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MONDAY, JULY 4, 2011


Healthcare in Venezuela not good enough for Chavez NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP-GETTY IMAGES

Supporters of Yingluck Shinawatra celebrate the landmark victory in Bangkok on Sunday.


OUSTED PREMIER’S SISTER SCORES LANDSLIDE WIN IN THAI ELECTIONS The Southeast Asian kingdom has been wracked by upheaval since 2006, when Thaksin was toppled in a military coup amid accusations of corruption and a rising popularity that some saw as a threat to the nation’s much-revered monarchy. The coup touched off a schism between the country’s haves and long-silent have-nots — pitting the marginalized rural poor who hailed Thaksin’s populism against an elite establishment bent on defending the status quo that sees him as a corrupt autocrat. Last year’s violent demonstrations by “Red Shirt” protesters — most of them Thaksin backers — and the subsequent crackdown marked the boiling over of those divisions. On Sunday, though, they played out at the ballot box


Associated Press


BANGKOK — The sister of Thailand’s fugitive former prime minister led his loyalists to a landslide election victory on Sunday, a stunning rout of the military-backed government that last year crushed protests by his supporters with a bloody crackdown that left the capital in flames. The results pave the way for Thaksin Shinawatra’s youngest sister, widely considered his proxy, to become the nation’s first female prime minister — if the coup-prone Thai army • TURN TO THAILAND, 2A accepts the results.



CARACAS — Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is on his fourth week in the hospital in Havana, raising this question back home: Why doesn’t he get cancer treatment in Caracas? “Because he knows he could die here!” said Alfonzo Linares, a security guard in Caracas. “What goes around comes around. He governed badly, giving away our riches to other countries. You can die in a hospital here. The health system is useless, so he had to run to Cuba.” To many experts, Chavez’s decision to stay behind in Havana to be treated for an unspecified cancer is a tacit admission that his efforts to rebuild the Venezuelan public healthcare system failed. Staying in Cuba and praising its medical care is at the same time a reaffirmation of his choice to create a parallel health system staffed with Cuban doctors, and a recognition that when it came to his own illness, Chavez had nowhere else to turn, experts say. For Venezuelan doctors, it underscores what the Caracas medical establishment has said for years: the country’s public health system is in shambles, and the Cuban-staffed clinics Chavez built have not fared much better. Chavez disappeared from public view nearly a month ago, when he fell ill during a visit to Cuba. • TURN TO CHAVEZ, 2A

Billions in treasure found in Indian temple BY SUNRITA SEN

Deutsche Press Agentur

NEW DELHI — Precious stones, jewelry, gold and silver estimated to be worth several billion dollars have been found in the secret underground vaults of an ancient temple in south India, a temple official said. An 18-foot necklace, 1,179.2 pounds of 18th century gold coins, diamond-studded plates, rubies and emeralds were found in the vaults of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala state, the Hindustan Times reported Saturday. The vaults were opened after the Supreme Court ordered the state

government to take over the temple’s assets from a trust controlled by the royal family of Travancore. A court-appointed panel is conducting an inventory of the vaults. The temple has six underground chambers, of which two are opened daily, and two twice a year. The two chambers opened on Thursday and Friday were last looked at about 130 years ago, the temple’s executive officer V.K. Harikumar said. The treasure recovered so far could be worth 500 billion rupees ($11 billion), the Hindustan Times quoted sources as saying. But Harikumar said the estimates were imaginary, and that the valuation would

be done by experts who would submit a report to the Supreme Court. The inspections at the temple began after the Supreme Court endorsed a Kerala High Court order asking the state government to take over the temple and its assets. The High Court order was given after a local lawyer filed a petition saying the temple should be taken over as the trust running it did not have the capacity to ensure adequate security for the temple’s assets. The temple was built in the 16th century by the kings of Travancore. The descendents of the royal family had appealed to the Supreme Court against the petition.

Love academy trying to repair legacy of French seduction BY A. CRAIG COPETAS Bloomberg News

debauched sexual reputation. For the former Club Med social director, etiquette is everything and Strauss-Kahn gets her dander up. “Dominique Strauss-Kahn is not a French lover,” is Corniola’s verdict. Strauss-Kahn has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors in Manhattan Friday said they agreed to release the French presidential hopeful and return his bail, while retaining his passport and not dismissing the case against him. Their investigation into the 32-year-old hotel housekeeper from Guinea is said to have raised doubts about her credibility. Still, his arrest on May 14 poisoned the French ideal of Romantic Nationalism. Sex in France is more than an indoor sport. It’s political. The United States’ national symbol is the bald eagle. The British have FRENCH ACADEMY OF SEDUCTION/BLOOMBERG NEWS a bull dog. France has Marianne, a Veronique Corniola, the woman with exotic breasts bared.

PARIS — The French Academy of Seduction costs $2,500 a semester and isn’t for the meek. “We need to make love,” director Veronique Corniola says. “It’s very good for a man. It’s also good for a woman. We just don’t know how to do it very well.” Learning to seduce and copulate correctly are the curricular cornerstones at the school that Corniola says has graduated some 3,000 students since it opened its doors in 1995 across the street from the Chanel boutique on Rue Cambon. Now, in the wake of former International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest in New York on charges of attempted rape, unlawful imprisonment and forcibly touching a hotel chambermaid, Corniola’s mission is to teach the world the protocols of foreplay and clean up France’s • TURN TO FRANCE, 2A


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director of the French Academy of Seduction.


At end, bin Laden wasn’t in charge, officials say BY SAEED SHAH

McClatchy News Service

that included at least nine women and twice that many children, its consumption of electricity and gas was far less than that of neighboring households, a sign either of bin Laden’s legendary frugality or an indication that the terrorist leader simply had run out of money and was living as cheaply as he could. How bin Laden survived undetected in the compound for perhaps as many as five years has been a source of speculation since U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the terrorist leader had been killed in a dramatic late-night televised speech from the White House. Abbottabad is a garrison town, populated by serving and retired military officers. Pakistan’s most prestigious military academy is less than a mile from the bin Laden compound, and the town is home to three Pakistani military bases. The emerging picture of bin Laden’s final years suggests that one way he may have escaped detection was by leaving as small a footprint as possible in the town. Far from the million-dollar mansion that U.S. officials initially said he’d been found in, the 12,400-square-foot house cost the equivalent of $100,800 to build, according to the contractor. The land on which it sits was assembled for about $48,000, according to records reviewed by McClatchy. The utilities provide yet another clue to how bin Laden may have escaped detection. By any measure, the compound was densely populated.

ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan — Osama bin Laden was out of touch with the younger generation of al Qaeda commanders, and they often didn’t follow his advice during the years he was in hiding in northern Pakistan, U.S. and Pakistani officials now say. Contradicting the assertions of some U.S. officials that bin Laden was running a “command and control” center from the walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, officials say that bin Laden clearly wasn’t in control of al Qaeda, though he was trying to remain involved or at least influential. “He was like the cranky old uncle that people weren’t listening to,” said a U.S. official, who’d been briefed on the evidence collected from the Abbottabad compound and who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “The younger guys had never worked directly with him. They did not take everything he said as right.” Nearly two months after bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs who raided his hideout in the early morning hours of May 2, a more detailed picture is emerging of how the world’s most wanted fugitive lived out his final years secreted in the walled compound in this town in the Himalayan foothills, where neighbors still deny ever having an inkling that he was there. One new detail, discovered by McClatchy Newspapers, is that the bin Laden household was buying and selling gold jewelry, perhaps as a way to raise money. Another is that for a household • TURN TO BIN LADEN, 2A


INDEX NEWS EXTRA .............3A THE AMERICAS ...........4A OPINION........................7A COMICS & PUZZLES .....6B

7/4/2011 3:44:44 AM


Economic recovery turns 2: Feeling better yet? BY PAUL WISEMAN Associated Press

WASHINGTON — This is one anniversary very few feel like celebrating. Two years after economists say the Great Recession ended, the recovery has been the weakest and most lopsided of any since the 1930s. After previous recessions, people in all income groups tended to benefit. This time, ordinary U.S. citizens are struggling with job insecurity, too much debt and pay raises that haven’t kept up with prices at the grocery store and gas station. The economy’s meager gains are going mostly to the wealthiest. Workers’ wages and benefits make up 57.5 percent of the economy, an all-time low. Until the mid2000s, that figure had been remarkably stable — about 64 percent through boom and bust alike. Executive pay is included in this figure, but rank-and-file workers are far more dependent on regular wages and benefits. A big chunk of the economy’s gains has gone to investors in the form of higher corporate profits. “The spoils have really gone to capital, to the shareholders,” says David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates in Toronto. Corporate profits are up by almost half since the recession ended in June 2009. In the first two years after the recessions of 1991 and 2001, profits rose 11 percent and 28 percent, respectively. And an Associated Press analysis found that the typical chief executive of a major company earned $9 million last year, up a fourth from 2009. Driven by higher profits, the Dow Jones industrial average has staged a breathtaking 90 percent rally since bottoming at 6,547 on March 9, 2009. Those stock market gains go disproportionately to the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. citizens, who own more than 80 percent of outstanding stock, according to an analysis by Edward Wolff, an economist at Bard College. But if the Great Recession is long gone from Wall Street and corporate boardrooms, it lingers on Main Street: l Unemployment has never been so high — 9.1 percent — this long after any recession since World War II. At the same point after the previous three recessions, unemployment averaged just 6.8 percent. l The average worker’s hourly wages, after accounting for inflation, were 1.6 percent lower in May than a year earlier. Rising gasoline and food prices have devoured any pay raises for most U.S. citizens. l The jobs that are being created pay less than the ones that vanished in the recession. Higher-paying jobs in the private sector, the ones TURN TO RECOVERY, 2B


Greek default prevented but outlook still fragile BY GABRIELE STEINHAUSER Associated Press

BRUSSELS — Greece has been pulled back from impending default when eurozone finance ministers signed off on a vital loan installment. But the country’s international creditors are showing more concern over whether it can service its debt in the long run. Athens will get a ¤12 billion ($17.39 billion) tranche of its existing ¤110 billion rescue package by July 15, in time to meet several bond

repayment deadlines this month and next, the finance ministers of the 17 countries that share the euro said in a statement Saturday evening. The eurozone and the International Monetary Fund will also continue to prop up Greece’s struggling economy in the coming years, with a second package of aid loans to be finalized by September. While Saturday’s renewed commitments save Greece from immediate collapse, even its international creditors — long the biggest opti-

mists on the country’s prospects — are warning that getting down a debt of 160 percent of economic output will be a difficult balancing act. “The Greek government debt will remain for many years at a high level and, therefore, subject to possible adverse developments that cannot be predicted,” the European Commission, the EU’s executive and one of the three institutions in charge of Greece’s bailout, said in a report published Saturday.

Especially lower than expected economic growth “would put the debt trajectory on a clearly unsustainable upward path”, the commission said. In an illustration showing several scenarios for Greece’s debt load, growth of just 1 percentage point below expectations would leave Greece’s debt around 170 percent of gross domestic product past 2020, with the graph TURN TO GREECE, 2B

Airports lose revenue as travelers shun carts BY HUGO MARTIN

Los Angeles Times Service

Castelfidardo has continued to shift its focus to quality from quantity. That has allowed the town to sustain a key industry, though in a much diminished form. “Our accordions are like bespoke apparel,” said Francesca Pigini, a top manager for the company her grandfather started in 1946.

LOS ANGELES — The rolling revolution in suitcases is idling airline terminal luggage carts — costing airports and cart rental companies millions of dollars in lost revenue. The demand for airport luggage carts, which has been steadily declining with the growing popularity of wheeled luggage, has dropped further now that airline baggage fees are forcing passengers to travel lighter. At Los Angeles International Airport, cart rentals once provided at least $2.75 million in annual revenue. Now, the airport is losing nearly $1 million a year under a deal that obligates it to provide free carts to foreign travelers. The same scenario is playing out across the country. Airports in New York; Tampa, Fla.; Seattle; Phoenix and Las Vegas are among those saying cart concessions either aren’t the cash cows they used to be or have turned from a source of income to an expense. “That is the nationwide trend: More and more people don’t use luggage carts,” said Sven Stohn, chief executive of Bagport Group, which runs cart rentals at airports in Philadelphia, Boston and Phoenix. “Through the past two years, I think revenue has dropped up to 23 percent.” Easy-rolling luggage and airline baggage fees get most of the blame. Wheels have been on suitcases for decades, but the design took off after Northwest Airlines pilot Bob Plath came up with the idea for a suitcase in 1987 with built-in wheels and an extendable tow handle. “All of our luggage has wheels on them, except the small carryon bags,” said Stephanie Goldman, a spokeswoman for Samsonite, one of the world’s largest luggage manufacturers. And now that passengers are packing fewer belongings to avoid airline baggage fees, travelers say it is largely unnecessary to pay between $3 and $5 to rent airport luggage carts. Jim Slade of Huntington Beach, Calif., recently flew from Los Angeles to Montana to visit friends for five days. There was a time when he





An accordion player serenades tourists and residents in Castelfidardo, Italy. BY ELISABETTA POVOLEDO New York Times Service

CASTELFIDARDO, Italy — Jetlagged but determined, Salomon Salcedo thought nothing of trekking to this small hilltop town in the Marches region on a muggy June afternoon to satisfy a lifelong desire: buy a made-in-Castelfidardo accordion. “They’re the best,” said Salcedo, 50, a policy officer in Chile for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, who began playing the accordion when he was a child. “You won’t find them in stores; they have to be made to order,” said Salcedo, who was combining the visit with a work trip to Rome. “And this is the place to come.” For some people, the idea of traveling almost 7,500 miles for one purchase may seem extreme. For accordion makers in Castelfidardo, it is a common occurrence. Ask around and prepare to be regaled with stories of delegations of Frenchmen, Argentines and other aficionados traveling to this town just south of the Adriatic port of Ancona to buy a bit of Italian industrial excellence. Just after World War II, when entire accordion orchestras were


Francesca Pigini, a top manager for manufacturer Pigini, demonstrates her company’s accordion in Castelfidardo. fixtures in the festivities of Italian immigrants to the United States, Castelfidardo churned out its prize product by the tens of thousands. Now, years after the electric guitar became the instrument of choice in popular music — people here still point to Elvis Presley and the Beatles as their economic nemeses — and the production of basic models largely moved to Asia,

We knew chief executives got fat raises, but this? BY PRADNYA JOSHI

New York Times Service

It turns out that the good times are even better than we thought for chief executives in the United States. A preliminary examination of executive pay in 2010, based on data available as of April 1, found that the paychecks for top executives in the United States were growing again, after shrinking during the 2008-09 recession. But that study, conducted for The New York Times by Equilar, an executive compensation data firm based in Redwood City, Calif., was just an early snapshot, and there were even more riches to come. Some big companies had not yet disclosed their executive compensation. So Sunday Business asked Equilar to run the numbers again. Brace yourself. The final figures show that the median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million.

That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009. The earlier study had put the median pay at a none-too-shabby $9.6 million, up 12 percent. Total chief executive pay hasn’t quite returned to its heady, pre-recession levels — but it certainly seems headed there. Despite the soft economy, weak home prices and persistently high unemployment, some top executives are already making more than they were before the economy soured. Pay skyrocketed last year because many companies brought back cash bonuses, says Aaron Boyd, head of research at Equilar. Cash bonuses, as opposed to those awarded in stock options, jumped by an astounding 38 percent, the final numbers show. Granted, many U.S. corporations did well last year. Profits were up substantially. As a result, many companies are sharing the wealth, at least with their executives. “We’re seeing a lot of that reflected in the pay,” Boyd says.

And at a time of so much tumult in the media business, it might be surprising that some executives in media and communications were among the most richly rewarded last year. The preliminary and final studies put Philippe P. Dauman, chief executive of Viacom, at the top of the list. Dauman made $84.5 million last year, after signing a new long-term contract that included one-time stock awards. Some of the other highly paid executives on the new list who were not in the April survey are Gregg W. Steinhafel of Target, who had a $23.5 million pay package; Michael E. Szymanczyk of Altria, $20.77 million; and Richard C. Adkerson of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, $35.3 million. Most ordinary U.S. citizens aren’t getting raises anywhere close to those of these chief executives. Many aren’t getting raises at all — or even regular pay-

checks. Unemployment is still stuck at more than 9 percent. In some ways, chief executives seem to live in a world apart when it comes to pay. As long as shareholders think that the top brass is doing a good job, executives tend to be well paid, whatever the state of the broader economy. And some corporate boards were probably particularly TURN TO CEO PAY, 2B


Edition 04 July 2011