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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Nokia launches the 801T for China TD

nokia 801T
Nokia 801T
Designed exclusively for China's TD-SCDMA 3G network, Nokia has announced a new Symbian-powered smartphone, the 801T, described as 'a special design for business-focussed elite high-end users'. It's notable for being the 'industry's first stainless steel unibody smartphone' and has a 4" CBD display, NFC, an 8 megapixel EDoF camera with dual-LED flash, 720p HD video recording and built-in CMMB mobile TV (with antenna). More below.


The Nokia 801T is a continuation of Nokia exquisite craftsmanship, and is simple yet elegant... Its 4-inch large CBD touch screen is perfect to display messages, information and photo content; there's a built-in telescopic TV antenna, so that business people can experience anytime, anywhere mobile TV (CMMB) to bring an audio-visual feast.

Nokia 801T largely fills the gaps in the field of high-end TD (3G) products... It features a Nokia TD-SCDMA smart terminal using NFC technology in the first of its kind. For business users, NFC functionality makes work and life more efficient and convenient.

Built-in CMMB mobile TV, capable of receiving TV signals with clear, smooth playback quality, can sync TV shows, and does not generate data traffic during playback, so that business people can spend their leisure time watching their favourite TV programs.

Overall form factor and specs are roughly similar to those of the X7, though with a LCD screen rather than OLED:
Specifications

Developer Platform: Symbian Anna
Screen Resolution: 360 x 640 pixels
Screen Color Depth: 24 bits
Screen Size: 4 inches
Display Technology: ClearBlack, LCD transmissive

Device Size: 125.2 x 65 x 12.75 mm
Volume: 83.2 cc
Weight: 170 g
Frequency Bands: GSM 1800, GSM 1900, GSM 850, GSM 900, TD-SCDMA 1880-1920, TD-SCDMA 2010-2025
CPU Count: Single CPU
CPU Type: ARM 11
CPU Clock Rate: 680 MHz
Graphics Processor: 2D/3D Graphics HW Accelerator, BCM2727 chip, GPU @ 200 MHz with 32 MB, with OpenVG1.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0 support

CMOS Sensor: 8.0 Megapixels
Camera Digital Zoom: 2 x
Camera Focal length: 33 mm
Camera F-Stop/Aperture: f/2.8
Camera Focus range: 50 cm to infinity
Video Recording Resolution: 1280 x 720 pixels
Video Digital Zoom: 3 x
Video Recording Formats: H.263, H.264/AVC, MPEG-4
Video Playback Formats: 3GPP formats (H.263), Flash Video, H.264/AVC, MPEG-4, RealVideo 8,9,10, Sorenson Spark, VC-1, VP6, WMV 9
Audio Features: Audio Equalizer, Audio Recording AAC, Audio Streaming, Bluetooth Stereo, Handsfree Speaker, Loudness, Music Player, Stereo Audio Recording, Stereo FM RDS Radio, Stereo Widening

Maximum User Storage: 230 MB
Mass Storage Memory: 8 GB
ROM Memory: 1 GB
RAM Memory: 256 MB
Graphics Memory: 32 MB

Memory Card type: Micro SD
Local Connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0, Bluetooth Stereo Audio, Micro USB, MTP (Multimedia Transfer Protocol), NFC, Nokia Adapter Cable for USB OTG CA-157Connector, Nokia AV 3.5mm, USB 2.0 High-Speed, USB Mass Storage, USB OTG 1.3

Bluetooth Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP 1.0, BIP, DUN, FTP, GAP, GAVDP, GOEP, HFP, HSP, OPP, PBAP 1.0, SDP, SPP 1.0
Email Solutions: Mail for Exchange, Nokia Messaging, OMA E-mail Notification v1.0

Power Management: 2.0mm Charger Connector, USB Charging

Battery model: BP-3L 3.7V 1300 mAh
GSM Talk Time up to: 5.7 hours
TD-SCDMA Talk Time up to: 8.0 hours

News by Allaboutsymbian


Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

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



Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

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


Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

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


Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

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


Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

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


Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

Japan relaxes decades-old arms exports ban

japanese fighter
Japanese Fighter
(Reuters) - Debt-riddled Japan Tuesday relaxed its self-imposed decades-old ban on military equipment exports in a move that will open new markets to its defense contractors and help the nation squeeze more out of its defense budget.

The government's security council agreed to the relaxing of the ban to allow Japan to take part in the joint development and production of arms with other countries and to supply military equipment for humanitarian missions, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said at a news conference.

"The new standards (on weapons exports) are a result of the government considering measures that required attention amid recent changes to the environment surrounding international defense equipment," Fujimura said, referring to rising arms costs that could put strain on the government, with public debt twice the size of its economy.

The rule adopted in 1967 banned sales to communist countries, those involved in international conflicts or subject to United Nations sanctions.

It later became a blanket ban on exports and on the development and production of weapons with countries other than the United States, making it impossible for manufacturers to participate in multinational projects.

"The regulations on weapons exports are based on the concept that as a pacifist country Japan should aim to avoid fanning international conflicts, and we will keep a close watch on exports," Fujimura said.

The relaxing of the rules does not mean Japan will begin openly selling its military products to the world -- exports will be limited to strategic allies like the U.S.

The move could still allow companies such as Mitsubishi Heavy (7011.T) to join the development of Lockheed Martin's (LMT.N) F-35, which Tokyo picked last week as its next frontline fighter, planning to buy 42 machines at an estimated cost of more than $7 billion.

MORE THAN DOUBLE

Although Japan is the world's sixth-biggest military spender, it often pays more than double other nations for the same equipment because local export-restricted manufacturers can only fill small orders at a high cost.

Removing the ban would stretch its defense purse further as military spending in neighboring China expands.

This year, Beijing raised military outlays by 12.7 percent. That included money for its own stealth fighter, the J-20, which made its maiden flight in January.

In contrast, Japan's defense budget has been shrinking in past years as ballooning costs for social security and servicing its growing debt pile squeeze other spending.

Given fiscal restraints, Tokyo is keen to make its defense program more efficient to maintain its military capability in the face of China's rise and growing uncertainties in the region.

The relaxation of the ban, that has been modified in the past to allow sharing of military technology with the U.S., could also be a boon for Japanese manufacturers as the strong yen weighs on their civilian exports and weak domestic demand and budget constraints restrict growth at home.

Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

Top 10 Most Popular Male Singers in 2011

David Guetta
David Guetta
6. David Guetta
David Guetta was born on 7th November 1967 and he is an amazing DJ, songwriter and record producer he started his career in 1996 and released his first album in 2001 den later he also released some singles called When Love Takes over, Getting Over You, Sexy Bitch, Memories and Little Bad Girl. These are among the top UK charts.

Chris Brown
Chris Brown
7. Chris Brown

Chris Brown was born on 5th May, 1989. This young singer, Songwriter, dancer and actor has gained fame in such a small age. Chris Brown started his career in 2005 and produced many amazing songs like Run it, Kiss Kiss, with you, Beautiful people and Next To You with Justin Bieber. He has been topping the Billboard hot 100 chart. His dance routines have been liked a lot like Michael Jackson. This year is going great for Chris Brown as he still has many songs in the Billboard hot 100 songs.


akon
Akon

8.  Akon
Akon was born on 16th April, 1973; he is an amazing singer and a Song Writer. Akon started his career in 1996 and till now he has been producing awesome songs like Smack That, I Wana Love You and Right Now. He has earned many music Awards like 6 Grammy Awards and has 45 Billboard Hot 100 songs. He has also produced many hits for different other artists like Lady Gaga, Colby O’Donis and Leona Lewis.

Taio Cruz
Taio Cruz
9. Taio Cruz
Taio Cruz was born on 23rd April, 1983 and he is a British singer, songwriter and a rapper. He even wrote, arranged and produced one of his albums in 2008; his huge hits include Dynamite, Break Your Heart, Higher and Telling the World. Since 2002 he has been working hard and has been producing very good music, 2011 is no doubt a great year for him.

usher
Usher
10.  Usher
Usher Terry Raymond IV was born on 14th October, 1978 and he is an amazing dancer, singer and a songwriter. Usher started his career in 1992 and up till now he has been producing amazing music. He has been part of the Billboard top 100 like always, his huge hits include Yeah!, Love in this Club, OMG and DJ Got Us falling in Love, which had been a really huge success and it reached to number four on the Billboard Hot 100. This year 2011 has been an amazing year for Usher and he has won numerous awards including seven Grammy Awards, four World Music Awards, six American Music Awards and twenty two Billboard Music Awards.

News by Tiptopten



Page: 1  2


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


Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

Friday, December 23, 2011

Last Minute Shopping Tips for Guys

Maxim Model
We got some help from an AskMen editor to save your procrastinating ass.

Last year you left your holiday shopping to the last minute. It stressed you out, you spent way more money than you had to, and, as you downed a pitcher of Wild Turkey to numb the pain, you also swore you'd never find yourself in the same hole next year. Well, it's next year!


That’s why us guys at AskMen teamed up with Maxim to tell you how to pull off last-minute shopping like a pro. (The Maxim guys disappeared the moment we mentioned "pitcher of Wild Turkey.")


You Have: 24 Hours Left
Lucky you, a whole day. Your first instinct is to use the Internet -- but you’re wrong. Because you’re so late in the game, you’ve missed the shipping deadline, which means you’ll have to hit the mall. Yes, the mall, where you’ll find yourself spending 20 minutes looking for parking and get stuck in line behind a snot factory masquerading as a five-year-old brat. (Quit, eyeballin' us, you little jerk!) You know what? Suck it up -- it’s the price you pay for leaving it till the eleventh hour.


Focus on one store, like a department store, so you can get in and get out. If you’re shopping for her, things like lingerie -- as long as it’s lingerie for her body type -- will be just fine. In fact, in a survey I took among the women at AskMen, they all said they’d love lingerie. And they’re hot, so it doesn’t get more valid than that. Also, since we know you’ve been hanging on to her every last word this year, getting her favorite author’s latest book or her favorite musician’s latest album works. Sometimes small, thoughtful gestures like these deliver a lot of impact.

You Have: Half A Day Left
Forget about the mall; at this point, all you’ll find left are those I’m-not-putting-out-tonight pajamas. Believe it or not, the local chain drugstore is your best bet. A lot of them sell gift-worthy stuff, like perfumes and beauty products for her (we recommend Lola by Marc Jacobs), and electronics for the guys in your life (tablets, Blu-ray players, digital cameras, etc.). Sure, it may seem unsettling knowing that you’re offering a gift to your loved one from the same place you buy your condoms, but remember: No one’s going to know where that perfume came from.

You Have: Less Than Five Minutes Left
Relax, it’s totally doable -- now’s when you go online and buy things that are for a future date. For example, buying tickets to an upcoming concert or a show she wants to see, or booking a weekend getaway in the new year. Just print out the paperwork, stick it in a card and surprise her with it.

You Have: Zero Minutes Left
For some of you, it’s game over. For the rest, you’ll have to convince her that what you got her is on the way, which usually calls for something extravagant or custom-made. But that’s another article.


News by Maxim


Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Obama Family Photo 2011: All Smiles!

barack obama with family
Barack Obama with family
A brand new family portrait was released on the White House's Flickr feed today (yes, the White House has a Flickr -- how awesome is that?) It seems the president carved out some time to sit, relax and embrace the lovely Obama ladies for the family's second official portrait.

Like the first one, shot by Anne Leibovitz in 2009, Malia and Michelle sat together on one side and Sasha and Barack together on the other. Unlike 2009, however, this picture is all about bright color: Malia in blue, Sasha in purple and Barack in navy and pink (and this time, the president looks a tad more formal in a jacket).

While we don't (yet) know where Michelle got her black cap-sleeve dress, we're loving Malia's navy and black frock from Anthropologie (we know it must fit the tall teen perfectly, considering we tried it on last weekend and it hung well below our knees).

The whole family looks lovely and happy, leaving us with only one little objection...
News by Huffingtonpost




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pull the other one! Chinese actress bares her bra in Beijing when awards show host 'accidentally' stands on her dress

chinese actress
Sun looks down at her gown as it starts to slip
 Chinese actress Sun Feifei has discovered what the TOWIE girls realised months ago... to receive international recognition, all you need to do is flash a bit of cleavage.

Sadly for the TV star, though, her revelation came as a result of an embarrassing red carpet wardrobe malfunction.

Sun was looking stunning in a floor-length white gown as she posed for photographs on the way into the Esquire Awards in Beijing.

But as she turned to enter the building, the evening's host, Fang Ling 'inadvertently' pulled the actress' dress down by standing on the front sash.

Fortunately, Sun was wearing a skin-coloured strapless gown under her dress, and an aide quickly leapt into action hiding Sun's embarrassment behind a large grey blanket.

They write: 'The comedic splaying of Sun's arms and her poorly conveyed mock-surprise, along with the exaggerated look of oops on Fang's face, give us the impression that the whole thing was a planned publicity stunt.'

Besides, this is just the latest in a series of Chinese actresses gaining attention for their chests rather than their acting skills.

Last week, Liu Yuxin set the bar pretty high in a very, very push-up bra which exposed just a touch too much.

News by Dailymail

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Opposition says: Anti-regime Syrian doctor killed

Ibrahim Othman
Dr. Ibrahim Othman
(CNN) -- A Syrian doctor who became one of the country's most wanted men has been killed trying to flee to Turkey, opposition sources said.

Dr. Ibrahim Othman, 26, was a founder of the Damascus Doctors, a network of doctors that secretly treats wounded protesters who are afraid to go to government-run hospitals.

A video purporting to show him dead, and including shots of what appear to be his passport, was posted on YouTube on Saturday. CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the video.

Friends and colleagues described him on a Facebook memorial page as "strong and fearless, with a pure heart."

Well known for his love of pranks, Othman said he was born to help people -- a desire that may have ultimately cost him his life.

In July, he showed CNN a secret treatment center where he works, a tiny room with basic equipment and supplies.

"It's illegal, but this is the only way to treat injured demonstrators," he said.

He knew he was putting his life on the line.

"Yeah, I know that, but the demonstrators, they are risking their life too, so we have to help them," he said.

There was little the Damascus Doctors could do for many of the wounded, he conceded.

"We spend all of our life to help people, and it's so hurtful to see people dying. And we cannot do anything," he said.

Some wounded protesters could be saved if they went to hospitals, Othman said. But there were risks involved.

"They refuse to go the government hospitals because they will be arrested," he said.

The director general of Damascus Hospital rejected that claim.

"We accept all cases without regard as to how the injuries were sustained or where It happened," Dr. Adib Mahmoud said.

But many do not believe it.

"They would detain me if I went to the hospital," said a teenaged patient of Othman's who said his back was cut when Syrian security forces dragged him over broken glass.

In the end, Syrian security caught up with Othman too, his friends and colleagues said -- as he feared they would.

"Every time when I leave home, I say goodbye to my mother," he told CNN when asked in July about the hardest part of his life. "Sometimes I feel I won't be able to come back and see her again."

Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 08, 2011

UK weather: Red warning from Met Office as 100 miles per hour winds close schools in Scotland

People struggle in high winds in Glasgow (Pic: PA)



   











 Glasgow (Pic: PA)

Schools in many parts of Scotland were shut today as the country braced itself for hurricane-force winds.

Winds of up to 100mph have been forecast, with the strongest gusts expected to hit the west of Scotland and the central belt from 12pm, and from 3pm in the east, hitting rush-hour traffic.

The Government warned that travel conditions could be "dangerous" and road users may experience severe delays of several hours or more.

Key travel routes are likely to be closed and severe gales could lead police to advise against all travel, the Scottish Government said.

High waves batter the coastline at Helensburgh (Pic: PA)
High waves batter the coastline at Helensburgh (Pic: PA)

High waves batter the coastline at Helensburgh, Scotland (Pic: PA)

Although Scotland will bear the brunt of the bad weather, other parts of the UK could also be affected by strong winds.

Lindsay Dovey, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "There will be gusts of 100mph in north west Scotland and over high ground. "Gusts of up to 70mph are expected in northern England and north west Wales. "Across central England and East Anglia, we'll have gusts of 55 to 60mph, and up to 55mph in the south of the UK."

Strong winds and high waves batter the coastline at Blackpool (Pic: PA)
Strong winds and high waves batter the coastline at Blackpool (Pic: PA)

A couple walk along a wet and windy promenade in Blackpool (Pic: PA)
A couple walk along a wet and windy promenade in Blackpool (Pic: PA)

She said temperatures would range between 7C, in Scotland, and 13C, in the south of Britain, but added: "It will feel much colder because of the wind." All classes at Glasgow and Strathclyde universities were cancelled, affecting thousands of students. Glasgow Caledonian university was open, but asked students to take travel advice if they planned to come in. The weather also brought disruption to the country's transport network.

The Forth Bridge is expected to close after 3pm as a precaution against the high winds.
The bridge is likely to be closed to high-sided vehicles, motorcycles, pedestrians, and cars with trailers, roof boxes or caravans for much of the day. Drivers were told to "exercise extreme caution" and to check conditions before travelling.

Largs promenade is battered by winds (Pic: Getty Images)
Largs promenade is battered by winds (Pic: Getty Images)

A man walks his dog along the promenade in Largs (Pic: Getty Images)
A man walks his dog along the promenade in Largs (Pic: Getty Images)

Part of the A8 in Renfrewshire was closed between the Langbank roundabout and the Woodhall roundabout in both directions because of flooding.

ScotRail and Network Rail said speed restrictions of 50mph may be put in place from 10am today. Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services to North Uist, Harris, Mull, Islay, Gigha, Coll and Tiree, and Arran were cancelled, and other sailings severely disrupted.

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "The very latest information from the Met Office's chief forecaster shows that we can expect very severe gales, at wind speeds not seen for many years, across large parts of western, central and southern Scotland throughout Thursday.

Rough seas batter the beach in front of Central Pier in Blackpool (Pic: PA)
Rough seas batter the beach in front of Central Pier in Blackpool (Pic: PA)

"On the basis of the earlier red warning from the Met Office, some councils had already taken the precaution of closing schools early to make sure that parents can safely collect children before the most dangerous weather and travel conditions arrive.

"In light of the latest forecast, and in particular the timings which suggest the severe weather affecting the west-central part of the country earlier than originally anticipated, some of these closure timings may have to change.

"The decision is a matter for individual authorities but the warnings are of the highest level of seriousness and we are clear that safety has to be the paramount issue. "Parents should check locally through websites, local radio and with their schools to find out the specific situation with their own schools.

"All commuters are advised that if they can adjust their working pattern to reflect the latest weather and travel advice, or work from home, that would be a very sensible step to help avoid possible traffic disruption.
"The authorities are all working hard to keep Scotland moving." Dumfries and Galloway police warned of hazardous conditions throughout the area, with surface water and flooding on roads.

A spokesman said the A74 in Moffat was particularly bad, with standing water causing delays in both directions. He urged people not to drive and warned conditions will get more dangerous as the day goes on.

A car drives on a flooded road in Glasgow (Pic: PA)
A car drives on a flooded road in Glasgow (Pic: PA)

Water was also building up on the surface of the M8 between Livingston and Hermiston Gait in Edinburgh.
In Stirlingshire, the M9 was also restricted in both directions between junction 9 at Bannockburn and junction 11 at Dunblane because of surface water.

In Tayside, snow closed the Spittal of Glenshee area and flooding is being reported on the A9. ScotRail introduced speed restrictions of 50mph on all trains in case of falling trees and other debris, and damage to overhead power lines.

Steve Montgomery, ScotRail's managing director, said: "We will constantly review weather forecasts and respond accordingly. Our aim is to ensure as robust a service as possible.

"The forecasts are that the peak of the high winds will be in the afternoon and early evening. If that happens, it would be a sensible step to allow more time for journeys, to keep checking our website and where possible, leave work earlier to avoid rush hour."

Trains between Aberdeen and Inverurie, Glasgow and Dunblane, and Edinburgh and Glenrothes were cancelled, while other trains will run less frequently than usual. Glasgow Caledonian University later said it will close "all but vital services" from 12.30pm.

Flooding in Helensburgh, Scotland (Pic: PA)
Flooding in Helensburgh, Scotland (Pic: PA)

Of Scotland's 32 local authorities, Aberdeen City Council, Angus Council, Dundee City Council, Scottish Borders Council, Shetland Islands Council and Orkney Islands Council have no plans to close schools today.
All schools in nine local authorities have closed, with the rest expecting to shut their doors at 12pm.

Weather forecasters said the low pressure over the Western Isles was causing strong winds as far south as Merseyside and north Wales.

Coastal areas will be hardest hit by the westerly wind and gusts have already reached 54mph in Crosby, near Southport, and 56mph in Hawarden, Deeside.

The wind speeds are expected at peak at about 65mph or higher later today. The Highways Agency has issued an "amber alert" in north-west England, warning that the worst wind conditions can be expected in Cumbria.

Officials have closed the A66 between Scotch Corner and Penrith to high-sided vehicles. A spokesman said: "Drivers of these vehicles should seek alternative trans-Pennine routes including the A69 and M62 as well as the A65.

"The Highways Agency has set signs across the regional motorway network, including the M6 to advise drivers of the restriction." The East Coast train company said there were extended journey times on its services north of Edinburgh due to 50mph speed restrictions.

Early morning services from Hull and Harrogate began instead from Doncaster and Leeds respectively, while services north of Newcastle were being provided using diesel trains only. Some services between London and Newcastle were expected to be slower than normal due to speed restrictions.

East Coast's direct service this evening to Hull, Brough and Selby will terminate at Doncaster, while this evening's direct service to Harrogate and Horsforth will terminate at Leeds.

Services operated by the CrossCountry, First TransPennine Express and Virgin train companies were also affected by the speed restrictions as well as flooding which hit services in the Penrith area of Cumbria.

The Erskine Bridge, linking Renfrewshire and Dunbartonshire across the River Clyde, was closed as high winds hit. The Forth Road Bridge, spanning the Firth of Forth between Edinburgh and Fife, was also shut.
The A78, between Skelmorlie and Largs in Ayrshire, was also closed as the carriageway flooded.
As the winds picked up, Glasgow University decided to close until tomorrow.

A spokesman said: "The university of Glasgow has decided to close with immediate effect. The university will open as normal tomorrow, with all scheduled classes and exams going ahead as planned. Exams that were postponed today will be rescheduled for the week beginning January 9."

A number of royal engagements in Scotland and the North East have been cancelled due to the dangerous winds, said a Buckingham Palace spokesman.

The Countess of Wessex has been forced to postpone two visits in County Durham - to the town of Billingham and a meeting in Durham in connection with her role as patron of the Sunderland Association Football Club Foundation.

The spokesman said the bad weather meant her flight to the region had been cancelled but that other travel arrangements had been made and she would still take part in events later this afternoon and evening.

The Duke of Gloucester's day of engagements in Glasgow have all been cancelled and would, apart from a Christmas carol concert at Glasgow Cathedral, be moved to the New Year. The A66 which links County Durham and Cumbria was closed to all vehicles due to the high winds, police said. Roads in Weardale were subject to localised flooding as fellside streams struggled to cope with melting snow and heavy rains.

Strathclyde Police Chief Inspector Stewart Campbell said people should only travel if their journey is essential and advised them to stay indoors.

He said any essential journeys should be planned, and motorists should make sure they have warm clothes and food with them in case they get stuck.

The travel warning stretched across the central belt, from Strathclyde to Lothian and Borders, and also applies to pedestrians who may be at risk of being hit by objects blown by high winds.

Central Scotland Police Assistant Chief Constable Allan Moffat said: "The advice for motorists across the central belt of Scotland is to avoid travel as the severe weather moves across the country from west to east, starting around noon on the west side of the country. It is expected that the impact of the weather will affect the east side of the country from 2pm onwards.

"This advice to avoid travel is not given lightly but is based on the clearest information yet from weather forecasters that there will be high winds with gusts of up to 90mph.

"The time frame for these exceptional conditions is between noon and 7pm and I am being given clear information that a wide area of Scotland will be affected. People could be putting themselves at considerable risk by travelling in these conditions.

"The predicted impact of the wind is such that it may cause structural damage and is a specific danger to high-sided road vehicles. I would ask the public to pay close attention to weather and road updates and act accordingly to the advice given.

"I recognise that this is a significant statement, however it is based upon the premise of ensuring public safety and minimising the risk to road users in the affected areas."


News by Mirror

Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Russians voted on Sunday in a parliamentary election

vote in russia
Vote in Russia
(Reuters) - Russians voted on Sunday in a parliamentary election seen as a test of Vladimir Putin's personal authority before his planned return to the presidency, and an electoral watchdog complained of 'massive cyber attacks' on a website alleging violations.

Putin remains by far the most popular politician in the vast country of more than 140 million people but there are some signs Russians may be wearying of his cultivated strong-man image.

The 59-year-old ex-spy looked stern and said only that he hoped for good results for his ruling United Russia party as he walked past supporters to vote in Moscow.

"I will vote for Putin. Everything he gets involved in, he manages well," said Father Vasily, 61, a white-bearded monk from a nearby monastery. "It's too early for a new generation. They will be in charge another 20 years. We are Russians, we are Asians, we need a strong leadership."

A Western-financed electoral watchdog and two liberal media outlets said their sites had been shut down by hackers intent on silencing allegations of violations. Sites belonging to the Ekho Moskvy radio station, online news portal Slon.ru and the watchdog Golos went down at around 8 a.m.

"Massive cyber attacks are taking place on the sites of Golos and the map showing violations," Golos said on Twitter.

Golos said it was excluded from several polling booths in the Siberian Tomsk region. Moscow prosecutors launched an investigation last week into Golos' activities after lawmakers objected to its Western financing.

On Saturday, customs officers held Golos's director for 12 hours at a Moscow airport and Washington said on Friday it was concerned by "a pattern of harassment" against the watchdog.

Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov wrote on Twitter: "It is obvious the election day attack on the (radio) site is part of an attempt to prevent publishing information about violations."

President Dmitry Medvedev, who is stepping aside next year so that Putin can return to the presidency, has dismissed talk of electoral fraud. Neither the general prosecutor's office nor the Central Election Commission could be reached for comment.

SOME RUSSIANS WEARY OF PUTIN

Some voters said they would vote for Just Russia, which calls itself 'new socialist', or the Communists, who retain support largely among poorer citizens 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union and the advent of a free-market system.

"United Russia has lost touch with reality," said a 30-year-old history teacher in St Petersburg who gave his name only as Alexander. He was planning to switch his vote to the Communists.

Others in Russia's second city said they would vote for liberal, Western-leaning Yabloko.

The biggest liberal opposition group was barred from taking part. One of its co-leaders, former First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, put a big X across the ballot paper and wrote: "Give us back our elections, vermin."

About 30 opposition protesters gathered by the Kremlin screaming: "Your elections are a farce!" through loudspeakers. Twelve were detained by police, Reuters witnesses said.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, voting at a cultural centre decked out with Soviet-style hammer and sickle flags, said there appeared to be election violations in several parts of the country spanning 9,000 km (5,600 miles).

"I just spoke to our people in Siberia and the Far East and the situation is very worrying," he said.

Opinion polls before the vote put Putin's party on course to win a majority but less than the 315 seats it now has in the 450-seat lower house of parliament, the State Duma.

If Putin's party gets less than two-thirds of seats, it would be stripped of its so called constitutional majority which allows it to change the constitution and even approve the impeachment of the president.

PUTIN'S PARTY

Supporters say Putin saved Russia during his 2000-2008 presidency, restoring Kremlin control over sprawling regions and reviving an economy mired in post-Soviet chaos.

His use of military force to crush a rebellion in the southern Muslim region of Chechnya also won him broad support, and security was tight there on election day.

Opposition parties say the election was unfair from the start because of authorities' support for United Russia with cash and television air time.

Putin has no serious personal rivals as Russia's leader. He remains the ultimate arbiter between the clans which control the world's biggest energy producer.

But his party has had to fight against opponents who have branded it a collection of "swindlers and thieves" and combat a growing sense of unease among voters at Putin's grip on power.

"I shall not vote. I shall cross out all the parties on the list and write: 'Down with the party of swindlers and thieves,'" said Nikolai Markovtsev, an independent deputy in the Vladivostok city legislature on the Pacific seaboard.

"These are not elections: this is sacrilege," he said.

Opponents say Putin has crafted a brittle political system which excludes independent voices and that Russians are growing tired of Putin's swaggering image.

Putin is almost certain to win the March 4 presidential election and could extend his rule until 2024 if he wins the maximum two more terms, but signs of disenchantment are worrying for the Kremlin's political managers.

Sports fans booed and whistled at Putin at a Moscow martial arts fight last month -- an exceptional event in a country inclined to show respect and restraint towards leaders..

($1 = 30.8947 Russian roubles)


Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wall St. rallies on central banks' help for Europe

central bank
Central Bank
(Reuters) - Stocks surged on Wednesday after major central banks agreed to make cheaper dollar loans for struggling European banks to prevent the euro-zone debt woes from turning into a full-blown credit crisis.

The Dow posted its best day since March 2009 after the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and other major central banks stepped in to head off escalating funding pressures that threaten the key arteries of the world's financial system.

The S&P 500 scored its best daily percentage gain since August.

The central banks' liquidity move touched off a buying frenzy in financial shares. The S&P financial sector index gained 6.6 percent, with Bank of America the most actively traded stock. The stock jumped 7.3 percent to $5.44 on more than 420 million shares traded.

The drama in Europe kept the U.S. stock market on a roller-coaster ride throughout the month. For November, the S&P ended down just 0.5 percent, but the month was marked by sharp daily swings.

"You don't have to fix everything, you have to be on a path towards fixing things," said Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. equity strategist at Citigroup in New York.

"Markets will reward you for the efforts you are making as long as you are moving in the right direction. It's the carrot and the stick; you get rewarded when you do the right thing, and you get punished when you do the wrong thing."

The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 490.05 points, or 4.24 percent, to end at 12,045.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index jumped 51.77 points, or 4.33 percent, to 1,246.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index soared 104.83 points, or 4.17 percent, to close at 2,620.34.

The Dow scored its largest daily gain -- in terms of points and percentage -- since March 23, 2009.

The S&P 500 posted its best daily percentage advance since August 11.

For the month, the Dow gained 0.8 percent, while the Nasdaq slid 2.4 percent.

Other economically sensitive sectors, including energy, materials and industrials, also were strong performers for the day.

Copper and oil futures rose sharply, while the S&P materials sector index jumped 5.9 percent.

The central banks' actions were intended to ensure that European banks, facing a credit crunch, have enough funding amid the euro zone's worsening sovereign debt crisis.

The moves followed an unexpected cut in bank reserve requirements in China, intended to boost an economy running at its weakest pace since 2009.

Among the banks, shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co gained 8.4 percent to $30.97, its biggest daily percentage gain since May 2009.

The gains in financial shares came despite Standard & Poor's move to cut the credit ratings of 15 big banks, mostly in Europe and the United States, late on Tuesday.

Further encouraging investors, the latest U.S. data suggested the U.S. economy was moving more solidly toward recovery. The U.S. private sector added the most jobs in nearly a year in November, while business activity in the U.S. Midwest grew faster than expected in November.

The day's volume was high, with nearly 10 billion shares changing hands during the day on U.S. exchanges compared with the daily average of 7.96 billion shares.

Advancers beat decliners on the NYSE by nearly 7 to 1 and on the Nasdaq, by about 5 to 1.

Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NATO blunder in the northwest, Islamabad closes the "Khyber Pass"

pakistan
Pakistani Soldiers
AFP - Pakistan said Saturday it would review all its agreements with Washington and NATO, especially in the diplomatic, military and intelligence, following the worst blunder of Westerners in Pakistan in a decade, which killed 26 soldiers. Following an extraordinary meeting of its main leaders, the Pakistani government has also ordered the Americans to withdraw within 15 days of the Shamsi air base, located in south-western Pakistan, and closed all supply routes for NATO in Afghanistan from its territory. The ministers and heads the largest of the army attended Saturday's meeting of the Committee for the Defence of the Government (DCC) under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, said the latter's office.

"The DCC decided to close with immediate effect logistic supply routes to NATO / ISAF (the NATO force in Afghanistan)," the source said. The vast majority of these supplies arrive by boat to Pakistan in Karachi (south), the country's main port, before being sent to Afghanistan by road. "The DCC has also decided to ask the U.S. to leave within fifteen days of the Shamsi air base" that would be used by the CIA as part of its drone strikes in Pakistani tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Moreover, "the DCC decided that the government would completely rethink all its programs, activities and cooperation agreements with the United States, NATO and ISAF, including diplomatic, political, military and intelligence" announced Gilani's office.

Pakistan has accused NATO of killing up to 26 Pakistani soldiers in an attack before dawn Saturday in one of the tribal areas, the main rear base for Taliban insurgents and Al Qaeda who regularly attack NATO on Afghan soil. According to Islamabad, NATO helicopters bombed a Pakistani military post Baize, in the tribal district of Khyber. "They killed 26 soldiers and wounded 14," he told AFP Masood Kausar, the governor of KPK, Northwest Province of Pakistan, before paying tribute to the "martyrs". In the evening, a spokesman for ISAF, General German Carsten Jacobson, said Afghan forces and NATO operating in the Afghan province of Kunar called for air support had and it was " very likely that the air support (...) has caused losses "in Pakistan.

The officer assured that ground troops were now near the Pakistani border. Denouncing "a serious breach Pakistan's sovereignty and a violation of international law", Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has protested "in the strongest terms" with NATO and the United States, who lead the ISAF , providing the two-thirds of his troops. Gilani interrupted his weekend to return to Islamabad and talks with President Asif Ali Zardari and the leaders of the powerful army which has denounced an attack "deliberate" and "unacceptable." The Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan for his part believed that the attack would strengthen the anti-American sentiment among his compatriots.

The U.S. ambassador in Islamabad Cameron Munter, meanwhile, said his country would work "closely with Islamabad to investigate this incident." Pakistan has repeatedly criticized in recent years for violations of its airspace by ISAF. The latest crisis began in September 2010. Islamabad had then accused the force of killing three Pakistani soldiers and blocked the supply trucks of NATO for almost two weeks, until Washington apologizes. The United States regularly bombed the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the tribal areas with drone raids Islamabad denounces as lip service, as long as they do not kill many civilians.

Americans regularly accuse their ally Pakistan playing a double game and secretly supporting the Taliban to defend its strategic interests in Afghanistan, where NATO plans to withdraw all its combat troops by the end of 2014 . Already stormy relations between the two countries soured after the unilateral U.S. operation in which killed the head of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden last May in Abbottabad, a garrison town in Northern Pakistan.



Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

Friday, November 25, 2011

In Vote in Morocco, Many Stay Skeptical

morocco
Vote in Morocco
CASABLANCA, Morocco — Yassine Bousalim, a 26-year-old chef from the poor neighborhood of Derb Sultan, where lingering smells of garbage fill the air, watched voters come and go on Friday from the polling station across the street, with an air of disgusted detachment.

“I won’t go and vote,” he said. “I just don’t think anything will come out of this.”

Mr. Bousalim is among the many young and disenchanted Moroccans who chose not to vote in their country’s first parliamentary elections since the passage of a new Constitution last year. That document, an effort by King Mohammed VI to respond to local and regional unrest during the Arab Spring, was approved in July. It gives more powers to Parliament and the prime minister, but preserves most of the king’s prerogatives, including absolute control over military and religious issues.

“Corruption is too big,” said Mr. Bousalim, one of about 57 percent of the 13.5 million eligible voters who are under the age of 35. “Each time we are confronted to an institution, we want to be treated with respect,” he said. Results are expected Saturday.

In contrast to Tunisia, where millions flooded to the polls to vote last month on the first free elections after the overthrow of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the turnout here is expected to be lower. Still, this election is being watched closely as a significant and calibrated step toward democracy. The Tunisian elections were won by the main Islamist party, Ennahda.

The Interior Ministry said that by 5 p.m., two hours before polls closed, about 34 percent of registered voters had cast ballots.

But the change here may still be significant. The Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) is expected to do well, it could even become the country’s largest party and, in a coalition government, provide the next prime minister, who will have the power to appoint ministers and dissolve Parliament.

“We believe that we will be the No. 1 party,” said Abdelilah Benkirane, the PJD’s general-secretary in an interview. “Therefore the prime minister will be from our party,” he said.

The PJD was founded in 1998 and is the largest opposition party, with 47 seats in Parliament. It has broadly appealed to Morocco’s large numbers of poor voters by focusing on economic and social issues. It has paid attention to the success in Turkey of the governing AK Party, which has fused religion and modern politics.

“They want the best for the country,” said Iman Bajebour, 20, who took a break from her work as a nurse to cast a ballot for the PJD in Derb Gharaf, a poor neighborhood here. “From my prospective, the PJD will fight corruption,” she said.

But some Moroccans are nervous that the party would back anti-Western policies if brought to power. Last week, the French-language weekly “Tel Quel” splashed the headline, “Morocco will be Islamist,” across its cover.

Other main contenders out of the many parties seeking seats include the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM), created in 2009 out of several smaller parties by a close friend of the king, and Istiqlal, the historic party of independence, founded in 1944, and currently in power.

For some Moroccans voters, though, the elections could consolidate the king’s recent democratic push.

“I think it is the duty of citizens to come and vote,” said Marwan Sayarh, a 30-year-old businessman who voted for the first time. “Morocco is becoming more democratic and I want to support it.”

The country’s loyalty to King Mohamed VI, who has been in power since 1999 and has responded this year to calls for democratic change, contrasted with the revolts against secular nationalist governments in Egypt and Tunisia.

“We are on a path of continuity, mobilization, and of coherence,” said Salaheddine Mezzouar, the country’s finance minister and head of the moderate RNI party, a prominent political force in the country. Some commentators have speculated that he could be prime minister.

Analysts say that given Morocco’s complex proportional electoral system and the few requirements for aspiring candidates and parties — there are 5,873 candidates from more than 30 parties — it is unlikely that one party would emerge with a majority.

But discontent toward the political elite is real among voters here, and some social activists have called for a boycott of the vote. The February 20 Movement for Change, which led the protests against the government this year, is urging its supporters not to vote.

Mr. Bousalim, the chef, said he was tempted to join the February 20 movement because “they would really help.” But he fears police retaliation, which according to Human Rights Watch, detained more than 100 of its members since October to question them about the distribution of pro-boycott leaflets or other activities.

The February 20 movement is a hybrid and youthful coalition of students, independents, leftist activists and Islamists. It has held regular demonstrations and played a key role in pushing reforms and orchestrating protests against political corruption. It favors a constitutional monarchy, in which the king reigns but does not rule. But Morocco is conservative and the monarchy has deep roots, and the February 20 movement has been criticized outside the large cities.

The movement has denounced the king’s reforms as insufficient and argues that the new Constitution in fact reinforces the king’s prerogatives. Parliamentary elections would bring another corrupt assembly to power, they say.

Fouad Abdelmoumni, an economist and a leading coordinator of the movement, said that the king “still has the main authority in his hands.”

“The conditions for democracy are not there,” he said. 

News by NYTimes


Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com

Euro loses vs dollar for fourth straight week

euro
Euro VS Dollar
(Reuters) - The euro fell to its lowest in more than seven weeks against the U.S. dollar on Friday and was poised to weaken further after a disappointing Italian bond auction stoked fears the euro zone crisis was deepening.

Italy paid a record 6.5 percent to borrow money over six months on Friday and its longer-term funding costs soared far above levels that are seen as sustainable. The rise in borrowing costs came even as the European Central Bank bought bonds in the secondary market.

Standard & Poor's added to those worries after the rating agency lowered Belgium's rating by a notch to AA and placed its credit outlook on negative.

Signs the euro zone debt crisis was threatening the region's biggest economies such as France and Germany have raised fears of a breakup of the 17-member currency bloc. Policymakers remained in disagreement over how to resolve the crisis, with Germany opposed to joint euro zone bonds and a bigger role for the ECB.

"There appears to be no credible plan in sight to solve the euro zone debt crisis. It shows that there are legs to the market view that the euro zone might be dismantled," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Travelex Global Payments in Washington.

The euro fell 0.9 percent to $1.3226, having dropped as low as $1.3210, its lowest since October 4, according to Reuters data.

The U.S. Labor Department's monthly jobs data is due next Friday and if they fall short of expectations, the euro should retrace its four straight weeks of decline against the greenback.

"If we get a negative surprise, that could make the dollar vulnerable," Manimbo said.

Key support for the euro lies around $1.3144, the euro's October low, followed by $1.3045, the 61.8 percent retracement of its 2010-2011 rally.

The euro lost 2.1 percent this week after poor demand at a German bond auction on Wednesday.

Bidding for Italian debt was also lackluster on Friday. Italy's two-year yield rose to a euro-era high above 8 percent and 10-year yields traded above 7 percent, a level that is seen as unsustainable.

"The Italian auction was a disgrace this morning, It was worse than what the market had expected," said Thomas Molly, chief dealer at FX Solutions at Saddle River, New Jersey.

Belgian bonds also succumbed to pressure ahead of auctions next week. The 10-year Belgian government note yield edged up to 5.89 percent on Friday, up 3 basis points on the day and up almost 100 basis points on the week.

Strains in the money market for euro zone banks added to investor concerns. The euro/dollar one-year cross currency basis swap, which widens when lenders charge more for swapping euro interest payments on an underlying asset into dollars, was at minus 104 basis points -- close to expensive levels of minus 115 basis points in late 2008.

SWISS FRANC TUMBLES

The dollar rose versus a currency basket to its highest since early October at 79.702 .DXY as investors raised their holdings of the U.S. currency, undercutting the bids for Swiss franc.

"Unless we see firm action from European authorities, the market is betting the worst is about to happen and the dollar is therefore well bid on demand for liquidity," said Jane Foley, currency strategist at Rabobank.

Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.9 percent to 77.74 after hitting a two-week high of 77.79, according to Reuters data.

The euro hit a seven-week low of 102.46 yen based on Reuters data, before rebounding to 102.90, flat on the day.

The Swiss franc tumbled against the dollar and euro on speculation the Swiss National Bank may raise the ceiling on euro/Swiss franc from the current 1.20 level.

The dollar last traded up 1.2 percent at 0.9308 Swiss franc after approaching an 8-month high at 0.9330. It was on track for a gain of 1.3 percent this week, its fourth straight weekly advance.

The euro rose 0.4 percent to 1.2315 francs, after hitting a session high of 1.2380.

Read current news at http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com