LOS ANGELES, CaliforniaThe first official indication that a family service for Michael Jackson will be held at Forest Lawn Cemetery came from a Los Angeles police official Sunday.
A memorial poster for Michael Jackson is displayed outside Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Forest Lawn officials were working with the Jackson family on their plans, which were part of “a package” of events Tuesday, said Jim McDonnell, assistant chief of staff of the Los Angeles Police Department. His comments, however, did not answer questions about where or when Jackson would be buried. While there are five Forest Lawn cemeteries in the Los Angeles area, a long line of media trucks and crews have been parked at the gate of the Hollywood Hills facility for several days in anticipation of Jackson’s possible interment there. The family of the singer, who died June 25, has given no public statement on the planning. However, brother Jermaine Jackson told CNN on Thursday that a private service would be held Tuesday morning.
MICHAEL JACKSON The Memorial
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A public memorial for Michael Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles is set to start at 10 a.m. PT Tuesday. McDonnell said police do not expect a Jackson motorcade to take place on Tuesday. An official with AEG Live, the concert promoter handling the public memorial plans, said there would be no funeral processional. About 1.6 million fans registered for a chance at fewer than 9,000 pairs of tickets to the memorial service, organizers said. Registration ended at 6 p.m. Saturday. The 8,750 registrants picked in a random drawing were to receive an e-mail Sunday after 11 a.m. PT, AEG Live said.
Tickets will be handed to the winning registrants Monday outside the Staples Center, said Tim Leiweke, president of AEG Live.
1.6 million register for 8,750 Jackson memorial tickets
In Depth: Michael Jackson
Ticketholders will also have wristbands to match their tickets, a precaution against people “trying to take advantage” of the system, he said.
Archive for July 5th, 2009
LOS ANGELES, CaliforniaThe first official indication that a family service for Michael Jackson will be held at Forest Lawn Cemetery came from a Los Angeles police official Sunday.
As Michael Jackson fans and the media pour into Los Angeles, California, for what could be the most widely watched memorial of all time, an obvious question remains: Where will he be laid to rest?
Bette Davis is among the notables buried at the Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn park.
Although the Jackson family hasn’t made an official statement, all signs seem to point toward Forest Lawn Memorial Parks and Mortuaries, the not-for-profit organization that has buried a vast number of Hollywood’s notables. There is speculation that the burial will be at Forest Lawn’s Glendale location, but the media are swarming around the Hollywood Hills memorial park, located right off the freeway behind Disney Studios. Tito Jackson’s ex-wife, Delores “Dee Dee” Jackson, is believed to be buried there. Forest Lawn is the first stop tourists make in search of the crypts of Hollywood greats. Numerous books and Web sites such as findagrave.com and seeing-stars.com claim to have insider knowledge about celebrity grave locations on the properties, but Forest Lawn is unrelentingly secretive about who, exactly, is entombed in its parks. “We hold the privacy of our client families in very high regard,” said Bill Martin, spokesman for the Glendale location, which is considered the “mother lode” for celebrity grave hunters. “There are certain areas and property types that have limited access.” The tombs of Sammy Davis Jr., Humphrey Bogart and Jean Harlow are in locked areas not accessible to the general public, according to findagrave.com. With that kind of commitment to privacy, it’s understandable why Jackson, known for being reclusive, might be buried there. Avid grave hunter Lisa Burks, who frequents both the Glendale and Hollywood Hills parks, said she wouldn’t be surprised if Jackson were to be buried at either location.
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Burks was first drawn to Forest Lawn Glendale because of its artwork and statuary, but once she found out that celebrities were “buried with the regular people,” she said, she began to grave hunt. “We leave flowers and take pictures,” Burks said of her time at famous graves. “It’s the way of remembering someone who made a difference, who cheered me up when I was a kid or entertained me. With Michael Jackson … if he ends up at a cemetery, I’ll definitely go and take flowers. They feel like a member of the family, so you treat them like a member of the family.” Even if you can’t find a way to see your favorite celebrity’s crypt, Los Angeles residents said that just stepping foot in the park is an experience in itself. “I know for some people cemeteries can be intimidating or just where you go to mourn. But at Forest Lawn, it isn’t sad; it’s really a beautiful place,” said Beth Zeigler, an Echo Park, California, professional who frequents the park’s museum. But if you call any of the Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuaries a cemetery, you would be remiss. There are certainly graves behind the Glendale park’s majestic wrought-iron gates, but that’s where the similarities end. Amid its 300 acres, the park has three churches, replicas of all of Michelangelo’s works and a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” in stained glass. Instead of above-ground tombstones, the park uses flat, engraved markers for grave sites, so from afar all you can see are grassy hills. The memorial park draws over a million visitors each year, including 70,000 who come to get married. Built in 1906 as a traditional cemetery, Forest Lawn was revamped by Dr. Hubert Eaton in 1917. Like Jackson, Eaton was “an icon [of his] time,” said Laura Kath, author of “100 Years in the Life of Forest Lawn.” “[Eaton] is the man who first envisioned the memorial park concept, that cemeteries should not be filled with tombstones but should celebrate the life of those entombed there and celebrate the living,” Kath said, “and people loved the whole concept. Eaton was a visionary.” Burks agrees whole-heartedly with Eaton’s vision. “Cemeteries are for the living,” Burks said about her visits to celebrity tombs. “We’re remembering them. It sounds crazy, but I dare anyone to do it, and I’d bet it would make them feel good.”
The death of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair was a homicide, though police said Sunday they have not classified the death of woman who was involved in a romantic relationship with him.
Steve McNair, 36, spent 13 seasons in the NFL, the majority with the Tennessee Titans.
Police found McNair, 36, and Sahel Kazemi, 20, fatally shot in a condominium in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, Saturday afternoon after receiving a phone call about an injured person. McNair was shot twice in the head and twice in the chest, while Kazemi was shot once in the head, Nashville Metropolitan Police Department Spokesman Don Aaron told reporters Sunday after announcing the autopsies were complete. Asked whether the shooting was a murder-suicide, Aaron said investigators had ruled out nothing. “I would expect that it would be a number of days before the classification is placed on Miss Kazemi’s death,” he said. McNair, a married father of four, and Kazemi “apparently were involved in a dating relationship over the past several months,” Aaron said. There were no signs of forced entry at the condo, which was rented by McNair and a friend of his, sporting-goods dealer Wayne Neeley, Aaron said. Neeley used a key to enter the building and discovered the clothed bodies Saturday afternoon, Aaron said. “The two had been dead for a period of hours prior to the bodies being discovered,” Aaron said.
Former NFL QB Steve McNair found shot to death
Neeley then called his friend, Robert Gaddy, who went to the condo and called police. Asked why Neeley had not called police himself, Aaron said, “My conjecture would be that he was shocked and horrified by what he had just discovered and, for some reason, his inclination was to contact Mr. Gaddy, who was a close friend of Mr. Neeley’s and Mr. McNair’s.” McNair’s body was found seated on a living room sofa, Aaron said. A semi-automatic pistol was found under Kazemi’s body, which was on the floor, he said. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was assisting local authorities in tracing the gun, Aaron said. Witnesses told police that McNair had been at the Blue Moon Lagoon Bar and the Loser’s Bar, both Nashville establishments, late Friday into early Saturday, Aaron said. Staff and management of both bars will be interviewed, he said. Neighbors said a Cadillac Escalade driven by Kazemiregistered to her and McNairwas already in the condominium parking lot when McNair arrived at about 1:30 a.m. “The presumption is she was there when he arrived,” Aaron said. Police are also interviewing Kazemi’s former boyfriend, Aaron said. The bodies were found two days after Kazemi was pulled over in the Escalade and charged with driving under the influence, Aaron said. McNair was in the car at the time. Kazemi’s sister, Sepide Kazemi, said she suspected her sister was the other fatality when she heard on the news Saturday afternoon that McNair and someone else had been found dead. “We had a feeling that it was her, because she would be the only young woman with him at that time, as far as we knew,” Sepide Kazemi told CNN affiliate WSMV. McNair spent 13 seasons in the NFL, most with the Tennessee Titans. He was named the NFL’s co-MVP in 2003 and spent his last two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, before announcing his retirement in April 2008.
He led the Titans to the 2000 Super Bowl, which they lost to the St. Louis Rams. McNair attended Alcorn State in Mississippi.
Pakistan considers anti-Taliban militias
By Jill McGivering
BBC News, Mianwali
Mianwali in Pakistan’s western Punjab lies in the shadow of rugged mountains. On the other side of the range lies the North West Frontier Province where the army is engaged in a bloody offensive against the Taliban.
In the last few months, that militancy has crept into Mianwali – with shootings and bomb attacks and the arrest of several suspected militants, including a would-be suicide bomber. The local police force is struggling to face the new challenge. It was already understaffed and its officers were trained to fight crime, not to cope with an insurgency. They are also ill-equipped to match a force which uses rocket launchers, suicide jackets and improvised bombs. Akbar Nassir Khan, the district police officer, looks exhausted.
He is trying to fill the gap by exploring new ideas, including setting up a special police force. It would be made up of local people – but with the same powers as the police. Their main role would be to help with anti-terrorist activities. These recruits would be issued guns licensed by the government and authorised to use them in pursuing suspected militants. “Their prime task is anti-terrorist action,” he explained. “Giving them guns is a message of trust, that we know that you are with us, that you are patriots and you are able to defend yourself till the time we come to you.” Spreading the wordI asked what the legal status of these civilians would be if they killed someone with their government-issue guns.
“If that [person] is an outlaw and they’re doing it in the line of duty,” he said, “they will have the same protection as a police officer does have if his own life is threatened.” The new plan is in its infancy and needs government approval – but there is provision for it in Pakistan’s constitution. There is no doubt the security forces need public support in tackling this massive new problem of creeping militancy. I attended one outreach meeting in Mianwali at which religious leaders and police officials tried to spread their core message: • The Taliban are agents of destruction • The state represents law and order • Security is everyone’s responsibility. The whole idea of civilians wielding guns raises some troubling concerns. “It’s a very, very problematic idea,” said Ali Hassan, senior South Asia researcher for the US-based organisation Human Rights Watch. “On the one hand, the government can raise any kind of armed force provided it has the mandate of the state – and it operates under legal authority and safeguards,” he says. “But there is a problem with the idea of government-backed vigilante groups, as the Taliban once were. That’s in contravention of international law and not something to be encouraged.” Battling for survivalElsewhere, some local people want to join the fight without authorisation, using their own weapons.
Mohammed Ajmal Khan and his extended family of 30 people fled from Swat in NWFP when the Taliban came. Now he is planning to go back and fight. “I’ll move with the army on the ground,” he said. “If the army opens fire, we’ll also fight with the army, shoulder to shoulder.” I asked him if he thought some people might use the general lawlessness as an opportunity to settle old scores as well. “Yes,” he said. “There will be some things that happen like that. But it’s part of our traditions, our culture. It’s not that big an issue.” The state is battling for its life and, to keep public confidence, it must prove it can maintain security. But handing out guns to civilians and inviting them to join in does raises serious concerns, both about the nature of justice and about the possibility of fuelling the violence, instead of ending it.
Graduates ‘face more competition’
The average number of graduates chasing every job on offer this year has risen to 48 and graduate starting salaries have been frozen, a report says.There were 25% fewer jobs available in the UK on the last recruitment round, the Association of Graduate Recruiters said after surveying 226 members. This is far greater than the modest fall in vacancies of 5% predicted in the last AGR survey earlier this year. The government said a degree was a good investment for a long future career. The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) surveys its members in 15 employment sectors across the UK twice annually, to compare the outlook for graduates. The 226 graduate recruiters who responded for this survey said they intended to employ a total of 12,650 graduates in 2009. The AGR said the only sector to report a rise in graduate opportunities was the small energy and utilities sector – which reported a 7.1% rise. ‘Asset’It said it had painted a “gloomy” picture because not only were there fewer jobs, but entry-level salaries had not risen and competition was increasing. The average starting salary for a graduate was 25,000, with higher levels in London but much lower starting salaries in Wales, at 16,000, and Northern Ireland, at 13,000. AGR chief executive Carl Gilleard said: “We cannot hide from the fact that dramatic vacancy cuts will make the job search very tough for graduates both this year and probably next year too.” But he said graduates should be reassured that a degree was still a “valuable asset”. Higher Education Minister David Lammy said the government was increasing the numbers of internships offered to 5,000, and it was providing more advice to graduates on the opportunities open to them. “These are undoubtedly tough times but a degree is a strong investment which stands graduates in good stead for a long and successful career, giving them better prospects than those with lower qualifications,” he said. “Research shows that businesses are recruiting through the downturn with growth in some areas so graduates should remain positive about their long-term prospects.”
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) –
Pakistani warplanes bombed Taliban positions in the northwest Sunday, killing at least five insurgents, residents said, as militants distributed leaflets warning area tribesmen not to rise up against them.
Fighting has intensified in northwest Pakistan over the past two months, since the military went on the offensive to push back an expanding militant movement that had raised fears for the stability of the nuclear-armed U.S. ally.
The latest air strike happened about 25 km (15 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, a Taliban bastion on the Afghan border.
“It was a surprise attack. Fighter jets came, circled around a few times, pounded the militants and flew away. I saw five bodies of militants,” Mohammad Khan, a shopkeeper in the area, told Reuters by telephone.
Khan said the casualties could be higher, as two Islamic seminaries used by militants as hideouts were completely destroyed in the bombing.
Earlier, allies of Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud tossed leaflets, or so-called night-letters, into the main market of Miranshah, warning tribesmen not to form committees to fight against them.
“There is a ban on holding any sort of jirga (tribal council),” the leaflet read.
“If any clan or village creates any sort of committee for peace, then its leaders will be killed. There will be no reluctance to launch suicide attacks.”
Bolstered by the government's gains against militants, tribal leaders in the northwest have recently begun to form lashkar, or militias, to fight against the Taliban.
The civilian government has won broad support from the public and political parties for its assault against the Taliban, and officials have vowed to crush militancy and defeat Mehsud.
Security forces, near the end of a two-month campaign against the Taliban in the northwestern Swat Valley, have stepped up pressure on Mehsud in his South Waziristan stronghold near the Afghan border and are expected to begin a full offensive there soon.
As fighting intensifies in northwest Pakistan, U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan last Thursday launched a major push against the Taliban in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.
Helmand shares a 200-km (130-mile) desert border with the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan, and the Pakistani army has sent soldiers there to block any Taliban fleeing.
(Reporting by Haji Mujtaba; Writing by Kamran Haider; Editing by Jason Subler and Valerie Lee)
NEW YORK – NBC executives changed their minds Sunday and decided to join other networks that will televise Michael Jackson’s memorial service live this week.
NBC joins ABC, CNN, MSNBC and E! Entertainment in offering the ceremony live. It’s set for 10 a.m. PDT at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.
NBC had initially planned only a one-hour prime-time special on Tuesday night, but said Sunday it would also cover the event live. It was not immediately clear who would anchor.
Charles Gibson will anchor coverage for ABC, which is setting aside its typical daytime programming.
CBS anchor Katie Couric will be at the Staples Center, although the network had not yet said whether it was offering live coverage of the memorial.
CNN has seen its ratings soar with the Jackson story, and it will show the memorial on the main network and HLN (formerly Headline News). CNN International will air the ceremony to the rest of the world. Anderson Cooper, Larry King and Don Lemon are the anchors for CNN coverage. Robin Meade, A.J. Hammer and Jane Velez-Mitchell will anchor at HLN. CNN en Espanol also will cover it.
Chris Jansing will anchor live coverage of the memorial on MSNBC. Shepard Smith will anchor live coverage of the ceremony on Fox News, with Megyn Kelly anchoring coverage of the event on the Fox network.
E! Entertainment and TV Guide will cover the ceremony on their television networks and Web sites.
MOSCOW — When President Barack Obama flies into Moscow on Monday for meetings with Kremlin leadership, at the top of his agenda will be reducing the number of strategic nuclear weapons capable of destroying life on Earth. And that might be the easy part.
Obama's trip to Russia is viewed on both sides of the Atlantic as a chance to resuscitate relations between the two nations after they fell to post-Cold War lows during the presidency of George W. Bush .
In order to do so, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appear to be taking a more pragmatic tack than did their predecessors: concentrating first on the issues that in the parlance of the diplomatic community are “deliverables,” things that can get done, instead of getting stuck on thornier issues.
There is measured hope that a combination of the financial crisis — which humbled Russian rhetoric after both a credit crunch and lower commodity prices hit hard here — and signals from Medvedev, however conflicted, that he's willing to pursue political reform, have created an opening for Obama to “reset” diplomatic ties.
Progress is anticipated on arms control _expected to be a centerpiece of the agenda — as well as on trade, counter-narcotics and support for transporting Western military supplies to the Afghan theatre.
It's a delicate task in an uncertain setting. To begin with, there is a question of whether Obama is dealing with the real leader of the country. The prime minister and former president, Vladimir Putin , is widely regarded as the ruler of Russia and the driving force behind a revival of nationalism and authoritarian rule here that's been funded by oil and gas money.
During the past year, Putin was the most visible and bellicose representative of the Russian invasion of U.S. ally Georgia , and then the dispute that led to a cut-off of Russian gas to U.S. ally Ukraine and much of Europe .
However, because of diplomatic protocol, Obama will spend more time with Medvedev, a friendlier face, than with the prime minister.
American officials have said that they are aware of the complexities of Russia's “ruling tandem.” Critics of the Kremlin warn that Putin's deep distrust of the West could short-circuit attempts for substantial change.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, Obama acknowledged the dilemma. “I think that it's important that even as we move forward with President Medvedev, that Putin understands that the old Cold War approaches to U.S.-Russian relations is outdated, that it's time to move forward in a different direction,” Obama said.
“The problem is that Putin has based his campaign on anti-American rhetoric,” said Boris Nemtsov , a deputy prime minister in the late 1990s and one of the few national political opposition leaders still in Russia . “Obama believes that democracy is a universal value, Putin believes that it is a universal threat.”
Obama and Medvedev have pledged to extend or replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) — a 1991 agreement to reduce the number of long-range nuclear warheads in both countries, which is set to expire in December.
After their April meeting in London , the two leaders set an apparent benchmark by saying they'd go below the levels set by a 2002 pact, known as the Moscow Treaty, which calls for no more than between 1,700 to 2,200 strategic warheads in each country by the end of 2012.
As with much of U.S.- Russia relations, the matter still faces a stumbling block.
The Kremlin is angry about a planned U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe that was pushed by the Bush administration.
Russian leaders say they fear that the system, which would be based in Poland and the Czech Republic , is not aimed at stopping an Iranian attack, as Washington insists, but rather at
weakening Russia's nuclear deterrent – the cornerstone of its military power.
Medvedev greeted Obama's victory at the polls last November by threatening to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad , near Poland , “to neutralize, if necessary, the anti-ballistic missile system in Europe .” The timing was inept, and has led some to wonder whether the speech was prepared for a win of the presidency by Arizona Sen. John McCain , the Republican candidate.
Obama has said that the shield is under review, amid questions about its funding and whether it would actually work.
One way around the standoff would be to link Russia to a broader anti-missile system, an offer that Washington raised but that Moscow so far has shunned.
The disagreement about the shield taps into the broader problem that Russian officials and analysts say is at the core of troubles with the United States . This is the question of Russia's contested influence over the so-called “near abroad” countries. Russia's war with Georgia last August, for example, resulted in the de facto annexing of two regions in that country.
While the Obama administration has signaled that it's not going to press NATO as aggressively as Bush did to admit Georgia and Ukraine , it's clear that those fault lines remain in place.
During a teleconference last week, a U.S. official dealing with Russian affairs said that Obama is looking for ways to work with the Kremlin, but would not be willing to swap U.S. interests for Russian cooperation.
“We are not in any way, in the name of the reset, abandoning our very close relationships with these two democracies, Ukraine and Georgia ,” said Michael McFaul , senior director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council .
For the Kremlin, there is little compromise on being able to project power in what is referred to here as a “privileged sphere.”
From the Russian viewpoint it's an existential matter, said Vyacheslav Nikonov , head of Politika, a pro-Kremlin think tank.
Sergei Markov, a member of Russia's lower house of parliament who's seen as having close links to the Kremlin, agreed. “If you say, as Washington maintains, the Russian sphere of influence is limited by its border, it means that Washington is saying that Russia is not a great power,” Markov said.
Beyond the question of Russian power, and U.S. efforts to work with or check it, there are some in Moscow who worry that something else is being overlooked — freedom.
By focusing on arms control and other security-related matters, the thinking goes, the Obama administration could signal to hardliners in Moscow that America is embracing an approach in which U.S. national interests trump any message about spreading democracy and the rule of law.
Russia is a country where human rights workers are harassed, ethnic minorities are publicly assaulted by gangs and those who pose a threat to the ruling powers have in the past been killed.
“My fear is this agenda, only a hard security agenda, and Obama's dialogue only with the Kremlin, will be used by the traditional party of the Russian political establishment and by the Kremlin as … an instrument to legitimize the current system,” said Lilia Shevtsova , a senior associate at the Carnegie Moscow Center.
Obama officials say the president will spend much of his second day in Moscow speaking with civil society leaders, and giving what's billed as a major speech that's expected to at least touch on the question of open governance, a clear indication that democracy is still on the agenda.
Before those meetings on Tuesday, though, Obama will have breakfast with a powerful Russian politician: Vladimir Putin .
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Genetic clue to brain cancer risk
Genetic warning signs of an increased risk of the commonest kind of brain cancer have been discovered.UK and US scientists identified genetic indicators that someone is at greater risk of developing a glioma – which accounts for 50% of all brain tumours. However, the teams from London, Texas and California write in Nature Genetics that environmental factors also affect if someone will develop the cancer. A UK charity said the work opened up new avenues for research and treatment.
About 4,550 people are diagnosed with brain tumours each year. Only 14% are alive after five years. Gliomas begin in glial cells, which play a key role supporting and insulating nerve cells in the brain. There are various kinds, with glioblastoma being the most aggressive, deadly and common. People who are diagnosed with it rarely survive more than five years. AnalysisThe two research teams looked at single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). These are points in the genetic code which vary from person to person. In the first study, a team of scientists from London’s Institute of Cancer and the University of Texas looked at over 521,000 SNPs in almost 1,900 glioma patients and 3,670 healthy people and found 34 SNPs linked with glioma. These 34 were then independently analysed by scientists in Germany, France and Sweden who looked at the DNA of 2,500 people with glioma and almost 3,000 healthy people. This allowed researchers to pinpoint 14 key SNPs on five genes. As people have two copies of each gene, one from each parent, they can have up to 10 of the variants. The researchers said those who had eight or more were three times more likely to develop glioma than the general population. Professor Richard Houlston of the Institute of Cancer Research, who led the study, said: “This is a major discovery. “We’ve found the first real evidence that variations in the genes which many people carry can increase their risk of this deadly disease.” The team hope their findings can eventually be used to help identify those most at risk for the disease and also to provide potential targets for treatment or prevention. ‘Relative risk’In the second study, a team from the Mayo Clinic and the University of California San Francisco found a connection between DNA alterations on chromosome 9 and glioblastoma risk. They looked at the DNA of over 900 glioma patients, and 4,000 healthy people. It was found that people with three particular SNPs had a 50% increased risk of developing glioblastoma. The same section of chromosome 9 was one of the five points identified by the Institute of Cancer Research study. But the Mayo Clinic’s Dr Robert Jenkins, who led the research, said having the SNPs did not mean someone was guaranteed to get the cancer. “Increased relative risk is just that – relative.” A normal person’s risk of developing a glioblastoma is about one in 10,000, but the researchers say the risk is about one in 7,000 for a person carrying one of these SNPs. However, scientists in both studies say further research is needed to confirm their findings, and that it is too early to screen people for the genetic variations. And Dr Lesley Walker, director of information at Cancer Research UK, which part-funded the UK study, said: “Compared with many other cancers, little is known about the lifestyle or genetic factors that influence the risk of developing brain tumours.” She said it was important to “unlock” some of the “genetic secrets” behind glioma. “Identifying these genetic variants will open up new avenues for scientists to explore, helping them to better understand how gliomas develop, identify who might be most at risk and ultimately find improved ways to diagnose and treat the disease,” she added.
Woods seals PGA National victory
FINAL ROUND SCORES: (US unless stated)-13 T Woods -12 H Mahan -9 A Kim -8B Molder -7B Snedeker, L GloverSelected others: -4 J Rose (Eng) +11 B Davis (Eng), M Laird (Sco)
Tiger Woods clinched his 68th PGA Tour win at the PGA National in Maryland, despite a superb last-round surge from fellow American Hunter Mahan.Woods, who shared the overnight lead with Anthony Kim, took the title by one shot after recording a three-under 67 for a total of 13 under par. Mahan managed a marvellous round of 62 to tie for the lead before Woods pulled clear with a birdie at the 16th. Kim finished on nine under a shot ahead of American compatriot Bryce Molder. It was Woods’ third win of the season having triumphed at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and last month’s Memorial.
HELSINKI (AFP) –
Finland put an end to Estonia's 11-year reign and took gold and bronze on Saturday at the annual Wife-Carrying World Championships held in Sonkajaervi, central Finland, organisers said.
Taisto Miettinen raced through a 250-metre (273-yard) course with two hurdles and a pool in 62 seconds, carrying Kristiina Haapanen on his back. The winners beat Estonia's Alar Voogla and Kristi Viltrop by 0.1 seconds.
Miettinen has been attending the competition for a decade now and said he was pleased to finally win.
“A couple of times I have lost by 0.1 seconds and I have stumbled. Our win tastes now really good,” Miettinen said in a statement.
Although Estonia's long chain of wins in wife-carrying was brought to an end, Voogla said he was happy with silver and added the cool and cloudy weather had an impact on their race.
“It was not our day, in the cool weather it was slightly difficult and the run did not go as planned,” he noted.
Finns Heikki Hannukainen and Heini Rauhamaa came in third and were some six seconds slower than the victors.
Sonkajaervi village, located some 490 kilometres (302 miles) north of Helsinki, has in the past 14 years made its entertaining wife-carrying competition known around the world and this year competitors came from eight countries including Australia, Ireland and Czech Republic.
The race was inspired by the legend of a local thug, Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, who lived in a forest and is said to have snatched food and sometimes ladies from villages in the region.
SEATTLE (Reuters) –
The United States made a winning start to their defense of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Grenada while Group B rivals Honduras beat Haiti 1-0.
The U.S, featuring a different lineup to the one that reached the final of the Confederations Cup last month, took the lead in the eighth minute when Freddy Adu calmly slotted home after good work from Robbie Rogers.
The impressive Rogers had a hand in the second goal, crossing for debutant Stuart Holden to head home and then added the third himself after the break with a cool finish.
Grenada, playing in their first major international competition, struggled to cope with the artificial surface at Qwest Field, with several players struggling with cramp in the latter stages.
U.S. striker Charlie Davies completed a confident display from Bob Bradley's team, with a clinical shot after a superb set-up from Heath Pearce.
In the earlier game, Carlo Costly headed home the winner for Honduras in the 76th minute against Haiti. Honduras play the U.S. in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
LONDON – He’s the spy who came in from the beach.
Holiday snapshots and family details about the newly appointed head of Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency have been removed from a Facebook page after a newspaper told the government about them.
Pictures from the social networking Web site published in the Mail on Sunday newspaper show John Sawers posing with his children, wearing a Santa hat and playing Frisbee on a beach.
The paper said the information was posted by Sawers’ wife on her Facebook page. It included vacation photos, details about the couple’s three children and the location of their London home.
Shelley Sawers’ page has been removed from the site, although a cached page can still be viewed that shows a picture of the spy chief’s wife.
Some politicians called the details a security lapse — but others said they revealed nothing but a few mildly embarrassing domestic details.
“It’s not a state secret that he wears Speedo swimming trunks,” said Foreign Secretary David Miliband. “For goodness’ sake, let’s grow up.”
The Foreign Office would not comment further on the case.
But Conservative lawmaker Patrick Mercer, who heads Parliament’s counterterrorism subcommittee, said the revelations left Sawers open “to criticism and blackmail.”
John Sawers, 53, was named last month as the new head of the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence agency. A former spy, diplomat and foreign policy adviser to ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair, he is currently Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations.
He is due to take up his new post in November.
Until the 1990s, the identity of the MI6 chief, known as C, was kept secret. Until 1992, Britain’s government refused even to confirm the organization’s existence.
Authorities have gradually become more open about MI6 and its domestic sister service MI5 in a bid to shed the agencies’ cloak-and-dagger image and attract a wider range of staff.
Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Edward Davy called for an inquiry into the lapse.
“Normally, I would welcome greater openness in government for officials or politicians, but this type of exposure verges on the reckless,” he told the Mail on Sunday.
FRIDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) — Older people in the United States
scored better than their counterparts in England on a memory and awareness
test, possibly because of differences in levels of depression and
education and the fact that American adults receive more aggressive
treatment for heart disease, a new study suggests.
The test assessed immediate and delayed recall of 10 common nouns, such
as tree, skin, river, table, baby and village. The participants, 13,575
people all older than 65, listened to the words being spoken and then were
asked to repeat as many as possible immediately and again five minutes
later. During the five-minute wait, the participants were asked other
On a 24-point scale assessing cognitive function, the American seniors
scored an average of 12.8 and the English seniors averaged 11.4. That
difference represents about 10 years of aging, the researchers said. That
means that, on average, 75-year-old U.S. residents had memories as good as
65-year-olds who lived in England.
The findings appear online in the journal BMC Geriatrics.
“Higher levels of education and net worth in the U.S. probably
accounted for some of the better cognitive performance,” study leader
Kenneth Langa of the University of Michigan said in a news release from
the journal's publisher. “Furthermore, U.S. adults reported significantly
lower levels of depressive symptoms than English adults.”
He added that the “better cognitive performance of U.S. adults was
actually quite surprising since U.S. adults had a higher prevalence of
cardiovascular risk factors, which is generally associated with cognitive
decline and poorer mental function.”
More aggressive treatment of cardiovascular disease in the United
States might help explain the Americans' higher average score, Langa
The American Psychological Association has more about memory changes in older adults.
Pedrosa storms to US MotoGP glory
Dani Pedrosa scorched to victory in the US MotoGP after coming from fourth on the grid to hit the front from the start of the race at Laguna Seca.World champion Valentino Rossi came home in second place to stretch his championship lead to nine points. Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner produced courageous rides to finish third and fourth respectively after both men had suffered huge qualifying crashes. Britain’s James Toseland was disqualified for not obeying a penalty.
Toseland was given a ride-through penalty after he was judged to have jumped the start but failed to come in to the pit lane within the three laps alloted to do so. It capped a miserable weekend for the Tech 3 Yamaha rider who had qualified in 15th place on the grid. In stark contrast, Pedrosa profited from a searing start to zip into the lead and never relinquished it. The only moment of concern for the Spaniard was on the final lap when he appeared to slow his pace too much and almost allowed Rossi a chance to overtake and steal victory. Pedrosa told BBC Sport: “The performance was very good. I was comfortable, I was doing great laps, and just in the last lap I relaxed a little bit too much. “When I saw in the last lap the bike of Rossi I thought maybe I was too slow. But it’s a good feeling to be back winning for me and my team.” Rossi said: “I came down the hill in the last lap like a crazy man but it was too risky to overtake.” The Italian will be delighted with second place, though, after getting the better of an early tussle with Stoner, whose performance was all the more remarkable given his lack of fitness. The Australian was forced to ride his number two bike after he has crashed out of qualifying on Saturday – a fall that left him suffering severe pain in his shoulder, arm and ribs. Lorenzo fared even better than Stoner, despite having had a similar high-side crash in qualifying, managing to secure a place on the podium despite his discomfort. It even looked at one stage as though the Yamaha rider, who had started from pole position, was going to pip Rossi to second. But with five laps to go Lorenzo pushed so hard when overtaking that he only just managed to stay on the bike, running wide wide and allowing his team-mate Rossi to stay in second. Lorenzo, who needed painkillers to be able to race, said: “Things were so difficult. I did the best I could. The pain was terrible in the collarbone. “Valentino was fast and especially Dani but in the end I kept my pace and finished third.” American Nicky Hayden rode impressively to bring in his Ducati in fifth in front of his home crowd. United States MotoGP result:1. Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 44 minutes 01.580 seconds 2. Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha 44:01.924 3. Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 44:03.506 4. Casey Stoner (Australia) Ducati 44:14.012 5. Nicky Hayden (U.S.) Ducati 44:23.243 6. Toni Elias (Spain) Honda 44:23.621 7. Colin Edwards (U.S.) Yamaha 44:31.781 8. Chris Vermeulen (Australia) Suzuki 44:34.437 9. Randy de Puniet (France) Honda 44:41.905 10. Marco Melandri (Italy) Kawasaki 44:49.608 11. Alex de Angelis (San Marino) Honda 44:50.390 12. Niccolo Canepa (Italy) Ducati 45:20.111MotoGP world champoinship standings:1. Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha 151 2. Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 142 3. Casey Stoner (Australia) Ducati 135 4. Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 92 5. Colin Edwards (U.S.) Yamaha 76 6. Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Honda 69 7. Marco Melandri (Italy) Kawasaki 61 8. Chris Vermeulen (Australia) Suzuki 61 9. Randy de Puniet (France) Honda 58 10. Loris Capirossi (Italy) Suzuki 56 11. James Toseland (Britain) Yamaha 39 12. Nicky Hayden (U.S.) Ducati 38 13. Toni Elias (Spain) Honda 37 14. Alex de Angelis (San Marino) Honda 36 15. Mika Kallio (Finland) Ducati 26 16. Niccolo Canepa (Italy) Ducati 16 17. Sete Gibernau (Spain) Ducati 12 18. Yuki Takahashi (Japan) Honda 9
Coffee ‘may reverse Alzheimer’s’
Drinking five cups of coffee a day could reverse memory problems seen in Alzheimer’s disease, US scientists say.The Florida research, carried out on mice, also suggested caffeine hampered the production of the protein plaques which are the hallmark of the disease. Previous research has also suggested a protective effect from caffeine. But British experts said the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease study did not mean that dementia patients should start using caffeine supplements.
The 55 mice used in the University of Florida study had been bred to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. First the researchers used behavioural tests to confirm the mice were exhibiting signs of memory impairment when they were aged 18 to 19 months, the equivalent to humans being about 70. Then they gave half the mice caffeine in their drinking water. The rest were given plain water. The mice were given the equivalent of five 8 oz (227 grams) cups of coffee a day – about 500 milligrams of caffeine. The researchers say this is the same as is found in two cups of “specialty” coffees such as lattes or cappuccinos from coffee shops, 14 cups of tea, or 20 soft drinks. When the mice were tested again after two months, those who were given the caffeine performed much better on tests measuring their memory and thinking skills and performed as well as mice of the same age without dementia. Those drinking plain water continued to do poorly on the tests. In addition, the brains of the mice given caffeine showed nearly a 50% reduction in levels of the beta amyloid protein, which forms destructive clumps in the brains of dementia patients. Further tests suggested caffeine affects the production of both the enzymes needed to produce beta amyloid. The researchers also suggest that caffeine suppresses inflammatory changes in the brain that lead to an overabundance of the protein. Earlier research by the same team had shown younger mice, who had also been bred to develop Alzheimer’s but who were given caffeine in their early adulthood, were protected against the onset of memory problems. ‘Safe drug’Dr Gary Arendash, who led the latest study, told the BBC: “The results are particularly exciting in that a reversal of pre-existing memory impairment is more difficult to achieve. “They provide evidence that caffeine could be a viable ‘treatment’ for established Alzheimer’s disease and not simply a protective strategy. “That’s important because caffeine is a safe drug for most people, it easily enters the brain, and it appears to directly affect the disease process.” The team now hope to begin human trials of caffeine to see if the mouse findings are replicated in people. They do not know if a lower amount of caffeine would be as effective, but said most people could safely consume the 500 milligrams per day. However they said people with high blood pressure, and pregnant women, should limit their daily caffeine intake. Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said: “In this study on mice with symptoms of Alzheimer’s, researchers found that caffeine boosted their memory. We need to do more research to find out whether this effect will be seen in people. “It is too early to say whether drinking coffee or taking caffeine supplements will help people with Alzheimer’s.
NASHVILLE (Reuters) –
Autopsies were being performed on Sunday on the bodies of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair and a female friend who were found shot to death on Saturday in a Nashville apartment, police said.
McNair, who was 36, was shot multiple times, according to a statement posted late Saturday on the Nashville police website. Sahel Kazemi, 20, was also found dead in the living room of the condominium with a single bullet wound to her head.
A pistol was found near Kazemi's body. The police offered no possible motive for the killings, and a spokesman was not available for comment on Sunday.
A witness reported that McNair arrived at the condo early Saturday morning. Kazemi's vehicle was already parked outside, the statement said.
McNair rented the condo with sporting goods dealer Wayne Neeley, who arrived there before 1 p.m. on Saturday and found the two bodies. Neeley called a friend who came to the scene and called the police.
Two days earlier, Kazemi had been arrested in the early hours for driving under the influence. McNair was in the passenger's seat at the time of the police stop.
McNair, who played 13 seasons in the NFL, was a local hero who did extensive charity work in Nashville. He played mostly with the Tennessee Titans and its predecessor team, the Houston Oilers.
Drafted by the Oilers in 1995 out of Alcorn State College in Mississippi, McNair led the Titans to their only Super Bowl appearance, losing to the St. Louis Rams in 2000.
He was the NFL's co-MVP in 2003, and was selected for the Pro Bowl three times. McNair ended his career with the Baltimore Ravens and retired after the 2007 season.
According to local press reports, Kazemi had moved to Nashville from her parents home in Florida. She worked as a waitress at a restaurant where she met McNair.
McNair was married and had four sons, one of whom, Steven Jr., is a high school football star who has received offers to play college football.
(Writing by Kyle Peterson in Chicago, editing by Alan Elsner)
Forget Disneyland! Costa Rica is the happiest place in the world, according to an independent research group in Britain with the goal of building a new economy, “centered on people and the environment.”
Costa Rica is known for its lush rain forests and pristine beaches.
In a report released Saturday, the group ranks nations using the “Happy Planet Index,” which seeks countries with the most content people. In addition to happiness, the index by the New Economics Foundation considers the ecological footprint and life expectancy of countries. “Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the new world (second to Canada),” the organization said in a statement. They “also have an ecological footprint that means that the country only narrowly fails to achieve the goal of … consuming its fair share of the Earth’s natural resources.” The Central American country, tucked between Nicaragua and Panama, touts its lush rain forests and pristine beaches. Its president, Oscar Arias Sanchez, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for trying to help end civil wars in several Central American countries. This year’s survey, which looked at 143 countries, featured Latin American nations in nine of the Top 10 spots.
iReporters show off colorful Costa Rica
The runner-up was the Dominican Republic, followed by Jamaica, Guatemala and Vietnam. Most developed nations lagged in the study. While Britain ranked 74th, the United States snagged the 114th spot, because of its hefty consumption and massive ecological footprint. The United States was greener and happier 20 years ago than it is today, the report said. Other populous nations, such as China and India, had a lower index brought on by their vigorous pursuit of growth-based models, the survey suggested. “As the world faces the triple crunch of deep financial crisis, accelerating climate change and the looming peak in oil production, we desperately need a new compass to guide us,” said Nic Marks, founder of the foundation’s center for well-being. Marks urged nations to make a collective global change before “our high-consuming lifestyles plunge us into the chaos of irreversible climate change.” The report, which was first conducted in 2006, covers 99 percent of the world population, the statement said.
MEXICO CITY, MexicoArrest warrants have been issued for another nine people associated with a fire at a day-care center in northwestern Mexico in June that killed 48 children, the state-run Notimex news agency said Saturday.
Two girls lay flowers during a funeral of one of the 48 children who died in the day-care fire.
The warrants are for the owners and legal representatives of the ABC day-care center in the city of Hermosillo in Sonora state, which burned down June 5, Notimex said. Officials have determined that the fire started at an air-conditioning unit at a government-owned warehouse in the same building as the day-care center. Fourteen children remain hospitalized, Notimex reported earlier. The latest arrest warrants are the third group to be issued since the fire. On Wednesday, the Mexican federal attorney general’s office ordered the arrest of nine public officials from the Mexican Institute of Social Security, which owned the day-care center, as well as private individuals connected to the facility.
Anger boils in Mexico over 46 deaths at day care center
Two weeks earlier, Mexican officials announced they had ordered the arrests of 14 people who worked at the warehouse. Parents of the dead children and others have held demonstrations in Hermosillo and Mexico City to protest what they see as foot-dragging by authorities in punishing the responsible parties.
WASHINGTON The Organization of American States suspended Honduras late Saturday because the nation’s new leaders refused to reinstate ousted President Jose Manuel Zelaya.
Ousted Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya appears Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly.more photos »
Zelaya was removed by the military on June 28 and flown to Costa Rica. Congressional leader Roberto Micheletti was sworn in as provisional president later that day. The OAS set a Saturday deadline for Honduras to return Zelaya to power or be suspended from the 35-nation hemispheric organization. Honduran officials told OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza on Friday that they would not allow Zelaya to return to power. Thousands of protesters demanding the return to power of ousted Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya pushed through riot police at Tegucigalpa’s airport and surrounded the terminal Saturday, but there were no reports of violence. The airport continued to operate, CNN Correspondent Karl Penhaul reported. Zelaya, a leftist who took office in 2006, says he will return to Honduras on Sunday. Micheletti has vowed to have Zelaya arrested if he returns. “I am simply defending a system,” Zelaya told the OAS delegates early Sunday, after the 33-0 vote to suspend Honduras. Among the delegates were two heads of state: Presidents Christina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina and Fernando Lugo of Paraguay. “I am here not only as president of the republic of Argentina, but also as part of a delegation who was the object of coups in Argentina,” Fernandez said. Lugo also spoke in favor of restoring Zelaya and democracy to his nation. “I come from Paraguay, a country that has had the long night of dictatorships,” Lugo said. “I come here with a pain, but also with a hope.” Micheletti repeated in an interview with CNN en Español on Saturday night that a coup did not take place. What happened, he said, was a constitutional transfer of power authorized by the nation’s congress. But Micheletti is swimming against world opinion. The U.N. General Assembly condemned the coup last week and demanded that Zelaya be reinstated.
Ousted president vows to return
Police, demonstrators clash
The European Union and other nations have recalled their ambassadors from Honduras, and the United States and the World Bank have suspended some aid. Honduran officials have said the Central American nation was prepared to withdraw from the OAS rather than reinstate Zelaya. “If the Organization of American States doesn’t deem Honduras worthy of membership of the Organization of American States, then Honduras would renounce with immediate effect the inter-American charter,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Marta Lorena Alvarado. At the center of the dispute was a referendum Zelaya had vowed to carry out even after the country’s supreme court and congress found it illegal. The nonbinding referendum could have led to the creation of a constitutional assembly to modify the country’s charter to allow the president to run for re-election. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a Zelaya ally, won a similar referendum this year, and many Hondurans thought Zelaya was trying to maneuver a way to seek re-election in November. Zelaya has denied that was his intent. Zelaya narrowly won the presidency in 2005, with 49.8 percent of the vote to 46.1 percent for Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo.
After 18 years of nearly uninterrupted military rule, Honduras returned to civilian control in 1981. Since then, the military has not seemed interested in holding power in the nation of more than 7 million people, about 70 percent of whom live in poverty. Military interventions were once common in Latin America, but civilian governments have held sway since the 1980s. Before Sunday, the only other barracks revolt this decade was an unsuccessful 2002 coup attempt against Chavez, when the military displaced him but backed down days later and allowed his reinstatement.
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras Authorities here closed the airport and restricted the airspace over the nation’s capital in anticipation of deposed President Jose Manuel Zelaya’s announced return Sunday.
A protester rallies in support of oustedPresident Jose Manuel Zelaya on Sunday in Tegucigalpa.
In an interview from Washington with Telesur TV, Zelaya said he was departing for Honduras on a plane with United Nations General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto. A delegation supporting Zelaya, including the head of the Organization of American States and Presidents Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, would fly on a separate plane to nearby El Salvador. The government of provisional President Roberto Micheletti has vowed to arrest Zelaya if he returns and has denied permission for Zelaya’s plane to land. Witnesses said the road to the airport in the capital of Tegucigalpa was closed. Video showed dozens of pro-Zelaya demonstrators marching toward the airport. The leftist Zelaya was ousted in a military-led coup one week ago, on the same day he planned to follow through with a referendum that the courts and the congress had ruled illegal and that the military said it would not support. The Honduran Congress voted to strip Zelaya of his powers and named Micheletti as provisional president. Sunday’s political standoff follows a vote Saturday by the Organization of American States to suspend Honduras from the organization after the provisional government failed to respond to a 72-hour deadline to restore Zelaya as president. In a resolution, the OAS had demanded Zelaya’s return. After a visit to Honduras, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said he found Micheletti’s government “extremely firm” and “inflexible.”
Honduras suspended from OAS
New leaders reject appeal for Zelaya’s return
U.S. ‘hits the pause button’ on aid to Honduras
Micheletti and his supporters have repudiated the characterization of the transfer of power as a coup. The provisional government maintains that the military action against Zelaya was backed by a court order and that arrest warrants have been issued against him for violating the constitution. But Micheletti is swimming against world opinion. The U.N. General Assembly condemned the coup last week and demanded that Zelaya be reinstated. The European Union and other nations have recalled their ambassadors from Honduras, and the United States and the World Bank have suspended some aid.
After 18 years of nearly uninterrupted military rule, Honduras returned to civilian control in 1981. Since then, the military has not seemed interested in holding power in the nation of more than 7 million people, about 70 percent of whom live in poverty. Military interventions were once common in Latin America, but civilian governments have held sway since the 1980s. Before Sunday, the only other barracks revolt this decade was an unsuccessful 2002 coup attempt against Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, when the military displaced him but backed down days later and allowed his reinstatement.
Biden strikes tough note on Iran
US Vice-President Joe Biden has hinted the administration will not restrain Israel if it decides on military action to remove any Iranian nuclear threat.Mr Biden told ABC television the US could not “dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do”. Mr Biden also said President Obama’s offer of dialogue with Iran remained. Mr Obama has given Iran until the end of the year to talk about its nuclear programme, which Iran insists is for energy purposes only. Western countries are concerned Tehran is working to acquire a nuclear weapons capability. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated Israel would take matters into its own hands if Iran did not show a willingness to negotiate. No hypotheticalsAppearing on ABC’s current affairs programme This Week, host George Stephanopoulos asked Mr Biden whether the Israeli position was the right approach. The vice-president replied: “Israel can determine for itself – it’s a sovereign nation – what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.” He added that this was the case, “whether we agree or not” with the Israeli view. Asked whether the US would stand in the way if the Israelis decided to launch a military attack against Iranian nuclear facilities, Mr Biden said Israel, like the US, had a right to “determine what is in its interests”. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said Mr Biden was not signalling any change of approach on Iran or Israel. “The vice president refused to engage [in] hypotheticals, and he made clear that our policy has not changed,” he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.
PARIS (Reuters) –
French investigators said on Sunday they had detected the signal from the flight recorders from a Yemeni jet that crashed last week with more than 150 people on board.
The news came after the Yemeni transport ministry said on Saturday that search crews had located a large piece of debris from the jet, which crashed into the Indian Ocean off the Comoros islands on June 30.
France's BEA air accident board said in a statement that it could confirm “that the signal of two acoustic beacons were located this morning following underwater searches to find the recorders of flight IY 626.”
The sole known survivor of the crash was a 14-year-old girl. The other 152 people on board are believed to have died.
The plane plunged into the sea as it came in to land at Moroni, the capital of the formerly French-ruled Comoros archipelago, which comprises three islands off mainland east Africa and northwest of Madagascar.
The aircraft had taken off from the Yemeni capital Sanaa, but many of the passengers had come from France aboard an Airbus A330 which flew the Paris-Marseille-Yemen leg of the flight.
(Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey; Editing by Jon Boyle)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Two monorail trains crashed early Sunday morning in the Magic Kingdom section of Walt Disney World, killing one train’s operator, emergency officials said.
The transit system, which shuttles thousands of visitors around the sprawling resort each day, was shut down while authorities investigated the holiday weekend wreck.
The monorail operator died at the scene of the crash, which happened around 2 a.m., said Bo Jones, deputy chief for Reedy Creek Fire Department. The other train operator was uninjured, but was taken to a hospital because he was emotionally shaken. Jones said five park guests were treated at the scene, though the Orange County Sheriff’s office said six were treated.
Disney Vice President of Communications Michael Griffin identified the driver as 21-year-old Austin Wuennenberg. Griffin would not discuss how long Wuennenberg had been with Disney or the circumstances surrounding the crash. Disney officials also refused to talk about how the monorail system operates.
“They are extremely rare,” Griffin said of accidents at the park. “The safety of our guests and cast are a top priority above all else.”
It is unclear what caused the crash, Jones said. Orange County Sheriff’s officials are investigating.
A spokeswoman for Stetson University in nearby DeLand confirmed that Wuennenberg was a student at the school. A woman standing in front of Wuennenberg’s home in Kissimmee declined comment Sunday afternoon and directed all questions to Disney officials, saying the family would “like some private time to grieve.”
Jones said the crash happened at the park’s ticket and transportation center. About a dozen guards wearing blue Disney security uniforms guarded the monorail station Sunday morning and prevented visitors from approaching the area.
Griffin would not comment on a video posted on the Web site of Orlando TV station WKMG. The clip, apparently shot by a guest at the theme park, shows several people trying to get the driver’s attention as they examine the wreckage.
“This is such a close-knit community, ” Griffin said. “Our hearts go out to Austin’s family. It’s a sad day here.”
Catherine McKenna, 45, and her family were visiting the theme park from Ireland. The family had planned to use the monorail to travel to the Magic Kingdom but said they were told the train was broken. They took a ferry instead, but returned on the monorail later.
“It’s very sad,” McKenna said. “You would be very afraid to use it again.”
However, another guest, 55-year-old Jose Sequera of Venezuela, said he was not concerned about safety at the park.
“I think they take care of things,” Sequera said. “Accidents happen, the same as in planes and cars.”
Disney spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez said the park had boosted other forms of transportation — such as ferry, boats and buses — for visitors Sunday.
“Our guests are getting around fine,” Suarez said.
Ethan Meus, who was visiting the park from Dubuque, Iowa, said he and his family took the monorail to dinner at a resort hotel Saturday night. Meus, 17, watched the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the monorail on the way back to his hotel, he said, and didn’t notice any problems with the train.
“It’s pretty shocking to hear that a driver was killed in that accident,” Meus said.
The family was planning to take the train again Sunday to visit Disney’s Epcot Center, but now planned to take a bus, Meus added.
“You would think it would be so safe,” said 20-year-old Lauren Shoebottom, who was visiting the park from London. “You don’t expect it on holiday, do you?”
Walt Disney World vice president of public affairs Mike Griffin issued a statement offering condolences to the employee’s family and saying the monorail was closed.
“It’s a bit shocking,” said 22-year-old Danielle Williams, of London. “Disney seems so perfect.”