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Libya ‘could be new Somalia’

No: 15137

SHABBAN 1, 1432 AH

Moroccans vote on changes to king’s powers

Japan rout Mexico 4-0

150 Fils

7Syrian soldiers 9 44 slay fourteen protesters Huge protests grip Syria, ‘sending off’ Assad

Max 46º Min 34º

Tensions high as Bahrain kicks off national dialogue MANAMA: Bahrain launches a national dialogue today but many in the Shiite majority doubt the ruling Sunni monarchy will offer the concessions that could heal wounds caused by a crackdown on pro-democracy protests. The kingdom, which hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has accused its mostly Shiite protesters of a sectarian agenda backed from non-Arab Shiite power Iran, across Gulf waters. In March, Bahrain’s Sunni rulers imposed emergency law, inviting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to send troops, and tanks rolled into the island as local forces cleared the streets of protesters, arresting hundreds of people. Inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled rulers in those countries, Bahrain’s Shiites called for a greater say in government and an end to what they say was systematic discrimination in access to jobs and social services. The tiny Gulf Arab state has spent weeks preparing for the talks, which it says will discuss political, economic, social and legal reforms that could ease longstanding grievances and which are expected to last at least a month. “We need to ensure this dialogue quickly offers real political situations to create stability,” said Wefaq spokesman Khalil al-Marzouq. “Otherwise the situation will explode again.” King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa said “all options” were on the table for negotiations. With protests erupting daily in the winding alleys of Shiite villages ringing the capital Manama, opposition groups have been torn over whether or not to attend talks that most of their supporters believe will fail. Wefaq, the leading Shiite opposition group, announced it would attend the dialogue at a rally of tens of thousands of supporters yesterday evening. The audience responded to the news by shouting: “We want the freedom of all our prisoners. No one cares or us, no one is listening to us. We will go to the dialogue, but if the dialogue does not deliver what the people need, we will withdraw,” the party leader Sheikh Ali Salman told cheering supporters waving Bahraini flags. The area was so crowded some crammed on rooftops as a state helicopter buzzed overhead. Wefaq sources told Reuters there had been heated debates over whether the group could maintain its credibility with its large support base if it went to talks and they failed to achieve tangible reforms. Bahrain has offered some concessions ahead of today’s talks. It established a panel to investigate deaths and arrests that Shiites bore the brunt of after the protests, and plans to withdraw most, though not all, Saudi troops. National dialogue spokesman Isa Abdulrahman said the dialogue offered an opportunity for reform and easing Sunni and Shiite divisions that threaten the country. “The goal is to reach a consensus with everyone, it’s not about a vote. This is about bringing together all elements of Bahraini society to heal this nation so that it can move forward to a brighter future,” he said. The forum has received hundreds of proposals for discussion and if delegates agree some reforms, the king could later sign them into law. — Reuters

KFAR NEBEL: Anti-Bashar protesters hold up a banner against Assad during a demonstration against the Syrian regime, in Kfar Nebel near the province of Edlib, northwest Syria yesterday. — AP AMMAN: Syrian forces shot dead 14 protesters yesterday as tens of thousands of people called on President Bashar to step down in some of the biggest demonstrations since Syria’s uprising began in March. The Local Coordination Committees, a group of grassroots activists, said three demonstrators were shot dead in the central city of Homs, three in the northern province of Idlib, two in Damascus suburbs and one in Latakia. Defying Assad’s military crackdown, demonstrators took to the streets again after Friday prayers across the country, from towns near the western Lebanese border to the desert regions near Iraq in the east. “Bashar get out of our lives,” read placards carried by thousands of Kurds who marched in the northeastern city of Amouda, according to a YouTube video taken by resident. In the city of Hama, video footage appeared to show tens of thousands of protesters massed in a central square. Witnesses and activists said demonstrators in Hama and in Kurdish eastern areas

carried red cards, employing a soccer symbol to demand Assad’s “sending off”. Authorities banned most international media from operating in Syria since the outbreak of the protests in March, making it difficult to verify reports from activists and authorities. State television said gunmen had fired on security forces in Homs in several other towns, wounding two of them. In the old Homs district of Bab Sbaa, a witness said several armored vehicles deployed and soldiers fired at protesters from road blocks set up in main streets in the city of one million. Another activist in Homs said the death toll could be higher, with troops surrounding a private hospital in Bab Sbaa and several wounded people rushed to another hospital on the outskirts of the city where security forces were not present. Protesters have taken to the streets for 14 weeks to protest against Assad in unrest which has claimed the lives of around 1,300 civilians, according to rights groups. Authorities say 500 police and soldiers have been killed by gunmen they also blame for most of the civilian deaths.

Alongside the military crackdown, Assad has promised a national dialogue on political reforms and on Monday gave a rare platform to opposition demands when authorities allowed a conference in Damascus attended by 150 intellectuals. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was “disheartened” by reports of continued violence near the Syrian border with Turkey. Monday’s meeting in Damascus, she said, was not enough on its own to address demands for reform. “It is absolutely clear that the Syrian government is running out of time,” she said during a visit to Lithuania. “They are either going to allow a serious political process that will include peaceful protests to take place throughout Syria and engage in a productive dialogue with members of the opposition and civil society, or they’re going to continue to see increasingly organized resistance.” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that tank assaults killed three people overnight in hillside villages of the northern Idlib province near the Turkish border. — Agencies



Satire Wire

How many zeros in trillion?

Iraq objects to building nuke reactor in Kuwait ‘Gone too far in hostile acts’ By A Saleh

Sawsan Kazak


e all know that wars are expensive for countries. They deplete the nation’s budget as well as take a toll on the population. But what is the price tag of a ten-year war in three countries? Apparently, according to the research project ‘Costs of War’ by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, the number could reach $4.4 trillion for Americas’ war on terror. The study found that the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan will cost America at least $3.7 trillion and counting and might reach up to $4.4trillion. These are staggering numbers that are so big they almost seem made-up. These are figures you would expect to hear about in the latest Austin Power movie from Dr Evil as he demands a random from the world, not an actual price tag of war. I can’t wrap my head around the amount of money spent on destruction and pain, and wonder if this kind of spending is even warranted. Trillions of dollars spent for the destruction of lives and devastation of countries. The study calculated that about 224,000 to 258,000 people have died directly from warfare, including 125,000 civilians in Iraq. An additional 365,000 have been wounded in addition to 7.8 million people. Is that what 3.7 trillion buys you these days? Think about the good that could have been done with this money, all the research that it could have been funded, all the homes it could have built, all the healthcare it could have provided. If we don’t want to consider the ‘what-ifs’ , we should at least consider the reality. The Brown University study highlighted how much the US federal budget will continue to be stretched out due to these wars; a budget that was already suffering due to the aging population and price of healthcare. Couldn’t some of that money have alleviated just a bit of the country’s budget problems? With an investment of that amount, you would expect a great return on your capital, but the only thing America has in return to that spending is more spending. Years after the wars are over, America will have a long-term obligation to the wounded veterans and their families, not to mention a huge debt. Hopefully, it will now be clear to the American population that this is where trillions of dollars were very badly spent.

KUWAIT: Following Iraq’s recent objections to Kuwait’s construction of Mubarak Al-Kabeer port, another Iraqi political bloc is concerned with Kuwait’s intention to construct a nuclear reactor for energy production purposes. It has promised to protest against its establishment on the grounds that it would ‘harm Iraqis.’ On this regard, one Iraqi MP Alya Naseef urged the Iraqi government to act immediately and prevent Kuwait from building the reactor that lies in proximity to Iraqi borders. She added that the move will save half a million Iraqis from being displaced in an attempt to escape radioactive pollution. In her statement, Naseef stressed, “The Mubarak port will suffocate Iraqi navigation. Kuwait may build a nuclear reactor at Warba island that is located less than half a kilometer away from the Iraqi port of Um Qasr. The Iraqi government is out of coverage.”

She also said that Kuwait has signed a $20 million-worth contract with France to build the reactor at that particular site. This is because it was at least 30 kilometers away from the nearest Kuwait residential complex. “Those who dare raise the subject are accused of belonging to the Baath party, being affiliated to Iran to seek political gains,” said Naseef. She noted that Kuwait had ‘gone too far in it’s hostile acts.’ “It appears as if Kuwaitis’ lives are more precious than Iraqis. That is why the reactor will be built 500 meters away from them,” Naseef added sarcastically. PAB to ‘grill’ foreign minister As part of the preparations made to interpellate Sheikh Mohammed AlSabah, Deputy PM and Foreign Minister, the Popular Action Bloc (PAB) has been noting down points that have been included in several parliamentary inquiries made by MP Saleh Ashour. They are then included in the grilling motion that can be filed with the hope

that Shiite MPs will support it. The official has added that motion would discuss diplomats’ appointment, opening Kuwaiti embassies abroad and opening foreign embassies in Kuwait. According to them, these pose a financial liability to the government. Furthermore, officials highlighted that following its failure, the bloc sought to grill another minister to achieve political victory. “PAB’s motion will be supported by the Development and Reform Bloc (DRB) and other independent MPs,” added officials. KASCO to increase staff The Kuwait Aviation Services Company (KASCO) will hire more ground staff next week to meet increased air traffic at Kuwait International Airport. He noted that at least 100 ground staff will begin work on Sunday. They added that KASCO will assess staff performance over a ninemonth period to determine whether the current number should be increased.

KUWAIT: A file photo from last year’s pearl diving voyage.

11 traditional boats to participate in diving expedition KUWAIT: The Kuwait Marine Sports Club has announced that traditional dive boats will participate in the 23rd diving expedition. The event will be held under the patronage of His Highness the Amir between 14 to 23 July with the participation of 11 dive boats. Six were gifted by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah. At least five large boats were gifted by the late HH Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. Mohammad Al-Farsi, Deputy Chairman of Marine Heritage Committee said that the six boats have

set sail, while the remaining are being prepared. The operation helps train youth to prepare diving boats by cleaning and insulating them. Al-Farsi added that sailors will be ready on Saturday to embark on the expedition in memory of the 18th Rigga Battle which is held under the patronage of Hamad Al-Falah Chairman and Managing Director of Kuwait Airways Corp. The race is a chance for captains and sailors to prove themselves and ensure that all diving boats are in good shape. Al-Farsi said that no change will be made to the timing.

Mohammad Al-Farsi



Kuwait investors invited to China-Arab economic forum KUWAIT: Visiting board member of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Ma Jiang urged Kuwait public and private sector investors to contribute to the Second China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum, to be held from Sept 21 to 25. Ma said during his visit to Kuwait that this forum is meant to promote economic and trade cooperation and friendly exchanges between China, the Arab States and the Muslim-majority Chinese autonomous Ningxia Hui region in which the forum would be held. He added that the forum would be co-organized by the Ministry of

Commerce, the CCPIT and the People’s Government of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The 2011 China (Ningxia) International Investment and Trade Fair would be held on sidelines of the forum. The Fair and Forum will be attended by Chinese and international ministers and senior officials as well as representatives from international organizations. A huge number of local and foreign companies are expected to participate in workshops or exhibitions. Following the 2010 China (Ningxia) International Investment and Trade Fair and the 1st China-Arab States

Economic and Trade Forum, the Fair and Forum will further broaden fields of exchanges for much diversified and fruitful results. It mainly consists of a series of events such as Summit Meeting of China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum, Workshop on China-Arab States International Trade and Economic Cooperation, Workshop on China-Arab States International Energy Cooperation, Workshop on China-Arab States International Financial Cooperation, Workshop on China-Arab States Quality Inspection and Customs Cooperation, Workshop of China-Arab States Youth Elites, Products Exhibition,

Investment presentation by Arab States and Provinces and Municipalities of China, Match-Making Meeting on China-Arab States Mutual Recognition Mechanism for Halal Food Certification Standards. In addition, China-Arab States Culture and Art Festival is also slated for that period. On the occasion of the Fair and Forum, those events as Workshop on China-Arab States Science and Technology Cooperation, Workshop of China-Arab States University Presidents and Summit Meetings of China (Yinchuan) International Muslim Entrepreneurs will also be held. —KUNA

Tough measures introduced to help Filipino workers in Kuwait New labor attache assumes post By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: The newly designated Labor Attache from Philippines Embassy David Des Decang was introduced to the Filipino community in Kuwait on Thursday. The introductory meeting was held at the Philippines Embassy’s Consular Section, in which leaders from the community, members of the press and embassy officials were present. The new labor attache promised to introduce tougher ‘drastic measures’ to help compatriots working in Kuwait as household service workers (housemaids) skilled and professional workers. Decang assumed post as labor attache to Kuwait on June 1, after former Labor Attache Vivo Vidal and his assistant Ofelia Castro Hudson were recalled in connection with suspected involvement in ‘human trafficking’ issue. Both have denied allegations pending investigation. A native of Baguio City, Decang has served as the former Filipino Labour Attache to Saudi

Arabia before assuming the post in Kuwait. He admitted that tough challenges lay ahead as he focuses toward strengthening the relationship between Kuwait local authorities and also with Filipino organizations to help deliver the job well. He reported that a week after assuming the post here, he was able to repatriate a total of 152 runaway housemaids. The number of runaway housemaids at that time was 385 in

KUWAIT: David Des Decang addresses Filipino community leaders at the embassy on Thursday. —Photos by Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: The POLO personnel being introduced to community leaders

all. “In my first week in office, we were able to repatriate 132 runaway housemaids, few weeks after that we had additional 20 more, and the regular repatriation continues. We thank the Kuwait authorities for assistance since they have been helping us in many ways. For example, if runaway housemaids have no pending cases other than the absconding one, local authorities here will immediately allow us to repatriate workers. The problem is, an average of housemaids that runaway per day stand at 10 to 15. So as of today, we still have about 320 runaway housemaids in the shelter. We are doing our best to send them all home,” he added. Local recruitment agencies have been asked to reduce the number of runaway housemaids and Decang implemented a policy to stop signing new ‘job orders’ [contracts] with those who had at least one runway maid in the shelter. “We have to take some drastic measures to help us assist our runaway workers. If they [manpower agencies] are not showing any efforts to help, they will be barred from hiring housemaids. At least, since the time I have introduced measures, they been cooperating so far.” The meeting also highlighted the job descriptions of POLO personnel and their individual duties and responsibilities. They also demonstrated the processing of a Visa 20 and 18. The embassy admitted to processing about 3,200 contracts every month, [for the 20 & 18 visas], and receiving an average of 500 to 700 complaints per month. Decang also released an official population record of Filipinos in Kuwait from the Ministry of Interior, “As of June this year, Filipinos in Kuwait stand at 127,556. Filipinos working in the government sector are 3,200 in number. In the private sector there are 45,309 Filipinos. Household service workers stand at 71,884. There are 7,085 dependents and 32 on student visa. And 46 Filipinos have sponsored themselves,” he said. He added that the number could be higher and suggested at least 6000 to 10,000 be added to the existing figures. The Philippines Embassy estimate that their population in Kuwait at 160,000.

Kuwait, Malta urge need for direct flight link VALLETTA, Malta: Kuwait and Malta noted the need for a direct air route between both countries, as part of plans to enhance bilateral relations. The topic was stressed during a meeting between Malta’s Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Communications Austin Gatt and Kuwaiti Ambassador to Malta Faisal AlMusaileem at the Maltese ministry’s head office in the capital, Valetta. Ambassador Al-Musaileem applauded the level of ties between both countries, urging the need to expand upon this in all fields, including telecommunications and transport. For his part, the Maltese minister noted the need for a direct flight link between both countries, an issue previously brought up by Malta’s tourism, environment and culture minister during a past meeting with the Kuwaiti ambassador. He hailed the role of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, in supporting a number of vital projects in his country, expressing hope these initiatives would continue. Gatt also emphasized the need for an exchange of expertise on the issue of information technology, mentioning that Malta had a lot to offer on the issue. —KUNA

Kuwaiti diplomat nominated to Committee 24 UNITED NATIONS: The Asian Group at the UN nominated, late Thursday, the 3rd Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Kuwait to the UN in Geneva Hassan Shaker Abu AlHassan as a rapporteur of the UN Special Political and Decolonization Committee, known as Committee 24. Committee 24, which falls under the UN General Assembly structure, is concerned with a wide range of political issues worldwide such as peacekeeping, decolonization, Palestinian refugees and other humanitarian issues. The UN Asian Group backup for the nomination of the Kuwaiti diplomat reflects Kuwait’s important role in supporting the UN activities. Last week, the UN General Assembly elected Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi as one of its 21 Vice-Presidents. —KUNA



e niv rsar n


local SATURDAY, jULY 2, 2011

Military officer in police net for illegal arms sale Gun, bullets confiscated KUWAIT: Hawally police arrested an officer employed with the Ministry of Defense in connection with unauthorized arms sale. Police were tipped off on the activities of a citizen who reportedly traded in arms. A work team was formed to collect information about the case. The individual in question reportedly chose to work in complete secrecy and selected his clients carefully. An undercover agent posing as a potential customer approached him to purchase some guns. After holding negotiations for five days, he agreed to sell the gun and some bullets for KD 1,600. He was caught at the time of delivering the arms. He claimed that the arms he sold were remnants from the Gulf War. Artillery shells found A number of laborers from the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) filed a complaint with the police stating that several artillery shells were hidden inside one of the high-tension transformers in Al-Naseem desert. They had been inspecting transformers and sighted the shells. Officers responded to the report and the shells were removed by members of the Army’s engineering unit. The shells were left behind from the Gulf war and were recently placed in the transformer. Police are investigating the case as laborers keep visiting the place frequently to conduct maintenance work .

Motor accident A Pakistani expatriate and a Filipina died in a car accident that took place along the Seventh Ring Road after two vehicles collided on Thursday. Their bodies were removed for an autopsy by a coroner. A passerby informed police of the incident. However, when they arrived at the scene, a Pakistani motorist in his 40s had died. The Filipina who was accompanied by an Iranian expat in the second car also lost her life. The Iranian and another Filipina sustained serious injuries and were admitted to Farwaniya Hospital.

Illegal gathering Many bedoons were planning to stage a demonstration yesterday at the Iradah Sqaure in response to calls made through different websites. However, officials said that Ministry of Interior would bar the protest. Officials said that instructions were received from the Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad AlHmoud Al-Sabah barring any such mass gathering. He added that non-Kuwaitis will not be allowed to assemble at the Iradah Square, reported Al-Anba. Officials emphasized that the Ministry of Interior has created a plan to not allow ‘bedoons’ to organize any public gatherings.

KUWAIT: Fire-fighters in action in Amgharah yesterday.

in my view

Politics detox: A great idea for a dusty summer By Hussain Al-Qatari


he past few years have been very tumultuous politically in our region. Leaders were outthrown, politicians publicly humiliated and in short history was made. On the local scene however, things barely exceeded the status of ‘repetitive and boring’. The public opinion screamed something along the lines of: “shoot me, please” as corrupt politicians took the platform repeatedly, attempting to add spice to the locale by holding weekly protests every Friday to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister. Soon these demands reached an end, and the protestors realized that going outside every Friday in the Kuwaiti heat is not really worth it, and decided to take a break, go on with their vacations and meet again in late September. This, coupled with the fact that people who have nothing to do with politics like faculty members in educational institutes and surgeons and doctors were dragged into the field of politics making it to headline stories, is an indicator that politics in Kuwait are not OK. The need for a detox plan from Kuwaiti politics stems from the need for holding on to our sanity. Kuwaiti politics are crazy, in every sense of the word. Keeping up with this madness can be addictive and in my opinion it is much worse than all other kinds of addictions since it affects your sense of humor, sanity, and makes you have this inexplicable strong urge to be upset and dissatisfied no matter what. For this summer, my detox from politics consists of a long list of books, television series and movies that I hope to enjoy. I can brag about accomplishing this detox plan soon, but my wish is to get carried away with this until it becomes an addition, a healthy one to replace the Kuwaiti politics addiction.

Dust storms to subside gradually KUWAIT: Car accident in South Surra.

Fire breaks out in timber warehouse By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A huge fire broke out yesterday afternoon at a timber warehouse in Amgharah area, said security sources noting that fire-fighters from four fire stations fought the fire and found great difficulty because of the strong winds that carried a smoke cloud above the scene. The sources explained that the fire spread over an area of 1200-1500

square meters including the store, a carpentry and an air-conditioning workshop. Firemen searched the scene for any possible casualties. 14 rescued 14 people were rescued when their boats drowned in national waters, said security sources. According to the Coast Guards, nine people, including four citizens, were rescued when their boat

drowned during a picnic cruise. Coast Guards also rescued five Iranians when their wooden boat drowned. Car accident Two people were killed and others sustained minor injuries when three vehicles collided at 3:15 am yesterday in South Surra, said security sources noting that when paramedics arrived at the scene the two victims had already died.

KUWAIT: A wave of dust swept past Kuwait on Thursday and yesterday, temporarily disrupting marine traffic for several hours at Kuwait Sea Port while air traffic remained normal and was unaffected by the dust storm. Dr Saleh AlAjairi, a well known meteorologist said that the dust storms are a seasonal phenomenon that occurs every year during the month of June and July. He said that it is caused by Northern Westerly winds due to low pressure. The winds passes over Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia and gathers sand particles. He noted that the storm gathers momentum during day and subsides by night. It will decline gradually, he said. Weather condition will improve as the temperature rises, reported Al-Qabas. On the other hand, Issam Al-Zamel Operations Director at the Civil Aviation Department and Kuwait Airport said that air traffic remained normal. No flights were redirected to any of the neighboring countries because visibility remained at 700 meters.


Kuwait calls for global efforts to tackle food security issue FAO conference in Rome

TANGIER: Kuwaiti Minister of Information and Minister of Communications Sami Abdelletif AlNesef arrives on an official visit to Morocco.

Nesef extols KuwaitMorocco ties TANGIER, MORO: Kuwaiti Minister of Information and Minister of Communications Sami Abdelletif Al-Nesef applauded Thursday the strong ties between his country and the Kingdom of Morocco. Upon his arrival here, Al-Nesef said that the visit is meant to bolster bilateral media and cultural relations to live up to the distinguished political ties between the countries. During his visit, Al-Nesef will attend the opening ceremony of the annual Asilah Cultural Festival where he will deliver the speech on behalf of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Organizers of the event had chosen Kuwait as a guest of honor for this year’s session to coincide with Kuwait’s marking of the Fifth Anniversary of His Highness the Amir assumption to power. Nesef also hailed the historic and close relations between the two countries. On the sideline of the event, the minister will hold meetings with a plethora of Moroccan officials and intellectuals as well as representatives of participating friendly countries. The 33rd Asilah Cultural Festival is scheduled to kick off today and lasts till July 22. Asilah Festival, started in 1978, is an annual cultural extravaganza in which studio and performing artists from all over the world, journalists, writers, painters, musicians and dancers participate. It is the most important art festival in Morocco and is considered a forum for the artists from all around the world to express their art and ideas. Asilah is a fortified town on the northwest tip of the Atlantic coast of Morocco, about 50 km from Tangier. It is now a popular seaside resort, with modern holiday apartment complexes on the coast road leading to the town from Tangier. Its history dates back to 1500 BC, when the Phoenicians used it as a base for trade. — KUNA

Sharp increase in water consumption KUWAIT: Official sources at the Ministry of Electricity and Water said yesterday that water consumption has exceeded the country’s production during the month of June. They pointed out that increase of heat has played a big role in increasing water consumption. Sources explained that strategic storage of water is safe and secure and there is nothing to worry about. Sources said that during the first half of June the water consumption was normal, especially in the first week. But with the rising temperature water consumption also increased. Production was 402857 gallons and consumptions was 418407 gallons on June 15 and that was the start of increasing the consumption this summer. Sources said that strategic storage is safe and nothing to worry about, which varied between 2670588 gallons on June 6 and 2411302 gallons on June 25 which is normal average compared to hard weather condition the country is going through.

ROME: Kuwait’s Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) stressed the need for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to unite the world in tackling food security issues. Upon the ushering in of a new Director-General, during his attendance of a FAO conference yesterday, PAAAFR Director Jassim Al-Bader, said that the UN organization was approaching a new threshold which called for a modern approach in order to overcome past obstacles. Newly-appointed Jose Graziano da Silva had a tough task of unifying FAO member countries, Al-Bader said.

Widespread hunger and poverty are the fundamental challenge which represent the main aim of FAO member nations, he said, which call to set aside differences and work together to achieve targeted aspirations. Kuwait, since the seventies, has made good use of its technical partnership with FAO, by gaining training in the fields of agricultural and food sector development and sustainable development for its workforce. PAAAFR, as part of a five-point plan will witness the execution of 33 huge projects next year, thanks to FAO expertise, for which consultations are due to end in the current fiscal year.

Some of these projects include a large zoo and safari, a number of agricultural lands, allocated lands for cattle and a stables complex for pure Arabian horses. The Kuwaiti authority also recently held a meeting with a number of renowned companies specialized in cattle fattening, with keenness on applying the project in Kuwait, in addition to other projects targeting agricultural produce and fish farming. Al-Bader also noted Kuwait’s commitment to the issue of global food security and its readiness to unite efforts in the face of the crisis. — KUNA

KFH opens new office in Malaysia KUALA LUMPUR: Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has inaugurated a new branch in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah, in presence of Malaysian and Kuwaiti officials. Speaking following the inaugural ceremony, Charge D’affaires at the Kuwaiti Embassy in Malaysia Hamad Al-Hezeim hailed KFH’s investment in different Malaysian states. He regarded the presence of a major Kuwaiti institution like KFH in Malaysia as an element that would surely bring both friendly nations closer, and even create joint economic interests. Kuala Lumpur seeks to draw Kuwaiti investment institutions to run business in Malaysia, thanks to the country’s developed infrastructure and streamlined investment procedures, he said. It is part of Malaysia’s 2020 eco-

nomic vision, which is primarily based on turning Malaysia into a developed nation in the future, Al-Hezeim pointed out. KFH, which launched its

investment in Malaysia in 2006, has made great accomplishments in the Islamic banking system in the country over the last few years. — KUNA

Kuwait participates in Community of Democracies conference VILNIUS: The ministerial conference of Community of Democracies (CD), held in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, was launched on Friday with the participation of more than 80 countries including Kuwait. A number of key international figures are expected to deliver speeches during the conference such as US State Secretary Hillary Clinton and the Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis. The Director-General of Kuwait

Diplomatic Institute Abdulaziz Al-Sharikh will represent Kuwait at the event. Despite a noticeable lack of Arab participation at the conference, it is expected that the latest developments in the Middle East region will get the greatest attention and focus during the gathering. The Community of Democracies, established in 2000 in Poland, focuses on strengthening and enhancing democratic activities worldwide, giving special attention to emerging democracies and civil society’s involvement in governance. —KUNA


Illegal residents face risk of deportation Amnesty period ends KATHMANDU: With the expiry of the amnesty period, hundreds of Nepali workers deemed illegal by Kuwait administration face the risk of deportation. As the four-month amnesty period announced by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait in March ended Thursday, the Kuwait administration has renewed its warning to crack down on illegal migrants who did not return to their countries within the stipulated timeframe, according to Madhuban Poudel, Nepal’s ambassador to Kuwait. “The Kuwait administration is preparing to use its police against illegal workers,” Poudel said. “Those illegal workers who failed to take advantage of the amnesty will be arrested by the Kuwaiti police and punished.” Poudel, however, did not clearly say what sort of punishment will be meted out to the defiant illegal migrant workers. According to the embassy sources, the defiant illegal workers will be deported. The deported workers will not be allowed to return to Kuwait ever in future. Those who left Kuwait during the amnesty period will be able to return after completing the legal procedures. According to the embassy, some 3,500 Nepali workers, who were overstaying their work visas or changed employer companies without following due procedures, obtained travel documents from the Nepali embassy. Worse, only half of them have returned home by the end of amnesty period. Around 40,000 Nepali workers are working in Kuwait. Although a huge number of them have overstayed

NBK staff participate in paper-recycling initiative.

NBK continues paper recycling initiative KUWAIT: The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) continues its unprecedented bank-wide paper recycling program following the huge success of its previous phase which was implemented within NBK Head Office. The new phase will embrace NBK offices at Arraya II Tower, in corporation with the Green Target Company. Commenting on the issue, Badria Al-Reshaid NBK Public Relations Officer said that the unprecedented in-house paper recycling program initiated by NBK constitutes a milestone as part of the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and positioned the bank as the first environment-friendly financial institution in Kuwait. Adding that the huge success of the previous phase of the paper recycling program mostly attributed to cooperation, enthusiasm and creative ideas of our NBK staff, it has encouraged us to further expand it to embrace all NBK’s branches and premises.

work visas or changed employer companies, they did not come for travel documents in spite of the repeated calls by the embassy to use the amnesty opportunities, which came after a hiatus of two years. Previously, the Kuwait government had announced a general amnesty for illegal migrants in 2008. Of the total illegal Nepali migrants who received travel documents issued by the embassy, only some 1700 workers were found to have returned to Nepal until a few days ago. The main problem faced by Nepali workers in returning home after obtaining travel documents is the crunch of air tickets, Nepali workers in Kuwait said. According to Hari Krishna Neupane, a Nepali worker in Kuwait, those workers who are willing to return to Nepal now need to pay up to 108 Kuwaiti Dinar for an air ticket, which costs only some 53 Kuwait dinars in normal times. “Around 10,000 illegal workers of different nationalities have obtained travel documents from their respective embassies,” Neupane said, adding, “Since all of them want to fly back home at the same time, there is a huge crunch of air tickets.” Meanwhile, some illegal Nepali workers, who did not apply for travel documents, are overconfident that they will easily evade the raid by Kuwait police, which also led to the low number of workers taking advantage of the amnesty. “Many workers I am in contact with in Kuwait are frustrated with the lack of job opportunities back in Nepal,” Neupane said.

“They say they will better face deportation, if arrested by Kuwait police, rather than return home and become jobless again.” Meanwhile, Cambodian recruitment agencies have decided not to send maids to Kuwait after complaints by human rights groups of abuse by employers, a recruitment official said on Thursday. Impoverished Cambodia is one of Asia’s biggest exporters of maids abroad, a valuable source of foreign exchange. An Bunhak, president of the Association of Cambodian Recruiting Agencies, said Cambodia had not yet sent any maids to Kuwait and the agencies had decided against doing so because of the country’s record of abuse. “We have received a report from our embassy in Kuwait about abuse of maids and also the report from Human Rights Watch,” An said. “We would only send there when there is safety,” he said. “According to studies, the respect for maids has not been good so we will not send them to Kuwait and we are doing studies on another country,” he said, referring to Qatar. Human Rights Watch says domestic workers in Kuwait who try to escape abusive employers face criminal charges for “absconding” and are unable to change jobs without their employer’s permission. Indonesia, which has come under fire for its use of the death sentence, has barred its citizens from working in Saudi Arabia after an Indonesian maid was beheaded for murdering her Saudi employer.

Call for schools, hospitals protection during armed conflicts UNITED NATIONS: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Qatari First Lady Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser on Thursday called for stepped-up action against attackers of schools and hospitals during armed conflicts and to even subject them to sanctions. The calls came during a panel discussion on “Children and armed conflict: Attacks on schools and hospitals in armed conflict” organized by Radhika Coomaraswamy the UN Special Envoy for Children and Armed Conflict, and Peter Wittig - Germany’s UN Ambassador, ahead of next month’s thematic debate on the issue in the Security Council under Germany’s presidency. Wittig visited schools and hospitals in Afghanistan lately and was inspired to suggest the topic to the Council. Addressing the Panel, Ban reiterated his concern over the growing number of attacks on schools and hospitals and threats to children in armed conflicts around the world, stating that the United Nations is considering targeted measures against those who commit such crimes. “Beyond naming and shaming — the threat of targeted measures against repeat violators - especially non-State actors - is credible and effective,” he said,

adding that the protection of schools and hospitals is “central” to the UN’s work to protect children from those who seek to deny them education and health care. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Consort of the Emir of Qatar and UNESCO’s Special Envoy on basic and higher education, gave the keynote speech. She told the Panel that the protection of the right to education in times of conflict is “one of my highest priorities. I believe that education is not a luxury. The right to an education is the right to a future. Education ought to be protected as a fundamental human right for every child in this world. While the work of the Council has been critical in addressing these problems,” she stressed, “it is now time for the Security Council to take further steps-We need to send a clear message to everyone-that we are serious about protecting the right to an education-Because it is a crime to deny a child the opportunity of an education.” The panelists at the discussion included Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Martin Mogwanja, the Deputy Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). — KUNA


Jordanians want ‘parliament of shame’ dissolved


Moroccans vote on king’s constitution


China’s communists mark 90th, hail party’s success


Libya ‘could be new Somalia’ French arms drop sharpens divisions over NATO campaign

BENGHAZI: A Libyan rebel soldier stands guard as Libyan men pray during Friday prayers in the rebel-held Benghazi, Libya yesterday.—AP BIR-AYYAD: Libyan rebels who had advanced to within 80 km of Muammar Gaddafi’s stronghold in the capital were forced to retreat yesterday after coming under a barrage of rocket fire from government forces. The rebels’ advance five days ago to the outskirts of the small town of Bir Al-Ghanam had raised the possibility of a breakthrough in a four-month old conflict that has become the bloodiest of the “Arab Spring” uprisings. Rebel fighters who had been massing on a ridge near Bir al-Ghanam and preparing for an attack were now pulling back under fire from Russianmade Grad rockets, said a Reuters photographer in Bir-Ayyad, 30 km to the south. He said the rocket barrage was now reaching as far back as BirAyyad, a road junction in the foothills of the Western Mountains range south-west of Tripoli from where the rebels had launched their advance last week. The reversal underlines the resilience of Gaddafi’s forces, who

have withstood 15 weeks of bombardment by NATO missiles and warplanes, and attempts by rebels on three fronts to break through their lines. Frustration at the slow progress is growing inside the military alliance, with some members worried about the cost, civilian casualties and the fact the campaign has now been going on much longer than its backers anticipated. There are also differences about how proactive NATO members should be in aiding the rebels, who are hampered by a lack of organization and a shortage of equipment. France this week became the first member of the anti-Gaddafi alliance to acknowledge that it had supplied weapons to the rebels, saying this was justified to protect civilians under threat from Gaddafi’s forces. It said it used parachutes to drop assault rifles and rocket launchers, along with humanitarian supplies, to rebels in the Western mountains. That

admission prompted Russia, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, to accuse France of a “gross violation” of a UN arms embargo. Even France’s NATO allies distanced themselves from the French operation, though Britain and the United States said they believed it was justified under UN rules. The Libyan conflict has sent ripples far beyond the North African country of six million people. The fighting has halted Libyan oil exports, helping push up world crude prices to about $111 a barrel. It has also created a security vacuum which officials in the region say could be exploited by Islamist militants and Al-Qaeda’s North African wing. “If this civil war goes on, it would be a new Somalia, which I don’t say lightly. In three months we could be dealing with extremists,” Marouane Abassi, World Bank country manager for Libya said in the Tunisian capital. Libyan state television reported

that NATO had bombed military and civilian sites in the government-controlled town of Garyan, on the eastern edge of the Western Mountains. NATO said it had successfully destroyed a military target in the town yesterday. “It should be noted that the target was well outside the built-up area of the conurbation and no collateral damage was observed afterwards. At no time was any civilian area targeted,” a NATO official said. Gaddafi has said the NATO campaign is an act of colonial aggression aimed at stealing Libya’s plentiful oil. His aides say arrest warrants issued on Monday by the International Criminal Court for him, his son and his brother-in-law have no legitimacy because the court is a tool of the West. Gaddafi’s daughter, Aisha, said in a television interview broadcast late on Thursday that her father’s administration was prepared to cut a deal with the rebels if that was what it took to stop the bloodshed. The offer marks a

shift in tone. Until now Libyan officials have dismissed the rebels as criminals and no one in the Libyan leader’s inner circle has publicly raised the possibility of making any accommodation with them. “There are direct and indirect negotiations and we should stop letting Libyan blood,” Gaddafi’s daughter said in an interview with France 2 television. “And for that we are ready to ally with the devil and that is the armed rebels,” said Aisha Gaddafi, a lawyer who has no official government role but has often acted as a mediator on behalf of her family. But she dismissed the prospect of her father going into exile. “This word departure, departure, departure ... what I find strange is where do you want him to go? This is his country, his land, his people,” she said. The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported Gaddafi’s representatives had been meeting officials from France and Britain on the Tunisian island of Djerba.— Reuters



Thousands push for reform in Cairo’s Tahrir Square CAIRO: Protesters converged on Cairo’s Tahrir Square yesterday to join camping pro-democracy activists for a demonstration to keep up the pressure on the country’s military rulers over the pace of reforms. Around 5,000 protesters were in the square including families of victims who died in the uprising to call for the trial of police officers implicated in the deaths, AFP reporters said. Some held signs demanding an end to military trials of civilians, others wanted the resignation of the interior minister and the speedy and open trials of old regime officials. Protesters who first took to the streets to demand the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak, began shifting their anger towards the ruling military council, accusing it of using Mubarak-era tactics to stifle dissent. Other key demands at the Tahrir Square demonstration include an transparent political process and freedom of expression, after the military council was accused of intimidating the media by summoning several reporters who criticized it. One protester held a sign that read: “I am a thug, I have a foreign agenda and I’m going to Tahrir,” poking fun at statements by some officials who have accused the protesters of being hired thugs, or being part of a plot to sow chaos. The imam delivering the sermon in the square-the epicentre of protests that toppled Mubarak in February-called for an investigation into bloody clashes that erupted in central Cairo on Tuesday. Sporadic clashes around Cairo on Tuesday night culminated in thousands gathering in Tahrir Square, with police firing heavy tear gas and protesters pelting them with stones and rocks, amid conflicting accounts of what initially sparked the disturbances. The clashes which left over 1,000 injured, signalled the mounting frustration with the military rulers over the pace of reform and prompted calls for an open-ended sit-in until the demands of the revolution are met. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took power when Mubarak was ousted, has vowed to bring to justice those found guilty of abuse or corruption, ordering the trial of several old regime figures, including Mubarak. The former leader is currently in custody in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and is to face trial, along with his two sons Alaa and Gamal, on August 3 on charges of killing protesters and fraud. Several former ministers and businessmen associated with the former regime are on trial for corruption. Former interior minister Habib al-Adly, who is being investigated for ordering the shooting of demonstrators, was sentenced to 12 years for fraud. But many activists have criticized the fast pace of the trials, demanding a credible and thorough process for the sake of justice, not revenge.— AFP

SANAA: Anti-government protestors gesture during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen yesterday.—AP

Yemenis stage mass rival rallies Supporters express ‘loyalty’ SANAA: Hundreds of thousands of protesters staged huge rallies across Yemen yesterday calling for the departure of all figures in the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been hospitalised in Riyadh for nearly a month. Saleh supporters also massed in Sanaa to express what they described as their “loyalty” to the veteran leader, who is receiving treatment from wounds sustained in an explosion at his presidential compound on June 3. “We want the departure of the remains of the regime as well as the swift formation of an interim ruling council that would lead the country during a transitional period until a date is set for presidential and parliamentary elections,” Wassim Al-Qurshi, a leading protest activist, told AFP. Saleh, 69, who has faced nearly six months of protests against his 33-year rule, has not appeared in public since the blast that killed 11 people and wounded 124 others, among them senior officials. In Saleh’s absence, Vice President

Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has come under pressure from the parliamentary opposition and the West to assume power, while protesters demand that he form an interim ruling council. But Hadi’s grip on power is seen as shaky as Saleh’s relatives continue to run main security systems. Key among them is his son Ahmed, who leads the elite Republican Guard “Hand in hand to achieve our goal,” chanted the antiregime protesters, estimated by organizers to number around 250,000. “The people want a transitional council.” The demonstrators rallied in the capital’s north, protected by dissident General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar’s troops. Further south in Sanaa, tens of thousands of people demonstrated, carrying Saleh portraits and voicing their support for the president, his son and two nephews Tariq and Ammar. Tariq heads Saleh’s private guard and Ammar runs the state security service. In the southern city of Taez, protesters chanted slogans against Saudi Arabia, which is sus-

pected of trying to prevent regime change in Yemen. “Tell Saudi Arabia that Yemen is a republic” the crowd sang, and “Yemen is not Bahrain” where Saudi troops were deployed during the repression of a protest movement in February and March. Demonstrations also took place in Saada in the north, and in Hadramawt province in the southeast, while in the south tensions remained high around Zinjibar, which has been in the hands of presumed Al-Qaeda militants since May. Soldiers defending the Al-Wahda stadium outside the city exchanged fire with militants yesterday, a military source said. Militants fired at helicopters to prevent reinforcements from arriving, the source said. Elsewhere, an armed member of the Southern Movement, a group seeking autonomy, was killed in an attack on an army position north of Aden, and six people including three soldiers were wounded, a local official said.—AFP

Jordanians want ‘parliament of shame’ dissolved

CAIRO: Egyptians shout slogans during a rally after attending Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo yesterday.—AP

AMMAN: About 2,000 people demonstrated across Jordan yesterday to demand the dissolution of the “parliament of shame,” over a suspected corruption case involving a gambling casino. More than 1,000 Jordanians took part in a demonstration organised by the Islamist opposition in central Amman after midday prayers, also calling for the resignation of the government and the “downfall” of parliament. MPs on Monday failed to impeach Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit for his alleged role in a suspected graft case about a multi-million-dollar deal that his government singed with a Britishbased company to build a casino,

between 2005 and 2007 when he first served as premier. “The casino government should go. No to the casino parliament,” read one of the banners carried by the demonstrators. “Down with Bakhit and his gambling government. A dishonest broker cannot protect the country,” they chanted. At least three MPs have resigned in protest against the lower house’s decision not to impeach Bakhit, local news reports have said. MPs have cleared Bakhit despite a parliamentary committee report which has found the premier partially responsible. “The people want reform and change. No immunity to the corrupt,”

nearly 1,000 people chanted in the southern city of Tafileh, branding the assembly a “parliament of shame.” In Karak, near Tafileh, at least 200 people demonstrated, demanding the “sacking of government and dissolution of parliament.” Police on Thursday clashed briefly with demonstrators outside parliament in central Amman before dispersing an anti-corruption protest, which called for the “imprisonment” of Bakhit over the casino issue. Since January, Jordan has faced a protest movement demanding political and economic reforms and an end to corruption.— AFP



Moroccans vote on king’s constitution Protesters say will still leave monarch in control RABAT: Moroccans voted yesterday on whether to adopt a new constitution that the king has championed as an answer to demands for greater freedoms , but that protesters say will still leave the monarch firmly in control. The referendum on the constitution is near certain to result in a resounding “yes” vote, like all past referendums in this North African country and generally throughout the Arab world.

RABAT: Morocco’s King Mohammed VI casts his vote in a polling station in Rabat, Morocco yesterday. —AP

Poland demands seat at eurozone meetings WARSAW: Poland yesterday said it was at odds with the eurozone over Warsaw’s right as a non-member but current EU president to take part in meetings of the 17-nation currency bloc on solving its lumbering debt crisis. “We were told the eurozone has the right to meet independently, we recognized this, however, the Polish finance minister is going to be present at Euro Group,” Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk told journalists as it took over the EU’s six-month rotating presidency. A key eurozone finance ministers meeting on Greek debt scheduled for tomorrow has been switched to a teleconference to take place today, EU and diplomatic sources said yesterday. Ministers from the 17-member eurozone are expected to unlock billions of euros pledged to Greece after its parliament this week met demands from foreign lenders to adopt a tough package of austerity measures. “I’ll continue to tell my European partners that because we are holding the presidency, for informational reasons and in order to be up to date, we should attend Euro Group meetings,” Tusk said, at once insisting “it’s not a question of prestige”. The Polish leader said it had been difficult to “convince (our) partners” to allow Poland to attend the meetings and that he was not sure whether a final decision had already been made. “My parents taught me you should not force yourself into someone’s else flat if you’re not wanted,” he remarked. A spokesperson for Euro Group president Jean-Claude Juncker told AFP he was not aware of Poland’s possible participation in meetings of eurozone finance ministers. “It’s never been the case,” until present that a country which is not a eurozone member regularly participates in Euro Group meetings, even if they happen to be holding the EU’s rotating presidency. —AFP

Italian police arrest Corleone mafia boss ROME: Italian police yesterday announced the arrest of the 79-year-old mafia boss of Corleone-the Sicilian hilltop town made famous by “The Godfather” trilogy-following a threeyear investigation. Gaetano Riina is the brother of former Cosa Nostra kingpin Toto Riina, who is serving multiple life sentences for sanctioning scores of killings. Riina was picked up in the city of Mazara del Vallo where he was living while allegedly controlling the Corleone clan, the police said in a statement. “The Riina family is still in power in Corleone,” local police chief Pietro Salsano told reporters. He said the investigation was accelerated after the killing of Corleone businessman Nicolo Romeo last year. “Gaetano Riina had taken control of the clan including the economic means, acting as a kind of regent for the two young nephews,” Salsano said. —AFP

It’s buoyed by a huge media and government campaign, and is seen by some as a way to tentatively open up Moroccan politics while heading off the kind of tumultuous regime change seen elsewhere in the region. Some voters at the country’s nearly 40,000 polling stations described the ballot as a vote of confidence in King Mohamed VI, a 47year-old who assumed the throne in 1999 and is seen as a relatively modern monarch. Preliminary results are expected after polls close yesterday night. A popular tourist destination, this generally stable, Muslim kingdom is a staunch US ally in a strategic swath of northern Africa that has suffered terrorist attacks , and in recent months, popular uprisings against autocratic regimes. Morocco, like the rest of the Middle East, was swept by pro-democracy demonstrations at the beginning of the year, protesting a lack of freedoms, weak economy and political corruption. The king, however, seems to have managed the popular disaffection by presenting a new constitution that guarantees the rights of women and minorities, and increases the powers of the parliament and judiciary, ostensibly at the expense of his own. Protests have continued nevertheless, and the February 20 prodemocracy movement has called for a boycott. It insists that the new constitution leaves the king firmly in power and will be little different from its predecessor. Their voices have been drowned out, as nearly every political party, newspaper and television station has for the past several weeks pressed for Moroccans to vote in favor of the constitution. Crowds were small but steady at voting stations in a working class neighbor-

hood of Sale, outside the capital Rabat. Voters are given two pieces of paper, one for a “yes” vote and one for a “no” vote, then they place one in an envelope and into the urn. The “yes” ballot is white, and the “no” ballot light blue, so that illiterate voters can participate. In the Moroccan countryside, voter turnout was stronger in the morning, before a searing heat descended. Officials at different voting stations said turnout was around 25 percent to 35 percent by late morning. Cafile Roqiya, a 54-year-old in glasses and a headscarf in the town of Benslimane, said she was voting yes “because there has been much progress. It is much better than before. The king keeps us stable and at peace amidst much upheaval.” On the eve of the referendum, a pro-democracy demonstration of a few hundred people was swamped by thousands of government supporters who had been bussed in for the occasion wearing matching Tshirts supporting the constitution. The activists had to take refuge in a gas station under the protection of police while they were hounded by the raucous pro-government demonstrators who threw eggs at them and called them “traitors” and “agents.” During the weekly prayers on June 24, imams in the mosque read out sermons issued by the government urging Moroccans to vote yes as an act of faith. In cities around the country, banners paid for by local merchants exhort people to come out and vote, a practice seen throughout the Arab world when governments call a referendum and local businessmen want to stay in the good graces of officialdom. Most observers agree that the real signs of change for Morocco will come

with how the new constitution is implemented. “We say yes to the constitution, but how it turns out in practice, well that’s another struggle,” said Saadeddin Al-Othmani, a top official in the Islamist Development and Justice Party, which like most political parties supports the new constitution. Al-Othmani sees it as a beginning of reform and Morocco’s own way of responding to the Arab Spring , not by toppling their leader or repressing the people, but through gradual measures. The February 20 movement, and the groups that support it, including smaller labor unions, leftist parties and the country’s banned Justice and Charity Islamist movement, lack Al-Othmani’s faith in the process. They see the king’s March 9 speech and three-month consultation period before the new constitution was presented June 17 as the latest in a long line of cosmetic touches to an absolute monarchy. “We want to liberate the country from the state’s monopoly on politics and economy,” said Mohammed Lekrari, a leader of the Democratic Confederation of Labor, a union representing around 800,000 public sector workers. “We would like to leave the Middle Ages.” There is a whiff of medieval in the frenzied hype around the need for a yes vote, says his colleague Othmane Baqa, because a vote for a constitution is being seen as a vote for the king , like the oath of allegiance, the “baya,” given to Muslim kings for hundreds of years and still practiced annually in Morocco. “They want this baya through the referendum, so all Morocco must swear allegiance,” he said. “It becomes a vote for unity and the king.”— AP

Kremlin youth camp opens in support of Putin MOSCOW: Thousands of pro-Kremlin youth yesterday kicked off a month-long extravaganza in the Russian woods devoted to praising the country’s leaders and its Soviet heritage. The annual Lake Seliger summer camp started in 2005, organised by the Nashi (Ours) youth movement, which sprang up in support of then president Vladimir Putin and developed into a political force with open Kremlin backing. It has since mobilized its base of students into a well-run machine that stages rallies outside Western embassies at times of diplomatic friction and on occasion provokes confrontations with Russian human rights group. The camp opened yesterday beside the Lake Seliger in the central Russian region of Tver with prom-

ises of four weeks of lectures on how to become a model citizen, stay fit and benefit the country. “This forum unites our most talented and enterprising youth,” President Dmitry Medvedev told the gathering in a message quoted by Seliger organizers. The group’s website-which pointedly has an .su Internet domain inherited from the Soviet era rather than the .ru domain now used in Russia-said it expected 20,000 people to attend “from more than 80 countries”. It added somewhat bizarrely that organizers intended to use up seven tons of paper to print various leaflets, and to deliver “more than 500,000 hours of educational courses and lectures”.

The forum’s 10 event categories include an international section on “creating an attractive image of Russia in the eyes of foreigners” and one charged with encouraging more Nashi supporters into journalism. The group said the event’s 200-million-ruble ($7.2-million) budget was being funded by the national bank Sberbank and some local companies, along with international giants with a broad presence in Russia such as Panasonic and LG. The camp runs to August 2. Russia’s beleaguered opposition tried to stage a rival camp it billed as an “Anti-Seliger” on the outskirts of Moscow last month. But the event drew almost no mention in the national media. —AFP



MALABO: African heads of state and country representatives applaud the president of South Sudan, unseen, during the opening session of the 17th African Union Summit, at the Sipopo Conference Center outside Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Thursday.—AP

Gaddafi’s departure dominates AU summit Gaddafi’s position not made clear MALABO: African Union talks on a plan to end the Libyan conflict were suspended early yesterday with no agreement as the rebels insisted that Muammar Gaddafi had to quit for any attempt at a political solution. African leaders sought backing for their roadmap at closed door talks on the first day Thursday of their summit in the Equatorial Guinea capital, where delegations from the rebels and Gaddafi ‘s regime were present. The meeting broke up at about 1:00 am and was due to convene again at 10:00 am (0900 GMT), officials said. The plan envisages a ceasefire, humanitarian aid, a transition period, reforms towards democracy and elections, but the details and the position of Gaddafi have not been made clear. The rebels insisted outside of the talks that Gaddafi had to quit after more than 30 years in power. “He must leave,” National Transitional Council representative Mansour Safy Al-Nasr told journalists. Asked if he thought the conflict would be ended through a political or a military means, he said: “We are ready for anything.” The rebels were prepared to end hostilities if Gaddafi left, he said. “If we see that Gaddafi withdraws, we are ready to stop and negotiate with our brothers who are around Gaddafi ,” he said. But the rebels would not retreat, “not this time”, he said. “If military operations advance to

surround Tripoli, he will accept (to leave). Gaddafi is isolated. He is in his bunker. He cannot move, he does not have a life,” Al-Nasr said. “The troops are advancing,” he added, referring to Libyan rebel forces. Al-Nasr said Thursday there was broad agreement at the summit that Gaddafi had to go. “Some say it publicly, others don’t,” he told AFP. Senior Libyan rebel leader Mahmud Jibril said in Vienna meanwhile he awaited “a clear stance” from the African Union on whether it supported or condemned Gaddafi. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Libyan leader last week for atrocities in the crackdown on the uprising against the regime. “These arrest warrants reflect the international conviction that massacres did take place,” Jibril told journalists. “I urge the African Union to take a clear stance,” he said. The African Union has said the warrant complicated its

attempts to find a way out of the conflict. It has also been critical of France’s supply of weapons, adding to early complaints about NATO-led bombing campaign against Libyan forces that is meant to protect civilians. The African Union must bear in mind in its talks the “suffering of the Libyan people because of the continuing clashes and the air bombing operations,” African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping said at the start of the summit. After France announced Wednesday that it had air-dropped arms to anti-Gaddafi rebels, Ping warned of weapons falling into the hands of Al-Qaeda who could use them to take Western hostages, and of the conflict growing to reach the level of the one in Somalia. It was a warning echoed by the United States and European Union.”What we need is not to escalate the situation,” Egypt’s Foreign

Witness in Rwanda general shooting feared for life JOHANNESBURG: The state’s lead witness in the trial for the shooting of Rwanda’s exiled former army chief broke down yesterday describing how he feared for his family’s lives after the failed hit in South Africa. Rwandan national Kalisa Mubarak told the court he fled Johannesburg after the June 19, 2010 shooting of former top general Faustin Nyamwasa, which he believes his friend helped arrange. The friend, Rwandan national Amani Uriwani, is one of six men standing trial for the shooting. The accused-three Rwandans and three Tanzaniansdeny the charges. Mubarak, who is now in a witness protection programme, has testified that his friend Uriwani had told him about his involvement in a plan by Rwandan soldiers with lots of cash and cars “to shoot at a military person”. He told the court yesterday that when he learned Nyamwasa had been shot, he phoned Uriwani and said, “Do you see what you’ve done?” “He said ‘Please Mubarak, don’t tell anyone’,” he said of his

friend’s reaction. “He was just like very scared.” Mubarak said he later returned home and found Uriwani and another person waiting there, in a white Nissan truck with no license plates. “I see that maybe I can be killed to not show the evidence,” he told the court. Mubarak described fleeing to Cape Town after the shooting, then returning to Johannesburg and hopping from hotel to hotel, worrying his life was in danger. He broke down on the witness stand telling how he feared for his pregnant wife, lifting the dark sunglasses he has worn throughout his testimony to wipe his eyes with a scarf. Mubarak said after he helped police find and arrest Uriwani, five gunmen attacked his beauty salon in Johannesburg. The trial will resume on October 24 and run through November 4, when defence attorneys will cross-examine Mubarak. Nyamwasa, a former key ally of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, fled to South Africa in February after abandoning his post as Rwanda’s envoy to India amid accusations of corruption. —AFP

Minister Mohamed Elorabi said Thursday when asked about the French weapons drops.”It is a difficult process, many parties are involved. We should not provoke any party, we should try to have a conducive atmosphere for the settlement,” he told reporters. Rebel demands for Gaddafi to go was something the two sides had to negotiate and was not up to the African Union, he said. “These kind of internal conditions-it is up to the two parties in Libya,” Elorabi said. “The spirit here is that we want space for the political solution.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile on Thursday demanded an explanation from France over its reported arms drop to Libyan rebels. “If this is confirmed, it would be a brazen violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1970,” Lavrov said, referring to a February resolution that prohibited states from providing any kind of arms to Libya. —AFP

Ex-PM claims Senegal’s Wade ‘recruiting mercenaries’ DAKAR: A Senegalese opposition leader, ex-prime minister Macky Sall, yesterday accused President Abdoulaye Wade’s regime of recruiting mercenaries from countries such as Ivory Coast Sall, who is also a former interior minister, told foreign journalists in Dakar that Wade’s regime had “recruited mercenaries with bloodstained hands from Ivory Coast, Guinea and Nigeria” to be used to “kidnap opponents and civil society members.” He claimed some 400 of the alleged mercenaries had “entered the national territory through the southern border” which separates Senegal from Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. “The regime only has terror left to maintain it,” said Sall, presidential candidate and leader of the Republic Alliance, which was created after the last legislative elections and currently holds no seats in parliament. He added that the Senegalese government had made a call to France for weapons and material used to maintain order. Government spokesman and Communications Minister Moustapha Guirassy denied the accusations as “very irresponsible and very dangerous coming from a former head of government and political leader.” He said Wade “would not walk over corpses to gain power.... There is no question that he would recruit mercenaries.” Wade’s regime is facing growing unrest over crippling power cuts which have led to riots across the country and saw the government deploy extra troops earlier this week. This followed angry riots on June 23 over the 85-yearold’s efforts to change election laws and criticism over his efforts to seek a third term in office. —AFP



US Secretary outlines road ahead for Arab democracy Clinton cites risk of slipping back in autocratic ways

PHILADELPHIA: President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks during Democratic National Committee event at the Hyatt at The Bellevue on Thursday in Philadelphia. —AP

US politics aflame in angry rhetoric over debt feud WASHINGTON: US Republicans on Thursday denounced President Barack Obama’s handling of a budget feud in an angry, all-out assault that saw one of them acidly urge him to take a powerful anti-anxiety drug. “Maybe if he’d just take a Valium and calm down and come on down to talk to us, why, it might be helpful,” Republican Senator Pat Roberts said at a press conference with several colleagues to express outrage at the White House. Another lawmaker, known for ringing denunciations of Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said Obama’s sharp criticisms of Republicans had begun to sound like the rantings of “a left-wing strongman.” Republican Senator Marco Rubio, widely touted as a possible vice presidential prospect, told the National Review Online that he was “shocked” by the tone of a Wednesday press conference in which Obama blasted his foes. “It was rhetoric, I thought, that was more appropriate for some left-wing strongman than for the president of the United States,” Rubio added. The new attacks came after Obama used an exchange with reporters at the White House to compare Republican work habits unfavorably to those of his daughters Sasha, 10, and Malia, who turns 13 on July 4. “Malia and Sasha generally finish their homework a day ahead of time,” he said, mocking lawmakers’ propensity to wait until the last minute to reach a deal. “Congress can do the same thing.” The White House shrugged off questions about Obama’s unusually combative tone as well as the furious response from Republicans, with spokesman Jay Carney telling reporters: “Oh, all of Washington is a stage.” “Political theater is engaged in all the time in Washington by a variety of actors,” Carney said, adding that the president sought to explain “in very plain terms” that he feels “a great sense of urgency” about the budget crunch. The White House and Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress have been locked in negotiations over raising the congressionally-set limit on cash-strapped Washington’s ability to borrow. The Obama administration says lawmakers must raise the debt ceiling by August 2 or face catastrophic economic aftershocks that will leave the fragile recovery in ruins. Republicans have countered that they will only agree if the White House signs on to deep long-term spending cuts, while ruling out tax increases on the rich as sought by Obama and his Democratic allies.Obama however, speaking at a fundraiser in Philadelphia, stuck to his guns. “We would be mortgaging our future if we don’t do anything about the deficit, but we would also be mortgaging our future and it would be irresponsible ... if we sacrifice those very things that allow us to grow and create jobs.” It was unclear whether the rhetorical rampage was a final political storm before the calm of a compromise on the issue, as Democrats and most Republicans professed not to want to see the United States default on its debt payments. But even television pundits got caught up, with MSNBC television suspending commentator Mark Halperin after he described Obama as “kind of a dick” for his press conference comments. Halperin later apologized. —AFP

VILNIUS: US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said yesterday that the rule of law, political parties and democratic institutions must emerge in the Arab world if it is to emulate Eastern Europe’s remarkable transition two decades ago from authoritarianism to truly free societies. In Lithuania for an international democracy conference, Clinton cited the real risk of Middle East and North African nations slipping back into autocratic old ways. And she lamented the latest accounts of violence in Syria, with security forces and knifewielding, government-organized thugs reportedly attacking protesters in the city of Aleppo. “Today there are new democracies fighting for life, there are vicious autocrats clinging to power,” Clinton said in a speech at the “Community of Democracies” meeting. “This is an hour of need. And every democracy should stand up and be counted.” Drawing on the experience of Lithuania and other countries that opened up when the Iron Curtain came down 22 years ago, Clinton outlined a series of fundamentals she said were necessary for nations to make the transition to democracy: institutions rooted in law; equality for all, including women; a free press; economic opportunity; legitimate leaders. The implicit warning was that it is uncertain if the Arab reform movements will translate into stable democratic societies. While Tunisia and Egypt try to find their own formulas for a new system of governance, the would-be democrats of Syria may never get their chance. Speaking at a news conference in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, Clinton said Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime wasn’t sending a coherent message. She noted how it allowed an opposition meeting in Damascus this week, while pressing on militarily in the north. “We know what they have to do,” Clinton said. “They must begin a genuine transition to democracy and allowing one meeting of the opposition in Damascus is not sufficient action toward achieving that goal.” Clinton said Assad’s government is running out of

VILNIUS: US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the opening of the Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies in the Exhibition centre in Vilnius, Lithuania yesterday.—AP time and it must advance a serious political process or face increased resistance. The democracy conference was being held only a short distance from Belarus, Europe’s last autocratic stronghold, where authorities are cracking down on demonstrators amid the country’s worst financial crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union. Clinton lamented the brutal repression in the country and how the government denies its citizens the most basic rights. President Alexander

Lukashenko’s iron fist has long been an asterisk to democratic change in eastern Europe, and the Obama administration is alarmed by the rapidly deteriorating situation. Without mentioning either country by name, Clinton also expressed concerns about the political motivations behind Ukraine’s legal proceedings against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and Russia’s refusal to allow a new opposition party to participate in upcoming elections. — AP

High court to hear appeal of Canada’s first convicted terrorist OTTAWA: The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday agreed to hear an appeal of the first Canadian found guilty under Ottawa’s anti-terror law. Momin Khawaja, a 29-yearold Canadian of Pakistani origin, was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years in prison in 2009 for participating in a foiled plot to attack several sites in the United Kingdom. The plot included attacks on a nightclub, a shopping center and electrical and gas facilities. The soft-

ware developer’s lawyer is challenging the constitutionality of the definition of “terrorist activity” in the act. The lawyer also says Khawaja’s sentence was too harsh because the judge had indicated in his ruling that authorities were unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Khawaja was aware of the specific details of the plot planned by a British terror group. During the trial, the defense had argued that Khawaja wanted to par-

ticipate in jihad (holy war) in Afghanistan but had never intended to collaborate in terror attacks in Britain. Five of Khawaja’s suspected accomplices were found guilty and sentenced to long prison terms in April 2007 in Britain. Khawaja was convicted of building a detonator to cause a deadly explosion, possessing an explosive substance, participating in a terrorist group, instructing others to finance terrorism, and facilitating terrorism. — AFP



Venezuela’s Chavez admits cancer treatment Operation uncovers tumor CARACAS: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has admitted to having had a cancerous tumor removed, following weeks of speculation over the leftist firebrand’s condition and unprecedented absence from public life. “Studies confirmed the existence of a tumor with cancerous cells,” the 56-year-old leader said Thursday in his first televised address since being rushed to hospital in Cuba on June 10 during a state visit. Venezuelan officials had said he was being treated for a painful pelvic abscess, but Chavez announced that the operation had uncovered the tumor and a second operation had been deemed necessary to remove it. Chavez did not say where the tumor was found or what type of cancer was detected. In the emotional late night address, broadcast live in Venezuela, Chavez expressed hope for a full recovery and acknowledged a “fundamental error” in neglecting his health for years. In contrast to his famously long, improvised speeches that often run hours on end and frequently feature diatribes against US “imperialism,” Chavez’s pre-recorded address was read from a script in a tight 15-minute video. Flanked by an image of Venezuelan independence hero Simon Bolivar on one side and the national flag on the other, Chavez was visibly thinner but remained animated during parts of his address. Dozens of government supporters took to the streets of Caracas to show their solidarity with the ailing president, who insisted he was still in control. “I have kept informed and am in control of the Venezuelan government,” he said, adding that he has been in “constant communication” with Vice President Elias Jaua and members of his administration. The president of South America’s biggest oil producer and champion of the Latin American left did not, however, indicate when he would return to Venezuela, where he has been elected president three times since 1998. Immediately after

HAVANA: In this frame grab taken from Venezolana de Television, VTV, via APTN Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez delivers a televised speech aired from Cuba, Thursday. —AP the broadcast, Jaua made his own somber address to the nation in which he insisted the government was still functioning and called for the “unity of all revolutionary forces in the country.” “This is not time for sadness but time for reflection, courage and to work calmly as the commander recovers,” Jaua said. The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) said it would keep working to achieve Chavez’s ideals. His medical condition had been shrouded in mystery, which deepened Wednesday with the delay of a major upcoming regional summit he was due to host. The president “is in the midst of a strict process of recovery and medical treatment,” the foreign ministry said at the time, without elaborating. Chavez’s unusual withdrawal from public life left many Venezuelans speculating that he might have had plastic sur-

gery, could be hiding a more serious ailment or was drumming up sympathy ahead of a 2012 re-election bid. Venezuelans were especially shocked by his silence on two major issues in the past month-the government’s decision to limit electricity use to combat shortages and a days-long prison riot that left 29 people dead. In his address, the president justified the silence on his health by saying he only wanted to speak once he was assured he would recover. The government’s refusal to provide any specifics on his condition for 20 days emboldened opposition lawmakers, who alleged it was unconstitutional for the president to be governing from abroad. Chavez last spoke publicly on June 12, when he told Caracas-based pan-Latin American television network Telesur by phone that he was receiving treatment in Cuba. —AFP

Arlene whimpers after drenching east Mexico XALAPA: Strong winds and heavy rain lashed much of eastern Mexico Thursday as Tropical Storm Arlene made landfall at near hurricane strength, whipping up huge waves in the Gulf of Mexico. Ports in Veracruz state were closed due to waves reaching six meters (20 feet) in height, the local Civil Protection office reported. Forecasters predicted constant rain would continue until the weekend. The US National Hurricane Center said Arlene barreled ashore at Cabo Rojo, a cape just off the mainland in Veracruz state, packing sustained winds of 100 kilometers (65 miles) per hour, with higher gusts. But it dissipated quickly and by 0300 GMT the NHC said Arlene had faded over the Sierra Madre mountains, leaving only remnants of the first named Atlantic storm of the season and winds of 45 kilometers (30 miles) per hour. Arlene “is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 7.6 to 12.7 centimeters (three to five inches) over eastern and northeastern Mexico through yesterday afternoon,” the NHC said, warning that “these rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.” One person was electrocuted in the port of Tampico after touching an electricity pole that had been downed by the winds, said Pedro Benavides, chief of the civil protection rescue service in the state of Tamaulipas, which neighbors Veracruz. Veracruz and Tamaulipas went on high alert, and several ports were shuttered due to the stormy surf. Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte said 178,000 people were affected by the punishing rains. Mexico’s navy and army opened 398 shelters Thursday and were monitoring area rivers for possible flooding, officials said. In the central state of Puebla, the heavy rain triggered landslides that damaged homes and blocked highways, local officials reported. State-run oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) issued an alert for its facilities in the Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that safety measures were implemented for its platforms and that ships were secured. Mexico was struck last year by what the government described as the wettest rainy season on record. Tropical storms and hurricanes caused flooding and mudslides that killed 125 people, left hundreds of thousands homeless, and caused damages of more than $4 billion. — AFP

Chile police tear gas education protesters

SANTIAGO: Students demonstrate demanding reforms in Chile’s educational system in Santiago, Chile, Thursday. — AP

SANTIAGO: Police fired tear gas and water cannons on at least 80,000 demonstrators in the Chilean capital Thursday, and arrested 38 during one of the biggest protests in 20 years demanding educational reforms. Angry protesters hurtled sticks, rocks and metal objects like pipes as police responded on horseback and from armored vehicles in the violent culmination of what had been a peaceful, festive and colorful demonstration, the sixth of its kind. Twenty police officers were injured with minor injuries like cuts and bruises and at least 38 people were arrested, Santiago Mayor Fernando Echeverria said. Organizers estimated a crowd of over 300,000 people participated in the demonstration, while the mayor’s office put the number at 80,000. The sprawling demonstration on the streets of downtown Santiago included a huge crowd waving flags and banners outside La Moneda presidential palace. Rioting broke out

well into the march when protesters tried to ransack several shops and occupy the Brazilian embassy across from the Ministry of Education in the center of the capital. Protesters pulled down security fences. Some of the marchers carried cardboard replicas of police vehicles with water cannons and a giant coffin representing the death of the Chilean public education system, whose control was ceded to local municipalities during the 1973-1990 military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. “This is historic. Since the return of democracy (in 1990), we haven’t seen anything this big,” said Giorgio Jackson, a student leader. The unrest came two weeks after some 70,000 people took to the streets calling for greater government investment in public education, which now totals 4.4 percent of Chile’s gross domestic product compared with the seven percent of GDP for developed countries recommended by the United Nations. —AFP



Large ransom paid for Western hostages in Pakistan KABUL: New details have emerged of how two Western hostages in Afghanistan were freed in exchange for a hefty ransom paid in Pakistan and the release of two brothers from a mafia-style, Taleban-linked group. French journalists Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier, whose 18-month ordeal made them the longest-held Western hostages in Afghanistan, were released in a painstakingly brokered deal, say experts and Taleban sources. The French government denied paying any ransom, but Western experts say cash for hostages is routine policy in Europe and interpret the public remarks merely as an attempt to discourage future hostage taking. The Taleban announced from their fiefdom in southern Afghanistan that there was a prisoner swap for reporter Ghesquiere and cameraman Taponier, but sources close to the case say it was only ever about the money. “A ransom was paid-an enormous amount-millions of dollars. The money was handed over in Pakistan,” a Taleban member close to central command told AFP on condition of anonymity. The kidnappers

were identified as loyalists of Qari Baryal, one of the main Taleban leaders in Kapisa province where the Frenchmen were kidnapped on December 30, 2009, and also seen as close to criminals. “The Qari Baryal group is very organised and has a good reputation among the Taleban , but sometimes they go against their ideals, such as taking hostages for ransom,” the Taleban member said. Afghanistan’s former deputy interior minister General Abdul Hadi Khalid said criminal groups gravitated around Baryal. A Western expert went further, describing the network as “pure mafia” when talking to AFP on condition of anonymity. “If you take into account the profile of these ‘Taleban ‘, it clearly wasn’t a political release and it is highly likely that the ransom was several millions of dollars,” the expert said. Ghesquiere himself told the BBC that he believed that a deal involving money and prisoners secured his release. In Paris, an official who dealt with the crisis sought to play down talk of a multi-million dollar ransom, but said “apparently hundreds of thousands of euros rather than

millions” had exchanged hands. According to several Taleban sources contacted by AFP, at least two commanders in the Qari Baryal group, identified as brothers Noor Ullah and Abdullah Haq, were released. One of these sources said 15 other Taleban fighters from different areas were also released in exchange for the two journalists. Islamist insurgents never publicly admit to taking cash for hostages, which could alienate their sympathisers and harm their propaganda campaign. But a number of Western hostage takings have ended with wads of cash being handed over, say foreign and Afghan officials. One source close to the Taleban told AFP that the money was handed over in the infamous Karkhano smugglers market on the edge of Peshawar, Pakistan’s northwestern city and gateway to the tribal belt on the Afghan border. The tribal belt, which lies outside direct government control, is awash with Taleban strongholds and groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda. The guarantor received the money about 10 days before handing it over to the kidnappers when the hostages and their

Afghan colleague were released, according to another source very close to the Taleban. “Qari Baryal always had the upper hand in negotiations,” said the Taleban source. Everyone interviewed by AFP said that the central Taleban command of supreme leader Mullah Omar-called the Quetta shura after the southwestern Pakistani city where they are believed to be based-tried to take over, but in vain. “Kapisa isn’t his area of influence. At the end of the day, the Quetta shura didn’t get its way,” said the Western expert. “It is the perfect illustration of centralised Taleban command being an illusion,” the expert added. So if everyone agrees that a sum of money was paid, why did Foreign Minister Alain Juppe insist that France does not pay ransoms? “No country will ever admit to paying for hostages and especially how much they paid because if the figure gets out, it fixes the price for other hostages,” said the Western expert. “In Europe, practically everyone pays for hostages, but not the British, for example,” said one of his colleagues. — AFP

Pakistani Taleban tries to woo back ex-comrade Defection serious blow to Tehrik-e-Taleban

CHITTAGONG: Bangladeshi fire officials carry a body to be taken to a hospital in Chittagong, 216 kilometers (135 miles) southeast of Dhaka, Bangladesh yesterday. —AP

Landslide kills at least 8 people in Bangladesh CHITTAGONG: A landslide triggered by days of incessant rain killed at least eight people in a southeastern Bangladesh city yesterday, a fire official said. A big chunk of earth from a hill buried the victims, thatched huts as they slept in Chittagong city, Tigerpass area, fire official Farid Ahmed said. A concrete wall constructed to prevent landslides collapsed, he said. Ahmed said rescuers recovered eight bodies and two survivors from the rubble and were searching for others believed to be trapped. According to residents, at least 15 people lived in the huts, he said. He said many other families are living in the area despite warnings from local authorities. The residents of the area mainly work as day laborers or housemaids. Manjurul Alam, mayor of Chittagong city, visited the area and ordered the immediate evacuation of the remaining residents to avoid further casualties. Chittagong is 135 miles (225 kilometers) southeast of the capital, Dhaka. Landslides are common in Bangladesh during the monsoon season. Last year, more than 60 people died in raintriggered landslides in the region. — AP

BAGGAN: The Pakistani Taleban are trying to lure back a senior militant commander who recently quit the group because he controls strategic routes into Afghanistan and Pakistan and can block off militants’ escape paths, his supporters said yesterday. Analysts say last week’s defection of Fazal Saeed, a Taleban leader in the Kurram region, is a serious blow to the Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan (TTP), or the Taleban Movement of Pakistan, blamed for many suicide bombings across the country. Saeed’s faction controls important roads used by both Pakistani and Afghan Taleban militants based in North Waziristan’s tribal region for attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Saeed has now formed a new group called the Tehrik-e-Taleban Islami (TTI), comprising some 500 militants and is said to have close ties to Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the most brutal faction of the Afghan Taleban . TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud has sought help from Haqqani for a truce with Saeed, who quit the group to protest against what he called “brutal”

attacks on civilians, militant sources said. “A six-member delegation of Afghan commanders is meeting commander Saeed at the request of Hakimullah Mehsud to ask him to rejoin the group,” a militant source close to Saeed told a group of reporters. “They have asked him to open roads he has blocked for militant movements, which are import routes linking Pakistani tribal regions to Afghanistan,” the militant source said. Saeed said he intends to continue to attack US troops in Afghanistan. A Reuters’s reporter was part of a group of journalists who were to meet Saeed at his invitation, but the meeting had to be postponed because of the Mehsud delegation’s visit. A spokesman from the TTP was unavailable for comment. Saeed has been at odds with Mehsud for several months over militant activities in his stronghold of lower Kurram but their ties deteriorated after one of Saeed’s commanders was killed about a month and a half ago, his supporters say. The roads Saeed controls are

vitally important for Mehsud’s men to reach other tribal regions, and to use as escape routes in case of a military operation in North Waziristan. Kurram is one of Pakistan’s seven tribal agencies, semi-autonomous ethnic Pashtun regions. Its roads are open to the Haqqani network, but not the TTP. The United States has long demanded that Pakistan attack the North Waziristan region to eliminate the Haqqani network. Pakistan has been reluctant to do so but it has come under increased pressure after Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was found and killed in a Pakistani military town by US special forces in May. Pakistani forces have launched many offensives in these tribal areas against militants, but have failed to weaken their resolve as insurgents continue to attack the army in the northwest. The Taleban have vowed to avenge bin Laden’s death and have stepped up attacks, including a bombing that killed 80 army recruits, a brazen attack on a main naval base and an assault on a US consular vehicles in the Peshawar city. —Reuters

Roadside bomb kills 13 Afghan civilians KABUL: Thirteen Afghan civilians, including children, were killed and 33 wounded when their passenger bus was hit by a roadside bomb late on Thursday in western Afghanistan, police said yesterday. The bomb in Khash Rod district of western Nimroz province had been planted by the Taliban, according to provincial police chief Abdul Jabar Purdeli. Violence across Afghanistan in 2010 hit its worst levels since the

Taliban were toppled by US-backed Afghan forces in late 2001. It has flared again since the Taliban began their spring offensive at the start of May. Military deaths hit record levels in 2010 — and are following the same pattern this year-but civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict. May was the deadliest month for civilians in Afghanistan since the UN mission began compiling statistics four years ago. — Reuters


Candidates hold final rallies ahead of Thailand polls BANGKOK: Candidates in Thailand staged their last major rallies yesterday ahead of elections that represent the latest battle in a five-year struggle between supporters of an ousted prime minister and his rivals. The top contenders are Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and opposition leader Yingluck Shinawatra, the younger sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed by a 2006 military coup. Thaksin has fled overseas to escape a jail sentence for corruption and is not a candidate. But many voters will be judging him and his populist policies when they cast their ballots tomorrow. Since the coup, political battles have mostly been fought in the streets, most notably in protests by Thaksin’s supporters last year that degenerated into violence in which 91 people were killed and about 1,800 injured. The election campaign, however, has been vigorous but generally peaceful. Abhisit, 46, campaigned yesterday for his Democrat Party in Bangkok’s Chinatown. The capital is a major battleground which the ruling party must virtually sweep to stand a fighting chance. He and his opponent were holding major rallies in the Thai capital yesterday evening, the last chance to catch a nighttime crowd before a “cooling-off” period begins today at 6 pm. Crowds were smaller than expected because of a heavy seasonal downpour. Through election day, campaigning is banned, including the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook to solicit votes. Opinion polls were halted last week in accordance with a law that bans them after the start of absentee voting, but have showed Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party with a healthy lead, though not quite a majority. The party is expected to win in the rural north and northeast, while the Democrats have a lock on the south, their traditional stronghold. Yingluck, a 44-year-old political neophyte, stresses her connection with Thaksin, telling campaign rallies, “If you love my brother, will you give his youngest sister a chance?” She has called for an amnesty for convicted politicians that many believe could lead to her brother’s return. Thaksin, a former telecommunications tycoon, was ousted by the military after being accused of corruption and disrespect for the monarchy. That sparked a sometimes violent struggle between his supporters who seek to restore his political legacy, and opponents who contend he was a corrupt and dangerous autocrat. Thaksin’s backers claim he was forced out because the Thai establishment - big business, the military and circles around the royal palace - was jealous of his popularity and fearful of losing power and influence. Thaksin’s vast fortune helped build Thailand ‘s most sophisticated political machine, and he cemented his support with populist policies that appealed to the country’s rural majority and urban poor. Abhisit’s Democrats came to power in December 2008 by luring away lawmakers whose parties had been in a pro-Thaksin coalition government. Thaksin’s supporters charge that Abhisit cobbled together his ruling majority only with the help of pressure from the army. — AP

BANGKOK: Supporters of Democrat Party cheer prior to their election campaign rally at Royal Plaza in Bangkok, Thailand, yesterday. Thailand is holding general elections on July 3. —AP

China’s communists mark 90th, hail party’s success BEIJING: Chinese President Hu Jintao celebrated the Communist Party on its 90th anniversary yesterday for its ability to adapt and said it must use that skill to fight corruption and ease social conflict if it is to stay in power. The nationally televised speech capped a patriotic campaign of films, TV programs and nostalgic “red” song sing-alongs aimed at solidifying the notion that the communist government has propelled China to greatness. Hu said reforms of recent decades that have made China affluent and powerful have brought new challenges, making the public more demanding and more prone to protest. But he gave no indication of any moves toward loosening the party’s firm grip on government. “We have every reason to be proud of what the party and the people have achieved, but we have no reason to be complacent,” Hu told the more than 6,000 party select gathered in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Hu glossed over the radical campaigns and policies that led to tens of millions of deaths in the first decades of communist rule. But he said the party endured because it learned from its mistakes. “In some historical periods, we once made mistakes and even suffered severe setbacks, the root cause of which was that the guiding thought then was divorced from China’s reality. Our party managed to correct the mistakes by the strength of itself and the people, rose up amid the setbacks and continued to go forward victoriously,” Hu said. While the speech broke little new ground on policy and was laden with references to Marxism and other jargon most people ignore, it also frankly acknowledged that the party faces a new era and needs to improve governance to keep public support. Spectacular economic growth has produced side-effects like corruption and a yawning rich-poor gap that have triggered protests and challenged the party’s legitimacy. In Hong Kong, tens of thousands of people marched in protest, blowing whistles and banging drums and metal cups, to protest high property prices and the rich-poor divide. Yesterday’s

SHAANXI: Drum dance performers play during a government organized celebration for the 90th anniversary of the founding of Chinese Communist Party, in Ansai county, Yan’an, in northwestern China’s Shaanxi province yesterday. —AP protest is an annual affair marking the former British colony’s return in 1997 to China, which administers the territory under separate, freer rules than the mainland. Chinese leaders ramped up this year’s celebrations for the party’s founding , like they did for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic, to excite the public and broaden the government’s appeal. Events have included a star-studded feature film about the party’s founding, a torrent of documentaries and serialized historic dramas on television. Mass performances of “red” songs of the 1950s were staged in schools and offices. The purpose is to inspire patriotism and loyalty to the party and reinforce a now well-practiced narrative: that after a century of civil war, dynastic collapse and foreign invasion, the Communist Party has returned China to greatness and restored its rightful place as a world leader. “In some ways we can see that with the Communist Party that they are trying to elevate this to a sacred event,” said Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a historian at the University of California, Irvine. The need to find new rationales for

rule has grown as the party itself has evolved from an underground group of hardcore revolutionaries to a vast organization of 80 million members bound together more by ambition, power and connections than ideology. Many among the public laud the party leadership for steering China to a more prosperous today yet vilify local officials as indifferent, or even abusive. As with similar calls in the past, Hu likened the effort to root out corruption as matter of “the party’s life and death.” He noted that the party’s entrenched position in part contributed to the rampant graft. “The party is soberly aware of the gravity and danger of corruption that have emerged under the conditions of the party being long in power,” Hi said. “If not effectively curbed, corruption will cost the party the trust and support of the people. The whole party must remain vigilant against corruption.” Like his predecessors and in keeping with his own nine years in power, Hu, however, did not call for institutional reforms, such as creating an investigating entity independent from the party, that many experts say are necessary to rooting out endemic graft. —AP

Japan limits energy use as disaster causes crunch TOKYO: Japan began imposing energy restrictions on companies, shopping malls and other major electricity users yesterday to cope with power shortages caused by the loss of a tsunami-hit nuclear power plant. Big factories, office buildings, universities and department stores in the Tokyo area must use 15 percent less electricity than a year ago. Electricity is in short supply due to the shutdown of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant hit by the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The restrictions on power use from 9 am to 8 pm on weekdays last until Sept 22, and violators face fines of up to 1 million yen ($12,400). The limit does not apply to households, but the government has urged them to conserve energy. “We ask their cooperation so that we can all overcome the energy crunch,” trade ministry official Satoshi Koyanagi said. The government has already implemented energy-saving measures such as disabling extra elevators and turning off lights. Tokyo Electric Power Co expects to supply 56.8 million kilowatts for Tokyo and its vicinity in July, short of an estimated demand of 60 million kilowatts. The company later yester-

day said it’s estimated supply would be slightly less in August. To cope with the shortage, Sony Corp. said it would turn off air conditioning at its Tokyo headquarters after 6 pm. It also is starting the business day an hour earlier at 8:30 am, spokesman Atsuo Omagari said. The Tokyo Stock Exchange turned off its electronic price ticker and will not receive visitors until the end of September. “We are turning off all lights and air conditioning in the visitors’ areas,” said Yukari Hozumi, a stock exchange spokeswoman. Major department store Mitsukoshi said it has turned off unnecessary lights and disabled some elevators and escalators. Tokyo’s city-operated subway stations are turning off air conditioning at platforms between noon and 3 pm. East Japan Railway has been operating fewer train services from noon to 3 p.m. in the Tokyo area since June 24. Conservation efforts during Japan’s hot summer has triggered some concerns about heat-related illnesses. The temperature in Tokyo rose to 93 Fahrenheit (33.9 Celsius) yesterday and could reach 100 Fahrenheit during the next three months. — AP

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ATHENS: A man waits at a bus stop in central Athens yesterday. Parliament voted on a drastic belt-tightening measures to unlock 12 billion euros (17 billion US dollars) of blocked funds from the EU and IMF. — AFP

EU to deliver urgent funds to Greece World stocks up as Greece clears bailout hurdle VOULIAGMENI: Greece has done its part and now the European Union must provide more rescue loans, Greece’s prime minister declared yesterday after days of anti-austerity riots in Athens and fierce political battles in parliament. George Papandreou described votes this week to implement measures worth euro28 billion ($40 billion) in savings and €50 billion ($72 billion) in government asset sales as “patriotic decisions to save our country.” “Greece has delivered on a very difficult challenge, so it is time for Europe — but also the world — to also deliver,” Papandreou told an international conference of Socialists meeting at a seaside resort near Athens. Creditors from the EU and the International Monetary Fund who rescued Greece from default had demanded the new meas-

ures before they would give Greece its next bailout loan or consider a second massive bailout for the debt-ridden nation. Greece would have defaulted on its debts this month without the euro 12 billion ($17 billion) installment. In a surprise move, the eurozone’s 17 finance ministers canceled a meeting Sunday in Brussels to sign off on the Greek funds but converted it to a teleconference today evening. Several officials said the group needed more time to nail down the details of a second bailout for Greece. “It would have been too ambitious to get the deal (on a second package of rescue loans) done by Sunday,” said one eurozone official, who said the ministers would discuss the second Greek bailout at a meeting July 11. He spoke on condition of

anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. A second eurozone official said while the cornerstones of the second Greek bailout would have to be drawn up soon, it may not be finalized until the next Greek loan installment is due in September. That official also spoke on condition of anonymity. Markets — fearing the consequences of a Greek collapse on Europe — breathed a global sigh of relief Thursday as Papandreou saw the new costcutting through. But even if Greece gets through the next hurdle in September, there are still real worries that it will end up eventually having to restructure its debts — negotiating longer repayment times or giving creditors less than the full amount owed. Many economists believe Greece will ultimately have to default at some point,

saying its €340 billion ($491 billion) debt is just too big for a country of only 11 million people to handle. Last year’s euro110 billion ($159 billion) bailout was predicated on Greece being able to tap bond market investors for cash next year, but with the country’s interest rates at exorbitant levels, that looks highly unlikely. The second bailout is expected to be about the same amount. Papandreou condemned the anti-austerity riots this week that left more than 300 people injured but said he understood peaceful demonstrators’ need to voice opposition to decades of “injustice.” “We are living in Greece through very rough — extremely rough — times. And this means that democratic governments must make hard choic-

es in the name of protecting their people and moving their societies forward,” he said yesterday. The latest austerity program imposes a barrage of new taxes and spending cuts over five years, stripping protections from many low-income Greeks. The prime minister also urged governments in developed countries to work together to limit the influence of credit ratings agencies and giant financial institutions. “If the ratings agencies come and downgrade us one more notch, then they will have more power in their decisions than the Greek people and Greek parliamentarians,” he said to applause from Socialist delegates. “And that is unacceptable if you want to have a democratic world.” Gabriele Steinhauser in Brussels contributed. — AP



Saudis to face hurdles selling more oil to Asia China unwilling to take additional Saudi barrels SINGAPORE: Top exporter Saudi Arabia is unlikely to cut crude prices deeply enough in August to lure Asian refiners into buying much more oil, a Reuters poll showed yesterday, making it difficult for the kingdom to substantially boost supply. Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi last month pledged to meet rising demand in the third quarter after OPEC failed to sanction a collective output increase. The kingdom was expected to have pumped close to 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, industry sources said, over 1 million bpd more than in May. NEW YORK: In this June 15, 2011 photo, people walk past a “now hiring” sign outside the future site of a Uniqlo clothing store, in New York. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits changed little last week, evidence that the struggling economy isn’t generating many jobs. —AP

UBS expects Weber to be next chairman ZURICH: Swiss banking giant UBS said yesterday it intends to appoint former German central bank chief Axel Weber as its next chairman, saying that he will be nominated to the board in 2012 and take the post in 2013. “The board of directors of UBS AG will nominate Axel Weber for election to the board at the annual general meeting on 3 May 2012,” said the Swiss bank. “If elected, the board plans to appoint him as non-independent vice-chairman,” said the bank. “After his first year in office, he is expected to succeed Kaspar Villiger as chairman of the board in 2013,” it added. Weber was the president of the Bundesbank and widely touted as a strong candidate to take over as chief of the European Central Bank. But he announced his surprise resignation in February for personal reasons. The Bundesbank said in a statement that it would examine a request by Weber to join UBS, since its approval is needed under the terms of his former contract. Weber had agreed to observe a grace period before going back to the private banking sector. His request should be reviewed during a meeting of the German central bank on July 12, it said. Current UBS chairman Villiger said Weber’s appointment would “guarantee a smooth leadership transition and stability”. Weber also said that “stability and a long-term strategic outlook are key” going forward. “Being able to help shape the bank’s future is an attractive prospect, and I look forward to working together with the board, the management team and CEO Oswald Gruebel,” said Weber, 54, in the statement. When he takes over as chairman, the former central banker is expected to receive an annual base salary of 2.0 million francs (1.6 million euros, $2.3 million) as well as 200,000 shares which would be frozen for four years. At current share prices, these shares are worth about 3.1 million francs. Bank Wegelin analysts said the appointment was positive, saying that Weber is “a renown specialist who benefits from a strong reputation and who has proven his competence.” The analysts also noted that the news would spark speculation about further management changes, including potential successors for chief executive Gruebel. Gruebel and Villiger took over the helm of UBS at the height of the financial crisis, when the bank was struggling to recover after losing billions of francs. —AFP

Most of the incremental barrels would head east to meet fast-growing Asian demand, but plentiful supply in the region has made it difficult for Saudi Arabia to sell more. To do so, the kingdom needs to undercut competitors. But any reduction in Saudi Arabia’s August official selling prices (OSPs) would likely be too small to trump competing grades in Asia, the poll showed, including Russian ESPO crude piped from East Siberia to the Pacific Ocean. “Our expectations are never satisfied, it’s just day-dreaming,” said a trader with a northeast Asian buyer of Saudi crude. “They are asking all buyers to lift more, and if that is what they want, they have to lower the price. They have to understand

that there are competitors in the market. ESPO is oversupplied.” Traders are divided over whether the Saudis will make the unusual move of offering steeper discounts to Asian refiners to sell more and cool down global energy costs, or simply track routine market fundamentals such as crack spreads for naphtha, gas oil and fuel oil for pricing purposes. A backlog of Russian ESPO crude lingers in northeast Asia. This implies refiners will continue to show limited interest for additional barrels from Saudi Arabia. “Our requirement for crude, no matter from Saudi Arabia or other OPEC members, is normal,” a trader with a Chinese trading house said. “I suppose the Saudis will keep

offering more crude to buyers next month, but there won’t be much change for the buying interests from Chinese buyers.” For flagship Arab Light to become more attractive than higher-quality Russian ESPO, the OSP of the Saudi grade would have to drop to about parity with the average of Oman/Dubai quotes in August from a premium of $1.45 a barrel in July, a refinery trading source said, taking into account recent ESPO deals at premiums of $3.50$3.75 a barrel to Dubai. But the Reuters poll of seven traders showed $1 as the maximum expected drop for Arab Light, and one participant even forecast an increase of 5 cents, signaling little chance that Saudi Arabia will undercut Russia in Asia. —Reuters

IMF says it is still ready to help Egypt

TOKYO: Businessmen point at the price tag of an electric fan on display at an electronics retailer in Tokyo, Japan, yesterday. The spokesman of the retailer said fan became a big seller since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Japan’s government began imposing energy restrictions on companies, shopping malls and other major electricity users to cope with power shortages following the country’s nuclear crisis. —AP

US auto sales to climb in June DETROIT: US car and truck sales were expected to rise in June as lower gas prices and more incentives brought buyers back to the market. Analysts expected automakers to sell around 1.1 million vehicles in June, up 13.5 percent from last June. The results indicated that the industry’s recovery was back on track after floundering in May because of earthquake-related shortages and few deals. Automakers will release June results starting around 11 am EDT yesterday. Incentives lured some buyers. Automakers spent an average of $2,165 per vehicle on deals last month, according to That was slightly more than in May, when incentive spending fell to its lowest level in six years. Toyota Motor Corp., looking to stop a sales slide due to earthquake-related shortages, boosted incentives by 31 percent between May and June. Honda Motor Co. promised buyers that if they order a Honda now, they will get current lease deals, cash back and other incentives when the car is delivered. Honda is anticipating shortages of its new Civic small car for the next several months because of supply issues in Japan. Falling gas prices also improved buyer’s moods. Gas was $3.57 per gallon in the last week of June, down from a national average of $3.90 in May. Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends and insights for, said buyers went for bigger vehicles, with sales of pickups and SUVs rising at a faster pace than sales as a whole. That was partly because small, fuel-efficient cars remain in short supply. —AP

WASHINGTON: A top International Monetary Fund official said yesterday that the crisis lender is still ready to support Egypt after Cairo withdrew its $3 billion loan request last week. Ratna Sahay, the Fund’s deputy Middle East director, rejected accusations that the planned facility had politically tough secret conditions to force privatizations and end subsidies. But she urged the end of subsidies which “benefit the rich more than the poor.” “The IMF continues to maintain a close policy dialogue with the authorities and remains committed to helping Egypt and its people through technical assistance and policy advice,” she said in an interview published in the Fund’s online magazine IMF Survey. Sahay said the IMF’s assistance would have helped the government increase wages for the lowest-paid government workers and expand job-creating programs. “It would have supported plans to increase investment in the education, health, and low income housing, which would in turn have helped the Egyptian economy to recover faster,” she said. She denied there were any secret conditions in the program. “Nothing was hidden or kept quiet,” she said. “The IMF arrangement included a number of benchmarks, which consisted of measures that were already in the government’s economic plan, none of them related to privatization or requiring changes to the subsidy regime during the period of (the) IMF arrangement. “In fact, we fully agreed with the authorities’ objective of promoting social justice and increasing transparency during this historical transition.” Last week Egypt said it was canceling its request for a loan. “We have decided not to have recourse to loans from the international financial institutions,” said Abdelfattah al-Gebali, an advisor to Finance Minister Samir Radwan. He said the decision was taken in response to the “pressure of public opinion,” which has been largely hostile to the loan request, and after the submission of a new draft budget for 2011-2012 that foresees a reduction in public spending. While Sahay stressed the IMF had not diverged from the government’s own goals, she said the country would do well to eliminate some subsidies. “It is important to note that generalized subsidies in Egypt are very large, wasteful, and often benefit the rich more than the poor.” “Any reforms, of course, would require careful consideration and preparation; in particular, it would be essential to ensure that the poor are protected through a better targeting system, while the subsidies benefitting the rich are eliminated.” She urged the country to avail itself of IMF support. “Generally speaking, if the authorities anticipate that there might be a need to borrow externally, it is always better for any country to request an IMF arrangement at an early stage when economic challenges are less daunting.” —AFP


Ex-IMF leader released without bail NEW YORK: Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released without bail yesterday after a dramatic court hearing where the sexual assault case against him appeared to shift in his favor. The turnabout could upend French politics. Strauss-Kahn, 62, was a strong candidate for the 2012 French presidential election until his May 14 arrest and subsequent charges on attempted rape of a hotel maid in New York. At a hearing to seek changes to his bail conditions, prosecutors said the credibility of the woman at the center of the case had been thrown into question. As a result, the court agreed to let Strauss-Kahn be freed and his bail and bond returned. He agreed to return to court as needed, including for a July 18 hearing. “I understand that the circumstances of this case have changed substantially and I agree the risk that he would not be here has receded quite a bit. I release Mr StraussKahn at his own recognizance,” Justice Michael Obus told the court.

Strauss-Kahn smiled as he walked out of the court. He still faces felony charges of attempted rape and sexually assault. The arrest forced his resignation from the International Monetary Fund and appeared to end his presidential hopes, weeks before he had planned to declare his candidacy. Strauss-Kahn’s supporters in the French Socialist party voiced delight at the apparent reversal and some said they hoped he might re-enter the 2012 presidential race. The case has hinged on the accuser, a 32-year-old Guinean immigrant who cleaned the $3,000-a-night suite at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan where StraussKahn was staying. The New York Times quoted a source close to the investigation as saying the housekeeper had lied repeatedly and prosecutors no longer believed her account of the circumstances of the sexual encounter or of her own background. The woman’s brother told Reuters in Guinea that she was the victim of a smear campaign. — Reuters

NEW YORK: Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves New York State Supreme court with his wife Anne Sinclair, yesterday, in New York. A judge has agreed to free Strauss-Kahn without bail or home confinement in the sexual assault case against him. The criminal case against him stands. — AP

Factory growth fades as new orders dry up Price pressures easing

MADRID: Chairman of CaixaBank Isidro Faine launches the trading of La Caixa’s newly created retail banking arm at Madrid’s stock exchange yesterday. Shares in Spanish savings giant La Caixa’s newly created retail banking arm, CaixaBank, climbed yesterday as they began trading after a backdoor listing on the Madrid stock exchange. — AFP

Spain’s CaixaBank climbs on stock exchange debut MADRID: Spanish savings giant La Caixa’s newly created retail banking arm, CaixaBank, listed yesterday and got a double-dose of good news-a share price rise and credit rating upgrades. CaixaBank shares rose 0.39 percent to 4.832 euros, coming off early highs on its first trading day on the Madrid Stock Exchange which was up 0.28 percent. Moody’s Investors Service and Standard and Poor’s greeted the listing by upgrading CaixaBank’s long-term rating. La Caixa, the largest savings bank operation in Spain with more than 28,000 employees and 5,300 branches, ploughed its entire retail banking operation into CaixaBank. The La Caixa group gave its new bank a head start by siphoning off its doubtful property loans into a separate real estate branch, Servihabitat, and by assuming 8.2 billion euros ($11.7 billion). In a complex listing, La Caixa transferred its retail banking assets via an affiliate into its already-listed investment banking firm, Criteria. Criteria was then transformed into CaixaBank. Moody’s raised CaixaBank’s credit rating by three points to a high quality Aa2 from A2 while S&P hiked its rating by a notch to A-plus from A. “The stronger credit profile of CaixaBank versus the former La Caixa is further reinforced by the fact that La Caixa will not transfer to CaixaBank its portfolio of real estate assets,” Moody’s said. “Moreover, moving to a commercial bank status allows CaixaBank to access equity capital markets and to be subject to market discipline,” the New Yorkbased agency said. — AFP

LONDON: The global manufacturing sector, a key driver of economic growth, lost steam for a second month running as monetary policy tightening began to bite, surveys showed yesterday. Purchasing managers’ indexes in Asia and Europe slid to multi-month lows in June as factories fought a twin battle with weaker consumer demand overseas and tightening monetary policy at home. Central banks have been unwinding ultra-loose monetary policy and hiking interest rates aggressively in Asia as they turn their attention to inflation, hampering growth in the process. The European Central Bank is expected to raise rates next week, having done so in April, and the U.S. Federal Reserve ended its $600 billion bond-buying stimulus programme this week and has yet to offer any hints of more monetary easing to come. “There is no doubt that the growth rate is slowing,” said Peter Dixon, an economist at Commerzbank in London. “There is nothing in the offing suggesting a rebound-we are in for a few months of slower growth,” he said. The Markit Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 52.0 in June from 54.6 in May, its lowest reading since December 2009, in line with an earlier flash estimate. More worryingly for policymakers, the data again highlighted a two-speed economy, with a more

resilient Germany and France propping up the bloc’s weaker constituent parts, though even these powerhouses showed a considerable slowing in growth.Italy’s manufacturing sector shrank for the first time in 20 months, Ireland’s for the first time in nine months while Spain’s contracted for the second month running. Britain’s grew at its slowest pace in almost two years. Figures due at 1400 GMT are expected to show factory activity growth in the United States, the world’s largest economy, tailed off sharply last month. Indian manufacturers also seemed to be under pressure, with the HSBC Markit PMI dropping more than two percentage points to a nine-month trough of 55.3, the steepest monthly fall since November 2008, when global trade collapsed following the bankruptcy of investment bank Lehman Brothers. South Korea’s index hit a seven-month low, while Taiwan’s fell below 50 for the first time since October. Both showed sluggish growth in new export orders. Economists have blamed a combination of the devastating earthquake in Japan in March, a steep rise in oil prices, and Europe’s sovereign debt troubles, now centred on Greece, for what they dub a “soft patch” for the world economy. In Europe, new orders for manufactured goods across the 17-nation bloc that shares the euro, fell for the

first time in nearly two years, while the new export order index echoed the previous month’s rapid fall. The Greek parliament passed a second austerity bill on Thursday to enable the country to avert immediate bankruptcy by securing a 12 billion euro loan tranche from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. But Greece, along with Ireland and Portugal, still faces years of economic purgatory after being forced to go cap in hand for bailouts from the EU and IMF. While months of policy tightening in China and India no doubt contributed to slower growth, both emerging giants are also feeling the pinch from cautious shoppers in key export markets in the United States and Europe. The official sub-index for new export orders in the China PMI fell to 50.5 in June as backlogs for new orders shrank for a second straight month. The fall-off in demand and the recent slump in oil prices helped ease inflation pressures somewhat in most of the countries-with India a notable exception. Still, inflation remains elevated, leaving policymakers in tightening mode. “Tight capacity and monetary tightening is constraining growth. However, inflation pressures are still firmly in place, calling for further policy rate hikes to anchor inflation expectations,” said Leif Eskesen, the chief economist for India & ASEAN at HSBC. — Reuters



UK retail bloodletting has only just begun LONDON: A string of retail failures in Britain could be the tip of the iceberg as shoppers cut back dramatically on non-essentials. Analysts say more will go to the wall in coming months as consumers, grappling with rising prices, particularly fuel and energy, subdued wages growth, a lack of credit, job insecurity, a stagnant housing market, government austerity measures and fears of interest rate rises, further rein in spending. The past few months have seen the collapse of a raft of well-known retail names, including wine seller Oddbins, home improvement firm Focus DIY, home furnishings retailer Habitat UK, Moben Kitchens owner Homeform, fashion retailer Jane Norman and discount department store chain TJ Hughes. Even retailers still in business are closing outlets as demand wanes and trade shifts to the internet. Mother and baby products firm Mothercare , chocolatier Thorntons , floor coverings retailer Carpetright and electricals firm Comet are closing hundreds of stores between them. That is bad news for landlords-usually property companies and local councils-and bad news for local communities, particularly

in less affluent areas where retailers are usually first to close down stores. The eastern England town of Harlow, where a quarter of retail properties are vacant, is a case in point. “This used to be full of shops,” says Tom Pead, a shop assistant in a model and hobby store in a Harlow shopping centre lined with empty shops. “It is an eyesore, isn’t it?” said Jon Richards, a retired mechanic surveying a market square surrounded by almost as many boarded-up stores as open ones. “I do not know what they are going to do about it. I do not know what they can do about it.” Recent official data showed real household disposable incomes were 2.7 percent lower in the first quarter than a year earlier, the biggest annual fall since 1977. “I would expect there to be more failures,” said Lee Manning, reorganisation services partner at business advisory firm Deloitte. He said another wave of retailer administrations could be worse than the one at the end of 2008 and early 2009 at the height of the credit crunch when a raft of household names, including Woolworths, MFI, Zavvi and Viyella were consigned to the history books.

Manning said it was likely more big names will go bust. “We are aware of one or two that are still not performing ... I would expect there to be a few more casualties,” he said. Data from the Insolvency Service showed administrations in the retail sector jumped 55 percent to 124 in the first quarter of this year from 80 in the fourth quarter of 2010. Analysts expected the second-quarter number to be higher. The government hopes retail consultant and TV personality Mary Portas can come up with answers. It has asked her to look at ways of reviving high streets where shop vacancy rates have more than doubled to 14.5 percent over the past two years, according to the Local Data Company. However, regenerating town centres is likely to cost money the government can ill afford when it is slashing spending to reduce a record budget deficit. Retailers that sell big-ticket discretionary goods-large electrical items and furniture-and those with poorly developed online offerings are the most vulnerable, particularly if carrying a high debt burden. “Takings and margins are under pressure and yet there is very little

you can do with the cost base of a retailer, because you have got to pay the employees and the rent is fixed,” said Brian Green, restructuring partner at consultant KPMG. “The ones that are not doing well, it does not take much of a reduction in sales to have a disastrous effect.” He noted that on Tuesday the founder and chief executive of Carpetright, Philip Harris, who has been selling carpets for 53 years, described the current environment as “the most difficult times we have been through”. “If he is thinking that and he has got so much experience in retail, good luck to everybody else,” said Green. The recent spate of retail administrations was linked to the end-June ‘quarter day’, when store rent for the third quarter became due. The next pinch point for retail failures will likely to be the end of September when fourth-quarter rent becomes due. At that point, most retailers have their worst cash position of the year, having committed to stock for Christmas. “The end of September is going to be an extremely tight time for cash flow,” said Julie Palmer, partner at insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor. — Reuters

Obama picks fight on taxes, big or just symbolic Plans to eliminate $41b in tax breaks for oil firms

NEW YORK: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. World markets posted muted gains yesterday, with Tokyo rising to an eight-week high, as investors took heart from debt-strapped Greece’s approval of harsh austerity measures but remained wary following signs of slowing growth in China. — AP

US stock futures edge up as new quarter begins NEW YORK: Stock futures edged higher yesterday ahead of several key economic reports on the first day of the new quarter. Investors will sort through data on manufacturing, auto sales and construction spending by the time the market closes yesterday. Economists expect that the Institute for Supply Management‚?(tm)s report will show that the manufacturing index grew in June but at a slower pace than in the previous month. The ISM index plummeted in May, its sharpest onemonth drop since 1984, as a result of a shortage of auto parts from Japan and high gasoline prices cut into spending. Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 20 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,378. S&P 500 futures were up 1, or 0.1 percent, to 1,317. Nasdaq 10 futures were up 3, or 0.1 percent, to 2,326. Stock futures do not always accurately predict how stocks will trade once the market opens. Stock indexes are on pace for their best week of gains since July of last year. The Dow Jones industrial average has gained nearly 480 points over the last 4 days. The weeklong rally began Monday after Nike Inc. reported surprisingly strong quarterly results that led investors to believe that shoppers are continuing to splurge on sneakers and sportswear despite the recent run-up in gas prices. The Dow added more than 150 points Thursday after Greece cleared its final hurdle before it receives its next round of loans and a report found that manufacturing in the Chicago region picked up unexpectedly. — AP

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is renewing an old fight with the business community by insisting that $400 billion in tax increases be part of a deficit-reduction package. His proposals have languished on Capitol Hill, repeatedly blocked by Republicans, often with help from Democrats. Some would raise big money. Limiting tax deductions for high-income families and small business owners could raise more than $200 billion over the next decade. Others are more symbolic, such as scaling back a tax break for companies that buy corporate jets. The corporate jet proposal would raise $3 billion over the next decade, according to GOP congressional aides. Thats a relatively small sum in the big scheme of Washington budgets, but Obama and Democrats call attention to it repeatedly in their effort to portray Republicans as defenders of corporate fat cats. No matter how Democrats characterize their proposals as revenue raisers or plugging tax loopholes, GOP leaders oppose them all, arguing that raising taxes in a bad economy would only make matters worse. If we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, if we choose to keep a tax break for corporate jet owners, if we choose to keep tax breaks for oil and natural gas companies that are making hundreds of billions of dollars Obama said this week, then that means ve got to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship, that means weve got to stop funding certain grants for medical research, that means that food safety may be compromised, that means that Medicare has to bear a greater part of the burden. The White House has identified about $600 billion in tax increases it wants over the next decade. About $400 billion of them were offered as part of deficit-reduction talks led by Vice President Joe Biden. That would be

ARIZONA: Construction workers spend time on the roof of a house in the Estates at Cameron Ranch, in Gilbert, Arizona. Builders began work on more home-remodeling projects in May. But the increase barely lifted construction spending above its lowest level in more than a decade. — AP paired with more than $1 trillion in spending cuts. Some of the tax proposals are vague and budget experts have yet to calculate just how much they would raise. For example, limiting deductions for high-income families and small businesses could raise anywhere between $210 billion and $290 billion, depending on what threshold is established as high income. Obama is proposing to eliminate $41 billion in tax breaks for oil and natural gas companies, raise taxes on investment fund managers by $21 billion and change the way many businesses value their inventories for tax purposes. The change in inventory accounting would

raise an estimated $70 billion over the next decade, hitting manufacturers and energy companies, among others. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has given Congress an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the current debt ceiling, currently $14.3 trillion, to avoid defaulting on the governments financial obligations for the first time in the nation history. He warns that a default could trigger potentially dire consequences for an already anemic economy, including higher interest rates, tighter credit and new rounds of job layoffs. The government hit the debt ceiling in May and has been juggling accounts since then to make all its payments. Obama says he is proposing a balanced approach that spreads the pain among people who rely on government services and those most able to finance them. While Republican leaders argue that raising taxes is bad policy, bad politics and too unpopular to pass the Republican-controlled House, several GOP senators have said they are willing to consider eliminating unspecified tax breaks to reduce the deficit. Two weeks ago, 33 Republican senators joined a 73-27 majority to repeal a $5 billion annual tax subsidy for ethanol gasoline blends. On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Johnson said, would like to do away with special tax breaks but not legitimate business deductions. But GOP leaders insist there is no support among Republicans to impose the kind of tax increases Obama is proposing. The president is sorely mistaken if he believes a bill to raise the debt ceiling and raise taxes would pass the House, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said. The votes simply arent there, and they arent going to be there because the American people know tax hikes destroy jobs. — AP



Australian currency firms charged with bribery SYDNEY: Australian federal police charged two currency printing firms and several of their former senior managers yesterday with bribing foreign officials to secure bank note supply contracts. The charges against Securency International Pty Ltd. - one of the world’s leading currency printing firms - and Note Printing Australia Ltd. relate to alleged bribes paid to officials in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam between 1999 and 2005. The Australian Federal Police have been investigating the companies for two years. It says senior managers from both firms used international sales agents to bribe the officials to win contracts to print money for those countries. Police arrested six former senior employees of the companies - including a former

CEO and chief financial officer - in a series of early morning raids in Victoria state. Australian police did not release their identities. “This sends a very clear message to corporate Australia that indeed the AFP will diligently chase and enforce the laws related to foreign bribery,” Australian Federal Police managing officer Chris McDevitt said. In Malaysia, authorities arrested Mohamad Daud Dol Moin, the former assistant governor of Malaysia’s central bank, in conjunction with the probe. He pleaded innocent yesterday to charges of accepting 100,000 ringgit ($33,000) in bribes from a Malaysian businessman between 2004 and 2005 to help Note Printing Australia obtain a 95 million ringgit ($31 million) contract. The businessman, Abdul Kayum Syed Ahmad, was charged with

bribery. Both men face up to 20 years in prison and a fine if convicted. Securency, based in Craigieburn, north of Melbourne, is half-owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia, the nation’s central bank. The company is a pioneer in the production of plasticbased bank notes, known as polymer notes, which are used in 31 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Brazil. Note Printing Australia, also based in Craigieburn, is fully owned by the RBA and was the first currency printer in the world to print on polymer substrate. RBA Gov. Glenn Stevens said no one in the central bank has been accused of wrongdoing, and stressed that none of those charged still works for the companies. “The Reserve Bank condemns in the strongest terms corrupt or questionable behavior of any kind,”

Stevens said in a statement. Prime Minister Julia Gillard declined to comment on the charges. In a statement, Securency Chairman Bob Rankin said the company is considering its legal position. Rankin said its board asked police to investigate allegations of bribery in 2009 and has fully cooperated with the probe since then. “Securency is committed to the highest standards of ethics and governance and the board and management condemn any form of corrupt behavior,” Rankin said. McDevitt said the investigation is continuing and more charges are expected. The six charged men appeared briefly in court Friday and were released on bail. They did not enter a plea. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to 1.1 million Australian dollars ($1.2 million). —AP

Landmark EU-S Korea trade deal takes effect ‘Most ambitious deal ever concluded by EU’ SEOUL: A free trade pact between the European Union and South Korea, the first such deal linking Asia and the world’s largest economic bloc, came into effect yesterday, bringing with it sweeping changes. The deal will eventually do away with 98.7 percent of duties and is expected to boost trade by tens of billions of euros a year, slash more than two billion euros in tariffs annually and create an estimated 250,000 jobs in South Korea.

TOKYO: Shoppers walk in front of a large sale sign in Tokyo yesterday. Japanese business confidence plunged in the months after the March 11 earthquake, turning negative for the first time in over a year. —AFP

Japan’s post-quake business confidence plunges: BoJ TOKYO: Japanese business confidence plunged in the months after the March 11 earthquake, turning negative for the first time in over a year, the Bank of Japan said in its quarterly Tankan survey yesterday. But firms expect conditions to improve by September and analysts said plans to increase capital spending signalled recovery hopes even amid uncertainty due to looming power shortages following the crisis at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Large manufacturer sentiment in June dropped to “minus 9” from “6” in March, a plunge of 15 points and the first negative reading in five quarters. The reading was worse than the median forecast of “minus 7” by economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires. The figure represents the percentage of companies saying business conditions are good minus those saying conditions are bad. The survey is taken into account by the BoJ when formulating monetary policy. The March disasters devastated entire towns along the northeast coast and left 23,000 dead or missing while wreaking havoc on Japanese industry, pushing the economy into recession in Japan’s worst crisis since World War II. The nation’s biggest firms such as Sony and Toyota were forced to shutter plants and halt production due to shortages in electricity and parts after the disaster disrupted supply chains, sending output and exports tumbling. —AFP

The Wall Street Journal quoted EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht as describing the pact as “the most ambitious trade deal ever concluded by the EU and should become a game-changer for our trade relations with Asia”. On the eve of its implementation, the EU’s ambassador in Seoul Tomasz Kozlowski told journalists that the FTA was a “win-win” agreement and would be a model for other deals that the bloc is negotiating in the region. The 27-nation European Union, home to 500 million people, is currently negotiating similar pacts with Japan, Asia’s second largest economy, and India. Apart from multiplying the flow of goods and services, the agreement would “boost exchange of ideas, exchange of people and culture, and ultimately will bring Korea and the EU much closer”, Kozlowski said. He said some studies forecast the FTA would boost trade by 50 percent in the short term and more than double it over the next two decades. One study forecast more than 250,000 new jobs in South Korea in the long term as a result of the pact. The deal comes as a blow to US supporters of a free trade pact with Seoul. Although the two sides signed a trade agreement in 2007, the pact has yet to be ratified by their legislatures. The US ambassador to Seoul, Kathleen Stephens, warned last month that US exporters could lose ground to EU competitors unless Congress quickly ratified the agreement. Under the EU-South Korean pact, 70 percent of customs duties will be immediately scrapped, rising to 98.7 percent over the next five years.

SEOUL: Kim Jong-hoon (2nd R), South Korean Trade Minister, Tomasz Kozlowski (2nd L), the European Union (EU) ambassador to South Korea, Jean Marie Hurtiger (L), the president of the EU Chamber of Commerce in South Korea and Sa Kong-il, CEO of the Korea International Trade Association hold hands during a reception for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the EU at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul yesterday. —AFP Tariffs on 96 percent of EU goods and 99 percent of South Korean goods will be eliminated within the next three years. The EU is currently South Korea’s second largest trading partner after China, taking almost 20 percent of its exports. EU exports to South Korea are worth 28 billion euros ($40.5 billion), while South Korea’s exports to Europe amount to $38.7 billion. The deal would “have a wide impact in Asia and in the world”, Kozlowski told a news conference Thursday. “It shows the potential for increasing growth and jobs through

greater trade between Europe and Asia.” He wrote in the Korea Herald yesterday that the “landmark” deal was the “most ambitious ever FTA negotiated by the EU with a partner outside Europe and the first FTA with a country in Asia”. The pact will bring about yearly savings of more than two billion euros in tariffs, he said. It will also remove non-tariff barriers, especially those in the automotive, electronics and pharmaceutical sectors and consolidate the liberalisation of the service industries, he said. —AFP



Indian exports up by 56.93% in May NEW DELHI: India’s total exports registered a growth of 56. 93 per cent during May 2011 and stood at $25941.28 million. The trade deficit also improved comfortably, said official figures released by the country’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry yesterday. Cumulative value of exports during the first two months of

current fiscal, i.e. April and May, was $49790.60 million as against $34272.98 million last year, thereby registering a growth of 45.28 per cent. Imports during May 2011 stood at $40906.95 million representing a growth of 54.08 per cent over the level of imports valued at $26549.51 million in May last year. Cumulative value of imports

for the period April-May was $73741.31 million as against $55319.57 million, thereby registering a growth of 33.30 per cent. The trade deficit for April - May was estimated at $23950.71 million wh ic h was lower than t he deficit of $21046.59 million during the two months last year. Total oil imports during May 2011 were valued at $10161.0 mil-

lion which was 18.57 per cent higher than oil imports valued at $8570.0 million in the corresponding month last year. Oil imports during April-May, 2011-12 were valued at $20347.0 million which was 12.89 per cent higher than the oil imports of $18024.0 million in the corresponding period last year, added the official figures. —KUNA

Iran to halt oil supplies to India NEW DELHI: National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) has said it will halt supplies to Indian refineries in August if the two countries have still not found a way to make payments for their $12 billion a year oil trade, three industry sources said yesterday. NIOC, which exports about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) to India — 12 percent of its needs-set the deadline on the longrunning discussions in a letter dated June 27 to Indian refiners, the sources, who requested anonymity, told Reuters. “We regret to inform you that NIOC would hardly be in a position to deliver the Iranian crude oil to our partners in India ... in August 2011 unless concrete solutions are worked out for remittances of NIOC’s dues,” the letter said, according to two sources who have seen the letter. The additional pressure from Iran, India’s second-biggest crude supplier, comes two weeks after its biggest oil provider, Saudi Arabia, agreed to sell Indian clients as much as 2.6 million barrels of extra crude in July. Iran, facing increased isolation internationally, and fastgrowing energy-hungry India, have been looking to resolve an impasse triggered in December when the Reserve Bank of India ended a regional clearing mechanism under U.S. pressure. “It’s just their way of trying to put the ball back in the court of the Indian government so that they make a decision, because they don’t want to be left hanging,” said Praveen Kumar, head of South Asia oil and gas consulting at FACTS Global Energy. “This is not something that the Iranians would like to do.” Earlier this year, Germany allowed India to pay for the oil via Hamburg-based EIH bank, which handles international trade for Iranian companies. But India halted that conduit in early April after discussions with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and EIH has since come under EU sanctions. —Reuters

MUMBAI: Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata attends Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS)’s annual general meeting in Mumbai, India, yesterday. — AP

MUMBAI: In this photograph taken on April 29, 2011, an Air India aircraft stands on the tarmac of the international airport in Mumbai. India’s ailing national carrier Air India may see operations grind to a halt as it struggles to keep up interest payments on its substantial debt burden, a newspaper reported yesterday. — AFP

Asian manufacturing activity slows in June China PMI hits 28-month low SHANGHAI: Manufacturing activity in Asia’s emerging economies slowed further in June, data showed yesterday, suggesting measures designed to cool explosive growth were taking hold in the region. Export-dependent nations were also hurt by a continued weakness in demand from crisis-hit Europe and the United States while Japanese suppliers were still recovering from the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Growth in Chinese production almost stalled while India’s figures hit a ninemonth low as monetary tightening measures firmly put the brakes on two of the region’s biggest and fastest-growing economies. Taiwan data showed manufacturing activity actually contracted while South Korea was also crimped by inflation-fighting measures. Beijing has been clamping down on bank lending to tame inflation, which hit a three-year high of 5.5 percent in May, and avoid the economy blowing out of control as it has been expanding at nearly 10 percent a year. China’s manufacturing activity fell to an 11-month low of 50.1 in June from 51.6 in May, according to figures from British banking giant HSBC, confirming preliminary data released last week, as Beijing tries to tame soaring costs. The country’s official purchasing managers index fell to a 28-month low of 50.9 in June from 52.0 in May-marking

the third straight monthly decline-the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said. A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding while a reading below 50 suggests a contraction. “This implies that policy tightening is working, pointing to a peak of inflation in the coming months,” HSBC chief economist Qu Hongbin said in a statement. The figures will likely fuel concerns that the world’s second-largest economy is heading for a hard landing as Beijing-anxious about inflation’s potential to spark social unrest-tries to rein in food and housing prices. “The continued easing in June PMI figures, mainly due to inventory adjustments, suggests economic growth is likely to continue to slow,” Zhang Liqun, a government analyst, said in the CFLP statement. The reaction on Asian markets was mixed, with Shanghai shares erasing early gains to close down 0.10 percent. Sydney ended down 0.36 percent while Seoul and Tokyo rose 1.19 percent and 0.53 percent respectively. Both surveys for China also show inflationary pressures-a bugbear for policymakers-eased last month. The official input prices sub-index, which measures the cost of raw materials, fell to 56.7 in June from 60.3 in May. India’s PMI fell to 55.3 in June-from May’s 57.5 — marking its slowest pace so far this year while input costs rose. The easing follows sev-

eral interest rate hikes in the country, where the Congress-led government has vowed to tackle inflation-even at the cost of slower growth-to help the hundreds of millions of poverty-stricken. The central bank raised its key interest rates last month after inflation hit a higher-than-expected 9.06 percent in May, from 8.66 percent the previous month, with food prices rising even faster. “These numbers confirm that tight capacity and monetary tightening is constraining growth,” Leif Eskesen, chief economist for India and Asean at HSBC, told Dow Jones Newswires. Compounding problems for companies was Japan’s March 11 twin disaster, which wrecked supply lines while the stuttering recovery in Europe and the United States from the global downturn also hit demand. The earthquake and tsunami has “hurt a lot of manufacturers, they are trying to stretch out their inventories”, Moody’s associate economist Alaistair Chan told AFP. “Also in the medium term you have got a downturn in the global economy.” South Korea’s PMI slowed to 51.13 in June from 51.24 in May as Seoul treads a fine line between fighting inflation with interest rate hikes and trying to cap foreign inflows of cash it fears could destabilise the economy. Manufacturing activity in Taiwan shrank to 49.9 in June from 54.9 in May. — AFP


Monaco prepares for Royal wedding. Page 26

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, smells a bouquet of flowers. William and Kate, her dark hair blowing in the wind, stepped off the plane under overcast skies to be greeted by dignitaries before rushing off to their first official engagement on foreign soil. — AFP

Jim Morrison remembered 40 years on Page 28


Kate makes stellar debut as Princess Catherine 10,000 gather to greet royal couple in Ottawa

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, greets spectators. — AFP photos


Britain’s Prince William inspects the honour guard during an official welcoming ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

atherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wowed screaming Canadian crowds Thursday as she and Prince William began their first official overseas trip as Britain’s royal golden couple. Canadians turned out en masse for a glimpse or a handshake as Princess Catherine, wearing a navy lace dress by Montreal-born designer Erdem Moraliaoglu, put in a consummate debut performance in the capital Ottawa. “Welcome to Canada, honeymoon capital of the Commonwealth,” said Governor General David Johnston. Packed with pomp and pageantry, the North American tour comes just two months after a radiant Kate Middleton walked down the aisle in a fairytale royal wedding watched by an estimated two billion people worldwide. Popularly known still as Kate, the only hint of trouble

for the former Miss Middleton came the moment she stepped off the plane and her flowing dark hair was buffeted by a strong wind as she greeted dignitaries. The couple’s arrival at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa triggered excited screams from an estimated 10,000strong crowd-several of the women wearing fascinators, the hair accessory of choice for the duchess. “There he is. There’s our future king,” Pat Snair shouted from the fringes of the crowd as the 29-year-old newlyweds stepped from the cortege to place a bouquet of flowers before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. While Prince William, second in line to the British throne, has plenty of experience at royal duties, Kate is a relative rookie. But it was clearly the elegant Berkshire, England native that many of the crowd had


Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, smells a bouquet of flowers as Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks on.

come to see. She represents the future of the monarchy, she’s “excitement and youth,” said Denise, in her 60s. “William is OK, but Kate is fascinating,” added two teenage girls. The princess was cool under fire and showed no outward signs of nerves on her first overseas walkabout, smiling broadly and exchanging polite banter as she shook hands with the crowd for longer than the intended hour. “I’m hoping to find romance like theirs,” said one wildly-impressed teenage girl. From the war memorial unveiled in 1939 by William’s great-grandparents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, who established a tradition with the first royal walkabout, the show then moved on to the official residence of the governor general, the viceregal representative of Queen Elizabeth II. “Catherine and I are so delighted to be here in Canada,” William said. “We have been looking forward to this moment for a very long time. Quite separately, before we were married, we had both had a longing to come here, instilled in us by our parents and grandparents.” He spoke in both of Canada’s official languages, French and English, and to laughs vowed his French would improve over the course of this trip. “The geography of this country is worldrenowned, as is the hospitality of its peoples,” William said. “We are so very excited about having this opportunity to experience both-and learn much more about this fantastic country.” Canadian fans packed every hotel in sight of the capital. Some even camped overnight on the steps of the war memorial, awakened by Canada’s national anthem blared from nearby Parliament Hill, where technicians readied sound and stage equipment for Friday’s Canada Day celebrations. Support for the monarchy hovers above 50 percent in Canada and has risen from last year when Queen Elizabeth II visited, although there is still a vocal anti-monarchist minority planning to protest in Quebec City today. In addition to official and military ceremonies, the royal schedule has lighter moments planned, such as a cooking class, an aboriginal sports event and a rodeo. Later Thursday, the royals attended a barbecue with 120 young Canadians at the residence of the governor general, where they are spending the night. A downpour, however, forced the event indoors. William, in a buttoned down shirt slightly open at the collar, khakis and brown loafers, put his arm around the princess’s waist to guide her around the room, chatting with guests. Kate changed into a black and white dress by Issa for dinner. The gourmet menu included Quebec cheeses, chilled New Brunswick oysters, Qikiqtarjuaq sea urchins, Great Lakes herring roe salsa, Winnipeg smoked goldeye, Yukon Arctic char,

musk ox prosciutto and potato-crusted Alberta yak tartar. On Friday, the couple will cap off their visit to the capital by joining tens of thousands of revelers outside parliament for musical performances and fireworks to celebrate Canada’s national holiday. They then embark on a countrywide tour, even taking a cooking class in Montreal yesterday, before traveling on to Quebec City, Charlottetown, Yellowknife and Calgary. Prior to their final stop in Canada, the newlyweds are expected to sneak away on a romantic getaway to a secluded and undisclosed location in the Rocky Mountains. After wrapping up their Canadian tour, they will travel to California for a three-day visit on July 8-10 whose highlight will be a black-tie celebrity reception for British filmmakers in Los Angeles. — AFP

Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

The royal couple exchange glances.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, receives flowers as Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen look on.


Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s personal possessions to be sold at auction

Victoria Beckham does not want to ‘flaunt’ pregnancy



tems belonging to the ‘Cleopatra’ actress - who died on March 23 of congestive heart failure at the age of 79 - will be taken on a world tour by auction house Christie’s for three months before being sold over four days in New York City in December. Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s Americas, noted the collection would help bring her fans “closer” to her. He said: “A rare woman who was at once an international film and fashion star, loving mother, successful businesswoman and generous humanitarian, this collection of

her many cherished possessions will bring us closer to the essence of Elizabeth Taylor’s unique spirit. “It promises to inspire admiration, delight and at times, sheer wonder in all who come to see it.” Following the tour, the collection - which is expected to include clothing, art and other memorabilia - will be available for view at Christie’s Rockefeller Center Gallery, with four days of auctions taking place from December 13 to 16. Some of the proceeds from the sale will go towards the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation - which she set up in 1993.

he singer-turned-fashion designer is due to give birth to her fourth child, a daughter, next month and though she feels “proud” to be expecting again, she has no intention of displaying her bump like so many other celebrities. Asked if she would pose pregnant, Victoria - who is married to soccer superstar David Beckham - said: “Nope. Sadly not. I’m not really one of these people that likes to go out and pose and flaunt being pregnant. Not like there’s anything wrong in that. I’m so proud to be pregnant and I feel so blessed and so happy, I really do. But I’m just not that kind of person. I don’t think anyone needs to see that, other than my husband. Absolutely not.” Victoria - who has sons Brooklyn, 12, Romeo, eight, and six-year-old Cruz with David - also revealed her unborn baby already has an “impressive” wardrobe. She added: “But not in an obnoxious way at all. I love the French clothes for little girls. I like little girls to look like little girls.” Despite admitting it can be a struggle to combine her career with family life, Victoria insists she wouldn’t do things differently. She added: “As any working mum out there knows, it really is like juggling glass balls when you’ve got the kids and a husband to look after, and you’re passionate about your career. It’s a lot. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m blessed.”

Pink kept awake by new arrival T

he singer and her husband Carey Hart welcomed their daughter Willow Sage into the world earlier this month and like most new mothers she is experiencing sleep deprivation. Writing on her twitter page, Pink said: “yeah!!!!!!!! up all night!!!! reliving my past ... I’ve just replaced techno music with ocean sounds glow sticks with night lights. (sic)” In another post, she tweeted: “Sleep is overrated anyway. (sic)” It seems Willow’s sleeping habits have changed as when the tot - who the pop star named after an “unbreakable tree” - was first born, Pink claimed she was a “pro” at getting rest. Speaking at a photo shoot for People magazine, she said: “Willow is a pro! Or else she is borderline narcoleptic like her daddy - she slept the whole time.” As well as her daughter’s sleeping habits, the ‘So What’ hitmaker also revealed she can’t wait until little Willow is old enough to be taken out on her motorbike, alongside her dog Bubba. She tweeted: “how old do babies have to be on motorcycles? may have to get a side car for bubba and willow. they can wear capes and goggles and rhinestones (sic)” — Bang Showbiz


Mickey Rourke moves to cheaper apartment


Prince Harry’s new girlfriend falling ‘in love’ with him


ingerie model Florence Brundell-Bruce, 25, has only recently started dating the third-in-line to the British throne but things are getting so serious she has already told pals Harry is ‘The One’. Florence - who is known as Flee to her pals - gushed to a former school friend: “It was a bit of fun but it’s getting serious. I think I might be in love.” Another friend told The Sun newspaper: “Flee’s already said she loves being Harry’s girl and she has fallen for him fast.” Florence - who previously dated Formula 1 racing driver Jensen Button - and the party-loving prince have many friends in common and also share a “wild side”. The pal added: “She’s a party girl and Harry loves her wild side. Ibiza is one of her favorite holiday spots and she’s always in the Blue Marlin beach bar. She’s trying to get Harry to go.”Harry, 26, reportedly wooed Florence with a cheeky pick up line based on polo practice. Harry has been single since recently splitting from Chelsy Davy his on/off girlfriend of seven years.

Kate Moss goes the extra mile for wedding perfection


he British supermodel - who married The Kills rocker Jamie Hince yesterday - has banned access to two small towns in the Cotswolds, South West England, and has sent all her guests special permits allowing them access to the wedding sites in the hope the big day goes unspoiled. An insider told The Sun newspaper: “Kate hopes closing the towns will ensure there’s no unwanted intrusion on her big day. “Guests will have to flash permits to security who will be lining the roads leading into the town. Locals have also received permits so they can come and go as they please.”

he ‘Wrestler’ star had been renting a 5,000 square foot loft in New York’s Meatpacking district at a cost of $19,800 a month, but has now relocated to the West Village area, where he is currently residing in a considerably cheaper three-bedroom, three-bathroom duplex with a garden, gossip website TMZ reports. While Mickey is said to be enjoying

his new living space, the actor may struggle to cope in a property with two levels as he has previously revealed playing grappler Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson left his body so damaged, he needed assistance in getting up and down stairs. The 58-yearold actor - who is a former professional boxer - said: “I had to try harder to get up in the morning. And

Cheryl Cole’s

ex buys mansion in the US

because of my extra bulk a football knee from high school acted up again. Two hundred years later! And my woman had to get behind me and push me up the stairs. I was pathetic looking! “So my knees wouldn’t hold up, because of all the extra weight and the exercise. And all the injuries you get from being thrown down, you know?”

Jesse James forgives himself for infidelity


he Chelsea soccer player - who split with the singer in 2010 following claims he had cheated on her with a string of women - is desperate to get back with the 28-year-old pop star and has bought a house in Los Angeles where he hopes the pair can “make a new start”. A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “Ashley’s over the moon that the offer has gone through. He sees it as a chance to make a new start with Cheryl in a new country, where they can be together and away from daily reminders of his shady past behavior in the UK.” Some of his neighbors will include Mel Gibson and Demi Moore. The house is in a gated community approximately 30 minutes from Santa Monica. Meanwhile, the 30-year-old sportsman flew back to London from New York in time for Cheryl’s 28th birthday party at an unknown London hotel last night, but she has snubbed him in favor of a meeting with her manager, Black Eyed Peas star, who is in the British capital to perform at the Wireless music festival in Hyde Park. An insider told The Sun newspaper: “It’s a big gesture from Ashley to fly back around the time of Cheryl’s birthday. He’ll be keen to meet up but Cheryl has plans. She’s got business to attend to with”


he motorcycle entrepreneur had several affairs during his five-year marriage with the Oscar-winning actress - including a relationship with tattoo model Michelle ‘Bombshell’ McGee, which was exposed in March 2010 - but insists he no longer feels guilty because he has admitted to his mistakes and knows he isn’t a bad person. Speaking on the Kyle and Jackie O Show on Australian station 2Day FM, he said: “I never got one negative comment, not from anyone. The only people who said negative stuff to me were the paparazzi and they were being paid to. The media portrayed it as this huge negative thing but if anything, I got more support from everybody else, because, yes, I cheated on my wife but so do a lot of other people. “Does that mean I’m the devil? Or that I’m Satan? I don’t think so. I made a mistake and I’m sorry for it but I owned up to it. I didn’t lie. I did it, I made a mistake and I owned up to it and took it like a man and took all the abuse for it, which nobody does.” When asked if he had forgiven himself, he replied: “Oh yeah. I’m cool.”However, Jesse - who is now engaged to tattoo artist Kat Von D - admits it was horrible telling Sandra about the affairs. He said: “It’s pretty painful to talk to someone and know that the next words coming out are going to devastate their life.”


R&B diva LaBelle files countersuit in beating case

Patti LaBelle


eteran R&B diva Patti LaBelle says in a countersuit filed against a West Point cadet who claims she ordered her bodyguards to beat him up outside a Houston airport terminal that the altercation began after the cadet hurled racial insults at her. But an attorney for the cadet, Richard King, denied his client ever said any racial slurs to LaBelle. King’s attorneys say he was waiting to be picked up by family outside one of the terminals at Bush Intercontinental Airport on March 11 when three of LaBelle’s bodyguards attacked him without provocation. King, who was in his hometown of Houston while on spring break from West Point, filed his lawsuit earlier this month, naming LaBelle, the three bodyguards, one of whom is the singer’s son, and two others as defendants. King’s lawyers say the alleged attacked resulted in a concussion and lingering dizziness and headaches for the cadet. A surveillance video from the airport that was previously released by King’s attorneys shows the 23-year-old cadet being pushed and punched by two men and a woman, all alleged to be LaBelle’s bodyguards. LaBelle filed a countersuit last week, accusing the cadet of attacking her bodyguards after he directed profane and racial slurs toward the singer. In the countersuit, LaBelle’s lawyers accuse King of being intoxicated, staggering around outside the terminal, screaming obscenities and trying to enter the singer’s limousine. King was politely asked to walk away from the vehicle, according to the countersuit. King’s attorneys have said the cadet had a few drinks on the flight to Houston but denied he was intoxicated. “King directed profane and racial slurs towards LaBelle. When LaBelle’s son (Zuri Edwards) heard the profanity and racial epithets, he informed King that the woman in the limousine was his mother,” the suit said. “Without warning or provocation, King violently and deliberately punched Edwards in the face.” The surveillance video, which has no audio, shows King talking on a cell phone when one of LaBelle’s bodyguards appeared to push up against him. It appeared that King then pushed him back. King’s attorneys have said King did not push back but was protecting himself from a punch. The bodyguards told Houston police King attacked them. King’s attorney, John Raley, said LaBelle’s claim that the cadet hurled racial slurs at her is part of her “attack” on “an innocent man by telling the same false story they told the police.” “Several eyewitnesses saw and clearly heard the incident. The counter-claim is completely without merit,” Raley said in a statement. The case, which was originally filed in Houston state civil court, has been moved to federal court by LaBelle’s attorneys, Raley said. —AP

People queue to purchase commemorative stamps to mark the wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock yesterday. — AP

Monaco awaits its princess-to-be, Charlene A fter waiting decades for Prince Albert II to choose his bride, residents of this high-flying Riviera principality were preparing yesterday to embrace South Africa’s Charlene Wittstock to succeed Grace Kelly as Princess of Monaco. The striking blond Wittstock, a 33-year-old former Olympic swimmer, was transformed from commoner into princess in a civil ceremony in the throne room where Hollywood beauty Kelly married Albert’s father, Prince Rainier III, 55 years ago. The wedding continues today, with an even more elaborate religious ceremony and opulent gala

Prince Albert II of Monaco and his fiance Charlene Wittstock pose for photographers prior to a concert by US band The Eagles, at the Stade Louis II, Thursday, in Monaco. The concert is part of the three-day celebration that will include their wedding. — AP

with a guest list including heads of state, European royalty and the creme de la creme of the fashion and sporting worlds. With her bright blue eyes and even features, Wittstock has won comparisons with Kelly, who died in a car accident nearly three decades ago. Wittstock is expected to wear an ensemble by coveted Paris label Chanel. Though Albert was long seen as among Europe’s most eligible bachelors, the bespectacled 53year-old prince long resisted marriage, and many in Monaco - known the world over for its lax tax laws and glamorous casinos - feared he might never tie the knot. Yesterday’s wedding was to be the first for both Wittstock and Albert, although the soft-spoken prince has acknowledged fathering two children out of wedlock. Rumors raged over the past few days that a third illegitimate child had recently surfaced and prompted Wittstock to try to call off the wedding and return to South Africa. The palace dismissed the stories as “ugly rumors” born out of jealousy. Speaking earlier this week on Monaco-Info TV, a top aide to the prince said the couple were “affected” by the rumors but added they were concentrating on last-minute preparations. The guest list for today’s festivities included the kings of Spain, Sweden, Lesotho and Belgium, the presidents of France, Iceland, Ireland, Lebanon, Malta, Germany and Hungary, France’s richest man, celebrated opera singers, top models and race car drivers. The Catholic ceremony will also take place in the palace, and is to be followed by a gala dinner by three-time triplestarred Michelin chef Alain Ducasse. Everything served at the sumptuous buffet is being sourced in a 10-kilometer (6-mile) radius from Monaco, Ducasse told The Associated Press. More than 1,000 journalists from around the world have been accredited for the festivities, which kicked off late Thursday with a free concert by the legendary Los Angeles band The Eagles. Albert and Wittstock attended the show, he in a dark suit, she wearing a strapless black pantsuit - a rather rock-and-roll sartorial choice for someone poised to become princess. — AP


Joss Stone sees positive side of kidnap/murder plot



oss Stone has started her own label, recorded a new album and is working in the most talked-about supergroup of the year. Not bad for someone who was nearly the victim of a robbery and murder plot earlier this month. And, for starters, the English singer can’t say much about the latter. “I would love to tell you about it, but I’ve been told not to, for obvious reasons,” the singer told Police in England arrested two men on June 13 near Stone’s home in Cullompton, Mid Devon, who had plans to rob and kill her. Nevertheless, she says, “I’m fine... It’s weird. People are interesting in their heads but ... now I have a perfect excuse to get three really cute little puppies that are going to grow up to be really big, cuddly dogs who will protect me, so I’m actually excited and I have to send (the accused) a thank-you letter.” Stone is on the promo trail for her new album “LP1,” which comes out on July 26 as the first release on her own Stone’d Records imprint. She’s also in set-up mode for the September release of an album by Super Heavy, a band that also includes “LP1” co-producer David Stewart, Mick Jagger, “Slumdog Millionaire” composer A.R. Rahman and Damian Marley. Stone says the Super Heavy album has “the weirdest sound...very eclectic. It’s like world music, but it’s not one style. It’s just not normal.” — Reuters

A more mellow Beyonce still impresses


Joss Stone, who is due to start tour next month, insists she’s fine after kidnap attempt.— AP

un the World (Girls),” the first single from Beyonce’s fourth solo album, “4,” has all the hallmarks of a signature No. 1 Beyonce smash - a bombastic, larger-than-life sound, a call-and-response hook, a heavy dose of girl power and a fierce drumbeat. Surprisingly, though, it landed with a thud on radio, and the buzz around “4” hasn’t been encouraging there’s even talk that the multi-hyphenate diva could find herself dealing with her very first flop. It remains to be seen how “4” will do on the charts, but if fans pay attention to the music, then Beyonce should have no worries. If anything, “Run the World (Girls)” is the anomaly of the disc, which has few tracks geared for the clubs. Instead, Beyonce - just a few months shy of 30 - offers a bewitching blend of ballads and mid-tempo grooves that show a maturation in the singer’s sound. She strips away the much of the musical

pyrotechnics that have anchored some of her biggest solo jams for an album more heavy on ballads, and danceable hits that charm, instead of strong-arm, their way into your psyche. “Love on Top,” a buoyant, old school jam that recalls the days when Billy Ocean and curl activator were in, stands among the album’s best songs, mixing the sound of horns, synthesizer and Beyonce’s beguiling voice to dreamy effect. There’s more 1980s inspiration on the sexy laid-back tune “Party,” co-produced by Kanye West, thanks to a Slick Rick sample and a retro bass line that slows down the pace, but not the fun. Though the reclusive Andre 3000 offers a verse on the track, Beyonce remains the star on the song, seducing listeners with her powerful pipes. The Boyz II Men-sampled “Countdown” and the marching band feel of “End of Time” will satisfy those looking for the typical Beyonce frenetic bounce. But it’s a love-

struck Beyonce, not the dancing diva, who is featured on the bulk of the album, which finds the singer passionately emoting about the love for her man, either from a position of confidence or fear. “I’m addicted to the rush,” acknowledges Beyonce on the semi-fatalistic “I’d Rather Die Young,” while on “Start Over,” she offers to reset a relationship rather than lose it. But the most dramatic ballad is the best - “1+1,” featuring a blistering Beyonce on a back-to-basics R&B groove that smolders despite its simplicity. The same applies for “4,” an album that has fewer fireworks, but still leaves you starry-eyed. —AP

Janet Jackson duets with ‘virtual’ Michael in London


op singer Janet Jackson has revived the spirit of her late brother Michael on stage with a virtual duet, two years after the King of Pop’s death. The singer took her “Number Ones: Up Close & Personal” Tour to London’s Royal Albert Hall on Thursday where she served up a career-spanning set of her hits. Opening the show with the video of her 1980s electro funk “Nasty”, she treated fans to a virtual collaboration with Michael on their 1995 hit “Scream”. While she performed her part of the single, her older brother’s vocals were played for his section of the

song and a video of him was played on screen. “It’s therapeutic, you know and it makes me smile inside,” Jackson told British radio. “I mean the energy of the song is fierce but it makes me smile inside when I hear him, when I hear his voice.” It was the two-year anniversary of the “Thriller” singer’s death last Saturday. He died age 50, on June 25, 2009 at his rented mansion in Los Angeles, as he was rehearsing for a series of London concerts. Authorities said he died of a massive dose of the anesthetic propofol and a

cocktail of other sedatives and painkillers. Paying tribute to her brother at the end of her show, Jackson flashed childhood pictures of the siblings on a screen while she performed her song “Together Again”. In her first tour in three years, the Grammy award winner performed songs from her “Number Ones” album, featuring 35 number one hits. Known for her high energy and well-choreographed routines, she danced her way through “What Have You Done for Me Lately” “Control” and raised the heat with a live version of “Nasty”. —Reuters

Janet Jackson paid tribute to Michael during first tour in three years. —AP


Photographs and flowers on the grave of Jim Morrison at Pere Lchaise cemetery. It will be 40 years on July 3, 2011 since Jim Morrison was found dead in a bathtub in his Paris apartment. — AFP

Forty years on, Jim Morrison cult thrives It

will be 40 years tomorrow since Jim Morrison was found dead in a bathtub in his Paris apartment, but a visit to his grave finds the cult of the lizard king as alive as ever. His sudden and untimely death at the age of 27 stunned fans of The Doors, who broke fresh ground in psychedelic rock with such hits as “Riders on the Storm,” “People are Strange” and “Light My Fire”. There was never an autopsy, giving rise to multiple conspiracy theories, as Morrison’s remains were buried at Pere Lachaise cemetery, final resting place of other such notables as Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein and Oscar Wilde. Two of his bandmates, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger, will mark the anniversary with a sell-out concert at the Bataclan club, while a tribute band from Britain, The Doors Alive, will perform at the Cigale. That Pere Lachaise is reputedly the most-visited cemetery in the world is due in no small part to the crowds that flock every day to visit Morrison’s flowerstrewn gravestone. “James Douglas Morrison, 1943-1971,” reads a plaque on the gravestone erected in the 1990s by the singer-poet’s father, who added a Greek phrase often interpreted as “true to his own spirit”.

“I’ve listened to his music intensely since I was a kid,” said Alex, an American in his fifties living in Paris recently seen humming another Doors classic, “The End”, as he came by to pay his respects. “When I was 15 years old, I adored him. His lyrics were so profound. He had a genuine fascination with death, like a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he told AFP.”Morrison, that’s my youth,” said Gunther, 54, who expressly came from Germany to visit the grave that is under constant surveillance against degradation. “Being here brings back so many memories from that time.” But the most fervent pilgrims were not even born when Morrison died. Having discovered The Doors through their parents’ record collections, they see in his legacy an image of what rock’n’roll had been in its heyday. “I’m 17 and I’ve been listening to The Doors since I was three,” said Jay Stanley, visiting Paris with a school group from the United States. “He personifies America. He’s my idol. I have posters of him all over my room.” In skinny jeans and a Doors Tshirt, Maria, 27, from Russia, said: “He’s the father of rock’n’roll. I love his music and mysticism. For all my life I wanted to visit his grave. Now I have.” Morrison, whose nickname grew

out of a poem, “Celebration of the Lizard”, moved to Paris after the 1971 release of “L.A. Woman” and lived in the then-not-yet-hip Marais district with partner Pamela Coulson. It was she who found him dead, with a heart attack officially cited as the cause. His death was made public two days after he was buried at Pere Lachaise attended by just five people. Conspiracy theories abound, however, including one from a British journalist in the 1980s who pointed a finger at the US Central Intelligence Agency. In a 2007 book, rock writer Sam Bernett asserted that Morrison in fact died in the washroom of a Paris nightclub, the Rock’n’Roll Circus, apparently from an overdose. Bernett, who managed the venue, said that a couple of drug pushers dragged the body into a taxi and returned it to the apartment. The proprietor never told police what transpired, he added, for fear of igniting a scandal. Manzarek, who has done much to keep the Doors flame burning, once suggested another possibility. Recalling a 1970 conversation with Morrison, he wondered if the intense frontman had just faked his death to start a new life incognito. Coulson herself died of a drug overdose in Los Angeles in 1974.— AFP

Jim Morrison

Billy Ray Cyrus’ patriotism pays off


illy Ray Cyrus seemed to lack musical inspiration on recent albums. His country albums took different directions, none of them creating a stir, and the veteran started a rock band that never took off. So offering a patriotic album could come off as a desperate maneuver. But by featuring sensitive songs about soldiers and their families, “I’m American” serves up Cyrus’ best collection since before he became known as Miley’s dad. The title song rocks with a 1970s stomp, but most of the album goes for a mid-tempo setting, subtly focusing attention on the drama in the lyrics. Cyrus consistently raises the flag for all the right reasons, from the opening “Runway Lights,” about a soldier yearning for what he misses at home, to “Nineteen,” about an all-star whose athletic talents gets him the most dangerous battlefield assignments. The Kentucky native also revives “Some Gave All,” the title song from his 20year-old debut album. He brings in Darryl Worley Billy Ray Cyrus’ new patriotic and two former soldiers, album. —AP Jamey Johnson and Craig Morgan, giving extra weight to lyrics about the sacrifices the military take. The song holds up well today, deserving the fresh treatment. —AP


In this film publicity image released by Universal Pictures, Julia Roberts, left, and Tom Hanks are shown in a scene from “Larry Crowne.” —AP

Hanks heads back to school with ‘Larry Crowne’ L

et’s say in some alternate reality, Tom Hanks winds up working at a Wal-Mart-style retail chain. Here is how his day goes: He bounds out of his car with a beaming grin, stooping to pick up stray trash in the parking lot. From afar, he notices a breakable item in danger of falling and strides over to nudge it back to safety on the shelf. Amid giddily greeting customers, he rallies coworkers into a laughing bucket brigade to restock items, turning what should be a dreary job into a game to be savored. That is our first glimpse of the title character Hanks plays in “Larry Crowne,” a timely tale about a man who makes the best of his lot, even when he is downsized out of a job during these hard times and must head back to school to build a new future. It is all about attitude, says Hanks, getting up each day with the thought that there is action to be had and a party to join into. Hanks, the movie’s star, director, producer and cowriter, thinks that is how he would approach life if he were in Larry’s place rather than being one of the biggest stars in the world. “I’d be the gang leader of the common break area. I’d be the guy organizing the pinata parties, stuff like that. Absolutely,” Hanks, 54, says in an interview for “Larry Crowne,” which opened yesterday and reunites him with his “Charlie Wilson’s War” co-star, Julia Roberts. “The concept of putting on a show begins as soon as you wake up in the day,” Hanks says. “And Larry, the theater of his life starts when he goes through those doors, and it’s like, ‘I’m a team leader, and I’m wearing the red Polo”‘ - the store employees’ uniform. “When Larry picks up trash in the parking lot, that’s the first thing he does, because you’ve got to have a little pride. And I’m a trash picker-upper. What can I tell you?” A former US Navy cook who never went to college, Hanks’ Larry is a model worker at U-Mart, the retailer where he is a perpetual employee of the month. Fifty-something, divorced, with a house worth less than he owes on it, Larry tumbles into an abyss familiar to millions after management lets him go.

Larry’s forced to downsize his life, selling things off, struggling to resolve his mortgage mess, and switching over from a gas-guzzling SUV to a fuelsipping scooter. He lands part-time work at a diner while taking classes at a community college as he seeks to boost his employment prospects. Along the way, he fashions a new life for himself, making friends with a circle of oddball classmates and finding romance with his boozy, disillusioned publicspeaking teacher (Roberts). That’s a rosy outcome for a middle-aged back-to-schooler, but “Larry Crowne” co-writer Nia Vardalos says it is the outlook Hanks brings to life. “This is a very Tom Hanks movie. This is really how the world should work,” Vardalos says of Hanks, who was a producer on her unexpected romantic blockbuster “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” another story of boundless optimism. “A man should get to go to school and get a second chance and get to bag Julia Roberts, in a world according to Tom Hanks.” Larry’s situation certainly is not one that Hanks has to worry about. He started out at community college himself “because of lack of money and drive and wherewithal,” Hanks says - but the two-time Academy Award winner has been rich and famous for most of his adult life. Yet he has built a career as an Everyman who inhabits roles with absolute authenticity, whether it is a lawyer dying of AIDS in “Philadelphia,” a wry, war-weary soldier in “Saving Private Ryan,” a taciturn hit man in “Road to Perdition” or a Federal Express worker stranded alone on an island in “Cast Away.” Sliding into the skin of a workaday guy down on his luck is just another day at the office for Hanks. “Granted, yes, I am a well-known, cheesehead celebrity that has been in front of the cameras for a while, so people do know me,” Hanks says. “But part of it is definitely remembering what it was like to be terrified. If you’ve had any time in your life where the phone didn’t ring, and you had two kids and you didn’t know if you were going to be able to make your house payment or not, and you had no B Plan of escape, well, you remember what those 3 o’clock in

the morning sessions were in the mirror of your living room or bathroom, saying, ‘What is happening?’ ... “It’s not hard for anyone to empathize, I don’t think, with a guy who walks in to work one day thinking everything is hunky-dory and then finding out, ‘Sorry, no hard feelings, but you’re fired.’ I think that’s part of the human condition that transcends more than just your station in life.” Taraji P. Henson, who co-stars with Cedric the Entertainer playing Larry’s supportive neighbors, says she expects audiences will see Hanks’ character as a real guy fallen on hard times, rather than a superstar slumming in a blue-collar role. “Sometimes, when you’re a big star like that, it’s hard for people to remove the star from the character,” Henson says. “But there’s something about him that just feels so real, where you go, ‘Hey, I know that guy.’ The way he comes across, you’re able to separate Tom Hanks from the character, so you see a real person instead of the star.” Hanks has written, produced and directed for television with such miniseries as “Band of Brothers” and “From the Earth to the Moon.” “Larry Crowne” is only his second time writing and directing for the big-screen, after 1996’s “That Thing You Do!” The idea for “Larry Crowne” came to him long before our current economic mess, though it gained resonance as Hanks shaped the story and Larry’s plight began to reflect what was happening to millions of real people. Larry’s eager approach to classes and the easy, hopeful way he glides into his new routine have their roots in Tom Hanks’ school days. “I loved going to school, which is the antithesis of a lot of people. I loved junior high, I loved high school, because there was action there. I never cut a single class of any school I ever went to, because I couldn’t imagine that something better was going on somewhere else as opposed to here.” “I went to a school with like, 1,200 kids in one place, and 2,000 kids in another place, and there was a show going on somewhere that I wanted to be a part of in all of that stuff. ... I loved the idea of

entering the boundary of that school, in through that cyclone fence, and your job is to make it peppy until 3 o’clock in the afternoon. At least, I always thought that was my job.”— AP

Cast member Tom Hanks arrives at the premiere of ‘Larry Crowne’ in Los Angeles, Monday, June 27, 2011. — AP

Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks in “Larry Crowne” — AP



Facebook crashes advertising industry party LONDON/PARIS: While traditional advertising groups jostled for awards at a recent annual industry gathering in Cannes, the year’s biggest star was a newcomer to the beaches: the social network Facebook. The company has gone from nowhere a few years ago to become the biggest single seller of online display advertising in the United States with more than $2 billion in revenues this year, according to research firm eMarketer. Online ad sales have boomed in recent years largely because they finely target consumers in a way that print media and TV cannot match. Google and Amazon initially pioneered the trend by analyzing web surfing and internet searches to target customers’ tastes. Now Facebook has brought a new level of sophistication to the game: mining data from its social network about users’ likes and dislikes as well as those of friends to better target ads. The ‘social ad’ approach can be seen in a current Facebook campaign run by tennis racket maker Head. Users who link to Andy Murray’s page get updates from the player himself mixed in with ads for his sponsor and jokey Youtube videos. However there are risks involved for

Facebook and other online ad players as they develop ever more sophisticated ways to track people’s behavior online. Some regulators see such tracking as a violation of privacy even when it is done anonymously. The Europe Union recently required that web surfers be notified if the sites they visit are collecting information about them, prompting howls from industry. The stakes are high: industry insiders and analysts say brands are willing to pay more for such ‘social ads’ than they would for traditional online ads since they see them as more effective. “Brands are willing to invest to learn how consumers interact with their brand,” said Mykim Chikli from Performics, a division of Publicis, which helps big companies with online advertising placement and strategy. “You can target people who like golf, cars, and watches and you can start to push ads to that profile of person.” In a demonstration of Facebook’s current advertising power, Google recently launched a social network dubbed Google+ in its boldest attempt yet to crack the medium and tap the advertising dollars it brings. The move toward social ads shows how the Internet is transforming the

whole industry. Major companies from Nestle to Ford are increasing the proportion of their ad spend on the Internet to the detriment of traditional press ads and big ad agencies are scrambling to evolve. The changes have given birth to a slew of tech start-ups trying to come up with more sophisticated ways to match ads to consumers, often with sophisticated data mining techniques and algorithms. Among them is RadiumOne, a venturebacked start-up that tracks people’s social behaviour on-line by partnering with niche social networks, blogs, and mediasharing sites and then uses that data to target ads. “When you share an article or email a Web link to a friend, that’s a very influential connection and we can track that through cookies and then segment users into groups,” Chief Executive Gurbaksh Chahal told Reuters. “Social data is immense,” he said. “We’ve built some great technology that can understand data and find an audience in the real time and serve an ad that’s relevant to them.” Martin Sorrell, the CEO of the world’s biggest ad group WPP , says there is room to improve the effectiveness of web ads: “Online advertising is more sophisticated than offline, but it’s not got to where we think it can go yet.”

Facebook’s influence is also spreading beyond its own site as more webpages allow people to use their login details from Facebook to enter instead of a separate password. Users can then share content and post messages within those sites as they would do on their social network, which in turn allows the website to access their profile and determine the user’s likes and dislikes. Twitter has a similar system. California-based start-up Gigya powers the buttons that allow such sharing for about 5,000 sites, such as US broadcaster ABC and sports apparel maker Nike. “Someone like Nike is getting access to that extremely rich data that it wouldn’t have been able to access otherwise,” Gigya Chief Executive Patrick Salyer said in an interview. Beyond more sophisticated targeting, Facebook also serves to amplify traditional word of mouth on everything from new movies to the latest smartphone. “If I have a good experience with a brand I’ll tell a person offline — I might tell my friend-but if I do it on Facebook the average person is telling 130 people,” said Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. “We think that explains the very healthy growth of our advertising business.” — Reuters

Google Wi-Fi snooping lawsuits can proceed First such court ruling of its kind

CALIFORNIA: Two Oracle workers photograph a fellow worker during a Oracle conference in Redwood City, Calif., Thursday. —AP

US warns cyber attacks outpace global response VIENNA: The technical sophistication of cybercriminals is swamping the world’s ability to cope, a top US official warned yesterday, demanding an accelerated cross-border campaign to combat the security threat. “Most countries don’t even have a legal framework that really governs cyber. It is such a new phenomenon in that regard so the legal systems-both domestic and international-have not kept pace with the technological advances we have seen,” US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said. “And that is just the plain fact of it. We need to accelerate that in response,” she told reporters in Vienna. Prominent cyber attacks of late have targeted the International Monetary Fund, the US Central Intelligence Agency and the US Senate, and companies such as Citigroup and Lockheed Martin Corp. The attacks have raised questions about the security of government and corporate computer systems and the ability of law enforcement to track down hackers. Napolitano, in Vienna to address an international security conference, declined to comment on the status of investigations into these cases but stressed countries had to step up their ability to cooperate. “I would have to say that we are still at the nascent stage. There is no comprehensive international framework” for approaching the issue, she told reporters, adding that the situation was no better in the European Union. “We are all scrambling but we are scrambling with some of the best minds in the world and we are confident that from a technological point of view we are going to get to a satisfactory resolution of some of these difficult problems. — Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO: A judge ruled that Google Inc overstepped its bounds by enabling its vehicles to collect emails, Internet passwords and Web surfing behavior while photographing neighborhoods for the search giant’s popular “Street View” mapping feature. Google has apologized for the snooping, promised to stop collecting the data and said what it did was inadvertent but not illegal. But a federal judge late Wednesday rejected Google’s claim that data transmitted wirelessly without password protections are essentially publicly accessible radio broadcasts. It’s the first such court ruling of its kind. US District Court Judge James Ware said that wireless networks accessed by millions in their homes, coffee shops and wherever Wi-Fi is offered are not exempt from the Wiretap Act, which makes it illegal to eavesdrop on electronic communications that are not “readily accessible to the general public” such as cell phone conversations. Ware said that Google employed sophisticated computer tools, including use of a

so-called “wireless sniffer,” to capture, store and decipher “data packets” transmitted wirelessly. Google said in a statement that it was reviewing the decision to determine whether to appeal. The company said it still believes the allegations that it violated the Wiretap Act are “without merit.” Jim Dempsey, an Internet privacy expert at the Center for Democracy & Technology, said the wiretap law needs updated to address this issue. Dempsey said the law was last amended in 1986 to address “CB radios and baby monitors” and doesn’t discuss wireless networks. “I don’t think anyone doubts that it should be illegal to intercept someone’s communications,” Dempsey said. “It should clearly be a crime to intercept those things. But I think it’s equally clear that the law doesn’t clearly cover that issue right now and that the law is really a mess.” German regulators uncovered the data collection in 2010 when they asked Google about the type of data its specialized street view vehicles were collecting. Each vehicle

was equipped with nine cameras to photograph 360degree images of streets and powerful antennas with custom software to capture wireless signals. Google said it used the captured data to improve its location-based services such as its Street View feature unveiled in 2007. The company blamed overzealous engineers for creating software to collect sensitive data it had no intention of using and has promised to destroy the information as soon as it’s legally permissible. Aside from the lawsuits consolidated in Ware’s courtroom, the company is the target of government investigations in the United States and abroad. The Federal Trade Commission, for instance, criticized Google in 2010 for collecting potentially sensitive information over unsecured wireless networks for several years before realizing it. But the FTC said it was satisfied that Google improved its internal privacy controls, including privacy training for all 23,000 of the company’s employees. A Federal Communications Commission probe is still ongoing. — AP



US regulators looking into Twitter: Reports WASHINGTON: US regulators are reviewing Twitter’s dealings with firms that build applications and services for the popular messaging service, according to published reports. The Wall Street Journal, citing a “person familiar with the matter,” said the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reviewing Twitter’s interactions with UberMedia, a company that build programs using Twitter data.

The newspaper said the precise focus of the review is not clear but it was “narrow” in scope and would not impact Twitter’s advertising business. Twitter and UberMedia were rival bidders earlier this year for TweetDeck, a company that designs tools for using Twitter. Twitter eventually won out and bought TweetDeck. UberMedia and TweetDeck are among the scores of com-

panies that have developed applications for using Twitter. Twitter recently has been creating rival services of its own and it briefly banned UberMedia earlier this year from access to the stream of messages known as tweets. The website Business Insider, which first reported the FTC inquiry, quoted an UberMedia representative as saying the company has been “contacted

by the FTC and are in the process of responding to their requests.” The Journal noted that the FTC routinely looks into companies to determine whether they are involved in anticompetitive behavior and the reviews often do not result in any legal action. Contacted by AFP, both the FTC and Twitter said they had no comment on the reports. — AFP

Jihadist web forum knocked off Internet Cyber attack hit server too WASHINGTON: A popular jihadist Internet forum has been knocked off the Internet, and counterterrorism experts say it appears it was hacked. Cyber security analysts say the AlShamukh forum appears to have been taken down by a fairly sophisticated cyber attack that hit not only the website, but the server which is the main computer that enables people to access the site over the Internet. Evan Kohlmann, a counterterrorism expert who tracks jihadist websites as a senior partner with Flashpoint Partners consultancy in New York, described the site as a key Al-Qaeda propaganda forum. He said it bounces around between Internet hosts every few months, but has seemingly been allowed to exist as an open secret, possibly allowing a Western government to use it as an intelligence resource. “These sites can be like spy satellites, they’re great ways of gathering information about your adversaries,” he said in an interview late Wednesday. “Bringing them down is like shooting at your own spy satellites. But there are others who don’t agree with that.” He said there’s been a “struggle behind the scenes” in the US government about whether to allow the site to stay up.

Other cyber experts agreed that the site is a popular jihadist forum. “The al-Shamukh website had become the most trusted and exclusive haunt for e-jihadists,” said Jarret Brachman, a terrorism expert who has spent a decade monitoring Al-Qaeda’s media operations and advises the US government. “If it doesn’t come back up soon, the forum’s registered members will start migrating to the half a dozen other main forums, all of whom are probably chomping at the bit to replace Shamukh as the pre-eminent Al-Qaeda forum.” The Defense Department said late Wednesday that it was aware of reports that Al-Qaeda’s Internet operations had been disrupted, but could not comment on the specific incident. Kohlmann raised the possibility that a government could be behind the website’s problems. If true, this would not be the first time that government officials have sabotaged an Al-Qaeda website. US and British officials have acknowledged that British intelligence authorities launched a cyberattack against Al-Qaeda’s English-language Internet magazine, Inspire, taking down directions for bomb-making and replacing them with cupcake recipes. US authorities had consid-

ered knocking the magazine off the Internet but realized it would just go down for a few days, then reappear, according to one US official. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the US believed it was more productive to keep an eye on the site and glean intelligence from it. Kohlmann said chatter from another message board known to be frequented by Al-Qaeda members confirmed that there was a technical problem with the al-Shamukh forum website and that the outage wasn’t intentional, such as performing site maintenance. The fact that the forum wasn’t knocked out sooner is revealing. Forcing a website offline can be a relatively easy matter. A so-called denial-of-service attack, which floods a website’s servers with enormous amounts of webpage requests is a popular hacking activity. But it apparently wasn’t used in this instance. Instead, cyber experts said it was a more complex attack. Keynote Systems Inc., a California-based company that specializes in measuring Internet and cellphone network response times, confirmed that the site was completely down from 14 cities around the world. — AP

Facebook campaign forces cottage cheese price cut JERUSALEM: In the land of milk and honey, feelings run pretty strong when it comes to the price of cottage cheese. Surrendering to a two-week online campaign, the Israeli dairy companies that control the cheese market announced they were cutting prices by 25 percent. The victory was a rare instance of consumers banding together through social media to force powerful companies to reduce the price of a product. Israel’s relatively small size and its tech-savvy and media-aware population enabled the protest to spread quickly. More than 105,000 people joined the Facebook group vowing to boycott cottage cheese until prices dropped. The campaign touched a nerve among Israelis concerned about rising prices and eroding salaries. Spooked by the outrage, the three main Israeli dairy companies that control the market agreed to lower the price of a

half-pound (250 gram) container to 5.90 shekels ($1.75) after it had risen to close to 8 shekels ($2.30). “Something happened here, and it changes the rules of the game in the market,” Arik Shor, a top executive at the Tnuva dairy cooperative, told Israel Radio. “We are studying it and will draw conclusions - it is an event that goes far beyond cottage.” Tnuva was first to bow to the pressure. The two smaller dairies, Strauss and Tara, followed suit. Cottage cheese was recently voted by Israelis to be their most “Israeli” food, surpassing even the region’s own falafel. The dairy product can be found in nearly every refrigerator, and the sudden price increase became a symbol of the rising cost of living in Israel. The protest has sparked hope it will spread to gasoline, which is now over $8 a gallon ($2 a liter), electricity and other food products that also have recently skyrocketed in price. — AP

TOKYO: Japan’s Tsukuba University postgraduated student Hiromasa Hara displays a “Hybrid Assisted Limb (HAL)” climbing model, a new robot suit to carry a man on the back, developed by Tsukuba University professor Yoshiyuki Sankai at his laboratory in Tsukuba, suburban Tokyo. —AFP

Meet Treebot, A tree-climbing forest sentinel HONG KONG: Inspired by tiny caterpillars, Treebot may be China’s new answer to forest preservation. The slinky robot grips trees with spidery legs to climb and is equipped with a camera to spot any dangers to forests high amidst the leaves. Its segmented body allows it to negotiate complex branches and make turns. Xu Yangsheng, a professor at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, said nature gave him the idea for his creation. “I used to basically observe how inchworms actually walk on the trees and I like this idea very much,” he said. “I thought we should develop a robot monitoring the situation in the forest, especially now there are so many fires, so many environmental disasters happening in the forest areas.” Treebot’s camera transmits images in real time and it can support a solar cell, so potentially there would be no need to halt its work to recharge. And while it weighs in at only 600 grams it can carry three times its weight. “It can climb different kids of trees: smooth surface, rough surface, big or small and different directions. Also, it can automatically cling to branches so its mobility is good,” Xu said. The robot still needs some refining-the camera doesn’t work well in low light and it tends to slip when trees are wet — but Xu says the potential is obvious and he hopes it will soon be crawling its way into trees around the world. —Life

TV listings


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04:50 FIM World Motocross MX1/MX2... 05:40 World Combat League 06:30 FIA European Drag Racing 2008 08:00 Quattro Events 2009 09:40 Tread BMX 11:20 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 13:00 BMX Megatour 13:50 Glutton For Punishment 14:40 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009 16:20 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 17:10 Carpocalypse 18:00 Glutton For Punishment 18:50 Lucas Oil Ama Motocross Championships... 20:30 BMX Megatour 21:20 Carpocalypse 22:10 Glutton For Punishment 23:00 FIM World Motocross MX3 Championships... 23:50 Final Fu

Cats 101 Untamed & Uncut Whale Wars Whale Wars After the Attack Animal Cops Houston Trophy Cats Meerkat Manor Michaela’s Animal Road Trip The Really Wild Show Jeff Corwin Unleashed Crocodile Hunter Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 Dogs 101 Must Love Cats Trophy Cats Weird Creatures with Nick Dogs 101 Air Jaws Air Jaws 2 I’m Alive The Real Lost World

Lead Balloon The Weakest Link Survivors Live At The Apollo The Cup Doctors Keeping Up Appearances Fimbles Balamory Teletubbies Gigglebiz Fimbles Balamory Teletubbies Fimbles Balamory Teletubbies Gigglebiz Fimbles Balamory Teletubbies Gigglebiz Keeping Up Appearances BBC Electric Proms 2009 The Weakest Link Eastenders Strictly Come Dancing One Foot In The Grave BBC Electric Proms 2009 The Weakest Link Holby City Holby City Robin Hood BBC Electric Proms 2008 Live At The Apollo One Foot In The Grave Red Cap

00:30 01:20 02:50 06:35 07:30 11:25 14:25 15:25 20:30 21:30

Come Dine With Me Masterchef: The Professionals Daily Cooks Challenge Bargain Hunt Saturday Kitchen Masterchef: The Professionals Cash In The Attic USA Antiques Roadshow Cash In The Attic USA Antiques Roadshow

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

Dirty Jobs LA Ink Ultimate Survival Battle Machine Bros Mythbusters How It’s Made How It’s Made Dirty Jobs Street Customs Battle Machine Bros Motor City Motors Science Of The Movies The Future Of... Mythbusters Time Warp Extreme Engineering Huge Moves Mighty Ships Mythbusters River Monsters American Loggers

I, ROBOT ON OSN ACTION HD 20:05 21:00 21:55 22:50 23:45

Ultimate Survival Sarah Palin’s Alaska Flying Wild Alaska River Monsters I’m Alive

00:30 The Gadget Show 00:55 Kings Of Construction 01:45 The Tech Show 02:35 The Gadget Show 03:25 How Stuff’s Made 03:50 Scrapheap Challenge 04:45 What’s That About? 05:40 Patent Bending 06:10 Human Body: Ultimate Machine 07:00 Sci-Fi Saved My Life 07:55 Brainiac 08:45 Head Rush 08:48 Sci-Fi Science 09:15 Weird Connections 09:45 Scrapheap Challenge 10:35 Mission Critical: Hubble 11:25 Nasa’s Greatest Missions 12:15 Inside The Space Shuttle 13:05 Zero Hour 13:55 When Weather Changed History 14:45 The Gadget Show 15:10 The Gadget Show 15:35 Patent Bending 16:00 Head Rush 16:03 How Stuff’s Made 16:30 How Does That Work? 17:00 The Tech Show 17:25 The Tech Show 17:50 How Stuff Works 18:40 Sci-Fi Science 19:05 Sci-Fi Science 19:30 Bang Goes The Theory

19:55 20:20 20:45 21:10 22:00 22:50 23:40

Bang Goes The Theory The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Bad Universe Da Vinci’s Machines Catch It Keep It Weird Or What?

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

Kim Possible Fairly Odd Parents Stitch Replacements Emperors New School Stitch Replacements Fairly Odd Parents Jungle Junction Handy Manny Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jake & The Neverland Pirates Fish Hooks Sonny With A Chance Yr 2 Fish Hooks Cadet Kelly Suite Life On Deck S3 Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana Good Luck Charlie Shake It Up Fish Hooks Suite Life On Deck S3 Read It And Weep Wizards Of Waverly Place Fish Hooks Phineas & Ferb Suite Life On Deck S3 Sonny With A Chance Jonas La Hannah Montana Kim Possible

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Behind The Scenes 01:25 40 Smokin’ On Set Hookups 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 50 Most Insane Celebrity Oops 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Kourtney And Kim Take New York 10:15 Khloe And Lamar 11:10 Kendra 12:05 E! News 13:05 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 14:05 THS 15:00 Holly’s World 15:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:55 Extreme Close-Up 17:25 Fashion Police 17:55 E! News 18:55 Khloe And Lamar 19:55 E!es 20:55 The Soup 21:25 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 The Soup

00:40 X Games 15 2009 01:30 World Combat League 02:20 Carpocalypse 03:10 M1 Selection 2010 04:00 FIM World Motocross MX1/MX2...

00:05 Unwrapped 00:30 Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives 00:55 Lidia’s Italy 01:45 Chopped 02:35 Good Eats - Special 03:25 Food Network Challenge 04:15 Good Eats - Special 04:40 Unwrapped 05:05 Ten Dollar Dinners 05:30 Paula’s Best Dishes 05:50 Paula’s Party 06:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 07:00 Chopped 07:50 Guy’s Big Bite 08:15 Everyday Italian 08:40 Good Deal With Dave Lieberman 09:05 Ten Dollar Dinners 09:30 Paula’s Best Dishes 09:55 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 10:20 Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives 10:45 Lidia’s Italy 11:10 Unwrapped 11:35 Paula’s Party 12:25 Everyday Italian 12:50 Paula’s Best Dishes 13:15 Good Deal With Dave Lieberman 13:40 Ultimate Recipe Showdown 14:30 Lidia’s Italy 14:55 Unwrapped 15:20 Boy Meets Grill 15:45 Chopped 16:35 Guy’s Big Bite 17:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 17:25 Lidia’s Italy 17:50 Everyday Italian 18:15 Paula’s Party 19:05 Good Eats - Special 19:30 Food Network Challenge 20:20 Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives 20:45 Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives 21:10 Food Network Challenge 22:00 Chopped 22:50 Ultimate Recipe Showdown 23:40 Good Eats - Special

00:00 Hooked 01:00 Asia’s Deadliest Snakes 01:55 My Life Is A Zoo 02:50 Great Migrations 02:50 Squid vs. Whale 03:45 Dangerous Encounters With Brady Barr 04:40 Secrets Of The Mediterranean 05:35 Wild Russia 06:30 Search For The Giant Octopus 07:25 Monster Fish 08:20 How Big Can It Get 09:15 Animals Behaving Worse 10:10 Animal Omens 11:05 How Big Can It Get 12:00 Strike Force 13:00 Project Manta 14:00 Asia’s Deadliest Snakes 15:00 Shark Men 16:00 Dangerous Encounters With Brady Barr 17:00 Moray Eels: Alien Empire 18:00 Predator CSI 19:00 Asia’s Deadliest Snakes 20:00 Shark Men 21:00 Dangerous Encounters With Brady Barr

22:00 Moray Eels: Alien Empire 23:00 Predator CSI

00:00 Hooked 01:00 Asia’s Deadliest Snakes 01:55 My Life Is A Zoo 02:50 Great Migrations 02:50 Squid vs. Whale 03:45 Dangerous Encounters With Brady Barr 04:40 Secrets Of The Mediterranean 05:35 Wild Russia 06:30 Search For The Giant Octopus 07:25 Monster Fish 08:20 How Big Can It Get 09:15 Animals Behaving Worse 10:10 Animal Omens 11:05 How Big Can It Get 12:00 Strike Force 13:00 Project Manta 14:00 Asia’s Deadliest Snakes 15:00 Shark Men 16:00 Dangerous Encounters With Brady Barr 17:00 Moray Eels: Alien Empire 18:00 Predator CSI 19:00 Asia’s Deadliest Snakes 20:00 Shark Men 21:00 Dangerous Encounters With Brady Barr 22:00 Moray Eels: Alien Empire 23:00 Predator CSI

00:00 00:30 01:00 02:00 03:00 03:45 04:00 05:00 06:00 06:30 07:00 07:30 08:00 08:15 08:30 09:00 09:15 09:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00 15:00 15:30 16:00 17:00 17:30

Backstory World Sport The Situation Room World Report World Business Today CNN Marketplace Africa Piers Morgan Tonight Anderson Cooper 360 World Sport Inside Africa World Report Backstory World Report CNN Marketplace Africa Cnngo World Report CNN Marketplace Middle East News Special World Sport News Special World View African Voices Inside Africa News Special World Report World Sport Piers Morgan Tonight World Report News Special Nepal’s Stolen Children International Desk African Voices

00:00 00:30 04:00 07:00 07:30 08:30 09:00 09:30 10:00 13:00 15:00 19:00 22:00 22:30 23:00

Mobil 1 The Grid European Tour Powerplay Golf What’s In The Bag Big Break Indian Wells Top 10 Golf Central International Pipe Dream Athletics Outdoor The Big Ten’s Greatest Games European Tour Powerplay Golf Inside The PGA Tour This Week In Baseball MLB On Fox

00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 13:15 15:15 17:30 19:30 22:00

30 Days Of Night: Dark Days-18 The General’s Daughter-18 From Hell-18 Star Trek: Generations-PG The Fan-PG15 Wyatt Earp-PG15 I, Robot-PG15 The Fan-PG15 Darkness Falls-PG15 Bugsy-18 Double Cross-PG15

TV listings


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

Black Death-PG15 Heaven’s Fall-PG15 On Broadway-PG15 Batman: Under The Red Hood Easy Virtue-PG15 Heaven’s Fall-PG15 Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea Astro Boy-FAM Easy Virtue-PG15 The Bounty Hunter-PG15 Invictus-PG15 Crazy On The Outside-PG15

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Boondocks 02:00 Family Guy 02:30 Eastbound And Down 03:00 10 Things I Hate About You 03:30 10 Things I Hate About You 04:00 The New Adventures Of Old Christine 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Will And Grace 06:00 According To Jim 06:30 Coach 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 The New Adventures Of Old Christine 08:30 The Office 09:00 Will And Grace 09:30 Modern Family 10:00 Outsourced 10:30 According To Jim 11:00 Coach 11:30The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:30 The New Adventures Of Old Christine 13:00 The Office 13:30 Will And Grace 14:00 According To Jim 14:30 Modern Family 15:00 Outsourced 15:30The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Coach 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 10 Things I Hate About You 18:30 8 Simple Rules ... 19:00 8 Simple Rules ... 19:30 How I Met Your Mother 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live 23:00 Boondocks 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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

Off The Map Big Love The Good Guys Drop Dead Diva Big Love Good Morning America The Cape One Tree Hill The Good Guys Century City The View Off The Map Drop Dead Diva Century City Live Good Morning America The Bachelor The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street C.S.I. C.S.I. New York Justified Grey’s Anatomy The Cape

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 12:30

Criminal Minds The Good Guys Drop Dead Diva Big Love Off The Map Surface Criminal Minds Cougar Town Look-A-Like Covert Affairs The Good Guys Off The Map Drop Dead Diva Cougar Town Look-A-Like

14:00 15:00 16:00 16:30 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00

Covert Affairs Criminal Minds Cougar Town Coronation Street Covert Affairs C.S.I. C.S.I. New York Justified The Unit

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 10:30 13:15 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Nighthawks-18 Wild Things: Foursome 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days-18 Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story Virtuality-PG15 2012-PG15 Ghost Town (TV Movie)-18 Virtuality-PG15 Changing Lanes-PG15 Freight-PG15 Double Cross-PG15 Blood River-18

00:00 The Fighting TemptationsPG15 02:00 Land Of The Lost-PG15 04:00 Ace Ventura : Pet Detective Jr.PG15 06:00 Mr. Deeds-PG 08:00 That Thing You Do!-PG 10:00 Happy Ever Afters-PG15 12:00 Bandslam-PG15 14:00 Did You Hear About The Morgans?-PG15 16:00 The Fighting TemptationsPG15 18:00 I Love You Beth Cooper-PG15 20:00 Wake-PG15 22:00 Aim Low: The Very Best Of Dylan Moran-18

01:15 03:30 05:30 07:00 09:00 11:15 13:00 15:00 16:45 19:00 21:00 23:15

Ghost-PG Hurricane Season-PG15 Garfield-PG One Hot Summer-PG15 Valentine’s Day-PG15 Mean Girls-PG15 Furry Vengeance-PG15 Everybody’s Fine-PG15 Valentine’s Day-PG15 Jack Goes Boating-PG15 The Great Debaters-PG15 Wrong Turn At Tahoe-18

00:00 Barney’s Great Adventure-FAM 02:00 Legend Of Sleeping Beauty-PG 04:00 Scruff In Midsummer Night’s Dream-FAM 06:00 Tom And Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes-FAM 08:00 Kung Fu Magoo-FAM 10:00 Barney’s Great Adventure-FAM 12:00 Scooby-Doo! AbracadabraDoo-FAM 14:00 Aliens In The Attic-FAM 16:00 The Trumpet Of The SwanFAM 18:00 Scooby-Doo! AbracadabraDoo-FAM 20:00 Ed-PG 22:00 Kung Fu Magoo-FAM

00:00 Super Rugby 02:00 Ladies European PGA Tour Highlights 03:00 AFL Premiership 05:30 Trans World Sport 06:30 Futbol Mundial

07:00 10:00 10:30 12:30 13:00 15:00 16:00 18:30 19:00 21:00

Live AFL Premiership Futbol Mundial Super Rugby Total Rugby Live Super Rugby Trans World Sport AFL Premiership Futbol Mundial NRL Premiership Live Masters Football

02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 12:30 14:30 15:00 19:00 20:30 21:00

NRL Premiership Super Rugby Live Rugby Union PGA European Tour Live NRL Premiership Euro Tour Weekly Live PGA European Tour Asian Tour Golf FEI Equestrian World PGA European Tour

00:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 14:00 14:30 15:30 17:30 18:30 20:00 21:00 22:00

WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line UFC 132 Countdown WWE Vintage Collection UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line WWE NXT WWE Vintage Collection Live Rugby Union V8 Supercars Extra Intercontinental Le Mans Cup WWE SmackDown V8 Supercars Championship V8 Supercars Championship UFC 132 Countdown WWE NXT WWE SmackDown


00:00 Jerseylicious 01:00 Fashion Avenue 01:30 Fashion Avenue 01:55 Big Boutique 02:25 How Do I Look? 03:20 Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? 05:10 Homes With Style 05:35 Area 06:05 Clean House 07:00 Big Boutique 08:00 Clean House 09:00 Giuliana And Bill 18:55 Married Away: Italian Wedding 19:50 Divine Wedding Dresses With The Knot 20:20 Momster Of The Bride 21:15 Fashion Police 21:40 Clean House Comes Clean 22:10 Jerseylicious 23:05 Top 10

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 03:30 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 09:30 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 15:30 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 23:00

Clash Of The Gods Dinosaur Secrets How The Earth Was Made The Tech Effect Hubble, 15 Years Of Discovery Clash Of The Gods Clash Of The Gods Dinosaur Secrets How The Earth Was Made The Tech Effect Hubble, 15 Years Of Discovery Clash Of The Gods Clash Of The Gods Dinosaur Secrets How The Earth Was Made The Tech Effect Hubble, 15 Years Of Discovery Clash Of The Gods Clash Of The Gods Dinosaur Secrets How The Earth Was Made 300 Spartans: The Last Stand Ancient Discoveries

00:05 Cow And Chicken 00:30 Cramp Twins 00:55 George Of The Jungle 01:20 Adventure Time 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 Ed, Edd n Eddy 07:25 Chop Socky Chooks 07:50 Chowder 08:05 Cartoon Network Dance Club 08:15 Ben 10: Alien Force 08:40 Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders 09:05 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 09:30 The Secret Saturdays 09:55 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 10:20 George Of The Jungle 10:30 Angelo Rules 10:55 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 11:17 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 11:39 Ben 10 12:04 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 12:26 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 12:48 Ben 10 13:13 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 13:35 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 13:57 Ben 10 14:22 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 14:44 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 15:06 Ben 10 15:31 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 15:53 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 16:15 Ben 10 16:40 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 17:02 Bakugan Battle Brawlers

17:24 Ben 10 17:49 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 18:11 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 18:33 Ben 10 18:55 Best Ed 19:20 Adventure Time 19:45 Cow And Chicken 20:10 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 20:35 Courage The Cowardly Dog 21:00 The Powerpuff Girls 21:15 Cartoon Network Dance Club 21:25 Ed, Edd n Eddy

01:35 03:25 05:05 06:35 08:05 09:40 11:20 13:05 14:55 16:40 18:35 18:50 20:10 22:00 23:35

Species Stay Hungry Till The End Of The Night-PG Seduced By Madness Breakheart Pass-PG Romantic Comedy-PG They Call Me Mister Tibbs!-PG Hornet’s Nest-PG Memories Of Me-PG Play Dirty-PG Mgm’s Big Screen-FAM Strictly Business-PG The Perez Family-PG Dirt-PG Good Boy-FAM

00:30 Ghost Lab 01:20 A Haunting 02:10 Serial Killers 03:00 I Escaped Death 03:50 Dr G: Medical Examiner 04:45 Crime Scene Psychics 05:15 Ghost Lab 06:10 Mystery ER 07:00 Forensic Detectives 07:50 Murder Shift 08:40 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 09:30 Real Emergency Calls 10:20 Disappeared 11:10 FBI Files 12:00 On The Case With Paula Zahn 12:50 The Will: Family Secrets Revealed 13:40 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 14:30 Real Emergency Calls 15:20 Disappeared 16:10 Forensic Detectives 17:00 Murder Shift 17:50 FBI Files 18:40 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 19:30 Real Emergency Calls 20:20 On The Case With Paula Zahn 21:10 The Will: Family Secrets Revealed 22:00 The Haunted 22:50 Ghost Lab 23:40 A Haunting

00:00 Trabant Trek 00:30 Destination Cuba 01:00 Globe Trekker Special 02:00 Great Scenic Railways-Us And Canada 02:30 Distant Shores 03:00 Indian Times 04:00 Globe Trekker 05:00 Trabant Trek 05:30 Destination Cuba 06:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 07:00 Globe Trekker 08:00 Food Tripper 09:00 Journey Into Wine-South Africa 09:30 Hollywood And Vines 10:00 Planet Food 11:00 Indian Times 12:00 Globe Trekker 13:00 Essential 13:30 Rudy Maxa’s World 14:00 World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides 15:00 Nomad’s Land 16:00 Globe Trekker 17:00 Essential 17:30 Journey Into Wine-South Africa 18:00 Hollywood And Vines 18:30 Essential 19:00 Globe Trekker 20:00 Indian Times 21:00 Food Tripper 22:00 Julian And Camilla’s World Odyssey

what’s on SATURDAY, JULY 2, 2011

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

EMBASSY OF BRITAIN 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: ■■■■■■■

Summer carnival


group of Kuwaiti youth volunteers attended a summer carnival at Al-Kharafi Center over the course of two days. The group answered questions by the attendees at the carnival with regards to the activities and goals of the group as well as summer programs they are organizing. The

group intends to launch a marriage campaign from the beginning of September to the end of November, in which they will be encouraging single youths to find the perfect spouse. The group will announce details about this campaign later.

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, AlMutawakel 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.

what’s on SATURDAY, JULY 2, 2011

Cutting the ceremonial cake

Faculty of Pharmacy graduation ceremony Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah attended the Graduation ceremony for Faculty of Pharmacy Class of 2011 on Wednesday, 22nd June at the Al-Hashmi hall at Radisson Blu Hotel. The ceremony was also attended by Health Minister Dr Helal Al-Sayer and top officials. —Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

Top official of Al-Salam Hospital honouring Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad and Health Minister Dr Helal.

Group photos of the graduates




Study suggests UN force brought cholera to Haiti Disease sickens over 363,000 since October Evidence “strongly suggests” that a United Nations peacekeeping mission brought a cholera strain to Haiti that has killed thousands of people, a study by a team of epidemiologists and physicians says. The study is the strongest argument yet that newly-arrived Nepalese peacekeepers at a base near the town of Mirebalais brought with them the cholera, which spread through the waterways of the Artibonite region and elsewhere in this impoverished Caribbean country. The disease has killed more than 5,500 people and sickened more than 363,000 others since it was discovered in October, according to the Haitian government. “Our findings strongly suggest that contamination of the Artibonite (river) and 1 of its tributaries downstream from a military camp triggered the epidemic,” said the report in the July issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The article says there is “an exact correlation” in time and place between the arrival of a Nepalese battalion from an area of its South Asian homeland that was experiencing a cholera outbreak and the appearance of the first cases in the Meille river a few days later. The remoteness of the Meille river in central Haiti and the absence of other factors make it unlikely that the cholera strain could have come to Haiti in any other way, the report says. In

While no other potential source of the bacteria itself was named, the report attributed the outbreak to a “confluence of circumstances,” including a lack of water infrastructure in Haiti and Haitians’ dependence on the river system. The panel’s report was ordered by UN SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon as anti-UN protests spread in Haiti and mounting circumstantial evidence pointed to the troops. Before that, for nearly two months after

MIREBALAIS: A woman caresses her child who has cholera symptoms at a cholera treatment center in Haiti. —AP an email UN mission spokeswoman Sylvie Van Den Wildenberg didn’t comment on the findings of the article published in the CDC journal, referring only to a study released in May by a UN-appointed panel. That panel’s report found that the cholera outbreak was caused by a South Asian strain imported by human activity that contaminated the Meille river where the UN base of the Nepalese peacekeepers is located. The study also found that bad sanitation at the camp would’ve made contamination of the water system possible. But the UN report refrained from blaming any single group for the outbreak.

the outbreak last October, the United Nations, CDC and World Health Organization refused to investigate the origin of the cholera, saying that it was more important to treat patients than to try to figure out the source. The article published in the CDC journal comes as health workers in Haiti wrestle with a spike in the number of cholera cases brought on by several weeks of rainfall. The aid group Oxfam said earlier this month that its workers were treating more than 300 new cases a day, more than three times what they saw when the disease peaked in the fall.

Cholera is caused by a bacteria that produces severe diarrhea and is contracted by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. The disease has spread to the neighboring Dominican Republic, where more than 36 deaths have been reported since November. Epidemiologist Renaud Piarroux, the lead author of the CDC journal article, was initially sent by the French government in late 2010 to investigate the origins of Haiti’s outbreak. He authored a report for UN and Haitian officials that said the Nepalese peacekeepers likely caused the outbreak, a copy of which was obtained at the time by the AP. The latest study was more complete and its methodology was reviewed by a group of scientists. The new study argues it is important for scientists to determine the origin of cholera outbreaks and how they spread in order to eliminate “accidentally imported disease.” Moreover, the study says, figuring out the source of a cholera epidemic would help health workers better treat and prevent cholera by minimizing the “distrust associated with the widespread suspicions of a cover-up of a deliberate importation of cholera.” It also argues that demonstrating an imported origin would compel “international organizations to reappraise their procedures.” After cholera surfaced last fall, many Haitians believed the Nepalese peacekeepers were to blame, straining relations between the population and UN personnel and sparking angry protests. On the streets, cholera has become slang for something that must be banished from Haiti. The new study is acknowledged in a commentary by a pair of public health experts affiliated with the CDC. “However it occurred, there is little doubt that the organism was introduced to Haiti by a traveler from abroad, and this fact raises important public health considerations,” wrote Scott Dowell, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Disease Detection and Emergency Response, and Christopher Braden, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC. —AP

Russia to resume buying Spanish, Danish vegetables Russia has lifted a ban on vegetable imports from Spain and Denmark that was put in place amid an E. coli outbreak in Europe, the country’s consumer rights watchdog said yesterday. The agency said it made the move after analyzing the situation in those countries. Earlier this week, Russia lifted its blanket ban on vegetable imports from the European Union put in place over E. coli fears, starting with the Netherlands and Belgium. The EU called the ban disproportionate and the dispute has clouded Russia’s World Trade Organization accession talks.

Russia and the EU have reached agreement on safety certification for vegetables to be supplied to Russia, and Gennady Onishchenko said EU producers must strictly comply. He said several other EU nations are on the waiting list to resume exports. German authorities yesterday reported another death in the European E. coli outbreak — bringing the total to 50. The national disease control center said 48 deaths have been reported in Germany, up from 47 a day earlier. One death in Sweden and another in the US are linked

to the outbreak, according to the World Health Organization. A total of 3,999 people have now been reported to be ill in Germany from the outbreak, including 845 with a complication that can lead to kidney failure. Another 122 cases have been reported in 16 other countries. Onishchenko said yesterday that a blanket ban on the EU vegetable imports was a rational move for Russia. “Even Germany with its high standards of health care had trouble coping with it,” Onishchenko told reporters yesterday, according to RIA Novosti news agency. —AP

MANILA: A commuter smokes at a bus terminal in Manila yesterday. Hundreds of people were fined as a tough smoking ban in public places went into force in the Philippines’ sprawling capital, with even stronger penalties poised for violators. At least 249 people have been apprehended so far, said Christina Velasco, spokeswoman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, stressing that smokers had been given enough time to change their ways. —AFP

Nearsightedness linked to serious eye disease NEW YORK: People who are nearsighted may be nearly twice as likely to also develop glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, according to a study. More than two million people over 40 in the United States alone have been diagnosed with the eye disease, which is becoming increasingly expensive to treat. The findings in the study, a review of previous studies that was published in Opthalmology, suggest to some experts that nearsighted people-a third of all US residents-may want to undergo regular eye screening. “A conclusion might be that persons with high myopia should have regular ophthalmic examinations,” said Barbara Klein of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who worked on one of the studies included in the review. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, causing gradual loss of vision. There are several treatments available, including drugs and surgery, but none of them can restore sight once it has been lost. For the latest study, Nomdo Jansonius at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands and colleagues combined data from 11 previous studies that included tens of thousands of people, tracking who was nearsighted and had glaucoma. Overall, nearsighted people were about 90 percent more likely to also develop open-angle glaucoma, with those who had higher levels of myopia appearing to be at higher risk of glaucoma as well. The findings only show that nearsightedness and glaucoma often co-occur, not that one causes the other. Furthermore, some of the studies are hard to compare, Klein noted, because they looked at people of different ages or ethnicities, or applied different criteria for the conditions. “The results are, in a sense, an average,” she said, adding that they may not be applicable to every group of people. The American Academy of Opthalmology already recommends regular eye exams for all adults beginning around age 40. The group urges blacks to start even earlier, with exams every three to five years, because their risk of glaucoma is higher. —Reuters


ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available for a single person in a fully furnished CA/C building, in Farwaniya near Burger King with kitchen & parking facilities. If interested please contact: 99038601. (C 3490) 2-7-2011

Separate room with separate bathroom available for single lady or bachelor or couple in C-A/C flat with drawing kitchen and satellite facilities in Salmiya, Amman Street, new building in very nice location. Contact: 55230154. (C 3478)


Sharing accommodation available for decent Indian Hindu or Catholic bachelors or family with Mangalorean Catholic family in a window A/C building off Rashid Hospital, Shara Amman, Salmiya. Contact: 55995437/ 99200186. (C 3487) 30-6-2011

Pilates Power GYM” with price KD 50/-. A quality thane fitness product along with owner’s manual and 1 hour workout video. Visit to view the machine. Contact: 99430379. (C 3485)

Spacious bedroom with separate bathroom available for sharing in a two bedroom two bathroom flat in Abbasiya, near United Indian School for Keralite couples from June 5 onwards. Contact: 66846299. (C 3484) 29-6-2011

New iPad2 32GB, dishwasher, washing machine, oil room heater, pedestal fan, computer table/ chair, indoor outdoor plants, Ikea book case, garden hose. Contact: 23983631/ 99435795. (C 3486) 30-6-2011

Spacious hall available from July onwards near Edee Stores, Salmiya, suitable for classes like Breathing/ Aerobics etc. Please contact: 55394933. (C 3479) Sharing accommodation available for RC Goan or Mangalorian bachelor in a flat near Khaitan Jamiya. Rent KD 40/-. Contact: 99453500. (C 3480) 28-6-2011 Separate room in Mulhak at Al-Jabriya near Al-Hadi Hospital for single Muslim bachelor, kitchen & phone, satellite facilities, semi furnish. Rent KD 70 per month from July 2011. Contact: 99546413. (C 3476)

No: 15137

Pajero Jeep - 2002, silver color, 4 doors (6 Clr) - CC 3000, KD 1,750/-. Contact: 66729295. (C 3481)

TUITION Tutoring available for all subjects including English, Math and Science by certified experienced American teacher with many years of experience. Call: 66616900. (C 3483)

MATRIMONIAL Proposal invited for Marthoma male, 29 years, company foreman. Invite proposal from MOH staff in Kuwait. Email: / (C 3489) 2-7-2011

Honda City 2009, white color, 16,000km, KD 2,350/-. Contact: 55323839. (C 3482) 28-6-2011

Parents of Born-again, Baptized girl (ornament wearing) Software Engr. from India 27/166, residing with parents in U.A.E, currently visiting sister in Kuwait, invite proposal from professionally qualified boys of same faith. Contact email: (C 3488)

For sale, dining table, 4 chairs, wooden, all Center Point, iMac computer, 21”, JVC hi-fi 5DVD and many other items. Tel: 66603401 27-6-2011

Proposals invited for RC girl, 29 years MoH staff, from well employed RC boys in Kuwait of age between 30-33. Boys from Kottayam, Idukki districts are more preferred. Contact:

information SATURDAY, JULY 2, 2011



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Word Sleuth Solution

Yesterday始s Solution

ACROSS 1. A crude uncouth ill-bred person lacking culture or refinement. 5. A genus of Ploceidae. 10. Being one more than one. 13. Not widely known. 14. A naturally occuring glyceride of oleic acid that is found in fats and oils. 15. Informal abbreviation of `representative'. 16. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 17. (botany) Of or relating to the axil. 19. A Russian prison camp for political prisoners. 21. Leaf or strip from a leaf of the talipot palm used in India for writing paper. 22. A woman hired to suckle a child of someone else. 23. Hormone released by the hypothalamus that controls the release of thyroid-stimulating hormone from the anterior pituitary. 25. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 27. Sweetened beverage of lime juice and water. 31. United States chemist (1839-1903). 35. An inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others. 36. Noisy talk. 38. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 39. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 40. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 42. A historical region on northwestern India and northern Pakistan. 45. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 47. Large sweet juicy hybrid between tangerine and grapefruit having a thick wrinkled skin. 49. Hormone secreted by the posterior pituitary gland (trade name Pitressin) and also by nerve endings in the hypothalamus. 50. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 53. A protocol developed for the internet to get data from one network device to another. 55. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 59. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 60. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 63. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 64. Exhibiting or restored to vigorous good health. 66. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 67. A particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography). 68. A game in which numbered balls are drawn and random and players cover the corresponding numbers on their cards. 69. A young woman making her debut into society. DOWN 1. (informal) Exceptionally good. 2. An island of central Hawaii (between Molokai and Kauai). 3. Using speech rather than writing. 4. A refund of some fraction of the amount paid. 5. Chiefly perennial grasses of cool temperate regions. 6. (prefix) Indicating difference or variation. 7. Made of fir or pine. 8. English theoretical physicist who applied relativity theory to quantum mechanics and predicted the existence of antimatter and the positron (19021984). 9. An associate degree in nursing. 10. A conveyance that transports passengers or freight in carriers suspended from cables and supported by a series of towers. 11. Flightless New Zealand rail of thievish disposition having short wings each with a spur used in fighting. 12. Large elliptical brightly colored deep-sea fish of Atlantic and Pacific and Mediterranean.

18. A sock with a separation for the big toe. 20. Common gray wild goose of Europe. 24. A federal agency established to regulate the release of new foods and health-related products. 26. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 28. An Eskimo hut. 29. An utterance expressing pain or disapproval. 30. A graphical recording of the cardiac cycle produced by an electrocardiograph. 32. Divulge information or secrets. 33. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 34. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 37. A small cake leavened with yeast. 41. The capital and chief port of Qatar. 43. The southern part of the ancient Palestine succeeding the kingdom of Judah. 44. Sandwich filled with slices of bacon and tomato with lettuce. 46. A public promotion of some product or service. 48. Small tropical American tree bearing edible plumlike fruit. 49. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 51. Dearly loved. 52. (usually followed by `to') Having the necessary means or skill or know-how or authority to do something. 53. Goddess of criminal rashness and its punishment. 54. The noise made by a short puff of steam (as from an engine). 55. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 56. Set down according to a plan. 57. (of a young animal) Abandoned by its mother and raised by hand. 58. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 61. Of flax, hemp, or jute, so as to promote loosening of the fibers form the woody tissue. 62. The capital and largest city of Japan. 65. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite.63. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group.

Yesterday始s Solution



LEEDS: England’s Eoin Morgan (right) hits a six as Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara watches, during the second one-day international cricket match yesterday. — AP

Jayawardene century sets up Lanka win Scoreboard LEEDS: Final scoreboard in the second one-day international between England and Sri Lanka at Headingley here yesterday: Sri Lanka M. Jayawardene st Kieswetter b Swann 144 T. Dilshan run out (Broad) 9 D. Chandimal run out (Anderson) 5 K. Sangakkara st Kieswetter b Swann 69 A. Mathews not out 46 N. Kulasekara c Pietersen b Bresnan 13 J. Mendis not out 7 Extras (lb5, w11) 16 Total (5 wkts, 50 overs) 309 Did not bat: T Kandamby, S Lakmal, S Randiv, L Malinga Fall of wickets: 1-15 (Dilshan), 2-45 (Chandimal), 3-204 (Sangakkara), 4-271 (Jayawardene), 5-296 (Kulasekara) Bowling: Anderson 10-0-44-0 (3w); Bresnan 9-070-1; Broad 10-0-70-0 (3w); Dernbach 9-0-63-0 (4w); Swann 10-0-42-2; Pietersen 2-0-15-0 (1w). England A. Cook c Mathews b Randiv 48 C. Kieswetter c Kulasekara b Lakmal 25 J. Trott b Lakmal 39 K. Pietersen c Malinga b Mendis 13 E. Morgan st Sangakkara b Randiv 52 I. Bell c Lakmal b Kulasekara 35 T. Bresnan c Chandimal b Randiv 2 S. Broad st Sangakkara b Mendis 1 G. Swann not out 13 J. Anderson b Malinga 0 J. Dernbach c Kulasekara b Lakmal 5 Extras (lb1, w6) 7 Total (all out, 45.5 overs) 240 Fall of wickets: 1-53 (Kieswetter), 2-85 (Cook), 3113 (Pietersen), 4-144 (Trott), 5-201 (Morgan), 6204 (Bresnan), 7-206 (Broad), 8-232 (Bell), 9-233 (Anderson), 10-240 (Dernbach) Bowling: Dilshan 4-0-29-0 (1w); Kulasekara 9-039-1; Malinga 8-0-41-1 (2w); Lakmal 7.5-0-43-3 (1w); Randiv 9-0-43-3 (1w); Mendis 6-0-31-2 (1w); Mathews 2-0-13-0. Result: Sri Lanka won by 69 runs Man-of-the-match: Mahela Jayawardene (SRI) Series: Five-match series level at 1-1

LEEDS: Mahela Jayawardene’s career-best 144 provided the platform for Sri Lanka’s 69run victory against England in the second one-day international at Headingley here yesterday. Sri Lanka’s win, which levelled the five-match series at 1-1, looked likely after Jayawardene’s innings, his highest score in 343 ODIs, surpassing his 128 against India at Sharjah in 2000, powered the tourists to 309 for five. That meant England had to top their previous winning score batting second in an ODI of 306 for five against Pakistan in Karachi in 2000 if they were to take a 2-0 lead against the World Cup finalists. But they struggled to maintain the required run-rate and were bowled out for 240 with 25 balls to spare. Both seamer Suranga Lakmal and off-spinner Suraj Randiv took three for 43. England captain Alastair Cook, who won the toss and fielded after

leading his side to a 110-run win in the rainaffected opener at The Oval on Tuesday, and fellow opener Craig Kieswetter made a bright start to the chase. Cook, belying suggestions he is a slow scorer, made 48 off 53 balls including five boundaries. But his promising innings ended when a lofted cover-drive against Randiv went straight to Angelo Mathews. Kevin Pietersen swept Randiv for six but on 13 his lofted drive off leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis was well-caught by Lasith Malinga, running round from long-on. And when Jonathan Trott was bowled for a pedestrian 39 off 54 balls by Lakmal’s superb inswinging yorker, England were faltering at 144 for four. Eoin Morgan, dropped on 25 off a difficult caught and bowled chance by Randiv, tried to revive the innings by hoisting Mendis for two huge sixes off successive deliveries.

The former Ireland international made an excellent fifty off 37 balls, including two sixes and three fours. But on 52 he was brilliantly stumped by Kumar Sangakkara, off a ball from Randiv the wicketkeeper took shoulder high. England’s fading chance of victory disappeared with the left-hander, his exit sparking a slump that saw three wickets lost for five runs. Even the in-form Ian Bell found life tough, his 35 taking 48 balls before he holed out off Nuwan Kulasekara. Earlier, a couple of reckless run-outs reduced Sri Lanka to 45 for two in the 10th over. But a record partnership of 159 between Jayawardene, dropped on seven, and Sangakkara, who made 69, turned the tide. Off-spinner Graeme Swann-who dropped Jayawardene-led England’s attack with two wickets, both stumpings completed by Kieswetter. —AFP

Sabres trade gamble pays off Ehrhoff inks deal BUFFALO: Once defenseman Christian Ehrhoff put his round of golf on hold to hear what the Buffalo Sabres had to offer, general manager Darcy Regier was confident he had a shot at signing the German veteran before the start of the NHL’s free agency period. The Sabres’ gamble to acquire and then sign Ehrhoff in under two days paid off late Thursday after the sevenyear veteran signed a 10-year, $40 million contract, which will pay him $10 million this season. The terms of the deal were confirmed by two people familiar with the contract, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because those details were not released by the Sabres. The deal was struck a day before Ehrhoff was eligible to become a free agent. And it came a day after the Sabres gave up a fourth-round draft pick to acquire his rights from the New York Islanders. And it didn’t matter to Regier

that Ehrhoff had turned down an offer from the Islanders a day earlier after New York acquired him form Vancouver. “As you know, it’s uncharacteristic for us to give up a fourth-round pick,” Regier said. “We just felt very strongly that if we could get to the player early that we would have the opportunity to sign him.” That happened during a long-distance phone call with Ehrhoff, who was playing a round of golf in Germany. “We offered to talk to him after,” Regier said. “But he wanted to stop and talk about it there.” Ehrhoff then did his part by consulting with NHL players - including fellow German and Sabres forward Jochen Hecht - to get a feel for Buffalo and the Sabres under new owner Terry Pegula. “I was very impressed,” Ehrhoff said, in a statement released by the team. “My goal is to win the Stanley Cup. And after the offer I received from Buffalo, I believe this is the best place to make it happen.” Ehrhoff, who turns 29

next month, will receive $8 million in his second season followed by four years at $4 million, according to a person familiar with the deal. He’s due $3 million in 2017-18, with the contract owing him $1 million in each of his final three seasons. Regier said the length of Ehrhoff’s contract was a necessity to relieve the cap hit, which averages out to $4 million. Ehrhoff’s signing is the second major move the Sabres have completed in less than a week, and another sign of the influence Pegula has since purchasing the team in February. The Pennsylvania billionaire has made it no secret of his intention to transform the Sabres into a cup contender after they were bounced in the first round of the playoffs each of the past two years. The Sabres began retooling last weekend, when they acquired defenseman Robyn Regehr and forward Ales Kotalik in a trade with Calgary. —AP



Star Clemens vows to fight perjury charges WASHINGTON: As one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, Roger Clemens had expected to be on the verge of induction into the Hall of Fame by now. Instead he is focused on staying out of prison, accused of lying about using performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens, who won the Cy Young Award seven times as the best pitcher in his league, will go on trial next week in Washington after vehemently denying that he ever took human growth hormones and steroids, let alone lied to Congress about it as lawmakers investigated drug use in sports. The trial presents numerous risks for Clemens and US prosecutors and will pit the word of a baseball legend against those of fellow players and Clemens’ trainer, leaving it to a jury to try to sort out who is telling the truth. Jury selection is due to start on Wednesday. “You’ve got this extraordinarily high-profile athlete who, in the prosecutors’ opinion, just boldly lied to Congress on TV,” said David Rossman, director of Boston University’s School of Law’s Criminal Law Clinical Program. “It’s such a high-profile person and it was such a widely publicized event, that it makes the system look bad if it doesn’t step up and try and hold someone to account.” Prosecutors have had mixed success pursuing charges against athletes over lying about steroids. In April a jury convicted retired San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds on only one obstruction charge and was unable to decide whether he lied about steroid use. But in 2009 infielder Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about doping in baseball. “I do think the prosecutors have, as they had in the Bonds case, a difficult challenge in convincing the jury that this trial is an appropriate use of substantial government resources,” said John Kocoras, a former federal prosecutor and now a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP. Prosecutors filed on Thursday a list of evidence that they may introduce during the trial including needles, needle hub swabs, cotton swabs as well as DNA samples, fingerprints and forensic reports. The list did not include specifics about to whom the needles or swabs belonged. HALL OF FAME STATISTICS Clemens began his career in 1984 and pitched until he was 45, amassing statistics that would have guaranteed entry to the Baseball Hall of Fame before the steroids scandal. He had a 354-184 career won-loss record and is one of four pitchers to strike out over 4,000 batters. The accusations against Clemens came from a report commissioned by Major League Baseball that named Clemens as a repeat user, based on testimony by his trainer Brian McNamee. In a subsequent investigation by the US Congress, Clemens denied under oath during a 2008 interview with congressional staff that he had used steroids and human growth hormones. He again denied it during public hearings, contradicting McNamee. As a result, a grand jury charged him with three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstructing Congress. If convicted, federal guidelines call for a prison sentence of 15 months to 21 months. Clemens’ high-profile defense team led by Rusty Hardin has made it clear that they plan to attack prosecutors’ star witness, McNamee, and try to brand him as a serial liar to investigators about providing steroids to baseball players. “A lot is going to rest on that one person’s credibility. If the jury isn’t sold on that person’s credibility, they greet the rest of the evidence with skepticism,” Kocoras said. Prosecutors have said they are likely to call 44 other witnesses, including former teammates such as Andy Pettitte, who told congressional investigators that Clemens had told him that he had used human growth hormones. Clemens has said his teammate “misremembers,” and his lawyers could try to undermine McNamee’s testimony by bringing up a 2001 incident in which he lied to Florida investigators in a sexual assault case. No charges were brought in that case. The trial, one of the biggest in Washington in years, is expected to last more than a month. — Reuters

Red Sox down Phillies Astros’ magic Wandy casts spell on Rangers PHILADELPHIA: Jon Lester tossed twohit ball over seven shutout innings, Jason Varitek homered twice and the Boston Red Sox avoided a three-game sweep with a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in interleague play on Thursday. The Phillies got a scare when pitcher Cole Hamels was forced to leave soon after being struck on the glove hand by Adrian Gonzalez’s line drive in the fourth. The Phillies said Xrays were negative and Hamels will make his next start. The three-game series was hyped as a potential World Series preview. If it is, don’t look for much offense in October: Philadelphia outscored the Red Sox 9-6. Dustin Pedroia and Varitek hit back-to-back homers in the eighth to make it 5-0. Ryan Howard hit his 17th homer in the ninth, a two-run shot off Bobby Jenks. Yankees 5, Brewers 0 At New York, CC Sabathia tied his career high with 13 strikeouts and Mark Teixeira hit his 300th homer to help New York finish off June with a season-best five-game winning streak. Sabathia (114) won for the eighth time in nine starts. In 7 2-3 innings, Sabathia gave up six hits and two walks. Every batter he fanned came on a swinging third strike. When Sabathia left after throwing 118 pitches, he got a roar from the fans. Cubs 5, Giants 2, 13 innings At Chicago, pinch-hitter Geovany Soto’s three-run homer capped a fourrun 13th inning and sent the Chicago Cubs to a wild victory over San Francisco. Soto’s drive finished off an eventful day for the Cubs. Starter Carlos Zambrano left in the second inning because of soreness in his lower back, then Aramis Ramirez hit a tying home run in the ninth off San Francisco closer Brian Wilson. Tigers 5, Mets 2 At Detroit, Justin Verlander slowed down the rampaging Mets, pitching seven solid innings to lead Detroit to victory. The Mets had scored a team-record 52 runs in their previous four games, including 30 in the first two of this series. Verlander (11-3) prevented a sweep, holding New York to one run and seven hits. Verlander finished June with a 6-0 record and a 0.92 ERA, and tied CC Sabathia for the major league lead in wins this season. Verlander has won his last seven starts, allowing two or fewer runs in each. Marlins 5, Athletics 4 At Oakland, California, Chris Volstad allowed one unearned run in seven innings and John Buck hit a two-run double to help Florida cap a miserable June by beating Oakland for its first consecutive wins in more than a month. Strong starts by Ricky Nolasco and Volstad (4-7) gave the Marlins their first consecutive victories and first series win since sweeping the Giants across the bay in San Francisco on May 24-26. Nothing went right for the Marlins in between their two trips to the Bay Area as they fell from second place to last and had manager Edwin Rodriguez resign during a span that included 14 straight losses in one-run games. Cardinals 9, Orioles 6 At Baltimore, Lance Berkman homered twice and Jon Jay hit a three-run

NEW YORK: Milwaukee Brewers’ Rickie Weeks (top right) turns a double play over New York Yankees’ Nick Swisher during the fourth inning of a baseball game on Thursday, June 30, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. — AP shot as St. Louis completed a threegame sweep of Baltimore. Berkman hit a two-run drive in the second inning and led off the seventh with a homer for his 29th career multihomer game and fourth this season. Nolan Reimold homered and had four RBIs and Mark Reynolds hit a two-run drive for the Orioles, who fell a season-worst eight games under .500 (35-43). Pirates 6, Blue Jays 2 At Toronto, Jeff Karstens capped a brilliant June with another strong start and Brandon Wood hit a two-run homer as Pittsburgh won its first interleague road series since 2003. The Pirates, who have won six of eight, had lost 17 straight interleague series away from home since taking two of three at Tampa Bay in June 2003. Karstens (6-4) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings. Solo home runs by JP Arencibia and Yunel Escobar were the only blemishes for Karstens, who has allowed five home runs in his past two starts, all solo. White Sox 6, Rockies 4, 10 innings At Denver, light-hitting Juan Pierre laced a tiebreaking, two-run single off the wall in the 10th inning, helping the Chicago White Sox rally past the Colorado Rockies. With the bases loaded, Pierre, who’s known for his speed more than his power, turned on a pitch from Clayton Mortensen (2-4) that hit off the top of the wall in right. The ball was hit so hard and on such a line that the runners held up on the bases, limiting Pierre to just a single. A.J. Pierzynski and Gordon Beckham scored

on the play as the White Sox took two of three from the Rockies in the series. Astros 7, Rangers 0 At Houston, Jason Michaels homered and drove in three runs, while Wandy Rodriguez and three relievers combined on a four-hitter as Houston snapped an eight-game home losing streak. Carlos Lee homered for the second straight day in the fourth inning and Chris Johnson drove in two runs in Houston’s four-run fifth as the Astros won at Minute Maid Park for the first time since June 13. Michaels drove in a run in the fifth before pushing the lead to 7-0 with his two-run shot to left in the seventh. Elvis Andrus had two hits for the Rangers in his return after missing the last four games with a sprained left wrist. Cubs 5, Giants 2, 13 innings At Chicago, pinch-hitter Geovany Soto’s three-run homer capped a fourrun rally with two outs in the 13th inning and sent Chicago over San Francisco. Soto’s drive finished off an eventful day for the Cubs. Starter Carlos Zambrano left in the second inning because of soreness in his lower back, then Aramis Ramirez hit a tying home run in the ninth off San Francisco closer Brian Wilson. Jeff Baker doubled with two outs and scored the tying run on a single by Darwin Barney. Ramon Ramirez (2-1) then intentionally walked Starlin Castro and Soto, batting for Grabow, launched a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall to give the Cubs the win and the series split. — AP



Cities stand to lose tax revenue from tickets, sales From bars to busses, NBA lockout would prove painful NEW YORK: The $4 billion NBA basketball league looks to be barreling toward a lockout-adding to the woes of the restaurants, parking attendants and city governments that count on its games for income. Last-ditch talks with the league’s owners collapsed on Thursday, according to the players’ union, with the two sides far apart on issues ranging from salaries to revenue sharing. The expiration of their current agreement is just hours away. The costs of a lockout could be enormous, particularly if the entire season were lost. In that case, the league’s most valuable franchises, including the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, stand to lose more than $200 million each in revenue, according to estimates by Forbes. Beyond owners and players, however, a lockout would

NFL: Talks resume in gridiron shutdown MINNEAPOLIS: National Football League club owners and players resumed negotiations on a new collective bargaining deal on Thursday, day 107 of a lockout that threatens the start of training camps. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and players’ lead negotiator DeMaurice Smith met alongside team owners, players and a federal mediator even as they were poised to be joined in a deadlock by their basketball counterparts. NBA commissioner David Stern said his league was expecting to lock out NBA players when their union deal expires just after midnight on Friday morning. While the NBA claims only eight of 30 teams are not making money, the NFL is at odds with players over how to divide $9.3 billion in annual revenues from the most popular American spectator sport. The first NFL work stoppage since 1987 is preventing trades and free agency signings as well as team contact, with draft choices and players unable to work out at team facilities or communicate with coaches. Some owners and players have said this weekend is a pivotal moment in talks because teams could still begin pre-season training camps later this month as planned if a settlement is reached in the next week. Details from the talks have been kept private, some of the sessions being staged in secret locations around the nation. A sign of closeness was seen in the fact Smith and Goodell spoke to 155 NFL rookies-to-be in Florida before returning to Minnesota to resume talks. Pre-season workouts are set to start in three weeks, with the first pre-season game scheduled on August 7. There is also concern regarding an impending legal decision from the US Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the legality of the lockout, one member of the three-judge panel having warned both sides that their ruling might not please either owners or players. —AFP

be no less painful to countless restaurants, bars, and retail stores that depend on the NBA for foot traffic and sales. Many are only beginning to recover from the recession. “Just about everyone associated with the NBA would be affected one way or another,” said Neal Pilson, former president of CBS Sports and now head of his own sports consulting firm. “After players and ownership, there is certainly a trickle down impact of some magnitude for the TV networks, the advertisers, the regional sports channels, the sponsors, the arena, the people who work in the building, local restaurants,” he said. “It’s just a huge impact.” Even city and local governments-many of which are already under financial strain-would feel the sting of a work stoppage since they

collect taxes on sales of tickets, food and even Nike Inc’s Air Max Lebron 8 sneakers. In Chicago, the Bulls games generate about $173,000 a game in city and county taxes from ticket sales alone, estimated Marc Ganis, president of sports consulting firm Sportscorp Ltd. Add in taxes from parking and concessions, he said, and the losses amount to $250,000 to $300,000 each game. Then there is mass transit, since in urban areas fans often take subways or busses to the games, and the arenas that host the games. “Arenas can’t rebook those dates, because they wouldn’t know games will start again and most acts have to be well in advance,” said Ganis. “Plus, the anchor tenant teams get the best dates, primarily weekends, and those are lost

opportunities to arenas.” For the NBA and the businesses that depend on it, labor troubles come at a time when the league should be basking in the afterglow of a season when attendance and TV ratings rose. Time Warner Inc’s TNT put up its best NBA playoff ratings ever this season, while Walt Disney Co’s ABC network broadcast of the Dallas Mavericks’ win over the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals was the highest Game 6 rating since 2000. “TV networks and marketers are in a difficult position because they cannot control the talks,” said Brad Adgate, an analyst at advertising firm Horizon Media. “For them it’s frustrating that they invested hundreds of million in rights fees and they have to stand by like the fans.” —Reuters

‘Lockout’ threat looms over NBA 2011-12 season in jeopardy NEW YORK: The NBA lock-out begins today as last-ditch negotiations for a new labor deal collapsed, sending the league into its first work stoppage in 13 years. Following a three-hour bargaining session between the NBA and National Basketball Players Association, both sides walked away from the table far apart on several financial issues and the players opposed to a new salary cap system. “It’s with some sadness that we’re going to recommend this to the (labor relations) committee because a lockout has a very large impact on a lot people, most of whom are not associated with either side,” NBA Commissioner David Stern told reporters after meeting with the union at a midtown Manhattan hotel. The lockout, which takes effect at 12:01 am, threatens the start of the 2011-12 season in late October and marks the NBA’s first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season was reduced by 32 games to 50. It also marks the second major North American sports league to shut down its operations, following the National Football League, which installed a lockout in March that is ongoing. NBA officials have said 22 of the league’s 30 clubs are losing money and that they are seeking contract changes to offset net losses they claim run to some $300 million. The current agreement calls for 57 percent of basketball related income be distributed to the players under a $58 million per team cap system. The owners have asked for the revenue split of the $4 billion pie to be 50-50, while the players reduced their counter proposal to 54.3 percent, or $100 million a year of additional revenue to the owners over a five-year term. The players offered an amended proposal at the meeting but the gulf between the sides was so wide that even union chief Billy Hunter termed it “a baby step.” The NBA did not offer a new proposal of its own. “We took a baby step, they didn’t take any at all,” said Hunter, who would not discuss his proposal. “They started from what we considered an extreme number (initially) and trying to get to where we are, or us get

NEW YORK: Union chief Billy Hunter speaks to reporters after a meeting with the NBA, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. Hunter says “it’s obvious the lockout will happen tonight” after players and owners failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, potentially putting the 2011-12 season in jeopardy. —AP to get to them, is mammoth.” ROUSING SEASON The labor dispute comes after a rousing NBA season that saw increases in the league’s TV ratings, franchise valuations, website traffic and merchandise sales, and a stirring NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat. “We had a great year in terms of an appreciation of fans for our game, just not a profitable one for our teams,” Stern said. “The goal here is to make our league profitable.” Stern said the average salary for an NBA player

would be $5 million a year under the owner’s proposal, while the players’ plan would increase that number to $7 million by the sixth year for the more than 400 NBA players. Hunter, accompanied by NBA players Derek Fisher, the union president, Maurice Evans of the Washington Wizards and Matt Bonner of the San Antonio Spurs, said he felt the lockout was inevitable and that he hoped it might spur on serious talks. “We just haven’t been able to find that happy medium,” said Hunter. “They are going to lock us out and now maybe we can really begin to negotiate.” —Reuters


S Korea threatens to close K-League SEOUL: The South Korea government will shut down the K-League if multiple teams are involved in the growing match-fixing scandal. Vice Sports Minister Park Sun-kyoo issued the warning in a meeting with football league officials on Thursday, his ministry said in a statement on Friday. Park and senior football officials agreed to close down the 28-year-old

league if several teams are linked with the scandal, the ministry said. Park also threatened to expel a club from the KLeague if its players are found to have received kickbacks in return for attempting to rig results. Last month, South Korean prosecutors indicted 10 K-League players in the scandal. A former K-League midfielder, who allegedly worked as a broker, was found dead

in an apparent suicide in late May. Also yesterday, the Korea Football Association said in a statement that it has decided to permanently ban the 10 indicted players from all types of football-related posts, including coaching and refereeing, in South Korea. The K-League authorities already imposed a lifetime ban on the players, eight from Daejeon Citizen,

this month. The highest-profile player implicated in the scandal is Suwon Samsung Bluewings’ Choi Sung-kuk, a striker who has played in 26 internationals. This week, he acknowledged attending a meeting between players and gambling brokers last year, though he said he didn’t take part in a plot to rig the outcome of two games.— AP

Japan rout Mexico 4-0 Sawa hat-trick fires Japan into WCup quarters

FRANKFURT: Germany’s Simone Laudehr (left) is celebrated by her teammates after scoring the opening goal during the Group A match between Germany and Nigeria at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Frankfurt on Thursday, June 30, 2011. — AP

Germany, France book quarter-finals DUSSELDORF: European sides Germany and France booked the first two quarter-final spots in the women’s World Cup from Group A on Thursday, eliminating Nigeria and Canada in contrasting fashion. France over-ran CONCACAF champions Canada 4-0 in Bochum to assure their first ever place in the final eight, before defending champions Germany spluttered to a 1-0 win over Nigeria in Frankfurt. A double from Gaetane Thiney (24, 60) and second-half goals from Camille Abily (66) and Elodie Thomis (83) gave France a maximum six points from two games to take top spot in the group. Germany, also on maximum points, struggled to impose themselves against a battling Nigerian side, however, until midfielder Simone Laudehr scored the crucial goal after 54 minutes. The stage is now set for a much-anticipated clash between the French and Germans in their final group game in front of 50,000 spectators in Moenchengladbach next Tuesday, with top spot in Group A at stake. “It’s among the two matches which count the most in the history of French women’s football, after qualification for the 2003 World Cup,” said France coach Bruno Bini. “But we haven’t obtained our goal yet. We’re savouring this one. It’s well deserved, the girls took the match by the scruff of the neck. A World Cup quarter-final, that warms the heart.” Nigeria will be heading home after their final match against Canada in Dresden the same day, when both teams will be playing for pride after two successive defeats. After their impressive 2-1 win over Canada on Sunday, this was a less assured performance from two-time winners Germany. They failed to get a clear shot on goal in the first half and were briefly booed by the sellout crowd at the half-time whistle with the game scoreless. Germany finally imposed themselves after the break and it was the introduction of the experienced Inka Grings on 52 minutes for captain Birgit Prinz that made an impact. Barely two minutes later, the veteran forward latched onto a free-kick and her delicate backheel fell into the path of Laudehr, who fired home in plenty of space. Having won the 2003 and 2007 editions of the World Cup, Germany will need to raise their game if Silvia Neid’s side are going to return to Frankfurt on July 17 to contest the final. “We are into the quarter-finals, but without too much glory,” said Neid. “There was a lot of stress, because we wanted to reach the quarter-finals and that seemed to hinder us. We still have plenty to work on.” —AFP

LEVERKUSEN: A hat-trick from skipper Homare Sawa and a first half Shinobu Ohno goal booked Japan a quarter-final berth at the women’s World Cup with a 4-0 win over Mexico yesterday. It was a magnificent individual performance from Sawa, competing in her fifth World Cup, which stole the show as she lifted the Japanese to just their second quarter-finals after 1995. The 32-year-old combined perfectly with fellow midfielder Aya Miyama to score two early goals after 13 and 39 minutes, adding her third on 80 minutes for a Japanese World Cup record. Ohno netted after 15 minutes. “Even for myself it was a bit of a surprise,” said Sawa. “I didn’t dare imagine I could score so many as three goals. “The first and second were in combination with Miyama and she really gave me a nice ball. You could also say they’re Aya’s goals too.” Mexican coach Leonardo Cuellar admitted his side were shell-shocked. “To take two goals so soon shook the team. They didn’t allow us to settle. It’s difficult to catch up against a team that is very technical and skillful,” said a tearful Cuellar. “This was a very painful defeat. Psychologically, mentally and physically we will have to recover before the next game. The Japanese demolished Cuellar’s young side to achieve their second win in as many games after their 2-1 opening success against New Zealand. With a maximum six points they are assured of one of the two group qualifying spots to advance to the final eight with one group game to go. Nicknamed ‘the Nadeshiko’-a pink flower symbolizing grace and beauty-the Japanese showed their mettle as they overwhelmed Mexico from the outset. Sawa, the country’s record 168-capped player, headed in after 13 minutes from a perfectly delivered Miyama freekick and two minutes later her INAC Leonessa teammate Ohno doubled their account from a Yuki Nagasto cross. The Mexicans could find no answer to the attacking Japanese as Sawa continued the rout six minutes before the break when she rose above the melee in front of goal to head in a Miyama corner. The Japanese thought they had a fourth just before the break but Yuki Nagasto’s effort was ruled offside. After the break, Stephany Mayor’s long-range effort offered some hope to the Mexicans but it was saved with one hand by a diving Ayumi Kaihori. Key striker Maribel Dominguez, who had

LEVERKUSEN: Mexico’s Alina Garciamendez (left) and Japan’s Yuki Nagasato challenge for the ball during the Group B match between Japan and Mexico at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Leverkusen yesterday. — AP been struggling with a calf injury, was replaced by defender Kenti Robles after 62 minutes as Cuellar tried to plug Mexico’s leaky defense. But Sawa slammed home their superiority with her third when she fired in past diving 16-year-old keeper Cecilia Santiago following a Yukari Kinga cross on 80 minutes. Three minutes later Norio Sasaki substituted the midfielder for Rumi Utsugi and a celebrating Sawa ran off the pitch to an ovation from the crowd 22,291 crowd. The Japanese didn’t give up their search for a fifth goal with Nagasto and Miyama missing two last-gasp efforts. It was a triumphant start to the tournament for Sasaki’s fourth-ranked Japanese who did now

even know if they could compete in Germany after the earthquake and tsumani that devastated Japan in March. After drawing their opening game against England 1-1, Mexico’s fate depends in part on the result of the second group game between England and New Zealand in Dresden. In was the sixth victory for the Japanese in eight meetings with the Mexicans who fare badly against the Asians in the world tournament having lost the play-offs for the World Cup in 2003 and 2007 to Japan. Japan’s final game will be against England in Augsburg on Tuesday, with Mexico playing New Zealand in Sinsheim.— AFP



Doping dents Indian Olympic medal hopes NADA targets quash cheats

David Haye

Talking over as Haye fronts up to Klitschko HAMBURG: The talking is over. Today, Britain’s David Haye will finally climb into the ring for a unification bout with double champion Wladimir Klitschko that has been two years in the making. The pair were due to clash in 2009 in Gelsenkirchen, but a back injury forced Haye out and in the meantime he has won a world title of his own. In a sport renowned for trash-talkingMuhammad Ali’s coach Angelo Dundee once famously remarked that in boxing, silence was a crime-Haye has taken the art of disrespecting an opponent to new lows with a tasteless campaign. “Bitchko”, “a fraud” and “the Ukrainian robot” are just some of the insults he has hurled at Klitschko, who the Brit says he will visit in hospital in Hamburg tomorrow after promising to knock the Ukrainian out. Like him or loathe him, Haye’s talent demands to be respected and he has both the power and fitness to take the IBF and WBO titles from Klitschko. He has announced himself as the self-styled savior of the heavyweight division, but there is some truth in his arrogant boast. Before he won the WBA heavyweight title from the giant Nikolai Valuev in November 2009, the Klitschko brothers were picking off uninspiring title challengers seemingly at will, with neither Wladimir nor older

brother Vitali genuinely tested. Vitali, the WBC heavyweight champion, will be the first in the queue to fight Haye if the brash Brit leaves Hamburg with all the belts tomorrow as the first British heavyweight since Lennox Lewis to hold more than one title. Both fighters suffered their last defeat in 2004 with fifth-round technical knock-outs: Haye to Carl Thompson as a cruiserweight at London’s Wembley Arena, and Klitschko to Lamon Brewster in Nevada. Both fighters have matured and improved immensely since then and come to the ring at the peak of their condition. Haye has been loudly chasing the Klitschkos since stepping up from cruiserweight in 2008 and wanted a defining night against one of the brothers before retiring ahead of his 31st birthday. Having already seen the Brit pull out of one fight with him, Klitschko has said he will only believe Haye will fight when he sees the Londoner in the opposite corner. While Haye’s power is undeniable, question marks appear over his defense and he has been put on the canvas by Thompson, Lolenga Mock, Jean-Marc Mormeck and Monte Barrett. But on all bar one of those occasion, Haye rose to secure victory and the fire in the Englishman’s belly has been clear to see on each occasion. —AFP

MUMBAI: India’s hopes of a coveted track medal at next year’s Olympic Games in London have taken a hit after two of the country’s Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medalists failed drug tests. The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) said that women’s 4x400m relay runners Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose tested positive for banned steroids and were suspended pending the results of their B samples, which are due in the coming days. NADA directorgeneral Rahul Bhatnagar said that the findingsamong six positive tests for steroids on Indian athletes in recent days-made it unlikely that either would compete in the British capital. “Because they’ve reached national level, they’ve been tested hundreds of times. It’s not that they’re not aware (of banned drugs),” he said. “With steroids I’m doubtful if they would get a reprieve. If they’re banned for two years, they won’t get a chance to compete in the Olympics.” Hopes have been high in India for its women’s 4x400m relay team since they won the country’s first-ever Commonwealth Games track gold in front of home fans in New Delhi last October. They repeated their success in November at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. Kaur and Jose were part of both winning teams. India has never won a track medal at the Olympics. The closest the country came was in Los Angeles in 1984, when P.T. Usha narrowly missed a bronze in the women’s 400m hurdles and in Rome in 1960, when Milkha Singh was edged into fourth in a photo-finish in the men’s 400m. NADA’s Bhatnagar said two other female 400m runners, Tiana Mary Thomas and Jauna Murmu, plus a female shot-putter, Sonia, also tested positive. The Times of India newspaper yesterday said all four one-lap specialists were trained by the same Ukrainian coach. “It’s the samples of the athletes that’s tested positive,” said Bhatnagar. “There’s no evidence that the coach had a role but if we get information that the coach was involved in this then the coach can also be suspended.” Kaur, Jose, Thomas and shot-putter Sonia tested positive after a national track meet in the southern city of Bangalore late last month. Murmu and leading Indian male long-jumper Hari Krishnan Muralidharan, who also gave positive samples, were tested out of competition. India’s anti-doping agency regularly conducts sessions with Indian athletes to inform them about banned substances, including those in medicines. But doping has afflicted Indian sport over the last decade, with weightlifters being the chief culprits. Seven Indian athletes-four wrestlers, a shot-putter and two swimmers-were suspended for taking the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine in the run-up to the last Commonwealth Games. The suspensions were lifted after the World AntiDoping Agency (WADA) re-classified the stimulant, which is widely used as a nasal decongestant, allow-

ing them to compete. Four other Indian athletes who were not picked for the Games but also failed tests were also reprieved. During the Games, an Indian athlete competing in the women’s 20km walk tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone, while in June this year, an Indian footballer was banned for two years for failing a dope test. India’s cricketers were also embroiled in a row in 2009 for failing to sign up to a global drugs code, claiming that a WADA clause requiring them to state their whereabouts for testing infringed their privacy. Drug Cheats Meanwhile, India’s National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) plans to increase the number of samples it collects and will not hesitate to raid athletes’ homes to catch prospective drugs cheats, the organization’s chief said in an interview. NADA has been forced to become more proactive as it deals with the latest doping scandal to emerge in India, added to the 122 positive cases reported in an 11-month period starting from May 2010, involving mainly wrestlers and weightlifters. Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose, two of India’s leading 400 meters runners and part of last year’s Commonwealth and Asian Games champion relay quartet, were provisionally suspended earlier this week after testing positive for anabolic steroids. The athletics federation confirmed on Thursday that four lesser-known Indian athletes had also failed dope tests. NADA director-general Rahul Bhatnagar said the agency would do whatever it took to root out the menace of illegal doping. “I’m worried but not alarmed,” Bhatnagar said. “Of course we now have two high-profile cases, which are shocking. “Since NADA was set up two years ago, we have been steadily increasing the number of samples. We collected more than 2,600 last year and plan 3,500 this year. “We want to make it 4,500 next year, so that it acts as a deterrent for any athlete contemplating a shortcut to success.” Bhatnagar added that if the increase in tests proved unsuccessful then NADA would follow the Australian model of surprise raids to capture would-be cheats. “If the situation continues to worsen, we would consider raids to catch offenders red-handed. “Australia has done really well to deal with the issue. The anti-doping agency there collaborates with the police to track the source of banned substances, which makes it easier to deal with the issue.” Bhatnagar, however, was not sure if there had been a sudden spurt in the number of drugs cheats in India. “In the pre-NADA days, federations conducted result management. At times, they would admonish an athlete who failed a test and close the chapter. “Since NADA was established, we have started taking more samples and chances are high that the number of positive cases will increase. We have to look at the percentages to give us the true picture. —Agencies

Small English town stakes claim to Olympic legacy MUCH WENLOCK: With the 2012 London Olympics just over a year away, a small town in central England is celebrating early, and with good reason. While the first modern Olympics took place in Athens, Greece, in 1896, Much Wenlock began staging its “Olympian” nearly 50 years earlier. The town of 2,000 about 240 kilometers miles northwest of London owes this legacy to Dr William Penny Brookes, who first organized the games and promoted them for the rest of his life. Former International Olympic Committee President Juan

Antonio Samaranch laid a wreath on Brookes’ grave in 1994, saying, “I came to pay tribute and homage to Dr Brookes, who really was the founder of the modern Olympic Games.” The London organizing committee for 2012 also honored the town that dates to medieval times, naming one of its two official mascots for next year’s games “Wenlock.” A typical program of events from 1850 featured running and leaping competitions and throwing a cricket ball, as well as non-athletic pursuits such as choir singing and awards for reading, arith-

metic, knitting and sewing. The 2011 version of the “Wenlock Olympian Festival” will take place July 8-11. Events planned include archery, badminton, clay pigeon shooting, golf, tennis, a seven-mile road race, triathlon and events for the disabled, some against able-bodied competition. “Brookes wanted sports for all, at all levels and over broad bases,” says Kirk Heywood, owner of the town’s 17th-century Raven Hotel. Heywood was speaking just yards from the site of a meeting some 120 years earlier

that would shape the future of the Olympic Games. In October 1890, Brookes met Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France, widely regarded as the founder of the modern Olympics, over several hours at the Raven. The two - Brookes was then 81, the baron just 27 - spoke about de Coubertin’s wish to stage an international Olympic festival in Athens. The two exchanged letters over the next several years. Even then, de Coubertin was determined to make sure his games were strictly for amateurs.—AP

sports SATURDAY, JULY 2, 2011

Tiger’s caddie helps Scott share lead at Aronimink NEWTOWN SQUARE: Australian Adam Scott, with tournament host Tiger Woods’ regular caddie on his bag, shared the first-round lead at the AT&T National after shooting a four-under-par 66 at Aronimink on Thursday. Scott made a 15-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole to tie American journeyman Hunter Haas to top the leaderboard after the opening round. The Australian had a run of three birdies in four holes on his front nine, and Haas moved up the board with four successive birdies on his own front side. “It’s been fun to have (Steve Williams) on the bag for a couple of weeks,” Scott told reporters. “I’ve learned some things. He knows how to manage his way around the golf course. He’s got a wealth of knowledge and he’s been a great help.” Williams is on loan to Scott with Woods’s permission but is expected to return to his long-time employer after the American recovers from his leg injuries and resumes playing. Woods said this week he has no timetable for his comeback from left knee and Achilles tendon problems. If he can’t play in the British Open in two weeks, Scott said he expects Williams to caddie for him at Royal St George’s. Haas has played most of his golf on the Nationwide Tour over the last five seasons. A former college standout at Oklahoma University, the 34-year-old Haas earned his PGA Tour card for 2011 by finishing third on the Nationwide money list. Starting his round on the back nine, Haas opened with three pars before a four-hole birdie barrage beginning on the 13th. Four players were tied for second place on three-under 67, including Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela and Americans Dean Wilson, Joe Ogilvie and Kyle Stanley. Wilson, in the first group of the day, holed out for an eagle three at the 558-yard 16th hole on his front nine with a shot out of the deep rough in front of the green. “It was a pretty decent shot,” he said, “but it luckily hit the pin. It probably would have gone about 10 feet by, but it hit the pin and went in.”—Reuters

New engines will still sound like F1 LONDON: New V6 turbo engines due to be introduced in 2014 will still sound like proper Formula One units, the sport’s governing body said on Thursday. Moving to quell fears expressed by promoters and commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone that the reduced noise of the new and smaller engines would alienate fans, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) published more details. Significantly, it said a proposed rev limit had been raised from 12,000 rpm to 15,000 “to allow engineers more flexibility in power and energy management. “However, as a consequence of the new architecture (V6) and the change in revlimit, the engine will sound different, but will remain representative of Formula One,” it added. The current 2.4 liter V8 engines are limited to 18,000 rpm. The FIA said the rev limit would also pose more of a challenge to manufacturers seeking to reduce friction and gain engine efficiency. “The challenge will be even bigger than originally planned and will therefore enhance the technological lead of Formula One,” it said. The governing body acknowledged that the switch from a previously proposed four cylinder engine would involve extra costs for manufacturers who had already started work on projects and would now need to adapt them. —Reuters

Aussie Scott seizes share of PGA lead NEWTOWN SQUARE: Australian Adam Scott, playing only his second event with Tiger Woods caddie Steve Williams on his bag, fired a four-under par 66 Thursday to share the lead at the PGA National. The 30-year-old Aussie, who shared second at the Masters but missed the cut at the US Open two weeks ago in his first event with Williams as his caddie, was level with American Hunter Haas after 18 holes on the Aronimink layout. Scott began a run of three birdies in four holes at the third with a 20-foot putt and added a 25-footer for birdie at the fourth, the landed his approach six feet from the cup at the six to set up another birdie. After starting the back nine with a bogey, Scott birdied the par-3 14th and also finished the 18th with a birdie after dropping a sand wedge shot to 15 feet. “I’m happy with this start,” Scott said. “Anything in the 60s at Aronimink is good. “They have got very generous fairways, but severe rough, which is a nice balance. There are good scores out there, but you have to play well.” Only 28 players in the field of 120 cracked par on the day in a course that played tougher than the US Open at Congressional, where rain softened the course that will return to hosting the National in 2012. “I think they’ve got the greens probably where the US Open would have liked them on a Thursday,” Scott said. Williams, a New Zealander who has caddied for Woods in 13 of his 14 major victories, is working with Scott while Woods remains sidelined by left knee and Achilles injuries. “I have learned some things off Steve, and he obviously knows how to manage his way around the golf course,” Scott said. “He has got a wealth of knowledge. I’m trying to tap as much of that as I can while he’s on the bag certainly.” Scott, who played the course in the 1997 US Junior Amateur, seeks his eighth US PGA title, his first since last year’s Texas Open. Haas, who started on the back nine, birdied the 13th through 16th holes to

NEWTOWN SQUARE: Adam Scott, of Australia, lines up his putt on the seventh green during the first round of the AT&T National golf tournament at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa. —AP match Scott at the top. He added a birdie at the third but a bogey at the seventh kept him from finish alone atop the leaderboard. Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas and Americans Dean Wilson, Joe Ogilvie and Kyle Stanley

shared third on 67 with Fiji’s Vijay Singh on 68 with nine Americans-Pat Perez, Justin Leonard, Robert Garrigus, Bill Haas, Rickie Fowler, John Merrick, D.A. Points, Troy Matteson and Charlie Howell. —AFP

DeSouza’s double-double leads Dream past Liberty ATLANTA: Erika DeSouza equaled a career high with 27 points and took 15 rebounds, and Lindsey Harding scored 25 points as the Atlanta Dream rallied for an 87-81 victory over the New York Liberty on Thursday. DeSouza’s size and agility caused matchup problems for the Liberty, who were outscored 4622 in the paint. She shot 11 for 16 from the field as the Dream (3-7) snapped a two-game skid. Cappie Pondexter scored 24 points for New York (4-5), which couldn’t hold a 10-point after Plenette Pierson hit an 18-footer with

3:40 left in the third quarter. DeSouza’s two free throws with 5:11 left put Atlanta ahead 73-72 and it never trailed again. She hit a 17-footer from the right baseline for an 83-78 lead as the shot clock was expiring with 45.7 seconds remaining. Lynx 101, Shock 71 TULSA, Oklahoma, Lindsay Whalen scored 13 of her 21 points in the second period and Candice Wiggins added 18 points as Minnesota cruised past Tulsa. Rebekkah Brunson and Taj

McWilliams-Franklin had 12 points each and Maya Moore scored 11 for the Lynx (6-3). Ivory Latta scored 13 points for Tulsa (1-9), finishing three shy of reaching 1,000 for her career. Kayla Pedersen scored 12 points, and Tiffany Jackson and Jennifer Lacy had 11 each. Minnesota outscored Tulsa 31-12 in the second quarter and led by 26 in the early minutes of the third. The Shock’s Sheryl Swoopes suffered a hamstring injury early in the game and did not return. She finished with five points in about 61/2 minutes. —AP



Pushy parents? Family knows best: Tomic LONDON: John Tomic’s passion for tennis and his family knows no bounds, occasionally landing him in hot water, but his methods have produced arguably the game’s next big thing and he says there is more to come. His 18-year-old son Bernard made a big splash at a rainy Wimbledon by reaching the quarter-finals but the coach and father reckons his daughter Sara could “dominate” tennis even more. “His sister is 13 and she will be better than him. She’s a better talent,” the burly Croatian, who moved his family to Australia from Germany in the 1990s said. “She’s number one in Australia for her age. She’s in the under-14 squad. I have people working with her and she’s in very good hands.” Sara must be good if she rivals Bernard, who became the youngest Wimbledon quarter-finalist since Boris Becker in 1986 and gave world number two Novak Djokovic a tough test before succumbing in four sets. “In the next one and a half to two years when Bernard is more physically complete, I think he will dominate. There will be more variety of shots which will be very hard for his opponents to read,” his dad said. Tennis players’ parents have long caused controversy. Jelena Dokic’s father, well-known on tour for his erratic behavior, once threatened to kidnap his daughter while Andre Agassi described his dad as “violent by nature” in his autobiography. Tomic’s father has clashed with former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt’s camp and once pulled his son off court in the middle of a match because of poor umpiring. Fellow Australian Pat Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, told Reuters of his concern over John Tomic’s approach. “Bernard’s dad has been a great support, which is important, but I don’t think in the long run it’s healthy,” he said. “His father’s been very driven, very pushy, and has rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way.” John just laughs off any criticism. “People can say what they want. 100 people, 100 different opinions. I know what I am doing and I will continue to improve Bernard as a player,” he declared. “We have to do something different than the rest of the world. If we are the same, where will we be?” BACK OFF Different, passionate, driven, call it what you want, John Tomic has clearly instilled a hunger to succeed in his children. “He’s coached me ever since I was a young kid and I started playing. Sooner or later he’ll back off a little bit,” Bernard told reporters. “As soon as I have done well and made myself the best player I can, then I think my dad can slip out. It could be one year away or four years away. I don’t know.” Tomic senior is not done yet despite his son’s thrilling run to the last eight, which will improve his ranking from 158 to around 72 and make him the new Australian number one in the process. “Family is the best thing for kids. That’s my rule. You’ll find many parents who have given their kids to coaches, but where are they now?,” John said. “Who else can you trust than your family?” he added, making real eye contact for the first time as a smile broke out on his face. In Tomic’s box against Djokovic was 2001 Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia and as the youngster was put through his paces in training there was no English being spoken. So do the Tomic family feel more Croatian than Australian? “In the blood we are Croatian but we are feeling 100 percent Australian. What’s in the blood is something else, we are so proud to be Australian. A very nice nation is behind us. We are lucky,” said Tomic senior. If Bernard Tomic continues his Wimbledon form elsewhere, he will have more than just one nation behind him. —Reuters

Sharapova and Kvitova face off Sharapova poised to reclaim Wimbledon crown LONDON: Maria Sharapova will attempt to complete her long journey back from the wilderness at Wimbledon today when she takes on Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova for the women’s singles crown. The 24-year-old Russian fifth seed is the overwhelming favorite to reclaim the title that she won for the first time in 2004, when as a fresh-faced teenager she took the All England Club by storm. Sharapova’s victory in SW19 seven years ago was followed by further Grand Slam titles at the Australian and US Opens by the time she turned 21, a period that also saw her rise to world number one. But Sharapova’s march to the summit of women’s tennis has been blown off course since 2007, when a serious shoulder injury led to a long lay-off which led many to wonder if she could ever be the same player. Yet this season has provided the first solid proof that Sharapova is ready once more to fulfill her vast potential, with a semi-final run at the French Open followed by her serene progress into the Wimbledon final. With Serena and Venus Williams showing signs of decline, Justine Henin retired and Kim Clijsters injured, there is a vacancy at the top of the women’s game that Sharapova looks equipped to fill. Sharapova admitted she had endured dark days in 2008 and 2009, when she was struggling back from shoulder surgery and she dropped out of the top 100. “There were doubts because I had many expectations on when I would come back. I set myself certain goals and I never really met any of them, to be honest,” she said. “So that was frustrating. “You’re going to have certain doubts when you go through something like that knowing that not too many players have recovered fully.” Sharapova insists however that quitting was never an option, and she remained driven by the memory of the glittering early years of her career. “I’m not really the type of person that ever gives up. Even though it was tough, I believed in myself,” she said. “I give a lot of credit to my team that was around me. It takes a good team to really keep you in high spirits. “I think when you know how good it feels to lift the big trophies, the ones you really want in your career, and when you know how good you can play ... I never had the interest of stopping. “I always felt like I had a lot better things in me.” Sharapova has yet to drop a set en route to this year’s final, and confidently disposed of the big-serving German wildcard Sabine Lisicki in the semi-final, winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. Sharapova is bracing for a sterner challenge from Kvitova in today’s final however, the 21-year-old Czech challenger who is appearing in a Grand Slam final for the first time. “I expect her to be a really tough opponent because she’s a really good grass court player,” said Sharapova, who won her only previous meeting with Kvitova on hard court at Memphis last year. “She’s also a lefty, which on grass is very tricky. It will be tough. She’s been playing really good tennis.” —AFP

Maria Sharapova

Petra Kvitova



Sharapova poised to reclaim Wimbledon crown


WIMBLEDON: Spain’s Rafael Nadal returns a shot during his men’s semifinal match against Britain’s Andy Murray (inset) at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon yesterday. — AP

Nadal shatters Murray’s dream again Djokovic gets No 1 ranking; Britain’s agony goes on LONDON: Defending champion Rafael Nadal reached his fifth Wimbledon final yesterday with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win over an outclassed Andy Murray, leaving British hopes of a first champion since 1936 in tatters. Top seed Nadal, the winner also in 2008, will take on Novak Djokovic in tomorrow’s final, the match given an extra edge by the Serb guaranteed to depose the Spaniard from the world number one spot. Second seeded Australian Open champion Djokovic, beaten only once in his last 50 matches, reached his first Wimbledon final with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-7 (9/11), 6-3 win over French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. For Murray, it was a third successive semifinal loss at the All England Club. But it came after he had enjoyed a storming start, forcing 10-time Grand Slam title winner Nadal onto the back foot before his challenge quickly imploded. Murray gave his fans a scare after just three games when he called for the trainer after suffering an early twinge in the right hip strain he suffered in his fourth round win over Feliciano Lopez.

But he was untroubled throughout the rest of the set where he easily looked the more assured of the two rivals despite carrying a 4-11 win-loss record against the great Spaniard into the semi-final. Serve dominated with Murray firing a 135mph ace to help him to a 6-5 lead before taking the opener in the 12th game. But then Murray’s challenge unraveled. The top seed carved out a first break point in the fifth game of the second set when Murray served up a double fault which he converted into a 3-2 lead when the Scot unleashed a wild smash. Nadal broke again to lead 5-2 and the match was level at a set apiece when a lazy Murray backhand sailed wide with Nadal having reeled off five games in succession. That soon became seven on the trot as Nadal claimed another break and a hold to lead 2-1 in the third set. Murray’s defenses were breached once more in the seventh game as Nadal went 5-2 ahead and the set was the Spaniard’s when the British fourth seed netted a forehand. Nadal was a break to the good to lead 2-0 in the fourth set and saved two break points in the fourth game

for 3-1. Murray saved a match point at 3-5 with his 13th ace, and another in the next but Nadal wrapped up the tie with another killer forehand. Djokovic makes Wimbledon final Novak Djokovic reached his first Wimbledon final and guaranteed himself the No 1 ranking by defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-7 (9), 6-3 yesterday in a match filled with diving shots by both players on Centre Court. Djokovic, a two-time Australian Open champion, improved his record to 47-1 this year. And although he won another yesterday, it was Tsonga who entertained the crowd with his tennis skills and showmanship. In the final, Djokovic will face either defending champion Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray. Djokovic will replace Nadal as the top-ranked player in the world on Monday, but reaching the final at the All England Club was the relief he was looking for after losing twice at the same stage. After Tsonga’s return on match point sailed out, Djokovic dropped to the ground and lay on his back. A few seconds later, he knelt down and kissed the grass. “It’s hard to express

your emotions in a very short time but hopefully some more celebrations are about to come,” said Djokovic, who also beat Tsonga in the 2008 Australian Open final. Djokovic started the season by winning 41 straight matches, but he lost to Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals. Since then, he is 60, with all those victories coming at the All England Club. “I’ve been working all my life for this,” Djokovic said. “I’ve been dreaming about playing the finals of Wimbledon since I started playing tennis when I was 4. To be able to be there tomorrow will probably be the best feeling.” Tsonga, however, didn’t make this one easy. The 12th-seeded Frenchman went to the turf several times to knock balls back over the net, some landing in and some going long. “This is the only surface you can really dive, because on the others, if you dive you go directly to the hospital,” Tsonga said. “So this is good.” Twice in the third set, both players went down on the same point. At 1-1 with Tsonga serving, the Frenchman dived to send the ball back toward Djokovic. —Agencies

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