BBC.CNN WORLD NEWS
Showing posts with label breaking news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label breaking news. Show all posts

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Three die as cruise ship runs aground in Italy

cruise ship drown in italy
Cruise Ship
PORTO SANTO STEFANO, Italy (Reuters) - At least three people were killed and rescuers were searching for other victims on Saturday after an Italian cruise ship carrying more than 4,000 people ran aground and keeled over.

A rescue operation involving lifeboats, ships and helicopters was continuing hours after the 114,500-tonne Costa Concordia hit a sandbar near the island of Giglio on Friday evening. Photographs showed a large gash along its side.

"At the moment, we have about 40 men at work and we're expecting specialist diving teams to arrive to check all the interior spaces of the ship," said fire services spokesman Luca Cari.

"We don't rule out the possibility that more people will be lost.

"This is difficult because the ship is enormous," Cari said, adding that it was lying on its side on the seabed and would probably not sink further.

Passengers said disaster had struck during their evening meal.


PANIC

"We were sitting down to dinner and we heard this big bang. I think it hit some rocks. There was a lot of panic, the tables overturned, glasses were flying all over the place and we ran for the decks where we put on our lifevests," passenger Maria Parmegiano Alfonsi told Sky Italia television.

Police and passengers quoted on television spoke of some people jumping off the listing, 290-metre-long ship.

The multi-storey luxury vessel settled on its side, partly submerged, just a few hundred meters (yards) from the shore. Authorities declined to speculate on the causes of the accident.

"There will certainly be an investigation but at this stage it's impossible to determine exactly what happened," said Italo Spalvieri of the Guardia di Finanze in the nearby port of Livorno.

Many of the 3,200 passengers and 1,023 crew were taken to the mainland port of Porto Santo Stefano where they were given shelter in schools, churches and other public buildings.

The website of the ship's operator, Genoa-based Costa Crociere, had apparently collapsed under the volume of searches but the company set up a helpline to answer public enquiries. Costa said it would cooperate fully with authorities.

There was no word on the identities of casualties.

Most of the passengers were believed to be Italian but people of several other nationalities were thought to be on board.

"We are going through the list of passengers at a reception centre that's been set up but most of the passengers didn't have their papers with them of course, so it's been difficult to get full identification," an official said.


News by Yahoo


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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Hormuz Bypass Oil Pipeline Delayed as Iranian Tensions Mount

ship
Ships load fuel at an oil products storage terminal in Fujairah
A pipeline that would allow oil from the United Arab Emirates to bypass the Strait of Hormuz separating it from Iran has been delayed because of construction difficulties, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

As many as 270 construction issues have pushed back the completion date, said the two people, declining to be identified because they’re not allowed to speak publicly on the matter. The $3.3 billion project won’t be ready until at least April, one of them said. Abu Dhabi, holder of the U.A.E.’s oil reserves, had planned to start exports in January 2011 through the pipeline to a port outside the strait, Dieter Blauberg, the project’s former director, said in May 2009.

The 1.5 million barrel-a-day link would ensure the U.A.E. can export crude without risking a blockade at Hormuz, where fully laden tankers exit the Persian Gulf with one-fifth of the world’s traded oil. The chance that Iran might try to close the waterway intensified as Europe prepares to follow tougher U.S. sanctions on the country.

“That pipeline would carry pretty much all of Abu Dhabi’s oil,” Robin Mills, an analyst at Manaar Energy Consulting in Dubai, said Jan. 5. “It’s a critical bit of infrastructure, and it is remarkable it hasn’t been completed.”

The strait, 21 miles wide at its narrowest point, has 14 crude tankers passing through it each day on average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Important Chokepoint

Most of the oil exports from Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, as well as crude from Iraq, Kuwait, the U.A.E., Qatar and Iran itself must pass through the waterway, making Hormuz the world’s most important chokepoint with a daily flow of 17 million barrels a day last year, according to EIA data.

An official at International Petroleum Investment Co., the pipeline’s owner, declined to say when the project would start when asked by Bloomberg on Jan. 3 and the company didn’t respond to an earlier e-mail seeking comment. China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corp., the pipeline’s contractor, didn’t respond to a fax seeking comment on Dec. 15, and a spokesman for its parent China National Petroleum Corp. declined to comment when Bloomberg contacted him that day by phone.

An official at Abu Dhabi Co. for Onshore Oil Operations, or ADCO, the state company assigned to operate the pipeline, referred all inquiries to IPIC, speaking by phone on Jan. 6. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., or Adnoc, which owns 60 percent of ADCO, did not respond to questions e-mailed on Dec. 21 and public relations officials had no immediate response when contacted by phone that day and on Dec. 22 and Jan. 3.
Across Desert, Mountains

Among ADCO’s minority shareholders, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) declined to comment in a Dec. 21 e-mail, as did Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) while BP Plc (BP/) declined to comment in a Jan. 3 e-mail and a Partex Oil and Gas official declined to comment by phone on Jan. 4. Total SA (FP) didn’t respond to Dec. 21 e-mail seeking comment.

Once ready, the pipeline will transport crude from Habshan, the collection point for Abu Dhabi’s onshore oil fields, over 230 miles (370 kilometers) of desert and razorback mountains to the port of Fujairah, on the U.A.E.’s eastern coast, facing the Gulf of Oman. The project’s declared aim is to “offset reliance” on Gulf terminals while reducing shipping congestion, according to IPIC, the Abu Dhabi government-run owner.

The line terminates at a kilometer-long (0.6 mile-long) site containing eight white storage tanks and pipes stacked four high over the length of a football field, nestled at the foot of the Hajar Mountains.

Tankers will also save two days sailing time, worth about $38,000, by loading at Fujairah instead of Abu Dhabi, according to data provided by Clarkson Research Services Ltd.
Almost Ready

IPIC initially planned to begin filling the pipeline in September 2010 then load cargoes the following January, Blauberg said in 2009. It later pushed back the start without explanation, saying in a bond prospectus on Oct. 19, 2011, that it expected to deliver first oil in “early 2012.”

The U.S. tightened economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program on Dec. 31, and the European Union is weighing a ban later this month on purchases of Iranian crude. Iran held 10 days of naval maneuvers east of Hormuz ending Jan. 3 and warned it would block the strait if prevented from selling its oil, according to Iranian state-run news agencies. Brent crude futures have risen 5 percent so far this month to $133 a barrel.

A potential Hormuz blockade “still remains the ultimate fear in the oil market,” Barclays Plc said in a Jan. 5 note.

‘Tanker War’

Should the Hormuz be closed to ships, the pipeline alone won’t prevent price rallies because most of the oil from the Gulf would still be stopped, Kamel al-Harami, an independent oil analyst said by phone from London on Jan. 6.

Weeks of Iran tension has added about $10 a barrel to Brent crude prices, said al-Harami, who was head of crude and products marketing at state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp. during the 1980s “Tanker War” when Iran and Iraq attacked each other’s ships.

Still, a closure of the strait by Iran, in response to opposition to the nation’s nuclear program, is not a “high- likelihood event,” David Fyfe, head of the International Energy Agency’s oil market and industry division, said in a Jan. 4 telephone interview from Paris.

A Jan. 5 visit to the Fujairah site marked by a black-and- white sign saying “Abu Dhabi Pipeline Co. Oil Terminal,” showed construction workers in blue overalls and hardhats shuttled into and out of the oil storage facility by bus.

Khaled al-Raeesi, a public relations and securities officer for China Petroleum Engineering & Construction, declined to comment on the pipeline’s status, when questioned at the site that day, deferring all questions to IPIC. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan visited the project last month, he said.

News by Bloomberg


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Thursday, January 05, 2012

The World's Oldest Twins, Celebrate 102nd Birthday Together

world's oldest twin
Pugh and Millward
Few people know what it's like to turn 102, but Ena Pugh does.

And, luckily for her, there's at least one person who understands how it feels: her twin sister Lily Millward.

Pugh and Millward, who live both near the town of Brecon, Wales, celebrated the big 1-0-2 on January 4 the same way they celebrated the first one more than a century ago -- side by side.

In fact, they haven't missed a birthday apart from each other since the sisters were 79 and both were ill, according to The Sun.

But while the 102nd birthday was one worth celebrating, it wasn't under the best of circumstances. Ena had to visit Lily in the hospital where she is recovering from a broken hip.

According to Dianne Powell, Lily's 65-year-old daughter, her mom slipped and fell just before Christmas.

News by Huffingtonpost

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Americans buy record numbers of guns for Christmas

gun
Guns
According to the FBI, over 1.5 million background checks on customers were requested by gun dealers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in December. Nearly 500,000 of those were in the six days before Christmas.

It was the highest number ever in a single month, surpassing the previous record set in November.

On Dec 23 alone there were 102,222 background checks, making it the second busiest single day for buying guns in history.

The actual number of guns bought may have been even higher if individual customers took home more than one each.

Explanations for America's surge in gun buying include that it is a response to the stalled economy with people fearing crime waves. Another theory is that buyers are rushing to gun shops because they believe tighter firearms laws will be introduced in the future.

The National Rifle Association said people were concerned about self defence because police officer numbers were declining.

A spokesman said: "I think there's an increased realisation that when something bad occurs it's going to be between them and the criminal."

But anti-gun campaigners said those who already owned weapons were simply hoarding more of them due to "fear-mongering" by the NRA.

A spokeswoman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said: "The research we've seen indicates fewer and fewer people are owning more and more guns."

Dave LaRue, of Legendary Guns in Phoenix, Arizona, said Christmas sales were up 25 per cent on the previous year and ammunition sales were also "brisk".

He said: "There are a lot of people concerned about pending gun legislation and the sense about the current administration. People think future availability will be limited and there's a feeling of get it while you can."

The record for gun sales in a single day was set in November, on the day after Thanksgiving, when 129,166 background searches were carried out on customers buying weapons.

Since the near-fatal shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords by a deranged gunman in Tucson, Arizona last January there have been increasing calls for tighter gun control. Miss Giffords survived being shot in the head with a semi-automatic handgun, and six other people were killed.


News by Telegraph


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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Retired linebacker’s wife dies one month after their wedding

chris draft
Chris Draft
One month after getting married, former NFL linebacker Chris Draft lost his wife today after a long bout with lung cancer. She was so weakened by the disease that she was in a wheelchair for the private wedding, just one month before she died.

Draft, who played most of his 12-year career in Atlanta, released a statement on his wife on their family foundation website.

Not just an inspiration, but a light, and a force that led the way with a beautiful, sweet smile and bright shining eyes that both belied the pure steel of her strength and determination.

Strong is too pale, too shallow and too small of a word to describe Keasha's vibrancy… Quite simply, she was ferocious. She fiercely held onto life, and love with a forcefulness that was absolutely awe-inspiring and completely breathtaking. Rest in peace, Mrs. Draft.

Twitter was flooded with people moved by the Draft's love story. Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons  shared his condolences via Twitter, and a guestbook commemorating her quickly was filled with messages of support to the Draft family.


News by Yahoo


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Friday, December 30, 2011

Hackers plan space satellites to combat censorship

space satellite
Space Satellites
Computer hackers plan to take the internet beyond the reach of censors by putting their own communication satellites into orbit.

The scheme was outlined at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin.

The project's organisers said the Hackerspace Global Grid will also involve developing a grid of ground stations to track and communicate with the satellites.

Longer term they hope to help put an amateur astronaut on the moon.

Hobbyists have already put a few small satellites into orbit - usually only for brief periods of time - but tracking the devices has proved difficult for low-budget projects.

The hacker activist Nick Farr first put out calls for people to contribute to the project in August. He said that the increasing threat of internet censorship had motivated the project.

"The first goal is an uncensorable internet in space. Let's take the internet out of the control of terrestrial entities," Mr Farr said.

Beyond balloons

He cited the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) in the United States as an example of the kind of threat facing online freedom. If passed, the act would allow for some sites to be blocked on copyright grounds.

Whereas past space missions have almost all been the preserve of national agencies and large companies, amateur enthusiasts have in recent years sent a few payloads into orbit.

These devices have mostly been sent up using balloons and are tricky to pinpoint precisely from the ground.

According to Armin Bauer, a 26-year-old enthusiast from Stuttgart who is working on the Hackerspace Global Grid, this is largely due to lack of funding.

"Professionals can track satellites from ground stations, but usually they don't have to because, if you pay a large sum [to send the satellite up on a rocket], they put it in an exact place," Mr Bauer said.

In the long run, a wider hacker aerospace project aims to put an amateur astronaut onto the moon within the next 23 years.

"It is very ambitious so we said let's try something smaller first," Mr Bauer added.
Ground network

The Berlin conference was the latest meeting held by the Chaos Computer Club, a decades-old German hacker group that has proven influential not only for those interested in exploiting or improving computer security, but also for people who enjoy tinkering with hardware and software.

When Mr Farr called for contributions to Hackerspace, Mr Bauer and others decided to concentrate on the communications infrastructure aspect of the scheme.

He and his teammates are working on their part of the project together with Constellation, an existing German aerospace research initiative that mostly consists of interlinked student projects.

In the open-source spirit of Hackerspace, Mr Bauer and some friends came up with the idea of a distributed network of low-cost ground stations that can be bought or built by individuals.

Used together in a global network, these stations would be able to pinpoint satellites at any given time, while also making it easier and more reliable for fast-moving satellites to send data back to earth.

"It's kind of a reverse GPS," Mr Bauer said.

"GPS uses satellites to calculate where we are, and this tells us where the satellites are. We would use GPS co-ordinates but also improve on them by using fixed sites in precisely-known locations."

Mr Bauer said the team would have three prototype ground stations in place in the first half of 2012, and hoped to give away some working models at the next Chaos Communication Congress in a year's time.

They would also sell the devices on a non-profit basis.

"We're aiming for 100 euros (£84) per ground station. That is the amount people tell us they would be willing to spend," Mr Bauer added.

Complications

Experts say the satellite project is feasible, but could be restricted by technical limitations.

"Low earth orbit satellites such as have been launched by amateurs so far, do not stay in a single place but rather orbit, typically every 90 minutes," said Prof Alan Woodward from the computing department at the University of Surrey.

"That's not to say they can't be used for communications but obviously only for the relatively brief periods that they are in your view. It's difficult to see how such satellites could be used as a viable communications grid other than in bursts, even if there were a significant number in your constellation."

This problem could be avoided if the hackers managed to put their satellites into geostationary orbits above the equator. This would allow them to match the earth's movement and appear to be motionless when viewed from the ground. However, this would pose a different problem.

"It means that they are so far from earth that there is an appreciable delay on any signal, which can interfere with certain Internet applications," Prof Woodward said.

"There is also an interesting legal dimension in that outer space is not governed by the countries over which it floats. So, theoretically it could be a place for illegal communication to thrive. However, the corollary is that any country could take the law into their own hands and disable the satellites."
Need for knowledge

Apart from the ground station scheme, other aspects of the Hackerspace project that are being worked on include the development of new electronics that can survive in space, and the launch vehicles that can get them there in the first place.

According to Mr Farr, the "only motive" of the Hackerspace Global Grid is knowledge.

He said many participants are frustrated that no person has been sent past low Earth orbit since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

"This [hacker] community can put humanity back in space in a meaningful way," Farr said.

"The goal is to get back to where we were in the 1970s. Hackers find it offensive that we've had the technology since before many of us were born and we haven't gone back."

Asked whether some might see negative security implications in the idea of establishing a hacker presence in space, Farr said the only downside would be that "people might not be able to censor your internet".

"Hackers are about open information," Farr added. "We believe communication is a human right."

News by BBC



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World's Oldest Divorcees: 99-Year-Old Man Seeks Divorce

World's Oldest Divorcees

A 99-year old Italian man is filing for divorce after discovering letters from an affair his wife had over 60 years ago.

According to The Telegraph, "Antonio C" (as he is referred to in court documents) confronted his wife of 77 years, 96-year-old "Rosa C," about the letters and demanded a divorce. She reportedly confessed but was unable to convince him to stay, though she has not contested the divorce, UPI reports.

Court papers indicate she wrote the letters during an affair in the 1940s.

According to Newser, the couple will become the world's oldest divorcees. That record was last set by British couple Bertie and Jessie Wood, who divorced in 2009 and age 98.

Antonio and Rosa have five kids, 12 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

News by Huffingtonpost


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Answering all the questions you never knew you had

sexy boobs
Good shaped nails
Why do we have finger- and toenails?

You were born with built-in multitools, and you’re complaining? Think about it: What else can be used to fight off bears, open beers, and operate scratch ’n’ sniff stickers? According to Ellen Miller, an anthropologist at Wake Forest University, our ancestors used nails to pick up food, grasp trees, and basically not die. Today our nails still protect our digits, give them ├╝ber-precision handling, and let us soulfully strum acoustics. And while you may not use your sock-blocked toenails for much, our ancestors used their feet like a second set of hands for tasks like peeling fruit and stripping bark. Fun fact: Our nails are made from the protein keratin—the same stuff that’s found in hooves and horns. So next time you give someone the finger, tell him you’re a unicorn!

Why can’t I drive a hovercraft around like a normal car?

Because you need turn signals for it to be street-legal. And because it won’t last long on your town’s pot-holed roads. Hovercrafts work by floating on a cushion of high-pressure air, which is kept in place by a balloon-like “skirt,” says University of Virginia physicist Louis Bloomfield. But while this air cushion tends to stay put grazing over even surfaces such as water, uneven roads give the trapped air escape routes and would cause your flying car to fall flat.

Is it possible to get permanently high?

Nope! “The brain eventually adapts to the drug, and it loses its effect,” says Wilkie A. Wilson, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at Duke University Medical Center and coauthor of Buzzed. “In fact, the brain tends to adapt to anything that is repetitive—which is why we seek novel experiences in our lives.” That’s not to say that substances can’t seriously mess up your mind. Stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine can cause long-term psychosis, which is less like being high and more like being shit-your-pants crazy.

How can I open a beer bottle with my teeth?

Trendspotting and an avid opener of beer bottles, tells us how it’s done. Decide on a beer and grab some gum. Unwrap two sticks.

Use one stick to cover the bottoms and insides of your front teeth like you would with a strip of that teeth-whitening crap.

Take the second piece and add gum coverage to the insides and tops of your bottom teeth. Be sure to coat as many of these biters as possible, since this is where the pressure will be.

Put the top of the bottle in your mouth, chomp down as hard as you can, and turn. Don’t pull—just turn. Keep at it for about a minute and the cap will pop out. Like a girl who ties the cherry stem, you will get quite a few fellas aroused.

News by Maxim


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Siege at Sydney's Chinese Consulate ends with one charged, another in hospital

Chinese consulate siege
Chinese consulate siege
A MAN has been charged and another remains in hospital under police guard after a robbery and armed confrontation outside a Chinese consulate in Sydney's inner west.

The pair allegedly burst into a hotel in Missenden Road, Camperdown, armed with a gun and a hammer at 1.30am (AEST) on Friday.

Police confirmed the men confronted staff and demanded cash.

One of the men, aged 32, was arrested as he left the venue. But his alleged accomplice, 27, fled from a side door and was chased by police into a nearby laneway, police say.

There, he allegedly exchanged gunshots with police before climbing a razor wire fence into the Chinese consulate in Dunblane St, injuring himself in the process.

Police arrested the man just after 7am, after a five-hour operation which closed surrounding streets.

He was taken to the nearby Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where on Friday night he remained under police guard and was being treated for serious cuts to his arms and legs.

The 32-year-old was charged with robbery in company and being carried in conveyance taken without consent.
He is due to appear at Parramatta Bail Court today.

A critical incident investigation team will conduct an investigation into the operation, Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said.

''During the course of that pursuit shots were fired,'' he told reporters outside Newtown Police Station.

''How many shots were fired and who fired them is still a matter for investigation.''

Camperdown resident Michelle Brown, an ABC journalist, said she was woken by the sound of gunfire that she at first thought was fireworks.

''I was woken by two loud bangs,'' she told ABC Radio.

''There was a pause and then another two loud bangs.''

News by Heralsun

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Warehouse blast kills 17 in Mayanmar

warehouse blast in mayanmar
Warehouse blast in Mayanmar
YANGON — A pre-dawn blast at a warehouse in Myanmar's biggest city killed at least 17 people and injured dozens more on Thursday, sparking a blaze that took firefighters hours to tame, officials said.

Officials ruled out a bomb but said they had yet to determine the cause of the explosion in Yangon, formerly the capital.

Residents in several areas of the city were woken around 2:00 am (1930 GMT) by the blast, which appeared to have hit a medical warehouse in the eastern township of Mingalar Taung Nyunt, witnesses told AFP.

The flames engulfed several buildings in the warehouse compound and destroyed around 50 homes in the area, most of them wooden dwellings.

At least 17 people, including four firefighters, had died, while 79 others were injured, including around 30 firemen, a government official told AFP.

"It was not a bomb explosion," another official said, though he added that the cause of the blast, which sparked a large fire that destroyed many nearby storage units and houses, remained unknown.

Firefighters battled through the night to douse the flames and finally succeeded in extinguishing the massive fire at around 6:45 am, revealing a scene of utter devastation.

An AFP photographer saw rescue workers frantically searching for survivors, carrying young children to safety and pulling a dead body from the burnt-out rubble.

The blaze left hundreds homeless, a third official said.

"Around 900 people are homeless now and they are sheltering at nearby monasteries serving as rescue centers," he said.

"About seven warehouses were totally destroyed. The responsible officials are still trying to find out what happened," he told AFP.

One resident, Khin Hla Kyi, said she feared for her life as she fled the encroaching fire, which devoured her home and all of her possessions.

"We had to run for our lives," she told AFP. "Now we have nowhere to go. My house was destroyed."

The blast also created a huge crater at least 10 metres (yards) wide and several metres deep, filled with plastic and metal debris.

Dozens of rescue workers and onlookers crowded around the gaping hole to take stock of the damage on Thursday, when white smoke could still be seen billowing from the site.

An exhausted firefighter said he was unable to give details about the blaze, saying only: "We are really tired because we have been putting out the fire all night."

The first funerals for the victims were due to be held Thursday afternoon.

In a city not unused to bomb blasts, the sound of the unexplained explosion overnight brought hundreds of worried locals into the streets.

"We heard a very loud noise from the explosion and saw smoke in the sky. Our building was also shaken by the explosion. We have no idea what's happening," a resident in nearby Botahtaung township told AFP.

Last week, a blast caused by an explosive device killed one woman and wounded another in northern Yangon.

Myanmar has been hit by several bomb blasts in recent years, most of them minor, which the authorities have blamed on armed exile groups or ethnic minority fighters.


News by AFP


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dutch Cup game abandoned after goalkeeper attacks pitch invader at AZ Alkmaar vs Ajax

AZ Alkmaar
AZ Alkmaar's goolkeeper fights with supporter
A FOOTBALL match was abandoned after a goalkeeper fought with a pitch invader - and was then sent off for protecting himself.

The Dutch Cup game between AZ Alkmaar and Ajax ended when AZ keeper Esteban Alvarado was shown a red card for battling the drunk 19-year-old hooligan.

The Costa Rican keeper, 22, launched into a kung-fu kick when the thug attempted to attack him, before kicking him twice after he had been floored.

Security guards dragged the drunk away before referee Bas Nijhuis dismissed the keeper for violence and insisted Esteban should have walked away.

Furious Alkmaar coach Gertjan Verbeek then ordered his side to walk off in protest after just 36minutes, forcing the game on Wednesday night to be abandoned.

Referee Nijhuis said: “I understand that Esteban was defending himself, but he walked to him (the supporter) and kicked him multiple times. He could also have walked away.”

Ajax apologised for the security lapse and said the supporter would receive a lifetime ban from games.

Jeroen Slop, a director of the Dutch giants, said: “This was a terrible incident and we deeply regret it and offer our sincere apologies.

“The supporter has been handed over to the police.

“It was a 19-year-old man who was probably under the influence of alcohol. He said he hated the AZ goalkeeper and had therefore attacked him.”

Toon Gerbrands, an Alkmaar club director, said his players “didn’t feel safe any more in this situation” at the Amsterdam Arena.

Ajax were leading the game 1-0 at the time, and Dutch Football Association director Bert van Oostveen said that although organisation was considering the incident, but is not certain whether the game will be replayed.

The Dutch FA today rescinded the red card, saying Alvarado’s reaction was triggered by the unprovoked attack on him - but adding that referee Bas Nijhuis was right according to the rules when he sent the goalkeeper off.

They confirmed that Alvarado’s reaction “will not result in a ban.”

It also emerged the fan responsible had already been banned from Ajax’s stadium for a year due to a previous run-in with security guards, but managed to sneak into the cup match with a ticket purchased by a friend.

He has now received a lifetime ban from all Ajax matches.

WHEN SPORTSMEN ATTACK
- Eric Cantona: The temperamental Manchester United star famously kung-fu kicked a racist Crystal Palace fan in January 1995. He received an eight-month ban from the FA.

- Brian Clough: The legendary Nottingham Forest manager punched one of his own pitch-invading fan in 1989 after beating QPR.

- Trevor Brennan: Toulouse Rugby Union star Brennan punched an Ulster fan who had been hurling abuse at him during a Heineken Cup game in 2007. He was given a life ban from the dame.

- Peter Schmeichel: The giant Man United keeper hurled an invading fan of Turkish club Galatasaray off the Old Trafford pitch in 1993.

- Ty Cobb: a legendary baseball players who rarely went a game without fighting fans, oppostion players or his own team-mates. He once said: “I had to fight all my life just to survive. They were all against me.”

News by Mirror


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Katy Perry and Russell Brand spend Christmas 7,000 miles apart

katy perry
Katy Perry and Russell Brand
WHEN you’re trying to convince everyone your marriage is not on the rocks, pictures like these won’t help your cause.

Katy Perry and Russell insist that all is well in their marriage despite spending Christmas apart. Over 7000 miles apart for that matter.

While the 27-year-old singer soaked up the sun in Hawaii, her husband wrapped up warm at a charity swim in chilly Cornwall.

And her splashing in the waves without her wedding ring will do nothing to quash the rumours the couple are about to split. Nor will the snaps of 36-year-old Russell grinning like a Cheshire cat while surrounded by a host of girls – one in a bikini.

katy perry
Katy Perry

Russell spent his Christmas in the rather less glamorous ­surroundings of a pub in the Cornish fishing village of Coverack. He later went to his comedian friend David Baddiel’s charity swim nearby where he was mobbed by fans.

Hmm, Hawaii or Cornwall – tough call that one.

Russell was also spotted at celeb favourite festive haunt Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park on Tuesday, again without his wife.

The couple are constantly batting away speculation over the state of their marriage with Russell defending their relationship on The Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month.

When asked about rumours of a split the British comedian joked: “What?! She should have told me!” before adding: “I’ve treated the whole Internet now as a wicked little liar” – Russell was referring to allegations of a split that surfaced on Twitter at the beginning of December.

He continued: “I’m really happily married. Being famous is like a little bit of you is taken away and goes off and lives on its own and does what it wants. I wish it would do more interesting things.”

Russell said: “I’m married to Katy. Perpetually, until death do us part was the pledge. I'm still alive.”

The comedian also admitted he’d love to start a family with wife Katy saying: “I would like one [NB a baby]. I love those little babies in the beginning.”

We’re with Russell on this one – partly because we don’t think we can handle another Hollywood split.

But mainly because their babies would be so cute – and if Russell has his way, they’d probably be walking dictionaries by the time they were, er, walking.

News by Mirror


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Monday, December 26, 2011

7 People Shot Dead In Texas Home, Motive Unclear

texas
                                       7 People Shot Dead In Texas
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Investigators believe that seven people who were found dead Christmas Day were cleaning up holiday wrapping paper when they were shot inside a suburban Fort Worth apartment, but a motive remains unclear.

All of the victims appeared to be related, and Grapevine police said they believe the shooter was among the dead. Investigators were meticulously searching the apartment, along with three vehicles parked outside, and didn't expect to finish until dawn on Monday.

"It appears they had just celebrated Christmas. They had opened their gifts," Grapevine Police Sgt. Robert Eberling said, adding that the apartment was decorated for the holiday, including a tree.

The four women and three men, aged 18 to 60, were found dead in an adjoining kitchen and living room area when police arrived midday Sunday, shortly after receiving a 911 call in which no one was on the other line, Eberling said. Two handguns were found near the bodies, he said.

None of the victims has been identified, but Eberling said it appears they all died of gunshot wounds. He said authorities still don't know what sparked the incident.

Grapevine Police Lt. Todd Dearing said investigators believe that the victims were related, though some were visiting and didn't live in the apartment. He said police are looking for other relatives to inform of the deaths.

"Seven people in one setting in Grapevine, that's never happened before. Ever," Dearing said.

Police and firefighters first rushed to the Lincoln Vineyards complex after receiving the open-ended 911 call at about 11:30 a.m., Eberling said.

"There was an open line. No one was saying anything," he explained.

So police went into the apartment, located in the middle-class neighborhood of Grapevine, not far from the upscale Fort Worth suburb of Colleyville. The apartment was at the back of the complex, overlooking the athletic fields of Colleyville Heritage High School.

But many of the nearby apartments are vacant, and police said no neighbors reported hearing anything on a quiet Christmas morning when many people were not around.

Jose Fernandez, a 35-year-old heavy equipment mechanic who moved to the complex with his family about six months ago, said he always felt safe in the area, but is now afraid to let his 10-year-old son play freely outside.

"This is really outrageous especially on Christmas," said Fernandez, who was visiting family for the holiday and returned to find several police cars parked outside his home.

"This has shocked everybody. It has scared everybody. I guess something like this can happen anywhere, but seven people dead. It's just very scary," he added.

Eberling agreed the area is fairly quiet, noting this would be the first homicide in Grapevine since 2010.

Christy Posch, a flight attendant who moved to the complex about six months ago so her son could attend the high school, said she lives a few buildings away and did not hear any gunshots.

"It's all families. That's why I moved here. No burglaries, no nothing," Posch said.

News by Huffingtonpost


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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cuba decided to release 2,900 prisoners as goodwill gesture

raul castro
Raul Castro
Cuba says it will release 2,900 prisoners, including some convicted of political crimes, in the next few days.

President Raul Castro said the move was a goodwill gesture after receiving numerous requests by relatives and religious institutions.

But US national Alan Gross, who is serving 15 years for crimes against the state, is not among those to be freed.

On the separate issue of foreign travel for Cubans, President Castro said it was too early to lift restrictions.

The president told the National Assembly that those who urged a lifting of travel restrictions "are forgetting the exceptional circumstances under which Cuba lives, encircled by the hostile policy... of the US government".

Cubans require an exit visa to leave the country, and it is often denied to people who work in key professions or are out of favour with the authorities.

President Castro said that 86 foreign prisoners from 25 countries would be freed, and that diplomats would be notified shortly.

However, Cuban Vice Foreign Minister Josefina Vidal told the Associated Press that American Alan Gross - jailed for taking internet equipment to the Communist-run island - "is not on the list".

Havana's refusal to free him has led to frozen relations with the United States.

Alan Gross, 62, was detained in December 2009 while he was delivering computers and communications equipment to the Jewish community in Cuba. He was sentenced in March 2011.

He was working as a contractor for the US state department.

President Castro also cited an upcoming visit by Pope Benedict XVI among the reasons for the amnesty, saying the humanitarian act showed Cuba's strength, AP reports.

Cuba's governing body, the Council of State, said some people convicted of crimes against "the security of the state" were on the list.

"All of them have completed an important portion of their sentence and shown good behaviour," read an official government statement quoted by Prensa Latina.

However, the authorities stressed that those convicted of serious crimes like murder, espionage or drug trafficking would not be part of the amnesty.
Black Spring

Elizardo Sanchez, who leads the independent Cuban Commission on Human Rights, attacked the president for not talking about "depenalising the exercise of human rights".

Last July, President Castro agreed after talks with Catholic Church leaders to free the 52 dissidents still behind bars after the crackdown in 2003.

The mass arrests that year, which became known as Cuba's Black Spring, provoked widespread international condemnation.

The European Union called off co-operation with the island, which was only officially resumed in 2008.

Cuba denies holding any political prisoners, saying they are mercenaries in the pay of the US aiming to destabilise the government.

News by BBC


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Conflict in Nigeria: Boko Haram battles 'kill at least 50'

battle in nigeria
Battle in Nigeria
More than 50 people have died in days of fighting between Nigerian forces and suspected Islamist gunmen in the country's north-east, officials say.

Boko Haram militants had suffered heavy casualties in a lengthy gun-battle in the town of Damaturu, said army chief of staff Lt Gen Azubuike Ihejirika.

"We killed over 50 of them," said Lt Gen Ihejirika.

The group, whose name means "Western education is forbidden", often targets security forces and state institutions.

"They came with sophisticated and heavy weaponry... and bombs but our trained soldiers subdued them," Lt Gen Ihejirika told local radio.

Seven policemen and two soldiers died in the clashes, Yobe's Police Commissioner Lawan Tanko told the BBC.

Deaths were also reported after clashes in Potiskum to the west of Damaturu.
'Lobbing grenades'

The fighting had erupted in Damaturu - the state capital of Yobe - on Thursday afternoon, Police Commissioner Tanko said earlier.

One eye-witness told the BBC that bomb blasts and shooting could be heard around Damaturu for several hours.

"People are scared and they are just moving out of the town now," said the witness, who gave his name as Suliman.

Boko Haram first came to prominence in 2009 when hundreds of its followers were killed when they attacked police stations in Maiduguri.

Its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, was arrested but died in police custody.

Boko Haram resumed its attacks - mostly in Maiduguri - a year later and has since staged deadly raids across the mostly Muslim north, as well as central areas such as Jos and Abuja.

Under Yusuf's leadership, the group demanded that Nigeria become an Islamic state but it is now believed to be made up of several factions, with various demands.

News by BBC


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry ChristMoss: Kate slips into some lingerie for new ad campaign

sexy girls
Kate Moss
It might be cold outside but Kate Moss doesn't appear to be having any trouble keeping warm.

Draped across an unmade bed, the supermodel slipped into some underwear and stockings, posing seductively for lingerie brand Valisere.

And the 37-year-old is proving she is still in enviable shape.

Looking flawless in the Triumph brand's designs, Kate will no doubt help shift the underwear in time for Christmas - as hundreds of men rush out to create a similar look for their partners at home.

The model does her best Brigitte Bardot impression with backcombed, tousled hair and come-to-bed stare.

This is not the first time Kate has modeled for the brand.

Last year, Kate appeared in a similar shoot, looking equally glamorous.

The mother-of-one recently came under fire for 'copying' a jewelery ad campaign.

Kate was modeling her own collection of jewellery designed for French brand Fred, which contains a number of pieces inspired by her many tattoos.

The pictures were taken by Sonia Sieff and show Kate in a sexy 'come-hither' pose with tousled blonde hair.

Last year, Kate was photographed by Peter Lindbergh in a campaign for David Yurman's Spring 2011 collection in which she also appears with tousled hair and sultry pose.

The similarities between the pictures have been slammed by Kate's previous employer who say they are used to people copying them.

'The Fred campaign is embarrassingly similar to the one David Yurman ran a year ago,' a spokesperson for Yurman said.

But judging by these pictures, it seems wispy hair and sultry poses are Kate's signature look.

News by Dailymail


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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eating less keeps the brain young

brain
Brain
A team of Italian researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome have discovered that this molecule, called CREB1, is triggered by "caloric restriction" (low caloric diet) in the brain of mice. They found that CREB1 activates many genes linked to longevity and to the proper functioning of the brain.

This work was led by Giovambattista Pani, researcher at the Institute of General Pathology, Faculty of Medicine at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome, directed by Professor Achille Cittadini, in collaboration with Professor Claudio Grassi of the Institute of Human Physiology. The research appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"Our hope is to find a way to activate CREB1, for example through new drugs, so to keep the brain young without the need of a strict diet," Dr Pani said.

Caloric restriction means the animals can only eat up to 70 percent of the food they consume normally, and is a known experimental way to extend life, as seen in many experimental models. Typically, caloric-restricted mice do not become obese and don't develop diabetes; moreover they show greater cognitive performance and memory, are less aggressive. Furthermore they do not develop, if not much later, Alzheimer's disease and with less severe symptoms than in overfed animals.

Many studies suggest that obesity is bad for our brain, slows it down, causes early brain aging, making it susceptible to diseases typical of older people as the Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. In contrast, caloric restriction keeps the brain young. Nevertheless, the precise molecular mechanism behind the positive effects of an hypocaloric diet on the brain remained unknown till now.

The Italian team discovered that CREB1 is the molecule activated by caloric restriction and that it mediates the beneficial effects of the diet on the brain by turning on another group of molecules linked to longevity, the "sirtuins". This finding is consistent with the fact that CREB1 is known to regulate important brain functions as memory, learning and anxiety control, and its activity is reduced or physiologically compromised by aging.

Moreover, Italian researchers have discovered that the action of CREB1 can be dramatically increased by simply reducing caloric intake, and have shown that CREB is absolutely essential to make caloric restriction work on the brain. In fact, if mice lack CREB1 the benefits of caloric restriction on the brain (improving memory, etc.) disappear. So the animals without CREB1 show the same brain disabilities typical of overfed and/or old animals.

"Thus, our findings identify for the first time an important mediator of the effects of diet on the brain," Dr. Pani said. "This discovery has important implications to develop future therapies to keep our brain young and prevent brain degeneration and the aging process. In addition, our study shed light on the correlation among metabolic diseases as diabetes and obesity and the decline in cognitive activities."


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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kansas City Chiefs end Green Bay Packers' 19-game winning streak

NFL
Tamba Hall and Kendrick Lewis of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrate
(CNN) -- The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium, ending the defending Super Bowl champions' quest for a perfect season.

The Packers, who were 13-0 this season, were defeated 19-14 by the 5-8 Chiefs.

Despite the loss -- the Packers' first in 20 games -- Green Bay remains firmly atop the NFC standings. The Chiefs are in last place in the AFC West.

Kansas City executives on Monday fired head coach Todd Haley after the team lost four of its previous five games. Sunday's win was the first under interim head coach Romeo Crennel. Crennel was previously the team's defensive coordinator.

Also Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts ended their winless season with their first victory, beating the Tennessee Titans 27-13. The Colts, previously 0-13, have been struggling without star quarterback Peyton Manning as he recovers from neck surgery.


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Israel frees 550 Palestinians in Shalit swap

woman
Palestinians are waiting to welcome their people
RAMALLAH/GAZA: Israel released 550 Palestinian prisoners Sunday in the second stage of a deal with Hamas that brought home soldier Gilad Shalit after five years of captivity in the Gaza Strip.

While many of the 450 prisoners freed on October 18 in the first phase of the Egyptian-brokered prisoner swap were serving life sentences for deadly attacks, none in the second group was convicted of killings.

Nearly all of the prisoners passed through a crossing into the West Bank and were greeted by thousands of Palestinians who danced and cheered in the city of Ramallah.

Though Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, had reached the deal with Israel, most of the crowd waved flags from the rival Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the dominant party in the West Bank.

In Gaza, two buses with 41 prisoners, escorted by the International Committee of the Red Cross, passed through the Rafah crossing and were met by hundreds of relatives waving flags representing the different Palestinian factions.

"My feelings of joy are mixed with sorrow because we left behind beloved brothers, we hope all of them will be freed," said Samer Aweidat, who was released after serving four years of a six-year sentence for weapons possession and being a member of a miltant group.

Israel's Supreme Court opened the way for Sunday's release to go ahead by turning down a petition Friday from Israelis opposed to freeing the prisoners, whose terms ranged from a few months to 18 years.

They were convicted of crimes that included attempted murder, planting bombs and membership of militant groups. Shalit was abducted in June 2006 by militants who tunnelled into Israel from the Gaza Strip and surprised his tank crew, killing two of his comrades. He was held incommunicado in the Hamas-ruled territory and a huge majority of Israelis backed the deal that brought him home two months ago.

Hani Habib, a political analyst in Gaza, said that Israel, given the opportunity to pick which prisoners would be freed in the second stage, chose inmates from Fatah rather than Hamas.

"Israel was interested in turning the victory that has been achieved into a Palestinian discomfort and a Palestinian division with its discrimination," he said.

Hamas said it would petition Egypt to pressure Israel into freeing all the Palestinian women in its jails, something it had wanted to happen in Sunday's release.

News by Timesof India



Saturday, December 17, 2011

2ft tall Jyoti dreams of Bollywood acting career after being crowned world's shortest woman

smallest woman
Jyoti is measured at 61.95cm on her 18th birthday by Guinness World Record

joyti
Jyoti with a family friend two years ago - who, at 13 months, bigger than she is
Celebrating your 18th birthday is a momentous occasion for anyone, but for tiny Jyoti Amge the milestone is even bigger news.

The 2ft teenager is already a mini celebrity in her hometown of Nagpur, India, but is now set for a huge record when she is officially declared the world's smallest woman.

And despite her miniature stature, 61.95cm-tall Jyoti hopes to celebrate being crowned the world's shortest woman by launching a Bollywood movie career.

She took the Guinness World Record from 2ft 3in American Bridgette Jordan, and celebrated her birthday with a teddy bear which loomed over her tiny 24.4in frame.

She measured 7 centimeters (2.76 inches) shorter than the 22-year-old American Bridgette Jordan, who had held the title since September.

A teary-eyed Jyoti, dressed in one of her finest saris, called the honor an 'extra birthday present' and said she felt grateful for being small, as it had brought her recognition.

She also blew out candles on a birthday cake which was comfortably bigger than her.

Even the Guinness World Records book at the ceremony came up to Jyoti's waist.

Jyoti weighs just 12lbs (5.5kg) - only 9lbs more than she did at birth - and has a form of dwarfism call achondroplasia, which stopped her growing after her first birthday.

She has brittle bones and is likely to need care for the rest of her life, but that has not stopped her tall ambitions of cracking the movie industry.

udding actress Jyoti, who is set to appear in two Bollywood films next year, told The Sun: 'I want to make people happy.'

As a teenager at school in Nagpur, Jyoti had her own small desk and chair, but said the other students didn't treat her any differently.

She also has to sleep in a specially-made bed and uses utensils that are smaller than average.

This was not Amge's first Guinness record. Until Friday she was considered the world's shortest teenager, but in turning 18 qualified for the new title.

She has grown less than 1cm (0.4in) in the last two years, Guinness said in a statement, and will grow no more due to a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia.

Her teenage title brought the chance for multiple Guinness-sponsored trips to Japan and Italy for tours and meetings with other record holders, she said.

The title of shortest woman in history continues to be held by Pauline Musters, who lived in the Netherlands from 1876 to 1895 and stood 61 centimeters (24 inches) tall.

Jyoti insists in being treated like a normal young woman, and likes nothing more than doing her make-up, going clothes shopping with friends or enjoying DVDs.

As she celebrated turning 18, Jyoti said: 'It's been my dream to be recognised as the world's smallest woman for many years. I'm now a woman so I hope I don't have to wait much longer!'

She was officially crowned the world's shortest woman at a Guinness World Records ceremony in Nagpur with her mother Ranjana.

News by Dailymail


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