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Showing posts with label daily news and world. Show all posts
Showing posts with label daily news and world. Show all posts

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Franco Harris Defends Joe Paterno in Child Sex Abuse Scandal

franco harris
Franco Harris
Pittsburgh Steeler great Franco Harris, who played college ball at Penn State, today defended his former coach, Joe Paterno, who lost his job over the child sex abuse case that has rocked the university.

Harris was one of a stream of supporters who visited Paterno at his home in State College, Pa., today.

When he came out of the Paterno house, Harris said he doesn’t understand why Paterno is being portrayed the way he is, that he did what he should have done in the case.

Paterno told investigators that when a graduate student told him in 2002 that he had seen former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in the gym showers with a young boy, he in turn informed university officials.

Investigators say those officials never passed on the report to police to investigate.

Since Sandusky was arrested on Nov. 5, charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period.

Two university officials have also been arrested on perjury charges, and University President Graham Spanier and Paterno both lost their jobs.

The children Sandusky allegedly abused were all connected to his Second Mile charity, which was supposed to give at-risk children a chance to improve their lives through sports.

Harris, along with Cal Ripken Jr., Arnold Palmer and Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid have all been listed as honorary directors of the charity.

News by ABC

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Morocco: Marrakech palm grove threatened by the excesses of tourism

palm tree
Palm tree
AFP - The Millennium vast palm grove of Marrakech in southern Morocco, is in great danger: water scarcity, urbanization, tourism projects and pharaonic golf course threaten the survival of this oasis, an ambitious program of conservation attempts back. Ten centuries after his birth, the palm, one of the most beautiful of Morocco, is now suffering the devastating combination of man and climate. This oasis full of hundreds of thousands of palm trees growing on 16,000 hectares, has lost 30% of its area over the past two decades, according to experts.

The introduction in recent years in the heart of the palm, and in disregard of the environment, major tourism projects, which "pump a lot" of water, promotes the degradation of the plantations and deteriorating ecological balance, they said. "Tourism projects, despite all the positives they generate, are pumping a lot. This has a negative effect on the ecological balance", told AFP Laftouhi Nour-Eddine, hydrogeologist at the Faculty of Marrakech. "Personally, I consider irrational proliferation of golf courses as a crime," he laments.

Nicknamed the "Red City" for the particular color of its houses, Marrakech is the most popular site for tourists and Moroccans. Fortunately for the walker-loving nature, the snowy mountains that surround the city and can be admired from the city center, is a picture postcard. But the city now has ten golf courses, including two in one palm, and a dozen others waiting to leave, even if they use a lot of water. The success of tourism this place that even the famous Club Med is deployed with three pools and golf inside the grove. A stark contrast to that remembers that the very name of this city, dating from 1062 and built by Youssef Ibn Tachfin, first ruler of the Almoravid dynasty, encouraged to dream.

"Marrakech" come from the Berber word "love" which means "country" and "Akouche" which means "god", giving "the land of God" or "holy land" or, as another dialect etymology "rangelands." This dream seems vanished at a time when the city has nearly a million people with an impressive number of hotels, swimming pools and a multitude of riads (traditional houses built around a courtyard). Part of riads have been bought and renovated by the Moroccan-born or wealthy foreigners, pushing the less advantaged population to the outside of the city. This sad state of affairs gives rise to feelings of bitterness and nostalgia for the people of the palm, fewer and fewer.

"The source went here where I stand. Before, there was a stream. There was a spring there, another next to it. Everywhere the place was full of sources. But the day they began to build villas and hotels, the water is gone. It's over, "indignant Boujemaa, a resident of the palm. To protect the grove, an extensive program was launched by local authorities in 2007, aiming to plant 430,000 palm trees in a year. "Thanks to the central waste water treatment, opened in 2010, and wells that are already operational, large quantities of water available," said Abdelilah Mdidech, the program director for the Protection of the palm, led by Mohammed VI Foundation for the environment. Hundreds of workers are busy day for planting new palm trees and maintain those who are aging.

"It is already in 415,292 young palms planted (...) and there, the young shoots have a good recovery, with green leaves and a good crown," says Mdidech. The latter claims to be "realistic but optimistic": "I know we can not afford, especially in water, into a verdant grove. We must be realistic." "But with this project, I can say it will be saved. I am optimistic."




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Obama ready to show unbelievers the hospital where he was born

Barack Obama
Barack Obama
AFP - U.S. President Barack Obama joked Saturday about the controversy surrounding his birthplace, enjoying his return to Honolulu, her hometown, to offer unbelievers to show them the hospital where he was born. "I want to thank our hosts for their warm hospitality Hawaiian," Obama said to an audience of business leaders meeting in the margins of the Forum of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec). "As many of you know, this is my birthplace," said Bush. "I know that the thing has been challenged for a while, but I can show you the hospital, if you want to check it out," he said as the laughter and applause from the audience.

Obama has had to resolve in April to publicly release a copy of their birth certificate establishing that he was born in Honolulu Aug. 4, 1961, following a controversy fueled by growing some of his opponents. The latter asserted that Mr. Obama, born of Kenyan father, was not born on American soil and therefore could not claim to be President of the United States. Obama also joked about the formalism of the APEC summit that was held to organize in his hometown with the leaders of 21 Pacific Rim countries. "I must say that after all the years I spent in Hawaii, is the first time I find myself wearing a suit," he said.

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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Bhupen Hazharika died after prolonged illness

Bhupen
Bhupen Hazarika
Popular musicians, singers and cultural Bhupen Hazharika have died after prolonged illness. He was 86. Dada Saheb Falke Award winner Hazharika was being treated at a hospital in Mumbai.

Jayanta Narayan Saha media in charge of the hospital said, "at evening many parts of the body stopped working,after four and a half hours she was dead."

Hazharika had trouble breathing, the both kidney was damaged and was placed on dialysis.

Hazarika was best known for his folk songs and ballads, sung in a number of Indian languages, but he also sang and wrote music for hundreds of films.

He was known as the Bard of Brahmaputra after the river flowing through his native Assam state in eastern India.

"As a child, I grew up listening to tribal music - its rhythm saw me developing an inclination towards singing," he said in an interview.

"Perhaps, I inherited my singing skills from my mother, who sang lullabies to me." he said.

He was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Indian cinema's highest honour, for his contribution to film music.

He had a PhD in communication from Columbia University in New York.

News by BBC

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The World's Most Powerful: The 70 People Who Matter

The World's Most Powerful: The 70 People Who Matter
The World's Most Powerful: The 70 People Who Matter


Obama become the first. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin came second in this annual ranking, followed by Chinese President Hu Jintao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

President Barack Obama(No. 1) regained the top spot on Forbes' third annual ranking of "The 70 Most Powerful People In The World" (p. 99), having lost it last year to Chinese President Hu Jintao (No. 3). Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is No. 2, followed by Jintao, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (No. 4) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-chair Bill Gates (No. 5). Rounding out the Top 10 are Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud(No. 6), Pope Benedict XVI (No. 7), U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke (No. 8), Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (No. 9) and UK Prime Minister David Cameron (No. 10).

Among the 14 newcomers to the list are Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (No. 14), OPEC President Rostam Ghasemi (No. 32), IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde (No. 39), Apple CEO Tim Cook (No. 58), New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson (No. 64) and House Speaker John Boehner (No. 67).

Four factors were taken into account to select the 70 people that matter from the 7 billion people on the planet: how many people they have power over; the financial resources they control; if they have influence in more than one sphere; and how actively they wield their power to change the world. Case in point is Bill Gates, who is changing the world again, through vaccines. The issue's cover feature, "The Power To Save Lives" (p. 88),explores Gates' vaccine-based giving and plan to eradicate disease. He's saving millions of lives and helping to solve the global population problem.

Forbes asked an elite group of experts – including TED's Chris Anderson, Teach For America's Wendy Kopp, LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, among others – to each pick seven people who matter most to them. Among the ten people who fell off the list this year are Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Julian Assange and Oprah Winfrey. For the full list, complete methodology and associated features, visit: www.forbes.com/power.

New by Forbes


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Friday, October 28, 2011

Renault wins an order for 15,600 electric vehicles

kangoo
KANGOO
AFP - Renault won Friday most of the mega-French control of electric vehicles, with 15,600 trucks, far ahead of PSA Peugeot Citro├źn as part of the purchase made by the State, private companies and local authorities. The diamond brand will deliver 15,637 Kangoo ZE over a period of four years, while PSA was awarded a second batch of 3,074 copies for its small car Peugeot Ion, according to a joint statement from the Ministries of Ecology, Economy and Finance and Industry. This announcement is timely for Renault, which has relied heavily on the electric Kangoo ZE whose first arrived that day in the concessions.

The bulk order launched in 2009 provided for a third batch of four to five urban places, which has not yet been assigned. It "helped to organize and unite the needs of public enterprises, 18 enterprises of different status (ADP, Air France, Areva, Bouygues, EDF, ERDF, Eiffage, France Telecom Orange, GDF Suez, Suez Environment, GRT Gaz , GrDF, RATP, SAUR, SNCF, SPIE, Vinci and Veolia), local and state, "said the ministries in their statement. The French government shows its commitment to its automotive industry one of the pioneer vehicles' carbon-free ".

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"The blond angel of death", Alfredo Astiz, sentenced to life imprisonment

alfredo astiz
Alfredo Astiz
REUTERS - Alfredo Astiz, known as the "Blond Angel of Death", and 11 others were sentenced Wednesday to life imprisonment in Argentina at the end of a trial-river on the crimes of the dictatorship in the 1970s. Alfredo Astiz and other members of death squads were tried for crimes committed at the Graduate School of Mechanical Argentine Navy (ESMA), where some 5,000 dissidents were imprisoned and tortured under the dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. Few prisoners were released alive. After this trial of 22 months, during which 79 survivors testified, 12 defendants have been jailed for life while four others were sentenced to terms ranging from 18 to 25 years in prison.

Among those sentenced to life imprisonment figure including Jorge Acosta, nicknamed "the Tiger", who said during the trial that "violations of human rights are inevitable in war." Despite the cold night, hundreds of people gathered outside the court in Buenos Aires, himself crowded to hear the trial. Some brandished portraits of the victims. The crowd applauded the verdict of each statement. "We can finally live in peace, knowing that justice has been done," said a woman at an Argentine television network. The insults have rockets against Alfredo Astiz when his sentence was announced. Once all the judgments, the crowd began to dance, some crying, some kissing.

Former naval officer Alfredo Astiz had boasted of his crimes in an interview in 1998 in a magazine. He was then presented as "the best trained man in Argentina to kill journalists and politicians". "I regret nothing", he had also said.

Infiltration During the dictatorship, he infiltrated the organizations defending human rights which the members were then removed. He was sentenced in absentia in France for the kidnapping of two French nuns imprisoned in the ESMA, the most famous of the secret prisons of the military dictatorship. It is estimated that only 200 people survived the prisons located in this military school. Most of the 5,000 other prisoners were drugged, put in planes and dumped at sea.

While the prisoners were held for hours, some for years, under the eaves of the residence the officers of the ESMA, the latter continued to live a normal life in the lower floors.

Organizations defending human rights to 30,000 deaths estimate the number of victims of six years of dictatorship in Argentina. After the fall of the military regime of former junta members were convicted before being granted amnesty. Alfredo Astiz himself has tried to resume a normal life. He has been photographed in nightclubs or its resorts. Become a symbol of the crimes of the dictatorship, however, he was assaulted several times in public.

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Argentina has returned to the amnesty laws at the request of then President Nestor Kirchner, Cristina Fernandez, whose widow has just been re-elected to head the country. Since then, the Argentine courts sentenced several former officers for violations of human rights. Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez met as students in the 1970s. Many of their friends were abducted and murdered at this time because of their political activities.

The UN mandate ends the intervention in Libya

libyan victory
Victory, Libya
AFP - The Security Council of the United Nations ended Thursday to warrant the use of force in Libya, seven months after the start of the intervention against the Gaddafi regime, despite calls from the transitional government of Libya for its extension. A Council resolution adopted unanimously, ends the no-fly zone and the authorization of the use of force to protect civilians, as of 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time Jamahiriya) on October 31. For its part, NATO, which had supported the military operations, is scheduled to meet Friday in Brussels to formally declare the end of the air strikes despite calls from the new regime.

The National Transitional Council (CNT) on Wednesday urged the continuation of NATO in Libya at least "until the end of the year", ensuring that even after the death of his last loyal Muammar Gaddafi represented a threat to the country. The resolution of the Security Council reduces the international embargo on arms, so that the CNT can acquire to ensure national security. The CNT declared the "liberation" formal Libya on October 23, three days after the death of Muammar Gaddafi. The green light of the Security Council in February and March for a military exclusion zone and air strikes had divided the fifteen member countries. Russia, China, South Africa, Brazil and India have accused NATO of overstepping the mandate they were given.

The Ambassador of France to the United Nations Gerard Araud expressed "pride" of his country for taking part in the operations. "It was the liberation of Libya with the support of all countries who wanted to be part of this wonderful experience," he told reporters. But the Security Council remained divided until the end. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that the two resolutions had been overridden. He spoke of "number of violations" of the resolutions and said that "lessons must be learned" in the Security Council after the military strikes that lasted seven months and have been instrumental in the fall of Gaddafi. 'Let history judge, "replied Mr. Araud. U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice spoke on the same mode. The resolution "concludes that history will judge as a chapter in which the Security Council can be proud," she said.

It welcomed the "prospect of a free and participatory Libya with the participation of all people, regardless of gender and religion." "The end of the no-fly zone and provisions to protect civilians shows that Libya has entered a new era," said British Foreign Minister, William Hague in a statement welcoming the resolution as a "another important step towards a peaceful and democratic future for Libya." In its resolution, the Council reiterates the need for a transition period "oriented commitment to democracy, good governance, the practice of law, national reconciliation and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Libya.”
Without explicit reference to vague terms of the death of Colonel Gaddafi, the Fifteen "urge the Libyan authorities to refrain from reprisals, including arbitrary detention (and) the extra-judicial executions." Click here to find out more!

Saudi: Nayef named Crown Prince a week after the death of his brother

prince nayef bin abdul aziz
Prince Nayef, Saudi Arabia
AFP - The Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, 78, was appointed Thursday by a decree of the royal cabinet of the new crown prince oil rich kingdom, one week after the death of his brother, Prince Sultan. Prince Nayef was also confirmed in his post as interior minister and appointed Deputy Prime Minister, becoming the first in the order of succession in the country. According to the decree issued by state television, the king decided to appoint "Prince Nayef Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior."

Prince Nayef, who was second deputy prime minister, succeeds Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, whose death occurred last Friday in the United States and was buried Tuesday in Riyadh. King Abdullah briefed the "Council of allegiance", a small board of the ruling family of Al Saud, of its decision and asked its members, numbering 35, to "pledge allegiance to Prince Nayef," now heir the throne, it is written in the order.

Minister of Interior for nearly four decades, it has emerged as a bastion of Al-Saud dynasty, overseeing the fight against al Qaeda but also raging against all forms of opposition. The "Council of allegiance" was created as a result of a reform of the system introduced in 2006 in succession to ensure a peaceful transition of power in this ultra-conservative Gulf monarchy, the first world oil power.


The decree did not mention the post of defense minister, left vacant after the death of Crown Prince disappeared. He had held this position since 1962 and oversaw the modernization of the armed forces of the kingdom, very concerned about its stability. An appointment to head the Defense Ministry is awaited with interest by politicians who believe that the eventual choice to this strategic position of a prince of the third generation of Al-Saud would be an indicator of a desire for rejuvenation of direction until captured by the seventies or eighties son of the founder of the kingdom, King Ibn Saud. Thus, King Abdullah, 87, had left a hospital Saturday in Riyadh after back surgery that had been to "correct a stabilizing ligament laxity around the third vertebra," the day of the death of Prince Sultan.

The king had already taken place in November 2010 in New York for a herniated disc, complicated by a hematoma, and then underwent a second operation in early December. The U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, came Thursday in Riyadh at the head of a major civil and military delegation to offer condolences of the United States after the death of Prince Sultan, left in the evening the Saudi capital without meeting with King Abdullah , it was U.S. source said. By entering Tuesday's funeral the Crown Prince, King Abdullah appeared tired: he wore a medical mask and asked sitting on a chair while the prayer for the dead is traditionally stood before the remains of the deceased.

Prince Nayef was quoted by the official SPA news agency, then said he tried in vain to dissuade the king to attend the funeral "out of concern for his health." "But when you know the place occupied by Sultan home, we understand" his insistence to attend, he said.

China says to launch unmanned space-docking craft

China says to launch unmanned space-docking craft
Launch unmanned space-docking craft

(Reuters) - China said on Wednesday it will launch within weeks its first spacecraft capable of docking with a module it put into orbit last month, in what will mark a crucial test of its growing space program.

The unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, carried by the Long March-2F rocket, will blast off in early November, state media reported, and will later try to dock with the Tiantong-1, or "Heavenly Palace-1" space laboratory module China launched in September.

Officials with China's space program have said the docking tests will provide experience for the building of a permanent manned space station around 2020.

It is also the latest in a long string of Chinese space launches that have burnished national pride, as budget restraints and shifting priorities have held back U.S. manned space launches.

The official Xinhua news agency did not give a specific date for the launch, but said the craft was being transported to the remote Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert.

Beijing is still far from catching up with space superpowers. Russia, the United States and other countries jointly operate the International Space Station, a group to which China does not belong.

The United States will not test a new rocket to take people into space until 2017. Russia has said manned missions are no longer a priority for its space program, which has struggled with delays and glitches.

China launched its second moon orbiter last year after it became only the third country to send its astronauts walking in space outside their orbiting craft in 2008.

It plans an unmanned moon landing and deployment of a moon rover in 2012, and the retrieval of lunar soil and stone samples around 2017. Scientists have talked about the possibility of sending a man to the moon after 2020.

China is also jostling with neighbors Japan and India for a bigger presence in space, but its plans have faced international wariness. Beijing says its aims are peaceful, and that the involvement of its military is natural given the magnitude of the undertaking.

- Volatile -

pigeons
Pigeons
AFP - Dozens of pigeons in Srinagar in the north west India.

Israel and Egypt are preparing for a prisoner exchange

israel
Israel-Egypt
AFP - Israel and Egypt were preparing Thursday to a exchange of prisoners between Israeli-American citizen accused of spying Ilan Grapelli and 25 Egyptians detained in Israel. The exchange is expected Thursday afternoon. The Israeli authorities will carry on the bus the prisoners to Egyptian Taba, a border to the Egyptian Sinai, while Ilan Grapelli, 27, will be repatriated to Israel by plane from Cairo. The Egyptian prisoners were imprisoned for drug trafficking, weapons or illegal infiltrations into Israeli territory. Among them are three children who had infiltrated into Israel, told AFP Siwan Weizman, spokesman for the prison administration.

They were gathered Thursday morning in a Beer Sheva prison pending their transfer to Eilat in southern Israel. They will then be transported to Taba where they should arrive at 5:00 p.m. (1500 GMT), said the spokesman. At the same time, the plane carrying Ilan Grapelli, who was arrested four months ago in Cairo, fly to the Egyptian capital to Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. According to Israeli media, the device landed around 18:00 local. Ilan Grapelli will then be brought to Jerusalem where he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday before leaving for New York.

The Egyptian prisoners will be entitled to receive offficielle in a hotel in Taba which must involve the Governors of North and South Sinai, as well as representatives of the Bedouin community living on the peninsula. The Israeli Supreme Court rejected the appeals on Wednesday night against the exchange by a party of the extreme right by claiming that it did not intervene in a decision under political power. Ilan Grapelli, who holds dual Israeli and American citizenship, was presented by the Egyptian authorities as a "Mossad officer" seeking to "undermine the economic and political interests of the country." He was accused of coming to Egypt at the beginning of the revolt that caused the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak to "incite chaos and sectarian strife."

Israel has denied all these allegations by talking "error" on the part of Egypt. This exchange of prisoners came after the one that led to the release last week of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit held for more than five years in the Gaza Strip in exchange for a first contingent of 477 Palestinian prisoners.

Lung cancer: an X-ray does not reduce the annual mortality.

lung cancer
Lung cancer
AFP - The annual radiographs of the chest do not reduce mortality from lung cancer, according to a large clinical study presented Wednesday to the United States that shows the futility of this procedure. "These results provide strong evidence that there is no substantial gain in survival for people with lung cancer with an annual x-ray of their lungs," write the authors of the research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) dated November 2. It is published on Wednesday in the online edition of JAMA because of his presentation that day at the annual conference of the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST 2011) held from October 22 to 26 in Honolulu (Hawaii).

The study was conducted in the United States from November 1993 to July 2001 by Dr. Martin Oken of the University of Minnesota (north) with a group of 154,901 participants aged 55-74 years, of which only half was chosen at random to undergo annual radiography of their lungs for four years. The other group was the subject of examinations and routine medical care. Participants in both groups were similar with an equal proportion of men and women. Each of these groups were also 45% of never smokers, former smokers 42% and 10% still smoking. During a follow-up period of 13 years ended in 2009, these researchers have diagnosed lung cancers in 1696 the group subjected to an X-ray and annual 1620 in the control group.

Mortality rates that resulted from these cancers observed in both groups over the 13 years were almost identical with 1213 deaths among those who have had an x-ray and 1,230 deaths annually in the control group. 

The distribution of different types of tumors in both groups was also similar with 41% of adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinoma 20%, 14% of small cell carcinoma, 5% of large cell carcinoma and 20% other variants epithelioma of large cell. In an editorial also published in JAMA, Dr. Harold Sox of Dartmouth Medical School in West Lebanon (New Hampshire, North-East) considers that the results of this study "provide compelling evidence that radiography of the chest to detect lung cancer is not effective "in reducing mortality.

According to him, "this study is important to resolve this issue once" and use of helical scan (CT scan, allowing the reconstruction of 2D or 3D anatomical tissue) as the imaging technique. An extensive study conducted on 50,000 American smokers and former smokers aged 55 to 74 smokers, unveiled in 2010, has actually shown that this technique allowed better detection of small tumors in their early stage of development than traditional radiography, thus reducing 20% mortality. 

This clinical study called "National Lung Screening Trial" showed for the first time that early detection of a cancerous tumor of the lung reduces the risk of dying, which is a great step forward, said Dr. Sox. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and around the world.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Islamist party Ennahda claims victory.

vote in tunisia
Ennahda claims victory
REUTERS - The Islamist Ennahda Monday night claimed victory in elections is the day before in Tunisia, the first democratic elections held since the beginning of the "Arab spring". No official results had been announced early Monday evening, but the Islamist group, which is prohibited under Zine Ben Ali said on the basis of the results posted at local polling stations it had won more than 30 % of the vote, coming in first place nationally and in most areas. "We will save the effort to forge a stable political alliance in the constituent assembly," said Abdelhamid Jlazzi, campaign director of Ennahda (Renaissance).

Without waiting for the announcement of results by the higher independent body elections (ISIE), the Democratic Progressive Party (PDP), secular training, conceded defeat. "The PDP respects the democratic game. The people have placed their trust in those he considered worthy of that trust. We congratulate the winner and we will sit in the opposition ranks," said Najib Chebbi's party in a statement sent to Reuters. Just over nine months after the fall of the regime of Ben Ali, January 14, Tunisians, pioneers of the "Arab Spring" turned out en masse Sunday to democratically elect a constituent assembly. Participation exceeded 90% of registered voters.

In all likelihood, Ennahda however, should not win an absolute majority in the assembly and could face a front of secular formations. Ennahda has worked throughout the campaign to present himself as the representative of moderate Islam modeled on the AKP, in power in Turkey. But part of the population concerned with the preservation of secularism historically attached to independent Tunisia, is concerned about the resurgence of the Islamists. Monday night, about fifty lay activists gathered outside the headquarters of the ISIE, calling for investigations into irregularities which they accuse the Islamists.

The 217 assembly members elected Sunday will write the new constitution of the country and form a new provisional government before the parliamentary and presidential elections due next year. Sunday, Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of Ennahda returned to Tunisia after 22 years of exile in Britain, spoke of "historic day". After leaving office, he was booed by dozens of people shouting "Get out!" and "You are a terrorist and a murderer! returned to London." Ennahda denies wanting to impose a strict application of religious principles in a Tunisian accustomed since decolonization a liberal lifestyle. To observers, the party is torn between a moderate leadership and a base may be more radical.

"Ennahda succeeded where we failed, we need to restructure, we must unite again," said Riadh Ben Fadhal, the Democratic Pole modernist (PDM, a coalition of center-left). The international community also closely these elections, which could provide an indication of the developments expected in the current upheaval in the Arab world. Barack Obama said the Tunisian revolution, which began on December 17 by the immolation of the young Mohamed Bouazizi gesture of despair in the face of unemployment and repression, had "changed the course of history." "Like so many Tunisians demonstrated peacefully in the streets and squares for their rights, they lined up today to vote and decide their own future," responded the president.

The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the peaceful conduct of its elections and called "stakeholders to remain committed to the principles of transparency during the next phases of the transition." If confirmed, the victory of Ennahda would be the first success achieved by an Islamist group in the Arab world since Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections of 2006. In December 1991, the Islamic Front of Hi (FIS) won the first round of Algerian elections but the elections were finally quashed by the army.

Turkey quake kills more than 260, hundreds missing.

Earthquake-in-Turkey
Earthquake in Turkey
(Reuters) - Rescuers pulled survivors from beneath mounds of collapsed buildings and searched for the missing on Monday after a major earthquake killed at least 264 people and wounded more than 1,000 in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey.

Hundreds more were feared dead after Sunday's 7.2 magnitude quake, Turkey's most powerful in a decade, toppled remote villages of mud brick houses.

As desperate survivors cried for help beneath mounds of smashed concrete and twisted metal, some using mobile phones, earth-moving machines and troops joined rescue efforts in the city of Van and the town of Ercis, some 100 km (60 miles) to the north.

"Be patient, be patient," rescuers in Ercis told a whimpering boy pinned under a concrete slab with the lifeless hand of an adult, a wedding ring on one finger, visible just in front of his face.

A Reuters photographer saw a woman and her daughter being freed from beneath a concrete slab in the wreckage of a six-storey building.

"I'm here, I'm here," the woman, named Fidan, called out in a hoarse voice. Talking to her regularly while working for more than two hours to find a way through, rescuers cut through the slab, first sighting the daughter's foot, before freeing them.

In Van, an ancient city of one million on a lake ringed by snow-capped mountains, cranes shifted rubble from a collapsed six-storey apartment block where 70 people were feared trapped.

One woman, standing beside a wrecked four-storey building, told a rescue worker she had spoken to her friend, Hatice Hasimoglu, on her mobile phone six hours after the quake trapped her inside it.

"She's my friend and she called me to say that she's alive and she's stuck in the rubble near the stairs of the building," said her friend, a fellow teacher. "She told me she was wearing red pajamas," she said, standing with distraught relatives begging the rescue workers to hurry.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan flew swiftly to Van to assess the scale of the disaster, in a quake-prone area that is a hotbed of activity for Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.

Erdogan said he feared for the fate of villages with houses made of mud brick, saying: "Almost all buildings in such villages are destroyed."

The broadcaster NTV quoted Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin as saying the death toll had reached 264. Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay, speaking in Van, said more than 1,300 were injured. The interior minister said hundreds more were unaccounted for, many believed buried under rubble.

TORMENTED SOUTHEAST

The quake brought fresh torment to impoverished southeast Turkey, where PKK militants fighting a decades-long insurgency against the state killed 24 Turkish soldiers in Hakkari, south of Van, last week.

The area it struck, near the border with Iran, is remote and mountainous, with long distances between villages and hamlets and people living off stock-raising, arable farming and trading.

The hardest-hit town was Ercis, a town of 100,000, where 55 buildings crumpled, including a student dormitory.

At one collapsed four-storey building, firemen from the major southeastern city of Diyarbakir were trying to reach four missing children. Aid workers carried two large black bags, one apparently containing a child's body, to an ambulance. An old woman wrapped in a headscarf walked alongside sobbing.

A distressed man paced back and forth before running toward the rescue workers on top of the rubble. "That's my nephew's house," he sobbed as workers tried to hold him back.

ARMY BATTALIONS

Thousands of people made homeless by the quake were forced to spend Sunday night on the streets, wrapped in blankets and huddled round open fires. The government has sent four army battalions to Ercis and two to Van to help in the rescue work, but some residents complained of a lack of assistance.

The Red Crescent has said some 5,000 tents and 11,000 blankets have been sent and a tent city has been set up at Ercis stadium. But residents said tents were being given only to relatives of police and soldiers, a possible source of tension.

"The villages have not received any help yet. Instead of making a show, politicians should be visiting them. The Turkish military says they sent soldiers, where are they?" said a municipality official in Van who did not want to be named.

Ibrahim Baydar, a 40-year-old tradesman from Van, accused the government in Ankara of holding back aid. "All the nylon tents are in the black market now. We cannot find any. People are queuing for them. No tents were given to us whatsoever," Baydar said.

"All the police were at the airport waiting for the prime minister yesterday. On a normal day, there are more police on the streets when two kids throw stones at them."

Rescue efforts were hampered by power outages after the quake toppled electricity cables to towns and villages. It also damaged the main Van-Ercis road, CNN Turk reported.

More than 200 aftershocks have jolted the region since the quake struck for around 25 seconds at 1041 GMT on Sunday.

"I just felt the whole earth moving and I was petrified. It went on for ages. And the noise, you could hear this loud, loud noise," said Hakan Demirtas, 32, a builder who was working on a construction site in Van at the time.

"My house is ruined," he said, sitting on a low wall after spending the night in the open. "I am still afraid, I'm in shock. I have no future, there is nothing I can do."

The Red Crescent said about 100 experts had reached the earthquake zone to coordinate rescue and relief operations. Mobile kitchens were set up to feed the homeless. Sniffer dogs had joined the quest for survivors.

At Van airport, a Turkish Airlines cargo plane unloaded aid materials onto waiting military vehicles for distribution.

Dogan news agency reported that 24 people were pulled from the rubble alive in the two hours after midnight.

Erdogan later returned to Ankara for a cabinet meeting to discuss the response to the disaster. He said Turkey could cope by itself, but thanked nations offering help, including Armenia and Israel, which both have strained relations with Ankara.

Major geological fault lines cross Turkey, where small tremors occur almost daily. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in the northwest.

The quake had no impact on Turkish financial markets when they opened on Monday. Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said Van benefit from tax exemptions.

In Van, construction worker Sulhattin Secen, 27, said he had first mistaken the rumble of the quake for a car crash.

"Then the ground beneath me started moving up and down as if I was standing in water. May God help us. It's like life has stopped. What are people going to do?"