Los Angeles (E! Online) –
Greed has definitely been good for Michael Douglas.
The Wall Street star was feted in grand style last night, receiving the 37th AFI Life Achievement Award at a tribute attended by longtime pals Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Kathleen Turner and Oliver Stone, along with former costars Tobey Maguire, Benicio Del Toro, Sharon Stone, Martin Sheen and Matthew McConaughey.
Douglas, 64, beamed as friends old and new shared favorite stories of the Oscar-winning actor-producer amid clips of his greatest hits.
“I've had so many of my high moments and so many of my fine moments with you,” said Nicholson, recalling their work together on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which Douglas produced.
The evening featured a moving appearance by his legendary father, Kirk Douglas, and a couple of musical numbers, including wife Catherine Zeta-Jones in a show-stopping rendition of “One” from A Chorus Line (Douglas starred in the film version) and a surprise performance by Bob Dylan, whose music graced the soundtrack of Douglas's 2000 film Wonder Boys.
Upon accepting his prize, Douglas thanked his parents for his “acting DNA” and gave a shout-out to his The Streets of San Francisco costar and mentor, Karl Malden, who in a videotaped message likened Douglas to an “adopted son.”
“I'll be his adopted son anytime,” Douglas replied.
The tribute will air July 19 on TV Land.
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Archive for June 12th, 2009
Los Angeles (E! Online) –
ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. – A 53-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being naked near a high school on Lake Tahoe’s east shore. The naked man was arrested Monday after three Whittell High School students reported spotting him tied to a rock and lying face down behind the school. When the students asked if he needed to be untied, the man answered no.
Douglas County sheriff’s deputies said the man told them he was watching some buzzards flying overhead at the time.
The man, who said he was a freelance writer, was arrested on a charge of loitering on school grounds. He’s scheduled to appear Monday in Tahoe Township Justice Court.
Information from: Tahoe Daily Tribune, http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/
Vest suspect ‘wanted to fight UK’
A student accused of making a ‘suicide vest’ from home-made explosives wanted to fight against British and US forces, a court has heard.Andrew Ibrahim, also known as Isa, allegedly carried out a reconnaissance mission at a Bristol shopping centre. He described the food court as a “dense area”, Winchester Crown Court heard. Mr Ibrahim, 20, of Bristol, denies making explosives with intent, and preparing terrorist acts in April 2008 but admits making an explosive. In a statement read to the jury, Mohammed Shide said he met Mr Ibrahim at the Al Baseera mosque in April last year. Mr Shide said: “He (Ibrahim) said he wanted to go out to Palestine and Iraq to help in their battles against the UK and US forces.” Mr Ibrahim never said he wanted to be a suicide bomber but claimed that he understood the reasons for becoming one, the court also heard. The jury was told that Mr Ibrahim went to the Broadmead shopping centre, where he allegedly noted down the position of bins, lifts and escalators. Previously, the jury heard Mr Ibrahim changed his name by deed poll from Andrew to Isa in February 2007, as a result of his conversion to the Islamic faith the previous year.
LONDON, England The number of swine flu cases is closer to reaching 30,000, the World Health Organization reported Friday, a day after declaring the start of a global pandemic.
Children leave a Japanese school in Germany which has been closed following a swine flu outbreak.more photos »
As of Friday, 29,669 cases of the H1N1 virus have been reported in 74 countries, the WHO said. The total number of deaths worldwide has reached 145. The latest figures come a day after the WHO said the virus was “unstoppable” and had become widespread enough to raise the global swine flu alert to its highest level. The U.S. and Mexico, where the earliest cases of the outbreak occurred, remain the countries with the highest number of swine flu cases. There have been 13,217 reported cases in the U.S. and 6,241 in Mexico. The WHO has been updating the number of global flu virus cases on a nearly daily basis since the outbreak emerged in late April. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is due to provide its weekly update of cases on Friday. A total of 27 deaths have been reported in the U.S.
Each month CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta brings viewers health stories from around the world.
See more from the show »
Outside of the U.S. and Mexico, countries hit hard by the virus include Canada (2,978 cases); Chile (1,694 cases) and Australia (1,307 cases). The WHO’s decision Thursday to elevate its swine flu alert indicates that the first flu pandemic of the 21st century is underway. See photos of swine flu going global » Are you worried about the flu pandemic? Tell us what you think in the SoundOff below or send us an iReport The move was widely expected, as global health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to become a pandemic since the first cases of swine flu surfaced. When WHO Director General Margaret Chan declared the pandemic, she noted that the number of deaths resulting from H1N1 has remained small so far and that a spike is not anticipated. No pandemics have been monitored at such an early stage before, she added, which gives the world a “head start” to combat the virus. Watch to see what the WHO declaration means »
Time: H1N1: Is this a pandemic or isn’t it?
Candidate virus for H1N1 vaccine arrives at CDC
The H1N1 virus is a type of swine flu. Symptoms resemble those of the common flu and include fever, sore throat and body aches. The virus is transmitted through human contact and spreads particularly rapidly among young people. It cannot be spread by eating pork or pork products.
‘Rockefeller’ kidnapper is jailed
A German who claimed to be a descendant of oil tycoon John D Rockefeller has been jailed for five years for kidnapping his seven-year-old daughter.Christian Gerhartsreiter, 48, who called himself Clark Rockefeller, had also been found guilty of assaulting the child’s social worker as he fled. The kidnapping took place last July after Gerhartsreiter’s British ex-wife was granted custody of their daughter. The jury rejected claims he was legally insane when the incident took place. Prosecutors had described his defence team’s claims as “preposterous”, arguing that Gerhartsreiter had been planning the abduction for months. He had snatched the youngster, called Reigh, on a Boston street during a supervised visit last July and fled to Baltimore with her. The “assault and battery with a dangerous weapon” charge related to his ordering the driver of a sport utility vehicle to pull away with the social worker clinging to the door. ‘Taken in’Gerhartsreiter had married Sandra Boss, 42, a senior partner in the London office of the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co, in 1995. During the trial, she told the court that she had been taken in by Gerhartsreiter’s stories of his family wealth throughout their 12-year marriage. It was only after she hired a private investigator during divorce proceedings in 2007 that she learned the truth about his past, she said. The jury heard Gerhartsreiter had used many aliases as he mingled among the wealthy in Boston, New York and Los Angeles, having arrived in the US in 1978 as a 17-year-old student. Over the next 30 years he adopted a number of different personas, ranging from physicist to billionaire art collector. Despite revelations about his past, the jury acquitted him of another assault count and a further charge of giving a false name to police.
Editor’s note: Fareed Zakaria is an author and foreign affairs analyst who hosts “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on CNN at 1 and 5 p.m. ET Sundays.
Fareed Zakaria says an incumbent president of the Iranian Republic has never been defeated in an election.
Voters turned out in heavy numbers Friday in Iran’s election. Some lined up before polls opened, and others waited more than three hours under the hot sun to cast their ballots. Reformist Mir Hossein Moussavi and two other candidates are challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, blamed by many Iranians for the nation’s four-year economic turmoil and known in the West for his vehement rhetoric regarding Iran’s nuclear program and condemnation of Israel. Officials had to extend the polling time from 10 hours to 12 hours to accommodate the massive lines of voters. Kamran Daneshjoo, head of the elections office, called the turnout unprecedented. Moussavi is the main challenger among the three candidates vying to replace Ahmadinejad. The others are former parliament speaker and reformist Mehdi Karrubi and hardliner Mohsen Rezaie, the former head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Ahmadinejad still has staunch support in Iran’s rural areas. CNN spoke with Fareed Zakaria about the significance of the elections. CNN: Why is there so much coverage about the Iranian elections? Isn’t it just window dressing? Fareed Zakaria: Although Iran is certainly not a democracy, as we know, it is neither a monolithic dictatorship. The electoral system is highly restricted, and the regime only allows prospective candidates that are committed to the continuation of the revolutionary system.
Fareed Zakaria: GPS
See analysis of Iran’s crucial election on this week’s “GPS”
Sunday, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET
see full schedule »
CNN: Why do the elections matter, then? Zakaria: Well, they do allow the public an opportunity to weigh in with their views. CNN: I thought Ahmadinejad came to power as a man of the people and he would win easily. Is that not true? Zakaria: He is a layman with no family connections to major ayatollahs, which makes him a rare figure in the ruling class. He was not initially the favored candidate of the supreme leader in the 2005 election. Even now, the mullahs clearly dislike him, and he, in turn, does things deliberately designed to undermine their authority. However, his initial support from the people has given way as the standard of living within Iran has deteriorated. During the debates, issues of his competence to manage the country have been brought up over and over. CNN: What about his comments regarding the Holocaust and the nuclear program? Zakaria: These statements capture the attention of the West, but most Iranians are concerned about domestic issues, such as the price of bread. And on the elite side, many are disturbed by Ahmadinejad’s comments. Matter of fact, two of his opponents, Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Moussavi, have questioned Ahmadinejad’s rationale for denying the Holocaust and argued that such statements only harm Iran’s national interests.
Election a test for women’s rights?
Commentary: Iran’s nuclear work will go on
Fareed Zakaria: GPS
And though the regime appears united in its belief that Iran has the right to a civilian nuclear programa position with broad popular supportsome leaders seem sensitive to the costs of the current approach. It is conceivable that these “moderates” would appreciate the potential benefits of limiting their nuclear program, including trade, technology and recognition by the United States. CNN: What do you think will happen? Zakaria: All signs indicate the process will continue after this weekend. It appears that no one candidate will get the majority of votes, so there will probably be a runoff between the top two vote gettersmost likely between Ahmadinejad and Moussavi. CNN: So is all this coverage at this stage overkill? Zakaria: No. First of all, we get to see a closed society getting a taste of political participation. Calls for boycotting the election are not being heard as in the past. And on a historical front, if Ahmadinejad were to lose, it would be the first time an incumbent president has lost an election in the Iranian Republic’s history. We will have to wait and see what happens.
LONDON, EnglandGraffiti artist Banksy, famed for infiltrating museum collections without their knowledge and spray-painting public buildings around the world, is holding his first major exhibition in years.
A Banksy painting of the British House of Commons at England’s Bristol museum.more photos »
This time, however, the anonymous artist worked in tandem with the museum’s director of Bristol museum in the UK. CNN’s Max Foster got a preview of his largest project to date. The artist’s anonymity gained him notoriety and he became one of the art world’s biggest names with his works selling at auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The exhibition’s range, while very varied, remained true to Banksy form with his usual unconventional take on art. See pictures from Banksy’s exhibition » “I think we might have dragged them down to our level rather than being elevated to theirs” Banksy, who is thought to be from Bristol, said about the museum. He filled three stories of the building with his art in 36 hours under tight security, as only a few museum staff were aware of the shows’ imminent arrival. His work is hidden among the museum’s usual exhibits and is split into different rooms, including installations, paintings and sculptures. In one of the paintings, a characters has been cut out and is instead sitting on the painting’s frame, perhaps taking a break from posing? Another piece, which at first glance, looks like a copy of an ancient classical statue, is in fact a woman over-loaded with countless shopping bags as she browses for yet another, seemingly completely unnecessary item. Perhaps the most controversial, yet equally light-hearted piece, is a painting of the British Parliamentary House of Commons, filled with chimpanzees who are looking surprisingly “ministerial.” “You paint a hundred chimpanzees and they call you a guerilla artist,” Banksy said. While the one of the more poignant installations is that of Tweety, the Warner Bros. animated character famous for his upbeat personality and energy, looking old and life-less. “This show is my vision of the future,” the artist said .
Banksy is unlikely to show up at the exhibition as he attempts to retain his anonymity, said to be for legal reasons. But while we may never know his identity, with this latest show, Banksy has definitely shown yet another facet of his personality.
UNITED NATIONS The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to expand and tighten sanctions on North Korea after that nation’s recent nuclear test.
The U.N. Security Council votes for a resolution imposing sanctions against North Korea on Friday.
The 15-0 vote on U.N. Resolution 1874 imposes an embargo on the shipment of arms from the communist regime and broadens a ban on the import of weapons. “This resolution provides a strong and united international response to North Korea’s test of a nuclear device,” said U.S. Deputy Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo. The agreement comes amid rising tension surrounding North Korea, which recently conducted a nuclear test, fired test rockets and threatened U.S. and South Korean ships near its territorial waters. The nuclear test and the firing of six short-range rockets occurred in late May. Pyongyang’s actions violated existing U.N. resolutions. The Security Council’s five permanent members had already passed a draft resolution Wednesday that condemned North Korea’s nuclear test “in the strongest terms.” The permanent membersChina, France, Russia, Britain and the United Statesreached the agreement in consultation with Japan and South Korea. The draft resolution reaffirmed that the “proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security.”
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That resolution provided a “strong, very credible, very appropriate response to the provocative nuclear test that North Korea launched and its subsequent activities,” Susan E. Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters at the time. “And we think that the message that the council will send … is that North Korea’s behavior is unacceptable, they must pay a price, they ought to return without conditions to a process of negotiations and that the consequences they will face are significant,” Rice said. Provisions already existing in U.N. Resolution 1718, passed in 2006, are strengthened by the new measure, but others are new, Rice said. The new resolution requires states to “exercise vigilance” over the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to North Korea of small arms or light weapons. Nations would be required to notify the sanctions committee at least five days prior to selling, supplying or transferring small arms or light weapons to North Korea. The resolution calls on all states to inspect vessels suspected of containing contraband. If a ship refuses, it is to proceed to the closest port for a mandatory inspection. A new regulation would prohibit nations from providing bunkering services, such as fuel, to North Korean ships believed to be carrying contraband. The draft also broadens authority to prevent the flow of funds that could benefit North Korea’s missile, nuclear or proliferation activities. Late last month, two Defense Department officials said U.S. satellite imagery spotted “vehicle activity” at a North Korean ballistic missile facility. The officials said the images showed vehicles used to transport Taepodong-2 missiles, but no missile parts. The Taepodong-2 is a long-range missile North Korea tested in April. That test showed a significant improvement in range from North Korea’s initial long-range missile test in 2006. This week, a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak on the record told CNN that Washington had “indications” that North Korea may be planning another test. The official would not provide any details, however. President Obama’s special envoy to North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, called “simply groundless” accusations by Pyongyang that its nuclear and rocket tests were in response to American aggression. Washington officials have said the United States’ goal is for North Korea to return to nuclear negotiations with the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia, known as the six-party talks.
WASHINGTONAl Qaeda operatives are leaving the battle zones along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and heading for Somalia and Yemen, where they have set up training camps, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
Somalian President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has been targeted by al Qaeda.
The officials believe that al Qaeda may see the Horn of Africa as its new headquarters after dozens of attacks from U.S. drones along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The officials could not be named because of the sensitive nature of the information. However, CIA Director Leon Panetta said the intelligence agency is keeping tabs the region as a possible destination for fleeing al Qaeda operatives. “Our concern right now is that likely safe havens are areas in the Horn of Africa, like Somalia and Yemen, that are countries that because of their political status can be attractive to al Qaeda in order to operate there,” Panetta said Thursday. “We are focusing on those countries as well in order to ensure that there is no safe haven for al Qaeda as we continue to pressure them, continue to push them and hopefully continue to make the effort to destroy them, not only in Pakistan but throughout the rest of the world.” Residents and journalists in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital city, have reported seeing foreign fighters among Al-Shabaab, the radical Islamic militia that is battling to overthrow the weak transitional government. Those foreign fighters have recently distributed recorded messages from al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden calling for the overthrow of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s government. Al-Shabaab is blamed for a surge of violence in Somalia as insurgents fight the government to implement a stricter form of Islamic law, or sharia.
Somali leader calls for help fighting militias
The rebel group has said it has recruited many fighters in its battle. Al-Shabaab, also known as the Mujahedeen Youth Movement, was officially designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government in March 2008. Somalia is not new territory for the militant organization, CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen said. “Al Qaeda was running training camps in Somalia in the early and mid-1990s,” he said. “If this is now coming back, this is something that al Qaeda has already done, and it’s worrisome for the future. “The fact that we’re seeing evidence of this already happening in both Yemen and Somalia suggests that, A, the drone program in the tribal areas of Pakistan has been effective, but, B, you know it’s pushing al Qaeda into areas where they’ll build up larger operations.”
BAGHDAD, Iraq A 15-year-old boy shot and killed a prominent Sunni Arab parliament member and killed three more when he tossed a hand grenade into a Baghdad mosque on Friday, an Interior Ministry official said.
Iraqi security forces stand guard outside a Baghdad mosque following the attack on a prominent lawmaker.
The lawmaker has been identified as Hareth al-Obaidi, the head of the Iraqi Accordance Front bloc and deputy head of parliament’s Human Rights Committee. The incident comes as the U.S. military last week warned about an increase in the use of children by insurgents to carry out suicide bombings and other attacks. It has drawn widespread condemnation across sectarian and political lines and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ordered an investigation. The attacker opened fire on al-Obaidi and a member of his security detail outside al-Shawaf Mosque in the Yarmouk neighborhood after Friday prayers. A security guard was also killed, the official said. Then the attacker hurled a hand grenade at worshipers inside the mosque, killing three more people and wounding 12 others. The assailant, who was traveling on foot, died in exchange of fire with the mosque’s guards. Another ministry official said the attacker used a gun with a silencer and both men were instantly killed. Silencers have been used in many targeted assassinations in Iraq. Salim Abdullah, the spokesman for the Accordance Front, confirmed the assassination but said he didn’t know who was behind the attack. He said al-Obaidi was occasionally an imam and would occasionally hold Friday sermons. The attack occurred a day after al-Maliki warned of an increase in political violence in the country, mentioning the deadly bombing earlier in the week in the southern town of Bathaa. He said there will be attempts to undermine Iraqi security forces as U.S. combat troops complete their withdrawal from Iraqi cities by the end of the month and ahead of upcoming national elections. The U.S. military last Saturday issued a news release focusing on the recruitment of teens by insurgents. Maj. Warren Sponsler, the operations officer for 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based near Hawija in northern Iraq, says he believes teenagers are being recruited by insurgents to commit the attacks.
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That release cited an incident in which a teen-age boy hurled a grenade at U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police in Hawijaa town near Kirkuk in Tameem province. “The grenade failed to detonate, and the suspect fled into the mix of local shops, but the incident is part of a growing trend of children carrying out attacks on Iraqi security and U.S. forces in the province,” the release said. Other incidents were cited as well in the Kirkuk and Hawija areas and the military said four members of a group believed to recruit youths were arrested in April in Kirkuk “To endanger children with acts of terrorism is despicable,” said Lt. Col. Hugh McNeely, the deputy commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry. “But when terrorists actively recruit them to risk their lives for goals that the child probably doesn’t even understand is evil. There’s just no other way to say it.” Maj. Charles Assadourian, the intelligence officer for 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry said young people were being taught to elude being detected during insurgent activities. They were also being trained in suicide bombing, he said. Chief Warrant Officer Two Michael Hyatt,, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team 1st Cavalry fusion chief, said such groups are exploiting the reality that children don’t attract attentions and soldiers don’t want to hurt them. Other violence ripped through two neighborhoods of eastern Baghdad on Friday. At least two civilians were killed and 10 others wounded Friday morning in a roadside bombing, an Interior Ministry official said. The explosive was left near a shop in the predominantly Shiite district of New Baghdad. A roadside bomb targeting a U.S. military patrol wounded two Iraqi civilians in Mashtal, according to the same official.
She told stories, flirted outrageously with boys and was constantly changing her hairstyle.
Anne Frank hid with her family in a secret room at her father Otto Frank’s office in Amsterdam.
It could be the description of almost any young girl growing up in Europe. But this is how Eva Schloss remembers her childhood friend Anne Frank, who had not died in a Nazi concentration camp, would have celebrated her 80th birthday this week. Schloss described Frank, whose account of hiding from Jewish persecution in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam is one of the world’s mostly widely-read books, as a spunky young schoolgirl with a passion for storytelling that often got her into trouble. “She got her diary in 1942, so obviously her father knew she was interested in writing and I know she told stories,” said Schloss. “She talked a lot and she was called Mrs Quack Quack. Very often she used to write hundreds of lines [at school] of ‘I’m not going to talk so much,’ and so onbut obviously she had a lot to tell.” In some ways the two friends lived parallel livesbut tragically they had very different outcomes. Watch more about Schloss’ story » Schloss and Frank both came from Jewish families who fled to Holland to escape the wave of anti-Semitism spreading across Europe as the Nazis rose to power in Germany ahead of the Second World War. But while Schloss was more of an introvert, Frank loved the limelight. Schloss said: “I was actually quite shy and she was the center of attention. We had steps where we sat, and she had a crowd of children around her. “She was a big flirtshe loved boys. She was always showing us who was her boyfriend at that particular time. She was always interested in her clothes. Her style, she always changed it. Sometimes she had curls, then she had straight hair.” Schloss says they were unaware of the full scale of what was going on around them as war escalated across Europe, placing their lives in increasing jeopardy. “Our parents really protected us so there was no talk about the horrendous things which happened. “You couldn’t go out anymore after 8 o’clock, but for a 11 to 12 year old it didn’t matter so much. Or not going to the cinemawe were upset about those little things which we couldn’t do, but we really didn’t really take it seriously at that time.” Like Frank, Schloss was also forced into hiding when the Nazis took control of Holland. Frank hid with her family in a secret room at her father Otto Frank’s office. But Schloss and her family had to split up. Schloss stayed with her mother while her father and brother hid elsewhere. She and her mother moved around, staying in seven different hiding places over a two-year period. Eventually both families were betrayed and were sent to concentration camps, where Frank died at the age of 15. Schloss said: “My father and brother were betrayed by a Dutch nurse who was a double agent, and all four of us were arrested and taken to the headquarters to be interrogated. “I didn’t know anything, which was a good thing. So eventually they realized this and they gave up torturing me. Within two days we were put on a transport to Auschwitz.” Of her family, only Schloss and her mother survived Auschwitz, one of the most notorious concentration camps, located in southern Poland. Today Schloss, who has just celebrated her own 80th birthday, has a husband, three daughters and five grandchildren. Schloss says it took her decades to rebuild her life, with the help of Frank’s father Otto, who also survived incarceration in a concentration camp. She met Otto in August 1945, when he showed her Frank’s diary. Schloss said: “He read a few passages but he always burst into tears. It took me 20 years. I was really unhappy, but it was Otto who came to our apartment to talk to us, and he helped me a lot. He had lost everybody.
“Her book, she [Frank] made people aware of what happened. There are many messages. She believed in the goodness of mankind. “People always ask me, what she would have done. I guess we will never know. But I guess she would have gone into politicsshe was a fighter. It’s a pity, but alsomaybe her diary would have never been published.”
WASHINGTON U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy has checked into an unnamed medical facility for help with his recovery from substance abuse, the Rhode Island Democrat said in a statement Friday.
“I have decided to temporarily step away from my normal routine,” Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy says in a statement.
In May 2006, Kennedy, the son of Sen. Edward Kennedy, was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a day after slamming his car into a security barricade on Capitol Hill. At the time, Kennedy said he had been suffering from addictions and depression since he was a young man. “I have always said that recovery is a life-long process and that I will do whatever it takes to preserve my health,” Kennedy, 41, wrote in Friday’s release. “In consultation with my doctors, I have decided to temporarily step away from my normal routine to ensure that I am being as vigilant as possible in my recovery. I hope that in some small way my decision to be proactive and public in my efforts to remain healthy can help remove the stigma that has served as a barrier for many Americans reluctant to get the help they need.” A Democratic aide declined to say what facility is providing treatment or how long Kennedy might be there. Kennedy left for treatment earlier this week, said a close associate who didn’t want to be identified. Since the 2006 incident, the associate said, Kennedy often goes to the Mayo Clinic for one- or two-day stints without anyone knowing. This time, Kennedy and his aides realized the stay would be longer and more aggressive and decided to put out a statement. There was no “culminating event” this time, the associate said, and he did not think it was related to Edward Kennedy’s ongoing battle with brain cancer. “He’s human,” the source said of Patrick Kennedy. “He has good days and bad days. This is a part of his effort to make sure there are more good days than bad days.”
Has Sarah Palin started running for president? In the last week alone, the Alaska governor appeared at a Republican fundraiser in Washington D.C., attended a baseball game in New York and even led a small-town parade on the U.S. east coast, 5,000 kilometers from her small town on the western side of the continent.
Sarah Palin appears at an autism fundraiser in New York earlier this week.
It looks so much like a campaign for the White House, you could almost forget that Barack Obama has just settled into the presidency and will keep it until the end of 2012 at least. What’s Palin doing? Attracting crowds, cameras and lot of buzz. “I love my time in Alaska,” she told Fox News this week.” At the same time, though, I crave, if not my voice, but other voices out there, being bold, being strong, letting Americans know that those who are concerned about the growth of government and about national security issues, they’re not alone.” Less than a year ago, Palin was unknown to most Americans, leading a sparsely populated state that’s physically separated from the rest of the country by a big chunk of Canada in-between. Then, Republican John McCain chose her as a running mate in his presidential campaign.
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McCain lost but in a way, Palin won. She became a household name with a national following. Many Americans fell in love with her image as a working mother with a homespun style and very conservative views. And since then, the landscape of U.S. politics has changed. Now, the Democrats have a popular president and an ambitious agenda on economics, diplomacy and defense. The Republicans have no clear leader, no consensus on crucial issues and no plan on how to win back power. They are losing support in virtually every portion of the population that pollsters can measure, except among frequent church-goers. CNN’s polling suggests the Republicans don’t agree on who they want as the voice of their party. So Palin can’t claim to speak for America’s Republicans but no one can and given the poor state of the party, it badly need someone to come forward to lead the opposition to Obama. Palin is coming forward for something.
The world’s premier air show takes place in Paris next week, with the recent loss of Air France flight 447 over the Atlantic Ocean likely to cast a shadow over the event.
The loss of the Air France Airbus A-330 will be one of the main talking points in Paris.
The annual Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, which this year celebrates its 100th anniversary, gives the air transport industry the chance to promote the latest innovations in aerospace technology and attract buyers for both commercial and military aircraft. Manufacturing giants Boeing and Airbus are two of the most high-profile organizations at the show as a result of their stranglehold over the commercial airliner market. Paris provides them with a platform to demonstrate this might by announcing sales and showcasing new products. But Airbus will be under closer scrutiny following last week’s disaster off the coast of Brazil, that involved one of its Airbus A330 aircraft. Investigators remain in the dark about what caused Flight 447 to plunge into the Atlantic Ocean because the jet’s data recorder has yet to be recovered. The only facts broadly agreed upon are that the airliner penetrated a region of severe weather, and the pilots were eventually confronted with a rapid series of system failures. Watch the latest on the crash » The jet had been flying from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France, when it went down with the loss of all 228 people on board. Unless French air accident investigators announce something more conclusive before Le Bourget opens on Monday, it’s likely that Airbus will face some awkward questions. “I don’t think people will be pushing the safety agenda necessarily,” said CNN’s Richard Quest. “There will be a lot of head-scratching about how it could have happened and perhaps discussions about the Airbus A330′s computerized fly-by-wire technology. “But it won’t affect the show in the same way Concorde’s fiery crash in 2000 affected the Farnborough Air Show which followed.”
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‘Black box’ could hold answer
Web site: Air Transport Intelligence
According to Kieran Daly, editor of Air Transport Intelligence, the marketing and public relations people at Airbus will be “in agony” working out how they will approach the event. He said: “They have been postponing media events and pulling advertising temporarily in order to be sympathetic to the tragedy. However, there’s an expectation in France for Airbus to be seen to be supporting the show. “They will most likely make a statement about the crash but will not take questions about it. There’s no indication that Airbus is scaling back its plans for Paris.” The Paris Air Show comes at a time when the industry is extremely stressed due to the global economic downturn. In the commercial sector, airline equipment suppliers such as Boeing, Airbus, Honeywell and Goodrich are struggling as airlines are not buying. When they do look to invest they look for rock-bottom prices. “Ryanair are rumored to be on the verge of placing an order for a huge number of narrow-body planes from Boeing and Airbus,” Daly said. “But they are fierce negotiators who look for the very best deal for them. “On the other hand, some suppliers focus on looking after their existing clients by helping them to save money and providing additional support. They hope airlines will show their appreciation when they’re in a position to place new orders.” Despite the gloom Paris shows no signs of being beset by the same problems that major trade shows in the automotive industry have faced as car makers cut their costs and choose not to attend. According to Daly, part of the reason is that the industry is far more robust. It is dominated by a handful of major players and second tier operators that have consolidated their position in the aerospace industry. “They are well ahead of the curve in terms of business plans and manufacturing techniques, he said. “So there is not much fat to cut compared with the car industry. The other reason, added Daly, is the world is far more dangerous and military orders are up. “The slump in the commercial sector has been offset to some extent by the an increases in demand for military equipment.
“The Paris Air Show is a huge marketplace for military aviation. The helicopter and fighter markets are especially buoyant as a number of countries, especially NATO members, spend seriously. “Boeing and Airbus have been particularly successful in embracing this lucrative area.”
The gunman who opened fire at Washington’s U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum this week is no better than a suicide bomber, a survivor of the Holocaust said.
Sel Hubert, seen here with his wife, says education is the best weapon against bigotry.more photos »
Sel Hubert, 83, of Rye Brook, New York, said he also fears that through the shooter’s “ultimate act of Holocaust denial,” he has invigorated others who embrace hate and who might wish to exact violence against others. “By doing this, he gives worldwide notoriety to himself and his ideals of hatred,” said Hubert, who at 13 escaped Germany on a transport to England just weeks before World War II erupted. “He chooses martyrdom to glorify his hatred similar to a suicide bomber.” Authorities have charged James von Brunn with murdering Stephen Tyrone Johns, 39, a security officer who opened a museum door Wednesday for the 88-year-old reputed white supremacist. Watch more on who von Brunn is » Authorities say von Brunn acted alone, but Hubert says he represents all those who share his views. “This empowers these people to think that this is how you get to be famous, gain notoriety, and they hope other people will mimic himand that’s scary,” he said. Eva Rich Blumberg, 85, of Rockville, Maryland, also worries that the shooting may have emboldened others to attack Jews and symbols of Jewish culture, she said. Blumberg, whose father was killed by Nazis and who spent about a year at Majdanek concentration camp in Poland in 1942, was scheduled to speak Sunday at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, but is now having second thoughts. Watch author discuss importance of combating Holocaust denial » “I lost everyone in the Holocaust. This incident just shook me up so that I don’t know what to say,” she said.
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Anytime a group asks Blumberg to speak about the Holocaust, she obliges, she said, out of a sense of duty to educate people so that the atrocities perpetrated by Nazi Germany are never repeated. However, she said Thursday, the shooting at the museum leaves her wrestling with the decision on whether to deliver her speech this weekend. “I’m frightened. I don’t know what to do,” she said. “I couldn’t sleep all night because things keep coming back.” Regina Spiegel, 83, also of Rockville, believes education is one of the best weapons against bigotry. She volunteers at the museum on Wednesdays and was there when von Brunn allegedly opened fire with a .22-caliber rifle. See photos from the museum » Fortunately, Spiegel was downstairs and didn’t hear the shots, but that did not dampen her anger and disgust over the incident. Spiegel, who met her husband of more than 60 years, Samuel, at a slave labor camp in Auschwitz, teaches children to shun hate in hopes they will blossom into productive adults unfettered by ignorance and prejudices”just the opposite of what he is,” she said, referring to the museum shooter. “We don’t teach hate,” she said firmly. “This guy, every time I think about it, it makes me sick that there are such people around.” Hubert, who is a board member of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center, said the Holocaust museum stands as an important educational tool, particularly to young Americans, for providing lessons on the follies of hatred and genocide. Map of museum » “It’s an ultimate act of Holocaust denial and I and all Jewsespecially survivorsfeel violated all over again,” he said. “To attack that symbol is striking at the very heart of what the museum is trying to do, what America stands forthe fight against bigotry and hatred.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has described von Brunn as a “hardcore neo-Nazi” and Internet postings attributed to von Brunn allege that the Holocaust and Christianity are hoaxes. The postings further state that President Obama is a tool of “Jew owners” and that Adolf Hitler’s worst mistake was “he didn’t gas the Jews.” Watch debate on free speech, hate crimes » Hubert and Blumberg both expressed concern that von Brunn was able to express his hateful views on Jews and minorities via the Internet. Neither is impressed with the freedom-of-speech defense. “Hitler’s Germany, they had freedom of speech and look what happened,” Blumberg said. “Freedom of speech has to be controlled.” Added Hubert, “It’s the uncontrolled Internet which provides the tools and means for this scourge to spread, and it’s a very dangerous thing that’s happening.”
While Hubert believes the United States should strengthen its laws to prevent these types of incidents from occurring again, he also concurs with Blumberg and Spiegel that the best way to counter bigotry is “by placing greater emphasis on prejudice and hatred for next generation,” he said. “The lesson is we need to be vigilant and proactive in combating hatred,” Hubert said.
HAMILTON, BermudaThe Obama administration’s agreement with Bermuda to settle four Uyghurs from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was causing a rift Friday between the United States and its strongest ally, Britain.
Bermuda’s premier, Ewart Brown, calls accepting the four Uyghurs from Guantanamo Bay “a humanitarian act.”
A UK official familiar with the agreement but not authorized to speak publicly told CNN the United States informed London of the agreement “shortly before the deal was concluded.” The official said that “we feel we should have been consulted” before the deal was struck between the U.S. and the British “overseas territory.” A U.S. official, on background, admitted the British feel blindsided. Bermuda’s government said Thursday the four had been resettled in Bermuda. “Above all, this was a humanitarian act,” Bermudian Premier Ewart Brown said. Bermuda’s opposition party has called for a no-confidence vote in the House of Assembly, which could lead to Brown’s ouster. The vote was tabled until next week. Also Friday, the U.S. Justice Department announced two other Guantanamo detaineesone from Iraq and one from Chadhad been transferred to their home countries. Iraqi national Jawad Jabber Sadkhan was sent to Iraq on Thursday night, and Chadian national Mohammed El Gharani went to Chad early Friday, the department said.
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On the issue of the Uyghurs, the British official said that by law Bermuda decides many day-to-day issues,and “it seems to have been a decision Bermudian authorities made based on their immigration responsibility.” However, London is responsible for decisions on defense and foreign policy. Bermuda “should have consulted the UK government,” he said. With the Uyghurs already in Bermuda without travel documents, London is helping the Bermudian government to carry out a security assessment, he said. U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, “We understand that there are some concerns about some of the details of the resettlement, and we’re confident that we can work these things through with the government of the UK.” “I don’t think we bypassed anyone,” Kelly added. Watch concerns about resettling the Uyghur detainees » The four were twice cleared for releaseonce by the Bush administration and again this year, according to a U.S. Justice Department statement. They were among 17 Uyghur detainees at the facility set up to hold terror suspects. The four flew by private plane Wednesday night from Cuba to Bermuda, accompanied by U.S. and Bermudian representatives as well as their attorneys, according to Susan Baker Manning, part of the men’s legal team. The men, who are staying in an apartment, were free to roam about the island. They can’t leave the country since they have no passports. President Obama has pledged to close the Guantanamo facility, raising questions of what will happen to the more than 200 remaining detainees. A political backlash against bringing detainees to the United States has increased the focus on sending them to other countries. The Justice Department on Friday said the two detainees from Chad and Iraq were approved for transfer after the Guantanamo Review Task Force looked at their cases. A federal court also ordered the U.S. government in January to take all necessary and appropriate steps to facilitate the Chadian national’s release. “As our review of detainees continues, the support of the international community is critical to the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and the security of our country,” said Matthew Olsen, executive director of the task force. “We are grateful for the cooperation of the governments of Iraq and Chad and for their assistance on the successful transfer of these individuals.” Since 2002, more than 540 detainees have departed Guantanamo for other countries, including Albania, Algeria, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom and Yemen, the Justice Department said. Brown, Bermuda’s premier, said he had read a Washington Post article on the issue of the Guantanamo Bay detainees’ fates while in the U.S. for a White House meeting in May and decided to put an offer to the U.S. government “on the table.” He said Bermuda, a British colony, told London of its intentions, but not until late in the process. Britain must approve the transfer for it to be permanent, Brown said, adding that he believed the issue might raise tension between Bermuda and Britain. The issue is controversial because of China’s opposition to the Uyghurs being sent to any country but China. Uyghurs are a Muslim minority from the Xinjiang province of far-west China. The 17 Uyghurs had left China and made their way to Afghanistan, where they settled in a camp with other Uyghurs opposed to the Chinese government, the Justice Department said in its statement. They left Afghanistan after U.S. bombings began in the area in October 2001, and were apprehended in Pakistan, the statement said. “According to available information, these individuals did not travel to Afghanistan with the intent to take any hostile action against the United States,” the statement said. Manning said the 17 were picked up as a matter of circumstance and never had terrorist training. They left China because they did not agree with the government, she said. However, China alleges the men are part of the East Turkestan Islamic Movementa group the State Department considers a terrorist organizationthat operates in the Xinjiang region. East Turkestan is another name for Xinjiang. China on Thursday urged the United States to hand over all 17 of the Uyghurs instead of sending them elsewhere. The Chinese statement followed an offer by Palau, a Pacific island nation, to accept Uyghur detainees. The Xinjiang region of 20 million people is largely populated by ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities who have traditionally opposed Beijing’s rule and clamored for greater autonomy. A senior U.S. administration official said the State Department is working on a final agreement with Palau to settle the matter of the 13 remaining Uyghur detainees. Issues to be worked out include how to transfer the Uyghurs to Palau and how much money the United States would give the men for resettlement, the official said. The official said the average in such cases is 100,000 per person. The United States won’t send Uyghur detainees cleared for release back to China out of concern that Chinese authorities would torture them. China has said no returned Uyghurs would be tortured. Palau said it will take in the ethnic Uyghur detainees for humanitarian reasons and because of the “special relationship” between Palau and the United States.
Palau, with a population of about 20,000, is about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) southeast of Manila, the Philippines, and about 4,600 miles (7,400 kilometers) west of Hawaii. It has received nearly 900 million in U.S. aid since independence in 1994, according to congressional auditors, and depends on Washington for its defense.
Astronauts set for big gathering
Space is about to get a bit crowded.Seven shuttle astronauts will blast off from Florida on Saturday to join up with six colleagues already on the International Space Station (ISS). The orbiting platform has never before had so many individuals moving around it at the same time. The Endeavour ship is scheduled to lift off at 0717 local time (1117 GMT). The flight-time to the ISS is just three days. The union some 350km above the planet will be a significant moment for the space station project as it nears the end of its construction phase. The 13 spacefarers represent all the major station partners, with seven from the US, two each from Russia and Canada, and one each from Europe and Japan. Their ages range from 37 to 55; all but one are men.
Although 13 people have been in space at the same time once before, in 1995, they were not all in the same place. “I don’t know what it’s going to be like,” said Endeavour commander Mark Polansky, a veteran of two prior spaceflights. “We know it’s going to be challenging with 13 people aboard.” His ship is visiting the station to deliver the final components of Japan’s Kibo laboratory. During five spacewalks, an external platform will be added to the lab which will enable those experiments to be performed that require materials to be exposed to the harsh environment of space. Endeavour astronauts also have to fit equipment to the exterior of the platform such as batteries and a spare space-to-ground antenna. In addition, Endeavour will deliver a new crew member (Tim Kopra) to the ISS and bring back another (Koichi Wakata) who has lived aboard the platform for more than three months. Endeavour is making the 127th space shuttle flight, and the 29th to the station. Seven more flights to the station remain before the shuttles retire in 2010. Endeavour is scheduled to return to Earth on Monday, 29 June.
Concerns over older mother trend
By Branwen Jeffreys
Health correspondent, BBC News
An urgent public debate on the trend for women to delay motherhood is needed, leading doctors say.The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists will publish evidence on Monday about the increased medical risks of pregnancy for older mothers. Doctors are also concerned many women still do not understand how rapidly fertility declines after the age of 35. But other experts said progress in the health service meant the NHS could cope with the trend. The college set up an expert group to look into the issue after the latest figures showed the number of older mothers has risen to record levels.
The experts will point out that for a woman over the age of 42 the success rate of a live birth for each IVF cycle falls to 5%, whereas for a woman under 35 it is 31%. Later maternal age may also have implications for health service as it deals with a growing number of women at higher risk of complications, the college will say. While most pregnancies in the UK result in a healthy baby, the experts say a minority of older women face the risk of serious adverse effects such as developing diabetes in pregnancy. Mandish Dhanjal, a consultant obstetrician who has pulled together the evidence on medical risks for the college, said the trend to older motherhood was very marked. “If you look at older mothers over the age of 35 – in the mid 1980s about 8% of those women who got pregnant were over 40 whereas now that figure has more than doubled to 19%”. The risks for a woman in her 40s of medical complications are between two and five times higher than a woman in her 20s, although the absolute risks are still quite small. Two of the most serious risks highlighted by the college are pre-eclampsia and diabetes. There is also a concern among specialists that women’s perception of motherhood may be overly influenced by celebrity older mothers. Mr Dhanjal said: “Many young women will be reading magazines which focus on this. Unfortunately the mass media doesn’t tend to report the complications”. RisksBut some commentators believe focusing on the medical risks does not take account of some of the profound social changes shaping women’s lives, such as greater opportunities in the world of work and an expectation of financial independence. Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, who writes on parenting, believes society has not caught up with the changing reality. “I myself don’t think there is a huge problem here, if you actually look at the statistics, pregnancy has never been safer. “We have a very good health system that is able to minimise the risks for women having children at 35 or 36.” Mary Newburn, of the National Childbirth Trust, said while the parenting charity supported the efforts to make women aware of the medical risks, changes to working practices were also needed. “We now need to look at how we can make it possible for women to have career breaks earlier on and to enable them to have children at a younger age. “Likewise, the introduction of shared parental leave should lead to less pressure on women to reach a certain point in their career before having children. “
Tamil jailed for supplying Tigers
The founder of the British Tamil Association has been jailed for two years for supplying the militant Tamil Tiger group.Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, 52, was sentenced at London’s Old Bailey for illegally procuring equipment for the Sri Lankan group. He had been convicted of receiving electrical components for terrorism and receiving documents for terrorism. Three other men who had been tried alongside him were cleared.
Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said Chrishanthakumar procured equipment for the Tigers with an “obvious terrorist purpose”. Mr Justice Saunders said: “This was a protracted, deliberate breaking of a law. These are very serious offences which warrant substantial sentences. “The terrorist law has to be obeyed as part of our obligations internationally.” The judge said the case was exceptional because, at the time the offences were carried out, the Tamil Tigers were not a banned group in Sri Lanka because of the ongoing peace talks with the Sri Lankan government. The judge told the Old Bailey: “He is a thoroughly decent man who deliberately broke the law in support of a cause he fervently believed in.”
Iraq Sunni leader assassinated at mosque
The head of Iraq’s Sunni parliamentary bloc has been assassinated at a mosque in the capital, in an attack that has killed at least four other people.Harith al-Obaidi, a human-rights advocate, was shot as he left a mosque in the Yarmouk area of western Baghdad. Iraqi police said a teenager carried out the attack. He was shot dead by a guard as he tried to escape. Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has said violence is likely to increase before Iraq’s general election next year. Mr Obaidi was the leader of Iraq’s Accordance Front. A university professor with a doctorate in Islam, he had just finished delivering the sermon at Friday prayers. Iraqi police said the youth opened fire as worshippers began to leave the mosque, killing Mr Obaidi and one of his body guards. He then threw a hand grenade to cover his escape, causing further casualties. The BBC’s Jim Muir in Baghdad says the assumption will be that this attack was carried out by insurgents from Mr Obeidi’s own Sunni community, who have often targeted Sunnis involved with the government.
Ronaldo for beginners
By Finlo Rohrer
BBC News Magazine
With an 80m transfer price, Cristiano Ronaldo has become the most expensive footballer ever. But for those who don’t follow the game or the celebrity world which accompanies it, why is he so talked about?Manchester United, Britain’s biggest football club, is about to become 80m richer after agreeing to sell its star player Cristiano Ronaldo. Since the Portuguese player came to these shores in 2003 he has been an object of constant fascination for the press, fans and celebrity watchers. Even those with more pressing things to occupy their time will have found it almost impossible to ignore his impact on British life. Here, for the footballing unfaithful, we explain five reasons why he has been so talked about.
THE SWERVING FREE KICK
Football fans are used to seeing prolific free kickers rippling the back of the net. But most free kick specialists score their goals either from curling the ball into a corner of the net, or opting for a straight blast from closer in.
Ronaldo on the other hand seems to be able to do something fairly rare with the ball. His best free kicks typically come a long way from goal, with the 24-year-old midfielder planting himself legs wide apart, before blasting the ball. From this distance he can achieve slight but unpredictable movements on the ball, left and then right, up and then down, leaving goalkeepers looking very foolish. Notable examples include his free kicks against Portsmouth last season and Arsenal in the recent Champions League semi-final. But perhaps the best example, says physicist Dr Ken Bray, author of How To Score – Science And The Beautiful Game, was against Fulham in 2006. “[Fulham goalkeeper Antti] Niemi is not a stupid goalkeeper, he moves to cover the ball when it’s moving to his right. He is completely fooled when it moves and beats him to his left,” says Dr Bray, from Bath University. “It’s the physics of chaos that determines Ronaldo’s free kicks whereas David Beckham’s are entirely deliberate.” Dr Bray has
But heavily paraphrased, balls have peculiar aerodynamic qualities, and the modern ball can be particularly peculiar. Balls flying through the air have a “boundary layer”, a layer of airflow around them that hugs the surface. Imperfections in the surface of the ball can affect this layer and cause a deviation in flight. Older balls had more panels and raised stitching on them. These numerous imperfections on the surface made for more predictable flight. Modern balls have fewer panels and little in the way of raised stitching. The modern balls, when hit with minimal spin, can fly straight, then as one of the few imperfections slowly rotates in the air flow, a sudden deviation can occur. Ronaldo is perhaps not the greatest user of this bit of physics. That title might be accorded to Brazilian midfielded Juninho Pernambucano, of French side Lyon. But Ronaldo is the only consistent practitioner in the Premiership. “On all the replays I’ve looked at it will move two or possibly three times in flight,” says Dr Bray. And the result? Regularly embarrassed goalkeepers.
Diving or simulation is one area of football that regularly generates fan “ire”. After his arrival in the UK in 2003, Ronaldo quickly came to be regarded as one of the worst culprits. Fans became used to seeing Ronaldo, face contorted with agony, back arched, limbs limp, as he fell to the ground, before rolling around and getting up to score the resultant penalty. The criticism was twofold – that Ronaldo and other players simulated contact where there had been none, and that they exaggerated the effect of actual contact. A viral animation did the rounds on e-mail. It showed a stick man Ronaldo repeatedly stepping over the ball, with an opposition stick man player in attendance. After a few stepovers, the opposition stick man kicks the ball away and the Ronaldo stick man falls to the ground and rolls around in agony. Sport columnists raised their eyebrows at his “antics”. He was described as “diving around more than Jacques Cousteau”. Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate was one strident critic of the practice. But there have also been many fans who have noted Ronaldo’s reputation for diving has worked against him in a “boy who cries wolf” sort of way, and also that there were, and are, plenty of other Premier League players who also regularly dive. Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, as well as current stars Steven Gerrard and Didier Drogba have had their own brickbats.
THE RONALDO BRAND/LOOK
The Cristiano Ronaldo ‘brand’ is ready for development
As well as filling the back pages, Cristiano Ronaldo has also featured in the non-sport bits of our newspapers. He was far from the first famous preening footballer – see everyone from David Beckham all the way back to George Best – in the UK. But to some he represented the concept’s apogee. The tabloids would picture him during the off season by the pool in some sunny resort, looking as though he’d been painted with an outdoor varnish. The Daily Mail has made repeated references to his “deep mahogany” tint. And his every fashion move was analysed as he spent time in the US last summer while recovering from ankle surgery – his wearing of a rosary-style necklace, his aviator sunglasses, or his white suit at a premiere. Only recently
- pink flower in ear, matching pink cap with CR7 logo, aviators, super-tight white shorts and powder blue polo shirt. But this distinctive appearance is part of why Real Madrid are paying 80m for him. Having acquired David Beckham in the past, they know the commercial value of a star that will earn sponsorships through his look as well as his play. A big part will be his female fanbase. “Footballers are now celebrities in their own rights. They are a brand in the way Coke or Pepsi is a brand,” says Cosmopolitan magazine’s celebrity director Lizzi Hosking. “The reason women fancy him, he has got this kind of arrogance about him. There’s something that’s so not British about him. He’s not like any guy you would bump into the pub. He puts a lot of thought into what he wears.”
RONALDO’S EXPRESSIVE FACE
The many expressive faces of Cristiano Ronaldo
For enemies of Manchester United, of which there are many, the greatest Schadenfreude to be found in a defeat for the team is usually to be located in Ronaldo’s facial expressions. When the team is defeated, the images of his quivering bottom lip and red eyes tell more than a thousand words. Ronaldo’s face is extraordinarily expressive. He pouts, frowns, grimaces, grins, roars and cries like an actor hamming it up in an early silent film. And such vigour is put into both his celebrations and his tantrums, that other players’ fist pumps, finger shushes and head-in-hands gestures do not seem to carry the same weight. One occasion that his expressive face got him into trouble was after the 2006 World Cup, when his “wink” as Wayne Rooney was sent off caused uproar back in Blighty. The usually level-headed TV pundit Alan Shearer afterwards suggested that Rooney might “stick one on” Ronaldo training.
BIG GAME PLAYER?
Ronaldo has been accused in the past of not being a ‘big-game player’
Remember the kids at school who wouldn’t pass the ball to anyone as he laboured over imitating the fancy footwork of his footballing idols, only to end it with a limp shot at goal, and a round of groans from his team mates. That’s Ronaldo, sort of. Initial criticism of Ronaldo from fans of opposing teams tended to centre on his lack of “end product”. It was suggested he would follow many mazy dribbles with a lacklustre pass to his potential goal scoring colleagues. When this area of his game improved immensely, a new strand of criticism arose – that while a great player against humdrum teams, he was anonymous in big matches against teams of similar stature to Manchester United. When the team was badly beaten – as against AC Milan in 2007 – the pundits’ criticism usually started with Ronaldo. But with Ronaldo’s goal in the 2008 final to decide the champion team of Europe, he was said by many to have proved his doubters wrong. And when he led his team to a crushing victory over Arsenal in the Champions League semi-final this year, the message was reinforced. Now he will probably be playing his big game elsewhere.Here is a selection of your comments.A seemingly useless buy. Ronaldo failed to make a sustained impression in the recent Final against Real’s biggest opponents – Barcelona. With 56M for Kaka, we’re in the ‘The Galacticos, Part II’. This policy of Perez’ failed before. In Spain, there’s general disapproval of the price paid, especially in the crisis and with unemployment close to 20%Paul Tempany, Seville, SpainA sublime talent matched by his enormous self regard. He’ll never win as many honours with Real Madrid as he’s won with Manchester United (I’m not a United fan). If he was going to go to any other club in order to fulfil his potential, it should have been Barcelona, but they would never have agreed to his wage demands. Goodbye Ronaldo, the Premier League has had the best of you, but there are aspects of your game that won’t be missed. Rob Lovett, Swindon, UKSorry, but the only bit of this article that appeals is the headline… Nice try to explain stuff to we, the uninterested, but the problem is that – well, we’re uninterested.Justie, LondonWhat about the stepovers and the fantastic tricks? I’m a Liverpool fan, but I tuned into Match of the Day every week not to watch my team play out a mind-numbing draw with some mid-table outfit, but to watch Ronaldo leaving the best defenders in the game flat on their backs.Monty, York, UKRonaldo has it made. He knows that 40% of people probably dislike him, however it has a double effect whereby the other 60% love him. The thing that makes Ronaldo successful is not only his mind boggling skills but he has a air of arrogance about him. This isn’t always a bad thing especially in sport as this leads to complete faith and confidence in himself, which almost everyone watching wants to have plus he can produce some stuff. He is basically what every 10 year old boy wants to be when he is playing on the school field with his mates – he’s the fantasy that runs through your head when playing. He has a world class team by his side, the media watching his every move and he has the best platform to show off on whilst being paid mega bucks – what’s not to like? D Aitken, London
Guantanamo and the mouse that roared
By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent BBC News website
Great Britain is not amused.It has expressed its displeasure that Bermuda, one of its 14 remaining colonies – or, as they are now called, “British overseas territories” – has accepted four Chinese Muslim Uighurs from Guantanamo Bay without consulting London. Queen Victoria would have huffed and Lord Palmerston would have puffed – and perhaps sent a gunboat or at least a rude letter as he was wont to do when foreign secretary in the 19th Century. Mrs Thatcher would have treated it as personal insult – as she did when her friend Ronald Reagan invaded the Caribbean island of Grenada in 1983 without telling her – or the Queen, who was (and is) Grenada’s head of state. Not that Mrs Thatcher minded the invasion – that was to get rid of some Marxist revolutionaries – but she wanted the proprieties observed. These days it is a bit more polite. The Foreign Office in London issued a lofty and frosty statement to the effect that it had “underlined to the Bermuda government that it should have consulted the UK on whether this fall within their competence”. I bet the Bermudians are quaking at the “underlining” they have received. It is not a word Lord Palmerston would have used, I think. (Update: I have received some e-mails from Bermuda from people who think that there is something else behind this – an attempt by the premier of Bermuda Ewart Brown to provoke a row with Britain as a way of furthering the cause of independence. His Progressive Labour Party favours independence, but public opinion appears to be against. Britain has never been slow to demonstrate an imperial role in Bermuda. I remember going there in 1990 with Mrs Thatcher for a summit with President George Bush senior. It seemed to the media a strange place to meet and it looked as if Mrs Thatcher had chosen Bermuda in order to show that Britain still had somewhere it could hold such a meeting. It was fun though. The British governor Sir Richard Gozney is quite clear that his agreement over the Uighurs was not given. “It was done without permission and the Government of Bermuda should have consulted with us because it carries with it foreign policy and security issues,” he said.) Handling ChinaThe British government is worried not only about the offence to its dignity – and it does seem odd that it did not get wind of this plan.
After all, it is supposed to be in a “special relationship” with the US government. But perhaps the new administration has not yet caught up on the niceties of what powers the mother country retains over these “overseas territories”. It is security, defence and foreign policy, if they ever ask. London is also concerned about the effect on China, which has demanded the return of these Uighurs, whom it regards as dangerous “separatists” for supporting a Muslim state of East Turkestan in western China. British diplomats in Beijing face quite a delicate mission in trying to explain what has happened. On the one hand they want to push the blame onto those pesky Bermudians (one can imagine the Chinese hurrying discreetly for an atlas; perhaps the Brits helpfully brought one). On the other hand, it is a considerable loss of face for the British ambassador to have to admit that the Bermudian mouse has nibbled the tail of the old British lion. Maybe the Chinese will see it as a plot and a way for the treacherous British to blame someone else. In that way, honour, and face, might be saved. In any event, this is what diplomats are paid to sort out. StrandedMeanwhile, the Uighurs are, in the splendid understatement of their lawyer, “trying to get a sense of where they are”. Where they are is in the middle of the Atlantic, a bit over to the left-hand side.
They will find a most pleasant environment of picture pretty houses, flowers, greenery and the ocean all around, though subject to the occasional hurricane. Bermuda has not been free of trouble. The British governor was assassinated by local black power militants in 1973. It is quieter these days. The Uighurs might in due course find it a bit too quiet. This footnote to the saga of Guantanamo Bay shows the problems that Washington is having in resettling some of the prisoners whom it no longer regards as a threat. The Uighurs have always argued they were never a threat to the US and that, whatever they were doing in Afghanistan, it was not to fight the Americans. Another group of Uighurs is expected to be given refuge on another island, this time in the Pacific – Palau, once administered by the US under UN trusteeship. This far-flung dispersal smacks of a certain desperation by the Obama administration to be rid of the problem so the camp can be closed, as President Obama has promised, early next year. And it now appears that the president is giving up on taking in ex-prisoners into the United States. The Uighurs would have been rather good candidates. Declared by the Pentagon not to be a threat and their release ordered by a US judge, they could have joined a Uighur community in Northern Virginia, where many refugees from other conflicts also reside. But it was all too controversial – so Bermuda and Palau were asked to help instead. Except that nobody thought of calling London. Paul.Reynolds-INTERNET
Robust message for North Korea
By Jonathan Marcus
Diplomatic correspondent, BBC World Service
“Actions must have consequences.” That was US President Barack Obama’s cry in the wake of North Korea’s second underground nuclear test at the end of last month.Accordingly, the unanimous adoption of this resolution containing tougher sanctions against North Korea represents a significant rebuff for the Pyongyang government. Russia and China backed the agreed text. North Korea can be in no doubt about the concerted international disapproval for its actions. Tough words have been accompanied by tougher actions – up to a point. A battery of measures are set to reinforce the sanctions regime against Pyongyang. There is a total embargo on exports of weaponry from North Korea and significantly expanded controls on arms exports to it. A new framework is being established for international co-operation to inspect North Korean cargoes for anything associated with weapons of mass destruction. There are additional financial sanctions too, along with strengthened measures to monitor the whole sanctions regime. However, much of this still depends upon the actions of individual governments and none more so than North Korea’s giant neighbour – China. ‘Complex and sensitive’China’s UN ambassador Zhang Yesui took a more nuanced approach to the resolution insisting that it was “an appropriate and balanced response” and that it sent a positive signal to Pyongyang that its nuclear problems had to be resolved by negotiation.
It is clear that China remains deeply uneasy about the whole business of cargo inspections. This was, he said, a “complex and sensitive” matter. China is urging countries to approach this in a legal and reasonable way and that there should be no question of using force. Russia too stressed that this resolution was not offering an opportunity for military action against Pyongyang and that the measures outlined on stopping and searching ships were circumscribed and narrow in scope. None of this suggests that the new sanctions regime is necessarily going to bite. But the US and its allies like Japan and South Korea will want to bank the fact that Russia and China are on board. The diplomatic front at least against Pyongyang is reasonably solid with a clear message for North Korea to return to the negotiating table. Dangerous timesWhat is not yet clear is what additional unilateral steps the Obama administration might take against Pyongyang. It could seek to toughen financial restrictions and it might even restore North Korea to the list of countries sponsoring terrorism. North Korea’s actions are clear but its motivation is much less so. Some analysts argue that North Korea is trying to attract the attention of the new US president to push the whole issue of its nuclear programme higher up Washington’s agenda. Others argue that North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests relate more to internal developments, bolstering the public image of the regime and possibly preparing the way for a transfer of power from the ailing, elderly Kim Jong-il to one of his sons. But these are dangerous and uncertain times. There are growing fears of a possible incident between North and South Korean ships along the Northern Limit Line – the disputed western maritime extension of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas. All eyes now will be on Pyongyang’s reaction with many analysts fearing it may respond with more bangs – in the form of missile tests – and more bluster.
Offer made for stake in Setanta
US investor Len Blavatnik is offering 20m in return for a 51% stake in the troubled Irish pay-tv channel Setanta.Access Industries, which is owned by Mr Blavatnik, said it had submitted a proposal but gave no further details. Other investors have signalled they may be prepared to put in a further 20m, the BBC has learned. Setanta has been hit by a lack of subscribers and by only winning one of the new English Premier League TV packages starting in 2010/11. Mr Blavatnik is also involved with Top-Up TV, the pay-TV channel on Freeview. His plan has a reasonable chance of succeeding, according to the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston. If other investors put in a further 20m or so, it may be enough to refinance the business, he says.
In a statement, Access Industries said: “The Access proposal is subject to a number of preconditions being met. Access believes that this proposal would secure the the future of the broadcaster for customers, football and employees.” Sources close to Setanta said that it had received an offer for the majority of the company, which the board was recommending, although it was subject to a closer look at the company’s accounts. Toby Syfret from Enders Analysis said Mr Blavatnik’s involvement with Top-Up TV meant that he would not want to see Setanta go under. “Top-Up TV is one means by which Freeview subscribers can get Setanta. They either go to Setanta directly or through Top-Up TV. “So it’s very important for Top-Up TV that Setanta manages to survive in good shape,” he said. Mounting debtsMr Blavatnik, who works with the former boss of BSkyB David Chance, has not been immune from the fall-out of the credit crisis. A huge petrochemicals maker he backed, LyondellBasell, has collapsed, meaning big losses for its creditors, which include Royal Bank of Scotland.
Setanta, which shows cricket, golf and rugby union as well as football, has about 1.2 million subscribers. But this is only about 60% of the number it needs, according to analysts, and the company is losing up to 100m a year. Setanta needs to pay 30m that is due to the English Premier League and has already failed to pay the Scottish Premier League 3m it owes in television rights money. On Wednesday, Setanta confirmed it had stopped taking on new customers. The company has been holding urgent talks in an attempt to secure its future. An approach to rival broadcaster BSkyB failed, while Walt Disney-owned sports network ESPN denied speculation on Thursday that it would buy Setanta. Under the current UK broadcast deal for the English Premier League, which lasts for one more season, BSkyB holds four packages of rights to show live matches – a total of 92 games – while Setanta has the other two packages, which cover 46 games. However, for the TV deal starting in 2010/11 Setanta only won the rights to show one Premier League package of 23 games per season.