FIREWORKS light up the skyline of Marina Bay to

mark Singapore’s 47th birthday yesterday. — AFP
HM greet ings t o Ecuador
HIS Majesty Sultan Qaboos has sent a cable of greetings to
President Rafael Correa Delgado of the Republic of Ecuador
on the occasion of his country’s Independence Day
anniversary. In his cable, His Majesty the Sultan expressed
his best wishes to the president and the friendly people of
Ecuador. — ONA
Fost ering social collaborat ion
SOCIAL collaboration is requisite by Sharia. The Almighty tells
us through the Quran to “co-operate in benevolence and devout-
ness and not to co-operate in sinfulness and aggression”. Mus-
lims are ordered to co-operate in all that leads to human welfare,
all that leads to religious reform and the promotion of the society
economically, intellectually and scientifically. — See Features
\o|. 31, No. 2Z0 · 200 oa|sas www.omanobserver.om · editor@omanobserver.om Friday, August 10, 2012/Ramadhan 21, 1433 AH
Muscat Nizwa Sohar Al Buraimi Sur Duqm Salalah
Max 28 44 34 44 34 35 27
Min 25 28 30 31 26 24 25
Musc Musc usc
Max Maax ax 28
Weather WWW Fajr Dhuhr Asr Magrib Isha
Muscat 04:20 am 12:17 pm 03:43 pm 06:49 pm 08:05 pm
Prayer timing GOLD
PRICE
$1,616.83
EXCHANGE RATES
Dollar per Omani Rial
Buying 0.382 Selling 0.388
Rare rescue bid in Antarctica
AN Australian government jet carrying a medical
team made a successful landing on an icy runway in
Antarctica yesterday to rescue a sick scientist from the
United States’ McMurdo Station base. The Australian
Antarctic Division (AAD), said the US National
Science Foundation (NSF) had requested assistance
in the tricky emergency mission.
Germany reach hockey final
DEFENDING champions Germany staged a thrilling
fightback to defeat world champions Australia 4-2 and
reach the Olympic men’s hockey final yesterday. For
the first two-thirds of the match the Aussies had often
looked the better team, but a controversial disallowed
goal fired up the Germans who came back spiritedly
from 1-2 down with three dramatic goals.
2 14 20
8v Ara| Rajao
MUSCAT — The MSM
general index yesterday
closed on a positive note
advancing by 0.48 per
cent and closed at 5,463
points or 26 points more
than the previous session
thus offsetting the week’s
downtrend and bringing
down the aggregate loss for
the week to just one point.
The local benchmark
followed the trend of regional
and global markets that
were buoyant in the wake of
encouraging economic data
from China.
At session close
capitalisation value increased
by 0.29 per cent at RO
11.1 billion, trading value
increased by a whopping 109
per cent recording RO 7.1
million.
Of 49 traded stocks 33
advanced, 6 declined and 10
remained unchanged.
Sector-wise, the Financial
Sector index advanced by 1.5
per cent, the Industrial Sector
index by 0.43 per cent and
the Services Sector index by
0.29 per cent.
Gulf International
Chemicals was the top gainer
advancing by 8 per cent and
closed at RO 0.164 followed
by Financial Services Co
7.7 per cent at RO 0.070.
United Finance, Al Hassan
Engineering and Gulf
Investments Services rose by
7 per cent, 5.5 per cent and 5
per cent respectively.
Maj or sect ors
spur MSM rise
VIENNA — Opec slightly
upped its world oil demand
growth forecasts for 2012 and
2013 yesterday but warned
of a possible drop again next
year due to the uncertain eco-
nomic situation.
For 2012, the Organisa-
tion of Petroleum Exporting
Countries predicted world
oil demand at 88.72 million
barrels per day (mbpd), up
from the 88.68 mbpd estimate
given in its previous report in
July.
Demand next year was put
at 89.52 mbpd, up from 89.50
mbpd last month, accord-
ing to the 12-nation cartel,
which pumps one third of the
world’s oil.
This would mean an in-
crease of 810,000 barrels per
day (bpd) from 2012, com-
pared to a 900,000-bpd hike
expected this year.
“World oil demand has
overcome earlier expectations
of a declining momentum and
moved to a more stabilised
trend, supported by the sum-
mer driving season, the sum-
mer heat and the continued
shutdown of most of Japan’s
nuclear capacity,” the cartel
said in its report.
Oil demand this year was
especially up in the United
States, Japan and India —
where massive power grid
failures and severe floods have
led to increased consumption
— whereas it continued to fall
in Europe, it noted.
In 2013 on the other hand,
things looked less certain, de-
spite Opec’s slightly higher
forecast compared.
“The economic picture is
vague and the horizon full
of turbulence. There is much
uncertainty surrounding the
world’s oil-use estimate in
2013,” it said.
“The gloomy picture could
reduce the world oil demand
growth forecast by 20 per cent
next year,” it warned.
Even this year, many of
the regions that have seen a
hike in demand have done so
because of natural disasters
or unforeseen events — Ja-
pan’s nuclear plant shutdown
and India’s floods — mak-
ing the outlook for the rest of
the year hard to predict, Opec
added. — AFP
PARIS — Global food prices
rose six per cent in July after
dropping for three months,
largely because of a hike in
the price of grains and sugar,
the UN Food and Agricultural
Organization said yesterday.
The FAO’s Food Price
Index, a monthly measure of
changes in a basket of food
commodities, was 12 points
higher at 213 points but re-
mains far off the record 238
points reached in February
2011, a statement said.
The FAO’s grain price
index was an average 260
points, up 38 points on June.
The index is 14 points short
of its all-time record of 274
points, reached in April 2008,
the FAO said. Drought in the
United States has hit the corn
crop hard with prices rising
23 per cent in July.
Wheat prices also shot
up 19 per cent after the out-
look for Russia’s harvest was
downgraded.
The rice index remains
relatively unchanged, up one
point month-on-month to 238
points.
Weather problems in Bra-
zil, India and Australia have
also pumped up sugar prices,
the FAO said.
Meanwhile, the world
could face a new food crisis
of the kind seen in 2007/08
if countries resort to export
bans, the UN’s food agency
warned yesterday.
A mix of high oil prices,
growing use of biofuels, bad
weather, restrictive export
policies and soaring grain
futures markets pushed up
prices of food in 2007/08,
sparking violent protests in
some countries.
The FAO Food Price In-
dex, which measures monthly
price changes for a food bas-
ket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy,
meat and sugar, averaged 213
points in July against 201
points in June, the FAO said
in its monthly index update.
The rise followed three
months of declines. Although
below a peak of 238 points
in February 2011, when high
food prices helped drive up-
risings, the index is still high-
er now than during the food
price crisis in 2007/08.
Higher food prices mean
higher import bills for the
poorest countries, which do
not produce enough food do-
mestically.
Charity Oxfam said that
the surge in grain prices could
drag millions of people around
the world into conditions of
hunger and malnourishment,
in addition to nearly one bil-
lion who are already too poor
to feed themselves.
Opec hikes world oil demand forecast
Global food prices rise sharply in July
WASHINGTON — Astrono-
mers have unveiled the larg-
est ever 3D map of the sky,
encompassing massive gal-
axies and distant black holes,
based on Sloan Digital Sky
Survey III (SDSS-III).
The new map pinpoints
the locations and distances of
over a million galaxies.
It covers a total volume
equivalent to that of a cube
four billion light-years on
one side.
“We want to map the larg-
est volume of the universe
yet, and use that map to un-
derstand how the expansion
of the universe is accelerat-
ing,” said Daniel Eisenstein
from the Harvard-Smithso-
nian Centre for Astrophysics,
the director of SDSS-III.
The map is the centrepiece
of Data Release 9 (DR9),
which publicly releases the
data from the first two years
of a six-year survey project.
The release includes im-
ages of 200 million galaxies
and spectra of 1.35 million
galaxies, according to a Har-
vard-Smithsonian statement
with SDSS-III.
Spectra take more time
to collect than photographs,
but provide the crucial third
dimension by letting astrono-
mers measure galaxy distanc-
es. — IANS
Giant 3D map unveiled
The local benchmark followed the buoyant
trend of the regional and global markets

Capitalisation increased by 0.29 pc and
trading value by a whopping 109 pc
Index closes 26 points higher
NEW DELHI — India’s in-
dustrial output shrank by a
shock 1.8 per cent in June,
data showed yesterday,
highlighting the challenge
for new Finance Minister P
Chidambaram to reverse the
nation’s sharp growth slow-
down.
Manufacturing output,
which accounts for three-
quarters of the Index of
Industrial Production, was
chiefly to blame, falling 3.2
per cent from a year earlier
in June, according to gov-
ernment figures.
Chidambaram called the
numbers “disappointing”
and said he would act in
“double-quick time” to re-
move bureaucratic and other
bottlenecks hindering India’s
production.
The industrial output fall
defied market forecasts of
close to one per cent growth
and came as the country
faces the spectre of its third
drought in a decade, which
would further reduce eco-
nomic expansion.
“This was another shock-
ing industrial production re-
lease from India... and will
inevitably heap more pres-
sure on the central bank to
restart its rate cutting,” said
Credit Suisse economist
Robert Prior-Wandesforde.
I ndust rial
out put hit
BOSTON — A new cyber
surveillance virus has been
found in the Middle East that
can spy on financial transac-
tions, e-mail and social net-
working activity, according to
a leading computer security
firm, Kaspersky Lab.
Dubbed Gauss, the virus
may also be capable of attack-
ing critical infrastructure and
was built in the same labora-
tories as Stuxnet, Kaspersky
Lab said yesterday.
The Moscow-based firm
declined to speculate on who
was behind the virus but said
it was related to Stuxnet and
two other cyber espionage
tools, Flame and Duqu.
“After looking at Stuxnet,
Duqu and Flame, we can say
with a high degree of certain-
ty that Gauss comes from the
same ‘factory’ or ‘factories,’”
Kaspersky Lab said in a post-
ing on its website. “All these
attack toolkits represent the
high end of nation-state-spon-
sored cyber-espionage and
cyber war operations.”
Kaspersky Lab’s findings
are likely to fuel a growing
international debate over the
development and use of cyber
weapons.
Spying on t ransact ions
8v A|red a| 0|u|||
MUSCAT — Mohamed Hu-
maid al Mahdhori, head of the
agricultural quarantine at Al
Mawaleh market for vegeta-
bles and fruits, assured that the
agricultural quarantine depart-
ment in the market has taken
measures to examine and in-
spect fruits and vegetables
upon arrival where the number
of shipments reached 472 with
944,000 tonnes in the first half
of Ramadhan.
He said that the inspection
of these shipments confirmed
to be free of pests and agri-
cultural diseases except for 3
tonnes of Kenyan mangoes
that have been rejected.
Al Mahdhori urged all trad-
ers and importers to make sure
that the shipments are free of
pests and diseases stipulated
by the law of agricultural quar-
antine. He stressed at the same
time that all the shipments
should be provided with all
documents required either in
Arabic or English.
The importer should put la-
bels on the packages that show
the type, weight and country
of origin. To page 2
Qualit y of veget ables ensured
THE ROP’s Mounted Police Division concluded a foundation equestrian course for new recruits. The course ran for 16 weeks during which the
participants were trained on the fundamentals of equestrian, shooting, fitness and were given lectures pertaining to police work.
TAIPEI — China and
Taiwan signed a landmark
investment pact yesterday
as hundreds of protesters
voiced their anger.
China’s chief negotiator
Chen Yunlin and his
Taiwanese counterpart
Chiang Pin-Kung put
their names to the long-
awaited deal, which will
provide a legal umbrella for
Taiwanese companies.
MOSCOW — Russian
Prime Minister Dmitry
Medvedev raised alarm
yesterday over immigration
to the Far East from giant
neighbours such as China,
saying the region risked
falling into foreign hands.
“The objective of
defending our Far Eastern
territory from an excessive
expansion by citizens from
neighbouring countries.”
ALEPPO — President
Bashar al Assad named
a new prime minister
yesterday to replace Syria’s
most senior government
defector and his forces
pounded fighters in a
strategic district of Aleppo.
Assad appointed
Wael al Halki to head the
government after Riyad
Hijab fled on Monday.
MANILA — Philippine
emergency workers
yesterday stepped up efforts
to help more than 2 million
people affected by floods
caused by days of
monsoon rains in the
capital and surrounding
provinces.
At least 43 people were
killed in Manila and 16
provinces in the northern
region of Luzon.
AL ARISH — Gunman
fired shots towards a
police station in the main
administrative centre
of Egypt’s North Sinai
yesterday as Egyptian
military offensive there
entered its second day.
Hundreds of troops
drove out of the town to
hunt activists blamed for
killing 16 border guards.
Taiwan and
China sign
agreement
I mmigrat ion
t hreat ens
Far East
PM replaced
as Aleppo
bat t les rage
Philippines
st eps up
flood rescue
Egypt t roops
move int o
border zone
P5
P2
P3
P4
P6
Supply of quality vegetables ensured
From page 1
Mohamed Humaid al Mah-
dhori (pictured) pointed out
that the agricultural quarantine
is to protect the country’s veg-
etation and crops against agri-
cultural pests and prevent their
entry into the country.
“The agricultural quarantine
is regarded as a means of pest
control to prevent significant
damage to the country’s ag-
ricultural wealth and to block
the entry of non-local insects
or diseases. It also reduces the
insects and diseases endemic
in the country and contributes
to the eradication of pests and
facilitates the smooth move-
ment of agricultural goods
between the countries compat-
ible with WTO requirements.
The quarantine law governs all
plants and all parts of the ag-
ricultural commodities that are
free of manufacture or conver-
sion processes,” he added.
The Inspection and Food
Control Departments at Mus-
cat Municipality has also im-
plemented inspection visits
to different food outlets re-
cently.
The teams carried out in-
spection campaigns to food-
stuff shops and supermarkets
to check Ramadhan promo-
tional offers and observe viola-
tions of health requirements.
The Health Departments
at various municipalities too
are carrying out continuous
inspection campaigns during
the month of Ramadhan which
included restaurants, coffee
shops and food establishments.
The aim of the campaign is to
make sure that all food outlets
are abiding by the health stand-
ards stipulated by the Ministry
of Health.
The government has also
taken steps to maintain an
abundant supplies of food
items throughout the month to
keep prices stable.
SYDNEY — An Australian air-
craft has made a rare mid-win-
ter emergency flight to Antarc-
tica involving landing on an ice
runway to evacuate a member
of a US government expedition
in apparent need of urgent sur-
gery, US authorities said.
A medical team has arrived
in Christchurch, New Zealand,
after departing the US Mc-
Murdo Station in Antarctica
where it rescued a US expedi-
tion member who suffered a
medical emergency.
The patient, who for priva-
cy issues has not been identi-
fied, landed yesterday morning
in New Zealand. The patient
was to be transported to a lo-
cal hospital there, according
to a spokesman from the US
National Science Foundation
(NSF). A break in the severe
Antarctic winter allowed an
Australian aircraft to land on
an icy runway at the US-run
McMurdo research station
yesterday.
The Australian Antarctic
Division sent an Airbus A319
from Christchurch in New
Zealand on the five-hour flight
to McMurdo, one of three US
Antarctic bases.
The five-member Austral-
ian team left with their patient
with an undisclosed illness
after an hour on the ground,
Australia's AAP news agency
reported.
Flights to Antarctica are
usually only made in the sum-
mer, but the NSF said the pa-
tient — an American member
of one of its projects — "may
require immediate corrective
surgery." — Reuters
WASHINGTON — Mars rov-
er Curiosity is getting situated
in its new home and has raised
its mast camera, allowing it to
send its first panoramic photo
of the Red Planet, Nasa said.
The black-and-white photo
shows distant hills on the ho-
rizon. Curiosity is expected to
send a better quality image in
the next few days, Nasa scien-
tists said.
All of the rover's antennas
are in working order, allowing
it to send back data success-
fully, the space agency's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory said.
"We feel very confident
we have a lot of data capac-
ity now, that we have all these
links, and that was one of the
major objectives of that first
part of the mission," mission
manager Jennifer Trosper told
reporters at a press conference
at the Jet Propulsion Labora-
tory in Pasadena, California.
She added that a pair of
cameras — set like two large
eyes on the newly extended
remote sensing mast — will
be used to give scientists their
first full-colour panoramic
360-degree view around the
rover.
Nasa released a low reso-
lution black and white pano-
ramic image that shows a vast
sediment-covered plain, with
low mountains in the distance.
"The first impression you get
is how earth-like this seems,"
commented John Grotzinger, a
scientist for the mission.
"All those materials are
derived from the erosion of
those mountains," he added,
explaining that the sediments
were brought down into the
crater by water that once
pooled there.
These signs of water on
Red Planet hint that some
form of life was once likely —
even though Mars is now a dry
place with a thin atmosphere,
extreme winters and dust
storms — and they're Curios-
ity's reason for being.
The nuclear-powered rover
is designed to hunt for soil-
based signatures of life on the
Earth's nearest neighbour and
send back data to prepare for a
future human mission.
It is the biggest robot ever
built for planetary exploration
— weighing in at a ton, about
the size of a small car — and
carries a complex chemistry
kit to zap rocks, drill soil and
test for radiation.
Grotzinger noted that the
images show the rover's har-
rowing and complex descent
on Monday "did more than
give us a great ride, it gave
our science team an amazing
freebie."
"The thrust from the rock-
ets actually dug 0.5-metre
trench in the surface," he said.
"It appears we can see Martian
bedrock on the bottom."
Knowing how far the bed-
rock lies beneath the surface is
"valuable data we can use go-
ing forward," he explained.
In other good news, Tro-
sper said the indications are
that Curiosity's electricity gen-
erator is making "more power
than was expected."
That's going to keep the
rover operating longer, she
explained, and added that the
team was also able to resolve
an anomaly that had been
hindering the rover's weather-
sensing equipment.
She noted that the data
shows temperatures around
Curiosity are a little warmer
than predicted, but they "are
still looking at why."
She did not give any spe-
cific temperature readings, but
Nasa had initially predicted
frigid temperatures at Curios-
ity's landing site of between
-90 and zero degrees Celsius.
Nasa also released a rover
self-portrait, taken by the nav-
igation cameras on mast, and
another image of the rover's
shadow.
Next up, Curiosity will haul
the Mars Science Laboratory
as far as halfway up Mount
Sharp, a towering five-kilo-
metre Martian mountain with
sediment layers that may be up
to a billion years old.
OMAN DAILYObser ver
2 OMAN/THE WORLD
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
AN A319 Airbus lands at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. — AFP
FIREWORKS are set off in celebration of the first
anniversary of Tripoli’s liberation in Tripoli. — AFP
THE first image of the Gale Crater taken by Curiosity rover. — AFP
Curiosity raises mast camera, sends data
Plane uses icy runway to rescue sick scientist
GENEVA — A Swiss labora-
tory asked by the Palestinian
authorities to probe the death
of former leader Yasser Arafat
said yesterday "contact has
been established" and looked
forward to more developments
within days.
"We have been asked by
the Palestinian National Au-
thority and we are in the proc-
ess considering the best way
to respond," Lausanne Uni-
versity Hospital spokesman
Darcy Christen said.
"Contact has been estab-
lished... we are hopeful of
(having) something new at the
beginning of next week.
"Our main concern is to
guarantee the independence,
credibility and transparency
of any involvement by us," he
added.
A former Palestinian intel-
ligence officer who headed
an investigation into Arafat's
death in 2004 said in Ramallah
on Wednesday that Lausanne's
Institute of Radiophysics
could have the independence
it sought. "We are ready to
give them any guarantees they
want," said Tawfiq Tirawi.
Arafat's widow Suha had
agreed to the exhumation of
part of his remains for an ex-
amination," Tirawi said, while
the Palestinian committee
investigating Arafat's death
was "preparing to counter any
possible Israeli intervention"
which would hinder the exhu-
mation.
Allegations that the vet-
eran Palestinian leader died of
radioactive polonium poison-
ing resurfaced in July after Al
Jazeera news channel said the
Lausanne institute had uncov-
ered "an abnormal quantity"
of the substance" in Arafat's
effects which were returned
to his wife after his death in a
hospital near Paris in Novem-
ber 2004.
Following that report Ara-
fat's widow and his daughter
Zawra launched a civil suit for
murder in France. — AFP
Swiss lab mulls Arafat death probe
RABAT — Rights groups,
trade unionists and mem-
bers of the February 20 pro-
test movement have called
for demonstrations across
Morocco tomorrow against
the high cost of living and
other causes of social dis-
content.
An association of 18 rights
groups announced a "national
day of action against the high
cost of living, rising prices,
arrests and repression target-
ing protest movements."
The main Moroccan work-
ers union also urged people to
"demonstrate against corrup-
tion and in support of social
justice."
And the pro-reform Feb-
ruary 20 movement has
called on its supporters to
take to the streets, after a
number of activists were
jailed protesting.
The authorities have dis-
rupted previous demonstra-
tions organised by the Febru-
ary 20 movement, saying they
were not authorised.
Activists complain that a
surge in fuel prices — pet-
rol jumped by 20 per cent in
June as the government
moved to slash its unafford-
able subsidies bill — has
driven up the cost of food
and other basic household
goods. — AFP
Call for demonstration
SIDI BOUZID, Tunisia —
Police fired tear gas and
rubber bullets yesterday to
disperse a protest in the cen-
tral Tunisian town of Sidi
Bouzid.
Hundreds of demonstra-
tors, demanding the resig-
nation of the government,
tried to force their way
into the provincial govern-
ment headquarters, before
the police fired tear gas
and warning shots into the
air.
One person wounded by
a rubber bullet and four oth-
ers affected by the tear gas
were taken to hospital, an
official there said, adding
that none of them was seri-
ously hurt. — AFP
Protesters
dispersed
MOSCOW — Russian Prime
Minister Dmitry Medvedev
raised alarm yesterday over
immigration to the remote Far
East from giant neighbours
such as China, saying the re-
gion risked falling into foreign
hands.
"The objective of defend-
ing our Far Eastern territory
from an excessive expansion
of citizen from neighbouring
countries remains," Medvedev
told ministers in comments
posted on the government's
website.
"The Far East really is far
away. Not too many people
live there, unfortunately."
Russian officials and re-
gional governors have long
expressed fears that a popu-
lation drain in the Far East
following the collapse of the
Soviet Union could see the
region one day fall under Chi-
nese control.
This concern and tough
government policies against
immigrants have resulted in
ethnic conflicts in hubs such
as the port city of Vladivos-
tok. Medvedev, President
Vladimir Putin's predecessor
and current premier, appeared
to be referring to those ten-
sions by urging officials to
break up the enclaves of for-
eigners he said are fast form-
ing in the region.
Local officials and media
reports often say the region
faces a looming threat from a
Chinese population that out-
numbers Russians along the
Far East border by a factor of
more than 10."It is important to
avoid negative manifestations
of all types. These include the
formation of foreign citizen
enclaves," he said. "This is a
negative development."
Russia is hoping the re-
gion will get a long-term
economic boost thanks to bil-
lions of dollars spent on basic
infrastructure for September's
Asia-Pacific Economic Co-
operation (APEC) summit
outside Vladivostok. — AFP
Far East ‘threatened’ by immigration
OMAN DAILYObser ver
3 ASIA/PACIFIC
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
DANANG — From deformed
infants to grandparents with
cancer, families near Viet-
nam's Danang Airbase have
long blamed the toxic legacy
of war for their ills. Now after
a decades-long wait, a historic
"Agent Orange" clean-up is ¿-
nally beginning.
The base was a key site in
the US defoliant programme
during the Vietnam War, and
much of the 80 million litres
of Agent Orange used during
"Operation Ranch Hand" was
mixed, stored and loaded onto
planes there.
Yesterday the US and Vi-
etnam began a long-awaited
joint cleanup effort at the site
— using technology which
will heat the contaminated soil
to temperatures high enough to
break dioxin down into harm-
less compounds.
The defoliants were sprayed
over vast swathes of jungle in
South Vietnam in an attempt
to Àush out Viet Cong com-
munist guerrillas by depriving
them of tree cover and food.
"During the war, when
we lived right by the runway,
some nights we would have
to cover our mouths because
of a strange smell," Danang
resident Nguyen Thi Binh, 78,
said.
Three of Binh's ¿ve chil-
dren are severely mentally and
physically disabled. For years
she thought this was due to
sins committed in a past life,
but now believes it could be
due to her and her late hus-
band's dioxin exposure.
"I heard it might be Agent
Orange," she told AFP in her
tiny house in Danang city as
her adult daughters crawled
around her like infants.
Washington still disputes
the "uncertain" link between
dioxin exposure and ill health.
Nonetheless speaking at
the launch ceremony for the
decontamination operation,
US Ambassador David Shear
described it as a "historic mile-
stone".
"We're cleaning up this
mess," he said, adding the US
would in future undertake an
environmental assessment of
another hotspot, the Bien Hoa
airbase.
"We're also committed to
people in Vietnam with dis-
abilities, regardless of cause,"
he added.
The $43 million project
comes as the former foes draw
closer in the face of rising Chi-
nese assertiveness in the South
China Sea.
The Danang Airbase is one
of three "dioxin hotspots" —
alongside Bien Hoa and Phu
Cat airbases — where con-
centrations of extremely toxic
contaminants from Agent Or-
ange are nearly 400 times the
globally accepted maximum
standard.
Until ¿ve years ago, when
the area was ¿nally sealed off,
Danang residents such as Binh
¿shed, bathed and harvested
lotus plants from the Sen Lake
— and ate local ¿sh with more
than three times the safe level
of dioxin.
As a result, victims groups
say, rates of cancer, birth de-
formities and other dioxin-re-
lated diseases are higher than
the national average in the
area — and the health threat
lingers.
"In hotspots like Danang
Airbase we are still ¿nding
very young people who are
affected by (Agent Orange re-
lated) diseases," said Nguyen
Van Rinh, chairman of the
Vietnam Association for Vic-
tims of Agent Orange/Dioxin
(VAVA).
"The government doesn't
have the capacity to move
them out of contaminated ar-
eas," the 71-year-old retired
general said.
Hanoi says up to three mil-
lion Vietnamese people were
exposed to Agent Orange, and
that one million suffer grave
health repercussions today, in-
cluding at least 150,000 chil-
dren born with birth defects.
Agent Orange clean-up begins in Vietnam
GU Kailai, wife of ousted Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Bo Xilai, attends
a trial at Hefei Intermediate People’s Court yesterday. Gu did not raise objections in
court to charges against her of murdering a British businessman. — Reuters
POLICEMEN patrol a street in Hong Kong yesterday. — AFP
A VIETNAM Airlines aircraft taxies past a dioxin-contaminated area at Danang airport, a former US airbase. — AFP
HONG KONG — In a ¿rst for
Asia, Hong Kong police yes-
terday said they will trial the
use of video cameras attached
to their uniforms to ¿lm ex-
changes with the public, de-
spite concerns from human
rights groups.
The southern Chinese city's
police force said of¿cers would
start to wear the small cameras
by the end of the year.
Similar devices have been
deployed by police in the Unit-
ed Kingdom and United States,
while police in the Australian
state of Victoria are proceed-
ing with a trial this month.
"We will try out the body
camera scheme by end of this
year," a Hong Kong police
spokeswoman said.
She played down criticism
from human rights activists
that the use of body cameras
was a step towards the estab-
lishment of a police state in the
former British colony, which
reverted to mainland rule in
1997.
"We are not targeting any-
one at any public rallies but
of course it could be a useful
device for the police to deal
with those who disturb public
law and order at these rallies,"
she said.
The devices would be used
by trained and clearly identi-
¿ed police of¿cers, in order
to enhance evidence gathering
and public security, of¿cials
said.
But Hong Kong Human
Rights Monitor director Law
Yuk-kai said ¿lming random
interactions with the public
could breach Hong Kongers'
"constitutional right to pri-
vacy" and threaten the city's
cherished freedoms.
He said there were no laws
regulating the use of such cam-
eras, fuelling fears that they
would help security forces
keep an eye on political activ-
ists opposed to mainland rule.
"It will generate a climate
of fear and turn the city into a
police state with Big Brother
watching us all the time," Law
said.
Pro-democracy activist Ri-
chard Tsoi said the threat of
being ¿lmed at protests would
deter people from participat-
ing.
"People are afraid of being
¿lmed... They don't know how
the footage will be used and
how it will be preserved," the
vice-chair of the Hong Kong
Alliance in Support of Patri-
otic Democratic Movements
of China said.
The police want to buy
about 7,000 of the British-
made cameras, according to
the South China Morning
Post. The footage will not be
kept for more than 30 days un-
less it is needed as evidence in
court, the daily said.
Hong Kong is a semi-
autonomous territory with a
mini-constitution that guaran-
tees civil liberties including
free speech, a free press and
the right to protest.
As such, the city of seven
million people plays host to
dissidents who could face ar-
rest elsewhere in China, and
is the scene of regular politi-
cal rallies and pro-democracy
protests.
Hundreds of thousands of
people marched when Chinese
President Hu Jintao visited
Hong Kong on July 1 to mark
the 15th anniversary of the
handover, amid widespread
fears that Beijing wants to roll
back the territory's freedoms.
— AFP
HK police body cameras spark fears
HONG KONG — Hong
Kong yesterday said it will
test babies who have con-
sumed two Japanese-made
infant formulas found to have
low levels of iodine, after the
products were ordered off the
city's shelves.
The move came after of-
¿cials found the Wakodo and
Morinaga formula brands
lacked suf¿cient iodine, and
warned they could have "po-
tential adverse health effects"
on babies' thyroid glands and
brains.
"We urge parents to take
their babies to the 10 gov-
ernment-designated health
centres for blood tests," a
spokesman at the Food and
Environmental Hygiene De-
partment said, adding that
around 2,000 babies could be
affected.
The government ordered
the two products to be re-
moved from shop shelves,
following the ¿ndings of
a random test on 14 milk
brands.
The banned products,
which are for babies aged
up to nine months, were
found to contain less than
one-third of the World Health
Organization's recommended
levels of iodine, an essential
nutrient for infant develop-
ment.
"This may affect the func-
tioning of the thyroid gland,"
the Centre for Food Safety
said in a statement.
"If the thyroid gland's
normal functions are signi¿-
cantly affected, there may be
potential impact on the brain
development of infants."
The government said it
will continue to test other
brands. — AFP
Baby food tested
BEIJING — Multiple high-
speed railway lines in opera-
tion or under construction in
China have "grave" quality
problems, a state newspaper
said yesterday, a year after a
deadly crash sparked public
outrage.
The Southern Metropolis
Daily, citing an internal Min-
istry of Railways report, said
cracks had been detected in
tunnels, some of which had
been built without the steel
bars needed to reinforce
them.
Wiring at the Wenzhou
South Station, which is on
the line where the deadly
bullet train collision took
place in July last year, was
also discovered to be sub-
standard.
At least 40 people were
killed and hundreds injured
in the July 2011 accident,
which has since been blamed
on design Àaws and poor
management.
It followed the dismissal
of former railways minister
Liu Zhijun in February 2011.
He is facing prosecution for
corruption after reportedly
taking bribes of more than
800 million yuan during his
time in of¿ce.
China's high-speed rail
network, the largest in the
world, has been plagued by
graft and safety scandals fol-
lowing rapid expansion.
The Southern Metropolis
Daily, which has a reputation
for its outspoken reporting,
said the railways ministry
had ordered "complete cor-
rection" to the shortfalls by
certain deadlines that should
"leave no more potential
risks".
The ministry did not im-
mediately comment on the
report.
In March, a section of a
new high-speed railway in
central China's Hubei prov-
ince collapsed following
heavy rainfall.
Opened to passengers
only in 2007, the high-speed
rail system grew rapidly
thanks to huge state funding
and had 8,358 kilometres of
track at the end of 2010.
China's state auditor said
last year that construction
companies and individuals
siphoned off 187 million
yuan ($29.4 million) in funds
for the construction of the
Àagship high-speed railway
line between Beijing and
Shanghai. — AFP
Fast rail plagued
by safety hazards
TAIPEI — China and Taiwan
signed a landmark investment
pact yesterday as hundreds of
protesters voiced their anger
over the island's ever-closer
economic ties with its giant
former foe.
China's chief negotiator
Chen Yunlin and his Taiwan-
ese counterpart Chiang Pin-
kung put their names to the
long-awaited deal, which will
provide a legal umbrella for
Taiwanese companies operat-
ing in China.
"It's extremely important
not only for Taiwan's invest-
ment and trade links with the
mainland, but also for bilat-
eral ties as a whole," Chiang
told reporters after signing the
agreement.
"It will also provide dif-
ferent ways to protect Tai-
wan's business interests in the
mainland when disputes take
place."
The agreement includes
safeguards against sudden
expropriation of property and
also gives individual investors
some protection in the case of
legal problems with authori-
ties.
Chen and Chiang also
signed a co-operation pact to
speed up customs procedures
in the hope of boosting two-
way trade.
The two deals follow the
sweeping 2010 Economic Co-
operation Framework Agree-
ment (ECFA) that eased tariff
restrictions and gave trade a
major push.
But those who oppose
closer ties with China fear the
pacts will strengthen Beijing's
hold over the island. Protesters
have been tailing Chen since
his arrival on Wednesday.
Police estimated close to
700 gathered in the streets
of Taipei, including several
hundred members of the Fa-
lungong movement, which
has been banned in China for
more than 12 years.
About 1,300 police of¿cers
were posted around the meet-
ing venue, a landmark hotel
on a hill overlooking Taipei.
Barbed wire was rolled out
and police prevented a small
truck covered in anti-China
banners from approaching the
building.
"I oppose the deals because
China is trying to control Tai-
wan's economy so it can rule
Taiwan," said protester Chen
Che, demonstrating with
about 50 others at a museum
several hundred metres from
the hotel. — AFP
SEOUL — A leftwing South
Korean activist was charged
yesterday for pro-North Ko-
rean activities during an unau-
thorised trip across the border,
prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Ro Su-
Hui was charged with violat-
ing a tough security law that
penalises pro-Pyongyang ac-
tivity and bans citizens from
going to the North without
prior permission.
If convicted, he could face
up to 10 years in prison.
Prosecutors brought simi-
lar charges against another
leftwing activist identi¿ed
only as Won for communicat-
ing with North Korean of¿-
cials illegally to arrange Ro's
trip.
Ro, 68, entered Pyongyang
via China on March 24 with-
out Seoul government ap-
proval for a memorial service
marking the 100th day since
the death of longtime ruler
Kim Jong-Il. He was arrested
on July 5 soon after he walked
across the border from North
Korea, following a loud fare-
well by North Koreans.
Seoul did not send any of-
¿cial representatives to Kim
Jong-Il's funeral and approved
a trip only by two private del-
egations, a decision strongly
criticised by Pyongyang as
showing disrespect.
Ro is a member of a pro-
Pyongyang group called the
North and South headquarters
of the Pan-national Alliance
for Korea's Reuni¿cation.
Other activists visiting
the North have been charged
or jailed on return. Last year
Han Sang-Ryol, a pastor, was
jailed for three years for an
unauthorised trip.
Meanwhile, North Korea
and Laos has agreed to bol-
ster their traditionally strong
ties during a state visit by
Pyongyang’s ceremonial
head of state. North Korean
Supreme People’s Assembly
President Kim Yong Nam and
Lao President Choummaly
Sayasone witnessed the sign-
ing of agreements to boost
cultural exchanges, technol-
ogy transfers, education and
co-operation between the two
communist countries.
TOKYO — Japan's prime
minister survived a no-con¿-
dence motion yesterday after
reaching an 11th hour deal
with a major opposition party
over his much-cherished sales
tax bill.
Yoshihiko Noda brushed
off the attack by a phalanx
of minor parties, includ-
ing former insurgents from
his own disintegrating bloc,
which comes ahead of an ex-
pected vote today on his plan
to double consumption tax.
The main opposition Lib-
eral Democratic Party had, in
recent days, begun to renege
on its promise to back the leg-
islation, which independent
commentators say is a good
¿rst step on the long road to
overhauling Japan's huge debt
pile, worth twice its GDP.
But after exacting a some-
what vague promise from the
premier that he would hold a
general election "in the near
future", the LDP — who are
expected to be the main ben-
e¿ciaries of his sliding popu-
larity — indicated they would
not support the move.
The motion of no-con¿-
dence was defeated by a ma-
jority of around three-to-one.
Broadcaster NHK reported
that many LDP lawmakers
stayed away from the ses-
sion.
Analysts say the politically
unpopular tax hike and the
deals Noda has had to strike to
give it a ¿ghting parliamenta-
ry chance are likely to further
shorten the life of his relative-
ly young administration.
But in a country that has
seen six new premiers in as
many years, getting something
tangible on the statute book is
a major achievement likely to
cement his place in history,
they said.
With rebellions coming
thick and fast from his own
fractious party and no major-
ity in the upper house, Noda
had to offer his conservative
opponents an electoral carrot
for the bill, which will also
overhaul Japan's precariously
balanced social security sys-
tem.
But members of the gov-
erning Democratic Party of
Japan are keen to avoid polls
before absolutely necessary
because of the risk of them
being unseated, said Tetsuro
Kato, professor of politics at
Hitotsubashi University.
"A movement to oust Noda
from the premier's post may
begin and his re-election in
the party presidential vote in
September is now doubtful,"
he said. — AFP
Taiwan, China sign
pact amid protests
Activist charged over illegal trip
Vote to oust Noda fails
BANGKOK — The trial
of Thai "Red Shirt" leaders
in connection with deadly
civil unrest in 2010 was
postponed yesterday until
November because some of
the defendants enjoy immu-
nity while parliament is in
session.
Police said 1,000 Red
Shirts, who are broadly loyal
to ousted former prime min-
ister Thaksin Shinawatra,
massed outside the court in
a noisy demonstration of the
24 accused, who include ¿ve
serving lawmakers.
"The court has agreed to
postpone the hearing until
the parliament session ends
on 28 November," an un-
named judge of the Bangkok
Criminal Court said, add-
ing the trial will have to be
suspended when parliament
resumes in February 2013.
Two months of anti-gov-
ernment protests in Bang-
kok in April and May 2010
by the Red Shirts triggered
a series of clashes between
demonstrators and troops
that left more than 90
people dead — mostly ci-
vilians — and nearly 1,900
injured. — AFP
Thai ‘Red
Shirt’ trial
postponed
OMAN DAILYObser ver
4 THE WORLD
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
BERLIN — Germany’s medical community yesterday prom-
ised to tighten guidelines on organ transplants amid an inves-
tigation into whether a doctor bent the rules so his patients
would be ¿rst in line to receive livers.
In future, multiple doctors will have to assess how urgently
a patient needs a transplant, said Frank Ulrich Montgomery,
the president of the Federal Chamber of Doctors, after a meet-
ing in Berlin with national medical of¿cials.
“We will introduce a second opinion system, or better still a
committee system,” he told public broadcaster ARD.
Outside experts would also make random checks on hospi-
tal records to make sure they were accurate, he said.
A surgeon in the northern city of Goettingen was suspended
in November and is being investigated for allegedly manipu-
lating medical records in 2010-11 to make 23 patients seem
sicker than they were. The case became public in July.
This week it was revealed that doctors were going ahead
with transplants without consulting an international clearing
house, Eurotransplant, which is supposed to select the priority
patients in seven nations to receive new organs.
Health Minister Daniel Bahr has called a meeting on Au-
gust 27 to discuss ways to tighten procedures and restore pub-
lic con¿dence.
Russia says 7 killed in
Caucasus ¿ghting
MAKHACHKALA — Five policemen and two activists were
killed in gunbattles yesterday in Russia’s violence-plagued
North Caucasus province of Dagestan, law enforcement au-
thorities said.
The mostly Muslim province is beset by near-daily shoot-
ings and bomb attacks, many of them targeting police or of¿-
cials and most blamed on an insurgency stemming from years
of separatist conÀict in neighbouring Chechnya.
Gunmen hiding in a wooded area opened ¿re on a group
of police who were checking reports of militant activity in the
Botlikh district, fatally wounding ¿ve, the federal Anti-Terror-
ist Committee said. Police sent in reinforcements and tracked
down a group of gunmen in the woods, killing two in an ensu-
ing exchange of ¿re, the committee said in a statement.
Activists in the North Caucasus say they are ¿ghting for a
separate Islamic state in the strip of provinces along Russia’s
southern border. Rights activists say the insurgency is fuelled
by poverty and anger at police tactics. — Agencies
ANTANANARIVO — Madagascan President Andry Rajoe-
lina said yesterday that his rival Marc Ravalomanana, whom
he toppled with army support in 2009, must be kept “at all
costs” from returning to power.
Rajoelina met Ravalomanana — who is now exiled in
South Africa — in the Seychelles for half an hour on Wednes-
day without result, although the pair said discussions would
continue in the future.
The Madagascan government has announced elections for
next year in the large Indian Ocean island nation, but is op-
posed to Ravalomanana returning to contest the vote, arguing
that a criminal conviction disquali¿es him.
Rajoelina said after returning from the failed talks: “There
must be no more bloodshed in Madagascar.
“When Mr Ravalomanana came to power in 2002, there
were deaths all over the island. When he left power in 2009,
there were deaths. Now, it’s 2012 and he wants to return to
power. At all costs, he must not return to power.”
The president added about their talks: “Proposals were put
forward, but Mr Ravalomanana did not agree. This man has
not changed, and will never change.”
The 15-nation Southern African Development Community,
which mediated the talks, has extended a deadline to August
16 for the rivals to settle their differences.
Ravalomanana was sentenced in absentia to a lifetime
of hard labour after about 30 demonstrators were killed
by his presidential guard in 2009 in the capital Antanan-
arivo.
He has dismissed the conviction as the work of a kangaroo
court.
The men have met twice in the Seychelles without reaching
any type of rapprochement. — AFP
Scandal forces Germany
to tighten guidelines
Madagascar leader blasts
ousted rival after talks fail
MIAMI — The US weather
agency NOAA predicted a
slightly more active 2012 At-
lantic hurricane season yes-
terday, saying warming seas
and the late arrival of El Nino
would bring near-normal to
above-normal storm activity.
Forecasters expect the
June-through-November sea-
son will bring 12 to 17 tropi-
cal storms, with ¿ve to eight
of those becoming hurricanes
and two to three strengthening
into major hurricanes.
That was a slight increase
from the May forecast, when
the agency predicted there
would be nine to 15 tropical
storms, with four to eight be-
coming hurricanes and one to
three strengthening into major
hurricanes.
Major hurricanes have sus-
tained winds of 178 km per
hour or higher and can cause
devastating damage.
An average year brings
about 12 tropical storms with
six hurricanes and three major
hurricanes.
The National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administra-
tion forecasters boosted their
outlook in part because the
season got off to a strong and
early start.
Two tropical storms, Al-
berto and Beryl, formed in
May before the season of¿-
cially began on June 1. There
have now been six tropical
storms, two of which strength-
ened into hurricanes, and the
season is just entering what is
traditionally the most active
period.
Sea-surface temperatures
are higher than usual in the At-
lantic region, which contrib-
utes to hurricane formation.
Although the hurricane-
squelching El Nino pattern is
still expected, it has not ap-
peared yet. El Nino is a peri-
odic warming of the tropical
Paci¿c and brings shearing
winds that hamper storm for-
mation in the Atlantic.
The forecasters said it
would likely form in August
or September and that it would
take a few weeks after that for
its impact to reach the Atlan-
tic.
“We don’t expect El
Nino’s inÀuence until later in
the season,” said Gerry Bell,
NOAA’s lead hurricane sea-
son forecaster.
El Nino is less welcome
in other parts of the globe be-
cause it tends to bring heavy
rain to Paci¿c Islands and the
west coast of Central Ameri-
ca, and crop-killing drought to
Australia, Indonesia, the Phil-
ippines, Africa and India.
The US Census Bureau
estimates that 37.3 million
people live along the Atlan-
tic coast from Texas to North
Carolina, the area most at risk
from hurricanes.
The forecasters warned
residents outside the hurricane
belt to prepare as well. Inland
Àooding is the most dangerous
aspect of a hurricane, as Hur-
ricane Irene showed last year,
said Laura Furgione, acting
director of NOAA’s National
Weather Service. — Reuters
LILLE — French authorities
yesterday expelled several
hundred Roma families from
encampments in the north,
raising fears of a return to
controversial policies cham-
pioned by former president
Nicolas Sarkozy.
The evacuations, along
with expulsions of Roma to
Romania by plane, came after
Socialist President Francois
Hollande’s interior minis-
ter, Manuel Valls, last month
voiced concern about growing
Roma encampments in several
cities.
France drew a chorus of
criticism in 2010 for rounding
up hundreds of Roma immi-
grants from illegal camps and
sending them back to Roma-
nia and Bulgaria after right-
wing Sarkozy announced a
crackdown.
Two Roma encampments
on state land near the north-
ern city of Lille were evacu-
ated yesterday, with around
200 people expelled from
one camp and “15 caravans”
from another, said Villeneuve
d’Ascq deputy mayor Mary-
vonne Girard.
Police motorcycles accom-
panied the Roma on the road
after they were expelled with-
out resistance.
“What’s inconceivable for
us is that people are thrown
out without being told where
they can go. We expected
better after President Hol-
lande’s words,” said Roseline
Tiset of the Human Rights
League.
She said that during the
presidential campaign earlier
this year, Hollande wrote to
Roma rights groups saying
that under his government
“when an unsanitary camp is
dismantled, alternatives will
be offered.” — AFP
LONDON — Britain has ap-
pointed a senior judge to hold
an inquest into the death of
Alexander Litvinenko (pic-
tured), the former Russian
agent turned Kremlin critic
whose death from polonium
poisoning in London in 2006
soured relations between Lon-
don and Moscow.
Britain’s Judicial Of¿ce
said yesterday it had selected
Robert Owen, an experienced
judge, for the task and that
he would hold a hearing in
September to decide how the
inquest will be conducted and
whether it will be heard before
a jury.
Litvinenko’s wife Marina,
who lives in Britain, said she
felt relieved the decision had
¿nally been made.
“I am just happy,” she
said.
The decision to appoint
a judge comes a week after
Russian President Vladimir
Putin made his ¿rst visit to
London in nine years to watch
judo with British Prime Min-
ister David Cameron and risks
souring slowly improving re-
lations.
Ties between Britain and
Russia plunged to a post-Cold
War low after Litvinenko’s
killing complete with tit-for-
tat diplomatic expulsions.
Russia has since refused
to extradite Andrei Lugovoy,
the ex-KGB bodyguard Brit-
ain wants to prosecute for
Litvinenko’s murder by poi-
soning with radioactive polo-
nium.
The Judicial Of¿ce, which
is independent of government
ministers, said the timing of
the inquest announcement was
unconnected to Putin’s visit or
any other political considera-
tion.
Britain rarely appoints
judges as coroners in charge
of inquests, reserving their
appointment for the most
complex and high-pro¿le
cases, such as the 1997 death
of Princess Diana or the
killings of London com-
muters in suicide attacks in
2005.
Marina Litvinenko has
long argued that the Russian
state was complicit in her
husband’s murder and has
demanded that Britain hold a
wide-ranging inquest into his
death.
Litvinenko, who had been
granted British citizenship,
was poisoned with polonium-
210, a rare and highly toxic
radioactive isotope, which
was slipped to him in a cup
of tea at a plush London
hotel. Lugovoy, who was
later elected to Russia’s lower
house of parliament, has de-
nied any involvement.
Britain’s Foreign Of¿ce
said the inquest was a judicial
matter but that the government
remained committed to seek-
ing justice over Litvinenko’s
death.
“This was a crime which
took place in the UK and in-
volved a British citizen. Our
aim remains to see this matter
tried in a UK court,” a govern-
ment spokesman said.
— Reuters
ATHENS — A Greek politi-
cian who stirred anger by hir-
ing his daughter in parliament
on the one day he was house
speaker faced public calls for
his resignation yesterday amid
widespread disenchantment
with the ruling class.
Weathering its ¿fth year
of recession and battling to
remain inside the euro, many
people in Greece blame the
mainstream political parties
that have ruled the country
for almost four decades for
cronyism in the bloated public
sector.
Against such a backdrop,
the case of Conservative New
Democracy MP Byron Poly-
doras has struck a nerve.
He was appointed parlia-
ment speaker for just one day
after an inconclusive general
election on May 6, in a tempo-
rary cabinet whose only pur-
pose was to call a repeat vote
for June 17.
Polydoras used his brief
spell as speaker to make
his daughter a permanent
employee in his of¿ce, ac-
cording to published of¿-
cial documents. Like other
civil servants, that meant she
could not be ¿red under the
constitution.
Local media slammed the
move as “immoral” and a
Facebook page titled “Poly-
doras’s resignation now” had
more than 2,200 fans yester-
day.
“That’s what he needs to
do (resign) after the ridiculous
appointment of his daughter
when thousands of kids are
without work and without a
future,” one visitor posted on
the site.
The public backlash came
as new data yesterday showed
Greece’s jobless rate climbed
to a new record in May, with
nearly 55 per cent of those
aged 15-24 out of work.
Polydoras, a Àamboyant
politician who likes to quote
ancient Greek philosophers,
rushed to defend himself yes-
terday, saying he had every
right to give his daughter the
job.
“I ¿lled the position of
just one employee — instead
of six — by appointing my
daughter who is a close, valu-
able colleague,” Polydoras
was quoted as saying by the
Eleftheros Typos newspaper.
“She has three Master’s de-
grees, speaks four languages
and I ask myself why this is-
sue was made public now,” he
added.
Private sector workers have
long complained that public
of¿ces are ¿lled with idle civil
servants who are put there in
return for votes and are then
protected by the constitution
from being sacked.
“Byron Polydoras was
house speaker for just one
day,” Greek commentator Ilias
Kanellis wrote in Ta Nea.
“Had he stayed one more
day, would he hire his other
daughter as well?”
— AFP
AL ARISH — Gunman ¿red shots towards a
police station in the main administrative centre
of Egypt’s North Sinai yesterday, underscor-
ing lawlessness in the desert region bordering
Israel as an Egyptian military offensive there
entered its second day.
Hundreds of troops in armoured cars drove
out of the town to hunt activists blamed for
killing 16 Egyptian border guards on Sunday,
the biggest spike in violence which has been
growing steadily since last year’s overthrow of
Hosni Mubarak.
The gun¿re in Al Arish, the nerve centre
of the government’s otherwise shaky control
of the North Sinai region, showed how dif-
¿cult it will be for Egypt to impose order. It
followed attacks on checkpoints in the town
on Wednesday. Israel has welcomed Egypt’s
offensive while continuing to express worries
about the deteriorating situation in Sinai, home
to anti-Israel activists, Bedouin tribes angered
by neglect by Cairo, gun-runners, drug smug-
glers and Al Qaeda sympathisers.
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said
Egypt was acting “to an extent and with a de-
termination that I cannot previously recall”.
“Whether this ends with (their) regained
control of Sinai and allows us not to worry as
much as we have in the past few months, this I
do not know,” he told Israel Radio.
The unidenti¿ed gunmen in Al Arish Àed
before police could respond, a security source
said, denying a report by state television that
police had fought back.
Hundreds of troops and dozens of military
vehicles had reached the town, security sources
said, part of an offensive not seen since Egypt’s
1973 war with Israel. — Reuters
Forecasters see more active
Atlantic hurricane season
French Socialists accused as
Roma expulsions return
UK to hold inquest into
Litvinenko poisoning
Uproar over politician’s
move to hire daughter
Egyptian troops move
into border zone
MAYOR of Brussels Freddy Thielemans (L) and members of the Meyboom brotherhood carry the Meyboom tree before the planting
on Brussels’ Grand Place yesterday. The Meyboom will be planted for the 704th time and celebrates the 1213 victory of Brussels
over the neighbouring city of Leuven in a battle over tax. — Reuters
ARMY trucks carrying tanks and vehicles arriving at Rafah city, northeast of Cairo.
ROMA families are evacuated from an illegal camp in Villeneuve d’Ascq yesterday.
OMAN DAILYObser ver
5 SYRIA
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
ROME — A ¿shing boat car-
rying 157 people, including
124 Syrians Àeeing escalat-
ing violence in their country,
was intercepted close to the
southern Italian coast and
towed to the port of Crotone
late on Wednesday, police
said.
Also on board were 30
Afghans and three Turks,
two of whom were arrest-
ed on suspicion of people
smuggling. All were in good
health and were transferred
to an immigration centre in
the nearby Calabrian city of
Isola Capo Rizzuto. The ref-
ugees included more than 30
women and 40 children.
“We’re still trying to de-
termine where the boat de-
parted from, but normally
the ones that reach Crotone
come from Greece,” said a
spokesman for the local pre-
fect.
“So far, no one has re-
quested asylum,” he added.
According to Italian law, if
asylum is not granted, illegal
immigrants must be repatri-
ated. More than 2,000 Syr-
ians Àeeing the conÀict have
reached Turkey in the past
two days, bringing the total
number who have sought
refuge there to more than
50,000, Turkish authorities
said yesterday.
Every year hundreds of
boats carrying immigrants
seeking work in Europe ar-
rive on the southern Italian
coast during the summer.
Boat carrying
refugees
lands in Italy
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s
foreign minister accused Syr-
ian President Bashar al Assad
of arming a Kurdish activ-
ist group that has fought the
Turkish state for decades,
potentially exacerbating a
conÀict which has killed more
than 40,000 people.
Clashes between the Turk-
ish army and Kurdistan Work-
ers Party (PKK) activists have
intensi¿ed in recent weeks
east of the border with Syria
in southeast Turkey. Ankara
is concerned the PKK is ex-
ploiting the chaos in Syria to
expand its inÀuence.
Foreign Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu told Turkish me-
dia while travelling to Myan-
mar overnight that Assad had
given weapons to the PKK,
which has established a pres-
ence in the towns of Kobani
and Afrin in northern Syria.
“Assad gave them weap-
ons support. Yes — this is
not a fantasy. It is true. We
have taken necessary meas-
ures against this threat,” news
websites reported the minister
as saying.
There was no immediate
comment from Damascus. In
an interview with a Turkish
newspaper at the start of July,
Assad denied that Syria had
allowed the PKK to operate
on Syrian territory close to the
Turkish frontier. Davutoglu’s
comments spelled out allega-
tions previously made by low-
er-ranking Turkish of¿cials.
Turkey suspects a major
Syrian Kurdish movement,
the Democratic Union Party
(PYD), of having links with
the PKK. Turkish analysts be-
lieve Assad let the PYD take
control of security of some
towns in northern Syria to
prevent locals from joining
the ¿ghter Free Syrian Army
(FSA).
Relations between Ankara
and Damascus have deteriorat-
ed to lows unimaginable just a
few years ago, when Turkey
cultivated “good neighbourly
relations” with Assad, easing
border controls and taking part
in joint military exercises.
Turkish Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan is now one
of Assad’s harshest critics and
has raised the possibility of
military intervention in Syria
if the PKK becomes a threat
there.
Military defectors have
set up FSA bases in southern
Turkey, and some are trained
and co-ordinated by Turkish,
Qatari and Saudi of¿cers op-
erating from a secret “nerve
centre” near the city of Adana,
Gulf sources have said.
Davutoglu, the architect of
Turkey’s now defunct good
neighbours policy, dismissed
criticism that Turkey was un-
prepared for the situation in
northern Syria. — Reuters
LONDON — Iranian Foreign Minister
Ali Akbar Salehi called yesterday for
“serious and inclusive” talks between
the Syrian government and opposition
groups, opening a meeting of friendly
nations called by Tehran as it seeks to
exert its inÀuence over the conÀict.
More than 25 nations were present
at the conference but signi¿cantly none
of them back the Syrian opposition or
have called for President Bashar al As-
sad to leave power.
State television broadcast the open-
ing statement of the talks, which Salehi
said were attended by delegations from
Russia, China, Iraq, Pakistan, Jordan,
India, among others.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran ¿rm-
ly believes that the Syrian crisis can
only be resolved through serious and
inclusive talks between the govern-
ment and opposition groups that enjoy
popular support in Syria,” Salehi said
at the start of a conference in Tehran to
discuss the unrest.
In the speech broadcast live on
Iranian television, Salehi said that
Iran “rejects any foreign and military
intervention in Syria and backs and
supports UN efforts to resolve the
crisis”.
The Syrian government has said it
is ready for dialogue but the opposition
says Assad must step down as a pre-
cursor to any negotiations. Continued
hostilities in Aleppo, where the Syrian
military is bombarding ¿ghters, make
talks unlikely in the near future.
Also present at the Tehran meeting
was the United Nations resident co-
ordinator to Tehran, Consuelo Vidal-
Bruce, who read out a statement from
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
“Both the government and the op-
position continued to rely on weap-
ons,” the translated statement read, and
such actions would have “tragic conse-
quences for the Syrian people”.
All parties had a common respon-
sibility to “end the violence and the
killing of civilians,” the Iranian student
news agency reported.
In an opinion piece published by
the Washington Post on Wednesday,
Salehi warned there would be cata-
strophic consequences if Assad fell
from power.
“Syrian society is a beautiful mo-
saic of ethnicities, faiths and cultures,
and it will be smashed to pieces should
President Bashar al Assad abruptly
fall,” it read.
While Salehi said Iran sought a so-
lution that was in “everyone’s interest”,
Western diplomats have dismissed the
conference as an attempt to divert at-
tention away from bloody events on
the ground and to preserve the rule of
Assad.
“The Islamic Republic’s support
for Assad’s government is hardly com-
patible with a genuine attempt at con-
ciliation between the parties,” said one
Western diplomat based in Tehran.
It showed Iran was “running out
of ideas”, he added. Another Western
diplomat said Tehran was trying to
broaden the support base of the Syrian
leader.
Along with Russia and China, Iran
has strongly supported Assad, whose
forces have launched crushing opera-
tions against anti-government protest-
ers and armed opposition groups since
the crisis erupted 17 months ago.
The Islamic Republic has resisted
an agreement on Syria that requires As-
sad to quit as part of any political tran-
sition. There is no sign that Tehran is
ready to adopt a new approach, despite
setbacks for Assad including the defec-
tion this week of his prime minister.
But analysts say the recent signs of
cracks in the Syrian leadership have
taken Iran by surprise.
“Iran is trying to show strength and
regional presence, but if they were go-
ing to make a big play why not do it
at the Non-Aligned Movement sum-
mit (taking place in Tehran in late
August)?” said Scott Lucas of the EA
Worldview news website that special-
ises in covering Iran.
“They seem to be so jittery about
Syria, they couldn’t afford to wait,” he
added.
In turn, Syria’s mostly ¿ghters ac-
cuse Tehran of sending military per-
sonnel to Syria and of providing light
arms, as well as tactical and communi-
cations expertise to Syrian government
forces.
The crisis has soured Iran’s rela-
tions with neighbouring Turkey which
has hosted opposition meetings, ex-
tended assistance to Syrian refugees
and demanded Assad leave of¿ce.
“Iran wants to co-ordinate efforts
among countries that don’t accept the
Western and Saudi approach to Syria,”
said Mohammad Marandi of Tehran
University. “It’s a counter-force to the
so-called Friends of Syria gathering.”
Iranian involvement in the crisis
has been complicated by the seizure by
¿ghters of 48 Iranians in Syria on Sat-
urday on suspicion of being military
personnel. — AFP
ALEPPO — President Bashar
al Assad named a new prime
minister yesterday to replace
Syria’s most senior govern-
ment defector and his forces
pounded ¿ghters in a strategic
district of Aleppo.
Assad appointed Wael al
Halki, from the southern prov-
ince of Deraa where the Syri-
an uprising erupted 17 months
ago, to head the government
after Riyad Hijab Àed on
Monday after spending only
two months in the job.
Hijab’s dramatic escape
across the border to Jordan
dealt another blow to Assad’s
authority, already shaken by
the assassination last month
of four of his top security of-
¿cials and ¿ghter gains in Da-
mascus, Aleppo and swathes
of rural Syria.
But Assad, grimly shrug-
ging off such setbacks, seems
locked in a desperate contest
with his mostly opponents
seeking to end half a century
of Baathist rule and topple
a system now dominated by
members of the president’s
minority Alawite sect.
Assad has focused his
¿erce army counter-offensive
on Syria’s two main cities,
reasserting control over much
of Damascus before taking the
¿ght to the northern commer-
cial hub.
Fighters ¿ghting in the
Aleppo district of Salahed-
dine, a southern gateway to
the city, said they had been
forced to fall back from some
frontline positions yesterday
by withering bombardment
which had reduced buildings
to rubble.
“There have been some
withdrawals of Free Syrian
Army ¿ghters from Salahed-
dine,” ¿ghter commander Abu
Ali said, adding that ¿ghters
were regrouping for a counter-
attack.
Another combatant said at
least 30 people had been killed
in Salaheddine, where ¿ghting
has ebbed and Àowed for two
days. As the battle for Aleppo
raged, Assad’s closest foreign
backer Iran gathered minis-
ters from like-minded states
for talks about how to end the
conÀict. Russia, another ally
of Damascus, said its ambas-
sador to Tehran would attend.
Assad cannot afford to
lose Aleppo if he is to remain
a credible national leader.
Already stretched by ¿ghter
activity in many parts of the
country, the military, despite
its advantage in tanks, war-
planes and helicopters, has
had to cede ground elsewhere
as it struggles for control of
Syria’s biggest city.
As part of a broader army
offensive, Assad’s forces at-
tacked ¿ghters on several
fronts including a neighbour-
hood near the airport in south-
east Aleppo, several eastern
districts, and a town on Alep-
po’s northwestern outskirts,
state media said.
Journalists in Tel Rifaat, 35
km north of Aleppo, watched
a Syrian air force jet diving
and ¿ring rockets, causing vil-
lagers to Àee in panic.
Explosions rang out and
black smoke billowed from an
olive grove. A truck was en-
gulfed in Àames. Six children
and a crying woman Àed their
tiny home. One woman held
the Quran above her head,
kissing it, and another banged
her head in her hands.
— Reuters
‘Assad supplying arms
to Kurdish ¿ghters’
Iran assembles allies in diplomatic push
Premier replaced as
Aleppo battles rage
FRENCH soldiers, sent to help refugees at the Jordanian-Syrian border, are boarding an A310 airliner at the Istres military airbase in southern France.
WAEL al Halki
ANADAN — In this town
near Aleppo, “Freedom
Square” has been renamed
“Destruction Square” by a
young Syrian activist who
once sang to protesters gath-
ered for peaceful pro-democ-
racy rallies.
The square in Anadan,
along with the rest of what
resembles a ghost town,
bears the scars from Syrian
President Bashar al Assad’s
use of military force to crush
an opposition movement that
has spawned an armed insur-
gency against his rule.
The 20-year-old anti-Assad
singer, Hamza Ali bin Ahmed,
says thousands of protesters
often packed the square. The
microphone he used now lies
in pieces, like many of the
nearby buildings.
“They silenced us by
shelling us,” said Ahmed,
wearing a blue T-shirt and
sports shoes. Only an occa-
sional passing car or motor-
cycle broke the eerie quiet in
the once-bustling town.
Some 30,000 people, or
most of the population, have
Àed Anadan because of shell-
ing and helicopter strikes, op-
position sources said. Many
headed towards the border
with Turkey, some crossing
over to join nearly 50,000
refugees already there.
Anadan appears to have
come under very heavy artil-
lery bombardment, according
to satellite images released
this week by London-based
human rights group Amnesty
International.
It said the images, obtained
from commercial satellites
over the July 23-August 1 pe-
riod, showed more than 600
craters, probably from artil-
lery shelling, dotting Aleppo’s
surrounding areas. The craters
were represented with yellow
dots in the images. One snap-
shot, from July 31, showed
craters next to what looked
like a residential housing com-
plex in Anadan, it said.
Aleppo, a few km from
Anadan and Syria’s largest
city, has become a frontline in
the struggle between Assad’s
forces and insurgents. Am-
nesty said both sides could be
held criminally responsible
for failing to protect civil-
ians.
“As far as Assad is con-
cerned, Anadan is a legitimate
target,” said Omar Hashoum,
a rebel brandishing an AK-47
riÀe as he stood by a green-
domed mosque damaged by
bombardment.
“Inside the town there is
only the Free Syrian Army
but it cannot guard against
tank and artillery shelling or
from air bombardment,” said
Hashoum as an air force jet
Àew overhead.
Assad’s troops have over-
run Anadan several times in
recent weeks, but with big-
ger battles to ¿ght in Aleppo
they were nowhere to be seen
when a team visited the town
— a sign of the dif¿culty the
overstretched Syrian military
may be facing in keeping full
control over restive areas.
Loyalist forces had left
their mark on one wall, with
the scrawled message “Assad
forever or we will burn the
country”.
Abu Salameh, who iden-
ti¿ed himself as a rebel
commander, said many of
Anadan’s ¿ghters had joined
the battle in Aleppo, helping
provide supplies and take
wounded ¿ghters to Turkey.
“Anadan is the fountain of
resistance,” said Ismail Nas-
sif, another insurgent. “We
started in the hundreds, and
then the whole of the prov-
ince joined,” he said.
Like many ¿ghters, Nassif
was a demonstrator who said
he had taken up arms only af-
ter Assad used force on pro-
testers.
“The revolution has
changed a lot of people here,”
said Abdullah al Arab, anoth-
er rebel. “There were a lot of
people who were spitting on
us during early demonstra-
tions but who are now with
us and are joining the armed
resistance.”
Yet Ahmed, the singer,
recalls the days of peaceful
protest fondly. “I will always
regard myself as a singer of
the revolution. God willing, I
will get to sing again.”
— Reuters
BEIRUT — The ¿ghter Free Syrian Army
withdrew completely from the embattled
district of Salaheddine in the northern city
of Aleppo yesterday as government forces
advanced, a ¿ghter commander said.
“We have staged a tactical withdrawal
from Salaheddine,” the commander, Hos-
sam Abu Mohammed, said by phone.
“The district is completely empty of
¿ghters. Government forces are now ad-
vancing into Salaheddine.”
The ¿ghters are still in streets near the
key neighbourhood, said Abu Moham-
med, who commands the Dara al Shahbaa
Brigade. “We are in the Saif al Dawla and
Mashhad districts” east of Salaheddine,
he said. He cited the violent bombard-
ment by government forces as the reason
behind the FSA withdrawal.
“The artillery and aerial bombardments
are very heavy, and they are targeting all
¿ghter-held areas surrounding Salahed-
dine,” said Abu Mohammed. Another
FSA commander con¿rmed the pull-out.
“The FSA’s brigades have staged a
tactical withdrawal from Salaheddine in
order to open a new front in Saif al Dawla
and Mashhad,” said Wassel Ayub, who
commands the Nur al Haq Brigade.
“We had full control of the district
last night, but then government forces
bombarded in an unprecedented way,”
Ayub said. “The situation is terrible, and
we have decided to stage a tactical with-
drawal.”
Government forces have engaged in
¿erce ¿ghting over Salaheddine for more
than two weeks. The ¿ghters say they
control some 50 per cent of Syria’s com-
mercial capital.
On Wednesday, government forces
launched a ¿erce assault on Salaheddine,
a district to which both ¿ghters and the
government attribute great symbolic im-
portance. — AFP
Freedom Square renamed
as ‘Destruction Square’
Fighters withdraw totally from Salaheddine
FREE Syrian Army ¿ghters hold AK-47 riÀes in central Aleppo yesterday. — Reuters
OMAN DAILYObser ver
6 THE PHILIPPINES/SUBCONTINENT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
MANILA — Three soldiers
and a 10-year-old boy were
killed in the Philippines when
gunmen ambushed an army
truck inside the campus of a
state university, the military
said yesterday.
Ten soldiers and three ci-
vilians were wounded in the
attack late on Wednesday at
Mindanao State University
in Marawi City, said Colonel
Daniel Lucero, an army com-
mander. The soldiers were on
a routine security check when
the gunmen opened fire at
their truck. The civilian casu-
alties were in a vehicle tailing
the truck, Lucero said.
He said the attack was
suspected to be in retaliation
for the military’s support for
police operations against ille-
gal logging and drug traffick-
ing. — dpa
Four killed, 13
hurt in ambush
MANILA — Deadly floods
that have swamped nearly
all of the Philippine capital
are less a natural disaster and
more the result of poor plan-
ning, lax enforcement and
political self-interest, experts
say.
Damaged watersheds,
massive squatter colonies liv-
ing in danger zones and the
neglect of drainage systems
are some of the factors that
have made the chaotic city
of 15 million people much
more vulnerable to enormous
floods.
Urban planner Nathaniel
Einseidel said the Philippines
had enough technical know-
how and could find the nec-
essary financing to solve the
problem, but there was no
vision.
“It’s a lack of apprecia-
tion for the benefits of long-
term plans. It’s a vicious
cycle when the planning, the
policies and enforcement are
not very well synchronised,”
said Einseidel, who was Ma-
nila’s planning chief from
1979-89.
“I haven’t heard of a lo-
cal government, a town or
city that has a comprehensive
drainage masterplan.”
Eighty per cent of Manila
was this week covered in wa-
ters that in some parts were
nearly two metres deep, after
more than a normal August’s
worth of rain was dumped on
the city in 48 hours.
The deluge was similar to
one in 2009, a disaster which
claimed more than 460 lives
and prompted pledges from
government leaders to make
the city more resistant to
floods.
A government report re-
leased then called for 2.7 mil-
lion people in shantytowns
to be moved from “danger
zones” alongside riverbanks,
lakes and sewers.
Squatters, attracted by
economic opportunities in the
city, often build shanties on
river banks, storm drains and
canals, dumping garbage and
impeding the flow of water-
ways. The plan would have
affected one in five Manila
residents and taken 10 years
and 130 billion pesos ($3.11
billion) to implement.
But squatter communities
in danger-zones have in fact
grown since 2009.
“With the increasing
number of people occupying
danger zones, it is inevitable
there are a lot people who are
endangered when these things
happen,” Einseidel said.
He blamed the phenom-
enon on poor enforcement of
regulations banning building
along creeks and floodways,
with local politicians often
wanting to keep squatters in
their communities to secure
their votes at election time.
Meanwhile, on the out-
skirts of Manila, vital forested
areas have been destroyed to
make way for housing devel-
opments catering to growing
middle and upper classes,
according to architect Paulo
Alcazaren. — AFP
‘Floods: a man-made disaster’
MANILA — Philippine emer-
gency workers yesterday
stepped up efforts to help more
than 2 million people affected
by floods caused by days of
monsoon rains in the capital
and surrounding provinces.
At least 43 people were
killed in Manila and 16 prov-
inces in the northern region of
Luzon, where floodwaters had
mostly been receding but rose
again in some areas because of
intermittent rain.
Thirty of the victims
drowned while nine were
killed in a landslide, three died
from electrocution and one
from cardiac arrest, according
to reports from the Office of
Civil Defence, police and lo-
cal authorities.
Four people were missing
and at least 14 injured, the of-
ficials added.
More than half a million
people have been displaced
with 314,795 staying in 630
evacuation centres and anoth-
er 265,284 taking shelter with
relatives or friends, the Office
of Civil Defence said.
President Benigno Aquino
III visited the affected sub-
urbs in Manila and assured
residents that the government
was mobilising all agencies
and volunteer groups to pro-
vide them food, potable water,
medicines and other services.
“You can be assured that
we will not abandon you,”
he told residents in the Ma-
rikina City suburb, one of the
worst-hit areas in the metrop-
olis. “The government is well
prepared and we still have
enough funds to help every-
one.” Aquino also said that
the government was studying
long-term solutions for flood-
prone communities.
“We are talking about re-
location... and there is also
infrastructure that we need,”
he told residents of Caloocan
City, another affected suburb.
But it will take years for
us to build infrastructure. The
important thing is that every
year, the problems we experi-
ence during the rainy season
are reduced.” In total, 2.11
million people have been af-
fected, including those still
in their homes but who might
need food and water, medical
help and logistical assistance,
the Office of Civil Defence
said.
A total of 3,116 houses
were damaged by the floods,
the agency added.
“It’s still touch and go,”
said Fabian Cadiz, vice mayor
of Marikina City. “The weath-
er is really fickle-minded. We
just have to be prepared.”
Cadiz said rescuers had to
forcibly evacuate hundreds
of people near the Marikina
River, which has risen more
than 5 metres above its normal
depth of 15 metres, inundating
houses along its banks.
Some residents returned to
their homes late on Wednes-
day as the floodwaters reced-
ed, despite the order to leave.
The Office of Civil De-
fence said more than 13,000
emergency workers using 275
rafts and boats and 182 land
vehicles have been dispatched
for the rescue and relief opera-
tions. — dpa
Philippines steps up
rescue, relief efforts
YANGON — As Myanmar
emerges from decades of iso-
lation and oppression, it hopes
to reclaim its nearly forgotten
status as the world’s biggest
rice exporter.
That’s a tall order, but
industry and government of-
ficials have begun drafting
plans to revitalise the indus-
try after years of neglect and
military mismanagement.
No country’s appetite is
quite like Myanmar’s, which
boasts the world’s highest an-
nual rice consumption at 210
kg per person. It makes up 75
per cent of the country’s diet,
according to government sta-
tistics.
That helps explains its
economy.
Agriculture — including
farms, fisheries, forestry and
livestock — accounts for 43
per cent of gross domestic
product, a quarter of exports
and 70 per cent of employ-
ment. Industrial production,
including exports of natural
gas, is about 20 per cent of the
$43 billion economy.
As Myanmar undergoes
the most breathtaking re-
forms in the former British
colony since a 1962 military
coup when it was known as
Burma, the government is
looking for ways to revive the
rice industry and reclaim its
nearly forgotten status as the
world’s top rice exporter in
the 1960s.
A top priority is to give
farmers better access to high-
quality seeds by encouraging
investments from multina-
tionals such as Monsanto Co
and DuPont Co’s Pioneer Hi-
Bred seed unit.
“In China, every township
has a seed production com-
pany,” Tin Naing Thein, Na-
tional Planning and Economic
Development Minister said.
“The government will encour-
age and support them here.”
A recent easing in US
sanctions could make that
easier. DuPont Pioneer, for
instance, is “looking forward
to exploring opportunities in
Myanmar”, spokeswoman
Cookie Lo said in an e-mail.
Myanmar is predicting a
big increase in exports, pro-
jecting shipments of as much
as 2 million tonnes next year
and 3 million by 2015, says Ye
Min Aung, Secretary-General
of the Myanmar Rice Industry
Association. That’s up sharply
from 778,000 last year.
It expects exports to double
this year to 1.5 million tonnes.
However, the US Agriculture
Department attache has fore-
cast exports would likely tum-
ble 23 per cent in 2012, due to
increased supplies from other
rice producers.
A new agricultural bank
was set up two months ago to
provide credit to small farm-
ers, many of whom are strug-
gling with debt.
Myanma Agro-business
Public Co has 76 sharehold-
ers, including agriculture
development banks (ADCs)
run by local tycoons that spe-
cialise in micro-credit. With
an initial 16 billion kyat ($18
million) in capital, it will pub-
licly sell shares after its busi-
ness licence is approved, says
Myo Thuya Aye, Managing
Director of Ayeyar Wun Trad-
ing Co Ltd, an ADC.
The bank is similar to one
set up in Indonesia, whose
political and economic re-
forms over the years Myan-
mar is studying. Unlike the
Indonesian bank, Myanma
Agro-business will not be
state controlled.
That could be a problem,
says David Dapice, an econo-
mist at Harvard University’s
Ash Centre, who helped Bank
Rakyat Indonesia build a net-
work of small, profitable out-
lets in the 1980s.
“In Indonesia, the govern-
ment bank was able to act
like a private bank and did
very, very well. Rural credit
became a profit centre,” he
says. “I have nothing against
private banking going into ru-
ral areas. But I find they are
generally reluctant to do so
when the rural areas are not
prosperous.” — Reuters
Myanmar wants to rejoin top rice exporters
DHAKA — Bangladesh’s
government is seeking dona-
tions from its citizens to build
a $3 billion bridge over the
Padma river after the World
Bank cancelled a loan deal
for the project, citing graft al-
legations.
Bangladesh Bank ordered
all state-owned and private
commercial banks to open
“collection accounts” in their
branches to receive donations
from resident and expatri-
ate Bangladeshis, the central
bank said in a circular late on
Wednesday.
The central bank said it
issued the order on behalf of
the finance ministry.
The donations will be
free of any service charge
and will be deposited in the
state treasury at the end of
every month, the central bank
added.
The finance ministry said
the government took the de-
cision after “continued inter-
est and enthusiasm among
the people to participate in
the construction of the Padma
Bridge”.
The World Bank cancelled
its $1.2 billion finance pack-
age for the bridge, saying the
government had not co-oper-
ated in investigating “high-
level” corruption at the heart
of the project.
Other donors also halted
their loans after the World
Bank made its decision.
The cancellation embar-
rassed Bangladesh’s Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina as the
6.2-kilometre bridge was one
of her key election pledges.
The bridge, designed to
carry a highway and railway
line, is aimed at transforming
the lives of 40 million people
in the country’s impoverished
south, including Hasina’s
home district.
Traffic is currently trans-
ported across the Padma riv-
er — the local name for the
Ganges — by slow ferries.
The World Bank
recently said it was “techni-
cally possible” to reinstate
the loan, but only if its de-
mands were fully met to in-
vestigate and remove tainted
officials. — AFP
Bangladesh seeks donations
to build graft-tainted bridge
KABUL — Nato forces yes-
terday killed an Afghan sol-
dier as he tried to gun down
international coalition troops
in eastern Afghanistan.
“The incident took place
outside a co-ordination cen-
tre for Afghan and interna-
tional forces in Laghman
province,” Charlie Stadt
Lander, a coalition spokes-
man, said.
No Nato soldiers were
killed in the attack, he said,
declining to say if anyone
was wounded. “I can just
say that the Afghan and Nato
troops are now investigating
the incident,” he added. At-
tacks by uniformed gunmen
on foreign troops, have in-
creased this year. Since Jan-
uary, there have already been
31 deaths in 23 incidents, in-
cluding this one. — dpa
Afghan soldier
dead in attack
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has
become the largest exporter of
young doctors to Great Britain.
More than at any time in the
past, there is a huge surge in
the number of Pakistani medi-
cal graduates coming and set-
tling in the UK.
The number of doctors tak-
ing a flight to the UK is set to
go up further.
According to General Med-
ical Council (GMC), over 600
Pakistani medical graduates
have taken the PLAB test this
year alone. Training opportuni-
ties in Pakistan for young doc-
tors are limited.
According to the GMC, the
number of Pakistani doctors
who sat PLAB1 and PLAB2
since 2007-first half of 2012
stands at 6,826. For two years
from 2007 to 2009, 1,786 med-
ical graduates from Pakistan
took part in PLAB1 examina-
tions and for the same period
899 doctors took PLAB2 test.
But the number went up un-
precedented for the following
years. In 2010 and 2011, 2,490
doctors appeared for PLAB1
Test and 1,011 took PLAB2
test for the same period. The
number of Pakistan registered
on the GMC data stood at
8,552 on August 7, 2012.
Until 2006, around 70 per
cent of the so-called “inter-
national medical graduates”
came from the Indian subcon-
tinent, considered till then a
traditional recruiting ground
for NHS recruitment but the
Labour government brought
in new and stricter immigra-
tion rules to benefit doctors
from the European Union (EU)
countries.
Till that time the greatest
export of doctors was from
India while Pakistan stood at
around number 5.
Large-scale protests were
held by the 25,000-strong Brit-
ish Association of Physicians of
Indian Origin (BAPIO) against
the new government regula-
tions which were brought in
without any consultation and
warning. However, the govern-
ment was not budging.
Eventually BAPIO chal-
lenged the government in the
court of law. The case went up
to the House of Lords where
BAPIO had a victory for those
who were already in the train-
ing posts, thus saving jobs of
about 15,000 doctors. How-
ever there were about 10,000
doctors who were not in the
job and had to return to their
countries mostly to India and
Pakistan.
This episode made really
bad vibes in India and since
then Indian doctors are hesi-
tant to come to UK. India is
number 5 on the list now,
from number one, according
to GMC figures. There are two
more reasons why Indian doc-
tors are not keen on coming to
the UK anymore. Indian doc-
tors are enjoying benefits of
the economic boom in India,
private hospital conglomerates
are expanding and public and
private sectors are investing in
the health sector while this is
not the case in Pakistan.
There are many Pakistani
doctors’ organisations active in
the UK especially the alumni
associations of medical col-
leges and there are three large
collective associations, Brit-
ish Pakistani Doctors Forum,
All Pakistani Physicians and
Surgeons UK and Pakistan
Medical Association UK; these
have about 8,000 doctors as
members. Hundreds of other
doctors are not part of these
organisations.
Dr Akmal Makhdum, chair-
man of the British Pakistani
Doctors Forum (BPDF) com-
mented: “This is a happy augu-
ry for us in the UK and yet has
a sad tinge to it that Pakistan
is not offering opportunities
for so many young, qualified
people.
Dr Abdul Hafeez of APPS
said, “According to new visa
arrangements under Tier 5 doc-
tors can come to the UK for a
fixed term 2 years contract and
at the end of this time they
have to leave the UK as their
visa will not be extendable.
This new arrangement
will benefit both the UK and
Pakistan in terms of cover-
ing the shortage in the system
and training opportunities re-
spectively. We feel that any
job available in the NHS that
will go to an overseas doctor
should be filled by a Pakistani
doctor.”
Dr Ramesh Mehta, the
President of BAPIO com-
mented: “Between the British
Department of Health and the
Home office, they have never
managed to get their approach
to the International Medical
Graduates (IMGs) right. They
have always had situation
when there were either too
many or too few IMGs.
Now there is already short-
age of doctors in many speci-
alities and we have been asked
to help. The IMGs should be
treated equal to British gradu-
ates and offered appropriate
training. The UK medical
training is one of the best in
the world and Pakistani doc-
tors should take the opportu-
nity.” — Internews
Pakistan largest exporter of young doctors
FARMERS plant rice seedlings in a paddy field on the outskirts of Yangon. — Reuters
AFGHANISTAN’S National Army soldiers march during a graduation ceremony in Herat
yesterday. The bulk of foreign combat troops are due to withdraw by the end of 2014 as
part of plans to hand Afghan government forces responsibility for national security. — AFP
A GENERAL view of residents walking along a flooded highway in Cainta town, Rizal province, east Manila yesterday. — AFP
Friday, August 10, 2012 Friday, August 10, 2012
StanChart begins ¿ghtback
COWBOY local regulator or the exposer of lax federal bureau-
crats? That’s the key question being asked about New York
banking regulator Benjamin Lawsky after his explosive charge
that London’s Standard Chartered bank abetted $250 billion of
money-laundering transactions with Iran. z Page 10
Nestle sees raw
material prices
help first half
z Page 10
American Airlines
pilots reject
tentative contract
z Page 8
Asian markets mostly rise
ASIAN markets mostly rose yesterday as data showing China’s
output slowed and inÀation hit a two-and-a-half-year low lifted
hopes for fresh easing measures to boost the world’s number two
economy. However, European data dented recent optimism while
Wall Street traders provided an anaemic lead. z Page 9
LONDON — There's always
something comforting about
dining in a restaurant where
locals are eager to eat.
Yet even as foreign inves-
tors pile back into emerging
markets this year — searching
for growth, yield and sover-
eign credit stability so elusive
in the big developed markets
these days — there is some-
thing unnerving about seeing
domestic capital spinning out
the same revolving door in
some countries.
Russia's deputy economy
minister Andrei Klepach said
the government may double
its existing 2012 net capital
outÀow forecast to $50 bil-
lion, and even that's still be-
low private forecasts of a $65
billion drain. Although more
modest than last year's outÀow
of $80.5 billion and well un-
der the worst moments of the
2008/09 credit shock, domes-
tic money continues to exit the
country at a brisk pace.
Some may argue Russia is
a special case with a long his-
tory of money leaking over-
seas, reÀecting fear of inter-
nal politics and government
policy towards wealth and
ownership.
But after a decade of one-
way traf¿c, China too has
started to record sporadic
bursts of capital outÀows.
Last week, China's foreign
exchange regulator said the
country's capital and ¿nancial
account swung to a $71.4 bil-
lion de¿cit in the second quar-
ter from a ¿rst-quarter surplus
of $56.1 billion.
Maybe, as the authorities
suggest, this is all a healthy
two-way Àow as looser cross-
border capital restrictions en-
courage local ¿rms and inves-
tors to diversify overseas.
And with Chinese and Rus-
sian hard currency reserves in
excess of $3 trillion and $500
billion respectively, there are
pretty substantial buffers in
place.
But as two of the major
posterchildren of the emerg-
ing markets investment story,
and by no means the only ones
experiencing domestic capital
Àight, the outÀows do jar with
the headlong rush of overseas
cash seeking some form of
high-yielding haven there.
For long-term sceptics of
the emerging markets story,
this is all symptomatic of a
deep-rooted risk in these mar-
kets of which investors should
at least be wary.
"As foreign capital comes
in, domestic capital leaves.
History suggests that locals
have a far better understand-
ing of the real state of affairs
in the country," said John-Paul
Smith, head of emerging mar-
ket equity strategy at Deutsche
Bank.
"Their concerns about the
underlying rate of returns on
investments, the range and
depth of those and security of
wealth are all reasons why I'd
remain concerned with emerg-
ing equities."
Smith is far from a lone
voice these days, as nerves
jangle this year about China's
slowdown, the resultant sap-
ping of demand for raw ma-
terials and the knock-on effect
around the commodity-export-
ing developing world.
"China has domestic prob-
lems aplenty," Citi Private
Bank's Chief Investment
Of¿cer Richard Cookson
told clients, citing a credit
and housing bubble, falling
current account surplus and
brisk money growth among a
range of worries. "Put these all
together and, as far as we
can see, they always spell
trouble."
So, is domestic money tell-
ing us something the rest of
the yield-starved world doesn't
want to hear?
Well, the split of Àows to
emerging markets reveals a
more nuanced story.
It's emerging bond markets
— both hard currency and do-
mestic currency — that have
been the stars of 2012 so far
with dollar-based total returns
of 13 per cent and 11 per cent.
The exit from near zero or
even negative-yielding core
bond markets in the West of
the credit-hobbled giant euro
sovereigns such as Italy and
Spain has seen a net $43 bil-
lion of new cash this year
seek out emerging debt assets
benchmarked to JP Morgan's
emerging debt indices.
For all the micro fears
about return on equity, the
macro emerging picture still
holds up. The main attractions
remain stable sovereign credit
ratings, high if peaking cash
reserves and economic growth
of 5.6 per cent this year fore-
cast by the International Mon-
etary Fund at four times the
developed world.
"The nature of emerg-
ing markets is that it can get
choppy from time to time, but
I really can't see a reversal of
these Àows any time soon.
Why would you turn away
from this kind of yield now?"
said Kevin Daly, emerging
market portfolio manager at
Aberdeen Asset Management.
Critically, some 80 per cent
of the Àow into emerging mar-
ket bonds has been to the hard-
currency rather than local cur-
rency segment.
In other words, investors
are keenest to grab juicy ba-
sis points without the local
currency risk associated with
sudden capital Àight or the
more micro fears of regula-
tory or government heavy-
handedness or interference.
Year-to-date losses against the
dollar in a host of emerging
currencies — including India's
rupee, China's yuan and Bra-
zil's real — all support such an
investment strategy.
— Reuters
Emerging markets’ capital Àight jars with haven view
Russia and China recording hefty outÀows of domestic money „ Investors concentrate in hard currency debt
BOTTOM LINE
BEIJING — China's annual
consumer inÀation fell to a 30-
month low in July, suggesting
that the central bank has scope
to ease policy further after rate
cuts in June and July to keep
the economy on track to meet
an of¿cial 2012 growth target
of 7.5 per cent.
The government is on track
to ease policy to cushion the
impact of global headwinds
on the world's second-largest
economy, but needs to tread
cautiously to avoid reigniting
property sector risks and fuel-
ling renewed consumer price
rises.
Annual consumer inÀa-
tion eased to 1.8 per cent in
July from 2.2 per cent in June,
pulling back further from a
three-year high last July of 6.5
per cent, of¿cial data released
yesterday showed. Economists
polled by Reuters had forecast
inÀation to ease to 1.7 per cent
in July.
"This number gives more
room for policy easing," said
Zhang Zhiwei, chief China
economist at Nomura in Hong
Kong.
"It is now pretty clear that
CPI will likely be below the
of¿cial 4 per cent target for
the year, so the policy focus
for the government can stay
clearly on growth."
Hopes of further easing
from China boosted riskier as-
sets, with Asian shares rising
to a three-month high and the
commodity-sensitive Austral-
ian dollar testing a 4½-month
peak.
Consumer prices edged up
0.1 per cent in July from the
previous month, compared to
expectations of a 0.1 per cent
drop.
Still, there is little sign of
inÀationary pressures com-
ing from factories. July's data
showed that producer prices
fell in July by 2.9 per cent
from a year earlier, a sharper
decline than the 2.5 per cent
forecast and the steepest fall
since October 2009.
It marked a ¿fth straight
month of falling producer
prices, reÀecting the pressures
eating into corporate earnings
and capping capital spending.
President Hu Jintao and
Premier Wen Jiabao have
promised to step up policy
"¿ne tuning" in the second
half of the year to support the
economy.
Apart from lowering inter-
est rates, Beijing has also cut
the amount of cash that banks
must hold as reserves to free
up an estimated 1.2 trillion
yuan ($191 billion) for lend-
ing in a series of moves since
November 2011.
Food prices rose 2.4 per
cent in July from a year ear-
lier, cooling from 3.8 per cent
in June as pork prices tumbled
18.7 per cent, while non-food
inÀation accelerated slightly
to 1.5 per cent in July from 1.4
per cent in June.
Rising global food prices
fuelled by a severe drought
in the United States will have
a limited impact on Chinese
inÀation, but volatile food
prices could be a cause for
concern.
"Food price Àuctuation
could act as a drag on the
further easing of China's con-
sumer inÀation in August. But
non-food prices will continue
to fall on slowing growth,"
said Li Wei, China economist
at Standard Chartered Bank in
Shanghai.
"We will need to watch
lending and activity data to see
whether demand is recovering.
If they disappoint, the possibil-
ity of another interest rate cut
will increase greatly."
The central bank said in
a report last week consumer
inÀation might rebound after
August due to seasonal factors
and the rising cost of labour
and resources.
The benchmark Reuters
poll last month showed ana-
lysts expected the central bank
to deliver its next interest rate
cut in the third quarter and two
more cuts in banks' reserve re-
quirement ratio by the end of
the year.
Industrial output and ¿xed-
asset investment data, due for
release later yesterday, were
expected to show signs of a
pick-up in activity, indicating
that the economy is starting
to stabilise after sliding for six
straight quarters.
— Reuters
China inÀation at 30-month low
TOKYO — The Bank of
Japan held off fresh eas-
ing measures yesterday
and repeated its view that
the economy was "picking
up moderately" but warned
Europe's ongoing debt crisis
continued to cast a shadow.
After a two-day policy
meeting, the central bank
said it left unchanged its
policy tool, a 70 trillion
yen ($891 billion) asset
purchase programme while
it would also hold interest
rates unchanged at between
zero and 0.1 per cent.
"Japan's economy has
started picking up moderately as domestic demand remains
¿rm, mainly supported by reconstruction demand" follow-
ing the March 11 quake-tsunami disaster, it added.
The nation's economy was hammered by last year's ter-
ror, which wreaked havoc on industrial production, while
Àooding in Thailand and the yen's surge to record highs
against the dollar later in the year also hurt growth.
Yesterday, the BoJ said "overseas economies have shown
moderate improvement" but added that "in global ¿nancial
markets some nervousness continues to be seen, mainly due
to concern about the European debt problem".
Europe is a major market for Japanese products and To-
kyo warned that the euro zone's ¿scal crisis was the big-
gest threat to recovery. The BoJ's decision was largely in
line with market expectations, and came after the US Fed-
eral Reserve and European Central Bank also held off fresh
measures following recent policy meetings.
"Japan's economy started improving ahead of others,"
Yuji Kameoka, chief currency strategist at Daiwa Securities,
told Dow Jones Newswires, adding that the BoJ would like-
ly take a "wait-and-see stance" on fresh measures. — AFP
BoJ holds off fresh
easing measures
BOJ Governor Masaaki
Shirakawa
SEOUL — South Korea's cen-
tral bank kept its key interest
rate unchanged yesterday de-
spite a downbeat assessment
of the global economy, but
analysts said another cut could
be on the cards before the end
of the year.
The Bank of Korea's (BoK)
monetary policy committee,
in a unanimous decision, kept
the benchmark seven-day repo
rate steady at 3 per cent for
August.
In July the bank an-
nounced a surprise cut of 25
basis points, the ¿rst reduc-
tion in more than three years,
as Europe's protracted debt
crisis and China's slowdown
weighed on the export-domi-
nated economy.
Exports dropped 8.8 per
cent in July from a year earli-
er. The economy grew just 0.4
per cent quarter-on-quarter in
April-June compared with 0.9
per cent in January-March.
The bank forecast a very
moderate recovery globally
and said the trend of domestic
economic growth had slowed
"owing to lacklustre exports
and domestic demand".
InÀation eased in July
year-on-year to 1.5 per cent,
its lowest rate in more than 12
years, and the bank forecast it
would stay low for the time
being.
But in a statement it cited
potential risk factors, such
as rising international grain
prices and increases in local
utility fees.
Analysts said a back-
to-back rate cut could have
fuelled bleak international
assessments of the prospects
for Asia's fourth-largest econ-
omy.
The bank "can now wait
and see the impact of mon-
etary easing steps (expected)
to be taken by the US and Eu-
rope before deciding on tak-
ing a second rate cut", Kong
Dong-Rak, of Taurus Invest-
ment and Securities, told Yon-
hap news agency.
The central bank's latest
forecast is for the economy to
grow 3 per cent this year but
its governor Kim Choong-Soo
has said that may be too opti-
mistic
Many analysts said a rate
cut was likely in coming
months after yesterday's deci-
sion to stand pat.
"The chances for a rate cut
next month have increased
now," Samsung Securities an-
alyst Ryan Oh told Dow Jones
Newswires.
"Given that the Korean
economy is in a downturn, I
expect further easing after a
cut in September to bring the
policy rate to 2.5 per cent by
year-end."
South Korea’s economy
grew more slowly than ex-
pected in April-June, central
bank ¿gures showed yester-
day, as the euro zone debt cri-
sis hit exports and consump-
tion cooled down.
Gross domestic product in-
creased 0.4 per cent from Jan-
uary-March compared with a
0.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter
increase three months earlier.
— AFP
S Korea keeps rates steady
TOKYO — Japan's Olympus
said yesterday it lost $57 mil-
lion last quarter as the scandal-
hit camera and medical equip-
ment maker looks for outside
investors after a loss cover-up
scandal last year.
The ¿rm logged a net loss
of 4.46 billion yen ($57 mil-
lion) in the April-June period,
compared with a 1.42 billion
yen net loss a year ago as a
strong yen and losses in its
camera business weighed on
earnings.
Operating pro¿t dived 59.6
per cent to 2.12 billion yen on
sales of 189.54 billion yen,
down 4.5 per cent on-year, it
said.
For the full year to March,
Olympus said it expected to
book a net pro¿t of 7 billion
yen on sales of 920 billion
yen.
Olympus's reputation, and
Japan's corporate governance
image, were badly damaged
after its British former chief
executive blew the whistle
over $1.7 billion worth of
losses that the company had
moved off its balance sheet.
The ¿rm initially denied
allegations it had used past
acquisitions and outsized
consultant fees to hide the
huge losses dating back to the
1990s, but eventually admitted
wrongdoing.
In March, the company and
three former senior executives
— including ex-president
Tsuyoshi Kikukawa — were
charged over their role in the
scandal.
Olympus has since an-
nounced a major overhaul that
includes cutting about seven
per cent of its workforce, while
its new chief has publicly said
he is seeking a capital injec-
tion from investors to shore up
the company's ¿nances.
The ¿rm's balance sheet
deteriorated since the account-
ing scandal. Olympus reported
a net loss of 48.99 billion yen
in the ¿scal year to March.
Olympus shares closed 2.18
per cent lower at 1,434 yen in
Tokyo trade with its earnings
released after markets closed.
Exporters rose as the yen
fell against major currencies.
A weaker yen makes Japanese
goods less expensive overseas
and improves repatriated rev-
enues.
Meanwhile, shares in
Ricoh Co jumped 2.32 per
cent, Sony Corp rose 1.43 per
cent, Panasonic Corp climbed
1.24 per cent, Honda Motor
Co put on 0.59 per cent and
Toyota Motor Corp was up
0.32 per cent.
But investors largely stayed
on the sidelines as the cen-
tral bank was to announce its
monetary policy decision later
in the day.
The government said the
nation's core machinery orders
rose a seasonally adjusted 5.6
per cent in June from the pre-
vious month to 709.7 billion
yen ($9.04 billion) in reaction
to May's sharp fall.
The increase — which was
below a predicted 11 per cent
rise, according to the business
daily Nikkei — followed a
14.8 per cent fall in May.
On currency markets at
11:30 am, the dollar traded
at 78.48-52 yen, up from
Wednesday's 5 pm quote of
78.35-37 yen. — AFP
Olympus posts $57 million loss
LONDON — Britain's
trade-in-goods de¿cit
widened far more than
expected in June as
exports slumped, of¿cial
data showed yesterday,
dealing another blow to the
country's chances of a quick
exit from recession.
The de¿cit shot up to
£10.1 billion ($15.8 billion,
12.8 billion euros) in June
from £8.4 billion in May,
the Of¿ce for National
Statistics (ONS) said.
Market expectations had
been for a trade de¿cit of £9
billion in June, according
to analysts polled by Dow
Jones Newswires.
"There was a de¿cit
of £10.1 billion on goods,
which was only partly offset
by a surplus of £5.8 billion
on services," the ONS said.
Britain's overall trade
de¿cit ballooned to £4.3
billion in June — the largest
amount since comparable
records began in 1997, the
ONS said.
Goods exports in June
fell 8.4 per cent from May
to £23.5 billion as trade
dried up between Britain
and the rest of the world
— not just the euro zone
with which the country does
most of its business.
"The weakness in
exports was a result of
sharp drops to both EU and
non-EU countries," said
Barclays analyst Blerina
Uruci, who noted that trade
data tended to be very
volatile and subject to major
revisions.
"Nevertheless, with
the euro area in recession
and the rest of the global
economy slowing, the
outlook for exports seems
rather dismal and the
prospects for any material
rebalancing of the economy
are not encouraging," she
added.
The data comes a day
after the Bank of England
slashed its forecast for
British growth this year
to close to zero per cent,
saying the greatest threat
to recovery came from the
euro zone debt crisis.
Non-euro zone member
Britain escaped a deep
downturn in late 2009 but
fell back into recession at
the end of 2011.
Latest of¿cial data
showed GDP slumped
0.7 per cent in the second
quarter from the ¿rst three
months of this year. — AFP
British trade
de¿cit soars as
exports slump
A MAN walks past a signboard showing a bank’s interest
rates in Seoul yesterday. — Reuters
8
OMAN/THE WORLD FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
NEW YORK — Pilots at AMR
Corp’s American Airlines re-
jected a tentative contract from
the carrier by a wide margin
yesterday, leaving a major is-
sue unresolved with the bank-
rupt airline’s most powerful
employee group.
Failure to reach a consen-
sual labour deal is a blow to
American’s efforts to develop
a standalone reorganisation
plan, which relies on slashing
debt and labour costs to return
to profitability.
The development comes
as the third-largest US carrier
has begun to review potential
mergers, including a deal with
US Airways Group, to deter-
mine whether merging with a
rival will generate more recov-
eries for American’s creditors
than going it alone.
American’s pilots and two
other key labour groups have
already declared their support
for US Airways’ proposal to
merge with the larger rival.
The groups each have a seat
on American’s nine-member
unsecured creditors committee
and have a say in how Ameri-
can restructures in bankruptcy.
Pilots could face stricter
terms should the judge over-
seeing American’s bankruptcy
case now allow the carrier to
end its current contract with
the pilots union.
“We are disappointed with
the outcome of today’s voting
results, as ratification of the pi-
lot tentative agreement would
have been an important step
forward in our restructuring,”
American Airlines spokesman
Bruce Hicks said in a state-
ment.
He added the company must
now await a ruling that will let
it “implement the changes nec-
essary to move forward with
our restructuring.” Bankruptcy
rules give companies the right
to abandon collective bargain-
ing agreements and impose
their own terms unilaterally.
The Allied Pilots Associa-
tion said 61 per cent of pilots
that voted, or 4,600, rejected
the tentative contract while
2,935 pilots voted in favour.
The agreement, which includ-
ed pay increases and the offer
of a 13.5 per cent equity stake
in the New American, repre-
sented the carrier’s best and
last offer to pilots after years of
unsuccessful talks.
Gregg Overman, a spokes-
man for the pilots union, said
the decisive rejection of Amer-
ican’s offer reflected “serious
frustration” among pilots who
want a better deal.
“Our pilots made signifi-
cant concessions in 2003, they
looked at those concessions as
an investment and at this point,
they believe their investment
was squandered,” he said.
Overman said the union ex-
pects to return to the bargain-
ing table at some point, but
does not know when that might
happen.
Resolving labour issues
would allow American Airlines
to shift focus to its planned
emergence from bankruptcy
and whether it will do so alone
or as part of a merger. Last
month, the carrier began send-
ing non-disclosure agreements
to potential merger partners.
Also on Wednesday, the
Transport Workers Union said
two of its factions that repre-
sent mechanics and store clerks
at American approved contract
agreements that reduce conces-
sions AMR had asked for.
Workers in mechanics and
related classifications approved
their agreement by a vote of
50.25 per cent to 49.75 per
cent, the TWU said. The stores
employees, who work closely
with mechanics handling in-
ventory and materials for plane
maintenance, voted 79 per cent
to 21 per cent in favour.
“Nobody is happy with a
concessionary agreement, and
our members are still waiting
to see a business plan that in-
stills confidence,” TWU Inter-
national President James Little
said in a statement.
But Little added the current
result was “a lot better than
what our members would have
faced with a court-imposed so-
lution.”
American Airlines is seek-
ing just over $1 billion in
cost cuts from its unions an-
nually, a key factor in its
decision to seek Chapter 11
protection from creditors last
November. — Reuters
American Airlines pilots
reject tentative contract
LONDON — British insurer Aviva said yes-
terday that it fell into a net loss in the first half,
hit by restructuring costs, adverse foreign ex-
change movements and bad weather.
Aviva said in a results statement that it made
a loss after taxation of £745 million ($1.17 bil-
lion, 943 million euros) in the six months to
June, compared with a net profit of £125 mil-
lion a year earlier.
The results also reflected lower contribu-
tions from Dutch group Delta Lloyd, in which
it sold a 21 per cent stake in July, cutting its
shareholding to under 20 per cent.
The insurer said it has reduced its Italian
sovereign bond holdings by just under 2 bil-
lion euros, as it seeks to build the group’s fi-
nancial strength amid the ongoing euro zone
debt crisis.
“While this has been a challenging first
half, we are taking the necessary actions to im-
prove our position going forward,” chairman
John McFarlane said in the statement.
“This environment is likely to continue and
therefore we expect second-half performance
trends to be broadly similar to the first six
months, but with higher restructuring costs as
we implement our strategic plan.”
Aviva is seeking to focus on core insurance
and savings businesses in priority markets.
The group sold British roadside rescue divi-
sion RAC to private equity firm Carlyle for £1
billion last year.
It also offloaded businesses in the Czech
Republic, Hungary and Romania to US peer
MetLife for an undisclosed amount earlier this
year. — AFP
Aviva falls into net loss in H1
LONDON — TUI Travel, the
world’s biggest tour operator,
said summer holiday book-
ings had risen as rain-soaked
northern Europeans sought
out the sun and kept tight
control on their budgets with
package deals.
The group, which owns
Thomson and First Choice,
yesterday said it had sold
around 86 per cent of its sum-
mer holidays by the end of
June and had fewer holidays
left to sell compared with the
same point last year.
The gloomy weather offset
weaker demand for holidays
in crisis-hit Greece, chief
executive Peter Long told re-
porters.
“Northern Europe has been
pretty consistently bad from a
weather perspective over the
last couple of months and that
has benefited us with people
deciding to book (holidays),”
he said.
British budget airline
easyJet last month said quar-
terly sales were boosted by
sun-starved Britons fleeing
unusually soggy home weath-
er, with bookings to Malaga
and Alicante in Spain and Faro
in Portugal up by a fifth during
periods of poor weather.
Travel firms and airlines
across Europe have seen book-
ings fall in recent months, hit
by the euro zone crisis and
uncertainty in Greece, one of
the continent’s main holiday
destinations.
TUI believes consumers
are willing to loosen their
purse strings for a get-away
and are increasingly looking
for a holiday at a fixed price
where they don’t have to wor-
ry about how much they are
spending.
“Many of the differenti-
ated holidays we offer are
driven by the all inclusive of-
fering which has proved to be
very popular in this economic
climate,” said Long.
TUI Travel said underly-
ing operating profit fell 16 per
cent to £74 million ($115.9
million) in the three months
to the end of June, primarily
because the Easter holidays
fell in its second quarter as
opposed to the third quarter
in 2011.
Group revenues fell 2 per
cent to £3.69 billion, while
operating margin dropped 0.3
points to 2 per cent.
Shares in TUI Travel,
which have risen 13 per cent
in the last month, were 0.5 per
cent down at 194.05 pence,
valuing the business at around
£2.17 billion.
“Pricing has been par-
ticularly impressive, up 9 per
cent year-on-year, helped by
a strong performance in the
latest market,” said Jefferies
analyst Ian Rennardson.
“Combined with volumes
trending ahead of capacity, we
believe TUI is outperforming
the market, taking share from
rivals.” — Reuters
TUI Travel summer bookings
up on rain-soaked weather
9
INTERNATIONAL FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
HONG KONG — Asian
markets mostly rose yester-
day as data showing China’s
output slowed and inflation
hit a two-and-a-half-year low
lifted hopes for fresh easing
measures to boost the world’s
number two economy.
However, weak European
data dented recent optimism,
while Wall Street and Euro-
pean traders provided an anae-
mic lead after a three-day rally
on central bank stimulus hopes
lost momentum.
Hong Kong climbed 1.02
per cent, or 203.95 points, to
20,269.47 while Shanghai
added 0.61 per cent, or 13.11
points, to 2,174.10.
Tokyo climbed 1.10 per
cent, or 97.44 points, to
8,978.60 and Seoul gained
1.96 per cent, or 37.36 points,
to 1,940.59 but Sydney eased
0.10 per cent, or 4.3 points, to
4,308.3.
China said yesterday that
its consumer price index rose
1.8 per cent year on year in
July, in line with forecasts
but down from 2.2 per cent in
June and its slowest pace since
January 2010.
The figures indicate Beijing
— which has cut interest rates
twice this year and lowered
the amount of cash banks
must keep in reserve — has
more room to loosen monetary
policy to kickstart the slowing
economy.
Later the National Bureau
of Statistics said that the coun-
try’s factories, workshops and
mines saw a slowdown in out-
put in July.
Industrial production grew
9.2 per cent year-on-year last
month, compared with an in-
crease of 9.5 per cent in June.
Separately, retail sales,
the main gauge of consum-
er spending, also slowed,
rising 13.1 per cent in July
compared with the same
month last year.
US and European markets,
which along with Asia have
been rising this week on ex-
pectations of fresh sovereign
bond-buying by the Euro-
pean Central Bank and other
stimulus from the US Federal
Reserve, took a breather on
Wednesday following poor
economic news.
In Europe the Bank of
England lowered its forecast
for growth in the economy
of non-euro member Britain
to near zero this year, while
the central bank of euro zone
heavyweight France warned
the country was likely to enter
recession.
And in Germany, the euro
zone’s economic anchor, ex-
ports fell 1.5 per cent in June,
while imports — a barometer
of domestic demand — fell
2.9 per cent. Adding to deal-
ers’ fears factory orders fell by
a bigger-than-expected 1.7 per
cent in June and industrial out-
put declined 0.9 per cent.
Standard & Poor’s also cut
Greece’s debt rating outlook
to negative, saying a wors-
ening economy and political
challenges could force another
downgrade as the country
nervously awaits the release
of a new tranche of rescue
money.
On Wall Street the Dow
and S&P 500 closed with mar-
ginal gains, while the Nasdaq
eased 0.15 per cent.
In Hong Kong Standard
Chartered bank ended 4.27 per
cent higher after its chief ex-
ecutive hit back at US claims
it had hidden $250 billion
in transactions with Iranian
banks, breaking Washington
sanctions.
The lender had slumped
more than 15 per cent in the
previous two sessions follow-
ing the allegations.
CEO Peter Sands on
Wednesday said of the claims:
“There are a lot of matters that
we don’t recognise, we don’t
understand and are factually
inaccurate.”
On currency markets the
euro bought $1.2336 and
96.80 yen in late afternoon
trade, compared with $1.2363
and 96.99 yen in New York
late on Wednesday.
The dollar was quoted
at 78.47 yen against against
78.45 yen.
The yen got a slight boost
after the Bank of Japan said it
would hold off any new mon-
etary easing measure for now
and repeated its view that the
economy was picking up mod-
erately.
In other markets:
Taipei rose 1.56 per cent, or
113.9 points, to 7,433.70.
Smartphone maker HTC rose
3.81 per cent to Tw$245
while TSMC was 2.24 per
cent higher at Tw$82.3.
Manila eased 0.98 per
cent, or 52.06 points, to
5,256.61.
Ayala Corp slipped 1.71 per
cent to 425 pesos while its
real estate flagship, Ayala
Land dropped 5.03 per cent
to 22.65 pesos.
Wellington ended flat,
edging up 1.82 points to
3,583.61.
Telecom gained 0.2 per cent to
NZ$2.665, Fletcher Build-
ing rose 0.8 per cent to
NZ$6.48 and Contact En-
ergy was off 4 per cent at
NZ$4.80.
Singapore was closed for a
public holiday. — AFP
Euro zone fears cap Asian market gains
LONDON — European equities steadied yesterday, winning
some support as Chinese data lifted hopes that Beijing will
further loosen monetary policy to boost growth in the Asian
powerhouse.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies
added 0.07 per cent to 5,850.05 points and the Paris CAC 40
gained 0.15 per cent at 3,443.51.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 however slid 0.14 per cent to 6,956.68
points on the back of disappointing German company earn-
ings, traders said.
In foreign exchange deals, the European single currency
drifted down to $1.2340 from $1.2363 in New York late on
Wednesday.
Asian stock markets mostly closed higher as data showed
China’s growth slowed and inflation hit a two-and-a-half-year
low, boosting expectations of fresh monetary policy action in
the world’s number two economy.
“Markets have gained a little... from Asia, as cooling Chi-
nese consumer inflation lifted stocks on the hopes of further
policy easing in China,” said trader Anita Paluch at Gekko
Global Markets.
China’s consumer price index rose 1.8 per cent year-on-
year in July, in line with forecasts but down from 2.2 per cent
in June and its slowest pace since January 2010.
The figures indicate Beijing — which has cut interest rates
twice this year and lowered the amount of cash banks must
keep in reserve — has more room to loosen monetary policy to
kickstart the slowing economy.
“Chinese economic data has arguably been the most await-
ed news,” said GFT analyst Fawad Razaqzada. — Reuters
Euro stocks stable
WASHINGTON — A top Federal
Reserve official said yesterday the
Federal Reserve should launch an-
other bond-buying programme of
whatever size and duration is nec-
essary to get the economy back on
its feet, signalling support from
some US policymakers for aggres-
sive steps to boost the flagging re-
covery.
Boston Fed Bank President Eric
Rosengren said in interviews with
the New York Times and CNBC that
the Fed should start buying Treas-
ury and mortgage-backed securi-
ties and continue doing so until the
economy was back to full strength.
“You continue to do it until it’s
clear that you’re no longer tread-
ing water,” Rosengren told the
New York Times. “You continue to
do it until you have documented
evidence that you’re getting growth
in income and the unemployment
rate consistent with your economic
goals.”
Rosengren is not a voter this
year on the Fed’s policy-setting
Federal Open Market Committee
and is considered to be among the
most outspoken doves who favour
an activist approach to stimulating
growth and bringing down the high
unemployment rate.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke,
who will be the ultimate arbiter of
whether the central bank launches
more stimulus, called the recovery
“fragile” at an event on financial
literacy. He said the effects of the
euro area crisis have been “pretty
significant” for the US economy
and have slowed economic growth.
Bernanke did not offer clues as
to whether he is ready to recom-
mend another round of easing.
However, Rosengren’s sugges-
tion that the Fed not place an upper
limit on its bond buying represents
a new line of thinking in the many
unorthodox steps the US central
bank has taken since it exhausted
its conventional tool — control
over short-term interest rates. The
Fed cut the benchmark federal
funds rate to near zero in December
2008.
But it also flies in the face of the
views of other policymakers who
think taking such bold measures so
close to the November general elec-
tion would expose the Fed to criti-
cism of political intervention.
“I’m afraid that as we get closer
to election season, that people in
the marketplace or elsewhere might
draw that conclusion, and it might
come back to haunt us,” Dallas Fed
President Richard Fisher said in an
interview late on Monday.
“I don’t think this should inhibit
a decision if it’s a right decision,” he
added, “but I wouldn’t want to see
this torque up the political tension
that surrounds the central bank.”
Bernanke, asked about political
presssure by an audience member
at the financial literacy event, said
the central bank preserves its politi-
cal independence carefully.
Politics does not factor into to its
monetary policy decision-making,
he said.
Fisher, considered one of the
most avid hawks who emphasise
holding inflation in check at all
costs, said he doesn’t think that the
Fed can lower the 8.3 per cent un-
employment rate with more bond
purchases.
Monetary policy became part
of the political discussion this
weekend with presumptive Repub-
lican presidential candidate Mitt
Romney saying on Sunday he does
not think further Fed bond buying
would help the US economy.
US stocks extended gains on
Tuesday, while Treasury debt
prices eased. The euro rose against
the dollar, underpinned by expecta-
tions the European Central Bank
is prepared to act soon to lower
overly high borrowing costs for
Spain and Italy. Since the Fed cut
short-term rates to the bone, it has
launched two rounds of bond buy-
ing, referred to as quantitative eas-
ing, worth $2.3 trillion in all. When
buying bonds, the Fed has always
said how much it planned to buy
and over what period.
The Fed at its most recent meet-
ing, ended last week, took no new
action to stimulate growth despite a
flagging recovery but said it stands
ready to ease financial conditions if
necessary.
Despite improved US hiring last
month, most Wall Street economists
still expect the Fed to launch anoth-
er round of monetary stimulus this
year, with the majority expecting it
to act as soon as September.
Rosengren said the world’s larg-
est economy is not growing as fast
as policymakers had anticipated
and that he did not expect it to gain
strength in the second half of the
year.
Other Fed officials have ex-
pressed concern that further ex-
panding the Fed’s already bloated
balance sheet could risk triggering
inflation when growth accelerates.
However, Rosengren said he has
not seen inflationary pressures from
the two previous massive bond pur-
chase programmes of the Fed.
Like Dallas’ Fisher, others have
questioned whether further bond
purchases would do much to help
the economy.
Rosengren expressed confi-
dence, however, that the approach
would reap benefits.
“There are a number of ar-
eas where quantitative easing can
help,” he said. “One, it does push
up asset prices.... A second area is
the housing market,” he added.
Stock market gains that have
followed Fed quantitative easing
announcements have increased
consumption, he said.
Recent improvements in the
housing market are in part a reflec-
tion of the Fed’s aggressive efforts
to pull down longer-term interest
rates, he added. — Reuters
Fed should buy as many bonds as necessary, says Rosengren
BOSTON Fed Bank President Eric Rosengren
THE HAGUE — Dutch insurer Aegon yesterday reported a 37
per cent slump in its second quarter net profit and said it was
selling its share in a joint venture with Spain’s Banca Civica.
Net profit fell to 254 million euros ($314 million) from
403 million euros the same time last year, hit by a 265 million
euros charge relating to improvements in insurance products,
Aegon said in a statement.
The results however were better than the 181 million euros
expected by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires. Sales
jumped 27 per cent year-on-year to 1.6 billion euros, Aegon
said. Chief executive Alex Wynaendts said the results were
sold, despite “historically low interest rates, continued market
volatility and stagnant growth affecting the world’s leading
economies.”
The Hague-based group said it was selling its 50 per cent
interest in a joint venture with Spain’s Banca Civica for 190
million euros to CaixaBank following a merger between the two
banks. Aegon said a cost reduction programme in the Nether-
lands remained on track, saving the company 62 million euros
to date and reducing its cost base to a total of 100 million euros
by the end of the year, compared to 2010. The company, created
in 1983 after the merger of two Dutch insurers, has about 27,000
employees and more than 40 million clients, mainly in the Neth-
erlands, the United States and Britain. — AFP
Aegon earnings slump
DUBLIN — Irish food group
Kerry raised its 2012 earnings
forecast on the back of higher
first-half margins in its key in-
gredients business, shrugging
off an expected rise in second-
half costs.
Ireland’s third-biggest
listed company by value said
yesterday it expected to post
earnings per share of 8-12
euro cents, up from a forecast
of 7-10 cents in May.
Also, the company ex-
pected to spend free cash of
250-300 million euros ($309-
$371 million) on acquisitions,
focusing on developing mar-
kets, beverages and pharma-
ceuticals, chief financial of-
ficer Brian Mehigan said.
Adjusted first-half earn-
ings per share rose 14.3 per
cent to 99.2 cents. Group sales
increased 10 per cent to 2.9
billion euros, and were up by
2.5 per cent on a like-for like
basis.
“It was a good beat on the
margin side thanks to organic
new business wins and internal
rationalisations,” said Liam
Igoe, an analyst with Good-
body stockbrokers, who had
forecast EPS of 93.5 cents.
He said margins may be
tighter in the second half when
Kerry will book a 10 million
euro charge initially planned
for the first half.
Shares in Kerry, whose
consumer foods division pro-
duces Wall’s sausages and
Cheesestrings snacks, were up
3.4 per cent at 37.5 euros at
0743 GMT, while the broader
Irish market was up 0.5 per
cent.
Kerry’s ingredients and
flavours business, which rep-
resents about two thirds of
revenue, helped to compensate
for weaker performance in its
British and Irish consumer
food business.
The trading margin for
ingredients was up 30 basis
points to 10.3 per cent, while
the margin on consumer foods
was flat. The group trading
margin was up 20 basis points
to 8.3 per cent.
“We are having a very
good performance in North
and South America, while Eu-
rope is a little sluggish,” Me-
higan said. Like-for-like rev-
enue growth was 3 per cent in
the Americas, almost double
the 1.6 per cent seen in its Eu-
rope, Middle East and Africa
region. — Reuters
FRANKFURT — Commerz-
bank, Germany’s second-
biggest bank, said yesterday
it expected net profit in the
second half of the year to be
lower than in the first, with no
end to the euro zone debt cri-
sis in sight.
“We still do not expect the
macro-economic and market
environment to stabilise in the
second half of 2012. Against
this background, we expect
net profit in the second half
of the year to be below the net
profit of the first six months,”
Commerzbank said in a state-
ment.
Commerzbank said its Jan-
uary-June net profit amounted
to 644 million euros ($797
million), down 36 per cent
from a year earlier.
In the second quarter alone,
net profit was down by 25 per-
cent from the preceding three
months at 275 million euros.
Operating profit was
down 13.7 per cent at 1.04
billion euros in the first half
and declined by 22.8 per cent
quarter-on-quarter to 451 mil-
lion euros in the April-June
period.
“This was due in particu-
lar to the further decreased
market interest rate level and
declining customer activity,”
Commerzbank said. Second-
quarter net interest income
— the difference between in-
terest earned and interest paid
— fell 6.7 per cent to 1.33 bil-
lion euros and net commission
income dropped 10.2 per cent
to 757 million euros.
The bank also increased
the provisions it set aside for
bad loans to 404 million euros
in the second quarter from 212
million euros in the first.
Chief executive Martin
Blessing said that in the cur-
rent environment the bank’s
priority was to reduce risks
and strengthen its capital
base.
“In the past six months...
we have succeeded in doing
this,” he said.
As of June 30, Commerz-
bank had 2.8 billion euros
more core capital than re-
quired by the European Bank-
ing Authority.
“As a result, we are well
prepared for the difficult mar-
ket conditions,” Blessing said.
Investors were not so con-
vinced and Commerzbank
share were little changed
at the start of trade on the
Frankfurt stock exchange yes-
terday in a generally firmer
market. — AFP
Kerry lifts profit forecast
on its margin growth
Commerzbank sees profit
shrinking over debt crisis
10
OMAN/INTERNATIONAL FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
TEL: 24601003, 24600586 • FAX: 24600736
• WEBSITE: www.salalahport.com
WASHINGTON/LONDON
— Cowboy local regulator or
the exposer of lax federal bu-
reaucrats?
That’s the key question
being asked about New York
banking regulator Benjamin
Lawsky after his explosive
charge that London’s Standard
Chartered bank abetted $250
billion of money-laundering
transactions with Iran.
Standard Chartered won
help yesterday from Britain’s
central bank governor, who
portrayed Lawsky as marching
to his own tune, and marching
out of step with federal regu-
lators in Washington. “One
regulator, but not the others,
has gone public while the in-
vestigation is still going on,”
the Bank of England’s Mervyn
King said at a news conference
in London.
The US Treasury Depart-
ment, in a letter responding to
a request for clarification from
British authorities, said it takes
sanctions violations seriously.
The British bank lost over
a quarter of its market value
in 24 hours after Lawsky, the
head of New York State’s De-
partment of Financial Services,
threatened on Monday to can-
cel Standard Chartered’s state
banking licence, which is criti-
cal for dealing in dollars. Law-
sky called Standard Chartered
a “rogue institution” for break-
ing US sanctions against Iran.
Standard Chartered shares
bounced 7.1 per cent on
Wednesday to close in London
at £13.15, up from a three-
year low of 10.92 hit on Tues-
day. They were still down 18
per cent since the regulator’s
threat, which Chief Executive
Peters Sands said was “dis-
proportionate” and came as a
“complete surprise.”
Meanwhile, Reuters Break-
ingviews reported that the US
Federal Reserve has asked
Standard Chartered’s New
York office to report in every
few hours on its liquidity po-
sition, according to people fa-
miliar with the situation. The
concern is that the possibility
of Standard Chartered losing
its New York licence could
spook trading counterparties or
depositors, although there is no
suggestion that this is happen-
ing, Breakingviews said.
The bank’s top executives,
some like Sands scrambling
back from summer vacations,
worked on a defence strategy.
So far, the executives have
contested the regulator’s fig-
ures and his interpretation of
the law, but they have given
little further detail. The bank
says only a tiny proportion of
its Iran-related deals — less
than $14 million — was ques-
tionable under US sanctions
rules.
Sources said that federal
banking regulators in Wash-
ington, who had been probing
Standard Chartered’s Iran-re-
lated deals for more than two
years, were surprised by the
timing of Lawsky’s charges
and the stridency of his lan-
guage.
Lawsky’s Department of
Financial Services had come
to the conclusion the case was
getting old and that it wanted
to move forward, a person
with knowledge of the situa-
tion said. The department told
other agencies at a meeting in
April that it planned to move
forward with the case, the per-
son said.
Members of Lawsky’s of-
fice met representatives of
Standard Chartered around
May but did not inform the
bank it planned to issue an or-
der against it, the person said.
“This is a case about Iran,
money laundering, and nation-
al security,” Lawsky said in a
statement on Wednesday. “We
will continue to work closely
with our law enforcement part-
ners, both federal and state,
in this effort. No bank, big or
small, foreign or domestic, is
above the law.”
In Washington, Adam
Szubin, director of the Treas-
ury Department’s Office of
Foreign Assets Control, said
in a letter to British authorities
that his office is investigating
Standard Chartered for “poten-
tial Iran-related violations as
well as a broader set of poten-
tial sanctions violations.”
The letter, which was dated
Wednesday and obtained by
Reuters, came in response to a
British request for clarification
of US sanctions laws. Although
much of the letter focused on
so-called U-turn transactions,
which are at the centre of New
York’s allegations, the letter
said it was not a comment on
Lawsky’s action.
The alleged U-turn transac-
tions refer to money moved for
Iranian clients among banks in
the United Kingdom and Mid-
dle East and cleared through
Standard Chartered’s New
York branch, but which neither
started nor ended in Iran.
In London, King drew unfa-
vourable comparisons between
the handling of this case and
other US actions against Brit-
ish banks, such as the investi-
gation of interest rate manipu-
lation at Barclays PLC.
In the Barclays case, he
said, all regulators in Britain
and the United States produced
co-ordinated reports after the
investigation was complete.
“I think all the UK authori-
ties would ask is that the vari-
ous regulatory bodies that are
investigating the particular
case try to work together and
refrain from making too many
public statements until the
investigation is completed,”
King said.
Standard Chartered’s Sands,
in his first public comments
since the crisis arose, offered
no major new information on
the allegations, which the bank
has been reviewing with au-
thorities for the past two years.
“(We) fundamentally reject
the overall picture and believe
there are no grounds for them
to take this action,” he told
reporters. The threat to cancel
the bank’s licence to operate in
New York would be “wholly
disproportionate,” he said.
Although Standard Char-
tered’s business is concentrat-
ed in emerging markets, which
has helped insulate it from the
global financial crisis, it needs
to be able to operate in New
York so it can offer dealings
around the world in US dol-
lars.
Also on Wednesday,
Deloitte LLP, which was ac-
cused in Lawsky’s order
of wrongdoing in its role
as an outside consultant to
Standard Chartered, denied
any misconduct.
Deloitte was hired by Stand-
ard Chartered after US authori-
ties reprimanded the bank for
similar lapses on transactions
in 2004. — Reuters
StanChart begins fightback on Iran allegations
ZURICH — Nestle, the
world’s biggest food group,
expects raw material prices to
ease in the second half of the
year, helping it meet its out-
look despite continued tough
markets after it reported fore-
cast-beating first half results.
Nestle said first half under-
lying sales grew 6.6 per cent,
down from 7.2 per cent in the
first quarter but beating aver-
age analyst forecasts for 6.3
per cent.
The growth was helped by
strong demand from emerging
markets and price increases,
as the company managed to
pass on soaring input costs to
consumers.
The Vevey-based maker
of Nescafe coffee, KitKat
chocolate bars and Maggi
soup, which is a big consumer
of raw materials like coffee,
cocoa and milk, said input
cost pressure resulted in an
increase of 50 basis points in
the cost of goods sold.
But it said it expected com-
modity prices to ease in the
second half, helping it meet
its long-term target for under-
lying sales growth of 5-6 per
cent this year despite a con-
tinued tough trading environ-
ment, especially in developed
markets.
First-half sales grew 12.9
per cent in emerging markets,
compared with just 2.6 per
cent in developed markets,
with volume growth in Eu-
rope practically flat although
the company still saw some
expansion in the continent’s
troubled southern nations.
Strong emerging markets
also helped rival consumer
goods giant Unilever avoid
the recent profit warnings by
their French and US peers
Danone and Procter & Gam-
ble, although it did warn of
tougher times ahead due to
difficult economies and vola-
tile input costs.
Nestle shares were indicat-
ed up 0.9 per cent according
to pre-market indications from
bank Julius Baer. The stock
has risen 10.5 per cent this
year compared with a 17 per
cent increase for the European
food and beverage index.
“Organic growth is bet-
ter than expected, volume
growth surprisingly acceler-
ated in Q2, surprising against
a backdrop of Europe crisis,”
said ZKB analyst Patrik Sch-
wendimann.
Nestle’s net profit rose 8.9
per cent to 5.1 billion Swiss
francs ($5.25 billion) on sales
of 44.1 billion francs, up 7.5
per cent year-on-year, with 3.7
percentage points of the rise in
underlying sales coming from
price increases.
Analysts surveyed by
Reuters had forecast on aver-
age a net profit of 4.9 billion
francs and sales of 43.8 billion
francs.
Nespresso, Nestle’s fast-
est-growing big brand, again
posted high double-digit
growth, despite the tough eco-
nomic and competitive envi-
ronment.
Nestle also announced that
changes to accounting of its
pension liabilities would hit
net profit by about 360 mil-
lion francs from 2013 and
increase financing costs by
250 million although it would
have no impact on underlying
performance. — Reuterss
Nestle sees raw material
prices help first half
FRANKFURT — Germa-
ny’s biggest telecoms group,
Deutsche Telekom, confirmed
yesteday its full-year busi-
ness outlook after it posted a
76.4 per cent surge in second-
quarter profit after lower costs
resulting from a restructuring
plan and staff reductions a
year ago.
The former state monopoly
said net profit climbed to 614
million euros ($759.7 million)
in the three months to the end
of June from last year’s 348
million euros. However, rev-
enue fell 0.7 per cent to 14.38
billion euros.
“We are keeping our word
and providing a good deal of
reliability to the market with
very solid figures,” Telekom
chief executive Rene Ober-
mann said in releasing the re-
sults.
“We do of course continue
to face a number of challeng-
es, but we are performing very
respectably compared with our
competitors,” he said.
In a statement, however,
Telekom also pointed to the
continuing fierce competition
the company faces in Europe’s
telecoms market and the
threats posed by the region’s
current uncertain economic
climate.
It noted that with a “further
deterioration in the economic
situation of many countries,
intense competitive pressure,
and regulatory intervention,
revenue and earnings still suf-
fered.” Telekom has said that it
continues to explore strategic
options for its troubled North
American operations, T-Mo-
bile USA, after a move to sell
the unit to AT&T unravelled
last year following complaints
from regulatory authorities.
T-Mobile USA lost another
557,000 customers in the sec-
ond quarter, Telekom said. But
the company said consider-
able efficiency gains helped to
boost profits.
With a revenue increase
of 8.7 per cent to 3.8 billion
euros, adjusted EBITDA in-
creased by 18.6 per cent year-
on-year to 1.1 billion euros.
Telekom confirmed its group
full-year 2012 guidance of ad-
justed earnings before interest,
taxes, depreciation and amor-
tisation (EBITDA) of about 18
billion euros, down from 18.7
billion last year. — dpa
NEW YORK — Rupert Mur-
doch’s embattled media giant
News Corp posted a net loss of
$1.51 billion in its fiscal fourth
quarter yesterday, as the firm
prepared for a major restruc-
turing.
The company’s bottom
line was hit by a $2.85 billion
charge apparently related to a
plan to split its entertainment
division from its struggling
publishing business, hit by tab-
loid phone hacking scandals in
Britain.
News Corp described the
charge as “a write-down of
$1.5 billion of goodwill and a
$1.3 billion write-down of the
company’s indefinite-lived in-
tangibles, principally related
to the company’s publishing
businesses, most significantly
the Australian operations.”
News Corp also wrote off
$57 million it said it spent dur-
ing the quarter on an “ongoing
investigation” into the British
phone hacking scandal, bring-
ing the total cost for the year to
approximately $224 million.
On Tuesday, police arrested
a journalist from Murdoch’s
top-selling British tabloid The
Sun and a policeman for al-
leged corruption, Scotland
Yard and the journalist’s em-
ployer said.
The pair were detained un-
der Operation Elveden, one of
three investigations sparked by
the phone-hacking scandal that
closed the News of the World,
The Sun’s weekly sister paper,
last July.
There has been a string of
recent arrests of Sun journal-
ists.
Australian-born Murdoch
was forced to shut down the
168-year-old News of the
World over revelations that its
staff had hacked into the voice-
mail messages of a murdered
teenager and dozens of public
figures.
Scotland Yard has made a
total of 43 arrests under Opera-
tion Elveden, which is investi-
gating journalists’ alleged brib-
ery of public officials, and 24
under Operation Weeting, its
probe into phone hacking.
A further nine people have
been arrested as a result of
an investigation into alleged
computer hacking and privacy
breaches by journalists.
Andy Coulson, former me-
dia chief to Prime Minister
David Cameron, and former
top Murdoch aide Rebekah
Brooks are among those who
have been formally charged
with phone hacking.
Brooks previously edited
both the News of the World and
The Sun while Coulson for-
merly edited the News of the
World.
Murdoch credited the com-
pany’s cable and film divisions
with playing starring roles in
financial growth achieved dur-
ing the fiscal year.
“Our company has con-
tinued to innovate, grow, and
consistently adapt to the rap-
idly changing media industry
landscape,” Murdoch said in a
release.
“We find ourselves in the
middle of great change, driven
by shifts in technology, con-
sumer behaviour, advertiser
demands and economic uncer-
tainty and change brings about
great opportunity.”
During the past year, News
Corp increased it bet on sports
programming by buying Fox
Pan American Sports and mak-
ing plans to purchase remain-
ing stakes in ESPN STAR
Sports. News Corp also bought
back $4.6 billion in stock.
A plan to split of Murdoch’s
massive News Corp which was
unveiled in June would create
separate companies for the
huge entertainment division
and the struggling publishing
business.
The publishing arm has
some of the most prestigious
names in the industry, includ-
ing The Wall Street Journal
and Times of London, but has
been hurt by a move away
from print. Some analysts por-
tray the news operations are an
“albatross” dragging down the
value of the empire.
Murdoch says he would be
chairman of both companies
after the split, insisting that the
news business would not be an
unloved stepchild. — AFP
Deutsche Telekom profit rise
Scandal-hit News Corp posts big loss
Rupert Murdoch
By Dr Syed Bashir
Ahmad Kashmiri
T
HE Quran describes those who
punctually go for congrega-
tional prayers in the mosques
and are devoted to Him, saying: “In
them is He glorified in the morn-
ings and in the evenings, (again and
again), By men whom neither traf-
fic nor merchandise can divert from
the Remembrance of God, nor from
regular Prayer, nor from the practice
of regular Charity: Their (only) fear
is for the Day when hearts and eyes
will be transformed (in a world wholly
new)” (Al Quran, 24:36-37)
Such devoted slaves of Allah are
neither hermits nor dervishes. They
are, rather, people of business and
wealth, but their mundane worldly life
does not distract them from their atten-
tion to their life hereafter; the share of
their own selves does not engage them
so much so as to disregard the rights
of their Cherisher. The secret lies in
their absolute faith in the Cherisher
described by His Messenger (peace be
upon him): “you must be more assured
with what is in Allah’s hand than what
is in your own hand.”
The Muslim is required to work
for his worldly life through whichever
discipline or specialisation he can
contribute and be productive. It may
be agriculture, industry, trade, cattle
grazing, hunting, fishing, mining or
anything else that is needed and re-
quired by society.
A unanimously agreed authen-
tic Hadeeth states, “When a Muslim
plants a sapling or cultivates a planta-
tion and thereby a human being or a
fowl or an animal eats from its pro-
duce, it certainly amounts to a charity
from him”.
Another radiant Hadeeth states, “If
the Hour of Resurrection was going to
outbreak and at that time someone had
taken a seedling in his hand to plant it,
if he can afford to plant it by the out-
break of the Hour, he must do so”.
This means that the Muslim is
called upon by obligation of his faith
to work for the worldly life until he
emits his last breath, irrespective of
whether anyone could benefit from his
work or not. He is required to work for
the sake of work itself; work is wor-
ship and amounts to sacred struggle.
The Quran says:
And say: “Work (righteousness):
Soon will God observe your work, and
His Apostle, and the Believers: Soon
will ye be brought back to the knower
of what is hidden and what is open:
then will He show you the truth of all
that ye did.” (Al Quran, 9:105)
Value of work, thus is of para-
mount importance. The Messenger of
Allah says, “No one ever eats a better
food than the one earned by the toil
of one’s own hands; Allah’s Prophet
David used to eat out of his own
handiwork”.
With its balanced and encompass-
ing approach to individual upbring-
ing and personal fostering leading
to moral transcendence and spiritual
sublimity, with ample attention to
worldly life, its needs and material
accomplishments and achievements,
Islam aims at building a virtuous soci-
ety and a concordant and harmonious
world. Although, in practice, devia-
tions from this right path have taken
place, the guidance remains pristinely
uncorrupted. Hence, it is imperative to
put in place systems and mechanisms
in the light of this guidance that will
bring about individual excellence and
propel towards collective worthiness
to the bewildered humankind.
“The believers must (eventually)
win through, — Those who humble
themselves in their prayers; Who
avoid vain talk; Who are active in
deeds of charity; Who abstain from
sex, Except with those joined to them
in the marriage bond, or (the cap-
tives) whom their right hands possess,
— for (in their case) they are free from
blame, But those whose desires exceed
those limits are transgressors; Those
who faithfully observe their trusts and
their covenants; And who (strictly)
guard their prayers; These will be
the heirs, Who will inherit Paradise:
they will dwell therein (forever).”
(Al Quran, 23:1-11)
Lessons need to be learnt from the
history that nurturing individuals on
righteousness through promotion of
virtues and through impediment of
vice and obstruction of wickedness in
society can be short-lived if all given
means, traditional as well as modern,
are not exploited towards maintenance
and preservation of the gains.
“Let there arise out of you a band
of people inviting to all that is good,
enjoining what is right, and forbid-
ding what is wrong: They are the ones
to attain felicity. Be not like those who
are divided amongst themselves and
fall into disputations after receiving
Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful
penalty” (Al Quran, 3:104-105)
“Those that turn (to God) in re-
pentance; that serve Him, and praise
Him; that wander in devotion to the
cause of God; that bow down and
prostrate themselves in prayer; that
enjoin good and forbid evil; and ob-
serve the limit set by God; (These do
rejoice). So proclaim the glad tidings
to the Believers.” (Al Quran, 9:112)
All the toil can be lost if all institu-
tions of society do not co-operate and
collaborate prudently with a common
vision of sustained rectitude in order
to safeguard gains, to absorb shocks
of the incidents and changes taking
place in our intensely networked and
fast changing world and to withstand
the challenges arising out of ever oc-
curring developments.
“But when they forgot the warning
they had received, We opened to them
the gates of all (good) things, until, in
the midst of their enjoyment of Our
gifts, on a sudden, We called them to
account, when lo! they were plunged
in despair! Of the wrong-doers the
last remnant was cut off. Praise be
to God, the Cherisher of the worlds.”
(Al Quran, 6:44-45)
“By (the Token of) Time (through
the ages), Verily Man is in loss, Except
such as have Faith, and do righteous
deeds, and (join together) in the mu-
tual teaching of Truth, and of Patience
and Constancy.” (Al Quran, 103:1-3)
(The author teaches at
College of Arts and Sciences,
University of Nizwa)
For a virtuous society, global harmony
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
With its balanced
and encompassing
approach to individual
upbringing and
personal fostering
leading to moral
transcendence and
spiritual sublimity,
with ample attention
to worldly life, its
needs and material
accomplishments and
achievements, Islam
aims at building a
virtuous society and
a concordant and
harmonious world
21st Day of Ramadhan: Oh! Allah, on this day, show me the
way to win Your pleasure, do not let Shaitan (Satan the Devil)
have a means over me, make Paradise an abode and a resting
place for me, Oh! The One who fulfils the request of the needy.
Auspicious Daily Supplication
HE Shaikh Ahmed al Khalili,
Grand Mufti of the Sultanate
Reflections on Islam
Fostering the
spirit of social
collaboration
S
OCIAL collaboration is requisite
by Sharia. The Almighty tells us
through the Quran to “co-oper-
ate in benevolence and devoutness
and not to co-operate in sinfulness
and aggression”.
Muslims are ordered to co-operate
in all that leads to human welfare, all
that leads to religious reform and the
promotion of the society economically,
intellectually and scientifically.
Our Islamic ancestors have been
compassionate and, for them, co-oper-
ation was highly valued. One of them
would sacrifice all that’s dear in favour
of the community. Their motto was
“Be keen on the interest of others the
same way you would be keen on your
own interests”. This was embodied by
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon
him, when he said, “Muslims in their
amity, mercy and compassion are like
one body whose parts, as a whole, re-
act to the suffering of a single part if it
suffers — with the whole body catching
fever and staying awake overnight”.
In other sayings, the Prophet described
Muslims as one building whose parts
hold each other.
In fact, collaboration and co-op-
eration in Islam are associated with
true faith, and they become a tangible
evidence of faith. Prophet Muhammad
told his companions, “None of you can
claim faith until you love for the oth-
ers all that you love for yourself”. The
Prophet did not want a Muslim to be
selfish, but to co-operate towards the
spread of good in the community.
The ancestors of Muslims gave
marvellous examples of this principle
of collaboration. When Muhajireen
(Migrating Group) travelled from
Mecca to Medina, they were warmly
welcomed by their brethren, Al Ansar,
who opened their hearts before they
opened their homes to those migrat-
ing Muslims. Al Ansar shared their
wealth with Muhajireen. An Ansari
used to divide his wealth in two and re-
quest a Muhajir to take any of the two
halves. This was vividly documented
in the Quran. So, the new generations
should follow the steps of the ances-
tors in terms of collaboration and co-
operation towards the prosperity of the
Muslim nation.
Pupils read and learn the Quran at Zaouia Ait Koufi in Tizi Ouzou, east of Algiers. — Reuters
Men take part in evening prayers at a mosque in Tunis, Tunisia. — Reuters
12
RAMADHAN FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
Scientists capture
star’s ‘screams’
T
HE ‘screams’ of a
dying star have been
recorded by scientists
for the very first time, the
Daily Mail reported.
The star let out periodic
bursts of light as it was de-
voured by a black hole, sci-
entists discovered.
Researchers at the
University of Michigan
picked up semi-regular blips
— which they have likened
to dying screams — in the
light of the star 3.9 billion
light years away in the di-
rection of the constellation
Draco on orbiting X-ray tel-
escopes.
The blips, scientifically
known as “quasi-periodic os-
cillations”, occurred steadily
every 200 seconds until dis-
appearing completely.
They are believed to ema-
nate from material about to
be sucked into a black hole,
according to the newspaper.
— IANS
RAMADHAN OFFER
COINCIDING with the Month of Ramadhan, the Observer has come up again with an attractive contest
for its esteemed readers. All that the participants need to do is to fill in the coupons which will be featured
daily in the Observer throughout the Month. PARTICIPANTS SHOULD SEND ALL THE COUPONS IN
ONE BUNCH to the Oman Daily Observer, Post Box 974, PC 100, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. Contestants
can send in any number of entries but no photocopies are allowed. Many valuable prizes are on offer.
Winners will be decided in a draw.
Note: Employees of Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising and their close relatives are
NOT eligible to take part in this contest.
21
August Ramadhan Fajr Sunrise Dhuhr Asr Maghrib Isha
1433 AH (am) (am) (pm) (pm) Iftar (pm) (pm)
Aug 10 21 04:19 05:40 12:17 03:43 06:50 08:06
Aug 11 22 04:20 05:41 12:17 03:43 06:49 08:05
Aug 12 23 04:20 05:41 12:17 03:43 06:48 08:04
Aug 13 24 04:21 05:41 12:17 03:43 06:47 08:03
Aug 14 25 04:22 05:42 12:17 03:43 06:47 08:02
Aug 15 26 04:22 05:42 12:17 03:43 06:46 08:01
Aug 16 27 04:23 05:43 12:16 03:42 06:45 08:00
Aug 17 28 04:23 05:43 12:16 03:42 06:44 07:59
Aug 18 29 04:24 05:43 12:16 03:42 06:44 07:58
Aug 19 (30) 04:25 05:44 12:16 03:42 06:43 07:57
RAMADHAN TIMINGS — MUSCAT
Area Sunrise Sunset
(min) (min)
Ras Al Hadd –8 –4
Al Ashkhara –9 –2
Sur –7 –3
Wadi Bani Khalid –5 –2
Qurayyat –3 –2
Jaalan –7 –1
Al Kamil –6 –1
Bidiya –4 0
Ibra –3 0
Bid Bid +1 +1
Samayil +1 +1
Barka +2 +1
Nakhl +2 +1
Al Mudhaibi –1 +2
Al Musana +3 +2
Izki +1 +3
Saiq +2 +3
Al Rustaq +1 +2
Al Awabi +4 +5
Al Hamra +5 +3
Al Khaburah +6 +3
Musandam +14 +3
Masirah –8 +4
Nizwa/Manah +2 +4
Saham +7 +4
Sohar +8 +4
Shinas +10 +4
Adam +1 +5
Bahla +3 +5
Liwa +9 +5
Wadi Hibi +8 +6
Mahout –5 +7
Qarn Al Alam –2 +7
Ibri/Yanqul +7 +7
Mahdha +11 +11
Dhank +8 +8
Fahoud +5 +9
Al Buraimi +11 +9
Ras Madraka –7 +10
Al Duqm –5 +10
Al Khuwair +11 +12
Haima +1 +15
Al Jazir –2 +16
Al Halaniyat –2 +20
Maqshan +6 +21
Marmool +2 +22
Mirbat +2 +26
Taqa/Al Mamura +4 +28
Thamrait +6 +28
Salalah/Raysut +5 +29
Rakhyout +5 +30
Sarfait/Dalkout +8 +33
Habrout +11 +34
TIMING IN OTHER REGIONS AS COMPARED TO MUSCAT
The star let out periodic
bursts of light as it was
devoured by a black hole,
scientists discovered
13
LETTERS/HEALTH FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
I
RECENTLY spotted a bunch of cola
bottles in one of the coffee shops in
front of the Ruwi Qaboos Masjid.
What make them look at once again is
the name that they bore on their name
sticker — it is nothing but the name of
holy water from Mecca. Yes, you guessed
right, ‘Zam Zam’ is the name given to
these multi-colour, bottled, carbonated
drink beautifully decorating the shelf of
the coffee shop.
In a country where strict rules and
regulations are existing and are protect-
ing the religious and personal interests,
I strongly believe that the name given to
such a drink is infringing the copyright
laws and the religious interests of the
people. I condemn such a move by a cola
company which hurts the sentiments of
people, especially during the month of
Ramadhan.
— Sameer
Editor: I’m sure, the Ministry of Com-
merce and Industry will take appropriate
action against this company. What we can
read along with this is that the Sultanate
of Oman recently banned a water compa-
ny which marketed water bottles that in-
fringed the social interests of the country.
Plight of the disabled
I
HAVE read about the plight of
differently abled people being
portrayed in these columns very often and
I appreciate your team for that. In spite of
earnest efforts from different quarters to
give the disabled their due, more often
than not, they seem to be inadequate and
we are suffering a lot on account of the
same. Many of the departmental stores
and malls don’t have the slope for our
wheelchair to go in and out. Most of the
companies in the country don’t have job
reservations for us (am not forgetting
the companies which give priority to
us whenever there is a vacancy suitable
for us). Added to all this, there are some
who constantly occupy our parking lots
with no shame. Recently, I went to the
Wattayah clinic with my wife where
shockingly I noticed our parking was
occupied by a normal person and when I
enquired with the person, his answer was
rather interesting. He said that the four-
wheel drive was hired by the Ministry
of Health and that he can park anywhere
on the clinic premises. Thanks to him for
letting me know that there is a rule like
that.
— Jamil Abdunnaser
Editor: This is a plight experienced by
our brothers and sisters on many occa-
sions. As you said, we have carried sev-
eral write-ups on the same and I’m glad
to say that the Ministry of Social Devel-
opment has acted upon them. The Royal
Oman Police too is strict against the law-
breakers who take away the rights of the
disabled. We can hope that the authori-
ties concerned take up this matter with
due seriousness and act accordingly.
Make Observer available
at all shops
W
E were regular readers of the
Observer until recently. We have
been subscribing to the paper for more
than 13 years now and attached to it for
its local news content. We can say none
covers local news the way Observer
does. Recently, we were transferred from
our of¿ce in Muscat to Sohar for opening
a branch and we ¿nd it dif¿cult to get
a copy of the Observer in any of the
departmental stores there. Most of them
don’t have, and when we check with the
petrol pumps, they say the limited copies
that they receive get over in no time.
We’d like to request you two things —
please supply to all shops in places like
Sohar and deliver more number of copies
to the shops including petrol stations.
Thank you.
— Ahsan
Editor: Thanks for being the loyal
readers of the widely circulated daily. Al-
though almost all the commercial outlets
are covered by our circulation depart-
ment, there may be some shops or petrol
stations which were accidentally left out.
We will certainly take up this matter with
the department concerned and do the
needful.
Rational use of energy
I
T is high time that we heeded the call of
authorities for rational consumption of
electricity and water in the Sultanate. We
are often dumbfounded when it comes to
saving energy for the future generation.
Let’s all ask one or two questions to
ourselves. How many of us close the water
tap while brushing our teeth? How many
of us keep the tap running while shaving?
How many of us keep all the lights at
home or of¿ce on even if we don’t need
them at that moment? It is not a question
that you pay money or not for the water
and electricity that you consume; on
the other hand, it is the question of
conserving for the future. Let’s all start
preparing for a time that we are going to
gift the generation next, where they have
to pay even for their breathing air. May
God Almighty bless us!!
— Giridhar, Ruwi
Editor: You have brought very valid
points to the readers’ attention. The Sul-
tanate has always been in the forefront of
campaigns as far as rational use of natu-
ral resources is concerned. Many experts
have hailed these successful initiatives
and termed them as vital in developing
energy saving culture in the young minds.
The Ministry of Regional Municipalities
and Water Resources, Public Authority
for Electricity and Water, Rural Electric-
ity Company, Mazoon Electricity Com-
pany, and Electricity Holding Company,
among others, work hard to eliminate
wasteful use of water and electricity in
the country.
Cola drink takes the name of holy water
PEOPLE’S
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J
UICE from the humble potato could treat gastric ulcers,
thanks to its unique anti-bacterial properties, says a new
research.
A Manchester University microbiology team now
hopes the compound, dubbed ‘potato juice’ could go into
production as a daily diet supplement. Inspiration came as
one of the department’s scientists tucked into a spud for
Sunday lunch.
It led to the discovery of a key molecule which could
both cure and prevent the bacteria that lives in the stomach
and causes stomach ulcers and heartburn.
Uniquely, unlike with anti-biotics, the gut bug cannot
develop resistance to the ‘potato juice’ which also does not
cause any side-effects. Scientists even carried out the test on
different types of potatoes — discovering that Maris Piper
and King Edward varieties worked the best.
The process to extract the as yet unnamed molecule has
now been patented, with hopes it could one day be sold as
a supplement similar to pro-biotic yoghurt drinks, the Daily
Mail reported.
Ian Roberts, professor of microbiology at the Faculty of
Life Sciences, who worked on the discovery, said: “When I
¿rst heard about the idea of using potatoes to treat stomach
ulcers I have to admit I was a bit sceptical. But on another
level I wasn’t surprised — a lot of botanical products have
very interesting compounds and we just have to ¿nd them.”
“We see this ‘potato juice’ as a preventative measure to
stop stomach ulcers developing that people would take as
part of a healthy lifestyle. It could be a huge market if we
can get it developed,” added Roberts. — IANS
Juice from potato
cures gastric ulcers
I
NFANTS are prone to
sickness due to under-
developed immune systems,
but it may be possible to
activate crucial cells to help
them ¿ght off diseases from an
earlier age, say scientists.
Researchers at the Univer-
sity of Michigan Health Sys-
tem suggest the natural ability
to ¿ght infection is there early
on — but key cell signals in-
hibit the growth of essential
immune cells early in life,
the Daily Mail reported on
Wednesday.
Blocking this signalling
could lead to improving an
infant’s response to infection,
according to the study pub-
lished in Nature Immunity.
Study author Yasmina La-
ouar said: “What happens at
early age is that natural killer
cells, like many other immune
cells, do not complete their
functional maturation until
adulthood.”
“During this time we are
left with an immature immune
system that cannot protect us
against infections, the reason
why newborns and infants are
more prone to infection.”
There is a large gap in un-
derstanding infant immunity,
speci¿cally why the natural
killer cell responses are de-
¿cient, according to the re-
searchers. — IANS
Key cell signals inhibit babies’ ability to fight infection
By Kabeer Yousuf
O
RAL hygiene is the
practice of keeping the
mouth and teeth clean
to prevent any dental problems
and bad breath. Poor oral hy-
giene is also a risk factor for
oral diseases.
Dr Amudha Priya, a prac-
tising dentist in Muscat, says
regular brushing twice a day
is the ¿rst step in maintaining
good oral hygiene.
“Regular teeth brushing,
Àossing, which means clean-
ing the space between the teeth
and gums, are very important
in keeping the oral hygiene
high while they will keep our
teeth and gums healthy”.
Also, brushing twice daily
will prevent plaque deposits
by which it prevents tooth de-
cay and gum diseases. Regular
Àossing will help to maintain
good gum health. Maintain-
ing good gum health will
further support the teeth to
survive longer and stronger.
Failure to maintain gum health
will cause gum bleeding, bad
breath, tooth loss etc.
“After every brushing it’s
mandatory to massage the
gums which enhance the gum
support by improving good
blood Àow to the gums, and
a number of other important
ways to maintain oral hygiene
should also be observed”. She
said they are: Good Àoss-
ing, mouth washing, tongue
cleaning, following healthy
diet, limiting sugar drinks and
foods, oil pulling, inter dental
brushing wherever needed,
stop smoking, chewing sug-
ar-free gums after meal and
avoiding coloured foods.
Flossing: It is a thin nylon
¿lament, plastic or silk materi-
al used to clean between gums
and teeth that will reduce
plaque build-up and gum dis-
eases. Get proper demonstra-
tion from your dentist since
improper Àossing might injure
the gums.
Mouthwash: Regular
mouthwashes enhance oral
hygiene by its antiseptic and
anti-plaque effects. Check
your mouthwash for its alco-
holic content before you use.
Tongue cleaning: Tongue
cleaner is an oral hygiene aid
to clean bacterial build-up,
food debris, and dead cells
from the tongue and prevents
bad breath.
Health diet: Intake of
fruits, raw vegetables, limiting
sugar diet, reduce the frequen-
cy of intake of carbohydrates,
avoiding carbonated drinks
help to maintain healthy teeth
and gums.
Oil pulling: Oil pulling
will help in reducing bacterias,
toxins from your teeth, mucous
membrane and detoxi¿es it. It
reduces toxins from saliva,
blood and enhances enzymatic
activity.
Sugar-free gums: Chew-
ing sugar-free gums after
every meal will increase your
saliva production to 10 times.
That can help in cleaning the
food debris, reduces the acid
level in oral environment by
which reduces the chances of
tooth decay.
Quit smoking: If you are a
smoker please quit smoking as
it is the main cause for some
gum disease and oral cancer.
Regular dental check-up:
Visiting dentist once in every
six months and getting oral
prophylaxis once in a year can
improve the oral hygiene and
help dentist to provide early
and better service to you.
Ill effects of improper
oral hygiene: Failure to main-
tain the oral hygiene will cause
gum bleeding, tooth decay,
periodontal 0diseases, tooth
loss etc.
“Above all, believe in the
doctrine that says brighter
the smile, brighter the life”,
Dr Amudha added.
A
DOLESCENCE is the time when one needs to be
particular about food consumption, especially intake of
vitamins and minerals for a healthy life. But several studies
have shown that adolescents’ intake of important nutrients,
as well as their performance in standard physical ¿tness
tests, have fallen in recent years.
Because nutrition and ¿tness are intertwined — for exam-
ple, iron forms part of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen to
muscles, and antioxidants such as vitamin C aid in rebuild-
ing damage after intense training — these two ¿ndings could
be related, the Journal of Applied Physiology reports.
Luis Gracia-Marco of the University of Zaragoza, Spain,
and colleagues, have found that adolescents’ blood levels
of various micronutrients are correlated with how well they
performed in certain physical ¿tness tests.
Gracia-Marco and colleagues relied on data from a larger,
long-term research project known as the Healthy Lifestyle in
Europe by Nutrition in Adolescents Cross-Sectional Study,
or HELENA-CSS, according to a Zaragoza statement.
Part of this study, which involved thousands of volunteers
aged between 12.5 and 17.5 years in cities scattered across
Europe, gathered nutrition and physical ¿tness data.
Researchers found that blood levels of certain micronu-
trients were closely connected with the volunteers’ perform-
ance in physical ¿tness tests.
For cardiorespiratory ¿tness, concentrations of haemo-
globin, retinol, and vitamin C in males and beta-carotene
and vitamin D in females was linked with VO2max (peak
oxygen uptake). — IANS
Adolescents consuming
less iron, vitamins
Maintain oral hygiene
Dr Amudha Priya
A
NEW screening method combining a novel drug
therapy and changes in prostate speci¿c antigen
(PSA) levels can detect an aggressive prostate cancer,
despite negative results obtained by biopsies, according to
a US study.
Produced by the prostate gland, PSA, found in blood
and semen, can be detected by a blood test. Anything high-
er than four nanograms in a millilitre of blood can indicate
prostate cancer.
The new study by New York-Presbyterian Hospital/
Weill Cornell Medical Centre, shows that PSA can be a
much more effective marker for prostate cancer when an
additional drug therapy is used, than it can as a stand-alone
test, which is how it is currently used by physicians, the
Journal of Urology reports.
“At a time when the value of PSA is being increasingly
debated, we have shown that when used in a speci¿c way,
it can be of great value in identifying men with previously
undetected prostate cancer,” says lead study investigator
Steven A Kaplan, professor of urology at Weill Cornell
Medical College.
“We have shown that using PSA with these drugs can
help us differentiate prostate cancer from benign prostate
disease in patients who are dif¿cult to diagnose. It also
demonstrates a better way to use both the PSA test and
these powerful drugs,” says Kaplan, according to Weill
Cornell statement. — IANS
New screening method detects
aggressive prostate cancer
T
HE formation in the air of sulphuric acid, which smells
like rotten eggs, is signi¿cantly impacting our climate and
health, says a study.
The study led by Roy “Lee” Mauldin III, research
associate at the University of Colorado-Boulder’s
atmospheric and oceanic sciences department, charts a
previously unknown chemical pathway for the formation of
sulphuric acid, which can trigger both increased acid rain
and cloud formation as well as harmful respiratory effects on
humans.
“Sulphuric acid plays an essential role in the Earth’s
atmosphere, from the ecological impacts of acid precipitation
to the formation of new aerosol particles, which have
signi¿cant climatic and health effects. Our ¿ndings
demonstrate a newly observed connection between the
biosphere and atmospheric chemistry,” Mauldin was quoted
as saying in the journal Nature.
More than 90 per cent of sulphur dioxide emissions
are from fossil fuel combustion at power plants and other
industrial facilities, says the US Environmental Protection
Agency, according to a university statement.
Other sulphur sources include volcanoes and even ocean
phytoplankton. Sulphur dioxide reacts with hydroxide to
produce sulphuric acid that can form acid rain, harmful to
terrestrial and aquatic life on Earth.
Airborne sulphuric acid particles, which form in a wide
variety of sizes, play the main role in the formation of clouds,
which can have a cooling effect on the atmosphere, Mauldin
said. — IANS
Sulphuric acid formation
in air affects health
14
LIFESTYLE FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
T
WO Àesh-eating piranha ¿sh have been caught in a
river separating Turkey from Greece.
A Turkish ¿sherman caught an 18-inch piranha in the
Evros River on July 31.
Earlier this week, a Greek ¿sherman caught a nine-inch
piranha on a ¿shing rod, using sweet corn as bait.
Piranhas, known for their sharp teeth, voracious appe-
tites, and occasional cannibalism, inhabit South American
rivers. It is not clear how the ¿sh got into the Evros.
The river has been a major entry point for illegal mi-
grants from Asia into Europe. Last year, more than 55,000
people crossed the river to get into Greece, a 17 per cent
rise from the year before, according to Frontex, the Euro-
pean Union’s border protection agency.
Earlier this year, Greek authorities started building a 12-
km fence along the border to prevent illegal immigration, a
move criticised by human rights groups. — IANS
Flesh-eating piranhas
found in Greece river
A
SEVENTH person is
trying to squeeze into
the elevator. “You’ll
¿t,” says one of the occupants.
But a sign says the maximum
weight it may carry is 450 kg
— and the seventh person has
exceeded that.
A few decades ago that
would not have been the case.
On average, seven people
would not have a combined
weight of more than 450 kg.
Today, however, that’s not unu-
sual in Germany.
German elevator manu-
facturers are redesigning their
products so they can carry as
many people in future as today,
according to Thomas Oberst
from technical safety organisa-
tion, TUV. “That need will be
especially felt in large of¿ce
buildings,” he said.
High standards of living
have resulted in an increase
in the average weight of Ger-
mans. From 1999 to 2009, they
gained an average of 2.1 kg.
According to the latest ¿g-
ures from the statistics of¿ce,
in 2009 a 1.72-metre-tall Ger-
man weighed on average 75.6
kg. Many of the country’s safe-
ty standards are being revised
because of that increase, with
institutions and businesses be-
ing forced to react.
The Obesity Centre at Uni-
versity Clinic Wurzburg has
installed oversized operating
tables, extra wide beds and
lifts to accommodate the grow-
ing number of overweight pa-
tients.
“We’re admitting ever more
obese people to the clinic,” said
surgeon Christian Jurowich.
Stomach-related operations are
more complicated when they
are carried out on patients with
a weight problem.
The same applies to obese
patients at University Clinic
Erlangen.
“Patients who are over-
weight need everything in XXL
size,” said the head of nursing
staff at the clinic’s intensive
care ward, Jens Schriewer. It
is not uncommon for one of
Schriewer’s patients to weigh
more than 200 kg.
The aviation industry is also
making adjustments. Airbus
has installed wider seats in its
most popular plane, the A320.
Depending on design, up to 60
of the 180 seats are extra wide.
All of them are aisle seats and
offer about ¿ve centimetres
more room than the 46-centi-
metre-wide standard seats.
“Passengers are getting
bigger and bigger, especially
children,” said Airbus spokes-
woman Zuzana Hrnkova.
But the wider seats are not
just for obese passengers. Many
guests have requested more
space in order to work as they
Ày. “They want more comfort
and room for their laptops.”
Along with larger seats, new
Airbus planes also have bigger
toilets, according to Hrnkova.
Increasing body sizes and
desire for more comfort are
being recognised by carmak-
ers. The next generation of
Germans will be bigger than
the present one — meaning
they will be heavier, according
to BMW spokesman Michael
Rebstock. That’s why over the
last few decades all automakers
have been experiencing the
same development: “The fact
is that cars have grown in size
with their occupants.”
Audi spokesman Armin
Goetz con¿rms that. “Every
new model is bigger than the
last. We are not reacting direct-
ly to how fat people are getting,
but to the fact that on average
people are growing in size by
about 1.5 centimetres every 10
years.”
The popularity of Sports
Utility Vehicles has a lot to do
with a drive towards more safe-
ty and comfort. “Car owners
want to be as relaxed as they
possibly can when they get in
their vehicle.” Architects are
also adjusting to the new sizes,
according to Oliver Heiss, from
Bavaria’s Architects Associa-
tion. — dpa
B
Y the time they start
school, it becomes
painfully clear to
some parents that they are not
the only or even the highest
priority for their children.
Friends already mean more
than parents, as do teachers.
“The older children get,
the less fascinating their
parents are for them,” said
Ulrich Gerth, the chair of the
federation for child guid-
ance and family counselling
and head of a child guidance
of¿ce in Mainz, Germany.
Other people in their lives
become more meaningful —
and not always to the accept-
ance of their parents.
“Of course parents don’t
think all the friends of their
children are good,” said
Klaus Wenzel, president
of the Bavarian Teachers
Federation. But they don’t
have to. “Everything that is
different to their own family,
such as cultural or social sur-
roundings or other rules, are
very attractive and exciting
at this time.” But generally
that doesn’t do the child any
harm.
Parents should de¿nitely
hold back on their assess-
ments. “It’s disrespectful and
harmful for the child when
they’re told their friends are
not liked,” said Gerth.
Parents should only
intervene when children
are breaking rules, such as
not coming home on time,
going too far away from the
nursery or school or stealing.
“Then you have to tell them
the clear facts and not just
complain, but explain to the
child what is not good,” said
Gerth.
It doesn’t make sense
to prevent or even forbid a
friendship.
“Children want to try out
new things, learn through
imitation and that can be a
behaviour which one doesn’t
appreciate,” said Wenzel.
Friendships in grade
school often do not last very
long, so parents should be
more relaxed.
That’s also the case
when parents feel their child
doesn’t have enough friends
or is a loner or outsider. “First
of all it’s dif¿cult to de¿ne
that exactly,” said children
and youth psychologist
Holger Simonszent. “There
are also children who just like
being alone and only have
a few friends. That doesn’t
automatically mean they are
disliked.” It’s recommended
to ¿rst see if this seclusion
comes from the child itself
— is it just part of his or her
being or is it because of a
lack of social skills? “Some
children stand in their own
way and do not really know
how to approach others,” said
Gerth. But they can be taught
the necessary skills.
It’s also revealing for
parents to observe their child
in groups and ask about it
afterwards. “Children are
cruel but also very Àex-
ible,” said Wenzel. Often the
child doesn’t mind not being
invited to a birthday party,
while parents consider it a
big deal.
“Parents should be care-
ful not to make their own
needs the issue,” warned
Simonszent. It may just be
the parental ego. “It doesn’t
do the parenting image good
if their child isn’t everyone’s
favourite,” said Gerth.
Of course, offers can be
made to the child, such as
by initiating meetings with
other children or inviting
classmates. Sports clubs or
theatre groups can also be the
way, said Simonszent. “And
sometimes it also helps to just
send the child to someone
else’s house instead of letting
them just work on a puzzle
or watch TV in their room
alone,” suggested Wenzel.
The most important thing
is to determine whether or not
the child is suffering. Only
then should parents intervene.
Otherwise it’s the same as
with many other issues in
bringing up children — keep
your cool and remain relaxed.
— dpa
A
17-YEAR-old boy
retained his title as
America’s fastest tex-
ter in a duel of the thumbs
staged before yelling fans in
New York’s Times Square.
Austin Weirschke took
home $50,000 in prize money
for the second time in two
years when he bested 10 oth-
er texting demons in feats of
thumb speed, memory and Àu-
ency in texting shorthand.
One round was performed
with contestants blindfolded
and having 45 seconds to type
the verse: Twinkle, twinkle,
little star, how I wonder what
you are, up above the world
so high, like a diamond in the
sky.
The event, sponsored by
LG Electronics and using the
company’s cellphones, took
place on a traf¿c island in
Times Square.
About 200 onlookers, in-
cluding cheering relatives and
mostly teenage texting a¿cio-
nados, gathered around the
stage.
Weirschke said he became
a proli¿c texter thanks to prac-
tice with his mother, whom he
dubbed “my texting coach.”
But when asked to de-
scribe his victory, he must
have wished he could text his
reply. Facing a microphone,
the humble winner could only
manage: “I don’t really know
what to say.”
Weirschke faced some
mean competition — 10 whiz
kids from around the country,
with the oldest just 24 years
old and the majority in their
teens.
Several contestants said
they typically send hundreds
of texts a day. But far from
wasting their time gossiping
over the miniature keyboard,
these youngsters were in the
cellphone equivalent of a harsh
training camp.
“It’s like the Olympics of
texting,” the upbeat presenter
of the event said.
One young female contest-
ant theatrically fanned her-
self in the New York summer
heat, worrying after one round
that she’d slipped up and lost
the chance for that $50,000
cheque.
“I accidentally added a let-
ter,” she said. “It could change
your life.”
Another said: “I feel like
I’m having a heart attack.”
The last two survivors of
the elimination rounds, Weir-
schke and Kent Augustine, 16,
shook hands solemnly before
their ¿nal sudden-death bout.
Winning the texting cham-
pionship has made Weirschke
something of a star in his
world.
“It’s been crazy. I’ve got to
have done a lot of stuff a nor-
mal 17-year-old might never
get to do in his life,” he said,
mentioning being Àown to Los
Angeles and doing media in-
terviews. — AFP
Challenges as people get bigger
P
ROBLEM solving requires trying many different
solutions. That’s true for humans and now researchers
show that it’s true for hyenas, too.
The study presented steel puzzle boxes with raw meat
inside to wild spotted hyenas in Kenya. To get the meat, the
hyenas had to slide open a bolt latch. Even though most of
them had many opportunities to open the box, only nine out
of 62 hyenas succeeded.
The successful hyenas tried more solutions, including
biting, Àipping or pushing the box, than the ones that failed,
said zoology graduate student Sarah Benson-Amram, from
Michigan State University and study co-author, the journal
Proceedings of the Royal Society B reported.
Another requirement for success was not being afraid
to approach new things. The wild hyenas had never seen
a steel puzzle box before. And those hyenas that quickly
contacted the box when they ¿rst saw it were more suc-
cessful at solving the problem than those hyenas that were
slower to approach it.
Although contacting unknown objects can be quite
dangerous for wild animals, this research shows that risk-
taking also has some bene¿ts. Surprisingly, one trait that
did not necessarily lead to victory was persistence, said
Benson-Amram, according to a university statement.
“While those who gave up quickly were more likely to
fail, some hyenas that spent more time with the puzzle box
appeared to get stuck in a rut and would often try the same
solutions over and over again,” she said. — IANS
Hyenas innovative in
problem solving
When children choose their friends
T
URKEY, one of the most widely consumed birds
worldwide, was domesticated by the ancient Mayans,
more than 1,000 years earlier than previously believed.
The discovery of bones of a turkey from an ancient
Mayan site in Guatemala provides evidence of domestica-
tion, a mark of civilization, and the earliest evidence of the
Mexican turkey in the Maya world, according to Univer-
sity of Florida researchers.
The Mexican turkey is the ancestor of all domestic tur-
keys consumed in the world today and was Mesoamerica’s
(extending from central Mexico to Belize and Guatemala)
only indigenous domesticated animal.
The discovery of the turkey bones is signi¿cant because
the Mayans did not use a lot of domesticated animals, the
journal Public Library of Science ONE reports.
While they cultivated domesticated plants, most of their
animal protein came mostly from wild resources, said Erin
Thornton, research associate at the Florida Museum of
Natural History on the Florida campus, who led the study.
“We might have gotten the timing of the introduction of
this species to the ancient Maya wrong by a signi¿cant chunk
of time,” Thornton said, according to a Florida statement.
“The species originates from central Mexico, outside
the Maya cultural area. This is the species the Europeans
brought back with them to Europe — all domestic turkeys
originated from Mexico,” Thornton added. — IANS
Ancient Mayans first
domesticated turkey
Boy, 17, crowned America’s fastest texter
T
HREATENED shark species are being used to make shark
¿n soup, a delicacy in Chinese cuisine, in several US cities,
according to an unprecedented study based on DNA testing.
Thirty-three different species of sharks turned up in samples
collected in 14 cities and analysed at Stony Brook University’s
Institute for Ocean Conservation Science in New York.
“US consumers of shark ¿n soup cannot be certain of
what’s in their soup,” said Demian Chapman, who co-led the
DNA testing, in a statement on Wednesday. “They could be
eating a species that is in serious trouble.”
Scalloped hammerhead sharks, listed as endangered by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature, was among
the species found on the menus of US restaurants where shark
¿n soup can sell for as much as $100 per bowl.
Others included smooth hammerheads, school sharks and
spiny dog¿sh, all listed as vulnerable to extinction, as well as
a variety of near-threatened species such as bull and copper
sharks.
“This is further proof that shark ¿n soup here in the United
States, not just in Asia, is contributing to the global decline
in sharks,” said Liz Karan, of the Pew Environment Group, a
foundation that supported the study. — AFP
Threatened shark
species ‘in the soup’
Austin Weirschke (left) is announced the winner over Kent Augustine (right) during
the 6th Annual LG US National Texting Championship. — AFP
15
INFORMATION/LEISURE FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
STONE SOUP by Jan Eliot
GARFIELD by Jim Davis
CALVIN AND HOBBES by Bill Watterson
ADAM @ HOME by Brian Basset
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Scientific ph, Qurum, 24566601
Ruwi, 24702850
PHARMACIES
ARRIVALS — FRIDAY
Flight No Aircraft From / Via STA

WY614 B737-8 Dubai 0005
WY717 B737-8 Zanzibar-Dar-es-Salaam 0015
WY682 B737-8 Riyadh 0015
WY648 B737-8 Kuwait 0015
TK858 B737-8 Istanbul 0130
IX141 B737-8 Amritsar 0140
KU677 A320 Kuwait-Dubai 0230
PK225 A310 Karachi 0240
QR170 A320 Doha 0315
EK866 B777 Dubai 0355
FZ041 B737-8 Dubai 0415
GF560 E190 Bahrain 0425
MS930 B737-8 Cairo 0500
RJ600 A319 Amman 0505
WY116 A330-200 Frankfurt 0655
WY652 E175AR Bahrain 0700
WY662 E175AR Doha 0700
EP6555 F100 Shiraz 0710
EP6555 F100 Shiraz 0710
FZ043 B737-8 Dubai 0740
WY632 ATR42 Abu Dhabi 0800
WY602 B737-8 Dubai 0800
WY202 B737-8 Bombay 0800
WY914 B737-8 Salalah 0800
WY274 B737-8 Jaipur 0840
WY330 B737-8 Lahore 0840
NL768 B737-2 Lahore 0845
WY238 B737-8 Hyderabad 0850
WY326 B737-8 Islamabad 0900
WY102 A330-300 London Heathrow 0900
WY254 B737-8 Madras 0920
WY218 B737-8 Trivandrum 0925
WY224 B737-8 Cochin 0925
EK862 B777 Dubai 0930
WY824 A330-200 Kuala Lumpur 0935
WY242 B737-8 Delhi 0945
QR166 A321 Doha 0950
G9113 A320 Sharjah 0955
EY382 A320 Abu Dhabi 1000
9W530 B737-8 Trivandrum 1045
IX549 B737-8 Trivandrum 1050
WY604 E175AR Dubai 1100
EP6558 F100 Chah Bahar 1130
WY371 A330-300 Colombo-Male 1130
WY336 B737-8 Kathmandu 1140
WY816 A330-200 Bangkok 1155
WY916 E175AR Salalah 1200
GF562 E190 Bahrain 1235
IX337 B737-8 Calicut 1255
WY918 ATR42 Khasab 1315
WY606 B737-8 Dubai 1330
WY324 A330-300 Karachi 1440
WY924 B737-8 Salalah 1440
WY664 E175AR Doha 1615
ED450 A319 Lahore 1630
WY826 A330-200 Kuala Lumpur 1635
WY638 ATR42 Abu Dhabi 1655
WY204 B737-8 Bombay 1655
WY654 E175AR Bahrain 1715
WY608 B737-8 Dubai 1740
WY298 B737-8 Calicut 1750
WY264 B737-8 Lucknow 1755
WY284 B737-7 Bangalore 1800
WY646 B737-8 Kuwait 1805
GF564 A319 Bahrain 1810
G9117 A320 Sharjah 1905
WY316 B737-8 Chittagong 1910
WY926 B737-8 Salalah 1945
WY620 E175AR Dubai 2020
FZ047 B737-8 Dubai 2020
AI977 A319 Bangalore-Hyderabad 2025
KL449 A330 Amsterdam-Abu Dhabi 2045
SV532 EMB170 Jeddah 2105
AI973 A320 Delhi 2125
BA073 B777 London Heathrow-Abu Dhabi 2130
WY616 B737-8 Dubai 2145
AI907 A319 Madras 2200
WY406 B737-8 Cairo 2215
LH618 A330 Frankfurt-Abu Dhabi 2220
QR168 A320 Doha 2235
LX242 A330 Zurich-Dubai 2235
EY388 A320 Abu Dhabi 2235
GF566 B737-7 Bahrain 2250
WY624 ATR42 Al Ain 2305
WY656 B737-8 Bahrain 2305
AI985 A321 Ahmedabad-Bombay 2310
WY928 B737-8 Salalah 2310
WY668 B737-7 Doha 2310
WY672 B737-8 Jeddah 2315
WY636 B737-8 Abu Dhabi 2315
WY686 B737-8 Dammam 2320
9W534 B737-8 Cochin 2330
9W540 B737-8 Bombay 2340
DEPARTURES

Flight No Aircraft To / Via STD

BA072 B777 Abu Dhabi-London Heathrow 0001
AI986 A321 Bombay-Ahmedabad 0005
WY371 A330-300 Colombo-Male 0025
9W539 B737-8 Bombay 0045
WY601 B737-8 Dubai 0115
WY217 B737-8 Trivandrum 0115
WY253 B737-8 Madras 0115
WY631 ATR42 Abu Dhabi 0120
WY223 B737-8 Cochin 0120
WY237 B737-8 Hyderabad 0120
WY825 A330-200 Kuala Lumpur 0125
WY661 E175AR Doha 0130
WY241 B737-8 Delhi 0130
9W529 B737-8 Trivandrum 0130
WY201 B737-8 Bombay 0130
WY651 E175AR Bahrain 0140
WY329 B737-8 Lahore 0200
WY273 B737-8 Jaipur 0205
TK859 B737-8 Istanbul 0220
WY325 B737-8 Islamabad 0220
IX816 B737-8 Abu Dhabi-Mangalore 0220
WY335 B737-8 Kathmandu 0235
PK226 A310 Karachi 0340
FZ042 B737-8 Dubai 0500
EK867 B777 Dubai 0500
KU678 A320 Dubai-Kuwait 0540
QR171 A320 Doha 0550
MS931 B737-8 Cairo 0600
GF561 E190 Bahrain 0700
RJ601 A319 Amman 0715
WY603 E175AR Dubai 0800
WY915 E175AR Salalah 0800
EP6556 F100 Chah Bahar 0810
EP6556 F100 Shiraz 0810
FZ044 B737-8 Dubai 0820
WY315 B737-8 Chittagong 0900
NL769 B737-2 Lahore 0945
WY323 A330-200 Karachi 1000
WY297 B737-8 Calicut 1005
WY263 B737-8 Lucknow 1010
WY283 B737-7 Bangalore 1015
WY605 B737-8 Dubai 1030
WY917 ATR42 Khasab 1030
WY923 B737-8 Salalah 1035
G9114 A320 Sharjah 1035
WY203 B737-8 Bombay 1040
EK863 B777 Dubai 1045
EY383 A320 Abu Dhabi 1050
QR167 A321 Doha 1055
9W533 B737-8 Cochin 1145
IX554 B737-8 Cochin-Trivandrum 1150
EP6556 F100 Shiraz 1210
WY663 E175AR Doha 1215
WY715 B737-8 Dar-es-Salaam 1230
WY645 B737-8 Kuwait 1255
WY113 A330-300 Frankfurt 1300
WY145 A330-200 Malpensa 1300
WY405 B737-8 Cairo 1310
GF563 E190 Bahrain 1315
WY653 E175AR Bahrain 1315
WY131 A330-200 Paris 1330
WY637 ATR42 Abu Dhabi 1345
IX350 B737-8 Calicut 1355
WY101 A330-300 London Heathrow 1400
WY121 A330-300 Munich 1405
WY607 B737-8 Dubai 1440
WY925 B737-8 Salalah 1540
WY671 B737-8 Jeddah 1540
WY619 E175AR Dubai 1715
ED451 A319 Lahore 1730
WY615 B737-8 Dubai 1805
GF565 A319 Bahrain 1855
WY927 B737-8 Salalah 1905
WY685 B737-8 Dammam 1905
WY647 B737-8 Kuwait 1905
WY667 B737-7 Doha 1910
WY681 B737-8 Riyadh 1910
WY655 B737-8 Bahrain 1915
G9118 A320 Sharjah 1945
WY623 ATR42 Al Ain 2015
WY635 B737-8 Abu Dhabi 2015
WY613 B737-8 Dubai 2045
FZ048 B737-8 Dubai 2105
AI978 A319 Hyderabad-Bangalore 2200
KL450 A330 Abu Dhabi-Amsterdam 2200
SV533 EMB170 Riyadh-Jeddah 2205
WY913 B737-8 Salalah 2245
AI908 A319 Madras 2300
AI974 A320 Delhi 2310
EY381 A320 Abu Dhabi 2325
LX243 A330 Dubai-Zurich 2335
QR169 A320 Doha 2335
WY673 B737-8 Jeddah 2340
GF567 B737-7 Bahrain 2345
LH619 A330 Abu Dhabi-Frankfurt 2350
24-HOUR
Al Hashar ph,
PHARM
ALS — FRIDAY
om / Via STA
DEPARTURES

Flight No Aircraft To / Via STD
FLIGHT SCHEDULE
06.00 am Opening, Royal Anthem, The Holy Quran,
Preview of Morning Programme, Weather Forecast,
Pharmacies on Duty; 06.15 Morning Tea; 07.00 News
Bulletin; 07.10 Morning Tea; 10.00 News Headlines;
10.02 Piano; 11.00 Instrumental Music; 11.30 Light
Classical Music; 12.00 News Headlines; 12.02 The
Holy Quran; 12.15 Women in Islam; 12.30 Oman
This Week (Repeat); 01.00 Moments in Music History
(Laxmi); 01.05 Knowing Your Religion; 02.00 Short
Stories - Judith (Saturday 6.40pm); 02.15 Mix Music;
02.30 News Bulletin; 02.40 Friday Special (Frank);
04.00 News Headlines; 04.02 Friday Special (Frank);
05.30 Afro Latino Beat (Wednesday 10.10pm) -
Sheikha (Repeat); 06.30 News Bulletin; 06.40 End of
The Night - Mubarak; 08.00 News Headlines; 08.02
End of The Night - Mubarak; 10.00 News Bulletin;
10.10 D. J. Rock Special - Frank; 11.00 In Concert;
12.00 Mix Music; 12.40 News Summary; 12.45 The
Holy Quran; 01.00 National Anthem, Close Down.
Ministry: www.omanet.om
Oman TV:
www.oman-tv.gov.om
Oman Radio:
www.oman-radio.gov.om
Omani Centre for Traditional Music: www.
octm-folk.gov.om
Keep in touch with Majlis Ash’shura’s news.
Log on to the Majlis’s website:
www.shura.om
and the Majlis’s
e-mail: info@shura.om
Or write to the Majlis’s postal address:
P O Box 981
Postal Code 111, Muscat
Tel: 24510344 / 24521427/
Fax 24510560
INFORMATION
MINISTRY WEBSITES
MAJLIS A’SHURA
ADDRESSES
OMAN RADIO
FILM INFORMATION
www.citycinemaoman.net
AL BAHJA CINEMA:
24540856, 24540855.
AL NASR CINEMA:
24831358, 24831809 (after 3pm)
AL SHATTI PLAZA:
24607360, 24692656 (after 2pm)
STARS CINEMA:
24791641, 24792360
CINEMA
Hospital . . . .Board. . . . . Emer-
gency
Royal. . . . . . .24599000 . . 24590491
Health Services Department
Muttrah . . . . .24797602
Quriyat . . . . .24845001 . . 24845003
SQH, Salalah 23211555 . . 23211151
Police . . . . . .24603988 . . 24603980
Al Nahda. . . .24831255 . . 24837800
Ibn Sina . . . .24876322 . . 24877361
Nizwa . . . . . .25439361 . . 25425033
Al Rustaq . . .26875055 . . 26877186
Sumayil. . . . .25350055 . . 25350022
Izki . . . . . . . .25340033 . . 25340033
Haima. . . . . .23436013 . . 23436055
Sohar . . . . . .26840022 . . 26840099
Al Buraimi . . .25650855 . . 25652319
Sur . . . . . . . .25440244 . . 25461373
Tanam. . . . . .25499011 . . 25499033
Masirah. . . . .25404018 . . 25404018
Ibra . . . . . . . .25470533 . . 25470535
Adam . . . . . .25434167 . . 25434055
Bidiya . . . . . .25483535 . . 25483535
Ibri. . . . . . . . .25491011 . . 25491990
Saham . . . . .26854427 . . 26855148
Khasab . . . . .26830187 . . 26830187
Dibba . . . . . .26836443 . . 26836443
Burkha . . . . .26828397 . . 26828397
Sinaw . . . . . .25474338
OTHER HOSPITALS
Private & Other Wards
Working Days: 16:00-18:00. Weekends & Public
Holidays: 10:-12:00, 16:00-18:00
ICU
Working Days: 16:00-17:00. Weekends & Public
Holidays: 16:00-17:00
Special Care Baby Unit
Working Days: Parents may visit at any time.
Weekends & Public Holidays: Parents may visit
at any time
KHOULA HOSPITAL VISITING HOURS
Learn to... be what you are, and learn to
resign with a good grace all that you are not.
—Henri Frederic Amiel
When we are in love we seem to ourselves
quite different from what we were before.
— Blaise Pascal
I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long
enough, it loses all of its meaning.
— Andy Warhol
QUOTATIONS FOR TODAY
FAISAL BIN ALI AL SAID MUSEUM,
Tel: 24641650
MUSEUM OF OMANI HERITAGE,
Tel: 24600946
CHILDREN’S SCIENCE MUSEUM.
Tel: 24605368
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM,
Tel: 24641374
NATIONAL MUSEUM, Tel: 24701289
SULTAN’S ARMED FORCES
MUSEUM, Tel: 24312646
CURRENCY MUSEUM, Tel: 24796102
MUSCAT GATE MUSEUM,
Tel: 24739005.
OMANI-FRENCH MUSEUM (Bait
Fransa), Tel: 24736613
BAIT AL ZUBAIR, Tel: 24736688
BAIT A’NAMAN, Tel: 24641300
SOHAR FORT MUSEUM.
Tel: 26844758
NAHKAL FORT, Tel: 26781384
BAIT AL MAKHAM. Tel: 24641300
BAIT ADAM MUSEUM, QURUM,
Tel: 24605033, 24605013
OIL AND GAS EXHIBITION CENTRE
AND PLANETARIUM, Tel: 24677834.
PLANETARIUM, Tel: 24675542.
AQUARIUM at the Marine Science and
Fisheries Centre (located next to Marina
Bandar Rowdha, Sidab).
SALALAH MUSEUM, Tel: 23294549
CULTURAL CENTRE, Tel: 23294549.
SUR MARITIME MUSEUM,
Tel: 24541466.
BAIT AL BARANDA, Tel: 24714262.
MUSEUMS I N OMAN
EMERGENCY 9 9 9 9
DG of Passports & Residency, 24569603
DG of Customs, 24714626
Traffic offences, 24510227/228
ROP Public Relations, 24569270
Consumer Complaints Cell, 24817013
Muscat Governorate Headquarters, 24560021
Muscat, 24736611
Wattayah, 24677990
Ruwi, 24701099
Muttrah, 24712211
Bausher, 24600099
Al Amerat, 24875999
Qurayat, 24845555
A’Seeb, 24420099
Al-Athaiba, 24521099
AI-Khodh, 24425012
Directorate of the University Security,
24513999
Directorate of Traffic Muscat, 24567898
Al Batinah Headquarters, 26840096
Al Rustaq Division, 26875099
Al Dakhiliyah, 25425099
Nizwa Division, 25425099
Samayil Division, 25350099
Al Sharqiyah Headquarters, 25545070
Ibra Division, 25570100
Al Dhahirah Headquarters, 25650099
Al Buraimi Division, 25650199
Ibri Division, 25689099
Al Wusta Headquarters, 23436099
Haima Division, 23436211
Special Task Force, 24560088
Coastguard Headquarters, 24714888
Dhofar Governorate Headquarters, 23234599
Salalah Police Station, 23290099
Thamrait Division, 23279099
Musandam Governorate Headquarters,
26730299
Khasab Division, 26731502
ROYAL OMAN POLI CE
ROP websites: www.rop.gov.om, www.ropoman.
net and
e-mail: ropnet@omantel.net.om
LEO
(July 22-August 21)
You would make the
wrong impression if
you tried to force your way into a
new social group. Let them know
you are interested and wait until you
are invited to join.
VIRGO
(August 22-Sept 22)
You may ¿nd it dif¿-
cult, with the best will
in the world, to come to satisfac-
tory terms with a person born under
SAGITTARIUS and it would be
useless to force the issue.
LIBRA
(Sept. 23-October 22)
Your interest in the arts
will be greatly stimulat-
ed if you make a point
of visiting all possible exhibitions
during the summer and see how the
experts go about their work.
SCORPIO
(October 23-Nov. 21)
If you are unusually
tired after a strenuous
few days, cancel any social arrange-
ments and have few early nights.
Your friends can take second place
for a change.
SAGITTARIUS
(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
You will meet a person
born under GEMINI
with whom you feel you could be-
come deeply involved. True hap-
piness for you is just around the
corner.
CAPRICORN
(Dec. 22-Jan 20)
An old and binding
obligation, although
rather unpleasant and involving an
inconvenient expenditure, should
be discharged without any further
hesitation.
AQUARIUS
(January 21-
February 19)
A young person of the
opposite sex who seems to be in
need of advice about a serious prob-
lem would greatly bene¿t from your
timely help.
PISCES
(February 20-
March 20)
You must stop deciding
on sight that you are
not going to like a person. Not eve-
rybody with agreeable natures have
agreeable looks.
ARIES
(March 21-April 20)
At a gathering tonight
you will be meeting
someone who will have
the makings of a good and reliable
friend, although somewhat older
than you.
TAURUS
(April 21-May 20)
If you have made a mis-
take, don’t waste time
telling all and sundry, or enlarging
upon it, just get on with putting the
matter right immediately.
GEMINI
(May 21-June 21)
It would be most un-
kind to be too critical
of your partner’s attempt to master
something you are an expert at. It
could dissuade him from ever trying
it again.
CANCER
(June 22-July 21)
By apologising too pro-
fusely for a very slight
indiscretion you may only make
matters worse, giving it an impor-
tance it doesn’t deserve. Next week
no one will remember.
IF IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY: The coming year will be most favourable for you to lay the foundations for a happy future.
You have worked a long time to establish conditions, which ought to bring you financial and social benefits, and by
thoughtful action your life should run on most satisfactory lines for the foreseeable future.
‘ YOUR STARS ‘
A
USTRALIAN singer Dannii
Minogue says her two-year-old son
Ethan is a great golfer and impresses
everyone with his sports skills.
Her son learnt how to play from
his father Kris Smith, with whom
Minogue split in April, reports fema-
le¿rst.co.uk.
“I don’t know who Ethan’s going to
follow but he loves anything to do with
sport. He’s got a golf swing on him
that Kris has taught him that people
cannot believe. He’s been doing it for
eight months now,” said the 40-year-
old singer.
She insists she is not unhappy, and
credits her family for it. “I am not a
misery. Things are great and other peo-
ple have much harder stuff to deal with
than what I’m going through.
“It’s easier when you have an amaz-
ing family like I have. My parents are
very wise and very calm and always
there to guide me,” she said. — IANS
D
IRECTOR James Cameron has
announced that his company
will co-produce with Chinese ¿lm-
makers a 3D ¿lm highlighting the
history of Beijing.
The announcement on Wednes-
day came two days after Dream-
Works Animation unveiled plans to
co-produce the third instalment of
the Kung Fu Panda franchise, which
has grossed $150 million in China,
Xinhua reported.
The ¿lm will depict the
800-year history of the Chinese
capital, according to a memorandum
signed by the Cameron Pace Group
(CPG) China, the China Film Group
Corporation and another four ¿lm
companies and administrative or-
ganisations.
CPG China, a Sino-US joint ven-
ture formed in north China’s Tianjin
municipality on Tuesday, intends to
promote 3D technology in China as
the Cameron Pace Group’s ¿rst over-
seas branch.
Cameron said he has been drawn
to the rapidly growing China ¿lm
market, where his ¿lms Avatar and
Titanic have both broken national
box of¿ce records. — IANS
S
INGER Gary Barlow has
thanked fans for their
lovely messages of support
following the loss of his fourth
child Poppy.
The 41-year-old and his wife
Dawn are devastated with grief
after daughter was delivered still-
born on Saturday.
“Your kind words and lovely
messages are overwhelming.
Thank you,” he tweeted, reports
female¿rst.co.uk.
A fan of the singer has started a
memorial fund in response to the
tragic birth.
Michelle Pierce launched
the page www.justgiving.com/
RIPPoppyBarlow on behalf of
Barlow’s fans. She hopes to
raise £100,000 for stillbirth
and neonatal death charity
Sands.
“As fans and many of us as par-
ents we all want to show love and
support to the Barlow family. Here
we can make a difference, and
leave united messages of love and
support. This is a united donation
from all Gary Barlow fans,” she
posted on the website.
So far, nearly 300 donations
have been made totalling more
than £2,000. — IANS
Minogue has sporty son
Cameron to co-produce 3D film in China
A
FTER trying her luck
in Bollywood, actress
Aamna Sharif is back on
the small screen after a
hiatus of ¿ve years. She
will essay the lead role in
new show Honge Judaa
Na Hum.
Aamna’s last ¿ction
show was Star Plus’ Ka-
hiin to Hoga, which ended
in 2007 and gained her tre-
mendous popularity.
Her new show will go
on air on Sony Entertain-
ment Television.
The male lead opposite
the actress is yet to be ¿-
nalised. Those being con-
sidered for the role include
Aamir Ali, Eijaz Khan,
Rakesh Vashisht and her
Kahiin Toh Hoga co-star
Rajeev Khandelwal.
Aamna made her
Bollywood debut with
the movie Aloo Chat in
2009, and then went on
to do ¿lms like Aao Wish
Karein and Shakal Pe Mat
Jaa. — IANS
Aamna Sharif
back on small
screen
Gary Barlow thanks fans for support
OMAN DAILYObser ver
16 INDIA
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
NEW DELHI — The Su-
preme Court yesterday gave
six months to the central and
the Madhya Pradesh govern-
ments to dispose of toxic
waste lying in and around the
abandoned Union Carbide
factory in Bhopal for the past
28 years.
"The disposal should be
strictly in a scientific manner
which may cause no further
damage to human health and
environment in Bhopal," the
court said in 19 orders-cum-
directions.
"It is indisputable that huge
toxic material/waste is still ly-
ing in and around the factory
of Union Carbide in Bhopal.
Its very existence is hazard-
ous to health. It needs to be
disposed of at the earliest and
in a scientific manner," said
the court.
An apex court bench of
Chief Justice S H Kapadia,
Justice A K Patnaik and Jus-
tice Swatanter Kumar said:
"We direct the Union of In-
dia and the state of Madhya
Pradesh to take immediate
steps for disposal of this toxic
waste lying in and around the
Union Carbide factory, Bho-
pal, on the recommendations
of the empowered monitoring
committee, advisory commit-
tee and the NIREH (National
Institute for Research in Envi-
ronmental Health) within six
months from today."
The court directed that a
meeting of environmental-
ists, monitoring and advisory
committee members and of-
ficials of the central and state
governments should be held
within one month.
The court said since the
management of the Bhopal
Memorial Hospital and Trust
had now been vested with un-
ion health and family welfare
ministry, both the govern-
ments would take steps for
the dissolution of the trust that
was managing the hospital.
The court directed the In-
dian Council of Medical Re-
search as well as the NIREH
to ensure that research work
was carried on with exacti-
tude and the disbursement of
its benefit to the gas victims.
— IANS
Order to clear toxic
waste in six months
SECURITY personnel detain a member of the All India Students' Association (AISA)
during a protest in New Delhi yesterday. Hundreds of AISA members protested against
corruption and the privatisation of education in the ccountry, members said. — Reuters
THOUSANDS of supporters of yoga guru Baba Ramdev shout slogans during an anti-corruption protest in New Delhi yesterday. — AFP
AGARTALA — The oppo-
sition Congress in Tripura
yesterday demanded arrest
and removal from the mem-
bership of the state assembly
of ruling Left Front legislator
Partha Das who, they alleged,
had falsely claimed to belong
to Scheduled Caste category.
After a long probe, the
screening committee of the
Scheduled Castes welfare
department of the Tripura
government recently served
notice to Revolutionary So-
cialist Party’s (RSP) legislator
Partha Das saying that he did
not belong to the Scheduled
Castes category.
RSP is a partner of the
ruling Left Front, dominated
by the Communist Party of
India-Marxist (CPI-M). The
issue has rocked Tripura poli-
tics for the past two years.
A six-member delegation
of Congress party leaders, led
by opposition leader Ratan
Lal Nath and state party chief
Sudip Roy Barman, met gov-
ernor D Y Patil and demanded
Das’s removal from the Tripu-
ra assembly and immediate
arrest. Nath said: “The gover-
nor assured us that he would
take appropriate steps as the
matter is very serious.”
“Partha Das should return
all the salary and financial as-
sistance he got from the state
assembly since 2008,” he told
reporters. “The Left Front,
which always advocates
transparency and honesty, is
illegally giving shelter to a
fake certificate-holder legis-
lator,” Nath added.
Das was elected in 2008
from southern Tripura’s Sal-
garh assembly constituency,
reserved for the Scheduled
Castes.
Commenting on the is-
sue, Tripura Chief Minister
Manik Sarkar said: “The mat-
ter was under scrutiny of the
screening committee of the
concerned department. The
government will accept the
recommendations of the said
committee. We will not give
shelter to any fake certificate
holder.”
“Now, Das has to prove
that his caste certificate is val-
id,” Sarkar added. — IANS
Tripura legislator’s
removal demanded SHILLONG — Meghalaya’s
outlawed Garo National
Liberation Army’s (GNLA)
arrested supremo Champion
R Sangma is likely to move
a bail application before a
court here, his lawyer said
yesterday.
“He (Champion) has
asked me to prepare a bail
application for his release,”
Sangma’s legal counsel Sujit
Dey said.
“We are likely to move
the bail on the day when he
is produced before the Court
of Deputy Commissioner Ju-
dicial B Giri,” he added.
Sangma, whose outfit is
fighting for a separate Garo-
land, was arrested on July 30
near the India-Bangladesh
border in Meghalaya.
Sangma, wanted by po-
lice for masterminding sev-
eral crimes, including kill-
ings and extortion in Garo
Hills in western Meghalaya,
has been booked under vari-
ous sections of the Indian
Penal Code for waging war
against the Indian state and
the Unlawful Activities (Pre-
vention) Act. — IANS
GNLA chief
to move bail
NEW DELHI — Tens of thou-
sands of followers of a graft-
fighting yoga guru gathered
in New Delhi yesterday in a
fresh demonstration against
corruption.
About 40,000 support-
ers turned out at the Ramlila
ground in central New Delhi as
the saffron-clad Baba Ramdev
began an “indefinite” protest
to highlight “rampant” graft.
Ramdev has a huge national
following as his morning TV
yoga shows attract millions of
viewers.
His main demand is that
the government repatriate so-
called “black money” or cash
in foreign bank accounts sus-
pected of being used for bribes
or other illegal transactions.
“We have not come here
to ask anything in charity. We
have come to demand that the
illegal money stashed abroad
be brought back so that mil-
lions of Indians can get social
and economic justice,” Ram-
dev said to wide applause.
The audience, comprising
mainly people from the rural
belt around the capital, were
in a festive mood, with many
carrying colourful banners
and giant Indian flags.
“Coming here is a small
gesture of showing that we are
together with Ramdev in his
fight to rid the country of cor-
ruption,” said 57-year-old La-
lita Moorthy, who had flown
in from the far-flung Anda-
man Islands. Moorthy and her
husband planned to “camp” at
the protest venue for at least a
week to show solidarity with
their “brothers and sisters”
from the rest of the country.
Ramdev, famed for his yoga
moves including an ability to
roll his stomach and walk on
his hands, saw his rally at the
same venue last year come to
an abrupt end after a midnight
raid by the police.
The wiry, long-haired
guru, born to illiterate peasant
parents in the northern state of
Haryana in the 1960s, says he
began practising yoga at the
age of nine and was able to
overcome partial paralysis of
his body.
Since then, he has built
a global yoga empire that
stretches from India to a re-
mote island in Scotland, with
declared revenues since 1995
of Rs 11 billion.
He has joined hands with
Anna Hazare, another popular
anti-corruption activist who
tapped into widespread anger
last year following a string of
scandals involving the gov-
ernment and the ruling Con-
gress party.
Ramdev’s rallies are in-
creasingly political and di-
rected against the government
of Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh, but he insists he has no
intention of entering politics.
By Ashraf Padanna
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
— The UK Trade and Invest-
ment (UKTI) will collaborate
with Startup Village, India’s
first telecom incubator located
in the Kerala port city of Ko-
chi.
A six-member team from
UKTI led by its chief Jamie
Cribb is here holding discus-
sions with senior officials to
help the budding firms from
India to maximise their ex-
posure and build partnerships
in the field of technology.
Expressing desire to bol-
ster ties with Kerala-based
companies, Cribb said the
London-based agency had
been actively pursuing the
matter over the last three
years.
“We have had business
outreach events in both Ko-
chi and Thiruvananthapuram.
We will be back next month
to build wider, deeper en-
gagement with businesses
here as part of the Emerging
Kerala meet (scheduled here
September 12-14),” he said.
The team also addressed
the representatives of around
30 companies at Startup Vil-
lage to brief about the po-
tential factors and enabling
environment for business in
Britain.
The captains of Startup
Village suggested steps to
boost the bilateral collabo-
ration by giving exposure to
emerging companies in Brit-
ain.
“It was a fruitful discus-
sion as Britain offers great
scope for startups,” said
Startup Village CEO Sijo
Kuruvilla. “We are looking
to translate such leads into
effective gains for the young
entrepreneurs of Kerala. They
can build up their businesses
through mutually-beneficial
ties with British firms.”
Cribb, who briefed the
companies about UKTI role
and Britain’s strengths in ar-
eas like ICT, healthcare, life
sciences and advanced engi-
neering, where Indian com-
panies can forge relation-
ships, said the UK provided
a unique gateway of inter-
national connections, and
was recognised as a leader in
creativity and innovation.
“According to a World
Bank report this year (Do-
ing Business 2012), the UK
is one of the best places in
the world to do business. We
hope companies in Kochi
will respond enthusiastically
to our invitation,” he said.
Promoters of Startup
Village are Department of
Science and Technology,
Government of India, Tech-
nopark Trivandrum and
MobME Wireless. Kris
Gopalakrishnan, cofounder
and cochairman of Infosys
and the most successful IT
Entrepreneur from Kerala, is
the Chief Mentor for Startup
Village.
Ravi Pillai, the biggest
employer of Indians in the
Gulf, is also associated with
the project.
NEW DELHI — The Delhi
High Court yesterday stayed
for two weeks the Delhi gov-
ernment’s notification of a 10-
fold hike in court fees.
A division bench of Jus-
tices A K Sikri and Justice Ra-
jiv Sahai Endlaw, staying the
notification, asked the Delhi
High Court Bar Association,
the state government and the
co-ordination council of all
bar associations in Delhi to
hold discussion to resolve the
issue within two weeks.
The court’s direction came
following the government’s as-
surance to hold talks with law-
yers to discuss their demands
on rollback of the hike.
The bench took note of
the letter written by Delhi’s
Revenue Minister A K Walia
assuring to resolve the issue.
In view of the letter, the court
directed the parties to resolve
the issue at the earliest.
The order came on a plea
filed by Delhi High Court Bar
Association seeking to quash
the government’s Court Fee
(Amendment) Act, 2012.
The act came into force on
August 1. According to the as-
sociation, the notification will
put a heavy financial burden
on litigants.
Bar association president
and additional solicitor gen-
eral A S Chandhiok, seeking
stay of the act, said: “The act
is against the basic values and
ideals of the administration of
justice in a welfare state.”
The government has in-
creased the court fees to col-
lect an additional Rs 450 crore
annually. Filing the petition
against the government, the
bar association said: “The
rate at which the court fees is
sought to be levied negates the
concept of a fee and partakes
the character of tax.”
“The respondent, whose
primary duty is to administer
justice should do so out of
public revenues and not put
justice up for sale,” said the
plea. — IANS
NEW DELHI — Indian law-
makers voiced anger yesterday
over the killings of six people
by a gunman in a Sikh temple
in the mid-western US state
of Wisconsin. The killings
are blamed on Wade Michael
Page, a singer in a neo-Nazi
punk band, who opened fire
on the worshippers with a
handgun.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, an
MP from the opposition Akali
Dal Sikh party, said attacks
on Sikhs living abroad began
after the September 2001 at-
tacks in the United States by
members of the Al Qaeda ter-
ror network.
“The last 10 years have
seen thousands of Sikhs being
murdered, assaulted, abused
physically and verbally be-
cause of their attire and their
resemblance to a terrorist with
which they have no links,” she
told parliament. “How much
longer will it take for innocent
and peace-loving Sikhs to give
up their lives or live in terror
before the Indian government
wakes up to take some correc-
tive steps to stop these sense-
less killings?” she said.
“It is time for the govern-
ment to stand up,” the fiery
Sikh politician added.
Male Sikhs are easily iden-
tified by their turbans and the
beard they sport in line with
their religious belief.
However, ruling Congress
party member Partap Singh
Bajwa said those killed at the
Sikh shrine in Oak Creek in
Wisconsin during services on
Sunday were not victims of
mistaken identity.
“The gunman was an edu-
cated man and the attack on
the gurdwara (temple) was in-
tentional and not a case of mis-
taken identity,” the MP said.
Sushma Swaraj of the main
opposition Bharatiya Janata
Party called for a “full state-
ment” on ongoing investiga-
tions in the United States and
action taken by the Indian
government in the wake of the
attack. Meanwhile, President
Barack Obama called Indian
Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh to offer his condolences
over the temple shooting.
Indian MPs joined ranks in
parliament to offer condolenc-
es to families of the victims
who included several Indian
nationals. President Barack
Obama used a campaign stop
in Colorado on Wednesday to
call for an end to “senseless
violence” across the country,
appealing to Americans to fo-
cus on ways to stop it.
Referring to the shootings
at a movie theatre in Colo-
rado and at a Sikh temple in
Wisconsin in recent weeks, as
well as last year’s shooting of
former congresswoman Gabri-
elle Giffords and others in Ari-
zona, Obama stopped short of
calling for gun control but said
concerted action was needed.
“We’ve got to put an end to
this kind of senseless violence,
whether it’s in Aurora, whether
it’s in Oak Creek, whether it’s
in Tucson, whether it’s in cit-
ies all across America where
too many lives are cut short,”
he said in Denver.
— AFP/Reuters
Ramdev strikes back
with anti-graft rally
UK help for Startup Village
Court fee increase stayed Lawmakers protest gurdwara shooting
A VISUALLY impaired child breaks a dahi-handi, curd-pot suspended in the air during
a celebration at the Victoria School for the Blind in Mumbai yesterday, on the eve of
‘Janmashtami’ which marks the birth of Lord Krishna. — AFP
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
— Kerala has replaced the
statutory pension scheme
with the contributory pension
scheme for its new employees
joining from next fiscal, Chief
Minister Oommen Chandy
said yesterday, prompting
protests from the opposition
CPI-M.
"This is going to be appli-
cable to only new employees
who join service from the next
fiscal. And mind you, it's only
in West Bengal, Tripura and
here that this scheme is not in
force," Chandy told reporters
after the weekly cabinet meet-
ing here.
He also added that this is
going to be an additional bur-
den for the state government.
"We have to look forward
and hence despite the burden
of providing pension to re-
tired government employees,
the government will have
to provide for the contribu-
tory pension scheme also.
Moreover this has been on
the anvil for some time and it
was discussed in the recently
concluded assembly session,"
said Chandy. The official gov-
ernment order that this new
scheme has become a policy
came out on Wednesday.
Numerous protests were
sounded as soon as this new
scheme was announced.
Former finance minister and
senior Communist Party of
India-Marxist (CPI-M) leg-
islator Thomas Issac said
that this announcement was
made without any discussion
with the stakeholders and the
youths, who will be affected
by the move.
G Sreekumar, a top leader
of the CPI-M controlled un-
ion of the state government
employees described it as a
dangerous decision."We will
have no other means but to
protest against this unwise
decision," said Sreekumar.
— IANS
New pension scheme
for govt employees
OMAN DAILYObser ver
17 INDIA
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
POLICE detain a leader of the Communist Party of India, Ramakrishna (L) and
members of the All India Kisan Sabha, the peasant front of the Communist Party of India
which works for farmers’ rights, as they attempt to enter the Chief Minister’s Office-
Secretariate during their protest in Hyderabad yesterday. — AFP
SCHOOLCHILDREN make a human chain in the shape of the map of India as they pray for world peace in Jodhpur yesterday. — AFP
LAMBADI tribal women practise their routine prior to performing at the World Tribal Day celebrations at Ravindra
Bharathi in Hyderabad yesterday. Southern state of Andhra Pradesh has the eighth highest tribal population
in India including 35 sheduled tribes with a population of around 6 million. — AFP
NEW DELHI — The central
government yesterday moved
the Supreme Court for “fur-
ther and final extension of
time” for the auction and allo-
cation of 122 2G licences and
spectrum that were cancelled
by the apex court by its order
of February 2, 2012.
The application by the
government has said that it
needed time till November
12, 2012, to commence the
auction and another 40 days
to complete auction and allo-
cate licences and spectrum.
The government said it
needed further extension of
time for the auction of 2G
licences in “public interest”
to ensure that the “auction
yielded maximum revenue
to the Government of India.
It would, therefore, be in the
interest of justice to grant the
extension needed.”
The earlier extension of
three months given by the
apex court bench of Justice
G S Singhvi and Justice K S
Radhakrishnan is due to ex-
pire on August 31, 2012. By
its April 24, 2012 order the
court had given the govern-
ment three months. The apex
court by its order had can-
celled all the 122 licences that
were granted by former tel-
ecom minister A Raja on and
after January 10, 2008.
The court while cancel-
ling the 2G licences had given
the government four months’
time till June 2 to complete
the process of auctioning the
cancelled licences. This was
also the date when the licenc-
es that were cancelled were to
be terminated.
The court gave the exten-
sion of three months till Au-
gust 31 on the plea of the cen-
tral government seeking 400
days’ time till March 2013 for
conducting the auction of the
cancelled licences.
While seeking March 2013
deadline, the central govern-
ment said it has already “un-
dertaken a detailed examina-
tion of the steps involved in
the conduct of the auction and
the process of auction, com-
mencing with the receipt of
TRAI recommendations will
take at least 400 days.”
NEW DELHI — A parlia-
mentary panel yesterday rec-
ommended a probe into the
issue of Bt Brinjal, saying
that adequate tests had not
been carried out and the ap-
proval committee was under
“tremendous pressure” from
the “industry and a minister”
to approve it.
According to Basudeb
Acharia, who heads the par-
liamentary standing commit-
tee on agriculture, “the issue
needs to be probed as the co-
chairman of the Genetic Engi-
neering Appraisal Committee
(GEAC) Arjula Reddy was
under tremendous pressure as
he was getting calls from the
industry, GEAC and a minis-
ter to approve Bt Brinjal”.
Acharia said the probe
should cover the period right
from the beginning to the im-
posing of a moratorium on Bt
Brinjal’s commercialisation
in February 2010.
“We are convinced that
these developments are not
merely slippages due to
oversight or human error but
indicative of collusion of a
worst kind,” Acharia told re-
porters. A moratorium was
imposed on Bt Brinjal by then
environment minister Jairam
Ramesh in February 2010 fol-
lowing protests by NGOs and
environmentalists.
More time sought:
spectrum auction
Panel favours probe
NEW DELHI — A Delhi
court yesterday dismissed the
anticipatory bail plea of Har-
yana’s former minister Gopal
Goyal Kanda who was called
by police for questioning over
the suicide of former flight at-
tendant Geetika Sharma here
on August 5.
Additional Sessions Judge
Rajnish Bhatnagar dismissed
the bail plea of Kanda, who
failed to appear before police
for questioning on Wednes-
day. Kanda, who owned the
now-defunct MDLR Airlines
where Geetika was employed
earlier, faces charges of crimi-
nal intimidation.
The former Haryana min-
ister’s employee Aruna Chad-
dha, who was arrested on
Wednesday, was sent to po-
lice custody till tomorrow by
another Delhi court.
Geetika left a suicide note
blaming Kanda and Chaddha
for her extreme step, police
said. After Kanda’s airlines
ceased to function in 2009,
Geetika was given a job in
another company owned by
him. She later quit the job,
police said.
Geetika’s brother Gaurav
alleged that his sister was be-
ing constantly mentally har-
assed by Kanda and Chaddha.
Kanda, who began his career
as a slipper (chappal) seller
and later became a multi-
millionaire property dealer,
floated the MDLR Airlines in
2007.
He was elected as an In-
dependent legislator from
Sirsa constituency in the Oc-
tober 2009 assembly polls in
Haryana and joined the Con-
gress-led government headed
by Chief Minister Bhupinder
Singh Hooda.
He was made minister of
state for home by Hooda de-
spite having been named in
police cases earlier. — IANS
Court denies Kanda
shield against arrest
HYDERABAD — The Hy-
derabad police yesterday
booked Andhra Pradesh
minister Danam Nagender
and his followers after they
allegedly prevented police
officials from discharging
their duty.
A case under four sec-
tions of the Indian Penal
Code (IPC) was filed against
the labour minister and his
supporters after they forcibly
locked a temple on Road No
12 in the posh Banjara Hills,
police said.
Tension prevailed in the
area as the minister report-
edly warned police against
siding with the Hare Krishna
movement, which claimed
that the land around Lakshmi
Narasimha Swamy temple
was given to them on lease.
Some local people said
they had been demanding
the government cancel the
lease as the land belonged to
them. — IANS
PATNA — In a bid to check
pollution in the Ganges,
the Bihar pollution control
board has directed 21 urban
local bodies to build sewage
treatment plants along the
river.
The board has also
warned that action would be
taken against the local bodies
if the directive was ignored,
an official said yesterday.
Board official S N Jaisw-
al said it was found that ma-
jor drains carried untreated
sewage and garbage into the
river every day in several
towns including Patna.
“This is polluting the riv-
er more than anything else
in Bihar,” Jaisal said. “The
urban bodies cannot be ex-
onerated from their respon-
sibility in checking the flow
of sewage into the river.”
He said the offending
urban bodies would be pros-
ecuted under the Pollution
Control Act. — IANS
Minister in
temple row
Bihar set to
clean Ganges
NOIDA/LUCKNOW — The
$2.4 billion Yamuna Express-
way opened its toll gates
yesterday, promising to cut
the travel time between New
Delhi and Agra, the city of the
Taj Mahal, by nearly half to
around two-and-a-half hours.
Built by Jaypee Group, a
return drive the same day on
the 165-km, six-lane highway
will attract a toll of Rs 510,
with the state government ap-
proving a maximum levy of
Rs 2.10 per km for a passen-
ger car, one-way.
On the national highway,
where traffic snarls are com-
monplace, it takes upward of
four hours between Delhi and
Agra. But with an upper speed
limit of 100 km per hour for
a passenger car, the new ex-
pressway has cut that time
taken by almost half.
The company said the ini-
tial feasibility studies showed
a potential for 20,000-40,000
vehicles each day. Jaipur
in Rajasthan, Agra in Uttar
Pradesh and the national capi-
tal of New Delhi constitute
what is called the golden tri-
angle for tourism in India.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Min-
ister Akhilesh Yadav inaugu-
rated the $2.4 billion freeway
from the state capital Lucknow
by way of a video-conference
link to the actual event held
at its starting point at Greater
Noida.
Originally conceived as the
Taj Expressway project during
then Mayawati government in
the state in 2001, it could not
take off for another two years
due to a change in the govern-
ment. It was revived by her
administration after regaining
power in 2007.
Officials said the six-lane
highway is built under the
public-private partnership
model and is the biggest such
project in the country. Jaypee
Infratech, the company that
has built the project, has a 36-
year concession (rights) over
it.
The promoters will also
develop integrated townships
over 500 hectares each at
Noida, Jaganpur, Mirzapur,
Tappal and Kuber. They have
also built three toll plazas, 41
minor bridges, 70 vehicular
underpasses, 76 pedestrian
underpasses and 183 culverts.
Jaypee Group deputy
chairman Manoj Gaur said
during the inauguration func-
tion in Lucknow that his com-
pany will also build a 100-bed
hospital near the expressway
spread over five acres under
Yamuna Expressway Social
Upliftment Trust. — IANS
HYDERABAD — Opposition
parties and students’ groups in
Andhra Pradesh yesterday in-
tensified their protest against
the government’s move to cap
the reimbursement of tuition
fee of engineering and other
professional courses at Rs
310,000 per annum.
Protesters tried to lay siege
to the ministers’ quarters and
Raj Bhavan, the official resi-
dence of state governor, in
Hyderabad while some leg-
islators of main opposition
Telugu Desam Party (TDP)
staged a sit-in in front of the
chief minister’s office in the
state secretariat.
Police used mild force
to chase away students who
tried to barge into Raj Bha-
van. Several students were
arrested when they tried to lay
siege to ministers’ quarters in
Jubilee Hills. With a section
of leaders within the ruling
Congress also opposing the
government’s decision, the
cabinet sub-committee on fee
reimbursement is likely to re-
consider the same.
The panel, which was
scheduled to meet yesterday,
postponed its meeting by a day
as the government has sought
legal opinion on the issue.
The sub-committee had on
Tuesday imposed the cap on
fee reimbursement. It means
the Backward Class (BC) and
Economically Backward Class
(EBC) students bear the extra
burden under the uniform fee
structure for engineering and
other professional courses.
At least two ministers and
some Congress leaders have
publicly criticised the decision
and warned that the Backward
Classes would distance them-
selves from the ruling party.
A group of students
stopped the convoy of assem-
bly Speaker Nadendla Mano-
har at Bobbili in Vijayanagar-
am district demanding that the
government continue the fee
reimbursement scheme with-
out any changes. — IANS
JAIPUR — People in Rajas-
than are up in arms against the
hike in power tariff saying it
would put more burden on
them, especially at a time of
rising prices of essentials.
The Rajasthan Electric-
ity Regulatory Commission
revised the tariff for different
categories of consumers on
the plea of three public sector
discoms of Jaipur, Ajmer and
Jodhpur that they are suffer-
ing huge losses.
A senior electricity depart-
ment officer said that domes-
tic consumers using more than
300 units of electricity would
have to pay Rs 5.15 per unit.
The tariff was Rs 4.35 per
unit earlier. Similarly, con-
sumers who use less then 50
units will have to spend Rs 3
per unit, as against the Rs 2.50
per unit earlier.
Those consuming elec-
tricity from 51-150 units per
month will face a 65-paise
hike per unit as the tariff has
been increased from Rs 4 to
Rs 4.65.
Consumers using 150-300
units per month will have to
pay Rs 4.85 per unit which
was earlier Rs 4.15.
Power tariff has been
hiked for the industrial units
also up to 50 paise per unit.
The revised tariff will be ef-
fective after publication of the
order’s salient features by the
discoms in their respective
areas.
This is the second time this
year the tariff has been hiked.
The last tariff revision was
made by the Commission in
September last year.
“The electricity bill is go-
ing to burn a huge hole in the
pocket,” said Madhusudan
Singh, a resident of Sodala
area in Jaipur.
Another resident, Kushu-
mita Sharma, said: “It has be-
come quite hard to cope with
rising prices of grocery items.
Inflation is at an all-time high.
Power hike would make it
worse.”— IANS
MUMBAI — The Ma-
harashtra government has
banned the sale and distri-
bution of the genetically
modified Bt cotton seeds of
Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds
Company (Mahyco), a part-
ner of US multinational
Monsanto, in the state with
immediate effect for supply-
ing inferior quality seeds.
“The government has
banned the Mahyco compa-
ny with immediate effect,”
Agriculture Commissioner
Umakant Dangat said yes-
terday, when asked about
the cancelling of the com-
pany’s licence.
The Controller and Di-
rector, Commissionerate
of Agriculture (Inputs and
Quality Control), the licens-
ing authority, took the action
late on Wednesday under the
Maharashtra Cotton Seed
Rules, 2010.
The ban comes in the
wake of widespread com-
plaints against the company
accusing it of supplying in-
ferior quality seeds which
aggravated the agrarian
crises in rural Maharashtra
and spurred suicides among
farmers.
Last month the issue was
discussed in the state legis-
lature and Agriculture Min-
ister Radhakrishna Vikhe-
Patil then proposed a ban on
the sale and distribution of
the Bt seeds.
“It is a bold move by
the agriculture minister and
proves the government has
not succumbed to MNC
pressures,” Kishore Tiwari
of Vidarbha Jan Andolan
Samiti (VJAS) said.
VJAS has sought a simi-
lar ban on 28 companies
sub-licensed by MMB for
selling the BT cotton seeds,
and replacing them with tra-
ditional Indian cotton seeds,
Tiwari said.
India is now the larg-
est cultivator of Bt Cotton,
jumping from 400,000 hec-
tares to 12,600,000 hectares
now after it was approved
for commercial cultivation
in 2002 by the regulator, Ge-
netic Engineering Approval
Committee of the union en-
vironment ministry.
Certain BT cotton vari-
ants are suspected of tox-
icity, damaging public
health and environment, and
agriculture activists have
been demanding a complete
ban on BT technology in In-
dia.
Protests have marked
the 10th anniversary of the
introduction of Bt cotton in
the country this year with
angry farmers and social ac-
tivists asking policy makers
for a comprehensive review
of the technology that was
meant for irrigated areas but
was pushed in all cotton-
growing states.
A top state agriculture de-
partment official, requesting
anonymity, said henceforth,
all trading activities of the
company shall be illegal and
any violations could attract
criminal action. — IANS
Traffic to ease as
expressway opens
Students intensify agitation Power tariff hike resented
Maharashtra imposes
ban on Bt cotton seeds
OMAN DAILYObser ver
18 PANORAMA
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
D
IVERS in Tonga have
discovered a ship-
wreck believed to be a
pirate vessel that folklore says
sank in the 19th century with a
hold full of treasure, of¿cials
in the Paci¿c nation said yes-
terday.
The Port-au-Prince, a Brit-
ish privateer, was attacked by
local warriors in 1806 after
arriving in Tonga and most of
its crew were massacred on the
orders of King Finau ‘Uluka-
lala II,’ Tonga’s tourism min-
istry said.
It said the Tongans salvaged
iron and cannon from the ship,
before the king ordered it to be
scuttled with its treasure still
on board.
The vessel was thought to
be lost until a local diver in
the Ha’apai group of islands
last month found wreckage
that has features similar to
the historic privateer, tourism
ministry spokeswoman Sandra
Fi¿ta said.
If the wreck proved to be
the Port-au-Prince, the treas-
ure was likely to still be intact,
she added.
“It is believed that a consid-
erable amount of copper, silver
and gold is resting with the
wreck, along with a number
of silver candlesticks, incense
pans, cruci¿xes and chalices,”
she said in a statement.
Fi¿ta said the wreck had
copper cladding on its hull,
which Britain’s National Mar-
itime Museum in Greenwich
said meant it dated from 1780
to 1850, when such cladding
was used to protect against
shipworm and marine weeds.
The statement said lo-
cal divers were mapping the
wreck for further study.
Resort owner Darren Rice,
one of only two divers to have
visited the site, said it was
located on a reef just off the
island of Ha’ano in an area re-
nowned for its rough seas.
“There’s very little left of
the ship, it’s been pounded by
4-5 metre swells for 200 years,
so there’s wreckage scattered
all over the sea Àoor,” he said.
Rice was reluctant to reveal
too much about the wreck’s
location, fearing an inÀux of
treasure hunters.
“We want to make sure the
area’s properly mapped and
everything that’s found is pho-
tographed and documented,”
he said.
“If it’s the Port-au-Prince
then it’s the most signi¿cant
wreck in Tonga’s history.”
Asked if he believed there
was a lost trove of pirate treas-
ure on the sea Àoor, he replied:
“If it’s the Port-au-Prince, it’s
there. — AFP
Wreck of legendary pirate ship found
A SUMATRAN rhinoceros at the Mount Leuser National Park in Indonesia’s Sumatran
Island. Hidden cameras have spotted seven critically endangered Sumatran rhinos for
the ¿rst time in 26 years in the Mount Leuser National Park, a conservationist said
yesterday. Sumatran rhinos have suffered a 50 per cent drop in population over the
20 years. There are now believed to be fewer than 200 alive in Southeast Asia. — AFP
ROME’S ancient Colosseum, where gladiators fought for their lives. — Reuters
A DIVER checks the site of a shipwreck believed to be a pirate vessel full of treasure. — AFP

C
HEAP price, bella
foto, come and
see,” calls out a man
dressed as an ancient Roman
legionary. With his helmet and
leg protectors he looks like
someone from an Asterix and
Obelix comic.
But now a heated discus-
sion has begun in Rome’s city
authority about the future of
these impersonators who al-
low themselves to be photo-
graphed with tourists at the
Colosseum in return for a size-
able gratuity. They managed
to partially overturn a recently
imposed ban.
But it’s not just they who
bother Rome of¿cials — the
illegal street traders, countless
mobile stands selling food and
souvenirs and illegally parked
tourist buses are also seen as a
problem.
It can cost up to $12 to
have a photograph taken with
an impersonator. Dressing up
as a Roman soldier or gladia-
tor in homemade costumes is a
serious business. The “actors”
regulate themselves and have
a shift system. The scale of
the business around the Colos-
seum reached such a size that
police evicted them from the
area on the grounds that they
were not paying taxes.
The area around the Vatican
is another place where street
hawkers can be found. Along
with the ever present food
stands and souvenir peddlers,
they have become a thorn in
the side of residents and shop
owners.
Another big source of an-
noyance are the double-parked
tourist buses and cars that
block central Rome’s streets.
Last year residents sent a let-
ter to Mayor Gianni Alemanno
calling on him to take action.
They wrote: “It is a disgrace
that St Peter’s has been dark-
ened by the countless souvenir
stands, buses, peddlers and il-
legal street traders.” They also
wrote that, if necessary, they
were prepared to take action
themselves.
Two men claiming to be
legionaries, brothers Manuel
and Eugenio Sonnio, decided
to contravene the ban and
positioned themselves out-
side the amphitheatre. When
told to leave the area by po-
lice, the brothers refused and
threatened to use their wooden
swords. They Àed eventually
and were later arrested.
With the brothers now go-
ing through the courts their
colleagues are no longer stand-
ing directly in front of the Col-
osseum.
But they are angry about
the way they have been treat-
ed. — dpa
Authorities battle fake gladiators
A
USTRALIAN Com-
munications Minister
Stephen Conroy has
hit out at Facebook over its
failure to immediately take
down a page that stereotyped
Aboriginal people as hope-
less.
While the content could not
be viewed yesterday, Conroy
said Facebook should have
shut down the site as soon as
it was brought to its attention
and urged more co-operation
from the social network.
“I think it’s absolutely
inappropriate,” he told the
Australian Broadcasting Cor-
poration of the page “Con-
troversial Humor Aboriginal
Memes”.
“We don’t live by Ameri-
can laws here in Australia, we
live by Australian laws and
this is an Australian who is
using the fact that Facebook
is based in the US to get away
from Australian laws.”
An online petition against
the page on change.org had
by yesterday attracted nearly
17,000 supporters and the
Australian Media and Com-
munications Authority said it
was investigating.
Conroy said he was in
touch with Facebook more
broadly about inappropriate
content.
“We’ve had a lot of de-
bate and discussion with Fa-
cebook. They’ve now ¿nally
employed an employee here
in Australia. We’re in conver-
sations with that employee,”
he said.
“Our views have been
strongly made to Facebook in
the US but at the end of the
day it’s a US company operat-
ing under US law.” — AFP
‘Racist’ fan page draws ire
D
EATH knows the
small town of Prieska
all too well.
A poisonous legacy of
South Africa’s years as a
global blue asbestos hub,
the Grim Reaper has snaked
through here for decades,
wiping out families and strik-
ing down neighbours with
deadly precision.
“In most of the houses in
our street, there is someone
who has died of asbestosis or
mesothelioma,” said Chris Ju-
lius, 58, who was diagnosed
with asbestos cancer three
months after his mother-in-
law passed away next door.
A former teacher, Julius
never worked at the town’s
mill or in the nearby hills
where mining started in the
late 1800s along rich depos-
its known as the country’s
“asbestos mountains” that
run along the vast Northern
Cape.
But he has mesothelioma,
an aggressive lung cancer
whose diagnosis is a death
sentence.
“It felt like I was going to
the electric chair,” said Julius,
who lives 100 metres from
where the now-demolished
mill once spat dust over the
town.
“I still feel the same. I live
from one day to the next. I
can’t really plan. It’s very dif-
¿cult for me to say goodbye, I
can’t even discuss it with my
wife. For her, it’s just as emo-
tional an issue.”
Locals were once pitted
against mining ¿rms in David
and Goliath-style class action
battles which were settled
about a decade ago.
Yet nearly one in three
homes is still contaminated,
according to government sta-
tistics.
Environmental scientist
Rob Jones estimates asbestos
exposure is killing up to 52
people a year in the North-
ern Cape, while nearly 90
per cent of 36 communities
he surveyed had one or more
sites ranked as severe risk.
“This is really a national
environmental emergency
that should be dealt with. It is
analogous to Libby, Montana
in the US and Wittenoom,
Australia,” said Jones, who
has studied contamination
levels for the state.
Wittenoom was shut down
by Australian authorities in
1966 and Libby has received
millions of dollars for reha-
bilitation.
Yet, while South Africa
once produced 98 per cent
of the world’s blue asbestos,
the government has yet to act
with the same urgency for its
dozens of toxic communities.
The older generation in
Prieska tells of playing obliv-
iously on soft dumps as chil-
dren, with no warnings from
mine bosses or authorities.
Documented accounts point
to ¿bres being dusted off fruit
picked from trees.
While still possible to
stumble across a pile of ¿bres
lying in the open, those days
are over.
But asbestos is a patient
killer: it can lie dormant for
decades. — AFP
The silent blue killer!
A
N international anar-
chist conference amid
Switzerland’s punctual
trains, perfectly maintained
streets and picture-postcard
mountain views? Activists are
gathering in the town of Saint-
Imier this week, not in an at-
tempt to overthrow Switzer-
land’s perfect public order, but
to commemorate the founding
of the international anarchist
movement 140 years ago in
this small watch-making com-
munity.
However, most of the state-
ments and slogans at the meet-
ing, expected to draw 3,000
participants, hark back not to
the 19th century, but to the
revolutionary year of 1968.
A grey-haired man with a big
belly said the event somehow
reminded him of his “good
old student days.” Activists
arrived from as far away as
Japan, China and Brazil, but
activists from Greece got the
most attention.
“The Greeks are carrying
the heaviest burden,” said a
member of the committee or-
ganising the International An-
archism Gathering.
The meeting has a strong
symbolic overtone. In 1872,
free-thinking socialist watch-
makers in the Swiss Jura region
met at an inn in Saint-Imier and
founded the anti-authoritarian
international movement.
They followed the ideas of
Mikhael Bakunin, the revolu-
tionary and anarchist who had
Àed from Russia to Switzer-
land. Karl Marx and Friedrich
Engels were too authoritarian
for the tastes of these early
Swiss activists.
They were looking for a
“different way,” said Jennifer,
a German woman from Saar-
bruecken who did not want to
give her last name, like most
participants at the gathering.
She said the people gath-
ered at the conference were
looking for another alternative
to capitalism besides commu-
nism, since this ideology had
discredited itself in several
countries.
It seemed easier to ¿nd out
what the mostly young revolu-
tionaries in Saint-Imier were
opposed to that what they sup-
port.
A list published in a special
edition of the anarchist Gaid-
ao magazine said there was
no place for “capitalism, im-
perialism, patriarchy, racism,
colonialism any statehood and
any other form of suppres-
sion.” When reporters asked
participants how they planned
to overcome the ¿nancial and
debt crises, Aristid Pedraza,
a leading thinker of the anar-
chist movement said: “The
servicing of debt has to stop
immediately and everywhere.”
The crisis of capitalism should
be solved on the shoulders of
capitalists, not by the people,
he argued.
Activists said that strikes
and all other forms of obstruc-
tion were legitimate except
violence. — dpa
A
TREE-LOVING Slo-
vak boy has donated
his life savings to pro-
tect forests in the High Tatras
region stricken by a plague
of bark beetles in what is Eu-
rope’s smallest Alpine-type
mountain range.
Twelve-year-old Matej
Jurcisin donated 5,000 euros
($6,170) to the Tatras Nation-
al Park (TANAP) in northern
Slovakia, which has been
¿ghting the disaster since No-
vember 2004.
“We go to the Tatras very
often and we’re worried by
what’s going on,” Matej’s
mother Alica Jurcisinova,
who had to formally sign the
transaction, told local SITA
newswire.
The Tatras National Park
said it would use the money to
buy 500 pheromone bark bee-
tle traps and send Matej regu-
lar reports on the situation.
Bark beetles have spread
extensively in the Tatras’
Ticha and Koprova valleys
— strictly protected reserves
where environmental regu-
lations bar logging even of
fallen timber.
Beetles often attack older
trees, making them all the
more vulnerable to breakage
in severe weather conditions.
In winter 2004 high winds
damaged three million cubic
metres of forest in the High
Tatras. Some environmental-
ists have argued that nature
will best overcome the de-
struction without human in-
tervention. — AFP
T
HREATENED shark
species are being used to
make shark ¿n soup, a
delicacy in Chinese cuisine, in
several US cities, according to
an unprecedented study based
on DNA testing.
Thirty-three different spe-
cies of sharks turned up in
samples collected in 14 cities
and analysed at Stony Brook
University’s Institute for Ocean
Conservation Science in New
York. “US consumers of shark
¿n soup cannot be certain of
what’s in their soup,” said
Demian Chapman, who co-led
the DNA testing, in a statement.
“They could be eating a species
that is in serious trouble.”
Scalloped hammerhead
sharks, listed as endangered
by the International Union for
Conservation of Nature, was
among the species found on the
menus of US restaurants where
shark ¿n soup can sell for as
much as $100 per bowl.
Others included smooth
hammerheads, school sharks
and spiny dog¿sh, all listed
as vulnerable to extinction, as
well as a variety of near-threat-
ened species such as bull and
copper sharks.
“This is further proof that
shark ¿n soup here in the
United States, not just in Asia,
is contributing to the global
decline in sharks,” said Liz Ka-
ran, of the Pew Environment
Group, a foundation that sup-
ported the study.
“Sharks must be protected
from over¿shing,” said Karan,
manager of Pew’s global shark
conservation programme, “and
any international trade in these
vulnerable and endangered spe-
cies must be tightly regulated.”
The study marks the ¿rst
time that DNA testing has been
used to ascertain the different
kinds of sharks used to make
shark ¿n soup in the United
States on a large nationwide
scale.
Samples were collected in
Albuquerque, New Mexico;
Atlanta, Georgia; Boston; Chi-
cago; Denver, Colorado; Fort
Lauderdale, Florida; Houston;
Las Vegas; Los Angeles; New
York; Orlando, Florida; San
Francisco; Seattle and Wash-
ington. — AFP
Peaceful town becomes
capital of anarchism
12-year-old donates life
savings to protect forest
Threatened shark species
turning up in restaurants
A MAN walks past a
pile of blue asbestos
in Prieska. — AFP
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
19
DORNEY, England — The
Australian men's kayak four,
surf lifesavers before taking
up the sport, ended Europe's
stranglehold yesterday when
they grabbed gold at the Ol-
ympic canoe regatta to drive
their faltering country up the
medal table.
The men's crew of Tate and
David Smith, Murray Stewart
and Jacob Clear fired off the
start to beat favourites Hun-
gary and Germany amid a
cacophony of noise from the
grandstands.
Roared on by a huge Hun-
garian contingent on the banks,
the eight kayaks came through
the last 100 metres with bodies
straining forward, arms whirl-
ing, legs driving and water
splashing everywhere as Aus-
tralia prevailed in a close fin-
ish. The race was the only one
to go against the form book
at a regatta dominated by the
fight between Germany and
Hungary.
With two days of finals
complete, the sport which is
often overshadowed by its
more illustrious sister rowing,
has awarded eight gold med-
als, three to Hungary and three
to Germany. Norway took a
gold on Wednesday.
"We knew we could do it,"
Tate Smith told reporters hav-
ing helped lift Australia to 10th
in the overall medals standings
after a disappointing London
Games so far. "We had this be-
lief for the last three years and
it's the biggest race of our life.
It's unbelievable. Australia's
first gold in a team boat —
that's massive," he added as
the lake shimmered in the sun.
The victory against the tra-
ditional European powerhous-
es is all the more impressive as
canoeing in Australia receives
less funding than most other
Olympic sports.
They took a gold and two
bronzes in Beijing and have
been boosted in recent years
by surf lifesavers such as the
four in the K4 moving into
sprint flatwater canoeing.
"Day 13 and you finally
want to talk to me," an Aus-
tralian press officer said to re-
porters after the country failed
to take a gold in rowing on the
same course last week.
Yesterday the four men
linked their arms and raised
them to the skies as they stood
on the podium, four years af-
ter David Smith cried hysteri-
cally after failing to make the
Beijing final.
SURGING FINISH
In the remaining races it
was more business as usual.
Germany's Peter Kret-
schmer and Kurt Kuschela
won the men's canoe double
after they surged through the
field in the middle of the race
to beat the defending cham-
pions Andrei and Aliaksandr
Bahdanovich of Belarus who
took the silver.
In the women's events,
Hungary's Danuta Kozak
overcame a sleepless night
to come from behind to also
beat the defending champion,
Ukraine's Inna Osypenko-Ra-
domska, and add to the gold
medal she won in the women's
K4 on Wednesday.
"I couldn't sleep," she said.
"I woke up at half past three.
This was in my mind: I became
an Olympic champion and at
the finish line I looked around
and nobody was around me.
That feeling was incredible."
In the final race of the day
however, Hungary failed to
gain from their huge crowd
support when Germany's
Franziska Weber and Tina Di-
etze raced through their fierce
rivals to claim the gold and
make up for their defeat in the
K4 on Wednesday.
Hungary's Katalin Kovacs
and Natasa Douchev-Janics
took silver. — Reuters
Lifesavers lift Australia with K4 gold
LONDON — Holders France
overcame the brilliance of
Spain's goalkeeper and the
weight of expectation on
Wednesday to make the Ol-
ympic semifinals courtesy of a
last-gasp goal by a player only
called up the day before.
William Accambray's su-
perbly taken winner on the fi-
nal buzzer sent Beijing bronze
medallists Spain's players tum-
bling to the floor in despair, the
Frenchman top scoring despite
not having previously set foot
on court at the London Games.
World champions France,
greeted in the Basketball Are-
na by an impromptu rendition
of "La Marseillaise" from their
fans, crept past Spain 23-22
while Hungary goalkeeper
Nandor Fazekas saved a last-
ditch penalty to set up extra-
time against Iceland.
Hungary, seeking a first Ol-
ympic men's handball medal
after four fourth-placed fin-
ishes in seven previous Games
appearances, prevailed 34-33
and will play three-time run-
ners-up Sweden who beat Eu-
ropean champions Denmark
24-22 in a see-saw clash.
France will next face twice
Olympic champions Croatia,
who maintained their unbeaten
run at the London Games by
defeating outsiders Tunisia
25-23 in another fast and furi-
ous knockout stage tussle that
left crowds breathless once
again.
Spain goalkeeper Arpad
Sterbik Capar had been in
great form in the first half
against France as the reigning
champions went 11 minutes
without a goal, but he could
do nothing about Accambray's
gravity-defying strike.
Sterbik Capar kept out
French talisman Nikola Ka-
rabatic's last-second shot but
to his horror the rebound flew
straight to Accambray, who
in the blink of an eye leapt
forward, grabbed the ball,
switched it to his right hand,
and finally let rip.
France into semis on high-drama day
LONDON — Mongolian
light-welterweight boxer
Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg
produced a ferocious display
to down British captain Tho-
mas Stalker in the best fight
of the London Games, a big
casualty on a tricky Wednes-
day for the top seeds.
Uranchimeg claimed a
23-22 victory against the 28-
year-old Stalker over an action
packed nine minutes between
the top two fighters in the
world rankings.
The 30-year-old Mongo-
lian, competing in his third
Olympics, was energetic and
clinical over the three rounds
and perhaps should have
won by a bigger margin, as
he picked off Stalker with a
number of clean rights in the
third as the Briton tired.
The quarterfinal victory
brought a chorus of boos in
the ExCel arena from the
home crowd, who were quiet
throughout the contest and
were outcheered by a pocket
of Mongolian fans.
"My soul is full of emotion.
I have been in the Olympics
three times now — Athens,
Beijing and now London. It
has been my long-standing
dream to get a medal, which
I have now achieved," Ur-
anchimeg told reporters after
guaranteeing a bronze.
The narrow defeat was too
much to take for Stalker, who
threw his towel over his head
and stormed out of the arena.
The British boxing captain
appealed against the deci-
sion to world governing body
AIBA but it was rejected.
Ukrainian light-welter-
weight Denys Berinchyk,
sporting one of the oddest
haircuts in the boxing tourna-
ment, was dancing a jig in the
ring after the second seed beat
Australian Jeffrey Horn to set
up a clash with Uranchimeg.
"It's going to be harder to
fight with the Mongolian (than
Stalker), but we will see,"
Berinchyk said before discuss-
ing the eye-catching mostly
shaved style with a lengthy
piece of hair left on top.
CUBAN FAILURE
There was a rare Cuban
failure on Wednesday as light-
heavyweight Julio La Cruz
Peraza followed Stalker out of
the Games when the top seed
in the division was beaten
18-15 by Brazilian Yamaguchi
Falcao Florentino.
Peraza was the more ag-
gressive throughout the fight
but Falcao boxed cleverly on
the counter and picked off the
Cuban as he came in to deserv-
edly take the bout.
It was a second medal of
the Games for the Falcao fam-
ily after Yamaguchi's brother
Esquiva was also guaranteed a
bronze by reaching the semifi-
nals of the middleweights.
In the light-flyweights, top
seed and defending champion
Zou Shiming of China came
through a tough bout with
Kazak Birzhan Zhakypov to
reach the last four and secure a
bronze. Zou's awkward style,
throwing considered punches
from different angles was
enough to sway the judges into
giving him a 13-10 win de-
spite his attempts to hold on at
the end as he took a number of
blows in the final 30 seconds.
The victory set up a semifi-
nal clash with Ireland's Paddy
Barnes, who Zou thrashed in
the last four en route to his
gold in Beijing.
Barnes was unhappy with
the scoring four years ago
and his display in ousting
lively Indian Devendro Singh
Laishram 23-18 suggested he
should prove more of a match
for Zou this time. — Reuters
British captain exits, rare Cuban casualty
JOHANNESBURG — South
Africa Test captain Graeme
Smith was omitted from the
15-man squad to take part in
the World Twenty20 in Sri
Lanka next month, Cricket
South Africa (CSA) an-
nounced yesterday.
The 31-year-old last
played a T20 international
in October 2011, but in July
was named by CSA in a 30-
man provisional squad for
the global event. There was,
however, a place in the squad
for all-rounder Jacques Kallis,
who has played just one T20
international for his country
since May 2010.
"We are confident that our
squad will be very competi-
tive and make South Africa
proud. We have had basically
the same squad together for
the past year and many of
them also produced stand-out
performances at the Indian
Premier League (IPL)," CSA
selection convener Andrew
Hudson said in a statement.
The World T20 starts in Sri
Lanka on September 18 with
South Africa drawn in the
same group as the hosts and
Zimbabwe.
In an effort to gain some
valuable match practice ahead
of the global showpiece, the
same 15-man squad will play
a three-match T20 series in
England next month.
“The Proteas will also
have excellent preparation for
the World Twenty20 by fin-
ishing the England tour with
three matches. They may be
playing on a different surface
to that they will find in Sri
Lanka but they will be able to
hone their T20 specific skills,"
Hudson added.
Squad: AB de Villiers (captain),
Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien,
Johan Botha, JP Duminy, Francois
du Plessis, Jacques Kallis, Richard
Levi, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel,
Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Rob-
in Peterson, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo
Tsotsobe. — Reuters
SA omit Smith from
World T20 squad
MUSCAT — Munir Trans-
port and Assarain registered
huge victories in the third
round of the Ramadhan
softball cricket tournament,
organised by Pakistan Social
Club.
In the matches played
at PSM grounds, Munir
Transport thrashed Omantel
Knight Riders by 67 runs
while Assarain beat Al
Nahda XI by 10 wickets.
Brief scores: Munir
Transport 121 for one off 8
overs beat Omantel Knight
Riders 54 off 8 overs. MoM:
Ghazanfar of Munir Trans-
port (68: 28b, 8x6, 2x4). Al
Nahda XI 74 for 6 off 8
overs lost to Assarain CC
75 for no loss in 4.3 overs.
MoM: Waseem of Assarain
(53: 17b, 6x6, 3x4).
Today’s ties: Assarain
CC vs Ayan XI, Cheema XI
vs Stars Light 'A', Al Saigh
vs winner of (Cheema vs
Stars Light 'A').
Munir Transport,
and Assarain
score huge wins
LONDON — Holders United
States and Spain are one step
away from a rematch of the
2008 gold-medal game after
recording quarterfinal vic-
tories in the Olympic men's
basketball on Wednesday.
The US, getting a lift from
Kobe Bryant and LeBron
James, eliminated a game and
gritty Australia team 119-86
while Spain prevailed 66-59
in a tough and testy encounter
with France.
The Americans now meet
Argentina in today's semifi-
nals while Spain take on Rus-
sia.
Argentina ousted arch-ri-
vals Brazil 82-77 and Russia
eased past Lithuania 83-74.
The high-powered US team
spluttered against the fearless
Australians before Bryant,
who had been relatively quiet
during these Games, came to
life by putting on a fourth-
quarter show.
He drilled four three-point-
ers in succession to chants of
'Kobe, Kobe' from the North
Greenwich Arena crowd as
the Americans raced away
from their tiring opponents.
"Kobe's usually been the
best player every night we
play (in the NBA) so it's great
to see him go off like that,"
point guard Chris Paul told
reporters after Los Angeles
Lakers leader Bryant collect-
ed 20 points.
"He could do that every
night but our team is so deep
he doesn't need to."
Spain broke open a fierce
defensive battle in the final
minute to win a bad-tempered
contest that threatened to turn
into a brawl.
Back-to-back fouls for
unsportsmanlike behaviour
were handed out to France's
Ronny Turiaf and Nicolas Ba-
tum for hard hits while play-
ers from both teams had to be
restrained by officials.
MEDALS FIGHT
"Nobody likes to lose in
the quarterfinal of the Ol-
ympics," said Spain's Marc
Gasol who led the winners
with 14 points.
"Everybody wants to fight
for those medals. Sometimes
it gets a little out of hand be-
cause emotions get involved.
Nobody got hurt, that's the
most important thing."
Argentina overcame a
sluggish start and a late Bra-
zilian rally to return to the
semifinals.
It is the third successive
appearance in the last four
for the South Americans who
won gold in 2004 and bronze
in 2008.
The Argentines jumped
up and down with joy before
singing along with their fans
in celebration.
"We hung in there in the
end and got an awesome win,"
said the experienced Manu Gi-
nobili. "It's very, very hard to
make an Olympics semifinal
and against Brazil for us it's
maybe even more special."
United States and
Spain on course
for final repeat
FRANCE’S Luc Abalo (2nd right) takes a shot in his men’s handball quarterfinal against Spain on Wednesday. — Reuters
KOBE Bryant of the US shoots a three-point basket
against Australia during their men’s quarterfinal at the
North Greenwich Arena on Wednesday. — Reuters
AUSTRALIA’S Tate Smith (left), David Smith (2nd left), Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear (right) celebrate winning gold in the men’s kayak four (K4)
1,000m event at Eton Dorney during the Games yesterday. — Reuters
NEW YORK — Cristiano
Ronaldo scored a pair of
second-half goals as Real
Madrid trounced AC Milan
5-1 in an exhibition game at
Yankee Stadium on Wednes-
day.
Kaka had three assists
against his former team in
the match-up between two
of Europe's top clubs.
Angel di Maria gave
nine-time European cham-
pions Real Madrid the lead
with a 25-yard volley in the
24th minute before Robinho
tied it for AC Milan nine
minutes later.
Ronaldo finished off two
nice passing plays in the
49th and 66th minutes.
Sergio Ramos made it
4-1 with a header following
Kaka's corner kick in the
81st. Jose Callejon capped
the scoring off Kaka's chip
shot in the 89th.
Real Madrid outshot Mi-
lan 27-8. — AFP
Real Madrid rout
AC Milan in
exhibition tie
LONDON — Brazilian
world champions Emanuel
Rego and Alison Cerutti face
Germans Julius Brink and
Jonas Reckermann in the
Olympic men's beach vol-
leyball final as Emanuel bids
to recapture gold eight years
after his last triumph.
Emanuel, 39, is compet-
ing in his fifth Olympics. He
won gold in Athens in 2004
and bronze in Beijing in
2008 with his former team-
mate Ricardo Santos.
Alison, 27, is appearing
in his first Games. He and
Emanuel have been playing
together for three years and
have been increasingly dom-
inant, winning the last world
championship.
Brink, 30, and Recker-
mann, 33, also had long ca-
reers with different partners
but they have enjoyed their
greatest successes since they
came together in 2009. That
year, they won the world
championship.
If the Germans win the fi-
nal, they will become the first
European team to take gold
in Olympic beach volleyball.
Germans face
Brazilians in
men’s final
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Chi ef Executi veOffi cer DR IBRAHIM BIN AHMED AL KINDI. Edi tor-i n-Chi ef FAHMI BIN KHALID AL HARTHY
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012
Athletics: (1800) Men's pole vault final; (1810) Women's 4x400 relays
1st rd; (1835) Women's hammer final; (1845) Men's 4x100m relay 1st
rd; (1905) Women's 5,000m final; (1940) Women's 4x100m relay final;
(1955) Women's 1,500m final; (2020) Men's 4x400m relay final
Basketball: (1600, 2000) Semifinals
Boxing: (1230) Semifinals Men's 49 kg, 56 kg, 64 kg, 75 kg, 91 kg;
(1930) Semifinals Men's 52 kg, 60 kg, 69 kg, 81 kg, +91 kg
Canoe-Kayak Sprint: (0830) Elimination and semifinals: Men's K1
200m, Men's C1 200m, Women's K1 200m, Men's K2 200m
Cycling BMX: (1400) Men's and women's semifinals; (1530) Men's
and women's finals
Football: (1845) Men's third-place play-off (Cardiff)
Rhythmic Gymnastics: (1100) Individual all-around qualifications
3rd rotation; (1218) Individual all-around qualifications 4th rotation;
(1350) Group all-around qualification 2nd Rotation
Handball: (1600, 1930) Men's semifinals
Hockey: (0730) Women's 11th place play-off; (1030) 5th place play-
off; (1430) 3rd place play-off; (1900) Final
Freestyle Wrestling: (1200) Men's 55 kg, 74 kg
Swimming: (1100) Men's Open Water 10 km
Synchronised Swimming: (1400) Teams Free Routine final
Diving: (1700) Men's 10m Platform preliminary round
Taekwondo: (0800) Women's 67 kg, Men's 80 kg
Sailing: (1100) Women's Elliott 6m semifinals; (1200) Women's 470
final
Volleyball: (1400, 1830) Men's semifinals
Water Polo: (1320) Men's semifinal 5th/8th; (1440) Men's semifinal
1st/4th; (1730) Men's semifinal 5th/8th; (1850) Men's semifinal 1st/4th.
(All times GMT) — AFP
TODAY’S SCHEDULE
CHARLOTTE Dujardin of Britain riding
Valegro performs to win gold.
LONDON — Hungarian
Eva Risztov, who returned
to competitive swimming
after a four-year absence,
stunned her rivals to take
the gold medal in the wom-
en's 10 km open water
swim yesterday.
In ideal conditions in
the Serpentine lake in
Hyde Park, Risztov took
the race to her competitors
and although American
Haley Anderson managed
to close the gap at the end,
the Hungarian had opened
enough of a lead to secure
victory. "I saw Haley but I
had some reserves for the
finish," Risztov said.
"This (lead from the
front) is the toughest way
to win but I decided to
follow this tactic because
this is the only way to win
clearly. That is what I
trained for."
Risztov posted 1 hour
57 minutes 38.2 seconds,
0.4 seconds ahead of An-
derson. Bronze went to
Italian Martina Grimaldi,
who was a further 3.2 sec-
onds behind.
Anderson said: "I want-
ed to be in the front of the
pack from the beginning.
Normally I start from the
back and move my way up
during the race.
"It worked really well
today. I just wanted to be
second to fourth through-
out the race and that's
what I did."
British medal hope Ker-
ri-Anne Payne, who won
silver in Beijing, finished
just outside the medals in
fourth place. — dpa
Risztov wins
women’s
open water
swimming
COVENTRY, England —
Canada clinched the bronze
medal in the women's Olym-
pic soccer tournament when
a goal seconds from the end
of time added on gave them
a 1-0 win over France at
the City of Coventry Sta-
dium yesterday. With extra
time looking inevitable and
92 minutes on the clock,
midfielder Diana Matheson
pounced on a loose ball that
bounced off a defender's
thigh to break French hearts
after they had dominated
the second half but wasted
chance after chance.
Holders the US meet
world champs Japan in the
gold medal match later.
Canada beat
France to
take bronze
LONDON — South African
"blade runner" Oscar Pisto-
rius got a lucky break for his
Olympic relay medal hopes
yesterday, while world record
holder Ashton Eaton took a
comfortable decathlon lead
into the final two events.
South Africa's 4x400 me-
tres relay team was advanced
to the final on appeal, even
though they failed to finish the
race when their second man,
Ofentse Mogawane, collided
with Kenyan Vincent Mumo
Kilo after 700 metres, fell and
dislocated his shoulder.
Kenya was later disquali-
fied because Kilo cut into
Mogawana's path, paving the
way for South Africa to com-
pete in the final later today.
"The Jury of Appeal agreed
to advance the South African
team to the final, even though
they did not finish the race,
considering that they had been
severely damaged in the inci-
dent with Kenya," the ruling
athletics body IAAF said.
Mogawane said the injury
was "very painful."
"I was tapped on the leg
and then I felt myself landing
on my shoulder. I was falling
and tumbling and I dislocated
my shoulder," he said.
South Africa placed sec-
ond in the 4x400m relay at the
2011 world championships and
are considered a medal con-
tender at the London Games
as well.
Pistorius, the double-am-
putee runner whose nickname
comes from the carbon fibre
prosthetics he competes in,
hopes to join a small group
of disabled athletes who have
medalled at the Olympics.
The four-time Paralympics
gold medallist was part of the
2011 worlds team, although he
didn't run the final.
The Bahamas and the
United States led the way into
the Olympic relay final with
identical finishes of 2 minutes
58.87 seconds as warm sum-
mer weather returned to the
Olympics.
On the decathlon front,
Eaton was leading fellow
American and two-time reign-
ing world champion Trey Har-
dee after eight events, surg-
ing further ahead again in the
mid-day pole vault portion he
ended after clearing 5.20m to
conserve energy.
Eaton, who bettered the
world record to 9,039 points at
the US trials last month, stood
on 7,381 points going into the
concluding javelin throw and
1,500m.
Hardee lost ground with
4.80m after a comeback ear-
lier in the day, and is now
more than 200 points behind
on 7,159. Elsewhere, world
champion Olga Chicherova of
Russia qualified for the wom-
en's high jump final, as did
2008 winner Tia Hellebaud of
Belgium, who recently came
out of retirement in search of
another gold.
The decathlon was to
be completed at the end of
evening athletics session,
which will also see Jamaican
superstar Usain Bolt attempt in
the 200m final to become the
first Olympian to win succes-
sive sprint doubles. — dpa
Pistorius gets relay break, Eaton dominates decathlon
LONDON — Nicola Adams
of Britain secured the first-
ever women's boxing gold
medal on the sport's Olympic
debut at London 2012 while
Katie Taylor delivered Ireland
its first gold of the Games
yesterday.
In the first of three
women's finals at the Ex-
Cel centre, Adams outboxed
China's Ren Cancan in the
51 kg flyweight division.
Adams had three-time
world champion Ren on
the canvas midway through
the second round with a left
and right combination on
her way to a comprehensive
16-7 points win.
"It's a dream come true.
I am so happy and over-
whelmed with joy right
now," said Adams, who had
twice lost in world champi-
onship finals to Ren.
"I have wanted this all
my life and I have done it."
Urged on by a huge Irish
contingent in the 10,000-
strong crowd, Taylor gave
Ireland its first boxing gold
since Michael Carruth at
Barcelona 1992 with victory
over Russia's Sofya Ochiga-
va by a 10-8 scoreline.
American teenager Cla-
ressa Shields outfoxed and
outgunned Russian Na-
dezda Torlopova to win
the women's 75 kg middle-
weight gold.
Shields took the bout
19-12 to claim America's
only gold medal in the ring
at the Games after the nine
men all exited before the
semifinals.
Adams, Taylor and Shields
win women’s boxing gold
LONDON — The United
States flexed their Olympian
athletics muscles on Wednes-
day as Allyson Felix won
200 metres gold, Aries Merrit
claimed the 110m hurdles and
Brittney Reese the long jump.
Four years ago Jamaica
gave the US a sprint pummel-
ling, winning both 100s, both
200s and the men's 4x100 relay
and normal service is likely to
be resumed after Jamaican duo
Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake
looked a class apart when they
cruised into the men's 200m
final.
However, on a night when
the US picked up three gold
among seven of the available
12 track and field medals, not
even the most one-eyed is-
lander could begrudge Felix
her moment of triumph having
finished runner-up to Jamaican
Veronica Campbell-Brown at
the previous two Olympics.
Felix, who runs with such
liquid grace that she barely
seems in contact with the
ground, came off the bend
level with her nemesis and
Jamaica's 100m champion
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce but
maintained her elegant form as
the others tightened to win in
21.88 seconds.
Fraser-Pryce took silver in
22.09 with American Carmel-
ita Jeter third in 22.14.
Merrit delivered a personal
best 12.92 to hold off com-
patriot and world champion
Jason Richardson (13.04) and
Hansle Parchment, whose
13.12 was a Jamaican record.
BARREN STREAK
Reese broke an even longer
barren streak as she became
the first American winner of
the women's long jump since
Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988.
She registered only two
legal jumps from her six at-
tempts but the first of them
was 7.12m and good enough
for the gold.
Bolt was at his most relaxed
on Wednesday, just stretching
his legs through the last 80
metres to win his 200m heat in
20.18 and he looks on course
to become the first man to re-
tain the 200m title and the first
to win both sprints twice.
Felix leads United States to golden night
LONDON — Defending
champions Germany staged
a thrilling fightback to defeat
world champions Australia 4-2
and reach the Olympic men's
hockey final yesterday.
For the first two-thirds of
the match the Aussies had
often looked the better team,
but a controversial disallowed
goal fired up the Germans who
came back spiritedly from
1-2 down with three dramatic
goals.
Germany were obliged to
their goalkeeper Max Wein-
hold for two courageous saves
in the first half, both from pen-
alty corners. But he could not
stop the Australians taking the
lead when Glenn Turner, his
shaven head gleaming in the
sun, worked acres of space for
himself on the left, cut in and
shot hard.
Weinhold did manage to
block it, but the rebound found
Kieran Govers, bombing in
down a centre right channel,
and he scored with a flourish.
The lead lasted only three
minutes though. Matthias Wit-
thaus did well to weave into
the penalty area, and after the
ball hit an Australian foot, he
won a penalty corner.
Taken by Florian Fuchs it
was rammed home by Moritz
Furste.
Early in the second half,
Australia had the lead again
when the Germans got into a
defensive muddle.
Weinhold appeared to have
saved well again, but still the
ball was not cleared, and Turn-
er thwacked it in from a few
feet.
But the match turned around
after Germany were denied an
apparently brilliant equaliser,
for dangerous play.
Korn's perceptive lofted
pass was deftly controlled
mid-air by Oskar Deecke and
with a little aerial juggling, he
nudged over the goalkeeper.
But it did not count and
after four Germans failed to
get the referee to change his
mind, the Olympic champions
seemed to be fired up by the
perceived injustice.
Very soon Tobias Hauke
split the Australian defence
with a diagonal ball from the
left, putting in Witthaus to
equalise, and within a few
minutes Germany had a two-
goal lead.
First the Germans stopped
play and asked for a video
review which showed an Aus-
tralian foot touching the ball
inside the penalty area, and
the resulting penalty corner
brought a goal.
Ben Wess took it and elder
brother Timo Wess scored
from it.
After that he Australians
were forced to press hard and
from an inevitable breakaway
Fuchs made a place in the final
safe with a fourth goal.
"It was the kind of passion-
ate game you need in a semi-
final. There was some great
hockey," said Germany coach
Markus Weise.
Australia coach Ric Char-
lesworth said his team paid for
a soft error.
"But the goal which got
Germany back into the game
came from a soft turn-over
in midfield. You can't do that
against the Olympic champi-
ons," he said.
Pakistan twice fought back
from a goal down to defeat
South Korea 3-2 and claim sev-
enth place while New Zealand
clinched a 3-1 win over Argen-
tina for ninth spot. — AFP
Germany defeat Australia to reach final
GERMANY’S Matthias Witthaus (left) scores a goal past Australia’s goalkeeper Nathan Burgers during their men’s semifinal match yesterday. — Reuters
LONDON — Britain's Charlotte Du-
jardin won Olympic gold in individual
dressage on horse Valegro after a free-
style that celebrated British musical
classic Pomp and Circumstance.
Britain, which before taking team
gold earlier this week had never won an
Olympic dressage medal, now boasts
three. Dujardin's team-mate Laura
Bechtolsheimer won bronze with what
she called her best ride of the Games.
Silver medallist Adelinde Cornelis-
sen of the Netherlands, who rode her
programme to variations of Tchaiko-
vsky's Nutcracker, set an Olympic
record with her score of 88.196 per
cent.
But that fell immediately to Dujar-
din, who scored 90.089 per cent. Dur-
ing the team competition, she scored
Olympic record marks for her grand
prix and grand prix special tests.
The Olympic debutante, who only
burst into the top ranks of international
dressage last year, wept and hugged
Valegro following the medal presenta-
tion as the crowd cheered and stomped.
The horse is set to be sold after the
Games. "The crowd is incredible," said
Bechtolsheimer after her ride and be-
fore Dujardin went into the ring.
"They've carried Charlotte, Carl
(Hester) and me through each of the
rides and carried us to the gold med-
al."
Britain’s Dujardin pockets
individual dressage gold
USA’s Allyson Felix celebrates after winning the women’s 200m final. CENTRE: Gold
winner Brittney Reese of the US competes in the women’s long jump final. RIGHT: US’
Aries Merrit celebrates after winning the men’s 110m hurdles final. — AFP
Country G S B T
China 36 23 19 78
United States 35 23 25 83
Great Britain 24 13 14 51
South Korea 12 7 6 25
Russian Fed 11 21 23 55
Germany 9 15 10 34
France 8 9 11 28
Hungary 8 4 3 15
Italy 7 6 4 17
Australia 6 12 9 27
Kazakhstan 6 0 2 8
Netherlands 5 5 6 16
Japan 4 13 14 31
Iran 4 3 1 8
North Korea 4 0 1 5
Belarus 3 3 4 10
Cuba 3 3 1 7
New Zealand 3 2 5 10
Ukraine 3 1 6 10
South Africa 3 1 1 5
Spain 2 6 1 9
Romania 2 5 2 9
Denmark 2 4 3 9
Jamaica 2 2 2 6
Brazil 2 1 7 10
Poland 2 1 6 9
Croatia 2 1 1 4
Switzerland 2 1 0 3
Ethiopia 2 0 2 4
Canada 1 4 10 15
Sweden 1 3 3 7
Czech Rep 1 3 1 5
Kenya 1 2 2 5
Slovenia 1 1 2 4
Georgia 1 1 1 3
Norway 1 1 1 3
Dominican Rep 1 1 0 2
Lithuania 1 0 1 2
Ireland 1 0 1 2
Grenada 1 0 0 1
Algeria 1 0 0 1
Venezuela 1 0 0 1
Mexico 0 3 2 5
Colombia 0 3 2 5
Azerbaijan 0 2 2 4
Egypt 0 2 0 2
Slovakia 0 1 3 4
India 0 1 3 4
Mongolia 0 1 2 3
Belgium 0 1 2 3
Armenia 0 1 2 3
Indonesia 0 1 1 2
Tunisia 0 1 1 2
Thailand 0 1 1 2
Estonia 0 1 1 2
Serbia 0 1 1 2
Finland 0 1 0 1
Cyprus 0 1 0 1
Guatemala 0 1 0 1
Chinese Taipei 0 1 0 1
Malaysia 0 1 0 1
Portugal 0 1 0 1
Greece 0 0 2 2
Singapore 0 0 2 2
Qatar 0 0 2 2
Moldova 0 0 2 2
Hong Kong 0 0 1 1
Argentina 0 0 1 1
Tajikistan 0 0 1 1
Saudi Arabia 0 0 1 1
Kuwait 0 0 1 1
Puerto Rico 0 0 1 1
Trinidad &Tob 0 0 1 1
Turkey 0 0 1 1
Morocco 0 0 1 1
Uzbekistan 0 0 1 1
MEDAL TALLY

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