoto just outside the area after 76 minutes. The midfielder picked himself up to curl the resulting free kick leftfooted into the net. Af ter losing 2-0 away to China’s

Hangzhou Greentown and drawing at home against FC Seoul, Nagoya coach Dragan Stojkovic said he was pleased with the improvement in his side’s performance. “It was important for the team to show our character and we proved that we have the quality with our good play,” he said. Next up for Nagoya is a testing trip to group leaders Seoul, unbeaten in three Champions League fixtures so far this season, while Al Ain play Hangzhou at home. Both matches are scheduled for April 19. —AFP

Matches on TV (Local Timings) UEFA Champions League Tottenham v Real Madrid 21:45 Al Jazeera Sports +3 Al Jazeera Sports +4 Schalke v Inter Al Jazeera Sport +5


Heat hold off Hawks in NBA action

Rajasthan, Mumbai notch impressive wins in IPL




Real ready to dispatch Spurs in Champions League Page 19

LONDON: Manchester United’s Mexican forward Javier Hernandez has a goal ruled offside during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match against Chelsea at Old Trafford. — AFP

MANCHESTER: Manchester United powered into the semi-finals of the Champions League here yesterday, downing Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford to clinch a 3-1 aggregate victory. Goals from Mexican striker Javier Hernandez and South Korean international Park Ji-Sung either side of a lone Chelsea effort from Didier Drogba clinched a deserved victory for United in front of 74,672 fans. The win put Sir Alex Ferguson’s side into a semi-final against either Schalke 04 or holders Inter Milan, who play each other today. United, leading 1-0 from last week’s first leg at Stamford Bridge, were worthy victors against a Chelsea side who struggled to match their opponents’ precision in the final third. Defeat piled the pressure on Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, who in all probability will see his

team finish the season without a trophy. Chelsea’s misery was summed up by Ancelotti’s decision to remove £50 million striker Fernando Torres at half-time after another lacklustre contribution from the Spaniard, still goalless after 11 hours since joining the club. An open first half saw Chelsea, lining up in their more familiar 4-3-3 formation, enjoy plenty of possession and territory without ever really threatening United’s goal. Chelsea’s best chance came after 15 minutes, when a surging run from Florent Malouda, operating on the left side of a front three with Torres and Nicolas Anelka, took him deep into United territory. The Frenchman threaded his pass through to Frank Lampard but the England midfielder was unable to get a clean shot off and his low effort

lacked the power to trouble Edwin van der Sar in the United goal. United had the ball in the net on 26 minutes when an exquisite curling cross from the right from Wayne Rooney was turned in by Hernandez, the young Mexican stooping to head home only to be given marginally off-side. At the other end, Anelka had alarm bells jangling in the United defence when he pounced on a misclearance from Nemanja Vidic. Fortunately for United, van der Sar was on hand to snuff out the danger. An increasingly niggly opening spell saw three Chelsea players find their way into referee Olegario Benquerenca’s book, Ramires, Malouda and John Terry all picking up yellow cards against a lone caution for United’s John O’Shea. Two minutes from half-time United got the

goal that their more incisive play merited. A lovely ball from O’Shea saw Ryan Giggs race into the Chelsea area and the veteran’s low cross found Hernandez who buried from point-blank range. Ancelotti had clearly seen enough of the misfiring Torres for one night, and Chelsea came out for the second half with Drogba at centreforward. Drogba did not take long to make more of an impression than Torres, turning his marker and sending a low shot flying just wide on 56 minutes. Moments later Patrice Evra was booked for wrestling the Ivorian striker to the ground on the edge of the area. Yet Drogba’s arrival could not alter the fundamental inferiority of Chelsea’s approach work, and again it was United who

Barca ease into semis DONETSK: Barcelona eased into the semi-finals of the Champions League yesterday, Lionel Messi scoring the only goal against Shakhtar Donetsk in their quarter-final second leg match to complete a 6-1 aggregate success with a Spanish record 48th goal of the season. Barca, champions in 1992, 2006 and 2009, will now meet either bitter rivals Real Madrid or Tottenham in the last four after Messi made the difference just two minutes before the break. Messi moved to the head of the goal scoring charts in this season’s tournament by breaking the deadlock at the Donbass Arena, firing in low and left-footed. A deft flick almost saw the Argentine double the advantage on the night to give Shakhtar, seeking to regroup after a weekend home loss to Obolon, even more of a mountain to climb after a 5-1 romp for the Catalan club in the Nou Camp. Yet the Ukrainians had enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges despite being without captain Dario Srna owing to an injured thigh while Olexandr Kucher and former Barca defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy were also on the casualty list and left back Razvan Rat was suspended. However, Barca weathered the early storm and Messi’s riposte deflated their hosts. Barca, beaten in the semis last season by eventual winners Inter Milan, themselves had to rejig their starting eleven as they targeted a likely semi-final with bitter rivals Real Madrid. Coach Pep Guardiola drafted Thiago Alcantara, Andreu Fontas and Jonathan dos Santos into his squad with Eric Abidal, Carles Puyol and Bojan Krkic all injured, while midfield star Andres Iniesta missed out through suspension. Dutch forward Ibrahim Afellay was handed a starting berth on the right flank in place of groin strain victim Pedro with David Villa and Messi spearheading matters in attack. Barca were keen to avoid any further injury worries with this weekend bringing a key league clash against Real whom they lead by eight points. Avoiding defeat in that game will leave Barca with a hand on the championship trophy — but Guardiola will be under even more pressure to ensure that Real are sent packing in the semis. The latter first have to dispose of Tottenham in today’s semi-final return having triumphed 4-0 in Madrid. Shakhtar, coached by Romanian Mircea Lucescu, who surprisingly left Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho off his starting selection but did pick Luiz Adriano up front, fought gamely after the break but were unable to force their way back into the tie as Barca cantered on.—AFP

looked likeliest to score. Nani forced a smart save from Petr Cech on 68 minutes with a curling shot, and Hernandez should have grabbed a second when he headed a teasing Rooney cross wide a minute later. Chelsea’s problems deepened on 70 minutes when Ramires followed through on Nani to pick up his second yellow and be sent off. Yet just as Chelsea looked dead and buried, Drogba gave Chelse a flicker of hope with a fine goal on 77 minutes, latching on to a through ball from Michael Essien, controlling with his chest and drilling in to make it 11. Thoughts of a Chelsea Houdini act were short-lived however, and United made it 2-1 on the night a minute later when Park latched on to a lovely ball from Giggs and swept past Cech. — AFP

Celtic stretch SPL lead

DONSTSK: Tomas Hubschman (right) of FC Shakhtar fights for a ball with Lionel Messi (left) of FC Barcelona during UEFA Champions League, quarter-finals, second leg football match. — AFP

Messi sets Spanish scoring record DONESTK: Barcelona’s Argentine wizard Lionel Messi set a new club record yesterday, netting his 48th goal of the season in the 1-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk which took his side through to the Champions League semi-finals. Messi’s first half effort not only completed a resounding 6-1 aggregate success and gave him his tournamentleading ninth strike of the campaign but also moved him past the previous club mark of former star Ronaldo, who managed 47 in the 1996-97 season, his sole campaign in the Catalan club’s colors. If he can score again — and Barca’s next match is against Real next weekend — he will equal the all-time Spanish record held by Real’s late Hungarian legend

Ferenc Puskas, achieved in 1959-60. Messi has blasted his 48 in only 46 matches and if Barca can now see off likely semi-final rivals Real Madrid — who must Wednesday preserve a 4-0 advantage over Tottenham in their return leg — to reach the final then the 23-year-old will have another nine games in which to stretch his record. Ronaldo hit his 47 goals in 49 — a total Messi matched last season. This season the Argentine has scored nine times in 10 Champions League encounters, 29 times in 28 league games, seven times in six Spanish Cup matches and three times in 2 Spanish Super Cup games. Messi scored two minutes before the break with a neat left-footed effort. — AFP

PERTH: Celtic opened up a five point lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League with a hard fought 1-0 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park here yesterday. The visitors missed a host of chances before Beram Kayal poked home his first goal for the club in first-half stoppage time to leave second-placed Rangers needing to beat Aberdeen today to keep on their bitter rivals shoulders. St Johnstone improved after the break but their players, who haven’t scored in the league for 70 days, were always going to find it hard to get back on level terms when they had to play the final minutes with ten men after Chris Millar hobbled off injured after Saints had used all three substitutes. The game ended in farcical scenes when referee Iain Brines ignored Celtic’s penalty claims after substitute Michael Duberry handled the ball in the box but it mattered not a jot as Celtic held on for the three points. In his first match back in the dugout following his ban Neil Lennon restored captain Scott Brown to his starting line-up along with Mark Wilson, Joe Ledley, Kris Commons, Georgios Samaras and Daryl Murphy. With one eye on their Scottish Cup semi-final clash with Motherwell on Saturday St Johnstone manager Derek McInnes made seven changes for the match. It was Murphy, in his first start since December, who set up Samaras for the game’s first chance but the Greek blasted his shot well over. The Hoops then won a freekick in a dangerous position but Commons’ shot was beaten away by keeper Graeme Smith. Smith superbly blocked Samaras’ low shot with his legs before the keeper finally conceded in first-half stoppage time. Brown’s pass was knocked into the path of Kayal by St Johnstone’s Steve May and despite being off balance the Israeli international poked the ball past Smith with the outside of his right foot. St Johnstone started the second-half the brighter of the two teams but it took until the hour mark for them to test Fraser Forster when the keeper had to be alert to turn Liam Craig’s fierce left foot shot round the post. May then lacked power in his effort as he connected with a headed knockdown and the ball went straight through to Forster. Celtic appealed for a penalty in the 86th minute when Duberry appeared to handle the ball in the box after the Englishman thought referee Iain Brines had awarded him a free-kick following a barge from Samaras but the referee bizarrely waved away Celtic’s claims.—AFP



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Boubyan Bank sponsors Islamic banking events


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Large caps face pressure, KSE subdued Page 24


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Rising oil prices hurt US economy

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RHO: A visitor tries a hanging chair at the 50th Milan International Furniture Fair yesterday in Rho. More than 2000 exhibitors take part in The ‘Salone Internazionale del Mobile’ (International Furniture Fair) and the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition running from April 12 to 17. —AFP

No big banks exiting Bahrain Four small companies to leave after unrest, says official MANAMA: No big financial institution is planning to leave Bahrain due to political unrest, a government official said yesterday, seeking to soothe any concerns that the ongoing political crisis would hurt Bahrain’s status as a financial hub. Bahrain saw the worst sectarian unrest between its majority Shiite population and its Sunni rulers since the 1990s, resulting in the death of at least 13 protesters and four police before Bahrain declared martial law last month and invited troops from Sunni Gulf neighbors to help quell the unrest.

The clashes as well as the heavy-handed security crackdown that followed have resulted in the Formula One Grand Prix opening being cancelled, conferences moved and bankers doing deals elsewhere, raising fears that financial institutions could move their offices to the more stable Dubai. “We confirmed with them that the vast majority of banks are staying, they’re all committed to Bahrain, they recognize the business in Bahrain,” Boyd Winton, director for financial services at Bahrain’s Economic Development

IEA: Oil price rally may lead to global slowdown LONDON: Sky-high oil prices are beginning to dent oil demand growth, the International Energy Agency said yesterday, but added prices could ultimately moderate through a global economic slowdown. Its view echoed a report from the International Monetary Fund on Monday which said that oil prices and inflation were the key risks for to the global recovery. That had contributed to a 3 percent drop in oil prices on Monday, but Brent crude rose a dollar yesterday to over $125 a barrel as some analysts said the IEA report was less negative than expected. Few expected OPEC oil producers to formally agree to pump more to bring prices down, the IEA said. “That leaves a less palatable route to price moderation- namely economic slow-down and weaker demand growth,” it said in its monthly report. “There are real risks however that a sustained, $100 per barrel plus price environment will prove incompatible with the currently expected pace of economic recovery.” The energy advisor to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said data for January and February suggested that high oil prices may have started to dent demand growth. But it kept its 2011 global oil demand growth forecast unchanged at 1.4 million barrels per day or 1.6 percent. “The IEA writes a lot about “signs of slowing demand” but has not really changed its forecast numbers; hence combined with its low estimate for Saudi production we view this report less negative than expected,” said Olivier Jakob from Petromatrix. The head of the IEA’s oil industry and markets division David Fyfe said the agency had noticed slowing demand trends in the United States and Asia Pacific. “There’s been a marked slowdown since autumn last year. China is looking a bit slower. Thailand and Malaysia have seen a bit of a slowdown,” he said. “We are quite early in the cycle, we have only been above $100 a barrel for the first quarter. We would expect sustained economic effect from prices to take 6 to 12 months to fed through,” he added. —Reuters

Board (EDB) told a news conference. The EDB sets Bahrain’s economic policies and is tasked with attracting international business to Bahrain to diversify the economy away from oil. The financial industry accounts for about 25 percent of Bahrain’s GDP. Winton said only four financial services institutions had told the government they planned to leave. This included two firms who maintained only a representative office with one staff and an asset management company that he said had long planned to leave by the

end of the year. But bankers say lenders will avoid officially closing down their offices and instead will quietly move some staff to Dubai to prevent their relationships with the Bahraini government from being damaged. Bahrain as a financial hub had been severely hit before the unrest. Its investment firms posted steep losses since a regional property bubble burst in 2008 ended their business model of arranging financing for real estate projects. They have failed to develop new

business since. Bankers say Bahrain is struggling to attract new financial businesses to the island kingdom to compensate for the jobs slashed at these companies over the past two years, and that newcomers to the Gulf Arab region are likely to choose Dubai as their regional office due to the unrest. Banks in Bahrain are now also expected to be hit by higher volumes of loan defaults as the unrest has severely hurt the cashflows of their corporate loan customers in Bahrain. — Reuters

US Feb trade deficit shrinks to $45.8bn WASHINGTON: US companies sold fewer products overseas in February but the trade deficit narrowed because of a big decline in oil imports. The trade deficit fell 2.6 percent to $45.8 billion in February, the Commerce Department reported yesterday. Exports, which had hit an all-time high in January, edged down 1.4 percent to $165.1 billion. Sales of US autos, industrial machinery and food products all dropped. Imports fell 1.7 percent to $210.9 billion. A big reason for the decline was that demand for crude oil fell to a 12-year low, which offset higher prices. The United States also imported fewer cars and computers. Analysts expect oil imports to rise in the months ahead. The price of oil rose further in March and is now trading at around $110 per barrel. That would likely lead to an increase in the deficit and slow economic growth. Before the jump, economists expected trade to have a minimal impact on US economic growth this year. But now analysts say the gains in exports

KFH to issue sukuk worth $1bn: Report KUWAIT: Liquidity Management House, a unit of Kuwait Finance House (KFH), the Gulf’s secondlargest Islamic lender, is in the process of issuing $1 billion in Islamic bonds, or sukuk, according to a newspaper report. “The company is issuing Sukuk with a value up to $1 billion for three projects outside the local market ... with a share of 10 percent, which is equivalent to $100 million,” Chairman Emad AlMonayea told Arabic newspaper Al-Watan, adding that the issuance will be done through a consortium. In March, KFH’s Turkish unit said it will launch a $500 million Islamic bond by the end of the year. In February, KFH missed analysts forecasts as it posted a 29.2 percent drop in its fourthquarter profits compared with the same period last year. — Reuters

could be blunted by higher oil prices. Growth slows when imports outpace exports. Paul Dales, senior US economist at Capital Economics, said oil prices would likely push the deficit wider in the coming months and may hold overall growth to around 2 percent in the first three months of the year. That would be a steep decline from the 3.1 percent growth in the October-December quarter. For the first two months of this year, the trade deficit is running at an annual rate of $556.4 billion. Last year’s imbalance totaled $495.7 billion, a 32.8 percent increase from 2009 when the recession cut deeply into America’s demand for foreign goods. The soaring trade deficit became a political issue in last fall’s congressional elections. Opponents of the administration’s trade policies said President Barack Obama had not done enough to protect US workers from unfair foreign competition. —AP

MIAMI: A container is unloaded from the cargo vessel Seaboard Sun while docked at the Port of Miami in Miami. US companies sold fewer products overseas in February but the trade deficit still narrowed because of a big decline in oil imports. —AP

Dubai at 8-week high on MSCI hopes; Egypt down MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI/CAIRO: Dubai’s index hit an eight-week high yesterday on optimism following increased likelihood of UAE bourses gaining emerging market status, while Egypt fell for a four th day on concerns over the economy. The United Arab Emirates regulator said on Monday bourses would launch a new settlement system on April 28, a key step that will bolster the Gulf state’s chances of

earning MSCI emerging market status. The index rose 1.1 percent to its highest close since Feb 16. Emaar Properties gained 0.6 percent and Emirates NBD climbed 1.4 percent. Analysts say large cap stock will be in focus as they stand to be the main beneficiaries of inclusion in the MSCI index. “People are anticipating the market will be included in the MSCI index so we’re seeing a lot of buying

across the board,” said a Dubai-based trader on condition of anonymity. “Retail buyers are all over Arabtec and other cheaper stocks as well.” Arabtec surged 7.1 percent in heavy trading. Egyptian shares fell for a fourth day, with the index losing 1.4 percent as local investors took stock of economic problems after initial exuberance last month, traders said. —Reuters




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Gatehouse Napier creates Takaful brokerage in London Premium Takaful and re-Takaful commercial risk solutions on offer KUWAIT: Gatehouse Bank plc, a wholesale Sharia investment Bank in London, has announced a joint venture with Paul Napier Ltd, a Lloyd’s Insurance Broker based in London, to form Gatehouse Napier, the world’s first Sharia-compliant insurance broker offering premium Takaful and Re-Takaful commercial risk solutions in London. Fahed Boodai, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Gatehouse Bank stated, “Gatehouse Napier brings the best of talent and expertise from the City of London, home to the world’s largest specialist insurance market and strong financial services regulatory environment, and also aspiring platform for the development of Sharia financial services. “We are extremely pleased to be pioneering real product development in the global

Takaful market, to meet GCC demand for Takaful commercial risk protection that extends beyond the traditional product offering, and protects business and commercial interests. Our ultimate objective, as an FSA regulated entity will see Gatehouse Napier deliver a oneof-a-kind world-class Takaful insurance offering, within London’s supportive financial infrastructure to protect investor needs.” At the 6th Annual World Takaful Conference in Dubai, Richard Thomas, CEO, Gatehouse Bank and Director of the Board for Gatehouse Napier, commented, “ This groundbreaking partnership will help meet a critical demand fuelled by an exponential increase in Sharia compliant investor activity into the UK market. Gatehouse Napier will help pro-

vide insurance protection for Sharia investors investing in large commercial assets in

Fahed Boodai, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Gatehouse Bank London and Europe,” added Thomas. Newly appointed at the helm, Richard Bishop, CEO of

Gatehouse Napier, speaking at a high-powered panel discussion at the conference, stated, “We are excited about this new venture which will introduce a new dimension to the global Takaful market, with the introduction of high quality capacity, that is price-competitive that also achieves Sharia compliance in all its undertakings in product and delivery to market. We are partnering with key Takaful and Re-Takaful operators to provide viable Sharia compliant solutions for GCC investors with designated commercial interests both in the GCC but also in the UK and Europe. With our specialist insurance expertise in commercial risk, we aim to partner with these operators, and use our shared knowledge and expertise of the sector to develop premium Takaful solutions to meet

their clients’ demands.” According to reports from international law firm Trowers and Hamlins, GCC investors have invested more than £3bn on UK commercial property in the post financial crisis. Gatehouse Bank alone has completed more than £200million value of Sharia compliant property acquisitions but up until now, it did not possess any recourse to quality, Sharia compliant, commercial risk protection for these assets on behalf of its clients. Gatehouse Napier will provide a global gateway for corporate and institutional clients seeking commercial risk protections. Its initial mandate will be to focus on covering the management and provision of risk protection for Real Estate, Trade Finance and Financial Institutions.

LG prompts students to think green ‘Conceptualife,’ regional kitchen design competition K U WA I T: LG E l e c t r o n i c s ( LG ) , t h e world’s leading innovator in home appliances, has announced the seco n d e d i t i o n o f ‘Co n c e p t u a l i fe’ - a regional design competition that provides a platform for university students to unleash their creativity and p r e s e n t t h e i r d e p i c t i o n o f f u t u re kitchen designs and appliances. Last year ’s event saw nearly 600 registrations from participating countries - Saudi Arabia, Iran, South Africa and the UAE. This year, with a focus on eco-friendly and futuristic designs, LG has expanded the event format with the addition of two new countries, Egypt and Turkey, and expects a 3040% increase in participation. K.W. Kim, Executive Vice-President, LG E l e c t r o n i c s, M E A R e g i o n Representative said: “Conceptualife as

the name suggests is about developing concepts that can make life better and this is in line with LG’s philosophy. Our goal is to encourage local talent by giving design students from across the MEA region the opportunity to showcase their ideas to a wider audience. This also provides LG with i n s i g h t i n t o d e s i g n v i s i o n s fo r a greener tomorrow from the region’s yo u t h a n d n e x t g e n e r a t i o n c o n sumers.” “ We were highly impressed with the submissions last year, and have no doubt that this year’s designs will be outstanding. Going green is at the forefront of LG Electronics plans for the future, and events such as this are imperative to provide us valuable perspective from tomorrow’s generation of potential customers,” added Kim.

Kitchens of the future, as imagined by design students for Conceptualife 2010. American University of Dubai, AlGhurair Universit y and Canadian University in the UAE have already showed their support and enthusiasm encouraging students to actively participate. The finale, which takes place on May 24, 2011 in Dubai, will see two shortlisted finalists from each country battle it out for first place. Each individual will be invited to present and explain their designs to an expert panel who will evaluate their work on uniqueness of design relative to existing kitchens, the use of innovative

Conceptualife 2010 Kitchen Design

kitchen appliances, functionality, and use of space, storage and worktops. All designs are expected to emphasize environmental solutions including the use of recycled material and durability, and will be scored accordingly. All these factors will weigh in on the judges’ decision as they look at the feasibility of bringing such designs to markets. An annual regional competition, LG Conceptualife is open to all design students who wish to participate. For further details, please contact Udai Desai at +971 50 358 2918.

Dynamic pay market in Kuwait encourages pay for performance HAY GROUP REPORT KUWAIT: According to global management consultancy Hay Group, 50 per cent of organizations changed their pay in the last 6 months which resulted in a 7 per cent increase in payroll costs for businesses in Kuwait. Hay Group released their mid-year report on salary trends in Kuwait yesterday which announced an average salary increase of 6.4 per cent across the 78 organizations that took part in the study. Hay Group’s Harish Bhatia explained the reasons behind the trends: “Salary increases in Kuwait over the last 6 months are a response to local level pressures as well as a reaction to wider regional labor market pressures. The public sector has recently responded to citizens’ demands around pay and we believe these changes will trickle through to the private sector.” Kuwait has experienced steady pay rises over the last 3 years. With stable inflation, it’s also one of the countries that witnessed real pay rises over the last 5 years with pay increases outpacing inflation. Looking forward to the remainder of 2011, organizations forecast an average increase of 5 per cent. According to Hay Group, 94 per cent of organizations in Kuwait reported they paid bonuses this year and 68 per cent of these companies said they paid more bonus than in 2010. There is also an increasing move towards performance related bonuses, as opposed to the across the board pay-outs we have seen in the past, with 78 per cent of organization reporting they now conduct performance based salary reviews. Bhatia believes that a move towards ‘pay for performance’ is a significant step in the right direction in the current market: “Pay for performance is a really important part of an organization’s reward strategy. Not only does it help to manage payroll costs by avoiding across the board bonuses and incremental salary increases, it’s also a powerful retention tool. By rewarding your high performers; those delivering on their objectives and displaying the right behaviors; organizations can reward and motivate the employees they want to hold onto.” Hay Group’s Jan Marsli commented that reward for performance works well as part of a wider approach to reward and retention of employees: “Although streamlining reward strategy with focus on external and internal equity is important, organizations need to look at their overall offering to employees. It has never really been a better time to understand what drives and hinders motivation and engagement - which helps keep talented employees not just loyal, but focused on business performance.”

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

.2744100 .4458750 .3961930 .3040550 .2866500 .2874990 .0062370 .0024950 .0747410 .7283610 .3881330 .0731950 .7133090 .0063820 .0465100

.2797000 .4544710 .4038310 .3099170 .2921760 .2930420 .0063570 .0025430 .0761820 .7424030 .9356130 .0746060 .7270610 .0065050 .0474060

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2758500 .2779500 .4482150 .4516270 .3982720 .4013040 .3056510 .3079780 .2881540 .2903480 .0534070 .0538130 .0439020 .0442360 .2890080 .2912080 .0354850 .0357550 .2193460 .2210160 .0032710 .0032960 .0000000 .0063170 .0000000 .0025270 .0000000 .0032910 .0000000 .0038870 .0751330 .0757050 .7321830 .7377570 .0000000 .3931400 .0735800 .0741400 .7170520 .7225110 .0000000 .0064640

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

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co.

Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.326 6.272 3.281 2.507 3.937 220.650 35.678 3.803

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

6.402 9.204 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 73.957 76.209 720.410 736.490 75.509

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

ARAB COUNTRIES 48.750 46.456 1.269 203.260 391.680 184.000 5.988 36.138

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 277.250 Euro 400.900 Sterling Pound 453.440 Canadian dollar 289.410 Turkish lire 183.000 Swiss Franc 308.400 Australian dollar 292.080 US Dollar Buying 276.050 GOLD 272.000 136.000 70.000

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

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

SELL CASH SELL DRAFT 292.500 291.000 736.960 736.960 3.970 3.805 291.900 290.400 544.300 14.100 54.700 167.800 221.900 48.040 46.479 403.200 401.700 36.360 36.210 6.500 6.250

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

0.033 0.248 0.244 3.400 393.270 0.187 93.880 47.600 4.350 219.200 1.879 52.600 719.770 3.340 6.620 76.660 73.990 221.950 43.650 2.689 456.000 45.800 309.800 5.900 9.560 198.263 75.610 277.500 1.260


391.660 0.186 93.880 3.940 217.700

Sterling Pound US Dollar

306.300 5.900 9.700 75.510 277.100

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 454.000 277.100

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

Selling Rate 277.700 290.250 454.725 398.290 300.352 734.993 75.584 76.255 74.023 392.280 46.667 2.512 6.282

3.264 3.818 6.424 681.183 3.390 9.303 6.057 4.016 91.329

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. 719.590 3.275 6.415 76.230 73.990 221.950 43.650 2.508 454.000

GOLD 1,512.950

10 Tola

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

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

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 3.280 6.260 2.520 3.815 6.440 75.520 74.071 736.400 46.465 456.700 0.00003280 3.910 1.550 393.500 5.750 404.700 295.500

Al Mulla Exchange Currency Transfer Rate (Per 1000) US Dollar 276.650 Euro 402.300 Pound Sterling 453.800 Canadian Dollar 290.200 Japanese Yen 3.300 Indian Rupee 6.267 Egyptian Pound 46.415 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.506 Bangladesh Taka 3.795 Philippines Peso 6.390 Pakistan Rupee 3.272 Bahraini Dinar 736.900 UAE Dirham 75.450 Saudi Riyal 73.900 *Rates are subject to change



KIPCO repays debut $350m EMTN bond Company has ample liquidity: CFO

ATHENS: European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (left) and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou arrive for a press conference after their meeting in Athens yesterday. Rompuy is on a one-day visit to Athens to address a foreign policy think-tank. — AFP

KUWAIT: KIPCO - the Kuwait Projects Company - announced yesterday that it has repaid its debut $350 million five-year bond issued under its $2 billion Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) bond program. KIPCO’s EMTN program was launched on 12 April, 2006. The issue - listed on the London Stock Exchange - was the first by a private sector corporate from the Middle East. The program offered international investors their first opportunity to diversify from the US dollar Floating Rate Notes usually offered by banks in the Gulf region at that time. Since the debut issue under the EMTN program in April 2006, KIPCO has been a frequent and successful bond issuer, gradually extending the term of its issues. In October 2009, KIPCO issued a $500 million seven year note and in July 2010 the company further extended its funding, by issuing a $500 million ten year note - the first ten-year

note issued by a MENA private sector corporate. The company said this was a sign that the international debt capital markets understood KIPCO’s long-term business strategy. Commenting on the repayment of the debut EMTN issue, KIPCO’s Group Chief Financial Officer, Pinak Maitra, said: “As a result of our prudent funding policies that refinance our maturing debt well in advance, KIPCO has ample liquidity to meet its current requirements. We ended last year with over one billion dollars in cash which means we can now repay our debut $350 million bond issue on time and with plenty of cash to spare for our current needs. This type of financial discipline and forward-thinking - combined with the excellent reputation we have in the global investment community as a company that delivers on its promises - is what marks KIPCO apart.”

New Saudi crude blend to sell spot if needed

Van Rompuy: Greece must keep up reform program ATHENS: Debt-laden Greece managed to borrow €1.62 billion ($2.34 billion) in shortterm loans from financial markets yesterday, at an interest rate that was only marginally higher than a similar debt auction last month. But as budget figures showed the government is still struggling with its tough savings targets, European Union President Herman Van Rompuy warned that Athens has no option to stick with its long-overdue economic reform program. In a Twitter message, he expressed confidence that Greece will pull through. “It may take time, like Ulysses going home, but (the Greeks) will be stronger,” he tweeted. The arduous homecoming of the mythical ancient Greek hero Ulysses, or Odysseus, lasted 10 years and included shipwrecks, fights with monsters and the loss of all his companions. Greece is on a similarly arduous journey after it was saved from bankruptcy last year by a 110 billion euros ($159 billion) package of rescue loans from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund. In return for the funds, which should see it through mid-2013, the Socialist government has had to take deeply unpopular austerity measures, slashing pensions and civil service salaries while increasing taxes and retirement ages. “The key is to continue implementing the courageous reforms and privatizations that have been agreed in a timely and effective manner,” Van Rompuy told reporters after talks in Athens with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. “On fiscal consolidation it is important to stick to the program objectives.” The EU’s president said Greece will emerge stronger from the package of measures that should have been implemented long ago, adding that Europe should not be blamed for the country’s

Iran sells gasoline to Iraq for April DUBAI: National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has struck a deal to export 25,000 tons of gasoline to Iraq in April, trade sources said yesterday. “Iran offered 20,000 tons and 30,000 tons from Lavan and Bandar Abbas respectively....They managed to sell 25,000 tons and it went to Iraq,” one trade source said. The Islamic Republic, the world’s fifth-largest crude oil exporter, previously imported around 40 percent of its gasoline because of inadequate domestic refining capacity and soaring demand due to heavily subsidized prices. But facing tightened international sanctions over its nuclear program that have complicated purchases of gasoline from major oil companies, Tehran has cut subsidies and tried to boost domestic supplies using petrochemicals facilities. Traders said on Monday Iran may export up to 50,000 tons of gasoline this month, although the quality is uncertain. Market sources were unable to confirm the pricing of the cargo sold to Iraq. The parcel was better quality than a cargo previously exported by Iran in September, which carried a low octane rating of 75 RON, well below the standard in most countries. “This isn’t the same petchems gasoline and the offer was from National Iranian Oil Company, not (Petrochemicals Commercial Company). It is 87 RON with specifications matching their own import specifications,” one trader said. The loss of Iranian buying has dampened pricing in regional gasoline markets but Tehran is unlikely to be a major export player given the gasoline it is selling still falls below the specifications of many countries. — Reuters

plight. “On the contrary, the Union is helping to preserve Greece’s future,” he said. “I know that this message is not always well understood, but it is the simple truth.” Van Rompuy said that in all areas covered in his talks with Papandreou, there is “a need to ensure the proper balance between European solidarity and national responsibility.” Athens has pledged to cut its runaway budget deficit from 15.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 to under three percent — where it should be under EU rules — in 2014. But it remains unclear whether the government met its target for a 9.4 percent of GDP deficit last year. Late Monday, the finance ministry said overspending in the first quarter of 2011 widened by 7.8 percent on the year, to reach 4.7 billion euros ($6.8 billion) on a cash basis. The finance ministry said that was 9 million euros ($13 million) more than targeted in this year’s budget. Spending rose 3.5 percent to 15.8 billion euros ($22.7 billion), while net revenues declined 8.1 percent on the year to 11.1 billion euros ($16 billion). In the budget, the government aimed to have revenue of 12.5 billion euros ($18 billion). The figures do not include local authority and social security fund accounts. Yesterday’s auction of 26-week treasury bills had an interest rate of 4.8 percent, slightly above the 4.75 percent at a similar sale in March, the Public Debt Management Agency said. The agency had originally been seeking to raise 1.25 billion euros in the auction, but borrowed more as investor interest was strong — the auction was 3.81 times oversubscribed, compared with 3.59 times in March. High interest rates have priced Athens out of the bond market, although officials have said they hope to issue new long-term debt from next year. — AP

Boubyan Bank staff attending an event.

Boubyan Bank sponsors Islamic banking events KUWAIT: The Boubyan Bank will sponsor International Conference on Islamic Economics as well as the 11th International Conference on Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions. The bank stated in a press statement that their participation in sponsoring the two events comes as part of their commitment to take part in activities aiming to boost awareness about the current developments in the Islamic banking sector.

The International Conference on Islamic Economics, taking place between April 19 and 20, will discuss several subjects including the main difference between investments in the conventional banking and Islamic banking systems. The International Conference on Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions, which takes place on April 27 and 28 will deliberate on the role Kuwaiti banks play in financing the ambitious development plan.

GE Healthcare highlights power of healthymagination KUWAIT: GE Healthcare, the healthcare business of GE, will highlight the strong inroads achieved by healthymagination, the company’s path breaking initiative that focuses on increasing access to quality healthcare at lower costs, at the 14th International Healthcare, Hospital Supplies and Medical Equipment Show (Saudi Medicare 2011) to be held from April 10 to 13 at the Riyadh International Exhibition Center. GE Healthcare had launched healthymagination in Saudi Arabia last year, supported by a successful public outreach campaign, aimed at strengthening awareness of an earlier model of healthcare and promoting healthy living. This focus on earlier diagnosis, and thus potentially more effective treatment, is further underscored through the company’s participation at Saudi Medicare 2011, where it will showcase its advanced range of diagnostic technologies and solutions. Majid Kaddoumi, General Manager at GE Healthcare for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said: “The Kingdom is currently laying extra emphasis on promoting social care and development through large scale investments in the healthcare sector. GE Healthcare will partner in the healthcare infrastructure development strategy of Saudi Arabia by sharing our advanced technologies that help address the most pressing challenges faced by the local population. The increase in incidence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and stress make an earlier model of healthcare imperative to reduce healthcare bills and improve the efficiency of treatment.” GE Healthcare has a long-standing presence in the Kingdom, where the company

KIPCO’s Group Chief Financial Officer Pinak Maitra

has established strong public private partnerships aimed at sharing best practices and technologies, knowledge transfer and skills development. Since the global launch of GE’s healthymagination initiative in May 2009, Oxford Analytica has validated 40 innovations globally, several of which are being displayed at Saudi Medicare, thus bringing exceptional technology to the Kingdom once again. The Lullaby Warmer, a healthymagination-validated product available in the Middle East, has the potential to help caregivers improve access to quality infant care in developing countries where nearly 90 percent of the world’s births occur. The device is a bed with an overhead heater, showering the newborn with delicate warmth while the baby is cleaned after birth and checked for its first vital statistics. Remarkably simple to operate, even for a first-time operator, GE’s Lullaby Warmer will help improve access to care in the urban and semi-urban settings. Although its healthymagination validation status still is pending, Vscan - a new, pocket-sized visualization tool developed to provide physicians with imaging capabilities at the point-of-care -was launched recently in the Middle East. Roughly the size of a smartphone, Vscan houses powerful, ultra-smart ultrasound technology that provides clinicians with an immediate, non-invasive method to help secure visual information about what is happening inside the body. Vscan is portable and can easily be taken from room to room to be used in many clinical, hospital or primary care settings. GE Healthcare is also highlighting its advanced Computed Tomography (CT ) diagnostic

equipment. GE’s Discovery* CT750 HD, delivers fine detail and repeatable outcomes - with up to 50 per cent less dose for patients of all ages. The redesigned image chain has the exceptional Gemstone detector to enable high-resolution images. Also on the showcase is AsiR, a technology to reduce dose on the raw data, now on BrightSpeed*, to make it available and affordable for all customers and patients for all clinical routine exams. GE has been working closely with the Ministry of Health to help build a sustainable healthcare model under healthymagination with the partnership encompassing a wide range of initiatives, which include a Healthcare Learning Institute, advisory services on hospital workflow and training programs. In order to help hospitals under the Ministry of Health offer the highest technological quality of care, GE Healthcare has trained more than 1,300 MoH healthcare professionals. GE has also helped transform the operation rooms of eight MoH hospitals and six Nation Guard Health Affairs Departments through tools and methodologies that are all aimed to enhance business and management efficiencies. Under the company’s healthymagination consumer outreach campaign, GE is using its website and its social networking platforms such as Twitter ( and Facebook ( ) to raise consumer awareness and provide education around healthier living. GE has been associated with Saudi Arabia for many decades.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia is ready to sell more of its new crude oil blend in the coming months if demand is there and it will be available on the spot market, a market source said yesterday. Aramco, the state run firm of OPEC’s top crude oil exporter Saudi Arabia, began selling the blend to Europe in March to try to make up for a shortage of light, low-sulfur crude oil caused by the stoppage of exports from Libya. Although Libya has resumed small volumes of exports, with one cargo bound for China. But Saudi Arabia can continue to supply its new blend, depending on customer demand, the source told Reuters. “Volume of the special blend will continue to be available for this month and next month,” the source said. “It is available on the spot market.” The source declined to specify the volume available. Until now almost all Saudi oil has been sold on a term basis to long-term customers, although it has sold refined products on the prompt market and plans to set up a product trading subsidiary by the end of 2011. Term purchase contracts with Aramco also restrict buyers from trading Saudi crude barrels on the market. Saudi Arabia created the new blend as many analysts had questioned the kingdom’s capability offset the shortage of Libyan sweet crude as it normally sells sour or high sulpfur content, crude to term customers. Libya, a North African OPEC member, normally produces about 1.8 million barrels of light sweet crude oil a day. Bulk of the tradable barrels is exported to European users. The Saudi special blend will be available in Europe and the Mediterranean, the markets most affected by the shortage of Libyan crude, the source said. The source was not immediately aware if the blend was available in Asia. Other sources yesterday said Saudi Arabia cut back its crude oil production to 8.5-8.6 million barrels per day due to weak demand, after temporarily pumped 9-9.2 million bpd in at least part of March. The Saudi blend, which is yet to be named, is a mix of Saudi Super Light and Extra Light. The API gravity is 41-44 degrees and the sulfur content is 0.5-0.8 percent. The last cargo was sold at the same as the official selling price as Extra Light. Prices may be different this month, depending on demand, the source said. About 2 million barrels of the new blend for March loading were sold to BP and Austria’s OMV. — Reuters




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Large caps face selling pressure, KSE subdued GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) pulled back yesterday as selling pressure highlighted the banking sector and other large capitalization sectors. The retreat was broad-based with six out of the eight sectors losing ground. Investor sentiments have been gloomed with the leaked news from Zain AGM and EGM. The company’s shareholders objected to some points in the General Assembly, including board of directors’ remuneration. Zain closed down by 1.45 percent at KD1.360 after being the most traded for the day with KD7.9mn traded on the scrip. Global General Index (GGI), market weighted, ended the day down by 0.53 percent, at 204.11 point. Market Capitalization was down for the day at KD33.24bn. On the other hand, KSE Price Index closed almost sideways at 6,364.6 point, shedding marginally 0.60 points (0.01 percent) to its previous close. Market breadth During the session, 102 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards decliners as 38 equities retreated versus 32 that advanced. Yesterday’s performance was accompanied by diminishing trading activity with most of the trades conducted in the Investment sector. Total volume traded was down by 9.02 percent with 124.18mn shares changing hands at a total value of KD25.69mn (40.72 percent lower compared to the day before). The Investment Sector was the volume leader yesterday, accounting for 32.78 percent of total shares. The Services sector was the value leader, with 45.20 percent of total traded value. Zain was the most active in terms of values of shares

traded during yesterday’s session, with 5.56mn shares exchanged at an aggregate value of KD7.94mn. The scrip ended the day down by 1.45 percent at KD1.360. Sector-wise By the end of the session, Investment sector was the only index which ended the day with marginal gain of 0.46 percent backed by the gains reported by National Investment Company. The scrip was up by 3.57 percent to close at KD0.290. Insurance sector ended the day unchanged. Non-Kuwaiti stocks spearheaded

decliners, clocking 1.36 percent in sector losses. United Gulf Bank paced the retreat with a 7.14 percent withdrawal in its share value. Sharjah Cement & Industrial Development Company too reported a 5.19 percent loss. Services scripts followed with a 0.84 percent recoil affected by the tumble of the sector’s heavyweight Zain. National Ranges Company (Mayadeen) was the biggest loser in the sector, as it plunged by 4.76 percent, closing at KD0.020. (Mayadeen) was the most actively traded stock during the day, with 13.76mn shares exchanged. The stock was traded for the first time

since March 31 knowing that the company’s AGM was held on April 11 and approved no dividends for the FY2010. Corporate news The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) approved, on April 10, 2011, the request submitted by The Securities House to buy back or sell 10 percent maximum of its issued shares for six months ending on October 21, 2011. The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $120.30 a barrel on Monday, compared with $120.01 the previous Friday, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations.

Oil falls on signs of slowing demand LONDON: Oil prices fell yesterday after sources said slower demand had led top exporter Saudi Arabia to cut back production and the International Energy Agency warned that strong prices could be eroding demand. ICE Brent crude futures for May were 59 cents lower at 123.41 a barrel by 1315 GMT, albeit off earlier lows of $121.97 earlier in the session. US crude for May delivery fell by $1.74 to $108.18 a barrel, off earlier lows of $107.87. Sources told Reuters that Saudi Arabia, which has the largest spare capacity production cushion in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), had trimmed production by around 500,000 barrels per day to around 8.5 million bpd on the back of slow demand. Investors that bought into the oil market in the past few months could now be taking a chance to exit, according to Brendan Brown, head of economic research at Mitsubishi UFG Securities. “I think we are going to see some sort of a rotation, with some investors deciding to get out and take some profit,” Brown told Reuters. Saudi Arabia’s production cuts comes amid growing fears that strong crude oil prices are denting demand growth. The IEA, the West’s energy policy adviser, earlier warned prices could ultimately self-regulate through a global economic slowdown. Despite the warnings, analysts said the agency had kept its forecasts unchanged, noting that a flat reading of Saudi Arabian production raised questions about spare capacity. “The IEA shows no rise in their estimate for Saudi Arabia’s crude production in March at a flat 8.9 million barrels per day,” BNP Paribas’ head of commodity markets strategy Harry Tchilinguirian said. “This in turn may raise questions in terms of Saudi Arabia’s willingness, ability or pricing policy to deliver extra barrels onto the market.” The agency said prices of $100 per barrel or above

could prove incompatible with the expected pace of economic recovery. The IEA’s warning on prices followed a note from long-term commodity bull Goldman late on Monday advising clients to take profit. Societe Generale also weighed into the demand destruction debate, highlighting gasoline in the United States as probably the first casualty. “In the US, where low taxes on refined products for end-users cause a rapid and direct pass-through of underlying costs, the focus on increasing gasoline prices has been intense in both the business and general media,” the bank’s analysts wrote in a note. “This has driven mounting concerns in the oil markets about ‘demand destruction’ in the US.” “Geopolitics (are) still critical,” SG analysts said in the report. “But with prices high, markets may be having doubts on demand.” Demand concerns also heightened in No. 3 oil consumer Japan, where the evacuation zone around its damaged nuclear plant was expanded because of high levels of accumulated radiation, as a strong aftershock rattled the area. In the United States, demand has moved sideways, according to SocGen. “ When compared to an increasing trend for the first three quarters of last year, this means that demand growth has faded to zero over the course of the first quarter.” Weekly oil inventory reports from industr y group the American Petroleum Institute (API) will offer a fresh snapshot of US demand and stockpiles at 2030 GMT. Analysts sur veyed on Monday expected crude stocks to have risen last week, with distillate stocks dipping and gasoline stocks dropping. The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said that as of last Tuesday, hedge funds and other financial traders held a total net-long positions in US crude contracts equivalent to a near record 267.5 million barrels. —Reuters




Rising oil prices beginning to hurt US economy WASHINGTON: Just when companies have finally stepped up hiring, rising oil prices are threatening to halt the US economy’s gains. Some economists are scaling back their estimates for growth this year, in part because flat wages have left households struggling to pay higher gasoline prices. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude has topped $112 a barrel, the highest price since 2008. Regular unleaded gasoline now goes for an average $3.77 a gallon ($1 a liter), according to AAA’s daily fuel gauge survey, up 90 cents from a year ago. The higher costs have been driven by unrest in Libya and other oil-producing Middle East countries, along with rising energy demand from a strengthening US economy. Airlines, shipping companies and other US businesses have been squeezed. The rising prices are further straining an economy struggling with high unemployment and a depressed housing market. “The surge in oil prices since the end of last year is already doing significant damage to the economy,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. Unlike other kinds of consumer spending, gasoline purchases provide less benefit for the US economy. About half the revenue flows to oil exporting countries like Saudi Arabia and Canada, though US oil companies and gasoline retailers also benefit. For consumers, more expensive energy siphons away money that would otherwise be used for household purchases, from cars and furniture to clothing and vacations. High energy prices are “putting a drain on consumer budgets,” says James Hamilton at

the University of California, San Diego. “To the extent they’re having to spend more on gasoline, they have to make cutbacks elsewhere.” Two-thirds of Americans say they expect rising gasoline prices to cause hardship for them or their families in the next six months, according to a new Associated Press-GfK Poll. The telephone poll conducted March 24-28 had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. Seventy-one percent say they’re cutting back on other expenses to make up for

higher pump prices. Sixty-four percent say they’re driving less. And 53 percent say they’re changing vacation plans to stay closer to home. “I try to leave the car parked at home all day Saturday,” says Curt Lindsay, who commutes an hour each way to his job as a computer systems administrator outside Washington, D.C. “I’d rather not spend the money on gasoline.” Since gasoline prices topped $3 a gallon (79 cents a liter), Lindsay has also been trying to drive more slowly to conserve fuel.

LOS ANGELES: Gas prices are reflected on an SUV at a gas station in Los Angeles. For consumers, more expensive energy siphons away money that would otherwise be used for household purchases, from cars and furniture to clothing and vacations. —AP

British inflation surprisingly falls LONDON: British annual inflation unexpectedly fell to 4.0 percent in March from 4.4 percent in Februar y, easing pressure on the Bank of England to follow the ECB in raising interest rates to combat high prices. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation dropped from 4.4 percent, the highest level for more than two years, as supermarkets slashed prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks. Analysts had forecast no change to the annual rate. Following Tuesday’s data, economists said the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was far less likely to raise its key lending rate, from a record-low 0.50 percent in the near future. “The prospect of a May rate hike has been significantly reduced by today’s surprise drop in UK CPI,” said ING Bank analyst James Knightley. “Rather than come in at 4.4 percent year-onyear as the market expected the March inflation rate dropped to 4 percent. It is still twice the Bank of England’s target, but it makes an eventual 5 percent reading, which some officials had feared, look less likely.” The central bank’s MPC last week held its key interest rate at 0.50 percent, in contrast to the European Central Bank (ECB) which raised eurozone borrowing costs for the first time in nearly three years. “Today’s surprise news may take some of the pressure off of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee to raise rates next month,” said Scott Corfe, an economist at the independent Centre for Economics and Business Research. “Still, with consumer price inflation at double the Bank’s central target, there are plenty of reasons for inflation hawks to remain concerned about the Bank losing credibility. “Furthermore, the price of Brent crude oil has risen above $120 per barrel this month-and to an all-time high in sterling terms-which could push April’s annual inflation figure back up,” he added. The ECB last week sprang its first interest rate hike since July 2008 — from an all-time low of 1.0 percent to 1.25 percent-to tackle high inflation across the euro-zone. Inflation is even higher in Britain but because its recovery from recession has stalled, the Bank of England is adopting a wait-and-see approach before embarking on its own policy of rate tightening. Yesterday, the ONS added that CPI inflation rose by 0.3 percent in March from February on a month-on-month basis. Analysts had predicted a rise of 0.5 percent. Separately, the British Retail Consortium revealed the biggest sales drop in its history, in a further sign that consumers’ belt-tightening is hitting the high street hard. With many shoppers focused on affording the essentials, the BRC said total sales for March were down 1.9 percent from a year ago, the steepest decline since it began its monthly survey in 1995. — AFP

His co-worker Albert Zaza canceled family trips to New York and Boston after the cost of filling up his Honda CRV surged from $35 to $47. Zaza spends four to five hours in traffic each day and has to fill up every other day. Rising fuel prices are pinching businesses too. In Tipton, Iowa, Grasshopper Lawn Care is tacking 5 percent onto customers’ bills to compensate for higher fuel costs. The company has to buy more than 8,000 gallons of gasoline a year. It plans to keep the surcharge until gasoline prices dip back below $3 a gallon, owner Dan Kessler says. The oil shock and global instability are diluting the benefits of an improving job market. The unemployment rate, though still high, is at a two-year low. And the economy has just produced the strongest two months of hiring since before the recession began. Bernard Baumohl, chief economist at the Economic Outlook Group, has slashed his estimate for growth this year to 2.8 percent from 3.5 percent. In 20010, the economy grew 2.9 percent. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. After adjusting for inflation and for seasonal factors, consumers spent 0.3 percent more in February than in January. But that’s unlikely to last. Gasoline prices are surging just as inflation-adjusted incomes are falling. More expensive gas is draining much of the cash Americans are receiving from a cut in Social Security taxes this year. Zandi estimates that higher oil prices shaved 0.5 percentage point from growth in the January-March quarter. He

Japan, Mideast unrest hit German confidence Increasing commodity prices to have an impact BERLIN: The devastating earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan, as well as unrest in Libya and the wider region, have shaken investor confidence in Germany, the closely watched ZEW index showed yesterday. The monthly survey of investors in Europe’s top economy fell 6.5 points to 7.6 points in April. This was worse than analysts polled by Dow Jones had expected. They forecast a reading of 10 points. “Two factors may have contributed to this decline. On the one hand, the current boom doesn’t leave much room for a further improvement of the current economic situation,” said the institute in a statement. “On the other hand, experts are more and more aware of the risks for the world economy resulting from the events in Japan and in the Arab world,” the ZEW added. The index is now some

way below its historical average of 26.6 points. ZEW president Wolfgang Franz warned that rising oil prices could prompt the European Central Bank to continue hiking interest rates, possibly dampening sentiment further. “Despite the positive economic development, considerable risks may result from increasing commodity prices,” said Franz. “These price increases could lead to second-round effects that could then force the European Central Bank to adopt a more restrictive monetary policy,” added the president. Last Thursday, the ECB raised interest rates from record lows for the first time since mid-2008, as concerns about inflation outweighed worries over the ongoing euro-zone debt crisis. Nevertheless, the central bank’s president, Jean-Claude Trichet, allayed fears

that the bank was about to embark on a rate hiking cycle, saying only they would do whatever was necessary to keep rising prices in check. Carsten Brzeski from ING Bank said global political events were not about to derail Germany ’s sparkling economic recovery. “A very strong first quarter looks a certainty. However, the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and North Africa, and the disastrous events in Japan have cast doubt on the sustainability of the German recovery,” he said. “So far, these doubts remain unjustified. At least in the eyes of market analysts and investors, the German economy seems to be panic-proof,” he added. Supporting his view, the markets took the ZEW index broadly in their stride Tuesday, with the euro unmoved against the dollar as the figures came out. But

another economist, Heinrich Bayer from Postbank, said the fall in the index was “at the least a warning shot that the economic environment in Germany could be a little rougher in the second half of the year.” The survey came as the German government prepares to revise up its growth forecast for this year from the current level of 2.3 percent. Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle has already indicated output will be stronger than expected. On Monday, the International Monetary Fund lifted its projection for this year to 2.5 percent. But natural disasters, geopolitical uncertainty and the specter of higher borrowing costs have taken their toll on business confidence. The Ifo institute’s index fell last month for the first time since May. — AFP

Tanzania postpones fourth offshore oil DAR ES SALAAM: Tanzania’s fourth deep offshore bidding round has been postponed to next year to allow it to offer new blocks discovered by a latest seismic survey, a state-run agency said yesterday. The bidding round, which was initially scheduled for this month will now take place at a yet to be determined date next year, and include new blocks, the staterun Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) said in a statement. Tanzania has made significant commercial discoveries of natural gas, but is yet to strike oil. “The government ... regrets to announce the postponement of the 4th deep offshore bidding round. The round was planned to be launched in April 2011. “The round has been postponed to give more time for preparations. This will include proper demarcation of new blocks using additional new seismic data.” The government had intended to offer the bids for 13 deep offshore blocks located around 1,200 and 3,000 metres below sea, but the TPDC is now inviting bids for onshore exploration on the northern side of Lake Tanganyika, which Tanzania shares with three other African

countries-Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia. The deadline for submission of bids for the Tanzanian side of the Lake Tanganyika north area is June 7, 2011, at 07:00 GMT. “We are still collecting more data from deep-sea areas that’s why we had to postpone the fourth round,” George Ngwale, TPDC’s acting Director of Explorations, told Reuters. “Several other licenses held by some companies are also scheduled to be released after the expiry of their fouryear terms so these will also be offered to bidders,” he said. “The new round will be offered in 2012. I can’t specify the exact date and number of blocks to be offered because we are currently compiling data on the available exploration areas.” Prospectors are studying east Africa afresh as insecurity in other parts of the continent and increasing energy nationalism elsewhere push them to seek new sources. Gas discoveries in Tanzania, and oil discoveries on the border between Uganda and Congo have peaked interest in the region, which had been largely overlooked. — Reuters

Jeep expands in Europe as Fiat, Chrysler integrate BALOCCO, Italy: Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says a new rollout of fresh Jeep models for Europe is evidence of the depth of integration between the two companies 22 months after the Italian automaker took over the once-bankrupt US company. Marchionne said yesterday at Fiat’s test track near its Turin headquarters that Jeep “is the only true international brand that Chrysler has.” Fiat officially raised its ownership in Chrysler to 30 percent from 25 percent yesterday. — AP

predicts the economy grew 2.6 percent during the quarter. If oil prices average $100 a barrel for the year, Zandi says, growth will be 0.3 percentage point lower than if prices had stayed at last year’s level — an average of less than $80 a barrel. A few months of $125-a-barrel oil would slash economic growth by a full percentage point, Zandi says. And a few months at $150 a barrel could push the economy back into recession. Surging oil prices don’t hurt everybody in the United States. Oil companies, for example, stand to gain. In 2008, Exxon Mobil Corp. earned $45 billion — a record for a US company — after oil prices hit a record $150 a barrel. Oil services companies such as Halliburton Co, Schlumberger Ltd and Baker Hughes Inc. also benefit as the oil industry rushes to find and produce more oil. And the products of biodiesel and other alternative energy companies become more competitive the higher oil prices go. In a speech early this month, Sandra Pianalto, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, offered hope that higher oil prices won’t persist long enough to do much damage. “Large increases in food or energy prices tend to be temporary,” Pianalto said. “History shows that they are often followed by sharp declines.” But Mark Pawlak, a market strategist at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, says he worries about a repeat of what happened to the economy last year: It built momentum at the start of 2010, only to stall in the face of a European debt crisis and a run-up in oil prices from February to April. —AP

MIAMI: Shipping containers are shown next to the cargo ship Wester haven docked at the Port of Miami in Miami. US companies sold fewer products overseas in February but the trade deficit still narrowed because of a big decline in oil imports. —AP

WASHINGTON: The IMF’s Economic Counselor Olivier Blanchard answering questions after a news conference at the IMF in Washington to discuss the World Economic Outlook. —AP

Allied Irish loss soars to $15bn DUBLIN: Allied Irish Banks aimed to put the “collective madness” of a homegrown property bubble behind it yesterday with a jaw-dropping annual loss of 10.4 billion euros and a plan to axe over 2,000 jobs. A former stock market darling with international ambitions, AIB has been effectively nationalized and saved from collapse by emergency ECB funding after being shut out of debt markets and losing 22 billion euros in deposits last year. There were further “slight” deposit outflows this year, mainly from overseas corporate funds, but fresh stress tests which require AIB to raise 13.3 billion euros in capital and a “big bang” overhaul of the sector have provided some stability. “The news of the bank’s recapitalization has been viewed positively by the market and we hope that that now represents a turning point and we can now rebuild the bank from here,” executive chairman David Hodgkinson told state broadcaster RTE. Dublin has pledged to radically shrink its banking system as part of an EU-IMF bailout and AIB will be one of two socalled “pillar banks” left from what was once a crowded field. AIB is hoping that 2010 will mark the

nadir in terms of group losses but it has said it is too early to call the peak in arrears. The IMF slashed its 2011 growth forecast for the Irish economy to just 0.5 percent from 0.9 percent on Monday, underlining the challenge ahead. Dublin has put a 70 billion euros price on drawing a line under its banking crisis and AIB is second only to Anglo Irish, the poster child for Ireland’s casino-style property lending, in the burden it is putting on recession-weary taxpayers. “There was almost a kind of collective madness, everyone went crazy and for a very long time,” said Hodgkinson, a former chief operating officer at HSBC, appointed last year. A charge of 6 billion euros, representing 5.25 percent of loans, against potential losses helped drive AIB’s loss, a company record, and more than four times higher than the 2.3 billion euros shortfall generated in 2009. “The scale of losses going forward are going to be very materially different. This is the year in which all of the losses associated with the loan and lending activities of the past have come to bear,” Chief Financial Officer Bernard Byrne told Reuters. Analysts said AIB had taken a lot of pain up front. — Reuters




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Japan quake’s economic impact worse than feared BOJ uncertain when rebuilding will help growth TOKYO: The economic damage from Japan’s massive earthquake and tsunami last month is likely to be worse than first thought as power shortages curtail factory output and disrupt supply chains, the country’s economics minister warned yesterday. The more sober assessment came as Japan raised the severity of its nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to a level 7 from 5, putting it on par with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. The Bank of Japan governor said the economy was in a “severe state”, while central bankers were uncertain when efforts to rebuild the tsunamiravaged northeast would boost growth, according to minutes from a meeting held three days after a record ear thquake struck Japan on March 11. The government and main opposition party have agreed to a spending package to get some reconstruction work star ted, but setting a large additional budget will be difficult due to Japan’s heavy debt burden. “After a natural disaster, people tend to refrain from spending and you get a sense that factory output will shrink,” Economics Minister K aoru Yosano told reporters after a cabinet meeting. “In some areas, the impact could be very big.” Japan is facing its worst crisis since World War Two after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and a tsunami towering more than 10 metres battered its northeast coast, leaving nearly 28,000 dead or missing and rocking the world’s third-largest economy. The government estimates the material damage alone could top $300 billion, making it by far the world’s costliest natural disaster. Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said yesterday that he would explain the Japanese government’s efforts on post-quake reconstruction and the nuclear crisis at a Group of 20 meeting in Washington on April 15. Measuring the impact on consumer sentiment, factory production and the supply chain is proving more difficult, but as the crisis drags on at the

nuclear power plant, the damage to the economy looks to be more severe. “We were in recession already,” said Takuji Okubo, chief economist for Japan at Societe Generale. “This time it will take longer for industrial

before the earthquake, as private consumption slows to a halt, Okubo said. The economy could then accelerate to 3.9 percent growth next year, he said. Shortages of key components, including semiconduc-

are grappling with complications caused by parts factories that have been shuttered or are running with limited power. Toyota Motor Corp on Monday warned that the uncertain supply of parts from

TOKYO: A pedestrian walks past a stocks board in Tokyo yesterday. Japan’s share prices fell 164.44 points to close at 9,555.26 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, as Japan upgraded the crisis on its troubled nuclear power plant to the same level as Chernobyl. —AFP production to rebound, because just-in-time delivery systems have become even more complicated.” Japan’s economy is likely to grow 1 percent this year, down from 2 percent growth forecast

tors, point to the possibility of deeper and longer-running output disruptions from Japan that could also hobble factories elsewhere in the world which rely on Japanese parts. Major Japanese automakers

Japan could threaten its output of vehicles through July. “Our economy is in a severe state,” BOJ Governor Masaak i Shirakawa told lawmakers yesterday. Many BOJ members said power supply constraints

are likely to impact the economy on top of the damage from the quake, minutes from a March 14 meeting showed. The BOJ loosened policy at that meeting by doubling its assetpurchase program to 10 trillion yen ($118 billion). At its latest policy meeting last week, the BOJ launched an ultra-cheap loan scheme for banks in the area devastated by the quake, and has signalled its readiness to ease monetar y policy further if damage from the quake threatens Japan’s return to a moderate recovery. Japan is set to compile an extra budget worth about 4 trillion yen, focusing on removing debris, building temporary housing and restoring infrastructure such as schools. Japan plans to allocate 1 trillion yen to stem job losses and help the unemployed, the Nikkei business daily reported yesterday. This is likely to be the first of several spending packages, but cabinet ministers, including the finance minister, have said that Japan, which has a huge public debt already twice the size of its $5 trillion economy, should avoid new bond issuance. Lending at regional banks rose 1.1 percent year- on-year in March, up from a 0.8 percent rise in Februar y, which may reflect an increase in demand for funding after the quake, a Bank of Japan official told reporters. Outstanding commercial paper held by banks rose 0.2 percent in March, marking the first rise since S eptember 2008, also likely reflecting the impact of the quake, the official said. —Reuters

Malaysia unveils blueprint to boost capital market KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia aims to more than double the size of its capital market to 4.5 trillion ringgit ($1.5 trillion) by 2020 under a new 10-year blueprint unveiled yesterday to boost competitiveness. Najib said the Capital Market Masterplan, spanning through to 2020, would slash red tape for business approvals, accelerate financing for businesses, allocate more funds for venture capital and private equity industries as well as widen access to bond markets to boost large-scale projects. Najib, who is also finance minister, said private retirement schemes would be set up by the end of the year to promote diversity in the management of long-term savings. Malaysia currently has two public pension funds, which leaves out an estimated 2 million workers, including those who are self-employed. “On current forecasts, our capital market size will more than double to 4.5 trillion ringgit by 2020 and with greater internationalization, this figure could increase to as much as 5.8 trillion ringgit ($1.9 trillion) over the same period,” Najib told an economic investment forum. Private pension funds are seen as a vehicle to boost retirement savings and add liquidity to the capital market, which was worth 2 trillion ringgit ($662 billion) last year.

The Securities Commission, which will regulate the industry, projected that assets under management in private retirement schemes could grow to nearly $31 billion ringgit ($10.3 billion) by 2020. The plan however, didn’t outline measures on how it would achieve the capital market expansion. Officials said a vibrant capital market could fuel Malaysia’s economic growth, which is expected to slow to 5-6 percent this year from 7.2 percent in 2010. To build an expert work force, Najib offered a flat rate of 15 percent income tax to lure professional Malaysians working abroad to return home. This will begin 2012 and eligible only for the first five years upon their return, he said. “We are paving the way not only for a more equitable society but for a Malaysia that is more stable, more transparent and more market-friendly,” Najib added. Malaysia’s lack of human capital has often been cited as a key stumbling block to economic growth, partly due to a brain drain as its controversial affirmative action program for ethnic Malays has led many citizens to study and work abroad. Officials have said 140,000 Malaysian left the country in 2007. Between March 2008 and August 2009, the figure more than doubled to 305,000. —AP

Balkan nations want to boost trade, investment DUBROVNIK, Croatia: The Balkan nations that emerged from the bloody break-up of the former Yugoslavia want to close ranks to make their small economies more attractive for trade and foreign investment. Politicians and business leaders from a region still suffering from the effects of a series of wars in the 1990s, agree that cooperation and a joint approach to foreign markets and potential investors would boost business. “In today’s world of globalization ... success can be achieved only jointly and not individually. In economic terms, size does matter,” Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Domagoj Ivan Milosevic told a recent business forum in the southern Adriatic town of Dubrovnik. “The modern economy is looking for big markets, foreign investors are looking notably for size,” echoed Marko Skreb,

chief economist of Privredna Banka Zagreb. “The countries in the region used to be one market, they share similar languages and customs, so their historic similarities along with their small size make a joint approach necessary,” Skreb told AFP. The countries of the former Yugoslavia all have small populations, with Serbia the largest at 7.5 million but together they count as a market of some 22 million people, offering greater potential. Participants of the Dubrovnik meeting, organized jointly by Croatia and United States, discussed the prospects for trade and investment in agriculture, construction, IT, pharmaceuticals, tourism and transport in southeastern Europe. The forum came a few days after Serbia and Croatia along with Slovenia, already an EU member, announced they would join forces on foreign markets. —AFP

SEOUL: Bank of Korea governor Kim Choong-Soo speaks during a news briefing on its key interest rate at the central bank in Seoul yesterday. South Koreaís central bank froze its key interest rate as it assessed potential global economic threats, including the impact of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. —AFP

S Korea freezes key interest rate at 3% SEOUL: South Korea’s central bank froze its key interest rate Tuesday as it assessed potential global economic threats, including the impact of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. Bank of Korea governor K im Choong-Soo and fellow policymakers kept the benchmark seven-day repo rate unchanged at 3 percent for April, following a 25 basis point increase in March to curb rising inflation. Analysts said the bank needs time to assess the impact of March’s increase, and the rise of the won against the dollar would meanwhile ease imported inflation. But the bank said it expects consumer prices to keep going up, due mainly to demand arising from an economic upswing and higher oil prices. Analysts tipped a hike in the base rate as soon as May. In a statement the bank said the domestic economy appears on track for solid growth in coming months thanks partly to strong exports, but risks remain. “The run-up in oil prices associated with the political unrest in

the Middle East and North Africa, the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and the fiscal problems of European countries will act as major downside risk factors,” it said. Annual inflation hit a 29-month high of 4.7 percent in March and the government has described rising prices as its top economic challenge. As part of a series of counter-measures, import tariffs on chicken and flour have been temporarily removed and refiners have been prodded to cut petrol and diesel prices. The bank said it would conduct future monetary policy with a greater emphasis on ensuring a firm basis for price stability, suggesting another rate rise soon. “ The strengthening won is doing some of the heavy lifting in terms of policy tightening, but the central bank will not want to rely too much on the inherently volatile currency markets,” said Sukhy Ubhi, Asia economist with Capital Economics. “ We expect the base rate to be hiked in May,” Ubhi said in an emailed commentary. —AFP

African Minerals CFO confident for Q4 output LONDON: Iron ore developer African Minerals is confident of starting commercial production in the fourth quarter from its Tonkolili project in Sierra Leone. “The mine is already in production, the key is completing the rail in time before the rains come,” Chief Financial Officer Miguel Perry told Reuters yesterday. “We are doing very well at the moment, we are about 68-70 percent complete and everything that we are seeing at the moment says that we are going to get there,” he added. Phase I of Tonkolili is fully funded and at full capacity is expected to produce 12 million tons of iron ore a year once it ramps up from initial production in the fourth quarter. “We believe the possibility of delivering a working rail link by June of this year should go a long way to removing the current market discount on this project,” Canaccord Genuity said in a note. Shares in African Minerals, the largest company on London’s junior AIM market, were up 1.8 percent at 0811 GMT, valuing the group at $2.8 billion. The stock outperformed a 2.4 percent decline in a British mining index. The company is considering two funding options for Phase II of Tonkolili: internal cash flow and about $1 billion of debt or via a deal with strategic partners such as Shandong Iron and Steel Group. “We are likely to generate EBITDA next year of somewhere in excess of $800 million assuming iron ore prices stay reasonably bouyant,” said Perry. Phases II and III are expected to boost production by 23 million tons a year and 45 million tons per annum respectively. Tonkolili is estimated to contain about 12.8 billion tons of iron ore. Perry said no talks have been held regarding the terms of its mining licenses in Sierra Leone. The country’s president told Reuters last month that Sierra Leone needs to revise recent large-scale mining leases to get a better deal for its people. “There is absolutely no discussion around changing the terms of the mining licenses,” said Perry. “There has been no hint from the government that they intend to do so, they have been nothing but supportive.” “We will contribute a significant proportion of the country’s GDP within the next five years,” he said. Earlier yesterday, the company reported that its fullyear losses had widened and that it had cash of around $372.4 million at the end of 2010. —Reuters

Alliance Trust rallies support before vote LONDON: British investment company Alliance Trust is confident it can defeat rebel shareholder Laxey Partners in a battle over costs and voting policy, after posting a 16 percent hike in net asset value. Katherine Garrett-Cox, chief executive of the 123-year old investment trust, told Reuters the company had turned a “credible performance” in 2010, and had the backing of most of its investors against activist Laxey, which owns 1.6 percent of the stock , and which has accused Alliance Trust of masking the true cost burdens of its subsidiaries. “I am very confident about our position, I think we have a great story, a lot of support. Ultimately, we are confident on May 20,” she said, referring to the upcoming general meeting (AGM) when shareholders are due to vote on changes that Laxey says will boost Alliance’s flagging share value. The 123-year investment company had kept “out of trouble in what has been a volatile and very dangerous market,” Garrett-Cox said, with net asset value per share at Jan. 31 standing at 439 pence, compared with 377.7 pence posted in the previous year. The company will pay a full-year dividend of 8.395 pence without dipping into reserves, and is seeking to grow dividends further this year by at least 2 percent. Alliance shares were trading 0.7 percent down at 372.5 pence at 0917 GMT, against a 0.9 percent fall in the FTSE 250. Laxey is lobbying for the introduction of a Discount Control Mechanism (DCM) to reduce Alliance Trust’s share price discount to NAV and for changes to voting rules which allow Alliance Trust to count votes unclaimed by passive investors as votes cast in line with the majority. Urging shareholders to vote down the resolutions, Garrett-Cox said the DCM system would “impair ” investment flexibility, increase costs and compromise dividend payments. She said the company had already implemented the suggested changes to its voting system but said the practice had “never, ever made a difference to any voting outcome.” Earlier this week, Laxey said shareholders shouldered the costs of Alliance Trust’s subsidiaries-Alliance Trust Savings, Alliance Trust Asset Management and non-operating subsidiary Alliance Trust Finance-without being given a full account of their costs or benefiting from performance. Laxey said that over the last five financial years there has been a 336 percent increase in total expenses at group level- a calculation that the Alliance CEO strongly rejects. “They need to get their facts straight, their numbers are completely wrong,” Garrett-Cox said, pointing out that on a compound basis over the last three years, costs at company level had risen by 4.3 percent a year and at a group level by less than 1 percent a year. “Over the last three years, we have reduced head count which has resulted in ongoing cost savings of over 9 percent. They are adding the wrong things together and getting the wrong answers,” she said. —Reuters



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Russia celebrates Gagarin’s conquest of space MOSCOW: Russia yesterday marked a half century since Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, the greatest victory of Soviet science which expanded human horizons and still remembered by Russians as their finest hour. At 0907 Moscow time on April 12, 1961 Gagarin uttered the famous words “Let’s go” as the Vostok rocket, with him squeezed into a tiny capsule at the top, blasted off from the south of the Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. After a voyage lasting just 108 minutes that granted the 27-year-old carpenter’s son historical immortality, Gagarin ejected from his capsule and parachuted down into a field in the Saratov region of central Russia. From that moment on, his life, and the course of modern space exploration, would never be the same again.

“Fifty years ago, Yuri Gagarin opened a new era in human history,” President Dmitry Medvedev told a glittering ceremony in the Kremlin attended by past cosmonauts and even Gagarin’s rarely-seen widow Valentina. “At the time, this was the greatest triumph of our country. And this is still felt today by huge number of people here and around the world,” the president added. With Gagarin’s flight, the Soviet Union scored its greatest propaganda victory over the United States, spurring its Cold War foe to eventually retake the lead in the space race by putting men on the moon in 1969. But in contrast to the tense battle of the 1960s, space is increasingly a matter of international cooperation with the orbiting Inernational Space Station a joint effort between Russia, the United States and oth-

er partners. Medvedev, in a live link-up with the ISS crew at mission control outside Moscow, earlier emphasised that space exploration remained a top priority for Russia even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “ We were the first in space, we obtained a lot of success and we do not want to lose our advances,” Medvedev said. “Humanity will continue to invest in space. I want to say, in the name of Russia, that we will of course do this as space is a priority for us,” he added. State television firmly pressed the 1960s nostalgia button, showing grainy footage of Gagarin in his capsule minutes before the flight and his ensuing tour around the world where he met luminaries including the British Queen. But although Russia will this year take

full responsibility for ferrying astronauts to the ISS when the shuttles are retired, its space programme has seen its share of problems in the run-up to the anniversary. Three navigation satellites crashed into the ocean after launch, the latest launch for the ISS was delayed by a week due to a technical problem and the government has already said that space agency chief Anatoly Perminov is on the way out. As well as the heroism of Gagarin, Russia is also remembering the genius of the man who created the rocket that put him into space and masterminded the flight-chief Soviet rocket engineer Sergei Korolev. One of the most remarkable figures in the history of space travel, Korolev survived being sent to the Gulag under Stalin to become a figure of such importance his role was only disclosed after his

death in 1966. The anniversary has also prompted a release of information from Russia about the most mysterious aspects of Gagarin’s life, most notably his still unsolved death in a plane crash in 1968. Declassified documents released last week said his jet likely manoeuvred sharply to avoid a weather balloon, prompting it to crash in a region outside Moscow and killing Gagarin and instructor Vladimir Seryogin. Former Soviet space workers have also recalled how all those involved in the flight were forced by the Soviet Union to lie for years that he had landed in his capsule and not by parachute as was really the case. This was because they feared the orbit would not be counted as valid by the international organisation monitoring spaceflight. — AFP

Winklevoss twins lose Facebook appeal ‘At some point, litigation must come to an end’

The new Symbian smartphone

Nokia launches new Symbian smartphones HELSINKI: Nok ia Corp. yesterday launched its first smartphones to run on the updated Symbian software with new icons, enhancements and a faster browser. Nokia said the two models — the E6 and X7 — have longer battery life, better text input and new Ovi Maps applications with improved search and public transport routes. The Nokia E6, with a standard QWERTY keypad and high resolution touch display, is aimed at corporate customers, while the Nokia X7 is an entertainment-focused handset with a 4-inch (10- centimeter) display made for games. The world’s largest cellphone maker did not price the handsets. Markets seemed unimpressed by the announcement, which comes as Nokia continues to struggle against stiff competition, especially from Apple Inc. and Research in Motion. Nokia stock fell more than 1.5 percent to euro 6.18 ($8.92) in afternoon trading in Helsinki. More than 200 million phones, with 150 million more expected on the market, use Symbian technology, seen by some developers as clumsy and dated.

At the end of last year, it was surpassed by Android as the world’s No. 1 smart phone software. Nokia said the new, faster Symbian software, known as Symbian Anna, will be available for previously released top models, including the N8, E7, C7 and C6-01 devices “in coming months.” In February, Nokia and Microsoft surprised the industry by announcing they were joining forces to challenge major rivals — Apple’s iPhone and Android, Google’s sof tware for phones and tablets. Nokia said it will use Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone software as the main platform for its smar tphones in an effort to recover lost share from the iPhone and RIM’s Blackberry. But Nokia said it will continue to develop and use the new Symbian software. The company, which claims 1.3 billion daily users of its devices, said it hopes the partnership with Microsoft will lead to capturing the next billion users to join the Internet in developing growth markets. Nok ia, an Espoo based company, near Helsinki, employs 132,500 people. — AP

SAN FRANCISCO: A US appeals court ruled that Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss can’t back out of the settlement deal they made in a lawsuit charging that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook. “The Winklevosses are not the first parties bested by a competitor who then seek to gain through litigation what they were unable to achieve in the marketplace,” the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said. “At some point, litigation must come to an end,” the court said. “That point has now been reached.” Twin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss claim they enlisted Zuckerberg to finish software code for their ConnectU socialnetworking website while they were all students at Harvard University in 2003. Zuckerberg, a second year student at the time, took their code and their idea and launched Facebook in February 2004 instead of holding up his end of the deal, according to the brothers. Facebook rejects that account. Hollywood made the saga famous in the hit film “The Social Network.” The twins inked a settlement two years ago that got them $20 million in cash and $45 million worth of stock valued at $36 per share. The value of that yet-to-be-issued stock has skyrocketed along with Facebook’s estimated market value, which was placed at $50 billion early this year, the judges noted in their ruling. “With the help of a team of lawyers and a financial advisor, they made a deal that appears quite favorable in light of recent market activity,” the judges said. “For whatever reason, they now want to back out,” they continued. “Like the district court, we see no basis for allowing them to do so.” The brothers challenged the settlement, which was supposed to be confidential, on the grounds that Zuckerberg suckered them during settlement talks by not revealing Facebook internally valued the stock at $9. The lower figure would have resulted in the Winklevoss twins getting many more shares. Facebook welcomed the ruling. “ We appreciate the 9th Circuit’s careful consideration of this case and are pleased the court has ruled in Facebook’s favor,” Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said in a statement. Attorney Jerome Falk, who represents the twins, said his legal team will file a petition within 15 days for a “rehearing en banc” at which the

SAN FRANCISCO: Photo dated January 11, 2011 shows Tyler (R) and Cameron (L) Winklevoss, founders of social networking website ConnectU, leaving the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco after attending a court hearing in a lawsuit against Facebook Inc. and its founder Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco. — AFP ruling would be reconsidered by a panel of 11 appeals court judges. “I respectfully disagree with the 9th Circuit’s conclusions,” Falk said in an emailed statement. “In my judgment, the opinion raises extremely significant questions of federal law that merit review by the entire 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.” Members of the three-judge panel bore holes in the argument pitched by Falk during a January hearing in San Francisco. The Winklevoss brothers based the value of Facebook stock on news that months earlier technology giant Microsoft had bought a small piece of the social networking star in a deal that valued the stock at just shy of $36 and the company at $15 billion, Falk said at the time. He argued that Facebook violated US securi-

The greenest car will soon be hitting showrooms in US GREENSBURG: The greenest car you’ve likely never heard of will soon be hitting Honda showrooms across the United States as the Japanese automaker expands sales of its compressed natural gas powered Civic. Honda has been quietly winning green car awards for more than a decade as it cautiously introduced the Civic GX first to government and business fleet owners and then retail customers in a handful of test markets. The nationwide retail launch set for this fall comes as US President Barack Obama pushes for wider adoption of fuel-efficient vehicles-including mandating that all federal cars will need to run on alternative, hybrid or electric power by 2015. Potential customers could also be lured by substantial cost savings as oil prices climb amid tensions in the Middle East and natural gas prices fall in the wake of major new discoveries in the United States. But the Civic GX enters a crowded field where new plugin hybrid and fully electric cars-the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf-are grabbing headlines and zippy new compact cars offer competitive fuel economy. Honda’s goals are relatively modestdoubling sales to around 4,000 vehicles in the first year of national sales while Nissan is hoping to hit annual US sales of 20,000 Leafs-but it still thinks the GX can compete. “We’re asking the GX purchaser to make far fewer sacrifices than any other alternative fuel vehicle,” Eric Rosenberg, who heads Honda’s alternative fuel vehicle program in the United States. “When you compare it to the Volt or Leaf, it’s the most affordable, it has the best range and it has the quickest refill.” The GX can drive up to 250 miles (403 kilometers) on a single tank and only takes a few minutes to fill at public or

home fueling station. The Leaf has a range of 62 to 138 miles (100 to 222 kilometers) depending on road conditions and takes 30 minutes to partially charge at a quickcharge station and seven to 20 hours using a standard 220 or 110 volt outlet.

burning fuel. It consists primarily of methane and emits about 30 percent less carbon dioxide and 70-90 percent less smog-forming particulates than gasoline. Electric cars may emit nothing from the tailpipe, but they have a significant carbon footprint because 45

GREENSBURG: A Honda team members load a specialized tank reinforced with Kevlar into the compressed natural gas powered Civic GX at the Japanese automaker’s assembly plant in Greensburg, Indiana on March 17, 2011. The greenest car most people have likely never heard of will soon be hitting showrooms across the United States. — AFP GM’s Volt can drive 25 to 50 miles (40 to 80 kilometers) on its battery before switching over to a gasolinepowered engine and takes four to ten hours to charge. Honda’s GX is also the cleanest car on the US market, according to the American Council for an EnergyEfficient Economy which looks at a vehicle’s total environmental impact. That’s because natural gas is a clean-

percent of US electricity is generated by coal. Their batteries also carry a heavy environmental toll. Realtor and property manager Irma Vargas bought her first Civic GX in 2006 to save on fuel costs and get access to carpool lanes-a perk that can cut a 90minute commute in half in congested Los Angeles. “Me and my business partner bought it and were going to take turns with it because it was a new idea,”

Vargas said in a telephone interview. “We found that we were fighting over it, so he ended up getting the next year’s model.” Vargas sold the GX to an employee so she could upgrade to a new model in 2008 and has convinced four of her friends and customers to buy one as well. She figures she’s saved thousands of dollars on fuel costs-she can fill her GX at home for about a dollar a gallon while it costs nearly four dollars a gallon to fill her Lexus hybrid, which she saves for long trips and big shopping excursions. But it will be years before the GX or electric cars are sold in sufficient numbers to make a significant dent in greenhouse gas emissions, cautioned Lonnie Miller, an analyst at auto research firm R. L. Polk. “If you look at the traditional batch of gas-electric hybrids, it’s 2.6 percent of all US new vehicle registrations,” he told AFP.“CNG (compressed natural gas) and electric, they’re not even registering.” It took six years for US consumers to embrace hybrids, which require only a few tradeoffs like a higher initial price tag and limited trunk space. Like fully-electric cars, the Civic GX requires a much bigger tradeoff. While owners can fuel up at home with relatively cheap unit called “Phil,” long-range trips are essentially out of the question because there are only about 870 public fueling stations in the entire country. The cost and environmental advantages of compressed natural gas will nonetheless help boost global sales by 9.1 percent a year to 3.2 million vehicles in 2016, according to a recent report by green tech consulting firm Pike Research. —AFP

ties law by not disclosing that it had valued the stock at closer to $9 for stock options issued to employees at that time. “This case is about whether sophisticated parties surrounded by a platoon of world-class lawyers can cancel a deal that is binding,” Facebook attorney Joshua Rosenkranz countered in his time before the judges. “No one was misled here,” he said. “ The ConnectU founders struck a deal that made them very rich and is making them richer by the day. No one made them sign it.” Rosenkranz argued that Facebook was under no obligation to volunteer the stock option information during settlement negotiations and that the information was not intentionally withheld. — AFP

Intel launches chip for tablet computers SAN FRANCISCO: Intel Corp. has launched a new chip for tablet computers, as the world’s most powerful semiconductor company aims to become a contender in the market for mobile chips. Intel’s chips are in 80 percent of laptops and desktop PCs, but it’s had less success getting its chips into smaller devices such as cellphones and tablets. Known for pushing the processing speeds of its chips to the limit, energy efficiency has now become critical for Intel as gadgets and their batteries get smaller, testing the limits of engineering in a different way. And with more consumers starting to opt to buy tablets instead of upgrading their PCs, Intel is looking to diversify its revenue sources. Intel’s chips have been maligned as too power-hungry for the smallest of mobile devices, a criticism Intel is hoping its new chips address. Intel is trying to elbow in to a mobile market dominated by lower-power processors from companies such as Qualcomm Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. Apple Inc. designs its own chip for the iPad. Intel also faces a challenge in that mobile chips are generally built around a different chip design, from a company called ARM Holdings Inc., than the socalled x86 design that Intel uses. Intel said Monday that more than 35 tablet and “hybrid” computers are being built on its newest chip, which is part of the Atom family of chips. As for smartphones, Intel says a processor for that market is scheduled for release later this year. Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, has not announced specifications for those chips. Intel has a history of dabbling in, and retreating from, the wireless business, so the company’s success in this market is not a foregone conclusion. It sold its mobilechip business in 2006, then last year bought the wireless-chip division of Germany’s Infineon Technologies AG for $1.4 billion. With that deal, Intel bought its way back in to a booming market, but only

got a bit player. The Infineon division, while notching some high-profile wins such as Apple’s iPhone, only owned about 5 percent of the total market for processors and other communications chips for mobile phones, according to Gartner Inc. Analysts are split about Intel’s prospects. Some say Intel is too late to the game to score any major market share. Others caution that Intel, with $11.7 billion in net income last year on $43.6 billion in revenue, has plenty of money to pour into making its mobile division a winner.—AP

MOUNTAIN VIEW: In this Nov. 4, 2009 photo, a Cisco Systems’ Flip Video camera is displayed at Best Buy in Calififornia. Cisco Systems Inc. is exiting parts of its consumer businesses, with plans to shut its Flip video camera business.— AP



health & science

Deal near on flu virus-sharing, vaccines GENEVA: Countries are close to a deal to speed up their response to the next flu pandemic by sharing virus samples in return for access to affordable vaccines, diplomats at the World Health Organisation said yesterday. Diplomats told journalists they were in talks with drugs companies and other member states to clear obstacles identified in past outbreaks. Officials are hoping to reach an agreement by Friday on a political deal for health ministers to approve at the WHO’s annual meeting from May 16 to 24, said the two cochairs of a WHO working group. Negotiations began four years ago

between the WHO’s 193 member states after the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus emerged in southeast Asia. A year later, Indonesia stopped sharing flu virus samples with the WHO’s network of laboratories, demanding its share of vaccines. “We have to ensure that vaccines are both affordable and accessible,” Mexico’s ambassador and co-chair Juan Jose Gomez Camacho, told a news briefing. “We need to ensure that we have a legally-binding instrument that will regulate the exchange of influenza viruses and the access to benefits ... This should be the last round of negotiations,” he said.

Gomez Camacho and co-chair Norway’s Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen said they met senior officials from 30 drug companies last week, including GlaxoSmithkline , Sanofi-Aventis and Novartis . They said they learned that current production capacity for pandemic flu vaccine was 1.1 billion doses, forecast to rise to 1.8 billion in four to five years. That was up from 500 million doses during the H1N1 pandemic. Drug makers struggled to make a vaccine against H1N1 after it emerged in early 2009. By the time the vaccine was widely available late that year, the pandemic’s first wave had passed.

countries or there were regulatory challenges,” he said. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, in a speech last month, blamed the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulators for delays in distributing vaccines to poor countries during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. The working group’s draft document calls for having deals in place ahead of a pandemic, including pre-purchase agreements with industry and governments to reserve a certain percentage of production capacity, for example 10 percent, earmarked for countries without access to vaccines. — Reuters

“We are being very, very careful in the handling of this because there are many sensitive issues that pertain to pricing and intellectual property,” Angell-Hansen said. “ We are trying to have a more predictable system for pandemic times,” she added. “Industry is really giving very positive signals back to us.” Gomez Camacho said countries needed to coordinate policies and cut red tape. “There were vaccines available (in 2009), either in the market or donated by the industry to WHO, and very often these vaccines were not able to be deployed, sometimes because there wasn’t infrastructure in

Older brains less nimble at multi-tasking: Study Neural circuitry and networks monitored through MRI LOS ANGELES: The elderly have a harder time multi-tasking than young adults because they are far less nimble at switching neurological connections in their brains between activities, according to research released yesterday. The findings by neuroscientists from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) provides new insights to earlier studies that showed the ability to move from one task to another in quick succession became more difficult with age. Previous studies and accounts of “senior moments”- fleeting bouts of forgetfulnesshave established a strong link between juggling tasks and glitches in short-term, or “working,” memory, for people of all ages. Scientists define working memory as the capacity to hold and manipulate information in one’s mind for brief intervals, a function vital to all mental operations, from following a conversation to more complex tasks like The giant cluster of elliptical galaxies in the centre of this image contains so much dark matter mass that its gravity bends light. This means that for very distant galaxies in the background, the cluster’s gravitational field acts as a sort of magnifying glass, bending and concentrating the distant object’s light towards Hubble. Using Abell 383, a team of astronomers have identified and studied a galaxy so far away we see it as it was less than a billion years after the Big Bang. — AFP

Galaxies formed sooner after Big Bang than thought PARIS: Astronomers said yesterday they believed the first galaxies formed just 200 million years after the Big Bang, a finding that challenges assumptions of how the Universe grew from infancy into childhood. Their evidence comes from a remote galaxy whose glimmer of light was teased open to reveal the presence of truly ancient stars. “We have discovered a distant galaxy that began forming stars just 200 million years after the Big Bang,” said lead author Johan Richard, an astrophysicist at the Lyon Observatory, southeastern France. “This challenges theories of how soon galaxies formed and evolved in the first years of the Universe. It could even help solve the mystery of how the hydrogen fog that filled the early Universe was cleared.” The oldest galaxy previously detected and confirmed was created some 480 million years after the Big Bang. To all appearances, the new finding could lay a claim on being the recordbeater. But no such claims are being made because the discovery was made indirectly, rather than through direct observation, Richard told AFP. Richard’s team used a technique called gravitational lensing. Under this, the light from the galaxy was observed by the Hubble and Spitzer orbital telescopes after it had been amplified by the gravitational pull of a second galaxy that, by sheer chance, lay on a direct line with Earth. Without this gravitational amplification, the light from the distant galaxy would have been undetectable because it was so faint. Using the Keck II spectroscopic telescope in Hawaii to analyse the light, the team found that the galaxy’s redness-a telltale of age-gave a reading of 6.027. In layman’s terms, this says the light

arriving here today was emitted when the Universe was 950 million years old. By comparison, the earliest known galaxy, reported in January, had a whopping “redshift” of 10.3. However, hidden in the bundle of infrared data from Spitzer were signs that many stars in the galaxy were surprisingly old and relatively faint. “This told us that the galaxy was made up of stars already nearly 750 million years old-pushing back the epoch of its formation to about 200 million years after the Big Bang, much further than we had expected,” said Eiichi Egami of the University of Arizona. Under the Big Bang theor y, the Universe originated in a superheated flash around 13.7 billion years ago and started to expand. After the nascent cosmos cooled a little, electrons and protons teamed up to form hydrogen, the most primitive element, and for hundreds of millions of years, this gas filled the Universe. How the fog lifted is one of the big mysteries. One idea is that radiation from galaxies ionised the gas. But this would have been impossible as there were clearly not enough galaxies available to do so. The answer, in fact, could be simple, said Jean-Paul Kneib, a Marseille-based astrophysicst with France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). “It seems probable that there are in fact far more galaxies out there in the early Universe than we previously estimated-it’s just that many galaxies are older and fainter, like the one we have just discovered,” he said in a press release. “If this unseen army of faint, elderly galaxies is indeed out there, they could provide the missing radiation that made the Universe transparent to ultraviolet light.” — AFP

JAKARTA: In this photograph taken on March 12, 2011 a clinic staff member uses a syringe without a needle to pump tobacco smoke into the skin of a patient undergoing treatment for an illness at the Griya Balur clinic in Jakarta. The treatment includes the blowing of smoke from “divine cigarettes” infused with “nanotechnology” to remove their cancer causing “free radicals.” Along with cancer and autism, it’s just one of the ailments the Griya Balur clinic claims it can cure with cigarettes. — AFP

learning or reasoning. There is ample evidence that the negative impact of multi-tasking on working memory is greater for older individuals than for the young, said Dr Adam Gazzaley, senior author of the UCSF study. His research measured brain activity during controlled multi-tasking experiments, comparing the performance of men and women whose average age was 24 with a second group who averaged 69 years of age. The study was published in the online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Neural circuitry and networks were monitored through magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans as test subjects were asked to contemplate outdoor photos for short periods, then were presented with the picture of a face and asked to determine its gender and age, before being asked to recall details from

the original scene. Researchers found the brains of older subjects were less capable of disengaging from the interruption and reestablishing the neural connections necessary to switch back to focusing on the original memory. Some experts had speculated older people become more deeply engaged in what interrupts them, making it harder for them to shift their focus back to the original task at hand. But Gazzaley, head of the UCSF Neuroscience Imaging Center, said his study showed young adults and elderly were paying the same level of attention to the interfering image of the face. “It’s that reengagement of original memory network and disengagement from what has interrupted you, that switch-over seems to be worse in older adults,” Gazzaley said. What causes that deficit remains to be determined, he added. — Reuters

Teva pill faces uphill fight in tough MS market LONDON: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd’s experimental multiple sclerosis drug laquinimod reduced the disease’s relapse rate less than hoped in a pivotal trial, weighing on the company’s shares. But the treatment could still win a place in a competitive market based on its ability to cut patients’ disability and its relatively kind side effect profile, according to analysts. Laquinimod is jockeying for position in the emerging area of oral treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS), where Novartis’ recently approved Gilenya has a leading position. Teva’s stock slipped 3 percent in early trade on Tuesday after the company announced a 23 percent relapse rate over placebo in a late-stage study overnight. “The market expected closer to 25 percent or a bit above,” said Jonathan Kreizman, an analyst at brokerage Clal Finance. Other analysts said the results from the Phase III study suggested Gilenya, which showed a reduction in relapse rates of more than 50 percent, would remain the oral MS treatment of choice. The data for laquinimod was not all bad, however. The drug reduced disability progression-as measured by the expanded disability status scale (EDSS) — by 36 percent, which compared favourably with Gilenya. “Teva at this point are trying to emphasise the EDSS measurement, which came in above Gilenya,” Kreizman said. Teva’s medicine, which could get to the market in late 2012, also had an impressive safety profile in the study. “If laquinimod’s safety data is as benign as the initial data suggests... and further data supports a robust effect on disease disability, then laquinimod could play a meaningful role as a safe nonimmunosuppressive treatment for early-stage MS,” said Richard Parkes of Deutsche Bank. Still, Parkes said he did not expect the new drug to derail sales forecasts for more potent treatments like Gilenya and Tysabri, an injectable therapy from Biogen Idec and Elan. Shares in Sweden’s Active Biotech, which is working on laquinimod with Teva, fell 6 percent yesterday. The laquinimod data had been due to be released later this week at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, but was published early due to an embargo break. Other emerging competitors in the oral MS space include Sanofi-Aventis and Biogen, which reported on Monday that its drug BG-12 met the main goal in the first of two important late-stage studies. Industry analysts’ forecasts for laquinimod sales vary widely, given the uncertainties about the competitive landscape. Kreizman said he expected sales of $750 million to $1 billion a year, while independent forecaster BioMedTracker has predicted the drug will sell some $600 million by 2015 and peak at $1.3 billion in 2019. Israel-based Teva is best known as the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, but it also has a leading position in MS with its branded injectable drug Copaxone. Copaxone now faces the threat of generic competition and laquinimod is viewed as important in protecting Teva’s MS franchise. — Reuters

This handout photo released on April 12, 2011 shows a 3D image featuring skulls (top-bottom) of a dinosaur, extinct bird and modern bird. Birds are long thought to have evolved from small two-footed dinosaurs that over a long period grew feathers, took to dwelling in trees and eventually started to fly. — AFP

Japan paves way for first child organ transplant TOKYO: Japan prepared yesterday to undertake its first organ transplant from the body of a child aged under 15, made possible by a legal amendment aiming to save the lives of many children. The health ministry said that the child, identified only as a boy aged between 10 and 15, was declared brain-dead early on Tuesday after suffering serious head injuries in a traffic accident. Japan’s parliament in mid-2009 scrapped a ban on child organ donations, which activists said had claimed thousands of lives and forced many families to send children in need of transplants on costly overseas trips. The new law legalising organ donations from under 15-year-olds with their family’s consent took effect in July last

year. The Japan Organ Transport Network, the country’s only authorised agent for organ transplants, said that the boy’s relatives had agreed to the use of his heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and small intestine for transplants. The network said it would select recipients from a waiting list of patients. “Japanese have travelled abroad and received transplants, and this has become a problem in the countries which admitted them,” Takashi Igarashi, head of the Japan Academy of Paediatrics, told public broadcaster NHK. He said the unprecedented transplant was a “very important first step” but that there was a need for “continual psychological care” to the families of child organ donors after transplant. — AFP

Black women’s hair loss tied to braiding, weaving NEW YORK: Ver y tight braiding or weaving may be linked to a permanent type of hair loss that affec ts many African American women, according to a US study. Prolonged pulling at the hair strands may cause inflammation of the hair follicle, which has been showed to lead to scarring. In principle, this could lead to scarring hair loss or central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, a type of balding that starts at the top of the scalp and then spreads slowly to the rest. “Our survey results suggest there is a high prevalence of central hair loss among African American women,” wrote Angela Kyei, of the Cleveland

Clinic in Ohio, who led the study. Though the findings couldn’t prove that hair grooming was at the base of the problem, women might still want to take them into consideration, she added. The study, published in the Archives of Dermatology, is based on health questionnaires and scalp examinations of 326 African American women. Nearly all of them straightened their curls chemically and about one in six had scarring hair loss. More than half the women with this condition said they had braids, weaves or hair extensions, as compared to only a third of those with less severe hair loss. — Reuters



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With head in sand, Indonesia struggles to tackle AIDS JAKARTA: Financial troubles drove Liana into prostitution almost four years ago, but the 30-year-old ex-accountant said she’d had no idea then that unprotected sex could give her HIV/AIDS, a disease she now has to live with. Liana, who holds an economics degree, is one of 300,000 Indonesians in the world’s most populous Muslim nation who have fallen victim to widespread ignorance about AIDS, and the government’s inability to campaign effectively against it for fear of being accused by conservatives of promoting promiscuity. Social taboos and strict laws that ban prostitution also work against those most vulnerable to the incurable disease, because police often use condoms-one of the best protection against AIDS-as evidence against sex workers. Although HIV prevalence in Indonesia’s population is low at 0.2 percent, the government and health experts are worried because the number of newly confirmed cases has more than doubled to 4,158 in the five years to 2010. “When I started the job, I did not know anything about HIV/AIDS or that condoms can prevent you from getting infected with the disease,”said Liana, who quit her job

and turned to prostitution after her husband died in 2007 because she needed to pay off a mortgage and support their daughter. A few months after she started sex work, Liana heard about HIV and tried getting tested. But was turned away two times by healthcare workers, who often do not understand the disease and are afraid of getting infected themselves. Liana tested positive last year after falling ill and is now on AIDS drugs, which cost her 30,000 Indonesian rupiah ($3.5) a month as they are subsidised. Until today, she doesn’t know how she became infected. Her 4-year-old daughter is uninfected. “Thinking it over, I’m not lacking in education. But how is it that I never heard of this disease nor how to prevent it? Why does the government not spread the information,” said Liana, a graduate of an East Java university who now insists all her clients use condoms. “How can we prevent HIV/AIDS if we can’t use the only protection that we have? There is no cure for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), but drugs can help to control the replication of the virus and prolong life. While Liana uses condoms, she says

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many of her friends do not as they are tempted by offers of more cash from clients who don’t want to practise safe sex. They are also afraid they may be thrown in jail if police find condoms on them. Health Minister Endang Sedyaningsih told Reuters the government faced enormous opposition in the fight against AIDS in this country of 238 million people. “We cannot put ads for condoms openly on television or promote their use, or people will say the Ministry of Health promotes promiscuity,” she said in a recent interview. Islam is the dominant religion in Indonesia and society remains largely conservative. “We have a programme for methadone substitution and clean needle exchange (for drug users) but it’s very difficult to expand it as it is seen as legalising narcotics use.” Indonesia’s approach is in sharp contrast to the aggressive interventions taken in nearby Thailand, which implemented a high-profile “100 percent condom use campaign” in the early 1990s to rein in an explosive HIV epidemic. That campaign was hugely successful and brought down drastically new HIV infection rates particularly in young men.

The disease, which has killed 4,539 people so far in Indonesia, used to be spread mainly by injecting drug users. Eight out of 10 addicts have HIV. But in 2010, 65 percent of newly confirmed HIV infections came through unsafe heterosexual sex between sex workers and clients, who went on to infect their wives or girlfriends. The government estimates there are 200,000 female sex workers in the country and a male clientele of up to 3 million. Only 10 to 15 percent of clients use condoms. A sharp jump in mother-to-foetus HIV infections is one of the clearest signs that the AIDS epidemic may be moving from particularly vulnerable groups, such as injecting drug users and sex workers, into the general population. These perinatal infections made up 3 percent of all newly confirmed HIV cases in 2010, up from 0.2 percent in the 1990s. “This means that HIV transmission within the family is increasing ... If we have no new approach for HIV prevention within the family, it (the HIV epidemic) may become generalised. We should think out of the box to protect the family from AIDS,” said Inang Winarso, assistant deputy secretary of the National AIDS Commission for

programme coordination. When HIV/AIDS becomes generalised and widespread, as in many parts of Africa, it takes a huge toll on countries, draining them of resources and economic productivity. In many parts of Asia, HIV has made a comeback in recent years among vulnerable groups. Governments and concerned groups in China, Hong Kong, Australia and Cambodia are battling hard to contain the epidemic. Through the use of high-profile campaigns, sometimes even involving state leaders as in China, they push hard for the use of condoms and clean needles to prevent the disease from spreading into the general community. But such high-profile interventions cannot be adopted in conservative Indonesia. Winarso, who was involved in a successful campaign against HIV transmission among gay and bisexual men, hopes to stop the virus from spreading among sex workers through empowering the women, quietly. “In every story that was told to me, nobody said they liked or that they trained to be sex workers. They all started because of trafficking or because of poverty, but they have no awareness that they are victims,” he said. —Reuters

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W H AT ’ S O N Announcements ABCK focus on Health The American Business Council will be hosting its April 2011 General Meeting on Sunday, April 17th. Registration is open till Thursday, April 14th at noon. Those who are interested to attend, may contact the ABCK office at Musical show Voice invites one and all for the musical show on its 10th anniversary. Sensational singer Swathi is invited for the show which will be held on Thursday, April 14 at Carmel School.



aving launched the Women’s Campaign to honor and value the women of our lives on 8 March 2011, the Crowne Plaza Kuwait dedicated a whole month to celebrate the woman. Every time guests visited the restaurants of the hotel, inside and outside branches with their wives, mothers, sisters and friends, they got delightful gifts and surprises to make their visits memorable. As a finale to this campaign, the Marketing team along with the Health Club hosted an exclusive Women’s Sports Day at the Multi - Sports Area of the Nautilus Fitness Centre of the Health Club. The guests and media were greeted and met by the team members, led by Hany Nabil, Director of Marketing, PR and Loyalty Marketing. In an ambience of energy and zest, with the sun shining down, the Sports Day was declared open by Ahmed Serafi, Hotel Manager, who took the time to appreciate every one present, and the guests who made the Women’s Campaign a major success. Taking the guests down memory lane were simple

games and activities of fun, interspersed with a hip hop presentation along with stretching and aerobic sessions done by the Health Club. Excitement, enthusiasm and good cheer were the emotions of the hour as the day progressed along. Winners of the day were given medals, runners up had their prizes and every participant went home with a bag of goodies to remember this day for a long time to come. Music resounding through the speakers filled the air throughout the event, keeping contestants on their feet. The day ended with a delicious buffet of healthy foods, prepared from our kitchens by expert chefs and served by our efficient Banquets team. Crowne Plaza Kuwait, with its bouquet of restaurants, has a lot of choices for every individual - be it international or regional, there is something for everyone! Visit the restaurants, inside and outside branches to enjoy the best of our cuisines and services all the time.

Movenpick Hotel & Resort Al Bida’a supported Earth Hour 2011


arth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks such as the, Sydney Harbour Bridge, The CN Tower in Toronto, The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour. Earth Hour 2011 took place on Saturday 26 March at 8.30pm (local time) and was a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community throughout the world. It was a call to stand up, to take respon-

sibility, to get involved and lead the way towards a sustainable future. The Movenpick Hotel & Resort Al Bida’a Kuwait was pleased to support the Earth Hour initiative for 2011 by turning off all the lights for one hour starting from 08:30pm .In addition to going dark and using dim lights in all hotel public areas, Movenpick Al Bida’a celebrated the Earth Hour with candlelight dinners in all hotel restaurants. ‘We were very excited to support the Earth Hour and join millions of people around the globe in turning off lights to show our full support for the planet. ‘ said Gary Moran, the hotel’s General Manager.

Celebrating Vishu on April 15 Seva Darshan Kuwait will be celebrating this Vishu on April 15th, 2011 as Seva Dinam at the Indian Central School in Abbasiya, in the true spirit of our philosophical thought, seva dharma param dharma. Our families will be offering Visukkaineetam to the scores of children and parents who have no one to take care of them and have been residing in various shelters across the country. 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 contemporary 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.

Kalanjali to present Sadhana Sargam Musical Nite


alanjali Kuwait is organizing a ‘Musical Nite’ by well-known Bollywood Singer Sadhana Sargam on April 22, 2011 at the American International School from 6.30 pm onwards. Singer Sadhana Sargam needs no introduction since she has sung in many Indian languages. Even though she is one of the most gifted versatile singers who can sing any type of songs, she excels mostly melodious slow numbers. She is also a very talented classical musician. She is one of the few singers equally recognized and successful in both classical and light music fields. She has won several awards throughout her career including the Indian national award as the best female playback singer in 2002 for a Tamil song “Pattu Solli” from the movie Azhagi, composed by Ilayaraja. She is the only singer from outside of South India, either male or female, to have won an Indian National award for a South Indian language song. Sadhana Sargam was well received in Tamil Nadu. She is very busy in the Tamil

music field. Among the Bollywood singers’ males or females, Sargam sang the most number of songs in Tamil music field. She is more popular than Lata Mangheshkar, Asha Bhosle, Anuradha Paudwal or Alka Yagnik in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Singapore, where Tamil is spoken widely and Tamil music is listened to. Her all time favorites include “Pehla Nasha” from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, “Chupke Se” from Saathiya, “Saat Samunder Paar” from Vishwatma, and “Snehidhane” from Alaipayuthey, which is also the original version of “Chupke Se” in Tamil Composers Ilayaraja and A R Rahman use her voice more often in Hindi, Tamil, or Telugu songs. She also sang in an international production ‘Warriors of Heaven and Earth’ under A.R Rahman direction recently and became a global singer. For details contact: 66457286 / 25655912. Email:

Come and enjoy frozen yogurt this summer at IKEA Restaurant


KEA Restaurant & CafÈ this summer will be offering the delectable and mouth watering frozen yogurt at excitingly low prices. The restaurant is offering a large variety of flavors and toppings. The frozen yogurt comes in varieties that can be enjoyed by all shoppers visiting the IKEA store. Enjoy the chilled plain frozen yogurt for just 500 fils or to make the frozen yogurt even more tastier, add up to 4 exciting fruit toppings ranging from strawberry, banana, crispy chocolate chip and kiwi to several different syrup flavors such as raspberry, passion fruit, mango, coconut, honey and many more for a total price of just 750 fils.

The frozen yogurt corner was first launched at the IKEA bistro in December 2010, and as an outcome, the frozen yogurt corner attracted a large number of customers, resulting in the second corner being launched at the IKEA Restaurant & Cafe. Since its launch the frozen yogurt has met stupendous success. IKEA Restaurant & CafÈ uphold international quality standards and cultural preferences in its kitchen and F&B service with a main task of giving IKEA visitors the ability to take a break while shopping and enjoy a quality family time enjoying Swedish and local delicacies along with the tasty and frozen yogurt, low fat at a low price, in a pleasant and relaxing environment. The IKEA Restaurant and CafÈ conveys and confirms the IKEA lowprice profile by offering food and beverages at low IKEA prices.

Arpan’s ‘Kathakali 2011’ Arpan Kuwait, an Indian socio-cultural organization, will present ‘Kathakali 2011’ on Saturday, April 30 at 6.30 pm at the Indian Community School (Senior Girls), Salmiya as part of its initiative to promote Indian classical art and culture in Kuwait. The show ‘Kalyanasougandhikam’, a very popular exotic dance drama, will be presented by renowned Kathakali performers from India Kalamandalam Vasudevan, Sasikala S Vellodi, Kalamandalam Sreekantan and Kalamandalam Sreekumar. A 30-minute demo will also be held by the performers prior to the show for the guests who are not familiar with Kathakali. Kathakali, Kerala’s classical theatre, will be presented as a cross-cultural program before an august gathering comprising diplomats, Kuwaiti guests, dancers and theatre lovers. Arpan is presenting the unique classical art form once again before the Kuwait’s elite audience on popular demand. For details, contact: 99716105, 97277151, 66872372 or 94063428. Voice Kuwait 6th Anniversary Voice 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. BEC Exchange mega raffle BEC exchange’s mega raffle, will be held today (Tuesday) at 10 am in BEC head office, Mirqab. All are cordially invited. Catholicate College new members Catholicate College Alumni Association, Kuwait Chapter, is enrolling new members. Ex-students of Catholicate College who have not yet become members of the Alumni Association are requested to complete the Membership Forms and submit the completed Forms to the Treasurer, Thomas Mathew (Mobile no. 66025610) to become eligible for participation in Catholicate College Alumni Association’s activities and programmes. Membership Form is available at the Association’s website : For more details contact General Secretary (Mobile no. 66232408) or President ( Mobile no. 66864057.



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W H AT ’ S O N

Embassy Information



graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that “ individuality is the key to success “ Integrated Indian School run in collaboration with the Kalka Group of Institutions celebrated the graduation day of their Kindergarten on 17th March 2011. The guest of honors gracing the occasion were some dignitaries from the Ministry. Sawsan Ahmed Khalil who is the head of KG and Primary in the Ministry of Education , Bushra, Rizk Ibrahim Abideen, Salah and the sponsor of Integrated Indian school , Jaber -Al -Enezi. The Director Anil Mehrotra, Sunil Mehrotra, Onika Mehrotra, Anis Ahmed, Mohammed Ali (Manager) and Principal, Ritu Mathur were also present to boost the tiny tots.

Quran recital, rendering of the Kuwait and Indian National Anthem were presented with utmost sincerity by the students of Intigrated Indian School. A massive crowd of parents were present at the venue to cheer their wards. Showers of blessings by Onika Mehrotra added to the glory. An array of programmes presented by the tiny tots in their colourful attires mesmerized the entire audience. It was a moment of pride for the school to watch the students of UKG in their convocation gowns. The programme met its end with the Director and Principal lauding their teachers and students for displaying such a commendable feat. An evening worth watching.

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 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 Effective Januar y 15, 2011, the only Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) application form that will be accepted by CIC is the Application for Temporary Resident Visa Made Outside of Canada [IMM 5257] form. All previous Temporary Resident Visa application forms will no longer be accepted by CIC and instead will be returned to applicants. Should old applications be submitted prior to January 15, 2011 they will continue to be processed. To ensure that the most recent version of the Temporary Resident Visa application form is being utilized, applicants should refer to the CIC website. As of January 15, 2011, forms are to be filled in electronically. The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. Consular Services for Canadian Citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00 on Sunday through Wednesday. The forms are available on the internet at: M5257E.PDF. A guide explaining the process can be found here: 256E.PDF.


McDonald’s extends to the special

The Human Epic


McDonald’s Kuwait demonstrated its support to the special needs community once again by sponsoring the Dasman Model School “Yes We Can” marathon. The marathon reinforces McDonald’s mission to promote active and balanced lifestyles.

rom expression to reality: The experiment of Egyptian artist Alaa Hegazi. The course of the exhibition seeks to capture the truest moments of humanity through a celebration of characters and portraiture. Under the title “The Human Epic”, we will follow the artist’s works through a rhythm established by his strokes of watercolor on paper and canvas. The exhibition opens from April 11-19 from 10 am - 2 pm and 5.30 - 9.30 pm. At Shuwaikh, Jahra Road 40, Al Tilal Complex, M3-M4.


taken to prepare the hotel for their stay, mentioning that the team’s comfort and satisfaction was their priority. This included a bus exclusively for their travels, menus created to suit their requirements and other details. He gratefully acknowledged and thanked the sponsors and other participating companies for their valuable contribution and support to this distinctive sports festival - For the Love of Egypt, which is done to improve relationships between Kuwait and Egypt.


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

HOLIDAY INN KUWAIT HONORS AL ZMALEK FOOTBALL TEAM FROM EGYPT he Al Zmalek Football team from Egypt was honored at a dinner ceremony at the Holiday Inn Kuwait in Al Dana Ballroom, where they were also staying during their brief tour of Kuwait. Attending the ceremony were special dignitaries, members of the management and top Egyptian, notable among them Dr. Shereen Fawzy, Head of Al Zamalek Delegation, His Excellency Mr. Salah Al Wasimi - the Ambassador of Egypt to Kuwait, Engineer Khalid Al Mahdi and Chancellor Khalid Khashab from Al Sorrouh International, President of altadamon club and captain of Alqadesiah club Saqr khodair . The football team members, guests as well as the members of the press were greeted and welcomed by Ramy Haykal, General Manager of Holiday Inn Kuwait, Maged Hanna , director of sales and business development along with the Marketing Team. The ceremony was opened with the welcome address of Maged Hanna, , where he said that the hotel was extremely honored to have the team staying with them. Followed by Ramy Haykal speech, who said that great attention had been

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.

Mementos were presented by Maged Hanna , Ramy Haykal along with the Egyptian Ambassador to Dr. Shereen Fawzy, Head of Al-Zamalek Delegation, Engineer Khalid Al-Mahdi from AlSorrouh International and Chancellor Khalid Khashab. Soulful music from Egypt filled the room while the guests enjoyed a delicious dinner from the buffet.

EMBASSY OF BRITAIN Should you come into contact with British nationals in or transiting Kuwait requiring consular assistance please have them contact us at the following new consular inquiry numbers: 972 71877 or 972 71922. Our new temporary switchboard number is 999693651 For the latest FCO travel advice please visit: w w w. fc o. g ov. u k / e n / t r ave l - a n d - l i v i n g abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-eastnorth-africa/kuwait The Embassy is open Sunday to Thursday 7:30am to 14:3Opm. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF NIGERIA The Nigerian embassy has moved its office to Mishref. Block 3, Street 7, House 4. For enquires please call 25379541. Fax25387719. Email- or nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India will remain closed on Thursday, April 14, 2011 on account of birthday of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. The Chief Electoral Officers of the states of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Puducherry, where elections have been declared, have issued notification under Rule 8A of Registration of Electors Rules, 1960, allowing overseas electors to submit registration forms to exercise their franchise in their respective constituencies. Relevant application forms, guidelines for filling them, as well as postal addresses of the Electoral Registration Officers of all constituencies in India are on the website of the Election Commission of India ( and Indian nationals in Kuwait desirous of exercising their franchise are advised to access the website. It is clarified that the attestation of Form 6-A and other documents relating to the election process are to be done by the applicant himself/herself (i.e., self attestation) and not by the Embassy of India, Kuwait.



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00:45 Untamed And Uncut 01:40 Dogs 101 02:35 Life Of Mammals 03:30 K9 Cops 04:25 Natural World 05:20 The Most Extreme 06:10 Animal Crackers 07:00 Meerkat Manor 07:25 The Really Wild Show 07:50 Natural Born Hunters 08:15 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 08:40 Breed All About It 09:10 Must Love Cats 10:05 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 11:00 Animal Precinct 11:55 Wildlife SOS 12:50 Last Chance Highway 13:45 RSPCA: On The Frontline 14:10 E-Vets: The Interns 14:40 The Most Extreme 15:30 Planet Wild 16:00 The Really Wild Show 16:30 Baby Planet 17:25 Extraordinary Dogs 17:50 Cats Of Claw Hill 18:20 Life Of Mammals 19:15 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 20:10 Dogs 101 21:05 Life In The Undergrowth 22:00 Mutant Planet 22:55 Buggin’ With Ruud 23:50 The Most Extreme

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

Dinnerladies The Weakest Link Holby City Conviction Eastenders Doctors Dinnerladies Me Too Tweenies Teletubbies The Large Family Me Too Tweenies Teletubbies The Large Family Me Too Tweenies Teletubbies The Large Family Me Too Tweenies Teletubbies The Large Family Dinnerladies The Weakest Link Coast Doctors Eastenders Holby City Dinnerladies Coast The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders Holby City Coast The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders Casualty Paradox My Family

00:00 Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey 00:50 Rhodes Across China 01:35 Eating With The Enemy 02:20 Cooked 02:50 Chuck’s Day Off 03:15 How Not To Decorate 04:05 Daily Cooks Challenge 05:05 Antiques Roadshow 05:55 How Not To Decorate 07:00 Daily Cooks Challenge 07:55 Trish’s Paris Kitchen 08:20 Trish’s Paris Kitchen 08:45 Daily Cooks Challenge

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

Glamour Puds What Not To Wear Fantasy Homes By The Sea What Not To Wear Antiques Roadshow Fantasy Homes By The Sea Glamour Puds Daily Cooks Challenge Cash In The Attic USA Daily Cooks Challenge Eating With The Enemy Chuck’s Day Off How Not To Decorate Eating With The Enemy Cooked Chuck’s Day Off How Not To Decorate Daily Cooks Challenge Cash In The Attic USA Design Star

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 09:30 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 21:30 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 22:00 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 00:40 01:05 01:30 01:55 02:20 02:45 03:00 03:25 03:50 04:10

A Pup Named Scooby-Doo The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Pink Panther And Pals The Garfield Show Tom And Jerry King Arthur’s Disasters Popeye Classics The Scooby Doo Show Tom And Jerry Kids Looney Tunes The Flintstones

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

Dastardly And Muttley Hong Kong Phooey Droopy: Master Detective A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Tom And Jerry Kids Looney Tunes The Flintstones Duck Dodgers Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Addams Family Pink Panther And Pals The Garfield Show Tom And Jerry Dastardly And Muttley The Scooby Doo Show Wacky Races The Jetsons Popeye Classics Looney Tunes Top Cat Droopy: Master Detective Hong Kong Phooey Scooby-Doo And ScrappyKing Arthur’s Disasters Tom And Jerry Dastardly And Muttley The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Scooby Doo Where Are You! Pink Panther And Pals Duck Dodgers Popeye Scooby-Doo And ScrappyLooney Tunes Pink Panther And Pals The Garfield Show The Addams Family Johnny Bravo The Scooby Doo Show Tom And Jerry Wacky Races Dastardly And Muttley The Scooby Doo Show Top Cat Popeye The Jetsons Duck Dodgers

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 Hero 108 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 15:35 Ed, Edd N Eddy 16:00 Cow And Chicken 16:25 Chop Socky Chooks 16:50 Skunk Fu! 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

00:00 00:30 01:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 06:30 07:00 07:30 08:00 10:00 10:30 11:00 12:00 13:00 13:30 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 20:30 21:00 22:00 23:00

Backstory World Sport World Report World Business Today Piers Morgan Tonight Anderson Cooper 360 World Sport Inside Africa World Report Backstory World Report World Sport News Special World Business Today World One World Sport Talk Asia Piers Morgan Tonight News Stream World Business Today International Desk The Brief World Sport Prism International Desk Business Traveller Quest Means Business Piers Morgan Tonight Connect The World

00:40 Dirty Jobs 01:35 Stan Lee’s Superhumans 02:30 Ultimate Survival 03:25 Man Made Marvels Asia 04:20 Mythbusters 05:15 How It’s Made 05:40 How Stuff’s Made 06:05 Dirty Jobs 07:00 Man Made Marvels Asia 07:50 American Chopper 08:45 How Stuff’s Made 09:10 How It’s Made 09:40 Mythbusters 10:30 Cake Boss 10:55 Border Security 11:25 Street Customs 12:20 Ultimate Survival 13:15 Mythbusters 14:10 La Ink 15:05 Dirty Jobs 16:00 Street Customs 16:55 Mythbusters 17:50 Extreme Fishing With Robson Green 18:45 Cake Boss 19:10 Border Security 19:40 Deconstruction 20:05 How Stuff’s Made 20:35 How It’s Made 21:00 Deconstruction 21:30 Deconstruction 21:55 Time Warp 22:50 Mythbusters 23:45 Black Gold

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

The Gadget Show Mega World Space Pioneer Sci-Fi Saved My Life How Stuff’s Made Thunder Races Brainiac One Step Beyond Superships Scrappy Races Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections How The Universe Works The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Engineered Green Wheels Scrappy Races One Step Beyond Sci-Fi Science Sci-Fi Science Space Pioneer Mega World The Gadget Show Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections Brainiac How The Universe Works How It’s Made How It’s Made How Stuff Works Sci-Fi Science How Does That Work? The Gadget Show The Gadget Show How It’s Made How It’s Made How Stuff Works The Colony

00:00 00:25 00:50 01:15 01:35 02:00 02:25 02:50 03:15 03:35 04:00 04:25 04:50 05:15 05:35 06:00 06:20 06:45 07:05 07:30 07:55 08:20

Kim Possible Fairly Odd Parents Fairly Odd Parents Stitch Stitch Replacements Replacements Fairly Odd Parents Fairly Odd Parents Stitch Stitch Replacements Replacements Emperors New School Emperors New School Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Kim Possible Suite Life On Deck Jonas La Wizards Of Waverly Place Phineas And Ferb

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

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Handy Manny Special Agent Oso Jungle Junction Imagination Movers Phineas And Ferb Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Good Luck Charlie Shake It Up Fairly Odd Parents Phineas And Ferb Hannah Montana Sonny With A Chance Wizards Of Waverly Place Suite Life On Deck Have A Laugh A Kind Of Magic Phineas And Ferb Kim Possible Hannah Montana Forever Sonny With A Chance Jonas La Fish Hooks Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana Forever Hannah Montana Forever Phineas And Ferb Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place Sonny With A Chance Suite Life On Deck Hannah Montana Phineas And Ferb Fairly Odd Parents Replacements Hannah Montana Sonny With A Chance Wizards Of Waverly Place Jonas

06:00 Phineas & Ferb 07:30 Phineas And Ferb 07:40 Phineas & Ferb 08:50 Kid Vs Kat 09:00 Zeke & Luther 09:25 Zeke & Luther 09:50 I’m In The Band 10:15 The Super Hero Squad Show 10:40 Suite Life On Deck 11:05 Suite Life On Deck 11:30 Escape From Scorpion Island (Cema) 11:55 Phineas & Ferb 12:40 Have A Laugh 12:45 Kid Vs Kat 13:50 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 14:15 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 14:40 Phineas & Ferb 15:05 Phineas & Ferb 15:25 Z 15:35 Phineas & Ferb 18:30 Escape From Scorpion Island (Cema) 18:55 Pokemon 19:20 American Dragon 19:45 Aaron Stone 20:05 Z 20:15 Kid Vs Kat 20:40 Phineas & Ferb 21:05 I’m In The Band 21:30 Zeke & Luther 21:50 Phineas And Ferb 22:00 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 22:20 The Super Hero Squad Show

00:15 Kendra 00:40 Style Star 01:05 Style Star 01:30 E!ES 01:55 E!ES 02:20 E!ES 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 THS 07:45 Behind the Scenes 08:10 Behind the Scenes 08:35 E! News 09:25 Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane 10:15 50 Most Shocking Celebrity Confessions 12:00 E! News 12:50 Giuliana & Bill 13:15 Giuliana & Bill 13:40 Keeping Up with the Kardashians 14:30 THS 16:15 Behind the Scenes 16:40 Behind the Scenes 17:10 THS 18:00 E! News 18:50 Kourtney and Kim Take New York 19:15 Kourtney and Kim Take New York 19:40 THS 20:30 Extreme Close-Up 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:20 Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane 22:10 E! News 23:00 Chelsea Lately 23:25 Kendra 23:50 Keeping Up with the Kardashians

00:15 Fantasy Factory 00:40 Carpocalypse 01:30 World Combat League 02:20 Fantasy Factory 02:45 Fantasy Factory 03:10 Aiya TV 04:00 Mantracker 04:25 Mantracker 04:50 Carpocalypse 05:40 World Combat League 06:30 iEX 2009 08:00 Quattro Events 2009 08:25 Summer Dew Tour 2010 09:15 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 10:05 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 10:55 Eds Up 11:20 Eds Up 11:45 Untracked 12:10 Parcour 12:35 Final Fu 13:25 Carpocalypse 14:15 World Combat League 15:05 Eds Up 15:55 Untracked 16:20 Parcour 16:45 Quattro Events 2009 17:10 Summer Dew Tour 2010 18:00 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 18:50 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 19:40 Untracked 20:05 Parcour 20:30 Final Fu

PAPER HEART ON OSN MOVIES COMEDY 20:55 21:20 22:10 23:00 23:50

Final Fu I’ll Do Anything World Combat League Aiya TV Final Fu

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 12:50 13:40 14:30 14:55 15:20 16:10 17:00 17:50 18:40 19:30 19:55 20:20 21:10 22:00 22:50 23:40

The Haunted A Haunting Deadly Women The Prosecutors Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghosthunters The Haunted Mystery Diagnosis Forensic Detectives Solved Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls Fugitive Strike Force FBI Files Murder Shift Extreme Forensics Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls Fugitive Strike Force Forensic Detectives Solved FBI Files Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls Murder Shift Extreme Forensics I Almost Got Away With It I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner

00:00 The Tripper-18 02:00 Fading Of The Cries-PG15 04:00 Ballistica-PG15 06:00 Blue Crush-PG15 08:00 Dragonball: Evolution-PG 10:00 Death Warrant-PG15 12:00 Face Off-PG15 14:15 Dragonball: Evolution-PG 16:00 The Betrayed-PG15 17:45 Face Off-PG15 20:00 Universal Soldier: Regeneration-PG15 22:00 Blood And Bone-18

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

Perrier’s Bounty-18 Fly Me To The Moon-PG Primo-PG15 The Dust Factory-PG15 Drunkboat-PG Disco-PG The Lovely Bones-PG15 It’s A Wonderful AfterlifePhoebe In Wonderland-PG Crazy Heart-PG15 Triage-18 Nine-PG15

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Family Guy 02:00 The Cleveland Show 02:30 Entourage 03:00 Just Shoot Me 03:30 Kath And Kim 04:00 Family Guy 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 How I Met Your Mother 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 Dharma And Greg 09:00 Just Shoot Me 09:30 How I Met Your Mother 10:00 Yes Dear 10:30 Rita Rocks 11:00 The Drew Carey Show 11:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:30 Dharma And Greg 13:00 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 13:30 How I Met Your Mother 14:00 Yes Dear 14:30 Kath And Kim 15:00 Rita Rocks 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon

Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 The Drew Carey Show 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Just Shoot Me 18:30 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 The Big C 22:30 Entourage 23:00 Family Guy 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

01:00 Mindhunters-18 03:00 Ballistica-PG15 05:00 The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations-18 07:00 Heaven’s Fall-PG15 09:00 Gone In Sixty Seconds-PG15 11:00 The Marine 2-PG15 13:00 Ghost Town (TV Movie)-18 15:00 Gone In Sixty Seconds-PG15 17:00 Dragon: The Bruce Lee StoryPG15 19:00 Enemy Of The State-PG15 21:15 Midnight Meat Train-18 23:00 A Lonely Place For DyingPG15

00:00 The Associate-PG15 02:00 Two Can Play That GamePG15 04:00 A Low Down Dirty ShamePG15 05:45 He’s Just Not That Into YouPG15 08:00 Moon Over Parador-PG15 10:00 Paper Heart-PG15 12:00 Mean Girls-PG15 14:00 Beauty And The BriefcasePG15 16:00 The Associate-PG15 18:00 Down And Out In Beverly Hills-PG15 20:00 Houseguest-PG15 22:00 Miss March-18

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

Witness To Jonestown-PG15 Quills-18 Seven Years In Tibet-PG15 Creation-PG15 Under The Mountain-PG Far North-PG15 Sins Of The Mother-PG15 Einstein And Eddington-PG15 Shadows In The Sun-PG15 Wings Of The Dove-18 Make It Funky!-PG15 Milk-18

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

Boogie Nights-18 Mr. Deeds-PG Ghosts Of Girlfriends PastSurrogates-PG15 Planet 51-PG15 Appaloosa-PG15 Stuart Little 2-FAM I Love You Beth Cooper-PG15 Planet 51-PG15 Lower Learning-PG15 Triage-18 Harry Brown-18

00:00 Christmas In New York-PG 02:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 04:00 Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Friends Forever-PG15 06:00 Globehunters-PG15 08:00 Barbie In A Fashion FairytaleFAM 10:00 Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Friends Forever-PG15 12:00 Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie-FAM 14:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 16:00 Winx: Secret Of The Lost Kingdom-PG 18:00 Hua Mulan-PG 20:00 Sing To The Dawn-FAM 22:00 Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie-FAM

00:00 Animal Kingdom-PG15 02:00 The Hit-PG15 04:00 Max And Co.-PG 06:00 Freestyle-PG15 08:00 9-PG15 10:00 My Son, My Son, What Have You Done?-PG15 12:00 500 Days Of Summer-PG15 14:00 Emotional Arithmetic-PG15 16:00 9-PG15 18:00 Easy Virtue-PG15 19:45 Public Enemies-18 22:00 Last Night-PG15

00:00 Super League 02:00 Futbol Mundial 02:30 World Hockey 03:00 Super 15 05:00 Ladies European Highlights 06:00 Trans World Sport 07:00 NRL Premiership 09:00 Ladies European Highlights 10:00 Futbol Mundial 10:30 Mobil 1 The Grid 11:00 NRL Premiership 13:00 AFL Premiership 15:30 Super 15 17:30 Ladies European Highlights 18:30 Trans World Sport 19:30 Futbol Mundial 20:00 AFL Highlights 21:00 Super 15 23:00 Super 15




00:00 Futbol Mundial 00:30 Super 15 02:30 NRL Premiership 04:30 NRL Full Time 05:00 NRL Premiership 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 AFL Premiership 10:30 ICC Cricket World 11:00 World Hockey 11:30 Mobil 1 The Grid 12:00 Golfing World 13:00 NRL Full Time 13:30 Futbol Mundial 14:00 European Challenge Cup 16:00 Mobil 1 The Grid 16:30 Super League 18:30 NRL Full Time 19:00 Golfing World 20:00 European Tour Weekly 20:30 Mobil 1 The Grid 21:00 Trans World Sport 22:00 AFL Highlights 23:00 Ladies European Tour Highlights

01:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 09:30 10:30 11:30 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:30 16:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00

V8 Supercars Championship British Triathlon UAE National Race Day Series UFC Unleashed WWE Vintage Collection City Centre Races UAE National Race Day Series British Triathlon Sports Adventure WWE NXT UAE National Race Day Series City Centre Races Superstock Powerboat Series V8 Supercars Championship WWE NXT WWE Bottom Line WWE Vintage Collection UFC 128

01:00 Play Dirty-PG15 03:00 The Twenty-Fifth Hour-PG 04:55 The Sea Of Grass-PG 07:00 Jailhouse Rock-PG 08:35 Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo-PG 11:00 Easter Parade-FAM 12:40 The Adventures Of Quentin Durward-FAM 14:20 A Yank At Eton-FAM 15:45 Bachelor In Paradise-PG 17:35 The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse-PG 20:05 Gigi-PG 22:00 Victor/Victoria-PG15

Classifieds WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2011

Healthy Living

Cooking with yogurt In addition to being a excellent source of protein and calcium and good for the digestive track, yogurt is a versatile ingredient.


bachelor in C-A/C ďŹ&#x201A;at opposite to JAS Intnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;l Shipping, rent KD 50 elec/water included. Please call 66349475 / 1802255 Extn 308. (C 3253) 9-4-2011




Wanted live -in full time part time house maid for a small Indian family in Salmiya. Contact: 55445286. (C 3261) 12-4-2011




Š 2011 MCT

ACCOMMODATION Week ending April 12, 2011

#1 Album

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Š 20 2011 011 MCT

Single room available for visiting family with Keralite family from May 1st in a CA/C building beside main road opp German clinic. Contact: 65139705/ 66455687. (C 3262) 12-4-2011 Double bedroom plus partition room C-A/C ďŹ&#x201A;at, new building in Abbassiya near Orma Jewellery, immediately with household items. Call 66042122, 66083228. (C 3257) 11-4-2011 Accommodation available for executive bachelors/ working ladies/ couples in a semi-furnished bedroom, central A/C ďŹ&#x201A;at in Sharq, Kuwait City. Contact: 99682526. (C 3252) Accommodation available in Abbassiya for 1 Keralite

RCSC parents in Kuwait, with good ďŹ nancial background invite proposals for their son, 26/174, graduate, working in Kuwait from B.Sc nurses or other well employed girls in Kuwait. Email:

Bhatia, change my name to Shabbir Moizbhai Bhatia. (C 3258)

FOR SALE Toyota Corolla model 2009, white color, 1.8 engine, excellent condition, cash price KD 3400, installment possible. Contact: 55074670. (C 3256) 11-4-2011

SITUATION WANTED Indian male B.Com, 25 years Gulf experience (Kuwait & UAE) in management, procurement, sales, seek senior position, experience in oil ďŹ eld materials, hard wares, power and hand tools, timber, steel, building materials etc. Contact: 99059650. (C 3263) I am looking for a job as a

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(C 3260) 12-4-2011

No: 15057

Proposals invited for a 30 year old Roman Catholic Keralite boy working in Kuwait in a well known private company for the last 3 years, from girls working preferably as staďŹ&#x20AC; nurse in Kuwait MOH hailing from a middle class family. Contact: (C 3258)

CHANGE OF NAME I, Shabbir Moizbhai Dahodwala, holder of Indian Passport No. J 4441363, son of Moizbhai F.

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

Flt 267 772 620 3718 853 370 211 138 529 207 45 503 201 555 412 157 6964 206 382 302 53 352 284 344 362 855 132 125 603 301 213 203 404 165 5066 561 3557 672 610 6791 982 640 57 802 500 552


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


745 792 341 134 546 201 701 303 857 215 510 777 239 127 550 257 177 227 824 166 542 786 102 674 774 975 618 787 61 647 81 402 572 502 372 859 217 136 614 981 135 185 636 441 393 447 215


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



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

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (


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14:20 14:25 14:30 14:35 14:45 15:00 15:10 15:30 15:45 16:00 16:05 16:15 16:20 16:30 16:35 16:45 17:35 18:05 18:15 18:20 18:25 18:30 18:35 18:45 18:55 19:10 19:10 19:40 20:00 20:20 20:40 21:00 21:05 21:10 21:15 21:40 22:00 22:25 22:30 22:30 22:30 22:35 22:45 22:55 23:05 23:10 23:40 23:50 23:59


star CROSSWORD 286





Aries (March 21-April 19) You may be surprised today by a compliment or by some recognition for a recent accomplishment. Perhaps you expected a little attention but you may have some recent kind act or achievement mentioned in the community newspaper. You are feeling good! Your slow and steady work behind the scenes proves profitable. There is a focused concentration now to work with and learn a new technology until you become an expert on the subject. Adaptability and clever talk will achieve great results for you now. You are lucky in love and money today but do not overextend your good fortune—know when to walk away. You and your loved one can enjoy time together this evening doing something totally different.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Your way of explaining things is helpful today as there is some new equipment, technology or method in which all must learn to work. You may be upstaging someone else—pay attention to this possibility and back off when necessary. You may feel that you are in touch and in harmony with others and the lines of communication are open. You can expect a little boost from those around you. You could find that you are appreciated for your ability to organize and accomplish things in a quick manner. You may want to encourage a carpool effort in order to save on gas. You may offer to draw up a plan. This may get a sluggish response but could be considered eventually. There is a relationship that may generate heat this evening.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 4. (usually plural) The state of having reflex spasms of the diaphragm accompanied by a rapid closure of the glottis producing an audible sound. 10. The executive agency that advises the President on the federal budget. 13. (used especially of commodities) In the natural unprocessed condition. 14. A salt or ester of boric acid. 15. A close friend who accompanies his buddies in their activities. 16. By bad luck. 18. A silvery malleable metallic element that resists corrosion. 19. Lower in esteem. 21. Common Indian weaverbird. 22. A former copper coin of Pakistan. 24. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 25. A heavy precious metallic element. 27. A family of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in southeastern Asia. 29. A drawing illustrating the relations between certain quantities plotted with reference to a set of axes. 32. An accidental hole that allows something (fluid or light etc.) to enter or escape. 36. Shape anew or differently. 38. A port and tourist center in southwestern Italy. 40. Unwind or untwist. 42. The syllable naming the fifth (dominant) note of any musical scale in solmization. 43. Having help. 45. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 48. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 51. The wood of an African obeche tree. 56. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 59. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 60. The arch of bone beneath the eye that forms the prominence of the cheek. 61. Having two feet. 62. The use of nuclear magnetic resonance of protons to produce proton density images. 63. An independent ruler or chieftain (especially in Africa or Arabia). 64. Long nerve fiber that conducts away from the cell body of the neuron. 65. A lyric poem with complex stanza forms. DOWN 1. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 2. Offering fun and gaiety. 3. Distant in either space or time. 4. A hemoprotein composed of globin and heme that gives red blood cells their characteristic color. 5. A tiny or scarcely detectable amount. 6. A slight depression in the smoothness of a surface. 7. Ancient city is southeastern Italy where Hannibal defeated the Romans in 216 BC. 8. The local time at the 0 meridian passing through Greenwich, England. 9. Seed of a pea plant. 10. Large elliptical brightly colored deep-sea fish of Atlantic and Pacific and Mediterranean. 11. An independent group of closely related Chadic languages spoken in the area between the Biu-Mandara and East Chadic languages. 12. (pathology) An elevation of the skin filled with serous fluid. 17. The Greek lyric poet of Lesbos. 20. The Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the Dali region of Yunnan. 23. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 26. Of or relating to or characteristic of Thailand of its people. 28. Jordan's port. 30. A city in western Nevada at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 31. United States writer (born in Poland) who wrote in Yiddish (1880-1957). 33. (law) Lacking any legal or binding force. 34. On or toward the lee. 35. Any of various young herrings (other than brislings) canned as sardines in Norway. 37. One of the common people. 39. A feeling of self-respect and personal worth. 41. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 44. Measuring instrument in which the echo of a pulse of microwave radiation is used to detect and locate distant objects. 46. A linguistic element added to a word to produce an inflected or derived form v 1. 47. Italian film actress (born in 1934). 49. Mild yellow Dutch cheese made in balls. 50. An island in Indonesia east of Java. 52. English monk and scholar (672-735). 53. Fabric dyed with splotches of green and brown and black and tan. 54. Not easy. 55. A member of an Iroquoian people formerly living on the south shore of Lake Erie in northern Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania and western New York. 57. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 58. A corporation's first offer to sell stock to the public.

Yesterday’s Solution

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Quick answers, great wit and a surplus of insights and solutions are available now. This combination works and is what it takes for a good round table discussion. This may happen before work or just as work begins. Many people have their own opinions about how a certain project should run and this includes you as well. This is a good time to suggest that a paragraph from each person might cause less confusion. You may go about gathering this information for the higher-ups to consider. This is a good time to write and communicate with real originality. Inventions and breakthroughs are possible. This may be a period of great mental activity and heightened communication with others. One of your secret goals is very close to a completion.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


You are able to transport others to invest their time in a project. Everyone seems motivated to work toward a praiseworthy end result. Looking at the overall picture is a talent very few can achieve and you are able to do this with a vision that belongs to no other. Clear decisions affecting others could be made now. Somehow you need to find a balance between your sense of duty to others and your sense of duty to yourself. In fulfilling your own deepest dreams and desires you will be happier throughout each day. In serving yourself you are more fit, able and ready to help others. Patience will seem easier as a result of taking care of your own needs. It is not the time to seek favors from a loved one; it is, however, the time to grant them.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Relax your need to be in total control this day. A meeting room holds many different personalities within the room or around a conference table. A proposal made by you or someone else may have to be carefully studied before any action is required. Difficulties, blocks and all manner of hot spots can be understood and eliminated at this time. There is much communication with others and the communication gives you an opportunity to insert some positive points regarding a particular proposal. You help to lighten other people’s thinking. You have inspiration for a new goal and this time is positive for negotiations and contracts of any type. Verbal deals are good and have many possibilities. You are able to make a positive difference.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) Someone pays you compliments before you even punch the time clock today. Perhaps you have new clothes. You may enjoy talking about what your company produces or the job that you do. This ability to express yourself could enhance your professional outlook. There may be opportunities to speak in front of the public instead of co-workers and customers that are in the store. You will soon learn to be more confident when you speak and you may find yourself conducting meetings and conventions regarding new and better technical or scientific equipment. You may enjoy being with a group of friends this afternoon and find yourself involved in several conversations in which you persuade others of your point of view.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Your duties in the workplace may change today. You are encouraged to teach others and may want to give some thought as to how you can continue some new activity and be paid for it. You may be surprised at the results. Better pay and future advancements have been waiting for you and all you may need to do is ask; you have the talents that others need. Real estate comes to your attention today and this could mean repairs as well as the availability of any sales. Consider the family before making any decisions. Some organizational skills are needed around the household and you may be surprised to find a young person with those skills. You should make it a point to be around family members this evening and find fun ways that will bring them together.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Others will find you quick-minded and full of enthusiasm. Your comprehension of issues is broadened and you have a positive attitude. Your creativeness is unique and you could come up with new solutions. The judgments you make are good and will lead to positive outcomes in whatever you choose to do this day. Be careful of sensitive responses that you might feel like expressing this afternoon. Compromise should be considered. Engaging in serious conversations may create a healing between you and a sibling or close relative. Don’t be afraid to open up to a close friend. You may find yourself feeling private and in a stay-at-home mood this evening. This is a perfect time to spend with loved ones and family.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Let go of a losing situation. Someone close to you is difficult. Sometimes you just have to let someone wiggle in his or her own time period. There is a lot of energy behind your work this morning and much can be accomplished. You make quick and wise decisions that gain the attention of higher ups. Faith in yourself and your future is emphasized as you begin a new path. A feeling that anything is possible leads to new ventures. At its best, this is a very positive and optimistic time in your life, but at times, overconfidence can create problems. Do not burn your bridges behind you! This is a good time to consolidate and organize your affairs—busy yourself with bill paying, chores, etc. An old friend will enjoy hearing your voice this evening.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


There are indications that today will be extremely busy. Communicating with friends and colleagues should be direct and to the point. Say what you mean and leave it at that. There is plenty of energy for you to work with today. This is a good day to solve problems and make important decisions. You will find a way around almost any obstacle and are in control and able to guide yourself with ease. Your sense of inner direction is good and should lead to opportunities. A sociable, congenial, slightly frivolous orientation sets in as you talk and plan some future event with a friend. A little yard work or nurturing of flowers and then a visit to a nearby park may be in order this afternoon.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Some sort of temporary obstacle may appear. This may be one of those days when it is best to just play it cool. Discrimination is in knowing the realistic choices. Practice asking yourself if an idea or concept is realistic. The control you have over your own life now will help you to perceive realities correctly. Your personality takes on more power now, particularly when you are involved with creative activities. If you have not been involved in creative work lately, make a real effort to begin a project soon; planning is good. When you enjoy having created something from your own inventiveness, you can be successful in your other endeavors. You communicate well in most anything you do. Good luck is in your corner this evening.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Legal matters may dominate your thoughts today. Discipline and education may be the topics through which you will learn. Put your mind to work and take care of any details that you may have, for mental discipline should come easily. Problems and obstacles that have been confounding before today should find easy explanation under your keen examination. The way life is going for you at this time may seem to ignore much of what you love and appreciate. Changes are inevitable and you are right to be cautious before jumping into something you may not have confidence in just now. This evening you may enjoy spending time with friends, especially those that have known you for a long time.



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lifestyle G o s s i p

aiti - Colombian singer Shakira danced with students in Haiti last Thursday as she celebrated the renovation of a historic Catholic girls school damaged in the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake. With her song “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” playing over loudspeakers, the Grammy-winning, hip-shaking pop star grooved with students from the Elie Dubois high school in downtown Port-au-Prince. Her Barefoot Foundation, which helps child victims of violence and disasters, and the Inter-American Development Bank each donated $400,000 to restore the high school. “I’m convinced that the key to a dignified future for Haiti is through education,” said Shakira, 34, wearing a black T-shirt and matching jeans. The nine-classroom, 250-student school was built in 1913, and was the


first in Haiti to provide vocational training for girls, officials said. Construction is expected to begin in two months and will take up to 14 months to complete. Organizers have yet to put out bids. Those involved attribute the cost to the expensive nature of building materials in the capital. “Everything has to be imported,” said Eric Cesal, an architect and program manager for Architecture for Humanity, an aid group that planned the school’s restoration. Youngsters were excited to meet Shakira and hear about their new school. “It’s so nice that we have a star coming and that she’s coming to help the school,” said Joselourdes Jean-Paul, a 19-year-old student. “With the new school, we’re going to learn more and learn better.”


approved by mom


sequence involving car chases and the firing of blanks, and had informed residents in the immediate neighborhood. But he says the sound carried further than expected. Lillie says the Cape Town community is getting “used to the fact that people want to film here.” The movie, “Safe House,” is described as a crime thriller.

Tisdale’s tattoos


filming causes stir in Cape Town

movie starring Denzel Washington was a little too thrilling for a Cape Town neighborhood that has experienced gang violence. Callers to talk radio said they feared gang fights had returned to the township when they heard the sounds of automatic gunfire overnight. Denis Lillie, head of the Cape Film Commission, said yesterday the producers had been authorized to film a

shley Tisdale had her tattoos approved by her mother. The ‘High School Musical’ actress would never do anything her parents disapprove of, so her mom Tina accompanied her when she went to get inked, in order to ensure she liked the designs. Ashley said: “I’ve always wanted to be sure my parents approve of what I do. Even with my tattoos, my mom went with me. The ‘believe’ tattoo is because my mom always told me to believe.” Ashley agreed to bare all for Allure magazine’s forthcoming annual naked issue, and hopes the resulting photoshoot will make people realise she is not a “young girl” any more. She told the publication: “I’m 25, almost 26, but people think of me as much younger because I look young. Being in this shoot was me saying, ‘I’m not just the young girl everybody thinks I am. I’m actually a woman.’” Ashley recently revealed she has been getting cheerleading lessons from her mother to prepare for her role in college drama ‘Hellcats’. She said: “I was never a cheerleader but luckily my mom was, and she gave me some great tips. “It was hard but I enjoyed it and it’s a great way to keep fit.”

enicio del Toro is becoming a father. A spokeswoman for the 44-year-old actor says del Toro is expecting a child with reality star Kimberly Stewart, who is rock star Rod Stewart’s daughter. Publicist Robin Baum says that “although they are not a couple,” del Toro and Kimberly Stewart are looking forward to the baby’s arrival. She says, “Benicio is the father and is very supportive.” Del Toro won an Academy Award for his supporting role in 2000’s “Traffic.” His other credits include “The Wolfman,” “Sin City” and “21 Grams.” The 31-year-old Stewart starred in the 2007 reality show “Living with ... Kimberly Stewart.”



Anderson pleads to China on seal meat

ormer “Baywatch” star and animal activist Pamela Anderson has called on China to join other countries in banning imports of seal meat and oil from her native Canada, calling seal-hunting inhumane. Anderson sent a letter to China’s minister of land and resources, Xu Shaoshi, inviting him to accompany her to Canada to witness the “cruelty of the annual seal slaughter”. “Please don’t allow China to become a dumping ground for seal meat and oil products that even Canadians don’t want,” the letter said. Canada and China reached an agreement earlier this year on Chinese imports of seal meat and oil after the European Union banned seal products following an activist outcry over commercial seal-hunting. Dozens of Chinese animal rights groups hit out at Canada in January over that deal, accusing it of turning China into a “dumping ground” for seal products. In her letter to Xu, released Tuesday by the animal rights group PETA, Anderson said many of the seals, some just months old and unable to escape, were bludgeoned to death with clubs that have sharp spikes mounted on them. “If you witnessed this massacre, I’m sure that you’d have a change of heart about importing seal products into China,” the letter said. The Canadian government maintains that the 350-year-old commercial seal hunt is humane and crucial for some 6,000 North Atlantic fishermen who rely on it for up to 35 percent of their total annual income. Animal rights groups, however, say it is barbaric, and have waged an aggressive campaign in recent years to stop it. Anderson, a buxom Canadian sex symbol who gained fame as a Playboy magazine “playmate” and then on the US beach-rescue TV series “Baywatch”, is a prominent animal rights activist. Earlier this year she appealed, though PETA, to India’s top medical institute to retire old monkeys used in scientific research, and last year called on Israel’s ultra-orthodox Jews to abandon their traditional fur hats. China is the thirdlargest importer of Canadian fish and seafood, behind the United States and European Union. By authorizing seal meat and oil imports, it joined Japan and South Korea as new markets for Canadian seal products. China’s government had no immediate response to Anderson’s appeal.


gets motorbike for 21st birthday

avid Arquette tried to “make a move” on Courteney Cox in Disney World. The ‘Scream 4’ actor recently went on holiday to the Florida theme park with his estranged wife and their six-year-old daughter Coco and admitted while they were there he tried to reconcile with the former ‘Friends’ actress - only to be rejected. Talking to Howard Stern on his XM radio show, the 39-year-old star explained that although the pair are on good terms - even sharing a kiss during the trip - Courteney insisted they stayed in separate floors in their hotel after he “made a move on her” while they were alone. While Courteney, 46, rejected him, David would like a reconciliation in the future but admits it will be hard because there is lots of pressure on them because of her fame. He said: “That’s what I’d like from her have a lot more fun. Some of that stuff is a lot harder for her to do...She can’t go to South America and be anonymous there. ‘Friends’ is everywhere.” The couple have been open about their separation, making no secret of their desire to remain friends


risten Stewart received a motorbike from the cast and crew of the ‘Twilight Saga’ to celebrate her 21st birthday. The actress - who plays Bella Swan in the franchise opposite real-life boyfriend Robert Pattinson, who stars as vampire Edward Cullen - reached the milestone age on Saturday and was presented with the gift in Vancouver, where she is currently shooting the final two movies in the series, the two-part ‘Breaking Dawn’. A source told “Rob was so excited for Kristen and they each took turns riding it. Kristen learned to ride a dirt bike in ‘New Moon’ so they thought it would be appropriate. Rob was supervising as she sat on it to make sure she was OK. They looked


like they were having a great time, and it will be something they can really enjoy.” Kristen was also treated to a party by those working on the film on Saturday night and onlookers revealed she was “embarrassed” to be the centre of attention. A source said: “Rob led the crowd singing for her, and you could tell she was so embarrassed but in a cute way! Everyone was in a good mood, but it was a bittersweet night (as filming is almost complete). “Rob and Kristen were together all night. They held hands and he kissed her cheek a bunch of times.” — Bang Showbiz

for the sake of Coco, and were even pictured on the red carpet together when they attended the ‘Scream 4’ premiere in Hollywood. David has also spoken of how he still loves his wife “with all his heart” but said earlier this week the pair are still on a trial separation after 11 years of marriage. He said: “We’re not together. She’s my best friend, and I love her with all my heart. But we’re not together, we’re still separated.”




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lifestyle M u s i c


M o v i e s

Potter Star Emma Watson feels for Kate Middleton mma Watson has a lot of sympathy for Kate Middleton. The royal bride-to-be is under a worldwide spotlight ahead of her April 29 wedding to Prince William - with special focus on fashion, what she’ll wear for her big day. Only two billion people may be watching, according to one British minister. “Poor girl, that must be an incredible amount of pressure,” Watson told The Associated Press in an interview earlier this month. “I hope she’s enjoying it. Must be intense.” Watson herself knows something about life in the spotlight. Over the last eleven years she’s grown up on screen and in public from a child actress to a film star. These days who she’s dating is big entertainment news, what she’s wearing is dissected by fashionistas around the globe, which products she is endorsing fuels business stories. A simple trip to the hairdresser to cut her long golden brown hair into an elfin crop made international headlines. Along with co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, Watson’s brought the magical books of JK Rowling to life, by playing Harry Potter’s bookish but gutsy pal Hermione Granger. And, like her character, Watson has always been studious. She enrolled to study liberal arts at Rhode Island’s Brown University in 2009. But being a movie star and an Ivy League student took its toll, and she says commuting back and forth to the US left her stressed out. Ever the perfectionist, Watson couldn’t stand delivering a below-average performance, so she took some time off. How very Hermione. “I just knew I was going to be beating myself up because I wasn’t going to be able to be doing the best that I knew that I could at school or in my job,” she said. “If I’d been getting B’s or C’s I would’ve been really upset.”


Nick Court, who plays Batman, center, Michael Pickering who plays Robin, foreground right, Garry Lake, who plays the Joker, left, perform on stage to launch the Batman Live Tour in central London, yesterday, which tours arenas across the UK and Europe beginning in Summer 2011, and arrives in North America in August 2012. Combining acrobatics, stunt work and illusions, the adventures of Batman and Robin are brought to life on stage for the first time in the characters’ history. — AP

Film claims discovery of nails from Jesus’ cross ould two of the nails used to crucify Jesus have been discovered in a 2,000-year-old tomb in Jerusalem? And could they have mysteriously disappeared for 20 years, only to turn up by chance in a Tel Aviv laboratory? That is the premise of the new documentary film “The Nails of the Cross” by veteran investigator Simcha Jacobovici, which even before its release has prompted debate in the Holy Land. The film follows three years of research during which Jacobovici presents his assertions-some based on empirical data, others requiring much imagination and a leap of faith. He hails the find as historic, but most experts and scholars contacted by Reuters dismissed his case as far-fetched, some calling it a publicity stunt. Many ancient relics, including other nails supposedly traced back to the crucifixion, have been presented over the centuries as having a connection to Jesus. Many were deemed phony, while others were embraced as holy. Jacobovici, who sparked debate with a previous film that claimed to reveal the lost tomb of Jesus, says this find differs from others because of its historical and archaeological context. “What we are bringing to the world is the best archaeological argument ever made that two of the nails from the crucifixion of Jesus have been found,” he said in


an interview, wearing his trademark traditional knitted cap. “Do I know 100 percent yes, these are them? I don’t.” Conspiracy, slip-up or baseless? The film begins by revisiting an ancient Jerusalem grave discovered in 1990 which was hailed by many at the time as the burial place of the Jewish high priest Caiaphas, who in the New Testament presides over the trial of Jesus. The grave, along with a number of ossuaries, or bone boxes, was uncovered during construction work on a hillside a few kilometers south of the Old City. It has since been resealed. Caiaphas is a major figure in the Gospels, having sent Jesus to the Romans and on to his death, and one of Jacobovici’s assertions is that the high priest was not such a bad guy. Two iron nails were found in the tomb, one on the ground and one actually inside an ossuary, and, according to the film, mysteriously disappeared shortly after. Jacobovici says he tracked them down to a laboratory in Tel Aviv of an anthropologist who is an expert on ancient bones. And if they are indeed the same nails-eaten away by rust and bent at the end, almost purposefully-was their disappearance a conspiracy or a logistical slip-up? No definite

answer is offered. Either way, Jacobovici shows why those nails could have been used in a crucifixion, which was a common practice two thousand years ago. He then offers his theory about why they may have been used in the most famous crucifixion in history. “If you look at the whole story, historical, textual, archaeological, they all seem to point at these two nails being involved in a crucifixion,” he said. “And since Caiaphas is only associated with Jesus’s crucifixion, you put two and two together and they seem to imply that these are the nails.” The Israel Antiquities Authority, which oversaw the Jerusalem excavation, said in reaction to the film’s release that it had never been proven beyond doubt that the tomb was the burial place of Caiaphas. It also said that nails are commonly found in tombs. “There is no doubt that the talented director Simcha Jacobovici created an interesting film with a real archaeological find at its centre, but the interpretation presented in it has no basis in archaeological findings or research,” it said.—Reuters

‘Avatar’ director Cameron in bid to bring 3D to TV vatar” director James Cameron is expanding his 3D vision to the small screen. The technologically minded filmmaker has teamed up with “Avatar” cameraman Vince Pace to form a new venture aimed at driving the widespread adoption of 3D technology in episodic television, sports and advertising. They said they wanted to “realize 3D’s full potential as a creative and powerful storytelling and live broadcast medium.” Cameron predicted 3D would become a major player in television programming within five years. “3D is just how all broadcast entertainment will be done. Sports, episodic drama, scripted and unscripted-we haven’t seen anything yet that doesn’t have a great degree of value added by being in 3D,” the Canadian director told Reuters. Sales of 3D TV sets have yet to take-off despite big investments by manufacturers like Sony Corp and Mitsubishi Electric Corp and others. According to a separate report on Monday from NPD Group, consumer awareness of 3D televisions jumped to 36 percent in February 2011 from 28 percent last September. High prices and the need to wear special 3D glasses are seen as the biggest barriers for consumers. But Cameron said the development of lighter, less expensive 3D glasses would overcome much of the resistance. He said the fledgling 3D television industry was caught in a chicken-and-egg situation similar to the movie industry six years ago when theater operators and filmmakers argued there were not enough films, or 3D theaters to justify a change. “We overcame that hurdle because we were getting constant positive feedback from the audience, and we are seeing the same thing in the broadcast model. Everything has been moving at two or three times the pace than we would have predicted a few years ago,” Cameron said. The duo’s Burbank, Calif.-based venture, Cameron-Pace Group, plans to develop a new generation of camera systems, services and creative tools. But their mission, Cameron said, is also about “proselytizing to get people to change their perception about 3D, not just the perception of the cost but their perception of the best business model.” Pace said one of the aims was to bring 3D production costs down to an acceptable level for television budgets. That means training TV makers how to shoot programs in 3D and extract a 2D feed, rather than having two production crews make separate and expensive 2D and 3D versions of the same film or show. “I think that is a challenge for us-to demonstrate that a well-done 2D product that is successful can easily, easily translate into a 3D revenue stream,” Pace told Reuters. The 3D technology so far developed by Cameron and Pace has helped bring in $4.7 billion in box office receipts and been used in sports and concert productions worldwide. These include “Avatar”-which grossed a record $2.7 billion at the worldwide box office-”Tron: Legacy” and a U2 concert film. Their venture was unveiled at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas. — Reuters


(File) Actress Emma Watson as she arrives for the BAFTA Film Awards 2011, at The Royal Opera House in London.—AP

So she will be returning to school in September after helping to promote the final two films. “Harr y Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is out on DVD in the US on April 15 - with “Part 2,” the last installment, set for release in July. Watson also found time for another movie role in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which starts filming in May. Watson also plans to check out Radcliffe’s Broadway stint singing and dancing in “How to Succeed to Business Without Really Trying” and admits she’s very tempted to follow in his tip-tapping footsteps. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” she explained. “The idea of having a live audience is just really appealing to me. I think that must be an amazing experience.” So, for the girl who turns 21 on Friday, life is good. “I just had so many amazing opportunities come my way. I just want to make the best of everything,” Watson said. — AP

Cocaine In this publicity image released by 20th Century Fox, animated characters, from left, Raphael, voiced by George Lopez, Blu, voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, and Jewel, voiced by Anne Hathaway, are shown in a scene from “Rio.” — AP

lot of passion and personal feeling clearly went into “Rio,” the 3-D animated adventure from director Carlos Saldanha, who devised this story as a love letter to his Brazilian hometown. It’s strikingly gorgeous, bursting with big images and vibrant colors. And the use of 3-D, which so often feels so needless and like such an afterthought, is surprisingly effective in the hands of Saldanha (director or co-director of the “Ice Age” movies) and his team. Stuff doesn’t come flinging at you in cheeky, knowing fashion - although that can be fun in its own gimmicky way sometimes - but in the flying sequences especially the chase scenes, the 3-D provides an extra thrill, an added layer of immersive oomph. Blu, a cerulean macaw who’s the film’s reluctant hero, hang-glides around the mountaintop Christ the Redeemer statue, and the depth of field that results is sort of awesome. The whole film has a tremendous energy about it, not just in the way it moves but in the snappy banter and screwball antics between Jesse Eisenberg, who voices the character of Blu, and Anne Hathaway, who voices the free-spirited bird Jewel. Eisenberg works his patented halting, neurotic delivery to ideal comic effect, while Hathaway is confident, bold and impatient as the female of the species who is his destiny. They clash so convincingly, you’d think they’d recorded their scenes together. (They didn’t, which is unfortunately the norm in animation performances.) So much is so appealing for so long that you can almost forgive the fact that there’s not much story here in the script from Don Rhymer, Joshua Sternin & Jeffrey Ventimilia and Sam Harper. (Three others, including Saldanha himself, get story-by credit.) It’s essentially one long chase, with the usual romanticcomedy friction that will, of course, turn into love. Blu, as a baby, was abducted by smugglers who raided his jungle home to sell him and other beautiful birds illegally in the United States. He ended up getting lost en route and, luckily for him, falling into the loving hands of a nerdy, small-town Minnesota girl named Linda. Over the years, the two forged an amusingly inappropriate bond, and now are enjoying a comfy, co-dependent existence. Linda (voiced as an adult by Leslie Mann) has domesticated this bird she named Blu to such an


extent that he makes his own breakfast and enjoys hot cocoa with marshmallows - but he never learned to do what most birds can do, which is fly. One day, a scientist named Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) arrives to inform Linda that Blu is the only male left of his species. They must travel at once to Rio de Janeiro to allow Blu to mate with the last female of the species, Jewel. Anxious about leaving their familiar surroundings, they nonetheless make the trip. But this first date, um, doesn’t go quite as everyone hoped. Not only do Blu and Jewel not get it on, but they hate each other - and Jewel is too busy anyway planning her escape. Then they’re captured by another set of smugglers, with help from a hideous and diabolical cockatoo named Nigel. Jemaine Clement of “Flight of the Conchords” voices the character with preening menace - complete with an elaborate production number - and he’s a hoot. From here, they must figure out how to break free so Blu can get back to Linda and Jewel can enjoy independence. (George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, and Tracy Morgan lend their voices to the supporting players who help along the way.) The fact that they’re chained to each other - and Blu can’t fly, if you’ll recall sets up plenty of slapstick and elaborate mad dashes across slums, beaches, forests and finally the spectacle of Carnival. Nothing deep or heavy here - just a good time and a pleasurable escape. “Rio,” a 20th Century Fox release, is rated G. Running time: 96 minutes. Three stars out of four. Motion Picture Association of America rating definitions: G - General audiences. All ages admitted. PG - Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. PG-13 - Special parental guidance strongly suggested for children under 13. Some material may be inappropriate for young children. R - Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. NC-17 - No one under 17 admitted. — AP

‘once part of film


ctor Dennis Quaid says his biggest mistake was getting addicted to cocaine, but that the drug was so prevalent in Hollywood in the 1980s that supplies were built into the budgets of movies. In an article for Newsweek called “My Favorite Mistake,” Quaid, 57, said he started doing cocaine when he left college and came to work in Los Angeles in 1974. “Cocaine was even in the budgets of movies, thinly disguised. It was petty cash, you know? It was supplied, basically, on movie sets because everyone was doing it. People would make deals. Instead of having a cocktail, you’d have a line,” Quaid wrote. By the late 1980s, when he was making one of his most acclaimed movies, “The Big Easy,” he was so addicted to cocaine that he was getting just one hour of sleep a night, he said. “I had a reputation for being a ‘bad boy,’ which seemed like a good thing, but basically I just had my head stuck up my ass. I’d wake up, snort a line, and swear I wasn’t going to do it again that day. But then 4 o’clock rolled around, and I’d be right back down the same road like a little squirrel on one of those treadmills,” Quaid wrote. Quaid quit his addiction in the 1990s and went on to star in movies like “The Parent Trap” and “Vantage Point.” He is currently in theaters with the true-life tale “Soul Surfer,” playing the father of a girl who loses her arm to a shark. After marriages to actresses P.J. Soles and Meg Ryan, he is now married to Texas real-estate agent Kimberly Buffington, who gave birth to twins in 2007. — Reuters


Dennis Quaid



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lifestyle T R A V E L

What’s new big royal wedding in London since the last

London’s Westminster Abbey, venue for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011. —MCT photos


o you hate royal weddings. Or you love them. Or maybe you’ve caught yourself attending to arcane details of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s plans for April 29, but you can’t say exactly why. Here’s one reason: They defy time. Start with just the idea of monarchy. It may be a deadly serious issue in the Middle East, but as practiced in Britain of late, it all seems so quaint and bygone. Who else in the 21st century gets to walk a red carpet without an agent taking 10 percent? Yet a few Fridays from now in London, you can count on a Gothic church, a carriage procession from that church to Buckingham Palace, great queues of commoners and vast inventories of souvenir spoons. To watch a royal wedding is to imagine a world that doesn’t change. But it does, fortunately. I’ve just spent several days at London landmarks reminding myself of what’s been built or transformed-and discovering how dramatically the churches have raised their tourist prices-since London’s last epic (“epic” being the operative word) royal wedding on July 29, 1981. It seemed logical to start with St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is where Prince Charles wed Lady Diana Spencer (although it’s not where William will wed Kate). Three decades ago, it cost a tourist nothing to

(Above) Four beloved lions have guarded Nelson’s Column in London’s Trafalgar Square since the 1860s, but a series of change in 2003 made the square more pedestrian-friendly and opened a car-free zone between the lions and the National Gallery on the north side of the square. (Left) The London Eye observation wheel, which opened in 2000 and operates daily, gives riders a chance to see Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the Thames from above by day and by night.

stroll the cathedral’s checkerboard floor-and what a floor it is. From it, you gaze up, up, up into the overwhelming 365-foot dome designed in the late 17th century by Christopher Wren, London’s original star architect. You did have to pay, however, to climb the 257- or 259-step spiral stairwell (it depends on who’s counting) to the Whispering Gallery that circles the interior of the dome, offering a view from 99 feet above the worshipers below. It’s hard to imagine a bigger target, yet somehow, though German bombing leveled many a London building during World War II, British forces kept St Paul’s safe. At war’s end in 1945, 30,000 Britons gathered here to celebrate. When wartime leader Winston Churchill died in 1965, authorities brought his body here to lie in state. And when Charles and Diana married here in 1981, every detail got a good going-over: the couple’s decision to leave “obey” out of Diana’s vows; the red carpet they walked on; the 25-foot train of Diana’s dress; the 20-year-old bride stumbling on the full name of her husband-to-be, the 32-yearold groom mixing up his pronouns on “worldly goods.” The BBC estimated 600,000 people in the streets and 750 million watching televisions worldwide that day. The couple’s first son, William, was born less than a year later, and a second son, Harry, followed in 1984. The couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996, just a year before Diana’s death with two others in a Paris car crash. When Prince Charles quietly married Camilla Parker Bowles in a civil ceremony in 2005, it was at Windsor Guildhall, far from here. These days it’s free to see St. Paul’s if you’re worshiping. But tourists will pay about $24 for adults and $9 for most children, with a slight discount for families. (Some days, there is a fast-track line for people who have prepaid their admission fee online, as I did. But other days, like the day I turned up, there is no fast-track line.) There’s no doubt that it costs a fortune to keep the place whole as so many visitors troop through. But in my few moments by the entrance, I heard two British visitors hesitate at the cost. “I’ll give it a miss and come back later,” one man said. The other planned on returning just before closing, hoping to slip in for free. Once you’re in, if your legs are willing and your nerves can take the close quarters of the stairwell, climb the steps to the Whispering Gallery, enjoy the view and test the acoustics (said to make whispers audible at 100 feet). Just 119 more steps will take you to the Stone Gallery and its sweeping balcony views of the city skyline, including all sorts of strangely shaped skyscrapers that have risen in the last decade. Here, as you spy the tiny people walking the streets far below, is a fine Continued on Page 39

British cartoonists draw inspiration from royal wedding


ritain’s satirical car toonists are sharpening their pencils for the wedding of Prince William and K ate Middleton on April 29, but are likely to keep their cruelest portrayals in check. Partly reflecting the British obsession with class and status, the butt of most cartoonists’ jokes are usually those occupying high office and the monarchy, so a royal wedding is fertile hunting ground for mischievous illustrators. Prince William’s cartoon depiction is usually defined by a thinning

hairline, rosy cheeks and lantern jaw, but the young royal’s unremarkable ears and nose mean he escapes much of the ridicule heaped on his father, Prince Charles. Newspaper illustrators have mostly shunned charac terizations of K ate Middleton, but the 29-year-old will come into range after she joins the country’s most famous family. Peter Brookes, cartoonist for The Times, said the wedding and surrounding hysteria provided an

unmissable opportunity, despite the generally positive feeling towards the event. “On the day there will be nothing else you can do,” Brookes told AFP. “Quite often the goodwill transfers itself into mawkishness and total sentimentality and everyone’s going to be over the top.” The illustrator, who was last week named cartoonist of the year at the British Press Awards, admitted he had no concerns over offending royal enthusiasts. “No, no no, absolutely not,” he said.

“First of all you don’t have to worry about it, there’s no such thing as doing a cartoon in praise of somebody, you’re always knocking them down. “ The only thing I would say in balance is that it’s hardly their fault the country goes mad-and it’s two people for whom it’s the happiest day of their lives so you’re not going to do anything that’s personal.” Any cartoon must instead focus on the “over the top nature of this whole wedding,” he said. The couple have avoided most unwanted attention

due to their “down-to-earth” image, but the fact there have been more obvious targets during a chaotic economic and political period in Britain has also helped. “When it was announced, The Times and everybody else went absolutely mad,” recalled Brookes. “I didn’t do a cartoon because I didn’t want to join in the circus,” he added. “I did one related to it a day or two later bringing in the (British public spending) cuts and (finance minister George) Osborne. —AFP



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lifestyle T R A V E L Continued from Page 38 place to remind yourself that in 1673, when Wren got approval from King Charles II for his design of this church, nobody understood it especially well. Isaac Newton was still more than a decade away from publishing his law of universal gravitation. For the fittest of all travelers, 152 more steps will take them to the Golden Gallery, about 280 feet above the floor. I can’t tell you about that view, because it was a cold and cloudy day, and I was tired. Down, down, down I clambered to the crypt, where I could sprawl on the carpet and be surrounded by “Oculus,” a 30-minute series of 270-degree films, unveiled in July and shown continuously. With images flickering on three walls and the score resounding deeply, “Oculus” traces the cathedral through the centuries, from the Great Fire of London in 1666 that destroyed its predecessor to the blitz of 1940-1941 to the rousing sounds of a contemporary choir rehearsal. See it. Then step out of the cathedral and follow the pedestrian masses heading south. You’re about to do something nobody could do here 30 years ago:

If you go TELEPHONES: To call the numbers below from the US, dial 011 (the international dialing code), 44 (the country code for Britain) and 20 (city code for London). Where to stay: The Hoxton, 81 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3HU; 75501000, It describes itself as an urban lodge. It opened in 2006 with 208 rooms, industrial design and a buzzing bar and restaurant. Free Wi-Fi and continental breakfast. Room rates generally $79-$320 a night. Because the hotel is used by many business travelers, weekends are cheaper than weekdays. Boundary Rooms, 2-4 Boundary St, Shoreditch, London E2 7DD; 7729-1051, Opened on New Year’s Eve 2008 with 12 rooms and five suites, each paying homage to a different designer or style. Apart from the cafe downstairs and restaurant way downstairs, there’s a rooftop bar and grill that draws crowds in summer. Rates begin at about $325 for most rooms (more for suites), typically dropping to around $260 on Sunday nights. Shoreditch Rooms, Ebor Street, London E1 6AW; 7739-5040, Opened in April 2010, this is a new facet of the 3-year-old Shoreditch House, a private club just a few steps from the Shoreditch Tube station. Its 26 rooms (some tiny, four with balconies) include access to the club’s gym and spa, sixth-floor pool (heated year-round), a two-lane bowling alley, two restaurants and a bar. Some rooms offer striking skyline views. Rates typically run about $140-$425 a night, a representative said, but on Sunday nights they can fall below $130. Where to eat: St John Bread & Wine, 94-96 Commercial St, London E1 6LZ; 3301-8069 or 7251-0848, A new take on organ meats and other old English favorites. Dinner main dishes usually about $20. Reservations recommended. Polpo, 41 Beak St, London W1F 9SB; 7734-4479, Italian food in a snug 18th century Soho building where the painter Canaletto once lived. Mostly Venetian small plates, priced at $15 and less, to be eaten like tapas. Reservations suggested for lunch; dinner firstcome, first-served. Tate Modern Restaurant, seventh level, Tate Modern museum, Bankside, London SE1 9TG; 7887-8888, Among London’s best views. Morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea daily. Dinner 6-9:30 on Friday and Saturday nights. Dinner main dishes about $22.50-$28. — MCT

stroll across the Thames on a footbridge. The Millennium Bridge, a few blocks south of St. Paul’s, is a steel suspension span, about 1,000 feet long, that puts you into a parade of international visitors who tend to grin and linger even in raking winter winds. The bridge opened in June 2000 — and was shut down within days because its lateral movements gave many people the willies. It reopened in 2002 after a steadying retrofit and can surely be credited for tempting tourists toward the implausible hulk at its southern end. In 1981, this vast building was the oil-fired Bankside Power Station, designed by the same architect who sprinkled Britain with those beloved red telephone boxes (Giles Gilbert Scott). But oil prices had grown prohibitively high. That year, authorities closed it. When the site reopened in 2000, it was as a world-class museum-the Tate Modern, a haven for art since 1900 and temptingly visible from the viewing decks of St. Paul’s. Many of its 4 million annual visitors pay to see special exhibitions, but it costs nothing to roam the permanent collection or Turbine Hall, the gaping ground-floor space in

which the museum displays new commissioned work each year. The current work, a big bed of porcelain sunflower seeds by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, didn’t do much for me, nor did the museum’s explanatory note. (“What you see is not what you see, and what you see is not what it means.”) But lots of other things did. The Monet water lilies, painted on a canvas that’s almost the size of a backyard pool, will likely stop you in your tracks. The six Gerhard Richter abstracts may bewitch you. I merrily worked my way up to the seventh floor, then nipped into the restaurant just as it was opening for Saturday night dinner. (Garganelli pasta with mushrooms and a view of the Thames — both excellent.)

What else couldn’t you do in London in 1981? Here’s a partial list: Glide on a Boris Bike Notice the many Barclays Cycle Hire stands? They started popping up around town last summer, and there are dozens now. Londoners call them Boris Bikes, after Mayor Boris Johnson. (Thirty years ago, British political power was more centralized and London didn’t even have a mayor.) For a few pounds, you can grab one of the light blue two-wheelers from a stand, ride, then leave it at a stand near your hotel and walk home. It takes some nerve to share the lanes with London traffic, especially on the busiest thoroughfares, especially as an American accustomed to the other side of the street. But I did it in Soho and lived. Buy a snarky commemorative plate Soon after the engagement announcement, the people at KK Outlet Gallery, in East London’s Hoxton Square, commissioned some cheeky designers to create unofficial collector plates. “Thanks for the day off,” one says, referring to the national holiday for the wedding, which falls on a Friday. “It should have been me,” another says. Despite a price tag of about $36 each, plus shipping, the gallery sold about 3,000 the first week. “It crashed our website,” manager Danielle Pender said. There was plenty of wedding cynicism afoot in 1981, I’m sure, but if anybody put it on a plate, I haven’t found it yet on EBay. See open-air Shakespeare on the old Globe’s old turf Next door to the Tate Modern is Shakespeare’s Globe, an open-air theater that replicates the original Globe and stands just a few hundred yards from the site where Shakespeare and Lord Chamberlain’s Men put on their shows four centuries ago. Conceived by American actor and director Sam Wanamaker (who died in 1993), this Globe opened in 1997 and offers shows from April through October (, with tours and an exhibition area open year-round. Walk unhindered from Trafalgar Square to the National Gallery The laws of London and gravity are such that you will sooner or later find yourself in Trafalgar Square, home of Nelson’s Column, the four sculpted lions that guard it and a band of street performers who work the crowd of resting tourists. For decades, the roar and menace of traffic undercut pedestrian pleasures. But in 2003, local leaders banished vehicular traffic from the north side of the square and added a cafe. This means uninterrupted strolling between the lions and the National Gallery of Art and more space for the jugglers, the magicians and you.

Kate Middleton reacts to the crowd at Witton County Park, Darwen, England Monda. — AP

Wills, Kate to NW England in last pre-wedding trip


rince William and fiancee Kate Middleton brought their electric smiles to northwest England for the last trip in their pre-wedding tour of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Adoring crowds in Blackburn on Monday ignored a steady rain and lined up early to get a glimpse of the royal couple, who plan to marry April 29 at Westminster Abbey in London. One of them, Lillian Sleigh, braved the weather in her wheelchair, which was decorated with Union Jacks and pictures of the royal couple. “I came here early, even though it’s pouring with rain, to make sure I get the best chance of seeing William and Kate,” she said. “They’re a lovely couple and as for William, his mother Diana would have been so proud of him.” The trip marked Middleton’s final introduction to the royal duties that will become a regular part of her life and gave people across the United Kingdom a glimpse of their likely future queen. Most observers agree the four trips were a big success, with the youthful Middleton showing an adroit touch with Britons from all walks of life. She also won style points for her fashion choices and won people over with her easy smile and relaxed demeanor. William,

in a blue suit and dark tie, played the role of proud husband-to-be to near perfection. He let Middleton take center stage most of the time even as he handled public speaking duties, including a brief speech Monday in support of an educational charity. The royal couple arrived first at the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, where William launched a “prince’s award” for the educational charity SkillForce. They then visited Witton Country Park in the afternoon as part of William’s commitment to protect outdoor recreational spaces. Crowds swelled there despite the damp, leaden skies and police were out in force. The sun came out, as if on cue, when William and Middleton arrived at the sports field. “It was absolutely worth the wait,” said Linda Gregson, 52, of Darwen, after spending 2 and 1/2 hours in the rain with her son to briefly see the royal couple. Middleton looked elegant, with her hair partly swept up and wearing a navy skirt and matching tailored jacket. She carried a matching clutch bag and wore high-heeled shoes despite the damp weather and mushy athletic field, where she started a race for teenage girls by dropping a white flag. —AP

Follow Prince Charles’ second career as an architecture critic The National Gallery specializes in art from 1250 to 1900, and for years its leaders wanted to expand. But when they began to move forward and publicized one proposal for a new wing in 1984, the traditionally inclined prince couldn’t hold back. Imagining this postmodern nonsense on Trafalgar Square, he declared, was like finding a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.” And Charles got his way. The museum hired a different (but still postmodern) architectural team, Rober t Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Their Sainsbury wing, which opened in 1991, might still annoy some traditionalists with its “quotations” of The walkways of the Tate Modern gallery and Millennium Bridge, both opened in 2000, look across the Thames River to the 17th century dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. disparate elements from other buildings. But the Sainsbury Wing gave the museum more room for its Renaissance paintings, shop and restaurants, and we can’t complain about that. Escape the rain in Great Court of the British Museum In 1981, the British Museum had the Elgin Marbles (a coveted set of sculptures and architectural details also known as the Parthenon Marbles,

removed from Athens in the early 1800s), but Greece wanted them back. In 2011, the British Museum still has them, and Greece still wants them back. But other things have changed. In 2000, the museum reorganized itself and unveiled a new Great Court, an airy two-acre courtyard space covered with a glassand-steel skylight roof. It not only eases access to the museum’s exhaustive collections, but it also makes a fine refuge from wet weather. —MCT

Shakira helps rebuild Haiti school



Venice’s hottest gallery launches startling show


Czech monastery Booming times for

A visitor passes by ‘Efficiency men’ by artist Thomas Shutte during a visit of the ‘In praise of doubt’ exhibition on April 8, 2011 at the Punta della Dogana Francois Pinault foundation in Venice. —AFP

even as faith wanes

rotesque heads, an American brothel and a life-sized headless horse star in a new Venice exhibition drawn from French billionaire fashion tycoon Francois Pinault’s personal collection. “In Praise of Doubt” is the latest contemporary art exhibition at the Punta della Dogana gallery, a former Venetian Republic Customs House at the centre of the lagoon on the Grand Canal, just across from Piazza San Marco. The eclectic collection, inspired by “uncertainty and convictions about identity”, features 19 established and up-and-coming artists, from minimalist Donald Judd to playful Jeff Koons and self-declared clown Paul McCarthy. The 15th-century gallery, with its woodenbeamed ceilings and tall windows looking out over passing gondolas, was transformed after Pinault won a contest in 2007 to create a brand new contemporary art centre in the floating city. The selfmade art buff, who owns the Gucci Group-including Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Alexander McQueen-as well as Christie’s auction house, has given Venice’s Guggenheim modern art museum a run for its money. In 2007 Pinault called in Japanese architect and former boxer Tadao Ando to renovate the space and unveiled the gallery to great fanfare two years later. Along with its sister gallery, the Palazzo Grassiwhich Pinault has owned since 2005, the Punta della Dogana draws in around 1,000 visitors a day, nearly matching the prestigious Guggenheim in the popularity stakes. “We have around 350,000 to 400,000 (people) come through each year. Almost as most as the Guggenheim and markedly more than the Accademia art museum,” Martin Bethenod, the galleries’ director, told AFP. The 74-year old Pinault bought the Grassi-which had stood empty since its former owner, Fiat’s Gianni Agnelli, died-after an ambitious project to build a museum on the Ile de Seguin outside Paris came to nothing. Within a year the luxury goods tycoon had transformed the Grand Canal palace into a contemporary museum to house his 2,500 or so artworks, many of which are put on show for six to 18 months at a time in both galleries. “In Praise of Doubt” runs until December 31, 2012. The exhibition stars controversial Italian Maurizio Cattelan’s headless taxidermied horse, which hangs in mid air from a wall as if it is trying to leap through the concrete, and Jeff Koons’ large red “Hanging Heart”. Koons, an ex-broker who was married to an Italian pornstar and is known for his large stainless steel blowups, said he worked “with objects and images that come from the everyday world, as references to acceptance of our environment.” “Once you do experience acceptance, it takes away any anxiety and stops you judging other people,” he told AFP. —AFP

Skyscrapers play havoc with London’s historic skyline The Shard building is pictured from Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath in London on February 14, 2011. —AFP File photo shows the main altar of the Church of the Nativity of Mary, part of Premonstrat’s monastery in the village of Zeliv, some 120Km far from Prague. — AFP photos


eligious belief may be on a sharp decline in the Czech Republic but the Zeliv monastery has found a new role as a spiritual refuge while it recovers from its own decades of turmoil. Today’s pilgrims to the monastery tucked in a picturesque valley outside Prague include businessmen, managers and artists-even a 1970s pop star- who come to follow the steady rhythm of a monk’s life even if just for a few days. They stay in Spartan cells, decorated with simple crosses on the walls, and abide by the daily routines of the monastery, starting with morning prayers, but sometimes with dancing and music classes added on. “We offer our visitors the possibility to relieve the tension that life brings,” said Jachym Jaroslav Simek, the provisor or second in rank at the monastery of the Catholic order of the White

Canons. “We organize debates and spiritual exercises but the main thing is that visitors can be alone for some time so they can calm down and perceive their internal stimuli,” Simek said. “This begins to work in about two or three days,” he added with a smile. Looking for refuge in meditation is unusual in this former communist country where two in three inhabitants claim they are non-believers. Unlike in neighboring Poland or Slovakia, religious belief has been in steady decline in the nation of 10.5 million, which gained independence as the Czechoslovak federation split in 1993. The country has a strong Hussite Protestant, anti-Catholic tradition, which was stoked by the 1948-1989 communist regime that described the Catholic Church as a public enemy. Despite this wariness, the Catholic Zeliv monastery,

Beds in a guest room in the Premonstrat’s monastery.

about 90 kilometers (56 miles) southeast of Prague, hosted a healthy 3,000 visitors in 2010. One was 1970s Czech pop icon Nada Urbankova who said her retreat provided rock-solid comfort amid personal and health problems. “When I found myself in a difficult situation, my friends from Zeliv offered me a helping hand,” said the singer, who first visited five years ago. “Having friends who help you is very valuable. And my way to God got a boost,” she added. Another visitor, Prague marketing agent Jana Jurkova, enthuses that guests “experienced the feeling of not being simply visitors but pilgrims who have achieved a new perception of time and space.” “In Zeliv, you find yourselves in a different world with a rhythm quite unlike in the world outside, where it’s determined merely by deadlines,” she said. The monastery-founded in virgin forest in 1139 — is also living its own period of calm after a tumultuous history. Over the course of the years, it was burned down several times and rebuilt, with its current appearance in a unique Gothic-Baroque style that is the work of Giovanni Blasius Santini (1677-1723), a Czech architect with Italian roots. After the communists took power in 1948, it served as a detention facility for clergy. “A total of 464 priests were imprisoned here in 1950-1956,” said Simek. Then it was transformed into a psychiatric hospital in 1957. The communists also sold off valuable furniture for almost nothing to locals, while the gems of the library were taken by jailers to a nearby village and recycled as toilet paper. “Zeliv once owned 1,600 hectares of forests, 400 hectares of land and 40 hectares of ponds. The communists confiscated all that,” said custodian Frantisek Marek. Hinting at efforts to reclaim assets stolen by the communists, under a scheme that has dragged on since 1989, Marek said: “We are still waiting for the government to put this injustice right.” — AFP


loor by floor into the record books, but critics say The Shard and a rash of other towers under construction are ruining the capital’s historic skyline. When it is finished in 2012, The Shard, a glistening triangle by world-renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, will stand 310 meters (1,016 feet) high, becoming the highest tower in Europe. Already the view from the 72nd floor-there are 15 more above it-is enough to bring on a serious bout of vertigo. The tower dominates London’s skyline, dwarfing historic buildings like St Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament, and is gaining height alongside about half a dozen other skyscrapers shooting up across the city. Among these is the slightly curved top-heavy block nicknamed Walkie Talkie; The Cheese Grater, which is upright on one side and sloped on the other; and The Pinnacle, also dubbed The Helter-Skelter because of its spiral shape. Peter Rees, the man in charge of planning in the City of London financial district for the past 25 years, is enthusiastic about the new buildings and cites the quirky names as proof of public support. “It indicates that the public have noticed something which is distinctive, which needs to be given a personal name, a friendly name in a way that they wouldn’t if it was an anonymous building or something they disliked,” he said. The trend for towering office blocks-and nick-

names-began in 2003 with the Swiss Re building, universally known as The Gherkin despite the insurance firm’s efforts to use its address as its official name, 30 St Mary Axe. Unlike in Paris, another capital full of historic buildings where the skyscrapers have been neatly arranged into certain districts, the London towers appear to have popped up all over the place like mushrooms. In reality the buildings often take years to be approved-The Shard, a futuristic structure with huge splinters of glass pointing to the sky, took 12 years to come to fruition. Concerns about the building prompted the former Labor government to hold a lengthy public inquiry before deciding in favor. One of The Shard’s strongest critics is English Heritage, the national body responsible for protecting historic places. It says the tower has ruined a protected view of St Paul’s Cathedral, one of Britain’s most iconic monuments. The Shard “is a marvelous building, but it’s in the wrong place”, said the organization’s regional director, Paddy Pugh. Although there is no maximum height for buildings in London, the authorities protect views of historic buildings from the river and surrounding hills. This includes panoramas of St Paul’s, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace from locations such as Parliament Hill in north London, one of the best places to survey the city. —AFP

13 April 2011  

Kuwait Times

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