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Yearning for respect, Arabs find a voice BY ANTHONY SHADID

New York Times Service

BEIRUT — In Yemen, the chants invoked Tunisia, a continent away. A Lebanese newspaper declared that all of the Middle East was watching Egypt. A long-dead North African poet’s most famous poem has become the anthem of a moment. Since Sept. 11, 2001, conflict has pitted the West against the Arab world, as war in Iraq and Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Bush administration’s policies forged grander narratives of “them against us.” Last week, as more protests erupted in Yemen, Jordan and Egypt and as the United States remained largely on the sidelines, the struggle in the Middle East became firmly about “us.” For the first time in a generation, it is not religion, nor the adventures of a single leader, nor wars with Israel that have energized the region. Across Egypt and the Middle East, a somewhat nostalgic notion of a common Arab identity, intersecting with a visceral sense of what amounts to a decent life, is driving protests that have bound the region in a sense of a shared destiny. “The experience of Tunisia will remain the guiding light for Egypt and may be so for people in Yemen, Sudan and the rest of the Arab world looking for change, with a readiness to accept risk, especially given that even the worst possibilities are better than the status quo,” Talal Salman, the editor of Al Safir, wrote Friday. A chant in Egypt put it more bluntly, playing on the longstanding chants of Islamists that “Islam is the solution.” “Tunisia,” they shouted, “is the solution.” Unlike Eastern Europe, whose old order dissolved with breathtaking speed in 1989, Arab countries are distinct in their ideologies and governments, though they often share the same complaints of their citizens and some degree of support by the United States.


CRUCIAL ROLE: Military vehicles blocking a street in Cairo on Sunday. Egypt appears to be swiftly moving to a point at which it either dissolves into chaos or the military expands its presence and control of the streets.

As army struggles to contain chaos, opposition group backs Nobel laureate POPULAR: Egyptian Nobel Peace laureate and democracy advocate Mohamed ElBaradei addressing protesters at Tahrir Square in Cairo on Sunday.


New York Times Service

CAIRO — The Egyptian uprising, which emerged as a disparate and spontaneous grassroots movement, began to coalesce Sunday, as the largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, threw its support behind leading secular opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei to negotiate on behalf of the forces seeking the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. As the army struggled to hold a capital seized by fears of chaos and buoyed by euphoria that three decades of Mubarak’s rule may be coming to an end, the new alliance reconfigured the struggle between the government and the six-day-old uprising. Though lacking deep support on his own, ElBaradei, a Nobel laureate, could serve as consensus figure for a movement that has struggled to articulate a program for a potential transition. In scenes as tumultuous as any since the uprising began, ElBaradei defied a government curfew and joined thousands of protesters in Liberation Square, a down-

At Haiti port, desperately needed aid just lies there BY FRANCES ROBLES

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Water filtration tanks that would provide orphans with clean water during a cholera epidemic have been stuck at Haiti’s main port since Nov. 22, hostage to customs red tape. They’re joined by 700 dustcovered automobiles and at least six ambulances shipped by nonprofit groups. Two donated rescue vehicles have been there for nearly a year. “You spend days and days getting some paper customs asked for, and then they come up with something else,” said Chad Walsh of Grassroots United, a small aid organization that needs the 450 water filters for an orphan de-worming program. Haiti’s struggle to recover from last January’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake has been hamstrung by a massive bottleneck at customs. To some, the culprit is corruption, and the solution is to grease the right palms to get products moving to their intended destinations. But to others it’s not that simple. Haiti has a culture of bureaucratic inefficiency that has been overwhelmed by a tidal wave of incoming charitable goods. • TURN TO HAITI, 2A n Clinton visits crisis-ridden Haiti, 3A

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town landmark that has become the center of the uprising and a platform for the frustrations, ambitions and resurgent pride of a

who surged toward him in a square festooned with banners calling for Mubarak’s fall. “We have restored our rights, restored our freedom and what have begun cannot be reversed.” ElBaradei declared it a “new era,” and there were few in Egypt who would disagree. More than at any point since the uprising began, the turmoil on Sunday seemed perched between two deepening narratives: a vision of impending anarchy offered by the government, and echoed by Egyptians fearing chaos, against the perspective of protesters that the uprising had become, as they described it in a list of demands posted in Liberation Square on Sunday, “a popular revolution.” The military, the country’s most powerful institution, reinforced parts of the capital, gathering as many as 100 tanks and armored carriers at the Tomb of KHALIL HAMRA/AP the Unknown Soldier, the site where President Anwar Sadat generation claiming the coun- was assassinated in 1981, bringtry’s mantle. ing Mubarak to power. “Today we are proud of Egyptians,” ElBaradei told throngs • TURN TO EGYPT, 6A


Jacqueline Kennedy’s hat a missing piece of history tion; it includes the fabric of his top hat (beaver fur) down to his shoe size (10C). But missing and hardly mentioned are what could be the two most famous remnants of Kennedy’s last day. The pink suit, bloodstained and perfectly preserved in a vault in Maryland, is banned from public display for 100 years. The pillbox hat — removed at Parkland Hospital while Kennedy waited for doctors to confirm what she already knew — is lost, last known to be in the hands of her personal secretary, who won’t discuss its whereabouts.


Los Angeles Times Service

A FATEFUL DAY: U.S. President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy arrive at Dallas’ Love Field airport. The president was assassinated that day in downtown Dallas.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In the United States’ collective memory, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is a clash of images and mysteries that may never be sorted out to the satisfaction of everyone. But if there is a lasting emblem that sums up Nov. 22, 1963, the day the nation tumbled from youthful idealism to hollow despair, it is Jacqueline Kennedy’s rose pink suit and pillbox hat. An expanded collection of Kennedy treasures and trivia was unveiled this month on exhibit and online to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his inaugura- • TURN TO KENNEDY, 2A


Black? White? Asian? More in U.S. choose all of the above BY SUSAN SAULNY

New York Times Service

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In another time or place, the game of “What Are You?” that was played one night last fall at the University of Maryland might have been mean or menacing: Laura Wood’s peers were picking apart her every feature in an effort to guess her race. “How many mixtures do you have?” one young man asked above the chatter of about 50 students.


With her tan skin and curly brown hair, Wood’s ancestry could have spanned the globe. “I’m mixed with two things,” she said politely. “Are you mulatto?” asked Paul Skym, another student, using a word once tinged with shame that is enjoying a comeback in some young circles. When Wood confirmed that she is indeed black and white, Skym, who is Asian and white, boasted, “Now that’s what I’m talking about!”


Then the group of friends — formally, the Multiracial and Biracial Student Association — erupted into laughter and cheers, a routine show of their mixed-race pride. The crop of students moving through college now includes the largest group of mixed-race people ever to come of age in the United States, and they are only the vanguard: The country is in the midst of a demographic shift driven by immigration and intermarriage.

One in seven new marriages is between spouses of different races or ethnicities, according to data from 2008 and 2009 that was analyzed by the Pew Research Center. Multiracial and multiethnic U.S. citizens (usually grouped together as “mixed race”) are one of the country’s fastest-growing demographic groups. • TURN TO RACE, 2A


INDEX NEWS EXTRA............... 3A U.S. NEWS..................... 5A OPINION....................... 7A COMICS & PUZZLES.. 6B

1/31/2011 4:23:34 AM






Vital aid gathering dust at Haitian port • HAITI, FROM 1A

The government defends the delays, arguing that some alleged donations are actually intended for sale but disguised as aid by opportunists who hope to maximize profits by avoiding Haiti’s enormous import fees. And so, desperately needed goods sit at the port while reconstruction stalls and people get sick and die. Whether due to corruption or ineptitude, Grassroots United learned that getting water filters into Haiti is not as easy as it sounds. “They wanted an invoice showing the monetary value,” Walsh said. “We got that; it had a black speck on it from the printer, so the guy at customs said: ‘Hmmm. I don’t know if this is going to work.’ ” Oxfam, the British aid organization, had eight cars stuck in customs for a full year. On Wednesday, Broward County-based Great Commission Alliance finally received 40 utility poles donated by FPL to bring power to a village. They had arrived in Haiti three months earlier. The 48 bunk beds the church group sent for its Mirebalais orphanage sat in customs for four and a half months until a $6,000 fee was paid last week, despite its 10-year history as a nonprofit group in Haiti. “We want to pay taxes, but how much should it be?” said Homestead pastor Marcel Baptiste, a missionary. “If you bring a car, they want to charge you 48 percent of the price. They wanted to charge us $20,000 for a loader that was given to us for $1.”

Aid agencies routinely pay steep storage fees for the time the “duty free” items gathers dust at customs during the haggling. Baptiste’s group paid seven grand to get the loader out. Great Commission Alliance’s founder, Weston pastor Brian Kelso, calls the charges the “extortion tax.” “If Haiti gets $10 billion in aid, I would say anywhere from 1 to 5 percent of that is going straight to corruption,” said Kelso, who spent so much time doing quake relief last year that he contracted malaria and lost portions of both feet. He estimates that his organization paid $30,000 in extra customs taxes last year alone. “That money is in the pocket of a small and elite group of people,” Kelso said. Customs director Jean Jacques Valentin becomes irate at the suggestion of corruption and indicated that many organizations are profiting from donations. “I spent all of 2010 explaining the customs process. I am not going to spend any more time trying to defend it,” Valentin said. “This is a public operation that is a service, which has rules and regulations which need to be respected.” The Haitian government estimates that the Jan. 12 quake killed up to 300,000 people and in the early months destroyed 65 percent of Haiti’s commerce and 85 percent of its tax receipts. Haiti’s government was largely financed through port tariffs, which were among the highest in the Caribbean. Its corruption index was


STUCK IN THEIR TRACKS: Dust blankets hundreds of vehicles and other machinery at a lot inside the port at Haiti’s capital. It can take months for material to get moving to its intended destination. also rated by Transparency International as among the world’s highest. Months after the quake, the country was eager to return to normalcy, when the majority of items being sent to the country were not taxfree donations. According to a trade analysis done for The Miami Herald by Datamyne, a Miami company that has the largest searchable trade database in the world, a third of the $504 million in goods exported to Haiti from the Miami customs district the first 10 months of 2010 were charitable goods. Soon after the quake, Haitian authorities began to suspect that disaster relief agencies were using their taxfree status to ship items they

planned to sell. “They come here to make money,” Valentin said. “People are profiting from this country’s problems. They are liars. Can they explain the money they are spending or stealing?” Port director Joseph Alcime Henry said many people blame the port for delays that are outside its control. “You say, ‘You have to pay this amount,’ and people say, ‘What? I am not paying! I have no money,’ ” Henry said. “They ship something that’s worth $10, and they make a customs declaration that says $1.” It’s all about haggling, said Chuck McCune, founder of Prizm Foundation, a New Mexico charity. “The government is underfunded and needs to get as many dollars possible from

every box,” McCune said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s nefarious. You have government officials going around in beat-up trucks and on foot seeing all these brand new trucks coming in, thinking: ‘Wait a minute. We can’t even get a ride to the clinic!’ ” His community’s donation of a school bus filled with clothes and food took several months and cost $5,800 to release, McCune said. Small organizations like his say they feel the brunt of the delays, because they have less experience and influence. Like many groups, Prizm has tried for months to become a registered nongovernmental organization in Haiti, which brings with it duty-free status. But even the largest emer-

gency response organizations that are registered in Haiti report the same difficulties, and are hit up for steep fees. “We have had cars sit there for months,” said Red Cross spokeswoman Julie Sell. “Sometimes the problem is the license plate, so they let them out but don’t let us drive them. Of course, there’s always various requests for money.” Henry, the port director, said all requests for money are official fees. The system is computerized, and it would be too difficult for a single person to hit a shipper up for a bribe, he said. “We don’t work in cash,” he said. “We work with checks.” He acknowledged that the port operates with 300 employees when it used to have 1,000. Most of those former workers, he said, were political ghost jobs. Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said it’s unfair to paint the entire system as corrupt. Haitian law requires organizations to be working in Haiti for at least a year before they can enjoy nonprofit status. “A lot of people are coming to Haiti but only to have a one-time business,” he said. “They come with a truck, they come with a container, and they want to have all of the benefits of an NGO here.” Bellerive said many of the complaints about red tape are false. “In many instances where we were directly involved, we learned that in a lot of cases, they didn’t have the first documentation necessary to introduce the product or goods or container into the country,” Bellerive said.

U.S. mixed-race populace accelerating Kennedy’s pink hat • RACE, FROM 1A

Experts expect the racial results of the 2010 census, which will start to be released next month, to show the trend continuing or accelerating. Many young adults of mixed backgrounds are rejecting the color lines that have defined Americans for generations in favor of a much more fluid sense of identity. Ask Michelle Lopez-Mullins, a 20-year-old junior and the president of the Multiracial and Biracial Student Association, how she marks her race on forms like the census, and she says, “It depends on the day, and it depends on the options.” They are also using the strength in their growing

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numbers to affirm roots that were once portrayed as tragic or pitiable. “I think it’s really important to acknowledge who you are and everything that makes you that,” said Wood, the 19-year-old vice president of the group. “If someone tries to call me black I say, ‘yes — and white.’ People have the right not to acknowledge everything, but don’t do it because society tells you that you can’t.” Optimists say the blending of the races is a step toward transcending race, to a place where the United States is free of bigotry, prejudice and programs like affirmative action. Pessimists say that a more powerful multiracial movement will lead to more

stratification and come at the expense of the number and influence of other minority groups, particularly African-Americans. And some sociologists say that grouping all multiracial people together glosses over differences in circumstances between someone who is, say, black and Latino, and someone who is Asian and white. Along those lines, it is telling that the rates of intermarriage are lowest between blacks and whites, indicative of the enduring economic and social distance between them. Rainier Spencer, author of Reproducing Race: The Paradox of Generation Mix, says, “The mixed-race identity is not a transcendence of race; it’s a new tribe,” he

said. “A new balkanization of race.” But for many of the University of Maryland students, that is not the point. They are asserting their freedom to identify as they choose. “All society is trying to tear you apart and make you pick a side,” Wood said. “I want us to have a say.” Starting with the 2000 census, U.S. citizens were allowed to mark one or more races, and 7 million people — about 2.4 percent of the population — reported being more than one race. According to estimates from the Census Bureau, the mixed-race population has grown by roughly 35 percent since 2000.

a missing piece of U.S. history • KENNEDY, FROM 1A

Does it matter? Should it? It’s said that history takes a generation to decant and great chapters are defined by the trappings of everyday life: a stovepipe hat, a pair of polio braces. Kennedy could not have imagined the outfit she put on that morning would come to epitomize the essence of Camelot and the death of it. “The single symbol of that event and of her as a persona is that pink suit,” said Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a first ladies historian. “It’s all anyone need see and, in an instant, people know what it is in reference to.” All that day, her clothing bore witness to history. Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent assigned to protect the first lady, remembered resting his hands on the suit’s trembling shoulders, the left side of the skirt wet with blood where she had cradled her husband’s head. Lady Bird Johnson, wife of Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who was riding in the motorcade’s third car, recalled for investigators her memory of Secret Service agents frantic to get the president inside Parkland Hospital while his wife bent over him, refusing to let go: “I cast one last look over my shoulder and saw, in the president’s car, a bundle of pink, just like a drift of blossoms, lying on the back seat.” Somewhere inside the hospital, the hat came off. “While standing there I was handed Jackie’s pillbox hat and couldn’t help noticing the strands of her hair beneath the hat pin. I could almost visualize her yanking it from her head,” Mary Gallagher, the first lady’s personal secretary who accompanied her to Dallas, later wrote in her memoir. Despite urgings from staff and handlers to “clean up her appearance,” Kennedy refused to get out of her bloodied clothes, according to biographer William Manchester’s detailed account of the assassination, The Death of a President.

“Why not change?” one aide prompted. “Another dress?” the president’s personal physician suggested. Kennedy shook her head hard. “No, let them see what they’ve done.” Despite the chaos, aides managed to secure virtually all of the Kennedys’ belongings back at the White House by nightfall. The pink hat seemed to hopscotch from Dallas to Washington, according to Manchester’s account. There it was in a heavy paper sack, cradled in the arms of one of the president’s baggage handlers aboard Air Force One. While Kennedy accompanied the coffin to Bethesda Naval Hospital for the autopsy, the hat made its way to the executive mansion. A White House policeman handed it to Robert Foster, the agent assigned to protect the Kennedy children. Foster, who died in 2008, told Manchester he took the bag to the Map Room and opened it, immediately recognizing the contents. Kennedy returned to her private quarters of the White House in the early morning hours of Nov. 23. She took off the suit and bathed. Her maid, Providencia Paredes, told Manchester that she put the clothing in a bag and hid it. But sometime in the next six months, a box arrived at the National Archives’ downtown headquarters, where such treasures as the Constitution and Bill of Rights are kept. In it was the suit, blouse, handbag and shoes, even her stockings, along with an unsigned note on the letterhead stationery of Janet Auchincloss, Kennedy’s mother: “Jackie’s suit and bag worn Nov. 22, 1963.” No hat. The whereabouts of the hat is a little-known mystery no one is working to solve; Kennedy historians contacted for this story were surprised to learn it’s missing. They suspect it was sold to a private collector, or stuck away in somebody’s attic, lost to the nation, a hole in history.

1/31/2011 3:43:15 AM






No plans to halt aid to Haiti, Clinton says


REIGNITING THE SPIRIT: Shankaranarayanan Akkithiripadu, left, teaches the chants for an ancient fire ritual in Kerala, India.

New money reviving India’s old traditions BY RAMA LAKSHMI

Washington Post Service

MUNDUR, India — For dozens of centuries, Hindu priests have performed an elaborate 12-day fire ritual, chanting hymns, making offerings to the sun god and praying for a world free of negative energy. The tradition faded in modern times, and pious Hindus fear it could die out as young Indians embrace a Western lifestyle and a culture of lavish spending. But in this rapidly modernizing country, new money is also reviving old traditions. A group of mostly urban professionals has teamed up to help conduct the fire ritual this spring in a village that last witnessed it 35 years ago. “We want to do our bit to ensure that Indian culture survives,” said Neelakantan Pillai, a banker and member of the newly formed Varthathe Trust, which is organizing the event. “In the new, emerging India, people are ready to open their wallets, write checks for such efforts.” LINKING GLOBALIZATION AND GOD Across India, wealthy professionals are expressing a newfound pride in the past, and using their money to preserve it. Minor Hindu festivals are now being celebrated in big cities, thanks to corporate sponsorships. The chief of India’s largest informationtechnology company, Infosys, donated more than $5 million to Harvard University for a project on Indian classical literature. Urban Indians are downloading Sanskrit religious verses as cellphone ring tones. Some of the endeavors, analysts say, are building a critical bridge between globalization and God. Only two old men in the lush-green southern state of Kerala still know how to perform athiratram, perhaps the world’s oldest and longest religious fire ritual. Every morning, Shankaranarayanan Akkithiripadu, a frail 77-year-old, smears sandalwood paste and ash on his forehead and arms, and ties his thin, gray hair into a tiny tuft above his left ear. He then begins teaching chants to young men, rushing to pass the tradition on before April, when the event will be held in the village of Panjal. “This is the most supreme and the most difficult of all Vedic rituals,” he said. “It cannot be learned from watching videos or hearing CDs.” Vedas, which means “knowledge” in Sanskrit, are Hinduism’s oldest sacred scriptures. They comprise tens of thousands of hymns that describe the worship of nature, performance of rituals and the mysteries of existence. Athiratram and other rituals have been transmitted orally over centuries to a chosen few — from teacher to pupil, or father to son in the elite Brahmin community, the highest group among India’s rigid, vertical social hierarchy. Today, only 10 Brahmin families in Kerala are eligible to conduct this ritual, Akkithiripadu said. The village last witnessed the ritual in 1975 when a U.S. professor raised money around the world to revive it. Frits Staal, a professor of South and Southeast Asian studies at the University of California at Berkeley, filmed the event and wrote a book about it. Before Staal’s arrival, athiratram was conducted in private by a clutch of Brahmin families. BREAKING SOCIAL BARRIERS “For the first time, it was opened to outsiders, not just foreigners but also Indians of all castes,” said Sivakaran Namboodiri, a doctor who will be one of the chanters in April. Back then, the event was funded by the Smithsonian Institution, the National Endowment for the Humanities and Western universities. But this year, the money — more than $200,000 — will be raised in India. Staal and a team of Harvard students are expected to attend. A large altar will be prepared in the shape of a bird, dedicated to the ageless god of fire, Namboodiri said. Animals will be sacrificed, but only symbolically. Milk, butter, fragrant leaves, medicinal twigs and rice will be poured into the fire. The stage will be set ablaze as an offering as the ritual ends. The elders say that each time athiratram is performed, an unseasonable rain occurs and an eagle glides over the site. Priests say that athiratram is difficult to perform. The chief conductor must survive on milk, fruit and wheat during the 12 days. He cannot scratch himself, or shave or speak to anybody. He must keep his fists closed tightly for the entire period; they are pried open with hot water and clarified butter after the ritual. The fire must be lit by rubbing two pieces of wood from a special tree against each other. Sometimes it takes hours to stoke a flame. On the 11th day, priests believe that all the gods and goddesses come down from heaven to listen to the chanting of a special hymn. “If it goes wrong, the main priest at the ritual will die the following year,” Akkithiripadu said. “It is the ultimate ritual for chanters like us.”

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PORT-AU-PRINCE — (AP) — The United States has no plans to halt aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti in spite of a crisis over who will be the Haiti’s next leader but does insist that the president’s chosen successor be dropped from the race, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday. Clinton arrived Sunday in the impoverished Caribbean nation for a brief visit. She was scheduled to meet with Haiti’s President Rene Preval and each of the three candidates jockeying to replace him. Only two candidates can go on to the delayed second round, now scheduled for March 20. The United States is backing an Organization of American States recommendation that the candidate from Preval’s party, government construction official Jude Celestin, should be left out. The top U.S. official at the United Nations, Susan Rice, said recently that “sustained support” from the United States required the OAS recommendations be implemented. Many Haitian officials, including leaders of Preval’s

Unity party and rival candidate Michel Martelly, interpreted that to mean the United States was threatening an embargo and cutting off aid. Clinton flatly rebuffed that suggestion. “We’re not talking about any of that,” she said Sunday. “We have a deep commitment to the Haitian people,” she told reporters. “That goes to humanitarian aid, that goes to governance and democracy programs, that will be going to a cholera treatment center.” Asked if there were any set of circumstances that would prompt Washington to cut off aid, Clinton said, “At this point, no.” Still, she insisted that the United States would press the recommendations by international monitors after a disorganized, fraud-ridden first-round presidential vote in November. They determined that Preval’s preferred successor, Celestin, finished last and should drop out. Celestin has yet to do so. “We’re focused on helping the Haitian people,” Clinton said ahead of the meetings. “One of the ways we want to help them is by making sure

that their political choices are respected.” Haiti is in a deepening and potentially destabilizing political crisis. The announcement of preliminary results from the disputed first round led to rioting in December. Final results are expected to be announced Wednesday. Just five days after, on Feb. 7, comes the constitutional end of Preval’s five-year term. A law passed by an expiring Senate last May would allow him to remain in power for an extra three months, but it is not clear if his government would continue to be recognized by donor countries. But Preval has said he does not want to hand power to an interim government. “That’s one of the problems we have to talk about,” Clinton said. “There are issues of a continuing government, how that can be structured. And that’s what I’m going to be discussing.” Acknowledging the tight time frame for Haiti, she said she wanted to hear ideas on how Haiti’s transition should be handled but then make her own assessment on the best way forward.

The political crisis comes as the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation tries to restart its economy after decades of stifling poverty and unemployment, and the massive loss of life and infrastructure in last year’s earthquake. Hundreds of thousands of people remain in homeless camps and major rebuilding has not started. Underlying issues such as land-tenure reform and the development and reconstruction of government institutions have barely been addressed. Massive piles of rubble and collapsed buildings remain throughout the capital. Meanwhile, a cholera epidemic that started outside the quake zone and has killed more than 4,000 people continues to rage. Clinton visited a tented treatment center Sunday. She said reconstruction has been steady “but not adequate to the task that we are confronting.” “The problems are significant,” Clinton told the pool of reporters traveling with her. “Like what do you do with all the rubble? It’s a really big problem.”

U.S. report calls Iraq’s forces incapable BY LARA JAKES

Associated Press

and Baghdad, U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year. The Obama administration would consider keeping some troops in Iraq beyond the Dec. 31 deadline, but only if Iraqi leaders ask for them. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has said Iraqi security forces are able to protect the nation, and does not believe foreign forces will be needed after this year. But Iraq’s top military officer, Gen. Babaker Shawkat Zebari, said U.S. troops should stay for up to another decade to help secure the country’s borders from invaders.

More than 200 Iraqis — mostly security forces and Shiites — have been killed in insurgent attacks over the last two weeks that underscore the country’s continuing instability. Still, the report warns that a lack of electricity, water and sewage pose one of the greatest threats to Iraq’s shaky peace. “The lack of sufficient basic services will be the most likely cause of future instability in Iraq,” it said, adding that power demands likely won’t be met until 2014 at the earliest. A two-month study of Iraq’s basic services, politics

and government, economy and legal systems in each of the nation’s provinces found widespread instability in almost every area. Additionally, the return of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al Sadr to Iraq also poses “a major challenge for the new government,” the report found, noting that the firebrand populist controls a commanding chunk of parliament lawmakers. “This significant political power places him in a position to demand policy concessions from Prime Minister al Maliki,” it concluded.

BAGHDAD — Without more help — and quickly — Iraqi security forces may not be able to protect the fragile nation from insurgents and invaders after U.S. troops leave at the end of the year, according to a U.S. report released Sunday. The semiannual report by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction also cites data by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad showing that the nation’s government, economy, legal systems and basic services like electricity and water remain unstable. The 156-page report forecasts a dim outlook at best for Iraq’s near future as the United States steps back after nearly eight years of war and billions of dollars in aid. It largely blames corruption in Iraq’s military and police forces for wasted resources and bad planning in running its bases and maintaining its equipment. Congress is still weighing how much money to give Iraqi forces this year. “Several U.S. observers noted real or potential gaps in Iraqi security forces capabilities that could affect its ability to lock in hard-won security gains,” the report concluded. “The U.S. faces the choice of making additional investments to fill essential gaps in Iraqi security forces capabilities or accept the risk that they will fall short of being able to fully secure Iraq from internal and external threats KHALID MOHAMMED/AP by the time U.S. forces UNCERTAINTY: People inspect a destroyed car at the scene of a bomb attack on depart.” Under the security agree- Thursday in Baghdad. More than 200 Iraqis have been killed in insurgent attacks ment between Washington over the last two weeks that underscore the country’s continuing instability.

U.S. says Pakistan illegally holding diplomat BY KARIN BRULLIARD

Washington Post Service

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The murky case of a U.S. diplomat who fatally shot two Pakistanis escalated into a diplomatic standoff as the U.S. Embassy demanded the man’s immediate release and accused Pakistan of illegally detaining him. In a statement and interviews Saturday, U.S. officials in this capital city said the man, Raymond Davis, was a diplomat who fired in selfdefense and qualified for immunity from prosecution. Law enforcement authorities in Punjab province, where the shooting took place Thursday, had made no effort to verify his diplomatic status before arresting and detaining him, in violation of international conventions, officials said. “You don’t treat a diplomat like another person. You don’t arraign them before a court. That’s serious, too, and

this will escalate,” a senior U.S. official said Saturday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. The official said Pakistani authorities had not allowed U.S. officials access to Davis until midnight Friday, “a pretty big breach of protocol.” Shortly after the United States issued its demand, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry released a statement referring to Davis as a “U.S. functionary.” A senior Pakistani government official said Davis’s diplomatic status was “not clear at all.” The dueling statements signaled a deepening dispute between the United States and Pakistan — tenuous allies whose partnership is acutely unpopular among the Pakistani public — over an incident that has become enmeshed in broader tensions in the relationship. Pakistani government of-

ficials, who are often accused of being puppets of the United States, have vowed not to give Davis special treatment and insisted that the legal process run its course. The main opposition party, which runs the Punjab province government, has cast itself as even more defiant, and the senior U.S. official described officials there as particularly uncooperative. A third Pakistani man was struck and killed after the shooting, which took place in the eastern city of Lahore, by a U.S. consular vehicle that came to Davis’ rescue, police say. In its statement, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said that Punjab police were handling the matter and that the ministry had “no substantive comments to offer.” The Pakistani government official said investigators were focusing on why Davis, whom the U.S. Embassy said was assigned to

Islamabad, was in Lahore and armed. The senior U.S. official said Davis was a “permanent diplomat” who was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad as a security officer. Davis was temporarily working at the U.S. consulate in Lahore, the official said. But he was not permitted to carry a weapon, the official said. Davis told a Pakistani court Friday that he fired on the two men, who were riding a motorbike, after they threatened him with pistols at a stoplight. U.S. officials said the men approached both sides of the car and that they had criminal records and were carrying cash and a cellphone they had just stolen in a mugging. A Lahore police official said Saturday that one of the men had a criminal record but that the second man’s background had not yet been vetted.

1/31/2011 5:30:43 AM






Fire sets off explosions at Venezuelan arms depot BY IAN JAMES

Associated Press


IN RUINS: A dog searching for landslide victims in Nova Friburgo, Brazil.

Brazil to build homes for victims of flood BY ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO

New York Times Service

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s president has committed the government to building 6,000 homes for displaced residents of the hillside communities devastated by landslides that killed at least 842 people this month. President Dilma Rousseff took office just days after heavy rains flooded the towns of Petropolis, Teresopolis and Nova Friburgo, creating the worst natural disaster in Brazil’s history. On Thursday, Rousseff said the federal government would join with the state of Rio and private companies to help relocate homeless residents. Gov. Sergio Cabral of Rio said the state would build 2,000 homes, bringing the total to 8,000.

“Through this initiative we hope to lessen the pain for these families,” Rousseff said. The severe flooding left 8,777 people homeless, and nearly 21,000 additional people abandoned their homes, state officials said. For the time being, many are still living in shelters set up in gymnasiums, churches and schools. Donations have poured in, including 44 tons of food. Beyond the new housing, Rousseff said the government would map areas at high risk of disasters. The federal government said last week that it was giving about $59.7 million to towns affected by the deadly flooding. Construction is scheduled to begin in the next few weeks, with the federal government being responsible

for construction and the state government for infrastructure like sanitation. Disaster experts have cited Brazil’s lack of disaster preparedness in the tragedy and criticized local officials for allowing people to construct dwellings in areas prone to flooding. Rousseff has vowed to make Brazil more prepared. “We cannot allow catastrophes of this magnitude to happen again,” she said Thursday. “We know what needs to be done to avoid this.” State officials said the houses would be constructed on donated land but did not specify where. Disaster experts have also criticized the state of Rio’s response to last year’s deadly mudslides in Niteroi, a town near the city of Rio.

Drug bust exposes links between Argentina, Europe BY ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO

New York Times Service

BUENOS AIRES — A major cocaine bust in Spain is highlighting the growing drug-trafficking ties between Argentina and Europe and causing headaches for the government of Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Spanish authorities in Barcelona seized an executive jet from Argentina this month that was carrying about 2,000 pounds of cocaine. An Argentine company specializing in private medical transfers, Medical Jet, was operating the plane, which was being flown by pilots whose fathers were generals during Argentina’s bloody dictatorship. Investigators in Spain and Argentina have remained tight-lipped about the inquiry, but questions have swirled around the possible involvement of Argentine military officials and politicians who flew on Medical Jet, and deeper connections to Colombian and Mexican drug cartels. Last week, the Argentine Air Force dismissed Commodore Jorge Ayerdi, the head of

the Moron air base, where the Challenger 604 plane took off on Jan. 1, Argentina’s state news agency reported. Arturo Puricelli, Argentina’s defense minister, has expressed concern about the possible involvement of the air force, saying Wednesday in a radio interview that he would push for an investigation. “There is great indignation about the case within the air force,” Puricelli said. The Argentine judge Alejandro Catania is investigating 18 air force officials for possible involvement in the drug shipment, the Argentine news media reported. He declined to comment on the case. The seized drug cargo was only the most recent of dozens of cocaine shipments to Spain originating in Argentina since 2006, experts on organized crime in Argentina and Spain said. “Argentina has become a producer and exporter of cocaine over the past five years, and Europe is looking to Argentina for cocaine,” said Claudio Izaguirre, president of the Argentine Anti-Drugs Association, a nongovernmental group.

Izaguirre said that six drug cartels had set up shop in Argentina in the past five years, two from Colombia and four from Mexico. Most of the drugs from Argentina seized by Spanish authorities have been camouflaged in cargo ships with myriad exports, like wind turbines and pizza ovens. “Spain is the main entry point of South American cocaine, and we have seen increased efforts to diversify routes, often using Africa,” said Ignacio Cosido, an expert in trans-Atlantic organized crime at the Madrid-based Strategic Studies Group. In the most recent case, the plane bound from Buenos Aires to Barcelona stopped over in Cape Verde for refueling. Argentina’s Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo previously insisted that the drugs had been loaded there, not in Argentina. But Security Minister Nilda Garre acknowledged last week that airport controls “had relaxed a bit” and that she was rethinking whether the drugs could have been loaded in Argentina.

MARACAY, Venezuela — A fire set off a series of explosions at a military arms depot Sunday, killing one person and leading authorities to evacuate about 10,000 people from the area. Residents were being evacuated from within a four-mile perimeter around the depot, Rafael Isea, governor of Aragua state where the city of Maracay is located, told state television. “This is a preventive measure because the ammunitions that were detonating are ammunitions that

have a powerful impact,” Isea said. The cause of the fire was unclear. State radio reported that firefighters were beginning to extinguish the blaze after a series of smaller explosions. Soldiers and police blocked exits from a major highway that runs close to the arms depot. Clouds of thick, white smoke rose up from the area near the military facility, floating over green hills above Maracay, a city located 60 miles west of the capital, Caracas. A woman nearby the depot was killed, probably by

Mexico’s Acapulco endures despite gruesome drug war ACAPULCO, Mexico — (AP) — Acapulco long ago lost the international popularity contest to Cancun. Yet one of Mexico’s oldest resort cities endures, despite a ruinous swine-flu outbreak in 2009 and now drug-gang beheadings and massacres. Acapulco, a drugtrafficking hot spot of endless turf battles between Mexico’s ever-shifting cartels, has for years drawn mostly national tourists, especially from Mexico City, who only have a four-hour drive down a winding but well-kept high-speed toll road. Those tourists are still drawn by the famous, glittering bay and death-defying cliff divers. It doesn’t seem to matter that daylight shootouts have broken out along the main coastal highway, forcing souvenir vendors to dive for cover, or that bodies are hung from bridges and dumped on the road leading into the city. Or that 20 working-class Mexican men, some of them related, were kidnapped while visiting Acapulco in September. The bodies of 18 of the men were found in a mass grave outside the city a month later. Investigators believe local drug traffickers mistook them for rivals. Over Christmas, 94 percent of hotel rooms in the city were booked, as good as

any other year, said Jose Cedano, president of the Acapulco Association of Tourism Professionals. And that’s not counting those who stayed at the many high-rise apartment buildings and hillside weekend homes that are continually being constructed. Those provide an estimated 40,000 extra rooms in Acapulco, which has 28,000 hotel rooms, Cedano said. Mexico City residents seem unwilling to allow drug-gang violence to ruin their plans. “Residents from the capital are very special. They don’t pay attention much to the violence,” Cedano said. “It’s thanks to national tourism that Acapulco has survived.” The toll has been in international tourism. Acapulco may never be what it once was: a glamorous mid-20th-century Hollywood playground where Elizabeth Taylor held one of her many weddings and John Wayne and Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller threw lavish parties at the Los Flamingos Hotel. But some thought Acapulco was experiencing a resurgence before the latest gruesome incidents. Earlier this month, the bodies of 15 men, all but one of them headless, were found on a street outside a shopping center.

Mexico’s universal healthcare struggling to live up to promise BY ELISABETH MALKIN

New York Times Service

YAUTEPEC, Mexico — A decade ago, half of all Mexicans had no health insurance at all. Then the country’s Congress passed a bill to ensure healthcare for every Mexican without access to it. The goal was explicit: universal coverage. By September, the government expects to have enrolled about 51 million people in the insurance plan it created six years ago — effectively reaching the target, at least on paper. The big question, critics contend, is whether all those people actually get the healthcare the government has promised. Under the plan, children with leukemia have been cured, women receive breast cancer treatment, elderly people get cataract

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operations and people with HIV are assured their drugs. Usually at no cost. Even critics who argue that the government is failing to live up to the promise of universal health coverage acknowledge that Mexico’s program saves lives and protects families from falling into poverty in many cases of catastrophic illness. But the task of covering so many people’s care, with a budget of about $12 billion this year, is enormous. Still, Salomon Chertorivski, who is in charge of the government’s system of social protection for health, believes it is possible. “It’s an ideal moment for the transformation that we’re carrying out,” he said, arguing that because only 9 percent of Mexicans are over 60, health costs for the

country’s relatively youthful population are low. The money goes from the federal government to state governments, depending on how many people each state enrolls. From there, it is up to state governments to spend the money properly so that patients get the promised care. That, critics say, is the plan’s biggest weakness. State governments have every incentive to register large numbers, but they do not face any accountability for how they spend the money. The result is that the way Mexicans are treated is very much a function of where they live. The lack of medicine is a complaint that pops up frequently, and has been confirmed by government reports.

the explosions, Isea said. Three people were injured in traffic accidents amid the chaos that ensued after the blasts, he said. Cavim, Venezuela’s military arms manufacturer, said in a statement that authorities had surrounded the arms depot “to control the situation.” The company said the explosion took place at 4:45 a.m. local time. Venezuela’s Information Minister Andres Izarra went on state television calling for calm and saying that authorities were tending to the situation.

Until five years ago, an average of 25,000 U.S. spring breakers chose the Pacific resort each year, lured away from Cancun by a marketing push offering cheap rates, Cedano said Last year, there were less than 6,000 spring breakers. This year, Cedano said, travel agents have so far only booked about 1,000. “We do have a crisis when it comes to international tourism,” he said. “Everyday we get fewer international tourists.” Claris Ashley Smith, an 85-year-old retired army officer who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., is one foreigner who thinks Acapulco hasn’t lost its shine. He has been coming here for 30 years, and isn’t thinking about stopping. “I’d spend the rest of my life here, if I could get away with it,” Smith said. “I’d just as soon die here.” He used to do some fishing, but now spends much of his time soaking up the sun and chatting with old friends who have also been coming to the resort for years. “We see the ‘federales’ riding around with machine guns, but we have not been directly affected by it,” he said of the violence. His advice? “Come on down. You can’t beat it.”


STILL A HOT SPOT: Tourists hanging out in Papagayo beach in Acapulco, Mexico.

Lobo says Zelaya wanted reelection TEGUCIGALPA — (AP) — Honduras’ president said that ousted leader Manuel Zelaya once told him pointblank he wanted to stay in power despite a constitutional ban on reelection — the very ambition that opponents alleged to justify the coup that toppled Zelaya. In an interview Saturday with opposition radio station Radio Globo, current President Porfirio Lobo said Zelaya asked him to drop his lagging campaign for Honduras’ top office, though he did not say what Zelaya allegedly offered him in return. According to Lobo’s account of a conversation in

March 2009, three months before the coup, Zelaya remarked that Lobo’s opponent was ahead by 15 percentage points in the race. “He said to me, ‘We had better fix this,’ ” Lobo said. “And I asked, ‘What do you want? And he answered, ‘I want reelection.’ ” Lobo said he turned Zelaya down. He went on to win the November 2009 election, which had been scheduled before the coup. Zelaya was driven from power in June 2009 after ignoring court orders to drop a referendum on changing the constitution. Many suspected — but Zelaya has repeatedly denied — that the

object of the referendum was to let him seek a second fouryear term. Zelaya, who is currently living in exile in the Dominican Republic, did not answer a phone call seeking comment Saturday. He has said he wants to return to Honduras, but first wants arrest warrants against him dropped. Zelaya faces charges of fraud, usurping powers and falsifying documents, which he calls politically motivated. Lobo said last month that he is working with prosecutors to find a way for Zelaya to face charges in Honduras without being placed in police custody.

1/31/2011 1:57:06 AM





Presidential hopefuls banking money for 2012 BY T.W. FARNAM AND DAN EGGEN Washington Post Service

On a single day in October, Eldon and Regina Roth each wrote separate checks to political funds set up by Republican Mitt Romney in five states around the United States. That allowed the South Dakota beef barons to donate $190,000 — well beyond limits for contributions to federal political action committees. The state-based funds are among several creative — and perfectly legal — strategies embraced by potential GOP presidential contenders as they lay the groundwork for 2012. The efforts amount to an aggressive and sophisticated preliminary campaign, in which candidates exploit incentives and gaps in the nation’s patchwork election system. In essence, the strategies allow hopefuls to begin running for president before they actually run. These prepresidential efforts are particularly important in the current election cycle, which is unfolding far more slowly than four years ago, when more than a dozen candidates had already launched their campaigns by this point. By setting up state political funds, as Romney and several others have done, presidential hopefuls can go to their most loyal supporters with deep pockets — funders like the Roths — and solicit larger donations than they could for the federal PACs required of official candidates. The state-based money can be used to fund administrative costs for political operations and to support local GOP politicians in primary states. And then, when they form an official campaign, candidates can hit up the same donors again. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, for example, has created PACs in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire and is using money from his federal nonpresidential account to help pay for the marketing of his

‘Jihad Jane’ to plead guilty BY ABBY SEWELL

Los Angeles Times Service



SAVING UP: Republican Mitt Romney, at left, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty are among several presidential hopefuls who are setting up state political funds to reach their most loyal supporters with deep pockets and solicit larger donations. new book, Courage to Stand. The effort includes a lavish, well-produced campaignstyle video that only briefly refers to the memoir. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a GOP rainmaker who raised millions for the 2010 elections, has established a PAC in Georgia, which has less restrictive election rules than his home state. Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and other GOP aspirants have also built support by distributing money from their coffers to friendly lawmakers in battleground states. Romney, who deployed a similar network of state political funds for the 2008 campaign, is the clear leader in PAC fundraising. Last year, he brought in more than $6 million, compared to about $3.5 million raised by Palin, over $2.4 million for Pawlenty and about $1.5 million for Barbour, according to the latest public reports.

More than $1 million of Romney’s donations came from just a dozen supporters, public documents show. The gifts include over $200,000 from two members of the Marriott family in Bethesda, Md., and $91,600 from New York Jets owner Robert Wood Johnson IV and his mother. “The reason we have state PACs is because it gives us more flexibility in raising money,” said Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom. “The more money we raise, the more helpful we can be to Republican candidates and the better able we are to carry out the PACs’ mission of promoting conservative policies that strengthen America.” Many Republicans note that U.S. President Barack Obama has also been running a shadow campaign of sorts inside the Democratic National Committee, which houses his former campaign operation, now called Organizing for America. Jim

Messina, who left the White House Friday to become Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign manager, will host a series of DNC fundraisers next week aimed at kicking off the effort — even though no official campaign committee has been formed. Election watchdogs have long complained about loopholes in the campaign-finance system that allow undeclared candidates to run de facto presidential campaigns with less oversight. FEC rules require formation of a federal political committee even when candidates are just “testing the waters”; hopefuls maneuver around by carefully avoiding the mention of a White House bid. Eldon and Regina Roth, the Romney donors, are the owners of Beef Products, one of the largest employers in Sioux City, Iowa, just over the state line from the company’s South Dakota headquarters. BPI, which sells rendered beef processed with ammo-

nia, recently lost an exemption to routine government testing that had been granted by the Bush administration. The Roths each wrote checks to all five of Romney’s state committees on Oct. 15, including $35,000 each to his Iowa and Alabama PACs. The maximum federal contribution for an individual last year was $5,000 to a federal PAC and $2,400 to a presidential candidate. The Roths and other major Romney donors did not respond to requests for comment. One donor to Barbour’s PAC in Georgia, Jamal Daniel, a Houston energy investor and financier, gave $100,000 last month. He did not return a call seeking comment. Pawlenty has accepted $60,000 from Texas homebuilder Bob Perry and his wife, and $37,000 from David Frauenshuh, a commercial real estate developer based in Minnesota. The Pawlenty donors did not respond to messages.

LOS ANGELES — A Pennsylvania woman accused of plotting to kill a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog appears set to change her plea to guilty. Colleen LaRose, 47, pleaded not guilty last March to charges including conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to kill in a foreign country. A court document released Friday shows she is set to change her plea at a hearing in Philadelphia on Tuesday. In Pennsburg, where she lived 35 miles north of Philadelphia, LaRose did not publicly profess faith in Islam, even to her live-in boyfriend. But online, authorities say, she went under the name “Jihad Jane” and “Fatima LaRose,” posed for her MySpace photo in a burka, and wrote about her desire to become a martyr for Islam. According to the federal indictment against her, LaRose “recruited men online to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe” and recruited women to support them. She traveled to Europe in August 2009, allegedly with the intent to find and assassinate cartoonist Lars Vilks. She took her boyfriend’s passport when she left the United States with the intent of providing it to militants, according to the indictment. LaRose was arrested by the FBI in October 2009. The case did not become public until March when the indictment against her was unsealed, following the arrest of seven people in Ireland in connection with a suspected plot to assassinate Vilks.

Blogs set to flood campaign trail

Tea Party starts early on 2012 primary race


New York Times Service


New York Times Service

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor who is flirting with a bid for president, has none of the usual campaign accoutrements. No tour bus, campaign manager or yard signs. Few U.S. citizens, in fact, even know his name. What Pawlenty does have is a beat reporter from Politico chronicling every utterance and movement of his non-campaign campaign: a 25-year-old named Kendra Marr, who followed him through subzero temperatures last week. The New Hampshire primary is more than a year away. The first major presidential candidate has yet to formally declare. Just don’t tell that to the media outlets like Politico, Talking Points Memo and RealClearPolitics, which are already planning to smother the 2012 campaign trail in a way they could never have imagined four years ago. “We were a garage band in 2008, riffing on the fly,” said Jim VandeHei, Politico’s executive editor and cofounder. “Now we’re a 200-person production, with a precise feel and plan.” Talking Points Memo, a site that has been around since 2000, plans to expand its reporting staff to 15. In 2008, it had only one reporter and an intern assigned to the campaign. According to the site’s founder, Josh Marshall, the goal is to create a bigger name for the blog by competing with newcomers like Politico and traditional news outlets like The Washington Post and The New York Times.

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PROGRESS THROUGH PEACE: Dagmar Wilson, who co-founded the Women Strike for Peace movement, lobbied hard to end the nuclear arms race in the 1960s.

Activist who rallied women for peace and disarmament dies BY EMMA BROWN

Washington Post Service

WASHINGTON — When the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race accelerated half a century ago, a concerned Georgetown mother of three named Dagmar Wilson took a page out of the PTA playbook. She started a telephone tree, urging her friends to call their friends to marshal support for a one-day demonstration in support of peace and disarmament. Less than two months later, on Nov. 1, 1961, a loose network of 50,000 mothers, grandmothers and other women left their kitchens and their offices for demonstrations in 60 cities across the United States. Calling on former U.S. President John F. Kennedy to “end the arms race — not the human race,” the women won wide attention from world leaders and the media. They built such a groundswell of support for nonproliferation that Kennedy credited them with helping to force the Cold War superpowers to even-

tually sign a partial nuclear test ban treaty. Wilson, who co-founded the Women Strike for Peace movement that later grew to claim a half-million members, died Jan. 6 at the Washington Home and Community Hospices. She was 94 and had congestive heart failure. She was a homemaker and successful children’s book illustrator when, spurred by news that the Soviet Union planned to resume nuclear testing, she became an activist. In late September 1961, she called everyone she knew and started sending mimeographed copies of a call to strike Nov. 1. “I decided there are some things an individual can do. At least we can make some noise and see,” she once said. Wilson became the de facto spokeswoman for Women Strike for Peace, which had no hierarchy and no paid staff. She headlined the inaugural 1961 rally in Washington, and, while hundreds of women and girls picketed the White House, she and three others deliv-

ered a letter to Jacqueline Kennedy, asking the first lady to use her influence to end the nuclear arms race. An identical letter for Nina Khrushchev, wife of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, was delivered to the Soviet Embassy. Kennedy and Khrushchev both answered the letters, and Kennedy acknowledged at a news conference that he had seen the “extremely earnest” picketing women through a White House window. Their message had been received, he said. Less than two years later, he signed a partial nuclear test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union. In an age of anticommunist fervor, Women Strike for Peace was a force of middle-age, middle-class women who wore white gloves and fine hats. These were not leftist radicals but mothers, speaking about the dangers of radioactive material in children’s milk and of the need to overcome political divisions for the sake of future generations.

Leaders of more than 70 Tea Party groups in Indiana gathered last weekend to sign a proclamation saying they would all support one candidate — as yet undetermined — in a primary challenge to Sen. Richard G. Lugar, the Republican who has represented the state since 1977. They are organizing early, they say, to prevent what happened last year, when several Tea Party candidates split the vote in Republican Senate primaries, allowing the most establishment of the candidates to win with less than 40 percent. The meeting in Sharpsville, Pa., was hardly the exception. Just three months after the midterm elections, Tea Party organizers are preparing to challenge some of the longest-serving Republican incumbents in 2012. In Maine, there is already one candidate running on a Tea Party platform against Sen. Olympia J. Snowe. Supporters there are seeking others to run, declaring that they, too, will back the person they view as the strongest candidate to avoid splitting their vote. In Utah, the same people who ousted Sen. Robert F. Bennett at the state’s Republican convention last spring are now looking at a challenge to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch. The early moves suggest that the pattern of the last elections, in which primaries were more fiercely contested than the general election in several states, may be repeated. They also show how much the Tea Party has changed the definition of

who qualifies as a conservative. While Snowe is widely considered a moderate Republican, Hatch is not. Lugar, similarly, defines himself as a conservative. He argues that he has consistently won praise from small-business groups, supported a balanced budget amendment and pushed for a reduction in farm subsidies and the closing of agricultural extension offices as part of an effort to reduce unnecessary spending — all initiatives that fall under the smaller government rubric of the Tea Party. The coalition of Tea Party groups, calling itself Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate, plans to hold a caucus in June where the 70-odd groups involved will choose a candidate to run against Lugar in the primary next May. In the meantime, the group has designated a coordinator for each of the state’s congressional districts to begin a campaign to educate voters about what Tea Party supporters call Lugar’s liberal record. The group has also had discussions with several national groups that played a role in primaries last year where establishment candidates or Republican incumbents lost to Tea Party challenges, including FreedomWorks, the Tea Party Express and the Club for Growth. Those behind Tea Party challenges say they learned their lesson about splitting the vote from several primary contests last year, including the Senate races in Illinois and Indiana and congressional races in Virginia, where a flood of Tea Party candidates resulted in a moderate or establish-

1/31/2011 1:53:38 AM






Suicide bomber kills top official in key Afghan province BY LAURA KING

Los Angeles Times Service

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber has killed the deputy governor of strategic Kandahar province, raising fears that insurgents were reigniting an assassination campaign against public servants that terrorized the south’s main urban hub for much of last year. The Taliban claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack, which killed Abdul Latif Ashna and injured three of his bodyguards as he was driving to work in Kandahar city.

Dutch cut contact with Iran after hanging THE HAGUE, Netherlands — (AP) — The Dutch government has frozen official contacts with Iran to protest the hanging of a Dutch-Iranian woman, the Foreign Ministry said. Iran’s Ambassador Gharib Abadi was informed of the sanctions on Saturday after he confirmed reports that Zahra Bahrami, 45, was executed in Tehran on Saturday. His embassy later said the hanging was “an internal issue” that should have no impact on diplomatic relations. Iranian state television reported Bahrami was hanged for possessing and selling drugs. The report said that initially Bahrami was arrested for committing “security crimes,” but it did not say what became of that case. Bahrami had been jailed in Iran since December 2009 after protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection. Protesters took to the streets, saying the vote was marred by fraud and that opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was the rightful winner. The Iranian Embassy in a statement late Saturday described Bahrami as a member of an international drug trafficking ring, who traveled on Dutch, Iranian and Spanish passports with different personal information. It said Bahrami — who was born in Iran, but gained Dutch citizenship after moving to the Netherlands — was accorded the legal rights of an Iranian citizen, but that Tehran does not recognize dual nationality. Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Bengt van Loosdrecht said Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal was “shocked, shattered by this act by a barbaric regime.” He added the hanging was especially shocking as Abadi had assured the Dutch minister on Friday that Bahrami’s legal avenues had not yet been exhausted. Dutch diplomats had been denied access to Bahrami while she was in prison because Iran refused to recognize her Dutch nationality. The Dutch government reportedly hired lawyers to defend her. The diplomatic freeze means Iranian embassy staff are forbidden from meeting or having contact with Dutch officials without prior written approval, Van Loosdrecht said. The Foreign Ministry also advised other dual citizens against traveling to Iran, as Dutch consular officials would now have no access to them if they are arrested. Van Loosdrecht said Rosenthal would raise the issue next week when European Union foreign ministers meet in Brussels. The Netherlands will seek unspecified “collective measures” against Iran, Van Loosdrecht said.

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It was the highestprofile strike of its kind in months. A wave of political assassinations in and around Kandahar crested in the spring and summer of 2010: The city’s deputy mayor was killed in April as he prayed at a mosque, and his successor was assassinated six months later. But the killings had subsided in recent months as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Afghan forces consolidated their grip on several key districts surrounding the city.

Western military officials hope that improving security in the province, the traditional heartland of the Taliban, will pave the way for better governance and public services, and in turn help build backing for the beleaguered administration of Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai while sapping support for the insurgency. But the Taliban’s killing of public officials, tribal elders and other influential figures undermines that goal. Karzai condemned Saturday’s attack, as did U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and

the NATO force. Eikenberry, offering condolences while on a visit to the province, called it a “vicious assassination” and a setback to efforts to stabilize Kandahar. U.S. military officials say their operations in Kandahar are pivotal to the overall war effort, now in its 10th year. Much of last year’s troop buildup, which brought U.S. forces in the country to 100,000, was centered in Kandahar and neighboring Helmand province. Last year was the deadliest of the war to date for U.S. and other Western troops,

with the surge in casualties attributed to grappling with the Taliban movement on its home turf. Senior Western commanders have acknowledged that it will not be known until spring whether U.S.-led forces will be able to consolidate what they described as significant and hard-fought military gains in three districts surrounding Kandahar city. In the winter months, Taliban fighters usually rest and regroup across the border in Pakistan, but U.S. commanders say the insurgency

has been considerably weakened by targeted strikes, which have decimated the movement’s midlevel field command. Even so, the Taliban last year made inroads into some previously calm areas of the country, and the movement’s leaders have rebuffed efforts to bring them to the bargaining table. The NATO force said two of its service members were killed Saturday in an explosion in the south, but did not disclose their nationalities, nor specify the province where the deaths occurred.

Egyptians rally around Nobel laureate • EGYPT, FROM 1A

But the army took no steps against the protesters, who cheered as the helicopters and fighter jets passed overhead. In an unprecedented scene, some of them lofted a captain in uniform on their shoulders, marching him through a square suffused with protesters that cut across Egypt’s entrenched lines of class and religious devotion. In contrast, the movements of the police force, despised as the symbol of the humiliations of Mubarak’s government, was being watched for signs of a crackdown. The police had withdrawn from major cities Saturday, allowing a stunning collapse of authority that gave free rein to gangs who stole and burned cars, looted shops and ransacked a fashionable mall, where dismembered mannequins were strewn over broken glass and puddles of water. Thousands of inmates poured out of four prisons, including the country’s most notorious, Abu Zaabal and Wadi Natroun, and checkpoints run by the military and neighborhood groups proliferated across Cairo and other cities, sometimes spaced just a block apart, in a bid to restore order. Many have suggested that the government was behind the collapse of authority as a way to justify a crackdown or discredit protesters. “We’re worried about the chaos, sure,” said Selma al Tarzi, a 33-year-old film director who had her joined friends in Liberation Square. “But everyone is aware the chaos is generated by the government. The revolution is not generating the chaos.” Still, driven by reports of looting, prison breaks and rumors that swirled across Cairo, fed by Egyptian television’s unrelenting coverage of lawlessness, it was clear that many feared the menace could grow worse, and might even undermine the protesters’ demands. “I wish we could be like the United States with our own democracy, but we can’t,” said Sarah Elyashy, a 33-yearold woman in the neighborhood of Heliopolis, where


TAKING CHARGE: Egyptian volunteers store goods confiscated from looters inside a mosque in Cairo on Sunday. men armed with broomsticks and kitchen knives took to the streets to defend their homes against the threat of looters. “We have to have a ruler with an iron hand.” In a potentially decisive move, the Interior Ministry announced it would redeploy the police across the country on Monday, except for Liberation Square. The protest movement has had no official leader or organization, and it was unclear Sunday to what extent or for how long ElBaradei would be able to provide it. But the crowds in the square responded enthusiastically when he spoke through a bullhorn shortly after dark.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which had cautiously watched the first days of the protest from the sidelines, appeared to be taking an active role by the weekend. On Sunday, the group said it would support ElBaradei to negotiate on behalf of the protesters. “We’re supporting ElBaradei leading the path to change,” said Mohammed el Beltagui, a Brotherhood leader and former member of Parliament. “The Brotherhood realizes the sensitivities, especially in the West, toward the Islamists. And we are keen not to be at the forefront at this time.” The government was largely silent throughout the

day, and did not publicly respond to the developments. On Saturday, Mubarak appointed Omar Suleiman, his right-hand man and the country’s intelligence chief, as vice president, stirring speculation that he might be planning to resign. His appointment, and that of another former general, Ahmed Shafik, as prime minister, also signaled the pivotal role the armed forces could play in shaping the outcome of the unrest and perhaps in deciding who might rule next. The unpredictability of that shift factored into U.S. President Barack Obama’s calculus not to push for Mubarak’s resignation, at least for

now. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hewed to that position Sunday, calling for “an orderly transition to meet the democratic and economic needs of the people” but stopping short of suggesting that Mubarak resign. France, Britain and Germany issued a joint statement urging Mubarak and the protesters to show restraint. But, like Obama, they did not call for the ouster of an autocratic leader who has cast himself as a lynchpin of Western diplomatic and security interests in the Middle East. The United States said it was organizing flights to evacuate its citizens, urging all U.S. citizens in Egypt to “consider leaving as soon as they can safely do so” and underlining a deep sense of pessimism among Egypt’s allies over Mubarak’s fate. Turkey, a major power in the region, also said it was sending three flights to evacuate 750 of its citizens from Cairo and Alexandria. Israel flew back the spouses and children of its envoys in Egypt on Saturday, as well as about 40 Israeli citizens who were in Egypt on private business, and who wished to return. In several parts of Cairo, the military reinforced its positions, with detachments deployed at key bridges, intersections, ministries and other government installations. Across the capital, youths and some older men guarded their own neighborhoods, sometimes posting themselves at each block and alley. Several said they were in contact with the military, as well as with each other, and many expressed pride in the success that they had in securing their property from the threat of looters and thieves. The sentiments captured what has become a powerful theme these days in Cairo: that Egyptians again were taking control of their destiny. “We know each other, we stand by each other and people respect what we’re doing,” said Ramadan Farghal, who headed one selfdefense group in the poorer neighborhood of Bassateen. “This is the Egyptian people. We used to be one hand.”

Yearning for respect, Arabs find their voice at last • ARABS, FROM 1A

But rarely has there been a moment when the Middle East felt so interconnected, governments so unpopular and Arabs so overwhelmingly agreed on the demand for change, even as some worry about the aftermath in a place where alternatives to dictatorship have been relentlessly crushed. The Middle East is being drawn together by economic woes and resentment that people have been denied dignity and respect. From Saudi Arabia to Egypt and beyond, many say, there is a sense of failure and frustration. “After so many years of political stagnation, we were left with choices between the bad and the worse,” said Fadel Shallak, a Lebanese writer and a former government minister. “Now there’s something happening in the Arab world. A collective voice is being heard again.” As a unifying force, an

older Middle East had the Voice of the Arabs, the wildly popular radio station of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt’s charismatic but repressive leader from 1956 to 1970. Its mix was oratory, propaganda and music, most memorably of Umm Kulthum, the iconic Egyptian diva. Today it is Al Jazeera, and though his popularity pales before the singer’s, the Tunisian poet, Abul Qasim al Shabi, whose work has seemed to define the protests and their ambitions. But even Al Jazeera has turned its gaze inward. Always provocative and critical of the United States and Israel, it has covered the Egyptian protests breathlessly, as it did Tunisia’s, sometimes even egging the protesters on. It is joined by Facebook and Twitter, which have stitched together disparate places bound by a common language. Egypt shut down Internet services on Friday, in a remarkable demonstration of how powerful those tools

have become. Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, reverted to a more old-fashioned tactic: he complained to the leader of Qatar, where Al Jazeera is based. The channel, he said, was aiding those “seeking to ignite dissent.” That is, no doubt, true. It describes, as well, Facebook and Twitter messages, some of which have turned into a 21st-century Middle Eastern version of agitprop. On Facebook, a group in Jerusalem pledged support for Egypt and Tunisia. The Arab world, it said, “is moving from darkness to light — from dictatorship to freedom.” The changes may have deep repercussions for the U.S. Mouin Rabbani, an analyst in Jordan, said economic frustrations mirrored resentment at governments perceived as agents of the United States and its allies. In fact, a more democratic Arab world, given recent polling, is likely to be much

more hostile to U.S. policy. But the preoccupation now is internal. “Had they been able to resolve the underlying economic issues, people would have overlooked the corruption, the mismanagement, the autocratic rule,” said Abdel Aziz Abu Hamad Aluwaisheg, a Saudi economist. “But when they failed to do the bread and butter issues, people started looking at their governments.” That may have forged an idea of common cause, where protesters in the most remote locales take their cues from like-minded in faraway places. In Tunis on Friday, a group of Tunisian protesters gathered outside the Egyptian Embassy in solidarity. “Mubarak out!” they chanted. A Lebanese newspaper quoted Tunisian activists offering this advice to their Egyptian counterparts: Protest at night, wear plastic bags to avoid electric shocks,

wash your face with CocaCola to fend off the effects of tear gas and try to spray black paint on the windshields of police vehicles. “I wish I could join them, and I wish these protests could get rid of all these regimes,” said Mona Sibai, an Egyptian woman living in Beirut. “I feel proud.” Laith Shbillat, a veteran dissident in Jordan, said: “People want their freedom, people want their bread. People want to stop these lousy dictators from looting their countries. I’d follow anybody. I’d follow Vladimir Lenin if he came and led me.” Shbillat mentioned Shabi, the poet, who died as a young man in 1934. “If one day, a people desires to live, then fate will answer their call,” his most famous poem went. “And their night will then begin to fade, and their chains break and fall.” “He’s leading us from his grave,” Shbillat said.

1/31/2011 4:33:19 AM






Making Palin look good BY GAIL COLLINS

New York Times Service


s Michele Bachmann the new Sarah Palin? And do we really need a new Sarah Palin? Shouldn’t the first one be made to go away before we start considering replacements? Bachmann, the superconservative member of Congress from Minnesota, made a big splash Tuesday night with her Tea Party response to the State of the Union address. True, the placement of the cameras made her look as if she was talking to an invisible friend, and her eye makeup had a peculiar zombie aspect to it. But the next day all the attention was on her COLLINS and not the official Republican response by Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman. And the Republicans were afraid to complain! One congressman from Utah told Politico that he thought “to try to upend Paul Ryan was just wrong.” Hours later he issued a retraction — through Bachmann’s office. On one level, Bachmann is just a third-term representative who only gets attention whenever she does something newsworthy, like claiming the Constitution says she doesn’t have to tell a census taker anything but how many people live in her home. She was passed over in a try for a minor post in House leadership. Yet, at her invitation, Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court came trotting over to the Capitol to lecture the House freshmen this week about the true meaning of the Constitution. And she makes the leaders who snubbed her quake with terror. What if she rallies her fellow Tea Partiers into a rebellion over, say, raising the debt limit, and the economy collapses? She does have a history of single-mindedness. Back when Bachmann was a state senator in Minnesota, her colleagues complained that they couldn’t get a budget done because she insisted on bringing everything to a screeching halt to argue about same-sex marriage. It was a controversy marked by her usual flair. “In 2005, she claimed to have been held against her will in a restaurant bathroom by two critics of an amendment banning same-sex marriage; they said they’d merely buttonholed her to talk,” reported The Minneapolis Star Tribune in a profile. “Then foes claimed that Bachmann hid behind some bushes to spy on a gay-rights rally; she said she was merely checking the turnout.” Bushes aside, Bachmann is a much more serious person than Palin, whose response to the State of the Union address was to focus on the title, “Winning the Future.”

(“There were a lot of WTF moments throughout that speech.”) If Palin and Bachmann were your coworkers, Palin would be the one sneaking out early to go bowling, while Bachmann would stay late to reorganize the office seating chart to reflect her own personal opinion of who most deserves to be near the water cooler. History is superimportant to Bachmann, who claims that she left the Democratic Party when she was a college senior, after reading Burr, Gore Vidal’s caustic historical novel. “He was kind of mocking the founding fathers, and I just thought ‘what a snot,’ ” Bachmann told The Star Tribune. It was, she said, a transformational moment so critical to her worldview that she can still remember what she was wearing. (“A tan trench coat, blue pin-striped shirt, like a tailored shirt, and dress slacks.”) It’s not everybody who switches political parties over a historical novel, but Bachmann’s vision of the past is the core to her ideology. The men who created the Constitution were perfect heroes, so infallible that they fully understood the right to bear arms would someday include semiautomatic pistols capable of firing 30 bullets in 10 seconds. Last week, Bachmann was in Iowa, setting off alarm bells about her possible presidential ambitions and delivering a speech in which she claimed that the founding fathers had “worked tirelessly” to eradicate slavery. She then cited John Quincy Adams, who was not a founding father. Bachmann is not a zealous factchecker, as we learned when she claimed the president’s trip to India would cost the taxpayers $200 million a day, based on an Indian newspaper report quoting an unnamed provincial official. In the real world, many founders, like Thomas Jefferson, expressed reservations about slavery but still kept hundreds of slaves, who were the basis of their personal wealth. Others, like John Adams, never owned slaves and opposed the institution but compromised on the matter of all men actually being created equal in order to bring the Southern states into the union. And not a single one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence envisioned in any way, shape or form a democracy in which people of Michele Bachmann’s gender would sit in the halls of Congress. But Bachmann was speaking to the lore of the far right, which strips the founding fathers of their raw, fallible humanity and ignores the fact that in some ways, we’re wiser. Maybe she’ll make Sarah Palin look good.

The assault vehicle is loose! BY NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

New York Times Service


he United States is infatuated with guns. And when you’re infatuated, you sometimes can’t think straight. Maybe that’s why, three weeks after the Tucson shootings that shook the nation, we’re still no closer to banning oversize magazines like the 33-bullet model allegedly used there. Maybe it will help clarify issues if we imagine an alternate universe — one in which people exhibit their toughness not with assault weapons but with assault vehicles, a world in which our torrid libertarian passion is not for our guns but for our cars. That alternate universe might look like this: The powerful National Automobile Association warned today that vehicle regulation, such as a ban on assault vehicles, would be “the first step toward totalitarianism.” “Autos don’t kill people,” declared Hank Magic, an NAA spokesman. “People kill people.” As part of a campaign against auto registration, the NAA has started selling new bumper stickers: “They’ll register my car when they pry the steering wheel from my cold, dead fingers.” The NAA defends assault vehicles as essential for self-defense and also “loads of fun.” Taken aback by the furor, the White House denied any interest in banning assault vehicles or registering all vehicles. The White House said the president was considering more modest steps, such as banning repeat drunken drivers from the roads, prohibiting televisions mounted on the steering wheel and curbs on lethal car accessories that serve no transportation purpose — such as bayonets mounted on the front and back bumpers. Magic warned: “Now the White

House is trying to prevent Americans from enjoying themselves and defending themselves.” He cited a driver in Florida in 1997 who had been threatened by a carjacking but was able to impale the attacker on his bumper. “Bumper bayonets save lives,” he asserted. The president also distanced himself from a proposed Transportation Department directive that would curb private tanks on KRISTOF the basis that they are damaging roads and, with road rage on the rise, sometimes rolling over other vehicles. The NAA has denounced the proposal, warning: “Without tanks, how can we keep our children safe?” “The solution is more tanks, not fewer tanks,” Magic told a rally yesterday. “If tanks are banned, then only criminals will have tanks!” Auto safety advocates say that tens of thousands of lives could be saved annually if the president and Congress would register vehicles, require seat belts and require licenses to drive cars. “It’s tough because our country’s history is steeped in automobiles,” said one advocate. “But with political leadership, we can rise above that, as every other civilized country in the world has done.” OK, OK That’s the end of our alternate history. In reality, of course, we have taken a deadly product — motor vehicles — and systematically made them quite safe. Scientists have figured out how to build roads so as to reduce accidents and have engineered innovations such as air bags to reduce injuries. Public campaigns and improved law enforcement have reduced drunken driving, and graduated licenses

for young people have reduced accident rates as well. The death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled has fallen by almost three-quarters since the early 1970s, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The trade-off is that we have modestly curbed individual freedom, but we save tens of thousands of lives a year. That’s a model for how we should approach guns as a public health concern. Granted, the Second Amendment complicates gun regulation (I accept that the framers intended for state militias, and possibly individuals, to have the right to bear flintlocks). But even among those favoring a broader interpretation, the Second Amendment hasn’t prevented bans on machine guns. There are still lines to be drawn, and a prohibition on 33-bullet magazines would be a useful place to start. If we treat guns as we do cars and build a public health system to address them, here’s what we might do: finance more research so that we have a better sense of which gun safety policies are effective (for example, do gun safes or trigger locks save lives?); crack down on gun retailers who break laws the way we punish stores that sell cigarettes to kids; make serial numbers harder to erase; make gun trafficking a law enforcement priority; limit gun purchases to one per person per month; build a solid database of people who are mentally ill and cannot buy firearms; ban assault weapons; and invest in new technologies to see if we can design “smart guns” that require input of a code or fingerprint to reduce accidents and curb theft. Particularly after a tragedy like Tucson, why can’t we show the same maturity toward firearms that we show toward vehicles — and save some of the 80 lives a day that we lose to guns?

Latin America needs to have its own ‘Sputnik moment’ BY ANDRES OPPENHEIMER


.S. President Barack Obama’s call for a “new Sputnik moment” in his annual State of the Union speech was a dramatic wake-up call for the United States. Now, he should expand the reach of his message, and turn it into a call to action for all countries of the Americas. In his Jan. 25 address, Obama said the United States is falling behind other countries in education, science, technology and innovation. The United States needs to invest much more in science and technology programs, much like it did in the 1950s after the Soviet Union sent the Sputnik satellite into space, and Washington started the space program that eventually led to the first manned spacecraft to the moon, he said. “The world has changed,” Obama said. “China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children

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earlier and longer, with great emphasis on math and science. They are investing in research and new technologies.” “Just recently, China became the home to the world’s largest private solar facility, and the world’s fastest computer,” he said. To succeed in this new environment, “we need to outinnovate, outeducate and outbuild the rest of the OPPENHEIMER world,” he added. It was the centerpiece of Obama’s most important scheduled speech of the year, and it carried a bold proposal: to drastically increase U.S. investments in education, technology and scientific research, while cutting almost everything else from the budget to reduce the giant U.S. budget deficit. Obama called on Congress to fund the training of 100,000 new teachers in math, science and technology, as well as huge investments in biomedical research, in-

formation technology and clean energy technology. Obama’s speech should be required reading in Latin America, where despite an eight-year cycle of strong economic growth largely due to high world commodity prices, most countries are falling behind the rest of the world in education and innovation, but few are paying attention. Consider: Education l In the recently released Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s PISA tests measuring 15-year-olds’ proficiency in math, science and reading comprehension, China’s city of Shanghai, Singapore and Finland occupied the first places. The United States ranked 17th, Spain 33rd, Chile 44th, Uruguay 47th, Mexico 48th, Colombia 52nd, Brazil 53rd, Argentina 58 and Peru 63. l Only 2 percent of all world investments in research and development of new products are carried out in Latin America. By comparison, 36 percent take place

in the United States and Canada, 32 percent in Europe, and 27 percent in Asia, according to IberoAmerican Network of Science and Technology Indicators. l All 32 Latin American countries together, including giants Brazil and Mexico, register less than 3 percent of the patents registered annually by just one Asian country, South Korea, according to the U.S. Trademarks and Patents Office. Patents l In 2009, South Korea registered 8,800 patents, while Brazil registered only 103, Mexico 60 and Argentina 45. l There is not one single Latin American university among the best 100 universities of the world ranked respectively by the Britishbased Times Higher Education Supplement and the Shanghai, China-based Jiaotong University, despite the fact that Brazil and Mexico are among the world’s 12 largest economies. l Many Latin American countries have the longest school vaca-

tions on earth. While the school year has 243 days in Japan and 220 days in South Korea, it has 200 days in Mexico and 190 days in Argentina, but — when you include teacher strikes and unscheduled holidays — it often numbers 160 days. My opinion: If Obama was searching for a theme for his Latin America policy, and for a concrete plan to take to the next Summit of the Americas to be held in Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012, this is it. He should broaden his State of the Union address to include the whole hemisphere, and offer U.S. cooperation and know-how to improve education, science and technology standards across the region. To grow steadily and reduce poverty at much faster rates, Latin America badly needs a “Sputnik moment” to wake it up from decades of complacency and declining education standards. Education, science, technology and innovation should not be just a U.S. obsession, but the new joint cause of the Americas.

1/31/2011 2:13:26 AM





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1/30/2011 9:46:21 PM



Gold bet earns hedge fund star $5 billion BY AZAM AHMED AND JULIE CRESWELL New York Times Service

towering challenges in getting businesses off the ground, including high taxes, a lack of raw materials, an uncertain customer base, labyrinthine bureaucratic rules and limited access to startup capital. Yet their success or failure will go a long way in determining the future of Cuba’s revolution. The Cuban state now employs 84 percent of the island’s workers and controls 90 percent of the economy, in one of

John A. Paulson made $4 billion betting against newfangled mortgage investments. But he made even more betting on an oldfashioned investment: gold. Paulson, a hedge fund manager who sprang to fame when the housing market collapsed, personally made about $5 billion in 2010, according to two investors in his company. How? Paulson bought gold — lots of it. His firm, Paulson & Company, owns securities that represent the rough equivalent of 96 metric tons of the metal. It is an PAULSON outsize wager by almost any standard. Paulson’s firm does not actually own all that gold. But if it did, it would be sitting atop more gold than the Australian government. Paulson himself would be holding more gold than Bulgaria. Paulson is known for betting big. His payday for last year exceeds the $4 billion he made for 2007. He became one of the most celebrated hedge fund managers in the business after his firm shorted subprime investments. The 2010 income, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was the culmination of a remarkable comeback for Paulson last year. While Paulson’s firm oversees about $36 billion of assets in a




IN HAVANA: Eddy Cantallos, above, attends to customers after receiving a license to sell goods in front of a home in the El Cerro neighborhood. At left, Maria Regla Saldivar, a 52-year-old black belt in Taekwondo, teaches a student Quimbumbia.



Associated Press

HAVANA — When Julio Cesar Hidalgo looks past the rotten window frame and the coarsely laid concrete, he envisions his shabby living room as a standup pizza joint, with the rich smell of garlic and oregano wafting out onto a warm Havana street. He sees a gleaming white countertop laid with sandwiches, pastries and balls of yeasty dough; a gas oven in the corner bakes mouthwatering pizza. After Cuban authorities an-

In Greece, a brewer’s dream runs into frustration BY LANDON THOMAS JR.

New York Times Service

KOMOTINI, Greece — Demetri Politopoulos says he has suffered countless indignities in his 12-year battle to build a microbrewery and wrest a sliver of the Greek beer market from the Dutch colossus, Heineken. His tires have been slashed and his products vandalized by unknown parties, he says, and his brewery has received threatening phone calls. And he says he has had to endure regular taunts — you left Manhattan, N.Y., to start up a beer factory in northern Greece? — not to mention the pain of losing ¤5.3 million ($7.2 million). Bad as all that has been, nothing prepared him for this reality: He would be breaking the law if he tried to fulfill his latest — and, he thinks, greatest — entrepreneurial dream. It is to have his brewery produce and export bottles of a Snapple-like beverage made from herbal tea, which he is cultivating in the mountains that surround this lush pocket of the country. An obscure edict requires that brewers in Greece produce beer — and nothing else. Politopoulos has spent the better part of the last year trying fruitlessly to persuade the Greek government to strike it. “It’s probably a law that goes back to King Otto,” said Politopoulos with a grim chuckle, referring to the Bavarian-born king of Greece who introduced beer to the country around 1850. "TURN TO BREWERY, 2B

nounced last September that they were opening the island’s closed Marxist economy to a limited amount of private enterprise, Hidalgo was one of the first to line up for a new business license. In a land of modest dreams, the 31-year-old baker says his is simple: to be the master of his own labor. “It’s not going to make me rich,” he laughs, adding that he may make only a little more than he does now in a $12-amonth job at a state-run bakery. “But I’ll be working in my

own home and I’ll be my own boss.” Hidalgo and tens of thousands like him are chasing their entrepreneurial ambitions in 2011, Cuba’s year of economic change, hopeful that a sweeping fiscal overhaul announced last year by President Raul Castro is for real. The Cuban leader said the country would lay off half a million state workers by March 31, while granting licenses for a broad, if slightly random, array of businesses. The new entrepreneurs face

Satellite messaging from the wilderness BY ANNE EISENBERG

New York Times Service

Other companies, too, have introduced text messengers that work via satellite. And while it has been possible for some time to make voice calls in remote areas with satellite telephones, their use has been limit-

ed because of their high cost. The new message technology provides a more economical alternative. It offers an additional layer of security in the wilderness so long as you use it properly, said Jason Stevenson of Lancaster, Pa., author

of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Backpacking and Hiking. “The problem with cellphones is reliability in back country, miles from the road,” Stevenson said. “That’s why these new satellite devices are so helpful. They work just about everywhere so long as you have a clear line of sight to the sky,” and no narrow canyon wall or dense foliage that blocks the satellite links required for a connection. But before setting out with the new gadgets, users should take time to understand the technology and its limits. “The mechanics of using a satellite-connected device in the woods are not as simple as whipping out your cellphone and calling,” he said. To send messages, users key the text into a GPS unit or a smart phone linked to a transmitter, which sends the message skyward to the satellite system. A GPS receiver from DeLorme, the Earthmate PN-60w, sold as a pair with the Spot Satellite Communicator, costs $549.95 at L.L. Bean. Users must also pay for satellite service ($99.99 for a year) and the sending of original messages

Ah, wilderness. The great outdoors, the fresh air — and the spotty cellphone coverage. But hikers, adventurers and others in remote places who want to send messages now have a new alternative when the signal vanishes: They can send texts using a satellite network instead. You can’t send your version of War and Peace — the limits of the messages are typically 41 to 120 characters — but you can send dispatches from the woods announcing: “Chain on bike broke, will be late” or “Pick me up. I’m not having fun.” And you can make specific requests for emergency help if necessary. For the past several years, people heading to remote areas have been able to buy a device from a company called Spot that sends requests for help via satellite. The device also allows people to add a preprogrammed message, but it cannot send an original text. Now, new hand-held devices from Spot allow people in the NEW YORK TIMES SERVICE wild to compose and beam short, original text messages via satel- INTO THE WILD: Hikers, adventurers and others in remote lite, and even send e-mail, Twit- places now have an alternative when cellphone towers ter feeds and Facebook updates. are scarce and the signal vanishes — satellite networks. "TURN TO SATELLITE, 2B

Trainees flock to McDonald’s University in China Bloomberg News

SHANGHAI, China — Zhou Xiaobu runs from one end of a table to another, grasping a piece of a puzzle she and her team are assembling as part of a leadership training exercise for McDonald’s managers. “Go, go, go,” yells their Taiwanese teacher, exhorting them to work for the prize, a box of Danish butter cookies, for being the first to build the company’s trademark Golden Arches. Above their

heads is a sign that reads: “Learning today, leading tomorrow.” The thick green binders stuffed with paperwork on each of the 31 students’ desks indicate the next activity may not be as rousing. This is McDonald’s Hamburger University in China, and it can be harder to get into than Harvard. Zhou’s classroom, with its gray walls and carpet, is one of seven in the management training center occupying the 20th floor of the 28-story building on the out-

skirts of Shanghai that houses McDonald’s China headquarters. The art consists of pictures of McDonald’s products and equipment, such as a milk-shake maker from the 1950s. The 16,846 square foot facility doesn’t have a pool or a gym and its one-room library holds books with titles such as Just Listen, Personal Accountability and None Of Us Is As Good As All Of Us: How McDonald’s Prospers By Embracing Inclusion and Diver-

sity. There’s a coffee machine in the corridor. There’s no cafeteria, although students and staff can order food delivered to the office pantry one floor down. “I’m thrilled and proud to attend Hamburger University,” said Zhou, who in 2007 started as a management trainee in the central Chinese city of Changsha, a job for which she and seven others were among 1,000 applicants. "TURN TO MCDONALD’S, 2B




Entrepreneurs emerge in Cuba • CUBA, FROM 1B

the world’s last bastions of Soviet-style communism. If the free-market experiment works, the cash-strapped government could shed millions of dollars from its payroll while boosting much-needed tax revenues and creating a new business and consumer class. It could also legalize part of a booming black market that provides everything from sausages to satellite television. If the experiment fails, this already disillusioned and dysfunctional country will have turned hundreds of thousands of people out of their government jobs and into an uncertain future. All of this in the same year that Raul Castro turns 80, and his older brother Fidel is widely expected to step down from his final official post: head of the Communist Party. Through Jan. 7, more than 75,000 people had received new licenses, joining about 143,000 private-sector workers left over from the island’s last dabble with capitalism. Government economists say they hope a quarter of a million new entrepreneurs will eventually sign up. Almost all the new businesses are small, providing services such as manicures, house-painting and taxis. But the stakes for Cuba couldn’t be higher, with the economy weighed down by crippling disorganization, a broken infrastructure, endemic corruption and an enormous labor force that has become accustomed to getting paid very little — and doing very little in return.

That’s a selection rate of less than 1 percent, lower than Harvard University’s record low acceptance rate last year of about 7 percent, according to the school’s official newspaper. To get to the training center, Zhou competed with 43 other workers at her store to be made first assistant manager. She didn’t pay any tuition; it cost McDonald’s about $1,520 to put her through the five-day course. The world’s biggest restaurant operator moved the training center from Hong Kong last year as it expands in mainland China, where its market share is less than half of KFC owner Yum Brands. McDonald’s opened a record 165 restaurants in 2010 and will accelerate that growth this year to meet its goal of 1,000 new outlets in the four years through 2013. “They are preparing a base that will allow them to accelerate that rate of expansion,” said Peter Jank-

Wager on gold nets $5B for hedge fund star • PAULSON, FROM 1B


AMBITION: Baker Julio Cesar Hidalgo works in a government bakery in Havana. After Cuban authorities announced last September that they were opening the island’s closed Marxist economy to a limited amount of private enterprise, Hidalgo was one of the first to line up for a new business license. Even the Cuban government — in an internal document to party leaders which was obtained by The Associated Press — warned that many of the businesses will fail within a year. And many Cubans say they will see if ventures such as Hidalgo’s prosper before jumping into the fray themselves. But for now, excitement reigns among the new entrepreneurs. “We are going to be a success. I am sure of it,” says Gisselle de la Noval, 20,

Hidalgo’s bright-faced girlfriend who will work the till at the pizzeria and share in its profits. “This [economic] opening was marvelous. — I think those who know how to take advantage of it will have a bright future.” Cuba’s push to open its economy to private enterprise is based not on an ideological change of heart, but on necessity. The economy has been slammed by the global economic downturn, a drop in nickel prices and the fall-

out from three devastating hurricanes that hit in quick succession in 2008. Revenues from tobacco, rum and sugar have fallen, as have remittances from Cubans living overseas, many of them in recession-hit South Florida. Prevented from borrowing from international monetary institutions by the 48-year U.S. trade embargo, Cuba was forced to reduce food and other imports from its main trading partners by 37 percent.

The economy grew by just 1.4 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, in 2009 and 2010, a terrible performance for a small, developing country. “My fear is that the Cuban state is completely broke,” says Uva de Aragon, a Cuba expert at Florida International University, who is watching the reforms closely. “I don’t want to think about what will happen, even in the medium term, if it doesn’t work.”

Trainees flock to McDonald’s University in China • MCDONALD’S, FROM 1B


ovskis, co-chief investment officer of Oakbrook Investments, which holds about 300,000 McDonald’s shares. “They may well have announced a conservative store opening target and their true plan is much greater.” The school last year trained 1,000 of the almost 70,000 employees McDonald’s has mainland China, a region that doesn’t include Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan. Another 4,000 people will attend classes at the training center through 2014, said Susanna Li, the head of the training center. The classrooms are equipped for simultaneous translation into English, Mandarin and Cantonese to accommodate students from Hong Kong and teachers from overseas. “We’ll make sure the people pipeline is ready,” Li said. “Having the school here in China helps us provide training faster than sending students to Hong Kong.” Total sales for fast-food chains in China rose 12 percent last year, according to London-


EXULTANT: Students cheer after completing a puzzle at a management training class at the McDonald’s Hamburger University in Shanghai, China. based researcher Euromonitor International. Yum’s restaurants, which include Pizza Huts as well as KFCs serving fried chicken alongside Chinese dishes, accounted for 40 percent while McDonald’s had 16 percent, the researcher said. McDonald’s set up its first Hamburger University in Elk Grove Village, Ill., in 1961 to train managers as well as franchise owners.

McDonald’s chief executive Jim Skinner, who was paid $17.6 million in 2009, started as a trainee in 1971 after serving in the Navy, according to the company’s website. Getting into the school is competitive because more than 26 percent of China’s 6.3 million college graduates were unemployed as of July 1, according to the Ministry of Education. That compares with a 4.2 percent unemploy-

ment rate for China’s urban workforce, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sun Ying, 25, started working part-time for McDonald’s in 2005 during her freshman year as a tourism management major at East China Normal University. When she graduated in 2008, she opted to work full-time for the hamburger chain instead of applying for a job at a bank as her father advised. The restaurant chain “offers many career opportunities,” said Sun, who in April was made store manager at McDonald’s Xinhualian store in Shanghai’s central Huaihai Road. “I’m even happier to continue to grow with my team,” said Sun, who’s seen the number of people she supervises grow to 55 from 45 since her promotion. Sun said she’s due for more training next month: a one-week course on “business leadership practices.” Her next goal is to be made operations consultant, which involves supervising a group of stores.

range of hedge funds, the bulk of his personal fortune is invested in his funds that buy securities linked to the price of gold. Gold jumped almost 30 percent in 2010. So far this year, however, it has fallen almost 6 percent. While some other hedgefund stars turned in strong performances last year — Appaloosa Management’s David Tepper, Third Point’s Daniel Loeb and Pershing Square’s William A. Ackman, for instance — Paulson’s payday most likely dwarfed theirs, as he oversees funds that are substantially bigger. Throughout much of last year, Paulson’s funds lagged the market. Amid questions about whether the funds had become too big to beat the markets or whether Paulson had lost his touch, some investors asked for their money back midyear. But those who stayed were rewarded. In the final quarter of the year, many of Paulson’s core stock holdings rose substantially. His two largest funds, with a combined $18 billion in assets, the Advantage and Advantage Plus fund, were up 11.6 percent and 17.6 percent by the end of the year. (The difference between the two funds is that the Advantage Plus fund uses leverage, or borrowed money, to increase its returns.) The average hedge fund gained a little more than 10.5 percent in 2010, a lukewarm year for many hedge fund managers, according to a composite index tracked by Hedge Fund Research of Chicago. Many investors would have seen bigger gains by putting their money in an index that tracked the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, which was up about 15 percent last year, including dividends. Paulson invested heavily in gold on the belief that the dollar would lose value in the coming years. His gold investments are primarily done via a gold exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares. One of the largest ETFs in the world, SPDR Gold Shares is a trust that holds nearly 1,230 metric tons of gold bars in the vaults of HSBC bank in London. The gold fund has attracted a lot of big investors who are looking for a hedge against inflation. George Soros and Eton Park’s Eric Mindich both held substantial stakes in the gold shares trust, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In Greece, a brewer’s dream runs into unending frustration • BREWERY, FROM 1B

Sitting in his office, Politopoulos took a long pull from a glass of his premium Vergina wheat beer and said it was absurd that he had to lobby Greek politicians to repeal a 19th-century law so that he could deliver the exports that Greece urgently needed. And, he said, his predicament was even worse than that: It was emblematic of the web of restrictions, monopolies and other distortions that have made many Greek companies uncompetitive and pushed the country close to bankruptcy.

“Why do you think no one is willing to invest in Greece?” he asked. Greek leaders say they welcome business, he said, adding: “Yes, they are trying — but they have to back it up.” For decades, Greece has been a wonderful place to be a lawyer, a pharmacist, an architect, a university president or even a truck driver — all occupations protected by an array of laws that have shielded them from local and foreign competitors. Greek pharmacists are guaranteed a minimum profit on their sales and charge some of the highest prices in Europe.

And because they have fixed minimum fees, the 40,000 or so lawyers in Greece receive more for their time than their peers in many other European countries. It has been very profitable to be a brewer in Greece, too — if you control 72 percent of the beer market, as Heineken now does. The Greek economy is riddled with distortions — the number of trucking licenses has remained unchanged in Greece since 1971, for example, and the country is among the world’s leaders in lawyers per capita. It has one lawyer for every 250 people,

compared with about one for 272 in the United States. The effect on Greek competitiveness could not be more pernicious. The cost of labor in Greece from 2005 to 2010 has been, on average, 25 percent higher than in Germany, according to a recent analysis by Variant Perception, a research firm based in London. (Ireland, Portugal and Spain also have relatively high labor costs.) Quite simply, Greece has had trouble producing goods and services that people want to buy — a result being a persistently high trade deficit that even now, amid the deepest of re-

cessions, has hardly budged. This pricing distortion helps explain why Greece required a ¤110 billion ($150 billion) bailout last spring in order to keep it from defaulting on its debts. The problem kickstarted the financial crisis that is still shaking the eurozone. Seeking to restore competitiveness, Greece, because it is on the euro, cannot devalue its currency and, like other nations on the zone’s periphery, has instead had to impose what economists call an “internal devaluation.” Instead, the difference in labor costs between countries like Greece and Ger-

many is to be closed by sharply reducing public-sector wages — a move that is a hallmark of the Greek government’s reform effort. But improving competitiveness by cutting salaries is not only politically painful, it is also time-consuming. George P. Zanias, top economic advisor to Greece’s finance minister, George Papaconstantinou, said: “Historically, the supply side of the economy has been neglected — it was just a question of increasing demand. Vested interests built up and economic distortions increased.”

Novel service allows satellite messaging from the wilderness • SATELLITE, FROM 1B

($50 for 500), said Derek Moore, a spokesman for Spot, a subsidiary of Globalstar, a satellite network company in Covington, La. The system is one-way; users can send texts but not receive them.

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In February, Spot will introduce a free smart phone application to be paired with another Spot transmitter called the Spot Connect ($150). Users type their text messages on Android-based phones linked wirelessly by Bluetooth to the Spot Con-

nect device, Moore said. An app for iPhones will be arriving shortly, he said. The basic service charge will be $99.99 a year. Before they head for the forest, users must go to the Spot website and set up contact information for the peo-

ple they may want to reach, said Tim Flight, editor of in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. Once on the trail, the DeLorme GPS unit shows the contacts’ names. For an additional $50 a year, Spot will track users’ routes, reporting their loca-

tions every 10 minutes on Google maps on the website, Moore said. Messages sent by the new satellite systems fill an unusual niche, said Jonathan Dorn, editor of Backpacker magazine, who has been testing the Spot-DeLorme pair.

“Hikers love to tell stories,” he said. “Historically, we have to wait until we get home.” Now those stories can be told in real time. “It’s wonderful to be able to communicate spontaneously this way with a device that fits in your hand,” he said.

1/31/2011 4:00:08 AM





Japan’s premier seeks new trade deals




BREATHER: Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, center, said he has no plans to nationalize the Banco Provincial bank.

Chavez won’t acquire Spanish-owned bank From Miami Herald Wire Services

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez says he does not intend to seize a Spanish-owned bank that he threatened with nationalization earlier last week. Chavez says officials from the government and Banco Provincial have met and smoothed over the dispute. He said Saturday he has “no plans to nationalize that bank.” Chavez accused Banco Provincial managers Wednesday of refusing to grant loans to cash-strapped Venezuelans seeking to purchase homes amid a nationwide housing deficit. At the time he raised the possibility of a takeover, saying, “I will pay you whatever that bank costs.” Banco Provincial denies turning its back on clients seeking loans. It is controlled by Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, or BBVA. • MEDIA COMCAST TAKES CONTROL OF NBC UNIVERSAL The United States’ largest cable TV company, Comcast, took control of NBC Universal after the government shackled its behavior in the coming years to protect online video services such as Netflix and Hulu. The deal closed shortly before midnight EST on Friday. The takeover gave the cable-hookup company 51 percent control of NBC Universal, which owns the nation’s fourth-ranked broadcaster, NBC; the Universal Pictures movie studio and related theme parks; and a bevy of cable channels including Bravo, E! and USA. • STEELMAKER POSCO AGREES TO JOIN CAMEROON PROJECT Posco, South Korea’s biggest steelmaker, agreed to jointly develop an iron ore mine in Cameroon, part of a bid to secure raw materials overseas. The Mbalam iron ore project is expected to produce about 35 million metric tons of the steelmaking ingredient a year starting in 2014, Pohang, South Korea-based Posco said in an e-mailed statement, without giving the value. Posco and its rivals in South Korea, which imports almost all of its energy and mineral needs, are competing with China and India to secure supplies of raw materials. • TELECOMMUNICATIONS ETISALAT PRESSES ON WITH ZAIN DEAL Emirati telecommunications provider Etisalat says it is speeding up the due diligence process of examining Kuwaiti rival Zain’s books as it presses ahead with plans to buy a 51 percent stake. Etisalat also said Saturday it remains in talks with 18 regional and international banks to organize funding for the deal, adding that it’s “highly confident that it will be able to secure the necessary financing.” Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.-based Etisalat says it hopes to present results of the proposed $12 billion deal to its board by the end of February. • TRADING EGYPT TURMOIL HITS MIDEAST STOCK EXCHANGE Investors nervous about instability gripping Egypt drove Middle Eastern stocks down sharply Sunday as markets reopened following a weekend of violent protests. The losses, led by a drop of more than 4 percent in the regional business hub Dubai, reflect concerns the unrest that has roiled the Arab world’s most populous country and nearby Tunisia could spread, jeopardizing an economic recovery across the region. Egypt’s market remained closed because of the protests, leaving investors to pull money off the table elsewhere. • FORUM DAVOS PANEL BACKS U.S. GROWTH POLICIES A day after Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron defended his tough austerity measures at home, a Davos economic panel says the United States is right to take the opposite approach, spending money to stimulate jobs and growth. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers — who headlined the panel — says “the highest priority has to attach to establishing strong and significant growth.” But the diverse group also warns that the United States may soon need to signal a willingness to take the tough and politically costly decisions needed to eventually put its fiscal house in order, such as raising taxes or lowering spending. • ENERGY ALPHA AGREES TO BUY MASSEY FOR $7.1 BILLION Alpha Natural Resources, the third-biggest U.S. coal producer, has agreed to buy Massey Energy for about $7.1 billion in cash and stock, gaining the largest coal producer in the central Appalachian region. Massey shareholders will receive 1.025 Alpha Natural shares plus $10 cash for each share held, the companies said in a statement. The bid values Massey at $69.33 a share, 21 percent more than Massey’s price at the close of trading Friday. Massey has $1.63 billion in debt, according to Bloomberg data.

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culture to revitalize itself as a growing industry,” Kan said. The trade push reflects concerns that Japan’s long period of stagnant growth has fostered a more insular view of the world among younger Japanese, Kan said. “During the latter half of the 20th century, Japan opened up its national economy to the world and grew into an economic power. However, now in the 21st century,

there is growing concern in Japan that in the midst of its economic stagnation the minds of its people, including the youth, are becoming inward-looking,” he said. Kan said Japan’s alliance with the United States remains a cornerstone and will play a key role in maintaining stability in the region. Meanwhile, Japan has an important relationship with China, he said. Both Japan

and China have important responsibilities to bear in the international community, and will need to enhance cooperation on issues including the economy, regional stability and global environment. Kan opened his speech with a call for Egyptian authorities to begin a dialogue with citizens and to attempt to build the full support of the people, in the wake of ongoing violent protests in that nation.

DAVOS, Switzerland — Japan will pursue new trade agreements in an effort to further open the nation’s economy, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan told the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. “Japan has, for the past 10 years, been virtually at a standstill while a number of countries promoted bilateral and intra-regional economic partnerships,” Kan told the annual gathering of top government officials and corporate executives on Saturday. Kan said Japan looks forward to beginning talks on a trade pact with the European Union and will continue discussions with the United States and other partners over the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a multilateral trade agreement between nations in the AsiaPacific region. Kan dismissed concerns that possible trade agreements would threaten the Japan’s agriculture industry, arguing that the popularity of Japanese “food culture” offers opportunities for future growth. VIRGINIA MAYO/AP “As the attractiveness of PLAYING SAFE: Prime Minister Naoto Kan of Japan performed a balancing act at Japan’s food culture spreads throughout the world, it is the World Economic Forum by calling Japan’s alliance with the United States a possible for Japanese agri- cornerstone, while also saying Japan’s relationship with China is ‘important.’

Tunisia’s bank chief pleads for business BY WILLIAM L. WATTS MarketWatch

DAVOS, Switzerland — Tunisia’s new central bank chief pleaded with banks and businesses to continue business with the nation following the ouster of long-time President Zine El Abadine Ben Ali. “The country is in business,” said Mustapha Kamel Nabli, governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia, on Saturday. “We have gone through a very major, dramatic change. But more importantly, they will be doing business in a more transparent environment” without the corruption and other distortions that

characterized the Ben Ali regime, he said. Nabli, joined by two government ministers, spoke to reporters in a news conference on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of top bankers, executives and government leaders and ministers in Davos. Ben Ali fled the government for Saudi Arabia earlier this month after rounds of protests. Tunisia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Ghanouchi replaced 12 Cabinet ministers in the nation’s interim government earlier this week in a bow to pressure to remove officials tied to the old regime.

Tunisia has issued an arrest warrant for Ben Ali, charging that he took money out of the country illegally. Nabli slammed ratings agencies for downgrading Tunisia’s debt rating amid the protests that forced Ben Ali out of power. “I don’t see why Tunisia should be punished for this,” he said, saying the removal of the old government improved the business climate. Nabli, who took the helm of the central bank earlier in the week, said an audit had refuted rumors that Ben Ali and other former government officials had fled with

some of the central bank’s gold. The audit, based on a physical inventory of the bank’s holdings, confirmed it held around 5.3 tons of gold, while another 1.4 tons is held in London at the Bank of England. The roughly 6.8 tons of holdings match the amount cited by the International Monetary Fund and the World Gold Council, he said. Nabli declined to comment on growing unrest in Egypt that has put pressure on President Hosni Mubarak to step down. The Tunisian revolt is credited with inspiring Egyptians to take to the streets.

Specter of currency war looms over Davos BY FRANK JORDANS AND MATT MOORE Associated Press

DAVOS, Switzerland — A fight is looming between rich and poor countries over the value of the dollar and other key currencies, as governments use monetary tricks to boost their national recovery at the expense of other nations, political and business leaders warned. Washington has been leaning hard on Beijing to allow the Chinese renminbi to rise, saying it is being kept artificially cheap to maintain China’s cheap labor advantage. At the same time the United States, Britain and others have encouraged their central banks to pump money into the system as a means of stimulating the economy. “We are going to see the recovery of nationalism and protectionism, I think we’re going to face some type of currency war,” Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo, president and chief executive of

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, said Saturday. “The U.S. is going to try to use weak dollar policy to help recovery in the U.S., and Brazil, India are not going to accept that and will fight back, and then we’re going to see some struggle and conflicts,” he said. His words echoed concerns expressed by many participants of the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, where ways to maintain the fragile global recovery — and risks to it — are being hotly debated. Australia’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, responding to a Chinese participant’s defense of China’s currency policies, said, “A few of the rest of us would say a better approach is the appreciation of the renminbi.” Beijing has been wary of letting go control of its currency even as food prices rises are driving up inflation — a situation that has been partly blamed for spurring anti-government pro-

tests in the Middle East this week. Rudd said the world has huge concerns about how China will deal with its inflation, and urged Beijing to “get the exchange rate right.” Concerns about where the renminbi, dollar and in particular the euro are heading were aired as more than two dozen senior officials from key economies met in Davos to discuss sending a political signal that a new global trade deal can be completed this year. Thailand’s prime minister said Saturday that failure to conclude the so-called Doha round of trade talks, which have been nearly 10 years in the making, indicated a leadership vacuum on the global stage. “Despite what global leaders say, they are still very much dictated by domestic politics,” Abhisit Vejjajiva told a panel. Renewed talk of a deal — which some say could add billions to the world economy —

has won backing from leaders and executives at the World Economic Forum this week. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron cited it as a key test for the international community’s ability to cooperate in reviving the world economy. “We are literally meters away from the finishing line,” Merkel said Friday. Experts remain skeptical that a deal can be reached this year, mainly because China and the United States remain at loggerheads on key issues. Pushing the talks into 2012 — a U.S. presidential election year — would make a conclusion even less likely because the sensitive issue of trade would be a hard sell for politicians of any stripe. China’s growth and worries about Europe’s debts have been another focus of attention among the 2,500 business and political leaders discussing the state of the world economy this week.

Court suspends Chilean-Brazilian airlines merger SANTIAGO, Chile — (AP) — Officials have suspended a merger between Chile’s LAN Airlines and Brazil’s TAM Airlines while they investigate whether it complies with the South American country’s antitrust laws, Brazilian news media reported Saturday. The five-member Court for the Defense of Free Competition issued the decision Friday in response to a request from the private National Consumer Corporation, the daily Tercera newspaper reported. No one answered the telephone Saturday at the court or at LAN’s offices. Corporation president Hernan Calderon told radio

Cooperativa on Saturday that “we value the court’s ruling.” Calderon said that the tribunal’s review will involve consultations with numerous organizations involved in the merger, “and that means several months.” Earlier this month, LAN Airlines announced that it planned to finalize the merger in six to nine months. A report LAN sent to Chile’s markets regulator said the new company would be one of the world’s 10 largest airlines, providing both passenger and cargo services to more than 115 destinations in 23 countries. It would be known as Latam Airlines Group, or LATAM, but LAN

and TAM would both continue operating under their own brand names. Together, the airlines have 40,000 employees and more than 280 planes. The merger, announced last August, also depends on approval by Brazil’s civil aviation agency; markets regulators in Brazil, Chile, and the United States; antitrust authorities in Brazil, Spain, Germany, Italy and Argentina; and shareholders for both companies. LAN is one of the world’s few investment-grade airlines, with $737 million in cash, no short-term debt and low interest rates on longterm debt needed to maintain its fleet of 131 jets, in-

cluding 13 more added in the fourth quarter. On Wednesday, the company reported a 50 percent jump in fourth-quarter profits to $165 million, reflecting growth in passenger and cargo businesses despite a drop in traffic in Argentina due to labor unrest and the temporary closure of the Buenos Aires airport during the quarter. LAN is controlled by the Chilean Cueto family, and until last year Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera was a principal shareholder. He sold his 26 percent interest for $1.5 billion amid criticism over conflicts of interest between the presidency and the airline.

1/31/2011 4:43:06 AM






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1/30/2011 9:43:58 PM






Probing a centuries-old puzzle in the


Los Angeles Times Service

LOS ANGELES — A As night i ht settles ttl upon Mount Wilson, stars rise out of the December darkness and the wind begins to howl. Brian Kloppenborg looks overhead. There’s Polaris and in the northeast, the Big Dipper, all bright and twinkling to the naked eye, but to the telescopes on this summit, they are smudges, their light blurred by the blustery streams of air and dust. If this keeps up, observing tonight will be impossible. “There,” he says. “It’s just to right of Capella. See it?” He aims a flashlight high above a horizon of swaying pines and firs in the direction of a flickering star, faint enough to be easily overlooked. “That’s it — Epsilon Aurigae,” he says with an almost paternal air. If he’s disappointed by the conditions tonight, he’s not showing it. He’ll be up here for another night and he’s been lucky so far. Since 2008, he has studied this distant neighbor of Earth with great success. Lying in the swirls of the Milky Way 2,000 light-years away, Epsilon Aurigae has long puzzled observers with its strange fluctuations of light. After seven visits to this summit, using one of the most sophisticated arrays of telescopes in the world, Kloppenborg, with the help of other astronomers, is slowly unraveling the mystery of this star. The findings so far have earned him a small measure of fame — publication in the science journal Nature — and have lent Epsilon Aurigae celebrity status in astronomy circles. It is the focus of both amateur and professional astronomers around the world, a lyric in a rock ballad, We Are the Stars, and inspiration for artwork that would make Spock proud. LONG HISTORY Once merely an odd sounding name in the broad panoply of night, Epsilon Aurigae came to prominence almost 200 years ago when a sharp-eyed government minister looked above the German countryside and noticed something strange in the crowded sky. The star, fifth brightest in the constellation Auriga, had dimmed. “Has anyone else seen this?” Johann Fritsch wrote in letter to a publisher of star almanacs. The question soon became a challenge to the astronomers of the day, who in time recorded that every 27.1 years, Epsilon Aurigae lost half its brightness for nearly two years. They tried to explain the phenomenon as a system of stars, one orbiting the other in a long, leisurely ellipse, but something didn’t make sense. When one of the objects passed in front of the other, the light didn’t behave as it did in other binary systems. Perhaps, the astronomers argued, the eclipse was caused by something other than a star, and with each eclipse, new theories tried to explain the fluctuations of light. A swarm of meteorites, said one astrophysicist. A black hole, said another. A large and dusty cloud. Or a disk like the rings of Saturn. But no one knew because from the perspective of Earth, Epsilon Aurigae, like all

stars, is not an object but a pinpoint of light whose specific dimensions and shape ld only l b i d mathematically, th ti ll and d could be d derived sometimes the numbers can be off. If only it could be seen more clearly. Kloppenborg steps inside a small building on Mount Wilson in California. Sitting in an alcove in the glow of six computer monitors, P.J. Sallave-Goldfinger operates the telescopes that he will use. She isn’t about to open any of them. Dust, flying pine needles and condensation might spoil the mirrors’ surfaces. Perched more than a mile above Los Angeles, Mount Wilson has always been valued for its location. More nights than not, the air from the Pacific flows smoothly over the mountains, and a number of universities maintain telescopes here, including Georgia State University with its Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy. The CHARA array is an optical interferometer, a fancy name for six, widely spaced telescopes and a labyrinth of trolleys, mirrors and vacuum-sealed conduits that brings starlight into stunningly precise resolution. If someone were to build a Walmart on Mars, CHARA could count the parking spaces. Focused on a star system 2,000 light-years away, the array allows astronomers like Kloppenborg to define its specific properties. “We are in a period when it is becoming possible to see star systems in detail,” says science writer Timothy Ferris. “One reason these studies are important is because they shed light on how our star and our planet got here — and the story of how the Earth got here is also the story of how human beings came to be here.” When the article in Nature came out in April, it was described by the distinguished astrophysicist Edward Guinan as a “turning point” in the understanding of Epsilon Aurigae. Kloppenborg was lead author, a heady accomplishment for any scientist, let alone a 27-year-old graduate student at the University of Denver. “Infrared Images of the Transiting Disk in the E Aurigae System” was based upon two observations from Mount Wilson in the fall of 2009, and its authors — Kloppenborg and 16 colleagues — explained the eclipse, providing images and specifications of the objects in the star system. One is the visible star with a diameter nearly 270 times the sun’s. Another — the object that had baffled astronomers for so long — is a thin, dark cloud shaped like a pancake viewed from the side, and consists of carbon and silicon, caught in a haze of hydrogen and helium gases; its diameter is nearly 1,300 times the sun’s. Within the cloud, ultraviolet emissions have been detected by the Hubble Space Telescope, which indicates the presence of a second star. Reaction to the findings — and the remarkable images — has ranged from praise to hyperbole. An astronomer at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, who helped with the research, cited the Old Testament and Tolkien in one sweeping allusion. “Like David, tiny particles of dust are able to kill the light of this ‘Goliath’ star,” he said in a statement released by the univer-

A YOUNG ASTRONOMER TRIES TO UNFOLD THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE PERIODICAL ECLIPSE OF A STAR sity. It is “like seeing the vessel of the sun — being swallowed by the dragon Smaug d plunging l i Middl th iin a second-age d and Middle E Earth of darkness. It is a terrifying image.” Ask Kloppenborg and he will tell you that the eclipse looks a little like Pacman, whose body is the star and whose ghosteating maw is this large, dusty object slowly cutting across it. This night, however, there’s nothing to see. He stayed up until 5 a.m. waiting, but the wind never dropped. Just a few years ago, Kloppenborg was a physics major at a small college in Nebraska, working part time in the local planetarium. Now he is pursuing a doctorate in physics. He began studying Epsilon Aurigae upon the recommendation of his academic advisor, who himself was urged to research the star by a NASA scientist in 1980. Kloppenborg’s wondering if he can “outsmart the most notable astronomers in history.” There’s a good chance he might, but time is short. OBSERVING EVERY MOVE The current eclipse, which began in 2009, will end this spring, and winter on the mountain leaves little opportunity to use the telescopes. Tonight, his second night of observing, the wind has finally dropped. It is a little past midnight. Sallave-Goldfinger steps outside and shines a light on the metal roof of the building next door to see if there is any moisture on it. She points the beam into the sky to see if there is any dust or debris in the air. “Looks good,” she declares. With the click of her mouse, she opens the dome of one telescope and removes the covers from its mirrors. She rotates the telescope onto a star with known specifications to begin calibrating the array. The starlight courses over the mountain through a succession of evernarrowing channels, from the 40-inch mirror of the telescope to a beam no larger than an inch. After passing through a series of prisms, filters and beam combiners, the light is translated into a digital language. The data are a complicated accounting of starlight moving through time and space, and Kloppenborg needs to extract the star’s specifications from it. He begins by constructing a hypothetical star whose diameter and shape can be adjusted. A computer program modifies the data from this hypothetical star until it is the same as the data from Epsilon Aurigae. When they match, Kloppenborg knows what the real star looks like. The process, he says, is like constructing a symphony from random notes. The form of the music — the pacing of the movements, for instance — guides him as he puts these notes into place and eventually scripts the entire piece. A window on his computer lights up. On a good night, the display would feature orange, red and yellow bands, like a detail from a painting by Gustav Klimt, but tonight it is flat red. There is still too much wind in the upper atmosphere to get a clear reading. For now, Sallave-Goldfinger will keep

the telescope open. There’s still a chance the wind will settle down. Kl b t tto ttell ll E il A Kloppenborg wants Epsilon Aurigae’s complete story, but he is waiting for the final chapter. “Where did it come from?” he asks. “Where is it going?” By the time he finishes his dissertation in 2012, he hopes to nail down the age of the visible star, which he believes is at the end of its life, shedding its outer layer as it slowly dies. This castoff material has been captured and shaped into the pancake cloud by the gravity of a second star, hidden by the debris. The interpretation is a departure from conventional wisdom — gleaned from prior eclipses — that holds that the visible star is younger and burning more steadily. The pancake cloud, according to that theory, is debris left from the creation of the entire system, now caught in the pull of a second, hidden star. Out of this debris, it is argued, a planetary system could develop. Kloppenborg is confident that given his work — as well as the ongoing study of his co-authors, researchers from around the world and a corps of amateur astronomers — the questions about Epsilon Aurigae will soon be set to rest. But he also knows that science is an arena where the capacity to ask questions outruns the ability to find answers, and one day a new generation of astronomers will look at the eclipse of Epsilon Aurigae with even more sophisticated equipment and find even more mysteries to unravel. The next viewing takes place in 2036. At 4 a.m., Sallave-Goldfinger starts closing down the open telescope. It’s rare CHARA gets skunked two clear nights in a row. Kloppenborg heads to the cottage where he’s staying. Dawn is an hour away; the city lights spread before him, galaxies and constellations of an entirely different order.


STARGAZER: Astronomer Brian Kloppenborg, 27, has been studying star Epsilon Aurigae for years.

NASA’s quest for dark energy may fade to black BY DENNIS OVERBYE

New York Times Service

An ambitious $1.6 billion spacecraft that would investigate the mysterious force known as dark energy that is apparently accelerating the expansion of the universe — and search out planets around other stars, to boot — might have to be postponed for a decade, NASA says, because of cost overruns and mismanagement on a separate project, the James

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Webb Space Telescope. The news has dismayed many U.S. astronomers, who worry they will wind up playing second fiddle to their European counterparts in what they say is the deepest mystery in the universe. “How many things can we do in our lifetime that will excite a generation of scientists?” asked Saul Perlmutter, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley, who is one of dark en-

ergy’s discoverers. There is a sense, he said, “that we’re starting to give up leadership in these important areas in fundamental physics.” Last summer, after 10 years of debate and interagency wrangling, a prestigious committee from the National Academy of Sciences gave highest priority among big projects in the coming decade to a satellite telescope that would take precise measure of dark en-

ergy. The project goes by the slightly unwieldy acronym WFIRST, for Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope. The Academy’s report was ambushed by NASA’s announcement that the successor to the Hubble, the Webb Space Telescope, would require at least another $1.6 billion and several more years to finish, pushing the next big mission to 2022 at the very earliest. To take up the slack, the

space agency has proposed buying a 20 percent share in a European dark-energy mission known as Euclid that could fly as soon as 2018. In return, NASA would ask for a similar investment by Europe in WFIRST. But, said Perlmutter, “most of us think it is hard to imagine if we do Euclid now that we will do a dark-energy mission then.” Everybody agrees that nothing is cast in stone yet. Euclid must survive a bake-

off with two other projects before it is approved by the European Space Agency, or ESA. Not until then, European astronomers say, will they be able to talk about changes to the project. NASA has not said how it plans to get the $1.6 billion it needs to finish the Webb telescope, and thus how much will be left for other projects this decade. Some of the answers will be in the 2012 budget due next month.

1/31/2011 5:03:35 AM








Opening lead — ♥ ten

approach is to ruff South’s two spade losers after giving up one spade trick. South With North bidding cormust be careful, however, rectly, South should not end on a heart lead. He ruffs two up in an inferior contract diamonds in hand while ruffof three no-trump. He can WEST EAST ing a heart in dummy, then foresee that there might be ♠Q8652 ♠ K 10 only eight tricks at no-trump takes the spade ace and a ♥ Q 10 9 8 ♥J763 second spade. East wins to — four clubs, two hearts, a ◆K983 ◆ Q 10 2 return a trump. ♣— ♣ K 7 6 2 spade and a diamond. The South wins in hand and no-trump game may be right SOUTH if the North hand is balanced. discovers the bad break. This ♠A974 should not disrupt declarer’s But if North holds the dia♥AK2 ability to make his game, mond ace and the club ace ◆5 though. To insure his 11 or king, together with nine ♣QJ985 tricks, South must now ruff cards in the two suits, there Vulnerable: Both the third round of spades should be a good play for Dealer: West five clubs. South’s major top with the ace. To let East cards cover three of the four overruff the third spade and The bidding: plain-suit losers, leaving only lead another trump would South West North East be fatal, but this way North one loser there — the rest Pass Pass Pass saves the trump 10 for the can be ruffed out. The only 1♣ Pass 1 ◆ Pass fourth round of spades and other loser is a high trump. Pass 3 ♣ Pass 1♠ makes the game. This picture foreshadows Pass 5 ♣ All pass 3♥ the actual play. The right 1-31 —BOBBY WOLFF NORTH ♠J3 ♥54 ◆AJ764 ♣ A 10 4 3


For more comics & puzzles, go to






WHITE TO PLAY Hint: Simplify and win a pawn.

Solution: Simply, 1. Bxb6! etc. does it [Lysyj-Nabaty ’10].








Dear Abby: I met my husband, “Monty,” shortly after he lost his wife of 14 years. Monty has two dogs, but the one I have issues with is “Ginger.” I have never seen a dog act like her. Ginger acts more like a wife than a dog. She clings to Monty to the point he doesn’t have any time alone. She’ll sit outside the shower until he is done. If he takes a bath, Ginger sits on the edge of the tub. She runs to him when he gets home from work to greet him before I do. As she’s running ahead of me, she looks back as if she’s worried I’ll beat her to him. It’s as if she thinks she’s his wife! She sits next to Monty on the couch when we’re watching television. I hesitate telling her to move so I can sit next to my husband because he treats his dogs like gold. His excuse? “They were here for me when my wife died.” I’m sympathetic to that, but where do I fit in? Ginger bullies the other dog by growling at her and bumping into her when the other one tries to get Monty’s attention. I’m feeling jealous because sometimes my husband neglects my physical needs and is more affectionate with the dogs. What do I do? Jealous of the Four-legged Mistress

Martin was the one who made me happy about school — a kindred spirit. I blame myself because I moved over the summer break and never got a chance to say goodbye to Martin. When I visited the school again, Martin came up to me, gave me a hug and demanded to know why I left him! We had been there for each other when others had not. I know I can’t change the past, but I feel if I had been there I could have stopped him from getting into the trouble he did. I can’t think about our good times without being sad about his grim future. How can I get over this? Crying For a Friend in Louisville, Ky. Please stop blaming yourself for the path that your childhood friend chose. People do not become drug addicts because a friend from elementary school moved away. Whatever led to his substance abuse, it wasn’t you. Because this has hit you so hard emotionally, make an appointment to visit your student health center and talk to a counselor about your feelings of guilt. While what Martin has done to himself is tragic, it’s still not too late for him to kick his habit and straighten out his life. This has nothing to do with you, and you should not make it your problem.

When Monty’s first wife died, Ginger became the alpha female in the house. Your husband was depressed and lonely, and he allowed or encouraged it. It is now up to him to retrain Ginger so she learns to defer to you because your place is beside your husband — and not just on the couch. If you haven’t told Monty that you need a higher rank in the pack, do it now. And if he isn’t willing to make some changes, including taking care of more of your physical needs, insist the two of you talk to a licensed marriage counselor. (And maybe to the Dog Whisperer.)


Dear Abby: I’m a college student who has been looking up friends from my past, ranging from elementary to high school. One of my close friends from elementary school was a boy named “Martin.” We were close because we were sort of the outcasts of our class. I recently contacted a friend who knew Martin. He told me that Martin had become addicted to hard drugs and is now in jail. I have not been able to stop crying over this.

HOROSCOPE IF TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY: Cosmic protection can keep the wolf from the door during the next several weeks. If someone you are involved with can’t be reached, it is a sign that person does not have your best interests at heart. • AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): This is a good day to tackle physical work or to get a great deal accomplished in a short period of time. • PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Although you might have many dreams and fantasies, it is the facts that will see you through to the finish line.


• ARIES (March 21-April 19): There is a tendency to go overboard with spending and that might leave you short when the bills come in. • TAURUS (April 20-May 20): A desire to pamper someone special so you can seem impressive may mean you buy something only to show off. • GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Take the leap. There is an enormous amount of information available to you from your lofty position. • CANCER (June 21-July 22): Jitterbug with joint finances. Do what is the best for all concerned parties. • LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Rather than attempting to convince people of something against their will in one-on-one face offs, try making a sincere presentation in a group setting. • VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Don’t limit your learning. Rote memorization cannot replace thinking skills. • LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Flattery will get you nowhere. You could give someone the benefit of the doubt, when you shouldn’t. • SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): There may be some minor friction at home, but if you deal with it quickly, it will give you the extra time needed to earn recognition elsewhere. • SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You might be leaning toward large expenditures, but a little imagining will help you view the results. • CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Cross your t’s and dot those i’s so that you can make a perfect score when challenged.

CROSSWORD ACROSS 1 Fishing holes 6 Threepenny entertainment? 11 “Quiet, please!” 14 Western Alaskan 15 Comprehensive test 16 Opposite of brazen 17 An easy crossword, e.g. 19 Pina colada ingredient 20 Post office machine 21 Rain storage tank 23 Traffic signals 26 Pianist Myra 27 Hinged metal fastener 31 Bring action against 32 Shade 34 “At Last” singer James 35 Olive and others 37 Spicy game dish 41 Substantial meal 44 Jeopardy 45 Blarney Stone land 46 Rajah’s wife 47 Will Ferrell holiday movie of 2003 49 Word between two last names 50 Make ___ meet (get by) 51 Turn at roulette 54 Feelings of anxiety 57 Sung story 59 Fuss

64 65 68 69 70 71 72 73

Require nursing Homemade flu remedy Some strands in a cell Variable stars Flying solo Bow wood Nail-file material Positions or functions

DOWN 1 Semisolid foods 2 Varied mixture 3 ___-do-well 4 Ventilation shaft 5 Metal in girders 6 Switch word 7 Film, in Variety 8 Vote into law 9 Dapper, as a hat’s angle 10 Stein fillers 11 Cliff-base debris 12 Retail store posting 13 Songs like “Amazing Grace” 18 Prayer 22 London’s Globe, for one 24 Sherpa, for instance 25 Serving, as at dinner 27 Natural rope fiber 28 To ___ (precisely) 29 Wishing object 30 Waiting-room figure 33 Red, white and blue place

36 Saddle or bed woes 38 Source of temporary funds 39 Fix 40 Egyptian goddess 42 ___ thumbs (clumsy) 43 Develop choppers 48 Six feet of water 51 Like horror films

52 “The Rights of Man” writer 53 Your spouse’s brother, e.g. 55 Innocent 56 Underwater sound device 58 Skin condition 60 It’s south of

Lillehammer 61 Summer hangout, perhaps 62 Debussy’s “Clair de ___” 63 Orangutans, e.g. 66 Train unit 67 Sheet music designation






Djokovic claims Australian Open • MEN, FROM 8B


UNFORGETTABLE MEMORIES: Belgium’s Kim Clijsters, left, and China’s Li Na cherishing the moment after the presentation ceremony at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Saturday.

Clijsters defeats Li for title • WOMEN, FROM 8B

doing her speech there, and it was something that I was just amazed by. It seemed like such a fairy tale.” Li was trying to become the first Asian to win a major, and the final was far from a smooth ride. She complained to the chair umpire about the Chinese fans and was bothered by photographers’ flashes in the courtside pits. The outbursts from all over the arena were jarring. “They shouted ‘finish her off!’ sometimes even when we were hitting the ball,” Li said through a translator. “I thought, ‘How can they do this?’ ” In doubles, Bob and Mike Bryan successfully defended their title, beating Indian stars Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi 6-3, 6-4 for their fifth Australian crown and 10th Grand Slam championship. The Bryans have held the No. 1 doubles ranking the past eight years. They have also won the U.S Open three times and the French Open and Wimbledon once each. Clijsters didn’t win her first major until 2005 — after she’d lost four finals. All the while, the Australian public

regarded her as one of their own. And not only because she was once engaged to Lleyton Hewitt, the Australian who won two Grand Slam titles and was ranked No. 1 before Federer began his run. Clijsters is laid back and resilient, and the fans in Melbourne noticed. “In the past year people have been so supportive,” she said. “They have been amazing and I really appreciate it. I always felt bad that I [didn’t] give something back — once I got to the final and lost to Justine — and now I feel maybe worthy to be ‘Aussie Kim.’ ” With no Aussies making it past the third round at Melbourne Park, Clijsters clearly was a popular choice at Melbourne Park. She had said that 2011 would be her last full season on tour. Now, the 27-yearold Belgian is already saying she’d like to defend her Australian title and possibly play at the London Olympics. Clijsters’ daughter Jada was on court when her mother collected the 2009 U.S. Open trophy — in her third tournament back from a 21/2-year break from the tour to get married and have a child. On Saturday night,

Jada was in the players’ lounge, running and jumping into the arms of her father and uncle. Clijsters started convincingly, winning the first eight points for a 2-0 lead. Then Li rallied. She got her forehand working and fired winners with her two-handed backhand. Clijsters looked unsettled, dropping serve four straight times. She then decided to mix it up after Li won the first set and took a 3-2 lead in the second. That’s when Li’s game started to fold. Perhaps the pressure of being the first Chinese in a Grand Slam final was getting to her. Li reached the Australian semifinals last year, taking eventual champion Serena Williams to two tiebreak sets. She rallied from 0-5 down in the first set to win the Sydney International final over Clijsters in a warmup tournament two weeks ago. This time was clearly different. Clijsters sensed Li was getting upset with Chinese spectators late in the second set. In the third, Li asked chair umpire Alison Lang to intervene, saying: “Can you tell the Chinese,

linked to higher mortality rates than the general public. “I just can’t see how they can be healthy,” said Dr. Charles Yesalis, an epidemiologist and professor emeritus of health policy at Penn State. “Yes, some may be 280 pounds of muscle, but then they carry 40 pounds of fat. It just overworks your heart. It puts a strain on your joints. You have the whole issue of concussive injuries. “It all adds up to things that are not good for your health, but it makes for a good carnival atmosphere when you see the behemoths out there.” A 1994 study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that retired players had a lower mortality rate over all than did the general population, but that former offensive and defensive linemen had a 52 percent higher rate of death from cardiovascular disease. Since then, the players have only grown larger; the average NFL weight is now 252 pounds. A 2005 study by the University of North Carolina found that more than a quarter of the NFL’s players fit the category of Class II obesity, which is between moderate and morbidly obese. A 2006 survey by Scripps Howard newspapers of the deaths of 3,850 professional pro football players over the past century found that the heaviest players were more

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than twice as likely as lighter players to have died before their 50th birthdays. The NFL disputed the methodologies of the North Carolina study and the Scripps Howard study. A 2009 study of 504 active players, funded by the league and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicated that during their careers, players, on the whole, did not appear to be at a greater risk of heart disease than other men their age. The study said that NFL players had similar cholesterol levels and healthier blood-sugar levels and were less likely to smoke than the general population. Black players did not show higher cardiovascular risk than white players. The study did find, though, a higher likelihood over all of elevated blood pressure and borderline hypertension. “The question is, if you are an elite athlete, can you be healthy at 300 or 350 pounds?” said Dr. Robert A. Vogel, a cardiologist and professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a co-chairman of the NFL’s subcommittee on cardiovascular health. “The simple answer is, being physically active is unquestionably a deterrent to the problems associated with weight. Having said that, are you at higher risk being a 350-pound lineman than a 210-pound quarterback? Yes.”


DISTRAUGHT: Andy Murray reacting after losing his third Grand Slam final.



Health a concern, as players grow in size • NFL, FROM 8B

don’t teach me how to play tennis?” Lang asked the crowd for quiet — twice. It didn’t work. Li became increasingly rattled. After she held for 3-2 in the second set, Clijsters upped the ante, winning he next three games to regain control. In the third set, Clijsters broke to lead 4-1, and the match was all but over. Li was not sure to what extent her excellent showing in Australia registered at home. China’s official broadcaster said 15 million watched the live broadcast of the final. Li said that was hardly more than Australia, a nation of 22 million. “Tens of millions is nothing. Over 80 percent of the people in Australia watch tennis; we can’t compete,” she said. Li is the first Chinese to win a WTA Tour title and the first to enter the top 10. Still, she does not see herself as a trailblazer. “My character is not suitable for it,” she said. “I just do the best I can. I hope Chinese tennis can grow faster, and I hope more people can get involved. It’s like a pyramid, more people playing, and you can achieve higher on the pyramid’s top.”

the future” as the crowd yelled out “Andy! Andy!” The last British man to win a Grand Slam singles title was Fred Perry in the 1936 U.S. Open — more than 270 majors ago. “It was better than it was last year,” Murray said at his media conference. “I thought Novak played unbelievably well. It’s tough, but you have to deal with it.” Murray said he tried to get himself back into the match, but Djokovic defended too well. “You always have to try to find a way, to believe,” Murray said. “When I got ahead in some games, even in just points, he was sticking up lobs that were landing on the baseline, passing shots that were on the line. I broke his serve twice in the third set and still lost 6-3.” The statistics underlined Djokovic’s domination. He won 11 of his 14 service games, while Murray only won six of 13, and the Serb pounded Murray’s second serve, with the Scot winning just 16 of 51 points (31 percent) on his second serve. Murray and Djokovic, each 23 and born a week apart, are good friends and often practice together. At the coin flip before the match, Djokovic smiled broadly for photos while Murray looked fidgety and nervous. After the match, the two hugged, then Djokovic threw his racket, his shirt and then shoes into the crowd. But there was no prolonged celebration so as to not offend his opponent.

“I understand how he feels, it’s his third final and he didn’t get the title,” Djokovic said. “As I said on the court, I really have big respect for him and his game, because I think he has everything what it takes to become a Grand Slam champion.” The roof was closed at Rod Laver Arena for most of the day due to 100-degree temperatures, but was opened just before the match started and after the weather had cooled significantly. Trailing 5-4, Murray double-faulted to lead off the 10th game of the first set. Then he hit a backhand into the net after a 39-hit point. Murray challenged the final point of the set when he thought his forehand stayed in on the backline, but Djokovic walked away with the set in 59 minutes. “Maybe there was a turning point in the whole match, that 5-4 game,” Djokovic said. “I was a bit fortunate, I kind of anticipated well and read his intentions and played some great shots and great moments. It is a big advantage mentally when you are a set up and you are getting to the second set and really going for the shots.” Djokovic leads the headto-head series 5-3, ending a three-match streak for Murray. Earlier Sunday, Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia and Daniel Nestor of Canada won the mixed double doubles championship, beating Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan and Paul Hanley of Australia 6-3, 3-6, 10-7.

EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlantic Boston New York Philadelphia New Jersey Toronto

W 35 24 20 14 13

L 11 22 26 34 35

Pct GB .761 — .522 11 .435 15 .292 22 .271 23

Southeast Miami Orlando Atlanta Charlotte Washington

W 32 30 30 20 13

L 14 17 18 26 33

Pct GB .696 — .638 21/2 .625 3 .435 12 .283 19

Central Chicago Milwaukee Indiana Detroit Cleveland

W 33 19 17 17 8

L 14 26 27 30 38

Pct GB .702 — .422 13 .386 141/2 .362 16 .174 241/2


Former NFL star Herschel Walker, left, punches Scott Carson during a Strikeforce heavyweight mixed martial arts fight in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday. Walker won by technical knockout in the first round to improve to 2-0 in his MMA career.

Titans, Fisher part after 16 seasons • TITANS, FROM 8B

forward with whatever happens in the future.” The team announced the split Thursday night, shocking players, assistant coaches and the rest of the NFL because Adams announced three weeks ago he’d decided to keep Fisher for the final year of his contract. Adams said teams and coaches unfortunately almost always reach a point where change is the best option. “I believe both the team

and Jeff will benefit in the long run from this move. Now I’m still confident about our future. I think we have good players. I believe in Steve Underwood and [general manager] Mike Reinfeldt to find our next head coach.” The search to replace Fisher is already under way, and the Titans’ general manager Mike Reinfeldt and Underwood, the senior executive vice president, will handle the process whose only timetable is “as long as

it takes.” Underwood said reports of the coach’s settlement at $8 million were “erroneous” while declining to answer questions about the package. Among the four major U.S. sports, only Jerry Sloan with the NBA’s Utah Jazz has been with the same team longer than Fisher had been with the Titans. Andy Reid of Philadelphia now takes over as the NFL’s longest-tenured coach having finished up his 12th season with the Eagles.

Southwest San Antonio Dallas New Orleans Memphis Houston

W 40 31 31 24 22

L 7 15 17 24 27

Pct .851 .674 .646 .500 .449

GB — 81/2 91/2 161/2 19

Northwest Oklahoma City Denver Utah Portland Minnesota

W 30 28 28 25 11

L 16 18 19 22 36

Pct .652 .609 .596 .532 .234

GB — 2 21/2 51/2 191/2

Pacific L.A. Lakers Phoenix Golden State L.A. Clippers Sacramento

W 33 21 19 18 12

L 14 24 27 28 33

Pct GB .702 — .467 11 .413 131/2 .391 141/2 .267 20

SATURDAY’S GAMES Chicago 110, Indiana 89 Memphis 107, Washington 93 Minnesota 103, Toronto 87 Dallas 102, Atlanta 91 Milwaukee 91, New Jersey 81 San Antonio 108, Houston 95 Sacramento 102, New Orleans 96 L.A. Clippers 103, Charlotte 88

1/31/2011 5:11:53 AM






Clijsters captures 1st Australian Open crown

Djokovic rules Serb beats Murray in final to extend Britain’s Slam drought


Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — Kim Clijsters believes she’s now earned the nickname she had for years in Australia. “I finally feel like you guys can call me ‘Aussie Kim’ because I won the title,” a teary Clijsters said after beating China’s Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 Saturday night to capture her first Australian Open. “It’s nice to finally get it this year.” Clijsters lost the 2004 Australian Open final to Justine Henin and lost four times in the semifinals. This was Clijsters’ fourth Grand Slam tournament championship, but the first apart from the U.S. Open. “To win it in this way means a lot,” she told a TV interviewer after the match. “This one to me, is the one. When I think back on my childhood, I remember watching the Australian Open and seeing Monica Seles win many times. I think they used to go up into the stands. I remember her


Associated Press



ECSTATIC: Belgium’s Kim Clijsters celebrating her 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over China’s Li Na in the women’s final of the Australian Open.


EMOTIONS FLOW: Serbia’s Novak Djokovic exulting after outplaying Andy Murray of Britain 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 in the Australian Open final on Sunday.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic hit passing shots and looping lobs with equal perfection to overwhelm Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 Sunday, winning his second Australian Open title and extending Britain’s near 75-year drought in men’s Grand Slam singles. Djokovic’s 2008 Australian title is his other Grand Slam victory. Murray has lost three Grand Slam finals, also falling to Roger Federer in the 2008 U.S. Open and 2010 Australian Open. Djokovic overcame big obstacles en route to the final, including a win over Federer in the semifinals. And this came just two months after leading Serbia to its first Davis Cup title. “We have known each other for such a long time,” Djokovic said of Murray. “It was difficult tonight.” About an hour after his win, Djokovic went out on a balcony on the concourse at Rod Laver Arena and lifted his trophy as hundreds of supporters cheered below. There wasn’t much to celebrate in Murray’s camp: he’s still yet to win a set in a Grand Slam final. Last year, the Scot cried after his loss to Federer. There were no visible tears this year, but the hurt may have been just as bad after he lost seven straight games through the end of the first set and into the second and never appeared to be in the match. “I’ll try to keep it together this year,” Murray said, speaking confidently and talking about “having more chances in • TURN TO MEN, 7B

Titans, Fisher part after 16 seasons Bubba Watson rallies to win at Torrey Pines

ing eight of the final 10 games for a is a perfect opportunity to do this 6-10 record. so the organization can move forNASHVILLE — The atmosphere “I’ve been coaching for 25 years, ward with their plan, and I’ll move was so cordial at the Titans’ head- and it’s time. I need a break,” Fisher quarters it was hard to tell that Jeff said. “And I think timing-wise this • TURN TO TITANS, 7B Fisher was leaving the team. He stood behind the podium thanking everyone in the building before leaving with a wave Friday. Tennessee’s top executives expressed their gratitude for his work over the years, then discussed how they will replace Fisher after mutually agreeing they had reached a point where “it was time to move on” after 16 full seasons. “It is just time for a change,” owner Bud Adams said Friday by telephone from his Houston office. Fisher declined to address details about the decision, but acknowledged some differences with the team. He also looked much more relaxed Friday morning than in weeks, calling it the best decision after two difficult seasons. GEORGE BRIDGES/MCT The Titans rebounded from an 0-6 start to finish 8-8 in 2009, then BIDDING ADIEU: Former head coach Jeff Fisher, right, has wasted a 5-2 start in 2010 by los- acknowledged some differences with the Tennessee Titans. BY TERESA M. WALKER Associated Press

NFL players risking health in growing bigger BY JERE LONGMAN

New York Times Service

When B.J. Raji intercepted a pass and shimmied in the end zone Sunday, helping to put Green Bay into the Super Bowl, the feat was remarkable given that Raji is a nose tackle and, at 337 pounds, is thought to be the largest player to score a postseason touchdown in NFL history. Forty-four years ago, when the Packers won Super Bowl I, their largest players weighed 260 pounds. As Green Bay prepares to face Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV, 13 players on the Packers’ active roster weigh 300 or more pounds, reflecting a trend over the past several decades in which play-

31PGB08.indd 8

ers have become as supersized as fast-food meals. In 1970, only one NFL player weighed as much as 300 pounds, according to a survey conducted by The Associated Press. That number has expanded like players’ waistlines from three 300-pounders in 1980 to 94 in 1990, 301 in 2000, 394 in 2009 and 532 as training camps began in 2010. On one hand, the largest players are celebrated for their strength, spry athleticism and beer-belly physiques that give them an Everyman quality. On the other hand, the enormousness of many players, and the recent deaths of one active lineman and several relatively young retired

linemen, have raised questions — and brought conflicting answers — about potential health risks associated with their size. Various studies indicate that current NFL players are at a greater risk than the general population for high blood pressure and that retired players are more prone to obesity, sleep apnea and metabolic syndrome: conditions like elevated blood pressure, insulin and cholesterol levels and excessive body fat around the waist that together heighten the risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Retired linemen have been • TURN TO NFL, 7B

BY DOUG FERGUSON Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — The best lefty at Torrey Pines turned out to be Bubba Watson. Watson made clutch putts on the last two holes Sunday, including a 12-foot birdie on the par-5 18th for a 5-under 67 to win the Farmers Insurance Open in a finish that was dramatic for peculiar reasons. Phil Mickelson — that other lefty and the San Diego favorite — was one shot behind when he chose to lay up from the rough on the 18th before Watson attempted his birdie putt. Watson made the putt, and Mickelson’s only hope was to hole out from 72 yards for eagle. Mickelson had his caddie, Jim Mackay, tend the flag. His shot landed about 4 feet behind the hole, but stopped well short of going in. Mickelson closed with a 69. Tiger Woods began a new year with his worst season debut. Woods failed to birdie a par 5 for the second time in the week and closed with a 3-over 75 on Sunday, ending his five-tournament winning streak at Torrey Pines with a middle-of-the-pack finish. “I have some work to do,” Woods said. “There’s no doubt about that.” The biggest surprise of his 74-75 on the South Course is that Woods had won seven times on this public course, including the 2008 U.S. Open. He had never finished out of the top 10 in the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines. This week, he looked liked anyone else. Woods was out of the top 40 when he completed his final round, with the leaders just making the turn. He had never finished out of

the top 10 in stroke play to start a season, and his worst result for a debut was two years ago in the Match Play Championship, where he lost in the second round and tied for 17th. That was his first event after missing eight months following reconstructive knee surgery. Woods opened Sunday with two short irons inside 10 feet, missing both birdie putts. On the par-4 fourth, he nearly holed a long birdie attempt, then missed the 31/2-foot par putt. “I hit it as pure as I could possibly hit it starting out, and got nothing out of it,” Woods said. “As the round went on, I progressively got worse with my golf swing. And ironically enough, felt better and better with the putter. So it’s one of those things.”


DRAMATIC FINISH: Bubba Watson made clutch putts on the last two holes Sunday to win the Farmers Insurance Open.

1/31/2011 5:33:12 AM


Edition 31 January 2011

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