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Insects: The answer to global malnutrition?




25 killed as Syrian storm Daraa tanks Bodies sprawled in streets • US mulls sanctions

Bahrain players held, clubs shut UAE arrests activists MANAMA: Three players from Bahrain’s national football team have been detained and six clubs have withdrawn from domestic leagues following widespread, anti-government protests, the Bahrain Football Association said yesterday. Meanwhile, the pro-democracy group Youth of Feb 14 Revolution has launched a Facebook campaign calling on Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone not to reschedule the Bahrain Grand Prix “until basic human rights and freedoms are restored.” Bahrain has until May 1 to decide if it wants to reschedule the race which was canceled March 13 due to the unrest. The moves are the latest illustration of the effects on sport of the anti-government protests that began Feb 14 and have left 30 people dead. The action against the footballers is part of a widespread government crackdown on dissent following protests that have resulted in journalists, bloggers, doctors, lawyers and activists being detained. More than 150 athletes, coaches and referees also have been suspended since April 5 for their Continued on Page 13

DARAA, Syria: This video image taken from amateur video shows a man throwing an object at a tank yesterday. — AP

NATO forces strike Gaddafi compound TRIPOLI: NATO forces flattened a building inside Muammar Gaddafi’s Bab AlAziziyah compound early yesterday, in what his officials said was a failed attempt on the Libyan leader’s life. NATO said the attack was on a communications headquarters used to coordinate attacks on civilians. A Libyan spokesman said Gaddafi was unharmed and state television showed pictures of him meeting people in a tent, which it said were taken yesterday. Firefighters were still working to extinguish flames in part of the ruined building a few hours after the attack, when foreign journalists were taken to the scene in Tripoli. A press official, who asked not to be

identified, said 45 people were hurt in the strike, 15 of them seriously, and some were still missing. That could not be independently confirmed. Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam said the Libyan government would not be cowed by such attacks. “The bombing which targeted Muammar Gaddafi’s office today ... will only scare children. It’s impossible that it will make us afraid or give up or raise the white flag,” he was quoted as saying by the Jana state news agency. “You, NATO, are waging a losing battle because you are backed by traitors and spies. History has proved that no state can rely on them to win.” Continued on Page 13

in the


BB limits next week DUBAI: Emirati authorities seeking greater control over smartphone data are pushing ahead with plans to impose tighter restrictions on the most tough-tomonitor BlackBerry service next week, according to a senior telecom executive. The proposed new rules, outlined earlier this month, have renewed questions about how far the United Arab Emirates is willing to go in allowing highly secure communications within its borders. Osman Sultan, chief executive of the telecommunications firm Du, told reporters yesterday the latest policy ordered by regulators will go into effect May 1. He said he doesn’t expect the shift to cause problems for customers, who will still have access to email, Web browsing and instant messaging. (See Page 27) TEHRAN: Iran has been hit by a second computer virus, a senior military official said yesterday, suggesting it was part of a concerted campaign to undermine the country’s disputed nuclear program. Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of an Iranian military unit in charge of combatting sabotage, said that experts discovered the “espionage virus”, which he called “Stars”. “The Stars virus has been presented to the laboratory but is still being investigated,” Jalali said in a report posted yesterday on his organization’s website, “No definite and final conclusions have been reached.” He did not say what equipment or facilities the virus targeted, or when experts first detected it. (See Page 27)

Taleban free inmates in brazen jailbreak KANDAHAR: While ground fighting eased during the long Afghan winter, insurgents in the former Taleban headquarters of Kandahar were apparently busy underground. The Taleban say they spent more than five months building a 320-m tunnel to the main prison in southern Afghanistan, bypassing government checkpoints, watch towers and concrete barriers topped with razor wire. The diggers finally poked through Sunday and spent the night ferrying away more than 480 inmates through that same tunnel without a shot being fired, according to Afghan officials and the Taleban. Most of the prisoners were Taleban militants. The extraordinary prison break, following a recent wave of assassinations

here, underscores the weakness of the Afghan government in the south despite an influx of international troops, funding and advisers. It also highlights the spirit and resourcefulness of the Taleban despite months of battlefield setbacks. Officials at Sarposa prison in Kandahar city, the onetime Taleban capital, say they discovered the breach at about 4 am yesterday, a half-hour after the Taleban say they had gotten all the prisoners safely to a house at the other end of the tunnel. Government officials corroborated parts of the Taleban account. They confirmed the tunnel was dug from a house within shouting distance of the prison and that the inmates had somehow Continued on Page 13

DAMASCUS: Thousands of Syrian troops backed by tanks stormed the flashpoint town of Daraa yesterday killing at least 25 people, witnesses said, as a leading rights activist accused Damascus of opting for a “military solution” to crush dissent. Troops also launched assaults on the Damascus suburbs of Douma and AlMaadamiyeh, witnesses said, as the head of the UN human rights agency slammed what she called the security forces’ disregard for human life. The United States, which has repeatedly denounced Syria’s repression of the protests, was considering sanctions against Damascus, an official in Washington said. Amman said Syria yesterday closed its border with Jordan in a statement quickly denied by Syrian customs chief Mustapha Bukai. Activist Abdullah Abazid told AFP by telephone from Daraa that Syrian forces were pounding the southern town near the border with heavy artillery and that “at least 25 martyrs have fallen”. “There are still bodies sprawled in the streets,” he said, with the sound of loud explosions and gunfire in the background. A group of activists said in a statement to media that “more than 25 people fell but no one could reach them because of the heavy shelling” and that only seven bodies were retrieved. They were identified by name and included a father and his two sons, said the statement which accused Syrian troops of firing indiscriminately with anti-aircraft guns. “The commander of the Third Army Corps, Kamal Ayyash, a citizen of Daraa, was arrested because he Continued on Page 13

Panel slams ‘illegal’ transport jets deal

Global wins $300m KUWAIT: Dubai appeals court yesterday ordered a UAE bank to repay a deposit worth $250 million plus interest to Kuwait’s Global Investment House, ending a long dispute, the Kuwaiti firm said. The dispute dates back to Aug 2008 when Global placed the deposit at the Dubai branch of National Bank of Umm Al-Qaiwain (NBQ), the company said in a statement. The court also ordered NBQ to pay $54.6 million in interest and expenses, the statement said. Global chairwoman Maha Al-Ghunaim said the “recovery of this long overdue deposit along with interests will strengthen the company’s financial position.” (See Page 21)

Iran uncovers new attack

TRIPOLI: Libyan soldiers walk past damaged offices of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after they were hit by NATO bombs in the Bab Al-Aziziyah district yesterday. — AFP

Max 34 Min 23 Low Tide 00:20 : 12:03 High Tide 07:12 & 17:22

KANDAHAR: An Afghan policeman takes a look at the opening of a tunnel at the main prison through which prisoners escaped yesterday. — AP

MPs blast Syrian ‘massacres’ By B Izzak KUWAIT: The head of the National Assembly’s public funds committee MP Musallam Al-Barrak said yesterday that certain procedures involving the planned purchase of two transport planes by the defense ministry are “wrong and illegal”, saying the panel will summon the defense minister over the issue. Barrak said that certain quarters are pushing to accelerate the procedures of the deal so it can be concluded before any action is taken. The planned deal was highlighted by several MPs in the past. The lawmakers said that the defense ministry was planning to purchase the two planes from a local company owned by an influential personality for KD 131 million. Negotiations for the purchase have been ongoing for several months although the Kuwaiti Air

Force has never asked to buy the two planes. Barrak said that with every meeting, the committee discovers fresh details on the planned deal which necessitates summoning new sides to hear their views. The lawmaker described the deal as “clinically dead”, adding that the report on the issue will contain plenty of details and name those responsible, and criticized the government for creating an additional allocation worth KD 131 million as the expected price of the two planes. The committee also discussed a number of controversial issues including a Kuwaiti loan to Russia in 1990 and alleged violations in Kuwaiti investments. In another development, two Islamist MPs strongly condemned the Syrian army attacks and “brutality” against Continued on Page 13



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local Local Spotlight

The KD 50 million donation to Libya

IT advances significant in boosting sports media Arab Media Forum in Kuwait By Hassan A. Bari

Muna Al-Fuzai


uwait has announced that it will donate KD 50 million to the Libyan rebels. The news of backing up the rebellion is not a surprise but maybe the amount to be given to a rich country like Libya is. Their methods of transparency and how this financial aid will help them is unclear. Other Gulf countries may give away the same amount but I think this is something that needs to be examined. Kuwait is the fourth country to announce their support of the Transitional National Council (TNC) of Libya, which is based in Benghazi, as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Kuwait, as is expected amongst other Gulf countries, will support Libyan rebels in their fight for freedom against Gaddafi. It is obvious that the Libyan rebel council is the voice of those fighting to liberate Libya. The head of the TNC, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, visited Kuwait this week to ask for help for those that have been under siege for weeks now. I think we should consider helping those that are paying a big price for their struggle against a regime that does not respect the law and has no moral consideration. Everyone knows that Libya is a rich country and that big steps have been made by the US and other European countries to freeze Libya’s assets as a way to track the wealth of Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi and his inner circle. In the end this is Libyan money and I agree with such an action. I think that if these assets can be used to support the TNC’s activities and support the Libyan people directly it would be the right decision. As long as there is the right level of transparency I am sure we can force the Libyan authority to accept such an international action. No one wants to witness a bloodbath and no one wishes to see an endless fight where several innocents will be killed. I think there is a need, not only to freeze or condemn the Libyan regime but to also save people from death. What Libyans want is a better future and peace. I think that Gulf countries have been clear about where they stand but Libya’s wealth should be used to help the people of Libya.

KJA slams minister over rejecting street renaming bid KUWAIT: The head of the Kuwait Journalists’ Association (KJA), Faisal Al-Qinae, yesterday condemned a decision by Minister of Public Works and of Municipality Affairs Dr. Fadhil Safar to reject a Municipal Council decree which would have seen Press Street renamed after the renowned late Kuwaiti journalist, Mohammad Musa’ed Al-Saleh. The proposal to rename the street after the celebrated journalist was initially put forward by the KJA as a way of commemorating AlSaleh’s contribution to Kuwaiti journalism from the 1960s up until his demise last year. Calling Dr. Safar’s decision “unjustifiable,” Al-Qinae asserted that it “raises questions about the motives behind such actions,” adding that renaming the street after AlSaleh would be “the least that we could do in appreciation of his Faisal Al-Qinae great services to the nation.” The KJA Secretary General claimed that the minister had also “shown no cooperation” over renaming other streets after prominent figures in Kuwait’s journalistic history, including the late founder of the Kuwait Times Yousef Saleh Alyan, as well as other pioneering figures in Kuwaiti journalism who passed away in recent years such as Baqir Khuraibet, Yousef Abdulaziz Al-Musai’eed, Jassem AlMutawa, Abdurrahman Al-Wulaiyti and Hamad Al-Su’aidan.

KUWAIT: Recalling previous decades when one had to wait for some time to see footage of a football match or other sports event taking place overseas, one can only marvel at the technological advances of recent years that have played a crucial role in allowing sports fans to watch live coverage of sporting events. These tremendous technological advances formed the focus of yesterday ’s seminar on ‘Spor ts Media...Facts and Aspirations,’ held as part of the eighth Arab Media Forum (AMF) currently taking part in Kuwait. The seminar, which was conducted by Gianni M erlo, the chairman of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), and Faisal Al-Qinae, the Secretary General of the Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA), was attended by a number of experts in sports-related media. “The current IT revolution is a major factor in developing sports media, providing that neutral and professional media and journalistic principles are taken into consideration,” said Merlo in his opening address at the seminar. He stressed that the contemporary instantaneous nature of news gathering has forced journalists to become more accurate and focused on professionalism. “Sports media have come a long way and have reached international standards by succeeding in covering various major regional and international sports events,” he added. Another speaker at the seminar, the chairman of the Arab Journalists’ Union, Jordanian journalist Mohammed Jamil Abdul Qadir, said that globalization and the way in which this had in effect turned the world into a small village had imposed various challenges on Arab media generally and sports-related media in particular. “Our problem in most Arab countries is that we don’t have a clear sports media problem,” he stated, noting that Arab sports media figures need more training and the introduction of more qualifications to avoid the subjectivity or insensitivity which he said can mar coverage of inter-Arab sporting events. These tensions can then spill over into relations between teams and even political relations between the nations involved, he added. Renowned Kuwaiti football commentator Khalid Al-Harban said that both TV and radio have played a major part in strengthening the wider role of sports. Al-Harban said that new media would also play a crucial role in defining sports coverage, provided that those covering sports events in these media also receive training in maintaining professionalism and objectivity. Sports journalists, he concluded, “will also have to utilize the technological boom whilst simultaneously being active in doing their jobs without becoming overly dependent on technology or easy news-gathering methods.”

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received yesterday at Seif Palace the visiting Head of the Mongolian Capital Municipality and Governor of Ulan Batur. The meeting was attended by Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah and Al-Assema Governor Sheikh Ali Al-Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

New PM grilling motion announced KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime M inister is set to face another grilling motion, this time from the Development and Reform Bloc, which will focus on Kuwait’s foreign relations. This is the second planned grilling motion to be announced against the premier in recent weeks, despite the fact that he has yet to form the next cabinet. I n a press release issued on Sunday, MP and DRB member Dr. Walid Al-Tabtabaie indicated that the DRB’s grilling motion against the premier is “almost ready,” explaining that the subjects included in it, which “cover legal, security and political issues,” were discussed in a meeting he recently held with fellow Islamist MP M ohammad Hayef. M Al-Tabtabaie insisted that his grilling motion is entirely separate from the one which the Popular

Ac tion Bloc (PAB) has vowed to present against the premier as soon as the new cabinet is sworn in, adding that the DRB will present its grilling after the PAB presents its one. Fellow DRB member, MP Jamaan Al-Harbish, meanwhile, announced that the bloc will also be going ahead with another grilling motion against education minister Dr. Moudhi Al-Humoud if she is reappointed to the post in the next cabinet, explaining that the motion has already been prepared. In other news, the parliamentary health committee is set to finalize its investigative report into allegations that a number of local companies have been involved in intentionally importing and selling foodstuffs unfit for human consumption. In a press release issued on Sunday, committee rappor teur MP Saleh Ashour said that the committee is

likely to present the report either this Thursday or next Sunday, confirming that it will include the names of those companies and individuals accused of involvement in importing and selling the goods in question, as well as those who have been subjec ted to penalties for their involvement, including suspension of trading licenses or prosecution. On a separate issue, the members of the parliamentary education committee agreed during a recent meeting not to reject a proposal to separate the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training’s (PAAET) education and training divisions. Committee member MP Dr. Hassan Jowhar explained in a press release issued following the meeting that the decision was based on information which confirmed that such separation would be unfeasible. — Al-Qabas

Indian ambassador meets FM KUWAIT: The Ambassador of I ndia, Ajai Malhotra, called on Sheikh Dr Mohammed Sabah AlSalem Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the State of Kuwait, over the weekend and exchanged views on

bilateral, regional and international issues of common interest and concern. The meeting took place in the warm and friendly atmosphere that has traditionally characterized I ndia-Kuwait interac tion.

KUWAIT: Indian Ambassador Ajai Malhotra holding talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah.

Those present in the meeting included K halid Sulaiman AlJarallah, Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Sheikh (Dr.) Ahmad Nasser M ohammed AlAhmed Al-Sabah, Direc tor, Department of the Deputy Prime M inister & M inister of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador M alhotra completes his diplomatic assignment in Kuwait early next month. M eanwhile, M inister of Commerce and Industry Ahmad Al-Haroun met here yesterday with Ajai M alhotra to discuss means of bolstering bilateral relations between the two countries, especially within the economic and commercial fields. The discussions between AlHaroun and Ambassador Malhotra also focused on measures to boost the volume of trade exchange volume and to utilize investment opportunities in both markets and amend the relevant laws to benefit both nations. The meeting was also attended by M inistr y of Commerce and Industry Undersecretary Abdulaziz Al-Khaldi and a number of officials from the Indian Embassy. — KUNA

PIFSS to crack down on fraudulent Kuwaiti private sector ‘workers’ KUWAIT: Teams of inspectors from the Public Institute For Social Security (PIFSS) are preparing to conduct inspections over the next few days as part of an investigation into reports that some local private sector firms have been falsely registering Kuwaiti employees on their payrolls in order to enable these individuals to fraudulently claim government allowances. The inspections will focus on investigating claims that some Kuwaiti citizens, most of them over 40 years old, have been falsely registered with local companies as employees in order to facilitate their claiming the social allowances given to Kuwaitis by the government for working. Any Kuwaiti citizen found to have been falsely registered as an employee with these private sector firms will

face withdrawal of government benefits, as well as being forced to repay the fraudulently claimed funds. Any companies found to have falsely registered these individuals on their

employee payrolls, meanwhile, will also face legal action. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a PIFSS official said that several such cases had recently been reported. — Al-Rai

No scheduled power cuts this summer KUWAIT: Kuwait is not expected to experience blackouts similar to last summer as the Subbiya Power Plant is prepared to be operational by June, said the caretaking Minister of Electricity and Water Badr Al-Shuraian. In a statement to the press, he explained that the new 1,300 megawatt plant is prepared to provide the ministry with a surplus of electricity that will be enough to meet the country’s electricity demand. Meanwhile, Al-Shuraian admitted that the ministry’s main problem is its electricity distribution network, which is plagued with outdated power transformers and cables. He noted that the ministry has worked very hard this past year to replace outdated transformers and cables as much as possible to make sure no blackouts occur this year.—Al-Qabas

KUWAIT: Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah receiving yesterday at Seif Palace the Indonesian Ambassador to Kuwait.



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The never-ending love of precious stones, diamonds Koutibashvili’s exquisite designs now on display By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Multi-awarded jewelry designer Nina Koutibashvili on the second day of the Knooz Jewelry and Watch Exhibition at the Courtyard Hotel Arraya Ballroom. —Photos by Sherif Ismail and Yasser Al-Zayyat

Jewelry designer Marie Munier (right) and an associate

Marie Munier and her associate with Kuwait Times reporter

Kuwait Digest

Dangerous nuclear ambitions By Hamid Al-Gharballi


inister of Electricity and Water, Dr Badr AlShuraian announced recently that the ministry has used 97 percent of its budget allocated for its share of projects included in the first year of the government’s development plan. He also revealed plans to build gas-fueled power generating units with 1,500 megawatts daily production capacity at the North Zoor Power Plant in addition to similar plans to increase the same plant’s desalinated water production by 100 million gallons. Earlier this month, the ministry’s undersecretary, Dr Meshan Al-Otaibi indicated that a power shortage is expected in 2013. This contradicts statements made three years ago by then minister Dr Mohammad AlOlaim, who revealed plans to increase the state’s electricity production capacity by 6,700 megawatts and water production capacity by 275 million gallons by 2012. People in their homes that are concerned with the ministry’s ability to face the upcoming hot summer aren’t interested in reading statistical reports. They are interested in avoiding blackouts and water supply shortages. In a regional seminar held by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) earlier this year, a number of power experts said that Kuwait needs 30 nuclear reactors to maintain enough supply to meet the increasing demand on power in the future. The experts believe that this many nuclear plants are needed for a small country like Kuwait. However, France - a pioneer in the peaceful nuclear energy industry - only has 59 nuclear plants, a large country like China only has 13 and a technologically advanced country like the Netherlands only has two. What is stopping Kuwait from having projects to utilize solar energy to produce power? Wouldn’t a project to build 30 large underground water reservoirs be better than building an extended number of nuclear plants? The damage that the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan sustained as a result of the earthquake and tsunami has led many European countries to rethink their nuclear ambitions and become more hesitant on the potential of future projects. In fact, Germany has already canceled plans to build its own plants following the Japanese tragedy and it is currently importing energy from France and the Czech Republic. Kuwait is already too prone to a potential nuclear catastrophe given its proximity to an Iranian nuclear reactor in a seismically active area only 130 kilometers away from Kuwait.—Al-Qabas

KUWAIT: The appeal for jewelry and luxury products has not faded even during times of global economic turbulence. People are naturally attracted to all that glitters and sparkles, said UK-based award winning jewelry designer Nina Koutibashvili. According to the designer, the appeal of precious metals and stones is universal. “No wonder people of every part of the world adore and are very much attracted to jewelry, especially women,” she told the Kuwait Times at the opening of her exhibition at the Knooz Jewelry and Watch Exhibition on Sunday evening. “Even in Kuwait women are warmly talking about gold, diamonds and other precious stones. Quite impressive, fascinating and really heartwarming since I myself am engaged in designing precious metal and diamonds,” she said. In Koutibashvili’s words the recession in Europe never affected the jewelry business, which is continuously thriving. “It is still a huge business and a most promising one in England,” she stated. Koutibashvili, who is originally from Georgia, admited that she has been attracted to precious metal since her early childhood. “It was my dream to create something big that people could appreciate and admire,” she said. “I started painting jewelry when I was still a kid. The hobby I believed I could eventually turn into a reality was interrupted when I got married at an early age.” Koutibashvili’s obsession with creating designs never faded and her dream turned into a reality when her children grew up. “When I got the chance, I went back to school to study,” she said. “There my talent obviously developed and in fact I

graduated with prestigious distinction. When I graduated six years ago I was nominated designer of the year at my school. I got second place, which was followed with several awards. I was also nominated twice as Designer of the Year at the UK Jewelry Awards.” Since starting a business in London six years ago, Koutibashvili has won several other awards, including the Gold Award in Goldsmith Crafts and Design Awards, a Platinum Award, Coutts New Jeweler Award and was voted Designer of the Week. Koutibashvili’s striking designs are currently on display at the Knooz exhibition at Arraya Ballroom until Thursday. Her display of craftsmanship includes her winning piece the Sleek. The Sleek is Koutibashvili’s first ever collection and has earned the world’s attention. Her motivation for the Sleek was inspired by fashion, body and sensuality and her desire to give women a unique style. “My objective when creating the Sleek was to give my customers a feeling of softness, something you could never expect from a precious metal. If you touch the Sleek, it will not give you a metallic texture but a fine fabric texture. The Sleek can be used on any part of your body and can be wrapped around as you like. From this feature I developed all my creations, which are on display here,” she asserted. “To find something unique that has never been done before is quite difficult nowadays. To be different from everybody else is quite a wonderful feeling to some. For me it’s an achievement and I have done it myself.” The very style, quality and technique used by Koutibashvili is quite impressive. “If somebody wears my jewelry, wherever you are in the

Prosecution demands death penalty for all spies KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has submitted a formal recommendation to the country’s Appeals Court, proposing that all the members of the Iranian spying network should receive “severe punishment” for their roles, a reference to the death penalty. Three of the seven members of the network were recently sentenced to death by the Court of First Degree for their part in espionage activities, whilst another two members received life sentences. The PPS is now urging the Court of Appeal to overrule the acquittals of the sixth and seventh members of the spying network, demanding that these individuals should also receive the death penalty “for their involvement in activities that harm the country’s safety and security.” The PPS is also demanding the death penalty for the two aforementioned members previously given life sentences “because they were found guilty of committing crimes similar to those committed by the first three suspects.” — Al-Rai

Kuwait saw 49 homicides in 2010 KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Criminal Evidence Department investigated 146 cases of deaths involving foul play in 2010, with 41 of these resulting from drug overdoses and 52 being suicides. CED director Major General Fahad Al-Doussari told local daily Al-Qabas that 49 homicides, including eight instances of manslaughter, took place in Kuwait in 2010, further revealing that almost 10,000 cases were referred to the department for investigation in the same period. Maj. Gen. Al-Doussari insisted that none of the CED personnel had ever faced accusations of bias in their investigations, explaining that Kuwaiti law allows suspects to appeal the results of criminal investigations. He said that the CED had played a crucial role in assisting the Public Prosecution Service and the judiciary through determining the details of crimes, such as the times they were carried out, the perpetrators’ identities, and other particulars. The senior official explained that the CED, as an executive body, receives its orders directly from the Ministry of Interior. He further revealed that the CED is also involved in searching for the remains of Kuwaiti Prisoners of War who have been missing since the 1990-91 invasion and occupation, and has been able to assist in finding and identifying the remains of 236 of the 603 missing individuals to date. —Al-Qabas

MoI for Kuwaitization employment policy KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior (MoI) is considering recruiting Kuwaiti staff to replace the large number of expatriate personnel at the ministry, particularly in technical and clerical roles. An interior ministr y insider revealed that the ministry began looking into the possibility of imple-

menting a Kuwaitization policy in its recruitment procedures after a nonKuwaiti staff member working in the Criminal Investigation Department was discovered to be copying information from an MoI computer to his own PC some months ago. Amongst the options which the

interior ministry is looking into is working with the Civil Ser vice Commission and the Public Institute For Social Security to recruit previously retired Kuwaiti citizens to fill posts currently occupied by expatriate employees which involve working with highly sensitive securityrelated material. — Al-Rai

world, you will always recognize my signature,” she asserted. “You are rewarded with very soft and fine jewelry that is unique to Nina.” When asked about her motivation to enter the Kuwaiti market she said, “It was the fact that I wanted to try other markets. I even want to reach out as far as the US, they are on my plan. I expect that the people in Kuwait will love my work. Kuwait is a wonderful market and I hope that with my work I will be able to give them great satisfaction and happiness. This creation and design will be available in Kuwait and everyone can touch it, if not posses it, as they wish.” The exhibition, which opened yesterday, was inaugurated by Sheikha Fariha Al-Sabah and the Chairman of Kuwait’s Jewelry Association Hussein Al-Arbash. Sheikha Fariha expressed her gratitude for being chosen to sponsor the Knooz Jewelry Exhibition for the second year in a row. She said that the event was important because it, “meets a dire for specialized exhibitions that benefit exhibitors and provide to the demand of customers at the same time.” Sheikha Fariha also recognized the contribution of the Knooz exhibition for giving jewelry makers, both inside and outside Kuwait, the opportunity to display their products and capabilities. She added that hosting international artists allows the local jewelry industry to benefit from the experience and styles of other parts of the world. Afaf Kayed, head of the Knooz Exhibition, also thanked participants and supporters for their cooperation. For more about Koutibashvili’s craft and designs please visit or visit the exhibition, which will be open until Thursday.

Abd Al-Rahman Alyan with exhibition visitors

Visitors checking out the jewelry collection at the Nina Koutibashvili booth.



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local kuwait digest

Ministers’ financial disclosure By Mubarak Al-Hajri


hile His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah is currently busy in talks and consultations on the formation of the new cabinet, speculations continue on the new Cabinet’s ability to overcome the obstacles its predecessors were unable to overcome. Unfortunately, none of His Highness the Prime Minister’s Cabinets were able to fight off or even try to explain the errors mentioned in State Audit Bureau reports of their ministries’ financial activities, especially those errors regarding the squandering of public funds. Despite numerous promises from the government to take strict procedures against violators we’ve heard stories of suspects being sent to the public prosecutor. From that standpoint, I believe that His Highness the Prime Minister should ask ministers to be willing to reveal their financial disclosures before they are sworn into their positions. They should be willing to face questions so as to avoid generating conflicts regarding corruption. In my opinion this step is especially necessary for any returning ministers whose tenures were plagued with suspicions and accusations of squandering money and corruption. In this proposal I am not in any way questioning the integrity of any former or upcoming ministers. The financial disclosure reports would protect them against speculations that could be used by lawmakers to accuse them of corruption. I believe that this formula will help increase the upcoming cabinet’s chances of success.— Al-Rai

KUWAIT: Dr Faisal Abu Sulaib explaining the photos to the American Ambassador Deborah Jones.

KUWAIT: Dr Abdulridha Asiri and Deborah Jones viewing the books at the exhibition.

KU hosts exhibition on Kuwait-American ties By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: The American Studies Unit (ASU) of the College of Social Studies at Kuwait University (KU) held a one day exhibition titled, ‘Kuwaiti and American Relationships’ yesterday on its premises in Shuwaikh. The exhibition was held under the auspices of Dr Abdulridha Asiri, the Dean of KU’s College of Social Studies. The exhibition expresses the history and strength of Kuwaiti-American relations. “The main objective of this exhibition is to strengthen the understanding of American culture and policy and to reach a better understanding,” said Deborah Jones, the American Ambassador to Kuwait, during the exhibition yesterday. “Kuwait is not a mystery to us but we have to learn more about Kuwait.” On the situation in Syria the ambassador noted that the action taken against protestors there was cruel and improper. “I love Syria and I served there,” she continued. “I hope the conflict there is solved soon and that the government will listen to the legal demands of the nation. The goal is to have a government that listens to the demands of its nation.”

Dr Abdulridha Asiri, Dean of the College of Social Studies stressed that the department has various activities with many foreign universities, embassies and other groups. “Today’s event is a photo exhibition, which shows the relationship between the two countries. It also includes some books that were presented to Dr Faisal Abu Sulaib, Head of the American Studies Unit,” he pointed out. ASU’s goal is to shed light on the political, economic, social and cultural issues that relate to the United States of America.” ASU organizes seminars, lectures, workshops and symposiums during the academic year and invites experienced academics, experts and analysts to speak on issues that relate to American studies,” said Abu Sulaib. “ASU also studies issues and reports that relate to US foreign policy to the region, which could help decision makers in Kuwait shape policies that are strategic to Kuwait’s interests,” he added. He explained that ASU works on strengthening the relationship between the two countries by organizing exhibitions to help students better understand American society, history, culture and politics as well as increase cooperation with US academic and cultural institutions.

KUWAIT: Dr Faisal Abu Sulaib, Dr Abdulridha Asiri and Deborah Jones cutting the celebration cake. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Kuwait working closely with Libyan opposition, says FM ‘Action more effective than words’

KUWAIT: The three Egyptian brothers pictured after their arrest.

Drugs bust at airport By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Customs officers at Kuwait International Airport (KIA) arrested an Egyptian expatriate shortly after his arrival yesterday following the discovery of 1,400 narcotic tablets hidden in his luggage. In a separate case, officers from the General Department of Drugs Control (GDDC) yesterday arrested three Egyptian brothers on charges of being involved in drug dealing. After receiving a tip-off about the men’s activities, GDDC officers arrested them and raided their home, confiscating 2,300 Tramadol tablets from the property. Sit-in A large number of civilian employees at the Criminal Evidence Department yesterday staged a brief sit-in to demand wage increases to bring their salaries into line with their uniformed colleagues.

Kuwait pollution levels safe: EPA KUWAIT: Pollution levels in Kuwait are within acceptable levels, ranging between safe and moderately polluted, according to an Environmental Public Authority (EPA) official. Speaking to local daily Al-Rai on condition of anonymity, the EPA official said that pollution level readings from the country’s monitoring stations vary, depending primarily on their location and their exposure to various types of pollution. The insider explained that levels of airborne pollution are higher in the south of the country, particularly in areas with greater exposure to oil facilities’ emissions. Recent readings from the monitoring equipment around the Um Al-Hayman area also show a marked reduction in pollution levels, which were previously high due to the area’s direct exposure to emissions from local factories. The official added, however, that Rumaithiya has seen a slight rise in pollution levels due to vehicle exhaust emissions. — Al-Rai

KUWAIT: Kuwait is keen to work closely with its “brothers” in the Libyan opposition National Transitional Council (NTC), said a senior government official yesterday. “Action is more effec tive than words and we have announced that we will work closely and continuously with the brothers in the NTC,” Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Mohammad Sabah Al-Sabah told media representatives at a press conference held jointly with NTC chairperson Mustafa Abduljalil, referring to Kuwait’s urgent humanitarian aid to the Libyan people. The minister said that the NTC delegation’s visit to Kuwait was significant, whilst strongly condemning what the Libyan people have been subjected to by Muammar Gadaffi’s regime. “We see these [Libyan] people being exposed to this ordeal and their fate is unknown; this is something that cannot be accepted by the people of Kuwait,” he insisted. Sheikh Mohammad said that the talks held between His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and Abduljalil during the Libyan dele-

gation’s visit concerned the historic ties between the Libyan and Kuwaiti people, and demonstrated Kuwait’s committed to UN Resolution 1973 which imposed a no-fly zone over the North African countr y to protect civilians there. The resolution was the fruit of a call by the six GCC countries, which was later adopted by the Arab League, Sheikh Mohammad noted. The Kuwaiti foreign minister said that the humanitarian assistance delivered to the Libyan people would be channeled via the NTC, “which means we will primarily be working closely with our brothers in the NTC as the legitimate channel to delivering this aid to the Libyan people.” Asked about a possible GCC initiative on Libya like the one ex tended to Yemen, Sheikh Mohammad said that the Libyan issue is governed by UN resolutions 1970 and 1973, “and we are working within their frameworks.” On the establishment of a confederation among the GCC countries, however, Sheikh Mohammad said that the GCC stands for unity. “We have started working together to coordinate our

Main graffiti suspect detained KUWAIT: The teenage son of a former senior official with the Ministry of Interior is being held in police custody as the main suspect in two separate cases of insulting prominent Islamic figures. The young man is suspected of spraying graffiti on the walls of Mubarak Al-Kabeer Mosque and a middle school in the same area. A few days after the insults were found on the walls of the Zahri Mosque, police investigators were summoned to a school in the same area that had similar

remarks sprayed in the same color, fashion and handwriting. According to official security sources, the main suspect was caught a few hours later and was recognized in a police lineup by the eyewitness that reported spotting the youth spray the walls with paint. The suspect has denied the charges but is still being held for questioning by authorities. He is being accused of property damage as well as insulting religion. In the meantime, police are still searching for the youth’s accomplice. —Al-Rai

Call for investing more in qualifying leaderships KUWAIT: To improve their performance and turn from loss-making to gain-making, public and private institutions have to invest more on qualifying their leaderships and cadres, agreed Gulf and international management experts participating in “the Modern Leadership Strategies Conference”. Investing in qualifying leaderships has been the main factor behind the development and progress of many countries, said former chief executive officer of the Saudi energy giant Aramco Abdullah bin Jummaah. For any country or institution to retain its advanced position, it should pursue

non-stop process of management development and modernization, bin Jummaah added. The experts also said the leadership has proven a cornerstone for great success in small and mega establishments and corporates. The annual three-day conference is organized by the Kuwait-based Gulf Innovation Company for Training and Consulting. It tackles several key management-related issues such as investing in leaders, effective leadership, ethnical leadership and strategies for training leaders. — KUNA

policies, merging our institutions and unifying our laws and we are [moving] in the direction of Gulf unity.” Abduljalil, meanwhile, expressed gratitude for HH the Amir’s invitation to visit Kuwait. He drew a comparison between how Kuwait “is small in size but has big hands” and how Muammar Gaddafi has been squandering Libya’s wealth on his own inner circle. Abduljalil said the Libyans had initially staged peaceful demonstrations to demand the establishment of a democratic and free state, in which they could elect their own president. But, he added, these demonstrations were opposed by “excessive and historically unprecedented violence, rockets, aircraft and artillery...” Abdulajalil commended the GCC for supporting the Libyan revolution from the very start, followed by the Arab League’s demand to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians. Had Gaddafi heeded the UN resolutions to implement a ceasefire two months ago, he said, the civilians would

have been spared violence. The freedom fighters in Libya need arms to counter Gaddafi’s forces, Abduljalil stressed.. “We received some weapons from brotherly and friendly countries thus enabling Misrata to be free...We are looking forward for more weapons specially the anti-shield arms which we did not get so far.” The NTC head also praised NATO’s role in protecting civilians. NATO is commanding the air operation against Gaddafi’s forces. Asked about the possible prosecution of Gaddafi if he steps down, Abduljalil said that sending any person for “a fair trial is normal and will be within human rights.” Rejecting any bids to partition Libya, the NTC chief said the opposition has evidence that Gaddafi used mercenaries, snipers and military exports from other countries, which he did not identify by name, to attack the Libyan people. Abduljalil said that while he would welcome any initiative that would lead to the departure of Gaddafi and his sons, “there is no mediation in that sense on the ground. — KUNA

MOH hires 1,360 nurses KUWAIT: The Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for Assisting Medical Services, Dr Qais Al-Duwairi said that the ministry has hired 1,000 female nurses from India and 360 from the Philippines. AlDuwairi added that the recruitment committees has finalized the contracting procedures and that the ministry tends to contract more nurses during the second half of the year from Bosnia, Herzegovina, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and China. Meanwhile, MP Mubarak Al-Waalan has warned health minister Dr. Helal Al-Sayer against employing any of the Bahraini medical personnel previously dismissed by

Bahrain’s health ministry over allegations that they were involved in political activities there. In a press release issued on Sunday, AlWaalan said that the doctors and nurses in question deserved no mercy as, he said, they had shown no compassion to their own state, Bahrain, and had demonstrated indifference to its security and stability. The MP asserted that individuals who would not do good for their own country would not do it for any other country either, calling upon Dr. Al-Sayer to take the necessary precautions and not to employ any of these medical personnel in Kuwait.

Changeable weather for weekend KUWAIT: Rising temperatures in Kuwait as summer approaches are predicted to hit 40 degrees Celsius (104∞ Fahrenheit) in s ome a reas today, a lthou g h the increasing heat is set to bring further changeable weather conditions for the weekend, according to a senior meteorologist. Mohammad Karam, the director of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) meteorology department, said on Sunday that the typically changeable Spring weather has been even more in evidence since last Wednesday after the arrival of a major area of low pressure, whose influence had been seen in the rapidly changing weather patterns up until yesterday afternoon.

The area of depression over the country is a large one, he explained, adding that it has brought strong winds causing periodic s ands torms which in tu rn brought low visibility, which fell to 500 meters in some areas. Although the country had seen heavy cloud cover and some thunder, Karam said, the low-level cumulus clouds seen are not associated with heavy rainfall. The meteorologist predicted that last night would see some scattered showers and thunder, mostly concentrated in the northeast of the country near coastal areas, adding that these would die away this morning, with the skies clearing and temperatures rising, with possible light winds. — KUNA



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Kuwait heading to become regional logistics hub Foundation stone laid for new port KUWAIT: Kuwait’s ambition to become a leading trading centre for the region took a step forward earlier this month, when the foundation stone for the new Mubarak Al-Kabir port was laid, at a ceremony attended by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Situated on the 530-sq-km Boubyan Island in the Gulf, close to the Iraqi port town of Umm Qasr, the new container port will significantly boost the country’s handling capacity, adding 60 berths by 2033 and an expected volume of 1.8m containers per year by 2015.

KUWAIT: Members of the Kuwait Dive Team pictured during their beach clean-up operation on Garooh Island.

KDT marks Earth Day with beach clean-up KUWAIT: Members of the Kuwait Dive Team (KDT) yesterday launched a major beach clean-up operation on Garooh Island to mark Earth Day, the annual global day to raise awareness of environmental issues. The clean-up was aimed not only at improving the beach’s appearance and safeguarding wildlife, but at raising awareness of the need to protect the environment and get young people involved in voluntary work. The operation was part of the team’s ‘Dive For Earth Day’ campaign in partnership with the Project AWARE foundation. The ‘Dive for Earth day’ campaign called on divers around the world to set up beach-

cleaning projects in their own nations, explained KDT head Talal Al-Sarhan. World Earth Day, which is celebrated in 175 nations worldwide, includes various activities aimed at safeguarding the environment. The Kuwaiti event was sponsored by the National Bank of Kuwait and Al-Surra Cooperative Society, along with the juices and dairy products firm ABC. The KDT’s beach clean-up campaign will continue at various locations throughout the summer, revealed AlSarhan, adding that anyone who wishes to participate is welcome to come along and join in. — KUNA

Developed in five stages, the port superstructure is expected to cost KD40million, while the wider infrastructural developments for the island could total as much as KD305million. While these plans have been on paper for some time, the commencement of actual construction, by the Korean contracting firm, Hyundai, should build confidence in the government’s ability to deliver on these ambitious plans. These developments would help reposition Kuwait’s standing in the region and enable it to better compete with other ports in the area. Kuwait is well placed to grow its cargo traffic. Situated at the head of the Arabian Gulf, the country provides a perfect entry point to the growing Iraqi market and a useful transit corridor to the rest of the peninsula. The government, therefore, hopes to build on this demand. The forecasts largely support this optimism. According to market research by Business Monitor International, Kuwait’s two main ports, Shuaiba and Shuwaikh, are both expected to experience growth in 2011. The former is expected to post growth of 3.44%, with a total throughput of 20.55m tonnes, while the latter should see traffic grow by 2.93% to a total of 9.33m tonnes this year. However, both ports are still struggling to reach their pre-downturn handling levels, with Shuaiba not forecast to hit these heights again until 2013. To truly reach its target of becoming a logistics hub for the entire region, the country will have to work on a number of other measures to attract traffic. One of the most pressing measures will be expediting the process of moving goods through the country’s various ports. This will be as much about the procedural environment as about the infrastructural capacity. According to the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2011” report, Kuwait ranked 113th, out of 183 economies for trading across bor-

ders. As the report highlights, it remains costly and time -consuming to shuttle goods through the emirate’s ports. It currently takes 17 days, at a cost of $1060, to export a container through Kuwait’s ports. For imports, the figures are 19 days at a cost of $1217. Indeed, the country scores poorly compared to others in the region, ranking a full 80 places lower than Bahrain and 95 places lower than its neighbor, Saudi Arabia. If the government can address this issue, it may see its exports and re-exports inch steadily northwards, from the 2010 figures of KD1.24billion and KD512million, according to the Central Bank of Kuwait. While much still needs to be done to bolster these figures, the Mubarak Al-Kabir Port is a good start, not only because it will boost the country’s port capacity, but also because of the signal of intent it sends for wider infrastructural development. Indeed, Boubyan is simply one part of a much larger spending plan to dramatically improve the transport network in the country. The national development plan, approved by the parliament in February 2010, has ear-

marked $108billion to help diversify the Kuwaiti economy, with spending targeted in areas such as health care, housing and transport. This should provide a timely boost to plans for the upgrade and overhaul of the country’s road and rail networks. However, the most important project that falls under the plan is the expansion of Kuwait’s International Airport. Currently, in the design phase, the project hopes to boost capacity from 7m passengers a year to more than 20m. The new 13m-passenger terminal is expected to be completed by 2016 with the cost estimated to be between KD350million and KD500million. There has, however, been some scepticism over the ability of Kuwait to deliver on these plans. While the national development plan has been welcomed, caution remains the prevailing sentiment. As such, the breaking of ground on Mubarak Al-Kabir was a significant moment for the country. Kuwait has always had the funds and the demand dynamics to meet its ambition of becoming a regional trading centre. What the ceremony in April tells us is that this might now be matched by the required intent.— Oxford Business Group

Jordan minister in Kuwait for industrial forum KUWAIT: Jordanian Minister of Industry and Trade Hani Al-Mulki has arrived here to attend a forum on industrial investment openings in Jordan due here today. The forum will attrac t over 300 Jordanian and Kuwaiti companies, which will share views on how to promote and bolster investment relations between Kuwait and Jordan.

The Jordanian minister will address the gathering, which will be co-organized by Jordanian Foundation for Investment and Kuwait Industries Union. During his stay here, he will also hold talks with his Kuwaiti counterpar t Ahmad Al-Haroun tomorrow to discuss ways and means of further developing and reinforcing bilateral economic and trade ties. — KUNA



Man arrested in Sharq for scamming several people 15 held in Ahmadi crackdown

Census Administration urges cooperation from residents KUWAIT: The Central Census Administration, which is in charge of the general electronic and field censuses of the country’s population, buildings and institutions for 2011, called on all citizens and expatriate residents in Kuwait to cooperate with its workers for the success of this national project. In a press release issued yesterday, the Administration revealed that it had held a meeting last week with representatives of several government bodies to discuss a number of census-related issues. The conferees have highly praised citizen’s cooperation with the staff and their participation in the first phase of the

electronic census which concluded on April 11, the Administration said. More than 352,000 people have registered for filling electronic forms of the census. The Administration said this figure shows unprecedented leap in the people registering for electronic census, which started April 21 and will last until May 5. The second phase of the 2011 census, the filed surveys, started April 21 and will last till May 31. The press release also highlighted the importance of the censuses in the enforcement of the country’s ambitious development plan. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Hawally investigators arrested a conman for scamming several people by convincing them to start a joint business project with him and then fleeing with their money. An investigation was launched in search of the conman after a man filed a case with authorities in Rumathiya against a person who claimed to be a senior employee with a ministry. He said that he agreed to give him KD 270,000 as part of a joint project to sell diesel fuel in Iraq but that he disappeared after he gave him his money. The suspect was apprehended by police in Sharq. When questioned, he explained that he was unemployed and that he previously scammed 15 other individuals. Security campaign Ahmadi police arrested a bootlegger, shutdown a brothel and detained fugitives during a campaign through Mahboulah, Mangaf, Abu Halifa and other areas of the governorate. Among the 15 that were arrested was a citizen wanted for a drug-related case and a Gulf national that was caught driving while intoxicated. The bootlegger, an Asian man, was arrested in Fintas and found with 80 bottles of homemade liquor in his car. Drug dealer held A Pakistani man was arrested for trying to smuggle 8,000 drug pills into the country.

The suspect was detained in Abu Hlaifa after he unknowingly sold 50 pills to an undercover police informant. The remaining pills were found inside his apar tment and he was referred to the proper authorities. Shuwaikh brawl At least three people were injured in a brawl at the Friday Market in Shuwaikh. According to eyewitnesses, the dispute started between a Jordanian vendor and two thugs after they harassed a female shopper in front of his stall. The two thugs left after the short confrontation with the vendor but returned later with a group of 20 friends. They attacked the vendor with light weapons while he was having launch in the market. The restaurant’s owner, an Egyptian man, also sustained injuries during the attack as well as a massive amount of property damage to his restaurant. An investigation was launched. Suspect caught An Asian man was arrested at the Kuwait International Airport (KIA) after he was caught trying to exit the country using his brother’s passport. A preliminary investigation revealed that the man had a travel ban placed against him. The man’s plans were foiled when his true identity was discovered by the recently installed fingerprint scanning system. The man and his brother were held for further questioning.

Kabad kidnap Police found a teenager that was reported missing by her family a week ago in an animal farm in Kabad where she was being detained by kidnappers. Police stormed the animal farm after being informed that a 15-year-old girl had been spotted there and four young men were arrested and charged with kidnapping. They were also charged with sexual assault after the victim informed police that she was raped. Attempted murder A citizen was hospitalized with serious injuries after his friend intentionally ran him over with his car following a dispute. The victim, a 38-year-old, was admitted to Jahra Hospital with several injuries and broken bones and required urgent surgery. It was discovered that the man was run over by his friend in Doha after the two got into an argument. A case was filed at the Jahra police station. Harassment charges Jabriya authorities launched an investigation into allegations made by a woman who accused police investigators of sexual harassment while she was being interrogated after her husband was arrested. Police believe that the woman fabricated her story in an attempt to save her husband, who was arrested for a previous offense and is being charged with resisting arrest.

Food distributors to wait for lab results before distributing goods KUWAIT: The Kuwait Municipality said yesterday that its efforts and campaign to stress the need for favorable lab results before distribution of food items was a success and that many distributors are now complying with measures in this regard. Complying with the request to wait for results before distribution illustrates the awareness among the distributors, director of the imported foods department at the municipality Istiqlal AlMesallam said. If a company was found to be selling tainted newly imported foods, it shall be subject to penalties without exception, she added. Locally, inspection raids on

groceries and food distributors in several areas of the country have resulted in uncovering tons of foods unfit for human consumption, most recently in AlArdhiya Industrial and Shuwaikh Industrial areas. Giving some of these companies the benefit of the doubt, “some of these companies have fallen into the trap and sold fraudulently marked goods,” she said. “Others have no knowledge of the ingredients in the items they bring into the country.” However, the municipality shall carry out legal procedures on violators regardless of the reasons behind the risking of consumer health, the official underlined. — KUNA KUWAIT: Maj Gen Sheikh Mohammed Al-Yousef Al-Sabah and other officials visiting the US Coastguard vessel Branov.

Al-Yousef inspects US Coastguard vessel Branov

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Municipality officials inspecting one of the food warehouses yesterday.

KUWAIT: A senior Ministry of Interior (MoI) official on Sunday visited the US Coastguard vessel Branov, accompanied by the commander of the US Coastguard Patrol Force for Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA). Maj Gen Sheikh Mohammed Al-Yousef Al-Sabah, the MoI Assistant Undersecretar y for Border Security Affairs, was given a guided tour of the Branov, along with the commanding officer to find out more about the nature of the vessel’s management and its capabilities. Following the visit to the Branov, the two senior officials also visited the offices of the

Directorate General of Kuwait’s Coast Guard Service, with officials there familiarizing them with its mission, the duties it performs, its

Kuwait participates in pollutants conference in Geneva GENEVA: Kuwait is participating in the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, held in Geneva from April 25-29, to ban the usage of pollutants in food industries and promote a regional center on this subject. The Kuwaiti delegation is headed by Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador Dherar Razouqi with the participation of the Director of Environment Public Authority Dr Salah Al-Modhi and the consultant of the Kuwaiti permanent delegation in Geneva Malik Al-Wazzan. Kuwait’s participation in this international conference comes as part of its duties as member and host for the regional center of the Stockholm convention for the Asian and Pacific region. Dr Al-Modhi said that Kuwait will show its support to the Stockholm convention during this conference, stressing its importance to mankind and the environment. Kuwait will also be part of a special meeting of the World Environmental Center ( WEC), an independent and non-profit organization that creates and promotes sustainable business solutions and development plans, in order to advance the regional center’s abilities, he added. Al-Modhi further said that the conference aims at adopting a number of suggestions and amendments to the Stockholm convention and ensuring their implementation in future meetings.

The conference of the parties evaluates, every three years, the need to keep using DDT (a synthetic pesticide) to control diseases according to the latest scientific, technical, and environmental information. It will also look into the suggestion of listing “Endosulfan” in insecticide manufacturing due to its harmful effects on human skin as well as studying banning nine chemical substances according the regulations of the Persistent Organic Pollutants commit-

tee. Al-Modhi also noted that the conference will discuss a guiding document related to exchange of environmental information on a wider regional and international level. He stressed that, out of Kuwaiti leadership’s concern on following up on food sources and manufacturing, it will ensure that the developing countries of Asia and the Pacific region would ban the use of harmful substances in goods that are imported by the State of Kuwait. —KUNA

organizational structure and the projects planned for the future. The senior US officer praised the hi-tech equipment used by

the Kuwaiti Coastguard, and the two officials exchanged commemorative gifts at the conclusion of their visit. — KUNA

Al-Sayer leaves for Moscow for health lifestyles conference KUWAIT: Minister of Health Dr Hilal AlSayer, accompanied by a high ranking health delegation, left yesterday for Moscow to participate in the First Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-communicable Disease Control, to kick off in Moscow tomorrow. The Kuwaiti delegation to the conference includes Assistant Undersecretary of the Kuwait Ministry of Health Dr Youssef Al-Nesf, Assistant Undersecretary of health services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Qais Al-Dowairi, Head of the Legal Department at the Ministry Mahmoud Abdulhadi and Head of Public Relations Department Faisal Al-Duwsairi. In press statements, Al-Nesf said the conferees would mull the most required measures to control non-communicable diseases which drain the budgets of many countries and negatively impact on their development plans.

The three-day conference is a key milestone in the international campaign to curb the impacts of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic lung diseases. It is jointly organized by the Russian Federation and WHO, and takes place on 27-29 April 2011, Moscow, the Russian Federation. Its aim is to support Member States develop and strengthen policies and programs on healthy lifestyles and NCD prevention. These efforts are based on the Global strategy for the prevention and control of NCDs and its action plan, which include multisectoral and innovative approaches in prevention and care. The conference is also being held in the lead up to the United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases on 19-20 September 2011. — KUNA

Kuwait’s Guangzhou consulate launches website

GENEVA: Kuwaiti delegation participating in the conference yesterday.

GUANGZHOU, China: The Kuwaiti Consulate in Guangzhou has launched its new official website under the supervision of Consul Abdulwahab Al-Saqer. Al-Saqer said that the website was established as a means of connecting Kuwaitis with the diplomatic mission in Guangzhou, adding that it would also be used as a tool to promote business with Chinese and other investors.

Amongst other things, the site offers information about Kuwaiti history, said Al-Saqer, adding that it will also provide other information about Kuwait for visitors and those interested in finding out more about the country. He fur ther revealed that the site would also include a daily newsletter, as well as an interactive page for visitors. — KUNA


New clashes in south Yemen as deal seems doomed

US ‘released high-risk’ Guantanamo inmates

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West’s caution on Syria jars with Libya action West accused of double standards over Arab uprisings MISRATA: Neighbors examine the damage to a house which was struck by a shell in Misrata yesterday. — AP

PARIS: An authoritarian Arab ruler unleashes his security forces and irregular militia gunmen to crush peaceful pro-democracy protests, killing hundreds of people including women and children. Does the West (a) issue statements condemning the excessive use of force (b) seek UN sanctions and an International Criminal Court investigation (c) provide practical support for prodemocracy protesters, (d) intervene militarily? The answer, to many human rights campaigners, seems to vary unacceptably depending on the state concerned. Western powers which took up arms against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, citing the United Nations principle of the responsibility to protect civilians, have confined themselves so far to verbal outrage at the killing of some 350 people in Syria. The balance of Western economic and security interests and humanitarian values is different in each case but the perceived double standard is causing anger in the Middle East and among Western publics. “After Friday’s carnage, it is no longer enough to condemn the violence,” Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at pressure group Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “Faced with the Syrian authorities’ ‘shoot to kill’ strategy, the international community needs to impose sanctions on those ordering the shooting of protesters.” When the Gulf Arab kingdom of Bahrain called in Saudi troops last month to help quash a pro-democracy movement led mostly by the

Shiite Muslim majority, the United States and Europe uttered a few pro-forma words of disapproval, then fell silent. The killing in Bahrain was on a smaller scale than in Libya or Syria, and the ensuing arrests, dismissals and disappearances of opponents have drawn less media coverage. More importantly, Bahrain is home to the US Fifth Fleet, which keeps an eye on Shiite Iran across the Gulf and patrols the world’s most vital oilexport sea lanes. The ruling family in the Gulf island state is so close to former colonial power Britain that the crown prince was invited to this week’s royal wedding in London until he declined the invitation to spare British embarrassment. There are strategic, political and practical reasons behind divergent Western responses to events in Syria, Libya and Yemen, after the initially hesitant Western embrace of democratic change in Tunisia and Egypt. “All of these situations are different,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on BBC television when questioned about apparent inconsistency. “So we mustn’t think that just because we’re doing certain things in Libya, that we would be able or willing to do those things in other countries of the Arab world.” Hague said that in Libya, there was a direct appeal for help from the opposition and the Arab League had asked the UN Security Council to pass a resolution and to take action for a no fly zone. Western governments say they prevented an imminent massacre that Gaddafi had threat-

ened to unleash in Benghazi. Gaddafi had lost control of more than a third of his country and his armed forces were brittle and poorly equipped. By contrast, Syria has a well-trained army with Russian missiles and combat aircraft, and suspected chemical weapons, making any Western militar y inter vention utterly implausible. A key strategic consideration is that the West is keen to ensure that Arab uprisings, and the rulers’ responses, do not destabilize the entire Middle East, threatening oil supplies to the industrialized world or triggering wider conflict. Oil has already risen to nearly $125 a barrel from around $80 last year, partly due to a drop in Libyan supply but also because Saudi Arabia has cut back output, forcing prices up. Riyadh’s move is seen partly as driven by the need to fund huge hand-outs promised by King Abdullah to interest groups to pre-empt any possible unrest in his absolute monarchy. It may also reflect tension between Saudi Arabia and Washington. Some diplomats say Saudi rulers were incensed by the way US President Barack Obama dropped Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a veteran proAmerican stalwart in the region. Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the United States’ priority in the region has been to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapons capability which Western and Arab strategists say would be profoundly destabilizing. Syria is Iran’s closest ally and Western powers have been trying

for the last two years to woo President Bashar Al-Assad away from Tehran and encourage the British-trained eye doctor to reach a peace deal with Israel that could remove a major source of regional friction. After years of unsuccessfully trying to corner Syria over the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, the United States sent an ambassador back to Damascus this year. France appointed a special envoy last summer to facilitate back channel contacts between Syria and Israel, and Turkey, Spain and Germany have also been involved in passing messages, diplomats say. If the West seeks a Security Council condemnation of Assad or a referral of the repression to the ICC, Russia, an historic ally of Libya, may well veto any resolution. Western diplomatic action could push Syria more tightly into the arms of Iran and risk retaliation by Syrian-allied Hezbollah forces in Lebanon either against Israel or European troops policing a southern Lebanese buffer zone. Western diplomats say they are also concerned at the risk of sectarian conflict in Syria, dominated for nearly five decades by an Alawite minority close to Shiite Islam. Violence involving Sunni Arabs, Alawites, Kurds and Druze could embroil neighboring Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. So while Western governments are likely to step up rhetoric against Assad and explore the scope for targeted UN sanctions and an ICC referral, there is little they can do to affect the outcome of the popular uprising.—Reuters

Bahrain seeking death penalty for protesters MANAMA: Bahrain is seeking the death penalty for a group of protesters accused of killing two policemen during anti-government demonstrations in the Gulf island kingdom, state media reported yesterday. The government has stamped the demonstrations in a security crackdown since February when mainly Shiite protesters took to the streets demanding more say in the Sunni-ruled country’s affairs. Security forces have arrested hundreds of people since then and a number of them died while in official custody. Hundreds of mostly

Shiite workers have been sacked from government jobs and state-linked companies, rights and opposition groups say. On Sunday, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) said the military prosecutor would seek the death sentence for seven men accused of killing the policemen at the Lower National Safety Court. It quoted the prosecutor as saying the men had “committed their crime for terrorist reasons”. It gave no other details of the incident. BNA added the defendants pleaded not guilty and that the case would be heard again

on April 28. At least 13 protesters and four police were killed during the clashes. A hospital source told Reuters last month that at least two of the four policemen killed had been run over by cars on March 16. The government says it has only targeted those who committed crimes during the protests. The state banned protests when it imposed martial law in March and invited troops from Sunni-led Gulf neighbors’ to help quash the unrest. The state news agency said three more men also were charged with attempting to kill policemen in separate court cases. —Reuters




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Behind front-lines, Libyan rebels escalate media war About a dozen new papers have opened in Benghazi BENGHAZI: While Libyan rebels fire rockets and heavy machine guns against Muammar Gaddafi’s troops in the east, a group of young volunteers are adding newsprint, television cameras and microphones to the arsenal. Writers, cartoonists and musicians have been taking their work to the public after a popular uprising shook off decades of autocratic rule and state media dominance in the east, which the insurgents largely control. Vibrant graffiti covers the walls in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, rap songs attacking Gaddafi blare from speakers, and there is a crop of new media outlets. Two radio stations, a television station and about a dozen newspapers and magazines have so far been licensed by the Benghazi-based rebel national council, Mohammed Fannoush,

weapons now, after military equipment,” said Mohamed bin Katou, an 18-year-old writer for the Omar Al-Mukhtar magazine, named after the legendary Libyan insurgent who battled the Italian occupation. “You need to confront what they’re saying on the Libyan channels, like that we’re AlQaeda.” Libyan state television often refers to the rebels as armed

they saw dislodging Gaddafi’s rule as a chance to give local media a modern touch. “The old newspapers and magazines were a bit boring. No colors, and the quality of the paper was very poor,” writer Farah Gtat, 19, said. “As young people, we wanted something that looks more attractive.” With schools shut, Gtat and others said they had been volun-

MISRATA: Mourners attend the funeral of a group of family members killed by shelling in Misrata yesterday. —AP communication director for the council’s media committee, said. “It is a very easy-to-get licence,” he said, sitting in a spacious office in the former government building where much of the new media is based. “They write their names and the type of newsletter or newspaper, and I okay it.” As the country is now at war, much of the newly released creative energy has been used to refute statements by the official media still under Gaddafi’s control and broadcast the aims of the uprising against his 41-year rule. “Media is another one of our

gangs or militant Islamists and its programming is overwhelmingly dominated by footage of proGaddafi rallies. TELEVISING THE REVOLUTION The Berenice Post, a weekly journal of articles and poems in Arabic and English, is one of the more lively examples of the newly found freedom of the press in eastern Libya. Its latest issue-the first with a glossy cover-shows a pair of hands pressed together, as in prayer, with the word “Libya” written across the palms. Volunteers working there said

Egypt makes concession to anti-governor protesters CAIRO: Egypt’s military-led government tried to quell more than a week of protests against the new governor of a southern province yesterday by saying he would not take up his duties for three months. State media reported the activities of Emad Mikhail, a Christian and former police officer who was appointed as governor of Qena province this month, would be “frozen for three months”. State television said Mikhail’s deputy would run the governorate in the meantime, adding that the protesters had accepted this compromise solution and were disbanding. But a journalist in Qena said about 1,000 people were still protesting and said they would continue until the governor was removed. Thousands of Egyptians had demanded Mikhail be sacked because he had served in the police force of former President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in February by a popular uprising partly ignited by police brutality. Similar protests have erupted in two other provinces whose new governors had also ser ved in the police. The protests against Mikhail, one of two Christian governors appointed by the military generals who now rule Egypt, are a sign of how willing Egyptians are to flex their new-found political muscle after Mubarak’s ouster. Some protesters, especially Islamists who have become more vocal since Mubarak was deposed, had said they did not want a Christian governor, raising sectarian fears in a province with a large Coptic Christian population. Christian make up around 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million people. Many live in the south, and Qena has seen its share of sectarian violence. In one high-profile case, Muslims k illed six Coptic Christians in a drive-by shooting last year on Coptic Christmas Eve, in retaliation for the alleged rape of a Muslim girl. —Reuters

teering at the weekly in the hope it might help enliven the media scene and help counter stereotypes about Libya. “We’re not all journalists. I’m still a student in high school. I haven’t found out what I want to do in the future, but I’m doing this because I have to do something,” writer Dilara Colakoglu, 17, said. Rebels are also planning to launch a television channel, Libya Hurra, or “Free Libya”, which they want to use to spread word of the revolt and its goals to countrymen in the west, which Gaddafi’s forces control. The station grew out of a

livestream video feed set up in the Benghazi courthouse that was the early centre of the revolt which began in earnest on Feb. 17. Several volunteers used the equipment to send images of the demonstrations, and the ensuing government crackdown, to foreign media. Rebels estimate over 300 people died in the early days of the protests in Benghazi alone. One of those killed was Mohamed Nabbous, who set up the original video feed. Friends say he was shot by a government sniper just days after launching Libya Hurra. His image is now displayed prominently in the station’s offices. INDEPENDENCE Volunteers are working to turn Libya Hurra into a proper news outlet. Rolls of carpeting, crates of halogen lighting and the scent of fresh paint fill the gallery where they plan to set up the studio. Young broadcasters practice their on-air voices with teachers who help them brush up on the classical Arabic used by most Arab media outlets. The station is already a source of pride for journalists such as Selma Bashir, 21, who returned from Egypt where she was studying journalism when the revolt began. “ The media in Libya was always talking about Gaddafi and his family, how great Gaddafi is, what an amazing human being he is,” she said. “Now, we can do something better, we can tell the truth about Gaddafi, about our country, about the good things and the bad things.” It will take a long time for Libya to develop a fully independent, critical press. But the rebels are so far keeping their hands off the new publications-with the sole exception of anything pro-Gaddafi, Fannoush said. “After the liberation, if Gaddafi’s people were to come and say, well, we want to publish a newspaper, I think they would be allowed to,” he said. “But now, since we are at war, we have to control this.” —Reuters

Clashes in south Yemen as deal seems doomed 2 Yemeni protesters killed SANAA: Forces loyal to Yemen’s embattled president opened fire at protesters demanding his ouster across the country yesterday, killing two demonstrators at two separate rallies and wounding at least 10 people at a third protest, activists said. The latest violence came as a Gulf Arab proposal for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down appears increasingly doomed, raising prospects of more bloodshed and instability in a nation already beset by deep poverty and conflict. Yemen’s unrest erupted over two months ago, inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The near-daily TAIZ: Anti-government protestors run away during protests against Saleh, the country’s clashes with Yemeni security forces, in Taiz, Yemen ruler of 32 years, have demanded he yesterday. —AP relinquish power immediately. Yesterday’s deaths came during anti-Saleh protests ate departure. Saleh has managed to survive politically thanks in Ibb and in the central city of Bayda, said activist Ibrahim al-Budani. In the city of Ibb, 120 miles south in part to the loyalty of the country’s best military of the capital Sanaa, demonstrators set fire to two units, which are controlled by one of his sons and cars used by government-paid thugs who shot at other close relatives, and despite wide defections them but the attackers managed to flee, he said. In by many close allies in his party, his tribe and the the southern city of Taiz, presidential guard troops, military. More than 130 people have been killed by who are run by Saleh’s eldest son, fired bullets and security forces and Saleh supporters since the tear gas into tens of thousands of protesters gath- unrest erupted in early February. At least 40 were killed in a single attack on March 18 by rooftop ered there, according to activist Nouh al-Wafi. Another activist, Bushra Al-Maqtari, said at least snipers overlooking Change Square in Sanaa. The 10 protesters were wounded by gunshots in Taiz, GCC countries, including powerful Saudi Arabia, some of them critically. Dozens suffered breathing have been trying to broker an end to the crisis, fearproblems from the tear gas. Al-Wafi said the protest- ing the potential blowback of more instability in ers were rallying for Saleh’s ouster with a simple the fragile country on the southern tip of the chant: “Leave!” He said the troops prevented ambu- Arabian Peninsula that is beset by a resurgent Allances from getting to the wounded, and that sever- Qaeda. Also yesterday, several demonstrators were hurt al people and local journalists were arrested. On Saturday, Saleh agreed to a formula by a Gulf Arab by plainclothes police and thugs who threw stones group, the Gulf Cooperation Council, for him to at a huge anti-Saleh rally in Sanaa, according to transfer power to his vice president within 30 days Abdul-Malek Al-Youssefi, an activist and protest of a deal being signed in exchange for immunity organizer. The official SABA news agency reported yesterday that a main power plant in Marib, an Alfrom prosecution for him and his sons. A coalition of seven opposition parties generally Qaeda stronghold southern province, was attacked accepted the deal but thousands on Sunday for the second time this month. The report said two remained in a permanent protest camp in Sanaa, power transmission lines were cut and accused and their leaders said they suspected the president unnamed “saboteurs” of being behind the attack. is just maneuvering to buy time and cling to power, SABA also reported that big pro-government as he has done in the past. The protesters claim the demonstrations were held in the cities of Ibb, opposition parties taking part in the talks with the Hodeida, Damar and in the northwest Hajja GCC mediators do not represent them and cannot province in support of Saleh’s call for dialogue with turn off the rage on the streets. They also insist they the opposition and in “defense of the constitutional would not accept anything short of Saleh’s immedi- legitimacy.” —AP

LIMASSOL: Syrian residents living in Cyprus demonstrate against President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Limassol yesterday, as protests and funerals of those killed during the demonstrations continue across Syria. —AFP

Iraq’s Shiites grudgingly back Syria’s Baath party BAGHDAD: Iraqi Shiites, dominant since the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein and his Baath party, see the Arab nationalist party’s branch in Damascus as a bulwark against a rise to power by Syria’s majority Sunnis. Though officially Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, himself a Shiite, has defended pro-democracy protests across the Arab world, several Shiite politicians are more pragmatic in their view of the regime in Damascus. “The Baath party in Syria is totally different from the Baathist criminals who ruled Iraq,” said Jalaladdin Saghir, a former MP and leader of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), a Shiite political group. “Do not forget-their (Syria’s) leaders helped the opposition fight Saddam Hussein,” he added, referring to longtime rivalry between the Baath parties in Damascus and Baghdad. “In any case, Iraq would be the country most affected by instability in Damascus,” he said. Founded in Damascus in 1947 by the Christian Michel Aflaq and the Muslim Salah Bittar, the Baath party was a secular grouping which tied Arab nationalism to socialism. It came to power in Syria in 1963 and in Iraq in 1968, in both instances following coups. In the two Arab neighbors’, the party represented a minority: in Syria, Alawites-members of an offshoot of Shiite Islam-rule over a Sunni majority and, in Iraq, Sunnis under Saddam governed a predominantly Shiite country. But rapidly, the two “branches” of the pan-Arab party moved in different directions. In August 1980, Syria and Iraq severed diplomatic relations, as Damascus backed Tehran after the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war. And throughout Saddam’s rule, Syria gave refuge to his political opponents, notably Maliki himself. But pro-democracy rallies in Syria, inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt that overthrew those countries’ dictators, have culminated in a bloody

crackdown which activists say has cost more than 360 lives. The demonstrations have raised the specter of the fall of President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime and the rise to power of majority Sunnis for the first time since Syria’s coup four decades ago. That has sparked fears among Iraqi Shiites of Syria being governed by Salafists, a radical form of Sunni Islam that is anti-Shiite. “There is no doubt that if the Salafists come to power, this will spark a sectarian war across the region,” SIIC’s Saghir said. Khaled Al-Assadi, a Shiite MP who is close to Maliki said he was convinced that “foreigners are intervening in the situation in Syria,” in reference to alleged support by Sunni Arab regimes for the protesters. “As we did regarding Bahrain, we are against all interference which weakens a country and pushes it towards sectarianism,” Assadi added. Iraq condemned the Saudi-led military intervention after pro-democracy protests erupted in Bahrain spearheaded by the Gulf state’s majority Shiite community against its Sunni rulers. “Everything that happens in Syria has a major impact on Iraq, and while the Baathist regime played a negative role in the past, it is still better than an Islamist regime,” said Baghdad University political science professor Hamid Fadhel. He was referring to Iraq’s accusations of Damascus shielding insurgents, including those behind massive bomb attacks against the foreign and finance ministries in Baghdad in August 2009 that killed 95 people. The diplomatic spat prompted the two countries to recall their ambassadors for a year. “If the Islamists came to power, it’s clear they would have been helped by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries. This will impact Iraq because they will try and push Sunnis here to work against a government dominated by Shiites,” Fadhel said. —AFP

Rebels urge Egypt to block Gaddafi’s fund CAIRO: Libya’s rebel national council has asked Egypt to stop Libyans based there from trying to destabilize rebel-held eastern Libya and funding Muammar Gaddafi’s government, the head of the council said on Sunday. Mustafa Abdel Jalil said he had contacted Egypt’s interim government and asked it to prevent Gaddafi’s cousin Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam and his aides from selling Libyan assets in Egypt to raise money for the Tripoli government, which is subject to UN financial and economic sanctions. He also told Al Jazeera television Gaddaf al-Dam had paid Egyptians to enter eastern Libya and stir up opposition to its rebel leaders. Gaddaf alDam denied the accusation: “I am astonished at this report which is devoid of truth and I remind our brother Abdel Jalil that the sons of the desert never were nor will be anyone’s mercenaries or agents,” he said in a statement. Egypt’s ruling military council also said Jalil’s statements were wrong. “The military council stresses that what the media has lately picked up about Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam recruiting Egyptians to work as mercenaries in Libya is false,” it said in a statement on its official Facebook page. Earlier on Sunday, Abdel Jalil said a delegation of east Libyan sheikhs were heading for Egypt to try to thwart an attempt by Gaddafi’s followers to turn tribal elders in border regions against the rebel leadership. “First of all, we have confirmed information that Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam and

some of his aides from Gaddafi’s group are operating in Egypt through big investments,” Abdel Jalil told Al Jazeera by telephone. “They send cash to Tripoli and also into the pockets of some Egyptians ... to enter through Libya’s eastern border and sow discord and chaos inside Libya,” said Abdel Jalil, who was speaking from Kuwait. He said some 15 Egyptians had been arrested, but gave no details. Gaddaf al-Dam backed up media reports from late February, which said he had split from Gaddafi in protest at his cousin’s bloody crackdown on civilians rebelling against his rule. “Our brother Abdel Jalil knows that since I announced my resignation at the beginning of the events I have not taken sides in this struggle, which I condemned from the outset”. Gaddaf Al-Dam, a rarely-seen figure with a strong likeness to Gaddafi, was born in Egypt to a Libyan father and an Egyptian mother and has spent many years acting as a gobetween for Cairo and Tripoli. Economic ties between the North African neighbors’ deepened after the West began lifting sanctions on Libya more than a decade ago. Gaddafi has diverted part of Libya’s growing oil revenues into investment projects in Egypt. Since the Libyan rebellion began, Egypt’s military rulers have avoided publicly taking sides but have kept the border with Libya open, ensuring that supplies of food and aid can reach the rebel-held east.—Reuters



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Blasts rock Nigerian city in latest unrest At least 3 die in northeastern Nigeria KANO: Bomb blasts have killed at least three people in northeastern Nigeria, the latest unrest to hit Africa’s most populous nation after presidential elections and ahead of state governorship polls. Police had so far counted at least two dead and eight wounded, while saying they suspected the Islamist sect known as Boko Haram was behind the attacks on Easter Sunday night in the city of Maiduguri. It was unclear whether the blasts

nearly simultaneously, with the two locations not far apart. Two blasts hit the hotel and one hit the station for buses and communal taxis. “So far we have two dead and eight injured from last night’s blast,” police commissioner Mike Zuokumor said. All the casualties were reported at the hotel, he said. Police spokesman Mai Mamman said earlier that “from all indications, this is the handiwork of Boko Haram, which has carried out similar attacks in the past.” The sect known as Boko

KANO: Nigerians wait outside an ATM without cash in Kano, northern Nigeria. The number of people displaced by deadly riots in Nigeria over President Goodluck Jonathan’s election win has risen to nearly 40,000, with more than 400 wounded. — AFP were linked to the unrest that swept across Nigeria’s north last week, leaving more than 500 dead according to a local rights group. Maiduguri has long been hit by violence blamed on the Islamist sect, which launched an uprising in 2009, and police said they suspected the group was behind Sunday’s bomb blasts at a hotel tavern and at the gate of a transport hub. The explosions, which police said were caused by bombs, occurred

Haram is seen as opposed to the ruling par ty in Borno state, where Maiduguri is the capital, and some of the recent violence blamed on the group is believed to have been politically motivated. Most of Nigeria’s 36 states will hold governorship elections today, including Borno, where the All Nigeria Peoples Party is in power. The party controls three states in Nigeria. “We have placed our men on the alert for the governorship tomorrow. We will

not be daunted by terrorists,” said Zuokumor. Boko Haram had distributed fliers earlier Sunday warning of further attacks, saying “we are fighters waging jihad in Nigeria.” “We will never accept any system of governance apart from the one described by Islam because that is the only way Muslims can be liberated,” the fliers said. “We do not respect the Nigerian government because it is illegal. “We will continue to fight its military and police because they are not protecting Islam.” The sect launched an uprising in 2009 put down by a brutal military assault that left hundreds dead. In recent months, it has been blamed for a series of attacks and shootings, most of them in Maiduguri. Boko Haram is “Western education is sin” in the local Hausa language, though the group has gone by various names. Violence had earlier marred the campaign ahead of the vote in Borno, including the assassination of one of the leading governorship candidates. At least four other explosions have hit Maiduguri in recent weeks, including one the night before the presidential election and one the day of the vote. Two explosions also hit Maiduguri on the day of the April 9 parliamentary polls. Rioting swept across northern Nigeria a week ago in the wake of the April 16 presidential election won by incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian. Jonathan’s main rival was ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the north. Nigeria’s 150 million population is roughly divided in half between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south. The north has long been economically marginalized compared to the oil-rich south, helping fuel last week’s riots. Despite being Africa’s largest oil producer, Nigeria has long been held back by deeply rooted corruption and widespread poverty remains. — Agencies

CHERNOBYL: In this 1986 photo, a helicopter throwing chemicals to suppress radiation approaches the 4th destroyed reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant . — AP

World remembers Chernobyl, haunted by nuclear fears KIEV: The world today marks a quarter century since the world’s worst nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine, haunted by fears over the safety of atomic energy after the Japan earthquake. In the early hours of April 26, 1986, workers at the Chernobyl atomic power station were carrying out a test on reactor four when operating errors and design flaws sparked successive explosions. The radioactive debris landed around the reactor, creating an apocalyptic scene in the surrounding area, while material also blew into the neighboring Soviet republics of Belarus and Russia and further into western Europe. Two workers were killed by the explosion and 28 other rescuers and staff died of radiation exposure in the next months. Tens of thousands needed to be evacuated and fears remain of the scale of damage to people’s health. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced he will make a landmark visit to Chernobyl today to take part in the memorial ceremonies, where he is expected to be joined by his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych. Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill will hold a service in the Kiev region in the early hours of today, striking a bell at 1:23 am local time the time when the explosion went offto formally mark the start of remembrance ceremonies. He will then head to the affected zone to hold an Easter service at a chapel in the settlement of Chernobyl and then a service by a memorial next to the disused power station itself. But the anniversary has gained an eerily contemporary resonance after the earthquake in Japan which damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and prompted leaks of radiation. Japan has placed the disas-

ter on the maximum seven on an international scale of atomic crises, the same level as Chernobyl, and the troubles at Fukushima have prompted many questions about whether atomic power is too great a risk. The operator of Fukushima, Tokyo Electrical Power Co (TEPCO), has also come under fire over its information policy, an echo of the disastrous reluctance of the Soviet authorities to admit the truth over Chernobyl in 1986. Moscow stayed silent on the Chernobyl disaster for three days, with the official news agency TASS only reporting an accident at Chernobyl on April 28 after the Forsmark nuclear plant in Sweden reported unusually high radiation. In 1986 and 1987, the Soviet government sent over half a million rescue workers (liquidators), to clear up the power station and decontaminate the surrounding area, many not fully aware of the scale of the calamity. “I think that our modern states must see the main lesson of what happened at Chernobyl and the most recent Japanese tragedy as the necessity to tell people the truth,” Medvedev told a meeting of liquidators in the Kremlin. “The world is so fragile and we are so connected that any attempts to hide the truth, to gloss over a situation, to make it more optimistic, will end with tragedy and cost the lives of people.” But despite the notoriety of Chernobyl, controversy has raged for years even between the UN’s own agencies over the number of deaths directly caused by the disaster, with estimates ranging from tens of thousands to dozens. Some experts have said the worst health legacy of Chernobyl is mental rather than physical, with those affected traumatized by the memory of April 1986, forced relocation and

the sense that they are victims of nuclear catastrophe. In 2005, several UN agencies including the World Health Organization, said in a report a total of 4,000 people could eventually die as a result of the radiation exposure. But the UN Scientific Committee on Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) says other than the 30 confirmed deaths in the immediate aftermath only 19 ARS (Acute Radiation Syndrome) survivors had died by 2006 for various reasons. Other than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer-a usually treatable condition from contaminated milk there was “no persuasive evidence” of any other effect on the general population from radiation, it said in a repor t in February. But environmental campaign group Greenpeace in 2006 accused the UN agencies of grossly underestimating the toll, saying there would be an estimated 93,000 fatal cancer cases caused by Chernobyl. After the disaster, the Soviet authorities put up a supposedly temporary concrete shelter to protect the destroyed reactor but there have long been worries about its durability. A new sarcophagus is being built nearby and is scheduled to be erected over the reactor in the next years. But astonishingly, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is running the project, has yet to win full funding for its completion. The conference last week secured 550 million euros ($785 million) in new pledges, short of the 740 million euros still needed. Chernobyl continued producing energy until well after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Reactor number two shut after a fire in 1991, reactor number one closed in 1997 but reactor number three continued working right up until December 2000.— AFP

PEKANHOUEBLI: Pro-Ouattara militiamen and Liberian soldiers (blue uniform) pose at the border town Pekanhouebli, in western Ivory Coast. — AFP

Ivorian rebels still attacking ABIDJAN: Aides to Ivory Coast’s renegade warlord said yesterday that former rebels who have joined the new army attacked them in Abidjan’s sprawling Yopougon suburb. Both forces have been fighting in the area to dislodge pockets of resistance by remnants of militiamen loyal to arrested former president Laurent Gbagbo. The attack, which an aide said started yesterday morning, comes the day after warlord Ibrahim “IB” Coulibaly failed to turn up for a meeting with longtime rival Defense Minister Guillaume Soro. The aides, who would not give names for security reasons, also said forces from the new army were massing heavy weapons on a road in Cocody’s Angre neighborhood, where they expect an imminent attack. A reporter, however, went through Angre all the way to the neighborhood of Abobo and did not see any heavy weapons. On Friday President Alassane Ouattara ordered Coulibaly to lay down his arms and Soro’s fighters to return to their barracks in Bouake. On Saturday, Coulibaly said he was ready to lay down his arms, but said it would take time to organize. Coulibaly and Soro fought fullscale battles for leadership of the former rebels who propelled Ouattara to power after Gbagbo refused to accept his defeat at Nov 28 presidential elections. Colleagues of Coulibaly said

they were meeting with Ouattara yesterday, but Ouattara spokeswoman Affoussy Bamba said Ouattara’s top aide was not aware of a planned meeting. Coulibaly’s aide yesterday said they were waiting for a UN escort to take them to the meeting. But, he said, the UN called him to say they had not received authority to escort Coulibaly, and the UN could not guarantee his security. His men yesterday had blocked the road into their section of Abobo, and young men at the roadblock said they fear they are going to be attacked. New blue sandbags had also been put up in front of the road leading to Coulibaly’s base in Abobo. A reporter saw a couple of trucks with furniture and other belongings leaving the neighborhood, but said the markets were open and women were selling plantains, onions, tomatoes and cigarettes at shops throughout. Coulibaly has helped orchestrate two coup attempts in Ivory Coast, including a successful one in 1999, and in the past has indicated his own presidential aspirations, though he has said that he accepts Ouattara’s authority. The West African nation, the world’s top cocoa producer, has been in crisis for more than a decade. Coulibaly led the 2002 rebellion that divided the country between a rebelheld north and government-run south until Soro forced him into exile. He reemerged in Abidjan in January at the

head of the “Invisible Commandos” to start the battle against Gbagbo’s forces after soldiers fired mortar shells and rockets into Abobo, a neighborhood that voted en masse for Ouattara. Also yesterday, an officer in Ivory Coast’s new army said that hundreds of combatants who fought to install President Ouattara have returned to their barracks. Col Gaoussou Soumahourou said they began returning to their barracks in the northern city of Bouake even before Ouattara’s order Friday. Ouattara said the war had ended with the April 11 arrest of Gbagbo, whose refusal to accept electoral defeat led to prolonged fighting that killed hundreds. “Many (fighters) have already returned to Bouake but we are just keeping here those we need to complete our missions in Yopougon and Abobo,” Soumahourou said, referring to two Abidjan neighborhoods where fighting has continued. “Six hundred to 700 have gone back to Bouake in the last week, others will leave tomorrow, it’s continuing. When we have completed our mission we will return to our barracks as the president has ordered.” A few dozen fighters were at Soumahourou’s temporary base on the outskirts of the commercial capital of Abidjan yesterday. A week ago it was teeming with thousands of fighters and looted vehicles.- AP



Mexican brothers face death in Malaysia drug trial CULIACAN: From age 6, each of the Gonzalez brothers learned to make bricks, trudging like nine little chicks behind their father every day before dawn to work in his dusty hilltop brickyard. Three years ago, three of them in their 30s and 40s quit the backbreaking work, saying they had a better opportunity abroad. Now, having escaped the Mexican drug war that leaves dead bodies on the streets of their city of Culiacan almost daily, the brothers face the gallows in Malaysia, standing trial on Wednesday for allegedly working in a factory where police found $15 million in methamphetamine. If convicted, they face Malaysia’s mandatory sentence of death by hanging for drug trafficking. The case raises questions about a connection between their home state, Sinaloa, the cradle of Mexico’s drug trade, and a country more than 15,000 kilometers away that is a regional production hub for meth. While authorities say there is no direct evidence to tie the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s most powerful, to meth production in Asia, they wouldn’t be surprised by such a link. “If you look at trends, then you see that these organizations are fanning out,” said a US law enforcement official in Mexico who couldn’t be named for security reasons. “They are popping up everywhere.” Only a month after leaving Mexico, the brothers - Jose Regino, 33, Luis Alfonso, 43 and Simon Gonzalez, 36 - called home during a family birthday party. Their relatives thought they were calling with congratulations. Instead the brothers told them they were under arrest. The family hung up stunned, and searched for Malaysia on their globe. “If I had been asked to go I would not have gone,” brother Ismael Gonzalez said as he dragged a wheelbarrow filled with dark clay at the brick yard, his bare feet caked in mud. “I say they had no idea what they were

getting into.” Malaysia has increasingly become a regional production hub for methamphetamine production, according to the US State Department 2011 International Narcotics Control report. Most labs so far have been financed or operated by Singaporean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai or

CULIACAN: In this file photo, Ismael Gonzalez Villareal, 40, prepares bricks at his family’s brick shop with his brother Efrain, in Culiacan, Mexico. Both were raised, like their seven brothers, to become brick makers but now three of them are in Malaysia facing the death penalty on drug charges. — AP Iranian traffickers. Mexican drug cartels have long-standing ties with Asian suppliers to obtain methamphetamine precursor chemicals, but they have not been known to be involved in production in that part of the world. US officials, however, suspect the Sinaloa gang is seeking market share in Asia. While the brothers have no criminal records, and the family insists they are inno-

Mourners bid farewell to Indian guru Sai Baba PUTTAPARTHI: Thousands of grieving devotees including cricket star Sachin Tendulkar yesterday filed past the body of Sathya Sai Baba, a popular Indian guru who attracted a worldwide following. Sai Baba’s corpse was displayed in a transparent casket at his ashram in Puttaparthi, a village in southeast India that was transformed into a major pilgrimage centre during his life. Followers wept as they bid farewell to their spiritual leader, who died aged 85 of multiple organ failure on Sunday morning after spending three weeks in hospital. Locals and visitors who had descended on Puttaparthi to pray for Sai Baba’s recovery formed long queues outside the ashram, waiting hours in the heat for the chance to see him one last time. Police reinforcements from across Andhra Pradesh state were on duty and crowd barriers were erected to control mourners frustrated that dignitaries were ushered ahead to view the body. “Many VIPs are allowed to see our god quickly without standing in line, while we have to wait hours to enter the hall,” complained Ramesh Kumar, 38, a teacher from Chennai. Sai Baba was credited by millions of followers across the globe with supernatural powers, including the ability to conjure objects out of thin air, remember past lives and cure terminal diseases. Instantly recognizable for his wild

cent, the US law enforcement official said it would not be unusual for a Mexican cartel to recruit inexperienced foot soldiers for such an operation, and cooking methamphetamine is a simple procedure. Malaysian police say the brothers were arrested in March 2008 at a secluded meth factory

curly hair and saffron robes, he was followed by Indian politicians, judges, Bollywood actors and sports stars as well as legions of the poor. Former national cricket captain Sunil Gavaskar was among those who rushed to Puttaparthi to pay homage. “He’s left his physical form but we all know that he’s going to live in our hearts,” Gavaskar told the Star News television channel. “He will continue to guide and inspire us.” Tendulkar, who flew in after a cricket match on Sunday evening, sat quietly by the body with his wife Anjali, wiping tears from his eyes as scented sticks and musical chanting filled the air. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who described Sai Baba as “an inspiration to people of all faiths”, was expected to pay his final respects on Tuesday. Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan led Bollywood’s tributes, calling Sai Baba “a saint, a generous soul, a builder of society”. Sai Baba’s organization funds health and education projects in India, including hospitals and clinics that say they cure ailments beyond the capabilities of mainstream medicine. From his ashram, he established schools and centers that spread his influence internationally and attracted supporters in the West such as Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn. But some dismissed him as a charismatic charlatan. — AFP

PUTTAPARTHI: The body of Sathya Sai Baba is displayed as devotees, including Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar (right), pay their last respects to the Hindu guru inside Prashanthi Nilayam at Puttaparthi village yesterday. — AFP

along with a Singaporean and a Malaysian. Police seized more than 60 pounds of methamphetamine worth $15 million. The Mexican Foreign Relations Department says three other Mexicans were detained in Malaysia on drug charges around the same time and released last year. It declined to give details about their cases. The six are the first Mexicans to be

arrested in Malaysia on drug trafficking charges, according to the department. The brothers’ Malaysian attorney, Kitson Foong, said they were arrested outside the factory and were not involved in what was going on inside. He declined to give details about what the brothers were doing in Malaysia but said “They are not guilty. They are not drug traffickers.” Malaysian prosecutor Umar Saifuddin Jaafar said the Mexicans were arrested inside the factory. He said the prosecution team was not aware that the brothers came from a hotbed of drug trafficking in Mexico but that they “had some knowledge of the procedure, the equipment” at the laboratory. “These people knew what they were doing. They operated in a very secretive environment. It seems to be that these people are experts,” Jaafar said. Neighbors and relatives say there was no sign that the brothers aspired to the ostentatious world of Sinaloa’s capos, whose families live in mansions, drive Jaguars and bury their dead in gaudy mausoleums with spiral staircases and balconies. On good days, the brothers earned about 300 pesos ($25) making and selling bricks. Simon dislocated three discs in his back several years ago, and a doctor urged him to quit. “He kept working,” said their sister, Alejandrina. “It’s the only thing to do in the neighborhood, and it’s the only thing that my father taught him since he was little. Bricks, bricks, bricks.” She said two men her brothers sometimes played soccer and basketball with told them about a job opportunity abroad and they left together. “They never told us where they were going. They only said they were going to try their luck at another job,” she said. When the phone call came in March 2008, the family pooled their money and borrowed from friends to send Alejandrina

and a friend to Malaysia. She saw her brothers for the first time in a courtroom, chained with about a dozen other prisoners from different cases. They looked up, stunned to see their sister, and assured her they did not go there to get involved in drugs. Foong said police have mishandled his client’s case from the start. He charged they lost twothirds of the drugs seized at the factory and that at one point they filed a report claiming the drugs had been stolen. He alleged that four police officers were arrested after being caught on camera stealing some of the drugs themselves. Prosecutor Jaafar said four policemen were investigated in late 2008 on suspicion of stealing about 5 kilograms of meth from the evidence room of the state police headquarters. He insisted the theft does not affect the prosecution’s case because chemists had already examined the drugs by then and prepared a report about their contents. In February, the Kuala Lumpur High Court refused to throw out the case and ordered the brothers to stand trial. Foong said the brothers have been bewildered by the Malay-language proceedings, and the Mexican Embassy in Kuala Lumpur says it will provide translators for the trial. The Foreign Relations Department says its consular officials have visited the brothers from the start. If convicted, Foong said, the brothers still have two layers of appeals and the overall process could last another year. In Simon’s old room, three photographs of his daughter Bianca still hang on the wall. Now 6, she has started school, but her mother, Brenda, says the child has nightmares and refuses to learn to read or write. “She says she won’t learn until her father comes back,” the mother said. “I tell her, ‘No, you must learn quickly so you can write to him.”‘ — AP

US ‘released high-risk’ Guantanamo inmates A fresh trove of classified military files WASHINGTON: The United States released dozens of “high-risk” Guantanamo inmates and held over 150 innocent men for years, a fresh trove of classified military files showed Sunday. The 779 documents, part of a massive cache of secret memos leaked to whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks last year, were made available to a select group of US and European media outlets, including The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, El Pais, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and La Repubblica. Thousands of pages of files were said to reveal that most of the 172 prisoners who remain at the US naval base in southeastern Cuba - 130 of them have been rated as posing a “high-risk’ threat to the United States and its allies if they are freed without being rehabilitated or supervised as needed. Even more of the George W Bush-era “war on terror” suspects-about a third of the 600-some men who have already been transferred to third countries were also branded “high-risk” before being released or handed to other governments, the Times noted. In a troublesome revelation for the United States and its allies as they seek to back antigovernment forces in Libya who are fighting to oust longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi, the documents showed one of the rebels’ presumed trainers has closer ties to Al-Qaeda than previously thought. Abu Sufian bin Qumu was engaged in violent extremist activities for two decades, previously training at two Al-Qaeda camps, fighting with the Taleban against the Soviet Union and the Northern Alliance and serving as Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s driver in Sudan, according to National Public Radio. He had spent a six-year stint at Guantanamo and the United States agreed to hand him over to Libyan authorities in 2007 following a request by Gaddafi, NPR added. Libyan authorities freed him last summer. The Times said the files, which detail the background of each of the 779 people who have passed through the prison facility since 2002, revealed little about harsh interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo, including sleep deprivation and simulated drowning, that sparked widespread condemnation around the world. But a number of prisoners were said to have made up false claims of torture. Overall, US military analysts considered only 220 of the people ever detained at Guantanamo to

GUANTANAMO BAY: In this file photo US military guards walk within Camp Delta militaryrun prison, at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base, Cuba. — AP be dangerous extremists, The Daily Telegraph said, while another 380 people were deemed to be low-ranking foot soldiers who traveled to Afghanistan or were part of the Taleban. At least another 150 people were innocent Afghans or Pakistanis, including drivers, farmers and chefs, who had been rounded up as part of frantic intelligence gathering in war zones and were then detained for years due to mistaken identity or simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. In dozens of cases, senior US commanders were said to have concluded that there is “no reason recorded for transfer.” Officials at Guantanamo were aware in at least two cases that they were holding innocent men behind bars and even acknowledged that in writing in their prison files, and yet it still took months for them to be returned to their home countries, according to NPR. In their top-secret Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs), military analysts also provided fresh information about their highest-profile detainee, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United

States. He was said to have ordered a onetime Baltimore resident around March 2002 to wear a suicide bomb vest and perform a “martyrdom” attack against then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. But in the end, the assignment turned out to simply be a test of Majid Khan’s “willingness to die for the cause.” President Barack Obama’s administration, which has struggled to shutter Guantanamo due to the political backlash over his plans to do so, denounced the “unfortunate” release of the classified documents and stressed the DABs provided incomplete assessments. It defended both its efforts and those of its predecessor president George W Bush for having “made every effort to act with the utmost care and diligence in transferring detainees from Guantanamo.” “Both administrations have made the protection of American citizens the top priority, and we are concerned that the disclosure of these documents could be damaging to those efforts,” the statement added. It was signed by Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell and Ambassador Dan Fried, the State Department’s special envoy in charge of negotiating the facility’s closure. — AFP

What is india’s telecoms scandal all about? NEW DELHI: Indian federal police yesterday charged the daughter of a key ally in the coalition government with handling bribes in one of the country’s biggest corruption cases, a multi-billion dollar telecoms scandal that has weakened the government and put off some foreign investors. The graft scandal is one of several to have emerged in the past few months, tarnishing the reputation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose government has gone on the defensive against an emboldened opposition.While corruption itself has been largely shrugged off by investors, the regulatory uncertainty from the review of past government decisions is a source of concern. This month former telecoms minister Andimuthu Raja as well as executives from the Indian joint ventures of Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor and the United Arab Emirates’ Etisalat have appeared in court. Three executives from Reliance ADA, owned by Indian billionaire Anil Ambani, are also on trial in the case which

police investigators said involved awarding companies valuable telecoms licences at rock-bottom prices. Here are some questions about the scandal: Police say that millions of dollars were paid in bribes to ensure favors for certain firms in 2007/08, when India issued 122 new licenses to offer mobile phone services in the world’s fastest growing telecoms market. The state auditor estimated India may have lost up to $39 billion in revenue-equivalent to the defense budget-due to violations during the allocation process. Several licenses were issued to firms who were ineligible, who had no prior experience in the sector, or who had hid material facts while applying, the auditor said. The telecoms ministry’s process of issuing licenses “lacked transparency and was undertaken in an arbitrary, unfair and inequitable manner”, the auditor said. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s equivalent of the FBI, has charged those accused with cheat-

ing, conspiracy and other crimes. Those initially charged by the CBI include Sanjay Chandra, the managing director of Telenor’s India partner Unitech and Shahid Balwa, the vice chairman of Etisalat’s India operations. Raja, the former minister, has been charged with taking bribes to favor the local partners of Telenor and Etisalat. Police say the bribes were routed through companies run by Raja’s DMK party, a key member of the ruling coalition led by Singh’s Congress party. Yesterday the CBI charged Kanimozhi, the daughter of the head of the DMK, two more executives from DB Realty, whose parent DB Group is the partner of Etisalat, and the managing director of a south Indian television channel owned by the DMK party with handling bribes. All the accused deny any wrongdoing. Telenor and Etisalat say the events described occurred before they invested in India. The scandal has tarnished the Congress-led govern-

ment’s image, spooked investors and has led to the Norwegian prime minister writing to his Indian counterpart seeking ‘fair treatment’ for Telenor. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was reprimanded by the Supreme Court for not acting quickly enough against Raja and the opposition all but shut down an entire parliament session demanding a special cross-party probe. The government gave in to that demand. A separate parliamentary committee is also investigating the graft scandals. This month, one of those panels summoned Ratan Tata and Anil Ambani-two of India’s most high-profile businessmen-to answer questions on the license allocations. The scandal could harm Congress and its ally’s chances in elections currently taking place in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which is ruled by the DMK, as voters may decide to punish the coalition over the role Raja, the former telecoms minister, played in the corruption scandal. — Reuters



Pakistan ISI named as Qaeda associate Leaked documents likely to strain security cooperation

DHAKA: In this file photo, Microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus (center) emerges from the high court building to contest the decision to remove him from his post in Grameen Bank, in Dhaka. — AFP

Bangladesh probe clears Yunus of misusing fund DHAKA: A Bangladeshi probe has cleared Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus of misappropriating Norwegian aid money at the pioneering microfinance bank he founded, the country’s finance minister announced yesterday. But the bank is still awaiting a final decision on a separate government claim that Yunus was illegally reappointed managing director, with the Supreme Court due to review an order for his dismissal next month. Yunus has been under fire since last December when a Norwegian documentary claimed $96 million of aid had been diverted in 1996 from Grameen Bank, which provides small loans to the poor, to other parts of Grameen group. Norway cleared Yunus of wrongdoing but the 70-year-old, who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, was accused of “sucking blood from the poor” by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and his bank was subject to a government probe. “The probe has accepted that (the Norwegian government’s decision) was final. There is nothing to do about it,” Bangladesh finance minister A M A Muhith said. Probe committee chief A K M Monowar Uddin Ahmed said that they had seen the trove of papers and letters on which the allegations of aid misuse were based and had “come to a conclusion that the issue was amicably settled”. The government-appointed investigation committee also found no truth to allegations Grameen Bank charged excessive

interest rates on loans to the poor, said Muhith. “Grameen Bank’s interest rate is the best among all the microfinance institutions,” he told journalists after receiving a copy of the report, which has not yet been released. Grameen Bank charges around 20 percent interest on its micro loans. The figure is the lowest among the country’s 1,200-plus micro-lenders, whose rates average around 30-45 percent interest, according to the government’s Microcredit Regulatory Authority. Yunus was last month fired by a central bank order, which claimed he failed to seek the bank’s approval when he was reappointed managing director of Grameen Bank indefinitely in 1999. The High Court upheld the order in a March 8 ruling, saying the dismissal was legal and that Yunus had also exceeded Grameen Bank’s mandatory retirement age of 60. Backed by international lobbying, Yunus has defied the sacking order by filing a legal appeal and continuing to work at Grameen Bank’s Dhaka headquarters. The Supreme Court has said it would review the dismissal decision on May 2. Supporters of Yunus, who has also been vilified in the Bangladeshi press, say his legal woes stem from a fallout with Hasina in 2007 over his short-lived attempt to found a political party. Analysts say Grameen’s huge influence in Bangladesh and its move into solar panels, mobile phones and other consumer goods has made the government envious of its reach. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The US military classified Pakistan’s top spy agency as a terrorist support entity in 2007 and used association with it as a justification to detain prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, according to leaked documents published on Sunday that are sure to further alienate Pakistan. One document (, given to The New York Times, say detainees who associated with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate “may have provided support to AlQaeda or the Taleban, or engaged in hostilities against US or Coalition forces”. The ISI, along with Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence, are among 32 groups on the list of “associated forces”, which also includes Egypt’s Islamic Jihad, headed by Al-Qaeda deputy Ayman AlZawahiri. The document defines an “associate force” as “militant forces and organizations with which Al-Qaeda, the Al-Qaeda network, or the Taleban has an established working, supportive, or beneficiary relationship for the achievement of common goals.” The ISI said it had no comment. The “JTF-GTMO Matrix of Threat Indicators for Enemy Combatants” likely dates from 2007 according to its classification code, and is part of a trove of 759 files on detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, the US military prison in Cuba. The secret documents were obtained by WikiLeaks and date from between 2002 and

2009, but they were made available to The New York Times from a separate source, the paper said. They reveal that most of the 172 remaining prisoners have been rated as a “high risk” of posing a threat to the United States and its allies if released without adequate rehabilitation and supervision, the newspaper said. The documents also show about a third of the 600 detainees already sent to other countries were also designated “high risk” before they were freed or passed to the custody of other governments, the Times said in its report late on Sunday. SEAT-OF-THE-PANTS INTELLIGENCE GATHERING The dossiers, prepared under the Bush administration, also show the seat-of-thepants intelligence gathering in war zones that led to the incarcerations of innocent men for years in cases of mistaken identity or simple misfortune, the Times said. The documents are largely silent about the use of the harsh interrogation tactics at Guantanamo that drew global condemnation, the newspaper reported. The Times also said an Obama administration task force set up in January 2009 had reviewed the assessments and, in some cases, come to different conclusions. “Thus... the documents published by The Times may not represent the government’s current views of detainees at Guantanamo.” WikiLeaks previously released classified

Pentagon reports on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and 250,000 State Department cables. Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old US soldier accused of leaking secret documents to WikiLeaks has been detained since May of last year. Last week, the Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Pakistani media that the ISI had a “longstanding” relationship with the Haqqani Network which is allied to Al- Qaeda. “Haqqani is supporting, funding, training fighters that are killing Americans and killing coalition partners. And I have a sacred obligation to do all I can to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Mullen told Pakistan’s daily Dawn newspaper. “So that’s at the core-it’s not the only thing-but that’s at the core that I think is the most difficult par t of the relationship,” Mullen said. Pakistan’s powerful ISI has long been suspected of maintaining ties to the Haqqani network, cultivated during the 1980s when Jalaluddin Haqqani was a feared battlefield commander against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. US-Pakistan ties have been strained this year by the case of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore on January 27, as well as by tensions in Pakistan over US drone strikes that have fanned antiAmerican sentiment. — Reuters

Afghan farmers hooked on poppies, 10 years on KABUL: Nearly a decade into the war in Afghanistan, opium poppies are still the major crop for many farmers and a big source of income for the Taleban despite expensive efforts to stamp out cultivation. “Opium requires less work, less water and makes more money,” explained Haji Matiullah, a farmer from Maywand district in the violent southern province of Kandahar, a fertile ground for both poppies and Taleban militants. “I would say nearly 80 percent of people in our district grow opium for very obvious reasons... it is easy.” War-torn Afghanistan pro-

duces around 90 percent of the world’s opium, most of which ends up as heroin on the streets of Western cities or supplies some of the one-million drug-addicted Afghans. It also helps fund a Taleban insurgency that, nearly 10 years after the extremists were ousted from power by a US-led invasion, is killing more foreign troops with every passing year. The violence only encourages more farmers to grow the crop, said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Afghanistan country representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “In a period of insecurity or

conflict, poppy is the best crop to plant. If you’re a farmer, you think: ‘They (drug lords) come to my farm, provide seeds, loans, they’ll come to my farm gate to pick up the harvest,” he said. This saves the farmers from travelling long distances on often unsafe roads dotted with landmines and criminal gangs launching ambushes. Many officials now see Westernled poppy-crop destruction-on which hundreds of millions of dollars was dished out earlier in the war-as a flawed solution. “It’s difficult to win hearts and minds when to attack poppy fields is to attack the local population,” said

one Western security source, speaking on condition of anonymity. Earning support in rural areas is a key part of the West’s military counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. But poppy cultivation-thought to provide a living for six percent of all Afghan households-shows precious few signs of dying out of its own accord. While a UNODC report last week predicted a small drop in cultivation across the war-torn country this year, it said poppies would likely return to five northern provinces which were free of them in 2010. — AFP



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Thailand, Cambodia troops clash again Latest fighting focuses on two disputed temples

MIYAGI PREFECTURE: Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members search for missing people in their third major recovery operation since the March 11 earthquake in Shichigahamamachi, Miyagi Prefecture. — AP

With 12,000 still missing, Japan keeps searching 38 more bodies found SHICHIGAHAMAMACHI: A line of somber soldiers walked methodically through a drained swamp yesterday, with each step sinking their slender poles into the muck beneath. If one hit a body, he would know. “Bodies feel very distinctive,” said Michihiro Ose, a spokesman for the Japanese army’s 22nd infantry regiment. The men were among 25,000 troops given the morbid duty of searching the rubble, the seas and the swamps of northeastern Japan for the bodies of the nearly 12,000 people still missing in last month’s earthquake and tsunami. The two-day operation was the biggest military search since the March 11 disaster. With waters receding, officials hoped the troops, backed by police, coast guard and US forces, would make significant progress. By yesterday evening, they had found 38 bodies, the military said. In the town of Shichigahamamachi, about two dozen Japanese soldiers in black boots, white masks and waterproof jumpsuits traveled silently in unison across the soggy earth, made even softer by torrential rains an hour earlier. In some areas, the mud came up to their knees. The search focused on a long, narrow marsh drained in recent weeks by the army using special pump trucks. Once the soldiers reached the end of the marsh, they turned around and walked back. And then back again. “It’s important not to miss anything,” Ose said as he watched the soldiers nearly camouflaged by the dark gray mud. “As long as there is time left in the day, we will keep going up and down.” In another part of town, several dozen soldiers cleared mountains of rubble by hand from a waterfront neighborhood filled with gutted and teetering houses. Four people in the neighborhood were missing, said 67-year-old Sannojo Watanabe. “That was my house right there,” he said, pointing to a foundation with nothing atop it. He surveyed the neighborhood: “There’s nothing left here.” A total of 24,800 soldiers - backed by 90 helicopters and planes were sent to comb through the rubble for buried remains, while 50 boats and 100 navy divers searched the waters up to 12 miles off the coast to find those swept out to sea. The search is far more difficult than that for earthquake victims, who would mostly be under rubble. The tsunami could have left the victims anywhere. “We just don’t know where the bodies are,” Ose said. In all, 370 troops from the 22nd infantry regiment looked for a dozen people still missing from Shichigahamamachi. The regiment had been searching the area with a far smaller contingent, but tripled the number of troops for the twoday intense search, said Col Akira Kunitomo, the regimental commander. Bodies found so many weeks after the disaster are likely to be unrecognizable, black and swollen, Ose said. “We wouldn’t even know if they would be male or female,” he said. The work is personal for the unit. More than half its 900 troops hail from Miyagi

prefecture, which was hit hard by the tsunami, and nearly all are from northern Japan. It lost one of its own to the tsunami a soldier in his 30s who was on break but tried in vain to rush back to camp after the earthquake. More than 14,300 people have been confirmed dead and nearly 11,900 remain missing. The military’s first major sweep for bodies uncovered 339; its second turned up 99 more, Defense Ministry spokesman Norikazu Muratani said. The vast majority of those have been recovered by the 22nd regiment. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, bodies turned up along the Indonesian coast for months afterward. However, 37,000 of the 164,000 people who died in Indonesia simply disappeared, their bodies presumably washed out to sea. Last week, two undersea robots provided by the nonprofit International Rescue Systems Institute conducted five -day searches in waters near three tsunami-hit towns. They found cars, homes and other wreckage, but no bodies, said Mika Murata, an official with the institute. The Japanese government has come under criticism for its response to the disasters and a subsequent nuclear crisis. Yesterday, Goshi Hosono, an adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan and member of his nuclear crisis management task force, slammed the operator of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co., for its handling of the crisis. The plant was not properly prepared for the tsunami or for the loss of power that followed, he said. And TEPCO delayed the crucial venting of radioactive steam that built up immense pressure and may have contributed to hydrogen explosions that made the crisis even worse, he said. All those issues are being investigated, he said. “I think TEPCO is used to its routine work as a supplier of electricity, but it was not good at handling something different,” he said. TEPCO announced a roadmap last week to bring the plant into cold shutdown within six to nine months, a crucial step for allowing the tens of thousands evacuated from a 12-mile area around the plant to return home. Hosono said the situation at the plant remained “extremely difficult,” with radioactivity high in some areas and the transfer of contaminated water proving very tough. Though work is slower than hoped for, Hosono said he saw no reason it would not be completed along the road map’s timetable. Meanwhile, the government was discussing how much of the compensation for the nuclear crisis it would bear and how much would be paid by TEPCO. With its liability likely to stretch into the billions, TEPCO announced yesterday it would slash executive compensation by 50 percent, cut managers’ salaries by 25 percent and lowlevel employees would get a 20 percent pay cut. It also planned to freeze hiring for next year. The amount saved would total 54 billion yen ($660 million) for the year, the company said.— AP

Malaysia’s Anwar seeks acquittal in sodomy trial KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyers claimed yesterday that the man who accused him of sodomy lied during his court testimony. Anwar’s defense team urged the High Court to dismiss the charge. Prosecutors wrapped up their case last month, so now the court will decide whether to throw out the case or instruct the defense to call its witnesses. Anwar faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of sodomy, a crime in Muslim-majority Malaysia. He claims the government fabricated the charge to hobble the opposition, but authorities deny any conspiracy. Anwar’s top attorney, Karpal Singh, told the court Monday that Anwar ’s accuser - a former aide - falsely testified that the opposition leader made him have sex in a Kuala Lumpur apartment in 2008. The 25-year-old Saiful Bukhari Azlan was a young man and “strong enough to fend off the alleged overtures of (Anwar) in the bedroom, but he did not do so,” according to his testimony, Singh said. Anwar’s team insists Saiful never even went to the apartment that day. “No amount of corroboration, medical or otherwise, can salvage the prosecution case, which is doomed to fail,” Singh said, adding that Saiful should be

charged with perjury. Prosecutor Yusof Zainal Abiden dismissed the defense’s argument, saying Saiful’s testimony had been consistent. The prosecution “has put forward a case beyond any shadow of doubt that it was (Anwar) who committed the offense and no one else,” Yusof said. The court has not set a date to deliver its decision. The prosecution’s case hinges on Saiful’s testimony and semen found on his body that the prosecution claims matches Anwar’s DNA. Another of Anwar’s lawyers, Sankara Nair, argued Monday there were problems with the medical examination of Saiful and the way that authorities obtained items from Anwar that allegedly contained his DNA. Anwar has refused to provide DNA samples, saying he fears police will tamper with them. Anwar, a married 63-year-old with six children, lost his post as deputy premier in 1998 after being charged with sodomizing his family’s ex-driver and trying to cover up his actions - both of which he denied. He was convicted by freed in 2004 when a court quashed the conviction. He then led an opposition alliance to unprecedented gains in 2008 elections. Anwar has also recently battled allegations that he was filmed having sex with a woman. —AP

PHANOM DONG RAK: Thai and Cambodian troops clashed with guns and rocket-propelled grenades yesterday, witnesses said, after a nearly full-day break in fighting that has killed at least 12 people in four days and sent nearly 50,000 into evacuation centers. Gunfire and explosions were heard near two disputed 12th-century Hindu temples that have been the scene of sporadic grenade and artiller y bombardments since Friday in the bloodiest border conflict between the neighbors in nearly two decades. Thailand renewed calls for oneon-one talks with Cambodia following the cancellation of a visit to both countries by a top Southeast Asian envoy who had brokered a UN-backed peace deal on Feb 22 to send Indonesian military observers to the border. Thailand has resisted international observers, but Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya declined to rule them out when speaking to reporters at an evacuation camp. “It’s not something we are opposed to. This is a sensitive issue,” he said in a briefing about 30 km from the scene of recent fighting. The fighting near two temples followed a four-day clash in February that claimed 11 lives near Preah Vihear, a temple about 150 km to the east. At the centre of the latest dispute are the Ta Moan and Ta Krabey Hindu temples in a heavily mined jungle area claimed by both sides. Thailand says the ancient ruins are in its Surin province but Cambodia insists they fall in its territory. Fighting has been heaviest around Ta Moan, a complex that contains three temples nestled into a mountain pass. Both sides are also positioned around Ta Krabey, where fighting first erupted on Friday and where Cambodia has been accused of building military bases. The official toll since Friday is five Thai soldiers killed and 31 wounded, and seven Cambodians killed and 17 wounded. The

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian armored vehicles stand by near the disputed border area between Cambodian and Thailand, in Ampel commune, Udor Meanchey province yesterday. —AP Cambodian Defense Ministry said Thai shelling had “damaged the temples”, without elaborating, and that civilian villages had been shelled about 20 km inside Cambodian territory. About 17,000 people had been evacuated, it said, and a school and 10 houses destroyed. Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said “some Thai nationals” were taken into custody for “spying”. He did not provide details. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Thailand and Cambodia are members, had been expected to visit Thailand and Cambodia separately yesterday. Although his trip was cancelled, Natalegawa told reporters in Jakarta a trilateral meeting could still take place. “The possibility is not closed for a direct meeting among the three of us, but the date has not been decided. The important thing is that communication continues,” he said. The conflict and fierce rhetoric from both sides has

been a setback for ASEAN, a 10member bloc modeled on the European Union that plans to become a regional community by 2015. “Thailand and Cambodia have to show that they really want to promote diplomacy and not violence,” said Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yuhoyono. UN SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon has urged “serious dialogue” to produce an “effective and verifiable” ceasefire. Although on the sur face the renewed fighting appears to be a dispute over sovereignty, many experts are skeptical and suggest either government may have started the clashes to discredit the other or to appeal to nationalists at home. The conflict could boost support for Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government ahead of an election due by July. Cambodia’s government, which has had a series of bitter quarrels with Abhisit’s administration, could stand to gain if his ruling Democrat Party is voted out of office. The two sides battled for more than three

Building fire kills at least 17 in Beijing BEIJING: An illegal garment shop in southern Beijing caught fire early yesterday, killing 17 migrant workers and their family members who may not have been able to escape the four-story building because of bars on the windows. The official Xinhua News Agency said people had to kick out the window bars or leap from the roof to escape. Another 24 people were injured in the fire, which broke out at 1 am, the agency said. It did not specify the cause of the blaze. The first-floor garment shop was unlicensed, and the floors above it were used to house workers and their families, Xinhua said. Iron bars installed over windows to keep out burglars may have prevented people from escaping, it added. “ We saw people jumping from the building. About six or seven people, dressed in pajamas, flung themselves from the first floor after kicking open the bars on one window,” local resident Wang Xuegang was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “It was a real nightmare. Some dived from the top floor,” said Wang. The agency quoted Chang Hongyan, the deputy government head of the local Daxing district, as saying most died of smoke inhalation. Firefighters had trouble reaching the blaze because their trucks couldn’t fit down the neighborhood’s narrow alleys, Xinhua said. A survivor identified only by his last name, Xu, was quoted as saying that he broke his legs jumping off the top of the building. “The first floor was filled with choking fumes. With no way to leave, my wife and I jumped from a platform at the top of the building,” Xu said. Building fires are common in China because of lax safety


in brief

Quakes hit Sulawesi JAKARTA: A series of strong earthquakes hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi early yesterday, damaging houses and causing panic, officials said, but they had no word on casualties. Reports from the area said the relatively shallow quake just after 6 am hit 55 km southeast of Kendari, the regional capital of over 300,000 people in Southeast Sulawesi. At least three strong aftershocks followed the initial magnitude 6.2 quake over the next couple of hours, officials said. “There are houses damaged. People are panicking and have rushed out from their houses,” said Asep Jaelani, an official at South Sulawesi’s quake agency. “No tsunami warning has been issued as the epicenter of the quake was inland.” He had no reports of casualties. “It will be felt strongly there but it won’t be devastating,” Rahmat Triyono, an official at Indonesia’s national meteorology agency, said. “Looking at the map, the epicenter is inland, but just at the tip, and there are several small islands there, so it will be felt there, too.” The United States Geological Survey said the quake occurred at 2307 GMT, 67 miles east of Baubau at a relatively shallow depth of 5.8 miles.

BEIJING: Investigators work near a window that survivors broke through to escape a fire in Daxing district of Beijing yesterday.—AP codes and unsafe construction work. In November, 58 people were killed in a Shanghai apartment fire that was blamed on welders ignoring safety precautions. Also yesterday, Xinhua reported that three workers were injured in an explosion and fire at a pesticide factory in southern China. — AP

Carter and other former leaders to visit N Korea BEIJING: Former President Jimmy Carter said yesterday that he hoped to meet with North Korea’s reclusive leader during a visit to the country this week aimed at assessing severe food shortages and discussing the possible revival of nuclear disarmament talks. Carter is making the three-day visit accompanied by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland and former Irish President Mary Robinson. The four are members of a group of retired world leaders called the Elders founded by former South African President Nelson Mandela. Carter said the group “would like very much” to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, as well as his son and heir-apparent Kim Jong Un, but was unsure whether that would happen. “We have no indication that we will do so, but it would be a pleasure if we could do so,” he said at a news conference in Beijing prior to his departure for Pyongyang today. The former president said he was not

hours from late Sunday morning and pounded each other with mortars and artillery, sending hundreds of villagers fleeing or into hiding in makeshift bomb shelters. Ban Nongkana, a village 7 km from Ta Moan, was almost deserted on Monday after three days of shelling. Dogs roamed dirt tracks and rustic wooden houses were abandoned after troops urged people to leave, fearing another escalation. Thai Foreign Ministr y spokesman Thani Thongpakdi said 30,000 Thais were evacuated from border areas. The dispute over jurisdiction has persisted since the 1950s, when colonial power France pulled out of Cambodia. “Without a third-party observer, we will just point fingers at each other about who fired first,” Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said. An international court ruling awarded Preah Vihear to Cambodia in 1962, but Thailand has tried to thwart its attempt to list the temple as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it still lays claim to the 4.6 sq km of scrub around it.— Reuters

“prejudging in advance” his discussions on restarting nuclear talks that have been stalled for the past two years amid growing concerns over North Korea’s nuclear programs. Pyongyang is believed to be holding out for diplomatic concessions from Washington before committing to returning to six-nation talks hosted by China, under which it pledged to dismantle its programs in return for food and fuel aid. He did not respond when asked if he was carrying a message from the US administration and made no mention of Korean-American Jun Young Su, who is being held in North Korea, reportedly on charges of carrying out missionary activity. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted Carter as saying in an interview that he wasn’t carrying any messages and didn’t intend to raise Su’s case. Carter last visited North Korea in August to secure the release of imprisoned American Aijalon Gomes, who had been sentenced to eight years of hard labor for crossing into the North from China. — AP

Bali court jails Australian JAKARTA: An Indonesian court has sentenced a 43-year old Australian to 18 years in prison for smuggling 1.7 kg of crystal methamphetamine into the resort island of Bali from Thailand in October last year, his lawyer said yesterday. The sentence handed down on Michael Sacatides by judges in Denpasar was harsher than the 16 years sought by prosecutors. He was also fined 1 billion rupiah ($116,000) and will have to serve an additional three months in jail if he is unable to pay. Sacatides, a martial arts instructor, has yet to decide whether to appeal to a higher court, his lawyer, Erwin Siregar, told Reuters by telephone. Indonesia, like many Southeast Asian countries, has tough drug laws and serious offenders can face the death penalty. Several other Australians are serving time in Bali for drug offences and some are in prison pending appeals against death sentences. China to launch carrier TAIPEI: Taiwan’s spy chief yesterday said China could bring its first aircraft carrier into service before the end of the year, kindling fears in Taipei over Beijing’s continued naval build-up. Tsai Teh-sheng, head of the island’s National Security Bureau, said the “Varyag” a half-completed Soviet era aircraft carrier Beijing obtained from Ukraine in 1998, is expected to make its maiden voyage before the end of 2011. The warship has been docked in China’s eastern Dalian harbor where it has undergone extensive refurbishing work since 2002. “Varyag has restored its sailing capability, and is expected to start providing training missions before the end of 2011,” Tsai said in response to a parliamentary question by Lin Yufang of the ruling Kuomintang party. Tsai said the warship will have “certain combat capability” and will serve as a base for an unknown number of China’s homegrown fighter jets which are modeled on Russian-made Su-33s. Taiwan’s defense ministry has expressed alarm at China’s naval buildup although experts say it may still take time for the People’s Liberation Army to operate its first carrier group complete with fighter jets. “The Chinese communists’ acquisition of their first aircraft carrier will threaten not only Taiwan but the stability of Asia,” Taiwan’s defense ministry spokesman David Lo said.



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MISRATA, Libya: Libyan relatives carry the coffin of one of seven victims from two families killed overnight by shelling said to be from Gaddafi’s forces during their funeral in the Ras Amar area of this besieged rebel-held city yesterday. — AFP

Panel slams ‘illegal’ transport jets deal Continued from Page 1 Syrian people and called for a united Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) action against Damascus. MP Waleed AlTabtabaei sent a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Commission urging the international body to intervene in Syria to stop the bloodshed and crimes being committed by the regime against the people. Tabtabaei, who sent the letter over being a member of the Assembly’s human rights committee, called on the UN commission to report widespread human rights violations in Syria to the UN Secretary General to take the appropriate action. Tabtabaei said that the Syrian regime has launched an attack on the southern city of Daraa using heavy weapons and demanded swift action. MP Faisal Al-Mislem called on the GCC states to take unified action to apply

pressure on the Syrian regime to force it to stop the brutal killing of the Syrian people. But Shiite MP Hussein Al-Qallaf strongly defended the Syrian regime and blasted Kuwaiti MPs who criticized President Bashar Al-Assad, recalling that his father, late president Hafez Al-Assad, had sent troops to help liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion in 1990. MP Askar Al-Enezi meanwhile submitted a draft law calling on the government to increase the pensions of all retired people by KD 150 monthly in the form of a social grant to help bridge the gap between the wages of civil servants and those of retired people. Head of the budgets committee MP Adnan Abdulsamad said yesterday that 20 MPs attended the committee meeting and a number of proposals were made, including extending the Assembly term in order to be able to debate the closing statements of the state budget for several fiscal years.

Taleban free inmates in brazen jailbreak Continued from Page 1 gotten out of their locked cells and disappeared into the night. Kandahar remains relatively warm even during winter and the ground would not have frozen while insurgents were digging the tunnel. Police showed reporters the roughly hewn hole that was punched through the cement floor of the prison cell. The opening was about 1 m in diameter, and the tunnel dropped straight down for about 1.5 m and then turned in the direction of the house where it originated. But access was denied to the tunnel itself, and it was unclear how the Taleban were able to move so many men out of the prison so quickly. Also unclear was why guards would not have heard the diggers punch through the cement floor, and whether they supervise the inside of the perimeters at night. A man who claimed he helped organize those inside the prison told AP in a phone call that he and his accomplices obtained copies of the keys for the cells ahead of time from “friends.” He did not say who those friends were, but his comments suggested possible collusion by guards. “There were four or five of us who knew that our friends were digging a tunnel from the outside,” said

Mohammad Abdullah, who said he had been in Sarposa prison for two years after being captured in nearby Zhari district with a stockpile of weapons. “Some of our friends helped us by providing copies of the keys. When the time came at night, we managed to open the doors for friends who were in other rooms.” He said the diggers broke through Sunday morning and that the inmates in the cell covered the hole with a prayer rug until the middle of the night, when they started quietly opening the doors of cells and ushering prisoners in small groups into the tunnel. He said they woke the inmates up four or five at a time to sneak them out quietly. They also didn’t want too many people crawling through the narrow and damp tunnel at one time because of worries that they would run out of oxygen, Abdullah said. The AP reached Abdullah on a phone number supplied by a Taleban spokesman. His account could not immediately be verified. The Taleban statement said it took 4 1/2 hours for all the prisoners to clear the tunnel, with the final inmates emerging into the house at 3:30 am. They then used a number of vehicles to shuttle the escaped convicts to secure locations. Reporters were not allowed into that building, but officials pointed out

the mud-walled compound with a brown gate and shops on either side. The city’s police mounted a massive search operation for the escaped convicts. They shot and killed two inmates who tried to evade capture and rearrested another 26, said Tooryalai Wesa, the provincial governor. But there was no ignoring that the Taleban had pulled off a daring success under the noses of Afghan and NATO officials. “ This is a blow,” presidential spokesman Waheed Omar said. “A prison break of this magnitude of course points to a vulnerability.” At least 486 inmates escaped from Sarposa, most of them Taleban fighters, according to Gov Wesa. The Taleban said they had freed more than 500 of their fellow insurgents and that about 100 of them were commanders - four of them former provincial chiefs. Government officials declined to provide details on any of the escaped inmates or say whether any were considered high-level commanders. The highest-profile Taleban inmates would likely not be held at Sarposa. The US keeps detainees it considers a threat at a facility outside of Bagram Air Base in eastern Afghanistan. Other key Taleban prisoners are held by the Afghan government in a high-security wing of the main prison in Kabul. — AP

25 killed as Syrian tanks storm Daraa Continued from Page 1 protested against the killings,” the statement said. A resident earlier said he witnessed five people killed when their car was raked with fire in Daraa, where Syria’s unprecedented anti-regime protests erupted six weeks ago. Abazid said Daraa was “like being in a battlefield”. The army seized at least two mosques in the town as well as the cemetery where scores of people killed in anti-regime protests have been buried, activists said. The assault began at dawn when 3,000 to 5,000 army and security forces swooped down on Daraa, with tanks taking up position in the town centre and snipers deploying on rooftops, activists said. “The minarets of the mosques are appealing for help. The security forces are entering houses. There is a curfew and they fire on those who leave their homes. They even shot at water tanks on roofs to deprive people of water,” said a witness. A massive crackdown was also under way in Douma, a large suburb in northern Damascus, and nearby AlMaadamiyeh, said activists reached by telephone. “The situation is dramatic. Patrols man each alleyway and prevent people from going out even to buy bread,” one resident reached by AFP said. “Even funerals of youths killed on Friday and Saturday were not held,” he added. Schools stayed closed and civil servants were unable to go to work. An activist from Douma said security forces “surrounded a mosque and are firing indiscriminately. Streets are cut off from each other and Douma is isolated from the outside world.” There have been sweeping arrests in Douma since Sunday, he added. Some 390 people have been killed in security crackdowns since the protests erupted, rights activists and witnesses say. The latest bloodshed came

despite President Bashar Al-Assad on Thursday signing decrees ending a draconian state of emergency, imposed by the Baath party when it seized power in 1963. He also abolished the state security court that has tried scores of regime opponents outside the normal judicial system and issued a decree “to regulate” peaceful demonstrations. A day later, tens of thousands of people swarmed cities and towns to test the government’s sincerity, but scores were killed by security forces, activists and rights groups have said. Rami Abdel Rahman, a prominent rights activist, told AFP that yesterday’s crackdown showed Damascus had decided to crush the protests militarily. “It is clear that the Syrian authorities have taken a decision for a military and security solution,” Abdel Rahman, head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP. In Washington, US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said his government could respond to the “brutal violence” with sanctions. “The United States is pursuing a range of possible policy options, including targeted sanctions, to respond to the crackdown and make clear that this behaviour is unacceptable,” said Vietor. “The Syrian people’s call for freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and the ability to freely choose their leaders must be heard.” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the killings must stop. “Just a few days after the announcement of sweeping and important reforms, we are seeing such disregard for human life by Syrian security forces,” she said in a statement issued in Geneva. “The first step now is to immediately halt the use of violence.” Meanwhile diplomats said that Britain, France, Germany and Portugal are seeking a UN Security Council condemnation of the killing of demonstrators in Syria and a call for an independent investigation.— AFP

NATO forces strike Gaddafi compound Continued from Page 1 Libyan authorities have contacted Russia, China, Italy, Turkey and other countries to complain about the strike on Gaddafi’s compound, a government statement said. The compound has been hit before, but NATO forces appear to have stepped up the pace of strikes in Tripoli in recent days. A target nearby, which the government called a car park but which appeared to cover a bunker, was hit two days ago. NATO said it was maintaining a “high operational tempo”. The attack on the compound coincided with a fresh flurry of diplomacy by countries seeking a way out of the Libyan conflict. The African Union was holding separate talks yesterday with Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi and rebel representatives in Addis Ababa to discuss a peace plan. The rebel representatives - former ambassadors to South Africa and Uganda - and Obeidi were meeting separately with representatives of the United Nations and the European Union. “This will be the first time that they (rebels) are attending a meeting here. We will meet both sides one after the other,” Ramtane Lamamra, AU commissioner for peace and security, told Reuters. The rebels rebuffed an earlier AU peace plan because it did not entail Gaddafi’s departure, while the United States, Britain and France say there can be no political solution until the Libyan leader leaves power. The African Union does not have a good track record in brokering peace deals, having failed recently to end conflicts or disputes in Somalia, Madagascar and Ivory Coast. The talks brought no relief for

people in the besieged western city of Misrata, where residents reported intense bombardment in the early hours of Monday which tailed off when NATO planes flew over. The weekend saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the two-month siege in Misrata despite an announcement by Gaddafi’s forces on Friday that they were pulling back. Medics said more than 20 people were killed on Sunday and 28 on Saturday. A rebel spokesman put the death toll even higher. Three corpses were charred beyond recognition and one child was killed, but many of the shells fell on waste ground. Residents said Gaddafi’s forces had been pushed away from Tripoli Street, centre of the recent battles, to the outskirts of the city, from where they were shelling occasionally when NATO planes were not around. “Bodies of Gaddafi’s troops are everywhere in the streets and in the buildings. We can’t tell how many. Some have been there for days,” said Mohammed Ibrahim, a resident whose cousin was killed at the weekend. He was speaking by phone. A rebel spokesman, Sami, said the humanitarian situation was worsening rapidly. “It is indescribable. The hospital is very small. It is full of wounded people, most of them are in critical condition,” he said by phone. “The quantity of food available in the city is also decreasing. The state of the city is deteriorating because it has been under siege for about two months.” A government spokesman in Tripoli said the army was still carrying out its plan to withdraw from the city, but had fired back when retreating troops were attacked. “As our army was withdrawing from

Misrata it came under attack by the rebels. The army fought back but continued its withdrawal from the city,” Mussa Ibrahim told reporters. The government says it will leave it to local tribes to resolve the situation in Misrata. Rebels say the announcement may be part of a ruse to mask troop movements or stir violence between rebels and locals in nearby towns. Out of view of international media, Gaddafi’s forces have been pounding rebel Berber towns in Libya’s remote Western Mountains with artillery. The capture of a crossing on the Tunisian border by rebels has let refugees flee in cars or on foot along rocky paths, swelling refugee numbers in southern Tunisia to 30,000. “Our town is under constant bombardment by Gaddafi’s troops. They are using all means. Everyone is fleeing,” said one refugee, Imad, bringing his family out of the mountains. Rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil told a news conference in Kuwait the Gulf state had agreed to gi ve K D 50 m i l l i on Kuw a i t i ($177 million) to his rebel council to help pay workers in the eastern part of the country under its control. The rebels have been seeking international recognition as well as material support from the west and the Arab world. Hampered by their lack of firepower, equipment a nd t r a i ni ng, t he y have b e e n unable to advance from eastern Libya. Fighting with G addafi ’s troops has swung back and forth along the coast road between the towns of Ajdabiyah and Brega. Abdel Jalil also said the rebels had received weapons from “friends a nd a l l i e s”, b ut d i d not na m e them. — Reuters

Bahrain players held, clubs shut Continued from Page 1 alleged involvement in protests against the country’s Sunni rulers. Sheikh Ali bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, the vice president of the Bahrain FA, acknowledged the three players have been detained but could provide no further information. He said the clubs - two in the top division and four in the second - have withdrawn from the league which resumed two weeks ago due to “pressure from Shiite political groups”. Sheikh Ali said the two top division clubs could face relegation and all could be fined for their refusal to play. “Some of the clubs during the problems refrained from participating,” Sheikh Ali said. “We haven’t suspended anyone. They are just not participating. There is a fine and punishment of course.” However, the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights says the clubs from mostly Shiite villages were suspended from the league for two years and fined $20,000. Along with football teams, the clubs sponsor a range of sports in their communities. Mohammed Al-Maskati, the group’s president, said clubs had stopped playing during the protests partly because they felt it was too dangerous and also as an act of demonstration over the deaths of protesters. But he said that when the clubs announced they were ready to resume playing, the authorities slapped the suspension and fines on them.

“They could not work normally when protesters are killed in their villages,” Al-Maskati said. “The authorities want to tell them that you are supporting the protests and this is the punishment. It’s not fair,” he said. “Just because you are a sportsman doesn’t mean it’s wrong to be political. Everyone in the world has ideas about something. Everyone has the right to get involved.” The clubs could not be immediately reached for comment. Separately, the United Arab Emirates detained five activists, who all signed a pro-democracy petition last month, on accusations of “opposing the government,” the Emirati state news agency said yesterday. The activists are being questioned for “perpetrating acts that pose a threat to state security” and insulting the rulers of Abu Dhabi, including the crown prince, Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who is to meet US President Barack Obama today. Political activity is severely restricted in the UAE, an alliance of seven semiautonomous states allied to the US, each ruled by a hereditary sheikh. There are no official opposition groups and political parties are banned. The oil-rich federation has not seen the pro-reform unrest spreading elsewhere around the Middle East that toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year. Last month, however, in an unprecedented move for the politically quiescent country, 130 people signed a petition demanding constitutional

and parliamentary changes, free elections and a more equitable distribution of the country’s oil wealth. The detained activists include blogger Ahmed Mansour and economic professor Nasser bin Ghaith, who were both arrested in Dubai in early April. It was not immediately clear when the other three activists mentioned in the WAM report were detained. Mansour led an online political forum, popular with Emiratis, who represent only 10 percent of the country’s 8 million inhabitants. The other arrested activists were participating in the discussions as well, until authorities blocked the forum’s site last year. Bin Ghaith is a financial analyst and a frequent guest lecturer at the Abu Dhabi branch of Paris’ Sorbonne university. He has often criticized the Gulf region’s ruling sheikhs for failing to provide a legal framework for the staggering economic development of the past decade. WAM’s report does not say if any of the five activists in custody have been charged with any crime. Abu Dhabi is the largest and richest emirate in the Gulf union. It is controlled by the Al-Nahyan dynasty that also wields considerable power over the smaller sheikdoms, including the regional commercial hub of Dubai. The current federal parliament serves as an advisory body. Its 40 members are either directly appointed by the ruling sheikhs or chosen by group citizens handpicked by the rulers to vote. — AP





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Regime won’t give ground he authorities in Syria have no intention of giving ground in the face of massive anti-regime protests and will continue repression despite pledges of reform, analysts say. “From the very beginning the Syrian regime in place since 1963 has been using a dual strategy of political management and security management. On the one hand it promises reforms, and at the same time it imposes a security crackdown,” said Caroline Donati, author of the book “The Syrian Exception.” Activists said 120 people were killed on Friday and Saturday as security forces cracked down on protesters and mourners. The crackdown followed pledges of reform by President Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father Hafez when he died in 2000. “There is no ambiguity, and the system has always worked well for the regime: it agrees to give ground, but in the end yields nothing,” said Donati. Since coming to power, Syria’s Baathist rulers have pursued a policy of ruthless oppression against opponents, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, the influential movement that was crushed in its stronghold of Hama in 1982, in a crackdown that caused 20,000 deaths. In July 2008, the authorities acknowledged a police crackdown on unrest at Saydnaya prison north of Damascus, accusing inmates convicted of “terrorism and extremism” of provoking the violence that one international rights group said resulted in at least 25 deaths. In foreign policy, the regime has bent to the winds when necessary, believing that time is on its side. In the past, it has seen that policy pay dividends. Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, it took Damascus only two years to reassert its dominance over its tiny western neighbour. Even after being internationally ostracised for its alleged involvement in the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, Assad’s government later again found favour with the United States, which dispatched an ambassador to Damascus. “The dual strategy has a domestic objective: it targets the bourgeoisie and intellectuals who are afraid of a leap into the unknown, and who can justify their hesitation by saying the regime wants dialogue,” Donati said. Even though the protest movement is now growing in numbers and geographically, “it does not have a national dimension at the sociological level, and the authorities’ objective is to divide it and prevent it from growing,” she added. Bassma Kodmani, a Syrian-born researcher and director of the Arab Reform Initiative based in Paris and Beirut, said: “ The recent announcement of emergency rule being lifted had a two-fold objective: to respond to demands and at the same time show that there was no longer any reason for protests.” “ The announcement was designed to completely stop the movement, and when it did not stop it became necessary for the authorities to use force,” Kodmani said. “There is a total strategy of surveillance and repression by the authorities, and the entire system was mobilised, even prepared to arm civilians” to confront protesters, she added. The Syrian security services launched a wave of arrests targeting anti-regime militants on Sunday, as thousands of people prepared for yet another day of funerals, activists said. Wissam Tarif, executive director of Insan human rights group, said that at their last update Friday there were 221 “forcefully disappeared people” in Syria. “President Bashar AlAssad delivers speeches because he has no other way of trying to appease the people, but he has no intention of making concessions. He knows if he starts making them he is through,” said Ignatius Leverrier, a former French diplomat with long experience in Syria. “We are moving towards greater repression, and it is possible that in this case some within the regime will realise they are heading into a wall, and that the road ahead is a dead end,” he added. For the time being, the state-run press is behind the regime, and justifies the repression. The Tishrin daily said on Sunday: “It is clear that the protesters are seeking to put an end to the Arab resistance and its leader, Syria. “Most of you have good intentions, but some have sold themselves to foreigners and are trying to finish with Syria, dividing its people and sowing dissension,” it said, addressing protesters directly. — AFP


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Prison break shows chaos, conspiracy By Waheedullah Massoud he daring prison escape of nearly 500 Taleban through a tunnel that took months to dig could never have happened without Afghan officials turning a blind eye or actively collaborating, experts said. Some went fur ther, suggesting they may even have condoned the plot as a way of building bridges with the Taleban and furthering peace efforts by President Hamid Karzai’s government as NATO troops start withdrawing. Either way, an alysts agreed th e operation at Kandahar prison was a major win for the Taliban at the start of the Afghan fighting season, which Western officials see as key to assessing how far a US-led troop surge has succeeded. “This is a tremendous achievement for the Taleban because the Taleban were un der h eav y pressure in th e greater Kandahar area... and now they have been able to free some high-profile commanders,” political analyst Haroun Mir said. “It is a morale boost for them.” The breakout took place over several hours overnight Sunday. The Taleban claimed that only a few of the 488 escapees knew about the plot in advance, and woke their comrades in the night to lead them to freedom through a one-kilometre-long tunnel. Mir said the incident highlighted how far the Taleban have managed to infiltrate the Afghan security forces, after recent attacks by militiamen who may have been serving as police or soldiers. These included an attack on the defence ministr y in K abul last week committed by a would-be suicide bomber in army uniform and the assassination of K andahar ’s police chief this month. “These attacks indicate that the Taleban and other terrorist networks have a high degree of infiltration inside the Afghan security forces,” he said. “This tunnel is not an overnight work, it takes time, and definitely they have some collaborators inside the jail.”Another Afghan analyst, former diplomat Ahmad Sayidi, said it would be virtually impossible to dig such a long tunnel, which the Taleban said even passed under official checkpoin ts, with out anyon e n oticin g. “When you dig a tunnel that long, you get over a hundred truckloads of soil and transporting that... is not possible without the prison authorities being involved,” he said. The director general of Afghan prison s, Amir M oh ammad Jamsh id, ac k n owledged th at th e Taleban escapees could have received assistance from guards working inside the prison. “It cannot be ruled out,” he said, but went on to claim: “Since this tunnel has not been dug from inside the prison it is not necessarily true that they (insiders) were involved.” The incident has drawn condemnation from Karzai’s government. His spokesman Waheed Omer called the mass escape a “disaster” and acknowledged it highlighted “vulnerability” and “loopholes” in security. But some analysts see hidden machinations in the escape. Karzai’s government is curren tly pur suin g peace talk s with Taleban elements as international combat troops prepare to start limited withdrawals from July ahead of a full


pull-out by 2014. Ahmad Massoud, a Kabul University lecturer and political commentator, said that since one of the Taliban’s main conditions for talks is the release of its prisoners - politically highly sensitive - officials may have turned a blind eye to the escapes as part of the process. “The escape is a political cover, this is a political move,” he said. “ This could not have happened without the knowledge or even facilitation of the Afghan government.” Afghanistan’s deputy justice minister Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai was not available to comment despite repeated efforts to contact him yesterday. Mir, however, said he thought the breakout was due more to chaos than conspiracy. “I certainly believe that the Afghan government, unfortunately, is almost paralysed,” he said. “ This is because of the weakness of the Afghan gover n men t, the we a k ne s s of t he Afghan police force.” — AFP

The entrance of the tunnel in room number seven of the Political Prisoner’s section through which Taleban fighters escaped in an audacious jailbreak is pictured in Kandahar prison in southern Kandahar city yesterday. — AFP

Plenty of wiggle room for Saleh By Andrew Hammond he verbal acceptance of a Gulf Arab handover plan by th e gove r nm e nt of Ye m e ni Pre s i d e nt A l i Abdullah Saleh should begin the final countdown on his 33 years in power - but leaves him considerable room for manoeuvre. Saleh, the ultimate political survivor, is due to resign within 30 days of signing the plan - but he has yet to sign, and opposition leaders, wary of tactical ploys after a near-deal fell through last month, have stopped short of full endorsement. “Saleh is good at dividing the opposition and there’s a real fear that he’s going to try and find a way to stay on using any number of pretexts,” said Shadi Hamid, an analyst at the Brookings Centre in Qatar. “Just because there’s a deal doesn’t mean that he’s going to leave easily.” Saleh has already resisted three months of pressure from street protests running into the hundreds of thousands, inspired by the successful revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. The deaths of scores of people in those protests appear finally to have prompted his long-time backers, Saudi Arabia and the United States, to push him to go. Once Saleh and the opposition have signed the deal, proposed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, Saleh is due to form a transitional unity government, then announce his resignation to parliament and hand power to his vice president. The Gulf plan guarantees Saleh and his aides and family immunity from prosecutions for corruption and the deaths of protesters of the kind now besetting Egypt and Tunisia’s former rulers, and still a key demand of Yemen’s street protesters. Many analysts suspect that Saleh, who has ruled Yemen for 33 years, thinks he can still see out his presidential term until Sept 2013. He has put on a bravura performance in recent weeks, organising mass rallies of support and repeating that he will only step down according to “constitutional legitimacy” - a phrase that implies he could hang on for another two years. “Saleh is a smart politician and he wants to remain in power until 2013. That’s his plan,” said Khaled Al-Dakhil, a Saudi politics professor. “Notice that he accepted the Gulf initiative in the context of the constitution. That means he is entertaining the idea that constitutionally he has the right to remain until the end of his term.” Dakhil said Saudi Arabia - a key financial backer of Saleh - needed to keep up the pressure behind the scenes if it really wanted him to hand over power this year. “We really don’t know how much pressure they have put on Saleh, but it seems it is not enough,” Dakhil said. Yemeni political analyst Abdul-Ghani al-Iryani said Saleh was now under huge pressure to sign the deal: “If he doesn’t stick to signing he will not be able to escape international pressure, which could extend to an air


embargo and economic pressure.” If he signs, analysts agree a threshold will have been crossed, but there will still be room for manoeuvre. The language of the Gulf proposal is not clear on whether and when the protesters who have been camped out in their thousands near Sanaa Universit y since early February should end their protests. Saleh could use continuing protests to put off his resignation announcement to a parliament filled with his supporters. These have a lot to lose from Saleh’s exit and could even reject his resignation, begging him to stay. The 30-day window once a deal is signed also offers ample opportunity for violence to escalate as the sides jockey for position, or for Saleh to try to divide the opposition. The Gulf proposal he has apparently accepted would allow him to appoint the prime minister of a new unity government, though the figure would be from an opposition party and his cabinet would mainly be drawn from opposition parties. The opposition coalition has embraced southern socialists long at odds with Saleh as well as Islamists who have been his allies, but also must consider the views of youth activists who have emerged as a force to be reckoned with in Yemeni politics. Protesters in Sanaa tried to stage marches in main streets of the capital last week, and rival military units have clashed since a key general switched sides in March. However, one Arab confidant of Saleh’s who asked not to be named said Saleh was genuinely preparing to step down and only manoeuvring to ensure that he left the stage on his terms. “He knows his time is up but he is a political animal and he will keep on manoeuvring until he feels he’s in the place he wants to be,” the source said. Prestige plays a major role in the crisis. Saleh oversaw the unification of north and south Yemen in 1990 and won a civil war against seceding southerners in 1994, and has said before that he will only leave “with dignity”. He has accused the Qatari television channel Al Jazeera of inciting people in Tunisia and Egypt to keep pushing until they had ousted two veterans of the Arab rulers’ club, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, and he talks of the protest movement as an opposition party ruse to seize power. Though Saudi Arabia and the United States, who long backed him as their man to fight Al-Qaeda militants, have upped the pressure in recent weeks, they have avoided humiliating Saleh with a public call on him to go soon. “Don’t think this is a countdown in any way. There’s talk of a 30-day period, but it’s not even clear when that would start,” warned Yemen scholar Gregory Johnsen. “A lot can happen in Yemen in 30 days.” — Reuters




Is Buffett’s teflon finally wearing off? By Ben Berkowitz side from maybe the odd cheeseburger stain on his tie, nothing much sticks to Warren Buffett. Whether his underlings are convicted of helping insurance companies inflate results or a major company he helps oversee is sanctioned for accounting shenanigans, his admirers don’t seem to care. Or at least, they haven’t historically. But with a key Buffett lieutenant resigning under a cloud recently, some sophisticated investors are no longer willing to overlook the obvious. For all the shareholders who still consider Buffett the epitome of American capitalism, there are others who wonder whether the time may be near for Buffett to take a graceful bow and exit the stage. Some will clamor for that this weekend, when 40,000 of his shareholders prepare to descend on Nebraska for the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, the ice-cream-toinsurance conglomerate he runs with absolute authority. “I want to hear more about Sokol, I want to hear more about how they’re going to outperform the markets. I want to hear about what (Buffett’s recent) trip to India leads us to believe about how the money is going to be invested in the future,” said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of wealth management firm YCMNET Advisors and a widely quoted Berkshire shareholder. Investor disappointment reflects not just the revelation that David Sokol, once Buffett’s presumed successor as chief executive, bought stock in a company he then pushed Buffett to acquire. It is also because of Berkshire’s lackluster performance recently, and questions about the firm’s ability to thrive after its octogenarian chairman and chief executive moves on. Berkshire Hathaway has grown exponentially over decades, but many investors question how it can possibly do as well in the future. With the dozens of companies that Berkshire Hathaway owns having had relatively little oversight for years (by Buffett’s own proud admission), some wonder how much earnings power Berkshire actually has and whether future earnings can be as strong as past. “Obviously Berkshire has intrinsic value but now I have to question that intrinsic value,” said Janet Tavakoli, an expert on derivatives and author of “Dear Mr Buffett,” a 2009 book laden with fulsome praise for the legendary investor. Tavakoli, like many others, has revised her thinking sharply in the intervening years. Yet she, like so many others, added an important caveat about Buffett: “(His) brand is so powerful you are reluctant to question.”


Sokol Affair By now the details of Sokol affair have been told many times. Citigroup bankers pitched a long list of companies to Buffett’s presumed successor, and he told them he thought Lubrizol Corp, which makes lubri-

cants and other chemicals, might make a good acquisition target. He started buying up shares for his own account, and after building up a $10 million position he pushed Buffett to buy the company. As Buffett put it, Sokol made only a “passing” mention that he owned some Lubrizol shares. Sokol made about $3 million on the trade, perhaps at Buffett’s expense. Buffett has been called to task for how he handled the matter. In a letter to investors, he announced Sokol’s resignation, explained the stock issue and offered a grant of absolution: “Neither Dave nor I feel his Lubrizol purchases were in any way unlawful,” he wrote. Less than three weeks later, the first shareholder suit was filed, accusing Berkshire’s board of breaching its fiduciary responsibility. More are expected, particularly from bigger firms with a track record of winning large settlements for shareholders. Governance experts say Buffett blamed the sin but not the sinner. “ The response wasn’t as strident as ... I would have hoped for in suggesting that personal stock transactions that are related to corporate stock transactions are problematic and not the sort of thing that the company thinks is a good idea,” said Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. “And I would hope in these situations that you would be pretty tough on that in your response.” Some of Buffett’s biggest investors also say he should have chastised Sokol or told him to sell his stock. What is murkier, however, is the question of whether Buffett actually did anything wrong from a legal standpoint. “There’s a lot of very problematic behavior here that doesn’t easily find an explanation, so the question remains, what in fact was going on here?” said Harvey Pitt, chief executive of Kalorama Partners and the former chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. “Why would somebody be allowed and be deemed to have acted properly in profiting to the tune of $3 million based on his privileged position at the company?,” Pitt added. It wasn’t the first time that Buffett has been close to people

behaving questionably. But few of his investors have cared, and the damage to his reputation seemed slight if at all. In 2008, for example, the government won convictions of four executives from his reinsurance business for helping other insurers inflate their results. The nearly uniform reaction from legions of Buffett fans around the world: yawn. And in 2005, the SEC sanctioned the Coca-Cola Co, whose audit committee Buffett sat on, for inflating earnings. His admirers barely batted an eyelash. ‘That’s My Guy’ Buffett, of course, benefits mightily from his folksy image. After all, it’s tough to imagine how someone who drives himself to work and stops at McDonald’s for a bite on the way home can also be guilty of high crimes of finance. “Warren Buffett works very hard reflecting an image that 300 million Americans, six billion people around the world say, ‘That’s my guy. That’s the way I’d like to be like.’ And he works very hard at that - not every week or every month, but every day. And I think by working hard at it every day, he drives that image hard into people’s minds,” said Robert Dilenschneider, a public relations executive who heads the Dilenschneider Group in New York. The audience at the annual meeting is one of the tools he uses to burnish his reputation. There is no better financial television than footage of Buffett having an ice cream at (Berkshire-owned) Dairy Queen, with hordes of investors thronging him and hoping he might drop a stock tip on the floor with the crumbs of his vanilla cone. It is hard to interrupt that storyline. “With the cash that he was able to squeeze out of that dying textile business (Berkshire Hathaway) and astutely reallocating it year after year after year, the business grew from $18 a share to $120,000 a share,” said Roger Lowenstein, author of a well-regarded 1995 Buffett biography and a number of other finance books. “I have no doubt that he’ll be regarded as the investor and probably the financier of the era. This incident sort of tells people

that he’s human.” Performance Under Fire While many would agree with Lowenstein on Buffett’s place in financial history, his returns of late have not necessarily matched his reputation. Berkshire shares have only barely matched the S&P 500 since Sept 2008, the depths of the crisis and the time Buffett made some of his most lucrative bets, like buying Goldman preferred shares that threw off more than $15 a second in dividends. Just this year, Berkshire has underperformed the S&P 500 by about 4 percent. Buffett has said returns will slow, so it does not necessarily come as a surprise. There is expected to be less reluctance to question him this year in Omaha. Author Tavakoli said shareholder dissatisfaction was already palpable at the last meeting she attended in 2009, as Buffett went on about his bet on Wells Fargo and investors grumbled that he was not talking about the “crony capitalism” they saw behind the crisis-era bailouts. “It seems as if Warren Buffett has sort of lost touch with the tone of the people who invest in Berkshire Hathaway and their sentiment,” she said. The Q&A session will again be moderated by financial journalists this year, so even if investors don’t ask tough questions, reporters may. Words like “contentious” and even “raucous” are being thrown around. And yet, some investors still do not expect much. “I don’t expect any great revelations but what I want is not necessarily what I’m going to get,” said YCMNET’s Yoshikami. Yet he still expects the annual meeting to be a “lovefest”, given the overwhelming number of shareholders who flock to Omaha annually for nothing more than pearls of Buffett’s wisdom (and perhaps some discount pearls from his jewelry business, one of a number of Buffett companies to offer steep shareholder discounts over the course of the weekend). Yoshikami said that if Buffett gets away from the Sokol episode unscathed, it will be because he has banked sufficient goodwill with investors in the past. “When you have an inventory of transparency that you can fall back on I think you get the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “I think when you self-disclose enough and you have a reputation for self disclosing it buys you some reputation credits.” But no matter what Buffett says or does in Omaha, there is a growing realization that the old days have slipped by. Buffett and his partner, Charlie Munger, are aging, the questions about the future of the conglomerate are getting louder and people are recognizing, as they do, that all good things have to come to an end. “The passage of time is hitting home. This year is the end of Berkshire as it used to be,” said Alice Schroeder, a former stock analyst who wrote what many view as the definitive biography of Buffett. “It will never be the same. Even if people think Buffett’s not going to address all these issues and the questions won’t be as tough as they should be, Berkshire as it used to be is over,” Schroeder said. — Reuters

Lockerbie shuns limelight as Libya unravels By Raphael G Satter ne winter’s night in 1988, dozens of bodies fell from the sky onto the green fields surrounding a small stone church a few miles outside this Scottish town. A Boeing 747 had blown up over Lockerbie, scattering its doomed passengers and crew across the countryside. That moment, and the ones that followed, turned Lockerbie into a byword for international terror. Pan Am Flight 103’s nose cone, lying on its side just across from the Tundergarth church’s moss-streaked graveyard, became the disaster’s unforgettable symbol. Ever since, the town of about 4,000 has been trying to heal and draw a veil over the tragedy that just happened to take place above it. “It’s over 20 years ago, but it’s still very real,” said Moira Mortimer, the church’s treasurer. She recalled the warm food she and others cooked for the workers hunting for corpses, and the red blankets local farmers used to cover the bodies of the pilot and co-pilot. The past can be difficult to leave behind, particularly when the present butts in. In recent weeks, the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, which years later would accept responsibility for the bombing, has unraveled. Armed conflict has spread throughout the North African country. International powers have intervened. And the name that keeps coming back is Lockerbie. For the world, it means one thing: an evil act that killed all 259 people on the plane and 11 on the ground. For the people here, the word means something else: home. In many ways, Lockerbie is a perfectly ordinary town. It’s dominated by a big boxy supermarket, and its position along the London-to-Glasgow road means it has long supported a respectable hotel trade. Sawmills feed the newly completed wood-burning power plant, Britain’s biggest, while agriculture remains one of the area’s most important employers, particularly the dairy industry. Lockerbie butter, produced by the local creamery, used to be served on airplanes with the town’s name written across the packet. But the reminders of 1988 dot the town. The town hall, which served as a makeshift morgue for Lockerbie’s victims, has a stained glass window bearing the flags of all 21 countries whose citizens died in the attack. At Sherwood Crescent, a simple landscaped garden marks the small side street almost completely consumed in a fireball caused by the plane’s fuel-laden wing. A mile from the center of town, the official memorial garden in Dryfesdale Cemetery has slabs of Finnish granite inscribed with the victims’ names. A recent visitor found it arrayed with stones, coins, pictures of Catholic saints and a small, faded American flag. A card, covered in a rain-spattered plastic bag, said: “Life is so short, like the wind on a bird’s wing.” Another, more faded, was signed “Mom and Dad”: “Dearest Sarah,” it said, “You stand at the gate of the quiet place. Wait for us.” Lockardians, as the townspeople are called, had known tragedy in the past. At 11:25 pm on May 14, 1883, a collision at Lockerbie railroad station involving the Glasgow Express left seven people dead and dozens badly injured. Today, at the cozy, halogen-lit Lockerbie Library down the street from the station, microfilmed local newspapers from 1883 carry eulogies made eerie in the context of today. “Who could have imagined,” the Rev A D Campbell told his church congregants, “that when that train, filled with hundreds of human beings, started amid merry jokes and good wishes and pleasant partings of friends and relatives, that it would never reach its journey’s end, and that some of its passengers would in a few short hours be hurried into eternity?” Flight 103, “Clipper Maid of the Seas,” blew up four nights before Christmas. Many of its passengers had left London to be with family for the holidays. Campbell offered Lockardians a


prediction which now resonates even more: “The name of our little town has become known to all Europe, and for the future will be associated in the minds of many with nothing but the most harrowing scenes and the most painful feelings.” Lockardians are welcoming people, but walk up to someone and ask about the situation in Libya today, and the response is likely to be something like: “I don’t want to talk politics.” John Gair, a 75-year-old retired history teacher, is watching the developments in Libya but doubts they will provide many answers. He says people here avoid the media because of bad memories of 1988, when 1,000 journalists descended on the town, thrusting cameras into every stricken home. “A lot of people,” Gair says, “have felt that they just want to get on with their lives.” Even Marjorie McQueen, a former councilwoman often quoted in the press, said she had no comment on the recent events in Libya. Nor did she want to discuss Scottish prosecutors’ effort to get information out of Libya’s former Foreign Minister Moussa

on the sidelines of an evening soccer game outside Lockerbie Primary School. “‘So what happened?’ ‘What was it like?’ ‘How do you feel about it?”‘ said James Murray, 16, reeling off some frequently asked questions. They don’t bother him, he says; they’re just part of being from this place. And if Flight 103 had never happened, the only question he might hear is “Where’s Lockerbie?”“It wouldn’t even be on the map.” Tundergarth, the parish where the nose cone landed, is about five kilometers from Lockerbie, along a winding road through deep green pasture, forests, hedges and stone fences. Sheep and horses stand stock still as visitors walk past. Just past a bridge that spans a fast-running river known as the Water of Milk, Tundergarth’s late Gothic steeple looms over the top of a hill. The church has been closed for years, but the memorial room, a small square stone structure, was unlocked on a recent day. Motion-sensitive lights illuminated a copy of “On Eagle’s

In this Dec 1988 file photo, a police officer walks past the wreckage in Lockerbie, Scotland of Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York. – AP Koussa, whom some accuse of having a hand in bringing down Flight 103. “Quite a lot of people would be reluctant to talk, to be honest,” McQueen said. “We don’t feel it has anything to do with us.” Lockerbie would much rather people asked about its Roman ruins, its castles, its stately homes; the nearby birthplace of John Paul Jones, the father of the American navy; and Lockerbie Manor, where the Marquis of Queensberry invented the rules of boxing. “Lockerbie is known for one night, but people have been here for 6,000 years,” said Joanne Dalgleish, a steward at Dryfesdale Lodge, a visitors’ center which stands outside the memorial. The library carries an oral history of Lockerbie, “An’ Then The World Come Tae Oor Doorstep.” It’s full of people who, like Elizabeth Jane Crawford, lament that their town has been linked enduringly to calamity. “It’s not that quiet, little, anonymous place that I grew up with,” Crawford said. Youngsters born well after the bombing accept outsiders’ curiosity as a fact of life. “We’re famous, but for a sad reason,” said 15-year-old Stuart Rankine, who was hanging out with friends


Wings,” a book that carries the names, photographs and life stories of the bombing’s victims. A huge guest book contains thousands of messages, the most poignant addressed to the dead by their relatives. “I miss you so much brother,” one says. “It doesn’t get any easier. I am having a baby which would be your niece or nephew. I wish so much that you could be here.” The notion of moving on, of “closure,” seems so paramount here. But families of the victims argue that too many questions remain unanswered. Dr. Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the attack, is one of several British relatives who contend that the only man convicted of the bombing - Libyan agent Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi - was innocent, the victim of a flawed US investigation and a miscarriage of Scottish justice. For years, Swire has pressed for a public inquiry. With Libya back in the news, he has returned to the TV screens and camera crews have returned to Lockerbie. Swire, who doesn’t live here, says he believes many in the town are weary of his frequent media appearances. “They would much rather that the atrocity was forgotten, and of course so would I,” he said. —AP

Nigeria unrest about poverty, not religion By M J Smith he explosion of deadly unrest after Nigeria’s presidential election saw clashes between Christians and Muslims, but had more to do with poverty in the country’s north than religion, analysts said Sunday. Observers have hailed the April 16 vote won by President Goodluck Jonathan as a major step forward for Africa’s most populous nation, which has been trying to break from a series of deeply flawed ballots. But that did not stop the rioting that began sporadically last weekend before spreading rapidly across the mainly Muslim north, with mobs taking to the streets, burning houses and shops, and hacking victims with machetes. Authorities have declined to provide a death toll out of fear of provoking reprisals, though hundreds are believed to have been killed. Curfews and military patrols have largely restored calm, but there are concerns over governorship polls set for Tuesday in most of Nigeria’s 36 states. The election exposed deep divisions in the country, whose 150 million population is roughly divided between Christians and Muslims. The north is mainly Muslim, while the south is predominately Christian. There are some 250 ethnic groups, but three main ones: Yoruba, HausaFulani and Igbo. Jonathan, a Christian from the south, defeated his main rival, ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim, by a score of 57 percent to 31 percent. The unrest saw churches burnt and Muslims targeted in reprisal attacks, and Jonathan went as far as to say the violence was a reminder of the events before the country’s 1967-1970 civil war, which killed more than a million people. Concerns have been raised over the potential for militant Islam to take hold in the north considering the poverty there. In one of the diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks, a top US diplomat expresses fears over the potential for radicalism in the north, saying Nigeria could be a “future Pakistan”. But to call the recent violence the result of religious extremism would be to misunderstand it, analysts say. A range of factors are believed to have ignited the rioting - none of which strictly involve religion. “I think the bigger issue is poverty, and there is poverty in ways that are even more pronounced in the north than in the south,” said Clement Nwankwo, head of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre. “So some of this is really the desperation and the frustration of people who can’t find hopes on the horizon. It’s gotten to the point where they feel that their leaders are part of the problem.” One fact that analysts point to: nor thern Muslim leaders were among those targeted by the rioters since they are seen as in bed with the corrupt. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, but has long been held back by deeply rooted graft. The burning of churches and mosques should not be taken as the work of religious extremists, but as mobs unleashing their fury and attacking symbols of the other side, analysts say. Nigeria’s north has long been economically marginalised when compared to the oil-rich south, feeding animosity. The problem was exacerbated when Jonathan took over as president in May 2010 following the death of Umaru Yar’Adua, a northern Muslim, causing further bitterness in the region over its loss of power. Nigeria’s north also has a high number of unemployed youths, analysts point out. “This is a spectacularly young community, and no effort is being made ... to lift people out of these depths of desperation,” said Chidi Odinkalu of the Open Society Justice Initiative. Many in the region turned their hopes to Buhari, though some say he offered no real program to change their situation. How the unrest began is a matter of dispute. Initial reports indicated the first targets of the riots were ruling party members in the north suspected of rigging. There have also been claims that some of the early attacks involved ruling party supporters themselves targeting more senior members because they had not been paid what they were promised for election duties. Whatever the reason, it quickly fed on itself and Buhari supporters took to the streets. The unrest took on a sectarian slant since those who consider themselves the indigenes of certain areas went after those seen as the more recent arrivals - despite the fact that many have been there for generations. That led to reprisals and a repeat of a violent cycle - often stoked by politicians in the struggle for local power - that has plagued parts of Nigeria for years. Jibrin Ibrahim, head of the Centre for Democracy and Development, said Jonathan must find a way to include the north in his plans so the country can heal. He said the president was right to point out similarities between the run up to Nigeria’s civil war and the unrest. “Those things are easy to start, but sometimes they’re difficult to stop,” said Ibrahim. “There’s a possibility that they could just go on, and before you know it the whole country could be in flames.” — AFP




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‘Death threat’ keeper back KARACHI: Runaway Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider returned home from London yesterday after being assured by the government he would be safe in Pakistan. The wicketkeeper, who had fled the team hotel in Dubai last November during a one-day series against South Africa claiming he had received death threats for refusing to take part in match fixing, arrived in Islamabad was whisked away by security personnel without speaking to the media. The 24-year-old had applied for asylum in Britain but after recently meeting with Pakistan’s interior minister, Rehman Malik, he said he would return home and withdrew his application with the British Home Office. Malik said he had spoken to Haider and given him assurances he would receive adequate security. “I have told him that we will provide him with complete security in Pakistan and he has nothing to worry about in this regard,” Malik told reporters. “But we have told him to meet with PCB officials so that it can be clear when he can return to cricket.” The Pakistan Cricket Board, who terminated his contract soon after he fled the team hotel and also held back his match fees, has said he will also have to go through a disciplinary process for breaching the players’ code of conduct and his contractual obligations by leaving the team without informing management. Haider has indicated he will soon meet with the PCB Chairman, Ijaz Butt.—Reuters

Bin Hammam: Blatter forced to find new ideas DUBAI: Many of the ideas now being floated by FIFA President Sepp Blatter may “not have seen the light of day” if he wasn’t fighting to win re-election, according to rival candidate Mohammed Bin Hammam yesterday. Bin Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation president, is the only candidate facing Blatter in the presidential election on June 1. On his blog yesterday, the 61year-old Qatari welcomed Blatter’s ideas to reform the organization he has run since 1998 as long overdue. Titled “ Time For a Fresh Approach” the blog posting echoed many of the themes Bin Hammam has pushed since announcing his candidac y last March, including the need for new leadership and increased trans-

Red Sox thrash Angels ANAHEIM: John Lackey threw eight superb innings, Carl Crawford hit his first home run in a Boston uniform and the Red Sox completed a four-game sweep by beating the Los Angeles Angels 7-0 Sunday. Lackey (2-2) scattered six hits, struck out six and stranded eight baserunners, becoming the third straight Boston star ter to hold the Angels scoreless. The right-hander, who spent his first eight major league seasons with the Angels, is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts against them. Adrian Gonzalez had three hits and two RBIs for the Red Sox. Matt Palmer (1-1) allowed four runs and six hits in five-plus innings. Boston has won five in a row. Rays 2, Blue Jays 0 At Toronto, James Shields pitched a four-hitter for his second consecutive complete game and Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer to help Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays. Shields (2-1) struck out seven, walked two and lowered his ERA to

Tigers 3, White Sox 0 At Detroit, Max Scherzer allowed four hits in eight outstanding innings to help the Detroit Tigers complete a three-game sweep of the struggling White Sox. Scherzer (4-0) struck out s e ve n a n d w a l k e d t h re e, h e l p i n g Detroit shut out Chicago for a second straight day. Chicago has lost 10 of 11 and now must head to New York for a fourgame series against the Yankees. John Danks (0-3) allowed three runs on nine hits in six innings. He struck out eight and walked t wo. Detroit has won nine straight over the White Sox. Rangers 8, Royals 7 A t A r l i n g t o n , Te x a s, C J Wi l s o n struck out 10 in seven innings, Adrian Beltre hit one of Texas’ three home runs and the Rangers completed a three-game weekend sweep over the Kansas City Royals. Mike Aviles homered twice for the Royals, including a three -run shot with two outs in the ninth off Brett Tomko. Arthur Rhodes then got the final out for his first save since 2008. The 41-year-old left-hander became the oldest p l aye r t o g e t a s ave for Texas, only a day after 4 0 - ye a r - o l d Darren Oliver set that m a r k w i t h re g u l a r closer Neftali Feliz on the disabled list. Mike N a p o l i a n d A n d re s Blanco also homered for the Rangers.

Twins 4, Indians 3 At M i n n e a p o l i s, Jason Kubel hit a tworun double in the seventh inning that lifted the Minnesota Twins o ve r t h e C l e ve l a n d Indians. C a r l Pa v a n o ( 2 - 2 ) gave up three runs on s i x h i t s i n s e ve n ANAHEIM: Boston Red Sox’s Marco Scutaro is forced i n n i n g s. Justin out at second as Los Angeles Angels shortstop Erick M or n eau added t wo Aybar makes a late throw to first in an attempt to get hits and two RBIs for Jacoby Ellsbury during the second inning. —AP the Twins, who took a pair of rain-shortened 2.35. The Rays won for the 10th time in games to win their first series of the 14 games following a 1-8 start. Shields season. M a t t C a p p s p i c k e d u p h i s threw just 95 pitches, wrapping up the f o u r t h s a v e i n f i v e t r i e s . R a f a e l game in a brisk 2 hours, 5 minutes. Perez (2-1) took the loss after giving Ricky Romero (1-3) lost despite striking up an unearned run on the double by Kubel. out 10 in seven innings. Yankees 6, Orioles 3 At Baltimore, Russell Martin singled home the tiebreaking run in the 11th inning as the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles for a two-game sweep. In a thrilling game, Baltimore rallied from a three-run deficit against Joba Chamberlain and Rivera and both teams had a go-ahead run thrown out at the plate in the late innings. The Yankees ultimately won on the strength of three infield hits and a couple of Baltimore errors in a wild 11th. Boone Logan (1-1) got four outs, and Buddy Carlyle retired the final two batters. Jason Berken (0-1) took the loss. Derek Jeter had four hits for Yankees.

Athletics 5, Mariners 2 At Seattle, Coco Crisp had three hits, scored three runs and stole a base, and Brett Anderson pitched seven strong innings as the Oakland A’s earned a series split with a win over the Seattle Mariners.Crisp has six hits in his last two games, breaking a streak that saw him bat just .175 over the previous 15 games to help spark a previously dormant O a k l a n d o f fe n s e. A n d e r s o n ( 2 - 1 ) allowed one earned run and struck out six. Brian Fuentes came on in the eighth inning and struck out three of his four batters in picking up the save. —AP

Japan tragedy hangs over Moscow worlds MOSCOW: Yuko Kawaguti has mixed feelings about competing in this week’s world figure skating championships after the event was moved to Russia from Japan following the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. Japan-born Kawaguti, who took up Russian citizenship two years ago so she could represent her adopted country in international competition, said she was looking forward to skating in Moscow but her thoughts might be elsewhere. “I’ve had a hard time concentrating on skating these days, to be honest,” Kawaguti told Reuters from St. Petersburg, where she and partner Alexander Smirnov were tuning up their routines under the watchful eye of their coach Tamara Moskvina. “But I’m a competitor and my job will be


to go out and do the best I can because there’ll be many people rooting for me both in Russia and Japan and I just can’t disappoint them.” The International Skating Union (ISU) was forced to move the competition to Moscow after last month’s 9.0 magnitude quake and huge tsunami left 28,000 people dead or missing. The hosts will pay tribute to Japan and its people during tomorrow’s opening ceremony at the Khodynka Ice Palace. Kawaguti and Smirnov will be the sentimental favourites to capture their first world title on home ice, though they will be pressed hard by defending pairs champions Pang Qing and Tong Jian of China and Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, who won the two previous world championships. —Reuters

parency within FIFA. “ To ensure we are not lef t behind by an ever-changing world, we have to be sure to think at least one step ahead. In recent times, that has not been the case at FIFA,” Bin Hammam wrote. “But now, at last, Blatter is coming out with fresh suggestions about how to run the game’s governing body that might not have seen the light of day had there not been a challenge to his leadership.” But Bin Hammam suggested many of Blatter’s ideas contradicted his earlier positions and only were introduced after he realized he would have to win re-election. He said Blatter once said FIFA budgets were fixed but now was offering to provide additional assistance for development. —AP

Mbia adds to Marseille woes MARSEILLE: Olympique Marseille midfielder Stephane Mbia could be out until the middle of May with a leg injury, further weakening the French champions as they aim to go top with a home win over Nice tomorrow. Long-time leaders Lille’s 1-1 draw at FC Lorient on Sunday, the third league game in a row they have failed to win, means Marseille can take over at the top by a point with six matches left with victory in their game in hand. “The news is not good. Mbia has a problem with his adductor muscle, he is not set to return until mid-May,” Marseille coach Didier Deschamps told reporters yesterday. The injury to the influential Cameroon midfielder comes when Marseille are battling potentially crippling suspensions. Striker Loic Remy will again be banned against Nice while defender Taye Taiwo, who scored the only goal in Saturday’s League Cup final win over Montpellier, could face a maximum six-game suspension. After the final, the Nigerian chanted a song including an expletive insulting rivals Paris St Germain but it is unclear when the French league will rule on his case. “In that atmosphere, I sang with the fans not really knowing what I was saying,” Taiwo told reporters on Monday having already apologised to PSG. —Reuters

Halladay shuts down Padres SAN DIEGO: Roy Halladay tied his career high with 14 strikeouts as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Diego Padres 3-1 on Sunday. Halladay (3-1) took a two-hitter into the ninth before allowing three singles, including Will Venable’s RBI base hit with two outs. Antonio Bastardo came on with runners on first and third and got pinch-hitter N ick Hundley to fly out to left on his first pitch, for his first save. Shane Victorino hit an insidethe-park home run leading off the seventh inning when his drive into the gap in right-center came off Venable’s glove as his arm hit the ground while trying to make a diving catch. The ball rolled into center as Victorino rounded the bases and came in with a headfirst slide. The Phillies have won a season-high five straight. Braves 9, Giants 6 At San Francisco, Nate McLouth hit a two-run single off Brian Wilson with two outs in the 10th inning as the Atlanta Braves gained a 9-6 victory over San Francisco on Sunday. Jason Heyward hit a threerun homer and double, then singled in the 10th as the Braves posted their first sweep of any k ind in San Francisco since 1998. Heyward and Chipper Jones started the inning with singles against Wilson (0-1) before Dan Uggla walked to load the bases. Wilson got two quick outs and nearly escaped the jam before M cLouth’s grounder up the middle provided the go-ahead runs. Brian McCann added an RBI single off Dan Runzler. Eric O’Flaher ty (1-1) pitched two innings for the win, and Johnny Venters earned his first save of the season. Dodgers 7, Cubs 3 At Chicago, Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 21 games with an RBI single in a five -run first inning as Los Angeles won its fourth in five games. Hiroki Kuroda (3-2) gave up three hits and two runs in the first, then scattered six hits over the rest of his 6 2-3 innings. Overall he allowed three runs — two earned — struck out seven and walked none.

tiebreaking three -run homer with two outs in the eighth inning as Florida beat Colorado. After Colorado scored twice in the top of the eighth, Omar Infante singled in the bottom half against Matt Belisle (2-1). With two out, Gaby Sanchez walked and Stanton hit the winning runs into the lef t-field seats. Josh Johnson held the Rock ies hitless until Dex ter Fowler and Jonathan Herrera hit back to back doubles with two out in the six th. He allowed three hits and one run in seven innings, moving his ERA from 1.00 to 1.06, still the best in the majors.

SAN DIEGO: Philadelphia Phillies' Ben Francisco connects to drive in one in the first run of the game against the San Diego Padres in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2011, in San Diego. —AP Ca r l o s Z a m b r a n o ( 2 - 1 ) worked five innings, giving up s i x r u n s a n d e i g h t h i t s. H e struck out four without walking a batter. Brewers 4, Astros 1 At M ilwaukee, R andy Wolf allowed four hits over eight sharp innings in Brewers’ win over Houston. R ick ie Weeks homered in his return af ter missing one game with a sprained left pinkie finger and Brandon Boggs also connected. Prince Fielder tripled for his NLleading 21st RBI in the third inning. Wolf (3-2) allowed four hits, two of them to Astros pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (1-3). J.R. Towles homered with two outs in the Houston eighth - it was the first run Wolf had allowed since April 8 against Chicago.

Nationals 6, Pirates 3 At Pittsburgh, Mike Morse scored a three -run homer among his three -hits to help Washington beat Pittsburgh. Danny Espinosa had three hits with a run and Jason Marquis (20) also had two hits to raise his season average to .400 for Washington, which ended a three-game losing streak. Neil Walker had three hits and an RBI for the Pirates, who have lost four of five. Kevin Correia (3-2) failed in his attempt at becoming the first Pirates pitcher to win four games in the month of April since Jeff Suppan in 2003. He fell to 0-2 at home by allowing five runs on 11 hits and a walk in 4 23 innings with two strikeouts. Marlins 6, Rockies 3 At Miami, Mike Stanton hit a

MLB results/standings Major League Baseball results and standings on Sunday. Detroit 3, Chicago White Sox 0; Tampa Bay 2, Toronto 0; Florida 6, Colorado 3; NY Mets 8, Arizona 4; NY Yankees 6, Baltimore 3 (11 innings); Washington 6, Pittsburgh 3; Milwaukee 4, Houston 1; Minnesota 4, Cleveland 3; LA Dodgers 7, Chicago Cubs 3; Texas 8, Kansas City 7; Boston 7, LA Angels 0; Philadelphia 3, San Diego 1; Atlanta 9, San Francisco 6 (10 innings); Oakland 5, Seattle 2; St. Louis 3, Cincinnati 0. American League Eastern Division W L PCT NY Yankees 12 6 .667 Tampa Bay 11 11 .500 Boston 10 11 .476 Toronto 9 12 .429 Baltimore 8 12 .400 Central Division Cleveland 13 8 Kansas City 12 10 Detroit 12 10 Minnesota 9 12 Chicago White Sox 8 14

.619 .545 .545 .429 .364

Western Division Texas 14 7 .667 LA Angels 12 10 .545 Oakland 11 11 .500 Seattle 8 15 .348

GB 3 3.5 4.5 5

1.5 1.5 4 5.5

2.5 3.5 7

National League Eastern Division Philadelphia 15 6 Florida 13 7 Washington 10 10 Atlanta 11 12 NY Mets 9 13

.714 .650 .500 .478 .409

1.5 4.5 5 6.5

Central Division St. Louis 12 10 Milwaukee 11 10 Cincinnati 11 11 Chicago Cubs 10 11 Pittsburgh 9 12 Houston 8 14

.545 .524 .500 .476 .429 .364

.5 1 1.5 2.5 4

Western Division Colorado 14 7 .667 LA Dodgers 12 11 .522 San Francisco 10 11 .476 Arizona 8 12 .400 San Diego 8 14 .364

3 4 5.5 6.5

Mets 8, D’backs 4 At New York, David Wright homered twice and Jason Pridie hit the first home run of his career in the Mets’ win over Arizona. The victory gave the Mets a four-game winning streak, their first since Sept. 13-16. Jonathon N iese (1-3) pitched seven innings for his first win of the year. Armando Galarraga (3-1) was gone after three innings for Arizona. Ike Davis scored an RBI single in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Stephen Drew drove in two runs, but Chris Young went 0 for 4 for Arizona, dropping him to 2 for 25 on Arizona’s six- game road trip. Cardinals 3, Reds 0 At St. Louis, Jake Westbrook recovered from only three days rest to throw six innings and Yadier Molina hit a three-run homer in the sixth off a tiring Edinson Volquez (2-1) in the St. Louis Cardinals’ victory. The outing was the longest of the season for Westbrook (2-2), who entered with a 9.82 ERA and was hit for seven runs in three innings Wednesday against the Nationals. The win moves St. Louis into outright first place in the NL Central Division. Albert Pujols was removed for precautionary reasons after seven innings with mild tightness in right hamstring. Brandon Phillips had a pair of doubles for the Reds, who were shut out for the first time and have lost nine of 11. —AP

Kuwaiti shooters excel in Jordan JORDAN: Kuwait won one gold, two silver and three bronze medals during the Arab Pistol and Rifle Championship in Jordan. Kuwait’s Fatima Abdelmalek, Shaimaa bu Hamad and Heba Irzouqi took first place and gold medal for juniors team with the score of 1153/1200. Qatar’s team was second with a score of 1130/1200. In the individuals event Qatar’s Obeid Al-Osaimi Bahiyya Al-Hamad took first place with a score of 393/400 while Kuwait’s Fatima Abdelmalek took second with 386/400 and Shaima bu Hamad took third with 384/400. In the 10 meter rifle event UAE’s Salem Matar was first with a score of 573/600 while Kuwait’s Mohammad Adel was second with 572/600 and Qatar’s Hamad Abu Tuaima was third with 572/600. In the 10 m juniors pistol Kuwait’s Bader Al-Tayyar was third while Algeria’s Ameen Ajabi was first followed by Iraq’s Zaid Tariq Fakhri . in the team’s event Iraq was first followed by Qatar and Kuwait was third. Meanwhile Arab and Kuwait shooting federations secretary general Obeid Al-Osaimi lauded the efforts of the Higher Organizing Committee which exerted all efforts to ensure the championship success. He also commended the high technical standards of Kuwait shooters and their achievements.



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Eger-McNulty win Legends SAVANNAH: Kenny Perry missed a 14inch par putt to extend the match Sunday, and David Eger and Mark McNulty won the better-ball Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf on the second playoff hole against Perry and Scott Hoch. Eger and McNulty, who started four shots off the lead in the 54-hole event at The Club at Savannah Harbor, shot 11-under 61 in the final round for 27under 189. Perry and Hoch shot 64 to get into the playoff. Second-round co-leaders Wayne Levi and Keith Fergus finished with 66 for 26-under 190, tied for third with Russ Cochran and Mark Weibe (60), David Frost and Michael Allen (62), Corey Pavin and Tom Lehman (64) and Ian Baker-Finch and Joe Ozaki (64). In the playoff, both teams settled for par on the 18th, a 457-yard, par-4. They returned to play the hole again. This time, all four players failed to hold the sloped green with their approaches but all chipped fairly close. But it ended when, after McNulty tapped in for par, Hoch and Perry both missed short putts to extend the match — Perry’s ball lipping out. “It’s a 14-inch putt that you don’t even think much of,” Perry said. “But, when it’s all on the line, things change and I pushed it and it didn’t go in. So typical. “It’s the only bogey we made all week. We didn’t come close to making a bogey all week and then to do that in a playoff ....” McNulty said afterward that Perry’s ball was outside his, which he estimated to be about three feet from the cup. Still, it was a putt nearly everyone figured Perry could easily tap in. “I was very surprised,” Eger said. “I never expected Kenny to miss that

putt.” Perry-Hoch came to the final hole at 27-under, tied with McNulty-Eger, who had been in the clubhouse for nearly an hour. Perry’s birdie putt for the outright lead from about 30 feet hit the right edge of the cup but wouldn’t fall. “You know, it’s a tough hole and I thought I made birdie to win the thing,” Perry said. “Hit the prettiest putt I’ve ever seen. Thought it would go in and didn’t. Just wasn’t meant to be.” Eger had made a putt of nearly 40 feet on the final hole of regulation to get his team into the playoff. “We had nearly an hour to wait to see if our score would hold up,” Eger said. “We sat outside, in the shade near the clubhouse. We didn’t want to go inside and get too cooled off by the air conditioning.” Perry, who played in only two Champions Tour events in 2010, is still considered a rookie on the senior circuit. This was his second senior event this season and his first Legends. “It was a great week,” he said. “I mean, I knew, I thought starting out today, I had 28 (under) in my head. I said, ‘We’ve got to get to 28 somehow.’ When we got to 27 with two to play, I thought, ‘Man, we’re going to be able to do this thing.’ And we just came up one short.” It was the third consecutive year the Legends has been decided by a playoff on the island layout in the Savannah River, each time going two extra holes. Eger and McNulty each earned $230,000 for the win. Lehman remained atop the Schwab Cup standings with 850 points, 290 ahead of John Cook who withdrew after teammate Joey Sindelar hurt his back and was unable to continue.—AP


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Snedeker clinches Heritage HILTON HEAD ISLAND: American Brandt Snedeker won The Heritage in a thrilling playoff with Luke Donald on Sunday, denying the Briton the chance to become world number for the first time yesterday. Snedeker clinched his second PGA Tour title at the third extra hole, the par-four 18th, where he safely parred after narrowly missing a birdie attempt from 15 feet. Englishman Donald bogeyed the hole after hitting his approach into a greenside bunker from where he was unable to get up and down from a buried lie, lipping out with his par chip from the fringe. “It’s a storybook ending really, to be playing Luke in a playoff,” a beaming Snedeker, 30, told reporters. “To even have a chance to win was exciting to me. “I didn’t really have any expectations today, at all. I came out and just kind of everything clicked. I drove the ball fantastic, came up with a lot of birdie opportunities.” In late afternoon sunshine at Harbour Town Golf Links, the first two playoff holes were halved in nerve-jangling fashion as Snedeker and Donald each began birdie, par. Donald pumped his right fist in delight after sinking a downhill birdie putt from 12 feet at the first extra hole, also the 18th, before the American followed suit from 10 feet. They both parred the short 17th, Donald getting up and down from the front greenside bunker and Snedeker two-putting from just off the green. The pair had finished the 72 regulation holes on 12-under-par 272, world number three Donald par-

HILTON HEAD ISLAND: Brandt Snedeker lifts his trophy after a playoff win against Luke Donald during The Heritage golf tournament. —AP ring the last for a one-under 70 and Snedeker closing with a sizzling nine-birdie 64. American Tommy Gainey, bidding for his maiden PGA Tour victory, finished alone in third place at 11 under after closing with a 68. “Hats off to Brandt,” Donald said after coming agonisingly close to a fourth victory on the PGA Tour. “He played a fantastic round today and I just came up a little short.

“Unfortunately both on the 72nd hole and that second playoff hole on 18, I got a little bit stuck in between clubs and didn’t hit great shots. “It was going to be some big rewards if I won today. But I’ll try and find the positives from this week and move on to next week.” Had Donald won, he would have replaced Germany’s Martin Kaymer as world number one when the

new rankings are issued on Monday. Instead his fellow Briton Lee Westwood will take over at the top after winning the Indonesian Masters by three shots earlier on Sunday. A stroke in front going into the final round, Donald slipped back early on to trail two different leaders- Snedeker and American Ricky Barnes - on a wildly fluctuating afternoon before regaining his poise on the back nine. He knocked in an 18-foot birdie putt at the 13th to draw level with Snedeker at 12 under and then narrowly missed a birdie opportunity from seven feet at the 16th to claim the outright lead. “I had a good chance there,” Donald said of his putt on 16. “I thought if I made that putt I could win the tournament.” The Briton again seemed to be in trouble at the last where his approach ended up in the front bunker but he coolly got up and down from there to take the tournament into a playoff. Snedeker, a distant six strokes off the pace after the third round, birdied five of the first seven holes before reaching the turn in sixunder 30 to surge into title contention. Although he failed to maintain that red-hot momentum over the back nine, he knocked in a 12-footer to birdie the last and hold the clubhouse lead at 12 under. Snedeker then had to wait for almost two hours to see if he would be overhauled by any of the later starters. “That was the longest two hours of my life,” he said. “It was brutal.”—Reuters

Blackhawks defeat Canucks

CHENGDU: China’s Wang Yihan (right) holds up her trophy as she poses with compatriot Lu Lan during the award ceremony for the women’s singles crown at the Asian Badminton Championship. —AP

China sweep Asian titles BEIJING: Fresh from sweeping all five gold medals on offer at the Asian Badminton Championships, China’s powerful team of shuttlers led by Lin Dan is now focusing on qualification for the 2012 London Olympics. Known as “Super Dan” for his string of major badminton crowns, Lin dispatched teammate Bao Chunlai in straight sets in Sunday ’s final in the Chinese city of Chengdu, 21-19, 21-13. The victory gave him his second straight men’s singles Asian title. Meanwhile, second-seeded Wang Yihan beat teammate Lu Lan 21-15, 23-21 to take the women’s singles, as Chinese shuttlers faced teammates in all of the gold medal matches except the men’s doubles. In that match-up, the Chinese duo of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng beat the Japanese

pairing of Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Noriyasu Hirata 21-12, 21-15. With most strong Asian teams leaving their stars at home, China’s plan was to use the championships to prepare for next month’s Sudirman Cup, which kicks off qualifying for the London Olympics, China’s coach Li Yongbo told Titan Sports Weekly. “Although we won all five gold medals, we still have some clear problems with our technique, focus and tactics,” Li said, “before the Sudirman Cup we have to focus on eliminating these problems.” In the women’s doubles final Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli beat Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei 21-13, 21-10, while Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei beat Xu Chen and Ma Jin 1521, 21-15, 25-23 to win the mixed doubles title.—AFP

Lee eyes Indian Open NEW DELHI: World number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and India’s homegrown sensation Saina Nehwal will start as strong favourites at the Indian Open badminton starting today. Nehwal, the world number four, will be a top draw at this $200,000 event, the fourth stop in the World Super Series and the biggest prize money tournament ever hosted by the country. With powerhouses China having pulled out of the event, Nehwal’s biggest threat will come from Denmark’s Tine Baun. Baun is making a return from a heel bone injury that forced her to withdraw from the All-England championship in March, the world tour’s oldest tournament which she has won twice. “I’m coming off an injury and I am not at my best, so I have not set any targets,” said Baun, 31. “Saina is a talented and attacking player. I don’t know how well I would play but if I happen to meet Saina in the final it would be tough,” said Baun, who takes on Singaporean Aiying Xing in the first round. In the men’s event, Lee is likely to meet little resistance given his top form leading into the tournament and the absence of China’s Lin Dan. The Malaysian captured the Super Series Masters Finals and Malaysia Open title, as well as last month’s All-England to put his rivals on notice. Among the top contenders in Lee’s half of the draw are Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia, South Korean Lee Hyun-il and

Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand. The other half of the draw has second seed Taufik Hidayat and his Indonesian compatriot Simon Santoso, Denmark’s Peter Gade and Japanese rising stars Kazushi Yamada and Sho Sasaki. Gade, the world number six, said he was looking forward to revive his rivalry with Lee and Hidayat. “The competition is close. Lee Chong Wei have been the number one for many months now. He is a very difficult player to beat, he almost never has an off day. “I have beaten him on some occasions and if I have to beat him here, I have to give more than 100 per cent. Taufik is same as me, he has been there for many years. He is a talented player. “I respect them both a lot, I think we all respect the rivalry that we have among us.” India’s doubles specialist Jwala Gutta was hopeful of living up to the expectations of home fans after having won the Commonwealth Games gold at the same venue last year with partner Ashwini Ponappa. “Ashwini and I have worked very hard on our game,” Gutta said at a press conference. “The idea behind skipping the Asian Badminton championship this month was to prepare well for this big event. Even though China is not participating here, it is still going to be tough. “As we saw in the Commonwealth Games, Indonesian and Malaysian shuttlers are equally tough, it is not going to be easy for us.”—AFP

CHICAGO: Ben Smith scored on a rebound at 15:30 of overtime as the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on Sunday night to force a seventh game in the opening-round series. The Canucks, with the NHL’s best record during the regular season, have lost three straight after it appeared they were in control of the series. Game 7 is Tuesday night in Vancouver. Chicago is attempting to become the fourth team in NHL history to win a seven-game series after falling behind 3-0. Philadelphia did it last year against Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Smith, a rookie, scored after Niklas Hjalmarsson’s shot from the point bounced off goalie Roberto Luongo. Luongo didn’t start the game but was called upon in the third period when Cory Schneider had to be helped off the ice when he was injured as he tried to stop Michael Frolik’s penalty shot that tied it at 3. Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland also added goals for the Blackhawks, and Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 32 saves, including 12 in overtime when the Canucks appeared ready to win the game and end the series. Daniel Sedin, Alexandre Burrows and Kevin Bieska scored for the Canucks. Flyers 5, Sabres 4 At Buffalo, New York, Ville Leino scored 4:43 into overtime to help the Philadelphia Flyers force Game 7 in their first-round series against the Buffalo Sabres. Danny Briere scored twice and Brian Boucher stopped 24 shots over the final two periods and overtime in a 5-4 victory Sunday in the tightly contested Eastern Conference series. Game 7 is Tuesday night in Philadelphia. Boucher took over to start the second period after

CHICAGO: Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider (35) stops a shot by Chicago Blackhawks center Patrick Sharp (10) during the first period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series. —AP Michael Leighton allowed three goals on the first seven shots he faced. Scott Hartnell had a goal and assist and James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Flyers. Thomas Vanek scored twice for Buffalo, with Rob Niedermayer and Nathan Gerbe also adding goals. Kris Versteeg helped set up Leino’s winning goal. After getting his first shot blocked, Versteeg gained the rebound and flipped the puck at the net, bouncing it off several

players. The puck fell in the crease where Leino — a step ahead of defender Chris Butler — slid it into the open side behind diving goalie Ryan Miller. Predators 4, Ducks 2 At Nashville, Nick Spaling scored his second goal of the game at 4:53 of the third period as Nashville closed out its first postseason series victory to advance to the Western Conference semifinals. Steve Sullivan also scored and

David Legwand had an empty-netter for the Predators. Jordin Tootoo assisted on Spaling’s goals. Nashville won the series 4-2 in their sixth postseason in seven seasons. Jason Blake scored a power-play goal, and Teemu Selanne also had a goal for the Ducks, his sixth of the series. Anaheim lost in the opening round for the third time in seven playoffs. The fifth-seeded Predators must wait and see who they play next.—AP

Delhi C’wealth Games chief arrested NEW DELHI: Indian police yesterday arrested the chief organiser of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and are set to charge him after a probe into allegations of widespread corruption at the scan-

dal-tainted event. Suresh Kalmadi will be “produced before a special judge” today and formally charged on several conspiracy counts relating to the awarding of commercial contracts, said Dharini Mishra,

NEW DELHI: In this file photograph taken on March 15, 2011 Chief Organiser of the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, Suresh Kalmadi gestures as he leaves the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Office in New Delhi.—AFP

spokeswoman for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Late yesterday, India’s ruling Congress party suspended Kalmadi, who is a member of the lower house of parliament. Earlier Kalmadi was sacked as chairman of the Games organising committee as police investigated charges that the organisers had manipulated tenders and knowingly inflated costs. The Games were meant to showcase India’s status as an emerging global power, but the sporting headlines were stolen by venue delays, shoddy construction and budget overruns that saw the cost of the event triple to $6 billion. After the Games ended, corruption allegations began to swirl around Kalmadi and his committee. Mishra cited specific charges that organising officials had conspired to ensure a contract for a private Swiss firm to be the event’s official timekeeper by “wrongfully restricting and eliminating competition from other suppliers in a premeditated manner.” Other charges related to con-

tracts awarded for a 2009 ceremony in London to mark the start of the baton rally, which saw a Games baton travel across participating nations. The main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party branded the arrest “belated” and “just the tip of the iceberg” and urged immediate action against others involved in alleged irregularities. A CBI team recently visited London to probe allegations that at least one London-based firm was paid vast sums of money to provide basic services such as taxis and large television monitors. Kalmadi, a 66-year-old former air force pilot with powerful political connections, has consistently protested his innocence in the face of fierce attacks from the media and political critics. He was booed at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games after becoming the public face for the organisational fiasco that caused India acute embarrassment on the international stage.—AFP



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Death and violence scar Argentine game

BRAZIL: Flamengo’s Thiago Neves (right) vies for the ball against Fluminense’s Diguinho during the semifinal of their Rio de Janeiro state league championship soccer match. —AP

Flamengo win over Fluminense RIO DE JANEIRO: Flamengo, without injured captain Ronaldinho, beat archrivals Fluminense 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in a thrilling Carioca championship semi-final on Sunday. Goalkeeper Felipe saved two spot kicks in the shootout to put Flamengo within one victory of the Rio de Janeiro state title. As winners of the first stage of the Carioca, if Flamengo beat Vasco da Gama in next weekend’s second-stage final there will be no need for a grand final. Vasco beat Olaria 1-0 in Saturday’s semi-final. Disappointed Brazilian champions Fluminense came back down to earth with a bump having qualified for the knockout phase of the Libertadores Cup in midweek with a thrilling 4-2 victory over Argentinos Juniors in Buenos Aires. Sunday’s derby at the Engenhao stadium, played in torrential rain, suffered a delay due to a power failure during

the first half. After play resumed, Fluminense were the better team and deserved their lead when Rafael Moura pounced on a free kick into the box from Marquinho in the 22nd minute. Former Fluminense forward Thiago Neves headed Flamengo’s 67th-minute equaliser from a long ball into the box by midfielder Willians. The state championships precede the Brazilian first division championship that starts next month. Coritiba won title in the southern state of Parana with a match to spare when they beat arch-rivals Atletico Paranaense 3-0 away in the Curitiba derby. They equalled the Brazilian record of 21 consecutive victories set in 1996 by Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s Palmeiras. In Sao Paulo, the four favorites for the Paulista title reached the semifinals where holders Santos will meet Sao Pau l o an d Cor in th ian s face Palmeiras. —Reuters

Palermo ends goal drought BUENOS AIRES: Boca Juniors talisman Martin Palermo ended a 10-match personal goal drought with the wildly celebrated third in his team’s 3-0 win at lowly Huracan in the Argentine Clausura championship on Sunday. It was a less happy day for San Lorenzo, whose coach Ramon Diaz resigned after a 1-0 defeat at Tigre. Palermo’s long run looked set to continue as he came close with three chances earlier in the match at the Duco, twice hitting the woodwork and having another saved on the line, before he tapped home fellow striker Pablo Mouche’s square ball in the 83rd minute. “If that last chance hadn’t gone in, I’d have had to go,” a relieved Palermo told Futbol Para Todos. Midfielders Cristian Chavez and Nicolas Colazo had given Boca a two-goal lead either side of the interval as the troubled giants, without injured playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme, romped to their best result in 11 matches of the Clausura. Boca climbed into 14th place in the standings of the season’s second championship with 14 points, seven behind leaders Velez Sarsfield, who were upset 3-2 at home by relegation-threatened

Quilmes on Saturday. Palermo, Boca’s all time record scorer, took his career tally in all top flight competitions including nine for Argentina to 301. The Boca faithful were worried by Palermo’s lack of goals as he runs down his career at the age of 37. He has eight matches left as he is retiring when the season ends in June. However, coach Julio Cesar Falcioni did not lose faith in Palermo and had him in all his starting line-ups this year. San Lorenzo, who made a good start to the championship with four wins in six matches, had gone five without a victory under Diaz in his second spell in charge having steered them to the Clausura title in 2007. “I assume full responsibility for what has happened. We have failed as a coaching staff and as ever ything depends on results I can’t carry on in this situation,” Diaz told reporters. “I’m used to fighting at the top (of the standings) and we’ve lost our chances.” The Saints, who according to media reports tried to persuade Diaz to stay on at least until next weekend’s “clasico” at home to Huracan, are mid-table with 15 points from 11 matches. Diaz is the fifth coach to have left his job during the Clausura. —Reuters

Toluca squander huge lead MEXICO CITY: Toluca squandered two potentially critical points in a 4-4 draw with Estudiantes UAG on Sunday in the race to reach the last eight of the Mexican Clausura championship. In a match of two halves, two-goal Emmanuel Cerda helped 2009-10 Clausura champions Toluca race into a 4-0 lead at the interval as they eyed climbing into the top two qualifying berths in a very tight Group Two. However, the visitors from Guadalajara city hit back with striker Eduardo Lillingston scoring twice to pull off a remarkable draw that does little for their virtually lost cause but seriously dents Toluca’s with one match to go. Toluca coach Sergio Lugo was whistled off the pitch by irate home fans at the end of the match which left his team in fourth place in the group with 21 points. The group is led by Atlante, who have 24 points after a 1-1 draw away to America, who are on 23 together with Atlas though behind them in third place on goal difference. San Luis, also battling for a qualifying spot from Group Two in fifth place

with 20 points, beat Santos Laguna 3-0 away on Saturday with a hat-trick from Peruvian winger Wilmer Aguirre. Group One leaders Tigres UANL won 3-0 at Morelia, second in Group Three, in a match between two of the three teams that have already secured a berth in the knockout phase. The other is Group Three and overall leaders Pumas UNAM. The top two teams in each of the three groups plus the next two bestplaced teams in the overall standings after the 17-match round-robin phase that ends next week qualify for the last eight. Cruz Azul are in third place in Group Three with 25 points but failed to secure their qualification in a 1-1 draw at home to Guadalajara on Saturday in which they played with 10 men for 50 minutes after defender Horacio Cervantes was sent off. Argentine striker Emanuel Villa scored Cruz Azul’s late equaliser. Guadalajara also have 25 points in second place in Group One with title holders Monterrey third on 23 after a 1-1 draw with Puebla. —Reuters

BUENOS AIRES: The recent death of San Lorenzo fan Ramon Aramayo has exposed, once again, how unrelenting violence is scarring Argentine football. The father of two made the mistake of objecting to a security check last month as he approached the stadium of opposing Buenos Aires club Velez Sarsfield. Exactly what he said or did isn’t known, but the confrontation lasted only seconds before several police wrestled him to the asphalt, facedown. “Aramayo resisted being frisked, and witnesses told me what followed was a brutal beating by police,” said Gustavo Grabia, a journalist and expert on Argentine hooliganism. “ They used excessive force. He was taken down to the ground. They hit him in the back, in the legs, they squeezed his testicles. Not everything is clear. He was able to get up and walk, but passed out.” “Basically, they pulled him out of the line and pummeled him,” Grabia added in an interview with The Associated Press. Aramayo was pronounced dead minutes later, and three officers were suspended the next day. Aramayo’s autopsy showed bruising from police blows, but it said he probably died of heart failure — or traumatic shock — brought on by the assault. His was the country’s 13th footballrelated death in just over a year. Football violence in Argentina is distinct from the thuggish brutality associated with English hooliganism, which has prompted several pieces of anti-violence legislation in Britain over the last 25 years. Mayhem threatens almost every match, whether the perpetrators are individual fans, police or hooligan gangs. In a nation with a proud footballing tradition, little is being done about the deadly blight on the game. Grabia and others say the reason is a web of connections that touches hooligan gangs, football officials, police and the nation’s highest-ranking politicians. “It is impossible to combat the problem here,” Grabia said. “The violence is committed by people deeply involved with the clubs, politics and unions.” On March 20, the day Aramayo died, the 50,000-seat Velez stadium grew unruly as word spread of what had happened. Rival hooligan groups, known in Spanish as “barras bravas” — fierce gangs, shouted sexually graphic insults at each other. Then, seven minutes into the game, San Lorenzo goalkeeper Pablo Migliore dropped to the ground, struck on the head by an object thrown from the stands. From that moment, the crowd grew even more frenzied. Shirtless fans climbed a chain-

link fence — ripping it free of its moorings, trying to get at blackclad police on the other side who were braced with batons, shields and a high-powered fire hose. At the opposite end of the pitch, Velez goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero was terrified. “I got a signal that someone had died —

Club presidents, government officials and police tried to distance themselves from it. Fans blamed the police. The Argentine Football Association remained silent. News of the death and the mayhem that followed was ignored later in the day on government-funded T V, which

BUENOS AIRES: This April 19, 2009, file photo shows River Plate’s fans cheering their team during a match between Boca Juniors and River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Violence threatens almost every match in Argentina. —AP that a San Lorenzo fan had been killed,” Barovero said. “I didn’t know what to do. They were trying to get on the pitch. I’ve never seen anything like it ... I knew something serious had happened and right away I thought of my wife who was at the stadium with my child.” The match was eventually abandoned and no one took responsibility for the chaos.

broadcasts all the matches. The AFA says such violence is simply an outgrowth of rising street crime in Argentina, and one official has famously said: “Don’t throw the corpses on our doorstep.” AFA’s disciplinary committee met after the death, but made no statement about it. Instead, it dealt only with mundane matters, withdrawing a yellow card handed out in a

BUENOS AIRES: Boca Juniors soccer fans cheer for their team from behind a fence that separates the stadium seats from the playing field during an Argentine league soccer match. Argentina is one of the world’s greatest nations when it comes to soccer, but deadly violence is scarring the game. —AP

recent match to Martin Galmarini of Club Atletico Tigre. The AFA’s powerful president — and FIFA vice president — Julio Grondona made his first public statement two days afterward in a radio interview. “I have nothing to say. I’m not making any ‘mea culpa.’ I was in Chile when it happened,” he said. “I’m profoundly sorry that the incident took place within football. We have to wait to see what happened.” Other recent football-related deaths have looked like mafia-style killings, further tarnishing the image of a country that has produced three of the game’s greatest: Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona and Alfredo Di Stefano. Eighteen months ago, Pablo Gomez, a member of the Newell’s Old Boys barra brava, was shot four times at point-blank range. Five months later, the leader of Newell’s barra brava — Roberto “Pimpi” Camino — was gunned down in a bar, shredded by five shots to his head, throat and leg. The primary way to deal with the violence has been to separate rival fans in the stadiums, most of which are decrepit, with fields ringed by moats and fences. But with hooligans unable to confront each other at the stadium, the bedlam has increasingly spread to surrounding neighborhoods. One local resident described a shootout several months ago between hooligan groups that took place in front of his house, less than two blocks from the stadium where top club side, River Plate, plays. He said club officials apparently had been meeting in the evenings to decide, among other things, which members of the local barra brava would get the lucrative rights to park cars during matches. One group apparently went away unhappy. The shooting began minutes later. “My wife was cooking and the kids were doing the homework and just all of a sudden ‘boom, boom.’ We all went down, hit the deck,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. “The neighbors were screaming. My wife saw them in the street in front of the house.” Police confirmed it was the work of River Plate hooligans, who are known by the colorful nickname — “Los Borrachos del Tablon” — the Drunks in the Stands. The man described a typical weekend, with water cannons poised for action and police patrolling on horseback. He said the violence was getting worse. “I went to one game and they were throwing glass bottles up in the air inside the stadium. That kind of ruined it for me,” he said. “It’s not like a US baseball game, a football game that’s family oriented. You go in at your own risk. Anything can happen.”—AP

Inquest at Arsenal after title collapse LONDON: Armed with a benign fixture list, a relatively injury-free squad and without the burden of European football, this should have been the year Arsenal finished the season strongly to challenge for a first Premier League title since 2004. Instead, the Gunners have stumbled out of the championship race before the start of May and the inquest has begun over the merits of their squad and the future strategy of manager Arsene Wenger. Arsenal — along with north London rival Tottenham — has again played the most entertaining football in the league but when the pressure was cranked up in the final third of the season, the team has cracked, exposing weaknesses that Wenger

LONDON: Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas reacts after the English Premier League soccer match against Bolton. —AP

has been unable to deal with over the last six trophyless years. Wenger is happy to take the blame for Arsenal’s stuttering end to the season but is not about to change his footballing philosophy. “If you can convince me those principles are wrong, I’m ready. However, I feel we are right to try to play football the proper way,” Wenger said. “When you don’t win, your principles are questioned but I have the distance to know what is right and wrong. “If something is wrong, it is not the problem of playing football. We just have to become more mature in some of the situations when we look too frail.” Various criticisms have been aimed at Wenger; among them are a misplaced belief in some of his young players, a refusal to spend money on beefing up his squad with Premier League experience in key positions such as central defense, and the lack of a proven striker to shoulder the burden of top scorer Robin van Persie. Those brickbats could be swatted away in the first half of the season, when Arsenal stayed in the hunt for four trophies with a freescoring attack as well as one of the best defensive records in the Premier League. But as the fixtures began to pile up from January onwards, when the team was playing games every three or four days, problems arose. Injuries to the likes of Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott hit hard because their replacements were found wanting, while the defense started to leak goals thanks to poor decision-making and general passivity. A terrible five weeks beginning at the start of February saw Wenger’s side surrender a four-goal lead to draw 4-4 at Newcastle in the league, lose the League Cup final at Wembley to Birmingham, and get knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup in the space of five days with defeats to Barcelona and

Manchester United respectively. Since then, players like Fabregas and Andrey Arshavin have failed to deliver and Arsenal has won just one of its six league matches. Sunday’s 21 defeat at Bolton left the side nine points behind leader United with four games left, effectively ruling them out of the title race. “The players have had an outstanding attitude this season. They aren’t to blame. If somebody’s to blame, it’s me,” said Wenger, Arsenal’s manager since 1996. As well as keeping the club financially self-sufficient, Wenger claimed this month that success can be defined by finishing regularly in the Champions League positions in the Premier League. But does that mindset — being content with second best — necessarily push players to their limits? Wenger is also regularly condemned in the British media for failing to sign a no-nonsense center back in the mold of former captains Tony Adams and Sol Campbell, who were the both heartbeats of title-winning sides. First-choice center back Thomas Vermaelen has been out injured for almost the entire season and with offseason signing Sebastien Squillaci finding the pace of the Premier League too much, Wenger has had to rely on the fellow recent signing Laurent Koscielny and the injury-prone Johan Djourou. Both are accomplished ball-players but their brittleness has too often been exposed. A similarly proven player in a midfield holding role, complementing Fabregas and Jack Wilshere, would also not go amiss. “We still lack maturity, experience and calm in important situations,” Wenger said Sunday, having for most of the season hailed Arsenal’s supposed newfound mental strength and maturity. “Defensively we’ve been too frail and it is especially frustrating when you look at the way we have dropped points. — AP




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United, AC Milan, Barca close on titles LONDON: Manchester United, AC Milan and Barcelona closed in on their league titles as the major European leagues moved towards their conclusion over the weekend. United stayed on course for a record 19th English league crown by beating Everton 1-0 and Chelsea remained six points adrift by overcoming West Ham United but Arsenal lost at Bolton Wanderers to slip nine points behind with four matches left. Milan moved closer to their first Serie A title for seven years and La Liga leaders Barcelona maintained an eightpoint advantage over Real Madrid as both teams won before they meet in the Champions League semi-finals. ENGLAND The Premier League title battle turned into a two-horse race with Manchester United holding a six-point lead over Chelsea with four matches remaining. Javier Hernandez scored an 84th-minute header to secure United’s

1-0 home win over Everton on Saturday and Arsenal lost 2-1 at Bolton Wanderers, conceding a last-minute header to Tamir Cohen which ended their 16-game unbeaten league run. Chelsea defeated West Ham 3-0, helped by a first goal for the club by Spain striker Fernando Torres following his 50 million-pound ($79.69 million) January arrival from Liverpool. United, who visit Schalke 04 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday before going to Arsenal next weekend, have 73 points to Chelsea’s 67 with Arsenal on 64.. SPAIN David Villa and Lionel Messi scored in a 2-0 home win for La Liga leaders Barcelona over Osasuna which maintained their eight-point advantage over Real Madrid at the top of the standings. Real, who beat Barca 1-0 in Wednesday’s King’s Cup final, routed third-placed Valencia 6-3 with a hat-

Ferguson casts envious eye at European rivals GERMANY: Sir Alex Ferguson admitted yesterday that Manchester United’s push for Champions League glory is fired by a desire to make ground on their more decorated European rivals. United tackle Schalke here today in the first leg of their semi-final, as they bid to reach what would be their third final in the space of four years. The three-time champions are seasoned operators on the European stage and have yet to lose in this season’s competition, but Ferguson GERMANY: Manchester United’s head coach Sir says they still have ground to Alex Ferguson speaks to the media. —AP make up in the silverware “That’s quite a credit to them in terms of stakes. “The present group has enough experi- their experience against Inter Milan. Never at ence in Europe now. I think it’s where we any stage did I think they’d lose.” United are currently six points clear at the should be,” said the United coach at his pretop of the Premier League after a 1-0 defeat of match press conference. “My expectation has always been high in Everton last Saturday and Ferguson said the regard to the European scene. You do get team had been buoyed by the returns from envious of other clubs’ records in Europe and injury of several key players. “What’s important is the freshness that has we’re trying to get to parity with those clubs: Real Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Ajax, come back into the team in recent weeks,” he Liverpool... “We need to progress quickly to said. “(Antonio) Valencia, (Rio) Ferdinand, Anderson, Park (Ji-Sung)... It sometimes hapget to that level again.” United, eliminated at the quarter-final pens that way. Big competitions come along stage by Bayern last season, will be appearing and you find all your players are fit. It gives in the semi-finals of Europe’s premier cup you a selection problem, but you’re glad to tournament for the 12th time, while Schalke have them.” Striker Dimitar Berbatov did not make the are novices at this stage of the competition. Ferguson’s side are therefore strong trip to Germany due to a groin strain and favourites to reach the Wembley decider on Darren Fletcher is not yet fully fit after a virus, May 28, but the Scot says past experience sug- but right-back Rafael has returned from a gests they are in for a bumpy ride. “You always knee problem to give Ferguson a near full get apprehensive at this stage of the competi- squad. In Berbatobv’s absence, Wayne Rooney is likely to continue his fruitful partnership tion,” he said. “We’ve had the same situation over the with Javier Hernandez, whose 83rd-minute years, when we played Juventus (in 1998-99). header brought victory against Everton. “Good players create their own platform in There was apprehension in the first game at home (1-1) but we released that in the second terms of the importance of their performances,” said Ferguson. “Wayne knows performance leg (3-2). “It was the same with Barcelona (in 2007- will always be what he’s judged on. There’s so 08). We got the result we wanted at home (a 1- much expectation on the boy. But he’s stepped 0 win after a 0-0 draw in the away leg) but the up to the mark for that; no-one else has done it last few minutes were agony. “You run the full (for him).” Today’s game at Veltins Arena will see gamut of emotion in Champions League Rooney return to the scene of his sending off semi-finals, because it’s never easy.” Despite their relative lack of experience, for England against Portugal at the 2006 World Schalke go into the game on the back of an Cup, but Ferguson said it would not affect him. “You have to put bad moments behind astonishing 7-3 aggregate demolition of holders Inter Milan in the quarter-finals and you and try to do better. It’s a normal thing Ferguson was fulsome in his praise of their for any footballer. I wasn’t aware it was in exploits. “They never looked like losing the Gelsenkirchen. I actually didn’t see that game.” —AFP game,” he said.

Getafe president confirms sale to Dubai group GETAFE: Getafe president Angel Torres yesterday confirmed the sale to the Spanish top flight club to Royal Emirates Group, which is chaired by a member of Dubai’s ruling AlMaktoum family. “The decision to sell the club is because, logically, the more years that you are in the first division, the greater the risk of getting into debt. It is difficult to compete in this league,” he told a news conference. “Each year that you are in the first division

SPAIN: The president of Getafe soccer club Angel Torres (right) gestures next to the mayor of Getafe Pedro Castro during a press conference. —AP you get into more debt, we could not put more money, the banks were not lending to us, so we had to go out and look for investors,” he added. Getafe, founded in 1945, has only been in Spain’s top flight since the 2004-05 season. The club finished sixth last season but are

languishing in 14th place in the 20-club league this term, four points above the relegation zone. Torres said he managed to negotiate an increase in the club’s annual budget to 65 million euros from the current 45 million euros with the new owners so as to be able to recruit new players. He said the club’s name and symbol would remain the same and the jobs of the 140 people who depend directly on the club would be maintained. Royal Emirates Group announced Thursday it had signed a deal to buy the club for between 70 and 90 million euros. It said the “purchase contract” was signed in Dubai by Torres and its managing director, Kaiser Rafiq. But the finality of the deal was cast into doubt on Friday when Torres told reporters at Madrid airport on his return from Dubai that Getafe had “not yet been sold”. “First I have to inform the board of all the things that were done, then I will give a news conference.” Two other Spanish clubs have been bought by Gulf-based buyers over the past year. Qatari billionaire Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Thani bought Malaga in May 2010 for 25 million euros. And Bahrain-based Indian tycoon Ahsan Ali Syed bought debthit Racing Santander in January for a reported 30-40 million euros. Its players said Tuesday that they are still waiting for promised back-pay from last season. —AFP

trick from Gonzalo Higuain and a Kaka double as the Spanish giants warmed up for their Champions League semifinal first leg at the Bernabeu on Wednesday. Villa’s goal ended an 11-game scoring drought, while Messi’s strike was his 50th of the season in all competitions and his 31st in the league, putting him two clear of Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring chart. ITALY AC Milan took a further step towards their first Serie A title in seven years when a late Robinho strike gave the Rossoneri a 1-0 win at Brescia and an eight-point lead with four games to go. Champions and city rivals Inter Milan beat Lazio 2-1 to move up to second place, ahead of Napoli who lost by the same score at Palermo, while Bari were relegated. AS Roma beat Chievo Verona 1-0 to consolidate sixth place and close in on

Udinese, three points ahead, and fourth-placed Lazio. GERMANY Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund put title celebrations on hold on after a surprise 1-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Borussia Moenchengladbach cut their lead to five points. Dortmund are on 69 points with second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, who beat Hoffenheim 2-1, on 64 with three matches remaining. Fourth-placed Bayern Munich needed an 89th-minute penalty by top scorer Mario Gomez to rescue a 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt and move a point behind third-placed Hanover 96, who beat Freiburg 3-1 to keep their own Champions League hopes alive. FRANCE Ligue 1 leaders Lille are under threat from Olympique Marseille after they drew 1-1 at Lorient on Sunday. French champions Marseille, who won the

French League Cup on Saturday, lie two points adrift of Lille and will claim top spot if they win their game in hand against Nice on Wednesday. Paris St Germain’s title challenge suffered another blow on Sunday when the capital side were held 2-2 at Stade Brest. Stade Rennes’s challenge was also virtually ended after the fifthplaced team lost 1-0 at Monaco. Monaco went two points clear of the danger zone with the win, while RC Lens are on the verge of relegation after drawing 1-1 at AJ Auxerre. NETHERLANDS Defending champions Twente Enschede beat ADO Den Haag 2-1, with Bryan Ruiz and Luuk de Jong on target, to move one point clear on top of the league with two matches remaining. Ajax Amsterdam, 4-1 winners over Excelsior Rotterdam, leap-frogged PSV Eindhoven, who suffered a 3-1 defeat at Feyenoord. Ajax have 67 points and PSV are on 65. —Reuters

Schalke bank on Raul to shoot down United BERLIN: Surprise semi-finalists Schalke 04 will look to talisman Raul to carve out a first-leg advantage when they put their 100 percent home record on the line against Manchester United today. The former Spain striker and Champions League all-time top goalscorer has been at the heart of Schalke’s run to the last four. After leaving Real Madrid last year after 16 trophy-rich seasons, Raul has scored five times for Schalke in the competition while the Bundesliga side have won five out of five at home. United know all too well of Raul’s qualities as a match winner, his two goals for Real at Old Trafford in 2000 knocking the English side out of the competition. Schalke’s demolition job on holders Inter Milan in the last eight will also have left United in no doubt that the German outfit are no soft option, a view that should be reinforced by their poor record against Bundesliga sides. Although their most famous victory came over Bayern Munich in the 1999 final, United have lost all four of the two legged knockout ties they have played against German sides since the start of the Champions League in 1992. “The German teams have always had a resilience and determination about them and that will be exactly the same on Tuesday,” said Ferguson, whose side lost to Bayern in last year’s quarter-finals. “But we’re going into this game with far more experience than in previous years and our experience away from home, and our record, in the last few years has been terrific.” Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick rested several players in their 1-0 home defeat to Kaiserslautern on Saturday. “We will have a different starting team against United,” said Rangnick, who took over from sacked Felix Magath a month ago. “If I had chosen the same team today that I did today I don’t think we would have a big chance to win against Manchester.” Peruvian Jefferson Farfan, who missed the quarter-final second leg against Inter, will be back in midfield while defenders Benedikt Hoewedes,

GERMANY: Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney (center) exercises with his team during the training session prior to the Champions League semifinal soccer match against FC Schalke 04. —AP Atsuto Uchida and Hans Sarpei should also return. Midfielder Jose Jurado, who came on as a substitute on Saturday, is also expected to start in Schalke’s maiden Champions League semi-final appearance. Schalke, despite being 10th in the Bundesliga, still have two titles to fight for this season with the Champions League and their German Cup final against second division Duisburg in May. For Schalke’s 25-year-old captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who is set to leave in the summer after a staggering 20 years at the Ruhr valley club, there could not be a more appropriate farewell. “Manchester may have won their last league game but it was not all victories before that. So we

know very well that we have a chance against them on Tuesday.” United beat Everton 1-0 on Saturday to close in on the Premier League title. Defender Nemanja Vidic and midfielder Michael Carrick are set to return after being rested. Although he knows the value of an away goal at this stage, Ferguson would probably be delighted to come back with a 0-0 draw given the incredible form his side have shown at Old Trafford this season. Saturday’s victory made it 16 wins and a draw from their 17 home league games while they are also unbeaten at home in the Champions League and domestic cups. —Reuters

Sevilla, Atletico boost Europe bids with wins MADRID: Sevilla and Atletico Madrid improved their chances of playing in next season’s Europa League when they beat Villarreal and Levante respectively in La Liga on Sunday to open a fourpoint gap from eighth-placed Espanyol. Sevilla held on for a 3-2 win over Villarreal in an entertaining match at the Sanchez Pizjuan, while Argentina forward Sergio Aguero struck twice in Atletico’s 4-1 win over mid-table Levante at the Calderon. “These were some vital points against a very powerful rival,” Sevilla coach Gregorio Manzano said in an interview with Spanish television. Both teams have 49 points with five games left. Sevilla are sixth ahead of Atletico thanks to a superior head-to-head record and two behind fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao who won 2-1 at local Basque rivals Real Sociedad on Saturday. Espanyol’s miserable recent run continued when they lost 1-0 at Sporting Gijon and stay eighth on 45 points, while Villarreal, who are through to the semi-finals of this season’s Europa League, remain fourth on 57. Ivan Rakitic stroked a free kick into the top corner and Alvaro Negredo caught Villarreal goalkeeper Diego Lopez off his line to put Sevilla 2-0 ahead inside a quarter of an hour in the Andalusian capital. Carlos Marchena, who was shown a second yellow card and sent off in the 85th minute, pulled a goal back 11 minutes after halftime before substitute Ndri Romaric restored the home side’s two-goal cushion in the 62nd. Giuseppe Rossi came off the bench to curl in a superb second for the visitors with around 20 minutes left and later hit the post but Sevilla held on during a frantic finale. At the Calderon in the earlier kickoff, Brazilian midfielder Elias fired Atletico ahead in the 19th minute when he arrowed a free kick over the Levante wall and into the net off the underside of the crossbar. Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo levelled from the penalty spot six minutes before the break and Aguero made it 2-1 five minutes into the second half when he pounced on a loose ball and smashed a low shot in off the post from just out-

SPAIN: Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic (right) and Villarreal’s Giuseppe Rossi from Italy (left) vie for the ball during their La Liga soccer match. —AP side the area. His second came from another penalty with 20 minutes remaining and Levante goalkeeper Gustavo Munua gifted the home side a fourth in the 84th minute when he fluffed an attempted clearance at a corner and diverted the ball into his own net. At the other end of the table, Malaga took another step towards safety with a 2-1 win at Racing Santander, while Hercules secured a potentially vital 1-0 win at Deportivo Coruna. Getafe’s woes deepened when they lost 2-0 to Michael Laudrup’s Real Mallorca. Barcelona maintained their eight-point lead over Real Madrid at the top when they beat Osasuna 2-0 at the Nou Camp on Saturday. Real, who secured their first King’s Cup since 1993 at Barca’s expense on Wednesday, routed Valencia 63. —Reuters

Matches on TV (Local Timings) English Premier League Stoke City v Wolves 21:45 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 5 UEFA Champions League Schalke v Man United 21:45 Al Jazeera Sport +3 Al Jazeera Sport 1 HD Al Jazeera Sport +4 Al Jazeera Sport +9 Al Jazeera Sport 2 HD

Snedeker clinches Heritage



Death and violence scar Argentine game


Schalke bank on Raul against United Page 19

NEW YORK: Rajon Rondo No. 9 of the Boston Celtics drives for a shot attempt against Toney Douglas No. 23 of the New York Knicks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs. —AFP

Celtics sweep Knicks, Sixers slow Heat PHILADELPHIA: The Boston Celtics swept the New York Knicks out of the NBA playoffs Sunday, but the Philadelphia 76ers denied Miami a seamless move into the Eastern Conference second round. Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Rajon Rondo added 21 points and 12 assists for the Celtics, whose victory at New York’s Madison Square Garden made them the first team to reach the second round of the post-season. Ray Allen and reserve Glen Davis each added 14 points for the Celtics, who saw a 23-point lead trimmed to four in the four th quar ter but stretched the margin again thanks largely to Garnett, who scored 20 of his points in the second half. “Ever ybody understood what was at stake. Give a team some confidence, even in a 3-0 series to win a game, you never know what can happen,” Boston’s Paul Pierce said. “So it was just very important for us to withstand the run. They made a great run and the crowd really got behind them, but in the fourth quarter we just really settled down in the last six or seven minutes, executed the offense and were able to put the game out of reach.” Carmelo Anthony had 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds for New York. Amare Stoudemire, who has been hindered by back spasms but opted to play after some improvement, finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds. “It was all heart. He just gave it all,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said of Stoudemire. “ With him and Carmelo going forward, the Knicks are in good shape.” The Knicks were making their first playoff appearance since 2004, when they were also swept in the first round. The Celtics now have the luxury of waiting for either Miami or Philadelphia. “We know we have played very well when we’ve had rest and preparation time. So those are always good,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. Lou Williams and Evan Turner each scored 17 points and sparked a game -ending 10-point run that gave Philadelphia an 86-82 victory over the Heat. The 76ers denied Miami a sweep of the series, but the Heat still lead the series three games to one and can advance to the second round

with a home victory in game five on Wednesday. LeBron James scored a gamehigh 31 points for Miami while Dwyane Wade added 22 and Chris Bosh contributed 12, but the Heat’s superstars fell silent after seizing a 82-76 lead with barely 90 seconds remaining. Turner, a 22-year-old rookie, started Philadelphia’s 10-0 run while Williams and Jrue Holiday each sank 3-pointers before Turner added two clinching free throws to seal Miami’s fate. “We have been a resilient team all year,” Williams said. “We understand we are outmatched with three superstars but we have heart and will keep playing to the end.” James sank two free throws to give the Heat a 78-76 lead and Bosh blocked two 76er shots on their next possession. Elton Brand answered for Philadelphia with a block at the other end but missed after another Bosh block, giving the 76ers eight misses in a row, three of them on shots swatted away by Bosh. James sank a long jumper over Andre Igoudala, who added 16 points for the 76ers, to give Miami a four-point edge and Wade tipped in a James miss to make it an 82-76 lead. Turner answered for the 76ers for their first basket in five minutes and 20-year-old Holiday sank a 3pointer to cut their deficit to 82-81. After a Wade miss, Williams sank the pivotal 3-pointer for the 76ers with 8.1 seconds remaining, giving him eight points in the fourth quarter and boosting the 76ers ahead to stay. “I wanted the ball in that situation,” Williams said. “Win or lose, I wanted it to be on my shot.” Elsewhere in the East, the Hawks defeated the Orlando Magic 88-85 in Atlanta to take a 3-1 lead in their series. Jamal Crawford scored 25 points for Atlanta and Joe Johnson drained four key foul shots in the last 20 seconds to put the Hawks in position to claim the series today in Orlando. The Magic had a chance to tie it in the waning seconds, but Atlanta’s Al Horford knocked the ball away from Hedo Turkoglu as he tried to set up for a potential game-tying three-pointer. Turkoglu retrieved the ball and heaved an awkward shot that missed.—AFP

Soderling: Nadal not unbeatable

CHENNAI: Chennai Super Kings’ batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni (left) is stumped during the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match against Pune Warriors. —AP

Chennai Super Kings defeat Pune Warriors CHENNAI: Australian batsman Michael Hussey hit 61 yesterday to lead the defending champion Chennai Super Kings to a 25-run victory over Pune Warriors in the IPL. The in-form left-hander provided a solid start after the Super Kings were sent in to bat. Warriors fast bowlers Jerome Taylor and Alfonso Thomas then combined to take five wickets to restrict the home team to 142-6 off 20 overs. South African medium-pacer Albie Morkel and offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin struck early to reduce Warriors to 40-4. The visitors finished on 117-9 off 20 overs for its third loss in five games at the halfway stage of the 10team competition. Morkel claimed 3-29 as the Super Kings won its third match out of six after having lost two straight. “Can’t afford to lose games in a row,” Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said. “Hopefully we can continue the way we are. I don’t do too much of planning, I don’t attend bowlers’ meetings. Every wicket is different, every situation is different. “I always go without any pre-planned ideas in mind. It helps me, doesn’t restrict me. We didn’t have too many runs and you had the feeling that if they got off to a good start it

would have been difficult. We started well, our fielding added to it — it is something we want to keep doing.” Hussey put on 64 for the opening wicket with Murali Vijay (31) before Thomas dismissed Vijay and Suresh Raina (2) in the same over. Dhoni lashed 26 before being stumped off Rahul Sharma. Taylor, playing in his first match of the season, then removed Hussey, Morkel (0) and Anirudha Srikkanth (7) to open up the contest. Pune skipper Yuvraj Singh struck a fighting 34 in putting on 38 for the fifth wicket with Mithun Manhas (20) before Morkel had the Indian left-hander caught at mid-off to put the Super Kings in control. Australian quick Doug Bollinger dismissed Manhas and Nathan McCullum for 15 to finish with 2-20. today, Delhi Daredevils play Royal Challengers Bangalore in New Delhi. Scores: Chennai Super Kings 142-6 in 20 overs (Michael Hussey 61, Murali Vijay 31, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 26; Jerome Taylor 3-30, Alfonso Thomas 2-29) def. Pune Warriors 117-9 in 20 overs (Yuvraj Singh 34; Albie Morkel 3-29, Doug Bollinger 2-20, Ravichandran Ashwin 219).—AP

ESTORIL: Two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling won’t let a late start on serious claycourt play dent his confidence, with the top seed at the Estoril Open convinced he has the game to beat Rafael Nadal again on the surface. “He’s a great player, especially on clay,” the world number five Swede said yesterday as he prepared for a second-round start in his debut at the Portuguese event. “But you have to go to the court thinking that you have a chance. “Otherwise, what’s the point? Nadal is the best on clay ever but he can be beaten, You just have to play your best tennis and have some luck.” Soderling famously beat Nadal in the fourth round of the French Open in 2009, paving the way for a final between Roger Federer and Soderling which the Swiss won. Since that breakthrough, Soderling had become a regular member of the ranking Top five. He then lost to Nadal in the French Open final a year ago. Soderling will be playing this week after missing Monte Carlo to let Achilles tendon and knee injuries clear. His start last week in Barcelona was a dud as he lost in the second round to eventual semi-finalist Ivan Dodig of Croatia. But the Swede does not feel he’s in a race against time with the Madrid and Rome Masters 1000 tournament looming before the May 22 start of the grand slam in Paris. “I wanted to play in Monte Carlo but I was not ready. But the clay season is long and now I’m injury-free. I feel ready to play well. This will be a tough tournament with a lot of guys who can win. “But I’m feeling good with my game and I’ve had two and a half week of practice on the clay. I have to be counted among the favourites,” said the Swede. The 26-year-old backed world number three Roger Federer to do damage on the clay - “He is always among the guys who can win events” - as well as number two Novak Djokovic, an undefeated 24-0 this season who is stepping onto clay for the first time this season at home in Belgrade. “It’s very even at the top of the game, Djokovic has beaten Rafa twice this year (hardcourt) but clay is totally different. Nadal is good on everything, but on clay he’s even better.” Soderling heads a field with Spain’s Fernando Verdasco standing second ahead of debutant JoWilfried Tsonga of France and compatriot Gilles Simon, a 2009 quarter-finalist as fourth seed. The joint ATP-WTA event got underway with women’s taking centre stage. Russian top seed Alisa Kleybanova earned a 6-2, 6-2 win over Olga Govortsova of Belarus to reach the second round while Johanna Larsson of Sweden beat the first of the Portuguese, putting out Magali de Lattre 6-3, 6-1.—AFP



Samjung brings HVAC technology to Kuwait

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Iraq sets January 2012 for 4th energy auction Page 25 TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2011

Earnings reports boost KSE stocks Page 24

VIVA Kuwait brings iPhone 4 to Kuwait Page 22

CBK posts KD24.689m operating profit before provisions for Q1

MOSCOW: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) reads information about the Skolkovo Open University project as he arrives for a meeting with the board of trustees of the Skolkovo Foundation, to discuss economic modernization and technological development in Russia, at the Digital October IT center in downtown Moscow, yesterday. —AFP

Dollar peg linked to oil clout: Saudi CB Policy can change in future JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will keep its currency peg to the US dollar as long as the OPEC member’s economy is heavily reliant on oil but this may change eventually, its central bank governor said yesterday. The dollar has been sliding this year, touching a three-year low against a basket of currencies last week. Its weakness tends to boost inflation in the world’s top oil exporter, where some 70 percent of imports are priced in dollars. Asked whether the dollar link to the Saudi riyal is forever, Central Bank Governor Muhammad Al-Jasser said: “Nothing is forever in the economy ; if the circumstances change, for example if oil becomes 10 or 15 percent of the economy and we have an agriculture, industry and services-based economy ... then there must be a change in the

Nakheel stops sales of new properties DUBAI: Developer Nakheel, Dubai World’s property arm that is restructuring $10.9 billion in debt, said it has stopped selling new properties and is focusing on consolidation. “Nakheel is currently focusing on consolidating and swapping its projects, this will continue for the foreseeable future,” the company said in an email statement. A spokeswoman later told Reuters that the company has currently stopped new sales. The developer has offered home buyers property swaps for projects closer to completion or a five -year wait for refunds. It restarted work on short-term projects towards the end of last year and said it was revisiting all other projects, including man-made islands The Palm Jebel Ali and The Palm Deira. Nakheel has been in negotiations with both trade creditors and banks to repay its debt obligations and said last month that it expected the restructuring process to be completed by the first half of 2011. The developer, which overstretched itself building islands in the shape of palms and other ambitious projects, is part of state-owned Dubai World which recently completed a $25 billion restructuring with banks.— Reuters

outlook. “But as long as the economy is highly dependent on one product, which is oil ... then the dollar remains,” he told a university event in the port city of Jeddah. Oil accounts for around half of the output of the biggest Arab economy. The k ingdom, a key US ally, depends on expor ts of crude, which is priced in dollars, for around 85 percent of its government revenue. “It is noteworthy to point out that the decision to peg the exchange rate of the riyal to the dollar is based on pure economic interests,” Jasser said. He also echoed recent comments by the kingdom’s finance minister, saying that the king’s orders to increase housing supply will decrease some of the inflationary pressures coming from rents in the future.

Saudi inflation eased to a oneyear low of 4.7 percent in March, although analysts say demand will be boosted by a package of government handouts worth around $130 billion prompted by political turmoil elsewhere in the Arab world. Economists in a Reuters poll in March saw Saudi consumer price growth averaging 5.6 percent this year, slightly higher than in 2010. This is still well below a record high of 11.1 percent seen in July 2008, a year when a speculation on revaluation of Gulf currency pegs swirled. The peg-at 3.75 to the dollarlimits the Saudi central bank ’s scope to combat inflation because it needs to keep interest rates closely aligned with US benchmarks to avoid excessive pressures on the riyal.— Reuters

Global wins $250m case against UAE bank KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Global Investment House won a Dubai court ruling to get back $250 million from Abu Dhabi-listed National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain in addition to interest, the company said. “The interest will be about $50 million,” Global’s spokesman told Reuters on Monday after the ruling. Global said in a later statement that the interest is about $54.6 million. The interest will be added to the firm’s revenues while the $250 million will be used to strengthen Global’s financial position, Maha Al-Ghunaim,

Global’s managing director said in the statement, without elaborating. Last year, Global won a ruling from a Dubai court which NBQ later appealed. The $250 million was a deposit placed by Global with NBQ in August 2008 for a National Bank convertible bond issue. Global later cancelled the planned purchase and wanted the money back, but NBQ decided it was entitled to keep it. Trading in Global’s shares was halted on the Kuwaiti stock exchange ahead of the ruling. — Reuters

US new-home sales rose in March after weak winter WASHINGTON: More people bought new homes in March, giving the battered industry a small lift after the worst winter for sales in almost a halfcentury. New-home sales rose 11 percent last month from February to a seasonally adjusted rate of 300,000 homes, the Commerce Department said Monday. That follows three straight monthly declines. Still, the pace remains far below the 700,000 homes a year that economists view as healthy. Sales of new homes fell last year for the fifth consecutive year and the market is showing no signs of rebounding. Economists say it could take years before sales return to a healthy pace. The median price of a new home rose nearly 3 percent from February to $213,800. New-home prices are about 34 percent higher than the median price for re-sales. That’s more than twice the markup in healthy housing markets. Builders are struggling to compete with a record number of foreclosures, which have forced down the price of re-sales and made them more of a bargain. The disparity has dragged on the economy. New

homes represent a fraction of sales but they have an out-sized impact on the broader economy. Each new home creates an average of three jobs for a year and $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders. “New housing prices look much less attractive compared to cheap existing stock,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an analyst with BNP Paribas. “As such, new housing demand will likely remain depressed throughout this year and next.” Many builders are waiting for the glut of foreclosures and other distressed properties to be cleared before stepping up construction. But with 1.2 million foreclosures forecast this year nationwide, according to foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac Inc., a turnaround isn’t expected for years. “You can’t put lipstick on this pig,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial. “The new housing market remains weak no matter how the data is cut.” High unemployment, tight credit and a lingering fear that prices will fall further have kept people from making home purchases. —AP

KUWAIT: Commercial Bank of Kuwait announced an operating profit of KD24.689 million before provisions for the first quarter of 2011 (2010: KD 22.024 million). This was allocated as provisions against the loan and investment portfolios resulting in a net profit attributable to shareholders of the parent bank for the three months to 31st March 2011 of KD 1.332 million (1Q2010: Net loss KD 1.454 million). In his comment on the financial results for the period, Chairman Ali Yousef Al Awadhi said that the bank has adopted a prudent policy towards building up a strong provision base and took additional judgemental provisions of KD 12.4 million over and above regulatory requirements explaining that the bank has total provisions for credit facilities of KD 180.5 million which includes KD 53.9 million of additional judgemental provisions taken over and above regulatory requirements. Al Awadhi noted that results were in line with expectations and that other performance indicators showed a return to profitable growth with net interest income of KD 20.4 million up 8% on last year and other operating income up 5%. Al Awadhi went on to say that Commercial Bank is moving well ahead according to its planned strategy that aims at returning the bank back to higher profitability rates generated from core banking activities. Al Awadhi noted that Commercial Bank continues to develop and upgrade its services and product offerings to attain customers’ utmost satisfaction,

Commercial Bank of Kuwait Chairman Ali Yousef Al-Awadhi

explained that the bank continues to participate in the financing of mega development projects under the State’s ambitious development plan and works closely with its corporate customers to meet their financing requirements. Al Awadhi explained that the improvement in the economic and business environment will positively reflect on the banking sector and on Commercial Bank. Commercial Bank’s financial position and balance sheet is strong with additional judgment provisions that provide the bank with more comfort when taking up businesses, added Al Awadhi noting that when these provisions are no longer required they will be released to the income statement. The bank continues to demonstrate its cost leadership with operating expenses down 8% on

1Q2010 and staff expenses down 6% for the period. Operational efficiency is a competitive advantage for the bank which continues to maintain one of the lowest cost/income ratios with 21.64% for 1Q2011. Asset quality indicators showed improvement with non-performing loans down during the period ended 31 March 2011 with a coverage ratio including collateral of 116% for NPLs. Commercial Bank’s total assets at the end of March 2011 reached KD 3.77 billion (3/2010: KD 3.65 billion) with an increase of 3.3% with shareholders equity of KD 459.7 million (3/2010: KD 441.2 million) with an increase of 4%. The capital adequacy ratio at March 2011 is 20.42% (3/2010: 19.00%) which exceeds the minimum 12% required by the Central Bank of Kuwait. The bank continues to have a strong capital base with more than twice the international ratio required by Basel II. Commercial Bank of Kuwait took the opportunity to thank the bank’s valued customers for their trust and confidence, the Executive Management team and staff for their hard work and loyalty and shareholders for their continued support and faith. By operating the second full service branch network in Kuwait, Commercial Bank of Kuwait offers customer state-of-the-art banking products and services. For further information on Commercial Bank of Kuwait products or services please contact 1-888-CBK or visit


business CFC successfully closes a $50m term loan facility KUWAIT: The Commercial Facilities Company (SAK) (CFC) announced the successful closing of a term loan facility with the Arab Banking Corporation (ABC) for $50m, for the purpose of funding the company’s working capital requirements and facilitate the growth of consumer loans business . ABC is considered one of the main bankers of CFC given its long standing relationship with the company. The relationship between ABC and CFC started in 1985 where ABC provided many syndicated and direct loans to CFC. CFC’s Chairman and Managing Director Abdallah Saud Al-Humaidhi expressed his appreciation for the continuous confidence shown by ABC towards the business of CFC and its performance. Moreover, he mentioned that CFC focuses on achieving its clear vision and strategy, as well as emphasizing its keenness to continuously provide products and services that meet the different requirements of CFC’s customers. CFC established in 1977 as the first Kuwaiti closed shareholding company specialized in offering consumer finance facilities in Kuwait. It has developed its business to become the leading specialist provider of consumer credit in its local market and is also the largest consumer finance company in terms of total assets and shareholder equity. As of December 31, 2010, CFC’s consolidated total assets and shareholder equity reached KD 297m and KD 161m respectively. It is also listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of KD 197m as of December 31, 2010 Commercial Facilities Company (CFC) was established in 1977 as the first Kuwaiti closed shareholding company with an initial capital of KD 3.8million ($12.7million). It specialized in providing installment credit facilities to finance consumer and commercial products. CFC plays a major role in the development of the financial and consumer goods industry. It is one of the leading companies in offering installment credit facilities, car financing, and personal cash loans. Branching out in strategic locations, CFC has over 200 employees across its 5 branches and 21 representation offices.

KUWAIT: Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Badran, VIVA Kuwait CEO addresses the gathering. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Officials attending the VIVA Kuwait’s launch of the iPhone 4 in Kuwait pose for a photo.

VIVA Kuwait brings iPhone 4 to Kuwait Tariff plans tailored for customers KUWAIT: VIVA Kuwait announced its launch of the iPhone 4 in Kuwait today (April 26) with a range of tariff plans tailored for iPhone customers. iPhone 4 is the most innovative phone in the world, featuring Apple’s stunning Retina display, the highest resolution display ever built into a phone resulting in super crisp text, images and video, and FaceTime, which makes video calling a reality. iPhone 4 is powered by Apple’s A4 chip and features a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, HD video recording and a beautiful glass

and stainless steel design like no other mobile phone. iPhone 4 comes with iOS 4, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. The revolutionary App Store provides access to more than 350,000 apps including the iMovie app built just for iPhone 4. “ We are excited to be bringing iPhone 4 to Kuwait,” said Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Badran, VIVA Kuwait CEO. “At VIVA we have developed a portfolio of tailored price plans just for iPhone, ensuring all our customers get the right tariff to best suit their needs.”

Damas takes controlling stake in Saudi venture DUBAI: Jeweler Damas International, which recently reached an agreement with its lenders to restructure $872 million in debt, has acquired a controlling stake in its Saudi Arabian joint venture, Damas Saudi Arabia Company Ltd. Damas acquired 49 percent of the share capital of its existing joint venture in Saudi Arabia, taking its stake to 98 percent with full control of the company, the firm said in a statement yesterday. The statement did not disclose the value of the acquisition. “The Saudi market is a core market for Damas and this acquisition will help provide a platform for us to service this key market more fully,” Anan Fakhreddin, Damas International’s chief executive, said in

the statement. The jeweler has been stung by controversy ever since allegations of financial fraud by the company’s founders, the Abdullah brothers. An inquiry last year showed that the Abdullah brothers owed the company a total of 614 million dirhams ($167.2 million), that included 256 million dirhams worth of gold that the three brothers had withdrawn from the company. Last month, Fakhreddin said the company had reached an agreement with its lenders on debt worth $872 million. Damas is primarily involved in the business of trading in gold and gold jewelry, diamond jewelry, pearls, watches, silver and precious stones on a wholesale and retail basis. — Reuters

du sees 20% revenue growth in 2011

Abdallah Saud Al-Humaidhi, Chairman and Managing Director, CFC

DUBAI: UAE telecom operator du expects to grow its revenue by 20 percent in 2011 by planning a nationwide rollout of its services before the year end and continued investments to boost its infrastructure. Osman Sultan, du’s chief executive said the telecom player is already in advanced testing of its services outside of its traditional geographical footprint of Dubai. “It’s a complex operation but we see this before the end of the year ... a

by being transparent, engaging, energetic and fulfilling. VIVA continues to take a considerable share of the market by offering an innovative range of best value products, services and content propositions; a state of the art, nationwide network and world-class service. VIVA offers Internet speed up to 21.6Mbps due to the implementation of the most advanced third generation (3G and HSDPA) network in Kuwait resulting in superior coverage, performance and reliability.

For pricing and availability, please visit: VIVA is the newest, most advanced mobile telecommunications service provider in Kuwait. Launched in December 2008, VIVA makes things Possible for our customers by transforming communication, information and entertainment experiences. The company has rapidly established an unrivalled position in the market through our customer and employee centric approach. VIVA’s quest is to be the mobile brand of choice for Kuwait

more or less nationwide rollout,” Sultan said during a conference call with reporters to discuss first-quarter results. The telecoms carrier, which now has a 41 percent share of the UAE mobile market, reported a first-quarter net profit of 205.8 million dirhams ($56 million) after providing for royalties, up from 97.1 million dirhams in the year-earlier period and inline with forecast of 203.7 million dirhams by analysts polled by Reuters. — Reuters

First Gulf Bank misses Q1 forecast on year-ago gain ABU DHABI: First Gulf Bank (FGB) reported a 4.8 percent decline in quarterly profit yesterday, missing estimates, as the lender’s 2010 results were buoyed by a one-time gain. FGB, the United Arab Emirates’ second largest lender by market value, said it had first quarter net profit of 875 million dirhams ($238.2 million). Profit stood at 919.73 million dirhams in the prior-year period, according to Reuters data. Analysts had forecast average profit of 929.44 million dirhams in a Reuters poll. First quarter profit in 2010 included 179 million dirhams from the sale of real estate, the lender said, adding this year ’s first quarter profits rose 1.2 percent over the fourth quarter. Core bank ing revenues, which excludes income from subsidiaries and associate firms, rose to 1.58 billion dirhams in the quarter, up 8 percent. Total net interest and

Islamic financing income was up 10 percent to 1.14 billion dirhams. “We have posted significant gains represented by 8 percent jump in revenue over the first quar ter of 2010 in our core bank ing por tfolio,” Andre Sayegh, FGB’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We are focusing on growing our core business as we are well positioned to increase lending to the targeted sectors in the coming quarters of 2011 and beyond,” he said in the statement. FGB booked provisions totaling 459 million dirhams in the quarter, down 7 percent from last year. Loans grew 4.1 percent to 97.1 million dirhams while deposits jumped 10.1 percent to 98.5 million dirhams in the first quarter. FGB shares closed down 2.2 percent yesterday on the Abu Dhabi index, which was down 0.8 percent. The bank issued its results after the market closed. — Reuters

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

.2733670 .4511790 .3979130 .3084890 .2862940 .2935830 .0062130 .0024870 .0744570 .7253050 .3866590 .0729170 .7102300 .0063720 .0463330 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2748000 .4535440 .3999990 .3101060 .2877940 .0536370 .0449570 .2951210 .0353610 .2225100 .0033580 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0748470 .7291060 .0000000 .0733000 .7139520 .0000000

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

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co.

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

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.381 6.211 3.279 2.503 3.896 224.180 35.560 3.896

.2786380 .4598770 .4055850 .3144360 .2918130 .2992430 .0063330 .0025350 .0758920 .7392880 .3941130 .0743230 .7239230 .0064950 .0472260 .2769000 .4570100 .4030560 .3124750 .2899930 .0540470 .0453010 .2973770 .0356320 .2242110 .0033830 .0062930 .0025200 .0033000 .0038730 .0754190 .7346780 .3916550 .0738600 .7194080 .0064550

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

6.391 9.234 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 73.704 75.948 717.940 733.960 75.250

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 47.750 46.406 1.265 204.140 390.340 183.300 5.967 36.070

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 276.300 Euro 403.810 Sterling Pound 457.690 Canadian dollar 291.760 Turkish lire 182.140 Swiss Franc 313.980 Australian dollar 296.690 US Dollar Buying 275.100 GOLD 280.000 142.000 72.000

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

SELL CASH 299.800 734.440 3.990 293.600 542.400 14.100 54.800 167.800 47.460 406.000 36.220 6.510

0.033 0.247 0.243 3.460 391.790 0.187 93.870 47.800 4.330 224.800 1.872 52.700 717.300 3.360 6.600 76.400 73.730 224.930 43.630 2.680 460.000 45.600 315.300 5.900 9.570 198.263 75.350 276.500 1.230

10 Tola

GOLD 1,569.710

Sterling Pound US Dollar

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

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

SELL DRAFT 298.300 734.440 3.790 292.100

224.900 46.458 404.500 36.070 6.215


390.320 0.186 93.870 3.900 223.300

313.800 5.900 9.430 75.250 276.100

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 458.000 276.100

Selling Rate 276.800 292.345 453.255 400.600 308.720 732.607 75.339 76.008 73.783 391.007 46.496 2.506 6.239

3.283 3.806 6.397 678.972 3.437 9.341 6.038 3.943 91.033

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. 717.120 3.290 6.400 75.970 73.730 224.930 43.630 2.502 458.000

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

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

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

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 276.100 3.290 6.225 2.515 3.800 6.425 75.275 73.830 734.000 46.415 462.200 0.00003280 3.910 1.550 392.300 5.750 408.000 297.200

Al Mulla Exchange Currency Transfer Rate (Per 1000) US Dollar 275.550 Euro 404.200 Pound Sterling 458.000 Canadian Dollar 287.600 Japanese Yen 3.390 Indian Rupee 6.230 Egyptian Pound 46.360 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.500 Bangladesh Taka 3.777 Philippines Peso 6.395 Pakistan Rupee 3.272 Bahraini Dinar 734.100 UAE Dirham 75.200 Saudi Riyal 73.700 *Rates are subject to change




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Dubai airport passengers up 5.8%, unrest slows traffic DUBAI: Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport rose by 5.8 percent year-on-year in March, Dubai Airports said yesterday, but traffic on Middle Eastern and African routes dropped due to regional unrest. In March, 4.2 million passengers passed through the world’s fourth busiest airport for international passenger traffic, Dubai Airports said in a statement. The number was up 5.8 percent compared to 3.97 million during the same period last year, it said. “Passenger traffic growth continues to be robust. At the current levels we are on track to exceed 50 million passengers this year,” said Chief Executive Paul Griffiths. The company also said 12.3 million passengers passed through the airport in the first quarter, up 7 percent from 11.5 million in the first three months of 2010. Passenger numbers on Middle Eastern routes dropped

23,240, while African routes saw a decline of 24,402 passengers as traffic was affected by political unrest in these regions, Dubai Airports said. Turmoil across the Arab world has toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia and challenged autocratic regimes in Libya as well as nearby Bahrain and Oman, discouraging travellers. Dubai, known for opulent hotels and artificial palm-shaped islands, has so far escaped the regional unrest, which

started in December. International freight volumes handled in March dropped by 3.7 percent. The opening of the Al Maktoum airport, estimated to cost around $34 billion, to passengers had been already delayed to the last quarter of 2011 from March. Dubai’s second airport, billed as the world’s largest when it becomes fully operational, should have an expected passenger capacity of up to 160 million people a year. —Reuters

KUWAIT: Public Relations Manager at the Al-Soor Al-Taase’a General Trading Company Ahmad Al-Sarie’a (right) with Samjung official during the signing of the agreement.

UAE forwards at 11-month low, dirham to stay near peg

LG unveils big plans for ME energy solutions market KUWAIT: This year LG announced its plans to become a major player in global energy solutions market by introducing the 3rd version of existing tropical Multi V III, and the newly released VRF Air Handling Unit (AHU) within the [0]Middle East and Africa (MEA) markets. The Multi V III boasts a 4.6 coefficient of performance (COP) for heating and 4.3 for cooling, as well as a bigger capacity per unit with an extended piping length of 1,000m. In addition, LG’s HSS Inverter Compressor greatly enhance efficiency on the Multi V III, reducing energy use by up to 11 percent compared with previous models. LG’s VRF Air Handling Unit (AHU), integrated control system lets users manage air conditioning for an entire building. The AHU provides outstanding heating, cooling and outdoor fresh air conditioning while saving energy. These AHU’s can be used for 100% fresh air application or re-circulating air application. Based around these advanced solutions, LG plans to aggressively expand its market share in MEA commercial air conditioning this year. With the establishment of a full line-up of air conditioning systems, LG is planning to evolve into a total solution provider for the MEA market. Through heavy investment, LG has built up its technical capabilities, by constructing a custom-built AC Academy at Jebel Ali which has been LEED Silver certified ,where LG is customizing products to the needs of MEA consumers. LG Electronics also aims to further heighten the reliability of LG’s products, ensuring they are equipped to work in all weather conditions. Moving beyond its traditional role as a leader in air conditioning, LG is making a for-

ay into the energy business, with solutions including LED lighting and solar power. LG plans to invest $500 million as it ramps up its workforce and R&D, with a further aim of hitting US $10 billion in global sales by 2013. “We’ve developed a range of products and solutions that meet the ever more pressing demands of consumers, while also containing costs and reducing energy consumption,” said HS Paik, President of LG Electronics Gulf FZE. We’re confident that we have every energy solution covered, whatever the business. We already have references with the Multi V, including Al-Gurm in Abu Dhabi, Dubai Arabian Horse stud in Dubai, American Academy School in Abu Dhabi and many more. This proves the awareness and acceptance level of this technology which is popular across the MEA.” Providing technical insight, Senior Manager, Commercial Air Conditioners, Dharmesh Sawant added “With the increased emphasis on local green building codes like Estidama in Abu-Dhabi and Q-SAS in Qatar, tropical Multi V III and VRF AHU solution will help the local authorities to meet its objective. LG supports the stakeholders across the value chain. We have a dedicated team to support the consultants and developers in the concept, design stage, as well as a dedicated team for contractors in the post-tender stage and a dedicated team for facilities management companies. Also the local AC Academy provides training and certifies all contractors to reduce operational headaches due to improper installation. We are confident that this technology will reduce the burden on the power grid which is currently running on peak.”

DUBAI: United Arab Emirates one-year currency forwards fell to an 11-month low yesterday helped by improved liquidity in the banking system, indicating the OPEC member’s dirham would keep near its US dollar peg. One-year dirham forwards edged down to -5.5/5.5 points yesterday, compared with Friday’s close of 6/11 points, traders said. The level below zero implies bets that the currency of the world’s third largest oil exporter will be stronger than its 3.6725 peg to the greenback over next 12 months, pricing in better lending conditions and a stronger economy recovering from Dubai’s debt crisis. Currently “there is a lot of liquidity in the system, things are looking better over the last few months as there have been no hiccups in Dubai or the UAE,” said Lyndon Loos, head of forex trading for Middle East and North Africa at Standard Chartered. Although UAE banks have been flush with cash in recent months, lending has been slow to pick up despite improved business sentiment after stateowned Dubai World reached a deal to restructure nearly $25 billion in September. However, improved liquidity in the banking sector pushed UAE interbank offered rates to more than 14month lows last week. The central bank called meetings with treasurers over the past weeks to encourage them set lower rates. “The recent reduction in EIBOR reflects the improving liquidity situation within the UAE and we expect the 3month EIBOR to reduce further to around 1.75 percent over the coming months,” said Stephen Jordan, general manager for liquidity management and interest rate products at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The benchmark three-month offered rate fell to 2.016 percent at the central bank’s fixing yesterday, from 2.023 percent on Sunday. It held above 2.3 percent for several months last year following Dubai’s debt woes. —Reuters

Samjung brings HVAC technology to Kuwait Al-Soor Al-Taase’a signs deal

KUWAIT: Chemmanur International Jewellers’ Golden Draw winner Thulasidas, (membership No. 5947), receives a gold chain with pendant from sales officer Remesh Babu.

KUWAIT: A local building material and real-estate company signed a contract with the Korean-based Samjung Company to become the exclusive agent for the company’s brand in HVAC systems in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iraq. “Signing the contract came following an extensive study regarding Samjung’s technology in heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) technology”, said public relations manager at the Al-Soor AlTaase’a (ninth wall) General Trading Company Ahmad Al-Sarie’a in a press statement, in which he mentioned

devices that the Korean manufacture is specialized in making such as the air handling units (AHU) and the fan coil units (FCU). Samjung’s building team director explained in a statement how his company’s technologies have evolved since secession from the Korean giant Samsung in Januar y 2000 and is looking forward for partnership with the Al-Soor Al-Taase’a company and tie up with their projects in various fields in Kuwait. The projects could include airports, commercial buildings, malls, exhibitions, hotels and hospitals.

UAE economic outlook for 2011 remains upbeat KAMCO RESEARCH REPORT KUWAIT: The economic recovery in the UAE is gaining strength, supported by a favorable global environment but subject to increased regional political uncertainty and a slowdown in the real estate sector Underpinned by its wealth in oil, the UAE’s economy has recorded an overall steady level of growth over the years and the value of GDP has more than doubled from AED 387.8 billion ($105.6 billion) in 2004 to AED 934.3 billion ($254.4 billion) in 2008. Non-oil GDP in recent years, however, has been a main driver of growth, accounting for an average of 65 per cent of GDP from 2004 to 2008. Major non-oil sectors in the economy in 2008 include: Trade (16 per cent), Manufacturing (12 per cent), Real Estate (8 per cent), Construction (7 per cent), and the Financial Sector (7 per cent). Although Abu Dhabi and Dubai contribute the most to the country’s GDP at 56 per cent and 32 per cent respectively in 2008, the latter has played a greater role in the growth witnessed among the majority of non-oil sectors. Additionally, in line with the effects the global financial crisis had on countries around the globe; the UAE wasn’t able to entirely avoid the crisis in the latter part of 2008 and 2009 as evidenced by the 2 per cent contraction witnessed in its 2009 GDP, which stood at AED 914.3 billion ($248.9 billion). The contraction was led by the 22 per cent drop in the oil sector to reach AED 267 billion ($72.7

billion). While non-oil GDP rose 10 per cent, albeit at a slower pace than 2008; thus leading it to contribute a hefty 71 per cent of the UAE’s GDP - a considerable jump from the 63 per cent contribution it registered in 2008. As a result, growth prospects in the UAE over the coming years will undoubtedly be shaped by the pace of the global economic recovery and the slowdown within the real estate sector - particularly in Dubai. Prospects for the long-term health and stability of the economy will depend on the progression of Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision of 2030 and Dubai’s Strategic Plan of 2015. Additionally, with average oil prices ending 2010 at $77pb, 18 per cent higher than 2009, growth in the oil & gas sector is set to rebound. As a result, the expected increase in the oil & gas sector will help drive GDP growth in the short-term horizon, as well as the government’s expansionary fiscal policies as they will ensure expansion in the non-oil sectors; thus enabling the UAE to deliver towards its diversification strategy goals. It is the government’s redirection of hydrocarbon revenues towards the development of key industries over the long run that will enhance the Emirate’s economy and enable it to compete with emerging markets. According to the IMF, real economic growth in UAE is expected to remain unchanged in 2011 at 3.25 per cent and

non-oil GDP growth is forecasted to grow from 2 per cent in 2010 to 3.25 per cent in 2011; reflective of strong tourism, logistics, and trade in Dubai and large public investment spending in Abu Dhabi. Real estate sector A contraction in real estate growth is expected as a further drop in property prices is forecasted to prevail in the shor t-term horizon as new supply enters the market coupled with lower demand; thus widening the supplydemand gap. The excess supply of property in Dubai, which will increase in light of the expected completion of unfinished projects, will continue to weigh down on property prices and growth prospects. However, massive government investment in infrastructure projects is expected to reignite demand for construction and contracting ser vices while also boosting employment, consequently providing a more solid base for the economy to grow in the near future. Domestic Credit Bank lending is reviving but credit growth remains sluggish. 2010 data from the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) reveals that lending was up 1.4 per cent in 2010 reaching AED 972.1 billion ($264.6 billion), indicative of a slow recovery and bank’s general cautiousness in lending to the economy. In line with the government’s con-

tinued expansionary policies, lending to the government maintained its upward trend reaching AED 100 billion ($27.2 billion) during the in 2010. Lending for construction, on the other hand, decreased 2.6 per cent to AED 122.7 billion ($33.4 billion) in 2010 while credit extended for real estate mortgage loans has witnessed a sense of revival rising 15 per cent in 2010 to reach AED 163.2 billion ($44.4 billion) as of Dec-10. Despite the modest loan growth, continued depositor confidence led deposits to surpass one trillion dirhams, leading the aggregate loan to deposits ratio to maintain its downward trend since the star t of 2010, dropping to 92.6 per cent as of Dec-10 compared to its peak of 101.3 per cent at the end of 2008. Banking Sector Further along, the capitalization of the UAE’s banking system remains sound as the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) stands at 21 per cent as of Dec-10. Despite rising impairments and difficult operating conditions; the UAE banking sector’s sound capitalization should make the country’s asset quality challenges and liquidity pressures manageable with support from the government to the sector less likely required. In addition, stress tests on aggregate banking data indicate resilience to shocks despite nonperforming loans (NPLs) doubling since the crisis, marking the second highest increase in the GCC.

The banking sector remains resilient to shocks, backed by solid capital baseincluding money injected by the government, and strong earnings, although nonperforming loans have doubled since the crisis. The Central Bank of UAE has made important progress in strengthening its financial stability approach, revamping the regulatory framework, and developing macro-prudential policies. The Central Bank continues to ensure that banks provision adequately, particularly in light of increasing provisioning needs on Dubai GREs. Moreover, approval of Dubai World’s estimated $ 25 billion debt restructuring by its creditors in Mar-11 has once again restored investor confidence, thereby easing concerns on the soundness of the UAE’s economic prospect. The agreement will shed light once again on UAE banks as the restructuring approval will be a key element in defining and clarifying the picture of “problem” loans to investors as banks are expected to follow the guidance of provisions by the CBUAE in terms of their exposure to Dubai World in the near future. Additionally, the restructuring approval marks a new star t for debt-struck Dubai as it continues to look for fruitful investment opportunities within its tourism, transport, and trade sectors to ensure sustainable economic growth and development, which will simultaneously enable the emirate to regain its position as a regional trade and services hub.



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Earnings reports boost KSE Global Daily market report KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) reacted positively to the 1Q2011 profit announcements. Investors were concentrated on public disclosure on the outcome of the joint appeals between Global Investment House and Bank of Umm AlQuwain. Global Investment House won a Dubai court ruling to get back $250mn plus interest from National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain. Earlier, the company requested Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) and other stock markets on which the company’s shares are traded on to suspend trading of the shares temporarily yesterday. Elsewhere, Commercial Bank of Kuwait, the fifth biggest bank in term of market cap. reported net earnings of KD1.33mn for 1Q2011, compared with losses of KD1.41mn posted during the comparable period in 2010. The heavy weighted scrip closed flat at KD0.940. Global General Index (GGI), market weighted, ended the day up by 0.81 percent, at 205.29 point with no losses seen among all the Kuwaiti sectors. Market capitalization was up for the day at KD33.67bn. On the other hand, KSE Price Index closed at 6,465.6 point, adding 21 points (0.33 percent) to its previous close. Market breadth During the session, 121 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards advancers as 51 equities advanced versus 36 that retreated. Yesterday’s performance was accompanied by mixed trading activity with most of the trades conducted in the Real Estate, Services and Investment sectors. Total volume traded was up by 41.19 percent with 274.27mn shares changing hands at a total value of KD39.42mn (27.59 percent lower compared to the day before). The Real Estate Sector was the volume leader yesterday, accounting for 28.53 percent of total shares. The Banking sector was the value leader, with 34.47 percent of total traded value. Kuwait International Bank was the most active in terms of values of shares traded during Monday session, with 16.93mn shares exchanged at an aggregate value of KD5.61mn. It’s worth mentioning that, Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) has renewed on April 24, 2011 its approval for Kuwait International Bank to repurchase or sell 10 percent maximum of its issued shares for additional six months till November 23, 2011. Sector-wise Global Non-Kuwaiti Index was the only loser for the day, shedding 0.75 percent. Umm AlQaiwain Cement Industries Co, which owns 5.55 percent of National Bank of Umm Al-Qaiwain, was the biggest loser being down by 6.67 percent and closed at KD0.056. On the upside, Global Real

Estate Index was the biggest gainer, adding 1.66 percent to its value. The scrip of heavyweight Mabanee Company was up by 2.63 percent to close at KWD0.780. Elsewhere, Grand Real Estate Projects was the biggest gainer in the market, adding 14.81 percent to its share price to close at KD0.0155. However, the company reported a net loss of KD26.49mn for the full year 2010, compared with net losing KD25.88mn posted during 2009. The scrip was traded for the first time since March 31. Corporate news Commercial Facilities Company announced yesterday that it had finalized a USD50mn term loan with the Arab Banking Corporation (ABC). The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $117.97 a barrel on Wednesday, compared with $116.00 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. Kuwait’s crude oil exports to China rose 13.3 percent in March from the previous month to 728,000 tons, equiva-

lent to around 172,000 barrels per day (bpd), the latest government data showed.

UASC transports 3,209 ships to Kuwait in March KUWAIT: The United Arab Shipping Company transported 3,209 containers in March headed to Kuwaiti sea ports, a statement said yesterday. Ships coming from the Far East carried the majority of these containers, 1,344, the marine logistics company said, and another 1,010 from Europe.The remaining were 292 from the Mediterranean, 253 from the US, 249 from India, and 58 from Arab Gulf states. — KUAN

Oil above $124 over ME, Nigeria violence RABAT: Oil rose above $124 a barrel yesterday, pushed higher by an escalation of violence in the oilproducing Middle East and postelection unrest in OPEC member Nigeria. Brent gained 33 cents to $124.32 a barrel by 1134 GMT. US crude rose 45 cents to $112.74. Brent is again within sight of t h e pe a k a bove $ 1 2 7 a ba rre l, touched earlier this month, which was the highest since 2008 when the market reached its all-time high of nearly $150 before crashin g dow n to le s s t h a n $ 4 0 . “Traders fear a long hot summer of discontent across the Middle East,” Chris Weafer, chief strategist at M oscow ’s Uralsib investment bank, wrote in a note. “News of the spreading postelection violence in the north of Nigeria is also a price-supporting factor in the oil market.” This year’s rally took off in earnest following the loss of production from OPEC member Libya, which was pumping around 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) until the outbreak of violence, following a wave of popu la r u n re s t a c ro s s t h e N o r t h African region. Early yesterday, NATO forces flattened a building in Muammar Gaddafi’s compound, while forces loyal to the Libyan leader have bo m ba rde d t h e we s te rn re be l stronghold of Misrata, rebels said. Violence also racked Syria, a small non- OPEC oil producer. Syrian security forces were reported to have killed hundreds in a crackdown on protests, while in top African oil producer Nigeria more

than 500 people were k illed in post-election violence, a human rights group said. Oil m a rk e t g a in s co u ld be capped, however, by expectations high prices will begin to erode de m a n d a n d lim it e co n o m ic growth. A public holiday in many co u n t rie s o n M o n day to m a rk Easter was also expected to curb trading volumes. Leading exporter Saudi Arabia has said it has plent y of spare c a pa c it y t h a t c a n be q u ic k ly added to the oil market if necessary, but its oil minister said it cut output in March because the mark e t h a d ple n t y o f o il. Th e Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries next meets to formally reassess its output policy in June. Delegates told Reuters yesterday they did not expect a formal change in supply polic y at the meeting in Vienna on June 8. Apar t from fundamentals of supply and demand, analysts said the market was technically strong and could draw strength from the weakness of the US dollar, which makes dollar-denominated commodities relatively cheap. Reuters m a rk e t a n a lys t Wa n g Ta o s a id Brent’s next target was the high to u c h e d e a rlie r t h is m o n t h o f $127.02 after it cleared resistance at $124.02. The dollar in contrast hit anothe r 2 9 - ye a r low a g a in s t t h e Australian dollar. Dollar weakness also supported other commodities, pushing gold to another record. — Reuters




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Iraq sets January 2012 for 4th energy auction 12 gas exploration blocks to be auctioned off BAGHDAD: Iraq will auction off 12 mainly gas exploration blocs during a January 2012 bidding round as the country pushes ahead with efforts to beef up its energy sector, the oil minister said yesterday. The January auction will be Iraq’s fourth bidding round on its energy assets since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The country’s oil and gas sector is struggling to overcome years of neglect and violence by seeking international investment to exploit its belowground riches.

The new HSBC office in Moscow.

HSBC to close retail banking unit in Russia MOSCOW: HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, is to close its retail banking operation in Russia after just two years, following in the footsteps of British peer Barclays. “Following a strategic review it is clear that the strongest opportunity for HSBC in Russia lies in servicing corporate and institutional clients,” Huseyin Ozkaya, chief executive at HSBC Russia, said yesterday. “That is why we have taken the decision to exit from our retail business and reduce our Private Banking presence to a representative office.” HSBC, whose Russian unit is among the country’s top-100 lenders by assets, urged customers to close their accounts by June 30. The move by HSBC, which started retail operations in Russia in mid-2009, followed an announcement by Barclays in February it was to sell its Russian retail unit as it was unable to compete and would focus on investment banking. Russia’s banking sector is dominated by state-owned banks, which control

around 60 percent of the system’s overall assets. Top lenders Sberbank and VTB have also been expanding in investment banking, meaning competition for business being generated by a 1 trillion ruble ($33 billion) state privatization drive will be tough. Privately owned Icelandic investment company Straumborg may also quit Russia’s retail banking sector by selling Norvik, Kommersant reported yesterday, quoting banking sources. Straumborg, which bought Norvik before the global financial crisis in 2006, has already found a potential Russian buyer for the asset, the paper said. The Russian units of Italian lender UniCredit and Austrian group Raiffeisen Bank International are the largest foreign players in Russia, being eighth and ninth by assets respectively. Along with French bank Societe Generale, they have said they will develop their businesses in Russia. —Reuters

Oil M in ister Abdul-K ar im Elaibi told a news conference in Baghdad that interested companies have until May 19 to prequalify to compete for the 12 blocs. No exact date for the bidding was given. “We hope that the next bidding round will achieve good results and bigger success than the ones before,” said AbdulMahdi Al-Ameedi, general director of the oil ministry’s licensing and contracts department. Iraqi oil officials said the companies will be paid a flat fee for their services rather than a share in the discovered resources. The officials declined to be identified because they were not authorized to brief the media. Iraq has awarded 15 oil and gas deals since 2008 to international energy companies in the first major investment in the countr y ’s energy industr y in more than three decades. S even of the exploration blocs are gas and the others are oil fields. Five of the blocs are in Iraq’s western Anbar province or shared between Anbar and neighboring provinces; one is in th e n or th er n N in eva h provin ce; on e is sh are d bet ween central Diyala province and neighboring Wasit province while the rest are scattered throughout southern Iraq. The I raqi oil minister also reiterated his belief that $120

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul-Karim Elaibi speaks to the press in Baghdad yesterday. Iraq will auction off 12 mainly gas exploration blocs during a January 2012 bidding round as the country pushes ahead with efforts to beef up its energy sector, the oil minister said. —AP per barrel is an acceptable price for oil and would not affect the gl ob a l e conomy. E l a i b i f i r s t made the comments back in March when oil was hovering a round $102 a b a r re l. S i nce then oil prices have climbed to almost $113 a barrel as fighting in Libya has shut down almost all the OPEC member’s oil output. The jump in oil prices has

been a boon for Iraq, also an O P E C m e m b e r. B a ghd a d i s almost entirely dependent on the price of oil for revenue and rebuilding its war- damaged economy. The blocs that will be on offer in January are expected to add about 29 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to the current 126.7 trillion cubic feet in reserves, and about 10 billion

b a r re l s of oi l to t he c ur re nt 143.1 billion barrels of oil. Iraq plans to increase daily oil production to 6.5 million barrels by 2014 compared to its current production of 2.75 million barrels per day. Output is projected to climb to 3.3 million barrels per day in 2012 and 4.5 million barrels per day in 2013. —AP

ExxonMobil sells May Yanbu at lower price

TOKYO: Japanese Trade Minister Banri Kaieda, center, joins hands with South Korean counterpart Kim Jong-hoon, right, and Chinese counterpart Chen Deming, left, before the economic and trade ministers’ meeting among Japan, China and South Korea in Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, April 24, 2011. —AP

South Korea, Australia set free-trade talks deadline SEOUL: The leaders of South Korea and Australia vowed yesterday to wrap up by the end of the year their talks on a free trade agreement, which had stalled over access to Seoul’s beef market. President Lee Myung-Bak and Prime Minister Julia Gillard “looked forward to building on a mutually beneficial and stable partnership in trade and the development of natural resources”, according to a joint statement after their summit. They reaffirmed “their joint goal to conclude the (FTA) negotiations this year.” The talks, which started in May 2009, hit a snag over Australia’s demand for the wider opening of the beef market. It is seeking similar access to that given to the United States in an FTA signed in December but not yet in force. Last year Australia exported 122,000 tons of beef to South Korea, accounting for almost half of all imports. “I believe we can reach agreement, and I certainly believe we should reach agreement,” Gillard told reporters before the summit, saying an FTA would especially benefit Australia’s agricultural sector. In the summit talks she also expressed hope that gas projects involving Australian and South Korean companies could be brought to “a successful conclusion in the near future”, the statement said. Last December South Korea’s state gas company agreed to buy 3.5 million tons of

liquefied natural gas (LNG) a year from Australia for 20 years starting 2015. Korea Gas will buy a 15 percent stake in Australia’s Gladstone LNG project led by Santos. The two leaders also agreed to work together to advance “international climate change negotiations toward a strong, collective response”. Lee suggested that his country’s firms, with cutting-edge technologies, could take part in Australia’s national broadband network project. Gillard Sunday attended a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of a battle at Gapyeong, Australia’s largest military action during the 1950-53 Korean War when it joined a United Nations force defending the South. Some 340 Australian soldiers were killed in the overall conflict. “The Korean War has often been referred to as the ‘forgotten war’. The battle of Gapyeong itself was referred to as the ‘forgotten battle’ of the ‘forgotten war’,” she told reporters yesterday. “I’d like Australians to remember the heroism our veterans showed, our fighting personnel showed, in this place 60 years ago.” Gillard earlier yesterday attend a dawn service marking ANZAC Day-memorial day for Australia and New Zealand-at the National War Memorial in Seoul. She was later to head for China, last leg of her nor theast Asian trip which began in Japan. —AFP

SINGAPORE: ExxonMobil has sold 90,000 tons of high-viscosity fuel oil for early May loading at lower price levels amid a heavilysupplied market for next month that has seen fundamentals weaken, traders said yesterday. The 700-centistoke (cst) cargo, for May 810 loading from the joint-venture Samref refinery in Yanbu, was sold to European trader Vitol at a discount of around $25.00 a ton to Singapore spot quotes on a free-onboard (FOB) basis, down from minus $16.00$17.00 previously. “Demand for such high-viscosity cargoes is not great, from both the Middle East and East Asian markets, while freight for the Yanbu-Singapore route has not been cheap, especially with the war premiums for the region,” a Singapore-based Asian trader said. “It would make sense for a player like

Vitol, which is primarily a value taker in the market, to take the cargo as they have options both in Fujairah and Singapore, and can maximize its value.” The previous offering, for April 26-28 loading, was sold to Thailand’s PTT at a discount of around $16.00 a ton to Singapore spot quotes, FOB, up from minus $25.00$27.00 for the April 12-14 lifting parcel just before. The market has been weakened by heavier Western arbitrage flows for May, which has seen about 3.7 million tons booked so far, on the back of six-year high volumes totalling 4.4-4.5 million tons for second-half March/first-half April. Reflecting the weaker market, cash differentials for the bunkers 380-cst grade have fallen to premiums below $4.00 a ton last week, while the prompt May/June time-

spread has dropped to around $2.00-$2.50 a ton, from above $4.00, in just over a week. The market’s downside was limited by thinner April-loading exports from the Middle East, mainly Saudi Arabia and India. April-loading volumes from Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s largest supplier, have fallen to 350,000-400,000 tons, down from above 700,000 tons for March-lifting as refineries undergo seasonal maintenance. Only two May-loading cargoes, totalling about 150,000 tons, have been sold so far and Saudi exports are expected to stay thin until September, as the kingdom enters its peak summer demand period from next month. Indian volumes for April loading totalled about 250,000 tons, down from 350,000400,000 tons for the previous lifting month, Reuters data show. — Reuters

Waha Capital Q1 net drops 11%, eyes convertible sale

DHAKA: Bangladeshi police detain a demonstrator during a protest in front of The Dhaka Stock Exchange in Dhaka yesterday. Sharp falls in stocks have led to violent protests again by retail investors as the key Dhaka stocks index slipped 212 points. —AFP

DUBAI: Waha Capital posted a 10.9 percent drop in firstquarter profit as a restructuring of its leasing business and a consolidation of investments in its aviation business in the fourth-quarter cut into profit. The Abu Dhabi-listed firm on Monday said net profit fell to 29.77 million dirhams ($8.11 million) in the first quarter, as compared with 33.42 million dirhams in the comparable period one-year earlier. Waha said its operating income, which includes share of profits from investment in equity accounted investees, dropped to 83.4 million dirhams from 112.2 million dirhams in the first quarter of last year due to the restructuring and consolidation of investments. The company said it suffered a loss of 60.3 million dirhams in the quarter from investments in equity accounted investees. Waha, which is involved in real estate and leasing for the oil and aviation sectors including deals for military planes for the UAE Armed Forces, plans to issue 500 million dirhams ($136.1 million) of convertible notes by the end of June. The notes will be converted into shares within three years of the issue. Conversion price and coupon rates have yet to be approved by the board of directors, the company said in a statement to the bourse. In March, Waha’s chief financial officer said the company is eyeing investments in the regional maritime sector in 2011. —Reuters

Libyan rebel oil output down for 4 more weeks BENGHAZI, Libya: Libyan rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi won’t be able to produce more crude oil for at least another four weeks and are taking steps to conserve precious supplies of fuel and money, the top oil official in the breakaway east said on Sunday. The rebels need to repair equipment to pump oil from two key fields in the rebel-controlled east, Messla and Sarir, that were damaged in fighting, said Wahid Bughaigis, who serves

as oil minister for the rebels. “We just finished the assessment, and we are in the process of mobilizing the repairs,” Bughaigis told reporters in Benghazi, the de facto capital of the rebel-held east. “We believe we need a minimum of four weeks to get back on stream.” OPEC-member Libya sits atop Africa’s largest proven oil reserves. But Libyan exports have largely disappeared from the international market since the uprising began, helping drive oil prices to their

highest levels in more than two years. Earlier this month, the Gulf state of Qatar helped rebels complete the sale of 1 million barrels of crude that netted roughly $129 million for the anti-Gadhafi forces. But Bughaigis said he believed the rebels have spent much of that money on things like impor ted gasoline. “ To put things in perspective, one cargo of gasoline of 25,000 metric tons costs us $75 million, so you don’t go far with $129 million,” he said.

Gasoline is sold at highly subsidized prices in eastern Libya. But Bughaigis said the rebels may have to re-examine whether the current consumption is sustainable. “If it was only up to me, I would certainly put some rationing into the system, but we don’t want to give any satisfaction to Gaddafi,” said Bughaigis. “We want to show him we can run the country.” To conserve fuel, the rebels have cut electricity production in Benghazi by 25 percent, said Bughaigis. The main

plant providing power to the city used to be run with natural gas supplied from the oil facilities in Brega, now under government control. Now power plants are must rely on imported diesel fuel, he said. The reduction in electricity production, which has been achieved by cutting power for up to 3.5 hours in different parts of the city, is meant to give the rebels “some breathing time between arrivals of tankers,” said Bughaigis.



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Fed approaches crossroads as growth slows WASHINGTON: It’s decision time for the Federal Reserve. The central bank’s top policy panel will convene in Washington today and tomorrow to decide if the recovery can make-do with less Fed help. Concretely, the seven men and three women who vote on the Fed’s rate-setting panel will have to choose whether or not to extend a $600 billion stimulus plan that is scheduled to end in June. Until recently the choice had appeared pretty straight forward. Growth was picking up nicely and the recovery was, in the Fed’s own words, “on a firmer footing.” But amid higher oil prices and government spending cuts, the economy now appears to be slowing. The Federal Open Market Committee itself is expected to lower its growth forecasts during the meeting. “We expect a modest downgrade,” said Goldman Sachs economist Sven Jari Stehn. Economists are also worried that consumer prices

could be ticking upward, crimping consumer spending and further putting the recovery at risk. Americans have seen the price of gasoline rise over eight percent in the last month and the average gallon now costs 35 percent more than it did a year ago. That has left the Fed with a tough choice between potentially pulling the plug on the recovery or continuing spending, which risks fueling inflation that could quickly spill out of control. Most economists expect the central bank to slowly pull away from their crisis era policies, and allow the purchases to end. But after a failed attempt last year to return to normalize policies, the Fed is expected to roll back two years of exceptionally loose monetary policy very cautiously. “The FOMC will opt to go slowly in reversing policy accommodation, especially after last year’s failed attempt to wean the economy off monetary stimulus,”

said Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist, of Mizuho Securities US. Ricchiuto predicted the Fed would not spend any more than the $600 billion already committed, but would reinvest when their bond or other purchases mature, keeping the level of stimulus in the economy steady for at least three months. Whatever happens Fed chairman Ben Bernanke will get a chance to explain the decision when he appears for the Fed’s first-ever post meeting press conference. But with billions of dollars riding on Bernanke’s comments, the first conference is expected to be cautious affair. “In the future, the press conferences may become an important source of new information about the Fed’s thought process-probably at the expense of the post-meeting minutes-but in the near term we expect them to be relatively cut and dry,” said Joseph LaVorgna and Carl Riccadonna, economists with Deutsche Bank Securities. — AFP

Federal Reserve Governor Ben Bernanke

Energy-rich C Asia, Gulf states plan new rail route New transit link could be part of North-South project Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani

India’s Reliance admits gas output boost woes MUMBAI: India’s Reliance Industries said yesterday that boosting gas output was proving “more complex than envisaged” as it comes under pressure to raise offshore production. The country’s largest private sector firm said it was pressing ahead with attempts to extract gas from the D6 deepwater block, its largest oil field, located off the Bay of Bengal in eastern India. Increased output is seen as vital for both the company and to fuel India’s red-hot economic growth. But it warned: “Based on over two years of production data, the reservoirs appear to be more complex than earlier envisaged. “Continuous and significant efforts are underway for understanding these reservoirs,” Reliance said in a presentation to analysts, who have expressed concern about the company’s falling gas output. “Efforts are underway to identify (oil) well locations for incremental production and sustenance,” the company added in the document posted on its website. The explanation comes amid growing concerns about Reliance’s ability to boost gas production from the field, which has seen the company’s stock price underperform. Reliance, which is seen as a bellwether for Indian stocks, has seen output from the block fall in the past year, prompting talks with India’s upstream regulator about how to lift production. Gas output from the block touched a peak of 60 million metric standard cubic metres a day last year but has since fallen to 50 million, according to Indian energy regulatory officials. Earlier this year, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani signed a multi-billion-dollar tie-up with British energy giant BP aimed at helping the Indian firm develop hard-toexploit reserves. BP has agreed to pay $7.2 billion for a 30-percent stake in Reliance’s 23 largely unexplored deepwater oil and gas fields, including D6. Fast-growing, energy-hungry India imports around three-quarters of its oil needs but is looking to improve domestic production rates as the economy surges along at around eight percent a year. Reliance on Thursday reported a record quarterly profit of 53.76 billion rupees ($1.2 billion) for the three months ended March, up 14.1 percent year-on-year, but the increase lagged market expectations. The disappointing earnings prompted shares in the company to drop more than three percent to 1,006.5 rupees by early afternoon yesterday.—AFP

Dollar firms on BOJ’s view on Japan downturn TOKYO: The dollar firmed yesterday after Japan’s central bank chief said he expected a slump for the year’s first half before an economic pickup towards year-end, analysts said. The greenback stood at 82.23 yen, gaining from 81.88 yen Friday afternoon in Tokyo. The euro bought $1.4579 and 119.89 yen, compared with $1.4571 and 119.30 yen Friday. The US and European markets were closed on Friday for Easter holidays. Investors turned cautious about the yen after Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa joined a number of private economists in saying the world’s number three economy would likely contract in the first half. Stalled production due to damage from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11 was seen pulling down the overall economy, he said in a media interview last week. The remark was followed by a separate news report Monday that the central bank was preparing to downgrade its economic growth outlook for the year to March 2012 from 1.6 percent to around 0.8 percent. “With such remarks, the BOJ might have tried to lay the foundation for a possible downward revision in its growth forecast,” said Hideki Hayashi, global economist at Mizuho Securities. “This should also support the dollar/yen” amid a bearish view for the US unit due to fading expectations of an early credit tightening by the US Federal Reserve, he added. Daiwa SB Investments senior fund manager Kenichiro Ikezawa said: “This is Shirakawa confirming that the BoJ’s easy policy will remain for a while.” “The yen will likely weaken,” he said. — AFP

ASHGABAT: Turkmenistan and Uzbek istan agreed yesterday with Iran, Qatar and Oman to create a transit rail route linking energy-rich but landlocked Central Asia to the Gulf. The new transport corridor will run from Uzbekistan across Turkmenistan and then to the Gulf via Iran, bypassing chronically unstable Afghanistan next door. “This is a legally binding agreement ... which allows us to

start creating a new geo-economic space,” Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov said before signing the agreement on establishing the transport and transit corridor. He signed the document with his counterpar ts from Uzbekistan, Iran, Oman and a deputy foreign minister from Qatar. “This is a historic document ...(it) is in the interests of the Central Asian region and the

Gulf,” Uzbek Foreign Minister Elyor Ganiyev told journalists. Officials declined to disclose the length and the cost of the project, or to say when it could be implemented. An official close to the talks said that besides railway transport communication, the five sides are also discussing ways to simplify customs procedures to facilitate trade. Turkmenistan is Central Asia’s

No. 1 producer and exporter of natural gas, holding the world’s fourth-largest reserves of the fuel. I t also aims to boost its crude oil output more than sixfold to 67 million tons by 2030. Its neighbor Uzbekistan is a major producer of cotton and gold and is also estimated to hold ample hydrocarbon reserves. A Turkmen official said the new transit link could be par t of the planned 934-k m

(585-mile) North-South railway corridor, already being developed to improve Turkmenistan’s access to nor thern neighbor Kazakhstan and further northwards to Russia. That rail line is due for completion by September 2012. Last month Turkmenistan secured a $125-million loan from the Asian Development Bank to improve infrastructure along a third of the North-South link. — Reuters

Johnson Controls posts 29% rise in 2Q earnings

NEW YORK: Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam (right) arrives at federal court with his attorney John Dowd, in New York. The government has said Rajaratnam, who was born in Sri Lanka, earned more than $50 million illegally by trading on inside information since 2003. He has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and security fraud charges. —AP

NY trial tapes seen as Wall St wake-up call NEW YORK: The secretly taped conversations aired at the insider trading trial of Raj Rajaratnam, a one-time billionaire hedge fund boss, have given jurors a sometimes colorful dose of the go-bigor-go-home mentality at Wall Street firms. Now the jury must determine whether the conduct caught on tape was criminal. Regardless of its decision, the highly publicized audio evidence alone seems certain to make an impression on high-stakes financiers and how they do business. The wiretaps should “scare the hell out of anyone thinking about doing insider trading,” said Ed Novak, a veteran white-collar defense attorney in Phoenix. For seven weeks, federal prosecutors in New York have played nearly 50 tapes of conversations between the 53-year-old defendant and fellow portfolio managers, analysts and executives at public companies, including some who have pleaded guilty to charges that they tipped off Rajaratnam. Prosecutors accuse Rajaratnam, who was arrested in October 2009, of making at least $68 million by trading illegally after he started his now defunct family of hedge funds, the Galleon Group, more than a decade ago. Defense attorney John Dowd has told the Manhattan federal jury in closing arguments that what they hear on the tapes is nothing more than his client discussing stock outlooks that were widely known among professional traders who pay attention to every scrap of information on the securities they follow. But the defense focus on the intricacies of what constitutes material and immaterial or public and non-public information, and the finer points of when Rajaratnam received guidance from an in-house analyst versus one of the alleged tipsters “is going right past most jurors,” Novak said.

When the jurors begin deliberating — possibly as soon as yesterday afternoon — Novak predicted, “ They’re going to immediately talk about those tape recordings, and that’s where the case is going to be decided.” One of the only defenses against the wiretaps is “don’t believe your ears,” said Jonathan New, a former prosecutor now in whitecollar defense in New York. “That’s a very hard thing to sell.” Prosecutors alleged in their closing arguments that Rajaratnam, who was born in Sri Lanka, was motivated by money and a desire to “conquer the stock market at the expense of the law.” The gunslinger mindset of the Galleon chief and others, the government says, was demonstrated in a July 2008 conversation with admitted conspirator Danielle Chiesi in which they gloat over a blockbuster inside trade. “But it’s a conquest right?” Rajaratnam says. “It’s a conquest,” she says. “It’s mentally fabulous for me. ... You’re a warrior. I’m a warrior.” And there’s more, like the day in July 2008 when prosecutors say a brassy-sounding Chiesi called Rajaratnam to give him an inside tip that a stock price was dipping. “They’re going to guide down,” she says. “I just got a call from my guy. I played him like a fine-tuned piano.” Prosecutors say Rajaratnam taught Chiesi to cover her tracks when she was trading on secrets by moving money in and out of companies to imitate an innocent investment pattern. During an August 2008 conversation, she asks him if she should use the tactic with a computer chip maker whose stock she thinks might shoot up 30 percent once a secret’s out. “I think you should buy and sell, and buy and sell, you know?” Rajaratnam tells her. At a minimum, the sometimes brazen tone of the tapes shows that Rajaratnam and others — while cau-

tious with their email and instant-message traffic — were uninhibited on phone calls. In another call, Chiesi muses that she might be under investigation and tells Rajaratnam she’s “glad that we talk on a secure line” — a segment that drew muffled chuckles in the courtroom. The exchange reflects a sense in the hedge fund culture “that the phone is a safe place,” said Eric Fisher, a New York defense attorney and former federal prosecutor. “And it usually is — absent a wiretap.” The behavior exposed in the Galleon case is still outside the norm on Wall Street, said New. Still, he added, if federal authorities are seeking to send a warning, the securities industry is hearing it. “There’s a concern on Wall Street that you have a very aggressive prosecutor in the picture,” he said. The Galleon investigation that led to more than two dozen arrests and 20 guilty pleas has already led firms where employees have access to secrets about public companies to tighten policies and procedures, said Latour “L.T.”‘ Lafferty, a former federal prosecutor now practicing whitecollar defense in a Tampa, Florida, firm. “When you start seeing people in handcuffs doing the perp walk, that’s called one healthy dose of reality,” Lafferty said. “ The government warns you against this type of conduct and everybody looks the other way until people start getting arrested.” But Richard Scheff, a former Department of the Treasury official and defense attorney in Philadelphia, predicted that human nature would trump the case’s deterrence effect. Decades of wiretapping by federal authorities in a variety of cases “hasn’t deterred a lot of people, and the reason is nobody thinks it’s going to be them,” Scheff said. “What drives this kind of conduct,” he added, “is greed, and greed colors judgment.” — AP

MILWAUKEE: Johnson Controls Inc.’s fiscal second-quarter earnings climbed 29 percent on higher revenue as all three of its business segments reported double-digit sales increases amid a recovering global economy.The Milwaukee company, which makes auto parts and building climate control systems, cut its third-quarter earnings and revenue guidance as it warned that higher climate control sales will be offset by auto production cuts due to the earthquake in Japan. It raised its full-year revenue guidance, however. Its shares fell 42 cents, or 1 percent, to $40.31 in pre-market trading. Johnson Controls said yesterday its net income rose to a record $354 million, or 51 cents a share, for the quarter ending March 31, up from $274 million, or 40 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding acquisition and restructuring costs, the company said it earned 56 cents per share. That beat the 55 cents a share that analysts polled by FactSet expected. Revenue rose 22 percent to $10.1 billion from $8.3 billion a year ago. Analysts expected $9.4 billion. The company reported that its auto parts operation saw revenue jump 25 percent from the same quarter of last year to $5.2 billion as it finished 18 major product launches in the quarter for Ford, Daimler, Kia, Volkswagen, Tata and Honda. The power solutions business, which includes auto batteries, saw revenue jump 19 percent to $1.4 billion as original equipment and replacement battery shipments rose. Revenue rose 18 percent to $3.5 billion at its building efficiency unit with strong demand in North America in the education, health care and government markets. The unit had an order backlog of $5.1 billion, up 18 percent from last year, the company said. JCI raised its revenue forecast for the full 2011 fiscal year by $1 billion to $39.5 billion. That’s up 15 percent over 2010, due mainly to higher growth in the building efficiency operations, partially offset by lower auto production in the third quarter because of the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Analysts expected revenue of $38.7 billion for the year. The company said it expects thirdquarter revenue to drop by $500 million due to the earthquake, lowering earnings per share by 16 cents to 18 cents. Even with the production cuts, it still expects to earn 51 cents to 53 cents per share for the quarter. Analysts expected earnings of 67 cents a share for the third quarter on $9.7 billion in revenue. —AP

ATLANTA: Huggies diapers, a product of Kimberly Clark, sits on a shelf in Atlanta. The maker of Kleenex and Huggies said yesterday, its first-quarter net income fell 9.5 percent because it shelled out more for materials to make its products. —AP

Kimberly-Clark profit falls as costs climb DALLAS: The maker of Kleenex and Huggies says its firstquarter net income fell 9.5 percent because it shelled out more for materials to make its products. Consumergoods giant Kimberly-Clark Corp. also says it will raise prices and work to cut costs. Net income fell to $372 million, or 86 cents per share, from $411 million, or 92 cents per share, last year. First-quarter revenue rose 4 percent to $5.03 billion, helped by strength in Asia and Latin America. The company says it expects sales keep growing. Excluding onetime items, earnings were $1.09 per share. Analysts expected $1.17 per share on revenue of $5.03 billion. The company lowered the low end of its full-year guidance because of uncertainty about how much costs will climb. It raised expectations for 2011 revenue. —AP




3M chooses Danube as a solutions provider for ME DUBAI: Dedicated to innovation and technology,3M Gulf in collaboration with Danube will bring the Middle East market industrial types of products across 45 technology platforms. 3M’s strategic relationship with Danube Building Materials, a leader in construction, building materials and shop fitting industries, will offer comprehensive construction solutions to the region’s industry. Through this strategic agreement, Danube will also market 3M’s products across the Middle East; in particular abrasives, adhesives and tapes, creating a presence for the innovation company in Danube’s 26 outlets across the region. Rizwan Sajan,Chairman, Danube Building

Materials; “The strategic partnership between Danube and 3M represents a wide range of potential opportunities for both companies and the collective aim to strengthen market presence in the Middle East region. 3M is a world class company that has made its mark in the production and development of abrasives and adhesives that are widely used in offices and homes alike. We consider it a privilege to be able to market 3M products across our branches in the region. Our alliance with 3M is only the first of many planned key partnerships with leading brands; strongly reflecting our commitment to provide our customers with high quality, world class prod-

ucts for the home and commercial use.” Fadi Medlej, Country Business Leader for I&TB, 3M; “Today, 3M counts more than 55,000 innovative products that improve our world within every industry. With our new partnership with Danube, we ensure that 3M’s development, products and technologies in the construction industry will be accessible throughout the Middle East. Our partnership brings to the region the abrasives, specialty adhesives and tapes that is certain to increase the efficiency, productivity and profitability of manufacturers and consumers across the local industry. At the same time, the presence of 3M products at popular

outlets such as Danube’s stores, positively increases our footprint and our presence in the region.” Danube’s strategic move is to create a strong market presence in the Middle East construction industry. The company today has a total of over 26 global retail facilities - 17 in the UAE, two in Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia& three in India. Danube aims to reach a target revenue of about $1 billion by the year 2015 while leveraging world class high quality building materials across the various construction and development projects in the region. 3M’s industrial differentiated products increase efficiency, productivity and

profitability for manufactures and consumers alike across the industry and are therefore the ideal products to help Danube achieve its regional goals. A recognized leader in research and development, 3M produces thousands of innovative products for dozens of diverse markets. 3M’s core strength is applying its more than 40 distinct technology platforms - often in combination - to a wide array of customer needs. With $23 billion in sales, 3M employs 75,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries. For more information, visit or follow @3MNews on Twitter.

Nintendo to launch new Wii as profits dwindle Wii console sales fall to 15.1m units

MOSCOW: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (5th L) chairs a joint meeting of the presidential commission on economic modernization and technological development in Russia, along with members of the board of trustees of the Skolkovo Foundation, at the Digital October IT center in downtown Moscow yesterday. — AFP


Get a grip on file management WASHINGTON: When it comes to managing the files you store on your computer, you have two choices. You can ignore the task and spend increasing amounts of time trying to find what you know you have. Or you can acquire tools and a system that help you avoid duplication, make files easy to find, and restore some sanity to your digital life. If the second option sounds more appealing, read on. Q: My collection of MP3 files now consumes more than 1 terabyte of disk space. I know I have lots of duplicate files. What’s the best way to find them? A: You need to enlist the help of a duplicate file finder. There are many on the market. A few well regarded ones are Duplicate Cleaner (, Auslogics Duplicate File Finder (, and DoubleKiller ( While you’ll find many duplicate file finders on the internet, be careful when installing them: most include some type of add-on bar from a sponsor that you may or may not want. Uncheck any options during installation that will just annoy you. Duplicate file finders are generally easy to use. Just start them, point them to a folder or drive that you know contains duplicates, and have them search for files with the same name or content. Then instruct the programs to remove (or move) the duplicates. Q: In a large folder full of files, is there any way to force one or two important files always to appear at the top? A: Sure. You can place an exclamation mark (!) at the beginning of the file names. Doing so causes Windows to move those files to the top, even above those with names beginning with “a.” You can perform this trick on folders as well, forcing some folders always to appear above others. Placing two exclamation marks before a file name causes that file to take precedence over files or folders with one exclamation mark. If you do this with a lot of files or folders, though, you end up with a bunch of files at the top of the list, and you’ll start to run into the same problem with finding what you want quickly. So use this trick sparingly. Q: My wife stores every conceiv-

able type of file in one place, and now it’s almost impossible to find a specific file efficiently. Do you have any suggestions for how to quickly bring order to this chaos? A: You could start by sorting that huge folder full of files by file type. Windows Explorer makes that easy. Just open Windows Explorer (Windows key+E), navigate to the folder full of files, and then click the Type column header in the file list pane. In the blink of an eye, all of those files will be sorted by the application that created them. Select all files of a particular type and move them into a new folder structure that makes sense to you. For instance, you might want to start by having folders called Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentation, Photos, Videos, and so forth. Beneath each of those folders, you might create subfolders by year, project, occasion, or purpose - whatever makes the most sense. When you’re finished, just remember to open all of the applications your wife uses and change the default file location to match your new file storage system. That way, when she saves files, they’ll go in the proper place. Q: To share files with several others in my house, should I use the Windows 7 HomeGroup feature or a network attached storage device? A: HomeGroup makes sharing files and printers less painful than it used to be, but there’s a catch: all of the computers sharing files have to be turned on. It doesn’t hurt to tr y HomeGroup, though. To get started, just open the Start menu, type “homegroup,” and follow the instructions. A network attached storage (NAS) drive or device is designed to be always on, connected to your wireless router. Its sole purpose is to store data and allow several people or machines to access it. You’ll find NAS devices online at any major electronics retailer. A Windows Home Ser ver machine (such as an HP MediaSmart) is perhaps a preferable option, though. As with a NAS, you connect it to your router and can use it as centralized storage, but it offers the advantage of also backing up every connected computer every night, and you can even use it to access your home computers when you’re on the road. — dpa

OSAKA: Nintendo Co Ltd said it would launch a successor to its ageing Wii game console in 2012 as it struggles to win back users from rivals Microsoft and Sony and seeks to reverse a slump in profits. Nintendo said on Monday that it expects profits to remain almost flat in the current financial year, despite the launch of its muchtouted 3D-capable handheld games device, whose sales in Japan have been overshadowed by the devastating March 11 earthquake. The maker of the DS handheld game player, which is also facing competition from smartphone and tablet makers including Apple Inc , said on Monday it will demonstrate the Wii’s replacement in Los Angeles on June 7 at the E3 game show. Nintendo is looking to repeat past successes in the gaming market. The Wii took the industry by storm five years ago by offering family games such as tennis and bowling that appealed to a broad audience rather than just “core” gamers. This time around, however, Nintendo will find it harder to sidestep its competitors and must also contend with a burgeoning smartphone market that didn’t exist in 2006, said Mitsushige Akino, Chief Fund Manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management. “Core users and game lovers will certainly buy it, but I think it will be hard to capture buyers outside of that group,” he said. Yesterday, the company revealed quarterly profit of just 12 billion yen, down from 59.9 billion yen a year earlier, as it slashed prices and the strong yen hurt the value of its sales abroad. Having sold 86 million units of the Wii since its launch in 2006, sales last business year slipped by a quarter to 15 million. “We believe that the share price will come under pressure as the market digests the weak Q4 results and company projection for the year to March 2012,” analyst Jay Defibaugh of MF Global said in a research note. Nintendo sees first half profit for the current financial year down more than 63 percent on the previous year, with a bounce back in the second half. Nintendo declined to provide further details on the Wii successor. “As for the details of exactly what it will be, we have decided that it is best to let people

CHIBA: In a picture taken September 29, 2010 a Nintendo employee displays a new portable videogame console with a 3D display called the “Nintendo 3DS” at a conference in Chiba, suburban Tokyo. — AFP experience it for themselves at E3,” Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata, told a news conference. “So I won’t talk about specific details today, but it will offer a new way of playing games within the home,” said Iwata, a former game designer. In another transition to new-generation hardware, Nintendo this year launched a glasses-free 3D-capable handheld games device, the 3DS, to fend off growing competition from other games companies, as well as makers of smartphones and tablets. It must also contend with Microsoft and Sony which have brought new products to the market since the Wii’s debut. In March, Microsoft said it had sold more than 10 million Kinect motion-sensing game system units worldwide in just over four months, making it the fastest-selling consumer device on record. The infrared camera add-on for the Xbox game console tracks body gestures for video games. Sony’s rival motion sensing device is dubbed Move.

In the business year just ended, Wii console sales fell to 15.1 million units from 20.1 million a year earlier. It expects sales to fall by a further 2 million units this business year. Sales of its non-3D handheld DS shrank by almost 10 million units to 17.5 million, and the company expects that to slide to 11 million this year. Nintendo’s operating profit fell 52 percent to 171.1 billion yen ($2.09 billion) in the year ended in March from 356.8 billion yen the previous year, below a Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate of 200.8 billion yen. SmartEstimates put more weight on recent forecasts by highly rated analysts. Nintendo expects operating profit of 175 billion yen for the year to March 2012, compared with a consensus of 215.8 billion yen, based on eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S after the March 11 disaster. Nintendo shares closed up 0.9 percent ahead of the earnings report in a flat broader market. — Reuters

UAE to impose restrictions on BlackBerry next week DUBAI: Emirati authorities are pushing ahead with plans to impose tighter government restrictions on the most secure BlackBerry services next week, according to the CEO of one of the Gulf nation’s phone companies. But Osman Sultan, chief executive of the telecommunications firm Du, told reporters yesterday he doesn’t expect the shift May 1 to cause problems for customers, who will still have access to email, Web browsing and messaging services. His company and its rival Etisalat — both majority owned by the government — are required to implement the new policy, which would limit access to the Blackberry Enterprise Server to companies with 20 accounts or more. That system provides the most secure communication on the handheld devices and is used by many international companies and government agencies. Others users would need to rely on a less-secure system known as the BlackBerry Internet Service that experts say could be easier for authorities to monitor. “I don’t see any reason for frustration for customers,” Sultan said. “You can still access your corporate email via BIS. ... I don’t see what really is the issue.” The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority disclosed the change in policy earlier this month. Six months ago, it backed down

from a threat to impose a more sweeping ban on the most popular BlackBerry services amid concerns about security. Shortly after details of the latest restrictions became public, the TRA issued a brief statement reassuring BlackBerry users that all services would continue for both individuals and business customers, prompting speculation it might roll back plans to limit the higher-security service. It has not commented further on the matter since and did not respond to a request for clarification Monday. Sultan’s comments suggest the restrictions are still moving ahead. “The rule is still this rule,” he said. The UAE’s smartphone policies have been closely watched since last summer when it threatened to shut off BlackBerry data services partly because of security concerns. It backed off the plan in October. Critics saw the effort as a way to more closely monitor political activism in the federation. Although the UAE has seen none of the widespread unrest roiling other parts of the Arab world, authorities have detained at least four activists calling for democratic reforms in recent weeks. In 2009, Du’s rival Etisalat was caught instructing unwitting BlackBerry customers to download spy software that could allow outsiders to peer inside. — AP

Iran says it has detected second cyber attack TEHRAN: Iran has been targeted by a second computer virus in a “cyber war” waged by its enemies, its commander of civil defence said yesterday. Gholamreza Jalali told the semi-official Mehr news agency that the new virus, called “Stars”, was being investigated by experts. “Fortunately, our young experts have been able to discover this virus and the Stars virus is now in the laboratory for more investigations,” Jalali was quoted as saying. He did not specify the target of Stars or its intended impact. “The particular characteristics of the Stars virus

have been discovered,” Jalali said. “The virus is congruous and harmonious with the (computer) system and in the initial phase it does minor damage and might be mistaken for some executive files of government organisations.” Jalali warned that the Stuxnet worm, discovered in computers at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor last year, still posed a potential risk. Some experts described it as the world’s first “guided cyber missile”, aimed at Iran’s atomic programme. Iranian officials said they had neutralised Stuxnet before it did the intended damage to its nuclear facili-

ties. They blamed Israel and the United States-which believe Iran is seeking nuclear weapons-for the virus. Iran says its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful. The existence of Stuxnet became public knowledge around the time that Iran began loading fuel into Bushehr, its first nuclear reactor, last August. Iran said in September that staff computers at Bushehr had been hit but that the plant itself was unharmed. Bushehr is still not operational, having missed several start-up deadlines. This has prompted speculation that Stuxnet damaged the plant, something Iran denies. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: In this product image provided by Barnes & Noble, the youtube app is displayed on the Nook e-reader. Barnes & Noble is adding an applications store and an email program to its Nook e-reader, bringing the $249 device closer to working like a tablet computer in the vein of the iPad. — AP



health & science

‘Some us happy states have high suicide rates’ WASHINGTON: Does misery really love company? An intriguing new study suggests that may be the case. Researchers who study how people’s sense of wellbeing varies from place to place decided to compare their findings with suicide rates. The surprising result: The happiest places sometimes also have the highest suicide rates. “Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life,” suggested Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England. Or, put another way by co-author Stephen Wu of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, those surrounded by unhappy people may not feel so bad for themselves. But Wu urged caution in drawing conclusions, saying: “I don’t think that means if you are unhappy you should be around others who are unhappy.” Their study ranked Utah as the No. 1 US state for resi-

dents’ sense of well-being, but it also scored a high No. 9 in suicide rate. By contrast New York State ranked a low 45th in well-being, but an even lower 50th in suicides. The researchers came up with their rankings from a federal survey of behavioral risk factors and US Census Bureau numbers on suicide rates. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, who wasn’t involved in the research, agreed that living around people who are, on average, pretty satisfied with their lives, when you are not, can make you feel more miserable. In an interview by email, she said the findings remind her of an effect researchers have discussed in cases where a city with a reputation for being a good place to live also has a high suicide rate. The idea is, “If you’re unhappy there, you conclude, ‘something must be really wrong with me,’ or ‘nothing will make me happy,’

so you’re more likely to get depressed and take your life,” said Lyubomirsky, who researches happiness and well-being. However, she added, other things may also be at play. She suggested there may be other factors that states with high life satisfaction have in common that could be associated with high suicide rates. For example, if they are more likely to be rural, that could mean people also are more isolated. Religious beliefs that vary among states may also have an effect, she said. John F. Helliwell of the University of British Columbia, who has studied wellbeing and suicide rates internationally, said suicides tend to peak when days are longer, “not as you might have thought, when days are shortest.” Researchers have suggested that when people who are unhappy see others in happy, social situations such as picnics, that may bring their own crisis to a head. The

new study, which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, looked at the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. It lists the top 10 states for well-being as Utah, Louisiana, Colorado, Minnesota, Wyoming, Hawaii, Arizona, Delaware, Florida and Nevada. Four of those states also are in the top 10 for suicide rates, with Nevada ranked 3rd, Wyoming, 5th; Colorado, 6th; and Utah, 9th. Among the others, Arizona was 11th and Florida, 15th. The 10 states with the lowest well-being ratings are: Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan and Rhode Island. Just one of those states, West Virginia, is among the top 10 for suicides, ranking No. 8. The only other state in the top 20 was Kentucky at 16th. Wu noted that interna-

tional studies have found that Scandinavian countries also display high satisfaction levels and high suicide rates. But the researchers said that because of variations in culture and suicide-reporting systems, it’s hard to make comparisons from one country to another. To develop their data, Wu and colleagues used information collected by the federal government in the Behavioral Risk-Factor Surveillance System, a monthly survey designed to gather health data and identify emerging problems. One survey question asks people how satisfied they are with their life and the responses to that from people aged 18 to 85 formed the basis for the well-being assessment. The survey interviews more than 350,000 people each year. The suicide rank ings are based on mor tality data reported by the Census Bureau in 2008. — AP

Merck, Qiagen launch cervical cancer deal Qiagen to give 250,000 tests for women aged 35-45

VIENTIANE, Laos: This picture taken on March 15, 2011 shows vendors of fried insects handing over a plate of fried grasshoppers at a local market. — AFP

Insects: The answer to global malnutrition? VIENTIANE: Serge Verniau is a man with a mission: To persuade the world to swap the chicken wings and steaks on their plates for crickets, palm weevils and other insects rich in protein and vitamins. Verniau, the Laos representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), is only half-joking when he says his dream is “to feed the big metropolises from Tokyo to Los Angeles, via Paris” with the small arthropods. He plans to present the lessons drawn from a pilot project to the world at a conference on edible insects, probably in 2012. “Most of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Trying to feed the whole planet enough protein from cows won’t work,” Verniau told AFP. It is not by chance that the dream was born in landlocked Laos, one of the world’s poorest countries. Almost one quarter of its population of six million people, and nearly 40 percent of children below the age of five years old, suffer from malnutrition, according to figures from the Laos government. The typical rice-based diet provides insufficient nutrients for development a shortfall that could be filled by insects, highly rich in protein and vitamins. Eaten as snacks, grilled or fried, they are already part of Laos cuisine, but most people do not know how to breed them, said Oudom Phonekhampheng, dean of the faculty of agriculture at the National University of Laos. “They just take them in the wild and eat them, and then it is finished and destroyed. They have to think about the future,” he said. In a modest building in the suburbs of the capital, his department’s laboratory collects scientific data on this new area of breeding. Along with house crickets-which are already widely farmed in neighbouring Thailand-there are experiments in breeding mealworms, palm weevils and weaver ants, which are appreciated for their larvae. The students are trying out different foods for the insects in an attempt to reduce costs while maintaining quality, explains Yupa Hanboonsong, a Thai entomologist supervising the project for the FAO. Up to now, the roughly 20 cricket farms operating in Laos have used chicken feed, like thousands of Thai farms, but it is expensive and must be imported. Vegetables or waste left over from the production of the national beer, BeerLao, could be one solution, said Yupa, who hopes to “train the whole country.” Beyond the fight against malnutrition, this new economic activity can also generate revenue for farmers, added Yupa. Phouthone Sinthiphanya, 61, seized the opportunity in 2007 to supplement his meager pension after a

career in the tobacco industry. The 27 cylindrical concrete vats, about 50 centimetres (20 inches) tall, installed in the garden of his house in Vientiane produce 67 kilos (148 pounds) of crickets every two months, he explains. One kilo of live insects fetches 60,000 kips (7.5 dollars). The same quantity crushed sells for 50,000 kips. “I worked for a tobacco company and then retired. My pension was not enough so I started farming insects,” he said. “Our customers are restaurants, villagers, markets,” he said, adding that breeding the small creatures was “easy”. It requires little space or natural resources and only their singing might annoy the neighbours. “Insect farming creates less damage to the environment. It is a green protein,” said Yupa. Proponents believe such nutritional and environmental advantages could be beneficial beyond Laos, particularly in other developing countries where people are used to eating cicadas and grasshoppers. “You can make powder from crickets that is very rich in protein. It’s low in fat and it can be added to biscuits in problem areas where food rations are distributed,” said Verniau. Nor has he given up hope of persuading sceptics in the West. “When you look closely, a grey shrimp or a cricket, it has the same appeal,” he joked. — AFP

LONDON: US drugmaker Merck and German diagnostics firm Qiagen are donating millions of human papillomaviros (HPV) vaccines and 250,000 HPV tests to Rwanda to start a national cervical cancer prevention programme. Merck said yesterday it would provide Rwanda with 2 million doses of its Gardasil vaccine over three years. The shot costs around $130 a dose in the United States and protects against HPV-a sexually transmitted virus that causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. Genetic-testing specialist Qiagen is providing 250,000 HPV DNA tests for free during the first three years of the programme. They will be used to screen women aged 35-45 for HPV, while the vaccines will be offered to all Rwandan girls aged 12-15. Mark Feinberg, Merck’s vice president of medical affairs and policy said that after the first three years, Rwanda was committed to paying for the vaccine at a “dramatically” reduced price to continue the nationwide programme. He declined to specify that price

but said the firm wanted to make sure Gardasil would be affordable. “We do not want the price of the vaccine to be a barrier for these lower income countries to be able to introduce it,” he said in an interview. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in Rwanda, with more women dying from the disease than any other cancer, including breast and ovarian cancer. Prevention strategies are considered crucial, particularly since there are huge infrastructure and cost barriers to cancer treatment in Africa. Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women and was expected to kill 328,000 this year. Merck said current estimates indicated that every year in Rwanda, 986 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and 678 died from it, and these numbers were expected to nearly double by 2025. Rival drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline also makes a vaccine against HPV, called Cervarix. Many wealthy countries have started HPV

immunisation programmes with these shots for girls before they become sexually active, but the vaccines are generally too expensive and inaccessible for most people living in poorer nations. The global vaccines alliance GAVI, which funds bulk-buy vaccination programmes in developing countries where governments cannot afford to buy shots at Western prices, has said it would be keen to fund HPV vaccines in the future. Shortages of international donor funds meant it was focused on providing rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccination campaigns first. When its HPV vaccination programme for girls began yesterday, Rwanda become the first GAVI-eligible country to start a nationwide cervical cancer prevention programme. The screening of women will start later this year. Feinberg said Merck and Qiagen were also in talks with several other poorer countries, mainly in Africa, about reaching similar agreements in the future. — Reuters

Runners need to beware of sugar boosts FRANKFURT: The legs are heavy, the heartbeat rapid, the fatigue total. Many long-distance runners have experienced this state. Some then immediately ingest large amounts of glucose. Others say this only makes the fatigue worse. In his bestselling book “Ultra-marathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner,” American running guru Dean Karnazes writes that he has completely eliminated refined sugar from his diet. Is sugar really so bad? It is a main ingredient, after all, in many energy drinks. Sugar is a member of the carbohydrate family. Carbohydrates are found in foods are varied as whole-grain bread and vegetables, and enter the bloodstream at different speeds. “Slow ” carbohydrates deliver energy longer, while “fast” carbohydrates give an immediate energy boost. The glycemic index (GI) is a

scale that measures how a food’s carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels, noted Thomas Konrad, director of the Institute of Metabolic Research (ISF) in Frankfurt. High GI carbohydrates such as white bread and sweets cause blood sugar levels to rise very rapidly, Konrad explained. This prompts the body to release the hormone insulin. But is that bad? “Insulin channels excess sugar from the blood into energy storage,” remarked German running coach and author Herbert Steffny, who was a professional marathon runner for many years. This is good during a run, he said, because muscles are supplied with fuel and carbohydrate reserves are built up. “But you don’t burn calories when you snack in front of the television set,” he said. “Then the insulin works like a fattening hormone.” So when does a runner need sugar? “Someone who likes to push

it to the limit sometimes, runs for over an hour or is training for a moderate city run needs a quick source of energy during long training sessions,” said Hans Braun, a nutritionist at the German Spor t University in Cologne. Such sources are primarily energy drinks, bars and gels, which contain a lot of sugar. The question for leisure-time runners, though, is how strenuous must a training regimen be before “fast” carbohydrates are really necessary. “You don’t need them at all either before or during a normal endurance run of up to an hour,” Steffny said. So leisuretime athletes with no ambitions to run a marathon should ban “fast” carbohydrates from their diet. After training, too, it is a good idea to fill up the body’s energy stores with “slow” carbohydrates, Steffny said. They are found in foods including potatoes, vegetables, whole-grain

bread and oat flakes. Sugar, on the other hand, is a fattener whether you are a runner or not. As a rule, it is unnecessary for most runners’ “normal” training runs. The body requires a quick energy boost only during long training sessions or competition. Karnazes is a case in point. In his book, he lists the foods he ate during a 199-mile run, which included five chocolate cookies, four peanut butter sandwiches and a cheesecake. In Braun’s view, it is sufficient for leisure-time runners when about half of their energy comes from carbohydrates. “Someone training for a race definitely needs more, though,” noted Steffny, who also recommends high-quality protein after training. “You don’t need powder for that. Low-fat curd cheese, eggs and fish are cheaper,” he said, adding that about a quarter of the calories should come from high-quality oils and fats. — dpa

Schoolchildren should watch their salt intake

MANILA: Filipinos defy a sign that reads “It is strictly prohibited to swim at Manila Bay. It is hazardous to your health.” posted at the bayside promenade in Manila, Philippines. — AP

COLOGNE: A schoolchild between the ages of 7 and 10 should consume no more than five grams of salt per day, or about one level teaspoon, said Ulrich Fegeler, spokesman for Germany’s Professional Association of Children’s and Young People’s Physicians. “Most of the salt that we ingest - about 75 per cent - is contained in products such as cheese, sausage and ready-to-serve meals,” he warned, citing the Berlin-based, non-profit consumer-protection organization Foodwatch. “Sausage products for children and fast food in particular often contain more than the recommended amounts.” Studies have shown that too much salt can raise children’s blood pressure just as it does adults’. Foods containing salt include anchovies, bacon, salami, ham, shrimp, olives, pizza, pickled cucumbers, salted nuts and potato crisps. “When shopping, parents should pay attention to the sodium content,” Fegeler advised. Products with more than 0.6 grams of sodium (Na+) or over 1.5 grams of table salt (sodium chloride: NaCl) per 100 grams is too salty, he said. To roughly calculate how many grams of table salt a food contains, multiply the sodium content in grams by 2.5. Ac c o rd i n g t o K i G G S - t h e G e r m a n H e a l t h Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents - male adolescents between the ages of 15 and 18 are especially fond of salty foods, consuming 10 grams daily on average. The recommended maximum for this age group is 6 grams. — dpa



health & science

Brain can shrink years before Alzheimer’s appears Boston/Chicago: Reductions in brain size surface nearly a decade before the first symptoms of Alzheimer ’s disease emerge according to a new study. Scientists examined the brains of people with no indications of Alzheimer’s and followed up with them over the years. And the result was that individuals with less brain matter in certain regions had a three-times higher risk of the disease than study members whose brain structures were above-average size in those areas. “These are preliminary results that are not ready to be applied outside of reactions studies right now,” said study author Bradford Dickerson of Har vard Medical School. “But we are optimistic that this marker will be useful in the future.” The study, in which researchers used MRI scans, was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston and Rush University in Chicago

and published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Alzheimer’s is accompanied by shrinkage of brain size, has no cure and usually affects individuals over 65 years of age. Individuals with this neurodegenerative disease suffer from memor y loss and behaviour changes. To date there are no medicines that heal or prevent the disease, only ones that can slow its progression. The study included two groups of persons over 70 years who had no signs of Alzheimer’s. One group of 33 people was followed for 11 years and eight of them developed the condition. In the second group, 32 people were tracked for an average of seven years and seven of them developed Alzheimer ’s disease or dementia. The researches concentrated their scans on areas of the brain k nown to be involved in Alzheimer’s and divided the study members into three groups - those

with low, average and high measurements in those areas. Of the 11 people who had the lowest MRI measurements, 55 per cent developed dementia, while none of the nine people with the highest measurements developed Alzheimer’s. Of those with average measurements, 20 per cent developed the disease. People with cortical thinning or shrinkage were later more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “Comparing the data from Chicago and Boston showed very similar results,” said Leyla deToledo Morrell from Chicago’s Rush University Medical Centre. The MRI measurements, deToledo-Morrell added, could become an important indicator to help predict who might be at risk from Alzheimer’s. And should a medical treatment be developed in the future, persons without symptoms but at risk could benefit the most, the researcher said. —dpa

Hot baths in winter might lead to cardiac arrest NEW YORK: That long soak in a hot tub to warm up during the winter could hold some unexpected dangers, a Japanese study has found. Taking a hot bath on a cold day may spell trouble for the heart, said a team led by Chika Nishiyama, at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine School of Nursing, with the rate of cardiac arrests during bathing rising ten-fold from summer to winter. The findings could be especially significant in Japan, where bathing is a key part of life both at home and as a form of recreation, with people flocking to the country’s numerous hot springs for long, relaxing soaks. “In Japan, most people take a deep, hot bath, since traditional Japanese homes are not well-insulated as in the west and central heating is quite uncommon,” Nishiyama and colleagues wrote in “Resuscitation.” The team based their study on data from nearly 11,000 cardiac arrests in the western prefecture of

Osaka between 2005 and 2007. Prior to the cardiac arrest, 22 percent of people had been sleeping, 9 percent had been bathing, 3 percent had been working, and 0.5 percent had been exercising. The rest had been doing “nonspecific” or unknown activities. When looking at cardiac arrest rates, at the top of the list was 54 arrests per 10 million people per hour of bathing, followed by 10 per 10 million people per hour of exercising. For bathers, the risk was tied to outside temperatures, with more cardiac arrests on colder days. While it’s still unclear how to explain the link, getting into a hot tub on a frigid day causes a rapid blood pressure drop, which stressed the heart. “Preventive approaches such as warming a bathroom and hallway or refraining from taking a deep, hot bath could be important for high risk people,” Nishiyama and colleagues wrote. — Reuters




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Announcements Al Taalib Scholarship 2011 Al Taalib Scholarship is a financial aid scheme for the under privileged school students in Kuwait, sponsored by the Ministry of Awqaf in association with Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Friday Forum and Pakistan Kuwait Welfare Association. These scholarships were given to the needy students irrespective of their religion or nationality. The process of Al Taalib Scholarship for the current academic year, 2011-12, has begun for all Indian and Pakistani Schools in Kuwait. In order to avail this scholarship, applicants are requested to collect the Application Form from Al Taalib Office located in CAMS, Ahmed Al Jaber Street, Darwaza, Near Warba Insurance Co., Int’l Islamic Charity Organization Building, 2nd Floor, Al Sharq. The duly filled application form shall be submitted to Al Taalib office on or before 10th May 2011 along with all supporting documents specified in the Application Form.

GUST - Kuwaiti filmmakers: We have a winner!


ulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) Multimedia students entered their final video projects into a local film competition, Kuwait Young Film Contest, sponsored by Cinemagic which was part of a large film retreat that hosted many regionally recognized celebrities in the film industry all present at the red carpet opening. The Kuwait International Film Retreat took place at the Hilton Resort in Mangaf and the Al-Kout Mall Cinemas. Throughout the three day event, there were two competitions, one judging international feature films and the other, local short films - all of which were displayed at the Al-Kout Mall Cinemas. Four GUST students from the Mass Communication Department at GUST,

majoring in Multimedia, entered the local short film competition, they are: Marwa Marafie, Bashar Abdulhameed,

Ahmad Abdulghaffar and AbdulazizBukhamseen. Marwa Marafie won 3rd prize for Editing and Sound for

her film “Twist”. Editing & sound play a vital role in any visual media today, especially Film/TV Productions. This honor was awarded to Marwa based on the strengths of her editing and sound design. Several aspects were considered by the jury when selecting the winners, including sound effects, dialogue, environment and ambience and the use of music. Winners were awarded a variety of prizes, but more importantly, participants won the welldeserved recognition of renowned filmmakers, as well as the chance to showcase their films for all to see. GUST is proud of all their students who participated as they are all winners for having the talent and courage to enter into such competition. Congratulations to them all.

Pathanamthitta Association honors Indian ambassador


he Executive Committee of Pathanamthitta District Association, Kuwait gave a warm Farewell to the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, Ajai Malhotra, who is departing Kuwait to take up his next Ambassadorial assignment in Russia at a meeting held at the Indian Embassy on 13 April 2011. The Association President, Oommen George and General Convenor, Abraham Daniel in their felicitation speeches recollected the Ambassador’s remarkable achievements as a diplomat and as an administrator and his invaluable humanitarian services during his brief tenure in Kuwait and expressed the Association’s thanks and appreciation of the Ambassador’s admirable support and encouragement for the Association’s activities and for his intervention and immediate actions in resolving the Association’s requests on behalf of it’s members. A Memento was presented to Mr. Ajai Malhotra on the occasion by the President in recognition and appreciation of his support to the Association and as an expression of the Association’s love and respect towards him. The Meeting was attended by General Secretary, Benny Pathanamthitta and Committee Members Mohan Kaimal, Abraham Varghese, M.A. Latif, Aakash Mahew and others.

Sinhala Tamil Avrudda


ri Lankans celebrated Sinhala and Tamil New Year on April 13th and 14th, Sinhala and Tamil Charitara according to Litha calendar. On this occasion a special dish of Kavum, Kokis, and milk rice were prepared. Students and class teachers enjoyed the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. This program was arranged by SJP parents.

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. Voice Kuwait 6th Anniversary Voice Kuwait is celebrating its 6th anniversary “VISWAKALA 2011” on May 20th Friday from 4 pm to 9 pm at Carmel School Khaitan. 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 For more information please contact 66950482,94419371. 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. Aware Arabic course The AWARE management is glad to inform those interested in learning Arabic that Summer 1 Arabic language courses will begin on April 24 and go on till June 2, 2011. AWARE Arabic language courses are designed with the expat in mind. The environment is relaxed and courses are designed for those wanting to learn Arabic for travel, cultural understanding, and conducting business or simply to become more involved in the community. We cater to teachers, travelers and those working in the private business sector.

Best herbs for indoor gardening


he AWARE Center cordially invites all those interested to its presentation entitled, “ Best herbs for indoor gardening,” by Michelle Van De Mer we on Tuesday April 26, 2011 at 7:00pm. Growing your own herbs indoors can be both fun and therapeutic as it is relatively easy and not really expensive. Herbs can be placed roughly into 3 categories: culinar y, medicinal and ornamental. Fresh herbs add a wonder ful taste to a meal and can add just that right touch to decorate any dish. They can create a beautiful replacement for indoor plants having a multitude of uses - sprinkling on salads, spicing up your salsas, medicinal uses, teas, decoration and fragrance.

Cinemagic Thursday, April 28th at 7:30pm THE HEADLESS WOMAN Director: Lucrecia Martel Country: Argentina Release: 2009 Genre: Drama | Mystery | Thriller Running time: 87 minutes Language: Spanish | English Subtitle Awards: Cannes, in competition, Best film, director, actress Saturday, April 30th at 7:30pm THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST Director: Daniel Alfredsson Country: Sweden Release: 2010 Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller Running time: 147 minutes Language: Swedish | English Subtitle

Ernakulam District Association picnic Ernakulam District Association Kuwait will conduct ‘Picnic 2011’ on 29th April 2011 at Al Mulla Garden, Sharq. It will be a full day fun and entertainment for families of Ernakulam district Association. Members as well as friends, well wishers from Ernakulam District are most welcome to participate in this event. Transportation are available from different parts of Kuwait. All our members are requested to collect their food coupon and “vefpsa premium water purifier” sponsored lucky draw coupons from their respective area representatives. For more details contact following persons. Joseph Maxi, (Event Convener) 99598755 (Abbassiya); Thomas Vithayathil (Joint Convener) 66459234 (Farwaniya); Varghese Paul (Joint Convener) 97230215 (Abbassiya); Joseph Raphel (Coordinator) 97249078 (Fahaheel); Krishnan Unni (Coordinator) 99698702 (Hassawi); Biju M.Y (Coordinator) 66339920 (Salmiya) or visit our website Balakalamela on MAY 13 The yearly event “Balakalamela” conducted by Kerala Art Lovers Association (Kala-Kuwait) for the students of all Indian Schools in Kuwait for attaining the Benji Benson EverRolling Trophy has been scheduled for May13th, Friday at Carmel School, Khaithan as informed by the Central Committee of Kala. The items that are included for the competition are Bharthnatyam, Mohiniyattam, Oppana, MargamKali, Folk Dance, Group Dance, Fancy Dress, Mappilapaattu, Monoact, Light Music (Malayalam, Hindi), Group Song (Malayalam, Hindi), Classical Song, Poetry Recitation(English, Hindi, Malayalam), Elocution (Malayalam, English), Essay Writing(English, Malayalam), Story Writing (English, Malayalam), Poetry Writing (English, Malayalam) and Drawing. Participants are categorized as shown below: L.K.G & U.K.G( Kindergarten) Standard1 - Standard 4 (Sub Juniors) Standard 5 - Standard 8 (Juniors) Standard 9 - Standard 12 (Seniors) Registrations can be done via the respective schools or through Kala Centre. Registration forms can also be downloaded from the official website of Kala, and the filled forms should be mailed to the email address For the success of the program a reception committee was formed in which K.vinod was selected as General Convenor . Members who are in charge of various Sub Committees are as follows:- Sunil (Program), Bineesh.K.Babu (Registration), Binu Rani Albert(Reception), Sunny Saijesh (Stage), C.Krishnan (Food), Skaria John (Volunteer), K.Chandran (Publicity and Souvenir) and R.Ramesh (Finance) . For more details regarding the program contact 24317875 (Kala Centre), 66180229, 97817100 or 66656642




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Embassy Information

Kuwait English School win netball double again


oth the Under 15 and Open age Netball teams from Kuwait English School (KES) were crowned ISACK Champions for the second year running. The amazing display of skill and fitness saw the Under 15

Tasneem Housni Radi First Place in Poetry

team beating BSK 14-9 in the final and the Open age team beating NES 14-4. Coach, Lisa Marchant, was thrilled with the girls’ performances and put their success down to hard work and commitment.

Mohammad AbdulAziz Al-Muhailig First Place in Composition

Salman Khalid Al-Enezy Second Place in Poetry and Information Islamic Knowledge

Pictured are the victorious teams. Under 15; Yasmine Raki, Yara Al Hunaidi, Holly Napier, Tamara Zantout, Marya Arafat, Lina Najem (Capt), Shatha Al Huneidi, Hadeel Zahran, Divya Karla, Ellie Hardy, and

Ahmed Mostafa Al-Henawi Second Place in Poetry

Sune Van Tonder. Open age team; Divya Karla, Alex Bertz, Kelly Lynch, Sonja Madzikanda, Shatha Al Huneidi, Lulu Al Huneidi (Capt), Shahad Awadh, Yara Al Hunaidi, Lina Najem, Noorain Ahmed.

Reda Ezzat Al Ghafeer Second Place in Poetry

Omar Kamel Abdul-Majeed Third Place in Speech

Arabic competition among schools big success for KNES Students from Kuwait National English School won the first ranks among the Poetry, Composition, and Speech Composition in Arabic organized by the Ministry of Education among the English, American and Bilingual Schools in Kuwait. Name Rank Topic Year/Class Tasneem Housni Radi 1st Place Poetry Year 4 Salman Khalid Al-Enezy 2nd Place Poetry Year 5 Ahmed Mostafa Al-Henawi 2nd Place Poetry Year 8 Reda Ezzat Al Ghafeer 2nd Place Poetry Year 9 Mohammad Abdul-Aziz Al-Muhailig 1st Place Composition Year 8 Omar Kamel Abdul-Majeed 3rd Place Speech Year 1 On this occasion, Madame Chantal Al Gharabally expresses her sincere thanks and congratulations to the Arabic Department and the students for their continuous effort to achieve this success.

Events this week Seminar for teenage girls

Pathanamthitta Meeting Pathanamthitta District Association’s Annual General Body Meeting will be held on Thursday 28th April 2011 at Chachoos Auditorium from 7 pm to 9.30 pm to elect new Office Bearers and Executive Committee for the year 2011-2012. All association members and Pathanamthitta residents interested to become members are hereby requested to attend the General Body Meeting. For more details contact, Oommen George (Jose) 99722437, or Benny at 66501482. Aware center diwaniya “Best herbs for indoor gardening,” by Michelle Van De Merwe. Growing your own herbs indoors can be both fun and therapeutic as it is relatively easy and not really expensive. Herbs can be placed roughly into 3 categories: culinary, medicinal and ornamental. Fresh herbs add a wonderful taste to a meal and can add just that right touch to decorate any dish. They can create a beautiful replacement for indoor plants having a multitude of uses - sprinkling on salads, spicing up your salsas, medicinal uses, teas, decoration and fragrance. Michelle van der Merwe is South African who has lived in numerous African countries and Saudi Arabia working as a Medical Technologist in Hematology (Medical laboratory) and now Kuwait. Herbs are just one of her many interests since she was a teenager as she grew up on a farm in South Africa. If you are interested in the topic, the AWARE Center is the best place to visit on April 26, 2011 at 7 pm.


EMBASSY OF ARGENTINA In order to inform that 23rd of October 2011, will be Argentine national election where all Argentinean citizen residents permanently in Kuwait can vote only if they are registered at the Electoral Register of the Argentine Embassy. The procedure of inscription is for free and will be end on 25 of April 2011. To register it is necessary that Argentinean citizens should come personally at the Argentinean Embassy (Block 6, street 42, villa 57, Mishref ) and present the DNI and four personal photos (size 4x4, face should be front on white background). For further information, contact us on 25379211. ■■■■■■■

EMBASSY OF BRITAIN The Embassy will re-open today 26 April 2011. The Visa Application Centre (VAC) will be closed on the same dates above. The opening hours of the Visa Application Centre are 0930 - 1630 Application forms remain available online from the UKBAs’ website: or from the Visa Application Centre’s website: And also, from the UK Visa Application Centre located at: 4B, First Floor, Al Banwan Building (Burgan Bank Branch Office Building), Al Qibla area, opposite Central Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait City. For any further inquiries, please contact the Visa Application Centre: Website: Telephone:22971170. The Consular Section will also be closed on the same dates. For information on the British Embassy services, visit the British Embassy website: ■■■■■■■

MES Ladies Wing Kuwait is organizing a “free” seminar for teenage girls on “Life Skills and Personal Safety for Adolescents” at Private Educational Center Salmiya on 29th April 2011 (Friday) from 5 pm until 8.30 pm. Mrs Simi Rajesh (renowned professional counselor in Kuwait) and Dr Susan Kuruvila will be the program leaders for this event. This program is designed exclusively for all girls falling in the age group of 12 to 19 years. Mothers of the teenage girls are also welcome to attend this program. Interested participants are required to register (before 28th April) to email id or contact 97299734/ 99862430 with the following details: (i) total number of attendees (ii) name, age and school of the teenager (iii) area of residence. Bake & educate Every child has a right to education, but there are those who cannot afford it. Support this just cause in giving a brighter future for those unfortunate children. Noora Al Obaid is hosting this event at Bayt Lothan on the 27 & 28 April 2011. Opening hours: 0900-13:00 & 17:0021:00. For details call 25755877/66.

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. The Australian Embassy advises that it will be closed today Monday 25 April 2011 on the occasion of Easter Holiday. The Embassy will resume work on Tuesday 26 April 2011. 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.

NPIS Student Project was among best 100 projects


azan Jabr, Hussain Haider and Ali Shadi Khalil of grade 10 at the school were presented shields by the director Anita Bukharey of N.P.I.S. They participated in the Annual Kuwait Science Fair 2010-2011. Their project was selected by the respected judges among the best 100 projects.

NPIS bags positions at ‘Al-Hadith Shareef’


he ministry of education for private sector organized Al-Hadith Shareef Competition at Pak istan English Academy School Farwaniya. All the Pakistani and Indian Schools were invited to participate in the event. The students of NPIS demonstrated their Knowledge and skills on Al-Hadith Shareef and received appreciation from the audience. The NPIS student Ibrahim Ghazi Essa of Class - 9 was declared first, another student of same class Sala Awad Abbas also got first position and Mohammad Ahmed Mamdouh of class - 7 too stood 1st. The judges from the ministry of education spoke high of the position holders and admired them.


Palestinian cultural exhibition


andicrafts reaffirm the Palestinian national identity and support needy children and families. The Palestinian Culture Center in collaboration with the Women’s Cultural Social Society invite you to its spring exhibition. The exhibition aims to preserve Palestinian handicrafts in order to

reaffirm the Palestinian national identify by adapting it harmoniously to the 21st century demands. We display classic designs intertwined with modern uses, colors, and motifs, to showcase some of the creativity of the Palestinian women. Items on sale include: cushions, runners, scarves, shawls,

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 January 15, 2011, the only Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) application form that will be accepted by CIC is the Application for Temporary Resident Visa Made Outside of Canada [IMM 5257] form. All previous Temporary Resident Visa application forms will no longer be accepted by CIC and instead will be returned to applicants. Should old applications be submitted prior to January 15, 2011 they will continue to be processed. To ensure that the most recent version of the Temporary Resident Visa application form is being utilized, applicants should refer to the CIC website. As of January 15, 2011, forms are to be filled in electronically. The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. Consular Services for Canadian Citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00 on Sunday through Wednesday. The forms are available on the internet at: 257E.PDF. A guide explaining the process can be found here: E.PDF.

long traditional dresses as well as smaller items. We also have handmade ceramics from Palestine, books, music, and movies. Thursday evening there will be a folklore dance by the Palestinian Youth group. Also on Thursday, there will be a bake sale of traditional foods.

EMBASSY OF GUYANA The Embassy of Guyana, recently established in Kuwait, announces that it is located at Block 3, Street 321, Villa 3, Mubarak Abdullah al Jabar, West Misrhef. The Embassy’s telephone numbers are 25397939 and 2539-4336; the fax number is 25393448. The Embassy can also be contacted by e-mail at; its website address is ■■■■■■■

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



e niv rsar n


00:45 Untamed And Uncut 01:40 Cats 101 02:35 The Animals’ Guide To Survival 03:30 Planet Earth 04:25 Maneaters 05:20 The Most Extreme 06:10 Cats 101 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 Animal Crackers 09:35 Animal Crackers 10:05 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 11:00 Animal Precinct 11:55 Wildlife SOS 12:50 Animal Cops Houston 13:45 RSPCA: Have You Got What It Takes? 14:10 E-Vets: The Interns 14:40 The Most Extreme 15:30 Animal Battlegrounds 16:00 The Really Wild Show 16:30 Natural Born Hunters 17:00 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 17:25 Must Love Cats 18:20 The Animals’ Guide To Survival 19:15 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 20:10 Cats 101 21:05 Life Of Mammals 22:00 K9 Cops 22:55 Killer Whales 23:50 The Most Extreme

01:10 02:00 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 12:15 12:45 13:15 14:10 15:40 16:30 17:15 17:45 18:15 19:10 20:00 20:45 21:15 21:45 22:40

00:15 00:40 01:05 01:50 02:35 03:05 03:30 04:15 05:45 06:35 07:30 08:00 08:25

The Weakest Link Kiss Of Death Doctors 2 Point 4 Children Me Too Tweenies Teletubbies Charlie And Lola Me Too Tweenies Teletubbies Charlie And Lola Me Too Tweenies Teletubbies Charlie And Lola Me Too Tweenies Teletubbies Charlie And Lola 2 Point 4 Children The Weakest Link New Tricks Doctors Eastenders Holby City 2 Point 4 Children New Tricks The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders Holby City New Tricks The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders Holby City Conviction

Come Dine With Me Come Dine With Me Home For Life Eating With The Enemy Cooked Chuck’s Day Off How Not To Decorate Daily Cooks Challenge Antiques Roadshow Daily Cooks Challenge Cash In The Attic USA Daily Cooks Challenge Glamour Puds

08:50 What Not To Wear 09:40 Fantasy Homes In The City 10:25 What Not To Wear 11:15 Antiques Roadshow 12:05 Fantasy Homes In The City 12:50 Glamour Puds 14:30 Come Dine With Me 16:30 Eating With The Enemy 17:15 Cooked 17:40 Chuck’s Day Off 18:05 Eating With The Enemy 18:50 How Not To Decorate 19:40 Cooked 20:05 Chuck’s Day Off 20:30 How Not To Decorate 21:20 Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey 22:10 Rhodes Across China 22:55 Cash In The Attic USA

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 08:30 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 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 04:35 05:00 05:35 06:00 06:25 07:00

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 Dastardly And Muttley Hong Kong Phooey Droopy: Master Detective A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Tom And Jerry Kids Looney Tunes


TV PROGRAMS 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

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 Cartoon Network Dance Club 22:00 Camp Lazlo 22:25 Hero 108 22:50 Ben 10 23:15 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 23:40 Chowder

00:00 Backstory 00:30 World Sport 01:00 World Report 02:00 World Report 03:00 World Business Today 04:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 05:00 Anderson Cooper 360 06:00 World Sport 06:30 World View 07:00 World Report 07:30 Backstory 08:00 World Report 09:00 World Report 10:00 World Sport 10:30 Inside Africa 11:00 World Business Today 12:00 World One 13:00 World Sport 13:30 News Special 14:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 15:00 News Stream 16:00 World Business Today 17:00 International Desk 18:00 The Brief 18:30 World Sport 19:00 Prism 20:00 International Desk 20:30 News Special 21:00 Quest Means Business 22:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 23:00 Connect The World DISCOVERY CHANNEL 00:40 Dirty Jobs 01:35 Gold Rush: Alaska 02:30 Ultimate Survival 03:25 Man Made Marvels China 04:20 Mythbusters 05:15 How It’s Made 05:40 How Stuff’s Made 06:05 Dirty Jobs 07:00 Man Made Marvels China 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 2008 12:20 Ultimate Survival 13:15 Mythbusters 14:10 La Ink 15:05 Dirty Jobs 16:00 Street Customs 2008 16:55 Mythbusters 17:50 Extreme Fishing 18:45 Cake Boss 19:10 Royal Wedding: William And Kate... 20:05 How Stuff’s Made 20:35 How It’s Made 21:00 Stan Lee’s Superhumans 21:55 Scientific Guinea Pigs 22:50 Stunt Junkies 23:20 One Way Out 23:45 Oil Strike!

00:30 Deadliest Catch 01:20 Chasing Cars 01:45 Chasing Cars 02:10 1000 Places To See Before You Die 03:00 Powering The Future 03:55 The Reinventors 04:25 Sunrise Earth 05:20 Mythbusters 06:10 Extreme Machines: Oil Rigs 07:00 Treasure Quest 07:50 Blue Angels: A Year In The Life 08:40 1000 Places To See Before You Die 09:30 Building The Future 10:20 The Reinventors 10:45 Mythbusters 11:35 Chasing Cars 12:00 Chasing Cars 12:25 American Chopper 13:15 Science Of The Movies 14:05 Deadliest Catch 14:55 How Stuff’s Made 15:20 Extreme Machines: Oil Rigs 16:10 Nextworld 17:00 Raging Planet 17:50 Man On Earth With Tony Robinson 18:40 Ultimate Journeys 19:30 Human Body: Ultimate Machine 20:20 Globeriders 21:10 Bad Universe 22:00 Raging Planet 22:50 Man On Earth With Tony Robinson 23:40 Treasure Quest

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 13:55 14:45 15:35 16:00 16:03 16:30 17:00 17:50 18:40 19:30 20:20 20:45

The Gadget Show Kings Of Construction Mighty Ships Eco-Tech How Stuff’s Made Thunder Races Brainiac One Step Beyond Nextworld Catch It Keep It Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections Sci-Fi Saved My Life The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Nextworld Mean Green Machines Catch It Keep It One Step Beyond Mighty Ships Kings Of Construction Kings Of Construction The Gadget Show Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections Brainiac Sci-Fi Saved My Life Space Pioneer Sci-Fi Saved My Life Sci-Fi Science How Does That Work?

21:10 21:35 22:00 22:50 23:40

The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Space Pioneer Sci-Fi Saved My Life Colony

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

Kim Possible Fairly Odd Parents Stitch Replacements Fairly Odd Parents Stitch Replacements Emperors New School Phineas And Ferb Kim Possible Good Luck Charlie Shake It Up Wizards Of Waverly Place Fairly Odd Parents Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Handy Manny Special Agent Oso Handy Manny The Princess Diaries Jonas La Phineas And Ferb Camp Rock 2 Have A Laugh Suite Life On Deck Phineas And Ferb Wizards Of Waverly Place Phineas And Ferb Fish Hooks Good Luck Charlie Snow Buddies Phineas And Ferb Suite Life On Deck Hannah Montana Phineas And Ferb Fairly Odd Parents Replacements Hannah Montana Sonny With A Chance Wizards Of Waverly Place Jonas

THE ANSWER MAN ON OSN MOVIES HD 06:00 Kid Vs Kat 06:20 Kick Buttowski 06:40 Pokemon 07:05 Phineas & Ferb 08:05 American Dragon 08:30 Kick Buttowski 08:50 Kid Vs Kat 09:00 Zeke & Luther 09:50 I’m In The Band 10:15 The Super Hero Squad Show 10:40 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 14:40 Zeke & Luther 15:05 Suite Life On Deck 15:25 Z 15:35 Kick Buttowski 16:00 I’m In The Band 16:25 Suite Life On Deck 16:50 Zeke & Luther 17:40 Phineas & Ferb 18:30 Escape From Scorpion Island (Cema) 18:55 Pokemon 19:20 The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes 22:20 The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes

00:40 The Soup 01:05 Chelsea Lately 01:30 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 Married To Rock 10:15 THS 12:00 E! News 12:50 Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane 13:40 Keeping Up with the Kardashians 14:30 THS 16:15 Behind the Scenes 16:40 Behind the Scenes 17:10 Kourtney and Kim Take New York 17:35 Kourtney and Kim Take New York 18:00 E! News 18:50 Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane 19:40 Chelsea’s Big Interview Special 20:30 Style Star 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:20 Kendra 21:45 Kendra 22:10 E! News 23:00 Chelsea Lately 23:25 Keeping Up with the Kardashians 23:50 Kourtney and Kim Take New York

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

Ghost Lab A Haunting I Was Murdered Deadly Women: Face To Face Couples Who Kill Dr G: Medical Examiner Crime Scene Psychics Ghost Lab Mystery ER Forensic Detectives Accident Investigator Mystery ER Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? I Was Murdered FBI Files Murder Shift Fugitive Strike Force Mystery ER Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? I Was Murdered Forensic Detectives Accident Investigator FBI Files Mystery ER Real Emergency Calls

19:55 20:20 21:10 22:00 22:50 23:40

Real Emergency Calls Murder Shift Fugitive Strike Force Deadly Women The Prosecutors Dr G: Medical Examiner

00:00 Bondi Rescue 1 00:30 Bondi Rescue 3 01:00 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled 02:00 Weird And Wonderful Hotels 02:30 Don’t Tell My Mother 03:30 Weird And Wonderful Hotels 04:00 Word Travels 04:30 Banged Up Abroad 05:30 Word Travels 06:00 Bondi Rescue 1 06:30 Bondi Rescue 3 07:00 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled 08:00 Weird And Wonderful Hotels 08:30 Don’t Tell My Mother 09:30 Weird And Wonderful Hotels 10:00 The Best Job In The World 10:30 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled 11:30 The Best Job In The World 12:00 Bondi Rescue 1 12:30 Bondi Rescue 3 13:00 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled 14:00 Departures 15:00 Departures 16:00 The Best Job In The World 16:30 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled 17:30 The Best Job In The World 18:00 Bondi Rescue 1 18:30 Bondi Rescue 3 19:00 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled 20:00 Departures 21:00 Departures 22:00 The Best Job In The World 22:30 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled 23:30 The Best Job In The World

00:15 Diary Of The Dead-18 02:00 Friday The 13th-18 03:45 The Hunt For Red OctoberPG15 06:00 Dragonball: Evolution-PG 07:30 The Truth About Charlie-PG15 09:30 Angels And Demons-PG15 12:00 The Sum Of All Fears-PG15 14:00 The Truth About Charlie-PG15 16:00 Shinjuku Incident-PG15 18:00 The Sum Of All Fears-PG15 20:00 Armored-18 22:00 Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels-18

01:15 Malice In Wonderland-PG15 03:00 Disco-PG 05:00 Drunkboat-PG 07:00 Bandslam-PG15 09:00 Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant-PG15 11:00 The Nutty Professor-PG15 13:00 It’s A Wonderful AfterlifePG15 15:00 Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant-PG15 17:00 When In Rome-PG15 19:00 Adam-PG15 21:00 A Way With Murder-PG15 23:00 Shutter Island-18

00:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 01:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 01:30 Family Guy 02:00 Comedy Central Presents 02:30 Comedy Central Presents 03:00 Just Shoot Me 03:30 30 Rock 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 Seinfeld 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 30 Rock 15:00 Hot In Cleveland 15:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 16:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 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 Seinfeld 19:30 30 Rock 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 The Cleveland Show 22:30 Entourage 23:00 Family Guy 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

01:15 Inside Ring-PG15 03:00 The Hunt For Red OctoberPG15 05:15 28 Days Later-18 07:15 House Under Siege-PG15 09:00 Journey To The Center Of The Earth-PG 11:00 Star Trek 10: Nemesis-PG15 13:00 Gone In Sixty Seconds-PG15 15:00 Journey To The Center Of The Earth-PG 17:00 Ransom-PG15 19:00 Killshot-18 21:00 Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels-18 23:00 Fast Lane-PG15

00:00 Hotel For Dogs-FAM 02:00 Sweet Liberty-PG15 04:00 Bring It On 5: Fight To The Finish-PG15 06:00 Monsters vs. Aliens-PG 08:00 The Longshots-PG15 10:00 Dr. Dolittle 2-PG 12:00 Aliens In The Attic-FAM 14:00 Green Card-PG15 16:00 Hotel For Dogs-FAM 18:00 Reality Bites-PG15 20:00 Under The Tuscan Sun-PG15 22:00 Black Dynamite-18

01:30 I Dreamed Of Africa-18 03:30 Gal-PG15 05:30 Hamlet-PG15 07:30 Georgia O’Keeffe-PG15 09:00 Capitalism: A Love Story-PG15 11:15 The Loss Of A Teardrop Diamond-PG15 13:00 Shadows In The Sun-PG15 15:00 Witness To Waco-PG15 17:00 Sins Of The Mother-PG15 19:00 Mary Reilly-PG15 21:00 Cairo Time-PG15 23:00 Wings Of The Dove-18

01:30 Dead Man On Campus-PG15 03:00 Phoebe In Wonderland-PG 05:00 Temple Grandin-PG15 07:00 Toy Story 3-FAM 09:00 Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief-PG15 11:00 Coraline-PG 13:00 Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel-PG15 14:30 W-PG15 17:00 Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief-PG15 19:00 Dance Flick-18 21:00 The Answer Man-PG15 23:00 Miss March-18

00:00 Tom And Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes-FAM 01:45 Scruff And The Legend Of Saint George-FAM 03:45 Dr. Dolittle-PG

06:00 Homeward Bound II: Lost In San Francisco-FAM 08:00 Groove Squad-FAM 10:00 Scruff And The Legend Of Saint George-FAM 12:00 Flintstones: I Yabba Dabba Do!-FAM 14:00 Dr. Dolittle-PG 16:00 The Amazing Zorro-PG15 18:00 Pete’s Dragon-PG 20:15 Sing To The Dawn-FAM 22:00 Flintstones: I Yabba Dabba Do!-FAM

00:00 The Guitar-18 02:00 My Son, My Son, What Have You Done?-PG15 04:00 Mee Shee-PG 06:00 Emotional Arithmetic-PG15 08:00 Not The Messiah: He’s A Very Naughty Boy-PG15 10:00 Little Nicholas-PG 12:00 My Son, My Son, What Have You Done?-PG15 14:00 Hachiko: A Dog’s Story-PG15 16:00 Not The Messiah: He’s A Very Naughty Boy-PG15 18:00 Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time-PG15 20:00 The List-PG15

00:00 Goals On Monday 01:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 01:30 ICC Cricket World 02:00 World Hockey 02:30 Futbol Mundial 03:00 Scottish Premier League 05:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 06:00 ICC Cricket World 06:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 07:00 Snooker World Championship 11:00 Trans World Sport 12:00 Goals On Monday 13:00 NRL Full Time 13:30 Super League 15:30 Golfing World 16:30 Aviva Premiership 18:30 ICC Cricket World 19:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 19:30 Goals On Monday 20:30 Mobil 1 The Grid 21:00 Futbol Mundial 21:30 Super League 23:30 ICC Cricket World

01:00 Super League 03:00 ICC Cricket World 03:30 Premier League Darts 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 Goals On Monday 09:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 09:30 Super League 11:30 ICC Cricket World 12:00 Live Snooker World Championship 16:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 16:30 Live Snooker World Championship 20:30 ICC Cricket World 21:00 Live Snooker World Championship

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

UFC The Ultimate Fighter V8 Supercars Championship Sports Adventure City Centre Races UFC 129 Countdown UFC The Ultimate Fighter UFC Unleashed WWE NXT WWE Smackdown Full Throttle City Centre Races Duathlon WWE Bottom Line Superstock Powerboat Series V8 Supercars Championship UAE National Race Day Series British Triathlon Full Throttle Superstock Powerboat Series V8 Supercars Championship UFC 129 Countdown UFC The Ultimate Fighter UFC Unleashed

Classifieds TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2011

Science Matters

Get ready ... now go! Researchers are beginning to see what an animal’s nervous system does just before the animal moves – as it forms the intention to move.

Animal brains issue a readiness discharge before they order a voluntary movement


Crayfish stood on a ball-shaped treadmill; any movement was voluntary


Sensors implanted in nerve centers detected readiness signal


Moments later, sensors implanted in legs detected signal moving muscles

2 ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya for a Keralite family from May 1st 2011. Contact: 66325825. (C 3292)



Crayfish nervous system Linked nerve centers (ganglia) run along belly

Sharing accommodation available from 1st May 2011 in Abbassiya near Neethi store building, looking only for couples or bachelor, staff nurse, teachers, double room flat furnished bedroom. Contact: 66944127. (C 3291) 25-4-2011

CHANGE OF NAME I, Najmuddin Mohammed Husain, holder of Indian Passport No: H1115666 issued in Kuwait wish to change my name to Mohammed Hussain, surname - Pakawala. (C 3294) 26-4-2011 I, Mazhar Pukawala, son of

Hakimuddin Pakawala, holder of Indian Passport No: E2780082 change my surname from Pukawala to Pakawala. (C 3280) 20-4-2011

SITUATION VACANT Live-in Pilipino housemaid wanted for European fami-

ly. Experience with children must have sponsorship possible. Please call 97210568. (C 3290) Maid required (full time basis) for an Indian family with two children living in old Riggae. Indian or Sri Lankan only. Contact: 66821940. (C 3289) 23-4-2011

No: 15070

Sharing accommodation available effective today for a non-smoking bachelor in a double bedroom flat in Amman street, Salmiya. Call: 97199146. (C 3271) 23-4-2011

What was discovered Timing of signals and position of sensors let researchers identify which nerve cells (axons) carry readiness signal Microscopic view of axons that carry pre-action signal to legs

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© 2011 MCT Source: Katsushi Kagaya and Masakazu Takahata of Hokkaido University (Sapporo, Japan), Science magazine Graphic: Helen Lee McComas

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

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star CROSSWORD 299





Aries (March 21-April 19) Feeling good about yourself does wonders for your attitude. People that have displayed little or no support for you in the past will help you now. Your support system, which is your family, home and those who give you nourishment, is becoming more secure. You encourage better support from others. Do not look for a hidden meaning in another person’s compliments—the compliments are well deserved. Be courteous and helpful during the day as you may have your thoughts in so many other places that you could seem unappreciative. Healing efforts have a way of multiplying as you continue a routine. Fits of starts and stops can damage the healing progress so stay with a designated program for best results.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Many distractions today may cause any number of frustrations. Keep your sense of humor and ask the next person that interrupts your work to take a number—you are the new catalog department. You may be looking for advice in many different places and find yourself confused. You have all the answers you need inside your own psyche. Enjoy some quiet time this afternoon by surrounding yourself in a quiet environment and asking yourself the questions you have been asking others. You may be very pleased with the input you receive. Emotional security and a sense of nurturing are the issues felt instinctively now. You may find a relaxing evening at home is in order. Show your loved ones your appreciation of them in your own special way.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. The month following February and preceding April. 4. Source of a tough elastic wood. 10. A guided missile fired from shipboard against an airborne target. 13. The United Nations agency concerned with international maritime activities. 14. Any of various spiny trees or shrubs of the genus Acacia. 15. An independent agency of the United States government responsible for collecting and coordinating intelligence and counterintelligence activities abroad in the national interest. 16. Of or in or relating to the nose. 18. A fine grained mineral having a soft soapy feel and consisting of hydrated magnesium silicate. 19. An edge tool used to cut and shape wood. 20. The dialect of Albanian spoken in northern Albania and Yugoslavia. 22. A country on western coast of Africa. 24. A large bundle bound for storage or transport. 26. A class of proteins produced in lymph tissue in vertebrates and that function as antibodies in the immune response. 27. A shrub or tree of the genus Rhus (usually limited to the non-poisonous members of the genus). 29. A group of islands off the west coast of Sicily in the Mediterranean. 34. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling). 36. (Zoroastrianism) Title for benevolent deities. 37. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 38. Either of two large muscles of the chest. 42. A master's degree in education. 44. The 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. 46. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 49. (nautical) Of an anchor. 51. Open to or abounding in fresh air. 53. An airfoil that controls lateral motion. 57. An informal term for a father. 60. Avatar of Vishnu. 61. A form of energy that is transferred by a difference in temperature. 62. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 64. A state-chartered savings bank owned by its depositors and managed by a board of trustees. 65. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann. 66. Tropical American tree grown in southern United States having a whitish pink-tinged fruit. 67. A genetic disorder of metabolism. DOWN 1. The imperial dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644. 2. A woman hired to suckle a child of someone else. 3. The bud of a rose. 4. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 10 liters. 5. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 6. (slang) A gangster's pistol. 7. The French-speaking part of the Canadian Maritime Provinces. 8. Distance measured in miles. 9. (used of count nouns) Every one considered individually. 10. A fraudulent business scheme. 11. An officer who acts as military assistant to a more senior officer. 12. Resembling a labyrinth in form or complexity. 17. (of reproduction) Not involving the fusion of male and female gametes reproduction". 21. A summary that repeats the substance of a longer discussion. 23. Large elliptical brightly colored deep-sea fish of Atlantic and Pacific and Mediterranean. 25. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 28. (Greek mythology) The goddess of youth and spring. 30. A rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element. 31. Chinese tree bearing seeds that yield tung oil. 32. 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. 33. The general activity of selling. 35. The 2nd letter of the Greek alphabet. 39. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Carolinas. 40. A republic in northeastern South America on the Atlantic. 41. (used of count nouns) Every one considered individually. 43. A native of ancient Troy. 45. Someone who copies the words or behavior of another. 47. A long noosed rope used to catch animals. 48. A public promotion of some product or service. 50. Being nine more than forty. 52. The United Nations agency concerned with atomic energy. 54. An inclined surface or roadway that moves traffic from one level to another. 55. A city in the Asian part of Russia. 56. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 58. Narrow wood or metal or plastic runners used for gliding over snow. 59. The fatty flesh of eel. 60. A state in midwestern United States. 63. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group.

Yesterday’s Solution

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Obtaining and exchanging information is very important for you and you do your best to learn good problem-solving techniques. Being more involved with neighbors or sibling(s) satisfies a deep emotional need. Communicating feelings becomes important. Your work mentally and physically becomes more refined emotionally. Getting your message across and learning how and when to say no successfully is an important issue for you. You know that your mind and ego are at risk if you cannot foster discrimination and clearness. Your willpower and intuition grows little by little and this is the perfect time to work on communication skills. Personal growth is encouraged now as you have gained confidence in your work.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


A greater appreciation for things of value and the idea of value itself is in order now. This could be a period of great material gain; it is certainly a time when material things have a great deal of importance for you. Before purchasing large, expensive items, look for ways in which you could invest. Make long-term plans to build your income and financial holdings through careful, conservative methods and investments. Be realistic in your expectations of a relationship and do not hesitate to exchange ideas between you and your loved one concerning future goals and expectations. The plan and process of all meaningful thinking come from your creative imagination. Allow yourself to be creative this evening. Enjoy a bookstore or art show.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Your enthusiasm is contagious and before the day is over You could be somewhat susceptible to misunderstandings at work, particularly with members of the opposite sex. If you have a natural tendency toward gullibility, you must be most observant and prudent at this time. Activities involving the arts and culture come into the workplace now and bring new opportunities for your professional advancement. Although you may be tempted to work overtime, take every opportunity to enjoy family activities. You will always want things to run smoothly, but this is a time of new discoveries into your talents and interruptions can appear to keep you from moving forward. This is a most positive day however, full of beneficial professional choices and opportunities to create a calming balance in your home surroundings.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) If you can end that negative thinking of yours today, you will find this a great time to be with others and to work together. Refuse to join up with the “worry monster.” Your job and your friend’s job are secure. You may discover, however, that someone has added to the amount of work you usually do. There will eventually be a balance, but for now you may be quite busy. You will see some reward for this change, but it may not happen right away. You have to know the difference between what is realistic and what is not with regard to this adjustment. This evening you are in a great mood and can appreciate your achievements and your situation in this world. Water runoff, roof repairs, overgrown ivy comes to your attention for a to-do list soon.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Right now you are in charge of your life and right now is the time to work for what you want. There could be a demanding individual in your day today. When you talk with this person, use your intelligence to maneuver yourself away from any difficulties. If your job identification does not call for you to respond to difficult customers, you are still flexible enough to give a little. Being on the go and keeping a finger to the winds of change makes you feel in touch with the events around you. Positive communication is a mental satisfaction for you. Everything conspires to reveal you at your most elegant in a social situation. Your ambitions may outweigh family activity just now, but you will be firm to create more family time soon; bravo.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You may find challenges regarding family or political matters today. Instead of just believing something, you need to understand the underlying truth for yourself. If uncertain conversation creates stress in the workplace, you may be the one who is called on to uncover the real story. You can demonstrate great understanding and sensitivity to the needs of others just now and are in a good position to communicate concerning groups and society in general. You may see value for an older person or someone in authority today. Your mind is quite clear and ideas flow easily. You can talk, talk, talk. Continue to keep and nurture the attitude of trust in others and the willingness to open up to life’s experiences.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Communication with a supervisor or boss today can prove beneficial and will clear the air of any misunderstandings. You may be of tremendous help to a co-worker or associate because of your compassionate nature. If you are involved in ecology and methods to preserve our planet, you may want to network with different groups. Share ideas of how to find recycling resources such as books, magazines or workshops near your neighborhood or community. Get the word out into your neighborhood as to the different ways to recycle and protect the wild life. You enjoy being in-touch with the new and the different as well as original or old ways of living. Perhaps creating a community or neighborhood newsletter would help be informative.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


You are extremely hardworking and ambitious on the professional level. You may tend to politely ignore co-workers now in order to meet a quota or goal that you previously had in mind. You could be most persuasive with authority figures and this is a good time to show your findings from some research you conducted. This is a significant day for you. Good news is finally reaching your ear. Communication with co-workers, friends or relatives may be on your mind this afternoon. This evening you could find yourself writing and phoning and keeping in touch with out-of-town relatives. All of this week is a good time to either take a trip or plan a trip. Vacation plans are included here, particularly if you do not have children in school—plan ahead.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You can demonstrate great understanding and sensitivity to the needs of others. You see just where you need to be in order to serve others. You communicate well and most of all, you listen. You could be giving a lecture or coordinating events. Unfinished business from the past may set up patterns of relying on others instead of taking independent action. Trust in your own abilities and you will be extremely pleased at the results. Perseverance may be difficult if you have always received help. Give yourself time to achieve by taking little steps toward your goals. Hang your own carrot in front of your face by promising yourself a new item you have been wanting for after you achieve your task. Others will appreciate your progress.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

You are full of confidence now and prepared to put your education or experience to use. Make sure that both your expectations and abilities are realistic before diving into something you may not be able to get out of without harm or embarrassment. There is a collision of powerful energies spilling into your life in unpredictable ways. Be guided by lists, lists and more lists. The decisions and actions of today will have long-lasting effects. You can be most persuasive with others and you seem to bounce your positive attitude back to others all day. Although some of your energy needs direction you seem confident and optimistic. Feeling good about yourself does wonder for your overall attitude toward life. Buy a butterfly house.



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lifestyle G o s s i p

ady Gaga has tearfully confessed on film that she thinks “people are trying to destroy her”. The 25-year-old singer broke down in a documentary extract posted online last night and spoke of how much she fears criticism, admitting she feels like a “loser kid in high school.” In the black and white YouTube clip, posted before she went on stage in New York’s Madison Square Garden for her Monster Ball tour, she sobbed: “I still sometimes feel like a loser. It’s crazy, ‘cos it’s like we’re at the Garden, but I still feel like a loser kid in high school. “Sometimes I still feel like people are trying to destroy me... I cannot be destroyed and I will not be destroyed. And you will never destroy the kingdom that is my fans.” The outlandish ‘Judas’ hitmaker - who was recently criticised on micro-blogging website twitter for the bizarre artwork of her new album ‘Born This Way’ which


depicts her morphing into a mutant motorcycle - went on to say she feels like she has to “fight” to remain a “superstar” for the sake of her young fans. She said: “I just have to pick my s*** up. Pick myself up and tell myself I’m a superstar every morning just so I can get through this day. “I feel like I have to fight. I’m fighting for every kid that’s like me, that’s felt like I’ve felt and feels like I still feel.” She added: “I just wanna be a queen but sometimes I just don’t feel like one. It’s not about being a winner for me anymore, you know. It’s about being a winner for them.” The clip was filmed as part of documentary ‘Lady Gaga Presents The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden’ which will be aired next month.

Katie Price was involved in a car crash that killed two horses he 32-year-old model suffered severe whiplash when her Toyota jeep - which her boyfriend Leandro Penna was driving - collided with two runaway stallions and one of them smashed through the windscreen. Both creatures, which had jumped a fence and bolted in front of the vehicle, died instantly and the 4x4 was declared a write-off. Three other passengers, thought to be camera crew who weren’t filming at the time, were in the pack of the jeep. The accident happened at 1.30am near Cordoba in Argentina where Katie and model Leandro, 25 are on holiday and the mum-of-three said it was a “miracle they were alive”. Katie said: “It was absolutely terrifying. It all happened in a flash and I have absolutely no idea how I wasn’t badly injured.” “I feel so lucky, but more than anything I’m just distraught about the horses. It was so upsetting.” The blonde beauty - who keeps horses of her own - is said to have suffered cuts to her hands as well as whiplash. Leandro, who is from Argentina, jarred his neck and the three other passengers were given routine check-ups. A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper that the pair are lucky to be alive and Leandro’s quick-thinking could have saved them. They said: “Quite frankly, it beggars belief that Katie and Leo survived at all. And Katie knows just how close she came to dying. “The two animals ploughed into their vehicle, with one flying through the windscreen, backside-first, hitting both Katie and Leo simultaneously. “Luckily, Leandro reacted lightning-quick, braked hard and swerved violently the moment he saw the horses. Although it wasn’t enough to save the horses, undoubtedly his reactions saved the pair’s lives, plus those of the three passengers in the back. They added: “But Kate was far more concerned about the death of the stallions than she

Sir Elton John to find out son’s biological father

Moss’ fiance

only socializes where he can smoke


he ‘Rocket Man’ singer and his husband David Furnish became parents to four-month-old Zachary Jackson Levon through a surrogate mother on Christmas Day and at first insisted they didn’t want to know which of them was his real dad. However, the 64-year-old star has now decided to carry out a DNA test in case Zachary ever needs to know who he is blood-related to for medical reasons. Elton told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “Zac will have to know for his medical records. If it’s David, I’d be very proud. It wouldn’t matter to me - and vice versa.” He also revealed that the anonymous woman who carried his son sends the family her breast milk via air mail company FedEx. Soon after Zachary was born, a friend of David’s said the couple didn’t plan to find out who was the biological father so the little boy would grow up to see his two parents as equals. They said: “He and Elton made a pact that they are equal parents - no one will ever know who the biological father is.” However, Elton reportedly admitted that he hopes to


was her own injuries. She is badly shaken up and she was in pieces all of last night.” A spokesperson for the reality star confirmed the accident had happened and two horses had been killed and Katie and Leandro are: “Ok, though understandably shaken.”

he Kills frontman Jamie Hince doesn’t worry about the UK ban on smoking cigarettes in public places as he always goes out to venues where they don’t mind if he lights up. Asked how he copes with the smoking ban, he said: “I tend to go to the sort of places where they let you smoke anyway, so it’s not really a problem for me.” Both Kate and Jamie are famous for their love of smoking and it has previously been claimed that the supermodel insists on having 100 cigarettes nearby at all times. A source said: “Kate has five coffee tables spread between her living room, kitchen, office and bedroom so that’s a lot of cigarettes. “She also has a special tennis ball with holes for cigarettes to stick out from so visitors can relax with a smoke.” It was also claimed she insisted upmarket London department store Selfridges installed a special smoking area for her when she launched a range of handbags there. A source said: “It’s Kate Moss - she can ask for what she likes and they’ll probably bend over and give it to her. “The outside area is a bit of a problem. Her people want couches, cushions, tables, heaters and candles to make it comfy for her to have a cigarette.”

be the one who shares his son’s blood, although he would also be happy if David was Zac’s real father. Another friend added: “Elton was clear he wanted his bloodline to continue but also took on board advice that a younger man may be a more appropriate donor. It is a very complicated arrangement - but one forged by love.”


Nicki Minaj motivated by making a better life for mother he 26-year-old rapper - who moved from Trinidad to the US at the age of five - admits living in a threebedroom home with 15 other people and then seeing her father fall victim to drug and alcohol abuse made her determined to “kick ass” with her music. She said: “In Trinidad we didn’t have much. Then my parents moved to the States and then they sent for me, and I thought everything was going to be great. “But my father fell victim to drug and alcohol abuse, so it was an uphill battle for a very, very long time. He was really, really addicted. My mother had to make ends meet the best way she knew how. “Really, when I talk about my life in records like ‘I’m The Best’ I’m just saying, ‘Hey, after all of this, here’s what I’ve accomplished.’ “What motivated me was that I wanted to get my mother out of her situation, so I always wanted to kick ass at whatever I did.” Nicki admits her difficult upbringing has made her a “very aggressive” person because she has always had to stand up for herself but she has since learned how to control her behavior. She added: “It has made me a very aggressive person. I always heard lots of yelling, fighting and cussing. It made me a very reactive person. “I’ve been learning how to tone that down a bit. I’ve been learning how to say, ‘OK, cool, I gotta think things through, I can’t always react.’ “—BangShowbiz




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Cultural Center holds exhibition Symbols of the ubiquitous Cypress trees surrounding the orange groves, roses, jasmine and the famous olive tree are typical motifs in Palestinian dresses Women Cultural Social Society Shaikha Al-Nesf cuts the ribbon, with Seham Abu Ghazaleh (right) the president of the Palestinian Cultural Center. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat.

By Hussain Al-Qatari


olorful shawls, dresses, scarves, and beautiful ceramics adorned the Women Cultural and Social Society in Khaldiya yesterday morning as it welcomed the visitors of the Palestinian Cultural exhibition. The exhibition was inaugurated by the chairperson of the Women Cultural and Social Society Shaikha Al-Nesf, and was attended by handicraft and Palestinian culture lovers. Faten Abu Ghazaleh, president of the Palestinian Cultural Center explained that the exhibition aims to introduce people in Kuwait to Palestinian culture, art and traditions. “One of our objectives is to protect Palestinian heritage from exinction. These beautiful embroideries and handicrafts are also

the source of income for the women who make them,” she said. She added: “The proceeds of this event help in funding other projects that sustain the lives of people in Palestinian refugee camps, like sponsoring families in need, and funding university scholarships for students,” added Abu Ghazaleh. The items showcased in the exhibition are all hand-made by the 550 Palestinian women living in refugee camps in Jordan and employed by the Palestinian Culture Center. “Throughout the course of crafting the beautiful traditional pieces, these women are passing the tradition to the young generation, preserving it from extinction,” said Abu Ghazaleh. The exhibition captures the beauty of Palestinian culture,

history and rich heritage, exhibiting colorful cross-stitch pieces, shawls, traditional Palestinian dresses, wallets, purses, and many more. Books and DVDs in Arabic and English speaking about the plight of the Palestinian diaspora were also on display, with titles by acclaimed thinkers like Naom Chomsky and Edward Said. The literature section also included CDs of traditional Palestinian music, books of fiction and poetry. The event featured numerous hand-made products by women living in refugee camps. They include traditional crossstitch embroidery of dresses, linens, shawls, cushions, table runners, cards, belts, purses, bookmarks, handmade ceramics from Hebron, books, posters, cards, and keychains.

One of the most prominent sections is the traditional Palestinian dresses section. The dresses are famous for their flowery designs and bold natural colors of indigo and red. Symbols of the ubiquitous Cypress trees surrounding the orange groves, roses, jasmine and the famous olive tree are typical motifs in Palestinian dresses. On the periphery of the event, a traditional food sale is organized featuring a number of foods such as thyme, sumac, baked traditional goods and dishes. What renders Palestinian embroidery unique is the use of needle and silk thread, which is a manifestation of the Palestinian identity as it has evolved over the ages. An age old art, all Palestinian ladies, young and old, would, spend hours embroidering their

trousseau, dresses, shawls and cushions. Palestinian art is known for its use of geometric shapes, and depicting images from the immediate surroundings. The Palestinian Culture Center (PCC) is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve the rich heritage and culture of Palestine, help empower women and their families in the Palestinian refugee camps become economically independent, and sustain needy Palestinians in their homeland and across the world. The exhibition is a four-day event taking place from 10 am to 1:30 pm, and then again from 4:30 to 8:30 pm until Thursday.

The event aims to preserve the rich heritage and culture of Palestine, and help empower women and their families in the Palestinian refugee camps become economically independent

Volunteers and organizers at the Palestinian Cultural Center at the inauguration yesterday.



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Britain’s royals, once rulers, are now celebrities P oor Kate Middleton. She’s not just marrying a future king. She’s marrying all of us.Once upon a time, British subjects gazed upon their sovereigns from afar. Not any more. Members of the royal family are now Hollywood-style mega-celebrities , their cellulite, receding hairlines and boozy nights out subject to the same relentless scrutiny as other A-listers. The monarchy has gained in star power, and perhaps lost in dignity, since William’s mother, Princess Diana, burst into the royal family in a blonde blaze of charisma and changed it forever. On British newsstands ahead of Friday’s wedding, Kate and William beam from the covers of celebrity magazines alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones, singer Cheryl Cole and surgically altered glamour model Katie Price. One promises the inside scoop on “Royal Wedding Meltdowns!” Another says that “Pals Fear for Skinny Kate.” The royal couple is even on the cover of TV Times , the wedding will be the television event of the year. It’s easy to forget that it was not always like this.

“When I was growing up I thought the royal family was harmless but a bit boring,” said novelist Monica Ali, whose new book, “Untold Story,” imagines an alternate future for Princess Diana. “It was really when Diana came on the scene that things started to change,” Ali said. “She divided opinion. A lot of people adored her, some people didn’t like her, but everybody had an opinion about her. “She brought celebrity into it , for good or for ill.” “Untold Story,” out now in Britain and published in the United States in June, imagines that Diana didn’t die in a 1997 car crash, but faked her own death, changed her name and rebuilt her life in a small American town. Ali, whose books include the best-selling London immigrant saga “Brick Lane,” uses the novel to muse on the price of celebrity and the pressures of fame. “Kate is not just marrying into the royal family,” Ali said. “She is marrying into celebrity. She is entering the game show of the first wives’ club. She’ll be competing with Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni.” There’s nothing new in a popular desire

to read about celebrities, but over the decades our relationship with them has been transformed. Perhaps it was the rise of the paparazzi, with their long lenses and lack of boundaries. Maybe it was the lowering of social barriers and inhibitions that began in the 1960s. Nowadays, we want to know everything. Ellis Cashmore, a cultural studies professor at England’s Staffordshire University and author of the book “Celebrity Culture,” said Princess Diana was a key figure in this transition , and so, even earlier, was the late Elizabeth Taylor, with her emotional exuberance and health problems and turbulent love life. “It wasn’t the Liz Taylor we saw in the movies we were interested in , we wanted to know the real person,” he said. “We became much more interested in people’s private lives , or what was once their private lives.” The royal family remained largely off-limits , until Diana worked her fairy-tale magic. The romantic 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and 20-year-old Lady Diana Spencer was followed by two sons, William and Harry. Then came

bulimia, a suicide attempt and marital discord that was obvious to the world even before Diana told a TV interviewer in 1995 that “there were three of us” in the marriage , Diana, Charles and his paramour Camilla ParkerBowles. Throughout it all, paparazzi trailed Diana wherever she went. Her combination of glamour, personal warmth, charity work and unhappiness was gold dust. “The humanizing touch Diana gave it was like a magic touch, a wand , the entire royal family became in one instant human,” Cashmore said. “It was as if it had dawned on us that they were ordinary people just like us.” And that changed the royal family. “Diana jolted them into understanding they weren’t a private institution at all,” Cashmore said. “They were public, and we , the consumers, the fans , felt a sense of entitlement. It’s not just a monarchy. It’s our monarchy. “The royal family has had to come to the recognition , slowly and rather reluctantly , that they are public property.” That reluctance , and recognition , was dramatized in “The Queen,” Stephen Frears’ film about the aftermath of Diana’s death, in which the attention-shy monarch played by Helen Mirren is galvanized into a public display of grief by populist Prime Minister Tony Blair. In the years since Diana’s death, the palace has made increasing concessions to popular hunger, including carefully staged interviews and photo opportunities with the young princes, William and Harry. Royal officials have media-managed the wedding preparations with skill, releasing a steady drip feed of details, setting up a website, YouTube channel and Twitter account and arranging to stream the wedding ceremony live on the Internet. It is all designed to satisfy huge public curiosity while maintaining some control over the disclosures. Most people in Britain express nothing but goodwill for William and Kate , and many sympathize with the nervousness Middleton must feel about becoming public property. “I do think there’s a boundary,” said 23-yearold London trader Leah Clarke. “Every person is human and entitled to their privacy and that’s a right to everyone whether you’re a royal, a celebrity or whatever.” Perhaps Kate and William will be allowed their fairy-tale ending , or at least a normal existence. Ali hopes so. “There is a very human part of us that longs for more drama,” she said, “but we would like the fairy tale to work out this time around.”— AP

A commemorative plate for Diana, Princess of Wales is pictured with a souvenir plate for the royal wedding of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton on a market stall, in London yesterday.—AFP

Shower us with donations:

William and Kate


hat do you give the couple who have everything? The answer, in the case of Prince William and Kate Middleton, is a donation to charity. Not for them the entire roomful of antique furniture including a four-poster bed in maple which Canada gave to William’s mother Diana and Prince Charles for their wedding in 1981. Or the 20 silver platters inscribed with the date of the marriage which was Australia’s gift 30 years ago. In a different age, the second-in-line to the throne and his fiancee have asked anyone wanting to give them a present to pay into a fund to support 26 charities, many of which are not particularly well known. They clearly want to spread the charitable giving around the Commonwealth because one is the appeal for aid following the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month which killed more than 200 people. The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service are also on the list of beneficiaries. Yet most of the charities are in Britain and some reflect the prince’s military background. A handful of them help service personnel and their families, such as the Army Widows’ Association. Donations to can be made in six currencies. The money will be held and distributed by a charitable foundation set up by William and his brother, Prince Harry. William proposed to Kate while on holiday in Kenya, and the prince’s affinity for causes in Africa is reflected by his choice of conservation projects run by the Zoological Society of London to save the black rhino and African elephant from extinction. The couple have also decided to support Beatbullying, a children’s charity which says it is “working with young people to create a world where bullying, violence and harassment are unacceptable”. But there will still be a few presents for Kate and William to unwrap. The people of Wales will give them a speciallydesigned piece of Welsh crystal. The couple have lived for the past two years in Anglesey in north Wales where the prince is an RAF helicopter pilot. Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “The happy couple have strong links with the country and this is where they have chosen to make their home. “I wish the royal couple all the very best for their big day, and every happiness for the rest of their lives together.” More unusually, a South African discount airline has made a tongue-in-cheek offer to give Kate Middleton’s family a herd of cows, an African tradition known as “lobola”. Lobola, a southern African wedding custom, requires the groom to make a symbolic payment to the family of the bride, traditionally in cattle. The airline,, said it would source a herd of cows locally in Britain and deliver them to the couple-providing Middleton’s family, who have made millions from a party goods business, accepts. The Canadian government, which has a history of giving generous wedding gifts to British royals, will not announce its gift until the wedding day. But as its present to the couple, the Canadian province of Alberta has already made a donation of 25,000 Canadian dollars ($26,200 US, 18,000 euros) to seven shelters for young homeless people. — AFP

Pre-wedding poll shows support for royals A

s preparations step up for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, an opinion poll yesterday showed two-thirds of British people believe the country is better off because of the royal family. However, only 37 percent said they were “genuinely interested and excited” by Friday’s nuptials. In bright sunshine, thousands of tourists in London took advantage of the Easter Monday holiday to flock to Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace to see the two focal points of the wedding. The prospect of the wedding appears to have given a boost to the royal family’s popularity, with 63 percent of those questioned in the ICM survey for The Guardian saying Britain would be worse off without the monarchy. And three-quarters of the 1,003 adults questioned believe the royal wedding will give the country “a strong feel good factor”, although only one third of respondents said they were “genuinely interested and excited” by the marriage. With hundreds of thousands of people expected to line the wedding route, forecasters said days of unseasonably hot weather could give way to cloudier and cooler weather, meaning the wedding could be hit by showers. “At the moment, it is looking like temperatures will probably be a little bit above average and there is a risk of heavy showers,” said Helen Rossington, senior forecaster at MeteoGroup. The couple’s low-key preparations for the big day continued as William had Sunday lunch at the home of Kate’s parents in the village of Bucklebury, southeast England, reports said, while the rest of the royal family gathered for an Easter church service in Windsor.

The British media pored over the guest list, noting that while football star David Beckhamwho befriended William during England’s failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup-was invited, there is definitely no place for Sarah Ferguson. The absence of the ex-wife of Queen Elizabeth’s second son, Prince Andrew, will make the wedding a bittersweet occasion for their daughters Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, who will be attending. Also among the 1,900-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey will be “Mr Bean” actor Rowan Atkinson, a good friend of William’s father Prince Charles. Other invitees on the eclectic guest list will be linked to William’s charity work, such as a former homeless woman supported by charity Centrepoint of which the prince is patron. Shozna, 20, whose surname has not been revealed, will be treated to a royal makeover and will take her place alongside royals, celebrities and foreign dignitaries in Westminster Abbey. The young woman was helped by the charity after she suffered a stroke which paralysed the right side of her body and left her unable to speak. Bahrain’s crown prince on Sunday turned down a controversial invitation to the wedding to avoid causing potential embarrassment to Kate and William after protests in the Gulf kingdom were crushed by security forces in recent weeks. Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa complained that British media had “misrepresented” his stance and “clearly sought to involve my potential attendance as a political proxy for wider matters involving Bahrain.” It also emerged that a British Guardsman, 18-year-old

Cameron Reilly, has been removed from duties at the wedding after he described Kate as a “stuck-up cow” on his Facebook page. — AFP

Members of the British royal family, left to right, Princess Eugenie, Tim Lawrence, Sophie Countess of Wessex, Princess Beatrice and Princess Ann arrive to attend the Easter Matins at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on Sunday in Windsor, England. —AP

A handout image obtained yesterday from the Lego press office shows figures representing members of Britain’s royal family (from L to R), Prince Harry, Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II. A bride and groom minifigures have been created to celebrate the royal wedding .—AP



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Grotto galleries show early Somali life


galaxy of colorful animal and human sketches adorn the caves in the rocky hills of this arid wilderness in northern Somalia, home to Africa’s earliest known and most pristine rock art. But in a region ravaged by two decades of relentless civil unrest and lawlessness, the archeological site is at risk of destruction, looting and clandestine excavation. The 10 caves in Laas Geel, Somali for “camel watering hole”, outside Hargeisa, the capital of Somalia’s self-declared Somaliland state, show vivid depictions of a pastoralist history dating back some 5,000 years or more. The paintings were discovered in 2002 by a French archaeology team and have since been protected to bar looters after their value became apparent to locals who previously feared they were the work of evil spirits. “The people around here thought the caves had evil spirits and never used to come near. They offered sacrifices not to be harmed,” recounted Ali Said, an assistant archaeologist with the Somaliland government. The cave galleries provide a peek into the little known history of this part of the world, which in recent times has mostly been famous for bloody conflicts and instability. Paintings of decorated cows-some with radiant neck stripes-herders and wild animals point to the interglacial period when the now arid Horn of Africa region was lush and had plenty of wild animals, explained Sada Mire, a Somali-born British archaeologist working to preserve the rare heritage. Much of Somalia is now a vast badland and the parched Laas Geel region no longer draws heards of cattle coming to graze and water, while human settlement is sparse. “We know that the painters were pastoralists who lived in a much better climate than the present,” Mire said. “It is quite an important discovery as little is known about the history of this region and lots of archaeological heritage is being lost to destruction, looting and neglect,” she added.

This photo taken on March 31, 2011 shows a Somalian archaeolgist pointing to a primitive rock painting, one of a galaxy of colourful animal and human sketches to adorn the caves in the rocky hills of this arid wilderness in northern Somalia, in Laas Geel, home to Africa’s earliest known and most pristine rock art. —AFP The Laas Geel rock caves are located near a confluence of two now dry rivers, which lend credence to its name and the practice of herders taking to etching cave walls with animal and other depictions. While some of the Laas Geel cave paintings are stunningly vivid, others have faded off due to rock degradation and effects of weather. The caves house a constellation of brown, orange, white and red pre-historic sketches on the walls and ceiling. “The paintings are vanishing if urgent conservation measures are not taken. At the moment we are protecting and recording them. Weathering as well as human threat in terms of unplanned development are immediate treats,” Mire said. Mire now works with the government of Somaliland to train

locals to protect the artefacts as well as help authorities draft laws to preserve the region’s historical sites. A former British protectorate, Somaliland declared independence from the rest of Somalia when war erupted following the overthrow of president Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, but it is not recognized by the international community. The small region in northern Somalia also boasts other pre-historic sites, also with cave paintings and other early human life. In the northern Dhambalin region, rock caves also host colorful paintings of cattle and wild animals as well as dogs and a man on a horseback, which Mire said in a recent article is one of the earliest known depictions of a mount-

Paul Simon takes graying fans on world tour


aul Simon strolled onstage at the Pantages Theatre, and the crowd rose. Standing-O without having played a note or said a word. Yes, this Hollywood crowdthough decidedly graying-was primed, and it was raucous and rolling all night. And for good reason. Simon delivered an alternately beautiful and boisterous show drenched in the world of music he’s become so associated with-but without forgetting that America is part of that world. Along with the African rhythms and island riddims were doses or dollops of blues, country, gospel, soul, New York coffeehouse, pure pop, even an Elvis cover. It was a heady brew. His graceful knack for rhythm, melody and lyrics that rare triple threat in rock-have made his catalog essential, but his concerts go far beyond mere recitals. More than a half-century of performing has made Simon a true master of the stage. It’s not that he relies on gimmicky antics, witty banter or showboating; rather, few are more expert in piecing together a set list. After opening Thursday’s show with a deep cut from his most popular album then a swampy-starting one from his brand-new record, Simon knew it was time to throw the pent-up crowd some meat. It took the form of his lone No 1 single, “50 Way to Leave Your Lover,” which the horns in his eight-piece band brassed up as much as the song’s jilted third party is brassed off. Win. He followed with the title cut from “So Beautiful or So What,” which debuted at a careerhigh No. 4 on


S Paul

the Billboard 200 last week. The riffy song had more punch than the punchy studio version, its background flute not soothing its irritated narrator. It was one of five songs from the new record, whose themes touch on spirituality and uncertainty, mortality and anxiety, difficulty and tenacity. All were well played and well received, though he opted not to play its catchy and witty lead single, “The Afterlife.” Simon had little time for talk during the perfectly paced show, but he offered one nugget before covering Jimmy Cliff’s “Vietnam.” “This is the song that made me want to go down to Jamaica and record ‘Mother and Child Reunion,”“ he said. He followed it with that breakthrough solo hit from 1972, to the crowd’s delight. But his juxtaposition of the two songs stirred thoughts that maybe their pairing was more than just the Jamaica connection. “Reunion” was always a dichotomy-with its jolly, carefree music played over such sullen lyrics as “I can’t for the life of me remember a sadder day” and “this strange and mournful day.” Was this a subtle poke at war? Maybe imagining an awful reunion of mother and battle casualty? Even if so, Simon offered no time to dwell on it, as the zydeco-soaked “That Was Your Mother” followed. Its fast tempo and wild-times story riled up the room, bringing many to their feet. And Jamey Haddad’s washboard antics drew a roar. Then ... quickly quiet again. As barely a beat passed, the group dropped into the loping groove of “Hearts and Bones.” With the previous song having told of a chance meeting in Louisiana that led to some red wine and easy lovin’, this one studied the complex “arc of a love affair.” And it segued immediately into “Mystery Train,” a shuffling blues that laments how the train “took my baby away from me again.” It, in turn, went country as it morphed into the instrumental “Wheels.” Just a typically atypical example of Paul Simon set-list mambo. Ending the set with “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” was a case of giving the people what they want: a chance to get up and dance. Again, the old pro’s concert acumen kicked in; he knows how to leave them standing. When he returned, with everyone still on their feet, Simon was alone onstage with an acoustic guitar. As he hit the familiar opening chords of “The Sound of Silence”-one of only two he played from the Simon & Garfunkel canon-there was a collective, very audible reaction from the patrons, and they quickly sat. It kicked off a six-song encore that capped a nearly 2 1/2-hour show. Not bad for someone turning 70 this year. Come back anytime, Paul.— AP

ed huntsman. Somaliland has been spared much of the violence that has flayed the south and central Somalia regions and authorities are looking to capitalize on the relative stability and the recently discovered historical treasures to woo tourists. “People now appreciate these (rock) paintings and they hope they will attract tourism which will benefit them,” Said noted, pointing to a cluster small drawings of wild animals in one of the caves. “The government is encouraging those who can to build hotels and resorts around here (Laas Geel) to host tourists,” he added.— AFP

Metallica dusts off classics for desert metal fest


he appeal of heavy metal has always lain in its traditions, which are all self-reflexively hokey enough to almost be cliches: the black shirts, the songs about death, the wheeldillee-deedillee guitar solos. Call the first-ever US edition of The Big 4 (the Metallica-headlined daylong metal fest previously held only overseas) a return to tradition, then, as generations of fans descended on the desert to pay homage to the masters of metal, mostly with a beer in one hand and devil horns thrown with the other. That’s not meant to be condescending but rather admiring: this was a cult event on the grandest scale, as over 60,000 estimated attendees with an extremely noticeable allfor-one mindset gathered for similarly structured music all on one stage. (Compare that to the previous weekend’s Coachella festival in the same location, with roughly 15,000 more people, all running in majorly disparate directions.) Even within the genre, the lineup didn’t diversify: openers Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth are all admirable, decadeslong carriers of the shreddy, loud/fast/aggressive metal flag-no cheesy pop, silly nu-metal or any raprock hybrid stuff allowed. Given the focused lineup, it’s no surprise the bands delivered, each more crowd-pleasing than the next. Ageless Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian wailed his way through “Among the Living,” with bemulleted singer Joey Belladonna bringing a half mic-stand into the audience to allow the crowd to scream along. Megadeth’s front-

man Dave Mustaine is still snarky and speedy; “Wake Up Dead” was blistering and precise. Of the openers, Slayer were the headbangiest of them all, faceblasting their way through “Dead Skin Mask” and “Raining Blood” before closing with the anthemic “Angel of Death.” But the night unquestionably belonged to the headliners, who delivered a career-spanning, possibly career-defining set that clarified why they’ve been able to maintain their relevance for so long: simply, it’s diversity, stupid. Emerging onto their two-story stage to an Ennio Morricone spaghetti-western theme, the band plunged into the early ‘80s with “Creeping Death,” guitarist/singer James Hetfield employing the crowd into rally-cry “hey-hey-heys.” But unlike some of the openers, it wasn’t all how-fast-canwe-play-this-riff ; guitarist Kirk Hammett still plays with ambition and delicacy even when he’s searching for upper-register peaks, giving his playing a fluidity lacking in many of his contemporaries. It doesn’t hurt that the songs are legitimate classics at this point, and the band barreled through nearly all of its best-known

rockers, from the more recent “Fuel” (accompanied, of course, by plumes of fire and ear-shattering fireworks) back to 1988’s “One,” before closing out the set proper with “Enter Sandman,” by far the biggest singalong of the day. The encore began with an allbands-on-deck encore cover of Diamond Head’s obscure-to-non-metalheads stomper “Am I Evil,” historic because it saw notorious rivals Hetfield and Mustaine both hugging and sharing a stage together. But even that shouldn’t be considered all that surprising: as metalheads surely realize by now, when someone understands your traditions, you’ve got to embrace them, rather than push them away. — AP

Legendary American singer, songwriter, poet, artist and actor, Bob Dylan performs from his repertoire of over 400 songs and 50 albums during the 22nd annual Bluesfest music festival near Byron Bay yesterday. Australia’s largest celebration of blues and roots music runs from April 21 until April 26 and includes Elvis Costello, Grace Jones, The Cat Empire, ZZ Top, and Leon Russell in the line-up. —AFP

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Pre-wedding poll shows support for royals Years



Models present creations by Pakistani designer La Chantal by Saba on the last day of Bridal Couture Week in Karachi on late April 24, 2011. Bridal Couture Week organized by Style360 is a three-day “Bridal Couture Week” which aims to promote Pakistan’s textile industry. —AFP

Obamas host annual


ome 30,000 children and their parents swarmed the White House grounds yesterday for the annual tradition of rolling Easter eggs across the South Lawn, complete with games, storytelling and a visit from the Easter Bunny. Easter eggs are brightly colored boiled chicken eggs, a time-worn Easter tradition in the

Easter Egg Roll

United states. “I hope everybody is having a great time here,” President Barack Obama said in brief remarks formally kicking off yesterday’s event. He was joined on a balcony overlooking the sun-drenched South Lawn by wife, Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha and Mrs. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson.

President Barack Obama hits a tennis ball between his legs during a tennis workshop at the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington yesterday. —AP

Michelle Obama said it was “pretty amazing” that a record 30,000 people would be attending. All 50 states and Washington, DC, were represented, according to the White House. She pointed out to the participants that “The theme is ‘Get Up and Go!’ because, as you know, I’m a big proponent of getting up and going, making sure we’re moving and eating healthy and this Easter Egg Roll reflects all of that.” Mrs. Obama has traveled around the country stressing healthy eating and exercise as part of a nationwide campaign against childhood obesity. She urged Easter Egg Roll participants to enjoy all the available activities, including story time, obstacle courses, yoga, dancing, tennis and basketball with professional athletes and, of

President Barack Obama, with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia, center, and Sasha, right, their grandmother Marian Robinson at rear, and the Easter Bunny, wave as they arrive for the start of the annual White House Easter Egg Roll festivities, at the White House in Washington yesterday.—AP

course, the traditional rolling of pastel-colored hard-boiled eggs across the plush lawn that essentially is her back yard. As the rest of his family and the Easter Bunny looked on, Obama blew a whistle to start one of the traditional eggrolling races. “Is everybody ready? Everybody feels good about their form?” he said before signaling the start. As the race neared an end, one girl was left rolling long after the others. Obama encouraged her, then helped her flip her egg across the finish line. The Easter Egg Roll dates to 1878 and the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes. — AP

26 April