Archive for September 2009

Obama Missile Defense Decision Not About Russia

Obama Missile Defense Decision Not About Russia

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama sharply dismisses criticism that Russian opposition influenced his decision to scrap a European missile defense system, calling it merely a bonus if the leaders of Russia end up “a little less paranoid” about the U.S.
“My task here was not to negotiate with the Russians,” Obama told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview for broadcast Sunday. “The Russians don’t make determinations about what our defense posture is.”
The president’s comments were his first on the matter since he abruptly announced on Thursday that he was scuttling plans to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a related radar in the Czech Republic. That shield had been proposed under President George W. Bush.
Russia condemned it is a threat to its security despite years of U.S. assurances to the contrary.
In its place will be a different missile-defense plan relying on a network of sensors and interceptor missiles based at sea, on land and in the air. Obama says that adapts to the most pressing threat from Iran to U.S. troops and allies in Europe, potential attacks by short- and medium-range missiles.
Yet at home and abroad, Obama’s decision immediately raised a political question of whether it was done in part to appease Russia and win its help in other areas, mainly in confronting the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran. That point was underscored when Russia lauded the change.
In an interview with CBS News that was taped Friday, Obama was pressed on why he did not seek anything in exchange from Russia.
“Russia had always been paranoid about this, but George Bush was right. This wasn’t a threat to them,” Obama said. “And this program will not be a threat to them.”
He added: “If the byproduct of it is that the Russians feel a little less paranoid and are now willing to work more effectively with us to deal with threats like ballistic missiles from Iran or nuclear development in Iran, you know, then that’s a bonus.”
Russia said Saturday that it will scrap a plan to deploy missiles near Poland since Obama dumped the planned missile shield in Eastern Europe.
Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said Obama’s move made the deployment of short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region unnecessary, and he called the U.S. president’s decision a “victory of reason over ambitions.”
Washington is counting on Moscow to help raise pressure on Tehran over its disputed nuclear program, although there are no clear signs that will happen.
Also Sunday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates asserted that the United States is not walking away from European allies to appease Russia.
“Russia’s attitude and possible reaction played no part in my recommendation to the president on this issue,” Gates wrote in an essay in The New York Times. He said he would be surprised if Russia likes the replacement European missile defense plan much better.
Gates acknowledged that one criticism of the replacement plan is that it relies heavily on fresh intelligence about the Iranian missile threat. The U.S. now judges shorter-range missiles as a greater problem in the near term than the long-range missiles the old system was conceived to counter. But he suggested it would have been foolhardy to stick with a plan that had become obsolete before it was built.
“Having spent most of my career at the CIA, I am all too familiar with the pitfalls of over-reliance on intelligence assessments that can become outdated,” wrote Gates, a former CIA director.
That system never moved past the blueprint stage, and would not have been fully fielded until at least 2017.
Part of the replacement system could be in place as soon as 2011, Gates said.

Pacquiao Begins Preparing For Cotto Fight

Pacquiao Begins Preparing For Cotto Fight

BAGUIO, Philippines (AFP) –
Philippines boxing star Manny Pacquiao entered his training camp here Sunday as the six-time world champion temporarily bid goodbye to show business to focus on his much-awaited blockbuster bout against Miguel Cotto in November.
“I need to focus,” the “Pacman”, 49-3 with two drawn and 37 knockouts, said as he checked into his hotel in this northern mountain resort, having cleared his busy schedule for product endorsements and television shows.
He said his wife and mother would not be allowed into his training quarters.
Pacquiao, boxing's pound-for-pound king after beating Oscar de la Hoya in 2008 and knocking out Britain's Ricky Hatton in May, will face Cotto, 34-1 with 27 knockouts, on November 14 in Las Vegas in a welterweight showdown.
The 30-year-old Filipino's American trainer Freddie Roach was expected to arrive in Baguio over the next few days.
“This place is ideal. My training runs would be intense,” Pacquiao said. “Also, it's not too crowded.”
He said his trainers have devised a plan to counter the Puerto Rican's superior size, but gave no details.
Filipino trainer Buboy Fernandez asked Filipinos to give his man some space as the left-handed boxer trains outside the glare of the public eye.
“We ask for the people's prayers,” he said. “We will try our best to help Manny win.”

Bahamas Outlook Clouds For Haitians

Bahamas Outlook Clouds For Haitians

Bahamas outlook clouds for Haitians
By Nick Davis
BBC News, The Bahamas
Row after row of taxis are lined up along the street, their drivers milling about as tourists stream off the latest cruise ship to have docked in Nassau, capital of the Bahamas.A tour guide approaches a group of American visitors asking if they want a ride in his horse and carriage – they decline. “Things are slow, people just walk around the shops and are not even buying anything,” the guide says, shrugging his shoulders. The effects of the global financial crisis have hit the tourism industry hard and no more so than here in the Bahamas, where the economic slowdown has also made immigration a big issue. Disparity of wealthThe Bahamas are a collection of some 700 islands that lie only 80 km (50 miles) away from the US mainland, with Florida to the north, stretching all the way south to just off the coast of Haiti. It is one of the wealthiest of Caribbean nations but its neighbour – Haiti – is the complete opposite. More than half of the nine million people who live there have to survive on less than half a dollar a day.
Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere and poverty drives many people to pack their bags and head for new shores. Passage on an overcrowded wooden boat out of Haiti can cost upwards of 500 (300). A better life in the US is what most are after but landing in the Bahamas is, for many, just as good an option. The Bahamas have a population of around 350,000 people, covering 23 inhabited islands, It is estimated that up to 80,000 Haitians now live here. National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest says the country has benefited greatly from Haitian workers in the past, but is now feeling the strain. “Haitian nationals have contributed greatly to the development of the Bahamas over the years, but the numbers here now are overwhelming and when we talk about healthcare, education and social services… the strain on our resources… has become extreme,” Mr Turnquest said. Human traffickingOne of the oldest boats in the fleet of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force is the Inagua. Purchased from the British after the demise of colonial rule, the vessel is now part of a patrol that covers 25,900 sq km of territorial waters looking for illegal immigrants. Commodore Clifford Scavella, head of the Bahamas armed forces, says those seeking to come here illegally have many options.
“On the water there are so many corridors that smugglers can use. “We are finding more and more that they are using alternative [routes] so we need to spread our assets as wide as we can, we are seeking government help as we continue the fight,” he says. The government repatriates hundreds of migrants, with local newspapers reporting regularly on how much this is costing the Bahamas. Authorities also try to intercept people arriving by sea, but not every one makes it that far. The Queen of Peace is the main Roman Catholic church for the Haitian community in Nassau. On Saturday nights the sound of the choir singing in French Creole, practising ahead of the morning’s Sunday service, can be heard far and wide. Religion is a key part of Haitian life and Father Roland Gilfort has heard countless stories about the hundreds of illegal migrants who go missing every year. “In the last three months we have had more than 100 people die at sea, we try to protect them, tell them not to come, but you know what? “All they see when they are in Haiti is the profits. They are risking their lives because they see a neighbour getting a house after two years and they want to be like their neighbour,” says Father Roland. Growing underclassThe history of immigration from Haiti to the Bahamas stretches back to the late 1950s, with Haitians taking jobs that many in the Bahamas simply did not want. Labouring, gardening and construction work saw large numbers given work permits. Many Haitians have spent most of their lives in the Bahamas, yet they now fear losing their resident status and of possibly being deported.
Tony is typical of the Haitian mentality here. He is grateful for the opportunities but says he feels many of his countrymen are seen as an underclass. “I say 50% [of Bahamians] are good… they accept us, I will not take that from them and without the Bahamas [many] Haitians would be dead. “They help us to survive but they should treat us as human,” Tony said. Amnesty International has reported cases of human rights abuses against Haitians on the island. The government says such violations are rare and are not tolerated. However, many in the Bahamas feel their culture is being eroded and want stricter controls on immigration. “They [the Haitians] have got to recognise that they are in a country that has given them a future and not to strip it like they did in Haiti,” a local taxi driver said. Another Bahaman woman put it more bluntly: “We need our country back, if they came here to get a better life why not go back home and make a better life [there].” Despite such feelings, the Bahamas Minister of Immigration, Branville McCartney, says his country would not be the success it is today without the help of the local Haitian population. He admits the government has had to get tough on illegal immigrants and it has led to resentment on both sides. “People who are here illegally are working… for less pay and we have Bahamians who have no jobs, that breeds animosity. “When it comes down to healthcare, many people in the hospitals are not from the Bahamas, that too can cause problems,” Mr McCartney said. However, there is also a generation living in the Bahamas, young people born of Haitian parents, who due to current laws have not got an automatic right to citizenship. Immigration rules say they have to apply between the ages of 18 to 19, and it is a process that can be drawn out over a number of years, making it difficult for many to gain employment, travel or even open a bank account. Essentially, these people become virtually stateless in their own country of birth.

Source:BBC

ProgrammesFrom Our Own CorrespondentFishing For Prehistoric Quarry

ProgrammesFrom Our Own CorrespondentFishing For Prehistoric Quarry

Fishing for prehistoric quarry
North America’s largest freshwater fish, the predatory alligator gar, is now protected to preserve its numbers, as Kevin Connolly discovered on a fishing trip in Texas.We are at the top of the food chain – the most dangerous predators on the lazy Navidad River, where it crawls stealthily around the town of Lolita, Texas, as though hoping to amble on unnoticed to the Gulf of Mexico. By local standards, I must admit we did not really look the part. The alligators that slumbered in the quiet creeks and pools around us bristled with a quiet sense of menace, and even the buzzards wheeling and gliding into the pale, bright September skies looked well organised by comparison. It was mainly my fault. Told that we were going fishing for the alligator gar, I had assumed we would be using rod and line and had, therefore, dressed in business clothes so that I could head on to an appointment with a politician in a nearby town afterwards. Fish-eat-fish worldIt turns out that the alligator gar – ugly but effective champion predator of freshwater Texas – is hunted not with the simple rod, which I used the last time I went fishing 40 years ago, but with a bow and arrow.
My suit looks ridiculous on a wobbling, flat-bottomed boat in mid-river. Attempting to cock a high-pressure bow there, is like trying to lift a sack of potatoes with a piece of piano wire while balanced on a trampoline. The gar is no ordinary fish. It combines the head of a Tyrannosaurus Rex with the body of a medium-sized shark. In the fish-eat-fish world of Texan evolution, it has nothing to fear but man. Feeling my own leather-soled brogues slipping beneath me on the deck of the boat, and struggling to pull back the drawstring on the bow, I could see no reason why it should not follow its last 100 million years or so of evolution with another 100 million. If the alligator gar has an evolutionary weakness (apart from a pleasant taste and a tiny brain, of course) it is the fact that it needs to come to the surface of the water to breathe. It achieves this with a sinuous manoeuvre that recalls the elegance of an Olympic swimmer’s tumble turn. If you are an outsider to this kind of thing, like me, the moment when they break the surface before diving back into the darkness in a silvery rush, is a moment to contemplate the complexity of the vast eternal plan which holds us in delicate balance on our fragile planet. ‘Hunting mad’If you are Mike and Mark, our guides, it is the moment to loose off the arrows. Now our purpose in joining the river hunt was to explain how hunting-mad Texas has introduced restrictions on the numbers of alligator gar that can be taken from the state’s waters.
Essentially each hunter will in future be restricted to catching one a day, which is an important limit when you consider it can take years for a gar to reach maturity. I had been concerned that having come to explain the importance of the new measure, I would find myself reluctantly skewering some magnificent beast which had been cruising the Navidad’s opaque depths for longer that I have been walking the earth. I need not have worried. For a creature that is essentially the aquatic version of an overweight skinhead, the alligator gar has a surprising turn of speed. Even if I had been trying to hit it, it might have been good for several million years more of Darwinian development. Indeed – in evolutionary terms – I would be lucky to hit one before it learned to walk upright and develop the power of speech. Hapless attemptsMike and Mark were puzzled. We had driven for hours to meet them on a stretch of water known to be rich in gar and, indeed, we had not been disappointed.
Apart from our own prehistoric quarry, the Navidad was blessed with jolly little groups of mullet skipping along the surface on their tails like a scaly chorus line. Overhead, pelicans flew rigid patrol patterns, as slow and steady as air-sea-rescue planes. We had a few more hapless attempts at hitting something and then finally explained to our Texan companions that our story just required us to hunt, not necessarily to hunt successfully. It was enough simply to be on the river and to explain how the hunters of Texas were broadly pleased to see conservation restrictions placed on the gar, if only to preserve them for future generations to pursue. They were amazed, as Americans often are, at the idea that all hunting, more or less, is now banned in Britain. To them it simply expresses a love of the outdoors and a sense of man’s place in the natural order of things. Their incredulity at the idea that Britain is essentially an unarmed society was stronger still. I struggled to explain that anyone running for parliament on a platform of widespread gun ownership would not be guaranteed to win. We drifted on, enjoying the river rather than the fishing and untroubled by the thought that, somewhere in the dark waters beneath us, the alligator gar were chuckling at our marksmanship, as they stretched into another tumble turn or two. And when we parted, it was with the knowledge that – as hunters happy to miss everything and catch nothing – we would be harder for Mike and Mark to explain to their friends than any tall tale of the ones that got away. 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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Source:BBC

Gorbachev Defends Controversial Legacy

Gorbachev Defends Controversial Legacy

Gorbachev defends controversial legacy
By Brian Hanrahan
BBC News
Mikhail Gorbachev is remarkably serene about his record as the last leader of the Soviet Union.He says he expected a different outcome, but he would do it all over again. It was Mr Gorbachev’s policies that sparked the 1989 revolutions which swept away communism in Eastern Europe. But Russia, too, went through a metamorphosis – and after the loss of the Soviet empire two years later, it was the Soviet Union itself that fell apart. The result is that for many Russians, Mr Gorbachev’s years in the Kremlin remain bitterly contentious. Greater freedomBefore this interview I was expecting to find a rather grumpy curmudgeon, worn down by the carping of his countrymen.
Instead I meet a genial and relaxed 78-year-old, who sweeps into the room, without tie and without aides, and insists on shaking hands with everyone before settling down for the interview. But once we start he defends his record robustly. He ticks off, in quick-fire sentences, the benefits he brought to Russia, which he says people are still enjoying today – more freedom and a reordering of Russia’s relations with the world. “I think that ’89 was certainly change for the better – no doubt about it. We did not have… the necessary freedom, particularly freedom of speech,” he says. “One of the most educated countries in the world had elections that – let’s put it mildly – were not real elections, half-elections – because you had a choice of just the one candidate.” “A lot needed to be done at that time. We needed change.” The most spectacular change was the fall of the Berlin Wall, after which Germany drove full-speed towards reunification. Mr Gorbachev was against it – and so, he learnt, were Mrs Thatcher and France’s President Mitterrand. But he discovered that the Western leaders were relying on him to block the process. “They insisted unification should not go on, that the process should be stopped,” he says.
Mr Gorbachev believes the West was relying on him to block the changes
“I asked them if they had any suggestions. They had only one – that somebody else should pull their chestnuts out of the fire.” He says they wanted him to say no and send troops, then adds: “That would be irresponsible. They were mistaken.” He repeats it for emphasis: “They were mistaken”. He feels let down by Western leaders who he thinks took advantage of Russian weakness in the 1990s, and are to quick to criticise now when Russia asserts itself. A ‘non-person’The interview is taking place in the Gorbachev Foundation – a modern purpose-built block on the outskirts of Moscow. It is a bit like a US presidential library with archives from his time in office, a library for researchers and an exhibition of the awards and tributes to the man who effectively reshaped our world. Among them is the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in 1990. But despite the international acclaim, in Russian politics Mr Gorbachev is something of non-person. And he picks his words carefully – praising Vladimir Putin personally, as the man who stabilised the country, but leaving no doubt he sees a lot wrong with the way the country is run. He dismisses United Russia, the dominant party which backs Mr Putin, as nothing more that a bad copy of the old Communist Party of the Soviet Union. And he believes what Russia need now is more democracy. “We need to transform our country; we need to modernise our country,” he says.
Mr Gorbachev warns against a possible return by Mr Putin to the presidency
“This cannot be done by pressure, by issuing commands and orders and administrative commands. It can only be done through democracy, by establishing a free and democratic environment with people’s participation.” Its clear, though, that he thinks this is something for Russians to sort out, without lectures from the outside world. So what if Mr Putin is a bit harsh sometimes – that, he says, is a matter of style. And so too is the current tandem leadership, split between the prime minister Mr Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev. Voters’ rightsWhat does provoke him are recent hints from Mr Putin that he may be contemplating a return to the presidency in 2012 which could see him running the country for another 12 years. Mr Gorbachev remarks waspishly: “I didn’t like the phrase ‘I will sit down with the president and we will decide’.” “I think that it should be decided by the voters – by the people, and I didn’t hear him mention the people. I don’t think that this is right.” The one charge about his own time in power that Mr Gorbachev acknowledges is that he may have pushed change too quickly. Today he leaves the impression that it is not coming fast enough.

Source:BBC

RBS planning Major Share Issue

RBS planning Major Share Issue

RBS ‘planning major share issue’
Royal Bank of Scotland has declined to comment on speculation it is planning a share issue to avoid the government’s stake in the bank rising.The bank is considering the move to pay the 19.5bn it owes for taking part in the government’s toxic debt insurance scheme, said the Sunday Times. It said if RBS can raise the funds privately, it can avoid having to give the government 19.5bn worth of shares. Such a move would lift the government’s RBS stake from 70% to 84%. Rising share priceAccording to the newspaper report, RBS chief executive Stephen Hester has now begun informal talks with key institutional investors over a possible share issue. His confidence in such a move is said to have been lifted by the recovery in RBS’s share price. Mirroring the rise in the UK’s main FTSE 100 index since March, RBS’s shares closed Friday at 56 pence, after falling as low as 10p in January. The RBS speculation comes after Lloyds Banking Group confirmed on Friday that it was looking at alternatives to participating in the toxic debt insurance scheme, which is formally called the Government Asset Protection Scheme (GAPS). Lloyds is 43% owned by the government, and the BBC understands that the bank has been told by the Treasury that it would need to strengthen its balance sheet by “well over 20bn” if it wanted to leave the GAPS. Analysts say both RBS and Lloyds want to reduce their exposure to GAPS because of the fees the government charges, and also because they wish to reassert their independence.

Source:BBC

Athletics Chief Under Fire For Gender Test Lies

Athletics Chief Under Fire For Gender Test Lies

UK PoliticsLib Dems Would Axe NHS Quangos

UK PoliticsLib Dems Would Axe NHS Quangos

Lib Dems would axe NHS quangos
Slashing spending on NHS quangos and capping the pay of health service managers could save 500m a year, the Lib Dems have argued.Outlining savings in the health budget, spokesman Norman Lamb said he would “wield the axe” on quangos while protecting frontline clinical services. He told the party’s conference the NHS had become a “bureaucratic monster” The Lib Dems plan to recruit an extra 3,000 midwives while giving ward sisters power to set their own budgets. Unlike the Conservatives, who have said they would ring-fence health from any budget cuts, the Lib Dems say the NHS cannot be immune from the drive to make substantial savings across government and the public sector.
However, the party says its focus is on cutting bureaucracy and simplifying structures within the NHS, thus freeing up money to invest in frontline staff. ‘Get rid of nanny’Its proposals would see strategic health authorities scrapped and the Department of Health downsized. The annual budget for health quangos – which it say now tops 1.2bn – will be cut by 20%, with no quango boss being paid more than the prime minister. It also says savings can be made in the way that hospitals are paid for operations. The party pledges to tackle a “shortfall” in midwives and health visitors to guarantee any woman can give birth where she chooses while giving sisters in hospitals responsibility for staff budgets, ward cleanliness and patients’ food. “Rather than dictating to experienced NHS staff about how to improve our hospitals, we should listen to what they have to say,” Mr Lamb said. “The Liberal Democrat message is to get rid of nanny and put sister in charge.”

Source:BBC

Firm Agrees Ivorian Waste Payouts

Firm Agrees Ivorian Waste Payouts

Firm agrees Ivorian waste payouts
An oil trading firm has agreed to pay more than 45m (27m) compensation to people in Ivory Coast who say they were made ill by dumped waste in 2006.The international commodities trader Trafigura said 30,000 people will each receive 1,500 (920). The money is in addition to the nearly 200m that the company paid the Ivorian government in 2007. Trafigura and the plaintiff’s lawyers agreed that a link between the dumped waste and deaths had not been proved. A joint statement by the company and the British lawyers representing the Ivorians, Leigh Day and Co, said at worst the waste had caused flu-like symptons. UN reportThe chemical waste had been generated by Trafigura, which has bases in London, Amsterdam and Geneva. It was transported to Ivory Coast on a ship called Probo Koala. In August 2006 truckload after truckload of it was dumped at 15 locations around Abidjan, the biggest city in Ivory Coast. In the weeks that followed the dumping, tens of thousands of people reported a range of similar symptoms, including breathing problems, sickness and diarrhoea.
On Wednesday a United Nations report suggested a strong link between 15 deaths and toxic waste dumps. The report said there is “strong prima facie evidence that the reported deaths and adverse health consequences are related to the dumping of the waste from the cargo ship”. Trafigura criticised the UN report as premature and inaccurate, saying: “We are appalled at the basic lack of balance and analytical rigour reflected in the report.” Trafigura has always insisted it was not responsible for the dumping of the waste, as this was carried out by a subcontractor. It also denies that the waste – gasoline residues mixed with caustic washings – could have led to the serious illnesses the residents claim, which include skin burns, bleeding and breathing problems. In 2007 it paid nearly 200m to the Ivorian government to “compensate the victims” among other things. The government-administered fund paid compensation to the families of 16 people whose deaths they believed were caused by the waste.

Source:BBC

Three Suspects Arrested In US Terrorism Probe

Three Suspects Arrested In US Terrorism Probe

DENVER (Reuters) –
A Colorado man, his father and an accused accomplice in New York were arrested on Saturday and charged with lying to federal agents about a plot to blow up unspecified targets in the United States, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Najibullah Zazi, 24, a native of Afghanistan who works as an airport shuttle bus driver, was questioned by the FBI for three days, and his father, Mohammed Wali Zazi, 53, were taken into custody at an apartment in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
Also arrested was Ahmad Wais Afzali, 37, a native of Afghanistan who was living in the Queens borough of New York City, a Department of Justice spokesman said.
“The arrests carried out tonight are part of an ongoing and fast-paced investigation,” David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement.
“It is important to note that we have no specific information regarding the timing, location or target of any planned attack,” Kris said.
All three men were expected to make initial court appearances on Monday, Najibullah Zazi and Mohammed Zazi in Denver and Afzali in New York, and each faces a possible eight years in prison if convicted.
According to affidavits filed in the case which document contacts between the three men and Najibullah Zazi's travels between Pakistan and the United States, FBI agents who searched Zazi's rented car on September 11 found a laptop computer containing instructions on the manufacture of explosive devices.
The affidavit says Zazi falsely told agents he had never seen the documents before or written them, but admitted that during a trip to Pakistan he received instruction on weapons and explosives at an al Qaeda training facility in Pakistan.
'ITS NOT TRUE'
Afzali is accused of lying when he told agents in a written statement that he had never warned Zazi and his father that authorities had sought information about them and that their phones were being monitored.
Mohammed Zazi was accused of falsely denying that he knew and had contacted Afzali.
The arrests came after talks between Zazi and federal authorities, which had stretched over three days, apparently broke down on Saturday and the suspect declined a fourth meeting, choosing to consult with his lawyers instead.
In a telephone interview with the Denver Post newspaper on Saturday morning, Zazi said that contrary to media reports he had not admitted any link to al Qaeda or participating in training with the group in Pakistan.
“It's not true,” Zazi told the newspaper. “I have nothing to hide. It's all media publications reporting whatever they want. They have been reporting all this nonsense.”
FBI Director Robert Mueller has reassured lawmakers in Washington that there is no imminent security threat related to the investigation surrounding Zazi, but has declined to elaborate publicly on the probe.
FBI agents entered Zazi's residence on Wednesday afternoon with a search warrant and the entire three-story apartment building was roped off with yellow crime-scene tape.
Authorities put black screens over the building's windows to prevent onlookers from seeing inside, and a house a few miles away was likewise cordoned off.
Before the Denver-area raids began, three local public schools were locked down as a precaution, with students kept inside until they were picked up by their parents.
The questioning of Zazi came days after he traveled to New York City.
He was stopped by authorities on September 10 while driving a rental car on the George Washington Bridge, which connects New York City with New Jersey, but Zazi later returned to Colorado by airplane, his lawyer said.
Early on Monday, a joint anti-terrorism task force carried out a series of raids in an area of the Queens borough of New York where he had visited over the weekend. The raids rattled some residents as they came days after the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
(Writing by Dan Whitcomb, editing by Eric Beech)

Beyonce To Perform In Malaysia Despite Dress Code

Beyonce To Perform In Malaysia Despite Dress Code

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Beyonce Knowles says she will perform in Malaysia in October, two years after canceling a show in this Muslim-majority country after protesters threatened to disrupt the concert because of her sexy image and clothing.
The R&B superstar’s upcoming show is already drawing the ire of conservatives in this country, where female performers are required to cover up from the shoulders to knees with no cleavage showing.
Knowles said on her Web site that she will take the stage at a stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s biggest city, on Oct. 25. “Beyonce for the first time ever has decided to make Malaysia part of her ‘I am.’ World Tour,” her Web site said.
Knowles canceled a planned concert two years ago following protest threats by Malaysia’s opposition Islamic party. At the time her talent agency said the show was called off due to a scheduling conflict.
Instead she went to Indonesia, which has less stringent rules about how performers should dress and behave.
Sabki Yusof, youth vice head of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, said Sunday that they would send a protest note to the government over the concert. He said it was the government’s “responsibility to protect the people of Malaysia” from what he described as immoral Western influences.
“We are not against entertainment as long as it is within the framework of our culture and our religion,” Sabki said. “We are against Western sexy performances. We don’t think our people need that.”
He said besides the protest note, the party had no plans so far to disrupt the concert. Organizers for Beyonce’s October show could not immediately be reached for comment.
Artists such as Avril Lavigne and Gwen Stefani have performed in Malaysia under similar protest threats by conservative Muslims, forcing the artists to don attire that revealed little skin.
In the most recent controversy, the government late last month at first barred, then reversed the order forbidding Muslims from attending a Black Eyed Peas concert because it was sponsored by a beer company. With the ban lifted Muslims can now watch the U.S. hip-hop stars at a theme park near Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 25.
In family and personal matters, Muslims, who make up two-thirds of Malaysia’s 28 million people, are governed by Islamic law, which forbids the consumption of alcohol. The laws do not apply to non-Muslims.
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On the Net:
Beyonce: http://www.beyonceonline.com/

Beyonce To Play Malaysia Concert

Beyonce To Play Malaysia Concert

Beyonce to play Malaysia concert
R&B star Beyonce has announced plans to perform in Malaysia, two years after scrapping a concert over the country’s strict dress code.The singer is due to stage a leg of her world tour in the capital Kuala Lumpur next month, according to her website. In 2007, her planned appearance drew opposition from the Islamic Party and organisers said the concert was called off due to “scheduling conflicts”. Female performers are expected to dress and behave conservatively in Malaysia. Islamic groups have already expressed their opposition to the concert and say they will send a protest note to the government. “We are against Western sexy performances. We don’t think our people need that,” said Sabki Yusof, youth leader of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party. Organisers for Beyonce’s show, which will be her first career performance in Malaysia, have yet to comment. The singer performed in Indonesia after shelving the concert in 2007, where rules governing stage performances are more relaxed. Other singers have encountered problems with performing in Malaysia, including The Pussycat Dolls, who were censured in 2006 after their concert flouted the rules.

Source:BBC

Irans Khamenei Signals Easing In Election Tension

Irans Khamenei Signals Easing In Election Tension

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s Supreme Leader warned government supporters on Sunday against accusing opposition members of wrongdoing without proof, an indication that the Islamic government may be easing up on critics of the June presidential election.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters in Iran, said while a suspect’s own confession was admissible, his testimony or accusations could not be used to implicate others in the unrest following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election.
“We do not have the right to accuse without any proof,” Khamenei said in a speech marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in which he urged the judiciary and security forces to pursue offenders within the bounds of the law. The speech was carried live on Iran’s state radio and television.
“What a suspect says in court against a third party has no legitimate validity,” Khamenei said.
Khamenei did not single out any individuals, but his remarks appeared to refer to testimony by some detainees who claim that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and other reformists supported opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the June 12 vote to weaken Khamenei.
He stressed that accusing others in the media without any proof would create a climate of suspicion.
Reformists claim that widespread fraud handed incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a win over Mousavi.
Tens of thousands took to the streets in protests after the results, sparking a harsh government crackdown in which hundreds were arrested or detained and dozens subsequently being brought to court in mass trials. Some opposition members say 72 died in the post-vote police crackdown, roughly double the government’s official casualty figures.
Since July, the street protests have largely died down, giving way instead to rifts between the country’s influential clerics, with hardliners accusing Mousavi’s reformist and moderate supporters of looking to destabilize the government and calling, in some cases, for their arrest.
Since the election, Khamenei has at times signaled that the government may ease up on the critics. His speech on the start of the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday appeared to be another push to tamp down tensions that have presented the country with its biggest internal political challenge since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran.
Rafsanjani — who has been absent from several recent official ceremonies, including a Friday prayer led by the supreme leader earlier in September — was seen sitting in the first row of worshippers during the prayer ceremony at which Khamenei spoke.
Khamenei’s latest comments could signal a change in the direction of the ongoing court cases against protesters.
Over the past months, state-owned television,news agencies and newspapers reported on five court sessions in which some detainees blamed opposition figures and their supporters of fomenting the postelection unrest. Among those blamed was Rafsanjani’s son.
In one court hearing in August, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a detainee who was a former vice president in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was quoted as saying that Rafsanjani backed Mousavi “to take revenge” on Ahmadinejad and Khamenei.
Ahmadinejad defeated Rafsanjani in the 2005 election, and has the solid backing of Khamenei.
Khamenei praised Iranians for their participation in nationwide anti-Israeli rally on Friday, but steered clear of any mention of a counter-protest held by the opposition the same day. It was the opposition’s first such anti-government demonstration in two months.
Tehran Police chief, Gen. Azizollah Rajabzadeh told the semiofficial ISNA news agency on Sunday that authorities detained some 35 protesters after they set several motorbikes and public trash bins on fire during the Friday event.
Khamenei also reiterated Iran’s traditional hostile stance against Israel, calling it a “deadly cancer” which works for the invading hands of the world’s “arrogant powers.”

2 People Die In Poisoning At German Therapy Group

2 People Die In Poisoning At German Therapy Group

BERLIN – Two people died and 10 others were hospitalized after being poisoned while taking part in a group therapy session in Berlin, German police said Sunday. One person is in critical condition in a coma.
The doctor who led the session has admitted giving the participants various substances and drugs during the meeting, Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the Berlin prosecutor’s office, told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Altogether 14 people participated in the session. Twelve were taken to a hospital in Berlin on Saturday night after one of them called the emergency services.
The doctor was detained and a homicide division was investigating the case, police said.

Beyonce To Perform In Malaysia Despite Dress Code

Beyonce To Perform In Malaysia Despite Dress Code

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Beyonce Knowles says she will perform in Malaysia in October, two years after canceling a show in this Muslim-majority country after protesters threatened to disrupt the concert because of her sexy image and clothing.
The R&B superstar’s upcoming show is already drawing the ire of conservatives in this country, where female performers are required to cover up from the shoulders to knees with no cleavage showing.
Knowles said on her Web site that she will take the stage at a stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s biggest city, on Oct. 25. “Beyonce for the first time ever has decided to make Malaysia part of her ‘I am.’ World Tour,” her Web site said.
Knowles canceled a planned concert two years ago following protest threats by Malaysia’s opposition Islamic party. At the time her talent agency said the show was called off due to a scheduling conflict.
Instead she went to Indonesia, which has less stringent rules about how performers should dress and behave.
Sabki Yusof, youth vice head of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, said Sunday that they would send a protest note to the government over the concert. He said it was the government’s “responsibility to protect the people of Malaysia” from what he described as immoral Western influences.
“We are not against entertainment as long as it is within the framework of our culture and our religion,” Sabki said. “We are against Western sexy performances. We don’t think our people need that.”
He said besides the protest note, the party had no plans so far to disrupt the concert. Organizers for Beyonce’s October show could not immediately be reached for comment.
Artists such as Avril Lavigne and Gwen Stefani have performed in Malaysia under similar protest threats by conservative Muslims, forcing the artists to don attire that revealed little skin.
In the most recent controversy, the government late last month at first barred, then reversed the order forbidding Muslims from attending a Black Eyed Peas concert because it was sponsored by a beer company. With the ban lifted Muslims can now watch the U.S. hip-hop stars at a theme park near Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 25.
In family and personal matters, Muslims, who make up two-thirds of Malaysia’s 28 million people, are governed by Islamic law, which forbids the consumption of alcohol. The laws do not apply to non-Muslims.
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On the Net:
Beyonce: http://www.beyonceonline.com/

Airmans Bracelet Lost In World War II Returned

Airmans Bracelet Lost In World War II Returned

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Jack Harold Glenn was a World War II bomber navigator who was killed during a firefight as he flew a mission over Germany in 1944, his body coming to rest in a field in a rural village.
The silver bracelet Glenn was wearing was given to a 16-year-old boy who helped retrieve his body. He held onto the bracelet ever since, a remembrance of the fallen American airman.
Sixty-five years later, the bracelet is returning to Glenn’s sister in Alaska thanks to an enterprising World War II veteran who uncovered the relic on a recent trip to the German village.
Helen Glenn Foreman of Anchorage says she will receive her brother’s bracelet in a week or so and plans to send it to a museum in Matagorda County, Texas, where Glenn grew up.
“Anything that’s gone to the museum may inspire or make people grateful or add to history,” Helen Glenn Foreman said Wednesday. “I think we’re all better people if we know and appreciate history.”
Foreman heard of the bracelet for the first time last week from family and friends of 90-year-old Bernerd Harding, a New Hampshire man who traveled this month to Klein Quenstedt, Germany, a village southwest of Berlin, on a quest to find his pilot’s wings.
His B-24 bomber was shot down the same day as Glenn’s. Harding bailed out and was captured and held in a farmhouse. Fearing he’d be beaten or shot because he was a pilot, Harding dug a shallow hole in the dirt basement and buried his wings.
He didn’t find the wings on the trip but he was handed the bracelet by Heinz Kruse.
On July 7, 1944, Kruse was planting potatoes in a field owned by his father when an American B-24 bomber appeared overhead. German fighters were close behind, raking the bomber with machine gun fire.
“It broke apart in the air, and fell to the ground,” Kruse said.
Kruse, then 16, rushed home. At midday, an adult told him to help a schoolmate driving a horse-pulled wagon retrieve the body of a dead American airman that had landed in a field outside the town.
As they loaded the body onto the cart, the boys noticed the soldier was wearing the silver bracelet. They presented the bracelet to the mayor, who wrote down the name, Jack H. Glenn, and gave the bracelet back to Kruse.
“He said, ‘You can keep it as a remembrance,’” Kruse said.
For 65 years, that’s what Kruse did.
“It was always a souvenir … it was certainly a grave incident in my life story,” said Kruse, now 81 and still living in Klein Quenstedt. “That’s why I kept it.”
When he saw Harding, he decided to see if the bracelet could be returned to Glenn’s family.
The only living member of his immediate family is his sister Helen, older by 17 months. She was 22 when Glenn was reported missing in action.
She was already married, waiting in Seattle to join her husband in Alaska. He got a job at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, but Helen as a dependent was not allowed to follow until she got her own Alaska job in military personnel.
She remembers she had not worried about her brother.
“We don’t worry,” she said simply. “As I said to somebody else, we’re Christian and we trust in the Lord, and he was doing good work.”
A few weeks later, she learned Jack had died.
“My family was told my brother’s chute didn’t open,” she said.
In his short life, Jack had been a quiet, industrious boy, Foreman said with a sister’s pride.
Their father operated a second-hand store that was the drop-off point for the Houston Post and other newspapers. Helen made morning deliveries, Jack made afternoon deliveries. When he was just 15, he began working on seismograph crews in the emerging oil industry, she said. After high school, where he was salutatorian, he worked at a pharmacy until he had enough money to enroll at Texas A&M. He finished one semester when he got his draft notice.
Glenn’s body stayed at a U.S. cemetery in Belgium. Foreman keeps a picture of Jack and his grave marker on her wall. Foremen remembers a letter he wrote after she married, and his wishes for her to have a happy life.
“He to me is what every parent of a son would want,” Foreman said. “You can’t say a man is sweet, but he was genuine.”
The bracelet wasn’t Kruse’s last brush with the war.
In January 1945, he was drafted into the German army. Just four months later, his unit was overtaken by the Russian Army in Pritzwalk, northwest of Berlin. He was sent to a Russian prisoner of war camp.
In July 1949 he was released and returned to Klein Quenstedt, where he went back to work as a farmer.
Kruse said he never thought to return the bracelet or contact any living family Glenn might have, in part because for so long Klein Quenstedt was part of East Germany, cut off from the broader world by the Iron Curtain.
“And now, I’m so old that I don’t have such grand ambitions anymore,” he said.
Kruse does not speak English. The language barrier meant he and Harding, the American pilot, couldn’t talk directly about a day in their youth that affected them both so deeply, but he felt that Harding appreciated the gesture.
“He was deeply moved,” Kruse said.
The bracelet gives Glenn’s friends another chance to honor him.
“Jack was loved and respected,” said Bobbie Gaspard, a high school classmate in Bay City. “Everybody knew what his circumstances were, but he was industrious and he gave his life for this country. That’s the kind of person he was.”
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Associated Press Writer Patrick McGroarty in Berlin contributed to this report.

Bear In Japan Injures 9 Shot Dead At Tourist Area

Bear In Japan Injures 9 Shot Dead At Tourist Area

Muslims Around The World End Fast Usher In Eid

Muslims Around The World End Fast Usher In Eid

Muslims around the world woke up Sunday and welcomed the end of a long month of fasting with hearty greetings of “Eid Mubarak,” or happy festivities.
Egyptian women perform the Eid al-Fitr dawn prayer at a stadium in Mansura, 120 km north of Cairo.
The faithful were ushering in Eid al-Fitrthree days of celebrations that Muslims mark with joyous community prayers, acts of charity, visits from far-flung relatives, gift-giving and elaborate feasts. “Think Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’sall rolled into one. It’s that huge for us,” said Sajjad Aziz of Hoboken, New Jersey. Islam follows a lunar calendar, and the timing of Eid al-Fitr varies around the world depending on when the crescent of a new moon is sighted. So, while most countriesincluding the United Statesobserved Eid on Sunday, some will begin their celebrations on Monday. The night before Eid, entire communities gather on rooftops, scanning the sky with giddy anticipation. “It only needs one sighting of the moon in the whole country, and the whole nation erupts in cheers,” said Qazi Arif, 35, of Sirajgong, Bangladesh. “It’s a divine feeling, hard to describe.” Eid al-Fitr bids goodbye to Ramadana month of dawn-to-dusk abstinence from food, drinks and other sensual pleasures. Muslims believe the Quran, the religion’s holy book, was revealed to Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan more than 1,400 years ago. The Eid is one of two major holidays in Islam, alongside another called Eid al-Adha. The latter commemorates the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, for God.
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On the morning of Eid, Muslims don new clothes and head to prayers that are often held in open fields to accommodate crowds too big to contain in mosques. Those who can afford it donate a small percentage of their possession or its equivalent to the poor and needy so they too can avail themselves for the celebrations. Feasts await at every house. “It’s a festival principally about community. We’re even asked to take a different route when we walk back from prayers so that we can meet different sets of people to greet and celebrate with,” said Wasim Iqbal of Karachi, Pakistan. For Muslims in North Americaand countries where they are the minorityEid is a more subdued affair. “If you have family close by, then you can kind of capture the mood that you remember from back home,” said Abdallah Gamal, a native of Egypt who lives in St. Louis, Missouri. “But it’s not the same.” Because the U.S. Census does not ask about religious affiliation, it is difficult to gauge the Muslim population in the United States. The Pew Muslim American study conducted two years ago estimated it at 2.5 million, while the Council on American-Islamic Relations places it as high as 6 million. On Saturday, both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton offered greetings to American Muslims. “We know there is more than unites peoples of faith than divides us,” Clinton said. “So as Ramadan draws to a close, let us hold on to that spirit of community throughout the year to achieve our common goals of peace, prosperity and stability.” It is a message that Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, also shared during Eid prayers when he called on the Taliban to join the peace process in his war-weary country. The day wasn’t one of universal comity, however. In Yemen, the government and rebels accused each other Saturday of breaking a cease-fire they both asked for to commemorate Eid. And Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei used his Eid sermon to launch another volley at the country’s arch-rival Israel and at Western powers. “We’re not quite there, I’ll will admit,” said Mehreen Ali of Boston, Massachusetts. “But have you seen an Eid prayer? Rows and rows of Muslims all prostrating together in unison. It’s a feeling of such unity and brotherhood. You have to believe that with that spirit present, anything is possible.”
Source:CNN

Emmy Countdown Stars Grab Swag Jewelry Have Tea

Emmy Countdown Stars Grab Swag Jewelry Have Tea

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards are Sunday and Hollywood is awash in swag and early celebrations. Here’s a look at what’s going on around Tinseltown:
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TEA TOAST
Stars of “Mad Men,” “Dexter,” “The Office” and other Emmy-nominated shows celebrated their success at a tea party Saturday hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
The garden party, held on a patio at the Intercontinental Hotel, featured finger sandwiches, petit fours and a silent auction of Hollywood memorabilia, such as signed scripts and set visits.
“Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner was bubbling with excitement about his show, which earned 16 Emmy nods.
“We just wrapped three days ago, so this is like the world’s most expensive wrap party,” he said.
Michael Gladis, who stars in the hit AMC show, was thrilled to share the Emmy festivities with his folks.
“After all their years of support … it’s nice to include them in the spoils,” he said.
“Dexter” star Jennifer Carpenter was just happy she made it to the event.
“I had it on my calendar for next weekend,” she said sheepishly. “So it’s all been a race to get dresses when they’re all lent out already. But it’s fun.”
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SWAG SUITES
Celebrities celebrated Emmy weekend with one of the job’s No. 1 perks: Free stuff.
Beau Bridges, Jackie Collins, William Shatner and “Lost” star Terry O’Quinn were among those who snapped up swag at the DPA Gifting Suite at the Peninsula Hotel.
Up for grabs? Luxury trips to Bora Bora, couture dresses from Sodaliscious, designer shades from Emilio Pucci (Collins grabbed two pairs), eco-friendly baby clothes and chemical-free cosmetics, plus mini-facials and manicures to beautify nominees and their entourages.
Speaking of “Entourage,” HBO held a gift suite for its Emmy nominees at the Four Seasons. Tina Fey, Emmy host Neil Patrick Harris, Ricky Gervais, “Entourage” star Rex Lee and “Twilight” star Kellan Lutz were among those who collected goodies at the network’s private “luxury lounge.” They grabbed Guitar Hero game sets, designer handbags and sunglasses, fine cigars and at-home laser hair removal kits.
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GOING PLATINUM
The casts of “The Office,” “True Blood,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Entourage” all went platinum — jewelry, that is.
The Platinum Guild International outfitted men and women with one-of-a-kind bling to wear during the weekend’s Emmy events.
Seth Green, “Dancing With the Stars” pro Karina Smirnoff and host Samantha Harris were also among the celebs who picked out platinum pieces at the private suite Saturday. (The location is being kept secret because of the value of the baubles.)
Stars were free to select from vintage Cartier and Tiffany jewels and unique platinum pieces from around the world.
Stylist Michael O’Connor said to expect more bling on the men than in red carpets past.
“They want to make sure they’re standing out,” he said.
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IN CONTROL
The direction at this year’s Emmys will be up close and personal.
The award show’s control room is located inside a booth directly on stage at the Nokia Theatre. The flat-panel-filled enclave — more Starship Enterprise than Johnson Space Center — is positioned opposite the orchestra. It’s from there that director Glen Weiss will steer the ceremony.
Outside the control room, five large screens will broadcast what’s happening during the show while vertical screens mounted on tracks on the stage will be used as curtains. Winners shouldn’t have trouble getting up to accept their trophies: The stairs spill out right into the front row.
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MY EMMY MOMENT
Past winners recall the moments they won their first Emmy:
Anne Heche won a Daytime Emmy in 1991 for her work on “Another World”: “I was in Nebraska in a Motel 6 shooting a Hallmark movie with Jessica Lange, and so, I was actually sitting, eating a hamburger and fries, on a skanky bed, watching to see if I was going to win. And when they called my name, somebody came out and said, ‘Well, Anne can’t be here right now because she’s in Nebraska.’ Some weird, like, stiff person, ‘She’s not here . . .’ And the phone rang and it was my agent and I said, ‘Does this mean I’m an actress. Do I have to move to Hollywood or something?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, I think so.’ And that was it. The Emmy made me move.”
Cloris Leachman said seeing Bob Hope in the audience made her question her Emmy win in 1973 for her leading role in “A Brand New Life”: “One night, I won an Emmy and I went out and (the stage) was like a tongue that went out instead of being straight. So, I came out and there was a mike, and there was Bob Hope sitting down below me. And I thought, ‘My god! This is wrong. I could be sitting there and you should be here, because my father always listened to Bob Hope on the radio.’ That was a remarkable night for me.”
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AP writers Derrik J. Lang, Michael Cidoni and Josh L. Dickey contributed to this report.

Mayweather Pummels Marquez In Return To Ring

Mayweather Pummels Marquez In Return To Ring

LAS VEGAS – Money came back with a guarantee. Floyd Mayweather Jr. told the world he was still its best boxer despite taking 21 months off, and he backed up every boast with every jab in an impressive victory.
Although next time out, hopefully he’ll pick on somebody his own size.
Mayweather overpowered the smaller, lighter Juan Manuel Marquez for an unanimous decision Saturday night, maintaining his perfect record in his comeback from retirement.
Mayweather knocked down Marquez in the second round and then peppered him with countless damaging shots to remain unbeaten (40-0, 25 KOs). Still, his impressive effort couldn’t be viewed without weighing the obvious disadvantages in height and strength faced by the talented Marquez, a 130-pounder just 18 months ago who moved up two weight classes for this once-in-a-career payday at the MGM Grand Garden.
“Marquez is tough as nails,” Mayweather said. “He’s a great little man. He was really hard to fight, and he kept taking some unbelievable shots.”
At Friday’s weigh-in, Marquez (50-5-1) was four pounds lighter than Mayweather, who paid a 600,000 penalty for missing the bout weight of 144 pounds. Simple physics took over from there. Though Marquez stayed on his feet for 12 one-sided rounds, Money Mayweather’s win was never in doubt.
“He’s a great small man,” Mayweather said. “Don’t forget, I came from a small weight class too, so I know when you’re in front of a great fighter. I think he brought his best tonight.”
Mayweather had an astonishing edge in punch stats, landing 290 of his 493 blows (59 percent) while allowing just 12 percent of Marquez’s 583 punches to land. Mayweather landed more jabs in each round than Marquez landed total punches, and just 16 percent of Marquez’s power shots even got to Mayweather.
Mayweather often appeared to be toying with Marquez, who’s generally considered among the world’s top handful of fighters. Just 18 months ago, Marquez lost a narrow decision to unofficial pound-for-pound champion Manny Pacquiao — another mighty mite who’s likely Mayweather’s top choice for his next bout.
Pacquiao accepted a similarly mismatched challenge last year when he demolished Oscar De La Hoya, but the Golden Boy acknowledges his skills have diminished. Mayweather clearly is still at the top of his game.
“I’ve been off for two years, so I felt like it took me a couple of rounds to really know I was back in the ring again,” Mayweather said. “I know I’ll get better.”
Mayweather dominated his undersized Mexican opponent in his first fight since stopping Ricky Hatton in December 2007. He then took a lengthy break from the sport that’s dominated his life since he was a toddler, but returned for another eight-figure payday that should assuage the IRS while setting up another megafight.
Mayweather refused to re-weigh himself Saturday night, so the true size of his advantage might never be known. Fighters often gain several pounds between the weigh-in and their bouts.
But his size advantage was obvious from the opening bell, when it became clear Marquez would struggle just to get close enough to throw good combinations.
“He surprised me with the first knockdown,” Marquez said. “He hurt me in that round, but not any other time. I don’t want to make any excuses, but the weight was the problem. He’s too fast.”
Judge Burt Clements gave every round to Mayweather, 120-107. Dave Moretti threw the eighth round to Marquez for a 119-108 total, while William Lerch gave two rounds to Marquez, 118-109. The Associated Press had a whitewash, 120-107.
Mayweather abruptly knocked down Marquez midway through the second round when Marquez walked into a left hook, but Mayweather largely stuck to his jab, leaned back in his familiar defensive posture and picked apart another opponent.
Marquez had a bloody nose by the bout’s midway point, and Mayweather landed several hard shots late in the sixth. Whenever Marquez appeared to land a combination, Mayweather invariably backed away with a grin.
“When I hit him, he laughed, but I knew he felt my punches,” Marquez said. “We tried to work the speed, but the difference was the weight.”
Marquez added a brave defeat to a career noted for its disappointments as much as its triumphs. Marquez still seethes over his 0-1-1 record in two fights against Pacquiao, and he followed Pacquiao’s path up in weight in search of bigger bouts, which he got in recent wins over Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz.
Mayweather chose Marquez for his return bout after flirting with Pacquiao, who will fight Miguel Cotto in the same arena less than two months from now.
A Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would be the biggest in the sport, but a more natural opponent also wants a little Money. Sugar Shane Mosley called out Mayweather in the ring immediately after the fight, with Golden Boy representatives forced to separate the two.
The lukewarm public response to the bout underlined industry concerns Mayweather can’t sell a pay-per-view on his own. The Grand Garden wasn’t sold out just a few days before the fight, and large swaths of empty seats greeted the undercard fighters, though they were mostly filled before Mayweather entered the ring.

Microsoft To Open Up Say On Pay

Microsoft To Open Up Say On Pay

Microsoft to open up say on pay
Software giant Microsoft is to allow shareholders to vote on the pay of its board members, although their votes will not be binding.The US firm said shareholders would be allowed to vote on the issue every three years, starting at the 2009 annual general meeting on 19 November. Microsoft’s move comes amid growing pressure in the US for firms to cut down on excessive pay deals for bosses. Politicians in Washington are looking at legislating over the issue. ‘More dialogue’Microsoft said that while it would not be bound by any shareholder vote, if there was a significantly “negative” call, it would “consult directly with shareholders to better understand the concerns that influenced the vote.” The US House of Representatives approved a bill in the summer to give shareholders annual non-binding votes on executive pay, but the legislation has stalled since then. While the focus of politicians’ ire is the banking sector, concern regarding excessive pay has spread to firms in other sectors of the economy. “Given the interest in executive pay, we think it makes sense to encourage more dialogue with our shareholders on our compensation approach,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel. Microsoft is not known for its huge pay packets, but its executives have become millionaires through owning shares in the firm. While the basic pay of chief executive Steve Ballmer is 665,833 (409,000) this year, he owns Microsoft shares worth more than 10bn.

Source:BBC

Left Behind By Iraqs Oil Rush

Left Behind By Iraqs Oil Rush

Left behind by Iraq’s oil rush
By Andrew North
BBC News, al-Ahdab oil field, southern Iraq
Critics of the US invasion six years ago often said its ultimate aim was to control Iraq’s vast deposits of oil.So it is ironic, perhaps, that the first foreign oil company to start drilling operations in the country since 2003 should be from America’s growing rival, China. A year since it signed a 23-year, 3bn (1.84bn) deal to exploit the small al-Ahdab field, in Wasit province, south of Baghdad, China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has already struck oil. But in the next door village of al-Mazzagh, there is rising discontent among residents who say their interests are being forgotten. The deal with the Chinese is the first test of Iraq’s readiness to host foreign oil concerns – who are jostling for access to what its oil minister Dr Hussein Sharistani calls “the last frontier” for big oil discoveries.
With its budget almost entirely dependent on oil revenues, the government is desperate to boost output – which still barely matches pre-invasion levels – so it has turned to foreign companies for help. For these companies, there’s been no opportunity like this in decades. Iraq boasts the world’s third largest reserves of oil, with many potential fields not even tapped. With many oil enterprises used to working in difficult places, few will be deterred by the still fragile security situation. ComplaintsBut the biggest challenge may come from Iraqis living in the oil-producing areas – as the Chinese are finding. Their drilling operation at the Ahdab field is right next to al-Mazzagh village. And, complains one resident, Abu Abed, right on top of his land.
From his front door, he looks straight onto the blast walls and concrete gun towers protecting one of the Chinese drilling platforms. “When I protested, they said they would pay compensation,” he says, “but I have received nothing.” There were hopes too, when the Chinese company first arrived, of an employment bonanza. “We thought everyone will find a job,” said Zahi, a village elder. So far, they have taken on just a handful of al-Mazzagh’s residents as guards. But the CNPC says there is little more they can do for local people. “We are sorry, but they don’t have skills and they can’t speak English,” says a site manager who agreed to come out to talk to the BBC. He said he wasn’t allowed to bring reporters or anyone else inside.
Although some people said the Chinese were still welcome, the mood has hardened. There have been several reported acts of sabotage, including power lines to the drilling compounds being severed. The Iraqi government has increased security at the site. American helicopters from a nearby base occasionally keep watch. And with the project due to expand once full production gets underway, Zahi warned of trouble if al-Mazzagh does not start to see more tangible benefits. “People who don’t find jobs could become thieves and looters.” Despite the billions it is preparing to commit, this is just a small project for the Chinese company – a pump-primer to build relations with the Iraqi government. It is actually based on an old deal first signed with the government of Saddam Hussein in the late 1990s, but which never went any further. Most of the projected 100,000 barrels a day output will go to a local power station, rather than for export, and CNPC is unlikely to make much profit. Community developmentThis strategy appears to be working, as it is finalising terms for a joint contract with British oil giant BP to work on one of Iraq’s so-called super giant fields at Rumailah, near Basra. Dr Sharistani says local people in places like al-Mazzagh will have to be more patient, but insists their interests will not be forgotten. “We are instructing the oil companies,” he says, “to help build roads, bridges and other infrastructure, as part of the deals the government is signing. “So people feel these companies are there to develop their region and not just to produce the oil and take it away.” A new oil rush could be underway in Iraq. But getting the oil out is likely to be the easy part for the Chinese and other foreign companies scrambling to come here. There is just one tarmac-sealed road to the single-storey, mud-walled houses of a-Mazzagh. Few people have any kind of steady job. There is hardly ever any electricity and no running water in their homes. “Life is just the same as in Saddam’s time,” says one man.

Source:BBC

Greenlands Frozen Landscape Warming Up

Greenlands Frozen Landscape Warming Up

My taxi driver is telling me about his meal last night. His name is William. He ate whale.
Melting world: mountainous icebergs in Greeland’s Sermilik Fjord.more photos »
“Delicious,” he says, kissing the tips of his fingers on one hand, making the universal sign for good tasting food. William tells me he went out on a boat with some friends a few days ago and shot the whale. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Welcome to Greenland. On this remote but enormous island subsistence whale hunting is allowed. This was just the memorable start to an extraordinary journey. Cameraman Neil Bennett and I had traveled to the small town of Tasiilaq in southeastern Greenland to meet up with the Arctic Sunrise, a ship belonging to the environmental group Greenpeace. Read Neil’s blog on filming in challenging conditions The 34-year-old icebreaker and its crew are on a three month expedition around Greenland’s coast. They say their mission is to help scientists working in the region and to publicize the environmental changes taking place here.
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In the field blog: Shooting Greenland’s frozen wilderness
Sailing the Northwest Passage
We join the Arctic Sunrise as it moves slowly up Sermilik Fjord. This is simply the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. It’s an inky blue body of water thick with floating, ancient ice. Some of the icebergs are mountainous. They all come from the Greenland ice sheet, a vast mass of frozen fresh water, hundreds of miles across and up to two miles thick. View the gallery of the stunning landscape » Over the next four days we observe independent scientists working to understand why the ice sheet is melting so rapidly. We fly over and land on Helheim Glacier, a major outlet for the ice sheet which has sped up dramatically in the last decade. We accompany oceanographers in inflatable boats as they collect data on the warming water currents in the fjord. All this research, they say, points to sea levels rising beyond current predictions. There are still those who question humankind’s role in the warming of the Earth’s climate, but these scientists are not among them. “Things could be very bad,” glaciologist Dr Gordon Hamilton tells me. “If we don’t start to do something about it now we’ll very quickly reach a tipping point from which there’ll be no return. And the consequences for society as a whole would be catastrophic.” Joining Greenpeace on this expedition was a difficult decision for CNN. Does it compromise our editorial independence on what can still be a highly divisive issue?
In my experience it’s no different to embedding with soldiers on one side of a military conflict. I’ve traveled with American soldiers in Iraq and Russian soldiers in Georgia. It enables journalists to access newsworthy locations and people that we couldn’t get to otherwise, either practically or safely. And the stories told can still be balanced and fair. Traveling with Greenpeace allowed us to record powerful images of Greenland’s accelerating melt. And we met independent scientists who believe the world must act boldly to slow down change that science is struggling to keep pace with.
Source:CNN

Soldiers Bodies Returned To Italy As Afghan Bomb Toll Rises

Soldiers Bodies Returned To Italy As Afghan Bomb Toll Rises

KABUL, Afghanistan The number of people killed in a car bombing in Afghanistan’s capital rose to 26, including six Italian soldiers, Afghan authorities said Saturday.
The coffins of six Italian soldiers killed in a suicide attack in Kabul return to Rome.
Sixteen people died in the blast Thursday, and at least 55 Afghan civilians were wounded. Ten have died from their injuries since the bombing. The explosion Thursday targeted a mostly residential area near the Supreme Court in Kabul, a witness said. The bodies of the Italian soldiers killed in the blast returned to Italy Sunday, their coffins draped in the red, green and white Italian flag. Dignitaries, relatives and row upon row of uniformed troops stood on the airport tarmac as the coffins were carried off the plane, television pictures from the scene showed. Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano gently touched the caskets perched on the shoulders of grim-faced soldiers at Rome’s Ciampino military airport. Nearby, a woman shook uncontrollably as a baby sported a maroon beretthe kind worn by the paratroopers killed in the Kabul attack. The six deaths marked largest number of Italians killed in a single day in Afghanistan.
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Before the remains left for Rome, the Italian military, international troops and dignitaries held a service in the Afghan capital. “It’s a tragedy for us,” Lt. Col. Renato Vaira of the Italian military said at the Kabul service. “But this is a point to continue our mission.” “We’ll miss them. They’re not the first. I hope it will be the last,” said Maj. Gen. Tommaso Ferro of the Italian military. After the attack, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said it would be “best” for the country’s troops to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible. Berlusconi gave no timeline for a withdrawal, but said any pullout would have to be coordinated with allies. The 500 troops Italy sent to Afghanistan this summer will be home by Christmas, Ignazio La Russa, Italy’s defense minister said. The troops were sent ahead of the Afghan presidential election August 20. The rest of Italy’s 2,800 troops in Afghanistan will withdraw only when NATO calls for it, La Russa said.
Source:CNN