Archive for April 2009

Child Stalking more Aggressive

Child Stalking more Aggressive

Child stalking ‘more aggressive’
Stalking by children and teenagers tends to be significantly more violent than that carried out by adults, Australian research has suggested.
Psychiatrists looked at nearly 300 so-called juvenile stalkers and found they rarely acted due to infatuation for their victim, as often assumed.
Instead stalking was an extension of bullying, or a reaction to a perceived injustice – including sexual rejection.
The findings are reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
The team, led by Rosemary Purcell at the University of Melbourne, looked at 299 restraining orders from the city’s children’s court that met the criteria for stalking.
A significant minority of the juvenile stalkers (36%) were female – a far higher proportion than found among adult stalkers, researchers found.
In pursuit
Bullying, retaliation and rejection were among the main reasons for juvenile stalking, with sexual predation accounting for just 5% and infatuation for 2%.
Three-quarters of the victims reported being threatened.
These ranged from veiled threats such as “watch your back”, to explicit threats to harm, rape or kill.
In 15% of cases, threats of violence had been made against the victim’s family or friends as well.
While male adolescent stalkers mainly pursued girls, female stalkers tended focused their harassment on other girls.
They also often recruited their friends as accomplices to the stalking.
The report said: “Stalking behaviour in juveniles has traditionally been trivialised as uncommon and innocuous. This study provides the first systematic examination of juvenile stalkers.
“Juvenile stalking is characterised by direct, intense, overtly threatening and all too often violent forms of pursuit,” the authors wrote.
“The seriousness that is afforded to adult forms of stalking should similarly apply to this behaviour among juveniles, given the even greater risks of disruption to the victim’s life and risks of being attacked.”
Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive of Beatbullying, said: “The research further proves that juvenile stalking is a very dangerous form of bullying and one that is likely to escalate to youth-on-youth violence.
“Early intervention and on the ground bullying prevention work in schools and local communities needs to be part of the solution, with young people at the heart of implementing change.”

Source:BBC

Bankers Made astonishing Mess

Bankers Made astonishing Mess

Bankers made ‘astonishing mess’
The effects of the continuing banking crisis will be felt for generations, a committee of MPs has warned.
The Treasury Committee, in its second report on the crisis, said it had been caused largely by the banks’ own reckless behaviour.
“Bankers have made an astonishing mess of the financial system,” said committee chairman John McFall.
The MPs supported the various attempts of the government to bail out the banks and the shore up the banking system.
But they criticised banks for increasing their charges and fees to small business borrowers.
“The culture within parts of British banking has increasingly been one of risk taking, leading to the meltdown that we have witnessed,” said John McFall, chairman of the committee.
Repercussions
The MPs said they favoured greater regulation to protect bank depositors.
And they called for further consideration of the idea of separating High Street retail banking from the more commercially risky investment banking.
The committee supported the government’s approach of taking a direct stake in banks which were being rescued with the help of taxpayers’ money.
But the MPs said that the details of the bank investments being guaranteed under the recently launched asset protection scheme should be disclosed, with the public being told what the assets are, how much they are worth, and how much value they might eventually lose.
“The repercussions of this banking crisis are being felt, and will continue to be felt, by ordinary people for many generations,” Mr McFall said.
“Looking to the future, the rebuilding of consumer trust is key,” he added.
Deplorable behaviour
As well as criticising the behaviour of banks in the past few years leading up to the start of the international financial crisis, the MPs also criticised their current lending polices.
The MPs held several sessions in the regions to gather evidence outside London.
And they were told that, contrary to the claims now being made by banks, many small businesses were finding it very hard to obtain loans, except with much higher charges and fees.
“The committee deplores the behaviour of a number of those banks who have received so much public money and behaved in such an insensitive manner, particularly to established customers,” said Mr McFall.
“There is clearly an unresolved inconsistency between, on the one hand, bankers’ assurances that they are increasing their lending and, on the other hand, widespread and clearly sincere complaints that credit is difficult to obtain and increasingly expensive,” he said.
The British Bankers Association (BBA) replied that anecdotal evidence from disgruntled bank customers having a hard time in the recession had not given the MPs an accurate picture.
“Hard data from many sources – such as the BBA, the Bank of England and BERR – confirm banks are continuing to lend,” said the BBA.
“The latest figures show bank lending to small businesses has increased by 5% in the last 12 months,” it added.
Deposit protection
One organisation praised by the MPs was the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
The committee said the scheme had developed a number of “innovative solutions” to deal with the collapse of several banks in the UK.
But the MPs said banks should make it clear to their customers exactly which of their subsidiaries carried separate deposit protection.
And they recommended that each brand name run by a bank should have a separate banking license, which would trigger such cover.
The committee also appears to be showing due deference to the Governor of the Bank of England, says the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston.
They won’t dismiss his view that “a separation of retail from investment banking functions is ‘very attractive’”, but nor do they sign up for it, our correspondent says.

Source:BBC

Experts Unveil African Gene Study

Experts Unveil African Gene Study

Experts unveil African gene study
A group of scientists have unveiled what they say is the most comprehensive study ever of African genes.
Published following a decade of study, the researchers say their findings give new insight into the origins of humans.
The first humans probably evolved near the South Africa-Namibia border before migrating north, the study says.
Published in the US journal Science, it aims to teach Africans on population history and aid research into why diseases hit particular groups.
The scientists examined genetic material from 121 African populations, as well as four African-American populations and 60 non-African populations.
‘Benefit Africans’
The results provided “novel insights about levels and patterns of genetic diversity in Africa, a region that has been under-represented in human genetic studies”, said Sarah Tishkoff, a geneticist from the University of Pennsylvania.
The first humans most likely evolved near the South Africa-Namibia border, the team said, and migrated north out of the continent via the Red Sea.
Researchers had identified 14 ancestral population clusters “that correlated with ethnicity and shared cultural and/or linguistic properties”, they said.
They found high levels of mixed ancestry in most populations, as well as evidence showing common ancestry in geographically diverse groups.
The study also looked at African-American populations, finding that almost three-quarters could trace their ancestry to West Africa.
This knowledge could help experts better understand why certain diseases impact on African-American populations, researchers said.
Dr Tishkoff said that the goal was to “benefit Africans, both by learning more about their population history and by setting the stage for future genetic studies, including studies of genetic and environmental risk factors for disease and drug response”.

Source:BBC

Iran leading Terrorism Sponsor

Iran leading Terrorism Sponsor

Iran ‘leading terrorism sponsor’
By Kim Ghattas
BBC’s state department correspondent, Washington
Iran remains the “most active state sponsor of terrorism” in the world, a report by the US state department says.
It says Iran’s role in the planning and financing of terror-related activities in the Middle East and Afghanistan threatens efforts to promote peace.
Al-Qaeda, however, remains the biggest danger to the US and the West, the annual report states.
It says that while the number of terror attack around the world is dropping, they are on the increase in Pakistan.
‘Existential threat’
The new US administration may be trying to engage Tehran, but, just like last year, Iran is still described as the most active state sponsor of terrorism.
The report charges that Iran’s involvement in countries like Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and in the Palestinian territories threatens efforts to promote peace, economic stability in the Gulf and democracy.
The report singles out the Quds force, an elite branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as the channel through which Iran support terrorist activities and groups abroad.
The report also takes to task Syria, an Iranian ally in the region.
Of equal concern, is the advance of al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan where terrorist attacks are on sharply on the rise while the rest of the world, including Iraq, has seen terrorist attacks decrease.
Washington is worried that the government in Islamabad might collapse, and last week US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Taleban fighters posed an existential threat to Pakistan, which is a nuclear power.

Source:BBC

In Pictures In Pictures Dutch Parade Attack

In Pictures  In Pictures Dutch Parade Attack

In pictures: Dutch parade attack
The Netherlands has been left in shock after a car ploughed into crowds who had gathered to see the queen in the city of Apeldoorn (Warning: Some readers may find the following images disturbing)
Bystanders scrambled to help the stricken, but four people died at the scene and another in hospital hours later.
Police officers arrested the driver and took him to hospital, where he is being treated for life-threatening injuries. They say he deliberately targeted the royals.
Television pictures showed the royal family watching apparently in shock as the events unfolded metres away from their open-topped bus.
As well as killing five people, the incident also left several others seriously injured in hospital.

Source:BBC

El Paso Not Slowing Down For Swine Flu

El Paso Not Slowing Down For Swine Flu

El Paso not slowing down for swine flu
By Andy Gallacher
BBC News, El Paso
El Paso is a border town in more than just name.
It is where the Mexican and American cultures merge into a colourful mixture of language, culture and food. Tex-Mex is the predominant dining experience here.
It is also one of North America’s largest and most important border crossings.
Each day, about 100,000 people crowd onto four small bridges, making their way from Ciudad Juarez into El Paso.
Essentially, this is one city that happens to have two names.
Making a living
The situation here is starkly different from that of Mexico City.
Instead of empty streets and orders not to gather in large numbers, people here are huddled together on the bridges in huge numbers on a daily basis.
The fact is that most have to make the crossing. They study at the university, work or have family here.
The need to keep making a living seems to be outweighing fears about the H1N1 virus.
There is also some anger among residents. Many people feel that they are not being given enough information and few are bothering with paper masks.
On the border, though, agents say they are carrying out a procedure known as “passive surveillance”.
It means that if anyone is seen with symptoms of the virus he or she can be pulled to one side and possibly quarantined.
Although there has been a great deal of talk about closing the borders, such a move seems highly unlikely.
President Barack Obama has acknowledged that isolating America and closing an economically important border is not feasible.
“I’ve consulted with our public health officials extensively on a day-to-day basis, in some cases an hour-to-hour basis. At this point, they have not recommended a border closing,” he said.
“From their perspective, it would be akin to closing the barn door after the horses are out, because we already have cases here in the United States.”
On Thursday, an entire school district in Texas was closed down as a precaution and 80,000 children were sent home. The first death in the US also happened in this state.
Measured calm
A hundred miles east of El Paso, in the tiny town of Fort Hancock, there are no high security fences and security cameras.
Like much of the border between the US and Mexico, there are plenty of places to cross, albeit illegally.
“We’re not out here 24/7,” says Deputy Sheriff Robert Wilson, who patrols the border as part of his duties.
“There’s no way to monitor folks if they decide to cross from Mexico to the United States and if someone was infected with the disease then they would enter into the United States undetected.”
The situation here is evolving rapidly, but there is also a measured calm.
People on both sides of the border are concerned, and perhaps a little frustrated, that more information is not being given out.
But there is also a need, primarily driven by basic economics, for Mexicans and Americans to keep on crossing this and other borders.
Mexico City, to many, feels like a distant place.
But as schools close and the number of confirmed cases inevitably rises, it is getting closer.

Source:BBC

Basra will Miss British Troops

Basra will Miss British Troops

You might expect the mood in Basra to be one of rejoicing, given that an occupying army is pulling out. It is exactly the opposite, finds the BBC’s John Simpson.
The British themselves tend to think of their time in Basra as a failure. The Americans told them bluntly that they were much too soft.
They patrolled in berets instead of helmets, and were not allowed to wear sunglasses; they did not want to seem menacing.
That worked well, until neighbouring Iran decided to stir up the militias to attack the British.
There was the famous scene in September 2005, shown on television sets around the world, when a crowd of Iraqis attacked a British armoured vehicle and set it, and its crew, on fire.
The British increasingly allowed the militia groups to behave as they wanted, in order to avoid the kind of battles which would cost British lives.
Public opinion
The government in London knew that public opinion at home, already turning strongly against Britain’s involvement in the invasion of Iraq, would be deeply hostile to anything they regarded as a pointless loss of life.
But as a result, women were attacked in the streets of Basra for not wearing Islamic dress, and shops which sold goods that were thought to be offensive were attacked. There was violence and theft.
Eventually the British withdrew from Basra city centre. American analysts said they would be chased out with their tails between their legs.
The Badr Brigade, one of the leading militias, claimed that it had scored a major victory in forcing the British out.
When I went to see the political head of the Badr Brigade, now that the British are leaving for good, I expected him to be crowing over his militia’s supposed victory.
On the contrary, Forat al-Shar’a was full of praise for the way the British had behaved in Basra.
They were, he said, cleverer than the Americans, and had treated the Iraqis with great wisdom. They knew what had been required here, and the fact that the British were leaving peacefully is a genuine achievement.
That came from their worst enemy here.
Ordinary people I have spoken to agree. They are worried about the Americans, who they think will be aggressive and hostile, and they speak of the British leaving with genuine regret.
Yet the fact is that American tactics have changed during the past couple of years, and they have been a good deal less confrontational. They do not want to see their soldiers killed pointlessly either.
The one big question here is, will Iran do what it did with the British, and stir up the militias against the American troops? If so, the next two years could be difficult ones in Basra.
But if this does not happen, and the Americans run the city with a light hand, they too will be remembered with nostalgia instead of anger.

Source:BBC

Football Europe Serie A To Form Breakaway League

Football  Europe  Serie A To Form Breakaway League

Serie A to form breakaway league
Italy’s top football division Serie A is poised to split from Serie B to form a new league Lega Calcio Serie A.
The two divisions have been unable to reach an agreement over finance and Serie A is set to copy the formation of England’s Premier League.
The Premier League increased its share of television revenue after breaking away from the other divisions in 1992.
“Nineteen Serie A clubs today decided to create the ‘Lega Calcio Serie A’,” said a statement by the new league.
“The decision was made because of the impossibility of reaching an understanding with the Serie B clubs” the statement added.
Italian top-flight clubs are determined to close the gap on Premier League sides, who have increasingly dominated European competition.
The Premier League is the richest in the world and has had three teams in the semi-finals of the Champions League for the last two seasons, while top-flight English sides have been involved in the competitions last four finals.
It is believed that only relegated-threatened Lecce voted against the proposal for Serie A to split from Serie B, the only other fully professional division in Italy.
“We have created a new league for Serie A,” said Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini after Thursday’s meeting. “This time it’s for real. I’m not happy but it was necessary.”
Maurizio Beretta, the former head of Italy’s employers’ association, has been proposed as the president of the new league.
But the formation of Lega Calcio Serie A leaves the current Serie B facing an uncertain future.
The second-tier division did not have a television agreement last season and only struck a new one shortly before the start of the current campaign, while many clubs in the division have recently experienced financial problems.

Source:BBC

Golf Woods Leads The Way In Charlotte

Golf  Woods Leads The Way In Charlotte

Woods leads the way in Charlotte
Tiger Woods made a late burst to take a three-shot clubhouse lead on the first day of the Quail Hollow Championships in Charlotte.
The 33-year-old, making his first appearance since finishing sixth in the Masters, shot six birdies in his last nine holes for a seven-under-par round.
Fellow Americans Jeff Maggert and Steve Flesch and South Africa’s Retief Goosen are in joint second place.
England’s Justin Rose, at two over par, is the highest-placed Briton.
World number Woods won the title in 2007 but was unable to defend it last season as he was recovering from knee surgery and Anthony Kim won in his absence.
But after starting on the back nine, Woods transformed his round over the second half of the course to signal his determination to reclaim the trophy.
A trademark run of form saw him pick up shots on 16, 17 and 18 to accelerate away from those already on the course and throw down the gauntlet to those still to tee off.
Ten of the world’s top 14 have gathered for the tournament with Kim, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk and Angel Cabrera all hoping to deny Woods.

Source:BBC

Kenya Church Arson Case Dismissed

Kenya Church Arson Case Dismissed

Kenya church arson case dismissed
The high court in Kenya has dismissed a case against four men who were accused of involvement in burning to death 33 people in a church in January 2008.
The judge said the prosecution had failed to make its case against the men, who were the only people charged with murder over the attack in Eldoret.
Justice David Maraga also blamed shoddy police investigating in his ruling.
Eldoret is in the Rift Valley, which was hardest hit by weeks of bloodshed after the disputed December 2007 poll.
The four suspects were charged two months after the town’s church was torched by a mob on New Years Day 2008.
Justice Maraga criticised the police and prosecuting authorities as he announced the case would be dropped on Thursday in a 45-page ruling in Nairobi.
“The events preceding the commission of this offence cannot have eluded the police as clouds for the gathering storm were there for all to see,” he said, reported AFP news agency.
“I am not a politician but I am only a judge and a Kenyan who is just as outraged at the casual manner in which we are handling serious issues like insecurity in this country and by the attitude of our police force in the face of serious crime,” the judge added.
Violence erupted after the December 2007 presidential poll amid accusations that then opposition leader Raila Odinga was being robbed of victory by the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki.
A peace deal between the political rivals resulted in a coalition government and an end to last year’s disorder, which left an estimated 1,500 people died and 300,000 displaced.
But the unity administration has become increasingly strained in recent months amid claims by Mr Odinga, who is now prime minister, that his party is being sidelined.

Source:BBC

Tennis Federer Avenges Loss To Stepanek

Tennis  Federer Avenges Loss To Stepanek

Federer avenges loss to Stepanek
Roger Federer put last year’s Rome Masters defeat by Radek Stepanek behind him with a convincing win over the Czech in round three.
Federer eased to a 6-4 6-1 victory and a place in the last eight.
Defending champion and third seed Novak Djokovic thrashed 13th seed Tommy Robredo of Spain 6-1 6-1.
Juan Monaco, conqueror of Andy Murray, beat Marin Cilic 6-4 6-4, and fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro defeated Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3.

Source:BBC

US To Limit Guantanamo Releases

US To Limit Guantanamo Releases

US to limit Guantanamo releases
Between 50 and 100 detainees held by the US at Guantanamo Bay cannot be released or put on trial, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said.
The fate of those detainees “is still open”, Mr Gates told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The detention centre was set up in 2002 for those captured in the US “war on terror”. Some 245 men still in custody. In January President Barack Obama signed an order to close the prison within a year.
The US Justice Department is trying to determine which detainees will be taken by other countries or placed on trial.

Source:BBC

Birds Show Off Their Dance Moves

Birds Show Off Their Dance Moves

Birds show off their dance moves
By Rebecca Morelle
Science reporter, BBC News

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Some birds have a remarkable talent for dancing, two studies published in Current Biology suggest.
Footage revealed that some parrots have a near-perfect sense of rhythm; swaying their bodies, bobbing their heads and tapping their feet in time to a beat.
Previously, it was thought that only humans had the ability to groove.
The researchers believe the findings could help shed light on how our relationship with music and the capacity to dance came about.
One bird, Snowball, a sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita eleanora
), came to the researchers’ attention after YouTube footage suggested he might have a certain prowess for dance – especially when listening to Everybody by the Backstreet Boys.
Dr Aniruddh Patel, from The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, said: “We found out that the previous owner usually listened to easy listening music, but he did have this one album, and he noticed Snowball bobbing his head to the Backstreet Boys.”
To test Snowball’s skill, the scientists filmed him as they played his favourite song at various tempos.
Dr Patel told the BBC: “We analysed these videos frame by frame, and we found he did synchronise – he did slow down and speed up in time with the music.
“It was really surprising that he had this flexibility.”
Another group, led by Adena Schachner, from Harvard University, also looked at Snowball, as well as another bird, Alex, an African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus
).
Dr Schachner said: “We brought some novel music that we knew Alex had never heard before – so there was no way he had been trained to dance to this music.
“We set up the camera and hit play, and we were shocked to see that Alex started dancing to the beat. He started to bob his head up and down.”

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While Alex’s dance routines were not as elaborate as Snowball’s, analysis of the footage revealed that he was also able to match his movements with the music he was hearing.
Dr Schachner said: “This is a capacity that everyone thought was uniquely human, but we’ve found evidence that some animals can keep a beat.”
Song and dance
The scientists believe that the parrots’ apparent capacity for dance may be linked to another talent that they share with humans – the ability for vocal learning and vocal imitation.
They believe the part of the brain that evolved to allow us and a handful of other species, including dolphins, songbirds, elephants and some cetaceans, to learn and mimic different sounds may also be responsible for the ability to move in time to music.
To test whether this might be the case, the researchers turned to a vast resource of animal footage – YouTube.
From more than 1,000 videos of different dancing animals, the team found only 33 films that showed animals moving in time to a musical beat.
Dr Patel said: “These 15 species were all vocal learners – 14 parrots and one Asian elephant.”
After these initial studies, both teams now want to look more closely at different species’ relationship with music.
Dr Patel told BBC News: “No other primates, besides humans, have vocal learning, so there is a strong prediction that no other primates could learn to synchronise to music, even with extensive training.
“However, there are other mammals that have a response to vocal learning – dolphins are a notable category, and I’d love to collaborate with dolphin researchers to find out if dolphins can move to a musical beat.”
The scientists believe further research will also provide an insight into how our relationship with music evolved.
Dr Patel said: “Music is a true human universal – it is something we find in every single human culture.
“One of the questions we are asking is whether this is wired into our brains because of evolution, or is it because it builds on other brain systems.
“And this evidence builds on the fact that it is probably linked to other existing brains systems rather than being an adaptation in its own right.”
He adds: “You see here a fundamental response to music seen in species that normally don’t have a relationship to music in the world.
“They are clearly using a brain system that has a different day job, so to speak.”

Source:BBC

Africans Give 400m To Zimbabwe

Africans Give 400m To Zimbabwe

Africans give 400m to Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has received 400m (270m) in credit from African governments, says Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
The funds are aimed at helping pay civil servants and regenerating the country’s economy, he said.
Botswana provided 70m (47m) and South Africa 50m (34m), with the rest coming from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Mr Biti made the remarks during a visit to London, where he is looking for further funding.
A unity government formed by rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has appealed for billions of dollars from the West.
Mr Biti told the BBC on Thursday that Zimbabwe would actually need about 45bn (30bn) to revive its economy over the next five years, according to estimates by the International Monetary Fund.
Western donors have called for real proof of power sharing and the restoration of law and order before they open their wallets.
Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday donors should withhold development aid until Zimbabwe halts a fresh wave of invasions of farms and frees opposition and human rights activists.
Mr Biti, a senior official with Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said there was a danger of the international community believing “Mugabe cannot be trusted and that he is taking the MDC for a ride”, reported Reuters news agency.

Source:BBC

Exxon Profits Hit By Weaker Oil

Exxon Profits Hit By Weaker Oil

Exxon profits hit by weaker oil
Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest private oil company, has posted a sharp fall in quarterly profits as the price of oil dropped from its peak.
Net profit for the first three months of the year fell 58% to 4.55bn (3.06bn) from a year earlier.
The price of crude oil has averaged less than 50 a barrel this year, down from a record high of 147 last July.
Production during the quarter rose slightly to the equivalent of 4.2 million barrels of oil per day.
Exxon’s earnings were less than many Wall Street analysts had expected.
Last year the company reported record profits of 45.2bn for the year.
The company said it has increased its capital and exploration expenditures to 5.8bn, up 5% from the first quarter of 2008.
“In spite of the dramatic changes to the global economic environment, ExxonMobil is maintaining its long-term focus and disciplined approach to capital investment,” said Exxon chairman Rex Tillerson.
Earlier this week, UK oil giant BP said its first-quarter profits fell 62% from a year ago.
ExxonMobil is the largest company in the US as measured by sales and profits.

Source:BBC

Israeli Arabs Held On bomb Plot

Israeli Arabs Held On bomb Plot

Israeli Arabs held on ‘bomb plot’
Israeli police have arrested seven Arab Israelis suspected of planning to carry out bomb attacks and kidnap soldiers.
Police said the men wanted revenge for Israel’s offensive in Gaza earlier this year, which left an estimated 1,400 Palestinians dead.
The men were detained earlier this month but details have only just been released for security reasons.
Police who searched the suspects’ homes found explosives, the Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported.
Police officials say the group had intended to kidnap soldiers from the Israeli Defense Force.
Police superintendent Avid Agarissi told Israel Radio the suspects were charged with contacting “terror groups in Gaza” to train to kidnap civilians and build explosive devices.
Israel’s Arabs comprise about 20% of the country’s population.
Although they have full citizenship rights in law, many often say they suffer discrimination.

Source:BBC

Football My Club T Tottenham Spurs Star Bent Out For Two Weeks

Football  My Club  T  Tottenham  Spurs Star Bent Out For Two Weeks

Spurs star Bent out for two weeks
Tottenham striker Darren Bent will be out of action for two weeks after suffering a medial ligament injury.
The 25-year-old suffered the problem with his left knee in Saturday’s 5-2 defeat by Manchester United.
Following scans this week Bent has been instructed to wear a knee brace for a fortnight before specialists make a further assessment.
The former Charlton forward has struggled to cement a starting place but has scored 17 goals this season.
Spurs face West Brom on Saturday as they chase a seventh-place finish and possible European football.
They then travel to Goodison Park to play FA Cup finalists Everton, before playing Manchester City at home and finishing the season with a trip to Liverpool.
Manager Harry Redknapp is said to be looking to add extra firepower to his squad with Kenwyne Jones and Roque Santa Cruz top of the list.
Bent, who started his career with Ipswich, moved to Charlton in 2005 and then onto White Hart Lane in June 2007, is one of a number of players not guaranteed a spot in Tottenham’s starting XI.
Redknapp said this week: “I think this is the club to play at, there are only the top four, other than that they couldn’t do any better than Tottenham.
“I’d stay, I’d stay and fight for my place. It’s a club going places and we could have a great season next year. It’s a squad capable of pushing the top four.
“We need a few new additions in a couple of areas. They are the areas I want to improve.”

Source:BBC

Hundreds Hurt By Tanzania Blast

Hundreds Hurt By Tanzania Blast

Hundreds hurt by Tanzania blast
More than 300 people, some critically injured, remain in hospital a day after the massive armoury explosion near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s biggest city.
Officials said the death toll has risen to 10, including six army officers killed at the ammunition dump.
Investigations are under way into the cause of the blast next to the military base on the outskirts of the city.
One child drowned jumping into a river in the panic and hundreds more have still not been reunited with parents.
President Jakaya Kikwete visited the Mbagala ordnance depot on Thursday, a day after the blast which caused mass panic and flashbacks of the deadly 1998 US Embassy bombing in the country’s main commercial centre.
Dar es Salaam police commander Suleiman Kova told journalists: “The death toll may be higher since we are still compiling reports and search is going on in collapsed and burnt down buildings,” reported AFP news agency.
Criminals took advantage of the mayhem to loot the army barracks and surrounding civilian homes, said the authorities.
The BBC’s Vicky Ntetema says more than 1,000 people were injured, a third of whom were admitted in various hospitals with multiple injuries.
She visited two temporary camps set up by the Red Cross on the outskirts of the city to reunite missing children with their parents where nearly 300 youngsters remained unaccounted for this morning.
Our correspondent says many parents are still desperately looking for their children.
Some children fled for more than 15km (nine miles) after they were advised by the police and army to leave Mbagala township for their own safety.
“Most of them were running without knowing where they were going. They were assisted to the camp by some good people and parents are advised to report for missing children,” Mr Kova added, reported AFP.
In the immediate aftermath of the explosions, the Tanzanian government ordered the evacuation of high-rise buildings and offices as a precaution.
Shockwaves from no fewer than three explosions lasting at least two hours were felt throughout the city.
The armoury next to the army camp, which lies 14km (nine miles) outside the city centre, is thought to have contained large amounts of mines and artillery shells.
A number of homes in residential areas were destroyed by raining fiery debris.
One person was reportedly killed by shrapnel about 15km from the ammunition dump.

Source:BBC

Mobile Sales in Record Decline

Mobile Sales in Record Decline

Mobile sales ‘in record decline’
Mobile phone sales have plummeted by a record amount in the first quarter of 2009 as the global financial crisis sapped demand, a research firm said.
The number of phones shipped worldwide in the first three months of the year dropped by 13% to 245 million units from the same period last year.
Strategy Analytics said all of the five biggest mobile phone-makers had drops in sales.
But Apple’s iPhone defied the gloom to post a 123% annual gain in sales.
Strategy Analytics said the previous worst quarter for mobile phone sales was in the third quarter of 2001.
Massive declines
Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, had a market share of 38% in the quarter. That is three percentage points less than a year earlier.
Its sales dropped 19% to 115.5 million units.
Motorola and Sony Ericsson had the biggest sales drops, according to Strategy Analytics.
Motorola’s sales fell 46% to 14.7 million units, and Sony Ericsson shipped 14.5 million handsets, down 40% from the first quarter of 2008.
Samsung sales fell 1% to 46.3 million units.
The iPhone, the first phone by computing firm Apple, had sales of 3.8 million, up from 1.7 million units the previous year.
“We expect Apple to launch one or more new models in the coming months as it seeks to maintain its breakneck growth rate,” Strategy Analytics said.

Source:BBC

Murder Raises Ethnic Tension Higher

Murder Raises Ethnic Tension Higher

Murder raises ethnic tension higher
Ethnic tension between Hungary’s Roma and non-Roma communities has spiralled, as the BBC’s Nick Thorpe finds out at the funeral of its latest victim.
“The net is tightening around the perpetrators,” says Hungarian Police Chief Jozsef Bencze. “But our main enemy now, is time.”
The short time which passes, that is, before the next lethal attack against a Roma (Gypsy) settlement.
The Hungarian police are now investigating 18 such attacks in the past 18 months, some carried out with both firebombs, and firearms.
Tentatively, they believe they now have enough evidence to suggest that the same group of people may be responsible for eight of them, in which five people died. And that these are cases of serial killers, driven by ethnic motives.
“We will not be able to prove this, once and for all, until we have caught them,” adds Jozsef Bencze, cautiously. “But that is now the main police version.”
The names of the villages where the attacks have taken place read like a potted history of the poverty of the countryside – and of the Roma community in particular – in post-communist Hungary. You need the most detailed map of the country to track down most of them: Galgagyork, Piritse, Nyiradony, Tarnabod, Nagycsecs, Alsozsolca, Tatarszentgyorgy and Tiszalok.
On Wednesday they buried the latest victim, Jeno Koka, a 54-year-old father and grandfather, in Tiszalok.
As his coffin was carried past hundreds of mourners, the silver birch trees bent to the wind, while the evergreens in the graveyard, and the horse chestnuts, now in full flower, stood barely moving. In the arms of her relatives, Jeno’s wife Eva sobbed uncontrollably. A gypsy band – violins, double bass, clarinet – followed the hearse.
Rapid escape
Jeno Koka was killed with a single shot to the heart at 9.30 in the evening as he left his house, number 27 Nefelejcs utca – “Forget-me-not Street” – in a Roma settlement 2km from Tiszalok, to drive to his nightshift at a local chemical works.
As in every other case, the target lived in a house right at the edge of a village, enabling the perpetrators a rapid escape. They could have taken one of five roads out of town.
Jeno Koka’s house was right on the edge of the village
There are still bits of police crime-scene tape, dangling in the bushes at the roadside. Jeno’s two-year-old granddaughter, Annett, plays by the pile of half-melted candles at the spot where her grandfather fell.
A relative holds a placard showing a blown-up photograph of Jeno, his daughter, and his other granddaughter, Sabina.
Unlike most Roma in this region and in Hungary, he had a steady job, at the Alkaloida chemical factory in nearby Tiszavasvari, where he had worked for most of the past 30 years.
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Pastor Gabor Ivanyi, beside the coffin, quoted Cain, addressing God after killing his brother Abel, in the Biblical story.
It was a message directed at both the majority, and the minority population. There have been atrocities carried out by Roma against non-Roma in Hungary too, in the recent period – crimes which are further fanning ethnic tension.
In October 2006 in the same part of Hungary as Tiszalok, a 45-year-old local teacher was driving with his two daughters through the village of Olaszliszka, when a Gypsy girl ran out in front of his car. He caught her a glancing blow. He got out to see if she was all right. She ran off.
Word spread like wildfire through the village that a child had been killed. And a Roma mob closed in on the teacher, and beat him to death, in full view of his own children. Eight men are now on trial for his murder.
In February this year, Roma in a nightclub in Veszprem, in western Hungary, stabbed to death a member of the town’s handball team, and seriously injured two others.
“We are afraid that this is some kind of revenge for the teacher,” says Mihaly Balogh, the leader of the Roma council in Tiszalok.
“Those responsible for his death should be punished, just like any other criminals. But there should be no revenge.”
But he admits that such calls are growing within his own community.
“We Roma leaders don’t know how long we can hold our own people back. But we must not imitate those who commit violence against us,” he said.
“Some among us need to be restrained. Others are simply terrified.”
Poverty-stricken
At night in nearby settlements, Roma keep vigil by campfires, to discourage more attacks. In the daytime, the streets are full of rumours. Of dark 4×4 vehicles, full of white vigilantes, prowling the unmade roads.
Six thousand people live in Tiszalok, up to 14% of them Gypsies, says the mayor Sandor Gomze.
There is anger and fear among the Roma community
“Everyone is appalled by this murder,” he says.
He lists the economic ills of a small town suffering from a mixture of recent and deeper-seated economic problems. The three biggest manufacturers nearby are all shedding jobs.
Others, which set up after the fall of communism 20 years ago, have moved out, attracted by cheaper labour in Romania or China.
And while inter-ethnic relations are not bad, he says, they are more troubled than they were.
“Some people see them (the Roma) as parasites,” he says. “And these incidents increase that trend.”
After the funeral, I take the little ferry across the River Tisza – the “blonde Tisza” as it is known, because of the yellow colour created by so much sand in its waters.
The old ferryman shakes his head. “We just feel sorry for them, really sorry” he says. “There is no ethnic hatred here.”
Back at police headquarters, Jozsef Bencze has just increased the size of his special taskforce for tackling crimes against the gypsies, to 100 officers.
“Catching the perpetrators is a question of the prestige of our force,” he says. They are on high alert, for the next attack.

Source:BBC

Wifes Poll Rage Hits Berlusconi

Wifes Poll Rage Hits Berlusconi

Wife’s poll rage hits Berlusconi
Italy’s prime minister and his wife have clashed publicly after reports his party planned to field attractive young women as European election candidates.
Veronica Lario said the plan amounted to “shameless rubbish” being put on “for the entertainment of the emperor”.
Silvio Berlusconi said she had been misled by left-wing media reports that TV stars, actresses and an ex-beauty queen were among potential candidates.
But only one of the so-called “show girl” candidates made the party list.
Ms Lario vented her feelings in an email to the Italian news agency Ansa, which was then picked up by the national newspapers.
She said it was “to entertain the emperor” that beautiful young women were fielded to stand as candidates for Mr Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party in June’s European Parliament election.
“But behind the facade of curvaceous feminine beauty, what is even more serious is (Mr Berlusconi’s) impudence and lack of reserve” she continued, it offends “the credibility of all women”.
Mr Berlusconi later told reporters that he was sorry his wife had apparently believed “what she read in the papers”.
He said his party was aiming to select female candidates because “we want to renew our political class with people who are cultivated and well prepared”.
Candidates standing for the PdL would be unlike the “malodorous and badly dressed people who represent certain parties in parliament”, Mr Berlusconi added.
Ms Lario, who is Mr Berlusconi’s second wife and herself a former actress, said she wanted to make clear that “myself and my children are victims and not accomplices in this situation. We must endure it and it causes us to suffer.”
It was later announced that Barbara Matera – an actress, TV announcer and former Miss Italy contestant – was the only one of the “showgirl candidates” as the Italian media dubbed them to have made the final list.

Source:BBC

EU Warns Against Swine Flu Panic

EU Warns Against Swine Flu Panic

The EU’s health commissioner has urged Europeans not to panic over swine flu, as ministers prepare for emergency talks on ways to contain the virus.
“We have to exercise vigilance, we should not panic, we have to be prepared,” Androulla Vassiliou said.
The ministers are to discuss a possible EU-wide travel advisory for Mexico.
The World Health Organization has raised the alert to level five, its second highest, and advised governments to activate pandemic contingency plans.
In Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, President Felipe Calderon urged people to stay at home over the next five days.
There are many cases elsewhere – including the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Israel, and New Zealand.
The EU’s director-general of health and consumer protection told Reuters news agency that deaths from the disease were expected in Europe.
At the meeting of health ministers in Luxembourg, a French proposal of issuing a continent-wide travel advisory for Mexico will be discussed – though it is unclear whether it is in the power of the EU executive to impose such a ban.
Several countries have restricted travel to Mexico and many tour operators have cancelled holidays.
Other countries are resisting calls to implement travel bans or close borders, on the grounds – backed by the WHO – that there is little evidence of their efficacy.
In the latest developments:
The Netherlands confirms its first case of swine flu, in a three-year-old boy recently returned from Mexico. Cases have also been confirmed in Switzerland, Costa Rica and Peru
Ghana has become the latest country to ban pork imports as a precaution against swine flu, though no cases have been found in the West African country
China’s health minister says that the country’s scientists have developed a “sensitive and fast” test for spotting swine flu in conjunction with US scientists and the WHO. The country has recorded no incidence of the flu yet.

Source:BBC

Microsoft Preps Windows 7 Release

Microsoft Preps Windows 7 Release

Microsoft preps Windows 7 release
By Darren Waters
Technology editor, BBC News website
A release candidate of Windows 7, the next major release of the world’s most popular operating system, goes public in trial form in the next week.
Microsoft is hoping it can avoid the negative press that surrounded the launch of Vista, the last major Windows release, almost three years ago.
Windows 7 has been designed to be compatible with Vista so users do not have to invest in new hardware.
A commercial release of Windows 7 is expected in the next nine months.

A test version of Windows 7 will be available to developers from Thursday, while the public can try it out from 5 May.
John Curran, Microsoft UK’s director, Windows Client Group, told BBC News that “shortfalls” in the Vista release had caused problems for some users.
“There were challenges on hardware and application compatibility with Vista in the first couple of months – and that has left a little bit of an aftertaste for a segment of people.”
When Vista was launched many users expressed frustration that the operating system did not work with all types of existing hardware and peripherals, or programs used commonly on PCs.
And a Vista compatibility programme for hardware proved to be confusing and, in some cases, somewhat misleading.
Mr Curran said Microsoft had “learned lessons” and had been working with partner developers to ensure the same mistakes would not be repeated.
Windows 7 will also have “comparable system requirements” to Vista, which should mean that if your PC is capable of running Vista it will also run the new version.
Negative
Mr Curran said Vista had proved to be a success for Microsoft, despite the negative press that surrounds the operating system.
“Vista is the fastest selling operating system of all time and, in percentage terms, enterprise moved to Vista faster than it did to XP [an earlier version of Windows],” he said.
He said satisfaction surveys for Vista showed 90% of people were either satisfied or very satisfied and 85-90% would recommend it to a friend.
Microsoft embarked on a major advertising and marketing mission to improve the image of Vista after the muted reaction around its “The Wow starts now” campaign.
While Vista was released five months after the release candidate was made available, Mr Curran said Windows 7 would only be released when it is ready.
Bottom line
“Obviously in these times everybody is keeping an eye on the bottom line, but we are certainly taking a longer-term perspective here and always have done with Windows franchise.
“The timeline stated all along is that we are targeting Windows 7 within three years of of the launch of Vista and that would be the end of January 2010.
“We feel quite confident we are on trajectory that will deliver on that promise. But the exact timing will be based on quality.”
Windows 7 promises a major usability improvement on Vista, and a simplification of security measures which caused frustration for many users.
Mr Curran said Windows 7 would build on the security improvements in Vista, which have seen a fall in the number of malware attacks and critical vulnerabilities identified.
Many beta testers of Windows 7 have reported that it is faster than Vista, especially in terms of start-up and shutdown sequence of the computer.
Mr Curran said that the Microsoft Windows team had been poring over every aspect of the operating system to make improvements.
“We were able to shave 400 milliseconds off the shutdown time by slightly trimming the WAV file shutdown music.
“It’s indicative of really the level and detail and scrutiny on Windows 7.”
A version of Windows 7 will also be available for netbooks, but with some caveats.
The Windows 7 Starter Edition will have limitations on how many applications can be used concurrently on a machine in order to preserve performance.

Source:BBC

Israel Warning On Europe freeze

Israel Warning On Europe freeze

Israel warning on Europe ‘freeze’
Israel has told the European Union to stop criticising Benjamin Netanyahu’s government or risk being excluded from future Middle East peace negotiations.
A foreign ministry official called EU envoys in Israel after a commissioner in Brussels suggested freezing a move to upgrade EU-Israeli relations.
The commissioner said Netanyahu should commit to talks with the Palestinians.
The warning comes ahead of the first European trip by Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s new hardline foreign minister.
Israeli media say the warnings have been issued by the deputy director for European affairs at the Israeli foreign ministry, Rafi Barak. His main target the EU External Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
The UK embassy in Tel Aviv has confirmed it was contacted by Mr Barak but refused to disclose details of the conversation.
“We want the European Union to be a partner but it is important to hold a mature and discreet dialogue and not to resort to public declarations,” Rafi Barak reportedly told diplomats, according to a report in Haaretz.
He concluded by “warning” that Europe’s influence in the area would be undermined.
“Israel is asking Europe to lower the tone and conduct a discreet dialogue,” Rafi Barak is quoted saying. “However, if these declarations continue, Europe will not be able to be part of the diplomatic process, and both sides will lose.”
Correspondents say it is far from clear whether Ms Ferrero-Waldner was expressing an official view of the
towards
.
Israeli officials have told the BBC that they requested a month-long postponement of a ministerial-level meeting in May which discusses the EU-Israeli Association agreement regulating bilateral ties.
The postponement “is to allow the new government time to formulate its policies” before the meeting, foreign ministry officials said.
has so far refused to back the principle of a Palestinian state while
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
has said the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is a “dead end”.

Source:BBC