LECCE, Italy (Reuters) –
The world's rich nations, heartened by signs the credit crisis is easing, have started to consider how to unwind rescue steps for their economies once recovery is certain, their finance ministers said on Saturday.
Meeting in southern Italy, the ministers described their economies in the most positive terms since the collapse of Lehman Brothers nine months ago ushered in the world's worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
“The force of the economic storm is receding. There are encouraging signs of stabilization across many economies,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as finance ministers of the Group of Eight nations ended two-day talks.
A surge in long-term government bond yields over the past several weeks shows financial markets fear huge sums of money poured into economies through drastic stimulus will ultimately fuel inflation and cripple state finances.
But ministers clearly differed over how quickly the world should start rolling back huge state spending plans and hiking interest rates. And there was continued disagreement over other aspects of the crisis, especially testing the health of banks.
The meeting's final joint statement said they had asked the International Monetary Fund to help them analyze possible ways of ending economic stimulus policies.
A G8 source, who declined to be named, told Reuters that the IMF report would probably be presented at the fund's October annual meeting in Istanbul. Most private sector economists do not expect any major tightening of fiscal and monetary policies in the developed world before next year.
NO EARLY EXIT
Pressure has been building in the G8, particularly from fiscally conservative nations such as Germany and Canada, for plans to wind down stimulus as soon as it is no longer needed — “exit strategies” that would prevent market interest rates from climbing high enough to threaten economic recovery.
The communique stressed there would be no immediate end to stimulus, noting unemployment might continue rising even if production began picking up. “While the economic outlook is improving, the situation remains uncertain,” it said.
Geithner indicated the United States was unlikely to tighten policy any time soon: “It is too early to shift toward policy restraint.”
Underlining the precariousness of any economic recovery, data released as the meeting began on Friday showed euro zone industrial production shrank by more than a fifth in April, dropping faster than markets had expected.
The debate over stimulus is diplomatically sensitive because if some countries roll back their programmes earlier than others, they may be accused of not doing their fair share to ensure a global recovery.
Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin described the meeting as “stormy,” featuring heated debate on what stage of the crisis the world had reached.
The meeting appeared to make little progress on one tool for restoring confidence to the global financial system: “stress tests” to determine the financial strength of banks.
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty called on Europe to conduct more such tests and to reveal the results, at least on a system-wide basis.
But Europe's leading powers are divided on publishing results of their tests, which are run by different regulators using different methods, and there was no mention of stress tests in the G8 communique.
French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said the Europeans would “explain nicely to the Americans” that there would be no quick consensus on stress tests.
Speaking after the meeting, Flaherty said he had become “much less frustrated” at the Europeans' stance, but added that differences of opinion remained.
“As the economy improves, enthusiasm for international cooperation seems to abate faster than financial market tensions,” Marco Annunziata, chief economist at UniCredit Group, said in a report on the meeting.
The communique identified volatile commodity prices as a major threat to economies; crude oil has jumped nearly 75 percent since the end of February, even though it remains about 50 percent down from last year's record peak.
Ministers from both France and Italy blamed much of the volatility on speculators, in the same way that they blamed financial speculation last year for worsening the credit crisis.
“Speculation is coming back, a certain type of finance is raising its head again and doing the same not very nice things it was doing until last summer,” Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti told reporters.
At the instigation of the Italians, the G8 ministers released a set of principles and standards for the conduct of business globally, calling for more information and protection for investors, tighter regulation, and a stronger sense of commercial ethics.
“The breadth and intensity of the prolonged downturn have revealed the importance of strengthening our commitment to standards of propriety, integrity and transparency,” said a summary of the principles, to be called the “Lecce Framework.”
The G8 groups the United States, Germany, Japan, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia.
(With additional reporting by Gernot Heller, Francesca Landini, Valentina Za and Gavin Jones; writing by Andrew Torchia and Patrick Graham)
Archive for June 13th, 2009
LECCE, Italy (Reuters) –
Australia’s Indian students vow action
By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Sydney
Indian students in Australia have vowed to fight back against a series of callous attacks they have blamed on racists.Furious demonstrators have rallied in Sydney and Melbourne, where dozens of assaults have been reported in the past year. “People got stabbed in their houses, on train stations, on the street and there were petrol bombs thrown on people’s cars,” said Gautam Gupta, the founder of the Federation of Indian Students of Australia. He accused the authorities of being “too slow” to respond to the violence. “We have no reason to believe they are not racist attacks,” Mr Gupta told the BBC. “Whenever they are attacking they always use the words ‘Indians, go back’,” he said. “It would be insulting to all the good people of Australia to say the country is racist. There are racist elements and we will fight with them.” The federation is organising self-defence classes for worried students and, in at least one case, there has been violent retaliation, where rough justice has been meted out to those suspected of targeting young Indians. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has warned against vigilante action, and, while deploring the abuse of foreign students, he said it was “equally unacceptable for so-called reprisal attacks”. Diplomatic tensionIn Melbourne, home to many of the 90,000 Indians who are studying in Australia, the police will intensify patrols at known trouble-spots, including a dozen train stations.
Senior commanders have insisted the beefed-up response is driven by crime in general, and not only the muggings and beatings of international students. Australian authorities have conceded that some of the attacks on Indian expatriates were fuelled by racial prejudice. But there is an official belief that most are the work of opportunistic criminals preying on easy targets, who often travel alone on public transport after dark. “I think it would break the heart of any Australian to see an Indian student who has come to this country to get a good education the subject of a violent attack,” said Julia Gillard, Australia’s Welsh-born deputy prime minister.
The identity, background and motives of alleged assailants remain sketchy. Certainly not all are white, but from a range of ethnic groups, and other foreign students have been victims, not just Indians. While the debate rages, and the diplomatic stress between Canberra and Delhi continues to simmer, with India calling on Australia to do more to protect its expatriates, the violence shows little sign of abating. “It is really very bad. Almost every day there is a case where an Indian is being bashed openly and aggressively,” said Raj P Dudeja, the chief editor of the Melbourne-based Indian Voice newspaper. He initially blamed young teenagers but believes more recently a hidden wave of hostility has been perpetrated by racists. “Some people didn’t report these matters with a fear that their names would appear in police records, which might affect their application for migration in the future,” added Mr Dudeja, who has praised the response of Victorian police and its newly appointed chief commissioner, Simon Overland. ScarsThe spate of attacks, though, has damaged Australia’s reputation and there are concerns the country’s multi-billion-dollar education business that relies, in large part, on the fees paid by foreigners could suffer as a result. For many youngsters from overseas, however, the Australian experience is positive and enriching. “I’ve never come across any kind of racial discrimination,” explained Ranjinee Dey, 25, from Calcutta who is studying for a Masters in organisational psychology in Melbourne.
There have been large rallies against racism in Melbourne and Sydney
“One of my aunts [in India] felt that as soon as I stepped out the house someone would be jumping on me and attacking me, which I thought was ridiculous,” she told the BBC. “The retaliation attack got me a bit concerned because something like that can easily spiral into something a lot more serious. It is one violent incident leading to another,” she said. It was a drunken assault on Gautam Gupta on a university campus in Melbourne that led to the creation of the Federation of Indian Students of Australia. “I was almost in a depression for a year. It took me a very long time to recover and the scars still remain and as a result of that attack we started what is now the federation,” he said. Community groups in Melbourne and Sydney have been working to soothe tensions but there are fears the situation may have reached breaking point and that Indian students will continue their noisy rallies, raising the prospect of further confrontations with those suspected of carrying out racist attacks. “The level of frustration has gone beyond a manageable limit,” Mr Gupta said of the young Indian protesters. “They are angry. They don’t know what else to do. How else can they get their voice heard?”
Lost in translation across the Channel
France might be just across the English Channel from Britain, but Emma Jane Kirby says both nations are still prone to the pitfalls of linguistic misunderstandings.
Last weekend, standing on Pegasus bridge in Normandy for the D-Day celebrations, I was touched to see two classes of French primary school children singing the British national anthem in honour of the veterans. As I went closer, I realised with delight that while they had got the tune off pat, the words were just slightly off the mark. Standing tall and proud, the children were calling on the Almighty to “sieve the Queen and her setter, Victoria.” It took me straight back to my own school days when I had learned to sing the nursery rhyme Frere Jacques. For many years I had warned Frere Jacques to wake up not because the morning bells were ringing (sonnez les matines), but because there was “sunny semolina” to be had. ‘Yoghurting’Even in your own language, it is difficult to catch accurately the words of a song if they are not written down in front of you, and in France, which imports most of its music from the US or UK, there is even a word for the appropriation of lyrics. It is “yaourt”, or “to yoghurt”. You start singing confidently… and then trail off into inarticulate “yoghurting” when your lexicon runs dry. As far as I understand it, so long as you look slightly pained and shut your eyes while you yoghurt, you seem to get away with it.
Some years ago, an Irish friend of mine was on a French exchange in Paris and was hanging out with some of the local teenagers. Desperate to impress her, they began to reel off their repertoire of English songs. They said their favourite was a hit by Queen that they had picked up on the radio – I believe the original version was called I Want to Break Free – but unfortunately, the boys knew only the yoghurt version. Although retaining the original passion, it had lost a little of the sense. It went: I Want a Steak Frites, I Want a Steak Frites. ‘Simply hysterical’Mispronunciations can have embarrassing consequences. A French friend of mine, preparing a few snacks to hand round at an English drinks party, implored her guests to help themselves to nipples. My father once returned from a trip to France complaining bitterly that the French had just laughed at him when he had tried to ask for directions to the railway station.
A few probing questions revealed that he had not asked for la gare at all – he had asked for la guerre (the war) – and the locals were simply hysterical at the idea of this white-haired, would-be combatant showing up for duty 65 years too late. But it can happen to the best of us. Madame de Gaulle was said to have been lunching with the American ambassador at the time of her husband’s retirement when she was asked what she was most looking forward to in the years ahead. She thought for a moment before announcing boldly: “A penis”. A startled hush fell over the table until the former president leant over and said: “My dear, I think its pronounced ‘happiness’.” Speak in French, wrote Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass, when you cannot remember the English for a thing. But there are many faux amis (false friends) to be wary of in English and French. ‘Slip of the ear’You can flatter a French woman by telling she looks formidable in her new dress, but tell an English woman she looks formidable in her new frock and she will quickly go and change.
The French language is littered with faux amis
And that one wrong word can do untold damage. In English, looking and watching are two different things. In French, one word – regarder – will cover you for both. My American friend Janet, on holiday in Montana with her French husband Eddy, suggested he wandered around the shops while she tried on her zillionth pair of shoes. After a few minutes spent in a bed linen store he was a approached by the female assistant who asked him if he needed any help. “No thanks, I am just watching,” he smiled, and was puzzled as she backed off slowly, desperately fumbling for her phone. The other day I was reading an article in a French newspaper about how we regularly mishear words, particularly in foreign languages, and how that completely changes our comprehension of the conversation. The writer spoke of a British acquaintance of his who was struck when he arrived in France by how much the French seemed to talk about Johnny Marr, the Smiths’ guitarist. Until the writer realised what his friend was actually hearing was “J’en ai marre (I’m sick of it)”. He went on in his article to inform his readers that the English even had a phrase for such a misunderstanding. It was called, he said confidently, a “slip of the ear”. How to listen to: From our own CorrespondentRadio 4: Saturdays, 1130. Second weekly edition on Thursdays, 1100 (some weeks only) World Service: See programme schedules Download the
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Discovery could ease cancer pain
A breakthrough could lead to drugs to alleviate the pain experienced by cancer patients.The biology of cancer pain is different to other types of pain, often rendering analgesic drugs ineffective. Work by a German team, published in Nature Medicine, shows that blocking a specific type of hormone-like molecule produced by tumours could help. The team showed that the molecules make nerve endings grow in nearby tissue, causing an acute sensation of pain.
Pain is one of the most debilitating symptoms associated with the many forms of the disease. It can become excruciating as cancer advances, but tackling it has proved difficult for doctors. The molecules highlighted by the latest study, by a team at Heidelberg University, were known to play a role in the development of blood cells in the bone marrow. But this is the first time they have also been shown to have a role in causing pain. New drugsThe researchers hope their work could lead to new drugs to block this action. Dr Mark Matfield is scientific adviser to the Association for International Cancer Research, which partly funded the work. He said: “Identifying one of the ways in which cancer causes pain – in fact, perhaps the main mechanism – is a crucial step towards drugs that could bring relief to cancer sufferers across the world.” Dr Joanna Owens, of the charity Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s important that we continue to improve pain relief for people with cancer, and this study reveals an intriguing new avenue to explore. “What’s particularly encouraging is that this research could one day lead to drugs that can block pain locally at the tumour site – which could ultimately lead to more effective pain relief with fewer side effects.”
Tiger prisoner describes end of the war
By Saroj Pathirana
A former prisoner of war of the Tamil Tigers who managed to escape days before their final defeat says there was no offer from the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) leadership to surrender.Chaminda Kumara Hewage of the Sri Lankan navy was captured by the LTTE with six others in November 2006. The group managed to escape with fleeing civilians and Tamil Tigers early in the morning of 17 May. “Many Tamil Tigers had already surrendered and the unit guarding us also decided to give themselves up so we made use of the opportunity to flee,” he told the BBC’s Sinhala Service. Chaminda Kumara says he saw pistols and other weapons being thrown away by the fleeing LTTE members. “There were pistols, LTTE tags, belts and cyanide capsules thrown away in LTTE camps and all along the road” he says. Underground bunkersThe Sri Lankan government announced the capture of the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and the end of the war May 19. Chaminda Kumara said it seemed as if the Tigers lacked ammunition for their heavy weapons in the final days of fighting. The prisoners, who were kept in underground bunkers in a cemetery near Mullaitvu beach, regularly heard shell attacks nearby as the fighting intensified. “During the final stages of fighting some bullets even fell in our bunkers”. “But we did not hear heavy weapons in the last days. The LTTE fired about 2 or 3 mortars a day but I think they were running out of ammunition. At the same time the Sri Lankan army did not use heavy weapons,” he adds.
Mr Kumara denied reports in media that the LTTE leadership used them to send an offer of surrender to the Sri Lankan army. “We did not meet any senior LTTE leader when we escaped and there had been no offer of surrender,” he says. Held in chainsHe said the prisoners were registered with the Red Cross and were not ill-treated by the LTTE. And in the last days of their captivity the Tigers had wanted to hand them over to the ICRC but couldn’t because it was prohibited from entering the war zone. But, he says, that the Tigers deliberately built their camps alongside civilians in government no-fire zones. “The LTTE was hiding among civilians and firing at the army. There were LTTE camps around our bunker,” he told BBC Sinhala. The prisoners did not see any shelling but they heard attacks very close to civilian settlements as fighting intensified.
The prisoners were initially kept in Kanakapuram, in Kilinochchi district, for nearly two years. But the Tamil Tigers had to move them from place to place as the Sri Lankan army gradually captured their territory. “Initially they moved us in vehicles but that became dangerous as we came under attack. So then we had to walk during the night chained together in groups of up to 50.” While on the move they clearly heard fighting nearby and the Tigers said they feared shells would land on their temporary prisons. The Sri Lankan military was accused by the LTTE and human rights groups of constantly using heavy weapons despite repeated pledges not to use them on civilian settlements. The former PoW says he did not see any such attacks but said civilians told him that the army continuously launched shell attacks on their settlements. Nearly a month after the end of the conflict it remains difficult to find out the truth, the first casualty of war.
Sextuplets ‘are a gift from God’
The mother of Ireland’s first ever set of sextuplets has told how she and her husband were given the option of aborting some of the foetuses.Nuala Conway, 26, of Dunamore, County Tyrone, gave birth to four girls and two boys 14 weeks early last month. She said that 14 weeks into the pregnancy, she and husband Austin were told about the risks of proceeding. “But we knew without discussion what we both wanted. These babies are a wonderful gift from God,” she said. Bedside vigil”Whatever God laid out for our lives, we were taking it,” she told the Sunday Express newspaper. Abortions in Northern Ireland are still strictly limited and can go ahead only if it can be proven that the pregnancy would damage the physical or mental health of the woman. Mrs Conway’s babies were delivered by a team of 30 people at the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital in Belfast and all arrived within the space of five minutes. The babies, conceived without the aid of IVF, weighed between 1lb 7oz and 2lb 2oz.
The Conways have been keeping an almost constant vigil in the intensive care unit, where Ursula, Austin, Shannon, Karla, Eoghan and Kerrie are being cared for. Mrs Conway, who was discharged from hospital a week ago, revealed she had prayed for a child with her husband of three years. Initial scans revealed two babies and Nuala said they were “overwhelmed” at that. But further tests in February revealed the existence of four more babies. “It just didn’t sink in at first. We were so shocked,” she said. Now she says she just cannot wait to bring her ready-made family home. “I just feel lost without them. We have a house here but it feels so empty. It’s not a home until all our babies are here safe and well,” she said. “I’m in love with every single one of them. I fell in love when they were in the womb. When one moved they would all move and I could definitely feel 24 limbs kicking. “Every day seems like a year. Every minute seems like an hour. I just want time to go faster so they can get home. I just want to have a cuddle with them.” Doctors at the hospital hope the babies will be strong enough to go home within two months – about the time they were due to be born. ‘Rollercoaster’Mr Conway, a kitchen fitter, has suspended his job so that he can make the daily three-hour round trip to the hospital. He said: “It has been like a rollercoaster. The babies have been on and off antibiotics and ventilators. “They are thriving really well but it’s hard to get a good day. There are so many of them there are always days when one or two will not be doing so well.”
Dr Clifford Maynes, a neonatal consultant at the Belfast hospital, said the birth had taken “a massive amount of planning”. “The biggest worry we had was if labour started in the middle of the night when we would not have been so prepared,” he said. “The babies have all had normal head scans which is reassuring and have all made some progress, but it is still very early days. “The big objective now is to get them off drips and antibiotics and gaining weight.” The Conway babies are the first recorded birth of sextuplets on the island of Ireland and the first in the UK since 1993.
ORLANDO, Fla. – The NBA has fined Lakers coach Phil Jackson 25,000 for criticizing the officials during Game 4 of the finals.
The league also penalized the Lakers 25,000 on Saturday for Jackson’s comments, which came during an interview with ABC between the first and second quarters of their 99-91 overtime victory Thursday.
Jackson said there were some “bogus” calls after the Lakers’ Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum each picked up two fouls in the first quarter.
Defiant Ahmadinejad backs ‘free’ Iran poll
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has defended his “completely free” re-election as Iran’s president, amid violent clashes on the streets over claims of election fraud.Mr Ahmadinejad condemned the outside world for “psychological warfare” against Iranians during the election. Thousands have protested against the result, burning barricades on the streets of Tehran and clashing with police, who responded with tear gas. Reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi urged his supporters to avoid violence. ‘Down with the dictator’Speaking on national television, Mr Ahmadinejad praised the Iranian people for choosing to “look toward the future” rather than returning to the past.
“This is a great victory at a time and condition when the whole material, political and propaganda facilities outside of Iran and sometimes… inside Iran, were total mobilised against our people,” he said. He blamed “foreign media” for instigating a “full-fledged fight against our people”. “Nearly 40 million people took part in a totally free election,” he said. However, the official result, which gave Mr Ahmadinejad a resounding victory – 63% of the vote against 34% for Mr Mousavi – brought the worst violence seen in Tehran for a decade, correspondents said. The BBC’s John Simpson saw secret policemen being attacked and chased away by protesters, which he says is extremely rare. Some of the protesters in Tehran wore Mr Mousavi’s campaign colour of green and chanted “Down with the dictator”, news agencies report. Four police motorbikes were set on fire near the interior ministry, where votes had been counted, our correspondent says. Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli warned that any demonstrations needed official permission, and none had been given. One opposition newspaper has been closed down and BBC websites also appear to have been blocked by the Iranian authorities. The AP news agency reports that mobile phone services have been blocked in Tehran. Ayatollah’s callMr Mousavi urged calm in his website statement. “The violations in the election are very serious and you are right to be deeply hurt,” he said.
“But I firmly call on you not to subject any individual or groups to hurt.” Mr Mousavi earlier said the election was a “charade”. “I personally strongly protest the many obvious violations and I’m warning I will not surrender to this dangerous charade. “The result of such performance by some officials will jeopardise the pillars of the Islamic Republic and will establish tyranny.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who wields ultimate power, urged all Iranians “including yesterday’s competitors” to support the re-elected president. He described the count as a “real celebration”, praised the high turnout of 85% and called for calm. “Enemies may want to spoil the sweetness of this event… with some kind of ill-intentioned provocations,” the ayatollah said.
winning more than 50% of the vote, in order to force a run-off election. The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Tehran says the result has been greeted with surprise and with deep scepticism by many Iranians. The figures, if they are to be believed, show
winning strongly even in the heartland of Mr Mousavi. Our correspondent says Mr Ahmadinejad will feel emboldened in his global vision that foresees the death of capitalism, while at home, many Iranians will fear a clamp down on society and cultural life. Surge of interestThere had been a surge of interest in
with unprecedented live television debates between the candidates and rallies attended by thousands.
There were long queues at polling stations on Friday, with turnout reaching 85%. Four candidates contested the election, with Mohsen Razai and Mehdi Karroubi only registering about 1% of the vote each.
Iran is ruled under a system
known as Velayat-e Faqih, or “Rule by the Supreme Jurist”, who is currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It was adopted by an overwhelming majority in 1979 following the Islamic revolution which overthrew the autocratic Western-backed Shah. But the constitution also stipulates that the people are the source of power and the country holds phased presidential and parliamentary elections every four years. All candidates are vetted by the powerful conservative-controlled Guardian Council, which also has the power to veto legislation it deems inconsistent with revolutionary principles.
LONDON, EnglandWhether it be his sublime skills or serious sulks, in six years at Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo has been no stranger to the headlines.
The Portuguese star scores his first goal for United. A freekick against Porstmouth in November 2003.more photos »
Born February 5 in Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira, he made his debut for Sporting Lisbon in the Portuguese Super Liga at the age of 17 after winning international caps for Portugal’s youth sides. Here are 10 of his greatest moments during his memorable stint in United’s famous number 7 jersey. 1. The world’s most expensive teenager comes on as a substitute to make his debut at Old Trafford in 2003. He was signed from Sporting Lisbon for 12.24m (20m). He immediately drew comparison with legendary Manchester United player George Best, another wearer of the famous number 7 shirt. Sir Alex Ferguson hailed him a “new hero.” While others praised him for an admirable “lack of histrionics.” That wouldn’t last. 2. Ronaldo scored his first goal for United, a free kick against Portsmouth in the Premiership on 1st November 2003. 3.Many fear Ronaldo would never play in the English Premiership again after he is believed to encourage Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo to send off Manchester United team mate Wayne Rooney in the 2006 World Cup quarter final. Ronaldo was caught directing a knowing wink at his manager. See photos of Ronaldo’s 10 great United moments » 4.After opening the scoring in the Champions League final against Chelsea in Moscow in 2008, Ronaldo looked on in horror as his penalty in the shoot-out was saved by Petr Cech. 5.But the agony was shortlived, as Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka adds to John Terry’s miss and United claim the title. Ronaldo is widely criticized for collapsing in tears in the center-circle, rather than rushing to celebrate with his team-mates.
Global reaction to the 131m move
6.Ronaldo arrives at the ESPY awards in Los Angeles in July 2008. The crutches resulting from recent ankle surgery raise fewer eyebrows than his pale pink two-piece suit. 7.Police are called as, driving out of Manchester Airport, Ronaldo crashes his two day old Ferrari 599 into the wall of a tunnel. Car insurance experts suggest his premium will rocket to over 100,000: a little less than a week’s wages for him. 8.Ronaldo wept as he becomes the first Man Utd. player for 40 years to receive the the Ballon d’Or World Player of the Year Award in January 209. He describes winning the award as “one of the most beautiful days of my life.”
9.Man Utd. went to FC Porto’s intimidating Dragao Stadium knowing they needed a win, or at least a high-scoring draw, to advance to the Champions League semi-finals. Ronaldo opens the scoring with a forty yard strike, which he says after the game is the best goal he has ever scored. 10.A decidedly lackluster Man Utd side are played off the pitch by an effortlessly superior Barcelona in the Champions League final in Rome. Ronaldo, who has worked tirelessly all night, but to little effect, removes his Runners-up medal.
Love epic tops Bollywood awards
The Indian historical film Jodhaa Akbar, about a Muslim-Hindu relationship, has dominated an Indian film awards ceremony, with six prizes.At the gala event in Macau, China, it won best picture, best actor for Hrithik Roshan and best director for Ashutosh Gowariker. The best actress award went to former Miss World Priyanka Chopra for her role in Fashion. The International Indian Film Academy awards were marking 10 years. Jodhaa Akbar also won awards for best song lyrics, best music direction for Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman, and best male playback singer – an award for performers who record soundtracks for on-screen actors. The movie tells the tale of a Mughal king and his love for a Hindu princess. The best supporting actor award was won by Arjun Rampal for Rock On!!, a movie about the reunion of an Indian band.
Kangana Ranawat won best supporting actress for Fashion. While the female star of Jodhaa Akbar – Aishwarya Rai Bachchan – did not win for best actress, she did win best actress of the decade and outstanding achievement in international cinema. Gowariker’s Oscar-nominated 2001 film Lagaan, about Indian villagers who play their British colonial rulers in cricket to decide the fate of their taxes, was named film of the decade. Indian screen legend Amitabh Bachchan presented the lifetime achievement award to veteran actor Rajesh Khanna, who received a standing ovation from the audience of thousands. “The word superstar in the Indian film industry was for the first time coined for him,” Bachchan said. Other awards included male star of the decade for Shah Rukh Khan, and director of the decade for Rakesh Rohan. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the IIFA awards, an event that attracts a worldwide audience of millions every year. The awards were the culmination of a three-day event, including film and music launches, a celebrity fashion show, a global business forum and a performance by Cirque du Soleil. The awards began in 2000 when the first ceremony was held in London at the Millennium Dome.
NEW DELHI (AFP) –
India's prime minister will attend a regional summit in Russia next week, an official said Friday, where he is expected to meet Pakistan's president for the first time since the Mumbai attacks.
Manmohan Singh, who this week offered to meet Pakistan “more than halfway” if it cracked down on Islamic militants operating against India, will leave for Yekaterinburg for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meet on Monday.
Indian officials had previously refused to confirm whether or not Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari would meet, but India's Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters that the two would “be in the same room, at the same place, at the same time.”
“They will I'm sure shake hands, but more than that it's hard to predict at this stage,” said Menon.
The most recent high-level India-Pakistan meeting took place in September when Singh met Zardari on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
But a peace process between the two nuclear-armed neighbours was put on hold following the November 2008 attacks on India's financial and entertainment capital, which killed 166 people.
New Delhi blames a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), for planning and launching the assaults in which 10 gunmen targeted multiple locations in Mumbai during a three-day killing spree.
Indian prosecutors say they have evidence that “undoubtedly and conclusively” links the Mumbai attacks to Pakistan.
But this week, Singh told parliament that if Pakistan “has courage, determination and statesmanship to act against terror, I assure them we will meet them more than halfway.”
Menon said the government was aware that Pakistan had expressed interest in resuming dialogue but that India had made clear that it would only resume peace talks when “we see certain steps being taken.”
“There can be nothing more authoritative than what the prime minister said on the floor of parliament earlier this week.”
VIENNA – The U.S., Britain and Canada challenged Iran’s claims that hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won re-election, but much of the rest of the world remained silent Saturday despite claims of fraud and scenes of clashes on the streets of Tehran.
For the Middle East and West alike, the stakes were high.
Iran is a key economic player in the region, a perceived threat to Israel’s national security — and a major worry for the U.S. and allies who fear Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon.
Supporters of pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi alleged that the outcome was rigged and clashes erupted in Tehran and at least one other city after Ahmadinejad’s government declared him the victor in a landslide. The U.S. refused to accept Ahmadinejad’s claim of a landslide and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she hoped the outcome reflected the “genuine will and desire” of Iranian voters.
“We are monitoring the situation as it unfolds in Iran, but we, like the rest of the world, are waiting and watching to see what the Iranian people decide,” Clinton told reporters in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said his country, too, was “deeply concerned” by reports of irregularities.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said his government expected the Iranian authorities to address allegations of vote fraud. “Our priority is that Iran engages with the concerns of the world community, above all on the issue of nuclear proliferation,” he said.
But most countries appeared to be taking a wait-and-see approach, including the European Union and China, Germany, Italy and Japan — nations with strong economic ties to Iran.
France said it was closely following the situation.
About 200 Iranians protested outside the Iranian Embassy in London. Hadi Ghaemi, spokesman for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, denounced the outcome as “a Tehran Tiananmen” — a reference to China’s brutal 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy activists — and urged the international community not to recognize the result.
President Barack Obama has offered dialogue with Iran after a nearly 30-year diplomatic freeze between the two nations. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and geared solely toward generating electricity; U.S. officials contend it’s trying to enrich uranium to weapons grade.
Privately, many diplomats at the International Atomic Energy Agency — the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog — said they expected little change regardless of who wound up in charge of Iran’s government.
That’s because Iran’s main policies and any major decisions, such as possible talks with Washington or nuclear policies, rest with the ruling clerics headed by Iran’s unelected supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“On the nuclear question, it’s very clear that the ultimate decision maker is Ayatollah Khamenei,” said Mohsen Milani, an expert on Iran at the University of South Florida. At best, he said, Ahmadinejad plays a subtle and nuanced role.
“The central question of security or war and peace is not in his domain. It’s unambiguously in the domain of the supreme leader,” Milani said.
And more Ahmadinejad spells less change, said former President Jimmy Carter.
“I don’t think it will have any real effect because the same person will be there as has been there,” Carter said after meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “I think this election has bought out a lot of opposition to his policies in Iran, and I’m sure he’ll listen to those opinions and hopefully moderate his position.”
Ahmadinejad’s new mandate may allow Israel to briefly deflect U.S. pressure to endorse the creation of a Palestinian state and freeze the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, said Yossi Alpher, a former intelligence official and government adviser.
Ahmadinejad has outraged Israelis and many others worldwide by publicly challenging the Jewish state’s right to exist.
“The re-election of Ahmadinejad demonstrates the increasing Iranian threat,” said Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister.
Arab League chief Amr Moussa said he hoped Ahmadinajad’s second term would boost cooperation to achieve peace and rid the region of weapons of mass destruction. “I believe the situation could move in the direction of quieter talks and understanding. Dialogue is the name of the game,” he said.
Iraq’s government said it hoped the Iranian leader will seek reconciliation with other countries to promote peace in the region.
Iraq’s Shiite-led government faces a delicate balancing act in maintaining close ties to both the U.S. and Iran.
“We hope that the new term of the Iranian president will begin a period of reconciliation with all countries that have no friendly relations with it,” spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Saturday in a clear reference to the U.S.
Dawood al-Shirian, a prominent Saudi columnist, said Ahmadinejad’s win “won’t necessarily be a bad thing” for Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf. “There are open channels with Ahmadinejad. They know him, and it’s better to deal with someone they know,” said al-Shirian.
Mousavi, Ahmadinejad’s opponent, had advocated closer Iranian ties to the U.S. Perhaps not surprisingly, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — a frequent critic of U.S. foreign policy — rushed to declare his support for the incumbent.
“In President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad we have one of the greatest allies on this earth,” Chavez said at an oil summit in the Caribbean.
Syrian President Bashar Assad congratulated Ahmadinejad and “expressed his confidence in continuing friendly relations and strengthening cooperation,” Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.
Associated Press Writers Diaa Hadid in Jerusalem, Rachel Jones in Caracas, Venezuela, Robert H. Reid in Baghdad, Donna Abu-Nasr in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Carolyn Thompson in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Nancy Zuckerbrod in London contributed to this report.
ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight, Group E:The Oval: South Africa 183-7 beat West Indies 163-9 by 20 runs
By David Ornstein
Wayne Parnell took 4-13 as South Africa maintained their unbeaten record at the World Twenty20 with victory over West Indies in the Super Eights at The Oval.Jacques Kallis (45) and Graeme Smith (31) had earlier got the Proteas off to a superb start before Heschelle Gibbs (55) helped them to 183-7 off 20 overs. Lendl Simmons hit 77 but 19-year-old seamer Parnell, who took 3-14 against England, helped reduce them to 163-9. South Africa’s 20-run triumph puts them on course for a semi-final berth. Graeme Smith’s men face India at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, while West Indies take on England at The Oval on Monday. “To make 180 was a great effort batting first. We lost our way slightly but it was a good total to post as the West Indies have an experienced batting line-up and they like to chase,” said Smith. “Lendl Simmons had a great knock but we fought hard and pulled them back. It’s great to have won six in a row in total. But there are still big matches to play. “We will regroup and have a good run to the final hopefully.” South Africa’s triumph was their sixth successive in Twenty20 internationals, a feat that had never previously been achieved in the format. And it was richly deserved against a Windies side who were back in action less than 17 hours after beating India at Lord’s and looked well off the pace. Having completed successful run-chases against Australia and India after losing the toss, Windies captain Chris Gayle called correctly on this occasion and had no hesitation about sending South Africa in. His side got off to an encouraging start as Jerome Taylor, bowling fully of a length, reduced openers Kallis and Smith to just two singles off the opening over.
But Smith and Kallis soon got the scoreboard ticking over on a flat Oval wicket which was playing like a batsman’s paradise. Helped by a lightning quick outfield, South Africa raced past 50 within six overs but no sooner had Smith brought up his side’s half-century with a thick-edge for four than the Proteas skipper lobbed Sulieman Benn to Andre Fletcher at backward point. It was an important breakthrough but West Indies needed to follow it up with a period of sustained pressure, which they failed to achieve. Back in action less than 17 hours after disposing of India, Gayle’s men looked tired in the field and allowed Kallis to work both sides of the wicket with a succession of textbook strokes. The right-hander holed out to Kieron Pollard at long-on but he had given his team a tremendous start and set a platform from which Gibbs and AB de Villiers could build. Gibbs had scored just 49 runs from his previous three knocks but he took a liking to the the Windies attack and kept South Africa on course for a substantial total with some expert footwork and ruthless ball-striking. But two balls after passing 50 with a clever paddle sweep for four he was taken at midwicket and then AB de Villiers skied Taylor to Gayle at extra cover. West Indies deserve credit for the way they plugged away and, after Taylor had splattered Albie Morkel’s stumps with a beautiful yorker, JP Duminy top-edged Fidel Edwards to Ramnaresh Sarwan at deep fine leg to fall for a golden duck.
Taylor and Edwards finished with a disciplined late spell that checked the run-rate significantly, making South Africa’s early progress appear all the more vital and kept the contest evenly poised. With South Africa arriving as the tournament’s best bowling team and West Indies the top batting side, the next 20 overs should have made for fascinating viewing. But South Africa quashed that prospect with a fine start that saw them emerge with the prized scalp of Gayle. Only three runs were on the on the board when Parnell continued his impressive form by knocking back Fletcher’s off stump. It was the right-hander’s second duck in as many innings but things would get much worse for West Indies when Gayle, returning to the scene of his 88 off 50 balls against Australia, drove Parnell to Johan Botha at midwicket. West Indies responded positively as Dwayne Bravo and Lendl Simmons sent one Kallis over for 18 runs. After being caught by Smith of a correctly-adjudged no-ball, Bravo drove Roelof van der Merwe to Dale Steyn at long off and Shivnarive Chanderpaul was caught and bowled by Duminy but Simmons kept his side in contention with a stylish knock. He passed 50 with a single and pressed ahead with a flurry of elegant off-side boundaries. Unfortunately for West Indies, the required run-rate had risen to over 12 per over and the game was all-but up for them when Van der Merwe had Simmons taken at long-off and, the very next ball, Sarwan cut Steyn into the clutches of Botha. Parnell snapped up Pollard and Taylor in the 17th over and Steyn bowled Denesh Ramdin shortly before South Africa sealed their win. “We didn’t get the start we wanted when we were chasing a big total and lost two quick wickets, but Simmons played well,” said Gayle. “South Africa got off to a flier but to restrict them to under 200 was a great effort. They (England) had the best of us in the recent Tests but we’ll see what happens on Monday.”
Saturday’s winning Lotto numbers
The winning numbers in the Lotto main draw were 1, 13, 18, 36, 43 and 48. The bonus ball was 2.The estimated jackpot this week is 4.3m. The Thunderball draw numbers were 2, 7, 13, 33 and 34. The Thunderball was 11. Winning numbers in the Lotto Dream Number game, which have to be matched in order, were 6, 6, 3, 1, 4, 2 and 1. Winning numbers in the Lotto Daily Play draw were 9, 10, 11, 12, 17, 20 and 25.
NEW YORK – When undercover detectives busted Jose and Maximo Colon last year for selling cocaine at a seedy club in Queens, there was a glaring problem: The brothers hadn’t done anything wrong.
But proclaiming innocence wasn’t going to be good enough. The Dominican immigrants needed proof.
“I sat in the jail and thought … how could I prove this? What could I do?” Jose, 24, recalled in Spanish during a recent interview.
As he glanced around a holding cell, the answer came to him: Security cameras. Since then, a vindicating video from the club’s cameras has spared the brothers a possible prison term, resulted in two officers’ arrest and become the basis for a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
The officers, who are due back in court June 26, have pleaded not guilty, and New York Police Department officials have downplayed their case.
But the drug corruption case isn’t alone.
On May 13, another NYPD officer was arrested for plotting to invade a Manhattan apartment where he hoped to steal 900,000 in drug money. In another pending case, prosecutors in Brooklyn say officers were caught in a 2007 sting using seized drugs to reward a snitch for information. And in the Bronx, prosecutors have charged a detective with lying about a drug bust captured on a surveillance tape that contradicts her story.
Elsewhere, Philadelphia prosecutors dismissed more than a dozen drug and gun charges against a man last month when a narcotics officer was accused of making up information on search warrants.
The revelations in New York have triggered internal affairs inquiries, transfers of commanders and reviews of dozens of other arrests involving the accused officers. Many drug defendants’ cases have been tossed out. Others have won favorable plea deals.
The misconduct “strikes at the very heart of our system of justice and erodes public confidence in our courts,” said Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson.
Despite the fallout, authorities describe the corruption allegations as aberrations in a city where officers daily make hundreds of drugs arrests that routinely hold up in court. They also note none of the cases involved accusations of organized crews of officers using their badges to steal or extort drugs or money for personal gain — the story line of full-blown corruption scandals from bygone eras.
Peter Moskos, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, agrees the majority of narcotics officers probably are clean. But he also believes the city’s unending war on drugs will always invite corruption by some who don’t think twice about framing suspects they’re convinced are guilty anyway.
“Drugs are a dirty game,” Moskos said. “Once you realize it’s a game, then you start playing with the rules to win the game.”
Just ask the Colon brothers.
The brothers’ evening started much like any other.
Max’s friend worked at a bodega down the street from Delicias de Mi Tierra, where they’d sometimes drink and play pool in the evenings. This night, the pool table was closed. They instead sat at the bar. Security cameras ended up filming their every move.
The brothers barely moved from the same spot for about 90 minutes as the undercovers entered the bar and mixed with the crowd. Moments after the officers left, a backup team barged in and grabbed six men, including the brothers.
Paperwork signed by “UC 13200″ — Officer Henry Tavarez — claimed that he told a patron he wanted to buy cocaine. By his account, that man responded by approaching the 28-year-old Max, who then went over to the undercover and demanded to pat him down to make sure he wasn’t wearing a wire.
Max collected 100 from Tavarez, the report said. The officer claimed to see two bags of cocaine pass through the hands of three men, including Jose, before they were given to him.
Jose was released after a court appearance. His brother was shipped off to Riker’s Island until he could make bail.
“I was scared,” Max said of his time at Rikers. “I don’t get into trouble, and here I am with real criminals.”
The moment Jose walked out of the holding cell, he made a beeline for Delicias and asked for a copy of the security tapes from the night they were arrested, Jan. 4, 2008.
“I knew it would be the only way to defend myself, because I knew the police would not believe me,” he said.
The owner of Delicias queued up the tapes and the two waded through an entire day’s worth of surveillance — until they found the two hours the men spent in the club that night — supposedly selling drugs.
Jose quickly got the tape to defense attorney Rochelle Berliner, a former narcotics prosecutor. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
“I almost threw up,” she said. “Because I must’ve prosecuted 1,500, 2,000 drug cases … and all felonies. And I think back, Oh my God, I believed everything everyone told me. Maybe a handful of times did something not sound right to me. I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic but I was like, sick.”
What the tape doesn’t show is striking: At no point did the officers interact with the undercovers, nor did the brothers appear to be involved in a drug deal with anyone else. Adding insult to injury, an outside camera taped the undercovers literally dancing down the street.
Berliner handed the tape over to the District Attorney’s integrity unit. It reviewed the images more than 100 times to make sure it wasn’t doctored by the defense before deciding to drop all charges against the brothers in June.
Six months later, Officer Tavarez and Detective Stephen Anderson pleaded not guilty to drug dealing and multiple other charges that their lawyers say were overblown.
Anderson’s attorney has described him as a seasoned investigator who had no reason to make a false arrest. Tavarez, his attorney said, was a novice undercover merely along for the ride.
Life quickly deteriorated for Max and Jose after their arrest.
They owned a successful convenience store in Jackson Heights, but lost their license to sell tobacco, alcohol and lottery tickets. The store closed a week before their case was dismissed.
“My life changed completely,” Jose said. “I had a life before, and I have a different existence now. … Now, I’m not able to afford to live in my own house or care for my children.”
Jose has found construction work, while Max commutes two hours to Philadelphia to work at a relative’s bodega. They stay away from the old neighborhood, where they say ugly rumors about them persist.
The brothers have filed a 10 million false arrest lawsuit against the police department, the officers involved and the city.
“I’m angry because, why’d it happen to me? I know a lot of people … they don’t go the right way and they can get away with it,” Max said. “I’m young and I try to go the right way and boom, this happened to me. So I’m angry with life, too.”
TEHRAN (AFP) –
Hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on Saturday declared winner by a landslide in Iran's hotly-disputed presidential vote, triggering riots by opposition supporters and furious complaints of cheating from his defeated rivals.
Ahmadinejad went on television to declare the election a “great victory,” even as baton-wielding police were clashing with protestors in the streets of the capital in unrest not seen since student riots a decade ago.
Thousands of supporters of Mousavi swept through Tehran shouting “Down with the Dictator” after final results showed Ahmadinejad winning almost 63 percent of the vote.
The moderate ex-premier Mousavi, who earlier in the day had cried foul over election irregularities and warned the outcome of the vote could lead to “tyranny,” late Saturday issued a call for calm.
“The violations in the election are very serious and you are right to be deeply hurt,” he told his supporters in a statement posted on his campaign website.
“But I firmly call on you not to subject any individual or groups to hurt. Do not lose your calm and restraint. Everybody should draw a line between themselves and any violent behaviour,” Mousavi said.
Ahmadinejad in his television address rejected allegations the vote was rigged.
“The election was completely free… and it is a great victory,” he said, calling on his supporters to gather on Sunday at 5:00 pm (1230 GMT) in the capital's Vali Asr Square, where many of Saturday's clashes occurred.
Even as he was speaking, Iran's main cellular phone network was cut while social networking site Facebook was also blocked.
The interior minister said Mousavi had won less than 34 percent of the vote, giving Ahmadinejad another four-year term in a result that dashed Western hopes of change and set the scene for a possible domestic power struggle.
Iran's all-powerful supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hailed Ahmadinejad's victory and urged the country to unite behind him after the most heated election campaign since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
The vote outcome appears to have galvanised a grass-roots movement for change after 30 years of restrictive clerical rule in a country where 60 percent of the population was born after the revolution.
The international community had also been keenly watching the election for any signs of a shift in policy after four years of hardline rhetoric from the 52-year-old Ahmadinejad and a standoff over Iran's nuclear drive.
Mousavi protested at what he described as “numerous and blatant irregularities” in the vote which officials said attracted a record turnout of around 85 percent of the 46 million electorate.
“No one can imagine such rigging, with the world watching, from a government who holds commitment to shariah-based justice as one of its basic pillars,” said Mousavi said in a letter posted on his campaign website.
“What we have seen from dishonest (election) officials will result in shaking the pillars of the Islamic republic system, and a dominance of lying and tyranny,” he said in a separate statement.
In the heart of Tehran, Mousavi's supporters voiced their disbelief and frustration at the results, with some throwing stones at police who struck back with batons.
Angry crowds first emerged near Mousavi's campaign office in central Tehran, where protestors, including women, were hit with sticks as riot police on motorbikes moved in to break up the gathering, an AFP correspondent said.
Late Saturday police further beefed up their presence in main streets and squares, especially in the area housing Mousavi's office, while dozens of men were seen handcuffed and detained in an interior ministry compound.
Members of Iran's volunteer Basij militia were also being deployed in some parts of the city while several smouldering garbage cans were seen lying on the sidewalks after being set ablaze by rioters.
The White House said Saturday it was monitoring the reports of irregularities, while British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said London “will continue to follow developments” in Iran.
In Moscow, the chairman of the Duma (parliament) Committee on International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev hoped for more “understanding and wisdom” from Ahmadinejad in the new term.
“The results of the election show, now more than ever, how much stronger the Iranian threat has become,” said arch-foe Israel's deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon.
The election highlighted deep divisions in Iran after four years under Ahmadinejad, who had massive support in the rural heartland, while in the big cities young men and women threw their weight behind Mousavi.
ISLAMABAD, PakistanA moderate Muslim cleric who denounced suicide attacks as forbidden by Islam was killed Friday in a suicide attack on his mosque in Lahore, authorities said.
A Pakistani rescue worker works outside a damaged room of Jamia Naimia religious school.
Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi was the first imam in Pakistan to issue a fatwa, or religious edict, against suicide attacks in Pakistan. On Friday, a suicide bomber approached Naeemi as he left the Jamia Naimia Mosque and religious school. The bomber detonated his explosives, killing Naeemi and four others, police said. Another 10 people were wounded in the attack. Naeemi had recently received death threats because of his opposition to the Taliban and his support of the current Pakistani military offensive against Taliban militants, his son told local television. It was one of two mosque bombings in Pakistan on Friday, which has suffered a series of attacks in the wake of its ongoing military campaign against Taliban militants. A suicide car bomb exploded Friday at a mosque in a high security area of the Nowshera Military Cantonment near Peshawar in North West Frontier Province. At least three people were killed and more than 50 others were injured, according to local police official Manzoor Hussain. At least two of those killed were military personnel, a military source said. The attack occurred just after Friday prayers, while many worshippers were still inside the mosque. Most of those who pray at the Nowshera mosque are Pakistani military personnel.
Bomb rips through Pakistan hotel
Many of the recent attacks by suspected Taliban militants have taken place in North West Frontier Province. A suicide attacker detonated near a police checkpoint in Peshawar on Thursday night, killing one person and injuring at least 12 others, police said. Peshawar is the capital of North West Frontier Province, where a coordinated suicide attack targeted an upscale hotel earlier this week, killing nine people. The attackers shot their way onto the grounds of the Pearl Continental Hotel, which is often frequented by foreigners and diplomats, and set off a vehicle bomb on Tuesday. Two United Nations employees were among those killed. Pakistan’s military has stepped up its offensive on Taliban militants in the Bannu district of North West Frontier Province, which a military spokesman said is a “notorious hideout” for militants. The military on Thursday dropped leaflets over parts of Bannu district, warning civilians to leave in the wake of its operation. The Bannu offensive has resulted in the deaths of 34 “terrorists,” while three others were apprehended, the military said Thursday. One civilian was killed in a militant rocket attack in the city of Bannu, according to the military. Pakistan’s military began its operation to clear militants from the district after tribes in the region refused to hand over those responsible for the abduction of dozens of Razmak Cadet College students, who were seized along with their relatives and teachers on May 29, military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told CNN. One of the tribes, Jani Khel, has also been linked to numerous militant attacks on military bases in the Bannu area, Abbas said. He described Bannu as a “known and notorious hideout” for militants. The Jani Khel tribe is located in the area of Bannu where the military dropped leaflets warning residents to leave. Military sources have also expressed concerns that the tribe may have helped plan a series of recent attacks on civilian targets in North West Frontier Province. Residents in the province’s Upper Dir district continued their assault on Taliban fighters with the support of the Pakistan military, a police official said Wednesday. Outraged over Friday’s mosque bombing in Upper Dir, residents formed a “lashkar,” or militia, to fight the Taliban.
TUCSON, Ariz. – Two of three people arrested in a fatal southern Arizona home invasion had connections to a Washington state anti-illegal immigration group that conducts border watch activities in Arizona.
The Pima County sheriff said Friday that 34-year-old Jason Eugene Bush, 41-year-old Shawna Forde and 42-year-old Albert Robert Gaxiola have been charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and other charges.
The trio are alleged to have dressed as law enforcement officers and forced their way into a rural Arivaca home on May 30, wounding a woman and fatally shooting her husband and their 9-year-old daughter.
The Web site for the Minutemen American Defense lists Forde as the group’s leader and Bush as its operations director. Forde is from Everett, Wash., but has recently been living in Arizona.
MILWAUKEE – A judge in Milwaukee has sentenced a 21-year-old woman to 20 years in prison for helping a new boyfriend kidnap and kill a college student for his car.
Tammi LaFave pleaded guilty in March to a charge of felony murder.
The case involved 31-year-old Haroon Khan, who thought he was going to show his 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution to potential buyers last October.
According to the criminal complaint, LaFave and her 20-year-old boyfriend, Travis Zoellick, met Khan in Milwaukee. LaFave was from Delafield, Wis., and Zoellick was from Watertown.
Officials said Zoellick pulled a gun on Khan, drove him to a wooded area near Watertown and stabbed him to death.
Zoellick killed himself when police approached his home.
Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com
WASHINGTON – Foreign governments looking to kick the tires of fighter jets and cargo planes at this week’s air show in Paris will likely hear a clear message from U.S. defense contractors: We need your business now more than ever.
With the United States looking to cut defense costs and rethinking the way it fights wars, many defense companies are looking for international buyers to take the big, pricey weapons that the Pentagon no longer wants or needs fewer of. U.S. contractors are chasing some lucrative deals, but could also face some legal and political hurdles as they hawk weapons overseas.
Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. are competing to sell fighter planes to countries such as India and Brazil. Boeing is trying to spark international interest in its C-17 cargo plane. Middle Eastern nations fearful of threats from Iran are bulking up on missile defense equipment from Lockheed and Raytheon Co.
“This is a world market right now,” says Chris Chadwick, Boeing’s president of military aircraft.
Globalization is nothing new for many U.S. industries, which often use overseas operations and sales to tap into fast-growing areas like China and as a hedge against domestic downturns. Some of the nation’s biggest manufacturers, companies like Caterpillar and General Electric, make more than half of their sales overseas.
But the defense industry is closely tethered to one primary buyer — the U.S. government. It has been a lucrative relationship. Defense spending is up more than 40 percent over the past eight years, fueled in part by spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Much of the money flowed to defense contractors that supply the Pentagon with everything from warships to bullets.
Overseas arms sales represent a relatively small segment of defense contractor sales. But many are turning to the global markets for growth now that the appetite for big and expensive weapons is waning in the United States. The push is helped by countries worried about security threats from nations such as North Korea and Iran. Many European allies need to upgrade their aging equipment, and are turning to U.S. companies as likely suppliers.
However, budgets for big weapons are getting tighter as costs like personnel expenses eat up more Pentagon resources. Defense Secretary Robert Gates proposes spending more money on tools like unmanned drones to fight insurgencies instead of big and pricey equipment like 140 million apiece for F-22 fighters jets meant for more conventional wars.
In the 2008 fiscal year, the military spent 164 billion to buy weapons. For the 2010 fiscal year, the Pentagon proposes spending only 131 billion, though that number will probably grow when Congress adds weapons spending as it reviews the budget.
Big defense companies would take a hit. Lockheed will have to shut down its assembly line at its big Marietta, Ga. plant, putting thousands of jobs at risk. Boeing, which gets 80 percent of its defense unit sales from the Pentagon, could stop selling the 276 million C-17.
“There is a softness in the home market right now,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with the Teal Group.
That could grant some new life to programs that would be cut under the Pentagon’s new budget.
The F-22 program is slated to end at 187 planes for the U.S. Air Force, far fewer than originally envisioned. Japan and Australia are considered potential sources of new sales, but federal law barring export of the technologically sensitive plane would have to be overturned. The prospects of that remain unclear.
Congress put eight more C-17s back into the budget. Boeing wants to make 16 per year and hopes to cover the shortfall overseas. It recently cut a deal to make four for the United Arab Emirates. The contractor is also trying to persuade foreign governments to buy the F-18 instead of the F-35, made by a team led by Lockheed.
Defense companies will display their jets, engines, missiles, pilotless drones and other hardware for several days this week at an airfield outside Paris. The show is one of the biggest that brings together contractors and militaries from around the globe to broker weapons deals.
New markets have emerged. Iraq wants to buy Lockheed fighter jets, Boeing helicopters and Abrams tanks made by General Dynamics Corp. to rebuild its military. The nation was the second largest potential buyer of U.S. military equipment last year, behind Israel, according to a March report by the Arms Control Association, a Washington think tank.
The Pentagon notified Congress it planned to sell 74.5 billion worth of U.S. military equipment to 25 countries in 2008, nearly double its proposed arms sales from 2007. Iraq accounted for 18.7 billion of that total.
Congress must approve weapons sales to foreign governments that are negotiated between U.S. contractors and foreign countries through the Defense Department. Not all notifications lead to sales and they cover mostly large purchases, but Congress has never moved to block a sale once it was formally notified.
But providing weapons to foreign governments is often politically sensitive. The Pentagon and Congress are supposed to consider the effect that helping nations increase firepower will have on regional conflicts or stability, like the rivalry between Pakistan and India or rearming Iraq in a volatile Middle East. For example, the sale of F-16s to Pakistan was long delayed due to Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons.
Regional stability could be an issue for sales to India, which is being courted by Lockheed and Boeing for the right to build 126 fighter jets, a contract potentially worth 11 billion. India already bought 2.1 billion worth of anti-submarine planes from Boeing earlier this year.
“Fighter jet sales to India would most certainly be viewed by Pakistan as a problematic development,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.
In Europe, U.S. defense companies will face stiff competition from suppliers like Saab, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., and BAE Systems. Lockheed, for example, is trying to hold together a coalition of nine potential F-35 buyers also being courted by makers of the Eurofighter jet.
Affordability remains an issue, especially for European buyers saddled with struggling economies. But defense analysts said European nations that need to upgrade their aging equipment and those like India that are building their militaries will provide ample markets for U.S. defense companies.
“Weapons could be the single biggest U.S. export item over the next 10 years,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute.
EU’s Solana meets Hezbollah in Beirut
A senior EU official has for the first time held talks with a politician from the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana met Hezbollah official Hussein Hajj Hassan at the Lebanese parliament building in Beirut. Mr Hajj Hassan is one of Hezbollah’s 11 members of parliament, following recent elections which were won by a rival Western-backed alliance. Hezbollah is regarded by the United States as a terrorist group. The EU has previously rejected public contacts with Hezbollah, which also controls Lebanon’s most powerful military force. But Mr Solana said: “Hezbollah is part of political life in Lebanon and is represented in the Lebanese parliament.” Mr Hajj Hassan described the meeting with Mr Solana as a “goodwill gesture from the European Union towards Hezbollah.” He said it was an attempt by the EU to “get to know” Hezbollah. Britain said earlier this year it favoured re-establishing links with Hezbollah’s political wing.
CHICAGO (Reuters) –
Activist investor Carl Icahn is considering making another attempt to take over bankrupt auto parts supplier Delphi Corp (DPHIQ.PK), the New York Post reported on Saturday.
The report, which cited an unnamed source with direct knowledge of the matter, said that Icahn is considering another run now that a federal bankruptcy court judge has blocked the sale of Delphi to private equity firm Platinum Equity Partners.
Judge Robert Drain told Delphi on Wednesday to open the sale of its assets to other potential bidders who could compete with an offer by Platinum Equity. Suitors now have until July 10 to make competing offers for Delphi.
Icahn's auto-parts company, Federal-Mogul Corp (FDML.O), had held recent discussions with Delphi, but the U.S. auto task force pushed through the deal with Platinum, announced on June 1, the newspaper reported.
The Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry was set up by President Barack Obama and is charged with overseeing the restructuring of the U.S. auto industry.
The U.S. Treasury is providing Delphi with $250 million in emergency financing and has made that contingent upon a sale being completed by July 23. The company is expected to run out of cash by the end of July.
Federal-Mogul makes pistons, spark plugs, windshield wiper blades, brake pads and other products.
Icahn's original offer for Delphi would have been better than Platinum's both for creditors and the U.S. government, a source close to Delphi told the Post. The source did not elaborate.
Representatives of Delphi and Federal-Mogul could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.
Troy, Michigan-based Delphi was spun off from General Motors Corp (GMGMQ.PK) in 1999 and filed for bankruptcy in 2005.
Auto suppliers have been spooked by the lowest level of U.S. auto sales in nearly three decades, which have forced every major auto maker to cut production.
Federal-Mogul, which emerged from bankruptcy protection in late 2007, said last month it had more than $1.2 billion of available liquidity.
Icahn has acquired a 75 percent stake in the company.
(Reporting by Matthew Lewis; Editing by Will Dunham)
DETROIT – The Red Wings can accept that Pittsburgh is the Stanley Cup champion. Getting snubbed by Sidney Crosby is another matter.
After watching Pittsburgh hoist the Cup on Detroit’s ice, the Red Wings lined up to shake hands with the Penguins as is custom in the NHL playoffs.
Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom was up front, followed by alternate captain Kris Draper, congratulating many of the new champions while waiting for Pittsburgh’s captain.
“Nick was waiting and waiting, and Crosby didn’t come over to shake his hand,” Draper told an Associated Press reporter a couple hours later as he was leaving Joe Louis Arena. “That’s ridiculous, especially as their captain, and make sure you write that I said that!”
It can also be written that Pittsburgh didn’t need Crosby to finish off the Red Wings, beating them 2-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals without the superstar healthy enough to play for the whole game.
Detroit was bitter about blowing 2-0 and 3-2 leads in the series, but the previous champions gave the Penguins their due.
“You’ve got to give them credit,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
Goaltender Chris Osgood agreed.
“We’re not stunned,” he said. “They had a good team.”
The Red Wings were good, too, just not good enough to overcome hurt or misfiring stars in the finals.
They swept Columbus, survived a seven-game series against Anaheim and skated past Chicago in five games as MVP finalist Pavel Datsyuk missed several games with a foot injury and Marian Hossa scoring in just three games.
But the Red Wings couldn’t hold on to hoist the Cup for the second straight year and fifth time in 12 seasons when Datsyuk was out early in the finals and Hossa mustered only three assists against his former teammates.
“Any time you win three games in a final, you have a chance,” Babcock said. “We just didn’t have enough to get it done.
“The guys that were injured on our team this year never got their game back to the level it could be. And they were significant players for us.”
Hossa wasn’t hurt.
He was just ineffective.
Hossa seemed to crumble in the spotlight after turning down a lucrative, long-term contract last summer to stay with the runner-up Penguins to take a one-season shot at the Cup with the defending champions.
Hossa is eligible to be an unrestricted free agent again, but he wasn’t ready to talk about his plans.
“I can’t think about that now,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll have some talks.”
The Red Wings will have some interesting decisions to make this offseason because they probably can’t keep Hossa along with key free agents such as Jiri Hudler, Mikael Samuelsson, Tomas Kopecky and Ville Leino.
Detroit general manager Ken Holland answered some of the franchise’s questions during the regular season by signing Henrik Zetterberg to a contract through the 2020-21 season and Johan Franzen to an 11-year contract.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the deals, which are set up to pay the players much less toward the end of the contracts, don’t circumvent the salary cap.
“The rules allow what the Red Wings have done,” Bettman said during the playoffs. “But if I was running a team, which I’m not, I would opt for shorter-term contracts.
“If they keep doing it, some of the contracts will probably turn out to be great and some will lead to people scratching their heads.”
Zetterberg likes his team’s chances of competing for a championship next June and in the years to come.
“We still have a good team,” Zetterberg said shortly after shaving his two-month thick beard. “It’s going to make us stronger. We’ve got a great group of guys here that are going to be around for a number of years.”
In a new anti-Israel, anti-U.S. video, an American al Qaeda member makes reference to his Jewish ancestry for the first time in an official al Qaeda message.
Adam Yahiye Gadahn, also known as Azzam the American, is seen in an earlier al Qaeda video.
In the video, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, also known as Azzam the American, discusses his roots as he castigates U.S. policies and deplores Israel’s offensive in Gaza that started in late December 2008 and continued into January. “Let me here tell you something about myself and my biography, in which there is a benefit and a lesson,” Gadahn says, as he elicits support from his fellow Muslims for “our weapons, funds and Jihad against the Jews and their allies everywhere.” “Your speaker has Jews in his ancestry, the last of whom was his grandfather,” he says. Growing up in rural California, Gadahn embraced Islam in the mid-1990s, moved to Pakistan and has appeared in al Qaeda videos before. He was indicted in the United States in 2006 on charges of treason and material support to al Qaeda, according to the FBI. Gadahn is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, with a reward of up to 1 million leading to his capture. FBI records show Gadahn’s date of birth as September 1, 1978. The videoin which Gadahn speaks Arabic, with English subtitlessurfaced on Saturday. This account is based on an English transcript provided by As-Sahab Media, the media production company used by al Qaeda.
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Gadahn’s Jewish ancestry has been reported in the news media. But terrorism analyst Laura Mansfield says it is the first time Gadahn acknowledged his Jewish ancestry in an official al Qaeda message. Gadahn says his grandfather was a “Zionist” and “a zealous supporter of the usurper entity, and a prominent member of a number of Zionist hate organizations.” “He used to repeat to me what he claimed are the virtues of this entity and encouraged me to visit it, specifically the city of Tel Aviv, where relatives of ours live,” says Gadahn, referring to Israel. He says his grandfather gave him a book by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called “A Place Among the Nations”in which the “rabid Zionist” sets out “feeble arguments and unmasked lies to justify the Jews’ rape of Muslim Palestine.” But Gadahn says that despite his youth at the time, he didn’t heed his grandfather’s words. “How can a person with an ounce of self-respect possibly stand in the ranks of criminals and killers who have no morals, no mercy, no humanity and indeed, no honor?” he says in reference to Zionists and Israel. “Isn’t it shameful enough for a person to carry the citizenship of America, the symbol of oppression and tyranny and advocate of terror in the world?” Mansfield thinks the video may have been made between late April and mid-May, before President Obama’s speech in Cairo, Egypt, addressing U.S. relations with Muslims. Gadahn notes Obama’s inauguration, Netanyahu’s election in February, and Obama’s speech in Turkey in April. Specifically mentioning the Gaza offensive and citing other hot spots such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Somalia, where the “Zio-Crusader alliance” is fighting his “brothers,” he says “this open-faced aggression” comes as Obama has risen to power. He scorns Obama’s statements in his inaugural address and in Turkey that America isn’t and won’t be at war with Islam, and “other deceptive, false and sugarcoated words of endearment and respect.” He says Obama’s language is similar to words Netanyahu uttered in the Knesset in 1996. Gadahn also backs the idea of targeting “Zio-Crusader” interests anywhere in the world, not just “within Palestine.”